Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Five: HGTV Edition

Willsmama says:"As some of you may know I am in the midst of my first home purchase. It is a new-build and so some of the fun was picking out upgrades and major decor items to my taste rather than walking into a previously owned home that needed to be upgraded room by room (pink and teal tiles in the bathroom, anyone?). As much as decorating is not my thing, I did try to embrace the moment because just how many times do you get to have a do-over on kitchen cabinets/floors/countertops?And so, my questions to you this fine Friday involve your home past, present or future..."

1) If you could, what room in the place you are currently living would you redo first? My bedroom. And I personally would do nothing except call my fabulously talented friend and Soul Sister C and ask her to help me pick out wall colors and carpet, then I would hire it all done by others because I am getting pretty darned tired of being the doing it yourself girl. This particular room has been a trial to me. Several years ago, as I started to strip the wallpaper on the sloped ceiling above my bed, the skim coat came with it in patches and the wall now has divots and I just got stuck and stopped stripping or doing anything more. I took up the carpet and the floors are hardwood but I sand and refinish or carpet (the pet issue stymies me here) and I am stuck again. So for five years I have lived in bedroom limbo with an ugly floor, a divoted ceiling to wake up every morning, old blue gray wallpaper that I mostly ignore but is peeling here and there and isn't me at all.

2) What is the most hideous feature/color/decor item you have ever seen in a home? Ummm...that would have to be the bedroom of the last house I owned. When I walked in to see the house for the first time there was a full wall mural above the bed of an autumn forest....blazing reds, oranges, yellows. And it was BIG wall. We are talking an old house here with very high ceilings! The look was complemented by a bright orange shag carpet, heavy red velvet drapes, and dark mediterannean looking furniture. My comment to the realtor that it looked a bit like a bordello elicited the response that this is the reason that buyers are not allowed to be home when houses are shown...."tastes differ." Um, yeah. It was so loud in that room (they left the drapes and carpet of course) that I had to kill the mural in order to get any sleep even before I finished unpacking!

3) What feature do you most covet? Do you have it? If not, is it within reach? My house is 100 years old. The full bath is on first floor and the bedrooms and a half bath are upstairs. I would love to have a master bath "en suite" as they say on TV. The only way to do it would be to sacrifice the smallest of the three bedrooms which adjoins the half-bath and convert that. It could be quite lovely. Large, all the bells and whistles, with a huge closet too, I'm sure. Yes, it's doable. If I win the lottery. So in the meantime in the real world, it's pack up my clothes and treck off downstairs to the shower.

4) Your kitchen - love it or hate it? Why? Love-hate relationship. I just got the most BEE-YOU-TI-FUL new counter tops and I love love love them. My kitchen is a decent size but a funny layout. Long and narrow like 15x9 (love old houses). The realtor called it a bowling alley! I have a dishwasher but it's one of those that you have to hook up to the sink and every single time I have to get soaked at least once in the hooking up process. The appliances don't match but they all work and I can't justify replacing for vanity. And with the new counters of course, the rest looks even shabbier, but new things or remodeling.... it is want not need.

5) Here is $10,000 and you HAVE to spend it on the place you are living now. What do you do? Hire that bedroom done! And if there is some left, strip and paint the hall....more old wallpaper with who knows what underneath and way up there ceilings I can't reach. Maybe install a "real" dishwasher in my kitchen if there is any left.

BONUS: Why do you think there was such a surplus of ugly bathroom tile colors showcased in all homes built from the 1950's right through the early 80's? I'm not sure they thought they were ugly. There seemed to be a rather strange color sensibility in general in the culture during that time. Think about avocado appliances, gold shag carpet, mint green leisure suits....can't explain it, just observing

Monday, January 26, 2009


Time is a strange thing. To look at it on a calender, or one of those old fashioned round clocks, it appears very neat and tidy. Each hour, each day, each week, all the same size. Even months only differ by a day or so. It should march along in orderly progression, and looking back on any last two hours or last two months should be, by rights, about the same. But we all know if we are paying any attention to our lives at all that this simply isn't so. An afternoon of fun with someone whose company we enjoy flies by, while thirty minutes in the dentist's chair is an eternity.

Time does not move at the same pace, nor is is remembered so. It contracts and expands both in its reality and in its recall. The whole of the last year has been like this for me. It has had sort of an accordion feel. As I'm thinking ahead to the BE2, I'm remembering the BE1. What a rush that was! I had not planned to go. But then in the bleak midwinter, as my life began to do what in that time felt like a fast fall out from under me, something, some Wisdom I actually had the sense to listen to, told me I really needed some help here....and perhaps something radical was called for. So e-mails were sent and arrangements were made....and in what seemed like no time at all there I was on that aft deck saying out loud things that felt unspeakable and finding myself heard into being and new life. Those few days of course passed all too quickly, and the return from that liminal space was bumpy and the landing none too soft. The time that followed seemed to pass very slowly as I struggled to make sense of things in the new normal of my life. And yet as I look back on the Spring and Summer of this past is only because I have it in record that I can recall as much of it as I do. It is blurry, like something that speeds by the window on the fast train to the next place. Because clearly....I was on my way to that next place, whether I knew it or not, whether I believed or not.

And these last two months....time is playing it's tricks again. In this new love...time stretches and compresses. It speeds and drags. It moves in one pace in real time and another one completely in memory. How can it be that in July I was caught between fear and hope and in January we are here? How can it be that in November we were there and now we are here? We are as if brand new with each other with the wonder of it all and we are as if old and forever with the comfort and safety of our love for one another. How can this all happen in this short time?

Go slow with love, people say. Oh, yes, I know. My heart knows and my head knows and my good therapist advice giving self knows. But in which time universe is this? In the one of calendars and clocks? Or the one of the heart? In the one that knows somehow that there is something here that is old and wise, that even in it's quickness, there is something deep and slow. In the one that knows too that there is something sacred here. That this is not a random thing, but one of grace and gift and blessedness. Because in the earthtime we spend, there is also timelessness..a connection to God and the utter eternal....the sense that in the only-now that is God time we are living God's dream that is and has always been coming to be for each of us...separately and together. We talked a bit this weekend about that coming across time to each other. How in some ways we wished we had found each other sooner. But at the same time, we know that now is the right time for us to be together. That each of needed all of what came before in our lives to be who we are now in this time. That had we found each other in an earlier time we might not have seen the same things in each other, appreciated each other, been ready for the kind of love we now find together....a love that makes space for each of our separate lives, that celebrates our uniqueness, that allows for all the time that has been and time that is yet to come but focuses most gently but insistently on the time that is now.

Friday, January 23, 2009

"A Cabin Fever Friday Five"

Singing Owl says: "Sorry for the late posting! My daughter's car won't start, and I just returned from driving her to work. I think she made need a block heater. Speaking of that...Here in snow country we are settled in to what is a very long stretch of potentially boring days. The holidays are over. It is a very long time till we will get outside on a regular basis. The snow that seemed so beautiful at first is now dirty and the snow banks are piling up. Our vehicles are all the same shade of brownish grey, but if we go to the car wash our doors will freeze shut. People get grumpy. Of course, not everyone lives in a cold climate, but even in warmer places the days till springtime can get long. Help! Please give us five suggestions for combating cabin fever and staying cheerful in our monochromatic world?"

  1. Unless it is so absolutely gosh-awful that the skin freezes in seconds, I bundle up, grab the wee doggy and get out there and walk at least a few times a week. I have my Soul Sister S to thank for this. Winter before last she encouraged me, pushed me and even gave me the bundling equipment and I found that I did not succumb and even perhaps mind winter a tiny bit less if I do get out and move through it rather than just sit and grouse about it.
  2. Eat something spicy. Restaurant is ok, homemade is better, especially when made by someone you love who COOKS! (Sorry...can't resist singing those praises).
  3. Listen to great music. Turn it up loud. Dance along. This works alone or with others.
  4. Think about that great warm place that is coming...either in the Spring or on the vacay.
  5. Cuddle as much as possible. This is highly recommended as a chill chaser.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

NaBlo...No Mo

So, ok, I have given up on the daily postings in January. I don't know what I was thinking. Or perhaps to be easier on myself, I could say it seemed like a good idea at the time, but....It just doesn't seem to be the time to be coming up with something to say about anything every day. It's not that I'm not's just that some of that reflecting is going on in other places, in journaling that is not of the bloggable type, in conversations and sometimes in my head in posts that just never make it here before they evaporate! And sometimes I worry that I am getting a little boring....I mean, how many times can you write...."I'm in love and I am so happy I can hardly stand it," before people get kind of tired of hearing it? So while I'm not taking a break from blogging, I'm not promising consistency or regularity right now either. I'll simply write when I have something to say, or when I simply have to tell you one more time, "I'm in love and I am so happy I can hardly stand it." Thank you for your patience.

Monday, January 19, 2009


It was an interesting weekend. For many years now XDO and I have had a tradition of getting together at some point after Christmas for a holiday celebration with two close friends. It began when we still lived in the Big City, and continued when we moved to Little Town on the Prairie. This year of course, being the First Christmas Apart there was a bit of a conundrum about how this would be done. Initially we had decided that the most comfortable thing would be to have two gatherings, one with XDO and the friends and one with me and the friends. But schedules being what they are, that just did not prove feasible, so this weekend the two of us found ourselves spending the weekend in two separate guest rooms at my sweet friend J's house.

To say there was some tension would be an understatement. For the most part I think XDO and I have done pretty well with civility and even beyond to a level of understanding and friendship that allows us to interact pretty well most of the time. But to expect that we could maintain that in close quarters in a setting that brought back memories of an earlier time when one of us has so clearly moved on and the other has not....well, perhaps that was pushing the envelope. My friend J and I had talked earlier in the week about trying not to say too much about that "moved on" part of my life. In short, I was going to try really really hard to stifle myself all weekend and not act like the really happy, contented, joyfully grateful, totally blessed, newly in love woman that I am. Yeah. Especially in the presence of two of my oldest and dearest and friends who just might want to know something about this new person in my life. But I gave it my best shot. I was pretty quiet when we were all together. I answered the questions about R in generalities. I showed them his picture discreetly and tried not to gush about him and how great he is. Fortunately there were some respites. There were times in the car on our shopping jaunts when I could talk to J. And on Saturday night I drank too much wine and took the dog for a long walk and called R and kvetched. And on Sunday morning, the weather was looking dicey, so I begged out early and headed off for home earlier than planned.

I think it was hard on XDO as well. I noted I was not the only one who was doing disappearing acts. I was not the only one who was snappish at times. Clearly we need a new plan for the post-Christmas gathering for next year. We have moved on and times really have changed. I can remember many years ago knowing some folks who broke up who were determined to stay friends. I wondered at their motivation. I wondered at their ability to do this difficult thing. I wondered at their sanity. As with any decision we make in life there are pros and cons. There are some unique things about our situation that makes me fall on the side of still thinking that the pros do outweigh the cons for us to continue to struggle with this. But what shape it takes, how it evolves, especially now that I am clearly "with" someone else and not just casually dating changes things. Particularly since I am not sure how clearly XDO has or wants to apprehend that fact quite yet. Saying you are happy for someone and living with the reality of seeing them live into a new life can be two quite different things. I don't want to be insensitive, to flaunt my happiness. But on the other hand, I don't want to have to keep censoring and stifling either. I have worked too hard and fought too long to stop people pleasing to take it up again. Somewhere here there is a balance. There always is. And if I can be quiet, and wait patiently in the now, curiously compassionate, listening to my heart, trusting myself to will come.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Five: Take Me, Baby, or Leave Me

Songbird says: "Although written by a young man, this song from "Rent" became an anthem for women of a certain age ready to be taken on their own terms. Maureen and Joanne love each other, but they are *very* different. Whether it's new friends or new loves or new employers, what are five things people should know about you?"

This is a particularly on-target Friday Five for me, as I am in the "new love" category and there have been a lot of these conversations going on between R and I...."things you should know," "things you'd never guess," many of them shared with gales of laughter. So since I'm pretty much a no-secrets, what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of person, here is my latest list:
  1. I find it much easier to give than take, but I am working on it.
  2. I have a history of getting into relationships with "wounded birds" who need rescuing. It's not been the best thing all around in the long run for the bird or myself, so we are turning over a new leaf and going with the healthy equals premise on this one.
  3. I am more than a tich competitive when it comes to any kind of game situation. When I play I play to win--so watch it!
  4. I do not suffer fools well, especially if the fools are trodding on the least, the less than, the downtrodden, the weak. Also, it!
  5. I am intense, passionate, in it for the long haul....pretty much whatever "it" is. I don't do fluff well. That makes me kind of exhausting sometimes, for myself as well as others. There are also benefits if you can can weather through it with me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

NaBloPo...More or Less

Trying again for consistency at the halfway point. I must say that I am glad that January is half over in some ways. It is anywhere from 20 to 28 below zero this morning depending on whose thermometer you believe. Just having the car start is a miracle. Ever since moving to Minnesota way long ago, I have always been sort of amazed by the fact that life even goes on when it gets like this. But it does. Oh, some things are adjusted. School is starting two hours late this morning so the kids don't turn into little Popsicles waiting for their buses, and many of the pre-schools and kindergartens are not meeting at all. Some of the senior programs cancel or delay starts to make it easier on folks, but for the most part it is business as usual and the expectation is that you show up for it.

There is a part of me that has always rankled a bit at that. It feels kind of like a fist-waving "I'll show you who's boss" stupidity that can only lose in the end. I mean when it comes to minus 64 wind chills and white outs versus the human's kind of no contest who wins here. But if you say, "well I think perhaps we should cancel such and such" or "perhaps I will skip this or that" or "I'm not coming in to work today due to the weather" there is a sort of looking askance, sometimes concealed, sometimes not, an attitude that you must not truly be one of us, not tough enough to live here, to play among the real folk of the great North country. I have gone back and forth over the years with how much I give in to that. It was a whole new adjustment again when I moved to the prairie. Driving in my first white-out was sobering. It was, also I hope, my last experience of being able to look up and see perfectly blue sky but not being able to see the end of my hood in front of me. Yeah. I have adopted the position of "just say no" pretty much. If anything that looks even remotely inclement is predicted, I simply don't leave town.

Getting around in town is enough adventure for this chick. I managed to get stuck at the end of the driveway last week. It was another one of those days when it had snowed another three or snow guy hadn't come, the town plow had, I thought I could make the mogul, I was wrong. Fortunately three very nice men, and C who was picking me up to run an errand came to my rescue and we dug a little, pushed a little, rocked a little and spun a little and out I popped. I hope that is my one for the year. Last year's was much worse. It involved a tree, two guys and a winch. The year before I had an off-road incident simply coming back from a church meeting on the other side of town. Life, you see is not dull here in my little world of white.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Blogger Friend Award

Mompriest has kindly awarded me this blogger friend award. She was one of the first bloggers I connected with as we had "that Episcopal thing" in common first of all....but many other connections as well. I have appreciated the friendship that has grown and am really looking forward to actually meeting IRL at the BE2!

And now it is my joyful task to award this to eight other bloggers. I started thinking back to early blogging days and one of the first people I connected with was Josephine who back in those days was posting as Tandaina at Snow on Roses and since has gone off to seminary and been having great adventures. Another early connection was with Gannet Girl. The events of her last year have been so painful, and yet she has hung in as a blogger and allowed us to continue to care for her and offer what comfort and solace we can as she grieves her son. Two bloggers that became closer friends after the BE are Mary Beth and Mid Life Rookie. I also wish I could have weekly tea with Mrs. M and Imingrace as both of these women are so good for my heart and soul. Two more great blogger friends to round out this award are my writing inspiration Ruth and my all around inspiration for courage under fire of all sorts Eliza.

So, with great joy that you and all my other fabulous blogger friends are in my life, I give you this award! If you accept the award be sure to include the following and then award 8 others....

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

Monday, January 12, 2009


I seem to be heading in the completely wrong direction on this daily posting business. Now it's been two days, and if it hadn't been for a Friday Five, it probably would have been three. *sigh*

I once had a professor who said, "While it is true that the unexamined life is not worth living, I also believe that the unlived life is not worth examining." I seem to be living in a tension between those two extremes these days. I find myself thinking at times, "Oh, I want to stop and take time to remember this moment, this reflect on all the wonderment of this absolutely amazing gift that has come so unexpectedly to decorate my life." But at the same time....I want to be in that moment, fully completely alive and present. And I want many such moments...truth be told I want as many of them as my busy life allows. But then, still being an introvert, even an introvert in love....I still need to withdraw... from the business, even from the moments to recharge, regroup. It is a dance I do with myself, and now with another. And blessedly, he too is an introvert, so he gets the need to go away and recharge....but also the pull to "be with." It's a funny little two step we are doing these days.

Thinking about the pros and cons.....I think I there is the possibility that I may become boring to others, as I seem to have kind of a one-track mind. I seem to have less of an interest in the affairs of the world than perhaps I should right now. I think my dog is feeling a little neglected. I seem a tad distracted at times. My need for post-it notes is even greater than before. My bloglife is seriously suffering. But on the good side, I am more generous of spirit. I feel more compassion for my fellow creatures. I am more apt to say yes to just about anything within reason that is asked of me. Despite the fact that it is January and it has just snowed for what seems like the hundredth time, I am remarkably cheerful. My house is cleaner than it usually is.

I have been at the beginning before....and yes I know that some of this is transitory....but there are forces at work here that go deeper. The soulwork that has allowed me to open myself to the possibility of being loved obviously makes a difference. Being able to relax into receiving care and nurturing obviously changes things. Feeling for the first time that I am with someone who could be my safety net too, and that I might even allow myself to fall now and again....well, that's kind of transformational.

So this is about change...this post, this time....these gaps in my blogging. Do it, write about it, find the balance. Live life, examine all makes it worth living in the end, really I guess.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday Five: Pancakes

Sophia says: "Last week Sally gave us a beautiful, spiritually reflective Friday Five, so it's time for something light and fluffy (literally). It's inspired by the fact that as I write this my dear spouse TechnoGuy, with the assistance of daughter Ladybug, is making a batch of chocolate chip pancakes with two Christmas presents. One is the Knott's Berry Farm mix which came along with jam, boysenberry syrup, and biscuit mix from my aunt (we ended up with two sets, since my parents passed theirs on to avoid sweet and carb-y temptation). The other is the large size Black and Decker electric skillet he was thrilled that I got him online -- our trusty wedding present normal size one still works at going on 20 years, but the Teflon is getting worn, and he wanted more cooking space. So pull up a chair to the kitchen table and tell us all about your pancake preferences."

1. Scratch or mix? Buttermilk or plain? My faves in the mix department are two. For sheer simplicity and never fail, I love all the the Krusteaz brands. Plain, Buttermilk,'s add water and off we go! For something a little more substantial in the mix version, I like Hodgson Mill's Buckwheat. They too are simple add in and go and they are really yummy!

2. Pure and simple, or with additions cooked in? depends on the day, the mood, the meal. Nothing, of course, could ever be as straightforward as yes or no on this one. My favorite addition overall is bananas, then a peanut butter/honey topping and a side of bacon. Yum-o as RR would say! Of course I also love potato pancakes...while not really an "addition"....really more the whole thing, they are just the best!

3. For breakfast or for dinner? You mean I have to choose?

4. Preferred syrup or other topping? How about the best side dish? Well...again, it depends on the cake....on the buckwheats, a good maple is best, on those banana guys, that peanut butter honey business, on a lighter cake, I like a berry, something a little tart maybe...maybe even some strawberries with sour cream around a a blintz. Oh, dear, now I really am craving pancakes in all varieties.

5. Favorite pancake restaurant? IHOP....but the nearest one is three hours from here. So Perkins has to do.

Bonus: Any tasty recipes out there, for pancakes or other special breakfast dishes? Bring 'em on!
No recipes, but my other favorite breakfast thing is eggbake, especially the one our wonderful receptionist makes for special deals at work.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Oops...Tripping on Change

This NaBloPoMo thing is not going so well. I missed posting again yesterday. This time is was not so much forgetting as a combination of not having time and really having nothing to say. Apparently writing about change isn't any easier than doing it!

The shower is less random than the posting. I'm not quite sure what happened. If the tech was being more dire than he needed to be and just turning it up did the trick, or if something put the fear of the Almighty into the heater....but we are running at 100% hot showers and (gratefully) counting.

Most of the time being part of people's change process is a really splendid thing. It is, in fact, one of things I love best about my day job. This week though for some reason there has been a fair amount of frustration involved. I am kind of between "gigs" here. With the closing of CH, ten hours of my week freed up, and I am getting a new contract position which will begin in February. Because of that, I can't be assigned a lot of new clients who would then not be able to get back in to see me. But I need to stay productive (translated: produce some revenue for the center) so I am seeing people who need a crisis counselor, or who just need a quick assessment for something. In short, not the most satisfying kinds of situations for someone whose greatest love in therapy is the relational connections! In addition to that, it seems that a fair number of my own folks are in hard or stuck places right now and I'm feeling the pain with them.

There are also some who are bringing some of that pain on themselves. I feel different things for them. While I understand that sometimes we really do stand helpless before ourselves, victims of our still unhealed pasts, or our neurotransmitters run amok, or by being overwhelmed by too much life and not enough coping skills ...sometimes we don't and are making bad choices with some pretty clear sight....and then want pity, solace and rescue when those choices have consequences. "Duh!" I want to say at those points, "And you were expecting exactly what when you did the exact same thing for the fifty-sixth time?" But of course I do not...well not in those exact words anyway....because those folks could not hear me if I did. No. I take a deep breath, and ask God for patience, and say, as gently as I can..."So what were you expecting to happen when....." There has been a fair amount of that this week. The holidays bring it on. January in Minnesota brings it on. It's cold. It's dark. And this year it's been snowing approximately forever. My own fatigue level factors into how I feel, too. Even happy and in love I feel the drag of January. It is never my favorite month and I am always glad to see it pass.

So I can have empathy for those who are not blessed with love and friendship and coping skills. Even the ones who are heading down the same path with their eyes kind of open. I get that they do what they do because they simply have done it for so long they don't remember that there is another way. That when they get scared/stressed/anxious/depressed the system crashes and reboots to all the old defaults and we have to go back and slowly, patiently once again add all the pretty and useful upgrades. I remember how long it took me, and how blessed I was (and still am) with wonderful patient people to reboot and reconfigure my crashed self. So I remember and breathe and pray and say, "It's a process, change is slow, it will come, you will get there....let's just take that first baby step, shall we?' Some the bleak's just a little harder to get there than others.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

When Good Appliances Go Bad

It was one of those good news, bad news things. The water heater itself is fine. It's just the thermostat that's shot. That was the good news. The bad news. The water heater is seventeen years old and there are no thermostats to be had. The temporary solution for now is to crank it up manually to "scald" and sometimes, on a very random, intermittent basis, sort of whenever the water heater feels like it, I'll have hot showers. And other times, well, I won't. A new one? Of course that is the real solution. When I asked the technician, "How much?" he said, "Well, as long as you're sitting down.....and he told me. Oh. My. Kind of the same reaction I had when I went looking at washing machines last summer. Clearly I have not replaced appliances in a very long time. In this century perhaps. There is good news there, too. My utility company will finance the new one. Just pop it on my bill, interest free for ten months. I think I will try to tough it out until after the heating season when the bill drops back out of a range that makes me gasp every time I see it anyway.

The way I see this, it adds an element of interest to my life....what will today's shower hold? Or perhaps I can use it as a way to remind me to be grateful. I have a shower, and sometimes it will be a hot one. And at some point there will be the means to make it consistent again. Good news on many fronts. Choosing my attitude, changing my focus. It's easier to change that than the water temperature, it seems.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Anticipating Epiphany.....To End and Begin

Only five days in to NabLoPoMo and I have missed a day of blogging already. I have no good excuses to offer. I simply forgot. Instead of writing about change yesterday, I was doing it. I'm afraid I anticipated Epiphany a bit and took down Christmas. I felt the worst about the creche. The kings had not even gotten a chance to really settle in and adore when the box came out and they got packed away till next year. But Christmas, as I have been reminded in ever so many ways this year is not about a season, or things or decor. The Love that we celebrate arriving in incarnate form came and stayed. It doesn't get packed up with the lights and the garland to wait in silent darkness for another season.

As much as I love having my house decorated, there is a kind of calm serenity after it all comes down that I also enjoy. It seems more spacious. Especially this year as I really claimed the process for myself. I purged a lot of old holiday junk and got it down to a manageable amount. As I packed it away I organized it in totes and labeled them so decorating next year should be a snap.

Though all of this did include a fair amount of work, it seemed like a good thing to do on the Sabbath. It was reflective and restful in that it got me thinking about Christmasas past and how different this one was and why. Perhaps it is this new birthed and steadily growing love in my life, but the whole Incarnational aspect of Christmas has been striking me anew. Especially as I preached John's Gospel on Christmas I, that from the beginning this was in the mind of be among us, to be us so that we could know God and become more like God. It really does boggle the mind to be loved that much by the Creator of the universe. Sometimes I can only think about such things while doing mundane things like sweeping tree needles and picking up stray ornament hooks.

And tomorrow it is officially Epiphany. If I had to pick a day for my spiritual anniversary, this would be it. Epiphany Sunday was the day that I finally said yes to God and meant it as I wrote about last year in this post . Anniversaries for me are always a time to take stock of the last year. What has changed, what needs attention, where do we seem to be going. So that is the intention for the next twenty-four hours. To find some space for quiet. To focus on this relationship, to reaffirm this commitment, to once again say yes to whatever God has in store for me knowing this year at an even deeper and profound level that I am loved and God truly is holding my life.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Thoughts on Change

Just about when I think I'm figuring it out, it changes. That used to make me all anxious and uptight. Now it just makes me sort of smile at myself in a kind of tolerant amusement. Like take sleep for instance. I had this pattern going. Little spurts of a couple hours through the night with little wake-ups, then a longer chunk before morning. It probably wasn't the best for getting that really good REM stuff, but it was working. I seemed to be functioning, and I was used to it. I was almost always awake and ready to go before the alarm at six and often by five no matter what time I went to bed. Lately I seem to be downshifting. Last night I slept six hours without a break, and I slept until after 9 this morning when the phone woke me! That's just one example. There are certainly far more profound ones in my life that demonstrate clearly the possibility of change. Ask those who know me best! Old dogs may or may not be able to learn new tricks, but middling humans....I am here to say that amazing things can and do happen!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Beginnings and Endings Friday Five

Sally says:"This Celtic Mandala represents life, noting how days and years turn from one to another. As we have stepped from 2008 into 2009 some of us look back with joy and others with sadness; probably most of us with a mixture of the two.As we look back we may come to understand how God has worked in and through us in joy and sadness. how we have grown against what may seem impossible odds. As we look forward we may do so with expectation, and we may do so with fear and trembling. As we look back and forward in New Years liminality I offer you this simple yet I hope profound Friday Five in two parts:"

First list five things that you remember/ treasure from 2008
  1. The BE. I was not planning to attend. Then suddenly I knew I must. And as is the way of these things, a place had opened, the flight was in my budget and the next thing I knew, there I was, hugging a bunch of wonderful women in a hotel bar in NOLA. And the rest, as they history.
  2. Baptising L. It is, without a doubt, one of the best moments of my ministry.
  3. The day R's e-mail appeared inviting me to coffee. I knew he was sent as the answer to prayer. I have not changed my mind.
  4. Finding out that I can trust the strength of my faith bond, even through the darkness.
  5. My dream come true night at the New Year's dance.
Then list five things that you are looking forward to in 2009.
  1. The BE 2. This time I am even planning ahead!
  2. Exploring what it is like to rest in and accept being loved and cherished (while trying not to overthink it!)
  3. Giving myself the gift of time to write and paint and generally be creative.
  4. On a really practical level--getting more of the projects done on my house.
  5. Continuing to be more fearlessly and joyfully myself.

Ch-ch-changes...Post 1

My basic belief about change is that we finally do it when the pain of our current situation overtakes the fear of what it will be like when we finally take the steps necessary to do whatever it is that is needed to make the change. Because I do think it is fear that is the greatest obstacle to change. All those scary messages we give ourselves (based on perfectly reasonable -- to us anyway -- beliefs about the "things that could happen" if we take this step out into the unknown). Because that's where change takes us....out there into some new place where we have not been before. And for most of us it takes a lot to get us to go there. And whether we like to admit it or not, pain or at least a fair amount of discomfort with our current status is the best motivation for that movement. And the funny thing is, that when we get there, to the new place....we often find it's really not half so bad after all.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Something Good

I'm feeling a little like Cinderella today. I did get to go to the ball...well at least the New Year's Eve dance....and it was everything I'd hoped it would be. It has been kind of a long-term fantasy of mine to do that on New Years...get dressed up and go to a dance with someone special...and for a whole host of reasons, it has just never happened. Bless R, when this event was advertised and I shared my dream with him, he never hesitated for a moment. And unlike many things that having been dreamed of for so long, do not deliver in real life, last night was wonderful and almost perfect. The music was great, we had fun dancing and just being together. It was interesting seeing who else was there and fun to talk with our friends. We toasted the New Year at midnight and I uttered a prayer of deep gratitude for this wonderful gift of dreams that really do come true.

One of my favorite songs has always been Something Good from the Sound of Music. I find myself humming it lately. "Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could....I must have done something good." I feel like I must have done something to deserve this. Not just the dream come true of the dance, but finding love at this time in my life, finding someone who fits, who accepts all the complexities and baggage that come with me. And that there is an ease, a lightness, a distinct lack of drama that I find very refreshing at this point. But I also know that I must account for grace, and that perhaps I did nothing and that he, like all the blessings of my life is simply another gift and my appropriate response is simply gratitude and cherishing.

NaBloPoMo for January is about sounded interesting, and since my life and many people around me seem to be about that, I thought it might be fun to take on the challenge of trying to write something every day on that off we go.