Saturday, May 31, 2008

My husband came home, scrunched up his nose and made a face.
“It smells kind of weird, huh?” I said.
“What happened?” he asked, unable to place the scent.
“Well, I was throwing out that mouthwash we’ve had for a long time, so I poured it down the kitchen sink,” I explained.
My husband nodded.
“It smelled really strong, so I decided to try to cancel it out with vinegar,” I continued.
My husband nodded again.
“Oh, and I also made hard-boiled eggs for dinner.”
“Well,” he said.
“Maybe I should light a candle,” I offered.
My husband didn’t say anything. Instead he opened the kitchen window, set up a huge fan over the sink and went outside to pick three lemons from our tree.
“It smells horrid in here,” he finally declared as he squeezed the lemon juice down the drain.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

I’ve been struggling. Certain things feel more difficult than they should.
Frustration fights to eclipse joy.
And then a thought occurs to me: What I lack is maturity.
I’m sure it’s not the only thing I lack.
But the revelation is consoling.
I can still grow up to be who I want to be.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Every month we receive a copy of Costco Connection, “a lifestyle magazine for Costco members.”
I pay little attention to this periodical, but my husband reads it.
We joke that someday he will be on the cover.
Tonight he stumbled on a brief story outlining the four things all successful people do.
According to Brian Tracy, chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, successful people set clear goals; take risks beyond their comfort zones; accept feedback and self correct; and never give up.
After reading that my husband concluded: “God is talking to me through Costco.”

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My husband observed, through the rearview mirror, a couple in the car behind him not speaking to each other.
He couldn’t tell if they were mad or indifferent or if they had fallen out of love.
He simply noticed that neither one was talking.
“We do that,” I said as he described the couple to me.
“We do?”
“Sure. You usually think something is wrong with me.”
“I don’t know,” my husband said. “I can’t imagine silence for more than two stoplights.”

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Show me your flaws.
I lack all patience when faced with perfection.
Not that we all shouldn’t try to be good, even great, in our own ways.
It’s just that I need to know someone is as broken as me or was broken and is now healed before I really, truly let her into my heart.
Childish and selfish, I know.
But it helps envy from getting the better part of me.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day weekend is an anniversary for us.
Two years ago, we traded our life as journalists to be the captains of our own ship.
The sailing has not always been smooth.
We’ve been caught in storms and thrown about by waves.
More than once, water has filled our tiny boat and sinking seemed inevitable.
But somehow, miraculously, we have stayed afloat.
We’ve learned to navigate. We’ve learned to expect the storm and the clear skies that follow.
Mostly we’ve learned that things go best when we cling to each other and have faith that God is with us.

“He got into a boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’ He said to them, ‘Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?’ Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. The men were amazed and said, ‘What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey.’ ”

~ Matthew 8:23-27

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday is so much happier when Monday takes the day off.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

My musical debut was a disaster.
The crowd called my performance unconscious.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

It's late. We're at our friends' house. We are about to play Rock Band.
I'm being beckoned because I'm needed on stage ASAP.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

I stayed up really late last night trying to accomplish all of my undone chores.
The only thing I achieved was exhausting myself.
At 5 a.m., a sing-song of birds chirping disrupted my all too brief sleep.
Their cheerfulness about the morning is so obnoxious.
I kept thinking, “Birds, I know Shannon loves you but you are really annoying me right now. Please be quiet.”
During my lunch, I resorted to taking a nap on the floor of my husband’s office so I could make it through the day.
I had to return to work with pillow-crease across the left side of my face.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I need to go back to kindergarten or whichever grade it was in which I should have learned how to finish one project before starting another.
Piles of receipts surround me thanks to my January resolution to Quicken our personal and business finances.
The couch is covered with clothes due to my closet cleaning from three Sundays ago.
And a mix of toiletries currently resides underneath the coffee table as a result of a reorganization project I took up Saturday.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I heard Yael Naim’s hit song on the radio tonight, and I couldn’t help but think, what if we are all new souls?
Even at almost 31. Even when we are 91.
In contrast with eternity, even 120 would seem quite young and new.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

My husband likes to say less is more.
I like to say more is more.
He says that’s only true if I’m talking about chocolate or money.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Eye rolling. Such an important skill in adolescence.
I took it so seriously I practiced to make sure it was good and dramatic.
As a teenager, I tried very hard to look like Winona Ryder when I rolled my eyes, but I can’t remember if it was her character in “Beetle Juice” or “Reality Bites” that I mirrored.
Today I saw a 14-year-old boy roll his eyes three times in less than a minute.
It appeared to be an automatic reaction to the mere mention of his mother, who I happen to know is a lovely lady.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

My sister teaches a kindergarten-first grade combo class.
As a writing assignment, she asked her first graders to complete the following well-known idioms.
She gave them the first half of the sentence, they filled in the rest.
“Two’s company, three’s work.”
“Never bite the hand that tastes yucky.”
“A penny saved is one cent.”
“You can lead a horse to water but don’t let it in the house.”
“Strike while the other team isn’t looking.”
“The grass is always greener than brown.”
“Happy is the bride who got married.”
“Never underestimate the power of a seed.”

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Friday, May 16, 2008

A wine-themed wedding.
Tables named after vineyards.
Small bottles as favors.
A honeymoon of tasting planned in Vancouver.
Intentional details all of them except the glass of red down the bride’s white dress.
Not a tear did she shed. Not a mad moment expressed.
Instead a thank you to the clumsy guest for giving her an excuse out of her too-tight dress.
I say fill a glass and raise it high. Cheers to a truly happy bride!

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

The internet is down (or was when I wrote this). Our cable is out. And if we had a home phone, that would be dead, too.
I realize these are luxuries, but if you live in Silicon Valley, high-speed internet seems as basic as running water.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I’ve never really had an opinion regarding aliens or life on other planets.
Life on earth gives me plenty to ponder.
But, theoretically speaking, if I were God and I had some free time on my hands, why not create life in other galaxies?
The Vatican’s chief astronomer said this week that the possibility cannot be ruled out.
And I agree. Who am I to limit what God can do?
What really makes my imagination spin is Father José Gabriel Funes’ speculation life on other planets could be free of original sin.
“They might have remained in full friendship with the Creator,” he was quoted as saying during an interview with L’Osservatore Romano.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Please meet my friend Minal.
She’s brilliant and beautiful and clever with words.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

I’ve said this before, but I really believe it. When we doubt ourselves, it is the devil’s voice we hear.
I became certain of this a year or two ago as I was getting ready for Sunday Mass.
I looked in the mirror and heard the voice inside my head, my voice, adamantly proclaim, “You’re so ugly!”
That thought not only filled me with doubt. It filled me with shame.
And I knew that was not the voice of God.
Today’s scripture reminded me of that experience and the importance of being confident in the Lord:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it. But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways.”
~James 1:5-8

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

I know I have a gift for pointing out the obvious, but it occurred to me today that nobody comes into this world without a mom.
How important mothers must be to God if he made it mandatory for everyone to have one.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

The bride, a new mom, gave a speech about how the last year or so of her life “has all been unplanned and perfect.”
Unplanned and perfect?
I don’t usually put those words together.
I like to have a plan, and I feel far from perfect without one.
But this bride, with her sweet toast to her guests and groom, made me question the illusion of control I have on my life.
She made me think of all the great things that can happen even if we don’t plan for them.

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Friday, May 9, 2008

Earlier this week, I got a voicemail from my mom. She had read bits of my blog that day and didn’t know what to make of it.
“So should I take it as a compliment sometimes the things you say about me … or should I just be careful with what I say now because it will end up on a blog someplace?”
In my defense, the fact that my parents are hilarious shouldn’t be held against me, I told my mom when I called her back.
And yes, it’s a compliment. It means I thought you were funny.
And no, don’t be careful. My writing would suffer.

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

“For whatever exists and is not God, has received its being from him by creation, receives it indeed at each instant by conservation (which is an incessantly renewed creation) …”
~ Father Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J., 1751

I like the idea of being an incessantly renewed creation. I’d especially like to be recreated into a highly organized person who enjoys housework and exercise and bursts out of bed at 6 a.m. with an unnatural amount of energy.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

“Make a 1 inch slit in overwrap.”
How did frozen food manufacturers come up with the 1 inch portion of this direction? I’m sure the ventilation is important, but I know from years of experience it doesn’t matter if the slit is one inch or eight.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Him: “I think I got your sigh.”
Me (known for dramatically deep sighs since my teenage years): “Do you think it means you’re stressed?”
Him: “No. I think it means I spend too much time with you.”

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Sometimes when I don’t know what to blog about my husband offers suggestions.
Tonight he said, “maybe you could write about the roses and how pretty they are.”
Oh, but really I can’t. Not like that. Not without any inspiration behind it.
I’ve been admiring the roses in bloom for more than a week now, but their beauty seems so unhinged from every other thought I’ve had.
When I look at them in all their splendor, I don’t think about anything else.

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

“The Karate Kid” and the “The Karate Kid II” were on TV today.
While my husband made fun of the acting, I was struck by the Christian undertones, which I completely missed as a child.
If I were taking a film class or a theology class, I could write a paper on Mr. Miyagi as God the Father.
But since I’m thankfully not in school, I’ll just post the abridged version of my thoughts here.
1. It all starts with Mr. Miyagi’s seemingly obscure tasks for Daniel: wax on, wax off; sand the floor; paint the fence.
What in the world is Daniel doing all this work for, the poor boy just wants to learn some karate. It’s the same for us.
Not that we all want to be black belts, but sometimes the circumstances of our lives seem rather abstract and detached from any real meaning.
At least that’s true for me.
I often don’t realize I’m in the middle of learning something really important until the lesson is done. And then I’m as surprised as Daniel was when he realized all those endless chores were the foundation of exactly what he wanted and needed to learn.
2. Mr. Miyagi is exceedingly generous toward Daniel.
He teaches Daniel karate, gives him a car, saves him from spending a summer in Fresno by letting him travel to Okinawa with him.
Most significantly, he gives Daniel a karate uniform with his family emblem on it, and he treats Daniel as though he were his son.
This is God the Father -- generous, loving, attuned with the needs of his children.
3. Finally, my favorite similarity between God and Mr. Miyagi is mercy.
Mr. Miyagi is merciful and he teaches Daniel to be merciful, to give others more than they deserve.
At the beginning of the sequel, Mr. Miyagi has the opportunity to kill John Kreese, the sensei from the competing dojo, a man who believes in no mercy.
Mr. Miyagi repeats what he has heard Kreese teach his students, “Mercy is for the weak … when man confronts you, he is the enemy, enemy deserve no mercy.”
But instead of killing him, he honks his nose and lets him go.
God’s mercy is in loving us and forgiving us even when we don’t deserve it. And really, who among us could call themselves worthy of God’s love.
Scripturally, we see this in the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Smart and pretty.
Two words that should always go together because intelligence is beautiful.

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Friday, May 2, 2008

A victim of overuse, my slim, sexy pink Razor is coming apart at the hinges.
It’s been talked to near-death, and I have the records to prove it.
Last month, I spent 1,968 minutes on the phone.
That’s 32.8 hours, which seems rather moderate compared to the 42 hours I spent spreading holiday cheer in December.
Miraculously, I’m never over my minutes. I just wish I could dedicate myself to exercise with the same fervor I have for talking.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

I listened tonight to a priest talk about the vocation of marriage.
He referred to the delicacy of love.
I liked the phrase because I thought it was pretty. But the more I pondered it, the more I understood what he was trying to convey.
Love is fragile. It requires gentleness.

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