Friday, December 30, 2011

the in-between time

I am enjoying these last few days of 2011; I've found a liminal space inside them, a place of waiting, reflecting, anticipating, being.  A place between the completed/fulfilled anticipation of Advent and Christmas and the expectancy of a new year and season.  My mind fills with thoughts and evaluations of events in the past year as well as plans for the one to come, but I push these thoughts aside for now and go deeper into the liminal space itself.  Does anything lie here, waiting to be discovered?  Or perhaps it is simply a time to be without doing, to sit and look without planning or analyzing.  I walk, I read, I ponder God and what he teaches me.  The past year or so has been difficult; I have lived with great fear and resentment.  I thank God for the grace to be able to see this and, in this liminal time, to be able to separate myself from the fear and resentment somewhat so that I may understand them more fully, if understanding comes.  What do I fear?  Why?  I am resentful because I have expectations that aren't being met, and I am losing patience and hope.  Perhaps it is time to let these expectations go.  I am beginning to discover that the emptying of a life can bring a greater capacity for grace.

Blessings to you; I wish you well in this in-between time and in the year to come.  May the Peace of God be with us.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

giving thanks

A prayer by Johann Kepler, 1571-1630, as printed in The Oxford Book of Prayer, George Appleton, Editor:

O Thou who through the light of nature hast aroused in us a longing for the light of grace, so that we may be raised in the light of Thy majesty, to Thee, I give thanks, Creator and Lord, that Thou allowest me to rejoice in Thy works.  Praise the Lord ye heavenly harmonies, and ye who know the revealed harmonies.  For from Him, through Him and in Him, all is, which is perceptible as well as spiritual; that which we know and that which we do not know, for there is still much to learn.

Today the following phrases grabbed my attention and drew me into further contemplation:
"hast aroused in us a longing..."
"that Thou allowest me (gave me the capacity and ability) to rejoice in Thy works"
"the revealed harmonies"
"from Him, through Him and in Him, all is..."
"for there is still much to learn"

Thank You for reminding me of gratitude; I had forgotten.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Credo for Support

The videos to the left of this column have a very powerful message written by a man with cerebral palsy and his wife. When you view humanity in this way, the whole world changes.

A Credo for Support
c. 1995 by Norman Kunc and Emma Van der Klift

Throughout history,
people with physical and mental disabilities
have been abandoned at birth,
banished by society,
used as court jesters,
drowned and burned during the Inquisition,
gassed in Nazi Germany,
and still continue to be segregated, institutionalized,
tortured in the name of behavior management,
abused, raped, euthanized, and murdered.
Now, for the first time, people with disabilities are taking their rightful place as fully contributing citizens. The danger is that we will respond with remediation and benevolence rather than equity and respect. And so, we offer you

A Credo for Support

Do Not see my disability as the problem.
Recognize that my disability is an attribute.

Do Not see my disability as a deficit.
It is you who see me as deviant and helpless.

Do Not try to fix me, because I am not broken.
Support me. I can make my contribution to the community in my way.

Do Not see me as your client. I am your fellow citizen.
See me as your neighbor. Remember, none of us can be self-sufficient.

Do Not try to modify my behavior.
Be still and listen.
What you define as inappropriate may be my attempt to communicate with you in the only way I can.

Do Not try to change me, you have no right.
Help me learn what I want to know.

Do Not hide your uncertainty behind "professional" distance.
Be a person who listens, and does not take my struggle away from me by trying to make it all better.

Do Not use theories and strategies on me.
Be with me. And when we struggle with each other, let that give rise to self-reflection.

Do Not try to control me. I have a right
to my power as a person.
What you call non-compliance or manipulation may actually be the only way I can exert some control over my life.

Do Not teach me to be obedient, submissive, and polite.
I need to feel entitled to say No if I am to protect myself.

Do Not be charitable towards me.
The last thing the world needs is another Jerry Lewis.
Be my ally against those who exploit me
for their own gratification.

Do Not try to be my friend. I deserve more than that.
Get to know me. We may become friends.

Do Not help me, even if it does make you feel good.
Ask me if I need your help. Let me show you how you can best assist me.

Do Not admire me. A desire to live a full life does not warrant adoration.
Respect me, for respect presumes equity.

Do Not tell, correct, and lead.
Listen, Support, and Follow.

Do Not work on me.
Work with me.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Compline is a prayer for the end of the day.  This one comes from Northumbria Community :

The Sacred Three
to save
to shield
to surround
the hearth
the home
this night
and every night....

O God who is one,
O God who is true,
O God who is first....

O God of life, this night,
O darken not to me Thy light.
O God of life, this night,
close not Thy gladness to my sight.

Keep Your people, Lord,
in the arms of Your embrace.
Shelter them under Your wings.

* Be their light in darkness.
Be their hope in distress.
Be their calm in anxiety.

* Be strength in their weakness.

* Be their comfort in pain.

* Be their song in the night.

In peace will I lie down, for it is You, O Lord,
You alone who makes me to rest secure.
Be it on Your own beloved arm,
O God of grace, that I in peace shall awake.

Be the peace of the Spirit
mine this night.
Be the peace of the Son
mine this night.
Be the peace of the Father
mine this night.
The peace of all peace
be mine this night
+ in the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.

Friday, September 9, 2011

and I received...

Several minutes after writing the last post I found this in a book of collected prayers*:

"I don't know who - or what - put the question, I don't know when it was put.  I don't even remember answering.  But at some moment I did answer Yes to Someone - or Something - and from that hour I was certain that existence is meaningful and that, therefore, my life in self-surrender had a goal.  From that moment I have known what it means 'not to look back,' and 'to take no thought for the morrow.'"

Dag Hammarskjold

* The Oxford Book of Prayer, George Appleton, Ed., 1985

are we there yet?

My friend Pam at radical ramblings and thoughts of a southern girl wrote a post today on surrender.  As I envisioned myself walking beside her on that particular path, giving and receiving encouragement, I suddenly burst out, "Are we there yet?!"  I mean, my God, how much more can you ask?  My job, my home, my dogs, my ability to think clearly, my relationships, my very sanity sometimes...what next?  Oh, I know, I prayed with St. Ignatius that you take everything, even my memory, understanding, and liberty, if you see fit, and I meant it, but I didn't realize those things ran so deep.  Now I'm tempted to say, "Just try to take anything more.  I dare you."  And yet I do pray it.  I'm a mess, a bitter, proud, resentful mess.  I offer up my very life, but when you take it I fight to get it back.  Teach me what all this loss is for, what it really means.  Or don't.  But please teach me to love.

genealogy with grandpa

This morning Grandpa greeted me with: "I'm rich."
"Oh yeah?" I said.  "How so?"
"I have a new niece and nephew."
"You mean great-grandkids?  You have two new great-grandchildren."  Congrats, cousin, on the twins!
"Oh yeah.  That's right.  I'm waiting on you for a niece."
"I'm waiting on you for a niece."
"Well, you're going to be waiting a while."  (For more reasons than one...)
"Wait, what are you?"
"I'm your granddaughter!"
"Oh yeah.  Never mind."

Monday, September 5, 2011

indie ink

This week's Indie Ink challenge came from Grace and was a link:  Check out the dictionary; it's fascinating!  For the challenge, I added to the final paragraph of my antagonist description.

I looked at Grandpa sitting silently across the small table from me.  “Do you want some more eggs?” I asked him.


“More juice?”

“No. I’m fine.”

I considered him for a few moments.  Grandpa’s eyes were hidden under his large, bushy, gray eyebrows.  His wiry gray hair stuck out here and there; it was time for another haircut.  His old brown sweater consumed him.  Grandpa looked at me and smiled faintly, but I could tell this was one of his more difficult days.  Grandpa was still adjusting to the changes the past year had brought him: a physical decline which necessitated the use of a wheelchair and kept him from going out of the house as often as he liked.  Driving had been especially hard for him to give up.  I understood completely.  I treasured my independence as much as Grandpa valued his, and the thought of losing so much of it horrified me.  While Grandpa and I were thankful that he had not declined much mentally, it sometimes seemed like a cruel joke of fate.  He knew exactly how much he was missing out on, and on his bad days this knowledge seemed to mock him just as his thick head of hair did in the mirror, sitting atop that thin, wasted body.

Grandpa caught me staring and jerked into action, picking up his plate and rolling himself to the sink.  After putting his plate in the sink he went into the living room and switched on the television.  As he moved I watched the wheels of his chair spinning…spinning…in my mind’s eye the wheels continued to turn, like custom rims...flashing sunlight…abruptly reflecting, turning the light away…gathering shadows…going nowhere…circling…was this really the best situation for Grandpa?  Would he be better off in a place with more people and activities to interact with?  He fights adamantly against the idea of moving out of his home, the home he shared with Grandma for 37 years and in which she passed away.  I’m sure he wants to die here, too.  But what if he’s already dead?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Day 2: antagonist description

I looked at Grandpa sitting silently across the small table from me.  “Do you want some more eggs?” I asked him.


“More juice?”

“No. I’m fine.”

I considered him for a few moments.  Grandpa’s eyes were hidden under his large, bushy, gray eyebrows.  His wiry gray hair stuck out here and there; it was time for another haircut.  His old brown sweater consumed him.  Grandpa looked at me and smiled faintly, but I could tell this was one of his more difficult days.  Grandpa was still adjusting to the changes the past year had brought him: a physical decline which necessitated the use of a wheelchair and kept him from going out of the house as often as he liked.  Driving had been especially hard for him to give up.  I understood completely.  I treasured my independence as much as Grandpa valued his, and the thought of losing so much of it horrified me.  While Grandpa and I were thankful that he had not declined much mentally, it sometimes seemed like a cruel joke of fate.  He knew exactly how much he was missing out on, and on his bad days this knowledge seemed to mock him just as his thick head of hair did in the mirror, sitting atop that thin, wasted body.

Grandpa caught me staring and jerked into action, picking up his plate and rolling himself to the sink.  After putting his plate in the sink he went into the living room and switched on the television.  I Love Lucy was on; his favorite.  As Grandpa lost himself in Lucy’s comic genius, I continued to watch him and wonder.  Was this really the best situation for him?  Would he be better off in a place with more people and activities to interact with?  He fights adamantly against the idea of moving out of his home, the home he shared with Grandma for 37 years and in which she passed away.  I’m sure he wants to die here, too.  But what if he was already dead?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

30-day short story challenge - Day 1

Nearly 20 years ago (!) I took a creative writing class at our local university.  One of our assignments was to write a scene in a short story which included: an old man, a wheelchair, a hamster, a pair of pants (I think), and a newspaper.  I wrote, somewhat prophetically I guess, about a woman who cares for her ailing grandfather full-time.  I was able to write the scene, but I never figured out where I was going with it.  Now I'm curious to find out.

I decided to participate in the 30-day writing challenge at .  This site provides daily assignments and an opportunity to post your work and receive feedback from others.  Each assignment draws you further into your story, and by the end of the month (hopefully) your story will be written.

Today's assignment was to write a 300-word description of our protagonist.  I wrote about 200 words before I realized the description was supposed to be physical.  When I realized my mistake it was like pulling teeth to get myself to sit down and think about what Kate looks like.  This will be an interesting month.

The similarities between me and Kate are obvious, but there are differences, too.  If you know me personally, please don't assume I feel like Kate is feeling and flood me with phone calls.  I appreciate it.  :)

Kate is a single woman in her early thirties who has moved in with her grandfather in order to provide full-time care for him, including meal preparation and assistance with personal tasks.  Kate has always been close to her grandfather and she is glad to do this, but after one year she is beginning to feel as if her life will never return to its former routine, which included teaching (something...) and owning her own home.  Kate is ready for a change of some sort, but she isn’t sure what that change could be.  There are no other options for her grandfather except a nursing home, and Kate is not willing to move her grandfather yet.  Kate knows she enjoys working with children and dogs, reading and writing, but she is bored with her life and herself and needs to remember what makes life worthwhile.  Kate is an intelligent woman with a dry, sarcastic wit.  She prefers to be alone or in a small group of people she knows well.  When she is not working with her grandfather Kate…does stuff which I hope to flesh out as the story grows.

Kate’s appearance has dulled over the past year; the browns and grays she usually wears reflect her graying brown hair and pale, freckled skin.  She feels that she herself, her personality, has paled.  She stoops slightly, and traces of the old woman she will someday be have begun to push through to the surface.  She is sloughing off her former, vibrant self and she mourns its loss but does not know how to regain it.

13 items in my welcome basket from heaven

I saw this picture on another blog today and had to steal share it with you:

What would you like in your heaven welcome basket, assuming you get there, hee hee?  My dream basket would have:

 1.  Johnny Depp
 2.  chocolate
 3.  I'll take a bottle o' water-to-wine!
 4.  Johnny Depp
 5.  more seasons of Firefly!  Yes!
 6.  camera and space suit for space exploration - (would I need a space suit?)
 7.  underwater camera and diving gear for deep-sea exploration
 8.  a miracle for learning all world languages in a day
 9.  tickets for a tour of the worlds
10.  Johnny Depp
11.  puppies!
12.  all-access pass to visits with Henri Nouwen, Abraham Lincoln, Annie Dillard (I don't think she's dead yet but I have dibs on first in line), Spock, and many others.
13.  journal and pen

This picture and idea came from W.T.F. - a hilarious site!  (W.T.F. stands for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday you potty heads.)  Thank you, W.T.F!


And thank you, Thursday 13 for another fun meme!

Monday, August 29, 2011

best local newspaper headline of the day

County:  Dead aren't voting

Well, at least they can say they checked.

project 52 remix

It's past time for me to review and update my Project 52 goals for the year...

1. Finish what I start, including the A to Z Challenge and Project 52
2. Jump off a diving board for the first time (once there's water in the pool)  I'm going to have to change this one to:
2. Finish a short story I started for a creative writing class nearly 20 years ago (!)
3. Eat lunch regularly with my cousin - Ongoing - yeah!
4. Learn more about the blogging world and writing a good blog - Ongoing
5. Balance blogging with the rest of life (!) - Going well
6. Replace diet pop with water (no set amount - I'm not that dumb) - did great in May and June!  :}
7. Lose any number of pounds - this goal-setting is easy!  I have GOT to get serious about this!
8. Okay, okay - swim 3 times a week at least 4 times this year
9. Read a book with my eyes (I love books, but I've gotten hooked on audio books and haven't actually read one in a while.) - reading "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss, courtesy of my brother
10. Make a list - ta da!
11. See/hear my cousin Matt play in his band Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy - I've already done the "hear" part because they were on the radio the other night. Matt plays the banjo really fast. And he's self-taught. I'm still in awe.
12. Write a handwritten letter to R. and send it by snail mail - Done!
13. Cook for myself and my housemates (now Mom & Dad) at the same time at least once - that's all they'll let me do
14. Begin (again) a "regular" habit of doing yoga's Sun Salutation in the morning
15. Explore the new walking trails they're making in town
16. Spend "quality" (you can define that for yourself) time reading the blogs I've bookmarked to spend more time with later - Ongoing
17. Play hard with my niece and nephew every time they're in town - They live IN town now!  Woo hoo!
18. Get rid of more stuff - I've reduced my junk from enough for a two-bedroom house to enough for 1-2 rooms - I should reward myself with a shopping trip.
19. Finish making my Anglican prayer beads - and use them - Done, ongoing
20. Support a family for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas to the best of my ability
21. Learn something about gardening
22. Keep eating well and avoid fast food more - Ongoing in fits and starts
23. Improve natural sleep patterns - Hallelujah - done!
24. Learn to do the front crawl with my face in the water and swim 50 yards without stopping
25. Check my progress on these goals regularly - whoops
26. Be thankful always
27. Love others
28. Learn to count

Sunday, August 28, 2011

monday mayhem

Join Us for Monday Mayhem

It's time for Monday Mahem...

"Today we are focusing on crummy weather. Answer each question as you feel and don't forget...have fun!"

1. What city, in your opinion, has the crummiest weather?
Over the weekend, those in the path of Hurricane Irene.

2. What kind of weather is the crummiest weather that your current home experiences?
NON-STOP 100-SOMETHING-DEGREE DAYS ALL SUMMER!!!  Whew, I feel better now.

3. When the weather alerts and alarms go off, what do you do?
Our alerts usually come in the spring and warn of tornadoes.  I turn on the news, look outside, and go outside, if there's nothing too close by, to see what I can see.  If there is something close by, I gather flashlight, radio, and loved ones in the bathroom with me.

4. What is the crummiest weather event that you have personally ever experienced?
The 1971 earthquake in the San Fernando Valley area of CA.  I was only 2 years old at the time and I don't remember it, but I do remember a recurring dream I had afterwards of all the pots and pans in the kitchen flying in a circle in the room.

5. Where would you rather be stuck for a month- somewhere where there is 20 inches of snow and below freezing temps or somewhere where it is painfully hot and humid?
Snow!  I hate being hot and sweaty!

6. What kind of weather keeps you indoors?
My favorite - thunderstorms.

7. Tell us the name of one famous person and the kind of weather you would wish upon them.
Abraham Lincoln - I'm guessing he enjoyed rain as much as I do.

8. If you were the official ruler of all weather, what kind of weather would you make happen?
Definitely a variety, but I'd make fall last at least 6 months.

9. What kinds of weather do you dread?
One more minute of 100+ degree heat with humidity.

10. What's your weather like today?
See multiple whinings above.

Sunday Scribblings: Muse

With one simple question my friend at radical ramblings and thoughts of a southern girl has inspired me today.  "Isn't it all holy ground?" she asks.

Earth's crammed with heaven
and every common bush afire with God.
But only he who sees takes off his shoes.
The rest sit 'round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Yes, I remember, it is.  Or it can be, when I look for it, see it, participate in it.  I've been more focused on the tasks lately:  pluck the blackberries, fix the pudding, change the channel, fix the mashed potatoes and gravy, help Grandpa walk, fix the car, tutor, etc. etc.  I did remember once to see, when a grasshopper got stuck inside the window well and allowed me to observe him closely with awe as he crawed up the glass and back into the yard.  But I forgot to pay attention to Grandpa's smile, to my student's need for a variety of activities, to the rain (hallelujah!).  I've been so focused on my own little world that I haven't been able to see or be moved by the miracles of the worlds around me.  But here I will take off my shoes, be still, watch, and listen.  I hope to see God.  What do you see?  What is your muse?

See what others have to say at and share your own thoughts!

a little quirkiness

It's been a low-key couple of months as I adjust to my new living situation.  There haven't been a whole lot of funny moments to share.  There have been several good thinking moments.  I'm not sure they'd be interesting to anyone else, though, so I haven't written much.  But when you get bogged down in the editing process before you've even written, you're dead.  And I miss writing.  I hope you'll find some sort of hospitality and a kind of welcome, recognition, and love here.

Grandpa's made me laugh this week by:

Asking how much Dad was going to charge him for his regular haircut and "manicure", then when Dad said "$600," saying, "I'll have Kerri pay for it."  Later when I fake-scolded him about spending my money, he gave me a kiss on the cheek.  Oh sure, Grandpa, pull out the big guns.

Asking me to "fix" three items on a small nearby table so that they were all the same distance from the front edge of the table.  "I've got a ruler in the desk so you can measure them," Grandpa said helpfully.  I gave him a look.

Laughing and covering up his watch and moving his arms around when I'm trying to remove his watch and apply a medicine in lotion form to the inside of his forearms.  He cracks himself up.

Sunday Stealing meme

Judd Corizan at Sunday Stealing hosts a weekly event in which he "steals" memes from other websites (and credits them).  It's a fun and easy way to find a variety of things to write about and people to meet.  I'm doing this today because I have writer's block; I want to write about anything and hopefully get the words flowing again.  Is this kind of question-and-answer thing below intereting to you?  Be honest - I really want to know!

1. What's for breakfast?  Cinnamon roll and diet coke.  I know.

2. Do you read a newspaper daily?   Used to - now I read online.

3. What do you do when you can't sleep?  Drink milk - I was surprised by how much it helps.

4. Say a word that sums up your mood.  Rollercoastery!

5. Do you remember your dreams?  Usually - last night I dreamed of my favorite dog Chester, who died about a year ago.  The night before I dreamed I was pulled over by the cops - can't remember why.

6. Name something from your dream last night.  Can't remember - I just know I dreamed of him - you ever have that feeling, like someone is very close to you when you wake up and you know you dreamt of them but can't remember the dream?  I just remembered - I dreamed of my former students last night, too - I've been thinking of them lately with the kick-off of a new school year.

7. Name a food that describes you.   Chocolate - all ranges of sweetness, bitterness and nuttiness!

8. Today you are wearing:  Clothes.  Maybe tomorrow I'll try the drapes.

9. What's in your pockets?  Only lint.  :(

10. Did you sing in the shower today?  I haven't showered today!

11. What's the last song you heard?  Theme song/whistle from Andy Griffith - Grandpa's watching him now.  No, I don't know what episode and I'm not going to ask!

12. Looking forward to the holidays?   Always!  I've even started thinking of what to get people for Christmas.

13. Where do you want to be this instant?  Ooh...somewhere foreign, quiet, and peaceful.

14. What's for lunch?  Cereal.  Maybe.  I'll throw some fruit in it.

15. What's something you would like to do soon?  Pay off my student loans and credit cards and travel around the world.

16. Reading anything now? What is it?   Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - highly recommended by my brother.  So far so good!

17. What's for dinner?  Why are you so obsessed with my meal plans?!

18. A favorite part of the day is:   Waking up and greeting Grandpa

19. Are you happy?   Haven't been much lately, but it's getting better.

20. Guess how many people will do Sunday Stealing this weekend?  37-ish

Monday, August 22, 2011

best sight of the day:

an adolescent boy standing next to his bicycle and peering in the window of a motorcycle dealership, his hands and face pressed close to the glass, dreaming of someday

Friday, August 19, 2011

friday four fill-in

1.  My favorite piece of advice my mom ever gave me was "tell your father I said it was okay."

2.  I overcame my fear of spiders through sheer exposure, fear, and willpower.  Would have REALLY preferred the more common form of extermination: yelling for a man.

3.  Currently, Subway is my favorite fast food restaurant.  I'm on a meatball sub jag.

4.  The last time I was sick I had hypochondria.

Thanks, Beachie!

birthday bash and roommates

Grandpa turned 94 last week - woo-hoo!  He had a great day complete with a John Deere cake, lots of cards, and visits with family.  (That's my mom and dad to Grandpa's right).

Last month I moved in with Mom & Dad to care full-time for Grandpa, who also lives with them.  Grandpa and I share the finished basement which includes a full kitchen which I assume works, although I haven't actually turned the stove on yet.  It's a good set-up, though it requires quite a mental adjustment - more so than I expected.  Living with my parents, still grieving for my loss of my dogs and teaching job, and uncertainty re: how long this new stage in life will last have all caused me to feel as if I've dived into a deep lake.  I am enveloped, and my attention has focused down to the narrowest of points.  I am only now beginning to bob to the surface.

So I haven't had a lot of funny times with Grandpa to share, although I have noticed something interesting.  Now that I'm living here and not sitting next to Grandpa all day, he's had to come up with new ways to get or maintain my attention.  Grandpa is very reliant on a consistent schedule, and if I am late to change the channel or begin preparing meal, or even if he thinks I might be late, he will turn the TV up loud, clap, holler, bang things on his tray, etc.  I try to watch the clock because after a while that stuff just isn't cute anymore (!).  But it's interesting to observe our behavior and our attempts to modify each others'.  I think we deserve each other.

The other day I overheard Grandpa mumbling to himself.  Uh-oh, I thought, was he beginning to go senile?  I thought I'd better check.  "Grandpa?"
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah, why?"
"You were talking to yourself.  Or were you talking to me?"
"Oh - no.  I was repeating what the two Andy Griffith shows were this morning so I could remember them."
And we're back.

Friday, July 8, 2011

i'm cute! seriously!

Well it's about time; someone has finally recognized my cuteness.  Su at Cheekyness gave me the honor.  I love Su's witty sense of humor and her reflections on various topics.  Her post re: this award is hilarious and definitely worth your time.  Thank you, Su!

This award asks you to list (yeah!) five books, movies, or TV shows you've enjoyed in past 12 months and to pass the award on to other bloggers.  I can't even remember what I did last week, much less 12-ish months ago, but I'm pretty sure I've seen/read:

Harry Potter and one.  My brother and I have seen all of these movies together - I love this tradition of ours.  Would someone please make Ender's Game?  And don't screw it up!

I'm racking my brain...all my stuff's packed up and I'm coming up with nothing here.  Hang on...

Modern Family - the funniest, smartest show on television. Period.

So You Think You Can Dance - I came late to this party.  I thought it was yet another amateur night talent show with diamonds in the rough revealed 10 weeks or so into the season.  Dummy.  These dancers are good, as are the choreographers.  I love watching this show.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart.  Technically this is a children's novel.  I'm reading it to see if any of my students would enjoy it.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  This is the book with the line I quoted a couple of posts down about the girl wearing "her own personal fog bank."  (A very poufy dress, as seen by an eleven-year-old boy.)

ASVAB for Dummies by Rod Powers.  I don't know what "ASVAB" stands for.  I could look it up, but I'm too lazy.  It's the military entrance exam; I'm helping my cousin prepare for it.  Don't worry - he doesn't need my help with the spatial/mechanical part of the test.

I've chosen five blogs to pass this award to:

Letters from the Past - my friend Jennifer's grandmother passed away recently.  When Jennifer and her family cleaned out her grandmother's house, they discovered an old scrapbook hidden behind the dresser.  In the scrapbook were 365 letters that Jennifer's grandfather had written to her grandmother over the course of a year.  Jennifer will be posting these letters on this blog.  How can you resist?

Danielle at Yeah, I said it. has a witty, funny, insightful blog that I love to read.  When I discovered I found even her comments on mundane issues riveting (okay, interesting), I knew I was hooked!

Ada at Of Woods and Words writes of living in rural - real rural - Minnesota with compassion and insight.  I have to pace myself when reading her blog; otherwise I'd be packing up my stuff all over again and heading north.

It's OK to be WEIRD! - I liked this blog as soon as I read the title.  Raylene celebrates life and weirdness in a way that makes me glad to be weird, too.

Karen's Thotful Spot - Karen also writes with perception and love and always makes me think.  And she likes Pooh, too!

Thank you again, Su, for this award!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

funny moment of the day

I've moved in with Mom & Dad to help care more for Grandpa.  When I last left aunt & uncle's house, I had a handful of boxes and tubs packed and ready to go in my room.  When I returned few days later to continue packing and move a load of stuff, this sight greeted me as the garage door slowly went up:

Aunt & uncle had (truly helpfully) packed up the remainder of my stuff for me and moved it to the front of the garage.  I think I'll caption this picture, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out!"  (Now you see why I added "and bring me back" to the Scotland pic on the right...)

writers' words that make me smile

"Don't draw a smiley face on my sludge day." 
Mike Lupica, Million Dollar Throw

"I swear, Hannah. Put your brains in a jaybird and he'd fly backwards." 

"...aint no gun made can do what love can." 
Rebecca Wells

"If it was unpleasant to feel so different from the other children at Stonetown Orphanage, how much worse was it to be seen as an oddball by a green-haired girl wearing her own personal fog bank?"
Trenton Lee Stewart, The Mysterious Benedict Society

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

the divine miss m

So the other day my four-year-old niece, M, visited a new church with her family. M. is...not shy. :) She's a ray of sunshine, although sometimes you feel the heat more than you see the light. This past Sunday she was her bright and cheerful self, and when the pastor called the children in the congregation to the front of the sanctuary for a special lesson, M. cheerfully went up. A new church? Full of strangers? How fun! The lesson continued from the previous week and had to do with the parable of the man that built his house on sand and the man that built his house on a...

"Rock!" M. said, finishing the pastor's sentence.  When he asked how things turned out for the man on the sand, M. answered, "Not so good!"  The pastor laughed and said she should do the preaching.  At the end of the lesson, the pastor led the children in prayer.  When he finished, M. piped up,

"Well that was short!"

"They tell me that's how they like it," the pastor replied.  He gave the kids a ring pop and told them not to eat it now, but to wait and ask their parents if they could have it after lunch.

"Hey Mom!  Can I have this after lunch?!" M. called from the front.  She was assured she could, and M. cheerfully walked back to her seat and reclaimed her family.  They happily claimed her back.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

waterfowl in my life: july synchroblog

I was delighted to discover the existence of the Wild Goose Festival last month!  It also amuses and intrigues me to think of the Holy Spirit as a wild goose.  I'd never heard of that symbolism.  This month's Synchroblog asks participants to write about their experiences of the Festival or, if they did not attend, to share how the "wild goose" has made herself known in their lives.  I was unable to attend the Festival this year, but I really want to do so someday!  I do have some experience with the impact of ducks and swans on my life, however.  Swan symbolism has some Celtic roots as does that of the goose, so I'm expanding this month's topic to waterfowl for my purposes.  :)  I'm sensing the Goose doesn't mind...

A counselor once told me that I needed to "find my ducks."  "Huh?" I said.  She explained that participating in some sort of community with like-minded and like-spirited people would help with my depression.  "You know," she said, "like the ugly duckling story.  I guess I should say you need to find your swans."  Either way, her phrase stuck with me.  Just as the "duckling" in Hans Christian Andersen's tale discovers that he is not ugly, he just isn't a duck, I needed to figure out the ways in which the religious beliefs I'd grown up with were and were not true to the person I am.  And I needed to find my swans.

After that conversation I was more attuned to ducks and swans and enjoyed watching how they popped up in my life.

I enjoyed the silliness ducks sometimes seem to have, and that helped me enjoy my own silliness.  I watched ducks live in community, and I reflected on swans' fierce loyalty to each other.  On my one-day retreat last December, I learned more about the symbolism of swans and their representation of transformation, intuition, and dreams.  A few days after that retreat, while driving in town, I saw a swan sitting by the side of the road, in the grass between the curb and the sidewalk.  She was just sitting there serenely, as swans seem to do, all alone, as if swans always sat in urban areas with no water immediately nearby.  I took that as a totem, a symbol of the liminal space in which I've been living for several years.  A sign and a promise that transformation is taking place.  Perhaps a community is on the threshold.

And now I've been goosed.  Canadian geese live with the ducks in the river which flows through the center of our city.  When I watched the ducks I watched the geese as well and enjoyed how they also followed their leader everywhere, honk honk honking, waddling, gliding.  Geese live by the motto "Leave no goose behind."  When they migrate, if one goose becomes injured or ill, another stays with the first until he/she either heals or dies.  I love that.  What has the Wild Goose said to you lately?


More Synchroblog posts, including some from people who were at the festival:

  • Anna Snoeyenbos – Wild Goose Festival – A Spirit of Life Revival

  • Lee Smith - Goose Bumps: Opportunities Everywhere for Offense. A Fair and Objective Review

  • Ryan Hines – 30 Years Later – “Controversy” at Wild Goose

  • Karyn Wiseman – Flying With the Goose

  • Kyla Cofer – I went to the Wild Goose Fest and came back in love

  • Brian Gerald Murphy – Born Again (Again) at Wild Goose

  • Chris Lenshyn – Chasing the Wild Goose

  • Cherie at Renaissance Garden – Wild Goose Return

  • Deborah Wise – Wild Goose Chasing

  • Custodianseed – “every day they eat boiled goose”

  • Will Norman – Back from the Wild Goose Fest

  • Martin at Exiles in NY – Greenbelt and the Wild Goose

  • Kerri at Practicing Contemplative – Waterfowl in My Life

  • Allison Leigh Lilley – Chasing the Wild Goose and Catching the Wild Goose: Thanks and First Thoughts

  • Abbie Waters – Jessica: A Fable

  • Steve Knight – Why Wild Goose Festival Was So Magical

  • Tammy Carter – Visual Acuity and Flying

  • Michelle Thorburg Hammond – I heart Jay Bakker and Peter Rollins

  • Matthew Bolz-Weber – Remembering Wild Goose

  • Paul Fromberg – Celebrating Interdependence Day

  • David Zimmerman – Wild Goose Festival: A Recap

  • Dan Brennan – U2, the Wild Goose, and Deep Freedom

  • Mike Croghan – The Wild Goose is Not Safe

  • John Martinez – The Table

  • Callid Keefe-Perry – Gatekeeping the Goose

  • Eric Elnes – The Inaugural Wild Goose Festival: Recovering Something Lost

  • Shay Kearns – The Power of a T-Shirt, Apologizing to Over the Rhine, and Public vs. Private (Part One)

  • Glen Reteif – Duck Duck Goose

  • Peterson Toscano – I’ve Been Goosed, What I Carried Into Wild Goose, and What I Blurted Out at Wild Goose

  • Seth Donovan – About More than “The Gays”

  • Exiles in New York – Greenbelt and the Wild Goose

  • Tammy Carter – Visual Acuity and Flying

  • TSmith – What I’ll Take From Wild Goose

  • Dale Lature – Wild Goose Reflection

  • Steve Hayes – Wild Goose Chase?

  • Minnow – Grace Response

  • Christine Sine – Encounters With A Thin Space

  • Jeremy Myers – Giving Up the Wild Goose Chase

  • Robert – Thoughts On the Inaugural Wild Goose

  • Anna Woofenden – Slippery Slope Reflections

  • Wendy McCaig – Loosing The Goose

  • Joey Wahoo – Into The Wild

  • Rachel Swan – goosed

  • Patricia Burlison – I Called Life

  • Jason Hess – While At the Goose

  • The Bec Cranford – Wild Goose

  • Anthony Ehrhardt – Chasing The Wild Goose on Independence Day

  • Unfinished Symphony – #5 – The Last Post … for a while
  • Friday, July 1, 2011

    a river of stones

    This month beholders around the world will participate in the River of Stones challenge to write a "small stone" every day in July. On their blog the hosts for the River of Stones use this quote to describe small stones:

    "I have my students keep a journal in which they must write, very briefly, six things they have seen each day—not beautiful or remarkable things, just things....

    "Their journals fill up with lovely things like, 'the mirror with nothing reflected in it.' This way of seeing is important, even vital to the poet, since it is crucial that a poet see when she or he is not looking—just as she must write when she is not writing. To write just because the poet wants to write is natural, but to learn to see is a blessing."

    ~From The Art of Finding by Linda Gregg

    Learning to see in this way is indeed a tremendous blessing. I often feel like a child again, delighted by all the discoveries the world has to offer. It has been a life-saving practice in my times of deepest depression and a cheerful walk with God in my brighter days.  You don't have to be a traditional poet to enjoy this practice; you just have to be aware.  I will post my small stones at the top of the left sidebar. I hope you will join us - online, on paper, in song, in dance - in this practice to see, record, give thanks for, and be in the presence of the Holy here on earth, in the evidence that God, or whatever you call her, is staring us in the face all the time, if we will only look.

    "Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are hidden in the most unlikely places." Roald Dahl

    Wednesday, June 29, 2011

    thursday two questions

    1) What would you most probably be wearing if I caught you in the malls?
    A frown.  I am not a happy mall shopper.

    2) What type of clothing do you mostly wear: jeans, dress, sweats, dress pants, etc?  I am so with you on this one, Self Sagacity!  Comfort is key.  In fact, I've been known to take that a little too far at times (see the post just before this one where I forgot I wasn't wearing my bra).  Oh - the answer is sweats!

    Oh, duh - I'm supposed to ask my own two questions - it helps to read things thoroughly sometimes...

    1.  I just saw X Men: First Class today.  Yes, I know that's a statement.  The question is, did you know this fact about James McAvoy (Professor X)?  "While filming The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), Georgie Henley never saw McAvoy in his Mr. Tumnus costume before filming their scenes together.  Henley's scared reaction upon seeing McAvoy is genuine surprise."  It's a fact because I read it on the internet here.

    2.  Could we please have more Michael Fassbender (Magneto) on screen soon?  Pretty please??

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    stream of consciousness while looking at potential places to rent

    Yikes.  I don't know about this one.  Well, what do you expect in your price range?  At least this is in a separate building, not part of someone's house...Hello, are you the landlord?  Oh, he's over there?  I wonder if that's him walking to his car - which looks pretty nice, by the way...yep, that's him...oh how nice, he'll show me the place now, he's going to get the hair's all greasy under this bandanna, hopefully he won't notice or care...oh good lord, Kerri, you're not even wearing a bra!...oh, this unit is actually nice inside, definitely a possibility...thank you for the unexpected showing (and you're welcome, ha ha) to this apt. nearby - hey, I found it, a miracle...peace back at ya', dude...those places look pretty nice...and peace dude and this lady with the baby stroller make it look like a nice neighborhood, but is it quiet?... I want to be as far away from multi-unit apartment living as possible, too; I'll have to think about it...where's this other place?...I see 1202 but where's 1203?!  It goes from 1202 to 1218 and they're shops, not residences!  I'll turn around here and check...yep, no 1203, where is- oh, duh, it's on the other side of the street - oh, whoops, sorry about that, guy behind me, no parking here, huh?  I'll just turn around...oh look, this place has handy shopping carts sitting on the grass out front...maybe I'll skip this place...yep, that overgrown alley confirms it, not looking further here...too bad, it's so close to my favorite bookstore....oh my word, I'm also wearing capri sweats with bleach spots and a hole in them, and below the hems I obviously need to shave!  If that 1st guy still rents to me is that a good thing?...heading back home...yes, I'm going the right way because this street heads east one-way...and I wanted to go, dang it, I live WEST of here!  Grr...

    Monday, June 27, 2011

    lunch with grandpa 6/27/11

    Lunchtime used to be noon (that's why Grandpa called it "the noon meal"), then he decided that it should be four hours after he had breakfast, then it somehow became four hours after he got out of bed, which usually makes it 11:00 a.m.  Now, at 10:45 or thereabouts, Grandpa calls out, "I'm getting faint!" which means "feed me, quick!"  Today:

    Grandpa:  "I'm getting faint!"
    me:  typing on the computer, "Okay," didn't move
    Grandpa:  "Ohhhhhh..."  (fake faint)
    me:  no time to respond, because less than a second later,
    Grandpa:  "OHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!"  (louder fake faint accompanied by drooping head and arms)

    Sometimes the man has the patience of a saint, and sometimes he has the patience of a toddler.

    After lunch, Grandpa banged his empty soup cup on the tray.  I rolled my eyes, beleaguered soul that I am, and asked him what kind of pudding he wanted for dessert.  "Lemon."  As I fixed his pudding I thought about writing this post.  When I handed him his pudding, I realized I'd given him chocolate instead of lemon.  He accepted the mistake graciously.  That'll teach him.