tis the season

the husband and i talked about when we say Christ brought peace to the earth that really, he didn't BRING peace, but He WAS Peace and that it was only in following his path that peace would ever truly be a possibility. and taking that to the next level, is the reason we have so much violence, dissonance, hatred, because the "christians" are not really followers of Christ - not doing the peaceful work of Christ? obviously there are many layers to this question and the issues surrounding it, but i do believe that we are desparately missing something in our mainstream "christian" lives. the violence of the last few weeks has only heightened that awareness for me. from the recent nationally publicized shootings in alaska, colorado and nebraska to the violence that we heard of every day when living in Cleveland. it is so easy to be lulled into unawareness, to go about my everyday priviged life and ignore the pain around. going even further, i could succumb to resignation as i've seen happen to many in my parents generation. the argument i've heard on more than one occassion 'well the world is going to end soon anyway with Christ's return and the bible promised no peace until then, so why bother.' perhaps not word for word, but that is the general mindset. but why shouldn't we bother? i thought that was the whole point - to be deeply bothered by the hatred and suffering and brokenness and violence. to be moved in our guts, our entrails, to be physically pained by injustice. i won't sit down on the steps. i won't forget the prayer "your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven". i believe that is the true call - to be a part of bringing the Kingdom here. to change this hell that we're living in. to live in peace and promote that among the nations...all of them. period.

deep breath. step down from the soapbox. extending a hand. i bid you peace for your day, your week. we can all make the change.


8 random things

ok, so dear Amber tagged me for an 8 random things post about 9 million years ago - which i never posted. now that the living in two places, trying to find a job, trying to stay financially afloat living in two places and trying to find a job saga is over (more on that later), ladies and gentlemen, here it is, 8 random things you might not (and may never want to) know about me:

1. i have never decorated for Christmas (or any other holiday for that matter) until this year. i always lived in small spaces with very little storage and i was trying to keep things simple. now that i'm married and we live in a bigger space, i was desiring a bit of holiday nostalgia and wanting to create some of our own. it should be fun.

2. i'm a picky eater. i really really really try not to be and i like some really strange foods that others might not from hummus to sweet pickles. but alas, that doesn't change that i HATE sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese (so cheese cake is out), most seafood, beets, and so on. thankfully i love most veggies and fruits and breads of all kind. so i think i'll survive my picky-ness.

3. i really love Christmas music - i've been listening since october. the Messiah, over the rhine, harry connick, even a little mariah carey (sad but true, but i will defend it by saying that it was early mariah from the mid 90s), nat king cole and bing crosby. just love it all. and finally singing Christmas hymns. love it.

4. i really enjoy baking, but don't do it much. i'm hosting Christmas at my place this year, so i think there will be ample opportunities for baking!

5. i'm getting ready to start a new job soon and i still have that 13 year-old "i hope they like" girl inside.

6. i don't like talking on the phone - very often at least.

7. i'm really terrible at keeping up on my blog writing (more obvious than random)

8. in my 31st year, i'm beginning to understand what my mom was saying all these years "i'm not concerned much with getting older, but i really don't feel [insert age here]". it's just strange to be firmly in my 3rd decade...strange and beautiful journey.

so there you have it. 8 random things.


let it in

i recently finished "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. in the last section of the book she writes of a time of meditation in Indonesia. she took time to look at all of her sorrow, all of her anger, and all of her shame (jealousy, selfishness, arrogance)...each moment she could remember. for each of these memories she acknowledged its existence, experienced it again in all of its pain and frustration and debilitation, blessed it and invited it into her heart, saying to each moment "It's OK, I love you. I accept you. You can rest here. You are welcome here. Come into my heart now. It's over." as a Christian, in the simplest explanation of salvation that is taught to the little ones, Christ lives in our heart. takes up residence there. in reading this, i thought it a beaufiful expression of trust and abandonment - experiencing each moment of our lives in a quiet, honest space and inviting it to find rest, to leave the space in our mind where we are tormented by the continuous existence of these moments - always brought forward in our dark and doubtful times. i know full well that there will still be memories, still moments of self-deprication, still heartbreaking loneliness...but i also know full well that i can continue to invite those moments into my heart, to find Rest, to find a Voice of truth, to find release.

be well friends.


a circle of quiet

i'm not sure how i missed this but she passed away last friday. i have read a few of her books and certainly intend to read more.

i am currently re-reading a circle of quiet and it is good for the soul. i deeply enjoy her candor and her depth. bright evening star was a beautiful short book. i remember most the story about sitting on the wall of the chapel while traveling in scotland with friends, remembering how much pain was caused there due to religious war. it was heartbreaking and heavy and gentle.

today i honor her life.


i'm so there

The Trumpet Child World Wide Release Concert
On August 31st, Over the Rhine will kick off THE TRUMPET CHILD 2007 WORLD TOUR with a gala Album Release Concert at beautiful Coney Island Moonlight Gardens in Cincinnati, Ohio

Robert and I will be in attendance. Anyone else want to join?


observations from the ladies room

things i've noticed in the public restroom lately:

- the care instructions in the back of my hanes says "machine wash warm. do not iron." seriously. just in case you were thinking about it, do not iron these underwear. seriously. anyone out there ironing their underwear???? i'm lucky if my pants get ironed in my mad, i'm-running-late-again dash to work in the morning.

- women have a high propensity for talking to each other while in the stalls. i'm all for friendliness ladies, but it's slightly uncomfortable having a conversation while my pants are down to my knees. so, unless you're family, let's talk while we wash our hands.

- and speaking of washing hands...please, i'm begging, if you're a non-handwasher; first, gross, wash your hands!!! and second, at least pretend to wash them when you're in there with another person. and another small point, just running water over them for 1.3 seconds with no soap is really quite pointless. don't even bother. p.s. i'm never going to take the pen that you offer me when i'm trying to fill out that inter-office envelope. thanks anyway.


in the land of plenty

#1 lesson of 2007 (i thought i already knew, but never had to put into practice):

i can live with so much less (sub-revelation, i am very greedy)

the first part of the lesson came when we moved our 15' truck full of stuff to dayton in june. as you may have already read, i'm still in cleveland due to lack 'o employment in dayton (for now). so, i kept behind a few essentials - air mattress, a few dishes/silverware/cookware, bathroom stuff, an 11" TV, DVD player and a small folding "saucer" chair, plus some clothes and sheets/towels. it can all fit in my little car. and i'm not missing anything (and could probably give up more). it's nice to have a couch and a bed that's not on the floor and my books, but it's nicer to know that i can live without it.

the second part of the lesson came when i chose to visit a doctor that specializes in weight management, who put me on a very strict diet. i had ignored my health for quite a long time and was completely out of control. i probably eat a quarter of what i was eating prior to the doctor's visit. and i'm not starving.

i was talking to a friend yesterday about this lesson and she shared that she was learning that over-eating isn't so much about gluttony as it is about greed - hording, like we'll never eat again. and it's true, there were times when i'd be starting a "diet" on Monday, so i ate everything that i thought would be so difficult to live without the weekend prior to starting. such a twisted, unhealthy, greedy mentality. add in the fact that while i'm hording, there are people starving and i've got a whole new lesson. God help me.

i am thankful for being forced into staying behind in Cleveland. may the eyes of my eyes be opened.



But we aren't always careful of our mirrors. I'm not. I made the mistake of thinking that I 'ought' not to write because I wasn't making money, and therefore in the eyes of many people around me I had no business to spend hours every day at the typewriter. I felt a failure not only because my books weren't being published but because I couldn't emulate our neighboring New England housewives. I was looking in the wrong mirros. I still do, and far too often. I catch myself at it, but usually afterwards...I've looked for an image in someone else's mirror, and so have avoided seeing myself.

Madeline L'Engle is killing me softly. i've spent my whole life looking in mirrors - right and wrong mirrors. as ani writes, i've "pour[ed myself] into the mold made for [me]." i don't know that many in my life have done it, made molds, intentionally, trying to rule over or control me. i think i've done it to myself, to be pleasing, to avoid conflict, to fit, to win love. i've been the 'cheery outgoing flirty' girl, the 'i've got issues too' girl, the 'i've got it all together' girl. i suppose there is a shadow of me in each of these women, but learning to become a person...i thought i was well on my way. seeing the Truth laid out bare in Madeline's words, i know there is a long way to go.

perhaps i'm a silly female, but i thoroughly enjoy "sex and the city". in one of my favorite scenes, miranda asks carrie "how long was it before you felt normal again?" and carrie responds "any day now"

any day now, turning away from the wrong mirrors, wishing to really see myself again.


whiney pants

so, today it's off on the weekly trek to dayton for the weekend. we've only been doing this for a month now, but it seems like it's been forever. i will be so thankful when i finally get a job...got rejections from two other positions just yesterday. good times.

usually i'm a "if-we're-just-patient-it-will-all-work-out-in-the-end-so-much-better-than-you-ever-imagined" kind of girl, and i've had experience upon experience that has taught me so. but today i'm a "c'mon-God-i'm-really-tired-of-waiting" kind of girl. don't get me wrong, i'm not sitting around doing nothing just waiting for the perfect employer with the perfect job to just call me up out of the blue, making God more of a magician than anything else. i've applied to at least 50 jobs now...and nothing. not. one. interview. just about 10 rejections and the rest are out in HR oblivion.

ok, enough whining for now. in the end, i know it will all work out.


sad face

living apart from your husband sucks. anyone know of any good jobs in Dayton/Cincinnati?


a few losses

first my deepest apologies for not having the long-promised bonfire gathering at my apt on the lake, affectionately known as Narnia. it seems i let time rule me for the last year and a half. and now, as of tomorrow, i will no longer reside in the beautiful old mansion overlooking lake erie. i will have to post some pictures eventually of the beautiful backyard with the 300+ year old tree - the only thing that stood between the house and the rocky shore of the lake. i will miss the quietness of this home, the strength of our big tree, the many moods of the water. i felt more at home here than anywhere. i will miss the deer, the rabbits, the many birds including a wild turkey and a couple of eagles - all of this about 2 miles from downtown Cleveland. i won't miss the skunks or the may flys though. i will miss the skyline and Indians games and the varied cultures and backgrounds that i am surrounded by here and have grown accustomed to. we moved all of our belongings almost two weeks ago and i started saying goodbye then. it will be wonderful when i finally find a job, but until then i will continue saying goodbye to this great city that grows on you.



memorial day weekend was full of family fun. for the first time in a long time, we were all together - mom, dad, my sister, her husband and little miles, and my brother, his wife and their two kids, gretchen and jacob, along w/ my dad's mom. there is always a little anxiety going into a weekend spent in one house with 9 adults and 3 kids under the age of 3. but it really was such a great time. i'm so in love with my niece and nephews - such great kids. my niece (2 1/2) calls my nephew "miser" because apparently that's what "miles" sounds like to her...and i love it. and jacob, he is 6 months and couldn't be happier just hanging out. love those kids.

the thank-full part comes not only from having such a great family, but even more so because my brother was in an accident about two hours after leaving my parents house on sunday. the kind of accident that when you hear about it, or see the vehicle afterwards (which fortunately i haven't) you think "it's amazing they all made it out alive". the minivan he was driving flipped end over end and skid on its top down the middle of I-64W just west of Lexington, KY. thank-full because they all walked away. my sister-in-law had some stitches and a few other scrapes, my brother had a nice scrape from the road on his shoulder, but the kids were completely fine, just a few band-aids for gretchen and that was all. deep sigh. just praying that my brother can let go of the guilt of being the driver and accept the gift that they are all ok and learn to be thank-full for every moment. it's my little brother, and i just want to take care of him.



so i was tagged by ang...and here are my 8 random facts:

1. you may not be aware that i was tagged because on the list of "non-bloggers" i am listed as "reverb", a nickname i acquired my freshman year of college from none other than angie herself upon giving me a nice whack on the tukas, which resulted in a strong reverberation from my less-than-tight posterior. as far as i know, until this point, only ang, my husband and i knew this story...now it's out there for the world, or at least the five people that know i have a blog!

2. i have moved 18 times in my 30 years...and i'm preparing for number 19.

3. number 19 will be dayton, ohio so that robert (husband) can attend med school at wright state university.

4. i LOVE roller coasters - the faster, more twisty, more upside-downy the better.

5. i have a SEVERE phobia of vomitting, not necessarily vomittting myself, because that rarely happens, but OTHER people vomitting - hear a person coughing in a restaurant, can't generally finish my meal because i'm convinced they're on the verge of puking.

6. i was on the dean's high honors list for 7 semesters in college...my last semester in college, i had a 1.49 gpa (serious burnout). in fact, my degree actually says i am a graduate in the year 2002 (not 1998 when i walked and when i tell everyone that i graduated) because i never wrote my senior colloq paper and ended up taking a class at malone college to complete the requirement. sad, but true.

7. shows that i watch that i really don't like to admit that i watch: american idol, how do i look? (style network), so you think you can dance (which starts tomorrow - woo-hoo!!!)

8. i just learned to knit last year, and i'm totally addicted.


things i love about today

  • walking back to my office as slowly as possible to enjoy the warm sun and fresh air
  • eating lunch outside
  • 80 degree days in March in Cleveland
  • passing by one of the libraries/museums on campus my way to the office and being able to smell the books from outside
  • the trees that are budding, almost ready to burst with color and the green pushing it's way up through the black earth
  • taking a walk last night with Robert
  • the feel of tree bark - whether it's smooth or rough

Spring really is quite good.

Peace be with you today - be outside



"...war does not simply bring death and destruction to those immediately involved. It also makes barbarians of us all. It makes people think of the immoral as necessary and evil acts as desirable." - Mano Singham


my grandpa

this is my grandpa with me when i was about three or four. i haven't written about it yet, but he died on december 14. my dad and his brothers and my grandma were all with him at home. he had been in a lot of pain and was more than ready to take the next step of his journey. i know this was extremely difficult for my grandmother - he had been her companion for 60 years. and listening to my father talk about the devastating sound of his last breath was painful. we were all together for his funeral and it was a beautiful experience to see all of the people that had been changed by knowing this man who i was fortunate enough to have come from. watching my dad tell his father goodbye and i love you for the last time is a moment that will be permanently fixed in my memory. it was sad and intimate and vulnerable - watching my father, who is a very large man, be a child again, talking to his daddy.
my grandfather's life was and is, i believe, very full. and i miss him. i didn't see him as often as i would have liked, but the times we spent together - they were good.



drove to Messiah College a couple of weeks ago for David Bazan and Sam Beam. it was a long and tiring weekend - 12 hours of driving in 2 days. but the music...

david started with "hallelujah" and i was in tears most of the night. raw...


We are all responsible

25 July 2006

Dear Friends,
I have been following the news for the last two weeks as well as for the rest of my life.
Today I do not understand anything though I thought I would understand more.
I find it more and more difficult to take sides as most people do since I cannot see that all the justice is one side while the other is totally guilty.
I cannot see a difference between all the civilian victims.
I cannot see a difference between all those who carry weapons.
I cannot see a difference between all those who give the orders to kill.
I cannot divide people as “good” and “bad”.
I cannot trust any politician since they are all after keeping their chair as long as they can and many of them are willing to sell themselves to the devil for that purpose.
I cannot trust the media since it is all biased and misleading.
I cannot excuse anybody from personal responsibility since I believe that at any moment, whatever the situation is, it is the responsibility of everybody whether they are actively taking part or just watching from the side.
I do not want to let anybody destroy my humanity by filling me up with hate and anger towards others.
I choose not to follow anybody but to follow my conscience
I choose not to serve the ambitions of anybody but the ambitions of my humanity.
I choose not to be a tool in the hands of those who want to destroy but a tool in the hands of those who want to build.
I believe that wars and violence show how stupid we are and not how wise.
I believe that wars and violence come from the animal within us and not from the human, with my apologies to all of the friendly animals.
As it is true that we cannot make peace with the others as long as we are not in peace with ourselves it is also true that no nation can make peace with another as long as it does not have peace within itself.
My office is next to the swimming pool where groups of little children and kids come every day to swim. Some of them are Jewish and some are Palestinians and some are mixed. From the short distance where I watch them during my cigarette break I cannot tell who is who.
The screams and the shouts of their excitement sound the same whether they are Jews or Palestinians or others.
Who destroys the innocence of these kids?
If they do not fear each other now, then who and what make them fear each other when they are grownups?
Who poisons their minds?
Can we adults for once try to relearn our innocence from the kids, who have not been polluted yet?
Or do we think that we are much smarter than they are and that they have to believe in our fears which have been passed to us by our parents and grandparents.
Everything is mutual and the other is always our image.
If you want the respect of the others, then start to respect them first.
If you want the love of the other, then start to love them first.
If the others hate you or dislike you, then check why, within yourself, and not within them.
Peace and war are inevitable depending on what we choose.
Long live Wahat Assalam/Neve Shalom and all its inhabitants who are serving as an example for the entire world in spite of all the excuses that all the others are choosing to shackle themselves with.
Long live Neve Shalom/Wahat Assalam and its inhabitants who have chosen to be leaders, rather than followers like the majority of people today.
Long live all the parents in the Oasis of Peace for choosing this human reality for their children.
Long live the memory of Father Bruno Hussar who planted this seed to serve as a lesson for every individual about the infinite potential that each one of us has.
My sincere thanks and gratitude to all those who have chosen to put their weight into supporting and building this community that is giving hope and optimism to millions of people in our land and all over the world - in spite of all the petty issues that crop up here as in every other community.
The important thing is that we are on the right road.
Best wishes,
Rayek Rizek



"For some of us, books are intrinsic to our sense of personal identity." - John Updike