process. For someone who did not grow up with any music or voice background, listening to voice lessons can be a little odd, a little uncommon sounding. I have heard of vocal warm ups and have seen some of my theater/singing friends do them, but honestly I have barely experience them and don’t fully get them. I understand they are part of what you do, but only from an outsiders point of view. I wonder are they really necessary and how do people actually do them on a regular basis. The thought of me doing them makes me nervous and unsure. Making sounds like that (as well as singing in general) is calling for attention. Its making yourself vulnerable, heard, and seen. Its easier to stay in the background. Perhaps it has less to do with sounds and instead more to do with pride and vulnerability (and a lack of discipline). To do things like that you have to be willing to look and sound odd or unusual to some people, to non-voice people, to those not participating with you. You need to be willing to be vulnerable in order to warmup and sing wherever you are no matter who is or is not around. You need to be willing to do it regularly, consistently. You need to be willing to be noticed, seen, and looked at while you are using your voice.
I have wanted to get better at singing. To be more confident with my voice and knowing how to use it. I don’t want to be a great singer, on stage, or anything. I just want to have a little more confidence and willingness to set a certain tone or atmosphere around me sometimes. I want to use my voice to do some of that, but at this point I will not. I will not because I am not willing to be disciplined in doing the little things - in warming up, in practice, in learning something new, in looking silly while trying, in failing, in risking the unknown. Maybe someday I will be, but at this point. It isn’t a main priority to do it vocally right now. I do want to be willing to be disciplined and vulnerable, I am just not there yet. I haven’t followed through to this point yet nor sought out a way of really learning to use my voice or having real accountability. At this point I do not have the ambition to do what is necessary to know what my voice can do or how to use it.
In a conversation with Harris iii, I was explaining how my natural tendency is to tell myself it won’t work before I even ask the question. He replied, “so you say no for others?” My initial internal and verbal response was “no, I don’t do that... its more like I say no to myself,” but then his words sunk in.
You are correct, Harris. Yes, its true. I tend to say no for others. I don’t give them the option to decide for themselves. I don’t give them the opportunity to speak into my life nor into the lives of those lives around me. I don’t let them consider answering the question with a yes, no, maybe, or imagination. Instead I say, “No... it cant happen. Its not possible. It won’t work. Here are all the reasons why so I won’t even ask.”
I don’t ask the question. I don’t hear the real answer. I don’t let myself be vulnerable. I don’t speak out. When I say “no” in this way, I am not only saying no for people but I am also saying no for God - not allowing him the space to move in my life and the lives of those around me. I am closing off (though he can move without my yes) the opportunity to experience His works. There are many times where the answer could be a yes, or a maybe or lead to something even better, but I in those places I wouldn’t know because I stopped the answer before the question was created, put into words, before it was spoken. But not this time. This time I asked, and let him answer, I let them answer.
Thank you Harris for answering my message. For calling. For listening to me. For asking questions. For being willing to try to make it work if the situation & time allow. Thank you for your and your employee’s time and quick response. I appreciate that. I appreciate you.
Thank you for that one phrase that stuck with me. That one phrase I disputed in my heart before realizing it has held some truth. But it was not the truth for this time. This time I said, Yes. I said yes to the Holy Spirit and Yes to asking. I say yes to hearing whatever the full answer back will be. I already appreciate the not yet full answer. I feel good about what I’ve seen and heard so far.
Thank you Holy Spirit for moving me forward. Moving me closer to you.
I walked up Stone Mountain yesterday with a friend. I’ve been up to the top many times, but I’m not sure I’ve gone beyond reaching the top. I don’t even think I have ever been in the building up there. Perhaps I had been inside the first time I went to Stone Mountain six years ago, but I’m not sure. My friend and I went towards the building and stepped onto the balcony. We were looking out over that side of the mountain when I saw a woman I had seen earlier. She was coming from behind the building in between two fences. It didn’t even dawn on me that not only you could go back there, but to even go there. Once I saw her I wanted to go in that area. I had realized that area wasn’t fenced off and I had never been there. There are many areas that are fenced off. Some that are closer to the edge and some that are protecting certain types of plant life. But there are also many areas that are not blocked off.
I wanted to go where these two fences did not connect or block. There was a path in between them. My friend did not want to go there. She followed me a ways, but stood off in the distance watching me from a ways off. I walked up close to the fence and turned towards the way I wanted to go. This fence wasn’t near the edge and I wasn’t crossing the fence or breaking any rules but she stood watching me from the distance. I wanted to go forward with her. I did not want to leave her or go alone. I saw her hesitation and holding back. I called her towards me saying it was okay. When I glanced back at her I saw pieces of myself and things I have done in the past. I saw places I had been nervous whether it was because of safety or because I felt like the “rules” said we can’t. I remembered the feeling of holding back. I wasn’t sure of her reasons of holding back, but it appeared to me like she was afraid. It appeared to me that she was afraid because of rules. To me there was nothing scary about what was physically going on. We were not near the outer fence and even the outer fence was not anywhere near the edge.
I finally got her to come closer to me and we were disagreeing on whether to go on or not. I conceded saying, “well, I can come back another time by myself so I will just do it then.” But she didn’t want to be left out, she wanted to go with me even though she was afraid to go. Right about then a man walked past us and headed the direction I wanted to go. Seeing him she felt more confident and safe to go so we headed behind him. Someone else was going before us. We walked by those two fences, but then my friend held back again. The man quickly disappeared from our view as he followed the outer fence. I walked down the rock towards that outer fence. She stood at a distance. I waved her towards me a couple of times, urging her to come near. She got a little closer, but overall stayed pretty far away from the fence. We did go on a bit further but she stayed higher up on the rock while I walked near the outer fence.
I want to move forward with Him. Following His lead.
Today I cried on the floor of the PSOTA art room as I struggled over my feelings, my fears, my envy.
Minutes earlier I had been sketching and journaling while sitting at Refuge Coffee. Overall it was a beautiful time, but it turned negative as I sat listening to the conversation across from me. Two people from a local organization were sharing with a couple (possibly future volunteers or donors maybe) about the organization and the many things it does. In that moment, I grew more and more restless. I grew more and more frustrated with myself. What I was doing in that moment felt stupid and useless. I felt stupid and useless. Here I was sketching, skimming through a magazine, cutting out images, glueing, and circling words while other folks were out there in the world, doing, helping, serving, making a difference in lives. A true difference in the immediate lives and daily needs of people. I don’t really do that. Not in those ways. My practical side craves that. I crave to do, to be useful, yet here I was gluing paper together while sitting alone at a table for four. Sitting alone making something that most people would not see. Making a collage that wouldn’t really create a difference in anyones life. Maybe mine, but not beyond that. What was I doing?
Did it have value? Before I left my table for four, I jotted down my feelings and thoughts on my sketch paper and glued it on the back of my collage. I needed it out. Those feelings. out. to be seen. by at least me. and now you.
Lately I have often had to remind myself “thats not my story” when I look at others lives. I have had to remind myself of some of my story and who I am. This evening I was given the gift of hearing and seeing two friends share about some of that. First was a video post by Nikki Lerner about being generous. She posted it yesterday, but I didn’t see it until this evening. The second was an instagram post pointing to a blog post by Betsy Garmon titled “How to give yourself away properly.” Both of these posts are shared by wise women who I look up to. Wise women who know and are learning to know themselves and what they have to give. I am learning to know myself and what I have to give. at this moment. right now. in this season. I recommend that you go listen to and read those posts. if you have not already clicked on the links, go do it right now.
This is what I have to offer at the moment. My struggle. My tears. My art. My Story.
This week started out cloudy, but its looking like the sun is now peaking through.
With transition comes many things. Some of them are exciting, new and refreshing. Others are like an empty space in your heart, a hole in your life.
I had started this post a month ago when I was preparing to leave for Georgia. I had ideas, pictures, and thoughts I wanted to post on here. Time passed and I did not finish it nor publish it. Perhaps I avoided it. Some of those images and ideas seem irrelevant at this point so I deleted them, but I want finish this post with some similar thoughts. Its okay, its good to acknowledge loss. I was realizing this as I was preparing to drive south a month ago. During this time I was also reading the chapter Enlarge your soul through grief and loss in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero. Perhaps that is why it was so on my mind. We need to look at and acknowledge loss. Loss of all shapes and sizes. It is not good to speed past it or act like it is not there. As my responsibilities came to an end, I was thinking about the things I was losing and was about to lose. My losses aren’t permanent devastating losses, but they still are important to see and acknowledge. Losses can add up. My losses add up. They change my actions, thoughts, locations, connections. My losses include weekly rhythms with others in Massachusetts: Wednesday night teen small groups, getting to know the teen girls, picking up Bryanna, Bible study, family dinners, Sunday morning breakfast, time with friends, brother hugs, Hallmark with Mom & Dad, laughing with Landon, missing out on holding a new born “nephew,” building friendships and more. These losses leave a hole in my heart as well as my going has made a hole in theirs.
I have driven through seven states stopping at three different locations. I have arrived to a beautiful home and to a wonderful host. I’ve been in Clarkston for three days and I have felt a variety of feelings. From feeling tired, out of place, & empty to being energized, filled, and at home. I have been amazed at God’s grace and light within some friendships. I am acknowledging my losses, but I am also seeing the gains I’ve already had and will have in the coming months. Losses can open up space for gains. I sit here with an open heart & mind asking God to use me on all my days the weary and the peaceful. He is moving, may I be willing to move with Him in what He is already doing. Here. and Beyond.
The other day I envisioned my year like a clock. Instead of seeing it like a rectangle, like a calendar, still and boxed in, I began to see it like a circle, like a clock, a repeating cycle, open. Yes, I know life on earth is a cycle and has seasons, but this epiphany was more specific to MY LIFE, as it is, right now. As my life actually is and not how it was or how I thought it could be. The last few years have had some of the same major events and experiences as a part of them. I value and enjoy these moments but sometimes there is a weight on me that makes it feel like life shouldn’t be this way. That I shouldn’t have such an all over the place schedule. That I should focus on one thing. I have been internally “should”ing myself for a while now. For example, I like teaching children art. I teach art classes, then why don’t I have an art studio that is open all the time and focus much of my time and energy on that. I “should” do that or something like it. I don’t really want to though. I realized that I enjoy having that time, but I also enjoy the short spurt of it. I enjoy a mix of other things as well. Will I have an art studio or teach art more regularly someday, maybe. Right now, art and creativity are woven throughout my life and that is enough. Is there one aspect of it something I really need to focus on or am really called to focus on? I don’t know. We’ll see.
My life, what I actually have had for the last few years is clock that has rotated through the months. It has included many events regularly in those months. Some major ones shown in the picture above. I’ve been in a process of letting go of all the “should’s” and “could have beens.” I’ve been not only seeing but also embracing what I actually have wondering how I can really work it. Moving with my life instead of fighting and pushing against it. It’s different than it was, it’s different than I wanted, but it’s good and I enjoy it and I am thankful.
Similarly, I am embracing my new hair cut. It’s different than what I have had for the last fifteen years and its different than I wanted, but it’s what I got. It has its quirks but it’s cute and I enjoy it. I can fight the quirks or I can embrace them and work them for my benefit, my beauty.
What pieces of your life do you need to stop fighting against. What do you need to see in a new way and embrace?
I invited some friends to participate with me in a group blackout project. The idea was for all of us to use the same text to create our own blackout poetry. We had two options to choose from. We could do either or both. The first was part of an article from the AAA newsletter. The second option was a from an art book I was doing blackout poetry in.
Below are the participants names and their poems.
... more will be added as they are sent in...
There is something to be said about just stopping and taking a little bit of time to observe and see what is around you. To notice details, colors, textures. After sitting in front of the computer for a few hours, I had about 40 minutes before I needed to leave. I decided my time would best be used for my soul if I took a walk like I had hoped to do earlier in the day, but hadn’t gotten to. I was right. It was perfect. At first I didn’t think I would get very far on the walk because I stopped almost immediately to take a picture. then another. and another. But I allowed myself to both walk and observe.
Instead of using 15-30 minutes scrolling through friends statuses or getting distracted on the computer consider using it to observe relax in a creative way you enjoy.
Before leaving Central Falls, RI this past weekend, I took a short walk to the park down the street. As I viewed the city from both up high and down low, I enjoyed seeing the fall colors shining bright in the sun.
I am not a multi-tasker. I am easily distracted by too many things and am overwhelmed by too many options. I am also distracted by clutter and I feel like I have to organize and clean before I can get anything done. The catch is I also like to collect and save so there are many things that I can organize and reorganize and rereorganize. I’m good at organizing the physical things around me. I am not good at organizing my life and my time. When something new and important is added into my life I tend to drop something else, which also tends to be important to me. This is dropping is not a purposeful drop. That would be different. This dropping is realizing after a week, a month, a year that something is missing. Wondering what happened. I have not figured it out yet. How to keep it all in or at least how to keep the most important things in. I want to take some time figuring out what needs to stay and what needs to go. I want to be more intentional when dropping the old out of my life. We all have limits of what we can do in one day, week, month, year and lifetime. We all have new things added in regularly. Something has to go when something new comes. I am slowly seeing what that looks like for me. I know that I don’t have control over all that comes, but I do have the ability to make decisions and choose some. I want to choose differently in some ways. In many ways I love the choices and opportunities I have been given and taken. In other ways I do not not. Something needs to change. I’m not sure what exactly, but I do want to press through and re-add certain things into my life, like writing, keeping a daily notebook, and listening to God’s Spirit. These are things I enjoy, things I need. Now how to clean out my excess in order to focus on whats left.
What do you need to re-add and clean-out?