Tuesday, February 3, 2015

a minute for crying

I'm not sure I could say it better... 

The Terminator: Why do you cry?
John Connor: You mean people?
John Connor: I don't know. We just cry. You know, when it hurts.
The Terminator: Pain causes it?
John Connor: No, it's when there's nothing wrong with you, but you hurt anyway. You get it?

Monday, February 2, 2015

a minute for space

how much space do we take up...
... in the world
... in each other's lives
... in our own lives
... ?

i think we want to take up space both in the world and in the hearts of our friends and loved ones.

i think we like to know that we matter to the people we care about.

but how much space do we give our selves in our own hearts? 

i am particularly bad at this. 

a mentor told me once that i needed to take care of myself as well as i take care of others. but i have rarely been able to do that.

it has taken me a long time to admit --out loud-- that i derive a lot of my own self worth and self love from helping others. and while helping others fills me up, it also depletes me in a way that i'm not sure i can replenish myself. i suppose this is part of what relationships are for, filling each other up (i originally wrote "feeling" instead of filling, and i'm sure that's part of it too)

but i struggle with the desire to know that i can be fulfilled on my own, all my myself, but no man--or woman-- is an island.

do i contradict myself? very well, i contradict myself. i am large. i contain multitudes. 

back to the point.

i went to see peter and the starcatcher the other night. peter pan stories have long been among my favorite, and i have a fondness for this show. this time, i was particularly struck by the line "things are only worth what you are willing to give up for them." 

and it leads me to think: if i keep giving up or giving out parts of myself for others, what do i have left for myself?

what space do i take up? 

what is my worth? 

Friday, January 16, 2015

a minute for places 2

this week, my place is my bed.

here is my view from tuesday morning. i have had a lot of trouble getting up out of bed this week.

perhaps it is because we are in the season of hibernation,
but on tuesday, i was also struck with this thought:

i love my self the most right before i leave my bed in the morning.
i am completely new, full of hope and able to set new intentions for the day ahead.
i am not weighed down my gravity or the trails of the day.
i am warm. i am comfortable in my own skin. i am attuned to my body.
i am surrounded by the warmth and love of my two dogs.
i am at peace.

it is much different from getting into bed at night when i am weighed down and feel like collapsing into a bed that is holding me up.
in the morning, i feel as if i as truly resting on my bed.
ready to pounce.
after five more minutes of snoozing...

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

a minute for places

well, i finally thought of my project for documenting my year: #placesof2015

inspired by a beautiful black and white photo my friend kristy showed me of her hike in the woods this morning, i decided to capture one place each week for 2015-- 52 places by the end of the year. this seems more accomplishable than doing something every day, and i can still begin without being behind since it's just now the first whole week of the year!

i think every one of them will be a black and white photo, but it's not a hard and fast rule.

so, here's the first one: my desk with some of my favorite things in my office

  • my manatea in my crazy lady mug-- making it look like a can can dancer (my grandmother gave me this mug for one of my 12 days of christmas, and i treasure it now that's she's gone. it's so wacky.)
  • my note to myself (not pictured: my fortune at the top of the monitor reading "do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.) 
  • a made up business card from our production of Our Town earlier this year
  • covered but still there is a happy birthday note from jill and claire (from my 25th birthday!)
  • my mug of sAnd, complete with long wharf logo) 
  • the super awesome wooden puzzle of La Grande Jatte (my absolute favorite) barbara gave me for christmas (the puzzle has no corner pieces!) 
  • the brainstorms for my riff on Alice in Wonderland for this year's meadowside residency (should i throw in a copyright on my ideas clause here?)   
  • my beautiful wooden desk and part of my keyboard
here's to 51 more places to document! happy 2015, everyone... 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

a minute for waiting

emergency rooms are one of the most frustrating places in the world. no one ever wants to be there (although, an old boyfriend and i used to joke we went on bi-annual dates there: once for pneumonia and once for a slashed wrist). i certainly did not plan on spending 2 hours of my Sunday in one.

but they do provide a great place for waiting. everyone is waiting. waiting impatiently. waiting with angst-- angst, angst, angst. waiting, waiting, waiting... for her name to be called so she can move forward, or get something fixed, or just be seen.

and as i sat there, i realized i was also waiting, although i wasn't quite sure for what...
in a way, i fear that i am waiting for the life i want my life to become to start... and i'm afraid to make the move (literal and figurative) to start it. yet.

i'm very good at making excuses.
so, i sat there in the emergency room making excuses to myself (in my head, of course).
and i've spent the other half of the day being frustrated at choices others have made for me.

it's the fear of the shock that holds you back. ultimately, the only thing you're worried about is the transition from one state to another and that can't hurt you because it's just a state change. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

a minute for hover boards

it's that time of year again, the time when we reflect on everything that has happened to us in the past year and make resolutions or forecasts on what the new year will bring...

and this year, i'm not sure i'm up for reflecting (although, boy, have i done pleeeenty of that inside my head)

or resoluting (is that even a word? it definitely sounds more fun thank making resolutions. it should be resolving. but maybe i'll make resoluting a thing.)

2014 was definitely a mixed bag of a year for me, with a very rocky end. for some of my friends, it was much worse. so, i'm quite looking forward to 2015 (get on out of here, 2014!)

perhaps this year i will actually be consistent in my blogging (ha!)
---or take up journaling---

perhaps 2015 will be the year of following through and forming habits (they say it takes only 30 days). maybe i should make my own 30 day challenge... hmmm... maybe later...

but 2015 is definitely the year of the hover board. and since the hover board hasn't been distributed to the masses (although #hulkhusband says it has been made and tested), i have to think of other ways to fly...

which of course leads me to happy thoughts.

what are your happy thoughts going into 2015? 

and how do we save up our happy thoughts to power our hover boards so that we are all flying by October? 

i think i'm going to record mine in my journal. i'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, October 24, 2014

a minute for grandma

for those of you that do not know, my grandma (my mom's mom) died two weeks ago today. last saturday, i had the privilege of planning her service and giving her eulogy. 

it was definitely the hardest public speaking moment of my life....

and i didn't make it through without quite a few tears... in fact., the very first thing i said "Jeanne Lee" brought me to tears because the next word i had to say was "was"... never has a single word been harder to utter. 

i won't post the whole service here (even though it was brief...and beautiful). i would like to share the eulogy with you though. 

“Hey. It’s me.”
It hit me the other day that I will never hear those words from my grandmother’s mouth again.
I remember back in the day of “land line telephone,” when we would come home from dinner or the store, dad would play the messages on the answering machine, and inevitably there would be one from grandma on there: “Hey. It’s me. Give me a call.” Click.
Then, dad would tease: “How are we supposed to know who ‘me’ is?”

Writing this eulogy, I have wondered: “who is me?” Who was Jeanne Rutkowski Lee?

She was my grandmother: the maker of Scrabble that you could eat and eat and eat, the most delicious pickles I have ever tasted, and ginger snaps (my favorite holiday cookie). She was a lover of Day Time Television (be it soap operas or The Price is Right) and QVC (we always said she would buy Today’s Special Value before knowing what it was). She was a lifelong teacher and educator, the giver of each year’s “Twelve Days of Christmas,” and a mother to three wonderful women. My grandmother was so many things to list them would be silly—and tedious—and I’ve already done a lot of that on Facebook. 

My cousin, Courtney, used song lyrics from one of my favorite musicals (Wicked) in her rememberance post: “So much of me is made from what I learned from you.”

I have thought a lot about this, and I’ve realized that many parts of me were shaped from my grandmother’s influence:

Spending days at grandma’s house making scrabble or baking cookies laid a foundation for a love of baking—which I still turn to when I am stressed or need to sort something out.

As a child, I remember grandma would constantly correct my grammar—which drove me crazy in the moment—but, as fate would have it, is now something I do to many others, in person or on the internet, who misuse “your” or “their” or “its.”

My love of silly poetry comes from reading volumes of Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky at her house…

Even my “teacher genes” probably have a foundation in her—when I started working with autistic students, it felt like I was continuing a bit in her footsteps—as we shared the deep belief that these students are just as valuable as all the rest—and every time I can remind myself to be a little bit more patient with those particular students in the more challenging times, I feel like perhaps I am making her proud.

I will carry these things from my grandmother like a handprint on my heart.

Now I want you all to take a moment and think of what Jeanne Lee has passed on to you. What part of her shines through you?

It occurs to me that this version of my grandmother that I am remembering is not the grandmother I have know for the past ten years. Her body had broken a couple of times and maybe her mind had started to wander of a bit. The last time I saw her we had interrupted her meal for a quick hello. After exchanging hellos and “I love you”s and such, she looked at my husband and said: “Mat!” “Yes, Jeanne?” he answered. She paused and really looked at him, then exclaimed, “You’re bald! When did that happen?” “When I entered the military,” he replied. We all had a good laugh—because, sometimes, if you don’t laugh, you cry—but as we said our goodbyes, exchanged more “I love you”s and started to walk away, we heard her bragging to all of her tablemates, “That’s my other grandbaby, Mallory, and her husband...” Although details had grow a bit fuzzy, she knew who we were and loved us as much as ever— and that will never change, whether she is in this world or the next.     

The other thing that had not wavered with age was her unshakeable faith in God. Perhaps it is this faithfulness that is the greatest gift she has passed along to her children and her grandchildren… and her great-grandchild too.  

My first Bible—this Bible I hold in my hands now and carried with me to Sunday school, Bible study, and church retreats throughout middle school, high school, and into college—was given to me by grandma. I will never forget the special trip we took to the Christian Book Store to go pick it out. I had just decided that I wanted to go back to church, and mom was driving me all around to different Methodist churches in the area so I could pick the one I liked best. Grandma told me if I was going to go to Sunday School, then I needed my own Bible. I hadn’t really thought that having your own Bible mattered much, but I agreed to go with her to pick one out. She was patient as I looked through several Bibles, and finally settled on the “Teen Study Bible.” It was the New International Version with a purple cover, cool side notes to focus your readings, and a cartoon man called Jericho Joe that made Bible puns—it was the Bible for me…and for the first time I was excited to sit down and read it.

On June 17, 2000, my grandmother gave me an invaluable gift: an excitement for my growing faith and a tool to help me deepen it. I could never thank her enough for that.

My dad relayed a story to me when he was telling me all the details of her passing—that grandma had told her roommate that she “wouldn’t be here this weekend.” I like to think she knew where she was going, and she was looking forward to going there.  Not because she wanted to leave us, but because she was looking forward to seeing her husband Johnny again and meeting the Lord that she loved so much.

I can’t help but think that one day, when we enter Heaven, maybe we will hear that familiar voice again saying, “Hey. It’s me. I’ve been waiting for you.” I hope so.