Simply Today

Archive for the ‘I wonder as I wander’ Category

One of the most surprising compliments I have ever received was being called a brave writer. I won’t get into why it was said, the important thing is that when it was said it hit a nerve. This statement floored me. I was not a brave anything. I wanted to cry because being brave felt like this unattainable trait, like my earlier aspirations of having an olive complexion, jet black curls and a thin frame. I was born with freckles, strawberry blonde hair, hips that would take on the toasty curve, the limits of hobbit-ish height and a disposition to be more of a talker than a doer.


I will say that as the oldest of three sisters I can tend towards the protective side. This can extend to other family members and friends, but that’s about where my bravery seems to end. I’ll be brave on the behalf of others but I find it extremely difficult to rally on my own behalf. This has meant for all the story ideas I have, my portfolio is quite thin, for the men I’ve desired fewer kisses have been given and for numerous aspirations scrawled in notebooks or left to float in my head, a far shorter list has been achieved.


I’m decent at giving pep talks to other people and sometimes I even try a talk or two out on myself. When this happens I’m often in the company of friends and am processing something that I want to see change but find difficult to accomplish. I don’t like being the friend that sounds like a broken record, but sometimes I am. Do these friends inwardly sigh when I bring up a desire to exercise more, speak more honesty into a relationship or get better at organization and time management, etc.? No one has ever tossed up their hands and whined at me to “just do it!” But part of me wishes they would.


That’s not how the real work is done though, I know that. The change has to come from me (with any kind of help God will give me). The movement towards change has to come from me. What place I’ll draw from to get there, I don’t know, but I’m grabbing buckets and rope, and a strong set of oars before I hop this boat. I already know that I have a number of stops to make along the bravery-waterway, so keep your ears trained on the door. When you hear a faint knock, it might be me. To seek rest or perhaps because I’m ready to be brave.

So I’ve been thinking about Lent, as we are now in the season. What happened during previous Lents, what I gave up, and whether or not my faith was deepened during that time in particular.

Well, about the time the liturgical season of Lent hits, the Midwest has had it’s fair share of gray skies, smokey breath and dripping noses, stiff joints, glistening sidewalks and icebox cars. Needless to say, it is not the high-point of my year. And I’m not usually in the mood to challenge myself. Pamper myself yes, think about Spring Break, most definitely, give up something? Eh. But still Lent comes.

But I have given up things for Lent, the most recent (that I can remember) being sweets one year and movies with romantic story-lines, another. But apart from having a healthier diet, or less of a sense of being a ‘waiting half ‘ instead of a ‘satisfied whole,’ I didn’t see a difference in my spiritual walk. Perhaps I* was missing the chance to add something in place of what I had taken away, but how to connect them? Peanut butter may go with jelly (or if you’re Cheesetoast, Chocolate), but a banishment of sweets and more committed spiritual practices?

So this year, sitting in the Ash Wednesday service I was grateful when, in the midst of singing hymns lead by cello, praying, and hearing a sermon challenging us to think of ourselves as dust, it was given to me. It was simple. There is nothing grand about it. Put aside books I would normally pick up in favor of not only the Bible (more frequently) but other supportive writings during the season of Lent. And I am slightly ashamed to say that this movement does not require a trip to the library or bookstore. There are books, some borrowed, some I already owned that have gone unread for too long. I am eager to include The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd, Real Live Preacher by Gordon Atkinson (thanks Cheesetoast!), excerpts from Weaving the Visions: New Patterns in Feminist Spirituality co-edited by Judith Plaskow and Carol P. Christ and A Time to Dance by Barbara Knoll (borrowed from a dance ministry member), which I’ve already started, to my reading list for Lent.

What are your thoughts on this season?

*This post merely brings up my thoughts and struggles. Another person may not struggle with their spiritual practices as I do. And as we are each unique, I do not suggest that the answer for me should be the answer for you.

It’s mid-February. I find myself waiting, passively by. Waiting for something extraordinary to happen, for it to appear, fall in my lap, jump onto the page, show up on my door step. My days are predictable. And there is a security in that, but what if these last two years resemble too closely my next two years?…

I check my e-mail constantly (well, I don’t have a data plan, so not constantly), wondering what fun will surface for the weekend (sometimes I am the initiator of these), what will come up regarding dance that I have to respond to, what unexpected goodness will magically come my way (which it rarely does).

Enough. Something inside of me is not being reached. Something that won’t be reached by watching “Midnight in Paris,” Friday night with co-workers, going dance-wear shopping on Saturday morning, grocery shopping at the local co-op, cleaning the bathroom, and reading poetry with wine glass in hand, surrounded by lady friends.

Perhaps if I move sideways one step and then forward, that will be enough of a shift to change my daily movement. What will the sideways step consist of? What will be extraordinary about it?

What would yours be? Or are you already doing it?

So I take a few items into the dressing room (this is back in August), close the curtain and start undressing. Then I notice a paper taped to the wall. I may be in my underoos, but the paper must be read. It has bullet points. I am intrigued. Here is what it said*:

Skin Tones and Seasons

Cool Tones

“Winter” complexions have blue or pink undertones. Skin can be pale white, yellowish-olive, or dark. Winter people are generally brunettes, with deeply colored eyes. Many Asians and African-Americans fall into this category.

“Summer” complexions, like winter complexions, have blue or pink undertones. Skin is pale and pink. Summers are often natural blondes or brunettes with pale eyes.


Warm Tones

“Autumn” complexions have golden undertones. Many redheads and and brunettes with golden brown eyes fall into this category.

“Spring” complexions have golden undertones and are usually creamy white or peach. Spring people generally have straw colored or strawberry red hair, freckles, rosy cheeks, and blue or green eyes.

Choose Clothes to Flatter Your Skin Tone

“Winter” should wear colors that are sharp, stark, and clear. White, black, navy blue, red, raspberry, cobalt, taupe, and emerald all go well with winter complexions (think jewel tones). Avoid subdued tones like beige, orange or gold.

“Summer”should choose pastels and soft neutrals with rose and blue undertones. Lavender, plum, aqua, grey, rose-brown and soft blue suit summers well.

“Autumn” should select colors with golden undertones, like camel, beige, orange, gold, khaki, olive, teal, and chocolate. Avoid colors with blue tones, like navy.

“Spring” should wear warm colors like honey, peach, golden yellow, lime, turquoise, and salmon. Avoid dark, dull colors.

(My reaction: Well, there is no debating that I have a ‘spring’ tone. In response to their suggestions, I’ll meet this half way. Less black, more bold colors, and seeking out warm colors (but I love my blues and cooler colors!) Perhaps I’ll do some lighter greens, and some peachy pinks. Golden yellow might be a bit too much for me though. Turquoise they definitely got right!)

*Reactions: 1. You may well have see this before, and thought it was useful back in middle school or high school but now that you are secure in your style, you’ve no need for it. 2. You may not have read it before but you think it is a load of crock. 3. I have opened your eyes with this post, and you are now flinging items out of your closet.4. You’ve read it and, maybe like myself, you may try a few suggested colors here and there. Comment!

Oh, and the ladies in the thrift store probably got it either from the site below or from the same source the site got it from.

Hint Fiction is a complete story told in 25 words or fewer (as defined by the compiler). The most famous piece of hint fiction (or what inspired hint fiction) is Hemingway’s six word novel: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”  What Robert Swartwood found in the many submissions were closer to a novel’s first sentence than a hand full of words which can meet a reader half way, giving them just enough of the story to fill the rest in. Most of what is found in the excerpt is dark or solemn, but I am intrigued by the concept and might just try a few out myself. Here is the link:

What are people’s thoughts about this type of creative writing? Do you believe it could be done? Could you do it? Would it be less scary if instead of speaking to the story, you did it by chapter? Water down the punch needed?

Here is my attempt (I’ve been sitting on this story for awhile):


One, resting on the warmed lace, the other, guiding the iron along. As if those same hands and iron had not found the back of Karney’s head.


(truly 27 wds., 25 wds. taking ‘warmed’ and ‘same,’ out)

Flickr Photos