Friday, March 30, 2012

Life in the fair city of Lexington

Here is a little insight into my city, Lexington. An large article in the newspaper today is about how to paint your face for the big basketball game on Saturday. If you are curious, let me help you out. We can all learn.
1. Make sure the paint or makeup you use is safe on skin - non-toxic doesn't equal safe for skin - clown makeup is suggested.
2. Wash your face (or other body parts you plan to paint) to remove oils that will prevent makeup from adhering.
3. Moisturize. Apply a light layer of moisturizer, especially if you have sensitive skin. This will prevent cracking.
4. To get a professional look use a makeup sponge to apply the color. Brushes are your friend.
5. The simplest look is to go all blue. If you want to incorporate white makeup or paint, apply the white first.
6. You may be tempted, but don't put the color on your ears. Otherwise you'll be getting blue stuff out of your ears for weeks.
7. Set your makeup with powder. This keeps it from rubbing off. Make sure you use a neutral color of powder.
8. If all else fails, simply use makeup to draw a blue streak across and between your eyebrows to look like Anthony Davis, famous for the uni-brow.

That is it folks. The news from Lexington, KY. Hope nothing important is happening anywhere else in the world. And now I have to go and buy a blue UK tie for Steve to wear while he preaches tomorrow.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Coming into work this morning I laughed with Medine, my colleague, about loving Fridays. "But," I said, "you do know what this love of Friday really is, don't you?" She listened.

"It is a God-given longing for Sabbath." And I know I am right.

Theologically speaking, the Creator did not create a mighty army of slaves like those pictured serving in underground Mordor in Lord of the Rings. No. The vision for life was for abundance, joy, laughter, creativity, people together marveling at each other's beauty, tasks that are utterly fulfilling all in a setting of beauty and being.The poetry of the creation story places the creation gift of 'rest' on the seventh day.

Rest. The rest of God is placed over all creation. You will notice if you read this passage that there is no eighth day. There is no resumption of work without rest. Rest was not a day, any more than abundant green things growing is a day. Rest is an establishment of a kind of life.That, of course, has all been smashed, we know personally of the destruction of rest. On Thursday this week I asked Steve if he thought I could call into work dead and take the day off. :) Our work and worry exhausts us.

So we long for Friday. TGIF. What we are longing for is God's rest on our lives. Even if we don't know it. Rest that makes work meaningful and fulfilling, rest that makes relationships work because there is time to be gentle with each other, rest that makes room for laughter, discovery and ridiculous possibility.If you get a whiff of that this weekend, stop and revel in it. And don't feel any shame over longing for Friday.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

busy nights and long days

I have been awake all night listening to big Steve snore. His snoring did not keep me awake, it was just the music that was playing while I watched the hours tick by - 12:15, 2:05, 3:30, 4:19, and finally up at 5:00. I have been working and it is now 6:18 and my alarm goes off at 6:40 so I am in a dilemma. Do I sink back into the pillows now, finally able to sink into sleep, or do I soldier on. I think it is pillow time. :)

During the night I have been processing life and work and writing a strategic plan and solving problems and crafting ideas. At one point about 4:30 I decided I need an acronym to remember all the thoughts. I came up with WWBOA.

This past hour I sat at my computer and poured out all my thoughts in an email to myself but I can't remember what one of the W's is for. Maybe it was a crazy idea - half asleep in dream land - maybe it stands for wizard or wisteria. I have no idea. If it is important, hopefully it will float past my brain again.

I think my sleep is off because of daylight savings time changing. One hour can throw a person completely into bio-confusion. We are like babies - we need our schedule and our rhythm.

The rhythm I have embraced this lent is to end my day with the prayer of examen. I quiet myself and walk back through my day looking for the fingerprints of God, for blessings born by people, for moments of gift. And then I pay attention to any flash of dissonance or emotional mis-fire and look to see what they were about. I ask God to come to those places and bring peace and healing. Then I invite God into my upcoming day - invite a holy presence to invade what awaits me.

Tonight was not a bad night, but it will make my day a challenge. Truth is, it is only a day, and I won't confuse weather with climate. I can get through the day. Life is beautiful. I am alive.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

news from Indonesia

Just got this little story from my son in Indonesia:

We just wanted to share a crazy story with you from life in Indonesia. Our helper, Dina, got sick this week. How sick? Well, after consulting our trusty Indonesian-English dictionary, apparently she has scurvy. I tell you I didn't learn the Indonesian word for that at language school.

For us it was impossible to imagine. You only need to eat, like, four oranges a year to keep scurvy at bay. So Kari asked if she had been eating any fruits and vegetables. She said no. Kari said, "How long has it been since you ate fruits and vegetables?" Dina said, "Basically never." "Never?" "No, never. Fruits and vegetables are gross, so I never eat them."

They have the cash for it, and we send them home with fruit and veg reasonably often: she just gives it to her kids because she thinks it's gross.

Fruit is so plentiful here it is basically free. Bananas and papayas and oranges and melons and pineapples grow like weeds to the point that they are annoying and you have to dig them out like unwanted poplars.

[I am sad to hear about uneducated women, whose lives could be so much better if they had the chance to learn.]

(PS -- She is taking amoxicillin for her scurvy . . . and we are making smoothies: we have her a two pound papaya yesterday and told her to eat it all)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday meditation

Meditation on Psalm 78:38,39 by Bishop Edmond Lee Browning

We do meet those impossible people sometimes: so self-destructive, and yet so appealing. Perhaps you have loved one of them - if you have, you know something of the roller coaster ride they travel between hope and despair. Appallingly deluded and yet capable, sometimes, of terrible honesty. Ridiculously self-absorbed and then unexpectedly generous. Awash in self-hatred and then, suddenly, the purveyors of what can only be called grace. Whatever else they may be, they are not dull.

I wonder if we are all similarly endearing and infuriating to God. Do our mercurial ups and downs, our times of selfishness and our moments of compassion, tug at the divine heart the way we tug at one another's? Scripture suggest that it is so - the psalmist here, for instance, imagines God's patience with human waywardness.

Just a breath. That's about all we are. The older you get, the more true this seems. Human life is short - there's not much time for it to acquire meaning. That is why love matters so much to us. It makes us feel eternal. And so we are - not in the way we think when we are young and strong and someone adores us, but in another Heart, eternally alive in a love can never lose.
I wish I had written that! Just wanted to share it with you.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

when all else fails

I know - two postings in one day. But this has to be said. Passing wisdom on to the generations coming up.

On Friday I was exhausted. Pooped. Out of gas. Unable to think. At one point in the afternoon I was pacing in my office, not knowing what to do. Then the thought hit me - PERSONAL HYGIENE! When all else fails, go for personal hygiene.

I opened my drawer of kid's candy, boxes of raisins and tension Tylenol, and pulled out my toothbrush and paste. I marched to the ladies room and had a good brushing.

That accomplished, I was back in my office, not at all more rested or able to work, but certainly with a cleaner smile. And in an afternoon when all else is failing, to have one good thing intact was a victory.

fatal mistakes

I have done something very bad. I am chagrinned at myself. Today I went to Sassy Fox an upscale consignment store and bought a dress I might wear to the wedding in June. It fits me. But I am a little lumpy in it. But I bought it anyway, with plans to lose those lumps. I KNOW BETTER!

Now this dress is going to sit in my closet condemning me. It is going to gather dust, all the while saying, "What were you thinking eating that curry yesterday?!" The weeks will march past and I will move it further back into the closet and then one day I will give it away.

OR maybe ... just maybe .... this will be a Christmas miracle and I will suddenly drop 20 or so pounds and the dress will be magnificent. I will be so trim I might even get a sprayed on tan and buy big droopy earings and people won't recognize me at the wedding.

Or not.

In either case, I have purchased a dress, quite a fabulous dress, from a consignment store, and maybe all it needs is good - no, fabulous - shoes. And spanx. Knee to neck spanx.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

all in how you look at it

I spent a few hours outside a retreat center located on the Kentucky River on Tuesday. The warm afternoon sun seduced me outside and I rambled down a path through last years weeds and refuse. Above me a vulture, no two! coasted on a breeze blowing far above my still air.

Finding a mossy clearing I dropped to the ground and spread out my arms my face basking in the sun and eyes feasting on the blue sky. What could be more magnificent than sun warm on my skin in early March? I remembered winter days in Calgary that were so cold and dismal I would lay on the carpet by a window to let the weak rays of sunshine fall on my face.

So I gazed into the sky in peace, but then began to be aware of eyes gazing back at me. One buzzard, no two~!, no three... started to circle down toward me. Before a full minute passed the sky was full of buzzards circling lower and lower. I laid still, and counted 41, probably missing some. They came as low as 20 feet above me, circling and watching, giving me a once-over.

I wondered what I would do if they started to land, desiring to pluck out my eyeball, or rip skin off my fleshy parts. The dance in the sky was too beautiful to disturb, so I just let the moment unfold.

And then they started to fly off - like a crowd of school kids finding out the ice cream truck is only broken down on the side of the road and not vending ice cream - one by one they shrugged and soared south.

We are all something to someone. To the buzzards in Garrard County I am a hunk of meat, a potential feast of rotten flesh, a tasty morsel on a boring spring day. Someone's curse another one's blessing.

Somehow that makes me smile. It puts life into perspective.