Community

Let’s Get Pancakes

“Let’s get pancakes” I said. “It will be fun.” I said.

That was a few days ago when Snooze AM Eatery brilliantly marketed their National Pancake Day celebration on my Facebook feed. Those damn targeted ads. They work.

So when my phone buzzed at 6 am with one of my friends texting she was sick and wouldn’t make our breakfast date I almost rolled over and went back to sleep. Then I couldn’t find a comfortable spot in my bed and my alarm kept buzzing back from snooze singing to me, “It’s time to get up in the morning.”

I got out of bed. It was still dark out. Let me repeat. It was still DARK out. I never wake up when it’s dark out. Sorry folks, I just don’t.

I got dressed, kissed my sick husband on his feverish forehead and left the house.

As I walked to the garage I noticed a thread of bunny tracks in the snow across the driveway. A sign of life in the glistening powder that was gifted to us last night. Tiny animal prints reminding me that we share our yard with other little creatures.

I got in my car, turned on the heat, drove the twenty miles to get a delicious breakfast. Heat in my car. A beautiful thing on a frosty morning.

As I drove the sun came up, turning the sky from dark to pink to blue. Shivering trees brushed the sky, reaching up their branches into the promise of another appearance from the sun.

I never wake up early enough to see the sunrise. I should witness that beauty more.

We sat down to warm coffee with rising cream in those perfectly crafted yellow mugs  and placed our order.

And then our waitress brought us these.

pancakes.jpg

Giant.

Giant pancakes. We started laughing. I thought we ordered off the special flight menu for, you know, National Pancake Day.  The tiny pancakes. I guess I was wrong.

Beauty in abundance on my plate(s). In white flour and caramelized pears, in strawberry jam mixing with sausage, and white chocolate mixing with coconut flakes. Beauty in pools of syrup and perfectly weighted forks.

Beauty in enjoying time with friends. Beauty in feeling productive before 8 am. Beauty in frequenting local restaurants that give back to their communities.

And later, tonight as I thought about this post, I asked my friend, “Hey silly question, did you take a pic of all those pancakes this morning?”

Of course she did. It’s so great when you have friends who get you. Who snapchat their food and document culinary adventures so I can share them with you.

Today reminded me that it doesn’t take much to be delighted. Mix up your routine. Watch the sunrise. Order the pancake or two.

You can always take home the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow.

 

Advertisements

Float with the Wind

FullSizeRender

Here in this valley we chose to leave my father’s ashes. Today we let him float with the wind, remembering that he no longer needs his body, that the spirit is what remains in our hearts and our memories. The concept of spreading ashes is an uncomfortable one, painful in release and a very permanent concept. And yet, through the tears, we were surrounded by beautiful community. The friends and family who have held our hands and wiped our tears and sent messages of peace and joy and comfort. Today I am thankful for the list of these beautiful people who joined us this afternoon.

The Wylie Family: John, Karen, Lauren, Leah

The Courtway Family: John, Claudia, Katy, Rob, Jenny, Heidi

Shaun Hoag & Dakota Lorenz

Pam Moore

Ron Morgan

For if you can not hold the hands of those you love as you face life’s challenges, it can be difficult to remember the beauty found in moving forward.

Too, I share these beautiful verses as a reminder that our lives are so much bigger than our own bodies can contain. That our purpose will be glorified in heaven. That beauty is to be found in releasing my dad to the wind, to remember that he is now connected in heaven, and we, too, can be free.

New Bodies – 2 Corinthians 5: 1-9

Community Done Right

When you hear the word “community” what do you think?

– Neighborhoods – people borrowing cups of sugar, police officers, libraries, free recreation centers

– Bible studies – singles groups sharing meals and prayer requests on Tuesday nights or sanctuary on Sundays

– Friends at work – departments, structures of support, co-workers to joke with

– Friends with history – no religious connection, but maybe instead a love of beer, or the outdoors, or writing, or art

Does your heart relax into a safe space of comfort or understanding? Or maybe, perhaps you tense up and think I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced something like that?

I think for me, growing up in church environments and having chosen a career in human services, community is a buzz word that I perhaps take for granted. We talk about it so much that at times, it becomes abstract. Something we are always striving for, but not quite sure how to grasp. As a sociology major, the observations of demographics of any group situation overtake my brain, and I start to think, more often than not, about who is NOT sitting at the table, rather than who makes up the voices of our “community”. Community is imperfect, it’s messy, at times we hurt each other. It is throbbing with desires, and interests, and progress, and hope.

That’s what I love about authentic community. When all the ism’s and opportunity, or lack there of, melts away, hope and raw humanity remain. That’s what keeps me at my job, and what fuels my thoughts, and my efforts to make eye contact, or smile at people when I am uncomfortable. This can be challenging for my introverted self.

This week, my beautiful thing, is acknowledging the amazing work that the people at FOCO Cafe have accomplished. A new non-profit near me offers lunch to the community on a “pay as you can” model while offering healthy lunch options to the community at large. If you can contribute for your own meal, you pay your own way. If you need a meal and don’t have the means, you can volunteer your time to earn your lunch. Healthy, organic, delicious options. I know this concept is not unique as others across the nation have similar models. However, this little gem is new to us, and this lunch spot is near my work, an easy walk. My co-workers and I have enjoyed stopping by more than once.

After getting my soup, and paying what I could this week, I sat down to eat, and looked around in awe. Glossy wood floors and cheerful yellow walls welcome you in from the cold. The rustic brick makes you feel like you a part of some local history. By simply walking in the door, you get the choice to participate in something that is not there to indulge my needs, but to make me recognize I can choose to be part of something. At one table I recognized a local city council member eating his lunch. Across the room sat two other social workers clearly in thought and discussion about their day. At another table a family with an elderly woman sat and ate, and two homeless gentleman sat to get warm. My co-worker had her little one with us and his two year old smile connected with many others. This my friends, is a true representation of everyone at the table. The hard work of two brave visionaries created something wonderful. Something warm, and homey, and worth celebrating. Worthy of beauty and of recognition, and of your lunch hour.

Check it out, it will be worth your time. Well done my friends, well done.

New Years Resolution Update

Week One:

Biscotti Flavor – Chocolate Chip

Nail Polish Color – Bump up the Pumps by Essie

Hopes & Healing in Boxes

This time two years ago I moved out of my parents’ home for the first time. I was in a city with people I didn’t know, and spent many evenings during the week home alone, or with Dylan, reading books and wallowing in anxiety of how to even get this thing called life started. In December of 2012 I moved with anticipation and anxiety of what being an adult actually looks like – away from home, away from my friends. Towards what I wasn’t quite sure. All of my belongings could fit in the back of my SUV. One load.

In December 2013 I moved back to my hometown with a hope of a return to normal, to community, to a proper sense of grounding. This time, the move took three trips in a truck and I brought a man back with me. I was disappointed and shocked to find that while my hometown hadn’t changed too much, perhaps I had. I wasn’t the same Katie that walked those streets and halls and through the nostalgic memories. The realization that perhaps the job, or the location was not the problem, but rather was something within me took quite a bit of therapy to admit. This move gave me the opportunity to say yes to new opportunities in relationship and fully walk towards the promise and commitment of marriage. I had to come home to move forward.

Here we are in December of 2014, once again moving, with wedding gifts, and hopes, and compromises that come with having a life partner. This move required a U-haul. I’m not quite sure what will be next, but know that it is so wonderful to be moving towards things with another person at my side. Excuse the self promotion here, but I am thrilled by the healing that I have carried with me this year. Usually, the moving of my physical belongings, and the disruption of my connection to place throws me completely off my center. I know I probably wasn’t the most fun to be with over the last week – moving makes me really crabby. This time, though, the past few years experiences have made me realize I’m going to be ok. I already am ok. Perhaps I’m even grand. I’m not waking up with stomach gripping fear that literally makes me gag. I’m not losing weight from stress. I’m breathing and trusting, and healing. I’m healing. And I’m thankful.

Remember, that return to community that was so important to me in December of 2013? God has answered that prayer tenfold and I’ve found wonderful opportunities to reconnect with old friends. Friends who were traveling, friends who are in school, friends who have also found their way home, back to their roots. Friends who seek out groundedness and peace and giving and look at the world through a critical lens. Friends who come over to help move, or bring dinner to share, or tell me to wipe a tear from my eye. I am not sure where we will go as a group, as dreams take all individuals in a multitude of directions. For now, though, there is so much beauty in connection with others. Look at this motley crew of people who showed up to help us move, because they care about me and they care about Dylan and they invest in friendship. They breathe fresh hope for human connection into my heart. For all those friends not pictured here, you, too, know who you are.

IMG_2052

I’m ecstatic about the beauty of healing, of progress, and the opportunity to reflect about growth. You don’t know what blossoms in that painful experience of sprouting new shoots until the flower has bloomed. Have I bloomed? I’m not quite sure.

What gives you anxiety? How about affirmations of healing?