Splendid Spinsterhood

A year ago I was keenly longing for my own place- a kitchen in which to bake, a living room to invite people into,  wall space to hang my prints.

Three months ago I was making detailed plans for getting an RV to live in so that I could have my own home while still being able to travel.

I’m pretty happy staying in guest rooms and sleeping on couches, but at the same time, I find myself mentally decorating some imaginary home of my own. I spend a little time here and there “shopping” for things like area rugs and arm chairs. My dream house is the coolest thing you’ve never seen.

Maybe I talk about this a lot?

If it seems like I’m repeating myself, it’s probably because I’ve been in this flexible state for the last 4 years- not at all what I expected from life so near to 40. While I’m waiting and waiting to find out where “home” is, I learn more and more deeply how comfortable it can be to be homeless…

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What God Says

I am inexorably attracted to people who know how much they are loved by God and they allow this knowledge to change them.

This Spring I will have been a Christian for twenty years. In that time I have met all kinds of believers; the bitter but tenacious, the happy naive, the fearfully upright, and the broken beggars who walk around amazed to be so beloved by the creator of the Universe.

“If we know how great is the love of Jesus for us we will never be afraid to go to Him in all our poverty, all our weakness, all our spiritual wretchedness and infirmity. Indeed, when we understand the true nature of His love for us, we will prefer to come to him poor and helpless. We can be glad of our helplessness when we really believe that His power is made perfect in our infirmity.” ~Thomas Merton

Honestly, I still spend much of my time with my forehead wrinkled up, carrying this weight of worry around with me. Every once in a while I look up and realize how truly ludicrous is this posture…

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Trauma Brilliance

Some of the best moments of marriage to my ex husband were the weeks following our daughter’s death.

I won’t say that they were the only good moments, because that would just not be true, but they were some of our best.

The day of Sarah’s birth and death, we were both some kind of mighty beings. After all, I pushed a human being out of my body with no drugs and after over 24hrs of not eating or sleeping and undergoing unbelievable amounts of physical pain. I actually had burst blood vessels in my eyes and when she was finally on the outside of me, they laid her gooey, curled up body onto my chest and I thought, “Huh. That’s a baby.”

I guess it was exhaustion induced ambivalence.

It didn’t take long, though before indifference turned to wonder. Drained and bleary wonder.

We were, I think, too tired to do anything that day but obey whatever was happening each moment…

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Old Acquaintance

I‘m that lady who alternately weeps and cracks jokes. It looks like insanity, but it is actually exactly how to stay sane.

Today I met a 70yr old version of myself.

Every week, some of our students and one of our staff go next door to an assisted living home to lead a Bible study. Every week, whoever goes comes back with full hearts and good stories. Those people are amazing. Sometimes only of a few of them show up, sometimes more than 5. Sometimes several people leave in the middle. It’s not just a place for old people, it’s for anyone who needs assistance in living, so there are people as young as 18 and one lady who is 97 and many of them are noticeably “different.”

Today the 97yr old woman came (I’ll call her Beth), as well as two other women (I will call them Cindy and Lily). Cindy left early because her bipolar disorder was making it hard for her to sit with a group of people. She apologized profusely, but exited quickly. Lily was the old version of me and she spent part of the time cracking jokes, noticing random things (“Look out that window! There’s a plane that just flew over the peak!”), and the other part of the time, she wept openly….

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For You, For Me

Today begins the first day of  “fall break”. It’s just a week before diving into the 3rd quarter of SBS but I think it will be just right… just a bit of time to catch up on sleep, stare off into space and do something fun before diving into the Old Testament prophets.

The last week was pretty interesting. Before this week I had gone through a lot of emotional ups and downs but it wasn’t until this week that I felt “breakdown” looming. Yesterday, at (what felt like) the end of my rope I had a kind of epiphany; breakdown and breakthrough look very much the same. Sometimes they are the same.
So yesterday, after very little sleep because of an unhappy stomach I got up around 6am and just went directly to the classroom. I talked to God a little, made a cup of tea and got started on what was a ridiculous amount of homework. Every minute of that time was a battle to keep working. If you can imagine me bleary eyed, sitting before my charts with a pained look on my face- almost getting up out of my seat every five minutes to walk away, but then pushing forward with decidedly irresolute determination.
A few nice friends came in at different points and gave me encouragement.
Push. Push. Push. I actually asked God several times, “Should I keep going?” and He said, “Keep going.”

Then I got to 2 Samuel 7….

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How the Mighty Fall

Yesterday I woke up and felt ready. Unlike many of the days in this last week, I woke up feeling prepared to take the day by the reigns and get things done. I think partly because Saturdays tend to be more rewarding days and because all of the work is followed by a day off.
Who knows why I woke up feeling prepared, but it led me to work out and then high tail it to the classroom. There was a lot to be done.

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Looking back on the day, I think the feeling of preparedness was mainly a head trip. It was a pretty good head trip until things started to go wrong. The class computer wouldn’t get online. Then once I got it to go online, it wouldn’t connect to the printer so that I could print out all the work I had to work on. Thankfully a staff person came in earlier than usual and helped me figure out how to connect my laptop to the printer…. but then this process also took a while because I had to install drivers.

And the clock was ticking….

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Thank you, more please

After a day of busyness and celebration I feel reflective and, out of step with all of the sweetness and joy, I feel a bit sad.

No expectations were disappointed. In fact, I was surprised several times today by gifts, kindness, phone calls, attention. At the dinner table

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tonight there was a distinct family feeling. I asked everyone who knew birthday songs in other languages to sing them. We got Norwegian, Russian, Dutch, Thai, an African language… and… I feel like I’m missing one. I wish I could have recorded this to share with you.

There was a birthday cake, cinnamon rolls, chips… and then at dinner a dear friend, Susie brought me these marshmallow filled brownies!! I love marshmallows!
We went to Starbucks after dinner clean up was over and people bought me coffee, a mug, a gift card…

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Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

So many fun things are happening that I want to share!!

 
Last Saturday some friends came over and my dear

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Ethiopian roommates (we live with their adoptive parents) treated us to a Coffee Ceremony. This involves sitting around together while someone roasts the coffee -it starts out green and is put in a pan and heated until it

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looks like what you buy from Starbucks. Then they grind the coffee and there is a slow process of brewing it in a special clay carafe. The brewing process happens about three times.
In the meantime, everyone sits together, eats delicious food (Ethiopians usually have popcorn) and you chat. It is a great excuse to enjoy the company of people you love at a very relaxed pace.

As usual, there are several more photos of this in my gallery.

 

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Woman! WHOA man.

Finishing off time with family right now- we’re flying down I90 in the RV. Sarah and Jill sit up front listening to music a few years newer than what we heard on the way to Idaho. Right now it’s the soundtrack to So I Married An Axe Murderer. Where do bands get names like “Toad the Wet Sprocket”?

Everyone is pretty “done”.

I feel done but I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for the 10 days I have left in Washington. I already feel like I’ve set out in a boat by myself and am heading out to sea… excited for the adventure, longing to share it, missing home.

Here is what I will attempt to accomplish in the next 10 days:

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Talking to Strangers

I have been hearing a lot lately about “The Woman at the Well”.

This is a story about Jesus and a Samaritan woman found in John chapter 4. The messages that I’ve heard recently point out various interesting points and thoughts about what is said in the story but I realize as I read it myself that I am not a great scholar. I read my notes and am moved but then cannot remember how it is connected with the words in the story. So as much as I want to  share with you the profound things I heard, I think the only thing I can share with you is what I read for myself in this story….

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