"The more our life speeds up, the more we feel weary, overwhelmed, and lost. Despite our good hearts and equally good intentions, our life and work rarely feel light, pleasant, or healing. Instead as it all piles endlessly upon itself, the whole experience of being alive begins to melt into one enormous obligation. It becomes the standard greeting everywhere. 'I am so busy.' We say this to one another with no small degree of pride, as if our exhaustion were a trophy. To be unavailable to our friends and family, to be unable to to find time for the sunset (or event know that the sun has set at all), to whiz through our obligations without time for a single mindful breath- this has become the model of a successful life." Wayne Muller
Saturday, June 23, 2012
I'm not sure when it happened exactly, when I started actually enjoying discussions about God. Ten years ago upon leaving a very religious childhood I was running ninety to nothing away from the debate. Bringing up the topic was like nails on a blackboard. Not only was it probable that in doing so, someone would be angry at the end, but it also seemed to reopen a gapping wound I had developed over many years while wandering in and out of a variety of religious organizations.
It wasn't so much the people that I felt particular frustration towards. People are people, no matter what organization you enter there is bound to be disfunction. No for me, when I left the church it was more like a true vehemency toward God Himself. Truly I was pissed at Him for, what in mind looked to be chaos that was created for the sake of His enjoyment. I had many qualms with the great being who speaks of bringing heaven to earth while at the same time produces earthquakes or brains that develop nuclear weaponry. Please insert your typical comments or quandaries here, I've probably had those as well. However here I am, writing once again speaking about the topic of a God that I now believe in, and dare I say it, love.
Roll your eyes at me if you must. I completely understand. A few years ago I would have done the same. However I think subconsciencely I've always believed. I remember a evening in particular, where I had drank my weight, a hefty sum at the time, in coors light and tequila shots. While sitting in a circle of friends on their lawn I found myself crying because I was trying to defend a God that I wanted desperately to ignore. This is the awkward relationship I continued to have with, in my humble opinion, the creator of the universe, for around ten years, maybe longer.
I can't tell you that it has been an instant transformation either. It wasn't like I woke up one morning saying "wow, I feel born again". No it was a slow and steady accent towards a sort of knowing that I can't truly explain. I just, well seemed to find God everywhere when I wasn't intending to look for Him.
I used to live in Los Angeles. Well, I lived there for a couple of summers, give or take a few months. I'd love to tell you that whole whirl wind fairytale of a story sometime, but for now I'll narrow our focus on a street corner.
The sun is setting, it's summertime. The city is beginning to slow down for a few hours before they start all over again in the morning. The temperature is beginning to drop a few degrees and as the air begins to cool I can finally get a break from the humidity of the afternoon. Sitting by my side, a woman, she has a plate of food in her hand. We're sitting behind bleachers for a show we're preparing to open. She's homeless, I've grown deeply attached to her over the few weeks that I've been working with her. We sit behind the bleachers because she's embarrassed to accept the food that I have brought her. As we sit there I don't say much. I just like being near her. There is something in her manner that grounds me. I also greatly admire her singing voice, as I have been an amateur singer for many years. And as we sit in silence while she eats her barbecue chicken I tell her that I want to sing a song with her sometime. She being the opportunist that she is, sets her plate down and says that this is as good of place as any. We discuss for a few moments about which song to sing. Neither of us know the other's song suggestions. But finally, we decide, much to my own chagrin to sing Amazing Grace. As we do a stillness settles over me like I've never known. A peace that well, to quote the 'good book', "passes all understanding" and we just sing and tears fall from both our cheeks. My explanation seems dim in comparison to a "grace that saves a wretch like me" but still, I'll swear that it was a real as any other thing I've experienced.
I do not know all the answers but I'm trying much harder to listen to the still small voice of God as he continues to reach out to all humanity no matter the circumstances.
I had a satisfying day today. I started teaching another seven week art and theatre course with my good friend Jackie. Our adults were almost joyous to see us and the feeling was mutual. It's truly a lot of fun working with the men and woman at CLASS. I'm always inspired by their beauty and kindness.
I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning house and then headed to my after school care job. We're in the middle of fitness right now so we spent a good part of our time hopping like bunnies to hula hoops and the like. The rest of the time was spent with my kids making armor and swords out of these bendy styrofoam things; a toy invented by a genius no doubt. Seriously, this bag of styrofoam bendies is absolutely on of the most imaginative toys yet. The kids spend so much time creating things from the bag, it's unbelievable.
Here is my little house
built by hands I'll never see
on a prairie I inherited from ancestors
who left no How-to manual
|My "Begonia" dining room with new chandelier. Wonderful vibrant kitchen.|
|The living Room. I've added some things to this room since this photograph was taken but you get the idea.|
|The Front Porch|
|"The Library" This is my oversized hallway. It has lots of built ins on the opposite walls.|
|The guest bedroom. I've done some more work to this room since this picture was taken.|
|My bedroom. Still adding pieces here and there.|
|The beautiful flowers that were growing when I arrived.|
|My tiny Ktichen. I love it. I've always loved small kitchens. Always will.|
|Back of garage.|
|Backyard and peach tree. There are now garden pots on the walk way too.|
|Back yard hangout.|
|A desk I built out of an old headboard. The table legs were up cycled from an old table found at a junk store along with the fantastic chair!|
|Shelves I built for my closet. Can't figure out how to turn picture.|
Thursday, March 8, 2012
I will officially be a home owner starting tomorrow at 10:45 am. This is a very exciting time for me. Last year I was renting a very wonderful and dear friend's property out in the country.
Quite honestly I never thought I could be located in a more perfect place. It was quiet and serene. I truly loved living there. So when it all came to an end I just couldn't bare the thought of moving somewhere else. What other rental could possibly hold a candle to this one? Especially in Independence? I just found it impossible to look for another place.
I've rented for about ten years now and although there are definite perks in having done so, I'm ready to own my own home. I can not tell you how excited I am to paint walls and tile bathrooms. I'm also relishing the thought of having all of my belongings in one household. Starting with my move to Emporia part of my things have been stashed at my parents or in a friends bedroom but never together. I'm looking forward to going through all of my possessions and keeping what is meant to be kept and replacing what I've worn out.
All this said I know some of my dream home remodels are years in the making. I'm a single lady and money doesn't grow on trees. But it is so nice to be making an investment rather than feeling like I'm throwing money away. I feel that suddenly I am all grown up and possibly even dignified.
Monday, January 30, 2012
Someday, like this one, I like to take snapshots in my mind of things I come across, things I love.
Today was an exceptional day. I woke this morning, early, to a phone call from the bank. Recently I applied for a home owners loan. I've been looking for some time for a house to call home. Two weeks ago on a whim I found the most excellent house in my price range. However when trying to explain to the bank my last three years worth of income, it began to look like there was no hope in sight. But today, Hallelujah, I was approved. I will soon be a proud new homeowner. I feel very grown up and dignified.
Right after that I went out to a friends house, my old landlords actually, to share the news and meet with a missionary friend of hers. This wonderful woman shared with several of us the fabulous work that she is doing for Somali refugees that have immigrated to the states. I was just so inspired by her.
Right after I left I headed downtown because I'm gearing up for the annual Bowl for Kids Sake fundraiser, hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters. I'm in charge of door prizes for the event and even though I'm not to keen on asking for donations the day went well. My favorite moment today was speaking with our local photography studio. The owner reminds me of a very dear friend, in looks, plus he is so friendly that every time I visit it somehow feels like I'm reuniting with someone I've always known. Today I sat for at least 30 minutes and looked at photographs of an Independence from yesteryear. We chatted as if we were neighbors sitting down for tea on their front porch. I love Kansan's.
Anyhow here are a couple of snapshots I took today listed below:
1. The postman, walking with a huge grin on his face, delivering mail.
2. A woman sitting in the barbers chair looking out at me through a lock of hair.
3. An artist's, that I know personally, self-portrait being framed by his mother.
4. Different color homemade cookies, lining the shelf of the cake shop
5. A bright pink smoothie given to me by a friend at the Fitness Center
6. Running into the parents of one of my art students at the Big Cheese Pizza, and hearing how much they like my class
7. Catching my best friend at the post office and getting to share with him my news about the house.
I give so little to this town in comparison to what it gives me. I love my home and the people who live here. This doesn't even begin to describe the fantastic life of a citizen living in rural America, in fact it is only the beginning of the list.