small things … whereby we make a little home

Are you a steady consistent person, or someone who goes all in for one thing and lets other things slide while doing that one thing excellently?

I am both.

What I mean is that I really aim for being consistent and cultivating a good, healthy rhythm. I try to be measured and slow and thoughtful in how I approach life. But then an idea takes over and if I don’t think about it, I forget I was doing anything else. This one thing in this one moment is what I now need to do.

Then I come out of that and think, “Tired. Now I’m tired.” Sometimes it yields a good result, and other times I regret that exuberance – I can allow it to draw me to something that in reality is not a high priority for me, or at least not next to many other things.

Is one better than the other?

Can’t say. I see  benefits in each. The first, because I believe it creates a safe place, allows for hard work and deep rest, and involves self-discipline. The second, because really cool things can result from you pouring all your energy into something.

This all comes out of my desire to make our home homey. What I really want – let’s get real – is to have all the perfect things for our home right now and have them in there and get rid of the annoying stuff and it’s all beautiful.

But then, what about the home MAKING process? Oh and what about our money? Hah.

It can’t all be finished today. But there are some days when you can blitz and sing a new song through the beauty of your home, and this week I took a couple of evenings to put in that time. I wanted to share some of it with you! (By the way, showing you this, friend, makes me anxious. Vulnerability has many faces.)

Probably my favourite  mantle theme yet.

Probably my favourite mantle theme yet. Feather stickers on the wall from Target, wood-looking candles from World Market. Tiny bottles, old painting, old suitcase – inherited.

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Our coffee table got a little taste of colour from fabric used at our wedding reception, accented by a print of a painting done by my aunt! And a rock I found on a backpacking trip in Mendocino National Park.

On the hearth of our non-functioning fireplace, some more flowers and a lone candlestick. Guitars always make for good decor.

On the hearth of our non-functioning fireplace, some more flowers and a lone candlestick. Guitars always make for good decor.

Shiny!

Shiny!

Bathroom needs a little love and character too.

Bathroom needs a little love and character too. That ceramic leaf is from a Montana artisan!

Dressing up kitchen shelves. Weck canning jars from World Market.

Dressing up kitchen shelves. Weck canning jars from World Market.

Basically, I bought so so many flowers. Then I found shiny things and rustic things and made a happy family all over our apartment.

Basically, I bought so so many flowers. Then I found shiny things and rustic things and made a happy family all over our apartment.

My hope in sharing this with you is to give you courage to do what you are meant to do, and to share it regardless of how incredibly imperfect it is. Here’s another example: I’m slightly terrified of holding my words out to you. What if you can’t stand them? What if they’re wrong?

Things will never be truly complete, and that’s just not the nature of the life God has for us anyway, in this current world. But for now I’m pretty happy with our comfy autumnal nest. I always find things to improve; that’s the curse and blessing of being a developer. Living with one might be difficult? Sorry, hubs.

Home, the physical, does matter. We are beings that touch and feel, and we see. We get to cultivate beauty all around us! I’m learning that this privilege shouldn’t be a source of stress, but one of joy and ease. We go as we are led, and we each create in our own way.

I’m hoping to grow in my rhythm-ability, so that I create with discipline and depth. But sometimes, y’all, the muses take control.

And yes, after all this, I am tired. Some things don’t change. 🙂

the walk … of resisting withdrawal

San Francisco is puzzling. It scares me at times. There is a lot of honking and yelling. Lots of drugs – I can smell them regularly. Fresh air is relative. Pine trees and palm trees grow along streets. Often excrement and broken glass on the sidewalk. This is not my place, so to speak. It’s my home now, and to be sure, I’ll miss it once we’re gone. But San Francisco, you’re not my love. Sometimes I want out.

Today I walked down Mission to 5th Street. I turned left and walked to Howard. Turned left again and returned to the office, making a big loop for 30 minutes or so. I grabbed some yogurt with loads of sweet toppings and off I went with my sunglasses for anonymity. I took no photos today, because I wanted to be inconspicuous. In lieu of that, here’s a photo of Market Street from last night.

I’ve driven down Mission plenty of times, but never traveled this area on foot. I was curious as to what I would find. Mission wasn’t terribly surprising, though as I neared 5th I noticed even more poverty and struggling individuals. Around then I realized I was walking past palm trees. There was also a Filipino restaurant and a shop that tailors, does alterations, and repairs shoes. On 5th, there is a center for empowering and helping people find jobs and resources. Next to that there’s a Subway and a convenience store. Quite a number of folks hanging out there.

On Howard I found myself walking behind three young people broadcasting some R&B/rap mix for all to hear. We passed a store with comforters and pillows, and I was tempted to stop in. Eventually I noticed a very huge and tall building that’s the Intercontinental hotel. When you’re on the street, you only see the tall buildings that are further away from you. When you’re in the car you don’t see anything.

I also noticed an enormous dental school – University of the Pacific. Then I passed the Moscone center, the Yerba Buena children’s area, and reached the office again. That’s when I noticed huge coniferous trees standing against our building. They are even huge against this massive building, which houses so many restaurants, 16 movie theaters, and Target. They remind me of where I’d probably rather be … i.e. somewhere surrounded by trees and no cigarette smoke and no poverty. That’s the reality of my heart, because I’m irked and harmed by smoke and broken by poverty.

 

That comforter and pillow store, that temptation – that’s a reality for me. Off the street, in the safety of that room, is softness and promise of sleep. Escape. But some have no option for escape. Or if they did, it’s not evident anymore. Even those of us who have this gift of eternal life, graced to us, we are not called in order to leave the jolting reality behind.

We are directed to engage it, to be the alterations and repair shop and the refuge of home linens and the resource center and the dental school and the trees. We’re to breathe life, to restore, to give rest, to teach, to provide. Because God is already doing this, and He made us to be with Him.

I’m trying to go be with God in San Francisco.

 

I will confess you among the peoples, O LORD;* I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your loving-kindness is greater than the heavens,* and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Psalm 108:3–4

 

to myself in pain

It’s amazing, what a headache can do to your brain.

It becomes nigh impossible to finish a thought to completion. Circles. Just circles of words and ideas, switching between them without noticing.

You stare without seeing. You’re not conscious of your consciousness. Then you remember you’re in the airport and you goad your arms into lifting the coffee to your lips again, every swallow bringing you a little closer to human.

There is enough brain to function on a very basic level, so walking can still happen. Picking up the feet enough not to stumble … maybe not. Walking in the right direction … don’t count on it. Basic math and critical thinking are out.

Closing your eyes is easier.

Sometimes you remember to remind God you’re miserable and pray for yourself. Sometimes the haze of pain lifts a little. Sometimes it bears down, heavy, and in those times you realize you depend on God for everything.

Those times show you that you take the most normal things for granted.

For now, you probably feel depressed. But this is an invitation to pray simply. To draw near to the Healer and just exist. No other thoughts or tasks can reach you now – only the grace of God that keeps you breathing.

That grace is a gift; it’s all you have to rest in. It’s there whether the brain clouds clear or not.

It’s what lets you say, “Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.”

Amen.