Friday, January 29, 2010

on torturing pets

Walter the girl is a very famous cat if you hang around me. She is also getting pretty fat. She hates the cold, but really really really badly wants to go out in the evenings, so she goes out and in over and over. Makes me crazy.

Being away overnight I decided I would let her stay inside. There is a seldom used litter box, and she will be fine. My only concern is that after a few hours inside she gets crazy and I see signs of her having raced around, knocking stuff over, biting and chewing and causing general destruction.

Having left, I forgot my phone, and had to return. Walter greeted me and insisted on going out. She did not want to come back in. So I left her out. In the 20 degree weather, overnight. I threw a quilt onto the back deck chair.

I think she will make it. My only fear is that her ears will freeze and fall off. I saw a cat like that when I was a kid.

REPORT: I arrived home and flipped on the back porch light, and instead of Walter there at the door eating cat food was a fluffy big ol skunk. Walter immediately jumped out of the quilt on the chair and ran to the door, ignoring the skunk. I had to actually use my foot to prevent the skunk from coming in when I opened the door for Walter ... and after I shut the door again the skunk leisurely ate up the rest of the food and sauntered off. Walter, on the other hand, came in warm as toast and not at all put out.
Apparently cats and skunks get along fine.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

winter fat

So here is my question. If one jazzes on a bleak gray winter day, does it count for double? Just the energy used up in the fight with one's brain ... "I'm going." and "Ah am CERTAINLY NOT goin." And "Shutup and just do it." and "If I go I am not stayin for the whole class."

This has to amount to some kind of calorie loss, right?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

sad day for Canada

So here it is friends. A sad day for Canada. Cadbury sold itself to Kraft for 19 billion dollars. Now, you might say 19 billion is nothing to sneeze at. But Cadbury, long time British chocolate maker, producing a quality of product unsurpassed in the US, has been lost to us.

The day might come when it is no longer a Canadian right to brag about our chocolate. In fact, now that Kraft has taken on so much debt the quality might become a moot point.

I am sad. It is as if Tim Horton's had been bought out by WalMart. Or like the RCMP starting to dress like Texas troupers. We are being denuded by corporate greed.

Sigh. All I can say to my fellow Canadians is, "Stock up, baby. Stock up."

Monday, January 18, 2010

thinking on the struggle between spiritual and physical life

The Spirit gives life. I believe this. What life does the Spirit of God give? It is divine life... its source is the Father God. It is a second creation, different from the first creation, a new intervention from God.

For there to be a second creation there must be a first creation. First I was given the incredible gift of physical life. Given this by God. These two then are not enemies - they are not fundamentally in opposition - both are the good gifts of God.

The theological idea of human sin - which we have all witnessed unfolding down through history (ours and wider history) -whose roots have sunk so far into human essence that by nature persons are 'bent back in on themselves' does not negate the good gift of our human physicality. John Wesley (whose theology carves the path our tradition runs along) teaches that salvation is about this present life as much as the next. Of necessity it involves respect of the body, physical wellness, and care of creation, all of which can be (wrongly I believe) dismissed as unimportant in salvational matters.

Persons (me and you) are given the beautiful dignity of choosing the direction of our journey. The choice between 'flesh and spirit' though, is not strictly the choice between spirituality and physicality. Both our spirits and our bodily life can move toward the life of the Spirit. It seems to me that we do not understand this well.

There is a real tension here - nature/grace, flesh/ spirit - and a real choice. To honor the body and choose for wellness when we have that possibility is not against the life of the Spirit. In fact, such a choice moves our bodily life toward gracious unity with God and away from the obsession to satisfy all the greedy demands of our flesh, seeking to make slaves of our choices.

Hatred of the body does not equal love of the Spirit. Although there will be 'contests' between our physical desires and the wooing of God, we can firmly reckon that both our physical life and our spiritual life are magnificent gifts, conceived in the mind of God and handed to each of us, personally.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A pause in winter

I had the most wonderful couple of hours today. I was in Southern States to get bird food and bought flower bulbs 75% off. This event was my motivation to spend time in the garden enjoying the 50 degree weather and breathing some fresh air.

Very soon, though, I realized why it is necessary to plant bulbs in the fall. I could not get my shovel more than two inches into the soil. In every place I tried the ground was frozen at a lower level. Pffftht!!

So I sat on the porch in the rocking chair and watched the birds start to call each other to my feeders. They do that, you know. The blue Jay comes and squawks and soon another one shows up. I had between ten and thirty birds at any given time. Ten cardinals at once, two blue Jays, goldfinches, a tufted titouse pair, house sparrows, wrens, doves, and a pair of downy woodpeckers.

I pulled out my old binoculars and my bird book and started watching behaviors. I read about a new bird I haven't ever seen, the red bellied woodpecker. It is about 9 - 10 inches with a florescent red 'mohawk' extending down the back of its head and onto its neck, a red tinged belly, and black and white spots on its wings.

I kid you not - as I sat there... a female red bellied woodpecker landed right in front of me.. She skidded in and landed crazily like a Canada goose on a pond, and took her seed, flying up to a tree to smash it apart. She returned several times and I watched her for half an hour. (Every time she landed it was like she braked too late, skidding into the grass.) Her mate did not show but if she is here, he is too.

I was thrilled. This bird is not a migrator so I might be able to entice the whole family to take up residence in my yard.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Response to Bad Theology

This morning I heard that Pat Robertson has made public a view stating that Haiti has been cursed because of an historic pact made with the devil.

Statements like this seem to be representative of Christian theology, coming from a 'high profile Christian leader' of sorts. Or at least this is the impression outsiders have. Can I say though, that these ideas are not representative of me or those in my faith community. To us these ideas are heartbreakingly offensive.

The idea of a vengeful, capricious and destructive God is repulsive to secular persons, but truly, it does not represent a Biblical revelation of a self-giving and loving God.

A river of healing flows from God, creator of heaven and earth. Christian theology discusses a cursed earth, but never a cursed people. No people or people group are singled out for separation from the pursuit of God. For me, personally, this is good news.

Any honest Christian will tell you that the horror and randomness of what are called 'acts of God' - acts of nature if you will - are a point of deep struggle. To make a sweeping judgment is the easiest and least thoughtful way to make peace with the seeming dichotomy.

Reconciling a good and powerful God, who is not only 'watching us' but engaged with us, to the pain current in Haiti - well, it silences the heart. It shuts the mouth. Like every other compassionate human we turn our hearts and hands toward bringing help and relief, our eyes filled with tears.

We will not be dissuaded from our prayers for those who are suffering today in Haiti. Our hearts and hands and pocket books are at the disposal of love.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

poem from Steve

I was reading through old journal entries and found this poem my Steve wrote for me.

I am hanging up the phone
and I'm looking for a conversation to go out on.

"Don't forget to call Jordan."

What would be enough
if we never spoke again? Not that.

"See ya later."
It sounds cursory because it is.

"Love you."
It seems like such a hollow platitude.

And still... I'm looking for a conversation to go out on.

Maybe it's the hunger to be remembered:
To not be forgettable, and yet, to not be forgotten.
But it's more than that I think.

"The kids'll be fine."
"I'll stop at the bank."
I can't go out on any of these.

It's hard to have the last work spoken
not be banal or cliche.

The silence is awkward.
But all language seems bankrupt.
Words have no strength to hold
the weight of what should be said
but can't be found to say.

"That'll have to wait."
"I can't talk about it now."

So maybe there is just no way to say it.

I want to say that my life began when you spoke my name with something like interest.
I could go out on that.

I want to say that my will ended
at the doorstep of your heart.
That I was made who I am all along the way
I've walked with you.

but all my words are crippled, hapless,
forlorn and freightless.
So I say, "I'll call you when I land."
And I hope you heard me.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

winter walk

Just walked to the post office. Snow has begun to fall - apparently we are going to be slammed with an inch or two. :-) The Wilmore snow removal pickup truck races past me and I can feel the driver's excitement. I don't share it. Cold takes one by surprise when there is no wind. First the bridge of my nose feels frozen under my glasses, then the tops of my ears. Ah, I say to myself, Perhaps it IS cold.

I go from the post office to Solomon's Porch, the local coffee shop. My feet slip and I almost fall when I go in the door. Water lays smattered on the painted cement floor. The woman serving me has a toque on her head (down here they call it a toboggan.) It is cold and uninviting in the shop. I sit with my hot coffee on a chair that is too long in the seat to be comfortable. I say hi to David.

A small fear creeps into my heart asking me if I am crawling toward depression. We are old adversaries, depression and I. Experience has made a large deposit of respect and well, fear in my soul regarding this enemy. I am vigilant.

The opposite of depression is not happiness. The opposite of depression is vitality.

Each of us must become aware and learn to possess our selves in this regard. What I mean by that is simple. I must watch my own life, and constantly take steps to adjust my journey back toward wellness. Learning what choices are personally life-giving and actively pursuing those things - this is my personal responsibility.

I know that when winter hits I must stand guard over my own soul. Vitality is a good measure of wellness. When vitality flags I can make choices to help myself: meditation, journal writing, quietness and sufficient rest, taking on small but productive tasks, exercise, giving care to my grooming, seeking out friends, getting a great novel from the library, and so on. Your list will be different.

Vitality is about having the energy to participate in life. Long ago I realized that winter was too long to lose my vitality during its darkness. But it is a struggle with my own soul, every year.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

wisdom about women's seasons

For everything there is a season:

A time to dance and a time to put your feet up (especially if a 'rubbin' is possible)
A time to get a job and a time to stay home and stretch the budget (done a lot of this)
A time to make dinner and a time to order in (when better than today?)
A time to join WW and a time to eat cake (especially if it is chocolate)
A time to keep a friend no matter what and a time to move on (matters of sanity here)
A time to hold your children tight and a time to nudge them to go (arms get tired)
A time to color your hair and a time to let it go gray (don't know when this is)
A time to serve and a time to let someone serve you (this is harder than it sounds)
A time to make your husband talk and a time to find a girlfriend (sushi helps too)
A time to wear curlers to bed and time to just wear lipstick (and flannel)
A time for music and a time for silence
A time to shop the sales and a time to, well, this is always appropriate
A time for puberty and a time for menopause (you'll know when it is time)

Monday, January 4, 2010

royal longevity - can you name all these presidents?

Pretty amazing woman, for a queen. As a Canadian Elizabeth is 'my' queen, and I think she is a strong model for womanhood. Within the many constraints of her life she has found a way to consistently remain elegant and strong. Undeniably change has come slowly in her life, but one must concede that her role is steeped in change-lessness. To change at all is pretty amazing.