At other places
Finding My Place; Oh, and, Guacamole
July 11, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

When I finished writing my book and turned in Finding Holy in the Suburbs for edits, I felt a bit out-of-place. I'd expected to have all the stories to belong to the place I lived. After buying our rental home, I'd expected more permanence. It turns out that place and belonging are wrapped up together in a relationship as confusing as an on-again off-again relationship.

So, today, I'm so excited to be at The Mudroom writing about place and belonging. Place is so often the lens through which I view life -- so much so that my recent move home to the suburbs meant I wrote a book all about it. Make sure to keep up this month at The Mudroom for all the great writing and maybe it'll help you find a bit of your place, too.

Here's an excerpt:

We ask our places to provide a setting, a context — but we do not love them like a full-bodied character with desires of their own. What if our places were not mere settings that we could shape like silly putty, bending them to our desires? What if they were not expendable, plastic containers where we stored our stuff and housed our memories, where we are apt to change places like a quick change of seasonal decor?

What if our land, our cities, our suburbs, were somehow as real, as vivid, as powerful agents of change as the people in them? What if our places were actually holy?


I suppose it’s nice to think deeply about such things as place, space, land, and humanity. Yet it’s an easy out to actually living well, to being emplaced, bodily creatures. (At least it is for me.) My feet are rooted (most often) in gray tile squares in my suburban kitchen. Here I watch the neighborhood children race by on their neon bikes, I shout to my own children to come inside, I sweep the endless crumbs. I cut and chop. I pile dishes. I scoop out coffee grinds into the trash, get the stray lime out from the disposal, and dry the clean knife blade and put it away because it’s the good one. I turn out meal after meal after meal, sometimes digging in the freezer to fill it out, often adding more garlic, more pepper, and fresh cilantro.

Hurry on over to read the rest, because you better believe I give you a killer guacamole recipe!!

Make sure to stay up-to-date on all things book related -- from all the books this Mama PhD reads, to giveaways (!), to the book I'm writing -- when you subscribe. No spam. Just good, free content to find your place right where you are.

I'm also booking speaking engagements for the Fall, find out more here.
Space + Place
December 9, 2014 at 12:33 am 3
Home. Such a full and throbbing word. As I sit in silence with the Christmas tree lights lit, I wonder what my children will take with them of this place. Will they remember the climbing wall in their bedroom and the light saber battles across the kitchen? Will they remember the creaking wood floor and the circles they ran between rooms? The little geographies of their days. Will they remember piling on couches to read together and gathering around the table and sharing their stories? Or will it all be a blur? A pile of feelings about a place, but without the specifics. Will they enwrap themselves in their inevitable hurts and failures, carrying them close to them, or will they lay them at my feet one day as they consider how I've messed up? And will I have the grace to say, "Tell me more"? Will home ultimately be healing?  Home | Circling the Story We have such meandering paths to home -- circuitous routes where we leave, resist, long for, and perhaps return home. I think we all long to enact those hero journeys where we re-emerge at the end, victorious yet chastened and changed. The hero of our own story. But it's a rather simple plot line. The problem with coming home is that through the process of leaving and returning, you can never really return, never get back to a moment of unconditional acceptance, without feeling the lurking presence of anxiety or shame. Those two things that tell us, perhaps more than any other, that we're grown up. We can't return to a state of blessed self-forgetfulness, to unadorned childhood. But we continue to itch for home. We fill up our the loss that invariably comes with knowing with socially sanctioned forms of distance -- with busyness and our phones and food and sex and soccer schedules. Because it doesn't ask anything of us, distance feels safe and home feels like a fairy tale. A good story, even delightful perhaps, but not true. Home | Circling the Story Yet, we keep circling, trying to land, trying to come home. We push and pull between wanting home and being fearful of what it might ask of us. There is though, a deep-seating longing to be a part of internal and external spaces that say, "No matter what, you're okay, I love you." Home perhaps is more than just a space or place, though it is anchored firmly in our tactile experience. A blanket, the smell of baking bread, the touch of a friend, the kiss of a spouse, the hot mug of tea shared weekly. Home, ultimately, is about belonging. It's about vulnerability without shame.  And I think we wonder, in this day and age, if there's any space or anyone that will embrace our shame and give us a hug anyway. So we test out the waters, we travel, we move on from people and places because we long for transformation. And transformation is always just beyond our reach, always "out there." So we think if we just moved, or tried something new, or read more about it, then, then we'd...what? Be safe? Be loved? Be important? Be successful? Be free? But home, it sneaks up on you. A place, you realize, suddenly becomes dear to you, or has been dear to you without you realizing it. And almost in the realization, its preciousness is gone. It's tinged with melancholy as it is thought about and analyzed or quite consciously created. I suppose this is part of what it means to grow up, to age; we reach back to a "golden age" that never existed or we place our hopes on future adventures, never experiencing the moment in front of us. Home is always "out there." Home | Circling the Story We're all longing for home. We're all longing for safety. We're all longing to come home to a place where we are cared for and held dear. And we're longing to not have to hide in order to be embraced, but to lay down our burdens, to own up to our shame and fear. And to take a deep breath and to be welcomed in.