Tuesday, March 26, 2013


"Spring, go home.  You're drunk."
This is the prevailing thought in most Philadelphian's heads lately.  Indeed, in the heads of pretty much anyone in the Midwest/Mid-Atlantic/New England areas of the U.S.

The groundhog is a liar.  The equinox was a false finish line.  The crocuses are laughing at us.
I'm so ready for Spring, it hurts.  Go away, winter wind.  Go away snowy slush falling from the skies.  I just want to wear peep-toed heels and sandals.  For now, though, I'd settle for being able to walk out of my apartment without a parka, hat, and gloves.

Come, thou long-expected springtime, come to give new life to earth!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Life: 3.0.

February is here.  
With what hurried tenacity life rushes on.
As much as I try to keep things organized and simple, the chaos always sets in.  Best intensions of well-planned scientific execution always abandoned for the alchemy of chaos.  
Chaos breeds inspirations.
Best-laid plans are instead laid to waste.  And life, I think, is found not in the perfect order of a faultless filing cabinet, but by diving into the mess.  So whether you're surrounded by coffee cups and scattered papers in your favorite coffee shop, 

or by a tower of PBRs in your favorite dive bar, 
life comes in the living, not the planning.  
Those are my wise words for this week.  I turn 30 in four days.  FOUR DAYS.  And I've decided to forgive myself for being 30.  I've got to thwart the real feeling of guilt that comes from who-knows-where that sometimes leaves me thinking "am I doing what I'm supposed to be doing?  Have I lived enough life in 30 years?  What have I missed out on?" But I left the classroom curriculum and the pre-ordained grading scale many years ago, and one of the real benefits of living in my generation, and one real gift from parents and teachers who raised me to have free thought, is that I don't have to measure my life against anyone else's.  
I have been born and bred and sent daily into the world with the understanding that my independence and originality and interpretation is worthy and wonderful.  I just forget it from time to time.
And isn't it the most empowering realization, to see that what you once thought was broken isn't really unusable... it's beautiful.
So, 30, you shall not be characterized by anxiety and worry and self-recrimination.  

You will be fabulous.
And flirty.  

And full, to the brim, to the spilling point, to the absolute max... of inspiration.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Speaking of Music...

There is some auditory GOLD that has been hitting the airwaves so far this year.  I hardly know where to begin, but my 2013 discoveries are stacking up.  Want to know what's on the playlist so far?
Of course you do.

Let's start with a bit of an anthem.  This one has definitely made the soundtrack of my life.  I can think of several applicable moments for it.  It's Only the Brave by The Last Royals.  Great anthem.  Great.  Makes me want to dance and fall in love just because.

Did you like it?  Because here's another mover-and-shaker.  It's Youngblood Hawke's Stars (Hold On).  A little atmospheric west coast feel-good music.

 We've all got the sun to follow.  Hold on, hold on, the stars are bound to change; hold on, hold on, wait for another day; hold on, hold on, the future's not that far away....

And now, one to grow on.  Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood.  It's just a bit mellower, but very catchy.  The lyrics paint pictures.
It'll grow on you...especially that chorus.
And that is all for now!
I can't give away all the gold at once.  You'll have to come back for more.
Happy listening!

Friday, January 11, 2013

We're All Stargazers.

Last Sunday was Epiphany.

December's half of Christmas was all about the miracle of Christ's birth and the humility of a Child born in a stable and the awe and disbelief of shepherds gathered around a shining bundle of Joy, Joy enough to fill the whole earth.
But I love Epiphany, because it's when the wise men show up.  Kings of the Orient.  Esteemed magi who studied and thought and taught.  It is when these three kings arrive in Bethlehem that humankind's Epiphany happened - the realization that this is a miracle, unlike any ever conceived before; here is our God come to earth for man (and by woman!).  And what a realization that is.
But enough theological posturing.
What gets me every time is: The Star.

Star of wonder, and star of might, and star of royal beauty bright.
We're all Stargazers.  We're always looking toward the bright and the joyful.  We're looking for things that will light up our lives.  We're dedicating our lives to following those things.  But isn't it all too easy to set our sights on the stars that shine bright but burn out fast, or the stars that are in the fashionable part of the sky, or the stars the move quickly and disappear behind the clouds forever?
The trick is to find the start that shines brightest for you.  The star that fills you up with light, so that you, too, shine for others.  The star that lights your way, and lets you light the way for others.  The best Stargazing is about finding your Joy.
So when was the last time you did something that made you feel truly wonderful?  Was it writing or singing or teaching?  Was it healing or helping or creating?  Was it learning or sharing or leading or supporting?  Was it just loving?
Think of all the stars in your life, and then think of the one that makes you burn brightest.  
Have you thought of it yet?  

Good.  Now don't let it out of your sight.

Did you know that Twelfth Night is Epiphany, and that Shakespeare wrote Twelfth Night as a celebration of this day?  That it's an entire holiday dedicated to embracing the joy and merriment of Christmas, enjoying every last drop of Christmasness, before the season ends?
Next year: Twelfth Night party.  For sure!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy (re-do) New Year!

2012, Farewell, Farewell!
2013, Salute!

My mother and I decided our New Year begins today, on this bright and brisk Sunday.

2012 was so busy - too busy? - and the living of life once again kept me away from the pensive re-living of life on these pages.  One of my (many) New Year's Resolutions is to change that.  Reflection and discernment is good, and these pages serve that purpose for me.  But more about the future in a moment.

2012.  So much to record.
I wrote a guidebook called The Jewels of the Cathedral (it can be yours today, just visit here!)  It's 50 pages of pictures and simple explanation about the gorgeous and evocative stained glass windows in the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta.  It was a labor of love, a gift to others and to myself, a fulfillment of many years of wonder, and a first-step toward a hope for an even bigger project.  It was a chance to "nerd-out," to lose myself in the joy of something I love to love, to share with my mother, with the amazing friends who sat down and listened when I got going about who this Pope was, or this Saint, or where this face came from.
And beyond the joy of creation and sharing, I found the most amazing happiness in the friends that still surprise me - the friends who sat to listen while I waxed eloquent about the radiant windows of a church they've never seen.  Some friends who believe in the news heralded by those windows, and several who don't at all, but believed in my passion.  Friend who sat down and flipped through every page, not because they believe in Christ, but because they believe in me.  What a gift.
Michaela and Francesco got hitched in Tuscany, in a glorious, blazingly hot, wonderfully bi-national celebration of love and joy and friendship and hope.  Off I flew, first to explore Croatia with Tracy, and then to paint Florence red (Florence has the distinct history of having been painted by many remarkable people over the centuries, hasn't it!?) with the most remarkable friends, whom I have known since I was 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 - We all knew and loved each other before we knew and loved ourselves.

I made new friends.  I have lots of friends - so many.  I love to be a friend.  I love to be forgetful and thoughtful, inspirational and ridiculous, I love to let my world be colored and shaped and changed because I open my life to the remarkable friendship of people who are both like me and so much unlike me.  (Sometimes I wonder - perhaps God has not seen fit to send me a dashing and wonderful man yet because he's still sculpting me and others by fostering these fantastic friendships?)
Allison, my darling girl, was the friend I never thought I'd befriend.  She took (and continues to take) my ridiculous preconceptions and turned them upside down.  Her value is unquantifiable because we see the world in such different ways, but always are willing to see it through each other's eyes with patience and wonder - and this always leads to small enlightenments.  And now she's off to live in Panama, to worship the sun and speak in a new language and enrich her life through the inimitable act of truly living.  Vaya con dios, Chica!

And the Philly 4 - Mags and Jane and Kati and me, celebrating "fundays" once a week, with no two the same, and each conversation new and bubbling and wonderful.
And my B&C.  You know the friends who help make you who you are by forging ahead into one fire after another during the volatile years of life, by never needing you to be more than who you are, and yet challenging you to be more than who you are at the same time.  And now M is back in the mix, saving pups and living life in Center City.

Life is richer for the friends we have in it.
Now - why the do-over New Year's?  Our family pup had to be put to sleep last week.  Our family started off the week by saying goodbye to an amazing and handsome boy, who brought us joy and laughs and mischief and stories and unconditional love for 11 years.  He is missed, he is missed, he is missed.  So mom and I had a talk on Thursday night, and we decided - Our New Year will begin on Sunday.  And it will not be characterized by the loss of someone that meant so much to us.  But instead, Bandit's loss will set us up for a remarkable New Year.  It will be a year of appreciating those we love, of spending time with those who shape our lives and bring us joy, of telling those near and far, new friends and old friends and lost friends and found friends, that they have changed us, that they make us who we are, that they stay with us, that we appreciate them.
I have many New Year's resolutions, but perhaps the biggest of all is the resolution to continue this brilliant mission all year long.

So raise your champagne glass with me one more time, my glorious friends, to 2013, the Year of Appreciation!