Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Thistle: Where I'm From.

I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride,
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening,
it tasted like beets.)

George Ella Lyon wrote those words in her poem "Where I'm From."
Jan Richardson unpacks the power of the poem in a chapter of her book In the Sanctuary of Women and then writes her own version of where she is from, who she is, what "holds her roots."

I love the image of things, people, places and experiences that hold our roots, like how these trees are doing:

My backyard happens to be full of thistles. The root system of the thistle weed is winding and complex, longing to connect.
The top part of the thistle is prickly and the stem, thorny. But if you dig your fingers into the dirt around the base of the stem and grab the first part of the root, there are no thorns. You can pinch the root and pull the whole thing out, and if you're lucky, the root will lead you to the next thistle.

Becca Stevens suggests that women are like these thistles...and no matter how thorny you get on the outside, on the inside we are smooth. We are winding and complex, longing to connect.

Becca founded the Magdalene House in Nashville (which inspired sister houses in other states), as well as Thistle Farms and Thistle Stop Cafe and Shared Trade. Her books Snake Oil and The Way of Tea and Justice are life changing. I can't get over it.

I ordered some of Thistle Farms' natural bug spray - which smells AWESOME - and took it with me to my Women's Group on Tuesday morning. We passed around the spray before we did our breathing time, and maybe because there are bugs in our meeting room, and we talked about the thistle weed.

We talked about feeling thorny on the outside, when our insides are smooth. Some of us in Group live on the street, some live indoors, some have extra lake houses. Some of us are battling addictions, some domestic violence situations, some sit in long lines at carpool. All of us are familiar with a System that doesn't always Serve. We get together once a week to remember that we are the same and say the word LOVE as much as possible within the hour. For that little bit of time, we can be smooth and connected. We are the Thistle, winding and complex, longing to connect.

Later this summer we hope to paint a mural around our meeting room walls with thistle leaves intertwined, like our very roots are hugging. Along with George Ella Lyon and Jan Richardson, we will hold each others' roots, remembering where we are from, holding hands as we get ready to see what we will become...because Love Heals Every Body, even if you are a Thistle, winding and complex, longing to connect.

I Have a Pouch Fairy

I have a pouch fairy who leaves empty, sticky CapriSun drink pouches and empty GoGo Squeeze pouches (with or without tops) on my mailbox. 
I love her.

I add her flattened pouches to my own and store them in empty bulk snack containers until they are full.
Then I bag them, put them in an envelope or box, print out a free shipping label from Terracycle and drop them by UPS.

You can do this too!
Or I will do it for you!  

Be a Pouch Fairy and drop your empty pouches on my mailbox or in my driveway!
(CapriSun, Honest Kid, GoGo Squeeze, Ella's Kitchen and Earth's Best are currently the pouches Terracycle is recycling - AMONG OTHER "WASTE". Check it out!!!)

Love the earth, y'all. Teach your kids.

One Hour

One hour, 60 minutes, 3,600 seconds.

Nathan Foster, of Renovare and The Making of an Ordinary Saint, was confused by the act of "submission" and so, decided to study it. He asked his 9yo daughter and 5yo son, if they could have an afternoon with him, what would they want to do?
He asked himself, can I truly turn myself "off" and do what my kids want to do for a certain amount of time, within a reasonable budget? Like, NOT check his phone, double up on errands that serve him too, add in a treat that would ease his submission-ing discomfort, etc.
He did it. It was hard. (His afternoon involved a trip to Chuck E Cheese, among other things. Bless...)

So I thought, what about an hour???

Could I do an hour with each child, ONLY what they wanted, within a budget?
I asked all three of them if they could have an hour with me, what would they want to do? Then I asked them to think about it for a day.

Corinne wanted to go first. I set a timer on my phone and Henry and Svea pulled up a chair to watch.
Corinne wanted me to get IN the pool with her and not only STAY in the pool but PLAY at whatever she said.
Henry was delighted and grabbed my phone to take pictures. Mom was going to PLAY! Svea got in the pool with us.
The only time I got out of the pool was to make her some orange juice (it was past 10am so she had already had a Fanta).

Henry eventually got in too, and Corinne forgot that she was only allowed to be in charge of what she and I did, not what Henry and Svea were doing. Her siblings may or may not have mentioned that "she was trying to boss everyone in the world like Donald Trump." Ha.

Svea had pity on me and checked the timer several times as I engaged in jump-off-the-pool-wall-dance-routines, bounced, splashed and swam back and forth in the shallow end.
The hour ended. I survived. It was hard. (There was no Chuck E Cheese even mentioned.)

Svea was next.
She wanted me and her to go to Hobby Lobby and buy materials to create something! With styrofoam heads! And paint! And feather boas! All for under $20!
So we did. We listened to the radio and sang loudly (maybe with hand motions) with the windows down.
The hour ended. I survived. It was hard. (Wouldn't you know that Chuck E Cheese is next door to Hobby Lobby??)

I had to lie down on the couch for a few minutes before Henry's turn.

Then we went to another store to hunt out Superhero items (costumes, posters, accessories, sheets, cups - there are no rules, people.)

In under $20, we found two posters for his room, a blank poster, 3 canvas boards, paint and brushes. The superhero hour was full. There was no radio played in the car and we used the air conditioner. Quiet and cool, y'all. Room for all his thoughts...
The hour ended. I survived. It was hard. (There are no superheroes at Chuck E Cheese.)

I was disappointed how hard it was for me to focus that long on one child. I'm surprised at how quickly I wanted to check my messages or double up an errand (since we are right here by Whole Foods, let's just run in and grab some essential oils, eh?)

I want to work on this, though. I don't want it to be so intentional and hard. WHAT IF I naturally spent time with them, individually and together?  Is that what you call parenting?
I'll keep working on it. Promise, guys.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Not Even 40!


I'm not even 40 years old.
But my visionary husband and my loyal sister got together and gathered loving souls to send me wishes, poems, pictures, videos, flowers, cards and amazingness for the 40 days UNTIL I turn 40.

Tonight was Yoga in Railroad Park with a picnic to follow.

I am so filled with gratitude that my insides are singing.

There must have been 100 yogis there practicing and listening to Synovia (??) on her microphone sponsored by BCBS to help us all take a hot minute to check in with our bodies!

This is me in a Tree with a Birthday Crown!

Isabel gave me a few choice henna tattoos beforehand!!! 

Synovia had these awesome prompts like, "Reach up into your LIFE!"  and, "Look behind you at all the things you want to avoid." and, "Shake your head left and right and say NO to all that you don't want to let in."

Yes, people.

 If you are afraid of turning 40 and want to act like it hasn't been coming all along then WAH WAH YOU BABY this is my face for you:

If you want to get down to the Nitty-Gritty about all that is in front of you, then this is my face for you:

Bring it sisters (and brothers).
Let's do this.
Every day we are getting there.
Let's write this story, celebrate with some yoga and a picnic and do this thing.

Happy birthday to ALL of you!!!!