Magic Morphing

I have been working on a project for the last month or so: evolving a rough piece of soapstone into a clock for a silent auction that will benefit CASA Partners (see website below for more info). This is my first real attempt at soapstone carving. The results are yet to be determined. But I’m not too worried. Even though I am NOT an artist, I love the cathartic peace that always comes when I am in the process of “coloring”, my term for any act that involves total focus on helping bring something into the world that wasn’t there before. The results don’t matter so much as the experience during the act. There is no risk that it will go wrong. It can’t because there are no expectations except to make with all my heart and soul.


Do you remember when you were five and colored just for the sake of coloring? Total absorption in the act of making a picture.


Who knew we were so good at meditating when we were five? But see, we knew better then how to be completely in the moment.

I wish I could go back and hear what was in my brain when I was five and coloring. Did the Holy Spirit, the universe, angels and ghosts whisper in my ear then like they do now when I am in the act of making? I think so. I just didn’t question as much then. Funny how I can hear the whispers so clearly when I am using power tools!

Soapstone is fascinating to work with. It has been used for thousands of years for carving because it is very soft, containing a large quantity of talc.  Remember the Mohs scale from school? It is a method of comparing hardness of minerals by seeing how easily they can scratch each other. Talc is a 1 the softest. The type of soapstone used for carving contains about 80% talc and has a Mohs rating of about a 2.5.

AND soapstone is a metamorphic rock!

That being said here is a vocabulary lesson (because I am going to get to something with this, from the whisperers today, in the dust, who helped sort out a few things).

All of this is either from Wikipedia or my old Webster’s dictionary from 1988 depending on which definition I liked better.

metamorphic: of or relating to metamorphism

metamorphism: a change in the constitution of a rock, specifically a pronounced change effected by pressure, heat and water that results in a more compact and more highly crystalline condition

metamorphosis: a change of physical form, structure or substance especially by supernatural means

meta: Greek word meaning “after” or “beyond”

morph: to gradually change into another thing usually in a way that is surprising or seems magical

Working on my project today, I had this sense that I wasn’t so much forcing this piece of rock into a shape I wanted it to be but more discovering what shape IT wanted or needed to be and helping it along, uncovering and gently discovering its shades of rust, green, gold, and delicious variations of brown. You can’t force soapstone too hard or it will break and then you are faced with accepting a result that might not have been your original vision because you didn’t see where the rock’s weakness was until it was too late. But a break can often create a result that is stronger and more stable than before. So there is that.

My delight from taking part in the metamorphosis of this bumpy, rough rock,  watching it magically turn into something completely different, has not thus far diminished despite getting covered in dust, accidently sanding a hole in my wrist with the dremel tool (because I sure as hell would not do that ON purpose) (I could have almost DIED!) and hammering my knuckles countless times.

In fact, all of the whispers I heard today through the dust and pain gifted me a slight glimpse of how God must feel watching us all, His lovely creations evolving and changing, each going through our own metamorphosis during our time on earth. Does He smile with delight when our colors are gently uncovered by His angels, ghosts, and dear friends who are able to see below our rough surfaces to our rich, colorful veins? Does He weep with us when chunks of ourselves are painfully broken off, an unintended and often brutal result of our and others’ free will? Does He sigh in relief and pleasure when our jagged edges are smoothed, loved and soothed when our hearts are opened up (often with the gentle prodding of those He sends) to the idea that the break may be just what we needed to take on our next delightful shape.

There is such magic in the making and morphing that happens in our world, yes?

Written today with S.H.O.T.T.R. in my heart. You know who you are my dearests!


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Time Bender

I have made a really important decision. It has taken years and years of long family discussions and agonizing yo-yo thinking to finally come to the firm and absolute resolution that if I could have ONE super hero power it would be time bending: the ability to fast-forward, rewind, delete but mostly just slow DOWN time.

“Look! It’s the amazing Time Bender! She is able to accomplish an almost inhuman number of amazing actions within a 24 hour time span without bodily harm to others, guilt, remorse, lack of sleep, anger, martyrdom, or pills and STILL has time to catch up on the last two seasons of “Breaking Bad” on Netflix all while looking stylish and well groomed. And just LOOK how cute her super hero boots are!”

Side note: I would say ‘heroine power’ but that reminds me of the drug heroin because I want to pronounce the word heroine as ‘HAIR-O-IN’ instead of ‘HEAR-ROYN’ which to me sounds weird and not near as cool as HERO which causes a little envy and gets my left big toe on the feminist podium where I am never very comfortable and really don’t want to be on because I sometimes, mostly kind of wish I didn’t have equal rights which creates a lot more responsibility and multi-tasking skills than required during the ‘simple’ Cro-Magnon days when it was just a logical and necessary division of labor along with a little bit of hair pulling which seems like it might have been fun provided Cro-Magnon man fulfilled his end of the unwritten (probably just grunted) to-do list by providing plenty of wooly mammoth to eat and Cro-Magnon woman had the cave tidied and there was nothing else to do (like run from dinosaurs and shit) and you could send the kids to go gather sticks for a few hours while mom and dad make hair dragging fire in the cave. Yeah.

Imagine how much time I would have if there were no digressions in my writing.

I am pausing here for reflection.

But just for a brief moment…because time is wasting!

Time anxiety seems to be an ever present issue for me. Most of my days start out with a 5:30 am burst of caffeine filled optimism: I will make my MARK on the world by being a productive beacon of ruby red (I am reading the book “Wicked” so ruby red is my current dream color, though it really should be green) and KNOW I will leap forward into the day with good hair and cute boots, creatively participating in my to-do list while simultaneously encouraging my family, friends and clients to SHINE ON!

Fast forward with the super-sonic speed button…

…because the days go that quickly…I swear sometimes it feels like God is playing tricks on me with his doo-hickey time remote controller: “This is really boring shit. Let’s see what H does when I push THIS button”.

(God doesn’t say the word shit…probably.)

…to around 9:30 pm when my accomplishments feel like a ruby red lipstick smear on the impenetrable glass of TIME, my face hurting from all that reckless smashing, all for what LOOKS like no real impact, save for the smear.

I don’t wear red lipstick. That was just one of my weird METAPHORS. I prefer light pink but that just doesn’t work in THIS metaphor and HELLO not ALL writing can be completely truthful.

ANYHOW, since I was little, life has felt like a race to me. Rewind back to the time when I was five and coloring pictures with my mom and my best friend Susie. There is of course the good memory with my mom who was sitting still with me and doing what five year old girls love to do and that’s anything with their mom…

If I could rewind time for real I would just crawl on to her lap in that moment and savor her.

…but what I remember most is what she said as I was racing through my third picture (while she and Susie were still on their first) gloating out loud for accomplishing “the most” pictures: “Sweet child, the number of pictures you color isn’t as important as enjoying the coloring while you do your best work”. I can still feel the sting of tears in my eyes from her gentle redirecting. But I never colored the same after that…and to this day I keep a box of 64 crayons available for the times when coloring a picture is the only thing that slows me down enough to do my best work. I color with great contemplation, though not often enough…

…because I still have the emotional attitude that you must get as much DONE as possible with the time you have. Take for instance the race against the thirty seconds set on the microwave to re-heat my coffee (am I the only one who does this?) (Race not re-heat.) I can usually let the dogs out, pee, wash my hands and be back in time for the beep. What I am UNABLE to do is stand there and watch the clock for thirty seconds. Most of my family can do this. I have caught them staring at the timer, waiting (are they at least THINKING about DOING something?) and I can’t help but think: “You could have wiped down the dirty counter while you waited.”

I so WANT to be wired in a way that allows more time for daydreaming and play because I know this makes life better. I can’t count the number of times I have said “If I can just get through this week I would _______” (insert something fun in the blank). In fact just this morning I wrote in my journal “If I can just get through MARCH and APRIL (which are filled with of a lot of difficult work events) then I will breathe easy and make more time for being this cool, fun, Zen kind of woman who isn’t all business: one who doesn’t care about the state of the house or how much work she has to do…and color more.”

But HOLD THE FORT HERE: what kind of moron wishes for two solid months to be fast forwarded even IF it feels like there are only cruddy un-fun things looming in the future? Where is the beacon of ruby red in THAT kind of thinking? I mean so much FUN stuff could happen that I would MISS on fast-forward speed. Or even worse, I could DIE on May 1, and well dang, that would be kind of BAD to have missed my last two months on earth. (That’s not ruby red thinking either, (the thinking about dying thing) but STILL, am I RIGHT??)

Then there are those moments in time I wish I could delete. We all have them right? You’re cringing right now just thinking about them. It’s okay. People are not real (fun/interesting) people unless they have a few of those moments in their lives where they were complete assholes. Having six kids creates an above average number of asshole opportunities, so I have a lot of those moments. I would for sure delete that time I yanked (really hard) on Maria’s pony tail when she was eleven and strong armed her face into the carpet in absolute rage from a severely smart mouth comment she’d made to me. But while I would/should/could have used more creativity in trying to put a complete halt to the “smart-mouthedness” it is clear to me that my quasi-violence did not break her spirit because she has become a ridiculously brilliant and equally gorgeous teenager who has the (asshole) ability to put me in my own emotional floor-face-plant faster than (I would IMAGINE) a horse tranquilizer. So, deleting moments in time, even the asshole ones, might alter things in a way that are worse than the bad thing you deleted. (I used the word asshole five times in this paragraph. Seriously good writing my friends.)

Anyhow, I for sure would somehow like to be able to slow time down some. I don’t mean having us all be in s-l-o-w-m-o-t-i-o-n…that would be silly…tedious in fact…like watching the grass grow…though I think a couple of my children would be really happy doing this for hours upon hours. It’s just that every once in a while I experience a day that feels perfect on the “H Time Continuum Scale of Judgment”: those days when time just seems to multiply like that Jesus miracle of loaves and fishes. These are the days when I make eye contact with each of my children when they are talking and enjoy how wickedly smart they all are; when I say something nice to my husband that doesn’t contain something I want him to do for me; when I get an amazing amount of laundry (and writing in between loads) done before anyone is even awake and still have time for a quick run; when I creatively get my ‘outside the home’ work done and then let it GO at five without any shouldacouldawoulda thinking; when I notice how funny the cat sleeps, with all four of her paws together at a point; when I view the incessantly loud noise level in my house as a sign of health and happiness instead of a bunch of butt faces put on this earth to bug me; when I pet the dogs before I let them out (so WHAT if I can’t get my hands washed before the beeper goes off?); when all that needs to get done gets done and I SEE this with satisfaction not frenzy. This is an internal thing of course. We all have the same moment in time, the right here and now, in fact thats pretty much all we can guarantee. I just need to put on my metaphoric ruby red super hero boots more often. Clearly they have powers that help me to better experience my “now”. There’s no place like home. And how! Ha!