Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I know, I know, I missed Christmas by about 2 months. A Christmas scene came up yesterday, and prompted some thoughts. I was watching the new PBS adaptation of Oliver Twist. I'm sure most know it's the story of an orphan who endures terrible hardship and abuse to be reunited with the family he was not even aware existed, even as they were not aware he existed. The closing scene for this particular adaptation showed Oliver in the coziest family setting playing the piano with his Aunt, (I think) and his Grandfather looking on with a Christmas tree in the background.

Why did this strike me so? I Think Christmas represents birth, just as much as Easter. Young Oliver was rebirthed into his family, and into life.

I thought about my own experiences with Christmas. I've always had to battle with my Mom a little bit to set Christmas aside, make it special. To her it's just another day. If there is ever a time to come together as a family, and bask in warmth and loveliness, it is Christmas. It is the send off of last year, and the advent of a new year. Not that our lives really should be measured in years, but I do believe we humans need to set aside times to reflect, to settle down, to start anew and to enjoy one another. So, I wonder how to achieve that Christmas feel more often, without diminishing the absolute joy of the calendar Christmas season.

I don't know why, but when I saw the family setting in the movie, the sheer enjoyment the characters so obviously had in one another, I got an image in my head of men in white t-shirts watching sports, women fretting and a hustle and bustle that lacks meaning and purpose. I compared it to the warm cozy image in the movie, and guess which I prefer? Of course, I realize, it's a movie. It's easy to look cozy and together when an army of people decorate your "house", dress you, prepare the "food" and create the details of the overall picture. I realize we live in a real world with limits on our time and resources. I do believe what I really keyed in on in the scene, was as I mentioned before, the pure enjoyment of the family.

I hope that I can cultivate that in my own life. Though there won't always be a cozy fire, or sparkly Christmas tree; I hope that I can truly enjoy the moments that come my way, that I can be prepared to appreciate the best in life.

Friday, February 20, 2009


I was reading an aritcle by someone I find very thought provoking the other day. The particular article I've been pondering was written in response to fears in some Christian groups that the Harry Potter series is dangerous. They suggest it promotes witchcraft. He makes a distinction between the actual occultic world, and fantasy. I appreciate that distinction. I appreciate any time a distinction is made which enhances the subject. More than just distinguishing the books as fantasy, and not necessarily a handbook to witchcraft, he fleshes out some bits of the story that are quite wonderful.

What I have really been pondering is the mirror of Erised. In brief, it is a mirror which when you look into it, "it reveals the deepest most desperate desires of our hearts." I've been walking around with the name Erised in my mind, because as Haack pointed out, Erised spelled backward is desire. I know if I looked into the mirror, I would see something, and it would not be God. I yearn for both: to desire God with all my heart, and at the same time, I yearn for the images I would see in the mirror to be fulfilled. Haack quotes Dubledore's explanation to Harry this way also, "The happiest man on earth would be able to use the Mirror of Erised like a normal mirror, that is, he would look into it and see himself exactly as he is." That makes my heart palpitate.

It's the paradox of life I think; looking in the mirror and seeing only a reflection, and looking in the mirror and seeing God. How can we both be happy in our position, and as well hope for more. And, more importantly, how can we keep that which is greater than all above all? How can we be both satisfied, and move forward?

The other interesting connection is the association of the mirror of Erised to the greek god of strife and discord, Eris. The supposed association between the mirror and a god is yet another reason to shun the books according to some. For the sake of calling a spade spade, Haack points out the mirror is actually called Erised and not Eris, similar but not the same. The interesting thing to me is that strife and discord is often the product of untempered desire. So, the association does work for me. That said, how often do we do that in our life? We take the tiniest association, and turn something into an entirely different thing. How often do we miss the beauty of something, because we are quick to judge. I think, had I decided the Potter books were handbooks of evil, I would have missed out on some great imagery to take and use in my own life. And I would have missed out on a great story that speaks to me. 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

wrapped up and cozy

Lately, I have felt very blessed. I may have mentioned my big picture window before; it looks out to the hills. Whenever I sit at my computer, I am entertained by jack rabbits and deer frolicking in the clearing below the tree line. I feel so grateful to have this experience. One day, when I have access to a digital camera, I will download pictures of the actual view.

I've long been processing the purpose of this blog, and as yet, it is still mostly just my own ramblings to myself. One thing I've long wanted to do is write a book about living simply. Now I see, I needn't. I've found wonderful blogs of women picking up the mantle of simple living. When I need inspiration or a distraction, I wrap myself up in the lives of women who are doing such great things, and I feel cozy.

I was laid off this month, but somehow, I'm not in a panic. I think it is due in part to the fact that times are tough for everyone, and I know how to live simply. The up/downside of being unemployed is that I have lots of time to think and process. Thus, my online journal of sorts.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I'm experimenting with my blog. I have been reading other blogs lately which inspire me. It's been raining today, even hailing. We desperately need it. Thus, a watering can image, in irony of my not needing to water today.