Thursday, November 26, 2009


I caught him...
pink footed!

Soul Collage

Week 1
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Last week, my Sunday school class completed our soul collages. You can see mine below. Just a few words of explanation: two Sundays ago, we met and cut. We were instructed to just cut out anything that struck us, and not to listen to our "disapproving rabbit," (that part of us that tells us not to cut something out because it's....whatever disparaging thing the rabbit comes up with to discourage us). It was really a lot of fun. We got to gab while paging through magazines, and it was strangely calming. Or perhaps not so strange, since it was an enforced break from our hectic everything. A lot of images struck me, but only one made me gasp--that one below of the hole in the mountain--so I knew that one had to make the final cut and be in my collage.

The next week, we glued. The finished collage is only about 5x7 inches, so we really had to be thoughtful about which images to include. Some of us made more than one, so that none of our images had to be discarded. I say we had to be thoughtful, but it was really more intuitive than thoughtful. I just started arranging the elements on the page until it felt right. As I was arranging my images, I noticed that, apart from the dancing people and the four background images that I cut out, everything that I cut out was natural (not surprising, since I love being outside, and feel closest to God in nature), and everything was round--not everything was perfectly round, but everything was round (which symbolizes eternity)."I AM" is, I think, my favorite name for God. I think I blogged about it, but just to recap, to me, "I AM" means that God is who and what God is regardless of how I, or anyone else, perceives God. Just because I think God is...fill in the blank...doesn't mean that God really is. God simply is. God doesn't need me to define Him. The hole in the mountain reminded me of that song that goes, "there's a God-shaped hole in all of us..." I love the dancing people, because I strive to dance in my life (a la "I Hope You Dance"). And I included a selection of three (does anyone see the Trinity?) of my round things, because it just felt right: a twig ball, raindrops on a leaf (which remind me of tears), and a sunflower (which reminds me of joy). I'd also like to point out that my collage spilled out over the edges of my 5x7 card, again, because it just felt right.

So after we finished our collages, we had a little conversation with them, journaling the responses--this is where I hit a block. Some of the questions we were to ask our collage were, "who are you?" "what do you have to give me?" and "what do you want from me?" I had no idea what this card was trying to say to me, but then, I had a breakthrough.

My card told me that it was messy, but perfectly made, just like me. It gave me the realization that I am imperfect on purpose, that God is the author of my imperfections. And it wanted from me, just acceptance. This soul collage symbolizes to me that, just like God, I am who and what I am, regardless of how others perceive me, or even how I perceive myself. I am who and what I am, and that is beautiful.

It's really amazing to me that this little collage of images, put together with not much thought, can be so meaningful and transforming--I guess all that's required is an open spirit to accept the message.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You are so blessed! and Take time to...

I went to the dentist the other day. When the dentist came in to do his 30 second token appearance, where he pretends to be checking my teeth but really he's just poking a couple places in my mouth with a sharp pointy metal thing, he said to me, "what a beautiful day...and you have such beautiful kids. You are so blessed." Well, I agree that I am blessed, but I must admit that I was taken aback by his bold declaration. Plenty of times, I've heard people say that they themselves are blessed, and I've also been included in a general we are blessed, but I don't think anyone has ever told me that I am blessed before. And why does my dentist think he knows enough about me to know that I'm blessed? To tell you the truth, my first gut reaction (in my head, because 1. I agree, and 2. I didn't want to be rude, and 3. the guy's hand was in my mouth) was, "you don't know me. You don't know my life. How dare you say that I'm blessed? How dare you judge me?"

I've sat with this for a while, and I've come to realize that my dentist does know enough about me to declared me blessed. He knows it was a beautiful day. He knows I have three beautiful and (mostly) well-behaved boys (when they're in his office). He knows that I can afford dental care. He knows that I live in one of the most prosperous countries in the world. He knows that I am a child of God. In fact, I'm pleased that he noticed my blessedness, and I am grateful for the generous reminder.

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The other day Bubby and I drove to the state park closest to our house to walk down to the waterfall and up the steps to the overlook. It was another gorgeous day, and we really enjoyed ourselves. On the way down, Bubby was counting squirrels. We saw a huge red-headed woodpecker, pecking, and then turned toward the river side of the path to see a bald eagle sitting in a tree 20 feet from us. I love that waterfall, and I love being outside. The people who passed us on the steps to the overlook were suitably impressed that Bubby was walking up by himself. We spent some time just looking and exploring, and then we headed back up the trail toward our truck and home.

It's a short path, around half a mile, but it is very steep, and the leaves on the paved part of the path made it quite slippery. I was having some trouble pushing the stroller, so I stopped to rest, and of course Bubby took this as his cue to exit the stroller. Ok, I thought. I'll rest and he can play. Good. But then I was ready to go on and Bubby wasn't. Bubby was busy scooping the fallen leaves into a pile and then jumping in them. Bubby was busy gathering armloads of leaves and then throwing them at me. Bubby was busy throwing leaves into the air and then running under them. I was annoyed. I was done with the waterfall, done with the path, done being outside, and ready to get to the truck and get home.

And then I realized. This was my agenda for the day. This, being with my big baby boy and experiencing the joy of playing in the leaves. That's why we went to the waterfall that day, not to check it off on our to-do list, but to enjoy each other and being outside . And while I was ready to be done, Bubby wasn't, quite yet. It's not like I had to be anywhere; it's not like I had anything better to do--in fact, all I had waiting for me at home was the endless piles of dirty clothes and dirty dishes. So why not? Why not take time to play in the leaves? It's one of my favorite things to do in the fall--how can I deny my little guy that pleasure? All that's required is that I let go of my agenda, my plan, and be willing to live fully in this moment, instead of always planning for the next.

So many times in life, we're looking forward, worrying about what tomorrow holds, focused on what comes next, what our plan is, when we should be living this day, this hour, this minute. I think we miss out on so much that way.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10b

Monday, November 16, 2009


Hi. My name is Scarlet B, and I have parking anxiety.

Due to practical considerations, I drive a Suburban most of the time. Just in case you are not aware, Suburbans are big vehicles, much, much, MUCH larger than the little Toyota Tersel that was my first car. This summer I kept thinking, I gotta take the kids to the children's museum, I gotta take the kids to the science museum, but I didn't because I knew I would have to park in a parking garage. I have avoided THE MALL for the same reason. I've come to a point now where I'm fine parking in diagonal spots, but where the spaces are straight in, I must park in a pull-through location, even if it means I'm walking for a long time to get to where I'm going. This is progress.

My husband laughs about my parking anxiety, but I honestly think it's a good thing. After all, I haven't crashed in to anything yet. However, it seems like when you're arranging your life so that you will avoid difficult parking situations, it tends to be somewhat limiting. That's how I know I have a problem. I don't think there's a 12 step program for parking...yet.

A couple of weekends ago, my kids' school held their annual bazaar fundraiser. Hubby took the little car into the cities for a football game, leaving me with the 'Burban. I'm sure he was thinking it would be more comfortable for me and the kids, but he didn't take my parking anxiety into account (that's because my hubby has never felt vehicle or driving anxiety of any kind). I knew that parking would be difficult. There are exactly 4 pull-through spots at their school, and about 20 diagonal spots, in addition to about 24 straight in slots. I decided we wouldn't go. No way was there going to be a good parking outcome for me and my boat, with that many other people around. But Logo really, really wanted to go, and so, finally, I relented. I told myself that we could drive by and if there wasn't any parking I could just drive back on home. Don't ask what my plan was to placate the kids, if I had to bail.

I passed the first parking lot, the one with the pull-through spaces. No empty spots. In fact, people were already parked in non-spots: full. I drove along the road to the next lot. Several cars were already parked along the road, as well, leaving free only places where the ditch is very steep. I drove through the lot with the diagonal spaces. Nothing! I was ready to head for home when I saw Jack's mom heading toward a vehicle. "What's she doing?' I thought. She must be grabbing something from her car, because I know she wouldn't be leaving now. I drove back around, searching for an acceptable spot on the road. Nothing. I pulled back into the parking lot to turn around and saw...Jack's dad, backing out of their diagonal spot! My pulse quickened. I hoped I could get there in time...this was my one chance to salvage the situation and...victory! I snagged the spot.

It was a good outcome this time. We went to the bazaar and had lots of fun. Got lots of useless little prizes that are now broken or lost. But if Jack's dad hadn't left at that exact moment (Code-man told me later he was taking Jack to a hockey tournament), we wouldn't have. I've just done the first step, admitting I have a problem, so hopefully, now I can be on the road (ha) to recovery. This week, the school, next week, THE MALL!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

One more thought

So I can tell this is a you had to be there moment, but it tickled me, so now I'm going to thrust it upon all you unsuspecting people.

I purchased a gift certificate for someone yesterday. It was an online gift certificate, and I had to enter information about the recipient, so the program could generate a print-able certificate for me to present to the lucky bestow-ee. This particular GC is going to a family, not an individual, so when I entered the information, I entered "The" in the space for first name, and "S____ Family" in the space for last name. I completed my purchase, and everything was good on the GC: it read "The S____ Family" as I intended. And then...I got an email. The subject of this email is "[this organization] gift certificate for The." If you are not currently chuckling, you are not going to get it, so I'm just going to stop here.


It's been a while since I've blogged, so today you're just going to get a mish-mash of thoughts that have been rattling around in my head for the past week. It's kind of like leftover night...

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It was my Dad's birthday the other day. Happy birthday, Dad!

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I find it amusing that after more than 14 years of marriage, there are still things that I don't know about my husband. For example, I've known for a while now that he considers himself to be a not very great speller, but what I didn't know was that when he is writing something, and doesn't know how to spell a particular word, he'll just try to think of a different word that means the same thing, and that he does know how to spell. I never knew that about him, although I suspect it's fairly common. And then, the other day, I commented to him about how someone we know never serves just plain vegetables--she always adds something or other to them (I think my exact words were something like, why does so and so always have to go and mess up perfectly good vegetables?) And hubby said to me, "I don't know, maybe that's why I don't like plain vegetables." What? All this time, and I never knew that my very own husband prefers vegetables with stuff in them. I just assumed that, like me, he is a purist when it comes to his veggies. *Sigh* So maybe now I know everything, but I suspect I don't. I suspect I never will know everything there is to know about my husband, but I suppose that keeps things interesting (or at least amusing).

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An actual paraphrased (because I can't remember what I said 2 minutes ago, much less 5 days ago) conversation that occurred between my husband and myself.
Sawblock: Is there anything I can do for you tonight?
Scarlet: Sure. You can sweep the floor, put away the dishes, put away your clothes...
Scarlet: Oh, can you please finish up the ice cream for me?
Sawblock: What did you say?
Scarlet: Can you please finish up the ice cream?
Sawblock: (incredulous expression) Well, how much is there?
Scarlet: There's kind of a lot, but I definitely think it's do-able.
Sawblock: Hmm. There's kind of a lot?
Scarlet: Yeah. It's OK if you can't, but I'd really appreciate it if you could.
Sawblock: OK, I'll try.
Scarlet: (opens the ice cream container) Oh, this is totally do-able. No problem.
Sawblock: Yup.

Do you think I'm making unreasonable demands on my husband?

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The other day I was feeling so industrious. I noticed that the tire on our bike trailer was flat, and realizing that Hubby wasn't going to have time to repair it before heading off on another business trip, I decided to fix it myself. It's probably been at least 14 years since I've fixed a flat bike tire, because I don't get many flats, AND I have a husband who likes to do that kind of thing. So I fixed it Tuesday, and checked Wednesday and it was still inflated. Whoo-ee! I'm a do-it-yourself-er. I'm a problem solver. I am useful. And then today, I realized that it was flat again. So I'm no longer any of those things. Now I am a failure. I haven't yet checked to see whether my patch failed or if there is a new puncture. I did check the tire to see if there were any sharp things, but perhaps I missed it. What a bummer.

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I think it exasperates my husband just a little bit that when he is around and I find a bug in our house, I make him capture and dispose of it for me instead of doing it myself. So, Hubby, here's the deal with that. Every woman wants to be rescued. Every woman wants to be taken care of. And yes, I can kill my own bugs. In fact, I can kill other people's bugs (and became known for that in my one stint at Mountain TOP), too. Bugs don't bother me. But I do need a hero in my life, and honey, that's you. So every time I find a bug, I give you the opportunity to make me fall even more in love with you by letting you rescue me. And let me tell you, it works. I am more in love with you each day, because I know that you will do anything for me, even ridiculous things, like slaying bugs or finishing ice cream. Thanks for being my hero and friend.

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Hmmm. I guess there's not really so much rattling around in my brain as I thought there was. Sure seems like there are more random thoughts in there...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Honor and the Case of the Missing Fuzzy Pink Slipper

My brother (aka the monster I created) has received a home brewing honor--he has been chosen MR Beer's brewer of the month. Check out his blog and the write-up on the MR Beer website. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this, but I think it's mostly proud :-) Good choice on who to drink your beer with, bro. I know the song says in heaven there is no beer, but I don't think that's really true.
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So I finally got tired of waiting for someone else to do it and bought myself some new fuzzy pink slippers on Friday. The old blue ones were really sad: they were literally falling apart and had holes in them where there really shouldn't have been holes. The new pink ones are so soft and comfortable, and only have holes where there should be holes. I wore them for the first time on Saturday morning, and my little toes were so warm and cozy. When it was time to go to the big boys' last soccer games of the season, I sat on the end of my bed, took my new, cozy, fuzzy, pink slippers off, put on my boots, and went out into the cool morning.

When I returned from soccer, I took off my boots and went into my bedroom to slip into my new, warm, pink, indoor foot-wear, only to discover my precious slippers were now missing. I wandered forlornly into the living area asking, "has anyone seen my fuzzy pink slippers? I know I left them right by my bed. Anyone?" They pretty much ignored me, but as I neared the kitchen I spotted a clue. One lonely fuzzy pink slipper was sitting there on the floor. I pounced upon it, and immediately put it on my left foot, hoping that the right slipper would soon be found. Nope. I spent the next 4 hours or so wearing just one slipper. I even offered a reward for the safe return of my other pink friend, but I saw no sign of it anywhere. Dejected, I went to bed Saturday night still not knowing if my little fuzzy scuff would ever return.

On Sunday afternoon, after Bubby had wandered off with half a peanut butter sandwich and returned a few minutes later with only a few small morsels remaining, Hubby asked him, "what did you do with the rest of your sandwich?" Bubby claimed, "I ate it," but we didn't really believe him. I said, "it's probably behind the couch--that's where he puts things." And that's when it dawned on me! Perhaps my poor lost slipper had somehow found its way into our family's own personal Bermuda triangle behind the couch...and that's where it was. The case of the missing fuzzy pink slipper has been solved!
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Our final applesauce counts are in: 32.5 quarts canned, 2.5 quarts frozen or consumed, and by Hubby's estimates, we've still got enough apples to make about 5 more quarts (I'm done, though, just in case you were wondering). Add that to the 10.5 quarts we have left over from last year, and you can see that we are well supplied with applesauce.

Apple rings! That's it, Sawblock! Apple rings! I will if you will...
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