Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lenten Rose Isn't Just Any Rose

Some time ago, 17 years to be exact, we moved to a lovely wooded junior acre.  Just close enough to the city to enjoy cultural activities and an easy commute.  And also near good medical care, easy shopping, and a great church home.

We now refer to this luscious setting as Meyer Woods.  You see there are about 25 old growth Douglas firs, several cedars, and one lonely pine dotting our property.  And beneath them grow shade loving plants -- ferns, azaleas, holly, rhododendrons, hydrangeas and many others.  But there was one spot that hadn't been landscaped and cultivated.  Our future perennial garden would lie there.

As we began to think about what to plant, I discovered a plant neither of us knew much about -- helleborus.  All its characteristics fit perfectly:

  • Soil preference:  moist and well-drained.  The Pacific NW has no problem providing the moisture, and the drainage was excellent.
  • Light requirements:  partial sun, partial shade, full shade.  Perfect!
  • Pests:  none serious.  Excellent!
  • Attributes:  deer resistant, rabbit resistant, good in rock gardens, and naturalized areas.  Another positive.
So, home we came with three plants.  They were planted, watched, carefully monitored.  The next February to our delight they began to bud.  We hadn't paid much attention to the varieties we had bought except to be pleased with one that flowers white and the others a rather dusky pink or rose color.  

The rose-colored buds began to open first.  Amazingly it was the week or so prior to Ash Wednesday when we noticed the blossoms.  I was curious just what the name of this odd-colored plant was.  Locating the tag from the plant was easy, and to my surprise the varietal name was Lenten Rose.

How timely I thought that its blooms appeared near the beginning of Lent.  I did a little research and found that their timing was not peculiar to our region but peculiar to the plant itself.

Now each February, I watch and wait -- and they are blooming now.  I must confess the photo is not one of ours.  The rains and the wet weather have made photography almost a non-event with my camera lately, so I borrowed this from Dayton Nurseries.

What a lovely addition to our Lenten experience each year.  The blossoms are another reminder of the season and the cost paid on the cross.  God's gift, a cross and nails, and the forgiveness of our sins.

Jesus was given to you, and with the help of those who don't know the law,
you put him to death by nailing him to a cross.  But this was God's plan
which he had made long ago; he knew all this would happen.
God raised Jesus from the dead and set him free from the pain of death,
because death could not hold him.
Acts 2:23-24 (NCV)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Heart Full of Thanks -- Counting One Thousand Gifts (346-356)

Two or three days ago a friend shared the video embedded here with me.  As the little girl began to talk, I was taken aback at her clear understanding of "exploring," and what it does for our minds.  Yet the video moves on, soul satisfying music playing in the background and the comfortable voice of a Jesuit priest narrating.  His thoughts and words focus on gratitude, and I found myself near tears as I listened.  I share it with you today as I continue to count my gifts.

346.  Children with active minds.
347.  Smiles.
348.  Daffodils blooming!
349.  My husband's love and caring for his brother.
350.  Friends who understand how crazy life can be.
351.  Writing words of comfort, grace, and about God's goodness.
352.  Crocheted afghans to keep me warm on cold nights.
353.  Connecting with high school classmates.
354.  News of a baby to be born in our family in September.
355.  Sunlight glinting through the windows and dancing on the floors.
356.  The book, One Thousand Gifts, which reminded me to be aware of the gifts in each day.


Linking up with Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience.  Won't you drop in there for a visit?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Freshly Brewed Sundays: {Constant Renewal}

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right
spirit within me."  ~~ Psalm 51:10

Cleanliness is next to Godliness -- how many times did she say that?  How did she think I'd forget?  My mom, the Queen of Repetition, said it over and over.  Small children don't get idioms, those phrases which often mean something other than what they say.

Yesterday as I cleaned my home, after many weeks of not being able to, I thought to myself, "Well, if cleanliness is next to Godliness, I just got a grand and glorious F!"

This morning our church choir sang a tantalizingly beautiful anthem based on the verse from Psalm 51 shown above.  As I listened to the words, I couldn't help but consider my heart as God's home.  Is my heart clean?  Is my spirit right and in tune with God?  Hard questions to answer.

I must be about cleaning my spiritual house, my heart, daily, perhaps hourly or more often, to retain a right spirit, a spirit in favor with God.  Gratitude overflows at the thought that God truly understands and accepts me flaws and all, and even when I'm not as clean and spiffed up as I should be.  He trusts me to set things aright, and I must not fail Him. 

So, dear friends, I want to assure you that God takes us in whatever condition we're in as long as we're willing to say, "I believe.  I have faith.  And ask His forgiveness."


Linking up with Barbie over at Freshly Brewed Sundays.  Won't you follow the link and join us?

Freshly Brewed Sundays

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Couldn't Believe It! My Blog? A Winner? Yep, It's True!

Imagine opening your inbox and finding the usual emails from blogs to which you subscribe.  Open up a favorite.  In this instance, Memoir Writer's Journey, written by my friend, Kathy Pooler.  The title of her post for today contained a word I didn't recognize.  I knew at a glance it was likely German, and I thought I could pronounce it, but what did it mean.

Read on, I said to self.  And there it was -- an explanation of the word "liebster."  It had been explained to Kathy that "'liebster'" loosely translated from German means 'beloved, dearest' even implying 'favorite.' Kind of like a great big hug over cyberspace.'"

Kathy had herself had received and happily accepted The Liebster Blog Award.  She went on to describe the foundation behind the award -- established for up and coming blogs with fewer than 200 followers.

I smiled, knowing my blog settled comfortably into those conditions.  Graciously, I made my acceptance speech in the quiet of my own tiny writing space.

Of course, there are rules and here they are:

1.  Thank the blogger who gave you the award and link back to them.

2.  Copy and paste the blog award on your blog (you can get them from Google images).

3.  Pass the Liebster Blog Award on to five other bloggers you admire.

4.  Let your recipient know of the award by leaving a comment on their blog.

5.  Bask in the love of the blogosphere.

Now, I have selected my five bloggers to pass this award to, and I have no idea of the number of followers for any of them.  They are:

1.  Linda K. Thomas at Spiritual Memoirs 101.

2.  Stacy at Heartprints of God.

3.  Barbara at Earthen Vessels.

4.  Alida Wright Sharp at Blackpurl's Knitpickings.

5.  And last, but not least, Jenna Quentin at Meandering in a Field of Words.

I hope that each of you reading this will take the time to visit each of these blogs.  These women are great writers and their posts will definitely be bright spot in your day.

Congratulations to my five choices!  You deserve this!

Why Do I Write??? (Installment 3)

In two previous posts, I've answered this question by stating in the first post my love of words and using them to construct sentences and paragraphs and the impact my father's occupation had on my life.  In the second post on writing, I stated that I write because I have to write.  Blunt statement, and I confessed that. I also pointed out that, for me, a day without writing is a day without joy.  Those statements are both true, and now I want to expand on the necessity of my writing.

As I said last time, I have a story to tell and that's the bottom line for me.  It is my story.  It is mine to tell.  Will it be the truth for everyone who knows me or is related to me?  Likely not.  I'll try to determine the facts as best as I can from those who may know them, but it doesn't mean that we'll each one agree.  Because it's still my story.

Because it is my story, the onus is on me to tell it if I want it to be told.  No one else is going to write my story, unless I hire a ghost writer, and currently I'm not inclined to go that direction.  So, it's up to me to write it down.  Whether it is ever published or not, or shared with family, or perhaps friends, is not important to me right now.  Getting it down as a record is -- I want my children and grandchildren to have the benefit of my story as the threads of our family weave together to create our family story at some point in the future.

So, in this post, I have given you the true reason behind my attempts at chronicling the facts of my life.  I have so many questions about my father's life.  An orphan at age 4, he had few and vague memories of his life.  As we his children grew older, questions weren't easily answered by him of his later years.  Talking wasn't something he enjoyed.  His pursuits were more cerebral in nature, and so I didn't press.  Now I wish I had.

If you have a story to tell, I encourage you to consider at least starting a journal to capture your memories, thoughts and facts so that at some point they will be available to younger members of your family.  Add photographs as appropriate to your journal.  And if the bug bites, start writing!

Photo credits:
Bottom:  www.asp.sg

Friday, February 24, 2012


Today I'm linking up with The Gyspy Mama for Five-Minute Friday.  Today's prompt:  Grit.  We have five minutes of free writing to that prompt.  Get ready!  Get set!  Go!

I see or hear the word grit, and I think of several things:  grits we ate growing up in the South, the grit and grime of the schoolyard or our own backyard, the acronym GRIT for "Girl Raised in the South" (a personal favorite!), and lastly and most painfully the way my mom would grit her teeth in anger.  Truly I feared that grit in her at those times.  But there was more to that gritting of her teeth than I realized at the time.

As a single mom, she'd had to show grit as she worked during WWII as Rosie the Riveter, like many other women, because all the boys were overseas.  She raised that child alone for almost 14 years having left behind an abusive husband and father.  It was tough, she was tough, she had grit!

Years later she married my dad, who became ill two years into the marriage and was unhealthy for the remainder of his life, until age 73 leaving my mom a widow at 62, four years younger than I am now.  Her grit surfaced again as she helped me, by now also a single mom with a toddler, to see my way through tough days, but also digging into that grit and paying off a mortgage working as a school cafeteria worker.  That's hard work and takes a lot of grit!

Yes, I'm a GRITS -- girl raised in the south -- by a mom who used her grit in many ways, but I'll tell you truthfully it wasn't all about grit.  She relied on God to see her through tough times.  I can still hear her saying, "God never gives you more than you can bear!"

So, let's get our grit on and handle the tough stuff with God standing beside us!

Photo credit:  Historical Stock Photos
(Graphics added after the five minutes!)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

THE SACRED JOURNEY by Frederick Buechner (Copyright 1982 by Frederick Buechner; Harper & Row, Publishers, San Francisco)

What a lovely work! Frederick Buechner has graciously and beautifully written of his early days, his childhood, in a way I've not read before, and I truly loved it. Buechner's prose and memories evoke many of my own feelings growing up even though our lives were quite different. He has a way of "taking you back in time."

Buechner's works are a mix of nonfiction and fiction.  His nonfiction works deal primarily on topics of theology and faith.  I cannot speak to his works of fiction as I haven't read any of those.

The Sacred Journey was recently handed to me by my brother-in-law with whom I share a love of words and writing.  He thought perhaps it would give me another perspective on writing memoir, and it definitely has.  In this his first autobiographical book, Buechner writes "[a] child takes life as it comes because he has no other way of taking it." At first, these words were startling to me as I was tossed back to my own childhood and I realized that yes, I took my life then as I did because what else was I to do.

Somehow Buechner crafts his story writing and language in such a way that the reader feels a constant flow of his emotions and transitions.  In that way, Buechner takes the reader into his or her own story by reflection. Considering Buechner was a reluctant writer about his life story, he has accomplished what we all hope to do in our writing -- help another see the threads and webs of his or her own story.

I recommend this book to anyone considering or in the process of writing memoir or a life story as it has a style altogether different from what we find in bookstores and libraries today of life story writing.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Heart Full of Thanks -- Counting One Thousand Gifts (332-345)

And so the cycle of life begins with the first signs of spring -- daffodils pushing their way through the cold earth of winter, maybe even through snow in some places.  Forcing themselves out into the sight of passersby.  Shouting ever so quietly that spring is coming!

Here in the Pacific Northwest we're beginning to see signs of spring earlier than usual.  How the climatology of our country is changing each year.  And yes, so do we -- change that is, day by day and year by year.  Maybe not so drastically as the passing seasons, but we change.

We've been watching a Christmas cactus that bloomed profusely around Christmas.  Once its blooms faded, we assumed it was entering dormancy.  One morning, unexpectedly, was the beginning of a new leaf, new life on this now bare plant.  And now there are five -- each one growing by leaps and bounds.  We've done nothing differently -- we just watch.

And God watches us, hoping that with each step, each stretch, we are reaching to grow in Him.

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
Luke 2:51 (NIV)

Is our every step, every stretch, every movement toward growing "in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God?"  Truly it should be, and the ultimate start on this journey is to give thanks for that which we have been given, thus focusing our eyes on the Source.

A Holy Experience

332.  The gift of rain along with acceptance of the dark skies and often dismal outside.
333.  The bright green shoots signalling spring.
334.  Our MOPS moms who serve each other so lovingly.
335.  The gift of intercessory prayer.
336.  The joy of living without pain.
337.  Sounds of spring outside our home.
338.  Sunlight and shadows flitting in and out.
339.  Freedom of religion that so many do not experience.
340.  Sources of fellowship and writing online.
341.  The joy of counting gifts and giving thanks.
342.  Seeing our third graders receive their Bibles during worship service.
343.  Music that makes your feet want to dance in your pew on Sunday.
344.  Voices raised in praise to Him.
345.  Children and grandchildren.

Have you tried counting to one thousand gifts?  Join us with Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience to do just that each Monday.  Hope to see you there!

(Photo credit)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Unloading Our Burdens

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls."
Matthew 11:29 (NIV)

How often I've read these words, and rested easy in their offer of comfort and rest.  On Sunday, I learned that a dear friend, a woman younger than I, had suddenly lost her younger brother.  No details of his death were given, only that he was suddenly gone from family and friends.  From my friend, his sister.  

Without thought for where I was, the tears came quickly in rivulets on my cheeks.  My sorrow for her great because I knew how much she loved her brother and her family.  Their pain must be excruciating -- I know the suddenness of loss and it strikes a blow to our hearts and minds like none other.

Wanting to send her a card, I searched for one yesterday that said the right thing.  It's hard to know what the right thing is, and I couldn't find one with the right verse of Scripture.  So I settled for the one that conveyed my thoughts.  The verse above is the one I will write in as my gift to help traverse this time of pain. 

National Geographic
I came home and searched my list of favorite verses for this one.  I began to think on the words and only one gave me pause during this reading.  The word "yoke."  Do people today understand that word?  We certainly don't see oxen yoked together pulling a burden much heavier than they.  Nor do we see people walking around carrying buckets of water using a yoke to balance the two.  So, what would another translation say.

The New Century Version is much simpler and doesn't mention the word "yoke:"  "Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives."

And then I looked at the verse in The Message:   "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."  The Message wording covers both verses 29 and 30, which gives a broader view of what Jesus meant when he spoke these words.

And yet, what is it I want to convey to my friend?  I want to say that she can lay everything her heart is bearing, all that which feels like a burden, yes, like a yoke across her shoulders.  Yokes were meant to make a burden easier to manage.  In the IVP New Testament Commentary for the Gospel of Matthew, we find:

"They will find Jesus' yoke light because he is a Master who will care for them (Mt 11:29). Jesus' yoke is not lighter because he demands less (5:20), but because he bears more of the load with us (23:4)."
How clearly we can now see what the words "[t]ake my yoke upon you" equate to: Jesus will share that load, that pain we suffer, the grief in our hearts.  He will be there to bolster that load so that for us it seems lighter through our allowing him to share our load.  Such beauty, such comfort, such relief are found in this verse from Matthew.  Walking with Jesus each day makes every load lighter.


Q4U:  What does this verse from Matthew say to you?  I'd love to get some discussion going.

Linking up with:

Getting Down With Jesus

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why Do I Write??? (Installment 2)

I continue to ponder the answer to this question, because responses to it are many and varied.  Tonight I'll touch on just a couple in addition to what I shared a few days ago. 

As blunt as it may sound, I write because I have to write.  A day without writing something is a day without joy for me.  I never knew that until after retirement and a time when I thought, "I never want to sit in front of a computer again!"

How wrong I was in making that statement.  The sitting in front of a computer that I'd been doing for decades was to type pleadings in a case for an attorney, or to draft up some legal document or another; it wasn't writing for the pure joy of it.

Now, I write because I want to, I enjoy it, and yes, I have to write.  And now you're next question may be to ask for an explanation of "I have to write."

And the answer to that is that I have a story (perhaps more than one) that either needs to be told or deserves to be told.  No one can tell that story but me because it is personal to my life.  Others may be the creation of imagination, but they will also be mine to tell.

If I don't write, will they ever be told?  Likely not.  So, I write.  Sometimes every day, and as you can tell from my recent presence here, not always every day.

Do you have a story or stories to tell?  Have you started writing them down?  It doesn't mean that you're striving for publication, but perhaps just leaving stories for your children and grandchildren to enjoy in the future and pass along to others in the family.

Think about it . . . try it . . . you too may find joy in writing, and then you'll know why I write.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Heart Full of Thanks -- Continuing to Count One Thousand Gifts (321-331)

One word keeps buzzing through my head -- tired.  Tired of gray days, tired of this time of recovery, tired of the disruptions in my world, tired of just trying to get it all done.  Why should I be tired?  I ask Him . . . help me out of this tiredness, this state of mind, please!

The thoughts of tiredness bring me to my knees.  I don't know really tired . . . I've never worked that hard.  Oh, I've worked long hours before I retired.  But I've never done the kind of work that women in Third World countries have to endure, nor have I had to walk miles to fetch water for my children.  That would be worthy of the word "tired."

The problem as I see it is that I've lost my grasp on holding God's hand each day, and thereby allowing him to walk close beside me in every moment.  I need to regain that partnership, that pairing, that meaningful relationship of God's companionship, unconditional love, friendship.  How is it I forget?  Does God allow me to sense tiredness so that I'm unable to figure things out without him?  Possibly.

David wrote in Psalm 56 "[s]o I will walk with God in light among the living."  (Psalm 56:13; NCV).  Note the caption of this image, a link to a site called "God Speaks I Listen."  That's what I've done -- not only have I failed to grasp his hand and walk with him, I have failed to listen ever so carefully to his voice.  There are things God has to say to me that I need to here, and I will be rested and refreshed.

For this gift of God's ever blessing love I give thanks, and for so much more --

321.  The Bible
322.  God's patience
323.  The way God attempts to stretch me
324.  Knowing God is with me during difficult choices
325.  The beauty of spring breaking through the soil
326.  Camellia blossoms like the pink blushing cheeks of young children
327.  The knowledge that God is with my friend whose family has suffered a great loss
328.  Our pastors and the choices they have had to make
329.  A comfortable home
330.  The written word gifted to me by so many writers who love God too
331.  Joys of birthdays and celebrations

Visiting with Ann Voskamp today and counting the amazing gifts God bestows on us each day.  Won't you stop by for some comfort and counting?

A Holy Experience

Sunday, February 12, 2012

BROKEN FOR YOU by Stephanie Kallos (copyright 2004 by Stephanie Kallos, published by Grove Press, New York)

I love reading books written by first-time novelists, and this is a stellar example of the writing talent still untapped in our world today. Stephanie Kallos has captured the essence of relationships in her story. As the story unfolds, the most unexpected of friendships begin to form and the reader is carried into the intimate life stories of each character and the why of each one. Soon those "why's" began to meld into relationships and each person is subtly blessed by another. A true rendition of redemption in our times.

A great read, a great author to watch. This book is engaging, well written, and endearing to Kallos' readers.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Why Do I Write????

Since retirement, people often ask what I do with all the free time I have now.  I stop and think, and I try to imagine free time!  I don't seem to have much of that even in retirement.  Then I mentally list for myself all that fills my time:  mentoring, writing, flute lessons, quilting, sewing, needlework of all kinds, reading . . . and oh, yes, there's my family . . . children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Sigh . . . like a young mother with a large brood I suddenly feel tired after that mental exercise.

So, I opt to give a shortened list of the things I truly enjoy, and at the mention of writing invariably the question is, "Why?"  I must decide whether to give the full story or a shortened version.  Today I'll give you the short version, and in a few days I'll continue with the rest of my reasons why.

My Writing Blog

First answer to "why?" is that I love words, grammar, and the parts each plays in creating a story, reporting facts and history, and even in the reading I do.  I just love words and all that makes them a part of anything written.

My second answer is that I love to write those words down, either by hand or on the computer.  I love bringing words together in sentences, then paragraphs to create a gift to someone else of the written word.  How, with all the reading I do, could I not want to give the gift I have received so many times to others?  When I read, authors transport me to places in history, they take me on journeys of the mind, they teach me things I'd never thought about before.  Truly books and stories are gifts to those who read them.

The third reason, and my last for today, is that ink runs in my veins.  That's right -- not blood but ink in my veins.  You see my father, or dad as I called him, was in the printing and publishing business.  From early childhood, I could smell the print shop on him when he arrived home in the evening.  Even when he moved into management, dad loved being "back in the shop" with the typesetters. 

Here he is sitting at a linotype machine in the shop.  He loved what he did, and he had a great deal of his life story tied to printing and publishing.  Some day there's another book to write, I suppose.

Dad was also an avid reader, and together we would read things he'd brought home from work.  Later, as I grew older, we'd talk about them.  I think perhaps that common love we had for printed matter strengthened the bond between us.

So, for today I've begun the explanation of "why I write."  I've never been published, other than on web sites.  No books bear my name as author.  But I continue to write because I love it!

Q4U:  Why do you write?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Heart Full of Thanks -- Continuing to Count One Thousand Gifts (308-320)

Lately, life has felt heavy-hearted, sad, melancholy, just a bit depressing.  With a diagnosis of Parkinson's for my brother-in-law, I have watched with compassion as my husband has dealt with losing a part of his brother he never expected to lose.  You see his brother's Parkinson's has dealt a powerful blow.  Although not experiencing tremors, Bob's brother has experienced sudden onset of dementia, forgetting how to do all the things he loves -- reading is difficult, writing poetry a non-event now, the computer is strange to him, words don't come easily to this man who is/was a masterful wordsmith, his gifts of music are no longer heard.

We're traveling to their once a month to help our sister-in-law experience some rest and a respite from her daily caregiver responsibilities.  And when we return home from this 5-hour trip, our hearts are breaking and heavy.  We can't fix this problem, and we can't make it even a bit better.

And yet we find ourselves compelled by 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to give thanks for abundant gifts while we've shared time with our brother and his wife.  Thanks are given for so many things that I think I'll list them here as I continue to count 1000 gifts with Ann Voskamp:

308.  Hearing Jim (our brother) laugh while he listens to our favorite family stories.
309.  Jim's joy at hearing music played.
310.  Celebrating Jim's success when he finally puts together something he wants to say.
311.  Helen's love for Jim.
312.  Helen's ability to stay calm in most situations while she cares for Him.
313.  Our ability to travel and be with them and help in any way we can.
314.  God's Word which continues to guide us daily.
315.  Paul's writings in 1 Thessalonians.
316.  My continued and amazing recovery following spine surgery.
317.  Husband Bob's amazingly large heart for his brother.
318.  Grace in abundance in our lives as we do what we can.
319.  Support of our own local Parkinson's Foundation office to help educate us on our role in this family situation.
320.  Ann Voskamp for setting me on the road to seeing the many gifts in my world.

Linking up with Ann over at A Holy Experience.  Won't you come and join us?

A WIDOW'S STORY by Joyce Carol Oates (copyright 2011 by The Ontario Review)

Raw truth best describes Joyce Carol Oates' A Widow's Story. Inching closer to the age of her husband in 2008 when he died, my husband is soon to be 75, and reading this work was at times difficult. Oates describes in detail the events leading up to her husband's death, the aftermath in her own soul, and the inch-by-inch process of reclaiming a totally changed life.

Oates recounts for us the most minute of details facing a widow in the days, weeks and months after the death of her spouse. The bureaucratic red tape that must be worked through, the numerous death certificates needed for this and that, the pain of confronting the negotiations with a funeral home regarding the body of one's beloved, and the total loss that covers it all.

In total Oates spent some 40 years identifying herself with her husband, Raymond Smith. Parallel lives in education, writing, and publishing, most accomplished from their comfortable home near Princeton, almost made them one during their life together. Life after Raymond Smith was lonely, isolated, and frightening at times. Oates' descriptions of the mental and physical impact is at times dark and depressing, and the writer uses pleasant memories of Ray's garden, their circle of friends, and walks taken through their neighborhood to lighten the mood.

It must have been a struggle to write this story down but in the end, the reader realizes that without it Oates would not have begun the healing process evident at the end of the book: "Of the widow's countless death duties there is really just one that matters: On the first anniversary of her husband's death the widow should think 'I kept myself alive."

Monday, February 6, 2012

Reconnected in More Ways Than One!

The famous image to the right is known to most of us as one of the incredible scenes from The Sistine Chapel, which was rendered with such grace and artistic talent by Michelangelo.  This scene is from the creation of Adam representing that connection between God and man.

As most of you know, I've been "disconnected cybernetically" over the last couple of weeks plus.  Finding ourselves without an Internet connection left my husband and me feeling like stranded souls on a deserted island without the tropical climate so often associated with deserted islands.

Although at times we were made to feel the "disconnect" was our fault, at the end of installation by a new Internet service provider, we learned that squirrels had in fact been the culprits.  The little rascals must not have had enough to eat from our feeders so they chewed through the cable line at the street!

The two images here are similar:  in each there is a slight void between the two parts that should be connected.  In the one to the left, it's apparent that the disconnect was caused by cutting the wires.

In the Michelangelo piece, the void between the two fingers isn't seen as a disconnect at all -- it is the Divine Connection being made for us by the Creator through Adam.

So, finally we feel so connected in the ways of the world -- through email, voicemail, blogging, Facebook, and so much more built by large corporations to keep us together today.  And yet, the most apparent thing to me was how much more connected I felt to God and His Son, Jesus, without all the trappings of the Internet.  Imagine that!

Photo credits:
Michelangelo's rendering from the Sistine Chapel -- www.lightbridgecenter.com
Disconnected computer -- www.thephoenix.com
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