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18 December 2007

burning eyes

"come back down here, i'll show you where it hurts." guster

"This is how it works
You're young until you're not
You love until you don't
You try until you can't
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dying breath

No, this is how it works
You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else's heart
Pumping someone else's blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don't get harmed
But even if it does
You'll just do it all again" regina spektor

"loving is so short, forgetting it so long." pablo neruda

"tell em that this house is not for sale." ryan adams

exhausted & in need of words that are not my own.

13 December 2007

you only get a little bit

i love sitting down and hooking together words to express thoughts, to express my soul, to express things within that need to go out. you only get a little bit of this (a censored, little bit), but i think it's what i would've written here had it not been part of an email to kate marks...

"...I've been practicing being ENTIRELY present with paul, and not sacrificing experience for expectation. i have felt a curtain within gently begin to tear; we hold the sacred on one side and the profane on another, and i have this longing to unite both of them under the existence & precedence of love. love wins. why do we filter our lives to protect ourselves from what we desire?...

...i am quite naive when it comes to all things eros------ any kate marks advice?

i hope my sharing isn't too much for you
i hope, rather, it connects us somehow.
from my small things to your small things.
between me and you,
many strings,
holding our hearts together,
making frida kahlo so proud,
exchanging blood through those lines,
the real stuff of life.

xxxxxxxOstephanie
(p.s. i loved this: carpe that diem hahahaha you are the best kate!)

10 December 2007

that's the world's priority; this is mine.

i probably should be cleaning my room. but i'm listening to iron & wine and i have a letter from wendell berry sitting on my desk and there is a lot more pressing into my brain than a tidy cuarto. that's the world's priority; this is mine.

i have just been birthed again. this new life doesn't directly correlate to jesus or the virgin mary, though i imagine that's always infused in my being somewhere, knit tightly together with the multiple christian spiritual affections i possess. la cuña: have i mentioned that is my favorite word in the spanish language? i wish i could have the Larousse spanish/english dictionary before me, give you the precise definition, and get a poster size copy of their illustration of la cuña. alas, my stories will have to do.

people will certainly ask me tomorrow, my "monday:" "how was your weekend?" should i be so honest as to tell them it was extraordinary, life-changing, the best 48 hour experience i've been present for in some time? i feel new, in fact, so new & vulnerable & refreshed that today i felt overwhelmed. i let the weekend be life, really life, life in perfection and balance and purely wonderful existence. the winter air was colder than ever to me this afternoon. banks & meals with family & the never-ending cycle of activity, though meaningful, seem to just be about keeping me busy. not keeping me alive, not keeping me rested, not keeping me intrigued, just busy.

i don't want to be busy. i want to lay in bed and listen to iron & wine while drifting in and out of sleep & affection. i want to read the NYT magazine and have it take me over two hours. i want two humongous proper cups of tea (ok the proper part was for effect). i want two hearts; two raw, flesh, beating hearts immodestly & über-vulnerably laying out their aspirations, fears, thoughts, tears, teeth, pains... all of that and more, onto the sidewalk, into the fresh air, underneath a pouring sky, washing all the is settled into all that is flowing into all that is alive.

i want hand-written letters, from wendell berry, nonetheless. i want words that change my life.

"Here is what I tell myself. In spite of the damage we have done to it and to one another, the world still contains many things that are beautiful and good--things of art and nature, human pleasures and affections--whore existence does no damage. We are kept alive and whole, I suspect, by loving and humoring those things. I mean, to be more explicit, the things that alert us to the presence of sanctity in the world and in ourselves." (w.b)

awake, new eyes, new flesh, settled, accepting, among the diversity of the world, i am alive again.

04 December 2007

i'll find you

shivers are being sent up my spine; titillating, quivering, life-shaking thoughts moving & flashing throughout my entire body. it's amazing. emotion. feeling the waves of thoughts that flush through our bodies, holding onto them & letting them go. i feel a sudden sense of acceptance & understanding for the plethora of emotions that exist. before, or during other seasons of my life, i have had no tolerance for anything more than basic emotion. i wonder, sometimes, when did i ever let love in? what were the circumstances that convinced me that it was all going to be okay if i did? and what on earth ever convinced me to filter it?

"all the geese fly home for the winter" joshua james.

back to the comfortable land that i came from, that's where i try to go when i desire to avoid experiencing an emotion. rather than just allowing it to come as it pleases, let it send me into a wind-twister, fall freely out of it, only to experience the next one---as new & fresh & unexpected as the last. i would imagine i learned inconsistent love from a very young age. say, as a six month old, i actually knew i had to be careful or i would be hurting. "well, you hurt either way,so you might as well hurt in the midst of loving..." that's what my twenty three year old self wants the six month old within to understand.

the exploration of new emotions directly correlates to the initiation of a new relationship. a new relationship that involves a young man, a fine specimen of man with a beard & a plaid soul; what is a plaid soul? it's just a fine thing, and i do hope one day you meet one. i think f. scott fitzgerald would have written short stories about this soul. and it's amazing, because this young man who allows me to drape my legs over his, has done nothing less that afford me time & space for an exploration of territory formerly undiscovered.

and having discovered, or even having peered into the crack of that wonder, i see more about me that i yearn to exchange for more about the world in the local marketplace. take me, sell me there, trade this for that, and for the sake of my heart, make sure i get one of thOsE. let me write letters from that place, introducing others to my own exploration, & perhaps introducing my own self to others...unguarded, unfiltered, emotionFULL.

02 December 2007

old ticket stubs

i keep shit like that. my friend deemed a nickname for me while i was packing my 6 months of life in spain into two suitcases: paper packrat. i am utterly obsessed with paper. some of my most treasured possesions are journals, books, old letters, the stuff of paper pulp & hand writing. what does that say about my life.

i keep a letter posted on the wall in front of my desk, from my beloved friend jane, and i read it occasionally for the lifting of my own soul. it's absolutely nothing special to look at, but it's a handwritten (in pencil, that's her unique style) on college-ruled notebook paper, and perfect. it isn't dated, so i will make a mark to assign it a spot on the timeline of my history. the first line of this letter reads: "yes, you have to read this in dreaded pencil." her letter is intensely personal, and it wouldn't make sense to quote from it here, but it's one of my treasures. i pull it down from the wall, read it slowly, remember what it felt like the first time i read it, remembering how it feels new each time i read it, remembering my own life written out on those pages, and sometimes thinking: is that really mine?

so i write letters. i keep stamps in my wallet, in my car, on my desk. good pens are everywhere. gluesticks & old dictionaries cover my room. i wake up on sunday mornings and can't move around for an hour without searching around for my journal, my watercolors, my paintbrush, bits of inspiration collected throughout the week..and finding myself once again in my chair, at my desk, creating. these are the proud moments of my existence. it feels natural and right and organic to sit there and let out what is burstinf forth from within.

it blesses me. it blesses my existence. it is my opening. my awakening. my heartbeat.

22 November 2007

set the table.

after mimosa's (champagne & juice from an orange) for breakfast this morning, boopy and i snuck into the sitting room---with it's beautiful oranges and green's, a delicate painting here, some sculpture there----and opened the china cabinet. not your traditional china cabinet either, children, more like a Chronicles of Narnia style armoir filled with worldly treasure.

limoges.

milkglass.

the "good" silver.

and i got to peak into her 72 year old soul, as she boasted of wedding gifts and tony's mother's serving platter and a collection of teacups with four-leaf clovers on them. these delicate pieces we treat with the utmost care and yet never touch on a daily basis. beautiful, hand painted creations. timeless and entirely breakable, but never put to the test of a weekday meal.

i want to eat my toast on limoges. i want to dig candy pumpkin's out of the milkglass candy jar. i want to sip my evening tea out of that 4-leaf clover cup & saucer. i want to treat my daily consumption habits with the utmost of consideration and respect.

but...
i don't want to polish the silver.
and handwash my dishes, every single day.

i don't want to take the time to have what i desire.

isn't that the truth?

my body was repulsed when i woke up wednesday morning, after a late night out with the strangest of characters, and i looked at my room---an explosion of spoiled-rotten american girl---and i had to leave it once again while i went to work. so the past 48 hours i've layed so low. i've polished silverware. i must have made 10 cups of tea. i've run two bathes and loved every hot, steaming minute. i watched two movies, made my bed, googled countless random things, retrieved old drawings, downloaded new music, written letters, held on tight to my soul and it's simplest of needs.

i have been meaning to say something to myself for some time: take care.

stop taking care of everyone else and take care of you.
take that small moment to get what you need.
set the table of your soul, stephanie.

21 November 2007

i lied.

there is eloquent noise outside of my window, but it's not as beautiful within my heart. the echo that doesn't end is inside of my tin soul. the ever-reverberating sounds that respond to my questions about life, relationships, future endeavors, voice, paths, places, tampons, tape. i am caught, Macbeth style, with blood on my hands, and my eyes see this blood and i keep washing them, over and over and over again, until they are raw and that mystery blood is now my blood, and i've cleansed my own inadequacies by punishing my self with more threatening hurts, more damaging threats, more hurtful damage.

readers don't intend to find words written that they predict; they read for enlightenment. movie goers don't know what to expect; they know the plot and nothing in between the beginning and the end. writers have a conscious intention with the written word; they aren't able to predict what word will register as it is written. all this life and still no ability to predict it's outcome.

i lied.

by silencing/shuddering/failing/retreating/averting my eyes/disengaging my heart.

that's the worst of the blood i spilt: the swift motion where i took what i'd claimed as my own, ripped its lifeline away from the throbbing center, and stole it back. as if it was ever mine to be had.

and look at my hands.
look again.


"A little water clears us of this deed ." (Act 2, Scene 2)

does it? because it's pouring outside.

deep in the caves there are mourners; people who are dancing, touching one another, being flooded by the pounds and pounds of rain falling outside their safe, dark, cold spot. inside of each of their chests is a cave as well, one that is calling out a louder storm than the flood falling from the sky. when they finally quite their souls, they hear very clearly the word being told all along: love.

18 November 2007

fearless, feisty faith


spend the afternoon; you can't take it with you. annie dilliard


feist(y).


today has been quite the day. i've been waking up early every day this week after having had numerous strange dreams about paris. most of the dreams revolve around the theme of discomfort. they are seemingly real depictions of how uncomfortable i would be if i lived there. i don't believe those dreams; i believe they are calling forth fears and letting go of them...saying g o o d b y e to mediocrity and false faces that reflect your own when you look deeply.

so after a few moments of letting those dreams settle and speak into my life (and my throbbing post closing the nachbar headache, i am so deep and yet so shallow), i got up the motivation to text mere and make her meet me for delicious coffee. lucky for me she agreed! so i was accompanied by the lovely meredith to sunergos, where we spread out the contents of our mary poppins style bags, full of: glue sticks, scissors, paper, journals, books, transfer type, writing utensils, and a delicious spirit of creativity. it's amazing what you can do when you sit down next to someone who allows you to be fully, organically, wisely, you.

out of this time we both created and collected. wise words, new words, stories, quotes, creative inspirations. bifurguer is my new word. it means to fork; to branch off. i am such a meandering human being. in a beautiful, organic way, i suppose i spread my self and then rotate, put this left foot in front of this right and walk in yet another direction. i both appreciate and mistrust that piece of my self. but i'm learning to trust that life coming forth from within without question. doing life sans doubt.

this week was rather trying of that practice. a few times i was concerned that i wanted to reevaluate and go back to rethinking everything everyone (and myself) says and does. not fair to anyone, that's the bottom line. so feeling feisty and trusting and boosted by the recent past and the approaching horizon, i went on towards what i knew deeply was most important: that bloody pile of flesh, thrusting itself naturally towards a plethora of people and passions in THIS life. because in case anyone has forgotten: we are alive to be living. not dead. not defeated. no drained.

and though there will be days for those feelings,
it's not today,
it's not meant for everyday,
it's not non-existent,

it's just life, and that's so sweet and ever-changing and always calling forth fear & faith & that true stuff that is what we call...

15 November 2007

grandpa's cowboy boots

grandpa's cowboy boots. and making old friends laugh.
and asking for someone, anyone to dance.

that is life.

i was listening to this song today called 'creation lake"
by 'the movies' and i heard this line:

"there are twenty four parts in a day that divides me from you.
twenty four parts in a day that divides me..."

i've written something about these words earlier. but that was then.
and this is now. and when i want to be close to someone, i am.
almost eternally.

exhibit a: my father.

but really. we are all separate entities. we have life inside of our selves,
and despite our common thread, which we could state something basic here like: oh! that we have beating hearts! well, from that perspective, our common thread is still there, but i just have to say this too: think of how much separates us.

like my grandfather probably never looked at me, as this small, rambunctious girl and said to himself: someday her feet will fit these boots perfectly.

and yet they do.

and lauren witt probably never dreamt that i would tell her silly stories, ten years down the road, reminding her of sweet old times and friendships that never fade. if God had told her that, she would have never sent me that first christmas card in 8th grade. that would be way too much commitment for anyone.

and yet she did. i love her for her laughter and her listening and her life.

and for all of you who dance: thank you. move your bodies, so breakable and vulnerable to the eyes of other...well guess what? your rhythm makes me feel mOrE aLiVE. so thanks to you. and for the rest of you, thank you too. you contribute. it's quieter. less obnoxious. more wall-flower like.

and yet you're my inspiration to keep moving.
i see you and stomp my feet and shake my self because i can...
probably in your honor, or maybe my own.

common thread or separate entities: we're all in this together.
so thanks for just being you.

12 November 2007

love above all

half-way through november, you never knew it, but it just could be that your life will change, is changing, has changed. what about your life is pending? who and what have you pursued? what ignites you to be more fuLLy aLive? my long awaited migration seems to be approaching ever so quickly. i am wing-wide and root deep. this will always cause a bit of turbulence, i can tell, because it has thus far and all i've ever experienced are little aches and pains, and still i've ended up like this. as this woman, in this world, with these eyes, and oh! my hands. these two glorious hands, with ten fingers and when they are spread i know it is all so real, and so really out of my control.

i was reading some bell hooks, well, quoting some bell hooks this weekend. and i feel like doing that again. "I place love before work because i know that without a sound foundation of self-love, I risk undermining my value and the value of all I accomplish through work. Self love can sustain us, but to thrive in community, which is how we LiVe, we need to receive love from others."

again?
again? (oh, i can't bear to learn this lesson again.)
yes, again.
ok, fine, yes.

this is certainly something i will be working on for the rest of my life. i don't need to say it doesn't come naturally for me, that is a known fact. it is difficult, but the work that kneads and turns and moves all the attention from me to community is work i want to participate in for the rest of my days. i never desire something where solitude is the only option present. love above all is the work we must do daily. it is hard, hard enough, undeniably difficult at times and so simple, too. its amazing how i find these things present in the midst of even my most mundane days (and i've had none of those recently, thanks to magnificent company and new inspirations). however, in the presence of the community i find myself standing before i mirror, one where i see myself seeing myself, and that self craves change, transition, migration.

but i must wait. and in the mean time, love; for these are the days with which i am being filed and found and refined. "Not only does something come if you wait, but it pours over you like a waterfall, like a tidal wave. You wait in all naturalness without expectation or hope, emptied, translucent, and that which comes rocks and topples you; it will shear, loose, launch, winnow, grind." Annie Dillard

08 November 2007

completely random & utter procrastination.

so much to do, so little focus. i had some thoughts today, so get ready for this.
1st of all: did you hear about what's happening this weekend? ashley hepburn is coming to louisville and we're planning to take the world (ok just the city) by sToRm. this is going to be wonderful wonderful wonderful. prepare yourselves.
2nd: i was allowed the priviledge of watching my boss do pullup on the crown molding at bluedog today. i mean really, in the middle of lunch, bobby starts doing pull ups. absurd and lovely at the same time. i really didn't know what to think.


3rd: the michele and i are hanging out tonight. and i have one million things to get done, did i mention that? but i'm sitting here NOT achieving any of them, and i'm about to go drink wine with her, so we both know i'll especially achieve nothing in an hour. in fact that reminds me, i have some wine i want to try before i go... and jeopardy comes on pretty soon too. did i mention that's my favorite thing on earth, and i'm seriously hoping someone will get me the new jeopardy home DVD game for christmas? time for a plug: (in case you need to find it fast) http://www.jeopardy.com/indexflash.php

love
love love
p.s. this post is completely random & a tactic of utter procrastination. go do something stephanie. gosh

05 November 2007

between buildings and breasts


you should see my desk. i am a creation goddess.





i have been working on playing with new ideas. the way you give a child a new toy and they USE it, that is my new motto. USE what you have. put it to the task, enjoy it and make it into something you visualize. instead of putting projects off, i've been playing with them, often. it's so fun, too...and i'm seriously developing some skills here, people. it's amazing. i just make and make and make and it is this fascinating process... ugh i just love it.

tonights creation came from daily inspiration: my cup of tea per la noche. i've been super intentional recently about buying teabags that have a quote on the string attached to the teabag. the brand "good earth organics" (a new line at whole foods) carries delicious tea and inspiring words attached. the quote on this particular cup was:"there is no remedy for love but to love more." thoreau

wow. that will make you stop dead in your tracks if you're listening. sure, you could keep going but what for? where are you going if it is not a place where you will be able to LOvE more? that is where i want to LIVE. in addition to this inspiration, i've had quite the day. ever since i woke up at 8 am, i've had distracting but fascinating (and certainly strange) visuals i've been creating in my head. this is all a product of the poignant art of frida kahlo. i watched "frida" last night and i admit i've been seeing people with their arteries connected to inanimate objects and clotheslines between buildings and breasts all day long. it's a very absurd experience, but it's personal too: visualizing art based on the normal human experience. i am nothing special, really, in fact i was feeling less than energized all day long. but when your mind is made up that you need to create what you keep imagining, there is nothing to do but let your hands burst open. and what do you get if inside of my open hands you place good pens, some paper tchotchke, a journal and a gluestick on my desk, and maybe some good tunes on the laptop? that's right---a masterpiece.

now really, you and i both know that my work is juvenile.
but on that note, it's liberating and i'm a child.
so what's the big deal?

04 November 2007

look! look! LooK!

the world is FULL of fascinating things! the past week has been outrageouly inspiring to me. i have been given a full invitation to participate in the community of saints right here in the city of louisville. i have met new people, developed a particularly interesting new method of journaling, exchanged magical little blurbs with the wine shop hombre, delved in libations late at night and courageous positivity at any hour. early on in the week, i drew a signpost in my journal, one of the kind that has arrows on it pointing in all directions, the kind that tell you how far some random town in england is from the exact point that the post is planted. and on the arrows of this signpost (what is the official name for one of these?) i used a magnificent new discovery of artistic medium called transfer type (thank you brooks reitz) to scribe this simple phrase: how did we get here?

there has been something informative and moving about that small drawing for me this week. that began the month of november for me. it was a new day and my flaws were old and the adventure ahead of me was fresh. and i wrote something on the side of my little sketch that said: "so i gotta go. but that is just a perfect explanation for today...and the answer? well, honey, that's in the living..." it's funny what insight having a conversation with yourself holds.

by the way: LOOk aRounD! i sware to you there is something glorious and life changing in your midst, you only have to OPeN youR eYEs (and MayBE your HEaRt, too) and take those palms and turn them UPward and spread each of your ten fingers wide. pray for this very day to creep by, and for all your faithfulness to be put to the test.

p.s. do you like the new look of my bloggy blog? photo compliments of jakob paur, my incredible german friend. location: oxford university. result: glorious.

01 November 2007

love in any key you want

you know those people who use words and change your LIFE? enter exhibit one: http://www.thelongbrake.com/blog/ aka: LOVE in the key of longbrake. i get jealous when i read this kind of stuff, like who is this guy that he is stinking incredible with words, and what is being affirmed so religiously inside of him that whispers, "speak, share, capture THAT with your language, it is your gift." i don't know this longbrake character, i don't know what that means or what to think, but i have heard about him. i've read his blog because he posts comments on relevant.com a lot. and i post comments on relevant.com a lot, too. why? well, mostly because i think i have some wisdom to share to some men-loving men. and those same men-loving men respond to my comments so i keep on writing them, thinking, some d a y... anyhow, i don't care where you are, or who you are, or what you have to share, but sit down with yourself, and affirm what it is you have inside you, and give language to that. it's incredible: i see wendell berry a few times a week, and just small tastes of his language reminds me to be incredible intentional about my own. and i have to practice listening, too, because wonderous human beings like wendell and longbrake are all around, we're just not hearing what they are saying.

and what they are saying is life changing. let's listen.
and share our own voices, too.

"And so I ask you, what do you love? Do you love photography? Are you taking photographs simply because you love to tell a story without words? Do it more and more. Keep creating. Are you cooking food that speaks of the beauty of God and the earth? Send me a box of goodies. Just kidding. 135 29th Ave. E., Seattle, WA 98112." Longbrake (and on that note, i want a box of goodies, too.)

"What We Need Is Here

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here." Wendell Berry

29 October 2007

a bangles revival

so i'm running at the park, i'm super motivated, fresh-minded, got my engine turned on. and i'm running, this cold, first frost of the fall monday, and i'm feeling like i SHOULD feel: alive. and then i see this piece of humanity i'm growing to despise. not because it's flawed, i understand that, but because it causes me to take a mental mirror, and look deep at myself, that way this piece of life is looking at me(OR not looking at me), and in that self i see a cause for change. NOT because i actually need to change, but simply because this "other" isn't affirming who I am. look at me, i am the picture of life. i am alive, independent, open, educated, working, healthy, moving, thinking, trying, listening, learning, looking, pursuing life to the ends of the earth. and you, the thing, also human, also breathing, also trying to life, you are making me feel like i am flawed. affirm me; just try, i sware i won't look too far into it. but maybe it will cause me to not burn holes in my self. my already struggling to survive, my so hard on herself for no apparent reason, my i will never let myself live this down self. "we are just breakable, breakable, breakable girls and boys." ingrid michaelson

so i wish i had more confidence than i do. because i wouldn't have thought twice about this incident. but i don't, and i did, and i finished doing what i do at the park (probably more pushups than you can do, ha, just a joke), and i found a way out of the mire you mucked on me. K T Tunstall, and track numero dos on her new disco... and i sang and danced and flailed my body around because i am ALiVE. and moving and shaking and walking on limbs, cRiP WaLkInG on LimBs for that matter! but i was doing whatever i felt like, and i had a moment: I had this sudden realization, and it was incredible. when i was a little girl, little, i mean like 3,4,5 years old, i would sit in the backseat of cars and sing songs to myself...ones that were playing in the cassette player, like the Bangles, or Paula Abdul, or Madonna's Immaculate Collection, or some other 80's quinessential hit, just something of the sort. And I sang because it made me feel like I had friends and fans and maybe even a person or two trying to hear what I was ReALLy saying...and they listened well, because they cared-deeply- And you won't believe it, but I was singing like that in my car tonight. After you made me feel like I had nothing of the sort, I found a way to go back to my core, offer myself songs of LOVE & efforts of RESTORATION so that I won't forget wHO I aM...even when you made me do so momentarily. I found me again, and she's considerably kinder, wiser, more loved, and definetly heard.

25 October 2007

the past twenty four spontaneous hours

in the past twenty four spontaneous hours, i have learned so much about who i am, what i am experiencing, what it sounds like and more importantly, feels like, to have a heart that beats and pumps and shivers and melts. i offered the universe a twelve minute limit on getting me out of the house last night, and in that short time came calling wonderful social hysterical company. and lack of sleep, but two a.m. means nothing to your body and your weary eyes when you spend the time in the presence of people who intrigue and inspire you. and then meaningful work, meditative and mundane, walking for people who lack limbs, greeting downcast and cold hearts with warmth, lighting a room with small gestures; that is life. giving yourself freedom to play, to ask for what you need (in my case: conditioner, or as my madre calls it "cream rinse"), to go after that which seems impossible but is just the opposite. to ask a friend to go along with you, and then to follow them in their spontaneity. in my case, that so happened to be le relais, and i would never complain if you placed champagne and gloriously prepared food before me. unless, you see i was in the presence of poor company. then i would have to excuse myself, because, as you can tell, the past twenty four spontaneous hours have proved life's meaningful existence and purpose to me: great passion, great people, great presence. these wonderful things go hand in hand. walk with me...

"and if you don't recognize my presence, i am here." (jill scott)

22 October 2007

10 letters, 1 bill

dear friends and family,
i would just like for you to know a few things about me. today, this rainy (glorious!), gray, falling leaves, quiet, ambiguious fall day, i am sending 10 letter and 1 bill by postal mail. many, i mean MANY, of you will be on the receiving end of my interests. jane buchanan is receiving perhaps the most well-composed of the bunch. she is my long-distance therapist, you see. I pay her per word. I write her, she promises to read my letter, and I include a check approapriately scribed with an amount that matches the word count. Aside from the already 81ç i am spending to put a stamp on this beast of a letter, i sware i am sending a $51.87 check along with it too. And her fees are cheap. At 2ç per word, that's a lot of freaking writing. I'm just kidding. But she is getting the best letter in the pile.

make that 12 letters... i just made two more in the midst of writing this little blog piece. oh and by the way, i made 8 cards yesterday too, and they are just sitting in this drawer... waiting to be discovered.

oh and the one bill: amex. but that's secondary.

19 October 2007

i am changed

"come on in, i've got to tell you what a state i'm in." (coldplaY)

i've been obsessed with coldplay this week. and really good quotes. and the idea of letting people know how much i appreciate them. but i haven't acted on all of those genuine feats of thanksgiving. and i apologize for that. could you please spare me a brief moment of your forgiveness? i will now list those who i would like to thank:

thank you julie harper, massage therapist extraordinaire, who kneaded my skin and my most tender spots and revived life into my parts----so exhausted my self---and you touched and awakened my sensory preceptors, giving them reminders of life and lust and the gentle evidence of being connected to humanity. i am thankful for your wisdom imparted unto me, and i hope you know my sincere gratitude here, though i can only touch you through words, your touch truly moved me and restored hope unto me. thank you immensely.

thank you to my grandmother, who provides me with a safe and comfortable home. i am living with a piece of history. a body of counter-culture lifestyle, under a roof where your pleasure is met and granted just because you exist. thank you for hot showers and bottles of red wine, and a t.v. that allows me the luxury of jeopardy @ 730pm. thank you for listening to my silly stories, letting me be silent when i need to be, offering me hot coffee in the morning, going on an ear-x-tacy date with me. when no one else beckons, you are there.

thank you to men. thank you for being much more than i understand. for challenging me when i challenge you. for not giving up on me and my calloused heart. thank you to men who run in different directions than the norm. thank you to james franco for being beautiful. thank you to ross for showing up daily. thank you to sergio for noticing my haircut. thank you to brooks for ginger candy. thank you to todd for high fives with butt slaps at the end. thank you men, guys, dudes, for working on yourselves, digging deeper, deeper still, until you've come to the core of it all: that fleshy, bloody, beating heart. then, having found it, ripping it out, and noticing, in comparison to mine, which i am holding in my hand, that we are identical within. that you are not supposed to be one way and i another. we are all just humans inside, and i praise you for how you live that out. so whether your penis is circumcised or not (this was last night's dinner topic), thank you for having one and still having a heart. that is important.

thank you to john johnson at the wine rack for wine tastings. you educate me, and the community as a whole, on how to eNjOY libations, and not only enjoy them but see them as miracles. from the vine comes the wine, and just like humanity, it is a cultivated and intentional process. thank you for reminding me to honor and respect that. and of course, thank you for the wine. you're welcome for the sliced baguettes.

thank you to this city, and this street, and this address for constantly giving me a place to go. even if it's only to my bed at night to be thankful.

i am changed.

13 October 2007

psycho and red headed

and i know nothing. that is a good way to start any conversation i'm about to have. i am always trying to figure it out, just like you, and i know nothing more than, less than, greater than, or equal to you. but i am trying. i will hold in my pain until i am red in the face and i will scream at the top of my lungs in empty homes and your words will not break my heart but what you didn't say will resound for days and hours and minutes and seconds until i break it down into small particles in my life and mind, "figuring you out" but really i'm just figuring out what i'm going to do with you, the way you are, not changing you but changing me to be okay with you that way.

and you are psycho and red headed,
and i am brazen and bare-breasted and blonde.
but this is not me and that is not you until we stand face to face,
fingernails digging deep into one another's skin,
hanging on and tearing and groping at the smallest inch of unseasoned skin.

and i know nothing.
but you already knew that.

11 October 2007

twist my arm

let's just say estoy hasta las narices. and if you can translate that, them congratulations. i am not a super human. i'm super honest and super hard working and super freaking exhausted. for a good reason, yes, i admit, i contributed to my own exhaustion today (four hours of sleep, 11 1/2 hours of work, 1.5 hours powerwalking) but have i contributed to my own joy? so after won-ton soup from p.f. changs and a delicious bluedog brownie w/ my peppermint tea, i was watching ugly betty. yes, i know. anyway so the inspiration, the twisting of my arm, the fire under my culo:

are you going to be one of those people who lets life happen to them?

me? i'm twenty three? betty responds

so?


you know, i didn't remember until rIghT nOW (10:23pm) that on my way to work today I saW StArS. that was 6:17am and i've spent 16 hours seeing pavement...there have been millions of stars above, and i've seen none. save me save me from my self.

10 October 2007

LOVE is free

well i'm eating chocolate and drinking hot tea as i scribe this, and i'm laughing, partly at myself and partly at this life: because it is so sweet and it is (most of all) meant to be enJOYed! we are so quick to judge ourselves and so slow to love-----this thought crossed my mind today: LOVE is free. it can hurt and tear us to shreds, but despite all of its aftermath, it is free to GiVe.

07 October 2007

what i crave

i am so tired of refusing myself that which i love.
i spend so much time wandering around thinking i'll find life in the midst of those things foreign to my self.
i'm starting to think i should just do what i love and keep pace in that direction.
always work towards that goal.
doing what i love.
seeing who i discover on that path.
why i walked that way.
and maybe, what i crave will nurture and deliver the life i've conceived.
the question is, my actions.
the seldom companionship,
the resistance to invitations,
the often lack of optimism,
the deficit of energy,
the comparison,
the frustration, and in the midst of it all,
that one spark,
that ignites,
the soul within, and sets fire to the curtain that i hide behind.
alas, life.

03 October 2007

this is not the lotto

"Is it really your time to be blessed? This is not the lotto. This is the kingdom of God." keisha boyce williams


my mental state-of-mind is like a random ball with a number on it---pick a number, any number--- well that is me. being tossed and turned and thrown around inside of the lotto ball mixer...and there i am, just being thrown the hell around, thinking, one of these days, it's going to be my chance:life is going to chose me. well no wonder this ladies word struck me today.

what if i am chosen? what if i have it all figured out, and this, this is it? well then in that case, i would probably find a way to be content with it. but for now? now it's tearing me ever-dualistically in half. right down the middle. halfway between believing and hitting the road, halfway between here and ANYwhere, halfway between deal with it and deal me a new hand. is there any middle ground?

let me scribe her words again. "Is it really your time to be blessed? This is not the lotto. This is the kingdom of God." It is ALwAyS our time to be blessed---your hands just have to be OPEN, not clinging onto some THING, IDEA, PERSON, THOUGHT, PRAYER. It is always your time. Whether you're here or if you're halfway to Hatteras. WhERevEr yOU aRe, yOU caNNoT escApE beIng BLessed. This is not the lotto.

02 October 2007

tell people that you love them

tell them that you love them.
whatever it is about them.
whoever they are.
take the moment!

an inspiration: the life of louise doire

dear doire,
so facebook tells me its your birthday and that makes me incredibly joyful.

i can't imagine what my life would be without yours having been. your wisdom and courage and leadership drove me to pedal along paths i'd never even imagined. they lead to peculiar lands, but your encouraging spirit sang "keep gOinG," and i did, and you kept going too. when i saw you ahead, you were there JOyFUL, twirling in those skirts and cowboy boots and homemade pieces that shouted out that you knew how to love you and love others. and your mind, your incredible mind, adventured through places unknown to me, you took hold of old stories that had taken on new meaning, and i watched you desperately, knowing that your challenges lead me to rip the metal curtain that i'd hung, so securely, sure that i was going to be safe if i didn't see beyond it. oh! beyond it, i discovered, is an entirely new place, more full and abundant than i've ever expected. these places i've gone, the experiences i've had, the stories i've heard and shared and retold with the new meanings they carry, the stretching i've encountered....many of them are a direct product of my time with you...you've brought and encouraged and initiated such glorious things for me! glorious, doire. simply glorious!

yours is truly a life to celebrate!
thank you for sharing yourself so faithfully and so genuinely.
i've loved being a student of not just your classroom, but of your life.
you have been so much to me.

love, love, love to you!
and happy biRthDaY!

01 October 2007

cha-cha-cha-cha-CHANGES

tonight: i'm really calling out to Jesus to make clear the way. i can't help but feel that these are the days that we call into being all those places inside of us that we long to heal, enhance, recreate, externalize, give to others!

i had a few revelations during my holiday, most of which involve these truthes:
+ i must begin to incorporate the aspects of change that i desire
+ i am personally responsible for my well-being (and therefore, my happiness)
+ i can trust that i have everything within me in order to be successful and to follow my biggest, craziest, wildest and most absurd dreams
+ i have the power to choose!

now you're probably thinking, "she's crazy," but i say these things because i see places where i need to coach myself more positively, i need to slough off the dead and make room for the new, i need to practice love, love, loving people, i need to chose my own life----i am not stuck serving some fake power----i get to be LIBERATED in christ, and i know so deeply that i am well from within...

i simPly hAve to LiVe that OUt!

so these are my thoughts, and my prayer is that these changes will begin to occur because i chose to participate in the whole of creation in NeW and MeAnINgFUL ways that i've not tried before.

i am always open to your ideas, encouragements, wisdom, and sharing. and of course, again, i would ask your prayers over my place, my location, these changes, and my self------ knowing i have so much good to give others makes me want to be better to my self!

this is just the beginning, ashferd!
cant wait for the journey ahead!
love love love
stepho
p.s. wrote up my 6 month goals and STARTED my workout log----a copy of them will be in the mail to you SOON!

(an email to hepburn reformatted to tell my story. that's legal, right?)

25 September 2007

living.

so i woke up at noon today. but i read and read and read inspiration upon inspiration last night.
and i had a full and exciting day.
i am thankful for the left side of my body and my brother having blood pumping through his veins and my hysterical grandma nina. i will name my girl child after her if i ever have one.
i received an email today with changing, moving, stretching words. it was courageously composed by my sweetest, adventurous friend kate. she is gold.
bell hooks is read-worthy, my friends. the latest: "men and woman who want to know love will find us, and we will find them."
oh and the current chapter: the search for men who love. i am excited.
starting my fitness log today----seeing "two days in paris" tomorrow----getting the chance to live everyday.

love.
love.
love.

oh! a quote to move you all!

"Hey you,
begin again
Again?
again again you'll see
it's easy begin again." grace.paley

23 September 2007

give of yourself

give. of. yourself.
what does that mean? and what does that mean for you? i love buying a coffee for my friends. i love margaritas and open conversation. i love behaving rediculously in the company of those who love you, no matter what. i love scratching other peoples backs and arms; giving them the ever so gentle reminder of touch...and of their presence as being one that is valued and important. i love dreaming and pretending not to hear my alarm clock and waking up to my best friend whispering from the other room "stephhhhhhhhh."

what does all of this have to do with giving of yourself?
well i came to a realization recently. unfortunate events happen to eVeRyOne. we are not alone in celebration or pain. however, we chose how we will behave accordingly...and when i say give.of.youself. what i mean is, share your voice. your pain. your honest self. your truth. and let me know what is on your heart, your mind, your bodies agenda. do you need to be reminded that you are part of the entire fabric of humanity, or are you kenly aware of your pattern and how valuable your "true colors" are? this realization is always being awakened in me, and it was most recently through the means of handicapped people. physically handicapped. i am talking about only having one leg but still wearing the cutest khaki shirt and the biggest smile and freshest face. i am talking about being paralysed from the waist down but still investing in a personal trainer. i am talking asking a woman to open the door for you, an older man in a wheelchair. i am talking about humility and asking for what you need. or giving people your most vulnerable self, and trusting that they won't reject you.

and when they accept you, allowing them to do so unconditionally.
and when they hurt you, moving forward, onward, wiser for it.
and when they help you, thanking them, blessing them.
and when you do this, and more, and even more, and even more than you thought possible,
as you give and give and give, i pray with hopefulness and thanksgiving that you will grow as a human being.
one who is.
you are who you are, and you were created to be that way.
i love that about you.

26 August 2007

"once"

i just got home from baxter avenue theatres, where i indulged in the rare but succulent occasion of seeing a movie sola. but let's go beyond that fun fact and the pretzels and diet coke, although there could be much said concerning such things. let's talk about this film: "once."

now it recalled many fresh memories for me, some dusty, actually, and overly attended too, at that. as if with the recall my immediate emotion was to be secure in my defense. i had whirling thoughts about dates taking place surrounding musical events, movies, moments. i couldn't leave the raw bloody beauty of using words intentionally. i was stupified by the use of simplicity. i argued with the critics all around me as we exited cinema 1 and they moaned, "well i didn't not like it, but i sure couldn't understand most of it."

and i wonder, were they listening? because it broke and scoured and put sutures in my heart. and the music lifted me, above, higher and higher until those melodies had moved me entirely. needless to say, i enjoyed the film, immensely, and to my dear friend alex lee, who suggested it to me, i agree. this is the most magical film i've seen in some time.

toRn

oK. so too much tequiLa. not enough JuaN. just the perfect amount of noise to be too loud for others to hear, not loud enough for our conversation to be thwarted. perfect virginal acknowledgement. "give me something good" joe purdy

no really my head is throbbing now. i mean really, really throbbing. not because of the tequila. but more because i'm exhausted. i have dark circles under my eyes. i only want to be in the sunlight. i only want to be in good company. in a dark, cold movie theater, maybe holding hands, just content to be right there. i wish people were respectful------to other people especially, maybe to me.

i save old movie tickets. i started reading Joseph Campbell this morning. i keep a book of books i've read. i can't believe that the pens i bought this week only have black ink, i thought they were metallic! i'm certain i could learn a thing or two this week. i'm even more certain that i could learn something right now. i'm rambling, really, shut up stephanie.

this is the last quote i wrote in my quote book, in boring black ink:
"You may feel squeamish about receiving. Maybe this is old baggage, but it won't go away by itesel. Someone would like to cherish you." renita j. weems, whose blog i read everyday. i cherish her.

24 August 2007

a word

Let me just say, for you, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, you are more than your circumstances. You are in them, but you are not of them. You are woven from a fabric, with such careful needle and thread that every stitch of your being was intentional. And you are so loved, in a deep and consistent way, that you need not fear the places where you feel unloved. We all have those places, we lack love for ourselves, but we journey together to NeW hEiGHts, gathering stones along the way, to BuiLd ouR LIVes of that which we have encountered. Listen to that something within, that is Spirit, and respond to that call. Be in the land where you are. And travel with me, friend, despite the distance between us.

15 August 2007

DEVOTIONAL PRONOIA THERAPY

i dont have words for you tonight. you know what? i talk way too much.
tomorrow i will practice this: silence.
but tonight i will find words.
they will be answers.
to questions.
but.
you can't read them.
you can just read the questions.

and knowing this, maybe even you will speak to me.


DEVOTIONAL PRONOIA THERAPY (the first half)
Experiments and exercises in becoming a gracefully probing, erotically
funny, shockingly friendly Master of Orgasmic Empathy


1. Ruminate about the sublime prototypes that might be hidden within
the longings you're not so proud of. Dream of the noble purposes that lie
beneath the plaintive cries of your heart. Write about them here.


2. Assume that your capacity for experiencing pleasure is not a barrier to
your spiritual growth, but is in fact essential to it. What would you do
differently from what you do now?


3. Force yourself to think a kind thought about someone you don't like.
Next, try an even harder task: Force yourself to think a kind thought
about someone who doesn't like you.


4. Robin Norwood's self-help book *Women Who Love Too Much* deals
with a theme that has gotten a lot of play in recent decades: If you're too
generous to someone who doesn't appreciate it and at the expense of
your own needs, you can make yourself sick.

An alternative perspective comes from French philosopher Blaise Pascal,
who said, "When one does not love too much, one does not love enough."
He was primarily addressing psychologically healthy altruists, but it's a
good ideal for pronoia lovers to keep in mind.

Decide whether you need to move more in the direction of Norwood's or
Pascal's advice. Develop a game plan to carry out your resolve, then take
action.


5. Everyone deserves a place to live, good food and water, comfortable
clothes, fulfilling work, decent health care, and an intimate relationship
with a provocative muse. The muse need not be an actual person, but
might be an animal ally, a familiar spirit, a guardian angel, or an
autonomous part of one's own brain.

Do you have one? If not, use all your ingenuity to get one. If you're
already blessed with a muse, upgrade your relationship. Demand more
high-quality prods and inspiration, and in return offer more daring acts of
love and generosity. If your muse is unwilling to undertake a deeper
collaboration with you, hand him or her a pink slip and enlist a more
enthusiastic candidate.


6. Compose and cast a love spell on yourself.


7. Pick out three strangers you aren't attracted to and who seem lonely
and dull. Discreetly discover their names and addresses, maybe by
following them home, then coming back later to steal the junk mail from
their mailbox. Write them each a two-page love letter and sign it "Your
Secret Admirer."


8. "Love is being stupid together," said French poet Paul Valéry. While
there's an element of truth to that, it's too corny and decadent for my
tastes. I prefer to focus on a more interesting truth, which is this: Real
love is being smart together. If you weave your destiny together with
another's, he or she should catalyze your sleeping potentials, sharpen
your perceptions, and boost both your emotional and analytical
intelligence. Your relationship becomes a crucible in which you deepen
your understanding of the way the world works.

Give an example of your closest approach to this model in your own life.
Then formulate a vow in which you promise you'll do what's necessary to
more fully embody the principle "love is being smart together."


9. Some men believe they'll never find romantic happiness unless they
hook up with a woman who resembles a supermodel or celebrity. Their
libidos were imprinted at a tender age by our culture's narrow definition
of what constitutes female beauty. They steer clear of many fine women
who don't fit their ideal.

The addiction to a physical type is not confined to hetero men, though.
Some straight women, for instance, wouldn't think of dating a bald, short
guy, no matter how interesting he is.

In addition to these extremes, there are many people of every sexual
persuasion who imagine that their attraction to the physical appearance
of a potential partner is the single most important gauge of compatibility.
This delusion is the most common cause of people leaping into
relationships that go bad.

The good news is that anyone can outgrow their instinctual yearning for a
particular physical type, thereby becoming available for union with all of
the more perfect partners who previously didn't look quite right.

What's the state of your relationship with this riddle? Describe how you
might ripen it; speculate on how you can move it to the next level of
pronoiac maturity.
(i will for the sake of the intelligent author, claim all questions/devotions to the work of Rob Breszny)

13 August 2007

call ME stupid

i have a second toe that is longer than most people's pinky fingers. (and it's crooked)
my favorite body part on most people is their hands.
if you gave me a quarter for how many people tell me they love my hair, i'd be LOADED.
black licorice is one of my very favorite treats.
i dream about traveling around the globe, frequently.
but i live in louisville, kentucky.
my favorite way to communicate is through postal mail.
call me stupid, but i never understand how to use the phrase: touché.
i wish i did! i think it sounds so cool when people say that.
on my to do list: resin the champagne bottle tops i collect.
not on my to do list: get married.
latest musical obsession: eve.
latest other obsession: shopping for shoes on ebay.
i can't wait for the lives of others to be on DVD.
quote:
"i want a wild, roving, vagabond life, I always want to do something daring and spirited; you will certainly repent if you keep me tied up." [isabel.arundell]

12 August 2007

finding a community

dear mrs renita j. weems, whose words move my heart and ignite my soul and cause me to live out more of what is stewing and brewing and moving inside of me! I am writing you today as I have recently been presented a struggle: finding a church, a community of faith. I am writing you because I cannot think of another woman whose faith has led and motivated my own more than yourself. Of course, you have done this without knowing you were doing this; you planted in me the courageous seeds that called to life all that I thought rebellious within me. I was accustomed to thinking everything that made me different was actually that which separated me from this incredible God who had created me, rather than believe deeply and truly that it is God who has planted these things and nourished them in the time appointed. I found myself this morning going to church with a friend, a dear friend, whose heart is also for the Lord, who calls on Jesus as her Rock, who lives and breathes a life of faith----but her church strangled me. It choked my soul, and I am forced to yet again leave those double doors with turmoil in my head, this small self saying "well it must just be you, Stephanie," rather than Christ rising within me and shouting in my pain, "keep seeking my face, you will find me." I love Jesus, but I struggle with the language and the harsh circumstances presented in most churches. The church is full of sin, I know this well, and I don't expect to stumble upon heaven on earth early one Sunday morning. But isn't there a faith community, full of people who have progressive ideas about what it means to follow Christ, to stand for the true meaning of the practice of Christianity? I don't ask this question assuming their is one answers, no, i know better than that. But I ask it knowing what this community looks like for me. That is: loving Jesus and loving the people who are marginalized and considered worthless and walking alongside others to advance the reign of God. Sending forth the good news that people are LOVED despite the conditions of their hearts and calling them to "Come to the fountain," and have their thirst quenched by a God who knows them and loves them despite their downfalls. That is my heart's worship, that is the news I want to share, that is the basis of the community I want to be a part of----and still, I left this morning thinking, "well, what if it exists? Where is it? I have yet to find it and I am still seeking..." but you, as a leader of community, a pastor, a woman who leads the church, do you know of any communities that participate in this type of spiritual life in my corner of the world? i am not far from you, I live in Louisville, KY. And this email has taken a generous amount of courage to write, but my question is this: where do i find my foothold in my faith is there is no place of worship that meets my heart's desires? how do i withstand continual disappointment in the church and still find a faith community?

11 August 2007

twenty four parts

your chin. your facial hair. your brown eyes. small ears lobes. this wafting, liberated hair style of yours. and then, your soft hands. that smile. laughter. square toes, calloused feet. knees and legs and hips and that incredible bone that leads towards your stomach, or your belly button. maybe it's your lightly spread chest hair. and your biceps. the movement of your arms. seeing your collar bone and it's slight angular bend towards your face, which is where i want mine to be. near your lips. your breath on my face; your soul connected to my soul. our hearts longing for one another. and still, "there are twenty four parts in a day that divide me from you." [creation.lake]

24 July 2007

drastic improvement

so i got this forward today from my friend Lauren. the punchline:
if you send this crazy thing to 15 or more people, it claims that: Your life will improve drastically and everything you ever dreamed of
will begin to take shape.


and my response matches my current condition perfectly:

"i am not fwding this but can my life go ahead and improve drastically anyhow?
god."



i mean seriously. sick and tired of being sick and tired (and p.s. alone).
thanks.

15 July 2007

spanish reds

do you want to learn a thing or two about wine?
trying not to sound silly when you open your mouth to speak about the wonderful bouquet that you just ingested?
simply yearning to know MORE about that miraculous and melodious libation?
then
read.

and start with this article.
http://events.nytimes.com/2007/07/11/dining/reviews/11wine.html?8ur&emc=ur

gracias.

10 July 2007

words that keep me

so these are things i've heard recently that make me feel more alive.
they deserve to be recognized for what they are,
words,
but beyond that, they keep me moving.
feeling.
knowing.
loving.
and they are simple words.

"Loving-kindness (maitri) toward ourselves doesn't mean getting
rid of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy, we can still
be angry. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of
unworthiness. Meditation practice isn't about trying to throw
ourselves away or become something better. It's about befriending who
we are already."- Pema Chodron

"they say this place has changed, but strip away all of the technology and you would see that we all are hunters, hunting for something that will make us okay." (sleeping at last)

" So strange...some men - well let's just say I got lucky and so did Caroline!
As with anything in this world - dont let this one spoil the fun...
this one person or event, I mean." (my mother, whom I adore)

"We love you, Stephanie." -bob hancock




09 July 2007

oh i'm nervous!

i get these splottchy splotches on my chest when i get nervous... i just looked down at myself, in this cute dress, getting ready for a fab dinner with the bosses, and i realized a truth: "oh i'm nervous!"

tonight is a night of my adulthood. and i have LONG hair. and i am wearing it down. so take me seriously world, but don't forget this one important tidbit of information: i am just a child.

i get excited at little girls with pigtails and swimmies and triangle top bikini's. you know why? because i wish i had carried the courage i had as a child into my adolescent and adult years. being an adult is really just like letting fear clone inside of your mind. i have no reason to be scared, but i think that my intelligence and my beauty and my talent and my wisdom and my spirit scares me.

i think i am afraid i will overwhelm others. but by just living out who i am, i am really trying to do but one thing: affirm who each of you are. so don't praise me. praise the Spirit that created me. and praise that same Spirit that created you. and live a life of praise. and walk with me while we gather stones and build lives out of who we are. and let all that fear crumble and shudder our fortress, but let us never fall.

let us live on in all our glory and wonder.

let us live as we were created to be.

29 June 2007

let's play trust

i hate this game: trust. i don't hate it because i'm not good at it, in fact, i am GOOD at the receiving end of trust. but somewhere, a long time ago, on some sidewalk or lawn, i decided i didn't want to play with kids like you. i said no to trust.

you have to understand, i have always thought, since i can remember being concious of my appearance, that i was "bigger." and by bigger i just mean too big for you. it's not an actual physical reality, it is an imagined mentality that i adopted, integrated, and settled for. it is the air that i breathe.

well one day, err evening, i was at a party. lets say it was April 2007, i was 22, about to graduate from college. and guess what, i STILL hate the game trust. but i have this friend, his name is mark.thomp and he's incredibly strong. he has a big heart too, so you feel okay letting him love on you; it requires very little effort, he just loves you and it's feels like maybe that's how simple and yet how satisfying love it supposed to be. so the scene is a party: my 2 best friends from highschool, their boyfriends, and siempre single Estef. well after requesting mark to be my fill in boyfriend in the photo, we proceed to let him "dip" me. which requires that i TruSt him.

and somewhere inside of me, i found just a little bit of that magic.

and look at this: look at the JOY on my face. look at the ease and comfort that i am holding onto him with. and look at the sheer simplicity of the moment. it was simple delight. and i tell you what, it was worth it to ignore whatever fear it is that i'm always listening to. it lies.

trusting is life.

the reason i am thinking about this at all is because my dear friend hallie reminded me of how fun this moment with mark.thomp was. mark.thomp is kinda-sorta-always fun, but it was memorable and fun. and it reminded me that i am capable of trust. and i'm not too big for you. and i actually know how to play. and maybe i should play just a little wee bit more.

so today, at work, i have millions of thoughts about my lack of trust, and i admit i found a LOT of them. ones that are completely irrational and unreal, mingled with ones that seem very real. i want to explore those.

and believe me, i will keep you posted.

26 June 2007

anchors

well for starters, i would like to say that my entire day's focus revolved around the idea of grace.
i would also like to say, that as soon as i began to operate out of a place of normalcy, i lost all thoughts of grace completely. i had to constantly check back in with the presence of life that anchors me----and i felt extremely thankful for the amount of grace that is extended to me, despite my undeserving life.

i have hesitated to actually write tonight----instead i frolicked around all of the internet, browsing newly posted facebook photos (what an idiot i am! see! there goes the grace) to stalking the winner of these shoes that i abso-freaking-lutely coveted on EBay (cole haan g series flats with rhinestone, ughhh i can't believe i lost). and now i realized that it would be best if i just reflected for a moment of two before i sleep (a mere 6 hours, have to open in the a.m.). my hot tea has made me a bit too hot.

the word anchor has been extremely present in my life today---and i just thought about that as i used it in a sentence four sentences prior to this one. and i just looked over at my hot tea, thinking about how it was making me hotter but still going in for a sip, and the tag of my tea reads: "Love, compassion, and kindness are the anchors of life."

anchors.

anchor1 [ˈӕŋkə] noun
something, usually a heavy piece of metal with points which dig into the sea-bed, used to hold a boat in one position
Arabic: مِرْساة السَّفينَه
Chinese (Simplified): 锚
Chinese (Traditional): 錨
Czech: kotva
Danish: anker
Dutch: anker
Estonian: ankur
Finnish: ankkuri
French: ancre
German: der Anker
Greek: άγκυρα
Hungarian: horgony
Icelandic: akkeri
Indonesian: jangkar, sauh
Italian: ancora
Japanese: いかり
Korean: 닻
Latvian: enkurs
Lithuanian: inkaras
Norwegian: anker
Polish: kotwica
Portuguese (Brazil): âncora
Portuguese (Portugal): âncora
Romanian: ancoră
Russian: якорь
Slovak: kotva
Slovenian: sidro
Spanish: ancla
Swedish: ankare
Turkish: çapa, demir, çıpa


anchor2 [ˈӕŋkə] noun
something that holds someone or something steady
Arabic: مَلاذ، سَند، مَرْبَط
Chinese (Simplified): 固定物
Chinese (Traditional): 固定物
Czech: opora
Danish: forankring
Dutch: plechtanker
Estonian: ankur
Finnish: ankkuri
French: attache
German: der Rettungsanker
Greek: άγκυρα
Hungarian: rögzítő
Icelandic: haldreipi
Indonesian: penahan
Italian: ancora
Japanese: 固定する
Korean: 고정재
Latvian: drošs patvērums
Lithuanian: pagrindas, ramstis
Norwegian: forankring, feste
Polish: kotwica
Portuguese (Brazil): âncora
Portuguese (Portugal): ancorar
Romanian: salvare, sprijin
Russian: якорь спасения
Slovak: opora
Slovenian: (pri)vez
Spanish: ancla
Swedish: stöd, förankring
Turkish: destek
i am going to go ahead and identify with the later of the two definitions. i love the distinction here: it is clear (except not in the english language) that an anchor is not just a physical thing, but a presence, a something, which could be aNyThiNG, that holds us steady. maybe that's why i am here...or still not far out from the shore. regardless, i trust grace without expectation. (this does not mean i don't have expectations, i just realize they are absurd.) grace, wasn't that where i started? . and i will finish there, too. ˆgrace & peace to you; and an anchor to hold you steady when neither seem present.ˆ

25 June 2007

tired tears

a vivid description of the recent pain: (as told to ashley hepburn)

here is my very long story made as-short-as-possible: i was feeling very sad on thursday night because i wanted so badly to try out this new discovery (an al fresco bar in the highlands) and i drove by it hoping i could conjure up the courage to go in alone and i was simply overwhelmed by my own incapacity. it frustrated me that I couldn't be brave enough to go in alone, and it sadness me because i feel a lack of companionship here (and the always lack of people pursuing me). understandably, no one hopes to go out alone, but i have no grace for myself and i thought the fault lay invariably in myself. "clearly, there is something wrong with me," i reasoned in my silly little head. so i was calling you to do what i consider fairly normal, which is leave you a little reminder of the many million times every week that i wish we lived in the same city, or even, considering the circumstances, i just needed a reminder that it was OKAY to not have the courage at that moment, that despite the lack of new girlfriends or good companions to accompany me for a cerveza doesn't represent my value. however, forgetting you were traveling to dallas, it was a surprise that you answered at all (i almost always expect to miss you, though i don't "hope" to miss you, it's just that we have a voicemail relationship) and a wall within my chest collapsed when I heard that you were arriving and embarking upon this amazing weekend adventure with quality friends and goodness abounding---- i was envious, of course, but more than that it was timing that felt like acid in my already fresh wound of loneliness. NONE of this could have been prevented, all of this is somehow embodying God's spirit and the presence that moves us along in life, but neither does it mean that we will always see life from the mountaintop. so that is why i was choking on my own words when we spoke briefly on thursday night. i almost think i didn't need to talk at all, rather i just needed to hear a voice that was comforting and truthful and real. i'm sorry for you that i can't be stronger, i want to be but maybe this season of my life is just about me hanging on a bit less to my façade of fortitude and well-being, and maybe it is more about trusting God and leaping dangerously into the unknown. regardless, that is my story. and i began to write you late thursday night, but i went to delete something after typing about 5 minutes worth of text, and the freaking "firefox application encountered an error and was forced to quit." so i lost everything i wrote you and my tired tears couldn't bear writing it again. thank our very gracious Lord that the hours continue onward, and we do as well.

"tired tears" is a phrase i have coveted these past few weeks, and it is derived from Betty Smith, author of my current read, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, in her editor's note, written in 1947. the quote is: "My cup flowed over, literally, when I added a few tired tears to the water."

24 June 2007

limit to your love

my desk looks like an explosion today. in fact my whole room seems destroyed and in need of some serious attention. but i'm sitting here in my robe thinking about this past week and watching the rain fall so hard outside of my window. louisville needs rain in a serious way. we all could use a few showers. summer is just kind of like that, it's soft and slow and sensational.

i'm listening to feist and she makes me want to write but i'm completely and utterly distracted. did i mention it's raining outside my window?

21 June 2007

sweat dripping down my face

i would like to take a moment and thank you for talking to me even when i have sweat dripping down my face. i am so completely full of pores, toxins are emitted from my every pore during any point of the day, and i love people who love people despite their plethora of imperfections. thank you for loving me.

today, at work, bobby & josh scrubbed and mopped with us. i couldn't believe it. it shook my bones to accept their generous assistance. i didn't know what to do. i just stepped around in circles, watching those lanky arms scrub harder than i have ever seen before---and the generosity sat me on my heels, i mean honestly, i was stumbling around like i had no toes to balance my body. i was so so so so thankful. it wasn't because i didn't want to do it, i wouldn't have minded at all, its just that their gesture was so generous. and their time is precious (or at least that's the sentiment I perceive from them), so to stop and take ten minutes to help me (even indirectly) was this abundant blessing. thank you, thank you, thank you.

i finally cleaned up my desk. i did this rather than run because i need a day of rest. or because i wanted to. i love taking off all of my work clothes and sitting around my room in loose clothing (or none at all). i am always most productive when i have these precious moments to regain control of the many strands of thread that make up my life.

guess what: (three things, actually)
1. ERIN AUTIN returns to the States today! Hoo-FreAkiNG-RAy! i am so pumped to have her around constantly!!!!! (i wish she was moving to KY)
2. I finally got to watch Volver. I'm not thru with it yet, I still have one hour of the movie left, but so far, so very very good. Almodóvar is amazing. ¡Viva Almodóvar!
3. Julie and I went to Bargain Barn today (you wish you could be me on these days), and I found the best gift at the book section: "The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy. I have wanted this book since Melanie showed it to me, when I then remembered a quote I'd read and become infatuated with in the spring of 2006, and then it showed up on Renita J. Weems "to read" list and now, it's in my hands. And it was only one dollar. and I purchased it from a local shop. I mean, that's beautiful news. I will keep you posted on it's wonder. (I hope it is full of wonder)

until then...

19 June 2007

humility

i just have a few words, ones i read this morning that humble me, and break me, and move me into new, wonderful places. here they are:
" Am I in authority? how prone to abuse my trust, make will my law, exclude others' enjoyments, serve my own interests and policy!"

and so now, the day ahead of me, will I serve you, or myself? i pray it is You. and you. and you.

"Give me a broken heart that yet carries home the water of grace."

*aLL these are from prayers in the Valley of Vision

07 June 2007

traitor is right

one of my friends just sent me an email that consisted of photos of "10 women drivers" and shows us how we can avoid looking like idiots and being made fun of... in 6 of the 10 photos the driver is indistinguishable, and it's just assumed that the person who made such a stupid mistake is a woman. in photo # 7, the cheesy, bold font reads: "YES! IT'S A WOMAN!" i am livid. but you know what, my momma said, chose your battles, and this is one i don't even want to fight (think of how much trash and tragedy is constantly attacking us when we use the internet). unfortunately, my friend who forwarded it to be is a) a woman and b) not the world's best driver. but the worst part to me about all of this is the words in the subject line from her email: "FW: The Top 10 Contestants For The 2006 Women Drivers Award O.K.--so I'm a traitor to my fellow gals. Couldn't resist"

ok.
think about this statement. USE YOUR HEAD, take off the rose-tinted glasses, and read this statement, then consider the content to follow. first of all, the creator of this wonderful forward makes the assumption that women are being rewarded for this kind of behavior. what an epidemic: confusing women and their mistakes as a reflection of their inherent nature. seco
nd: that a woman could thoughtlessly pass along such ridicule and pass it off with saying "so i'm a traitor to my fellow gals. couldn't resist" kills me. really, it kills me. i want to write in bold letters: CARE. know that with these subliminal messages you are only AFFIRMING the stereotypes that already exist. don't just brush it off, really, please just care a little bit, and see what caring just a little bit will do.

i almost replied to this lovely fwd. with this:
___(name.of.friend)____
traitor is right.
you just threw your own kind under the bus.
i wonder:
if the creator of this email is a man or a woman?
what kinds of messages we pick up from viewing things like this?
whether those messages are full of truth or lies?

and you know what, why shouldn't i say that?
those are truthful observations, and i hope that by saying them it makes her think next time before a) she sends something like this or b) she writes it off. you know what? maybe she is bored at work, and maybe she wants to send forwards, but next time send ones that BUILD women up. don't tear us down. we have a terrible enough reputation as it is. see italicized above.

05 June 2007

say hello part dos

ok so i totally did what i just wrote an entire post about. i drove past a "friend" this evening, and we clearly made eye contact. it took me by such surprise that i didn't wave, i didn't even acknowledge the other with an expression of the face or mouth or eyes. nothing. how extremely awkward. all i would have had to do is wave, but i think i was experiencing a shock wave, or a wave of emotions and old associations, or something. it was a moment in life when time seems to slow down dangerously, and in that instant when you notice the change of pace, you wonder to yourself, "am i going to fast? or are they are going too slow?"

well i will tell you what.
i was just trying to get the hell out of there.
and i didn't even know it.
ain't no need to say hello if that's not what you want to say.
my parents taught me: "if you don't have something nice to say..."

say hello

ok so i totally work in the service industry. i can deal with that. but what i cannot deal with is people who do not acknowledge your life. just freaking say hello. today i walked up to greet a duo of women and before i could even say hello this woman looks up at me, like i'm a walking-freaking-chalkboard of the daily specials and says "whats the soup?" i paused, almost threwup in my mouth, and proceeded with my generous, "hellloooooooo." i hope she saw my suprise at her indignity.

now to me, saying hello, or not saying hello in this case is a humane behavior, acknowledging the other human on the most minimal level. and i think of the comparison between myself who is faced with this "indignity" (that was a strong word, wasn't it?), and people in other parts of this globe who see guns and who get orders shouted at them and who cannot hear anything at all and are constantly belittled. what is it that the power of communication so ineffectively pursues? connecting all of us crazy people, i suppose that is the goal of communication. but some of us, such as i, feel that we merit such wonderful communication that it "SHOULD" be done the way i do it. this is a crazy thought in and of itself. so let's be honest: of course, say hello, but if you don't, be humane. whatever it takes for you to meet the other people in your life with love and openness and courage, be that. and when you cannot, just say hello. that is all that i am asking.