Friday, January 25, 2008


What must worship be like in Heaven? I wonder if it's going to be vitally, organically different since we will be different. I wonder why I don't know what it will entail, what it'll feel like, what I'll do to be worshiping Him in a world where Time is not experienced like it is here.

I wonder if it's so different that it'd be like trying to explain to a goldfish how to barrel race. Or skydive. Or paint like Monet. Or understand how joy makes us weep. Its imagination is too minuscule. And it lacks the soul space to deal with the depth and width and height of it all.

I wonder if worship there is so exquisite, so perfect, that it would break my heart to know. And my Abba could not do that to me. It must be the most caring and tender thing for Him to do, to have me to wait here and anticipate the participation in a glory that I glimpse now from the stadium of my soul.

I'm fine with being a goldfish, honestly. It's still wondrous to consider though. "I can only imagine."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mad Money

Saw "Mad Money" yesterday with my movie buddy. It was either that or "27 Dresses" which was described as predictable, so Queen Latifah it was! I really like her.

These three women steal gobs of money from the Fed over the course of three years, and then Jackie's boyfriend does something to arouse the interest of the IRS. The end does a little left-right dance, which I love. Predictable is for Disney movies.

Things get goin' pretty quickly, and Diane Keaton is fabulous as a wife whose life has been devoted to family and social activities up until now. She's one classy act. Queen Latifah takes off from there in a realistic performance as a money shredder and a single mom. Her acting skills are the real plus sized assets here! Katie Holmes is adorable as the young married cart pusher of the shredder-destined cash.

We have our free popcorn (thank you, Regal), there's this good, fun acting, and then there's the high drama of the crisis playing out. I do NOT like that part! I am so uncomfortable during that part! At home I can get up and watch on from the kitchen, which distances me physically from the TV and somehow helps. I was stuck there though. I changed positions, looked away, tried to think of the technical aspects of film making (something that almost always helps), waited patiently for it to be over, but ultimately failed miserably to "enjoy" the movie at that point. It's not like a book where I can skip ahead and see how it all turns out and thereby comfort myself in order to make it through the hard part. Or a DVD where I can jump to the last chapter to see if all this suffering is going to be worth enduring. I do not do well being held captive by dramatic tension, and yet here I am paying for it!

I know that the formula works of peace, problem, crisis, climax, and then resolution. That is the formula God Himself thought up and recorded. The emotions are just SO difficult to endure though--I don't care what story is being told. Obviously, a story without tension is beyond bland, but I don't know what to do with myself in the playing out of the struggle. I am so used to being able to distract, dilute, or dodge, that to sit there and take it is akin to water boarding--I find I cannot breathe.

NOW.............. what to do with this discovery........

Heath Ledger

There was tragic waste of life in the death of 28 yr-old actor Heath Ledger. Death is just that--tragic. Immediate speculation was that the cause was suicide by some kind of drugs. He'd just finished filming his role as the Joker in the latest Batman-related movie, and you probably know the details of his reactions to that--insomnia, the latest sleeping pills, depression, a general disassociation from the Hollywood crowd..... I think they'll find it to be an accidental death. I think he was just at wit's end trying to get some rest, and he over-medicated.

Made me wonder how many other tragic deaths occurred on the same day. I wondered how many people know of and the death notices that are posted there weekly. What strikes me is that a death there is only one that had a myspace page prior to demise. How many, m-a-n-y others are there out there who died and have no other place of notice besides the online newspaper or perhaps some other kind of online memorial.....

Just seems like when someone's life is over, something of utter significance should happen in the world--of global proportion--to acknowledge it. A volcano should blow, or an earthquake should go off... The sky should blacken for a time to symbolize the light that's been snuffed out. Just doesn't seem okay for life everywhere to keep going on as usual as if nothing truly life-altering just happened in the lives of the people who loved that someone.

I don't get life.

And I really don't get death. Not today anyway.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

such life

There is so much LIFE out there. It screams, it whispers, it incites, questions, argues, and ruminates. How can we come up against something that is righthererightnowrightaway…..? It is a runaway train, a black hole, an enigma, an anomaly. It chest bumps the tried and tested; it slaps the rump of the familiar; it high fives the out-there. I cannot contain it.

I sound like someone on drugs. My mind races. There are pictures I want to capture in words, or if I cannot capture them, then at least reflect their measure. Will it still be truth if it’s just a fragment of how I can translate them? Doesn’t matter…. just try.

[“No try—only do.” ~Yoda]

I see my friend’s face. Life dances in her eyes. The rhythm of grace and joy reflect in her smile as she sees me. We hug and we are not two ones, but ONE. Everything we speak is Life and Love. I could stay there in that moment for as long as the snow falls, and it could cover us completely in its silence and beauty until we recognize only tranquility and space and communion as we were meant to know it. I see only her face and the multiplied meanings of her expressions. I am aware of her in her children’s’ faces and completely oblivious to my surroundings. It is only when I am back in the car that I am asked to recall anything of the building in which this all took place.

It is a tittle of the beauty, size, and usability of the meal hall proper. And yet my friend’s face far outshines the greatness of that facility. I am locked on to her and would not trade her joyful surprise for a hundred million gold bricks. Her smile is His. Her laugh is His. Her hug is His.

Thank You for this day. Thank You for the eternalness in the moments You forged frontward. They rise to the top like gold leaf. They shimmer and blaze in silent glory, like unto the sun… the Son… Oh yes, thank You. †

Friday, January 18, 2008

Not Yet Common Latin Phrases

Brevior saltare cum deformibus mulieribus est vita.
Life is too short to dance with ugly women.

Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione.
I'm not interested in your dopey religious cult.

Est mihi nullus nummus superfluus.
I don't have any spare change.

Da mihi porco amictum!
Make mine bacon-wrapped!

Semper ubi sububi in caput tuum.
Always wear underwear on your head.

Ecce potestas casei.
Behold, the power of cheese.

Furnulum pani nolo.
I don't want a toaster.

Vacca foeda
Stupid cow

Quiquid latine dictum sit altum viditur.
Whatever is said in Latin sounds profound.

at the core

God "stretched out the heavens" ~Isaiah 42:5

The center of the M-51 Whirlpool Galaxy is sometimes referred to as the Cross Galaxy, which is appropriate as this picture illustrates.

This is a great reminder to me of the fact that my real, true self is in Christ. Most of these days I am mediocre at best, a bottom dwelling sucker fish at worst. You know, the kind with translucent white flesh, unseeing eyes, and tentacles that grope for something to chew on. Sometimes I will swallow something nasty. On purpose. Afterward, I think That was stupid. Oh, well, I won't tell anyone, and no one will know.

Sometimes I wonder if I'd have any friends at all if they knew the stupid things I do. On purpose.

Back to the Cross. We revere this symbol of torture. I wouldn't wear a guillotine jewel around my neck, but this satan-inspired instrument of the cruelest way to die ever is everywhere, in sterling, 18k gold, plastic, and cloisonnes. Its effect personally has been to position me eternally right in the lap of GOD. Jesus paid my debt of sin with His life, and now I am really and truly holy. Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it..... Humanly speaking, it is. But God's not human, is He..... He is Spirit and Truth, and Truth IS what it is. God stretched out the heavens, and it intersects my little heart by way of the Cross.

When I listen to the lies and assaults of the enemy of my soul, let me go deaf and have ears only for Your whisperings, which are constant and sweet and honest and Life to me. XO

Thursday, January 17, 2008

just chaff

A friend wrote to me and was struck by the impact our words could have in 100 years. It was an exciting and very real prospect for her because of the impact certain authors have had on her recently, 100 years after their books were written.

I was glad for her because writing and making an impact are very real and important things to her. I am not filled with that kind of optimism nor hope. I think my way on paper or in my blogs. I trust that most of what I've ever said is just chaff. In the end, it will be no more vital to the life of eternity than shavings or dust. My journalism is as lasting as lint. If you find some in your belly button, it's not a profound moment.

I think I imagine realistically that a few things I've said or written will be remembered by my few family members and closest friends. Snippets of conversations, lovelies spoken with just a look, probably something humorous. I won't know I'm being remembered. I won't be able to care. I will be at that forever-party with the One who ever remembers me as He looks on my engraved image in the palm of His hand.

I don't care if I'm remembered for my words. They're just tools for me to work out this salvation with fear and trembling, and to enjoy this life. But you go, my friend, and you work out yours. I love your words, and I will remember and treasure many of them. He will use all of it, all of this, all of what's to come, for the sake of that




A Dog's Purpose

This is not mine--I did not write it. I just liked it a whole lot and wanted to keep it where I know I can retrieve it if I ever want to. It was an email my brother sent to me.

A Dog's Purpose

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The six-year-old continued: “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.

The moral:

Live simply.
Love generously.
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.
When loved ones come home, run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
Take naps.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Be loyal.
Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently every once in a while.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

right finger--wrong hand

Mom was like a child, sitting there neck deep in agitated excitement. She was finally in the moment she’d been working toward for years—she was giving me my ring. Dad wrapped it like he did another gift for me years ago: a box inside a box inside a box, ad infinitum. I finally got to the little white box at the creamy center and opened it. “Do you like it?” was her small but oh so interested query. I responded in kind, “It’s beautiful.”

I started to put it on the ring finger of my right hand, and she said, “It goes here,” and pointed to the left hand ring finger. “That’s my wedding finger.” She continued. “Yeah, that’s where it goes.” Instantly uncomfortable, I slipped off my wedding ring and put on the new guy. I put my wedding ring back on after it. It looked stupid, awkward, unpleasant. Wait—that’s how I felt. It really did look dumb though, like picturing Queen Elizabeth in a gorilla suit—some things are just wrong. The alternative was to wear this ring instead of the other one. That is just not an option though. I had to explain as gently as possible that this was my wedding ring, and I couldn’t not wear Kevin’s ring. This finger is for his ring, my ring, our ring.

The fact that it fit that digit and not the other one was a problem because she’d had it sized down just for that finger. She was deflated. “I’m sorry you’re disappointed. I messed it up. I never get anything right…” Oh no, she’s going there. Mom, please don’t go there. Just took another half hour of being optimistic and extremely pleasant and verbose about my gratitude, and we were back on track. I’ll just take it back and get it sized back up. Just make sure to go to the same saleslady “because the rest of them there are back stabbers. Make sure you go to Marjorie, nobody else.”

Wouldn’t you know it—Marjorie’s not working that day I find out when I stop on my way home. Maybe I can come back next week. Or the next. Or the next after that. After two weeks instead of the four days she said it would take, I call to see if it’s in. No, not in. I get a call from Marjorie much later, and she explains that she wrote down my phone number wrong and had to call Mom to get it. Bummer, now Mom knows it’s taken this long… She never commented though, come to think of it.

Almost a month after the day she gave it to me, I can finally wear this ring. Every glimpse of it reminds me of her tremendous love for me. Your heart’s always in the right place, my Mom. And now my ring is, too. Thank you from the bottom of my soul. XO

Friday, January 11, 2008

desire -- AGAIN

This whole "desire" thing refuses to die. Thought I was pretty much done with it a couple of years ago, but here it is again. It's like one of those never-ending songs--you can crank up the radio in a panic attempt to keep it from getting stuck in your head, but in the end, it just does not--shut--up.

Kev held up a book at a store and asked if I'd read it.
Desire: The Journey We Must Take to Find the Life God Offers. Never heard of it. Who wrote it? John Eldredge. Another "desire" book? I picked it up and perused it. This is the same book. He just renamed it. I wonder why...

A week later I find myself rereading it. Some of the same lines I'd underlined last time still say something to me, along with new lines. I feel risings of emotion on every other page. I don't like this. I don't want this. I'm doing this again.

I remember back to a time when Jewelee and I walked step for step, not because our experiences were similar but because we shared what we called "DNA of the soul." We were so like-souled that what she felt, I felt. The sentence she began, I could finish. A subtlety in someone's tone, we picked up at the same exact moment, and with one look we conducted an entire conversation.

All this came at great cost, however. Others were outsiders, not excluded purposely, but simply because they did not share the "one-and-a-half brains" that were ours. That was not the great cost though. It was the loss of her husband in a tragic road accident. It seemed he'd just been starting to come around after a lifetime of utter stubbornness, starting to soften just a smidge and consider what God might want to be saying to him. The reeling loss left her in a kind of free fall. But we grabbed hands and held on, knowing we would do this together, no matter what. She tried to excuse me several times, but like Sam Wise, I made a promise, "and I intend to keep it."

This is the life I have. Is it the life I hoped for? Is this the marriage I dreamed of? Am I the person I want to be? It keeps coming back to that never-ending line from that never-ending song, "This isn't how it's supposed to be..."
Lines in the book like "I hate hoping" and "I'm starting to hate hope" resonate. Anesthesia--of all types--has been a stupid tool for too long. I need to grow up. It's time. But the shmoo inside wants to stay nestled under the covers behind doors that only open when they must. What's so ultimately impossible to reconcile is that I don't have a life that comes close to being bad! I've even been accused of having "your perfect little life." HAAAA!!! If they only knew what it's like to live inside my head, they'd not only apologize, but they would genuflect!