Good Friday

In 2011, God was silent. I didn’t stop believing, but I was numb. Numb like cold fingers in the middle of winter: on the brink of frostbite. I was terrified of losing the religion, the community, and the language of faith that had been central to my life as a child and young adult. The stillness made me feel unhinged.

Perhaps as a way of coping with not knowing what the future of my faith looked like, I found other practices – other rituals – to fill the void. And in retrospect, the quiet cleared the clutter, opening up space for new ways of thinking and being.

I also read Still by Lauren Winner, a book I’d recommend to anyone feeling existentially lost. I realized I’d been waiting for my faith to return or to grow back to just the way it was before the silence when I should have understood this dark period as part of the path.

There is nothing wrong with feeling numb. There is nothing wrong with stillness. Nothing is lost in the process – you are still you, God is still God (much different and much more complicated than we can imagine, I’m sure), a community is waiting somewhere to love you for who you are, not what you profess on any given day.

Today I feel stable, but not always certain. I feel loved, but I’m not always sure it’s unconditional. But what I know is that living with grace and intention will never be the wrong path. See people and love them anyway. Forgive. Work toward justice. Leave yourself vulnerable to the fulfillment and pain of love.

do not take

The earth moves
Did you know?
It pulses with intention.

Birds free fall in aerial feats
The hive hums
The dry leaves whisper
their ancient chant

And we,
We move, too
Building, working,
fighting, dreaming –
not always with intention.

But noise, always noise.

The earth knows –
do you?
Our performative toiling
is Being,
a loud inhalation,
a boisterous sigh

We tangle fingers
and join
the chant “We are alive”

Do not bring the silence.
Do not take.
The earth, though
It Takes.

This is the one truth
we were born knowing.
We move – before
it’s too late.

In memory of Judy Neumeyer

untitled

Let me die
in the summertime
by a window, with
the warmth, pushing
through the fragile skin
of my eyelids

Let me die
in a quiet
room; with the
tea kettle on
in the kitchen and
the laundry spinning,
pulsing like
blood through beating hearts.

Let me die
with a cat
at my feet and
a hand holding mine and
a smile tracing
my lips
And the sunshine –

Oh, please let me
die in the sunshine.

mansplaining: a definition and how to avoid it

Mansplaining in Four Points

1. Women are often socialized to approach their opinions passively by prefacing them with “I think” or “I feel” to lessen the blow of their words and distance themselves from potential controversy. When a man responds to a woman in the way men are often socialized to do by saying “This is how things are…” many women feel like they’re being bossed around or that the conversation is being hijacked by the man. This is often unintentional, but it’s still worth paying attention to, particularly when the woman is trying to share a personal anecdote rather than have an academic discussion.

2. Mansplaining as a term can only be used to describe a man’s conversational tone and behavior toward a woman or women because it results from the power imbalance between men and women in patriarchal societies.  Women can certainly be demeaning and callous to others, but this behavior does not fall under the category of mansplaining.

A man who mansplains is likely to use a patronizing, instructive tone with women that he doesn’t use with men. Or, as often happens in forums and comments sections of blog posts, he will specifically choose to address the comments made by women and avoid confrontation with any men involved, perhaps because he feels his arguments will hold more weight with women. He will often talk at instead of conversing with and will bring information into the conversation that derails it altogether instead of moving it forward.

(A friend pointed out that some men, rather than engaging with women in a condescending manner, will ignore women’s comments altogether. I’d say this is part of the same problem. In both cases, the woman’s comment is taken less seriously than the man’s.)

3. Mansplaining is a useful term for addressing this problem, but I don’t find it productive to call a man out for mainsplaining when I’m in conversation with him, especially if the incident occurs in a public setting (or on a public post on social media). It’s not helpful (or gracious) to use dismissive language like this because it cuts off the line of communication. It stops the conversation dead in its tracks, which makes it impossible to effectively address the problem. If you know the man involved, it may be best to take it up with him privately and preferably in person. If he is a stranger, just get the heck out of there (and maybe write a blog post about it!).

4. You’re much more likely to get called out for mansplaining if the woman you’re talking to doesn’t know you very well (or if you’re legitimately a jerk). It’s hard to read tone when you can’t envision what it would be like to talk face to face or when the woman has no sense of the assumptions you’re making about her during the conversation. For this reason, it’s important to articulate your point clearly and with kindness, especially if you insist on having the conversation online. Otherwise, try to meet up in person. Treat each other like adults who deserve to live in the world and have opinions and you’ll be okay.

Mansplaining is real, but it doesn’t justify women being jerks. Men and women are both guilty of  interrupting. Sometimes women say dumb things. This isn’t about refusing accountability, it’s about having productive and meaningful conversations that help us understand each other and the world a little bit better. Sometimes – oftentimes – that means checking our privilege. It means hearing each other out, respectfully.

thanksgiving in the valley

snowy path

We spent Thanksgiving at my stepmother-in-law’s house in the Shenandoah Valley. Daniel’s dad grew up in this area, so he took my sister-in-law and I on a walk down to the river. The town was quiet, blanketed in fresh snow.

winter tree in snow

snowy field

haint blue roof

At about this point on the walk, I realized I couldn’t feel my toes.

snowy path

winter river

They have a lovely dog I enjoyed petting while we waited for the turkey to finish cooking. Donna, the aforementioned stepmother-in-law, makes delicious brussels sprouts with bacon, which I greedily ate with a heaping mound of mashed potatoes.

dog face

candle bokeh

platinum & rust update and sale

etsy cyber monday sale

Hello. Long time, no mention of Platinum & Rust. But the little shop is still running! Right now everything is on sale! Plus, get free shipping on orders over $35.00 with code, blackfriday. I’ve added a lot of new stock since my last update, so it’ll probably look like a whole new store.

Something Rotten at the University of Virginia

“Still Your children wander homeless;
Still the hungry cry for bread;
Still the captives long for freedom;
Still in grief we mourn our dead.
As you, Lord, in deep compassion
Healed the sick and freed the soul,
By Your Spirit send Your power
To our world to make it whole.”

The Next Great Adventure

rotundamyrotunda

I graduated from the University of Virginia in 2012.  I can’t help but grin when I reflect on my time in Charlottesville, remembering a vibrant academic atmosphere that included lasagna dinners at professors’ houses and debating with Senator Bob Barr while swilling bourbon in Room 7, West Lawn, with the Jefferson Society.  And then there was the social environment, just as robust, which included “Friday Wineday” car rides over the rolling Blue Ridge hills to go “vineyard hopping,” streaking the lawn, date functions, and belting “God Bless the USA” while swaying atop tables at the Virginian on Thursday nights.

And did I mention Thomas Jefferson?  Each day I walked past the Rotunda on my way to class or to grab some Bodo’s, I swelled with pride, gawking at the centuries-old architecture that was supposed to be Jefferson’s answer to the Pantheon.  Nevermind those bricks were…

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month in review: 10/14

When’s the last time I did a Month in Review post? Why, it was January 2013!

I’ve been reading Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly and in it she cites research that indicates that those who are acutely aware of what they’re grateful for are more contented. That makes a lot of sense to me, but often I’d rather not “waste” time contemplating the good things; I’d rather distract myself with activities or blogs or online shopping. But I’ve been feeling awfully restless and discontent for no real reason, so I think it’s time to give this another try.

fg2

In October, I (often with Daniel in tow):

  • coordinated the thrift shop’s anniversary sale
  • attended a beautiful wedding
  • partied it up at a friend’s birthday party
  • visited with college friends who came to visit
  • picked apples at Carter Mountain Orchard
  • ate delicious, home cooked apple pie thanks to the friends who came to visit
  • sight saw on Skyline Drive on a foggy day
  • sang a solo part in the church choir
  • moved my fair trade blog over to Blogger (and got 1,070 views in the first month!)
  • wrote about lessons learned working at a thrift shop
  • went on my church’s 2nd annual hike
  • helped secure funding for the thrift shop’s maintenance fund
  • watched Fright Night with friends on Halloween
  • started reading Silence by Shusaku Endo