Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Redneck Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas And all through the trailer
Not a creature was stirrin' 'Cept a redneck named Taylor.
His first name was Bubba, Joe was his middle,
And a-runnin' down his chin was a trickle of spittle.

His socks, they were hung by the chimney with care,
And therefore there was a foul stench in the air.
That Bubba got scared and rousted the boys.

There was Rufus, 12; Jim Bob was 11;
Dud goin' on 10; Otis was 7.
John, George and Chucky Were 5,4, and 3:
The twins were both girls So they let them be.

They jumped in their overalls, No need for a shirt,
Threw a hat on each head, Then turned with a jerk.
They ran to the gun rack That hung on the wall.
There were 17 shotguns; They grabbed them all.

Bubba said to the young'uns, "Now hesh up ya'll!
The last thing we wanna do Is wake up yer Maw."
Maw was expecting And needed her sleep,
So out they crept out the door Without making a peep.

They all looked around, and then they all spit.
The young'uns asked Bubba, "Paw, what is it?"
Bubba just stared; He could not say a word.
This was just like all of The stories he'd heard.

It was Santy Claus on the roof, Darn tootin'
But the boys didn't know; They was about to start shootin'!
They aimed their shotguns and nearly made a mistake
That would have resulted in venison steak.

Bubba hollered out, "Don't shoot, boys!"
That's Santy Claus And he's brought us some toys.
The dogs were a-barkin' And a-raisin' cain,
And Bubba whistled, and shouted, And called them by name.

"Down, Spot! Shut up Bullet! Quiet, Pete and Roscoe!
Git, Turnip and Tater and Sam and Bosco!"
"Git down from that porch! Git down off that wall!
Quit shakin the trailer, Or you'll make Santy fall!"

The dogs kept a-barkin' And wouldn't shut up,
And they trampled poor Pete Who was only a pup.
Santy opened his bag, And threw out some toys.
Bubba got most, But left a few for the boys.

Since the guns had been dropped He just might not die.
He jumped in his sleigh, Told his reindeer to hurry.
The trailer started to wobble Santa started to worry.

Just as the reindeer Got into the air,
The trailer collapsed, But Bubba didn't care.
He was busy lookin' At all his new toys.

Then a thought hit him, And he said to the boys:
"Go check on yer Maw, Make sure she's all right.
That roof fallin' on her Could-a hurt just a might."

But Maw was OK, And the girls were too.
They fixed up the trailer; It looked good as new.
And as for Bubba, He liked Old St. Nick,
But Santa thought Bubba Was a pure-in-tee hick!

Bubba had a nice Christmas, And the boys did, too.
And the Taylors wish A Merry Christmas to you!

(from some clever source on the internet - not my prose!)
Mery Christmas and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Rose

I'm re-reading the "Jake" book (So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore) and glad I am because I need to be reminded of many important spiritual truths that the book contains.

Yesterday while reading I was reminded that the middle of the story is not the same as the end. Well, that sure is a good thing in some areas of life, that don't ever seem to sort out over time no matter how hard you try, how long you wait or how much you pray.

The loneliness of life outside the church walls is bearable most times, but I have days when it really gets to me. Outside the church walls mostly just means that the facade of fellowship has been stripped away. But, in stripping away the facade we've also lost the opportunity for the few positive, if rather short term, relationships we could find inside the church walls. Now it just looks wintry.

I really love Aida's blog on winter being a season of rest - important truths there. Yet there are times when I find myself in or near despair. Because I have children I'm taking with me on this important yet often uncertain and at times bleak looking road.

Most of you know we moved around the time we quit "going to church." Now we're still figuring out a new life in more than one area. The three of them have to make do with each other and their parents for companionship and friendship more than I would like. And while that's not a bad thing, I can see it in their sweet faces that they are lonely for a special friend, for more meaningful outside connection in their lives, for the true community that is so hard to find. (Just because you have your family busy with activities, even good ones, does not mean real connection with others will necessarily happen quickly, if at all).

After years of homeschooling, which has its own challenges, we also quit "going to church." To quote Toula in Big Fat Greek Wedding, "because - we weren't weird enough!" When you step outside the 'norm' of education or religion, you can't just coast. None of the work is done for you by an institution to provide for your family's needs.

Some days, it all just really looks bleak. Holidays tend to not help in dealing with the underlying feelings of sadness, of not being connected to others the way we long to.

But perhaps that's why Father keeps slipping me little notes of hope, such as catching the last part of this song on the radio in the car the other day:

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long
When you think that love is only
For the lucky, and the strong
Just remember, in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snow
Lies the seed, that with the sun's love...
in the spring, becomes... the rose :-)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tea Time

Tea was discovered in China around 5,000 years ago. For many centuries after its discovery by Emperor Shen-Nung, tea was used for medicinal and spiritual purposes. When tea first arrived in Europe in the 1600’s, only the very wealthy could afford it as it cost over $100 a pound!

Fortunately the price did drop over time and the tea custom caught on, making its way through France, Holland and finally England. In the 1800’s, Queen Victoria relished the ‘tea parties’ that had become all the rage. Ladies began to don formal tea gowns, long and flowing and lacy. They fanned themselves with beautiful fans in the afternoon heat as they rode by carriage to meet with friends in a beautiful garden, perhaps entertained by orchestra music as they sipped their tea and nibbled on scones, tiny sandwiches or other delicacies.

The Victorian era was a kinder and gentler time, one I have longed to visit in a ‘time warp.’ I wonder what it would be like to live back then. I look at teacups in antique shops and think about a time that groups of friends actually DRANK out of them, rather than having them just adorn a curio cabinet.

We watched "Karate Kid Part II" the other day and I was reminded of the wonderful Japanese custom of the tea ceremony. This is a great movie for many reasons, but I would watch it just to see the touching romantic tea ceremonies served by the movie’s heroines to the men they love.

I’ve casually priced tea cups in antique stores. Real ‘antique’ cups start at around $27 and go up from there. I’ve seen a single cup priced as high as $80. But, I’ve also seen modern day imitations of old cups for very low prices. I picked up a nice one for $2 at a flea market and gave it to a friend. Another one I found at a hobby and decorative store on clearance for $3.50. I collect inexpensive antiques because of the nostalgic, warm feeling they give me - whether or not they’re ‘real’ is of little importance.

A really neat website I found with all kinds of history, customs and cute suggestions is here.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Closer to Fine

I hadn’t thought of this song in years, but for some reason it just popped into my head after hearing of some struggles that a brother is going through. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Indigo Girls, they broke ground in the American folk- rock scene in the 80’s and their most popular song to date, Closer to Fine, was released in 1989.

One important thing I’ve learned over the years is how non- or not specifically Christian teachings, books, art and music can hold significant if incomplete truths. (and how some "Christian" teachings can really screw you up!) I see many ideas in the song that speak remarkably about my journey outside the box.

We’ve knocked ourselves out trying to find the answers to finding it and fixing it, whatever ‘it’ is. We have a kazillion different denominations out there, each with their own set of ‘answers’ on ‘doing God right.’ And many of us had the experiences of constantly trying to fix what was wrong, repair what was broken, and nail down and break that family curse 6 generations back through the right ‘healing’ seminar. Many of us could re-wallpaper our houses six times over with all the ‘Christian’ 7 Easy Steps, Doctrine Explained to Dummies, Fill in the Blank to Fullness in Christ workbooks, and 12 weeks to healing books on our shelves. I love how Darin puts it in his "Meaning of Life" blog. We’re like a bunch of 4 year olds gritting our teeth trying to grow a beard like Daddy.

As the song reflects, the human race is usually looking for answers in a bottle or other people, in children, in doctors (pastors?), psychiatrists, higher education, and last but not least religion! Somehow I don’t think the 'workout' referred to in the song is physical!

We have thousands of answers from hundreds of denominations, many claiming to be "the only right way." So then goes the struggle for answers in some definitive. Baptist? Mormon? Catholic? Jehovah's Witness? Anglican or post-modern? This doctrine or that doctrine? It appears that some Christians find an answer they are comfortable, happy (and sometimes quite smug about) in organized religion.

For some of us though, trying to follow the crooked line of religious answers becomes torment. The more we look and the harder we try - the further we become from the answer. Maybe the answer is just to BE - to live life always knowing that because Jesus made a way, Father is our friend- and we might be closer to fine. (If only all Christians truly understood the gospel better…) Maybe it’s time for all of us to just let our hair down and take a ride on the Polar Express.

The only thing I regret they left out of this song was to stop looking for the definitive in religion, rather than in simple, abiding relationship with the Trinity. As we learn to just be in relationship with the living God, we are getting closer to fine every step of the way.

Besides the really thought provoking lyrics, I'm impressed at how these gals can walk, sing, dance AND play a guitar all at the same time. As one who usually can't brush her teeth and walk through a room at the same time without tripping over something, it looks pretty cool. Lyrics are posted below the video.

Im trying to tell you something about my life
Maybe give me insight between black and white
And the best thing youve ever done for me
Is to help me take my life less seriously
Its only life after all

Well darkness has a hunger thats insatiable
And lightness has a call thats hard to hear
I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it
Im crawling on your shores

I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountains
Theres more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line
And the less I seek my source for some definitive
(the less I seek my source)
The closer I am to fine
The closer I am to fine

And I went to see the doctor of philosophy
With a poster of rasputin and a beard down to his knee
He never did marry or see a b-grade movie
He graded my performance, he said he could see through me
I spent four years prostrate to the higher mind
Got my paper and I was free

I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountains
Theres more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
(the less I seek my source)
The closer I am to fine
The closer I am to fine

I stopped by the bar at 3 a.m.
To seek solace in a bottle or possibly a friend
And I woke up with a headache like my head against a board
Twice as cloudy as Id been the night before
And I went in seeking clarity.

I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountains
Yeah we go to the doctor, we go to the mountains
We look to the children, we drink from the fountains
Yeah we go to the bible, we go through the workout
We read up on revival and we stand up for the lookout
Theres more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
(the less I seek my source)
The closer I am to fine
The closer I am to fine
The closer I am to fine