Friday, December 31, 2010

On my mind...and in my front yard...

 Spring and Fall: 
to a Young Child

 Margaret, are you grieving
   Over Goldengrove unleaving? 

   Leaves, like the things of man, you
   With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?


 Ah! as the heart grows older
   It will come to such sights colder 

   By and by, nor spare a sigh
   Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
   And yet you will weep and know why. 

   Now no matter, child, the name:
   Sorrow's springs are the same.
   Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
   What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed: 

   It is the blight man was born for,
   It is Margaret you mourn for.  

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Second Law of Thermodynamics

Sometimes I feel like Sisyphus eternally rolling his rock uphill—
the laundry hamper empty for less than the time it takes to drop in another pair of dirty socks,

the dishes clean and stacked on their shelves for a fleeting moment before they are out again,
coffee-stained and crumb-sprinkled,

the toys all picked up and stowed in their bins until I turn around to find the knights encroaching from behind the door,

and scraps of paper bits gathering in the corners, and I walk back into the dining room and somehow in the amount of time it took to walk ten steps there are toys and dishes and dirty laundry all over again.

It can be maddening.

Women have gone mad.


It’s like the second law of thermodynamics, which describes entropy—
the tendency for order to become disorder—
disorganization, decay, and chaos are always approaching, encroaching.

Just when you think you are done, something slips through, out of your grasp, and you are off again—herding cats, as my husband says.

Prayer can feel like this too, sometimes. Even as I recognize my failures and confess my sin (cleaning-up, as it were), pride or self-justification creeps in around the edges of my thoughts and my confession is muddied.

In the very moment that my heart responds in spontaneous gratitude I see myself—so rightly responding—and suddenly I’m no longer looking to Christ, but I am looking at myself.

Always turning back inward to myself.

The word entropy comes from the Greek, entropia (en—meaning “in” and trope—meaning “a turning”).

A tendency to turn…
the tendency of heat to dissipate,
the tendency of my life (my home, my time) to become cluttered,
the tendency of my circumstances to bring sorrow and pain,
the tendency of my body to break down and become weary,
the tendency of my soul to turn inward
prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love…

Isn’t it amazing that Jesus experienced entropy physically—
in his world and in his body—
but his soul never turned.

Not once did he turn towards himself, inward to self-pride, self-condemnation or self-absorption,
away from the Father.

What a relief it is in that moment of despair, when I see the ugly self-focus of my own soul yet again, what a relief to rely on the pure—loving—outward focused righteousness of Christ. To know that my salvation, my acceptance, my future hope are secured not by attaining perfection in my own struggle, but by Jesus’ perfect struggle—the perfect victory over inward turning, over spiritual entropy.

I can rest in this relief—
Rest, despite the inadequacy of my prayers and the failures of my devotion.
I can even rest with toys on the floor and dirty dishes in the sink.
It’s ok. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
In fact, most of the time it’s pretty glaringly imperfect, even when I think it looks pretty good.

And I think—for those of us dancing this close to crazy—rest is good medicine.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Southern California Snow

A few weeks ago Jack, Elizabeth and I got crafty.
We made snow globes.

Elizabeth's depicted a woodsy rendezvous between Frosty and Santa...

with intermittent blizzards.

My snow globe showcased a plastic cardinal in a plastic tree ...

with occasional blustery snowfall.

Jack's gift-bearing bear endured much love throughout the day in the form of vigorous shaking. He got a little tipsy.

The basic DIY requires:
  • a small jar
  • small plastic toys and greenery
  • large silver or white glitter
  • a dash of glycerin (I didn't have this on hand, so our glitter "snow" falls fast.)
  • clear drying epoxy (I used what I had--my glue gun. Gift-Bear probably would have fared better had I used epoxy.)

  • Epoxy (or glue) your toy to the inside of the jar lid.
  • Boil some water (to kill off anything that might grow...) and pour it into the jar. Fill it to overflowing to minimize the air bubble.
  • Add some glitter and glycerin.
  • Carefully fit your toy/lid down into the water and screw it on tight. I put a seal of hot glue around the inside of the lid to prevent leaking, but I don't know if that's necessary.
  • Turn and shake (gently!).

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Details

A little glimpse of what Christmas looks like at our house...

the mantle...

the tree...

Luke 2 on the dining room chalk board
and two nativities...

bird chandelier
(more on that here)

the Jesse Tree...

I didn't show you the piles of laundry and the dishes in the sink
because they aren't very Christmas-y.

I'm glad I can't edit my life like I can edit a blog post.
I know I'd crop out all sorts of messes,
missing their value and how God uses them for good.
It would be a reductionist life.

Here's to a Christmas with unedited details--
an inconvenient journey to Bethlehem,
smelly animals in the stable,
shepherds awakened at night,
and a baby born at just the wrong time.

But when the fullness of time had come,
God sent forth his Son,
born of woman,
born under the law,
to redeem those who were under the law,
so that we might receive adoption as sons.
Galations 4:4&5

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Less than perfect

I don't really like my dining room chandelier.

But I do like it's shadow silhouette on the wall.
In the spring the light comes in and creates this image
every afternoon for a few weeks.

But most of the time I hang stuff up on it and stick things into it.

It is constantly changing.

This is what it looked like for my daughter's 5th birthday--the princess party.

For a while it was hung with white paper flowers I had torn up and glued together.

Here it is on my daughter's 6th birthday--the butterfly birthday party.

We had a big windstorm just before Halloween this year
and my daughter collected the windfall branches.
So I stuck a bunch of twigs and sticks up there--
kinda spooky...kinda autumnal...

A few weeks later my Christmas birds found a home...

So much for a chandelier I don't love.
I guess I do love the constantly changing palette it provides.
I think less than perfect inspires me to experiment.
Hmmm...there's probably a deeper meaning in there somewhere.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...