Tuesday, April 24, 2007

In my Father's house

I had another one last night/this morning. I dream this one a lot.

I move into a house or apartment and it really doesn't look like much. But as I start to settle in and unpack- the house grows. It's always much, much bigger with lots and lots of rooms. And usually, it's a lot nicer than I originally thought. The houses are usually furnished- and I change them around and clean them up. The houses are also in all sorts of places- I remember one being (in my dream) in a not so nice part of Philadelphia. Very strange. I think the most memorable room was a giant glass dome- it was HUGE- and it was all wild and overgrown, like a jungle. This morning as I woke from the latest of these dreams, I remembered the dome. I had that dream before I moved to Seattle, and I wonder if it represented the costume shop at Taproot, which was a complete mess when I got there. Marty says these dreams make him nervous, like I am going to move. But I think they represent when God is changing things in my life. I used to get "pregnant" dreams that seemed to represent the same thing- but not so much anymore. And on the rare occasion a pregnant dream occurs, I am not nearly as pregnant as I used to be. Dreams are so confusing. I also have recurring dreams of fighting evil- fighting the devil himself. Once I had to move a pair of twins that were in my class from house to house to house to hide them from him because he was after them. Another time, the devil was a hockey coach who was destroying his team with sex, drugs and rock and roll- that time, I pushed him over a cliff, a deep abyss. Seriously weird stuff.

I think my favorite fighting evil dream had a bunch of people that were being chased by demonic hordes. I was leading them as they ran. They were all wearing raggy, nasty clothing which changed as we ran through a river into pure white clothing. Then I turned and stopped to face the hordes when they came- and yelled for the people to keep running. The people ran across a rich, lush field that looked suspiciously like soybeans. Then they began to climb trees- HUGE trees, the biggest I have ever seen. So there were these huge trees absolutely covered with these people wearing white that looked like fruit hanging there. It was amazing- I have it written down somewhere- but the details are starting to get fuzzy. This particular dream has some significant spiritual overtones in it, obviously.

But I still haven't figured out the house dreams. I get them all the time. If anyone knows the interpretation- I'd be happy to hear it. Otherwise, I guess I'll just have to wait for a face to face with God since he hasn't given me the interpretation yet.
In my Father's house, there are many rooms....

Friday, April 13, 2007

Vanilla Scent

Is taking over the downstairs of Taproot Theatre. Seriously, it smells like a french vanilla brothel. Why? Well may you ask. I'm afraid it is partially my fault. After an exhausting week of being a substiture mommy, this was a stand-out event. To start with, my friend Jennifer sent her 8 year old to stay with us this week and attend the spring break drama camp. I have been a part of Rebekah's entire life, much to her embarrassment, I have the honor of changing her very first diaper in the world. She's a great kid and a smart kid. And I am once again reminded what a tough job parenthood is. Highlights of this week include:

Overheard while she was playing with the dollhouse; "Now, no one let grandpa drive you anywhere or read you anything, he's had too many beers."

More spelling tests and words than I ever remember, more homework than an eight year old should probably have, come to think of it. Ironically, Bekah likes homework, it "makes me think." Good for her.

We went to see "A Night at the Museum." A grand outing, although Bekah got a little nervous when the T-Rex first came to life.

A trip to Seattle's best toy store, Top Ten Toys- where Bekah proved she is quite....frugal...with her own money (but she's perfectly ok spending other people's money!)

Making superheroes on the computer with Marty. She made all the decisions of what hers should look like and Lady Lightning looks like the perfect superhero for the eight year old girl- complete with the horse companion and pink cape.

Picking out her superhero costume for camp at Thriftko. Hot pink tank top with sequins, shiny silver vinyl skirt, white tights with flowers, pink cape with flower and silver trim and a sequined silver headband- all for her character "Sidekick Marlowe," companion to "Captain Shakespeare." My friend Lorrie has been studying this year in England and told me that Christopher Marlowe was mighty fruity, so perhaps pink, silver and floral is the way to go. You are probably still wondering why the entire downstairs of Taproot Theatre smells like a french vanilla brothel...

We had a very productive morning. We got up, ate breakfast, packed lunch, packed a lot of Bekah's suitcase (although there is a missing pair of sunglasses and a trail of jelly bracelets still to be tracked down) she finished her book (Otherwise known as Sheila the Great) and we also got her dressed in her costume, brushed her teeth and curled her hair. The hair curling took quite sometime and slowed us down a bit as Bekah had to stop at every mirror and admire herself. Apparently, this is a habit of hers. I think it's not such a bad thing, to think yourself pretty- quite a gift, actually. And we got to Taproot in plenty of time. Then I looked at her and realized that she had a huge milk mustache. So I sent her to the bathroom to take care of it. She was in there for quite some time. I just thought she was admiring herself again. But no, she found the bottle of vanilla body spray and pretty much hosed herself down with it. Seriously- you can smell her coming. When Marty and I busted her ("Found the vanilla spray, did you Bekah?) She looked sheepish and answered in a small voice, "I just sprayed the room." Sure she did. When Marty went into the bathroom to clean it- there was a fog. We opened the door to air it out- and now the scent has permeated the theatre. Bekah will be sent home smelling like vanilla. According to her mom, there was a similar incident with a tiny bottle of perfume a couple of weeks ago that resulted in mom having to roll down car windows for a couple of days. I almost forgot how hilarious kid world is. And as tired as I am, I'll probably miss having Rebekah around. She's very diverting.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Holy Week

When I was a kid- I remember Holy Week being a pretty big deal. I grew up in at the First Congregational Church in Guilford, Connecticut. I remember all the Catholics wandering with their little smudges on Ash Wednesday and listening to them talk about all the things they gave up for Lent. As for our church- we had Wednesday night Lenten Potluck suppers- I remember they were pretty fun. I loved all those potluck dinners, and we had them for Advent as well. I have very found memories of growing up in that church. I do remember one particular potluck, when we were told not to bring food- and then we were split up like the world's population for dinner. One family had a ritzy fancy dinner, 2-3 families had a picnic type meal and the rest of us were in "the third world" eating rice and apples. It was actually pretty fun in the third world- and it was a lesson I never forgot. But I digress- back to Holy Week...

Which started with an interdenominational Palm Sunday service on the Green. In New England communities- the town is placed around a big park called the Green. Every Palm Sunday, all the Congregationals, Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians and whoever else wanted to come, would gather their palm branches and join together for a service to kick off Holy Week. When I was little, this is just how it was. All the Christians gathering together, worshipping Jesus, getting along just fine. As an adult, I'm pretty impressed with this whole gathering- because it's not something we see often enough. We just don't see the CHURCH gathering together to worship Jesus. Sigh.

On Maundy Thursday- I remember Dad would go to a special service, I never went- I don't really know why. Perhaps my parents thought I'd be bored. But I was a pretty inquisitive kid in regard to the whole "God thing" I probably would have enjoyed it. As long as I can remember, I wanted to know God. I remember sitting in my tiny little rocking chair, with my first grown-up Bible in my lap- reading it and wishing it made more sense to me. Wishing that God would talk to me. Sometimes, I still feel that way. Many times. Most of the time.

On Good Friday- we had special Sunday School. We were off school for Spring Break and so our church had a special Good Friday Sunday School session. It was pretty cool. I remember looking forward to it immensely.

On Dark Saturday- well, truth be told, this was pagan day all the way. I always woke up obscenely early because I was just dying to dye the Easter eggs (get it?) I miss doing that so much. I guess the artist in me just really enjoys that tradition. If my husband enjoyed hard boiled eggs, I'd still do it- but I can't eat them all myself. So no more eggs. Back then, Dad and I (who enjoyed weekly "art time" together) would get out the old olive green flower print vinyl tablecloth with the white fringe, the crayons and the PAAS kit and go to town.

On Easter Sunday we'd start with pagan traditions first. I'd be up obscenely early to hunt down all our artful eggs from the day before and get quite a bit of sugar in me to boot. We would enjoy cardamom braided bread that my dad would make and some hard boiled eggs for breakfast. Then I'd put on my Easter dress- usually a new one made by my mom, and off to church we would go. I always loved the Easter services- the hymns were my favorite. And for some reason, people always sang more loudly that day. Like they meant what they were singing. I don't know if it was because the hymns were familiar or if it was because there was a spirit of victory and joy in the air, whatever the reason- it was pretty powerful stuff. When I was old enough, I joined the junior choir and got to sing the special music as well. After church- we'd head off to visit family and I always enjoyed that too. Come to think of it- that church was a significant part of a happy childhood.

After we moved to Illinois (when I was in high school) Holy week changed in a big way. Our new church didn't really celebrate in the same way- just special-ish Palm Sunday and Easter Services. Usually, we had to make a 3 hour trek to some aunt's house and didn't even get to go to church on Easter- which made my dad pretty unhappy. This trend continued through college.

When I moved to North Carolina, the church I went to there really didn't make a big deal out of Palm Sunday. There was no Lent or "Holy Week"- but there was a special Easter Service with a big drama production. I was in charge of the drama team then, so Lent to me just meant more stress. I never liked most of our Easter productions- they were only ok. One was really good- and it actually offended some people so I felt like I had done my job. : ) But I really missed the lead up to Holy Week that I had as a child. It made that week set apart and special- and I still miss it a lot.

Here in Washington- well, our new church observes Holy Week- different traditions- but I'm glad they observe it. We went to the "Ticker Tape" service on Palm Sunday- which was quite an experience. The last part of the service was a worship service- and it's intention was to create the feel and atmosphere of Jesus's entrance into Jerusalem- one of ridiculous celebration. It was interesting on so many levels. As more paper than I could have imagined was shot out of confetti cannons (and apparently they misfired and only sent out half the confetti- dear me) people worshipped and tossed it in the air, children drown each other in it-and it was easy to get swept away in the moment. The phrase "extravagant worship" kept ringing in my head. I thought of the woman pouring perfume on the feet of Jesus. Why can't we always worship that extravagantly? (I think Heaven must be like that- of course, I think Heaven is going to be fabulous, sort of like the Cirque de Soleil, people making all kinds of art, figure skating, sychronized swimming and every kind of music in every kind of language imaginable. It'll be CRAZY FUN! and we'll be with God- Party on!) But, I digress... Meanwhile, back at the Palm Sunday service-when I was truly in worship- this celebration was an amazing thing, and when I got pulled out of the moment-I was still celebrating. I loved looking up to see thousands upon thousands of pieces of paper floating down toward me as I sang. I imagine that it was same kind of experience for the people there that day Jesus rode into town. Swept up in the moment, not knowing why they were celebrating, and certainly not knowing that within the week, Jesus would be murdered. Thankfully, we have hindsight- we know why and how it all went down- it makes it easy to celebrate. I must also mention, there was a couple of handfuls of confetti trapped in my clothes afterward- pretty funny.

Yesterday, Good Friday, we went to the Stations of the Cross at our church. I had never experienced that particular tradition. It was interesting. Our friend Jeff had mentioned commissioning artists to do the stations next year- and I think that's brilliant. I found it very powerful to see all the scripture pulled together to tell the story and I thought the questions at each prayer station were pointed and powerful- made me think. However, I would have liked it to have been more experiential. This tradition has the potential to be so incredibly powerful. Marty and I were talking and we thought it would be great if all the senses were involved, soft music playing, incense, communion set up so people could take it if they wanted to, places to sit and meditate at each station- and I think it would be so neat to see an artist's take on each particular station. Big stuff.

Today is Dark Saturday. And I sit and ponder the wonder of Easter. It's hard for me to be sad, because I know how the story ends. I try to remember what Jesus went through for me- the pain, the suffering, the sacrifice. I am unbelievably grateful. But yet, I cannot grieve or be melancholy- because God is so big and good and Jesus triumphed over evil and death...for me. Because He loves me. Even when I can't feel it or think He's forgotten me or I am going through a poopy time. He loves me. He died for me. He would have done it if it were just me. I can't do anything to make that up to Him except give Him what and who I am. Because that's what He did for me. It's amazing to me that it's enough. He is happy to give His sinless life for my sinful, full of mistakes and pain one. Wow. No kidding. Wow.

Tomorrow is Easter- I'm interested to see what service will be like. We don't have kids- so there will be no egg hunt, but my friend's 8 year old daughter is coming to spend the week with us so there is an easter basket with her name on it. Sadly, we'll have to duck out of service early to go fetch her at the airport. During service, we'll get to see the video that Marty, Jeff and Kent and the other guys have been working on- starring Marty. We watched it yesterday, it was quite good. It's odd to see your home on film. Our candlesticks are really crooked. After we pick up Bekah, we'll head to Jeff's for Easter dinner. It's nice to have people to celebrate with. I just pray in all the busy-ness of tomorrow- that the true meaning of Easter knocks us right between the eyes and in the heart. I think Marty and I could both use a dose of that love, revelation and victory that Jesus died for. Happy Easter.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Bumper Sticker

As I was coming into work this morning, I saw this bumper sticker:

I like your Christ
But I don't like your christians
They are very unlike your Christ

It made me sad. Because it's true. And granted there are issues of sin, grace and forgiveness involved because sadly, we will never be sinless in this lifetime. But I thought, what if being like Christ became a serious priority for every person that proclaims Jesus as Lord and Savior? What if everyone laid down their selfishness and agendas and just tried to be like Jesus? How revolutionary would that be? He was one person. And He changed the world. Imagine if His followers made it a priority to be like Him as much as we could. How much would we change the world?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Pros and Cons...

Things I love about living in Seattle....

-Being surrounded by gorgeous nature and yet having all the advantages of urban living
-the flowers
-the beach and the mountains- together!
-NW Arts Group
-hearing sea lions barking at the beach (and seeing them occasionally as well!)
-comp tickets to theatre
-PF Chang's
-Sunday School
-our big, lovely apartment with a studio
-my greenhouse soon-to-be container garden
-watching the Pre-K kids play at the elementary school across the street
-the Sci-Fi museum
-my job (most of the time!)
-walking with my husband through our lovely neighborhood
-living close to and taking advantage of the zoo
-that Big Daddy Gorilla at the zoo is 2 years older than I am
-Sloth bears- they are funny!
-emcee-ing the Greenwood Seafair Parade (it's geeky, but it's fun)
-Trader Joe's-yummy organic foods for less!
-cool bookstores and art supply stores
-the views from the Space Needle (especially Mt. Rainier)
-hanging out with my cousin Margaret
-boat rides on Puget Sound
-going grocery shopping without having to put on make-up (heck, I even go to work that way sometimes!)
-The Library Cafe
-IKEA is a half hour away! MEATBALLS!
-sunny and cool summers
-it's very...diverse
-people who are in church want to be there, seeking Jesus, it's not about the culture and it's not just what you do...
-RECYCLING!!! People do care and want to steward the earth
-I got married here!

Things I don't like about living in Seattle...

-ridiculously high cost of living
-it's very hard to get to know people as most are too busy to become friends
-fleece at the opera
-people bring their dogs EVERYWHERE (including ridiculously expensive fancy restaurants...where people wear fleece)
-traffic, traffic, traffic
-bad bumpy roads
-rainy, dreary winters
-being so far away from our families and friends
-anti-christian mentality
-tree-hugging hypocrites who drive their gas guzzling SUV's all by themselves
-Trader Joe's parking lots

Things I miss about the south...

-my friends
-post Sunday service lunches out
-good restaurants- Apollo Flame, La Carreta, Tupelo Honey, Apollo Flame II, Asiana
-fried chicken and barbeque
-the accent
-visiting other small towns- Hendersonville, Boone, Blowing Rock, Black Mountain
-The Cove
-people being super friendly and hospitable
-reasonable cost of living
-my AC Moore discount
-the Blue Ridge Parkway

Things I don't miss about the south...

-the heat
-the humidity
-redneck mentality (although, it is EVERYWHERE)
-NASCAR insanity
-Bele Chere
-hypocrisy and out of control church culture
-having to put on make-up to go grocery shopping, having to "look nice" all the time because it was expected

I can't decide whether I miss the term "Bless his/her heart" or not....sometimes it's really sincere as in, "She has what kind of cancer? Bless her heart!" or sometimes it's just a matter of trying to make whatever you say ok as in "I can't believe no one has told her that her man is cheating on her! Can you believe it? Bless her heart!"- so...the jury is still out on that one.

Judging by the lists, it seems that I like living in Seattle a lot. I'd say that's true- but it's just normal life to have pros and cons to everything. But it is still a lot to thank God for- and I do!