Tozer and Peterson and thoughts on Spirit

So this is a more spiritual post, if you’re not into that, you can skip it, otherwise you’ll be bored and maybe never come back. I wouldn’t want you to miss my family exposes (read with accent that I don’t know how to type.)

Here are two things that I have heard or read in the last couple of days that have really moved me
One in a sermon vignette on Sunday morning, it is from Eugene Peterson and it went something like this:
we find ourselves in the difficult place of the absence of God’s presence more than in His presence in this life. This was not a statement of “because we are sinners” “because we kill crickets” “because we gave that a%&hole who cut us off the double middle finger” this was simply a condition of humanity. It touched me deeply. It is true. So often I want to be connected with my Spirit, with Good, with Kindness and Love. More often I am in touch with anger, frustration, criticism, insecurity, easy offenses etc. I was moved to know that the simple state of this life is the often perceived absence of God. We all feel it. It is part of the world we live in. So there. I am not special or different and I cannot grapple, grope or work to change it. I also cannot scare God off by giving that driving jerk the finger. Good thing.

The other thing I read this morning, that I’ve read about THREE GAZILLION times in the last twenty years, that moved me again is a little bit from Tozer…
“We hear within is at once the accusations of faith and the accusations of conscience.”
In correlation with the above paragraph, “We do not know, and we may never know, what love is, but we can know how it manifests itself, and that is enough for us here.”
“It is the nature of love that it cannot lie quiescent. It is active, creative and benign.”

It is often that accusations of faith and conscience that keep me from hope and love. Let me say it this way… My insecurity is an accusation, often contrived that leads me to be too loud or too quiet and push people away to a safe distance. It is the accusation of faith that says, “No good being or spiritual being, truly seeking Good would think or behave like you.” It is the accusation of conscience that says, “That part of you, that thing you did, that way that you are, that thing that you thought makes that part of you unloveable or unlikeable.”

Recently, Ellen interviewed Portia de Rossi on her show, Portia said that being loved by Ellen taught her that strength is not born of independence and hardness as she always thought. Instead, she has learned that honesty, softness and vulnerability are the keys to both being truly loved and in turn, generously loving.

In this moment of life I see how these things converge. We are all a mess, we are all doing our best to move toward Good. However we define that. I define that in God, and His love toward me. I define that in Boo and his presence in my life a clear representation of God’s kindness toward me. And still I find myself resisting love and arguing with myself about why I don’t deserve the good gifts given to me. I would be so sad if someone acted in the same bratty way toward me.

So, I am working on quitting and trusting. I am working on softness, vulnerability and love. I am continuing to attempt to forsake my critical nature and right to bitch in hopes of offering more of the grace and kindness I feel desperate for in my own life. I want to be gracious and kind to others and to my own little soul. This life is difficult enough without us making it harder on ourselves or anyone else. My cousin KT helped me see this in situation she offered some really kind advice in, and I saw in her insight that when we respond to things with love and thoughtfulness we can only make things better. And who wouldn’t want that?

It’s not a New Year’s resolution, it’s a process and a journey that I’m on. One day at a time, one step forward or back at a time…

May we all live more in love and more aware of all the Good around us each day. And as Danielle LaPorte wrote on her blog this week regarding the new year:
close your calendars
of regret

smash clocks and barriers
with your better knowing

throw soft light on
the doom clingers

let
your
pure
faith
burn
the
way

Images of Christmas and Blizzards and other Stuff


Finding this to be more and more true every single minute that I live.

Stole this from Brooke’s blog, which I love and am always inspired by

The neighborhood the morning of the Blizzard – it stormed through 3pm that day. Geez. Enough with the snow.

I went on a run Christmas day. The thing behind me is a Buffalo farm by AL&UM’s house. It was such a breathtakingly beautiful scene.

The view from my kitchen window. If Boo read my blog he would wonder what in the world I was doing in this spot, it’s at the sink, where he does dishes and where I leave my dishes for him to do… or where I take pictures from.

Blizzard 2010, Happy Holidays from Holden, and LIZ

We survived Blizzard 2010. It was comparable to Ice Storm 2006 in Austin, but with hurricane force winds and 22 inches of snow. Also, the difference is that we had a Blizzard and Boo dug our car out of the snow and went to work. The Ice Storm shut Austin down for days, the similarity is that all regularly scheduled programming was cancelled and the only news in town was BLIZZARD 2010 news. Thank God 2010 is almost over and I won’t have to hear much more about this storm. For the love of pete… Didn’t these people live through like 6 months without power a few years ago?

We trekked out to Holden for Christmas. There are good things and bad things about being up in New England separated from the rest of the family craziness. The bad thing – no AM&UK. LAME. The good thing – No “unnamed people.” The bad thing – no great stories about the unnamed people. Bummer. It was a really beautiful white Christmas in the hills of Western Mass.

My Aunt and Uncle and cousins were gracious and welcoming and it was wonderful to celebrate Christmas with children, including not only my cousin’s children but my cousins as well. They are ridiculous and funny and bring love and laughter wherever they go. Also, my AL is RIDICULOUS. Years ago she lived in Brookline. As I mentioned before, I have a tendency to live in areas generally populated by the local orthodox Jewish community. Apparently my AL did as well. As a result she spent the weekend telling us how in Holden everything shuts down, but in Brookline “the Jews all go eat Chinese” she then named her friend “the Jew” and how she and her family always go to such and such Chinese restaurant and eat on Christmas because they “are Jews.” We tried multiple times to explain to her that 1) this sounded pretty stereotyped 2)it was politically incorrect 3) she hadn’t lived in Brookline in like a hundred years and there aren’t even that many Chinese restaurants there. Her response, “Well the ones that are there are open and the Jews are there eating in them.” I don’t think I need to explain that we are not dealing with racism here, we are dealing with a woman who only in the last decade found out that cars have reverse lights, her defense “I am not standing behind my car when I put it in reverse.” Needless to say we spend a lot of time laughing when she’s around, and due to her good nature, she can get a good laugh at her own expense as well.

Currently, I am catching up on life and preparing for Liz’s third trip to Boston. We are so thrilled to bring in the New Year with herself and the Darling. However, due to the neglected nature of my home, I am having to get into high gear. There are a lot of things I want to organize and get to charity before the New Year, and therefor before she arrives. I am so thrilled to see her I cannot even function. GAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! Two more days.

OK – I have got to go. I am sorry for being a lame blogger. Don’t give up on me!

Homemade Stockings, Cookies and Merriment – Christmas in Boston

I am not going to lie. Poor Boo is probably feeling a little cheated about life and Christmas. I have been doing nothing but taking tests, writing essays, stressing out, complaining about how dirty our house is and being a total insomniac. I have set my alarm for unholy hours far too many times to count in the last two weeks and he has arisen in his stupor and made me coffee, scraped my windshield and snuggled my cold hands while I studied in the early morning hours. I do not deserve him. However, I have not been very festive or merry. I have mostly been stressed and nerdy.

Speaking of nerdy, I have been writing all sorts of essays for applications to things. In particular the honors program at my school. I am not sure what I think about the honors program as both of the advisors have ignored my phone calls and emails. Doesn’t give me much inspiration about the program. All that to say, glad to be done with the semester. Over the break I need to hope enough people pass my German class that we can have the second half of it, the honors program people are in fact alive and have not been kidnapped by angry students, and that I can get the remaining four essays I need to write written in a witty, insightful and standout way. Any ideas?

So. I have been on a cookie making spree. This is normal for me. Instead of cleaning the house I complain about I have been baking cookies for the ones around us like a mad woman. Cookies for my cla’sses, cookies for friends, cookies for Boo’s work party, cookies for Boo’s coworkers wife, Boo’s coworker then told Boo, “My wife wants to date your wife.” Maybe one of the best compliments I’ve received in a while. Especially because I really like them as a couple. Can couples date? Anyway, I also made peppermint bark. This is particularly funny because I hate peppermint. I like mint, hate peppermint. It’s true.

I also hate dry chicken, seriously, hate it. I hate raspberries. I hate coconut, but not coconut flavoring. I like fresh strawberries, but not strawberry desserts, or strawberry candy. I like cherry candy, but not cherries, I don’t like them pickled or whatever they are in all those juices and I do not like them fresh, just their flavor, but not in drinks, just candy, or their sauce along the crust of cobbler, as long as there is no real cherry substance. I like blueberries, but not fresh, and not in candy, just in muffins mostly. I like all things banana, even the candy. I like condiments, all condiments, I think sauces make a meal. Keeps things moist, though over-cooked meat and dry chicken cannot be saved with sauce or condiments, these are simply a wash. I love my steak rare. Black & Blue, anything more than that is over-cooked and someone else can eat it, I don’t want it anymore. I also do not like when Boo wears Black & Blue I tell him he looks like a bruise. I like lemon. A lot. I like it on savory things, it has no place with sugar. I don’t like it in tea, candies, desserts, curds… Sick. I like it on veal and chicken and delicious things. The same with lime, though lime is fine in mojitos and margaritas, but don’t serve me any of your sick key lime pie. I don’t like it, I don’t want it, and I don’t care how many people have told you it’s delicious. It’s not to me. I feel that way about all of your fruit cobblers and pies. I know they are world famous and that is fine. I’ll eat the crust and the juice maybe. But you can keep all your chunks of warm fruit. Sick. Also. Don’t try to trick me. I don’t eat mixed merry crap because I can taste the raspberry. I am no fool.

That rant was gratuitous. Also, if you are having me for dinner feel free to reference it as a guide.

So in an attempt to let Boo know how much I love both him and Christmas, I am hand making our stockings. I was inspired my AM who made my stocking, which I love. So I googled felt stockings. Mine is red and white with felt ruffles. That’s it. Pretty plain. Boo’s is beautiful thought. It’s green with a white sleeve. It has three colors of Christmas trees on it and a snow man. I am very proud of it. I need to go home and sew them up. I have them all pinned and done. I just need to finish them. I also feel like they are things I can leave plain this year and add to later if needed.

Lots of you have been asking, we’re here for Christmas. A few months back we took this big vacation, they call it a honeymoon, and then we drove all our wedding loot back from Texas, and that basically dominated Boo’s vacation time. we were in LR for a week when his grandmother passed away, and I stayed in Texas for an extra week after Jer and Nat’s wedding, so we really viewed those trips as our holiday excursions. I begged AM&UK, but UK refused to this part of the country during Christmas citing some unreasonable numbers of previous years of travelling from New York to Texas and getting stuck BLAH BLAH BLAH uphill through the snow… Anyway. They are staying in Texas, and we are staying here. We’ll go out to AL&UM’s and crash their families Christmas. We’ll hang with Cousin Love, and the MS,Jr KT and the crazy kids. But not during the kids nap times. This is the only think KT has managed to hold sacred. I do not envy their situation. Both sets of parents local and wanting them for the occasion.

Tomorrow, or maybe later today I will tell you about the first time I drove in snow. Monday. Yep. This Monday. I almost lost my life. And our car. I blame Boo. I tried calling both he and UK. Neither of whom answered and myself and the other cars trapped on the icy hill went sideways as we tried to drive up. Luckily, someone helped me and Boo talked me through putting the car in 4 wheel drive. 5 short hours later Boston realized that the weather reports were wrong and that it was a torrential snow pour and decided to salt and plow the rodes. but only after more than 100 accidents. The experience was much funnier than I am currently making it and I want to share it with all of you.

But now, I need to go back to a tiny baby who will wake at any moment and want me, until she realizes that I am not her mom, gets pissed and starts screaming. At which point, I may feed her raspberries. I kid. Ish.

My Dad Always Used to Say, Haterisms and nolabels.org

So. I am done with two classes. English and Math. However, my last two classes, German and Business are proving to be a bear. They both want to fit one last test in before the final. That’s right, last day of class, text. Then. Final. Party.

In better news. I subbed Tuesday, and I am nannying three days this week, two days next week. It hasn’t snapped me out of my no-job depression, but it helps me feel less like a leech and more like a contributing member of my marriage. It also makes me feel stressed out. Instead of letting the stress get to me I am flitting my days away joining no party political organizations and blogging. Next, clean the house.

Lately, I’ve been thankful for my health. CoCo broke her talus bone and has a cast and crutches. I meanwhile, complain when I can’t get a run in, or when it’s too cold and windy outside for me to run. This is not a way to be thankful. I am going to work on it more.

Last night we went Christmas shopping at Lady A’s studio show. Have you been to her website? She makes beautiful ceramic jewelry. Click here to look at it. Now I need to somehow manage to get that stuff I bought packed up and to the post office. I hope people are fine with getting Valentine’s presents, because that’s about when I am hopeful of getting stuff mailed by. that’s bad right. When you get married aren’t you supposed to be better at this stuff? Well I am not.

My Dad… When I was growing up he used to always say, “You know what you’re problem is?” and then he would proceed to explain to me said observation about my character flaws and failures. This was always a good time and normally two to three hours in I would begin to admire my fathers oratory skills and imagine that this was some sort of filibuster, and at the end I was going to get to vote. If said vote happened to be “Do you agree that starting a criticism with ‘You know what your problem is’ is an effective way of getting someone to change?” Then I was looking forward to resolutely voting, “No.” Alas. There was never a vote and I usually fell asleep mid-lecture only to be awakened to my father tapping on my forehead and continuing aforementioned diatribe. Does anyone feel like that’s what’s happening in Washington, a bunch of people standing around telling each other what the other person’s problem is? SPARE ME.

Even in the time that I have written this email my father and I have begun a politically themed email in which he is explaining to me why nolabels.org CANNOT WORK.

Here’s why it can.

Jon Stewart, from the Washington Mall reminded us of what we do everyday on the commute home. He showed a picture of a bunch of cars merging into a single lane to drive into some tunnel in DC. I do this every day at three different points on Storrow Drive. And he’s right, even in the worst city to drive in in the world, Boston, there is an art to this. There is civility. Boo told me the other day that the perfect negotiation is one where both parties leave feeling like they’ve given something up. Yep. That sounds like like and the real world to me. The other day, Natasha from Zumba stopped me crying after class because her unemployment had run out and it meant she couldn’t go home for the holidays and she had no idea where else she could apply. And yet, people are up in arms at Obama for GIVING IN TO THE REPUBLICANS (who I am pretty sure are still referring to him as Barrack Hussein, even though he spared the top 1%) and the democrats are ready to burn him at the stake. According to Boo, this was the perfect negotiation. Anyone else with me? YES! Most of you are. That’s the point. We, here on the ground, not up on the Hill, realize that you have to give and take to make it work. It sucks, no one likes it, but you can’t please everyone. So you try to do the best for the greatest number. Apparently when you do that in DC you are a total pushover with no fight in you.

Needless to say I wanted to move to Iceland after last week politically. I know for sure I would not understand NPR in Icelandic and that there is a good chance tickets to Sigur Ros are cheaper there, you know, home court advantage.

Then, I heard about nolabels.org. Yep. A bunch of people that are saying, not right, not left, just forward. you can call yourself what you want, but you are committing to setting aside the right of that label for the sake of forward motion. Sound too good to be true? Yeah, I thought so to. So I spent some time today reading, watching, listening. And the truth is, it goes back to the democratic process. Democracy is only as strong as the involvement of the population. Our presidents and representatives are not representative of the nation, they are elected by the people who vote. 70% of Americans don’t. So Washington has no idea what most of us are thinking because we don’t tell them.

Most of my friends aren’t involved in the political process because they think everyone is a liar and all they do is yell at each other. They think Republicans all voted for Bristol Palin, and that democrats all own the new Obama chia pet. They know nothing about if Christine Matthews is a witch or not, they don’t remember her from Twilight. However, if they knew they could be engaged and educated on what’s going on in a non-partisan way, I think there might be some hope. It would need to come in 20 second sound bites though. they aren’t going to do what I did today and really dig in. No less, I feel hopeful about what nolabels.org is putting forth.

So, all you righties, you lefties, you refusers to engage in the political process. check it out. tell people about it. Let’s make our voices heard. I am pretty sure that if you can program your DVR to record Dancing with the Stars, or play Words With Friends you can manage to click over to nolabels.org and see what you think.

Now only if we can get these people to stop my Dad and his “You know what your problem is…”

Like UK always says, but with less words…

He’s from Brooklyn, he doesn’t need so many words. The Look is sufficient.

Lady A Blogs About Advent

Lady A sent me an email the other day, that I can’t even really process. In response I sent her pictures of baby pandas. Equal? I think so. errrrr…

On our church advent blog she posted a really beautiful post. I wish you all knew her. She is gorgeous. She has the most beautiful couches. She taught me about Pumpkin Dip. We sit their house and drink Trader Joe’s wine, until all hours, even though EV doesn’t sleep in just because we were over late. She is a cheerleader, she is a giver of honest feedback, she helps me cook pounds of potato salad, she is seeking hard after what is True, she is an incredible mother, she is in an incredible metamorphosis as a daughter, and as a wife, I am humbled. She and Architect A are so in love, and they are a safe place for Boo and I as we embark upon this journey of love. They are real, honest, learning, growing, failing, succeeding, strengthening, uniting, and they are fantastic parents.

With that as a back ground, I hope you are able to see how much more beautiful LadyA’s honesty is in her own post. So please read and enjoy. And know, in this season of Advent, The Double A’s are leading us to Grace, Truth and Hope of the Good to come.

You can find her post here . It’s obviously got a Christian theme, as it’s from our Church blog, but I think anyone would be encouraged reading it.

Elizabeth Edwards a Gracious Goodbye

I am so sad. So very sad. She left this earth in the exact way she lived on it. Showing grace, courage and forgiveness. Even drawing her husband into the circle for the sake of her children as life left her body. What an incredible woman. What an immeasurable loss. Her thoughtful message to those of us whom she never knew, but loved her the same. She writes:

“You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces — my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined.

…There are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful. It isn’t possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know. With love, Elizabeth”

Prayers and love to those whose lives are truly impacted by this loss. Her children, family and most precious friends. I cannot imagine the depth of their loss.

Perfect?

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in.
~Leonard Cohen

Saw this quote in an interview that Elizabeth Edwards did. Man is that woman a power house. I just love direct people and she was nothing if not totally straight forward, and yet she was incredibly gracious. This is something I am really looking at this Advent. I want to be myself, straight forward, direct, speaking my mind, without being harsh, cynical or critical. Elizabeth Edwards did this so beautifully and I was really moved.

I was also talking to my friends Sarah and Lori today about providential Grace and how if you’re going to swallow a spoonful of it one place you really need to swallow it all places. Like when things don’t go how you hope they will. Boo and I have all this stuff hanging out in our future that we are thinking about and trying to sort through and plan for, but I also planned to have a job November and December… That was a really effective plan… See what I mean? The truth is that CoCo broke her foot and I have been totally free to help her get to work and school, I could go meet Lori’s baby today, and I can take “grown-up” A for she and her husband tomorrow so that they can get little baby of joy home and settled. I have been able to put time into my honors app for school and some other apps I’ve been working on that require copious amounts of time. The very thing that led to weeks of stress and tears has, as my husband promised, worked out better than I thought. Even if it still holds bits of stress and pain, I can see how these two months without having to work have been really advantageous. My grades can also attest to this.

I’ve been trying to think of what to write on my honors program app where it asks why I want to be a part. It seems like writing, because I go to CC and it would look really good when I transfered if i had this on the app… and also, how hard could it be? It doesn’t seem quite right does it? 300 words of why I want to do it. I am trying to figure out the way Elizabeth Edwards would say, I am dreaming and hoping for a real challenge.

I didn’t do my long run today. I postponed it to Wednesday because I was not feeling well. I wanted to go meet the new baby and because it was freezing and windy. Freezing is bearable, but freezing and windy for an hour and 50 minutes I am going to need some time to adjust to both at one time.

I have two finals this week. In two of my classes last week my professors announced with little to no fanfare that the class I was sitting in would either be the last or next to last class that I had to attend. Ummm? Really? Three weeks early? BHCC gets out on the 24th. (Apparently New England Community Colleges are run by the GRINCH) Needless to say I did not complain, but many of my fellow students, apparently not versed in the old “Never look a gift horse in the mouth” saying began asking a bunch of questions that made me want to launch injury causing objects at their heads:
“Will we still need to go to lab each week and when will you collect our lab forms?”
“What will you do? Could we just come to class anyway?”
“What a rip off, I paid for the whole semester.”
Yep. Those are direct quotes. Some updates on my classes:
Composition – Loud Talking Ron dropped the class. Troll gave me three extra hugs the day that I brought cookies. I think she may or may not be pregnant. Joseph and I talk often about it, but we never really come to resolution. Prof Cambridge is really having a time of it. She used the phrase “a smart cookie would” a lot in an attempt to motivate people who I am pretty sure think she is talking about Snackwell’s when she says that.
Business – It turns out that ol Professor North Shore is my advisor. He’s pretty funny and he continues to use the words “idear” and “wicked” on a regular basis. He’s writing my honors recommendation and another recommendation and he referred to me as “Jennifer” at least ten times in class last week. Wow. The girl that sits next to me said that we should bring flasks next week and take shots every time, I told her I had a class after and she said that maybe it wouldn’t be such a good idea because we would defs be drunk.
Math – This is the one. I went to class and he was all – last class. Final next Friday. Uh? Huh? My last online quiz isn’t due until Dec 22nd… Nutritionist Mom next to me was PISSED. Let me tell you, she probably told me that it didn’t make any sense about 100 times and then asked how she was supposed to do on the final if the quizzes and HW weren’t even due until TWO WEEKS LATER. I didn’t know how to explain to her that if they were open on BlackBoard then she was free to do them even now, before the final.
German – There is a decreasing population in my German class and I am beginning to wonder if BHCC will carry German 2. I am thinking not. Particularly because I am one of two people in the entire class that was up to date on both my homework and tests. AND TESTS??? How can you not be up to date on your tests? I don’t know. However the crazy Russian in the class is only getting crazier. this week he asked if he could have one on one tutoring with the teacher because he didn’t want to be held back by the rest of the classes weaknesses, he wanted to be able to focus on his own. The professor told him that tutoring was available at the language lab, he responded, “And these iz sue-pose-ed to be the same as good as eef you are geeving me the tudoring? I do not theenk so.” I almost fell out of my chair.

So there you go. Life at the community college.

As for us. We are enjoying the Christmas Tree. We have a crazy busy week this week with school, work and Christmas events. We are hoping to juggle it all and maintain our chore schedule but I am not sure that either of us are feeling overly confident. We are also really working to keep our hearts and focus on the Advent season. The reason this is such a special time of year and they joy of our first Christmas, but I think we are so busy we keep forgetting it’s Christmas. AM asked us this weekend what we wanted for Christmas and we realized we hadn’t even thought about it… Which reminds me. I need to go so my assigned research and get back to my math review.

Peace out everyone…

Yes. Please.

Blog at WordPress.com.