November 25, 2006

A satirist's view of our pluralistic culture

For context of this quote, click on the following link:
Ravi Zacharias on our loss of shame, pt. II

"We believe in Marx, Freud and Darwin. We believe everything is ok as long as you don't hurt anyone, to the best of your definition of hurt and to the best of your definition of knowledge.

We believe in sex before, during and after marriage. We believe in the therapy of sin, we believe that adultery is fun, we believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe everything's getting better, despite evidence to the contrary. The evidence must be investigated, and you can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there's something in horoscopes, ufos and bent spoons. Jesus was a good man, just like Buddha, Mohammad and ourselves. He was a good moral teacher, although we think some of his good morals were really bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same; at least the ones that we read were. They all believe in love and goodness. They only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God and salvation.

We believe that after death comes the nothing, because when you ask the dead what happens they say nothing. If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then it's compulsory heaven for all excepting, perhaps, Hitler, Stalin and Genghis Khan.

We believe in Masters and Johnson: what's selected is average, what's average is normal, what's normal is good. We believe in total disarmament, because we believe there are direct links between warfare and bloodshed. Americans should beat their guns into tractors and the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good, it's only his behavior that lets him down. This is the fault of society, society is the fault of conditions, and conditions are the fault of society. We believe each man must find the truth that is right for him and reality will adapt accordingly. The universe will readjust, history will alter. We believe that there is no absolute truth, excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.

We believe in the rejection of creeds and the flowering of individual thought.

If chance be the father of all flesh, disaster is his rainbow in the sky and when you hear, "state of emergency, sniper kills ten, troops on rampage, youths go looting, bomb blasts school," it is but the sound of man worshipping his maker."

Steve Turner

A bit of a stretch...

I know there's danger in trying to find explanation for every experience. Having said that: if we are the salt and Jesus is the water, are our tears the physical expression of the two combining?

November 15, 2006

The kind of woman I want to be, pt. I

For a long time, I didn't know what kind of woman to be. What I mean is that, around age eighteen, when "society" told me I was a woman (or at least starting to become one), I did not know what that meant, nor did I feel it could ever be true of me. In retrospect this confusion is significantly less muddled and, coupled with my spiritual maturity, it becomes crystal-clear; I didn't then, and I don't now, want to be the kind of woman society at large entices me to be.

I assume most of you know what I mean but, for the sake of anyone to whom "society" does not relentlessly pummel with suggested self- images, let me elaborate a minute on what I don't want.

I do not want to be sexy all the time. Don't get me wrong, I love to feel pretty and enjoy going out of my way to look attractive to my fiancé. But there are plenty of times when I don't want to look or behave in a sexy way. It makes me feel as awkward as the word awkward. It makes me feel fake, like I'm acting.

There is so much more to my womanhood than my sex! If our being women was a simple matter of biology, anyone could have an operation and become one of us. But it doesn't work that way. There are feelings we have, impulses that our men don't understand, intuitions we can make, aches we can soothe that any Dustin, Mel or Wayan brother in pantyhose just doesn't get.
Also, we women don't (and shouldn't) rely on our being sexy as a means to accomplishment or strength in the world. I do not wish to be a woman who "flirts her way to the top." Let's forget for a moment where or what that "top" is. When I find myself successful (and we should all determine that subjectively for ourselves) it is not due to my physical appearance. For that I am thankful and, forgive me, maybe even a little proud.

On the topic of success, allow me to disqualify myself in another way: I do not want to be a power-hungry, independent career woman. I apologize if it sounds strange, but I like the interdependence of coworkers, family, friends and roommates! I like being dependent on other people and cooperating with them; it makes me feel human. I do not want to be (as much as the five-year-old version of me protests) a robot! I love asking for help and being able to help others. There is a big part of my womanhood wrapped up with that idea. I'm perfectly happy being a little vulnerable. In that way I'm more of a "risk taker" than a corporate career woman is!

So if I'm so opposed to the office, or at least to the office type career gal, where will you find me managing? I'll be home, but I do not want to micro-manage my children. I want them to explore, to get messy (see previous post on painting), to live their lives. Here's the catch: I will set the boundaries for that exploration. They will not go into harmful situations or into harmful peoples' hands. This section is almost dangerously underdeveloped, as I have no children. Please feel free to school me. Of this much I am clear: I do not want to be my children's friend, but their mother. What does that mean? I'm not going to wear the same clothes as them, let them drink as long as it's at home, or pretend that I want their experience of the world at a certain age to be the same as mine was. I know everyone says this, but I do not want my children to go through what I did as a teenager. I fear I am coming close to offending my mother and father (if they read this), but all I wanted as a teenager was someone to really, harshly even, parent me! I had enough friends; they were feeling their way through the dark world as much as I was. I needed some light. (Later, I got the ultimate light of my life and I have not been the same since, but that's about hundred blogs on its own!)

I have writer's block on this one... more to come as it unwinds in my mind...

November 9, 2006

A few leaves turn into a pile

We had a lovely day in Chicago today. This time of year anything goes, but usually we are not blessed with May-like temperatures and sunshine like we had today. I had a half day of work with my favorite client and got to see Nic for a minute on the way home, so by the time I got there I was feeling pretty good. I decided that, in anticipation of my dinner guests on Saturday, I would clean up the backyard.

It began with sweeping up a pile of leaves, then I moved on to the deck. Long after the sun went down- which I hadn't even noticed- I stopped in the middle of sweeping the leaves on the lawn (we don't have a rake, just a broom) with the thought, "I have officially turned into my mother." I was still thinking about that when my roommate came outside and asked what the heck I was doing in the dark.

"Just tidying up the yard," I said, though I realized then the lateness of the hour and understood her surprise at my work. For her doing yardwork is less than desireable and, in fact, downright unpleasant. (All cleaning, it seems, is unpleasant to her, which explains why she never does it!) But still I couldn't understand her surprise at the work itself I was doing, only the hour at which I was doing it. To me, tasks of nature just need to be done, despite the enjoyment they bring.

That said, I have always enjoyed this kind of chore, any outside chore. I don't consider them "chores" in the traditional sense of the word, as jobs you'd rather not do at all. I routinely volunteered for leaf-raking, weed-pulling and, if I was in a particularly good mood, lawn mowing. I could do without snow shoveling, but that's because I don't enjoy the cold. I have nothing against the toil of shoveling and I love the feeling of sore muscles; it means you've been using them.

Over time I've developed a sort of patented work ethic; there is work to be done and, by George, it will be accomplished today, sunlight or not. There are some tasks that cannot wait while I type a blog or start on a painting. I have developed a tendancy toward doing outside work first. (I also seem to have acquired a subconscious need to wash dishes, even at someone else's house. So if I do this, please don't be offended; I simply need to wash dishes!) I guess you could say I've been programmed to work like I was raised to, and that means home (and family) maintenance comes before any personal endeavor.

I'm sure that, provided the weather was accomidating, my mother was outside pulling the last of weeds not killed by early frost, or raking, or cleaning gutters. Bless her for that, for always taking care of our home and our family, and especially for instilling in me an able and willing desire to take care of my own. I know when most people say, "I've turned into my mother," it is a reflection of their neuroses, some kind of self-doubt. But for me to see any of her in me gives me hope that I can't explain.

There is a needlework piece hanging in the hall of my parents' house that reads: A mother is a woman who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take. How true that is.

November 8, 2006

A thousand words, and none.

The man I love:

Hates the polaroid
obsession, but obliges
out of love for me.

Can't understand why
I can't stop gazing at him.
Has to be that way!

Keeps my heart in mind,
Knows it better than I do.
Loves me forever.

November 6, 2006

Time for prayer

I have been on the verge of tears today. Many days I experience this, but today it is because of the Ted Haggard news. I am aching for his wife and the struggle she has been thrust into. I realize that it is always the time for prayer and I'm a strong believer in its power and so I implore you: please pray for former Pastor Haggard, his wife and children, and his congregation.

Ravi Zacharias said it best today, that the secular world preaches relativism and sensitivity to us day-in and day-out. But they also stalk believers like lions, waiting to pounce on us when we suffer from moral depravity. The secular world says not to judge, but when one of us suffers from his/her own sin and brings it to light, they are the first to judge us, before we even have time to judge ourselves.

Friends in Christ, this is not the time to judge Pr. Haggard. His sin is before God, who will judge him as He sees fit. For us to condemn him is to give ourselves power that only He has. This is how we each fall, by thinking we can walk without Him! Now more than ever I am recommitting myself to knowing the Gospel and bringing it to others. Let Pr. Haggard serve as an example to each of us, so that our walks with the Lord may be strengthened despite our weaknesses.

I ask you again, please pray for this man, his family and his congregation. Many have lost their spiritual leader.

"Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness."
1 Corinthians 11:28-30

"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin."
Hebrews 4:14-15

"...we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
Romans 5:3-5

Progressive paint

Date: November 6th, 2006
Item: Crayola invisible paint picture spinner contraption.
Intention: allows kids to "paint" pictures using ink that won't stain clothes


Growing up my sisters and I had several toys. In fact we had an entire toy bench (built by Dad) which held all of our stuffed animals, Legos and dolls, play dishes, etc. But few of these toys came to us brand new. Despite my Dad being a college professor we didn't have a lot of money, so when we did get new toys they always had to be shared between the three of us. Consequently we cherished each and every toy that came from an "actual store," meaning any store other than "thrift."

One of our favorite toys was something called a "Twirl-a-Paint," a battery-operated wheel you attached a piece of paper onto which you squirted paint on as it spun around. The end product, depending on color mixture and individual taste, looked like either a splatter of vomit or a glittery splatter of vomit (we only had three paints and some of us liked to experiment with alternative materials- Kleenex, oatmeal, pudding, etc.). I strongly believe the value of the Twirl-a-Paint lay not in its ability to create beautiful, or even fridge-worthy, works of art, but in the freedom it allowed. I know that sounds hokey, but consider the following:

I saw an item advertised today that looked a lot like the Twirl-a-Paint. Same spinning wheel, same bottles of liquid to squirt onto a spinning piece of paper. It even comes with its own glitter (we always had to sneak some from Mom's craft supplies). But here's the catch: this new toy comes with invisible paint. I know what you're thinking and no, it's not paint that cloaks itself with mystery when the wrong eyes see it. It's nothing that clever. Just "paint" that only shows up on the special paper that comes with the toy. The idea is that, unlike normal paint, if the invisible stuff spills, it doesn't make a mess. So this is an improvement on old-fashioned paint you might say. It's progressive paint.

But is it progress for children to be robbed of all that is entailed by using regular paint? I remember the fun of mixing colors, making new colors, making ugly colors, making a mess. Painting with my fingers! Don't you recall fondly the first time you smooshed paint around on a paper? What joy! And what happened when it detoured out onto the floor? Someone came and cleaned it up. Big deal. Life didn't stop, it just got messy for a few minutes. And wasn't your day that much brighter, knowing you really dug into that painting project, dismissed the constraints of reality and just smooshed away?

I want to have kids that, when they grow up, remember what it was like to be kids and be messy. I want kids that know how to play. I will not buy them toys that do the playing for them.

notes from b-tube, v1, p1. veektka.

Fotografias de la Nuevo York

This is the street we lived on in uptown New York.
NY has some strict policies. We adapted.
Their rules couldn't stop us from being cute. (My fiancé is so handsome!!)
Or from drinking their free wine and being philosophical.
We contemplated staying forever and living in the foyer,
or moving to Brooklyn,
or maybe just living closer to these trees.
Wherever we end up, we'll be doing a lot of this (I hope).


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