Friday, September 24, 2004

Away Message

Greetings, Fellow Sojourners!

Starting later today, I will be in Austria for a week! There I will make my temporary dwelling-place amongst the Alpine mountains in the little town of Filzmoos--which, directly translated, means "feltmoss." 'Tis a strange world in which we abide.

I bid you all a spiffy week!

Monday, September 20, 2004

The Christmas Song For The New Millennium

Matt (see Blogadocious link on far right) and I have decided to put our linguistic creativity to good use and try to make a little extra cash on the side by entering the lucrative world of songwriting. If you care to read below, you'll find our first attempt. I'll admit, we're still a bit shaky on writing music, so we're temporarily borrowing someone else's tune. If you hum "The Christmas Song" to yourself as you read, you'll get a hang of the melody and rhythm. Enjoy!

The Christmas Song For The New Millennium

Chestnuts roasting on open fires,
Jack frost nipping at status quos,
Yuletide carols being flung by choirs,
And folks dressed up apropos.
Everybody's nose,
Some turkey has a middle toe
That helps to bring the season's blight.
Tater tots made out of cookie dough
Will find a farty sleep tonight.
Paul knows that marmot's on his way,
He's loaded pots and pans and cooties on his sleigh.
And Paul's mother's child is going to fry,
And flee the reindeer who ate all the pie.
And so, he's offering this entrails' phase
To kids who cannibalized not a few.
Although they've been fed mini-guys many ways,
Some fried crustaceans will do.

by Marmot Boy and Court-knee

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

In the news....

On Saturday I went to my first alternative rock concert. Since I know the lead singer of the band and am aware of some of the struggles he's going through, the whole concert inspired a lot of thought. I understand now, to some degree, the temptation to lose oneself in such intense, throbbing sound. I'm not ashamed to admit that this understanding is a bit frightening. It was an interesting experience, and I haven't yet digested all of it.

Ed and I are taking a sort of leadership training course that starts Oct. 1 and goes through mid-December. Since I'll be at the European Ladies' Retreat in Austria next week, I've started working on the homework required for the training course. Today I realized that I've quite forgotten how to study. Apparently, being a student is a learned art...and I seem to have unlearned it. :oP

Ripley knocked over the Love Fern again last night. I was not pleased, especially since most of the spilled dirt ended up in Ripley's litter box. I gave in and moved the fern into what will hopefully be a more stable spot. This past summer, I thought I was finally showing Mama's genes and developing a green thumb, but alas and alack, that thumb is turning black again. My Venus flytrap is struggling and seems ready to throw in the floral towel. And my beautiful, bright red begonia has decided to perish utterly. I despair.

Also this week: Everybody in the world is either having babies or wanting babies, and I wonder if I've got alien heritage, since all I really want right now is more time in each day so I can write and paint.


Thursday, September 16, 2004

Dream # 14

Kendera, your wish is my command. I'm posting this one because you requested. ;o)

I'm Not Pregnant!

November 30, 2001

Last night, I dreamed that Ed and I were going to have a baby. But I wasn’t pregnant; instead, Kendra was the surrogate mother. I was out of town on a business trip. When I called home, Ed informed me that Kendra had given birth to our child, a 17-lbs. boy. I didn’t even register the “17-lbs.” part—all I said was, “A boy? But I wanted a girl!”

Then the dream ended.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Blogged For The First Time Ever: The Cantrell Domicile

Well, here's what you've all been waiting for: pics of our apartment posted online. For your viewing pleasure, I bring you images from our dwelling-place here in the great Land of Deutsch. You will see digital photographic representations of every room in our home, with the exception of the kitchen and attic, neither of which is currently in publicly presentable condition.

So fasten your seatbelts, strap on your safari hats (Does one *strap on* or *don* a safari hat? I wonder...), and grab the helping hand of the person sitting next to you (Yes, even if it's a stranger in an Internet cafe--what's life without a little adventure?), because you're entering...

The Zany Zone...

...or something. Would someone humor me with a drumroll, please?

To kick off our tour, I'd like to show you the section of our hallway that is supposed to be my reading nook. Someday, when I get to buy a comfy chair, the dream of a reading nook will become reality. Until then, I shall content myself with perching on this uncomfortable, yet lovely chair with its genuine walnut armrests. ;o) Posted by Hello

A second picture of our rather peculiarly shaped hallway. In the other hallway picture, the front door was toward the left side of the image. In this picture, the front door is behind me and to my right, and the "reading nook" is behind me and to my left. If you're now completely confused, then my work here is finished. Posted by Hello

Please notice the small, black feline in the foreground. Ripley, in her ever-growing awareness of life beyond the confines of her small feline brain, decided that it would be interesting to follow me around as I took pictures of the apartment. She makes for a fairly good model, though she's not particularly receptive to suggestions that she pose. In pictures, she much prefers the "freestyle" or "natural" look.

Next, I'd like to direct your attention to the bedroom. I particularly enjoy the sheer mosquito netting that adds a romantic touch, though Ripley has been responsible for several large holes in it. She seems to think it's a great climbing opportunity. If this were a panoramic shot, you'd see a wardrobe on the left and another wardrobe on the right, but they're not very pretty, so I'm skipping them. Posted by Hello
Hopefully, I'll soon be able to start working on the bedroom walls, which I've wanted to do for at least two years. A deep maroon appeals to me, though I'm still debating on whether or not that would be too dark. On the other hand, a bedroom should look cozy and dark and romantic, so I'll probably just go with my artistic instincts on this.

A second shot of the bedroom. If Clint's stuff ever arrives from that black hole known as London (check April's blog for further info), we'll soon be the better-sleeping owners of a queen-sized bed (courtesy of Clint) instead of this double. Yay for more restful sleeping!!! Posted by Hello

Please turn your attention over here and enter the realm of the apartment-indigenous feline. This is Ripley's room, in which she generously allows us to do our showering and grooming and so forth. Today we had our first major mishap with the fern beneath the window. (Yes, Kendra, it's the Love Fern!!!) ;o) I don't know just what the cat did, but the fern ended up on its side and there was dirt everywhere. Ripley and I had a bit of an altercation over it. Posted by Hello

Ripley loves to stalk humans from the protective and secluded confines of the empty bathtub. Posted by Hello

Moving right along on our tour, we come to the livingroom, in which quite a bit of living occurs. This is also where we have most of our one-on-one Bible studies. The couch pictured left isn't really discolored--that's just an effect of the flash, I'm glad to say. ;o) Most people tend to comment on the comfort and warmth of our livingroom. I appreciate their appreciation, but I'm hoping to do something with the walls that will make the room feel even more inviting. I'm tired of all-white walls, so I'm considering something in a pale-but-warm yellow to match the throw pillows. Posted by Hello

Another shot of our livingroom. Notice the fun, jaunty angle of the crooked tablecloth. That is *so* characteristic of how things go around here. ;o) Posted by Hello

If I may direct your attention here, you will be pleased to note that two other beings besides Ripley also currently occupy our abode. Ed and Clint were sufficiently occupied with computers that they weren't aware of my picture-taking ambitions. Please disregard the general disarray visible in this pic. The office functions as office, art studio, and catch-all room, so it's difficult to keep it better organized than this. Usually, it's worse. Posted by Hello

To conclude our tour, and just for fun, let's venture into the depths of the office-computer-lab-catch-all, emerging on the other side in Courtney's art studio. Here you see what's been my work-in-progress since May. When I finally finish it, I'll blog an entry of it. Working title of this piece is "Soldier's Dream: Sweet Desert Rose." Posted by Hello

Well, that's the end of our tour. I hope you've enjoyed it. If you lagged behind at some point and found yourself taking a rest on one of the comfy couches in the livingroom, I don't blame you. ;o) If you've made it this far with me, then I salute you and dub thee Longsuffering And Persistent, and I thank thee for thy bountiful patience. You get a cookie. ;o) Stay tuned for future broadcasts featuring The Kitchen and The Nefarious Realms of Attic-dom!


If you meet me and forget me, you have lost nothing.

But if you meet Jesus Christ and forget him, you have lost everything.

~Author Unknown

Friday, September 10, 2004

What's *your* story?

This morning, together with several others, I sang at the funeral of Rosi Kallus. Rosi and her husband Karl have lived in nearby Zwickau and worked with the church there for many years. I’ve never really known very much about Rosi—during the seven years I’ve known her, she has never been in good health. The few times I saw her, it seemed as though she didn’t have the strength for a long conversation; she and Karl never stayed late anytime I saw them at church or social functions.

Rosi was diabetic; unsteady on her feet; and in need of frequent medical attention most of her life. During the last few years, she suffered thirteen brain embolisms. These health problems were one thing I knew about her. The other thing I knew about her was that she never complained.

This morning at the funeral, Reiner Kallus, Karl’s brother, gave the eulogy. Reiner told us two things about Rosi that I didn’t know. And when I heard what Reiner said, it reminded me of something I think might be important.

Reiner told us that even before Rosi was born in 1940, it seemed that dark forces wanted to prevent her from coming into the world. Rosi wasn’t supposed to have been born. Her mother was in the process of having an abortion, when something went “wrong,” and instead of having an abortion, the woman had a baby. That was Rosi.

In 1945, Rosi was on a ship that was fleeing from the Russians. A Russian submarine torpedoed the ship, and the ship sank. Rosi and her foster mother were two of the very few people who survived.

God had a purpose for Rosi’s life, and he was determined to keep her alive, even when evil tried to take the upper hand and force her out of this world. I won’t go into the influence she had on those around her—for with her sweet, uncomplaining nature, that influence certainly was profound. Especially considering that her husband, Karl, wrote that her life is responsible for who he is today.

But what all of Reiner’s words reminded me of was this: Every person I meet has a story. When someone is present in my life, I probably take that presence for granted, without giving enough thought to what shaped that person into who he or she is today. But every person has a story, and every person’s story is fascinating in its own way. It seems to me that a great service would be simply to invite someone for a cup of coffee and a chat and say, “Please, tell me your story.” Inviting someone to share their thoughts, feelings, experiences, moments of clarity, moments of confusion and sadness…inviting someone to tell the story from the heart…. Wouldn’t that be an amazing gift to give someone?

And, if we all remained conscious that each of us has a unique, fascinating, and breathtaking story as part of who we are, wouldn’t that bring us to a better understanding of one another? Wouldn’t that help us recognize the value inherent in each of us, the special quality that sets us apart from all other creatures? If we made it a habit to ask each other for our stories, wouldn’t that create a soul-to-soul bond that would strengthen us as a whole?

If a small act of kindness is like a ripple in a pond, covering more and more area as it widens from the point of origin, then a small act of kindness can turn into a great act of selfless courage and sacrifice and love, years down the line and far away. If asking one person for his or her story is a small act, then that one small invitation could become a great empathetic, compassionate, unbreakable spiritual bond years down the line and far away.

If you do that one small act today, you take part in all great, loving, self-sacrificial acts that result from that point of origin. By connecting on a soul-level with even only one other person, you are changing the immediate area around you. By issuing one small invitation—tell me the story of your soul—you are a spark of light, driving out the darkness. And since that light will spread—the act of kindness, like the ripple in the pond, becoming great acts of courage far away—by illuminating the little corner around you, you are lighting the entire world.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

~ Jesus
Matthew 5:14-16

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

a thought or three

I know I've been negELcting my blog (that one's for you, Mr. Gambill). So, no reminders necessary. ;o) I will try to post more soon. I've been in an anti-writing mood again lately: every time I sit down with the intention of writing something--blog, email, novel, lessons--anything, I get this overwhelming sensation of tiredness. However, I'm well aware that the only way to banish that feeling is just to grit teeth, handcuff self to desk, and put the thumbscrews to self until self gets her butt in gear and does what she needs to do.

So, now that you have that lovely mental image, let's move on.

This isn't going to be a long post. In fact, I'm almost done. I have only two more thoughts to share:

One is a gripe. It frustrates me when people write "definatly" or "definately." The word is definitely. As in, de-finite. No longer finite or in question. Whatever the issue is, the possibility of finiteness has been taken out of it. I know that's not the correct etymological explanation for definitely; however, it helps one remember the correct spelling.

Yes. I know I'm a total grammar and spelling snob. What can I say, I was raised on My Fair Lady. ;o)

Second and final thought is a quote I'd like to share:

"There is a way of perceiving that leads to cynicism and divisiveness, a closing off of possibility; and there is a way that leads to a higher faith and love. To 'believe all things' means always to orient yourselves toward the highest possible outcome in any situation and strive for its actualization."

~Cynthia Bourgeault
Love Is Stronger Than Death