Saturday, October 5, 2013

One of These Is . . .

I would like to rewrite history just a bit. 

I'd like to be better. Different. Happier. More peaceful. More courageous. Less self-centered. Less selfish. All of that sounds noble and good, doesn't it? I think I mean those things too. And lucky for me, they are all within my power, my realm and my scope. I can grow and change. I can be better. 

But when I look at this picture below? The only way I want to rewrite history is to be normal. To look normal. To NOT be different. 

Aaaah, yack! Saying that makes me want to hurl because of the "woe-is-me" and "my-life-is-so-hard" flavor of that statement. 

Yet, that is my first reaction. The hurting in my tender place is that for so much of my life I have stuck out like a sore thumb in exactly this way. I do not want to stick out. Not this way at least. It seems that size does matter, no matter the reference. 

Surrounding the beautiful bride, Marin, at her June wedding reception

That is just my first reaction. When I sit down though and look at this picture, I see more. I see pretty colors, a gorgeous backyard, the generosity of friends and family, the celebration of a grand event. And then I see these women who are comely in their refinement and their color coordination. 

These women are my sisters, my family--new and old, biological and not. We are missing Cassie here as she is on her mission. And another one who had passed out of our family a couple of years before. And not pictured as well are the eight beautiful nieces who are growing up so fast that they will soon be women themselves. 

This day we were celebrating the addition of a new sister to our midst at Rus and Marin's wedding reception this summer. It was a very happy day. A day of joy and celebration for them and the love they had found together. It was a good day. 

And when I look at this picture and these faces you know what I see? Beauty. Yes, beautiful in appearance but I see beauty shining from their eyes and and their souls. Cissy's quiet grace, Tami's refined elegance, Marin's shining joy of love, Meg's mothering radiance, Michelle's creative acumen, Julie's passion for life. I see women who are strong, committed, loving, funny, happy and hopeful. I love them. I love their goodness and their grace. I've seen their ups and downs and they have seen mine. We have comforted and grieved with one another. We have prayed, laughed and danced too. 

That is my second reaction. And that reaction uplifts me rather than drags me down. And when I hold to my second reaction rather than my first, my heart grows ten sizes too large for my chest. The way I really want to rewrite history is to see and be seen with this second perspective rather than the first. 

I am not very good at this yet. It is too easy for me to see myself as the victim rather than the victor, the less-than rather than the selfless. But I understood with honesty and faith and hope, I can learn to rewrite my very thoughts when I look back at my life. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

For Shame

[Editorial note: I wrote this several months back and wanted to share it here because it still rings true to me. I have not dealt with this topic much here but this is about the pain that comes from carrying the burden of shame, day after day. This lyrical prose is my attempt to address shame's influence on me.


You are the prickly pear companion of my youth. You are the one I have held so close to me on hollow nights and gray mornings. You’ve been allowed access to the hidden corners of my soul, the tender places, the soft underbelly. And you have embedded yourself deep in my heart, willing me to stay away, out of the light—alone, afraid, embarrassed, angry, worthless and unhappy. You are my dark companion. 

In your eyes, I am a fool. You make me cringe daily at my weakness, my incompetence, my mistakes, my humanity. And I have let you in, welcomed you with open arms, hugged you tight to my chest and been surprised that over and over again your pricks sting, fester and poison what is good and lovely inside my soul. You hurt me. And I let you—again and again and again. 

Each day you tell me a story that is my whispered secret: I am not enough. That is your siren song, your dark delight. And with those words you bludgeon me into submission. I cower in fear that this may be truth. I hold you and your secret tight to me. Hide it, keep it safe. Do not let the world know. 

But I have harbored you for so long. My soul is wasted by your chains and terrorized from your torture. My heart grown weary from your harsh slavery and the fetid stench of your power. You, dark friend, have shut out light and goodness, halted compassion and forgiveness, and made war at the very root of my truth. 

This is our goodbye. You are not welcome here any longer. This is not your home and I am not your people. Your violence and greed may not be planted in my soul’s fortune any longer. Your words may not echo in the chambers of my heart. I want you out. Forever. Your stay here may have been long but it is now over and you may not darken my door again. For your ways are not my ways and my God is not yours. 

Take with you your companion characteristics--doubt, fear, anger, embarrassment, hopelessness, worthlessness, isolation and depression. They do not thrive without you and I am doing a full house cleaning. I refuse to shelter them any longer as well. They want to be with you. You are all so tightly wound, so powerfully compacted to fit neatly into the tiniest crack in any defense. I am not safe where any of you linger and I will not hold to you any longer. You are not my treasure. 

I have a work to do here and it is time to air out my soul, shake loose your clinging cobwebs and open my heart as I plant my face towards the sun and welcome the Light. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Brighter Days

Remember how I have said before that I could not quite hone in on the purpose of this blog? That I wanted to blog about everything and nothing here? Well, I have done that. It has allowed me to grow as a blogger and a writer. I have felt free here to share so much of myself. This blog has always had my heart.

I have not been around much as a blogger the last year. I have been doing a lot of personal writing and exploring. Very little of it has made it to the blog because I had not sorted and sifted through it very well. Lots of exploratory writing. This blog has always told my personal story but meant more for friends and family and not necessarily as a place to sort the rough spots in my life.

Also, I wanted so often to write about a private family drama that I did not have the liberty to share so that kept my writing off this page as well. For now, I will continue to periodically update this blog as a place for some of my most heartfelt writing and a memory book for my life.

That is my plan and my purpose for now. Thanks so much for stopping by when you have. You have held my heart with gentleness.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Colder Weather

I've been playing this song on repeat for days now. Why?

It's Christmas and there is something about this song that perfectly embodies what I want this Christmas.

Sometimes a song gets it just right.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Moving House

A change is coming. 

I've loved my time in my tiny little apartment. The Sundays playing with kids, the kitchen experiments, all the little home improvements (thanks to my brothers and my mom who have been my helpers). I've loved squeezing 40 family members in to my 500 square feet every Christmas for our annual family house tour. I've loved figuring out how to fit my massive number of books into my tiny, sweet study. I've even learned how to make a bed with access to only one side of the bed--the other three sides are up against a wall (yes, my room is THAT small). 

And now it is time to go. I recently received the opportunity to manage a condo complex a few miles away from my cozy family neighborhood. My new place is in a neighboring town and only 5 minutes away but it will bring change into my life with new neighbors and new friends. 

It is bittersweet. Of course, I will miss all the loveliness of my little place but I am excited for the opportunities around the corner. I don't move for a few more weeks, but some of the crazy things that I am looking forward to? Cooking on a gas stove, having room for TWO couches in my living room, room for a dining table that seat eight people and many other small luxuries. My time in Pear Tree Hill has been happy. And I am excited about this upcoming bend in the road.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Finding Eden

I remember at various times in my life--elementary school, teenager, young adult--reading books and thinking, "I could write better than that." The thought came with conviction, hubris and determination. I would write. And I would write better than so many of the books that I picked up without much discretion and consumed in long, undeviating hours of reading. Reading was my passion, my art, my must-do every day.

And then I grew up. I haven't stopped reading but my reading has expanded to include the Internet, school subjects, professional work and church doctrine. There is a lot of reading to be done and I have explored many forms of reading and yet, I come back consistently to reading what I love. It may not always be what my book group is reading, it often was not what I had to read for school or  what I must read for work. I do get pleasure out of these various forms of reading and some satisfaction but these types of reading are not like finding a book that exhilarates me, makes time stop and utterly absorbs my attention. When I read something I love, I hear an echo of that earlier conviction when I think "I want to write like that."

I've always known I would be a writer. That I am a writer. That writing is part of my task on this earth. Writing just feels right in my bones. Writing elevates, uplifts, sorts, purifies and focuses me. I am most unhappy when I cannot write. School, especially college, was overwhelming for me in many ways. I loved gaining new knowledge but I did not know how to sort, contain, remember, process and regurgitate efficiently all that was in front of me. I did not know that I must write. I had mammoth mountains of growth to scale: social life, friendships, financial independence, spiritual independence, work responsibilities, church responsibilities, family responsibilities, getting to know myself, understanding and overcoming my own weaknesses, my health, my weight all while shouldering my school responsibilities with study, homework, assignments, tests and exams. I discovered that I was swimming in deep waters of chaos every day and felt very little calm.

Often my only time of peace was in class as the teacher would start lecturing and my interest would be piqued, my mind would open up and expand and I would begin to WRITE. Take notes, make lists, organize, think, detail, expand and enumerate my life and its overwhelming minutia as well as my over-arching goals. Often, I would come out of class with notes for class and lists upon lists of to-do items for work, home, school and church as well. Not to mention sentences or phrases that I had caught in the lecture that I wanted to think about, explore and process. I assumed I was a little crazy with the note-taking (and I was!) but I also could not explain my extreme reluctance to get rid of my notebooks after the semester was over. I was not writing in a formal journal at the time and those pages felt like my journal because mixed in with notes for my history of civilization class or my American history class was my revelation about my desire to be a mother, or my insight regarding my future community service, or my question to ask my roommate. My school notebooks were my journals in those years.

I happened into a career where I do get to read and write--a little. I am adequate at this job but not passionate about it. Because of my unease in this position, I have spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure out what I want to DO professionally. Figuring out what makes me happy, what makes me tick, what makes me light up every day. My goal has been to do something I love every day. To be more excited about Monday morning than Friday evening, to awake each morning infused with joy at the work I had to do.

About six months ago, I wrote these words on a piece of paper:

  • Writing
  • Relationships
  • Health
  • Gospel
My happiness and my joy comes consistently from these places. As a writer, I knew in my early twenties that I wanted to spend my time writing about people, relationships and meaning. My struggle with obesity has turned me passionate about health, nutrition, energy and food. And my amazing experience as a missionary for my church infused in me a love for spiritual roots and soul teaching that I cannot abandon. I want my life's work to revolve around these areas. These are the loves of my life, the things that I return to over and over again. The thing that has made my goal of doing what I love more difficult is that I seem happiest where these paths intersect rather than in their individual fulfillment. I want to be a therapist & nutritionist who writes about relationships, food and health. I want to teach and write about the gospel. My dream is not to go to law school, or work on Wall Street or even to write a play or write for television.  My goal is to be a counselor, nutritionist, chef, mom, gardener, teacher, who writes about all of those loves. I am not interested in going outside of those realms but I am interested in each of those realms. 

I know what I love. And every day I am inching closer to making it my life's work. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Future of this Blog

I have loved my little spot here in the blogging universe. I have written about family, friends, my life, my thoughts, my future, etc. It has made me happy to be here.

What I have never loved is not knowing where I was going with this blog. It has always been a place to share my thoughts on a wide variety of topics but recently, I have wanted to focus on one or two major topics. Namely health and food. But I don't want to give up this spot in the universe even though I have not been blogging regularly the past six months. So, expect to see at least one post a month here for now. Occasional. Sporadic. Meandering. Totally my speed on this blog.

In the future, I will be blogging more regularly at Eden's Garden of Health where I will post recipes, menu plans and focus many of my thoughts on health and wellness.

This blog now has a purpose for me. It is my blog of love. My place to write my heart's thoughts and my love of literature, art, friends and family.

Thanks for being patient as I sorted through the details.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Modern-Day Diet

A quote from a book review regarding our modern American diet.

"Besides the paucity of good fats, the near hegemony of industrialized foodstuffs in the modern diet, devoid of nearly everything except sugar, salt, toxic oils, and devitalized flours, has helped to create an undernourished population primed for . . . maladies."
from review of Addiction: The Hidden Epidemic by Pam Killeen, reviewed by Katherine Czapp

When we start off our day with processed, sugary cold cereals paired with homogenized, pasteurized skim milk from cows shot full of antibiotics and hormones, continue on to a fast food lunch made from factory-farmed beef with highly processed cheese on a white flour bun and paired with a favorite soda and potatoes fried in vegetable oils and then round the day out with a dinner that features another slab of meat injected with antibiotics and hormones along with a white potatoes or rice, a side of corn or peas as well as a white flour roll and finished off with a bowl of ice cream doused in high-fructose corn syrup chocolate topping we have the makings of the modern America diet. This doesn't even include the bags of potato chips, candy bars, coffee, soda, or sugary snacks that dot the hours between each of our meals. Is it any wonder that we are struggling to feel good, our children are riddled with chronic diseases and each generation is sicker than the last?

The exciting thing is that now we know. We know that these foods are not good for us and now we can make the changes. That is what inspires me.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Good Food, Good Health

I love food. 

You too? I love the caramelized onions with red potatoes that we had for dinner the other day, a perfectly runny egg with sausage for breakfast, and that berry spinach smoothie I made yesterday afternoon. I like food. I like the smell of dinner cooking when I open the door at night, I like the juices dripping off the coconut chicken so that it dribbles down my chin, I like crisp crunch of a Fuji apple in the middle of the afternoon. 

Food is fun. It tastes good, it brings people together, it is an endless source of variation, interest and conversation. 

Yummy food! Blessed food! Good food!

I'm planning on sharing more recipes here, more of my thoughts on food and just more about my love of all things regarding health, nutrition and food.

For now listen to this excellent talk by Robyn O'Brien--a food analyst who once saw food only as a commodity and now sees it as a pathway to health. One of her four kids had a major allergic reaction to breakfast one morning and Ms. O'Brien's whole life changed. She talks about what is in our food and why she had to change what her family ate once she realized food's impact on them.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Home Show 2011

My mom decorated a home for the home show this year. She had a great time pulling together all the pieces and I had so much fun giving my opinion about each and every item. :)  Here is a preview of her work. 

The front of the house. Even more charming with all the new flowers and the benches and porch furniture. 

I love the rock on the exterior

The front entry

Living room on the left. Such a sweet little room. 

Walk through the entry into the family room/kitchen

The mantle

Dining room

View from the other side of the dining room

Table in the family room looking into the kitchen

View into the kitchen

The back patio

The kitchen

Kitchen sink looks into the back yard

View of the kitchen from the entry

Adorable child's table at the end of the island

Looking from dining room/kitchen to the stairs

The hallway off the kitchen/dining room

Green bedroom

I love the white and green

Bench in the hallway


Second bedroom is the gray bedroom

Beautiful bed! I love that headboard

Master bedroom

Sitting area in the master bedroom

Master bathroom
Mudroom, the door at the end leads into the two-door garage

Laundry room

Other side of the laundry room
 It is a sweet, charming home. I would buy it if it was the right time for me. There is also a full unfinished basement with big windows. It has a cold storage room and places for a bathroom, two bedrooms and a family room.

What do you think?

Bonus points to anyone who can name the two pieces of furniture that come from my house or to anyone who can name pieces that came from my mom, sister, or sister-in-law's homes. Most of these are major pieces of furniture---*hint, *hint.


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