look what I missed

while away from the Internet.

That just tickles me. We don't have a TV, so I won't get to watch live, but it will be fun to see photos. I totally remember watching Diana's wedding when I was little. Holy mackeral! What a dress!


lenten recap: facebook is my gateway drug

Lent this year, did me some good. More than some. A lot. My "sacrifice" of the Internet really shouldn't count. I gained so much by losing the static, buzz, yammering, and noise of a hundred thousand websites and the never ending cocktail party chattering of Facebook in my head.

I do love all that stuff. I love being connected and in the know. But oh! How I love stillness. The silence to notice and attend to the world around me and the world inside me. Space to stretch out and loaf within my soul, feeling my feelings, thinking my thoughts. Pondering. Listening.

It was good. So good.

So good, that I'm going to keep it up. I'll keep my Facebook account, but won't post much, and won't check it much, and will probably get rid of my photos, etc. People use it for email these days, and it is a useful tool for communication, so I want to be able to contact and be contacted. But I don't need to check it first thing in the morning or throughout the day when I am bored or sad or lonely or procrastinating. And same with the Internet. There's a lot of good stuff out there. But there's also just a lot of stuff. And I can spend hours looking at stuff.

In the last stuff-less month, I have created art and thrown parties and written letters and read books and had coffee dates and lunch dates and just down-shifted from the electronic world to the physical world. It is good to sink my bare feet into the earth again. To touch, see, smell, taste, hear, and soak in the world around me. This is one of the most glorious springs in my memory. It probably isn't. It's probably the same old spring that has always been. I'm just paying attention again.

There's nothing wrong with the Internet or Facebook. I'm thankful for these tools. I just know that my soul needs an unplugged season.

Lent was good. Holy week was good. Easter was good. Now we are in Ordinary Time. And that is also good. A chance to work things out, be transformed, bring light into dark places, and experience the power of God first hand in the daily stuff. To taste and see (and smell and hear and touch) Goodness in the midst of the ordinary. For me, part of that means less screen time.



Well. So, I've been busy. Lots of design projects, including some fun wedding invites for a friend. :D And we've hosted folks for dinner and had a few adventures here and there. Helped a friend paint his house. Mostly been keeping silence and enjoying the beautiful spring weather.

I'll be back next week with posts on various things: The flowers in my neighborhood, Lent and the outcomes thereof, the books I've gotten from the library, project reports, etc. etc.

Til then, rock on, and have fun, Good People of the Internet.


scenes from a spring weekend

~ The feel of snow in the air and the warm restaurant and a table near the kitchen piled with Hot and sour soup, pot stickers, broccoli beef, sticky rice, eggrolls, chicken wings, sweet and sour pork, hot tea... the feel of MM's hand around mine and the smile in his eyes... an inpromptu date to celebrate the completion of the book design project.

~ The now familiar fragrance of a Filipino breakfast: eggs, bacon, sticky rice, baked beans, sourdough toast, and coffee, stirs hunger and memories of roommate years... dirty blinds separate the shaft of sunlight into cheerful lines of warmth on the wooden tabletop... Thomas the Tomato plant cheerfully bobs and shimmies as I kick the table leg... breakfast with my dear friend, followed by a walk in the most glorious spring.

~ Red and white and orange and pink roses spill from vases... my sweet MM brings love and beauty home with the taco fixings.

~ Laughter and stories and an impromptu lesson on various swords, their historical context, use, and style... black coffee and a rich dessert that we couldn't refuse... dinner with a sweet friend and her classy mom.

~ Birdsong and sunshine sneak past the blinds and lure us into a spring adventures... Guitar, cello, and ukulele ebb and flow with the rolling hills of emerald... sunlight and shadow enrich the landscape with every shade of green - so alive!... blossoming bushes and trees and ground cover mingle with patches of wild flowers in every shade... tulips and daffodils bowed low from a recent snowfall, still resplendent, deep colors vibrant against the lush green backdrop... peanut butter and jelly sandwiches... sparkly lime water... smiles and quiet "I love yous"...

~ Wee little onesies and tiny socks and stripey jumpers with dinosaurs and skateboarding elephants and firetrucks... the chatter and laughter of moms and daughters and sisters and friends... sparkling apple cider, bruchetta, croissants, lettuce wraps - a ton of spicy, savory, bite-sized treats... hugs from long lost SWs after almost two years without seeing each other - two years! a homecoming of sorts, and it is good to share deep and laugh hard in the space of two hours...

~ A sinkroom piled high with clean dishes. My sweet MM loving me again.

~ A book and a patch of sun and a whole day stretched before me to read and luxuriate... eggies in a basket... MM tip-tap-tapping away at the keyboard as the laundry clanks and spins...

~ Red wine, rich cheese, sweet bread, quince paste, tomato chutney, apples, and real, homemade hot cross buns... the sun warm on my back... thick grass sprawling with runningjumpinglaughingplayingshrieking children... a garden of herbs and gooseberries and raspberries... a table graced with lovely, lilting accents and laughter and stories... real, mismatched dishes... a pig-shaped cutting board, just like the one I grew up with!...

~ Curled up under covers, a tangle of legs and arms, snuggling into goodnight... soft mumbly prayers and "I love yous" and "Thank you God for..."


tuesdaybook - sunday comes afterwards

Seeing ~ Our newly re-organized-for-efficiency office. Now we have a command center between our desks with office supplies, printer, shredder, power cord, paper tray, etc. Efficiency and office supplies make me happy.

Hearing ~ A bazillion birds tryin' to get it on. Happy Springtime, chickadees!

Wearing ~ Jeans, walking shoes, navy blue tank top, hoodie from my alma mater.

Tasting ~ Had a bowl of Puffins for Second Breakfast. Leftover soup for lunch. Switched grocery shopping day to Tuesdays, so Mondays meals are a bit of a catch-all. Last night made a soup with fresh chicken stock, and chicken pieces, black beans, salsa, and a variety of fresh veggies. If I'd had more salsa and some corn it would have been a lovely tortilla soup. Alas, it was not to be. But good for us and tasted alright.

Planning ~ My errands for the day. I need a bit of strategery to manage all the locations.

Working ~ Trash day! Wooo! Yeah. It's not really that exciting. But in terms of housework, that's the biggie for today. Oh, and I am cleaning the fridge. That is the real kicker for today. Slimy, sludgy spills to be swabbed.

Creating ~ Book layout and design. Graphics for a friend's wedding. Invites for a party.

Learning ~ I will be wrestling Word into submission. That is enough mental taxing for today.

Reading ~ Finishing Fellowship of the Ring. Finally! After that, I'm at loose ends for reading material. I'm not up for Two Towers right now. We'll wait for fall. We are heading into "beach read" weather. Lighter fare.

Pondering ~ This is an intense season. Merging lives as a married couple... Doing my healing work for my body and soul... I am seeking wisdom. Direction. What are the next steps? What do I lay hold of? What do I let go of? Release/Receive.

Remembering ~ Past summer days... hot sun on city streets, or soft grass, or dazzling beaches... what it feels like to sink into that sunshine and nap without care... the scent of sunscreen and sweat and the neighbor's barbecue grill and jasmine...

Thankful for ~ Stephen Colbert's cover of Friday. I laughed and smiled and clapped and watched it forty-leven times. It reminded me that I used to laugh like that a lot. I miss laughing out loud like that, just appreciating the silliness. I can remember sitting up in my room at midnight crying with laughter over Jim and Dwight and Michael Scott. Both hands over my mouth so I wouldn't wake my roommates. Good times. Or a few months ago, howling with laughter over that site where people post their iPhone autocorrect errors.

So - thank you Stephen and Jimmy. And Yettie. You made my day awesome - and it wasn't even Friday.


life's little pleasures

Oh, this just tickles me.

The other day, MM was working on the computer, and I was puttering my way through chores. I took out the trash and on my way back inside got distracted by the way the sun felt on my skin. I basked in the rays a bit and then enjoyed the millions of tiny wildflowers in my backyard.

A little while later, I surprised MM with this.

Here's the official quarter shot, so you get perspective.

I put it on the dining table where we were working and we both enjoyed our mini bouquet. These flowers only last a day, so it was a brief as well as small bit of pleasure.

Our days are like that. Must enjoy them in the moment.


lent: a thin place

Each year for Lent I give up the thing that I use as a false comforter. When I need rest and replenishment and a bit of peace I often go to things that offer a quick boost of energy or happiness (caffeine, Internet, TV), but don't really provide the nourishment my soul requires.

I know that my soul needs time outdoors in nature. I know that my soul requires time in reading and silent contemplation. I know that my soul needs time to create and sew and write and draw and build and dream meandery dreams. My body doesn't need tons of sugar, salt, and caffeine. What it needs is more water and more sleep and more exercise. It needs a long, hot bath with bubble bath and lotion. And my body needs my soul to get its needs met.

I often burn the candle at both ends. I often spend all my energy taking care of others and have none left for me. I have to discipline myself to say "No." To take sabbath. To make margins of quiet and rest and replenishment in my life. But this takes work. Setting aside time to rest and create and feed my soul takes effort. It is much easier, when I am tired, to go for coffee and web comics and a hundred or so blogs and a million random articles about things I don't really care about, or lose myself in hours of television. And then, of course, I spend to much time, not really resting and must catch up on all my responsibilities.

I've been pondering this quote throughout Lent this year: "A pail with a pinhole loses as much as the pail pushed right over. A whole life can be lost in minutes wasted, small moments missed." ~ Ann Voskamp

Its not that coffee, Internet, and television are bad, or even bad for me. I just need to be aware of where I am getting my "rest." And if I truly feel rested after spending time in that activity. Another Ann quote: "Habitual escapism can escape His holy ends." Lent I make myself get true rest, because I don't allow myself to escape into my caffeine and Internet comforters. I make myself rest for reals.

And I give myself permission to go easy on all the "to dos" while I'm resting. Spending time reading on the Internet is the pail with the pinhole, I wake up and the day is gone, empty. Truly restful activities feel like I'm knocking the pail over, but really, I'm filling it.

Yes, the laundry must be done and the ironing and the shopping. And we must take the trash out and change the filters and clean the carpets. There are bills to pay and papers to file and taxes and emails and schedules and we can't possibly fit it all in.

But on a Sunday afternoon, the important thing is to hold hands with my Beloved and walk in the woods. To breathe deep the sweet, spring air after a night of rain. To stop and close my eyes and listen to the wind rustling through the branches overhead. To open them again and drink in the verdant grass and vibrant wildflowers and the lush tangle of undergrowth below. To step silently along empty paths, anticipating whatever may come from this "thin place."

I want all of Lent to feel a thin place. So, I turn off my computer. I want my Internet silence this month to awaken my other senses so I may take in the things that truly replenish my soul. The fragrance of spring flowers, the shaft of light that lands on the kitchen table, its warmth on my skin. Less time at the computer means more time with my hands in the bread dough or in the dirt or in paint or a hundred other projects I've piled up gathering dust, saying "I have no time." I want to listen. To rain running out the gutters, to the tick of the clock, the click of the needles, the thrum of the sewing machine, the birds, the dogs, the wind through the newly leafing trees...

I've missed a tsunami and its fallout, the bombing of Libya, and the death of a movie star, so far. But that's ok. I'm going to continue deeper into this quiet and look for things I would have missed if I'd spent all those hours on facebook and falling through Internet rabbit holes. For now, I am content to learn things second hand. For this season, I am thankful for this empty path in a quiet wood. "Further up and further in!"