Sunday, July 20, 2008

Where I Come From

Here's a link to a clip from that video I was telling you about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vAbpJW_xEc

And as a result of your encouragement, below is the poem I wrote in 15 minutes as a class assignment earlier today:

Where I Come From

I come from 12 Manzanita,
the infamous Littleton, Colorado.
The home in the valley,
where all the rich kids lived.
The rolling foothills, the country club
and elite equestrian center.
The blue house with Aspen trees
shading the front patio.
The abundant landscape freckled
with oversized houses, garages, and SUVs.
That's where I come from.

I come from a home with a single mother,
two brothers and a baby sister, and later a parasidic step father
The children all carrying his hatred
in their shame.
The home of horor-
perpetuated by his rage.
The shouting, the pleading,
the crying, the pain.
The white-washed tomb was our pretty
little house on the hill.
That's where I come from.

I come from a churc that tended
to my wounds.
The youthgroup filled with laughter
and song.
The backpacking adventures, and the smell
of that fresh, ripe Rocky Mountain air.
The La Veta kitchen gatherings
flipping pancakes and burning coffee.
The long train rides to California, New York and D.C.
where Amtrak personnel couldn't keep up with our bathroom deposits.
That's where I come from.

I come from a place of fear,
will I forever remain here?
The feel of my pumping heart
when I stand before all men.
The embrace of a father is all
this child has longed for.
The burning sensation under my feet
just begging me to take a stand.
The push of his hand
egging me on.
That's where I come from.

I come from a place where the taste
of his grace was bitter sweet.
The chewing of this calling more difficult
than I anticipated.
The richness of life savored
many times over.
The sourness of my pain oivercome
by your gaze.
the growing ability to experience
flavors of all kind.
That's where I come from.
That's where I come from.


~S

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tea Tree Oil Update...

I'm sitting here typing with both of my eyes closed because the fumes from the oil are still burning my eyes. I've never experienced burning quite like this ever before in my life...but as the saying goes - no pain, no gain. Here's to hoping that my monster eye has met it's match! I'm heading into class bright and early tomorrow morning. I'm considering wearing sunglasses throughout the 8 hour class. What do you think?

~S

Red Eye

I have suffered from all sorts of skin irritations and ailments for as long as I can remember. Serious allergic reactions to various plants and pollens, bug bites (who can forget the infamous spider bite and infestation on my right buttocks that eventually landed me in the ER), all sorts of cleaning products and various cosmetic and other hygiene related products have all waged war against my body's outer covering. Hives, eczema, inflammation - you name it - I've had it all...repeatedly! At any given time in my life, I can pinpoint at least one form of skin irritation currently plaguing me. For those of you who have had flawless skin your whole life and can't even begin to imagine what this must be like - let me assure you - it sucks as bad as it sounds (if not worse). When you have skin as sensitive as mine, some where along the line you learn to deal with being in some form of chronic pain (usually consistent of burning or itching), but every now and then a certain irritation will flare up to the point where it feels completely unbearable. You feel like you're going to go crazy. You begin to ask the questions that so often stem from a feeling of entitlement - "Why me?" and "What did I do to deserve this?"

I have revisited those two questions these past two days as my left eyelids (upper and lower) have become so inflamed and irritated that I can barely open my eye at all. It all started last Novemberish. Yes, it has gone on for at least 8 months. This shouldn't surprise you - as I was doing some internet research on the subject I discovered that many people deal with similar reactions for years! It all began with a small dry patch located in the corner of each of my eyes. I attributed the irritation to the abnormal amount of tear secretions I had been experiencing since attending Mars Hill (there is no room in this post for me to explain exactly why this experience has created so much emotional stirring). The dry patch on my right eye eventually went away, but my left eye was not very happy with me.

At this stage I've at least recognized a consistent cycle whereby I notice that the skin around my eyelids begins to itch and as much as I try to restrain myself from even touching anywhere near the area, inadvertently I always somehow end up responding to the call of the itch. Any form of touch irritates the eyelid further. I've tried using hot compresses, cold compresses, steam baths, aquaphor, benadryl cream...you name it - I've tried it. I've even gone as long as two weeks without wearing any make-up. Those poor grocery store clerks who had to face me like that. After the initial itching spell subsides, the entire eyelid becomes inflamed and swollen to the point where I look like I've been punched in the face, and it usually takes about a week or so for the swelling to subside. And then I'm simply left with a red and irritated dry patch that never goes away. To say that it's been annoying is an understatement. Sometimes the pain is so severe that it's all I can think about.

You may be wondering why I haven't seen a doctor yet. And to that I'll try to explain a bit. Since I've suffered from these sorts of weird skin ailments my whole life - I've grown quite weary of doctor's visits. It's a rare occasion to actually find a dermatologist who is patient enough to listen to my long list of skin ailment history and can actually offer me any advice as to the cause of my problems. Many doctors are willing to treat the symptoms...but few (if any) offer any explanation of the cause. I know the drill. If I go in, they'll likely give me a topical steroid cream to alleviate the swelling and they'll advise me to wash the area regularly with either baby shampoo or a mild cleanser like cetaphil. Hot compresses will be recommended to relieve the pain and a petroleum based moisturizer will be recommended to treat the dry patches. Some may believe it's an allergic reaction to dust mites and if so they'll tell me to wash all of my linens in hot water every 3 days, to make use of a micro fiber cover for my mattress and to vacuum my living area daily. Others may believe it's associated with my hay fever and get on my case for not being on top of my daily Claritin use. Still some might suggest that it's some sort of infection that is being re-transmitted through my make-up (despite the fact that when I stop using the make-up the condition only lessens slightly - which is probably a result of me touching my eyes less and that's it). Yesterday, I read that some people who have suffered from similar ailments have treated the area with tea-tree oil - which is said to burn like heck, but eventually bring some relief. At this point, I'm willing to try anything. We're heading out to the vitamin shop later today to get our hands on this potential cure. I'll let you know how it works.

At least doing the research online yesterday revealed to me that I'm not a freak of nature - that there are many others out there who suffer in much the same way. Most of the people who complained about this itchy, swollen, red eye thing also listed a history of allergic reactions and eczema. I guess if I had to choose some sort of chronic disease, eczema would be the one to choose because the symptoms aren't necessarily debilitating and it doesn't drastically alter your style of life. I know that there are people with far greater difficulties and pain that surpasses anything that I've experienced thus far. But I can't help but wonder if there is some sort of cosmic lesson I'm supposed to be gleaning from this constant irritation in my life. Maybe. Or maybe not. Last night as I went to bed I comforted myself by entertaining the idea that this was all for the purpose of increasing my longing for a day when there will be no more pain. But that explanation just feels a bit trite to me today (and somewhat pathetic considering there many others who experience far worse chronic pain throughout this life).

Today I am more fixated on this "treating the symptom and not the problem" dilemma. I know myself well and so I recognize that I often need to find meaning in even the most miniscule of life's dilemmas and experiences - so this may just be an extension of my dramatic personality. But I wonder about how much of my life revolves around treating symptoms rather than problems. If I'm packing on a few (or more than a few) extra pounds - I treat it by attempting to start an exercise regime and eating less carbs and eliminating sugar. If I'm having difficulty with procrastination, I attack it by filling up my schedule to the point where there is enough self-inflicted pressure to get things done in a timely manner that any form of delay is no longer possible. If I am depressed, I soothe myself with a good book and a nice bath as I escape this life in my mind, even if only for a moment. But what would life look like if I recognized that treating the symptoms is not ever going to be good enough. Could I then muster up enough energy to fight to get to the bottom of the root cause. What would it require to uncover the reason for my food addiction, my inability to take action in life unless there's extreme pressure, and my recurring and persistent feeling of hopelessness? It would probably require even more work than would be necessary to get to the bottom of my allergic reactions. But even the thought of eliminating certain things from my diet, cleaning my house incessantly and spending $$$ on all new natural cleaning products, throwing out hundreds of dollars worth of make up and doing allergy patch tests is totally daunting! I don't feel like I have the strength to enter into the battle today so maybe I'll wait until my symptoms are under control and then I can somehow find the gusto needed to enter into the real battle (this is what I tell myself just about everyday of my life).

~S



Wednesday, July 16, 2008

something heavenly

appropriate lyrics from "something heavenly" by sanctus real

it's time for healing
time to move on
it's time to fix
what's been broken too long
time make right what has been wrong
it's time to find my way to where I belong
there's a wave that's crashing over me
and all I can do is surrender

(Chorus)
whatever You're doing inside of me
it feels like chaos but somehow there's peace
it's hard to surrender
to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something heavenly

time for a milestone
time to begin again
reevaluate who I really am
am I doing everything to follow Your will
or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
so show me what it is You want from me
i give everything I surrender... to...

(Chorus)
whatever You're doing inside of me
it feels like chaos but somehow there's peace
it's hard to surrender
to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something heavenly

time to face up
clean this old house
time to breathe in and let everything out
that I've wanted to say for so many years
time to release all my held back tears

whatever You're doing inside of me
it feels like chaos
but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
larger than life
something heavenly

Monday, July 14, 2008

I should PRESENTLY be working on a paper

Despite my heart's desire to "embrace my own thrilling life", I've found that this is no easy task! I'm sure that's not a shocking discovery - but dang...it's a tough one. I've narrowed the requirement down to one seemingly simple discipline - TO BE PRESENT. But now after attempting to grow my own ability to be present for nearly a month now, I'm quite convinced that it is clearly no simple task. Why? Why is my mind always running to places my body is not able to follow? And as I attempt to be more present to my daily life I begin to wonder is there ever a time, a space, for the mind to wander? Is it ever useful? And if it is, how do I discern where and when it can go free?

Questions. There are always so many questions running to and fro. There used to be a time when the questions felt more desperate. Now they have slowed to a simple jog - still a fast enough pace for me to feel like I can't sit still...but not so fast that I feel like I'm going to die from exhaustion. Should I feel encouraged by the slowing pace? Maybe this whole discipline of presence is a process. Everything is apparently a process these days. Maybe it's like when you've been running for 45 minutes on the treadmill and you finally hit your cool down. I don't know about you, but usually by that time I feel like my legs are no longer attached to my body and I fear that at any point in time I'll simply collapse. But the obligatory cool down countdown automatically occurs. I only stay on the treadmill because I don't want to have to end the session by pressing any buttons (which may cause others to think that I was just too out of shape to finish what I set my mind out to do). So maybe I'm in the cool down portion of my journey right now. I'm just wondering how long this cool down will be considering I'm 29 and I think I've been running since I entered this world. I guess this process could take a while. If only I could figure out how to take deep breaths of fresh air during this process to aid the cool down pace.

~S.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

vintage

i thought i'd spice things up and share some vintage writings. i wrote this for karl on the valentine's day before lucy was born in 2004 - before everything would change.

a valentine’s day

just before you walk out our bedroom door, my day is set in motion
with the lingering dew of your soft and gentle kisses
the warmth of your body left on my skin
and the sound of your sweet wishes
whistling in my sleepy head.

i often drift back to limp lifelessness
after bidding you godspeed for your journey.
but, my sleep is sweeter and my dreams are dreamier
because my heart is soft, with grateful gladness,
that I have you to farewell to everyday

now, hours have passed since you’ve gone,
my body is numb and my head is full of mixed up images.
i finally wake to get up and begin my day
and with first things first I don’t hesitate to call you
it’s been too long since i’ve heard your voice

after morning’s thoughts, agendas and best wishes
i can think clearly to go about my busy way.
there are phone calls to make and people to greet
there are projects to start and others to finish
places to run to and others that I skip

and in the midst of my to-ing and fro-ing
constantly and always I’m thinking,
“hey, guess what happened…”
“do you know what?” and I don’t wait to
share with you the happenings of the moment

and when the clock has timed a day’s work is finished:
time cards have been completed
traffic has been battled and won
you come home to me gleeful and cheery
absence has made us happy to be home

we share hugs and hellos,
fresh greetings and kisses
we exchange thoughts, ideas, and wishes
over baked chicken and penne pasta
with croutons on a crisp green salad.

and though the storm rages in our backyard
and the rain beats down our doors;
even as the wind knocks on our windows,
we ignore the weathered outside
while peace is resting quietly within our home

now the hours have passed, the minutes have flown
the seconds can’t be caught up with.
the to dos are wrapped up, the lists completed
the trappings of the day are finished.
and I have just one thing left before we return to slumber

finally, it’s just you and me, we’re tucked in bed
snuggled warm and tight.
we look into each other’s eyes and giggle as you turn out the light.
it’s time for the moment i've most waited for today,
you hold me close and lead me into sweet sleep...

with the lingering dew of your soft and gentle kisses.
the warmth of your body left on my skin.
and the sound of your sweet wishes
whistling in my sleepy head.

k.

FYI


So You Think You Can Dance is opening up their tour on September 20th here just south of us in Tacoma. I told Brian that can be his 10th anniversary present for me...who cares about jewelery!


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The truth about motherhood

My blog writing has been slacking these past few weeks. There are few moments in my life where I'm not mulling something over in my mind, so my blog absence has not been the result of a slow season of thoughts. Nonetheless, I have struggled to find the energy (or desire) to communicate much of what I have been internally (and introspectively) contending with over the past month or so. Every now and then I seem to enter into a sort of self-retreating mode where I pull back from all that I have ventured into. The change in pace and creation of space seems to allow for a greater awareness of all of my goings and doings.

As mothers, or as a human beings for that matter, I'm discovering that our lives can often seem to carry on in existence outside of ourselves. I realize that's a difficult description to chew on...so let me try to explain further. I'm no longer a mother of babies or toddlers. I'm now a full-blown mother (which makes me feel rather old despite my mere 29 years of existence) of two school-aged children and one almost 4 year old. It is a different stage. It's not any more or less demanding than the early years of motherhood (though I had always imagined it getting easier once kids were all out of diapers and sleeping through the night). It's just different - the struggles are different. The joys are different. The conversations are different. The schedule is different. The accomplishments are different.

When my girls were younger I found motherhood to be a fascinating experience. In my arms I could hold these little bundles of life and dream of what the future held for each of them. There were plenty of moments where the reality of their existence seemed too good to be true. How could it be that out of the union of my life and Brian's life these precious girls miraculously came into existence. Don't worry, I took sex ed like the rest of the world, so I know the anatomy and biology involved - but those detailed facts of life were never able to contain or explain the deep love that captured (and in some sense enslaved) my heart the moment I met each one of them face to face. But any mother knows that such foundational feelings of awe are necessary in order to survive the mundane reality of the day-to-day duties of caring for infants. Days and nights are filled with nursing, burping, wiping, rocking, swinging, dressing, wiping, bathing, praying, cleaning, loving, stimulating, wiping, capturing, sharing, tickling, and wiping some more. So much of your time is invested in simply providing for the needs of the child and though they are a miraculous extension of you in this world, your own identity can at times be hard to find amidst all of the motherly duties.

Infants require much time, attention and care. As they grow they begin to need more and more of you. As little toddlers ready and willing to explore the world, they still need much of your care, but they are also in need of a guide for all of their explorations. The key is to become an expert guide - one who can find a way to make the toddler feel as though they are independently scouting out new discoveries, when in reality you are introducing them to the world you believe they're ready for. The demand upon your life shifts at this stage. You are now called to experience the world through the fresh eyes of your own child.

I'm learning that as they grow, we are called to grow as well. Life as a mother in this stage still consists of the mundane reality of providing meals, doing laundry and helping with hygiene. It also requires experiencing the world through their eyes (of which you are able to see how your influence has already shaped the lens in which they look through). But now, the most challenging task thus far for me in motherhood, I am having to face myself through the eyes of my children.

As a mother, my own life can tend to feel as though it has escaped me and landed in the lives of these little blonde beauties. When they were babies, my physical existence seemed to revolve around their basic needs. As toddlers, they required my physical existence and at least a portion of my mental existence. And now they are requiring all of me. I don't think I was ready for this requirement until now. All though it can often feel like my life is not my own any longer, I am deeply aware of the paradoxical truth that it is because of them that my life is now more fully mine than it ever has been before. They call me to physical and mental presence each and every day. But most importantly, they call me to face myself honestly in every decision I make.