Here and There

Friday, September 22, 2017

Calligraphy, really.

Golden hour on purple morning glories and graffiti. 

After camping in the golden hills and oak trees, I couldn't believe something here in town could touch my heart. But I saw this little tableau literally 4 hours after returning home. And oh, it did.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


I started taking the pottery class imagining only that I would make some Christmas gifts and make these particular tiny dishes that I have in my mind’s eye and just needed access to clay/glaze/kiln.

Then I sat down at the wheel and put my hands around the clay. I forgot how you have to use force, a surprising amount of force; how you have to center yourself over the clay to center the clay.  I forgot the pleasure of the spinning clay under my hands. I forgot the smell of the studio. I forgot how adults at the wheel go slow, taking the speed down when they pull the clay up.  

I felt corrected and left kind of frustrated. I just wanted it to be about the product, but the process was taking precedence. I remembered that I won’t have anything to show for my time for several weeks. I needed to get it right and come at it with patience. With an expectation for flow and experience, not necessarily work that is what I imagined or gifts ready to give. When I was a child in pottery class there were lots of weeks I didn’t go near the wheel. It intimidated me, I was afraid to do it. It required learning a method, being strong and slowing down. I wanted to be independent of needing to do any of that. For awhile, I just wanted to sponge down the counters and play with the scraps on the top of the garbage can of thrown out clay and slip. I am an adult now, nearing 40 and I want to be on the wheel. I want to learn the method well, not just go for it and hope for the best, getting bowls and cylinders randomly out of the deal. I want to force the clay to center without hesitation.

P.S. I miss posting my poems here. I've been working on so many, but because I'm submitting lots of them to publications and websites, etc. I can't "publish" them on my blog.

Friday, August 04, 2017


I joined a gym in February and have been going regularly since then. It's fun. I never imagined I would enjoy exercise regularly, but I do. It totally clears my head, gives me a mood boost and I can tell my heart and lungs and muscles are stronger because of it.
I like to listen to music while I work out and I have a mix that I regularly fiddle with, although there are a few songs that work every time so they've been on there since the beginning:

"Your Voice" by MFBTY
"Shut Up and Dance" by Walk the Moon
"Green Light" by Lorde
"Dukes Up" by Modest Mouse
"A Beginning Song" by The Decemberists
"Diane Young" and "Fantasy Fools" by The New Pornographers

These are weird songs, but for some reason they are perfect. I always wonder what people are listening to. Everyone I see is wearing headphones. What do you listen to when you exercise?

Can I also say, exercising is boring, hard and time consuming. But worth it.


I keep trying to write this poem about the words Earthling and Darling...I'll get there.  I'm getting better at not giving up when I can't capture it right away.  This one's been sitting there for awhile, but I'll keep coming back to it.  The pelican one came out okay and that one was hard.

Thursday, May 11, 2017


I love this dog.
Now, it's all about making writing goals, figuring out how everything goes together, figuring out how to say "Hello, can I come give a talk about children's spirituality at your school/church/community group?  I promise it will be interesting!" to anyone/everyone without being annoying.

Also, reading lots and listening to music and cooking and cleaning and organizing and walking the dog, and going to the gym.

As in my sabbatical, I'm revisiting a daily question for God "How do you want to be with me today?" and a daily question for myself "What do you you really want?"

In these questions I can feel the distillation of what's important for the day.  Even if tasks take up my time, if I ask those questions I keep myself present to "deep time" and a knowing of what's important in the light of eternity.  I love how Richard Rohr talks about this concept--and contemplation as a key to proper perspective.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Shut up and Dance

I'm in the midst of a job change.  Job adjustment? Vocation deepening, but a departure from my safe nest at Church Without Walls.

When I went on sabbatical, I knew this was what I was really supposed to do, but I was too scared and it wasn't the right time for the community.  I had a feeling that I would either leave and try something new soon, or do this work, which is good work that one can feel really good about, for my whole life.  It wasn't a trade-off, it was just how I knew it would play out.

Leaving feels hard.  I don't want to be dramatic.  But it feels painful.  I feel like part of who I am is being removed from my identity.  Work at church is so ridiculously encompassing.  You may not want to care too much, but you do.  You may try to keep hours, or say it's just your job, but you are intertwined with many people in many intimate settings.  I was lucky that I was never relegated to the back room with the kids, but invited to participate in leadership broadly.  From Dana, from the interim leadership and from Gary.  That means a lot.  But it makes it even messier.  Planning with the staff for worship experiences, content, worries and dreams, always operating in the theoretical world of the spiritual, I never could do it and not care, so it was just part of me and what I did.

And now here I am, grappling with the thoughts and feelings that come with leaving that kind of a job.

At the gym today, around minute 20 on the elliptical machine, Shut Up and Dance was playing on my workout playlist. One of the gifts of having a vivid imagination that you decide to let run away with you often is the gift of visions.  Yes, sometimes they are daydreams, and sometimes they are visions.

I heard the words "shut up and dance with me" and imagined God holding out his hand with the same mischievous smile that I often wear when I am leading Godly Play.  I almost laughed out loud and cried at the same time!  Then, all the words sounded like it was a conversation between me and God about my tension and sadness and fear.  I am not one to enjoy those worship songs where it's like Jesus is your boyfriend.  This was different--this was a playful, all-knowing, completely undomesticated God (my favorite image of God) landing in the middle of my workout and speaking to me.

I'm doing the right thing.  It's hard.  God is with me.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Lent Poem Draft

I've been thinking about Lent like the gathering purple of dusk--
darkness falls.
I've been thinking of the purple like a fresh bruise,
spreading further than the spot that was struck.

Lent collects in a cloud. Lent's shadows grow. 

I've been thinking of it all like tightly closed jasmine blossoms, on a vine that's been there on the fence for years, clustered brightly, about to change.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

From "The Pedagogy of Conflict" by Padraig O Tuama

“When I was a child, / I learnt to count to five: / one, two, three, four, five. / But these days, I’ve been counting lives, so I count / one life / one life / one life / one life / Because each time is the first time that that life has been taken. / Legitimate Target / has sixteen letters / and one / long / abominable / space / between / two / dehumanising / words.”

(This poem has been a lenten lamentation for me.  As I follow along with this year, I have been meditating on this poem as I try to stay present to the pain.)