28 April 2009

Dinner today

2 eggs, fried, fluffy, runny yolk
Spicy Tomato Chickpeas from March 2009 issue of Gourmet Magazine
Sauteed spinach and garlic
on the side

It was delish. I'm going to get better about taking pictures.

Faith the two legged dog

This video is so strangely inspiring. It's from an old Oprah episode and I stumbled across it today in my browsing. I think the combination of a committed and loving human family with an animal breaking natural protocol inspires us to go against the odds and live beyond our limitations.

27 April 2009

Evangelical suburban vibrations?

Lately, a strange vague desire has come over me.

J. and I have been looking for an Episcopal church to attend in the area and frankly, it's slim pickings over here in the OC. After COS and All Saints, what did we expect? In the last two years, we've attended one of the most architecturally beautiful churches in the area with a strong tradition in contemplative ministry as well as the most progressive and diverse Episcopal church in the nation.

Visit #1, we felt very out of place at the closest church which was in Newport Hills, an incredibly wealthy WASP neighborhood of Newport Beach (think of the tv show, the OC and you'll get an exact visual). Everyone wore tailored outfits and an award was presented to the Peltasons for lifetime service by the Bishop of the Los Angeles Diocese. We live on the corner of Anteater and Peltason--need I say more? This is the kind of church where members have streets named after them.

Visit #2, the church was so ugly we drove into the parking lot, almost parked, and then truly had to just drive away because we couldn't handle the building. The ushers half-heartedly fluttered their programs at us and watched us drive away. Yes it was awkward and we felt kind of bad...but the building! It was a completely square box-like building with a huge phallic steeple rotated 45 degrees on top of the box. We were gaping. Ok, I know, I sound like a complete snob but aesthetics are important to me and to be fair, the OC has some of the ugliest church buildings I have ever seen in my life. I hesitated and said to J. "I feel bad...maybe we should just go in there." J. responds, "You need to prepare for something that hideous. We'll come back next week." We never did.

Visit #3, J. and I were excited to visit this church in Santa Ana which describes itself on their website as an "urban" church which celebrates its diversity. Ok, there were some brown people in there which is an anomaly but there were no Asian people and almost everyone was white. Was this really the most diverse Episcopalian church the OC had to offer? I didn't even see what made it urban. Sad. Plus the incense made me wheeze and cry the entire service.

Since then, I've felt a bit blah about my Episcopalian church search and found myself wanting to just sit in a megachurch on Sundays, get some nice feel good music, and a friendly message. I KNOW, RIGHT?

It's been this vague unconscious thing. In the far reaches of my mind, I can find my inner compass wandering to neutral carpeting and cushioned pews and friendly smiling people and Glade air freshener--all very bland and easy feeling. What is going on? I feel like my spiritual radar has been hijacked.

I was talking about this with J. and how I could have these sensations and longings for a spiritual experience within a nondenominational megachurch. He replied, "I guess all those shopping malls you go to make you want to sit in one for church too. That's all you see around here."

Yes, that is all you see around here. There are so many shopping malls here and not much else to do. Everything is suburban development. Stucco, housing tracts, wide streets, small tree saplings. The streets are so clean that the only word to describe it is sterile.

I'm not going to go to a megachurch but I'm beginning to see the effect of the environment on people's spiritual choices. If all you know is the shopping mall for recreation, it makes sense that your church would emulate one. If all you see is comfort and wealth, it makes sense that that's what you would want out of your church service. It feels absolutely relevant and "normal." You never come across injustice, physical need, or poverty so there's no reason why faith would have anything to do with that. It becomes perfectly reasonable that faith is about singing good songs, feeling good, getting the "right" theology, and making friends.

My ponderings continue. How strange it is to live here and be affected by wealth and suburban life. I'll end with a musical meditation from Hillsongs United. It's actually quite good. It makes me want to raise my hands and smile.

26 April 2009

Happy Birthday Strunk and White

I have my grandfather's vintage copy of Elements of Style sitting on my console as literary decor. This past week, NY Times celebrated its 50 years. The line below from the article made me laugh. I'm going to put that up on the wall by my writing desk.

“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers,” Dorothy Parker once wrote, “the second-greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of ‘The Elements of Style.’ The first-greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”

22 April 2009

I can almost see it, that dream I'm dreamin

I suppose one of the main reasons I like the song, "The Climb," is because it's about transition, about letting go, taking risks, facing losses, and moving forward.

Last week, one of J.'s grad school friends lent me a book called Transitions by William Bridges. I've been reading it in bits and pieces and it's been quite helpful in helping me process all the changes in my life.

There are three parts to transitions--endings, a time of feeling lost, and beginnings. Sometimes, you only have one or two of those. Other times, the order gets mixed up. The key is to go through each part fully and then move on with a new beginning.

I spent some time today thinking about unfinished transitions in my life and what I can do to finish them so my load is lighter for the road ahead. Bridges also recommends examining how we've reacted to transitions in the past to gain greater awareness of our emotional programming to transitions in general.

Of interesting and serious note, the book talks about how research was done correlating specific life situations with a point system such as 100 points for a spouse's death or 11 points for a change in jobs. For Americans who had fewer than 150 points (average), they had a 1 in 5 chance of being hospitalized for a major illness in the next 2 years. For those with 300 points, they had a 9 in 10 chance of being hospitalized for a major illness. Food for thought wherever you are.

21 April 2009

The Climb - Miley Cyrus

I never thought the day would come when my new favorite song is a Hannah Montana song but I suppose it was bound to happen since Hannah is such a cool name.

Here it is folks. Enjoy the inspiration of the words and that gravelly alto voice.

15 April 2009

butterfly feel good moment

I inspired a friend to start a blog.

There Will Be Blood

I've been watching this 2007 release in fits and starts. It's so intense. Every time I can't handle a scene, I stop and pick it up the next day.

08 April 2009

Newly wed

Marriage feels
                                                          surprisingly normal
                     distinctly different



"It's not a question of better or worse.  The point is, not to resist the flow.  You go up when you're supposed to go up and down when you're supposed to go down.  When you're supposed to go up, find the highest tower and climb to the top.  When you're supposed to go down, find the deepest well and go down to the bottom.  When there's no flow, stay still.  If you resist the flow, everything dries up.  If everything dries up, the world is darkness."
--Mr. Honda (The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami)

Good Words

Let the beauty of what you love, be what you do--Rumi