Moving forward.


October 31, 2017


OF LATE I’ve been considering two words I don’t think I ever use but that keep presenting themselves to me. We are wrought, each and every one of us–worked into shape by artistry or effort all through our livesSometimes something beautiful emerges through guidance of a gentle, loving hand. And sometimes we are beaten into shape by tools; hammered.

Either way this shaping occurs, molding our character and testing our values and resilience.

And sometimes we are overwrought: wrought beyond reason; worked over; weary.  It’s what keeps coming to me as I try to come to terms with my feelings in the wake of the election. I am looking for a place to land and a point of view from which to move forward, praying our good Lord has a plan in light of all this hatred and division.


HOPE CAME IN THE FORM of a reasonable conversation via the indomitable Krista Tippet and her remarkable podcast, On Being. Recorded on October 26th (nearly two weeks before voting), Krista talks with  former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey and “interfaith visionary” Eboo Patel about how to live beyond the election and how to “reimagine and re-weave the very meaning of common life and common good.” Among other things, they talk about the need to recognize a healthy, diverse democracy is one in which people can disagree on important, fundamental issues but continue to work together on others.

It’s so, so good, this conversation.  Listen to it here.

A lifeboat, really, filled with wisdom and love and grace, a reminder that each of us–on all sides of all issues–can be part of the light.




Friday Love 1.22.16

a little roundup of things that inspired me this week

The Bullet Journal. Dubbed “the analog system for the digital age,” it’s a customizable and forgiving organization system that can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary. Developed by designer Ryder Carroll, the Bullet Journal is all over Pinterest and the blogosphere. I can’t wait to give it a whirl. I particularly love this Bullet Journal spread created by blogger Boho Berry. Yay!

photo: Kara Benz, Boho Berry
photo: Kara Benz, Boho Berry


Anatomy of Gratitude–This On Being interview with 89-year-old Benedictine Monk Brother David Steindl-Rast. His quiet wisdom broadened and deepened my perspective a hundred ways. Like this commentary on the difference between gratitude, gratefulness and thanksgiving. (hint: “Thanksgiving” is when your cup of joy runs over.) And his observation that you can’t be grateful for every moment (war, disaster, pain) but you can be grateful in every moment. So much to consider. So much to love.


Corn Sticks! Thank you April Blake and The Good Life Blog for reminding me of this signature dish from the old Tapp’s Department Store and providing a link to the recipe the scaled-down recipe. (The original was for 448 corn sticks and it was made three times a day!) I own a corn stick cast iron pan (that I never use) but I shall make some this snowy* weekend. Fun!


Tapp’s Original Corn Sticks (adapted)
Makes about 72 corn sticks

2 cups plain cornmeal
1 cup plain flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shortening

-Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Mix with cornmeal and sugar.
-Combine milk, eggs and shortening and then mix into dry ingredients.
-Bake in well-greased corn stick mold at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Sending wishes for a very happy weekend filled with things you love! XXOO

*wishful thinking


The Daily Grace in your inbox? I say yes!

how a nun helped me learn to pack properly


If there is a quote on my gravestone, it should say this:

She took everything she had everywhere she went and never had what she needed.

Lordy, it’s true. (Just ask my husband.) A quick weekend hop to visit Dad in Florida requires two knitting projects, five magazines, three books, two laptops, two digital cameras and an iPad. Oh, and a sketchbook. And that doesn’t even count the multiple outfits per day I pack–casual, dressier, warmer, cooler, and the all important “what if I just don’t feel like wearing any of the others?” option.

It’s ridiculous, this I recognize.

I just don’t know what to do about it.


No wonder my heart stopped as I listened to Sister Simone Campbell, a nun, lawyer, lobbyist, poet and “Zen contemplative” as she exposed the root of my problem–an obsession with security–in her beautiful “How to be Spiritually Bold” conversation with Krista Tippett of On Being.

She was talking about bigger things than my inefficient packing –inequality, oppression, liberation theology–when she casually mentioned a need for a new theology in the United States. Here’s what she said that got my attention.

I came to this insight. I think our sin is our obsession with security. Our obsession that everything ought to work out perfectly for us.That we ought to have every conceivable drop of oil ever that we’d ever need, any time. That we have to have electricity. And a guarantee I brought the right clothes, so I brought extra just in case I needed extra layers. I mean, all this obsession with having everything we need.


Security is an illusion, she said, because we’re all vulnerable. We would be much better off if we just made peace with insecurity.

Make peace with insecurity.

(That spoke to my heart.)

We’re all vulnerable.



And so I have been giving a lot of thought to this idea of making peace with insecurity. What does that really mean, anyway? And how would I go about it?

It reminds me of the trip we took to Colorado just last month. Tim and I made the long climb (in a car) from Boulder up Flagstaff Mountain to Lost Gulch Lookout. My palms were sweating as I watched my unaffected husband bounce around on the edge of those rocks.




So you feel afraid my soul whispered. Go anyway. Don’t miss that view.

And so I did.


This may or may not be me with my hand providing stability. I promise you I did not even realize it until I looked at this photo.


I’ve also thought of the concepts of vulnerability and insecurity as I’ve walked around my yard of late. I’ve had enough run-ins with snakes to warrant a fair amount of caution, let me be clear. But when I was on the verge of buying flowers rather than collecting my own pretty ones, I knew a talk with myself was in order.

I need to change my perspective, I said. Snakes and I have peacefully co-existed my entire life–I just haven’t been hyper-aware they are there. Perhaps I should recognize their toleration of me. Perhaps I could respect their right to live here, too.

And then I packed for Florida. I wasn’t perfect–but it was a vast improvement. No magazines, no books, only one knitting project. And only two extra outfits.

Now that’s progress.

The Theology of Insecurity. I’m working on it.



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