Tuesday, May 31, 2011

another way to handle the recession

My daughter is a pretty funky person. She is a fully responsible mother. She is hilarious. I think she has a nine year old soul. She is also a bank teller. She is often unexpected in her responses.

I saw her this weekend and she told me a story from her day at work.

On Friday a regular customer came in to deposit his weekly gains as a tax accountant. He had a small-ish deposit and was withdrawing $5.00. Modest for sure.

Rae: "How are you doing today, Mr. ___?"
Man: "Well, the tax business isn't all it's cracked up to be."
Rae: "I think nothing is what it is cracked up to be."

pause, smile.

Rae: "But then again, life is what we make it."
Man: "I guess you are right."

small pause.

Rae: "For instance. I could give you your change in gold one dollar coins. And then you could feel like you are a pirate."

(at this point in her telling me the story she AND I laughed so hard we almost fell off our chairs.)

Man, smiling: "I guess I would feel like a pirate. But I will take bills."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

what can we do?

People need someone who will stand for them when they feel like giving up, who will sing their song when they forget who they are, who will be present to their wounds without judging them and who will cherish their story and believe that they are image-bearers of God too.

Written by a thoughtful woman leader.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

cat love

Drama at the Elliott's on Monday night. Vincent's recently adopted cat, Frank, had gone missing. In truth, Frank was supposed to be kept upstairs in V's room but I hate to see an animal imprisoned and isolated. So I let him run the house and wander outdoors. He managed three days of this without trauma but on Monday he did not come home.

Now, an important factor in this drama is that Frank has asthma. He has severe wheezing fits and sneezes and coughs. Monday night it poured rain. V was out wandering in the rain calling "Frank!!!" and I drove around for a half hour looking for him. Something in me told me that he would get another compassionate home to open their doors to him if he just went into a wheezing fit but that didn't offer much solace to V who held me fully responsible for Frank's fate.

My friend was here and she had a suggestion. "Let's go out and buy another cat that looks like Frank!" (Ahh... the old goldfish switcheroonie that every parent has at least thought about. You know, the goldfish/hamster dies and you quietly replace it to save yourself the trauma of a broken hearted child.) I pointed out that we would have two challenges, to find a cat with his particular markings and to find a cat with his markings that has asthma. She said we could tell V that Frank is feeling better!

That was worth a laugh.

Anyway, about 11 pm who was meowing/wheezing at the back door but Franky, the wayward cat. I would love to know where he went and what he was up to. Did anyone have a gasping cat at their door on Monday night?

I am glad Frank is back. I will also be glad when Frank and his pet, V, move out and get their own home to make the rules in. I still hate that we have a cat locked in a room. My Walter is out lounging in the shade.

Monday, May 16, 2011

being home

My friend wrote this about her little girl who is 3 or 4.

Tonight at bed, Ella was asking me, "Why are they called the idiots?" I couldn't imagine what she was talking about until she said, "You know, Steve and Marilyn." ....Ahhhhh! THE ELLIOTTS!... This whole time she thought we were calling you THE IDIOTS. I'm still laughing.

Well, the idiots are HOME! Vincent kept the house in good shape and Walter has not stopped sitting on top of me in every possible moment, even in the most impossible contortions. I am back at my desk and loving being here. But most of all I have been welcomed back by friends and colleagues.

I realize in a full sense that the transition moments of our lives NEED to be noticed and marked. It is important to be welcomed back. How sad to return to a life that didn't want you. I am grateful for every smile, every warm welcome and all the people that welcome my presence into their world. Thankyou.

Going away is also healthy. Sometimes we need space from our small world to push the 'reset' button and get our perspective back. We need to laugh and problem solve somewhere else... in a place that has new problems. We need to smell new smells and look at new scenery and remember what a big and magical world this is.

And then we need to come home and eat beans. Our first meal home was beans - with weiners chopped into them of course. And toast. Hot buttered toast. A good plain meal with the old scrabble game open between us. And of course, Walter sitting on top of me. Quite a ways from the Champs d'Elyses but fabulous, none the less.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Language is an interesting thing ... Without being a thing. Together Steve and I have been quite fluent. He can read anything and conjugate sentences quite well and I have vocabulary to contribute. In the moment, though, I sometimes get something wrong. I bought some cherries from a vendor and as I took the bag I attempted to say, Good day! But I said Good God!

Then I burst out laughing while he watched me quizzically.

The cherries were scrumptious.

We walked the Champs d'Elyses today, from the Louvres to L'Arche de Triumph through the Elyses shopping district. The sun came out and shone too hot and then the clouds covered the sun and we felt the wind.

Travel is like education. The more you do it the more you realize personal limitations of time, space and understanding.

By the way. Today I bought a scarf on the Champs d'Elyses. Don't be jealous of my scarf.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

One place one time

no matter how far you go you are still in one place. This morning I began the day sitting on a bench in the sun beside the Thames, just outside of Reading. Our entertainment consisted of a few new waterbirds and swans, and we watched some scullers in boats rowing down the river preparing for a race scheduled for later today.

I commented how if I lived here I would want to learn to row, and pointed out some more senior types having a big time.

Steve made the observation that I always love to see new ways of living and in my imagination I "slide myself into that life." true. The upside is that I could make a life everywhere. The downside is that I hate being limited to being one person.

We are staying tonight in a very old stone home near Sheffield. It is glorious here on the edge of Peak County..a field of sheep out my window and a fish pond decorated by the presence of three beautiful chickens pecking around the edge. How does one find such a life? I conclude it depends to some extent where you begin - from where my life began one cannot get to this destination. I am right. I cannot be me and this lovely country woman both.

Learning to be who we are is a bigger task than we know.

These two thoughts have become one thought in my mind. There are more ways to live on this interesting earth than any one life can envision. We can run and run to find what we might not have. But the one treasure is the one we take with us everywhere... But still must choose it. This is the choice to come to deep peace with who we are, uniquely and personally. Then it is not so important where we are.

And this will take a whole life time

These two thoughts move along the same trajectory in my mind. There are more enticing options in this world than can even be known. But the one essential choice is the choice to live ones own interior life every step of the walk.