Category Archives: Adventures Domestic

a stand…if I might.

My marriage is worth more than a $5 chicken sandwich. And it doesn’t need defending.Image

Gay or straight, male or female, whatever religion, any color of the rainbow, culture, creed, whatever…if you’re an adult and you love the hell out of somebody, you should be able to marry them. End of discussion.

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Kitchen Music

I spend a lot of time in my wee kitchen.

I live in an 850 sq. ft apartment in one of the most expensive parts of the Metro-Phoenix area: North Scottsdale. This is not my first choice of location but it’s 10 minutes from my husbands job, which also happens to be our church and so we make it work. We don’t go out to eat very often, I try and make a lot of staples here at home…

and so I spend a lot of time in my wee kitchen.

And so I have learned the rhythms of my stove, my mixer, the meals I make there.

The best way to make my kitchen seem larger than it is, is to have some fabulous music playing while I work. Really! Finding a rhythm in a song that matches the rhythm in my tiny workspace allows me to dance and sing while I knead and mix. It’s a soothing exercise, and I never recommend cooking without a good soundtrack!

We are making bread early this week (Thursday is our usual baking day), I traded a lovely friend a loaf for a big bag of lettuce from their garden! FABULOUS!

We are also shaking our flour dusted booties to The Punch Brothers album, Antifogmatic. Chris Thile is a genius and I like everything he does, from Nickel Creek to Goat Rodeo. And this is no exception.

Enjoy some kitchen music of your own with Don’t Need No

on “that quote”…

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image via Pinterest but I can’t find the original source. If you know it let me know eh?

You’ve seen this one making the rounds. Inspiring introspective blog post after introspective blog post. “I used to find myself lacking in comparison!” “I compared myself all the time!” “BUT NOT ANYMORE! I won’t compare myself to her or them or that…”

I am about to blow your mind. I think this quote is bullshit.

I appreciate the sentiment, of course I do, do I find myself feeling less than or like a failure because my life doesn’t look like someone else’s? Of course. That’s human nature.

But you know what is also human nature? Comparing ourselves. And not because we want to wallow in our pitfalls, we compare ourselves so we can move forward, learn new things, improve our lot. (And for a hardcore liberal Democrat to be saying something that sounds like “bootstraps” you know that I take this concept seriously!)

Comparison is an opportunity to see something you admire and learn about it, and go for it, and strive. If we simply view it as a “thief of joy” we remain complacent, we hold where we are now up as the highest standard… and I refuse to accept that.

I speak from a place of staggering privilege, I am fully aware that I can change my education level by going to college, I can change my income level by getting a job, I am a fairly well educated white woman in the United States. These tangibles, these changes require outside forces beyond our control, other people rooting for us and helping us out. If I compare myself to a woman with a Master’s Degree in Divinity, I can take comfort in the fact that I need only fill out a FAFSA and apply to a school and because I am a fairly well educated though not particularly well off white woman in the United States, I can get that degree. I get that concept.

But I also speak of the intangibles. I speak of the years I spent languishing in crippling anxiety because I didn’t fight to have my meds adjusted because it was scary to be my own advocate, the days when I don’t feel beautiful or styled or fashionable even with my husband grabbbing my ass and telling me how sexy I am.  I speak of the times I feel like I am not the best parent because I don’t have a million projects planned and photographed with my kids when I’ve got chalk and a porch right there. It’s these things, it’s embracing the drive and focus, it’s looking at what other people have and saying “I want to be there, what do I have to do to get there?” These comparisons allow us to work at ourselves. They provide benchmarks for what we view as success and then urge us on to more. It’s fighting for your best self, understanding your best self and loving the hell out of it because you worked so hard to get there.

Look, there are things in this life that you are never gonna have. That’s a given. You might not get them because you look a certain way or believe a certain thing or make a specific amount of money. You might not get them because they are just outside of your capabilities as a human being. We can’t do and be everything, no matter what line of crap we were sold as kids.

We CAN be the best version of ourselves. We can listen to our bodies and our hearts and believe ourselves capable of great things. We can see something that we want and say “I can get there, I KNOW IT” and fight to do it. We can look at our shortcomings not as failures but as opportunities to learn about ourselves and others.

That’s what comparison is about. It is looking at another persons story and jumping in. Hearing it and learning from it. It’s about looking at our own story and not seeing it as flawed but as being continually told with every opportunity to add to it.

Comparison may be the thief of joy for some, but for me it’s the instigator of inspiration, the spark towards learning, comparison is the opportunity to become something marvelous.

Fearless

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear

1 Peter 3: 3-6

When I converted to Christianity, I knew immediately that I would not be your typical Christian lady.  I was outspoken and loud, I was liberal of politics and coarse of speech. I read the Bible avidly and despaired of ever being a “Proverbs 31 woman”.  I hated the gender disparity rampant in the church, I lamented the loss of Mary the mother of Jesus as a touchstone. I once said to my husband: “if I have to hear another well meaning Christian man tell me I don’t really know what submit ACTUALLY means I will scream”. It was not pretty.

4 years later I am still fairly outspoken, I am still liberal of politics (slightly less left than when I was 19 but football fields more left than even the more liberal Christians I know), I drop f-bombs when my kids are out of earshot. I still read the Bible avidly, I still hate the gender disparity in church. I have taken it upon myself to talk to other Christian women what submission to Christ and to my husband means and tune out all those well meaning, but ultimately clueless (if only by dint of their gender!) men.

But I am different. The first time I read this passage from 1Peter I was actively sad. No one ever, in my entire life, would ever, NEVER describe me as a gentle and quiet spirit. Ever. Even when I wasn’t impassioned or enraged (which was not very often), even when I wasn’t anxious (which was almost NEVER), I buzzed, I hummed, I was incapable of being still and being quiet. I was incapable of being meek and mild. I longed to be like the pastors wives I knew, lovely gentle women, quiet and soft edged. Never blurting out things that struck them as funny or ridiculous, only speaking in low tones and soft voices.

Ok, I’ll cop to it, I was sad but I was proud of my fire. I was proud of my strength and my drive. Those women were doormats! I shouted to myself. I am an Amazon! I am woman hear me roar! I thought I had it all figured out and I thought I knew I would never be a real woman of the Good Book. But it was ok, because God made me strong!

Several months ago one of those amazing pastors wives shared a little bit about the word gentle and the Greek meaning behind Paul’s usage of it. And it changed my life. Literally

A good definition for gentleness in this context is strength under control.

A horse when it is wild, when it is strong and proud and fierce, is of no use to man. It dangerous and destructive. It lashes out, it is impulsive. When a horse is tamed it retains that speed and strength, the pride of being a creation of God, but it no longer destroys. It no longer lashes out. It’s strength and speed and ferocity are under control.

All of a sudden the gentle women I thought I was so different from? I wanted to be like them. I wanted to be like that. Smart and in control, strong and fierce for the Lord, but still capable of listening to others and learning.

Like I said, it was a life changer….but it went further.

I got home and the last line of the passage had been underlined in my Bible. I don’t remember doing it but there it was, blue ink ,strong and sure: “you are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear”.

The her being referred to here is Sarah, Abraham’s wife. She bore Abraham Isaac after years of barrenness, she had Isaac because of a promise from God. And I’ll lay it out for you, she was kind of a smart ass. In Genesis 18: 12 she literally laughs at God. She does it for an understandable reason, she and Abraham are long past childbearing years and yet He promises she will have a son, that she will be the mother of nations. I mean, in her defense, I’d snort too. When reading the account of Sarah and Hagar, I thought to myself: “Dang, this chick is fierce. She’s merciless!” I felt terrible for her because I identified with that anger, that feeling of being so frustrated. She shows herself to be a sinner, laughing at God, openly defying Him.

And then we see that God blesses her anyway. He has a plan for her and like all of His plans, they come to fruition, they all come together for good. Because Sarah has her son, and she brings him into the world with laughter, so overjoyed is she.

In Galatians, Paul describes Sarah as an allegory for Jerusalem. The free city, not enslaved, the children of promise, the children borne through laughter. She is fierce and hard but she is loved just as fiercely by God.

Fearless. Righteous. Gentle.

I have been meditating on these traits today. My prayer is that though I am a sinner, prideful and hard, I strive to be a daughter of Sarah. Because my reward is the fierce love of God. How marvelous.

 

 

Listen

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We are a musical family. My husband is a sound engineer, I was in vocal performance for years and years and both of my children love to sing and dance to music. When I am home with the kids during the day we always have music playing, usually the same albums over and over but the boys and I stop for impromptu dance parties and break it down with the best of them.

This summer I’d like to introduce the boys to new music, we listen to a lot of bluegrass, a lot of James Brown, a lot of the Glee soundtrack, a lot of Jack Johnson, a LOT of Foo Fighters. Varied, yes, but the same stuff over and over. This summer I want to expand my children’s musical horizons(and by extension my own). I am looking forward to discovering all sorts of new (or at least re-discovering stuff that is not in heavy rotation) tunes and having late summer night dance parties for the next few months!

First up? An Album I have had since I was a sophomore in college. Songs to Live By by the Square Egg is a solid funk, jazz album. It has catchy tunes and easy to sing along with lyrics.

We are enjoying Hello Sunshine with our lunch today! We hope you will too!

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Memory of a workplace

I am 20. Maybe 19. I have been at college long enough to know my way around, but not long enough to legally go out drinking. I am on about 40 milligrams of Celexa a day, with the occasional Xanax for panic attacks triggered by having to leave my house and meet new people. (Agoraphobia and going to college are not a great combination)

I am working at the scene shop of a theatre on campus. It’s a small house, only a couple hundred seats, they do mostly opera and upperclassmen projects. I work in the mornings mostly, we are able to make our own schedule and I was a morning person so I went in when we opened at 8:00 in the morning and I worked till my first class at noon-ish. I work with a man named Bill, he is the TD of the opera company but also runs the shop. Bill was probably in his mid 30’s, he seemed dramatically older than me at the time but he probably had graduated from ASU only about 10 or 12 years prior. He was married but hated talking about his wife. He had silver rimmed glasses and shoulders so broad you could land a plane on them. He was an unapologetic liberal, a noisy one and as we were the only two people in the shop first thing in the morning, he turned the radio up and yelled at the talking heads. Between radio call in shows he taught me how to use a band saw, how to assemble basic flats in under 5 minutes. He taught me the right way to coil cable and didn’t expect me to talk very much. A few months into it he had me in charge of doing a lot of ordering. I sat at a battered desk, covered in paint and pitted, I filled out forms in triplicate and leaned over as Bill signed things on my back, hammer in his rights hand, nails clamped in his teeth.

It was a dream job.

I am 23, about to leave for London to live with a friend for several months. I have put in for a leave of absence at the job I have been at for the last 2 years. I answer phones, organize research for grants, and develop marketing materials for a non-profit housing organization. I work with my mother and the man who will one day be my step father. I have learned to use several different graphic design programs, I spend the majority of my day at a computer, the long thin muscles I developed using power tools and lifting scenery are less defined.

I started at this job answering phones and talking to clients. I was not particularly suited for this aspect of the job, but I was dynamite at compiling research materials for grants and writing letters to people who might give us money. So I developed my own position.

Several years later, I visit the office and notice they are still using the marketing materials I developed. I am proud…but distressed to notice how dated it looks.

I am 26 years old. I have not taken anxiety medication in 2 years, I have a son and 2 marriages under my belt. I am, in truth, a wholly different person.

I write grants for an established theatre company in Arizona. I help plan parties. I talk to funders and convince them to give us $1000 more a year even though we are in the middle of a recession. I love my job, I work with 2 women who are forces of nature, hilarious and beautiful, driven and classy. We make each other laugh and frequent the tiny Mexican joint near our office for margaritas after big events.

I cannot believe my luck at finding this job. It’s perfect.

6 months after I start, they lose funding for my position. Last hired, first fired.

I am curiously not devastated, just curious at how they are going to finish the stack of funding letters sitting on my desk. I find out later that they never do and in the following year have to lay off about 70% of their staff.

On Monday, for the first time in 3 years, I sat at a desk and did some basic work. Pulled some files and printed off some forms. I am working in the nursery at our church, as a temporary fill in for a friend. I am on my feet a lot in my new job, picking up kiddos and carrying them around, talking to parents. I am well suited for it, at ease with both the children and their parents. I find myself being incredibly patient in many situations, I learn from the staff I am in charge of: how to talk to kids, the quickest way to clean a whole box of Legos. I am almost never in the office, almost always in the nursery itself.

But as I sat at my desk on Monday, the memories of the desks I have done thousands of minutes of busywork upon came flooding back. And I was filled with a lightness, and a joy.  A sense of satisfaction.

I have worked at a lot of jobs, many of them had no desks, but all of them fulfilled me, comforted me, in their own ways. All of them have been exactly what I needed at that point in my life. And I am terrifically grateful for that.

On Profits, pundits, and getting shit done (Part 2)

I’ve been ruminating on this part. And I won’t lie, I am grossly unqualified to take on the racial implications of 3 white boys rushing in to “save” Africans.And I am grossly unequipped to objectively discuss how I feel the “white mans burden” is propelling this movement forward faster than many other valid causes. I can’t speak objectively about the required emotional manipulation that is necessary for Invisible Children to raise so much money in such a short time. I struggle to discuss these things because I can only approach them steeped in my own privilege.

 

SO

I give it over to the much much muchmuchmuch more qualified, equipped educated voices to talk for me. Go, read, learn.

Solome Lemma offers an incredibly helpful piece on how to approach an emotional call to arms.

An impassioned piece discussing race and activism and KONY2012 from Malaka Gyeke Grant

An interview with Jacob (the young boy featured in the video)

Ida Horner discusses the larger implications of the campaign.

 

These are just a few of the many African voices discussing Invisible Children and the KONY2012 campaign.

For all I defended Invisible Children as a non-profit organization, please know that I struggle with some things as well. I think the discussion needs to focus more on what the wider implications of this campaign are: racially, from a class standpoint and what it means for pursuing peace in the area. I feel that punishing a non-profit for paying the people who work for them, or renting an office, or traveling to get the word out is ridiculous and only detracts from getting shit done.

 

Daily

Every now and then bloggers give their readers a glimpse into the daily bits and bobs that make up their days…I quite enjoy it and so I thought I would share a little bit of our day with you as well. (hover over the pictures for what time it is and some other little details!)

8:30 am...sleeping in!

Rise and Shine!

Breakfast nook with a view of leftover renewal flowers!

Primping and Teaching! "Will it float?"

Will it float and making boats...

Lunch Prep...

folding

still nice enough to use watercolors on the back porch

a mustache!

Everybody gets a little snack!

TIRED.

a little nest for "quiet time"

Before We Turn to Stone

my feet

I turn 30 in a little over a month.

In the greater scheme of things, this is not a particularly dramatic occurrence. 30 is, to be sure, a milestone birthday of sorts. It is to be celebrated, like all birthdays. But it’s not a fireworks and foie gras event here.

And yet…

I am so different from who I was a mere 9 or 10 years ago. Astronomically, earth shatteringly, mind bendingly different. And that was the plan! I looked at 30 from 21 and thought I had it all figured out. A plan, a certainty of fate. I was going to be a whole new person! An adult. Have it together.

And here I am, a whole new person! An adult! But it is nothing like I imagined it. And many times I still feel like that wisp of a an alcoholic 21 year old girl.

And that’s fucking with my head.

SO

I have been planning a road trip. To the ocean. All by myself.

I have no idea when it will happen. but it will happen in my 30th year.

And i will use the time to screw my head on. And become who I am supposed to be.

And celebrate.

a lovely change.

I don’t “do” resolutions. I did and never stuck with them and the remnants of my traditional Catholic upbringing allowed for enough guilt that I abandoned the practice all together. We pile up our resolutions, a massive wall of desire and drive to protect us from the unknown ahead. A whole years worth of defensiveness right there at our finger tips…and I have 2 kids so I’m entirely to exhausted to maintain that level of can do spirit.

So the simple focus of this exercise appealed to me. Choose a word. Live it. Write about it. Share it. At the end of the year, reflect. Perfect.

I turn 30 this year, I’ve begun to figure out what looks attractive on my figure, on my face, I have decided to go back to school, and my eldest child enters kindergarten. Mostly small things, inevitabilities that will probably pass with the same grace all these mile markers have, but put together in a 12 month span the shape of my year began to form. I began to see myself as needing to become more malleable, to become more focused, to become more organized, to become more in tune with myself…are you seeing a common word there?

This year I choose the word becoming.

An odd choice for a woman about to enter her 30th year, surely I should have become the person I was supposed to be by now? But when I read the definition it suited perfectly what I needed for this year, a year of change and a year of moving toward the woman I want to be.

So here’s to becoming this year.

Here’s to prosper and grow, to flourish and flow. And to you, faceless reader, I wish you a word to guide your year. Something as lovely as becoming…

 

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