Doing the Time Warp at 2 a.m.



It’s astounding.
Time is fleeting.
Madness takes its toll.

Oh, look. I’ve gone from a pleasant dream to mid-thought in a second. I’m suddenly wide awake, Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show running through my head.

I remember doing the Time Warp,
Drinking those moments when
The blackness would hit me
And the void would be calling
Let’s do the Time Warp again…

It happened the night before, too. If the pattern holds, my mind will start racing through random thoughts mixed with snatches of songs until I land on some unfinished work and feel anxious, head spinning, heart pounding.

Head over heart, heart over pelvis.

Pay attention to the way you stand. Stack the bones for a firm foundation.

Why am I cycling through Yoga with Adriene now? I’d agreed to try daily yoga exercises for the month of January with a group of women more motivated than I. I didn’t get very far; I think I did two days, spread over a week. The dogs were distressed, and my daughter was afraid I’d fallen and couldn’t get up. I wasn’t terribly stable. I was scaring those around me.


Take your time. Pay attention to the way you breathe. When you inhale, feel your abdomen and your rib cage expand in all four directions. Take up space…

Time. Space. This all reminds me that I was supposed to spend the month making art, for fun. But I haven’t really, unless you count some photos I took of moss, or the marzipan flowers I made with my daughter for the cupcakes to help take her mind off looming events, or the conversations with various friends about music.

Those probably don’t count.

Hey, there’s that unfinished work.

God, I need to sleep.

Hey, God. Hey. I need to sleep.

I reach into my bedside drawer to fish around quietly for a rosary. My grandma taught me long ago, when she would visit and we’d have to share a bed and she smelled pleasantly of talcum powder and yarn, that the best way to bore yourself to sleep is by starting a rosary. My hand finds some cool, smooth beads, and I slide it out.

It’s broken.

I wonder how that works. The rosary leads you around in a predictable circle, reciting rote prayers while reflecting (or attempting to) on a portion of Christ’s life. Christ’s life, written in the stones of the Stations of the Cross, on cathedral walls, in museums. It’s the same. It’s a circle. Birth, death, birth. Repeat. But what if it’s broken? What if the end doesn’t come back to the beginning in a stable, but is able to spiral through time, Kairos time instead of Chronos? What if it reached…all the way here?

Let’s do the Time Warp again….

Hey there, random song snatches.


 It’s just a jump to the left

I remember the summer I learned to do the Time Warp. I was maybe 5 or 6, and tagged along on a marching band field trip. The high schoolers thought I was so cute,

And then a step to the riiiiiight

particularly since I obviously didn’t know what I was doing, but was so enthusiastic anyway.

With your hands on your hips,
You bring your knees in tight.
But it’s the pelvic thrust that really drives you insa-a-aaaaane

I had no idea what I was doing.

Head over heart, heart over pelvis.

Thanks, Adriene.

I wonder if my grandmother felt like she knew what she was doing. She looked like she knew what she was doing—and she was most definitely an artist. I am actively trying to sleep under one of her most beautiful works, an afghan of blue, light blue, purple, and brown. She made it for me when I found the watch she thought she’d lost forever—the last gift my grandfather had given her before he died.

Let’s do the time warp again

I wonder if she cried while she crocheted it,

Stack the bones

I wonder if she stitched him back together in her memory, with the watch and the yarn and her shaking arthritic hands and her tears.


Isn’t that what we do, much of the time, with art? What we seek? We hook into the time slip, latch onto a thread of truth, pull it into our here and now, and interpret it through our lens. And when others (or maybe just one other, maybe the One who created us to begin with) can look at it and see it and recognize both something of themselves and something of us in it—that’s a unique connection. That’s a rush. To release that back into time, to leave a marker of this place, this time, this truth, this meeting, and the juxtaposition of them, like dropping a pin on a map–that’s a legacy. That’s taking the ghost of a thought, stacking the bones inside it, and giving it flesh.

Feel yourself expand in all directions

It can happen with an afghan, or a song, or when your four-year-old draws a picture of Heaven complete with grandparents they’ve never met.

Head over heart

I might scare those around me.

Heart over pelvis

I won’t know what I’m doing.

Jump to the left

It will take time, and space, and breath, and truth.

Stack the bones

Tomorrow I will put some flesh on some bones.

Let’s do the Time Warp again.

 (Note: The quotes from Yoga with Adriene are the way my brain remembered them at 2 a.m. They may not be accurate.)

Moss. It’s art. Photo: Mary Bishop

Hope Doesn’t Go on Furlough:Making Art & Music Free

black and white art museum europe
Photo by Adrianna Calvo on

The government shutdown has caused so many issues (here is a running list of some of the real-world consequences), that discouragement is natural. For the remainder of the shutdown we will be sharing the ways people are stepping up to help each other, proving that humans can show empathy and not behave like ninnies. Feel free to share any that you see on our Facebook page, and please join in to help when you can.

Musuems and symphonies across the country are offering free admission to furloughed federal workers. May an afternoon of beauty bring some joy and peace in these troubled days.



Today’s Sign of Hope: Yo-Yo Ma

focal point photo string of violin
Photo by Tom Swinnen on

Welcome to Kristenmas! Krirsten’s birthday was December 17. When her youngest was in his early years of school and had just learned about Hanukkah, he declared the 8 days between her birthday and Christmas to be Kristenmas. (She claims his goal was to get his own holiday with fried foods and presents.) In honor of Kristenmas we’re going to post a sign of hope every day, because–well, because we need it.

I am so grateful that gorgeous music is readily available. Pablo Casal’s Song of the Birds, performed by Yo-Yo Ma, brings me to tears. Enjoy.

September’s Sacramentals

gray pile of stones near trees
Photo by Fabian Reitmeier on


For September, I challenged Kristen (and myself) to identify current or establish new habits in our daily lives that connect us to God—what we labeled as Sacramentals.

After that we pretty much went silent for the month.

September hit us both a bit like a cement truck, and our carefully laid-out schedule for posts was an early casualty. But the seed for sacramentals was already planted—so how’d we do?


From Kristen:

I have not filled my days with magic and mystery or anything. Still, I was surprised to recognize some ordinary everyday sacramentals I already have in my life.

I start my day, every day, pouring a cup of coffee while the dogs are out doing their morning business. Like most of the people I know, I have a ridiculous number of coffee mugs that I have collected over the years. I only use three of them, though. My number one choice is the mug my kid brother gave me for Christmas my freshman year in college over thirty years ago. It’s ringed with Boynton’s quirky animals at school desks. It says, “The little joys of teaching are without number.” It makes me smile every single time. Sometimes, though, it is missing (read that as “it’s in one of my sons’ bedrooms becoming some sort of frightening lab experiment.”) Then I grab the St. Damien of Molokai mug I got at the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Retreat Center. The retreat center is a beautiful place that never fails to bring me peace and some sort of enlightenment. And I always had a thing for Father-now-Saint Damien, the priest who risked—and ultimately lost—his own life to care for the lepers on the island of Molokai. What kind of love must that be? I want it. The mug is always a good reminder.

The third mug is the one that made me realize that my three coffee mugs are sacramental objects.

The third mug came from the gift shop at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California. About twenty years ago, one of my husband’s coworkers-become-closest-friends-who-then-became-part-of-our-family came back from a visit to his folks’ with the mug, along with a cedar cribbage board and a balsam filled pillow from Sequoia National Forest. It just tickled him to give us such goofy tchotchkes from tourist spots. His laughter was booming and infectious. It was one of the best things about him. When he died tragically a year later, the mug became my way of remembering him. This past week, I discovered that one of my sons accidentally broke the mug, leaving the pieces on the kitchen counter for me. He (whichever he it was) knew that the mug was too important to just throw out. At that moment, I realized that I treated it—and the other two mugs—as sacramentals.

The other sacramentals in my life are more transient. On my meditative walks, I have a habit of picking up some small natural objects—stones, shells, acorns, feathers… I will put them on my desk or in the small dish on my nightstand for a time, eventually swapping them out for new collections of objects. Last Sunday, while making my first visit to the series of meditation gardens and labyrinth at a local Episcopal parish, I was especially touched by one small space that is nestled under a huge oak tree. A square of pea stone marks off the area. There are two benches across from each other to sit at while praying. In the center of the square was a stone that had been worn away on top, so that it loosely resembled a bowl. In each corner of the square were planter pots filled with small stones. A sign at the entrance to the space encouraged people to take a small stone and hold it while they prayed, imagining their intention being put into the stone. When the prayer was complete, the stone could be added to the stones in the center stone bowl. It was a lovely way to think about our collective intentions and prayers. And it has given me new insight into my practice of collecting as I walk.

Just today I realized that I have another garden-related sacramental. Spring bulbs. For the past thirteen years, since we moved to this house, I have planted tulip, daffodil, and crocus bulbs. Looking back over the years, I realize that this has become a ritual for me. Planting bulbs in my yard is a radical act of faith—the soil is iffy, the weather is unpredictable, and the moles are voracious. Every fall I plant them, not knowing what will bloom come spring. It’s a tangible act of hope and faith.

white and red flower during day time
Photo by Pixabay on

From Mary:

I honestly thought this month’s dare would be easy for me. I like tangible reminders of faith, and it felt like a logical way for me to remain connected to God while the politics and scandals of organized religion keep buzzing around everywhere I look. I just purchased a used copy of the Liturgy of the Hours that I was excited to delve into, and I was going to carve out time to finally sift through The Catholic Box—the various religious keepsakes of my parents that my brother gave me after my mom’s death, since I was the last sibling still Catholic.

I grossly underestimated the depth of my own anger and sorrow.

When I thought of plunging into the eternal current of prayers of the communion of saints, I just felt cold, like a stranger. And when I looked in the direction of the Box—well, I cried.

Words failed me this month, and as someone who relates to the world largely through words, and who considers them the closest thing I have to an art form, that’s a scary and isolating experience.

The one thing that did comfort me this month was playing the piano. Revisiting pieces I played growing up, pieces that were my mom’s favorites, or that dad always commented on, or that I remember my piano teacher pleading, “No, with more feeeeeling” with a pointless sigh because my 15 years on the planet had been blissfully free of the depth of feeling she was looking for—playing them to an empty house allowed my heart to speak through my fingers without having to engage my brain. I do not play piano well, and I do not play for an audience. But this month I was able to pray the notes directly to God when words just could not suffice.

white piano keyboard
Photo by Pixabay on