Thursday, January 29, 2009

True Religion

To Experience True Religion Lift Here.
A friend clipped and mailed this to me.
Didn’t know it was available. But only from Nordstrom’s.
And you thought it was about widows and orphans.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Eat me

Life is full of surprises, some of them unwelcome, revealing, unintended consequences. Today I made a salad for lunch, and when it was all prepared with the right amount of dribbled dressing it was pretty perfect. I thought I would sprinkle a little pepper on top, make it special, you know, as if. Without thinking or checking, and must I check the lid every time? I gave a shake and dumped, oh maybe three tablespoons on top. The lid was unlatched and the ring in the pic is what was left after I removed the bowl, although I didn’t think to take a shot of it just then. You can imagine how much fell in the center.

This is too much like life. (You know how I love metaphor.) Some little surprises. Some forgetting to close the lid and some needing to do a bit of cleanup if things are going to be spared the dump.

I’m beginning to read Jerram Barrs’ The Heart of Prayer and earlier came upon this as he reflects on the simplicity and effectiveness of the Lord’s Prayer.

“Because we can come to the Lord without fear we should also come to him honestly, acknowledging the particular areas of sin, of coldness of heart, and of lack of faithfulness that make up our lives. Where am I failing to love God with my whole being and failing to love my neighbor today? Just considering our shortcomings with regard to those two great commandments would make for a long list! We should remember that the Lord wants us to be specific, for it is only as we face up to the practical reality of our failing to love God and to love our neighbor that we begin to see the seriousness of our sins. Sin is a nasty and ugly business – the truth is that every day we grieve the Lord and we hurt the people around us.”

All true. And what’s good about this process of confession is we get rinsed. Like the salad. I thought of rinsing it in a strainer. Holding it under the faucet as streams of black pepper washed down the drain, and with another bit of dressing I ate the whole thing and it wasn’t bad. I’m in need of rinsing and it’s not as easy as we’d like to think, that getting ourselves to the faucet.

Monday, January 19, 2009

20 shuffle tunes

Over the weekend dreamsofgenivive asked for 20 random tracks that come up on one's music que. I was surprised at how many of mine were Alt/punk category. Don't think of myself as that marginalized. I should go through and link them for you, but don't have time. Would be fun to take a look at what comes up on your iPod or whatever. Send them my way if you like.

20 Random from Margie’s iTunes.

1. Gotta have you, The Weepies. Janely's Mix
2. Baby Woke Up, Sonia Dada, Barefoot Soul. Alternative & Punk
3. Lay And Love, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, The Letting Go. Alternative & Punk
4. Mount Wroclai, Beirut. Shaun's Mix
5. Rose Of Sharon Intro, Eliza Gilkyson, Your Town Tonight. Folk
6. The Long Day Is Over, Norah Jones, Come Away With Me. Pop
7. I Love The Unknown / Eef Barzela, Jeremy's Mix
8. Marco Polo, Loreena McKennitt, The Book Of Secrets. New Age
9. Dear Lord, Joseph Arthur, Redemption's Son. Alternative & Punk
10. Radio Rough / The Special Goodbye. Jeremy's Mix
11l. Never Any Good, Leonard Cohen, More Best Of Rock.
12. Diamond Ring, Joseph Arthur & The Lonely Astronauts, Let's Just Be. Alternative & Punk
13. How Long Have You Been Stoned, Over The Rhine, Ohio. Rock
14. Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing, Sandra McCracken, Grace Upon Grace. Folk
15. The Mighty Quinn (Quinn, The Eskimo), Bob Dylan, Greatest Hits Vol. 2. Folk
16. Evil Man, Shelby Lynne, Identity Crisis. Country
17. Poison Oak, Bright Eyes, I'm Wide Awake It's Morning. Alternative & Punk
18. Love In The Lies, Amos Lee, Amos Lee. Pop
19. I Like Giants, Kimya Dawson, Remember That I Love You. Alternative & Punk
20. The Weight Of The World, Katy Bowser, All Of My Friends. Folk

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Buried not dead

Despite the fact that the high today will be minus 15 degrees and anything even remotely related to the living growing earth seems hopelessly dead, I am reading The Gardener’s Year by Karel Capek. Perhaps I read about gardening in winter because of that very paradox – the paradox of life – that is rooted in resurrection and all that God is to us.

Capek writes: “The existence of gardeners who every year, in spite of these bad experiences with the weather, welcome and unveil the spring is therefore a testimony of the imperishable and miraculous optimism of the human race.” I was tucked up in bed, reading, and planning to slowly drift off with visions of crocus (pl. croci?) spronging through the earth, lilac buds swollen ready burst shock green, maples giving off their burgundy springtime haze before they dump tons of fuzzy flowers into our rain gutters and sidewalks when I heard a strange sound. Like a mouse-sized machine gun, ta-rrrrrp. Rrrrr-rrrr. Then it dawned; ripping fabric? Denis looked defensive and guilty. I heard it again and whipped back the covers to hear an extended salvo of tearing sheets caught on his wrist.

WHAT are you doing? I asked with every intention of blame, wondering how he could have done this since we’ve only had these particular sheets for maybe 18 months. True, I wash the same ones week after week and put them back on the bed month after month, and okay, maybe I do bleach them a little once in awhile, and also hang them in the sun so the infrared rays can weaken the fibers, but still. How could the top hem be so rotten he finally ripped the whole thing off and how was I supposed to sleep with frayed threads tickling my nose and stray bits getting caught in my teeth? So I tested the strength of the fabric a little farther down and easily poked my finger through. Denis tried it and easily made two more holes. I remember I bought those sheets at Penney’s and they claimed a 350 thread count. Cheez. How many threads do we need? For years I slept on about two threads per inch. Now I don’t know. Does every single thing we buy these days have to have built in obsolescence? We owned the last set for four years. Well, not exactly the very last. That was one Denis talked me into buying. Why would I trust him? He’s a little color-blind. Really, he is. No surprise they were the wrong color. I said so at the time. And then, I caved. A kind of rotten yellow-brown. Probably Burnt Custard or Golden Landfill. I couldn’t sleep in them. Every day they made me uncomfortable and even in the dark I knew I was sleeping in the wrong color. So I ended up giving them to our youngest daughter who likes them and probably calls them Soft Pumpkin or Amber Waves. I felt flawed and extravagant for getting, even though they were on sale, a new set.

At least one good thing can be said about the present economy, all the retail stores are practically paying us to buy their stuff. So I flung aside my schedule and went out to find a new set of queen sheets. I found one, really cheap. A good, peaceful color. I can sleep soundly in Marina Bay Green. And even though they are the texture of tent canvas, they blend with the Harvest Moon color of our bedroom walls … and I am dreaming of springtime, wrapped in sheets of leaves eagerly waiting.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Letter to friend: against darkness

While I wait for the DRANO to work in our tub b-4 I take my shower....I’ll write you.
Am feeling quite cocky. Yesterday I wrote a page for the next Notes.

I can’t wait to hear your songs. I hope you won’t be wearing angel costumes.
Macs are fun, and yes, I can distort myself with its camera, but I do that so easily without the Mac’s help.

Yes, well. I got in trouble with Denis because I forgot to take care of Margie. (He worries about me.) Spent more time and energy with our friends than I really had to offer. Somehow, I get to thinking that if Margie doesn’t take care of this or that person, then no one will, forgetting the OBVIOUS Being and Body involved in our lives. It is a perverse sort of pride that makes one so discontent with being finite. At the same time we want to kick against the fallenness of this life, lift the darkness a little bit, (be honest, Margie, you want to lift it completely) and it isn’t always possible. The thing so easy to forget is God’s ability to raise beauty out of ashes. I’ve witnessed it again and again, so why do I forget that, too?

Ransom’s board meeting is coming up. Next Wed. they begin arriving here in Rochester. We have spaces and places for them to stay. And two of the spouses, dear friends, are coming early to prepare food and to take over the cooking for me. How lucky is that? We relish our times together, it’s never long enough. We not only do “board business” we take care of each other, we watch a movie and talk, this year we read Home by Marilynn Robinson and we’ll discuss it together. Lots of love, prayer, and a little taste of heaven as we come together in joy, weariness, sometimes hurting, baffled, and yet we always leave encouraged and inspired to keep on.

So there’s a little snapshot of what I’m looking forward to.

And, oh. In the midst of whatever else. Dad (my step-father) had his foot amputated yesterday. My sisters and brothers have taken turns being with Mom at the hospital, which is a hundred miles from where they live. Everyone thought he might be dying. But he keeps on living and suffering. Unable to speak or move much, but very aware, most of the time. I offer all of it up -- a tangled ball for God to sort out. And I don’t dare think the shameful, selfish, God forgive me, question, how inconvenient will the timing of his death be for me?

Awwright. It’s time to unplug that drain.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

We have this hope

I don’t know why it’s been so hard to take down the tree this year. I feel sloppy and sentimental about it. This Fraser fir is still fresh and fragrant. A couple times a day, on my way past carrying laundry, collecting the mail, answering the phone, I pause, bend close, breathe deep. On its way to death it still makes oxygen. The lights, the old kind, are richly colored with a smattering of ancient bubble lights quietly glowing among them moving their liquid flames. Only well-loved ornaments hang on the branches. None are ugly or meaningless. Those were banished to stay in the box. Maybe its attraction is the metaphor of inner life we bear. We hope for. We find stray evidences of. We dream of. Outside it’s cold, miserable, gray, freezing rain on top of snow. The wind shifts to the north and the temp drops to zero. The weather is trying to kill us. And would if we were careless. But here is a piece of beauty where we warm ourselves. We eat a Clementine tangerine, a tiny shortbread cookie, and drink a cup of mint tea from a mug with a pleasant thumb rest that is smooth as a worry stone. I’ll wrap the crèche and put away the candles tonight.