Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Lives I'm Not Living

All of those books, paintings, fables, and fire-side stories... all thrown into a single moment of reading and observation -  a window in the imagination that opens and closes mercilessly.  Leaving fragments of nostalgia and fantasy scattered throughout our life and memory.  Something that appears to be reality for seconds - soon fading into the shadows of the walls and whispering for me to follow it into another dimension.   My bones strain under the weight...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Being Vulnerable..

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable. 
- C. S. Lewis

This quote taught me volumes about life.   Yes, the scripture is peppered with this same concept - but, like anything in life, sometimes you can only understand things when they are put in a certain way, at a certain time, by a certain person.  

My heart will become unbreakable and impenetrable without freely loving others.  If I ignore the reality of feeling - oh, the cold-hearted person I would become.  If I was afraid to be honest - oh, the friends I would deceive and lose.  If I was afraid of being hurt - oh, the dreams that would never become reality and the bitterness I would cultivate against the world.    I am a dead soul in a living body without choosing to love and being vulnerable.  Stone and ice.  Eternally unbreakable.

And, my heart will be irredeemable if I choose not to love - choose to not be vulnerable.  Christian theology deeply echoes loving, communal relationships.  Not just toward our neighbor, but toward God as well.  After all, isn’t the Trinity a relational reality?  The Father of the Son, the Son of the Father, the Spirit eternally proceeding from the Father... all interconnected, and all loving the Other in eternal communion and oneness.  Can I really be saved if I choose not to be vulnerable and ignore that beautiful revelation of the Trinity?   Oh, certainly not.. I will, indeed, be irredeemable.  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Robert Frost

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of the easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Day 2012

Thanksgiving is the best smelling holiday known to the world.  There is absolutely no debating that fact.  We Americans certainly know how to feast. =D  

Anyway, I had some leisure time now and then today to take photos in the midst of baking, cooking, trampolining, driving to the grocery store a number of times, eating, watching White Christmas, making camp fires and all the other activities which surround this holiday. 

Mulled Cider, strawberries, and a doughnut muffin for breakfast... 

Mulled Cider

The Angel Biscuits baking. Which, by the way, taste amazing with cranberries and cream cheese. :D

Dad and Jessie Mae sitting by a smoky fire.  I smell like a camp fire. And I LOVE it. 

Prepping the dining room table. 

Jessie playing with her dolls.

The candle Mom saved for Thanksgiving. :D

The traditionally annual thermal effect webcam photo with Jessie. ;) 

Messing around. =)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Glory to God for All Things

The Solovetsky Monastery in Northern Russia is one of the greatest citadels of Orthodox Christianity in Russia.  However, only seventy years ago, this monastery was turned into a prison camp by the Soviet Union.    In fact, it was one of the first communist death camps of a group called the GULAG - which stands for “Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps and Colonies.”   Not only that, but this monastery/prison camp became the “guinea pig” for all types of torture and prison camp research - the prisoners becoming war experiments.    

But, something beautiful, shining, and rejuvenating came out of the bitter pain and anguish.  A stack of paper - a hymn - was found under some papers as the prison camp was being taken back.  This hymn, known to the Orthodox as the “The Akathist Hymn: "Glory to God for All Things” or “The Akathist of Thanksgiving” is a series of kontakions and odes that one of the captives, Fr. Gregory Petrov, wrote shortly before his death in the camp during 1942.  The part of the title “Glory to God for All Things” are the words of St. John Chrysostom as he died in exile centuries earlier.  

Can you imagine that? 

Can you imagine...In the middle of a prison camp, most likely being tortured regularly, and yet writing hymns of Thanksgiving?   But, that is truly what we should try to imagine during these next few days, and throughout our lives.    

        Giving thanks despite the circumstances.   

Being faithful despite the pressure.  

                                   And loving in the face of our enemy.  

Below are some of the hymns from the The Akathist Hymns: 

Kontakion 8
How near Thou art in the day of sickness. Thou Thyself visitest the sick; Thou Thyself bendest over the sufferer's bed. His heart speaks to Thee. In the throes of sorrow and suffering Thou bringest peace and unexpected consolation. Thou art the comforter. Thou art the love which watches over and heals us. To Thee we sing the song: Alleluia!
Kontakion 11
Across the cold chains of the centuries, I feel the warmth of Thy breath, I feel Thy blood pulsing in my veins. Part of time has already gone, but now Thou art the present. I stand by Thy Cross; I was the cause of it. I cast myself down in the dust before it. Here is the triumph of love, the victory of salvation. Here the centuries themselves cannot remain silent, singing Thy praises: Alleluia!

For the complete series of hymns: 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sunrises and Running

The fall sunrise that greeted me on my run this morning... 

Running at night is exhilarating - a dark, cold mass surrounding you.  Running from it, but never really escaping.  Quite mysterious. 


Running in the morning is like witnessing something beautifully Divine touching the earth.
 As someone once said, "Opportunities are like sunrises - if you wait too long, you miss them."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

May we never forget... 

‎"If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Les Miserables

Who else can't wait to see this movie? :D
I can't.
The best musical known to man put to film?
I. think. yes.