Liturgical Fidget (try saying THAT five times fast …), part 1

25 October 2011

My apologies for the eleven-day gap since my last post.  It’s not that I haven’t been writing (got another couple of chapters of Iron Man fanfic completed), or that I didn’t have anything important to write about, or even that I was just plain lazy (this time).  In fact, I had a few seemingly important issues to tackle, some or all of which I may write about in the coming weeks.  But every time I wanted to forge ahead on one, I got distracted or tired or my thinking started getting foggy, and in the end nothing was done.  Maybe it was the hand of God, maybe it was an attack from the devil.  I don’t think it was the latter.

Anyway, one of the issues came to a head over the last few days, and I’m going to address it here.  It has to do with my own spiritual/religious life, my social life, the history of the Church, and the regimentation of individual churches.  And if God (or anyone else) wants to stop me from writing this, they’d better move fast, ’cause here I go …

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False gumbo, or, the joy of leftovers

26 August 2011

At my daughter Charlotte’s request, last night I made up a big pot of my “false gumbo.”

I call it that because I’ve had real, honest-to-goodness, Cajun-style Louisiana gumbo — and mine isn’t.  My family won’t eat really spicy food, and I’m not that fond of it either except once in a while.  Which means no andouille sausage, no Cayenne pepper, no okra.  Also no crawdads, since in northern California they’re not real easy to find.  Instead, I go with ingredients more friendly to a fragile palate.

So it isn’t real gumbo, it’s false gumbo.  But it’s mighty tasty.  It’s not just my family that thinks so — my wife Nina (the Supermodel) was volunteering at our son Sean’s school yesterday and told his teacher what I was making.  He expressed interest, so this morning I brought him a small Rubbermaid container of it to sample.  He loved it.  So there you have it — rave reviews!

I’ll tack on a rough recipe (rough because I don’t measure out ingredients precisely — consider all amounts approximate) at the end of this post, in case you want to try it for yourself.  But as I was in the process of making it, it got me to thinking …

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Dealing with my bad memory

24 March 2011

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking with a friend of mine, and he said something that made me a bit envious.

We were talking about something that had happened to him several years before.  Or maybe it was something that had happened to me — the context isn’t that important.  But in passing, he mentioned that he rarely thought about things that happened in the past.  It wasn’t like he avoided thinking about them, it was just that they didn’t come to mind — his brain naturally focused on the future.

Later that night, I got to thinking about it, and found that I wished my brain worked like that, too.  Because all too often, I find myself thinking about the past — and wishing I weren’t.  When you get right down to it, I have a bad memory.

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A two-point sermon from my MP3 player

14 March 2011

I got really convicted by my MP3 player a few days ago.

I don’t have a very big MP3 player.  It’s a little SanDisk Sansa 4GB job, about the size of one of those old Zippos your grandpa used to light his cigarettes, and I’ve got maybe 300 songs loaded on it.  Mostly contemporary Christian songs (what can I say, that’s my joint), and all of them upbeat, since I originally got the Sansa to use while working out.  (I haven’t had much energy for that lately, but hope springs eternal …)

More recently, I’ve used it while giving my son Sean his baths.  See, Sean may be still recovering from Leigh’s disease (and for that recovery, Lord, much thanks!), but in many ways he is a typical 7-year-old — such as hating to take a bath.  He can’t speak, exactly, but he moans the entire time, and in a small echoing space (like, say, our bathroom) that can really wear on the ol’  nerves.  So rather than turning into Jack Nicholson from The Shining, I pop in the earbuds, drop the body of it into my shirt/pants pocket, and sing along to a) drown out the moaning and b) hopefully keep the Seanster Monster entertained.

And it was Friday, during bath time (specifically, while drying Sean off) that God, via the Sansa, hit me with a heckuva two-point sermon.

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Projecting 2011: One month in

2 February 2011

Back on January 4, I wrote about the projects I believed God was guiding me to work on for 2011.  What struck me about them at the time was how mundane they were — no grand public gestures or insurmountable obstacles, just stuff-around-the-house kinds of things.  I was a little put out, until I realized that a) part of the purpose was to focus me by getting me to concentrate on fewer activities than usual, and b) the underlying subtext was that I was right where God wanted me for now.

So that’s all right, then.  But how am I doin’ with what God has me doin’?  Four and a half weeks into the new year, that seems like a good question to ask.  So why don’t I take a look, and see how well I’ve been keeping up …

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Projecting 2011

4 January 2011

So here we are, four days into the new year.  I’m sure that you or someone you know has made some “New Year’s resolutions,” statements on how you’re going to do things differently in 2011.  Maybe you’ve even broken one or more of them already.  Me, I don’t really do those anymore, for two reasons:

  1. My tendency is to constantly make resolutions for myself year-round, so setting aside one time of year for them would just be excessive.
  2. It doesn’t work all that well.

I look back at my resolutions for 2009 and just laugh — what with my son Sean’s Leigh’s disease, my mom’s death and my lack of willpower, none of them lasted to Labor Day.  It’s just like the bit in James 4:13-15 — you can make all the plans you want, but if God has other plans for you, your to-do list is dust in the wind.  So, no N.Y.R.s for this little black duck!

However, I’m not the type who can simply burrow through the days with no measurable long-term goal.  I used to get those from my job(s), but with being Sean’s full-time caregiver/physical therapist/doctor wrangler, that’s simply not in the picture at present.  And you can’t really set personal goals for someone else’s medical recovery, especially when said recovery is as off the charts as Sean’s is (and hopefully will continue to be).  So I realized as 2010 wound down that I needed some projects, some things that could provide goals (however unimportant) to keep the goal-shooting-for part of my personality occupied and out of trouble.

And given the events of the last couple of years, I figured picking them myself was probably the wrong move.  So I needed to talk to God and find out what He wanted me doing.  Only I wasn’t quite prepared for what He had to say …

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Out on a literary limb

26 October 2010

I did it.  Yesterday afternoon, I clenched my teeth, summoned up my courage, went ahead and did it.

I still feel nervous about it.  I know there will be people that will think I’ve been wasting my time and energy.  I’ve got a good chance of facing rejection by some very respectable people.  I did it anyway.  I had to.  If I was going to obey what I perceive to be God’s will (not to mention keep my sanity), I needed to do this.

Simply put, this wannabe novelist is back on the horse once again!

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