Cosmos and Chaos

It’s nearly 4 in the afternoon and I’m still wearing my anti-slip fuzzy socks.
Moments ago, I retrieved two little scraps of tissue from my nose that were lodged there to help me stabilize the lava-like snot flow.

I’m the icky kind of sicky person. No cute red nose, no adorable raspy voice. More like can’t-smell-my-rancid-breath, bloated-faced, puffy-lipped, nasty all around.

Soooo, lounging on the couch (again) and inspecting the couch pillow for drool from my last conk-out, I see this: the tiniest rainbow.

Somehow cradled in the folds of our curtains. Somehow light bouncing off the beveled end of my bike, ricocheting through the window,  landing in full color in front of me. then gone. as quickly as it came.

This is life, I think. little reminders of promise. fleeting moments of beauty. a lot in between.

It strikes me how contemporary art and poetry–the work of creatives– is so easily manufactured to reflect the chaos and inexplainable. All the yuck. Or, and I don’t know I would call this art at all, it is an idealistic twisting of reality, a set of expectations our world could never fulfill. A perfectly arched rainbow on a piece of sky-white paper.

All this lofty talk.

What I really mean is this: It’s too easy to write or draw or paint or sing the chaotic. And it’s way too easy to conjure up the unreal.

What’s hard and what’s beautiful is when both chaos and cosmos can be held in either hand, balanced, and accepted as mysterious.

My home girl, Madeleine L’Engle introduced me to cosmos and chaos in her little book Walking on Water. Give it a read.

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Fishermen Lovers (Love is Patient)

When I think of patience, I think of a fisherman. Rising before the sun. Pole ready, tackle box. A thin finger of steam rising from his black coffee as he heads to the dock.

this sketch is on the outside of one of our notebooks, lovely though I don't know who drew it
lovely little sketch on one of my notebooks, not sure who to thank for this.

He is alone in the morning cool. The lake exhaling fog sleepily, the loons, a denim sky. He casts out and reels, casts and reels. He rushes nothing. He waits in quiet hope.
Continue reading “Fishermen Lovers (Love is Patient)”

Haiti 2015. a year of harvest

It’s hard to imagine harvest right now, with the soil just darkening for the seed,  the earth green and green and green. When everything is ripe and ready. After toil and sweat and hopes are poured out,

then harvest.
And there is no better word to describe what happened this February in Haiti.Our team experienced the joy of harvesting, of reaping where many of us did not sow.

sunset from the orphanage guest house
sunset from the orphanage guest house outside of Port au Prince Haiti

We held the hands of orphans, taught them how to fly kites and learned that love really can have no conditions.

We watched as a  group of old and young gathered, held hands and prayed over the hand-built building that would tomorrow would be their first-ever clinic.

We watched as neighbors, long-hardened by a hard lives, kneeled and said they wanted a Jesus life.

Sometimes, you are invited into a vineyard that you did not plant, an orchard that you did not nurture. You are invited to come, smell the thick sweetness in the air, feel the heavy fruit in your hand. Then you realize suddenly, that you are holding the final product of heavy work and many hours, the product of mysterious growth.

And the work and the hours and the tears and the laughter that had gone into this fruit you are now holding. This is all from those that have gone before you. Those who raised and loved children. Children who became doctors and entrepreneurs,  missionaries and managers. Missionaries, managers, doctors and entrepreneurs who dreamt wild and selfless dreams. They all were the ones who planted. Who got dirty, got real, who worked hard in Jesus name. They tended their fields, gave their whole lives. Watered and weeded and waited.  Watching  for a harvest. Sometimes one they would never get to see.

 

After this year’s trip, I’ve been wondering  if I will leave a harvest for those coming after me. I wonder will they find a field flourishing, a garden watered and weeded? Will I and my generation get low, get dirty and begin to sow even where we know we may never reap?

I hope so.
Because there is nothing like walking into a vineyard–one that has been tended and nurtured for a lifetime–and being invited to pick, to taste, to harvest.

5 ways to to rock 2015

I’ve never done well with resolutions or life goals.

I record them in bright ink in my day planner or journal, sometimes even read over them every day for a week or so. But after January slips into February, the cold pulls me back toward old comforts, and I soon forget my resolutions and only limp along towards any sort of change or goal.

But…
Nothing changes if nothing changes. 

This year I’ve decided to take that mantra to heart. If I want to achieve a goal or simply change something in my life, then I actually need to structure my life to do so because “structure wins over intention.”

I’m excited about this year because  I’ve come across some amazing tools and wisdom to actually make changes in my life. I’m all about passin’ on a good word, so here are 5 ways to rock (your goals, resolutions, life changes, whatever) in 2015

5 ways to rock 2k15

1. Create measurable goals 
When it’s resolution-making time comes around, most of us slip into trap of focusing on outcomes instead of objectives. “I want to be healthier” versus “I’m going to eat one leafy-green a day.”

When we focus on outcomes, we don’t have a pathway to get there. It’s all good intentions and nothing more. When we create objectives, when often get closer to reaching the outcomes we want and can actually measure our progress along the way.

2. Make a mind-map

mind map

Mind-maps have been around for stinkin-ever, but I’ve never really considered what a powerful tool they can be when it comes to personal goal-setting and life changes.

Time yourself for 5 minutes and write down life goals, 3 year goals, and 3 month goals. Then set the timer for 5 more minutes and pick one goal from each section and then create a mind-map of how to get there. This idea came from Angela Trinidad, creator of the Passion Planner and works great to actually organize your thoughts and prepare to “pencil in” what’s important to you.

3. Make a visual of your week
I borrowed this idea from a book called “What’s Best Next”. The dude who wrote this runs train and understands that being productive is not getting more and more done faster and faster, but getting what’s most important to you done in the most efficient way.

passion planner
The passion planner comes with half hour increments and sections for note taking, priority setting and “good things that happened”

weekly visual.
It’s easier to show this then tell about it, but basically you make a chart with time on the left and days of the week across the top. Then you create slots of time each day, so you’re able to visualize where you time is/is not going.  The hubs and I did this together on a manila folder so we could be sure we’re on the same page (literally-ha) with each others’ schedules, goals and priorities. The key here is not to get too specific (e.g. create slots for basic things such as “workflow” and “gym” versus each and every little task)

4. Schedule in your objectives
It’s all great and dandy to have objectives to reach goals and make changes, but again “structure wins over intentions.” If my life is not structured to allow me creative writing time I will never ever get anything published. If your life structure/schedule doesn’t have a slot for your objectives, you will never move any closer to your goal. Check out your weekly visual and see where you can add/take away to make sure you have a slot for achieving your goals.

This is the passion planner. Each day has half hour increments and each week has person and work to-do's along with a spot to record "good things that happened"
This is the passion planner. Each day has half hour increments and each week has person and work to-do’s along with a spot to record “good things that happened”

5. Review & be grateful
Don’t give yourself an excuse to set aside your goals or changes that need to be made. Post up your mind map or the visual of your week. Check off tasks that you complete and write down the extras you did that weren’t even on a list. Find accountability in a spouse or friend who will actually say it how it is.

Most importantly, let your mind camp-out in the good stuff. Research (from Harvard ya’ll) says, if you exercise “gratitude thinking” and record 3 good things every day it increases an individual’s positive outlook by 25%. Thanks to Ann Voskamp for that little tid-bit today.

I hope these 5 rock you like they are rockin’ me. Here’s to a year of living life and not letting life live you!

~M

carry things or carry on

My day?
Well, it started with this little gem.

the kindest little love note ever

Notice the two red underlines, the way “computer” and “off” kind of run together as if written words could communicate loud, aggressive annoyance. I am a bad, bad girl. 🙂

And then, my day it went on for a bit… to this near-catastrophe

burnt cider complete with crispy mulling spices
No, no, that is not a man-hole filled with man-sludge. That is a pan (after nearly catching fire) with crispy little mulling-spice remains and a layer of black sludge which used to be apple cider. 

The poopiness

I’d like to say that this poopiness started with the yelling-note and ended with the black-sludge incident. But no. The poopiness has been here off and on for a while now. And it has this crazy way of coming back in little whiffs and smears whenever I think its gone! (I can’t believe I’m using poop as a metaphor for life stuff right now– do you see how far I’ve fallen from sane?!)

Because I detest rant blogs and twitter-complainers, I will spare you my sob story. Here’s a hint. I sobbed.

Carrying things vs. carrying on

I am a self-confessed carrier. When I was young, I used to lie awake thinking of all the things I probably did wrong that day, so many interactions that went sour. Over time I learned to let more go, move on. I began to see that anxiety and worry leads to dead ends and forehead wrinkles.

But, once and a while the ugly weight rears its head; I want to carry my woes again, hold onto the heavy stuff. Even the light stuff, like post-it notes and burnt cider can pile up and suddenly there I am, hobbling along with a bent back, stupidly staring at the ground because of all I’m trying to hold onto. And sometimes its not about worry, sometimes its about control and fear, but no matter what it is about it never goes anywhere.

(Gosh. This is so good for me right now. I feel like it’s therapy just writing this down! Seriously though, I don’t have it figured out. Sometimes my fingers teach me truths that were hidden in some flabby fold of my mind. )

whoever created this, I love you.
whoever created this, I love you.

I don’t need to carry. You don’t need to carry. It’s been carried for us. And when we try to take it all back upon ourselves, suddenly we’re tipping toward earth, facing the dirt, unable to look up and see all the glory before us.

Carry or carry on. Your choice and mine.

Carry on.

~M

Soul Love and Honey I Shrunk The Kids

Ants

A few weeks back when the evenings were still warm and hazy with leftover sun, E and I were walking and I stopped to bend close to earth, watch an ant shudder with the weight of a burden ten times it’s size.

There was no hill in sight. And I wondered aloud how far into the stubby grass it’s home was hidden.

Isn’t it amazing that most of their homes we can’t see, E said.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

crazy huge underground ant hill
crazy huge underground ant hill

Today I flatten three monstrous ant mounds in attempt to uncover–I soon realize– an unessential piece of plastic. I feel bad. First I haphazardly destroyed their homes. Then I only retrieved some ineffective ant-poisoning kit. (I feel less bad for the world of insects when I think the giant horsefly that psychotically circled my head during my entire run earlier that day.) Then I am additionally comforted by E’s words about ant homes.

There’s labyrinth beneath the earth.

People

It’s been said that you can never really know someone. And though I wish it weren’t true, I think it mostly is. There is so much to us–our minds, souls, spirits, desires, emotions, fears, dreams, experiences. There are miles of underground yearnings to uncover.

But this is the hard part. Because to uncover is hard work. Because to uncover haphazardly is to hurt, to be careless in our digging is to be destructive to the ones we want to love most.

And at the same time, to leave it all buried is to ignore the intricacy and beauty with which our loved one is built, to deny our call to find it out and love them better.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

There are places in a soul that cannot be discovered or much less explored, and yet there are beautiful and sacred paths we must travel to fully love a person well. But we cannot simply swipe away at what we easily see to get beneath the surface. We must enter as the experts do, by becoming as small to our “self” so we can travel beneath the surface as the ants.

Now it’s getting weird, you’re thinking. she’s talking about shrinking to ant-size to do soul-cavern travel. I’ve got to admit, it is weird, and  it makes me laugh. It also hearkens happy memories of Honey I shrunk the kids and the ant who made us all cry.

a still from the epic 1989 movie Honey I shrunk the Kids
a still from the epic 1989 movie Honey I shrunk the Kids

 

But it’s crazy how true it is! (the shrinking, not the teary ant-goodbye.)
We need to shrink, to become less. Not less of who we truly are. Not to pervert a healthy relationship into an unhealthy worship/affinity of someone else. But to be truly and rightly less, I think, is is to let go of the things that cause us to be enraptured by ourselves, that cause me to have me as the biggest thing occupying my mind.

And to be less.
self-seeking, self-worthy, self-dependent

is to become more.

More able to travel in the shoes of our soul-mate. More able to understand and relish the unique beauty of our loved one’s soul labyrinth. Able to identify where their weaknesses and fears stem from. Able to spur them on in their dreams and desires. And finally, able to love more completely. More wildly.

To love like one divine man who became less to love the world.
~ MR

>>>>>>>>>>>
i love you E

the paleo diet (as seen by unintentional dietee)

Through a hazy window, I’m watching ginormous bees slurp at swollen zinnias, thinking. Wow. I’m hungry.

Usually I blog  things I learned, am learning, or just need to process. Today, I am blogging about my life and how much I just want ice cream right now.


A little history…


About 3 years ago I found out I have tiny esophagus condition. (There’s a name for it, but it’s hard to say and I always spell it wrong.) Essentially, my throat is itsy-bitsy and bad cells stick to it. In the past, it was a pain in the tush to eat lots of things. (It should be noted that I still made a way, and LOVED to eat. still do.)

Since the discovery, I’ve been beyond blessed to work with great doctors, nurses, and specialists who’ve both stretched my tiny throat several times, and helped me journey towards discovering what’s causing all the issues.

The 6 food elimination diet

In this discovery process, they think food might be corralling these bad cells. So here’s where I find myself.

No wheat, soy, eggs, fish, nuts, or dairy.

Hm. How do I say this tactfully? I am a fairly… thin person. My ma and da are both tall, leanish people. Most of my relatives are tall leanish people. I am tall and leanish too.

So when I am deprived of food, it seems like my stored fat cells aren’t burned up in the metabolic inferno, my happy cells are.  My happy cells are burned-up and now blowing like ash in my black, black soul.

I want ice cream so bad. I want cream in my coffee and a piece of peanut butter toast. I want noodles that don’t taste like corn and leave cloudy pee-water in my pan. I want soy sauce on rice and lots and lots of eggs for breakfast. I want the biggest, most gluten-y brownie there is.

Paleo disciple

Unintentionally, I am basically on the paleo diet and I am not quite loving it yet.

If you don’t know what paleo is, it’s basically eating like “a cave man”–meat, veggies, fish, nuts, fruit, tubers, dead roadside raccoons, spiders on your deck, basically anything you can hunt or gather besides grain. don’t gather grain.

I can’t follow the paelo perfrectly, cuz I can’t have fish, nuts, or some of that other stuff–sooo, I’m eating whatever I can, including weird flours like tapioca  but NOT the forbidden gluten-pregnant-wheat. So paleo dietee… I’m basically there.

A few things I’ll admit:
1. I’m not bloating at all
2. I’m not having strange random stomach aches
3. If I eat periodically, I actually stay full longer
4. I’m secretly a tiny bit happy that I’m cleansing out nearly every processed food and lots o’ sugary things that give me mood swings

I’m no paleo propogate yet. But. I’ve lonnngggg thought that eating real food (that you actually know what’s in it) is probably safer, better for you, smarter, even tastier, than all the processed nonsense sending US of A into obesity oblivion.

That’s it for now… I’ll keep you posted on if I turn full cave-women-paelo-disciple  in the next four weeks.

Curious about paleo? This guy has a great and entertaining take on getting started.