Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The challenge.

I heard it in the beginning of January and I didn’t know then how revolutionary it would be. The words came out of his mouth and them danced into my soul and shook me up a bit.

The key to discipline is desire.

It simmered on the stove, those words, bubbling around in my head, shaking me in the best way.  I think that some things in life are hard, but most things are easier than we make them. 

People ask me how I find time to be creative. The question always shocks me, as if they are asking me, how do you find time to breathe.  For me, art is breathing and without it, I’m a seriously less pleasant person.  Ask my husband on day two of no creativity, I’m scratching at the walls, contemplating to sell everything we own and become Amish. I want to deconstruct every piece of furniture, including the ones we are using and turn them into something new, abstract and less functional.  It gets a little crazy. Usually, I just move the couch to the other wall and then smear some paint around with no plans.  It helps some. 

It’s just that art and writing have been essential in my life. That’s how I do it. And I find time for everything else, like cleaning and laundry. I also don’t do housework after the kids go to bed and we have a rule about not holding children while we eat or drink afternoon coffee, but that’s another story.  Somehow it works for us, because as the say goes, it’s not hard to figure out what you want in life, it’s hard to figure out what to let go of to make it happen.

The key to discipline is desire.

So all the above is great, but I was terrible at making prayer and the  Bible important. I could give tons of excuses, but ultimately I just didn’t want it bad enough.  Plain and simple.  The same goes for yoga. It sounds like a great idea and I do love it, but at the end of the day, they were sitting low on the priority list.  And I was feeling it, in the aches of my body and my soul.  Discipline, well that has always been such a restricting word to me. Discipline, who needs that… I’m a free spirit.

In the beginning of January, our church, along with many others joined in a time of fasting.  When seeking how I would participate, the answer was clear and it was a tough one.  Now, I love sleep, in a huge way and I’ve never been accused of being a morning person, ever.  Please don’t hate me, but my kids are good sleepers and they usually wake up around 8.    I would stay in bed until my little boy woke up and came in my room.   The challenge came, set your alarm, wake up, read the Bible, write, and pray. Give up the extra 1.5 hours of sleep.

Oh, now I was morally opposed to this because,

1. Those-know-it-all- mommy blogs are all like, you must get up early before your kids and it’s the only way to do get things done, blah, blah, blah.  Well, I would prove them wrong. I would certainly do no such thing.

2. The idea of jump starting my day with activity is my wildest nightmare. 

3. Waking up to the horribly, unnatural sounds of an alarm would be the end of me.

This was different, it was an invitation that required great sacrifice, surely I didn’t think this one up on my own accord. The first morning I woke up three minutes before my alarm. I was spared that trauma.  The next day, it happened again. The third day, I was tired and pulled the blankets over my head, but something beckoned and I answered.  Three weeks later, I can honestly say that I never felt exhausted from losing that extra sleep. In fact, I had more energy and more strength to face the day. I would even dare to say that desire began to grow. I looked forward to these moments of scribbling prayers and thoughts in the pages of my journal and finding the age old words speak new truth for my days, the quiet with the Creator of the Universe, before the motion. As it turns out, I even had time for yoga.  The time of the challenge has ended, but in three weeks, I have seen how essential it is for my life.  Like breathing and art, and I don’t plan to stop now.

The  key to discipline is desire.

Whatever it is you desire, begin.

Begin by showing up, by making yourself if you must… until it becomes a part of you, until it feels like  a desire.

And we fight for our desires, do we not?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Today is for...

into to the depths of your soul, up to the top of your head and back down to the tips of your toes,
like a breath that enters and rushes through your lungs and makes your body do whatever it is your body does that keeps you alive. 
And you don’t need answers to believe, and you don’t need clues or signs or secret messages, only believing and the rest, it will come.
It will come.
But, today, we believe.
Will all our might, with all our heart, with everything we say and create and do and love.
It requires nothing and everything, to believe. Nothing you lack and everything you are.
And whatever happens next, well no one can say.
Today is for believing and that is all.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

a breakdown and a love song: a true story

Last night,  a breakdown over the feelings so familiar refused to be calmed.  My pillow collected tears stained with mascara, heavy with words I just couldn’t find and when the reservoirs dripped no longer, I fell into an exhausted, deep sleep.

But, in the light of day under a radiant blue sky, I see it was a breakthrough in disguise.

And in the spaces made vacant from the emotions that spilled out of my eyes, bubbling waters of beautiful things are no longer dammed. And what I thought was this great internal struggle, turned out to be a love song.

A love song of crashing waves and roaring wind, from God who knows the language of my soul.

Even when I can’t see it, for all my silly humanity.

In 2004, the hurricane season brought us many canceled classes and one of those weekends, I went home with my roommate to Boca Raton, Florida.  Like any sensible Floridian, the day before the storm made landfall, we went to the beach.  The tourists evacuate and the locals, they go to the water, because they know.  As the storm approached, magnificent waves beat the shore and in the wind, all were captive.  This is magic.  Facing east in the darkness of night, with only the occasional, scattered light on the beach, the stars tucked behind the heavy storm clouds, I stood before the wild waters crashing with His love and power, with his greatness and glory.  I never in all my life feel closer to God than when I am standing on the edge of the ocean, with my hair swept up in the wind and the salty waters misting over me.  

For a while now, in my own restless, adventurous heart, behind the calm and collected face, those waves have been crashing around inside of me, rattling my bones.  And I’ve been fighting it, feeling as though it was another trial, another lesson.  Sometimes, I take extra long to do things for my kids to teach them a little bit of patience and I’ve been certain that God was doing the same thing for me.

Last night, I felt like I was drowning under the struggle, the waves swallowing me whole.  But, until that struggle was emptied onto my pillow, I couldn’t see that the waves, they were never intended for such purposes.


For all the days of feeling stuck in a place that doesn’t feel like home,

the days of working toward dreams,

the constant energy it takes to create and see possibilities and hope,

and all the days of feeling so lonely in this season of life…

He brought the crashing waves and the roaring winds and he tucked them safely inside of me, so  I would never have to be too far away from that place.

For all the days of this journey.

A love song, that will indeed swallow me whole, if I let it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A walk on a winter morning and the way of the wild things


He reclines against the back of the wagon, legs  out stretched.  Contentedly bumping along to the rhythm of the path, intermittently covered with ice and snow.  We’ve been walking all of three minutes before she must walk.  We slow to the pace of the smallest legs in our collection of six.  And, she must, absolutely never avoid the icy patches.

Oh, wild eyes the brave.

A peaceful grey hoovers in the sky, but just below it a palette of buttery yellow and calm orange is swept across the horizon. 

Winter is not my favorite, but I do prefer the winter version of this park to its summer counterpart.  In the warm months, it’s bursting with runners and bikers, kids fishing and men boating.  The park is full awkward mommy conversations and children trying to trample mine.  The lifeguard rules on their lofty perch and restricts all the fun (or something like that). 

But on these January days, we walk in silence among the undressed branches and powdery snow.  We pass only a few quiet souls and their dogs.  The furry creatures roam unrestricted and you can sense the freedom in the air, carried on the chill that paints our noses red. 

Here on this path, under the spiny trees and the empty benches than line our steps, we are calm and alive, doing exactly what makes us feel best.

She walks.

He watches.

I pull the wagon and notice the way the branches curl and bend against the grey winter sky, like a chandelier of shadows in a room full of light.

All of us wild creatures thriving in the open air. 


Just Write



Wednesday, January 2, 2013

for the dreamers: a declaration


The dreams lap the shore of our hearts.

They are gifts of great power and responsibility, to borrow the words.

They beckon us to a deeper, beautiful story in which we are living a life set on fire,

in meaning and intention and love.


And we stand before the water, as we face this new year and

we dare to believe that they are good and true and

above all, possible.


We dare to acknowledge that if we work hard, love well, and pursue

that which shakes the inside of our souls,

the right doors will open.

The right people will walk beside us and disrupt our steady stride.


We know the road will be full of obstacles and struggles,

we must collect our daily strength, faith, and bread.

And we can be sure that we will be required

to walk bravely into the darkness and

remember that the light glowing inside, although at times dim,

cannot be quenched.


And if we are faithful stewards of these dreams,

these gifts, these creative urges,

the calling that echoes in our rising and slumbering,

we will look back and know,

we will raise our eyes to the heavens and breathe in

the breath, ever sustaining and always beckoning.


The dreams lap the shore of our hearts,

whispering with all the power of the wind and the moon,

with all the intention of the great Creator,

a fresh new page awaits, shall we?




My friends, Create boldly.