Saturday, August 28, 2010


Picked peaches today, and made muesli, and had peaches with homemade yogurt and muesli for a late supper. Mmmmmm...

Windows open 24/7 since Monday.

No chiggers????? I walked in grass for the last two days without protection and so far so good. They came earlier than usual this year but they left much earlier than usual.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Keeping a Journal

I wrote this to share during church a couple of Sundays ago when my brother-in-law was sharing about how spiritual disciplines put you in a position where it is likely to encounter God. One thing he was emphasizing was that a spiritual discipline is part of the journey, but it is also sometimes the destination.

I began to journal when I was in Jr. High, and have kept one pretty much continuously since then. My journal is one of the places where my relationship with God happens. It is a record, in the sense that I can go back and see how God has related with me in the past. But when I go to my journal it isn't to record things. It is to be in that relationship with God.

So, in that sense, it is both journey and destination.

A journal is a place of honesty. It is between me and God only, so I can and do write anything, because God already sees it. I come to my journal with my intense emotions, with my joys, with everything. That is where it is a journey. I come. I write. I hope that the writing will make sense of my life.

In my journey with God, both in my journal and otherwise, reaching a destination is up to God. My journal is one way I open myself to that happening.

The destinations of keeping a journal are varied. Sometimes as I write, truth becomes clear. Sometimes, even though I think I'm being honest with God, as I write, God will reveal ways I'm not being honest, even with myself. Although that can be a painful destination, it is a holy and necessary one if I want to grow in faith.

Other times, as I have my devotions, God will use the scriptures and the writings to shed clear light on specific situations I'm dealing with, and I have to write it down immediately so that I can understand it as fully as possible. My journals are full of passages from the Bible sand from devotional writers, followed by writing out what God was showing me from those particular words. They are full of destinations where God met me in my specific need.

There are other times, sometimes long periods of time, when God has seemed far away. During those times I've continued to write. Maybe I write even more during those times because my journal is part of my desire to meet with God. I write out my loneliness for God, my anger that God doesn't seem to be showing up, my struggle for a sense of God's presence, my demands that God answer my prayers. These are times of journey without an obvious destination.

I have a practice of reading through the last year's entries at around the time of my birthday each year. I've found that to be a faith-building exercise. Even those long periods of spiritual dryness end up being marked by something God was teaching me. Those lessons are no less important than the fun ones where God just shows up and overwhelms me with a sense of presence and love. In that yearly review I get another chance to see the journey as well as the destinations.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love

We wanted to enjoy the driving parts of our vacation as well as the destination parts, so we left time at the end of one day's driving to go to a movie. We could not find a listing for what was playing at the 7 theatres across the street from our motel, so we just went over to pick one.

The selection wasn't as easy to choose from as I'd hoped. We narrowed the choices down to "Despicable Me" and "Eat, Pray, Love". No one seemed to have an opinion so I chose "Eat, Pray, Love". I'd heard great stuff about the book, and I've enjoyed many of Julia Robert's movies. I figured if I just got to hear her wonderful laugh, that would almost be worth the tickets.

It was fun to see the smirk on the teenage boy ticket taker's face as he watched us drag our two teenage boys into a definite chick flick.

We should have chosen "Despicable Me". I don't think there was one good belly laugh in the whole movie. There were montages with music, where you could see, but not hear, her laughing. But it is hearing her laughing that is the good part.

And since the rest of the movie was a disappointment, the lack of loud Julia Roberts guffaws was significant.

I'm sure it is hard to do a movie about someone's inner journey. How do you show in pictures what is happening inside the soul of a person? Still, I think they could have done better.

I haven't read the book but I've heard about it from friends who have. It seems to me that the movie left out the essence of the book and all that was left was the framework. It wasn't enough. We see Julia Robers eating, praying, and falling in love, but we don't really get why it is important or how she is changed by this experience.

Read the book. Skip the movie.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Vacation - Testosterone 2

Visiting a National Park allows you to hike in close proximity to many people. On our way to Hidden Falls, Tim and I walked within hearing distance of a couple of young women. They were talking about the father of one of them.

The discussion began as we passed a young woman in rock climbing gear teaching a class of excited and nervous rock climbers with their ropes and helmets and special packs.

The daughter of the man in question said that she had tried rock climbing with her dad. She decided that the ground was a good place to be. She had no desire to try it again.

Her friend asked her if her dad still climbs. He does. A lot.

He also jumps out of airplanes. He also jumps off of mountains, using a hang glider.

"How many bones has he broken?"

"All of them, just about.....twice!"

Tim and I laughed.

Later I referred back to this overheard conversation. I told Tim I knew he had done the rock climbing at Rocky Mtn. Mennonite Camp. I asked how many of the other things he would do? Was there anything he'd be scared to do.

He said the only thing he was really scared of was heights. However, he would like to jump out of an airplane someday. And jumping off a mountain using a hang glider sounded pretty good to him, too. And did I remember the guys wearing wing suits that he and Ben had watched on You Tube?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vacation - Testosterone

The next couple of campsites next to us held a group of families camping together. There were a lot of small children.

One morning I was cleaning up after breakfast and watching the kids from next door. There was a group of two and three year old boys, all with buzz cuts and still in their pajamas cruising their campsites and the surrounding areas together.

One in particular stood out. He was one of the smaller ones, definitely still two. He wore bright orange flannel pajamas with blue, red, yellow, and green dinosaurs printed randomly on the fabric. He carried a plastic machine gun, which he used to regularly and calmly mow down his two and three year old friends.

I mentioned to Chuck the jarring picture of flannel dinosaur pajamas juxtaposed with a plastic machine gun. He reminded me that we really don't know any little boys who haven't gone through that stage, whether they owned a plastic machine gun or not. A stick will do fine, as well as a plastic drill from a Fisher Price tool set, or even just holding a hand in the classic gun position.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Vacation - The Campground Bathroom

Every night at camp the last thing I did was go to the bathroom one more time. It got pretty cool at night so I didn't want to leave my warm hard bed unless I needed to.

The first night at our second campground, I entered and glanced across the stalls to see one door closed and two doors open. As I chose my stall and began doing the things I had to do, the silence from the other stall was conspicuous. There was no sound of urinating, no flatulence, no unrolling of TP, no rustle of clothing, nothing. Finishing my own activity, exiting the stall and washing my hands, I was aware of the continued silence from the closed stall. The woman had not shifted her position, not even moved her feet from where they rested when I first entered the bathroom.

The next night I again used the bathroom late at night. The scene of the night before repeated, the only difference being which stall the quiet woman occupied. As I left, a possible explanation occurred to me.

Our area of the campground had many young families.

Camping with small children is fun. They love playing in the campground and digging in the dirt. You re-experience nature through their eyes. Setting aside the daily routine of home, you spend more time in intimate contact with these little human beings and you can watch them and experience the drama of their lives in a new way.

Camping with small children is draining. Cooking, cleaning up, sheltering, diapering, etc. all take more work than they do at home. Added to that is the drama of being a child. Joy is unlimited. So is sorrow. Anger has no socially controlled quiet intensity---it is loud and it lasts exactly as long as it needs to until it is spent regardless of who is watching or what hour of the night it might be or how close the next campsite is.

After a long day of playing, cooking, cleaning, storing everything in a place safe from bears, laughing with the happy, consoling the sad, and wating out the angry, there is a sense of desperation. The strength of that desperation is perfectly expressed by a woman who locks herself into the women's bathroom after the children are asleep and everything is put away. Here is the one place no one will need or demand her attention.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

My first string bag

This one was a steep learning curve, nearly entirely made of stitches I'd never done before. Still, I changed the pattern to make it bigger and made two handles instead of just one, changed the color for the handles, and instead of seaming the handles the way the instructions directed, learned a way to weave the handle to the bag so that you can't see the join. (Of course I made the handles another color because I chose to make the bag bigger which caused me to run out of yarn before I got to the handles, and so I had to do something...)

I finished it while watching "Blind Side" with Tim. Enjoyed Sandra Bullock. Enjoy the complexity of a real life story that raises questions. Is it racist? Does it matter whether it's racist if good things result? What would have happened if a nice middle class family took in Michael, instead of a rich family who had access to so many privileges and knew so many powerful people?

Still, I love the story. I love stories about someone willing to follow their heart and do what they think is right no matter what. People who do that generally get some things wrong. Sometimes they get big things wrong. But still, it makes a difference somehow, to go out on a limb and make things happen.

Monday, August 02, 2010

You Can Run...

AND you can hide...I mean, hike.

This is the shameless commerce post. It is also the shameless borrowing of phrases post.

I bought shoes last week. I heard an article on NPR about how our bodies are designed to be barefoot, and about running barefoot. From there I decided to look around for shoes that protected your feet while giving you the same barefoot experience. There are all kinds of expensive shoes out there. There are even shoes that look like blue feet, with a spot for every toe. Most of the shoes made for running barefoot are too expensive to buy when you aren't sure yet how much you might be running, barefoot or not. But there was one shoe that seemed to make sense, was fun, and was affordable. I ordered it.

It is a very thin piece of rubber sole material, rough on one side and smooth on the other. You make a pattern using your own foot.. You punch holes for string measuring the location for the holes with your own foot. And then you can watch 5-6 videos of different ways to string a cord through the shoe and around your foot to give you a shoe that doesn't rub, but also doesn't take away the benefits of going barefoot.

Here is the version of tying I chose:

I wanted something I could slip on and off rather than retie each time I wore it. Then there was a lot of string leftover, which I could have cut off, but instead I used another video to learn how to make the decorative knot that is on the top of my foot. Now all I have to do is start running in them. In the meantime, they are quite comfortable for walking too.

We are going on vacation soon. We will be doing some hiking in the mountains and I don't have a pair of shoes that really grips the rocks in the mountains. Fortunately Land's End was having an Overstock sale. $40 trekker shoes marked down to $15 if I'm willing to wear pink. I guess I am.

Of course, like most places, shipping is free if you buy at least $50 worth of merchandise, but no worries. I need summer tops and there were a bunch of them for only $5 each. I also needed a hoodie, which was also cheap. Now I need to quit buying stuff.

We are in our one week at home in between major events. The boys got home from camp in time to sleep a few hours before our Kansas Regier family camp out, which went great. But Tim came home from camp with swimmer's ear, so he has to have drops twice a day. This means sitting at a table with his head tilted sideways for five minutes to let them soak in. I know this isn't really that interesting, but when I got out the camera to take a picture of my shoes, he was waiting out his five minutes. He asked if I was going to take a picture of him, and I thought that might be a good idea. Here he is, soaking in antibiotic ear drops.

That's enough drivel for one post.