DELIGHT

Where the Unlikely Electric is Found...

9:57 PM

The Return from Outer Space:

Posted by Heather Arney |

December 29, 2009
This particular afternoon found me in random of all random places - a foreign shower , staring at an Alberto V05 bottle, contemplating my life, and wondering who in the heck Alberto is, and if he knew that I was using his shampoo at 1:40 in the afternoon, days after Christmas 2009. And if you know me, you probably know that I'm not normally hanging out with Alberto in the shower, and instead rocking something a little more user friendly and natural...well, I digress from here. The geographical location wasn't someplace altogether foreign, that I woke to find myself in. 'Twas a planned visit indeed. Iowa. Freezing cold. Blizzards. Car battery dying. Seeing family I haven't seen in years. Discovering sleep, and falling in love with it. Reminiscing, laughing. Learning that some hunters out here use the hooves of animals as coat racks (who knew??!). Sipping coffee and chatting with Grandma. This has been Christmas 2009. Chock full of interesting moments. Perhaps this week and a half in the perpetual tundra seems like an out-of-body-experience, because I have no framework for being here, and all this lazing about and plowing through snow is worlds away from my day-in and day-out work world in the Fres.
And this oh-so-apt title above, is less about returning from Iowa to California, and more about a return to writing again (my words have not graced the e-page since September!), and more about a return to intentionality and simplicity and a slower pace in life. What. In. The. Heck. Does it mean to sloooowww down, and go through life at such a pace, that your head has time to sort and think, your heart has time to feel, your hands have time to do and create, and your body has time to properly sleep? Those may seem like basic questions, but yeehaw if I have had good answers and actions to them in these last few months. Besides, I have highly neglected my entrepreneurial collage projects (only somewhat kidding, ha!!), and my mad black bean soup making skills are rusty and need to be worked on. ;) There are so many daily things/and tending to my soul, that I'm missing out on because I'm doing too many "oh, it's an important function/good cause/blah blah blah" nights out! I'm not committing to a life of tutelage under Bette or Martha...but you get my drift.
We drove, or should I say inched, "into town" today, on icy roads, and through miles upon miles of white blankets and fog, presumably covered up farmland. There was not a whole lot of visual creativity or change for miles....just white, WHITE, darker white, lighter white, and white-ish fog! But somehow what felt boring and plain at first, became beautifully simplistic and idyllic. Farm life - perfect chance to slow down and observe farm oddities I am not used to coming into contact with. While we drove today, many a pheasant almost met their demise, as the hurried off the slick snow, and away from their team huddle in the middle of the road. And strangely enough, I was duly impressed with the fact that I had just seen a school of pheasants in the snow today, and probably no one else I know was experiencing that same thing at that same moment. I am experiencing more "only in a small town" moments than I can recall, care to relay, or knew I'd stumble upon. But all of this good Christmas lazing about in 20 below weather, has forced my heart and head to slow, to re-center, to create and find more peace, and to take a deep breath.
Here's to renewed energy in 2010! To be mindful of what I choose to give my time to...to pick the right rewarding and important things to be involved in...knowing that a great thing at the wrong time, isn't necessarily a great thing. Here's to purposeful and intentional creativity and dreaming...And for whoever you may be, picking over this tiny essay of sorts...may you find that deep peace and intentional slow, as you start a new season in the New Year.
I'm flying back (weather-permitting) this weekend, ready to collage, make soup, attend to my soul, and start the New Year out at a better pace!!
Cheers.

11:54 PM

And They Shall Be Called, September Snippets.

Posted by Heather Arney |


September 18, 2009

I seem to only write once to twice a month on here.....and maybe that is because I only want to share if I have some grand epiphany, delightful verbage to contribute, profundity bubbling in my heart and head, or something comical.....I think it is hard to "blog through the mundane." I can surely promise you that you don't want to know a lot about my last few weeks...:

Like that I acted like a kid at Christmas time, the day we Fresnans woke up the other day and saw that it HAD rained in the night, and my pavement was wet, yet when I scooted out the door in my pjs, nothing was falling from the sky. I came back in the house and my power was out, so I showered in the dark, and remembered that I am a person from many places. I flashed to my years in Vancouver, where I was always freezing cold, so tired of the constant day-in and day-out rain, always hoping for one tiny ray of Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, to please shine down on me....I'm so thankful, actually, for all the sun-time we log here in the 'No, but my heart was giddy with rememberence of the good rain memories. I also flashed to my college summers, when I'd leave Vancouver, and head back to Maryland. Maryland would be hot and humid, and then would offer up terrificly divine flash flood thunder and lightening storms, and I would watch with glee from my couch, in awe....until out power went out for days.

Can you possibly imagine that all of what I just wrote "flashed" through my mind in about a ten minute period, just because it actually happened to rain in the middle of the night here in Fresno? That instance/happening/event in the night was intersecting with my past, my life experiences, my rich memories, my weather preferences, and my well-geographically travelled soul.

Still working at my job, day in and day out, trying to become more inventive and creative in my work, loving the chance to work with kids, not loving working 8:30-5 EVERYDAY. Yuck and a half...that is permanently unresolved, temporarily...if that makes sense? Yet, I guess I don't want to share common things on my blog, or average thoughts, but things that have great feeling or depth, or hold weight, or, or, or.

So how about:
I'm in a small group through a church, and it started up a few weeks ago, and I'm so delighted to meet new faces of people my age, who love Jesus, and who seem to all be in this place in life of really wanting to ask Jesus what it means to live authentically for Him, to really know Him. The book we're reading................is really good. Yea, let's put our "I know my Christian literature, or I'm a Greek Philospher" mindsets aside...and seen as teaching tool/devotional guide....the book is teaching me SO much. Are my life and my actions filled with love and grace-giving? Am I primarily concerned with loving God and loving people, or am I wrapped up in outward practices, that can be good, but are not if they operate in and of themselves - faith practices that can turn into legalism, that we put in the center of our hearts, rather than loving and serving Him and His people. Will people see Christ in me? If so, how?? Will be it be because I'm full of His love?

How about:
I'm so incredibly excited to re-make this fab holiday-esque recipe that I tried out for the first and only time, a year ago Christmas time. Something to the effect of taking Greek Phyllo pastry, and laying out sheets of it. Then putting a Brie cheese round in the center of the Phyllo dough pastry. Then seperately one makes a concoction of dried cranberries, pecans (that you have to toast first), a bunch of spices (not sure off-hand which ones), and a fair dose of port. That all gets mixed together and heated up really well and so all the goodness merges. Then when there is definite merging action going on, pour the said goodness all over the Brie. Then wrap up the Phyllo pastry around the Brie and gooey mixture, like you're wrapping a package (except not like when I'm wrapping a package - I swore off wrapping things from now on!! It looks like a 4 and a half yr. old wrapped it....gift bags only.) Lastly, you do an egg wash over the pastry, pop it in the oven for some amount of time (?) at a certain said temperature (?), and VOILA!!!!! Yummy gooey mess that tastes great with some quailty bread - like artisan whole wheat kalamata olive bread, or quality crackers of sorts. Keep in mind that when you cut into this, I think it is a bit runny/messy.

How about: I have the great opportunity to be a part of an acoustic/folk show at a coffee shop coming up, and get to work with some talented musicians...I'm going to be contributing back-up vocals, so to speak...I'm as happy as a peach pie!...(I hear they are happy, I've not confirmed the rumors..)
And also...I was already closer to 30 than I was to 20, but this really get cemented as I have ANOTHER Birthday in 2 weeks!!! (It's funny how those b-day come around pretty consistently...) I'm not sure how I feel about this...yes it's just a number, but still....

Those are some of the HIGH-lights...yea, life is full of Low-lights (and no, I'm not trying to talk about getting your hair done...), but somehow my heart isn't so sure it is necessary to shovel out the low-lights in the blog, at least not today. My heart continues to wrestle, like most hearts do, with a lot of things. That's just being honest. I don't seem to always understand why things are they way they are, what things mean, what I'm supposed to be doing, what God is telling me...but I do know that God is so incredibly and amazingly wonderful. I think one of the reasons He is, is because He doesn't change. His character and nature are always consistent and He is always faithful. All those billion attributes we can pin on Him...well they are always attached to Him. He'll always love me in profound ways I don't yet understand, He'll always be gracious, He is the One that has set out plans for my life, He is a Father and a Healer, and a life-giver. He cares for the least of these...He is God...and I am not. I'm glad He is, and I am not.

So, I guess this is an update, a small tiny one....snippets. I am hoping that tomorrow morning or sometime soon finds me wandering Fresno with my camera again, taking pictures of things that speak to me as I walk. If I find myself doing this soon, I'll be sure to post any pictures that I get excited about.

Heather, Out.

5:58 PM

A Living Art Collage of Redemption

Posted by Heather Arney |





August 23, 2009

"Time can't go backwards, you cannot changed what has happened, but you can change everything else."

I just finished watching what many would call a very "B" rate movie called, "Mom, Dad, and Her," on Lifetime. Before you chuckle, I must say, (as I wipe tears from my eyes), that despite the cheesiness factor of this "made-for-tv film, I feel so incredibly moved, and have so many thoughts swirling in my head....The main word is "redemption." I don't think I have long-winded, poetic and profound, paragraphs ready to leap from my brain on to the pages, or e-pages as the case may be.....but maybe a few thoughts and a few pictures can say what I want to say.

The simple storyline of the film was this: A teenager's parents were divorced when she was young....she is struggling in life and getting into trouble. Her mother calls her father, out of despair, and she is "forced" to go live out in a rural area for the summer with her father and her new "step-mom." The step-mother is played by Melora Hardin, "Jan," the quirky old boss of Michael on The Office. Her role in this movie was glorious, and gloriously simple. The movie was typical - meaning I am sure you could script what the summer in the rural town with the dad and step-mom would look like. The daughter was pretty horrid and dreadful, and ran away and was mean to the father and step-mom...and the step-mom was gracious and loving back. She didn't try to be the girl's mom, or get angry at her for her bad behavior, instead she embraced her. She saw that the girl was broken because of her past, and her parents' failed marriage....the step-mom was gentle and sure, and through her simple kindness was a change agent. Her actions and her love brought forth redemption in this girl's life.

I couldn't even get up to zap my luke-warm coffee or get a tissue for my blubbery face...I just sat there, so incredibly moved by Melora Hardin, in this role. She was a change agent in someone's life because she called out the best in them, she offered hope in the face of hopelessness, she offered grace when it was certainly not the human thing to do. She helped someone see their way through something difficult, by being a presence and by being full of unconditional love. That struck me as exactly what Jesus did, and does, and costantly does in my life. How steady and how sure is the redemptive work of Christ in my life.

It sometimes takes a Lifetime Sunday afternoon movie to remind me of His redemptive nature....I am reminded of how much He is in the business of making old things new....of taking the broken and messed up places within ourselves and creating something beautiful, and using us right where we are at to touch another person. He banishes shame and hurt, and gives us something sweeter and more beautiful. I think sometimes we can barely behold this thing..we don't know how to behold it. Pain can be comfy, and this sweet tasting burst of Hope he offers challenges us to receive it, right in the middle of whatever messiness we are in. Behold it.
I got all inspired..I wanted to be Melora Hardin in her character in that moment. Don't get me wrong...I'm not looking to put myself in her shoes and sign up for the specifics of her life. I can only hope to be half the hope-giver as she was to that teenaged girl.

I think that is one of the reasons I like taking pictures of random, broken down, old stuff...(specific, huh?). If you look at my "Creating in V-town" album on facebook, it is a glimpse of a photo escapade I had one evening. I took about 72 shots of funky couches and chairs in complete disrepair, that were dumped outside of a closed thrift store. For me, looking at those couches is not in the slightest way, depressing. Instead it evokes total hope and glee inside of me. What is the story of this couch, and what potential does it have? (Don't answer that question...the specific couch was so funky, it deserves to be burned or exploded, cause it was super icky, haha!) But for -analogy sake....what can be done with rusty old yesterday's stuff? It can be re-invented, re-worked, re-created, re-born, re-invested in. I LOVE THE "RE-" WORDS! It's like, TAKE 2, Try again, don't give up, you are rad, and you just haven't fully realized it yet.

What else has "-re" in it? REBIRTH. RENEWAL.

It is my prayer that God could use my little humble self in great way in others' life, by simply being a hope-bearer - pointing the way to Christ's gift of new life - helping people to see that He does super cool things with rusty people...He can fine tune and recreate.
Here's to thriftstore sweaters that get a second life, vintage furniture - round 2, and the redemption of our hearts and lives.....

I want to be a living art collage of redemption. Does that make sense? It did in my head.

The few pictures above fit my mood right now - shots I took 2 years ago when on a retreat up in the woods and mountains...simplicity. :)

7:21 PM

MY LIFE AS AN IRISH BOHEMIAN BLOGGER...

Posted by Heather Arney |

August 8, 2009

Just back from seeing the new Meryl Streep and Amy Adams movie, "Julie and Julia." It is as if I have come back from an experience - that I was given a small cushioned window seat into the lives of Julie and Julia, and that we are now moving towards friendship, or (okay, maybe just wanna be penpals.) Maybe I was not so profoundly impacted by this movie, following the life of Julia Child and her passionate pursuit of cooking, and the young woman who cooked all 500 and something of Julia's recipes in 365 days, as much as it inspired me and challenged me.

In the movie Julie was maniachal as all get out, swinging a full-time job, her marriage, and sometimes working her way through multiple French recipes in one night. She did not just boil lobster alive, and slice through the spine of a duck (count me out!!), but detailed her account in a zestfully vibrant and honest way, to her cyber readers via a blog. I must admit that blogging and cooking are two hot button words (and activities for me....perhaps, cooking more so), and so I was all about this film. I also must blatantly admit, I was envious of her great blog following!! It made me want to pick a theme, and some crazy task to do each day, and faithfully complete both the task, and the colorful description of the experience....

Being in the theater was a superb reality check for me. I am certain that after the movie, most every female, especially every young female, was completely enamored by the young Julie's life....was ready to live in a flat above a pizza shop in NYC, with an amazingly committed and devoted husband, pursuing such an adventure, and finding new fame. Not to say that it can't happen, because ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING, (almost), is possible with vision, and hard work, and never-ending creativity and drive.... My friend in the theater made the comment though, after the final credit rolled, about how easy it would be to get wrapped up in what looked on screen as Julie's perfect life and adventure...

As I wait for about an hour, to get ready to have delightful Thai cuisine with a friend, my hunger gets the best of me and I've fallen prey to string cheese and some (fab, I must say) dark beer....I am watching my roommate's over-sized, overly gleeful dog roll around on his back repeatedly, while chewing on a tennis ball, and I am thankful.... :) Thankful that I am human, and that God has equipped up as human beings with such wondrous capabilities and capacities to accomplish so much, to create, to dream, to serve, to love...heck to be thinking, feeling, people, and not dogs who chew balls. (See Hebrews 13:20-21 - God enables us and gives us strength where we do not have ability and are weary). What a great honor and responsibility. This weekend so far has been a quiet one so far, and for that I am thankful...a time to sit before God and really try and listen and hear from Him, and recenter myself, and really ask myself what is in my heart to do, and ask God what He would have for me....believe me, the string cheese and dark beer, are certainly enhancing the clarity I am receiving now! ;)

I may not be the next Julie, sweeping the cyber world with a thousand plus blog followers (although, maybe one day, ha!), but I am Heather Clarrisse, and for that I am thankful to God....

A quick aside: Say I was to dawn the hat of professional blogger, or pretend professional blogger, what crazy thing should I become obsessed with and pursue at greath lengths, and tell the whole world about? :)

VOTE NOW!
a.) Make it my pyschotic bent to try every Chai tea, chai latte, and perversion of chai in this fine city of Fresno, and write a detailed report about not only the drink, but what company it found me in...

b.) A hunt for every authentic, and divine, and hopefully sanitary taco stand or truck or joint in this town, and my ravings about how good it is, a confession of how much sour cream I dumped on top, and the people I mingled with... (funny how the first two involve food!!)

c.) Quit responsibility (NOTE: DON'T WORRY, I WON'T DO THAT!) and become a traveling bohemian somewhere in Europe....probably somewhere in Ireland to start off....I'll write about crazy traveling life, my musical pursuits, and beautiful seas and villages I land in. Maybe one day....and maybe you can come too??? Let me know if you're in. ;)

d.) could be a blog about my youthworking pursuits but that may not entail enough humor for my liking....don't want to put you guys in tears, and make you grab blankets and need a hug...

Be commissioned to:
VOTE! OR SUGGEST OTHER POSSIBILITIES! ;)

6:14 PM

I Wanna Be a New Heights Reacher!

Posted by Heather Arney |

July 25, 2009




They Might Stay


















Let's play a game.....you guess what I'm describing, k?

- Studies words on a page for 2 hours a day...looks like some form of memorization
- Claims to play the vocal chords, and can be seen practicing their use, at 1 in the morning.
- Sings in buildings where coffee is served, and sometimes in funky joints....they serve alcohol there. :)
- Records on borrowed equipment - friend's roommates' mac computers - with much vibrancy, focused energy, songs for ears to hear...not just any ears, but ears of followers.
- Prints flyers spouting off such things as "Folk Delight Since 2009."

Well, I didn't tell you the rules....or how you were supposed to answer, so I guess I'm not very good at setting up games for people to play. I promise not to go work for a game invention company....but I can promise to tell you that the above RANDOM FACTS are connected to one of my new musical projects, called They Might Stay. I keep alluding to musical ventures in past messages, but haven't said anything concrete about it lately, because I have literally been buried in a Tower house with no A/C, practicing and practicing with my friend and musical counterpart Derrick, learning lyrics, fine-tuning, scheming and dreaming where we'll play, etc. We were maniachal and worked very hard in a short time, recording a 3 song e.p. to sell at our first actual show last night at Echo Cafe, the old Java Wava, across from Fresno High. (Our other musical venturings have been at open mic nights at a few different places, as well as an impromptu show at a Tower restaurant, and house parties.)

We like to joke about our name...one really can go very many verbally creative places with it.
For instance, They May or May not Stay. They Might Come and Go, He left, she cried. Ahhh, I know those all sound terribly negative, but truly they aren't. Derrick and I have been having a blast, minus the getting no sleep at all as of late....it is just the simple hard facts, or almost facts that he is probably heading back up to the Bay Area in the fall for a job. Who knows the fate of The Stayers or The Non-Stayers... :) If he jets up to the Bay Area, we may play a weekend of shows every other month, or so, switching from Fresno to the Bay Area.

Allz I know is that right now, I'm learning a lot, I am honored that a friend would allow me to sing what they have written and created, and I love singing for people in various venues. The adventure at least continues through the end of August, as we try to play a few more places.

If it seems that all I do is talk about music on this bloggish thing I call "Delight," it is because hobby or passion wise I tend to go through phases, and sometimes long ones - where I am pursuing something that is in my heart, and tend to spend every spare moment working towards that/doing that/pursuing that...whatever the "that" is. I am so very thankful to those folks that came out to our show at Echo last night, as well as to friends and family who eagerly cheer me on, and believe in our small musical offerings.....(that hopefully will become increasingly GREAT!)

Sporadically updated is this blog I know....I flew away to East Coast a few weeks ago for a family wedding, which was wonderful, and will fly up to the Vancouver area for another family wedding, leaving this week. Apparently getting married is a popular thing to do. And apparently flying half way around North America and back a few times for weddings is the thing that I do. :) It will be a good trip up to Van., but super short! And I'm sure I'll be bringing lyrics and fresh paper and pen along with me for my trip in the skyways...

I will close with the fact that I saw Counting Crows and Augustana in concert last weekend, with a friend of mine. They were BEYOND AMAZING. It was like a traveling musical hippie folk show....sometimes with both bands up on stage singing and playing together, with tons of instruments at the same time - everything from a banjo to a harmonica, to a piano. I have NEVER enjoyed a concert more in my life. I think I was moved by their onstage creative, presence and talent, as well as generally encouraged that I too can do anything I put my mind and heart to, (with God's guidance and help), and that it really is the human's own self that prevents itself from achieving, and aspiring and reaching new heights. I don't wanna box myself in, and play small...


I wanna be a New Heights Reacher....

12:03 PM

WHY IS THIS OKAY??!

Posted by Heather Arney |

July 4, 2009
Rarely, am I on my "high-horse" about something....and perhaps I should be even more informed before mounting this said horse... But on this 4th of July, where we are supposedly celebrating independence and freedom in America, I am reading an article about Fresno Police repeatedly beating a homeless man. The outrage and sadness that I immediately feel inside, obviously is not one held by some people in governement, or by the people who are "supposed to be" the peace keepers, the advocates and law enforcers in our city. Apparently police officer is not equated with justice-minded advocate.
I must be just finding out about the beating, because I've been crazy busy, or I'm living under a rock - I'm not sure which it is. It happened in February and this man is just having a hearing now. Read:
Glen Beaty, the homeless man seen in a video being beaten by a Fresno Police officer, had a hearing in court yesterday (Thursday, July 2). Beaty, who has been in jail for almost 5 months, has not been charged with a crime in that incident. The court ordered him to be sent to the Atascadero State Mental Hospital. For more details, go to: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/07/03/18605566.php For background about this situation, see: http://www.indybay.org/Boldnewsitems/2009/06/10/18601228.php
Make sure you go to the second link, especially, as that gives you background on the case. Hmm, the homeless man, although mentally un-well, refused to take medication unless he knew what it was. I am pretty sure anyone would say the same thing. Let's keep a homeless man locked up in jail for 5 months...simply because he's homeless and living on the streets? How about we keep those two police officers who beat the crap out of Mr. Beaty, in jail for 5 months? I'd feel a lot safer about that! Unjust, hurtful, and unfair to Mr. Beaty, and dishonoring to God. I thought that every person had worth, even if considered "the least of these." Mr. Beaty is loved by God so much so...and it must break his heart to see people in positions of power, abuse that power, and hurt those weak and downtrodden.
Anyone have any thoughts? As I watch fireworks tonight, I'm honestly sure I'll be thinking of this man in jail, and feeling disillusioned and jaded with our system of justice in our country. I know I know...Heather this happens ALL the time! This is just one of a million instances and stories of injustice in our nation. I understand that...but somehow each story deserves a place to be shared for what it is.
Thank you Mike Rhodes for opening our eyes, and for continually bringing forth news for us to read that we may not get the full scoop on otherwise...
Mike Rhodes
EditorCommunity Alliance newspaper
P.O. Box 5077Fresno Ca 93755
(559) 978-4502 (cell) (559) 226-3962 (fax)
editor@fresnoalliance.com

10:51 PM

ANTS WITH GREAT CAUSES!

Posted by Heather Arney |

Now for something different (oh wait, no this is not different....it's the usual!) - a running monologue and commentary from Heather's brain. Enjoy your evening read! :

It is refreshing, (I think that's the word of the night), to like the messiness in people's lives (or at least to graciously allow for it), in their hearts, their emotions, and to embrace them/where they are at....not expecting them to be any certain way, or change any certain thing. Doing so overly reminds you of how raw you are, and how deep your mental craziness is, what you hope people overlook, and why you need grace.

We are beautiful, broken, struggling, searching, adventurous, tenacious, questioning, never give up souls on this earth.....and when we know the extent of this in our own selves, and know who it is that loves us and holds us together ....then we can much more so offer grace and understanding and love to others, exactly where they are at...

It is actually quite beautiful and liberating to purposefully see Jesus in everyone you come across. It's not like I possess some magical ability to do this, because I don't. I am a human, and have thought and feelings, and they aren't always nice ones either....But the Holy Spirit can enable you to see people how He sees them....and when you can tap into that....or when I've been able to tap into that....there is something soo rich there. It's rich because that's how Christ sees me. Not for what I can do, and accomplish and how I'm going to save the world (oop, can't do that anyway), or how I'm going to revolutionize the whole wide world. Do you ever get to that place where you are running in 10 directions, doing many good things, completely unable to stay on top of it all, feeling discouraging, getting overwhelmed, and then seriously ready to throw in the towel and stay in bed for like 4 and a half days? I think I love those days. After the pinnacle of the emotion and the discouragement, comes some ridiculous wave of peace...of stillness. Like I don' t have to move or do anything or say anything. Like none of my worth or who I am is going to be measured by all the things my maniacal self can do. I sit, still...quiet....and then I hope. I hope in something far bigger or greater than me....something, someone, God, that I promise you more often that not, I don't understand. And then even in the not understanding, God shows me that He is bigger than my finite mind. Sometimes it takes me to this point of craziness, to get me still, so He can whisper something...I must make God's lungs sore sometimes....and He is finally refusing to shout.

Heather, do life with me. You're doing good things, but what you do is not equated with who you are in me. Know that first. Know me first. Find me first. Be found in me first. And I sit there like I've been banging my flipping head against the wall, and I put the brick down, and I finally say, "Yes, Lord, I am getting it now..." And let that not be a negative image or a depressing visual. Gosh, to me it's one of hope. Hope that at any point, in any situation, that God is God and I am not....that I can aspire and dream, and pursue things, and put my heart out there, and love and do whatever the heck I am trying to do/wanting to do....and He will and can bless and use this and that and me...but that through Him, by me seeking Him first, putting Him first, realizing the whole reason I have life, first, that then things can begin to blossom and spring up in better ways than I could ever realize...in prettier colors, in nicer shapes. It's not always easy, and neat....cause it's not. Life can be messy and challenging, and sometimes there are not always the pretty colors and shapes, and the like....but then I keep remembering the times God did surprise me and showed me in His time something greater, and neater than my understanding would allow for.

I think a good word in sum is "perspective" or "focus." Lord I don't fully know what it means to "give you my heart," or "seek you first." I screw things up but I want to want you at least. I choose to rest in you....and from there I can go forth......

And after all that heavy stuff...whatever I just said above......After saying that God is teaching me perspective, and what needs to come first in my life...lighter stuff!

I've had the biggest blast ever, playing music with a friend lately. He's in town just for the summer, but I've been learning his music, and we've been cranking it out. We've been playing "name that folk group," and are narrowing down what we want to be known as. :) Making music, singing, owning that folksy/hippie/earthy vibe.....making each song some creative art piece...it's good stuff. I feel as if I've just gone on a min-tour of the Tower in Fresno. Well...not really cause we only played at a few places, but it was a lot in just a few days, back to back. A little gig here, 2 open mic nights at places, a house party, and then this Sunday a low-key fundraiser event. And THEN we'll be doing a show soon, at the end of July..just us - a full acoustic gig at a coffeeshop. A little event, not necessarily taking Tower by storm...ha! But it will be delightful. God is granting me one of the desires of my heart, and that is to sing and make music and collaborate. Love it!

Oh yea, and I get to fly back East to Maryland (and Viriginia) for a cousin's wedding, and get to see my mom - haven't seen her in almost a year. It will be a short whirlwind few days, but I know it's going to be a wonderful time..I cannot wait until the clock strikes 5:16 at work next Wednesday. Airport bound. Peace out Fresno. (Hah! For a few days that is...) If I don't fall asleep within 34 seconds of "the emergency exits are here, here, and here," I hope for a few hours of thinking, being still, dreaming, and then finally resting the brain. :) Time away from reality/current life, always helps with perspective. God help us all with that word. As we run around like ants with great causes, help us to see who created the ground we march on...help us to let you into our lives more and more....

2:04 AM

I DO CRAZY THINGS: LIFE AS A CIRCUS MONKEY!

Posted by Heather Arney |

June 20, 2009

Okay, COMPLETELY ignore the second half of the blog title...I promise it really holds no weight/has little connection to what I now may type...only that it sounded catchy. Oh wait, I lied - I feel like it has been "Heather's life as a circus monkey" in that I've been running around like a maniac doing about a million things, thinking about a million things, etc. lately. A million may be an estimate, but I've saved you from math equations and reading a long set of numbers with decimal points. :)

I have honestly had a really good last few weeks. I have proclaimed officially, somewhere in at least my subconscious, that I do not want to work 8:30-5 for the rest of my life until I am 68...that may not mean that I have a commanding entrepreneurial skill so mastered that I'm giving my notice tomorrow...but I'm starting to REALLY dream, and think, and envision what I may want my life to look like in these next few years. I'm starting to ask myself, what studying up do I need to do/what do I need to learn, how do I get focused on some of the dreams in my heart, so I don't look back in 15 years and think, "Darn, those WERE good dreams....too bad they slipped down the drain.

And even aside from pursuing things connected to future goals...I've been at it again, trying random and new things, just for the sake of trying new things, trying things I've always wanted to do, but haven't...and for the sake of doing what I'm fearful of. When you do something you have never done or are afraid to do, and you go through it, even if it's a little class, or a one time event, you build confidence and you get stronger inside. Last year living up in Vancouver, on my own accord, I took a one night wine knowledge class, a gluten free cooking class, and an all-natural soap making class with a friend. They may scream, "random," but they were fun little adventures...Two years ago when I was living in Fresno, I took a hip hop dance class! (YES, there is a B-rate video of Heather busting out some crazy ghetto dance moves, floating out there somewhere). Sometimes I get myself in these new situations and then think, "Heather, really? Stop trying new things...sometimes the stretching and newness is uncomfortable." But really, cheers to that!

Now I've started attending a summer pottery night class. My poetic soul couldn't make a darn thing out of that clay the other night...using the wheel that is. I wanted to be done, and say, "NOT for me, money back please," but strangely enough will return next week, ready to try again, and maybe after 8 weeks make something that looks higher than a 4th gr. skill level...and at least feel proud for sticking with something.

What is it that you totally want to do but never have done? The secret desire in your heart? The vocation you'd really rather be in? The adventure you want to go on? The trip you want to plan? The side project calling your name? The musical inclination you haven't explored out of fear? The ultimate thing that speaks to your heart? Both asking these questions for you and for me. There is something beautiful in giving yourself honest answers...

So many realizations as of late....life is so incredibly short. I desire to make an impact in peoples' lives and do great and purposeful things...somehow connected to that though, I want to be awake and alive, know what makes my heart sing, and then chase it as fast as I can in till I fall in the grass like a silly little girl with her flowy skirt twisted in knots, with a tune to hum, and joy in her heart. I'm starting the chase...and sometimes the chase begins in such small ways that no one but you knows the steps you take. Sometimes you may not want to even tell anyone....I'm learning it's okay to protect the dream for awhile, like a little egg you keep warm, safe, and protected, while it gets ready to hatch. The chase is about journey, about process, and about delight along the way...

I am starting the chase....wanna run too?








June 6, 2009

What do I even say about taking a long weekend trip down to an orphanage in Mexico? Should we be reallllly honest here? How honest is appropriate? I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to go down to the El Farro Orphanage in El Povenir, Mexico. There is something completely humbling and brilliantly beautiful in leaving one's comfort zone and country for something third world. I don't mean that in a, "oh they deserve applause" way, but in a "wow, God's probably gonna open your eyes and teach you something new, and make you thankful for what you have" kind of way. And that is what happened.

We got the chance to put finishing touches on "Nana's house" that was originally built a few weeks prior, by the youth from our church. I tried my hand at painting, and gosh darn, that purple-y/blue/I don't know what color it is, door looks lovely! But beyond the door or any finishing touches...there was some profound and divine moment watching Nana's face and the tears in her eyes as the local pastor prayed for her, and everyone gathered for the house dedication/celebration. Why on God's green earth am I so materially blessed in comparison?? And do know I'm not saying, "Why am I so blessed and she is not?" Because how true is it that she in many ways probably has a much richer and deeper faith, or at least a faith in a way that I can't understand. She knows simplicity, and I can certainly learn a thing or two about that. She knows what it means to be a servant and giver and a lover of all, even and especially those that are broken and family-less, in a way that I also do not know. How incredibly beautiful.

And then on the holiday Monday, we waved and hugged, and promised to return (it's looking like if they go again the holiday weekend in September, I can go to!!). And then that was that, and we left. We drove down the long and very bumpy dirt road, away from the orphanage, heading back up North. And then my mind began to work and process and sort. Kind of freeing to go without makeup and nice clothes for a weekend, and be "incovenienced." Kind of freeing to not have email and phone calls, and to play with kids for hours, and laugh around meals with people you can barely understand but have a common faith with. I still haven't fully sat with my experiences yet....this needs to be done. God, what do you want me to take away from being there? How do I incorporate those times there into my daily life now? Nana is still making tortillas every morning, and loving the heck out of those kids on the dusty and beautiful orphanage out in the middle of nowhwere...and I'm sitting on my couch in Fresno, on my laptop. Not making a comparison to say, "Poverty and such simplicity is the better way," and that I shouldn't have what I have. I just know that there are rich lessons to be learned. I don't think they realize how much of a blessing they are to me. We are the "white americans" that came to build them a house...but they are the people with such vibrant faith and great passion for the Lord and for people, that have opened their hearts to me, a stranger, and make me want to come back again, and again, and again, and, well you get the idea.

If you are in Fresno, maybe pray about coming with us next time. Not to offer a seat, when I don't know for sure, but there seems to always be a few spots open when we go, and if I know in advance that you want to come, I'll run it by the person who leads the trips. Looks like the next short venture is just over the long weekend at the beginning of September, so you wouldn't miss any work. Costs are gas money only....and a bucket of blessings and delight will follow.

See more beautiful faces and orphanage images on my Facebook. :)

7:50 PM

If I Had An Indie Folk Band, IT MIGHT BE NAMED...

Posted by Heather Arney |

May 27, 2009

If I had an Indie Folk Band, IT MIGHT BE NAMED.......

Now for something completely random, all too much fun, and fairly inapplicable, at least for right now...YES, I did discover some late night DELIGHT at www.ratemyband.co.uk and through http://www.coolehmag.com/frontEnd/filler.php?i=45&s=80

What people come up with and post on the internet always amazes me...although I'm sure I shouldn't be amazed. There are countless budding and not-so-budding emo, punk, screamo, alternative, and folk bands that are desperate to be named, and calling out for a creative moniker embrace. And in case you are one of these said artists, you're having a mid-life crisis and have started a rock-n-roll band in your garage, or you simply and silently dream of your alternative life in Some Cool Band - look no further. Yep. That's right. Hop on over to the above named, fun-abounding, name spitter-outters, and come up with your very own NEW BAND NAME! And then tell me what you will call yourself - I am intrigued.

Okay, so I have alluded to, and quite openly said I want to go and sing around town, open up for a little band at a bar or coffee shop, etc. We'll leave it at that for now...Currently I write a lyric here and two there, or go around my house belting out tunes I make up. There's creativity bubbling up, with a voice for sure.... but not sure of the outlet, working on the ability, and truly needing collaborators. Maybe I'm just not sold on the whole "solo," thing, or maybe I'm chicken. :) Both are okay motivators to find collaborators, and to postpone while still dreaming...

Anyway........Without Further Ado!!!! :
These are a few of what these crazy sites gave me for folkish type band name ideas:

Hollow on the Lake
Pines Georgia
Georgia Horn
Rye North
The Getting Kansas
The Old Voltage
Juliana Bend
Uncut Juliana
(wow, can I just say that I really like the idea of "Juliana" in a band name, true true.)
And then this one randomly came to me - not sure I'm sold on it, but it's country fun: Tennessee Probability

Go on over to the sites, and click away to be named, and be on your way to Fame, or at least on your way to sounding like you're cool. ;)

Said promised update about my recent quick escape to work in the Mexican orphange down south, is to come....pending the uploading of photos, and the gathering of thoughts. While you wait, your homework assignment is to come up with your band name. ENJOY -

9:03 PM

BORDER HOPPING this Weekend :)

Posted by Heather Arney |




Just after Christmas time I had the opportunity to go and spend some time hanging out with teenagers in an orphanage in a village a few hours south of the border. My church has a long standing connection with the caretakers at the orphanage, and the children and teens there. A phenomenal person from my church, with a heart for God and His people, has been making trips down there for years and years, with his family members and folks from my church.
Going down there a few months ago was amazing. Not because I thought, "Oh wow, I've accomplished some great construction-y (just made that a word) task, or because I felt "spiritual" being on a missions trip. It was delightful because the family who ran the place, and the teens there, were so full of life and joy, were so giving, had such beautiful hearts, were so thankful, and had a fiery passion in their hearts for God - and it was cool just spending time with them, and learing from them. We did some minor construction tasks, and then spent a lot of time just hanging out (and eating tacos.) I ate more tacos than would be appropriate to tell you, I played like a maniac, and ultimately got my butt kicked in a soccer game (the U.S.A. kids vs. The Real Soccer Players), and got a chance to worship alongside (and be completely humbled by) the youth and surrounding community in their simple one room church.
In the last few months, the person from my church would jet down there to visit or do construction work, and would offer me a spot in his minivan to join the group of folks going down there. Having little time that I could take off from work, I haven't gone back, until....THIS COMING WEEKEND! We are just going down for the long weekend - leaving Friday night and coming back Monday. I'm not excited because I think I'm "going on a missions trip," but because I'm excited to go and hang out with fabulous and authentic people - see familiar faces, worship alongside of them, and simply hang out. I pray that God uses it as a teaching opportunity, and that He opens my eyes to new things...plus last time a group from my church went down there, they built a little house for "Nana." Nana is the beautiful resident grandma, who had a tiny tiny space to lay her head before this new little place. She is so giving and selfless, and so this weekend will also be a time to celebrate her, and her new little place!
Get reaaddddyy for a LONG car drive down!!! Will maybe post some photos, post trip. :)
Happy Long Weekend to you all.

11:28 PM

FLY FREE, like the PAPALOTE!!

Posted by Heather Arney |

May 12, 2009

I crack myself up...I swear I should just fire myself from my day job and stay home and write super avant-garde, profound, yet heart-warming greeting cards...and then become widely aclaimed because of my lyrical delights. I can see CLARISSE GREETINGS (Clarisse being my middle name) SWEEPING the nation now....Okay, or completely NOT at all. If you get tired of your day job, phone me, text me, find me, and profess your readiness for said business venture. I have the card stock, and the brainy goodness already on hand. Anyway...;)

So this business of the Papalote - do we have any bilingual folks scanning this written piece? If not, let me tell you that the word that sounds so cool to say means, "Kite" in Spanish. Pretty simple, however, delightful in the way it sounds. Say it a couple of times and see what I mean. For work, a few of us from my organization truck out to Firebaugh (for those of you not local, it's about an hour away, out in the middle of nowhere), to put on this weekly parenting class. A few of the moms in the class either do not speak English, so what's said gets translated, or they are bilingual. Hence the spanish words dancing in my head. The kite flying freely is a perfect analogy for how I see these moms. They have so many difficult life challenges, are constantly weathering adversities, and yet somehow are finding small (and sometimes HUGE) victories in better relating with their children, and loving themselves more in the process.

I feel like a big 'ol Papalote today. Okay, maybe not big and old. Perhaps a kind-of stylish, sparkly purple number with flashes of red....but I am flying freely. Kind of plodding through a lot of the mundane of life with work and other stuff (I know...that previous sentence wins the award for clarity and conciseness, right?) Touching my passions here and there, loving on families and kids each day (ha, or most days) at work, etc. I have a lot of peace in my heart and life. I know that God is sovereign, however much I still work at transferring that from head knowledge to heart knowledge...etc. I sometimes just think, "what else God," or "what's next God?" There is a fire that is growing inside of me. A little voice that gives a giddy whisper...when I drive back downtown and take in the murals, and remember my "inner-city" internship at the Pink House 3 years back. It's the excitement I get when I connect with other young 20 somethings that are fired up to love the homeless, and look for practical ways to make a difference in the city. It is like my heart is beginning to listen more. The ears of my heart might be working just slightly better...(at least I'm hoping).

I am probably not going to run off to work in an African Village tomorrow (although I would love to go to Kenya someday, for at least a few weeks, meet my sponsor child, love on kids there, etc.) Right now I value increasing stability as I finish setting up Fresno as home. And it's not necessarily a restlessness of hugely needed change. It's more of an alert excited energy, anticipating what God could want to teach me, and about possible new (even if simple) ways that God could use me in this city. Fresno truly has become dear to me.

After work today I ran around town (or motored around town) just for a little while, and took a bunch of pictures. I seemingly do that A LOT....sometimes I feel more victorious in my abilitiy to capture what I am thinking and feeling inside, through a picture, than other times.

There is no grand finale to this post...but a little photographic peak of my run around today (and in months past.)

Enjoy :)









9:39 PM

Weekend Profundity...

Posted by Heather Arney |

The Weekend Components in all Their Glory:

This past weekend was pretty neat-o (I'm pretty sure that SOMEONE should bring that word back into style...I'm fighting an uphill battle, and I need some reinforcements).

1.) Helped a friend move (a good thing to do - plus who doesn't want to hang out on and move '80's velvet plush sofas at 8:30 on a Saturday morning?!

2.)Perused Tower block sales - didn't acquire any crap or fabulous finds, (though scored some legit roadside tacos), but did wish that the blocksale neighbor's yellow VW Bus was for sale!

3.) Dinner with Friends at a random, nondescript downtown Hangout (Joe's Steakhouse) - there was gayity and fun, B-rate appetizers, and long conversations about peoples' supposed witty "twits" and "twots" - I am duly reminded as to why I am not on Twitter (let me not offend you Twitter fiends). :)

4.) Late Night Musical Debut - well, it was at a friend's house party, but the set-up was down right fabulous - speakers, mic, atmosphere, people, etc....lent some harmonies to a friend's piece..and now I've got half a suitcase packed and am thinking of running off to Nashville...or at least to vulnerably put myself out there at a coffee shop/bar open mic night locally... ;) Stay tuned for details...maybe.

5.) Lots of creative thinking time -
All this hullabaloo made for a full and life-giving weekend...however in the midst of all the external, there was an equal amount of internal ( I affectionately call it "Brain Overuse") - a little too much overprocessing and overthinking, which ultimately leads to some dawning revelations... :)
This is what I know and what I though of in my "brain overuse" time this weekend: Change, endings, beginnings, and newness are inevitably a part of life...and it's all in what you do with them- choosing to be consciously alive (even when things are difficult or less than ideal), embracing life, risking, creating, dreaming up possibilities, OR listlessly allowing life to just happen, being "okay" with the norm, and not using tough stuff to propel you in the direction of greater things - those are the two choices. It's the intricate dance of growth and forward motion coupled with patience with oneself, and the ability to quietly listen to one's heart and get clear on one's vision, that is the key. Maybe those just written sentences are vague generalitlies, or maybe they hit home for you as well?

It was somewhere in between my moment of brief microphone-hood, block sale fun, and good conversations with friends, that I felt like I was ready. Ready to be consciously alive...ready to ask what makes my heart sing, and then risk and create it. I have a plethora of "big dreams" and ideals...but starting with little things for now: I want to sing and make music and share that with people, I want to take a photography class and give a skills set to my innate eye for beauty.....what would life be like if we as humans didn't play so small?



-

1:52 AM

Musicality Gone Wild: "Glam/Psychedelic/Zouk??"

Posted by Heather Arney |

ZOUK? Does anyone know what type or genre of music that is?

No googling, or peaking....(and if you know, that may either be really cool, or a bit odd). The freedictionary.com says that Zouk is ,"A popular dance music of the French West Indies, combining African drumming styles with influences from American and Caribbean popular music." Mix that in (somehow) with some psychedelic glam, and that is supposedly the musical definition of a UK based band, FENECH-SOLER. (True confession...I stumbled upon them on Myspace...but I promise that myspace is not a mainstay in my life, FB for life.) ;)www.myspace.com/fenechsoler

I had a jumbled bunch of thoughts and feelings about their music when I first heard it. I wasn't sure if I had just signed up to be a part of a B-rate '80's Euro-pop music video....maybe I would be the featured dancer, and put my few good moves to use. I wanted to like it because it was different but ultimately it took me a little while of listening to it, before I could actually embrace it. Go to their site and sample the tunes....it will, at least, be an experience. OH, and while listening...ask yourself if it really feels "Zouk" to you...I wasn't picking up so much on the French West Indies/African drumming vibe...but then again, that may just be me.

Anyway, it's a delightful new play option for your drive time, study break, dance party, or ..... (you fill in the creative blank). I dunno, maybe you could iron to it...?

10:36 AM

COME ONE COME ALL to the HOBO CONVENTION

Posted by Heather Arney |




I am not sure why it surprises me that there is a National Hobo Convention. Why would there not be? There are conventions for just about everything under the sun.

My mom was out visiting her mom in Iowa over these past two weeks, out in the farmy, beautiful barn, simple life, countryside. I talked to her this morning as she was passing through Britt, Iowa. And she told me that they have a Hobo Museum there www.hobo.com (you have got to peruse their website!), and a National Convention that happens every August. From their site:

"What is the Hobo Convention?
The National Hobo Convention is the largest gathering of hobos, rail-riders, and tramps, who gather to celebrate the American traveling worker."

"What is a hobo??" you may ask? Well, it's too much for me to type out here...but go to www.hobo.com/what_is_a_hobo.htm

"The National Hobo Museum in Britt, Iowa contains the most extensive hobo artifacts collection and is the only National Hobo Museum in the world."
Hey, consider yourself greatly informed....I have now saved you a little legwork for when you plan your next trip through the great state of Iowa. Hah!

10:12 AM

CHANGE CHANGE

Posted by Heather Arney |


Change...I am certain that a few thousand folks have cleverly written about change in all too profound ways over the course of the years...I won't claim to be profound, I'll just write my two cents. I know people can hope to protect the very place they are at, and truly fight against things being a different way...but as some quote tells us, the only thing constant in life is change.

Me, being the traveling/moving maniac, knows this fact. Cannot even count how many times my "I think I can.." minivan has traversed the country from east to west coast, California to British Columbia, etc. And I find myself in a new season once again. New job which ultimately is a blessing, even if right now I'm still figuring it out....a wonderful roommate - (WHO goes to target, and FOR FUN tries on little kids clothes?! The largest kids' sizes fit us, and geez last night was a blast!), etc. And realizing within myself that Fresno is now in fact, "home."

I think sometimes my life is like a puzzle. (By the way, it may be a bad analogy, as I detest puzzles)...I had a bunch of really similar looking pieces, and was trying to put them together, but was getting really frustrated, as it LOOKED like the pieces fit together, when in reality, they were slightly off, and just didn't match. And maybe I would have been crazy to keep seeing if the pieces would fit, when it was determined that they did not. That may be confusing...but it reminds me not to try so hard to make things be "a certain way," and to live more naturally, with a surrendered approach....the word "allow" comes to mind.

As I continue to go from one season to the next though, I am continually aware of how much God is in control of it all, and how He knows and sees and is intricately involved in the details of my life. It allows me to freak out less, and love life and others moment to moment, more.

There are a MILLION definitions of "change" on thefreedictionary.com, but the one I delight in, in this moment is:
"To put a fresh covering on." Yes, they may be referring to changing the sheets on one's bed, but forgetting that....I want to put a fresh cover on....to be moldable, to flow with the change, to enjoy each day, to live intentionally and purposefully....from season to season.