Monday, January 23, 2012

Bryan John Appleby

Tonight my roommate talked me into going to a little concert a few miles from here. It was cheap, the timing was good, and she showed me one of the songs of one of the bands this afternoon and hooked me. I am so glad I went! While the first band was - interesting, let's say, and the second band was ok, Bryan John Appleby was really, really good. In spite of the beardiness of the whole band. Ha. I loved his voice, his guitar, his accompanists, and all their songs, at least as well as I understood them.

From Appleby's website: Seattle based songwriter Bryan John Appleby spent winter and spring of this year holed up with close friends in a Ballard warehouse banging pots, plucking strings, tapping mason jars, and plunking pianos. What emerged from these musical ramblings was the long awaited debut full-length Fire on the Vine. The album elaborates on his affinity for organic soundscapes and acoustic found sounds.

From Grooveshark: lots of good songs.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Winter Night

There is something utterly beautiful about this poem by Tomas Transtrolmer (trans Robin Robertson), in both languages. And suddenly I want to learn the language that my surname came from.

A Winter Night

The storm puts its mouth to the house
and blows to get a tone.
I toss and turn, my closed eyes
reading the storm's text.

The child's eyes grow wide in the dark
and the storm howls for him.
Both love the swinging lamps;
both are halfway towards speech.

The storm has the hands and wings of a child.
Far away, travellers run for cover.
The house feels its own constellation of nails
holding the walls together.

The night is calm in our rooms,
where the echoes of all footsteps rest
like sunken leaves in a pond,
but the night outside is wild.

A darker storm stands over the world.
It puts its mouth to our soul
and blows to get a tone. We are afraid
the storm will blow us empty.


En Vinternatt

Stormen sätter sin mun till huset
och blåser för att få ton.
Jag sover oroligt, vänder mig, läser
blundande stormens text.

Men barnets ögon är stora i mörkret
och stormen den gnyr för barnet.
Båda tycker om lampor som svänger.
Båda är halvvägs mot språket.

Stormen har barnsliga händer och vingar.
Karavanen skenar mot Lappland.
Och huset känner sin stjärnbild av spikar
som håIler väggarna samman.

Natten är stilla över vårt golv
(där alIa förklingade steg
vilar som sjunkna löv i en damm)
men därute är natten vild!

Över världen går en mer allvarlig storm.
Den sätter sin mun till vår själ
och blåser för att få ton. Vi räds
att stormen blåser oss tomma.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Leithart: enlightenment gratitude

Peter Leithart's most recent blog post: read it here.

In which he quotes various people including Descartes: Gratitude is “a sort of love, excited in us by some action of him to whom we offer it, and whereby we believe he has done us some good, or at least had an intention to do us some. So it includes all that goodwill does, and this besides, that it is grounded on an action we are very sensible of, and whereof we have a desire to make a requital.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

sweet weekend

Becki, Maria and Laura at Gambino's Italian restaurant
Vicki and I at dinner
(pictures from Becki's camera)

Yesterday, partially in celebration of my sister Laura's birthday, she and Vicki drove to Moscow to spend some time with us here. The five of us sisters spent the day enjoying one another's company, good food, Moscow shopping, and hilarious movies together. What a treat. These girls are 4 of my best friends, and 4 of the people who have shaped me through the years and continue to influence who I am as an adult; they are also the people who have known me in my worst moments and who I can still enjoy and be at rest with. Is this what fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ should be like as well?

Today I was privileged to be able to worship at my church. I have missed it. I think it's been a month since I was there, and the renewal of this morning's worship did something to me that I noticed more than usual because of how long it's been. I walked in to choir practicing a setting of Colossians 3:12-16. Dr. Erb (our music leader) giving me the ok to sing with them even though I'd missed practice, made my heart happy, and the worship service continued to bless and challenge me from that moment on. (Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him).

Our sermon was from the end of 1 Samuel, where David (in contrast to Saul throughout the book) is full of mercy towards all he meets, and in v23 David shows that he is doing this because he has received goodness from God. God is a God of mercy, and we are to imitate Him in our spheres of influence. "God's relationship to mercy is greater than the sun's relationship to heat and light," Pastor Wilson closed with. Freely we have received; freely let us give. (Matt. 10:8)

Monday, January 9, 2012

January Monday: old faithfuls


They happen all of the time. Every morning, you sit up and yawn and brush away the dark, and another 24 hours curve out in front of you all shiny with the sunrise and silver with dew and heavy with dreams and pressing with things to do. Every Saturday night, you lay down your work and prepare to meet God in the company of His saints, where you are re-enabled to love and serve Him another week. Every Monday, you take up your cross of labor and assignments and teachers and bills and traffic and boss and co-worker and family responsibilities. Every Christmas you rejoice anew at the gift of God in our form that happened to renew us into His form. Every Easter you are reminded of the grime that was stripped from your soul by that One Sacrifice, and every time you confess your sins you feel the lightness again and can stand up and go out with a fresh slate. Every January 1st we pledge to do or not do something great or ambitious, something that will change us into better people, and whether we stick with it throughout the next 365 days or not, we start feeling like we can do anything. Like we are new people.

It is January, the first month of the year. And it is a Monday, the fresh start to the week, even if it is the hardest day to get out of bed. But today is the second Monday of the year. And today I am grateful for the things that are the same about my life as they were a while ago. I am, of course, thankful for many things that are new and different about this year, and am also hoping to see change and wisdom and joy grow in me and around me. But there are so many things that are good, solid, glad, reliable, proven, peaceful, funny, comforting about my life both today and days gone by.

Thanksgiving #245-253

-Good Earth Original tea, no matter how tired I think I am of cinnamon and similar spices, still tastes good.

-my dad will never stop taking care of me like I am his little girl.

-my awesome grandparents at Christmas: Grandpa talks to everyone and has the best dry sense of humor around, but he doesn't get emotional or huggy very often. Grandma bestows hugs and thank-yous and all of the presents to so many people, but you can also look across and see she is just looking at you... without saying anything... for a very long time... and not ever meaning to say or do anything at all... just admiring something about you probably. And if it were anyone but her that would be a little awkward.

-after a month away, all the roommates will congregate back here, still the same people with the same strengths and personalities, no matter what has changed in their lives.

-George Herbert. Can I just say, his poetry will never cease to be amazing? I can always find something that says just what I want to say to God.

-coming back to a job and having people be happy to see me, having my work waiting for me like a faithful puppy.

-no matter how empty my fridge is, I can still go into the grocery store and find exactly everything I need right there on those shelves, and when I give the cashier the right amount of papers and coins, she lets me take it all home and put it comfortably onto those refrigerator shelves.

-O Brother Where Art Thou makes my whole self happy. Homer was awesome, the Coens are talented, the music is perfect, George Clooney is ridiculously good-looking even in middle age, and having sisters who like to compare book and movie just make it better.

-the Christmas lights are still up around my windows. I think they should stay there indefinitely.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Everywhere I Went That Spring, I Was Alone

From Poetry Daily today.

Paula Bohince
Everywhere I Went That Spring, I Was Alone

In the single room of a bathtub, humming "Love
Me Tender" to hear a sullen human
voice. Then after,

fainting in slow motion to the tile. Succumbing
to steam and waking, on my
own, drowsy as a rose.

Mailing a letter and waiting, empty, beside a hornet's
thumb-small home, fit inside the lip
of the mailbox. The hornet

each day startled less by the sudden thunder
of the falling drawbridge, the cymbal
of sunshine let in.

In the kitchen, beside the toaster, crying unabashedly
into dishtowels as I timed my meal
and kept company the cool

block of butter in its iridescent silver, the blunt
knife, the beveled glass that carried
my milk. Alone

when it began to hail one afternoon. A miracle
suspending the cottage in darkness. Alone
taking a photograph

of the glory and alone when the pearly
melt returned the grass to ordinary June. Everywhere
those months my nose buzzed

from crying. Quivered so unlike the hornet, pitiless
in her work. Bleeding intermittently
into my dress hem, how beautiful I became

then, ringed by brown flowers. More
hornet than my hornet friend, alone in her own
collapsing universe.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17