Monday, May 27, 2013

It's weird but it's Fishtown

       Our biggest neighborhood event of the year is the Trenton Avenue Arts Festival.  And its headliner is the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby.  This is a "design competition and parade of human powered vehicle floats" per their website and I couldn't think of any better way to describe it!

 I walked a couple of blocks and met this man and his mama on the street corner.

We stood and watched, and laughed and admired

                                                                     the bizzare

the classic

the silly
the beautifully strange
the musical
and the buggy.

It just made me smile inside, every single one of them.  And they were smiling too, proud of their strange little creations biking through this little neighborhood that we all love.  And then it was over and I walked home happy.

Friday, April 26, 2013

On Failure

I’m supposed to work out 5 times a week for 30 days. The first two weeks went GREAT! I felt energized and motivated by my budding biceps. Through a feat of mental toughness I powered through each workout and did whatever it took to accomplish my goal no matter how early or how late that had me downstairs doing Jillian Michaels jumping jacks in my living room.

But this week was tough! And I didn't work out.

I grew up in a family where we didn’t curse and I still don’t, especially to my parents. So, in one simple phrase you can imagine exactly how I felt about my week when I told my mom Thursday morning that “I JUST CAN’T GET MY SHIT TOGETHER!” I didn’t have any catastrophic failures but I failed in just about every small way I can possibly imagine—personal and professional. I really just couldn’t do anything right. I really could not get my shit together.

Today is one of those perfect Spring masterpieces and I happened to be in the city for work. As I drove home with the windows down, watching the city breathe and blaring my favorite song, one particular failure-- the work out one-- in an instant, brought a huge dark cloud over my mood. But it dissipated quickly as I had an overwhelming sense of sweet sweet failure. The best kind of failure possible—the kind where you just feel human and messed up and 100% OK with that.

I (who I am as a person) am OK, I’m good enough.

After that, the sun shone even brighter than before. I cranked up the music even louder, my hair tossed in the gritty (wonderful) Philadelphia wind, on a gritty (horrible) Philadelphia highway and I've never felt better.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Jesus Calms the Furious Squall

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.  Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.  The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"  He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be Still!" Then the wind died down and was completely calm. He said to them "Why are you so afraid?  Have you still no faith?"  And they said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"
Mark 4
We're not in a boat 2,000 year ago in the Middle East, but you've been through a storm, right?  Some are heaving downpours of pain or grief, some are thunderstorms where one sharp clap of thunder and lightning changes everything.  But the last couple of months I have felt like I was in the midst of a furious squall.  The wind is whipping you in a million different directions, and you're getting tossed amid the gusts.  Personal and professional, emotional and spiritual, difficult decisions and difficult relationships, my boat isn't in the best shape.
But then there was Saturday. 
I'm going to Punta Cana for a destination wedding May and am working on my beach(ier) body. Those of you who know me well can imagine the rarity with which I decide to take a run around the neighborhood on a Saturday morning.  But it happened to be a beautiful 60 degree day and I needed to pick up a package from the post office.  So, I decided to run there with the vision of my new Vera Bradley travel toiletry bag waiting for me at the end of my journey and with the power of Destiny's Child Bootylicious driving me forward.
So, that's how I found myself walking across Frankford Avenue on the way home, out of breath, package in hand into a small park with a two benches and two beautiful trees with daffodils planted at the base.  I sat down.  The sun was beaming and when the wind would blow, a snow shower of tiny pink flowers would flutter to the ground catching the sun and becoming little twinkling lights.  I slowly....deeply.....breathed in the beauty.  If for a moment, the storm clouds seemed to break and the waves died down as I sat there in awe in the middle of broken city full of broken people just like me.
Where furious squalls come from and why, I don't know.  I probably should say that they are there to make you better or they are there for some higher purpose.  But I'm not sure why and I don't really care.  They happen and they happen to us all.  But they don't last forever and the voice of our Maker can be heard through the glowing flower petals as they fall to the ground, "Quiet, Be Still".

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Winter Contrast

     One of my goals this year is to blog once per month.  If for nothing else, to keep up with the little moments in life that are easy to forget but so precious to remember.  January was a month of contrasts.  The first two weeks were dominated by the good 'ole LFG (my place of employment).  I traveled to Orlando for a conference and also pulled off a women's empowerment seminar that my team had been working on for over 6 months.  With these moments came professional highs and satisfaction of a job completed and well done.  

     I also had many chances to rest and relax on these cold winter weekends where even in the middle of the day the light pours through the windows soft and calm.  Curling up in bed with a good book feels like the perfect thing to do at any time of the day and when you do make your way out in the cold with boots and scarves the warmth of a cozy brunch spot awaits to welcome you in with steaming hot coffee.  Ahh, breath in peace.

    Not that it was all peace.  Believe me. At least believe that fact that I had to stop typing this post to handle a broken water pipe that was spewing water all over my back patio and back door.  I didn't know what to do except hold my breath and run into the freezing deluge to attempt to remedy the situation.  "A" for effort but I could have stayed dry (and warm) as all I needed to do was go in the basement and turn a nob.  While I'm thankful for a husband who is overseas right now, the real man I'm thankful for today is my dad who can coach me through the most stressful situations. 

But isn't this how life is?  The calm with the crazy, the good with the bad, the warm cozy blankets with the impromptu January backyard sprinkler parties.  And it's all good.  It's all good, because He is good.

Some of my favorite photos from January are below.  Have a happy February!

Helped host a baby shower for a dear friend

Was given a beautiful set of heirloom silver from another dear friend's mom.  It was her Aunt Ida's from the 1930's.  I now know Aunt Ida's story and have the honor using her silverware for years to come.  Who wants to come over for a dinner party?

If you were still wondering if I am a huge dork, wonder no longer.  This is a 600 page book about one city and I LOVE IT!  It is the last thing I do every day for the 10 minutes that I can keep my eyes open.

I've always wanted to go to the Philly car show and this year we made it happen.  I'll take this one, please.

One of my goals this year is to do one thing for my home each week.  In the craziness of my work  I often neglect caring for my home but it truly is something that I love to do.  I found this tablecloth on sale at Williams Sonoma.  No, nobody is coming over for dinner, just playing dining room dress-up.

What beats the warm glow of a candle on a snowy winter day?  I sure don't know.

Brunch date with one of my guy pals, Charlie.  I loved him long before I knew him.

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Prayer Today

May I have the leading to be a small piece of the redemptive story I know He is weaving in the lives of those around me.

"Heal my heart and make it clean,
Open up my eyes to the things unseen,
Show me how to love like You have loved me.

Break my heart for what breaks Yours,
Everything I am for your kingdom's cause,
As I walk from earth into eternity."

-"Hosanna"  Hillsong United

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas This Year

My house is clean, my tree is decorated, my shopping is almost done, and I'm enjoying a dark, lazy Sunday evening listening to Indie Christmas on Pandora. Christmas heaven! There is more decorating I could do, an endless list of Christmas goodies I could make, and fun parties I could plan but this year I'm trying to chill.  I'm trying to savor the season with rest, quiet and reflection.  This Psalm caught my eye today:

Psalm 131- I Have Calmed and Quieted My Soul

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with his mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.

To have a humble, thankful and calm prayer this Christmas season.

Monday, November 28, 2011


My friend Laura and I have spent hours and hours talking about life. This picture is from one of those coversations. We analyze, we hash it out, we talk it through over and over again. The people, the complicated situations, the emotions. We've read the self-help books, we've taken the Oprah classes (really), we just really like trying to figure it all out. It is fun to us.

So it came as no surprise that when I turned 25 this year I spent some extra time in thought over where I've been and where I'm going. I've always expected to have the "Quarter Life Crisis" that John Mayer told me about in one of his songs. I didn't have one. The last 25 years have been so wonderful. I've had some ups and downs but it has all brought me to where I am today. And what I know is that the next 25 have the potential to be even better. They have the potential to be worse, too. Let's face it, I'll probably experience more heartache, more trouble, more grief in my second 25. Sounds bad but it's the truth, right? I'm in the real adult world, I have responsibilites and will only take on more. Those I love aren't getting any younger and neither am I.

At year 25 I'm setting out on a mission to enjoy my life even more than ever before, come what may, come what will. To do this, I'm laying a few ground rules for myself. I got the idea from the book The Happiness Project. It's my own personal 10 commandments. They are unique to me. They are things I picked up from the Bible, books, friends, articles. Too lofty to achieve but it can't hurt to try!

1. Love, First.
2. I can do anything, I can't do everything.
3. Always expect the best outcome.
4. Love what I do. Period.
5. Take time to savor the beautiful things.
6. Don't take on the burden of things I can't control.
7. In this world there will be trouble. His grace will get me through.
8. Don't worry about how it is "supposed" to be... just LIVE.
9. Put people above things.
10. Laugh often.

Laura, you wanna chat?