life // to understand waiting and rest

Untitled

After surgery a friend prayed over me, doesn’t every great story start this way, it was a prayer for rest and it was also a prayer to actually understand rest.

When you are forced to actually slow down, all of the sudden the moments of busy really do stand out. Prior to surgery I managed to spend 4 days at Disney World, shoot 12 mini-session, drive to PA/DE to photograph a wedding, and prep my house for mom’s arrival in the span of about 18 days. Needless to say, surgery was the nap I so desperate needed, but it wasn’t actual rest. When you find yourself in a place of rest that is healthy, you also happen to learn the absolute limits of your needs. Let me be the first to say it’s terrifying. The timing, however, is liturgically perfect. It’s almost like I planned my surgery around the church calendar. Enter the season of advent, a time of waiting and anticipation.

When I slow down, my brain tumbles over and over again with the what ifs. They aren’t quite as bad as the if onlys, but they still leave you in a state of questioning. Question upon question without answer upon answer. Combine this with a period of time that is spent on the couch with a set of crutches and then I attempt to begin a period of active mental avoidance. Let’s admit it, We all do it. I mean, why else are we all so dang busy? I generally like to think it’s not because we really love having no time to think and is probably because we don’t want to be forgotten/unneeded and we really really really don’t want to have to think, about most anything, but we also don’t really want to be known either. And we wonder why our anxiety runs at an all time high. We see anything we can’t control as a failing. So what happens when we stop and we wait and we anticipate.

We wait in quiet anticipation knowing, fearing, that we can’t save ourselves.

In our weakness, we find grace and in grace we learn hope. Hope takes us to the unknown and a place were we find a peace we have never known. This peace required conflict, it requires conflict with ourselves. It involves active engagement and fighting for truth and transformation. This isn’t about sitting on our laurels just hoping the answers appear, it is the realization that weakness is our gateway to create change.

Sometimes, that change might not be so much so outwards and be very much inwards. Over the course of the last month I physically couldn’t do much for myself which made me want to pull my hair out, good thing I have a mop of hair on my head. For two weeks I depending on other people to drive me around, feed me, or just be around. Ann would check in every night to confirm that I, in fact, had not fallen down the stairs in my nightly activity of crutching up said stairs to my room. For someone who thinks she can legit do pretty much everything, except hike, it was mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting because I thought I was a superhuman who would heal like such. To go from shooting a wedding and 3 photo sessions in one weekend to being exhausted after spending 15 minutes in Trader Joes, well let’s just say it’s an eye opening moment. Some expectations fall short and on the other side, there are people who who are so above and beyond that is blows your mind a little. And so it goes. And so I wait with much anticipation.

So the realization of baby steps instead of a sprint. Being present with a purpose. And embracing every moment of rest that comes my way and the directions that will comes with it.

“for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory” – Book of Common Prayer, Evening Prayer, Rite II


For those who are like, wait a second, back up, surgery…what?! Quick version: Way back when (in May) while living my best life now (on vacation), I was hiking in Glacier National Park (it was Day 1 of said vacation). I was trekking along planning how I was going to send mom and dad photos and be like “BOOM! you think I can’t hike but look at me and my rockstar hiking self.” Then something happened, there was a pop, I played it off(ish) and danced at a wedding, and a month later I had a diagnosis of a not-so-hot labral tear in my hip. So, apparently I’m living “my best I might be 80 life now” and so I had surgery to fix it in November. Woot!

dc life // segways and the potomac

To kick off the roomie’s birthday, a group of us decided to fully embrace the tourist mentality and spend 90 minutes on a segway. Because Ericka enjoys a good pun, I knew that only Segs in the City would do for us. They were fantastic and took our “we don’t need an actual tour but don’t mind our over-the-top patriotic dress” in stride. We ended the day with a picnic in West Potomac Park, where patriotism and charcuterie collided. And you know, a little tree climbing.

EP_30_Segway_4
EP_30_Segway_Blog2
EP_30_Segway_Blog1
EP_30_Segway_12
EP_30_Segway_9
EP_30_Segway_14
EP_30_Segway_17
EP_30_Segway_Blog3
EP_30_Segway_23
EP_30_Segway_26
EP_30_Segway_27

travel // 31 Hours in NYC

NYC_Girls_Weekend_005

That time I went to NYC with #Club203 to see the ballet and a show and ended up having a lot of moments that involved the phrase “TURN, TURN, LOOK, LOOK, it’s [fill-in-the-blank].”

That time I almost physically collided with Megan Hilty in the ladies bathroom line.
otherwise know as, when I had to take a step back because I almost physically collided with her and looked up and am pretty sure everything on my face was like “OMG!!” as I let out a whispered/whimpered hi

Lady #1 (Directly in front of me)
Lady #2 (Directly in front of Lady #1)

Lady #1 (Looks at me a little shocked after I almost collided with Megan Hilty)
Me: “I KNOW!!”
Lady #1: What? You know what? Is she someone?
Lady #2: That was Megan Hilty!!
Lady #1: I’m I supposed to know who she is
Lady #2: SHE. IS. EVERYTHING. She is Broadway royalty. I mean…she…she…
(The “she is everything line” came out with the hilarious tone of awe and disgust as she publicly shamed a random stranger)
Lady #1: Should I know what she was in?
Me: Umm…Wicked, or the sadly short-lived NBC show Smash.
Lady #2 (whips around and looks at me): DID YOU LOVE IT TOO??

As I come out of the bathroom Erin, Ericka and Ann are just standing in the lobby (we were seeing The Robber Bridegroom — apparently so was Megan Hilty) with these looks on their faces and just repeated “DID YOU SEE??!! DID YOU SEE??!!” Clearly I have now told this story no less than 5-10 times, and the best response came from friend-Casey: “gahhhhhhh you have Broadway on you now…never shower again. I can’t believe this happened to you…and at the same time I can.”

NYCGirlsWeekend
NYC_Girls_Weekend_002
NYCGirlsWeekend2
NYC_Girls_Weekend_013
NYC_Girls_Weekend_014
NYCGirlsWeekend3
NYC_Girls_Weekend_016
NYC_Girls_Weekend_017
NYCGirlsWeekend4

In addition to the Megan Hilty moment, there were star sighting of dancers in the wild (aka New York City Ballet principals just strolling down the street), actually attending the NYCB, Erin inspired by the NYCB to working on her jumping, me coveting gold ceilings, swooning over Steven Pasquale in The Robber Bridegroom, crazy subway rides, doughnuts from DOUGH, brunch at Empellon, midnight Prosecco runs, so much walking (Penn Station to Times Square to Bryant Park — Penn to Greenwich to Meatpacking to Chelsea to Union Square), and a stroll through Central Park.

life // thirtyish

WPHamiltonLaugh
BestLifeNow

It was a plan. Said plan wasn’t very ambitious. Actually the plan was pretty simple, since it was just … write about turning 30. Then, keep writing. I’ve been 30 for almost six-months and here if the first post thus far. It could be the last one, honestly, I don’t even know. However, that doesn’t mean the millions of thoughts and stories go away. No, they just continue to flood into my brain and circle round and round and since I’m mean, I’ve come up with a super awesome solution, nothing. Never let it be said that I’m a controlling, over-achiever…except for all those who think that anyways. Then I think, done is better than perfect so in the words of Hamilton:

Rewind.

29! Woohoo! The year of greatness and excitement and crazy travel and all sorts of other things that I told people would happen because I was going to live it up. Or at least, that was the plan and since I’m really only good at planning other people’s lives, we can guess that maybe this isn’t the way it went, but it was pretty darn close.

Crazy Travel: Porter Family vacation to Greece. Two weeks with the family in a foreign country. We all came back alive. So, #victory.
Greatness: Hamilton downtown at the Public Theater. Hamilton uptown at the Richard Rogers Theater. (There will be much more on this later).
Excitement: Eight months of unemployment. Four+ temporary jobs. One new for real job. #raiseyourmouseears
All Sorts of Other Things: Worked on five weddings, Taylor Swift, Mumford & Sons, the Pope, IF:Gathering in Austin

It looked exactly the opposite of what I thought it would be and somewhere along the it became amazing and incredibly terrifying all at the same time. It made me want to laugh, cry, and/or hyperventilate all at the same time. If I am totally honest, I probably did all of those things simultaneously. How different would life be if I could instagram that image? No one needs that image ever. Between the trips and the concerts and the hustling to pay my rent, sometimes it was just about being vulnerable enough to admit that I couldn’t buy my own chicken taco. It was rough and my take away (besides God bless a full time job) was that I wasn’t making any lofty plans for 30. Just go with the flow and whatever happens, well, happens.

Then I decided to write.

Only then I didn’t. But I’m walking the marathon right now, doesn’t mean I can’t make it to the end…or you know, start. 30, flirty (not at all) and thriving (most of the time), a bit late.

dear america, you sent for me.

Dear America,

Remember when we were the land of the free and the home of the brave. That whole, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” We are a place where immigrants wrote the laws, established our systems, and laid the ground work to create the country where we live (#alexanderhamilton).

Immigrants, they have moms and dads and family and lives that they are trying to make better.

My great-great-great-grandparents on one side were Jewish immigrants to the United States at a time when it wasn’t so popular to be Jews. It’s lucky for them that they made their move from Europe in the late 1800s/early 1900s, because if they had waited until the late 1930s, there is a chance that the country would have told them the borders were very closed. Because Jewish refugees in World War II weren’t sexy, at least, not until 1944 when mass holocaust couldn’t be denied.

Refugees, they have moms and dads and family and lives that are in such danger that they would rather sleep on the highway in a country that doesn’t want them then remain where they are.


Magnus Wennman / Aftonbladet /REX Shutterstock

These are the people that we live in fear of. Approximately 38% of the refugees look like this. Small children, under the age of 12, who long for home and only remember the war and violence that has surrounded them. Another 50% of refugees are women. They are fleeing from the homes they have made, to nothing. They run away from a world that can care less what their religion is, death will come eventually. Girls are taken from their families, assaulted, and often left for dead. They sit at fences and wait for countries to let them in. They look for someone who sees their pain and invites them in. They look for welcome and they instead receive a wall.


Magnus Wennman / Aftonbladet /REX Shutterstock

Refugees, much like these families, have been settled in the U.S. for years upon years. Since 9/11 and the rise of terrorism-based fear, not a single terror attack has been carried out by a refugee. In Paris, we watched as eight French Nationals killed over 100 fellow citizens in the name of chaos and bloodshed. Our fear makes us want to hide. And in moments like this, all I can wonder is when did our fear become bigger then our faith. As we are caught up in our fear we have forgotten what makes us great. In an effort to keep all of the perceived evil out, we ignore the command in Isaiah to “learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s case.” We cover our fear and our ignorance in the cloak of patriotism.

Our safety is never guaranteed. Terrorism, car-jacker, serial killer, spree-killer, burglar, rapist, school-shooter, stray bullet. The way to keep us safe isn’t building higher walls, it isn’t arming every able-bodied person in the U.S., and it damned well isn’t ignoring the INSANE amount of violence in the world. It is seeking justice for those who cannot speak for themselves. It is helping our neighbors and heaping kindness on their heads. It is being global in a world that wants us to sit in our comfortable houses with our overabundance of stuff. It is creating a legacy for which we many never see the fruit.

Legacy. What is a legacy?
It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see
I wrote some notes at the beginning of a song someone will sing for me
America, you great unfinished symphony, you sent for me
You let me make a difference
A place where even orphan immigrants
Can leave their fingerprints and rise up
Hamilton

You sent for me.