Where I am. . .
I’m sitting at the kitchen table. The kitchen is tidy and well-lit as afternoon begins to darken into evening. (Later: At least this is where I was when I started this thing! I’ve been writing the post off and on this evening, between doing other things.)
What I hear. . .
I am listening to the CD Mozart for Morning Coffee. It isn’t morning, and I am not drinking coffee, but the music is light and cheery, matching my mood. The furnace rumbles as it presses warm air through the vent behind me.
I am wearing. . .
Minnetonka moccasins. Blue jeans. A grey tank top under a light-weight, super-comfy grey cardigan with small white polka dots. I received the cardigan as a Christmas gift from Josiah and Aimee, and I get compliments on it every time I wear it. I am wearing the same necklace that I wear every single day. It is a small, simple silver necklace with colored (costume) jewels spaced around it; the necklace is understated and pretty (and I get many compliments on it, too). My grandmother wore this necklace every single day for many years, and she gave it to me as a gift before she died. Now I wear it every day because I love and miss Grammy, and I would love to be just like her!
In my kitchen. . .
I have been eating a lot of “raw” foods (probably more than 75% of my diet), many of them from Mimi Kirk’s book or from her recipe videos on you-tube. I love her raw muesli. I make it routinely, top it with bananas and pomegranate seeds, and pour homemade pumpkin seed milk or almond milk over it. I served this to Melissa when she was here recently, and she loved it, too. Often, I have Mimi’s chia seed “tapioca” for breakfast or for dessert. Actually I am eating it right now, and I really love this stuff. (I keep saying I “love” my food, and I do.) What a great, healthy thing to eat if you’re into chia seeds! (They are super-nutritious and energy-giving.) In my opinion, this really does taste deliciously like tapioca! For awhile now, my early-every-morning alkalinizing drink has been cucumber, lemon juice, and water whizzed in the blender (and then I rub the cucumber peels on my face, leave it for awhile, and rinse!). I still have a green smoothie every day, too, and this always includes kale or spinach. In addition to my almond butter-miso-raw honey spread, I mixed butter with raw honey, Indian chili powder (hot!), and cinnamon to spread over toast, too. I still braise lots of veggies and sometimes roast them, and I eat different kinds of rice bowls with lots of vegetables, too. Oh, I’m eating lots of different things that make me feel healthy, clean, bright, and strong! J
What I’ve been doing. . .
Well, I rode up to Portland for the day with my sister, JoAnne, this past week. We stopped up the highway a ways at the town of another sister of ours to meet her at a coffee shop. She would have joined us for the trip to Portland, but there wasn’t room in the car (drat!). It was really fun to visit with Nancy. From there, we drove north to Portland to the apartment that Aimee and Josiah share with Melissa to pick up JoAnne’s daughter, Alia, who had been visiting the girls for a few days. JoAnne’s gang took off for IKEA, and Melissa and I followed soon after, but we stopped off for lunch at Native Bowl, a great food cart in Portland that serves amazing vegan rice bowls. (The lady who owns/runs it is gorgeous and has this awesome online cooking show.) I ordered the Couch Bowl—pronounced “kooch”—and ate it in the car as Melissa and I headed to IKEA to catch up with the rest of the gang. We really had a lovely talk in the car, and I was thankful to have just a little bit of time with my daughter. We roamed IKEA, and somehow Nicky and I ended up shopping together. I wasn’t going to buy anything, but I walked out of the store with a white serving tray that I liked (I did pay for it!). Before hitting I-5 to go back home, we stopped by one of Portland’s many great food co-ops where there is an excellent smoothie/juice cart outside. Drinks for everyone! But I bought a minneola and a bar of dark chocolate with salted almond instead. We drove away and chatted all the way down the highway and arrived home after dark. It was a fun day.
Okay. I think I got carried away with that one day.
Today was a gorgeous, clear, sunny, chilly Sunday. I went to church and sat with my sister’s family, as usual. The sermon was excellent. After church, I went home with my sister’s gang and printed out my booklist for this next term. Zane and I decided to ride the bus together to the university, but after we stood at the bus stop for a long time and the bus didn’t come and didn’t come, we suddenly remembered that it was Sunday, and the bus schedule is different on Sunday, so we started walking down the sidewalk toward campus because the sunny, cool air felt so nice that we wanted to be outside. We walked about a mile and a half before we saw the bus coming behind us, and we waited for it at the next stop. At the university, Zane and I both bought our books for winter term, and then we sat in the bookstore and waited for JoAnne and Alia to catch up with us. I had a great visit with Zane, both on our walk and at the bookstore. After Alia bought the things she needed, we all went to Trader Joe’s to stock up on food stuff, and then I was dropped off at home.
Okay. I got carried away with this day, too.
What I am reading, listening to, watching. . .
The Hidden Power of Kindness by Lawrence G. Lovasick; Parables of the Christ-Life by Lilias Trotter; Live Raw by Mimi Kirk; Tim Keller sermons on CD;
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink; Mariam’s Kitchen by Elizabeth Ehrlich; you-tube clips from the old What’s My Line? TV show (don’t ask me how I got started with this!); I Love Lucy you-tube clips; Mimi Kirk’s raw food videos (she’s good); various Arvo Part CD’s; Café de Paris Accordion Classics; A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson. (I am not delving into anything mind-bendingly deep or challenging.)
How I am taking care of my health. . .
Eating very well and staying hydrated. Going to bed early and sleeping plenty. Exercising routinely. Going outside. Using non-toxic products for home and body care. Making sure I laugh every day (hence the Lucy clips online), which isn’t hard to do around my extended family! Dealing well spiritually with stress and emotions (striving to let go, pray more, and trust God; aiming to contentedly go with the flow of my days and to embrace interruptions and the unexpected).
Plans for the future. . .
Do first things first. Study hard—effectively and efficiently. Don’t waste time. Be a little more giving and attentive in my relationships.
Questions you have asked me recently:
What I am studying. . .
What are my plans for school and after (Michele asked this one)? I don’t really talk much about this, even with my friends because I’m not entirely sure what the future holds! I have a plan, but I tell the Lord all the time that I only want to be in His will. I ask Him to guide me, to open doors, to redirect me whenever He sees fit, and to give me ears to hear and eyes to see so that I will always follow Him. No need to worry about that last bit, though, because He just seems to get us where He wants us when we are seeking His will (in spite of us!). So, unless I am redirected somewhere along the way, I am aiming to finish my BA soon, and I will be applying to grad schools to work toward an MA in counseling. I am considering three schools for my masters degree, but one of them has emerged as a strong favorite, for a number of reasons. With counseling there are a lot of possibilities, and I have quite a few ideas in my mind regarding what I might do that I am juggling and praying about. I definitely like the idea of working in a capacity where I am directly helping others, so counseling appeals to me, plus age is not a detriment when working in this field, and I am no twenty-something student!
Living slowly. . .
Jennie wondered if I might have time to post the second part of my speaking notes on margin or whatever it was that I called it in the post she is referring to. I have looked at those notes again, and they really are sort of in a code that must have made some sense to me in 2005 when I used them to speak to a group of women. But today, they look like a disordered jumble of thoughts and ideas that would take quite a bit of time to reassemble into something coherent. And the thing is, my thinking on this “slow life” thing has developed a bit more since I wrote those notes. It hasn’t changed, but has become clearer and simpler. I actually feel stronger about it now than I did before. I think this world is just way too busy and distracted, and people’s lives seem fragmented, in my opinion (though I don’t mean to thrust that opinion on anyone). My point of view is not a pattern for proper living.
But I am glad that I chose, and still choose, a slow life. There are times when things get busy for me now, like when midterms and finals hit each term, but it is temporary, and I go right back to slow when it’s over. There are just many, many benefits to taking life more slowly than most of the rest of the world does.
For one thing, it is spiritually important, and I think this is vastly undervalued. Pascal said that the whole problem with man is that he can’t sit alone in his own room. I think there is a lot of truth to this! When we stop moving around like crazy (even if we are doing good things), the dust from the swirl of busyness settles and we begin to see more clearly. “Be still and know that I am God.” Be still. In stillness, our hearts and minds are quiet, and we hear better. We see both ourselves and God more clearly: We begin to see ourselves as we are, we begin to understand our struggles, we begin to grasp the mercy and love of God, and we begin to discern the path we should be walking. Stillness and quietness are foundational for gaining knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. Slowing things down helps us to stop spinning our wheels and gain some traction. We actually make more/deeper/better progress when we take our time.
Jesus didn’t seem to be hurrying about. Crowds were always demanding of him, always pressing against him, always pursuing him. Jesus met many (not all) of the needs of those around him, and he was tired, but with all of the demands on him (and his real ability to meet each one) he didn’t go into hyper-ministry. He took time out with his disciples (he cooked them fish!). He took time to pray at length—the Bible says that very early in the morning, Jesus went off alone to a solitary place to pray. And when there were demands on him, he was in no hurry and under no sense of pressure to meet them now. He arrived at the home of Mary and Martha, three days after Lazarus died, and they were upset with him because they had called for him to come days ago! Jesus kept things simple. His pace was not frantic. He knew the importance of being quiet and being alone. We can learn from him, just as he says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
We live in a time when slowing down does not simply mean that we casually choose not to get caught in the speedy flow of our culture, but, increasingly, we must absolutely do battle against speed in order not to get caught up in the flow. And nowadays we have the added pressure placed on us by modern technology to be ever-available and always-distracted. But battling against this is very much worth the fight, in my opinion.
We have a huge, wonderful source of information right at our fingertips. This is amazing, and it can be extremely useful, but it can also really hinder the healthy flow of our real, everyday lives. I certainly wouldn’t tell anyone what amount of technology should be allowed in their lives, but I am constantly rethinking the role I will allow it to play in my life, and I like to keep it to a minimum (whatever that means, right?! and I don’t always succeed, but most of the time I think I do). I don’t want the flow of my physical life to be continually interrupted and disrupted by devices that can get to me, or capture my attention, 24 hours a day.
I will say that living “slowly,” or with margin, is not just about staying home or keeping too-much technology at bay, but it’s also about how we live at home and with finances and with everything! A super-cluttery, always-way-too-messy-out-of-control house and wildly undisciplined living do not make an environment that is conducive to creating a life of margin and peace and ministry.
And now I get to type my favorite Blake quote one last time (!): “All in order, sweet and lovely.” And I’ll quote the Bible, too: “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” And why not thrown in Anne Morrow Lindbergh who said that it is only framed in space that beauty blooms? And all of this goes for our whole life; order is not just about the arrangement of our stuff! A beautiful life of margin saves space—uncluttered and unhurried—for the unexpected, for surprise, for serendipity, for spontaneity, for compassion, for instant hospitality, for relationships, and for lots of good things to happen.
I going to end this part abruptly without having really said what I wish I could say, but it’s time to put up the post and move along because I have a FAFSA to fill out before I go to bed! (And I sort of cringe that I'm posting another sorta-sloppy, incomplete message!)
Well, that’s all. I will add a few photos to this post in the next day or two because I don’t want the opening post of my blog to be all text, but I won’t write any more posts. I will likely return to the comments, though, and respond to some of those. I wanted to do that this evening but have run out of time.
And just so you know, I won’t be popping back in occasionally to put up a note. I need to focus on the things the Lord put on my heart when I felt led to shut down the blog. It’s time for me to be quiet.
I said I would probably never blog again, and I think that might be true. But if I ever do—way down the road—yes, I will put up a note here and at HDH (but don’t expect it), so if you want to keep me in your reader, that’s a good way to find out if a post pops up. But, on the other hand, if I never do put up that post, I’ll just be cluttering up the list of blogs on your reader!
It’s taken me a long time to leave after I told you I would be ending the blog, hasn’t it, but I wanted to give advance notice rather than just abruptly going away.
Thanks so much for being here. I’ve so enjoyed getting to know you and spending time with you these last months. (Gosh, I have a lump in my throat!) And thank you, again, for your sweet, truly encouraging notes to me and for your prayers. If you think of me down the road, please pray for me! I will pray for you when I think of you.