Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bob Dylan Time

It's been awhile.  Dylan will be in Michigan sometime this summer, but I'm not sure I'm able to go.  We'll see.  The following lyric  is a cut of  "Heart of Mine" from Shot of Love, (1981).  Ringo Starr plays the tom tom in it.  The general idea of the song is based on Jeremiah 17:9 that "The heart is more deceitful above all else, and is desperately sick,  who can understand it?" and applies it to a story of a man dealing with a unscrupulous  heart which leads him into disasterous relationships with the wrong women.  He's already lost the battle. 

Heart of mine so malicious and so full of guile
Give you an inch and you’ll take a mile
Don’t let yourself fall
Don’t let yourself stumble
If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime
Heart of mine

Apparently, he hasn't heard of Proverbs 4:23 about guarding or watching over one's heart, because it is the wellspring of life.  "Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life". If it is sick, then your whole life is sick.  The man in this song will not have anything going right in his life for a very long time until he learns self control. 

The discipline of self control commonly deals with what exposure from the outside world that I let into my thought life--my books, my Netflix account and the television I watch.  In this day and age, this is a very tricky endeavor.  For a long time, I used to battle depression.  Part of the depression was from not facing the truth of the past, but it also had a lot to do with the books I read.  Most Christians I know are careful about what they watch or read because of sexual content, but I think it is a little more complicated than that.  I also think that discipline is needed to deal with the heart itself.  Where am I directing it?  How am I guiding it?

The bottom line, really, is how my heart is the dwelling place of God.  He cleans it up, and He lives there.  Every thought, every feeling and every attitude should be available to His scrutiny.  He already knows it all.  Psalm 139.  Before I became a Christian, this was an intimidating idea.  I had a lot of things in my heart I did not want Him prying into.  But as I grow older in the faith as a believer,  this actually comforts me.  He knows me completely, I am completely known.  Nothing surprises Him.  As I learn to yeild to the Spirit and to His work on me, the more intimacy with Him I experience, because God is kind and good, as well as holy. I do not need to be perfect for Him to abide in me and for me to abide in Him.  I just need to want Him and to want to be like Him, no matter how long it takes Him to make that happen.  Sometimes, it feels it isn't happening at all.  Sometimes, I am surprised at what He's accomplished with so little. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


On the way home tonight, I caught a glimpse of magical cows on the corner of Hagadorn and Jolly.  Well, they were actually Black Angus cows.  Their silhouettes were against the beautiful rose, orange and violet sunset, the grassy knoll was a deep tinge of green and the fireflies flickered as they grazed.  It was worthy of a photo if I had a camera and by the time I remembered that the phone came with one, the light changed and I was holding up traffic. 

Sometimes, life looks like a page right out of a Harry Potter novel.  Not often, but enough.  When I see something like that, it feels like a gift from God.  It calms me down and reminds me that He's here.  It was so beautiful, that I almost turned around and went back, but I realized that the moment was over, never to return.  I'll have that picture in my heart for the rest of my life, though. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

This week's coffee mark out

One of the perks of my 10th year anniversary of working for Starbucks is a free weekly mark out of coffee for the rest of my life, even after I quit the job.  It will be my 12th anniversary coming up on the end of July.  Today, one of my old managers came in with her mom and two year old son on their way home to Detroit from vacation.  Eight years ago, I told her how I didn't like the coffee from Guatemala.  She prepared a french press of Guatemala Antigua, and during a special tasting just for me, successfully persuaded me to appreciate its fine elegance.  In honor of her, this week's mark out is Guatemala Antigua.  Thank you, Heather Alsip!

This coffee is a single origin bean with a medium strength.  I think as I have gotten older, I've grown to like the less bold coffees.  Guatemala Antigua is complex with a soft acidity and a little cocoa/chocolate tone.  It doesn't bite like most Latin American coffees, but it does linger a bit towards the back of my palate.  This is what I first objected to, until Heather had me taste a little cocoa powder and then sip my coffee.  The sensation was amazing.  It wasn't bitter, but a totally different taste profile that I had never experienced before.  This coffee is meant to enjoy with a chocolate croissant or toast with Nutella spread on top it.  Or have a chocolate biscotti for dunking. 

I dedicate this tasting to my friends from Guatemala--Oscar, Delia and Ricardo!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Blogging versus Living?

Dennis and I were without a computer and internet access in our home for a few months.  We were sustained by Den's Blackberry for awhile, but its limitations included a short battery life and small screen size.  Which adds up to poor support for significant blogging activity--reading or writing.  I could start posting and then be interrupted by an incoming phone call, which are frequent.  My husband loves talking on the phone.  I think it is his spiritual gift. 

So what did I do with all my extra time that used to be blogging time?  Let me numerate the ways:

  1. My closets are immaculate and organized.  My dresser drawers are neat and also organized.
  2. I've got lots of roses in the garden.
  3. I've been reading C.S. Lewis from real books.
  4. I've read everything on my Kindle.
  5. I am caught up in my sleep.
  6. My to-do list everyday gets finished.
  7. No dirty dish is left in the sink longer than 10 minutes or more than 15 minutes after the meal has finished.  Dishwasher gets unloaded everyday.
  8. No laundry in baskets waiting longer than a day to get folded.
I'm doing stuff, in other words.  For every blog I publish, there is something (somethings) that didn't get done.   Or something I'm depriving myself of (see #5).  I forgot about the pleasure of opening my closet door and being able to find everything I want to find. And finding the right socks for the right activity without having to dig through the ones that lost their mates a few years ago or have holes in the heel.  Or having enough eye contact solution every morning without having forgotten to get some the day before when I was getting too low because I was thinking about a subject to blog about.  Blogging was fun, but my life was a mess.  And I'm not even getting into the effect this blogging distraction had in my marriage.  Let's just say I feel more connected with Dennis.

Perhaps I could strike a sane balance between writing and living.  I'm not sure, because my focus works like a laser.  Imbalance is not so much a lifestyle as much as a personality trait.  I'm 49, and I know what I'm like.  In some ways, the laser-like concentration is a blessing, but  it is hard to control.  I've accepted that I am an INTP (without the genius part), and God has worked in my life to broaden my experiences (a life-long prayer for myself).  Where to take that INTP tendency, I don't know.  Blogging is a good outlet for it, and I appreciate that gift.  Perhaps the problem isn't blogging versus living, because if I didn't have a life, there would be nothing to blog about.