Saturday, September 03, 2016

The Engineer Says . . .

You know the joke.

The optimist says the glass is half full.
The pessimist says the glass is half empty.
The engineer says the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

Apply it to literature.

The tired and skeptical reader says the book is twice as long as it needs to be.

Monday, August 29, 2016

 Wear what represents you at your best.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Still Small Hearing

Why does God seem so often silent?
Because he's listening to us.

Friday, January 17, 2014

After the Blizzard

There is a difference in living to avoid guilt and living to participate in joy.  

While both paths may find us embracing similar principles to achieve the desired end, the first leads to estrangement and asceticism, the second to sociality and abundance.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Cooking with Ingredients

When my husband and I were first married and both pursuing graduate studies, I adopted his eating style that he charmed me with during our engagement:  hamburger, cheese, instant rice and Ramen noodles were the key ingredients.  It was good food, but when we were invited to dine at the home of a professor for whom I was a TA, I remember remarking that the food at the gathering was “food with ingredients.”  I think by that I meant food from “scratch”? Somehow that was the real type of food and while what we ate wasn’t.

Now we have children, and I suspect there is still something less than “real” about our food, but at least now I am cooking with ingredients, and as few as possible it seems.  Though the processes, pans and power tools angst me, and the mess and time and dreary mechanical methods madden me, I would be even less happy in the paradigm of bagged bread, cake mix, and condensed soup.  

Oh yes, we do eat boxed macaroni and cheese, and saltines make my 11-year- old son ecstatic.   I guess for me those ingredients include more nutrients than fine-print additives and chemicals (sodium hexametaphosphate  is my favorite incantation), maybe love (although it’s a “Those Winter Sundays” type of love), but certainly soul force.

Sunday, January 05, 2014


When people have differences of opinion or competing interests and argue against each other’s positions by contending that “It doesn’t matter!” or “I don’t see why you’re making such a big deal of this” or “You need to be more flexible,” the paradox becomes quickly apparent.

“Teaching” flexibility to children requires altruism; true flexibility goes in every reasonable direction, not in always enforcing a bowing to the (seemingly) more powerful figure.

A few days ago little Mr. GSM wanted his drink in a particular sippy cup.  His mum said no on the thought that she didn’t want to wash that cup for him.  She hoped (i.e., demanded) he would be flexible.  Then she realized she could be flexible, too.  She washed the cup.

But, you may object, kids need to learn that they can’t always have their way; they can’t make too many demands.  Ah, but they will learn that all too soon and in too many ways. Must parents be the first to “teach” disappointment mostly for their own convenience?

Teaching flexibility must require a peaceful paradox of a generous denial or a giving that is not giving in. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Panis Angelicus (for Madelyn Francis, who bakes it)

We are grateful that the divine influence is promised in our hardest times (“peace I leave with you”).  We acknowledge that the divine makes extreme joy possible and sustainable (“in thy presence is  fulness of joy”). 

Between these two is a spectrum (sometimes specter) of chronic chronic-ness.   So much is said—and rightly so—of divine involvement in extreme states that the everyday experience may lead us to ask if we are watched over and loved even if we are not in abjection or ecstasy.  In other words, just what are the ninety nine sheep doing, grazing days away?

The resolution of the everyday experience perhaps lies partly in the invitation to ask—no, demand (?)—Give us this day our daily bread.   The injunction in the middle of time looks back to a miracle of earlier sacred history:  Manna,  a magic bread that was so consistent that the miracle became an irritation.

 The fact that amazing phenomena are repeated so regularly and abundantly—from sun rises to human births—is more cause for awe, not less.  And as our Father gives us this day our daily bread, his hand is on every loaf—and every life.

Vocatus atque non vocatus Deus aderit.