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3/27/17

Aging Happens

When it comes to outward appearance, I’m pretty low maintenance. I’ve never had my eyebrows done (I don’t even know what that means). I don’t know how to apply eye-shadow. Anything requiring wax on my body terrifies me to the core. I don’t even wear makeup most days.

An actual picture of all my cosmetics in a super fancy container. 
Nobody told me, though, that when I turned 30, I’d be entering a new era of face maintenance. Perhaps the most annoying body change I’ve seen in my thirties has been a development of dry flaky skin on my face that makes me feel like a snake awkwardly shedding its skin. Last week, after my seventh application of Vitamin E oil on the pesky unscathed dry patches, I remembered hearing about a face scrubbing device with a catchy name. The device was only $10 at Sephora and was cleverly named Cleaning Me Softly...a play on the classic Fugees song, “Killing Me Softly.”

We don’t have a Sephora where I live, but lucky for me, we were heading to a town with a Sephora that weekend so I could run a half-marathon. I had only walked through a Sephora once before a few years earlier. Honestly, I just hung on the outskirts examining the rhetoric of the advertisements on the wall while I waited for my friends to buy an assortment of makeup brushes.

So, before we returned home from our weekend away, I dragged my family to the mall. I left my husband and kids in the car promising to be swift. Malls always make me a little nervous; they’re filled with people, things, loud noises, and smells. They take me back to my middle school days when I begged my parents to drop me off at the mall so I could eat soft pretzels and flirt (unsuccessfully) with boys way too old for me at the Sunglass Hut.

3/8/17

Why I don't choose joy in tough situations

It's been a good while since I've written anything here. In my defense, I had a post due for another site that I procrastinated like a good writer does, and it left me zapped. Actually, winter has a way of dragging me down. It's dark and cold and keeps people indoors; it drives an active, outdoorsy person like me a bit bananas. On top of this, our dog died, our kitchen appliances went on strike, and my husband's work schedule feels relentless. I've found myself wallowing in the muck this winter, trying to climb out but slipping each time I get a strong footing.
What a sad sight. 
Currently, I'm reading Tish Harrison Warren's Liturgy of the Ordinary, and it's been so thought-provoking. Essentially, the book is about embracing the ordinary moments in our lives and finding God in something as mundane as brushing our teeth. Chapter four explores the everyday moments of chaos that we encounter and encourages readers to view these as opportunities to see how much grace we need. Harrison Warren writes about the conundrum of finding more peace while she lived in a conflict zone than while living in her safe, middle-class life in the States:
"I had a theology of suffering that allowed me to pay attention in crisis, to seek small flickers of mercy in profound darkness. But my theology was too big to touch a typical day in my life. I'd developed the habit of ignoring God in the midst of the daily grind" (55). 
I can relate. It's easy for me to see glimmers of God at work in big, chaotic situations--especially when they're not directly impacting me. But when my dog dies and all my appliances quit and it's cold and my husband is gone on the weekends---I don't see glimmers of God. Instead, I see endless chaos. This begs the question: how do we see God in the everyday chaos?

2/19/17

Prairies, vulnerability, and relationships

One of the paths at The Crane Trust

Out here in the open prairie, there's a sense of vulnerability. There are no trees, no buildings, no people to hem me in. I am exposed on all sides. My bright blue jacket is a stark contrast to the golds and browns and grays of the prairie waking up after a cold winter. I find myself walking slower out here, more cautiously, my head swinging from side to side searching for any signs of danger. My right hand clasps my runner's mace--just in case.

One mile into my wandering, though, I can feel a loosening in all my muscles as my body relaxes and my stride quickens. Now comfortable with my surroundings, the threat of danger has passed. I let my eyes focus on only what is right in front of me--a path through the tall wild grasses. I'm finally able to enjoy the solitude. There are not many places a person can go to get pure solitude without a hundred distractions.  
A bare cottonwood

I come to a lone cottonwood in the middle of the prairie. Her branches reach out tall and bare; her leaves--dried and gray crunch beneath my feet. There's a bleached white log next to the tree inviting me to sit awhile, to dig my notebook out from my satchel, and write. I am exposed from all sides in the open prairie, but still, I sit and write, spilling some of my deepest thoughts on this ivory Moleskine paper.