Thursday, November 24, 2011

it's just a flesh wound

I have been thinking about bandaids;
I have been thinking of the ways we use them
to cover up; wounds, secrets, hopes deferred.
I have been wondering why we let the heartbeats
fester, in the dark, underneath our chosen flimsical coverings.

I can poorly choose, but this will not help the ache;
it will, instead, keep it stagnant, pulsating
against the soul's pane, shuddering with
the anticipation of being released. But then I wonder:
this pain, when it is free where will it go? And who
will see it? These uncertainties can only be kept at bay
by bandaids. And this, I suppose, is why we use them.

© afterthoughtcomposer


Saturday, November 19, 2011

The wealthy are faithless

The wealthy are faithless.
The faithful are wealthy.
...which is it?
From the Church, I cannot find a common answer.

I am a sinner if I do not give 10%;
I am a saint if I give what I can;
I am a sinner if I give 10% with a cold heart;
I am a saint if I’m financially illogical;
Which is it?

If I had more faith, my debts would be erased;
My overabundant faith is an others-sourced money-tree;
God will bless me if I put myself in need; not if I keep myself out of it.
God’s hand is not formulaic.
Which is it?

Those who go without are holier than those that store up to provide for them;
Those who store up provisions are faithless in the matters of tomorrow;
Giving means nothing unless I do not have enough to give;
If I have enough to give, I am not giving enough;
Which is it?

Is it possible to be free from condemnation
by those who pick a different answer?
Or is popular opinion about faith always going to be subject
to the dollar sign and the zero.


Friday, November 18, 2011

earth from space


Time lapse sequences of photographs taken by the crew of expeditions
28 & 29 onboard the International Space Station from August to October, on the "Vimeo" logo to see the original link for more credit information.
This was too beautiful not to share -- I simply can't get over it 
and have watched it every day this week.
This made me miss the Northern Lights like crazy.

fall, fashion, frugality

This weekend, I am doing what I have intended to do every fall for the past few years, but have never quite got around to: the Fall Wardrobe Overhaul. In a way, I do this regularly, purposing to give stuff away every time I move, get bored, shop, or re-arrange my bedroom (which, if you know me and have been counting, means I've done a LOT of stuff-purging this year). At least, I thought I purged clothing. Recently, I have discovered that I have far too many clothes, most of which I don't wear; that I've been neglecting the closet purge for longer than I realized. I can't remember if I announced it yet, but I moved again. Actually, I can't remember if I announced it the first time, but I moved in spring, too. That one was more traumatic though, which is why I didn't write about it. Here instead is a general summation of what happened on the morning of March twenty-third:

Silly New Roommate: "Hey, I gave notice yesterday"
Me: "Uhhhmmm..." *where is my defibrillator!?*
Silly New Roommate: *skips buoyantly out of house*

...Two point five weeks was the alloted time I now had -- thanks lady!-- to pack up the entire suite and find a place to live. Thanks to some frantic selling of my furniture on craiglist, and the fact that there are people that love me, I landed quite safely for the summer, nestling in to my cousin's extra room. Now, though, I live in a pretty little coach house; a house so pretty that I give myself proverbial pinches on a regular basis. It's not even a basement; it's not even shared. I don't even have a roommate to pull rugs out from under my feet anymore, which is a giant added bonus (as a result, I'll get my damage deposit back after I leave this time, which is also pretty neat; SNR's fabulous timing curtailed that luxury for me). If you're wondering: no, Silly New Roommate didn't make the list. Cousin, most definitely, did.

Where were we? Ah yes; my heartily stocked closet.

The urgency with which I am addressing the coming weekend's wardrobe cleanse can blamed on my new washing machine. The first time I used it, it broke; which I promise was not entirely my fault. After the initial breaking came the waiting: for repairs, for parts, for coordinated meetings with my landlord to install said parts, and so on, until it got fixed. After a couple weeks of patience I finally got to load up the machine. In went all my favorite coloreds, and I waited  while it cycled through. Upon opening the machine at the end, I made a charming discovery...ah yes of course...the hot and cold taps had been swapped. Said goodbye to a few items that weren't meant for heat, and redeemed the rest with a bit of stretching. More waiting. More fixing. I am happy to announce that tonight, after almost a month sans-washing-machine, I can do laundry. Perhaps I should add to that, that I didn't really do laundry during October either, as I spent most of my time packing and moving boxes. So, off the top of my head, I'd say I have about 7 to 10 loads to get through before I can begin sorting. *giddy rush* OOoo!...sorting.

I had a gameplan already, that involved washing everything, folding everything, and laying it all out on my bed and deciding from there what to keep and what to donate. Then today, I read this article, written by the stunning Miranda from LouLouDi Image Consultants - which confirmed my chosen methodology. The great thing is, Miranda goes further, as she provides inspiration in the form helpful tips and insight for those undertaking the Fall Wardrobe Overhaul. Best part? She focuses on the financial benefits to doing this right, and helps us understand how to shop strategically for our fall wardrobes. As a woman who's just implemented a new and tighter budget, I'm very grateful. My aim is to simplify in every aspect; both in how much I own, and in how much I spend. This weekend's activities seem like a fabulously well-suited starting place.

With that, I'm off to daydream about the coming days, when I will not have laundry and boxes piled up all around me. Swoon.

Monday, November 14, 2011

what to do with pain

The thing about writers is that we are, at our cores, absorbent observationalists. We sit, or stand - or walk - and while we do those things; we watch. Day and Conversation are two areas that transmit worlds of information into our writer's blocks...and then, after we have been handed all of these things (about you...or not), we write. A writer can't see a question mark without trying to fill in the blank space before it. A writer will struggle to stay silent when there are words to be said, ideas to be carved out and displayed, or overtones to be sewn into new or similar fabric. Every seen thing is a thread, and every word is a catalyst toward thought, ink, or the sound of clicking keys.

Jeannie Lynn Paske's Obsolete World
There's a stump here, though, and it comes in the form of the unanswerable. There are paradoxes of the heart that remain elusive and too personal to touch. I came across this stump recently, in the form of Pain. I looked it in the eye, talked about it with my wise older sister (a lengthy discourse on the subject), and at the end, realized I was no further along the road to understanding what we were talking about; or rather, what to do with it. Stubbed toes and paper-cuts can be left for another time - what I'm referring to here is not normally rooted in the external, though it may begin there. I am referring to something that happens to each of us at different times and to different extremes, and is dealt with in a thousand different ways. I am talking about the pain that comes from Mistakes.

I am going to wager that the word 'Mistake' turned quickly from a word you were reading to a memory clear as day. Who of us doesn't know what that feels like to realize how drastically we have altered our course? Or perhaps the awareness comes later, when we see only in hindsight what we've done. Maybe your mistakes weren't big, or maybe by some grace you missed the consequences; in which case I'm not really writing this one for you. This is probably for the others; those who are struggling to stand in the corner they've painted themselves into; those who don't remember what they've done - because to remember is to admit, and to admit is to collapse entirely.

This ties in so wholly with what I have been trying to come to terms with myself; whether there are safe places for the worst parts of who we are. There has to be, and if there aren't, we need to find that safety. The most dangerous thing about error is the innate desire within each of us: to cover it up and keep it to ourselves. Shame is a bigger motivator than we want it to be; solitude, more than any action, is the real soul killer. If only you could tell someone, then perhaps you wouldn't feel so swallowed up. I don't know that pain was meant to be kept a secret.

Jeannie Lynn Paske's Obsolete World
...and this is exactly where my thoughts stop. I really don't know how to go any further on this subject just yet. It's as if there's too much to deal with, or swallow, or sort through. Pain, the keeping of pain, the gravity of feeling it alone...there are so many facets here, and they change from person to person. Beyond "don't hide from it", I have nothing else to say. Maybe this annoys you. Maybe you're mad at me for bringing up your pain in the first place and then leaving it, all dangley and protrudey in front of your face like that. You're right; it isn't fair to leave you here.  Keep reading.

"In stories, characters only change in crisis. Characters never, ever change when the story is going well. And of course the same is true with life. Pain is always an invitation to grow. Sadly, pain also has the opposite affect. If we cover over our pain with coping mechanisms, it’s as though we are going through a workout without gaining muscle. Some people do this for years and never grow...In stories and in life, pain is our friend. It’s an unwelcome friend, but a friend nonetheless. The good news is if we make friends with our pain, it won’t stay long and it will leave us with a gift. But if we avoid pain, it will chase us down until we finally accept the gift it has to offer." - Donald Miller (read the entire article here)

Even though Donald is wise and addresses the issue head on - that we can't avoid pain, though we may try - I still feel the subject warrants a million more conversations. Why do some people cope by forgetting? Why do some refuse to cope? Why is it that some turn to an others-focused self righteousness instead of admitting their own faults, while some stay slumped in the guilt of their own admission (or a heartbreaking mix of both)? And how do you free someone who doesn't see they are living as though their mistakes were it? Or, can you force someone to heal; so they get on with it, so they grow past the decades old decisions that have snared them.

Jeannie Lynn Paske's Obsolete World
I still don't know.
What I do know is this. Hiding because of what you've done is the fastest way to drain the purpose out of being alive. We are human, therefore, we err. Your mistakes are yours, yes, but they are not as unique as you think they are. Admitting fault does not make you less human; it makes you moreso. There is no shame-source worth the trade in for an entire life and all your giftings. I may not know how to encourage you to bridge the gap between your mistakes and your moving on from them, but I do know that you need to try. Forgiveness is only powerful when we use it, and it is meant to be used, so use it; on yourself. Grace cannot be properly extended by a person who has not given grace to their own misgivings - if you can't truly forgive yourself, how can we believe that you truly forgive us when we fail? If you hold on to pain, you are not the only one being held captive; we all are. So please, do us all a favor, and forgive yourself. Let those who love you in to the pain you feel; this is one of the reasons we love you.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011



I can hear my blankets from here.
"...come back, love" they sigh sweetly;
lying helpless
as they reel from my too-early departure.
Their calls tempt me with the knowledge that they
are warmer than my desk chair, softer
than my office walls,
and more welcoming than any of the arms
I'll see today.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

ready yourselves; ready your souls.


It's true what you've heard, and if you haven't heard it: it's still true. Mumford & Sons is releasing a new album in February 2012. I am sitting here listening to/watching the debut video of their song "Ghosts (we knew)". Hands on cheeks, heart a-sighing, ears in peaceful gladitude; oh Mumford.

If you want to hear this song, and the others that have been released early online, go here, to Sharelle's blog. She did the work of listing the links all in a row for you. How nice! At the very least, you have got to listen to "Lover of the Light"...wait. It might be best if you listen to all of them.

Hey...remember that time I stood less than 5 feet from Marcus? Me too.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

candy calm

happy halloween -

One year ago today, you may remember that I was jostled (jostled!) while shopping for Candy. My rookie mistake was that I went at 8am. Everyone goes for 50% off candy at 8am. This year, I got smart. I phoned the store in advance to check what time they opened. 6am. I got there 5 minutes early. I waited outside the doors in the dark and cold of fall, eyeing the dozen-and-a-half-or-so patrons that had gathered there before me. I realized upon arrival that this was serious business; if you want to get yourself some 50% off Halloween candy, you've got to treat that candy like a Cabbage Patch Doll or IPod26 and get your butt to the store on time....nay, before time even has a chance to start.

Pleasantly, I did not get jostled at all this year. Nary a glance or limb came my way as each of those present had their eyes on chosen favorites - the old man who seemed to favor chips, for example, or the teenage boys who had cleared the entire ROCKETS shelf into their basket. Personally, I beeline for the mini Caramilks and the Reese Peanut Butter Cups; I even managed to score a 270lb bag of mini Tootsie Rolls - all for the scant price of twelve dollars. There was only one small moment of tension, as an otherwise classy-looking lady stared me in the eye and pushed her cart into the exact spot I was standing (the silent, grocery store aisle version of "move, bitch") - but thankfully, I am swift on my feet and sidestepped her anxiety on time.

Now all I need to do is eat massive amounts of protein, so I don't get diabetes from all the sugar I'll be eating. Don't worry, I share.