January 26, 2010


I had one of those aha moments where I realized that I'm long over-due for a dental appointment and that I really wish I was young enough to bring my teddy bear and get a sticker for being a big girl. Erg. I got to see my uncle when I went to dentist growing up, and I would still get queasy sitting in the waiting room. You know it sort of mystifies me that I can contemplate packing my life on my back for 3-4 days and disporting myself in bear and cougar country and then when I have to make a dentist appointment...And I'm really hoping that I don't have any cavities. I think I might have one, but I'm praying to be mistaken. Of course if you really can't handle it the nice doctor will give you a pill that will make you forget all of it, but I'm not that far gone. Of course I'm the kid who would start crying on cue when I heard my mom making a doctor's appointment for us because I knew that was probably going to involve stickings of some sort. I keep trying to prove to myself in various small ways that I'm really not a wimp (hey, when I cracked my tibia I was over there fighting back tears and shock because I didn't want to act all wussy), but most times I think I'm probably a wimp. Heaven help me when I have kids.

January 19, 2010

lovely technology

I was thinking the other day about all the things I can do more easily with a computer and internet plus access to netflix and iTunes. I can read books on-line through Project Gutenberg , listen to lectures on Christian history or Old English through iTunes, watch movies on netflix, get recipes and workout videos for free all over the place. This all on top of e-mail and blogging and shopping on-line. I must admit that my recent infatuation with the internet comes from my new work out resolution. I can get resistance training routine on-line, yoga and pilates on netflix, and even more yoga video podcasts on iTunes. Don't got to go the gym. Don't got to buy a dvd and hope it's good. Don't got to go the library and then remember to take it back to the library and be stuck doing serially different routines every week. I've basically got those whole archive of fitness routines I can access at will. It's pretty awesome. Also, the lectures. Oh, my soul, the lectures. I've been listening Reformed Theological Seminary's series on the history of the Puritans, and it's been quite interesting. I've been needing to get my head and my body out of the ruts I've fallen into, and I'm just thrilled I can do both without spending any more money.

Anyway, that's my panegyric on internet access. Thank you lovely people who make it all work.

January 15, 2010

Fear and Fatherhood

I've been reading an interesting book lately. It's called Holy Curiosity: Encountering Jesus' Provocative Questions and is written by Winn Collier. I picked up off a five dollar table at one of those bookstores that tend to pop up overnight in the mall during Christmas season and consists of a dozen tables with books basically poured out on them. Anyway, I picked up this book, and it's proved rather fascinating. Basically the author looks at the questions that Jesus asked his disciples (and others) during His ministry on earth and asks "Why?" What purpose could God have in asking this question and not the dozen other questions that we would have asked? What can learn from answering these questions ourselves? Why did Jesus ask this particular question at this particular time to this particular group of people? The answers that Collier comes up with are both challenging and encouraging. One chapter in particular caught my attention. In his third chapter titled "Why are you afraid? The grace of letting go," Collier looks at Jesus' question to the disciples when caught in the storm on the Sea of Galilee. On this chapter Collier has a lot of good things to say about fear and the way it works with our lives and our faith, but I was particularly struck by two things. One, Jesus was afraid (ie in the Garden of Gethsemane and again on the cross when God turned His face away). Two, often times our more superficial fears (say of monsters under the bed) are actually manifestations of our loneliness and our fear that we really do have to face the "brutality of life" by ourselves. Collier illustrates this by looking to his own discussions of bedtime monsters with his son. Collier writes:

Wyatt fears he will be left to himself to fend off the menace his imagination conjures up for him...Wyatt wants to know that, as he says it, "If I really need something, you'll come up." So, even as I tell Wyatt that there are no monsters, I want to be quicker to tell him what he needs most to hear--that his safety is not in his own hands, that if any scary creatures are foolish enough to enter my son's room, his dad will be there, hell-on-wheels, faster than he can blink, to dish out a grade-A monster butt whoopin'

Collier goes on to explain to his son how he will be there like greased lightning to pummel any monster his son sees. The reason, he tells his son, not to be afraid of monsters is not because they don't exist but because his "daddy is stronger than any monster there is."

I know that's a fairly extended quote, but I latched on to it because just last week talking to my counselor he observed that there must be times when I feel very lonely. I realized that he's right. I've spent the better part of my life not fitting in and not measuring up, and it's been lonely. On top of that I've been scared. I never really saw how the two might fit together though until I started reading this chapter. Because if you'll look at what Collier says elsewhere in this chapter he's essentially saying that to be alone is to be afraid because that means there's no one outside up to help us face up the brutal realities of life. Loneliness says that it's all up to us--there's no one I can rely on except for myself. And I don't know about the rest of the world, but I'm pretty well aware that one very determined cat could wreck some serious havoc on my rear. That's not to mention germs, cars, muggers, earthquakes, loose gravel, stray bullets, political unrest and all the other bogeymen of my imagination. Of course at this point Collier goes on to talk about our need for God, but honestly one of the things that caught me most was his portrayal of fatherhood. Growing up I always had the impression that Dad would throw himself between any of us and an oncoming car cheerfully with no hesitation. What I also learned growing up was that Dad wasn't going to stand between me and the real monsters that scarred my life. The few times I went to him saying "Dad it hurts when Mom teases me about this, can you help me" I came away discouraged and undefended. It was up to me to take the abuse, alone. I had no champion at all until Allen came along and finally asked what the hell was going on. He was the first person who attempted to fight the monsters under my bed.

I find all this immensely interesting because the way I look at my dad is (big surprise) similar to the way I look at God. If Dad wasn't big enough/loving enough to fight for me then I don't see why God would be either. And so the monsters, not seeing anyone around with proper butt kicking gear, keep trying to multiply. I keep trying to push forward into my fears instead of running away from them. And many times I still feel alone. I need to find the God who is there because to be quite honest the God I know is the one who still hasn't figured out how to keep poor children in Africa from dying of malnutrition. Yes, He died on the Cross to save us from the wrath of God. Yes, He is the perfect Creator of the Universe. Yes, He is God as revealed by His word in the Bible. Sometimes I just wish I could find the God who sits by my bed and tells me not to worry about the monsters in the closet because Jesus has a special roundhouse kick for closet monsters and He'll be here in two snaps if any monster tries anything in my bedroom. And then maybe He could help my mom.

I wish my dad had taken the time to show me that kind of God. Maybe Dad doesn't know that kind of God exists either. I wish he could have though.

January 14, 2010

an actual resolution

Ok, so I'm thinking that the exercise/lose weight resolution might actually stick for longer than it took to write it. Since I've already got some momentum going I want to break it down a little better.

1. For January I'm exercising at least 20min a day six days a week. Might reevaluate this either the end of January or mid-February. For now I just need the tiniest non-guilt inducing amount that I can maintain while still getting some benefits.

2. More veggies for supper. Go crazy and fix steamed broccoli and Caesar salad with the spaghetti bolognese.

3. Go back to the eat when you're hungry stop when you're not principle. Stop obsessing about camping gear for 3 hours and get some breakfast! The sale will be there later.

4. Easy on the grains/carbs. This is January. That means we've just come through Thanksgiving and Christmas. Carrot sticks sort of follow logically after all that pie.

January 12, 2010


Dear Family,

Can we stop pretending that love is something you earn?


Dear God,

I don't like you very much, but I still need a hug. Can you handle that?

Dear Dad,

I think people are forgetting that I'm your daughter. Do you still remember?

Dear Sisters,

Once, we were good friends. I wish we could be again.

Dear World,

I don't take shit from nobody anymore. You've been warned.

January 6, 2010

thoughts for the last day of Christmas

While elsewhere people are putting up Valentine's merchandise and pulling lights down from the rafters, Allen and I are looking forward to the last official hurrah of Christmas. The living room isn't perfectly clean. There aren't any whimsical centerpieces, crackling fires, or gathered friends. There are steaks marinating on the counter though and unopened presents waiting under the tree. This isn't the Epiphany I hope to be celebrating five or ten years from now, but it's the very best Epiphany our travel wearied selves can celebrate this year. And, by God's grace, it's enough. Tonight, with steak and good wine, gingerbread and sweet potato soup, we'll quietly close out what has, in some ways, been the best Christmas we've ever celebrated.

That's the thing about getting better with practice. I don't want this Christmas to be the best Christmas ever because that means I'll spend all my other Christmases looking back to one tiny high point wishing I could go back again and capture a few fleeting moments. I want this Christmas to be the best Christmas so far - not the best one ever. But with that desire comes to the temptation to rush ahead and try to plan three or four Christmases out instead of enjoying the one I have right here. I need to rest in imperfection for a while.

So my bookcase needs organizing, and I can think of a dozen things I'll likely try to do differently next year. But I think it's been the best Christmas so far. And that is enough for this year.

January 3, 2010

some very California jitters

If any of y'all have heard the rather arcane news that the sea lions have (mostly) gone from Pier 39 at San Fransisco's Fisherman's Wharf you will perceive the source of my jitters. Apparently the sea lions arrived shortly after the big Loma Prieta quake of '86, and now they're gone. No one really knows why, but of course there's always someone saying "well, the animals always know first." Translated: the big one is coming. I'm an Alabama girl who hasn't ever felt so much as a spoon jingling tremor, and this little quasi-rumor has me just a tad spooked. Here's hoping there's more to the sardine fluctuations than the scientists realize and there's a perfectly plausible reason for this odd occurrence that has nothing to do with large scale plate convulsions. Eep!

January 2, 2010

A few goals for the New Year

Nothing very well thought out here but just a few wishes and intentions for the next few months.

1. Go backpacking

This is one I've been planning for and working towards for a long while. We're thinking about making a short trip just to get acclimated, but I'd love to visit Pt. Reyes and Yosemite. Pretty much just gotta get the water filter and rent some packs once we plan our first trip.

2. Go snowshoeing in Yosemite.

This one we're planning to do by the end of this month :D

3. Exercise 3 days a week

Now that I've started getting my mind in shape I'm wanting to work on my body. I don't care if it's five minutes or thirty minutes. I got a new pilates type workout set for Christmas, and I'm planning on putting it to use.

4. Lose 20lbs

Something I've been meaning to/half trying to accomplish for about 2 years but just haven't really settled down to consistently.

5. Read something interesting

Ie Emerson, Shakespeare play I've never read, Calvin, lit theory, theology, etc

6. Read my Bible more.

Yeah, we aren't going to talk about how much I don't read my Bible. However, as I'm starting to become more honest with myself I'm starting to realize just how much I really need to get in touch with the God who is instead of the God I imagine.

7. Find a job and/or volunteer position.

I think it's about time I start spreading my wings and figuring out just where I fit in this world. Besides that I've gots to keep my hands busy.

8. Invite someone over for supper/coffee/lunch.

Repeat as necessary to develop friendships and community :D