Saturday, December 29, 2007

Chapters gift card - half used

I love the store "Chapters".
I think its my favourite.
Nothing but books and mostly book-related items.
I especially love making the trip when its on someone else's dime!
Gift cards are fine things.
I think i scoured the entire store tonight -- and found all of my purchases in the bargain sections. Nice!

Two gorgeous 200-photo albums - 75% off $3.25 each!
The Complete Poems of John Keats $6.29
Selected Works of Virginia Woolf $11.69 *8 of her most famous*

I'm always looking at the cookbooks and I have my favourite chefs.
I have a pretty complete library at home, there's not much more i feel i must put my hands on.
There was one though. . . Ina Garten "Family Style". . . some gorgeous recipes in that one.
I had it in my cart with the intention of asking the clerk whether indeed it was still $50!! *The American price was $35!!!!! and our dollars are pretty much on par with each other. . . so this is definitely NOT fair. *
I asked her and she tried to smoke me with : "Well, ma'am all our hardcovers are 30% off." p.s. i hate the term 'ma'am'. . . its musty and old.
I said back: "30% off the American price or 30% off the Cdn price?"
At this point she was honest and said it was off the exorbitant Cdn price.
I told her i had lost my desire to buy it.
"I know its not your fault, said i, but that's crappy."
She just glumly nodded, as did the clerk next to her.

Other than that bit of silliness harshing my Chapters mellow mood. . i was very happy when i left with half of my gift card value remaining for a future visit and my trusty "Irewards" 10% off membership card back in its holster, i mean wallet slot.
Using that card on already discounted stuff feels GREAT!

I don't know which book i'll start with first. . though maybe i should finish off one of the books i have here - still have in various states of 'almost finished'.
I suppose i should complete my Garcia-Marquez (100 years of Solitude) first.
KK will soon want to 'borrow/keep' it when she finishes her "Love in the Time of Cholera".
"100 years" is infinitely marvellous, so i don't know why its taking me so long to read it?
I can't believe that man's way with words, his imagination isn't like a typical adult's.
If i could possess just a fraction of his magic, i'd be happy.
Although if he had made a Robert Johnson 'crossroads at midnight' deal for his talent. . i take back what i said!! eek!
I didn't pick up anything of his (G-M's) tonight. . . my brain wasn't in gear.
But now I know what i'll get with the remainder of my card!
Forget the over-priced American cookbooks. . . there are tastier offerings.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

can i stand?

in my post-"Christmas" whatever that 'thing' is that we all do. . was that Christmas?
in my unwinding, my grief, my gladness, my feeling of emptiness that comes when i lose focus on the one my heart loves and so easily forgets, i asked Rob to get his guitar out.
He obliged. . and he played and we sang.
In the course of our singing we came across this one again.
I remained quiet and listened as Rob played and sang it. I love the tune he gave these words - so beautiful. I wish you could hear it.
And it hit me all over again. . . its not about me, not about my feelings, not about my anything.

I remember writing the words. . . almost 8 years ago. I remember how i felt then --upset by circumstances, sitting down by the shore of Lake Erie, writing, working through my feelings. This is what came out. I felt my focus shift from me to God. . and that was a good, necessary shift then and again tonight. . .sorely needed.

can i stand in the light that exposes my sin?
can my tainted soul take your glory in?
can i understand how you made it all right?
can i thank you enough?

can my childish self know the cost of my gain?
can this selfish child feel the depth of your pain?
can i grasp how you suffered, so i could go free
can i thank you enough?

can i thank you enough
can i thank you enough
can i grasp how you suffered so i could go free?
can i thank you enough?

can i really believe that you love who i am?
can i see that my name is engraved on your hand?
can my soul really fathom the depth of your love?
can i thank you enough?

can i thank you enough
can i thank you enough, Jesus
can my soul really fathom the depth of your love?
can i thank you enough?

k&r aug 2000

Friday, December 21, 2007

my heart

". . . my heart was broken. my heart was broken. . sorrow, sorrow, sorrow, sorrow. .."

Saturday, December 08, 2007

thinking about the need

lately i have been very emotional, thinking about the reason we need Christmas.
i'm glad to be feeling, because i was starting to worry about grinchiness. This year i'm a complete flop at getting ready for "Christmas" the way it is gotten ready for in North America.
I am so loathe to be at rat in the race this year. . . i've made some reluctant forays into the retail maze. . . blech. . i don't even like the 'cheese' at the end, it stinks.

Yes, the world's a mess, we all know it and Christmas has this way of sensitizing people to need, which seems extremely appropriate, given that dire need is exactly what Christmas is about.
but its not even about taking such a large view to highlight the problem and need for a lasting solution, the need is seen within

in me, it shows up every day.
i can't be good
i can't stay good
i try, i can't sustain
its not in me
i have lots of illusions of goodness in what i do and say and think. . .
but what's that taintedness at the bottom?

me, me, me, me. . . how is this affecting me? how do i feel ? what's in it for me? how can i be happy? what about me?

Of course this is paring it down to the core, but isn't that the only thing to do when trying to get to the truth?

i'm not saying i'm a spoiled brat 24/7, but i often am on the inside, in my heart, in my thinking. i feel very J&Hyde most days. If i was to remove all the social filtering i've learned through the decades, i doubt that anyone would want to have anything to do with my black-hearted self. I'm not saying all this to seem particularly insightful or bracingly candid. i'm just saying it like it is.

the true me is not a good me. this world is populated with billions of "me's" and there is not a single good one. all dark of heart. . with variations of shading . . but dark, without exception. every 'me' hides, every 'me' is selfish, every 'me' is identically damaged, every 'me' is in dire need of resuscitation.

when i was 30 i got to my breaking point. i realized finally that i hadn't learned from what i'd experienced. I couldn't make sense of a lot of it.
i felt bleak inside.
i gave myself over to this 'why bother' attitude.
why bother trying? why not just be . . . . only human, independent, proud, blatant, nasty as i wanna be - when i wanna be, angry without temperance, faithless, cynical, jaded
"Christmas" felt as hollow as a glass ornament and so did i.

now in my mid 40s and several Christmases later, i have been allowed a decade and a half of some more things i'm positive you wouldn't want to experience. i sure didn't want to. It wasn't all angst and gloom, there were amazing things as well in this time - but it seems to have been in the shadows that i've experienced the most change and growth, as painful as it might have been . Joy and rain, sunshine and pain.

i've learned some things that radically changed my heart.
i 've learned that sometimes what seems the worst can actually turn out to be for the best.
i 've learned to be grateful, i'm still learning this way of living.
i've learned to live from all parts of myself - body, mind, spirit and i've still got a long way to go with this, but i'm practicing.
i've learned to exercise -- even haltingly and losing ground sometimes - faith. .
elusive, mysterious, even for some, mockable faith.
not faith in myself because i am by nature faithless,
not in other humans, because they're in the same boat with the faithless nature thing,
but in Him. . in the one full of faith -- Christ, the one who saw our need and came down here with a heart for meeting it. I really believe that this is how it was and is and this is what really happened.
I have to tell you. . .
He is the reason i no longer feel hollow
He is the light in my eyes and in my smile
He is the one who sparks my heart to care
He is the one who 'speaks' into my spirit and brings it increasingly to life
He is the one who gives me the ability to be good, though that ability is all his and never has originated within myself
He is the one who sees my 'rotten core' and doesn't pull away in disgust. .
no one else has such love capacity
no one else has such love purity. . there's not even a sliver of darkness, not a pinpoint
How can i not respond to love like this? sometimes i get so emotional thinking about the only love in my life that has the power to redeem my darkness and i can never, with my words, thank him enough, but i use words and i thank him with my life.
He isn't 'seeable' to my eyes, but He is felt by me and while for the longest time i ignored his love, i always knew it was there, even as i piled offensive things up and up on top of it,
his stubborn love was not smothered by my attempts to bury it.
until the day i stopped piling. . . i can't forget this day, soaked in despair, crisis was a normal state. . and i remember lying on the bed, crying. .busy with the crying and the feelings of why i was crying and being wrapped up in my weeping. . which of course ran its course and after a while settled and i became quiet. Then came the moment when i 'heard' these words deep within myself, in the silence . . . . ..............."i love you, Kathy"

they weren't my own words in my mind, because i did feel like saying such a thing to myself. They were unmistakable. My heart knew it was him. I was 'resuscitated' by four beautiful words. I was still in the crisis, but i was remarkably changed right there in the mess of it. . i no longer felt alone, i never was, but now i didn't feel that way and i was different after that.
I looked the same in the mirror, but i was not me any more. . i was me plus him forever.
Not 'stereotypically Christian' if that phrase brings overtly fanatic or negative thoughts to mind.
The degree to which the difference is obvious is the degree to which i surrender my heart daily.
I have to tell you its not easy. Surrender is not easy. Some days you might see me and dare me to prove there even is a difference. . and those would always be the days i'm unsurrendered and i can feel the difference.
But easy isn't promised.
I have to tell you i make mistakes.
But i am completely encircled by Christmas every day of my life,
not baby in a manger, that was only the wrapping of the gift, which opened into life for the spiritually dead, which means the whole lot of us.
I am encircled by light, when i was dark
I am encircled by good, when i was bad
I gave up my illusions of independence to be dependent on him for life with meaning.
What a gift. .
i'm so emotional.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

i love mincemeat

yeah, i love mincemeat
all by itself,
no pastry
a little bit heated in a bowl
little scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt
spicy and jammy. . with that clean vanilla flavour mellowing in

i love fruitcake with marzipan
same flavour hits with this treat
dark, rich cake with delicious dried fruit
almond flowery-tasting marzipan bringing that
clovey cake into perfect balance.
i could write a whole post about marzipan. . its that wonderful
the combination of these two elements, .... magic

I love the traditional, steamed Christmas pudding with real whipping cream
mmm. . mmmmmm -- moist, studded with fruit and nuts and permeated by those full, earthy spices - cloves, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
i love to make these glorious things, but they're a bit labour intensive
so i've given up
i'm sad that its come to this.
they remind me of my Nana, who made fantastic ones -- in fact, she made fantastic everything (except perhaps gravy)

This declaration of my admiration for fine, beautiful and fruity flavours is brought to you by me, food enthusiast and connoisseur of the three most generally unpopular Christmas time flavours. So, here's to marzipan fruit cake, Christmas pudding and mincemeat! hip hip, hooray!! 'Hip hip' all right if i don't watch my portions!