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Archive for March, 2012

No exaggeration, writing last week’s post and hitting publish was hard and emotionally exhausting.  At the same time, it was liberating and a huge weight was lifted that I didn’t even realized I’d been carrying.  I feel free in a way that I don’t remember feeling before. Your comments and encouragement have been such a blessing in my life.

I’ve realized something.  I’ve kept this blog mostly distanced from my face-to-face, day-to-day life.  There were a bunch of reasons for that.  They made sense to me when I published my first Recreating My World post eight months ago and only shared the link with online writing friends. It was what I needed to do to make this space mine and for me to feel safe chronicling my journey.

But now, it’s time to publish my 25th post and many things have changed since August 1, 2011. I’ve learned a lot and discovered many things about myself that I’d forgotten.  I’ve found my place again. I’ve remembered what makes my heart sing. Writing this blog has been a huge part of that and I needed the safety.

I’m learning to be braver and the reasons for keeping things separate no longer feel so important. In fact, they feel contrary to everything I want this space to be.  They feel like a way to hide who I am and who I am becoming. A way to protect myself from being rejected. A way to allow me to stay “comfortable”.  That’s not the world I want to create.

Karen CoverettIt’s time to claim this space as mine in a new way.

So, hi!  I’m Karen Coverett.

My word for 2012 is boldness and it’s time to boldly proclaim…

This is my blog and I’m proud of it.

It also seemed the perfect time to tell you a bit more about who I am.

  1. I’ve made a transport truck from cake, complete with molded chocolate tires.
  2. I can’t make up my mind about whether I’m a cat or a dog person. Probably more a cat person, but puppies are so cute, how can you resist.
  3. I love to watch figure skating but haven’t put on a pair of skates since I was in elementary school … I liked it when it was still okay to push a little chair around so I could stay standing up.
  4. I adore Glee. Wouldn’t miss an episode, have all of the soundtrack albums and the movie DVD. I’d have gone to one of the live concerts if there been one anywhere close.  Yup, I’m a Gleek and proud of it!
  5. I used to love playing the duet of “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain” from the back of my very first little red John Thompson piano book. Even better was when I realized that I could play both parts myself at the same time.  No duet partner required.
  6. The only way I enjoy coffee is if you add chocolate … I wonder if my mom should have tried adding chocolate to squash or liver when I was a child. Ewww! Nope, that’s just a nasty thought. There are apparently some things that can’t be improved by adding chocolate.  Just for reference, wouldn’t eat chocolate covered bugs either.
  7. When I was not quite 5, and I found my gerbils dead in their cage, I told my mom “All my friends are dying”.  Shows how amazing my mom is that she didn’t laugh, because the other friends who had recently died were Sheba, my german shepherd, and my grandma.
  8. I haven’t travelled a lot of places outside of Canada, but I’ve spent time in both Albania and Bolivia.
  9. I love kids, but I don’t want any of my own.  Being an aunt is great …  they eventually go home =)  Oh, if you want to find me on Twitter, I’m @Terranen which makes sense if you know that something close to Terranen is what both of my nieces and a couple of bonus nephews all ended up naming me before they learned to say “Aunt Karen”.
  10. Someday, I want to be able to be a published children’s author … and illustrator.
  11. I didn’t get my licence until I was 23, because my dad said “If you’re going to drive one of my cars, you have to learn to drive and take your test on a standard.”  That made me super mad when I was 16.  Now, my only potential regret about my new car is that it’s automatic not standard. I always figured the first new car I bought would be a standard ’cause they’re more fun to drive. But Suzy was meant to be mine and I like her just the way she is.
  12. It turns out I like writing lists … well, not to-do lists, they kind of make me crazy. This list was so much fun, I think One Dozen is going to appear again in the future.

Next task, updating my about page, and inviting my face-to-face friends to join me on the journey.

Got an idea about what list I should make next?  Got a list of things you want to share? Let me know or share a link to your list in the comments below.

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ColorSprouts drawing coloured on my Windows 7 phoneI tell stories.

It’s what I do. Ask any one who knows me.

Storytelling is my most natural method of communication. On paper, in words, in music, in cake decorating. It helps explain exactly why I get so easily distracted by books. If there’s a story, I’m interested.  I want to read it or write it.  I want to tell the story.

I can manage the just facts kind of writing or speaking, but it’s much harder. The words don’t flow the same way. I panic about whether I’ve used the perfect words to capture the truth. But give me a story to tell, and the words are right there, waiting, ready to burst out.

Except for some stories.

Some stories I’d rather not tell.

Some stories make me feel vulnerable.

Some stories hurt too much to speak out loud.

Some stories make me feel ashamed.

Some stories make me feel like I’ll never belong anywhere.

Those stories I hide.

Those stories tell themselves in my own head. In the dark. In the quiet. Where only I can hear.

I don’t tell those stories in the light of day to anyone else. Why would someone want to hear them? Why would I want to tell them? What would people think if I spoke those truths? Wouldn’t speaking them out loud make them more true? Give them more power in my own life?

I know what my reaction is when people tell their versions of those stories.

Compassion. Empathy. Understanding.

Still, it’s harder to trust that others will have the same response when I tell my own hidden stories. What if they don’t understand? What if they laugh at what scares me? What if they walk away? What if…?

What if I keep those stories quiet, letting them hide like monsters under the bed, waiting for the dark to reach out, grab me around the ankles and drag me down? How will the light ever be turned on? How will the monsters ever lose their power?

Today, I know that one of my stories needs to be told. I need to see it in the light of day. I need to take away it’s power.

ColorSprouts drawing coloured on my Windows 7 phoneOnce upon a time, an almost 10 year old girl was ridiculously excited about the shiny, new, blue bicycle she knew was her Birthday/Christmas present.  It already sat assembled in the living room, in front of the fire place.  In just a few more days, it would be hers to ride, but those few days between her birthday and Christmas morning were an exquisite kind of torture.  Partly hers, but not quite.  Good thing December in her growing up town always involved snow. It helped her be patient knowing there wouldn’t be an opportunity to take the bike for a ride until spring.

Christmas Sunday morning began like any other Sunday in her house.  The family was busy getting ready for the weekly appearance at church.  Somewhere between waking up and getting dressed, this girl decided she wasn’t interested in attending church that Sunday morning.  She quietly informed her mother that she wouldn’t be going to church with everyone else.

Her mother said little, but instead she sent in the girl’s father to sort out whatever was going on.  Once upon time, the father had wanted to be a pastor, and now he was a teacher, surely he would know how to respond.

Some memories grow fuzzy as the years pass, but some remain crystal clear.  When her father asked for an explanation for this sudden announcement, the almost 10 year old girl explained that she didn’t see any point in going since she wasn’t sure she believed any of it.

In my mind, I want the story to end with a compassionate father who accepted his daughter’s questions and encouraged her to seek out faith in a way that made sense to her almost 10 year old soul. That’s how I would write the story, if I could chose the ending.  A child lovingly embraced, blessed for thinking for herself and seeking her own path.

But the true story has a different ending.

Her father, rather than understanding and affirming her doubt, said, “I guess that means we should return your new bicycle.”

As the daughter’s face fell, he continued, “If you don’t believe, there’s no reason for you to celebrate Christmas with the family since that is the point of the celebration. Are you going to church or not? It’s your choice.”

What was the girl to do? Stand up for what she wanted and end up not belonging in her family? Or do what was expected of her, pretend that everything was normal and still have a place to belong?

At almost 10 years old, she made the only choice she believed she could make.  She went to church. She did what was expected.

Without realizing it, she lived the next 30 years afraid.  Never knowing when she would do something that would leave her permanently on the outside.  Belonging nowhere. Belonging to no one.

I’ve known for a long time that my uneasy relationship with faith had its source in that story.  I’ve wrestled with trying to have an authentic faith while feeling trapped by “shoulds”.  I’ve been afraid to ask the questions I needed, worried about the response.

What I didn’t realize until recently is how much that story has influenced the whole of my life.  The need to know I was accepted no matter what has led to some foolish choices in relationships.  Can you say co-dependency?  Bought the t-shirt on that one more times then I would like to admit. The desperate need to belong has led me to walk away from relationships first before someone can walk out on me.  It hurts less that way right?  Wrong.  Being afraid of the response has taught me to keep my questions to myself and not ask for what I need.

As a forty-something year old woman, I have another choice.  I know my story. I don’t need to be ashamed of my story or of telling my story.

I was the almost 10 year old girl.  I shouldn’t have been made to choose between acting like I believed something I didn’t and belonging in my family.

ColorSprouts drawing coloured on my Windows 7 phoneI don’t have to let it decide my life anymore.

I choose to live knowing that there is a community where I am accepted, there is a family where I belong even if it’s not always my biological family, there are people who really do believe that asking questions is a sign of health. You are the blessings in my life and words cannot express my gratitude.

That’s my new story.  That’s a story I want to tell, but I needed to tell the hard story first so that I can let it go and live my new story.

What about you? What story do you need to tell so that you can leave it behind?

May you find the courage to live your new story.

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I’m super excited about Susannah Conway’s Blogging from the Heart course that started a week and a half ago.  Signing up for it was definitely the right choice for this moment in my life. It’s really resonating with what I want this space to be.  There’s also the amazing group of women whose blogs I’m just beginning to discover.

A note to the fabulous BFTH women, you rock!  If I didn’t get your post mentioned in here, it’s just because there is only so much time for reading in a day … and, no matter how tempting it is, I really can’t justify skipping my cubicleland day job to snuggle up in front of the fireplace and keep reading day and night =)

This is a very small smattering of the beauty that’s out there, but these posts have already touched my heart and I had to share.

Need a reminder to savour the Simple Little Things?

What if you looked for beauty around you just 100 paces from wherever you are right now? You might find beauty in your own backyard or, apparently, on the way to my bus stop.

Crocuses Peeking Out

There can be such beauty captured in a haiku poem.

I love getting to watch the start of a new journey, especially the start of a brand new blog Writing in the Studio. It’s a beautiful first step.

What does self-love love mean to you?

Have to admit that if one of the things that makes you smile are pansies … I am fan, especially when you include a picture of a perfect little pansy face =)

The title of this post “It’s the little things” completely makes me think of a Sondheim song, but this is so much sweeter.

If someone asked you, “how do you bring on the self-love?”, what would you say?  I’m realizing I needed to think too long about my own answer.

Sometimes life requires that we learn resiliency.  It’s a valuable lesson, but not an easy one and it tends to mean seeking anew again.

I love the idea of living a luminous life even when failure happens.

Occasionally, you read a post that feels like it’s something that came straight from your own story.  I needed to make this confession when I was in my 20s.  Now, I sometimes think I’ve become too guarded to overcompensate and avoid the inevitable hurt that comes along the way.  Balance.  That’s the key word.

This post wouldn’t be complete without a link to a post from our fabulous guide and mentor on this journey … Always wear your invisible crown!

Oh, and one more … Loved the honesty in this answer to the question “Who Are You?”.  And if you scroll to the bottom you can see the posts that brought a huge grin to my face as I read all of her posts about travelling to Albania.  Brought back so many fabulous memories!

I’m so honoured to be part of this journey. I can’t wait to see where it takes us!

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I’ve been distracted the last couple of weeks. It’s a distraction entirely of my own making.

DarkGlass Mountain Trilogy by Sara DouglassI started re-reading the first of 11 books by Sara Douglass that are set in Tencendor.

I originally read the first six more than ten years ago. When the final trilogy started to appear several years ago, I decided that once those three new books were all available, I would start from the beginning again. Read the first two trilogies, then the two stand along novels, and finally, it would be time to savour the last installment.

I knew it was unlikely that there would be any more books set  in one of my favourite fantasy worlds and I wanted to experience the whole world all at once. The author had been diagnosed with cancer and there was concern along the way whether she would be able to finish the last trilogy.

She did finish and even wrote another book in a new world. But last fall, her journey ended.

Her books have always allowed me to get completely lost in the world she creates. I’ll admit to getting, well… very cranky, when I discovered that one of her other sets of books, which I mistakenly thought was a trilogy, actually had four books and the final book wasn’t yet published. I’d deliberately waited to start the books until I thought they were all available, exactly so I could avoid that wait and the desperate need to know what happened next.

So every spare moment, I’ve had my nose in a book … or more accurately in the Kindle software on my phone. You can use up your phone battery really quickly that way! I’m currently 55% of the way through book 2 (I couldn’t resist being specific since that’s exactly what the software shows me). The books are just as engrossing now as when I first read them and it’s long enough ago that the story feels new again.

There is an extra sweetness to this reading knowing that in this lifetime, Sara Douglass will create no more worlds to explore, no more characters to love, no more impatient waiting for the next book to appear on the bookstore shelves. But what a gift her writing is!

Crowded Bookshelves 1The thing is, re-reading these books has helped me realize something else. There are too many books on my shelves but not my copies of the first eight of these books. Those are in storage in the crawl space below the house, exactly because there is not enough room on my bookshelves.

My solution has always been to just find some place new to store books. But that does not feel comfortable any more.

There are books that I want to keep, books that feel like old friends, but I want those ones accessible for easy visits.

There are also books that I’ve never read and really no longer want to read.

There are books that belong to my old life as a youth pastor that I couldn’t bring myself to discard. They were too many dreams tied up in them. Dreams that I wasn’t prepared to let go, despite how much they hurt.

There are books that I bought because they seemed like ones I should read.

Books everyone said were great, even if they never really interested me.

More Crowded BookshelvesBooks I thought I needed to read, or at least own, in order to be taken seriously as a pastor, teacher, worship leader, creative person, author, Christian … whatever label I was trying to fit at the time.

There are also books hiding amongst the piles that I really want to read, but I’ve misplaced them in the chaos.

That’s not working for me any more. It’s time to review the bookshelves … and the book boxes squirrelled away in every nook and cranny … but I’m going to start with the ones I can see.

It’s time to make some choices.  It’s time to let some books go.

It’s not going to be a fast process. I’ve got a LOT of books. I know that I’m going to need to be gentle with myself. It’s going to be hard to let some of the books go. There should definitely be warning signs about “personal historical snaggles” ahead over my bookshelf, but it’s time to move forward.

Imagine the wonder of actually having an empty shelf waiting for new book friends to come and live. Books that nourish me now. Books that will continue to inspire and challenge the woman I am becoming.

It’s time to let go. It’s time to make space. I did it with a tea tumbler and that was good. I can do it with books too.

One step, one book at a time.

This is going to be my step four. I’ve barely begun, but I know I need the accountability of writing these words out loud.  I’ll promise there will be more to this story.  You’re welcome to check in along the way. I just ask that you be gentle and encouraging.

And, if you need a virtual cheering squad as you work on letting go of things that no longer serve you, let me know.  I’ll make sure my virtual pom poms and listening ear are ready.  The journey is much less frightening when you have travelling companions.

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