July 18, 2010

Gretchen Wilson, Paul, Puritans, and Hobbits

As the song says, "I'm a product of my raising."  As I look forward and try to define who I want to be and what type of home I would like to have, what interests I would like to more intentional about and what gifts I would like to develop, I've some to realize that my tastes and interests may not be as random as some may think.
About a year ago, while digging holes and talking about favorite Lord of the Ring characters, I claimed a kinship with the hobbits.  I feel like a defining mark of a hobbit is a love of domestic arts done well....a meal well prepared, a home cozily decorated, a party well enjoyed, a pipe well smoked, a story well told...this is also a theme in my life.  Things like these, done well for the sake of them being done well and well enjoyed, give me a deep sense of satisfaction and joy.  A word well chosen, a joke well delivered, a garden well appointed and kept, a blanket well knitted, a wine well crafted, a kitchen well cleaned, a cup of coffee well brewed...all of these make me sigh and smile and think of heaven.  Knowing this about myself, I've tried to figure out why these seemingly mundane things give me such joy and I think that a lot of it has to do with how I was raised.
Being a good new englander, I have a strong sense of the puritan work ethic.  "You don't work, you don't eat." seems drilled into my DNA and owe much of my productivity to a desire to eat deservingly.  Now I know that this ethic can be taken way to far and I indeed have taken it to far in my own heart, believing that I must "do something" to earn not only other people's love but God's love as well.  By God's grace He is building my ability to rely on grace and rest in Him and accept good gifts without looking for something to do.  I am by no means "there yet" but He isn't done with me yet and I am just a clay pot after all.  Sometimes the work ethic is useful and enables me to keep my hands from being idle.
I also blame Paul for my love of things done well.  Colossians 3:17 was a common reference in my house growing up, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."  Taking this verse to heart I have often thought, "If you're going to do something in the name of Jesus, it better be done well," and Paul says, "whatever you do."  This means cleaning the mold off of my shower tiles and teaching people how to use a fire extinguisher; reading a story to kids in nursery and tending my garden; reading my Bible and encouraging my friends and family...."do it all  in the name of Jesus."
That is a lot to live up to, but I think it also has shaped my love for things done well.  And my love of things done well has shaped who I am....I have eclectic taste in music because when you love "music well played" genres don't matter as much.  I have a long, somewhat random list of favorite books and movies because I love a story well told, almost regardless of subject matter.  I love things that are homemade because someone has put the effort into to doing them well, I love organic things because others have taken the extra step to have a garden well-tended.  I love to cook and make things from scratch because if I'm gonna do something, I like to do it as well as I can.  I love a line of logic well thought out and an argument well crafted...even if I ultimately disagree with it.
I think that this also has shaped my frustrations...I get frustrated when I don't have the tools or time to do something as well as I think that I ought.  I also get frustrated by others settling instead of striving, and I get even more frustrated with myself for settling instead of pushing through.
Perhaps I have spent to much time thinking about this but writing it down has helped me process...in black and white I can see logic. 

July 12, 2010

My Toast

Below is the toast I gave at my sister's wedding....including referenced movies for those who may be wondering.

(My sister) is my sister, my partner in crime, my confidant, and my fellow movie fiend.  When I say that (my sister) and I are movie buffs, I don't mean the intellectual "I have an intelligent opinion about the Oscars"kind, or even the "I've seen every movie ever made" kind.  What I mean are the "We can mute our favorites and fill in the voices" kind.  Over the years we've watched a lot of movies and a few have become like old friends.  Some of those favorites have transcended their role as entertainment and have actually helped shape our romantic ideals. To pay homage to this legacy of cinema, I would like to toast the happy couple with nuggets of wisdom from some of our favorites.
"Ladies and Gentlecars!" -Cars
"Love is like the measles.  You only get it once and the older you are the harder you take it."-Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
"Why do men chase women? Well there's a bible story...God...God took a rib from Adam and made Eve.  Now maybe men chase women to get the rib back.  When God took the rib, He left a big hole there, where there used to be something.  And the women have that.  Now maybe, just maybe a man isn't complete without a woman."- Moonstruck
"When you see a guy reach for stars in the sky, you can bet that he's doin' it for some doll." -Guys and Dolls
"Because its the greatest reward that woman or man can receive on this earth.  To love and be loved." -Guys and Dolls
"Mawage, Marriage is what brings us together today.  Marriage, that blessed arrangement, that dream within a dream." - The Princess Bride
"It's that thing where you hang together a lot and button each other's hard to reach buttons" - Sabrina (the 1995 one)
"I know I chatter on far too much...but if you only knew how many things I want to say and don't you'd give me some credit" - Anne of Green Gables
"'I'm afraid for her....she'll be gone so long, she'll get terrible lonesome.''You mean we'll get terrible lonesome.'" - Anne of Green Gables
"I could not have parted with you to anyone less worthy." -Pride and Prejudice
In closing.....
"Kissing would be nice, yes?" - The Princess and the Frog

Thankful for so many things!

This weekend brought the end of an era and the beginning of a new adventure, all with lots of joy, tears, and feather boas mixed in.  My lovely little sister got married this weekend to a wonderful man.  While I could not be happier for them and more thankful for the man God has chosen for my sister; this event was bittersweet.  Gone are the days of slumber parties and all night movie sessions and talking long after the light's been turned off.  On the upside I have gained a brother, made some new friends, and most important....a long held desire of my sister's heart has been met.  For those things I am incredibly grateful!
I'm also thankful for amazing friends who support me and for Titus 2 Women who continue to teach me about living as a woman of God. (I'm especially thankful that living as a woman of God sometimes includes feather boas and dancing with joy).

I'm thankful for rain that stays away and boots that make mud puddles fun.
...and for photographers that rock my socks ;-)
 

Mostly I'm thankful that God's grace is sufficient for me in all circumstances.   Thank you Jesus for giving me the strength to say goodbye with joy instead of fear.

July 8, 2010

Vacation

Mmmmm, is there anything better than sleeping in the sun breathing in lungfuls of salt air?  This week I am off from work and loving it.  I love my job, but it's nice to sleep in, wear skirts, and be able to ramble a bit.  Last weekend we spent soaking in the sun and hanging as a family in Westbrook.  Thank God for family and the opportunity to hang out with 3 generations!
We even got to see an amazing fireworks show!
While there, I realized that salt air may be necessary for my mental well-being.  There is something about the sea's sheer vastness contrasted with the detail of seashells smaller than my fingernails that puts me in my place.  That realization of my own smallness combined with the sun and sand and salt air combine to put me at peace, even with this week of wedding craziness ahead.
Coming back home meant a pretty quick shift in gears....now its wedding wedding wedding all them time! :-)
I am incredibly grateful for this week off, however, part of me can't help but wonder if I will be wanting a vacation from my vacation come next Monday morning.