Betty Duffy

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Playlist!

My husband and I have been kicking out the jams, which I'm pretty sure can mean whatever I want it to mean. In this case, we're working while listening to music. The kids are around during all of this, stepping in plaster and trekking it around the house.


I've been sort of glad, as we're blasting the tunes that I lost most of my old music when my computer crashed several months ago. I probably still have the CDs around here somewheres but I've been pretty careful about re-uploading A.) only music I actually want to hear and B.) music I wouldn't worry about my kids hearing. So many of those old college tunes--you can't trust 'em not to cuss or to make you feel moody and dark.


So it got me thinking, since I'm not a huge fan of Christian rock, and since classical music just doesn't keep me moving when I'm working, that I could compile a playlist of not really Christian rock songs that sort of pass for Christian rocks songs, or at least kid friendly adult music. And actually, some of these don't pass for rock songs, because my tastes run in the acoustic/ folksy/ bluesy sort of range, with an occasional dose of synth pop. May not be your thing at all.


Here's what I came up with.




Marty Robbins: "Love is Blue"

Sometimes I really want a moody song, and this one is "safe" moody. Which I think means that singing along to it actually makes you feel better.


Astrud Gilberto: "The Girl From Ipanema"

Still in a vintage mood, this cracks me up. When she passes, all they can think of to say is "Ahhh?"


Heart: Acoustic version "Alone"

I always want to sing along with Joni Mitchell, but my voice is too deep. So I sing along to Heart--and everybody loves it.


Nick Cave: "The Rider Song"

As my brother said, no one liked the movie, "The Proposition" as well as the makers of "The Proposition" but I'm a sucker for pretension of all stripes, especially cowboy pretension. So, I bought the soundtrack, and I love this song. The rest of the soundtrack is not so good, with the exception of "Clean Hands, Dirty Hands" which has a groovy bass line and actually does mention Jesus.


Bjork: "It's Not Up To You"

This one is synth pop, but the lyrics are about as homey as you can get. And whenever I get to the chorus, I alway find myself bouncing a little.

Lyrics: How do I master/ the perfect day/ six glasses of water/ seven phonecalls/ If you leave it alone/ it might just happen/ anyway/ It's not up to you/ Oh it never really was


Kevin Heider: "God in Austria"

Years ago, my brother-in-law used to come home on break from Steubenville raving about some friend of his who's in a band and to whom we just had to listen. And my husband and I would brace ourselves for yet another bad rendition of the latest Creed song sung by a college boy with a guitar. But one day, actually not too long ago, he brought us a song we could actually enjoy. This is it.


Blind Faith: "Presence of the Lord"

Same brother-in-law also came home once telling us we had to listen to this awesome band he just discovered called Led Zeppelin. And my husband was like, "That is what homeschooling gets you--a college kid who's never heard of Led Zeppelin." Of course, there are worse things then making it to adulthood without Led Zeppelin in your life. But anyway, I had a similar moment when I heard "Presence of the Lord." And I thought, I've got to get that song. Who is this band, "Blind Faith?" They must be new. And I looked them up and of course, it's a bunch of geezers from the sixties--Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, yadda yadda. Anyway, it's a great song. New to me. Probably old to everyone else.


I'm heavy on Sufijan Stevens:

"Come Thou Font of Every Blessing"

"Holy Holy Holy"

"Casimir Pulaski Day"

I have to admit, I also like "Too Much" from his latest weird album, so sue me.


Colin Hay: "Just Don't Think I'll Ever get over you"

Starts out "I drink good coffee every morning." Only gets better.


Innocence Mission:

Pretty much anything by Innocence Mission is good, but I especially like "July" and "Going Away" from the Birds of My Neighborhood Album.





So what else? What great "will pass for sort of Christian" music am I missing?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We're on Spring Break




...Which doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot. We were going to go camping, but it's freezing outside, so we decided to stay home and have fun working on the house. The kids get to take turns being Dad's helper each day--and they love it! They're so glad we didn't go camping and stayed home to do chores instead.

Today I reglazed windows. My husband drywalled the ceiling in the bathroom and put quarter round down in the bedroom. My daughter mopped the kitchen floor and cleaned out the garage. One of the boys followed my husband around with the shopvac, another kept disappearing, one took a long nap, and one stood on the kitchen table for several hours pushing around a matchbox car. It's been a very productive day.

Quick takes:

1. Can't get enough Ray Lamontagne. Listening to "Home for the Summer" over and over again. Any song that says, "I'm tired" in the chorus is right up my alley these days.

2. Sort of wish I were going to Boston this weekend for the Faith and Family Mom's Day Away. I was too cool for it when I had the chance to go, but now I'm afraid I'm missing a party.

3. Of course, I'm really not cool at all. I'm a homebody. So I'd like to invite the Coordinators of the next Mom's Day Away--if there will be a next-- to consider Indiana. Like Boston, it is also freezing in April.

4. I've been enjoying Kate Wicker's posts on the case for happy mom-blogs, and for authenticity online. She writes:

"Pope Benedict’s recent letter on World Communications Day discussed the challenge of being authentic and faithful, and not giving in to the illusion of constructing an artificial public profile for oneself when participating in social media like blogging, Twitter, and Facebook."

This is topic that's been on my mind, especially concerning the idea of meeting in person friends that I've met online, say, at a Mom's Day Away.

I like to keep a little space between my internet life and my real one, which is why I don't post a lot of pictures up here, and why I use a nickname instead of the name on my driver's license. I wanted to keep a clear search record on my given name. I also didn't want to have to be so fastidious concerning what I write on the blog.

But the longer I'm online, the more important it seems to me to be who you say you are. I appreciate writer's like Simcha, and Jen, and The Anchoress, and Kate who go out on controversial topics and take whatever heat follows. They have more credibility in my mind for facing it, literally, with their faces on their blogs.

Which makes me think that the world requires a public persona of its writers these days. Sort of wish it didn't.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More NFP Conversation

Simcha Fisher has a very good post up today about why the church doesn't make a list for what constitutes a good reason to avoid pregnancy.

"If the Church seems distressingly vague, it’s because she doesn’t want to get in the way of the conversation you could be having with God."

That conversation seems to me the most critical element of practicing NFP. The conversation remains open between husband and wife, and between each individual and God. And my guess is that there will be varying degrees of tension and some disagreement between each participant in the marriage at various times throughout the fertile years about whether or not to conceive.

Don't get discouraged with a spouse's close mindedness about another kid (and it would be a mistake to assume it's always the man who feels negatively). Also, don't get discouraged with a spouse's seemingly reckless procreative urges (though it would be unjust for one person in the marriage to lie about charting or signs of fertility in order to commandeer the family size without the other spouse's knowledge or approval). Keep the conversation open. Keep talking with your spouse. Keep talking with God, through frequent confession, and perhaps obtaining a good spiritual director.

The years of fertility last a long time, and it's likely that the minds and bodies of both spouses will feel very differently at the end of it, than they did at the beginning.

But perhaps even before one gets around to discerning just reasons to have or not to have another baby, my guess is that more Catholic marriages suffer silently under the strain of disagreement about whether or not to even use NFP vs other means of birth control. Often, one spouse is not on board with the Church's teaching--or they might be partially on board but insist on finding ways to avoid abstinence during the fertile period.

If you are in this position, remember that conversion is gradual. Go to confession often--to the same priest, who knows your circumstances, or find a spiritual director who can give you good advice on maintaining the life of Grace, and your marriage. Your marriage is the safety net for the children you already have, and if it becomes riddled with conflict and resentment, it ceases to be what it needs to be for your kids--and for you. Seek guidance. Seek reconciliation. Seek ways to keep the conversation open between you and your spouse, and you and God.

Don't pester your spouse. Prayer is more powerful than persuasion. If you're arguing about fertility issues weekly, even monthly--it's probably too much talk and not enough prayer.

If you or your spouse has already been sterilized, seek reconciliation with the church and with each other. Concentrate your prayers on forgiveness, if you feel resentment. Talk to a priest in Confession.

Do what you can to maintain the life of Grace. If you are going to fight for something in your marriage, attempt to remove the struggle from your relationship with your spouse and invest it into the fight for your life of Grace--to stay close to the Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist. Let your conflict be with your tendency towards discouragement. Don't ever assume the book has closed on you and your marriage. It is not over.




Prayers and peace be with you!

Monday, March 21, 2011

"I have set before you, the blessing and the curse"

(Deuteronomy 30)

This post is rated M for mucous, among other things. I hope you're not letting your kids read it.




A friend of mine has a bunch of kids. She's pregnant with another, and she's worn out. Each year we're a little older, and she gets nervous thinking about the possibility of continuing to have more kids. "I'm at the point where I would travel all over the city," she said, "and talk to different priests until I could find one who said, 'You've done your part. Go ahead and have your tubes tied. I'll absolve you.'"

I can follow the line of thinking.

Still, neither one of us takes our Church's teachings lightly, so I asked her, "Would you ever consider just not having sex for the remainder of your fertile years?"

She looked me square in the eye and said, "I would rather live the rest of my life without the Eucharist than without sex."

It was a bold statement, an exaggeration even, still, she caught me off guard. Not because of what she would choose (though I was impressed that sex was more than an afterthought), but because she recognized with such clarity that there was a choice to be made between contraceptive sex and Eucharist. She didn't want to remain open to life, but she would not receive the Eucharist unworthily.

If I had to wager a guess, though, sexual issues would be the most likely stumbling block between a Catholic and the Eucharist, especially when you consider that unmarried sex, gay sex, masturbatory sex, adulterous sex, and contraceptive sex--roughly 90 percent of the sex that takes place in the world, and possibly even the Church--is incompatible with receiving the Eucharist. Really, the "kinds" of sex that are compatible with Eucharist are pretty slim: You're married, procreative and unitive or you're abstinent. There can be no groovy fertile (M) sex without openness to life.

I asked my husband what he would choose if he had to make a choice between sex and the Eucharist. "Both," he said, which was exactly the kind of hypothetical compromise I was trying to work out was well. And fine, we stay open to life, we can have our cake and eat it too. But if we're not open to life, God is merciful, right? God understands how difficult abstinence is. Maybe I could wriggle into some mode of feeling peaceful with a contradiction, or at least moderately at ease with it, and keep taking the Eucharist with everyone else in the line on Sunday mornings. There is no one to stop me. And after all, it's highly unlikely that everyone else has such a hunky-dory Catholic sex life.

But if we refuse to make a choice between sin and receiving the Eucharist, it can only mean that we drastically underestimate what we expect to receive from the Eucharist. Receiving the Eucharist worthily means eternal life, fellowship with Christ, grace in hardship. Receiving it unworthily means a curse. Nobody likes to think about that.

In order to favor Eucharist over sin, one has to succumb to a seduction by Christ that is far more powerful than any earthly seductions. To be won and conquered by Christ, wed to him in the Church, receive his body in the Eucharist, would be pleasant satisfaction over the fallen human dealings most of us prefer. But relationship with Christ comes with risk, a Cross, surrender of body and soul--just as married, procreative sex comes with risk and surrender.

We tend to be adept at anticipating impending crosses. It's the resurrection that we're so bad at predicting--the blessing of relationships--with Christ, with our spouse, with a yet unknown child, the blessing of a peaceful interior relationship with ourselves--the gifts of doing God's will.

My friend continues to work out this issue in prayer, and Christ continues to reveal himself to her. "I had this image in my mind while I was praying recently," she said, "that I could see a little white cross way off in the distance, and I knew it was in the future, but I couldn't take my eyes off of it, and Jesus was standing in front of it walking towards me, but I didn't realize it was him. I could only see the cross, and I missed out on Jesus."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Little goodies

This morning, my two-year-old came into my bedroom while my eyes were still closed. He does this most mornings, climbs in bed with me--which isn't difficult. Since our bed is a mattress on the floor, it's often where the kids collect first thing in the morning, their round heads burrowing into exposed cracks between me and the mattress. But Baby had something on his mind this morning, and he wasn't diving under the covers until he gave me what he had collected in his hand. "Here, Mom," he said, sort of urgently as compared to his usual demeanor. It was important to him, to be divested of the tiny object before anything else could happen this day. There was also in his manner, just the tiniest bit of pride.

I opened my hand to see what he had brought me, and he deposited in my palm, the crunchiest little booger. "Oooh, thank you," I said.

"You're welcome, Mom," he said, then crawled under the covers, to relax and suck his thumb.

And I lay there wondering if this were truly a gift on his part, if his two-year-old mind had registered the good feeling of dislodging the bit from his nose, had felt the sensation of rolling it around between his index finger and thumb, and thought, "This is something Mom would like." Or if he was actually grossed out by it and just needed someone to dispense with it on his behalf.

Anyway, I dispensed with it. There are a few things I keep of the kids': locks of hair, baptismal candles, extraordinary works of art. I don't, however, keep boogers.

So I've been thinking all morning about how this might be a metaphor for something--because I'm desperate for material, and not much has been going on around here since we returned from California. Just Ash Wednesday, and the start of Lent, and now we're chugging along doing all the normal stuff we do. The sun has started to make sporadic appearances outside. Mud has found it's way into the house. And really, all I'm doing for Lent is one simple little thing that I ought to do anyway. Unsurprisingly, I've been successful, even though I did take Sunday off.

My primary goal this year in terms of Lenten sacrifice, was not to make myself confused--since usually I come up with complex algorithms of sacrifice and additional prayer, that leave me so screwed up on what's what, I can't help but flunk Lent. No more. This year, it's one thing, one crispy little thing that may or may not be a gift to God--it might just be something I want to get rid of. But either way, it's something that's completely mine, and that I can offer with urgency and love. And so far, it's been a fine Lent, a winning Lent, you might say, where simplicity and littleness makes the heart grow fonder.

So, there's a metaphor, for you. Hope you enjoyed it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Cousin Rachel: Doesn't Everybody Have One?

My cousin Rachel is more like my sister than a cousin. We’re the same age and equally obnoxious, hence we were often thrown together, growing up, and sent off to play so that everyone else could get some peace. We made up dances. We dressed up like floozies. We snuck into my grandmother’s make-up drawer. Then we would appear before the crowd of grown-ups ready to perform, or annoy.

We received the same presents for Christmas every year, which made me mad—because I was six months older than she, and twice as snotty, and I always wanted to prove my superiority. Plus, she was allowed to wear halter tops and Dr Scholls sandals, and I was not. (“Bitch”—a term of endearment for us.) Never mind that her Dr. Scholls somehow made their way into my suitcase after a visit to her house in Texas--just accidentally packed them with my things.

We planned out what our weddings would look like, around the fifth grade—essentially a model of the kissing scene in the movie “A Room with a View”—lots of Edwardian lace, linen, flowers, and over-the-top romanticism. My own wedding didn’t quite match my fifth grade vision—mostly because my tastes, by then, had changed. Rachel’s wedding, well, it hasn’t happened yet.

And so we find ourselves ensconced in our thirties, on very different life paths, while remaining invariably enmeshed. She now lives nearby, and most Sundays she comes for dinner; the Maiden Aunt, endowed with the authority to discipline my kids, love them, and go home when she gets sick of them. When I want to complain about duty to children and spouse, she can put my thoughts in perspective with a note on her empty womb. She would love to get married and have her own family.

Last night, Rachel called me with an urgent request. She’s had her house on the market, trying to move back to Texas after spending a number of years here in the Midwest. To date, she has not had a single showing, and so she let the housework slip. But her realtor called, and let her know that someone wanted to see her place early this morning. She needed help cleaning—and could I get away?

I was annoyed by her request. She’s responsible for cleaning up after one person after all, while I trail after seven. How hard can it be for her? And is she going to baby-sit my kids Friday night in return? I groaned into the phone, and Rachel said, “Well don’t come if you’re just going to whine the whole time.”

Now she’s calling me a whiner? I wanted to say, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you,” but I had not yet committed my helping hand. I was racing through my catalog of excuses: it’s late, I’m tired, it’s Monday. And let’s not forget that I am the weak and frazzled mother in need of assistance, not the strong single woman capable of providing it. But a little voice in my head said: “Why not?” Why not just go over there after the kids are in bed and help her clean?

So I went, not a cheerful giver in the least, but my body was en route to help. I wonder if this is what it’s like to go to Confession with only a partially contrite soul. I’ve heard that God will honor your attempt at contrition and provide the grace to pull you to complete contrition. By the time I arrived at Rachel’s house, I was ready to get to work—not quite smiling—but free of expectation that she might return the favor.

She put on some crybaby music—our old favorites—when we couldn’t survive a day without listening to The Cure and The Smiths. We dried dishes to “Girlfriend in a Coma,” swept the floor to “Pictures of You.” Went through her closet and found a pair of Wranglers she’d worn when we first turned 18 and made a bee-line to Billy Bobs in Fort Worth. The jeans were so tight then, we hooked a hangar on the zipper to pull them up—“Any reason you’re keeping these?” I asked.

“I’m going to fit into them again and then we’re going Two-stepping,” she said. Back in the day, we danced and swung with each other until the cowboys cut in.

Har Har—not very likely—I thought, folding them and putting them on her shelf. But there it was again: my default position—always “No.” Her default position—always optimistic.

“I refuse to grow up,” she said. “I don’t care if I’m old and I look stupid. I’m not going to quit dancing.” And again, in my head, charity fails me, “Well you haven’t had to grow up, have you?” But I know how the sight of my family and children has twisted like a knife in her gut. She has told me as much, how she has resented me with each subsequent pregnancy, and my occasional failure to muster early enthusiasm for the cultivation of new life in me. Everyone around her is doing what she longs to be doing, but can’t. Her friends have all married, so she must draw from a pool of younger single comrades in arms. One must stay young. One must remain optimistic, or one gets very, very sad.

Around one a.m. we completed our work, sat on her porch and smoked a cigarette. I was surprised to find that I had enjoyed myself, surprised that I still had energy. I remembered the nights when my husband and I were engaged, when we stayed up until one or two every night just to be in each other’s presence. I taught high school English then, and had to be up again at 5:30 to get to school on time. But I lived like that for over a year, on minute amounts of sleep. Before that, when I lived in Rhode Island, I used to drive home, a sixteen hour drive, in one night, fueled on caffeine, nicotine, and music. It’s not that I want to go back to those times, per say, but when did I become such a wimp? When did I become the one who is always in need, the one who never gives? When did my default position become “No?”

Kids figure into the picture, of course. Sleep is necessary and important. Receiving help sometimes is also necessary and important. But so is giving it.

I have taken this relationship with my cousin for granted. We didn’t choose each other after all—we are family. But look at this history we have: a shared life since we were babies, the freedom to slap each other around a bit and call each other out. We can eat at each other’s table without question or insecurity. I have been the hand that feeds her from time to time, but she has been my right hand since just about the beginning of time. And she’s keeping me young.


(rerun 09)

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Beginning of Sin

My two year old is a grateful baby. When I pick him up, when I put him down, when I change his diaper or pour his milk, he always says, "Thank you, Mom," as though it's the nicest thing anyone has ever done for him. I realized this morning, how much it endears me to him--how much more I want to do for him because of his unassuming gratitude.

I love my other children no less, reared them in a similar fashion, but perhaps in confidence that their needs will be met, or maybe because age brings along with it a heightened concern with self--they often forget to be grateful. And as a result, or maybe it's the egg that came before the chicken, I dole out my works for them like a cafeteria line lady: "Here's your canned peaches, Kid. Fries cost extra--and if you ain't got it, don't ask. Next!"

And lo, though peaches are a perfectly adequate food, someone's not going to like them, because they're slimy, or one's got a brown spot on it, or they had their heart set on something else. And though no one's starving, no one's satisfied, and it makes me want to go in my room and shut the door. Impossible to please, they are.

It's something the kids, and I, never seem to grasp, that when you're ungracious, when you express dissatisfaction--it doesn't get you what you want. Complaining about brown peaches doesn't make me want to take them back and serve something else. I think, "Take it or leave it, but for the love of God, quit complaining." I'm still going to feed my kids, because I love them, but I might send them to bed without a story because they're annoying me.

I don't want to ascribe too many of my human feelings to God, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised if God has a similar reaction to our whining. When I can only find the trouble with my lot, I cut myself off from extra graces God wants to give me, extra graces that I need to live a good life.

Sin begins as ingratitude.

I don't like my food. All I get is the same old food. I'm going to look for better food somewhere else. Good-bye, Will of God. We go looking, looking, looking for something easier--but nothing satisfies--because essentially, we are ungrateful people. And if we are not satisfied with the gifts of God, we are not likely to remain satisfied for long with the life of our own choosing.

Lent is a time to pair away the things I've come to take for granted, so that I can appreciate the gifts I've received. It's a time to repair the damage done by my ingratitude, perhaps retrieve some of the graces I have rejected. Not in a Uriah Heep sort of way: "I'm so umble, Lord--don't I deserve a bit more?" But in a way that treats gratitude as it's own reward, to reclaim a sense of wonder at the goodness of God, at the kindness of other people, at the miracle of childhood, at the blessing of marriage.

My life has challenges, and it's work is hard on my body. But now is not the time to consider my cost. I've done that already. And the endless calculation of my output, and what I feel I'm owed is a drain on gratitude. It's the beginning of sin.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I'm dust.

Sometimes when you meet someone at church, it's impossible to imagine that they have a life anywhere else, or that they ever had a life that wasn't in some way compatible with that pew in which they sit every Sunday.

Last week I was talking with a friend from Church about those bedside table habits that annoy our husbands like stacking too many books on the table and floor, or in my friend's case, bringing glasses of water to bed that somehow never find their way back to the kitchen. It reminded me of one little thing my husband used to do, many moons ago, and I mentioned it to my friend, because we were one-upping each other good-naturedly--and I knew that my anecdote would be the last word.

"My husband used to chew tobacco and he'd take his chaws out at night and leave them on the bedside table." It drew the expected cries of disgust, effectively changing the topic to one I didn't really expect.

"Your husband used tobacco?" my friend said in disbelief. "I cannot imagine you dating or marrying anyone who used tobacco."

How had I managed to pull such a heavy sheath of wool over her eyes? I needed to set the record straight. "That's funny because I used to smoke," I said.

"Really? You were a smoker?"

"It was mostly a social thing in college, but I guess there were times in my life when I smoked every day, multiple times."

"I just cannot picture you and your husband as tobacco users."

And I suppose it's because we have a bunch of kids, and we attend Mass. Do either of those things, and it's pretty easy to convince the general public that you're a saint. Such feats of perception are more difficult to pull off with the people you see every day of your life.

"You're not selfless," my husband noted matter-of-factly this weekend. I had hidden the last dry towel under my bag for if and when I decided to walk out in the cold to the communal shower area of the yurt village. He had just returned from swimming in the ocean--an activity from which I had opted out. It appeared that we were short on linens as he stood there shivering and wet, but I had to confess that we weren't as short as it appeared.

The obvious response would have been to point out that he's not selfless either, as few of us truly are. But he doesn't pretend to be, whereas I love to give the impression that I am selfless, and I love to think of myself as such.

One of the pitfalls of writing about one's spiritual life is that it's tempting to imagine that all the thinking I'm going to do on subject is over once I've written the post on it. I covered selflessness in a post on September 28, 2010. I'm supposed to have mastered it. Except I haven't. Just as I've only begun to chip away at the iceberg of attachment to things and shopping and eating rich foods--all those enemies of poverty I wrote about in my last post--becoming selfless is no one-shot deal.

Caryll Houselander, in "The Reed of God" writes of the seed of God's word growing in us:

"It's not necessary…to speak to others of the mystery of life growing in us. It is only necessary to give ourselves to that life, all that we are, to pray without ceasing, not by a continual effort to concentrate our minds but by a growing awareness that Christ is being formed in our lives from what we are. We must…possess Him secretly and in darkness…"

As soon as you even hint to others that you have uncovered a spiritual truth, that you are interested in changing your life, you are made accountable for that change. People begin to watch you: Miss Poverty is driving around San Francisco in a convertible. Miss Selfless is hoarding the dry towels.

We are accountable for the beliefs we profess--which is why it's probably the more prudent thing to shut up about it when we are trying to shape our lives more like Christ's--otherwise prepare to be misinterpreted, judged, and ultimately dismissed (not a terrible fate for a Christian, assuming she desires growth in humility).

When we talk about the ways in which we'd like to change, we put pressure on ourselves to change at our own pace, or at the world's pace, not God's. And then, it's tempting to change our internal emphasis from growing in holiness, to appearing holy.

For Lent, among other things, I'm giving up my PR campaign. Let the record show, as my husband knows well, I am not yet selfless. I am not yet poor in spirit. I am not yet humble, holy, or even kind. I am not yet generous, or open to life, or faithful in little things. I am a sinner, dust, who contains only a seed, a tiny little hint of God's Word. And the fact that Christ can be formed in my life from such dull material is a miracle, and a mystery, and evidence that He is God. And I'm not.

A blessed forty days to you all!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

After this I'm done talking about my vacation.

The ride:



The yurt:




The view:





The food:

The pigs crossing (I may be needing a sign like this in my kitchen):

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Greetings from my yurt.

Here I sit, wind whipping around my canvas shelter, high on a hill in Big Sur California. Life could not be better. My husband and I have spent the day driving a convertible Mustang on roads that make for some of the best driving in the world, hairpin after hairpin, threatening at each bend to fly off over a cliff into the ocean. Intermittently, we hiked, and ate. And now, I am very, very tired.

Somehow, I managed to leave my purse at a fish market in Half Moon Bay, and in my purse is a cable that allows me to download pictures. So someday, when my purse and I reunite, I might put some up here.

Tomorrow, we'll stop in Carmel on our way back to San Francisco where my husband will go back to work and from which, I will fly home to my babies. Blogging is likely to continue going lightly until next week sometime.

Here's a little video for your entertainment. It kept coming to my mind while we were driving today.