Thursday, June 30, 2011

One Hundred Dreams (Not Quite, But I'm Open to It)

These lovely toes are courtesy of photobucket.   Until, now
it never occurred to me I may need pictures of my nekkid feet.
In prayer meeting Monday a friend talked about a Conference on the Father's love where they were encouraged to begin a list of 100 dreams.  I have listed thirty dreams so far.

Last week I wrote a post about feeling more optimistic, and I really do.  It had hit me a few months ago that not only didn't I accomplish all of the goals of my youth, but that I didn't believe I ever would, and had felt I should put dreams away as youthful foolishness.  It did not help my outlook.

Many things on the list are actually related to each other:
3) Become a healthy weight.  (It's been so hard, and I've failed so many times I stopped hoping I ever could.   But today, I am dreaming about it, focusing on it, and asking God to help me daily in this quest.)
4) to fit in my new sundress.
5) to fit in the clothes in my box in the basement.
6) to be able to get rid of all of my large clothes because I need room for a smaller size.  (I guess I'm dreaming of a good reason for a new wardrobe.)
10) to be able to comfortably get up and down from the floor.
11) to be able to stand all day without a lot of discomfort.
12) to be able to walk around outside all day without my feet being in a lot of pain.
17) to walk several blocks without getting out of breath.
21) to fit in an airline seat.
24) to be flexible enough to give myself a pedicure.  (I feel pretty when my toe nails are pink.  I know it's silly.)
25) to be able to get out of the tub without worrying I'm going to slip and kill myself and the paramedics are going to find me nekkid.
26) to have lots of energy.
30) for my feet and ankles not to swell.
That's 13 things all related to number 3.  Obviously when I get dream #3, most if not all of the other dreams I shared today will have already been granted.  I still think it is important to list these other things.  They didn't come up because I asked "Why do I want to become a healthy weight?" but because I asked "What do I want?" .  I will not yet be a healthy weight the day I paint my toenails, but I will still have gotten something I want, and will need to thank God for His help.  Because I'll only get there with His help.  I know this, because I have been trying too long on my own.

So as frivilous as it sounds, I'm praying for my weight, size, mobility and flexibility.  

What about you?  What are your dreams?  You don't HAVE to list 100, 30, or even 13.   I'll be happy to know one or two, and will pray for your dreams, too!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Trying Again

I don't need a snazzy cover today.
The topic is snazzy enough!
...many people are deterred from seriously attempting Christian chastity because they think (before trying) that it is impossible.  But when a thing has to be attempted, one must never think about possibility or impossibility.  Faced with an optional question in an examination paper, one considers whether one can do it or not:  faced with a compulsory question, one must do the best one can.  You certainly get none for leaving the question alone.  Not only in examinations, but in war, mountain climbing, in learning to skate, or swim, or ride a bicycle, or even fastening a stiff collar with cold fingers, people quite often do what seemed impossible before they did it.  It is wonderful what you can do when you have to.  (Lewis, p.93)

I agree with Lewis's point.  I have heard lots of people comment on how it is "impossible" to expect people "nowadays" to refrain from sexual activity until they are married.    Sometimes it makes me fume, because it assumes our ancestors who claimed they did are liars.  (It assumes me to be a liar as well.   Call me a slut, and I'll be surprised, but I'll let you live, but don't any person dare call me a liar!)

I actually feel more charitable, though, when reading Lewis's words, because I, too, have my own "impossibility".   Sure, it's possible for most people, just not me.  What is this unworkability?   Well, if you can excuse the use of a four letter word in this post, it is staying on a d-i-e-t.    Once I fail in some small way, I tend to give up, because I wasn't perfect.  Sure, many people stay on Atkins™ until they are their desired weight, but it was "impossible" for me to do that.

We may, indeed, be sure that perfect chastity- like perfect charity- will not be attained by any merely human efforts.  You must ask for God's help.  Even when you have done so, it may seem to you for a long time that no help, or less help than you need, is being given.  Never mind.  After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again.  Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself, but just this power of always trying again.  For however important chastity (or courage, or truthfulness, or any other virtue) may be, this process trains us in the habits of the soul which are more important still. It cures our illusions about ourselves and teaches us to depend on God.  We learn, on the one hand, that we cannot trust ourselves even in our best moments, and, on the other, that we need not despair of even our worst, for our failures are forgiven.  The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection.

So.... I suppose now is a good time to mention that I've been using Slimfast™ for the last two and a half weeks.   And I've been praying for me. (Lewis, p. 94)

For more discussion on this week's chapter of Mere Christianity, check out Sarah Salter's blog.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bunnies, Ducks, Hamsters, and Kittens, Oh My!

I have always loved dogs and cats, but allergies prevented me from having any.

My first encounter with a "pet" was probably when I was three years old and we went to visit my Daddy's family in Hungary.  They lived on a farm, and when my Uncle Bela took me to the rabbit hutches, I was thrilled.   I adored those bunnies, and even had favorites.  At the time, no one had the heart to tell me that the ones I hardly noticed would be fried "chicken" in the upcoming weeks.

The day we were leaving, my Uncle Bela wanted my daddy to smuggle my favorite bunny home on the plane with us.  My daddy said that wasn't legal, and my uncle tried to tell him I'd be heartbroken leaving that bunny behind.  Daddy said I'm going to be even more heartbroken leaving my cousins behind, and that he'd sooner be arrested for smuggling one of them home on the plane.  The brothers disagreed about what was best for me, but parted on good terms anyway. (And no cousins were smuggled in the luggage.)

It was soon after we came home (at least in my mind) that my Daddy and my Godfather (his cousin) came home from the farm with two ducks.  I named them Daffy and Daisy.  I loved them very much, and they lived on a diet of Fruity Pebbles™cereal for several months.   Then, however, neighbors complained that they were making too much noise (probably the sugar from the Fruity Pebbles™ making them hyper), and that keeping ducks was against city ordinances.  They either flew away, went to live on a farm, or were Sunday dinner.   I like to think they flew away, and the ducks at a nearby pond are their progeny.

When I was about six years old, my Daddy's friend's son had hamsters.  I thought they were adorable and wanted hamsters of my own.  That year, for my birthday, my Godfather came to my house with a table and a tank.  He and Daddy teased Momma that they were bringing in hamsters.  My mother threw a fuss that no rodents are being invited into her house to be nurtured!  They kept teasing her, but they brought in tropical fish. Though I loved Henrietta (named after Henrietta Hippo from "New Zoo Revue"), Henry (also named after Henrietta Hippo) and their little family of fishes, I still think that if they let me have the hamsters, I wouldn't be afraid of and repulsed by rodents.

When I was in college, a cat snuck into our basement window and had kittens.    Though I really wanted to keep the kitten I had named Tawney, my parents found them all other homes when they were old enough to be weaned.  I'd have preferred to keep Tawney and get allergy shots, but it wasn't my call.

Since then, I haven't had any pets, though I sometimes tease Bob that I'm going to take him to Church to have him blessed on St. Francis Day.   He is a good sport, but he doesn't want to deal with my allergies any more than my parents did.  So for now, I have to be content with BunBun and her family living in my front yard.

This post is part of Peter Pollock's One Word Blog Carnival. Today's word is "pets". Click here to find his and other posts about pets.

I still remember the words to the theme song, btw...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Can't Switch My Phone Plan Because....

I have allergies!

Really, otherwise I'd think about it, but to impulsively buy a dog that would make me sneeze is just too much of a deterrent.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I Don't Feel Crappy Anymore!

I know.  I have such finesse with titles.    I suppose I could have started with a more positive sounding "I'm feeling optimistic", but that sounds so "Little Miss Mary Sunshinish".   I have nothing against Mary Sunshine, but I haven't been her for a long time.  If anything, I felt like I was fighting pessimism.
In the beginning,  fighting pessimism was a lot like stomping on a spider:  annoying and a little messy, but a minor blip in the day.  But for a few months  I felt like I was trying to fight a dragon with a hair pin.  But one day last week, I felt a feeling that seemed familiar that I couldn't quite name.  I nearly fell out of my chair when I realized it was optimism.  I feel optimistic that this year I will be subbing, maybe even teaching.  I feel optimistic that my test results will be fine.  I feel optimistic that I can get done what needs to be done to do what I want to do!  I admit, it's not the eager optimism of my youth, but it is a weight off of my heart.
Why?  The only thing different in my life right now is that my thyroid prescription has been increased.  (Hey, God answers prayers in interesting ways.  I prayed to feel better and be more motivated, and I got symptoms that made me feel bad enough to go see a specialist in another area who said "Hmmm... You have an underactive thyroid listed under previous conditions...   Last checked over six months ago?  Let's go with a simple blood test, first..")
What's my point?  Not much.  Just that I'm feeling really good for a change.
How are you?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Surprised by Our Choices

Today we are discussing the Chapter Morality and Psychoanalysis in Mere Christianity.  The gist of it is that people with psychological issues will not be held by God to be responsible for acts committed which they did not have the ability to control.

Last night when I went to bed, I was thinking about my aunt.  My Aunt June* died about twenty years ago. Actually, she was murdered.  She was leaving Church after lighting a candle and was on her way to do some Christmas shopping when someone tried to snatch her purse.   Auntie June fought back.  The snatcher became her attacker.  He banged her head against the sidewalk repeatedly and took the purse.  She went to the Emergency Room and had Christmas with the family a few days later.   The next week she had a brain hemorrhage and died the week after that.

We have always believed that the attack and her sudden illness were related.  Over and over we in the family have said to one another that she shouldn't have fought back.   She should have let him have her purse.   She couldn't have possibly had so much money in her purse for it to be worth the risk.  I said to myself that I'd learn from this, and if caught in the same situation, I'd give up the purse.

Guess what.  I lied to me.  Two years later I was on my way home from a job interview in a neighborhood my daddy TOLD me he didn't want me to work in when a woman grabbed my purse while I was crossing the street to catch a bus.   I yanked my purse back and looked at her.   She kept walking like nothing happened.   How much was in that purse?   Five whole dollars and a bus pass.  I didn't even have a credit card.  One could say that I needed the bus pass to get home, but honestly, I could have gone into a store, called the police, asked them to call my daddy, who would have picked me up without even an "I told you so."  (My daddy didn't say "I told you so."  He gave a look which said volumes, but those four words never passed his lips.)  But my  instinct was to fight for what I thought was mine, not to remember what happened to Aunt June, and submit my purse.

I was young, though, right?   With age and experience, I'd be able to learn from what happened to my aunt.  Sure.  But not yet.  Two years ago while Christmas shopping two young men tried to grab my purse outside of Borders.  I fought back, and they quickly moved on.  They were gone before I could dial my cell phone on the other side of the door.  (Yes.  I did get to keep my purse.)

I didn't understand my Aunt's state of mind twenty years ago when she chose to fight back.    I judged her to be in the wrong, but I didn't understand that in that flash of a moment, there was no thinking, only reflex.  One could reflexively let go of the purse, or fight back, but there is no time to think or to choose. Honestly, I don't even know what I was thinking.   I first remember thinking when I was dialing the phone.  (And that thought was "What the french toast did you just do?   Didn't you learn anything from what happened to Aunt June?")

I never judged Aunt June's reaction to be sinful, just unwise.  Yet I was unwise twice, even after promising myself I'd react differently if I ever found myself in similar circumstances.  I can see how sin could be similar, even if time isn't a factor.  One may not have the presence of mind to be mindful of their actions.  Sin is not just a bad action, but the choice to do something bad.

We see only the result which a man's choices make out of his raw material. But God does not judge him on the raw material at all, but on what he has done with it. Most of a man's psychological make up is probably due to his body: when his body dies all this will fall off him, and the real central man, the thing that chose, that made the best or the worst out of this material, will stand naked. All sorts of nice things which we thought our own, but which were really due to a good digestion, will fall off some of us: all sorts of nasty things which were due to complexes or bad health will fall off others. We shall then, for the first time, see everyone as he really was.   There will be surprises.

Yes.  There will be surprises,  I'm sure.

More discussions about this Chapter can be found on Connecting to Impact.

*Auntie June's real name wasn't June.  I don't know that her children would be okay with me telling her story, so I changed her name.

Monday, June 20, 2011

His Voice

My friend Jason is hosting "Warrior Poet Circle" today. The theme is "Voice of God."    It seems strange to be to join, like I'm hoarding in on a party I don't belong at, since I feel like neither a warrior or a poet.  Yet we are are told to dress ourselves as warriors and be prepared,  and I can't remember when I didn't love reading poetry (at least if you count Nursery Rhymes).  I was in second grade the first time I tried to write a poem.  It was awful!  My teacher liked it though.  Having been a second grade teacher myself,  I know why she liked it.  She liked it because she liked me.

So anyway, here we are with a short poem.

Softly whispered comfort as I try to hang on to things that slip away.
Gentle commands to guide me through the labyrinths in which I find myself trapped.
Silent lullabies sung to my weary soul.
Is that really Him?
Wouldn't the voice Inifinity boom?
No.  Not when speaking to one He calls "Daughter."

Friday, June 17, 2011

How I am Coping With Psych Withdrawal

Ignore the day and time in the picture.  No one knows
Yet.  I know.  Talk about "psych", huh.  Oh yeah,
and this photo is courtesy of Photobucket.

Raise your hand if you are disappointed to find out that Psych isn't coming back until Fall.  Now wave.  Thank you for that nice cool breeze.  It's finally starting to get warm here in Chicago, and that was refreshing.

I don't know whether it is lucky for me or not, but I didn't have cable when Psych first came out.  I missed the first two and a half seasons.   The good news is that just like a pre-owned comfy chair, it's new to me!  I saw the first half of season three a couple of months ago when I first started suffering from Psych withdrawal.  I was better for a while, but then found myself in desperate need again, so I went to our local library and took out Season 1 of Psych.

That is why I saw the following for the first time on Wednesday.   I laughed so hard, the room was spinning like the stars in the sky!  Watch the following video to find out what I mean by that.

The aftermath went better for me.  My DVD player has a pause button.

What about you?  What show do you think is the funniest you've seen?  What scene makes you giggle every time you think of it?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How Would a Christian Society Look?

Today we are discussing Chapter three of Book Three of Mere Christianity, which is titled Social Morality.  In it, Lewis describes what the New Testament says a fully Christian society would look like.  He describes a society where everyone works, people don’t fixate on luxuries or posturing, authority is obeyed, and people are courteous and cheerful.

“If there were such a society in existence and you or I visited it, I think we should come away with a curious impression.  We should feel that its economic life was very socialistic and, in that sense, “advanced,” but its family life and its code of manners were rather old-fashioned- perhaps even ceremonious and aristocratic.  Each of us would like some bits of it, but I am afraid very few of us would like the whole thing.  That is just what one would expect if Christianity is the total plan for the human machine.  We have all departed from that total plan in different way, and each of us wants to make out that his own modifications of the original plan is the plan itself.  You will find this again and again about anything that is really Christian:  every one is attracted by bits of it and wants to pick out those bits and leave the rest.  That is why we do not get much further:  and that is why people who are fighting for quite opposite things can both say that they are fighting for Christianity.”

The first part of the paragraph reminds me of something my father said when I was growing up.   He came to the United States of America during the Hungarian Revolution.  I vaguely remember asking him how a system he felt compelled to stand against and eventually leave (which meant leaving family and friends) came into existence.  He said to me “Honeygirl, if Christians behaved like Christians, Karl Marx could have taken his manifesto and stuck it up his @$$. ”

Here I think comes into play the idea that people want to take bits and pieces of it.  First of all, you can’t remove God from it.  Second of all, Christianity is a choice, and Communism as a political and economic system was not.

Am I guilty of “taking bits and pieces of it”.  I’m sure I do.  I know that when I see the words “Communism” and “Socialism”, my hackles are raised.  My daddy had to leave home and family because he stood against those things.  Sure, and argument could be made that if he hadn’t I’d never have been born, since he met my mother here in Chicago.   But I still feel badly for him, since I know it would have broken my heart to leave my mother and father and never see them again.  

I do not, however, think that Lewis was making a case for Communism.  He was pointing out that such a society would not resemble our own.  I’m sure if he had been communicating with a Communist audience in mind, he would have emphasized other points, such as family life.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Where is Home?

This building looks exactly
 like the one I  grew up
 in in Chicago.   We lived
 on the first floor.
When I was little, I considered a two flat a couple of blocks west of Pulaski and a block north of Lawrence my home.  Being an only child, I had my own bedroom (painted apricot, just as I requested), and was just spoiled enough that the enclosed porch in the back was converted to a playroom (painted pink), which became the room I listened to music in when I got older.  We had arched doorways leading to the living room (painted off white) and dining room (painted light green), with a huge picture of Jesus in the Garden over our China cabinet.
Either this depicts Jesus in the Garden or when He cried out how
  He longed to gather His people like a hen gathers her chicks.

On the opposite wall was a picture of the Last Supper.  
My mother always bought pictures of the Last Supper (not necessarily this one,
 though this is the one that hung in our  dining room) as house warming gifts,
 unless she new the family already had one.

In the living room hung a painted portrait of my mother on her First Communion Day, a picture of me on my First Communion Day, my parent's wedding photo, and a collage of photos of friends and family.

None of these things made that house near Lawrence and Pulaski a home.   Oh, don't get me wrong.  I loved that my home included all of those things.   But that isn't what made them my home.   Indeed, when my Mother became ill and "temporarily" came to live with us, I'd do routine checks on that house, and already it no longer felt like home.   It was only home as long as someone who loved me was there.  Maybe that's why we tell people to make themselves at home when they visit.  It's like we are saying "Hey, you are loved here.  Don't be afraid to let your guard down! It's all good!"

I imagine that is also why we Christians say that our true home is in Heaven.   Who loves us more than God?  No one.  Who accepts us more fully, "as is"?   No one.  So then it only makes sense that Heaven is our real home.  And now with both my Momma and my Daddy there,   Heaven is an even more welcoming place, though it would seem impossible, like adding to infinity.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not overly anxious to leave this world.   I have a wonderful husband who makes this world more "homey", and I dread the thought of leaving him in a world less loving with a house less homey.  But I have become more joyful at the prospect of Jesus preparing a home for us together in Heaven.  A home that includes those we love.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Beginning of Summer Twitter Ho Down Post

kelybreez After 3 weeks in Uganda, kelybreez posts again... Read all about it! (dangerous Breeze)…

Helenatrandom @kelybreez Welcome back! I missed you! I thought you were boycotting the twitter because @weightwhat hasn't been around.

kelybreez @Helenatrandom What happened to @weightwhat ? Why hasn't she been around? Was she in a tizzy because I was gone?

Helenatrandom @kelybreez No tizzy, just busy. Life is just a whirlwind when one is as popular as she@ @weightwhat

kelybreez @Helenatrandom Yeah, that's just her cover excuse. She's mad at me. I know it.
Helenatrandom @kelybreez Maybe it was because you refused to pack her in your carry on case and take her with you. @weightwhat

weightwhat @Helenatrandom @kelybreez Oh, and because I started a new job.

@Helenatrandom@weightwhat Really? Congratulations! What do you do?


SarahBeeC My office smells like wet dog

@Helenatrandom@SarahBeeC Maybe you should rethink that candle scent...

katdish @SarahBeeC @helenatrandom's tweet reminded me of this. Perhaps you can create some of these?

SarahBeeC @Helenatrandom Leather - check, freshly cut grass - check, wet dog - scratch that --- done

@Helenatrandom @katdish Red meat candles! AWESOME! (But sadly, no bacon...)
Helenatrandom @SarahBeeC How about bacon scented candles? YUM!


@makeadiff21@Helenatrandom @sarahmsalter All I know is I've missed the snark that the twitterverse adds to my daily life :-)

Helenatrandom @makeadiff21 I know. I miss it, too!

sarahmsalter @makeadiff21 Oh, so you need SNARK, do you? *evil grin* @Helenatrandom

makeadiff21 @Helenatrandom @sarahmsalter One has to have it to survive at times, ya know? Hahaha

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Yellow beans seeds are planted along side the driveway and next to the patio.

Tomatoes, squash, onions and cucumber are planted alongside the garage and in planters.

Flowers are planted in front of the house in the space where we removed two dead shrubs.

Now when it rains, it will save us the work of watering the garden, instead of preventing us from working in the garden.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

So Long as No One Gets Hurt

In Book Three, Chapter One of Mere Christianity, Lewis proposes that there are three parts to morality.  The first part is universal:  don't do things that hurt other people.  The second has to do with one's own inner moral condition, and the third with one's relationship with God.

It's so much easier to live in the first part of morality.   Who wants to hurt people?     I doubt there is anyone who wakes up in the morning and says to himself (or herself) "Oh wow!   Look at how the sun shines so bright and the weather is just right!   Perfect for carrying out my diabolical plan to hurt as many people as I can today!  MWAHAHAHA!"

But we manage to hurt people any way.   I imagine that most of the time, it is because of selfishness and a lesser developed inner moral condition.   But sometimes we hurt people because we can't agree with their choices.   We can't agree to "live and let live" (though I do think we can agree to "live in love") because the choices being discussed are so clearly against what God has said in His Word that we can not in good conscience condone it.  I suppose on some level we risk causing them more hurt my condoning things that must not be condoned, but the person involved may not ever see it that way.

I guess the point of my little tangent, which lost Lewis somewhere along the line, is that morality is tough on any level.   I am so thankful for forgiveness.

Please visit my friend Sarah Salter if you'd like to read a more in depth discussion of this Chapter of Mere Christianity.