Thursday, March 27

things to be happy about

the feeling of expectation
starry nights
the smell of someone freshly showered
the feel of lotion on clean skin
frothed milk
new music
finding chocolate stashed in your purse
finishing a book and the anticipation of starting a new one
getting a baby to laugh and smile
making plans to meet old friends
the smell of coffee
warm tortillas
grapefruit and grapefruit scented things
understanding and being understood
having something in common
sharing dessert

I got the book Things to be Happy About when I was in the early years of college, I think. The author has a fun website, too. I went through my copy of the book and highlighted or underlined the things I loved most in the book. I started the list above back in September in my tiny red "schedule book" from Korea and added a few things to it recently.

Sunday, March 23

picture update

Last weekend I went to Denton to see my cousin. We went to the Ghostland Observatory concert in Dallas and it was a lot of fun. Never thought I would like that kind of music, but now I least from this band.

On Thursday I went to the Blanton with another cousin and my Mom and Mimi. Always good to get some art running through my veins again.

I loved this little girl and followed her down the stairs.

Outside they have a stringy plastic installation you can walk through (and hang from).

Thursday, March 13

a rainy day

Monday, it rained all day. I absolutely love rainy days. I think rain helps me remember things, because so many of my memories are connected with rain: family time on Block Island, Rhode Island; a walk around the block with a friend just to feel the rain on us, no umbrella and jeans so drenched and heavy that they barely hung on; playing in the muddy ditches on the farm with the cousins; riding my red bike home from teaching in China then running up the stairs for a cup of coffee and dry clothes; a walk home to my apartment in Korea, wrestling with waiting and being alone; sharing an umbrella with a friend who insisted that the rain would make my hair fall out.

I was happy to make some new memories with my cousin Sarah on Monday. We ate migas and huevos rancheros for breakfast/lunch at Cisco's, then spent the rest of the rainy afternoon shopping at some random places. I bought the Ghostland Observatory CD at Waterloo because I'm going to see them with my cousin Audra on Saturday. They're an interesting band and I'm betting it's gonna be a great show.

It's spring break in the Austin area this week, so I've had a little more reading and reflection time. I'm not thinking of joining a convent (yet), but in thinking and praying through this waiting time, I'm trying to pay close attention to life:

Monastic people seek to weave ceremony through every mundane part of life: how one eats, how one dresses, how one treats tools, or enters a church are not left to whim. Ceremony is so large a part of what Benedictines do that it becomes second nature to many of them. The monastic life has this in common with the artistic one: both are attempts to pay close attention to objects, events, and natural phenomena that otherwise would get chewed up in the daily grind.

- Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk

Saturday, March 8

ordering all things sweetly

Fuge, tace, quiesce. The waiting itself is the thing.

Not only does something come if you wait, but it pours over you like a waterfall, like a tidal wave. You wait in all naturalness without expectation or hope, emptied, translucent, and that which comes rocks and topples you; it will shear, loose, launch, winnow, grind.

- Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
“I profess, and to my last breath I shall profess it, that both in body and soul, in everything, whether in prosperity or adversity, you provide for me in the way that is most suitable…with the one and uncreated wisdom, my sweetest God, reaching from end to end mightily and ordering all things sweetly.”
– from St. Gertrude, a recasting of the ceremony of monastic profession
found in The Cloister Walk, by Kathleen Norris

Out in West Texas, the signs of spring are few and far between, but back in Austin, the mountain laurels and redbuds are in bloom and I'm mostly encouraged that God is ordering all things sweetly. This week he's given me three or four encouraging signs so that I can overlook the one or two discouraging ones and that's reason for expectation, anticipation, hope.