My word of the Year: Nourish

2012 Figs 1   2012 Figs 3 Sometime before January the word nourish hit my heart hard as my word for 2014. I have had my years of ‘breathing’ & ‘waiting’ but it strikes me that this year is going to be about more about intentionally searching out, feeding and aligning my heart with His. When the word chose me – I was not aware of the action it implied, instead my starving soul, longing for something deeply, sensed Hope in the word. Dry and parched my heart responded to the restoration implied and it settled there.

 Meditating on the concept of nourishing I began to realise that with the choice of this word I am acknowledging, something has shifted. As a verb, it involves participation and action. My word for last year, waiting was more passive. In my shattered state and burn-out mode even the thought of “choosing” would have sunk me. So, while this is just a glimmer on the horizon, it has stirred something within me and there is a sense of anticipation and excitement about actively desiring to care for my heart….

2012 Figs 2

To eat figs off the tree in the very early morning, when they have been barely touched by the sun, is one of the exquisite pleasures of the Mediterranean

Elizabeth David “An Omelette and a Glass of Wine”

Grieving Mandela and the Dreams of my Youth

This past Friday’s week’s “word” over at at Lisa-Jo’s Five Minute Fridays was: Reflect
and so I am linking up again with this writing ‘flash mob’ to reflect on a great man and the state of my heart!

2013 Mandela

My sobs over Mandela’s passing surprised me….
His death was not unexpected to me or the world.
It must have been a relief to his poor ailing body and the family who loved him.
Even though it is unlikely the world will see such a unique man again, even though I am overwhelmed by his sacrifice and his forgiveness (two traits I’m not able to consistently emulate, even with the indwelling Divine) my choking-moans as I watched the coverage of his death and legacy surprised me…

I remember missing the Southern Cross most desperately when I first moved north across the equator. The constellation had always been a symbol that grounded me: the first thing I looked for in the night sky. It seemed unappreciative to my new culture to mention its absence and the longing in my heart.

We were in the Great White North when Madeba was released from prison and in spite of having been active in the anti-apartheid movement and having anticipated the glorious moment of his freedom I remember a dull quiet ache as I watched my hero leave captivity behind. I contained my disappointment of not being able to share more actively with those I had stood alongside in the struggle and so I watched from afar in my heart.

This December our family will gather in the Caribbean for Madeba’s funeral and watch this iconic man being honoured and buried in part of a faraway country that owns much of our hearts. We live disconnected lives, with fragments remaining everywhere, close relationships scattered globally, loss and pain continually repeated. These official days of mourning will be added to the list of those times where the pain of separation, from a country and people we love, is deeply felt.

27. Grieving Mandela and the Dreams of my Youth - Mandela Statue and H

Personally, his death has exposed me.
I mourn this humble, noble man who achieved great things but it is clear there is more to my loss. I have a sense that I am also be laying to rest some of the longings and dreams I have in relation to this place at the tip of the continent of Africa… the yearning within me for that red soil and those unmistakably African sunsets; the melodic, throaty music and songs of celebration and resistance; the poverty, pollution, smog, dust and wildness of the continent; and the dreams I walked away from….

27. Grieving Mandela and the Dreams of my Youth - Sunset 

Five Minute Friday

The Inconsolable Heartburn

25. Linton Figs 25. Grapefruit 25.Dublin Apples

“We were given appetites,
not to consume the world and forget it,
but to taste its goodness and hunger to make it great.
That is the unconsolable heartburn…
the lifelong disquietude of having been made in the image of God.”

Robert Farrar Capon

25. Roses 25. Mill Court Flowers 2 25. The Inconsolable Heartburn 6 - Flower Pot

Living Art

24. 2013. Living Art - Studio 1  24. 2013. Living Art - Studio 2
Dirtying myself with my paints this week has got me thinking a bit about the parallels between my personal art and faith journeys. Both narratives are wrapped up in childhood feelings of insecurity and all the ways I just ‘know’ I don’t make the mark. In many ways my art illustrates my faith journey as it reveals my flesh and yet contained in it is also the glory of my Creator’s heart towards me.
24. 2013. Living Art - Studio 3
As I paint I have to choose to put aside my fears and desire to perform well and to just allow the paint to ‘be’. The process enlivens me regardless of the result. It opens up something within my heart and connects me to something larger than myself. As a chose to ignore my anxieties and believe instead in the potential within me, something restorative is released. The art I produce is far from perfect, under a professional critique it probably wouldn’t stand up, but in it there is Life.
24. 2013. Living Art - Still Life Lemons24. 2013. Living Art - Chair Heidi 2
Occasionally a piece painted is noticeably worthy and acclaimed by a few around me but for the most part, the trusting and creating is more about me than the need for any beauty to be outwardly recognised.

Each time I step out and trust I was created for something more, I am inwardly transformed… and being created into His masterpiece.

Emily Freeman has this same message (and so much more) in her book “A Million Little Ways”, reminding us we need to “turn down the volume on our inner critic and move into the world with the courage to be who we most deeply are”. She says when we do something sacred is released.
24. 2013. Living Art

In every part of my life I am learning to live with the anticipation that something is alive and being created as I step towards the Light.

Being Honest with you Friend…

Reality is I was going to write this post anyway,
but since this week’s “word” over at at Lisa-Jo’s Five Minute Fridays is: Truth
it seems like a perfect time to choose to link up again with all those writing on the same word prompt each Friday……
2013 I have such Friends 1 - Web
She asks me with genuine interest and curiosity… “So what have you planned for the rest of your day?” and as those words cross the table between us I panic.
What to say?
The truth or a fabrication….

I start my answer trying to make something seem more worthwhile or important than it is and then mid-sentence, I confess: “…….actually nothing!! I am currently without direction and there are options and possibilities, some of which have some value, some just very selfish but truth is I just don’t know
Hearing my words said aloud instead of only in my head brings me a moment of embarrassment but then just relief……
This is where I am…

Thank you, friend, you gave me space to be honest. For helping me recognise that my need to explain away what I do and to always have a purpose is unhealthy. That I am hiding the truth of where I am at this time….

I have been scared to ‘go there’, to risk humiliation and rejection
I see your busyness and I am scared by my days of nothingness

You ask, and I hide
I am sensitive to the importance of what you do…
You, desperately hard at work, trying to make ends meet to support your family
The single mom rushing off to work, worrying about how to squeeze everything into a day
You, who comes home late, to do homework and bathe babies
Hard working wife supporting her out-of-work husband in these later years
You, trying to forge a career for yourself, working all angles and trying so hard
Homeschooling mums who never have a moment to themselves
You, who is still committed to ministry, giving sacrificially all the time
Daughter too tired to cook dinner as you juggle study, work and play
You, friend, who always thinks of others before yourself
All who are overworked, tired out and weary
Special and important ladies in my life who have clear purposes for your current days
I am hiding from you….

Not because you have judged me, but because I have condemned myself
I have weighed myself up against what ‘good women’ do and found myself lacking
I know this is a season I must walk through and that everything has its purpose
But I am coming clean and admitting I am a little lost…

I want you to know the truth about me, friend
I don’t want you to fix me or give me things to do
Just love me in this season…

2013 Bianca Art 3 - Web

In June I wrote, ‘Attending to Awe’ and what I said then I still believe:
I know He has not forgotten me. In quiet and simple moments there is hope and peace. Not answers, but a deep conviction to wait and not rush to self-initiated movement and action’.

Five Minute Friday