Friday, February 27, 2009

Farm Fund

I'm quite taken with the Outstanding in the Field idea of traveling round the world and gathering perfect strangers in picturesque settings for multi-course sunset meals. In fact, ever since I found out that they'll be pulling up into town this September, it's nearly all I can think about. I've been racking my brain wondering if/how I could justify spending such an obscene amount of money for one magical starlight night. I mean, it's all the things I love most in life: community, farms (probably complete with plaid-wearing folks), melt in your mouth local farm-to-table food, live music, candlelight and autumn weather. I'm internally squealing with delight at the thought of being able to attend such an event, most especially as Frank Stitt will be the man of the hour for Birmingham's event. He's a culinary genius, though I've never had the pleasure of passing the threshold of two out of three of his finer eating establishments. A girl can dream...

In conclusion, I pose the following:

1) Dear reader, if you are seeing this and live in or closeby Birmingham and would like to save your pennies and attend with me, just say the word.
2) If you want to contribute to my piggy bank, please send all contributions to my home address.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bent on Lent

Click to enlarge. I pray this to be the theme of my days as I enter into this season.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Photologged Day in the Life

The following photographs document nearly every hour in my quotidian life on Friday. The results are not too terribly thrilling, most especially because I fell ill in the afternoon hours, which resulted in a few lapses in documentation. Alas, here they are:

The day begins at 0700 hours. A little Bible reading and a little journaling get the day going in my favorite room in the house.

Living with three other girls, it's not uncommon for the Friday-morning kitchen to be somewhat of a mess. Alas, I spent the pre-work hour tidying up. I know, my life is so glamorous you just can't stand it. Hold your horses. It gets better.

It's 8:30 am, and I'm now at work, checking my email and making a plan for the day. You can't see from this picture, but the view from my desk simply can't be beat. I've got Birmingham's skyline right before my eyes all. day. long. Not a bad gig.

It's 9 am, and we're sitting in on our weekly conference call. Terry, our Graphic Designer (pictured slumbering here), is not so enthused at the content of this week's call: the budget. Economic slump, la, la, la. Tell me something I don't already know.

It's 10:00 on press deadline day, so I spend the new few minutes last-minute proofing the issue. Check out the photo challenge on page 10. It is the inspiration for this here post, afterall.

It's now 10:30, and I'm speeding through the streets of downtown to pick up one of our freelance photographers for a mid-morning photo shoot.

11:00 am and we're on location at BumperNets, cue-ing in on this girl for our upcoming Girl Power page. 12:00 and I'm en route to my next engagement.

It's 1:00 and I'm chewing the fat (and my lunch: a pj sandwich, if you must know) with other Young Life leaders during our weekly "lunch bunch." We read a book together, catch up on life and encourage one another in our ministry to high school and middle schoolers.

At 2:00 in the afternoon, there's no place I'd rather be than my bed. I've decided to take the afternoon off work, as I'm feeling a bit feverish. I find solace in the pillowy haven pictured here.

It's around 4ish by now, and I'm in desperate need of some Vitamin C. I opt for this grapefruit and hope and pray that it will help me to ward off the impending sickness.

I've a few mintues to spare before I head out again, so I take this opportunity to sit on the back porch with my latest book-club read. Shortly thereafter, I discover it's way too cold to sit out here. What the H was I thinking. Back inside.

It's 5:00pm and I'm on site of the second photo shoot of the day: Vulcan. Due to some miscommunication, the subject of the photograph is a no-show. So, I snap this guy instead. He's a perfectly photogenic substitute, no?

It's 6pm and I'm back at the Young Life office -- The Nook-- for leadership.

Around 7, I head over to the "guy's house" for some pizza. These were some of my very first friends in this city. Their door is always open. Literally.

Still chumming around at the guy's house. I didn't last long post-pizza, as my symptoms began to take me over. I'm not ashamed to admit, I was snug in my bed (reference: 2pm) before 10pm.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I Hope I Don't Get in Trouble For This....

The above is a page that is set to run in our March issue...which incidentally, is not with the printer quite yet. So, that's right, you're getting a premier peek. Don't tell. You probably can't read the text above, but it says this: "Take one photo every hour from the time you wake up until bedtime to document your day. You'll get a whole new view of your life."

I'm going to give it a go tomorrow. I'll post pictures here when I'm done. Anyone care to join me?

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Experiments in twittering... part 2. I've made the executive decision to personally de-twitter. I'm still using it for work (and can be found at skirtBirmingham for interested parties), and have found it to be a useful tool there for disseminating information and getting almost-immediate feedback. After two weeks of soul searching, however, I have decided it needs not hold place in my outside-of-work life. So, there you have it, folks. I gave its usage a go, and have declined to persist. If you care to know why, I'd love to discuss both my reservations and celebrations about digital communication tools with you... but, let's chat about it on a park bench or over coffee. What do you say?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Foundational Shifting

So, I stumbled upon the following essay that I wrote and submitted to skirt! magazine, long before I ever dreamed I'd be on its masthead. This is one of my many essays that was rejected...I penned it about a year and a half ago, post-graduation and just before I embarked on the trail west to Birmingham. (pictured above is the famous Ivywood: home to the majority of my college-made memories). It's been a tumultuous and yet joyous journey to today.

Home Grown

He used to sit on his porch bare-chested under his overalls. He’d wave as we drove thirty-five miles an hour past his white-washed farmhouse on our way to church on Sunday. Every Sunday. We drove to church and back, and there he’d be, sipping his slow life and rocking gently. From the backseat of our family car, my sister and I waved back faithfully. Not only did we expect to see that old farmer each week in his weathered chair, we depended on him. We needed his slow rocking to tell us that some things would never change, that home would always be home.

But, things did change and before long, the idyllic scene turned into a bulldozed mess and the site of a new county library. Across the high-traffic street now sits a high-profile golf course. Things ain’t what they used to be around home. That’s for dang skippy.

When I left for college, I never shed a single homesick tear. A new place simply forced me to redefine home. For two years, home was a place I could not bring myself to call home while I lived there. The college dorm was where my mail came, but it was not home. It was just the place where I climbed the ladder to my lofted bed and lay my head each night. It was just a place in whose narrow hallways I left wet footprints as I squeaked my way from the community bathroom toting my water-logged shower caddy to my room to get decent, praying to God that I wouldn’t see a boy en route. Surely, a place like this could never be home.

For the latter two years of my undergraduate education, I resided off-campus in an apartment with four other girls where impromptu dance parties were commonplace. Friends and I started driving across states for football games and learned to sleep five to a bed during weekend trips to the beach. I started to gain the confidence to speak louder, to flirt shamelessly, to sing outside of the shower. Visits home became less frequent as I began a love affair with Athens and the life I was starting to settle into there.

And then one day, it happened.

I was on the phone with my mom, making the call to tell her that I had arrived safely back to school after a weekend away. Yeah mom. It was fun. I’m here. I just wanted to let you know that I’m home.

Without my knowing, home had forwarded its address to the place where I had chipped away at my insecurities to find my sense of belonging. Home was no longer assigned a single street number. Instead of being a place where I could hang my hat, it became the people with whom I could rest in myself. Somehow, without my realizing that it was happening, I was learning that home had to become an intangible concept rather than a house atop concrete foundation. Home could be found in a different zip code, in a different state, even in a different culture.

One of life’s steady constants is change. Being so, it wasn’t long after my great revelation about home that my time at college began to wane. Now, after four years in a place that taught what it means to be at home, I am faced with another great move that will challenge me to stand on my recently-formed theory. In one week, I will pack up a Budget truck with four years worth of miscellaneous kitchen items, picture frames and clothing fads and head to a new place where I will be forced to begin anew…again.

New job, new apartment, and with time, hopefully, some new friends. I find myself wondering if this transition will be any easier than it was for the last time I took a risky leave of absence from my safe life. For four years, I was that old farmer. Sitting, rocking and waving, I never gave too much thought to the fact that my bulldozer was just around the corner.

That farmer’s scene is preserved in my memory like a movie scene – one that set life to a beautiful soundtrack of romance. It’s one of those scenes that makes you remember what it is to feel. Like a great battle scene complemented with a symphony of drum beats or a majestic pan of a mountain range accompanied by the violin’s sad song. It’s like the feeling of when two long-awaited lovers finally move in for a kiss set to the crescendo of an instrumental masterpiece. These are moments when something deep and transcendent happens inside the heart of a viewer.

It’s a surge of hope that the world is indeed a wonderful place, that profound emotion is not just something that Hollywood is capable of manufacturing. Sometimes, God gives us small moments in life that confirm that by telling us that great courage and strength and love are real. That being at home is very REAL. When I think back on the old farmer on the hill, I know that it is. I know that home is such a dominant concept in my life because there is something very genuine about human desire for timelessness: a life not operated by blackberries, cell phones and deadlines. I hope that heaven means a whole lot of porch-rocking.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Serenity Now.

I've been experiencing serious digital overload. Virtual connectedness every where, all the time. I've been running to catch up, to keep up. I could use some technological tranquility.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Do with Might

My hands cupped together
They offer up peace
They offer up fullness
Let critic's words cease

I gather up courage
I muster up heart
To send to the wind
A sparkling start

Grab hold of internal
And open it wide
Share, spread, ignite
In others confide

Release a tight fist
Unfurl and untie
Unfold and unearth
A good college try