Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Whines, Weddings and Wines

The crying, screaming, whining children were out in full force at the grocery store today. WOW. It is fifteen minute intervals like those that remind me how glad I am to be an aunt and how little of a hurry I'm in to be a mother.

During lunch break I posted pictures on facebook from my friend Tina's wedding this past weekend. It was a rather gorgeous event. I enjoyed every minute and drove away from the reception hall thinking how extraordinarily blessed I am by the friends and family who surrounded me as I grew up. It was a weekend of realizing how much I've overlooked the many ways the Lord took care of me simply by placing me in the circumstances He chose when I was born.

I just received an email from 2 Lads Winery on Old Mission Peninsula. The Chardonnay that I had a chance to taste from the barrel in May is now bottled and ready to sell. Would it be an inexcusable waste of time and money to drive down there to buy some? Don't judge me. You haven't tasted it. I emailed to ask if they ship their wines for out of town orders. Here's hoping...

Monday, June 29, 2009


Do you know what was one of the highest highlights of the weekend? Besides the terrifically beautiful wedding, the part that put a lasting smile on my face was the driving. Not to and from home, that's just a straight shot of about 100 miles on Hwy 41. But once we were up there, in Menominee County, we hit the country roads. To the supper club for the rehearsal dinner, to the campground, to the wedding reception, all via curving, hilly, bumpy county highways. I love driving those roads. The uneven and narrow pavement is flanked by bright green fields and rows upon rows of trees. Farms and homesteads replace subdivisions and cross traffic refers to deer and raccoons rather than cars. For one reason or another, I enjoyed the driving much more than usual. It was probably that I didn't concentrate on anything else. Usually, when I'm driving, that's a good time to think through dilemmas, go back over conversations that have lingered in my mind, or consider what will be happening in the next day or so. My brain doesn't naturally slow down, it has to be commanded to do so. This weekend, it obeyed. While driving, I thought of only what I was seeing. I need to try that more often!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Weekend Wahoos

Twenty-four minutes until my work week is finished and I can head home. Only stopping there for a brief visit though, to gather my suitcase and my sister, then it's time to drive to the good old hometown of Stephenson, MI. Tina's wedding is tomorrow, which means rehearsal and dinner tonight. Bonus: today is my dear friend, Erin's birthday and I'll actually get to spend some time with her tonight. She and her husband are camping out on Lake Michigan at our favorite little park so we will keep company with them after the rehearsal dinner. I'm bringing the cake!

My head is pounding and I just don't care. Today is a better day than I've had in probably two or three weeks straight. This isn't because of the great weekend ahead, but rather because of the great writing ahead. Traveling, over-socializing, tennis lesson-ing and Bible studying have kept me much too busy, much too able to set aside the book for a very long time. Packed full days turn into packed full weeks, tiredness turns into mental listlessness, and my pen and paper sit neglected in the center desk drawer. I pulled it out earlier this week though. The first day, I left it alone. Let it see the sunlight and breathe the fresh air, but didn't give it any personal attention. Anytime I stay away too long, I become afraid that I will read what was last written and be forced to admit that it is, for lack of a better term, crap. Fear is my greatest enemy in this matter of writing (and in other matters too, but that's beside the point). Day two of the notebook being out of the drawer, I read chapters one and two. I remembered how much I care about this story, how excited I am to create these characters. Day three, I read chapter three. My imagination is poised to run with this story. Reinvigorated: that is the summarizing word.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Say It With Me

Mission of the moment: to use the word "terrific" more often. It's a sorely neglected word. My friend thinks "grand" would be a more worthy undertaking so I've promised him that will be in line for the next linguistic mission.

This movie: makes me cry like a child who has lost his puppy and his mother. How is it that a movie that emotional can be so terrifically enjoyable? That is, it wasn't the best movie ever made or even ranked among my top favorites, but I still really liked it! Maybe it's the simple matter of goodness coming out of sadness being immeasurably sweeter than goodness coming without trial.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Listening and Lacking

"It's like forgetting the words to your favorite song. You can't believe it; you were always singing along. It was so easy and the words so sweet. You can't remember; you try to feel the beat." I'm listening to the new Regina Spektor album, "Far," and I'm loving this tune.

I repeatedly slip down that slippery slope of feeling sorry for myself. Not enough time to write; short on energy to clean the house; no free evening to tackle the yard work; still unpublished; still single. So go the thoughts, twisting my spirit into a taut braid of impatience and disappointment. This ditch of negativity isn't where I'd like to be but sometimes the temptation to dwell there is stronger than my will to stay above ground. Thing is, my mind has been racked in the last two days with reminders of how protected I am from any real reason to pity myself. I think of my friend's mother suffering through another round of debilitating cancer treatments. Or my aunt who just found out she has to have a hip replaced. Or my sister who has lived in perpetual and intense pain for the last 2 years. I think of them and realize how utterly selfish it is to spend so many moments thinking about myself and the way I wish my life would go, rather than praying for them and countless others.

The past several years have chipped away at my pride, leaving it scarred and defensive. It's hard to pray when you're tired of the answers God keeps giving. I guess that's in keeping with the nature of humility though, isn't it - to keep going back to the only One who can satisfy no matter how badly you wish you could tailor that satisfaction; to know, without doubt, that you must go back to Him again today or today will fall apart.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'd Rather Be...

Today's weather is practically perfect in every way. (If I may steal a line from Mary Poppins' self-recommendation.) If I could be doing anything right now instead of sitting at this computer, scanning checks and invoices into our database and typing this blog, it would be this:

or I would settle for this:

I did, however, get to eat lunch in the backyard sunshine with a good book beside my plate. The forecast for this weekend should allow for some hiking and I'm already looking forward to it. I think Jessica will join me. The dilemma is always the same: where should I go? With no great trails in the immediate area, hiking requires a drive. The oft-repeated question is "how far and in what direction?" For this weekend I'm thinking it will either be Door County or the Chain o' Lakes area. We'll see what Jess is in favor of come Saturday.

As far as preference number one, I'm not sure when I'll have the chance to kayak. The rest of June and early July are booked up like a park pavillion in graduation season. I am seriously contemplating the purchase of my own boat though. I'd much prefer it to renting one each time I want to kayak. As it will require also buying the equipment to haul the kayak on my car, I need to make sure I consider all expenses before deciding. An extra incentive to make the purchase though is that my sister, Julie, who just moved to the area with her family last month, owns one. The potential of some sisterly good times on the water is terribly tempting.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Distracted by Hope

This morning I'm having trouble concentrating. Maybe it's the sunshine, my view of which the cubicle walls are cruelly obstructing. Maybe it's the weekend full of good things that I didn't want to see end. Maybe it's the fact that I just noticed the bat is missing from the Ryan Braun bobblehead that stands next to my monitor... ... Okay, found Ryan's bat. Anyway, whatever the combination of causes, I am distracted today. I am trying to decide what could help. A mind-clearing walk would probably do the trick, especially if that walk took me to the adoration chapel for some time in prayer.

I'm wrestling with hopefulness. Optimism comes naturally to me, 92% of the time, but it also has a history of disappointing me. The call to be hopeful, as a Christian, is always resonating in my heart, compelling me to see the possibility in things, the potential and the silver lining. I can feel it pulling at me again. The great hope of eternal life won for me by Christ (the hope that doesn't disappoint) spills over into littler hopes. But are there times that prudence or wisdom would have me curb the hopefulness, temper the optimism? The long fall when smaller hopes disappoint can really bruise.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Another entirely self-serving usage of this blog: procrastination. It's time to file our company sales taxes again. As this is my least favorite job duty (i.e. I loathe it), I tend to set it aside until I really have nothing else to do and no excuses left. Every month I file sales tax in about 10 states, every quarter it increases to 30, and with every new year, I file in a total of 37 states in which we do business. It's tedious and time consuming and throughout the process, I carry this vague feeling that I still have no clue what I'm doing and I might be setting my company up for trouble with the IRS. My boss continues to have confidence that I've figured this whole sales tax thing out and as I like gainful employment, I try not to undermine that impression.

It's the weekend! Or it will be in 7.5 hours. This weekend I am staying in Appleton. June is disappearing by way of packed weekends, chaotic weeks and so far, very little warmth. But this weekend will be different. Sunshine and 70's are forecasted. My car will not drive further than 8 miles in any given journey. (That's the distance to the town where my church is located.) I'll actually make it back to the gym now that my foot feels better. Tomorrow night I will chill at the minor league baseball game, assuming rain doesn't ruin those plans. Any necessary preparation for the six week Bible study I begin leading on Monday will get done. Who knows, maybe I'll even dust off my notepad and start chapter four of The Mercy Hour. My pen and paper ought to be taken into protective custody for how shamefully I've neglected them of late.

Alright, but first I have to trudge through these taxes. Copper Boom!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Without Worry

After writing an email encouraging a friend not to worry over a situation, I was thinking over what it means to not worry. My mind immediately goes to the Gospel of Matthew, chapter six: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?' All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil. (vv. 25-34)

Don't you love that sort of backhanded reassurance at the close of the passage? Every time I read it, I think maybe Jesus didn't need to add that to his otherwise highly uplifting words. Taken negatively, it is sort of this last ditch effort to convince us we shouldn't worry about tomorrow. "If the truth that God provides and is faithful and generous doesn't keep you from worrying, well, then, just focus on the fact that there is enough problems today to keep you well occupied without adding in everthing that might be wrong with tomorrow." Probably not what Jesus wanted to convey to the listening crowd on the hill that day. So I will take a second look... "Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil." What it causes me to keep in mind is that there are, in fact, plenty of things to worry about. It is not that Jesus is telling us there are no reasons to worry, no problems, dilemmas or hardships. No, I would never dare to say that there is nothing to worry about. Instead, I come to a two-fold, rather uplifting conclusion. Firstly, worry over tomorrow or any future day's problems is utterly pointless. It is only today that I can do something about, not tomorrow. Secondly, while we can acknowledge the "sufficient" causes for worry in a day's time, Jesus has given us every reason to choose not to worry. Did He not just say that God knows of everything we need, and that He will provide for us far beyond the ways He provides for the rest of His creation? It may seem like a fine line, but there's actually a sizeable difference between trying to convince yourself that you have nothing to worry about versus choosing not to worry about any of it. Like so many aspects of the Christian life, living without worry is a matter of choosing truth, choosing hope, choosing faith.

I love this Winston Churchill quotation: "When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened." A very freeing realization, if taken positively, is that I do not know what tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or next year will bring. I don't know. It's a humbling truth about being human, but awfully wonderful too... assuming I have faith in the great God in heaven who does know all that will and won't happen. Surrendering worries, be they valid concerns or imagined problems, into God's hands is the most logical action a person can take. It doesn't mean ignoring what needs to be done, or neglecting to take care of ourselves or make reasonable preparations for the future. No, surrender is not synonymous with inaction. It is choosing to entrust to God everything that might tempt you to worry; it is living and moving within the guiding, protective care of God's faithfulness and wisdom; it is being honest with yourself about what you can do, what you can't do, what God calls you to do, and what God calls you to let Him do.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Listening to the Apostles

I feel like blogging but I don't feel much like thinking. The light above my desk is particularly bothersome today. It seems brighter than usual, glaring off my screen and making me wish I could close my eyes... or at least wear a dorky visor cap.

Over the weekend, I decided to begin reading the catholic letters of the New Testament. I've read them all before, but in pieces and for various reasons, never straight through and with a single mindset for all seven of them. The ones I'm referring to are the Letter of St. James, the Letter of St. Jude, the 2 Letters of St. Peter, and the 3 Letters of St. John. They've come to be known as the catholic letters, as in, written for the universal church (the word catholic means universal), as a way to distinguish them from St. Paul's letters and the Letter to the Hebrews which are written to more specific groups or individuals. This term is not intended to separate them as Catholic vs Protestant. St. Paul was Catholic, folks. All Christians were Catholic during the time of the New Testament writings and for centuries upon centuries afterward.

The nature of my faith and life in the Church as apostolic has been on my mind. Every time I recite the Creed, I declare that I believe in an apostolic Church. The heritage of the Church, with its ordained bishops and priests able to trace themselves back to the original Apostles, and its teachings arising from the earliest days of the Christianity and never departing from the teachings of Christ and the Apostles (developing in understanding, yes, but departing, no), this heritage is immensely important and wonderful. There is such security in it; security in truth. So I greatly value the apostolic Church, but do I recognize the need for my own faith, the way I understand it and live it, to be apostolic as well? This question reaches me from two angles. One is that I am to be rooted in the apostolic teachings, never weakening or compromising the fullness of truth for my own convenience, but taking full advantage of the deposit of faith that was entrusted to the Church by Christ and passed down faithfully over generations by the Apostles and their successors. Two, I mustn't forget that to be an apostle one must be sent out on a mission. The switch between disciple and apostle came when the men were commissioned by Jesus to go into the world and preach the Gospel and build up the Church. They are no longer only followers of Christ but also emissaries of His teachings and life. The Church is apostolic in both of these ways (faith & mission), and the Church is made up of its members. The members must be apostolic in both ways too. I must be apostolic.

So as all this inhabits my thoughts and challenges my heart, I figure a good place to start is with the catholic letters. What did the apostles want to say to the Church in those first decades of Christianity? That same Church is the one of which I am a member, the one that provides me with the Sacraments and the fullness of truth, so I would gain much by listening to those first ministers of the Sacraments and teachers of the truth.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fr. Mike Chenier

Time to attempt this. I know my words will fall short of capturing all that Mike's ordination meant to everyone there, and especially all that it meant to him.

On Friday afternoon, Jessica, Amy and I took our seats at St. Peter's Cathedral in Marquette, Michigan for the ordination to the priesthood of Mike Chenier and Ben Haase. We arrived early enough to sit near the front. Approximately a thousand people attended the Ordination Mass. With the cathedral seating around seven hundred, the walls were layered with the additional hundreds of men and women in attendance. In the minutes prior to the great, dignified procession, after the prelude music and before the magnificent choir began singing, I felt the same anticipation and eager joy that hangs in the air at the start of a wedding. We were so like the family and friends awaiting the entrance of the wedding party and the bride. I thought how fitting that atmosphere was, for something much like a wedding would occur. Mike would be conformed to Christ, the Bridegroom, and the Church would be his bride. He would commit himself to serve, to honor and to support the Church after the pattern of Christ's own sacrificial love. As the Mass began, the only way to describe the presence of that huge congregation is thunderous. In our fervent responses during the penitential rite, in our heartfelt songs reverberating between the pillars of the cathedral, and in our applause when Mike and Ben were presented to Bishop Sample for the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the thousand of us made our joy and thankfulness known.

Every bit of the Mass was beautiful in the truest sense of beauty. My first tears came with the first reading. The passage from Jeremiah, Chapter One spoke of God's holy plans for his servant Jeremiah, plans made even before Jeremiah was created. God stops Jeremiah's objections of youth and meager ability, assuring him that he will be able to do all that God calls him to do. A familiar passage, surely, but fresh to my ears as I considered Mike. Youth was never his obstacle, as far as I knew him. Youth was his gift. Out of his childhood years with faithful parents, his teenage years of searching and finding and enjoying life, and his young adulthood marked by missionary service, college and seminary - from this youth came the willingness and joy for the call of Christ upon his life. I have loved Mike from the time we were thirteen, my brother and friend in the Lord. As I think of our friendship - how it began, how it grew, how it changed - I smile over how fitting it is that the gifts and strengths in Mike that blessed me in our years of knowing each other will be, over time, the means for Christ to bless so many others through Mike, the priest. If I am to choose one aspect of this, it must be his generosity in love. The love Mike has always offered has been marked by an eagerness to share life. Whenever Mike loved something, if he found joy or beauty or blessing in it, he had to share it. A song, a book, a scenic sight, a passage of Scripture - if Mike loved it , it had to be shared. I cannot succinctly summarize the occasions I was blessed by this. When I attended Mass on Sunday, celebrated by Fr. Mike, he confirmed in my mind and heart this impression he has made on me with his generous spirit and the goodness he finds in living for Christ. He spoke of finding something you love so much that you cannot stand not to share it, not to bless others by it, not to live for it and be willing to die for it.

Returning to the Ordination Mass, another notable aspect of the joy I had in attending was in seeing the lasting fruit of our years among the youth groups in the Diocese of Marquette. I saw faces on Friday that I have rarely seen, if at all, in the last seven or eight years. Faces of faith and friendship that became so dear to me as God was forming me into a woman of Chrsit. Each of their lives is a testament to the formation we received as teenagers, and Mike's ordination to the priesthood is a pinnacle among them.

The beauty I witnessed on Friday, and again as I attended Sunday Mass with Fr. Mike as celebrant, was due to a very simple truth. There were many contributing factors to name and describe, but at the heart of it is this: here was a man doing God's will in a precise, committed, humble but confident manner. Here was a man living the life to which God called him, the life that the Lord planned and knew even before Mike was born. There, in that, is happiness.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

In This Way The Love of God Was Revealed

This morning, I read this great reflection by Father Thomas Rosica on the nature of the Trinity as a divine community. A snippet toward the beginning sums up the author's intent in drawing our attention to that nature: "If our faith is based in this Trinitarian mystery that is fundamentally a mystery of community, then all of our earthly efforts and activities must work toward building up the human community that is a reflection of God's rich, Trinitarian life."

As a lifelong Catholic, I've heard much talk of human dignity, of every man and woman's unique possession of the image of God within themselves. This great dignity constitutes a call to reflect God, to be formed more perfectly into His image by the thoughts we have, the words we speak, the actions we take. This individual imaging of divinity is of inestimable importance if a person is to every grasp the meaning and purpose of life. It cannot be emphasized enough. What I cannot claim to have heard a lot about is the manner in which the human community is called and is able to image the community of Persons of the Trinity. Every family, every church community, every small group Bible study, every ministry group, every intimate community of friends; the list is unending as we are a people who functions in the setting of community. Like each person possesses the dignity of being made in God's image and the potential of reflecting Him in the world, so every community of human persons possesses dignity and potential of reflecting the Trinity. I still remember this dawning on me as a brand new understanding of the purpose of family when it was explained to me in my Marriage & Family course at Franciscan U. This call to be an image of the Trinity has become my primary weapon against the fears that would hold me back from giving myself as a spouse and a parent someday.

The author of the article makes a significant point when he explains that the language of the Trinity, that is, the manner in which we understand this great mystery, is relational. "For God, as for us, created in God's image, relationship and community are primary. God can no more be defined by what God does than we can. God is a Being, not a Doing, just as we are human beings, not human doings. This is a point of theology, but also, with all good theology, a practical point." In fact, this point is not only practical but also fundamental. It is fundamental to the Christian understanding of the dignity and worth of each human life, measured not in what that life is able to do or contribute or accomplish but rather in the glorious fact of that life being another instance of God's image and likeness existing in this world. God's image and likeness! That is what we are. What we do and say is our means for communicating that image and likeness in the world, but it is not who we are as human beings.

What I am trying to come around to is that the individual is made in the image of a community, for God is a community of divine persons, and therefore the individual cannot live up to his or her dignity without living in relationship. As such each talent, strength and ability possessed by an individual is not possessed for their sole benefit. No, it is for the community; for the family. Whether that family is your own by blood or by marriage, or that family is your closest friends or your church community, the answer to your individual call to be God's image in this world is played out in relationship with others. Holding yourself back from such relationships is a two edged blade, cutting into your individual strength of faith and into the community's. You deprive yourself of experiencing the reflection of the Trinity, and you deprive others of your contributions to that reflection.

I return to the earlier quotation: "all of our earthly efforts and activities must work toward building up the human community that is a reflection of God's rich, Trinitarian life." Sounds like something straight from St. Paul or St. John, doesn't it? Maybe that's why I'm loving it so much. I read those words and the natural instinct ('natural' insofar as our nature is fallen) to look out for myself pushes itself to the surface. Am I simply to spend myself entirely for others? Have I not also learned the value of an intimate one on one relationship with God? Have I not felt the strain of being too involved, too busy with my faith community? Ah, yes, valid objections. Valid, but signs of immaturity. Mature faith understands how the one on one intmacy with the Lord does contribute to the building up of the family of God. Mature faith trusts that if I pour myself out for others in the name of Christ, there will be others pouring themselves out for me in the name of Christ. Mature faith causes me to love without worry over the vulnerability of loving, to serve without the aim of gaining praise, to pray never only for myself.

One of my absolute favorite movie lines is from "Diary of a Mad Black Woman". In a convincing speech, Orlando explains to Helen how he knew he was in love with her: "Helen, if I'm away from you for more than an hour, I can't stop thinking about you. I carry you in my spirit. I pray for you more than I pray for myself." It is not just the romantic in me who loves that speech (and its repetition when Helen finally realizes she loves, and is free to love, Orlando), it is also the Catholic in me. Orlando's love, when it has been purified by the tests placed upon it and the patient compassion he has had to practice toward Helen, is not about him but about her. It is the case with every person who learns to love how God loves. God exists in a constant, uninterrupted relationship of perfect love: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Father eternally begets the Son in an outpouring of love; the Son eternally offers Himself back to the Father in love; the Holy Spirit is eternally begotten of the Father and the Son by the communication of their love for each other. All of this is contained in that mystery of faith, the Trinity; and all of this is reflected in human love. It is reflected in both our need for relationships and communities rooted in love and our capability of loving. I refer to agape love, to be specific, but I'm not going to try to explain all that here. Check out The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis.

At the end of this lengthy, rambling collection of this morning's thoughts, I have a Jars of Clay song in my head. It's the first track off their "Good Monsters" album, "Work." I got to sit in on a Q&A session with the band one time and they explained the meaning behind that song. One thing they touched on was the need for community. Dan, the lead singer, talked about the human person being dragged down by the world, especially when that person is trying to live a life of faith, hope and love. A person can end up feeling like they need help just to keep breathing. That is what community is for; relationships with those whom God has given to you is His way of carrying you through. Likewise, you are someone He gives to others to carry them through.

I often pray the Glory Be, hoping that whatever I am doing at the moment will glorify Him. I cannot live out that prayer, giving "glory to the Father, to the Son and the Holy Spirit" if community and relationship are not primary in my life. I cannot honor the community of divine love that is the Trinity if I do not give myself to and receive from the community of that divine love on this earth, the Church.

"In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us. This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us, that he has given us of his Spirit." (1 John 4:9-13)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Slowly Going Mad

Song #1 in my head:
Oh simple thing where have you gone/I'm getting old and I need something to rely on/So tell me when/You're gonna let me in/I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin/And if you have a minute why don't we go/Talk about it somewhere only we know?/This could be the end of everything/So why don't we go/Somewhere only we know?

Song #2:
If you could be in my life like you've been on my mind/It'd be so easy/Hello, it's me again/It's three days now that you've been in my dreams/And I don't know, I guess you've just been on my mind/I don't know, I guess I think about you all the time

Song #3:
'Cause you and I both loved/What you and I spoke of/And others just read of/Others only read of the love/Oh the love that I love

That's right, it's a trifecta of good music rolling around in the empty spaces. Keane, Schuyler Fisk, Jason Mraz; not a bad mental mix tape.

My coworker has officially blamed me for the Brewers' terrible performances in their last two games. I didn't know I had such powers from my seat on the living room sofa. Personally, I place the burden on the shoulders of those fellows masquerading as pitchers: Suppan and Parra, and on the less than wise lineup on Monday night. But if I have to take some of the heat on their behalf, so be it. Have to stand by the team.

One of the lights recessed in the ceiling tiles above the reception desk is blinking at annoying intervals. Nothing adds to the office ambience like a flickering flourescent bulb.

Do you know what sounds ideal to me right now? An outdoor movie and an ice cream sundae. What do you think my odds are of experiencing that in the near future? Maybe "Singin' in the Rain" shown on the side of an old brick building, or the original "Superman" playing at the local drive-in, or "The Natural" on a canvas screen in a park. Yep, I'd be glad for any of those options. Just don't forget the ice cream.

Wile Away the Boredom

Yup, I'm bored. I am selfishly turning to this blog for some relief. It's a slow week here at work. Anyone who knows me knows that is one of my least favorite circumstances. Boredom is torturous to me. So, I can't promise this will be interesting or insightful, but blogging appears to be my only hope at the moment.

I am doing what I can to not dwell on all the things I would rather be occupying my time with instead of sitting at this desk, wondering how I'll fill the hours until 5 pm. I just took a phone break to chat with Tina, my friend who will be married in 3 weeks. She had to give me the details on the rehearsal and dinner the night before the wedding. I am heartily fond of a good wedding. The wistful longing for my own wedding day always hits a day later, but I am able to delight in celebrating my friends' weddings without jealousy. Plus, most weddings provide valid excuses to have more than one drink, eat cake and dance for hours. That's one of my personal definitions of 'a good time.' Although, I do think it'd be awfully fun to have a date for one of these weddings I attend. Anyone interested? I promise a good time. No, not that sort of good time, but the fun, laughing, good food, good drinks, good conversation and of course dancing sort of good time.

I'm ridiculously happy for Tina. She's one of God's sweetest creatures, and hilarious on top of it. Then there are Brian and Addie, my friends who were married last Saturday. I met Brian nearly six years ago, shortly after I moved to Appleton. He was always going on blind first dates, rarely on second dates and almost never on third dates. He wanted to find her so badly. Comparing the Brian who I met then and the Brian who got married on Saturday, the gap of happiness and contentment between the two is immense. Funny how he didn't find her through blind dates or singles groups or anything of the sort. She was a client of his a long time ago, then a longtime friend, then girlfriend. I've seen quite a few of my friends 'settle down' into family life, but Brian and Addie are among the only ones who really cause me to hope my chance for that relationship will come fairly soon.

Alright, this wasn't intended to be a sappy love blog. So what else is on my mind besides weddings and falling in love?

Last night I got motivated, physically speaking, for the first time in a while. Busyness and discouragement have preyed on my willingness to make an effort at the gym, when I went to the gym at all. Whenever I slack for any length of time and then begin working out again, I am reminded just how big an idiot I can be. Discouraged? Listless? Restless mind? Hmm, what might help that? Oh I don't know, maybe a little endorphin-producing, energy-supplying, head-clearing exercise. Silly girl. I'm feeling great today after the running I did yesterday (read: slow jogging with intervals of fast walking). Today it's time to take it to the woods. I'm revisiting that old friend of mine, the county trail in Hortonville. It's not what I consider hiking, but the wide, flat dirt path carved through the trees, creeks, swamps, and fields makes for a superb setting for walks, jogs or bike rides. Tonight I will probably just walk, watch the birds, chat with my sisters and nieces if they come along.

I'm impatient to make it to another Brewers game. Soon, I hope. Soon.

A friend, well, more of an acquaintance, ran a marathon last weekend. I'm so proud of him! Check out his video he made to sum up the experience. (FYI: the songs during the video are his own.)

Last year another friend, Jason, completed a triathalon. He spent months amazing me with his unshakable discipline in training. He and Jake both make me ponder the idea of pushing myself that hard for something. The only endeavor in which I've ever come close is writing my first novel. That was a marathon of its own kind. But I can't claim to ever have challenged myself physically in such a manner as these guys have done.

And this concludes the boredom blog. If things are still this bad in the afternoon, perhaps I will pen a part two.

Monday, June 1, 2009

From the Floor

Sunday night I had a heart to heart with Jesus. Well, mostly it consisted of my heart bursting with expectations and stress and disappointments and discouragement, and His heart waiting patiently for me to quiet down so He could remind me of His faithful, trustworthy love. Sitting cross-legged on the red carpet floor of the church, I had only the light of the sanctuary candle catching on the golden doors of the tabernacle and a dozen candles lit beneath the feet of Mary. The silent darkness and empty pews beneath the high wooden ceiling beams supplied a feeling of humbled smallness. His presence reached to each corner of the room, filling every space and wrapping around me with a nearly tangible pressure. Being the sole breathing creature in the entire church building, I had only a minute of quiet thought before the need to speak aloud to the Lord overcame me. There were no excuses, no distractions, nowhere else I ought to be. I could hear rain, could smell its warm scent upon the air. And I could hear the Lord. How I missed that voice, so long lost in my foolish busyness and worry. Today I can feel the usual temptations and the familiar discouragements tugging at me. They want back in, like life-long household pets displaced to the backyard. For now, their persuasive pleas are not enough to change my mind. I prefer the silence, the smallness of being surrounded by the presence of God. I prefer my seat on the floor, at His feet.

My buddy Matt knows what I'm talking about...