Rediscovering Messy Art

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From my walk, because I love yellow.

“If I could take nice pictures and had a camera, I’d love to photograph the changing seasons,” I thought to myself. Again. I wished I’d been blessed with the gift of photography on the day that talents had been handed out.

I had the same thought again a few days ago as I looked out my bedroom window, noticing how much the trees had changed in such a short period of time. And thinking how much fun it’d be to document the transition. “If I could take nice pictures and had a camera,” I began again. And then I stopped. Wait. I do have a camera.

Within a matter of minutes I was shoving on rain boots and grabbing my camera, throwing its red and white polka-dot strap over my shoulder as I marched out the front door. Whether or not I could take “nice” pictures didn’t even matter, I told myself. I enjoyed taking pictures, so I was going to take them.

Once I was outside, heading onward towards autumnal adventures, I turned my camera on and flipped through the last pictures I’d taken. They were vacation photos. I hadn’t touched my camera, not even once, since Ian and I had been on vacation. My camera had just been hanging by its strap in the closet, waiting.

Waiting for what? Read More


My Body

My body
Is not a temple
because those belong to deities.
Is not holy ground
because that can be desecrated.
Is not a building
because that can be owned.
Is not a pillar
because those can crumble.
My body
Is flesh and blood.
Is fire and magic.
Is mine.


The Fall Equinox: Changing with the Leaves

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Flickr CC Kim B.

“Have you ever thought that maybe the trees would enjoy seeing you change color too?” an advertisement for sweaters asked me as I looked through a clothing catalog. That was several years ago, but I think about the question every year as I pull out the plastic purple tub containing my sweaters and scarves. The shades of yellow, blue, and red being packed away neatly for next summer are so different than the autumnal shades on the chunky cable knit sweaters that I gradually go through, welcoming back each one as I place it on a hanger in the closet.

This is how I celebrate the fall equinox. By changing color, too. “I changed color for you,” I’ll say as I walk past a tree in all the golden glory of early fall just to ensure she hasn’t missed my own new color palette.

I’d wanted to do something a bit more this year to celebrate the fall equinox. I’d meant to put some research into it and maybe choose something that felt me enough to try incorporating it into my own private welcoming-my-favorite-season-of-them-all ritual.

“I missed the fall equinox,” I said glumly to my husband last night as he crawled into bed next to me.

“But that’s the nice thing about no longer being in your old paradigm,” he replied. I was raised in a religious paradigm that was seeped in legalism and guilt. “The fall equinox isn’t going to get mad.”

“But the fall equinox didn’t get mad before,” I said. “I didn’t even know when it was. It was demonic.” Read More



A baptism into self-love (or, the first time I wore a bikini)

There I was, standing in the sun, showing off the body that is mine.August 13, 2016. I feel like I should permanently mark the day on the calendar because exactly a week ago I accomplished one of the most radical acts of self-care and self-acceptance I’ve ever undertaken.

I wore a bikini in public for the very first time.

It was a hot day, so the husband and I decided to go to the lake after dinner. We’ve gotten to know the lake with its regular crowd rather well this summer — Pokemon Go players wondering around with their phones, guitar-strumming lifeguards singing when it’s too chilly for people to swim, hookah smokers camping out at their usual picnic table, Mormon missionaries attempting to catch a Pokemon Go player or two, children throwing rocks at ducks, and I even saw a baptism once. Baptism. The last time I’d swam in a lake I was in high school, and it was the lake I was baptized in.

As I’d watched the baptism out of the corner of my eye from the shady patch of grass that I’d claimed, I found myself remembering the baptism class I took when I was 12. “Baptism is an outward expression of an inward commitment,” the senior pastor had said. It was a way of announcing to the world what you’d already privately decided. It was a way of proclaiming that as a result of your commitment to Christ you were no longer the same person.

As I watched the woman being baptized come out of the water soaking wet and smiling, my own baptism felt like a lifetime ago. It had been a statement that I was different. But as I looked back, 12-year-old Kelsey felt so much different than 29-year-old Kelsey. I’ve changed again. I’ve changed a lot. Read More


It Is

It is so much more than you and me.

It is primal urges and rose petals.
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍Biological functions and a secret dance.
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍Evolutionary history and love songs.

It is haunting voices and sanctuary.
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍Memories and fresh discoveries.
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍Comfort and anxiety.

It is new life and old loves.
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍Passion and gentleness.
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍Security and vulnerability.

It is angels and demons.
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍Fulfillment and jealousy.
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍Insecurities and release.

It is magic and witchcraft.
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍Desire and despair,
‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ ‍‍Love and lust.

It is all here, between our sheets.


Am I a real writer yet?

What I crave isn’t numbers or popularity, but legitimacy (2)“But would it be a real book?” I said, more to myself than to Ian as I weighed possible options in my mind. I’d spent some time that day investigating a self-publishing option through Amazon that would allow me to take the Word document that I’ve become rather emotionally attached to and transform it into a book available for purchase on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback.

But would it be real?

“I want a real book,” I told my husband. Just like Geppetto wanted the Blue Fairy to transform his little wooden puppet into a real boy, I wanted her to work her blue magic and bippity boppity boo my manuscript into a real book. Only, unlike Geppetto, what I was really after wasn’t life but legitamicy. Read More