Thursday, February 23, 2012


"The target of bullying may be unaware that they are being bullied, and even when they do realise (there's usually a moment of enlightenment as the person realises that the criticisms and tactics of control etc are invalid), they often cannot bring themselves to believe they are dealing with a disordered personality who lacks a conscience and does not share the same moral values as themselves. Naivety is the great enemy. The target of bullying is bewildered, confused, frightened, angry - and after enlightenment, very angry." -

Monday, February 13, 2012


My rhythm of work seems to involve either a) incredible variety or b) intensive spurts of creation centering around one thing with NO variety. I've been like this since I was little (and got in trouble for not finishing things I started because I tend to go from one thing to another as they interest me - but now I know how to follow this around eventually back to something that needs finishing).

I never log on to my remote computer for accounting at exactly the same time every day. I tend to center around mornings but still - every single day of my life is ordered a little differently. I used to be down on myself about it; now I just go with it.

When it comes to play-work (as opposed to work-work) - which is most everything else I do - I seem to literally ride waves of creative juices until they crash on shore and I paddle out to find the next one. They seem to go in 3-6 week arcs. It will be KNITTING and then WRITING and then INTERIOR DECORATING (with little bits of the other things; this blog is obviously writing though I am in the thick of an interior decorating wave).

I love having the freedom to be able to do this. One of the hardest parts of having so many small kids consecutively was having this part of myself buried. Now I feel like the creative parts of me are gasping in big gulps of air - I'm finally (finally!) able to make curtains and dresses and paint countertops after years of frantically drawing out ideas in notebooks. This is a glorious season I find myself in. Take heart, any person out there with a child under 4.

p.s. I get so into whatever I'm doing that I forget to do things like shower - I walked into Walgreens wearing a red nightie under a red down coat today. "I will not apply lipstick until I can get to the end of making my house beautiful!" seems to be the unspoken perspective of my brain.

Friday, February 10, 2012

kids at rest

My sleeping girl. I made her those gloves and I am proud. I have such beautiful kids. (And I shouldn't have used the word "poverty" in relation to myself two posts previously because nothing about my life is impoverished.) So much beauty all around us.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

brighter hours will come

I think having this around one's neck could save your life during certain seasons of it. If there was one message I could tattoo on my heart for other people, it would be this.

You can buy it here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

poverty is the mother of creativity

That could be one of the mottos at Michael's, my favorite store to get pretty & cheap things at for the house. I have been known to go there three days in a row with a 40% off coupon printed off their website just to buy another skein of yarn for $3 off. :-) It heals my starvation mind to do things like this (get to spend a little money on something thriftily 'excessive,' more than one day in a row).

This idea from Spain...
...inspired this (they were already 40% off even without ma coupon, wooooo!):

(Now to make a fabric skirt to cover those bottom cabinets.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

anger musings

"Dump no waste." I looked down and saw that on a sewer grate today and it got me thinking about anger & its toxins. A lot of what I've written on this blog over the last few years about Christianity as I experienced it has been angry. This was a safe place for me to dump some waste, but if it polluted the waters of others' hearts, I'm sorry. It's confusing, because I think many forms of anger are a healthy ("God-given" to use the tribe lingo) response to injustice and suffering. I think we can't ignore anger any more than we can ignore fire - properly contained it generates lifesaving heat; unattended it can grow into something that will burn your house down.

The reason we're afraid of all forms of it as a culture might be because it produces toxins that can seep out and hurt others. For instance, it was really hard for me to stay in a neutral place about having kids for the first two years after my divorce (and I failed at it, as my boyfriend and closest friends will tell you who listened to me vent), because so many of those toxins were filling my perspective as I looked around my dark, messy, sad house where I had experienced so much wounding. I understand how people who are abused can become abusers if they don't get help for their toxins.

Maybe there are two sides to anger, light and dark. The light side can be channeled towards things like Rosa Parks sitting up front, or you yourself standing up to a bully (even if it happens to be your spouse). The dark side is, naturally, more hidden, and if the light isn't shone on it, it grows into things like unlawful violence, or racism. My son didn't like "brown people" after an African-American neighborhood kid shoved his face into a wall. I told him there are mean white people, too, and you have to take things one person at a time, but it was eye-opening in terms of "This is how it starts, on either side, and it just keeps going."

Maybe it's: Part One, Justice / Part Two, Healing Compassion. Have to sit with this more, but I do think our culture is imbalanced in the direction of never allowing anger (sidenote - maybe because up until twenty years ago alcoholism was so widespread for centuries previous. Generations upon generations had experienced the unbridled, misplaced anger of drunk parents so they tried to become the opposite?).

A nice blessing from John O'Donohue:

Anger is a great flame of presence. Anger wants to break out; it stops us in our tracks. Much of the time we avoid conflict; we put up with things. We let things go. When the flame of anger rises, it confronts things. Anger shouts, "Stop!" It can be a great force for change.

It is so encouraging to hear the voice of righteous anger raised. It names and confronts injustice. It brings clearly to light whatever is wrong and makes it clear to the perpetrators of injustice what they are doing. It is very interesting to notice how politically incorrect anger now is. Especially in these times, there are so many issues that should warrant great anger. The psychologist James Hillmann remarks in his devastatingly incisive way that psychotherapy has managed to convert anger into anxiety.

When you really inhabit your anger, you enter into your power as a person. This should not be a permanent necessity. If you are in a situation where you are being controlled or bullied, the expression of your anger can liberate you. No one can oppress you without some anger awakening in you, even covertly. If you listen to that anger, it will call you to recognize your right to an integrity of presence. And it will bring you to act and clearly show your strength. It is astounding how each day we give away so much of our power to systems and people who are totally unworthy of it.

Ultimately anger points towards life. When your anger flames, it targers the falsity of expectation or tightness of belonging that is being inflicted on you. Anger breaks you free, suddenly.

Monday, February 6, 2012

split personalities

There are two me-s. On the left is my shadow (been working on incorporating for awhile now), on the right is my persona. I would like to feel really whole - both - in my 30s.

childlike                 wise
young                     mature
thin                         struggling
positive                  realistic
solo                        attached
charming                loyal
princess                  nobody
creative                  mother
possibilities            limitations
horizons                 roots
people-loving         shy
talking                    listening
shallow                   deep
colorful                  gold
coercive                  honest
hopeful                   limited
brave                      timid
out & about         homebody
boundaries              giving

Sunday, February 5, 2012

treasures of heaven & earth

I wrote that list of happy things below first in my journal, and with some of the things towards the end I was like, "What does that mean? Who knows? I like the sounds of the words."

Today I was cleaning out mouse poop and dishware that I have bad memories attached to from my kitchen cabinets. I've been, literally, home-making= all weekend, trying to bring heaven to the earth inside my home - cleaning, throwing or giving away unused items, rearranging. I realize I have intuitively "stumbled on" to a color scheme that mimics the countryside of my childhood: Wisconsin sky-blue and cloud-white on the walls, various greens of furniture, the brown of trees, a little barn red for good measure. (And part of the sky-blue is that special Mediterranean shade of Spain & Greece, used as a door accent and wherever there are significant transitions.) I might even try a light silvery-gray on the trim so that the full range of sky-colors on a sunny day with puffy clouds is fully realized. 1 out of 3 times I get an idea like this, it works.

I have two garbage bins full of trash in the alley and it felt incredibly energizing to walk out there 7 times to fill it. I ran the dishwasher 4 times today and wasn't grumpy a single time.

As I removed some unneccessary linoelum lining from the lower cabinets, I found a whole intact newspaper spread underneath. When I announced my treasure to the kids, Rilian called out, "What date is it?

"HA! It's my birthday!" My 9th birthday, to be exact. Those are 1/365 odds. Knowing you are in the right place.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

turtles also moving slowly

"The only path to finding out what life is about is a patient, slow attempt to make sense of the realities of the past and the possibilities of the future as they can be understood in the present."  
--Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Friday, February 3, 2012

favorite things

What is joyful to me?

colors     memories     e-mails     blessing     new Christianity
phone calls     children's faces     writing     good words     love
communing     music     Downton Abbey     beauty     sunlight
possibilities     creation     sleep     cleanliness     warmth     adventure
wind     homeland     Norweigan spruce     untold stories hovering over the land
good marriages     gold circles     clotted cream     sunshine yellow care bear
mystical imaginings     Jesus coming for little me     A Beautiful Dress     white church in spring
simplicity of mind     full hearts     Jenny and fire     patterns & repetitions 
love that I can see and imagine     knowing you're in the right place     laughing for real

Thursday, February 2, 2012


"It is the feminine qualities that bring meaning into life: relatedness to other human beings, the ability to soften power with love, awareness of our inner feelings and values, respect for our earthly environment, a delight in earth's beauty, and the introspective quest for inner wisdom." Robert Johnson