The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

20 21 22 23 24 / 1000

20... If I don't get a little busy with this, 1000 gifts could take years! There was a three ft long snake lying against the house near the door to the crawl space. I do not like snakes. Not even chicken snakes ... Matter of fact, when I see adults teaching children to touch snakes it gives me the willies. All snakes are bad. Lol. And around here, snakes get up in trees ... Yuck! The least they could do is stay on the ground. Last night we blew a fuse on the AC. I noticed the house was warm after everyone else had left for the morning. Normally, I would get some replacement fuses from the garage and just go under the house and install them. It's very tidy under the house ... Cool ... And dark. Last week the man who sprays for insects was here ... he told me about the snake, asking me if I wanted him to kill it. Before he got back to it, it was gone. I know that snake is under my house. He probably has a bunch of snake buddies under there with him. I couldn't go under the house today. Even if Sammy had gone first. Today I was so happy that my husband came home for lunch and immediately went under the house and made cold air start flowing again.
21 today I put the absolutely perfect drawer pulls on the freshly painted chest. Perfect doesn't get to happen very often ... It's a gift when it does. Perfect rocks.
22 I am happy. I thought of that again today when I caught sight of my hair blowing around like wisps of smoke as I drove the jeep with the windows open. I was singing along with the radio as carefree as I ever have been. Pretty sweet.
23 one of my daughters really wants a new dress for the game this weekend ... She has a picture. We searched til we found the exact fabric she had in mind. She is excited about it. I really like that. It's one of the nicest things.
24 yesterday was my older brother's birthday ... This was the first year that I can remember my younger brother not calling me about it. I am extremely grateful that he has better things to think about. He and his wife were spending a few days at the beach. I am so happy that he is so happy.

Pretty ... Slam poetry Katie Makkai

Touch title to view Pretty
There's something I'm thinking about that I'm not really even comfortable thinking about in the privacy of my own mind. I'm going to try to put it in a pile of words here ... Get a look at it ... Maybe find some orderly way to handle it.

1 I'm okay with how I understand and or feel that things went with my master plan to flight instruct falling apart. It wasn't fair ... Honorable ... Whatever the real reasons which I dont know or understand, I can accept that it's not working out here and now. I reluctantly let it go. It hurts. I can handle it.
2 this isn't the right time for me to start a little job outside our home unless it is flight instructing ... Even charter gigs are not viable right now. I accept that.
3 this past many months of sitting still has been very good for me in many ways.
4 I do not like how sitting still makes me feel ... It kinda creeps me out. I like to be busy. But not just busy ... I like to spend my time doing things that I see the value in doing.
5 I realize that extra time is a luxury
6 this stuff about coincidence is creeping me out. I am leery of ... Probably I should say spiritual things. I don't like the strangeness that quiet brings. I like to look at real things and think that's cool God ... You do good work. I am very uncomfortable with looking at events like I sometimes do here ... Well, when I reread what I have written and see the chain of events that led to a day or a thought or whatever ... I can see what I believe is the work of the invisible hand and that bothers me. I'm not an earthshoe and granola kind of girl ... I'm a roll up my sleeves kinda girl. I am practical about things. This opening up of feelings has mystified me. Yes ... I can see happier and I like that I think it might be safe to be more loving towards ... Hmmmm not more people, loving in a different way. I can love strangers easily ... I'm that person who notices little everyday frustrations that strangers overload on ... I will stop, put you on my car, and drive you to the gas station then back ... I like that I have time to notice and help. This is what I don't feel comfortable with ... I don't want a lot of people in my heart. I don't want people to matter personally ... Deeply ... I feel great about offering loving acts at an arms length. That's part of what's bothering me ... I feel vulnerable. I feel like the bubble I do life from within is ... popped. Shields are down ... And really weird stuff is in coming. Yeah ... Like that. That is how it feels. Like that whole drawn out thing with finding that movie that was incidentally about Aspergers. It's the chain of events that's creeping me out. And then sitting there working away and having big warm salty tears plop puddles on my lap. Tears are messy. What is catching a ride out of my soul on those private tears? My skin feels better, but my soul is trembling. It feels exposed. I am used to it feeling rolled up ... And I didn't realize that until it unfolded. You know, I want to be open to spiritual things, but I am wary of weird shit. I know that isn't a nice way to say it, but it's true ... A lot of weird shit is out there and it's very difficult to discern what's what.

I stumbled in to the idea of writing words ... Whatever tumbled out ... Behind these words one day my soul just opened up. I did do that because I know my soul has recently opened up whatever that means. I wanted to see what words would I say and it felt very strange to write that thing ... Fun, but uncomfortable too ... Ummm vulnerable... Exposed in a way I guess (and I'm not saying it's a great poem, just that it does express something that I feel) okay ... One thing I was surprised and pleased to recognize and even say was that phrase "friend of my soul" ... Okay, so that's nice, but then this is the creepy part. I am, have been for a long time, very interested in neuroscience. I very much like the fact that our bodies work so amazingly well ... And I like to wonder about the connection and interaction of us physically ... Making physical choices ... Everyday choices ... That affect our eternal soul. I move my earth suit around and I become who I am becoming via the choices I make within my range. I know what I mean. There's more to me then what I can see. How does the me I see ... Physical me connect to the real me ... Call it my soul. So, with time on my hands I've been doing a little reading on that ... Trying to catch up on the current work that the researchers are up to. That has combined with my interest in AS and for awhile I have been noticing (I think I have ...still looking at this theory) that not only do we pass on physical genetics characteristics, but it seems very much like there are family proclivities that may be thought of as spiritual. So, I wondered what are my people like. Welsh ... dark haired branch. That took me to the poet/philosopher John O'Donohue with a tiny prod from elsewhere. I was going to buy a book then I thought why not see if they have it at the public library ... They didnt, but they had a different title which I checked out and began reading last night. In the prologue he talks about his other book Anam Cara. Anam Cara translated from Irish: friend of my soul ... . Uhhhh.
Here's the excerpt:

In the Celtic tradition there was a beautiful notion of the Anam-Cara. Anam is the Irish word for "soul" and Cara is the word for "friend". In the Anam-Cara friendship, you were joined in an ancient way with the friend of your soul. This was a bond that neither space nor time could damage. The friendship awakened an eternal echo in the hearts of the friends; they entered in to a circle of intimate belonging with each other. The Anam-Cara friendship afforded a spiritual place to all the other longings of the human heart
. John O'Donohue Eternal Echoes ~ Exploring Our Yearning To Belong

7 I don't want to use this time in my life to get weird.
8 I would really like to explore with God, but ... Stuff like this is outside my religious/spiritual box. It makes me feel uncomfortable. Feeling makes me feel uncomfortable too. Love is something about feeling with a soul which is open.
I'm okay with the idea of friends ... real friends ... . The very lovely notion of friend of my soul is not a comfortable idea for me. I liked it when I wrote it. I don't like it now.
9 I may be too wimpy for an adventuring spirit ... I like adventures that my little Canon Powershot can see.
10 at the same time ... I am curious ... interested. Surely God will keep me safe ... .

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

19 / 1000

19 Today a young male cardinal landed near the tip of a branch ... The whole limb was weighted down and he had to quickly go back to flap mode. It was funny to see. I know he was there to snatch a piece of dog food and thought to steer clear while he awaited his opportunity. Funny to see.
I wish I didn't know about stuff like this ...

I'm enjoying all this time to read interesting stuff ... but. Well, I am bored with pretty much everything. I'm wondering what people do for fun. I don't want to sit around in Starbucks ... I really can't think of anything that sounds interesting ... Some place to contribute ... or even just do. My husband asks me almost every time he sees me, "Are you looking forward to moving to the beach"? Ummmm ... Idk ... Will they have golf cart races there? I am feeling a need to win at something ... or at least want to try to. I know it's not PC to say this, but I'd like to go to war so to speak ... not a real war where people die and stuff is destroyed, but ... the middle-class suburban housewife version of that. I am seriously thinking about some kind of martial arts thing. I feel like kicking stuff. Am I the only woman on the planet who is tired to death. There must be women like me around here ... I don't want to talk about people ... I don't even want to talk about ideas ... I want to do something interesting that requires activity. Maybe I am going to have to start running again ... maybe I need to sweat. We won't be walking the trail anytime soon. I was actually getting bored with that. I did love driving down that loose gravel winding road and feeling the tires skid ... The walk was interesting, but kinda boring too because we would walk for a few hours away from the car and then walk the same trail back. I can walk for hours right around here ... I want to mark off distances, segments. I'm chillin' out, reading some Celtic philosophy ... and it's good, but I've had enough of it for awhile. I need some fun. I want a challenge. I really hope it isn't going to be how long I can sit still and look at a candle! Tomorrow ... Menu planning and grocery shopping and I might clean out the refrigerator. House cat. That pisses me off. I feel like I'm wasting time because I have more time then I know what to do with.

Memory/Learning ... Theory

Spiders spinning and monarchs migrating ...

I've been thinking about memory doings. Not just my memories or the moments I remember from my life, but also the inclinations which seem to have some sort of ancestral dictates ... predisposition.

This has been a favorite topic for a long time. Memories are biological/chemical, and I think may have a spiritual element as well along with the physiology and genetic contributions.
I wonder how and why we remember. Not the how and why that equals learning, but the mechanics of memory acquisition and transfer is what I'm interested in. Scientist have written quite a bit on instinct ... and there are rare cases of people born with out what I think of as basic instincts (basic instinct = babies supposedly won't crawl off of a countertop ... But mothers are unwilling to test it!)

I wonder if humans are likely to somehow hold faint memories ... not of the actual event, but of the lesson learned by previous people in their bloodline. The Bible makes a big deal of the lineage of Christ. Why did that matter? Did it establish him as an historical figure? Cultural memory is important to Jewish people. I barely know my own ancestory. Daddy's family was primarily Welsh. Celtic music resonates more deeply then old Africa spiritual music ... is that coincidental? Momma's family was Scot/Irish and American Indian. My husband's folks are from England. I wonder how much of who you came from effects how you are. Not just what they teach you or how you are socialized, but the genetic contributions that go deeper then physical characteristics. I can look at pictures of dark welsh women and see my features. I never knew my paternal grandmother, but my dad said our personalities were eerily similar. Sadly, none of her children were able to share memories about her ... I've seen only one photo of her. She looked happy. Now, none of her children are living and none of her grandchildren knew her. I'm not at all sad about that, I'm thinking only about a continuation of traits which weren't specifically learned. I have recently seen a very old photo of my husband's grandparents and their brood of children, his father was a babe in arms, so the photo must be from the 1910s. I was absolutely shocked to see the personality of my husband emanating from the patriarch.
Well, it's just a curiosity.
"When love awakens in your life, in the night of your heart, it is like the dawn breaking within you. Where before there was anonymity, now there is intimacy; where before there was fear, now there is courage; where before in your life there was awkwardness, now there is a rhythm of grace and gracefulness; where before you used to be jagged, now you are elegant and in rhythm with your self. When love awakens in your life, it is like a rebirth, a new beginning."

"Love allows understanding to dawn, and understanding is precious. Where you are understood, you are at home. Understanding nourishes belonging. When you really feel understood, you feel free to release yourself into the trust and shelter of the other person's soul."

"One of the tasks of true friendship is to listen compassionately and creatively to the hidden silences. Often secrets are not revealed in words, they lie concealed in the silence between the words or in the depth of what is unsayable between two people."

"The heart is the inner face of your life. The human journey strives to make this inner face beautiful. It is here that love gathers within you. Love is absolutely vital for a human life. For love alone can awaken what is divine within you. In love, you grow and come home to your self. When you learn to love and let yourself be loved, you come home to the hearth of your own spirit. You are warm and sheltered."

"All the possibilities of your human destiny are asleep in your soul. You are here to realize and honor these possibilities. When love comes in to your life, unrecognized dimensions of your destiny awaken and blossom and grow. Possibility is the secret heart of time."

"The ego is the false self-born out of fear and defensiveness."

"Behind your image, below your words, above your thoughts, the silence of another world waits."

"The eternal world and the mortal world are not parallel, rather they are fused."

"The Celtic mind was not burdened by dualism. It did not separate what belongs together"

"One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement. When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise never have crossed on your own."

~ John O'Donohue (Celtic)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pendulum waves

Tap or click to zoom to cool you tube video of ... So cool, from an undulating curve to a double helix ... where else in our universe ... just cool.

He Hideth my Soul

Nabataean Petra

Petra is a Greek word that means cleft in the rock. Petra, also a place located in southern Jordan which has been included in the New Seven Wonders of the World.

The location of historical Petra is such that it controlled the main commercial routes which passed through it to Gaza, Bosra, Damascus, Aqaba ,Leuce come on the Red Sea, and across the desert to the Persian Gulf. It is said that settlements in Petra began near the eighteenth dynasty of Egypt.

Some speculate a prophetic significance as well. I like it as an image of a cleft in the rock ... A spiritual place of God's design.

"... match me such a marvel, save in Eastern clime
A rose-red city, half as old as time.
["Petra", John William Burgon]

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life with the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.
~ song lyrics by Frances (Fanny) Crosby

When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed ~ Exodus 33:22 NIV

L and I traveled up to the Apple store yesterday. He likes to talk on the phone while he drives. It's funny, when I am not in the car with him he calls me to chat ... when I'm sitting right there, not so much. Eventually we did talk though. I've been thinking about interpersonal relationships a lot lately. Certainly within the context of trust ... and what I'm labeling shelter for your soul. And I'm thinking about the relationships where my soul has been exposed ... and maybe where I've seen the very heart of others. I've been sorting through the relationships in my life, looking at what they mean or have meant to me. Something I would like to do better, is open my heart to more people. I think I have been too guarded in general. I don't know ... I'm thinking about it. I'm good at lend a hand and I think a big part of the reason that I can offer physical presence to help out is because I keep my heart out of it. I might be a little bit too good at compartmentalizing.

We talked a little bit about that. I said I think relationships are shelters which are built by people ... A friendship is a place to share yourself with another. I'm just thinking about it as an idea. It's difficult to express and my husband doesn't quite get what I'm talking about. Shelter to him is a building. He's not really into esoteric stuff. And that's okay. He totally understands my ability and inclination to compartmentalize. Hmmm ... What is that quote ... Brb.

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable
."~C.S. Lewis

Ouch, Mr. Lewis ... That's a little harsh! I feel the words biting a little close to the bone. Is it always selfishness that motivates one to keep their heart safe? I don't think so. In fact, I'm certain that life instructs you to be careful with your heart ... And especially the hearts that are open near you. But. Well, this quote is kinda near the crux of what I'm working with lately.

Yesterday, during church, I felt that heat near my heart that pushes tears right up to the rim of my eyes. I had to stop singing to collect myself. I turned my head to see the stain glass. The light coming in there is familiar ... comforting. Almost as familiar as that old song ... He Hideth my Soul. ...
A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
He taketh my burden away,
He holdeth me up and I shall not be moved,
He giveth me strength as my day.

Yesterday in the car, my husband said,"You seem happy. Happier then usual. What has happened to make you so happy? Can you put your finger on it?"
"I can't put my finger on it", I said looking at all the Southern green flowing by. "How long have you been noticing it?"
He thinks since I gave up on being hired to flight instruct. When he says that, I am glad I am looking out the window. (It was that day my soul just opened up ... a process began ... I can actually feel it happening ... and I rejoice and wonder) He says I tend to strive. Hmmm. Maybe ... I feel my soul shrug.
I don't think that is directly related to my new found ebullience. I am amazed to see a remembered me emerging ... a grown up version of pretty happy little her/me. There is a place on my in my heart where a burden has been removed ... not just lightened, removed, repaired, healed ... sealed. My soul remembers how to hold joy. That spot is still a little tender ... Like old wounds healing tend to be. That spot seeps little tiny shimmering thankful tears. Lately, I have remembered what it feels like to feel more.

I seem to be reintegrating. It's really cool. I like the shelter provided under the cover of God's hand.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


This idea has presented itself twice today ... Same idea sliding in a totally different door. Maybe it bears thinking about tonight when I wake up. Here are the bare bones of it ...

I make a place in my heart for a relationship ... an important relationship ...

How is importance established? seems like, for other then family, it's just intuitive.
How do I decide which relationships get whatever it is that I think is important to nurture a relationship with? What do I value to give ... What do I value to receive?
Why are there so few words for what relationships are and how they are conducted?

Here's one presentation. A woman provided room in her life for her elderly father ... Tangibly, there was a room in the home called his room. He died. His room was empty. She had a baby whose crib was placed in that room. Was it the baby's room or the fathers room. Would that be confusing?

I create a room for a relationship. The relationship ends. Does my heart contract ... Or do I have empty space?

When I was pregnant with my second child, I was so surprised to hear myself telling my son this (true story).
When you began to grow inside me, your place in my heart also began to grow. It was a brand new place ... A place for you, because of you. I thought that was a place where I became a mother, but I didn't know the whole story of that place, because now I know it is just your place in my heart ... Everything that is yours that I can offer you comes from that place. Now we can see another baby growing and I have learned that another place is opening up in my heart. God is growing my heart with a place that holds everything I can offer to this baby ... This baby's place in my heart. "Can you feel a place like that growing in your heart too?" He said he could. I promised him that I would never take anything from his place in my heart and give it to anyone else. I told him that the baby would need a lot of it's stuff pretty quick, because baby's come without any of the love and caring for that grows in our hearts and we must be busy providing the baby with the sureness that they were in the right place. He was an awesome big brother. I remember asking him what he thought a baby would need ... he totally surprised me when he said a NUXie (pacifier) and a nicey (blanket). He wanted me to take him to the store so he could pick those out for his baby sister. We got right on that ... And I told him I thought the baby would want to bring him a special gift too ... the little scamp leaned forward and instructed the baby to bring roller skates. I had forgotten that ... glad to remember.

The place in our hearts for our important relationships ... That's what today has asked me to think about. Caring about people increases our capacity to care ...

Today a sweet gift came in the mail. A bumper sticker which says Someone in Texas Loves Me. I have a place in that heart. I guess once you have a place in someone's heart ... it's just your place. It's a good thing I think.

After some thought ...

Last night I realized that feelings aren't created, rather they emerge. Maybe we repress them or maybe we welcome them ...maybe we are ambivalent. As far as expectations go ... feelings probably don't have expectations. I'm more comfortable with thinking then I am with feeling. Maybe, probably, I've clamped down on feeling over the years. Lately, I've been experiencing things more from just how it feels. I like my walks better ... and my hands tending to their work. Everything feels ... good.

I'm thinking about a cloud streaming dark and bright light at the same time. I've thought that was a shadow, but it can't be. I'm going to find out exactly what is taking place there. This thinking/feeling ... experiencing with a composite self ... it's new to me.

I may be wrong about feelings emerging. I'm thinking about it. History captures atrocities energized by feelings ... Feelings fanned by thought up manipulations. And ... Some stuff one just does or doesn't do based on what they think is "right". Hmmmm.

When I walk down the hall and see that painted chest I feel happy. Painting it was hard for me to do ... risky. What if I messed it up? Before I painted it, I walked by it thinking only to dust it. Against the edge if the mirror varnish lines had yellowed. I never once thought to razor them off. It wasn't my chest. Linens for the sleeper sofa and some Christmas ornaments are all I store there. Now the chest reminds me of the beach ... Now the chest bounces the morning sun, and whispers promises. I'm feeling that chest of drawers ... Hahaha. Feelings.

Oh ... Now it's later still as I continue to think about this. I know that I am really good at compartmentalizing. This is part of what this is about. I ... Somewhere along the way of my life, I decided only people who I believe will stay in my heart, people I trust with my heart ... Hmmm not accurate, my kids walk all over my heart and it doesn't affect the security of their place in my heart ... Hmmmm ... That seems to be true of all the heart held people in my life ... Not the tromping, the surety of shelter. Ouch. That's what it is. A friendship is a shelter. The relationship is a shelter. The ones in my heart are different, I want to feel there. Less important relationships aren't about real feelings they are more about community ... a place to contribute, do the right things. I see myself contributing help without involving my heart exactly.

I have a friend who died from cancer. She was awesome. The kind of person who always made everything better. When we found out she had cancer I said, "No matter where this thing takes all of us, I will be your friend who you can be well with". What I meant by that is her life didn't have to become all about what cancer was doing to her body. I sat with her for chemo and while they pumped last chance into her I laughed with her about life stuff. I loved her very much, but she wasn't in my heart. My gift to our friendship was that I could keep a clamp on my emotions. I could watch her die without mourning for her while she was still alive. My ability to compartmentalize gave her a place to be well. Sure, we talked about cancer ... When her liver began to fail, her skin and eyes turned yellow. We laughed at how in just the right light it made her look exotic ... Peachy pink Southern girl with a Carribean tan. Cancer sucks. After she was gone, my husband said she taught us all how to die ... Gracefully. The battle was horrible for her body. I noticed that her soul stayed well the whole way through. I think time shared with her was more about how to live well.

Cat Daddy

Somebody's MacBook is ready and waiting up at the Apple store ... Two hours drive North of here. My husband says raising kids is like herding cats. He may be on to something there. This week one of the kids introduced me to a (very silly with few redeeming qualities), I hesitate to call it a song ... titled Cat Daddy. Oh my gosh ... Too funny to me, I almost can't type thinking about how funny this could be ... Anyway ... Tonight L and I are watching this new thing he likes on Netflix ... Mad Men (Madison Ave Ad men ... that) and someone called a lady character a house cat. My husband said I am a house cat ... hmmm ... maybe. "Are you a house cat?" I asked. He said, "No way ... ". He so walked in to this ... "Oh yeah" I suggested, "you must be the Cat Daddy". "Yes ... Cat Daddy". So Cat Daddy it is ... We will be listening to it tomorrow in the car ... I'm sure of it. Wait till he hears it! Click the title to zoom to the video... .

Instant gratification in a can
This great old chest of drawers is getting some beach on ...
Vintage drawers pulls almost chosen ... amazed at all the cool choices. I'm thinking about painting interior a soft chartreuse. Really enjoyed painting this. It's old and imperfect and hand planed ... rough marks inside. I was thinking about how many times I've walked by this piece over the years without really noticing it. The mirror is super heavy with irregular edges. I'm going to do a little reading up on that.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Coincidence is the word we use when we can't see the levers and pulleys. ~ Emma Bull (sci-fi writer ... I haven't read her work, but she is next up)

Okay, so I have a new blog that I'm looking in on ... Zen hors d'oeuvres sorta ... provocative tidbits.
Something, posted there,what I do not now recall, prompted me to look a little further ... else where ... which then led me to a very unusual name. The exact unusual name of someone who sent a nice note here many months back and said ... this is not my real name, it's just one of the names I use in cyberspace. Okay ... kinda weird ... probably super savvy. Other then causing me to wonder whether or not people use their real names on their blogs or not (and how I wanted to handle that issue myself), I wasn't thinking about the person with the unusual name. Until further looking in to required following that name. The name when googled was associated with several books, some seminar dates, article citations ... some blogs. I looked at the information I wanted then I wondered, maybe the same person? So ... I tapped in to a blog ... yep ... same person. Now I understand the desire for the nom de plume ... not weird at all ... as nice as the note seemed in fact.
I looked at a couple of her posts and then a wish list sort of thing. She wishes, among other things, that everyone would see this movie ... and I think to myself, if it's available on Netflix, I will watch it tomorrow while I strip that chair. Watched half of it Monday. It made me cry. Started watching it again on Wednesday as I worked on the chair. Started crying again. I almost never cry. Well, not while I am awake at least. The main character in this movie has Aspergers Syndrome.
Back up ... On Sunday my husband did one of those little excruciatingly annoying things while we were (stuck) in the car together. It's an aspergers kinda thing ... I understand that but, it makes it only marginally more tolerable. We arrive our destination and he is ready for a bit of alone time at Barnes and Nobles ... Debit card and instructions to the girls and off they go in one direction while he and I head to the bookstore. I don't like to shop. I do like to do everything that a bookstore has to offer ... once inside, we cordially go separate ways. Several hours and a few mood adjustments later we are on the drive home. He casually mentions that the MIT community is heavily weighted towards people with Aspergers. AND ... Lucky for them ... The Aspie men marry Aspie women ... AND everyone is very happy in their little aspergers bubble (my words in italics). "That's nice" I reply. End of conversation ... 'till right before I fall asleep ... at home ... in bed ... he says, "I am smarter then you". And I immediately think, what kinda of stupid shit is this?, but I say, "What'ja say sweetheart?" AND he repeats the statement. I roll over, sit up ... kiss him on the forehead and he says the same thing again ... this time with a smile. I comfy back down into my pillow and I say, "If they blow up the world tonight while we sleep, my skill set will suddenly be in huge demand (I know how to get along for example ... He appreciates my social skills)." "I'm still smarter then you", is his reply.
What does that conversation mean. I do not have a clue. And, it doesn't bother me very much, at least while I am awake. I actually think it's too silly to bother with ... I mean, if there is a point to that, spit it out, otherwise, who cares? I make no claims towards genius ... just that my salsa is genius (recipe available on this site).
Okay, back to today ... watching movie about trials of aspergers guy because it's on someone's wish list and I am a soft on wishes here lately. (It helped me to see the story ... sweet serendipity).

Then ...

Best old friend calls ... I pause movie but keep on removing old fabric and staples from the chair. She is very very very upset. "Tell me everything you know about Aspergers please". We talked my cell battery down to a thin red line. She is going to watch the movie. Aspergers has become personal to her.

I'm thinking about writing about this from my perspective. Life near Aspergers. My husband has astutely pointed out that how he is provides an excellent environment for me to develop my innate strengths ... and it challenges my weaknesses too ... (and sometimes it wears me out!).

I'm certain that I have said here that I believe life is a classroom. I told my friend yesterday, Aspergers renders a person emotionally unable to experience many of the pleasures that most people take for granted. Unable. Unable is a lot different from just doesn't want to. I used to see it as cold calculating selfishness (then I understood it in the context of aviation lingo ... which is how I transfer it to dealing with AS). It's tempting to think of it that way even now occasionally, but the truth really is unable is just unable. Nothing personal ... just like AS. I'd like to write about it for my kids ... maybe I will someday.

The thing about that movie ... I seriously doubt that unusual name lady was wishing everyone would see the movie because of Aspergers ... the movie was about how hatred poisons humanity ... for me, it was also about loving someone who is gifted. It is very cool and a little bit creepy how seemingly inconsequential events link ... I'm noticing lately that people do things with an intent in mind, or we are motivated by something, and then the actual outcome is entirely something different ... and it's kinda beautiful really ... It's like a glimpse of something left by an invisible hand. And ... maybe having some time to sit still has provided me with opportunities to see that. It's a little bit scary in a wonderful way.

NASA ... Iridescent Cloud... Perfect!

Which way from here?

Alice came to a fork in the road.
"Which road do I take?" she asked.
"Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat.
"I don't know" Alice answered.
"Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter".

~ Lewis Carroll from Alice in Wonderland
Re-posted frow A-Mused.
Touch post title to jump. It's worth the time!

17 18 / 1000

17 this is super goofy, but it would be wrong to not note it as a "thankful" ...
Yesterday, that huge garden spider webbed up between two of the columns on my front porch ... gone. How'd that happen, and why do I care?

I have never ever liked anything about spiders ... thinking ... is that true? Yep, not even Charlotte's Web. Then, that one showed up under the rose vine after all the birds nests became quiet. I wondered if momma birds would have seen the spider as easy pickin's. I wondered if the spider knew the coast/porch was clear ... What do they know, and how do they know it?! From where I like to have my morning quiet coffee, I can see the web. I noticed that I would have to sharpen both gold and silver pencils if I were to attempt drawing it ... morning ocean requires both too ... and candle light. Studying the lines of the web brought my eye to the center of her universe ... omg ... biggest spider I've ever seen. Honest. Taranchula sized ... muy grande. I had to have a picture of it. Creepy beautiful. My brother called while I was out on the porch setting portrait and laughing at myself for hoping the subject would behave well. The first thing he always asks is "What are you doing" and I frequently make up some whopper ... it's an old game.
"Well, you're never going to believe this but ... I'm out here setting up a photo of a spider that's as big as my hand." I'm sure he can hear the self-conscious laughter in my voice.
I can feel the tense silence all the way from Texas to the steps of my front porch. "Go back inside right now."
OMG ... His tone has the hair on the nape of my neck signaling danger! As soon as he heard the door shut he asked me if I could still see the spider from inside the house ... and yes, I sure can. "Okay ... Hang up and send me a picture of it and I'll call you right back ... And stay inside!"
The spider hasn't moved. That seems like a good thing. I slide the window open and tap the iPhone to zoom ... Dang that's a big spider! Picture sent. Now I'm waiting. Waiting and watching that monster spider ... I wonder if it has eyes ... I wonder if it is watching me.
My brother calls back. He asks me if L is home and I say no in a hushed tone ... My eyes are big on that spider.
"Okay ... Here's whatcha gotta do ... " he says, "Get a gun, go out the back door, round to the front, no closer then the middle of the yard ... can you see it from there?"
"I think so" I say.
"Okay ... No closer then barely able to see it ... you gotta Galveston Garganchula there ... they multiple fast!" My eyes are so huge they hurt. "You gotta blow it's brains out." I grimace. Then he says, "Keep the phone open so I'll know you're okay" and all of a sudden I know.
"OH YOU ARE SO FULL OF IT!" and he is laughing and I am laughing and eventually I ask, "What is it really?"
"Hell, I don't know, some big ass spider looks like. I was really hoping you'd blow a window out"! My brother.

Yesterday morning when I came in to the dining room, V said, "Momma, your spider is not on her web". She was gone all day. Last night I reminded Two that the notes said she would drop to the ground if threatened ... maybe she'd return over night. She did. I am strangely interested in her doings ... So.

17that spider on my front porch.
18that brother of mine.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

16 / 1000

16 now I know. my soul was sad. just realized that. I was keeping so busy so I wouldn't have to notice that. Now ... this quiet year ... I see that. It was easy for me to identify something like that in my dad ... Where it began I do not know, maybe back when his mother died ... So young, too soon ... Maybe these are seeds of dismay. I don't know ... It's like something happens that is so foreign to what seems right, or maybe fair ... And maybe it happens so often that one becomes numb ... Calloused or blistered or both, like my feet as I learn to walk a difficult walk ... And I am figuring that walk stuff out ... There are all kinds of big and small things to help feet that want to walk. People think heavy hiking boots are a must for support, but that's wrong ... People don't discontinue the walk because of sprained ankles ... They quit 'cause heavy boots ruin knees and hips. Yeah ... I am actually researching this hiking stuff ... You need enough sole to carry your load ... Like tires on an airplane ... Properly sized, frequently checked.

My soul wasn't quite strong enough to carry my load.

I talked to a preacher about it, and he said ... Get rid of your load. I said I couldn't do that. Then he said ... then you better start building your soul ... and I didn't know what that might mean, except maybe read the Bible more ... which I did.

Sometimes I see God there ... Sometimes I just see words on a page. I started remembering how I used to believe God was everywhere ... not like omnipresent unseen ... more like in the miracle of photosynthesis ... or ants who can find their way back home ... or monarchs who migrate or golden garden spiders who embroidery lacey architectural feats ... or systems spinning off of Africa, hot sands birthing big rains and restoring atmospheric balance ... Or a zillion big and tiny seen things. I'm not going to tell my grandchildren that God is a spirit invisible. Seeing all ... Hearing all ... Knowing all ... My soul doesn't believe that. Yeah, I do believe all that, but I also know the real truth doesn't stop with those faith facts. I think maybe it's more like ... Hmmm ... Something like an ant doesn't see me. Not all of me. Maybe not even any of me ... Maybe just the edge of a shoe I'm wearing or a fiber in my dress or a crumb from my lunch.

I'm rambling away from what I wanted to say. For me, the most important part of flying airplanes was/is ... it feeds my soul. It's easy to think that's just weird ... And it's hard to explain what I mean ... It's not just the actual flying of the machine, although doing that well is a challenge that builds. I like to cook, but cooking doesn't speak to my soul ... Though it's easy to see a language there for others to hear God with. Hmmm ... I'm not going to write about that today.

That silly poem-type thing ... I know I slaughtered the art of that ... Like sitting down to bang on a piano ... Oh I love that scene in Green Card ... . Banging those words around helped me voice something my soul sees.

In my so much more then dismay I said ... God, if you are there ... Invisible, but present ... I really need some help here ~ because my soul was crumpling up under the load ... silently imploding.

I'm tired. I'm going to leave number 16 right here ... Thank you God for tending to my soul ... Thank you for the everyday miracles.

Added later ... Because it belongs here with the thoughts from this day.
Today ... the gift of this poem came. 30 August.

"You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you."
— John O'Donohue

Monday, August 22, 2011

9 10 11 12 13 14 15 / 1000

9 surely there are thankfuls wrapped in today ... Okay ... a clean kitchen, a full pantry, and a little girl who says she can taste the difference between sock-eyed and Alaskan King ... She doesn't think my teriyaki paired well ... I'm raising a food critic.
10 husband requests "good" razors ... available in hall closet ... he is pleased.
11 gas blower ... Simply awesome. Sammy thinks it's a game ... laughing with my dog while I tidy the patios.
12 plumbing ... Plumbing, air conditioners, refrigerators, gas stoves and running water ... Practically a prayer meeting.
13 that squirt mop also rocks ... I reminder the old yarny ones!
14 people who stop and visit long enough to change one's life ... Loves.
15 open eyes
One day my soul just opened up
reminding me,
Crepuscular rays, dark and light, whisper a sunrise soothing,
Smoothing,  out the deep creases
of folded up me.
Wake up words waft carried on a curious breeze.

One day my soul just opened up
Souls hands reaching towards a golden hint -
Gossamer  strands of light
streaming fanciful daydreams
behind, and through, an opaque cloud.                            
cirrocumulus beyond reach undulate
iridescence shimmering joy.
My soul sees remembered me ...
twirling, swirling in prismed light,
touched by his hand unseen, yet near.
Caressed, my soul stands still on unsteady feet.

One day my soul just opened up
as dawning Light
sailed the cerulean sky my soul sang secrets
and ice crystals melted
under a careful heat of sun
high over head

an unfettered soul's heart opened wide.
Hands, before bound with soul balled tight, now freed, reach
to embrace a mere shadow,
tenuous known-unknown, friend of my soul,
rendered within the glory's rainbow ring.

One day my soul just opened up
soaring as thermals pulsed enchantment,  breathing
electric blue radiant heat
warming all the way through to alive
surprised alive
Decidedly alive
soul's senses
softly settling before dusk's  circumzenithal arc
soul's lips curve
smile sweet under an almost kiss
(too soon bliss)

One day my soul just opened up
Soul sighing, goodbye-ing,
golden day
gracefully gives way
(too surreal soon ...too, and just in time)
as soul's whole heart rises
stretching shimmering sun pillar high
serenely resurgent
in a blue moon sky.

One day my soul just opened up


I'm working on it ... The idea was suggested (on the blog A-Mused) to take these words ...
One day my soul just opened up ... And write five stanzas beginning with. It seemed an interesting challenge. So far, this is what I have ... Saving it here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"Oh my soul, be prepared for him who knows how to ask questions". ~ T.S. Eliot

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Last night when I woke up, I didn't have a plan for what to think about. I almost started thinking about the walk that work ruled out. I almost started thinking about the flight that a drive to the Apple store cancelled. Then I remembered what I'm 'posed to be thinking about ... thinking it down deep in my soul ... that kind of thinking requires night.

I remembered the recent lesson tenderly taught by the God who finds a way. It's easier to trust in the light of day when I can see. But I don't have to be afraid of the dark. God can speak light into the darkness. I wasn't there in the beginning ... I've witnessed it since.

I like how at night, the darker the better, I can see stars. Their light source if there are thems out there ... and I think there are.

Dark and light. Last night I did lay on my side and read a blog from my phone. One eye open seeing words, one eye closed, buried in a soft pillow feathers. When I got up for fresh ice water, the eye which wasn't blasted with light could see in the dark while the lit up eye was virtually useless. Rods and cones. God made a way for scardy-cats to see in the dark 'til He's ready to speak light.

My great joy is to remember well ... choose to remember the miraculous ... see it for what it is. A ball of fire can illuminate, can support life. It can blind and extinguish life just as easily.

Well, that's what I was thinking about last night. That, and how much I love ice water, and ... well, I did wonder if the feathers in my pillow flew before they became fluff.

"Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake." ~ Hugo

Wish bone, Funny bone, & Back bone

Backbone, Funny Bone & Wishbone (for KRC and me : )

It has been suggested that to be successful in life you need three bones: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone. Without any of these “bones” you are nothing; with these “bones” you are something. These are not real bones, but they do help you in life. You need to have a dream, you need to be strong and you need to laugh.

I need a wishbone because without it I will never have a dream and without dreams I will never be able to really wake up! 

I also need  a funny bone in order to enjoy life to the fullest.  I need to laugh, laugh, and laugh some more. Laugh at myself, laugh at each other, laugh at jokes, laugh at life in general. 

Finally I also need a backbone.  Without it I will never have confidence. A backbone helps when we are put down in life. A backbone enable us to pick up our spirit when we feel down. A backbone allows us  to fail in life, giving us the strength and the vision to pick ourselves up again.

Source for cartoon:
From a-mused.

Friday, August 19, 2011


She's sixteen and she thinks I don't understand her ... and sometimes I think she may be right about that. My girl, most like me, without the wild streak which propelled me towards audacious acts of stupidity. At her age I was spending quite a bit of my time figuring out how to not get caught ... or what to say if I did. And then my best friend, my older brother, died and I stopped.

On facebook my high school buds have started a remember when page. Mostly sweet, sorta outrageous ... everyone is playing nice, our kids are watching. It's surreal to see these lives again ... thirty to forty years later. I'm surprised that we could find so much thin ice to skate on in that blazin' hot South Texas heat. I am surprised at how few fell through the cracks. My girl, all five of my kids, are so much better on every perceivable scale then I was. I tell them they are next-gen technology ... smarter, stronger, faster, braver, prettier, nicer ... all the ers, better in every way. And they have to be, everything is harder now then it was back then ... everybody is more saturated by more temptations ... more pressure ... more crap. The seductive ride on a downward spiral keeps on getting tighter and tighter and one slippery mis-step seems almost beyond recovery. Seems like there is no room for the goofiness that I ran with.

This is what I understand: at some point the apron strings have to be cut. A mother can cut those anytime she wishes to. My parenting style doesn't come with sharp objects. I don't cut anything. I believe those strings are best cut by the child ... when they are ready ... and that is usually around 16. It hurts. I know that. The relationship is changing. It's harder for this one then it was for her older siblings because she knows we are very much alike. She thinks she is rejecting me ... and it must create more dissonance because of our similarities. It's easier to say "Uh-Uh" to not like me. I feel the cut more deeply too ... this one can hurt me, and she does. This morning she tells me, with her actions, that I am not doing my job ... making her lunch is the flash point ... she is overloaded with Spanish II vocab, and studying at the breafast table ... and curtly ordering her little sister to hurry up ... she's going to make everyone late ... and I say, "Let's leave the prompting to me ... we will offload the parenting to me." It's almost funny now that the house is quiet. The parenting she wants, is me in the kitchen preparing her lunch ... and if I won't do that, then I am neglecting my responsibilities ... and to underline that point, she goes to school without her lunch. If I make it ... then no, that's your other child who likes black olives and why didn't you give me more grapes ... Geez, Mom ... eye-rolling ... and I'm standing there thinking if I dared roll my eyes at my momma she woulda slapped them right out of my head!

I tell her ... "I know you don't like me very much right now, and that's okay. I really do understand a lot more of this then you think I do. And I love you. And ... no matter what you think or say or do (but please don't roll your eyes at me child of mine ...I think it is the ultimate in dismissive disrespect), I will always be thinking of your best interests ... I am here for you ... doing what I think is best for you."

"Thank you for breakfast ... love you Mom", Three calls out as he runs out the front door on his way to a third day of college. I know what he is thinking. On Wednesday he hung up the phone on me when I told him to figure out how to catch the bus, or walk the fifteen minutes home from his last class. Hung up ... yeah, really.
When I talked with him about it later, he said, "Well, we were done talking and I just didn't know what to say".
"Say goodbye ... hanging up is just hateful".

Now the house is quiet.

I'm gonna put on some music from the seventies ... And I'm gonna play it really loud.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

While I was out walking my dog I realized that I have been looking at this wrong ...

I have been looking at what the locust ate. I have been looking at the loss of what I planted and tended. I've been looking at a major source of joy in my life ... Gone ... Like, almost overnight.

What I haven't been looking at is the fact that I am how I am largely because of the nourishment I received in those fields while I tended them. That work helped make me strong and healthy and whole ... Not by my own hand (cause I know my own hand would have messed it up ... I woulda broken the gift unwrapping it ... I didn't know to take off my shoes when I walked up on a burning bush ... Thinking only to warm my hands there ...) but by God's grace. And I know that. I know that I was given the wonderful opportunity to learn many many life lessons in an airplane ... And because of an airplane. Wow.

You know what ... The sun doesnt seem to be shining on my days right now. It's pretty dismal, the weather down here on the ground ... Soupy ... Sucks for me. But.

I've spent enough time thinking about what "my field" meant to me and how truly unfair the locust dinking it around has been ... Ugh. Really!?! Now I'm going to really try to discipline myself towards being thankful for ... Great soil and ... for all the good found and retained from working in that field ... So to speak. And most of all ... Best of all, I'm remembering how it feels to trust God. I have seen with my own eyes and inside my own soul, that God knows how to straighten stuff out ... and He is willing to do stuff that I would never ever imagine possible to see His purposes through. I may try to express this idea better later, but I wanted to remind myself 'cause I seem to be under the water of this pretty much of the time ... This is a moment of air ... I need more of these and I know ... God is watching and He's got this ... I can trust. I am able to trust.
Just a quick note here ...

Husband is in the best, long running, upbeat mood I've ever experienced with him over the past thirty years. It's like everything has lined up well for him. Very interesting and cool. He is excited about his work and that seems to make everything sparkle for him. I need to set my concerns aside and get some "thrilled for him" on, because I am thrilled for him. It's good when you get towards the end of a career path to have a good ride. It's pretty much always on his mind and flavoring his disposition. Excellent ... I can see him confused about why I am unable to join the party on this ... And I am trying to get my happy shoes on while at the same time, I can't pretend I haven't had a major disappointment. Wouldn't it be great if everyone could be in sync ... Well, maybe not ... It would be almost unbearable if his stuff was in the crapper right now! I guess what I'm really saying is wouldn't it be great if everyone was on the mountain tops at the same time ... And getting to stay there for awhile. And while I write that I feel the shame of whining about something so insignificant except for the significance I ascribe to it. I recognize that I have the luxury of this being important, where for many others simply surviving or keeping as well as possible is at the front of their concerns. I'm thinking of all those guys overseas who have very little control over their days as they face dangers and unrelenting tedium. What do I get to do today?

Walking Sammy for a couple of hours and I'll be listening to a pod cast of pretty much anything I chose ... I know that's fortunate. I'll choose either Dan Carlins hardcore history or James McDonald's ministry stuff ... Undecided.
I've already done most of my housework, but there are a couple of small things yet ... My house is clean and cool and relatively safe ... Very fortunate.
Lunch with a former student who I really enjoy.
This afternoon I'm going to stock up on flour and sugar, because the lady at the grocery store told me this is the time when prices on baking items are best. Wasn't that nice of her to share that info with me ... that's how people around here are. Because I love the smell of bread baking ... And I was very sweetly reminded of that last week ...Have decided to learn how to rock homemade bread fixin'. Surely that is a luxury.
I get to work in my flowerbeds later today and for some reason which is beyond me, having my hands in the dirt is very soothing.
Husband has a Biz/social thing tomorrow evening so I'm thinking about what to wear ... nails and hair ... girl stuff ... lots of fun because I really like that sort of thing, and he is so appreciative of how comfortable I am with those sort of things.
Tonight is family eating out night, and I've heard that a different venue is to be selected ... Grateful for that because the wings joint feels like a rut to me. Fortunate that we can eat out so often.
This is a big deal to me too ... Husband said call the plumber to fix my water hose spigots for the front yard. "No outlets" have kept me from planting bedding plants ... Which feels kinda sad and neglectful ... So I am very happy about seeing to that. Pansies in the near future as the weather cools.
I can fly for fun this Sunday afternoon. It's very fortunate that we can afford that.
Everything really important ... health ... enough of everything ... no worries.
Someone I know is buying a plane to instruct in, and that airplane will be available for me to also enjoy ... Can't really beat that. I'm trying pretty hard to re-boot myself. Just the fact that I can do that is something to be thankful for.
I remember when we first got Internet ... the house was quiet and I could look up anything I wanted to ... in the whole wide world! As a child, I would take an encyclopedia down and just read wherever it opened at ... or the National Geographics that my parents kept. I probably sat there in front of the screen for thirty minutes just trying to decide what to look up ... Hahaha ... Finally chose the telescopes in Hawaii ... I wanted to know if they webcam-ed any thing (they did). I was almost overwhelmed by the luxury of information available at my fingertips. That's kinda how it is now ... except I have the luxury of time. I really want to use it gracefully ... thankfully ... respectfully. Other people are keeping my country safe ... and my little world safe. Other people are providing all the wonderful things like clean water and cool air and gas for my awesome stove ... good schools ... groceries ... all the wonderful things that are easy to take for granted ... . Other people are giving bits of themselves and because of that I have time on my hands. I don't want to squander any of it ... pouting. I really want to move through this sad to somewhere that I can contribute whatever it is that I have to make a difference with ... and I'm pretty sure it's not pissy pants.

I have accidentally torn up my hands in the kitchen. I have mandolin cuts on several fingers and small burns on the others ... that is a sure sign of distracted! I need to get back on board! Life is good.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Last night I slept like a champ!
Boy was I surprised when my husband woke me up whispering "I love you ... Have a good day."
Huh? What? I knew he would be up and out early this morning, but how did this happen? My eyes pop open when the light from an iPhone flashes on to illuminate the time ... I usually hear every little rustling of the sheets. He is dressed and ready to go! I think I mumbled something ... right before I rolled over and fell back into sweet sleep.
I dreamed that I was walking towards and then near a high privacy fence. The fence didn't disappear, but I could see through it for a second or two ... beyond the fence was a man reclining, chill-laxin', on a chaise lounge and his eyes were shut, feigning sleep ... or maybe pretending invisible like I used to do ... and he opened his eyes as I came near ... and he smiled ... and I smiled back ... and the fence materialized again as I walked on ... not past ... just on.
"What time is it?" I awake with the words on my lips. Someone is quietly moving near the foot of my bed, towards the bathroom, "It's seven o'clock Momma...". I stretch under the sheets. "Did you wake V up?"
She answers with a tiny sweet laugh, "Momma, we are almost ready to go (to school)!"

Wow. Sleep feels good ... really good.
That feeling ... It's very interesting to experience a better version of yourself. I am thinking that may be how God would like for me to experience this wonderful gift of life that He gave me. So amazingly alive. Peace ... Joy. I know I am capable of that now. That's pretty cool. I'm going to figure that out ... .
I wrote those words late in April ... So I could remember, because ... well it was a special day, and special days never last long. I know enough of special days to realize you gotta be quick to absorb the ephemeral ... you wanna bless the moments that you feel Him nearer ... you gotta have a way of holding on to the joy (swirling around) even as you let it go ... heart and hands held open ...I say that with a thanks.

Here's a quote ... "Joy is God and God is joy and joy does not negate all other emotions - joy transcends all other emotions". one thousand gifts ... pg 176

Oops ... I can see how Ann Voskamp gets in trouble with these words of hers ... I also see what I think she is trying to express. I have never seen God. But I have felt him pass by. And I have felt him near. The truth is, this joy is sometimes passed by the invisible hand through a hand and heart of flesh ... 'cause that is what He works with ... .
And I think joy is an intention that shapes the hands and hearts of flesh, both those of the giver and the receiver of the surprise ... even when everyone is surprised (or even shocked - lol). Little days when we are surprised by joy ... as C.S. Lewis has expressed for us all ... and this girl, Ann Voskamp follows him up with this: Perhaps there is no other way to discover joy but as a surprise ? Yep, that's what I think I have noticed too. And now I am wondering how many sweet surprises go unnoticed. Pleasant surprises ... carefully unwrapped. I cherish the gift. My little cracked vessel holds joy ... It had been seeping right out of me.

8 / 1000

8. Washing V's long thick hair last night in the kitchen sink. She knew I would adjust the temperature of the water and watch to keep the spray out of her little girl ears ... not so little anymore. She splashed out many a "baby-bathe" in that very same kitchen.
I grew up all over the Southwestern parts of the country and saw many wonderful childhood days ... I am thankful for that. Something I never saw as a child, was a pecan tree grow up in my front yard, eventually providing nuts for a Thanksgiving pie. I never saw the paint colors change inside a house as tastes or trends encouraged. How many times have I repainted my kitchen and changed the window treatments over the past twenty years? V suggests paint colors for the ceiling as I hold her head with one hand and pour shampoo with the other. She says she will help me paint next time. Just a year ago a bag swing was suspended from a lower branch of that pecan tree, and my V-V's elementary school teachers would toot their horns and wave as they drove by on their way home. She has outgrown the swing. And she is thinking she may have outgrown momma kisses on the back of a wet neck! She can towel wrap her own hair now. She is growing up. I am thankful that she came back by before I had even rinsed the last bit of bubbles down the drain. (When did she grow so tall?) I hear her say, "Thank you Momma ... my hair feels so good" and I turn around into a big girl hug.
Hugs are good.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

5 6 7 / 1000

5. we drove up to the Apple store in B'ham today after lunch. I'm back to reading 1000 gifts ... it's slow going ... honestly the syntax has me re-reading each snippet sometimes several times. I've thought to leave it in my husband's car ... read it on road trips. I've thought to just plow through it, stay in the bath tub until it's read. The review said it was written poetically ... hmmm. There are many thoughtful observations wound up in that tangle of words. I mean, look at how casually I let the words dribble around my musings. I really should be able to get it. Today ... this is where I'm going with all this ... I got to the chapter on trust. I needed to read it. Haven't mentioned this before, but I'm also reading a Canadian Pastor's book ... Lord Change My Attitude(James McDonald). His book is a look at Exodus as it has applied through the ages. I actually have notes going here already. Gratitude is a big theme in his book. Well, Ann ----- has made an excellent case for her idea that gratitude feeds trust. I'll be making a few notes specifically about that soon. I'm really glad I stuck with the book. I thought about just procuring the main idea ... The list ... and moving on with it. Now I am thinking I may want to read parts of the book more carefully. The adjectives swim within their sentences. It feels like a nudge to look at things a bit differently. I'm about nudged out, but I'm thinking to rethink. Thankful for the trust chapter.
6. The girls asked for the radio to be on during the drive home. Husband accommodated.
7. Was able to pull Crystal Gayle's name out of my invisible Stetson when asked to name that singer. Yahoo. Remembered the words to Roxanne a few miles and stations later. Googled up Sting and the Police. Laughed later at white girl rap rendition from the backseat (Superbass ... boom da boom boom baby). Word perfect ... How do they do that?!  Having the radio on was great fun.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I said something like "it takes a lot of energy to fuel that passion" and I have been thinking about it today. And also in the context of how I felt that day when I felt so exactly how I want to feel. Whatever it is that makes me me was active that day. And in a sense, or to some extent I feel that way in the air too. I am concentrating more when I'm flying so more intellect is engaged then just walking around spreading the joy. Ummm ... I feel de-energized right now. Because it lights me up so well to dial it ... Off ... Leaves a big quiet still vaccumn. Maybe I am addicted to flying. I don't want to be, if I am or have been. The disappointment of how this hasn't worked out is somewhat numbing. I can handle disappointments. I'm very resilient ... You'd never guess it just looking at me but, I am. I'm kinda having to figure this out. It really is not going to work out some how. There really is nothing I can do ... that I would be willing to do ... Bummer. I know I need to find something else. I'm trying to choose well. I like being around people ... Until they start talking (lol). Hmmm what can I do for a year before we leave for sabbatical? What would be useful that wouldn't get me stuck inside all day.

It hurts like new shoes. Yes I see how spoiled that is. But I'm really not ... I'd like to find something worthwhile to do. That's how I got here in the first place. There must be something just right for me ... What is it?

Picture of golden garden spider

No Appalachian Trail today. Husband, home from giving seminars up the way, is already up and out of the house drinking coffee made at the office. He is a bit stressed out, and I expect we're looking at a year and a half or so more of life on this tight rope. He has consistently bitten off more then any one person can chew. I accept that he does that without understanding why. I wish he could see a different perspective ... yes, I'm probably really saying my perspective. I don't think I have ever known a person who so rigidly holds to their own counsel. I am afraid that a heart event will set him down. My dad died from a heart issue ... suddenly, he was gone. His twin brother lingered ... paralyzed ... trapped in his once "anytime, anywhere, can-do earth-suit", he could see and hear ... a hellish last several years. I don't want to think about that. It's sad to remember and a waste of time to fret ahead.
Our plans for when we finish here have been the subject of many a conversation over the years. I remember a talk given once about retirement on "someday isle" ... someday I'll do this or that ... someday. We've settled on a place at the coast ... and maybe a cabin up near the Marble Falls area. We're pretty close to someday now, and he randomly has begun to mention a gig near Dallas ... something someone called to talk about something out in Phoenix ... stuff like that. Or ... even with the house at the coast ... bigger then I have imagined ... too big. I would like a small place ... I think I am mistaking a place for how I wish to feel in it. I just hoped to live somewhere that felt like home and maybe travel some during the summer ... do a little rafting ... see some stars ... laugh a little ... and meander back home. Now I'm saying why not just stay here ... . Maybe the past couple of years have worn me out. We talk about a summer in Alaska ... A summer on the East coast. What I thought he wanted to do next can be done from anywhere. It's funny how we get this comfort thing going that really isn't that comfortable. I look at what I was willing to do and where I was willing to compromise just so I could flight instruct ... I sure have held on to that bone. Letting it go is really taking it out of me ... I am ssshhhing myself continuously. I don't want to want anything like that ever again. I ... It takes a lot of fuel to energize that passion. I'm going to have to think about that statement.

I worry about him. He is having trouble slowing down. He does like walking the Trail. I've been surprised at his willingness to take a few Saturdays off back to back. He wants me to know he is doing it for me. All this he does for me.

Things just feel transitional. I've been feeling like that for a while now. It feels like waiting for the other shoe to drop. Not a bad feeling, but creepy.

Black and Yellow Argiope ... Aka golden garden spider

This is a beneficial spider. She is active during the day and eats wasps. I have noticed the usual wasp nest in the corner behind the rose vine is not buzzing this summer. Good job ... You go golden girl ... Work that web ...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

4 / 1000

4. I heard my mother laugh today ... It was as though bubbles, sparkling effervescence, appeared from nowhere. Her laughter filled my heart ... and burned my eyes. I could get her to laugh more often ... I could hear that routinely, if I would call her.

Two is home ... between semesters ... sitting her quiet time right across the table from me ... sipping her light sweet coffee and smiling over her Mac.  Sorta like looking in a mirror 'cept we don't look a thing alike on the outside.

"What is rhubarb?"

I look up and start telling her ... She looks confused ... My hands get into the explanation.
" ... I know you've seen it ... Long pieces about as thick as my finger ... Pretty sure it comes in different gauges ... They put it inside concrete to strengthen it ... "

She laughs ... I like to hear her laugh. "Momma ... I'm talking 'bout something people eat ...".

Oh. I have an ear infection today ... I think. It's like swimmer's ear. It is driving me bonkers a n d I can't hear anything except the continuous hum of the air conditioner and something else that sounds like florescent lights (ours aren't) ... It's making me think I have to go to the doctor ... I don't have a doctor, except my AME ... He's a pediatrician ... bet he knows all about messy ears. "Oh, yeah sure ... Rhubarb. Looks like red celery. Tastes a little bit like strawberries. People make pies with it".

She looks up at me through her eyelashes ... "Mom, if that's not better by tomorrow you have to make a doctor's appointment". She sounds very firm. I look back down at my screen ... I am learning about the universe ... I don't have time to sit in the doctor's office with a bunch of sick crying babies ... but I say nothing.

"What's buttermilk?"

"Sour milk" I answer looking over at her. She is so pretty and so grown up. "My daddy had a small carton of it on the grocery list every week ... He used it in pancakes, cornbread, and muffins ... cakes ... .". My hands are out again ... I'm shaping the size of the carton. "If he ran out of it before grocery shopping day, he would put something in regular milk ... I think it has a higher fat content then regular milk ... Idk", I say.

"Yeah ... Vinegar", she says "Or lemon juice".

I smile, remembering. My dad liked to cook. And boy could he mess up a clean kitchen! "Uh huh, that's it ... Sometimes he would break up his cornbread and put it in a cold glass of buttermilk.". She wants to know what it tastes like and why it was preferred.

We go back to our respective screens ... I'm worried that is might be too cloudy to see a shooting star tonight ... I have wishes to make ... this is the peak night for that ... No, I do not believe in wishes and I don't have any idea what I would wish for ... but my heart does.

"I can go get some buttermilk for you if you'd like ... ". (Uh oh ... I just this second remembered ... I say if you'd like or if you want or if you need ... My dad said, if you wish or as you wish or because you wished ... My dad, granter of wishes. I had forgotten. I have actually become self-conscious about being wishful. Thank you Daddy.

"No thanks ... I'll just put some lemon juice in the milk ... that sounds like fun. We do have everything else right"? She reads the list to me. Yep. We have everything for a chocolate cake on hand ... including little chocolate chips for a glaze.

She asks me what else my dad liked to cook and I tell her. He made pretty much everything and really seemed to enjoy it. She raises her eyebrows when I say he made the best damn chili ... I laugh ... "That was the name of his recipe", I tell her and she shakes her head smiling.
Momma baked quite well ... like the best pie crust you've ever eaten and bread that smelled like what I'm sure heaven will smell like ... fresh bread and baby lotion ... and sky and ocean ... and fresh cut grass and waterfalls ... . Okay, a lot of different smells. I tell her my momma made bread in coffee cans and I thought she was genius, because the bread came out with lines on it like cutting guides. Guess I've always been a big fan of orderly. Hahaha.

"Coffee cans have lines on them ... you know that right"? I think about pulling her leg ...
"Yes ... I know that ... but she was making that bread when I was first learning how to cut things out with scissors ... lines were a big deal to me ... broad black lines ... ".

"Momma ... call her. Ask her how she made her pie crusts. Please."

So ... I do. I talked with her for a couple of hours ... I never talk on the phone like that. I cleaned the microwave and the kitchen cabinet doors, I emptied and started refilling the dishwasher and tidied the pantry ... I folded a big load of towels ... I listened to my mother laugh today.

... and tonight I'm going to wish upon a star.

Perseids meteor shower peaks tonight

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

No one is printing more time. The time of your life is measured only by the love you give away, so make sure you always have time enough for love. ~ Rev. Donald Sensing

one thousand gifts ... again

Started reading this book with a ton of enthusiasm.  The writing style, her way of expressing ideas, made for a slow start as I struggled to adapt my sensibilities to the timbre of her soul's song.  The book sat, with the lovely robin's egg nest, face up on my bedside table.   Then, serendipity painted a smear ... the book is controversial in (c)hristian quarters because of some ideas expressed in the final pages ... hmmm, I tend to make up my own mind about stuff like this, but, we all got burned by Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea ... I wondered ... but I didn't make time to think about it much, because Galileo was looking at me ... with a question in his eyes ... why wrestle with gratitude when I offer you a peek at the stars? Why indeed?!

This morning I woke up at my usual four o'clockish. I prayed for the people I love. My heart said their names as I thanked God for each of them ... I remembered gratitude.

(Here is a random thought ... I say I prayed for those people who I love ... and that is true ... I love them unconditionally, which is love to me, and that is why this component of trust niggles. Ummm ... God loves me, but I am certain that even as much as I desire to be faithful ... God loves me knowing that He can not trust me to cherish His love as it should be cherished ... He does not require more then I am capable of as He grows me towards being more capable of love in general. I love people who I do not trust ... for whatever deficiency ... and I have trusted people who I do not know well enough to love very much at all ... and there are relationships where both trust and love are present ... it does seem to me that the two support each other). Love. Love and trust are not mutually inclusive. They strengthen each other. They feel really good together.

... and I remembered a story I came across yesterday, summarized by this true statement: No one is printing more time. The time of your life is measured only by the love you give away, so make sure you always have time enough for love. ~ Rev. Donald Sensing

... Well, anyway, the 1000 gifts idea seems like a good discipline ... Intentional gratitude. I'm going to do it ... All 1000 of them ...

Today ...
1. Sitting in the sushi bar with my three daughters ... last lunch before school begins again. We were the only diners in house at three while exact same song played over and over ... and over ... again. One daughter began swaying in her seat and singing nonsensical words along with the Oriental musak ... Another quickly joined in ... soon all three. It was so funny. I was laughing so hard that my eyes teared up. We were all laughing. "Okay, when I'm really really old if a stroke leaves me unable to speak and y'all see me folded over laughing and you wonder what could possible be so funny ... it's this ... I will be remembering this ... y'all." Later we pile in to the car, Rev is driving and from the backseat C says, "You know ... That probably wasn't very nice ... I mean, if a table full of people who speak only Mandarin where some how singing along to some song I really liked enough to play back to back continuously for an hour ... with made up messed up sort of English sounds ... it might make me feel bad." Yeah ... Nice kid. It was still really funny.
2. Right now ... Rubbing my feet back and forth across my sheets ... Feels so good.
3. Revel and V shopped together this evening for a first day back outfit. First time ever, V came in the front door waving her package and saying, "Be right back ... Wait'llyouseethis! How cool. Loved that.

Monday, August 8, 2011

It's mid-morning and hot outside ... ice water and cold inside air push comfort in to me. OMG ... I hug myself and rock forward and back slowly, gently ... Letting go of a dream is careful work.

It is tempting to turn the music up loud and dance to another place ... and I might be foolish enough to do so if I knew where that might be. I didn't enjoy the women's clubs or even socialized working out ... "organizing" and "volunteering" ... I've done quite a lot of that over the years. Small town PTA ... check. My husband really does not want me to get a job for the sake of having a job. Every home needs a wife ... Not saying that in a bitchy way, it's just true ... just from where I am sitting right this minute, I can see my touch everywhere, and it is good ... good for me and good for my family. At the end of every summer with four or five kids in and out with their friends, wet towels, carelessly spilt sodas and words ... Well, even Sammy is looking in from the back porch like "I'll just wait out here 'till they go back.". Mid August is the most compressed time of the year for me. Church is an obvious choice. I'm thinking about that ... How that can become more central. Idk. There is an old woman dying ... She lost her husband last year. I bet they were married for sixty, maybe seventy, years. I could help her I think. I know from personal experience, that just one person slowing down enough to connect can make a huge difference in a life ... A little bit of love gently poured into that crack. ... I did enjoy working with adult literacy ... maybe they could use another helper.

I know I am feeling a little bit sorry for myself here. I also know that the incidental Learning ... Healing ... Growing .... Rebooting ... with in the dream inside a dream ... pandora/flying ... I can see that work is complete. I am excited to see what comes next. Just feel unsure. Unfocused. It's a fuzzy place between here and there. I like clarity ... or at least the illusion of clarity.

This is what I am afraid of: I'm afraid of wasting the time that I have left. I am afraid of becoming my mother. Kids raised ... absent husband (my daddy died and momma didn't re-marry ... ) ... Photos of faces and places she doesn't remember stored in the drawers of her coffee table. My mother is only 25 years older then I, and I know what 25 years looks like ... I held him in my arms seems like just yesterday. I am afraid that I won't spend my time on moments that I will remember. That is super scary to me. I don't like hanging out doing something that may actually be worthwhile with a bunch of ladies of leisure like me, trash talking whoever is not there and fretting about the lipstick they might have smeared when they dabbed at their mouths afterwards. Ummm ... I already know I can be super bitch ... See, I'm doing it right now. I want moments that mean something. I want a lot of them. I don't need to log them or photograph them, I want to lay down at night with them smiling my heart. I want to wake up with them challenging me to live larger ... Feel more deeply ... Look higher.

Interesting times. I ssshhh myself. Don't waste this transition whining I tell myself. Ssshhh. Everything is okay.

J ~ aka One ~ buying this one early so I can read it before it goes in your Christmas stocking ... lol.

Geek Wisdom ~ a book by Stephen H. Segal

Today, thanks to Phil Hartman's hilarious parody on "Saturday Night Live," most of us know the revelatory climax of Soylent Green as pure camp: The world's most popular new brand of food is processed from the corpses of the recent dead--a necessary evil that allows humanity to continue endlessly increasing our consumption without a care for the consequences. In 1973, that was science fiction--but how far out is it, really? No, that potato chip you're eating isn't your grandmother. But consider the clothes you wear and the screen you're staring at; they were quite possibly manufactured by children in sweatshops or migrants working in conditions we ourselves would never tolerate. Our lifestyle of comfort has been built on a foundation of systemic dehumanization; in other words, it's made out of people.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Blue "greenhouse" made from old windows - Fine Homebuilding

Added 28 Oct 2011 ... Saw it on Pinterest

Blue "greenhouse" made from old windows - Fine Homebuilding
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Husband out for the week ... Doing that gig which the tornadoes postponed back in early May. He has always been a very diligent worker ... The kids are both pleased and amazed that he has taken the past several Saturdays off to walk the Trail with me ... and sometimes one or two of them. This is that weird week before everyone goes back to school. The two college kids, the High Schooler, and little miss, Middle School. On Thursday the house will be very very quiet ... Like wabbit hunting quiet. I've got some thinking to do. My inclination would be to find things to do around my home ... I'm kind of a home body. I'm already thinking about what I'm going to do. I said I would relearn Spanish as soon as I had time, but ... I really think it will come right back to me when I am around people who speak Spanish. Still too hot for real yard work, but that is high on my to do list as soon as it cools down some. I looked for a pottery class ... None being offered right now. I am surprised that of all the art I've done over the years, I have never thrown a pot ... I want to. I like pottery quite a bit. Several years ago I had the fun of over seeing several large projects for the house, one was new windows, and I saved all the old ones for building an outdoor structure. They are stacked very neatly, one against the other, under the house. I intended to build something like this with them ... Probably slightly more open, and I know it wants a corrugated metal roof, but, not sure about the floor ... Maybe just pine straw.

It would cost next to nothing and be fun back in the woods. If it looks junky, I can just pull it down. I also want to redo the goldfish pool ... There are no fish in it, and Sammy makes himself a big mess in it ... I need to either fill it in, or make it right. The flowerbed along the driveway is a mess right now too, and I need to get on that with the new neighbors ... It has been a shared bed and I wonder what they would like to do with it. Our side still has day lilies and irises, but the other side is overcome with thistle, wild wisteria, and monkey grass ... I think they are going to care about the yard, and it doesn't really matter to me what is there, just that if he needs to spray poison, I have a lot of plants to move! Our driveway is about three foot lower then theirs. I think I am going to do mostly yard work while I wait to see how I need to be spending my time. I may go get that glider rating. I think that is only a weekend thing. I need to check in to that.
My son One called this afternoon. They are between semesters. I always really enjoy talking with him. I like that he likes what he is doing with his life. He totally got the big dealness of this disappointment and was very supportive about me interviewing for my dream job ... lol ... He said, "It's really great that you did everything you could ... now there are no questions to move forward with.". I like how matter of fact he is ... I like that he didn't tell me not to feel bad about it. I do feel bad about it, but I am okay with it too. It is what it is ... And not the end of the world. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn so many life lessons in such a super cool classroom. My Navajo flying buddy encouraged me to keep looking for a teaching job, but I don't think my heart is in it anymore.
We shall see what lies ahead. I think I need to make room in my life for whatever comes next ... be graceful about it. I started flying because I needed something ... I needed something for my soul and I have completed that journey ... . That was a really good gift directly from God, and I am humbled and overwhelmed by how tenderly He brought me along to grow in to it. God really rocks the patience app like only a being who has never worn a wrist watch can. I like flying so much that I had hoped to share that experience with a few students, but I am okay if that is not what is next for me. Honestly, if God has other ideas, I am pretty excited to see what they are. I feel very fortunate. (stupid airplanes being so much fun!)

Counterfeit Gods a book by Timothy Keller

True North

Read on the drive yesterday ... Highlights ... notes from 7 August 2011 .

First of all, it's a very insightful book. Discussing it with One today, I noted that even if you don't think you have idols worship going on in your own life, it's still an extremely helpful book in that it enhances the meaning of some of the Bible stories I've been kinda thinking surely there is more to it then that. I remember the first of the Ten Commandments ... 3 “You shall have no other gods before me". Exodus 20. Right there at the top of the "to don't" list. Some one, oh yeah, a Canadian pastor, James McDonald, said (my paraphrase) Where ever you read don't in the scriptures, think: Don't hurt yourself by doing this... . That seems like a great way to think about the "don'ts" ... Every single one of us can see the negative outcomes experienced by doing the don'ts. And also, how seductive don'ts are ...seems like the closer you get to them, the more captivating and blinding they become. (Romans 7:19 NIV For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing.) Don't hurt yourself ... waste yourself ... on serving little man-made gods ... it seems pathetically laughable, and yet ... this inclination seems to be first place strong. I'm looking at my life ... for altars to these little gods.

Friedrich Nietzsche is quoted; "There are more idols in the world then there are realities." ... good quote, but I don't know why the author would choose to quote Nietzche ... who is at best an unhappy camper and who would, I believe, chew this book up and spit it out. I just don't see any connection other then referent intellectualism ... or maybe lickin' up to the scholarly ... a sort of idol worship.

"In Christianity neither Morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point." the Antichrist Neitzsche "God is dead." and "Morality is herd instinct in the individual.". Gay Science also Neitzsche "Is man merely a mistake of God's? Or is God merely a mistake of man's?" Twilight of the Idols, Maxims and Arrows

"For believe me: the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and greatest enjoyment is - to live dangerously." Also;
"A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions--as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all."
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science (particularly enjoy these two quotes)
No doubt Nietzsche contributed unique, thoughtful ideas, but I'm pretty sure he didn't speak in support of Christianity or the Christian notion of Creator God.

The sort of definition of idol used in this book is -> where ever ... To whatever your mind wanders to when you have time to just relax ... there you may find your idol. Sort of the idea of where your heart is so are your treasures. He is not specifically thinking of primitive people bowing down to their totems, rather each of us going where we go to make our sacrifices and doing what we do to procure the good life ... Paying homage to the gods of beauty, youth, power, money, sex, achievement, etc. trying to dull the pain of inner emptiness. Here's a paragraph out of the intro:

The biblical concept of idolatry is an extremely sophisticated idea, integrating intellectual, psychological, social, cultural, and spiritual categories. There are personal idols, such as romantic love and family; or money, power and achievement; or access to particular social circles; or the emotional dependence others have on you; or health, fitness, and physical beauty. Many look to these things for the hope, meaning, and fulfillment that only God can provide.xix

He mentions possible cultural idols ... possible intellectual idols ... vocational idols ... .

He looks at where the disenchantment with these idols leads us ... unsatisfied ... starving.

I think the book got interesting over around page 27 when he began to explain some of the stories in the Old and New Testaments as metaphors for our own lives. Jacob's longing (and why he was hollow to start with), the amazing story of Zacchaeus and his capitulation from greed to grace (it affected his whole house), or the powerful Naaman who was unable to control his health (leprosy), incredulous when his money and most excellent standing could not procure healing, and eventually how he set aside pride for spiritual humility and received a gift of new life. And there are others ... .

He talks about this illusion that we like ... That we are in control, while he points out that we may be the product of these three things ... Genetics, Environment, and Personal Choices. And he states, " - but two of these three factors we have no power over." Ummm ... That seems a little simplistic to me ... Genetics you are stuck with ... environment also to some extent, but the effects of both may be tweaked by our choices ... I'm certainly not saying that I believe choice trumps all ... Just that personal choice seems to be rather a big deal to me ... and choice is welded as a two edged sword. Poor choices may place me in an inhospitable environment ... poor choices may exacerbate my genetic predisposition towards colon cancer ... That sort of thing.

Over on page 110 the author uses Niebuhr to slam the poet Henley ... Invictus ... I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul ... Asserting that it was defiantly penned, a view of reality distorted and "infected with the sin of pride". Guess we all read things differently. I see the poem as an affirmation that while you can not control circumstances, you can chose your attitude towards them. I must choose by God's grace to steer clear of the water of bitterness ... Or I may neglect the call of grace and wallow in the acidic wash of rage ... or whatever my chosen means of self defeat may be.

I like thinking about his notion of "deep idols" expressing themselves through a variety of "surface idols". The 17th century English minister David Clarkson preached one of the most comprehensive and searching sermons on counterfeit God's ever written. About idolatry he said, "though few will own it, nothing is more common." if we think of our soul as a house, he said, "idols are set up in every room, in every faculty". we prefer our own wisdom to God's wisdom, our own desires to God's will, and our own reputation to God's honor. pg 154
The book closes with a call to find and replace your idols ... saying that it will be a continuous process.

I think the book is worth a look for sure.