Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vanity--It is All Vanity

Madeline L'Engle reminded me, today, why it might be that God allows many of us to have jobs that can be frustrating to do, puts us in contact with people who are sometimes difficult to work with, or means that you do hours of work for no recognition (or other people get the praise for that work!).

Speaking to those who give a job their focused, highest quality attention, and speaking to those who are apparently much more spiritually developed in this particular area than I sometimes am, L'Engle says the following:

Ah, surely it is vain to think about words of praise. It is permissible for us to be pleased that a job has been well done, but we can't take any personal credit for it. We can only be grateful that the work itself knocks self-consciousness out of the way, for it is only thus that the work can be done.

Getting to that stage where my self-consciousness has been knocked out of the way, there's the rub.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Husband - Literally

While there are many ways I could describe my darling husband (sweet, thoughtful, caring, self-analytical, compassionate, loving, ideologically realistic, and silly being just a few words to start with), I have to confess that there are two words that cannot be left out of any list about him: passive aggressive and literal.

And so when he forwarded me the following emails of an email dialogue he had with one of his teachers (along with his paraphrase of her response), I giggled so hard, my boss came in to make sure I was ok.

For those of you who just don't "get" Chris, try this on for size:

Initial Email
From: Christopher (Student)
To: Teacher
Subject: class assignment

"I have been going by the most exact interpretation of your assignments in your syllabus. If it says "bring in," then I do. If it says, like last week, "find one example of each" but doesn't say to bring it in, then I find it but don't bring it in. So for this week you say "choose 3 examples, then write a paper" but you do not say to bring the examples in. Does this mean "choose" (make my selections) and bring in a paper about them without bringing in the selections? I'm a literalist, so I think I'm not supposed to bring them in. Am I right?"


Teacher Response Email:
From: Teacher
To: Christopher (Student)
Subject: class assignment

"Actually, no. I guess I am not a literalist in that sense. When I say “find one example of each,” I thought it was self-evident that you would bring the example in—how else would I know you had found it? Interestingly, in all the times I have taught this class, you are the only one who has interpreted it “literally.” I can see how you could interpret this in that way; I just haven’t thought of it that way in the past and neither have others. Just a word of caution—you will probably find that a lot of people do not think as literally as you do. So if you have any questions, it is better to ask than to make the wrong assumptions. This also means that you will have to be sensitive to how other people make assignments in the work world—in some cases, you practically have to read their minds!"


Chris' Paraphrase of Teacher Response:
From: Christopher
To: Wife (that would be me!)

Subject: FW: class assignment


Let me paraphrase her response to me, “Who’s a cute literalist? You, yes, it’s you, come here, cute literalist. Come. Come on.”

Friday, July 24, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 8)

#1 - Yes, I'm back! Well, for now. I've learned something about myself as I've begun this whole blogging experience. What I have learned is that when I have big things on my mind, I don't like to write a lot. I think a lot, process a lot, but the writing comes later. And I have a hard time writing at, about anything when I'm in that mode. Once I get out of that mode, then I have lots of things I want to write about. And the trick then is actually having the time to write all the things I want to say!
So, hopefully my blogging will be back a bit more regularly now. And the ultimate lesson we have learned here is that this is why I will probably never become a professional writer.
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#2 - Growing up, my parents always told me I was unique. They didn't say it like my older brother would say it--in a tone indicating that my uniqueness was such that I either needed serious help or should be locked up far away from sane, normal, society. No, my parents always
usually would say it with the appropriate tone of parental encouragement and pride that every kid needs a good, healthy dose of occasionally.

Well, after many years of doubt, I have finally had proof given to me from a completely non-biased source, that I am, indeed, unique. There is a website called: How Many of Me? This website lets you type in your first and last name and then it shows how many people with your name exist in the United States.

With my maiden name, there are (and I quote) "one or fewer" of me in the United States.

With my married name, sadly, there are three of me. I guess I have to share my uniqueness with two other people. How unpleasant!

However, as my maiden name is the name under which I was born and therefore developed in my most formable (formidable?) years, I think the unique label holds true regardless!

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#3 - So in the process of writing the above portion, I learned a useful and dandy little trick that I've wanting to figure out for awhile. How to strike out a word in a post without actually deleting the word. So, for all those out there who aren't sure how to do this, I thought I'd share this useful piece of information. You had to edit the html portion of your text and use the following: < style="TEXT-DECORATION: line-through">insert here the text you want to use

Enjoy!
Note: Upon publishing this post, blogger did exactly what I asked it to, and put a line through the "insert here the text you want to use" portion of the code I put above. So, in order to fix that problem (I think!), I put a space between the first <>

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#4 - I ran across this post awhile ago, and it just cracked me up. So for a good (clean) laugh, go read...Judging People That Use the Table of Contents in Their Bible.

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#5 - Random Blessing Report. This past Sunday, Chris and I and my little sister went out to eat at the local Indian restaurant (apparently a good GF option for me; I've eaten there twice now and haven't been sick yet! Obviously that's with avoiding the nan and other fried products).

Any ways, we ran into several sets of missionaries there that we've known most of our lives. This is a frequent occurrence at this restaurant (running into random missionaries). Something about a high percentage of missionaries really liking good Indian food?

Back to my story, we chatted with them for awhile, and then settled down to go indulge at the fabulous buffet. After having stuffed ourselves to a happy level of way-too-full-why-did-I-eat-so-muchness, we went to pay our bill. And found out that one of the missionaries had paid for our lunch! I love random acts of kindness; they make for such a pleasant mood in a day!


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#6 - Actually, I feel like I've been handed an extra dose of kindness (not really so random, I guess) the last few weeks. As hard as it has been for me in dealing with our loss, I've been reminded over and over again of how many people we have in our lives who care about us. That helps a lot. And I owe quite a few people huge thanks for that.
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#7 - I'm beginning to feel old. My classes' 10 year reunion is next month. I'm not actually going to attend as I really want to see my parents who have just come back to the USA, and I can't afford to do both. However, I've been watching the Facebook messages fly back and forth between all these different people, most of whom I haven't seen in ten years, and it's making me feel nostalgic. And old. And puzzled. How in the world has ten years gone by since I graduated high school? I think it's a dirty trick that time plays because when you're younger, ten years feels like a really long time. But the older I get, ten years doesn't look like such a long span!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Biking

The weather right now is gorgeous. Feels like fall. Except it's the middle of the summer.

Due to the heat, we've not been biking as much as we would have liked the last few weeks; however, yesterday we took advantage of the beautifulness and hit one of the biking trails in town. Thought I might share some of the pictures I took of our latest biking escapade.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

How Are You?

That is the most common question I've received the last few weeks. Honestly, I'm not always sure how to answer that question. So in a, sort-of, attempt at answering that question, I give you the two primary thoughts I've been holding on to.

Jeremiah 1:5
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart..."

Psalm 139
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.

You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Questions?

How is it possible that one can hurt so much for that which has never been seen?

Why can an existance of miniscule proportions create such a huge hole in the fabric of my life?

Am I simply mourning a dream?

Will I always be haunted by the fears that my tired brain cannot censor away?

Will life ever be as it was?

Would I have given this up if it meant not knowing this pain?

To the last one, at least, I have an answer: No.