Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Today's Meat Special: The New Blog Post Series

Today's selection: Squab Kabobs

The story: My friend YellaJacket decided Field & Stream would be the magazine subscription he'd take with his frequent flyer points. He didn't realize nearly every picture would include a gun. So much for taking the mags to Sunday School for the kids to cut out nature photos!

A lovely sheet of stickers was conveniently included in one issue, with this explanation of their use: "Make sure you can track down your wildlife in their deep-freeze wilderness habitat by using these handy labels. They're like radio transmitter collars, except they go on dead things."

As Pink Kitty says, "If steak is murder, murder is tasty!"

Monday, November 28, 2005

"Buy me that squee-rrull, Da-dee"

I sent my sister a list of possibilities for Christmas gifts, from her to me, upon her request. Her reply was an objection to a particular item on the list:

“Clicking a link and buying a squirrel is not so much fun, and it's just one more thing to dust.”

Ring of Fire

Saturday night the 19th, Pink Kitty and I saw Walk the Line, the biographical film of the rise of Johnny Cash from sharecropping farmer's son to country/rock-and-roll star. Really, the film is more than that, so much more. And like Pink Kitty wrote, the film ought to have been titled Ring of Fire.

We began our trek to the movie theater appropriately---listening to Cash's hits. I gotta admit...I had hardly ever listened to Johnny Cash's music. I only remember him from my younger days when there'd be some album of his advertized on TV..."Call now; operators are standing by." I remember seeing a music video or something of his---he was wearing black (surprise, surprise) and singing and walking around an empty boxcar sittin' on the railroad tracks. For the longest time, trains and Johnny Cash and that black outfit just seemed to go together in my mind. And Willie Nelson and Boxcar Willie (aren't they two different people? I dunno) were connected with Cash too.

So...when June (played excellently by Nashville's own Reese Witherspoon) asks Johnny how he developed his sound that imitates the trains' rhythms, the image clicked with me. The steady movin' on to somewhere else...that's what drives the prisoner crazy, as told by Cash's song "Folsom Prison Blues." That freedom...

The film depicts Johnny's raging, abusive alcoholic father's treatment of him. And I see that treatment as having created a prison for Johnny. It was a prison of blame, of bitterness, of hopelessness, and of low self-worth. The perspectives and perceptions of Ray Cash were transferred to his son. Johnny was forever trying to prove his father wrong but missing the mark every single time.

Sound familiar? Sound like our attempts to please our Heavenly Father? They fall short every time. But He knows how to give second chances AND to give the grace we so desperately need (and don't deserve, because on our own, we have not enough merit) in order for what we do to be pleasing to Him.

Perhaps we think too much about grace been doled out in each instance...momentary grace...rather than living in a state of grace, in a spacious place called "I Am Loved by the LORD Almighty." We see life in a way that could be likened to a prison...and in some moments, we are let out for a respite---grace periods. Is God that miserly? No!

He is not playing a game with us, changing the rules constantly about what will please Him. He is not a capricious god like those gods feared by various groups through the ages. He tells us what pleases Him. And most of all, our just being, pleases Him, as a child's merely existing pleases her mother.

Johnny Cash's father, as shown in the movie, never was pleased by his son's talk or actions. And Johnny's mere existence was not enough to please his father. Utter rejection emanated from the man. You see it as he sits across the length of the table at Thanksgiving in Johnny's home, and you hear it in his voice when he harangues Johnny, "You have nothing!"

I think the most poignant moments in the movie come when June Carter, her mother, and her father stay with Johnny after the Thanksgiving meal, to walk with him through an at-home detox from drugs and alcohol---they do what those who are supposed to love Johnny the most, refuse or neglect to do. June cares for and comforts Johnny as he tosses and turns and sweats. Maybelle and Mr. Carter run off the drug dealer who tries to make a house call. Mr. Carter even employs a shot gun in the effort! (Merely to threaten the drug dealer...not actually shoot him.) Then June is her most angelic when she exhorts and encourages Johnny upon his waking from rest after wrestling with the effects of withdrawal. She says, "Johnny, this is your second chance," and smiles, her expression mingling with the sunlight streaming in from the bedroom windows. She who could not stand to be around Johnny in his drug-induced stupors and angry careening out of control, has drawn near to him and has embodied the offer God is extending to Cash.......his redemption has drawn nigh. And the prison door is open, and Johnny can see that...and get up out of the cell and live in freedom.

If prison is the image that repeats in Cash's life, fire is the one that repeats in June's. "Ring of Fire" is the song June wrote to illustrate how the passion between her and Johnny affected her. True, the passion burned hot...and it left some destruction in its wake; but also "the ring of fire" became a true, redemptive love between them, a purifier. It burned the front Johnny had put on for years. It burned June's protective shell on herself and allowed her to shine even brighter.

Reminds me of another ring borne of fire: the One Ring of LotR fame. The evil thing was forged by fire, fire illuminates the Ring's identity, and it is fire that purges the evil.

Fire is destructive, yes; but what is worthy to be left after the fire, will remain. It will be redeemed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Coffee Tawk

You are a Black Coffee

At your best, you are: low maintenance, friendly, and adaptable

At your worst, you are: cheap and angsty

You drink coffee when: you can get your hands on it

Your caffeine addiction level: high

Friday, November 11, 2005

A word on words

This text came to me via e-mail. Original author is unknown.


So what is this stuff about English being easy?

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meaning than any other two-letter word, and that is "UP."

It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we waken in the morning, why do we wake UP?

Sometimes the little word has really special meaning. At other times this UP is just plain confusing.

* At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP A report?
* We call UP our friends.
* We use brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, warm UP the leftovers, and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house, and some guys fix UP the old car.
* People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
* To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.
* A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
* We open UP a store in the morning, but we close it UP at night.
* When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP.
* When it rains, it wets UP the earth. When it doesn't rain for a while, things dry UP.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!

To be knowledgeable of the proper uses of UP, look UP the word in the dictionary. In a desk-size dictionary, the word up, takes UP almost 1/4th the page and definitions add UP to about 30.

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with 100 or more.

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so.............

I'll shut UP .....!

Anybody else got a headache now?