Saturday, December 30, 2006

"TILL DEATH DO US PART"

These days people are more willing to commit to a cell phone plan than to a relationship with a living, human being.


When I was a kid...

(I can tell I'm getting old!)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

MID-WEEK SLUMP

Well, Christmas was fun with family, and quite a new venture with a three and a one year old boy to entertain and contain in an non-baby-proofed house. My parents took pity when they heard I had borrowed a digital camera from a friend, and gave me one for Christmas. (How sweet!) So beware! I will now become "official photographer" of... whatever I choose to photograph.

I'm back in STL, (and back to work tomorrow) and full of garlic after a little visit to Saleem's with my dad (in town for Urbana). I've got a mild case of the post-Christmas blues... I'm thinking it's time for a good book and to lose myself for awhile. That's the January spirit! Any book recommendations, anyone?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

THE PROBLEM OF PEACE (OR LACK THEREOF):

With a number of folks I've had the conversation. I'm sure you've had it too-- it seems to come around with regularity this time of year. Especially now, as we are on the "adult" side of things. We are usually discussing "how are you"-type stuff, and we begin to lament how BUSY we are and how overbearing all the festivities and parties and decorations and present-buying and [insert seasonal activity here] are.

And I'm thinking about Christmas because it seems like we always tie the words "joy" and "peace" to the season. And while we are doing our best to manufacture joy, in the absence of peace it comes out a bit forced and fake, with an underlying weariness. As Christians, it is particularly frustrating because we know we ought to be reflecting on the meaningfulness of the birth of Christ but instead we are waiting in traffic to get to the mall and making sure we get out that family newsletter out (ha- no newletter for me but maybe for you!) or just spending our free evening at the work Christmas party and trying to get together with folks or get out of town.

But I don't need to convince anyone of the problem. I'm sure you've felt it. I've been remembering today the importance of going about my days prayerfully. I'm not meaning superficially prayerful, like:
"God, please keep our travels safe and bless so and so, amen."

I mean prayerful conversation about the things we actually stress about, like:
"God, help me to decide what to wear today or give me an idea of a gift for him or her."
"Ok, Lord, so I'm not quite sure what I can accomplish today, please order my steps and give me the strength! I've got several conflicting invitations, where would you have me, Lord?"
"God, I'm feeling jealous right now and irritated in general... can you show me what is going on in my heart?"
He always does.

And I have noticed that the times I feel indifferent to prayer are the times I need it the most. Today I got home from church and I just felt cranky. I didn't know why. I thought to myself that perhaps I could go for a walk and pray. I noticed a certain dryness in my spirit. But I had stuff I needed to get done. I thought I'd take care of my tasks first. My spirit said, "I just don't have it in me today! Leave me alone! I'm tired!"

I rushed through lunch and picked up the phone to return calls. First I was compelled to take a cup of coffee out on the porch and have a little chat with God. Five, ten, twenty minutes passed. I confessed, I asked, I listened. The tasks remained, but my spirit was replenished. Now I had the energy I needed, and even energy to GIVE to others who were in need. Not my energy. It's the Spirit. My heart felt at rest so I no longer had to be driven by meeting my own needs.

I guess my point is this: we have no peace outside of fellowship with God. This is a gift we have now! And all the little tasks of the season quickly become oppressive and overwhelming without the strength and peace we find in simple prayer. So, my prayer for you is peace, and my prayer for you is prayer. Happy Christmas.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

OLD NEIGHBOR BRINGS "GOOD CHEER" TO STL-AREA

It's already been a great weekend, and it is only Saturday afternoon! I'm having so much fun with Leandra, my friend from so many years back in Indiana! Leandra and I have been through high school drama, college dorm life, and every Thanksgiving and Christmas ever since. We've shared in pranks, The Euchre Group, and rollerblading, and so many evening walks. We've had bad times (mostly at the beginning) and good (which far outweigh the bad).

We have just been talking and laughing and laughing and laughing.

Other highlights:
Pho Grand and South Grand area.
Movies and hot chocolate.
Settlers of Catan.
Pizza World- world tour package.
City Museum.
Buy-one-get-one-free ice cream at the CWE Ben & Jerry's.
And connecting new friends/reconnecting old friends (aka Vinita)!

She's taking a nap right now. Then we will leave Larry, whom she predictably hates. (Who doesn't?) Then, off to new adventures with an old friend.

Friday, December 01, 2006

SNOW DAY

Today is beautiful- the earth is covered with snow, and every branch is coated with ice. Yesterday's two-hour commute home from work (made slow by sleet and freezing rain) was rewarded with a day off work today.

Photo by Joel Sartore, from National Geographic

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,

for I know that through your prayers and God's provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philipians 1:18-21

Monday, November 27, 2006

FOR THE MOODY ONES:

Just wanted you to check out this latest musical novelty- (fun!) -MUSICOVERY

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


HAPPY TO "BE"

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this post should be worth about six-thousand. Well, in homage to Neil, whose camera I borrowed, I will do a photo post this week. Happy Thanksgiving, all! Love heidi



A favorite tree.

A very bad kitty (in case you can't tell, that is a foot).


Looking for something?

Togetherness!

Cuteness!


Baby Lynx and friends.

Monday, November 13, 2006

ON IMPRISONMENT AND FREEDOM

"The absence of suffering, the satisfaction of one's needs, and the consequent freedom of choice of one's occupation, that is, one's way of life, now seemed to Pierre to be unquestionably man's highest happiness.

And only now, for the first time in his life, did he fully appreciate the enjoyment of eating when he felt like eating, drinking when he felt like drinking, sleeping when he felt like sleeping, of warmth when he was cold, and of talking to a fellow creature when he felt like talking and hearing a human voice.

The satisfaction of his needs--good food, cleanliness, and freedom-- now that he was deprived of all these things, seemed to Pierre to constitute a perfect happiness; and the choice of occupation, that is, of a way of life, now that that choice was circumscribed, seemed to him so easy that he forgot that a superfluity of the comforts of life destroys all joy in satisfying one's needs, while great freedom in the choice of occupation--such freedom as his education, wealth, and social position had given him-- is just what makes the choice of occupation insolubly difficult and destroys the need and even the possibility of having an occupation.

All Pierre's dreams now turned on the time when he would be free. Yet subsequently, and for the rest of his life, he spoke with fervor of that month of captivity, of those intense, joyous, irretrievable feelings, and above all of the perfect peace of mind and complete inner freedom which he experienced only during that time."

excerpt from War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Ann Dunnigan (Signet Classic- copyright 1968) page 1208.

Monday, November 06, 2006

FULL MOON FEVER

full moon shadows by manuel sousa dias

A Semi-complete list of the traditional American-Indian names for the various full moons:

JANUARY: Full Wolf Moon

FEBRUARY: Full Snow Moon, the Full Hunger Moon

MARCH: Full Worm Moon

APRIL: Full Pink Moon, Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon

MAY: Full Flower Moon, the Milk Moon

JUNE: Full Strawberry Moon

JULY: the Full Buck Moon or Full Thunder Moon

AUGUST: Full Sturgeon Moon or the Full Red Moon or Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon

SEPTEMBER: Full Harvest Moon (This is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. ) 2/3 of the time in September, 1/3 of the time in October

OCTOBER: Full Hunter's Moon


NOVEMBER: Full Beaver Moon

DECEMBER: The Full Cold Moon; or the Full Long Nights Moon

For a more complete list, and to get the history of each name, check out the Farmer's Almanac.

Friday, November 03, 2006

YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND FOREVER

Today I crunched across an autumn blanket and reveled in the creamy sunshine, filtering through a haze.

I walked through a triangle of trees: the trees under which I remember bawling my heart out, on various occasions over the years. I recall being restored there, a few times throughout the years too. (And maybe the tears and the restoration were the same).

I thought of all the things and people my heart longed for at different times under those trees. Here I am, just a little older. The trees are the same. My heart is so passionate, yet it changes like a fish flopping on sand.

I feel so thankful that even though my longings go every which-way, God remains the same. I feel so blessed that he is consistent and has been with me, under those trees and away from those trees the whole time. Maybe I am getting a glimpse of the truth (that will surely be more beautiful in old age), that though everything in life changes, God is the same. He will never leave us, nor forsake us. I can hardly trust myself or the whims of my heart, but I'm so greatful that there is Someone I can trust.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Halloween Mayhem!

This is the same old post, now with photos!

Today is dreamy, sunlit, clear-skyed Sunday with 70-degree breezes, fall-colors and nowhere to be. In other words, today is a perfect day.

Last night's Halloween Party was quite the event! I was a Corpse-Bride, thanks to Julie (I was going to be "Always a Corpse-Bridesmaid, Never a Corpse-Bride" if she hadn't lent me a beatiful wedding gown, complete with bat-veil and black corset.) I think I looked pretty dead. One girl coming out of the bathroom, saw me and gasped in fear! No joke! (Usually I go for cutesy- clever costumes but this year I settled on scary.)



There were plenty of other lovely costumes, including the Patron Saint of Doom and one last stand of the "Last Fairy of the Apocalypse." The only other costume I took part in was planning and helping make the Mona Lisa. I was pleased with the end result.



This morning's music was delightful at church. Whenever I hear Kirk's guitar on "Wamilele Mungu," I feel like warm ocean currents are washing over me, it's so beautiful! Thanks Kirk!

Well, I can't stand to miss one more minute of the sun on my face. I am going to go to My Favorite Park in the World bearing coffee, walking shoes, a blanket and a book.

Monday, October 23, 2006

RUNNING: SELF-DISCIPLINE or A FORM of MASOCHISM?

Sometimes when I run it feels easy. My arms swing effortlessly, my entire body is engineered to move forward harmoniously, the breeze wafts my hair out of my eyes. I anticipate getting off work and throw on my running clothes as fast as possible. I feel an ache in my muscles and heart to get outside and go when it's been just a couple days since a run. My legs start twitching with excitement about freedom of movement.

Right now, it doesn't feel that way. I feel out of condition- like the soles of my shoes are cast-iron skillets. Gravity pushes me downward and every law of physics tells me to slow down or just stop. My mind says "Can I walk yet?" At times like these I feel it is even more important to fight gravity and general "sloth-ness" (not the cute kind of sloth) and to get out there and FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!

Strangely, if I can fight it through these rough patches, and make sure that though my running distance is a little shorter, that runs are regular, without too much slack- I come through it- and find the easy, fun running on the other side. Is that how self-control works?

Sometimes when I'm in a hard spot in other ways I remember that my body can run further than I think or feel it can and it is a strange encouragement. Running reminds me that my feelings are not always the most accurate measure of a situation, and sometimes I just need to pray and keep on. Despite the skillets.

Monday, October 16, 2006

PREDICTIONS

Horoscopes, lucky penny, fortune cookie-

it's all just an attempt to pretend we have control over what happens in our lives. Life is unpredictable but sometimes actions do lead towards consequences (though these may vary, too). Basically the only things we are assured of are the things we are promised by God.

And have you ever noticed how we just don't mention the "I told you so's" that don't come true? They just sort of fade away. But when we are right, we like to make sure everyone knows. Or at least someone. People really want control or at least to guarantee safety for themselves and their loved ones. How many products are sold under that premise?

I'm all for reading my fortune cookie and having a little fun. I guess I'm just saying, don't put too much "stock" in people's opinions about what could or will happen! I predict that big changes are coming soon...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

How Green Are You?

Not naive, not green with envy, think environment! This 15-question quiz will measure your "Ecological Footprint" i.e. how many acres it takes to sustain your lifestyle! Aieee, I won't ask you to report your score. It's an interesting website though, check it out!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

RETREAT!

Well, after a good nap and a hot shower, I can say with laughter, "What a good time it was!" "It" was my church retreat, into the woods on a lakeside. I went into the deal tired and I think I was tired the whole time. My focus this go-round was people and I got some good talking time in with a few I'd been wanting to catch. In a hectic-ly communal atmosphere, I got some great one on one time with folks, and some beautiful time in nature, which was just what the doctor ordered.

I also had an emotional explosion(cryfest) of pent up stuff, which subsided with loving, prayerful counsel. You know how you are stuffing things down for a while and you just know "it's coming" but you don't want to take the time, or don't even know how to handle it? And then something or someone comes along and triggers a meltdown... ahhhh but the release afterwards.

So funnily enough, I feel more peaceful than I have in a while. A call from a friend this evening left me delighted, proud of some special folk and laughing, joyful. Have you ever heard good news of mountains moving? The human kind of mountain- people changing who will "never change?" Sometimes it happens! God is Good!


All the time...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Baby Lynx

Doug gave me a little stuffed lynx cub when he got back from Yellowstone. I took it to my office and it is one of the most popular of my stuffed animals. Awwwww~ aren't they cute!?

(FYI: The lynx cub given by Doug is a FAUX stuffed lynx made of entirely synthetic materials. No baby lynxs' were harmed in the manufacturing or distribution of the animal.)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Jerry Fallwell Calls Hillary Clinton 'The Devil'

That is the headline on my news feed. The article explains he meant it "tongue in cheek."

I try to channel glory in a messy room. I look at my mean kitty, placid and quiet on the bed. I feel like such a fraud. Not because I’m really a fraud. I’m a fraud at being a fraud. The word is too strong and doesn’t capture my mediocrity today.

Larry shoots off the bed and goes crazy. My eyes focus on the moth he chases. Probably eating holes through my best sweaters.

This was supposed to be a month of saving money and instead I find myself running "errands" left and right and spending money I planned to tuck away. I sit placid and quiet (except for typing fingers) and hope that somehow the checkbook balance will just settle into equilibrium on it’s own accord. As Skye and I used to laugh about "maybe if I don't notice it will just go away?"

I think of beautiful Sunday words and the meaning of LOVE and I look at my petty sniping against people at work, and think, "who am I?" Who am I to speak about love?

I think, "Thank you God that love is not about ‘who am I?’ but is about ‘who You are’."
I think, "God help me!"

Monday, September 18, 2006

Strange Happenings?
I was bit by a spider and now my wrists are hurting. The weirdest part was that when I was pulling my car door shut, a string of silky substance shot out of my hand. This is all true except for the string part.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Insomnia: A Love Song*

Listen to the highway sounds: rumbling motors, tires on pavement, passing Harley. Turn to the left, eyes open wide, and flip pillow. Try it once more. The electric fan sighs. Stomach, back, side; rotate like a rotisserie chicken on the spit. No rest yet. Cat stirs and jumps off his chair with a soft thud.

Neck, back and head ache and give in to the lumpy mattress without protest. Mind is full of everything and nothing. Thoughts of yesterday, tomorrow and the meaning of dreams intermingle, clanging like wind-chimes; empty music.

The day, like clothing piled on the chair, seems to have some life yet, not quite ready to be tossed in the bin. Thoughts of morning alarm clock keep body stationary. Memories of obnoxious morning DJs sounding their radio alarm, each laughing voice that breaks into dozing consciousness like a punch in the gut. Thoughts of coffee: liquid lifeline. Thank you God, for coffee.

*for coffee

Monday, September 11, 2006



Dream Life



When's the last time you felt this good?
Tara's parents' dog- photo by Tim T.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006



On Regrets

I was thinking today about "if I would have known {this and this and this} I would have done it differently. But I have no control over the actions of others, and I can’t predict them. Also, I keep coming back to how I learned new things out of the experience and now I have a better understanding. So next time {this} comes up, I will do it differently. Then I think of my sin , and how it shows through the cracks in my pieced-together manners. I feel a little sad, but I guess I can just take it to God, and ask forgiveness. And I don’t have to fear that others can see my sin! I can laugh that they probably see so much more of it than I ever realize!!!

Ultimately, I’m feeling a little hopeful because God lets us learn by our mistakes and he doesn’t hold them over our head and call us "screw-ups." He doesn’t berate us for not getting it right the first time. He patiently forges a new character for us, by teaching us to persevere through trials, grow in compassion and understanding of his kingdom.

I was telling Tanya about a college professor who let us redo our assignments, for full credit. We had to meet a deadline and we had to rewrite the question and a correction, after having looked it up. He wanted us to learn the material, more than get it right the first time. He talked to us how if it was really up to us to "know it all" before God, we would all fail, but that God shows mercy and gives us more than one attempt to learn things. Thank you, Dr. Snyder!

It’s a "happy birthday to me." Now I am going to go wander about getting things done and spending gift cards, and go running in the Beautiful Park and mop the floors and talk to family on the phone! It sounds like a perfect, breezy sort-of-way to spend my day.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Momentary Clarity

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free! (Galatians 5:1)

In that freedom we can look our deepest fears in the face and say "You don’t own me!" We can imagine our "worst possible scenario" and we can live it and know that Christ is with us, strengthening our spirits and that this is the most important thing. God will turn around our worst fears and make them a source of unbelievable strength. How? If I tell God "this one thing, this one thing I don’t think I could survive, please anything but that" then I am a slave to fear.

If God, (turning evil into blessing,) let’s "that one thing" occur and helps me to not only survive it, but gives me hope in the midst, and encourages me (even through tears) then I am no longer a slave to my fears. Because, by the Spirit, we can survive and begin to realize, "I am more than my circumstances, and even in hardest of times, God is with me."

Then my love for God grows and he turns my "worst possible life" into the "best possible life" because my spirit no longer has to fear this most fearsome thing!!!

Therefore, we don’t need to fear anything, and we can trust God with both our hopes and our fears. If God can transform "my worst" into "his best" then he can certainly transform "pretty decent" or "so-so" into whatever he wants it to be!

This life is truly free because it is not bound by safe or pleasant experience. I don’t have to stay within what is comforting or familiar to me. I can move into what is frightening or unknown and I can walk with freedom. I can even walk with freedom in what is tedious or tiresome, or when I see no results for my labor, because I know that this too is within his grasp! Thank you God!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Falling Thoughts

Every bone in my aching body says "lay me down to sleep" but a faint restlessness keeps me at the keyboard.

The kids are on my mind tonight: three kids whose mom is just a kid too, a little boy throwing a tantrum in the lobby, big shining eyes looking into mine over the seesaw on the playground, a little girl proudly carrying her new lunchbox, pink-with-princesses.

It feels like autumn– it’s so early I know it will change back to summer before too long. Tonight is a night for open windows and cooling breezes. I guess we have Ernesto to thank for this early turn of the seasons.

It’s the one year anniversary since Hurricane Katrina hit. Say a prayer for our friends in New Orleans. They still struggle.

I (via Larry) lost my watch last October and I stubbornly refused to believe it was gone. I went through the year, watch-less and learning to anticipate the rhythm of hours passing. Monday morning I awoke to discover my watch laying on the kitchen floor. Thank you Larry! A promising start for a new week.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Profile of a Serial Killer

Well, I mistakenly informed a friend that he fit the profile for a serial killer. In order to prevent misinformation from spreading any further by my careless words, thought I'd correct things in a public forum. The actual top three indicators common among serial killers are as follows:

1. Setting fires on purpose.

2. Being abused as a child. (I have also heard extended bed-wetting).

3. Torturing small animals.

Hope that clears things up! These may not hold up in a study, but at least at one point were considered childhood indicators...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Terror In the Gas City Petting Zoo

If you want a sense of my Indiana roots, check out this little news piece. Click on "Enter Now" to get to the story "War on Terre Haute." It seems Indiana has the dubious distinction of "Most Terror Targets" of any state in the US. The Gas City Petting Zoo is just a mile or two away from home, sweet home, so imagine my concern for my family's well-being.

Oh, and if you view my blog through STLBlogs, the million entries recently were a mistake. I was going back and changing the color of the font on some old stuff, and the feed read them all as new entries!!! Aghhhh Either that, or I am just a prolific writer!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Whirling Dervish

These days my cup has been full, I feel half inclined to tip it away from me, and say "Too Much!" It has been a week of remembering rich friendships and relationships, and having down-home conversation over country fried steak, shaved ice, mudslides, tiramisu, Steak ‘n’ Shake, jambalaya, Imo’s pizza, or just doing stretches in the office. Rich relationships, rich food.

The sky overhead is cloudy and promises that September is coming soon, the birth of my new year and the death of an old one. The humidity hangs limply, reminding me August has not yet departed. I feel watchful, like an old guard-dog, not quite sure what the rustling around me means, but not yet ready to lay my head down and rest.

I gravitate towards people and long for solitude simultaneously, and I choose people, mostly. Larry licks at my ankles like I am a stranger, too long away. I know.

I know what rest looks like and feels like, and I know there will be time enough for rest, if not tomorrow, next week. I find myself distracted and forgetting my words mid-sentence, wandering on errands only half-completed, documentation piles up at work like dirty laundry. Letters hang about for weeks, lacking only a few cents of postage; calls to be returned are a list on the kitchen table.

I find myself convincing Vin to go on zany, adventure drives to test our "sneaky detective" instincts. I tell friends,
"yes,"
"I mean no,"
"I mean it’s time to go,
"Ok, let’s stay."
"Aren’t you glad we did?" Mid-afternoon I am exhausted, spent, half-depressed and no caffeine can touch it. Evening is a second wind and I get away from myself, only to find myself lost yet again.

I try to "manage my time" and then I give up and just jump right in. Some days I just feel "hard to get ahold of." A friend reminded me Sunday, that I am "fixed in God’s hand." Thank you, friend.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Where Does My Hope Come From?

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh my Lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked.

"Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And Elisha prayed, "O Lord, open his eyes so he may see."

Then the Lord opened the servant's eyes and he looked around and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha...
2 Kings 6:15-17

He who is with us is greater than all the things that have our minds preoccupied, worried, sad, despairing, questioning, anxious, hopeless, wandering, tired, or afraid.

Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:17

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Do You Have the "Right" Worldview?

Well, I was poking around and discovered a handy little quiz to see just how your worldview "measures up." I think my views are fairly middle-of-the road socially, and biblically conservative, but this survey let me know that I am, in fact, a socialist, and therefore, not a "strong, Biblical worldview thinker."

It's actually a little funny. I didn't know people this dogmatic existed beyond the world of the cinema. You know, the people who have deified the constitution and founding fathers of the Promised Land, I mean America.

Anyway, to find out how strong and Biblical your worldview is go here: http://www.worldviewweekend.com/test/register.php

And post your results. I bet there are commies among us. I discovered this quiz on a blog titled "Bad Christian" which is actually pretty interesting. Oh, and did you note I put a feed on STL Blogs now? So this is my test entry to see how well it works.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Movie Menagerie

Hmmmmm, who crafted these questions? "Himalayan Hamlet?" ha ha ha
Well, I will respond the best I can right now. These are tough. I think they accessed a part of my brain I haven't used in awhile. Yep folks, we are long overdue for a movie marathon!

1) What is a movie that changed the way you think and act? Or just got you thinking, if the first question is too intimidating.
I felt haunted by "The Conversation" with Gene Hackman. It made me afraid to flush the toilet. If you haven't seen it, you should. But very disturbing. Only rated PG and one of the most thought-provoking, "fright-flicks" I have seen. I'd watch it again. Trying to exorcise my old ghosts.

2) It's a late autumn evening and rainy and cold? What do you have for dinner/snack? What do you watch?
Mmmmm. It is much easier to pick a meal than a movie. Maybe some hot grilled swiss on sourdough, with cold tomato and roast beef.Truthfully, I like to watch movies I have never seen, so I'd much rather see something new, and cozy up under a blanket to be surprised.

3) You are off to wee Himalayan hamlet for a year, your laptop hard drive can hold one film.
What will it be?Perhaps "Waking Life"- It would inspire me to creativity and thoughtfulness.

4) What movie made you laugh the hardest? What movie made you cry?
Laughed the hardest: "As Good as It Gets"- quirky people are the funniest. You know, I really liked both "Shreks"- I went in the mood to laugh and I got my money's worth.
Cried: "My Life"- the wife is pregnant and the husband is dying of cancer, I always have very cleansing tears from that one.
"Edward Scissorhands" always gets at least a tear or two out of me.
"Old Yeller"

5) Favorite actor (female, male)?
I had plans to marry both Robert Sean Leonard and Ethan Hawke, neither of which would have me.I love Jodie Foster. I still like Claire Danes, though I hear she's a snob in real life.

6) What book or story would you like to see made into a film or what book do you love that could never be made into a film?
There's a fantasy/sci-fi type book called "Dragonsinger" by Anne McCaffrey that I used to think would be a great movie. I HATE that they made movies out of the wonderfully illustrated books by Chris VanAllsburg. (Jumanji, Polar Express). But I have not seen either movie so maybe they did a great job, I don't know. I just figure it was better in imagination. Also, don't like the Harry Potter movies.

7) What is a movie that immediately after you watched it, you wish you hadn't?
"Arsenic and Old Lace"
"Children of the Corn"

8) Do you read movie reviews? Before, after, never? Whose reviews do you find the best? Are you an analyzer?
I only read movie reviews that fall into my lap, or if I'm hesitant to see a movie. I don't pre-critique, but I love to post-analyze.

9) What movie do you think is a must see, but that you can only recommend with caveats?
"American History X" is rough but worthwhile. "American Beauty" is thought provoking but should be watched thoughtfully, and I don't know that I could watch it more than once.

10) What movie do you most wish to share with your friends?
Oh guys, I was just thinking of that movie "Waking Life." I want to watch it again. I think we should. All about dream life/real life and the meaning of life! It's cool!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Book List-mania!

Well, I thought I'd post my little booklist here since I saw I was tagged in the comments of Heather's blog. So the rules of the game for newby's is that once tagged, you need to fill out the list for yourself and then tag five others.

This kills two birds with one stone, because I was chided for not blogging frequently enough, and I'm no longer tagged. So read 'em and weep!

1. One book that changed your life:
"Search for Significance" gave me insight for myself and for counseling others
"The Imitiation of Christ" by Thomas a Kempis- I wish it had changed my life more...

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:
"My Name is Asher Lev" by Chaim Potok- the conflicted inner world of an artist
"Steppenwolf" by Herman Hesse- more interesting the first time than the second
"The Last Battle" and "The Horse and His Boy" by C.S. Lewis (My two faves in the series)
"Deadly Persuasion: Why Women And Girls Must Fight The Addictive Power Of Advertising" by Jean Kilbourne- wow! very eye-opening about the propaganda we face everyday; every American girl should read it!

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:
"Middlemarch" by George Elliot- the characters are so well written, I'd feel like I had friends with me, plus it is a little slow-moving, perfect for a lazy, island day.
a book that would make me laugh (see number 4)

4. One book that made you laugh:
"There's Treasure Everywhere" by Bill Watterson, my FAVORITE Calvin and Hobbes collection

5. One book that made you cry:
"The Witch of Blackbird Pond" by Elizabeth George Speare

6. One book that you wish had been written:
"How to Make Time Go Fast or Slow Depending on The Situation"

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
"A Confederacy of Dunces" by John Kennedy Toole, ugh! I tried to read it for a book club, and instead I quit the book club

8. One book you’re currently reading:
Still working on "War and Peace" but it is getting really exciting, they are about to defeat Napolean! (Which is crazy to me because I still have one third to go!)

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" by J.K. Rowling
"The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Ok, new tags: Tina, James, Lana, Doug and Kim B.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

"Do You Have Power?"

In place of "How are you?"--St. Louis greeting of the week. Stay cool, and come on over if you don't. Larr and I can share.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mean Girls

Do you remember the days of Junior High intrigue? Do you remember that friend that you trusted, that friend that wrote “Best Friends Forever” in your yearbooks? Maybe you also called each other every night to “work on homework” and talk about all the stupid things that were so important back then: who liked who, and what to wear tomorrow. Perhaps you shared clothes, and nail polish, and advice about how you should do your hair (Just add hairspray to your bangs and stand them up like this!) as well as advice on how you should handle the painful and awkward social situations coming up on a daily basis. It was all so new and had such strange rules; the world of middle school interactions.

Do you remember how the everything was so scary and confusing, but it was really important to be cool, and really, really important to look like you weren’t scared or confused?

And then, the end of the “Best Friend.” The fight in the bathroom, the tears, the painful silence, the splitting of the clique as people picked sides. O, the intensity of the hatred, spawned by junior high betrayal. I trusted you! You don’t want to be my friend anymore.

I just had the strangest experience. Flash forward fifteen years! That very girl, the “B.F.F.” gone sour, found me on Myspace . She apologized profusely and explained the twists (got into wrong crowd) her life was taking at that time. She shared regrets, she asked me to write back with a big life update. She shared that so many of her relationships have ended with her slamming the door after some problem, and that she is trying to change. Since then, she went to college a couple years. She had a daughter. She still lives in the same city.

Now that was one conversation I thought I would never have. In the months following the end of our friendship, I had moved a thousand miles away with my family. Everyone started high school, the old was gone, the new had begun. There were new conflicts and friends, and new things to worry about. Somewhere in there I recognized a certain bitterness I held towards this girl, and I deliberately let it go. I forgave. Then, truthfully, I forgot. I had long since stopped wondering about her, or how her life turned out; life kept moving. But she shared that she still wondered what had happened to me, the guilt she felt kept her attached, with remorse. Today I will set her free.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Are You a "Huggy" Person?

I ran across this article. What do you think? What is your preferred hugging style? Do you think other styles deserve mention?

Men are Hugging Men More,
but Rules Aren't Always Clearly Defined

By DOUGLAS BROWN
THE DENVER POST

The hug, long reserved for women, celebrating sports victories, and men from other countries, is muscling its way into everyday American Guydom.

Stoic machismo still thrives, but at its heels yaps a touchier, Dr. Phil version of virility. Boundaries are eroding. Defenses are being scaled.

The male hug is complicating everything. Men accustomed to the automatic hand clasp accompanied with a brisk up-and-down pump at dinner parties and college reunions, now must preface their greetings or goodbyes with intricate and split-second calculations based on body language, length of friendship and other factors.

Do I shake or do I hug? Making the right choice matters. If one guy goes for the hug, but the other decides upon a handshake, they might collide. An excruciating dance will follow, as the poor lads work feverishly to determine what to do with their hands, their arms, their bodies...

click to read the rest of the article


GRIPS AND GREETINGS

  • The Hip-Hop

    Guys greet with handshakes of various styles, pull themselves in toward each other, then bump their inside shoulders.

  • The Half-and-Half

    Guys greet each other with standard handshakes, then reach around each other's shoulders with their left arms and pat each other's backs.

  • The Bear

    Guys dispense with handshakes altogether. When they greet, the left arm drapes over the partner's right shoulder; the right arm goes around the waist. The left hand usually pats the partner's back.

    -- The Denver Post

  • Sunday, July 09, 2006

    Outlook and Inlook

    ...Take me to the magic of the moment
    On a glory night
    Where the children of tomorrow share their dreams
    With you and me
    Take me to the magic of the moment
    On a glory night
    Where the children of tomorrow dream away
    in the wind of change...

    This weekend, as I hung out with my housechurch at the blissful summer lakehouse retreat, I was thinking about happiness and "stuff." I noticed that even when surrounded by wonderful people, boats, tubing and waterskis, swimming pool, yummy cheesecake, luxurious lakehouse, and a relaxing hammock in the ideal summer breeze that all that "stuff" couldn't make me happy.

    I noticed that my inner frame of mind has alot more influence on my happiness and state of wellbeing than my circumstances. I noticed that my focus and my interprepretation of events around me can vastly influence my inner peace of mind. I'm not saying "mind over matter" because I don't think that "matter" doesn't matter (and there are circumstances that try the soul), but I'm becoming more aware that circumstances don't determine our responses. I guess that's how we can "give thanks in all circumstances." I wonder if I were more thankful, how it would influence my outlook and inner peace?


    (Viva la Italia!)


    Tuesday, July 04, 2006

    Happy fourth of July! Celebrate freedom today...

    I wish I had the perfect word for today. I think I choose ENIGMATIC. The weather hangs heavy and humid, with hints of rain and sunshine intermingling, and indecisive. I feel a little that way too.

    Its kind of exciting to discover "like minds" hidden in the frames of people we know, or thought we knew.

    I wish that my love of adventure would transfer over into a love of not-knowing-what-will-happen-with-my-life. You'd think I would find it fabulous to be unsure, whooo-hoo! More surprises, right? But sometimes I just want things a little more certain. Maybe I just want certain things a little more certain. No guarantees, right. And certainly no "true" insurance. If I just "knew" there was a "happy" ending, I would maybe be more content in this way-station. Ha! Funny because I kind of know that whatever the "endings," the finale will be happy and the inbetweens will be not quite what I expected.

    I find myself restless at work now that I'm back from New O. I didn't expect that. I'm just planting the little seed "maybe seeking elsewhere" and will see if it grows over the next year, or if it just lays dormant. I'm certainly not making any sudden moves. Especially not before securing the next stage of licensure (clinical). But I'm considering things. This is how Big Change occurs, bit by bit, restless considerations, awareness of new options by degree, taking a step-- jumping in!

    Tuesday, June 27, 2006

    Something's Gotta Give!

    Well, just thinking of the ever expanding rays of technology. Between blogs, cell phones, myspace, etc etc etc.... come on. (And I know I'm kind of anti-tech).

    We all know that it's kind of fun and trendy right now to jump on board. But There is NO keeping up! Not to mention we continue to be so much more mobile in our society which means we continue to meet new people (to reconnect with on MySpace, and keep up with on blogger and so on). So the next level of our throw-away society is throw-away communication to our throw-away friends! Sorry guys, I'm not talking about you. But you know what I mean. The pace will just become inhumane someday and then something will give. And I bet that true face to face interaction will always be more valuable then pseudo-talk via the wireless.

    I'm just another lemming, running towards the mass-communications sea.

    Sunday, June 25, 2006


    The Cat Who Made Enemies of FriendsLarry being Larry






    Day In and Day Out

    Yesterday I painted again, first time this year. It felt good. Sometimes life gets swallowed by the mundane. I begin to wonder, how do we keep moving forward? Do you ever feel restless? A favorite poem that poses spiritual questions (but offers no answers) by Stephen Dobyns:

    How To Like It

    These are the first days of fall.
    The wind at evening smells of roads still to be traveled,
    while the sound of leaves blowing across the lawns
    is like an unsettled feeling in the blood,
    the desire to get in a car and just keep driving.
    A man and a dog descend their front steps.
    The dog says, Let’s go downtown and get crazy drunk.
    Let’s tip over all the trash cans we can find.
    This is how dogs deal with the prospect of change.
    But in his sense of the season, the man is struck
    by the oppressiveness of his past, how his memories
    which were shifting and fluid have grown more solid
    until it seems he can see remembered faces
    caught up among the dark places in the trees.
    The dog says, Let’s pick up some girls and just
    rip off their clothes. Let’s dig holes everywhere.
    Above his house, the man notices wisps of cloud
    crossing the face of the moon. Like in a movie,
    he says to himself, a movie about a person
    leaving on a journey. He looks down the street
    to the hills outside of town and finds the cut
    where the road heads north. He thinks of driving
    on that road and the dusty smell of the car
    heater, which hasn’t been used since last winter.
    The dog says, Let’s go down to the diner and sniff
    people’s legs. Let’s stuff ourselves on burgers.
    In the man’s mind, the road is empty and dark.
    Pine trees press down to the edge of the shoulder,
    where the eyes of animals, fixed in his headlights,
    shine like small cautions against the night.
    Sometimes a passing truck makes his whole car shake.
    The dog says, Let’s go to sleep. Let’s lie down
    by the fire and put our tails over our noses.
    But the man wants to drive all night, crossing
    one state line after another, and never stop
    until the sun creeps into his rearview mirror.
    Then he’ll pull over and rest awhile before
    starting again, and at dusk he’ll crest a hill
    and there, filling a valley, will be the lights
    of a city entirely new to him.
    But the dog says, Let’s just go back inside.
    Let’s not do anything tonight. So they
    walk back up the sidewalk to the front steps.
    How is it possible to want so many things
    and still want nothing. The man wants to sleep
    and wants to hit his head again and again
    against a wall. Why is it all so difficult?
    But the dog says, Let’s go make a sandwich.
    Let’s make the tallest sandwich anyone’s ever seen.
    And that’s what they do and that’s where the man’s
    wife finds him, staring into the refrigerator
    as if into the place where the answers are kept-
    the ones telling why you get up in the morning
    and how it is possible to sleep at night,
    answers to what comes next and how to like it.

    Sunday, June 18, 2006

    A Taste of N'awlin's "Southern Gospe'tality!"

    Whew! Back from New Orleans and it was quite a ride. I got to be a part of a demolition crew ("guttering" homes-ha!) for the first time in my life. The people were very kind and friendly. The destruction was woven into everyday living in such frustrating ways, as no home mail delivery until last week (for some folks I talked to). So many homes are an utter ruin. Below the interstate overpasses there are flooded-out cars lined up for miles. There is no place to put them all. Many neighborhoods are still without electricity! As we worked, folks driving by would pull up and ask how they could be added to "the list" to have their homes gutted. There are still houses blown flat by the winds and waters, in piles of rubble next to homes that people are living in. Almost every business has "Now Hiring" signs in the windows, or plywood covering the windows. The "waterline" demarking the extent of flooding in each neighborhood, is a visible daily reminder of who was affected.

    There is no way this degree of need can be met by the people still living in New Orleans and the government working together. We ran into other crews from churches down there working in the same way. Thank you God, that you use us as your hands and feet to accomplish your work. Desire Street Ministries has my respect, as they continue to minister in the neighborhood. In the building we stayed at, they once housed a school for kids in the projects. Now that the kids are gone, the building is being used to house teams of workers coming in to help clean up homes and tear out moldy drywall, wood, floorboards, ceilings.

    I also loved my team! It was fun to grow closer to these folks as we sweated our guts out and struggled. I'm so thankful I had a chance to participate in this trip. I feel so thankful knowing I have my health, my faith, a job, my life, my community of family and friends- all gifts. All easily lost. But for now, present. I know that God is present with or without these add-ons...

    Frederick Buechner, in The Hungering Dark, "The place God calls you to is the place where our deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."

    Tuesday, June 06, 2006

    Hard Questions

    I was put into a difficult spot yesterday at work. I was working with a little girl, six years old, whose mother was killed by her boyfriend. The little girl and I were playing with barbies. The girl took the "daughter" character (her) to the "mean man" (murderer) in jail and I was to play the "mean man."

    Then the child played:

    Girl: I have a question for you.
    Mean Man: What?
    Girl: Look at me when I'm talking to you!
    Mean Man: Ok, what is your question.
    Girl: Why did you hurt my mother?
    Why did you have to be mean?
    Why couldn't you just be nice?

    Hard questions for anyone. I could imagine how a murderer might answer such questions, (avoidance, blame, anger), probably none of which would be a comforting or healing response for a child who has lost her mother. Plus, no child of six can fully understand that we all have the potential to do terrible evils in this world... this man was probably not a monster, just a hardened sinner. Grievously sinful. Yet the crime was real, and the need for punishment and justice is also real. Why this little girl? Why her mother?

    Wednesday, May 31, 2006

    Verrrry Mysterious

    Some say that I am destined to become a "crazy cat lady." You know the one; that old spinster that lives an isolated existance among her 39 "babies" and smells of kitty litter all the time? Let's just say that though this is neither my dream nor my aspiration, it is a close second-place! I say this because I came home today, noticed that Larry's whiskers on his left side are all broken and curled on the ends. I'm trying to figure out what happened, obviously during the day he was stuck somewhere, or melted them off or SOMETHING! But he's not talking and I see no evidence of foul play. Mystery of mysteries. Hmmm.

    Another mystery: Will I go to New Orleans in 2 weeks and tear down moldy drywall or will I sit on my "golden eggs" of vacation days (Limited Supply- Reserve Yours Today!) and wait for something else to come along? Basically tomorrow I need to call Mr. Rich K. and ask him what the hold-up is on info. (Am I in, or am I?) Because I need to be booking some appts. at work if I'm not going to be roasting in the Mississippi Mud!

    Some mysteries will be answered soon, others will linger with Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, Elvis Lives, Jimmy Hoffa's Grave, etc. I'll keep you posted!

    Tuesday, May 23, 2006

    Living in the Shadows of Love

    Well, it is late and I'm tired, but not sleepy. Today was another day continuing the "Weirdness" weather-pattern that seems to have taken hold of my geographical vicinity. In the past week, one of my children's mother was carted off to the "looney bin" (her words), and another child's father met fate over the sixth-floor edge, point of impact: moving car below.

    My life seems quite calm (dare I say placid?) in contrast. Words of wisdom seem to glide right over my head. I have a somewhat "junior-high" instinct to bury my head in a novel or magazine and just slip away. It is challenging to sit and await whatever the next day brings. I'm tempted to attempt control, to manage and sift what pieces of reality I will allow into my field of vision. Heidi's happy when Heidi's on top and in charge of the situ. (Ha!) The reality is, that never happens.

    So I continue to be challenged by mentor Suzanne, to love from a deeper place. Love without seeking an outcome or response. This love is not motivated by what will come back for me. This love seeks the good of the loved, without seeking, first, personal safety and security. This love is backed by the knowledge of God's love for me, not by the reassurance that those I love will not hurt me. This love is constant and true, though not always "nice" because though it seeks the best for those it loves, it is not motivated by their approval. This is sacrificial, laborious, honest, hard love. This is not the easy love that is a natural response to pleasant interactions that require nothing of me.

    I'm preaching to myself because I'm so far from it. Fortunately God gives us an amazing "grace-period" in which to learn, and he allows us to suffer one-another's mistakes together (so bear with me, folks, and I'll try to do the same for you). We could just try to make it without love (it being so difficult and all). I fear that is the path to the "looney-bin" or the sixth-floor drop-off.


    Tuesday, May 16, 2006

    "You chose... wisely"

    Looks like I picked well when I chose my personal day this quarter. Came back to work today (Tuesday) and was told that yesterday a van slammed on his gas and squeeled out of a parking lot, on his way to a head-on collision with my office!!!

    He was stopped in his tracks by a utility pole, that was broken with the force of impact and fell onto my office roof. The driver's face slammed into the windshield of his minivan and left an imprint. All four tires went flat, and there were no skid marks, indicating he did not use his brakes? The van was crunched like a can in a recycle bin. Other employees at my office described the sound of the collision as a "sonic boom" and shared that the entire building shook.

    The utility pole knocked out the powerlines leading to our building, and they had to evacuate for fear of electric fire. Our phones didn't work until today, and the power was out most of the evening. *The driver was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, and hopefully is ok.

    My office today, is strangely intact.

    Sunday, May 14, 2006

    Cold Spring and Late Rains

    Well, this week has been much like the weather, cloudy and cool one moment, and birds and sunshine the next. Storms of spring have left me a little bewildered. Life simultaneously has an air of "exactly like it used to be" and "strange." Maybe it always was strange, and I just never noticed.

    Made it out to lunch for some vietnamese curry/coconut milk delight, and made it to a Baptism Bar-B-Que to cheer on the little ones. Talked to Mom on the phone for our Sunday chat, and she "placed an order" so I know what color of earrings to make her in honor of her day. Now I am feeling restful at home.

    So as far as the Sunday eve "Bread Co." tradition goes, I regret ever naming it a tradition. Somehow the instant you institutionalize something, other things come up and crowd it out and it becomes an obligation instead of a joy. That is an exaggeration in this case, but the last two weeks now we have cancelled for various, excellent reasons that never came up the weeks before; it just fell into being without any planning. Ah well, other weekends will come, and I'm too sleepy to care.

    Larry knocked a glass jar off a tall shelf last night and I awoke to the sound of shattering glass just before dawn. Oh, Larry!

    Despite Larry, my mood is peaceful and hopeful. The day stretches before me like an empty canvas, and it feels like the perfect sort of night for painting. Maybe I will.

    Tuesday, May 09, 2006

    Inspiration Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

    Well, Doug would tell me I have committed a great faux pas- three blog posts in three days, thereby implying that I have no life and am officially a nerd of the computer variety. But hear THIS, Doug! I just found out tonight about two superfans who check in daily on this very site! This is for you, Superfans (you don't know who you are, but don't worry, I won't 'out' you)! These fans are the stealth sort, the ones who read silently and leave no comments, leave without a trace...

    Had a wonderful time with a friend this evening in a little park, overlooking the interstate under a smoky moon. She made me laugh, and we ate Dairy Queen together. We talked dreams, news of the day, bedbugs, prospects. Last night I dreamed that my friend Anne went into my fridge (in which there are currently [accidentally] three containers of half-n-half, two unopened) and deliberately opened a new container. I asked her what she was doing and she gave me a half smile, narrowed her eyes, and said "I'm opening it." I said "Why are you doing this? Can't you see there is already an open container!?!" She said "So?" Hmmmm, very meaningful I am sure.

    Right now my new neighbor's drunken friends are singing in the stairwell. It sounds something like the neighbor's name to the tune of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." I can't understand why he wouldn't want to open the door!?! Well, they have given up, after going around and pounding on the back door to no avail.

    I really want to go on a vacation this year, somewhere exciting. My ears are perked up, awaiting a calling from a far-off land. Actually, I have been trying to travel somewhere different every year now that I am a working girl. I guess I did get in NC earlier this spring, but since it was on work time, I won't count it... I want more! I think something good will come, we shall see. I'm open.

    Monday, May 08, 2006

    Color Me Greatful!

    Feeling 'Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr' today.

    Happy Monday.

    Sunday, May 07, 2006

    For The Birds

    This morning the sound of the birds in the trees is a reminder of God giving us a new song. The season of Spring is a testament to God's renewing presence. He doesn't walk away or give up on us, he is here, and joy comes up in the morning.

    I went through my "prayer box" the last two days. The prayer box is another little reminder of a Faithful Creator. It is just a fancy cardboard box filled with loose post-it notes, and others contained within an envelope. The envelope contains answered prayers, the loose notes are reminders of concerns I have floating before God. The prayer box has been kept up for the last five years. Most fun to see are people who have been in my life the whole time, with all kinds of little additions and answered prayers noted on them. Sometimes I laugh when I add something to the box and discover I had already put the exact same request in one to two years prior. Sometimes I laugh at the ignorance of my requests! Comforting that even if I forget or don't know what to ask for, God hears and knows.

    Something that Mom and I talked about last week is a change I feel has gradually occurred in me, I think related to work. I find myself becoming more cynical and skeptical about people in certain ways. Too often, I find mental energy going in the direction of trying to predict/label others. I'm not entirely sure how this defensiveness serves me, except perhaps I become weary of hoping for good things from people, particularly when work revolves around their greatest failures and issues. So the conclusion my own heart came to, which was echoed by Mom in a letter, is that probably more greatfulness to God is in order. I think as I truly respond to his faithfulness, majesty, glory and honor, I can show more grace to others. I don't know what this has to do with birds singing, but my heart did a little skip this morning and said "Thank you God for the birds!" (Corny, but true).

    Sunday, April 30, 2006

    "Only Two Grew Back!"

    Ok. Well, it is another bread co. Sunday night. Sitting on my left: "Studley McCool." In front of me: "Busty Sinclair" aka Ms. Mark. Oh dear. I'm all choked up. Surrounding us, law students. They are popping out of the woodwork. It is kind of creepy. Actually, bread co. might be a good place to get legal advice on a night like tonight, as apparently, they are all studying for finals. Although, I'm told that a law student could be disbarred for dispensing legal advice before passing the Bar exam.

    Well, it is a silly night. Our Iranian friend is two seats down, but won't make eye contact. I'm a little disappointed. Especially as Jenn was interested in employment. Sorry Jenn, I have failed you. Maybe he wasn't sincere in his job offer. Music: I am desperately in love with Neko Case and her latest CD, something about a fox and confessional. (Confusing and forgettable title). But the music is haunting and smooth. I could make it the soundtrack of my life, it's so good. My only complaint: too short (35 minutes does not constitute a full album in my book, Neko.) Well, I think it is time to wrap up. Thought for the day: Up is relative.

    Wednesday, April 26, 2006

    Ambivalence

    is my middle name. Ha! Well, work is fun again this week. At last the caseload has reached the intensity that makes me know my purpose in being there. The time flies by each day as I try to meet each child where they are and bring them one step beyond that place. At last I find purpose again, in making my office a sanctuary, a safe place for people to touch the hidden places in their hearts and leave knowing they have been honored in vulnerability and that healing can come.

    In my own heart, impatience reigns supreme. Work draws me away from the place of disconnect within. My brain feels not quite linked up this week. Words come slowly and jokes come out wrong. Extra coffee needed just to focus. Wish, wish, wish. Sometimes it is easier to look outside than in. I find that my dazed mind and hungry heart are very satisfied to focus on the ever-present and mundane documentation, due end of month! Yes! Hooray, distraction.

    What is the perfect time for my dentist appt on Friday? You've heard it before, tooth-hurty. yep. 2:30.

    Sunday, April 23, 2006

    Coffee Talk

    I'm sitting at the Delmar Bread Co, across from Tanya, in what has become a common Sunday evening occurance. We sit and soak in the coffee as she plans lessons, I read my book, (or update blog as the case may be) interspersed with conversation.

    Today I sit and watch lightning flash as thunderstorms roll in. We had interesting conversation with an Iranian gentleman, who asked me if I would like employment designing web pages (because I have sooo much experience with such things, ha!) He also gave me stock tips (emerging international markets) and we discussed handling the pain of children who don't listen, and then are hurt by their choices. Very interesting. Clearly he needed to talk today.

    My mood is light as I watch heavy rain fall. It feels really relaxing to let my mood determine my path today and not be bound by obligation. Sparked by the sermon at church, I was thinking further about defensiveness and a lack of love towards others. The most likely reason for this self-protection is to save oneself from pain. The problem with this (in unhealthy extremes) is that it reflects a lack of faith that God is over situations and is good, and that God is greater even than the pain that can result from interrelational misfires. God is good, and he allows us to hurt. He can use hurt for even greater good. (Relatively safe thoughts to think over a cup of coffee under a cozy lamp.) Much more difficult of course, in real life interactions.

    If God is over us, then we need not fear what man can do to us. If God is over us, we need not fear that our own mistakes will subvert his greater plans. If God is over us, we need not fear.

    Monday, April 17, 2006

    Reaching Out, Pulling In,
    Standing Up, Falling Down

    Well, the air is cool and the sky is grey and promises of more spring (despite our weekend summer-interlude) are in the air. This makes me happy. One week between heater and air conditioner is not enough.

    Mom and Dad left after stopping in for Easter. Larry, unfortunately, hated them, and is far happier for them to be gone. Mom saw lessons of unconditional love in Larry. Larry saw his peaceful home disrupted in Mom. We'll keep Mom and lose the cat.

    Why is it harder to be loving, gentle and kind than to be sarcastic, jokey and indifferent? It is so much riskier to bare your heart. The Bible tells us to guard our hearts (what exactly does this mean?), yet Bible speaks much more frequently about showing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness..... The world tells us to take care of ourselves and the underlying message is "if you don't, no one else will." Look out for numero uno and if others don't like it, they just need to move on.

    It seems that God calls us so much more towards extending our hearts in loving, gentle care for others rather than pulling inward, working hard to ensure our own heart's safety. Is it possible that one path leads one onward and outward to greater good and glory, and the other towards isolation and solitary bitterness? We are the Body of Christ, called to show God's love in this world. Not just 'world' in general, but towards the individuals placed in our path. Is it possible to love without vulnerability? (I'm guessing not.)

    None of us love perfectly, yet God's power is made perfect in weakness. God, I cannot love. I need you to do a mighty work in me.

    Wednesday, April 12, 2006

    Ahhh.... much better.

    Taxes done and mailed. Food to eat and groceries in fridge. Happy Larry. Happy Heidi. What makes the difference? A simple four hours, that's what. Actually, today I took a half-day from work since it has been "Quiet City" at work (maybe all the kids are on Spring/Easter Break). This morning I got to revel in the beauty of my "Favorite Park in the World" and take care of dumb, little things. I didn't go to work till three in the afternoon. I felt so fresh at 7 when it was time to go home, I barely knew myself.

    Ok, and anyone in the STL metro-area, take note. I have been observing that for the last three years, my supervisor always takes the second week of April off work. I have also observed that I feel pangs of envy EVERY TIME because it also happens to be the first week of consistently gorgeous weather. I'm just saying, plan accordingly.

    This time of spring makes me want to just run away from responsibility and be one with nature. It's all the good things: sunshine, fragrant air, flowers, green grass, fluffy clouds, blue skies; without the bad: mosquitoes, baking heat, killer bees, summer traffic, lethargy.

    Since I like the song in my head right now (began in HouseChurch tonight), I'll try to pass it on to you:

    Hold To God's Unchanging Hand

    Time is filled with swift transition
    Naught of earth unmoved can stand
    Build you hopes on things eternal
    Hold to God's unchanging hand

    Hold to God's unchanging hand
    Hold to God's unchanging hand
    Build you hopes on things eternal
    Hold to God's unchanging hand

    Trust in Him who will not leave you
    Whatsoever years may bring
    If by earthly friends forsaken
    Still, more closely to Him cling

    When your journey is completed
    When the valley you pass through
    Fair and bright the home in glory
    Your enraptured soul will view

    Monday, April 10, 2006

    I've Got Better Things To Do

    Today feels unsettled, like all-you-can-eat hotwings for lunch. Actually I had an egg mcmuffin for lunch. Maybe just an egg muffin, because there was no mc, it was home-cooked. Need to get my affairs in order. Need to polish off those tax returns, dishes, grocery shopping, cooking, people stuff, work, meetings, etc. BLAH! Ok, don't need to update blog. Bye.

    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    Very Cute Baby Alert!
    This is baby Alex, at about two months.

    Monday, April 03, 2006

    Quiet Night

    Antsy again. The moon hangs mysterious over a cool spring evening. The storm winds have blown through, electricity is restored and I sit at home under a cozy, wool blanket and watch my enemy flicker at me, time-killer, the TV. I hate TV. So why am I watching TV tonight? 7th Heaven. Sappy, saccharine, sad that I am right here, right now. I don't like this show. I don't not like this show. I am completely indifferent. I want to be swept up into something epic and instead I'm eating reheated stir-fry and watching 7th Heaven.

    I turn it off before the final10 minutes (which would have wrapped up all three plot lines!) and call a friend. Now I am online. IM-ing Tawa and Tina and thinking about taking a spring-eve's walk. Thinking about doing laundry. Not doing laundry. I think I will take a solitary walk under a moonlit sky and just listen to the breeze and think and pray. That sounds best of all.

    Monday, March 27, 2006

    Long-Lost Sister Returned!

    Well, Sunday night I talked again to my best friend from middle school, Skye! Skye and I have been buddies since she was twelve, and I was thirteen. We maintained our friendship despite me moving 500 miles away in 9th grade, and were best of friends through all the tumult of high school, and picking colleges. We were art buddies. Even when I chose to go to a conservative Christian liberal arts college in the Midwest and she chose art school in Washington DC, we remained close and talked on the phone about whatever was on our minds.

    Then I went to grad school and she got married. Our lives took a different twist and though we remained in contact, it was more a once-a-year kind of friendship. Somehow the last two years, (even though both attempted periodically) we lost touch. This weekend I realized her birthday was a few days ago, so I called.

    The great part was that we were able to instantly pick up, right where we left off. I could feel the mutual love of a long friendship, even over the phone wires. Our conversation was like an arrow aimed straight to the heart. She pointed out that the downside of being able to pick up so easily again, is that we could also easily let things slide again too. So we agreed to call again soon (and we meant it). It's good to be talking to my "younger sister" again!

    Friday, March 24, 2006

    Strange Currencies

    Well, it feels like a weird time right now, change and upheaval are in the air, but nothing concrete. Sometimes when things get a little crazy, I've got to say "You chose this chaos" to myself. That's the truth of the matter. Without a few spinning plates I feel a little down. Last night had a great conversation on the phone (though not totally perfect, pretty great) that made me feel... Hopeful. Giddy.

    Then I went to sleep (which was difficult in the first place due to racing thoughts) and awoke at three in the morning from vague nightmares. I laid awake till 6 am. Larry looked disturbed as he tried to sleep at my feet and I told him, "This is called tossing and turning, Larry."
    Fortunately, I went back to sleep finally (had to move to the couch) and double fortunately, had a personal day today so I could sleep in as late as I wanted.

    Sigh. Its hard to want something and it's even harder when it looks as if you could get it. Torn between "Don't blow this" and "Are you sure?" I guess the answer is "keep watching, keep praying." And "time will tell."

    Friday, March 17, 2006

    Happy St. Pats!

    Well, today is a hopeful-type day! I'm going to leave soon for Indy, all pressing responsibilities in STL are taken care of, thank goodness. My hacking cough continues and hopefully won't spread to baby Alex. (Don't worry, it isn't Whooping Cough, as far as we can determine). I know you were worried. Larry continues to drop dead little objects on my lap that he attacks and "kills," in his predator mode. So far, a plastic baggie, a ball of foil and a fluff of yarn are his victims.

    Thought for the day: "Any effort that has self-glorification as its final endpoint is bound to end in disaster."-Robert M. Persig, in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance

    Sunday, March 12, 2006

    Sunday Musings

    Well, today is a peaceful-type day. Its cool and quiet inside while storm clouds gather overhead. I hear the rush of the cars on the interstate below my apartment. The sudafed-effect has tapered off from a dizzy, head-rush to clearing my foggy senses (as intended). Talked with mom on the phone and sent prayer requests that I know will be faithfully lifted up. We talked about what we are learning. Jim Hatch preached this Sunday. It was a lot of wisdom that he pulled together after being asked to preach at 7:00 am. My heart said "yes! yes!" as he preached about God redeeming our struggles, our sin, our suffering to create something glorious (of which, we have but a glimpse).

    Then on the way home from lunch I angrily passed the car that pulled out in front of me and muttered to myself about what a "jerk" they were. I honked, then made sure to stomp on the gas as I passed them, so they would see clearly, how obnoxiously they had inconvenienced me. My brows were knitted together and my mouth was a grim line of indignation. It was one of those painfully obvious moments; daydreaming all these beautiful thoughts about suffering and salvation that barely seemed to touch my knee-jerk reactions as soon as "my rights were violated." (Just as Jim shared about). Hello, mirror! This is me!

    I can get so lost in my cloudy visions of grandeur that I fail to see Christ on the street before me. I fail to see that the cross he has called me to bear (today) is a traffic jam, a "jerk" on the road, any small detour in my fine-tuned plans for my own future. Oh, Lord, have mercy on me. Help me be merciful. And take that future from me, use it as you will.

    Thursday, March 09, 2006

    Home Sick, and I Feel Great!

    Ok, ok, not great as in "not sick" but it feels great to listen to my newly-found, hacking cough and just take a day to recover rather than forcing myself through the motions of work. It felt great to sleep on the couch a few hours and have crazy dreams, and wake up and watch TV; and that its two in the afternoon and I'm going to go brew some chicken-noodle and laze around.

    Especially when the alternative is going through files, and trying to be interested in other people despite the haze in my head. If If I could just have all this minus congestion, it would be heaven!

    Now here's a little complaint. When right-wingers conclude that women's healthcare (such as cervical cancer screening or birthcontrol) means "abortion" and take away funding, while at the same time concluding that "erectile dysfunction" is a legitimate health condition that senators need coverage for, I have some problems with this picture. WAKE UP, CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIANS!!!! Use some critical thinking and don't just go with the status quo!

    Saturday, March 04, 2006

    A Question:
    ok, ok, so I can't stand to have that "self-pity" post be at the top of the line, so I will replace it with something new. Decided not to travel this weekend, which made life a little less stressful.

    Ok, so I'm going to ask, if there is anybody out there, respond to this question, I am interested in your ideas.

    If you could meet anyone in history, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

    Be as serious or as silly as you want in your reply. Someone else asked me that and I was stumped!

    Monday, February 27, 2006

    Poor, Pitiful Me
    Today feels like a mildly rotten day. It just seems like in my brain, the ideas that were once growing and fresh, today are dried and withered. Work's a drag because I have to finish my documentation within the next two days from the last 25 days. Sigh, procrastination. Then there is the knowledge that I need to go through and update every file and service plan by the 15th of the month, so even the mini-high of finishing will be a false positive, with only more paperwork at the end of the rainbow.

    Earlier today, I found myself the mediator during a yelling match between a volatile mother and 15 year old girl (who was crying) and I was just sitting there mute. (How helpful, right?) In my living room are the pieces of a shelf I would love to put together to restore order to my bedroom. It remians in pieces, because my hermit neighbor would probably call the police about a hammer this time of night (10:30 pm). On the floor by my desk are the unfiled stack of bills I have paid, receipts for the last three months, what an ugly sight. (At least they are paid). Even the fact that tomorrow is going to be 66 degrees and sunny is tempered by the knowledge that at work I willl be so busy, my only chance to eat dinner is 2 in the afternoon, or after I'm off at 9 pm.

    Alright, so you don't have to read, as I revel in my pseudo-misery. I imagine I will get over it soon. As Jess likes to say, "I'm going to kill myself!...[one hour later]... Today is the best day of my life!" or "I lost my favorite paperclip... my life SUCKS!"

    Thursday, February 23, 2006

    Back so Soon?

    Yep, it's official. I am back from NC. It felt like a tri-part week between Dev and Kev's, Victims of Crime training, and the STL-life. Attended a group tonight for some families of murder victims. It was less "get in touch with your feelings" and more "uncovering the layers of corruption and greed that plague the metro-east." I'd love to see the truth blast those crooked politician, money-laundering, real-estate, strip-club robber-barons right into the holding cells in which they belong. "If you want peace, seek justice." -Pope John Paul II

    Wednesday, February 15, 2006

    Yessss!

    Well, I am gearing up to travel soon, Raleigh, here I come, and not a day too soon. Definitely have felt that familiar restlessness for the past couple weeks. Change is overdue. Need fresh perspective, fresh scenery and fresh faces (not that the familiar isn't great, it's just that I've reached the point I'm not seeing it anymore). Well, I'm "gearing up" a little early as I don't leave till Saturday, but I'm definitely on the downhill side of the week, just coast on through...

    Herman Hesse on technology:
    "And all this...would be of no more service to man than as an escape from himself and his true aims, and as a means of surrounding himself with an ever closer mesh of distractions and useless activities."


    From "Steppenwolf: A Novel" published in 1927


    Saturday, February 11, 2006

    Oh what a change...

    one day can make. Well, these last couple days have been a whirlwind. If I had my way, I would completely delete Thursday from the record, but if I did, I would have had a hard time understanding why my car was at work Friday morning at 9 am, yet I was still home in bed! So I guess I needed Thursday. Also, without the contrast of that hopeless feeling in my gut on Thursday, I wouldn't understand how joyous it is to know that God cares and provides as he did (Friday, but Thursday too, I think).

    Thurday morning: While commuting, I muse self-satisfiedly that I am somewhat better than the masses who require cell phones for their lives, because... I'm not sure why; but something in me figures they have sold out, while I continue to hold-out. Ha!

    Thursday, after staying an hour late, for a particularly frustrating session (for both client and myself), I go outside to start my car. Only it won't start. With a scowl, I return inside. A few phone calls (going straight to voicemail) later, I decide to have a coworker drop me off at the metrolink and then walk to the Delmar girls, and call them so they can pick me up as I walk.

    After half an hour waiting for the metro train to arrive (in the recently arrived bone-chilling cold) I start to get tired, make that exhausted. I get on the train at last and make my plodding way back into the city. I cringe and maintain my personal "bubble"when the drunken "Blue-Collar Comedy" crowd gets on, laughing and chatty. I am neither laughing, nor chatty tonight.

    Oh, did I mention I left work at 8 pm and now it is 10:15 pm? This is for a 35 minute commute by car. I get off at my stop and a very kind lady with long curly nails and extensions, graciously lets me borrow her cell phone (do you smell irony in my prior cell-phone arrogance yet?) to call my friends and tell them "I'm walking your way, please pick me up!" Well, I arrive at the apartment, surprised they haven't even left yet. I walk up and throw rocks at the window, calling their names. I feel a sinking feeling--Sharol's car is not in the lot out back. Then I know, somewhere along the road I had just walked, they are driving, looking for me.

    I walk all the way back and no sign of 'em. I pound on the locked door of Papa John's, and an employee grudgingly lets me come in to make a call (to my friend's cell phone, ha ). Minutes later, Sharol and Robert drive up, stressed and concerned, they have been asking people at bus stops along the way questions, trying to trace my steps. Robert tells me he didn't want to find me in a bush with my underwear around my ankles. I am crying and tell them I hadn't had dinner yet. It is 11 pm.

    They tell me Robert can drop me off at the metrolink in the morning. In my post-travel stupor, I call my supervisor that night and tell her I won't be coming in Friday. I crawl into bed and sleep a dreamless sleep. I awake at 9 am and wondered why exactly, I "called in" the night before considering I have to go over to get the stalled car taken care of anyway?!?

    Well, Robert kindly drives me, not just to the metrolink station, but all the way to work. I get there and coworkers are the perfect combo of sympathetic, good-humor (to cheer me up) as I whine about my miserable life. One coworker's brother comes out to check my little beast, and says she needs a new fuel pump. Another coworker's husband works at a shop. We have the car towed to his shop, and they call me in the afternoon with an estimate. I tell them "go for it!" I get in a couple of good sessions with kids.

    I get a call at 5 pm, my car is fixed and ready to go, halellujah! My coworker drops me off at the shop, no problem, I pick up the car and drive home, commute time: 35 minutes. The guy at the shop had said that I was just lucky how the timing and everything worked out (they had the part in stock) for them to fix the car this afternoon. I know I was more than lucky. I was blessed. I hate these trials, but God always brings me through. Even when I do stupid things like wander the city streets alone in an exhausted stupor, looking for a ride. (This isn't to say I don't get a little banged up from time to time). OK. As Tina would say, Holy long post, batman!