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Archive for the ‘observations’ Category

Didja see what I did there?

I was sitting here, this morning, checking things off of my to-do list and writing away like the studious little chickadee I am, and thought to myself “I should make this more fun with some pomp and circumstance and British accents”. So I turned on my teevee, and instead of the drooling press I was expecting, I was greeted with a very sweet, truthful and surprisingly faith-based ceremony.

I’ve been reading a few other bloggers who were bashing the wedding fever here in the States as pure flighty escapism, but I think it means something much deeper. Sure, Americans are goofy airheads when it comes to this stuff, and yes, we value royalty and celebrity in unhealthy ways. But I don’t really care about that, and I’m certainly not going to bash someone for wanting to watch a wedding (yay!) in Westminster Abbey (double yay!).

I think that we are watching this by the millions, because, as much as we want to relegate this spectacle to the crazies wearing giant British flags on their heads, this really does matter. There’s an old saying that goes, “babies are God’s way of saying the world must go on” and I think new marriages evoke the same feeling in us, even amongst the most cynical. Marriage is about believing the best in each other, about trusting in the good of a loving God and a loving spouse and about celebrating selflessness, a trait that is all too often mocked.

The Archbishop of Canterbury (who awesomely has his own website and made the amazing YouTube video, below) said that marriage is the best picture of God’s love for us – a statement which is humbling and overwhelming all at once.

So, as much as it would be easy to snark about our obsession with William and Kate, I’m resisting the temptation. Today I’m rejoicing that God’s love was on display, that so many are rejoicing the power of marriage and that love can actually overcome almost any prejudice.

God Bless, William and Kate!

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I call Adam, tearfully.

Me: “I have a tale of woe. Do you want to hear it?”

Him: “Sure.”

Me, spilling out Tale of Woe with much gesticulation and, well, woe.

Him, calmly and kindly and not hysterically at all: “We’ll figure it out. We’ll see what they say. It’s OK, it’ll be fine.”

***

Why can’t I ever react calmly and not hysterically and more like my wise Hubs?!

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“Bonanza” is on TeeVee during the day. Did you know this? It, combined with a blanket and a cup of coffee, is the best possible cure for an achey head and general sicky feelings. Pa Cartwright gives heartwarming speeches to the town drunks and helps them mend their ways, Hoss looks vaguely concerned at all times, and Adam is boring and handsome. Also, they all ride horses everywhere at top speed, which once again solidifies that I was born in the wrong century (except that I would probably be in a long skirt on a wagon in danger of fainting instead of galloping about on my horse. Minor detail).

Also, Little Joe frequently gets shot in the upper body, so that he is forced to continue to fire at Indians/Mexicans/cattle rustlers and other good-fer-nothings completely shirtless, with only an artfully placed bandage to wreck the view:Not that I’m complaining, I just thought I’d point out this piece of information, in case you find yourself down and out and in need of daytime entertainment.

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christian book reviewsI was drawn to this book because I’ve always been curious about monks and nuns and of course, the ancient ways that go hand-in-hand with such a life. As a child, my mom was taught by nuns in a Catholic school, most of whom she didn’t particularly like – yet when I read St. Francis or Brother Lawrence I’m astonished by the depth and richness of their faith.

How can we have gone so far that such practices are remembered for their austerity (as with the nuns in my mom’s experience) instead of the love of the Savior that they claim to promote? And, conversely, does our non-denominational easy-going Christianese-spouting faith need a commitment overhaul?

Brian McLaren doesn’t answer these questions. In fact, he does so little answering that occasionally I felt a little frustrated. But in the end I felt comforted, as though I’d just spent a few hours wrestling a very difficult question with a trusted mentor. I don’t agree with everything he asserts – he is determined to include the ancient practices of Muslims in with our own devotions, for instance – but he states his case in a way that brings light and clarity to an overly mystified subject.

He also treats every sect of Christianity with an even brush. While many current Christian writers slip into elevating young, social-activist, Relevant-reading hipster Christians above the staid, hymn-singing, self-controlled and self-reliant faith of their grandparents, McLaren gives every trend an equal chance, and reminds us that such waves of public opinion do not matter to God, do stop His love and should not keep us from following Him.

I also appreciate that McLaren writes about deeply spiritual things without ever lapsing into Christianese. This book is accessible to any seeker and gives credence and hope to those aching for more than a faith of trends and politics, but one that stretches back in time and serves a God who is bigger than any box we can possibly create for Him.

Towards the end of the book, after laying out some practices and ways to “find our way” McLaren writes this:

..I recall a Celtic prayer I once came across, a prayer to be used each morning as one stirs the embers in the hearth: ‘As I stir the embers of my daily fire, I ask you, living God, to stir the embers of my heart into a flame of love for You, for my family, for my neighbor, and for my enemy.’ And there was another old Celtic prayer – to be said as faithful Christians splashed cold water on their faces three times in a simple morning ritual: ‘Let me awaken to You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.’ My new considerations turn out, as they always do, to be a rediscovery of something very old and very precious.

The ancient way is about joining God in the spending of every day. When we spend our days this way, we truly save them.

Isn’t that it? I’m drawn to monks and nuns and tales of ancient ritual because I want to save my days, only to find that I need not cloister myself away or enter some mystical code. All I have to do is join God at the grocery store, in my work, at the gym, in conversations with friends. He’s already at work – I just have to practice the art of watching for His hand.

Buy this book here: Finding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices (Ancient Practices Series)

Book for review provided by BookSneeze.

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Lists

I’m all about new features on the Creative Outlets these days. Book reviews, shopping and now LISTS?! What ever will become of my old pointless ramblings? My charm is being swept up into productivity and deadlines – but it’s healthy and about time I started acting like a grown-up with a schedule, don’t you think? Yes, yes you do, you’ve just been too nice to say so. I feel ya.

Anyhoodle, my blog-queen friend Katie has been doing lists of all kinds for a year or so on her blog, and since i never saw a good idea that I didn’t want to steal, I’m all over it. Hence, my first-ever list post… a list of the lists that I hope to write about on this here bloggie. (Nothing like stating your intention to perform and then NOT perform and but still call it performing. ‘Tis an art, dear ones.)

  • List #1  – The ways in which my life is desolate without coffee (actually this might never happen, it’s just how I feel today because our coffeemaker broke this morning. Or, perhaps we are ushering in a new era of desolation until we can buy a new coffeemaker. Both are bleak, but sound utterly fascinating to read in list-form, right? Right.)
  • List #2 – Every reason you can imagine why I love and hate my smartphone. Scintillating stuff, this.
  • List #3 – Valerie shout-outs AKA any list of favorite movie/book/actress/music/musical/actor/entertainment whatzit. All of these will be made with Val, the world’s biggest fan and List-Making Princess, in my heart.
  • List #4 – Destination lists – favorite things about everywhere I’ve lived or traveled.
  • List #5 – Food? Recipes? (Side story: Adam and I were at a volunteer meeting at church and they played one of those get-to-know-you games. You know, “Stand up if you’ve never broken a bone” etc. etc. One of the questions was “Stand up if you cook dinner five nights a week or more” myself and ONE OTHER DUDE stood up in a room of 70 people. Everyone was teasing me and asking if they could come over for dinner… I was a little too concerned about what they eat to answer. Why don’t you cook for yourselves, my loves? Do you need recipes from me? Never fear, I can supply them, although they will be heavy on the red meat and the Crock-Pot usage, so be ye warned.)
  • List #6 – Hilarity. Just kidding, I have no idea. I will be begging for your assistance within weeks, dear readers, so be prepared with listy ideas!

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  • Brudda and Sista dropped in on us last weekend (click here for their photographic essay on the fun) and it was nearly 80 and sunny. We assured them that such a thing is not normal in February, and the day after they drove back home, it started to rain/fog/be cold. FAIL.
  • When I go to Costco for gas (which I often do, I’m all about saving $1 and wasting several hours) I always get in the line with the smallest cars, figuring that they have little gas tanks and will therefore be super speedy. However, I have not yet factored the age of the driver into my equations, and yesterday’s long wait taught me the error of my ways, as multiple large trucks filled up and left me waiting behind a tiny Honda. FAIL.
  • Last night, the Hubs and I were watching the TeeVee when he noticed I was recording “What Not to Wear” (my guilty pleasure). “Are you watching that because I told you to?” he asked. “No….” I replied, “Do I need to be watching this?” He laughed and said something about it’s just a good show, blah blah, but he still hasn’t really answered. FAIL.
  • Speaking of fashion failures, I’ve recently realized that my slowly grown-out mane looks like a certain man at arms:
  • He's very handsome and all, but still. FAIL. And time for a haircut, obvy.

    I've been informed that a picture is required for comparison, so here you go. Also the adorable baby is adorable is she not? BUT HONESTLY LOOK AT THE HAIR.

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I have some very stylish friends. I always have, and I have always been a bit behind them. Every decade or so the rest of the world likes what I like, and the rest of the time I trip along my merry road, wearing cowboy boots with everything and loving plaid, anywhere, all the time, no matter what you think of me.

Don’t get me wrong – I DO love trends – I just love them about two years after everybody else does. You know what this gets me, though?

I’ll tell you.

Amazing, phenomenal, unbelievable DEALS. I don’t buy wrapping paper before Christmas and I don’t buy skinny jeans when Lucky tells me to, thus saving myself much emotional and monetary pain. Allow me to illustrate:

  • Roughly four years after I saw my first skinny jeans with my virgin boot-cut-only eyes, I bought a pair with a free Rock and Republic gift card from a blogging contest.
  • At least 18 months after telling friends that I “might take the plunge and buy leggings” – I bought them. For $10. They are adorbs.
  • Two years after seeing Holli rock a tuxedo jacket, I bought one yesterday. For $7, on sale from $65.

I may not watch trends like the proverbial hawk, but sales? They are ALL MINE.

*All of this talk of shopping and cooking and homeyness lately has made me consider a new feature to this here blog. Should I write some reviews of cooking stuff? Perhaps home stuff? Maybe style stuff several years after it’s popular? My home and kitchen are smashing, even if my legs are still clothed in decades-old boot-cut light-washed jeans. I promise. You tell me, would you be interested in any of the above?

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