Posts Tagged ‘beauty’

(This was originally published in error as a separate page two weeks ago.)

Notes along this journey:

I’m not made for the corporate life. I’m just not. Others are. I’m not. It’s a box I don’t fit into. Small organization, yes. Work for myself, yes. Freelance, yes. Just be, yes.

Job searches are so much about trying to fit into the corporate life. It’s a bit disorienting that way. When people ask me what kind of position I’m looking for, I need to figure out a better way to answer, a simple way to say I want to earn enough to support myself by being a writer and a maker and a mentor and a learner and a teacher and a simple living guru and a disciple and a disciple-maker. And not worry if anyone else thinks that sounds irresponsible. I’m very responsible.

I believe I am called to live in such a way that shows another way is possible. A personal way, yet a community-building way. An artisanal way. An intergenerational way. A simple way. An ancient way. A contemplative, spiritual way. A way that supports justice and participates in restoring shalom to our world.

I do not know if in that description there are ways to fully support myself. But if God calls me to it, God will make a way. I have been consumed with how to continue to make a living. After all, paying the bills is pretty necessary in our culture. But it’s had me bound. And that’s a sign of not trusting. I don’t want to be bound. I want to make a life. My life.

I have this vision of a house like Nonnatus House. If you are a fan of Call the Midwife, you know what that means. Maybe not a full blown convent, because maybe it could be co-ed. But a place where people who like each other enough to live together share expenses, thus easing income-pressure for everyone, and share common areas. Share life. Share vision. Share service. Neighbor with their neighbors.

I stand at the crossroads, and I’m looking hard. I ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, because that’s where I long to walk. There I will find rest for my soul. (Jeremiah 6:16)

God wants me to see the path, and I want to see it. So the way will open. On that I’ll rest.


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Looking at the moon

I can see the lunar eclipse from my balcony tonight. The bright part of the blood moon is just a fingernail sliver against a brown circle in the dark sky. It’s not all that dark even, because I live in a city now. But it’s clearly visible. Palladium windows alight in neighboring apartments echo the theme of partial circles.

Listen – is that chirping crickets or something that sounds like them? Traffic noise pulses too – or is that my own pulse in my ears?

Snips of muffled conversations drift up from the apartment above me, no real words but clearly human. Are they looking outside from time to time too? Are children being allowed to stay up later than normal on this school night so they can see the eclipse for themselves? Are parents explaining to them how it works? Perfect learning opportunities happen sometimes in pajamas. Not just something in a book, but real life.

Don’t get me wrong, I love books. I learn voraciously from books. But I’ve been reading a lot lately about the damage to children, in their learning and physical health and emotional wellbeing, because they are so totally scheduled and supervised that they have no time to just play and learn from the real world. Ho did we come to not understand this in our guts?

Yeah, I realize that most kids today are so conditioned to fast movement and electronics that their attention spans probably don’t last through an eclipse. Heck, I’m not sitting out there watching the whole thing. But bravo to any parent who is at least letting their children stay up to have a look at it and hopefully even enjoying it with them.

Of course this requires looking away from TV and all other devices. Ah, well, one can hope.

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Model for a day

I answered a call from one of my Facebook friends and signed up to model in a fashion show at our local mall today. This was my second modeling experience. The first was a staff luncheon where I worked at least four years ago featuring clothing from a thrift store. I enjoyed that, so decided this one with new clothes sounded fun, too.

Today’s theme was prom and spring. I was the oldest model, in years anyway, and my persona was to be The Mother of the Bride. When they sent me to Carson’s earlier in the week to pick out my outfit, they pointed out three styles most popularly chosen by brides’ mothers. My first impression: these were Grandmother-of-the-Bride dresses. I might be a grandmother, but I don’t dress like that. The one I chose was much simpler and, I felt, more elegant. Then they took me to choose shoes and jewelry, and voila:

Carol modeling a blue dress

Carol in a blue dress at the mall

My take-aways?

  1. It was fun to do all the girl things and get all dressed up, even just for an hour.
  2. I have fairly good style instincts.
  3. Those Anne Klein heels are surprisingly comfortable.
  4. There’s a used bookstore at the mall — who knew?
  5. It was true to my nature to do both: have this  modeling adventure and purchase a used book which I’ve already begun to read.



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This weekend I watched a documentary about design and advertising called Art and Copy. Several times during it I had to get up and do something creative, like pack up my camera to take to work or play with fabric scraps. It was that inspiring. I admire people who design, capturing concepts and our attention with words and images, and their drive for excellence.

Yes, we are drowning in commercial messages. But yes, art and copy can change the world in good ways, too.

Design matters as much as good writing matters.

I’m writing grant proposals this weekend, too. What a challenge, not to be boring. They’ve even removed the ability to control the layout of proposals, with online fill-in-the-field applications. I needed the beauty of that film.

My office got new furniture last week. Now the space is more than ever a canvas waiting for me to express myself and make it even more functional and nurturing. Slowly–it won’t be me if it happens all at once.

If you’re in the neighborhood, come and see.

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Something got into me on Wednesday and I moved furniture in my office. It’s just got to work better for me and my office mate. Coworkers have of course noticed that something is different. One commented that I need artwork of some kind on the walls. She said, “What about those posters?” indicating the three that someone in our frugal nonprofit put in there because no one else wanted them, three years ago when we first occupied the building. They won’t do, I told her, because “they’re what’s left. I’ve had it with what’s left.”

If you’ve read some of my other blog posts, you know I love to recycle, upcycle, get creative with what’s left. Still true. It’s one way I express me. But it’s also true that I’ve had it with what’s left. If I can’t remake it, repurpose it, I can’t accept something readymade that fits someone else’s taste. This goes beyond office artwork. I’m so glad I could actually utter those words.

Until I find artwork that expresses me, pleases me, I at least took in one of my philodendrons. Life. Growth. It’s good.

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On resolutions: I woke up this morning thinking about, first, my work office organization and procedures, and second, how badly I need to exercise. I guess that puts me right there with all the people who resolve on New Years Day to get better organized and get in shape, except I don’t make resolutions because I don’t keep them. Still, clearly I need to work at this. Still. Always, it seems. If I don’t, I am robbing myself of energy, strength, flexibility, and even joy both physically and mentally. (Tips on keeping resolutions: from CNN and Wall Street Journal.)

On this Golden Day: Then it dawned on me that this is 1/11/11. What does this portend? I’m not superstitious, but this is the only day of my life– of most people’s lives — with ones lined up like that. Pretty cool.

On lies emphasized on New Years Eve: Beautiful people, drinking beautiful drinks, kissing other beautiful people at the stroke of midnight. Lovely picture. Sells expensive liquor, expensive dresses, expensive nights out on the town. But it’s not most people’s real life. These images perpetuate two fallacies, both of which cause enormous pain.

  • Alcohol is essential for romance. Yes, a little alcohol can add to the festive spirit, although it’s not necessary. Beyond that, alcohol adds to self-absorption and thus isolates; deadens the senses; and leads to, shall we say, inability to function. (Why do you think college guys who swill it down also pop the little blue pills?)
  • Romantic happiness means finding the perfect, beautiful, “hot”  partner. I guarantee you, there are both women and men out there who may not be physically gorgeous or studly or meet Hollywood’s or ad agencies’ standards for “hot,” but who have breathtakingly beautiful hearts and minds, with smoldering embers inside them, throwing off sparks, just waiting to be fanned into flames by love given and returned. Their loneliness weighs especially heavily on them when couples all around them are kissing in the new year. And you know what? Love shows through as outer beauty, too. As designer Yves St. Laurent said, “The most beautiful makeup on a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy.”

Happy New Year, y’all. God bless us every one. I’m off to either, um, exercise or tackle some clutter.

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