I Want To Live In A Glass House

I don’t know that I’ve ever found a place before that made me want to be born, live, and die within its walls. But that’s exactly what the Chihuly Garden and Glass made me feel. Nestled at the foot of the Seattle Space Needle, it’s an unassuming space from the outside. To be honest, I may not have gone if it hadn’t been for the  recommendation of a friend of mine.

I’m not sure what I was expecting of this experience, but what I got was a mix of many emotions, inspiration for my own creative pursuits, and a sense awe for bold craftsmanship.

Let’s take a tour of my photos and my feelings, shall we?

GLASS FOREST
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I learned that these pieces were created by blowing glass from the top of a step ladder. The molten glass bubble would hit the ground, creating the strange shapes on the floor. I feel like creating this had to be a lot of fun, working with gravity. Having a vague idea of where it’s going, but also letting the glass do what it felt like doing.

SEALIFE ROOM

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I watched a video of how pieces like this are made and found out that it is constructed out of hundreds of individually blown glass pieces! That’s so incredible! I am obsessed with the way Chihuly captures nature in his art.

PERSIAN CEILING

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The place that I feel closest to the God and most myself is by the ocean. When I walked into this room, I felt the exact same way I feel when looking out at the waves: overwhelmed by glory, introspective, and peaceful. Seriously, this room exudes calmness. I feel like I am in an underwater chapel and the light is playing through the  water and the stained glass windows above my head.

In this room, I learned that the pieces Chihuly created for this installation were all about pushing the boundaries of what his medium could do. He stretched the glass thinner and larger than it was supposed to go. He created with an audacity that often resulted in broken glass on the floor of his studio because he had gone too far. I love that. He created with boldness, experimenting without fear of failure because he understood that broken glass was just part of the process. And look at what he created because he wasn’t afraid of failure!

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MILLE FIORI

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I didn’t have any life changing revelations in this room, but I do feel like this is what a Tim Burton version of The Little Mermaid would look like.

CHANDELIERS

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Dale Chihuly did an exhibit called CHIHULY OVER VENICE in the nineties that included fourteen glass chandeliers (like this one) that were installed all over the city of Venice, Italy. There is video footage of him throwing pieces of glass into the canals, just because he could. They floated a bunch of the glass pieces down the canals and then installed them from boats. I love the playful approach he took to something that I would consider delicate. If I had created glass chandeliers, I certainly wouldn’t throw the pieces into a canal before anyone had even seen the finished product. But they turned out beautifully and people loved them so maybe it’s a good lesson in holding my art and my life a little more loosely.

GLASSHOUSE

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I want to live and die in this place. The moody gray sky, the brightly colored glass flowers, the reflections on the shiny floor. I was so overwhelmed when I came around the corner and saw this room and I ended up sitting on a bench for almost an hour, just to take it all in.

On the guidebook I was given at the front desk, there is a quote from Dale Chihuly that says, “I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in a way they have never experienced.” I love that that was his goal. He wanted to create something that moved people, that allowed them to see things in a different way.

He did that; every installation here changed me a little bit. I think that’s what art is supposed to do. It’s not a platform to become known or to force your worldview on people. It’s a way to help people expand their experience a little bit. To see familiar things in a way they never expected to. To plant seeds for change.

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If you ever are in Seattle, please go here. I promise it’ll change you.

 

 

I Want To Live In A Glass House

Strength & Song

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.”
Isaiah 12:2 (ESV)

I’ve always considered myself to be a strong person. I like to be independent, to help other people, to listen to their problems and be the one with the answers. But the flip side of that independence is that I struggle to rely on people, to accept help, to let other people listen to my problems and be the ones with the answers.

That habit is hard to break now that it’s established and I often find myself relating to God that way. I only come to Him with problems I’ve already solved. I tend ask Him what He wants me to do instead of bringing Him my broken pieces.

I laid awake in bed for most of the night last night. I was worrying and planning about a situation in my life. This morning, when I woke up an hour late (after less than 4 hours of sleep), I came across this verse as I was contemplating how last night could’ve been different.

Would last night have been different if I had let Him be my strength and my song?

Also, what does that even mean??

The Lord God is my strength… In order to be your strength, someone has to know where you are weak. He has to be the one I turn to before I try to comfort myself or plan my way out of my problems. I have to be intentional about bringing Him my pieces, my questions, my weakness.

The Lord God is my song…. When a song gets stuck in your head, you find yourself singing without realizing it. You just become aware in moments that you were humming “Party in the USA” under your breath (no? Just me? Ok cool). So to have the Lord be my song means that He has to become so ingrained in me that my subconscious sings His words.

So if He is my strength and my song, that means He’s the thing that I both consciously and subconsciously return to. He becomes my salvation, and not just my salvation for after I die; but my salvation in the nights that I can’t sleep because I’m worried about money and the days that I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. He becomes my salvation for my dark and lonely times and for the times where I think my problems are small enough to handle by myself.

But reaching that point isn’t something that just happens.

He IS my salvation, but He also has to BECOME my salvation through time and practice on my part.

Before He can be the song that is stuck in my head, He has to be the words I repeat through through my tears at 4am.

Strength & Song

Determination and Shiny Things

I’m really tired of having every blog post I write be about how I haven’t written one in like a week.

You’d think I would have learned by now. I tend to get overly excited and obsessed with new ideas (like writing a blog post every day for a month!) and then about a week in it loses it’s excitement and I move on to other things (like writing poetic responses to my favorite songs).

I try really hard to keep myself on track… but I get lost in my excitement of new things.

Yesterday at church, we hosted Ps David Gilpin from Hope City, UK. In his sermon, he talked about the four temperaments (it’s a personality test that traces all the way back to Ancient Greece… Which is why the names are so funny). I’d taken it once before, but I remember being more concerned with what I thought I SHOULD be instead of what I actually was that my results were skewed.

Anyway, I’m Sanguine, which is the fun, social, excitable personality. As I was reading about it, one of the characteristics is that we jump quickly into exciting things and then fall out of them just as quickly when they become un-exciting.

I’m a firm believer in personality tests. I’m an ENFP, a 7 on the Enneagram, and (now) a Sanguine.

But I also believe that those tests aren’t an excuse to just let ourselves run wild in whatever our tendencies are just because our personality dictates it.

Those two beliefs often put me at odds with myself. Because how can I be excited about who I am while also trying to change it?

I’ve forced myself into a lot of situations and tendencies (such as an obsession with following the rules and being on time…) because I was trying to “correct” what I thought was wrong with me.

But last night, in one of the most freeing messages about salvation and holiness I’ve ever heard, Ps Gilpin said,

“Don’t throw away who you are in an attempt to become holy.”

 

I’d never thought about it like that before. I know we are supposed to become more like Christ, but I always associated that with becoming less like myself.

He said that the things we love and who we are doesn’t need to change, it just has to be unattached from selfish desires and reattached to God.

I’ve got a lot to mull over after last night, but in the mean time, I’m going to attempt to keep writing blog posts… But I can’t guarantee it’ll be every day.

Determination and Shiny Things

Counting Palm Trees

There are days that the darkness feels unbeatable.

Strings of days where I hide behind blankets and books

until I forget that I am even hiding;

until I convince myself that I am resting

and that the tiredness I feel isn’t actually sadness.

I’ve become so good at being sad,

 at pretending that it is something else,

at not wanting to admit that it exists.

Listening to other people’s problems so

I don’t have to hear my own.

But I am done hiding!

I’m done inviting sadness into my bed

and wrapping it with blankets so it feels comfortable.

Sadness grows stronger with the shades drawn,

so I’ll open my windows wide

and let the sunshine in.

I will go outside and count the palm trees

or drink a cup of coffee.

I will reach out with shaking hands and ask for help,

even if my request is drowned in tears;

or is scribbled on a post it note

because I’m too afraid to say it out loud;

or if it comes out with no feelings at all.

I will not let the numbness inside of me

swallow up the steps I am trying to take.

Because, someday, those steps will lead me

out of this darkness.

They will lead me to a place where I don’t have to

count palm trees just to keep the darkness at bay.

But for now, I will find my spot of sunshine,

I will make my bed so I don’t have an excuse

to crawl right back in.

I will not hide my sadness,

Because I cannot escape it alone.

And if I hide it,

The ones who can help me will never know.

Counting Palm Trees

holiday weekends and not working

It’s been 3 days since I lasted posted…and I promised us every day. This last weekend has been a bit crazy between birthday celebrations, my internship, church, an unplanned beach trip, and some unexpected conversations I needed to have. I didn’t make time for writing over the past few days and now I’m so sunburned that all I can think about is the pain like hot needles that is happening in my body. I just didn’t want to go a 4th day without writing something. I don’t regret the choices I made this weekend (except for maybe the part where I was laying in the sun for 6 hours yesterday), I’m still learning how to stick to something, how to have discipline, and (clearly) how to apply sunscreen. So, for now, I’m going to go back to sobbing quietly into Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I’ll talk to you tomorrow for real.

xoxo,

kat

holiday weekends and not working

Some Musings On Why I Write

I’ve often wondered why I write. Why is that the thing that draws me? For some it’s singing or dancing or becoming a character in a story. For others, it’s numbers or architecture or chemistry.

The poet Sarah Kay gave a Ted Talk in which she talked about how sh writes poetry because that is the way she works things out; if she has a question or an issue, she writes a poem. That made me curious, especially after my blog post about not knowing how to ask risky questions, if there there a way I like to work out the answers in my life.

Jedediah Jenkins said that he loves the feeling of “seeing a passage in which the author has articulated something I know to be true but have never seen in words” and he writes because he wants others to have that feeling.

I’m very much an external processor, although I only recently recognized this. I process ideas very well by talking with people. However, if I’m processing emotions, I like to be left alone. For a long time, I thought that meant I was an introvert and/or and internal processor.

So I attempted to keep it all inside of myself, I tried to sort through my thoughts. But I got lost in my head so quickly. I got distracted or simply overwhelmed by the incongruity of my thoughts that I would just give up.

But that doesn’t happen when I write things out. When I put things down on paper, I am able to make sense of them. I can ask my journal things that I could never bring up in conversation and I can use a pen to work out my feelings until they seem able to fit back into my soul.

I think that’s why writing is simultaneously so terrifying and thrilling for me. It’s because when you see a piece of my writing, you see parts of myself that I wouldn’t show you in real life. You get to see my questions and my answers. Even if it’s been edited and made more coherent (unlike the messes that I’m writing at 11pm several nights in a row), you are still seeing my raw edges.

To know myself like that and to share that experiemce with someone else… That is why I love writing.

Some Musings On Why I Write

Gratitude In The Mess

I had the hardest time writing this today… Not because I didn’t want to be vulnerable or because I was struggling with a specific topic. My mind was just drawing a blank. I even googled “personal essay prompts” just to get an idea of what people write about when they post blogs. I found list upon list, but nothing really spoke to me. I tried listening to music, but I gave up after finding a playlist that sounded like a dying transformer.

So instead of trying to be inspiring or deep or whatever I feel like I’m supposed to be on her, I’m just going to tell you about my day and see if that goes somewhere.

This morning, I drank a delicious iced lavender latte at Civil Coffee in Highland Park while talking about spiritual gifts with my pastor.

For lunch, I ate a subway sandwich, even though I’m supposed to be gluten free. It wasn’t even that good… I’m not sure why I did that.

This afternoon, I stared at a wall while trying to be creative. That’s probably not the way to go about being creative and I should seriously rethink my strategy.

This evening, I hung out with the group of people I choose to call my family. It was ALL IN TEAM NIGHT for C3LA. It’s basically just a celebration of how cool our community is and I love it. I always feel so full of love when I leave, even if I came with a bad attitude.

I have so many feelings coming out of today:

Happy because my day was filled with people.

Annoyed because I didn’t get as much done as I wanted.

Upset because I wasn’t intentional with my eating choices.

A bit anxious because … rent.

Inspired by my leaders and the people I serve with.

But mostly… Today, I feel grateful.

I was reminded today that the last two years of my career wasn’t the norm. Most people don’t graduate and start at the job I started at. And even if it’s not where I wanted to end up, I shouldn’t discount the experience.

I look around at the people I love and I’m so grateful for them. Not everyone has a community like the one I’m part of.

I may have been annoyed because I stared at the wall for an hour or anxious because I had to pay my rent, but it was while pursuing something I love and it was the wall in my Los Angeles apartment – a dream I love, in a home I love, in a city I’ve wanted to live in my entire life.

I ate gluten today even though I told myself I wasn’t going to, but I’m healthy enough that it doesn’t effect me immediately.

In a lot of ways, today was a bit of a mess. But there is always something to be grateful for, even in the mess.

What moments in your life today are you grateful for?

xoxo,

Kat

Gratitude In The Mess

Courageous Questions

I’ve always prided myself on my curiosity. I incessantly google everything. I explore new places. I read all the time. I ask very intentional questions of people (I literally own a book with the title 4000 QUESTIONS TO GET TO KNOW ANYONE AND EVERYONE).

That means I’m curious, right?

I always thought it did, but I’ve been noticing a pattern in my life recently. I rarely ask questions that pose risk to me. I will ask everyone questions about themselves and their experiences, but I don’t ask questions that pertain to me or my dreams. I struggle to ask people I admire how they got to where they did. In my writing, I usually only write things that I have an answer to. I usually don’t write about parts of my life if I’m still in the middle of the process. I try to convince myself and others that I have the process figured out (and even if I don’t that I CAN figure it out without anyone’s help).

I guess I have this idea in my brain that I have to have all the answers; which means I can’t have any questions.

But admitting that I don’t have (and don’t have to!) have all the answers takes vulnerability, courage, and a willingness to give up control.

I like to control the narrative. If I don’t control it, the questions I ask could lead me to places out of my depth and out of my skill level. But places like that aren’t bad. In fact, they’re usually only dangerous to my ego. If I keep trying to control my narrative and if I don’t take any risks for the sake of curiosity, my narrative remains extremely narrow.

Next time we see each other, let’s ask each other courageous questions!

Now, excuse me while I go google how to cultivate curiosity.

xoxo,

Kat

Courageous Questions

Dreams I Thought I Wanted

Last Wednesday, I came to the end of a two and a half year stint working in TV development. That’s not a long time in the scheme of things, but it felt like the end of something a lot bigger than that. I’ve wanted to work in the industry since I was 12. I’ve spent over a decade working towards this and it feels like a lifetime is ending. When I got my first job in the industry, I thought it should feel like the beginning of the life I always dreamed of – even if I was working an entry level assistant job, I was excited to pay my dues. But I struggled so much with it. I constantly questioned why I was working there. I loved the people I was working with, but didn’t love the actual work I was doing. (Side Note: I am very grateful for the past two years because I did learn a lot… So to my former coworkers reading this… I love you.)

That lack of passion was killing me. I had this idea in my head that I had to be in TV and I had to love it because I had put so much time, effort, and money into getting to this place. I felt like I had to stick with it because I owed it to myself, my parents, my professors, and to everyone who had ever heard me say I wanted to make TV.

When I see that in writing, it sounds laughable.

There was a moment last week when I had to decide whether or not to take another job in the industry. The practical part of me was screaming “DO IT!!! That’s money and you have bills to pay. Also, remember the last time you didn’t have a job? You just sat around for a month and a half eating ice cream and watching Gilmore Girls.” But the part of my soul that is more in tune with my dreams whispered, “It’s okay to say no to this… Do what you’re longing to do.”

And when I listened to that whisper in my soul, I felt a sense of freedom. Not an “everything is going to be sunshine and roses” freedom. But a peace about my decision.

It’s been almost a week of this new adventure and I’m still grappling with what my life is if I’m not working in TV. I’m trying not to beat myself up about the fact that I binged Stranger Things and a whole season of Friends this weekend while dog sitting for a friend. I’m trying not to be overwhelmed by how I’m going to pay my bills. I’m trying to give myself space to dream about what’s next.

And I think a huge part of what’s next is writing consistently.

Whenever I tell someone I’m a writer, I always have this twinge of guilt because I don’t ever write as much as I want to. And I’m working on having grace for that, because I know I don’t have to be perfect.

But I’m also done with accepting shitty excuses from myself. If I want to be a writer, I have to actually write. Which is why I’m going to be putting up a blog post every day for the month of September. I have no idea what I’m going to write about, but I’m sure you’ll get the unfiltered and slightly terrifying thoughts that go through my brain on the daily. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

Here’s to a new season of dreaming and exploring and not having to have it all together.

XOXO

Kat

Dreams I Thought I Wanted

Naked in the Desert

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I’m sitting on my balcony, crying over a green juice and the faithfulness of God.

Don’t worry, I’m not normally this emotional over some cold-pressed broccoli and kale, but I’ve spent the last 21 days drinking only water and the occasional herbal tea.

Before you think I’m completely crazy, let me explain.

Three weeks ago in San Diego, I made a decision with the Lord. I was going to venture into the wilderness with Him. I wanted to pursue Him whole-heartedly and to build a foundation on which I could grow a deep relationship with Him. I don’t know that everyone needs to go to these measures to build that foundation; but I knew I needed to put aside the things that were distracting me from Him: food, social media, and entertainment.

And thus began the hardest three weeks I can remember.

From the beginning, I was plagued with doubts about whether or not I could even do this. Last time I tried to fast, I made it two days and then peaced out and ate a cheeseburger (side note: that’s super unhealthy… never fast for two days and then jump right in with a cheeseburger!).

My body was cleansing itself from toxins and I was miserable, and then I was bored by the taste of water, and then I began having vivid food dreams, and on and on it went. I was weak and wasn’t hanging out with many people, going to bed early and trying to pray and read my Bible in every moment when I would normally be eating or watching TV or hanging out with people.

But it was rough. Even with the support and prayers of the few people who knew what was going on, I still felt alone and afraid.

I felt naked in the desert.

There’s one morning in particular that I remember feeling this way. I was sure that I couldn’t do this another moment (much less another week!). But as I was crying, something broke and I began to share my heart in prayer. Things that I’ve closed the door on long ago, things that I’d forgotten about, dreams that I’d become disillusioned by. And as I stood there in my desert, open and vulnerable before my Creator, something changed. After that I began to crave time with Him. Prayer wasn’t something I just checked off my list, but I actually woke up wanting to talk to Him. That real relationship I had set out to find was beginning to form.

Don’t be fooled though. There were many days when I was hangry and didn’t feel the presence of God and had to force myself to open my Bible (there were also days that I didn’t open it at all). But there’s something beautiful and powerful in trusting God’s heart and intentions towards you even when your emotions and circumstances tell you differently.

I’m not telling you about this season to show off how spiritual I am or how much self control I have. I know myself well enough to know that I absolutely do not have the self control needed to make it through the last three weeks. But I’m telling you this to remind you that seeking God is a choice. I had to wake up every day and choose God. To choose to rely on His strength and on His grace to get me through that moment, that hour, that day, those weeks.

As my season in the wilderness has come to an end, I’ve had a new set of doubts. What if beginning to eat again undoes everything that I learned in this season? What if I just drift right back into my old habits and comforts?

I laid in bed for two hours this morning, afraid to get up and drink juice.

One of the beautiful things about this season in the wilderness is that it does have an ending. And I’m reminded that God isn’t only allowed to speak in the desert. He doesn’t stop working in my life just because I start eating again. But it is still my choice. I must choose to make Him a priority in my life, even when everything else is clamoring for my attention.

And to be honest, there will always be other things striving for first place. In seasons of plenty it’s easy to just focus on our own pleasure; and in seasons of scarcity it’s tempting to forget God in the midst of our pain.

So, no matter what this next season holds, whether wilderness or garden, let’s choose to turn to our Father. Because there is no taste in the world that can compare to His presence.

Naked in the Desert