Category: personal (page 1 of 2)

Only Love

I just read on Facebook that a friend of mine from college witnessed two police officers being shot in Ferguson.  She and her friend escaped safely, but they were very afraid the shooters were going to open fire on the crowd.

I struggled with what to say.  What comfort can I possibly give?  I have never known racism.  I have never felt marginalized to that degree.  It’s hard to know how to respond.  You want to say things like, “it’s not worth protesting”, or “good grief go home!”…but maybe it is to her.  Maybe it’s that important.  I don’t know.

All I know is, I kept thinking of a quote I have saved on a scrap of paper by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to tell my friend just to love and not hate, but I do believe love is the answer.  And I know firsthand through my own life experiences that “hate is too great of a burden to bear”.  (more Dr. King)  Hate destroys the hater, no matter what race or religion they are.

Today it feels like things in the world are getting worse and not better, and I feel helpless.  Young men in Oklahoma are chanting racial slurs on a bus as a badge of unity and police officers are being shot.  These are radical examples, but what is worse is we are getting used to it.  It is hard to muster more than a sigh.  Justice is a nice idea and yet…we are passive, ambivalent.

I am a simple person.  I know these are big issues.  Too big for me.  I don’t know what to do.  This morning I did what I knew.  I sat in my office and asked God to help us all.  And I admitted he needed to start with me.  I asked Him to open my eyes to the hurt around me and help me discover how I might bring love into those circumstances.  I am willing.

And I’m going to talk to my kids again about these things.  I’m going to remind them what Jesus taught about justice and kindness and love.  They are both amazing people.  They both have experienced enough pain to know it doesn’t respect race or religion.  They are compassionate, wise and kind.  I have been given grace as a mother, I know.  I clung to the scripture “Love covers a multitude of sins” when they were young and I knew I was getting it wrong a lot of the time.  Today, I am truly grateful I don’t have to worry about them being caught on camera singing hate songs.  I don’t have the least bit of worry about that.  They make me so proud every day.

I won’t presume to know what the answer is for anyone else, but I feel confident in saying this:  Mothers, teach your children to love.  They are watching you.  Hate is too great a burden for them to bear.  Love drives out darkness.  Teach them to be light.  Love and accept them so they will do the same for others.  It is the only job you will ever have that really matters.

Live in the Sunshine

IMG_6374.JPGThe sun is shining today and my vitamin D deprived body is grateful. It’s snowing  in lots of other places, so I drank it in and drove with the window rolled down.  It’s the little things.

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air…”-Emerson


Did you hear that winter’s over? The basil
and the carnations cannot control their

laughter. The nightingale, back from his
wandering, has been made singing master

over the birds. The trees reach out their
congratulations. The soul goes dancing

through the king’s doorway. Anemones blush
because they have seen the rose naked.

Spring, the only fair judge, walks in the
courtroom, and several December thieves steal

away, Last year’s miracles will soon be
forgotten. New creatures whirl in from non-

existence, galaxies scattered around their
feet. Have you met them? Do you hear the

bud of Jesus crooning in the cradle? A single
narcissus flower has been appointed Inspector

of Kingdoms. A feast is set. Listen: the
wind is pouring wine! Love used to hide

inside images: no more! The orchard hangs
out its lanterns. The dead come stumbling by

in shrouds. Nothing can stay bound or be
imprisoned. You say, “End this poem here,

and wait for what’s next.” I will. Poems
are rough notations for the music we are.


Choosing your reality…

“And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom….”

Man’s Search for Meaning
by Victor E. Frankl

I am inspired by stories…Victor Frankl is a Holocaust survivor and an amazing author whose words have been lifelines for me many times.  Today I shared this quote with a friend, and in the interest of practicing what I preach I thought I would post it here as a reminder for myself.  You were a difficult month January 2011.  I had high hopes for you and, well…you were challenging, to put it nicely.  But I get to choose how twisted up I get about it all.  I get to choose.

seeing sara b.

Went to see Sara Bareilles Sunday night with my friend Jenn, her hubby Brian and friend, Nicolette.  Had some dinner at Free State Brewery and then took in the concert next door at Liberty Hall in Lawrence, KS.   Cary Brothers opened for Sara and he was warm, funny and really connected with the audience.  His performance was spot on and set the stage perfectly for Sara.   I wanted to write a detailed post befitting the performances of the evening, but I don’t have the words.  It was just what live music should be.  It captured every single person in the room.   Baby grand piano, string bass, stellar musicians in her band combined with her Sara-ness just made it a night to remember.  If you haven’t purchased Kaleidoscope Heart yet, go do it.  It is an album to enjoy over and over from start to finish.  Not just a bunch of singles.  Sara is a real musician and a gifted performer.   Her love for her art is apparent throughout and it was just. so. awesome.  What a great night!!  A highlight was a Radiohead cover they did together Nice Dream.  Good stuff.

sunday prayer

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. -Thomas Merton

writing life-monday inspired

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer. ~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

I love paper and pens and sketching and writing and I am always searching for just the right journal to inspire me to faithfully write inside it every single day.  But here’s my trouble…and maybe you can relate…I have found the right journal [always a moleskine] and the right pen [Sigma Micron, preferably black .5mm] but it doesn’t fix the problem, and the problem is me.  Maybe you have had a similar experience.  The reason is probably different for every person, but I have identified some of my own issues with keeping a daily journal.  It’s not that I don’t love to write or like sharing stories.  I write every single day.  Sometimes my stories are contained in emails to the people close to me or here on my blog, though I even struggle to do that because I always feel as though I should be saying something helpful or important and often I have no idea what that might be.  So with emailing and blogging, etc. by the end of the day I can pretty much feel like it’s all been said, that is, if it even occurs to me to journal.  Because most of the time, when I think of escaping to my journal, I am feeling an extreme emotion…I’m angry, or I’m sad.  So I go write it all out…and then return to it a couple of days later and read the rantings of a mad woman and then I want to hide it.  Burn it.  Something. Anything so no one will ever happen upon it accidentally and think I was channeling Sylvia Plath or worse.

The thing is, some of the things most precious to me written things.  I still have the journal from camp where I reached out to God in the midst of a lof of pain and confusion and found Him there.  I was 12 years old at the time.  And when my daughter went to the same camp at the same age, I was able to share it with her.  I had proof in the form of paper and ink that I understood.

I have a book that I bought for my Dad to fill out [never actually expecting him to do it] about his life story, and I have his handwritten entries there to read.  His stories and his thoughts are precious to me now that he is gone.  I have notes my Grandpa wrote to me when I was in college.  He is gone, too…but his words still comfort and encourage me.

I am a photographer, so often times my stories are kept in pictures, but I am a storyteller above all things, and sometimes words are necessary.  But my failure to do this faithfully for so long has always kept me from beginning again…until recently.  Disciplines are not my thing.  Mostly because I try to do them the “right way” and either I am too A.D.D. to manage that or I hate it and I give up.  But in the last few years I have discovered that I just have to find the ways that work for me.  And I think I may have found my own answer for failure to journal.  It is a two-part solution.  The first part being this cool new tool called Oh Life! It is ridiculously simple and that is what makes it so awesome.  You subscribe and it sends you an email at 8pm every evening.  You reply to that email and that is your journal entry for the day.  Bam.  It also shows you what you wrote the day before if you are curious or want to read it again.  The second part is the Ignatian Prayer of Examen.   There are several ways to practice this kind of prayer, but for me it starts with the question “Where did I see God today?”  So when I don’t know what to journal, this practice is what I write about.  It’s not a gratitude journal.  Although I have often found myself grateful.  The Prayer of Examen is primarily the spiritual exercise of noticing, remembering and seeing with spiritual eyes the events of your day…the intention isn’t justifying, or rationalizing, or even interpreting events…the intent is to observe and remember.  To notice and to listen.  Here is a link to information about Ignatian Prayer

With these two tools, I am keeping a daily journal.

grace and peace, kh

yummy summer


I only like summer for the fruit.  And lately it has been so hot.  It’s the kind of hot where you don’t want to move because if you do, you sweat, even when you are indoors with the air on.  It can make a fair skinned, freckle-prone person long for the cooler days of fall.  But for me, summer has one beautifully redeeming quality:  the produce.

Growing up I was forced privileged to spend my summer mornings picking and weeding rows and rows of all kinds of vegetables…green beans, peas, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, you name it.   We never grew berries, but we always traded our abundant squash or green beans with a neighbor for some of theirs.

As a kid, come late July, it was not uncommon for me to climb an apple tree to get a snack.  It wasn’t until I left for college that I bought produce from a store and I worked at the local grocery store in our home town.  Freezing and canning on hot August days made for tomato sauces and green beans all winter.  Until I shopped in a store I had no experience with an under-ripe grainy tomato.   Everything we ate in the summer was picked fresh that morning.  But I did not appreciate this back then.  All I knew is there were snakes in the garden under those green bean plants and bugs with stingers buzzing around me, and that if I spent more than a few minutes out there I was sneezing and itchy and anxious, so the idea of canned vegetables and fruit sounded just lovely to me.  No weeding, no picking, no risk of injury.

But now I know.  Now I will drive 15 minutes to get a pint of homegrown cherry tomatoes on a Saturday morning and almost cried real tears when one of my friends from yoga brought fresh cucumbers and peppers from her garden to share with our class.  And in this heat, I have soothed myself with every form of fruit and berry bought from the local farmer’s market.  I’ve had strawberries or blackberries with fresh whipped cream for dessert almost every night.  And if I weren’t trying to build a business right now, I would be up early weeding and picking and sneezing my way through the summer in my own garden.  Yeah, its a lot of work, but for me it is what makes summer something to look forward to every year.

Recently read Don Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and I still can’t really express how great it is…it is probably on my top ten book list, and I read a lot of books.  I have written this post three or four times trying to figure out what I want to say about it and I think I am just not ready to talk about it.  I just don’t have the words.  But I have wanted to share it, to encourage you to read it. When I ran into this photo I decided it must be a sign.  So check it out.  And you can read some of Don’s other stories on his blog here. He is a master storyteller and his book is working on me.

Madi the Intern

This gorgeous girl is Madi Walker.  She is working with me this summer as an intern…doing what I do.  She will be a Senior at Lee’s Summit West this fall and hopes to study design, photography, etc.  We are having a great time together so far and I can’t wait to share more about our adventures as the summer progresses.  Check out her blog. Leave her a word of encouragement.  Remember…she’s spending the summer with me.  She will need it.  xo, kh

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