Honest, Uncategorized, washington whimsy

Starting from scratch

I met a magical whimsy unicorn in October of 2012.

Her name is Betsy Garmon. And she is absolutely wonderful. She’s one of those woman who makes the gritty look lovely. She turns the things that seem torn and broken in your life into art and hope and dreams.

last day of the world race in december 2013

I have learned and continue to learn so much from her. One of the life lessons I learned from her that keeps flashing in neon lights above my head these days is to hold space for myself.

I’ve been told on more then one occasion over the last few months to have grace for myself, to not be so hard on myself, to take care of myself. 

If we want to discuss broken records in my life this is one of them. 

Here’s what it is: I know how to do it. I do. I know how to live well.

I’m not sure though; if I know how to live intentionally. 

A favorite quote of mine is by Mary Anne Radmacher. I saw the words for the first time summer after my junior year in college in a tourist shop in time square on a magnet. My choir was in New York to sing at Carnegie hall and it was my first technical week being the president of the choir. And I was terrified.


I remember reading those words and thinking how lovely they sounded before even knowing what lovely was. I truly believe I wanted to do those things but didn’t have the means to do them.

Now, I believe I have the means, but not the ability.

My whole self is tired these days. I could potentially state that this is the most tired I have ever consistently been in my life.
I’ve been trying to figure out why my receiver has been unable to receive lately. Well,more so than normal. It’s been a struggle. Nothing sticks. And I want them too, more than I can describe. I’ve searched for a reason my walls go up and I haven’t been able to find it.

But what I keep coming back to is eventually if I can’t find a way to hold space for myself how will I continue to do it for others?

We live in a weird world friends. A world that says to look out for yourself, but also tells us to cram as much as possible into our lives and to earn money so we can retire and do nothing. We live in a world that has for the most part lost the art of the kitchen table and breaking bread together.

And if we aren’t going to slow down to eat our food how are we going to slow down to sit in space with ourself? And we aren’t going to do that, then how are we going to live fully alive?
I know that I am not living fully alive these days. I can feel it in my bones. I’ve been a little terrified of the silence and of sitting with God and even sitting with some of my friends.

I don’t like feeling like I don’t have it all together for everyone.

And if I am being real and true, I don’t know if I know how to make these a daily practice. 

I feel as if I am starting from scratch on the taking care of myself. 

And that’s why I’ve wanted to say all these things I’ve said in the last few blogs I’ve written. The depression, the ugly, the hurt, the tired. 

I’m coming to the realization that it’s ok to feel like I’ve already “done this”. Because I haven’t. It feels the same but it’s not.
I don’t have answers, I barely have words. 

But I’m choosing to say the ones I have.

I’m choosing to do things that feel hard.

I’m choosing to sit in silence even when it drives me nuts.

I’m choosing my space.

washington whimsy

In search of: a kitchen table

If you are friends with my roommate and I here in Bellingham there is a really good chance that we have cooked or baked for you. 

Like last Saturday I literally spent the whole day cooking. I started with omelettes for 7. We crammed in the kitchen, me making omelettes, Joanna making waffles, we surged the power with the microwave and heater going, we drank coffee from the carafe that I found at a thrift store and then parted ways for the day slowly with my friend Jonathan doing all the dishes for me as we watched the Office. I quickly moved into planning on cooking dinner for the triumvirate that often is gathered around our kitchen island. The three of us ate, drank wine and talked about all the things as per usual.

Cooking and baking and gathering is the tree of life for me, for us.

Sadly, we are missing something from our house that is incredibly important. Yes, there are certain pots and pans and a garlic press that we want. And yes, we need all the seasons of Dawson’s Creek (with the original music, because duh) and our creepy, clown cabinet only has like an 8th of a bottle of gin.

But, what we are lacking above all of that, is a kitchen table. We have a spot for it. A picture of our G42 class in the center of a wall awaiting a table under it. I will admit, we are pretty picky. 

Because, it isn’t just a table to us. It’s so very much more than that. 

It’s a place to land.

A table that’s a little weathered, that maybe has the faint ring of a wine glass, maybe some flowers placed upon it says something.

It says, “come and be.” Come however you are, with whatever day you have had, with whatever you need to shake off, pull up a chair and you can be fed, nourished and loved.

A table says you are not alone. You are cared for in the most basic of ways, which are the ways that truly matter.

We need that symbol to go along with the spirit already in our home. We gather around a lot of tables here in Bellingham. At restaurants, coffee shops, at the Liberty house.

We gather at our little yellow house too. 

But we need that place to set our platters and lay our forks and clink our glasses.

So, without further ado:

IN SEARCH OF: a kitchen table.

Square, or rectangular with leaves that can expand the size, but can also be folded down to fit against our wall. Does not have to be brand-new, we value character and story in our furniture and our lives the same. Has to be able to withstand meals teaming with food and also lively games with beans and dice. Must be able to be the centerpiece for truth, life and laughter. Must be ok with tears and yelling. Needs to be a table that can double as a place for creativity. Where dreams can be dreamt and plans can be made and vision can be established.
And without a doubt, must be a place to gather, a soft place to a land and an easy place to take off from and come back too. 

And must be a place to live from.
The yellow house in Bellingham is searching for a table; can you help us?

spain

scrape the chairs

(my cover photo for this blog is in honor of the 70th birthday of Andrew Shearman. He’s the founder and vision caster of this place and I am so grateful for the works he put in motion, the table he created and the love he pours every day into those who follow him.)

Last week, on my second to last day of class, I went to Maria’s to write. When Patty and I find ourselves there to do work at the same time we normally sit at separate tables.

But on days when we start class at ten we end up in the bakery at the same time as the rush of moms getting coffee after they drop their kids at school and at the same time as this group of runners piles itself slowly into a corner.

There isn’t a lot of room at Maria’s. Five round tables with about 3 chairs each. And with the cold wind outside no one dares occupy the tables scattered outside the doorway.

So as it gets more and more crowded and the tables get filled one of us will take notice and will choose to move and make room.

I moved this time. I got up and made room and came to sit at the table with Patty. We rearranged it, moved the poinsettia and the napkin holder.

We made room and I sat at the table.

(From the pounding of my heart as I wrote that sentence, I know that there is more.)

I made room. And then I sat at the table.

When I first got here in July I didn’t think there was room for me. And it wasn’t in a negative way (most of the time), I just didn’t think that this was my table. I didn’t believe I fit.

I was ok with sitting away from everything, watching people continually come back and sit and see how it supernaturally expanded.

And even though I wasn’t sitting there; I was so blessed by watching people come back from all over the world and sit without a care who they were next too.

I saw the peace that came when people set their feet back in this place.

The weariness that was shaken off.

The weariness that was shaken off by coming home.

I remember this one moment in college, it was my freshman year and my two roommates and I were dubbed “the mean girls”. Anyway, the three of us and a friend went to a floor event at a restaurant. We walked and the table all of the others were sitting at was full, and no one moved or lifted a finger to find a seat.

So we sat down at another table.

About three minutes later more girls from the floor poured through the door.

And everyone moved.

We watched in awe of the fact that literally every person around the table moved.They made room.

And now as I sit and think about that moment I realized something:

Did I really WANT to sit at that table?

Probably not.

If I would have, I would have made room for myself.

Moved back a chair and set myself down.

I began to, at some point, make room for myself at tables in Spain.

It took me awhile.

I didn’t want to make room for myself. I was that one who had walked through the door last. I was the one who didn’t know where the extra chairs were.

But somewhere along the way I realized that all it takes is me scraping some chair legs on the floor and someone will help.

This table is filled with a whole lot of family. It’s a place that I didn’t have to work to sit at but I had to WANT to sit at. It’s filled with people I trust, people who have wisdom and authority. People who love beyond condition.

Here’s my challenge, my advice, a piece of love: Find a table; find a group of people; find a family who shares your DNA, scrape some chair legs and have a seat.

It will be a place of love and of change if you allow it.

I found my table, my tribe, here in Spain. I am sad to leave them, but I know I will always have a seat.