Friday, August 27, 2004

New furniture at the casita

My wee little apartment, La Casita, has new furniture. At least it's new to me. And Pink Kitty helped me christen it with a Pampered Chef party Tuesday night. My guests included Elena's Mom, StarGazer, Salsa Guy, Texas Sisterchick, Photo&Song, and the best PC lady in the world--GOPMama.

A good time was had by all eating the yummy brie dip and the silky chocolate fondue. Check out the Pampered Chef Web site for the fondue recipe, plus others.

Much of the furniture came from Pink Kitty's dad DetectoMan's estate. (Detecto died of a sudden heart attack earlier this year.) I said to PK, "Ashpenaz comes over to help clean; I come over to shop!!!" PK is thrilled to have some of the stuff out of her dad's and now in a new home...all cutened up with recent purchases from Pier 1!

I LOVE Pier 1!!! And NOT because of the Fab 5 member, Thom. NO! It's a great store, and the location from which I bought my desk and chair has the friendliest sales associates in the Music City area. Colors for this fall range from rich reds and oranges to deep purples and luscious greens. Embellishment is the name of the game. A little flash here, a little beadwork there---it's a beautiful thing.

So La Casita is getting a makeover, and she is one cute chiquita of a casita. Lots more red than used to be. Less blue. More warmth. Let's heat up those white walls! I would love to paint, but I'm not sure what the management would think about cinnamon or terra cotta or pumpkin.

I'll let you know how the home office redecorating goes. La Casita is saying adios to the twin bed and the Mary Engelbreit look, in favor of something more exotic and sassy. La Casita's senorita is hoping to donate said twin bed to the local women's transitional housing program. And some of the other items may go as well.

Well, the laundry-filing-movie hour is coming, so Elena must skeedaddle.

Don't forget to check out "the OTHER blog," Cozy Cuppa Corner, at (Cut and paste into your browser.) I've posted new revisions of poetry I've had sitting around in the hard drive for a while. Let me know what you think.

¡Hasta de lunes!


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Sad news

The wedding has been called off indefinitely. Please pray for my sister and her now ex. After talking with her, I understand her decision to put off getting married, and I think it's for the best. Only God knows what will happen. I'm praying the best for her and for him.

I know you're dying for details, but those aren't for broadcasting as you can understand.

Not the most exciting leadoff for a break-the-blog-fast, is it? Sorry...

Edit: Further developments from this situation have...developed. Just keep praying that my sister will be enabled to make wise, judicious and timely, decisions about her all its aspects. I love my lil' Ashpenaz and I want her to continue to grow to be one amazing woman! God knows the way she takes and when she comes through, she will be as gold.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Prayer request

I need to know if God is pulling up my roots from my current church home, in order to send me somewhere else, or if He wants me to deepen my roots at the current place.

A week ago this past Sunday I visited a new church plant not far from my apartment and not far from my childhood home. It is an intentional multiethnic church planting. Right now most of the members are African-Americans and there are a handful of pale-faces. ;o) It's exciting to me that they want to tell people about the God who loves them and that they want to connect people from different backgrounds. The entire service was chock full of Scripture.

His sermon was basically the command: "Get out of the boat."

And at my home church yesterday, the sermon was about what faith is.

I gotta admit. I've been rebellious against God lately. Not obvious acts of rebellion that others can see. But attitudes. I've been avoiding many Christian things because I didn't want to merely have the plastic veneer of shiny-happiness that so many Christians wear (whether real or not). I didn't want the prepackaged surface, youth-group-focused media. I want the "walked the hard, dusty road of life" wisdom of REAL people, including the ancients, the first-century Christians, the early church fathers, and later faithful folk.

I want to know and be with the real God. Yes, the same One who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit...but unmediated by the latest packaging of Christianity. Even if it is hard to hear and accept and obey...I want the TRUTH.

And I want to be passionate about REAL things, not just fluff and stuff that impresses people for a split second till they switch their internal channel to the next interesting thing.

I don't need to be famous, but I want to make a lasting difference. I want my life to count for something good and profound. Not to just get up, primp, go to work, correct spelling & grammar all day, come home and figure out what to eat, veg out or go out or do chores, go to bed, and get up and do it all over again. Ick... I think if I had hubby and kids that routine would at least be serving someone else besides me, but it's just me right now.

And so many folks out there are feeling the same way. We've all chatted about it. Things haven't changed much.

But maybe the things are changing the movements of the starfish stalking, attacking, and eating their prey. In "real time," starfish seem to move at a glacial pace, but with time-elapse photography, you can see the "fierce battle" that goes on as they hunt and devour sea urchins. (Thank you to an episode of Nature from PBS. I forget the title!)

So hang in there! I'm hangin' on too. By the tips of my fingers...but I'm hanging on nonetheless.


Friday, August 06, 2004

More about the music

About tracks from Jill Paquette's CD:

"Come to Me" verbalizes God's call to the struggling believer. And that's me. Sometimes all my faith is the determined clinging to the intellectual truth that the one true God is the Father of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David...and Jesus Christ, our Savior. And that intellectual belief often angrily rants against false religions. All others ARE false! At times, those thoughts are the only ones I have that are akin to the Christian walk. Seems odd. StarGazer and I were discussing this, and his reminder that one's faith fluctuates in its types of manifestation---throughout one's life---reassured me. Just read the lyrics. You'll see what I mean.

"Lift My Eyes" contains a line reminiscent of C. S. Lewis's "The Weight of Glory" sermon:

(from the song) "Love tells me without speaking, resonating in my soul,
With a light that's ever reaching, ever letting me go."

(from Lewis's sermon) "...this brings me to the other sense of glory---glory as brightness, splendor, luminosity. ... We do not want merely to see beauty,though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words---to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. ... That is why the poets tell us such lovely falsehoods. They talk as if the west wind could really sweep into a human soul; but it can't. They tell us that 'beauty born of murmuring sound' will pass into a human face; but it won't. Or not yet. For if we take the imagery of the Scripture seriously, if we believe that God will one day give us the Morning Star and cause us to put on the splendour of the sun, then we may surmise that both the ancient myths and the modern poetry, so false as history, may be very near the truth as prophecy. At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, WE SHALL GET IN. [emphasis mine]"

That last sentence brought tears to my eyes yesterday. "We shall get in." Into a place and a Person, our true home. We will be with Love and be inside it and infused with it. Not the vague, abstract notion of love. But Love, the immortal, eternal, all-knowing, all-being, everywhere-present God who created us to be His children forever.

This is the reality of why we are here. And we young people long for a representation of reality that proves itself to be truly pointing to what is real. (We cannot contain reality, only describe our understanding of it.) But we seize upon the representation and cling to it till it is bled dry of all meaning. Our quaint, trite Christianese phrases did not begin so. At one time, when they were first coined, they overflowed with meaning, put words to that "love...without speaking, resonating in [the] soul."

The life of faith must be, has to be, a continual holding on and letting go, like a flying trapeze artist releasing one apparatus and reaching for another, trusting that he will not fall in the interval between release and grasp. Yet, unlike the trapeze routine, this process is not planned by us. We do not know how long the interval is, nor the precise timing needed for a successful release and grasp. But we know the One who does, and we must leave the "routine" to Him. Then there are the times we want to know ahead of time---we want to practice the routine over and over before we commit to performing it. But God doesn't tell you, every time you want to know, "Yes, this is the trial run. You will have to do it again." (God is a great Teacher but He doesn't have "tells" that let you know which are the most important notes for the exam or what questions will be essay assignments!) Only in the looking back do you understand that perhaps you were preparing for the next task or that you had to experience again a lesson you thought you had mastered before.

It is times like those, the times of wanting to know what's going on and why, that I go "nuts" and crawl the walls, so to speak. At least in my mind. And often in my actions. Words too. This truism is probably too cliched, but I like it anyway: "Worry does not empty tomorrow of its troubles: it empties today of its strength." Too often I have not been present in the present. To mitigate the moment's troubles and vainly to ward off tomorrow's, I have fretted during one activity or another about the next thing to be done, or even about future possibilities or certainties. And what use is that fretting? None!

So I ask myself---Well, what do I do then, if I am not to think, speak, and act in the way I have in the past? And I answer (perhaps God's voice is entering now): Elena, do you have to have that answer now? Can you not just do the next thing and the next thing and the next? Just "one foot in front of the other," to quote a song from an old claymation Christmas film. And trust that some of those next things will be what prepares you for a great-great-great-great-grandchild activity of that task? You see, time management is one of my great "areas for improvment."

Which reminds me...time to end this post. What a lovely, rambly time we've had, huh!?!

Comments welcome!

In the CD player: Jill Paquette

This young Canadian writes heartfelt lyrics and music, articulating the twists and turns life takes when you refuse to walk the "vinyl-boxed" version of Christianity but a real faith.

It's part of the newest soundtrack for my life.

I'll blog about specific tracks later. Time for lunch at the tea room!

In the CD player: Jill Paquette

This young Canadian writes heartfelt lyrics and music, articulating the twists and turns life takes when you refuse to walk the "vinyl-boxed" version of Christianity but a real faith.

It's part of the newest soundtrack for my life.

I'll blog about specific tracks later. Time for lunch at the tea room!

Thursday, August 05, 2004

The OTHER blog

I have a blog about books and such. Go there for the more literary musings (and my poetic prosings). This blog will be more silliness and oddities found in my Web crawlings.

"Today's blog post has been brought to you by the suffix 'ing,' the letter 'l,' and the color green."

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Let the weddingpalooza begin!

Ashpenaz and her wonderful guy are engaged! He proposed on July 30th at The Melting Pot. The ring is beautiful. And she is beaming all the time.

Date not set yet. But she's got the dress on order. Will keep you updated!

---the maid of honor (she already asked. *grin*)