Thursday, October 28, 2010

All I Want for Christmas is a Noble Soul...

“Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.” -- Eliza Tabor

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sisters, Sisters

Yesterday, life threw a little Crazy at me.  I think that's at least one of the reasons God gave me sisters.  Because sometimes, you need someone who knows you, loves you, and can do things for you when you just can' deleting the Crazy from your electronic world.  I love you, A.  So very much.  Thank you for keeping me grounded in the reality of His sovereignty, even when life gets a little, well, Cuh. Razy.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nailing Jello to a Tree

There are much easier things in life than finding a good man.  Nailing Jell-O to a tree, for instance.  ~Author Unknown

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lessons Learned from Pooh-Bear

Honesty consists of the unwillingness to lie to others; maturity, which is equally hard to attain, consists of the unwillingness to lie to oneself.--Sydney J. Harris

"I don't see much sense in that," said Rabbit. "No," said Pooh humbly, "there isn't. But there was going to be when I began it. It's just that something happened to it along the way."
-- Winnie the Pooh

Very, very recently, I have been struggling painfully with honesty.  Having always surrounded myself by close friends who have integrity and authenticity, and having grown up in a home where honesty was always given and received in love, I have been muddling through circumstances recently that have me puzzling over basic premises of relationship.  I don't really know what to do when someone doesn't tell the truth -- no -- how to even KNOW when someone isn't telling the truth.  When someone says one thing, but acts in another way, I don't know when to give grace and forgiveness and when to walk away.  I feel confused; as a Christ-follower, I want to treat people the way that I want to be treated.  I want my life to be one that offers grace and forgiveness.  But where does grace end and foolishness begin?  It's incredibly distressing to realize that I can't tell the difference between authenticity and manipulation.  It's horrifying to think that I trusted someone absolutely, and now I'm finding that I was absolutely wrong to do so.  

Maturing means not lying to myself.  As much as I want to believe that all was rosy and bright before the recent storms, I can't distance my mind from knowing that I am seeing more Truth now that I did for all those months.  

My pastors are preaching through Jonah, and a few weeks ago, Kyle said something along the lines of "It's in the storms of life that we behave as we really are; the person you are in the storm says a lot about who you are in the calm."  That's probably a bad paraphrase, but I'm thankful that I know the One who walks with me through every storm.  I hope that I can reflect Him truthfully in my actions and words, and my prayer is to figure out this complicated marriage of wisdom and grace...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hot Date

Tonight I've got a hot date.  I'm heading out right now to shop for the ingredients for chili (hot), pick up a new coffeemaker (makes hot), and buy some firewood (crackling hot).  Can't imagine a more enjoyable October evening!

I'll try to post a picture of my hot date -- go Phillies!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Love Affair with Nat...

If I was told I could only listen to one artist for the rest of my life, it would take me approximately .09 seconds to ask for Nat.  When I was a little girl, my sisters and I would listen to his Christmas album in our basement in the middle of July. Even if it was 95 degrees outside and we wore bathing suits and sunburns, hearing one song from that album would inspire us to tell my mom the basement "smelled" like Christmas.  In college, Nat King Cole introduced me to an era of music that felt immediately like home to my old soul.  Here is Johnny Mercer's "Autumn Leaves," sung by (if the link on the title will work) the velvet genius of the one and only Nat King Cole.  It is, in my opinion, the perfect synthesis of emotion, lyric and melody.
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer, Music by Joseph Kosma

The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sun-burned hands I used to hold

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I'll hear old winter's song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Inspired by a Friend's Epic Mountaintop Adventure...

Was reminded of this poem when a friend described his experience on a mountain in Ecuador.  His exact words were, "it's absolutely true that the eye never gets tired of seeing."   I loved that thought, and his words reminded me of the last line of this sonnet.  Hooray for google, the magical tool that helps me remember sonnets long forgotten :) 

Here is John Gillespie Magee's beautiful sonnet, "High Flight":

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, --and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of --Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air...
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew --
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October Eyes

It's October -- my favorite month :) 

One day a thousand years ago, I heard a song titled "Girl with the October Eyes" and today, while I was walking across campus, I thought of Allen Levi's song again.  I remember hearing this song in college and liking it, but when I googled the phrase "girl with the October eyes" this afternoon and read the lyrics for the first time in almost a decade... well, let's just say that I FELT this song in a way I couldn't possibly have when I was nineteen years old.  Levi is a beautiful guitarist; I wish I could capture his sound as well as his lyrics. Enjoy. 

"October Eyes" by Allen Levi

A box full of letters from over the years
Colorful cards from the past
Postmarks from places and days far away
A time to sort through them at last

Dulcimer music, a chair by the fire
A dark, rainy December day
I'll visit with friends through their handwritten words
Then reluctantly throw them away
'Til the one that I found
From the girl with the October eyes

In the picture the sky was cloudless and blue
She had that old laugh in her eyes
Blue jeans and flannel and braids that I knew
Like an angel dressed up in disguise

Last time I heard, she was far from the South
She's married with children, I'm told
But here there's a college girl, smile on her mouth
A smile that has never grown old
On that face that I've found
Of the girl with the October eyes

Do I save this letter or throw it away?
Save the warm smile for a cold rainy day?
Bury the memory, or let it remain?
Do I feed the fire with this long-ago flame?

Sweet reminiscence of a day way back when
I catch myself smile at her face
I'm sure that in ways we were children back then
But still it was quite a nice place

There's a girl in a baseball cap looking my way
Over a decade it's been
For a moment the memory comes back to life
And I think I hear laughter again
As I take one last look
At the girl with the October eyes

Monday, October 18, 2010

Known and Loved

The poem I posted yesterday has been one of my favorites for a long time.  Recently, though, I've had to make some difficult and heart-rending decisions, and I've found phrases of this poem echoing and re-echoing in my head.  In culture, I think it's expected that we view ourselves as unique, even as the demands of popular culture insist that we are connectedandsimilar to everyone else.

Most people want to feel known by others, and I think we desire even more to be loved by someone who (to use a cheesy Avatar reference) "sees" us.  I wonder if this is a cultural thing  -- but for many people I know, to be known deeply, seen authentically, and THEN loved seems to be the most sought-after way of doing relationship.

The speaker in this poem loves "the pilgrim soul" in his beloved; for me, the phrase has always conjured images of pioneers and ships and travel -- of people unafraid and courageous, even as they are different or set apart.  Although his beloved is "old and gray and full of sleep," the speaker is reminding her that she has alwaysalways held a spark of life for him.  To him, she is the Only.  Many have "loved her moments of glad grace / and loved her beauty with love false or true" but HE is the one who has seen her "pilgrim soul" and has "loved the sorrows of [her] changing face." 

Being loved authentically and sincerely and through time and life and sorrow -- who doesn't want that?  I could go into the beauty of Christ's love here, but I won't :)  Suffice it to say, I think part of the reason my soul has been feasting on this poem lately is because I am feeling, through these darker times, the love of Someone who knows me.  Sees me.  And loves me.  Pilgrim soul and all.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Blog Title by Yeats

When You are Old

When you are old and gray and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead,
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

-- William Butler Yeats