Trending Articles

Friends of SOAR

For great posts about the business of art, check out The Artsy Shark HERE!
ArtistsBillofRights.org reviews competitions and appeals seeking creative content, listing those that respect your copyrights and highlighting those that don't. Art Matters! publishes calls to artists, and not all of them may be compliant with ABoR's standards. Visit their site to learn more.
We support the Embedded Metadata Manifesto.  Metadata is information such as copyright notice and contact info you can embed in your images to protect your intellectual property, save time when uploading to social sites and promote your art. Click to visit the site and learn more.

The Personality of Process: On the Enneagram, the house we built, and marriage

The house foundations last August


Blobs, spots, specks, smudges, cracks, defects, mistakes, accidents, exceptions, and irregularities are the windows to other worlds.—Bob Miller

 

Part One: In Which I Vent About the Enneagram (Though I Love It, Too)

 

If you know a bit about the Enneagram, you know that you are likely one of nine types—and that each type has specific fears and desires and motivations. Learning about this framework helps us understand ourselves and others. 

 

However…I’ve also learned that you can come into this world as one type but can learn to adapt into another type that appears to serve you or others better. And then you can be very confused.

 

There are various schools of the Enneagram, and many of the types have different names according to which one you study. I believe I came into this world a Four—the Romantic or Individualist. But the world rewarded my ability to be a One: the Perfectionist or Reformer. I joke that I’m either a Perfecting Romantic or Romanic Perfectionist.

 

From my school years through the first months of my marriage, I lived pretty well as a Perfectionist-Reformer One. Even my creativity was highly structured; I’d embark on a series of 100 portraits, 30 days of painting-poems, et cetera, et-orderly-cetera. It didn’t help that most organized religion and education love achievers—and boy could I achieve. In grade school, I memorized whole chapters of Corinthians for our church version of the Girl Scouts, The Missionettes. (Somewhere, there exists a photo of myself wearing a turquoise polyester sash with all of my badges). I worked to be high school valedictorian. Then I worked even harder to be undergraduate summa cum laude. By grad school, I let myself breathe and settled for magna cum laude. And that was probably because, while I shaped my poetry thesis, I rediscovered a wild creativity longing to play free—uncaged by a rigid grid of quantification.   

 

And then, decades later, I got married. Funny thing about marriage: your True Self emerges in a way it never did before. True union eventually squeezes out anything false. And when two become one, a lot of shit has got to go. (I could make a terrible pun here about two each becoming the most annoying parts of the Enneagram’s Reformer One, but I shall not!) 

 

Suffice it to say, that whatever façade we’ve built basically gets shaken off, and whatever’s underneath probably has some black mold and maybe a rat or two, despite however many years we think we’ve done our spirit excavation. 

 

And also, I married an Eight: the Challenger. Challengers can call your bluff pretty darn well. 

 

Part Two: In Which I Vent About Building a House (Though I Love It, Too)

 

This all leads me, most indirectly, to the process of building a house—before we’d been married a year. (In fact, as I write this, we are just about to reach our nine-month anniversary). 

 

But before I get to that, I should also mention that it took me until my forties to see an obvious life pattern. During my college years, I worked as a housecleaner—for residential and professional buildings. And then I worked as an editor in some capacity for longer than most starting editors have been alive. Cleaning and editing. Basically, I trained myself to see the mess and the misspelled and to perfect them all. But such tasks, though they felt good when done, didn’t feel good in the process; they felt exhausting and never-ending. I wouldn’t so much celebrate as check off the completion of each round of “perfecting,” even as I braced myself for the next round of trash and typos. Versus celebrating the process—mud ‘n’ all. 

 

And let’s just say that pointing out all the dirt and dialogue flaws is not a beneficial marriage skill. But the long-entrenched One in me—the Perfectionist-Reformer—was so used to doing this, that it was hard to stop. It took me a while to be grateful for the fact that my husband doesn’t really care if things are clean or if every T is crossed. “But these are my strengths!” a part of me kept shouting. 

 

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the truer part of myself kept saying she loved going off on muddy river adventures and not needing to analyze the etymology of the kayak term “boof.” 

 

One book on the Enneagram is called The Road Back to You. The One-Me never understood that title. The Four-Me is jumping up and down for childlike joy, saying, “Yes! We’re back!”

 

Marriage has invited me to return to my creative being: my True Self, the Self who loves paint splatters and rough-edged canvas and impromptu word play for pure fun; the Four who knows that all of life is poetry, not just words on a page—or a specific page count. That Self has risen up alongside our house.

 

Yes, finally, I get to the house. It has become my metaphor for building a more authentic self and marriage. 

 

Last summer, I took a photo of the foundations—surrounded by heaps of displaced earth. Where wild grass had grown in beautiful abandon, the hillside looked like a jagged scar. But we wanted to build something, and so we had to tear into what was there. We had to make a mess.

 

Now, a brick home stands on that site, finished, after months of trucks and lumber. But nothing is ever finished, is it? The wake of construction rubble and ruts surrounding the house remind me how ongoing building really is.

 

Our first day in the house

So that Miller quote I opened with; I am still struggling to love the messy process. But now that I’ve been building a life with someone and building a house with someone—I am beginning to get it. 

 

I am also beginning to embrace both the Reformer and the Romantic in myself—and I consciously choose those two labels for the One and the Four. The drive for excellence in the former helped ground the often formless creative sensitivities of the latter. Maybe I’ll call myself a Romantic Reformer—head in the clouds but feet on the ground. Imperfectly trying to bring Heaven to Earth.

 

The two types in me have finally become one.

 

Union starts in our very own hearts. 

 

Part Three: In Which I Don’t Vent About Marriage, But Instead Write A Poem About It

 

O this strange bliss—

brimming with

mess & misspellings 

mud & wonder—

I embrace all 

your stains & stars.

 

Two become 

one house 

uniting 

divided hearts

 

We build

a mystery.


Right after the land became ours last spring


Oregon Fringe Festival 2021

For Further Information Contact:

Paige Gerhard, Director of the Oregon Fringe Festival, [email protected],

oregonfringefestival.org

2021 Oregon Fringe Festival Honorarium Recipients Announced!

WHAT:

2021 Oregon Fringe Festival Honorarium Recipients Announced!

WHEN:

Thursday, April 29 – Saturday, May 1, 2021

WHERE:

This year’s festival will take place online and features outdoor art installations located on the SOU campus.

https://oregonfringefestival.org/2021-off

This is a free, virtual, and in-person event. Submission fees do not apply.

(Ashland, Ore.) Each spring, the Oregon Center for the Arts produces the Oregon Fringe Festival (OFF), a multi-day event bringing together emerging creators and real-world artistic practitioners to share their respective experiences and to engage with each other’s work. The festival’s mission is simple: to provide a boundary-breaking platform for free expression and to celebrate unconventional art and unconventional spaces.

This month, we are excited to announce that the OFF will feature over 50 acts from over 40 different artists. From live virtual performances to artist lectures/workshops, an

extensive virtual gallery, and outdoor art installations, viewers will have the opportunity to interact with a variety of creative work.

Even more exciting, the OFF has selected and awarded honorariums to artists whose work is boundary-breaking, unconventional, excites discussion, and explores different perspectives of a held position, principle, or belief. This year’s selections include work from local artists, national artists, and international artists.

  • Carlos Fernandex and Manisha Sondhi (Theatre), London
  • Neila Miller (Dance/Movement), Chicago, IL
  • Aurelia Grierson (Theatre), Ashland, OR
  • Cody Clark (Magic/Comedy), Louisville, KY
  • Nat Allister (Theatre), Minneapolis, MN
  • Derek Keller (Music), Ashland, OR
  • Ginger and Johnny (Theatre), Los Angeles, CA

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend our events. If you are a person with a disability who requires accommodation(s) in order to participate in this festival, then please contact Disability Resources at [email protected] in advance.

The OFF is committed to providing a boundary-breaking platform for free expression that amplifies the voices of those who are all too unrepresented in the creative arts industry. A lens focusing on equity, diversity, and inclusion will filter our selection process for all projects submitted.

– OCA at SOU –

About the Oregon Center for the Arts: The Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University serves as a creative catalyst for the mixture of students, educators, and artists from the state, the nation and the world. The beautiful Southern Oregon mountain setting provides a special place to learn, explore and train in all of the arts disciplines. Visit: ​oca.sou.edu

About Southern Oregon University:

Southern Oregon University is 175 acres of beautifully maintained campus with outstanding facilities, occupied by a committed and well-respected faculty and talented students. SOU’s vision is to be an inclusive, sustainable university for the future. Faculty, staff and leadership collaborate to achieve those ideals, and are united in their dedication to the students who will create lives of purpose and fulfill our region’s promise. SOU enhances the economic, cultural and social well-being of southern Oregon, and helps its students learn the skills to work both independently and collaboratively, be adaptable and embrace creativity. Its diversity gives SOU both texture and strength. Students’ thoughtfully shared points of view are valued and respected.

Visit: ​sou.edu

March 2021 Ashland Gallery Exhibits

March Spotlight Exhibits

Jhenna Quinn Lewis

Jhenna Quinn Lewis is a contemporary realist oil painter with meditative compositions that often feature birds. She is nationally-known and represented by numerous galleries, with paintings also in museums and corporate and private collections. In 2019, Jhenna received a spotlight in Western Art and Architecture and was selected to take part in Birds in Art at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum for the fourth time. Her inspiration comes from connecting with nature, studying Japanese masters, and observing the tenets of wabi-sabi—the acceptance of transience and imperfection. Originally from Chicago, Jhenna has made Southern Oregon her home for 20 years now.

Hours: Appointment only.

Address and Contact Information: 541-488-2562 [email protected] jhennaquinnlewis.com

Finch and Hiroshige, Oil painting by Jhenna Quinn Lewis
“Finch and Hiroshige,” Oil painting by Jhenna Quinn Lewis

Hanson Howard Gallery Gallery

Novellas :: Narrative Art by Women for Women’s History Month

Across times and cultures women have been known as the story keepers and tellers, bringing to life our wisdoms and dreams, histories, and futures. To celebrate this tradition we are giving the gallery over to a group of artists who use their craft to tell us stories.

Hours:
Thursday – Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and by appointment.

Address and Contact Information: 89 Oak Street, Ashland, OR, 97520 541-488-2562 www.hansonhowardgallery.com

Indigo Beast, Mosaic Sculpture by Laurie Gadbois
“Indigo Beast,” Mosaic Sculpture by Laurie Gadbois

Paula Fong

Paula Fong has been fortunate to spend much of her career as an Ecologist exploring nature. Every square inch of our natural world contains something scientifically interesting and artistically beautiful. Paula likes to pick out one aspect of the environment and hold it up for inspection, with all its imperfections and variation. By changing perspective, focus, season and habitat, she has an infinite palette and an unlimited source of inspiration.

Hours: Appointment only.

Address and Contact Information:
8905 Yank Gulch Rd. Talent, OR, 97540 541-535-2579
[email protected]
prfong.com

Joshua Tree Desert in Bloom, Watercolor and Ink by Paula Fong

Grants Pass Museum of Art
Oregon Coast, Paintings by Kristen O’Neill

The Grants Pass Museum of Art has a new exhibition featuring artwork by Kristen O’Neil. Stop by anytime before March 26, 2021 to see.

In her series titled, Oregon Coast, Kristen has painted various locations with accuracy, prioritizing the essence of a place by eliminating unnecessary details. As a result, and with this painterly approach, landscapes have been generated with fidelity and forms that compromise coastal terrains.

Hours:
Thursday – Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and by appointment.

Address and Contact Information:
229 SW G St Grants Pass, OR, 97526 541-479-3290 http://www.gpmuseum.com/

Geology, Acrylic painting by Kristen O'Neil
Geology, Acrylic painting by Kristen O’Neil

The Ashland Gallery Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of the visual arts in our communities.

The Gasket of Grace

To celebrate this month that celebrates relationships, I decided to write about gaskets. 

I don’t think I really knew what a gasket was until we had three needing to be replaced. First to go was my husband’s kayak drysuit neck gasket (which I really didn’t know about). Second was our woodstove door gasket (which I learned how to replace). And third was my little stove-top coffee maker gasket (which apparently gives up if I accidentally leave the contraption on the burner too long).

 

Once things happen in threes, I start to pay attention. And I start to research meaning. Turns out, the official definition of a gasket is a seal that fills the space between two or more mating surfaces.

 

Well, if that isn’t a relationship metaphor! 

 

A favorite of the hundred or so books I’ve read on marriage (I exaggerate that number, but only slightly) is Rob Bell’s Zimzum of Love. In it, he explores the ancient Hebrew word zimzum, which essentially means “the space between.” I’m kind of obsessed with this idea. In fact, my first poetry collection many years ago was a little chapbook titled, The Space Between. I look for connections everywhere—for what brings things and people together and what keeps them together. 

 

The best part of the gasket definition? It allows for less-than-perfect mating surfaces between two, irregular parts. Which could be said of the space between two, irregular people.

 

“So,” I asked myself, “What is the gasket of marriage?”

 

First, I should explain that my husband and I are very different. We are learning to laugh about this. 

 

He’s Mr. Spontaneity. On a Friday after a long work week, he can grab a jar of peanut butter and head out camping on a whim. I am Mrs. Planner. If we are going camping, I like to A) know about it at least a day in advance and B) pack a cooler brimming with pesto, sliced aged cheddar, pre-chopped onions soaking in olive oil for morning eggs, driving snacks of sea-salt dark chocolate, at least one good bottle of wine, etc. etc. 

 

He’s Mr. DIY. Whether changing the car oil, installing a new dishwasher, or cutting his hair, he’s a do-it-yourself kinda guy. I’m Mrs. Outsource-My-Weaknesses. I like to take the car in for its checkup to my trusty mechanic, hire a handyman to install anything that comes with a lengthy instruction manual and connects to electricity or water, and when I did briefly cut my own hair for a season, it just confirmed that I should leave some things to the professionals.

 

He’s Mr. Down-to-Earth and says it like it is. I’m Mrs. Pie-in-the-Sky and tend to quote literature aloud. When we watched Starsky & Hutch one night, I recognized the start of a favorite Shakespeare line, quoted by Snoop Dog, “To err is human…” and I spoke in time with the rest of it: “…to forgive, divine.” At dinner parties now, my husband likes to say I quote Snoop Dog, at which point, I start distinguishing between primary and secondary sources. 

 

Whether expressed by a 17th-century bard or a 21st-century bard, forgiveness is something my husband and I both agree on. It’s the gasket of grace. Especially in marriage. And especially when two different people approach life in different ways—which is bound to lead to misunderstandings.  

 

I have a hunch that you don’t need a lot of grace to love someone who’s a lot like yourself. That’s pretty easy. Learning to love difference is a gift in that it does require a lot of grace. Maybe the more difference between two people, the more grace you can have—if you also choose to give it. 

 

I looked up zimzum to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Part of HarperCollins’s definition states: “In marriage, zimzum is the dynamic energy field between two partners.” 


We are learning to celebrate the dynamics. 

 

So whether I lean toward my poetic-academic love of Big Words and call it zimzum, or whether I lean toward the practical gasket, I know that whatever seals the space between us will be made of grace. 



Love for the Win

“Heart Wins,” from the Take Heart series

Once upon a time, I spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s reviewing the previous year, evaluating it, and forecasting/goalcasting the year ahead. You might say I was an overachiever with  resolutions.

Some years, I was bullet-point specific. Like when I determined to go on an archaeological dig, learn salsa dancing, and take up archery: check, check, check. (I discovered that I hated the heat and dirt of the dig, I wasn’t a fan of prescribed dance steps, but I was a decent aim.)

 

Other years, I was more open-ended, listing four to five feelings I wanted to cultivate. Once, I painted a four-point compass with harmony at its center and joy, peace, prosperity, and grace as its north, south, east, and west.

 

At the end of December 2019, while housesitting at a lovely home, high on a hill—as I had for many years—I sat in front of the fire and started my review and projection. 

 

Or I tried to. 

 

I even had a fancy calendar that led you through all the steps with lots of questions to answer and blanks to fill in. (I should note that I am very good about answering all the questions and filling in all the blanks.) And yet, as I flipped through the pages I usually looked forward to filling, I found myself completely uninspired by all the specificity. 


For once, I didn’t want to grip the steering wheel of my life so hard and beeline for the next goal. And believe me: I can beeline! From putting myself through undergraduate and graduate school on scholarships to getting a grant to write poetry in Germany for a year to all manner of less scholastic but equally daunting goals since: I. Get. It. Done. 

 

But those last days before 2020, I didn’t want to get it all done. Because I had a hunch that there were things waiting to happen if I were willing to let go of my limited ideas of what I could achieve and maintain in my own strength. And so, to my surprise, I found myself writing the word “Love” in big, loose cursive across all those usually inviting blanks I was “supposed” to fill in.

 

Fun facts: Just over a month into 2020, I began dating an old friend. Then he proposed. Then we got married. And we have spent the last half year learning the intricacies of love—and I could not have forecast any of them!

 

So, for 2021, I didn’t buy the fancy, fill-in-the-blank calendar. In fact, I’m using one of those free company calendars. I’m keeping it simple. And I’m metaphorically writing love across every month. 

 

And on this Day of Epiphany—a feast day celebrating the manifestation of the One who is Love—I invite the continual manifestation of Love to us all…in all its unpredictable forms, across all the days of this year.  

Mannerly, Bannerly

This little poem is my wish & my wonder for the New Year:  


Mannerly, Bannerly

 

When all manner of bad 

lands in our laps, 

and the mean things 

land in our news feed,

what if, 

instead of responding 

in kind,

we respond in kindness?

What if 

we invite the other to dinner,

polish our best manners,

and serve goodness?

What if

we lift a banner of love,

lifting each other up,

until there is no other?  



*The illustration above is from Blessings: A Children’s Book for Grown-ups, cowritten with my dear mom, Jan Elkins         

 

Above the Fog, Above the Fray

 

On Saturday, I went Christmas-tree-hunting with my new extended family. We drove out of the foggy valley in trucks, careening up old logging roads into the mountains until we hit sunshine—and snow. 

 

The day was a catalog of goodness: Leftover turkey sandwiches by the fire (and roasting of “snow marshmallows”). Gentle, sunny walks for some…sledding (and wiping out) for others. Hot cocoa with whipped cream, optionally spiked with peppermint schnapps (yes, please).

 

It was a very good day to get away. Besides taking a break on Thanksgiving afternoon for our meal, Jared had spent every other daylight minute of the holiday weekend bricking the new house, and I had been staining its cedar shingles. 

 

Tree-hunting and snow-playing were welcome respites. When the sun and fire got low, we all piled back into the trucks and started for home. Through the forest, we kept glimpsing a lake of fog still covering the valley. And then, before descending back down the mountain toward home, we came to a clearing and saw this view.

 

Up on that rise, we felt warmth and had perspective. Back beneath the fog, we felt the cold and had limited visibility. But beyond what we can feel and see in our valleys—geographical or emotional—a higher elevation rises above us.

 

Whole days can feel like they look: heavy and damp and dark.

 

But. 

 

Looking above the fog, I reminded myself that even when we can’t always get to a higher vantage with our physical bodies, we always can with our hearts and minds. 

 

This photo is for all of us on the days when we’re stuck below—in the fog and in the fray. A reminder that, above what seems oppressive and heavy, there stretches a bright, wide scope of possibility. Until the fog lifts, we can choose to enjoy the lights on the tree and the warmth of the wood stove. And maybe a bit of peppermint schnapps in our cocoa. 

 

Gratitude and joy to you,

 

Anna

Not What I Expected

Once upon a pre-pandemic time, I heard a famous writer say that when she looked back at her life, nothing had turned out the way she’d thought—and that was good. She said she could summarize what she’d learned about life with this simple statement: Not What I Expected.

I think that would make a great T-shirt. 

 

This year certainly racked up more than its fair share of unexpected things—good and bad. I was scanning the calendar all the way back to the maskless days when I realized that so many big things I’d anticipated got cancelled, and yet even better things—things I could not have fathomed—happened in their stead.

 

Exhibit A: This spring, I was going to help lead a workshop in Paris and then begin my poetry book tour there afterward—continuing the tour in New York and San Francisco. It was kinda career-pinnacling stuff. And then, a matter of weeks before departure, the world shut down. But guess what? The day the workshop would have started, my now-husband proposed to me. And as grand as Paris is, if I never return to the world’s most romantic city, I feel no lack; I have actual romance now! 

 

Exhibit B: I had been invited to give a poetry reading and teach workshops at a college writing conference in Wyoming this fall. One of those all-expenses-paid gigs poets dream of. The event managed to stay on the books all through the summer, but then…it was finally cancelled. The plan had been to drive out there with my husband, teach, and then take our delayed honeymoon road trip from there. We wouldn’t have had as much time to see the national parks and monuments we hoped to visit, but we were going to make the best of it. When the conference was cancelled, we were able to take the entire time together—time that became so precious and relationship-building, I am quite glad we did not have to give up a minute of it. 

 

Exhibit C: Any moment now, I would have been boarding a plane to Sweden and then on to Latvia for a month-long writing residency. I would have spent all of November writing in a little seaside village. You guessed it: cancelled. But you know what? I’d almost forgotten that was going to happen. My life has taken such a different turn that many of the things I once wanted fiercely now seem like brief apparitions—like glimpsed prisms of light that all but fade by the time you focus on them. 

 

I have no idea what November will bring instead of Latvia. (And I’m not talking about elections or anything else one might expect.) I’m actually glad to have no idea what specific goodness is on its way—I just know that something is. It always is; Goodness & Mercy are always at our heels. Maybe we just have to stop now and then, turn around, and acknowledge them. Something tells me those two are all the more thrilled to come closer with their surprising gifts when we’re grateful for them. Even when they deliver stuff we never ordered. 

 

Speaking of ordering, I’m seriously thinking about making that T-shirt. I haven’t figured out what the back would say, but I might borrow a line from another famous Creator:

 

“And it was good.” 

 

Empty Bowls 2020 Virtual Event

Empty Bowls 2020

Empty Bowls Event Featured Image_2014

WHEN: Empty Bowls 2020 Online Silent Auction: October 9th-15th, 2020 with an Event Broadcast at 6PM on October 12th

WHERE: Virtually! Text ‘EmptyBowls’ to (406) 302-5086 to get a link to bid or visit https://go.eventgroovefundraising.com/joco-emptybowls-2020 directly.

FUNDRAISER BENEFICIARY: Options for Southern Oregon and Josephine County Food Bank. Proceeds will help food insecure adults, children and families in our community access food.

CONTACT PERSON: Sarah Small, Development and Integrated Health Coordinator at (541) 476-2373 or email at [email protected].

Empty Bowls 2020 is a grassroots effort led by Options in partnership with the Josephine County Food Bank that includes artists and restaurants in our community. This event raises funds to feed the hungry and people experiencing food insecurity in our community.

Empty Bowls has historically been held at the Parkway Christian Center in Grants Pass. This year, however, we are implementing a virtual event to raise funds to help feed people experiencing food insecurity in our community. Instead of an in-person event, we will be holding a virtual silent auction featuring unique ceramic bowls and art pieces.

Participation in the silent auction will be free and open to all, but individuals will need to register to participate. Individuals will also have the option to purchase a VIP Attendee “ticket”, which will allow them to pick out an event bowl, much like our usual Empty Bowl experience.

The auction will begin on Friday, October 9th and will close on Thursday, October 15th. In order to keep the spirit of our in-person Empty Bowls event, we will hold a video broadcast with messages from the benefiting agencies, sponsors, and past supporters. The broadcast will take place at 6PM on our regularly scheduled event day of October 12th. We will end the virtual experience by hosting a drive-through event at the Josephine County Food Bank on Friday, October 16th from 10AM-2PM, where our VIP Attendees will be able to pick up their preselected bowl. All proceeds from this event will be split between Options for Southern Oregon’s food barrier removal fund and the Josephine County Food Bank.

2017 Empty Bowls Throw-a-thon - Empty Bowls Pizza Party at Ashland Art Center on April 8, 2015! Make you bowl to donate to this year's Emty Bowls event in Ashland!

We would like to extend a special thank you to our 2020 restaurant sponsors. Sponsors include Casa Amiga, The Laughing Clam, Twisted Cork, Wild River Brewing & Pizza, Ma Mosa’s, The Vine, Taprock Northwest Grill, Climate City Brewing Company, Vinfarm, and The Train Depot. While they will not be donating soup for this year’s event, they have kindly donated gift certificates and filmed soup making demonstrations and messages to our supporters. Clayfolk potters and other local artists have generously donated their time and talent to make more than 250 beautifully handcrafted bowls for this year’s event.

Event sponsors are AllCare CCO, Banner Bank, and Clayfolk. Please join us for the 14th Empty Bowls event and help alleviate food insecurity in Josephine County. Learn more about how to keep our community healthy and see how YOU are making a difference!

Serenity, Anyone?

In the 1980s, my grandmother had the Serenity Prayer decoupaged and hung in her guest bedroom. When my cousins and I had sleepovers as kids, I always marveled at its simple, rhythmic request:  

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, 

courage to change the things I can, 

and the wisdom to know the difference.

 

I typed those lines from childhood memory. That prayer has been with me ever since. Even as a gradeschooler, I knew my life-long goal was serenity in a chaotic world. 

 

Decades later, I discovered the Enneagram. I know it’s all the rage right now, but for good reason; its pegs humanity’s nine personality types through the core beliefs of the types, the wounds they suffer from, and the healing they seek. 

 

I’m a number One: The Reformer. I want to make this world a better, more beautiful place. Which is a teensy bit exhausting and mostly impossible. Zero surprise that the life pursuit of a One is serenity. Can we say #challenge?

 

This year, we need the Serenity Prayer not just as a decoupage over the guest bed, but as cosmic light show illuminating our dark skies.

 

A few nights after the Oregon fires had ravaged friends’ homes just miles away, and another news cycle featuring Angry Everybody made me want to move to the Yukon Territory without the Internet, I found myself awake in the wee hours, whispering the Serenity Prayer over and over again until—much later—I finally fell back asleep. 

 

Honestly, the more authentic version of that prayer often sounds like the character George Costanza from Seinfeld screaming, “Serenity Now!” 

 

We can yell two words. 

 

We can whisper three lines over and over. 

 

May we pray the prayers. May we also do the work to heal our own wounds so that we don’t wound others from our unresolved pain and so that we can bring our healthy selves to serve a hurting world from a place of forgiven wholeness seeking to restore instead of retaliatory brokenness seeking to destroy. 

 

(And may we have a bit of serenity!)