Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Write31Days2018 • October 17 Pause • Porch Story

day 17 pause

porch stories 17 October pause

Kristin's Porch Story for today is a wonderful one about her family's recent Caribbean cruise.

Whether or not you're a musician, you may realize pauses and rests or are as important to the overall effect of a piece of music as are individual notes, harmonies, instrumental timbres, and venue acoustics. On my porch story icon I very lightly wrote "Pause" in barely there Helvetica Neue Ultra Light Condensed (but increased the tracking some). Seems as if sections of my past couple of decades mainly have consisted of long pauses. How many times have I observed on this blog Life Has Seasons? Similar to music, life includes times of high productivity and intense engagement with the world interspersed with months and years as fallow as ground in winter—or maybe that's as still and hope-filled as farmland settled into jubilee sabbath?

When I wrote, "sections of my past couple of decades mainly have consisted of long pauses," that had to mean discoverable audible music between the pauses, because without the main music there can't be any pauses, rests, or other interruptions. I'll easily admit there has been discernible activity and literal music. Quite a lot of it.

However...

People realistically expect skills, education, and experience partly to determine the extent they contribute to the greater good. But overall, have my past decades been as lightly inscribed into my surroundings as a word in ultra light Helvetica Neue?

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Monday, October 15, 2018

Write31Days2018 • October 15 When

day 15 when

There's the psalmist's "when, God, when?" and the reminiscing "when lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed." In the past I used to insist to those who commented; these days I try to convince myself no way am I living in a long gone past—I'm still figuring out what went right, what went wrong, how I can claim a future related to my gifts, experience, and sense of call that will not quit. My current yearning, recollective when questions the shape of my future, knows what has been in the past could be in my future because how many times have I reminded the world of everyone this is not a hunter-gatherer society, it's not a third or fourth world country nor is it a remote rural outpost of a first world place.

So when, God, when? Long ago someone reminded me, "these things don't fall out of the sky" while another neighbor observed "but sometimes they do!" I've found they don't happen in the wake of my in-person, by-phone, via-email cold-calls. I could list dozens or hundreds of stories starting to be written, then erased.

Change is the only permanent aspect of life? I'm not talking about change.

So, everyone, "when lilacs and other sweet stuff last in my dooryard bloomed" showed me possibilities, so let's make tomorrow into another life-giving when to look back on.

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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Write31Days2018 • October 14 Window

day 14 window

Look out any window; look out any door. The best and probably the official video of Bruce and John Hornsby's song Look out any window; look out any door is a delight-filled panorama taken alongside the Virginia shoreline. (By the way, I quit posting videos on this site and deleted the ones I'd posted in the past because you can't trust something's that's on YT today to be there tomorrow, but you easily can find the one I described.)

To quote Phil Collins, "But everyday I try to make my heart be still." In between sporadic freelance design gigs that have been getting fewer and fewer because my functioning has become lower and lower... oh, I realize well the gig economy and design opps both are very fluid, but... no matter how a person parses it, I'm definitely part of my current problem.

Between designing menus, posters, and other pieces and preparing for the adult Sunday School class I facilitate every week, I spend a lot of time looking out my actual and virtual windows and doors and into windows and doors that show me people with productive lives that contribute quite well to the common wealth. I easily convince myself it's not a case of greener grass on the other side because I know my southern California neighbors who have green grass lawns have used too much water and therefore diminished at least that aspect of their life quality.

"But everyday I try to make my heart be still." Yes.

Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle. Therefore, do not look out your nearest window or door and peer curiously, wistfully – or covetously! – through your neighbor's.

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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Write31Days2018 • October 13 Talk

day 13 talk

"Talk is cheap; you gotta walk that talk—show me!"

Maybe because I've encountered countless individuals whose only topic of discourse is themselves, I don't talk about myself easily or fluently, yet I love to talk in a group or to a larger public and I enjoy talking about myself in a fairly abstract way rather then nattering on about this feeling or that feeling.

I love to say artisanal and Hanoverian. I'll talk about myself right now and tell you I'm finding this series plodding, dull, and not at all enjoyable because none of the topics interest me. Writing for five minutes to a weekly prompt is one thing; trying to say something substantial – or even five minutes' worth – every day for a month is another. Irony, too, that despite last October's Places and Spaces topic fulfilling a long-time dream, that also became very un-fun because my ongoing exhaustion, grief, and inability to find direction had started months earlier and still hasn't quit.

To end for today, I gotta tell you by grace I do whatever I can to walk that talk.

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Friday, October 12, 2018

Write 31 Days 2018 • October 12 Praise & FMF

five minute friday praise

five minute friday praise

Today I'm playing Five Minute Friday for the first time in half a year or longer... I didn't resonate with either prompt for day 12 from Crystal's lists, but praise meets my current needs. At the FMF site I picked up their list of daily October prompts and may write to a couple of those before the month ends.

Like I used to do in Koreatown after relocating to LA, early mornings I go out to the back yard to enjoy the fresh start of a new day with praise and prayer and hope. In most contemporary worship resources, morning prayer sort of combines Matins, Lauds, and Prime. Historically, Lauds always included the three Hallel / Hallelujah! Psalms 148, 149, and 150; the name of the office comes from the Latin Laudate or praise. Since serendipitously discovering it on a blog, I've been enjoying the PCUSA's daily office app that features four offices from the liturgy of the canonical hours: Morning Prayer, Midday Prayer, Evening Prayer or Vespers, Night Prayer or Compline. True to tradition, we always have a Hallel Psalm with morning prayer; just as I did in Koreatown shortly after moving to Current City, early mornings I go out to the back yard to enjoy the fresh start of a new day with an attitude of praise and hope—and a Hallelujah psalm.

"Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!" Psalm 150:6

Postscript: theology geek that I am, I have the Company of Pastors (echo of John Calvin!) module addition to the daily office app; it cycles through Book of Confessions, though you can customize that study content and also customize your liturgy to accord with your life currents. The basic prayer app covers the entire NT every year, most of the OT every two years, the psalter every two months.

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Write 31 Days 2018 • October 11 Autumn Tradition

write 31 days autumn traditions

Did I ever mention September and October historically have been the hottest months in Southern California? Yes, I have and they have, too. Just as recent mornings have offered a welcome sweater weather chill, sundown's been earlier and I can't chase away the conviction winter's on the way.

The season of falling leaves from deciduous trees means traditions. The entire writing prompt includes "favorite," but why would you keep on with a custom if it weren't fave? Social and cultural obligations? You may not enjoy the tradition itself, but you love the results.

With the start of school and new clothes, new notebooks, new acquaintances that often become new friends, September is my always new year—that's Autumn Tradition No. 1. Fall Trad No. 2 would be the new jobs I've begun in the fall; surprisingly, none of those start times related to recently finishing an academic course of study during June or August. Another tradition's the backdrop for all of our human ones when planet earth grows weary, slows down, cycles into sleep, sometimes into actual death that's pre-req for resurrection.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Write 31 Days 2018 • October 10 Boots • Porch Story

write 31 days 2018 Boots

porch stories 10 October But I like boots

Porch Stories host Kristin writes a long one about her daughter Rachel wanting to do, wanting to get almost everything that occurs to her because... "but I like it!". As Kristin explains, our self-willed impulses generally even out as we grow older, closer to God, and seek to align our actions with what's best for everyone.

When I chose my daily prompt from the lists Crystal provided, it had to be boots for today! Though at times I've enjoyed shorter and taller ones, most days I wear one of my pairs of what they (actually!) call combat boots. They look fun and urban with most skirts, pants, and dresses; they even go okay with shorts, though if I won't be walking much, usually when I wear shorts I rock sandals—either flip-flops or huaraches. In a cityside stroll, boots support my ankles better than tennis shoes/sneakers. Despite the firmness plus the comfort they provide, I don't wear boots because I like them!, but I've discovered a lot of other people really like my boots, so I want to wear boots because other people like them! Yay! I can't count the times people on the street, at an event or meeting venue, on the subway, in the park have complimented me because they like my boots!

On the other side of likes and preferences, I'm currently highly stressed and very distressed; I need to figure out how to regain my life, which means daring not to do optional things I'd rather not do if and/or when they're not essential to my economic or practical survival or that of others. This year's Write31Days is an example... unlike last year's Celebrating Place I'd wanted to do almost forever, I had no series topic in mind. Unlike the previous year of five minute free writes, I had no impulsive desire to illustrate every post. But I like boots, so I'm writing about them for this day 10.

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