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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Max - 5 months

Pics for SAMSON rehearsals

manipulated pictures taken during SAMSON dress rehearsals

And, I suddenly wondered where Austin Opera gets the singers for their Opera Chorus - because I may want to do that : )

It is such a pleasure to sing great works again.

Roger Scruton, new to me, actually has a lot of interesting things to say.  I've been reading and watching his work that is available on line.

Lisa's Italian Creme Cake recipe

Icing roses "piped" on by V ... she does that so well!

You'll definitely need to double the icing recipe.  I used pecans in the icing between layers, but kept the top icing smooth.  Also, I think this cake wants larger pecans in the cake batter and very finely chopped pecans on the sides with the toasted coconut.  This cake is at it's best served very cold, just short of frozen.

Easter dessert this year (and very hopeful to become an Easter menu tradition).

While we are talking about Easter traditions - this was the only Easter basket in our home this year ->

a pie "bunny" and the start on soup crocks for little miss

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Alright, so, I'm not going to do those 52 lists.  Some of them are just too ... here: List the people who brighten your day (skipping/ too silly, they are all pretty silly), List your favorite quotes (see side column).  List the things you treasure most ... and that is definitely going to be "the things which can not be replaced or repeated, as important people and various life experiences ... joy.  When ever joy is happened upon, those are the most treasured treasures.  I think "stuff" passes away but those moments and those people who help you become who you are becoming for "next" remain and are the pearls of value.  The pearly portals to eternity.  Those treasure you do take with you (I think).

Bigger picture = the dam (background)  from the spillway side where the walking trails are "improved" and maintained. 
Upper right = red line entering picture is where I stood to snap the bigger shot.  Those rocks ... I believe they are "crawling" with rattlesnakes!  I've seen rattlesnakes there and I've seen sticks that look like rattlesnakes there ... both are alarming!  Would you believe a young woman, 30ish and certainly old enough to know better, climbed up that rock wall and came over the barrier at the midway point on the bridge?!? (The smoothly arched part of the red line is the bridge.)  I am generally highly unlikely to comment on anyone's, and certainly a stranger's, behavior or choices BUT when she came over the edge from climbing that wall I said ... You know the rattlesnakes are "active" this time of year, right?  She didn't have a clue.  Fortunately, she took the note  graciously.  She said she didn't think there were snakes around here.  Uh ... yeah.  Last week I saw a coral snake not more than two foot from the paved trail.  Yes ... snakes ... love rock piles ... love rivers ... love Texas hot.  If there were a list of "what are you afraid of" snakes would be at the top for me.   
Lower right picture = the elusive black squirrel.  I don't know if it really is a black squirrel or even if there is such a thing as the black squirrel, but whatever it is, I've seen them only here, in the rocks, and they are really hard to spot.  They blend right in and the shoot over and under the boulders with lightning speed (probably dodging snakes is my guess).  This one is a baby.  He was on the lake side of the dam.
The weather is mostly fine and I've started walking a couple hours (or more) a day.  Yesterday I had a nice visit along the trail with the most normal Vietnam era Vet that I've become acquainted with.  He served as an officer in the marines.  Also noteworthy was his little dog, a mix of chihuahua and Cretan hound.  I like the dog's calm yet alert disposition.

Really bad weather over where four of my family members  are ... it's glorious here today.  Recent storms have cleared the air of pollen.

I'll do some of those lists ... .

Friday, March 24, 2017

(what I like to do for fun)
enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure
  • Basically, anything that makes me laugh. My favorite thing to laugh about is when I am with someone who is actually trying to be funny.  For fun I like to do things and be with people who I can laugh with.
  • I like to shop with a buddy who I'm getting ready to prepare a meal with and I like cooking with a buddy - that's fun.
  • I like to fly for fun.  I don't have a favorite plane, they are all good.  Flying as a passenger isn't fun, it's just boring.
  • I like out of doors things like hiking, zip lining, horseback riding, kayaking.  I like those things in different ways (the speed of the experience is different for looking at things)but they're all good for fun in their own ways.
  • Seeing my kids is almost always super fun for me.  I especially enjoy seeing them enjoying each other and their other special people.
  • It's fun to jump on trampolines.  I also always have fun on or near water.
  • It's starting to be fun to plan a train trip.  
  • Anything that I get to get dressed up for (except funerals) is fun.
  • Singing is fun.  Singing while laughing is really fun.
  • It's always fun to watch cute kitten videos with V.
  • Holidays are reliable fun times.
  • Learning can be lots of fun.  I tend to think of it as a fun thing even though lots of routes to better understanding are not fun.
  • Exploring - places, ideas, people, etc. is fun (at least initially).
  • Shooting pool.  Playing silly board games.
  • Pedicures are fun.
  • Yoga.  Yoga is fun.
  • Playing ... that's the word!  Any thing playful is fun.  I like to play.
  • It's also fun to see the people I love having fun - that's probably the best fun.
  • Watching live sporting events at the venue especially.
  • Making lists like this seems like it's gonna be fun.  C invited me to do 52 lists with her this year.  This is list #1.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hmmm - what to do?

Someone sent this today and it seemed like a thing to share.

I don't think about regrets very often.  Like this guy says, life doesn't come with do-overs.  Maybe there are a few along the way, but you can't count on them coming when you think you need them.

[This is the only regret that I can think of, I mean, regrettable choices have been made, but those aren't choices where I might have made a better choice with the information I had available at the time - running is different.  I regret that I didn't either keep up with or re-start a running routine.  It's advisable for me to begin running like I used to do (long distance running) now.  I'm a huge fan of well defined calf muscles though because  they are a sure sign of the ability to commit long term to something (and I think it's a healthy coping strategy).]

Having spent Saturday on a day trip with One,I would like to share this bit of our conversation:

I think it's an important thing in life to have "something you are intentionally doing".  (And I don't have that something figured out right now, but I'm working on it!)

I recently did the HUMAN NEEDS TEST and I think it's a pretty neat way to access what makes the most sense to "a person" as far as how one does life.  (I'll re-visit that later.)

If what you are intentionally doing supports your top two human needs it seems like you're going to "feel" good about how you spend your days.  Which is what I am trying to think about for myself lately.

When we moved away from the life I was comfortable with (back in 1989) "things" changed.  It was one of those life passages.  We are, well, I am (husband has transitioned nicely to what comes next for him) kinda stuck in my star gate.  I sense, or anticipate, that I'm getting close to what comes next ... the whats, because life is fuller than just one "what" ... for me.

I've noticed this lately (in light of the fact that we haven't found a house to buy yet) ... I wanted to bring my comfort zone with me ... that's doing what I do around the house (puttering and gardening) and flight instructing.  I thought I'd just keep on doing that over here.  I have decided not to continue flight instructing (at least for now).  Living in a rented house doesn't fit with my puttering and gardening.

When we made the huge transition before, it opened new possibilities up for me (and my family).  Good things happened that I was unable to envision at the beginning of that time.  I think that's got to be true now, during this major transition.  I want to "hold on to my old comfy stuff" but that keeps my hands too busy to embrace what's next.

Anyway - walk time now.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

It amazes me how little our looks change over the years. This was taken on the 4th of July in 1968.  That year trouble was brewing with North Korea, King and Kennedy were assassinated, Boeing launched the 747, and the American flag orbited our moon aboard the Apollo 8.  (BTW - Hidden Figures - the movie - rocked.)

My family was vacationing in Arizona.  I don't remember this, but the batch of pictures, received this week, show that we were camping out.  I do remember bears coming into our camp once and my dad scooping me up and rushing all of us into the fire engine red station wagon.  I remember them rummaging around our things and moving on - not even a twinkie crumb to be had around our area.  My dad was a stickler for a tidy campsite.  Arizona was one of my parent's favorite destinations and we spent a lot of time exploring the natural beauty of the State.  I'd love to go back to visit several of those places adding Roden Crater to the long list. 
I think it was at the Petrified forest where  a tree had fallen across a gorge ... I might have been six or so when I first read the sign there: Cowboys road their surefooted horses across this natural bridge.  Something like that.  Definitely surefooted (because I didn't know what that meant and had to ask), definitely cowboy on horse back.  I shivered at their confidence imagining the Lone Ranger and Tonto. 
The sign there says Sitgreaves National Forrest ... not near the Petrified Forest or The Grand Canyon where I first thought of being in an airplane.  I wasn't allowed to make the tourists flight with my older brother. I still remember my dad insisting that he would be allowed to go on that flight with our grandparents while my mother insisted I would not be.  I remember watching the plane get tiny.  
Blessed with lots of sweet memories and the wish to see many of those places all over again.  This time I'll probably make the flight! 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

the dog update

My dog at about 8 weeks and 10 weeks later.  He'll triple his weigh before the year is over, weighing between 120 and 150 as an adult dog.  If ... !
He is an eating machine.
He is now, for the most part, "house trained".  I can't remember when he had his last accident, but I expect we haven't seen the last of those. He likes to try to empty out waste baskets in the house shredding paper towel and getting cotton balls stuck in his mouth.  He still can't grasp the fact that our shoes are not chew toys.  In the sense of understanding what is okay and what is not okay inside the house we have a ways to go.  Yesterday he began to pull the turquoise pipping away from one of the grey club chairs.  He stretches my patience ... .
He does love to go on walks and does a good job of behaving well on the leash.  Without a leash he loses his ability to hear well.  I really like that he looks up when airplanes pass overhead ... and birds. He is keenly aware of what is going on around him, which is great.  He will sit and lay down on request when properly bribed to do so.  He brings the ball back every time it is thrown.  I had forgotten how much work goes in to getting an animal trained.
It'll be worth all the effort.

On Tuesday he got in the river and found some crawdads ... and I'm guessing ate some ... major allergic reaction apparent a few hours later.  I thought it must be a bee sting because he is always looking for a bee to bother around the glass doors.  Husband sheepishly acknowledged that he saw the dog messing with the mudbugs.  Woke up the next morning with his snout back to normal, it had looked like a horse snout!  He was in the water "fishing" at every opportunity on the next walk.  I understand that allergic reactions become more severe with each exposure so I'm trying to nip his young pup and the river tendencies in the bud.

December 2016

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

bunny (or chinchilla) under an oil derrick in West Texas

Pretty ... this was on my FB feed this morning ... picture taken by a guy I guess I've known all my life.  He was one of Tommy's running buddies, my parents especially liked him.  Probably the only person currently on the planet (other than me) who knows my mom's potato salad was simply the best ever.

This little guy is at an oil rig near Pecos, Texas.  I love the light in this shot, the colors are so West Texas.  I also think it's really neat that these Hardhat/Boots guys have time to tend to a little bunny.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Notes on Physical Presence (and not) from Earthen Vessels/Matthew Anderson and Hiding Behind the Screen/Scruton

Notes on what I marked in my copy of Earthen Vessels - Matthew Anderson -

Physical Presence with people/friends as opposed to online presentations with people/strangers.  
I hesitate to put it so bluntly (because I value the few "friendships" enjoyed because of this blog), but I think it's true that an "online" relationship with a person one does not, can not, share "time and space" with is not the same, can not be the same, as sitting down to coffee or taking a walk while becoming acquainted with a person.  I know part of "it" for me is my love language - time, and by that I mean attention - where I invest my time is where I share myself, my love.  It makes the most sense to "do that" with one's whole self. When it's done entirely in the mediated world I think there must be a lot left to the imagination ... I fill in the blanks left by your physical absence ... I'm probably getting an inaccurate picture of who you are.  I, equally unintentionally, am constrained by bodily absence to under-represent myself as well.  (This is "my font" - the other is copy and paste from the cited sources.) 

We are not present online - we present ourselves.
But in the mediated world, presentation will constantly threaten to overwhelm our bodily presence, invariably pushing the body to the margins. 
When humans gather face-to-face we take emotional (and sometimes physical) risks. Yet in a mediated world, those risks either go away or are significantly curtailed. Philosopher Roger Scruton made this point in an important essay in The New Atlantis. As he puts it:

           To a larger extent, life on the screen is risk-free: when we 
       click to enter some new domain, we risk nothing immediate
       in the way of physical danger, and our accountability to 
         others and risk of emotional embarrassment is attenuated. 

By way of contrast, when we walk in to a Starbucks and see the barista, we risk disclosure - by way of our bodily presence, the look on our face, the habitual nonverbal cue - that he or she will see something of our inner life without our realizing it. ~
pgs. 92 & 93

Physical presence makes possible a true communion of persons, a communion that requires a sharing of space and time.
Yet for us to be present does require something more than space and time. To be present is to be there in our whole person, both our internal and external dimensions. We are, in a sense, present with and towards others.

Scruton again:
What we are witnessing is a change in the attention that mediates and gives rise to friendship. In the once normal conditions of human contact, people became friends by being in each other's presence, understanding all the many subtle signals, verbal and bodily, whereby another testifies to his character, emotions, and intentions, and building affection and trust in tandem. Attention was fixed on the other - on his face, words, and gestures. And his nature as an embodied person was the focus of the friendly feelings he inspired. ~pg. 94

Hiding Behind the Screen  ~ Scruton/The New Atlantis

When I began searching for essays to help me understand "the disconnect" experienced, that I experience, in relationships which are "pen-pal-like", and/or long term-long distance friendships I thought Earthen Vessels may be just what I was looking for.  Instead, I find it to be more of a statement on various topics within transitioning Evangelical Christianity (in the USA).  It reads for me as a set of essays as someone tries to figure this out.  I did find Matthew Anderson's perspective helpful because he is about the age of my older adult children and I think he does a great job of clarifying trends within the culture of "their" faith.

I think I've noticed that some of what/how we believe (to be scriptural) is socially/culturally motivated or supported. Here's a simple example - in Colonial times I imagine tobacco consumption was not frowned on in christian circles as it is today ... or this ... as the author points out, how "the emerging church" (yet to be defined) views tattoos and (lol) loud music is entirely different  than the churches of yesteryear.

Anyway - moving on to a few of the ideas that Scruton puts forth in Hiding Behind the Screen.  And ... it's not that my people are hiding, they are as present as they can be, but the idea of  not entirely "present" is what I'm trying to think about ... because it does inject a unique dynamic into the friendship.

Quotes from his essay:

Human relations, and the self-image of the human being, have been profoundly affected by the Internet and by the ease with which images of other people can be summoned to the computer screen to become the objects of emotional attention. How should we conceptualize this change, and what is its effect on the psychic condition of those most given to constructing their world of interests and relationships through the screen? Is this change as damaging as many would have us believe, undermining our capacity for real relationships and placing a mere fantasy of relatedness in their stead? Or is it relatively harmless, as unproblematic as speaking to a friend on the telephone?
Real friendship shows itself in action and affection. The real friend is the one who comes to the rescue in your hour of need; who is there with comfort in adversity and who shares with you his own success. This is hard to do on the screen — the screen, after all, is primarily a locus of information, and is only a place of action insofar as communication is a form of action. Only words, and not hands or the things they carry, can reach from it to comfort the sufferer, to ward off an enemy’s blows, or to provide any of the tangible assets of friendship in a time of need.
What we are witnessing is a change in the attention that mediates and gives rise to friendship. In the once normal conditions of human contact, people became friends by being in each other’s presence, understanding all the many subtle signals, verbal and bodily, whereby another testifies to his character, emotions, and intentions, and building affection and trust in tandem. Attention was fixed on the other — on his face, words, and gestures. And his nature as an embodied person was the focus of the friendly feelings that he inspired. People building friendship in this way are strongly aware that they appear to the other as the other appears to them. The other’s face is a mirror in which they see their own. Precisely because attention is fixed on the other there is an opportunity for self-knowledge and self-discovery, for that expanding freedom in the presence of the other which is one of the joys of human life. 
When attention is fixed on the other as mediated by the screen, however, there is a marked shift in emphasis. For a start, I have my finger on the button; at any moment I can turn the image off, or click to arrive at some new encounter. The other is free in his own space, but he is not really free in myspace, over which I am the ultimate arbiter. I am not risking myself in the friendship to nearly the same extent as I risk myself when I meet the other face to face. Of course, the other may so grip my attention with his messages, images, and requests that I stay glued to the screen. Nevertheless, it is ultimately a screen that I am glued to, and not the face that I see in it. All interaction with the other is at a distance, and whether I am affected by it becomes to some extent a matter of my own choosing.
There grows between us a reduced-risk encounter, in which each is aware that the other is fundamentally withheld, sovereign within his impregnable cyber-castle.
All those ideas are contained in the term first introduced by the philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte to denote the inner goal of a free personal life: Selbstbestimmung, self-determination or self-certainty. Hegel’s crucial claim is that the life of freedom and self-certainty can only be obtained through others. I become fully myself only in contexts which compel me to recognize that I am another in others’ eyes. I do not acquire my freedom and individuality and then, as it were, try them out in the world of human relations. It is only by entering that world, with its risks, conflicts, and responsibilities, that I come to know myself as free, to enjoy my own perspective and individuality, and to become a fulfilled person among persons.
We must come to an understanding, then, of what is at stake in the current worries concerning the Internet, avatars, and life on the screen. The first issue at stake is risk. We are rational beings, endowed with practical as well as theoretical reasoning. And our practical reasoning develops through our confrontation with risk and uncertainty. To a large extent, life on the screen is risk-free: when we click to enter some new domain, we risk nothing immediate in the way of physical danger, and our accountability to others and risk of emotional embarrassment is attenuated. This is vividly apparent in the case of pornography — and the addictive nature of pornography is familiar to all who have to work in counseling those whom it has brought to a state of distraught dependency. The porn addict gains some of the benefits of sexual excitement, without any of the normal costs; but the costs are part of what sex means, and by avoiding them, one is destroying in oneself the capacity for sexual attachment.
This is vividly apparent in the case of pornography...
Just a tiny note here...I'm really not thinking about's a good metaphor for the fantasy aspect, the "fill in the blanks with your preferences" created by physical absence, the potential pitfalls generateded by "not truly present in time and space" relationships.  Benefit without cost, "diminishing" one's need or capacity for more genuine, thus more meaningful, attachment.  As I refine my thinking here I recall "cheap grace"*.
Back to it:
In human relations, risk avoidance means the avoidance of accountability, the refusal to stand judged in another’s eyes, the refusal to come face to face with another person, to give oneself in whatever measure to him or her, and so to run the risk of rejection. Accountability is not something we should avoid; it is something we need to learn. Without it we can never acquire either the capacity to love or the virtue of justice. Other people will remain for us merely complex devices, to be negotiated in the way that animals are negotiated, for our own advantage and without opening the possibility of mutual judgment. Justice is the ability to see the other as having a claim on you, as being a free subject just as you are, and as demanding your accountability. To acquire this virtue you must learn the habit of face-to-face encounters, in which you solicit the other’s consent and cooperation rather than imposing your will. The retreat behind the screen is a way of retaining control over the encounter, while minimizing the need to acknowledge the other’s point of view.
*Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession.... Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Monday, February 20, 2017

My MacBook Pro seems to be kaput!  I've tried restarting it but ... Nada.  Later this week I'll try to get an appointment at the local Apple Store. (Update on that - after being on the charger overnight the laptop restarted without a glitch.  The battery must have been so depleted that it just couldn't start.  Noted that the green dot on the power connection was very faint initially and became stronger as it charged.  Basically I am just monitoring the power and not allowing it to dip below 30% ... and I think I may be on notice that the need for a replacement device is on the horizon.)

It feels "funny" to tap out notes on my iPad!

Somehow... And I don't know how ... This device has stored the pictures I've used over the years as my profile pic.
It will be fun to look at those in order. I guess from 2009 to current.
IFR (in a C172) with an old school timer on the yoke

Summer Camp "sweetie" pickup

A "right turn" was indicated but I was thinking about "off-roading"

In foyer with "beach" chest
I loved that sweater

Don't remember this pic, but my grey was really starting to shine

Climbing rose bush where the birds built their nest-
this pic was taken bc of that brown dress
delivered that day from bff

don't remember this pic at all

This pic I don't remember either, but I know it was
taken before some la-de-da event in support of husband's career
(University colors for lipstick and necklace)
That is definitely a game face.

just joy (in a lightsport)

Newport Beach
another event related to husband's career
(first cup of coffee smile there ...)

My brother had texted asking for a
"what's up right now pic" - this is that.
This was a before dinner party shot
for husband's career.
I can see the pain in my eyes
(because it was apparent that
my brother was running out of time)

this pic in front of a painting by one of my daughters
I don't actually "like" this pic of me - I think my
upper lip to nose spacing looks really weird,
but I committed to a face shot a month posting on this blog
this was what I had that month - 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Grace - Notes from Earthen Vessels - Grace

Notes on what I marked in my copy of Earthen Vessels - Matthew Anderson -

Grace is not a technique.
It is not a magical quality that God dispenses like a candy machine, or the power for self-actualization or personal peace and affluence.  It is not a lubricant to get the parts inside working properly.  And it is not a three-step program for self-improvement. When we treat grace that way, we surrender to the spirit of our age by fashioning ourselves and our bodies through our own efforts.  We don't use grace to shape ourselves - it shapes us into the image of the one who gives it. ~pg.27

I recently pooled a chat group of my oldest friends asking what do y'all think would be an important attribute/characteristic/quality/etc. to begin your 60s with ... what makes the 60s great? One friend answered I would propose grace. She went on to say grace encompasses several things including physical grace,the grace of forgiveness,the grace of knowing when to keep your mouth shut and the grace of knowing the best thing to say or do. The "in and out" on going conversation took a different turn after that one (and only) response.  Grace probably is the ultimate answer to that question.

Through grace - the presence of God himself is in our hearts and lives - it is not a technique, it does have a shape. And it looks like Jesus. ~pg.27

Christ is not only the pattern for our lives - he is also the power. ...
The reduction of our lives and morality to a "technique" is at the root of the malaise within the evangelical world. Sociologists Christian Smith and Melinda Denton introduced the term moralist therapeutic deism to describe the dominant religion among young people in America. It is deistic because its God is not present or active in the world.  It is therapeutic because its benefits involve feeling "good, happy, secure, and at peace." And it is moralistic because it teaches that doing the right thing is central to having a "good and happy life." It is technique - the assertion of our wills on the world - applied to morality. pg.28

Unfortunately, evangelicals sometimes suffer from an anemic understanding of how grace shapes our lives. We alternate between playing the legalistic card when people attempt to draw lines about how Christians should or should not act, and playing the libertine card when others sanction their immoral actions with the gospel. We either have cheap grace or it doesn't exist at all. ~pg.28 A gospel ethic, though, is a normative account of how our lives conform to the pattern of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that is discerned and freely enacted by the power of the Spirit's indwelling presence.(*15 - Donovan's Resurrection and Moral Order is the key text here.)~pg. 29

So what does that mean Matthew Anderson asks ... and suggest that we reconsider and clarify three popular ways in which we talk about ethics:

First we need to guard against conflatulating our understanding of Christian freedom with our culture's premise that freedom is our absolute right to do whatever we want without harming others.
Second - and I put this forward tentatively - I suspect we need to rethink whether conscience is an adequate guide for how we live in the body. ... Specifically, if my conscience did not trouble me and the action in consideration was not explicitly commanded or prohibited in the Scripture, then I was "free" to move ahead. But if the conscience is a faculty like the mind or the heart, then it too is fallen - which means it needs to be brought into conformity with Scripture, the authoritative witness to the reality of Christ's death and resurrection, and is insufficient as a guide to how we should love our neighbors as ourselves.~pg.29

(In the margin I wrote - numbed conscience shaped by repetitive sin and societal norms. I believe that "repentance" is not just saying "I'm sorry",  it includes stopping doing whatever it is one is "sorry" for doing.)

Third, ... our experiences are an inadequate guide for determining how we should live ... . ...We must always evaluate our own circumstances and experiences in light of the authoritative Word of God. ~pg.30

Saturday, February 18, 2017

so - lets do the death thing ... #3 on the list

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

I believe that, it is what was given to me to believe - Christianity.  Had I been born in a different time or place I may not have had the opportunity to think about these words and the truths lived out behind them.  I am fortunate.

I believe in the resurrection of the body ... I don't know how that works, I don't even have a firm opinion of the when of that.  I do like to imagine my brothers reunited in "heaven" now ... laughing together ... but I don't know if they are actually still "asleep" while they await a resurrection of the body.  I've read a bit of the apocrypha ... so much to read so little time and quite frankly I could spend more time reading the Bible as  modern protestants know it so spending much time on the apocrypha doesn't feel right for me.  
Okay, just as an aside, in literature it seemed to me that a lot of pieces alluded to ideas which were widely know but of which I was ignorant ... several of those "themes" are represented in the apocrypha ... is it the inspired word of God?  Idk.  
So back to resurrection which is already a sidetrack to the general plan of this note ... I don't know when the resurrection of one's body takes place ... I do believe it's a cooler body then the incredibly cool ones we have now, not just the uncorruptable aspect, the fact of that, but the why of that as well - the why of that is going to be super cool. (I think Adam and Eve had that super cool type of body before the fall - I think sin unwrapped them from that body and I think that is why they "felt naked" ... no reason that I can remember to justify why I think that, I just do.) 

And changed the glory of the incorruptible God 
 into an image made like to corruptible man, 
and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 
Romans 1:23 KJ

and exchanged the glory of the immortal God 
for images made to look like a mortal human being 
and birds and animals and reptiles.
 Romans 1:23 NIV

so - whatever and when ever "that" is idk, but I would like to believe that the soul part of an individual is not resting (dead? asleep?  does my soul in its current form sleep?does it wake up when my body wakes up to go to the restroom in the middle of the night?  Is it "awake" when I am dreaming? ... ).  I would like to think/believe that my family is awake and experiencing cool stuff.  

Some people believe that our dead loved ones are still nearby our lives, like ... helping us.  I don't believe that myself.  It would be nice, but I'm hoping my guys have cooler stuff to occupy their time in eternity. I think they are done with this time and are "in" an entirely different time.  I don't think that they are aware of what's happening on this side of life as we know it.  

My mother was "seeing over there" during her last few hours. Was that real or just crazy cool brain chemistry - again, idk - but what she described was a group of people in a very pleasant environment.  As I listened to her I imagined that she was describing a very nice party. She recognized several of the people, one person she "saw" really surprised her ... she had imagined (hoped perhaps) that he would have to go to hell.  She "saw" a photographer at the party who was taking a picture of her as she sat in her hospital bed.  I "like" thinking that she was seeing into the next place her soul would be enjoying, maybe it was a welcome party for her.  Knowing my mother as I do, it is impossible for me to believe that she created or  "chose" that "vision" .  It wasn't what she would have imagined, what she would have most preferred.

I imagine my deceased loved ones "enjoying" themselves.  It's not as sad for me if they are enjoying themselves.

I think of Tommy more often than I do of the others.  I really thought he would be around to get old with.  I miss him.  I accept that I miss him.  

Yesterday reading Psalm 139:16: Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be 
I thought God definitely knows what is best. I leave it at that. Because all that stuff is unknowable. If I believe any of it I must believe that God is good and has good intentions.

For me, the hardest part was walking towards death with them.  

I'm going to try to get back to making notes here - I'm behind and I'd like to catch up.  Writing the words helps clarify my thoughts and reading back over what I've written helps me refine and focus on how I most want to "organize" myself.  That's funny - I collect myself here and sort myself out.

I don't know how I want to spend my time today.

1. notes on the book I just finished reading - EARTHEN VESSELS / Matthew Anderson who blogs at Mere Orthodoxy .  I've read a couple of essays there - undecided on what I think of the site. "Mere" always recalls Lewis as "Orthodoxy" will Chesterton.  Shoulders of giants ... . Anyway - linked for further consideration and possible enlightenment.

There were points in the book that I'd like to note.

2. This - Human Needs Test 
As humans we all have basic needs that we try to meet in our everyday lives.  Whether consciously or unconsciously we will try to fulfill the needs which are most important to us.  However, our quality of life can be affected by how we choose to do that.  We can try to fulfill our needs either in a negative and harmful way, or in a positive and empowering way.  If the way we try to meet those needs is not in line with our values then we will experience conflict and discontentment.  When we are able to align our needs with our highest values then we will feel more complete and fulfilled.

  1. (importance to me)
  2.   6         Certainty.  The need for security, stability, and reliability.
  3.   6.5      Uncertainty/Variety.  The need for change, stimulation, and challenge.
  4.   6         Significance.  The need to feel acknowledged, recogized, and valued.
  5. 10         Love and Connection.  The need to love and to feel loved, and to feel connected with others.
  6. 11.5      Growth.  The need to grow, improve, and develop, both in character and in spirit.
  7.   9               Contribution.  The need to give, to help others, and to make a difference.
3 Noticing that people are asking me how I think about, or "deal" with the deaths in my childhood family.  That question is coming up a lot lately and I'd like to share that forward in time for the sake of my own children.

This is not related to anything I've listed today - just happened - An old man (92) just showed up at the front door asking if it might be okay for him to walk along the river in our back yard and perhaps fly fish there as he used to do.  I invited him in and we spent a few minutes becoming acquainted.  He is a very cool old guy.  His wife passed recently (he barely choked that out), He entered WWII as an already degreed Chemical Engineer and flew for our country.  He said, with barely controlled anguish,  at one time practically every plane (bombers) that went up on mission from his squadron were shot down.  He remembers those days more clearly (and with tangible emotional pain) then he does more recent events.  He lite up remembering what a huge help the RedTails were at keeping the bombers safe.  My husband has walked him down to the river and I hope to have him in for lunch next week.  

My youngest needs some time with me so  I set this aside for now.  More on those three topics later -

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


Thankful for "courage to try again"

I haven't been feeling good lately ... sickish in early January, no big deal, just enough to warrant a trip to the doctor for a Zpak, then just a weird "funk" for most of the days in January up until nowish.  Christmas was great - got to spend time with the kids and enjoyed seeing them share time with each other - I really like them, all of them.  Maybe the problem was starting a new year in this rental house.  I don't know.  It doesn't make sense to me how much I seem to want to live in my own home.  I do, but I don't know what that represents to me.  Part of it is  - the way I like (have liked) to spend my time is working around the house - fixing things or making them "better" - here is not a place for that.  I have a chair which needs reupholstered (it's in the on site storage building) - I could "do" that, but there's really (truly) no room for it in the house ... and that doesn't matter, we are not lacking in places to sit.

Actually, I viewed The Minimalist on NETFIX - very interesting.  Remember that scene from THE JERK where Steve Martin's character is leaving the Mansion and he says (something like) "I don't need this stuff!  I don't need any of this stuff! ...Except maybe this (picking up a lamp was it?) and walking, dragging his feet a bit farther he picks up something else, and this ... ? I don't think it's "the stuff" so much for me - I tend to prefer "less stuff" ... but I do seem to be longing for a place of my own again.  And ... I am angry about the way this landlord weasels out of repairing things in this house ... and I know there are legal ways to remedy that but ... I don't want to go there.  The shower pan in that tiny little shower which is the masterbath leaks ... leaks through the wall into a bedroom and a closet.  He says the repair quote is 2K and he basically doesn't want to have it fixed.  He wants the tile guys to come out and recaulk the floor of the shower (which the guys he sent to look at the problem said recalling it won't fix the leak - not my house, it's just my leak to deal with for now a n d they were supposed to be here to do that  three Saturday's ago.  The toilet in the 1/2 bath has the water value turned off because it leaks ... and the handle is broken ... it's been that way since we started renting here in June 2015 ... there are ten or more "little problems" like that with this house.  I have given up on getting him to have them repaired.  It's just not worth it to me.  I watch my step on the wooden deck ... soft rotten boards are everywhere in his "piece milled" former repairs.  I don't liked being "worked up" and honestly - it's not my house and doesn't matter that much ... it's annoying but maybe misplaced anger or maybe not worth being angry about at all. 

I have been grumpy about our situation here ... . 
My husband enjoys the view from his study (very much).  
He is working as hard (and long) as ever during retirement.  
Being an "expert" is rewarding.  
I "pictured" this time of life differently.

So.  I've been readjusting my perspective.  I don't know what to expect the next several months to look like, but I do know that I believe happiness is largely a choice ... and I tend to be a happy person.

I'm looking for what I can do to feel useful and challenged and happy.  
I'm looking for what's next for me.  
And I'm doing my best to shake off the cranky pants 
- lol - 
because that wet floor doesn't get to decide how my day's going to go!

I know there's something really cool that I'll love doing. 

I'm "used to" doing what I used to do.  I'm used to doing life the way I have done it.  I had envisioned what I thought this time would look like but I had the wrong picture in mind.  I was wrong. (lol) I realize that now.  Things are still in flux - like, we won't rent this house forever.  I think I can accept "how things are" and open my mind up to doing what I can do to make my days feel how I want them to feel. Maybe it's gonna be amazing.