Archive | April, 2010

A Few Photos

29 Apr

Hanging out in the bus stop on campus. It's her favorite stop on our walks!

Our first attempt at pigtails - a bit messy!

Flying a kite with Papa

Pretty girl!

Earning her keep!

Poetry Wednesday – April 28, 2010

28 Apr

I give into melancholy pretty easily sometimes.  When things seem to slip beyond my control or fall out of line with my plans I start the internal, “Why does everything go wrong?” whining and it starts to affect my thinking, my behavior, and my relationships.  Our plans to transfer to seminary in the fall have changed and while we see many of the blessings the Lord is bestowing on us with this turn of events it is still incredibly disappointing.  We’re doing very well and I’ve been fighting that whine, but then yesterday, in the first week of my eight week hiatus from classes, I herniated a disc in my lower back.  Woe is me!  My mind went there and it’s been stuck, along with  my spine, since then.  This is one of my major faults.  Sometimes I can see it coming – that shift in thought and feeling – but  most of the time, it just sidles up beside me like it’s been there all along.

Philip Larkin’s poem reminds me this feeling.  Be it failure, melancholy, depression, anger, worry, or any other negative trait or feeling, the presence of these things seem to ingratiate themselves into our lives.  Larkin describes it beautifully.

To Failure

by Philip Larkin

You do not come dramatically, with dragons
That rear up with my life between their paws
And dash me butchered down beside the wagons,,
The horses panicking; nor as a clause
Clearly set out to warn what can be lost,
What out-of-pocket charges must be borne,
Expenses met; nor as a draughty ghost
That’s seen, some mornings, running down a lawn.

It is these sunless afternoons, I find,
Instal you at my elbow like a bore.
The chestnut trees are caked with silence.  I’m
Aware the days pass quicker than before,
Smell staler too. And once they fall behind
They look like ruin. You have been here some time.
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HERE for more and to submit your own choice for Poetry Wednesday!

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert {Book Review}

25 Apr

I picked up Eat, Pray, Love at a Friends of the Library book sale a couple of weeks ago.  I’d heard good things about it and also knew that a movie was made from the book.  I haven’t read anything trendy in a while and thought that I’d find my way to something that everyone else was/is reading.  That’s about all I knew before diving in.

Elizabeth Gilbert, the author and main character of the book, realized while she and her husband were “trying” to conceive that she no longer wanted to be married nor did she want to have a baby then.  Shortly thereafter she left her husband, found a live-in boyfriend, acquired a guru, and began yogic meditation.  With a nasty divorce occurring, a desire to learn Italian, and a tumultuous relationship with her boyfriend (along with other reasons), Gilbert decides to spend a year traveling, dividing her time equally between Italy, India, and Indonesia.

This book is full of Gilberts beliefs in “God”, spirituality, and religion.  For some reason, though I’ve read very many texts that disagree with my own theological view, I struggled with this book partially because of that reason.  While at Indiana Wesleyan University, I often found myself irritated with the Christians in my literature courses who refused or struggled through any piece that did not fit into their own world view, but I struggled with this book for the same reasons.

Gilbert’s writing is beautiful and there are some real gems in the book.  So honest is she about her own downfalls and depression that she quickly becomes a friend – the friend that drives me insane because we are nothing alike!  The people she meets on her journeys are amazing and interesting.  I really want to recommend this book to you for those reasons…but I just can’t.

Yes, read it if you want some lovely writing that you can skim, or if you believe that God is a relative being/term, or if you can easily read something that is way outside your belief system.  If you struggle with those sorts of things, though, this book probably isn’t for you.

Poetry Wednesday – April 21, 2010

21 Apr

It’s finals week!  Sorry I haven’t been commenting much, but I really have been reading!  Here’s an absolutely beautiful poem that deserves much more of an introduction but, alas, there is no time!


For Grace, After a Party

by Frank O’Hara


You do not always know what I am feeling.

Last night in the warm spring air while I was

blazing my tirade against someone who doesn't

interest

me, it was love for you that set me

afire,

and isn't it odd? for in rooms full of

strangers my most tender feelings

writhe and

bear the fruit of screaming. Put out your hand,

isn't there

an ashtray, suddenly, there? beside

the bed? And someone you love enters the room

and says wouldn't

you like the eggs a little

different today?

And when they arrive they are

just plain scrambled eggs and the warm weather

is holding.

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Head HERE to read more!

I’m in the market for some present tense.

15 Apr

Recently we’ve found that some of our future plans are a little more up in the air than we thought.  Surprisingly enough, things have been calm around here.  Matthew and I have spent most of our married life trying to get somewhere – Davenport, seminary, ordination, homeownership, parenthood, etc. For the first time in a very long time, we’re content with what we’re given, no matter what we’re blessed with.  My mind wandered to Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek tonight as I was pondering our situation.  This particular section struck me the first time I read it, but tonight I understand it more than ever.

“I’m in the market for  some present tense; I’m on the lookout, shopping around, more so every year.  It’s a seller’s market –do you think I won’t sell all that I have to buy it?  Thomas Merton wrote, in a light passage in one of his Gethsemane journals: “Suggested emendation in the Lord’s Prayer: Take out ‘Thy Kingdom come’ and substitute ‘Give us time!’ ”  But time is the one thing we have been given, and we have been given to time.  Time gives us a whirl.  We keep waking from a dream we can’t recall, looking around in surprise, and lapsing back, for years on end.  All I want to do is stay awake, keep my head up, prop my eyes open, with toothpicks, with trees.”

Poetry Wednesday – April 14, 2010

14 Apr

I owe very much of my love of poetry to two people: my father and my high school poetry teacher, Mr. Terry Savoie.

My father hated poetry.  It made no sense, was flowery, and had nothing to do with his life.  He wasn’t a reader of classic literature, or even fiction in general.  Give the man some non-fiction – preferably about murder, politics, or terrors of war – and he was in heaven.  When he died, however, I needed an outlet.  I needed something that would give me a voice and something that would commiserate with me.  Enter Mr. Savoie.

My senior year of high school, months after my father’s death, I took  a poetry course with Mr. Savoie.  I needed an easy class to fill an elective and something that wouldn’t take too much thought with all that my mind was processing.  Poetry it was!  Mr. Savoie walked in the first day of class and said “If you want an easy ‘A’ get out!”  I almost went, I really did, but I stuck around.  Thank goodness!  We spent our periods reading poetry silently, to each other, to Mr. Savoie, out-loud to ourselves.  Slowly but surely I learned what I liked, what I loved, and what I despised.  Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon helped me through my grief and melancholy.  I detested Amiri Baraka’s  blasphemy and racial polarization.  I learned to respect  and find solace in the sentiments of Mark Doty (a homosexual) while not accepting his lifestyle as godly (are many poets’ lifestyles godly, anyway?).

Then we started writing our own.  Mr. Savoie taught me how not to “bleed all over everyone” while still convincing my audience’s heart to break for me, and he taught me how to walk away from my writing when the subject matter was  a bit too close to my heart at that moment.  He taught me to fiddle with sounds and words and the delight of them both.  I respected his writing and he respected my writing even if he didn’t like it.  “I hate it!  I hate it!  It’s so good, though!”  He encouraged me to submit my work. “If you don’t go somewhere with that line, I will take it and use it!”

Honestly, his words and his knowledge helped me wade through my grief, my anger, and my exhaustion.  I always, always think of him as I read a poem.  So, in honor of Mr. Terry Savoie, here is one of his published poems.  I don’t know where he is these days or what he is doing, but I’m 100% sure he is writing.

This is a poem that is so good…but I don’t like it.

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Prayer to Simone Weil

by Terry Savoie

“…even saints have to eat to get strength.”
Judas in The Last Temptation of Christ

Death stinks, no matter how much it’s made up.
Mademoiselle, for whom are you waiting,

dressed to kill like that in those discarded,
dead-man’s boots & boxy, camouflage fatigues?

The whitecapped combers clap frantically up
against several incoming freighters, & the harbor’s

thick with the outlandish, foreign tongues of refugees
fleeing that Nazi soullessness pouring in around them

from the north.  And yet, there you are, huddled like a wet
cat on the quay in Marseilles in the spring of ’41, absolutely

(perfectly?) motionless.  Could it be that this century’s
sins have got you down, or are you simply beginning

to construct a scaffolding of ideas to prop up against
that facade, your death, you’re building?  Go, climb

to the top & you will find nothing more there than a steady
drizzle as though you were suddenly awash in the middle

of a bowl of cold fish soup.  How you struggle to keep afloat
with all the seriousness of a wide-eyed flounder, unsynogogued,

as your prayers reach out toward heaven extolling Beauty
that is this world’s but refuses to be totally consumed.

Tell me, is it simply a sneer that separates
the saint from the suicide?  All that’s left to eat

are our words.  In the end each of us dies too soon,
Simone, & one’s death never seems quite enough.

.

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Please go and read more and submit your own poem at Enanoslivo.

Sleeping in her toddler bed!

11 Apr

We picked up this cute toddler bed on Craigslist a month or so ago.  We put it in Adeline’s room to let her get used to it, tried to get her to take naps in it a few times, and eventually thought we’d just let her choose when it was time to sleep in it.  Last night was the night!  She slept through the night last night, took a nap there this afternoon, and is sleeping there now.  What a big girl she is!