Tag Archives: joy

Twenty Things…

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Here are the twenty things I am most excited about right now:

  1. The next two days off, no rehearsals, no office. Just me and my beautiful babies.
  2. My 36th birthday on Sunday.
  3. The raspberry liqueur my brother and my sister-in-law bought me for my birthday that I am drinking right now.
  4. The lesson on the Wedding of Cana that we’re teaching on Sunday. He used the purification jugs! 20-30 gallons they held! God is kind!
  5. The talk I heard today by Wes Granberg-Michaelson on how to take care of your inner spiritual life while working in a leadership position in the church.
  6. For my birthday I will be making a girl date at my friend’s to watch Rushmore, the Wes Anderson movie I was really not sure about before I decided for sure that I loved Wes Anderson. Excited to finally love it!
  7. The school play, Aladdin Jr., is well on its magical way. I am three weeks into rehearsals as “director” and having a ball.
  8. The group of Moms helping out with the school play. My new assistant director and I figured out our babies will begin Kindergarten the same year so we are destined to work on the school play for a decade together. These ladies and I are going to be friends for life.
  9. I am excited that the children’s Christian calendar I illustrated for my church is going to be used in another church. I get to go see the training on Saturday.
  10. I bought CDs and books for my children for Christmas based on the qualification that they were something I would want to be liturgy, something I would want my child to heart-memorize. I succeeded. My two-year-old walks around reciting poetry. And my daughter has already memorized “Annie”.
  11. I love my coworkers. Last night we drove around the Mission district, had Mitchell’s ice cream cones, and saw our city lit up from Bernal Heights Park.
  12. My administrative assistant who is my brain at work and helps me be as super productive as I’ve always wanted to be. (I need a Leigh for home.)
  13. My stack of YA science fiction waiting to be read. This year’s resolution: read more fiction.
  14. The small stack of paintings on wood ends that I’ve recently covered with resin. They look great. I want to cover everything with resin.
  15. The fact that I was asked to do a linocut print for a wedding invitation.
  16. Seeing my artwork on someone’s wall.
  17. My husband’s indomitable motivation to work at things, old things, new things, new ideas all the time. Indomitable.
  18. The watch I think I might be getting for my birthday.
  19. The prayer tip my friend gave me for how she prays for her family. One phrase or idea from one verse prayed for each member of your immediate family.
  20. Doing things. Doing all the things.

Morning Commute…

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The city, of course, puts you among people. And in the city you have to be a little richer to buy space between you and your neighbors. The less you have the more you are squeezed out and among the general populace. One great example of this is turning out to be my morning commute.

For example, yesterday I left my apartment and began walking the one and a half blocks to my bus stop. As I near the crossing my bus flies by me. I begin to run. If any aged ladies are getting on the bus I have a chance. So, my backpack is “fwipping” back and forth in that most ungraceful way we all remember from high school, my toes are trying to hang on to my cute little work flats, THEE pair of work flats, and I realize I’m going to miss the bus. At this moment some kind stranger looks up from his handheld device, notices that I am hurrying, panicked, frenzied, and then, and then (!) makes like he’s getting on the bus. He pretends to step up, he vacillates, glances forward at the driver, and steps off as I run up. “Thought that would give you enough time,” he said. “Thank you!” I said. I was on the bus! Way to go humanity.

Now, the church offices are off a lovely street called Van Ness. It happens to be a wide street and one of the main thoroughfares funneling homeless citizens toward the center of town where reside most of the “product” and the services. The five block walk to work can be, therefore, occasionally eventful.

As I’m walking the five blocks towards the offices I am paused at a crosswalk across from a colorfully dressed woman. Now, I have just finished reading an article on the new Japanese decluttering craze that judges a keeper based on joy and that’s what I’m thinking about looking at this woman, that she is dressed for joy. Every item is a different color bright against the others, artfully arranged, I smile. It isn’t until I notice the teddy bear clutched inside her arm that I also realize that this outfit is probably more appropriately chosen by my four-year old then a middle-aged woman and her teddy bear.

But I’ve been looking at her from behind my sunglasses too long. As I pass her after the light turns green she mumbles under her breath, “Keep moving bitch.” I stopped. “Are you talking to me?” I said, “Because I was just thinking…” Now, this is the part where I am going to tell her all about the new Japanese decluttering craze and how she looks like she dressed based purely on joy. Remember I have been bolstered by humanity just moments ago. But she opens her mouth and proves that there is no joy in her. I am raked over the proverbial coals. I AM the f…ing bitch. Osama bin Laden is mentioned. I’m laughing and smiling awkwardly as this woman continues on her way cursing me over her shoulder. Two cars slow down as they turn the corner to lean out their windows and ask if I’m alright. The neighbor outside his mechanic shop said, “So, I guess you got her wrath.” “Is she a regular around here?” I ask, “I’ve never seen her before.” He shrugs.

I have seen her since, trundling down the street, dressed in joy, with a mouth full of curses. Would you believe that the last time I saw her Osama Bin Laden was mentioned again?

Humanity, you contain a lot.

Eagle’s Point…

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Over Christmas my sister was able to visit us in San Francisco for a few days. The sun was shining and the kids were restless, so we decided a walk was in order.

The sunshine can de deceptive. Especially in my little corner of the peninsula. When we stepped out onto the sidewalk I hesitated. It was rather more chilly than I had expected. But, I decided that warming up over the walk was far better than carrying three children’s jackets. So, onward we went.

We zigzagged our way through the extraordinary houses of the Sea Cliff neighborhood, admiring the expansive fronts of the colonials and moderns, each in turn. The last block of houses before the trailhead is low and modest facing the street. But through gates and between houses you can see stairs descending sharply down the hills, widening and opening up their ornate balconies and tall windows to the sea. The dark blue of the ocean sits cupped in the space between with the muted green hills of Marin across the bay, shouldering down against the wind.

I’ve said before how much nature hides tucked in and between the urban in San Francisco. The Land’s End Trail is no exception. The sidewalk ends, all of a sudden, giving way to cracked asphalt carpeted over with pine needles and the long faded leaves of the overhanging eucalyptus. They call it Eagle’s Point.

It was here that the wind hit us full force. The stoic houses owing us no favors, had given little indication of the wind they were entertaining in their arms. We gasped collectively. And I immediately regretted those three jackets, and all those hats and mittens, too. We walked the dozen yards to the lookout.

We watched the children lean into the wind as they let it push them back. They danced and squealed in a frenzy that at times approached panic. We watched the wind cut short white gashes across the face of the water and bend the cypresses back to such a degree it explained their normal angle as one of generous averages.

We stood as close to the edge as we dared, looking down the cliffs through the clinging shrub to the foaming rocks below, feeling the wind made bold from its unchallenged trip across the wide Pacific. The sound through the eucalyptus was a deafening roar, sounding so much like pounding surf.

But the day was sunny. And the light was bright on our path. There was such beauty in the magnitude of the violence, the trees that bent but didn’t break, the stripped leaves that were surprisingly found superfluous.

I laughed and shouted to my children, “Aren’t you glad to know that there is something so much stronger than you? Isn’t it nice to feel how little we are?”

The baby was in a carrier on my chest, his tiny fists curled into the warmth of my belly. My six-year-old and four-year-old were running down the path ahead, squinting into the wind and laughing. Yes, laughing, but at times nervously.