Friday, November 12, 2010

Food for Thought!!!

I have received a new book to review written (edited) by a college friend, Leslie Leyland Fields. The book, entitled The Spirit of Food: 34 Writers on Feasting and Fasting Toward God came just the other day. Excitedly I tore open the envelope and held it happily in my hands, wanting to dive in right away. I honestly couldn’t wait. Self-control prevailed. I was already reading another book I was enjoying and wanted and needed to finish it first. So reluctantly I set the book aside.

Today, after finishing up the prior book, I grabbed a highlighter (because how can I read without one?) and Leslie’s book and curled up on the couch to read. The introduction resonated with me and I sighed in anticipation of the essays to come. Many of them written by some of my favorite writers.

Eagerly I began the first chapter written by Patty Kirk, entitled Wild Fruit. Excellent. I loved the way she worshipped God in the small things, like picking fruit! And how she likened us to little creators, formed in God’s image. How much joy there is in creating a new dish, a scrumptious meal; how worshipful our imitation of our God! He must find joy in our meager attempt to create just has He has done!

Bliss. On to the second chapter written by Brian Volck, Late October Tomatoes. He writes about the joys of gardening, planting and nurturing seeds and seedlings and growing them to harvest. Of the joys of the earth and the hard work rewarding us with food. Tomatoes. I could just feel the warm skins and taste the juicy sweetness of a fresh picked tomato. He shared in his writing the connections and memories a simple food can trigger.

Sigh. I love this book. Chapter three. No. Wait. I am torn between wanting to read this book in great big bites. Gulping it in until I am satisfied. Torn between that and wanting to savor the intricacies, wanting to roll the words around in my head until the taste fills my soul.

Reluctantly I have set the book aside. Until tomorrow, or maybe later tonight if I can’t stand it anymore! I know it’s only a matter of time before I’m hungry again for the thoughts and wisdom of these authors…. 

Monday, June 07, 2010


Why do I always ask why? (Oh the irony!) Why do questions and puzzles and words effect me so much? Why do I want all the answers? Why do I have a two year old mentality?

And why do I ask why knowing fully that I won't get answers....why do I become petulant in my questioning? I have a friend who is quite content and rarely even thinks to ask why. That is just so foreign to me. I'm always questioning. I always want to know. I want to learn. I want to understand. Why do people do what they do? Why am I who I am? Why do I, and others, respond the way we do? Why is God doing this or that?

Why's about unanswerable questions, but I still want to know. Why did the oil leak; why did a tsunami happen; why did a bridge collapse; why did Haiti get rocked to its core; why did Columbine happen; why did the towers fall?

Curious why's, demanding why's, wounded why's, childish why's, accusatory why's....

Why do we believe the way we do? Why were certain rules made and why did they become more import than anything else? Why can't we all get along? Why is social justice a bad word? Why do our differences matter more than our similarities? Why is it raining, why do I struggle with depression, why did certain things happen the way they did? Why did my church have to disband? Why do people I love move? Why do I have such a hard time trusting others? Why do I build walls? Why is it so hard for me to be authentic, to let people see the real me, to feel safe in a friendship? Why do I let thoughts and ideas get to me...why do they affect me so much? Why are some people content with the way things are, and I can't rest until I see change? Why can others see that God doesn't need a back seat driver? Why can others let go, trusting God to right things? Why do they not question His plans, His methods, His goodness? Why are they so Implicit in their trust? Why are they satisfied and why am I not? Why am I restless, seeking, challenging? Why do they rest in God while I wrestle with God? Why do they seem to have life figured out when I am still searching for answers? Why do I need answers?

Why, why, why?

And why, oh why am I even awake at 6 a.m. thinking about this?

Saturday, June 05, 2010

What She Said....

I have a need
For solitude
I'll never be
Safe in crowded rooms
I like the sound
Of silence coming on
I come around
When everyone has gone

I have a need
For cool, verdant spaces
Beneath the trees
Secret empty places
Nobody knows
So no one will intrude
I have a need
For solitude

But you can find me, when the light is changing
At that time of day when there's
Little day remaining
You can find me where I've been waiting
Waiting here for you

I never was
The pretty girl in school
I never was
Fast, tough and cool
All I was
All my life it seems
Was hard to love
Harder now to keep

But you can find me, when the light is changing
At that time of day when there's
Little day remaining

I have a need
For solitude
I'll never be
Safe in crowded rooms
I like the sound
Of silence coming on
I come around when all the rest have gone...

Mary Chapin Carpenter

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Food for thought on a hot Sunday....

Wow. Two things to think about today. Huh. I went to church and I watched a movie, and both prompted thoughts.

First, church. The passage was Colossians 2 and the speaker was talking about the infomercial pitchman of the day in Colossee, and how Paul countered the gimmicks. It held together well at points, but others were definitely a stretch. However, near the end it was interesting that we were told that Paul was telling them to weigh everything by the Scripture and not fall for all they are hearing from the religious leaders. I agree with that. But the interesting part was we were told that Scripture trumps tradition, and experience, and rules. I find it ironic that we can see this to teach it, but our evangelical churches don't see the fact that they are guilty of this very thing! So much of the teaching we have grown up with is often taught and retaught and not weighed by the Scripture. And not necessarily because it contradicts Scripture, but because it isn't even part of Scripture. We have made it so by interpretation. We take the teachings of early leaders of the evangelical movement as our Gospel. Why? Because somewhere along the line someone decided that was the truth. Yes, to be fair, the interpretation was likely based on Scripture in that persons mind. Their interpretation. And perhaps it wasn't far off base. But it grew and morphed like a cosmic game of telephone and we often don't really know why we do what we do and why we believe what we believe. It's the lazy way out. We do so because we've been taught to. Because it's always been accepted as "gospel." And so as I listened I saw the irony, and also grasped the fact that the majority of Christians will never ever question anything or think about anything any differently then has been spoon fed to them. And in the very preaching of the sermon the tradition taught as truth has been perpetuated.

This afternoon we watched The Invention of Lying. The premise is that no one lied - ever. Everything said was truth. No lies, no self censorship or tact when speaking. Everything was out there. Until one day the main character told a lie and because lies had never been told before everyone believed and trusted him. Ergo - his word was truth. He learned how to use it for his gain, and how to spin a story. And for awhile it was good. Until one day he was sitting at the bedside of his dying mother. She was afraid to die. And so he lied. He told her not to be afraid that she would go to a better place when she died. Where she would be happy and have a mansion. People marveled that the man had this knowledge. And they sought him out to find out what else he knew. He embellished heaven - much as we think of it today. And then people wanted to know about "the man in the sky" and he made up more stories. And made a persona for this good man who ran everything from the sky. He caused and cured illness. He caused tsunamis. He caused financial windfalls. The good and the bad. He was the puppet master. And the myth kept growing. And then the people wanted to know the rules. The main character writes down all he "knows" of the rules on pizza boxes and addresses the crowd with these "tablets." He talks about good and bad, sin and lack there of. How many bad things one is forgiven of (three) before they go to the horrible bad place instead of heaven. And then people want the rules interpreted down the very last jot and tittle. They want everything spelled out for them so they don't do it wrong. Is it intent that makes the act a sin? And on it went.

I saw this as an interesting social commentary, first as the way men see God and religion. Stories made up and passed down. Panaceas to soothe the soul. Smart men should realize this is a bunch of hooey; that a much smarter man capitalized on this when he realized he could and that he was able to greatly benefit from it. And secondly, it speaks to the way some things have been addressed in evangelical circles regarding all aspects of Christianity. The rules, the traditions, the stories - which is which? Which are the stories and which are the truth. And that brought me back to the message of the morning.

I'm still processing it all - there is much food for thought here.

Spinning merrily.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I Like Giants
Kimya Dawson

When I go for a drive I like to pull off to the side
Of the road, turn out the lights, get out and look up at the sky
And I do this to remind me that I'm really, really tiny
In the grand scheme of things and sometimes this terrifies me

But it's only really scary cause it makes me feel serene
In a way I never thought I'd be because I've never been
So grounded, and so humbled, and so one with everything
I am grounded, I am humbled, I am one with everything

Rock and roll is fun but if you ever hear someone
Say you are huge, look at the moon, look at the stars, look at the sun
Look at the ocean and the desert and the mountains and the sky
Say I am just a speck of dust inside a giant's eye
I am just a speck of dust inside a giant's eye

When I saw Geneviève I really liked it when she said
What she said about the giant and the lemmings on the cliff
She said 'I like giants
Especially girl giants
Cause all girls feel too big sometimes
Regardless of their size'

When I go for a drive I like to pull off to the side
Of the road and run and jump into the ocean in my clothes
And I'm smaller than a poppyseed inside a great big bowl
And the ocean is a giant that can swallow me whole

So I swim for all salvation and I swim to save my soul
But my soul is just a whisper trapped inside a tornado
So I flip to my back and I float and I sing
I am grounded, I am humbled, I am one with everything
I am grounded, I am humbled, I am one with everything

So I talked to Geneviève and almost cried when she said
That the giant on the cliff wished that she was dead
And the lemmings on the cliff wished that they were dead
So the giant told the lemmings why they ought to live instead

When she thought up all those reasons that they ought to live instead
It made her reconsider all the sad thoughts in her head
So thank you Geneviève, cause you take what is in your head
And you make things that are so beautiful and share them with your friends

We all become important when we realize our goal
Should be to figure out our role within the context of the whole
And yeah, rock and roll is fun, but if you ever hear someone
Say you are huge, look at the moon, look at the stars, look at the sun
Look at the ocean and the desert and the mountains and the sky

Say I am just a speck of dust inside a giant's eye
I am just a speck of dust inside a giant's eye
I am just a speck of dust inside a giant's eye
And I don't wanna make her cry
Cause I like giants

Thursday, May 13, 2010

For want of a Nail....

One drop in a pond, one flutter of a butterfly's wings, call it what you will, but just know, it changes everything. No matter what you do, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant, it effects others and things in ever widening circles. It's not a new concept, but I was reminded of it today watching rain drops fall from a tree branch into a pool of water. Making contact, it spreads concentrically, and quickly, until it hits dry earth. The effect on each thing, whether in the pond, or on the dry ground, is different. But make no mistake; they all feel the current, the push of the water, the final result. And it changes their course. Their response is in reaction to the original drop. What we say, and what we do matters. This thing is bigger than us. And we are responsible to live the best way we can, honoring God, loving our fellow man, and respecting the earth.

I know I'm mixing metaphors, but I was reminded of this rhyme I was taught as a child:

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Small decisions today can change the world tomorrow.
We don't know who's life we'll effect.
All for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom

Maybe not so politically correct, but it sure was fun, and obviously memorable! 40 some years later and I can still sing the song....

Then, this got me to thinking about another grade school classic, although this was a record: Go You Chicken Fat Go! (Thank you President Kennedy!)

"alright're in this too! Arms overhead, flop. COME ON girls!"

A little history about this song and the President's Council on Youth Fitness.

On July 16, 1956, President Eisenhower established the President’s Council on Youth Fitness.

One million schoolchildren took part in Council sponsored pilot projects to test children's fitness levels.

Go You Chicken Fat Go was commissioned by John F. Kennedy for his new Youth Fitness Program. In 1961 a copy of this record was sent to every school in the U.S. with the idea that it would be played over the P.A. every morning while students did calisthenics. I remember doing this in gym class.

In 1966, Lyndon B. Johnson established the Presidential Physical Fitness Award for exceptional achievement. It was originally adminis­tered by the American Alliance of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. The award recognized children in good academic standing who scored in the upper 15th percentile on activities such as a softball throw, a broad jump, a 50-yard dash, and a 600-yard walk/run.

I remember going outside in the spring to participate/compete in these activities.

And to think I started thinking about/remembering this stuff because the Go You Chicken Fat Go song started running through my head!

There is still a President’s Council on Youth Fitness active today - we just don't hear much about it. It has also grown to encompass adults as well.

In July of 2003 President Bush and launched, the Council’s interactive physical activity and fitness online program. The new President’s Challenge offered an award for active lifestyles (PALA) and for points logged toward earning medals (Presidential Champions award). The more than 100 activities included in the program range from traditional sports and activities, such as walking, running, swimming, baseball and soccer, to yoga, tai chi, dancing, housework, and gardening.

But nothing will EVER measure up to Go You Chicken Fat Go!! :-)
Now you know....

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Well, that's just ducky!

Right outside my classroom window, in a sunny corner, a duck has made a nest. The momma sits patiently in the sun all day protecting and warming her eggs. The daddy duck struts around occasionally, and being the flashy dude that he is, he has caught the eye of the students. Now they know there is a momma duck in the corner of the building. Sigh. Every day a few students decide they want to see this duck and try to get too close. Momma is stressed and quite protective. She lets out a god-awful squawk and that alarm lets me know there are kids to be chased away.

Why am I the duck protector? Because I'm here. And I'm a momma. And I know what it feels like to have your babies threatened or gawked at. And I don't want to see anything happen to the babies. I don't like thinking that momma's heart is beating like crazy and her adrenaline is pumping and her brain feels fear. That's just not right. Yeah, sure, she chose a bad place for her nest. We all make bad choices at times. But now we need to help her make the best of a bad situation until she is able to make a wiser one.

And that should be all it takes. But unfortunately, the principal made an announcement today to tell the kids to stay away from the duck. (Ironically because she does not want them to get bitten - not because it's common decency and respect.) So now all the students know there is a duck nursery on the school grounds. Even the twelve year old tough guys who would like nothing better than to terrorize a duck and smash the eggs.

It makes me anxious and worried for the duck. I feel her fear, and her desire to protect those babies. But I can't do anything else to help. And that makes me sad. Every day when I get to school I check to see if she is ok. I dread the day when I will come and she will be hurt and the eggs destroyed. I wonder, if she had to do it again, would she make the same decision?

We can only do so much to protect others and things. Only so much. I can't help the duck. I can't watch her twenty-four/seven. I can't be here to make sure others don't harm her or take advantage of her bad choice. Ultimately it was her choice. And she will have to live with the consequences.

I just wish I didn't have to witness it.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Hope Springs Eternal

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

-Alexander Pope,
An Essay on Man, Epistle I,

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

"Hope" is the thing with feathers

"Hope" is the thing with feathers --
That perches in the soul --
sings the tune without the words --
And never stops -- at all --

sweetest -- in the Gale -- is heard --
And sore must be the storm --
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm --

heard it in the chillest land --
And on the strangest Sea --
Yet, never,
in Extremity,
It asked a crumb -- of Me.

Emily Dickinson

Monday, May 03, 2010

Out of the Blue

I loved you. Oh, how I loved you! You could never fail to make me smile and bring joy to my heart. I would dream about spending time on your bricks and cobblestone, sand and grass. I would sit beside you, content. Happy and carefree, drinking in the salty tang and the letting your cool breezes caress my face and heal my wounds. I couldn't wait to get to you and never wanted to leave.

Now all I see is hurt, and pain, mocking winds and relentless waves. Places of comfort become sharpened swords, cutting quickly and deeply. Wisps of joy have become clouds of sadness, heavy and suffocating.

How quickly love turns to dread, carefree to halting, safety to fear.

Saturated with sorrow.
Powerless to stop the rain.

Without warning.

I run.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Things I love the most....aka all about me!

...and just so you know, I did put Kim's name in. Three times. And it included every word EXCEPT Kim. sigh. But it's still cool, and have fun learning more about me!!
(click on it to make it larger so you can read it!)

image courtesy of Wordle!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Let it Be

Today I'm feeling angsty, anxious, at loose ends. I can't concentrate on anything. I can't sit still. I can't read. The sun is gone and it's cold out. Which is ok, because it kind of mirrors my mood. Not interested in music. Not interested in being social or talking. I'm agitated. Sleep sounds good - but my brain is whirring too insistently for that. It might help to go to the gym, but I did a pretty intense workout yesterday and my knee hurts. Wow - this is really a downer! But I need to vent somewhere. I was hoping if I started typing something healing would come from it. No such luck.

I'm a fixer. And when I can't fix, I stress. I hurt. I get all fidgity. I eat. Bad, bad. Don't eat. Because then I'll have to spend twice as long at the gym.

I like status quo. And smooth waters. I like things unfolding in an uncomplicated way. The way they are supposed to unfold, or at least the way I think they are supposed to.

The other night on American Idol, Katie Stevens sang Let It Be. I always felt like this was kind of a prayer, positing the ideal, or even just what I wanted, and then praying - please, let it be. But I realized the other night a very different message was there. At least for me. Leave it alone! Things will work out as they should. Have faith. Wait. Wait on God. Let it Be.

So, today, in all my restlesness, the niggling, unsettled craziness of my mind, I find I'm hearing these words:

Let it be,
let it be.
There will be an answer,
let it be.

Let it be,
let it be,
Whisper words of wisdom,
let it be

It's easy to say, hard to do. Thoughts chasing their tails in a frenzy.

Round and round it goes. Hamster on a wheel.

Let it Be.

*graphic -Laurie Coyle Designs

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I want some!

Wow! I was cruising around the web today and I found two great new sites to share with you guys! I don't do this often, but they both intrigue me - I'd wear the punjammies if I could, and I can't wait to get some of this awesome soap! :) Check them out:

First, Seattle Sundries.

This company handcrafts soaps that claim to evoke the simple, natural products of earlier day. As in a time before we became so chemically dependent. Pure, natural ingredients. And the names and blurbs on each tin are hilarious! The tins aren't cheap, but handcrafted soap never is and the tin makes it easy to take the soap when you travel. You can buy refills for $4.75, so if you don't care about the tin, that may be the way to go. Me? I'd love a tin! Now, how do I choose which one? Just one?

Secondly. Punjammies. This site is awesome. Unfortunately, they don't have sizes to fit me. Boo. But go to the site and read about The International Princess Project, which seeks to restore hope and dignity to women formerly enslaved in prostitution.

"The Mission of International Princess Project: Establish self-sustaining enterprises in partnership with indigenous organizations that provide for physical, emotional and spiritual needs of women formerly enslaved in prostitution; AND advocate for women enslaved in prostitution around the world. "

So, there you are. I have not tried either, but they both look like wonderful products! I have no affiliation with either product, so there is no benefit to me if you check them out. If you try them, or have tried them, let me know. I'd love to hear what you think.

Monday, March 01, 2010

So Much for That!!!

Every time I start to get frustrated with too many new ideas, too many controversial ideas, too many things that I believe, yet feel judged for I start to withdraw and want to quit. When things get hard, I just wanna give up. And yet, I know, I can't. I can't go back, I have to keep going. Sometimes when this happens I decide I need to put those intellectual pursuits on the back burner. Shelve the theology for a while. Create space. Find a place to just be, to just rest and try to let my brain recover, let my heart heal. This time, I decided to just read for fun. No thought stretching non-fiction. No controversial books. I wouldn't even wonder, or question, or desire to learn something new. I would just read some for fun.

I read a couple books. Light. Easy. Enjoyable. Fun. I love memoirs, so after those few light books I decided to read Reading Lolita in Tehran. Oops. The joke is on me. The last time this happened was with Lauren Winner's Girl Meets God. That stretched my mind and tired me out more than a lot of what I had been reading. Her insights spoke to me and started me off again thinking things I'd wanted to hide from for awhile. I was on vacation and torturing myself. Ha ha. And, now, here I go again apparently.

As I was reading Reading Lolita in Tehran I ran across some passages very early on that spoke to me...."An absurd fictionality ruled our lives. We tried to live in the open spaces, in the chinks created between that room, which had become our protective cocoon, and the censor's world of witches and goblins outside. Which of these two worlds was more real, and to which did we really belong? We no longer knew the answers. Perhaps one way of finding out the truth was to do what we did: to try to imaginatively articulate these two worlds and, through that process, give shape to our vision and identity."

Uh-Oh. That started worming its way inside my brain. I reached for a highlighter and my notebook. And stopped. I didn't want to think. So I shrugged it off (even though it tugged at me) and kept reading.

And I found a couple more. This didn't totally correlate, but it was close enough to real life in my circles to hit a nerve.

"He had come in the name of a past, a past that, he claimed, had been stolen from him. And he now wanted to re-create us in the image of that illusory past. Was it any consolation, and did we even wish to remember, that what he did to us was what we allowed him to do?"

Ok - the highlighter came out. So I could forget it for now and move on.

And then, in the next paragraph I found this: "It is amazing how, when all possibilities seem to be taken away from you, the minutest opening can become a great freedom."

Absolutely true - and those are the openings we grasp at as if our lives depend on them. I moved on. Keep in mind that this is all in the space of about five or six pages.

And I came across this: "Yet that green gate was closed to her, and to all my girls. Next to the gate there was a small opening with a curtain hanging from it. It was an aberration that attracted attention, because it did not belong there....Through this opening all the female students, including my girls, went into a small, dark room to be inspected....all would be checked before I could enter the campus of the university, the same university in which men also study. And to them the main door, with its immense portals and emblems and flags, is generously open. That a small side opening was the source of endless tales of frustration, humiliation and sorrow. It was meant to make the girls ordinary and invisible."

I don't think I even need to make the obvious connection there.This is crazy! I'm supposed to be enjoying reading. Giving my brain a rest. Not getting hit with one thing after another that sends me down rabbit trails of thought!

The next thing I saw was this: "...she explained why all the normal acts of life had become small acts of rebellion and political insubordination to her and to other young people like her. All her life she was shielded. She was never let out of sight; she never had a private corner in which to think, to feel, to dream, to write...they seemed to think they could tell her how she should feel about them as well"

"...this veil meant nothing to her anymore yet without [it] she would be lost. She had always worn the veil. Did she want to wear it or not?"


Wake up!

Do I want to do this or not? Think this way or not? Explore this path, walk this road, continue the journey?

Ok - I just put the book away. Too much fodder for thought. Too much hitting close to home. Too much that speaks metaphorically of my journey of the last few years.

Anybody have a good mindless book I can read??

Friday, January 29, 2010

Empathy, born or made?

Nurture vs. nature. What happens to us vs. what we are. When I was a child I was teased, made fun of mercilessly at school. I hated grade school - well late grade school/jr. high, and yes, parts of high school. I was from a town with "rich kids". Snobs. The ones that thought they were better than the rest of the world. Mean girls. Yep. Even if you were in the group, one day you could be in, the next day you could be out. As I saw happen on more than one occasion. In fact one of those exiled became a good friend of mine within days of her fall from grace. And one of the mean girls had the gall to tell me not to be her friend, she was trash. Sigh
One would think that all this meanness, all this hurt is what made me the empathetic person I am. Which is, in and of itself, a curse. As I was pondering why I have been blessed with this personality trait I recalled something that made me realize this was probably a reinforcement of the trait, but I have had it since I was very young.

I remember being a little first grader, running around on the playground, being stopped in my tracks by my classmates chanting. "Kindergarten babies, wash your face in gravy.." Forget that it doesn't make any sense, it hurt me. Me? I felt first anxious and then sad and then hurt. I was internalizing the feeling of the kindergarten kids. How dare these bullies, barely out of kindergarten themselves, be so mean? It just wasn't right. So I refused to participate. Maybe next year when I was a year farther removed. Who was I kidding? I still felt the stab of hurt and embarrassment for each child so bullied.

That's nature. I guess I got the empathy gene and had it nurtured until it was full blown.

For goodness sake, you know it's bad when I project feelings onto buildings! And animals. And, in my mixed up brain, it's worse with both of these because they cannot speak for themselves.

Well, that's my thought for the day. Not sure why I felt compelled to share it, but now you know another little piece of my puzzle.