...gonna kick the darkness 'till it bleeds daylight... musings of a hungarian in texas

©2003 by Annamaria Kovacs. All contents of this blog are the property of the author. Use with written permission only.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Music I Am Listening To

It was only natural that after I had the chance to attand her concert in Dallas, I purchased Loreena McKennitt's latest CD/DVD compilation, Nights from the Alhambra. It is flawless and lovely, and she even has a previously unreleased song on it: an almost heartbreaking rendition of Patrick Kavanagh's poem set to music by The Dubliners'Luke Kelly-Raglan Road.
She performed it at her concert here as well--she finally managed to eradicate that awful rendition that Sinead O'Connor produced a few years back that was the only one I heard previously...::shudder::

On Raglan Road of an Autumn day
I saw her first and knew,
That her dark hair would weave a snare
That I might someday rue.
I saw the danger and I passed
Along the enchanted way.
And I said,"Let grief be a fallen leaf
At the dawning of the day."

On Grafton Street in November, we
Tripped lightly along the ledge
Of a deep ravine where can be seen
The worth of passion play.
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts
And I not making hay;
Oh, I loved too much and by such and such
Is happiness thrown away.

I gave her gifts of the mind,
I gave her the secret signs,
That's known to the artists who have known
The true gods of sound and stone.
And her words and tint without stint
I gave her poems to say
With her own name there and her own dark hair
Like clouds over fields of May.

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet
I see her walking now,
And away from me so hurriedly
My reason must allow.
That I had loved, not as I should
A creature made of clay,
When the angel woos the clay, he'll lose
His wings at the dawn of day.


A solution proposed to a problem that bugged me ever since our halcyon dating days with The Husband...:-)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Words of the Week

7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:7-8)

These days, if something is offered for free, we are naturally suspicious. “Surely it is a scam.” we say. It can be the same in religious life, in religious communities sometimes as well: if something is free, we don’t take it seriously. If something is expensive well, it must be important. Some believe or try to make us believe that everything can be translated to a monetary value. However, we have to understand: all that is real treasure, all that is really important for us, is free—but costs a lot at the same time. God’s mercy was costly—Jesus gave his life for it so we can have it, but it is free for us, as we only have to accept it.

Likewise, any kind of human relationship is the same way. Think about it: how much do we have to work in our day-to-day life, nurture all those relationships with our family, spouse, children, friends—so that they grow and flourish and stay alive? A lot. We don’t get any of this free, but we cannot pay for it either. You cannot pay for being faithful, you cannot buy it; the important thing about love is that I give myself in it, not something. Let me emphasize this again: I. Give. Myself.

It is the same with God’s love: he gives it free, but asks for a price. We like to haggle for prices; it is a very human thing to do. Even though it is proven to us time and time again through history (history of mankind or just our own personal history)—you cannot haggle with God. Still, we are trying to get mercy for cheap: waiting for someone to confirm that yes, you did sin, but you’ll be forgiven even though you did not repent it; thus we can go on believing in God without real obedience. There are people I know who at a crucial time of their life really thought about their past mistakes and sins, and honestly atoned for it, starting to walk the path of God. But there are others out there: others who turn to God and try to haggle, others that try the cheap road, without thinking about the true meaning of what they have done.

I say it again: think about it. God’s grace was very costly. It cost Jesus his life. Someone had to carry the cross for it, someone was nailed to that wood, someone was mocked—someone had died. This was the price for our sins.

God’s realm is like the treasure hidden on the field: you don’t have to work for it, it’s just there to be found…but whoever found it, had to give up everything they owned to have it. This is the kingdom of Christ. Grace is very costly, because it asks: “Will you follow me?” Grace bounds us; grace is a yoke we carry because we picked it up ourselves. Grace is a voice from the depths of our heart that never leaves us.

Grace is a treasure, a force that we can see and have again and again and again. May it be so.

Friday, October 26, 2007

My Secret Vice

Okay, confession time.
About two months ago, The Husband and I got a ::whisper:: computer game. Which was nothing special, really, give that The Husband gets computer games in a semi-regular basis and plays them, too. Mostly strategy games, the Total War series in particular (hey, he's a military historian, so it's actually research.) But this time, when we picked up the new expansion for the medieval era volume of the series, he also pointed out to me the Neverwinter Nights 2 RPG, and said: "Well, you kind of liked the first one, just never finished playing, how about giving this one a shot?" And, after my usual 'why should I really give money for this' hesitation, we purchased it, and headed home to try.
The Total War expansion I think he played for two times total: it is just not what we expected. NWN2 though...well, first of all, it did not run on the desktop (NEED MORE MEMORY!!!), so he installed it on his laptop. And gave it a try.
And then I gave it a try.
And then...

Let me just say that this game gave me the final push to give in and get a laptop all for myself this soon, as opposed to end of the year as I planned? Let me just say we also got a second copy of the game, just for me?
Let me just say that I spend hours online getting walkthrough advice, hints and tips...
Let me just say that I am enjoying myself immensely with the really, really cool conversational and situational, actual role-play engine this baby has?
Complete, of course, with the obligatory blue-eyed, dark-haired, too-good-to-be-true holy warrior-paladin love interest for the main player character (guys have their own romance option, too, just to be fair, but man, this one is really well written...)
last night I wanted to go to bed early, but I got into a spot where we really just had a good going with my party to advance the plot and do some actual good, gather-the-clues, interact-with-locals-and-party while trying to clear my good name from false accusations (yes, an actual investigation and murder trial is actually written into the game as part of the main plot, and really carefully done, too...)--soooo, I looked up around midnight in a kind of a haze, stared at The Husband who was sitting by the library table creating a brand new character for his own game, and said: "WAAAH...these dire animals were a total pushover...I think I need to go to sleep now and get the clues back to Neverwinter tomorrow."
To which he replied, not raising his eyes from the monitor:
" 'kay, I finish this conversation here and follow you too...my warlock/fighter looks like a winner."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lamb Stew

As I mentioned, the weather broke yesterday, with rains and temps around 50 by the time I got home in the afternoon. Which made it a perfect first day of starting to cook something from my favorite food group: stew.
Like The Husband remarked as he watched me humming to myself as I was chopping up ingredients in the kitchen: 'you sure seem happiest when you cook from good ingredients...' Well, yes. And given that he took seconds, I think the results were rather decent as well.

Lamb Stew in a Vaguely Mediterranean Style

1-1.5 lbs. lamb stew meat (I am lucky enough to be able to get some grass-fed lamb from the local farmers' market), cubed
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1 can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 bag of baby carrots, halved
1 banana pepper or green Hatch chile, seeded, chopped (depending on how hot you like it)
1 can of fire roasted tomatoes, chopped
(NOTE: I used organic varieties of all vegetables above; feel free to vary the veggies according to preference)
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
1-2 cups of stock or water
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or red chili flakes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon flour

1. Heat oil in heavy pot. Add lamb cubes and brown all around. Remove from pot and set aside.
2. Add butter to pot; saute onions and garlic until soft. Add lamb back; pour in wine; stir, cover, reduce for about 10 minutes on medium heat.
3. Add chickpeas, tomatoes and carrots. Stir. Add 1-1 tablespoon of the green herbs. Season with salt, pepper and Aleppo pepper or chili flakes.
4. Add 1 cup of stock or water, cover and simmer on medium-low for about 1 hour. Check for doneness and replenish liquid if necessary at 45 minutes. Depending on the meat, it might need more than 1 hour.
5. Mix flour in a cup with some of the liquid from the stew to form a paste and thicken the stew with it for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking.
6. Add the other half of green herbs just before finishing.

Serve over rice or couscous.



DMA just announced today that the Tutankhamun exhibit that just finished a 4-city US tour is coming to Dallas in October 2008, after London.
I am more than excited.

Monday, October 22, 2007

What Is In My Head

U2- Yahweh (from How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb )

Take these shoes
Click clacking down some dead end street
Take these shoes
And make them fit
Take this shirt
Polyester white trash made in nowhere
Take this shirt
And make it clean, clean
Take this soul
Stranded in some skin and bones
Take this soul
And make it sing

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I’m waiting for the dawn

Take these hands
Teach them what to carry
Take these hands
Don’t make a fist
Take this mouth
So quick to criticise
Take this mouth
Give it a kiss

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahewh, Yahweh
Still I’m waiting for the dawn

Still waiting for the dawn, the sun is coming up
The sun is coming up on the ocean
This love is like a drop in the ocean
This love is like a drop in the ocean

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, tell me now
Why the dark before the dawn?

Take this city
A city should be shining on a hill
Take this city
If it be your will
What no man can own, no man can take
Take this heart
Take this heart
Take this heart
And make it break

The Weather Broke

We enjoyed the last pretty day of Texas late summer by visiting the State Fair yesterday (which, accodentally, also had its last day on Sunday) ...and managed to only eat ONE corny dog per person.
::sound of golf clapping for restraint::

And, just like it was predicted, the cold weather arrived very early this morning with wind gusts and cold rain. naturally, although this was told and told again by the weathermen well ahead of time, Dallas drivers reacted with their predictable, deer-in-the-headlight-style panic to the otherwise quite friendly change of weather (well, friendly, compated to the almost deluge-like rain even we had last Monday that caught me RIGHT as I started for work). So, everyone was late to work this morning. Exept little ol'me, living 13 minutes from work. Heh.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Song of the Week

To someone in need:

Peter Gabriel-Don't Give Up (from his album- So)

in this proud land we grew up strong
we were wanted all along
I was taught to fight, taught to win
I never thought I could fail

no fight left or so it seems
I am a man whose dreams have all deserted
I've changed my face, I've changed my name
but no one wants you when you lose

don't give up'
cos you have friends
don't give up
you're not beaten yet
don't give up
I know you can make it good

though I saw it all around
never thought I could be affected
thought that we'd be the last to go
it is so strange the way things turn

drove the night toward my home
the place that I was born, on the lakeside
as daylight broke, I saw the earth
the trees had burned down to the ground

don't give up
you still have us
don't give up
we don't need much of anything
don't give up'
cause somewhere there's a place
where we belong

rest your head
you worry too much
it's going to be alright
when times get rough
you can fall back on us
don't give up
please don't give up

'got to walk out of here
I can't take anymore
going to stand on that bridge
keep my eyes down below
whatever may come
and whatever may go
that river's flowing
that river's flowing

moved on to another town
tried hard to settle down
for every job, so many men
so many men no-one needs

don't give up'
cause you have friends
don't give up
you're not the only one
don't give up
no reason to be ashamed
don't give up
you still have us

don't give up now
we're proud of who you are
don't give up
you know it's never been easy
don't give up'
cause I believe there's the a place
there's a place where we belong

Words of the Week is back!

I like this one in particular as the basis of my translation and starting point for my own thoughts was a very characteristically Hungarian Calvinist weekly contemplation in the style that my grandfather also practiced in his Sunday services.

Sigh. When I am back next time in Hungary, I need to see if I can get some of his handwritten notes (he wrote out all his services in longhand on Saturday evenings while listening to Radio Free Europe that we kids were forbidden to tell anyone) and type and translate at least some of them. Note to self--must email cousin who supposedly has all of these somewhere in a chest.

Mark,10: 46-52.

46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went
out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind
Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.
47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of
Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.
48 And many charged him that he should
hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me.
49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.
50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.
51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.
52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

It should not be too difficult imagine ourselves in the same situation as the old blind beggar. He hears that Jesus and a great crowd are coming and he tries to cry out for Him in that exact moment he is approaching. But where is He? Which direction to shout? How far? Can he hear his voice? Bartimaeus was in the state of utter uncertainty regarding this, but still, he kept calling Him. He did not start asking around about which direction to turn his head or how many feet He was from him. It was not important. He must have thought he only had to shout and He would hear it. We need our will to triumph over difficulties.
It must not have been easy to cry out for help without any signs that his plea had been received. How many times our faith is tested in our daily lives? How many times he asks us: Do you really believe what you say that you do? During the deepest despairs of my life, I had to experience this again and again: “Do you really think it is true now? God loves you, He gives you His gifts, he carries you on his palm…” “No, he does not carry me, He beats me up, rather…or at least that’s how it feels.” Sounds familiar?
This battle can take many forms, but the most important is never to give UP, Never to give IN, and stick to what we know, what is sure as a rock. When the Devil sneaks question marks to the end of God’s sentences, we need to stick to what we know: that there is a full stop, or an exclamation mark there. If it was true before, it should be true even more, in this present, difficult situation. If I believed when it was easy, now I should stick to it even more now. Bartimaeus did not give up when no immediate answer came. Do we really believe that our prayers did reach not only the ceiling but to the ears and heart of the Son of God?
Bartimaeus also had other obstacles—the people who were around Jesus. A rabbi in old Palestine, kept teaching and preaching even as he traveled from one place to another. He walked in the crowd around him, slowly, from time to time he turned to them, said something, and then they kept going, contemplating on what the rabbi said. However, usually more and more people wanted to hear what he said, and for that they would have needed silence. This is why Bartimaeus’ shouting was so disturbing to the others, because they wanted silence. That’s why they told him to keep silent, that’s why they were so rude to him. In the original situation this might have sounded like this: “Shut up! We are not here to listen to you; you should also listen to the Rabbi!”Apart from this, calling Jesus the son of David, the title of the Messiah, was dangerous too. You can almost hear them: “Are you mad? Shut up! We’ll all get into trouble because of you! Shout as much as you want, but do not call him the Son of David!”
And what do we read? ”He cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me.” Bartimeus must have felt that he had to cry louder and louder; louder than all the naysayers, all the doubters, all the would-be hangers-on. Sounds familiar? “I can’t believe you are religious, you are so…educated!” “I can’t believe you spend money and time on this…”
Then there was the third obstacle: after it was quiet, Jesus did not go to Bartimaeus, but he sent someone to get him. Should Bartimaeus to believe to those who just a minute ago wanted him to shut up? We have this happening in our lives as well: sometimes we tend to believe the Word of God better or less depending on who is saying it. But it is the other way around. We need to look past the messenger—it is always the Word that is important. Bartimaeus wanted to meet the person who sent the message: this is why he has passed the third, the final obstacle as well. He did not get offended; he did not make remarks that ‘hey, you said something completely different not a minute ago!’. He only had ears to the message’s sender. It did not matter who said it, he took it seriously, and he rose up and went to Him.The fourth obstacle now, that is the temptation of doubts. Bartimaeus was blind, he was worn out, by his predicament, by the wait, by the crowd, by the uncertain outcome—and now he gets the shock of his life: he can actually meet Jesus. Is it certain that he’s the Messiah? Are all those things I’ve heard about him true? Is it certain that I will be important enough for Him to pay attention to me? Can he and will he help me?
I don’t know if these questions are familiar to you—they are certainly are to me. The fourth obstacle is there to make us uncertain—the Devil tries to discourage us from the meeting with Him, from the true turn of our life.Bartimaeus has finally a fifth obstacle too: his own clothing. In Jesus’ time men were wearing long tunics or caftans that reached the ground. You could not really hurry in these: if you so much as leaned forward, the hem got under your feet and you might have fallen on your face. SO he could not really run. But he could not waste time either with the usual solution: folding it to his knees, tucking the excess to his belt, cinching the belt, and march up to Jesus in his short tunic. He might have left by the time he finished that. So he rather threw his garment off and run to him only in his undershirt. This was the mirror of his faith. He really wanted to meet Jesus: so he threw away his clothes and went to him.
And this is the final message of the Words for this week. Can you throw aside everything that hinders you on the road to Jesus? Are you ready to throw away everything, like a cloak, like a long robe, like a mask under which so many things can be hidden? Too often we have an honest desire in our heart to meet Him, but our outer garments, our conventions, our masks hold us back. If we don’t throw away these, they stay with us, and we cannot get there on time to meet Him. Are we ready for a radical confession of our sins: are we ready to part from everything that was known, that was comfortable, that was our life before, in order to get the obstacles out of the way leading to Him?
Bartimaeus could only meet Jesus when he passed through Jericho in his travels. God gave us a lot of opportunities already: he called us, He talks to us—but these opportunities are not endless. Bartimaeus was called to His presence like iron to a magnet. It was not Bartimaeus who went to look for Him, but Jesus stopped by him, because the blind man was tied to one place. Furthermore, he was not a hero, although he is an example to us: he was helped through all the obstacles listed by the mercy of God. He had faith, but his faith alone did not heal him: only Jesus did.
So what was his faith for, then? For the same than ours: to hold it up, like a cup, to the fountain of all mercy, so that God can fill it full. This is how, for Bartimaeus, it was Jesus whom he saw the first time when his eyes started to see.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Argh! The Flu!

At work, I signed up for the free flu shot for good corporate citizens.
The flu shot is on the 23rd.
I got the flu now. Fever and stomach thing Friday, rested a lot and got mildly better over the weekend, today fever came back mildly in th afternoon, and felt weak and shivery and achy enoigh that folks at work noticed and sent me home around 330 pm.
Argh. Am under blankies ad shivering after a hot herbs-laced bath and hot tea. Hopefully I'll get better.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Conspiracy Theorists, Rejoice!

No, really...

Obviously, expect even more books on the Templars now. At one of the local B&N stores, 1/3 to 1/2 of the Medieval History section of the books is about them...

Word of the Week Delayed

It's utterly crazy at work this week, especially today--so Word of the Week will be up here probably tonight, maybe tomorrow...This is for the two people--maybe--who read it besuides myself...
Thank you.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Song of the Week

Because the iPod imp threw it at me twice this week...

U2-Love Rescue Me (from their album 'Rattle and Hum")

Love rescue me
Come forth and speak to me
Raise me up
And don't let me fall.
No man is my enemy
My own hands imprison me.
Love rescue me.

Many strangers have I met
On the road to my regret
Many lost who seek to find themselves in me.
They ask me to reveal
The very thoughts they would conceal.
Love, rescue me.

And the sun in the sky
Makes a shadow of you and I
Stretching out as the sun sinks in the sea.
I'm here without a name
In the palace of my shame
I said, love, rescue me.

In the cold mirror of a glass
I see my reflection pass
I see the dark shades of what I used to be.
I see the purple of her eyes
The scarlet of my lies.
Love, rescue me.

Yeah, though I walk
In the valley of the shadow
Yet, I will fear no evil.
I have cursed thy rod and staff
They no longer comfort me.
Love, rescue me.

Sha la la la etc.
I said love, love, rescue me.

Yeah, I'm here without a name
In the palace of my shame
I said love, rescue me.

I've conquered my past
The future is here at last
I stand at the entrance to a new world I can see.
The ruins to the right of me
Will soon have lost sight of me.
Love, rescue me.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I Love This!

"Many of our elderly complained that the old cable system was too slow, because they were playing chess against someone in South Africa, for example, and were being held up."

Loreena McKennitt In Dallas

I have to seriously scale back my enthusiasm as I am writing about this. Since I first heard her rendition of 'Greensleeves' in Hungary on the radio back in 1992, I am a serious fan of Loreena. I have all her music, of course and I am a member of her online community. her music helped me to cope with more tough emotional situations in my life than I really care to remember, and since I am a quasi-serious writer, some of her songs will forever be tied to certain scenes in either never, or half-realized scenes of my writings, or the writings of others.

All of this explains why I went seriously 'SQUEE!' when I read on her website that there will be an US tour this year, and about a week later that she is coming to Dallas, and to boot all of that, that she'll be performing at the Nokia Theatre, which is just about as close to our house as a concert venue can get.

So my lovely sister-in-law, who is also a fan, accompanied me to the concert, where we had really good seats, too, AND freshly roasted cinnamon pecans and almonds...I mean, what else one needs? Our husbands' company would have been nice, but they decided this was too girly for them, and watched a zombie movie at home instead...never mind that about half of the audience consisted of couples, and mostly middle-aged, middle-class comfortable ones, too.

She sounds just as lovely on stage as on her recordings. her soprano is exceptionally clear and strong, and her voice soared above the stage like birds made of glass, of wind, of fire or light feathers. Her band was mostly form the same musucians she plays in the studio, but live, the arrangements were much idifferent, and they lent such dynamism to some of my favorite instrumental tracks (like Santiago or Marco Polo) that one can sense on the studio albums, but that can only bloom on stage. Like Loreena herself said (she spoke a bit between songs--she has a wonderful, warm humor), it's like gathering ingredients for a really lovely dinner, cooking it, but it won't be really appreciated or fully realized until friends come to the table to share it.

We shared last night. I am not ashamed to admit that I was crying at some points--like when she sang Dante's Prayer, the song that really helped me to pull through not one, but two really tough times of my life.

I was really, really fortunate to be there, and the evening was truly something special without being overwhelming. It just felt like being there, and sharing that experience, sharing her love of life, songs and warmth, something fell into place in me, and I feel whole again.

I don't know how long this feeling will last--but thank you, Loreena!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

And in other news...

Um, seriously, why do we have to waste money on this study? This is something I learned in the first year The Husband and I lived together during our 'heroically long engagement' as he calls it.
The conclusion at the end of the article is rather interesting, too.

"It is still not clear what to recommend," Coyne said.
"Do we tell people
who have negative relationships to get therapy? They may have other
to do so, but I see no basis for them doing so only to avoid a heart attack,"
Coyne said. "

Hmmm....Therapy???? How about talking instead? It seems to me that therapy and giving drugs to 5-year olds who like to squirm in class is the stock answer lately. me, I'd rather talk to my spouse and give my kid a talk using all the humiliation skills I can remember my dad was using with me (up to and including audiotaping my hysterics and playing them back to me---NOTHING makes a 4-year old VERY self-counscious girl behaving better then hearing how unladylike and ridiculous she sounds on tape) plus the judicious threat of fatherly hands on buttocks in a slapping manner.


Monday, October 08, 2007

A Brief Observation

If anyone tells you that mowing the lawn on Sunday afternoon does not rate as a workout, just glare at them really sternly and invite them to do it for you next week. Please.
Husbands of the world, I sympathize. I am one of those wives who occasionally does mowing and edging, partly because of husbandly schedules (this summer I had to do it while The Husband was out of the country) and partly because, well, it's a good workout, and upon brief reflection this was actually less tiresome than tying up the rosebushes, including The Monster (TM), our New Dawn climber, which is just like the Sleeping Beauty roses, except this one is real and is right there in my front yard. (I fully expect one of these days the postman charging me for ripped uniforms!) But this Sunday early afternoon it was a tad humid in Irving, and hauling the cordless electric around felt like I was wrestling with lead. Not that I did not enjoy the muscles working...but boy am I sore by now!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Words of the Week

John 5: 2-6

2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in
the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind,
halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and
troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water
stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and
eight years.
6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long
time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?

Which parts of our lives are really touched by faith?

Our minds? Surely. However, it was said a long time ago by much smarter people than I that one can never reach God’s realm by standing on the ladders of reason alone. You cannot reason God. You cannot comprehend God. If anyone could do that, there either would be no need for faith, or there would be a new god. It is kinda like a loving relationship between two people: it’s built on trust and not on sure and complete knowledge. If it is built on knowledge and reason, that is not love, that is a work relationship. Likewise, faith does not come from reason—but the already existing faith can look for God with reasoning.

The other important part of our humanity, besides having a reasoning mind, is that we have feelings. We are capable of love; we feel moved by others actions, non-actions, events in the world, events in our lives, causes presented to us. We know from Jesus’ parable about the seeds that a great number of the seeds of the Word did not bring fruit because human feelings alone did not nurture them. Our feelings do not always lead us to the right direction. They are like a great big fluffy blanket, which will never hold us up, but its warmth will sustain us through the cold days.

Where faith really touches us is our will. “Do you wish to be made whole?” asks Jesus even today. We need to decide if we want to stay faithful. We need to give Him our will, and everything else will follow.It is difficult to talk about will these days—all around us the message is glaring at us, is beamed at us, suggesting that we can pretty much do whatever we want, we can have whatever we want. One morning spent listening to ads on the radio alone can convince us about this. However, if we want God to clear our will first—we have made the first step towards becoming a real person in the Christian sense.

Do I wish to be made whole? “It is so nice at church.” you hear sometimes. “It makes me feel good.” We have so many troubles and problems daily—do we want to put these down and set out on the Good Road, directed by our will that was purified by God? Or we just go to church on Sunday, feel really good afterwards, it makes us think a little bit, but we do not follow up on the words we heard at all.

Jesus does not break in to our house. He does not ‘want’ instead of us. He is, contrary to our modern world’s ready-to-consume thoughts and products, waiting for our action. But he is also ready for anyone who wishes, who wants to, go to him. If we offer our prayers to him every morning, if we will ourselves to heal, if we will to chew God’s living Bread just as well as our breakfast, so to speak, we will be able to heal. If we will to restrain ourselves, if we do not will excess neither in the world, nor to become overly ‘churchy’—we will be able to heal.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Fried Foody Goodness!

Dallas Morning News has a review of this year's State Fair fried foods... With pictures! After looking at the slide show, I am only going if I fast at least a day before. But to go I must this year...I mean: fried cookie dough AND fried latte, anyone? :-)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Product Endorsement

This is a totally unpaid and yet enthusiastic endorsement from me and The Husband for ThermaCare's Lower Back& Hip HeatWrap.
The Husband injured his lower back again by wrestling with an ugly huge package last Monday, and by this weekend it got so back that normal measures would not help it (ice, rest, hot shower massage, BenGay etc). So in order that he's able to function as a teacher standing hours at a time in the classroom plus carrying the majority of the painting chores (as I am in a 8-5 job during the week) I picked up a package of two of these beauties at Walgreen's for him Monday, and by the evening he was a most enthusiastic follower of it, snuggling into the warmth of the wrap like a little boy. The pain is still there, as the wrap cannot be worn for more than 8-10 hours at a time, and he cannot have it on when he moves around or works on the wall, but it got considerably better. Yay!
Now if we could find something to alleviate the headaches he gets from chalk dust at one of the colleges he's teaching at...:-)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Painting II.

Quick status report.

The f%&*&( brick wall, after two thick coats...

Door after one coat, distressed look. Am undecided whether I like it or not, might keep it as it is:

Me, after a couple of days of house disarray, distressed look. Not sure whether I should keep it:

Wisdom For The Ages

If you are going to SMU's direction or environs for an evening event, check if they had a game that same afternoon. Very important: as we had to realize Saturday as we arrived to partake the Momix performance at McFarlin Auditorium Saturday evening. We got there early, turned off I-75, and all of a sudden there were WALKING people EVERYWHERE...
Now, if you are familiar with Dallas, you know how unusual that is...people do NOT walk anywhere. They take the car even to the corner store for a half-gallon milk (chiefly because the corner store is so far away from any residential area--sometimes zoning truly sucks). SO when there were all these people walking around us, and we spotted, a. the lights over the SMU stadium and b. the solid mass of cars coming towards us, we went "OOOh, crap."
Yep--I jokingly said to The Husband: "Surely it won't take us 45 minutes to get to McFarlin and find a parking spot, right?" Boy, was I wrong!
Approximately 40 minutes later, when The Husband's knuckles were white grabbing the steering wheel and he seriously contemplated just turning around and leaving the whole thing (which is a BIG thing, considering just how much he loves dance and this group in particular)...we finally managed to park right next to a large garbage container, and run (which was a feat considering I was wearing heels) to McFarlin (we did NOT get a parking space anywhere close).
Fortunately it turned out that others also had some problems similar to ours, so the performance has not started yet. Then there was the couple who misread their section number on their tickets and were sitting in our seats... but that small problem solved, we got seated at last, and had a very, very good evening indeed.