Tuesday, April 28, 2009

grand day out

If I could establish RSS feed from my voice mail to this blog, I could take a sabbatical and drink some lemonade while you were entertained by my lovely friend Leah. Lean in, I'm gonna tell you a secret...(whispering) sometimes, I ignore her call just to see what kind of message she'll leave. Then I save it and forget about it until I wonder why the heck I have 9 saved messages. Then as I scroll thought the songs and descriptions of boys in Fedoras in the car in front of her, I remember why I saved them and why I enjoy her friendship so much. I received the following last Thursday:

"Rachel J.
What do you say?
What the hay did you do today?"

For once in my life I actually spontaneously came up with a relevant, witty rejoinder instead of a shrug, a giggle, and a shake of my red-highlighted head.

Leah, Leah, I declare
I might have been most anywhere
I took a trip into the city
Manhattan's subway isn't pretty
I met some friends
Examined trends
Discussed a painting
Wondered if it would stop raining
Books at the Strand reach 18 miles
Strangers exchange smiles
Under the sign of the Ear
I drank a beer
And ate a burger, talkin' and hopin'
To drive home with both eyes open

here's the pictures to prove it

the Strand bookstore on Broadway: all 18 miles of books

a beautiful church that took up at least a city block in its majesty
I neglected to remember its historical signifigance

I was too busy looking at this sweet little tree

one must return from NYC with at least a few shots of traffic...

...and interesting people

this store: Kate's Paperie thrilled my pea-pickin' little heart
color galore
budget buster

I want to make at least one of these

these were delicious
my favorite was $38 yard
what can I say? It's a gift

these were made of paper - I want some in my apartment
maybe I should finish a few other already started projects first
eh, I always say that

my only regret(s)
listening to Gertrude (the bi-polar GPS device)
give me a paper map anyday
not getting any photos of the people I went with/to see
they were/are so lovely
next time ('cause I will definitely go again now that I know all three ways into and off of the island or whatever it is)
the upper west side

my favorite parts:
the gallery and it's artist
being serenaded by every Italian matre'd as we walked through Little Italy at dinner time
dinner at the Ear Inn with two amazing ladies
I also regret not getting a photo of the fish that hung in embalmed state over the kitchen entrance which I sat facing.
He was so old his face had half disintegrated and his tail was wrapped in duct tape, presumably to keep parts and pieces from dropping onto our plates as the servers passed beneath his watchful post. The food was amazing, really.

miles walked: who knows
friendships made and deepened: check
good sites, good food: check
home safely: check

stone soup


1 plan
dash of change
1 dream
handful imagination
3 cups misplaced identity

simmer on medium low for four hours or until combined

serves 1

ingestion not recommended
indigestion adverted when poured out at the foot of the cross

Psalm 25

when a question (large or small) is thrown into the pot:

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

God answers:

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Monday, April 27, 2009

book review

Phantastes: george macdonald

a fairy tale of the polar opposition and yet plural living arrangement of beauty and ugliness
a tale of love sought and surrendered to greater nobility
a treatise of all things lovely
confirmation that, in fact, overuse of commas, does indeed, make for great writing. I knew I was in good company.

favorite exerpts

"I saw thee ne'er before
I see thee never more.
But love, and help, and pain, beautiful one,
have made thee mine
till all my years are done."

Ere long, I learned it was not myself, but only my shadow, that I had lost. I learned that is is better, a thousand-fold, for a proud man to fall and be humbled, than to hold up his head in his pride and fancied innocence. I learned that he that will be a hero, will barely be a man; that he that will be nothing but a doer of his work, is sure of his manhood. In nothing was my ideal lowered, or dimmed, or grown less precious; I only saw it too plainly, to set myself for a moment beside it. Indeed my ideal soon became my life; whereas, formerly, my life had consisted in a vain attempt to behold if not my ideal in myself, at least myself in my ideal. Now, however, I took, at first what was perhaps a mistaken pleasure, in despising and degrading myself. Another self seemes to arise, like a white spirit from a dead man, from the dumb and trampled self of the past. Doubtless, this self must again die and be buried, and again, from its tomb, spring a winged child, but of this my history as yet bears the record. Self will come to life even in the slaying of self, but there is ever something deeper and stonger than it, which will emerge at last from the onknown abyss of the soul: will it be as a solemn gloom, burning with eyes? or a clear morning after the rain? or a smiling child, that finds itself nowhere and everywhere?

...there is no cheating in nature and the simple unsought feelings of the soul.

As in all sweetest music, a tinge of sadness was in every note. Nor do we know how much of pleasures even of life we owe to the intermingled sorrows. Joy cannot unfold the deepest truths, although deepest truth must be deepest joy. Cometh white-robed sorrow, stooping and wan, and flingeth wide the doors she may not enter. Almost we linger with Sorrow for very love.

I sat a long time, unwilling to go, but my unfinished story urged me on. I must act and wander.

...the sound of a closing door, the saddest of all sounds sometimes.

it's official

i've completely lost it
sanity that is

today while being a faithful employee and tackling the sortage of the winter's worth accumulation of donations housed in our barn that is suspiciously the size of the Lockness Monster, i heard a loud and insistent buzzing rather close to my ear.

i promptly began flailing and spinning in all directions in the intent of avoiding personal contact with what ever insect was approaching my head like the Red Baron.

this is the part where you sigh and shake your head.
it's ok. i did.
i laughed too. that's ok too.
reminders and laughter at a later date...
not so ok.

the buzzing?
oh yea
it was my phone.
vibrating ever so closely to my ear in my shorts pocket.

hey - it's not completely without cause
we have wood bees staking out territory lately
ever seen a wood bee?
they're distant cousins to the Red Baron
a Lockness Monster sized barn offers a lot of wood to chew

Thursday, April 23, 2009

how to win undying affection

posting this video may result in winning the guitar used in its production
said guitar would be handed over to my 14 year old nephew
who would then love me forever
more than he already does
enabling me to cash in on all kinds of favors and service in return
for years to come

no I'm not going to give you the link so you can enter for yourself!
you'll just have to work to figure it out

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

eye luggage

latest conversation:
i'm getting crow's feet
sleep might help
maybe some cucumber slices
they won't stay on
i'm too busy laughing at my favorite mis-pronunciation of all time
gnawfork connecticut
most people spell it norfolk

word of the day: context

plans for tomorrow:
travel mugs of coffee from Guatemala
homemade marmalade muffins
road trip
conversation and music with friend of 11 plus years (i think that's a record)
staten island ferry
art gallery
and whatever else we dream up
maybe a stop at cafe lalo
photos to follow

i should sleep
i'm going to launch a germ warfare campaign against the stink bugs that keep invading my loft
flushing them is apparantly not effective
this is my third post today (also a record)
here's to multi-tasking to stay sane during tedious tasks


Image and video hosting by TinyPic

This life, therefore,
is not righteousness but growth in righteousness,
not health but healing
not being but becoming,
not rest but exercise.

We are not yet what we shall be,
but we are growing toward it.
The process is not yet finished but it is going on.
This is not the end but it is the road.
All does not yet gleam in glory
but all is being purified.

- Martin Luther


Be Near
- Shane Barnard

You are all
big and small
and wonderful
to trust in grace through faith
but i'm asking to taste...

for dark is light to You
depths are height to You
far is near
but Lord, i need to hear from You

be near, oh God
be near, oh God of us
Your nearness is to us our good
be near, oh God
be near, oh God of us
Your nearness is to us our good, our good

Your fullness is mine
revelation divine
but, o, to taste
to know much more than a page
to feel Your embrace...

for dark is light to You
the depths are height to You
far is near, but Lord
i need to hear from You

be near, oh God
be near, oh God of us
Your nearness is to us our good

Monday, April 20, 2009

just because

I could...should be doing many other things. For instance calling my mother. It's too embarrassing to mention just how many weeks *cough* it's been. I should be working on my reading and lecture listening for a counseling class I'm taking called Dynamics of Biblical Change. One of the things said class is prompting me to think about is how much time I spend on good things like blogging when I could be doing better things like getting to know God. I should be working out to counteract the adverse effects of all the Girl Scout cookies I've ingested recently. Did I neglect to mention the Girl Scout cookies? People like bringing us cases of them. I should be mapping out directions to the art gallery I get to go see in New York City on Wednesday with my best friend. I should be sleeping so the beginnings of a sore throat that I feel don't spoil that New York romp. But I wanted to write out the following because it is just cute.

I live and work at a residential program for teenage mothers. It's fabulous. It's hard. It makes me cry and laugh sometimes all in the same hour. You parental readers can relate. I don't journal much here because my life is the girl's lives and their lives are frankly not your business. I'm bound by a code of confidentiality that puts Facebook's governing documents to shame. A panel discussion could be arranged to compare levels of vagueness and ambiguousness and other various and sundry details. However, I think I can share this with you without infringing on anyone's personal life but my own.

The last two weeks our resident has been in the hospital and emerged a human pincushion, poor thing. My life and room have been hijacked by her adorable, funny and busy! 20 month old daughter. I have Elmo toys and various books all over my bedroom floor. I have pull-ups and a tiny yellow toothbrush in my bathroom. And there's more of her laundry in my hamper than mine. Tonight she took it one step too far. She's in my bed. Her pink toddler bed has been alongside mine all these nights. Most of them she's stayed in it through the night. Tonight she just ached to fall asleep on my pillows, under my blanket, on my bed. I am a sucker for that "Oh, please I just want to soooooo badly" face that only a 2-3 year old can pull off. So her little self is warmly curled up snoring away in my bed. A few minutes ago I stood just watching her. So sweet. I also told her that in a few hours she's gonna be airlifted back over to her own bed. I just won't fit in a 2 1/2 foot long toddler bed. Anyway her mattress is harder than mine. And it squeaks.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

invisible children

I'm not even sure how to introduce this post. I know Africa is in crisis. I know it houses many orphans in its borders. I had no idea of what happened last Christmas. I don't watch or read much news, but I'm generally exposed to various major media sources and I've seen nothing of this history until today. I know that an evil dictator is kidnapping children and causing them to be soldiers in his rebel army, but I had no idea my generation was speaking out and raising awareness and support to this degree.

Please take the thirty minutes and watch this documentary all the way through. Let it get to your heart. Let it effect your world. Pass this information on to people you know who could take part. Take part in whatever way you can - talk about it, give, go. The April 25th event has groups in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburg. Link, post to facebook, embed the video on your sites.....Pray! This movement started with three guys who like to make movies. If we can rally around an effort to recycle or do a can drive for a local food bank, or fill a hundred plastic Easter eggs with candy for a community event, we can do something about these children who are being abused, mutliated and killed.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mr. Happy

Mr. Happy
by Seth

Mr. Happy was always happy.
His teeth are always white.
His nose was big.
All those things he liked.
The end.

Friday, April 10, 2009

good redefined

"Do you understand that, motivated by love alone, your God became your slave in the Upper Room?

Were you grieved by the divine command to Abraham that he slay his only begotton Isaac on Mt. Moriah? Were you relieved when the angel intervened, Abraham's hand was stayed and the sacrifice was not carried out? Have you forgotten that on Good Friday no angel intervened? That sacrifice was carried out, and it was my heart that was broken.

Are you aware that I had to raise jesus from the dead on Easter morning because my love is everlasting? Are you serenely confident that I will raise you too, My adopted child?

Faith means you want God and want to want nothing else."

The Ragamuffin Gospel - Brennan Manning

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

two sided mirror

My mood music this evening is the groans, plucks, pops and whistles of hospital machinery and monitors. I sit on a chair too broad to be an easy chair and too narrow to be a couch. It is also too rigid to be comfortable, but it is more forgiving than the stained plastic chairs of yesterday's E.R. My feet are propped on a stereotypical wooden chair that is kept warm by my black down vest across its shoulders. I watch my friend in the bed opposite me and remember. I remember the crippling stomach pain that signals appendicitis. I remember wanting someone to simply fix it and for God's sake to quit poking things inside me to figure it out. I remember the floating euphoria of post-anesthesia dreams. I also remember the vague half-consciousness of blurry faced nurses checking my vitals what seemed like every five minutes. I remember waking up to see someone I knew and so I sit and wait. This waiting just might result in being caught up on my reading and journaling. At present I'm a little sidetracked and basking in the convenience of wifi. I breathe a short prayer of thanks once again for the new laptop. In between interruptions from the nurses I browse blogs which lead to sites for children's authors and illustrators which rekindle memories of my story-loving childhood and inspire my dreams of story-telling post-childhood. Looks like someone is waking up...

Friday, April 3, 2009


If our faith is going to be criticized, let it be for the right reasons. Not because we are too emotional but because we are not emotional enough; not because our passions are so powerful but because they are so puny; not because we are too affectionate but because we lack a deep, passionate, uncompromising affection for Jesus Christ.
The Ragamuffin Gospel - Brennan Manning