Wednesday, September 4, 2013


We're hard wired for the bloom. We expect that things should be intensely seen, felt, tasted and explosive. Immediate. No where else in life it seems do we make these assumptions than in the search for love. Walking into a new job, we dare not assume we'll have the corner office in a day or in a week.  Likewise, a new acquaintance will only become a great friend after weathering a storm or two. What is it about the promise of great, intoxicating love do we cast aside all measure of reality and shake our fist at the heavens while we wait for everything to come together. just. as. it. should. be.

A bloom is obvious, blaring. Its raw power and intensity justifies our inclination to believe that because something feels like goodness that it is actually good. Reality reports back that the bloom has little to do with outcomes or whether we will be enriched or destroyed in the process. But we demand that it be so. 

So we search.

Our attraction to the bloom is centered around the idea of expectations. Expectations are a scary, insidious thing especially when they are not tempered with reality. They hold us back from experiencing life differently simply because we cannot see past our own version of what should be. So we revert back to what we know and what feels the most like smoldering fire. However, this insistence could strip us of the very thing that we are fighting tooth and nail for to begin with: to know and be known. 

It takes great faith to believe what we have been told by those far wiser than ourselves. Wisdom that says that love, great love, the kind we all search for can be grown and cultivated by seed through sweat, selflessness, understanding and patience towards other and self. In a word, work. As unsexy as that was to write, it is far less enchanting to envision for one's own life. I still prefer to be transfixed.

My hope is, of course, that I'm not asking too much.  My hope is that it is entirely possible that I could have goodness with fire, real love and bloom.  The kind that will not render my soul ember and ash.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Memories of a Legacy

Gram rubbed her hands together briskly, lighting an imaginary fire while piquing curiosity in her grandchildren's head. “What shall we do today, Amanda Kate?” she'd ask. 

Gram always thought that farting was funny.  When it wasn’t politically correct to laugh uproariously at your grandson’s flatulence, Gram was always first in line to chastise while slapping her knee in hearty approval.

Idle threats of a using the “big black stick” when we misbehaved.  The rumor was that she kept it under the deck but I never saw it.  And that is not because I was a particularly well-behaved child.  I think she just rather liked us even when we were naughty. 

The gumball machine that sat (or called to me) on the kitchen counter.  Sometimes it spit out two instead of one brightly colored sugar ball with just one sticky penny from her copper jar.  I found as I got older that if you shook it really hard, it spit out one. 

Her muffled whistling as she completed any number of tasks around the house:  "shrr-shrr-shrr-shrr-shrrrr".  

Her insatiable desire to win at board games.  Some people might have said she employed cheaters' tactics at Rummikub.  Since I am neither a graceful winner or loser, I can say I came by it honestly. 

The crisp $10 bill she gave me for dusting her 120-some wooden animal pieces when I came to visit.  She wanted us to understand the value of a dollar and admonished me not to spend it at Starbucks.

Sorry, Grammie.  I have failed you many times in this regard. 

My favorite snapshot is driving with her to my cousins wedding in Wisconsin. I made sure to get a picture of her to remember how she suavely placed her sunglasses on top of her bifocals for the optimal sunless driving experience.  It was a beautiful summer day on a long stretch of road where she and I listened to her big band favorites on CD.  Glenn Miller.  I knew right then that this would be a memory I would have of her for the rest of my life. And it is.

A few trips to downtown Chicago over the past few years are what I’ll associate most with her. That Windy City so cold last time we visited.  We made our customary stop downtown to eat lunch on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building where we could see out on to the city rooftops.  Tonight the city dines without her.

The older I get, the more I realize that all I call good in my life I can trace back to the godly legacy lived out in the lives of my grandparents.  Those decisions they made, through the good and the bad, in the difficult and the plenty carried such significance as they shaped and anchored the lives of all those who followed after them. Our ripple effect is great. Thank you, Lord, for the power of her continued legacy. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

And... Go...

So this is my first post for 2013.  What about it?  Truth is I’ve not been particularly busy, just lazy.  Sometimes you get out of the habit of doing something and it just becomes a habit that you become lazy.

But I have thoughts.  Lots of them and they are occurring right now:

1) I will never get rid of this crusty black suitcase.  If this suitcase were a person, it would show up with hot rollers in its hair, a ratty cotton bathroom robe coupled with a half-lit cigarette hanging out of its busted zipper mouth. But you know it’s trusty and it’s been everywhere on earth with me.  Literally.  It’s like an old friend.  And do you get rid of old friends?  I don’t think so.  You get rid of your old, mean friends.

2) When I leave the farm, I will leave behind a part of my soul. When that thought surrounds me, I remember that everything has a season. I know I will relinquish a part of my soul in every place I love and leave behind. That’s the beautiful part of an evolving life.

3) When I leave the farm, I will be leaving for Colorado. There will be more to write about that at another time. 

4) Hopefully Mr. Darcy lives in Colorado, that gnarly fictional bastard.  In reading through P&P, I’m again finding myself wanting to kill off my likeminded heroine Miss Elizabeth Bennett and ride off into the sunset with Mr. D where we can be snarky and angry at each other forever. That, my friends, is love.

If I may quote: 
"At his own ball he offended two or three young ladies by not asking them to dance; and I spoke to him twice myself without receiving an answer.  Could there be any finer symptoms [of violent love]? Is not general incivility the very essence of love?"
5) I love and abhor change all at once.

6) Part of me is scared because it’s just me in this.  Part of me is relieved for the same reason.

7) Most of me wants to erase that because it’s weakness for me to admit that I’m scared.  But it’s a necessary function of my human experience to be scared.  It alerts me to keep myself open and flexible, engaged and discerning in my new environment. 

8) Being scared on another level allows me to appreciate normalcy when it returns.  The part that is relieved when I don’t look at my workplace like a battle field waging war against my fragile competencies, a home-place that smacks of my juju, my running trails, those routines of life that allow me to feel centered and grounded. 

9) There are, like, 11 people on this flight and they're still boarding by sections.