Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Canine Capers

Jane R. from Acts of Hope frequently checks in to see how my beloved Jasper the Wonder Dog is faring. So I finally got around to taking some new photos of him. These were taken last week, during our 4-inch snow:

Just call me "Snowface!"

Doesn't he have a lovely tail? He's very proud of it.

I took these this morning:

Mr. Curly-Whirly

This is Jasper in his favorite spot, looking out the window. The sofa cushion is permanently imprinted with the shape of his body.

Keeping the world safe from Evil Hordes of Satanic Squirrels

Friday, January 23, 2009

How far will you go?

Some painful conversations with friends and neighbors this week have me asking myself some hard questions. Because you are such a smart and thoughtful group of readers, I thought I'd ask them of you and see what you have to say:
  • How far are you willing to go to support what you say you believe in?
  • How many of your advantages are you willing to give up to ensure justice for all people?
  • What would you sacrifice so that others might have a shot at a decent life? Convenience? Money? Possessions? Your life?
  • Would you be willing to enforce sacrifices on some to achieve what you thought was a greater good?
And, if you ARE willing to make some serious sacrifices (or impose them on others), what are the guidelines you use to make those hard decisions?

I don't want to give too many specifics about my personal Issue of the Week--it will only cloud my thinking about what are really important, life-defining questions. But I'd love to know what you think about those questions...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hope is the thing with feathers...

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

---Emily Dickinson

I am jealous of only one woman in Dear Friend's life--and she's been dead for 123 years.

His love affair with Emily Dickinson predates our acquaintance by over three decades. When I first met him, it was the joke in the parish that she was the only woman in the universe for whom he would break his vow never to marry again--and that he was planning to waltz her down the aisle in heaven the moment he got the chance. He has an icon of her in his bedroom. Dead or not, I consider her a formidable rival for his affections.

But I have loved her too. And today, her words have been ringing in my ears. "Hope is the thing with feathers" is a poem that I probably learned from Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, more than 30 years ago. I was reminded of that poem as I watched the faces of so many Americans who had gathered on the Mall in Washington to witness and celebrate Barack Obama's inauguration as the 44th president of the United States.

Old and young. Rich and poor. Gay and straight. All the colors of the rainbow. I confess that it was a glorious melange that I had never see in my lifetime.

As I listened to President Obama (how I love typing that!), I also remembered another of Emily's poems:

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.

I say it just
Begins to live
That day.

Today we heard important words about hope--but also about accountability and sacrifice. We heard our new President say that we will all be called upon to do our part in facing the difficult challenges that lie ahead.

The words have been said. It is time for us to make them live. Get busy, people.

Monday, January 19, 2009

My So-Called Life

I haven't been posting much. The well is been dry lately--though I've been mulling posts on the awful situation in Gaza and some more on homelessness and community. But if you don't write it when it's bugging you, then chances are, it will already have been covered by better bloggers than yourself, and then you think "Why bother?" That's me lately....

And life has been full since Christmas. Here's a partial run-down:

Bad Things:
  • Work is crazy, thanks to Transition Mania.
  • One kid missed an entire week of school for a virus last week. The other missed Wednesday through Friday.
  • I have a cold.
  • They are predicting 2-6 inches of snow tomorrow. Ugh.
  • There are well over 200 entries in my Google Reader and my head is too stuffed up to comprehend them all. I will probably hit "Mark All As Read" and hope you will forgive me.
  • I have gotten myself involved in a local controversy over school assignments. Some neighbors are mad at me, and I am a bit angry myself. Race, class, and privilege all come into play---not easy conversations to have.
  • One of my grandmother's oldest friends was found dead in her yard the other day. My grandmother is feeling this loss deeply. At 83, every death is one closer to your own. Sigh.
  • A friend at church was recently diagnosed with an extremely serious illness and ended up having to have surgery last week. The long-term prognosis is grim.
Good Things:
  • Dear Friend and I had a lovely weekend together, after a long space between visits. Our engagement seems to have deepened our relationship in some lovely ways I could not have predicted.
  • Ruth gave me a nice award, which I will post when my head is not spinning. Thank you, my friend!
  • The Empress and I are having lunch together today and going to paint pottery together. In my altered state of consciousness, I have no idea what I will produce---but she is over-the-moon happy about our "Mommy and Me date," as she calls it.
  • Tomorrow marks a Whole New Day. Thanks be to God.
That's my life. How's yours?

Saturday, January 03, 2009

I just feel the need to post this...

Three years ago yesterday, my best friend took me to see a movie called The Family Stone. She had already seen it, and thought I might enjoy it.

If you haven't seen the movie, it's about a family at Christmastime--with all the misadventures you would expect. Oldest son returns to introduce his incredibly uptight fiancee to his very liberal family. Hijinks and hilarity ensue.

But there is a scene in that movie that broke my heart into a million pieces. One character, who has unexpectedly fallen in love with someone he's not supposed to, chases after her as she runs away in confusion. It is dark and he races madly through the snow, screaming her name and trying to catch her before he loses his chance at real love.

I sobbed bitterly in the dark of that theater because I knew that I would never have anyone in my life who would love me enough to race through the snow and the dark for me.

Miracles do happen.