Aug 7, 2014

About that time I went to prison....

Most of the time I'll be over here, where you can read about things I do & learn.
But really. I did go to prison. And it was amazing.

Aug 20, 2013

On Sunday I made my weekly pilgrimage to the downtown farmers market for greens and veg. Normally I stick to the farmer's stalls, but this time wandered into the food court - ya'll better not sleep on the international market in there! I saw a sign for Cinnasmiles. These sticky rolls would be my death by gluten nowadays, but I had to ask if she had some GF love on the table. No luck, however, she responded with an enthusiastic, "I remember you!!!" Annetta reminded me that she was one of my World Vision volunteers over a year ago at Musician's Corner... we discussed my leap of faith quitting my job, going to Rwanda, and becoming an LMT. She told me I inspired her to start her own business and follow her dream. I was trying to pick my jaw off the floor, not cry, and thank her for thanking me all at the same time. Not my smoothest moment, but Jon Acuff would be proud. 

Starting your own business and following your dream is not one leap of faith. It's several leaps. Sometimes you land on your feet, sometimes you land on your face. Sometimes you misjudge the distance and do that awkward really hard landing. Sometimes you win. After several months of landing on my face, having a moment like that with Annetta was a huge encouragement to me. If I won the lottery, I would still want to do bodywork, and would have the funding to get more training! I still love school... *nerd gong*

Share your stories! You never know who might need to hear about your struggles and victories.

And if anyone needs some bodywork and to generally feel better in their body, call me maybe?!

Aug 13, 2013

"God binds up his heart so closely with suffering people that he interprets any move against them as a move against him." - Tim Keller.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

In one week's time: the delights of closest friends' birthdays, the ache of grief with a dear friend's awful loss, a joyous wedding... to live in the tense arc between the two... to allow each one to be their own and not arrest the other. How?

Tim Keller, in a sermon on anxiety, talks about perspective and expectations. Taxi drivers in NYC ram into each other. Often. In the midwest, there are police, accident reports, phone calls, etc. But in NYC, the taxi drivers expect chaos. They are ready. They keep going.

My wise friend E.M. observed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Already in exile. Thrown into a furnace to be executed. God was right in there with them. Alongside them. Does life ever calm down, or is it one continuous bonfire? Isn't fire a method of purification?

The happy warmth of weddings & births, the searing pain of death... to suffer... to struggle… to know God's presence no matter our circumstance. My friend Audrey wrote the song below. It's a prayer I didn't know was on my lips until I heard her sing it.  When I taste Your goodness, I shall not want.

I Shall Not Want
by Audrey Assad | from the album Fortunate Fall

From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me O God

From the need to be understood
From the need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, I shall not want
when I taste Your goodness I shall not want
when I taste Your goodness I shall not want

From the fear of serving others
From the fear of death or trial
From the fear of humility
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

Aug 9, 2012

toya and melanie bond.

you know i love toya when i'm allowing myself to be internetted like this.  she wrote this article for natural in nashville after we watched chris rock's documentary good hair - which i think e'rbody should see.  it's amazing. i learned a lot, laughed a lot, and bleached my heather locklear-ish roots into submission.

U.N.I.T.Y.- The Weekend My Friend Melanie and I Bonded Over Our Hair

I promise we did not plan the matching blue tops. I swear. 

During my friend Melanie's and my 12 year friendship, we have talked about pretty much everything under the sun.  But until recently we rarely ever discussed our racial differences.  We just have so many things in common that discussing our differences just barely ever comes up.  Well a few months ago Melanie asked me if I would be interested in watching Chris Rock's documentary Good Hair together. "I just think it would be so fun to watch together." she said.  Having already seen the film, I chuckled at the thought of my possibly having to further break down certain things in the film regarding my culture for her. Then something dawned on me.

Melanie was interested in this movie because she was intrigued about black hair.  To say that I was less than intrigued about a white woman's hair would be an understatement. I'm just going to be honest here.  At the time, I felt like ever since I was a little girl I've been overloaded with knowledge about the European standards of beauty.  Unless I bought a magazine that was geared towards black women, chances are that every other magazine had articles that catered to enhancing the beauty of white women.  And really with all that I have had to do to my hair in over thirty years from weaves to braids to bi-level stacks and The Big Chop, I could  not fathom that the plight of the white woman to keep her hair in check could even compare.  And wasn't their hair pretty much all of the same anyway?  Does that sound a little close minded to you? Yeah me too. That's why I changed my mind and came up with an idea. "Why don't we watch the movie and do our hair together?" I said.  Saturday was coming up and with that being my Big Hair Day consisting of pre-pooing, washing, deep conditioning, etc,. I figured we could really get into what it took for us to individually maintain our hair. This was perfect timing as Melanie's own "Big Hair Day" was coming up because she had to touch up her roots with hair color. She loved the idea and we set a date.

I went to Melanie's house and we both went into the bathroom to start our respective routines while sharing about our hair textures and styling woes.

Me explaining the beast that is hair shrinkage

Melanie paying the price for beauty

When I reached the point where it was time for deep conditioning and her hair color went into processing, we went into the living room to watch the movie.

Movie time!

Melanie, who we all lovingly call The Wise Pixie, currently has a super cute and flattering pixie hair cut.  When I first met Melanie she had a really fly bob. Her hair was and still is platinum blonde (which I always forget is not her natural hair color because it fits her so well) and it had a layer of turquoise underneath. Fly!  She's never been too afraid to take risk with her hair. As our discussion moved into a more cultural direction,  I asked her if she ever felt pressure to be blonde because society holds blondes to such a high standard of beauty. I was pretty enlightened by her answer:

"I went super blonde after I lost my first job out of college and ended up moving to Pittsburgh by myself. I lived with an amazing family - her brother, a stylist, told me he wanted to try cutting my dark blonde, ashy, shoulder length hair into a pixie cut and bleaching it out. I didn't have anything to lose, I didnt know anyone, and I wanted a change! It was exciting and liberating and I loved it."

Ladies, doesn't that liberating hair cut sound familiar? Doesn't that sound like our monumental Big Chop?  We continued watching the film together and took breaks in between to discuss some things further. One thing that stood out to me was the discussion we had about keeping up with the lastest hairstyles. In the movie they talk about how expensive it is to buy and maintain weaves.  I shared with her that I did my Big Chop because I was tired of feeling like I had to keep up.  I just wanted to be myself.  What she said next was something I definitely chalk up to cultural differences:

"Have you been to a Bon Jovi concert recently? Have you noticed the women are sporting the same hairdo they did in the 80's - as they squeeze into today's version of the same ripped jeans and old shredded, tasseled tees of yesteryear? The hair has stayed the same since the first time they gave love a bad name. My wise friends Becky & Karen pointed out that women who tend to keep the same coiffure for decades do so because that dated hairdo is from a time when they were happiest in their lives."

Now grant it some women do these things at concerts for one night nostalgia but plenty of women do not.  I knew exactly the type of women she was referring to and a light bulb went off when she said it.  I then remembered that the haircut I had when I was my happiest was an MC Lyte bi-level haircut that I rocked while wearing some pin-striped Gitano jeans. I have never thought about going back to that hairstyle.  "Oooooh!" I said.  "Yeah that's definitely a cultural difference."  I thought about all of the makeover shows I've seen and how so many of the white women on there had been rocking the same hair style for about fifteen years. I would have never thought about Melanie's statement possibly being the reason why.  

As we continued to watch the film, Melanie turned to me and said "You know Michelle Obama and Hillary have not done this. It would do some good." We both hollered over that. "They should!  They should totally do their hair together in the White House!" I agreed. "More women should do this together. Each one teach one! Could you imagine the racial reconciliation that could come from this?"  While we both proudly sat on the couch feeling like racial reconciliation trailblazers, Melanie's roommate walked in and we explained our little experiment.  She came in and joined us on the couch during the part where Chris Rock was interviewing men in the barbershop about how they felt about women wearing weaves. "They know?!" Melanie's roommate asked in complete shock. "The men know?!"  Melanie and I both burst into laughter over her amazement. "Yup! They know." I concurred. After more laughs and a few more discussions, we headed back into the bathroom to blow dry our hair. 

"I have a dream that little black girls and little white girls will come together over their hair."- Author umm... unknown

I truly hope this story encourages others to not be afraid or defensive when it comes to discussing things like our hair.  Although we chuckled over the mental picture of Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton sitting in plastic caps next to each other, I believe I can also speak for Melanie when I say that we honestly wish that more women would do what we did. Let's face it; sometimes white women are afraid to ask black women questions about things like their hair and sometimes black women are tired of answering questions about it. At the end of the day, how are people not going to assume the wrong things about each other if they don't have dialogues and get the right information? As women with natural hair, some of our stories about our natural hair journeys are so empowering and what woman do you know could not use a little empowerment every once in a while?  I truly believe that not only can more dialogue dispel a lot of assumptions, but it can help us unite over our similarities and embrace our differences to the point where we can appreciate one another as women as we should.

Aug 8, 2012

i didn't like this birthday until...

i'd like to thank all my delightful friends for turning my 
"i'm gonna be 40" frown upside down this past weekend.

we bounced on trampolines like crazy people,
and ashley the amazing made me a giant gluten free strawberry cake!

and then the house was packed for a viewing of jurassic park.
i've earned the number 36. i'm just getting started.

Dec 6, 2011

i like-a the books.

girls like guys that read.  
accent optional, but rather helpful for some.