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Showing posts from March, 2020

Comstock Chronicles: Living in Another World

It feels like I'm living in another world, perhaps even another time period. Michael's crafts store down at the quad is boarded up. Ross has signs on the windows saying they're temporarily closed. The parking lot down at the quad is mostly empty except for Vallarta market and Rite Aid. The very air outside seems more still and, well . . . restful, I suppose.

People in Uptown Whittier seem different too. We're more friendly and open to chat with each other, sharing news and fears while keeping our distances, of course. I've seen so many couples, parents with children, and entire families walking around our neighborhood. People wave and pause in front yards to exchange greetings. There's more time, it seems, to take an interest in each other. We're not rushing off trying to keep to a schedule.

I suppose people are less involved in their own business. They're more interested in others. How are you doing? Have you run out of supplies? Can I offer you some o…

My Hope is Found on Nothing Less

I could self-soothe with the illogical
Probability of contracting
A virus that threatens the elderly,
Or declaring myself low risk.
But then, I close my eyes to God's
Wielding of chance and uncertainty.

I could rely upon my own thoroughness
Of washing packaging and the cleanliness
Of hands, which rarely leave this house
So air-tight and fortress-like as it is.
But then, I assign myself the power
And outcomes God alone rightly determines.

I could keep joy alive in distraction,
Flippancy towards news and others' fear,
Busying mind and body with comedy
And lists of projects awaiting completion.
But then, I plug my ears to God's invitation
To join in the exchange of compassion.

I could awaken hope, remembering
Humanity's resilience to war
Disease and famines, and how
Before we know it, this too will pass.
But then, I miss the Spirit's companionship
In discovering glorious messages in today's mess.

I could declare myself safe and blameless
Of catching this COVID-19

Proverbs 8 (Abby Version)

Wisdom's App

1  Are not wisdom's notifications turned on?
       Does not understanding's app show a flag?
2  From the cell towers on every hill,
       at every intersection she signals;
3  beside the entrance of every store,
       at the opening of every door, she dings:

4   "To you, O men, I call
        And my alerts are for every generation.
5   O psychosomatic ones, learn sense;
        O information-drunkards, learn discernment.
6   Hear, for only I map out noble ways,
        and from our communication will come your route,
7   for my programing is done from Heaven;
        misinformation is impossible.

8   "All the advice from my mouth is apropos;
        there is nothing irrelevant or generic about it.
9   This guidance comes straight to those who know they don't know,
        and right to those whose ears are tuned in.
10  Take my instruction instead of researching more,
        And my knowledge rather than redoubling your own efforts.
11  For wis…

When Dry Milk Will Be Enough

If all the stores were out of milk
And our last carton was empty,
Milk made from powder
Would be enough.
But we've half a gallon in the fridge,
And more if we go out;
So the dry milk is not enough.

If we had been rained out all week
And then the sun shone like today,
A romp in the yard
Would be enough;
But yesterday's weather was fine
And this is SoCal,
So the playtime out front is not enough.

If we'd slept in a hotel for a week,
Eaten out three meals a day,
Being home
Would be enough;
But we're stuck here,
With no foreseeable outings,
So this familiar house is not enough.

If my dearest friends spoke ill of me
And my husband only criticized,
The Lord's pronouncements
Would be enough
For upon that only
I'd have to stand;
But my friends and family think me alright,
So God's pronouncements are not enough.

I hear you say, "But we can enjoy powdered milk even if real milk is available. We can enjoy beautiful weather even if every day is beautiful. Surely, …

Comstock Chronicles: Things Organizing Themselves

I was watching Portrait Artist of the Year, a BBC show Philip found on Youtube where artists compete by painting some famous Brit. Charles Williams, one of the artists, throws out several paintings before deciding he'd got it right. Williams was asked what he was learning through these attempts, and he said. "My eyes are getting more and more used to what I'm looking at. The more I look, the more I understand. You see things in a terrific panic, and then you gradually calm down and things begin to organize themselves."

I thought that perfectly described the way food, space, and time have rearranged themselves this last week as my children are no longer in school, I've become their teacher, Phil is home from work, grocery stores supplies are limited, and social gatherings are canceled. In addition to that, a week of rain has prevented outside activities. The house feels small and crowded, and while I'm never isolated, I do feel cut off from the rest of the wor…

The Archaic Trust

For most of us, when we were children, we trusted that we would be protected and loved and, to a certain degree, allowed our own preferences. We went along for the ride, trusting our parents to supply us enough so that we could survive once on our own.

Then we grew up. The freedom we'd yearned for was now ours, and it seemed so wondrously beautiful: now we could do as we liked and be in charge of ourselves. 
However, as time passed, we realized that we were out to sea and that that archaic trust was gone. We had no parents to supply us now. We had to stand up for ourselves. So we worried about how to keep our jobs and how and what we should eat. We feared about making our schedules and interacting with our friends who didn't love us like our parents did or rather in a very different way. All the supports were gone, and we began to doubt ourselves and fear the world.
We believed that it was up to us to keep ourselves safe and loved and alter our surroundings. We all believed it…

Sabbath Rest

Stop what you are doing.
Pay attention.
Ascribe to the Lord, O Mighty Ones,
For this is our entry into participation.

Is adoration,
Uniting my heart to fear Thy name
Will put all names in their proper place,
And say, "Off my back children,
The witch is mine!"

Taken to heart,
Turned into prayer,
Providing instances of
Listening to and answering
And ascribing Him glory and strength
All of which, are stronger than any of my doings.

All truths lived
Enjoyed, nurtured, and affirmed
As God's work:
Our rest.
And we ride His back like the Pevensies
As He breathes life into statues.

Return, O my soul, to your rest;
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

Various references from: Psalm 86:11, Psalm 29:1, Psalm 116:7, Eugene Peterson's As Kingfishers Catch Fire, Madeleine L'engle's Ring of Endless Light, and C.S. Lewis The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective (Part 1)

This here is the dumping ground for marvelous quotes from Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert's The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective. If I had to rate Enneagram books, this one would be my second choice only surpassed by Marilyn Vancil's Self to Lose - Self to Findbook, which is shorter, easier to read, and more accessible. I also think that Rohr and Ebert don't seem to explain how to trust the Lord with our deficit quite as well as Vancil.

This book really encapsulates what I tried to teach my mom's group last month about the Enneagram: transformation through a relationship with Christ. Wish I had read this one before I spoke, but as my husband said, we've arrived at the same peak only to find other people are there too.

"The incarcerated know that the separate self has not served them well" (Rohr & Ebert, xv). Makes sense why Jesus ministered to the prostitutes and tax collectors, and why He said "Blessed are the poor in spirit . . ." The poo…