Back at it

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It was almost 3 years ago (August of 2010) that I last wrote here.  It was an article about how, despite not writing much, I needed to – to express much of the random thoughts, opinions, & musings constantly streaming through my mind.  It’s ironic that after writing such an article, I failed to write for the past three years.  I guess I wasn’t as ready as I thought I was.

But the past is the past. And while I’m not making any grand commitments to write a lot, I want to start again.

The past three years have been strange ones for me.  Up until the summer of 2010, I had life pretty well figured out (or so I thought). I was at that time leading an experimental faith community, communitasPHX, in downtown Phoenix.  I was running my small web/print design studio, MethodLab.  I was working to expand both.  I had dreams of building communitasPHX into a more established non-profit exploring spirituality in the developing urban space where traditional faith and church structures aren’t embraced.  We had opened a community art/event space known as fractal (at some expense to my personal finances & without any real business plan).  CommunitasPHX hosted events such as the PHX Brew Party & Taco Day had grown to include larger numbers of people that we knew what to do with. We were in process of bringing on our first paid staff member to pursue new sources of funding and to develop the organization.  As for Methodlab, known as MethodLab Media at the time, we had new office space housed within the fractal space.  My work as Methodlab was becoming more and more public.  As a designer, I was involved in the local design community which offered some amazing relationships & partnerships that benefitted my endeavors.  Business was growing.

And just as quickly as it all happened, it all fell apart.  Fractal quickly became painfully expensive and exhausting to manage.  Some serious miscommunication (I’m sure mostly on my part) caused the relationship with the new communitasPHX staffer to disintegrate. Volunteers we relied on moved away. Trying to develop my design business bored me.  Instead of renewing the lease on our rented 1910 bungalow, Kelli and I decided to purchase a bankruptcy property in Uptown – adding the chaos of moving and a house renovation into the mix of our lives.

Somewhere in all of the chaos and life change, I lost my faith. It wasn’t a complete loss, but enough to shake up my entire world. For the past 3 years, I have been simply existing as a spiritual person, little, if ever, nurturing that part of myself.  But it’s time to reconstruct a faith using the pieces that remain and combining them with pieces that have been newly discovered.

I hope to rediscover a part of myself that has never ceased to exist, but has instead been misplaced. I’ll detail some of it here, but more in depth posts on spirituality can be found at the Open Abbey.

For now, I just needed to get this first post (as jumbled and all over the place as it might be) written as a first step.

July 16th, 2013

How life should be lived

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IMG_7028, originally uploaded by znewsome.

I wish everyday was like this.

January 11th, 2010

My Daughter

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090808_026, originally uploaded by znewsome.

September 30th, 2009

My Son

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090808_020, originally uploaded by znewsome.

September 30th, 2009

Brew Party Screen

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IMG_6738, originally uploaded by znewsome.

September 30th, 2009

South of the Border

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For the next few days, Kelli, the kids, and I will be in Puerto Penasco, Mexico for some much needed time away. I want to think I live unselfishly during the rhythms of normal, daily life, but when life becomes chaotic and rhythms are lost, I find my priority becomes the restoration of order. To live a life that is filtered through a dep committment to “the other”, it’s vital that we first care for ourselves SO THAT we can care & be available to the other. Unfortunately, more often than not, those who best care for others are terrible at caring for themselves. I hope that I leave a very different legacy – one that advocates an equal and deeply connected commitment to health (spiritually, physically, emotionally, etc) AND a commitment to the other. I am convinced we were never meant to do one without the other.
So I will rest, laugh, play, ponder, enjoy, and exist without a schedule for the next few days in hope that I’ll come back better able to better engage and care for “the other” in downtown PHX.

June 24th, 2009

Lent: early observations

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Today is the second day of Lent and the second day of my exploration of “giving up myself” for Lent.  I should note here that from the get-go I acknowledge that there are some inconsistencies in this whole effort:

  1. I have (unsuccessfully) asked others to consider joining me in this.  The very asking insinuates that others should join ME in what I think is a good idea.
  2. Blogging here about it assumes that anyone is interested in ME and MY explorations into this and that MY voice has a value.

I’ve wrestled with these contradictions as I’ve ventured into this.  It’s clear even from the start how difficult it really is to rid myself of “self”.  But what makes this concept interesting to me is not that I would be completely and totally selfless for 40days, but that it would be an exercise in awareness of the spaces, postures, and actions of my life that are consumed with the thought of ME.  And the hope is that I would be enabled to live differently as a result.

As for the documentation of the journey here, I do it to record the thoughts, observations, and learnings along the road. If readers (does anyone actually read this anyway?) find something helpful or interesting, great. If not, my journey through it won’t be diminished.

So I’d ask you to wish me luck, but that would yet be another example of self-interest.  Ahhhhh……this is going to be interesting. :)

February 26th, 2009

Waking from a deep sleep

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November and December had our family running ragged. They we’re great months of events, holidays, activities, people, neighbors, friends, and family. But in the midst of it all, I recognized that we had overbooked and over-committed ourselves. So for the past couple of weeks, we’ve been flying below the radar. We’ve been saying “no” to some great friends, parties, events, etc and we’ve been prioritizing the things that we need to rediscover balance, health, rest, and passion for life. This has become less a regular rhythm of ours – to slow life and schedule to a crawl when we realize that we are living in ways other than we want to. And we fill the rest and the space of these seasons with re-centering conversations and actions. It is an attempt to make possible the live’s we’ve committed to life. Lives of love, balance, and holistic (physically, spiritually, mentally, & relationally) health. Lives lived in the ways of Jesus, of community, of justice, and of creativity.

Today signals the escape from this hibernation and the re-entry into the world. Hopefully we’ll discover new successes as we live the lives we are being called to and become the people we are becoming.

Work too is awakening from a slowed pace this week and as I look forward to the new year, I’m excited for the dreams that will become reality and for the people God is bringing into collaboration with us.

January 5th, 2009

Rocking the ‘Stache for kids

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If you’ve seen me recently, you noticed a bit of a change in my appearance.  In full Tom Selleck-style, I am bringing back the moustache.  It’s not easy to brave the stares of horror and the supressed giggle of passerby’s, but this stache has a purpose.

This year a few of us in downtown PHX are growing moustaches for kids.   It’s really a simple gig, we humiliate ourselves with upper lip plummage that’s been out of style for decades and friends and family who feel our pain, join us in helping some local teachers fund vital projects for their classrooms. We are know that ensuring our nation’s children have access to a great education in key to our future, but we don’t often realize how difficult it is for teachers to get the funding for special projects that will deepen impact their kids. School budgets are tight and these tough economic times don’t make it any easier.  Those in high poverty districts are most notably affected by this shortage of funding.

But together we’re gonna help.  From now until Dec. 18th, I’ll rock my stache and I’ll ask you to join me in supporting a local classroom project via www.donorschoose.com.  Any amount is great and even a few dollars will go a long way towards getting some projects fully funded.  It’s easy to donate, so if you’re up to help, here’s how to do it:

  1. Click here to go to my “Growers Page” on www.donorschoose.org
  2. Browse the projects I’ve chosen (they’re local and in high-poverty areas) and choose the one that best resonates with you.
  3. Give via your credit card or with a check.

It’s simple and easy…..and it’s a really great cause. It only takes a few moments to get involved.  And be sure to check on the progress we’re making together on my Grower’s Page or on the widget on the right sidebar of this blog post.

BTW: I know ’tis the season for charities and for other people raising funds to hit you up.  Don’t think of this as another one of those.  I’m asking that you consider adding a couple bucks to the pot.  If we could get a good number of people to give $5-15 each then we could close these projects out and mark them as “funded”.

November 26th, 2008

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