Not quite dead yet.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hi, I'm not dead. Just wanted you to know.

My mom retired, my babe switched from two naps to one, and suddenly there's less time for writing during the day. Also, I'm knitting sweaters for babies like one obsessed, which takes up evening time that isn't spent working. Also, I've been ripping carpet and ancient linoleum out of a 90-year-0ld house with my bare hands.

(No, we don't own it yet. I'm a house-half-bought optimist.-- get it? Glass-half-full? Oh, never mind.)

So this little spot's being neglected.

But not forever. I'll be back in a week, maybe less. I semi-promise.

Thrumming. Caveat. Family. Poverty.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

I should be working right now.

Instead, I'm sitting here thrumming inside, thinking about all that still needs to be done to get us into the house. Much to do, many inspections to schedule, money to be obtained and spent.
But, oh-- to have my own house again. To make my own coffee in my own mug and sit on my own front porch and drink it. Utter bliss.
I'm a little nervous about my New Year's post. I won't take it back, and I'm not sure I want to delete it, but I do worry that it's possible for people to find it who might be hurt by it. I truly don't want to hurt anybody. But the vast internet can be a small place sometimes.

So, you: you who have read it, have some connection to the situation described, and are hurt or shocked or similarly affected:

Please ask me questions before you make assumptions about what you read.
(You know what happens when you assume, after all. And who wants to be one of those? Not me. And not you.)

Happy thoughts tonight:

We moved when the bird was just five months old. Bird's grandparents saw her first steps, heard her first words, fed her her first cookies. They will help teach her to read, help teach her to garden, and teach her the value of family.

She has a great cloud of family surrounding her-- from both her dad's and her mom's side. Every few weeks, she gets to visit (or be visited by) a cousin, an aunt or uncle, or other family. As she grows up, she'll not just hear about how much she is loved by her family-- she will experience it. I won't be telling her stories about her extended family-- her extended family will. She'll know their faces, their voices, their laughs-- not just their pictures-- by heart.

I know not all babies are as blessed, and not all families are conducive to this kind of joy in relationship-- but she has a wonderful thing going here. And the brother or sister (or multiples thereof) that follow will enjoy the same blessings.

Even with all the upheaval, financial stress, and life-reordering, I would still do it again in a heartbeat for even half of the benefits we're receiving because of it. I am, in a sense, deeply thankful for all the hurt and betrayal and conflict and disenchantment and misunderstanding we've experienced-- because it has led us back here.

Isn't that amazing. God intended it all for good-- for the most wonderful, rich, amazing good.


My husband went a-thrifting today and came back a little dismayed by the poverty he saw-- using thrift stores, not as a source for hipster fashion, but as a source for basic needs.

There are many families who live desperate and isolated lives here, especially out in the mountains. I know that poverty existed in Orlando, but something about the layout of its neighborhoods isolated and hid the need there. We were insulated from all the hurting people. They had their own grocery stores, their own parks, their own missions and churches.
Here, the need walks right past you at wal-mart, or bumps into you while you're hitting the garage sales. It's a bit disorienting, just like the men in overalls were the first night we arrived and stopped at Walgreens.

Or maybe the better word would be "reorienting."

I hope that there's something we'll be able to do to help.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Hmm. Linky links:

This recent post, from a favorite blog.

And this, about a commitment I've been interested in all through 2006.

And this.

I know I can't buy nothing new, since we'll be moving into a new house.

But how close could I come to it?


Happy New Year.

Monday, January 01, 2007

My husband and I are not big resolution types, but here's one that we have lying around on hand for just such an occasion.

From this year forward, we strive to be unremarkable, ordinary, unworthy, unobserved Christians. No more fronting Jesus Rock Bands for hundreds of screaming fans. No more speaking at retreats. No more breezy PR newsletters to financial supporters full of carefully chosen (and excluded) details about the remarkable results of our Life In Ministry.

(What would those newsletters have looked like if we'd been honest? In a nutshell: "We aren't getting full paychecks, and couldn't live on them if we were. My wife is having panic attacks, and our leaders could care less as long as I'm still productive in my church work. Speaking of those leaders, I am being manipulated and lied to by men that I thought were my friends and role models. Our church just committed to a building that is going to cost it its financial security and become an idol to be worshipped and sacrificed to. That same hipster church makes most of its members feel unhip and unwanted. Many of the mature members are leaving, leaving mostly spiritual babies behind. We're finding it difficult to do our jobs-- draw people into a church-- that grosses us out. We're standing up for what we believe is balance and truth, and we know it's going to risk our career in ministry-- and also our future, because now I'm having my own anxiety attacks that dwarf my wife's by comparison, my blood pressure is through the roof, and my health is shot to hell." Hooboy, would those have been interesting reading.)

Back to that resolution. We want to learn contentment-- no, joy-- in living out the gospel daily without a Master Plan of Spectacular Results-- or a spiritual heirarchy above us doling out approval or disapproval based on our usefulness to its own Master Plan. We will be love, salt, light to the "least of these" even (and especially) if it will not advance our own causes, popularity, power, or sense of piety.

...From Jim Palmer. I haven't read his book, but I'll likely check it out after seeing this:
“God has been trying to free me from the burden of doing something spectacular for him. It has a way of distracting you from the opportunities to be salt and light where you are…I’m starting to recognize that I am immersed in a sea of hurting people every day. If I simply pay attention and follow the promptings of the Spirit in all these little ways, my life is ‘ministry.’” What is at the bottom of our need to do some “great” thing for God? Why do we tend to discount or not value how God works through us along the everyday paths of life?

Hoorah for the everyday dirt paths. No more spiritual tollways for us-- the price is just too high.