20 September 2017

Seventy times Seven

One of my fondest childhood memories is riding in my uncle's jeep with my cousins, singing the VeggieTales theme song at the top of our lungs. My family takes VeggieTales very seriously. I'm talking marathons, seriously. We own the first fourteen videos on VHS and numerous other newer releases on DVD. But those fourteen, I know them like the back of my hand. They made Bible lessons fun and exciting. Plus, Silly Songs with Larry taught me water buffaloes were a thing and that cucumbers don't need hairbrushes. Very valuable lessons. But, back to the Bible. From 'love your neighbor' to 'have a happy heart', VeggieTales was one of my first and most formative interactions with the Christian moral ethic. Its lessons, given in the guise of chatty vegetables, continue to inspire, challenge, and transform me, most lately with my understanding of forgiveness.

19 September 2017

For Acculturated: 'Project Runway' Goes Plus-Size

Throughout middle and high school, I was an avid Project Runway fan. Like, I even bought a shirt that said "I'm so LA" because Andre wore them on the show. That's how avid I'm talking. My Dad and I would stay up late one night a week to watch the show together, critiquing and admiring what the designer-contestants sent down the runway. I lost steam for the show sometime during college, when I was too busy (and too cool?) for reality TV. Yet, here I am, after a six year hiatus, addicted again, as if I never had a break. Why the sudden renewal of my viewership? Quite simple: models size two to twenty-two. Project Runway is taking the body positivity movement by storm this season, and I am so excited about it. Check out my latest article for Acculturated about why Project Runway's campaign is fresh, meaningful, and successful.

04 August 2017

History is Not Always History

I am a Storyteller for Historic Philadelphia, Inc. For the summer, this entails standing at a semi-circular bench and telling stories to young and old who come to the Independence Visitor Center. Before every story, I ring a bell and proclaim "free stories!" to attract any last minute listeners. At first, ringing this bell made me feel terribly uncomfortable. Many people walk by giggling, or looking awkwardly away as if the sound of my bell will compel them into some Ponzi scheme. Sometimes it's easy to get swept into the energy of those passersby, and think of my job as silly or superfluous or saccharine.

Today, however, my bell tolled a sobering reminder of how worthwhile my work is. A woman approached me, asking if I would tell a story to the group of refugees she had with her. "They might not understand much," she said, "but I think it would be nice." I, of course, obliged, and began telling the story of Ona Judge. I chose this story because I use exaggerated gestures and tones of voice that I thought might be amusing despite any language barrier. Yet, as I got deeper into the story, looking at their faces, I began to choke up. Unintentionally, I was telling them their own story.

25 July 2017

Become What You Receive

I just savored the last bite of a chocolate macadamia nut cookie from The Famous 4th Street Cookie Company at Reading Terminal Market here in Philadelphia. I'm on a mission to buy something from every single stand in Reading Terminal. At over 80 merchants, this is quite the challenge. So today, after buying bread and vegetables from my standard vendors, I settled on a cookie for my "something new". Thick, chewy, with the chocolate chips still gooey, it was a very satisfying choice.

What I eat is a significant part of how I experience the world. It seems I'm always making decisions about consumption: organic or conventional, price or quality, local or imported, dairy or meat. Sometimes I am very conscious about my purchasing choices regarding what's best for the world, or what I believe in when it comes to agriculture. But lately, I've mostly been making decisions based on the depth of my wallet, which is consistently slim. Yet, I try to justify my choices as having some benefit in line with my beliefs. "Oh, this isn't helping an organic farmer and therefore fighting subsidies one little step at a time, but at least it's buying local and supporting my neighborhood!" With consumer choices, sometimes grand ideals must be knocked down by the reality of economy.

19 May 2017

Seeking Pain and Finding Healing

Related imageWhy is pain so addictive? We live in fear of it, but simultaneously seek it out, dwell on it. We live in it, draw from it - heck, I'm drawing from it write now by writing this. Pain, particularly emotional pain, is a powerful thing.

05 May 2017

Rain Down on Me

Is there anything quite as magical as precipitation? Of course, it is not magical at all. It's very well explained in third grade science, most of which I don't remember at all. But atmosphere and pressure and moisture aside, is there anything that compares to feeling awe-struck, staring into the sky as it renders and releases itself?

05 April 2017

One Simple Vocation

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I've been thinking a great deal lately about what to be. A butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker. A religious sister, a wife, a mother. 

I've been thinking a great deal lately about what I am. A daughter, a sister, a friend. A young adult, a city dweller, a nature lover.

I've been thinking a great deal lately about how what I am and what to be should or do intersect. I have spent hours puzzling over which role I am more comfortable performing, over what my strongest gifts and talents are. I have second guessed half the "important" choices in my life, wondering if I have by some accident led myself down the wrong path. What if I am still headed down the wrong path?