Glorybeans, Albemarle, Criticism and the last Frontier.

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Jack Johnson bumpy thumpy goodness overhead, a big-thick- deep- beautiful wooden table. At a teensy coffee shop in Albemarle NC, a new work assignment.

Good gracious how i avoided writing….. i am literally in front of this screen almost everyday, but i don’t write.

I know I should. I know you never avoid the things that you know are good for you, eh?

Writing for me you see, its therapy. I write to wrangle chaos, you know the stuff that is flying endlessly around your mind, for me- it needs a place. Here will do for now.

Fall is here. Its the Father’s whisper to me that .. good things are to come. The crisp air is full of promise. Promise of leaves, pumpkin everything, rainy days and eventual snowflakes and then Christmas. Sweet Sweet Christmas, the twinkly lights, warm blankets, fireplace… oh gosh I’ll stop im melting already.

Can a person wait all year for Octobers?

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This year my fella and I were able to vacation to a place where autumn came early, wild Alaska. The gold in the leaves.. ya’ll….. God is good and he is BEAUTIFUL.

These past few seasons… I have avoided putting words in it. Lets just hit the highlights.

My mom had a second ablation. No further arrhythmias.. amen.

My grandfather passed away, and the Lord let me be there. Today would have been his 58 wedding anniversary. My grandmother remains as a testament to endurance and kindness in the midst of hard times.

My fella’s 2.5 years of studying have come to an end. amen. I am proud of him for persevering even with those closest to him discouraging. He has been and will always be the smartest person I know.  Overcoming looks like this.

The dad,fella and I took a trip together. The longest amount of time I have spent with my dad since I have left home, almost 10 years ago now. What a privilege to see the world. To see it with those you love. To see  the spectacle of Gods beauty across His face.

As much as i love to travel. The bag packed, plane boarded, mimosas, adventures… this last trip made me ever more grateful for real life. I missed the people that I have been given to laugh with, love with, care for, to live… with.

Reality, no need to escape. Just sink your heels and open your head, heart and for me my ears. Perhaps these seasons of our lives are not a chance, not a fluke, not punishment but preparing… preparing.

To a touchy subject: This year I have faced criticism by those I respect and love.

Lets get real:

  1. its going to happen, its what people do, its how people cope with their unmet expectations, it can be retaliatory.
  2. we are fallen people and we often are the accuser
  3. we need it sometimes, its how we grow… gah, if i have to hear ” calm seas never made a skillful sailor..” one more time.
  4. ok its unavoidable … and here is the kicker for me… it allows us to show grace when it hurts. did you hear that? that was stomach in the floor. Our Father did not save us simply from heat, he saved us from the slaves we are to ourselves. When I am criticized I feel the need to explain, to SHOW you, to alleviate. Sometimes this may be appropriate, however over this year for myself… its an opportunity to let it go. To love the sinners, to die to pride and the sneaky sin of BEING RIGHT, to biting our tongue, to saving the tears.

This year has been one of great growth in my little sphere, professionally, relationally and most importantly my walk with my Father- but anger though can be righteous is often not and has inked its way into my quiet places. Have you been inked too lately?

To be misunderstood is painful. To accept it, perhaps this too is growth. To acknowledge that at the end of my days, I answer to One.  Our life was never promised to be understood. I must accept that I too may be misunderstood. And that as daughters of a Prince, that’s ok. Its ok for your family to not get it, for your peers, for your friends sometimes, for your neighbors, for those closest to us even….

Life lesson for 2016: Live your life under the scrutiny of others for an audience of one. The One.

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Now onto that pumpkin spice latte….. because.. well…. its October.

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Chosen joy, bread friends and life lessons this season.

starts

Shooting stars, my thoughts fly across my mind like hurling globes of fire without an endpoint.

A different season, its hard for me to articulate, perhaps maybe this what I haven’t.

I am on the verge of tears these days, for a myriad of reasons. Have you ever felt like a big-fat- faker?  Now the proud owner of a professional degree, professional responsibilities and now well into my professional career.  One would think I would adopt this professional professionalism.

Now more than ever I ache for adventure. I ache for back-porch fiddle picking in the cool of mountain air. The dirt under your nails, sand in your shoes and tired shoulders from paddling.  Do you have that thing? perhaps that place?  Perhaps it is filled with a little trepidation because your relationship with that thing hasen’t always been smooth but it still has an ability to water your soul.  For some, running, painting, piano playing, quilting, rock climbing, hiking and the list goes on….

Where does the balance of life enter? Something tells me it doesn’t, that you carve it out.  I am learning that as adult one must live more intentionally than ever. How do you live intentionally?

As someone who has lost someone they loved and is sometimes paralyzed by the fear of losing another, our time on this globe is so small. How do we make the most of this tiny window in space?

Lessons from this season:

  1. Call you momma and tell her that you love her.
  2. Joy is chosen.
  3. Good music soothes the soul
  4. Whiskey is not for sad times
  5.  If you don’t make time to write, you wont.
  6.  Home is a hard word to define.
  7.  Friends, they are how you get through. They unpack boxes, order sushi and serve you walks and bread when you need it the most. I am so grateful.
  8. Marriage does not get easier, you just get better at it. Then when you think your getting better, humble pie comes in large slices.
  9. A healthy heart, mind and soul may never be attainable, some place always has to give a bit.
  10. Gods word never ceases to convict
  11. Be quicker to listen and slower to speak.
  12. Sometimes your opinions just need to be kept to yourself.
  13. At the end of the day, sometimes, Netflix is really what you need.
  14. Introversion, I might be acquiring you.
  15. My job still scares me but is one of the largest privileges I have ever been given.

” Teach me how to see when I close my eyes, teach me to forgive and to apologize. Teach me how to love when I feel so small, teach me how to love in the darkest dark.

Take me to the place where I feel no shame, take where courage doesn’t need a name. Learning how to cry is the hardest part. There is only one way to mend a broken heart”

— Wailin  Jennys

Maybe you are learning to see when you close your eyes? Maybe your in a teary season? Maybe you are so full of joy you are bursting at the seams. Please tell me about your bread friends, your chosen joy and the place that waters your soul.

 

 

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Language: bewitchment or ablaze?

Words… the bend.. the curve.. the syntax, they are beauty.

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English is without the romance of Spanish and without the fêted angry tones of our German brethren. English you are in your purest form, far from my vernacular. I am not sure we have ever met.

You have been bended and blended though the long draw of the Appalachian hills and the draw of the Savannah heat. Your verbs have been made into nouns, your conjunctions without punctuation. You are often a wandering gypsy of signs and symbols up to the interpretation of the reader. Sound familiar?

The ancient curves and sacred vows of the Hebrew, the ground shaking glorious often frightful idolatry spewed of the Greek. The alive never dead Latin. We are allowed, by the grace of God and brilliant minds, to communicate with the outside world. The thoughts in your head, in my head, come out in curves and lines that someone gloriously categorized.

I am listening to Gillian Welch this moment, her twain will make your heart cry. You can almost hear the pain and grief she spills through her vocals. Why do we need to read minds, we need only listen.

The heart spills, its can’t be contained, it spills words and then emotions come. Sure, emotions may precede the words but that’s a different argument.

The larger my vocabulary grows the less I feel able to articulate, God’s humor I suppose. We are both blessed and cursed with word after word after word to describe. We have endless options to describe what sometimes sounds, looks, tastes, feels like….. we have no small lexicon to choose from.

Is language the bewitchment of our intelligence…. or is it what sets it ablaze?

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Why is it that in moments of awe, when we are struck with majesty of a sunset– the dawn of spring- the first snowfall- a baby’s birth….. that we have no words. We are stone- frozen and without any means of explaining.

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Oh words, Oh English, Oh language you are a winding river of rushing whitewater and desert places. You are full and fertile, sterile and dry. You are the epitome  of the human spirit. You are molded, made, bended – never broken- just adapted. You at times are too much and others properly quiet. You are a gift of the creator. You are a gift……

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To be Full of Care, Careful that is.

porch Look at this dock, worn. This dock is beat up, weathered and probably stood against more than one raging storm. I would probably be careful to walk out on those planks. Boards may be loose, nails high, splinters asking….

I wish tonight I would take the same care with my mouth than I would my feet on those boards. That dock is a work of art and made by a carpenter no less…..

My conviction rises that through the flurry of stress and frustration my mouth can be used for such good and oh so much harm. I want to believe that a ransomed Spirit covered in Holy Blood would be well intentioned but I am reminded of my selfishness…. of the stain of sin can be so deep……

12Who is the man who desires life And loves length of days that he may see good? 13Keep your tongue from evil And your lips from speaking deceit. 14Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.… Psalm 34:13

Psalm 140:3
They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips.

Oh how we have all spoken venom…..  do we despair? Do we leave our sin-stained selves to sulk?

1 Thessalonians 3:13
May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

may HE strengthen YOUR hearts. The eternal do-er is reminded that it is HE who has overcome. He who has victory has won. His Holy Spirit that has the power to strengthen this weary heart.

Dear Friends, we live in a world against the one who seeks to steal, kill and destroy. Turn on the 5 o’clock news if you have any doubt.  He is the Father of Lies and the Accuser. May we stand strong as a body by the blood the Lamb and power of our Testimony. We must be careful, full of care that it is. May the ins and out of day-to day life not numb you to the still small voice that is seeking to convict and conquer.

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“I’ll fly away, O glory, I’ll fly away. “

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I have adopted a posture for writing. It appears that warm lamp light and tired feet – propped with a wet soppy hair. Bluegrass dances in the background and my thoughts are like shooting stars needing to be wrangled into coherency. Grab a cup of tea and snuggle up.

No lies, I have avoided writing. Though a gift and therapy in one– its like exercise, sometimes you lack the discipline to make it happen.

Part I: Reid Harkey Road key

My fella and I, we grew up somewhere in these last few months.

No really: the gray is spreading.

We bought our first home. A little ranch that has given us more than a few “projects” since we moved in at the end of April.

It feels strange to think of the mountain of student debt that creeps in my shadows, the barely-making- it feeling I have most days, the way I know the amount of change in my wallet right now, that I qualified. We put down a down payment and now have the privilege of making mortgage payments.

Houses were for big people, mortgages were used a big-boy bargaining chips on friday night fire side talks. Not the part-time hippie, beer drinking goon that I am most of the time.

I am thankful for a steady job, a steady man and steady persistence to make goals happen, one paycheck at a time.

Part II::::  Life and deathgrow

You were hoping for something light weren’t you? Go ahead skip ahead…

My mother gave us a scare. A fatal arrhythmia that was divinely intervened into a week-long hospital stay, ventricular ablation and a new heart-regulating device my mother affectionately named, Phoebe. She is 50 years young and has more spunk than 2 women. Her red Indian face and endless complaints about the temperature, texture, thinning hair, twilight…. are who she is and who I almost lost. She is still afraid, who would not be?

Mortality is horrifying. It is only through the supernatural that one has grace to stand in its swallowing light.

A few days after my sweet momma made her way home another sweet momma was entering those same sanitized walls. She indeed faced Mortality’s swallowing light and is now resting in the arms of her Savior.

Nancy was her name, my mother’s age and my mother’s build. A family friend, one of the mommas who raised me. She would claim me instead of her own girl in public because she thought her and I ” looked more the part.” Don’t get me wrong, Nancy loved her sweet daughter, Jayne, immensely and still does I am certain.

Nancy lost an 18 year battle of cancer. She saw her beautiful daughter married almost a year to the day she passed. She left behind a faithful husband and boy who just graduated college a few weeks before.

Death, its promised. Its expected and assumed. It’s even a gift  for the suffering. With a known constant why does this hurt so badly? I was given her running shoes after the funeral, we wear the same shoe size. I have pounded pavement- praying- petitioning for peace.

Grief, these stages—- hoopla. I think its a spectrum of anger, sorrow, forgiveness, etc—- all back and forth like light through a prism.

Why not my mom? Why is life so fragile? Why are we all not orphans? Why do the good always die young? Wisdom, where are you in this?

She looked like a corpse that last time I saw her– tubes and lines. A scene I knew all too well. Jayne and I sat at the foot of her bed and talked- holding her hands, both crying- both trying to smile. We were alone, just the three of us and I believe that all three of us knew. Tomorrow would come and it would be that last tomorrow Nancy would know.

When was the last time you felt death so tangible?

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Part III: Putting pieces back together

Life has moved on. She passed on our anniversary. Its been almost two months now. Through sea-side prayers, slow jogs and the slug of yard work, life is slipping back into the familiar glove that I have never been more grateful for. ( i don’t care if i end sentences with prepositions, who made those rules anyways?)

May this essay of words find you warm and well. May it remind you that life is unexpected and charging forward.

May you seek the supernatural power of the Holy One to support you through your next bend in the river. May you hug your mom if you still can, if not- then may you feel the presence of her in your heart.

” I’ll fly away, O glory,

When the shadow of this life have gone

I’ll fly away

When I die, hallelujah bye and bye

I’ll fly away”

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Easter Dresses and a Tent by the River.

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Quiet mornings with the steel guitar in the background. Easter Sunday.

My house is quiet, a little pup basking in the sunshine. I think she could sleep all day in the same spot.

Enjoyed a lovely Easter service on Saturday night with family all gussied up in our new        “Easter dresses” Some things don’t change from when your five. Well except this dress wasen’t made by my mother in 2-ton sewing machine that sounded like diesel engine. I also did not have a matching scrunchie last night

easter dress

Seasons are changing, it always prompts me to write. I should write more, but I also should eat more broccoli. Life is busy and sometimes broccoli is just gross.

We are attempting to buy our first home and its been quite the journey so far… and we don’ even have it yet.  Lessons so far.

1. You need a Realtor who you can understand. Literally. This is not the time to open your cultural horizons

2. Charlotte real estate is biggest Easter egg hunt I have ever played.

3. My husband is brilliant. He has impressed me so much with his tenacity and attention to detail. If this Easter egg hunt were left up to me, we would be in a tent by the river. Doesn’t that sound nice though…..

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4.  Mortgages are emotional. Perhaps its because I am a little too sensitive, to well… everything.

No seriously, it will be that largest purchase either my fella or I have ever made. It also means that we are settling down. The gypsy in me can’t help but buck at this thought.

Thoughts cross, ” You aren’t old enough for this…” ” Fun is over, time to buckle down…”     “Now your only adventure will be on sat and sunday doing yard work…” ” Get ready to enjoy to painting your shutters…” ” You never wanted the American dream anyway…”

Those nasty thoughts are derived out of fear and pride.

The truth is, buying a home is saving us money.

We are so incredibly blessed to be moving closer to family.

We have a church home and a few great friends that have filled our lives.. and we will moving closer to them.

The Father has showed me how my fella is my perfect provision in this process, secondary to the above mentioned tent comment.

My Father has brought healing into my fella’s heart by seeing how supportive his family has been in this process.

A home is where you make memories, where traditions come to life and were adventures start. They just don’t look like the whitewater- reckless backpacking- canoe capsizing life I once lived.

I raise my coffee mug to you this morning to say Happy Easter and happy adventuring…. May the Lord bless you today in unexpected ways and give you the prize to your own Easter Egg Hunt! Cheers!

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My grass will always be blue.

bluegrass

Nostalgia. What a beautiful wonderful gift.

Nothing make me smile like the howls of Gillian Welch and a steel guitar. Why you may ask ? I have thought long and hard regarding such affection for the strings and minor chords rung loud by the those who most likely can’t read the notes on their page.

Born outside the Capital of NC one could hardly call me a “mountain girl” or ” farm hand” My first concert was Chicago followed by Santana. I tried my hand at the fiddle in high school, i was less that mediocre at best.  I have about zero dots to connect in this deep deep regard for bluegrass.

Here is what I do know.

My family to have grown up outside Carolina’s capital has embraced their rural heritage. The good-bad-ugly- but ruggedly human.  My first vehicle was a gold pick up, I had to leap into. My first festival I sat front and center while a less-known Grascals played the hell of a fiddle. Entranced. You know.. like when you stare into a fire.. the colors blue-purple- red-orange. I felt the music in those fury of colors.

My sixteenth birthday my mother.. recruited a local bluegrass quartet to play under a stone shelter. I still remember their singing ” Ill fly away ” to the top of their  lungs.

As time followed I found myself in Boone, and most distinctly investigating Old Time music. A more primitive precursor to the bluegrass but haunting just the same. So many Thursday nights I would sit on a wooden porch and listen to the old-pickers play. I would join in with shaky hands on my fiddle. I mostly just listened. Felt the vibrations under feet. Saw the glassiness of an elder’s eyes. They felt it too. They loved. They loved the music. It was not a song on the radio them ( heaven knows these would never get air-time). It was their passion and I was blessed to be apart of it.

I found myself one night, after rafting some wild river in the mountains, setting camp with my crew. Dinner finished and i heard it, the ring of a fiddle. The next thing I knew I  was running through the woods to see the hands behind the music. Reckless I know. I found this crew of men, round a fire and playing.  They welcomed this out-of-breath stranger. They had me sit down, share their moonshine and sing hymns for hours. It felt home.

Something about those Appalachian mountains. Perhaps its my Cherokee heritage that is echoing through my media-calculating- busy- modern life. Perhaps the Holy Spirit reminding me of the gifts of rhythms long ago.

A diatribe tonight, my apologies. The worst part.. I could go on, I will spare you. Sometimes the only way I can figure out anything is to make words come out of this noggin.

Below is my favorite Gillian Welch tune…. ” Come on boys.. .turn on some Old Time noise….”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k35haKwqY14

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