Thursday, January 31, 2013


A couple years ago, I got my largest tattoo. It's on my forearm, and it's a cardinal. 

The guy who gave it to me is famous for his "Deep Needle" technique, which makes the color more vibrant and slower to fade. Needless to say, it hurt so bad that all I could do after was drive down to the Texas Inn and eat a cheesy western with a bunch of fat redneck men whose butts were hanging off the barstools. It's the only thing that made sense at the time.

Then I went home and waited for it to heal, and I learned something about healing in that time that made sense to me (in a concrete, visible way, which is the only way I can learn). I learned that healing is ugly, itchy, uncomfortable, and it takes no pains to go faster because I want it to. Healing means the scabs come slowly, make your life hell (and require incredible will power not to scratch off, thus ruining the entire tattoo), and fall off one by one at a rate you have no control over. 

I thought about this again today, as there are many people who I love dearly, and some who I only kind of know, who are hurting and who need healing. I wish there is something I could do to help, some kind of salve I could offer. 

You know that old phrase "Healing takes time?" It is totally annoying when people say that. But it has stuck around so long because there is truth behind it.

Healing physically is an ugly, itchy thing. 

And just like we would clean our wounds, wrapping them carefully to keep the outside world at bay, favoring them while they bind, 

-- we must do the same with our wounds that don't bleed. And just because we can't see them doesn't mean they don't heal the same way. They itch and scab, they cause us pain, and they heal in a timing not created or scheduled by us.

So spirit, soul, mind, emotions, memory, body - whatever the wound - clean, wrap, bind, and favor it. Read scripture. Stretch or walk. Drink big cups of tea. Rest. Quiet yourself. And in someone else's time....

At: A Table

Baking bread broken bread
and purple fingertips press out the pulp
From under your skin
comes the wine

filling the dusty air
like a thick reminder
fragrant and inescapable

Baking bread
and drinking wine:
Have we ever been anything else

Who put a body in the kingdom?

My Favorite Adrienne Rich Poem

I sit inside, doors open to the veranda
writing long letters
in which I scarcely mention the departure
of the forest from the house.
The night is fresh, the whole moon shines
in a sky still open
The smell of leaves and lichen
still reaches like a voice into the rooms.
My head is full of whispers which tomorrow will be silent.

Listen. The glass is breaking.
The trees are stumbling foward
into the night. Winds rush to meet them.
The moon is broken like a mirror,
its pieces flash now in the crown
of the tallest oak.

--Adrienne Rich

Soil and Eggs


olive oil, onion, salt and pepper:

and then a female is born,
sucked into this world by a storm

long hair like an umbrella pulled inside-out
Body like a rib -- plunged into the bloody earth

and Mother Nature carefully
gives her breasts and calls her beautiful,
like the center of an egg

[Yolk drips from the door-post
and this world is blessed with a place to call home.]

{For Sarah Veak}

Marilynne Robinson On The Discernment Of Beauty

"I really can't tell what's beautiful anymore. I passed two young fellows on the street the other day. I know who they are, they work at the garage. They're not churchgoing, either one of them, just decent rascally young fellows who have to be joking all the time, and there they were, propped against the garage wall in the sunshine, lighting up their cigarettes. They're always so black with grease and so strong with gasoline I don't know why they don't catch fire themselves. They were passing remarks back and forth the way they do and laughing that wicked way they have. And it seemed beautiful to me. It is an amazing thing to watch people laugh, the way it sort of takes them over. Sometimes they really do struggle with it. I see that in church often enough. So I wonder what it is and where it comes from, and I wonder what it expends out of your system, so that you have to do it till you're done, like crying in a way, I suppose, except that laughter is much more easily spent."

--[from Gilead]

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My first post- LU publication

So, I wrote an article for Christ and Pop Culture.

It's on a subject that everyone needs to know more about. Check it out if you have time!

Put Down Your Birthplan: How Idealizing Motherhood Is Causing PPD

Illustration courtesy of Seth T. Hahne. Check out his graphic novel and comic review site, Good Ok Bad.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Gluten-Free Communion?

I have nothing against considering the nutritional value of food; it is, at times, essential.

Eating well to keep your body healthy is a good thing.

However, when eating well comes at the price of sacrificing time spent with others (community), and - by extension - your identity, it is a bad thing.

I can't help but think that in the face of nutritionism's popularity-gone-wild, that we are headed in an unhealthy direction.

We can juice our fennel, ginger, and grapefruits all day long, but does a murky vegetable drink that we down in the car on the way to the gym do as much for our bodies and souls as a meal with real foods (whole foods that you have to chew) would? Could it be as healing as a meal with other people?

I guess what I'm trying to say is: food is never just food.

Food is a way of communication. It is the beginning of traditions. It is an icebreaker. It is the start to good, deep conversations. It is the first mumblings of hearty laughter. It can be the way to start conversations that are hard to have but need to happen. Food is a means by which we live. It is a means by which we define ourselves.

To have sole control over what we eat is our goal when we go on these stringent diets. So what happens when a community controls what we eat? What happens when we aren't in total control of every single calorie that goes into our mouths? What kind of vulnerability goes into that? What kind of life would you be opening yourself up to.... letting others choose what they are going to cook you? To not have a nutrient counting calculator out at each meal?

I have "done" both ways of eating, and I can tell you that - when I ate in an overly-rigid and concerned manner - the food I consumed (alone mostly), tasted like death.

And when I ate with others, around others, and from other people's tables? Life got wild. Surprising. Those moments spent at the table with others, eating God knows what (most of the time it was great), became central to who I am.

I'm not suggesting you throw out your juicer and spirulina. I love a green smoothie.
I'm just suggesting that you think about the real consequences that come from when you say no to a family dinner in order to eat a gluten-free bar on the way to your run.

I remember this line from a famous Anne Sexton poem: "one is dying but remembering a breakfast." It is not "One is dying but remembering a raw nut bar."

Look at this creepy picture I found of a family dinner. If I was at this table, I'd probably go make a green smoothie too:

The Family Dinner Painting - The Family Dinner Fine Art Print - John Keaton

**Side note** If you have a dietary need that you must follow, or that is a medical condition, you are not at fault in any way. This is not meant to be a slam against those who must eat in certain ways, but more of a nudge to those who subject their bodies to needless trendy diets for other unhealthy reasons. When writing the title, I was thinking of the trend Miley Cyrus inspired in our church's youth group, where all the girls hoped to also lose 20 lbs by going gluten-free, though they were not allergic.

A New Year

We are here.

Preston and I are married, and we have a baby.
We also have a little home.

We found a church at which to sing, pray, and find people to eat with.

What else could I ask for?

Every day is filled with struggles, frustrations, poop, vomit, and messy hair.
You know, the usual.
Every day is filled with love: it's filled with kisses (both the sloppy and the sweet kind), with tears and runny noses, with "what is there to eat?" and "how are we going to afford that?"
Every day is filled with vegetables on the cutting board, full glasses and plates. It's filled with knocks at the door and too many crumbs and toys on the floor.

One thing that it's not filled with yet? Enough people.

In it all, I am asking God the same thing that I ask of my food:

That it be whole and ours to savor.