"Everything is a miracle; it's a miracle that one does not dissolve in one's bath like a lump of sugar."
There are days that it's feels you would or could melt away in the bubbles and heat of a long soak in the tub. Even when you say, "Calgon, take me away!", and disappear for 30 minutes of bubbly solitude - you still don't really melt away.
In spite of the intensity of what draws you to the tub, there you are soaking and with wrinkled fingers and toes... but there you are. Still in one piece.
Resting in bubbles and warm water provide rest and recoup - what the bubbles take away are the worries, not you. At the end of the bath, there you are - clean and wet and still here. That is a miracle indeed.
Girl Before a Mirror - Picasso.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 09, 2009
After of working very diligently, minus some sweets every now and then, I've been on the wagon of exercise and eating "healthy" through June and into July and I'm doing rather well. I'm about 15 pounds down from where I was in spring thus far. To be honest, I've drank more fruit and veggie smoothies than I've had desserts - so it's not going too rough.
I'm mixing up the cardo and weight training, even added spinning and on my third week with that now - and have a session with a trainer later this week to make the best of my time at the gym.
I'm hoping all this work continues to pay off health-wise...in a few weeks I'm headed to New Orleans for a youth trip and will be away from my regular routine. I'm feeling a little nervous about that.
Any suggestions on staying "on the health wagon" while on the road and out of the norm? Comment away!
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Image found at Desert Pastor.
As mentioned, I've been reading Anne Lamott's book, "Traveling mercies">. The title alone has stirred some thoughts in my heart. Here written below are some of the ripples of idea on living in and through traveling mercies.
When I was a little girl and throughout my childhood, I remember the ritual of praying with my family before any significant road trip. My Dad would say, "Let's hold hands, we're going to ask God for traveling mercies." I'd usually be sitting in the middle seat,being the youngest of three kids, perched between my brother who was seven years older than I and my sister who four years older than I. My sister would happily grab my hand and my brother would reluctantly hold a few of my fingers to officially complete the prayer circle. He didn't mind the prayer part, but holding his littlest sister's hand - that was a bit too much for any teenage boy.
Most of our road trips involved heading to the Pittsburgh area for my sister's heart check ups at Pittsburgh's Children Hospital about every six weeks. We'd always stay with our Grandparents, in a small house that seemed impossible to have raised six children in. Somehow, though they made the stair separated attic work as a bedroom for all those kids. My sister and I would stay on the right side of the finished attic where a beautiful glass amber chandelier hung heavily over the full sized bed. There were storage cupboards throughout the attic that were filled with toys, linens and a mish-mash of odds and ends.
When we went to Pittsburgh, it always seemed like a great adventure. We left rural western PA with one stop light, one grocery store, and creek wading and went to a place filled with shopping malls, swimming pools and wonder bread. Things moved much faster in Pittsburgh, and to this day I still love that about the city. Somehow though, in the midst of all the hustle and bustle there seems to be a greater need for traveling mercies. There are more people, more cars, more of everything - including opportunities for danger as well as delight. As a child though, I mostly looked at the rush of the city as adventure personified; even once when our car stalled out on the highway due to torrential rains and my Uncle Jack came to our rescue. Uncle Jack seemed a little like Indiana Jones with rain dripping off his forehead, smiling ear to ear and nonchalantly saying, "How are yins doin?", in a thick Burg accent. I'm not sure he even noticed the downpour that day. Uncle Jack got us home safely, but even more than that, he became an instrument of traveling mercies.
So often, I think I should be on the receiving end of traveling mercies. What if, I could become the giver of traveling mercies, just like my Uncle Jack? When I think to consider all the road trips in my life so far, I know that I've been the recipient of many traveling mercies on many rainy, snowy and sunny days. As the summer rolls into August, there are many plans for vacations and road trips. Prayers of traveling mercies will be spoken, siblings hands will sometimes be held, and God will watch over our movements. All this is a great blessing, but somehow I'm feeling an urge to become a giver of mercy in all the travels and relationships I encounter day to day. In light of all the love, grace and mercy I've received; how could I not want to become an instrument to pronounce mercy to those around me?
Maybe what I'm feeling is a beginning of understanding in Jesus words as told by Paul in Acts 20:35, "It is better to give than it is to receive." Wherever we travel, in our neighborhood, on rural plains, or glittering city streets; we have the opportunity to be mobile instruments of mercy. Maybe if mercy was our mode of travel, it would be a little easier to walk hand in hand - even in the rainstorms of life.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
I've been on a reading binge the last two weeks for books written by Anne Lamott. Bird by bird has a permanent home on my bedside table. Once a friend of mine who sells used books, and I told to hold all the Anne Lamott titles for me asked, "...Is it because you have the same almost the same name that you like her books so much?"
My middle name is Lamont - hers is Lamott, close but not quite.
I'd misplaced my copy of Traveling Mercies about a year ago, and found a hardcover copy in another used book story this weekend for only $3.00. I knew I'd be ready for another one of Anne's books as I was in the final chapters of Blue Shoe on Friday. I started Traveling Mercies on Monday and I'm already halfway done reading it. Anne Lamont's books, both the fiction and non-fiction have a way of getting under your skin. I find myself thinking about the characters in her fiction, wondering how they are and then remember they are fictional. Then again, when I read her non-fiction, I see shadows and shimmers of her fictional characters in her real life friends and family. Then I smile, knowing that the essence of the fictional characters are real after all, and I continue wishing them health and wellness.
Anne's books are real. Maybe they are too earthy for some, but I think the sincerity of her writing is what helps hold my attention - zesty content and all.
Someday I'd like to have tea with Anne Lamott. With her dreads, her wit, and her life experience - I'd like to think we'd hit it off, just like I've hit it off with her books. After all my middle name and her last are nearly the same.
“Seeing yourself in print is such an amazing concept: you can get so much attention without having to actually show up somewhere . . .You don't have to dress up, for instance, and you can't hear them boo you right away.” Anne Lamott
Due to the fact that Anne does not have an official website, I'll give you a link to her Wikipedia - at least you can get a list of her books there. Enjoy!
Monday, July 06, 2009
After a sun-filled, activity filled holiday weekend I came home and plopped myself down on the sofa in our living room. Within a few minutes I was out cold and snoring away.
It's not very often that I find myself waking up on the sofa, to find it to be the morning after. Usually I can get comfy for a cat nap, but this time around I was totally surprised to find myself still wrapped up in a blanket hearing the morning birds chirping away.
Uncharacteristically dozing off on the sofa reminded me of the beginnings of the idea of "sleeping with bread". Bread was given to displaced children during WW2 to help them to sleep knowing, "Today I have bread, and I will have bread tomorrow."
Last night I think I better understood the contentment of these war ravaged children, as all weekend long I made great attempts to live in the now - not looking back to the past or forward to the future, but living and soaking up all the present offered me.
I'm working on being intentional in living in the now.
All of this "now living" was brought to my attention to me by my drummer friend Rich. He mentioned to me on Friday evening before we went on to play for the opening of the new coffee house in Warren, Pa (The Crossing), " Just look around this lovely room. So often people will look to the past or future for the things they think will make them content and miss the things right under their nose that are beautiful. Look at this room, it has beautiful wood work, a fireplace... "And lilies in an old vase on that round conference table." I interjected.
So though the music set that night, I sang every note from my heart - as I always try to do - but I looked at the faces that were listening. There was a woman joyfully clapping, some teens dancing while seated in chairs in front of the stage, and a tough looking young man smiled at me with a toothy grin when I smiled at him.
I tried to live in the moment... at a late dinner at Perkins with my daughter and her friends that night and learned more about her friends lives, because I asked, and when I returned to the venue at the end of the night to find a school mate I hadn't seen in 20 years who had stopped by to see me. We chatted about the past, what our plans were for the future, but mostly were happy to re-connect in the present.
All weekend there were moments that sparkle to me: the beauty of the Pennsylvania hills, the quaint small town 4th of July parade that makes the sidewalks and streets bulge with hundreds of people, their kids and pets. Swimming with giggling kids in the 4 foot pool, preparing meals, and reading a book in bed while listening to the rest of the family waking up to celebrate the morning with coffee and cereal.
There were present moments that provided challenge, like a rock hitting our parked car's drivers side window and shattering glass all over the driveway at my mother-in-laws house. We got out the shop vac, sucked up all the glitter safety glass, and then I realized that I'd wanted to vac out the car anyhow.
After the mess was cleaned up and the insurance company called and repairs planned for the following day, we ate lemon dessert, drank icy cokes and played scrabble in the dusk of the day.
I lived in the present,I held onto the bread, and I even saw some beauty in crumbles of glass reflecting prisms all over the inside of my car. Funny how beauty can sneak up on you when you open your eyes to see it.