Archive for the ‘You’ve Got to Have Friends’ Category

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The Thirteenth Constellation

July 3, 2007

night sky

 As you might guess from the header and title of my blog, the night sky has always held a strange fascination for me.  Perhaps this is because they are so orderly.  No wonder man has seen pictures in the sky almost since the advent of written language.  Oh, and incidentally the person who comments and correctly identifies the constellation in the image above gets treated by me to the Starbucks poison of thier choice, minus the astronomy lecture  :).  I’ll give you five seconds (Jeopardy theme plays ominously in the background).  Finished?  Okay then…is that your final answer?

Billions of points of light, rearranging themselves, fluctuating in intensity.  Some are intimidated by the sheer vastness of the universe; I am calmed.  My belated study of astronomy began when Mircat visited this past weekend.  Charles, Miriam and I drove to nearby Shultz pass and spent a good hour gazing up at the sky, contemplating the meaning of life (Miriam and I are agreed about the supremacy of chocolate, while Charles argues for tacos).  The next night, we made the trek to Lowell Observatory.  The last time I visited Lowell, I was a gawky eighth grader in town for a band competition  (yes, I do play flute and yes, there was an incident one summer at band camp 😀 ).  Impressively, we were able to see the rings of Saturn.  Chilled from our nighttime endeavors, the three of us proceeded to Outback where we warmed ourselves with good food and good conversations. 

 Phillipians 2:14-15 is a reminder to:

14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.

I am grateful that, like the stars which often are born in interconnected pairs, I am privileged to walk side by side with friends who sharpen me and challenge me to shine more brightly than I’d sometimes like.  Instead of deifying the stars and planets, as the ancient Greeks did, I notice the fingerprints of the Creator scattered across the heavens.  They still speak, if only we bend our ears to the stillness and our eyes to the points of light that make the darkness bearable. 

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Tempus Fugit, Or Make Haste Slowly

January 5, 2007

myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics

Reader beware; I am no prophet.  From me you shall hear no clarion call to action.  My  aspirations are far more humble in origin.  Resoultions can be found elsewhere (see myspace); allow me, however, to present my wishlist for the next 360 days. 

1.  I’d love to see Charles established in the career he’s been called to.  He will finish his Paramedic program and possibly even immerse himself in opportunities as a volunteer firefighter.  For myself, I stand poised at a crossroads; I know the type of career I’m suited for but the specifics still elude me.  By the end of 2007, I intend to be much more prepared to balance work and family. 

2. We will straigten out our finances and finally implement some of the strategies we’ve discussed (i.e. saving at least 3-6 months worth of essential expenses).  A more proactive and cautiously risky management of our portfolio will put us in a position to possibly purchase our first house by the end of the year.  In addition, we will significantly reduce the amount still outstanding on the Green Lantern (Charles’s truck). 

3. Getting myself into the best possible shape mentally and physically will start us down the path to beginning our family.  Essentially, I need less stress and more productive outlets for the stress I carry.  I’m concerned about my tendency to “sweat the small stuff”, as my mother would say. Charles and I will make a conscious effort to incorporate more quality time with each other every week; after all, proximity  is no replacement for honest conversation.        

4. I will progress towards maintaining (and strengthening) healthy relationships.  I complain often enough about feeling isolated, and if we end up moving I truly will be set adrift.  This introvert has every intention of reaching out before I stagnate.  

Read the rest of this entry ?

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You’ve Got to Have Friends!

January 14, 2006

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Annus Mirabilis

December 28, 2005

Mood: Changeable

Song: “Turning” (a Starbucks poison of choice for the individual who can identify the
origin of this song :))

“Look in thy heart and write” –Sir Philip Sidney

****Warning***

This post contains no lighthearted ramblings, and it is the author’s firm contention that your time would be better served by enjoying any one of a thousand holiday pleasures instead of rambling with me through this dark night.

In the deep midwinter of 2005, the days fly apace, and their swift passing is in time with the shifting I feel in my own heart. Nothing stays the same; the world itself is in flux. Thanks be to our Lord that he has given us the perfect mix of change and stability. After all, it is always winter again, yet always THIS winter. To have it always winter and never Christmas is the sign of a society in decay (and parallels to our own beloved nation are sadly merited).

I must confess, however, that in memory’s vault this year has contained transition without much rest. In my own life, 2005 has included:

*the passing of two essential men in my life: my beloved stepfather and my grandfather
*the passing of my old life as I entered into marriage: the two shall become one flesh
*the passing of my family home to another owner
*the passing from school to work marked by my completion of student teaching in May
*the passing into silence of several friendships, some expected, some surprises
*the passing of the hospitality torch from my mother to me as I hosted my first married Christmas

Such changes are not all negative; some are to be eagerly embraced, and I do not regret the steps I have taken into adulthood this past year. I stand amazed at the road I traverse, and with the Florentine I am unsure of the way. Is it any wonder that I have experienced a sense of isolation? There are days I feel like I am starring in the Lifetime movie of the week, watching events unfold but not directly acting upon them. Each and every relationship I cherished has altered, and I consider myself alone and apart. I know there are those who care for me, whose lives are inextricably linked to mine, yet they seem distant. By the way, if you’re out there reading this, please let me know ;). Sometimes the words matter more than you realize.

Do not think my life alone has been impacted.

One amazing friend has finally discovered marital peace. Her honesty is an inspiration to me; dear one, know that your experience has encouraged me to press forward through the deepest darkness. I cannot appropriately express my appreciation for your willingness to let me see you as you are. What they don’t tell you is that the first year of marriage is both more challenging and more rewarding than anyone who remains single can envision. I long for the day when we will have physical proximity to match the closeness of our souls.

Another friend has been dealt heartache on the very eve of bliss. She compares herself to a phoenix, and this is apt. Now it seems she has learned to trust again; I am unsure about my own ability to rebuild so quickly. Though we have lost touch, and I believe my friendship was never as vital to her as hers to me, I think of her often. Her name, appropriately enough, encompasses the strife (even against heaven) that she has endured and the princess she is and will continue to become.

For those who don’t know, this year has also forced Charles and me to consider the possibility (always looming in the background) that we may not be able to have children. Why should this matter? I do not trust easily, as previous posts indicate, and my Heavenly Father is calling me into deeper waters, since waiting may not be an option, yet it is our only choice at this point. This is pertinent, since I have recently discovered that a bacchant friend of mine is expecting her first child. While I rejoice for and with her, I am also struck by how much she has matured in the past few years. Again, though I don’t speak to her often, she is in my heart. So many of my acquaintances have morphed into rabbits, and I am both anxious and terrified to discover parenthood.

One of the tragedies of post-modernity is that we have utterly eradicated all signposts towards maturity. Do we become adults at 13, as Jews do when they are called to the Torah as a bar or bat mitzvah? Is adulthood gained when we graduate from high school or perhaps college? What about marriage? Giving birth? For those who remain single or decline to become parents, when are they grown-up? Age 25? 30? We live in the age of “Peter Pan”, with many Americans simply deciding not to reach adulthood. If nothing else, 2005 has convinced me that I have indeed crossed that gap.

Thoughts?

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Proving Montaigne Wrong…

November 4, 2005

Mood: poetic
Song: "Auld Lange Syne"

For Miriam on her 26th Birthday
Tuesday’s Children
A poem in terza rima

In Southern California, halcyon days
Were swept away before November gusts
And she emerged, fresh soul with ancient gaze.

Rough diamond, all her brightness yet untried,
Her middle name revealed the heart within:
The “Grace” to cast all bitterness aside.

She grew, fair child who learned to face the wind
And gained compassion through the steeper path
By loving those whose youth would never end.

A firstborn girl, in books she found her ease
And trained to hear the music of the spheres
With hours perfecting notes on ivory keys

At sixteen years she followed study’s muse
But questioned views her parents had endorsed
And sought the truth she’d need to freely choose.

Another girl first struggled to draw breath
Mere months after the other child appeared
But life for her would take a separate path.

In deepest summer haze she ventured forth
The only child of a gambling man
She wandered long before she found true north.

That heart was youthful, even as her name;
Her eyes saw farthest when they turned within
A mind where wisdom early staked a claim.

She grew, strong child who weathered desert blaze
And scorned compassion when it was unjust.
Her time was measured out in ordered ways.

This firstborn girl was steeped in history;
In antique texts she sought the only One
With power to transmute pain to bright glory.

For eighteen years the earth traversed its course
And these twin souls remained in ignorance
That they’d become each other’s sharpening force.

Yet like will evermore call out to like
And bonds of iron finally were forged
To make one heart that beat in bodies twain.

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Manilla Envelopes

October 29, 2005

Mood: Full (Thanks to Cold Stone Pumpkin Ice Cream…YUM!)
Song: "Autumn" (I'll Treat You to Cold Stone Ice Cream If You Figure Out Where That Song is From…)

About the title:

1) what you use to send information to an absent friend in Manilla
2)items in my classroom which contain information about each of my students 🙂

I knew I went into teaching for the express purpose of corrupting…um, I mean molding…young minds. Last Thursday, my plotting reached new levels. It is still a thrill when students actually seek me out over the lunch hour just to say "hi." One in particular is a girl from my 6th hour named Rachel. During class later on, Rachel mentioned to me that she'd been inventing new words. Of course, I told her about my plan to write a dictionary; she enthusiastically agreed to participate, and we decided to make it a class project :). Here are a few entries:

"mediatious": somewhere between "beautatious" and "grotatious"

"camalious": extremely thirsty

"snail": true

You'll have to buy the dictionary to find out all the rest :).

In other news, it is finally, really, fall. It's snail. Even in Arizona, where seasons is part of a hotel chain's name only, the weather has a decided nip in the air. Pumpkin everything is available, and those aware of my pumpkin obsession know how thrilled I am. I can't wait 'til Monday, when I get to participate in the Fall Festival at my church. My mother and I have a balloon animal table (it's a little known talent of mine). Today, however, I was far too busy to practice constructing giraffes or parrots…

C.'s schedule has changed 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 :). Instead of working Friday-Monday (I work Monday-Friday) he'll begin working 24 hour shifts, giving us weekends together :). It was amazing to wake up this morning and KNOW that neither of us had to run off to work. Luxuriating in each other's company is a rare privilege, and it doesn't matter what we do as long as we do it together. Although it is easy to become sidetracked by little issues when we're apart too much, having time together reminds us of how precious our marriage is. Not that we had ALL day to just stay at home…

At 10:30 we were due at my grandparent's house in North Scottsdale to participate in a family discussion about long term solutions. My grandfather is fading away, and I weep to see this brilliant man reduced to a shell. He is undergoing radiation treatments for a slow-growing brain tumor, and my grandma is optimistic about his full recovery. While my God is the God of the miraculous, it looks as if his earthly life will be terminated all too soon. The true tragedy, of course, is that niether of them have faith. My grandmother is a mess, and it is hard for me not to become embittered when I consider that her life up to this point has been one of ease because of my grandfather's hard work; she is so resentful of what she percieves as his "stubbornness" to allow anyone to help him that she screams at him and even curses at him when she's fed up. The rest of us are filling in, of course, since my grandmother is so frail at this point it is physically impossible for her to assist him even in the simple tasks of getting out of bed or dressing. She's exhausted, but she doesn't want help either, as much as she needs it. I'm afraid that assisted living is the best option, but she's not at a point where she can even consider that. It's a bad situation all around, and I can do nothing but pray for wisdom.

What a day! Thank goodness I could go into my mental "Pumpkin" box for a while.

Yes, I realize this picture is a year late, but I couldn't resist…it's just TOO perfect 🙂

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The All Cat Food Diet

October 23, 2005

Mood: Lonely
Song: "Friends" by Michael W. Smith

Since my dear friend is currently on a plane heading 7,000+ miles away at this very moment, I shall fulfill my promise and give her daily updates on the nonstop excitement that is my life. This is for you, Mircat.

Today I arose with every intention of arriving on time at Open Arms Wesleyan, this time with a worshipful attitude (those who I have spoken with will understand the particular situations going on at my church). Alas, like all good plans mine was sidetracked.

I went to find my car keys so that I could leave only to discover that Charles had accidentally taken the keys with him to work (they were in his pocket from last night and I forgot to get them from him). This would, of course, be only a minor inconvenience if I had my spare keys; unfortunately, they were left at Mom's last night. So, right now I'm sitting on my couch holding my own version of a Sunday service. Naturally, an integral part of the Church Universal is the fellowship. This blog post, since it is going up in cyberspace, is sort of my attempt at connecting with my fellow believers.

Speaking of which, I am at a phase where I have felt like many of my most essential relationships are in transition. Certainly (and understandably) my relationship with my mother is changing as it should now that I'm a married woman. Thank heavens Charles's schedule will change as of Nov. 1st. I work Mon.-Fri. and he's been working Fri.-Mon., making our time together precious but rare. Last Thursday I received a wonderful present: my cousin Evan is in town from Boston. He and his friend James came over and the four of us played a rousing game of Axis and Allies (a WWII strategy game). Ev had just purchased a new verision which actually differentiated between the fighter planes for each country. My clever husband was actually able to guess exactly the model of plane each represented just by looking at the small, plastic model. He was absolutely right every time. I was duly impressed, since I'm lucky to tell a B-52 bomber from a "Lightning".

Have a pleasant Sunday, my friends, and let me know how you've been. I've felt woefully out of touch lately.

Mircat, here's the quote of the day:

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." ~St. Augustine

Blessings on you, friend, as you embark on your own tour of our Father's library :).

****** Continuing on the spiritual vein of this post *********

Currently in my blue mini iPod? Why, Newsboys's Adoration C.D., of course ;). I believe we're almost at Reformation Sunday, and this song is both fitting and, to me, meaningful right now.

"In Christ Alone"

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
'Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost it's grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Brought with the precious blood of Christ
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me

From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
'Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand