Thursday, July 24, 2014

I wish I could [fill in the blank with at least 5 things]...

I wish I could...

Camp ALL summer! Yep, I sure do. Mostly I think I just want to live in the moment, and I do that more when I'm camping than any other time. The distractions are fewer. The day to day little bits of work that you have to do for cooking and cleaning and taking care of everyone is earthy and grounded.

Read Everything! Every time I go to the library or walk through a book store, I am struck with the impulse to read and learn everything. The library, especially, is like a giant candy store, and I can never get over the fact that I can actually take things home with me. All too often I check out way more than I can actually read.

Make another denim quilt. I say "wish" because I don't think I ever will. I don't actually believe I'll have the patience ever again. But, I sure do love the one I made. And one of the first projects Vespera ever helped me with was tying the corners.

Build Furniture... Again, this is a wish because I just don't know that I'll ever get around to actually doing it. I want more bookcases and little tables and custom pieces that fit in all the right nooks and crannies...

Lead retreats. Yep, I think I'll actually end up doing this one someday. I used to be drawn to the idea of leading marriage retreats. ...Then retreat-style childbirth classes. ...Occasionally I've thought about creative retreats, ladies weekend retreats, grief retreats, and spiritual retreats. I think people need retreats for differing reasons at various times in their lives, especially transitional times, and I'd like to be part of making that happen someday.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Music Monday - Can You Canoe?

Our newest fun folk music find? The Okee Dokee Brothers!! I just love this song!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rules of Friendship

This week's blog post prompt: Rules of Friendship...

I am sooooo not a rule follwer...or,, I am not panicking that is is Thursday and I have not completed the blog post yet. Right. Not a rule follower.

But, in all honesty, I think it's in the nature of rules that there will always be exceptions. Humans are human. We don't always fit into nice neat little boxes with a right and a wrong way to do things. That said, I think the questions behind the question is not so much, "What are the rules of friendship," but "What is friendship? What makes a friend a friend?" or maybe, "How does/should a friend behave?"

I'm arguing semantics now in avoidance of the actual blog post..., ok...

-> You don't clean your house before a friend comes over. I mean, a real actual true friend...not an acquaintance or a coworker, but an actual friend. A kindred spirit. A real friend doesn't care what your house looks like, and you're supposed to be able to just be yourself around them. No masks. No pretending.

-> Friends have integrity. I always say I married Mango for his integrity. He is who he says he is. He does what he says he's going to do. He is honest about who he is and what he thinks. I think that true friends need this kind of honesty and reliability.

-> Friends make sacrifices for each other...they sacrifice time, energy, and resources without keeping accounts.  I don't mean that anyone should give and give and give and never get anything in return.  I mean more that good friends know that the giving goes both ways. So, they don't keep score. They know that when the time comes, the shoe will be on the other foot.
In the words of Solomon, "Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

-> I think that true, honest, good friends assume the best about each other. They offer each other grace, rather than immediately assuming negative intent or taking offense. In the words of Anne of Green Gables, "If we have friends we should look only for the best in them, and give them the best that is in us, don't you think?"
“If we have friends we should look only for the best in them and give them the best that is in us, don’t you think?” - See more at:

-> Good friends can look to each other for honest opinions and sound advice, knowing that these things spring from a place of love and respect. "The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense." (Proverbs 27:9)

-> Friends accept each other's quirks and even learn to love them.

I could have written this post about different types of friendship - coworkers, acquaintances, neighbors, etc... but I decided to write about what I think the deeper kind of friend looks like - the "kindred spirit," "the bosom friend." Of course, there are all kinds of friends in the world, different types of friendships that serve different purposes. I'm speaking of the gems of friendships, the rare jewels that endure and grow more lovely with time.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

What gives me peace when I'm sad/mad...

This week's question: What gives me peace when I'm sad or mad?

This is so, so hard for me. Peace. I've written a lot about peace. Perhaps, one of the reasons I'm drawn to the celebration of Advent every year is because peace is one of the four candles. Perhaps, the reason I sign many emails with "Peace!" is because I hope for it so much, and I think we all find it so elusive. Advent helps me go back to the basics.

"What is peace?" We ask each other every Advent.

Every year the answer is the same. Peace is hard to describe. It isn't really knowing that everything will be ok. Because we don't know if everything will be ok. And it isn't really quiet, though we speak of "peace and quiet." Because we can have peace while listening to some really loud music. We can have peace in the midst of lots of laughing people. We can have the middle of a storm. In the middle of the sadness. And the madness.

So what is it? From a 2006 blog post - Peace: The Second Candle of Advent:
Me: Now, what is the second candle for?
Mane [age 4]: Peace.
Me: What is peace?
Mane: Calm. I don't know.
Me: Yes, peace is calm on the inside. It is not fighting. It is feeling content inside.
So...yeah...back to the question. How do I get that in the midst of being sad or mad?

One thing that occurs to me is that peace comes with surrender. In the words of Sara Groves:
Remember surrender
Remember the rest
Remember that weight lifting off of your chest
And realizing that it's not up to you and it never was

Remember surrender
Remember relief
Remember how tears rolled down both of your cheeks
As the warmth of a heavenly father came closing in

I want to do that again
Why can't I live there
And make my home
In sweet surrender
I want to do so much more than remember

Remember surrender
Remember peace
Remember how soundly you fell fast asleep
In the face of your troubles your future still shone like the morning sun

Remember surrender
Remember that sound
Of all of those voices inside dying down
But one who speaks clearly of helping and healing you deep within

I want to do that again
Why can't I live there
And make my home
In sweet surrender
I want to do so much more than remember
Oh surrender

Surrender. Rest. Surrender. Relief. Surrender. Peace.

In letting go, I find peace. In remembering that "it's not up to you and it never was." In releasing control, there is a certain peace.

When I was in college I used to get so angry when then final answer on a topic of philosophy or theology was, "It's a mystery. This is something we can never really understand." I am on a constant quest for answers. I used to think the "mystery" answer was a cop out. But, now, (and maybe this is a sign that I've grown some since then), I find a certain comfort in that answer. When I've worn the questions ragged and beaten my fists against the patient doors of heaven, to fall to my knees and be wrapped in mystery, to sag my tired weight into the vastness of the things I don't know and just admit, "I don't know," is a relief and a comfort.

I don't know.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

I feel happiest when...

I feel happiest when the whole family is playing guitars in the living room...with sheet music all over the footstools and everybody singing and strumming.

Or when I'm camping and there's a fire and pie iron biscuits and coffee in a mason jar.

Or when my house is full of people and I don't have to do anything to make them happy. They're just there and we're living life together, and I don't have to host.

...when the candles are lit for Shabbat and we put all the work away.

...when Mango & I listen to podcasts and talk while making breakfast together.

I am happiest in the middle of a great conversation.

Planning a camping trip.

Picking apples.

Lying under the ceiling fan on a warm summer night.


Weekly blogging!

So, a couple of friends and I decided we'll be doing some regularly weekly blogging! We plan to all blog on the same topic/prompt each week and post in our own blogs. We're taking turns deciding the writing prompt for the week. Blog post deadlines will be Thursdays!

Links to their blogs:

Driving With the Windows Wide Open
Candle Lake

This week's prompt (due tomorrow): "I feel happiest when..."

Monday, June 09, 2014

Music Monday - Waka Waka

In honor of the the 2014 FIFA Soccer World Cup...a throwback from the 2010 World Cup: