I am learning about perspective in my oil painting class. Usually I rush into a painting, excited to get it started. But in this particular photograph of a tree near the side of road, my teacher encouraged me to keep proper perspective in the underpainting. To project accurate perspective, the elements must line up correctly […]
Into the Waves
As I near the end of this long stretch of glistening Southern California beach, my legs are getting heavy and tired. Plopping down on the warm sand, I dig my toes in and take in the scene before me. Between the breakers and shoreline, a group of brave, eager beginners maneuver a pod of primary-colored […]
Finding Peace in Transition
There was a time in my life when I was more comfortable in the midst of transition. I remember once in my twenties sitting on my suitcases in the airport in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. I was wearing a long, billowy skirt, a t-shirt, and my favorite Jesus sandals looking like the quintessential Christian […]
Podcast: What Are You Afraid Of?
Season 1, Episode 4 Catherine McNiel is asking this question of herself and others: “What are you afraid of?” Why, she asks, are we, as Christ-followers, often taught to fear our neighbors, withhold hospitality from strangers, and vilify the “others”–those whose beliefs, appearances, and lives look different than our own and perceive them as a […]
Do You See Me?
Do you see me Lord? I feel alone and forgotten at times. Misunderstood. Invisible. The world continues its rotation spinning, spinning even faster these days. A whirling top that will surely tumble. Am I just a speck on this twirling planet? Do you really see me from above? Your word […]
Another Thorn, Another Rose (Mental Illness as a Blessing)
I fight against harm perpetrated both by the myth of the Strong Black Woman and the stigma my culture attaches to mental illness every day. Since 1619, America nurtures me to mute my emotions, my pain, and my fear.
I’ve had my share of youthful indiscretions. (Mom, please exit here and look at some of my baby pictures instead.) Not least among these was that time in college when my roommate Marie and I finished finals early. The cumulative stress from the completed semester was palpable. So we let loose like any other restless […]
Not So January White
I went through three Advent calendars this year. The chocolate kind; maybe it was four. One was my daughter’s. I was forgiven upon upgrading it to a higher-caliber chocolate one. Eventually I ate that too, and we settled out of court. Psychoanalysis of this penchant leads me down infinite rabbit trails, so I’m sticking with […]
Emmanuel and Showing Up
The first few days of Advent, I felt irrationally angry. I tried to call it irritable or easily annoyed, but when I sat down to dig through it all what I found was anger. Advent is an invitation to the waiting, and frankly, I would like to decline. No thanks. Can’t come. Wish I could […]
I lay awake last night, somehow exhausted and frustrated after a day of fellowship, rest, and play. I’ve been learning to intentionally take sabbath once a week, and it’s rough, inconsistent, and amazing all at the same time. But yesterday, while the day was filled with activities that normally refresh my spirit, the gift of […]
Because at the root of everything I am afraid of, the fear behind every other fear, is the fear that I am not loved.
I roll along in silence between the sterile, white walls. Hospitals are like that—a bizarre blend of fear, hope, and rubbing alcohol. My brain spins in circles like the wheels on the chair beneath me. I ruminate on the blood, the pain, and the uncertainty of a happy ending. The knot cinches up tight in […]
Grieving the Flood
The weight of what was happening there and here was hidden somewhere inside my gut and I was exhausted all the time.
Finding Another Piece of the Puzzle (On Why I Jumped On the Enneagram Bandwagon)
They were the kind of sobs that you feel like rock your whole body in such a way that something must certainly shake loose from your heart. They were the kind of tears that feel like they reach back years in time, pulling up issues you didn’t know you were concealing. Those tears snuck up […]
How Truth-Telling Overcomes Shame
In my mid-twenties, a fabulously handsome and wealthy man pursued me. He picked me up in his Jaguar, took me to expensive restaurants, and always called the next day to express how much he enjoyed our time together. While I appreciated the attention and affirmation, I felt somewhat ambivalent because I knew I was working overtime […]
The Fear and Beauty of Solitude
It was a cool October day and I was sitting on my favorite bench in my favorite garden in Pittsburgh—a little slice of green tucked in the side of the corner lot under a series of stained-glass windows lining the east wall of the synagogue. Beyond the walls, the busy intersection loomed; but inside I […]
When Houseplants Are Zombies of the Apocalypse
Last night, after I finished packing for a long trip, I decided to move all my succulents outside for the duration of our weeklong vacation. I have nine pots of various sizes on the bookshelves in our front room: one tiny barrel cacti, four plants that look like desert seaweed, and assorted echeveria in dark […]