Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sacred Space this morning...

Back from a week of camping--wonderful time, much stuff to post later. I was at Sacred Space this morning to do a guided prayer and here was the thought for the week.

You could eat your way through the Gospels, so frequent are the stories about meals and parties. Apart from the intimacy of lovers, there are few human actions that bind people to one another more closely than what the Romans called a convivium, their word for a banquet that literally means living together. We drop our defences, feel grateful to the hands that have prepared the meal, we argue and discuss and quarrel and tease and laugh. But we stay at the table. It is there that children watch their parents and learn about living. From the marriage feast of Cana, to the Last Supper, to his post-resurrection breakfast on the shore of the lake, Jesus loved to eat and drink with his friends. And he used the imagery of the banquet for the Eucharist in which he leaves us his abiding presence. In George Herbert’s words:
"You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat.
So I did sit and eat."

Aren't you glad that the Kingdom of Heaven includes food?

Micah Girl

Monday, July 18, 2005

Reading until full

I have been reading more over the last few months than at any time I can remember when I wasn't fulfilling somebody else's requirements. As my husband falls asleep after thumbing through a news magazine, I continue to read late into the night. It is so comforting to feel him near my body as my imagination and intellect roam far and wide. If it weren't for the grounding of my earthy husband I wonder if I wouldn't just become lost in my head.

I have just finished the most exquisite memoir by Kate Young Caley, The House Where the Hardest Things Happen. When a writer is really good, you read what she has written and it's so true that you wonder if she is actually writing about your life. Not that her experiences are mine, except for her deep love of God and her dyed in the wool Yankee New Englander soul. I had the wonderful experience of attending a writing workshop that she held before I had ever written a word she ever wrote. And then to read her transparent memoir about the hurts of a church kicking her family out of fellowship and the ripple of pain that affected her whole life, I felt as if she were my good friend, and I was allowed to read her diary.

Interestingly, I felt the same way when I first read some of the autobiographical sketches written by Gordon Atkinson of Real Live Preacher. That was also my introduction to blogging. When he spoke about his parents and their deep love of God which compelled them to smuggle blankets over the border to cold, impoverished Mexicans, I cried feeling that he had looked into my soul and told one of my stories. Of course, he was only telling his own, but because his writing has such clarity, my heart recognized it as truth. St. Augustine once said that all truth is God's truth, and I believe it. Truth cuts right to your heart as if God himself is retelling you a familliar family tale over a campfire.

I've also just finished Brian McLaren's, The Last Word and the Word After That. When I was reading it last night in bed I commented to my husband, "This is crazy good." I didn't have any articulate, post-adolescent, intellectual grown-up words for the penetrating way McLaren's writing seems to anticipate my next thought. It is as if he is writing out my next deep spiritual question, the one I can't quite formulate and once spoken will rock me to my foundations. Finishing McLaren's book this morning, I wondered if my brain might just explode, just as when I was finishing Caley's memoir tonight I thought my heart itself might explode. I lay there in the sweltering heat of my room with the ceiling fan whizzing overhead, my eyes wide open and teary, and my true love sleeping fitfully next to me.

And when it became clear that my heart and mind were too full to sleep, I retreated downstairs to blog.

May the Lord bless you and me with restful sleep (Psalm 127:2)

Micah Girl

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Rebounding from vacation

I woke up early this morning before anyone else. Perhaps my jet lag is finally lifting from me. We were away on vacation so long and I still am thinking about all that we did, but mostly about the time with the family. Spending nearly three weeks with the other side of our family was so wonderful. I spoke in Spanish much of the time, especially with my mother and father-in-law which is very good for my fluency. I have a pretty good accent but my grammar and vocabulary sometimes go flying out the window.

The kids so enjoyed being with their cousins, particularly because they are closer in age than the cousins on my side of the family. Everyone kept asking us if we would like to move out there, and this is actually the first time that I would have been tempted. To have so much family within 5-10 minutes of one another is really an advantage. However, even if we sold our house in a hot market and made an outrageous profit of say $100,000 we still could not afford to get into the hotter than hot Southern CA housing circus. And yes, I am East Coast enough to worry about earthquakes. Actually my husband lost a condo in the last big quake years ago, so it's not just irrational fear.

Here at home I am getting ready to say good-bye to a really good friend who is relocating to Nashville, TN. I've been reading up on the area and I think it sounds like a happening place and I am praying that she will find exciting new adventures and purpose there. It is hard, however, to think of losing one of the only girlfriends here that I feel like I can really speak to heart-to-heart. This is another reason why the fantasy of moving close to my sisters-in-law is strong.

But I do love being home and getting back into our routine here. I hope to do some painting around the house before the summer flies away and need to do some major clutter removal to get ready for the busy fall semester and the constant having people over for dinner, bible studies and meetings. I also need to baby my vegetable garden which looks like it will actually yield quite a bit for us this year. And besides all this domestic tranquility I need to finish up my advance planning for the semester. But right now I'm just going to make a cup of tea and look forward to a Saturday with my husband and kiddos.

Micah Girl

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Jet lag & homecoming

Happy to be home, but seriously jet-lagged--and we've been on the East Coast since late Monday night. I had a dream last night that I was away for a weekend conference and as part of the seminars we were supposed to fly to Japan for a day, and I didn't have my passport and had no one who could get it to me in time for the trip. In my grogginess as I woke up at 8:45 (the earliest time this week!) I was a bit relieved that my anxiety over the passport was just a dream, although I was also looking forward to being left behind by the rest of the attendees to have some time to myself.

It's been great to be back in our house and to unpack and look at our yard and garden which have flourished thanks to the care of our various friends who watched the house for us. I have some serious weeding to do, and mulch to lay down in places where alyssum never quite flowered. The kids have been playing so happily together. Only my poor husband has been back to the normal routine of work, so his reentry to Eastern Standard Time was much more abrupt.

And only next week we go away again for a week of camping and retreat. Summer is lovely, isn't it?

Micah Girl

Sunday, July 03, 2005

More Postcards from Southern California

The Autry Museum of Western Heritage is a terrific place to spend the afternoon in Los Angeles, especially with three curious homeschooled kids who think cowboys and hands-on learning activities are fun. My kids panned for gold, tried on Western gear, and played Chinese restaurant as well as having the opportunity to view a wide variety of Western memorabilia, art and displays. If we were locals we would come back frequently.

We also went camping for a few days in Sycamore Canyon, Pt. Mugu State Park . What a beautiful place although so much colder than this Northeast girl expected. I knew that the Pacific is so icy that unless you're a surfer in a wet suit, there is no way you can swim, but the freezing winds and cold nights were like autumn in New England. But the whole family was together and the cousins played for hours and hours as the adults chatted, cooked, napped and ate.

I am more relaxed than I have been in a long time and am enjoying a deep Sabbath rest and expect to be renewed to face the daily duties of my life when we return. We still have a week to go. Let's hear it for my husband who doesn't believe in short vacations!


Micah Girl

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