Tuesday, January 27, 2009

monday mix tape

i made you a mix tape of all my favorites this week!

from the "I-can't-believe-I'm-blogging-about-this" file:
I mentioned last Monday that I've begun a self-improvement project called Hunting for the hidden Tamara underneath all that stuff. (In other words, eating healthy, watching calories, exercising, and, basically, giving a damn.) So, I thought to myself, why not let my weekly mix post include a litle bit of an update? Want to play along? Since the title I've given the self-improvement project seems to be working-overly-hard-to-avoid-cliche as well as being, well, just plain stupid, I'll mail a bag of soy nuts to anyone who can come up with something better.

So at Week Three I've stuck to my eating plan with only three somewhat-intentionally-scheduled food splurges. I've lost six pounds and stayed faithful to three to four workouts a week. I say stayed -- as in the past tense --because this past week I hit my first major discouragement. I developed what we're guessing to be a stress fracture at the tippy-top of my right foot. Just below the second toe. It hurt like the devil and I had to keep it elevated and iced for a whole day and then hobbled around the rest of the week.

My friend Earl, unwittingly crashed my self-pity party, by describing a stress fracture as a sort of panic attack for the bones. This totally helped me get it. Also it totally ticked me off. This means that my feet are so used to freeloading that when they figured out I was serious about this whole thing they staged a revolt. I threw a good old-fashioned tantrum including greeting my husband the moment he got home from work with the simultanous one-two punch of sobby tears and a plea for Outback takeout.

I read this post from The Pile I'm Standing In today and it describes me perfectly. That's good truth right there.

Another link I loved this week was from Lindsay at A is for Arrow. I absolutely adore this post -- especially her illustration -- and am seriously considering a haiku in honor of my slipper socks.

In the meantime I'm pretty excited about a couple of books that came in the mail this week, but you'll have to wait until next Monday to hear more. I need to get to sleep so I can drag these sulking feet back to the gym tomorrow morning.

One of Lindsay's self-illustrated New Year Resolutions.

Monday, January 26, 2009

monday mix tape

i made you a mix tape of all my favorites this week!

After pushing through some pretty heavy stuff with family issues, health issues and plain old run-of-the-mill sort of issues last week I didn't really indulge in a lot of reading or new films or music. In fact I'm not sure what I did last week at all!

Oh, yeah, I'm working on finding the original shape of Tamara hidden in here somewhere which means a whole bunch of energy spent embracing stuff I've ignored far too long: finding healthy menus, re-learning the food pyramid, discovering how good it feels to engage in strength training and cardio activity. So far there's not much to write about, but I'm pressing on and will keep you posted

A couple of links I loved last week:

these are a few of my favorite things - My Front Porch
I admit it. This is my sister and I'm slightly biased to several items on her list. OK, you got me again. I'm pretty much biased to everything on her list. But I think you'll enjoy her list, too. At the very least, you'll enjoy her simple, creative post concept. (Don't you just LOVE those beautiful boys?!?)

'Twelve Head' by James Jean - The Wanderings of a Theological Vagabond
I just like to look at this. I thought you would too

Our 1 Year Anniversary Today - Diary of an Arts Pastor
Happy Anniversary to a couple I deeply admire. I can't wait to see what God is going to do for you in Year 2!! The wedding pictures are oh so fun. Not only that, but how could I pass up a post that begins with a Garrison Keillor quote about sex?

One Music recommendation:
Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes
I take my time picking up new music, films, and books because I like to listen to what different people think and say before I decide if it's worth my time and/or money. Whenever a work pops up consistently across the spectrum of media outlets I read I figure it's time to throw my own nickel in the juke box.
And this album is totally worth the 200 nickels I fed into the iTunes machine. I mean with cover art from a sixteenth-century artist you got half my admiration right there. But when the music is lyrically and melodically imaginative and the harmonies are rich and unpredictable well that's when I'm all in.

I was following the pack
All swallowed in their coats
With scarves of red tied 'round their throats
To keep their little heads from fallin' in the snow
-from White Winter Hymnal, Fleet Foxes

Monday, January 19, 2009

Making Moments (disciplines for the inner life)

This is my Father's world, / Oh, let me ne'er forget 
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, / God is the Ruler yet
On a recent Sunday I was walking out of church and noticed a small huddle of friends standing in the middle of the atrium we call Main Street. I wanted to hurry by and get on with our afternoon, but I noticed that one friend was distraught. Her face was crumpled with tears. I tried to leave, but I couldn't. I turned back around and inserted myself -- silently -- into the small huddle.
She was talking about deep disappointment in relationship. She expressed a despair that nothing would ever change; that she would not ever be able to have what she desired. I understood. I had spent half of the previous week in bed fighting depression (Well, that and a nasty sinus infection). I had spent the last two and a half years mourning the foolishness of several relationships that had gone sour.
Pretty much the only thing I had learned -- other than the fact that I tend toward relational idolatry -- was that the bent I had toward the Grandiose Scheme was one that would, more likely than not, lead me astray. Good learning, yes, but quite incomplete. At some point there has to be a positive behavior to replace the old.
As I listened to my friend's agony and remembered my own these thoughts continued to ram into each other in my head like a couple of determined sumo wrestlers.I could not speak much. The others spoke some. We did a lot of looking straight into each other's eyes, not avoiding her grief-filled gaze. We did some nodding of our heads and a couple of times we refuted statements that were clearly misguided. But, mostly we listened.
In my past I would have shot straight toward the Grand Plan to Cheer Up this Friend. I just happen to be out of grand plans when it comes to relationships. So I stood and gazed and nodded. We prayed together. And, like a small thought, a small idea, during the final sentence of prayer it occurred to me. "We're going to Subway. Do you want to join us?"
"OK, then. Let me tell the family. Hey, after that we're going sledding. You can join us if you want." And she did.
We haven't really talked since, but for one sunny, sub-zero Sunday afternoon we ate subs, laughed together, dressed up in ridiculous-looking layers of clothing and sledded in lopsided chains of plastic sleds and snow-tubes, grabbing mittened-hand after mittened-hand all the way to the bottom of the hill. We drank hot chocolate out of paper cups and shouted cheers at the slip-slidy antics of the other sledders.
Then we said good-bye, hugged and left.
Don't mishear me. I am not mentioning that scenario as a recipe for deep relationship. I am just saying that it was a Moment. A fun, solid, memory-making kind of moment in our friendship. I don't know what will come next. I don't know if anything will come next. We did not talk about books we were reading or sins we needed to confess. We just took advantage of some ordinary activities on an ordinary Sunday to experience some ordinary moments - together.
It was this experience that lay like a warm blanket over my memory as I read one of the first meditations of last week's theme, making moments.
Some people appear to think that the "spiritual life" is a peculiar condition mainly supported by cream ices and corrected by powders. But the solid norm of the spiritual life should be like that of the natural life: a matter of porridge, bread and butter.... It is not the best housekeeper who has the most ferocious spring-clean, or gets things from the confectioner when she is expecting guests. "If any man open the door, I will come in to him"; share his ordinary meal, and irradiate his ordinary life. The demand for temperance of soul, for acknowledgment of the sacred character of the normal, is based on that fact -- the central Christian fact -- of the humble entrance of God into our common human life. (from The House of the Soul and Concerning the Inner Life, Evelyn Underhill)
For the same two years that I've been killing the addiction to the Grand Scheme I've been trying to understand how my relationship with God works in just the ordinary stuff of life. I have been trying to understand how to live from this place of contentment that David describes:
God, I'm not trying to rule the roost, I don't want to be king of the mountain. I haven't meddled where I have no business or fantasized grandiose plans. I've kept my feet on the ground, I've cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mother's arms, my soul is a baby content. Wait, Israel, for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always! (Psalm 131: 1-3, MSG)
There have been Grand Moments in my life. More than any one person deserves. Moments when it seemed that all heaven and earth synced for just a glimpse of glory. Like Jesus taking his three best friends to the mountain to share in the wonder of such a transfigured Moment. There's much I'm sure I have to learn from this classic biblical story, but one learning that has been pasted to the inside of my eyelids is that Peter could not get out of his head long enough to savor the moment. He missed or nearly missed -- I'm not sure from the telling -- the extreme grandiosity of God in this moment. He wanted to strategize, capitalize, theorize and theologize the Moment into something manageable and marketable. Something he could control.
I've lost track of the number of times my response has matched Peter's. Something in me is unable to rest, to savor, to soak in the Moment. My mind rushes on to ways that I can trap all the good feelings, pin the legs of the thing down and preserve it under glass. To build some kind of shrine to the Moment so that it will be available to me any time I rub the glass three times. And with all of that scheming I miss the voice of God: This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of my delight. Listen to him.
In these two years I've learned that my desire for the Presence of God on my terms and in my ideals blinds me to the Present God. The same God who shows up in a cow barn in the middle of the night and on a hike to Emmaus with old friends. When I am consumed with whipping up a plan to build some sort of shrine to the Moment I do not hear the knock on the door, Jesus standing at the door, hoping to be invited in for a meal. (I wonder how he feels about Subway?)
What is the fear of surrendering fully to a Grand Moment? I know the answer. It's the coming down from the mountain part. That's the rub. It's Frodo trying to live in the Shire again. It's Mary's first case of morning sickness after Gabriel left the room. It's Cinderella, shoeless, back to sweeping soot. It's two million people trying to get on the Metro after the inauguration this Tuesday.
The Reverend Joseph Lowery referred to this hard task in the inaugural benediction:
And as we leave this mountain top, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.
Without commenting on his theology, he got this unavoidable dilemma right. This temptation to despair we feel when it is time to leave the mountain, walk away from the burning bush, clean out the Upper Room, swallow the last morsel of Olive Garden's white chocolate raspberry cheesecake; pick your place and time -- nobody wants to leave the experience of a Grand Moment.
During this week's meditation I am reminded that I want to stop treating the rare Grand Moment like some kind of marketing research or science project. I want to sponge up the Moment so that I can walk away with it shining out of my eyes, and fingertips and the ends of my hair. (I shall tape a poster to my mirror, Tamara lassoes the moon.)
I want to develop my senses to recognize the Jesus of the ordinary; to notice sooner than the Emmaus travelers: Didn't we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road? To live in the abundant presence of Christ that surrounds and infuses the ordinary joys and pains of every day rather than just plucking the blackberries of the few-and-far between Grand Moments.
This is hard because it involves death. Christ followed each moment from day to day and his journey took him through suffering and death. I don't like this Christ. As Eugene Kennedy comments on the Matthew account of the Mount of Transfiguration in The Choice to be Human: This is a mystery blinding in its intensity. We still do not like to look at the separations and deaths to ourselves that are inevitable in lives fully and lovingly lived. Better, with Peter in his boisterous enthusiasm, to stay at this high point of affirmation than to follow with Jesus as he accepts his own departure to Jerusalem and the final acts of his mission. The passage, ringing with glory, turns our gaze down the slopes toward the often shadowed valley in which most people lead their lives. There we find the setting for the kind of religious experience of which Jesus has been speaking. It has little to do with the minute observation of detailed rules. It concerns rather those things which cannot be measured at all: loving someone throughout a lifetime, making sacrifices in our lives for the benefit of those who follow after us, raising a child, keeping our word, forgiving each other for our failures, standing together in the bad weather of life. Our Exodus leads us not through strange and exotic places but through the very middle of our quite ordinary lives. (The Choice to be Human, Eugene Kennedy)
If I am paying attention I will hear all the voices of other children of the burning heart through the centuries who find salvation and glory and sublime in the ordinary, draining, painful, exciting, mundane, sticky, dusty, hungry and thirsty, sweaty, peanut-butter-and-jelly, pot-scrubbing moments of each day. This must be what it means to live fully and lovingly. In other words, to worship at the shrines of Past Grand Moments is to live only halfly and meanly.
This is one of the greatest realizations I took from reading Kathleen Norris' Acedia & Me. Acedia is a stinginess of the soul that becomes disinterested in the time and place I find myself in right now -- this lower-case m moment.
In the fourth century, Evagrius marked acedia as one of the spiritual afflictions, far more deadly than the more physical temptations such as gluttony or lust, or the melancholy arising from deprivation or anger. Acedia, he insisted, is something more, a weariness of soul that ‘instills in the heart of the monk a hatred for the place, a hatred for his very life itself, [and] a hatred for manual labor...(Norris is quoting Benedictine Mary Margaret Funk, whose name makes me giggle)
This, then, becomes a serious issue. Hatred of place and time is hatred of good gifts from my Father. It's ultimately a self-aggrandizement that says I could do it better if I were just given the chance. I might as well say what I'm really thinking: These piddly little moments are meaningless to me unless I get my own way. This is a dangerous place to live and, I'm becoming convinced, thwarts the hand of my good, giving Father in my daily life.
My reading from other saints last week introduced me to a warning from Dietrich Bonhoeffer: We prevent God from giving us the great spiritual gifts He has in store for us, because we do not give thanks for daily gifts…How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from Him the little things? He wrote this from an illegal seminary in Nazi Germany. Enough said.
Where does this leave me, then? It leaves me humbled in the presence of the Present Christ. The Christ who leaned down to fear-stricken Peter, James and John on the mount and said Do not be afraid.
It leaves me making the choice to be awake. To choose to notice and pay attention and be grateful. To quit day-dreaming of all the Grand Moments-yet-to-be and to enjoy the ordinary companionship of that Christ and of his children. It leaves me waiting in a cold Subway, hungry for lunch, working through the awkward tension of making conversation with a new friend. It leaves me noticing the beauty of wind-chapped cheeks and brightly colored scarves and mittens on a snowy hilltop. It leaves me in a wide-open stance, ready to receive all of Christ's gifts on earth and in heaven. It leaves me praying the unwitting prayer of Sylvia Plath (oh, how sweet for her to have found the present Christ):
On the stiff twig up there
Hunches a wet black rook
Arranging and rearranging its feathers in the rain.
I do not expect miracle
Or an accident.
To set the sight on fire
In my eye, nor seek
Any more in the desultory weather some design,
But let spotted leaves fall as they fall,
Without ceremony, or portent.
Although, I admit, I desire,
Occasionally, some backtalk
From the mute sky, I can't honestly complain:
A certain minor light may still
Leap incandescent
Out of the kitchen table or chair
As if a celestial burning took
Possession of the most obtuse objects now and then --
Thus hallowing an interval
Otherwise inconsequent
By bestowing largesse, honour,
One might say love.
At any rate, I now walk
Wary (for it could happen
Even in this dull, ruinous landscape); sceptical,
Yet politic; ignorant
Of whatever angel may choose to flare
Suddenly at my elbow. I only know that a rook
Ordering its black feathers can so shine
As to seize my senses, haul
My eyelids up, and grant
A brief respite from fear
Of total neutrality. With luck
Trekking stubborn through this season
Of fatigue, I shall
Patch together a content
Of sorts. Miracles occur,
If you care to call those spasmodic
Tricks of radiance miracles. The wait's begun again,
The long wait for the angel,
For that rare, random descent.
(Black Rook in Rainy Weather by Sylvia Plath)
*picture above: Taken while rafting on a frigid Delaware River with a mess of courageous family members this past August.

monday mix tape

i made you a mix tape of all my favorites this week

  • First things first. I saw this photo of a work by Katie Herzog linked on my Design for Mankind feed and haven't been able to stop looking at it all week. The fact that it's made from yarn and is a 6ft by 8ft installation just makes it that much more fun!

Phonebooks, Katie Herzog

  • NY Times Op-Ed Guest Columnist, Bono, ruminating on the Chairman, the art of music and Irish pubs... (I'm getting pretty excited about the new album due in March!)

  • What's your favorite song-in-movie sequence? This post had some pretty great selections (we just introduced our sons to the 80's classic Back to the Future a couple of weeks ago!), many I'd never heard of, and a few I wouldn't bother with. Alas, my all-time favorite song sequence in a movie was not even listed.

  • I love the library, I love reading lists and I loved this article. (Thanks to Andy Crouch at Culture Making for pointing it out!)

Speaking of reading suggestions...

Books: Cyndere's Midnight, Jeffrey Overstreet

Maybe you remember my thoughts on Overstreet's first novel, Auralia's Colors and maybe you don't. Maybe you remember my comments of admiration for this disciple artist in my picks for Favorite Creators and Cultivators in 2008 and maybe you don't. But I hope you'll remember to check out this series the next time you visit your favorite bookstore. It's worth the looking and worth the reading.

This weekend I am still trying to get over this mid-winter illness and found it the perfect time to finish reading this second in a series of four titles in Auralia's Thread. I found that Overstreet's confidence in storytelling had only grown since the first title. I was more drawn into this other-world, the Expanse and more entranced by the small beauties found in a few brave souls trying to make a difference in the midst of adversity and ugliness.

If the mark of a good read is that one is removed from reality for a time but more hopeful than ever about the reality they face after turning the last page, than this, indeed, was a good read.

They found the cave where Lesyl was singing. Children were gathered in a crowd about her. Merya, once a Gatherer and now in charge of planning meals, stood cradling her newborn at the edge of the room, listening. Many of the soldiers, the Gatherers, and the Housefolk were assembling as well.

Cal-raven tried to quell the emotions that seized him as he took in this sight. Peace. Relief.

Lesyl sang quietly about a magnificent violet tree that had fallen in a storm. One bird tried to lift it, but her wings were much too feeble. Another came to offer help, but they were not enough. But when their whole flock descended, each bird grasping a branch, they could fly together and lift the tree, planting it back in the scar of its uprooting. As she sang the chorus again, the children of Abascar raised their tired voices to join her. (Cyndere's Midnight, pp. 310, 11)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Solitude (disciplines for the inner life)

"Loneliness is inner emptiness. Solitude is inner fulfillment."

- Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline

I wish I could remember the name of the record album -- or even the song. I remember the faux-brick linoleum pressed to the floor of the drafty room and that it bubbled up in a few warpy spots. I remember the floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall handmade wooden bookshelves overflowing with books. I remember the over sized metal desk with the mid-century rounded corners that had belonged to my mother's father and took up the largest space in the room. And I remember the record player sitting on top the cherry wood cube that housed my parents record collection and held the mishmash of dogeared liner notes and plastic cases storing new record needles.

The only part of the recording I can remember is a man's voice quoting Psalm 91:1:

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
He kept going through the Psalm, but I don't remember the in-between words because I would always get stuck trying to picture God's shadow. Would it be big? Bulky? And since my mom and grandmother often quoted, I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me, my mind would get busy trying to figure out what in the world an india-rubber ball would look like. My feeble imagintation could only picture as one of those red, pimply inflated spheres that made the most satisfying sound when my sneaker connected with it solidly during my ups in a P.E. class kickball contest.

Eventually, though, with all these wandering thoughts my attention would once again be arrested by the warm male voice still narrating Psalm 91 in between the hisses and whirs of the vinyl rotating round the small metal prong poking up through the center of the dizzying spins of the coffee-black, grooved platter:

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust...

And with that my poor, Baptist-school stunted imagination would begin to combust. God has feathers?!?
1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Last week's theme of Solitude involved reading Psalm 91 every day. The kids were back to school from Christmas break, my husband was headed back to work from his vacation. On his last day home, he and I sat together over gyros and meatloaf at the Greek diner around the corner from our house. The mood between us was light, two friends comparing notes on the upcoming week. He asked, "So what does this week hold for you?"

I held the silvery-foil wrapped meat half-way to my mouth and paused to answer the question. Breath to form words moved through my teeth and then, like it had seen an unwanted surprise, scuttled right back into my mouth. What does this week hold for me? What does this week hold for me? No more job to hurry to a couple mornings a week. No more Christmas musical deadlines to fret. No more Christmas anything, for that matter. Think of something...quick!

Taking a bite of gyro, I chewed a moment, sipped my water, and answered with bright assurance, "Well, I asked Stacey if I could stay over at her house Thursday night to spend all day Friday in solitude and prayer for the upcoming ministry season." Whew...that was good. Big. Grand. Spiritual.

Later that day I read Psalm 91, recalled the peaceful moments alone listening to record albums in my father's home-study, and journaled: Psalm 91 is beautiful. Beautiful.

Then night came on that first day of the new week. My next journal entry:

A very bad day. I think there may be some kind of attack going on here because... I went to bed so content and happy and eager and in the night I felt like 'something' came over me. I had a nightmare which woke me up enough to let Brian know, but I don't remember it. Then I had the kind of exhausting dream that puts me in a situation where I am completely failing a simple task and tons of people [often all mixed up from different seasons of my life] are watching and becoming increasingly angry with me. In addition I woke up about 4am coughing and blowing my nose and I couldn't get back to sleep until I propped myself up on a mound of pillows. I'm stressed about life starting back up again after Christmas; about keeping up with housework and relationships, etc. I can't stand being 'me' any longer. I absolutely want to no longer exist. I realize it's selfish and self-absorbed and slothful and sensual. I've got to break out of this. Help me, God. Please, please, please help me.
Toward evening, a sense of peace became solid with this perspective:
The only way I can think out of this is that, yes there is attack, and, yes, there is immaturity and sin. But I'm making it through the day. It's 4:45 pm and I've made it this far without blowing it, without leaving town, without doing any irreversible damage. And Psalm 91 says...

Once again this psalm full of metaphor and angelic assurance arrested my imagination and calmed my numerous fears. He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High /Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
During the week I was reminded of something Kathleen Norris said in Acedia & Me:

“Psalm 91, from which the early monks coined the term ‘noonday demon’:You will not fear the terror of the night
Nor the arrow that flies by day,
Nor the plague that prowls in the darkness
Nor the scourge that lays waste at noon.
While we are all too familiar with nighttime terrors, we might well ask: What scourge that lays waste at noon?

Andrew Solomon explains that he chose "The Noonday Demon" as the title for his book because he found the phrase ‘describes so exactly what one experiences in depression…Most demons – most forms of anguish – rely on the cover of night; to see them clearly is to defeat them. Depression stands in the full glare of the sun, unchallenged by recognition. You can know all the why and the wherefore and suffer just as much as if you were shrouded by ignorance. There is almost no other mental state of which the same can be said.’”

For, perhaps the first time in my life, I began to understand that God's rescue at noon and at night might possibly look like me laying in my bathrobe, propped up on pillows, kept company by a box of tissues and my journal. It was not pretty like an extreme close-up of a pink, tear-stained face at the end of a movie, but I'm quite certain that if I could have seen into the spiritual realm that afternoon I might have been able to see a ten thousand demons fallen by my side and a thousand at my right hand. I had made it through the day.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

About midweek the entire family was fighting one aspect or another of the flu. Any meaningful activity I had managed to schedule into this mundane week I had to cancel -- a trip to Syracuse for the funeral of dear friends' mother and grandmother, lunch with my sister-in-law, a first appointment at a new gym, and the solitude retreat. All week I had read accounts of Jesus getting away to pray. To ask for direction, comfort, correction and sustaining from His Father in hidden-away desert places. I got to my living room chair. So I didn't get to keep my well-intended plan of going away from the normal distractions of home and family to pray and listen for the voice of God. But I chose to hunker down anyway with Bible, notebook, pen, hot tea and a decent dose of optimism. And nothing happened.

I couldn't focus. I couldn't figure out what to say first. I couldn't hear God. I felt like an idiot. I needed back-up. Moral support. Like Jesus asking Peter, James and John to keep watch with him that horrible night of solitude in the Garden, I called out (via email) to close friends. In essence I asked them the same question: Would you keep watch with me?

Soon, words began to formulate in my mind and bubble up into prayer formation. All of them came to the same conclusion; I was deeply afraid. In a matter of minutes I was able to scribble a notebook page full of the fears keeping me mute. In the quiet buzzing and whirring of the house while steam evaporated from the mouth of my tea mug, words came back to me. Psalm 91 words again:
9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation
Photograph #1: Photo titled Psalm 91 by "LauraZ" on eyefetch.com
Photograph #2: Photo taken in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

Photograph #3: Jesus Prays in Gethsemane station, Good Friday experience at Union Center

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

monday mix tape

i made you a mix tape of all my favorites this week!

Two important things you should know about today's post:
1. I am sick so am writing all my thoughts in bullet-list format.
2. Even though these posts are titled monday mix tape I'm not sure I've ever actually posted them on a Monday! I like the sound of that title too much to change it though. Sue me.

Films: Doubt

one of the most thought-provoking films I've ever seen
well-written and well-delivered dialogue.
excellent acting performances (especially Streep and Hoffman)
beautifully-peformed supporting roles.
set in the middle of last century, but a topic that is more relevent than ever
not wrapped up in a tidy package at the close
leaves the viewer the opportunity to participate in the story.

Music: My Blueberry Nights, soundtrack

first heard about the song The Devil's Highway on this post loved the song, but couldn't download it without the whole album listened to several clips and loved every one bought the album with the iTunes gift card I got for Christmas love every track - bluesy, haunting, sweet and fun all at the same time artists featured include Amos Lee, Norah Jones, Cat Power and Otis Redding am ordering the film on Netflix soon!

Indelible Grace Music -For All the Saints, Beam of Heaven, Wake Thy Slumbering Children

volumes 3, 4 and 5 of 5 Indelible Grace albums
the purpose of Indelible Grace music:
Our hope is to help the church recover the tradition of putting old hymns to new music for each generation, and to enrich our worship with a huge view of God and His indelible grace.

learned about this project through this website that provided resources for our Tennebrae service last Good Friday
am inspired and hopeful and rejuvenated every time I listen
hope that inspiration will become contagious to the musicians I am privileged to know and work alongside in 2009

Books: Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and A Writer's Life by Kathleen Norris

am almost rendered speechless by the connection I had with this book (grateful to Norris for her transparency)
accidie: heedlessness, torpor...[a] non-caring state (Oxford English Dictionary)
accedia: 1. the deadly sin of sloth, 2. spiritual torpor and apathy (Webster's Third New International Dictionary...)
accedia: a mental syndrome, the chief features of which are listlessness, carelessness, apathy, and melancholia (Online Medical Dictionary)
if it is true that half the battle is knowing your enemy, I'm now half-way to victory in an exhausting and lifelong war
hopefully I'll refer back to this book often
strongly recommend to those who struggle with mild depression, apathy, melancholy, laziness and feel it may be more than just a physical problem

Ancient-Future Worship by Robert Webber
browsed through this book quickly in preparation for a further study
appreciate the respectful, humble and balanced approach Webber takes to what can be a hot topic
am convinced that we continue to ignore the Church's history in worship to the peril of our own experience with God and to that of future generations
am convinced that the church's ability to serve those not yet in the faith is weakened by our ignorance of the worship practices of the ancient Church
this book is not the best I've read of Webber but it meant mostly as a high-level approach to a complex topic
will be studying several of his other titles during the month of January

Currently reading:
reading with Brian tiny bit by tiny bit each night
looking forward to sharing more about this soon!

Back to my tissues and cough drops!
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