Tuesday, March 31, 2009

an ambitious project

Tomorrow is April 1st. April fools day. Also the first day of National Poetry Month. I have decided that this year I'm going to try and work my way through 1,000 Years of Irish Poetry ~ The Gaelic and Anglo-Irish Poets from Pagan Times to the Present. Present in this case is used loosely as the book was compiled in 1947. Wish me luck!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

throwing my life away

A few things I've made (and actually finished) recently.

weird dreams and good books

I have really weird dreams. When we were growing up all I had to do was say that phrase and my siblings would start groaning. Sometimes the Lord speaks to me through my dreams. Sometimes I can just see how I'm processing the day's events while I'm sleeping. Sometimes my subconscious imagination just runs away with me. I think Thursday evening's dream would fall under that classification.

I was running late to the meet kids and their parents at the drop off point for a kid's camp I was helping to run. I had half an hour to get there and I had forgotten my bag. My mom was supposed to bring it to meet me and she had not left the house and there was no way that she was going to make it before we had to leave. So I had to go to "Target" and just buy clothes and toiletries for the week.

I was in "Target" (which seemed like Wal-Mart meets Tescos meets Sam's Club) searching through the clearance section for enough clothes to put together mix and match outfits for a week of camp. (The prices were in pounds and the other girls in shopping in the section were British.) I wasn't doing too bad having found a 1 pound rack when my cell phone rang. It was Billy Connolly. I was surprised that he had my number but we apparently knew each other.

The conversation went something like this: "Hello?" "Hi Rebekah, this is Billy." "Billy, hey!" He asked me when I was heading to Ireland and I replied with my standard answer, trying to find a job... etc. He said I needed to hurry up and get over there because he was opening a new comedy club in Dublin and he wanted my help managing it. I was only half listening because I was still shopping so the details are fuzzy. He was telling me about how he was going to use the club as an outreach tool, I was murmuring along as if I was listening in spite of the fact I was really trying to decide if this skirt would go with that top or not.

So when he paused I said, "That really sounds exciting. I can't wait to hear more but..." Then explained what was going on and we made arrangements to speak later in the week. And that was pretty much it.

Now I can see where some of this came from my subconscious working through things I've been thinking about... working with kids, getting to Dublin, even the shopping. But Billy Connolly! That was completely random. To prove how rarely I think about him I had to google his name to make sure it matched the person I was thinking of.

In other news I just finished Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. It was a beautiful collection of short stories. I really enjoy short stories, but one thing I've noticed is that they are much more likely to be without hope than a fully developed novel. I wonder why that is? My favorite story in this collection was The Third and Final Continent, the finale of the book. The familiarity of feeling left me in tears. I loved this closing quote:

"I am not the only man to seek his fortune far from home, and certainly I am not the first. Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination."

I guess my thoughts have been caught in this tension of leaving and staying for a while.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

my favorite one

GOD's beloved. GOD's permanent residence.
Encircled by GOD all day long.
Within whom GOD is at home.
~Deuteronomy 33:12

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

the green and the gold

This is St. Patrick. I took this picture on the Hill of Tara in the summer of 2006. I don't have my usual quote or info about St. Patrick today. I'm house sitting and have left my Ireland notebooks at home. Here is a post from a blog I read that does a great job (better than I would have) telling Patrick's story.

And if you don't want to read all that here's a little Veggie Tales clip about St. Patrick. I don't have time to watch it all now as I'm walking out the door to work. If I remember right it doesn't get quite all of the details correct, but it's rather funny to hear the story of St. Patrick told by a sock puppet voiced by an Indian worm.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

things that have made me laugh, or cringe, recently or just random things I feel like saying

1. Being given a horribly wonderful lime green "I ♥ Ireland" t-shirt by one of my favorite people, Shelby, age 7. (The heart is a little tri-color and I've worn it to bed every night since she gave it to me.)

2. A lady I have recently started babysitting for told me that I had the perfect name to be a country music star.

3. My new cerise dress. It's wonderful!

4. Getting a ticket for driving a car with an expired registration.

5. Baking cakes for my sister's bridal shower.

6. My computer has begun to die. (This kind of fits into both categories because I've decided that when it goes I'm going to get a mac.)

7. Finally seeing two movies I've been wanting to see for a while. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and He's Just not that into You. I liked them both.

8. Last night when I got home from a full day of bridal shower and family gathering and movie with my sister I had a glass of wine and finished off a bag of dark chocolate covered pretzels.

9. I think that women who wear heels all the time must have gone through some sort of training or boot camp to be able to endure the pain. I wore maybe 2.5" kitten heels for the better part of the day yesterday. My feet are still not quite back to normal.

10. I'm reading the Country Girls Trilogy by Edna O'Brien and I'm loving it. The writing is beautiful and still very Irish (not that the two terms are mutually exclusive but if you've read a lot of Irish fiction maybe you'll understand what I mean). I've found some of the content surprising for books that were published in Ireland in the 1960s. Anyway, I'm adding her to my favorite authors list.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

where i'm at

Right now, this is where I'm standing and praying:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

oh, um, something about the deer we need for the venison... tacos

This has been a week of new experiences... On Sunday night I experienced my first snow-thunder storm. (I didn't even know that was a possibility!) Tonight I made tacos for dinner where I was babysitting not with ground beef or ground turkey... no, with ground venison. I didn't have any. I'm undecided on whether I would eat venison or not and I didn't want my first experience to be mixed with Old El Paso taco seasoning.

Monday, March 2, 2009

why i count John Hume as one of my heroes

"Politics is about the right to existence - the right to life - bread on your table and a roof over your head. It doesn't matter what flag you wrap around you when you stand in the dole queue or are forced to emigrate to another country to earn a living. A flag should symbolise the unity of the whole community. It should never be used as a party political or sectional emblem."

"One of the fundamental arguments which we first put forward, which was a challenge to traditional Nationalist thinking, was that it was people who have rights and not territory. It was not the land of Ireland that was divided, it was the people of Ireland. The line on the map was geographical, but the real border was in the minds and hearts of the people, and that could not be resolved in a week or two."

"My party wishes to demonstrate the potential of democratic politics and of the philosophy of non-violence to make progress toward the resolution of what is perhaps one of the more intractable political problems in the world today. I believe that these same principles are applicable in the field of international relations. When we are dealing with a human conflict whether in a divided community, a divided country, or a divided globe, it is the building of mutual trust and not mutual fear that will solve the problem of conflict - not just in Ireland, but around the world - because we know that human beings are no different wherever they live."

"We all need a new and generous vision."

"Those who claim the right to kill and the right to die in the name of what they conceive to be Irish unity subvert not only the hope and meaning of unity but the integrity of their own tradition. When the most fundamental right, the right to live, is made subsidiary to a political principle, all other civic and religious values are diminished."

"Furthermore, I believe that an Ireland at peace with itself, and at peace with its neighbour, can properly address itself, in its European activities, to what is almost a political calling to maintain a particular regard for the rights and needs of the developing world. As the only state in the European Union to have been colonised rather than to have colonised, we should be able to promote an intelligent empathy with the under-developed countries whose peoples can benefit most effectively from European Union politics. Ireland, all of it, has a pivotal role to play."


Have you ever had a moment when you suddenly realize that two things you hold dear, two seemingly opposing thoughts or dreams, come together and actually compliment each other? I had a moment like that recently and it was pretty earth shaking. How did it ever take me so long to see this? Surely the hints have been there for ages.

For me these two passions were worship and justice or compassion for the poor. I felt the call towards both, yet saw them as completely separate things.

Then, I was reading "Beyond Cheap Grace" by Eldin Villafane. In the third essay of the book, titled "Amos, Intrepid Leader for Justice: Three Indispensable Qualities of a Minister of the Word of God" he says this:

"Throughout Scripture we can find important truths about worship that relate authentic worship to our behavior toward the poor and oppressed."

"There is a seamless relationship between ethical behavior and true worship, between justice and piety. Who we are and how we behave are intimately related in our giving worth to our God."

Of course! I think I knew this, but never actually realized it and so continued on with a separated mindset about my calling and my passions. How liberating and validating and exciting to realize (finally) that these two things I hold dear go hand in hand!

I was equally moved, in a slightly different way, by Heidi Baker's book "Compelled by Love." This is a collection of stories and thoughts anchored on the Beatitudes. I was consistently challenged by Heidi's words. I find that often when reading or thinking about things like serving out of love I find myself looking into the distant future when I will be in ministry and all I do will flow effortlessly out of my love for God and those around me. And the whole world will be faintly tinted pink and we will dance in fields of flowers forever.

But this time I was really challenged practically by her words about my life, now. Where I am at this moment. I am very sad to say that I am altogether not very good at showing love to those around me. Especially when I find myself confronted by needy people (friends and family members no less!) when I am tired from work and selfishly want to be left alone to read or watch tv.

The question I'm asking myself (not for the first time either!) is how exactly do I think I'm going to get to dance in those pink-tinted fields of flowers, loving everyone around me effortlessly (!) if I don't learn to love where I am, even when (especially when) it's hard?

Oh, the other thing I was challenged on by Heidi is trusting God. Trusting that, as he promised, he will provide for me and that there is always enough in his kingdom. As Heidi said:

"All that Jesus died for is waiting for you to take. We are called to live in the fullness of what each precious drop of blood purchased. Start feasting now."

So, that's a look into what I'm working through. What my inner life is looking like these days.