Thursday, May 31, 2007

Simple Pleasures.......

I came home from work kinda crabby yesterday, and really tired. HOWEVER - I came home to these two darlings who made me feel better - snuggly, playful, giggle inducing Emma and Cairo.
Life is good when you're only about 3 feet off the floor...... ;)

All photos taken by Carissa Gerber

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

You never know what treasures you will find when you wander.....

This past weekend was our church retreat. Just like last year we went to The Stronghold, in Oregon, Illinois. (Picture thanks to Mike Clawson)This year however it was not 90 degrees the entire time we were there. Thank goodness. But last year was much more peaceful and solitary than this year. Which is ok... but did make it hard to get alone and spend time with God. Hard to think. To enjoy nature without 10 people walking through your line of sight.
So, Sunday afternoon, during solitude time, Jen, Kelsey and I headed out in the jeep and went across the river to Lowden State Park. Famous for its statue of Chief Blackhawk if for no other reason.
We grabbed our journals and headed down the stairs to the river. Yes. Steps. As an alternative to a path. Worked well. Going down. Going back up was another matter all together. LOL. 202 of them. Very steeply pitched. Now, keep in mind - I am recovering from bronchitis, and I also have asthma. And I'm horribly outta shape. Going up those 202 steps was pure muscle and lung burning torture. I wanted to warn everyone I saw headed down to really think it through before descending......
Anyway, I digress. At the bottom of the steps Jen went left and Kelsey and I headed right. And we followed the path along the Rock River. Looking for a place to sit. I saw a few that were tempting - but for some reason or another not quite right. So we kept walking. And walking. To the very boundary of the State Park. And there in a quiet, peaceful, shady alcove was a perfect place to waste time with God. A spring(Ganymede Spring) was built into the hillside, a perfect cistern, filtering dirty water and spring runoff into sparkling clean water. Which then bubbled out of a pipe through a gurgling stream to the river. Apparently in the river - which is high right - now there is a pool!
Ganymede Spring- The spring lies on a path near the shoreline of the Rock River, which is about ¼ mile north of the Blackhawk statue. The old swimming pool, which lies just beneath the spring can still be seen when the water on the river is low. (the sixth paragraph here talks about the spring....)
It was peaceful sitting there listening to the water, feeling the breeze, watching birds take a bath in the spring, and canoe-ers on the river. You could just feel the tension and stress leave your body. And I had to think; I could have sat at any of those not quite right places along the river and been fairly content. But we saw the journey through to the end and were abundantly rewarded for our perseverance.
All too soon the time was up and we had to head back to the top. To the demon stairs. To the statue. But, sore as I am today, it was worth the pain.
Of course, when we got back to the Stronghold I didn't have to add to the muscle fatigue by hiking down to the pit with Jen - again, the easy was the gradual incline on the way back that had me and my jelly legs huffing and puffing. And in search of water.
Oh, and just in case you might find this interesting - this was in the middle of our fasting day, and my blood sugar was below crashed out. When we got back to the Carriage House, and the aroma of bbq chicken wafted out, I almost collapsed on the lawn. LOL.
Anyway, we took our lemons, and made lemonade and enjoyed the beauty of Lowden State Park. We made space to encounter God. We carved out time to be still. And despite the bustle and activity God was still there waiting. Be still and know that I am God.....Not the same as last year, but good just the same. Different lessons learned.

BTW - as I sat by the spring this are the two songs that came to mind....

David Crowder Band - Here Is Our King

From wherever spring arrives
To heal the ground
From wherever searching comes the look itself
A trace of what we're looking for
So be quiet now and wait

The ocean is growing
The tide is coming in
Here it is

Here is our king, here is our love
Here is our God Who's come
To bring us back to him
He is the one, he is Jesus, Jesus

And what was said to the rose
To make it unfold
Was said to me here in my chest
So be quiet now and rest

The ocean is growing
The tide is coming in
Here it is

Here is our king, here is our love
Here is our God Who's come
To bring us back to him
He is the one, he is Jesus, Jesus

Majesty, finally
Majesty, finally here

Here is our king, here is our love
Here is our God Who's come
To bring us back to him
He is the one, he is Jesus, Jesus

Majesty, finally

Be Still and Know - Steven Curtis Chapman

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is holy
Be still, O restless soul of mine
Bow before the Prince of peace
Let the noise and clamor cease
Be still

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is faithful
Consider all that he has done
Stand in awe and be amazed
And know that He will never change
Be still

Be Still, and know that He is God
Be Still, and know that He is God
Be Still, and know that He is God

Be Still; Be speechless

Be still and know that he is God
Be still and know he is our Father
Come rest your head upon his breast
Listen to the rhythm of his unfailing heart of love
Beating for His little ones
Calling each of us to come
Be still, Be still

After I wrote the blog post, I found this:

"The Taft bedrock acts much like a sponge, and rainwater percolates down through the layers. The rocks not only hold vast amounts of water, but also act as a filtering system, which removes impurities as the water slowly passes downward through the layers.
It is this percolation of water through the rocks, which produces Ganymede Spring, although these waters have not been filtered sufficiently for human consumption. In this case, the aquifer is contained within the limestone and dolomite layers of the hillside. As the water trickles down through rock layers, it eventually hits an impermeable layer of shale. As it is unable to move further downward, it must exit the hillside at the spring. The remains of an Eagle's Nest swimming pool still exist, where one can imagine the resident artist soaking on a hot summer afternoon."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air's salubrity..."

It is absolutely beautiful out today. I could hardly even bear to come to work. When I walked out my front door this morning and felt the warm, gentle air surround me and felt the heat of the sun on my face I felt a desperate longing to be outside. I want nothing more than to get away by myself - either for a long, long walk, or to find a spot and just sit. I have so much to think about, so much to work out. Issues to resolve, forgiveness to find. Sitting in this room, my heart is obsessed with the longing to be out there, in the sun, in a field, by a stream, with God. The really frustrating thing is, only one class comes through here today. One. Look at all the time I have to think. And thinking in here just isn't the same. I'm not free to act/react in the ways that will help me. But outside? The birds are singing, the breeze is gently blowing, the sun is warming up the day. The trees are rustling, the grass smells sweet, the bugs are buzzing....and God is there. I wanna waste time with Him. Not by myself in this lab where my thoughts are constantly interrupted. But out there, with a journal. A book. Maybe music, maybe not. In the stillness. With the breeze. Blue sky. Healing sun. God.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Monday, May 21, 2007

Into the Woods......we went !

Wow, it's been a busy week. Lots of stuff going on. The big thing this week was the musical. Into the Woods - the final high school performance of my daughter's life. She was very sad.....
I could not believe how incredibly difficult this musical was to perform. But this cast rose to the challenge. For a synopsis and great insights about the play, visit Mike's blog. Thanks Mike - saved me a ton of time, and you did a much better and insightful job than I ever could!

All I know is, life isn't happily ever after all the time. And this play shows the consequences of one choice. Kind of a "butterfly effect." It's a thinking persons play. I saw it two nights, and I'm sure I still missed a lot. Fortunately I have the DVD, and Carissa's script, so I can fill in the gaps.

Anyway - here are some pictures - a little grainy - it's hard to get good pix in a dark theater, and also of cast members high on adrenaline! Enjoy.

Carissa's famous cow - designed, drawn and painted by her,
cut and put together by Mr. Fantozi.

never one to hold back in real life either, Carissa is telling off the giant.....


Jack and his mother....Billy and Carissa

Paige (the baker's wife) and Carissa

Brad (Rapunzel's prince) and Carissa

Carissa (Jacks' Mother) and Billy (Jack)

Carissa's poster - (this is also the program and t-shirt design)

The seniors

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Just tell me what to do.....

I love Derek Webb. His songs make you think. Some are controversial. This video is A New Law, and it really speaks to how my life has been growing up, and how it is now. This is the world I was in, and the world I fought. For myself, and my kids. Removing the blindfold is scary, but so, so liberating. I have listened to this song many times on the CD, but the visuals really make the words more poignant. Especially the shots of the preacher.....hmmm. Thanks for the link Darla!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Live in the present. Do the things that need to be done. Do all the good you can each day. The future will unfold.

Peace Pilgrim

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Book Meme

I don't do a lot of "memes," but I like this one:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open it to page 161.
3. Find the fifth full sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence along with these instructions.
5. Don't search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.

"The Da Vinci code movie had just been released and Tim was doing a series of lectures addressing some of the issues the movie had raised: What was the role of women in the church?"

That was from the book I Sold My Soul on eBay by Hemant Mehta . Guess I'll have to wait for the answer until I get to that chapter. ;)

If you do the meme, feel free to post your sentences in my comments here.

One thousand one, one thousand two

I can’t sleep. Something a friend said has pried some stuff loose in my brain, and it is swirling and taunting me – just out of reach. I am so tired. I really need to sleep. But the thoughts just won’t stop. I know I can’t resolve it tonight – but apparently my brain is determined. I wish I could shut it off. But no, the thoughts just keep banging incessantly, dancing like a laser show across the black screen of my eyelids. And the more I try to sleep, the wider awake I become. I thought maybe if I wrote this down it would help, but I still don’t feel the slowing of my mind.
Stop! Enough already! Just let go for now….

Aw, shoot, the dog just got the yummy brownie I had while I was writing this. Figures. Can't sleep, and loss of chocolate. Nothing left to say.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Stop, and smell the roses...

Wow. I had an epiphany the other night. I am living my life in way that is really not healthy. I am living from stress to stress. Always saying, if I can just get past this one thing then I can relax. Once this stress is over I will feel better, be happy, whatever. And all I am doing is hopping to a new stress – because in life there is always one more thing to stress over. Especially if you are a mom and have a family. Because goodness knows, I not only stress over my own life and happenings, I do the same for each child. Instead of realizing at their age they are capable of making decisions and dealing with consequences. That they are capable of taking life as it comes, finding solutions, making things work. We don’t both need to worry about it. And really, that’s how they learn. And they are quite good at it too. I just need to learn to let go. It’s their grade, their mistake, their lateness, their friendship….NOT mine. But it’s really, really hard to shake mom mode. (And they can certainly do their own laundry, make their own dinner, I just feel guilty if I don’t do it….)
But by living this way I am always in crisis mode. With adrenaline pouring through me all the time. And to be honest, I think that adrenaline rush is addicting. Without it you crash and feel depressed and empty. As much as I say I wanna just sit, as much as I dread stuff and just want things to be over, the adrenaline and feeling important, needed, busy makes me feel so much more alive.
So now, I need to find a way to get back to simple. Sunrises. Walks with the dog. Reading a good book. Taking time to do things for me, realizing that it isn’t always selfish to do that. I need down time too. Time to rejuvenate, to refill, so I have something to give others. I can’t use it as an excuse to not do things, but I have to make choices. Prioritize. I need to know when to say yes and when to say I just can’t. I can either give you my worn out, stressed, angry self, or I can give you a little less quantity and more of a joyful, willing, happy, loving person.
There is never an end to stressful things. There’s always one more. And if you are always reaching into the future wanting each thing to be over, well when all is said and done you have wished your life away.
So, don’t be surprised if you hear a few more nos from me. Or see me doing things that you may perceive to be selfish and unmom like. I want to be the best I can be for all of you. I want to be healthy and able to enjoy friends, life and serving God.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Ok all you Lost fanatics - what is your take on last night's episode? What is going on?
I did think that once again it showed just how evil, manipulative and smart Ben is. Saving himself by joining the enemy and wiping out Dharma. The question becomes - how did he manipulate his way to leadership within the hostile camp?
Does he keep that doll as a reminder of his friend, or as a reminder of all that is bad in his life?
Did anyone else catch the Alice in Wonderland references? The white rabbit (what was the point of that rabbit anyway?) and that when Ben's mother appeared she was in blue with long blond hair like Alice? [edit] ok, I rewatched and saw the point of the rabbit.....
And, weren't his eyes as a boy just as creepy as the grown up Ben's eyes?
Who the heck is Jacob anyway?
Why didn't/don't the hostiles age? WHO are they (what?) and how did they get to the island?
At least the dead man in the VW van was explained....
And, of course, we were handed another daddy issue. Is the entire show about daddy issues? Think about it.
What about the volcanic ash Locke found....
Is Juliette gonna ultimately be good, or bad?
Is Kate pregnant?
For every little answer we get, we just get more questions. Let's see. 2 more episodes this year. And 48 after that.
Get busy JJ.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Three Weeks......

23 days til I can eat breakfast on my deck.
23 days til I can read a book in the sun.
23 days til I can take an early morning walk on the prairie path with Cai.
23 days til I can sleep as long as I want.
23 days til I can shop in the middle of a weekday.
23 days til I can stay up as late as I want.
23 days til I can take day trips and road trips.
23 days til I can be lazy if I want.
23 days til I can go to the movies in the middle of the day.
23 days til I can go garage sale-ing.
23 days til I can un-bury the counters and carpets in my house.
23 days til I can go to Chicago, the museums, the zoo.
23 days til I can play with friends when THEY are free.

23 days til school is out for the summer......

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Midwestern Values......?

you can read the article here.

"[the billboard] peers down into an area of Rush Street known as the "Viagra Triangle" for its three, trendy singles bars in an affluent section of Chicago known as the "Gold Coast.''

What's your reaction?

EDIT - the billboard was removed yesterday. Here's the reason... and the reaction.