Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Book You've Read at Least Once

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


I last read To Kill a Mockingbird in high school. I didn't intend to re-read it, but the e-book happened to be available from our library and Harper Lee's recent death made me realize how little of the story I remembered. 

I'm from a small town and grew up in a relatively poor family but my family lived in that county for 6 generations so I was related to "everyone." There is a sort of status in having a lot of cousins. Even though my family was nothing special, we were related to some who were. I knew families like the Ewells and Cunninghams and Finches. I knew a kid like Dill. A lot of what Lee writes about small town life resonates as true with me. Probably more so now that I have moved away from it all. Time and maturity have altered my perspective. Rose-colored glasses are firmly in place.

It was nice to read something so good that I stayed up late to keep reading, even though I knew what was going to happen in the story. Does that make sense? Anyhoo -- 2 down, 10 to go.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

2 Yrs L8r

Two years in Arizona, already! Still feel out of my element, but less so.

The old saying is "bloom where you are planted." I am not blooming. But not withering and dying, either. More just living. Just being. But life is like a bicycle, you have to pedal now and then if you want to get anywhere. The only time you can coast forever is on the final downhill run.  I need to stop coasting. Life is getting dangerously slow and unsteady. So pedal I shall.

Blooms are happening around me if not within me! And hummingbirds are loving these two in the yard.

And it looks like I will pick my first tomato tomorrow, with many more to follow.

Summer break starts next week. I welcome the brief change of routine and a bit more sleep in the mornings. And time to enjoy a cup of tea on the patio at the start of my day. Perhaps that is all the fertilizer I need to get my bloom on.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Strong's #2428

The Hebrew word translated variously as “virtuous” or “noble character” or "worthy" in Proverbs 31:10 is only used to describe one other woman in the Bible – Ruth (Ruth 3:11). As we know from her story, Ruth was a very hard working woman and not the Angel in the House many want to twist the Proverbs 31 woman into. Ruth is also a foreshadow of Mary. I think we protestants latch onto the imaginary Proverbs 31 woman and ignore the flesh-and-blood Mary as a model of womanhood because the reality of Mary We are comfortable making an idol from the mythical Proverbs 31 woman because we tell ourselves we can become her if we try, try, try. One only needs to look in the mirror to greet her early each day before heading off to tackle that to-do list! But apparently praying to have the faithfulness and humility of Mary would be idolatry. Go figure.

And what is to be gained if I become the perfect Proverbs 31 Woman and dance about telling everyone? The comfort that I can rely on myself to work out my personal salvation? The honor of others looking to me as an example? Oh, yes, I am promised that my children and husband will arise and call me blessed. The word vainglory comes to mind.

No. Not going to do it.

Ruth & Mary humbled themselves as servants. The better choice.

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38 ESV)

He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” (Ruth 3:9 ESV)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

B&W vs. Kodachrome

The devil's favorite color is gray. - G.K. Chesterton

Years ago I read Ben Franklin's list of virtues that he tried to abide by and how he evaluated himself daily. I thought that was a bit extreme, but I found the idea of 7 deadly sins vs. 7 heavenly virtues a more attainable challenge, at least in my head.

The best way to score oneself on this Vice/Virtue challenge is to imagine it is like a customer service survey where Always is on the far right and also on the far left. 50/50 is in the middle. Always on the far left is BLACK and Always on the far right is WHITE.  Anything in between is a shade of gray.

Immediately we fail because no one can check "Always Humble" without pride. And we continue to fail because practicing these virtues perfectly is impossible.

We can hope to live our lives in the lighter shades of gray. Perhaps leading a light gray life is a sign of a person with very good character, but real life isn't light gray. It's blue and green and yellow and pink and so on. Those nice bright colors, the greens of summer, makes me think all the world's a sunny day (oh, yeah)...Everything looks worse in black & white.

The world around us is colorful and vibrant and interesting. It is also imperfect (but that is okay)! Let go of perfectionism and enjoy the ride. That is truly a challenge but those who can do that have genuinely good character.