Tag Archives: writing

“Cultivation”…

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My life is full of a lot of very good things right now. After I count down from my husband and three vibrant children, there is an elementary school musical, my writing (that is just humming along), and my job. I count myself fortunate that I get to call my job, my ministry, too, and the stellar team of people who are my coworkers, my close friends.

You can find one of my coworker’s blog at aslanslibrary.wordpress.com. (Sarah, can you see me?)

She’s rather brilliant and we share an ambition for creating new beautiful things. If we can’t find something we like our mantra is “write our own”! Over Christmas we created our own Jesse Tree devotional. She wrote the words and I drew the icons to go on the twenty-four paper ornaments leading up to Christmas.

For Lent we are working on a prayer booklet. Praying together as a church, everything we do tries to cover the broad range between families and singles, children and adults. For adults, the booklet alone, for families we printed the prayers on dark purple strips of paper for children to make chains with over the forty days.

The cover of the prayer booklet has been a conundrum. I had contacted a friend that has some amazing stations of the cross prints, but he couldn’t scan them in time. Words alone would work. It would be fine. But I love images. And I had already staunchly stated that I would NOT be doing any artwork for it.

But, as I was proofreading our Children’s Ministry newsletter, I read Sarah’s beautiful words:

“Many of us find prayer difficult or downright discouraging: are we doing it right? How do you find time, anyway? It doesn’t feel like anything is happening! My children are wiggling, I’m distracted, and honestly it feels more productive to get up and empty the dishwasher. And yet: it is in prayer — the messy, uncomfortable, imperfect spaces we carve out and share with God — that the Creator of the universe settles in close and breathes new life into us. When we pray, we remember again that we are creatures, dependent on the one who made us. Prayer is the fertile ground out of which all of our action grows.”

Perhaps it was the word “carve” or the image of “fertile ground”, at any rate, I began to consider this print. I drew it over and over until I understood it. And then I managed to find a couple of hours in this crazy long weekend to carve it out.

Here is “Cultivation”. It is six layers of soil, like the six Sundays of Lent, laid out on top of each other in preparation for the new life of Eastertide. It is also the desert of Jesus’ forty days of prayer (see the five stones?) before the action of ministry. Together in Lent we will journey with Jesus to Jerusalem (see Jerusalem up there in the corner?) accompanying God’s “upside-down king — who says NO to power and glory, who helps lost people find their way home, who surrounds himself with people who are humble and unimportant” (more of Sarah’s words!) to claim a cross that looks nothing like the throne we would want or expect.

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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.

Harriet…

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Let me tell you about my friend Harriet. I met her at the bus stop coming home from Mom’s group last summer. She’s an older woman whom you might call petite if you hadn’t yet had the privelege of talking to her. She wears gigantic sunglasses, boy cut hair dyed ink black, and almost always a leopard print blazer with significant shoulder pads. Any normal person would be dwarfed by the ensemble, but not Harriet.

We began talking over my children, little conversation straters that they are, and kept chatting like this, at the bus stop, five minutes every Wednesday for a few months. She used to want to be an actress. But she became a mother and dreams changed. She became the writer of a TV show for kids and had a wonderful long career. She reminds me every time she sees me that my path might change from what I want, what I expect, but to keep writing, keep at it.

I hadn’t seen her in months. But the other day, there she was, leopard print blazer over mauve velvet pants.

“How are you doing, Harriet?”
“I’m 79.”
“Yeah?” I say.
“Well I’m feeling old. I’m suddenly old. I was middle aged for a long time but now I’m old.”
“How old were you when you began feeling middle aged?” I asked.
“27.”
“27?!”
“Yes.”
“So, what age was your zen age?” I asked, “At what age did you say, ‘ok, I’m here, finally, I am how old I feel.”
“70.”
“70?!”
“Yeah.”
“So, everybody caught up and just stopped caring,” I said.
“Exactly right,” she said, “Everybody finally stopped caring with me.”

So, take Harriet’s word for it, my people. There’s hope.

In Which I Got to See the Innards of Chronicle Books and They Were Beautiful…

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I got to be one of thirty privileged people on a tour of Chronicle Books on Friday, thanks to my phone appendage and the connections of SCBWI.  I only took four pictures and two of them are blurry because, well, no one else was taking pictures. And I didn’t want to be the only one flipping out and taking pictures of everything, so I tried to be all sly about it, the result of which is four pictures, fifty percent of which are blurry.

Basically, it was awesome. Basically, it was like a dream. The people who work at Chronicle Books have a book store in their lobby, mostly art, food, and children’s books, like, all the best kinds of books. And each desk has a bookshelf next to it full of the same.

The design floor had this beautiful texture wall for inspiration and ideas.

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The cover wall had all the covers of the books coming out in the next year.

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Ritual Tuesday…

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I am super thrilled to be featured today over on my friend Cara’s blog at www.carameredith.com as a part of her Tuesday series on ritual!

My friend Cara and I bonded over the sea-green cloth-covered folding table positioned at a diagonal in classroom one, also known as … Mom’s group.

Mom’s group is a petri dish for accelerated friendships. Grab a new Momma a cup of coffee with sugar and half-and-half and they may cry. Hold their baby for two seconds and they feel like a new woman. I mean, if you need a friend, ask a new Momma the very basic question, “How are you?”

It’s guaranteed.

Cara is a super-blogger, super-tweeter, and super-speaker extraordinaire. And she just moved away from me in body to the nearby burg of Oakland even while nestling a little closer to my heart.

So go visit www.carameredith.com, read a bit of me, and meet my friend!