Monday, March 29, 2010

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday

Encouraged to practice paying attention by Barbara Brown Taylor's beautiful book, An Altar in the World: a Geography of Faith, this spring break I determined to devote my body and mind to the space around me and the people who inhabit that space. To notice and open fully to the touching, the seeing, the hearing, the smelling, the tasting--what Taylor calls the "practice of wearing skin."

So this spring break at the dmv where my 16 year old was applying for her license (every 16 year old in the city wanted a license that day...of course! it was spring break!), I minded the people there. But not how I usually mind. On that day, my habit of irritation when I have to wait or feel claustrophobic with strangers was forgotten in the minding, in the mindfulness of the space and the people there. Like the white haired man taking information and typing it into his computer. While Lynnae answered his monotone questions, I watched his weathered and gnarled fingers hunt and peck at the keyboard. That day, I wondered what those hands had done in another era, who they had touched or what they had made. And on that day, he looked up and smiled at last when we thanked him and noted that he pronounced Lynnae correctly.

And on this day, the last of spring break, instead of going to church and waving palm fronds, Lynnae and I volunteered to do the food run for the community soup kitchen. This day dawned spring and the Whole Foods Market employees cheerfully directed us to more and more food to fill our van--so much bread--the crusty outside but fluffy inside kind. And loads of organic fruits and vegetables. And it was full to the very top. And on this day, the fresh smell of the store permeated the van as we drove to Shove Chapel, the location of the soup kitchen. When we arrived, several homeless men helped us unload. And they were smiling and one man raised his hand and grinned, "It's Palm Sunday!". Yes, it is. On this day we are glad that those bodies won't be hungry.

And this day I tried two new recipes to serve to my family, Rachel Ray's Taco Pasta Toss, and Monet's Sweet Lime pie.  Thanks to Laura, who tried the pie recipe first and loved it and to Lydia for pointing us to her friend Monet's blog, full of deliciously healthy recipes and interesting book reviews. It is Palm Sunday and on this day I am glad to savor home cooked  food with my family. 

This day I walked behind my husband and held the spool of wire to keep it from tangling as he anchored it to the perimeter of our yard. It is Palm Sunday and this day I savored the sun on my skin and the easy companionship of working with my husband. 

It's a good practice, this practice of paying attention. It's a sacred practice, this practice of wearing skin. Two I think I really need to keep.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Salt on Pearl Street

Spent a relaxing day yesterday in Boulder with 2 good friends. Lingered on Pearl Street and ate lunch at Salt the Bistro where the philosophy is "the best food travels the shortest distance from farm to table". After enjoying a savory curry chicken salad and flat bread with gorgonzola and pears, I have to agree.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

So Good Vegie Sandwich

The girls and I recently enjoyed lunch at a favorite downtown restaurant, The Olive Branch. I've never been a huge fan of sandwiches...they are usually too heavy on the meat and cheese and mayo for me. But the sandwich I ordered, The Wizard, was delicious (and healthy). Here is my rendition of it:

Spread a thin layer of cream cheese (I use whipped) on two slices of bread. (The bread is La Baguette's Six Grain Loaf chock full of yummy ingredients like oats, millet, sesame seed, flax seed, and sunflower seed.) Sprinkle both slices with garlic salt to taste. Place fresh spinach leaves, sliced zucchini, sliced avocado, sliced cherry tomatoes and alfalfa sprouts on one of the slices. Grind fresh pepper over and cover with the other slice. Of course, you could vary the bread and vegetables (a thin slice of red onion and/or black olives). I believe the restaurant used cucumbers instead of zucchini. And they added walnuts which were very good in this combo. Sweet, ripe blackberries were the perfect complement. Enjoy on a warm spring day (or not so warm!).

Spring Space part 2

Did I say Spring???

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Space

I've long been a fan of the transition times...the hint of change (of weather, of clothes, of pace) that's almost but not quite yet. Typical of Colorado in the spring, this spring break began with a Friday snow day!, then several long warm days in a row. This spring break I have decided to take the "break" part literally, which for this teacher and graduate student means a break from planning lessons and grading and research...all rather heady work. It's been physically cathartic to clean out closets and our garage piled high with stuff for goodwill (long overdue). And fun to find long forgotten treasures that point to summer, like our camping stove and the hammock still in great condition that I might just finally hang. And it's been lovely to linger on my front porch with a cup of green and ginger tea and watch my 13 year old ride her bike to the old fashioned ice-cream, candy and soda shop or chat with my 16 year old who savors porch time too. And if my mind drifts to that half-asleep place in the warm late day sun, so be it...I have no urgent deadlines...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Caron Guillo

She's a dear and faithful friend from college days...and here's her new page. Her book, Children of Light, is due out in November. Hopefully, by then she'll be living in Colorado!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

PIcaboo Wedding Book

A friend forwarded this great new site for creating your own photo books. Check out the link below for my attempt at our recent special occasion!
Picaboo Wedding Book

Friday, March 5, 2010

This but not this

Recently I came upon a writer and artist whose deeply reflective work has moved me.  Jan Richardson writes:

The challenge of creating a piece of art lies not just in deciding what to include but also in discerning what to leave out. Every piece of art involves a process of choosing: not thisnot thisnot this. I can only find what belongs by clearing away everything that doesn’t.This is no speedy endeavor.

On an intimate scale, it’s much like the kind of discernment that we see Jesus engaged in as we follow him into the wilderness on the first Sunday of Lent...

The devil’s temptations show that he knows the words of scripture well. Jesus’ responses, however, reveal that he knows more: he understands the heart of the sacred texts. And here in the wilderness, the one who has steeped himself in those texts begins to understand how the ancient words of God are to take flesh in him as the living and incarnate Word of God. Once, twice, and yet a third time: with every temptation, Jesus responds to the devil: not thisnot thisnot this. With each response he names what does not belong to him; with each answer he gains clarity about what he needs to empty himself of in order to be who he has come here to be.

When he emerges from this wild space, when he has completed this liminal time of fasting and praying and wrestling and waiting, Jesus has a clarity that could not have come otherwise. It has taken a long time, this emptying, this clearing out, this letting go of what doesn’t belong in order to find what does. But in taking the time, in venturing into that place, Jesus has found what he needs. As he enters his public ministry, he possesses a picture that is more complete, more whole. From discerning not this, not this, not this, he can now say, this.
(read the rest of Jan's thoughts and see her inspired art at The Painted Prayerbook).

I found myself thinking, "Yes...exactly". The choices that we don't choose ...and sometimes unchoose...are as important as the ones we do choose. Don't we all long for the certainty of "this" over the "not this"? And I wonder if the "this" is clarified even more (after the wilderness) as it is confirmed by our fellow waiters and wrestlers. To know your "this" and to encourage others in finding theirs....sounds lovely to me.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Laura's Blog

Fun new blog by our second daughter, Laura. She has excellent taste (she chose all the rich colors and textures for her wedding) and she has interesting views. Plus she is living London!