Monday, September 29, 2008

September Love

I recently photographed two uniquely beautiful weddings! Check them out on the photo blog!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

For the Beauty of the Earth

What would you do to protect something you loved, something that meant the world to you, something that provided you with solace and comfort and quiet reflections? Something beautiful? Something priceless? Something irreplaceable?

My friend Robb is fighting for New Zealand's Ruahine ranges. Please, take a moment and join us in fighting this cause.

By signing this important petition in the next 5 days your voice can be heard and we can make a difference!!!!

Push to end protection of ranges.

" Energy companies are pushing the Tararua District Council to loosen the rules on wind farm consents, making it easier to build on the ranges.

Genesis Energy, Trustpower, Meridian Energy, and Might River Power have all made separate submissions to the Tararua council, currently up for review. They are campaigning for new policies to make wind farms a priority in the district, and pushing for a slackening of the present guidelines. In the current policy on environmental heritage, the skyline of the ranges in the district is considered a protected natural feature. Trustpower wants this wording cut, with references to the protection of the "skyline of Tararua Ranges, Ruahine Ranges, Puketoi Ranges, and the Manawatu Gorge", deleted from the plan entirely. Genesis wants the council to recognize the importance of developing the wind resource in the district. It also wants a new policy allowing for coastal wind farms. And the Energy Efficient and Conservation Authority, an independent government advisory body, is lobbying for council to accept the necessity of wind farms in rural areas". "Tararua mayor Maureen Reynolds said wind energy has become a big issue in the Tararua since the last district plan review, 10 years ago. The district plan, a blue print for the district's future, is reviewed only once every 10 years. Summaries of the plan submissions can be viewed online at Objections to any submissions can be made until 3 October".

Sunday, September 21, 2008

All We Can Do Is Keep Breathing....

It's been a week. I have thought of things I could blog about daily...Sarah Palin, my undying love for Jon Stewart, Modernization and where it is getting us, suffering throughout the world, the happiness of the weddings I photographed this weekend, Ingrid Michaelson's new singles, flying standby, and yes, those longed for empanadas....but I'm not going to tackle anything trivial or controversial today, instead, I want to talk about you.

That's right, the beauty of you.

This week I've realized something that I have always known....a lot of us are in need of healing, a lot of us are really hard on ourselves, a lot of us demand perfection, a lot of us aren't so kind to ourselves, a lot of us have a hard time living in the present moment, a lot of us get weighed down by the cruelties around us, and a lot of us are lacking the love we need...even if just a little bit.

My google reader was at 219 when I got back from Buenos Aires, today it's down to 16. I've been reading about your lives a lot. I've been seeing your paintings about flygirl, your experiences in the dirt, your causes for preserving the land, your fights to see yourself as beautiful, your acknowledgment of your own selfishness, your need to be your own woman, your hurt, your anger, your surprise, your broken hearts, your religious struggles, your desire for love,  the love you have for your kids, the feeling that you might just not be enough of what you need to be and all I can say is wow.


The depth and breath of the human soul has been like a cloud swallowing me up and carrying me off this week. There are no words to describe the beauty of you, your soul, your hopes, your dreams, your desires, your intentions, and your struggles.

You are so beautiful to me. Each and everyone of you.

The possibilities of you are endless to me.

This summer Gustav presented me with an idea I haven't been able to shake, and I feel it a good thing to bring it up again. What if this earth is heaven? In thinking this, I have had to use my imagination and I see that I have the ability to see the world with different eyes. In my heaven I see love coming from the trees, love coming from the sky, love coming out of the light. I see love coming from everything around me. Even when we humans get sad or angry, behind these feelings I can see that they are also sending love.

With my new eyes, I've also started to see myself living a new life, a new dream--here is what it consists of:

~A life where I don't need to justify my existence and I am free to be who I really am.

~A life where I have permission to be happy and to really enjoy each moment, free of conflict with myself and others.

~ A life without fear of expressing my dreams.

~A life where I know what I want, what I don't want, and when I want it. I am free to change my life to the way I really want it. I am not afraid to ask for what I need, to say yes or no to anything or anyone.

~ A life without the fear of being judged by others. I no longer rule my behavior according to what others may think about me. I am no longer responsible for anyone's opinion. I have no need to control anyone, and no one controls me either.

~ A life without judging others. A life where I can easily forgive others and let go of the judgments that I have.

~A life where I don't need to be right and I don't need to make anyone else wrong (this one is more of a goal right now,  obviously).

~ A life where I respect myself and everyone else, and they respect me in return.

~ A life where I can live without the fear of loving and not being loved. A life where I am no longer afraid to be rejected, and I don't have the need to be accepted. I can say, "I love you" with no shame or justification. I can walk in the world with my heart completely open and not be afraid to be hurt.

This life is my heaven.

How is your life your heaven right now?

Thank you to each of you for sharing bits and pieces of your journey to heaven. Of the lives you are creating, of the good energy you are putting out there, of your constant love and acceptance of me and those around you. You are making this world into something I am proud to be apart of.

Song of my week: Ingrid Michaelson's "Keep Breathing"---download it now!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Keep Mediocrity at Bay

The Tango--passion, lust, heat, love, all combined in ONE dance.

You gotta fight every day to keep mediocrity at bay
Gotta fight every day to keep mediocrity at bay

Well you're going through the motions and they can't hear a word you say
Well you're going through the motions, they don't want to hear a word you say
Got to keep boredom at bay and keep mediocrity away

Van Morrison

Buenos Aires---a sneak peak with some low quality digital photos. I took my trusty old Canon, shooting with film (I adore it so much more than digital!!) but I won't get those developed until I make it to New York next month...then a big blog with photos to blow you away will be forthcoming.

This trip was full of highlights and amazing adventures!!

1. Hopping into various cabs and having awesome 80s hits greet us in a loud manner....we heard "Come a Come a Chameleon" SEVERAL times.  Pet Shop Boys, Roxette, Pat Benatar. THE BEST!! Ah yeah!!!

2. Eating empanadas and chocolate blanco caliente (white hot chocolate to DIE for!!) each morning. I will try and post a photo of this, it was DIVINE! And my Spanish wasn't bad either, Alejandro, our driver to the ranch, said I had a PERFECT accent. I don't know if it was my blonde hair or my accent that really merited that compliment, but I will take it. And I WON'T let Michelle forget about it!! (inside joke laugh insert here)

3. Singing Evita outside the Casa Rosada!! Andrew Lloyd Weber would have been so proud of me, I do a mean Madonna impersonation. I looked all over for an Antonio of my own, sadly, none to be found.

4. All the sightings and almost attacks from feral dogs and cats (what BA is known for)...and again, lots of dog walkers. It's a city known for ALL the dogs with owners who have NO time to walk them. Watch those sidewalks, they don't clean up so well.

5. Spending the afternoon on a ranch with real guachos and eating four different kinds of beef in ONE meal! Don Juan, I miss you! Good horses, good food, amazing conversation, and a foosball table from the 40s that I played a game on with Michelle. And yeah, I was the champion, I sang and danced and rubbed it in her face, cause that's how I roll folks! Ah yeah, I rock the foosball table! Seriously, so old and vintage, if I could have brought it home with me, I would have. The photo I took of it will be amazing.

6. Going to the oldest city in Uruguay--Colonia on a Burquebus! Then  finding the most amazing handmade scarves and mittens and yes, LEG WARMERS!!! The 80s are alive and well in Uruguay my friends. The handmade windchimes were SO beautiful, as well as the jewelry of deep blue stones.

7. The antiques at the San Telmo market, I bought an old silver locket, a hat pin, and a Grace Kelly 1950s vintage black hat...what a treasure! I know who I am being for Halloween!

8. Hurricane Ike causing quite a stir, cancelling our flights, making it so we thought we would have to move to BA and I would have to learn how to make empanadas and be a guacho and get a job on a ranch herding cattle.

9. The fact that Michelle and I can spend 5 days together, and then when we get home, we still have things to say to make each other laugh on google chat...seriously, THE. BEST. TRAVEL. FRIEND. EVER!!! If you guys ever need someone amazing to travel with...take Michelle. And that girl can RIDE a horse. I may have kicked her butt at foosball, but she is the true cowgirl!

10. People, colors, smells, sounds, and culture of Argentina!!!

Recoleta Cemetery--Ava Peron's final resting place.

Singers in San Telmo on market day.

Michelle learning the Tango in La Boca.

One of the only surviving photos of the two of us. Michelle was a victim of theft! Crowded market, busy streets, distracted by empanadas, camera in coat pocket...something was bound to go wrong! We have the exact same cameras and usually just take photos of each other and then trade after the many of me and Don Juan (the guacho I spent the afternoon with at the ranch Los Dos Hermanos) are ALL LOST!!! Woe is me!  This is us on La Caminita

The streets of La Caminita in La Boca---personalities as bright as the colors!

Madonna and Child. I LOVED this statue in La Boca.

With the robbery of Michelle's camera, most of the photos of me and of the two of us together are lost (sniff, sniff)--however, I got this one on a random moment yesterday as we were walking through Recoleta!

And yes, when I got home today, my annual white cake was waiting for me. I've eaten some of the most amazing desserts that the world's countries have to offer, and yet, there is something about plain, white sheet cake with a raspberry filling that is perfectly delightful to me every year in September!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

You're a Good Man, Charley Hafen

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, D'Arcy...for pities sake stop blogging and start wrote the perfect hiatus blog yesterday, what more could you have to say?

Well folks, I got news. Big, big news. I've been meeting with a local gallery and today was the day that I got my showing set in stone. Yep,  this small town girl has an exhibit all her own to plan. 

Did you hear that world?!!!!!

I have to come up with the theme of the show, create a whole, harmonious body of work for it, I get to keep the paintings in the gallery for a month and get my name out there, on the radio, in the newspaper, on the website.  Share my excitement! Share my joy! Share my passion! And let's rock n' roll this gallery right out of town. Ah yeah!!

Check it out!!

Monday, September 8, 2008


I told Jenn that I wasn't going to post anything controversial on my blog for awhile. you go...complete, pure, radiant innocence...breathtaking

I spent my day getting to know my new niece yesterday. Sunday was the day of her blessing, an LDS ritual similar to a Catholic christening, followed by a big family dinner and a birthday celebration just for me!.

Farewell 30. You've been a great year. A year of Paris and climbing the Swiss Alps, a year of becoming an Aunt for the fifth time, of seeing people I love get married, of starting my own business, of completely restructuring my belief system, of realizing what is important, of budding love, of orange skies and mountain meadows, Harlem nights and Broadway lights, of sweet kisses and afternoon naps, of voracious reading and endless girl talk, of new houses and summer flowers, of journal writing and secret longings, of directing and acting, of long walks, talking to the moon, painting my visions, praying, blue sweaters, and most of all....each of you! It will end with my trip to Argentina tomorrow.....and when I get back on the 15th, I'll welcome 31 with open arms.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Spirit of Moonlight

How do you feel, if you believe in a religion where this is true, to only have a MALE god to relate to? Have you ever been worried about it? How do you feel having your Savior be a male? Do you wonder if he can really, possibly, truly know your innermost thoughts and ideas and struggles as a woman? Am I alone in wondering why the world shuns the idea of a FEMALE Divine?

In the LDS religion, though it is never voiced very loudly, most members believe in a Heavenly Mother...someone married to the Heavenly Father that they pray to and seek guidance from. But nothing is really taught or known or even talked about....just this vague idea that she is there, quiet, in the background, not really playing any part that I can see. These vague ideas made me imagine a Mother who was always soft-spoken and dripping with sentimentality and all the saccharine rhetoric that goes on about her existence has simply turned me off the idea for much of my life. I didn't want to identify with THAT kind of a female deity.

I know many people would think it sacrilelgious to even WANT to know if a female counterpart to God exists--let alone if I desire to pray to her, which I don't, not at this point. Here is why--the explanations of why we can't pray to her disturb Heavenly Mother is too special to talk to? Heavenly Father is protecting her from the evil things her children would say about her? Or maybe, worshipping a woman is just one step away from leading followers in the direction of pagan fertility rites? Each argument, which I have indeed heard several times in my life time, seems sillier than the last.

Many LDS feminists have advocated giving a more prominent place to Heavenly Mother in their basic religious doctrine. I don't really know how I feel about this either. I understand the argument completely. Worshipping a male God without a female counterpart puts males in a privileged position, doesn't it? God is like them in a fundamental way that God is not like women. I think this is where some of the root of my issues with religion are growing...I cannot believe that an environment, any environment which conceptualizes the divine in exclusively males terms does not to some extent influence the ways in which that said environment is going to think about men and women and their capabilities.

Lynnette at Zelophad's Daughters voiced this issue with words I could have written myself: "If we have no Heavenly Mother, women have no divine role model which pertains to their gender, and that is indeed a challenge. But if Heavenly Mother exists, what we have is a divine role model for women which may be more disturbing than no role model at all--one in which women are silenced to the point of invisibility, in which they seem to disappear altogether into the idenity of their husbands. Though I find the idea that God is a married couple to be appealing, I am unsettled by speculations that the Father in some way represents both of them, or that she is listening or involved despite the fact that we are permitted to address him and him alone. Some suggest that this setup exists because the two are so perfectly unified. But why, I wonder, does unity seem to require that women (but not men) sacrifice their individual identity--in this case, to the point where we can only guess as the whether a female is even present in the relationship."

Please forgive the long post, but this has been weighing on me recently. Two things have happened lately that I have tried to process and take into account when sharing my ideas.

1. An old friend has recently learned of my disassociation with the LDS church. After several long emails of me stating all of my reasons, because he wanted to know, he was able to sum it up. He believes that I am simply mad at God and that I am not a Feminist at all...that my reasons of feeling lesser in the church (a church that he has decided is the one true faith to follow) is because I am a boycrazy girl who didn't get a husband. Yes, you heard me right. Because God didn't give me this husband and family I wanted, then I got angry and decided to act the part of a petulant child and just go out and "sin" because I am hurt over it. Hmmm, this has made me very tired and a bit reticent to even blog anymore. And this friend is probably reading these words right now thinking, "That's not what I meant!" But, I am quoting word for word, so yes, I think it is exactly what you meant. And while I promised not to get offended when he told me what he thought about my situation, I do feel a bit degraded that someone would think I was using my ideas of equality and justice as a cloak for feeling sad that God didn't give me the white picket fence that I was brainwashed into believing was the one thing I should seek after in my life because it was where my WORTH would lie. I have never really thought that that was God's responsibility. I have always believed it was mine. God did not force me to not marry men who have been interested in marrying me. It's not God's job magically put a man in front of me with a shinning halo and a big arrow pointing to him saying "He's the one." The truth is, we are all just acting on faith here...plain and simple. You could be wrong. You could be right. We really DON'T know...and I am SO tired of people making me feel like I DO know what they know and what they KNOW is the ONE truth and because I secretly DO know it and am not acting upon it then I will be punished in the hereafter...are you confused too? Yep. But this week especially, I have been wondering if God is going to condemn my soul, a soul that is trying so hard to do what is right for my life, to hell. If that is the God that you believe is going to judge me, then I'd really rather not believe in that God.

2. Another friend gently chastised me for expressing my concerns for my religion on my blog. She told me that I was influencing a lot of people. However, what she meant was, "Hey, you are not painting a pretty picture of this religion that I believe in and I am mad at that and you will be judged for this if you are leading people away from the truth with your words." This seemed crazy for me, and addresses another issue I have with religion. This ENDLESS need to convert the world to your beliefs. I am not a representative for the LDS church. I am not here to speak ill of any religion. If you believe in Jesus, but a man on the street is preaching against Jesus...will you believe him? If your convictions are firm, they you possess the capability to read and reason on your own. To me this is the food of life. To think, to guess, to ponder, to discuss. What do we have if we don't have this? In fact, I know many old friends who refuse to even read my blog anymore as they feel it has been full of evil, wrong ideas that they shouldn't entertain. And that is their prerogative.

Please note that I don't want the discussion on this blog to be about addressing these two people or my response to them. That's not the point, that's just where I have been at this week. I'd really rather have a discussion on deity and how you define him or her. I've been researching it and finding some interesting ideas, but I'd like to hear yours. Do you believe in a female counterpart to God? Is she Mother Earth, Gaia? Have you thought of this?

There are numerous Jewish and Christian groups who see the Holy Spirit as being our heavenly Mother. They base their thinking regarding the gender of the Holy Spirit on the fact that the Hebrew word for Spirit is Ruach, which is feminine. I thought this was an interesting idea...not one that works for me, but I love that other religions have tried to work the female into their fundamental belief system.

The Umbanda or in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil the Candomble religion worship Iemanja as one of the Seven orixas of the African Pantheon. She is the Queen of the Ocean, the feminine principle of creation and the spirit of moonlight. (Much like the Catholic Our lady of the Seafaring). I feel connected with her for a very real reason. When I was studying in Brazil our group of 40 students went the home of a Candomble Priestess and ate African food while she told us about her religion. They identify with three Gods and four Goddesses. As you grow, the Priestess will assign you a patron God or Goddess to identify with. Someone asked her how she assigned them. She said that often, the God or Goddess was simply shinning through so brightly, it was impossible to deny. So, that girl asked again, "Well, can you see any of them in us?" The Priestess, beautiful in her white clothing, regal in her manner, spiritual in her nature looked around the room and said, "Yes, there are three here who shine bright with their God." The girl pressed her, "Won't you tell us?!" I was quiet, knowing that when she had scanned the room, her eyes had lingered just a bit longer on me then they had on the girl next to me. She pointed to two girls and told them, then she pointed to me. "You, with the blonde, your Goddess is as clear as the blue sea on our coasts. Your Goddess is Iemanja."

Research Iemanja--you'll see why it was so special for me. The mother goddess, the patron deity of women, especially pregnant women...

The feeling inside, this idea that a female goddess was shinning through me was one of the most spiritual moments in my life. Even more than that was realizing that I hold within myself endless possibilities. However, it has taken me a long time to get to where I am, and I still wonder about these male Gods. I still wonder what life would have been like for an innocent, blonde, rosy cheeked girl to grow up with a strong female divine letting her know that she was just as good as the men who were allowed to lead her just because that's how it's always been done.