Friday, January 30, 2009

the 55401 Edifice

I had to stop at the main post office in downtown Mpls tonight. It's been a while. But I needed to mail a book, for the altered book round-robin (which I shoulda done two weeks ago.)

At first, I wasn't sure if they had the automatic postage machines there or how late the windows might be open. I called Mpls 311 and was told in no uncertain terms that this was a Federal facility and therefore not Mpls' problem. SO...I called 411. I'm on the bus on my way downtown. By the time I'm picking my way up the ladder at the fed's 800 number I notice the bus is crossing the river, is actually in sight of the post office itself, and I might just as well button my coat and jump out to see for myself if postal workers hang out at the edifice past 5pm.

I wish I'd had the nerve to take a picture -- I had my cell cam -- but fear of the FED kept me from trying it. (I don't know, maybe they have some sort of Homeland Security hangup, and who wants to end up at Gitmo?) But you have to see it, if you've never been. The main downtown post office was built on the very banks of the Mississippi in 1929. When the granite structure was erected it had in fact the world's longest continuous light fixture, a bronze chandelier about a block long. No kidding. The main building is loooonnnng, all marble and bronze on the inside. Big brassy kiosks with white marble counters for carefully addressing your penny postcards in illegible italic hand. Brass fittings around all the doorframes, roll-up windows and notice boards. Stand on one end of the echoing vault and the street doors at the other end are literally lost in shadow a city block away. It's architecture on a scale we scarcely see in the midwest -- and that much more vast when it was originally unveiled, since let's face it, people were smaller then.

By the way, you may see and be served by real humans there until 8pm. Ah, civility.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Holy Crap; or, the school of dreams

Finally, one of those moments I crave, which turns out to have come in a short string of such moments: a moment when a prayed question is answered, in resoundingly unambiguous terms.

It's not that the question was one of the Biggies (why evil, why suffering) -- but in my personal world, it's a question that took up half a Sunday last weekend: How can I talk about my personal experience of faith in public, when it really spans only a handful of years, and consists almost entirely of subjective revelation? (Versus the years of book- and Book- larnin' most of friends possess.) Or in other words, who's ever going to believe that God has spoken to me in a dream?

Believe me, I've told a handful of people; but the responses haven't generally been encouraging. Only one person has really reacted in a way that indicates acceptance and interest, and everyone else pretty much clams up then and there.

Sunday morning Bible study is what made this question into a "crisis." And because my family simply couldn't tolerate seeing me disappear into the sewing room to blog or email for hours about the Question, I instead spent the afternoon in the livingroom window, seated with a notebook and pen, trying to work it out. The writing took the form of a letter, to another friend, a letter I knew I might or might not post. It's four pages long (lighweight really) and is still sitting in an envelope in my purse, where I've kept it all week.

Last Sunday I sat between two very different people at Bible study. One I would describe as an intellectual, a smart contender in the world of ideas, someone living a more-or-less middle class existence similar to my own. I'm fairly intimidated by this friend's ability to embrace and parse questions of metaphysical import; and, he was raised in the faith. My neighbor to the right was another friend whom I don't know well, a woman I like and respect but haven't found much connection with. She is from the South, is African American (I'm white), is married to a white man with whom I'm often at odds, works in childcare; and over time I've made assumptions about her level of educational attainment that I should not have. All that said, in my heart I'm fond of them both, and both are far better at opening their mouths during Bible study than I am. They are comfortable with their faith and their opinions. Unlike me.

My four-page letter was a fairly self-defeating rant about how there just doesn't seem to be anyone like me where I go to church; or if there is, I'll never know, because I'm too afraid to talk about my experiences. I don't have the answers, haven't been confirmed, haven't read enough Bible, haven't participated enough in casual religious conversations. I don't know how to talk to people who have "earned" a standard set of beliefs, who know what we're supposed to say when cross-examined by the pastor after reading the day's Gospel. All I have is the belief that God talks to me, rather often in fact; and the assumption that if I start putting this belief into words I will surely humiliate myself. Plus, the whole format of the Bible study gripes me anyway, since we're going from a sort of curriculum that seems intended to test the book-learning of the average 14 year old evangelical. What am I supposed to do? I feel like I'm back in high school math class, in one of those dreams I have where I'm 40 and have been forced to sit classes with teenagers in order to finally pass Algebra.

This week, BOTH of those Bible study partners I mentioned wrote short pieces for public consumption, in which they described dreams -- Dreams that featured direct communication from God. Writing unambiguous, humble, moving. Here, and also below:

"After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near, Repent and believe the good news!”
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said”And I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

Mark 1:14-20.

The call of Simon and Andrew “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” When I first came to Minnesota, if anyone had said come with me and I will make you fish for people, I would’ve looked at them funny. All my life I was lead to church not asked if I wanted to be there or not. My life back them was by my mother’s choice, so when I came up here to Minnesota I was the one who was making the choices. I had a different spin on my faith and religion at the time. I would have felt a little irritated if I had been asked, “Do you believe in god and if you died today would you go to heaven?.”

At the time I knew of God, but I was running away from God because I felt pressured by my mother’s religious beliefs. When I came to Minnesota, things were different and I started to dream more about Him in a good way - but I still blocked God out of my life. One time I had a dream that God was calling me to come to Him. I was quite disturbed and woke up crying. I decided that turning away from God wasn’t the answer. I needed to listen to Him.
When I am at home or driving, I feel such peace when I am listening to KTIS. The music is so calming and it makes me feel connected to God. That is my personal worship time each day. I feel like I have come a long way in my relationship with God. So now I will be like Andrew and Simon and fish for people.

God Bless,
Linda Scoggins"

SO THERE. Dummy.

This is part of a week of revelations big and also small, as I mentioned. Without going further right now, I finally realized earlier this week that in fact I am NOT equal to my faith. I'm not up to it, can't do anything other than admire it and pursue it, as it were, faithfully. I can't BE as good as my faith would urge me to be, which is in no way an excuse to abandon the effort. God knows my limitations and faults and vices exceedingly well, loves me anyway.

The other related "a-ha" moment was simply that, as regards my position and relationships at the church, I am fucked either way. By this I mean that no matter what happens, my love for it and them is already out there and if I wind up heartbroken it's not my damned fault. Moreover, if it doesn't disappoint me I'll remain overcommited and unwisely fond of it and them, which will surely continue to wring me out from time to time. Hopelessly trapped; yet, perhaps, somewhat blissfully.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

whining and complaining

SO, I put my foot down here and there today -- I did it with a smile, but I did it, and got a small amount of cooperation as my reward. Which helps. It's going to be at least another week before the immediate stressors are past, and after that I'm taking a week off, just as soon as I can get away.
I'm not such an entitled person that I consistently feel undervalued. Sometimes I know my moods are a bid for some recognition and reassurance, and not much more. On the other hand, I can put up with bad behavior and demands from others for quite a while, before I snap. Being good natured most of the time doesn't guarantee understanding from others when you finally start acting like the "bossy boiler" as my son would say, but it keeps people from using you as a doormat. Which the best people will still do, if you make them think it's ok.

Enough for now.
Having one of those mornings when I think I'm in the wrong line of work. There's a whole lot the church could be, that it is already to some extent, and certainly there are a good number of smart, motivated members in leadership positions. But right now I just don't see anyone stepping up to really move things forward, and if in the end the question of whether we can truly fulfill our mission as recently defined depends on one person, I'm discouraged. Right now, I see one person really working to envision a great church in a great community, and if that doesn't change that one person will undoubtedly become discouraged and leave. If that happens, I don't want to hang around -- at a mediocre church that works only towards self-preservation, without the capacity to consider risk or embrace a larger vision. And I can't do my job well knowing my future engagement depends on the willingness of others to step up. It's too stressful.

There's so much I do that hardly anyone bothers to understand, in my job, until just recently when the concern becomes money. No one asks, no one seems to care. Until just recently, and suddenly it's urgent. Some of them act like information has been kept from them about our finances and our Outreach programs, the building issues, etc -- when the truth is, all of the information has been published far and wide, repeatedly, and no one has been listening. No one listens, because while a large number of people signed on for one kind of church that would require their active participation, most of them want the church to be great without they themselves having to show up for events, or lift a finger.

I've asked repeatedly for the privilege of being able to get up at our annual meeting and speak about the programs in my care, and no one listens. I'm getting angry.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

Truly, today's inauguration was incredibly moving. And between last night's MLK event at church, and the ceremonies this morning, and a surfeit of emotion these days in general, I find myself just exhausted at this moment.

Alone now at work it's tempting to feel a little let-down, though there's no real need to process this further in the company of others. I didn't have to watch Obama's swearing-in alone, the potential prospect of which had me in a funk early this morning. That having been averted, I'm brimful now with my buzz, from the "hope and virtue" of which Obama spoke, the pathos and humor of Joseph Lowry's benediction, the eloquence of Elizabeth (?) the poet's sweeping picture of America moving forward together in love for one another and for country.

And too, yesterday, I heard many speeches - my friend Dean's moving acceptance speech as he received a teaching honor at Augsburg College, wherein he in turn honored the memory of Dr. King in whose spirit the award was given. And excerpts from two of King's speeches and writings; and the voices of other friends as they paid tribute to King. And Obama himself, again, as I watched video footage of his nomination speech in Denver. So many words pouring in (of such quality) makes it difficult to tolerate the clanging weight of one's own thoughts, one's own weak phrasing, even as I feel called to somehow take up the work again towards which we as a country are exhorted.

And yet life does go on -- no sooner was the Inaugural benediction finished than the doorbell rang at church with our next food shelf client. It's not that these things are unrelated -- certainly, they are not, and the opposite in fact. We serve those in need here. We are called to serve.

But in the silence that follows all this, there's love too -- there is, though the poet named it and certainly the word is worn from use and misuse -- there's love, there's something more waiting inside to be said, and it's probably nothing more than the afterglow of a great speech and the desire to share it with someone. So, here I am.

The church is quiet, quiet -- the phone hardly rings, and down the hall a smoke detector with a weakening battery chirps insistantly, but quietly. I find myself returning again to the the question of what the church will become now; what is our future, where will leadership take us (or leave us), and why have I knowingly let these questions become all-consuming. I have lots of weaknesses, and while some of them occasionally look like strengths as well, only God knows what I'm doing here. I have too much love for this place. I'm cared for too well. I haven't given up my greed for it, and so I'm constantly concerned about losing it. And who is this that watches the Inauguration in a youth room with two pastors, staring at the old Tv set and weeping occasionally, to see a black man take the oath of office? Who is this that sits in the half-darkness of the church office and ponders the financial work that awaits her today, blogging instead of working, occasionally receiving phone calls and visitors? Who is this that prays and confesses, and walks around with a tidy sum of guilt to balance out the inspirations of the faith? Who is this person, unequal to her faith?

And where do I belong, in a country that has arguably stepped out of the bonds of the old history and into the uncertain narrative of a genuinely fraught but compelling future?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

sneak peak of the sort of thing I post on True Companion

Sunday Afternoon

Sunday afternoon, a moderate pause between one week and the next. The house is filling with the scent of roasting chicken and garlic and vegetables. The boys are working with Tinker Toys, making paper boats and watching "Chicken Run" (ironically enough) while my husband waits for football to start. I'm taking a break from the demanding chaos that is Fellowship Time at church, augmented today by a short meeting held to solidify last-minute details of the MLK service tomorrow night. (Held in the back nursery, where someone thought it would be quieter -- which is of course the territory of small children, who see absolutely no reason to stay away on account of a few ridiculous adults.)

I haven't written in a while, and faced with the recent realization that a few people have actually gone to the trouble of following this blog, I can only wonder Why. My thoughts are neither wholly confessional nor reliably insightful. I write because I can, because I want to, and not always because I have something to say. Obviously.

Today's Bible study was on my nerves, for reasons difficult to enunciate and probably even more difficult to justify. I usually know where my pastor is headed with the Gospel of the day, know his thinking well enough that sometimes it seems inevitable that I should promote his direction during the Gospel study. Not his fault. Likewise, we're using a study worksheet that leads us very deliberately into what I feel are rote answers to basic questions. There are only a handful of us in the group on any Sunday, so it's difficult for me to gather my thoughts -- generally, there is either an excess of silence, or else one person's thinking dominates the discussion. I'm not confident, I don't synthesize my opinions quickly enough to step into the discussion in counterpoint with life-long believers. I find myself feeling pretty frustrated.

I mentioned a little of my feeling, talking about the thinness of the narrative in John 1:43-51 and the position we're left in, of speculating as to context, choosing whether to take the academic route, choosing whether to analyze or to respond personally. In my lack of confidence, I feel there are answers everyone knows but me. The personal risk of stating an opinion in faith is still a lot for me to handle, God knows why.

So, I'll look at the text some more, and try to come to grips with it.

Meanwhile, it's the Cardinals against the Eagles in the NFL. How utterly picturesque.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Obama Preps for Gitmo Closure

The real question is what they'll do with the couple hundred detainees who haven't been charged. Apparently no one wants them on US soil. That's interesting, and I don't quite understand all of the ramifications; though for sure it would be lots harder to transfer them from the US proper to a prison in Egypt, say. For "questioning." The freshness dates on many of those prisoners must have expired by now. Is it really worth depriving them of their basic human rates, just in case they know somebody who knows somebody who blew themselves up in India or Iraq? Phooey. W and his pals have left lots of stains on the rug, Obama might as well start scrubbing at one of the larger offenses as soon as he can.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

oscar grant

Shot for being a young man in the wrong place at the wrong time. Shot by another young man in a uniform, who may or may not have known what he was doing. Dead and gone, leaving a child behind in a world where sanity and security are increasingly difficult to come by. Riots follow, and while most rioting is opportunistic mayhem, protest is a sane response to the killing of an unarmed, immobilized youth. In the end though, the blame can never be fully allocated. The price of a life can never be repaid. Cultures have met at the border between the two societies, and one is a culture of pride and violence and competition; and so is the other, but only one side has the guns in this case. Cowboys and Indians.

winter tightens her grasp on us all

The temperature is dropping outside; my feet are cold, though this room is the warmest one in the house. I'm wearing one-piece striped pyjamas that look like an old man's long underwear (without the escape hatch in the back, however), and wish they were the feet-in-the-feet kind as well, for added warmth. I suppose I'll sleep in my socks again tonight. I'm already tired of not being able to open the windows at night, of the layer of dust constantly present due to forced air heating (in spite of my efforts to keep up, and I'm all out of Swiffers); tired of putting more clothing on at night, instead of taking it off, and tired of restricting my calorie intake to compensate for the greatly-reduced amount of exercise I'm getting the past two months. Tired of dry skin, dry hair, dry eyes. Tired of salt stains on my shoes.

Good thing there's always something to keep me busy on the weekends. I've just posted some updates over at True Companion, and in spite of the crappy turnout at our closing reception for Raveling Mercies I can feel good about that project and the work I completed for it. I received the most People's Choice votes for my piece, but since it's a show I curated myself I certainly cannot give myself the award; so I traded places with the second place winner, and it's a privilege to have shown with her in any case. She only had one less vote. I hope she takes her husband out for a nice dinner on the modest award check. Over the past few weeks I've heard some helpful comments about my work, and that's the best reason to show.

For instance: Though the theme was dark (starvation in Somalia), another artist admired my "playfulness" of technique, and the way I integrated text into the piece. Someone compared the fabric piece to a watercolor, in the way the colors and shapes flow together rather than being pieced with regular precision. Someone else said it brought a tear to her eye. I wasn't able to get much technical advice but I wasn't expecting anyone to judge the work harshly in that light either. I can feel good about the piece. (It's called "Keep Looking" and you can see it over at True Companion if you're interested -- just follow the link in the sidebar.)

Oh, but I'm tired now. Had a headache today, have to be up for church in the morning and shouldn't push it. Just washed my face and now it and my hands need lotion...sleep tight, all you dreamers.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

you're momma don't dance and your daddy don't rock-n-roll

I just got off the phone with my brother, a single parent (with live-in girlfriend) who has a seven year old daughter. He's feeling frustrated lately, feeling like the bad dad, because he can only handle about 30 minutes of sitting on the floor with his daughter before he gets bored. I had to laugh a little at that -- I'm lousy at sitting on the floor. But I'm lucky to have a spouse with a slightly higher-than-average tolerance for it. We talked about finding a low-cost evening activity for his daughter a couple of times per week, to get her through the long winter. Even with school taking up so much of a child's day, being the only child can be challenging. I'm raising an only, with my spouse; my sister is likewise sharing custody of an only child. We think a lot about what it means to raise an only child in today's culture, where social isolation is much less common, at least in urban Minneapolis and Dallas areas.

There are so many myths, theories about parenting an "only." I've never noticed anything really wrong with my only-child adult friends (nothing easily attributable to their lack of siblings at any rate.) Conversely, as an oldest child, I know other oldest children and do tend to see patterns of behavior there -- so maybe I just lack the frame of reference. I've heard it's selfish to have just one child -- who will they play with? I've heard that in this world, on this planet, the only hope of equitable distribution of resources is for us all to keep to one child in the family. Which is more true?

Certainly my family is one of togetherness and apart-ness; all of my siblings are actually half-siblings, and my father's children really don't know me at all. There's ten years between my brother and I, seven years between my sister and I, and now that Heather lives in Dallas the cousins see little of one another. That grieves me. I'm often surprised at how fragmented we are as an extended family, given the early years of childhood when Grandma was alive and my mother's very large family (ten siblings, each with multiple children) gathered for all the holidays in Grandma's tiny home. All that change when Mary died, and my brother and sister barely knew those happier days of running with packs of cousins.

I think now about the economy, about our money situation at home. Just a minute ago I signed H. up for music lessons on Saturday mornings, just to give him more to do with other kids (and because the class is conveniently located in my workplace.) My brother would like to do something like this for his daughter, but there's not much where he lives that's affordable. It's a transitory society, a conundrum, where our conceptualizations of family haven't kept pace with economic reality at all. There are many examples of this. How long before parents can be assured their children will be guaranteed food, clothing, companionship and safety? How much longer can we wait?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

radio empathy

"I'm failing in school, losing my friends
making my family lose their minds.
I don't want to eat, I don't want to sleep,
I only want Lena one more time..."

A friend posted a few funny lines about Billy Joel and things that please the masses -- he remarked on the recent realization that somewhere back in the eighties he'd memorized all of the "Glass Houses" album. I have to laugh. That was the year I got my first record player, one all my own instead of the glass-fronted albatross that my mother never wanted me to touch. For Christmas she bought me "Glass Houses," plus a few other gems like "Toto IV" (remember "Rosanna"?) and Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon." Lordy. I wound up with a substantial vinyl collection before high school ended, which is congealing in an unplayable mass up in Mom's inaccessible attic I suppose. A travesty really, but Mom won't let me go up there -- it's like mounting the expedition to Everest, stuff has completely filled my old bedroom and now she just piles it on the stairs.

Anyway -- the title of my friend's post is "stop kidding myself, wasting my time," a line from a sad and hard-to-endure single of Joel's called "All For Lena" about obsessive love and getting used. Which in turn reminds me of the darker side of being young and glued to the stereo -- the way youthful ignorance always leads to blind love and its cousin, mislabeled lust -- "Why must I be a teenager in love?" Every heartbreak has a song that particularly captures the agony of the moment, and these songs always turn a buck; so it's easy to amplify hormonally-augmented disappointment into crushing despair, listening to the same song over and over, brutalizing oneself and one's roommates. Thank God they don't "right 'em like that anymore" -- I've only heard a few songs in the past ten years that have that power over me.

One of them is "Thinking About Tomorrow" by Beth Orton, which I had posted here for a couple weeks on the dumb playlist. Another is "Not Over Yet" by Grace, which has been remixed into something sort of rave-like but still has a little edge. I have to think -- these are songs I have deliberately prohibited myself from playing for long periods, to avoid reliving the sinking pleasure of doomed romance. What else? "Wonderful" by Annie Lennox. And I remember playing that whole terrible album by Nine Inch Nails over and over again after being screwed for the umpteenth time by one particular ex-boyfriend. A seriously non-musical record, but lots of angry angsty lyrics: "Head like a hole, black as your soul, I'd rather die, than give you control." Yummy.

"All For Lena" reminds me of the summer I was 16 -- could that be right? I'm 40 now, I should look up the release date -- anyway, 16 and prone to fixations on unattainable guys. I was cute enough, looking back, but a loner; something guys don't to tend to find alluring though the reverse has always been true. To be fair, I knew how to pick 'em. I always wanted guys who had been dating the same girl forever, who had never given me the time of day. And in high school I of course branched out in my pursuit of the unattainable to include one or two of my teachers. I was "Don't Stand So Close To Me" in the flesh, my senior year. The fact that I have in my time hooked two or three of these unattainables has never been cause for celebration -- it took some time to figure out that generally, people you can't have are out of reach for a reason. It's because they are NO GOOD for you. Getting what you want -- the reward is also the punishment.

Ah. Reminiscing.

on debating the nature of reality

Let me first just say that I am in no way qualified to make any authoritative statements in the generally accepted context, and in fact, I'm overly influenced by a very random connect-the-dots set of reading habits.

I have smart friends, people who spend time thinking, reading and writing deliberately about the meaning of life and the nature of reality. I married a smart friend, in fact, and he reads nonfiction exclusively, knows most of what goes on in the world and drinks accordingly. I have good friends who went to seminary, friends with advanced degrees, friends who've made it big and even more friends who did none of those things but possess keen common sense. Any of them could probably put me in my place and some of them have.

So I'm always surprised to find myself getting involved in some philosophical discussion about Absolute Truth or someone's metaphysics. Surprised, and a little nervous when I find out I have reading in common with someone who I'm sure is my intellectual superior.

It's much like that classic nightmare I have, about Math Class: I dream it's Now, I'm in my 40s and I'm forced to return to high school to complete Algebra, a class I always did badly in and repeated several times (with successively worse results each time.) I sit in my desk/chair unit amongst the hip and alienated teens, none of whom wants to be my friend. I am utterly humiliated, I've failed as an adult. It's just a matter of time before my friends find out.

Artist-types aren't supposed to be all that bright, and I suppose the excuse has been made for me unbeknownst by a few acquaintances. People who know me better know I'm just lazy - I wait for the information I need to come to me, and much of it does I've found. Sooner or later, everything I need to know just lands in my lap. Except Algebra, I guess.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Tonight my five-year-old made up a great new word: SCUMQUAT! It's hilarious, and while he didn't intend it to be anything more than a word for something yucky, it's been instantly coined as a household term.

We were playing "yucky soup," a very juvenile sort of game that's inventive and funny and amuses the kid much longer than strictly necessary. You come up with all the yucky, funny things you can think of to add to the most horrible imaginary soup there is. Nothing too dark, just super-duper-yucky: dog fur, boogers, dirty socks, ear wax, decayed sausages, etc. But he gets carried away after a while and start making things up once he's run out of concretely yucky ingredients. Hence the Scumquat.

Oh, I foresee trouble once kindergarten commences. You scumquat. Eew!

Rooms and spaces

Hiding in the sewing room from my son, who is at odds with his mother today on most every issue; and my husband, who is lurking in anticipation of the Vikings game. Working on the laundry, neatly sorted mountains of which seem never to dwindle. (My fault, I lose interest in the laundry after a couple hours. Too much happens in between loads; I get involved.) And helping my husband decide what we're cooking (what he's cooking) for friends later this week.

The morning was busy with church logistics but fortunately I'm feeling better than I was yesterday. Not as tired. And it's rather a treat to be worshipping in the smaller sanctuary, of our "north campus." Our congregation sounds more numerous, our singing and praying more full and warm, in the low-ceilinged sanctuary with exposed timbers. No clanking of radiators; nor shivering in a space high-vaulted and wide. Though the narthex is cramped, and we lack an elevator, still we seem to be comfortable there. What happens this year in terms of worship place remains to be seen, since we haven't discussed the repairs or possible demolition of the old sanctuary yet. And we're still waiting for some preliminary response to our proposal to use the old elementary school a few blocks west. The school board is currently reviewing all proposals.

So much is unknown here at the beginning of the year. Our where, our what, our why -- the new council members, the growing deficit, the need for growth. Other possible changes. It's excruciating, in a way, though exciting too. If you aren't too concerned with maintaining a stable routine in your life. Or with knowing where you'll want to worship a year from now. But this morning was sunny, was positive and intimate, and I'm hoping we can continue to pull together as a family, this blended-family of a church.

I close my eyes and consider the rhythm of the household. Next week the holidays end, and we're back to a predictable schedule. This will perhaps resolve some tension between my spouse and I. My son will have school and playmates to occupy him, instead of parents constantly reaching to amuse him with something new without shopping, buying, or driving a lot. It's a small house. Sometimes a small space is a positive thing, sometimes not.

We are in and out of doors in our lives, we are in and out of the places where we define ourselves and our relationships through actions. We invest a lot in these places. They can supercede or hinder our relationships if we let them. What's the best balance? Shelter is a desirable constant, attainable by a dwindling class in this economy. The emotional furniture gets moved around occasionally, and frays and fades. How do we make ourselved new?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Must Have Music Download

Girl Talk - "Feed the Animals" lp

Turn your sound on (or off, as desired) before you click. Purely inspired remixing.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I have texted, emailed and kissed my closest friends. I have opened the window in my sewing room, to try to air out the overpowering odors of popcorn, brewing hops and fried bacon that permeates the house (a day of strong smells.) My husband stirred briefly where he sleeps on the couch, at midnight, and fireworks still pop and crack somewhere in the distance. My first beverage of the year is a Coke Zero, and my first bite remains to be determined. Obama will be inaugurated in 20 days. What sort of world will we be, 12 months from now?

I hope 2009 is a turn for the better, for all of us. I pray for my friends, especially for those who struggle with illness, depression, money woes, heartaches of all kinds. I pray for the people who visit our food shelf. I pray that no one dies tonight from careless accidents, from violence, from cruel circumstance. I hope no one is on the street tonight with no place to go to get warm and be safe. I pray that we get what we want, and what best for us, and that real peace can be achieved.

I hereby resolve the following, for whatever these resolutions are worth:
- To be more responsible with money.
- To be ever more creatively attuned to the world around me.
- To be a better spouse, better parent, better friend however I may.
- To consider my faith more intentionally.

That'll be more than enough to attempt. (On my limited budget.)
Good luck and God bless you all!