Love is Kind

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Love is kind.

Three words long, and yet it lacks nothing; it explains and concludes itself with perfect precision and full comprehension, leaving no room for negotiation or modifying clauses.

It’s whole.

It’s complete.

Beginning, middle, and end.

It doesn’t say love is sometimes kind. Or love is kind when it hasn’t had a really stressful morning. Or love is kind so long as a messy human doesn’t get its human-y-ness on love.

Nope.

Love is kind.

But what I TRULY believe it’s saying is YOU are kind. Because Love is not a place or a feeling or a thing. It’s animate. It’s alive. It’s YOU. What you’re made of. Blood and bones and sinew — yes. But that invisible element binding it all, holding you together, THAT’S Love.

When God the Baker was creating your recipe, after all the measuring and adding and stirring and mixing, He took all your youness and poured it into a Love mold that could never be broken. Like cast iron but WAY stronger and WAY softer.

That mold was what you were formed inside. It is woven throughout your entire DNA. It’s like human Scotchguard. None of those stains are ever going to set in. Not a single one. People will hurt you and betray you and leave you. But you remain whole and pure. Encapsulated in the most durable substance that ever left Heaven. It’s how the bible can say preposterous things like Love is kind, without providing back doors.

We don’t have to armor our hearts. We just need to remember the Love.

That the Love is YOU.

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You Are Enough

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You Are Enough is my song.

I listen to it in the morning when the gremlins are whispering I’ll never get it all done. I put it on in the afternoon when I realize the jerks were right. And I listen to it in the evening, when I’m at my most contemplative and consequently most vulnerable. You Are Enough is my all-inclusive ticket. It’s how I travel from Today to Tomorrow.

Lately, though, between getting ready to move and trying to “stay creative,” I’ve neglected to play my jam. Instead I’ve been listening to “Just 3 sales this month? Kinda sad, don’t you think?” And “Definitely not your best work, Cara.”
Strange, but for some reason, I’ve been feeling anxious, exhausted, listless and afraid. I feel stiff. Like old bread or frozen celery. Like if you tried to bend me, I would snap in half.

And so I took all of that with me today as I began a new piece; and what do you know: it pooped itself on to the page like pomegranate run through tree shredder.

The day is happening too fast.

I feel like I’m barely holding onto its coattails, as it drags me from hour to hour, whisking me from morning to noon without even a pause for the beautiful day happening for me.

A second ago, I did two things.

The first: I ate chocolate. Because — as if we needed a reason — it makes me pause to savor. Savoring leads to gratitude, and gratitude leads to joy. Joy is a superpower. It is the best superpower of all superpowers because, unlike every other superpower, it does not depend on things going well to work. Sisters, hear me. You do NOT want a thin body or flawless skin or worldwide recognition. Those things taste sweet but they quickly turn sour. Then they go rancid, and start to eat at all your most special soft parts. What you want is JOY.

Joy will feed your whole broken heart.

The second thing I did was put on my jam. I’m listening to it RIGHT NOW. I’m also praying for each one of you by name, asking God to send my jam into your hearts, so it can be YOUR jam if it’s not already.

This is what I know: you are enough. You are. The amount of enoughness in you could light up Times Square. It could fly a plane from Hawaii to Russia.

It could change . . . everything.

It’s My Heart Beating

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You wouldn’t know by looking at me,

but I’m sick.

Not in THIS moment. Right this moment I am eating a delicious bowl of rice in preparation for a workout. 3 months ago, however, I was writhing on the floor, every molecule on fire. 18 months before that, I was fighting for my life. Specifically not to take it into my own hands and end it. Pain. Pain. Pain. Depression.

Anxiety.

Delirium.

More Pain.

This was my world. My tiny, little, needle-sharp world.

Most days I would lurk near the kitchen window, look out, wonder what all the healthy people were going to do with their day. I became very angry with and resentful of healthy people, convinced that none of them were grateful enough for their lives. Today they would complain and grumble, spend hours worrying about things that didn’t matter, miss a thousand moments hand-stitched just for them.

During these horrific months that were just like geodes – bleak and hopeless on the outside, impossibly beautiful on the inside – I determined that being healthy is its own kind of affliction; blindness and apathy and joy atrophy.

Still. I envied them. Healthy people. Sometimes I would imagine trading places, dream about how I would spend their 24 hour day sooo differently.

I told the Lord, in one of my many pleas, bargains and wrathful monologues, that if He were ever to make me well enough again to leave the house, I would never take a minute of my life for granted.

Honestly, I’ve not been a perfect steward of the life He gave back to me. But I AM changed. I’m better. I think maybe sometimes God has to make you sick so He can make you better.

And fuller. And braver. And softer.

This life is gorgeous and brutal and fleeting. It’s NOT to be wasted. Not a smile, sparrow, or a sunset of it.

It’s ALL for ME and YOU. There’s a buffet of magic right outside your door. I swear it. I’m looking at it. It’s looking at ME. Reminding me I have eyes and ears, legs and feet, a tongue to taste, and lips with which I can kiss the love of my life.

I have no greater gifts than these.

I own nothing more precious than Right Now.

It’s just a business card, says the photo. “No. No, it’s so much more than that . . . it’s my heart beating.”

Won’t Stop Me

First, let me clear the air of any misinterpretations or possible confusion.

I spend about 0.01 percent of my time in the kitchen cooking meals. That culinary gene – I didn’t get it. Before tying the knot with Michael, I sat him down for extensive questioning (I think some people call this “a date”) and immediately after asking if he intended to pursue a college degree, which he would use to provide for his family — don’t worry, I had already received the results of his criminal background check — the next question was “Can you cook?” When he said yes, pretty much the deal was done. Kind, Intelligent, Handsome, and he cooks? Well, I tell you: it took all my restraint not to throw him over my shoulder and carry him back to my lair where no woman other than me could ever lay eyes on him.

Unfortunately, in order to get that college degree, he had to go to college, which took place on a campus, where there was a dangerous surplus of intelligent, ambitious, beautiful young women. Again, please don’t worry for me. Indeed the ladies looked, and for that I could not begrudge them; however, whenever I felt one of their ganders at Michael was nearing that acutely speculative glance every woman, married or single, recognizes as “Hm, marriage material?” I literally rained on her parade using my squirt-gun. Then, as sweetly and as graciously as I could manage, I said, “Cool your jets, lassie. He be mine.”

But ya’ll, can you blame me?

(P.S. as of late, Michael is sprouting more and more gray hairs, which means – YES! – sooner than later I’m going to have myself a silver fox. Yum.)

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Back to other important things:

But when I laid eyes on Jenn’s – from Jars & Buttons – mustard and flower-flocked apron, right then and there I vowed and determined to find a place in my life to accommodate this adorable garment; even if it meant I would wear it only while walking my dog each afternoon, which I did, that very afternoon following its arrival. You know how some clothes affect you? This apron makes me feel woozy with ardor, intoxicated with purpose. I slip it over my neck, secure it around my waist, and I’m confident I can conquer the world while dusting off mountain peaks, look cute doing it, and still be home in time for the supper I won’t be cooking.

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There’s little else that delights me more than receiving a gift, surprise or expected, in the mail. The presentation made me want to order something else from Jenn, just so she would send me another pretty package scented with rosemary. Don’t believe me? Look!

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Jenn, you’re a gem, thank you.

Shop Jenn’s Store

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Happy Sunday!

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Endangered Art

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A very appreciative thank you to all of our service men and women, to all those who have sacrificed time with their families so we could safely enjoy ours. And to the ones who have fallen, you are never forgotten.

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I was raised with a certain regard toward etiquette and decorum. I have my step-mother to thank for this. My father, though a cultured and refined man, is a born and bred Missouri boy, and he likely wouldn’t haven’t instilled the more urbane principles as a part of his child’s upbringing. It was my step-mother who, by way of example and instruction, taught me that a lady knows which side of the plate the knife and spoon belongs; that when hosting a gathering, she will wait until every single one of her guests have been served and seated before taking a bite of food. And should the occasion merit gifts, she always shows her appreciation and gratitude by sending out hand-written note. no more than a week later.

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