Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Outside My Safe Window

There is a beautiful rainstorm happening outside my window, and when the cars and trucks speed by, they make huge waves that rise above the fence line.

I love those waves.

Not so much when I'm standing at the bus stop, and have to jump out of the way to avoid them.

But when I'm sitting comfortably at my computer, with a window between me and the cold rain, I enjoy every one.


The construction is still happening next door to me.

When the dump trucks are working, it is like huge claps of thunder, and the whole room shakes.

There is a building standing where only a month ago there was none.

Life moves forward.


I want to pretend that life is a simple as a set of Legos and a trip to the beach. But that is not the kind of construction and waves that come when you are an adult.

Everything that happens now has a greater permanence than you can imagine when you are seven years old.

It isn't easy to start over. And it isn't easy to jump out of the way when unexpected things come at you.


Life is a lot like street waves and construction.

Fast. Cold. Full of dirt. Loud. Uncertain. Strong and weak.

I might have spoken strong words about foundations and building new things when I first watched that construction through the safety of my window, but I am not ready to dig in the dirt to build anything.

I want to sit on the other side of a safe window, and appreciate the beauty of life, without risking the splash that comes with actually living in it.


I want everything to slow down and speed up. I know that doesn't make sense. But what I mean is, I want the fast things to be slow and the slow things to pass quickly.

And I want a lot of things that aren't realistic.

I am tired of loss.

And heartbreak.

And dirt.

And all the pain that comes from stepping out from behind my safe window.

And the fact that the phone rings, and the computer lets the world in, and people die, and my window doesn't even begin to protect me from the pain of the world outside.

Linking up with Shell at Things I Can't Say for Pour Your Heart Out

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ring Around The Sun

The sun looked different today in Orlando. It had a halo around it.

Florida Sun Ring Halo

Thomas called from work to tell me to take Katarina and the camera outside, and we immediately saw the rainbow ring.

What is the ring around the sun?

A complete and perfect circle with rainbow edges surrounding the sun.

Sun Halo and Palm Tree

It was huge.

Even lying on the ground, and shooting up to the sky, I couldn't get the entire ring in the picture.

Halo Around The Sun

(And I may have been bitten by an ant. But that isn't really important.
Just me putting myself in harm's way to bring you pictures again.)

Sun Rainbow Ring

Why is there a ring around the sun? What causes a sun halo?

A halo can appear around the sun or the moon. It is formed when light passes through hexagonal ice crystals, with diameters less than 20.5 micrometers, in cirrus clouds within the Earth's atmosphere.

Sun With Rainbow Circle

If these hexagonal ice crystals are in just the right place, they refract the light twice (when it passes in and out of the crystal), bending the light approximately 22-degrees, and producing a ring of light around the sun. This is why these halos are also called 22 Degree Halos.

sun shining through palm tree with halo

It seems pretty simple, but it is one of those situations where everything has to be in exactly the right place at the right time. Pretty amazing.

Katarina and I both snapped dozens of pictures. She wasn't quite as prepared to lay on the ground as I was (especially after the whole ant incident), so she inadvertently made an appearance in a couple of her pictures while positioning the camera on the ground. I love it.

Katarina and sun halo

And Katarina loved getting a short break from math work to have an unexpected science lesson.

These are some of the same palm trees that were in the pictures when we saw fire rainbows in the sky a couple of years ago. They were pretty amazing, too.

Ring Around The Sun

Plus we captured this super quick video that helps you to really get an idea how large the halo was.

Have you ever seen a sun halo?

psalm 19 heavens declare the glory of God

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Sliver Of Light

I have a lot of questions.

This morning I spent an hour looking at literary tattoos.

I don't have a lot of answers.

Some of them were beautiful.

I love deeply.

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times,
if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

I feel.

This morning I dreamt of creating small figurines that were then smashed, and crushed, and pushed together.

I hurt. I cry. I wipe my tears, and start again.

Some of them were beautiful.

I laugh. I dance. I spin until the my feet leave the ground, and the world stands still.

"I think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard,
I hear their song of freedom rising to the stars."

I grow.

This morning I sang words that have been in my head for days.

I feel the words pulse with the beating of my heart.

Some of them were beautiful.

I reach for more. I believe it is there. He is there. I stand firm, even when I'm falling.

"Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me"

I know all is not darkness.

There is a sliver of light coming in through the curtain.

There is a sliver of light illuminating my soul.

It is beautiful.

I am beautiful. You are beautiful.

"Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Red Hibiscus

What have you read/seen/listened to lately that touched your heart?

Quotes: Albus Dumbledore/J. K. Rowling, Sara Groves, Jesus Culture, and Dylan Thomas

Thursday, April 10, 2014

For Today, You Can Rest

I was reminded today that time is short.

Life is short.

We don't get a whole lot of years on earth to do this life thing.

My grandma will have her 90th birthday this month.

90 years feels long, but it isn't. Not really.

And I feel pressured to do more, be more, jump higher.

But then I hear a small voice telling me it is okay. I'm okay. Right where I am today. Not that I will always stay here, but for today it is okay. And I feel peace.

At this point, I think a better blogger than me would have a snazzy picture with a perfect quote. Something about making every second count, or regrets being all your fault, because you didn't shoot higher and reach for more opportunities.

Just the thought of it makes me feel the pressure returning.

Sometimes I feel attacked by those quotes when I see them shared on social media. They are meant to be inspirational, but instead they just feel like a punch in the face, telling me all the ways I'm failing.

I'm not always so good at inspirational.

Although I did make this picture for a friend once:

A Field Of Yellow Flowers Is My Wish For You

This is where my heart is. I wish good things for us, you and me.

I hope that in the time we have, we are accomplishing, honoring, inspiring, living fully, overcoming, healing, growing, transforming, learning new things, feeling and giving love, dancing, connecting, noticing beauty, dreaming, being a testimony, living in spirit and truth, being a light, having fun, living big....I wish, and I hope, and I pray.

But I don't know that those things always look the way we imagine them. A quiet life can still be powerful. It isn't all jumping out of planes and conquering mountains. And if time really is short (it is), I don't want to waste any of it feeling judged by an image on social media.

So when you are scrolling through your newsfeed, and feel punched in the face by judgement cloaked as inspiration, know that I wish for you a field of yellow flowers - or whatever it is that would make you feel joy. And know that it is enough to be you, where you are right now.

Transformations and changes and movement will happen, but for today, you can rest. And in that rest, I hope you find the kind of inspiration that feels like a warm hug on a rainy day.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The Clorox Ick Awards: Because Life Can Be Fun and Icky

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Clorox.

Thomas' mother, Judy, was an amazing cook. When Katarina was little, and we visited Judy's house, she and Katarina would always end up in the kitchen together.

It usually started out simple, with Judy saying, "Let's bake some cookies!"

Bowls full of sprinkles, chocolate chips, nuts, candies, coconut, and pretty much anything else that might end up on a cookie were set out, and the cookie baking began.

Cookie decorating at Grandma's house

After a few neatly decorated cookies, the sprinkles began to fly between giggles. I would reach for the broom or rag to clean up the mess.

"Don't worry about it," Judy would tell me, as she encouraged Katarina to throw the coconut in the air to let it land on the cookies "artistically."

Once the cookies were in the oven, they would move on to cooking other things.

Chocolate Pie. Tossed salad (literally tossed, with glee) Puff pastries. Mac & Cheese (homemade, with at least five kinds of cheese). Jam. Spaghetti.

As Judy handed three-year old Katarina the spoon and led her over to the huge pot of spaghetti sauce, I called out, "Stir it carefully so it doesn't..."


Spaghetti sauce all over the wall, counter, stove top, and Katarina.

"It's not a big deal," Judy soothed, "we'll clean it up later."

By this time I was usually kicked out of the kitchen to sit with Thomas in the other room.

Oh, yes, Thomas had been kicked out long before. Apparently parents are very disruptive to the cooking fun. We just didn't want Katarina to make a huge mess.

Every so often we would peek our heads around the kitchen door. The dirty dishes had overflowed the sink. Judy and Katarina were dancing around the center island dribbling chocolate sauce over something - and themselves, and the countertop, and the floor, and I think a few stray splashes even landed on the refrigerator behind them.

The ceiling was probably the only safe surface in that room.
Or maybe I just never looked up to check on it.

Thomas would say, "Don't make a..." but before the word mess could come out of his mouth, Judy had already shushed and shooed him back into the living room. She had a lot of fun kicking him out. And I'm pretty sure she encouraged the great mess, partly to drive him crazy, but mostly to just have fun with her granddaughter.

Flour on Katarina's nose and face

I sat on the couch, imagining taking a fire-hose and bottle of bleach to the whole kitchen. Surely that was the only way to get everything clean.

"I know I don't cook, but do they really have to throw the dough in the air like that?" I whispered to Thomas on our next trip to the kitchen door, "They are making bread, not a pizza."

He just shook his head, and called out to the pass-through window, "If you throw the flour, it is going to get all over everything. Don't make a..." but his words were quickly drowned out by giggles, and Judy's gleeful direction to, "Throw some more flour on it, Katie-Hope, and we'll pretend it's snowing in the kitchen."

Judy knew something that us first-time parents, who were a little too busy keeping our kid and kitchen clean, didn't know. It doesn't matter how messy the kitchen, or you, get. Things can be cleaned. It doesn't even matter if dinner and dessert preparation and eating required a full bath from which to recover.

eating messy chocolate pie

What matters is how much fun you have, and the memories you build.

And the messy memories are especially fun.

Even if Judy's kitchen ended up pretty icky by the end of the night.

The Clorox Ick Awards
Clorox is teaming up with Chicago improve troupe The Second City Communications for the Clorox Ick Awards on Wednesday, April 9 from 6-10 p.m. ET. The #ickies will be the messiest virtual awards show ever, featuring real-time comedy inspired by real-life moments.

Clorox ick awards logo

The Second City Communications will turn tweets into #ickies video skits throughout the awards show. You can help pick the winners by voting for your favorites, and maybe win big as they give out $2,500 in prizes.

If you have a wondrously hilarious, icky moment you want to nominate in advance, you can share it by using #ickies. Then watch the first hour of the awards to see if your moment is featured in the opening number with a surprise celebrity guest.

Visit to sign up for Clorox’s email newsletter, and learn more about how Clorox can help you laugh through the mess. And don't forget to follow @Clorox on Twitter and share your “icky moment” using the hashtag #ickies to be entered to win.

What is your best messy or icky memory?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Clorox.
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