Moving as a way of life

January 29, 2008

I live in a house that was once occupied by my husband, his former wife and their two children. I made the choice to live here with my eyes wide open, knowing it would be wierd & probably a little uncomfortable, but “worth it.” The kids experienced so much transition last year. I mean, imagine finding out your Mom is gay, your dad gets remarried, you get a step-mom, all of that. I figured anything we could keep constant would be good. Their address(es) and school were two areas where nothing changed last year.

But it has been REALLY wierd and uncomfortable for me to live here. In spite of “redecorating” three rooms (our bedroom, office and the dining room), I am not at home here. First of all, my husband’s ex-wife still owns half of the house. Ick, right? Then, there is the intensely creepy thought that she and he had sex in what is now my bedroom. That is just ICKY to think about. I thought maybe that by living here I could take the edge off of those realities, but that has not been the case. Add that to the fact that I freaking hate living in the SoCal burbs, and I’m ready to move. Again.

But damn. I have lived in nine homes since I was 24 (I’m 36 now). That number only includes places I lived for six months or more. If you added in all the “interim” places I stayed or visited (from between 3 weeks to 4 months) that number goes up to fourteen. Moving is practically a way of life for me. And those nine homes since 24 include two that were in Africa and South America. Packing and unpacking. . .although I dislike it as much as the next person, I have done it so much that it is nearly second nature.

But I’ve never moved “en famille.” I hope it’s not worse than normal moving. We are hopefully putting the house up for sale this spring. We are also praying that the housing market around here stays somewhat afloat. I just can’t believe after making this big move in June from my fabulous Eagle Rock digs out to the burbs, I’m gonna do it all over again. I don’t know what we’ll be able to afford or find, but it looks like moving again is in the cards. Pray for me, k?

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Tasha the dog spins around and around and. . .

January 26, 2008

I’ve written before about how my dog is uber-old, has horrible arthritis, bone spurs and a brain tumor. She’s been doing this thing for the past few years where she spins endlessly before she can manage to lay down. When she was younger, she would spin two or three times and plop down. My step-son counted fourteen spins the other day.

She was slowly spinning on her rug behind my computer a few days ago, and I took some pictures for posterity. She stops mid-spin sometimes and just stares into space. I think her doggie dementia must kick in while she’s spinning. She looks exactly like a person who has walked into the kitchen but has NO idea why they are there.

Here she is, frozen in mid-spin:

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I think she forgets how many times she’s turned around, so she has to start over.

Sometimes I wonder if God looks at me and sees the same pattern. Spinning, spinning, forgetting, spinning . . .


Me and my Tracy Lord, Bryn Mawr self

January 25, 2008

Recently, I applied for a very part-time job at a church.  Don’t ask me why.  OK. Ask me why.

Why, you ask?

Well, several reasons.  The job looked like something that wouldn’t involve any damn church meetings.  Also, I apparently suck at “church planting” or “emerging church” stuff at the moment.  In addition, church jobs involve something really cool that the God-stuff I’ve been investing my time in lately does not: dinero.

And dinero is something we lack around here, people.

This job application requested that I provide them with a recording (in any format) of me preaching.  Game on.  I love to preach.  So, I recorded myself preaching using Garage Band.  When I played it back, the voice that came back to me was totally familiar – I knew it was me.  The surprise was my diction, my elocution.  Good Lord.  I sound like I just left Bryn Mawr.  I sound like Tracy Lord.   I sound like I wear pearls to bed, like I went to Sidwell Friends, like my mother is friends with Martha Stewart.  I sound like I can afford to shop at Dean & Deluca for dinner.  My speaking cracked me up.  I have never heard anyone speak like that from a pulpit.  Ever.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to upload it to a website somewhere so other people can hear what it sounds like when a Bryn Mawr girl turns Evangelical.   However, I am not so savvy with the tekkie things.  I will keep trying, because the world deserves to hear something that funny.   The sermon isn’t bad, either.

It is funny when I learn something like this about myself.  I love the illumination.  I love knowing what I sound like.   I also don’t mind that I sound like a blue-stocking who found Jesus.  I am so much less critical of myself (in some ways) these days.  It is genuinely interesting to me.  My best friend did mention that my smarty-pants diction combined with a little nervousness can make me sound a little uptight sometimes when I preach, and that was good to know too.  Learning to relax in my preaching will be a good journey.  But my diction just is what it is.

Yours,

Megan Tracy Lord, Bryn Mawr ’94


Home Ec – refinishing the table

January 22, 2008

In the spirit of actually doing what I said I would do – here is a picture of the oak table before I refinished it.

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Yeah, nobody can mess a table up like me! Please note the huge, black iron stains from the iron teapot.

Now, here it is today, in all its refinished glory:

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I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I decided not to use any polyeurathane, in spite of my husband’s urgings that I do so. That crap is toxic, y’all! So, I just used some all natural wax on it after I sanded it. I know the color is not perfectly even, but it is good enough.  Good enough!  I love not striving for perfection in stuff like this anymore.  I’m trying to save my striving for things that are slightly more important than oak tables.


The lion and the lamb . . .

January 21, 2008

The picture painted in Revelation and other books of prophecy are pretty lavish in their descriptions of how fabulous things are.

You know, the child will put his hand on the nest of the adder,

the lion will lay down with the lamb . . .

All that stuff.

Apparently, Bunkis and BBC have been hitting the Scripture bong again, and are enacting their version of the lion and the lamb.

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Of Blogs and Bibles

January 16, 2008

Today I had a grumpy morning with the children. They were just being children – fussing about how much cinnamon and sugar goes on toast, clothing options, etc.

Sometimes we’re all, children and adult, just contrary. Well. To a degree. I guess none of us adults has thrown a complete crying, screaming fit because we couldn’t wear a striped shirt. Then again, probably very few adults have their wardrobe choices curtailed by an unimaginative dress code, either.

But I wasn’t feeling resilient this morning. I hadn’t had my tea. I just wanted to wake up and have normal conversations with everyone. No “discussions.” So, after a few minutes of testy discussions, I took my tea and went to my google reader to see what the blogs were up to. I was so happy, because my favorite blogger had a new post, and she hasn’t been posting much lately. I read it. It was nice. I read a few other posts here and there. Then, my google reader was empty.

I closed the browser and sighed. I said to my blank screen, “can’t you satisfy me?” I actually laughed out loud after I said that. I realized I was using blogs to distract me from how I was feeling. I knew I needed input from somewhere. I intuitively knew that I wanted some satisfaction from words. But I was looking to the wrong words. My little daisy Bible was sitting on the desk next to my monitor. I picked it up and read this week’s lectionary readings.

The Gospel reading is from the first chapter of John. John the Baptist says (v.29), “Look the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Right there I was hooked again. The Bible for me is like a dynamic, strange, endlessly fascinating, illuminating conversation with the most interesting person I’ve ever known. Today, when I read that, my mind went immediately to that oft-repeated phrase – that Jesus somehow takes away sins. I find that thought so interesting and so strange. What does it mean exactly? I know the traditional, orthodox answer, which I hold as a gift from the past. But how can I deepen that understanding, know what it means for real, for me, for my friends? He takes away sin in general? From me? Where does he take it? How? And, what then? And why a Lamb, a reference to sacrifice and dependence, first? He’s a shepherd, too, right?

And then I read the Old Testament reading, which was from Isaiah 49. In verse 4, Isaiah has the Messiah say, “I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing. Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God.”

Isn’t that outrageous? The Bible is incredible. It is full of this kind of despair and “FORGET IT!” kind of sentiment. When combined with an equally outrageous trust in God, it is a potent mix.

When I read the Bible, I know I will never be done plunging all of its mysteries. There will always be more for me to see, to learn and be amazed and baffled by in it. Already I feel pulled to spend more time researching and praying over those passages.

No one can rock it like God. No one has so much to say to me that is so encouraging, bizarre and wise. That is His job, to be loving and mysterious. The Bible kicks ass.

That said, let me affirm that I love reading good blogs. They can be a great blessing. Sometimes the rawest, most honest thing I “hear” all day is from a blogger – like this one from Melissa in Ohio. Sometimes the silliness of my fellow Christians just gives me a great laugh.

But nobody rocks it like God. Love you, God.


At the corner of my actual life

January 9, 2008

Life is weird. God is big. Strange things happen. You may end up standing at a corner, wondering how this is your life.

In 2000*, I signed up for a course to be trained in how to be a spiritual director. It was called Centerpoint. We met once a month and shared what God was doing in our lives and learned about how to listen to one another. It was a good group and it is where I met my bestest friend ever. (We didn’t exactly click while we were there, but that is another story.) The church where the group was held was an hour from where I lived at the time. It was in a town I had never heard of, San Marino. It was on the Northwest corner of two big streets. After that group, I never went back to San Marino and forgot all about it.

Fast forward seven years. I’m engaged to my husband and we were trying to find a good cake for our wedding. I didn’t want something boring and I didn’t want inedible fondant, so someone recommended a Chinese French bakery in San Marino. It was on the southwest corner, right across the street from where the church is. They did have taro cake (yum), but we decided against it. (Chinese French baked goods ain’t cheap, my friends.) I thought it was kind of weird that I ended up back on that same corner again.

Now, fast forward eight months from the cake incident. I have an interview with an academic enrichment center. Are you ready for this? It is on the northeast corner of that same intersection. Weird, weird, weird.

I stood there a few days ago, and looked at the church. And looked at the bakery. And looked at the academic center. This is my life. A weird, unexpected set of circumstances that brought me to each corner. These days, I feel like God has sort of forgotten about this daughter of His. I know that He hasn’t, but that is how it feels. I stood at that corner and nearly cried. What am I doing with my life? Church, bakery, academics, spiritual direction, wedding, SAT tutoring. . . Lord Jesus, help this girl out. Help me to see what path you want me to lay down to walk to that fourth corner. Cause I ain’t got NO clue, Rabbi.

*Bwana: is that right? Or was it 2001?