Friday, March 16, 2012

The Eyes Have It

The gods we worship write
their names on our faces; be
sure of that.  And we will worship
something....That which dominates
our imagination and our thoughts
will determine our life and character.  
Therefore, it behooves us to be careful
 what we are worshipping, for what
we are worshipping we are

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The senior minister at our
church first shared this 
quote on a sunny Sunday, 
several weeks ago.

Since that time, I have
cradled these words in
my mind, massaging 
them gently, examining
and re-examining them
and asking myself,

What is written on my
own face?

I'm not talking about
laugh lines or crow's feet,
which tell their own tales,
but of deeper things
that are a reflection of 
what I unwittingly 

I don't believe that Mr.
Emerson was necessarily
speaking about religion,
but rather, about where 
we place our priorities
and the personal idols that
we elevate above them.

We may all have good
intentions in our hearts,
but do our actions write
that story on our faces,
or do false idols, such as

computer and tv
celebrity gossip
material wants
physical desires
need for approval
instant gratification,

determine our life 
and character?

As this quote continued
to churn away in my
consciousness, a funny
thing started to happen.

I began suffering from
eye strain.

Which, when you are
an active blogger who
uses a computer, i-pad
or phone screen to work
{and to play} from, 
points seriously to
those items as idols.  I
am guilty of literally
writing them on my face,
as indicated by my
stressed eyes.

This also means that to
satisfy these idols, I have
compromised in other 
areas of my life.


My kids begin their two-
week spring break 
tomorrow, the perfect time
for me to shelve my idols and
to refocus on what I truly
want inscribed on my face....

That I was was fully
present for them.
That love and laughter,
quiet talks and moments
spent together were what
I glorified, not images
on a screen.

In the words of Rabbi
Bradley Shavit Artson,

Worship hope, worship
faith, worship love, worship
justice and then, become
what you worship.  

hope and faith,
love and justice.

I think the eyes have it.

Sending you blessings
over the next two weeks
that the gods who are
most important to you
 shine sweetly from
your dear, dear faces.

See you soon.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Oh Fer Cute

Long ago and far away,
when I was 13 and my
dad's job moved us from
the capitol of Oregon to
the Canadian border of
Northern Minnesota in a 
frosty November, my 
world turned 
upside down.

New {very small} town
New {old} house
New school
New friends
New climate {cold}
New customs
New language

Language, you ask?

No, they didn't speak
French, but there was
a certain dialect that
my whole family
quickly learned.

Hot dish meant

was used on particularly
chilly winter mornings.

Aboot for about.
I went out and aboot
in my boat {bohw-t}.

Going with = coming along.

Ya betcha! is
a happy affirmation.

Another phrase we
heard a lot was Oh fer....

Oh fer cute!
Oh fer sweet!
Oh fer fun!

It was all new, eh?

{Okay that one does 
have a distinctly
Canadian influence.}

I loved it all.  The whole
Mayberry-ness of seeing
folks we knew everywhere
 we went, being able to walk
 or bike nearly anywhere, 
the we are in this together 
philosophy of embracing the 
sub-zero temps and long winters;
the kindness with which
my family was welcomed
into the community.

Oh fer nice, it was!

After high school and
college, I lived away from
Minnesota for 15 years,
before my husband's job
brought us back to the
Land of 10,000 Lakes; this
time to the middle of the state.

When house-hunting with
our realtor, I would spot
different houses that I thought
were really sweet and point
them out.  Oh, that one's
a dumpling, she'd agree, 
nodding her head.

She explained that was her
term for small houses with
a lot of character.

Over the years since our
move back, I have collected
my own favorite dumplings
as I drive hither and yon.  
As I admire them, I hear
that familiar refrain pop 
into my mind.....

Oh fer cute!

Not sure why they have street
signs in their yard?
For the last month or so
I've been suffering from
eye strain, which definitely
is not oh fer cute.   Since
the prescription for that is
to minimize computer time
{and to order special glasses}
I took to the road, yesterday,
camera in hand, to resist the
lure of the computer and to
begin capturing some of my 
choice dumplings to share 
with you.

{Can a church be a dumpling?}
The ones you've seen 
in this post are just a few.

Oh fer cute, eh?

And here ya are,
and it's a beautiful day.
~ Marge Gunderson 

From the movie Fargo, which takes
place and was filmed in Minnesota.  


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Smashing Life

Happy Day,
wherever and whenever
you are reading

Thank you for all
of your wonderful
wishes for my daughter's
birthday.  Really and 
truly, they made us both 

One of the fun gifts
that Elizabeth received
for her 17th was from
my sister-in-law, who
works at a scrapbooking
store called Archiver's.

When she asked me,
Does Elizabeth have a
Smash Book?  I had to
admit that we'd never
heard of it.

Now Wendy {my s-i-l}, is
 a diehard scrapper and
is up on all of the latest
trends in that field.  She
assured me that E. needed
a Smash Book, being an
artsy chick and all : )

She was right.

A Smash Book is, in the
words of it's manufacturer,
K&Company, a place for
 the moments and 
musings that stick.....

Their definition of smash?
The act of sticking your
cool stuff into this 
awesome book.

Unlike modern scrapbooks, 
with memories precisely
placed and embellished, the
Smash Book is meant to
be a hodgepodge of random
bits and pieces that reflect
who you are and what you
are doing, without the
constraints of perfection.

A lot like life.

Because really, behind 
those neatly laid out 
scrapbook pages, such as 
Our Trip to the Zoo 
Off to Disney! 
is the real story.
The gum in the hair on the
way.  The bladder infection
the morning you land.  The
one blue and one black shoe
that didn't get noticed when
dressing in the dark!  

Life is messy.
We smash it in.
It's not always cute or

What would I smash
into our real stories?

The pretty feather found 
at the zoo and carried like a
prize in a tiny hand the 
whole time; the ticket stubs,
and the cool zebra napkin
from the little cafe.....

And of course, pictures.
Not perfectly posed snaps,
but the ones that captured
those impromptu 
little joys.

And yes, the gum in
his hair.

Even as teenagers, my kids
love to bring out their thick,
heavy scrapbooks, representing
nearly ten years of them,
curated lovingly by me.  I kept
at it from pre-school through
sixth grade for Lizzie and 
through third grade for Will.

Then suddenly, it was
no longer my thing.

And it seemed to be time
for them to figure out
which of the moments
they wanted to stick,
rather than me.

{You can guess how
far they got.}

Right now we are truly 
living a Smash Book life ~
all mixed up and crazy and 
hectic, yet in its own way, as 

Which is why I think
Wendy hit the mark, when
she just knew Elizabeth
would appreciate this gift.

The start of a E's first Smash page, using
scraps of 17th b-day wrapping paper.
How do you archive 
your own moments 
and musings?

Are you a meticulous curator,
or, like me, a stuffer-into-
it-later type of

The vanilla-hazelnut
coffee is on and I
would love to hear
how you make your
own moments
stick : )

Memory is a way of
holding on 
to the things you love, 
the things you are, 
the things you never 
want to lose.
~ Kevin Arnold