Friday, November 1, 2013

I need to tell you about the ocean.

Hi there.
I don't want to waste time on how I haven't come here that often.
I love my life, my Vienna, my Jared, my business, our little duplex in our charming neighborhood full of boutique stores and lantern lights on big porches.
I'm still hungry, though.
Hungry to know the future, to remember people of the past better. It's easy to let the days and nights slide by in work and Vienna, baby and photography, it's all the same but still really really good. But I want to reach out more, think more, write more. So I took this afternoon off because I can. I've been filling up on floral arranging 101, how to decorate your house eclectically. The blazing afternoon sun is fall through my blinds at 5:01 on November the first, and it's so delicious I turned on the air conditioning through our errands today.

Yesterday was Halloween and I stayed home to pass out candy to kids for the first time in my life. And we didn't have one single trickortreater. It feels so wrong to be old enough to stay home and pass out candy. That's going to be somebody's job for every Halloween from here on out, I guess, unless we keep living in our charming old little duplex where people don't see the second door on the porch.

Bon Iver speaks to me, loud. Any mood he comes along. Any day any feeling. I close my eyes and go to deep lake with clear blue water, summertime, rope swings, cabins and docks and towel dried hair. I go and stay there for the whole of summer, crying with delight as the water takes me under its wing.

That reminds me--I gotta tell you about the ocean in October in California. It is the best place, and when you're in you can see for miles around and up and down nothing but blue, blue, sun blue! I jumped with the waves and let out a squealy scream every time it would suck me in only to push me back up. Something about the water energizes me, tickles the cells in my bones and lights me up. Sand in my toes and foaming bathing it all away. I caressed the mossy rocks with my fingertips and the mussels called back, telling how long they'd been there. So many stories in those rocks, kept fresh by the constant crashing waves.

The water was only cold at first but it was just me and the other crazy kids out there, neck deep and screeching in delight with every wave. I have to shake that crazy kid awake else she gets lost running errands, getting gas and ignoring boring mail.

I expected to still feel the tide in me lying in bed, but I didn't. It left, I guess, with those fleeting ins and outs. The ocean makes me feel alive like nothing else.
Til you venture out on the rocks further than you dare, and you feel like the Little Mermaid, til you kiss the salty waves with your pulsing lips, til you know in your sand-covered toes that this is the biggest and best thing on God's green earth--you can't understand how it still somehow, wonderfully, keeps you alone. One with all the things you ever wanted absorbed into you.

Then maybe a dolphin rears its head, maybe a cluster of birds flies over you, and you get swallowed in the wholeness and fullness of the ocean, peaceful and exhilarating all in one bite.

I pushed the seaweed out of my way, floated and flew farther and I could still touch. More seaweed. I got eye level with the waves and welcomed them--how could I ever be scared? My whole life is in front of me in those waves, killing people every year but giving life to zillions of gorgeously useful creatures and thousands of other things we know nothing about, so I won't feel knotted and worried when the ocean is here, the world is here, and I believe in adventure always. Bon voyage.

Friday, June 7, 2013

get MOVED.

I walked with Vienna today and we saw things and were part of the real world, instead of just scrolling through it while I feed her.
Sometimes my life seems like an endless cycle of nursing, burping, diaper changing, putting down for a nap. Going anywhere or doing anything outside the house messes up the schedule.

But this morning V was crying, she didn't WANT to sleep. So we went on a walk in the stroller in the beautiful June morning full of sunshine and allergies and runners and porch sitters.
We saw the jogger couples, the ladies with fancy workout clothes, the old ladies piddling in their yards. They all had ready smiles and hands anxious for waving and I forgot how friendly the world is, even when your face is red and you're generally a hot mess. Being a hot mess never felt so amazing.

Two songs on Amos Lee radio moved me to tears, and this one: while I was listenin, the spirit MOVED me. I felt tingles and chills through every inch of me. That's what it feels like to feel alive, completely and totally. In those really indescribable moments I know God is in me, floating around in my pores and veins and guts. He's so there I can't deny it. I had to start running, running and flying like a cheesy movie for the first time in over 9 months. It felt so good to have music filling up my ears and the sky filling up my body and the earth solid under my feet.

I've been hurting about a few big things I've kept quiet. I've been silently sorting through abandonment and betrayal and all flavors of frowning and feelin stuck. Inside my walk today I felt inspired again. I felt like I could go back to our little house and begin the cycle again, with more consciousness and just healed and whole.

I don't need all the things I thought I did. I can create so much just me myself, plus God. Plus music and all the wonderful things in the world that don't have anything to do with people.

Now I'm here with my hair wet, finally showered at 1:00 in the afternoon. V, she was up and bathed and gorgeous by 9 am, but this mama--well, you know you're a mom when plucking your eyebrows seems an unspeakable luxury--and I'm acknowledgin that I skipped a whole lot of stuff in the chronology of this emaciated blog, like V's birth and deep reflections and metaphors about what being a mom is like. But today, I am full of the tingly happiness of summertime walkin to amazing music. Today I felt like singin again for the first time in a really, really long time.

I'm coming back to life after a long winter of uncertainty.

I thought becoming a mom would completely change me--I heard from other moms you become a whole new person, you'd be surprised how everything changes.

But not me. I'm the same person.

I'm scared and relieved about that.
Scared because I still have big dreams and desires to create wonderful stuff and put it out into the world and I'm still not sure how that fits long term with being Vienna's momma. We're doing it, though, and it is amazin.

Knock your socks off amazin.
Pop your eyeballs upside down amazin.
Yeah. I'll tell you more about it later--right now that's what you gotta know.
Now go blast a song and get MOVED.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

the eye of a needle.

today i am inspired to write by brandi carlile.
i can share the song with you, but it won't penetrate your heart quite like it's piercing mine right now. you can still listen if you wanna.

i feel like this whole birth and becoming a mother deal is exactly like passing through the eye of a needle. isn't as easy as it sounds.
but people do this all the time. birth babies and become mothers for the first time.
and people say, congratulations! how exciting!
but i am swimming in it. overwhelmed and totally unsure of myself. and people say, you'll figure it out.
but i have a hard time feeling good about that when a child, a precious little human soul, is affected by my every mistake. a sweet little girl i love enough to drown in, and it's inevitable: i'm going to hurt her. things i do and say are going to damage her little self. i'm going to be bad at being a mom sometimes. probably a lot of times.
and yes. she'll get over it. she'll be bouncy and resilient and the love i'll shower on her will mean so much more and hopefully she'll remember the wonderful things i'm good at in motherworld and not the faults i have and fear.

but i am really tired of people acting like it's not a big deal.
the epitome of the "it is what it is" attitude. you do your best and blah blah. they probably say that because they figure i don't want to hear their advice. and, really, i don't--i just want someone to take my face in their hands and tell me that it's the hardest thing in the world and tell about the nights up crying and frustrated and the most beautiful moments of the multitude of shared love and knowledge between a mother and her baby.

i am looking around with such sure knowing that my best is so painfully not enough. why is no one else bothered by that?
i know God is looking out for us, and will help me care for her and love her and make my efforts so much more than they could be. and still, my efforts alone will not be as whole as i wish them to be. i will lose my patience and scream into a pillow and break down crying and accidentally wake her up and squeeze her hand too hard and act differently than i tell her to and want to tear out my hair.

and all anyone can say is, you'll figure it out.
i will.
i just wish there was a way to figure it out before her life is on the line. before her pristine self becomes my trial-and-error zone. i don't want to litter on her. i want to preserve her perfection.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Once, I graduated from college. I celebrated (cautiously) a few months early, and so when I really did it, when I really stepped off BYU campus for the last time as a student, it didn't feel big like that. I was just trying to get to Christmas.
After graduation I had nightmares for months that I'd forgotten some logistical detail and didn't really have a degree. There was something more I had to do, a hidden hoop I somehow didn't know I had to jump through. Like how I forgot to get a tassel and Jared handmade me one on the morning of the graduation ceremony. It was perfect--my husband bailing me out for a detail I've overlooked, again.

I have no idea what the future holds for me, what exactly I'm meant to do in the world with my music and my voice and my words and my photographs. But I know, for sure, that I was meant to get the degree I got, with all the blood, sweat and tears. It stretched me wide open and God knew I'd need it.

Now there's a baby girl kicking inside me and I want her to know what her momma did. That her momma loved this thing fierce but somehow the love got away, and even when it did she kept moving through. I want her to know that even if the love never comes back I'll still be proud and not regret. That even if I never sing much or direct much I'll know those hours I poured into that piece of paper were where my heart needed to get jostled around and molded into the one that can love her fierce.

I can't leave these people out. They listened to me cry and lament first about how I did't know what I was going to do with my life. Then they listened to me cry about how heartbreaking it was not to get in, and then, to more crying about how hard it was once I got in. Still more crying when I lost the love that kept me up at night scribbling down teaching techniques and instead was up late imagining photographs. They invested in me and believed in me and told me I could do it and they really believed I could. Mom especially was on the other end of a lot of tear-soaked phone lines and I am so thankful for her grace, for her perfect and tender handling of all my emotions through all of school. Words are really wimpy in trying to say all that my blessed parents did and gave and were so that I could live the dream and go to college. Whow. What can you even say about the people who give you everything and still hold you up and tell you all the wonderful things about yourself that you can't see. This love is big.

God does amazing things with my life when I let him in.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Kick and Quiet.

Today the sun was out and I looked out the window all day, feeling inspired and readyready to photograph the whole earth.
I went shopping for springy clothes only to come back with all the dark and black things that were on sale. It's okay. I needed maternity things.
I'm ready to have this baby so I can shop in the regular section again. That seems like a dumb reason to want her here.

She is a girl baby.
She likes grapefruit in the morning and then applesauce, then other fruity things, then sometimes nothing else sounds good but she is still hungry.
She goes KICKKICKKICKKICK really big and then gets quiet for a while. Kind of like her momma goes:a flurry of stuff and then nothing. It's quiet that fills up your whole world if you let it. Sometimes it's nice, and sometimes it is like drowning.

I'm going to be a substitute teacher.
It makes my heart hurt and my head ache to think about it.
But I do what God tells me and He always sends me what I need.
He told me: I'm gonna send good things to you.
I believe Him.
I'm working on the part of me that's kicking hard against believing. There's a lot of room for doubt when your proof pool is a lot shallower than it once was. My faith is spread thin these days and I'm trying to nurture it, bulk it up and make the ends meet. I'm trying to remember that my faith doesn't need to be tied to specific results and is about trusting His will and giving mine up even when it seems so incredibly easy and perfect.
It's really scary to keep jumping into the pitch black dark.
It's good practice to keep jumping.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Expressin the Good News

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. day.
This day always means a lot to me. You can read more about why.

Just being here tonight is bringing back all kinds of memories for me, and I'm feeling all kinds of things about soulful communication of God's love and joyful communication of the gospel. I'm feelin the joy of the time I spent coaxing and nurturing that joy and soul in regular people who weren't sure if they had it in them to be loud or even confident in expressing the good news with groove. They'd look around, like, whoa. This feels gooooood. Is it okay for me to feel this good moving and shaking and shouting with love in music even though I'm white/inexperienced/not a singer/shy? I loved smiling, reassuringly, and letting them know that we are all entitled to groove and joy, that our message transcends all kinds of boundaries. Just because we're white and don't have the history, the generations of water under the bridge--this doesn't mean we're not allowed to love music or culture or a new way to express how we feel about God and the human family.

I'm here, in the Wilk Ballroom, feeling how big it is that musicians practice and have oodles of background and built-up love and history that they bring to the music. The audience has no idea, really. We're edified, we feel good--but we have no idea.This is what I miss about performing.

I saw BYU Singers on the program and I gotta admit I was disappointed. And a little infuriated at first. I was all attitude, like, ohhh please, Martin woulda hated this coiffed-to-perfection-choral-boringness with exaggerated diction and an impeccable blend. His legacy was about doing what you believed in the best way you knew how, with or without a fancy degree or special training. He would scoff at this singing that's so manicured and refined, and who in the world thought up this silly idea to have them here! They don't know a thing about this culture or this people or the way music is supposed to be.

But then in the middle of my attitude I remembered what I just thought about being allowed to love things that you don't have any ownership in. And I remembered what Cathy the speaker challenged us to do when walking down the street: saying in our minds to each person, you matter. She challenged us to see the likeness of God in all of His children. I typed that in my phone because I forgot my journ.
 Then I felt sheepish for not wanting to let it go the other way. For wanting to reject the BYU Singers' offering because it was different than mine would have been. So maybe the people in BYU Singers didn't get it, like I was puttin on them. But maybe they did, and they made something to honor Dr. King that was equally as important as my gritty soulful somethin would have been.

I think Martin Luther King Jr. would have been pleased that a group of white classically trained singing kids were honoring him, even if in a form he didn't love as much. Maybe some of those Singers people caught a glimpse of how inadequate their offering was and felt humbled by all they have to learn. But I caught that glimpse about my own offerings of song and love and worship, and felt humbled. And I still felt good and light walking out of there.

And I still want to go to a meeting in our church where I can sing and shout and praise the Lord with all the volume and vigor I feel like. Right now I do that by myself, and I feel lifted.