Snowfall Saturday

Woke up to snow falling softly and it has continued all day. We have all the blinds open, watching the silence deepen and people slide by, bundled to their eyes. We made crepes and bacon and coffee and juice, we are together and it is winter.

This is one of those days when it would be wonderful not to have to leave the house, when I wish I had a fireplace, but these are little wishes and I am content with this kind of coziness.

Happy Saturday!

First Thanksgiving together

I love Thanksgiving. Everything about it. This year we got to have 2 Thanksgivings, on different days, and it was great. I can’t even look at ham or turkey anymore, though. I had my sister-in-law’s help with the first round, and we split the making of the side dishes so it wasn’t quite as much work. We were still cooking most of the day, though.

Thanksgiving 2013 #1: sister-in-law & brother-in-law’s home

The spread, minus the turkey. Mmm.

Sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, GF stuffing, regular stuffing, gravy, honey almond carrots, brussels sprouts with pecans,  wild rice stuffing, and cornbread.

The turkey, prepared, cooked, and carved by my husband (20 lbs!):
The turkey

Turkey carving. #firstthanksgiving

I made a lot of gluten free pie from scratch last week. GF Pie crust is super time-consuming but it was worth it. (I used this recipe, if you want to know, but with real butter.) I made pumpkin and blueberry.
Pie!! I have been cooking all day but everything is in containers for tomorrow.

 

 

Thanksgiving 2013 #2 – at our “Munion Palace” as I’ve named it on Instagram. 😉

2nd Thanksgiving meal

Ham, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, GF stuffing, gravy, and honey almond carrots. And pie, of course.

Music nostalgia

Had some serious high school music nostalgia hit me when a Bush song came on the radio tonight.

I didn’t have access to a lot of stuff other than what was on the radio (and no truly cool friends to get me into new music) so I was left with what was usually on the radio (anyone from Chicago remember Q101?). Most of my friends were either as nerdy as myself, or they were part of the crowd that wore all black and had interesting makeup (these were the girls that taught me how to use an eyeliner pencil in our sewing class). I stuck out like a sore thumb in that group, for sure.

So I listened to a lot of Bush, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, The Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Orgy, Radiohead, 311, Collective Soul, Garbage, Incubus, Live, Our Lady Peace, Rage Against the Machine, Stabbing Westward, Silverchair, Audioslave, Metallica, Deftones, System of a Down, and Fuel. (I don’t think I even have most of the above on my iTunes anymore.)

I’ve switched to lighter and more current fare in the last decade, but I still get kicked back to my teens when any of the above come on.

Halloween 2013

I was a “breadwinner” and Shea was “Shea butter” and together…we are bread and butter.

Yes, I made the costumes. Only took a few hours.

I am a "breadwinner", Shea is "shea butter"
And you expected something different from us? 😉 Happy Halloween!

Don’t look too closely

Don’t look too closely at the mirror
Shy away from the picking and the choosing
The farewell sighs of youth
We cry and wail at the slightest things
We look so closely and then we fall
Don’t look so closely at the mirror
A focus on self, a focus on wealth and dreams
We look so closely and then we seem
So small.
Write instead about the powerful, the lonesome days
Stalk the inner self that hides and bring it into light
Bring it kicking and screaming if you have to.

Falling

The whirlwind hasn’t stopped. My brain is trying to rapidly absorb all of the information I need to learn at my new job. Coming in at a higher level means learning all the things very fast. When you add in a longer commute (I went from 10 minutes to over an hour each way) and a continuous to-do list…well, it means that I am still playing catch-up. But I love being an event coordinator and this is what I am meant to be doing.

Apples

We finally settled on Halloween costumes (of course I won’t tell you until AFTER Halloween) and some friends and I are throwing a little shindig on Halloween. I was looking for parties for adults that don’t involve alcohol, and it turns out that they are either really hard to find, or they don’t exist. So we’re doing our own last-minute party.

I am trying to take advantage of the fall food and festivities…did some pumpkin-carving and pumpkin pie baking with family last night, and am spending most of my Sundays preparing food for the week so we don’t have to cook lunches and dinners.

Happy October!

Not merely talking about the weather

As I continue working with young women within our Ruhi Book 2 study circle, I am reminded of this quotation that encourages women to elevate their level of conversation. How do we do this among ourselves?

Sunset last night. Goodbye Los Angeles! #youthconference
“Confirmations from the kingdom of God will assuredly be received, enabling some radiant leaves to appear resplendent in the assemblage of this world with clear proofs and convincing reasons, which will adorn the cause of womanhood. They will prove that in this cycle women are equal to men, nay, in certain respects they will excel. Ponder ye: in this wonderful Cause numerous were the men who scaled the heights of knowledge; they had a brilliant utterance, a convincing proof, an eloquent tongue and magnificent speech, but the blessed leaf, Jináb-i-Táhirih, because she was a woman, emerged with immense splendour and dumbfounded all the people. If she were a man, this would not have been so at all. Therefore, ye should know that the greatness of the Cause hath penetrated the nerves and veins of the world in such wise that if one of the leaves is attracted and gains mastery in demonstrating reasons and proofs and in uttering convincing evidences, she will shine resplendently. O radiant leaves, I swear by the Beauty of the Desired One and the Mystery of Existence that if ye work actively in this realm, the outpourings of the Blessed Beauty will reflect as the sun in the mirrors of the hearts. Your progress will astonish all.

The attracted leaves should not, when associating with each other, talk merely about the temperature of the weather, the coldness of the water, the beauty of the flowers and gardens, the freshness of the grass and the flowing water. They should rather restrict their discussions to glorification and praise and the uttering of proofs and reasons, to quoting verses and traditions and putting forth clear testimonies, so that all the homes of the loved ones will be converted into gathering places for lessons on teaching the Cause.

If ye do so, in a short while the outpourings of the Kingdom will be so manifested that each one of the handmaidens of the Merciful will become a perspicuous book revealing the mysteries of the Lord of Mercy.

Upon you be the glory of glories.”

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ, A Compilation on Women

Summer

Dear Blog,

I haven’t written since July, which is very unlike me. Then again, this summer was pretty unprecedented with travel for the 114 Baha’i Youth Conferences and getting married in the middle of it all.  A few weeks ago I was offered a new job and yesterday was my last day at the Baha’i National Center, after 4 1/2 years of work there. I start on Monday and it will be a very different adventure. I can’t wait!

It is a lot of change, a lot of new things…so much travel, a new marriage, a new job, a new last name…but then I am reminded how good it is, how lucky I am, and it helps me manage the minor moments of chaos.
Lake Michigan, morning walk after camping.

Sometimes it is hard to write because I feel this immense pressure to write a comprehensive, cohesive post. Then I have to remind myself that this is only a blog, and I just need to keep writing. I can always add, always write another post.

This is a way for me to get started again, to jump over the barrier that comes up now and again. Now, I have a moment to breathe and I will continue on.

with love,

Sholeh Samadani Munion (Loehle)

10 years and my love

I had a plan to write all sorts of blog posts recently. And then…well, I had to dive into the 4 youth conferences I’m working on and then something else really big happened in my life and suddenly it was the end of July and I hadn’t written anything in nearly 2 months.

On June 28, 2003, I wrote my first post on the current incarnation of this blog. It was about me putting food in my purse. Somehow that is fitting. This June was 10 continuous years of writing here. A decade of thoughts. It is hard to believe. I’ve been blogging since 2001 but I have been consistently writing here for such a long time, I can’t imagine ever shutting this down. I have to thank my friend Paul (and his family) for hosting this blog for so many years. I couldn’t have done it myself.

But now for the really big news.

In a few short days, I will be getting married to Shea. 

me and Shea

me and Shea

I keep trying to find words to explain all of this and having a hard time doing so. We met last year and discovered this love between us through lots of conversations, prayer, walks in parks, and cooking together. Now I am getting married to a kind, patient, loving, funny man and am overjoyed to be doing so. I don’t like getting too personal on my blog most of the time, and as much as I want to write everything here, I am keeping some things off the internet. But this is just too much not to share. It is a little surreal sometimes!

Here we go, on our grand adventure!

A fragmented note

I normally don’t go so long without posting on my blog (over a month?!). I can’t even begin to summarize the last few weeks and months. Here are a few things that have been keeping me busy. In no particular order:

Work. This is taking up a lot of my brainspace/time these days. Yes, I am part of the team that is assisting the National Spiritual Assembly with the planning of the conferences.

Baha'i Youth Conferences

 

View from the pool. Ahhh.

I traveled to Florida for a week of vacation, staying with dear friends and trying to relax after a very hectic year. I took a lot of photos of animals, went to several lovely Baha’i events, and just generally relaxed. I also took some long bike rides with my friends, which reminded me how much I love biking and also how much Chicago winter saps all of my energy. sigh. I even saw a manatee and a crocodile in the wild (as well as a ton of awesome birds).

 

I went to a farm for a North Shore networking event. The animals were stinky and cute and I loved them.

This little guy was pretty shy. #sheepish #latergram

Spent some time with my friends in the sun on a rare spring day that felt like summer in Chicago.

The view yesterday. I love Chicago in the summer. #latergram

Went to the park with my Ruhi youth group, and it made me appreciate them even more. They are such great people!

And this past weekend I worked at Baha’i National Convention, where the delegates gather to elect the National Spiritual Assembly. I also stopped by the Choral Festival and saw lots of people that I love.

Nothing is slowing down right now. Everything is top speed and it probably won’t stop until after the summer is over. This is not a complaint, merely a fact. And so, here I go!

The last few weeks in photos

Squishy!Work is not all about serious things. My coworkers and I get up to various (mostly harmless) antics sometimes. Laughter helps with so many things, since it can be very demanding around here. We merely took advantage of an opportunity (in this case, a stuffed Aflac promotional duck that was hanging out in the lobby for a day).

Sailboats and the House of Worship One day last week was mostly bearable, so we walked down to the Wilmette Harbor and watched the sailboats whisk around the harbor. There were young people being trained to sail, and you could hear the shouts as they nearly knocked into each other several times.

After a day with very few victories, this shines brightly. I found this chair out by the dumpster and now it is in my home. I love it. During a week when nothing seemed to be going right, I found this chair in the alley next to where I park my car. I deliberated on taking it for 24 hours, but when I saw it was still there on the second day, I dragged it upstairs, hoping I wouldn’t discover a hidden flaw. It is in very good condition and matches the decor in my home perfectly.

Outside of the grocery store near my place. Just a pig roasting in the parking lot. Smelled good though.Outside of the grocery store near my place. Just a pig roasting in the parking lot. It was an amusing surprise for my quiet little village.

Flowers near work

We are anticipating spring, but it has been slow to come to Chicago. Finally the flowers are blooming and I am starting to look at the summer festival schedule.

Nineteen Months - GloryFinally, Nineteen Months (the photoblog that I am an editor for) relaunched at Naw-Ruz and has a gorgeous new design. Check it out!

Flooded – a mix of good and bad

This morning I woke up to the sounds of a thunderstorm raging against my windows. I woke up before my alarm, so I lay in bed, trying to wake up by checking emails. Unfortunately my coordination is not the best in the morning, so I dropped the phone on my face and the corner of it left a welt under my eye. Ouch.

The streets were flooded today, so I was lucky to make it to work without stalling my car. There were four cars stalled in a road that I usually take to work. It also took twice as long to drive to work (20 minutes instead of 10), and some people just never made it in to the office. I had to climb into my car from the passenger side from my parking spot at home.

I was going to take photos of all of the standing water to illustrate the extent of the situation, but by the time I left work a lot of the water had receded in this area. Just Google it. Parts of the Chicago area are badly flooded.

I had to cancel my haircut in Schaumburg (about 40 minutes away) because I had no interest in driving in storms/flooded streets, and found a salon in Wilmette that looked promising. After having a very nice chat with the stylist and after she gave me a fantastic haircut, we discovered that the scheduler had messed up the pricing. So I got a $60 haircut for $45.

Realizing that one of the few places that is open in Wilmette at 8 pm is the library, I headed over to get some books. Discovered that 3 of my favorite authors have come out with new books and I was able to snag them to read. It may be that a lot of my frustration recently has been because of a lack of immersion in books. It is a peaceful time for me when I can spend hours reading a book that I enjoy. So if you don’t hear from me for a while…it may be because my nose is buried in a book.

Eternal sovereignty

“O thou maidservant of God! Every woman who becometh the maidservant of God outshineth in glory the empresses of the world, for she is related to God, and her sovereignty is everlasting, whereas a handful of dust will obliterate the name and fame of those empresses. In other words, as soon as they go down to the grave they are reduced to naught. The maidservants of God’s Kingdom, on the other hand, enjoy eternal sovereignty unaffected by the passing of ages and generations.

Consider how many empresses have come and gone since the time of Christ. Each was the ruler of a country but now all trace and name of them is lost, while Mary Magdalene, who was only a peasant and a maidservant of God, still shineth from the horizon of everlasting glory. Strive thou, therefore, to remain the maidservant of God.

Thou hast praised the Convention. This Convention shall acquire great importance in future, for it is serving the divine Kingdom and the world of mankind. It promulgateth universal peace and layeth the basis of the oneness of mankind; it freeth the souls from religious, racial and worldly prejudices and gathereth them under the shade of the one-coloured pavilion of God. Praise thou God, therefore, that thou hast attended such a Convention and hast listened to the divine Teachings.”

-Selections From the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Thank you to S.M. for sending this to me the other day, exactly when I needed to read it.

Aggression

Most of the time I don’t write about unpleasant things here. But something happened just now that left me shaking so badly that I had to pull into a parking lot and write it down.

I was driving in Lincoln Park, relying on google maps to get me to my destination (which was a bit confusing from where I was). A guy driving a very expensive little vintage sports car was driving quite fast behind me, and there were a lot of cars on the road. So I was being careful and going slower than I normally do (maybe 20 mph?) He started honking at me and flicking me off. At that moment, someone tried to back out in front of me, so I hit my brakes. He was trying to go around me so he ended up stuck behind me still.

When we stopped at the light he got out of his car and came over to my open window yelling. “You f*****g c***, what the f*** is wrong with you?” And he kept repeating that and gesturing like he wanted to reach into my partially open window and strangle me. I told him that I was going to call the cops and he said that I should. I rolled up my window and he went back to his car.

The light changed and I turned onto another street. I saw that he followed me for about a block and then turned and disappeared.

I was terrified he might have a gun. I was terrified that he would do something on a crowded street, even with a dozen people watching. He was older, bigger, and more intimidating, and he was a man. I don’t intimidate easily, but I also live in a gun-crazy country, in a city that is passing a law allowing concealed carry. I can handle a lot, and could have driven away, except there are some things you can’t outrun.

Where does a person learn to explode in such hateful violence against people they don’t know? What makes a man say such things to someone? I can’t remember the last time someone called me those things, but it was so shocking I didn’t even know how to respond. If he had come up to my window and been pleasant, or asked if I needed help finding something, we could have had a pleasant interaction.

His assumption that he was allowed to speak to me in that manner was unacceptable, but I could do nothing about it. And there is nothing unique in the experience I just had. A lot worse happens every day.

Waiting

Morning sunSome days are a waiting game.

Some weeks are.

The feeling of helplessness is never good for me.

I want to take action, solve problems, help people! The roadblocks sometimes seem insurmountable.

Taking deep breaths and just…waiting. For everything.

our study circle

At the end of Ruhi Book 1 every Sunday night, we read a story about a Baha’i that served in extraordinary way. It started out as a way for the young ladies in the study circle (they’re aged 12-15, some non-Baha’i) to learn about the heroines of the Baha’i Faith, and it has been a great method to talk about different subjects outside of the book.

This week I felt like changing it up and we read about Martha Root in the beginning instead of the end. Somehow, we ended up spending 3/4 of our study circle time talking about her, the Holy Family, a brief overview of the Covenant, what happened when the Central Figures passed away, who were the Maxwells, why people break the Covenant, and if there are members of Baha’u’llah’s family still alive. They’re the ones that asked the questions that led to these subjects. I do the best that I can to answer their questions.

These young women just amaze me. I want to help them find a love for reading about the history of the Faith, to know the beautiful stories of service and sacrifice and love so that they can share it whenever they want. I feel lucky to have this interaction with them.

Naw-Rúz

MC at Greenlake Baha'i ConferenceI have been reflecting on the events of the last year, since March 21, 2012. It has been an absolute roller coaster. There have been challenges beyond my expectations, heartbreak, joy, travel, a beautiful summer, love, and a lot of laughter. I worked on one of the biggest events I’ve ever coordinated (the Centenary of Abdu’l-Baha’s visit to the United States), was a MC at a Baha’i conference, attended several other conferences (including a session at Louhelen with Mr. Nakhjavani), attended weddings, celebrated the birth of so many babies I’ve lost count, grieved the loss of family members, facilitated a youth group, began learning how to be a member of a Local Spiritual Assembly, worked on a never-ending Wilmette Baha’i archives project…

I wandered my city in rain, wind, sun, and love. Mostly in love.

At Green Lake

It has been proven to me beyond the shadow of a doubt that I am surrounded by some of the most amazing family and friends that this earth has to offer.

I have learned that people can be exceptionally cruel and not even understand that what they have done is wrong.

I have been validated in my feelings and told that I am loved.

I know that I need to be in warm, sunny weather to keep my spirits up to my normal state of existence.

I have taken greater risks this year than I ever have before.

I will never, ever let people tell me that my joyful exuberance needs to be reined in. And I will do my best to make sure that my actions allow others to feel no judgement, and to feel welcomed in my circle.

In Monterey, by the aquarium

To everyone in my life, thank you for this beautiful existence that we share.
I love you very much, and I wish you a very happy Naw-Rúz (Baha’i New Year).

How to be happy

sunset from the roomIt still feels like winter here…the gray and cold have seeped into my body, I crave sunshine, heat, and friendly faces. I was reminded this weekend that I can bring joy to myself and others simply by choosing to be happy. There will always be people who are not pleasant, so how does one counter that with joy and radiance?

“Believers, he added, must show their belief in their daily lives, so that the world might see the light shining in their faces. A bright and happy face cheers people on their way. If you are sad, and pass a child who is laughing, the child, seeing your sad face, will cease to laugh, not knowing why. If the day be dark, how much a gleam of sunshine is prized; so let believers wear smiling happy faces, gleaming like sunshine in the darkness. Let the Light of Truth and Honesty shine from them, so that all who behold them may know that their word in business or pleasure will be a word to trust and depend upon.”
-‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London

“If we are not happy and joyous at this season, for what other season shall we wait and for what other time shall we look?

This is the time for growing; the season for joyous gathering! Take the cup of the Testament in thy hand; leap and dance with ecstasy in the triumphal procession of the Covenant! Lay your confidence in the everlasting bounty, turn to the presence of the generous God; ask assistance from the Kingdom of Abha; seek confirmation from the Supreme World; turn thy vision to the horizon of eternal wealth; and pray for help from the Source of Mercy!
-Tablets of Abdul-Baha Abbas

“Happy the soul that shall forget his own good, and like the chosen ones of God, vie with his fellows in service to the good of all; until, strengthened by the blessings and perpetual confirmations of God, he shall be empowered to raise this mighty nation up to its ancient pinnacles of glory, and restore this withered land to sweet new life, and as a spiritual springtime, array those trees which are the lives of men with the fresh leaves, the blossoms and fruits of consecrated joy.”
-‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization

In dreams

Needed a moment of quiet by the lake. Sitting in my car.

I have never felt a greater need for silence than right now.
A great need to bury myself in a cocoon of books and tea,
I dream of warm sunlit beaches and time between us.

Old patterns of thought

Ninteen Months: Loftiness“O ye respected souls! From the continual imitation of ancient and worn-out ways, the world had grown dark as darksome night. The fundamentals of the divine Teachings had passed from memory; their pith and heart had been totally forgotten, and the people were holding on to husks. The nations had, like tattered garments long outworn, fallen into a pitiful condition.

Out of this pitch blackness there dawned the morning splendour of the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. He hath dressed the world with a garment new and fair, and that new garment is the principles which have come down from God.

Now the new age is here and creation is reborn. Humanity hath taken on new life. The autumn hath gone by, and the reviving spring is here. All things are now made new. Arts and industries have been reborn, there are new discoveries in science, and there are new inventions; even the details of human affairs, such as dress and personal effects—even weapons—all these have likewise been renewed. The laws and procedures of every government have been revised. Renewal is the order of the day.

And all this newness hath its source in the fresh outpourings of wondrous grace and favour from the Lord of the Kingdom, which have renewed the world. The people, therefore, must be set completely free from their old patterns of thought, that all their attention may be focused upon these new principles, for these are the light of this time and the very spirit of this age.

Unless these Teachings are effectively spread among the people, until the old ways, the old concepts, are gone and forgotten, this world of being will find no peace, nor will it reflect the perfections of the Heavenly Kingdom. Strive ye with all your hearts to make the heedless conscious, to waken those who sleep, to bring knowledge to the ignorant, to make the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and restore the dead to life.

It behoveth you to show forth such power, such endurance, as to astonish all beholders. The confirmations of the Kingdom are with you. Upon you be the glory of the All-Glorious.”

-‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections From the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p 252

Thanks to S.M. for sending this to me.

Snowstorm

You may be aware that there is a snowstorm in Chicago right now. There was an Ayyam-i-Ha party at the Baha’i National Center this morning, and after lunch everyone was sent home because of the impending storm (which had already started). So a few girlfriends and I had an impromptu hangout at my place, which included conversations, food, nail polish, and television. It was exactly perfect on a night like this. Now they are gone and I fully intend to continue enjoying the evening. The silence of a snowy night is such a peaceful thing.

Thanks ladies. 🙂

The story of everything

Beautiful things end up on my desk at work sometimes.

I wanted to write a story about everything
the pieces of days taking over
the peaceful nights where your voice keeps me going
how quickly time passes
and how very little time has passed.
We are building up moments to hide away for later
for sleepless nights or long days.
I want to write the story
about the things we cannot guess…

Be

Flowers from an office party cheer things up a bit“Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men. Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression.”
-(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh)

Trying to remember the above as I fight some battles, try to rest (managed to fight off a cold last week!), and keep moving along with everything. I am so lucky, and sometimes the reminders come all at once. This past week has been full of reinforcements from various people around me, some of whom have absolutely no idea what has been happening in my life…they just seemed to be inspired to encourage and show love to me. That, in turn, makes me want to do the same.

Sometimes we expect people to be fair, just, loving, kind, etc, and when our expectations are not met, we are sad/disappointed/angry. The feelings we have are valid, but what we do with those feelings is what matters. How do we encourage justice while showing detachment? How do we support the individuals and analyze/improve the process?

I’ve been thinking a lot about building capacity these days. About how to encourage people to develop their natural talents and strive beyond what they thought they could do. What kind of person do I want to be?

“The work advancing in every corner of the globe today represents the latest stage of the ongoing Bahá’í endeavour to create the nucleus of the glorious civilization enshrined in His teachings, the building of which is an enterprise of infinite complexity and scale, one that will demand centuries of exertion by humanity to bring to fruition. There are no shortcuts, no formulas. Only as effort is made to draw on insights from His Revelation, to tap into the accumulating knowledge of the human race, to apply His teachings intelligently to the life of humanity, and to consult on the questions that arise will the necessary learning occur and capacity be developed.” -Universal House of Justice, Riḍván 2010

Football?

I hear there was this big football game last night or something. I watched a few minutes of halftime, which just made me sad that those beautiful ladies couldn’t find something classier to wear. I then got bored and turned everything off to read a book and drink tea. I ended up finishing the book (at least 300 pages) by the time I was tired enough to go to bed, and felt that it was a perfect way to spend my Sunday evening.

I have to say though, the commentary on Twitter made me laugh. Good job, everyone. You managed to keep me updated on the talking points and dissuade me from watching nearly all of the commercials (heard they were awful!).

And now Monday is here and, as always, I wish the weekend was longer.

Silenced

Wisconsin sunset
we are an entire generation
silent
we are here to serve, to work, to strive
we are silenced
we raise our hands to voice concern
we raise our voices to fight injustice
we are silenced
our brothers and sisters are imprisoned
we are here, in a prison which should not exist
in a place that should be joyful
and we are silenced.

I will still fight this battle.

these days

I still look at people like this when they don't make sense. #littlemeI have to say that this year started off with a lot of things…none of which I’ll talk about here for now, except in a very general way. I will say that a lot was thrown at me at once, in a way that was validating, scary, joyful, destructive, and just plain overwhelming, all in different ways.

But then, somehow, everything resolves itself. Just within a few weeks, I found some paths to clarity, and it is amazing. I am not there yet, but it is a good feeling to start.

I am looking forward to this year.

Good things

I have been thinking about some of the difficult things going on in my life right now, and while I should not dismiss them as small or insignificant, I can choose to focus on better things, on the good things, at least in this space. I have been spending a lot of time in my condo this last week, sick with a nasty cold, and someone told me today to think about the things that make me happy.

The world is white.We had our first snow in Chicago this week. While normally this would make me sad, as I am not a fan of winter, I have actually been loving the beauty of this particular snowfall, and the drifting flurries throughout the week. I went out to snap some photos the other day, mostly for Nineteen Months, and it reminded me of how much I love traipsing around with my camera, hopefully with a few friends in tow. I miss that.

 

sushi nightWe made sushi last weekend, experimenting with different ideas to create so many rolls that we ate it over the course of two evenings. We laughed and worked together. It was lovely. I am loving the conversations, the diving into the joy of everything. It is good to remember these moments.

 

Starting to make a dent in the Wilmette Bahai Archives cleanup.I have been working on cleaning up the Wilmette Baha’i Archives for months now, but recently have had more incentive because we’re losing our storage space and have to move everything. As Archivist for our local community, I thought it would be helpful to go through over 70 years worth of papers before moving it. For every box that I go through, I trash about 1/3 of it. Mostly duplicate copies of things, or stuff we never should have kept in the first place. While it is a stressful thing sometimes, I also find really cool stuff sometimes.

 
love this little mooshI know entirely too many cute babies and kids. I’ve had the benefit of hanging out with a lot of them recently. Sometimes when things are rough, I just need a hug from a baby. Seriously, it fixes everything. I have also started hosting monthly dinner parties, which is the perfect thing in a Chicago winter, and I love having people over to my place. Sometimes it is a bit exhausting to be the one to initiate social contact with people on a regular basis, but this helps me feel a bit more connected.

falling

The fallen leaves in front of my condo look like rose petals.she is watching the ground rushing toward her, a free-fall of joyful absolution.
she is wrapped in trust.
she is watching with her eyes closed.

once there was a story in her head about the possibilities
and then time took over, life sped ahead and the story became empty

these are days when each moment is held apart, shining, and she wants to remember everything. her memory can’t hold every look, every time her breath caught from joy. nothing is perfect, and everything makes her happy.

she never knew but always hoped.