Monday, September 24, 2012

I have an art store!

It's true. Really and truly true. My art is for sale online! Check it out, if you like, at

Marketing my own stuff is a rather new thing for me, and still doesn't feel natural. I suppose I'll get used to it, but I don't plan on posting "business" stuff on this blog (after this)... except I will include a link to my site to the right. Or, if you want to keep tabs on my art site, you can like Becca Yoder Art on facebook or follow the art blog.

Kudos to Ryan Zook of Zook Computer for taking my ideas and making them into a website! I really couldn't recommend him enough.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Case for Sabbaths

I was on vacation with a group of friends who have had the best adventures together since we were fifteen years old. Let's just say there are few inhibitions among us. At some point during the evening, I fell asleep. I do remember finding it impossible to stay awake. For the rest, I had to rely on their confessions and my sore muscles. Apparently the night was still young and I had made a mumbled promise to rejoin the fun after "sleeping half an hour". They, being the great friends they are, decided to take me at my word when a much longer time had passed and I remained comatose. I'm told they pulled me out of the bed, and I hit the floor without stirring. Or reacting to their varied and imaginative waking techniques. (I am just grateful no one filmed it. They still laugh too hard at the memory to tell me everything that transpired.) Um. Yeah. That probably isn't normal. Neither the unresponsive state or my friends. (Hey, guys. You know I love you.)

I have this problem. I confuse physical and emotional energy. If I would enjoy doing something, I say "of COURSE I'll do it!" and assume I'll have time and physical energy. And I enjoy a great many things and adore doing things for people and have far too many interests. So I throw myself at them all simultaneously. And I knock myself out sometimes. Literally.

Partly through sheer necessity and partly through other people's examples and encouragement, I think I might be starting to learn a few things.

We human creatures, fearfully and wonderfully made though we are, are not invincible.

We need rest. Hard work gives us the honorable pride of working with God in ordering and blessing His world. But we aren't valued according to our output. We aren't machines. Work is an invitation to dignity and fulfillment, not a struggle for worth and value.

Knowing your limitations and saying "no" or asking for help is a sign of maturity. That's what my friend Carla said. I think it's also a sign of humility. Because admitting I have limitations is brutally hard on my pride. (I am a Yoder. I pretend I'm invincible. It's what we do.) 

It is possible to say "no". Hard. But possible. I was talking to my dad about all this and concluded, "I think I need to learn how to say 'no'." His immediate reply? "It starts with a 'n' sound, and then a long 'ooooooh'." Yes. Noted. And I thought of this explication the following day and actually utilized it. 

Interdependence fosters community. When I rush around, trying to do everything myself, insisting on procuring my own resources, I deprive myself of precious connection with other people. 

God integrated times of Sabbath from the dawn of the world because He knows us and wants us to thrive. Because I work the majority of weekends, I have a tendency to forget to fully rest. I'm fortunate to still be able to attend church most Sundays, even if I work, which is refreshing and invigorating... but when my days off roll around, it's the middle of the week and I'm in get-stuff-done mode... and after a while I start to feel depleted and realize I haven't taken a whole day of Sabbath for a long time. I've been grabbing snatches of solitude by eating a meal on a tree stump between projects and talking to God while I'm driving and reading Scripture while I'm at work while I drink my coffee in the wee quiet moments before I wake my girls. All of that is meaningful and adds life and magic to the day, but never taking an entire day to relax and just be with God makes me start to feel (to quote the venerable Bilbo Baggins) "Thin... sort of... stretched. Like butter, scraped over too much bread." 

I need to change, and I think I've made a start.

Hopefully someday soon I'll be able to wake and defend myself against my friends. 

Jethro + Mary

Back in June, a Very Fun Day happened.

Jethro and Mary love each other, so they promised forever.

And celebrated with flowers...

...and siblings and friends...

(who were sometimes a bit scandalized by all the celebration)

...but everyone was actually really happy about it all,
and helped them ride off

...into a whole new life.

I've posted more pictures on my facebook page for you to view, if you so desire. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

In Which I Discover My Place

We left the sand, Sharon and I. Through the rippling greys and out to stand waist-deep where the water glowed with pink and coral on the tips of its wrinkles to fall lavender in its folds. Silent in awe, just breathing, suspended between sky and reflected sky. Enveloped in brilliance. Small and securely lost in immensity.

The beauty built until I had to open my mouth to ease the aching and we began to sing. Cupping handfuls of water, we threw them in exultation to the sky. Each droplet hung in the air for long seconds, each reflecting so it seemed full itself of sky... diamonds and stars falling back to their whole.

Weight that had accumulated from two years of daily trying to ease suffering and fill holes of neglect flew from my hands with the droplets. And nothing feels sacred now that these griefs have ripped into the inner circle of my world. The actuality that my love cannot protect my dad from heartbreak, my sisters from trauma, my friends from date rape and death has repeatedly glared closer than my reflection this past year. Realizing that loving and picking up the pieces is no prevention or magic wand has worn thin places of guilt. All that rose from murky depths to the surface. And I flung it into the air to watch it sparkle and fall.

Worship is a celebration of God's vastness. A letting in of His intimacy. An emptying and a filling.

I can't be enough, and I despise that fact. But I am eventually crushed if I walk under a load that isn't mine to bear. I wasn't meant to be enough, only a drop in the sea of God's presence with us.

He has been and is constantly enough for me. So I threw to Him the responsibility to be enough for them.

I stand in worship, and I keep filling and emptying my hands. Only a drop in the sea that washes jagged brokenness smooth into sea glass treasure.

I was meant for this.

Monday, September 3, 2012

I Don't Understand

I don't understand

Why people are prejudiced
Why adults fight
Why people must die
Why we do things we'll soon regret

What I do understand is
Writing is knowledge
Reading is influence
My brain is smart

-written by "Allie" (nickname), age 14

* * * *

This girl's strength, wisdom, and self-respect... after knowing abuse, neglect, and homelessness... amazes and inspires me. She gave me her notebook to read, and I asked her permission to share this one.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A World Cleared

These days are warm and golden and mostly idyllic. And then I got to work and Monica asked, "Did you hear about Jesse?"

"Jesse Anderson?" Oh, did he land another big art show? Or the children's book he wrote get noticed by a publisher for the genius that it is?

"Yeah. Um. He's dead."

And she went home and I sat at work, just mostly staring at nothing. Nothing. Nothing really prepares you for the suicide of a friend. I've made peace with deaths and broken relationships and even forgave the guy who raped my close friend. I thought I had a good handle on how to reconcile with suffering and the crazy, vulnerable God who gifts us with Choice... to heal or crush, love and serve or usurp and plunder.

No one to forgive, no one with any answers. Only his absence from a world I can't see beyond.

It's one thing to write about suffering that disturbs you when it's halfway around the world or in the house next door. It's quite another when grief has crashed into your own heart and you need to talk but can't stop crying long enough to make any sense. And what is there to say?

Thank God for a dad who doesn't need you to make sense, that just blurting facts and sobbing helps because now he KNOWS and he's going to carry it with you. Thank God for Carla, who sits on my porch steps with me and prays what I can't formulate: "God, have mercy on your world. Have mercy on us. Have mercy on Jesse." Thank God for friends who call to tell me I'm loved and text late at night when I'm back at work and keep thinking I see Jesse stomping in with his greatcoat flapping behind him, red hair wild, and I keep trying to force my mind around the fact that he's gone. For fun cousins who drive all day to spend a few hours of laughter, sun, water, sand, and the simple treasure of presence. And for friends who listen to Jesse stories and tell me to listen to music that speaks my language and reminds me that hope is not a stranger to lament, but her friend who points to the misty dawn and to flowers rooting in asphalt fissures.

The loss of a good friend and the care of so many others. Because of you all, I see things differently. Better. Like a world cleared and brought into focus with a new pair of glasses when you hadn't realized it had gone a little blurry.

Each person you know is irreplaceable. Each one God's magnum opus. See them for what they are: masterpieces. Marvel at the magnificence of their hands, their laughing eyes, their little kindnesses and all the infuriating and comical idiosyncrasies that comprise their whole.

Cherish and enjoy your people. Tell them. Show them.

Then maybe you won't have years to wonder if the text you thought of sending... then didn't... would have made a difference two days later.