the same question [last month at Deeper Story].

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[Sometimes, I forget to upload this space with my stuff from Deeper Story. In case you missed it, this was last month’s piece over there. Click here for more words!]

———//——–

Later on I realized that the over there-ness of my thinking (among other things) does a lot of harm. Mostly it does harm to the people I brush skinwith every day– the people with the wrong skin color, who love the wrong people, who have the wrong job or the wrong body parts or the wrong home or the wrong….fill in the blank.

Over there is over here, friends.

But you can only be told that so much; we can only be taught so much.

Everyone needs their oh shit moment of realization.

I’ve had a few, keep having them.

But I won’t tell you, because you need your own.

Sometimes I think they are something only the Spirit can give.

——

Keep reading at Deeper Story.

It’s not you, it’s me. [or, I hate reading posts like this one, sorry.]

[if you don’t give a #@%& about Twitter, you can stop reading this right now.]

I will attempt to make this as short and sweet as possible, to be frank without over-sharing.

I am taking a break from Twitter, specifically, for a while, starting on Sept. 20th. (I have already slowly pulled away from blogging in this space and have pretty much stopped reading blogs given the onslaught that is graduate school.)

This is not (necessarily) because I think things are getting out of hand over there, or that it is a medium that is inherently broken or anything like that.

I love Twitter. I believe in it.

Yeah, I said it. Most of my in-person friends do not understand this part of my life, and I have grown tired of trying to explain it, but I can trace some really significant friendships to the forum, and I cannot express how much I have learned (especially in the last two years) from my timeline, not to mention that it is where I get much of my news (and I don’t think this is wrong). I think Twitter has the power to do good.

I just need to turn my attention away from an ever-refreshing external thought stream for a season, which could be one or two months, or this whole semester; I’m not sure yet.

I am taking time to explain this for two reasons:

1. There are people reading this right now whom I primarily interact with in that space–connections I would be sorry to lose. So, I am flagging my impending absence so you won’t forget me ;-) and to encourage you to add me as a friend on Facebook, send me an email, or drop me a line on Voxer.

2. If you are reading this and have been thinking of doing something similar, or adopting some other difficult method of mental de-cluttering, I hereby give you permission to do so– not out of any obligation, but only if you need it, out of kindness to yourself.

grace and retweets to you,

@antoniaterrazas

namaste

what I’m into, July.

WHERE DID JULY GO YOU GUYS. gone. just like that. yikes. Well, it was a good month, so here we go–

music:

I’ve been listening to this playlist again a WHOLE LOT, and have become way obsessed with First Aid Kit’s “Emmylou.” I know, I know, I’m late to the game.

book stack:

  • God and the Gay Christian, by Matthew Vines. To be honest, I downloaded this audiobook with low expectations, but was pleasantly surprised by Vines’s reflections, research, and communication. I see this book as being a good meeting ground for “liberals” and “conservatives” alike, though I hate using those words, especially since I think this book pushes those boundaries. [example: Vines identifies as a gay, LGBTQ-affirming Christian (HOW LIBERAL), but draws heavily from the Bible in his arguments, and holds to the ideal of saving sex for marriage (HOW CONSERVATIVE).] Though I am not the most qualified to review this book, I found it a refreshing read, and would recommend it, easily.
  • Another pleasant surprise was The Voice of Matthew, a retelling/paraphrase of the gospel of Matthew by Lauren Winner. I was a little skeptical of the whole project of The Voice series, but loved at least this selection of it. I used it with the youth kiddos at VBS and I think it worked really well.
  • A Prayer Journal, by Flannery O’Connor. This little book has been life to me this past month. The whole thing is barely 40 pages, but worth. it. Not a page goes by that I don’t write something down or tweet about it or text a friend. As I told someone recently, “she prays like I do, just far more beautifully.”

blogposts:

  • A Black Mama’s Dreamby Osheta Moore. “I worry that the stereotype is preferred over the authenticity of my vulnerability. I worry that this fear of being the “angry black woman” muzzles my mighty roar and my fierce femininity.”
  • even though it should have been in last month’s post, I can’t miss Recovery Room: First Communionby Seth Haines: “In that moment, something literal happened to the metaphor. The bread and wine came alive, and I remembered Jesus’ promise, savored it, let it linger.”
  • We are Not Alone, by Rev. Jes Kast-Keat. Ok, a sermon not a blogpost but it’s ONLINE ok? and thank goodness because this was what I needed to hear on a cloudy afternoon driving to Nashville.
  • I LOVED the flash-blog on #faithfeminisms (“a collection of voices reflecting on faith and feminism”) that popped up one week in July. I have it saved so I can work my way through all the posts, but the following two stuck out–
  • Loving Eve and Ham, by Austin Channing. “My feminism began the moment I learned the Bible was not shaming me. If the Divine was not ashamed of me, I need not be shamed either […] My feminism will always live at the intersection of race.”
  • Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be “Allies”, by Abi Bechtel. “Sometimes the best way a privileged person can act in solidarity with oppressed people is to have the hard conversations with fellow privileged people so that the oppressed people don’t always have to do it.  […but also] share the mic.” I also loved her 30-second blurb about body image and feminism and faith.

just-good:

  • We are the 15 percent: a crowd-sourced collection of portraits of American interracial families and marriages. As the child of an interracial marriage, I am grateful that this exists with such variety, toppling expectations.
  • basically everything The Militant Baker does lately. She writes on radical body acceptance and it.is.doing.good.things. check her out.
  • What I Instagrammed vs. What Was Really Happening, Or My Entire Life is a Lie, by Olivia Muenter. Hilariously self-deprecating. “I eat healthy food and surround myself with flowers, because my life is centered around positive, beautiful things that are filled with light. I like to describe myself as a hybrid of Olivia Palmero and Oprah. I only eat on plates that match the week’s bouquet.” This post inspired this set of pictures I posted on the web:
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  • Project Bendypants: Practicing Yoga While Fatby Tiffany Kell. Tiffany shares her troubled relationship with yoga, much of which I can relate to, though I think I have had far more good teachers than not. “But you know what? If we only go where we’re welcome, we’ll leave a lot of doors closed.”
  • In that same train of thought, I discovered the Curvy Yoga site this July. I especially love the page of free videos re: pose modifications. game. changer.
  • this:

to wear: 

  • So, when my family was in town, we stumbled into a Torrid (my first time to be there in a while). A few hours and a number of coupons later, we walked back out with some clothes for the upcoming school year (for which I am very grateful—my goal is to wear Real Clothes (ie Not Leggings) more days than not this semester.) I am also grateful for the body-positive atmosphere created by the manager and other ladies working there (of all shapes, sizes, and styles). Often stores that cater to ‘plus’ sizes are the least affirming, but Torrid’s motto #wearwhatyoulove pushes against that, and I think it’s powerful. I also recommend their instagram account. Aside from the few links I’ve just shared, here are a few of my favorite pieces. (THESE PANTS ARE MAGIC)
  • My friend Pilar (aka PALAR. check her out– she’s “on the internet.”) gifted me a few NYX Butter lipsticks and I am obsessed. My favorite shades are Hunk and Mary Janes (both brighter than the swatches show.) I could go for days about these–they’re soft, don’t dry out, and are packed with pigment. Also–they’re on the cheap.
oh hello. this is me, wearing 'Hunk."

oh hello. this is me, wearing ‘Hunk.”

  • ok now time for a notsocheap lip option. Leigh Kramer passed on her sample of Cynthia Rowley’s lip stain in ‘Valentine” and I am obsessed and I just lost the little thing so now I probably will buy it for real. Again, points for great color, soft, non-drying and long lasting. I think it is worth the splurge.

 

moments:

  •  A July 4th evening with a fire and real talk and sparklers and s’mores and chicken and corn and watermelon and fireworks that made all the cows really, really upset.
fellow intern goofballs

fellow intern goofballs

  • Alia and Brandon looped down to Durham on their own 4th of July trip out east. I got to introduce them to a few favorite places around town, and I am honored to say I will be Alia’s maid of honor next year. I love hearing about their dreams for the wedding (and just life in general. these two are amazing) and keep cracking up at the fact that in the 10+ years we have been friends, Alia and I never talked wedding details together. This will be a beautiful adventure, I’m sure.
  • July’s biggest task at the church I am working with this summer was Vacation Bible School. Amidst my own personal flashbacks, I taught the lessons for the youth each night. We read stories about Jesus’s dealings with “all the wrong people,” breaking boundaries, bringing in the outsider, reaching into brokenness and shame. (with the stories of the hemorrhaging woman, the centurion’s daughter, the Samaritan woman at the well, and Zacchaeus, they didn’t give me a lot of choice! haha.) I had a sweet group of kids from 6th-12th grade, and even though story time was CERTAINLY IMPERFECT (OMG I cringe at certain things I said), it was an overall good experience.
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“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”

  • I took a whirlwind trip to Nashville one weekend on a semi-whim and got to see some favorite people who I just happen to know from Twitter. Which may never stop being a totally weird and totally wonderful thing to say. Ben, Hannah, Stephen, Emily Joy, Keegan, and of course the amazing Leigh, I am lucky to know you.
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@softlysoaring, @thesettingsun07, @keegzzz and @antoniaterrazas.

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me ‘n @hopefulleigh.

  • My grandmother, my mom and my sister made their way to Asheville to visit me for the week! Living across the country, it seems like I’m in a season where I only see my family twice a year, so I was so very grateful to be able to spend a lot of good time with them, which involved buying books and shoes and eating AMAZING food — that’s just how we roll. I come from a tribe of powerful, funny, smart, kind, generous women and I’m just happy I’m invited to the party. I know I’m ‘grown,’ but saying goodbye is still hard each time.
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I lost them and found them in the kids’ books. Literacy specialists for life.

one of many sister selfies with my teenage sister

one of many silly selfies with my teenage sister

  • The latter half of this month prompted some exploring which prompted pictures, because I have realized how much I am going to miss living in this part of the state when I move back for school next week.

blue ridge times a walk in NC

 

What I wish I was into:

  • getting ready for school to start. lalallalala denial.
  • budgeting.
  • taking the leap with a dramatic hairstyle change. I have been talking about this for about a year now.

Ok, your turn. No, really. What has been going on with you this month? What have you been reading/wearing/doing/whatever? 

the seed has been planted [at Deeper Story].

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“The difference between me and you, baby,” Val said, arms hoisted behind her head, growing more tired after putting half her hair in twists for the night, “is not our situation, age, or race,” she finished, pointing to me, the fair-skinned wide-eyed housed twentysomething intern. Everything Valerie isn’t.

“I am walking in the light,” her eyes dimming a bit as she says this, “oh I know. I have that deep sadness too.” And I believe it. She laughs,

“But you are supposed to be here, what, babysitting me?” She’s right. The mattresses on the church basement floor bear witness to this. The ministry is about radical hospitality to those I’ve mostly prayed for, not eaten with. This is a holy grammar, but the shards of our mutual discomfort remain–some of us wear gloves, some share inside jokes. Valerie decidedly breaks  through our antiseptic dealings with one another.

“I am walking in the light,” she repeats, and I believe it.

She really doesn’t explain what means, or even if she thinks I am really altogether in darkness, though that is how I have described some of these months past. In the back of my head is that bright shiny happy CCM song as she talks—

I want to be in the light as you are in the light

I want to shine like the stars in the heavens oh OH…

But she’s right. She’s just so damned radiant it’s hard to look away. She keeps looking at me, smirking a little bit, and lays some things out for me.

—————//—————-

Keep reading with me over at Deeper Story? Yoga, Taizé prayer, etc. guaranteed.

Click here to read the rest.

 

what I’m into, (May and) June.

So, it’s not like I expect you to keep up with this or anything, but maybe you noticed that I have neglected to link up with the ohso amazing Leigh Kramer with her monthly “What I’m Into” posts. Spring semester was a killer and this summer I have been running around like cray.

So even this is just a sampling, though it is like a marathon of a post. Sorry not sorry. Enough preamble already.

music:

  • all Sam Smith all the time.
  • this is a little Spotify playlist I made for when my soul needs a little refreshing (so, basically every morning):
  • the sound of the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack kindof fits my Appalachian summer, so I have been turning to it often:

to watch:

  • ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. Which I definitely watched in three days.
  • Orphan Black, just as addicting. Don’t confuse the two ^^
  • Been rewatching House on the Netflix. I don’t actually think it’s that great of a show but here I am.

offline reads:

oh man the stack of books to read this summer is getting HIGH, y’all. Here goes:

  • City of God: Faith in the Streets by Sara Miles. I devoured this book. I love the way Sara sees the Kingdom of God. It’s positively beautiful and addicting. Plus also high-five to Episcos writers.
  • She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse, by Elizabeth Johnson. (I’m late to the game in reading this one, apparently). Ok, hear me when I say this is theo-poetry, though certainly an academic text. I have cried tears reading the first 40 pages or so of this book. Johnson seeks to demonstrate that recovering feminine metaphors for God is not only spiritually powerful, but has the dismantling of idolatry as its goal. I haven’t finished, but this book is breathing life into dry bones so far.
  • The Divine Comedy, by Dante, translated by Clive James. People periodically ask which translation of Dante to start their journey through the commedia with, and I have to say that this one is a top contender. The way James has integrated explanatory material into the text so that we are not always checking footnotes and breaking up our poetic reading is genius. However, a part of me can’t imagine using this as a first-time reader. There is still always so much to know, and what little I have read of this translation, I am not sure he covers enough.

blogposts:

a pretty short list, as it has been for several months. because I am the worst and don’t keep up with even my limited blogroll. but as it is:

  • Your Jesusa poem by John Blase. “I’m sorry but I cannot accept your Jesus. / Your Jesus is eternally afraid of things / like movies and sex and naked questions.”
  • How to Ruin a LIfeby D.L. Mayfield. ” Go, go and see the world, but come back as a sister or brother, a friend and equal. We are all part prophet, all part narcissist.” 
  • Rethinking Scarcity: A Legacy of Abundanceby Sarah Bessey. “I find myself fighting against the myth of scarcity often. It’s rooted in fear. The fear that I’m not enough, the fear that someone else’s success spells my failure, the fear of becoming irrelevant or unread.”
  • The Holy Spirit is Not Your Personal Electric Blanket, by Amy Hanson. “We want to think that when we are feeling sad or distant from God, we can just turn on our access to the Holy Spirit and before we know it, we are warm and cozy and we feel better. But that is not the Spirit that we hear about in today’s text.”
  • If Your Kid Comes Out to Youby Ben Moberg. “You are okay. In this moment, you are not against your kid, and in the future, if you find yourself still in the same theological mindset, that doesn’t make you hateful or bad. It means you disagree. And you are okay.”

just-good:

  • My spiritual director put Jan Richardson’s site, The Painted Prayerbook. I’ve seen some of her pieces elsewhere, but hadn’t seen her full site. So many beautiful writings and paintings as resources for the liturgical year.
  • How to Quit Amazon and Shop in an Actual Bookstore: “Somewhere in there is something that’s entirely fresh to you, and will reward your soul by exposure. That’s what good books do, and good bookstores, too. They let you step out of your algorithm.”
  • Blogger Militant Baker Talks About the Buying Power of Plus Size Women:  “The demand for slimming-tucking-trimming-hiding-camouflaging clothing still outweighs the wear-whatever-we-want clothing, and this won’t change until we use our buying power to show otherwise.” (PREACH. But I kinda hate that the only answer is “buy more stuff.”)
  • Open Doors Save a Parish: “It’s always been true for the Church: if it pays attention to the needy, it finds the treasures.” (I think some of the us-and-them language is somewhat troubling, admittedly.)
  • I love that Samantha Field is starting this youtube series on sexuality. This first one was brilliant:
  • every once in a while an incredible David Whyte poem crosses my way. Sweet Darkness has been a big deal this summer. Here are the last few lines:

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

  • On welcoming children to the Eucharist (h/t Kara Slade and Broderick Greer):

to wear: 

  • so I LOST my new favorite lipcolor at the wedding this past weekend, but I am pretty sure it was cherry on top from Maybelline’s color whisper line. doesn’t dry your lips, and you can add as much pigment as you want, though you don’t end up with a very defined result like you would with regular lipstick.
  • pink-ing of you nail polish by OPI. I needed a classy grownup nail color, but didn’t want anything very sheer (aka boring). I ended up really liking this shade that I wouldn’t have picked out normally. win.
  • I experienced thrifting MAGIC recently. I have needed to find another pair of teal flats (because turquoise is a neutral in my world) for some time now, but on the day I decided that the hole in the bottom of mine was the last straw, I stumbled upon a great pair for CHEAP when I was waiting for my thai takeout. MAGIC I TELL YOU. They’re really comfortable–hush puppies is the brand. Thank God–now I can continue being a 75-year-old woman who is always wearing some kind of turquoise.

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  • As a general rule, this summer I am working on just wearing things I actually like, regardless of whether I am following the dress for your body type/age/height/zodiac sign “rules.”  For example, ‘the rules’ tell me I shouldn’t be wearing horizontal stripes in the picture below. OH BUT I AM. Anyways, I’ve enjoyed wearing by this principle, feel free to join me.
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    weather is a funny thing up on these mountains. it was certainly cold enough for this dress Sunday morning, but not the afternoon.

moments:

  • some wonderfully generous friends helped me move out of my apartment at the beginning of the summer, and I am so very grateful for them. Having good people is a great gift.
  • Then I took a much-needed solid trip to Texas to see friends who feel like family, starting in Waco–

I stayed with the amazing, talented Erica, who is truly a friend who loves at all times. Like a dummy, I did not get a picture with her, but I did snap one of her work hanging in a gallery in Waco before it shipped off to Dallas:

  • I got to worship at midweek Eucharist at my favorite church in the world, St. Paul’s, and grab dinner with one of my favorite clergy ever, the Rev. Erin Jean

one of my favorite windows.

  • After what felt like a VERY SHORT trip to Waco, I took a bus up to Dallas to embark on the crazy drive to Colorado the next morning for my dear friend Jerry’s wedding with #10yearbestie Alia and the #flawless Allie. We drove ~10 hours Friday to make it in time for the rehearsal dinner, had amazing brunch with Preston and Hilary, then soaked in the beauty that was Jerry and Elliott’s wedding, which completely, completely reflected them. After a late night of celebrating, we turned around and made that same crazy drive again the next day. Photo evidence:

 

  • After the trip to Colorado, I spent the week in Dallas hanging out with Alia AND HER NOW FIANCÉ Brandon. Maybe there were a few clandestine conversations between he and I to go over engagement details, which mostly just involved me squealing a whole lot. The whole week was spent with good food (beet-bison bolognese holy wow), good conversations, and binge-watching Orphan Black. All so very good for my soul.

  • AND THEN I got my two favorite lady-Catholic converts, Alia and Julie, in the same place and forced them to be friends because proximity and amazingness. Love them so. Putting friends together from different parts of my life and watching what happens is one of my favorite things ever.

 

  • After the Texas trip, things slowed down a good deal. I moved to my summer field education placement in the mountains just outside of Asheville, NC, which I have failed to properly photograph. I am working with a two-point Methodist charge (which means two small Methodist churches that share a pastor, this Episcopalian discovered). I have been getting a wide range of ministry experiences out here, and have really focused attention on pastoral care and the social witness of the church. The strength of the network of Methodist churches in particular in this area are the Welcome Table programs, where churches take turns to provide several meals throughout the week. I’m thinking so much about the difference between ministry for versus ministry with when it comes to what we normally think of as “outreach,” and even the throwback saying “what would Jesus do?” One church that seems to be doing this really well in an urban setting is the Haywood Street Congregations which you should read about here. I can’t believe I am about halfway done out here. To borrow what I think is Flannery O’Connor’s phrasing, it’s been several weeks of moving the furniture around spiritually. Who knows what will happen next.

some fellow Duke Divinity interns out in Western NC. I hit the jackpot. Photo stolen from Ashley Acken

  •  June was my birthday month! I love my birthday a good deal–it gives a great excuse to only do stuff you want to do, and always brings me to a lot of reflection. I spent the day putzing downtown Asheville, then drove back to Durham to celebrate with the swath of lovely people who are still there for the summer. Here’s to 24.

aaaand the candle had gone out by this point.

  • for another whirlwind wedding trip, PRESTON AND HILARY GOT MARRIED Y’ALL. As if you didn’t know. It’s kindof ridiculous that two such gifted people were brought together this weekend, and it was totally surreal to be a part of what had been a long time coming. For me, the two nights previous might have even outdone the wedding day only because the pace was slower and we had time to share and hear stories about this remarkable pair. Since I was in the wedding party, not as many pictures, but theirs will be beautiful in time. It was a heart-explosion kind of day.

hello New England. I am glad the wedding was not in triple-digit Texas heat. Praise.

 

the getaway

 

  • What I wish I was into:
  1. making cooking a regular thing. (not an adult).
  2. being self-motivated to get things done on a flexible schedule.
  3. reading the tall stack of books I want to by the end of summer, aka Flannery O’Connor’s letters.

Ok, your turn. No, really. What has been going on with you this month? What have you been reading/wearing/doing/whatever? 

the god I don’t believe in [today at Deeper Story].

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“Are you even a Christian anymore?”

I sit on the edge of my bed, nervously picking at the fringe of the goldenrod damask bedcover I bought in the Year of Independence after college, among the first real purchases of self-definition and homemaking that I can point to in those months. That was the year that God told me to stay in Waco on the back porch of my favorite coffee shop when I was reading Luther, one of my least favorite brothers in the faith. That was the year where my only clear calling was to go to church.

[God told me. That’s a phrase I’ve never totally been comfortable with, even in the days my tongue was made of fire. Now I’m moved to write it with much caveat and stipulation. For now, I will just leave it there for you to worry over, because I do not have the energy for such things right now. ]

“Are you still a Believer?” she asks differently this time.

I laugh nervously, off guard. I’m tempted to point out that faith described this way is relatively new to the Christian grammar. I don’t know how to tell her that yet it stings, that I wonder why she can’t recognize me any more.

“Yes? I say the creed every week…” I begin, ironically not knowing how to ‘defend my faith’ in this moment, wanting to add and sometimes I even believe it…

Join me at A Deeper Story for the rest?