Wednesday, July 21, 2010

52 in 52: Wherein the procrastinating blogger attempts to catch up

Sometime around the beginning of the year I set up the goal to read "52 in 52"...52 books in 52 weeks.  It was no fair reading "Goodnight Moon" or the newspaper....these had to be books with some form of substance.  A lofty goal but it sure seemed attainable when it was frigid and cold and the Michigan winter blahs had set in with full post-holiday force.  I don't want to know what week I'm in...I could easily google it along with any other tidbit of info I'd like to learn.  But, really, living in denial works for me.

That said, some of this could be more of an issue of not posting all I read to the blog....to that end, a few updates for the reading inclined with ONE WORD reviews.  Yup.  One word.  Okay...maybe two.  But that's it.  Two tops.

Ministries of Mercy:  The Call of the Jericho Road  by Tim Keller........MUST
Self Incrimination by Randy Singer...yuck
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith.....Lovely (classic)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon....middling
The Broker by John Grisham...ExPeCtEd
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout....characters!
Respectable Sins:  Confronting the Sins We Tolerate  by Jerry Bridges.....basic (okay)

I am currently reading Under The Dome by Stephen King....I will lobby to have it count as at least three books since my back goes out slightly each time I lift it.  King makes me simultaneously cringe over the language and gore he consistently uses and yet I'm constantly amazed at the allegory he weaves.  When I read The Cell I almost said an "amen" at the end.  The Stand is a consistently interesting read with its end of times/good vs evil threads.  And yet the source means with the allegory must come lanuage that makes me wonder if intelligent - even moderately intelligent - folks really enjoy liberally sparsing all they say with vulgarity.  Do intelligent people just naturally say things like "I need some effing milk when you go out"?  I guess I run in a tame crowd.  Anyway....King is my current read until book group comes around and someone leads me in a different direction.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

They say it's my birthday...

Transparent LanguageIt hardly seems possible another year has come and gone.  Sometimes years fly by rapidly.  Why those years of having babies...especially that period of less than two years' span when two babies arrived.  Wow!  Years flew.  I'm fairly certain there were birthdays celebrated in that mix but I'm as certain, fully without reservation, that these days were blurs of diapers and bottles and burps and "OH!  Look...I think he's smiling!"  To be certain those were wondrous years and wonderful birthdays, even if they aren't the stuff of legend.

Other birthdays creep upon a body far more slowly.  I distinctly remember heading from 14 to 15 and feeling as I'd never arrive at point B.  Point B meant driver's ed and because of my summer birthday (surely my parents could have planned better) every other friend had already taken driver's ed....EVERY friend (no exaggeration to be sure...not in my adolescent brain anyway).  The year of mom's death was a birthday I thought would never arrive only because I so dreaded the notion of celebrating my birth without the human reason for the day.  That was not a pretty birthday.  This I recall.

This year's birthday comes after a year of particularly difficult movements in life.  A year in which life had to be singularly focused on a few people much to the chagrin of others.  It was about muddling through and mistakes made and not (truly) forgiven by others.  It was a messy, messy year.  A "year of living dangerously" but with none of the excitement and thrill that can often accompany dangerous living.

The birthday girl in this photo - if I enjoyed photos of myself - would show a few more grey hairs than the girl of previous years.  She would show more creases between her eyes - that area in a woman's forehead that often call for botox rendering her expressionless.  If there was a party, the guest list would have shrunk greatly from previous years - not due to economics, but due to severe pruning.  The photo would show three children who have experienced more this year than I would have desired....a husband who has been bruised and battered in many respects....and just a few select friends who have understood and accepted and exercised patience and the true definition of "doing justice...loving mercy...."

Older me would tell younger me that:
  • girlfriends who are true will never bring up your past mistakes unless those mistakes are male or life-threatening if repeated
  • males who are wise will never love you only when you're pretty
  • Christianity filled with rules is generally man-made
  • Christianity filled with grace that covers acknowledged sin is not man-made
  • in every organization people who have not earned authority will pretend to have it
  • it is up to you to live with these people or move on....having them removed will rarely turn out well
  • in an age of reckless information sharing, anything you put 'out there' will surely come back to haunt you
  • people with little money will make you a meal when you're hungry and spend their last dollar buying you a loaf of bread
  • individuals who are crazy about posting pictures of themselves on the internet are generally crazy about....themselves

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

And When You've Too Much To Say....

Transparent Languageit is often better to say nothing at all.

When someone who types crazy fast and has a mind that often works even more crazily fast becomes unexplicably silent....one begins to wonder is the apocalypse is upon us.  Or could such a typist have crampy fingers?  Heaven forbid it's the mind that's cramping.  Suffice it to say, not typing and not sharing each and every thought that crosses my mind is an exercise in holding my tongue....figuratively.  Literally holding one's tongue is not good manners.

I have spent a good portion of the lazy days of summer directing a little concerto of not-quite-tween girls on the field of dreams.  Only ours is in Kentwood.  And Kevin Costner has yet to swing by.  And the players are young, impressionable (and really good!) females.  I have spent another portion of my summer days becoming weary in doing good.  That's right.  I wore myself out of the ol' spirit of volunteerism (apart from hanging with the aforementioned girls).  I am still ruminating on whether such a time is natural - because all things run their course.  Whether such a time is dreadfully wrong on my behalf.  Or even whether such weariness can truly be blamed in (almost) it's entirety on downer people who truly must spend their summer days aching for business to stick noses in.

While I have found myself with too much to say, it seems a certain social community overflows with such people who are not holding their tongues.  I have learned so much from online community members....
of weddings, of bankruptcies, of idiots masquerading as intelligent folk, of those who work hard, of those who work hard at not working, of the poor souls who must have been highly insecure as children and teens because now they toot an entire sonata when they toot their own horns, of money to burn, of politics worn on sleeves, of faith quoted and not lived (and vice versa).  What a society my children find themselves growing in.  One in which communicating and being social has nothing to do with looking someone in the eye and speaking.  Where texting while in public is normal and excused.  A life where "businesssmen" post things online which - in this old lady's opinion - should make their customers (current & future) second guess the maturity of these men of business.

And I ponder...when did life become so open and transparent that grieving with those who grieve and rejoicing with those who rejoice has been reduced to something posted online?  When did we exchange "gossip" for "information sharing" and make the stigma of being a Gossip go away?  And when did men become so good at gossip and how can we make it stop?

And so I've had too much to say.  And because I'm a generation (okay or two or three) removed from the group of people who emote and 'share' and just plain do stupid things online for all to read (and search for) I have elected to by silent for a time.  And ruminate.  And think.  And become unweary.  And pray that my children will be of a select group of future adults who still can look someone in the eye and converse.  And will form relationships in the tangible world.