Category Archives: Uncategorized

Choice

My reading of books selected by other people has finally paid a major dividend – a dividend beyond seeing into the souls of my friends, which is lovely in itself.   I finally FINALLY figured out what, in all the “good books”, I could not stand.

It goes beyond the endless (and endlessly boring) literature of adultery, which is what I thought my problem was.  I don’t like reading about people without virtue.   It’s the idea that one “just finds oneself” doing things.  I can’t relate.  You can find yourself experiencing an emotion without choice, but you do have a choice about what to do with the emotion.  “I found myself in love with him”.  Okay.  And you then refused to see him at all and took up underwater basketweaving in Peru to get your mind off of things they needed to be off of?  No?  Don’t whine to me.  I am not impressed.

Unless you drug me, I’m not going to “find myself” doing things.   You can reduce my choices radically – you can throw me in a jail cell, you can rape me, you can impoverish me… yes, you can cut my number of choices to the bone.   But I still retain choice as long as I am awake and alive.

I retain choice of attitude.  Choice of thoughts.  Choice of speech or silence.

I don’t TAKE action without thinking about it first.   I just don’t.  And even if I did – I could always change course.  I’ve had to do that in life.  Not fun, but it’s doable.

So when I’m reading about a protagonist who “just finds him/herself” doing something reprehensible (or something counterproductive), I lose interest.

Sure, you make bad choices in life.  I do, you do, everyone does.   I don’t require my protagonists make GOOD choices.   I can get behind, “I did this because of that and it led me here”.   But you still made a choice.   And now, enjoying the consequences of that choice, you continue to have choice… what will you do now?  More choice.

So, I learned something about myself today.  And that’s always a gift.

Thanks, L.  Thanks Dr. Jordan of Alias Grace.

Advertisements

Learning to Let Go

Once upon a time… I learned some pretty hard lessons.   The cost of my disobedience rolled down hill and slammed into my face.   Turning around, getting right – that came at a high (albeit temporary) cost.  (I didn’t know that cost was going to be temporary).

I’m still carrying that fear.

The fear that not-being-perfect will mean that my dreams have to be burned alive – again.   I am absolutely terrified of being out of obedience to God.

I have new dreams.   Fully formed enough to call them goals.   I’ve done everything I can to reach those dreams.   But they depend on God’s will for my life.

Will I have another period of waiting for His pleasure and perfect timing?

Will I have the opportunity to reach my goals and make something of the gifts He’s given me in MY eyes?

I learned the lessons of surrender so thoroughly that at the least resistance, I fling my hands away like a child who has had her fingers singed at the fire.   Even if I think there might be resistance, I steel myself to watch my dreams disappear.

But that is flesh.   The flesh remembers the discipline.   The spirit within me is at peace.   She is confident that the goals will be realized, even if the outcome doesn’t look exactly like my dreams.    God will use me.

I am watching dominoes line up in my life, and they’re freaking me out more than a bit.  It’s so early, I’m wondering – are they going to fall in order, or is this another false hope?  But hope rises eternal.

I have a dream.

And this time, I think it’s going to become real.

Pick and choose

I have a hard time with the politicization of religious life.

My relationship with Jesus is my relationship with Jesus.  You don’t get to take that away from me, and I don’t want it used to sell me snake oil – or candidates.   That gets my back *right* up.

Plus, I don’t think it makes for good witness, to conflate conservative religious convictions with conservative political opinion.   “This person represents all of me” – HAH.  I think **not**.    I’m not going to follow in lock-step with … well, anyone.  Anyone but Christ and my husband, and I have to work at both of those.   Authority I haven’t voluntarily taken on?  Are you kidding me right now?  No.  The Republican party platform doesn’t cover every bit of me, thankyouverymuch.  (I would, for example, like Monsanto et al treated like public enemy #1, not given farm subsidies).

And I don’t want to argue politics WHILE I argue religion.  I can back Jesus up all day long, but don’t ask me to do it for Trump.   Or Reagan.    They’re not infallible.  And in the eternal-lens, not all that important.

So there is always the temptation to ignore politics and get back to my own things.   I would like that.  I would like to ignore politics excepting a few weeks before election day, to review data prior to voting.

But … our country feels like it’s in the throws of insanity.   You ignore politics for a year, and suddenly you can’t call a man a man without going to jail in some states or politely refuse to create art for a function you find abhorrent without being sued.    Through the looking glass is where we live.   Politics now serves to defend normalcy.

Or does it?   Are we as Christians just being used to push things we don’t care about by waving a carrot of things that we DO?   Call me cynical if you will – on the motivation of politicians, it’s an accurate description.

I feel that we, as citizens in a democratic republic, have a duty to at least vote.  It’s a power we’re given, and thus it’s a responsibility that has been thrust on us.

At the same time, white robes are being given out at an ever increasing rate.. I mean, we’ve all read the back of the Book, right?  We know how this ends up for us.   Things get horribly dark before the dawn.

I feel like there is a duty to stand, since I’ve been given that power, and yet I know the tide will eventually blow over my position.   Eventually, I’ll be a persona non grata.   My motivation for standing cannot, therefore, be winning the world’s game.   I would sit out, but … I don’t feel that I can.

But I DO feel that politics is the least important thing that I do.   That my witness is in my behavior, in my friendships, in my lifestyle, and in my evident enjoyment of my Lord.   It’s souls I want to win.

Thoughts?

 

New Site

I’ve put my author website up.  It will be running some best-of articles that you might not have gotten a chance to check out from both this site and the HIC site.

Please check it out, and share if you feel so inclined.

and hearthroseramblings.wordpress.com

Light Shines Most Brightly Against the Darkness

My husband is very serious about having a dark sleeping space.   In our bedroom, we have wooden blinds inset in the window and allegedly light-proof curtains over it, which were then lined in blackout curtain material by yours truly.   When you walk into our bedroom after lights out – it’s BLACK.

But yet… after enough time to adjust, you notice the light coming in around the edges of the curtain and over the top.  There’s enough light moving around that you can tell when the security light out front is triggered – and enough light even at midnight to be visible.

First thing in the morning, if the curtain isn’t perfectly aligned, a ray of sunshine will work its way through that blockade and hit the armoire next to my head, and I’ll be able to see the dust motes dancing in the light.

Through blinds, curtains, and curtain-liner – the light finds its way.  And the smallest bit of light stands out against the darkness.

We are living in dark times.   So many of our sibs in the faith seem to think that the thing to do is to fade into the background and not shine.  But that’s the opposite of what we should be doing.   We’re supposed to shine harder because of the darkness.

It’s true.  Not all of us are as shiny as we ought to be – but great news, guys!  We’re not competing against an array of spotlights.    And as we allow ourselves to function as the lights that we are, we’ll grow brighter.

Shine on, folks – your efforts are meaningful, they are needed, and you DO make a difference.

Book Review: Placemaker

I saw that Magistra had been reading this book via Instagram, and as placemaking has a spot near to my heart, I grabbed myself a copy.   I was half-hoping for a book I might share with my mom, something I might re-read and find respite with.

It was a good book.   Purifoy writes in a wandering literary style that I’m familiar with via Robert MacFarlane, intertwining personal history with discussions of place.   Both of them have PhDs in literature – this must be the new way to write.   It was a pleasant book.   It was a book that referenced Purifoy’s faith in God and her belief in hospitality.

But this was not the book I hoped it would be.  Being me, I wanted this to be a book very specifically about how to placemake, what it means to make a place… that was not this book.  I wanted to hear about how God called her to make places, and I wanted essays about the specifics… I wanted to learn how to cultivate comfort, beauty, and peace.  More how, more what, even more why.  More Bible.   More teeth.

This book was about the love of places, and the love of making beautiful stops.  It was autobiographical.   It was a set of vignettes with placemaking as the common thread.   It was, as I said, an entirely pleasant read.

And there’s a good chance I might get a copy for my mom for Mother’s day.  It’s a nice book, for nice ladies who like to make places.  My mom is a wonderful gardener – her back yard is a slice of heaven, and I can’t remember a home we lived in where she didn’t plant a tree (even though all but this last home were rented).   I think she’ll find a kindred soul in Purifoy.

It just wasn’t the book that I wanted…..

 

Are Women Particularly Prone to Being Deceived?

It all started with marketing…  Wait.  No.  That’s not what I meant!  The marketing (in this case) wasn’t the deception, it was me getting some research done.  I’m looking for people to send ARCs of the new book to – aka this is me doing marketing.

Blog after blog.  Writer after writer.  Speaker after speaker… and what do I see?  The SAME concept I use as my raison d’ etre.   “Freeing women from the lies that shackle them”.

My first reaction was to scream, “Ewwwww!” and run for the hills.  I hate being derivative.

My second reaction was to sit back and think, “Alright self – obviously there’s a huge market for this.  Why is that?”  Well, the first answer is that women like to have someone to listen to when we go to the church retreat.    That’s not a bad thing.   Women need women to help them through things that women deal with, and fellowship with Nice Church Ladies is not a bad way to spend a Saturday without the kids.

The second answer came up from my memories of listening to Dr. McGee (Thru the Bible).   I remember him saying that women had a more sensitive “tuner” – which made us more likely to hear things, both good and bad.    Hm…

And the third answer is to consider the nature of woman – we are, properly and in good health, the maintainers of networks of family and acquaintance.   That means that we are constantly taking in messages about what it means to be “good”  – and then we internalize those ideas.  Sometimes they’re garbage ideas though.

Reluctantly, I think the answer is “yes”.  I *do* think women are more prone to believe lies than are men.   And we get stuck in bad places and need to be shaken out.   That’s the Titus 2 ministry in a nutshell.   Older women unsticking younger women and helping them along.

I hate marketing.   I don’t *want* to be “just another” writer or speaker or blogger.  Heck, I barely am – because my blog reader list is super short.    I have no capacity to make a “professional polished persona” that doesn’t talk about all of my life, not just my “brand”.  (I don’t want to be branded, sounds painful).  Gack.

I hate lies.  I don’t want to do “polished and shiny”.   I want to do REAL.  I *really* see women around me who believe that they are magically not ambassadors for Christ ’cause they don’t want to be.   I *really* see women around me who are afraid to be beautiful.   I *really* see women who are confused about the whole thing.  And I *really* see a world that needs more beauty in it.

I want to fix that.

And yeah, I would also like it to pay a few bills.  That’s real, kthx.

But I don’t want to join an industry – I want to break hearts open to the light.

We have a Titus 2 Industry because women don’t have intergenerational relationships, because we humans in 2019 don’t have relationships with humans outside our computers all that much period, because we don’t *know* anyone really.   I mentor, which is awesome – but you know, I have to do it formally, because informally, there’s not a younger woman in my church who would feel comfortable randomly walking up to me and asking me a question.  That sucks.

Instead we eat the lies of the World.   We *want* guidance.  We need it.   We *will* get it somewhere.   We model ourselves after… someone.   Multiple someones.    That’s what women do – we’re malleable.  Good characteristic when you consider our position as someone who comes alongside her husband and makes herself part of his life.  Problematic in other ways.

So yes.  I think we are prone to deception, and it makes me sad.  And it makes me mad, and determined to pick up my sword………