Create

I will make my own magic. I will be my own person. I will stick up for what is right. I will love people, and love them hard. I will extend grace to others, to a point. I will surround myself with light and love. I will remain passionate about what is important.

And to the things that don’t matter, the haters who are gonna hate, to those who can’t see further than the end of their own nose, the things that try to bring me down: I will let that all go.

Reflections on a Decade

I’ve known this blog post was coming. I’ve been avoiding it to some extent. I’m not sure I can put into words all that I want to express. But, me being me, it’s important I get out what I can. And so I write. if you’ve followed along here for a while you know I’m a huge fan of growth and learning. The last decade has been leaps and bounds in terms of those two items for me. I went from a recent college grad to a working professional. I went from someone who had no idea what I wanted or who I was to someone who is fairly grounded in being her own person.

Much of the last decade has been dedicated to my time at SCC/Tapestry. I went through my photo archives the other day and posted on Facebook a bunch of significant memories from the last 9 years (and 9 months). It was cathartic. There were pictures with my kids and youth, but also with adults who have been so formational for me as well. It’s crazy thinking it’s been almost ten years at this place. It’s crazy thinking back to all of the transitions of staff over the years, transitions of church identity and locations, transitions of families in and out of our programs. And though it hasn’t always been easy, I’m happy for each piece along the way.

It’s hard to leave a place that you know so well, and people that you love so much. But when it’s time, you know it’s time. There have been times before when new job opportunities have presented themselves that I’ve thought about things being my “lasts” and setting myself up for them emotionally. But I didn’t do that this time. The pandemic “stole” some of those from me. And, honestly, I think that will make this transition “easier”. It gives me a way to separate and compartmentalize things a bit. It gives me a chance to remember that closure is what you make it, you aren’t owed anything.

I’m beyond grateful for where I’ve been, and excited for where I’m heading. The relationships I’ve built, the kiddos I’ve seen grow up and mature, the pocket communities I’ve helped create: I’m forever grateful for those experiences. And I truly believe all of the hills and valleys we’ve been through over the years have taught me about my own resiliency, flexibility, and level headedness under pressure (I know, shocking). I know I’m a better person because of my time at SCC/Tapestry. I know I’ve learned to deal with difficult situations because of that time as well.

It’s safe to say I wouldn’t be where I am today (personally or professionally) without the presence of Tapestry folks in my life. And while I’ll take some major steps back in terms of engagement, I also know there are some lifelong connections that have been forged there. Friends. Family. There are certain things, and people, you just can’t walk away from once they’ve entered your life. Several folks have asked if I’ll come back and worship at Tapestry. Honestly I don’t know what the future holds in terms of my spiritual journey. But I know this: it isn’t fair to jump in immediately. The congregation needs space to figure out who is the right fit to fill the position (whatever they deem the position to be). They need space to allow that person to be acclimated without the pressure of my presence looming over them. And I need space too. I need to reclaim my Sunday’s for a while. I went from Sunday morning responsibilities during my internship in college, to Sunday morning volunteers at ASP, to a short stint of attending NUMC, to working Sundays at SCC/Tapestry. I need a break. I need to time to myself. I need to figure out what will best support my own spiritual journey. At coffee with a friend this week, she said it best. Something along the lines of “that time to yourself makes sense; the beauty is you’ve had to get your spiritual needs met in places other than Sunday mornings in the last almost ten years. So you know how to do it in this transition time.” I never would have had those words, but it’s so true.

I’m sure there will be more reflections to come. But for now, this is what I have. I’m giving myself grace to enjoy my last four days. I’m giving myself grace to enjoy my last Sunday; my reception, my staff lunch, my last time seeing some folks for a bit. I’m giving myself grace.

I absolutely love this piece from Etsy.

Back to Reality

It’s time to get back to the heart of what this blog was originally about. Creating. That means dedicated time making content in this arena. It means tapping back in to my artistic soul. It means giving myself the outlet I know that I need, that I know stokes the fire within me. It’s time to create.

  • I’m on a quilting journey with a dear friend for her grandson’s graduation. This helps me create each week (and provides me with loads and loads of laughter along the way. Our quilting “business” has had many a name associated with it over the last 3 years. It keeps evolving, taking on a life of its own at every turn. I love it and so value the time.
  • I love creating with my kids: watching them pour themselves into their projects and being able to do the same right alongside of them. It’s humbling and energizing.
  • To me, organizing is a form of creation. I find something so soothing about things being in their place and categorized together. I don’t always keep up with my own, but love helping provide this for others. Something about the hidden gem of organizing: so much goes into it and you don’t always see the big changes. But they are there. My personal organization style could be described as “chaotic” or “confusing”. But it works for me and that is what is important.
  • I love my Cricut. I don’t use it as much as I thought I would when I purchased it. But I love it. And it’s time to break it back out and get working. Vinyl for drinkware and iron-ons for apparel are next on my list.
  • Digital design has been a new found love. Designing logos for friends. Designing wedding invitations and save the dates (and matching thank you cards!). Designing graphics for Instagram or other forms. I just love it.

And so I will continue to create, in more ways than just this. That’s what is needed for my own sanity.

Healing

The sun heals me. The rays breathe life into my body, my being. It fuels me, recharges me, fills me with life. And I remember there is light on the other side of our harshest winters. I love the way my skin looks when it is sun kissed. Bedazzled with freckles, deepened and darkened and rich with warmth.

As much as the sun is a source for centering and grounding and new direction, I also find much healing in water. A water sign at heart, I merely have to dip my toe and I feel connected: to the waters of life, the flowing streams of my ancestors, the way life runs through my story.

I could spend my life encapsulated by this earth. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll do that.

It’s Your Life

My book club recently read the popular book The Midnight Library by Matthew Haig. First, let me say that I highly enjoyed this read. It focuses on the regrets we have in our lives. The times we want do-overs, and the repercussion of how those lives would play out. It definitely has given me a lot to think about! And I feel ripples of it still. I love the idea of parallel storylines, and paths untraveled. But I have to constantly remind myself not to live in the land of “what-if’s”. This is a book I recommend, 100%. So, if you are reading this: GO PICK UP A COPY. Or ask me, and I will lend you my copy. We were on vacation when I read it, so it is one of the few that does not come with Shannon’s underlining and annotations (you can decide if that’s a pro or a con). There are so many iterations of who we are, and each day we get to make choices that continue to grow us into ourselves (deeper and deeper). We are always us or self, but we are also constantly evolving along the way.

I know I have changed, grown, and evolved over the years. I know that 2020 really pushed me and made me dig deep. There were moments, in hindsight, I’m not proud of. There were situations that I wish I had handled differently. There aren’t many actual regrets though. Because I know what I lived through, and the choices I made, taught me things and got me to the place where I am today. And all things considered, it’s a pretty great place to be. (I sound some kind of enlightened, though I don’t actually feel that way).


An Aside

There are times in my blogs that I write about other people. I generally try and keep names or too many specifics out of it. Anonymity is important I think on the internet when the source is secondary (or further removed). But there are times folks know I am writing about them. Or have asked me if I am writing about them. Sometimes they are correct, and sometimes they have read too much into what I have said. This is one of those times that someone may know my words have them interwoven. And I’m okay with that.


I was talking with someone last night about…life. About the twists and turns and crazy happenstances and things we don’t see coming. About processing and progressing and just continually wading through the sludge. One thing they said to me was about wishing we could meet people at earlier points in our lives. It took me right back to The Midnight Library. And where there have been points I’ve wished this too, I reminded them that we wouldn’t be our same selves at those points. And so it wouldn’t be the same interactions as now. I find myself often slipping into counseling techniques and thoughts with my interactions these days (that’s positive and negative, to be honest). There is so much I would say to this person about what they are going through. So. Damn. Much. But I know that anything I say would not come to them without my unique spin on things. And that would be unfair. It’s really, really, really difficult to see clarity in situations that are not yours, and not be able to help the person traverse through them. It’s tough to sit back and watch it all unfold, even when you know that is “best”. As much as I am a bottler, it’s hard to keep all of the emotion and thoughts bottled inside. People have to make their own decisions. They have to do what is best for them. And if you care about them enough, you will let them do just that, no matter what is to come. I will always be full of a million questions. That will never end. I will always care intensely for those that cross my path. I will always dive in, head first, to those relationships that feed my soul and resonate deeply in my bones. Always, no shame.

Connection. Community. Intuition. Knowing. Seeking.

“When you can step back at moments like these and see what is happening, when you watch people you love under fire or evaporating, you realize that the secret of life is patch patch patch. Thread your needle, make a knot, find one place on the other piece of torn cloth where you can make one stitch that will hold. And do it again. And again. And again.”

Anne Lamott, Stitches
This song came on my shuffle this morning. I am nothing short of thankful for this life I’ve been given, this life that I live. I don’t want apologies. I don’t want regrets. The end lyrics particularly speak to me:

Hey man (yo)
Do you think they’re listening
To a thing? (no no no)
I wonder what’s on their mind.
We all should (go)
Break down the walls being built around us.
We’ll make a (show)
Make it for our sons and our daughters.Nothing’s gonna change my mind,
I’m walkin’ a different highway.
Nothing’s gonna change my mind.
I’m travelin’ a different line.
Oh, nothing’s gonna change my mind.
You’ll find what you need if you want it.
Nothing’s gonna change my mind.
I’ll find mine.

We are all doing the best that we can. Day by day. One step at a time. Slow and steady. Letting things burn slowly. It can be difficult. It isn’t easy. Sometimes you have to just sit back and let things unfold. Sometimes you have to be proactive. There is a good mix of both that are necessary in our lives. And right now, I’m leaning into being okay with the down time, the silence; just sitting back and letting it be. Just. Be.

Action v. Decision

Let me “college” nerd out here for a second. Do you remember when you (or your child, maybe) were applying to colleges/universities and there were two options in addition to the regular May 1st deadline? Early decision meant you were bound to go to that school if you got in and your deposit was non-refundable. Early action meant that you applied at the same time as ED but you could pull out and be refunded if you wanted even after gaining admission to the school. I think life has some similar themes about it. Our actions versus our decisions.

I just finished reading “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig. I’m reading it for Book Club and one of my friends from the group told me it gave her a new perspective on life and the universe. And she thought it would resonate with me as well. It sure did. There have been regrets in my life. Evaluations of which things I could have done better or which things I would have done differently. My actions I can change, I can choose differently. My decisions I can’t change, they are set in stone. You can learn from the past. You can take a new path. You can shift; evolve. You learn from where you’ve been, you do the best with the info you had at each individual moment. You move forward and grow, continually, into yourself. And there are so many iterations of who that you is.

There are things I regret. But less so now. There are things I have played over and over in my brain thinking I’ll get to a different outcome or better understanding of what the hell happened. But it doesn’t matter. It won’t change, and I can’t glean anything else. And so I will make that best choices here and now and moving forward. I will be me.

It’s a Waterfall

Oh boy. This one is tough to write, it’s tough to admit. But as always, writing is cathartic and sometimes you just have to get ish out on “paper”. And so here it goes…

This morning was not what I expected. I slept well. It was a lazy morning. But damned if that wasn’t overshadowed somewhat quickly and without warning. A punch. Straight to the gut. Part of me felt excited; most of me just felt sad. Cue the instant grief. Cue the instant reaction in my body. Cue the throwing my phone down forcefully. Cue the brink of waterworks (that never actually came).

I’m not one to ignore others. I don’t write people off easily. I don’t know that I ever truly stop caring about someone no matter the happenstance of our situation or how long we’ve been part. It’s just not in my nature. But it also doesn’t mean that I constantly think about them. There is a time when people flow to the back of my brain and no longer hold residence in my consciousness.

But when they resurface, whether in person or virtually or whatever, they definitely get yanked from backstage and thrown into the spotlight. And today that instance came with lots of emotions, lots of feelings, no questions but a few wonderings. I remind myself that it’s okay and necessary to show up and feel what I am feeling. It is also imperative that I don’t get stuck in the land of “what if’s” because those aren’t real. I’ve grown. I’ve moved forward. And I show up differently these days. I will be responsible for my words and actions of the past; I won’t be defined by them. I choose to do better. I will extend olive branches and lean in to being me in each moment.

And I will listen to my own needs and not fault others for their needs. So when I felt overwhelmed and jittery and uncomfortable this morning, I laced up my shoes and went for a jog. Fresh air, body movement, and processing. All of which were good for the soul. I think a nap is in my future. And maybe a bath. Self care is essential. Boundaries are essential. Keep showing up even when it’s hard. Even when you think the odds are against you. Just show up. Name what you are feeling and keep going forward.

Own It

Today I take back what you took from me. I take it back, and I no longer let you have presence or precedence over these things. These. Are. Mine. It’s been a long time coming, and some of it I have avoided. But today I am facing the last few pieces head on with a brave face. Perhaps it’s ironic that a big piece of this is allowing myself to watch the “real people” version of Mulan. Because there was (and is) strength found in Fa Mulan and the stories that are told about her. This irony is not lost on mee. I am a warrior. I am tenacious. I am my own. And I own the strength and fire within me. I own the magic that lives within me.