July 3, 2015

To Seize a Moment

This is the month I turn 31.

Which you knew, because last year, at this same time, I turned thirty--a very big deal. Quite over-documented. But for reasons.

I told myself this was going to be the year of grace, and now I am being forced to put that into practice. Repeatedly. I have been riding hard and fast waves in 2015--rise and fall and rise and fall--for not a lot of good purpose, though that doesn't make it less real. Something is changing in me, I think.

And probably that doesn't have much to do with turning 31, or it has everything to do with turning 31. It has nothing or everything to do with trying to let go of younger identities, trying to behave like a true grown-up, trying to sort out philosophies bigger than what can fit inside a day's thoughts. Up until 30, I was of a "move forward" mind. This was good and right, and the struggle was only trying not to move through it all too quickly.

But, oh. I'm [almost] 31. Suddenly that's old enough to remember an awful lot with only fondness. Where are angst and navel-gazing when I need them anyway? Now I'm like a cartoon with my head back and forth violently, everything in the middle totally blurred. Maybe that's where the bumpy tide came from.

I think there's a lesson we miss in grace sometimes. We know that grace covers a multitude of wrongs. Grace creates community. Grace exudes love. Grace commands, "Dust yourself off and try again," maybe with a less Aaliyah attitude than that. But grace also instructs us to seize the moment. We aren't called to live in grace when it's convenient or once we've stored enough of it up to dole out proportionally or certainly not selectively. 

To be gracious and graceful is a mindset and a way of being, and so its essence should be about us all the time. Even now. This second. And this one. That's how you don't skip any opportunity. That's why a life lived in grace is a full life, because nothing is being missed.

I imagine I will have many more moments like this one. I imagine the years get shockingly faster from here on out. But I hope I still have enough growing up to do that it starts to feel right to be here, just as I am, living all the parts of this very moment without looking forward or backward. 

June 18, 2015


Something about certain melancholies
Their accompanying productivities
Like composing songs upon black keys
Sickly sweet minor symphonies

Something about how my life has changed
And how those songs get in the way
When I just want to live day-to-day 
Without being a muse's slave

Something about a happy song
A tune that makes me feel strong
One that others can sing-along
So we aren't hung up on what is wrong

Something about a day that's bright
Not fully wrung of its might
Not concerned with being right
Composed upon the pretty white
Leaves my heart feeling light

June 10, 2015

Natural: Curls

I am not sure what I'm doing with my hair. After this major decision, everything else seems a little miniscule--tiny snips here, little changes there. I am probably growing out my bangs because, well, New York summer is swampy. And after seeing a million fishtail braids all over the Internet, I am also probably deciding that I miss having really long hair. Which, if I'm growing it back out, leaves the age-old question of what to do in the interim. 

How I have always wanted wavy hair. Wouldn't that just solve the summer-growing-out problem? I'm not even talking curly! I would settle for wavy! So while I understand what's glaringly obvious: that the most natural way to have wavy hair is to have naturally wavy hair; this is not an option for me. However. I'm not really a "hair tools" kind of girl, primarily because I am a mom (which is the acceptable way of saying, "Not willing to rise earlier than my children to curl my hair"); and also because most attempts seem futile against other natural effects, ie, gravity, humidity, and the universe's determination to not let me have what I want. 

So, in making "natural" attempts at what does not come naturally to me, I found this video of a twist braid you can sleep in (but please don't ask me what Internet hole I fell through to get to hair tutorial videos on YouTube). I must say I'm pleased with the results, no products or too much extra work required. It works particularly well on my almost-always dirty hair, and while I can't keep this volume all day, the wave stays. Aha!

I post "Natural" stories from time-to-time as I try to find ways to engage in simpler living. I'm not an expert, just finding my way and happy to share what I learn.

June 1, 2015

A Sparrow Falls

I stepped over a baby bird on the sidewalk today, and I only determined that's what it was after a moment of curiosity caused me to backtrack and examine further.

My heart sank when I learned the violent truth. But it was certain. There are her feathers. That's a small beak. Look at the curve of an unused wing. 

While my skin was crawling with the cold reality of a death come too soon, I pictured You watching from up above and down below and from every other vantage point we've never even considered. At 9:23 a.m., or whatever time baby bird fell, someone in Africa was hungry and prayers from China tallied high and an Australian mom desperate for her baby to sleep while night fell called your name. Still you knew this bird hit the ground, and I very nearly saw the rest of the world fade and the vignette frame this poor creature--what Your eyes undoubtedly saw.

How many feathers did she have? 954? I don't know, but you do. And did she yet sing a song or peep to her mother for food? I don't know, but you do. You saw her tucked warm inside her shell and designed the way she eventually left it. You shed a tear for your beautiful, once living thing.

These are the moments I know You are true because how could I learn hope from darkness even but that it was you? Now I will remember that at 11:58 when the house is quiet and the city is not; when everyone else sleeps but it evades me; when a businessman sits befuddled and suicidal in his office; or when someone on the other side of the world fears for her life--even then, it's okay to say, "God, are you there?" And you will be above me and below me and in every other corner where I never imagined I'd find you and you will hear me. You will know how many are my hairs and when exactly I will find my voice and how I will use it. You will remember what I looked like tucked inside my mother's womb and how you designed the way I eventually left it. You will remind me that I am your beautiful, living thing.