Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ideal Weekend Away

I'm not sure I can even write this post without crying. I want this weekend away SO BADLY...and I'm not too hard to please. It's just that timing is hard to work out...

I'm also betting that those of you who know me can guess what I'm about to write...

Go ahead. Guess.



My very most ideal weekend is camping near Lake Superior. No rain...or possibly only rain at night. Because who doesn't love the patter of rain on the tent at night? Sooooo, maybe one beautiful night when we can leave the rain fly off and look at the stars. And another night with the lullaby of rain.

We'd make pie iron biscuits for breakfast to go with our iced coffee in mason jars.

There would be no mosquitoes.

We'd take long walks in beautiful places. And maybe we'd bring our bikes along and go biking, too.

We'd sit on a pebble beach listening to the waves crash on a windy afternoon (that's the night the rain will come). We'd face the wind with our arms outstretched and let our souls fly free for a while.

We'd read stories and play games and make smores around the campfire at night.

There would be drawing and guitar playing and crocheting.

We'd watch for birds and identify trees and clouds.

We'd talk about life and God and people. And listen to good music in the car. ...and stop at a cute small town coffee shop on the way home, just to make the trip last a little longer.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Their Names Matter

From A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle:
“Progo,' Meg asked. 'You memorized the names of all the stars - how many are there?'

How many? Great heavens, earthling. I haven't the faintest idea.'

But you said your last assignment was to memorize the names of all of them.'

I did. All the stars in all the galaxies. And that's a great many.'

But how many?'

What difference does it make? I know their names. I don't know how many there are. It's their names that matter.”
A litany of names.

Micheal Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The four I will think of during the Stomp Out Suicide Walk on Saturday:
Les.
Peter.
Calen.

Robin Williams.

Those that we have lost to cancer...
My mom
Buzz

Those who are fighting cancer...
Sandy
Sandra's friend
Kathy's brother in law

And those lost to accidents...
Gabe
Uncle Sunny

Racism.
Suicide.
Cancer.
Accidents.

This is not an exhaustive list...just the names that have been close to me this week.

I read today that one thing we can do to fight racism in response to events like the shooting of Michael Brown is to stop telling the "Good Kid Narrative" about how his death is sad because he was such a good kid who was about to start college, who was well-loved and liked by his community. Those things are true. But, "The Good Kid narrative says that this kid didn’t deserve to die because his goodness was the exception to the rule. This is wrong. This kid didn’t deserve to die because he was a human being and black lives matter." (12 Things White People Can Do Now Because Ferguson)

...And I thought of the words of Progo. "What difference does it make? I know their names. I don't know how many there are. It's their names that matter."

On Saturday when I walk the SOS walk, I'm sure I'll be overwhelmed by the numbers. By the sheer volume of people who have experiences the tragedy of suicide and/or depression. We human beings are impressed by numbers.

But you know what? The numbers are not the part that matters. It's the names that each of those numbers represent. Whether there are four or one hundred or one thousand. It's all the same. "What difference does it make? ...It's their names that matter."

Friday, August 15, 2014

Savoring


"Savoring is the capacity to notice and appreciate the little joys, the small pleasures, and the enjoyable moments in our everyday lives.
Walk around your home and savor what you love. It could be a painting someone gave you, a lamp you found at a flea market, or the smell of something cooking in your oven. Then write about it..."
I'm hanging out in my kitchen today making pumpkin pie for a benefit bake sale. I love the smell of pumpkin pie, and this is one of the few gluten free desserts I've perfected. AND, I can do it sugar free, which means that both Mane and Mango are happy!

Pumpkin pies make me think of autumn, too, and autumn has always been my favorite season - full of the color of changing leaves, visiting the apple orchard, hot cider, ginger snaps, pulling out the sweaters and wool socks. There's definitely something about it that reminds me that I'm German - loving the Scandinavian sweaters and quiet, dark evenings with candles.


And then, right here in my kitchen, there's the ceramic sun flower face that Vespera brought me from Mexico. It just makes me smile with all it's cheery smile-y-ness and long eyelashes. I love it that Vespera was thoughtful enough to bring us all gifts from her home country and that she thought of just what might fit where in our house. She knew this little smiling face would fit right where it hangs in the kitchen.


I love, love, LOVE this little country church painting that also hangs on our kitchen wall, under the lights that Mane picked out for our kitchen (with the help of Grandpa-Upstairs):


Mango always tells me of how this reminds him of a church he visited in Russia and what a powerful emotional and spiritual experience that was for him. To share in a spiritual experience with people you cannot even speak with because you do not share a common language is an amazing thing. To recognize in them something that you have in yourself is an experience that changes a person. 

I love my yellow kitchen walls, though I would never in a million years have painted a kitchen (or any room) yellow. It's so warm and cozy. When I'm in here in the morning with my cup of coffee and some candles, my wool socks and the radio, I'm so settled and happy. 


Monday, August 04, 2014

Who was kind to you this week?

I've had so many kindnesses bestowed upon me. So many. It's hard to choose.

My good friend kindly went with the spontaneous suggestion to go see the dandelion fountain...and then delivered my child back home for me so that I could get to work!

Mango cooked and cleaned while I was sick. And watched a marathon of Harry Potter movies with Mane & I over the weekend while we were recovering.

Vespera came to visit. And talked about theology with me!

A coworker put up photos of all our families at the front desk to help us all make it through the crazy, busy weeks of summer.

Another coworker offered to pick up lunch for me while she was out.

So many clients expressed gratitude this week!

The clerk at the store actually had a conversation with me, rather than just a "Hello, How are you? Did you find everything you were looking for? Do you want to sign up for a credit card? Have a nice day!"

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This blog prompt brings me back to 1000 Gifts. I think of how much joy small gifts of kindness can be, and how much kindness is like an offering of grace. Kindness is a gift in a world where we are often too busy to take time. Kindness slows the world down a little bit.