Thursday, July 29, 2010

Facebook Weirdness

I was surprised at this ad popping up on facebook today...

How does liking Doctor Who mean that you like Project Runway??!!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What are you seeking?

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about 'The Pearl of Great Price' that ended with three reflection questions.

  • What are you seeking?
  • Where are you experiencing anxiety and what is that anxiety trying to tell you?
  • What should you hold and what should you release?

Normally I'm very good about posting but bad about following up with the questions I suggest. I posited the questions at the end of the Contemplative Service, and, to help people remember them I gave out postcards with the three questions on them. I've kept one by my work computer and one at home. Consequently I've found myself drawn to the questions, but I can't get past the first one.

As I've sat and sporadically reflected the first thing I've noticed is how different I choose to respond to that question now. In the past a question like 'What are you seeking?' would have solicited a response that cataloged in detail all the things that I am longing for that are not 'The Kingdom of God'. The question would have been a prompt to beat myself up for being 'Un-spiritual' and 'sin ridden'. This time has been different. I became aware of how much the image of Psalm 131 has worked into my life:

My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.

Still. Quiet. Rested. Relaxed. And definitely no seeking.

Not seeking is good right? It's a sign of contentment, and it can also be a sign of complacency. So many of the actions I take in life can be interpreted in many ways. I can sit and read a book or watch tv as a way of relaxing or it can be a means of avoidance. I often judge other people (and myself) by their actions, but it is the internal attitude that gives the action meaning.

So what have I learned asking myself about seeking?

I've started composing again. It's something I enjoy, but I I've working on the same piece for months now, I told myself that I had Writers Block and no time to compose, but the truth was I decided that if I didn't flow easily then it wasn't going to flow at all. I can be a lazy composer at times. Since I've been asking the question again I've found myself wanting to compose more and being more willing to push through the barriers that prevent me from putting notes on staves. I've even found myself wondering again about further study in the field, maybe a Masters Degree. I may not pursue it, but I'm enjoying the dreaming.

I've also found myself wondering about sailing. (!) A chance conversation with a co-worker prompted my reflection. She excitedly mentioned her new kayaking classes and it got me thinking. When I was child I adored the 'Swallows and Amazons' series by Arthur Ransome. Set between the wars, they were the fantastic adventures of children sailing small dinghies at various locations in the U.K. and further afield. I reread the books recently after Steve bought them for me for Christmas. I occasionally find myself wondering what it would be like to learn how to sail a small dinghy. As I drove over Atchafalaya this past weekend I imagined navigating the rivers in a small craft. I am not an outdoorsy person, but something about the idea of sailing resonates with me. I may not pursue lessons, but I'm enjoying the dreaming.

And so I keep asking myself the question 'What am I seeking?' because it has become a doorway that is opening me up to hopes, dreams and memories.

What are you seeking?

What dreams are you enjoying?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Know the difference!

I am glad they make the disctinction between accordions and musical instruments :)

This pic just makes me smile, I posted it on facebook but I thought I would share it here as well. I took this pic over on W. Belfort, I'm so tempted to go in the store sometime!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Give it away, give it away, give it away now?

Thoughts for the Contemplative Service

The Pearl of Great Price

He asked what I was looking for.
"Frankly," I said, "I'm looking for the Pearl of Great Price."
He slipped his hand into his pocket, drew it out, AND GAVE IT TO ME. It was just like that! I was dumbfounded. Then I began to protest: "You don't want to give it to me? Don't you want to keep it for yourself? But..."
When I kept this up, he said finally, "Look, is it better to have the Pearl of Great Price, or to give it away? -
Well, now I have it. I don't tell anyone. From some there would just be disbelief and ridicule. "You, you have the Pearl of Great Price? Hah!" Others would be jealous, or someone might steal it. Yes, I do have it. But there's that question - 'Is it better to have it, or to give it away?" How long will that question rob me of my joy?

~From 'Tales of a Magic Monastery' by Theophane the Monk

I find I get distracted by this story, I want to know exactly what the Pearl of Great Price is. I want to pin down an exact meaning to every sentence, and I get frustrated that Theophane doesn't end the story neatly and tie a bow around it. We are left with the question 'Is it better to have it, or to give it away?'

The Pearl of Great Price, the item that had been the monk's desire, has become a source of anxiety. What if somebody tries to steal it? Are other people jealous of me for having it? Do they even believe me when I say it is my possession?

That anxiety is a sign that something is off balance, and so the question of Holding or Releasing robs the monk of the joy of possession. The identity of the pearl is not important, what is at issue is what the pearl has done to him. The pearl brings anxiety rather than peace, worry rather than joy, and that anxiety and worry is trying to speak to him.

The rhythm of life is one of Holding and Releasing. But moving through life with open hands, holding onto our pearls loosely and living out of grace and generosity is difficult. We need to be careful that our 'Pearls' do not become 'Idols'.

One example that my friend Jerry gave was of Reputation.

"When I thought of the pearl in these terms this morning, my mind went to “reputation” as something that we hold onto. Concern for our reputation, for what others think of us or even how we esteem ourselves is easily an idol that our culture justifies without question. We think that a stellar reputation is the highest good. “Reputation” is an investment in what others think about us (not in who we actually are). It is possible to hold onto a good reputation while what is inside us is degenerative, because “reputation” has to do with appearances, not the actual reality. “Seeking” and “holding onto” a good reputation may seem like a valuable “pearl,” but held in the pocket without touching the core it is essentially worthless in the larger scheme of life."

Paul wrote in Philippians ch 4:

I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

Questions for reflection:
  • What are you seeking?
  • Where are you experiencing anxiety and what is that anxiety trying to tell you?
  • What should you hold and what should you release?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Not your momma's tuna salad!

Tuna salad isn't something that I get excited by. I'll eat it, but I never thought I would devote a blog post to it. That changed a couple of years ago when I stumbled across a tuna salad recipe from Penzeys Spices.

Then, horror of horrors I gave my copy of the recipe away by accident.

Last week I was given some crystallized ginger by a friend who had obtained it from Italy (oooh fancy!) and it inspired me to attempt to hunt the recipe down. Fortunately my good friend Google helped me locate it in a far away forgotten corner of the internet.

So here it is in all its wonderful tuna glory - I've even fed this to people who don't like mayonnaise with nary a single complaint! This is definitely not my mom's tuna salad (or even my mum's tuna salad GRIN)....the reason being is that my mum never made tuna salad in her life, she would on occasion do some very strange culinary experiments with canned salmon though!

Gingered Tuna Salad

1 (7 5/8 ounce) fresh pouch tuna in water - see note below
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup red onion, minced
3 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped - see note below
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1 dash cayenne pepper

  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, saute the curry powder in olive oil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. While the curry powder is cooking, mince the onion and chop the crystallized ginger.
  3. In a medium bowl, add the mayonnaise, rice vinegar and Dijon mustard; whisk to blend.
  4. Add the cooked curry powder, crystallized ginger, onion, pecans and cayenne pepper; whisk again to thoroughly blend.
  5. Add the tuna and mix with a fork until tuna is well blended and coated with the dressing.


I've listed the tuna packet size as listed in the recipe, I couldn't find that size when I went to the store yesterday so I just bought 3 packets that were 2.6 oz. At my store they were only $1 each.

Crystallized ginger is usually in the spice section, it's expensive, but if you are lucky you've saved on the tuna!

The recipe claims that it serves 4, I would think 3 is probably more accurate, at least it is if you have an appetite like mine!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

June Games Played

June was a very low month for games seeing as I was in rehearsals every week night for 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood', but I still managed 19 plays of a total of 6 different games - though I hasten to add that 13 of those plays were in one evening of helping someone babysit!

A simple stacking game that can get surprisingly competitive due to the fun randomness of the shapes :)

Another dexterity game, this time stealing eggs from a nest. Incidentally this pic on the left is 3 generations of my family all playing Gulo Gulo. That's my Mom, Brother and Nephew all engrossed in a game many years ago.

The other games this month were:
Pass the Bomb (a good party game)

So after 6 months, here are the top three:
First with 18 plays is Hive.
Second place with 16 plays is Werewolf
Third place with 10 plays is Animal Upon Animal

Last years winner Dominion is lagging behind in 4th place with 8 plays.
So far this year I have played 193 games!!!!! Will I beat last years record of 378 plays? It's looking possible

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Something to ponder

"I think too many churches have worked on the model of “behave, believe, belong.” For example, if one behaves the proper way and believes proper doctrine, then he or she can belong to the church. Rather, we should foster communities where you can belong, surrounded by Christians learning about the love of Christ. Then through belonging, one believes. And only after belief in the risen Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit will transformation happen or behavior change. Thus, Belong, Believe, Behave." ~ Nathan Albert