Monday, June 30, 2008

Book review (sort of)

Reaching for the Invisible God, by Philip Yancey.

I'm not really going to give a book review, because this one is a book that you will either be interested in, or you won't. So, for those of you who are interested, here are some of the thoughts I found most intriguing.

From the back cover:

"This relationship with a God we can't see, hear, or touch - how does it really work? ... Philip Yancey explores six foundational areas: our thirst for God, faith during times when God seems unavailable, the nature of God himself, our personal relationship with God, stages along the way, and the end goal of spiritual transformation."

What I appreciate about Philip Yancey is how he acknowledges that life (even, or especially, as a Christian) is difficult, and that there are times we struggle with our faith. Christians don't have a "hotline" to God. He doesn't answer our prayers in the timing, or ways, that we hope for. Yet there is value to the struggle.

"Perhaps we should say 'Christ is the pattern' rather than 'Christ is the answer,' because Jesus' own life did not offer the answers most people are looking for. Not once did he use supernatural powers to improve his family, protect himself from harm, or increase his comfort and wealth." (pg. 273)

"Life is not a problem to be solved but a work to be made, and that work may well utilize much raw material that we would prefer to do without. God's goodness does not mean we will not get hurt, not in this fallen world at least. His goodness goes deeper than pleasure and pain, somehow incorporating both." (pg. 274) I know exactly what he means. Somehow, life's tragedies serve to underline life's triumphs. I don't know how to explain this.

"'I am the way, the truth, and the life,' Jesus said. Truth and life may supply the motives for following, yet in the end a relationship with God, like any relationship, boils down to the 'way,' a daily process of inviting God into the details of my existence." (pg. 283)

And my favorite, the one I've been chewing on for days now. "Those who attempt to use God as a means of self-realization almost always come away disappointed. God has in mind something like the reverse: to use us, the least likely vessels of his grace, as his self-realization on earth." (pg. 276) What a way to live!

This one's for Kelli : " 'It is not up to you to finish the work, but neither are you free not to take it up,' goes an old Talmudic saying. The work is God's work, the work of reclaiming and redeeming a planet badly damaged. For the Jew and Christian both, that work means bringing a touch of peace, justice, hope, healing, shalom wherever our hands touch." (pg. 277)

Isn't that fantastic? The work of God using us, is a message for all of us, no matter our faith walk. Isn't it a beautiful thought, to bring "peace, justice, hope, healing, shalom" wherever we are? That's what I aspire to.

Smiling at me

Oh my stars and garters, I cannot tell you how happy I am to see that blue sky again.

There's still some residual smog in the air from the wildfires burning their way across CA, but at least we can see the sky. And TH and I smelled earth and grass, not smoke and particulates! Such a difference.

Nothing but blue I see...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I got rhythm

All deep things are song. It seems somehow the very central essence of us, song; as if all the rest were but wrappages and hulls! ~Thomas Carlyle

As one of my deacon duties, I volunteered to go with our pastor on communion visits to shut-ins. I thought it would be nice to take music along. I know one of the things that gives my life joy is music, and without it, the experience of communion would not be the same. So I'll be toting my violin along next Sunday.
This means I need to practice. I don't remember the last time I pulled out the old fiddle. When I got it out today, all the strings were loose - one was broken - and the bridge was wobbly. I fixed it up in short order, tucked it under my chin, and started playing. And was blown away by the feel and sound of my instrument. I'd forgotten how music feels - literally, the vibrations tickle your sternum and your breathing changes. Your brain gets oriented on a new wave. The notes flow through you and your body merges with the instrument. It's primal. I'd forgotten. And it doesn't matter that I'm rusty, or that my technique is not as precise as Joshua Bell. All I feel is the joy, pure joy, of making music.

What have you forgotten, in your life, that brings you joy? What's stopping you from picking it up again?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bad air

There's smoke in the air and it's making us all a little cranky. Blow, winds, blow!

I've also got "bad air" coming from my words and my thoughts. I spent a lot of useless time today worrying about something that turned out to be OK. And, I've been miscommunicating some.

I'd like the bad air in my head to blow on out, leaving clean, pure thoughts and simple energy. I'd like some fresh air to blow through my mouth, and make my words clear and easy to understand.

I'd like to be able to breathe deeply and not worry about what I'm taking in. I'd like to exhale all the yucky air.

"Thought is the wind, knowledge the sail, and mankind is the vessel." -- August Hare

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


In the midst of my week, I feel as though I've had a mini-vacation. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I leave work around 2:00. Today I had a haircut at the salon, then browsed at the mall, then went to get a pedicure. On my way home, I decided to take myself out to dinner. TH has drum corps rehearsal so I read my book while eating. When I came home, I realized there might be a problem with my checking account.
So you see? It's just like traveling. A little work, a little relaxation, and money worries. Ha!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Just like old times

Webber and I have been talking non-stop for three days. It's been heaven! Also great - her hush puppies. MMMMMMMMM.

Pork fat rules!

Webber and her soul food.

TH says, quit yappin' and let's start eatin'!

What a spread. BBQ'ed peppers, ribs, pineapple, baked beans, hush puppies, and potato salad. And heartburn medicine. Because we're not as young as we used to be.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Thank Heaven For Little Girls, or There is Nothing Like a Dame

To borrow from my boys Alan Jay and Fred, and Rich and Oscar. One of my best friends is visiting and it's been non-stop talking, laughing, catching up, and kvetching. We just got done watching an old MGM great - "Gigi." Who else but your girlfriend will sit through 2.5 hours of Paris, Cecil Beaton costumes and cinematography, and Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdain talk-singing?

Here's to dames!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Little bites of heaven

My good friend Webber and her husband are coming for a visit and I wanted to have something special to welcome them. I think this fills the bill, yeah? Beautiful cupcakes, props to babycakes bakery.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Yo ho, yo ho

The Second Annual NorCal Pirate Festival. Garrrrr!

A couple of scurvy scum.

Take cover, maties

Cap'n Jenny Flint gets "the hand of mystery" henna'ed on her palm. The "hand" symbolizes strength and healing, and wisdom of the past, present, and future.

A rollicking good time was had by every pirate.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I think I survived.

Whirlwind doesn't begin to cover this past weekend.

1a. Memorial in Yosemite Friday.
1b. Family gathering in Yosemite, Thursday - Friday- Saturday morning.
2. Basketball game Saturday night.
3. Pirate Festival Sunday.

I am bone-tired.

Here are some pictures.
Sometimes insomnia can be a blessing. Up at 5:00 am, I decided to drive down the mountain to see the sunrise. Gorgeous.

We played in the river here at this sandbank.Tree pose at Cathedral Rock.Another sunrise, this one at Glacier Point.

Pictures from the Pirate Festival to follow.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

And one more thing about movies...

I could not be more excited. They're making a remake of "The Women!"

Here's a link to the new one. Coming in September. I am SO THERE.

At the Movies

I've seen two films in the past week: Indiana Jones and Sex and the City. Neither of them are life-changing, major cinematic treasures. But they're good summer fun.

I am now going to discuss these movies. So, if you don't want to know a single thing about them, stop reading now and I'll see you later.

First, my boy Indy. Let me just say I L-O-V-E Indiana Jones. Raiders of the Lost Ark is my favorite movie, ever. It's so good to see Mr. Ford again. I loved how they didn't try to hide his age. I also loved the addition of Mutt Williams. And it cracked me up how Spielberg managed to get in his favorite alien stuff. My only complaint is that we really needed to see more Marion Ravenwood. Karen Allen is so saucy and sharp, I wanted to see more.

Now, my girls. I can't help myself, these women of SATC are so funny, flawed, idealistic, and gorgeous. I love the clothes. I love the narrative. I love their chemistry. I loved this movie!! I thought it was well-done. Again, this is not serious, life-changing, cinema as art. But I appreciated how the movie dealt with forgiveness. That's good stuff. And Carrie and Big are awesome (although I wonder, along with other reviewers, if Mr. Noth has had some work done? That skin was looking very smooth). And I'm a big sucker for a happy ending. Come on - life is stinkin' hard - at least I can live vicariously through the movies. Oh, and I know people are saying Jennifer Hudson can't act? I thought she was great. Sweet and fresh, and real.

Good times.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Strong Women

I just got done seeing this movie.

Whenever I see such a strong woman, I feel both empowered and depressed. Empowered, because I stand on her shoulders. I wouldn't be who I am without strong women, in my family, in my history, in this nation's history. Depressed, because I feel like I do not have the same gusto, and I wonder what's wrong with me. I don't think I could have stood up to the mills like my girl Norma did. I don't think I could have been so single-minded.
However, I do have the same passion for justice. I do advocate for those who are traditionally voiceless. I have been known to speak my mind to powers that disregard what I have to say.
So, I suppose, I've got a little Norma Rae in me after all. And that makes me feel better.
See this movie!!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sleeping Beauty

I don't remember the last time I've slept so much. Phew!! I was in bed last night at 8:30. It was still light out, for crying out loud!! And I got up this morning at 7:00. That's almost 12 hours of sleep. And I still took a nap today.

Friday, June 6, 2008

I'm just sayin'.

Life is too short for underwear that gives you wedgies.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

So you think you can...

I love this show.

I know it's schlocky, summer entertainment with no deep enlightening values. I know it's just another orchestrated reality tv program. I know it's a little voyeuristic.

But I can't help myself.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Oh, hello. I know we haven't chatted in awhile. I've been sidetracked. By life. In a good way.

Quick update.

Work: good. Summer hours: adjusting. Quiet phone: love it.
House: good. Air conditioning: works great. Energy bills: reasonable.
TH: love him. Newest game: Pirates!
Friends: good. Upcoming get-togethers: Old roomie from college is coming. Can't wait.
Piano: good. Practice: tedious, but progress is being made.
Baking: on hiatus for the summer.
Reading: working on several books. Maybe some book reviews soon.

How about you?