Monday, October 4, 2010

Turning into Autumn

This week was busy, and I haven’t had as much time alone to feel melancholy and homesick. Being out in the world again, watching the seasons change, I’m starting to appreciate the incredible beauty here, the people and the landscapes. The trees are beginning to turn, some the most startling red I’ve ever seen. When the sun is out the colors brighten. The grass and trees appear so vibrant in contrast with the blue sky. Even when it rains, everything smells so clean and fresh, even though the colors are muted and gray. Being out and about more this week, I ended up having to use an umbrella (new for me), and although I was skeptical at first, I ended up loving my time alone, protected beneath the canopy, listening to the sound the rain made on the nylon, and splashing through puddles. I love the autumn d├ęcor: the pumpkins, squash, mums, apples and cinnamon. Everything is orange, red, yellow, green.

A tree on campus just turning
I love talking to the locals whether on the train, stores, or in small towns and the city. I love how they warm up and their eyes sparkle when I ask them about home- Boston, the north shore, and then their recommendations (I’m making a list). I think the sparkle and warmth originate from a beautiful kind of pride and rich history that they own.  I love the unique way they talk, the funny adjectives they use, and even having to apologize and ask them to repeat what they said three times because they spoke either  too fast the first two times or with too strong an accent. Sometimes I ask more questions and appear more interested just to listen to them talk. 
Walking in Chebacco Woods just a
couple miles away

"For as God is infinitely the greatest Being, so he is allowed to be infinitely the most beautiful and excellent: and all the beauty to be found throughout the whole creation is but the reflection of the diffused beams of that Being who with an infinite fullness of brightness and glory; the foundation and fountain of all being and all beauty." Jonathan Edwards

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What To Do With These Pesky Emotions

I don’t value emotion as much as logic.

I especially don’t value negative emotions like sadness, anger, loneliness, hurt, and fear

I’m not as logical as I want to think I am.

Can these emotions I’ve described as “negative” ever be good? Grief is normal and healthy right? That’s not a “good” emotion. Even as I’m classifying emotions as either negative or positive, I think I’m missing something kind of big. I am trying to logically explain something that I don’t think is logical. Emotions seem to have a mind of their own. Sometimes they don’t seem to come as a result of something good or bad they just come out of us, like the stomach flu.  Which leads me to my next thought: maybe emotions can be easily explained away scientifically, like hormones, or what I ate, or how much I slept, or my gender because I think we can all agree that those things at the very least play a role. To my husband, emotions are a choice, something that can be fixed or changed.  I don’t think I agree, but I’m working it out.

Either way, explainable or not, I don’t want to have those emotions. I prefer being in control. I would rather be strong, reasonable and logical. Today negative emotions won. I was drowning in them. I was not logical or reasonable, and even when I tried to be I just couldn’t. I could only feel and I needed time to just feel for a while before my brain would work again. Yuck. Right now I think I’m treading water, keeping my head up, making sense of it. But I’m not that great of a swimmer and those pesky feelings seem to pull me down when I least expect it. Somewhere inside me maybe they still exist, maybe I’m just fooling myself.

But why do I think they’re bad?

David was emotional. Check this out: “I cry aloud to the Lord; I plead aloud to the Lord for mercy. I pour out my complaint before Him; I reveal my trouble to Him. Although my spirit is weak within me, You know my way….no one cares about me. I cry to You, Lord; I say, ‘You are my shelter, my portion in the land of the living.’ Listen to my cry, for I am very weak” Psalm 142

Here’s something God gave me today as I was feeling and thinking and asking God to please help me make sense of it.

Paul said, “we rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” 
Romans 5:3-5

Rejoice in our afflictions.



Hope is a “good” emotion; and affliction, although by my classification is “bad”, leads to hope. According to Paul, this isn’t just any kind of hope, but a hope that will not disappoint. I still can’t really make sense of it all, but I feel like maybe I’m starting to.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The North Shore, Massachusetts: Perspectives from a newly transplanted Pacific Northwesterner

People here are not cold and distant. They are, however, very helpful, sometimes overly helpful, loud, talk way too fast, and love to help and share information (that is, when it’s their idea, don’t ask for any favors)

The town next to us was founded in 1629. I love the history. Old white churches, huge, old mansions



I drove through one town where the street lines were painted red, white, and blue.

Our new home on campus
The Atlantic Ocean

Orchards and Farms

Customer service? What’s that?

Pronunciations of towns: Worcester=Woosta, Woburn=Woobun, Gloucester=Glawsta, Peabody=Peebidy

Pineapples on front doors and signs= colonial symbol of welcome, good cheer, warmth. (I had to ask)

Roast beef and Seafood; Roast beef and pizza; Roast beef and subs; Roast beef and…you get the idea. 
Nick’s Famous Roast beef, Mikey’s Famous Roast beef, Bill and Bob’s Roast beef, Giovanni’s Roast beef, Kelly’s Famous Roast beef-just to name a few.

Grocery carts are called carriages

Most grocery and convenient stores do not sell wine or beer

You have to pay (a lot) for parking to go to the beach

Library passes are wicked cool-you can get free access to parking at parks and free or discounted passes to 
museums and local attractions

Yes, I said “wicked cool”

Dunkin’ Donuts on every corner

Yummy yummy seafood

No roads run east to west, just in circles

So many trees I have no idea where I am or where I’m going…

Watch out for horses on the road and polo players

Snapping turtles and turkeys are dangerous, especially for toddlers.
“Those turtles can snap your finger right off”
Rockport, MA on my birthday

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

death and then living

I’ve been running a lot.

This is why I run:

I like to hang out with Courtney and Elisabeth

Relieve stress from school/work/life

I am competitive

I’m developing my belief system of a healthy lifestyle/perspective so I can talk to patients about it without being a total hypocrite

Time alone with God, my thoughts, worship, and music. Prayer.

I feel better

Sometimes I run past the Morris Hill Cemetery. The one on Americana and Latah. I think graveyards are beautiful, thought-provoking. I love looking at the dates and names and wondering who all those people were, who they left behind, what counted in their lives. I like that there’s contradiction in running to stay in shape past a graveyard. Running past death makes me think about living. How do I live so that my life has significance? How much control do I even have? Solomon (a king of Jerusalem in the 2nd century BC) is, some say, the wisest man ever to have lived, and in Ecclesiastes he wrote that life is meaningless. Meaningless? Nothing is new under the sun. Seasons come and go. Everyone dies regardless of what they believe or don’t believe, and whether they are righteous or wicked, good or bad. A month after I started running past Morris Hill Cemetery my grandpa died. Recent thoughts on life and death and significance compounded with grief and sorrow and sadness and MEANING. Mourning for my grandpa the last week of his life was one of the most beautiful and horrible experiences I’ve ever had.

Excerpts from the book of Ecclesiastes-Chapter 1 and Chapter 12

1 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:

2 "Meaningless! Meaningless!"
says the Teacher.
"Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless."

3 What does man gain from all his labor
at which he toils under the sun?

4 Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.

5 The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.

6 The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.

7 All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.

8 All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing.

9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

10 Is there anything of which one can say,
"Look! This is something new"?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.

11 There is no remembrance of men of old,
and even those who are yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow.

The Conclusion of the Matter-Chapter 12

9 Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.

11 The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one Shepherd. 12 Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.
Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.

14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

About Sheep

This month I’ve been experiencing a lot of confusion, tears, and have lost my clarity. Where is this emotion coming from? I can’t even think straight some days. God is doing something.

In the midst of this craziness, He has been having me read and think a lot about blind and lame men (not lame as in not cool, but physically unable to do something, like walk), sheep, and women clutching tightly onto Christ’s robe. I’ve been picturing myself as one of these women, grabbing hold and trailing behind him, so afraid of letting go. Sheep: a little lamb wandering off busy eating without watching where she’s going…just munching away. What do all these things have in common? Dependence? Control?

Once when I was a little girl, probably around 10 years old, I was out playing hard at recess so far out in the field behind the playground that I didn’t hear the bell ring to come inside. I must have been so content playing all alone in my own little kid world. I don’t know how long it had been, but I remember all of a sudden I looked around and didn’t see any other kids outside. Oh no! Was I in trouble? Was anybody looking for me? What was going to happen when I wandered back into the classroom? (Where were those recess ladies on duty?) I crept back into the classroom, where I tried to sneakily get back to my desk and sit down without being seen. I don’t know what I thought would happen, maybe that my life would be over? Let me preface this with something about myself that I’m really embarrassed about now: I made sure I never, ever got in trouble, especially at school. My parents often tell me that when I was just a little girl they would throw one stern look at me and I would burst out in tears, devastated. So back to the story, nothing really happened. It was all very anticlimactic, I don’t’ think the teacher really noticed, or if he did he must of just looked at me, and then kept on teaching. Whew, everything was going to be okay. I was so not cool. I wish now that I would’ve have gotten in trouble more, at least a little bit, just so I know that I could survive it. I’m so worried about messing up. I hate that I still care so much about “getting in trouble”: my perfectionism. Today, like lots of days, I still feel like that sensitive little girl. Will I ever get over “being in trouble” and stop caring if someone might think I’m not smart, pretty, funny, kind enough?? I annoy my sensibilities.

It’s a good thing that God is a shepherd who really watches over little lambs like me. I don’t know what’s going on most of the time, and when I find something good to eat just over the hill, or in the next valley, sometimes I just wander away. Other times I run, sneak, or look behind my shoulder to see if anyone is watching. Poor little lost sheep. He lies me down in green pastures, and guides me to streams of water to drink, even protects me from those animals ready to gobble me up. It’s starting to become obvious that the last few weeks I’ve made Him have to force me to lay me down, wake me up, and guide me. I can’t do anything good enough on my own. God is telling me to stop worrying and let Him take care of me, all the time, and not to fight Him. There are parts of me that He knows I haven’t given up to Him or let Him heal, or change, places that I don’t even realize are there, and places I’m afraid to go. My only real strength comes from Him.

Here’s something I keep on reading over and over lately:

Psalm 23

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dance Party

Dance party at my house…by myself. Okay not by myself but with my Father. I was dancing on His feet. He was showing me the steps today while I flailed my arms and tripped on my big, skinny feet. The dogs looking at me worried. I closed my eyes listened to the music and danced.

God didn’t make me a ballerina..but I still think He thinks my clumsy feet are beautiful..and adorable….HE loves me. Maybe He made me clumsy on purpose. Gracefully clumsy.

Confidence in my identity in a young woman. Not pride but confidence. Wisdom. Resting. Being filled..spilling over…

Romance. I love it. It melts me. All my strength turns into swooning, fluttering. I forget myself. Wanting to fall apart in it.

"Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music."

— Angela Monet

Friday, May 29, 2009

Chayil and an exploration of beauty

Today I was rummaging around online (can someone really rummage around online…?)for templates or images for this blog of mine. What do I want it to look like? Feel like, read like? I ended up on Flickr and typed in various, and now seemingly uncreative, search words such as landscape and color and colour. Not finding anything that was working for me I eventually typed BEAUTY in that little search box. I don’t know what I was hoping for with that, maybe artists’ depictions of beauty, more landscapes, more colors, skies. But what I noticed most were the images of women: smiling, young, old, naked, clothed, black, white, colorful, dark, dirty, clean, polished, working, third world, urban, plastic, country, all mixed in with images of landscapes and flowers. They were all beautiful.

This search brought me back to a previous exploration of women and beauty that I had done in preparing for a talk for high school girls a month or so ago.

"A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman--who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls” Proverbs 31:10

CHAYIL (pronounced khah'-yil) is the Hebrew word translated as virtue that is used in this popular biblical passage. If someone had asked me before my study what a “virtuous women” looks like, in a moment I probably would have described images of soft, serious, modest, kind but maybe even passive women. Honestly, all kind of nun-like. Surprisingly though, this

 word that has been translated to “virtue” means quite the opposite of anything else that I would naturally think of when “virtuous women” pictures are conjured up in my head. This Hebrew word chayil was usually saved to describe great forces and armies. So, instead of a push-over, a woman that is said to be “chayil” would possess a certain strength, might, and power. Think about that! What does that women look like?

That’s it.

And I still haven’t found a layout I love.