Favorites 19

A few weeks ago, I had an idea to use the psalms to ground both my creative life and my spiritual life. My brain fog has made it quite difficult to be particularly much of either lately, but this seemed like a good idea.

I read the psalms in one of my mom’s old annotated Bibles, and it was deeply unsatisfying in the way that a movie you swore you loved is deeply unsatisfying or disappointing upon a re-watch. It was the translation that I have always read, but it was all wrong. Where I remembered beautiful language and song and poetry, there were ordinary words.

I decided that I needed to buy a copy of the psalter that I had grown to love when I worshipped near-daily at Little Portion. The St. Helena Psalter, which is well-known for its inclusivity of language and for its mindfulness of the chanting voice. This psalter is helping me, simply by existing, to feel as though my spirituality and my creativity are simply resting, and are not gone forever.

If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of the St. Helena Psalter (the Community has also written a Breviary, which I am looking forward to reading), you can purchase one from Amazon by clicking below. (Please note that this is an affiliate link.)

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I apologize: I’ve tried editing this post in excess of 5 times, and the image still will not display properly.

Favorites 18

My sister and I have largely different tastes and interests, but we both love YA novels, especially dystopian fiction. One of the things that we like to do is go to the premieres of YA movies. We’ve gone to the premieres of The Fault in Our Stars, Divergent, Insurgent, Mockingjay Part 1, and probably some others, too.

Last week, we went to the Divergent Insurgent IMAX Double Feature, which for us meant that we saw Divergent at 5 PM and then the Insurgent premiere at 8 PM. It was a lot of fun to be able to see both movies back to back, because we were able to compare them, and we didn’t forget any details. We both love the Divergent universe because of its complexity, and its characters. For me, I love the idea that a city and a society could be divided into parts, and that these parts are so rigid and unchanging. It’s one of those ideas that feels as though it could be enacted, which makes it scary and dangerous, but also feels far enough removed from this world that we live in that it is entirely escapist. I love how strong a character Tris is, and I love her self-assuredness that she will get to the truth, and that she will do whatever it takes rather than backing down and doing what society tells her she ought to do and be.

A lot was changed in the adaptation of Insurgent, but I think that the movie did a very good job in both continuing the Divergent saga, and also setting up the third book (and third and fourth movies). We have no idea how they will adapt Allegiant, and haven’t known how it could or would be done since before we even saw Divergent, but we’re looking forward to the next installments!

We’re also looking forward to Mockingjay, Part 2, for which we saw a teaser both times we saw Insurgent in theaters.

Favorites 17

I love the documentary First Position.

I’ve seen it a number of times. It’s a ballet documentary, but not one that sugarcoats the ballet world, or what happens when you’re in a ballet career. The dancers that are featured are all young: the oldest is preparing to enter the ballet world and is looking for a job. First Position focuses on the Youth America Grand Prix, a prestigious, and highly competitive, ballet competition.

The dancers, and their families and teachers, speak candidly about the sacrifices that they have made to pursue ballet. The expenses incurred, the “normal” parts of childhood that they have missed, the pain that is endured in the pursuit of perfection…

One of the dancers, though quite young when she appeared in the film, blew me away. She had such a presence and I knew that if she managed to escape serious injury and did not burn out, she had the potential to grow into a major presence in the ballet world.

Miko Fogarty is still competing internationally, and is continuing to do amazing things! This video of her is a few years old, but I love the Black Swan variation, and she dances it beautifully!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Favorites 16

I like listening to audiobooks as I’m falling asleep.

Many people with anxiety problems difficulties falling asleep, because their minds race and their anxieties circle, and it makes going to sleep feel less like an occurrence to look forward to than a thing to dread. There are different ways to cope with this, of course. And audiobooks have proven helpful for me.

There is a narrator that I especially like, and her voice is soothing. I’ve listened to a number of books that she’s read, and I’ve listened to some of them more than once. I like listening to non-fiction when I’m falling asleep. It’s a bit more linear, and if I miss something, it’s less likely to be hugely jarring when I wake up. Recently, I listened to Outlander, which was quite a commitment: over a month of listening! I also like audiobooks, because they feel entirely separate from my daytime reading. I can read any type of book during the day, and it doesn’t distract from my listening, and vice versa.

When I’m having an especially difficult time falling asleep, I’ll watch Netflix on my iPad as I’m falling asleep. Usually a comedy TV show.

At first, I worried that I might be disturbing Zoey with the audiobooks and Netflix, but she doesn’t seem to mind. She burrows under the blankets, steals them from me, kicks me and nudges me so that I can move, and sleeps better than I do.

Favorites 15

Now that we’re solidly into Lent, I’m slightly more on track.

It always takes me by surprise.

Lent is one of my favorite seasons of the church year. The preparation and the waiting always seems much more important than it is given credit for.

Which is not to say that I’m ever prepared for Advent or Lent. I would be lying if I said that I was ever ready for the periods of waiting.

This past Advent, I used the Blessed Is She Advent Journal with many of the past alums from my Episcopal Service Corps site, Camp Mokule’ia, as well as all of the current interns and several staff members. It was so precious to me to know that even though I wasn’t speaking regularly to them that I was sharing those moments of preparation with them. During my time in Hawai’i, I grew very close to many of these people, and I will probably always consider them to be ohana.

When Blessed Is She announced their Lenten Journal, I bought it immediately. I’d tweeted them a few times, asking if they would make a year-round journal, so I am hopeful that there will be a liturgical year journal coming soon.

I’m old enough now to admit that I need help with my spiritual life: I need to make it easier and more accountable than it has been in many years.

Butterfly Perlers and Guinea Feathers

Photo on 2-23-15 at 3.05 PM

A while back, I bought a SpiritHood. (you can read my post about my first hood here)

As some of you may know, I suffer from three forms of autoimmune disease, and two of my diseases cause hair loss. Since I’ve been living with hair loss, as well as temperature regulation problems, I was looking for a way to have fun while still keeping my head warm. I have a number of hoods now (wolves, coyote, and a lion[!!!!!]) and they’re a great way to stay warm while also staying wild.

The community of SpiritHoods wearers is a dynamic, supportive, and fun community, and they’re very creative, too! I discovered that the company used to sell feather charms for the ears of the hoods (there’s a little tag on the ear so that you can attach a feather), but that they don’t anymore. I was bummed! But the first person in the Tribe (SpiritHoods fans are called the Tribe because we’re all animals) to follow me on Instagram said that she could make me a charm. I was so excited!

The envelope arrived on my birthday completely torn up, and with no charm inside. I got in touch with her and she said that she’d make me another charm and send it to me, and then showed me a picture of this charm, which has a butterfly perler. Butterflies are a symbol of lupus, and they’re beautiful! This charm arrived safe and sound, but I didn’t get a chance to put it on one of my hoods and wear it because my lovely Zoey Makana girl was not enthused about my Spirithoods! I’m just starting to wear them again, and she’s starting to be convinced that I’m not an intruder and that they’re not animals invading her territory!

I can’t wait to get a few other charms for my other hoods!

If you’d like to join the Tribe, get in touch with me so that I can give you a code that will save you $15 on your very own hood!

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It may be because we’re in the height of winter, and because it feels like it’s never going to stop snowing… But I’m in love with tea. I know I’ve written about being in love with tea before on Favorites Mondays, but it’s just so good that I have to keep writing about it.

I love strong teas. And I love a good green tea; if it tastes like dirt, I’ll probably want to weep with joy at how good it is. But I also love black teas. And drinking a very large mug of black tea at 5 in the evening is not generally a good plan if one wants to sleep later that night. This is where Irish Afternoon Tea comes in!

I like visiting Irish stores and learning about Ireland. In college, I took a class on Irish History, and it was fascinating. My father is English/Irish, and because he was so sick for most of my childhood, I never learned a lot about my heritage on his side. My mom’s father is a total Anglophile, which he passed on to my mom and my uncle, so I know a good deal about England, but not never really knew much about Irish culture beyond the claddagh ring, and the propensity towards alcoholism. But as an adult, I’ve tried to connect more with my Irish heritage. One way of doing that: Irish tea. I have three varieties: two morning teas (presumably with differing amounts of caffeine) and an afternoon tea (which, if it doesn’t have a lower amount of caffeine, has not yet proven problematic, so maybe if I don’t think about it, I’ll be okay…). One thing that I like about the afternoon tea is that it has all the same bite as the morning tea. Too often, decaffeinated coffees and teas taste as though the life has been sucked out of them.

Let’s have a cuppa, shall we?

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