Monday, April 28, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
While I was locked in the closet, I mean working on homework, I heard the most blood curdling, horror flick shriek coming from the girls' room. I leaped over piles of (clean? dirty?) laundry in an (almost) single bound (actually it was more like scaling Mt. Everest) to go see what the trouble was. Bear was shaking and about to dissolve into a puddle. Bug was on top of the dresser with his footie jammies unzipped and stepped out of. They are green so he looked like a goofy superhero – “It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a frog!” So he's on the dresser half-naked, dancing to the song “My Baby Hippo” with his big white belly hanging out, but this is not why Bear is screaming. “A spy-doo, mommy! A spy-doo!” The “spider” turned out to be an ant of microscopic proportions (yes, I had an ant in my house, so what?!) The ant was smushed. The day was saved. Now I must go. The Frog Man calleth.
Some very astute observers may have noticed the “Flotsam Jetsam” tag on some of my entries. Normally the terms flotsam and jetsam have somewhat negative connotations, a sense that they are debris and detritus left from a storm or shipwreck. But I witnessed that after the storm or the wreck, all kinds of treasures can be found and this is what led to my Flotsam Jetsam Journal.
“I turned 30 two days ago and for a while now have been obsessed with leaving a legacy. Of course the greatest legacy I could ever leave is the one I myself was given which is a knowledge of and relationship with Christ. That is my greatest hope and prayer for my dear Bean and any others yet to come. . . [little did I know!]
This, however, is a legacy of a more mundane sort. I love to collect quotes, clippings, odds & ends, bits & pieces, ideas and “jottings.” For a while these have been collecting in “paper boxes” in grade school, file folders, binders, flotsam & jetsam in drawers, purse bottoms, pockets and crummy notebooks. So this journal is a new attempt at “organizing” all the clutter into a single place. The idea is not to be too organized, though . . .” And so was born the Flotsam Jetsam Journal.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
However, before we go any further, there is one point that must be clarified. I will continue to count "French bashing" as one of my many hobbies. My positive review of this book changes this fact in no way, no matter how un-Christian it is of me to be Franco-averse. I have been a student of history far too long to let slip my steadfast conviction that "Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion. All you do is leave behind a lot of noisy baggage." (This quote is attributed to everyone from Schwartzkopf to Churchill, but who cares? It's true!) If you have any doubts as to the veracity of the overall crumminess of France in all areas besides w(h)ine and cheese then Google "French military victories" and hit the "lucky" button. So far, I think the score is France-zero, the world-17, but who's counting. . .
I feel so much better now. I always find it cathartic to write off an entire nation of people in one tiny paragraph, hop onto my high horse and ride into the sunset! (And Mr. Wonderful thinks I'm sarcastic.) So how does one transition gracefully from caustic to charitable? I'll have to ask Ann Coulter, oh wait, she's always just caustic. . . . Ok, Ok I'll stop right now. Period.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby is such a great book , that it deserves a better introduction than the one I gave it. It is truly an inspiring and life affirming memoir. Bauby was the editor-in-chief of the French version of Elle magazine when he suffered a rare and usually deadly stroke in his brain stem. Upon awakening from his coma, he discovered that he had Locked-In Syndrome which is exactly what it sounds like. He was fully cognizant and aware, but completely trapped in his body only able to blink his left eye and turn his head a little. He "dictated" this book by having someone read through the alphabet and then blinking at the letter he wanted transcribed. While this book may not be Les Miserables in length, its strength lies in the simple beauty and buoyant humor of Bauby's prose.
With the sharpened view of his single eye and the forced contemplative nature of his condition, Bauby looks back on his life with a razor focus. He hones in on friends, acquaintances and family and explores the fleeting nature of life. Some have criticized this work for not being a "complete" memoir. The Diving Bell does not start out, "I was born on . . . ," and Bauby does not delve into the fact that he was apparently quite a womanizer and playboy, a domineering figure who ruled his magazine with an iron fist. I don't think this is a fair criticism as this memoir does not purport to explore every facet of the man's life. I would offer that, in fact, when he found himself "locked-in," Bauby was distilled down to his very essence and stripped of the extraneous trappings and labels that others saw. This book is that reflection.
Sadly, I don't believe that Bauby came to true salvation before his death in 1997. His book, however, is a lesson to everyone about the buoyancy of the human spirit, about humor in the face of darkness and about the celebration of the simple pleasures of life. As Bauby says, "If I must drool, I may as well drool on cashmere."
Friday, April 11, 2008
All this to say, whether or not you are interested in politics, the election or the fate of the world as we know it, you might enjoy a book series I have been reading. Yes, I am a reader of epic proportions. Wait, that came out wrong. I am not of epic proportions (although I could stand to lose a few pounds!). Ever since I read Frog and Toad Are Friends in first grade, I have been a voracious reader. (I used that line in my essay to get into library grad school!) Now reading is like breathing to me. So there will probably be quite a few "book reviews" on this blog. Here's the first:
Right now I am reading the series by Joel C. Rosenberg that starts with The Last Jihad. These are amazing geopolitical thrillers, that have caused some critics to call Rosenberg a modern-day Nostradamus. In these meaty and fast-paced novels, he has "predicted" the fall of Saddam, airplane attacks on Washington D.C. and the death of Arafat. The way they tie into current events and global politics is eerie as they deal with Biblical End Times prophecies (which does not really become overt until the third book). Rosenberg has given me a very interesting lens through which to view world events as they unfold.
Besides the fact that they are superbly written and have heightened my interest in global crises, the main reason I am compelled to mention these books is that they have changed how I live my life. This afternoon I am digging a bunker in the crawl space and organizing my stockpile of food. Just kidding. But they HAVE changed my life. Maybe we are in the "End Times," maybe not. But either way, I want to live my life with an eternal perspective. I want what I do each day to count for something. Maybe I will "just" wash dishes, do laundry and change diapers today, but if I do those tasks with the attitude that I am building into my family, serving others and being a blessing, then these very acts can take on eternal significance. And beyond my mundane chores, I want to break out of daily routines and stultifying doldrums to view the opportunities around me for reaching out to others. None of us know the number of our days, but I want each one I have to count.
The Last Jihad series in order:
The Last Jihad
The Last Days
The Ezekiel Option
The Copper Scroll
On April 10, 2008, Joel Rosenberg hosted a conference in Jerusalem celebrating the 60th anniversary of Israel's nationhood called Epicenter 2008 . There were some very interesting speakers, and you can view all of the video from "gavel to gavel" at the Epicenter link above. (His introductory speech is particularly good.)
God bless and happy reading!
Also, on a technical note, I will eventually figure out how to create expandable posts with a "Read More" button so the page is not so long. Bear with me. I am an HTML newbie.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
My house has a name. I've loved naming things since I was a little girl. Anything was fair game. Animals -- real & stuffed. All of my model horses. Family cars -- Bluebell, Penny, PJ (Puddle-Jumper) and Tanya (?!). Giving my children names rich in meaning and import has been one of the greatest joys of my life. And ever since living in the Cayman Islands and seeing spectacular homes with names like "Sea Grape House" and "Kailypso," I have wanted to have a named house. But named houses are generally rather pretentious, and our house could be called a lot of things, but pretentious is not one of them.
Mustard Seed House is a little house -- about 1000 square feet. There are five of us sheltered in this small space. My girls, Bean and Bear, share a bedroom which is not so bad, but my son, Bug, sleeps in the laundry room. Or should I say, we do laundry in my son's room, er, the "multi-purpose" room. And we literally live in our living room, all five of us all the time, except when Mr. Wonderful is out in The Lair.
The area rug that was in the living room when we bought the house has migrated out to the garage, as has Mr. Wonderful's rabbit-eared television from his high school days, an ancient wooden office chair from my grandmother and an old table from my other grandmother. And don't forget the Cubs pennant; we are eternal optimists, if nothing else! This cozy tableau is situated right next to the cat box and bins of hand-me-down clothes, and it is where you will find Mr. Wonderful when you have scoured through all the other vast wings of the house looking for him. I guess, every guy needs his own space.
But I digress. Why is this blog called Mustard Seed House? Well, like the paths in my brain, the answer is a little complicated, convoluted and difficult to follow. But I'll try to do my best leading you through my meandering thoughts.
First of all, I don't want to live with an ungrateful spirit. My grandfather lived with a much larger family in a 12 x 12 log cabin with a lean-to kitchen and an uninsulated sleeping loft for thirteen years in MINNESOTA! They would sleep under horse blankets and wake up with snow covering them. ("When I was your age . . .") Who am I to complain? If we stay in this house forever, I'll still probably live better than 95% of the people on earth. So the mustard seed is a perfect metaphor and reminder to me that my small house holds huge potential. Potential in my children. Potential in my marriage. Potential to bless others and each other. Potential to grow into something beautiful and strong.
So welcome to Mustard Seed House, where a little faith goes a long way. As I sojourn here, I hope you'll join me for the journey as I look to grow my faith, celebrate the little things and find abundance in simplicity.