Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mennonite in a Little Acroyoga

I recently finished reading "Mennonite in the Little Black Dress".   I loved it.  I loved it because I felt known.  The last 1/3 was predictable and a bit slow, because there was a natural outcome to the writer's choices and those outcomes occurred.

Despite this, I loved it because it reminded me of how I was raised.  We are not Mennonite, but I guess my grandparents were, and they raised my grandma, and my mom, and she raised me.  My mom found a man with similar sensibilities, and then, here I am!

I'm sensible, and practical.  I didn't try alcohol until I was in my 20's or a cigarette until then either.  I still haven't tried dancing, and I don't watch TV (okay a little I do, I cheat on Netflix).  I don't swear, and I can make anything into a meal just by peeking my head into the fridge.  I'm a peace-nick.  I just realized that a blow drier will make my hair look cute.  These are things that made me feel like I am just like some other people: Mennonites.  "Mennonite in the Little Black Dress" made me realize I'm not the only one.

My brother-in-law, Ben, has been doing Acroyoga.  It is yoga in groups, people balance and stretch and do tricks much like an acrobat, hence the name Acroyoga.  It looks fun, but there is touching involved.  It is not a sensible activity.  My brain tells my body, NO!  Do not try acroyoga, even if it looks fun, and relational.  My heart says YES!  Your brother loves you, he is safe.  So I tried it, and I like it.  It makes me feel like a kid playing with my dad.  It makes me feel strong and balanced, and not just my muscles, my whole self.

I'm being vulnerable to share the video, but I'll do it anyway.  Most people wear yoga clothes to do Acroyoga, I wear long jeans and a wool sweater.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Comfort and Joy

I have been a spiritual care volunteer at our local hospital for 3 years.  Every year at Christmas I have a tender heart for all the sick folks that have to stay there.  Sometimes spiritual care is listening, or encouraging, or being really honest with someone who is sick.  It has been my experience that it is sometimes praying for people.

Today I visited a 93 year old woman who was there because she was old and maybe had pneumonia.  I thought I knew what to expect of our visit.   Usually when I know what to expect, I'm wrong.

She was very sweet when I introduced myself.  She seemed uncomfortable, and I said so.  She said that we spend our lives trying to get comfortable, and I agreed.  I asked if she was a 'praying kind of lady'.  Her eyes lit up when I asked.  She looked at me clearly with all her heart and responded, "do you need some prayer this morning?"

It took me a second to understand: she was wondering if she could pray for me.  Her question lifted my already cheery spirit.  I had to contain my happy laugh, then I said that I was actually there to pray for her, which I did.  I prayed for comfort and joy, even though she already had the latter.

It is my hope for you as well.  Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Must Be Tonight

Enjoy Jeremy's Christmas tune,  and merry Christmas tonight!

Our Hearts Are Home

I have loved him since I was a girl.  Now I have loved him longer than I have not loved him.  He is not perfect, we do not love each other perfectly, but we are doing our best.  Loving him has made my life bigger and more beautiful than I could make it.  His love for me has brought out the best in me, inspired me, and been the fertile ground where I can flourish.  

I am a fiery plant: temperamental, passionate, impatient, insecure, and angry. I remember today, 16 years in, thankful to the mystery that orchestrated this exciting, magical, adventure of love.  I am thankful we can celebrate that our love can overcome the obstacle that is marriage.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Icy Morning

I took this photo this morning on a popular trail from town.  It is popular when it is warmer, which by 11am it was, and I passed many trekkers on my walk back.  On my way though, I was alone, but I didn't feel alone.  It seems so forested and dense now, but several generations ago the hills were bald and miners were busy on the creekside.  I tried to imagine them as I walked, and hummed Christmas music.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

War is Over for the Race Horse

War is over, if you want it.  This silly Christmas song jabs me every year.  One reason is, it is so catchy. I can't stop humming it.  My childhood was full of folk music the Beatles, and Peter Paul and Mary.   They sing an old folk song that Lennon (or Ono) used the melody for his Happy Xmas song.  The former was about a race horse.

I'll tell you why I think it is silly: the lyrics.  I'm supposed to be moved by their benevolence yet the poetry is so flimsy, that I am not.  It may be sacrilege to openly state that this song does not move me, even as I am nearly a pacifist.  It's just that it could be so much better.  "I'll be Home for Christmas" tells the story.  After saying that, today I'm making an exception.

"War is over if you want it".  I've always wanted war to be over, wanting it has made no difference.  War is a primitive response to conflict.  I can see how warring tribes thousands of years ago used it, but can't we evolve?  Packs of wild dogs war for territory, as well as primates.   

If we have learned anything, it is that war causes global suffering.  As our troops leave Iraq, even that will cause suffering.  Leaving a fruitless war you start, causes suffering, staying causes suffering.  It is a dead end.

Today it is nearing Xmas (or for some of you, Christmas) and once again I can't get that 'Old Stewball' melody out of my head.  Today a war IS over.  Today those children singing "war is over" as a descant to Happy Xmas has taken form.  Just like those angels who came to the shepherds, saying "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."  A sliver of heaven on Earth.

I hope you have fun

I shall proceed from the simple to the complex. But in war more than in any other subject we must begin by looking at the nature of the whole; for here more than elsewhere the part and the whole must always be thought of together.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Trying New Things II

I'm trying a lot of new things lately, but I'm not the only one.  My girl is crazy about her children's chorus.  She is eight, and because she has parents in a community choir, and mad vocal skills, her choirmaster asked her to participate in an advanced choir.  Last weekend the community choir and her children's chorus joined together for holiday music.  It was a great opportunity for our community to see the FANTASTIC work these kids do.  

The first concert I attended, I was wondering if I had low expectations.  Would it be so terrible that it wasn't worth paying for a ticket?  It was quite the opposite.  People spend 2x as much to be a part of such wonderful choral music (if they like that kinda thing).  They sound so pure and perfect.  They perform music that children much older don't get.  I am a proud mamma.

Look how she is concentrating and so focused.
Not even the adults are that determined.
My girl is busy.  She would rather climb a tree or do a puzzle than read a book.  She rarely focuses on anything for too long.  I saw a determined and focused person, if she loves what she is doing.  She sat through 4 rehearsals and performances perfectly.  She sang perfectly.  Every night they sang "In the Bleak Mid-Winter" I had to brush away some tears.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Forest Floor

Our new home is pressing up against 700 acres of forest.  There are miles and miles of trails.  I found these tiny umbrellas on the forest floor.  They sparked my imagination.  I hope they do the same for you.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

North by Northwest

This week, 2 people told me I should blog about movies I love.  I love movies.  The problem with blogging about movies I love, is I haven't seen many I LOVE for over a year.  The fact is I have seen quite a few movies I end up falling asleep in, not because I am too tired, but because they are too boring.  I love a good story.

I have seen thousands of movies.  My dad got me started on old movies from when he was a kid and before.  B-movies about blobs and monsters from the 50,  musicals, thrillers, academy award winners, Danny Kaye,  and science fiction.  I think he has good taste.  Really I don't care what genre a movie is, as long as it has a well crafted story.  This is why so many movies I have seen lately have been so terrible: un-compelling stories.

I am going to review movies, but only movies I like.  It will be more like a recommendation.  I usually don't watch a movie twice (except for Christmas movies), but I'll watch some of my old favorites again, and then tell you what I think.

I'll start with recommending 'North by Northwest'.  It was made in the late 50's and is by Hitchcock and stars Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint.  What's not to love about that?  If you only watch new movies, you should try this old one.  It might remind you of some newer movies, but this one is fundamental.  There is mistaken identity, a beautiful girl, a lot of running, an airplane and did I mention Cary Grant?

Monday, December 05, 2011

5 Reasons I love Science

Our brains are mysterious things.  I'm sure there is much for us to learn about, that is beautiful and will answer so many mysteries.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Stupid Fun

I've neglected this spot for 2 reasons.  One, I had to move last week.  Two, I got injured in a rear-end car accident 4 days before I had to move.  Wasn't it also Thanksgiving last week?  My favorite holiday?  Now my house is moved, thanks to some generous friends and family, and my neck, back and arms are working again.  Mostly my brain is working again and we found the kitchen table.

Here are the photos of us making "ginger bread" houses with graham crackers and frosting.  It was a blast and as soon as the kids started, the adults couldn't help but join in.  It was what I call 'stupid fun'.

Merry Christmas.
Before the mess
Pre-sugar spike
What Would Developers Create?

Silly boy mid sugar consumption

Letting the sugar go to our head after a creative afternoon!