Moving Towards Courage

My eyes are teary and there’s a little twist in my belly.  I just re-read my blog entries from our last D’Iberville trip and I’m reminded.  Having been happy-go-lucky about this second trip, someone thanked me today for having the courage to go back and do the hard work of rebuilding.

Wait a second.  Hard work?  Rebuilding?  Eek!  This is scary!  And now I’m reminded, too, of the emotional work; the spiritual growth.  How did I overlook those aspects?  What other aspects were there??

“Courage is just faith in action.”  I read that tonight and was struck by it.   Do I have enough faith that God will, again, provide for us?  That God will make this trip, too, fruitful for us and those we serve?  That our time together will bring us closer, and that we will be strong enough for the physical labor, sprinkled (or maybe even flooded) by the hard emotional work of listening?  Enough faith that I will walk away renewed, more faith-filled and faithful, and better knowing God?  If so, then I will have shown courage.

“Don’t be afraid, because I am with you. Don’t be intimidated; I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will support you with my victorious hand.” Isaiah 41:10

The Verdict

Remember our romantic getaway? Well, it was every bit as fabulous as imagined. Though we did settle on tacos (in a hard shell – no pitas for us!), they were quite tasty and a healthy base for the many beers enjoyed while watching the Sox beat the Indians at the local dive bar.

Sadly, that meant that my pumpkin risotto was neither made nor enjoyed! Last week I ventured to our local grocery store with the sketchy name, and left a cart full of risotto ingredients after I angrily ascertained that they did not, in fact, carry canned pumpkin. After some culinary escapades (and a new grocery store!), though, the risotto slid silky smooth from my wooden spoon into the bowl tonight. It’s a good thing I waited so long: MrH didn’t like the texture. Or the taste. Or the color. To me, it was fabulous. The first risotto I ever made. The first savory pumpkin dish I ever cooked. There were leeks, and vegetable broth. And pumpkin. The verdict? I will surely make this dish again – when my hubby’s not in town.

The leftovers may show up on my plate tomorrow night, as risotto cakes!

Phenomenal Woman

One of my favorite poems in college was Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman. There was something strengthening and upbuilding about it. Recently, some of my friends reintroduced me to it, and it’s interesting how different it feels to me now. Amy Sky did a great job putting the poem to music:

This poem speaks to the uniqueness of being woman.  Not man or girl or boy, but woman.  What is it saying to you?

Romantic Getaway

MrH and I have this friend who just happens to own a beautiful, cabin/home up in the White Mountains in New Hampshire.  Thankfully for us, this friend is an incredibly generous person who will allow people like us to stay in this cabin.  Allll weekend long, just the two of us.  I’m supposed to be packing for it right now.

Near to the cabin is also the best pancake parlor I’ve ever had the pleasure of discovering.  This place is so good, our friend gave us a gift card for it for our wedding present.    Fortunately for us, this upcoming weekend is its last weekend of operation prior to shutting down for the winter.  I might have not gone if it were closed.  We might have to go both days.

I tried to convince MrH that it would be very romantic for me to make pumpkin risotto.  He didn’t fall for that.  He’s not sure he likes pumpkin, unless it’s in pie.  So we settled on tacos.  In pita pockets, just like he’s used to.  I might need to use my feminine charms to settle somewhere more in the middle between those two.

At first we discussed hiking, but the weather forecast predicted rain.  Now it predicts sunshine.  We’ll bring our boots and some good books and board games.  We’ll pack some hot chocolate, too.  I’m not afraid of nothin’!

Our friend told us today that her last guests broke the toilet.  I have secret hopes of using our super-homeowner skills to fix it for her.  Otherwise we’ll have to, as she says, “just lift up the back and stick your hand in to lift the flap.”  I’d rather fix it.

Lastly, we’ve already had the best nap ever while at this cabin.  We were dating at the time and had decided to take the opportunity for a getaway.  We arrived on Saturday, early afternoon, and after turning on the heat, we piled ourselves and numerous blankets onto the couch.  MrH held me and we both zonked out for 3 hours.  Ever since, we’ve had hopes of replicating that nap.  Ahh… romantic getaways.

“The Story of Us”

Even as newly married as MrH and I still are (we’re at 17 months), I already find myself constantly fighting against the urge to just let things be.  The other day when he didn’t come to bed until 2 hours after the agreed-upon time, I had hit this wall.  A moment of frustration where I ceased being mad or upset, and instead just felt a sadness.  I felt my heart say “oh well, we had a nice go at that, but I better not trust him next time…”  That is a RED flag!  An alarm!  A code RED.  Whatever you want to call it, it’s bad news.  For even as minor as the actual event was, there is a slippery slope between giving in for the first time, and finally giving up on one another.

The movie The Story of Us reminded me of all this last night.  Through one of the flashbacks Katie recounts that at one point, she and Ben just stopped looking at each other.  As other responsibilities added up, they simply didn’t have the time to connect on a deeper level.  This allowed the seeds of misunderstanding, hurt, and dissatisfaction to grow into giant weeds that felt impossible to remove.  There are plenty of people who hate the movie because (and if you haven’t seen is, this would be the time to stop reading) it actually doesn’t end in divorce.  After all the drama, the two make the decision that this simply can’t be the end – there is too much goodness still alive to actually throw it all away.  While a little sappy, it reminds me of my own need to continually make the choice to be stay married.  Little things add up, work themselves into big things, and overgrow the delicate flowers of love.

PS for a different and satisfying ending, check out this blog.

From Trainscapes to Missed Ones

Art exhausts me.  It’s so challenging to look at all these pieces and come up with meaningful understandings and appreciations for each of them.  That said, I also really love art, especially when it somehow tells a story or an experience that I can relate to.  DeCordova has an exhibit that consists of a model railway, around which 12 artists each created a piece of, well, art.  It’s actually fair amounts of amazing what the artists came up with.  From a giant landscape consisting of an enlarged electronic board, to the “municipile” to the Land O’ Lactation (use your imagination here…).  You can view a video attached to one of the trains here.

What was so amazing about it?  The ability of these artists to create a new reality, a new world in which the train interacts with, or highlights, a completely new reality; the shapes and sounds; the change of scale with each installation; and the creative ways of depicting and experiencing landscape.

This got me to thinking about how each of us leaves our mark on our own landscape, our environment.  Indelibly, our presence affects people in ways we can not even imagine.  Occasionally we have the joy (or pain) of realizing this truth in interpersonal ways, but more often, we part ways with those we cared for and never know.  It’s true though.  Think back through your life.  Who are the people you remember?  What are your stories with these missed ones?  Have you ever told them  how your life is different because of them?

This human experience is what art is made of.

So we spent a couple of hour at the museum, had a great conversation over our coffee, and then made our way back home.  Back to daily life; the grocery list; the need for healthful meals; the essential tasks of paying bills, doing laundry, and making the bed.  But I think of those people in my life, and wonder about what stories they have about me.