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Cutting the Apron Strings

It has been quite the week emotionally speaking. My husband and I are experiencing a disconnecting of ourselves from here. Our church is currently undergoing some major changes. People are stepping into different roles, the school is getting a major overhaul with training classes starting soon for the teachers and lots of other new things are happening.

I am trying to be happy seeing things come to pass that we have worked hard towards over the years. But I also feel like “Really? Now all this happens? Why not a couple of years ago so we could enjoy it all?” Of course all timing is in God’s plan and for his purposes. And I will acknowledge that some stuff couldn’t happen without our moving out.

The hard thing for Harold and I is that we aren’t in the middle of it all, like we have been for the last 20 years. Standing by the sidelines seems alienating, which in reality no one is doing that to us. We are still asked our thoughts on various things, we still are helping where we can, it is just that we can’t do the new stuff.

Harold and I have worked to “leave a deposit” as they say. We know that we are going through the necessary separation as we shift from one place to another. I feel like I’m getting spiritual stretch marks from this growing thing inside me that is Fresno. The labor pains are almost upon me but I know when I hit transition I’m gonna put up a bit of a fuss.

We are making preparations nearly constantly now. Our house to-do list is getting smaller. Today Harold fixed the laundry room door that always sticks. And, gulp, he painted over Evan’s growth marks on the door frame. He almost couldn’t do it and found himself surprised that he felt so emotional about it. I proposed ripping that part of the door frame off but that we vetoed. We took pictures instead. Which, in the end, is what we will do here right before we leave, take lots of pictures with our friends and family here so we can remind ourselves of how much they’ve grown.

And on an up note:

 

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7 Things I Won’t Miss and 6 I Will

I won’t miss:

1. Driving painfully slow behind some kind of large farm equipment.

2. Watching local news story about reporter driving large farm equipment for the first time. (It was on last night’s news) 

3. Winter although this winter has pretty much been a piece of cake. 

4. Ice skating on sidewalks.

5. Only having 3 grocery stores to choose from. There were 5 when we moved here 20 years ago. 

6. Lack of dining options, especially when it comes to ethnic foods.

7. Dodging deer on the road.

Things I’ll Miss

1. The lack of traffic at rush hour or any hour really. Except during fair week.

2. Experiencing the true four seasons in a year. As much as I have hated the cold and the humidity, the change of seasons have always been amazing.

3. Catching up with friends at Wal-Mart. There’s been lots of great impromptu conversations in those aisles.

4. The bunny family that has lived under our deck for the last dozen years or so. It’s always so much fun to see the new batch of babies as they learn how to fend in their bunny world.

5. Having the UPS guy ask if I want the package he has for me dropped off at home or work. 

6. Discounted medical care from my many doctor friends who have made being uninsured much more manageable.

 

 

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Tiny Funny Stories

You probably know the actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt from the amazing movie Inception as well as his role in 3rd Rock from the Sun among other things. Not only can he act but he appears to be a sort of Renaissance man. He founded an open collaborative production company named  hitRECord. Members contribute music, videos, texts and drawing to ongoing projects.

Out of this interesting work comes the Tiny Book of Tiny Stories. Sixty collaborations were picked from the 8,569 submissions to the project. HitRECord sent me a (tiny) copy to review. I must say this book took me by surprise. I didn’t exactly know what to expect. A quick flip through revealed short sentences paired with pictures.

Since I get a lot of (free!) books for review I have to kind of pick and choose what I want to read. I am glad that itBooks sent this to me. I put this one at the top of my reading list. I love its quirkiness and sometime wise writings. One of my favorites is : “A man touched me, his hand…my thigh. I touched him too. My fist…his jaw.” Now that’s something I can totally enjoy!

Tiny Book actually made me laugh out loud at times, which is always a plus. Because of the books size you could devour it all at once but it is better savored in small bites. It sits on my reading table next to my side of the couch for easy access.

If you would like more info on Mr. Gordon-Levitt’s collaborative projects and see what other artists are doing visit http://www.hitrecord.org. You can also follow Gordon-Levitt on Twitter at hitRECordjoe.

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I find I am (sub)consciously keeping myself from thinking deeply about what moving away from here really means. I think about the practical details of it: training my replacement, winnowing down our personal stuff, wrapping up Evan’s details, etc.

Keeping my thoughts focused on the more inanimate details is a form of protections. It’s a type of blindness that prevents me from seeing all the amazing friends I have here.

Which is better? Should I save the inevitable pain and sadness for the very end or should I start feeling that pain now, six months before we leave?

I’ve written here in earlier posts about how there are small sadnesses in daily events. That still happens but it seems my emotions only really get me when I am having my semi-weekly lunch with my best friend Patty. I found myself crying on the way to lunch a couple of weeks ago, thinking about how much I am going to miss our lunches.

As I was writing this my friend Roger came by my office to tell me how the reality of our move is really hitting him. (He and my husband are very close.) We talked about the sad-now-or-later thing. He said he was sad now.

So, dear reader, what is you preference in the now-or-later debate going on in my head? Any and all advice is welcome.

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Whirling Dervish

Do you know what a whirling dervish is? A dervish is someone who is an adherent of the Sufi sect of Islam. Some of the members of Sufism use twirling in circles as a physical act of meditation. The thought is that as you listen to the music and abandon your inhibitions, concentrating on Allah, you will find perfection. (Of course, this is a very simple description.) Here is an example:

This month I most certainly resemble a whirling dervish, without the whole perfection thing. It is the month of tying up 2011 into a neat accounting package with a bow on top. Lots to do and lots of deadlines! Yuk!

However, Serenity, or perhaps Felicity, turned me on to Ann Voskamp’s blog. Ms. Voskamp has written a book, “1000 Gifts” which, as she describes it “… celebrates grace and recognizes the power of gratitude.” She challenges the reader to find 3 things every day to be thankful for. At the end of a year you will have the “1000 Gifts”.

It seems this is the perfect time for me to start practicing thanksgiving. I have been on a “mindfulness” kick for several months as my family & I countdown to our move back to California. I don’t want to take one moment of our dwindling days here for granted. Sometimes things to be thankful for overwhelm me to the point of tears. On other days I can’t seem to find anything, as my mind trips over itself with lists of things to be done and friends to visit “one last time”. A daily centering is what I need so I am looking forward to this process.

What new things are you considering? Do you avoid new year’s resolutions? Or do you jump in with verve?

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What Pro-Life Really Means

I follow a blog written by the amazing writer, & former lawyer, Heather King. The name of the blog is Shirt of Flame. Her passion for Christ and trying to walk in His footsteps takes my breath away on a regular basis. She is blunt, compassionate, impatient, totally flawed and totally human. I admire her decision to try to live a holy life via simplicity, sacrifice and repentance.

Her post yesterday, “Why I Am For Life, Not Pro-Life” contains the best summation of what being for life from a Christian perspective really means. It also makes a great point on the politics of Facebook. Here is an excerpt. I encourage you to click over to her blog to read the rest of her essay and look around a while.

“To be for life means to be for reality, and reality is paradoxical, contradictory, awkward, unendingly messy, and unresolvable. To be for life means to realize that someone who is born to a junkie mother, is beaten every day of his life, sexually molested as a child, and farmed out to a series of foster families as a teenager may be in prison for another reason than that he has a “criminal mind.” To be for life means to believe that human beings are capable of transformation. To be for life implies a capacity and willingness, no matter how difficult or how much of a stretch, to put ourselves in the shoes of another. To be for life is to refrain, insofar as possible, from every kind of violence: physical, emotional, psychological, and I say this because I am (obviously) so prone to violence myself. Because to destroy your own child is a special, and perhaps the most horrific form, of violence imaginable.

To be for life means to stand your ground while also exercising delicacy, courtesy, and restraint of tongue and pen. It means to be passionately for our work and passionately against imposing our work on others. It means to refrain from trumpeting our own courage in favor of admiring the courage of the next person.  It means to be for the unborn baby and for the baby who grows up to be an alcoholic, love-starved, frightened, extremely misguided adult and has an abortion, or two, or three before at last crawling toward the light (or not)—because you never know the wounds from which another suffers. You never know the sins and sorrows for which another is doing life-long penance. You never know the odds against which another is working.”

I am so thankful that she has put into words things I have thought but not been able to put into anything coherent. So like I said, grab a cuppa and head over to Shirt of Flame. Let me know what you think. I’m betting that no matter your political or religious bent, you will learn something.

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Where’s the Glass?

A preacher I used to know defined transition like being poured out of one glass and into another, saying that when you’re between glasses it’s pretty scary. That is where I am right now. Things from the life I’m leaving are falling away and part of me is already at that in-between place.

I am having to force myself to let go of some things,and maybe not care about them anymore. When I say “not care” it is not a mean thing, like “pftwww (insert spewing sound)”. This is not caring because it’s either not really mine to do or think about any more. There is also an element of turning myself away from and instead looking forward to.

I have lived in this town for over two decades and been on my job for over fifteen years. To say I have a routine doesn’t begin to describe my life. My life is in no way boring but there is a rhythm to the days, weeks, months, years that have a distinct flow. That will soon be replaced with new experiences, jobs, friends, etc.

As a bookkeeper the accounting cycle drives your duties, certain ones at certain times and certain intervals. Each week and month I am doing the last part of something and I can feel it. I mean nearly physically feel it. It’s November and time for thinking about wrapping up the year with all the duties that entails. With each little function I say an inward “Well, I won’t be doing that here again.”

As I teach my Lit classes the progression of the school year evokes those feelings also. Last week I thought, “That will be that last time I teach about Socrates here.” And so it moves on.

Last week my boss mentioned I was unusually quiet. At first I thought he was wrong but he was indeed correct. There is an inner concentration that is with me right now. I can’t explain it. Nor can it be blamed on Nat’l Novel Writing Month which I am in the throes of at the moment. All I know is that it’s a bit scary, and feels a bit like vertigo. Things are spinning around me and in order to keep my balance I must focus intently so I don’t tumble.

Prayers would be appreciated right now, or silly jokes, or dark chocolate. If I seem distant don’t worry, I don’t think I have ever been as here in the moment as I am currently. I’m just trying to be in the flow so I don’t miss the glass when the time comes.