the crooked symphony

IMG_4661each flower is not perfect and yet we do not point out their flaws.

and each tree does not grow straight –

yet

we curl up in their shade not caring their species but just that they give us respite

why therefore do we nominate certain people or places or things,

to become the center of our worlds?

when in fact

we all

they all

each of us

have petals and bark, roots and stems, leaves and shade

for all to appreciate :: enjoy :: care for – just the same?

our forest is lush with variety, our fields ripe with individualism

sustaining wonderful sounds

producing healing scents

magnificent landscapes

for us ALL.

let us enjoy that symphony

that color show

that splendor!

the world would be a blank, boring canvas without each flower and tree

(each/us) just as we were made.

not just some but ALL

no matter your roots, the shade of your leaves, not what makes you come alive, whether your petals stand straight or sway toward the sunlight –

will ever separate you from our shared wild love here on earth

we are each a masterpiece

let us love as one symphony of roots, petals, buds, leaves.

let us

be revered as equals

no exceptions.

much love wild ones,

b

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i don’t have enough

 

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love is lavishing.

i don’t ever have enough for all of you. but collectively Someone does. let’s seek out that Someone.

let’s put each other in the path of healing and nod approval to our fear-busting chops, that we together can fight this pain. this  brokenness. this inertia toward unrest.

collectively, WE can be enough for each other. WE need one commonality. WE need LOVE.

you don’t need to know what i believe in to love me, nor i to love you.

we ALL bleed red when oxygen hits, we ALL have blue veins underneath our skin.

we have the most unique pigments to our skin, that scars when it heals, and sweats when it’s too hot.

WE are the SAME bones, with various patterns and layers upon us.

THAT IS IT. please stop telling me that i cannot take care of you because of my differences.

I WANT TO LIVE MY LIFE AS I LOVE MY NEIGHBOR.

alive and without abandon.

let us move beyond the sludge of labels, of greed, of proving something to anyone. let us prove we can love our neighbor as ourselves. let us start by dropping our ‘better than’ labels, and start with the lonely, the orphaned, the needy.

in return for your sacrifice you will be infiltrated with joy. you may try to fight it off. you are just doing the ‘right thing’ you say.

but you aren’t. YOU ARE DOING WHAT COMES BY INSTINCT.

JOY IS JUST THE ADDED BONUS.

you are LIVING. we are MADE to be LIVING TOGETHER, one with each other. that’s why sports games that are nail biters are catalysts for fist bumping. it’s not because we are the actual batter or referee or coach, but we feed off of the energy:

just like church when we raise our hands in worship.

exactly like the sway you start, unknowingly, alongside your favorite crooner, their guts toppling out under pyrotechnics.

mirrored in an art installation that instantly makes you weep, or boil with anger.

public outcry means

we are not de-sensitized like

the Hungry Hippo of They

say we are.

you know why? the THEY is made up of us.

so let’s stop the madness of US verses THEM.

THEY:

your neighbor. the one who insists that they’re fine, who deals alone with a sick parent, and craves a short respite from the worry.

THEY :

exhausted, overwhelmed new mom who “should” be happy but can’t seem to stop crying and is afraid she will hurt herself.

THEY:

frightened young teen who does not know where their next meal will come from from, but thinks hunger will be less painful than remaining in abuse and chooses to run.

our THEY is the collective.

WE have to start taking better care of THEM.

because regardless of our ‘busy’ … man, woman, child …  we need EACH OTHER to survive.

busy is bullshit.

LOVE IS LAVISHING.

let’s start living like we mean it.

let’s stop pretending that making our pockets deeper or more fashionable will make our hearts bulletproof to LIFE and it’s CITIZENS.

i may sound angry, but I’m not. I AM JUST WAKING UP TO WHAT MATTERS TO ME.

it’s going to be a tough road of learning, but i’d rather be about YOU and THEY than about me.

i can’t function alone, and i’m guessing that a potluck, party of 1, seems kind of stale.

let’s celebrate THRIVING and dig deeper. i know we can heal us TOGETHER.

party’s at my house.

oxox,

b

neighbors

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March.31.2014.

we are created to be wild. we are created to be soft too. to know that it is okay to ask that stranger in the seat next to us if they are okay & know that they will appreciate our concern. because i have never felt bad about asking someone if they are okay, but have often regretted not asking. every time actually. it is because we are created to be together, even though it seems we need space.

God has shown me clearly this past weekend at hope spoken that i am beautiful, i am beloved, and i am His bride. i no longer have to wait to be confident in my looks, or martial status. in my career or my weight bracket. i am a child of His, and i am your neighbor.

you are a child of His, and are my neighbor.

that is why i believe God has given me a love for being someone full of love. it spills out of me urgently, ungracefully, often at inappropriate times.

but it is love i seek to spill.

that is why i can talk to the male cab driver originally from memphis about ncaa basketball just as easily as i can talk to the lady tsa agent about her move from a rural town in the middle of michigan. perhaps not everyone can do that, and enjoy it as much as i do.

i am no longer afraid of what people will think if i mention God. i have realized that if i replace the word God or christian, or faith, or church, the word i come back with time and time again is love. it is the unchangeable word that translates to any language & is understood in halftime scores, weather updates & sweet silences between elevator rides that seem unlikely.

God has given me this blessing, that i have experienced the darkest times, (while catching glimpses of light) that allows me to relate in every way, to the people who party too hard, the waiting to be someone’s siginificant other (& thinks they will never come… they will), the stepparent who just misses their teenage baby, to the homesick cab driver, to the pothead counselor from cleveland who doesn’t understand the hypocritical christians. not because i am all of these things, or have done all of these things, or have been to all of these places.

but because i am always in the midst of seeking love.

 

i seek to love these strangers, i seek to love my neighbor. and i falter with every single step.

 
it is why i somehow truly relate to so many folks, because it has nothing to do with me, & everything to do with love.

i was given a gift to write, to be truthful, i don’t always want this gift. it has nothing to do with me. i was blessed with it. for these reasons, i am very hard to offend. He has made my soft hippy heart pliable for such situations. He has allowed the broken hearted, tender, tough, confused, lost souls to find me – because they see that openness that God has given me. i take no responsibility for it. it is a gift to me. i cherish it. i fumble with how to use it properly, and then, i fumble again. i sometimes struggle with this. do you? it seems we all struggle with our gifts sometimes, because the most apparent gifts others see in us, we sometimes are blind to our own. i wish i could say this makes me nonjudgmental, but He made me human. it usually just makes me awkward in fact.

and he made you my neighbor, so you are human too.

i am learning the more LOVE we show ALL the people, the more they will share of themselves. the more they share of themselves, the smaller this big (tiny) bad (amazing) world seems.

the light twinkles in through the pieces. the grace sings to us through each whispered ‘i’m sorry’, or ‘how are you’?

He makes this possible by allowing us all to be different from one another, so that we may hold up our pieces, our bits of wonky, irregular gifts, & piece together a love so whole it will swallow our hurts, & joy will be all we can feel.  we need to be broken into tiny pieces of love, pulling together our gifts, so that we make our own windows, & seek the lightness that love gives together. that we can feel that joy as a large, unending neighborhood, with our beautiful stained glass masterpiece.

we become whole by giving away our LOVE, our stories, our kindness & wisdom. & we become whole & healed by realizing that we as neighbors  as a world – are the same, with bits of each other reflected back. the conflict comes when we fail to listen to our neighbors stories. when we shut them out because they believe differently than us. they dress differently, they parent differently. we listen to different tunes, and drive more stable vehicles, therefore we are better.

this is WRONG.

no one is better than another. no one is nobler than another. no human has more worth than another.

there was one love that lead us to this neighborhood, and we need to remember to bring it tea, and listen to its story.

we are all neighbors. we will never have the opportunity to meet every single human during our lifetimes, it is humanly impossible.

but, we may start, by introducing ourselves to someone next door, in the office, in line at the dmv, at the pharmacy checkout. 

hi, i’m barb, & all i want it is to be loved and understood. what’s your name? where do you live? at the corner of misunderstood and alone, or at the corner of me too, and hey, i understand?

love. not misunderstood. not miscalculated for the rich, or beautiful, or perfectly coifed, edited version of ourselves. 

for you, my neighbor.

we want to be loved.

we need to share stories.

we need know that LOVE will save us.

we need to know that love is the SAVIOR.

 

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i have HOPE because it was SPOKEN (part one)

View More: http://mnewsomphotography.pass.us/hopespoken how do you explain a special gift of attending a women’s Christian conference & a travel plan that makes you anxious (switching planes & a big Hotlanta airport with an embarrassing story to boot), & the connections from a stranger-turned-friend are placed in just the right timing? & even perhaps, how you sit next to the people on airplanes that may make some Christians balk, & make me open up even more about how i know we are ALL loved, & how all of it makes for one of the greatest weekends of my life? i will try with humor & truth. but is all of it just coincidence? nuh-uh. it isn’t. i am starting to believe in non-coincidence. if you think i’ve gone all crazy eight ball lady, you are wrong. i went to Hope Spoken, & the words, hugs, stories, shared meals, “coincidences” that i experienced are not fake. they did not happen on a reality t.v. show, or to someone’s aunt’s best friend. they happened to me. & i am going to be as brave as possible  & share those stories, some bits of the conversations (privacy will be upheld completely), & down right COOL things that i experienced, & i will hopefully give you a sense of how this weekend & another weekend over a year & a half ago, have changed me forever. i went to the Influence Conference well over a year ago. that began the process of this weekend for me. click over here to read that recap. so i kinda knew what a women’s Christian conference could be, or would maybe look like. & was i ever excited. but the BEST part of this experience, is that while that conference was my first, & i loved every second of it, Hope Spoken felt like it was a gift from God, JUST FOR ME. that may sound selfish or weird, or like i loved this conference more, but i believe that what God started at the Influence Conference, He finished at Hope Spoken. He is the Ultimate Storyteller. when i tell you some of the deets, you will *hopefully* know, why it has taken me so long to even process this conference, & while some of it, will remain in my heart as a private love letter from God, shared only for my hopes & dreams, & for my future.

my roomie: darling, sweet, HILARIOUS, open, warm. her name is kerith, & i love her. she’s from texas. a mama, a wife, & an all around great friend & sister. View More: http://mnewsomphotography.pass.us/hopespoken kerith & i had not met in person before this weekend. by the time dinner rolled around a mere maybe two hours after we met, people at our table (hi beautiful ladies!) asked how long we knew each other, thinking we were long time friends. God knew that i would be shy to room with a “stranger”, that’s why i felt okay about letting some of my gunk out there prior to meeting her. we got to know each other online through emails & texts first. & i now cannot wait to stay in touch & become even better friends with this hilarious, sweet soul that lives in Texas. i’ve already asked if she’ll move her family to the mitten …. (please leave comments to coerce her to at least consider it, & leave out any details of said polar vor-anythings). 😉

the town: dallas. i may be in love with you. i told every person i encountered that i was from michigan. i had a confidence i never knew i had, i talked to the hotel peeps, the taxi drivers, the waitress, & i was just SO excited to have my toes painted with my open toed sandals on. i’d love to visit you again, perhaps next year for the Hope Spoken conference again? it is on my prayer list to go. let’s make it happen Dallas!

the decor/overall feel: i cannot express enough how in love i am with every little detail. casey, danielle & emily were so lovely, so thoughtful in their planning, & it made my heart sing, especially because i am a graphic design student right now, & am falling more & more in love with everything visual.

Hope Spoken welcome

♥ we were welcomed with hope ♥

Hope spoken treat table outside

♥ treat table; i spy a hard working host husband ♥

every detail was lovely

every detail was lovely

this is the warm up post. i will finish the other half of this with stories to tell you… (oh the stories!) and hopefully explain a little of how this weekend was one of the best in my life! more coming soon! and if you think of it today, will you say a prayer, or shoot some positive energy my way tomorrow morning. whatever is your thing, i’d love some good stuff, as i start a new adventure on a new job, and i’m a bit nervous! thanks lovelies!  toodlelooly for now! (my grandma kitchen used to say that every time you left her…miss her SO much).

sigggggg22

usually-almost/always

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the world can try and tell me what i “should” do.

what i “shouldn’t” say or believe.

but i am drawn to the light of goodness,

i am feeling the warmth of others in this polar h-e-double-hockey-sticks, as opposed to suppressing myself into being what i “should” feel.

it is so scary to take risks, and learn new. to make hard choices.

but i believe, when you make choices that you believe are right, and good choices, that LOVE is behind them all, and not malice, that joy will be your destination.

the reward is joy for following your heart, which is usually-almost/always the same as your gut feeling, which in my life is guided by Him.

even when i believe i’ve made a wrong turn on this path—-> God says He has another laid out for me.

the road less taken (if you will), or the Frizzie Hippie Volume 7,777 (if that is how many tries it takes me to ask for His help) is what He calls it. 😉

that is my greatest fear. not the fear of not living, but the fear of living wrong.

making the choices by whim, instead of thoughtfully having convos with my Maker.

BUT, He takes care of us, even when we forget to text Him, or shoot him a quick Direct Message.

in the age of internetationalism (that definition can be found in the Frizzy Hippipedia), the best part about believing that i’m not alone, is that I’m Not Alone.

and neither are you!

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even with a thousand ways to do life “wrong”, when we are seeking love, and being kind, and working hard to make this life equal for all, we are doing life RIGHT.

so, even though it may be a hard choice to make, & i’m a human, mess up terribly, & pass judgement where i have no room to talk, i seek the good. the honest way.

the kind way.

i am just one person, but i believe that love is fit to be equal. it is sown to be shown. (like the upcoming tulips, & hyacinths 🙂 ). it can mend where nothing else would mend. & it has a way of seeping in your soul when you give it away, in the most redemptive kind of way. the reason that i think that God can love us SO much, is that He gave us the ultimate gift, and how amazing that would feel to give a gift of salvation! imagine how awesome you feel when you give an amazing Christmas gift to your hard-to-buy for Father in Law, or that perfect scarf happens to make your sister’s day brighter than you could have dreamed – not for her, but you. giving ALWAYS makes me feel amazing, and i bet God had a little clue that that’s how He’d feel once He gave us His son.

so, do the love thing. whether it is the right thing, or the hard thing, or not even a thing, but an act of love. do it, and friends, do it bravely.

love bravely.

i think we’re covered. 😉

i feel so small sometimes….

… because i am.

so smallllll

i am learning that i need to edit more of me each day.

take out the sour, include the sweet.

exclude the negative, include the positive.

i must not edit God.

i must let Him edit me.

i feel so small sometimes, & that is because i am.

so is the stuff i get wrapped up into.

it is curious how i believe the gunk, my “stuff” is bigger than the Great love.

it is also strange how i can feel yucky in my heart about being selfish,

how i feel like i’m trying to learn/teach myself grace –

tell you about it,

yet, i’m abandoning it at the start of forgiving myself for mistakes –

that is what grace is – – – – -yes?!?! YES!

the hard stuff isn’t so hard with others to help.

we all feel small in front of God.

and we should.

that is EXACTLY how He planned it! ♥

we need to forgive ourselves for our mistakes, our mishaps, our mess-ups.

we need to feel small, so God can wrap us up in His arms to comfort us.

otherwise, we are like that crying, writhing child who won’t sleep, when exhausted is all they are, and sleep is the only solution.

my only solution is God.

and probably why when it snows, i feel like a little girl being rocked to sleep, with a world of possibilities at her fingertips.

how amazing His grace is, and how sweet the sound of snowfall…

all my love and wonder to you this wednesday,

b

turkey is not the only thing.

Image

jesus.

coffee, sometimes with sugar, always with cream.

the sky at dusk.

snuggly socks.

the warmth of the spring sunshine.

rock and roll.

cheese vendor at the farmer’s market.

patterns in fabric.

color.

motorcycle rides.

aromatherapy.

friends who know me inside and out.

family who loves me inside and out.

spilling guts to strangers.

kind neighbors.

ridiculous belly laughs at no one’s expense.

new girl.

plants, plants, plants.

FLOWERS.

a.r.

sports.

art, & the souls who believe in themselves enough to make it.

banjos.

children laughing.

quilts.

sisters.

traditions.

turkey.

you reading this.

my best friend.

for these, & every.living.thing.i.am.so.thankful.

happiest day of gratitude to you, and yours.

love, in all its complications.

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i often forget that it takes work. like every relationship that i’ve ever had.

he didn’t take out the garbage.

she didn’t call me back.

he’ll regret that he forgot to tell me about that one day.

hurmphphmp.

but do i stop loving those folks for those little things? do i cease to think of them when a song comes on that brings them to mind, or a picture of them is brought to my attention?

sometimes i think i can, or i will be mad or hurt forever. but that sting fades, and that person is human. just like you. like me.

it’s like God’s love for me, and my love for Him.

i think that we are shown people who we want to love, that for whatever reason, cannot love us back equally.

everyone has the capacity.  not everyone knows what to always do with that capacity.

but if it is the right kind of love, if it is the love that someone truly cares about you, then they often do things they don’t want to, and we should honor this, because they are trying.

i need to remember that about God.

we cannot move from a place of unequal love, to a place of no longer loving them for a mistake, for if we do, we will lose out on the process of healing, of the hope found in forgiveness.

but remember this:: if you never want to love again, if you haven’t yet felt a deep love, if you don’t believe that God loves you because of tragedies, or hurts that you have experienced ::  if you think that love is without toil or sweat or tears, that it will solve everything without work involved, or sacrifice, or struggle, you have not learned the of the greatest love of all:: God’s love for us.

He gave his Son.

and each new day, he gives us a new sun too. a new chance for change, or healing, or more love to seep in.

for our earthly loves will cease with death, and our love of possessions will leave our houses full, and our spirits empty, but our love of God will bring grief, struggle, joy, triumph, and freedom.

He loves us SO much, that He sets us free,

and we don’t always feel that freedom.

but it is not a race to get to his LOVE.

it is a slow, sometimes epic journey, which will show us His love over and over again. just because we Love the Lord, or believe in God, or love our Neighbor, as we should, doesn’t mean that the suffering ends.

Doesn’t mean that the hurts cease to cut us, or that we don’t bleed when broken.

it means that during, and most certainly after the healing of those hurts, that binding of wounds, that salve of ultimate comfort, will lift us higher than the hurt could ever reach.

it will heal us (perhaps not fully) but more efficiently, stronger, and with more self confidence to adhere to the next challenge, bind the next wound, help the next neighbor.
so, if you are hurting, if you are broken, bleeding or down…remember that our ultimate restoration is not in this shell, but in the everlasting of the Greatest Love. our wounds will heal. our hearts will soar. our needs will be met, and then some!

please carry on with the sweat, the hard GOOD work, the forgiving, the healing, the journey.

because we all need you here, you are meant for something great, and most importantly ::

YOU ARE LOVED MORE THAN YOU KNOW.

sigggggg22

push on

blue

sometimes your keyboard is a bit too sticky.

perhaps that is your truth. or maybe your tires, or your days seem flat.

perhaps you have forgotten what life without hard work looks like.

or perhaps you need to work harder, like i’m feeling.

maybe you need a break.

a rest from the busy, or a nook from the stress.

orangey pinkness

maybe your colors are all running together, & you just feel muddy. or blue.

i am here to tell you that it happens to everyone, & that you must push on.

i don’t mean to push through, i mean push on. for there is strength in knowing when to rest.

rest if your soul needs it.

take a break in the most relaxing, or energizing way.

but please carry on with the utmost hope, as we know that the Good Guy has our backs.

his wings will shelter us from the storms of our days & longest nights.

He is always looking out for us, no matter our moods, our colors, our stories.

we must know that He is there regardless if we feel Him or not.

He is there. what an awesome TRUTH.

green eyes

this truth is something to take hold of, & wrap ourselves in daily.

He is our Great Comforter – our Great Hope.

i would be lost without my God, & His love for me.  I know He has a plan that I cannot see.

my peace in Him gives me rest, & knowing that I’m in His hands, gives me energy for the weary days.

also? coffee helps, chocolate is necessary, & hugs are my favorite.  🙂

gratefullness too.

family & friends’ honeyed voices, & pictures of lovely littles & people, sent right to my little phone.

those pictures & texts, the notes of thoughfulness – make my day. 🙂

they probably make yours too. i am going to consciously start writing more snail mail. surprise someone i know with a lovely note of happy.

all these things are sources of goodness, & in this month of gray skies & lack of color, i need that, & perhaps you do too. maybe someone you know needs that love sent their way?

so let’s go give lovely-ness to our world, & let us be grateFULL.

we can be the LOVE we want to feel & see, & we don’t even know fully the greatness of how that LOVE that will change us! ♥

push on my friends. our love is needed everywhere. our love is felt always. our love is irreplaceable.

He will cover you with his feathers,
& under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield & rampart.  PSALM 91:4

coffee shop south haven

sigggggg22

my horizon is my hope

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAi can hear the rumbles, but it cannot scare me away this time.

i feel the mist, and yet, i am not affected.

nothing can stop this exhilaration of hope.

i am able to do hard things through one person here, & the Greatest One Ever.

me, & Him.

with work & FAITH.

He has built an unsinkable ship, & held strong through my storms – his coördinates = freedom.

i find it.

i always find it.

Him, there, with his heavenly arms outstretched, calling me to His comfort, His protection.

“rest my child, you are  stronger if we bind together, like the braided rope of your anchor to me.”

i wonder if it is that easy.

it is?

yes!!!

i realize, He has given me my handsome, bravest, kindest, blue-eyed love, & our very favorite girl.

the silliness we create together, and the adventures of a lifetime (even if we didn’t see a bear).

how could i ever doubt my Father’s love for me, when i have experienced that kind of love?

which is a sliver, or a millionth of a sliver, of His love for US.

awe-struck!

but most importantly,

i see HOPE.

i hope that my love is enough to show HIM through all i do.

not just my close people, but those of you whom i pray for with big auspicious prayers, without hesitation, i pray for us all, with HOPE.

and when we get to that great swell, that we are together.

for that is all i SEEK.

ALL of US together.

it makes me happy just the dream of it.

everyone.

loving.

together.

at.

last.

with the Him that started it all, and will conclude with a choir of angels, singing:

hallelujah, you are here. we are here.

i am HOPEFUL that His love will set us ALL free.

you, me, and whomever knows of this kind of LOVE.

is loving yourself is as freeing as giving yourself out of love?

let’s do the work and find out!

we must try to love the hard love every day.

we must laugh, and sing, dance and rejoice, every single day.

include, include, please include your hard-to-loves.

seek the sun, seek the sun, seek the sun. 🙂

if you are faint, cling to HIM.

for He will save us as He did His son.

and for that, we shall always know where our horizon lies.

my horizon is my hope.