Monday, December 28, 2009

Begin Again in 2010

image courtesy of (and available for purchase) here

Last year's resolution to design in '09 proved be quite the self-fulfilling prophesy. When my magazine career came to a halt in July, not only was I launched into a new more hands-on creative designing motion, I was propelled to RE-design the plans I had for myself. I've not taken off the journalist hat, I've simply added another.

Before the close of this year, I pre-gamed a bit for 2010: The year of new beginnings. I do declare this will be the year of fear that has said it's prayers.* These will be days filled with looking, then leaping. This is the year of purposefully climbing stair steps to heavenly castle aspirations.

*This is how Anne Lammot defines COURAGE.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Another Domestic Thought

After reading this article (from the same source as that which inspired the last posting), I was thinking about my own creative pursuits, and what provokes me to them. While I do recognize myself to be extremely results-driven, I think I always learn something in the creative process of actually creating. There's just something about struggling through, messing up, scraping initial efforts to begin again. As much as I love having the end result, I often end up with a pile of things I don't love, but that I am proud to have made. It happened a lot at Penland that way. I would spend hours -- sometimes days--- with a project, and come out on the other end of it less-than-satisfied. But, I was glad the visible mistakes were my own. They were, they are tangible lessons learned.

I often feel the same way about writing. I trudge through the process of writing an article. I gather notes from interviews and highlight and circle. I wonder how on earth I will bring the information together to make sense of it, the way it makes sense in my own mind. I selfishly think I'd sometimes rather like to keep the treasures of my conversations to myself rather than packaging them to make sense for other people to read. But, then I remember the editor at Southern Living who gave me my first BIG break. He said he wrote to "introduce people to their neighbors." In sincerity, I'd like to do the same.

So, while I don't always love the act of writing, I love having written something. And I ALWAYS recognize what a didactic experience it is for me. Article finished, I emerge as a more (relatively speaking) polished interviewer, listener, note-taker, communicator...hopefully.

So, I suppose I'm saying I agree with the article in part. I think that there are a whole lot of Susie homemaker wannabees who would rather have the image and results than the actual identity. Am I one of them? I don't know.

Go figure, I've asked for a sewing machine for Christmas this year. Ask me next year to see if it has collected dust or been the means for the production of countless beautifully messy things occupying the electronic shelves of my own etsy shop. Here's hoping for the latter.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Woman's Place

I'm of the new wave of women that believe feminine domesticity doesn't mean male-domination. I park my desk in the school of thought that proclaims women's liberation can also mean choosing to submit. It's a hybrid set of values, but it is my own.

That said, when I read this article about men/women kitchen dynamics, it really resounded with me. I think, deep down, I fear that when/if I wed, I will be culinarily challenged by husband-- that he will rob my cooking-serving joy by usurping my skill and knowledge with his own. The truth is, I have some deep-running pride about my place in the kitchen, feminist that I am.

So does the writer of this feature. Read, chew, digest. What do you think it all means?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Everything to Look Forward To

If you've ever had a slumber party with me, you may have heard me mention that, back in college, I worked a summer at a girl's overnight camp in the much-beloved mountains of North Carolina. Every early camp morning brought with it a loud bell sound, chiming repeatedly to wake up hundreds slumbering girls. Very next thing, per tradition, the entire camp would sit up in bed, clap hands and ring out with a "It's going to be a great day!," followed by a fist pump and the exclamation of "And I feel terrific!"

That's the power of positive thinking for you.

The camp director was known for his -isms, another of which was that "We have everything to look forward to, and nothing to dread."

Every morning began this way. Rain. Shine. Come hell or high water.

While I don't quite think syrupy-sweet optimism is always appropriate, I do think there is some validity to the Pollyanna perspective. Not every season produces cheery smiles and fist pumps. Some days are made for mourning, while some for laughing.

They got it. So did he.

This season for me, however, is filled with anticipation, absolutely devoid of dread. I don't imagine every period of my life will feel this way. But, today does.

I adore my present.
I look forward to my future.
I long for His coming.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Back in the Swing?

I'm back.
I'm back in the swing, I suppose.
But, I'm mostly glad that this swing leaves my feet dangling
as I sway in the gingerly whistling winds
I'm as near to the treetops as I am to the ground.

Friday, December 4, 2009

I'm Pressed

If you walked in on me unawares while I was running the press, you'd likely see me lost in a strange machine-assisted rhythmic hip side-stepping hand-cranking press dance. The hum and click of the printing process is music, the repetition, a back beat. I get to going on it, feeding thousands of pages through the grippers, and I just can't help but move to the sounds. I dance with the printing press. Call me crazy.

And, thank the Lord in High Heavens, I got back on press this week! Thanks to a talented local shop-owner, I got to put on my dancing shoes and printing apron to help out with a few things. Arm sore from the motion, fingers blistered from the redundant turning, I am delightfully exhausted, and pleased as punch to be able to have my hand in this.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Room Enough

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room enough for the books that would be written. -John 21: 25

I used to be can't-move-overwhelmed with the vastness of Jesus, the dialogues of Theology, the mysteries of Scripture. I am a simpleton, at best; I have a finite understanding. But, there's something about the above verse that enlivens me like one of C.S. Lewis' Narnian adventures. There's something about the expansive unknown alluded to here that ignites a desire for exploration into the world behind the wardrobe door. Sure, His thoughts are higher than mine and I will not come to understand the mind of the Lord, but what a joy and privilege we have to set our hearts on the pilgrimage.