26 February, 2015  |   1 Comment

Praying for you

Considerbean

Pray for me.
Pray for us.
Pray for them.
You’re in my prayers.

Funkybean

The word pray, is one of those words I avoided.
But Facebook brought it back to me, front and center.

I love the sentiment behind prayer — I’ll send you a focused, good thought. But from church, I get the idea that thinking good thoughts for someone and praying for them aren’t the same thing. There’s something about the word “prayer” that brings a third party, the notorious G.O.D. into the picture.

musclebean

My mom is a champion pray-er. She attends two prayer groups a week, prays first thing in the morning, before each meal and before bed. No one I know attends more church than she does. On top of that, she’s at all of church’s extra-curriculars. The result of all this prayer is that she looks far younger than her 79 years and has a peace in her heart I truly envy.

behatted

After Dorothy was born, I had serious anxiety and depression. We were alone and broke and miserable. Mom suggested I pray. At the very least, she said I’d feel better by “throwing it out to the universe and letting the forces that be take care of it.”

Pokebean

I can’t deny it, I did feel better when I stopped taking personal, mental responsibilty for everything happening in our lives at that time and said, “Okay, life, you got me. I’m trusting the Universe to take care of it.” Here, by the Universe, I mean the creative force that brought me and you to this moment on this miraculous earth, not necessarily God.

Or is that God?

highstepper

I prayed until I was about 11. Mostly, my prayers were a mix of superstition (Hell is scary!) and letters to Santa.

Please, may I get a bra.
Please may I get a stereo for Christmas.
Please may my dad stop being so mean to me.

Fittingly, the brilliant Karen Armstrong has said about God – “We often learn about God at about the same time as we are learning about Santa Claus; but our ideas about Santa Claus change, mature and become more nuanced, whereas our ideas of God can remain at a rather infantile level.”

I’m in the middle of that evolution. I’m not sure my idea of God has evolved that much from that eleven year old me, begging for my first bra. But when I talk about my belief in a creative force that runs through this particular reality, is that what I mean? Is that God? I’m still sussing it out.

kingbean

After listening to this Invisibilia episode (seriously, go listen), the link between good thoughts and prayers got even more blurry. The first part is about a woman with mirror touch synethesia. When she shares her nearly crippling sensitivity to others’ emotions and physical sensations, she tells us “thoughts are things.” Add to that some of the research coming out from quantum physics, and well, I believe her.

In this world of interconnectedness, I watch the praying and the non-praying collide in the great social experiment of Facebook. I watch the Santa believers and the God believers and the scientists all muddling along on the same plane. I see cancer diagnoses, lottery winners and suicide, all of them paired with requests for prayer and responses of prayer and Blessed Are The Fruits.

triumphant

I send a good thought, I hold you in my mind, I hope for the best.
But is it prayer?

 

24 February, 2015  |   Comment

Linking Log

Today’s Linking Log has all the affilliate links I’ve lately loved from the wilds of the Amazon.

ted-chiang

Stories of Your Life and Others
This book is weird and moving and scary and a collection of short stories that fit right into my working mom schedule. Ted Chiang fascinates me.

 

 

moon-man

Moon Man
We accidentally bumped into this movie – now it’s on heavy rotation. It’s gorgeous, high-brow fun and I’ve never seen anything like it.

 

 

thermometer

Ultra Fast & Accurate, High-Performing Digital Food/BBQ Thermometer – Lavatools Thermowand® (Chipotle)
I’ve owned a lot of meat thermometers in my life, but this one takes the steak.

 

 

Astrobrights

Neenah Astrobrights Premium Color Card Stock Assortment, 65 lb, 8.5 x 11 Inches, 250 Sheets
The exact right weight. This paper is perfect for cards, cut-outs and those projects you didn’t know you needed it for.

 

 

inside-llewyn

Inside Llewyn Davis: Original Soundtrack Recording [+digital booklet]
Maybe James and I harmonize Fare The Well every night when I make dinner and maybe we don’t.

 

 

What are you loving on the ‘Zon these days?

23 February, 2015  |   Comment

Lent update. Day five.

Tween grapes.

This weekend, I volunteered in Nora Lea’s Sunday school. This to me is sacrifice. I’ve been parenting a heck of a lot more than usual. That hour of peace is golden. But, uh, tis the season of sacrifice. Ha.

The Sunday School at the church we currently attend is in the Montessori tradition — the “Atrium” or Catechesis of the Good Shepard. This is new to me. I’m from the popsicle stick Sunday school tradition of crafts and sour smelling coffee breath.

In this version of class, the kids have beautiful “materials” and do “work” and they’re silent and contemplative and I’ve never seen anything like it.

This week’s lesson was about the Maxims. And, well, it was exactly at my level. The teacher pulled out some tablets from a wooden case. Each tablet had a maxim on it and the kids talked about what each phrase meant to them.

My internal thoughts mirrored most of the kids’ reactions. She started with a doozy.

“Love your enemies.”

One little boy said, “I hate robbers – there is NO WAY I could love robbers.” My daughter named a boy on the playground who kicks her a lot and another girl joined in that he was her enemy too. I am embarassed to admit I thought about an evil old boss that is having a hard time finding a job. I thought about the secret glee I’ve taken in his struggle.

The teacher talked about ways to love our enemies – pray for them. Since I’m not quite at praying yet, I had to change it to words I could understand. To me that meant, “think good thoughts for them,” or “care about them as if they were your friend or family.”

Some more maxims from the day follow. I’m not going to give the bible quotation because seeing bible citations somehow makes my brain turn off. But as for citations, these all came from the bible and are all pretty good advice.

“Give when you are asked to give and do not turn your back on someone who wants to borrow.”
(It’s time to give. Somewhere.)

“Do good to those who hate you.”
(Hello Men’s Right’s Activists.)

“Always treat others the way you would have them treat you.”
(One of the ways I do this is when I don’t turn in my best work.)

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust consume.”
(Clinging to a garagefull.)

“Say ‘yes’ when you mean yes and ‘no’ when you mean no.”
(This was the royal ouch! My flaking is seriously problematic, and if I took this one to heart, I’d have much stronger relationships.)

After Sunday School, we attended a fancy Academy Awards party at a swanky cigar shop and men’s club in Napa — my first real sober event where everyone was drinking. It was absolutely, no big deal. Three cheers for luxury! Three cheers for selfies!

HELPIE SELFIE!

22 February, 2015  |   Comment

Meal Plan, this week

Since I’m not posting on Instagram until Sunday, April 5, please enjoy my meal plan!
Meal plan, February 22

This week we have a fancy Oscar party, lots of meetings, Lego club, Lego class and Lego Lego. Lego, Lego, Lego.

20 February, 2015  |   Comment

Poetry Friday: A Late Aubade

A ruddy pear

You could be sitting now in a carrel
Turning some liver-spotted page,
Or rising in an elevator-cage
Toward Ladies’ Apparel.

You could be planting a raucous bed
Of salvia, in rubber gloves,
Or lunching through a screed of someone’s loves
With pitying head,

Or making some unhappy setter
Heel, or listening to a bleak
Lecture on Schoenberg’s serial technique.
Isn’t this better?

Think of all the time you are not
Wasting, and would not care to waste,
Such things, thank God not being to your taste.
Think what a lot

Of time, by woman’s reckoning,
You’ve saved, and so may spend on this
You who had rather lie in bed and kiss
Than anything

It’s almost noon, you say? If so,
Time flies, and I need not rehearse
The rosebuds-theme of centuries of verse,
If you must go,

Wait for a while, then slip downstairs
And bring us up some chilled white wine,
And some blue cheese, and crackers, and some fine
Ruddy-skinned pears.

Richard Wilbur (b. 1921)

Aubade: a poem or piece of music appropriate to the dawn or early morning.

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