Messy

It’s funny how much of adjusting to marriage is negotiating space. It’s not like “Trading Spaces.” No bright red paint on the walls, no gold-foil or silver spray paint. No big reveal when all the furniture has finally been arranged. Instead, marriage is a million small, seemingly insignificant compromises.

Some of it is negotiating physical space. Where the wet towels get hung. Who sleeps on which side of the bed. Sharing blankets and coffee and the bathroom counter space. Some of it is not physical space, but requires much of the same finesse and grace.  Who should get up first when the alarms go off in the morning. Who pays the bills, and what card should be used to put gas in the cars. Who will remember to pick up the milk and who hates to run errands on the way home from work.

So, to make this more complicated, we’re moving next month. Hopefully, it’s a semi-permanent move, because I’m really not enjoying the mess that comes with packing. Messy is not a word I normally like to associate with myself, and moving involves a lot of it. Oh, and we’re trying to rent our apartment early, so there’s been some fun with staging a one-bedroom apartment when a complete corner of the apartment is filled with boxes and boxes of books.

The good news? What the glorious, unprecedented mess of unpacking will be on the other side, into a wonderful home of our own.* We are moving out of the city and into a small town, a nice distance from both sets of parents, and well situated for work. We are moving to a kitchen with room and space to cook together without a well-choreographed dance of knives and hot pans.

The same things that make life complex also make it the most precious.

*Well, the bank’s, really, but these days, who’s counting that? ;-)

as Christ loved the Church

How can the man who says of this verse – I Peter 3:1, “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands”:

This also does not negate the equality of husbands and wives, again they are both image bearers of God. … There is equality and deference and respect, and that is the way God has ordered the world … Now what we mean by “be subject to” or “submit to” is that the husband is to lovingly humbly, sacrificiously, selflessly –let me put lots of words behind this– lead his family. And that the wife is to respect him and follow his leadership. This is not chauvinism. He is very clear that he is against chauvinism. We read elsewhere, in Ephesians 5:25 that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. This is sacrificial, humble, selfless leadership.” (emphasis mine – hear full audio here)

Also say this:

Without blushing, Paul is simply stating that when it comes to leading in the church, women are unfit because they are more gullible and easier to deceive than men. While many irate women have disagreed with his assessment through the years, it does appear from this that such women who fail to trust his instruction and follow his teaching are much like their mother Eve and are well-intended but ill-informed. . . Before you get all emotional like a woman in hearing this, please consider the content of the women’s magazines at your local grocery store that encourages liberated women in our day to watch porno with their boyfriends, master oral sex for men who have no intention of marrying them, pay for their own dates in the name of equality, spend an average of three-fourths of their childbearing years having sex but trying not to get pregnant, and abort 1/3 of all babies and ask yourself if it doesn’t look like the Serpent is still trolling the garden and that the daughters of Eve aren’t gullible in pronouncing progress, liberation, and equality.” (emphasis mine – quoted from article here)

(First, this is Mark Driscoll’s example of deference and respect?)

Let’s leave the awful woman-like emotions out of this, shall we? There’s a fundamental logic problem here. Is he really arguing that  women should not lead the church based on the culture of our fallen world and the contents of grocery store newstands? So I assume that’s where we should look for validation of God’s plan of male church leadership? Is that evidenced by Maxim? Playboy? Internet porn stats? The fact that 30% of Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year? What about the fact that on average, more than three women are murdered by their boyfriends or husbands in this country every day?

We are a people in need of redemption. All of us.

There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – Romans 3.22-24. 

Those verses always bring to mind another favorite of mine: 

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3.28

Let’s think of this another way – there is no difference between male and female, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Leaving aside whether or not I agree with the position Driscoll ends up in, I object and am righteously angry with the way he chooses to defend and express his position. God did not choose men to lead the church because they’re slightly less broken than these womenfolk they accompany. God’s choices do NOT have to do with the relative sinfulness of  the fallen people we are, it has to do with His plan for His church and their salvation.

on Veteran’s Day

*a day late, I know*

I do  not have the same frame of reference for war that my grandparents did. I do not have childhood memories of occupation troops, nor did I walk across the Netherlands during Hongerwinter to find food.  At no point during my childhood did we take in a Jewish child who needed a safe place to stay.

I do not have the same frame of reference for war that my brother does. I have never ridden in a Humvee. I have not spent months overseas, or lost friends in combat. I don’t even have the vocabulary for his experience.

My frame of reference for war is that of a descendant. Who heard the stories that my grandparents told, and the stories that they didn’t tell.

My frame of reference for war is that of a sister.
My frame of reference for war is my mother’s hair turning gray day-by-day. It’s my mother’s voice when she tells me that after two weeks of silence, we still have not heard from my brother. It’s my father’s voice, torn by sorrow, after we have heard from my brother. My frame of reference for war is recognizing my brother’s roommate in the list of casualties. It’s scouring the pictures in news stories for his face, for mention of his division, for proof that he’s okay. It’s my sisters’ tears. It’s my tears.

It’s the joy of seeing him come home. Seeing him hold his niece, just days old, and seeing the healing start with a baby’s tiny hand.

I am thankful for veterans. Without them, I would not be where I am today.
I am thankful for my brother. Without him, I would not be the woman I am today.
Love you, brother.

Beginnings

Today, we are getting married. To all of you across the country who are not with us today as we quietly start the next phase of our lives – thank you for everything that you have done for us and with us that has led us to this point together.  Thank you. We both love you all.

From several years ago:

“There are so few people given us to love…If you can, at nineteen, count the people you love on one hand, you will not, at forty, have run out of fingers on the other.  There are so few people given us to love and they all stick.” – Anne Enright

Excepting my family (of course you love your family, and of course they stick,) at nineteen, I don’t think I’d hit the halfway mark on my first hand.  I mean, I love people all over the place – I’m a pretty affectionate sort of person, anyone could tell you that. But there are very few people in anyone’s life who are “given us to love” – and I could still count mine on one hand. These are the people who you love with a desperation, with a longing that is expressed in inarticulation.

These are the people who taught me that sometimes laying down your life for your friends requires living.

“But love is the answer to a question
That I’ve forgotten,
But I know I’ve been asked
And the answer has got to be love.”

– Regina Spektor, Reading Time With Pickle

Today, I miss you, Cori Lee. Wish you were here to play with my nephews and niece, to creatively come down the aisle in a wheelchair and to prop your chin on your two fingers and ask my groom a confusing existential question or two. “Tell me about your formative years.” Wish you had been here to spend last night with me, to get your nails done with my sisters and I and to laugh hysterically  with us. I miss you. The mind reels, Cori.

Top 10 of 2010

What?! It’s 2011 already?!

At the beginning of last year, I carefully didn’t promise to read a hundred books, which seems to have worked. I read a hundred books!! The last one (Reengineering Health Care: A Manifesto for Radically Rethinking Health Care, by Jim Champy and Harry Greenspan) finished on December 31st.

So the recap, the highs and lows of the year with links and everything.

1. A series, satisfactorily concluded:

Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, concluded with Mockingjay.
Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay might be one of the most masterfully executed trilogies I have ever read. Haunting, compelling, with a lot of emotion and thought under the surface, these books are something I would recommend to older teens and adults. Mockingjay, especially, is a harsh but beautiful contemplation of mercy.

2. A series, brilliantly continued:

My first buy on the Kindle, Megan Whalen Turner’s fourth book in The Thief series, A Conspiracy of Kings was an excellent addition to her earlier stories of Eugenides. This is a series I would recommend to younger readers with the caveat that there is a lot of swearing (mostly in the form of the use of the pseud0-Greek gods and godesses’ names in vain.)

3. The year’s best short story collection:

I finally read something by Amy Bloom, A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, and I’m not entirely sure how I felt about the content. Disturbing, beautifully written and truly an startling piece of work. I would recommend this to short story readers who are not faint of heart.

4. Best novel(s):

The most heart-breaking and the most informative: Still Alice
The sweetest: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
The most thought-provoking: The Help

5. The dystopian selections:

Always a favorite sub-genre of mine, I read several good dystopian books this year. First, The Unit, about mandatory organ donation for the over 50 crowd, set in Sweden. Second, Far North, set in a world annihilated by nuclear war and food shortages.

6. Sci-fi bordering on horror:

I hesitate to call any book horror, but I’m not sure what else you would call this book. A long saga spanning a hundred years, The Passage starts with the governments’ search for a cure for old age, and ending with the last remaining humanity searching for a cure for the cure. I think this was an excellent book within its genre – it steered clear of any s.x content, but it was very brutally violent. I will recommend this to fans of this genre, and to my bro-in-law. :-)

7. The year’s best Mystery:

I love Tana French. Love. Her. So it’s no surprise that Faithful Place was my top mystery pick for 2010. Complex, full of characters that are recognizable and easy to relate to. I am very excited to see the next book. Hopefully before 2012.

8. Book for work that ended up being really worth my time:

Drive – this book by Daniel Pink was about people’s motivations. Mostly, he asserts that people are naturally eager to learn and solve problems and that we are not as much motivated by money as we like to think. This book is the ultimate un-schooling support. I truly enjoyed it.

9. A book you should not read:

How I Live Now, by Meg Rosoff. It was dystopian teen fiction, and should have been everything I love. But it wasn’t. It was disturbing.

10. Top rereads of the year:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Ender’s Game, Anne of Green Gables, Never Let Me Go, and The Witch of Blackbird Pond.

mayhem

Yesterday I was getting ready to drive home from work, running through my mental checklists and suddenly I thought “When did I last post anything on my blog?!”

It seems really pompous to apologize for not posting, since that makes it sound like the last month has been bleak and empty for you without me, so I won’t. I will just say that my life has jumped a level of (busyness? intensity?) something this past month and I feel like my entire work day is spent dealing with transition. I have hopes it will calm down, but it may not. This might be the new me.

I mentioned I was moving to a new team at the beginning of November. I did, and two weeks after the move, just as I started to get back into a groove, I was offered a management position on my new team. (Side note: we call it “team lead” and we emphasize that it is a role change, not a promotion.) For me, it was good news, but it was awkward timing for my team, just getting to know me as a peer and then suddenly wham!  I have been enjoying this new work – I feel like I am able to do what I am best at every single day – and as a result, I am happy, even when I’m exhausted.

But it has changed some things. In the last two weeks, I have read Peer to Boss, Good to Great, Drive, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, The One Minute Manager and am in the middle of First, Break All the Rules.  (Five of those were required with my role change – my workplace believes in personal development.) So…I haven’t really been reading my novels.

On the other side, I have knitted up a storm. My days can consist of up to 6 hours of meetings. Often this means that I can knit away merrily in the corner. No one seems to mind, and it has really helped me feel calmer in situations I’m still learning to navigate. I’ve knitted my niece a shrug, a cardigan that I’m hoping fits one of my sisters (not enough yarn for me!), finished some projects that have been back burnered for a while, and a beautiful hat I’m working on modifying for a smaller head. (Evie!)

All this to say, I might be a little sketchier on the posting for a while. When I get home at night I want to lay on the couch and stare at the ceiling for a while and then fall asleep. I will adjust, learn to fit into this role and find more time for myself, but this transition is exhausting and will take some work.
On the other hand, if you’re interested in managerial reading, I have some good recommendations. :-)

I’d love to love you.

My reading lately has been re-reads. Comfort reads.

I reread The Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery, Sabriel, by Garth Nix, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare and Sorcery and Cecelia by Wrede and Stevermer. I think this is my normal comfort reads time of year. I hunker in and knit a lot, read things that make me feel cozy and safe and, yes, here in the midwest, warm.

Sorry I don’t have a lot of recent new reads. Busy with the nephews and niece, hanging out with my siblings and baking pumpkin biscotti. Maybe some of you have some recent read to share with me?