Bookstagram

Lent: Day 8

One of the things that I love is a weekly Zoom call I have with other Journey Fellows on Tuesday morning. It breathes life into me each week. Though the players aren’t always the same, there is a good core that consistently shows up. I’ve connected with many outside of my own Fellowship year (shout out to 2013!!!) And I have found camaraderie with these folks. Often times we talk about the books we are currently reading, or have recently read. Throwing titles back and forth, scrambling for pen and paper to write titles and authors down; I realized there had to be a better way. And so JourneyBookRecs on Instagram was born.

Being the organization and technological “guru” that I am, I quickly made an Insta account, posted my first book rec, and made a google form where other fellows could submit their recommendations and ratings for me to post. I’m not always super diligent about it. With more time (ha) I could post one book a day from the recommendations that have been submitted. So weeks it is just one post, minutes before our Tuesday Zoom Call.

Any way, this is just one of the ways and places of community that I crave and enjoy so much. Eternally grateful to RK for recommending me, to DL for saying I could do it, and myself for being awesome.

Poetry in Motion

Lent: Day 7

I put myself into a box for you

Not a present, per se

But a box confined but what

You wanted (or what I thought you wanted)

But my realization is

No one who cares about you

Truly cares

Should try and confine you

I’m just sad you couldn’t tell me

Before you left me by the side of the road

Discarded for the landfill

Humble Servant

Lent: Day Six

There aren’t many words today. We lost one of the best today. Rev. Richard Hamilton officiated my parents’ wedding. He was there when I was baptized (though he didn’t baptize me). I remember when he retired (though I was only 9). And I can hear the cassette tapes of his sermons that we would often have playing in our home.Such a rich and vibrant voice. Such a presence.

I remember him coming over to my dad’s house to chat with us about mom’s eulogy. I remember him delivering that eulogy. I have thought over and over and over again about him officiating at my wedding. I remember being so worried when Anna Lee passed that he’d be quick to go after her, they were an iconic couple. But he lasted many years after that. He will always be someone I admire and look up to. Well done, good and faithful (and humble) servant.

Birthdays

Lent: Day 5

Two of my very favorite people in this world have birthdays close to mine. And this is me, with a bit of shame, admitting that this year I forgot them both.

Two days ago was my dear friend Steph’s birthday. She and I met through a youth worker fellowship program in 2013 and have been “inseparable” since (quotes due to the fact that we live in different cities and are in fact separated). Here are some of my favorite things about Steph:

  • She’s quirky. And goofy. And doesn’t care much what other people think.
  • She speaks her mind, and unapologetically follows what she believes.
  • She has a heart for others and giving back.
  • She is committed to her faith and her God and doesn’t let others tell her what that should look like.
  • She is an endless vessel of advice and knowledge (boy don’t I love that).
  • She loves butter.
  • She’s down to watch you stuff your face with chocolate cake.
  • She enjoys conversation (whether two or three people are involved).
  • She is always down for a sushi date.
  • She reminds me that Voldemort has no place in Ron’s life (good riddance).
  • She’s a gem of a friend, and there’s not a much better way to describe it.

My longest friend’s mama has a birthday today. Rhonda has been a main stay in my life in so, so, so many ways–and I am so thankful for how these moments live on even though her physical presence is no longer here. Many of my memories growing up include that way or another. Here are some of my favorites:

  • The crazy birthday parties: greeting cards, karaoke, make-overs, tarot readings, and more.
  • Swimming for endless hours.
  • Riding the “build your own roller coaster” ride at Chicago Disney (what was that actually called?)
  • Realizing on the same trip that her VW Bug had been broken into
  • Garage sales
  • Pull-out couch movie nights with way too much popcorn
  • Saturday morning pancakes (okay, that one was more often Bill)
  • Optometry appointments (and feeling like a celebrity any time I walked into that office)
  • Catching up
  • Show choir shenanigans
  • Sage advice

There is something really special about birthdays. And something even more special about sharing them with others.

Babies

Lent: Day Four

I feel like my world has been overtaken by babies. My childhood bestie had a baby last Fall. And our other good friend had a baby around the same time. There have been a couple of babies born at church in the last six months. My college best friend is pregnant again. My cohort bestie is pregnant. There is ongoing conversation about whether or not my sister and brother in law will adopt. I know several people who are “trying”. It’s everywhere. And it makes me incredibly happy. But also, I have to say it makes me a little sad as well.

I’ve always said that I wanted children. For as long as I can remember. But when after what I, and my sisters, went through with our mom I vowed not to have children too late in life. And each day I inch towards that cut off time. I haven’t picked something firm, it’s more of an intuitive feeling–I’ll know when we are too far gone for it to be a thing anymore. Who knows what will happen. But until then, I will keep enjoying the time with babies of friends and family. I will enjoy the interactions I get with youth and children at work and the kiddos of family friends. I will revel in the joy that I do have in my life from watching kids grow, age, and mature.

I can’t foresee what the future holds, what is in store for me, but I still have dreams. I am still content knowing not everything I dream is meant for me. But just like Alice in Wonderland reminds me, I will keep dreaming impossible things. I will keep moving. Keep moving forward.

Spoken Verse

Lent: Day Three

I love poetry. I like reading it, seeing it, and even writing it. I love slam poetry. I love spoken verse and the cadence of artist who speak it. I love the poetry of prose. And so sometimes I find myself writing and writing and writing. So I’ll share.

Spoken Verse

Lent: Day Three

I love poetry. I like reading it, seeing it, and even writing it. I love slam poetry. I love spoken verse and the cadence of artist who speak it. I love the poetry of prose. And so sometimes I find myself writing and writing and writing. So I’ll share.

Endless Blogging

Lent: Day Two

I knew this was coming. I knew I’d have to have lots of things to talk about. And so, like the writer in me, I started paying attention to the subjects that sprung up. And I have been keeping them cataloged in my notes app on my phone. Because 40+ days of writing is a lot. But I’m committed to making it happen. And this compendium will serve me well and keep me on track for what I “promised”. Things you can expect to see in the next few blogs:

  • Original poems
  • (Thoughts on) Babies
  • (Thoughts on) Eccentrics
  • (Stories of) Life-long Friendships
  • (Thoughts on) Past Relationships
  • Things Not Meant for Us
  • Butterflies
  • BLM
  • A Return to Etsy
  • Accents/Adages of Others
  • Connections
  • Bookstagram
  • Podcast
  • Cohort Theme Nights
  • …And So Much More.

Clingy

Lent Day One

I’ve always been what I’d characterize as a “clingy” person. Being the youngest of three, I was born into a world where there were always people around. And this is how I thrive. Noise. Energy. People. Closeness. It’s all been a part of my thriving. But at the same time those things are a double-edged sword when juxtaposed with being an HSP. A constant push and pull, something I don’t always understand (let alone expect anyone else to grasp).

The last week or so I’ve had the idea of “hope” running through my brain. I used this idea for a retreat for my kiddos and as a jumping off point for their Youth Sunday theme this year. And I’ve looked at it as a filter for my own life as well. Things can be tough, not go our way, be confusing, etc. But there is still hope. There is still faith. There is still me, letting my magic work.

The Fire of Creativity

For as long as I can remember I’ve always been a creative. Though it isn’t something I always claim, or feel competent enough to be called, I know deep down it’s true. Who knows what is at the root of this creativity, but like most things it is bound to be fueled by many things over my lifetime. My mom was an amazing seamstress. I can remember stories of college textiles professors laughing at her when she suggested creating her own patterns for a project (she did it anyway) and the famous family story of my dad’s mom and grandma being impressed when she could quickly mend her own clothes at a family function. But aside from the family roots, our parents surrounded us with creatives from an early age (whether they realized it at the time or whether they were just capitalizing on the eager youth at church remains to be seen). Crafts were typical when Annette would babysit us: I distinctly remember making t-shirts with fabric paint and sequins and stamps, and making sock puppets with paint and yarn and googly eyes. And she still uses that creativity to share her story and inspire the world. Make-believe ran rampant when Sara would babysit us: popcorn bowl hates and stories of heroes and princesses, games that bordered breaking the rules (and actually broke part of the chandelier–oops). And she still uses that creativity to write and envision fantasy world. And there were many, many, many more people who taught me to dream and create and get messy.

I’ve dabbled in many areas. I took ceramics and sculpture and two years of jewelry making in high school. I took ceramics in college, and opted out of metals (even though my talent was recognized and I was encouraged to be an art minor) because the professor was not my favorite. I taught myself to knit, encouraged by my grandma, and to crochet, encouraged by my talent at dropping stitches when I knit. I started journaling in middle school and do so on and off when the mood strikes. I write poetry (often brought on my changing relationships and grief). I started a novel for NaNoWriMo one year (but didn’t stick with it). I love to sing. But some of my favorite things include painting and hand lettering. I have a knack for being able to recreate what I see with an ease and elegance. To me this blog serves as a type of creativity as well. I enjoy it, and always say it’s more for me than anyone else but that if it helps someone else that is an added benefit.

So when I had a friend tell me the other day how much she enjoys my blog, I freaked out (because sometimes I forget people actually read what I share). But she used it as a springboard to tell me that she thought her girlfriend and I should start a podcast. I laughed, audibly (not just “lol” like people say, I actually laughed out loud). Nonchalantly I said something along the lines of “oh yeah, that’d be cool…” not really thinking much of it. But fast forward a few days and this showed up on my porch:

So I guess she was serious? And “happy early birthday” to me?

Well, that certainly got the ball rolling. We came up with a name (drat, it was already taken). So we came up with a second one (didn’t quite fit) and a third (YES! Winner!). And I created a logo. And we secured a gmail account and an instagram account. And now our daily conversation is about what we want our blog to be about. It’s exciting and daunting. But I am so humbled that my two dear friends thought I was cool enough to have a blog (and that I have enough to say to share with the world). Sometimes creativity comes easily. And sometimes you need a kick in the ass from someone else. So here’s to many, many podcast episodes about faith and mental health and relationships and silliness and storytelling. Feel free to follow along as Tara and I take you on a journey through our minds (warning: who knows what you’ll run into along the way). Instagram: @sparksisterspodcast or sparksisterspodcast@gmail.com