Monday, July 13, 2009

just have to share this

Heard this song on Prairie Home Companion, Sunday morning on the way to church.

Had to sit in my car and keep listening til it was over.

Monday, June 1, 2009

how to bike to work

  • Saturday night. I tell all my friends about Michiana Bike to Work Week and encourage them to bike like me.
  • Sunday afternoon. I run out of time to fix my flat tire and accept Liz's gracious offer to use her bike on Monday.
  • Monday 6:30 AM. Wake up. It's thunderstorming. Guess I won't bike to work. Reset alarm for 7:00.
  • 7:00 AM. Dress nice, do my hair, go downstairs for breakfast, look out window. It's not raining anymore.
  • Hesitate. Consider. Maybe if I leave right now I won't be late for work ...
  • 7:35 AM. Skip breakfast, change clothes, pack work clothes in backpack, find bike lock, get Liz's bike out of garage, get on ... whoa. Liz's bike seat is really high. Can I ride it like this? Try again. No.
  • 7:50 AM. Borrow Sarah's wrench and try to adjust Liz's seat. Don't really know how. Lower it by about a quarter of an inch. Try and try and try. Still won't work.
  • 8:00 AM. I am supposed to be at work. Instead I am standing in my driveway in shorts, T-shirt, and bike helmet, staring at Liz's bike. Time invested in this project now makes it MANDATORY that I bike to work. Return Sarah's wrench, get my backpack on, and go.
  • Stop at first intersection. My feet can't touch the ground so I have to get off.
  • Cross street and get back on. All my fiddling with the seat now causes it to slant dramatically downward and I slide off. Push it back into place, get back on gently so as not to break the seat again.
  • Repeat those last two steps at every intersection. Hope that people in their cars aren't looking at me.
  • Finally make it to work. Change back into work clothes. Look in the mirror. Helmet hair is awful. I will be ugly for the rest of the day.
  • But at least I can say I biked to work today :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

National Day of Prayer

Last Thursday was the National Day of Prayer. A few weeks ago I ran across a NDoP bookmark that listed seven things to pray for: Government, Military, Media, Business, Education, Church and Family.

What about the poor? What kind of nation doesn't pray for the poor?

So a few days ago I checked out the website and found that it was seven "centers of power" that they were praying for.

But that didn't make me feel better.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit ... those who mourn ... the meek ... those who hunger and thirst for righteousness ... the merciful ... the pure in heart ... the peacemakers ... those who are persecuted because of righteousness ..." (Matthew 5:3-10)

I mean, sure, we need to pray for those in power. I do. I will. But still - if there's a whole day to pray together as a nation -

what about the poor?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

running music

Two songs on my "running music" list that I am really enjoying right now ... the video for the first one is kind of annoying so just listen to the music ;)

Anyone have recommendations for more music to run to?

Monday, February 16, 2009

running prayers

This is what I beg of the Lord on my way to the start of the Riverside trail ...

Lord, give me the strength and energy to run well today.
Give me the endurance to keep running even when it hurts. And then help me to have that endurance in every other part of my life.
Give me humility to handle being so slow and awkward.
Protect me from discouragement and help me always be joyful about running, since I know it is a gift from You.
Thank You for the body You have given me and for how well it works. Please help me to strengthen it so that I may be healthy for many years, to do Your work.

And Lord, in Your mercy, please let me run a ten-minute mile someday.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

family time

It's 8:00 at night but we ate early for the baby's sake, and it's winter-dark in the countryside far away from streetlights, so it feels like 10 PM. On and off all evening we've been watching a cheesy Anne Hathaway movie - by brother-in-law Craig and my nephew Benjamin put up with it quite gamely. It's taking all evening because we keep stopping - for laundry, for phone calls, for my sister's birthday celebration. Debi is turning older than she looks or feels or acts - she is liveliness itself - and Ben's new wife Vickie made her an amazing four-layer black forest cake, and I got to introduce the tradition of birthday honorings and tell Deb how she is the one who keeps all our extended family from losing track of one another. After we all embarassed her with honorings we went back to the princess movie, and that's where we are now, watching the credits in the living room. Actually, watching Pearl - Ben and Vickie's daughter, my great-niece. She is 14 months old and loves to dance. She bobs up and down, from the knees, and rocks back and forth with a penguin move from watching Happy Feet, and sometimes just shakes around in one place, just a tiny jubilant vibration.

I am waiting for the sorrow to kick in - sometime tomorrow probably - the only reason I am here in Liberty instead of South Bend is that our Aunt Pat passed away this weekend. I cried when I heard, and then switched from feeling to planning mode. I took the three bereavement days my job so generously gave me, plus a day for a holiday I worked, and hightailed it out of town after just one workday for the week. I guess there was no particular reason to take the fourth day - the funeral is tomorrow and I could have driven today and had plenty of time to be ready - but I just wanted to be home with family. We haven't spoken much of what comes tomorrow, all we've really done is spend time together. I went to work with Deb today. Ben took me down the road to see the house that he and Craig are building for him and Vickie and Pearl. And we all have spent a lot of time watching Pearl dance.

I've felt guilty having fun here because I feel like I should be sad, but what else is there to do? You lose a part of the family, all you can do is - be family. All you can do is keep living and loving. One of my favorite Jack Johnson lyrics is: "Love is the answer, at least for most of the questions in my heart - like why are we here, and where do we go, and how come it's so hard?" Here's another Jack Johnson song I've been thinking of this week - it doesn't fit the situation exactly, but says things pretty well ...

Friday, January 23, 2009

hello from God

Thursday morning. Running late for work. Why is this guy in front of me driving so slowly? These roads are awful, I can't believe they haven't plowed this yet. Use your turn signal, jerk!

Red light. Slam the brakes.

A block up, on the left, a flock of birds bursts like fireworks from the top of a building. Paints a dramatic curve across the sky. Loops back to the building where more birds join in. The avian ensemble twists back and forth, performing gorgeously, passionately, in a long swinging rhythm, never leaving my line of sight. I am transfixed. My heart is quieted, my hands unclenched.

At the very moment the light turns green, the birds settle gently back down on the building. The sky and the road are clear.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President -

Of course I got teary-eyed at your inauguration. I was actually running errands at the time so I listened to it on my car radio, but there I was in the parking lot of Hobby Lobby, hearing your first words as President, and sitting there a few extra minutes to listen, which I shouldn't have done because I didn't have much time and I ended up ten minutes late to work which made for a frustrating start to the afternoon - but I could hear in your words, and in your voice, the hope and passion that inspired so many of my friends and coworkers to vote for you.

I have to be honest, though, you didn't get my vote. Neither did McCain, actually. As a Catholic pro-life pacifist I don't quite feel represented in politics, ever. So I cast my votes for some local races and left the President part blank. I remember feeling a little awestruck in the dim room where I voted, looking at your name and McCain's, printed so starkly on the paper. I knew then, and I know now, that this moment is historic. I can feel it in my bones today, now that you've been sworn in - a curious, excited, apprehensive waiting. Where will we go from here? Where will this new leader lead us?

I know that you just don't get it about abortion, and that pains me. I am pretty concerned about what's next for unborn children, and I am going to be praying hard that somehow you receive the grace to understand what abortion really is. Because I think you've probably heard all the best arguments out there, and haven't been persuaded yet. So all we can do is pray for grace.

Apart from abortion, I'm kind of excited to see what you come up with. Is there really a way to solve the healthcare problem in America? Can we find a better way to teach our children? Can we do more to use our resources responsibly? Will we ever see the hardest workers in our country earn a living wage?

I'm kind of excited about all that. But let me tell you what I'm really excited about: Shreveport, Louisiana and South Side Indianapolis, Indiana. I forget about this sometimes when I listen to too much political stuff on the radio, but I just don't think the world is truly going to be changed by Washington, D.C. I think it will be changed by my friends.

Does that sound ridiculous? I guess it does. I guess it might be ridiculous. But seriously, Mr. President, you should see it in these neighborhoods. People are suffering there - from poverty, sickness, addiction, hatred, you name it. But here's what's happening - my friends are living there, and bringing Christ, and doing really concrete things like building houses, and teaching children, and building businesses, and showing love. And it's really changing things. People are being freed from the chains they've been in for years. Decades. That's what changing the world means.

You were a community organizer so I bet you're familiar with the principle of subsidiarity - that things ought to be handled on the lowest possible level. That's part of Catholic social teaching and I really think it's true - I guess because I think that real human interaction, and relationships, and love, are the only things that can really change someone's life. Better systems and policies are great, and I know a lot of people who rely on the safety nets that the government has in place, but when it comes down to it, a single mother's life is not going to be changed by the President, but by her next-door neighbor.

So even though my eyes were damp at noon today, and even though I will worry and hope and pray during your presidency, much more of my worry and hope and prayer and energy will be with my friends. And I'll keep hoping that more people will turn their eyes away from D.C. and toward their own neighborhoods. It's been cool to see people get excited about you, Mr. President, but it would be cooler to see them all change the world themselves.

Gotta go. I'm on my break but it's my late shift at the homeless shelter tonight, and I have a lot of work to do. Best of luck, Mr. President. You'll be in my prayers.