Thursday, October 26, 2006


This morning on my way to work I was just cresting a small hill (I live in Saskatchewan - all we have are small hills) when the clouds parted and the sun shone through with brilliance. The light was this perfect golden/pink morning light, and it made everything beautiful, including all the construction going on. It was like the curtains parted and the light bathed everything in goodness and beauty. For a few seconds I saw things in a different light.
When I got downtown, the bare trees and grey river seemed all the more bleak after my moment of golden light, and I thought about the difference light can make. A construction site - dirty and raw, made beautiful; A riverbank of trees flanking a grand river - dull and dreary.
Then I thought about the difference Light can make in our lives, transforming us from ordinary, worried, wearied, and worn-out people into people of radiant beauty.
And I wonder about the difference Light could make in our city. I wonder about how it could transform individuals, families, neighborhoods.
Every day when I read the paper, when I read about break-ins, stabbings, poverty, and vandalism I wonder what would happen if God's love flooded this city. I wonder what's possible. If God can do more than anything I could ask or imagine...well I can imagine a lot.
And God can do more than that?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Jungle Berries

Sunday, October 15, 2006

You've Got Mail

I was looking on the USPS website to try and find out what kind of things can be sent throught the mail, when I discovered something interesting. Apparently you can mail animals, as long as they are not "injurious to human beings, agriculture, horticulture, forestry, wildlife, or the wildlife resources of the United States."

Huh. Mailing animals. Who would've thought.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Running Around

The Amish are the modern-day Pharisees.

Hmmm...that seems like a judgmental statement doesn't it? Just the word "pharisee" conjures up a picture of hypocritical, self-righteous, excessively pious people; people who love to follow the rules by the letter but totally miss the heart of them.

I may be wrong in my comparison, and I realize it's a bit of a blanket statement that obviously wouldn't apply to all Amish, but I'm reading the book "Rumspringa" by Tom Shachtman and the similarities seemed to jump off the pages.

For instance:

"The unwritten list of them [rules], the ordnung, covers everything from the number of pins that an Amish woman may use to hold together her dress to the directive to defer to men's judgment in all-important matters to what constitutes improper fraternizing with the opposite sex."

They legislate the number of pins used to hold together a dress?!? How can this possibly be important? It seems so similar to all the rules the Pharisees made up, in addition to the moral laws given by God.

One girl remarked that her parents seemed more upset about her wearing jeans than about her going to parties.

Their practice of "Rumspringa" is also very interesting to me. This begins when a person turns 16 and lasts until they decide to be baptized and join the church. Technically the period is "to give youngsters leave and ways to find an appropriate mate. The community's expectation is that, upon completion of the courtship task, a young Amish couple will end their Rumspringa by agreeing to marry and concurrently making the commitment to be baptized."
That's technically what it's for, but many young Amish take the opportunity party wildly, getting drunk, smoking, doing drugs, etc. They go out on Friday, usually with English friends, and do not return home until Sunday night. It seems the attitude among many of the adults is that young people need to "get it all out of their system" before they can settle down to the traditional Amish life. Technically, because they haven't been baptized, they are not subject to the rules yet, and so this is all ok.
The letter of the law not the heart - go be wild because you haven't been baptized yet, but tomorrow when you are baptized, those things will be wrong.
Of course, not all young Amish behave this way - a lot simply go out with friends and enjoy some time away from their parents, having fun but not seeing the need to engage in rebellious behavior.
So, I don't know, maybe for some of them they need to try everything before they can make the decision to join the church. I understand that they want their youth to come to the church of their own free will, but perhaps the choice would not be so difficult if their rules were not so stringent.
I guess they are probably just trying to keep the world out of their lives, and maybe having a list of rules makes it easier for them. Keeping things black and white, allowing no "grey" areas, makes it easier to see if you're on the right path - you can check off the do's and don'ts and see how you're doing. There are no difficult decisions to make because the Order has already established a rule for just about every behavior.
I imagine the more I read the more I will learn about the "why" behind their way of life and there will be good things to it as well.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Jazz Pictures

"Often the photos were scratchy, the only copy of an image fixed near the
beginning of the twentieth century - but they contained such power. Today, of
course, images are reproduced digitally ad infinitum, and we are drowning in
them; they have in many ways lost their value...But these older images were
powerful and unique, often showing fold marks or tears; they had been smuggled
out of the past as if containing an important message that the past wanted us to
know. Whoever had held onto them had wanted them to endure. "

- "Why New Orleans is Important" The author is referring to old black and while photos of jazz musicians in the city.

This is what I desire in my photography. I want my pictures to be powerful and unique. I want them to mean something, somehow, 20 or 50 years from now. Together they tell a story of what I see, and how I see.

Falling Meditation

I had a wonderful lunch hour last week. It was, I think, the last really warm day of Fall and I spent it in Kiwanis park down by the river. I sat in the sun and read until I got too warm (imagine!) and then moved to a bench under one of my favorite trees. The sun was hot, the sky clear, and the leaves were positively golden. The breeze was so slight, just enough to stir the leaves and send them on their way.

And so I sat, watching the leaves dance through the air, thankful for everything God has given me; content just to be.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Literary Pull

So I've just about finished the last book that I took out of the library and had decided to read one of my own, but there were several on the "new book" shelf at the library that were calling my name, and I came home with 4 more books to read (all non-fiction). They are about donuts, New Orleans, Springtime, and starvation. Should make for some interesting and diverse reading.

Speedy Gonzales

Isabelle (my cat) can run a lot faster than I can.

It's one thing for me to know this, but something else entirely to have it witnessed by a stranger walking down the street.

That would be me tonight, running full tilt with Isabelle 15 feet in front of me, (the length of her lead) my arm stretched to the max while I try to keep up with her over grass and sidewalk, weaving around parked cars, and trying not to run into the above-mentioned stranger.

The thought of what we must have looked like (cat running as if from a house on fire, owner madly flapping along after her) made me smile. Even more so because I was wearing my biggest, fluffiest winter coat and my cheap-o earmuffs that stand out from my head a little but sure do keep my ears warm.

Leaving Soon

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Haute Cuisine?

So I've finished reading The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine, albeit not while I was eating. For one year the author hunted, fished, caught, and otherwise scavenged for enough animals/fish/birds/creatures to create a 48 course meal from an old cookbook that he'd found (Le Guide Culinaire). He invited a bunch of friends to sample his creations via a Thanksgiving feast.
And what a feast it was...

wild boar headcheese
duck soup
turtle soup
crayfish mousse
souffle of goose liver and pheasant
pate of brandy-marinated cottontail rabbit and salted black bear fat
elk heart with bechamel sauce
tongue of wild boar with sauerkraut

These were just a few of the courses on the menu. Now, granted, I haven't tried any of these dishes and so cannot say that I wouldn't like them, but the mere thought of them just about gave me an upset stomach. I had to put the book down on numerous occasions when I was eating. (Yes, I read while I eat.) So, it was an interesting journey, and while I learned a lot about hunting and the journey food takes to get from "the wild" to my dinner plate, I think I'll stick with my white-meat turkey sandwiches for a little while longer.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


a walk in the woods

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

that's just not true

I've been reading a lot of non-fiction lately, and am starting to feel like reading a really good novel. So I've been looking for one at the library, (not sure what's wrong with the ones on my shelf at fact I think I even have a couple of them started) and I'm finding that most fiction is so...well...false. So many writers write with so much detail that just isn't found in non-fiction that their novels immediately flash "fiction" with a bright neon sign. So I decided to look for a fiction book that isn't trying to be real. And I think I found one - JPod by Douglas Coupland. I read the first chapter (really short) at the library and decided to check it out. Well, I actually read the first few pages before chapter one, and that's when I decided to check out the book. On the page where the dedication usually is is the quote "Winners don't do drugs" by the director of the FBI. Then there are a few pages of words that I don't really understand the significance of, followed by 2 pages of really small stream-of-conscious writing, one page of dollar signs, finished off with a page of the words "ramen noodles" repeated over and over. It was the ramen noodles that sold me. [aside: my sister asked me recently how I choose the books I read and, well, that there is a pretty accurate description. Either the title or the cover art will draw me in, and then I'll read the first couple of pages and see if it hooks me. Pretty rare that a book will get me before chapter one, so I'm expecting this to be good.]

Now I just need the discipline to finish the (non-fiction) books I've already started...

Still Life with Chickens
The Coroner's Journal
The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine