Friday, November 24, 2006

The Day After Thanksgiving

The morning was pretty typical for someone whose family isn't in the same state - it was spent making phone calls and trying to catch up and not sound like a broken record after the third phone call and get the kids to talk each and everytime more than two sentences.

Then there was the cooking and the little 3lb turkey breast didn't burn and wasn't undercooked - yea. The mashed sweet potatoes most likely won't make next years list of side dishes to prepare, which was a little disappointing cause I really like sweet potatoes. The pie turned out well - let's just say I was glad I had an extra pie crust.

But the best part (and the important part) was spending the day with our friends. This is what really made it feel like the holiday of giving thanks: the sharing of food and selves with people I care deeply about.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What a difference an hour can make

Since last weekend really, I've felt really good. I didn't have to go to work Monday so I slept in an extra hour - oooo wweeee! And the last two days my wife has stayed home with the kids so there's none of the morning madness to get everybody ready and out the door. Whatever internal tension was building has siphoned off.

Just not having to rush and get up at my usual 5am has been a really nice change of pace. I like this slowed down pace. I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts, cause next Monday is a "you don't have to but we'd really like everyone to put in at least 12hr days", bluk. So life moves back into high gear and the struggle for balance resumes. However, this week has been a nice reminder of priorities and self-care, and hopefully I can carry some of that with me into next week.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

This Sunday

Here's a poem I wrote about church today...

One Sunday

My daughter wears her Tinkerbelle wings to church
I comment that church gives you wings
People smile at her and tell her how adorable she looks
She sits down in the pew and takes off her wings unsmiling

The choir sings an anthem to God, a voice united for the congregation
My son sits on my lap and we sway together
With eyes closed, holding him tight to my chest, he plays with my hands
And giggles with glee at our holy play

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Quiet Day at Rec

I really enjoyed the Quiet Day (it was actually a quiet morning til afternoon) which was held at my church; Jana Orsinger was the facilator. I'd never been to a quiet day before so I wasn't sure what to expect. But, I'm glad I went, the experience re-affirmed and solidified some stuff that's been floating around in my head for awhile now.

The below is the process we followed which was put together by Jana Orsinger for our group:
The fisrt hour we were to try to discover what we really want from what we want. The second hour was to reflect on how we spend our time now, and commit to one change. The third hour was spent meditating and being mindful of the random thoughts that entered our minds.

I walked away from the morning feeling centered and peaceful, and much to reflect upon.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

This is only a test

Well, I switched to the new version of blogger.

I'm listening to "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac, narrated by Matt Dillon. I picked it up at the library out of curiousity. I've heard of Kerouac and associated him with the Beat Generation (which I know nothing about) and that's the extent of it. The tale he's weaving is really sad. "Sal" aka Jack keeps traveling across the country looking for something but so far he hasn't found it - and I don't think he will. There's moments when you can feel that you're right there with him, that something profound just happened but then it slips precariously away. He couldn't hold that moment, and neither do I because the story keeps unfolding. The book brings out alot of the norms that we/I get from society and what it means to be "good people", and for me this book challenges those norms while at the same time validating them, if that makes sense. The most consistent thought I get while listening to this story is that he's on a religious (spiritual) journey, and in the process of discovery he's destorying his body and his mind. And I keep asking myself is it really that hard? Does coming face to face with meaning have to be that hard? And I think the answer is yes, that struggle to find the meaning of life, in life, is one of life's most simply complicated joys with the answer always in front of our faces, no matter where you are.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

If Only It Were December

Deep sighs and deep breathes are about all I find myself doing this month, and God Bless it's only halfway over and I feel like I've been repeatedly run over by a freight train.

It's only Tuesday and there's still too much left to be done between the kids and work, and work hasn't decelerated since October and is soon to hit nascar speeds. And in the midst of all this is this Saturday, where my church is having a "Quiet Day" and all of the Community of Hope trainees are supposed to go, and out with another deep breath. A quiet day, a quiet day, I hope that also means stillness, I'd really like to be still for awhile. Ebb and flow, ebb and flow, if only I was a better swimmer ;-)

I can't wait for Thanksgiving, a four day weekend with my family, sitting around playing games, watching football, and eating gobs of food.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Cloud Sightings and a Book Excerpt

Last night (Monday) I saw something pretty cool in the clouds (my wife pointed it out while we where pulling into our subdivision). So, up in the sky was a cloud that had "surrounded" the full moon. What was so cool was that this cloud had the definite shape of a dragon. There was no "I don't really see what you're talking about" - it was there, no blinking, just completely visible. Once I'd parked I went and got my camera and tripod, but by the time I got back outside the shape was dissolving, and by the time I got the camera setup it was gone (I was really bummed about that).

"When All You've Ever Wanted Isn't Enough" by Harold Kushner is a really good book. The title caught my attention as I was looking through the bookshelves at my church's library, and so I checked it out. What was nice and a coincidence was that I had already read all of Ecclesiastes while I was on retreat. I add this because to fully appreciate the book you should read Ecclesiastes first - it's pretty short, around 12 chapters long. Anyways, there's two parts of the book that I want to share (in case you decide not to read the book).

From p.163, "What are things you absolutely must have and do so that you can feel that you have lived your life and not wasted it? In our explorations of Ecclesiastes and of our own lives, we have identified three things: Belong to people. Accept pain as part of your life. Know that you have made a difference."

From p. 172, "The Talmud says there are three things one should do in the course of one's life: have a child, plant a tree, and write a book. They all represent ways of investing our creative, generative energy in things which will endure after we are gone, and will represent the best that was in us. They offer us the reassurance that our lives were not in vain, and that the world is indeed better for our having passed through it."

I offer these two excerpts as reminders to myself that meaning and God are found everyday in my very ordinary life in very ordinary things.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Day After Halloween

The Ninja, Tinkerbell, and their escort Wonder Woman had a good time going door to door and getting their pillowcases filled with candy so I was told. I was on candy handout duty in my zoot suit.

Since I was handing out candy I noticed that alot of the kids had plastic pumpkin buckets for me to fill, and then I started to wonder if using ones pillowcase has gone out of style. It used to be way back in the day (in a small Michigan subdivision) that if you had a plastic pumpkin all the other kids felt sorry for you. Then going through all the candy and taking out the pennies thinking "what bah humbug gives kids pennies on Halloween." Giving my parents the candy I absolutely hated and keeping the rest hidden in my room so my parents wouldn't eat it all when I was outside playing.

My wife and I almost let the kids have their candy filled pillowcases to put in their rooms, but with two dogs who go nutty for people food we decided to play it safe and do the communal candy bowl put up on high. I wonder how long the kiddos are going to let us get away with that :-)

My wife and I had a few good laughs over her Wonder Woman costume. First the strap which holds the way too big underwired bodice up broke off at one end, enter safety pin number one. Then the button to her cape fell off, enter safety pin number two. And while she was messing with the safety pins I put the "crown" on her head, and when my wife looked up she exclaimed, "aacckk, that is not how Wonder Woman wears this." This description of events doesn't do the moment justice, but it really was one of those customes (at least when worn by my wife) that you just have to see to understand why it was so funny, pretty much nothing fit in any of the right places.

I hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween.