Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Source: The Accidental Masterpiece by Michael Kimmelman
On Christmas Eve, we went to church that morning and grabbed a light lunch. We then went home, watched Home Alone and got ready for the evenings festivities. We started off with a nice get-together at the Cox's. We had a big turkey meal with all the trimmings and it was good. Knowing we had another get-together after church, Sarah and I held back. We then headed off to the Christmas Eve Lite Brite Service at our church. True to the name, they had what looked like a giant Lite Brite in the sanctuary with different Christmas pictures displayed. The kids did a Nativity presentation that was hysterical. (the two young divas fighting over the one microphone was classic) After church, we headed to our second party of the day at the Douglas home. As we entered, smoked salmon was thrust upon us and we dove in heartily. After a little while, we sat down for a 5 course dinner featuring prime rib. It was a fantastic meal and even better company. We had a wonderful time. Later that night, we wobbled home, swallowed every antacid known to man and went to bed.
Christmas morning arrived and there was much snoring. We slept until about 9 and slowly pulled our creaky bones out from under the covers. After we were successful in waking ourselves up, we commenced with the gift exchange. Sarah got me a belgian waffle iron and the complete set of Monty Python's Flying Circus on DVD. I gave her Creature Comforts Seasons 1 & 2 on DVD and a gift card to go get some funky star lamps she wants. We also got each other several of our favorite snacks but they were met with a lackluster 'thank you' and tossed aside. We talked to our parents on the phone and then ate the Stollen (a german fruitcake and Sarah's family tradition) we had gotten for the occasion. Later we had Christmas lasagna (our new tradition) and went over to some of our new church friends house for games and more food. (we didn't eat much over there)
As you can see, it's been a busy season but a good one. Going back to work wasn't fun but there's hardly anyone around at the theatre so it's kind of quiet. I hope your holiday was as fun as ours. I just hope I fit into my clothes once the new year rolls around.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
"The Bible has this phrase: Don't let the world squeeze you into its mold. Don't let the church squeeze you into its mold either because the church can squeeze you alot harder than the world can into certain conventions and molds." - Len Sweet
"...there are certain times in history where God is more active in the world than in the church and I think we're living in one of them right now. I think God's doing some incredible stuff out there but I don't think alot of it's in the church, I think alot of it is in this culture and I think our job is to join him in what he's doing and in whoever he's appearing in." - Len Sweet
"To journey without being changed is to be a nomad. To change without journeying is to be a chameleon. To journey and be transformed is to be a pilgrim." - Mark Nepo
Friday, December 22, 2006
After exiting the exhibit, we made our way to the monorail. After last years accident where two of them collided, they've been shut down most of the year and have only recently been running again. Well, when we got over there, they were shut down again. I guess we'll never get to ride the stupid thing. As we said last night as we walked away, "Stupid, stupid monorail."
Since that didn't work out, we ducked into Center House to get change for the bus and discovered a Christmas Village with working trains. It was pretty cool. After taking a few pics for my Uncle Jerry (he loves trains) we scooted out into the rain to catch the bus down to the shopping district. We spent some time finishing up Christmas shopping and ate dinner at P. F. Chang's. It was fairly bustling downtown. Actually it was a madhouse. Nordstroms has a Santa Claus house built on the corner and the line to see the Jolly Old Elf (and get pricey pics) was down the block. We got tired out pretty quickly and took a cab back to our vehicle at Seattle Center. Once home, we enjoyed some dessert and watched some Battlestar Galactica. It was fun to get out but it's so crazy at Christmas. I'll be glad when it slows down after the first of the year. Then we can trek back downtown and enjoy it without the mobs.
The premise is simple: A young boy and his father trek across a post-apocalyptic landscape, surviving day to day in an inhospitable environment. It's a plain story told plainly yet I found myself rooting for these two lost souls. Actually, not much happens in the story. It's actually pretty cliche. They journey, they find food, they run out of food, all seems hopeless, they find food again, etc. And yet, I kept with it. I was compelled to see if things would turn out alright for the man and the boy. Do they? You'll have to read it yourself to see.
Source: The Incarnation: An Artful Evening, a podcast from The Kindlings Muse
After the bright beam of hot annunciation
fused heaven with dark earth
his searing sharply-focused light
went out for a while
eclipsed in amniotic gloom:
his cool immensity of splendor
his universal grace
small-folded in a warm dim
the Word stern-sentenced
to be nine months dumb—
infinity walled in a womb
until the next enormity—the Mighty,
after submission to a woman’s pains
helpless on the barn-bare floor
first-tasting bitter earth.
Now, I in him surrender
to the crush and cry of birth.
was closeted in time
he is my open door
to forever.From his imprisonment my freedoms grow,
Part of his body, I transcend this flesh.
From his sweet silence my mouth sings.
Out of his dark, I glow.
My life, as his,
slips through death’s mesh,
joins hands with heaven,
speaks with stars.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
There are also some poems by journalist Steve Turner. Check those out here.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Monday, December 18, 2006
I knew it was going to be a long trip when, on the first turn, I was thrown off the raft into the cold water. After the initial shock of hitting the water, I immediately got my body into the position taught to me on my previous rafting trip. The position is designed to minimize injury. It worked to some extent, although my behind dragged the rocky bottom and made it uncomfortable to sit for a while. I lost my shoes, hat and sunglasses on that dunk and we had barely started. I finally rejoined the rafts and we got on our way again. Things went smoothly for most of the rest of the trip and I assumed our troubles were over. I was wrong.
Near the end of the trip, our group hit a trouble spot. We came around a corner and saw many people in the water with empty rafts surrounding them. The people on the shore were yelling at us to do something but I couldn't hear them over the noise of the people in the water and the river itself. The next thing I know, our raft hits and rock and goes completely vertical. Our entire group was thrown into the water. Having been there already, I remained calm.
Unfortunately, others did not. When I surfaced, I came up near one of my girls and she was, in a word, freaking out. I reached out and grabbed her and, while trying to speak words of comfort to her, started dragging her to shore. Once we got everyone out of the water we found that everyone was safe and sound. The rafts were secure and waiting for us to return to the trip. At that point it was made known that the end of the journey was right around the next bend and that it could be walked. With that revelation, half of our party chose to hoof it the rest of the way. They had had enough of the water.
The few that decided to join me in finishing in the rafts mounted up and we headed for the finish line. We were tired, sore and still had a 3-4 hour drive back to SC. Needless to say, it was a memorable day. Despite all the drama that ensued that day, I can't wait for another opportunity to do some whitewater rafting.
This past Sunday, our Sunday morning class at church is continuing its discussion about the Call of God on an individuals life. Our instructor has begun to talk about the Holy Spirit a lot of late. He is concerned that we, as Christians, are not tapping into the power that is available to us. He is concerned that we are too terrified to fully submit to the Call that is on our lives. I would have to say that he is 100% correct on that point.
Fully submitting to the will or call of God on our lives is like rafting down a raging river. Sometimes you hear the instructions of the guide and sometimes it seems as if there's no guide at all. Sometimes you feel confident you are conquering the river. Sometimes you fall out of the raft and into the dangerous rapids. You have no control. There is no steering. The water takes you where it will. It pulls you under and then lets you up for air. The rocks bruise and scratch your body as you continually fight for life. Death, at this point, is a very real possibility. Finally, the current lets up and you are able to crawl to shore a battered heap of wet exhaustion.
These thoughts are incomplete and I may visit them again sometime. I guess what I'm trying to say is do we stay safe on the shore or jump in and see where the current takes us? Right now, I'm on the shore. I've nearly drowned in the past so I don't trust the guide anymore. But every now and again, I stick my big toe in the water and wonder if I really should jump back in the water.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Sarah and I kinda lazed around and watched a movie this afternoon. Afterward, as we prepared to give Max his medicine I noticed something brown on the back of Sarah's shirt. I told her about it and then stuck my finger in it thinking it was chocolate cake (which we had just eaten). Thank God I sniffed rather than tasted. It was poop. Poor Max's pooper isn't working quite right yet and he had gotten some on the pillow on the futon which Sarah had been laying on. YUCK! Well, we stripped the futon and all other contaminated materials and had a pretty good laugh about the whole thing. (especially the part about the possibility of me sticking my finger in my mouth to taste the "chocolate") To top it all off, Sarah had made brownies. It's funny. Neither one of us had a craving for brownies tonight. And again, I say YUCK!
So, Max is better and we're pooped! Pray that Max continues to improve over the coming days. These cats are our kids and it hurts to have one be under the weather.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
A shipwreck survivor is rescued and brought to a mysterious island where strange experiments blur the line between man and beast.
I am trying, from time to time, to read some of the classics I've missed out on over the years. Although I knew the basics of the story of Dr. Moreau, I had never read it before now. I'm glad I did. It's a great yarn that has implications for today's culture. H. G. Wells was truly a visionary writer. I wish someone would do an updated movie of this story. I think it could be fantastic if done well. Of course, the one with Marlon Brando was a fiasco. I haven't seen the one made in the 70's but I'm going to rent it. I'm terribly interested in the seeing the one made in the 30's. I hear it's the darkest and best.
So, we get Max home and we're back in bed by 1am. I decide to sleep in and come in to work later. Forget that! I still woke up relatively early and finally just got up and came in to work.
Max is traumatized and refuses to come out from under the bed and every 8 hours I have to lift the bed up so Sarah can pull him out so we can give him his medicine which traumatizes him further. It's a never ending cycle. Tonight we go to the show at Taproot with friends. After that, let's hope the Sandman visits us. He would be a welcome guest in our home for sure.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
He can't see out of God's creation,
For it includes him.
With the seas divided,
All the animals named, and the sun and moon and stars
Set in their tracks, an artist spends his life
Not only wondering,
But wanting to work like God
With what he can command: his paints.
He tries to copy God's creations.
He tries to shape beauty with his hand.
He tries to make order out of nature.
He tries to paint the thoughts and feelings in his mind.
An artist is like God
As God created him.
Small, strong, and with limited days,
His gift of breath is spent
Over his paintbox.
Choosing and brushing his colors,
He tries to make paint sing.
This poem is from a children's book by M. B. Goffstein. I heard it read by Nigel Goodwin on the latest podcast from The Kindlings Muse. If you are an artist of faith, you simply must listen to this show called An Artist is Like God.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
Sunday, December 03, 2006
When young Will Callus, a seventeen-year-old foster child brings his créche collection (nativity sets) to the Leffermann home, Cole Davis, a cynical newspaperman with a weakness for a good story, gets curious about Will’s past. As the Leffermanns and their small church community prepare for another Living Nativity, Cole traces the mystery of this young boy’s obsession with Christ’s birth through a menagerie of offbeat characters, and in the process finds what both he and Will have been searching for all along.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
"Philip Yancey asks the question that haunts many believers: Why should I bother with the church? From growing up in rural Georgia in a fundamentalist church to his experience at LaSalle Street Church in inner city Chicago, Philip reflects on the church, his own perceptions of it, and the various metaphors the Bible uses to describe it. Yancey's own early church experience set his faith back by many years. In Church: Why Bother? he offers us a glimpse of his pilgrimage back to faith and to the church as a place of real community and spiritual vitality. This honest and insightful book will help you explore your questions about the place of the church in the life of faith and how to find spiritual connection and community." (from the publisher)
Even though this book doesn't give me the excuse to stop going to church, (kidding) it does give some great answers to burning questions for those who are slightly fed up with church in this day and age. And, of course, in the end I find that while pointing fingers at the church I have three pointing back at me. The church is comprised of people and people are pretty flawed. There's a reason why the Bible refers to us as sheep and it's not because we're fluffy and cute. It's because we are dumb. We screw everything up...even church.
Zeppelins West by Joe R. Lansdale
"The Wild West Show travels by Zeppelin to perform before a Shogun, soon to be emperor of Japan, only to discover the Frankenstein monster is being whittled down slowly and ground into aphrodisiacs by the would-be ruler. Buffalo Bill, who, due to a recent accident, exists only as a battery powered head in a jar of liquid manufactured from the best that modern science and pig urine has to offer, along with Wild Bill Hickok, Annie Oakley, Sitting Bull, and a cast of historical as well as literary characters, rescue the monster, only to be shot down over the Pacific, where they are saved from sharks by Captain Nemo and his intellectual seal, Ned. And then things get weird." (from Amazon.com)
And then things get weird. An understatement if I've ever heard one. This is, perhaps, the strangest book I've ever read. How do you describe a book that mixes legends of the Old West, the sci-fi writings of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, and a healthy dose of irreverent humor. You can't. And the fact that there's no plot to speak of doesn't help the situation.
So, what drew me to this book in the first place? Well, I love Lansdale's book The Bottoms. I like some of the alternate history fiction that's out there. This seemed like it might be a fun read. It was kinda fun but also kinda just odd. I think Lansdale could do well with this genre if he would think of a plot. It's one thing to thrust historical and fictional characters together and hope something interesting happens. Perhaps he thought the juxtaposition of said characters would provide all the entertainment necessary. I don't agree. These characters needed a call, a quest, a goal to strive for. Some had them but they were weakly developed.
Now, my quandry is that I also read this because I was more interested in the sequel, Flaming London. Do I take my chances and read that one as well, hoping for more of a plot this time? I don't know. I'll let you know if I do.