Today is Santa Lucia Day in Sweden. I guess it kicks off the 2 week period before Christmas.
Today I was able to get up to Birdie’s before work. Leo and I were the first ones to arrive actually – both of us having to be at work around 7:30. The Lucia maiden sang to us and we enjoyed some good coffee and buns.
My mother was Swedish so this part of my heritage should be celebrated but it is not something we did when I was growing up. There were other things my mom did that were very Swedish – Jullotta service early Christmas morning, lutefisk and pickled herring,(not very pleasant IMHO), spritz cookies, potato sausage and spiced beef roll.
I tend to do the things that are simplest and take the least effort. I’m afraid that my kids get a bit cheated out of some of the special things I could do. But I will make the tourtiere from my husbands French Canadian heritage.
I came home from work today to find a package from Amazon. Ahhh – an early Christmas present. My copy of The Real Mary by Scot McKnight had arrived. That and then finding a poem on Maggi Dawn’s site has begun to put me in a mood for celebrating this season.
mary’s song by Luci Shaw
Blue homespun and the bend of my breast
keep warm this small hot naked star
fallen to my arms. (Rest …
you who have had so far to come.)
Now nearness satisfies
the body of God sweetly. Quiet he lies
whose vigor hurled a universe. He sleeps
whose eyelids have not closed before.
His breath (so slight it seems
no breath at all) once ruffled the dark deeps
to sprout a world. Charmed by doves’ voices,
the whisper of straw, he dreams,
hearing no music from his other spheres.
Breath, mouth, ears, eyes
he is curtailed who overflowed all skies,
all years. Older than eternity, now he
is new. Now native to earth as I am, nailed
to my poor planet, caught
that I might be free, blind in my womb
to know my darkness ended,
brought to this birth for me to be new-born,
and for him to see me mended
I must see him torn.
From my reading: The Enneagram A Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert, The Crossroad Publishing Company, New York, 2006
“So how do we try to hear this Deeper Voice? When God speaks, it is first of all profoundly consoling and, as a result, demanding! Anybody who has walked long with God knows this. There are two utterly different forms of religion: one believes that God will love me if I change; the other believes that God loves me so that I can change! The first is the most common; the second follows upon an experience of personal Indwelling and personal love. Ideas inform us, but love forms us – in an intrinsic and lasting way. God is always willing to wait for the lasting transformations brought about by love. God must be very, very patient, surely with history but also with individuals. Most of us want results that are practical and immediate.” (p.xxiii)
This is just from the preface – it is a book full of insights. I would not have thought that a study of personalities using this ancient tool would be so helpful to my own spiritual growth. Someitmes it is scary looking deep into myself. If I was not sure that God loved that inner me that I sometimes cover up with stuff I think is good on the outside, I don’t know that I would dare look very deep.
This weekend is busy as it seems most of my time is. The kids come and go doing their thing. I catch up on groceries and we do laundry. Really exciting stuff!
This weekend Patrick was us to help cut up the deer that he and Eric shot a while ago. I guess the idea is to hang it so it “ripens” or something. It was pretty frozen with our – 25 degree weather of the past weeks so all available heaters were conscripted to thaw it out. Yesterday and today were cutting and wrapping days.
While Patrick was here we got the bad news that Canadian immigration has denied his father a visa to come and visit the boys at Christmas. Very hard news for Patrick. He misses his father a lot. Hopefully Patrick will get Canadian citizenship soon so that he can then travel more easily to visit with his dad when he travels to the states or Europe. The Canadian immigration decision is just so wrong – so unjust – so biased. So maddening! So when I told Patrick the news we were on our way to the bus depot and he decided to stick around for the day. I’m glad he did ’cause we got to have a good talk before he took the bus back to Saskatoon this evening.
Now the house is quiet. The other guys are out playing soccer and Sara just left for her game which starts at the ungodly hour of 11 pm. Hope she gets enough sleep tonight.
We seem to be in a perpetual state of car juggling. That is my car is being shared by too many people that need to go in too many directions at once. I think it is Sara that uses it the most. At least she has the courtesy to drop me off at work and pick me up. And I get to use it some days and a few evenings – as long as I am home in time so the young lady can get to her soccer games on time.
Oh well. At least the car hardly gets time to cool down between uses. Haven’t plugged it in yet.
We are ridiculously dependant on cars. I need to get back out walking. But the cold – and the slipperyness is a huge deterant. So is my lazyness I guess.
Just after finishing my last post, I received the weekly meditation from the Henri Nouwen Society. It seemed to arrive at an appropriate time as I thought about the importance of valuing the relationships I have with people; hearing complaints but not becoming critical myself.
The author is reflecting on the value of relationships. She states,” I have come to reverence the preciousness of life. I now see myself as a steward of relationships. A good steward manages and cares for the dearest of relationships with love. A good steward is faithful to the law, the commandment to love, by tending to challenging relationships with mercy and forgiveness.”
She is speaking in the context of being a parent but this applies to all of us and all of our relationships.
We did our pastoral review last night. We have a great pastor and youth pastor who listen to these things and take them in and grow from them.
That is a very good thing.
It is not easy being part of the group that has to sit down with the forms we get handed in and compile them into something meaningful, something that actually and honestly reflects what people are thinking. And then we have to consider the many more people in the congregation who did not hand in a form for whatever reason. Maybe they just don’t do forms; maybe they have nothing to complain about so, being content with the ways things are, do not fill out a form.
People who do hand in the forms tend to be from two groups – the complainers or the ones who realise the value in returning an evaluation and take time to think and respond honestly with both positive and negative constructive statements. So, sometimes you get responses that come from totally opposite points of view. Try and compile that into one statement!
We did our best. I think it all worked out pretty well. I hope God’s hand was in it all.
What I find most hard to deal with is staying neutral; staying positive and staying loving. I do not want to take what I know to form negative opinions about others. I see that tendency in myself and I could easily give in to it, passing on a critical spirit to others. It is easier to complain than to look at a situation, evaluate it and then use it to make good and wise changes.