Friday, February 25, 2011

Battles of the Mind: Making It

Do you ever have trouble going to sleep at night because you're worried about "making it"? I do sometimes. Anxious and intimidated I think:

  • I will not make it being a mother, for I have no children.
  • I will not make it as a runner, being an 8:00 to 10:00 minute miler.
  • I will likely not, probably not make it to the top of the heap in corporate america or perhaps not even to the next rung.

Then I shake myself and remember to be thankful for in many ways I have "made it". In no particular order:

  • I have a husband who loves me and whom I love.
  • I have a great women's bible study.
  • I have a job that enables me to live in comfort.

There's more but by this list alone I have "made it" in many important ways.

If I didn't have anything, would I still have made it? Remember Job.  Everything he had, the Lord gave him. Everything I have, the Lord gave me. God took all of Job's haves away not for the purpose of hurting him but to show Satan that Job loved God for nothing. When nothing was left but some questionably useful friends, Job still believed in, prayed to and loved God.

What is worth having in God's sight? I found one thing at least:
"Your beauty....should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet inner spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves be beautiful." I Peter 3:3-5. 

Here's another translation:
"What matters is not your outer appearance - the styling of your hair, the jewelery you wear, the cut of your clothes - but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way, and were good, loyal wives to their husbands....You'll be true daughters of Sarah if you do the same, unanxious and unintimidated."

Having "made it" is putting my hope in God, not being anxious, not being intimidated. The context is what matters in drawing husbands to Christ but it could also be drawing others to Christ. I won't be dressing like a slob anytime soon. However,  I will focus on  "making it" by cultivating inner beauty that God delights in by putting my hope and my trust in God and in his plans for my life. How 'bout you?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Value of Vacation

My scattered thoughts about a recent 3 day weekend spent in Portland can be gathered into 3 categories:

Any time you travel there are the blessings of on-time departures, early arrivals and smart, kind personnel.  There are also the things that are not so much.

  • Airport restroom stalls that are too small to change your mind in let alone accommodate your rollaboard and purse
  • Toilet seat covers that are so ephemeral they rip while pulling them out of the holder or float off the seat before you have a chance to weigh them down
  • Airport PA systems that sound like "osknadr;2b'onvoivj[ait" which could be fine except they expect you to respond.

Some very good and long-standing businesses have gone out of business. It's hard to accept that when a business does something so well that it can still go lights out. 

  • Ten 01 - beautiful restaurant with so so food in a fabulous location, no explanation
  • Everett Street Bistro - outstanding breakfast place closed due to multiple defaults on the lease
  • Alu Wine Bar - when we arrived all we saw was a notice of trustee sale

There's something about putting your life in your peripheral vision while on a weekend getaway that helps your back matter sieve through that life for patterns, insight and perspectives. After 3 days of play, on the plane ride home, I had no fewer than 9 epiphanies. These are revelations that change how I live my life.  Almost anything that can give me that kind of insight on how to live is worth it

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Running Lessons

I've been learning a few things recently through running.  It's funny what you can learn from keeping yourself company for 2 short miles:

  • Of all the sports my body could be suited for, it is most suited for running. Though my stride may not be the most efficient yet, I'm reminded of what Joan Benoit accomplished despite or because of an ungainly gate and I am not discouraged. Though I am not the springest of chickens I'm reminded of what Dara Torres was able to accomplish "too late" in life according to some. I'm inspired by women who peel off the limit stickers and push the envelop of possibility for us all.

    • If you've run for any length of time you've gone from once again a couch potato, albeit enforced by illness or injury or pregnancy or a schedule that would knock out an Olympian, to once again a runner. You've developed a practice of beginning again, sometimes at the very beginning, and sometimes a bit further along, that is a transferable skill to other areas of life. Never underestimate the value of beginning again. It pays twice. Once in progress and once in character.

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    The Imperfectionists

    I could not advise reading this book.  It is a series of vignettes of individuals who are part of the social network of the paper whether as employees, financiers, readers or family of said.

    But each one of the individuals is making choices that are terrible, self destructive and in some cases, cruel to others.  And though I almost managed to finish this hope less book, I could not because it was so depressing to see people so crippled.

    It's rare, in fact it has only happened once, now, that I strongly suggest not to read a book.  But this once, I'm saying, pick up something else.


    Use the talent you possess - for the woods would be silent if no birds sang but the best. 
    Henry Jackson van Dyke

    So, whether you have 2, 5 or 10 talents, let's get out there and use them to our best.

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    Red Tulip

    It was just too beautiful to pass up, alive from the glow of my monitor in the completely dark otherwise room. Reminded me of Georgia O'Keefe and her obsession with closely observed flowers. The intensity and drama of it all are captivating.

    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    2011 Super Bowl A Cultural Event

    I don't watch much football, except accidentally at restaurants at the bar.  Sounds bad but a lot of times I can get seated much faster if I eat at the bar and I don't mind not having a table. So it works out for both faster food and I get an education of sorts. I learned about Peyton Manning and his fast change the plan quarterbacking style this way as well as the 2 point conversion play through the Oregon Ducks game. That's just for starters.

    The only down side is the screens are usually rather small. So when lovely friends of ours invited us over to watch the Super Bowl on their 44" plasma screen tv I decided why not. I'd picked up a few tidbits. This would be a further step into an alternative culture.

    My learning paid off.  Guess who exercised and executed a 2 point conversion play during the Super Bowl? The Pittsburg Steelers!!! And guess who told them they should? Me:) Plus their coach:)

    Rashard Mendenhall, RB Steelers, impressed me with his ability to wriggle through clogged spaces.  Aaron Rodgers, QB Packers, seemed a bit impatient and impetuous but he was able to execute to his imperiousness and the MVP award recognized him for it. Forcing 3 turnovers, it looks like the Green Bay Packers defense deserves the most kudos.

    While I can't see myself converting wholeheartedly to football culture, I did yell, "Where's the defense?!" and earned the robust ribbing of "You go tell 'em Tiny" I at least made credible strides.

    Saturday, February 5, 2011


    I bought this book at an airport book store just before taking off into 8 hours of planes, airports and rental cars. I selected it because it was short at less than 200 pages with easy-on-the-eyes font, the cover artwork was intriguing, and because I had heard the sentences themselves were finely wrought and the use of language unique.

    Some other things are true as well.  It won a Pulitzer Prize. It is Paul Harding's first novel. But these didn't enter into it.

    It is also a story about a man winding down like the clockworks he fixed and since I was on my way to visit my father in the hospital, I thought this might not be such a good book to buy.  But I bought it anyway.

    In this book, houses disappear and reappear.  So do people as 3 generations collapse into one another and then separate and then join again so that you have to read carefully to find out whom you're really reading about and if it might actually apply to all 3.

    Finishing the book was easier on the way back, after my father was better and soon ready to leave the hospital and go home.  There's something somewhat off about this book but at the same time, revelatory of something right.  I recommend.


    A friend sent us this video that uses type and tone to say something worth hearing and seeing about conviction:
    Speak with Conviction in Typography: Poem by Taylor Mali