Thursday, January 31, 2008
I just saw it, for the first time.
As the credits were rolling, I added it to my Amazon cart.
It's that good.
The soundtrack is wonderful. The acting is pretty darn good. The costumes are great. And the way the characters develop and the story is told...impressive.
Not to mention the bagpipes at the end....
I'm planning to use it in the confirmation lock-in tomorrow, and may use it in regular youth group soon as well. If/when I do, I'll post more about that.
Also amazing: the way y'all have come through for me on the Aveda front! thanks!
PS...I didn't cry at all in the movie Amazing Grace, which was something of a surprise to me. But right after that I watched Bridge to Terabithia and cried like a baby. The part where Jess thinks it's all his fault? Right on. The dad saying "it's gonna be okay"? Exactly the wrong thing that people always say. The dad saying "it's just a bad thing; it don't make no sense" and "I don't know much about God but I know God won't send that girl to hell"--right on. Jess punching the kid in class? Also right on, and I'm about nonviolence. Just saying.
Okay, I have to go to bed now....
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
This product is amazing and gets my dry curly hair through the winter indoor heat experience and also the summer sun+humidity=damage and frizz experience. Aveda has not replaced this product with a similar one, they just discontinued this one with no warning. It's no longer available on their website or at my salon.
If you are near a place that sells Aveda products, please check to see if they have an Elixir still in stock. If they do, please buy some and send it to me (you can use my church address)! I promise to pay you back.
Please help me out here!
Monday, January 28, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
From What Privileges Do You Have?, based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.
Bold the statements that are true.
1. Father went to college
2. Father finished college
3. Mother went to college
4. Mother finished college
5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor
6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
We're a family of readers....
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home. At least, it feels like more than 500!!
9. Were read children’s books by a parent. All the time.
10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18. Piano for a little while, and clarinet of course...
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed
Not sure what that one's supposed to mean, so we'll leave it alone.
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs At this rate, I'll be paying for college until I'm 65.
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
16. Went to a private high school
17. Went to summer camp I went to Camp Fire Camp several years, and then in high school I went to both Marrowstone Music Festival (3 years) and the Interlochen Arts Camp (1 year).
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18.
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels. Generally I think family vacations were infrequent and involved staying at Grandma's house.
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18. Unless buying fabric new and having grandma make the clothes counts...
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them. BOUGHT me a car? HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! I have difficulty even imagining this.
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child. it was made by family members, I think, or someone close. Hammered copper stuff from Alaska.
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home. As long as this doesn't mean "not making mortgage payments anymore"--cuz the mortgage is definitely not paid off even now.
25. You had your own room as a child. And I got to paint it myself.
27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school. I don't think kids should have TVs in their rooms, actually. In fact, now I own my own condo and I have a TV only for use of the DVD player--I don't get any channels. I still don't have TV in any of my rooms!
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college. Shoot, I STILL don't have IRA. Please don't lecture me about this, I know...
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16. We went to Washington DC for band my freshman year of high school.
31. Went on a cruise with your family
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up. We're museum people as well as reading people, what can I say. But I don't recall a ton of museum going until I started visiting colleges. We went to lots of Aquariums (Aquaria?) though, and lighthouse museums, etc.
34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family. I didn't know the exact cost but I knew it was expensive to heat the house--our house was kept chilly and I complained a lot. I was constantly told to put on more clothes and that "being cold builds character." There was a Calvin and Hobbes series about "building character" and being cold was the subject of one strip--I would bet anything it's still on the fridge 13 years later.
A New Song
A Common Life.
Now I'm working on Listening for God and loving it so far. I'm about a third of the way through and I still think my favorite bit is in the preface.
"If God was going to speak to me, God would just have to do it amidst the clutter of family, the noise of pots and pans...It's hard to find the time and energy to pray when you're averaging four to six hours of sleep a day. If God was silent because God was upset about how little time I had to sit still, then God would just have to increase the number of hours in a day, I reasoned. Women have for centuries been made to feel guilty because in our ongoing struggle to balance solitude and intimacy, we've found ourselves, often for reasons not always of our doing, having to give up the former for the sake of the latter..........The lesson was learning how to hear God in different ways and in different places."
As Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
For some reason, when I begin to think about children's time, all I can think of is this:
Friday, January 25, 2008
The picture is out a window at SingingOwl's place, complete with screen. ;-) My camera cord is in my office, so no pictures to share today...
Brrrr! Baby, it’s COLD outside! At least that is the case where I am this morning. We are in a January deep freeze. Have a cup of hot tea and tackle five easy seasonal questions.
1. What is the thermometer reading at your house this morning?
-1 when I got up, supposedly 10 now. It certainly doesn't feel like 10! I suspect windchill has us down below zero still.
2. Snow—love it or hate it?
I love to look at snow from the inside, and I love to make snow angels in that fluffy kind of snow. snow-globe snow (hard little flakey balls), not so much. Driving in snow? hate it. Being out in heavy snow with no hope of curling up on the couch with lots of blankets, some cats, hot cocoa, and a book? Also hate it.
3. What is winter like where you are?
Cold. Grey. Grey more. Cold more. About 7 months long.
4. Do you like winter sports? Any good stories?
I don't really play sports. My favorite sports to watch are baseball and gymnastics, both of which tend to be summer-oriented. So...no good stories. Unless snow-angel making is a sport!
5. What is your favorite season, and why?
Fall. I love the colors, the slightly crisp cooler-than-freaking-hot-summer temps, the crunchy leaves, and the food. (mm, potatoes, butternut squash, granny smith apples....)
Bonus: Share a favorite winter pick-me-up. A recipe, an activity, or whatever.
The other day I was at the Laughing Seed Cafe in Asheville, NC. I had really great food, including a fabulous pureed soup--fire-roasted red pepper and lots of other yumminess. Alas, no recipe. Instead I will share the tuxedo chili recipe I am making to take to tomorrow night's chili cook off at church!
1 onion, chopped
garlic, minced (fresh is best)
2 cans black beans, one with liquid, one mostly drained
2 cans great northern beans, mostly drained
2 cans Ro-Tel (one medium, one mild)
1 cup vegetable broth (plus extra just in case)
salt and pepper
other spices you like (I use a little chili powder, a little tabasco or cayenne)
olive oil and flour for a roux (sp?) if you want.
saute onion in big pot. add garlic. add beans and rotel and veggie broth. add cumin and pepper. cook for a long time (though it can be done in about half an hour if you keep the heat on high and you stir basically constantly). Now's the time to add more salt, pepper, garlic powder, or cumin if you need it. When you're about done, decide if consistency is okay. If you need more liquid, add more veggie broth and keep cooking. If it's too soupy, make a roux (heat olive oil in small pan, stir in flour with rubber spatula until the mixture is brown and pasty) and add, slowly-ish, to chili. Stir well. It will thicken up and take on a nice glossy sheen. Spoon into bowls. Add a squirt of lime to each bowl, stir. Top with cilantro if you want. Better option--top with shredded mozzarella (it's a tuxedo!). Enjoy with a piece of warm french or italian bread, just to mix up the ethnic food and to take the edge off the spice.
That's it exactly, David. Thanks for putting it so well. It's possible to be idealistic without being naive. Just because we believe the world can be better, can be different, doesn't mean we're foolish or unrealistic. It just means we see that the world can be better and we want to work toward that betterment.
Totally unrelated: coming home I was finally on the plane in Detroit. We sat on the runway, waiting to be de-iced, longer than the flight from Detroit to O'Hare actually takes (and much longer than it would have taken our thoroughly iced-over plane to fall out of the sky had we taken off without the de-icing...). I don't recall ever being on a plane as it was de-iced on the runway (I think usually they do it at the gate at most airports I've been through?). It was totally cool--we were enveloped in a spray of hot anti-freeze. We couldn't see anything out the windows, but we could feel the plane get warmer. Bizarre. And good, because once de-iced there was no waiting around for take-off (otherwise we would have had to wait in the de-icing line again). I finally got home about 3 hours after I should have. oy.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
"proud to be maladjusted" (don't plan to adjust to segregation, injustice, lynching, etc...) --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, in a speech at Montreat, 1965
"divine discontent" (with the way things are) --ditto
"paid church professionals get 10% off at the bookstore!" "do you have to show some kind of ID?" "it's a sad day if you pretend to be a paid church worker just to get a discount at a church retreat center bookstore."
"it's a wonder I didn't have dreams about being on a steam ship--it sounds like I'm sleeping in the engine room" --my roommate, discussing the strange noises the radiator makes at all hours of day and night.
"you tell me you can't change the world? you can't be in the world and not change it--you can't help it. Try not changing the oxygen-carbon dioxide ratio for ten minutes and let me know how that goes. tell me you can't change the world!" --David LaMotte
"if a stranger walked into your office and said "what do you guys believe at this church," what would you say?" --fellow conferee
"when were you saved?" "33AD, approximately. you?" --ditto
"if perfection is stagnation, heaven is a swamp." --David LaMotte, quoting someone else RE the myth of perfection being required before action.
"Moses had his firewall broken down. My firewalls make me slow and unresponsive--how can I break them down to hear the burning bush speaking to me?" --Dori Baker in a sermon.
Also, the food is good. and right now it's breakfast time....more later.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
Well, the first meeting of the class was this past Monday, and during the hour we went around the class introducing ourselves. Of the 19 people (besides me) in the room, 18 began with "I'm so-and-so, and I've always loved nature...." and then went on to talk about something like hiking, camping, canoeing, birdwatching, etc. The 19th person began with "I'm so-and-so and I haven't always loved nature...but then I took a trip to the Boundary Waters and now I love being out in nature."
When it came to my turn, I said, "I'm more of an indoor person, honestly." I love to see the beauty of creation...especially from inside. Don't get me wrong--I love nature. I just don't want to be out in it all the time. I want to be reading, or looking out the window, or cooking, or whatever. I don't want to sleep outside, I don't want to have to wear bug spray, I don't want to go hiking in the woods for my vacation or stay somewhere that doesn't have water. I care about the planet and the people who live on it, and I've always reduced-reused-recycled and I'm working on becoming more of a locavore and eating organic and thinking about what impact my life has on Mother Earth. I'm practically the very definition of a tree-hugger environmentalist, except in this one way. Does that mean that, because I'd rather sit on the couch and read than go for a hike, I don' t love nature?
And besides, what does this have to do with "choices for sustainable living"???
Nonetheless, the response to this was basically "we'll get you outside and you'll change your mind!"
Please, people--you're not likely to. I grew up on a farm and in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, with amazing beaches, mountains, deserts, meadows, hills, rivers, etc. I've been a CampFire Girl. This was my summer camp:
I've been hiking, camping, white water rafting, the whole bit....
...and I'd rather stay home and read a book.
So today, after getting my hair cut, I came home and watched a movie I'd picked up at the library and then read an entire book. I watched the snow fall outside, I played with my kitties, and I made portobella and spinach quesadillas (with organic spinach from one of my own church members who is growing it through the winter as an experiment).
I still love nature...and now I've finished two more Mitford novels--These High Green Hills and Out to Canaan.
Sunday I leave for Montreat--a beautiful beautiful place.
And I bet it's just as beautiful, just as healing, just as good for the soul, from behind a big window and in front of a nice fire, with a book and some tea.
The website promoting this piece of art says, "For the first time, the worlds most influential religious texts are brought together and presented on the same level, their coexistence acknowledged and celebrated”. The shelf is made of reclaimed wood that contains seven religious books. The designers have put them – literally – on the same level.
Well, pish posh! I think that some books ARE better than others! How about you?
- What book have you read in the last six months that has really stayed with you? Why? hmm, I've read a LOT of books in the past six months! I loved Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, I loved Acts of Faith by Philip Caputo, and both of those have stuck with me. They changed the way I think and the way I imagine.
- What is one of your favorite childhood books? For a long time my favorite book was Island of the Blue Dolphins. I read it over and over and over....
- Do you have a favorite book of the Bible? Do tell!
Isaiah. Hands down. If I had to choose from the NT I would choose Mark's gospel. But I really think Isaiah has everything we need, and it's beautifully written as well--in Hebrew and in English!
- What is one book you could read again and again?
There are lots of books I do read again and again. Pride and Prejudice is one, of course. Lamb. Good Omens. The Princess Bride. Lots of others...
- Is there a book you would suggest for Lenten reading? What is it and why?
Most years I read a Barrie Shepherd book...Faces at the Manger is my favorite. I love imagining the characters, plus Barrie is a wonderful writer. He's good with images. But everyone seems to be recommending Bread and Wine or some such book so I'll maybe pick that up...
And because we all love bonus questions, if you were going to publish a book what would it be? Who would you want to write the jacket cover blurb expounding on your talent?
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Oh, right...we sang Amazing Grace in church today. Youth Sunday is fast approaching (three weeks) and I don't feel that we're prepared. I'm going out of town next week and have to have a sub for confirmation class. It's almost tax time. I'm traveling and need someone to look in on my kitties. I haven't had real time off since Thanksgiving and before that since summer.
But seriously, I think Amazing Grace is what put me over the edge, from mostly coping to feeling it. I got home tonight at about 7 and promptly went to sleep until 10, but now I can feel the tension in my stomach and back and I can't sleep. I clearly need to be at the gym, but I think I'm having a relapse of my cold from last week.
Can I just say...it irritates me that I know it's coming, I know the effect it has on me, I feel prepared, and still one little song can do so much damage to my physical well-being just because of its emotional impact? And that irritation, primarily with myself and my subconscious, adds to my tension.
Okay, I'm going to try going back to bed.
Right after I say that I finished A Light in the Window and am moving on to book three--These High Green Hills. More on Mitford another day, though...
Saturday, January 12, 2008
So, naturally, I turned to a novel series that everyone seems to have read except me. That's right, I picked up the first Mitford novel by Jan Karon. The series (or at least most of it) is in our church library, leaving me no excuses. Yesterday evening I finished At Home In Mitford and went promptly on to A Light in the Window (I'm about halfway through that one).
Everyone loves these books. I expected to be bored or to find only fluff here, but instead I am charmed and I sort of want to live in that little village on the mountain and there's good theology and philosophy tucked in sometimes too. It's not all fluff, but it revives my mind and spirit the way good fluff does. :-)
Thursday, January 10, 2008
But still, this is an interesting topic, don't you think? I think so--the overlap or intermingling of two important parts of our identities as Christian Americans. How do these things relate to one another? How do we engage in our political system in a faithful way? What do we expect of the government, what do we put into the government, what does God have to do with all of this?
Interestingly, the class was pretty quiet for the first...35-40 minutes or so. There was immediate agreement on the functions of government, what they do and what they should do. No one felt there was a fundamental conflict between "we the people" as a foundational principle and "Jesus is Lord" as a foundational principle. Now, maybe this is due to me being FAR too tired to explain my question well. Maybe it's due to me wanting the first session of the class to be discussion and info-gathering for me rather than info-giving. Maybe I should have started with how Reformed people have historically seen the government, its role, and our role in it--more teaching and less asking. But that didn't feel right (which could also be related to my level of tiredness). In any case, I just have to wonder--do other people not think about these things? Is it so far out to be having this discussion? Or are other people just so uncomfortable talking about it that they won't talk at all? I'm intrigued. If I had been having this conversation anywhere else besides in the sanctuary of a church of which I am a pastor, I would have thought the conversation would have gone VERY differently.
I'm tempted to send the questions to some of my seminary friends and just see what happens. I think the email exchange would be much more heated than the sedate, matter-of-fact conversation of last night.
A HUGE bright spot in my night, however: when asked what are the biggest "issues" facing the world today, everyone in the room, almost simultaneously, said "poverty." And the discussion went on to include "lack of understanding, or trying to understand, people different from ourselves" and "lack of humility." None of the usual hot-button issues. Maybe that is my clue about my people...
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
I cannot wait to go to Montreat. 12 days.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
I love reading, so perhaps this will be a good discipline for me this year. I only hope I can keep up with the posting--I'm often a fast reader. Also, I'm not good with author names, so I'm just going to link to the books instead of giving all the info.
So far this year (in the past 3 days), I have finished....
Grace at the Table, from Bread for the World. Outdated now (1997) but still relevant in that we have not reduced hunger in any significant way. Depressing thought that in 10 years there are still billions of people living in extreme poverty.
Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger. More statistics, more suggestion that we increase foreign aid and giving. I wish it had more suggestions for generosity as spiritual discipline and for local action.
The Gospel According to America. I had to do research while reading this book. It made me feel decidedly NOT well-read, which is not something I usually feel. However, I really liked this book. It felt balanced (which probably means it's left-leaning) and I loved the way the author used history, politics, literature, drama, television, cinema, and music to construct the American Idea in a more holistic way than we are used to doing.
A Thousand Splendid Suns. (well, technically I read this in 2007, but overnight...) This was an amazing book. I dreamed about it for days. I can't explain the impact, but it is gripping.
Genesis. You know, "in the beginning" and all that.
Books I've been reading for a while now and really need to finish, even if only for my own self-esteem:
A Room of One's Own
Up next in the stack:
Dispatches from the Global Village
Listening for God
the Phillip Gulley Harmony series (from the library)
Also, I saw about 15 books I want to read at Borders last week, so I'm sure I'll be busy...
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
I really enjoy you. I really do. I find you articulate and engaging and intelligent--a nice change from the usual politician fare. I am also pretty happy with the way you have, so far, avoided mud-slinging. Thanks.
I do have some questions, though. I wonder if you'd mind answering.
1. This country was founded on the ideal that every person has a God-given right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Presumably this applies to people who aren't born in America as well, and even extends to those who never set foot in America. The current president has said that "no insignificant person was ever born." Unfortunately, his actions proclaim a different creed, as do popular phrases like "collateral damage." I wonder how you might apply, to domestic and foreign policy, the American ideal that every person is entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? How might this ideal be lived out in our political and social systems? Please don't answer me using the words "democracy" or "security"--they are important concepts but sadly the words have lost their meaning in our current discourse. I want to know, both abstractly and concretely, what it means for American policy that Palestinians, Sudanese, illegal immigrants, Cubans, wealthy, poor, hungry, and overweight people are all equally entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that not a single one of them is insignificant.
2. You claim you want to change the face of American politics, that you want to change the way things are done in Washington. The implication is one of total regime change. I'm interested in how you envision our government system working without being tied to and/or run (albeit mostly behind-the-scenes) by wealthy and powerful lobbies. Wonder which lobbies I mean? For just a few (the ones who make the news), how about the Dairy Farmers? The Jewish Federation? The factory farmers who benefit from the farm bill's subsidies while family farmers are forced off their land? Other big business that pollutes the air and water while shipping jobs overseas? These and hundreds of other lobbies spend billions of dollars each year to ensure that legislation is favorable to them. Unfortunately that leaves the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the oppressed, the alien, the orphan, and the widow, the people living under occupation, the people whose lives are "expendable" (from a big business perspective) out in the cold. Where is their place in our public policy? I agree with you that it's time for a change, but how, in your view, might our government work differently? Practicality, please, not just pretty words.
3. Our federal budget is very out of balance. Our debt spirals out of control. Our military spending outstrips our social services spending (both domestic and foreign) by several times. Our foreign aid is a mere 1/10th of 1% of our entire multi-trillion dollar budget. How do you envision an economic policy that brings this budget in line while simultaneously doing our share to help the 2 billion people living on less than $2 a day, helping those with AIDS and no access to the $150/year drugs that could make their lives better, and saving the 120 children that have died of hunger-related preventable disease while I've typed this paragraph?
4. As a Christian minister, I should be intrigued by how you live out your faith in your public life, how your understanding of Scripture and your relationship to Jesus shape your responses to situations and your shaping of policy. However, I'm more interested in how you, as a Christian, see yourself as a public official in a secular nation. How might your faith influence your action without alienating much of the country and indeed the rest of the world? How do you make room in your faith and in your decisions for those whose belief is different? And while we're on the subject, how do you make room for differences of opinion in general? And how open are you to hearing differences of opinion and perhaps even changing your own? (Not that I am suggesting you should change your faith--I'm interested here in your capacity for change and growth, both in your faith and in other areas.) Please, no sound-bytes about "a Christian nation" or "people of faith."
4. I wonder if you might describe your vision of an ideal America--a 21st century America that is part of a global community--and how we might reach that vision? I'm interested in economics, social issues, policies, education, and maybe even a little fun.
As the country prepares to begin making choices for the coming years, these are the things I really would like to know before I make a commitment to vote one way or another.