On our stop through Meridian, we discovered a new dietary plan from our friends the Rices. On this plan, rice and all other grains along with their cousins the legumes are blackmail for our bodies. Not only grains but the whole family of dairy. Congestion and fat rolls result if indulged. Throw out all forms of pure sugar and the scientific advances of additives, extra salt and potatoes, and what do we have left to eat?
plant based spices.
Is this possible? Is it healthy? Can we run faster, further, with fewer aches and pains? We are willing to experiment and see.
South Texas is a mysterious place. At first glance, not much here but a bunch of mesquite trees and tangles of live oaks. Plenty of moisture in the air, not always in the ground. Towns few and far between make a newcomer a little lonely and wondering where are the resources, the stores, the people. Move down to the coast and the pace of life is slow and steady, methodical as the wind billowing out, blowing light, pushing the shallow bay water up towards the shore.
We are settled in to our parents' condo for the week. Having breakfast on the balcony, we watch the pedestrian procession of dog walkers set to the beat of shrimp boat and barge motors out in the bay, punctuated with the caw-caw-p-caah of seagulls scavenging. We took note of one walker with exceptional ingenuity: leash lassoed around her own waist, her eager spaniel powered their walk.
Herbie the long dog is staying behind us in New Bern.
After nearly seven years of chasing squirrels, traveling in his little car crate, meekly enduring a toddler in his family, and serving on the greeting committee wherever we call home, he gained a reputation for funniest looking dog, and faithful house guardian with his loud bark.
In a mysterious twist of ill stretching, he ruptured a disk in his neck the very day we were being packed to move. He was about to embark on a new journey with us, and now we will miss our beady-eyed buddy in the back seat.
This time it's going to be like a mid summer Christmas, by the time we get back to our stuff and after traveling across the country and back. The mess is like the heap of paper immediately following gift opening; the floor invisible, the footing treacherous. Thankfully, we had professional help this time. Packers and movers, while we sorted through the clutter and packed our on-the-go bags.
Now, the floors are clear, the windows empty, all the work done but the catching up of sleep.
"The servile state always thinks of history, man judging man, because it does not believe in Divine Power. It believes in abstract power. It equates the abstraction Democracy with the abstraction Equality, and this results in blind obedience to the struggle between partisan interests."
Seven long years. It's a long time since we publicly pledged our "I do" to each other. Seven years is a turning point in the life of a child, in his growth and development, as many educators and physicians recognize. It's enough time to get some history under the belt of a marriage. Time to "I do" to that and "I don't" to this. Doing about two of those seven years at a distance, like long distance dating, it's tempting to forge ahead with one's separate lives, forming plenty of survival habits and self-made schedules that will all need to change with reuniting. It's tempting to pretend like nothing happened in those seven years to need readjusting. We've gotten along thus far; we are basically fine, right? Where the hand of God is at work, there is no pot-in-the-fire "fine" for long.
A new Advent season. Reading our recently old posts, I can report that we have indeed "minimized," moving to a 2 bedrm apartment and rediscovering what is "essential." I want to get back to writing, but the deployment and repeated moving needs-based survival schedule took over. So, I guess I haven't actually simplified enough if there's still no time for what I used to think was most important. Maybe re-ordered priorities happened in the process.
The time has come to say goodbye to our old house and make our way into the new. With the help of our church family and friends, we are able to pack it all up in a timely manner and make the transition with the comfort of their presence. I'm looking forward to the new neighbors we'll meet, even as we will miss our good, good old neighbors. I'm looking forward to the new things O can do since we'll be within walking distance of ice cream cafes, library and his favorite playgrounds. With many tears through our thanksgiving, it's good to have a time of leaving one's "old life" behind and pressing forward into a new.
[disclaimer: the house in the background is not ours]
Ann Voskamp's new book, One Thousand Gifts, made it into our house and is challenging a very small group of discontents to make that list of things one is thankful for, to list the things we thought were ugly and mere distractions from "real life"as the things that help refine our hearts. It sounds way too simple, and perhaps like wishful, positive brainwashing, but the exercise of giving thanks is akin to weight lifting and squats--small intense movements that produce long term, major effects. There's a way of understanding the common, everyday things that we miss in the blindness of a perspective of mundanity.
Our morning toast is a gift of someone else's labor, therefore we owe thanks.
The cream cheese on my bagel is a gift of produce from a creature of the earth, therefore I am indebted and render thanks.
And tea--what would the day be without it?!--a gift that travelled far and through many hands to reach us, thus multiple layers of thanks is offered for this one cup.
I am impressed, upon thinking about the things I'm thankful for, what a debtor I am.
For our friends who are trudging through the nitty gritty red tape of adoption; I read this poem and thought of you.
Whatever is foreseen in joy
Must be lived out from day to day.
Vision held open in the dark
By our ten thousand days of work.
Harvest will fill the barn; for that
The hand must ache, the face must sweat.
And yet no leaf or grain is filled
By work of ours; the field is tilled And left to grace. That we may reap,
Great work is done while we're asleep.
When we work well, a Sabbath mood
Rests on our day, and finds it good.