Archive for April, 2009

I’ve been doing some thinking lately about my friends who are always on the go, volunteering for everything, accomplishing wonderful things, never stopping to take a breath before going on to something else, and realizing that was me a number of years ago. I’ve been wondering if I should now feel guilty because I no longer feel the need to be constantly busy or if I should feel enormously grateful that I can now read fiction or go geocaching without guilt. I’ve spent too many years working at unrewarding jobs that tended to suck the life out of me, leaving an empty shell, unable to be at home in my own body, unable to relax. I think it took graduation from seminary at age 57 after three difficult but rewarding years of study, field work, internships, and everything else graduate work entails to finally say,”okay, this is enough.” I loved the challenge. I did not love the necessity of trying to accomplish too many things at school, at work, and at home. There was no time left for pleasure, for just pure fun. Those long papers always hovered in the background.

Now it almost hurts to see younger people trying to do too much. Yes, I know all those things they attempt to do can conceivably be done–the full-time career, the volunteer work, raising semi-perfect children, and so forth. The problem is, how long can they keep up the constant, dizzying pace? Is it even possible any more to get together with friends to have fun without planning it six months in advance. Is it possible to get away from the computers and other electronic apron strings long enough to learn to do things us “oldies” used to enjoy, things like playing a musical instrument, sewing, cooking, non-competitive sports, and so on? I’m ranting, I know, and will quit.

Here’s an excellent article I found today, Tips for Women Who Juggle Too Much, by Stacy Wiebe. She gives many hints and tips for enjoying life more, for not getting bogged down with too many requirements and responsibilities. Just click on the red link above to find ideas on how to slow down the speed of life, to learn to say no once in a while.


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Okay, let’s try this again.

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Jesus Christ, Superstar

All I can say is, wow! I remember seeing this show many, many years ago in a little theater in Oregon. It was good, but nothing like this sold-out traveling professional production. Tonight was one of the times I was so glad to live in Bartlesville, OK, walking distance from the acoustically spectacular Community Center. These reviews are for the same cast in various cities.

We had a tornado warning this afternoon. But, those strong winds had nothing on the voices in this cast, especially the rumbling bass of Darrel Whitney in the role of Caiaphas. Hearing him gave me goosebumps. Ted Neeley, who played Jesus, is now 65 years old. He’s done the role for many, many years and starred in the film version. His voice seemed a little shaky in parts, but he could still let the moneychangers in the temple have it! Very powerful scene, one I won’t forget for a long time.

One of the men from church arranged for the block of tickets and worked with the youth in the congregation, playing the soundtrack for them and helping them become acquainted with the libretto so they could understand the show more easily. I sat next to one young man, aware of his full attention to the stage, usually looking through binoculars. Needless to say, I think he enjoyed the experience very much.

Now I can’t wait to see the production of “Cats” next year.

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Just Show Up

This afternoon I watched the new movie, “The Soloist,” starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jamie Foxx. It’s based on the true story of Los Angeles Times columnist, Steve Lopez who befriends a schizophrenic homeless man, Nathaniel Ayers, a man with a wonderful musical talent. Lopez sees great promise in Ayers and tries to do many things to help him use his talent. This description is from Peter Rainer’s review in the Christian Science Monitor.

“Lopez knows a good story when he sees one, but his involvement with Ayers is fraught with moral and ethical minefields. He tries to get him off the streets; he provides him with a cello to play, a safe place to store it, and a place to practice. He tries, unsuccessfully, and in the face of great resistance, to have Ayers put on psychotropic medications. All the while, Ayers, who favors sequined jackets and plastered-down hairdos, regards Lopez as something of an angel of mercy – his hero. And Lopez knows full well that, in Ayers’s fraught mental condition, a hero can easily be downgraded to enemy at the slightest provocation.”

I appreciated a phrase at the very end of the story when Lopez wonders what he did wrong, why Ayers doesn’t appreciate the things he tried to do for him. Someone tells him to just be his friend, to just “show up.”

It made me wonder how many times I’ve wanted to be there for someone but was afraid of being rejected. It made me think about all the wonderful things I have planned or thought about doing, yet never put them into play because I didn’t “show up.” How many of us hesitate, perhaps thinking we might not be able to do enough or that what we do would be the wrong thing, maybe taken the wrong way.

“Just show up” reminded me of a story by Parker Palmer in his short book, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. Palmer wrote about his period of serious depression when he had almost hit bottom. Some of his well-meaning friends tried to help by suggesting various things he might do to feel better. Nothing they did or suggested seemed to help. However, one man visited him every day and just rubbed his feet, saying very little. Palmer wrote of the acceptance and understanding he felt from that friend who made no suggestions, but just “showed up, ” was there for him.

In her wonderful poem, “The Invitation,” Oriah Mountain Dreamer wrote, “I want to know if you can sit with pain – mine or your own – without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.”

“Just show up.” It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Perhaps growing up is being able to just “be there,” not offering suggestions, not saying we know just how a person feels, not trying to fix things. Just showing up.

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Telemarketer Call

I just read this on a Simple Living Discussion Forum and think it’s hilarious:

This short conversation with a telemarketer made me chuckle. I felt like Bob Newhart. Hearing my side made DW laugh too.

But seriously, I thought I was being rational.

Me: Hello.

Telemarketer: Hello, is Steve here?(with boiler room noise in background)

Me: Yes,to whom am I speaking?

Jeff: Jeff.

Me: Do I know you?

Jeff: No.

Me: Why should I talk to you?

Jeff: I don’t know.

Me: I don’t know either, bye bye.

I swear this is exactly what we said. I expected him to at least respond that he could give me a better interest rate or something or other. Strange.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been bothered by telemarketers trying to sell me things, probably because I’ve changed my phone number several times and use only my cell phone. No one’s been able to catch up with me yet.

Am I complaining? Nope, no way. But, in the off-chance someone does call in the future, I now know a fun way to hopefully get them off the line.

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This was a fairly interesting, though mostly routine housekeeping day, beginning with writing a minor rant to a few people about a church “bored” meeting last night. After that time pounding the poor keys of the laptop, I needed to do something much different so slid down the stairs into the kitchen, opened the fridge, and noticed the freezer compartment was mostly built-up ice.

This fridge is ancient, one of those with a small freezer compartment at the top, accessed only by opening the fridge door itself. The freezer doesn’t hold a lot anyway, and so much space taken up by ice wasn’t good.

I remembered my mom defrosting the freezer years ago and remembered she used a pan of boiling water inside. So, I unplugged the fridge, took everything out of the freezer, boiled a big pot of water, stuck it inside the freezer, and shut the doors. After about 8 minutes, I checked the progress. Sure enough, ice was breaking off and sliding into the plastic tray under the freezer. Perfect. Since there was still some stuck at the back, I boiled the water again and repeated the process. Oh, how beautiful! All done. I dumped the tray of water outside in my newly planted little garden, dried off the inside of the freezer, and stuck everything back in. And the whole process only took about 30 minutes.

Someone on a Simple Living Discussion Forum had this to say: “Enjoy, knowing a traditional freezer does not dry out your frozen food as a frost-free would, nor spend the energy trying to stay frost free.”

I just want to be able to keep ice cream for longer than a day or so without it turning sloppy. It’s a shame to have to eat it so fast. Right. Uh-huh.

Oh, and I also relit the pilot on the gas stove. Piece of cake. Next time I won’t get so engrossed in writing a rant that I forget there are pinto beans boiling over.

Now back to reading Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures by Gibbs and Bolger. Good stuff.

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Malware Warning

My mind is blank tonight for some reason, which gives me an excuse to pass along a warning I received today from a computer consultant. Having just found some malware on my computer a few days ago, I paid close attention to this one. Very important!

I have gotten several suspicious e-mails this morning that at first glance appear to be legitimate. If you have purchased anything on Amazon recently you might get sucked into opening the attachment. I’m not sure what the attachment is, but DO NOT open it. It contains an executable file which will almost certainly do really nasty things to your computer. The attachment is named WorldPay_TRANS_8651.zip and the body of the message reads as follows:

Thank you!

Your transaction has been processed by WorldPay, on behalf of Amazon Inc.

The invoice file is attached to this message.

This is not a tax receipt.

We processed your payment.

Amazon Inc has received your order,

and will inform you about delivery.


Amazon Team

This confirmation only indicates that your transaction has been processed successfully.

It does not indicate that your order has been accepted.

It is the responsibility of Amazon Inc to confirm that your order has been accepted, and to deliver any goods or services you have ordered.

Whatever this thing is, it is so new that McAfee is not detecting it, and it is getting past the mail filters. Delete the e-mail immediately. DO NOT open it.

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