Monday, April 7, 2014

I'm in love, I'm in love, and I don't care who knows it!!!

A semi-regular glance at this blog would suggest that it is about:
Jesus, poetry, family and friends, and reflections on a small, happy life.

It's not.

It's about what brings me joy.

And I wrestled with posting about this because I prefer to pretend
I only love everything above.



The Sci-fi show that ran from 2004-2008.

I am so deeply enamored, on so many levels
that I've been alternately embarrassed/concerned.


First of all,

it's a TV show.

I like relaxing to Grey's or Bones on Netflix like the next girl,
 but I've certainly never considered buying posters of my favorite shows' casts to hang in my house...
before now.

Second of all,


THIRD of all...

(I started to write "obsessed", but that gives the wrong image. I've been obsessed with unpleasant things before. This is a happy and joyful obsession.)

Like, I've journaled about it IN MY PRAYER JOURNAL twice in the last ten days.
I brought it up as an example in class.
...I have on more than occasion had to catch myself before I started talking about it in response to the question "What's new".
Weird. Pathetic?

I was reassured, however, during one of my many recent google searches about the show's history (are you seeing this?!), to discover that this is apparently a common phenomenon.

All of my (normal, thoughtful, engaged-in-life) friends who've seen it immediately validated my experience.
"Oh, of course you're obsessed. That's what happens."
"We lost months of our life to that show. It was great."
"So have you reached the Battlestar-evangelist phase yet?"
(at which point I pulled out my phone and showed them the multiple texts I'd sent to multiple friends that day begging them to start watching it.)


I'm in love! I'm in love! And I don't care who knows it!

My spring-in-small-town-Oregon life...

is filled with lit candles, rising bread dough made with home-grown herbs,
sewing projects and walks past vineyards and small children doing crafts upstairs and friends over for dinner.

And in my home, right next to the fresh flowers in a vase on the windowsill and the twinkly lights strung all over...

you very well may soon see a giant poster of the Battlestar cast, hung up with pride.

(Do you think I should tattoo one of Kara Thrace's quotes on my body somewhere? Oh gosh I just love her.)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

.my small cup of life.

loving my sunny tiny home in the spring.
loving filling it with friends and flowers.

my girls came over on sunday to help me garden.
kim went to the farm store with me the night before to help me pick the best seeds for cutting bouquets.

everyone out and about in the warmer weather
means afternoons at the park
and more spontaneous drop-by visits
(9th grade boys knocked while I was melting old wax down; so they made candles too).

potted plants and watering new green,
vases full of color in every room,
lots of dates at the town bakery, dinners and baking and walks...

i am enjoying this season.

"[The wren] delivers such a cantering praise-
for what?

For the early morning, the taste of the spider,

for his small cup of life
that he drinks from every day, knowing it will refill.

All things are inventions of holiness...

window note by Avery across the street, age 7.

left in our shared laundry room by my next door neighbor.

a 10-year-old doing homework at my kitchen table
(requested no face in the picture. note the socks.)

Fawvers made new counters. It's way exciting. I "helped" (ate their food while they worked).

...every morning, there's my own cup of gladness."

-Mary Oliver

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"but always beautiful."

This week I re-read with joy, for the dozenth-plus time, a book that's been one of my favorites since I was nine years old. Because "when you read a book as a child it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your life does..."

I always love returning to the beautiful, simple story of a kind family and their life beside the sea.

...Most of all, Margaret Mary loved Cassie's family and the talk of boats and fishing. And the sea.

"What's it like," she asked James, "to be out there? Are you the only boat you can see?"

James, his face touched by the glow of the lamp, his eyes narrowed as if focused on a faraway view, told Margaret Mary.

"Sometimes alone, most times one of many. It's like a giant, or something bigger than all of us, has taken the sky and tucked it down securely all around and kept us safely bobbing within."

Cassie, her fork caught midway between her plate and her mouth, stared at James. She'd never heard him talk this way before. Or seen his look of contentment.

"But there are storms!" she protested as everyone turned to look at her.

Her father laughed. "That there are, Cass," he said.

"But after the storms," said John Thomas, smiling, "coming home with the gulls and terns following us, some even daring to sit on the boat, waiting for scraps of fish, it is like..." John Thomas, not used to long speeches, searched for the right words.

"Peace," said James quietly. "It is peace."

"And," said Cassie's father, as if adding to a chorus, "that's the way it has been for hundreds and hundreds of years. Just the men, the boats, and the sea."

There was a long silence. It had never occurred to Cassie that they loved fishing. She had always thought they did it because they had to.

"It is somehow always the same and yet never the same," said Cassie's father. "But always beautiful."

Saturday, March 8, 2014

but looking, and touching, and loving.

"Understand, I am always trying to figure out
what the soul is,
and where hidden,
and what shape-

and so, last week,
when I found on the beach
the ear bone
of a pilot whale that may have died

hundreds of years ago, I thought
maybe I was close
to discovering something-

...I believe I will never quite know.
Though I play at the edges of knowing,
truly I know
our part is not knowing,

but looking, and touching, and loving."

-Mary Oliver, "Bone"

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My Amy Grace, at 25.

I have no other friendship like my friendship with Amy.

She was the name printed next to my dorm room assignment in the letter I got a month before I started college; the stranger with whom I decorated our cinderblock walls and attended all the freshman orientation meetings.

Our floor was filled with cute, stylish, confident girls. She fit in easily, far more than me.
But in the first month when plans were made in whispers so the wrong people didn't get invited, her jaw set even harder than mine.
She made no secret that social strata would play no part in how she chose her friends, and she never looked back.
I vividly remember watching that, and the realization that whether we turned out to be close friends or not, this was someone I could respect and trust.

We are different in countless ways, and we openly acknowledge that we would probably never have been friends had not fate/God/Wheaton ResLife thrown us together.

She didn't get up early to read her Bible every morning, or spend hours journaling her prayers to God. I wasn't sure what to do with that.

She was quick and thankful to serve others at every opportunity. She never dreamed of skipping church, no matter how much homework she had.
I learned from the ways she worshipped Him.
Just as much, I learned that close and honoring relationships with God can be lived out in all sorts of ways.

She was the only person on campus I told my parents' divorce was being finalized that semester.
I was the only one who knew about her dad's cancer prognosis.

I missed her over Christmas break, and when I stayed at home an extra week to be in a wedding she realized how much she missed me too.
The first morning I was back in the dorm, we woke up at the same time, stretching and rubbing our eyes across the room from each other.
We made sleepy eye contact, and wordlessly I rolled over to the side of my bed.
She climbed down from hers and in next to me. Still without exchanging a word, we promptly fell back asleep.

When she had her first Wheaton heartbreak, she tossed her hair and (infamously) slapped the boy across the face. Then came home to me and cried for a week while I rubbed her back.

Later when I sobbed to her that I wasn't smart enough to be at Wheaton she told me it wasn't true, and explained to me Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences.

The rest of college we had different rooms, different floors, different friends. We still had our different personalities, different ways of pursuing faith, different study skills. I would call her from across campus to ask for advice on what to wear on a given morning (match your earrings to your scarf and wear a sweater in a complementary color; add tall boots if you need to feel empowered), and she would ask me if I was proud of her that she'd skipped homework the day before to be "socially productive" (of course I was).

Our senior year she bought Skype credit and figured out how to call my Bolivian cell phone, surprising me and making me cry in joy from 4,000 miles away. When I got back to campus that winter, she was off for a semester in Fiji, but she had knit me a beautiful green scarf and left it wrapped with a friend to greet me when I got there.

One spring day I watched with joy as that slapped boy from freshman year waited at the top of the aisle; Amy, beaming, walked towards him... looking lovely in her bridesmaid dress, as our beautiful freshman suitemate followed her and took his hand (Don't you love how these things work out?!).

The year after we graduated she and her new boyfriend drove several hours out of their way over Thanksgiving weekend to meet me at my aunt's house, spending the day with me and my family so we could see each other for the first time in months and I could meet him ("before the wedding!!", she whispered).

The next fall I wore the bridesmaid dress, beaming, as she and James held a contest for who could cry more during a wedding ceremony.

Seven months later I flew to her when James had a business trip. We spent a weekend eating out, scoring deals at thrift stores, and watching Friends reruns,
so that she wouldn't have to sleep alone two weeks after her dad's funeral.

My most eye-rollingly-NOT-sappy friend sends me cards and magnets with the cheesiest of phrases on them, usually surrounded by sugary pink flowers, always the gift most likely to make me crack up (and usually with a ps adding something about how maybe a much less sentimental version, could be true).
This year's Christmas present: a 'prayer box' with a little notepad 'to write down your blessings!!',
inscribed on top: "When I count my blessings, I count you twice."

She actually wants to hear all about my dissertation. She thinks my small town life and all its mundane beauty sounds just as wonderful as I think it is.

There's a freaking baby growing in my friend's belly.

Days together and I'm not even sure what we talk about, just that it's a lot of everything and nothing and it's always just right.
I'm never self-conscious, whether I'm listening or wondering or laughing or grumbling.
She and James don't miss a chance to hold hands and appreciation for each other is woven throughout their conversations so naturally I doubt they even realize it.
We retell the stories we've told a million times, laughing in recognition within a moment of each one beginning.
The colorful, painted wooden Bienvenida sign that hung in our freshman dorm room eight years ago hangs in their kitchen.

She tells the baby to kick for Aunt Emily, and he does.

Some blessings, I will never be able to find words for the gratitude.

Human Needs Global Resources Covenant, 2009

As fellow travelers on this journey, we commit to this covenant before God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear these our prayers:

When confronted with scarcity, need, and inadequacy, may we be nourished by the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Abundance overflows from Your table, sustaining all who come in faith. Father, help us.

When monotony blurs our vision and dulls our senses, may we encounter others as Christ did, through intentional presence in daily life, submitting as clay to be formed into vessels filled with the Spirit. Christ, guide us.

When wounded by the fractured condition of Your people, may we be united by Your Lordship in faith, hope, and love; seeing, as through the facets of a diamond, the beautiful spectrum of Your light reflected onto Your holy Church joined in praise. Spirit, empower us.

When all Creation groans, afflicted by injustice and driven to despair, may the promise of redemption root us in the hope of Your Kingdom: "Behold, I am making all things new!"

Holy Trinity, send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.