Balance

Rain taps the window,

Inviting us out to play,

Childlike dreams return,

Cares melt away in each drop,

Balance is being restored.

—Janet

Written for Your Daily Word Prompt: Inviting, & RDP Tuesday: Balance

Rain is like macaroni & cheese to me. It’s my comfort weather. The fire goes on, blankets get piled high, and I have an excuse to stay in bed with a good book (guilt free!). A day like that is a great way to restore balance.

I wanted to share some exciting news about school. After working as an unpaid graphic design intern for two semesters, I’m going to be official this semester. I will actually get paid for my work!

Introspection

Fear, like a giant boulder…
Stays weighted at my feet.
—Afraid I’ll miss the curtain call, I stay paralyzed…
Gazing at the stage to find my cue.

Impatience, like a cold wind…
Sends me sailing into a flurry.
—I shatter into pieces, chasing a million things…
Until all that’s left are tiny shards.

Reason, like a brilliant scientist…
Wants to put me back together.
—Like a puzzle to be solved, I inspect the fragments…
But many of the pieces have been lost.

Acceptance, like a soft embrace…
Whispers I am enough.
—The mystery becomes magical, and I feel love.

But, Gratitude… Sweet, sweet Gratitude
—Like a burning flame…
She warms my soul.

Inspired by the Word of the Day Challenge: Gratitude

I’ve decided to make a commitment this month. I’m going to “write something every day,” and “work on things that I find challenging.”

Today’s Accomplishment: Write a poem without a rhyme

Dr. Seuss likes to whistle tunes to me when I even ‘think’ about poetry, so this was extremely hard for me.


Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors. —African Proverb


Playing the Game

Well, I never made it outside yesterday (Boooo). Honestly… it is freaking COLD here! Not as cold as so many places, but in California these recent “extremes” are quite shocking to some of us natives.

Anyway, even though I made a silent vow to stay away from my archived photographs, this morning I remembered some images I took at the park some time ago, and this one seemed perfect for today’s thoughts. Par for the course, I played around in Photoshop to make it appear a little “dreamy.” I couldn’t help but wonder if this young boy was dreaming a little himself at that moment; feeling hopeful about his future in baseball.

I don’t know if I mentioned it before… but this past summer I played coed slow-pitch softball. I’ve now joined a winter league, and this weekend is our first practice game. A friend of mine—who has never played before—has also signed up, and this past Sunday the two of us went to the batting cages.

After showing her how to hold the bat, how to stand, and how to swing, I gave my friend the cage and watched her go at it. I found myself a bit baffled by her performance (and I hope she never reads this!). She seemed distracted—always watching the entrance to see who might be walking in—and when she swung it seemed “halfhearted” to me. It’s almost like she had already decided that she sucked at it, so she didn’t even want to try.

The good news is that eventually her bat started connecting with the ball that was being delivered to her, and we were both happy that she made some progress.

The reason I bring this up is because yesterday I spent the day brainstorming—thinking about my ideas, my dreams, and my goals for this year. I took time to write the important ones down… and then pondered how to break them down into little steps.

I felt really good after that. It’s like putting them on paper (well, on screen actually) made them appear more real to me, more achievable. When I was heading to bed I sort of imagined myself taking even more steps—getting out there and being intentional about my next moves.

That’s when the vision of my friend came to my mind… I imagined how she stood there; swinging that bat with what appeared to be “zero hope” that she would ever actually HIT the ball.

Something inside of me clicked, and I realized that sometimes the way I think and talk about my dreams is like how she swung that bat—with no real hope of actually making contact.

If I’m going to turn those dreams into reality, I need to get my butt out to that plate, stand there like I mean it, keep my eye on the ball… and swing that bat like there’s no tomorrow!  

Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

Babe Ruth

Life is good, and God is great!
—Janet

The Enigma

This photograph has been in my folder for a while now, and I didn’t know if I would ever use it until I saw the One Word Challenge: Enigma. It’s definitely an odd little piece. I could tell you what it is… but then the mystery would be gone.

On another note, the long anticipated day is here… a fresh start to a brand new year. No matter what everyone says, and no matter how hard those resolutions are to keep, I’m still making my mental list—and even writing some of them down.

One of the things I’ve been avoiding—probably due to fear—is buckling down and learning more about photography. That is probably at the top of my list. It’s fun to use Photoshop, but sometimes I wish I could just go out, shoot a marvelous image, download it to the PC and post it. That’s something I’m really shooting for this year.

Anyway, I won’t go on and on about my list… it’s a new day, the wind is really howling here, and I think I’m going to “get outside” and see what the afternoon has to offer.

Peace & Love!

A Better Me

It’s always exciting to see a new year approaching, and the word goal really got me thinking today. Not about my goals for the year ahead, but about the goals I’ve already set—over the last couple of years—and how they have helped change, or shape me, in ways I never expected.

In all honesty, sometimes I have NO idea where this journey is taking me. When I made the decision to go to college, I was SURE that Graphic Design was the path that was meant for me. When I decided to alter my course, and major in Psychology, it felt “perfectly natural.” And now—while I’m figuring out how to work English into the equation—I can’t help but wonder: “Will I ever get this right?” Continue reading A Better Me

Art: A Great Read

I’m sharing someone else’s words today.

“An old silent pond.
Into the pond a frog jumps.
Splash! Silence again.”

It is perhaps the best known of all Japanese haiku. No subject could be more humdrum. No language could be more pedestrian. Basho, the poet, makes no comment on what he is describing. He implies no meaning, message, or metaphor. He simply invites our attention to no more and no less than just this: the old pond in its watery stillness, the kerplunk of the frog, the gradual return of the stillness.

In effect he is putting a frame around the moment, and what the frame does is enable us to see not just something about the moment, but the moment itself in all its ineffable ordinariness and particularity. The chances are that if we had been passing by when the frog jumped, we wouldn’t have noticed a thing or, noticing it, wouldn’t have given it a second thought. But the frame sets it off from everything else that distracts us. That is the nature and purpose of frames. The frame does not change the moment, but it changes our way of perceiving the moment. It makes us notice the moment, and that is what Basho wants above all else. It is what literature in general wants above all else too.

From the simplest lyric to the most complex novel and densest drama, literature is asking us to pay attention. Pay attention to the frog. Pay attention to the west wind. Pay attention to the boy on the raft, the lady in the tower, the old man on the train. In sum, pay attention to the world and all that dwells therein and thereby learn at last to pay attention to yourself and all that dwells therein.

The painter does the same thing, of course. Rembrandt puts a frame around an old woman’s face. It is seamed with wrinkles. The upper lip is sunken in, the skin waxy and pale. It is not a remarkable face. You would not look twice at the old woman if you found her sitting across the aisle from you on a bus. But it is a face so remarkably seen that it forces you to see it remarkably, just as Cezanne makes you see a bowl of apples or Andrew Wyeth a muslin curtain blowing in at an open window. It is a face unlike any other face in all the world. All the faces in the world are in this one old face.

Unlike painters, who work with space, musicians work with time, with note following note as second follows second. Listen! say Vivaldi, Brahms, Stravinsky. Listen to this time that I have framed between the first note and the last and to these sounds in time. Listen to the way the silence is broken into uneven lengths between the sounds and to the silences themselves. Listen to the scrape of bow against gut, the rap of stick against drumhead, the rush of breath through reed and wood. The sounds of the earth are like music, the old song goes, and the sounds of music are also like the sounds of the earth, which is of course where music comes from. Listen to the voices outside the window, the rumble of the furnace, the creak of your chair, the water running in the kitchen sink. Learn to listen to the music of your own lengths of time, your own silences.

Literature, painting, music — the most basic lesson that all art teaches us is to stop, look, and listen to life on this planet, including our own lives, as a vastly richer, deeper, more mysterious business than most of the time it ever occurs to us to suspect as we bumble along from day to day on automatic pilot. In a world that for the most part steers clear of the whole idea of holiness, art is one of the few places left where we can speak to each other of holy things.

Is it too much to say that to stop, look, and listen is also the most basic lesson that the Judeo-Christian tradition teaches us? Listen to history, is the cry of the ancient prophets of Israel. Listen to social injustice, says Amos; to head-in-the-sand religiosity, says Jeremiah; to international treacheries and power plays, says Isaiah; because it is precisely through them that God speaks his word of judgment and command.

And when Jesus comes along saying that the greatest command of all is to love God and to love our neighbor, he too is asking us to pay attention. If we are to love God, we must first stop, look, and listen for him in what is happening around us and inside us.

If we are to love our neighbors, before doing anything else we must see our neighbors. With our imagination as well as our eyes, that is to say like artists, we must see not just their faces, but the life behind and within their faces. Here it is love that is the frame we see them in.

In a letter to a friend Emily Dickinson wrote that “Consider the lilies of the field” was the only commandment she never broke. She could have done a lot worse. Consider the lilies.

It is the sine qua non of art and religion both.

—originally published in Whistling in the Dark and later in Beyond Words, Frederick Buechner

Isn’t that beautiful!?

 

Just a Note

I started working on the final post for the Confessions series, and it’s taking longer than I had hoped. Especially now that I’m at the end, and there’s a lot to pack into a page.

And to top if off, my excitement about photography has my adrenaline pumping these days, so it’s hard to think about writing. Isn’t that weird?! Sometimes I feel like a kid in a candy store!

It feels like I never say much anymore- so I wanted to make a post just to say hello!

My friends took this photo, and I liked that I was carrying my camera at the old zoo. It speaks to me, about how I intend to make 2017 a great year.

I was also thinking about a post I made when I turned 55; my to do 55 things that I’ve NEVER done before throughout my 55th year. I guess I have my work cut out for me.

I wanted to list what I HAVE done, and then take it from there… because I hope to share some of the new things I do along the way, in my blog. It gives me something to shoot for this year!

  1. I greeted at church for the first time ever
  2. As of Thursday, I’ll be co-secretary at meetings- that’s a first
  3. I took a photo of a stranger (I guess that counts)
  4. I hiked at the Old Zoo
  5. I served at the Lord’s Kitchen at church (I’ll need to do that more)
  6. I took a photo of leaves blowing in the wind!
  7. I passed out candy at Trunk or Treat on Halloween
  8. I took a photo of raindrops!

I think I’ll be cheating if I keep using new photos to fill my list, but HEY… why not?! This list might not seem like much to some people, but considering my recent sobriety (almost 10 months now) and new walk with God… yeah…

this is all pretty BIG to me.

God is great and life is good!