random ramblings, vol. 10

I'm cleaning my house tonight.  (Can you tell?)  lol.  Cleaning is not one of my favorite activities, particularly for hours on end (which is what truly cleaning my apartment would entail at this point) - so while I'm procrastinating (something I'm quite talented at doing), here are seven more random ramblings from Happyland:

1)  I have about a week to put together a "life vision" presentation for JAA (a leadership/learning "book club" sort of group).  I'm contemplating presenting it creatively - a map of Happyland, complete with playgrounds, diners, and churches.  I'm not sure I can draw it very well, though.   I also honestly am not sure I know what my life vision is.  I know bits and pieces of who I am and where I'm going, but if there's anything I've learned over my past few years of blogging, it's that life is a journey, and who we are is as much about who we're becoming as who we've been - and we don't always see it clearly for ourselves.  So here's an invitation to the peanut gallery (lurkers and regular commentators alike): what do you see?  What are the major themes in my life?  What are my gifts, my focuses (foci?)?  I have some ideas (I will share them later, when I'm done writing/drawing my vision) - but from those of you who don't know me in "real life" (aka we've only met through blogging),  I'd love to know what you see, just from what I write (and I'd love to hear from those of you who do know me in real life as well!).

2)  My current playlist on iTunes is pretty eclectic.  (surprise, surprise)  In no particular order, I'm currently hooked on these songs:

Stuck Like Glue - by Sugarland
What If: Celtic Mix - by Emilie Autumn
and pretty much everything Chris Ayer ever wrote, but especially Lost and Found, The Revealing, Pretty Poison Things, and Warmer

3) Lauren Winner, in Mudhouse Sabbath, writes about hospitality as welcoming people into your life "as is."  I still find this challenging - but on the evening before a friend arrives to visit for half a week, I am looking around my disaster of an apartment, and realizing that it's just not all going to get done.  It's almost ten, and I have to get up at five tomorrow.  I'll have a few hours between church and the time I have to leave to pick her up from the airport, but chances are good that not all the cleaning that "ought" to be done will be.  I'm going to have to settle for getting the dust bunnies out of the corners, and worry about the dust on the bookshelves later.  Sigh.  But this is a friend of my heart, and she knows firsthand what it's like to be a working single woman - and that I have two jobs - so things that can slide (like dusting) tend to slide.  She's going to love me whether I remember to dust or not.

4) Update on the on-going Sabbath journey: today was definitely unorthodox.  ;)  There were very real elements of "traditional" Sabbath present: I slept in a bit (rested), shared a meal with a good friend, celebrated the reality that everything broken will be set right some day.  I read a good book.  I spent time outside.  I listened to great music.  I was at peace.

I also took a bunch of stuff to Goodwill and went grocery shopping.  I cleaned out my car and vacuumed it.  I wiped down a bunch of storage bins that have been collecting dust in the garage and loaded them into my car to donate to my church tomorrow (the creative planning team has acquired a lot of odds and ends over the past two years, and is in need of organization).  I did a couple loads of laundry, and my dishes.  I cooked dinner.  I started cleaning my room, and organized my linen closet and my pantry.  I also checked my email and did some work for church.

Everything in that last paragraph is "work" - which is forbidden on the Sabbath.  And I wouldn't recommend it as normal Sabbath-keeping behaviour.  But on the eve of a week-long stay-cation when I know I will be getting a good deal more rest than I usually do, and in the wake of a long stretch of insane busyness where lots of my own personal stuff (things like cleaning out my car and my linen closet) has fallen by the wayside - getting that stuff done was incredibly freeing today.  And the best thing about it was that it wasn't "work" - it was fun, being productive - kind of like not being productive right now is also fun.  :)

5) I'm reading a book for JAA called Necessary Endings by Dr. Henry Cloud.  I'm developing a bit of a love/hate relationship with this book.  It's good stuff - but challenging - and I'm finding as I read that I have a really hard time letting go of things/people/seasons.  Some of it is loyalty taken to extremes.  Some of it is just clinging to good memories and not allowing myself to create new ones.   I remember Chris calling me out a few years ago on being too attached to my memories of The Vine to fully embrace what God was doing in me and in our ministry at the time.  I think there's a degree to which I still haven't let that go entirely.  It was a good season, those five years it lasted.  I learned a lot, grew a lot, met a lot of people who are still very dear to me.  But this season I'm in now is also good - and I need to embrace it without looking back.  Maybe that's one of the lessons we're to learn from Lot's wife - crying over what's past won't leave us with anything but a pillar of salt, once the water's evaporated from our tears.  We need to look forward, and embrace our futures, however unknown they may currently be.

6)  That said - there's something to be said for meaningful nostalgia.  I am currently listening to Hootie and the Blowfish as I type.  Whatever happened to them?

7)  My current read is Sarah Ban Breathnach's Peace and Plenty.  I am reading it slowly, and taking notes.  It's the first book on finances I've ever read that deals with the emotional component of becoming financially responsible after you've completely screwed it up.  Chock full of good advice and quotations and practical applications, it's become one of those books I can't help but view as a friend.  I'm finding a lot of life in its pages - and learning to appreciate things like cucumber water as the luxuries they are.  :)

Wilderness Adventures of 2011

Not that we should be surprised by this, but Happy's "wilderness adventures" are continuing in 2011.  Almost all of you are aware by now of the epic bison encounter.  (If you missed that one, you can read about it here.)  

The bison incident was only one in a long line of wildlife encounters over the years.  I freaked out a peacock once.  In a forest preserve in Michigan.  (Do peacocks even live in Michigan?)  I've met several deer in the middle of trails who have shown no indication that they planned to move.  (They didn't.  I turned around and found an alternate route.)  There was that moose in Colorado....  And I've been chased by what may or may not have been wild turkeys.  Upon telling the story later, it appears they might have been emus.  (Regardless, I would advise against making gobbling sounds at any bird in the wild.  Just in case.)

Recently, in my suburban neighborhood, I've seen a weasel, a skunk the size of a large housecat, and several of a variety of waterfowl. (No, I have not actually ENCOUNTERED any of them. Yet.)  But today, biking through gloriously wooded beauty in the middle of nowhere, I was run off the trail, not by a deer, nor a snake, nor a skunk, nor any other likely candidate - but by a fire truck.

What were the odds?!