Pursuing the poetical, paradoxical, metaphorical, lyrical, artistical, majestical, and mystical.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trick Carrots, Not Treats

We all succumb to the package of 'easy' when we shop. For the last 3-4 years those slimy, mangled, uniformly small snacking carrots have been thoughtlessly grabbed. They are convenient, and you get used to the cardboard nothingness. I think our minds are tricked, as we remember what a real carrot tastes like from the garden. Isn't this uniform little 'trick' we're eating technically a carrot? It is not a 'treat', however.

The other night, thoughts of an old fashioned pot roast made me salivate. It was drizzly and cold. Pot roast would be just the thing to warm us up, comfort us.

When I went grocery shopping, this loose mountain of bright orange carrots flaunted themselves shamelessly. The 'other' carrots had little appeal. I found such pleasure in picking out and bagging the perfect carrots,red peppers, and papery dry yellow onions.

The browned pot roast was cradled tenderly all day in the arms of my red crock pot. It met the needs of our bodies and souls. The silence, broken by sighs and a few little moans of satisfied pleasure while we scraped our plates clean, proved it.

There isn't a scented candle in the world to compare with the steamy aroma twirling out from under the lid of a pot roast smothered in onions, peppers, Montreal Steak Seasoning, potatoes and sweet caramelized chunks of real carrots.




Ugly Skis

At 14, a shy, scared, wanna-be-adventurous, determined girl learned to ski. Against all odds; financial, cultural, practical and probable. Me.

Because I was so sure about it, and my poverty stricken mother sacrificed to make it happen, it became possible. An odd sport to choose, but it provided years of fun, fellowship, exercise, pleasure and adventure.

In our small eccentric world, we ice skated in dresses, played sandlot baseball, volleyball, roller skated and even wore a dress over pants in P.E. Grandma wanted me to wear a dress over my old fashioned Goodwill warm ups, I refused. First meaningful boundary which mom supported. Rebellious, sinful, beginning skiier! (Instead of picturing a Norman Rockwell, go back about a hundred years to Currier and Ives. Our church was stuck in a legalistic moment we couldn't get out of. Who stopped the clock at 1897?)

My leather tie-up, antique ski boots were from a ski swap. So were my skis. Antique. We had a trendy friend who volunteered to fix me up with some state-of-the-art bindings and somehow retrofitted them so my boots would work properly. Outdated boots, outmoded skis, with really smooth, slick bindings.

Shaking in fear and anticipation, I signed up for 6 weeks of lessons at Soldier Mountain. Every Saturday mom would drop me off at the school's ski bus. The lively 'goings on' in that bus were outside of my experience. A little shocking, but fascinating.

Miraculously found myself in a small class with a kind teacher. I didn't talk to one person or engage with anyone for the entire 6 weeks. Absorbing every word, practicing, risking, falling, learning, watching, stretching to the next level each week allowed me to "graduate". Every Saturday for the entire winter; pure freedom. I looked forward to my meager brown sack lunch in the lodge by the fire, by myself. Other than that and a few potty breaks, every minute was used skiing. I loved the wind in my hair, the speed, the lovely whiteness and the sound of skis cutting in. Glorious freedom!

When I lived in Anchorage, a group of us young'uns would pile in some one's pickup. Sit on each other's laps crowded as toothpicks, and sing out blustering songs louder than the radio.

Being mostly broke even then, I skied once more with ugly skis! There are perks to ugly equipment, however! A rich friend was on his 3rd pair of stylin' skis because the first 2 pairs were stolen outside the lodge. When he bought his 3rd pair, he took them out in the garage and spray painted them black, layered a little red on top then proceeded to furiously 'distress' the top, making them as ugly as ugly can be.

He and I would casually stick ours criscrossed in a snowbank while we walked into the lodge to warm up. Worry free. We couldn't have paid any one to steal them!

My snow gear wasn't ever very cool or in style because scrounging money for the ski pass was a challenge in itself. The lodge was frequently full of really cool people dressed in full fashion runway gear. They spent most of time inside displaying it.

In those days, I felt so out of my league, dowdy, unsophisticated and not part of the cool inner circle. Yet, the freedom and fun, one run after the other, trumps that feeling every time.

Now, I'd on purpose ski with ugly skis. Wonder if I should make my sweet silky blue bike ugly enough to have that same freedom? I can't. I just can't!

Blogger Mullet

It is with a strong mixture of fear, dread, embarrassment, sheepishness, audacity and shame that a new button or gadget gets added to this blog. Adding anything to the HTML code takes me forever, as it is greek to me.

I dread it because seasoned bloggers have moved light years beyond the simple gadget I'm just now adding. It's like I'm wearing a blogger mullet......

It's embarrassing to nakedly expose the fact that a post doesn't have one response or comment.

I'm sheepish for hoping a twitter follower likes what they read and will retweet it. What a glorious thought! Or a seasoned blogger would comment?!?!?!

I feel audacious for thinking the same could/would ever happen.

Then the shame happens as the blank spaces talk.

Then perspective kicks in. After writing for almost a year every single day, like I promised to do, my raw, unfiltered, rough posts have slowly been smoothed a bit. Practice is making them more composed. I'm able to get my thoughts through with less words. Polished? Not. Better? Overall, yes. The shame turns into gratefulness that I don't have a critic doing a review. The blankness is better than that!

I look at hundreds of blogs and websites. They are so sophisticated with enticing custom headers, eye catching buttons, ads, gadgets and widgets which I don't even know about. They are intimidating and interesting. Beautiful reflections of their authors. No two the same. Dizzying in appeal and originality. True savvy talent, lighting up the 'brand' or stamping a cool 'makers mark' on their art, writing, etc.

I don't aspire to be one of the big boy bloggers with 243,000 followers/subscriptions. But if I don't put a gadget on for people who want to follow, how can they? If I don't put a retweet button on a post, how can someone click it someday in the future if it's worth a tweet?

Reminded me of something I believe strongly, and was reminded of last Sunday........
Set the frame work for blessing!

Once, for a backyard ladies tea for 40, even though it looked cloudy, overcast and the report was predicting rain, I prayed/asked for a clear afternoon then promptly put out the decorations, gift bags and set tables.......just in case my prayer was answered. It was.

Another time, Tess had a bunch of kids over for a bonfire. Craig got the fire pit set and ready to light, got a pile of wood, then quickly covered the benches, fire pit and wood as it started raining. We prayed/asked for clear skies for the kids when they arrived a couple hours later. It rained up until they showed up. Whipping the tarp off, they had dry wood, dry benches and a dry, ready to go fire. As soon as they broke up to go home it started pouring again.

Set the table. Build it and they will come. Set the framework for blessing! Leave the door open for God to come through in that specific way if'n He wants to.




Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gooey House

A friend of mine went to help her son move. He was moving to a duplex he owned. His previous, troublesome renters were off the charts in the messiness realm. He wondered if they ever took their dogs out to the bathroom. Then he wondered if any person ever used the bathroom. My friend helped him clean, prep and paint after the carpet was hauled away and the hardwood floors redone.

With big eyes and her gag reflex almost taking over, she regaled me with the horrid details. Not only were the burner linings on the stove hopeless, but there was at least an inch of gore under the top when lifted. The oven after 3 hours hadn't improved. Cooked on slime, melted cheese, drips, gross sides and a thick layer on the bottom made the decision to just get a new stove easy.

When she tackled the fridge, she said she didn't know how some of the food could have arrived in that location. BBQ sauce, mold, stickiness and rot everywhere. Fridges being spendy, she plugged away till it was presentable. It took hours. Every piece had to be taken apart and soaked.

As she talked about it, I was trying to capture how my stove and fridge looked at the moment. What I imagined, scared me! Seeing it through her eyes terrified me!

I have a serious handicap. I don't see the broken fence, I see the flowers. I don't see the sock on the floor, but the candlelight. The clothes piled on the love seat hide behind the lovely pictures of my children covering the wall. Dishes in the sink are camouflaged by the cuttings rooting in the window. The kitchen table is unusable because of a creative moment. Many times in the garden I simply don't see the weeds, as the flowers dazzle me. I see the dewdrops on the pines out my window, instead of the streaks on the window.

It is a blessing and a curse. I never usually apologize when someone comes unexpectedly; however, I do warn them as I clear a trail, offer them a blankie and a cup of something hot. It's a curse because I love neat and tidy and organized, but just don't notice the mess! My mother is a neat freak and has never understood why I want to live like this. I don't! The blessing is that there have been years and years of beautiful messes at our house. People with magazine picture houses don't let 30 kids pull taffy, make gingerbread houses, have hair dying parties, etc. Being creative, letting others be creative, having fun and easy fellowship means you can't worry too much about how pretty your house is before, during or after. I want people to leave feeling like they have been well loved, full and with a memory or something in their hand as we wave them off from the porch.

I do hope no one gets food poisoning, diphtheria or typhoid at our house though!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Celebrate Her. You.

A long time girlfriend needed to reminded of this again today. She is 'She'. You are 'She'. We are all nourishing nurturers and give life. Sometimes we all need to remember what's true.

"She"

by Kobi Yamada (Compendium Inc-a yummy site)

She must be something special. She is.
Celebrate her.
She loved life and it loved her back.
Celebrate her passion.
She listened to her heart above all other voices.
Celebrate her wisdom.
She pursued big dreams instead of small realities.
Celebrate her priorities.
She saw every ending as a new beginning.
Celebrate her resiliency.
She discovered her real measurements had nothing to do with numbers or
statistics.
Celebrate her self-esteem.
She was kind, loving and patient…with herself.
Celebrate her tenderness.
She woke up one day and threw away all her excuses.
Celebrate her accountability.
She realized that she was missing a great deal by being sensible.
Celebrate her spirit.
She turned her can’ts into cans, and her dreams into plans.
Celebrate her goals.
She ignored people who said it couldn’t be done.
Celebrate her independence.
She had a way of turning obstacles into opportunities.
Celebrate her magic.
She went out on a limb, had it break off behind her, and discovered
she could fly.
Celebrate her faith.
She discovered she was the one she’d been waiting for.
Celebrate her self-reliance.
She added so much beauty to being human.
Celebrate her presence.
She walked in when everyone else walked out.
Celebrate her friendship.
She just has this way of brightening the day.
Celebrate her radiance.
She made the whole world feel like home.
Celebrate her warmth.
She decided to enjoy more and endure less.
Celebrate her choices.
She decided to start living the life she’d imagined.
Celebrate her freedom.
She colored her thoughts with only the brightest hues.
Celebrate her optimism.
She was an artist and her life was her canvas.
Celebrate her brilliance.
She ran ahead where there were no paths.
Celebrate her bravery.
She crossed borders recklessly, refusing to recognize limits, saying
bonjour and buon giorno as though she owned both France and Italy and
the day itself.
Celebrate her joie de vivre.
She held her head high and looked the world straight in the eye.
Celebrate her strength.
She not only saw a light at the end of the tunnel she became that
light for others.
Celebrate her compassion.
She designed a life she loved.
Celebrate her joy.
She took the leap and built her wings on the way down.
Celebrate her daring.
She said bye-bye to unhealthy relationships.
Celebrate her happiness.
She remained true to herself.
Celebrate her authenticity.
She made the world a better place.
Celebrate her.



Brown Paper Bag

Any kind of plain brown kraft paper is one of my hot buttons. Anything made from it I like. I'll buy something if it has a label made from it. Cards, packages, bags, stationary, envelopes, cardstock, tags, packaging, etc. There is some kind of organic connection when I touch it, bringing the same comfort as I remember when sucking my thumb. Weird? Can't help it, it's true.

Flashy glittery things have never really appealed to me. Natural things appeal more than synthetic things.

I'd rather be at the water's edge than buy a fountain. I'd rather use compost than fertilizing pellets. I'd rather have an old wooden boat than a Bayliner. I'd rather be there in a mud floored palapa than be trapped on a cruise. I'd rather buy from the artist than have a made in china one. I'd rather have a bag of potatoes than a box of instant. The list could go on for miles.

This is a quote from a post last February entitled, "Amazingly Plain and Brown":

I am married to a plain brown potato who is more precious than any words could express. He is priceless. He is my beloved and amazingly plain and brown.

We fit, as not only do I love plain brown kraft paper, but I very much am a plain brown paper bag.

Brown paper bags still come in handy at times, even in our high tech world. Hopefully.


Monday, October 26, 2009

True Colors

Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors" lyrics shake and sort me out at times. What if we saw each other like this? What if we lived like we knew our Maker sees us like this?

But I see your true colors
shining through
I see your true colors
and that's why I love you
so don't be afraid to let them show
your true colors
true colors are beautiful
like a rainbow

A curtsy to you my beloved, for making me, rainbows and so many astonishing colors. Thank YOU! You take my breath away too!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

No Fleas

This morning was one of those days. Morning is never prime for me, but this day, well...........hope it makes someone laugh.

We went on vacation a couple weeks ago. Before we left, along with other chores, I gave Maggie a good scrubbing with her special oatmeal flea shampoo so she would look and smell pretty for our friends who were keeping her.

Blinded by sleep and the shower, I reached for shampoo this morning. After thoroughly working up a thick suds, I noticed it felt different and smelled different than usual. Realizing it was Maggie's flea shampoo, I frantically rinsed and rinsed. I'm officially without fleas today. I hope my brains haven't been compromised!

After my shower adventure, I went to the pile of unfolded laundry on the couch and pulled out my jeans. Uh-Oh~ eating well and relaxing sure put some pounds on me. EEEEEK, I couldn't get them up properly and instinctively knew they weren't going to be buttoning. The gap was too far apart. Laying down was not going to help. Huffing and puffing, I untangled from them and disgustedly looked at the tag. They were my daughter's. Can you imagine my relief? You know that commercial, 'These aren't your daughter's jeans" It's a lie. They were!

Today is good. No fleas, ticks or lice and I'm not any fatter than I was before. What joy. And my hair is really soft with a nice sprightly sheen.........

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Altogether Nourishing Day


Tess and I watched nourishing movies today. PJ day all day! Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, How About You and 84 Charing Cross Road. They were so sweet! A movie that is nourishing to your heart and soul leaves you watered, fertilized and 'dug around'. They were honest. Genuine. Hopeful.

After seeing 84 Charing Cross, I think I found my 'imaginary friend & muse to write to'. Don't worry, freak out or laugh, he's dead. In my mind's eye, every post from now on will begin with:

Frank Doel
Marks & Co.
Antiquarian Booksellers
84 Charing Cross Rd
London, England

Maybe I just crossed over into crazy with Gnarls Barkley? When it begins, Dear Frankie, umm, well, that means I've been blogging for 20 years?


Friday, October 23, 2009

Book Grazing at Powell's

Last spring, a friend and I foraged and grazed for 3 days at Powell's Books. Once a year is not enough!

My journal scribbles from that luscious feast has a few treasures.

Here's one from "The Library at Night" by Alberto Manguel.

"Those who read, those who tell us what they read, those who noisily turn the pages of their books, those who have power over red and black ink, and over pictures, those are the ones who lead us, guide us, show us the way."
(Aztec Codex from 1524-Vatican Archives)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Miloli`i

On the flight to the Big Island, the clouds were underneath us. Why do I see hearts everywhere? Heart shaped rocks and heart shaped clouds? All different textures and shapes; pudgy, whispy, giant, slanted, ragged, flat, fluffy, split, lumpy, heavy, rough and smooth.

It seemed like the cloud cover was a heart quilt for 6 hours and it seemed like the volcano had spit out hundreds of acres of heart shaped lava in places where it was loose and broken up.

When we landed, we saw white coral placed on the black lava with peoples' names written, mile after mile. A person wouldn't want to disturb the sacredness, reusing the little pile or rearranging it. They numbered in hundreds! The island was covered with these. I wanted to know the story behind the names. It reminded me of Hugh McLeod's story of the white pebble: http://gapingvoid.com/2009/04/09/the-white-pebble/

We hiked into a hidden beach from the little village. We spent 3 of our 7 days there, picnicking, chunky dunking (skinny dipping for the overweight), snorkeling, sunbathing, burning the bottoms of our feet and drinking every drop of the frozen bottles of water melting in a timely fashion. We had it all to ourselves!

One day we drove to the lava tube which acts like a blood vein, but instead of blood, it transports hot molten lava to the ocean. It is quite a hike to the vista point, walking on black, hardened 'pudding'. Like some giant poured batter or pudding out of a huge bowl, making piles, ripples and puddles.

We all had to have a flashlight to get back without twisting an ankle or breaking our necks. Water was required along with proper shoes. Only Craig had the latter, we limped along floppily with flipflops!

When it was dark, the huge plunks of molten lava sprayed, splashed, sparkled and spit into the surf with amazing power and the deep red of forged iron. Sometimes it was a gurgle, others a massive glump. Hundreds of people watching together, awestruck at the same time, gave us a strange intimacy. Language, race, politics, culture, citizenship and religious beliefs were all different, yet being stunned into wonder repeatedly gave us a unique common unity, unspoken but felt deeply. It was the one and only 'tourist' thing we did.

Kanapala Road to the northeast of the lava tube was beautiful and gave us a picture of what the land probably looked like pre-lava covered. Lush. Green. Fertile. Jungle. We found warm pools, naturally fed in the rocks. Resting high on a bluff, overlooking the ocean, we heard and felt this intense long rhythmical rumble. The surf was so rough in this spot that the rough
lava chunks as big as a coffee table were moving in and out of the surf, roaring as they tumbled together, becoming smooth and round. This too was a black sand beach in the making. We watched, felt and heard. Now I can say, 'I have heard the mountains roar, rocks sing and watched water laugh while it effortlessly tossed boulders around like feathers.'

There were times at different beaches we explored, when one of us would get taken down, tumbled and ground into the sand; laughing hysterically at how powerless we were while getting scraped and bloodied, hoping rescue was close by. We got sand in places we didn't know we had places. Reminded me of my Santa Cruz childhood...

Craig finally got the rhythm of just 'being' instead of 'doing' by day 5. Us girls started immediately~

We grunged in the few comfy clothes we brought. Brita rebelled against flossing. Craig was a good sport in spite of his knee pain. We all scrounged for food when hungry. Tess still chose to laugh and include herself even though she felt dizzy and disoriented. Flying might not be in her future unless we can figure out a remedy.

What we all figured out is that all joy also has pain. Having fun takes work. They go together. I couldn't quit capturing images, storing them in my minds eye, of this family I'm blessed with. Just like we are, it was wonderful. All of it. We worked through the rough spots.

What has stayed with me more than the exquisite beauty of this ocean paradise, is the abundance of green plants thriving, rooting, growing, bearing fruit and flowers ~ on nothing but black, hot, unfriendly, uninviting lava! Bare lava without topsoil or any other kind.

This was the free take away for me.

There is a yiddish proverb that goes something like this: "Every blade of grass has an angel bending low, whispering grow, grow, grow."

Do dat.






Almost Magical Miloli`i

We're home! We had a late flight home to Seattle last night from the Big Island. Our little rental house with the big deck was perfect for our needs. The deck was high, overlooking ragged black lava washed and splashed relentlessly with sparkling white foam. A rare black sand beach in the making.

You know those images and longings for a picture perfect vacation? Quantities of quality time? Everything just right like the baby bear's porridge? Then comes the air sucking gulp of reality. The woops part~ we forgot this is real life part? Brita was car sick, for the entire 1 1/2 hour ride from the airport. Tess always has trouble after she flies from ear pressure making her nauseated and dizzy. The landscape was a bit of a shock. It was so bleak! We couldn't stop for groceries first, as the small trunk wouldn't have held much more, even though we all packed lightly. We would have to go back after unloading, which I was dreading! The beds squeaked loudly with each wriggle. There wasn't a beach, even though we were right on the water. I felt so responsible for every one's happiness, as I had chosen this place! The upcoming week didn't appear to have much promise. We have always traveled a bit eccentrically, but now it seemed like I had stepped over the line of strange!

Craig had the only cell phone, for emergencies. No TV. No wi-fi. No a/c. I had forgotten my stuffed book bag at home. The girls had purposely left their ipods at home. Just peace and quiet, here in nothingness and no-wheres-ville with only togetherness. The togetherness had a cranky taste, those first moments of nesting in.

Miloli'i is one of the last old fishing villages on the island. It is surrounded by lava flows old and new. We didn't know lava had so many different textures, colors and layers! It seemed dark, foreboding and destructive.

The first glimpse of really seeing with new eyes and appreciating the hidden glory was when we noticed the crushed lava used for driveways. Up close, we saw it was sprinkled with bits of lovely green glass, shining and winking in the sunshine. The more we looked, the more we saw. I thought; what if I opened my eyes and heart to the secret hidden beauty of this land that looks so bleak? We all decided privately to do so, making the rest of the story amazing, with an ending better than the beginning.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

ithink

  • everyone needs compassion
  • families need vacations
  • mom's can enjoy being homemakers
  • cooking simple fresh food from the garden is rewarding
  • using fresh herbs is satisfying
  • laughing relieves burdens
  • living in fear mutilates adventure
  • warm hugs restore, infuse and under gird
  • hot tea is like drinking courage from a cup
  • making love is the cushion that softens the hard parts of life
  • losing the list on people is the only way
  • freedom to do and not to do is personal
  • kissing is one of the most fun free things ever
  • life rocks when my girls play the piano and sing duets
  • Loverby lives with me in and understanding way whenever it is now
  • gratefulness and thankfulness are the bottom line
  • a loved woman exudes beauty that outer accouterments can't match
  • observing a girl blossoming into a woman is fascinating
  • appreciation refreshes the weary heart
  • noticing is also worshipping
  • sometimes helping is not helping

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sweet Communion

Our church family celebrates communion every other Sunday. It is a sweet lingering time of offering/serving the bread and wine to each other. There is soft music playing for about half an hour while people can be anointed with oil, prayed for by our pastor or women who can pray with women or men with men. It is simple and orderly while being unstructured and it has an ease and rhythm to it, naturally coming to an end. People look full and at peace leaving.

Yesterday I heard a story that brought me to tears. It really became a metaphor and symbol of what we are symbolically engaging in while we remember the life of love, sacrifice and service.

One brother in our church family is in the later stages of ALS. It is a disease that attacks the muscles in either your legs, arms or throat/mouth first, then the rest of the body until completely paralyzed. Ron lost the use of his arms first. He has never lost his smile, which lights up the room when he enters. His legs have recently given up, so he has been in a wheelchair for the first time this month, letting us get used to learning how to best serve him and his lovely wife during this next stage.

Dave pushed him over to the communion table and handed him the small cup and the broken cracker, not fully understanding that he wasn't able to hold it. Craig, standing by, quietly said that Ron needed it to be given to him as his hands didn't work. Dave, probably uncomfortable initially, tried handing it off to Craig, but Craig and Ron both steadfastly encouraged him to see it through. The brother who knew how to help was teaching the brother needing the help to teach the brother who wanted to help, how to do it. True brotherly love and true communion between men offering to serve each other. Sweet, sweet, sweet.

Loverby Vacation

Loverby's are going on vacation early Wed morning! Kona on the Big Island. We haven't been together for a week of pure play since the kids were 14 and 12. We have been on a few tours to Israel together. Craig and I have taken the girls individually on trips 1 on 1 parent/child, Craig and I go away together, they went to Europe on a sister trip for a couple weeks last February, etc. But this will be bliss, all of us together!

We are packing light, eating simple and only want to soak in the sunshine. No one wants to frenetically go find all the hot tourist spots. The girls don't want to shop for trinkets. We might choose to leave our laptops and ipods home and turn our cell phones off!

Craig and I both feel so blessed that our girls want to take vacations with us still. We love the friendship and enjoyment we experience with them.

One week of just being together sounds delicious. No expectations for anything except serendipity. Long beach walks. Sunsets. Coffee and the sun rising. Hot sand. Only waves, lovely waves making endless music night and day.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

How?

How to respond to critics…we DON’T fight with them…as Rick Warren says…we OUTLOVE them, OUTLIVE them and OUTFRUIT them.

I read the above on Perry Noble's blog. WOW! Timely today......

Ken was teaching on Exodus tonight. God told Moses, 'the men who wanted to kill you are dead, go ahead and do what I am calling you to do'.

Both of these thoughts are so encouraging! I asked for it and got it!


Schitzophrenic Smell

  • Sometimes Kathleen knows she stinks and doesn't need reminded.
  • Sometimes Kathleen gets told she stinks when she didn't know it.
  • Sometimes Kathleen wants loved and accepted even though she stinks.
  • Sometimes Kathleen thinks others hear her accusing them of stinking when all she is really saying is ouch, that hurt when you told me I stink.
  • Sometimes the enemy of her soul uses other people's voices and words to remind her often that she stinks.
  • Sometimes people who really stink think the stink is coming from Kathleen instead of them.
  • Kathleen loves being in a family where everyone else stinks from time to time and gets to grow and get loved on anyways, just as if they smelled really good.
  • Kathleen wants to abstain from ever telling anyone else they stink.
  • Kathleen wants to put balm and band aids on people who believe they stink, because someone told them so.
  • Just because a few people think she stinks, not everyone else agrees.
  • It might not be true that Kathleen stinks and it might not matter even if she does.
  • There is a time for shoveling shit and it can stick; Kathleen stinks when she stays stuck in ick.
  • Kathleen is reveling in the fact that Jesus never thinks she stinks.
  • Kathleen got the epiphany, but wants others to know that they're also bound to stink once in a while, on some front, but it certainly won't prevent them from being effective, loved, respected, used, accepted, valuable, worthwhile, influential and generous in spite of it. Anyways. :) YAY!

  • (dedicated to KWS and the body of believers at CE, bringing a sweet aroma in spite of ourselves to our city)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Defiance

There is absolutely nothing in my spirit today that wants to smile, whistle, sing, play or rejoice.

But, instead of going with it.....I'm going to defiantly go outside and plant daffodils, crocuses and tulips in my borders to thumb my own nose at my own feelings. There! Take that! My feelings won't define me or box me in or dictate how my day goes! I'm rebelling against being a self-imprisoned hostage today!

Planting bulbs is a faith thing. There won't be any results till next spring. It will seem like nothing is happening for many long months.

Each year, my neighbor's yard is brilliantly stuffed and overflowing with daffodils and tulips, always making me wish that I had had the foresight and faith to plant those patches of early spring color too.

Did you know that with legume seeds and bulbs, the complete plant in miniature lives inside waiting for the proper growing conditions?


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Black and Blue

Calling the guy back to say no to opening the coffee shop was hard this morning. The truth is, borrowing money to do such a risky thing is careless. He would come out well, we could be in over our heads. More perspective came as the day went on. There's actually nothing wrong with Craig's regular day job! It's cushy, no pressure, security every month, 6 weeks vacation, great insurance (dental, eye, medical) and he's home by 2:30 every afternoon and every weekend off! Why is that a bad thing?

I accidentally (?) met a guy today who has seen it all in 30 years of financial advising. Dream after dream after dream turning into burnout, bankruptcy and the family unit destroyed. He wasn't being brutal, just real! What he's seen and experienced is; starting each day, each week and each month at zero and trying to make it a go.....can suck the life out of you. Do the day job to be able to live how you want afterwards.

I went out to the river to sit and think and grieve and be. The salmon were thick spawning their lives away. The gravel of the river bed was different from them thrashing about. It was strange watching the female lay the eggs and the male fertilizing them. There was quite a ruckus going on, lives being spent in what looked like a futile endeavor. They were battered, bruised, ugly and must have been so tired! Wonder if they sleep at night? How soon do they die after spawning? I'll google it.

The truth is, there is hidden life growing in the rocks on the bottom of the river right now. What they were doing won't be wasted. They were born, they lived, they gave birth, they will die.

We're in between being born and dying. It is so easy to devalue our extraordinary, uncommonly ordinary middle part of life. We meet people doing grand things, meaningful things, in amazing places here and around the world sometimes against incredible odds and uncertainty. The desire to join them never ceases. Yet here I am in Smokey Point in a subdivision. Regular like. Never, never do the two parts of me quit fighting.......

See all the black and blue bruises?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Instead

Could I beg you to turn off the TV? Please? Just for a while? You'll have something in common with CS Lewis......you too will be 'surprised by joy'........

Buy some lovely color of paint and get the brush dipped, or the roller full and start laying it on a wall. Search for driftwood, touch some moss, squish a slug, dig your toes in sand, put a shell to your ear, go tubing in the snow or on the water, listen and make some pure music without a microphone slaughtering it, take a deep profound sniff of the complexity of your first cup of coffee, put a rock in your pocket, take a child ice skating, make cookies from scratch, slather some homemade warm bread with butter, please don't murder and crumple food in the microwave, buy chocolate with real vanilla and 70% or more cacao, love your natural hair color, adore your new wrinkles, drink the clear quenching stuff called water, soak long and hot in a tub, splurge on pedicures, let your dog sneak up on the bed, run in the sprinkler, blow bubbles with kids, throw a water balloon at someone, read in a hammock, capture a mass of frog eggs and watch the metamorphosis, entice butterflies, poke a real fire, toast a marshmallow, use cream, enjoy a good pen on nice paper, write enough that the pencil needs sharpened, walk in the woods, bend over to admire the underside of a fern, call the birds, talk to seals, steal kisses, devour a book, get into a smashup with joy. Maybe she'll be the one surprised that you're there?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Different the Same

Comedians aren't my favorite. The delivery is usually an indulgence in sarcasm, character assassination, ridicule and raw verbal fungus. I couldn't tell you very many current or hot and trendy entertainers of this sort because I'm not in the know.

In the past, there have been a few really truly funny people. The olden days comedians were brilliant at the seemingly effortless art of keeping it hilariously clean. I think it took more work! It's easy the other way, the negative and hate based way. Making fun isn't the same as having fun.

Last week I was at a regional pastor's conference lurking, listening, worshipping, lingering and observing. My favorite quote was from this delightful little boy in a big boy's body, wearing a big, big man's hat. He said, "So, I like and read John Piper, shoot me". Politically and culturally bad thing to say in the setting he was in. It could have been career suicide! He had the courage to say the 'e' word.....emergent, yet defined it without attaching leprosy status to it. Tim Chaddick breathed feisty refreshing wind, kindling the stale dry wood of the assembled company! What I appreciated so much is that he didn't waste one moment on meaningless forever unanswerable questions. He didn't once waste our time puking about what he hates or who he hates or what group he's against. He was having fun instead of making fun. Amazingly on purpose instead of a default setting. He didn't talk about what we need to do for God. He was allowing us and inviting us to take off the heaviness of soul killing mere religion, and freely 'skinny dip' in the wonder and awe of a love relationship with our Maker.

Perhaps that faint rumble was the applause of heaven? :)

Janelle, a girlfriend who is a kindergarten/first grade teacher tells wonderful stories about her kids. She loves them so much and by the time the year is over, we feel like we know them too.
Last night she told us about a little boy's story of parent's night. He was showing his mom his little patch of carpet where he sat on the letter "g" during story time. Then, pointing to the empty spot next to his he said, "I popped his old bubble, so he's moved over there now with his new one." He was sad and felt a little sheepish, along with responsible. He also didn't quite understand why it was a bad thing. It actually wasn't.

Please let our comfortable little glass bubbles pop! Please.

Dreaming Day and Night

Tessa calls them 'cheese dreams'.....she says if you eat a piece of cheese before you go to sleep, you'll dream and remember it. I didn't eat any cheese before I went to sleep, but this past week I had and was able to recapture the vivid details of a few dreams, or perhaps nightmares? I was relieved to wake up to reality each morning!

The first one was me as a little girl and my current self at the same time. This man took my feet one at a time, set them carefully in front of him and using a huge mallet pounded and crushed the arches down of each foot, mangling and crippling me. It was excruciatingly painful, rendered me completely helpless, but more than that I could not understand why he did it. It kept replaying over and over again-little me, now me. The worst thing was, I knew what I was in for going through and opening the door each time~screaming silently, 'NO', 'NO'. I found myself limping a bit during the 'real time' day at the memory. A book that has really impacted me in the past was Dan Allender's "Leading with a Limp". Hmmmmmm. I'm a limper, but never been a leader.

Who knows where this one came from. I saw my old pastor all dressed up in a kilt and tartan, dancing. He doesn't do kilts or dance. Go figure.... It did make me smile.

This is a day dream and never ends, just gets refined.......

Tess, Brita and I want to open a coffee house. Not just any coffee house like the other 190,000 in Snohomish County! The printed menu will be underwhelming, a no brainer, no translation needed. It will not have 400 things to read and decide on or figure out. Size, shots, layers. That's all. Everyone knows what their favorite drink is, letting them build it will be fun!

The seating will be revolutionary. I cannot tell you anything but this; there will be only two options, intimate seating for two and group/family style around a big table. Coziness and intimacy and true connection is what we want to promote and shape the atmosphere for.

What will be missing is wi-fi, drive up window, and people sitting around alone, lonely, disconnected and unengaged plugged into some electronic device.

Here's the deal....there are hundreds, OK, 190,000 places, where you can drive up, drive through, or sit on your laptop all alone. There isn't a place for people to gather, study, linger, brainstorm, link up, network, catch up, meet and talk in an unfragmented way. We want to provide that place! Ambiance, warmth and love in a cup, love in the room and hope in the air. A place welcoming dreamers, music makers, think tankers, illuminators and fellowship of the truest kind. A place for friends and a place to make friends. Nothing would resemble Starbucks! Nothing.

I've got the dreaming part down real good. The picture in my head is beautiful. We three have the loving- serving- cooking-barista-atmosphere-part down real good. We have a couple of nice spots that are available and possible. We just can't figure out how to do the money part? And the business part. And the accounting part. Groan.

Just dreaming about it makes me happy. Happy food, happy people, happy coffee......making a happy family. Whispy?




Monday, October 5, 2009

Opposites....

Opposites not only attract, but they are so attractive! Just hit the nail on the head, succinctly and with ease. These are life quotes that refresh me, remind me and lift me up......Ellie Wiesel, Winston Churchill, John Townsend, Madeleine L'Engle.......thanks! Especially Madeleine! Her books are amazing like her mind.....

The opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference

The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference

The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference

The opposite of being bad isn't being good, it's being loved

The opposite of sin isn't virtue, it's faith

The opposite of war isn't peace, it's creation

The opposite of failure isn't success, it's courage

So here's my request Lord......please keep me from being indifferent, merely looking good, being virtuous or wanting peace. These are the lesser things. Instead, help me to be passionate, grow in faith, be creative, have courage and REVEL in being loved.

Does anyone else have more to add to the list? How often do we put the wrong em-PHA-sis on the wrong syl-LA-ble? Gulp!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Undeleted

I didn't know google had an undelete blog button when I deleted it last month. Pam, Craig, Shelly and Kandi have supported me and encouraged me so much. Why aren't 4 people who really care and love me and faithfully read it enough? You are! Thanks so so much for cheerleading. It just took me awhile to get it. The craving for the people closest to you to care never ends......

The 2 books that have totally humbled me, straightened out my thinking, infused me with new
encouragement and hope are: "The Pursuit of Elegance" by Matthew May and "Ignore Everybody" by Hugh Macleod, who is one of the most honest, real, naked, vulnerable, encouraging, straightforward, raw, unfiltered, tenacious, brave, broken, healed, whole, leading with a limp, truth telling author..... ever. He breathed new life into me somehow. It was good rx and just right like the baby bear's porridge.

Two things. An old friend, Tamoko Adachi once gave me a book which she had inscribed with wonderful Japanese characters. As she showed me what she had written, she explained that the characters represented my name. My name meant 'Elegant'. Those of you who know me know that I'm anything BUT elegant in the sense of how we hear and use the name. I'm messy, overweight, free flying, lazy, unkempt, unfashionable, unfiltered, introverted, handicapped on several fronts, etc. It wasn't until I read "In Pursuit of Elegance" that a glimmer of a light went on. With Matthew May's definition of elegance......OF COURSE.... I have lived life in the pursuit of elegance, wanting it - not always nailing it down.

Then, I started devouring Hugh MacLeod's 'gapingvoid.com' blog, going back and back and back into the dark recesses of his archives and found one of his now famous 'back of a business card cartoons' with the parable of the white pebble, referring to the verse in Revelations which talks about how God will give us a white pebble with our name that he has given to us written on the bottom. Only he and us know what it says. He tells of a monk who explained it to him. There's a name we get from other people, a name we give ourselves and then the name on the white pebble......

Here's the deal......I have the white pebble. God gave it to me. I know what it says. He named me. Why do I keep forgetting? When I do, does it make him cry?

I'm gonna keep on blogging till the cows come home or I go home, even if I have an audience of one. Him.

Do you know your name? Your white pebble name? Ask......