2010 word of the year – JOY


word of the year… a few more possibilities

– heart
– soul
– awakening
– beauty
– joy

word of the year

Pondering what my word of the year will be for 2010.

– rejuvenate
– rest
– heal
– restore
– story

Still thinking…may land somewhere completely different.

create pulchritudinem

Early this year, I got this tattoo on the inside of my left wrist. CREATE PULCHRITUDINEM. It means ‘create beauty’ in Latin.

One day when a friend and I were discussing possible tattoo designs she was thinking about, she said, “I feel like you needed that for yourself this year.” I agree. Now, one can debate the merit or necessity of a tattoo, but that’s not what I’m going for, so don’t feel compelled to weigh in on that here.

It is a message, primarily to myself, and one that has kept me going thru the challenging times I alluded to in the previous post. Creating beauty is something that I feel compelled to do, and it takes many different forms…helping to curate worship stations, hosting people in my home, knitting, sewing, and photography, to name a few.

The last couple of years I lived in Birmingham, I was part of a small-group Bible study that, if you examined it from afar, seemed like the least likely group of women to fit together for such a purpose. Yet it was a rich experience. Over the course of time, we probably exchanged hundreds of dollars in the form of shoes, jewelry, books, and lunches, without much money ever changing hands.

We met during lunch on Fridays and usually did a book study of some sort. At one point, we went thru The Purpose-Driven Life. I know there are many, many people that love that book and gleaned much from it. I happen to not be one of those people. With one exception. The section on What Drives You?

As a pre-cursor to talking about that section, we all asked that question of others in our lives. I sent out an email to one of my brothers, some friends from forever and some from not so long ago, my mom’s best friend, people young and old. All of the answers that I received boiled down to two things:

seeking truth and/or creativity

While I know that is true, and it is something I can easily articulate for myself, it still blows me away to know that people can see that. Occasionally, I still pull out that list and marvel that it boils down to those two things.

Create pulchritudinem. Looking forward to more in the days and weeks to come.

I’m Turning My Face Back Now

“Ten years ago…I turned my face for a moment, and it became my life.”

Someone shared this quote with me earlier this week. It’s from David Whyte’s work called ‘The Heart Aroused”, and was a quote from a woman who was addressing the group in one of his seminars.

It has shaken me to my core this week, as it so succinctly puts words to the course of my life the last few years. I’ve been far too unhappy and ill-fitted in my current job for way too long. My friends have patiently waited and prayed and loved me while I worked through coming to terms with this and finally admitting out loud to myself and others that something had to change.

In my mind, I have a series of mental photographs of moments and acts of grace along the way… more than one well-timed email, conversation, prayer, and act of kindness. They have kept me going the last few months.

It still feels risky, but I’m in the process of making the shift now. I’ll still be working for the same company, but in a different capacity. I am trading in my management hat in favor of learning a different part of the business. I could not be happier. Yet I still struggle with feeling like my job got the best of me.

I turned my face for a moment, and it became my life.

In many ways, it did get the best of me. It got all of me. It used me up and depleted my reserves. The logistics of the transition are in the works, and have required me to exhibit more patience than I really care to. I’ve come to understand the waiting of Advent in a new way.

On the second Sunday of Advent, my friend Nadia said in her sermon, “Maybe when our opinions and neurosis and pride and expectations about what the world owes us die down…maybe when we sit in this quiet of Advent we might begin to see where God is quietly and insistently making all things new.”

I turned my face for a moment, and it became my life.

I’m turning my face back now.

(photo by Sheralee Turley)

merry christmas

my life’s really fun

This was one of my favorite moments of Thanksgiving:

4 year-old niece and I are out on our one-on-one outing, which is becoming a tradition when I visit. We’re headed to a coffee shop and bookstore. I see a cupcake shop, which is famous for its cupcakes and pull in.
Me: Here’s a cupcake shop! Do you want to go in?
4 year-old: Can we get a cupcake?
Me: Yes.
4 year-old: Then, yes.

We’re sitting at the bar, enjoying our cupcakes when she says, “My life’s really fun.”
I want THAT kind of joy.