Friday, November 30, 2012

corner shops 5

MaryBeth hosts today's corner shops 5; though not every shop in my play today is on the corner, I gotta say I love the multi-directional visibility of anything that sits or stands on a stuff button

I'm combining MB's questions 1 and 5.

1. If you suddenly received a ton of money and could open up some kind of store or service just for the pleasure of having it (assume it wouldn’t have to be too financially successful!), what would it be?
5. We’ve all seen stores that combined books and records, beer and laundry, or coffee and whatever. One of my favorite places to get coffee in Honolulu is a cafe and florist, and there is a car garage that’s also a diner in a town nearby. What would be a cool hybrid of two disparate ideas for somewhere you’d like to hang out?
open air restaurantIt's going to be an inner city sun country sensations: mostly make your own salads, sandwiches, smoothies, and sundaes; an art gallery that each month will feature about a dozen pieces each by 2 or 3 mostly local artists and artisans; a music venue with lunchtime offerings of many kinds. At least once a week we'll host a varied media art, or a various genre writing workshop. Free wi-fi? of course! And oh, my sun country hangout will have both indoor and outdoor seating. This great image I found on morgue file conveys the mood.

2. What service or store that no longer exists do you miss most?
Most small family-run eating places were truly wonderful, as were drugstores with ice cream counters. I'm being nostalgic for my cousin's former town of Hudson, Ohio, with the Colonial Restaurant and Saywell's drug store on Main Street.

3. What local business do you think you could make better if you were to take it over? And if you don’t mind sharing, what changes would you make?
I don't frequent them, in fact almost never ever have darkened any of their doors, but if only dietary supplement / nutrition shops had less clinical-looking signage, more inviting storefronts, more appealing product packaging.

4. What spot nearby seems to be impossible for businesses to survive in?
No matter how unique, excellent, desirable, and potentially valuable they are, small, 1- or 2- location retailers cannot survive unless they're in a strip mall or major mall setting that includes at least one Big Box anchor store.

Monday, November 19, 2012

water from an ancient well

Water from an Ancient Well: Celtic Spirituality for Modern Life by Kenneth McIntosh on Amazon

water from an ancient well coverFor quite some time the ancient and more contemporary insights of Celtic spirituality have interested me. I've done some reading that's specifically in the field, and perused other books that reference and apply those understandings. However, Kenneth McIntosh's Water from an Ancient Well is a kind of mini-encyclopedia or maybe a survey that provides stories, theology, and applications in each chapter, as well as an excellent sense of the earthbound, heaven-oriented way of living together (and occasionally in solitude) that continues developing and spreading. One thinks of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, but Celtic geography has ranged much further to France, Spain, Switzerland and Germany; the author reminded me how I've explained to more than one of my classes the Galatian church the Apostle Paul addressed was an ethnic church, a gathering of Celts or Gauls in diaspora. What a beautifully, and fully integrated way of life this can be, with little or no separation between divine and mundane, sacred and secular!

Celtic Saints' heartfelt devotion to Jesus of Nazareth has been passionately recorded in their poetry and prose; in return, some people, especially Roman Catholic, have their own devotion to a particular saint: Patrick and Brigid are popular choices. A draught from this "Ancient Well" is a drink of trinitarian Christianity, but no way does it exclude incorporating other viewpoints and perspectives. There are Celtic knots, tapestries and intricately ornate metal jewelry, all of which are familiar in this 21st century. How many churches have – how few churches do not display? – a Celtic cross that superimposes the cruciform symbol of the Incarnate Son upon a radiant disk of the created sun? Similar to Eastern Church bodies, Celtic theology interprets Jesus Christ's atonement with a Christus Victor model, rather than one of other possibilities Western Christians have read into scripture.

Titles of the fifteen chapters:
1. Seeking Ancient Wells: The Celts and Their World
2. The Spiritual Romance: In Love with Christ
3. Be Thou My Vision: God in the Everyday
4. The Crux of Life: The Meanings of the Cross
5. Streams in the Desert: The Divine Presence in Solitude
6. Green Martyrs: Spiritual Fitness
7. Every Bush Aflame: God Revealed in Nature
8. Furred and Feathered Neighbors: Creatures of Grace
9. Water into Wine: Signs and Wonders
10. Beings of Light and Darkness: Angels and Demons
11. Circles of Strength: Community
12. Living Words: Scripture
13. Gifts of the Imagination: The Arts
14. Christ in Neighbor and Stranger: Hospitality
15. Uncharted Seas: Life’s Pilgrimage

McIntosh writes in an easy-going, conversational style, as if we were sitting around a warm fire listening to him talk about these topics. Approximately a dozen finely executed black and white line drawings help illustrate the author's narrative; endnotes reference the chapter as well as providing a wealth of further reading. Fourteen 2-column pages of index topics help demonstrate how complete this book is. I did say it amounts to a mini-encyclopedia, or it could be introductory Celtic Spirituality 101; even if you're already very familiar with the subject, this would be an excellent book to keep on your bookshelf.

my amazon review: celtic spirituality survey

Friday, November 16, 2012

thanksgiving soon! 5

Jan hosts again: Thanksgiving! Soon! Friday! 5

1. One of my "mulleygrubs" cures is putting on a dress or skirt! I love dresses and skirts, but never, ever solid red. Taking a trip down the hill to the beach helps lots, too—need to be sure to dress warmly enough.

2. I expect to begin thanksgiving day with 10:00 worship at church around the corner; this weekend I'll try to figure out something for dinner.

3. I don't know where I'll enjoy Thanksgiving dinner; I'm totally burned out on church and charity and municipal T-Day dinners. I grew up with classic menu of turkey, cornbread stuffing (in the turkey), dressing (in a bowl), gravy, sweet potato yams, fried okra, fresh cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, mince, squash or pumpkin pie. Since then I've cycled through Thanksgiving dinners that featured turkey along with specialties of southern Italian, Mexican, and Filipino cuisines.

4. Regarding Thanksgiving as a holiday, I won't go into a politically correct or incorrect rant, but I will say it's become a difficult day for me. When the really lonely times began, it took me almost forever to realize (denial and rationalization are among my major specialties) I wouldn't always be celebrating a bountiful feast and litanies of gratitude with friends.

5. In this season of Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for the hope every new tomorrow brings; thankful for ample, inexpensive local Californian and Mexican fruits and veggies, thankful for relatively mild weather and a roof over my head.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

living thanks: november synchroblog

November synchroblog on WordPress
Intro: It's easy during the month of November to think about thankfulness. A lot of us will probably in some way, shape or form, say "I’m thankful for…" this month. But gratitude is much more than a feeling or something we talk about around the holidays. Gratitude can also be a powerful spiritual practice that opens our hearts to the rhythm of giving and receiving that is the heartbeat of life itself.
living thanks 2012My response:
"For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey ... Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. The Lord your God [who] brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery ... remember the Lord your God." –Deuteronomy 8

It's relatively easy for me to affirm what's gone right, what could be worse, to compare my own situation to others (typically a bad idea), to discern how far I've traveled and how much I've grown spiritually. Like many women and like a lot of Christians, for me the glass always is at least half full, frequently close to overflowing. My challenge is to get out of rationalization and denial, to confront my own behaviors toward myself, others, and the earth, that are less than the best they could and should be. I also have difficulty acknowledging that some people's actions toward me have been toxic, hurtful, and hateful, since I always seem to get caught up in trying to appreciate their history and their lack of understanding and ability to act in more loving, encouraging ways.

This month I've illustrated my post with a collage I made of places in nature I love to visit, that every time I'm there give me perspective and enable me to start seeing myself and others more clearly. All those rocks in the background? We discover them everywhere, find ourselves navigating rocky roads almost wherever we go! Rocks are evidence of the great geological age of this planet, and they remind of us many transformative, defining events recorded in scripture and in our own lives. A few years ago during Lent the pastor gave us an opportunity to take home as many "baptismal rocks" (smallish pebbles and stones of many different colors and kinds) as we desired. Referring to the passage from Deuteronomy I quoted, obedience to God's commandments, ordinances, and statutes is a huge part of our baptismal covenant; of making our daily walk a living remembrance of God's acts of liberation and resurrection in our own lives.

Every day begins with a new sunrise; I love to wake up and get out of bed at least 30 minutes before new light begins to wash over the city. (I love evening twilight, too, but there's something truly magical about first light of a brand new day.) Standing on the shore of beaches, oceans, rivers, and bays, reminds me God who created such vastness also created me and the immediate world I inhabit; God even charges me with stewardship of the immense sweep of creation! The deserts of the Southwestern USA – Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, and California – are the best places for God to help strip me clear down to bare essentials. I love remembering how much life teems just beneath the apparently barren surface of the sand; I love experiencing the glory of desert flowers in bloom, as they remind me of the vivid contrast between Good Friday's deathly desolation and the glory of Resurrection. This is a practice for autumn months with their shorter, cooler days, and longer, chillier nights, and an excellent way to live thankfully all year round!

Other November synchrobloggers:

Friday, November 09, 2012

happy in spite of... 5

time for another 2nd friday random 5!

Hosting today, revkjarla explains,
Lots has happened—horrible storms, the election, plus, whatever is happening in your own lives....
[therefore,] It's time to take a breather, and so, our Friday Five is to find your happy places, so that in spite of snow (here), in spite of it getting dark by 4 pm (here), in spite of (fill in the blank) you (I) remember the joyful sweetness of our lives!

Give us five "I haz a happy"s...... for your Friday Five.
I've always found November and December kind of low months; I've long felt winter basically is over by January 1st, though technically it's just begun. So in spite of darker, shorter days, and longer nights… I'm givin' you 5:

1. I'm starting to get a happy that for the past few weeks I've been helping prepare Thursday evening family dinner at church around the corner and across the street (a while back in a former city, I worked as a line chef for a while, which was one of my half-dozen favorite jobs). It was nice that associate pastor again asked me "did we win?" referring to the fall digital art contest at a local church I'd told her about. Including both of us with the word "we" was… priceless. During dinner I had a kind of normal conversation with the Hispanic pastor; we talked about Amtrak vs driving to LA or the Bay Area. I felt recognized and almost ok.

2. I was happy to post my Advent-Nativity designs on my facebook page and on my liturgical art blog.

3. This past week I've been lovin' watching and feeling early morning fog burn off to bright sunshine, though today's overcast with close to 100% chance of rain. That rocks, too.

4. Kittehs >"< make me happy enough to purr >"< 5. I love the COLOURlovers site and visit every day, but don't create anything very often. However, I was soooo happy to see this palette go relatively viral, including #1 for both the day and the week for a spell and now all-time #85.


Friday, November 02, 2012

saints 5

Pat R hosts today's for all the saints Friday 5: "Thursday marked the feast of All Saints, observed by many throughout the Christian world. And many of us will observe this feast in our churches come Sunday. How about you? Let's talk today about saints, how we have understood them throughout our lives. Who inspires us? Who challenges us? Whose lives have stirred us to greater discipleship? Who just has the best story we've ever heard? Try to answer these questions in each of the following categories:"

Here's a list of some of the holy, sanctified, blessed, tzedakim, righteous in my own life and world...
all saints 20121. Saints of the Bible.

Almost any prophet in the Hebrew Bible—I especially love Jeremiah and Amos. Miriam, Moses' sister, dancing for joy before heaven and earth. There are far too many to choose only a few!

2. Saints from Church History/ World History.

Quite a few usual suspects: Mechtild; Julian of Norwich; Martin Luther; Dietrich Bonhoeffer; Martin Luther King, Jr; Mother Teresa of Calcutta; Benazir Bhutto; Desmond Tutu; Nelson Mandela; lots more I'll think of after I post this.

3. Saints from Our Own Lives.

Thomas P – "Tip" – O'Neill; Ted Kennedy; lots more.

4. Saints from Pop Culture:

Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Carter (is he part of pop culture or world history?), doubtless I'll think of quite a few more in this category after I post my play.

5. Saints Absolutely No One Else in the World Would Ever Call Saints.

earlier: Can't think of any at this moment, but doubtless many have crossed my path, influenced me and the world around me.
revised!!! after reading a few others, of course!!! ...first disaster responders of every kind, fire and police personnel, medical personnel on all levels, animal rescuers. Right now at this very moment, everyone in those categories who's been helping with picking up the disastrous pieces, and assisting with the incredibly huge task of moving onto recovery, into some semblance of new normalcy from hurricane Super Storm Sandy. But then again, individuals who work in those areas generally are considered heroic by many, if not most.