I’m tired and distracted and busy and working and momming and unproductive and missing out and mercy y’all sometimes ya just gotta stop the madness. I’m signing off Instagram for a few weeks and I’m pretty happy about it. If you need me in the meantime, there’s an email button in my profile. And don’t worry, I’ll give the baby extra smooches from you while I’m gone.😘
I used to not bother with voting in “little” elections, but the more devastated I become by national politics the more value I see in the local scale where my voice really matters. Today I took Thea for her first voting experience and she screamed the whole time. 🙃 Luckily, the room was full of women who knew how to take a baby off a mother’s hands. My toddler lost my driver’s license last week but I’m not even mad about it, because the extra time it took allowed me longer to see the magic for what it was. Every single person in the room today was female, volunteers and voters alike, with the exception of a preschool boy who’d come with his mom. A Nigerian woman who had soothed Thea voted for the first time in her life. A woman with a significant physical disability helped me with my provisional ballot while I breastfed. Someone who felt overwhelmed by the impending presidential election was connected to the League of Women Voters. It’s hard to believe it wasn’t so long ago that women couldn’t vote (even less long ago for Black women)—its a good reminder that our cultural consciousness is always evolving, so we’d be wise not to assume we’ve got it all figured out. As I left, I felt a wave of gratitude for those fierce suffragettes who fought so hard for that room full of women to exist 100 years later. And I know that for the rest of my life, whether it’s about the school board or the presidency, I want to make them hella proud. ✨
Eric took a few days off to do some projects around the house and here we are at the end of it with barely a dent in the list of things that need to be done. Our home is 100 years old and she feels it in all her creaky, cranky joints. Sometimes we fantasize about moving someplace newer, someplace built within our lifetime, someplace that looks cleaner, someplace where things aren’t constantly needing to be fixed. But today I thought about what my friend @c.r.studio says about mending clothing and textiles: it’s an expression of deep care, mindfulness, and gratitude. It’s an act of resistance in an age that urges us to consume faster, newer, flashier, trendier. It rubs raw our impulse to dispose, to forget. It slows us and invites us to remember. In the work of mending, my artist friend says, we practice a slow life of commitment and nurture. Today, staring down the to-do list that never ends, I realized that what we are doing is “mending” this house. And it is not an inconvenience—it is an honor. For this shelter has cradled families for over a century, has surely seen humanity’s deepest anguish and greatest joys, has kept secrets and held celebrations. This home tells a long story and we are only one small part of it, but today it is we who are charged with carrying the candle by repairing floors and fixing gutters. We get the privilege of devoting tender hands to this abode that so many before us trusted with their lives. Our work here is only burdensome if we see it that way. But if we have eyes to see, to work is to prophesy. And I realized this is about much more than basements and heaters and weeds and screws and paint and mold. This is about how to live a life.
Let’s talk boundaries. Every Friday afternoon I delete the Instagram app from my phone. I then reinstall it every Sunday night or Monday morning. I’ve done this for months and it sounds totally bonkers but honestly? It’s glorious. Maybe it’s just me, but I find staying off Instagram to be nearly impossible when the icon is right there in front of me. That dopamine hit is real, y’all. I’ve tried other things: limiting my usage to only certain hours, locking my apps after a certain time at night (but that damn “ignore” button tho). Nothing has worked as well as just deleting the whole app for 2.5 days a week. It gives my brain a little reset, hopefully staving off an addiction, and allows me to be fully present to my family all weekend. Other boundaries I employ here? Unfollowing or muting accounts where I frequently find myself struggling with envy or comparison—ESPECIALLY over material things. (It’s not them, it’s me. And I learned I have agency to decide where my heart goes.) Giving myself permission to not respond to comments that aren’t sincerely open to respectful dialogue. (I’m not into fighting with strangers on the internet.) Not posting personal things about—or even as many pictures of—my kids and husband. What about you? What structures have you set in place to make your interactions here healthy? What changes are you feeling nudged to make that maybe you’ve been resisting? I think most of us are still trying to figure out health and temperance when it comes to social media. What’s worked or hasn’t worked for you? Hit us 👇
Eric and I were having coffee with a wise retired priest not long ago and I blushed deep when he pulled my book out from the middle of the pile he was carrying, looked me square in the eye, and said slowly and seriously, “this is a significant book”. I have mostly felt a healthy indifference to the book’s reception since it came out, but there have been a few moments like that one that I will carry with me a long time. We all need affirmation that our work matters, but we can’t always predict who it will matter to. One middle aged person told me bluntly that my book was more for young people, while others have told me young people haven’t lived enough to really get it. Some men assumed it was just for women, yet male readers—though fewer in number—have been at times more enthusiastic about it than female. Some people who I thought would love it barely acknowledged it, while others I’d lost touch with tracked me down to tell me it changed them. There seems to be an ambiguous X factor about the “target reader” and somehow that feels exactly right for a book about our messy humanity. I think its wise to hold our creative work loosely and generously. Who are we to say who it is or isn’t for? May our loyalty be to the message, not to critics or consumers or cheerleaders. So throw your offerings into the air freely and let the Spirit blow them where it will. What matters is not the outcome. What matters is the offering was made. (and hey, I think the book is still at $9 on Amazon right now 😉 link in profile)
When I was 13 I dreamed her name was going to be Daisy. (I do still like that name.) When I was 16 it was going to be Beyoncé. (Destiny’s Child had just come out, don’t @ me.) When I was 18 her name was going to be Texas. (I cannot explain this.) She turned out to be Thea Moon and nothing has ever made me believe in God quite like the certainty that she’s been with me my entire life. She is the best Divine mystery.
Here’s an idea for an intention we can take into the weekend: that we may seek to understand rather than defend. Over the next three days there is bound to be a moment when we feel defensiveness rise up in our chests—something we read, words a loved one says, perhaps something we have failed to do. Let’s purpose right now to stop and ask questions instead. Gentle questions for the person we’re in conversation with. Curious questions about what the root of our internal response might be. Questions about views different from our own that lead us to humanization rather than vilification. Proof of spiritual growth is often being able to release the need to defend ourselves. I have a long way to go here. Maybe you do too. Let’s try to do it just once this weekend and see what we learn.
As recently as a year ago I was still catching myself saying things like “the natives are getting restless” and “like a pack of wild Indians” when talking about my lively children. And this was after years of doing racism work within myself. YEARS. Our country as we know it was founded on biases against Native Americans, and that racism runs so deep that even our everyday experiences contain it—common phrases we use, classic books we read to our children, mascots of our favorite sports teams. But the good news is our collective consciousness is evolving. We know better, so it’s time to do better. None of us have “arrived” and there is no shame in admitting that we are still learning (in fact I think the trouble begins when we believe we’re fully “woke”). So acknowledge your journey. Keep challenging yourself. Refuse to quit trying to do better. Be a learner and a listener. We still have far to go. #indigenouspeoplesday ( Picture by @ntvsclothing )
Have you heard of the “wood wide web”? Basically it’s the discovery of recent research that indicates a tangible, quantifiable connectedness between trees in a forest. We’re talking complex root systems and symbiotic relationships between fungi and plants that enable the trees to communicate with one another(!), warning each other about pests and sharing nutrients and carbon even with rival species. Scientists are now saying a forest is actually more a single organism than it is a grouping of individual trees. Walk into the heart of a forest and look around: the trinity of God pulses there, relating, connecting, intertwining, transmitting Spirit (that is to say, Life) back and forth. Walk into the heart of your city and look around: the trinity of God pulses there. Every person you pass is transmitting Spirit back and forth to you and from you—even, and who knows but perhaps especially, the least likely. What if you aren’t an individual tree like you’ve always assumed? What if we are all a part of the same organism, transmitting Spirit back and forth, back and forth, back and forth? 🍂