Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Floating Lights.

In September of 2013, I sat on a red and black couch in an apartment in Baku and scrolled through pictures of a lantern release that had taken place in downtown Grand Rapids. It was an entry for Art Prize, and it made me feel lonely and homesick, knowing I would have been there if only I was home. It's the strangest things that inspire the deepest homesickness while living overseas. A friend's excited anticipation of a blizzard while you melt away in a desert. The flood of a hometown river that is lapping at homes and downtown stores while you gaze at the oil-slicked Caspian Sea. A release of lanterns in a cool autumn sky during an annoyingly hot September.

I closed my computer and resolved to go to a Lantern Festival at some point. I would have that experience, I decided. Some day.

So last night, we did it! We went to a Lantern Festival! The girls were thrilled with anticipation over the "Floating Lights" (a reference to Rapunzel, of course!) and I was excited to finally see what I had wanted to see that strangely homesick day in 2013.

Also, I think a little magic is good for the heart ;-) 




Here is how the girls decorated their lanterns!








and now I can cross a Lantern Festival off of my bucket list! Maybe we'll go to another one some day. We really did enjoy it despite the wind and moderate fire hazard, ha! I'm grateful, though, to finally have gotten to experience it!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

"Right here"

I have held the wanderlust that consumes my heart
In the palm of my open hand.
Examining it. 
Trying to understand it.
When was it born? 
Has it always been there?
and what, exactly, is it?
A desire to run from something?
or to it?
and I've been praying,
"God, help me to find that feeling...
that feeling that I get when I travel. 
Help me to find it 
right here."

And tonight, 
as Ruby fought sleep for nearly an hour;
unable to succumb to rest
under the heavy blanket of
missing her daddy while he 
hikes the Highlands of Scotland.
I knelt next to her bed,
Tickling her back and caressing her hair.

I am here. 
I am here.
I am here.

and as her eyelids settled together
I whispered,
"You are my Scotland."

and I meant it.



Thursday, April 6, 2017

You could make this place beautiful.

I am forever taking pictures of my children sleeping. This sweet picture of Piper is a favorite of mine. It really captures who she is right now. Piper Grace at 4 years old. Every bit as sweet as she seems right here. 


I love the world my daughters live in. It is so good and so full of love, joy, light, laughter, peace, and people who adore them. In the past I have thought about how cynical and sad people get as they age. and I can see it. I can see why. Even now I feel like my worldview is shifting and crumbling. Was I just not paying attention in the past? Why didn't I see how very fragile everything is?

So I suppose I'll just be thankful that, for now, they only know the world that we've created for them. Soon enough they'll know the rest of it. But until then, they can sleep in princess dresses and snow hats and red sunglasses with pink trolls and beloved books and polar bears and magic wands in their arms. and hopefully, some day, the world will deserve their goodness. 

Good Bones
By Maggie Smith

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I've shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I'll keep this from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that's a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind 
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on 
about good bones: This place could be beautiful, 
right? You could make this place beautiful.