Posted by: agapeflower | August 27, 2009

Poem: Fan Letter

Below is a poem I wrote for the band Jars of Clay.  I know.  I’m a 29 year old married woman, and fan letters are for teenybopper kids or creepy stalker-types who cut out pictures of their favorite actors or whatever and put them up on their wall and kiss them goodnight or wave hello each morning.  I’m not that, I promise.  I had their self-titled on in the car this week, was happy about it, and wrote a poem to them because my mind’s too all over the place for a formal letter, and I wanted to let them know how much I appreciate their work.   Plus, I’m a poet.  So it’s not much of a surprise.  Unless you didn’t know I wrote poetry.  If that’s the case…surprise!

So you can make fun of me if you like, but hey – karma, man.  If you get famous one day, you’ll want poets to write about you too.  Unless you don’t like poetry.  But then it’ll definitely be karma, becuase you’ll be getting things you don’t like. And besides, this poem isn’t even for you, it’s for Jars of Clay.

Whatever.  I’m done!

On to the poem:

Fan Letter

How to not sound creepy:
just say “Hey, I’m a fan.”
Which is true, but not enough.

(Not in the creepy way, though,
you understand – not the
brick-through-the-window way,
the making murals and standing shrines way)

But in the way that said I was having
such a bad day, the kind that feels like two bad years
sitting on each other’s shoulders
and the product of your minds meeting,
the jam sessions, the rides to the studio
and those moments of thinking as you picked your kids up from school, maybe, or waited in line at a supermarket
when you thought hey! I should write that line down,
it’s a keeper,

the product of those moments
brought a smile to my face,
reminded me that God has a rhythm to Him too,
and His plan for me might involve loving me
a fraction of the amount He loved me to start with.

And if you’re having a bad day,
the kind that feels like two bad years sitting on each other’s shoulders
(or even if it’s a good day, the best in the world,
the kind of day that shines like a million suns strung on a necklace
of love and gratitude),
remember that something you created
made someone in a faraway land
that you’ll probably never meet
smile
for what seemed like a very long time.

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Posted by: agapeflower | August 27, 2009

major update.

Man, I’ve been so neglectful.  I’m so sorry! What a deadbeat I’ve been.

Good news of the day: after five months of unemployment, I found a job as a barista for Starbucks.  The job is great, a lot of fun.  I’m super new, but I can totally tell the difference between a latte and a cappuccino.  Yeah, I’m modest.  😉

Of late I’ve been reading, thinking, seeing beautiful people, writing, hanging out with great friends in cities like Atlantic City, N.J. and the town Sam’s wedding was in this past weekend which I totally forget but was beautiful anyway.  Basking Ridge, maybe? Or close-by.

I’ll update more, or try to.  Because it’s fun, and I love you, and want you to know that!

Things I Am Currently…(Aug. 27th edition)

Reading:

  • Angry Conversations With God: A Snarky Spiritual Memoir by Susan E. Issacs
  • Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower

Listening to:

“The Sequel to Peter Pan and Wendy,” The Indelicates

I, Empire, Angels and Airwaves

Lifted, or The Story Is In the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground, Bright Eyes

Watching:

True Blood.  (It’s reaching fanatical levels, everyone.  Oh, how I wish I were kidding.)

Mad Men

Entourage

L.A. Ink

It’s On with Alexa Chung

Posted by: agapeflower | July 8, 2009

Colds suck.

So for the past five days or so I’ve been at home with a cold (which I thought at first was allergies), and I’ve had no voice since Saturday night, which Mike and I spent celebrating America’s birthday with our dear friends Todd & Stephanie.  Colds kinda suck, though, is the point.  I’ve been chasing the Tylenol Cold dragon since Sunday.

Congrats must be paid to my brothers, who are both doing wonderful and amazing things! One just moved out into the great ether on his lonesome, striking out independently to live in an apartment without rules he doesn’t make himself.  The other is heeding the call of our great nation by joining the Navy! Which I am totally excited about, and I know he will do great things with!

So many great things happening! Hopefully I too will have good news of life-bringing things to report (no, I’m not pregnant – I meant in terms of something resembling employment).  Although I do have days when I’m bored and frustrated and blinded by my own lack of trust, I do have such a sense of love.  And it’s great having Mike home all week because there’s no internet yet at his new office.  I take my laptop into the bedroom and we work at our own things, come together for lunch, then go back to work until dinner.  Such rhythm! I love it.

I love you, too! I hope you are all well.  Shine on, you crazy diamonds!

Posted by: agapeflower | July 1, 2009

Exitlude.

We hope you enjoyed your stay
It’s good to have you with us
Even if it’s just for the day
We hope you enjoyed your stay
Outside the sun is shining
It seems like heaven ain’t far away
It’s good to have you with us
…Even if it’s just for the day

“Exitlude” – The Killers

___________

So, based on my last post, I’ve decided to splinter off this blog, and launch a new site – Fish, Coin – which will focus more on religion/spirituality/really cool interviews and fun stuff.  I’m keeping this one open for now for more personal news and what I’m up to, although I don’t know how much I’ll actually post.  If it turns out I don’t post much, I’ll probably shut this one down by the end of the year.  Can you believe it’s July already? Man.

Hope you’ve been wonderful!

Posted by: agapeflower | June 17, 2009

Manifesto.

So I’ve been thinking a bit about what this blog is.  It started out as just a “hey! What’s Christy up to these days?” sort of blog, but I feel as though lately it’s been steering itself into a more apologetics/opinion on certain topics sort of blog, which I think is something I want to pursue.  Of course, it’s also been steering itself into a context of religion (particularly Catholicism), which I understand not everyone wants to read about.  And that’s okay – I mean, I’m not really forcing anyone to read who doesn’t want to.  But I guess what I mean to say is that this is where things are heading now, so last stop if you don’t want to stay on for the ride.   😉

And to be honest, I’m excited that it’s going in that direction.  I guess what I’d like to accomplish most with it is to provide opinion (keep in mind that it’ll be from a mostly “progressive” Catholic who isn’t the most orthodox person out there), and just talk about current events (and hopefully pop culture) in that particular context.  Will it always be that way? I have no idea.  Will it be met with some hesitation? Probably.  Not only by those who are turned off by religious things, but by those who are far more religious than I am and might want to yell at me by not playing by the rules.  I’d also like to put up some interviews and get a real sense of what fascinates me most right now: American Christianity viewed through the lens of young believers in their 20s and 30s – and what really matters to them, and why.

So…I suppose that is it!

(For everyone who is friends with me IRL I’m still on Facebook talking about non-churchy things like my all-encompassing love for the Pittsburgh Penguins and late-night Guitar Hero jam sessions with my  husband, so stay tuned to that as well!)

Posted by: agapeflower | June 10, 2009

For Those Pesky Internal Struggles

In terms of the spiritual life, people usually identify with the struggle with “outward” influences: chastity, for example, or the temptations having to do with power or money.  But if you’re like me, and struggle mainly with “self” and who you are and who you’re supposed to be, I have two good reading recommendations for you.

The first, “A Glimpse of Jesus,” by Brennan Manning, is a fantastic book. (His best-known titles are Ruthless Trust and The Ragamuffin’s Gospel, I think.)  In it, he describes the characteristics of self-hatred and how to work through it (mainly through one’s growing relationship with Jesus and how He understood people):

“Jesus, a man like us in all things but ungratefulness, our brother who never knew sin, estranges us from self-hatred through a love that keeps no score of wrongs and a mercy that surpasses human understanding. In the eyes of the Master whom we have failed, we detect the infinite compassion of the Father and see revealed, in Jesus, the human face of God…’The savior knows that we have failures, even when we have committed ourselves to him. The savior redeems us from all personal failure by telling his followers that in spite of our sin we have value in the eyes of God the Father…we are still precious in the eyes of God, of Jesus, and of his holy community.'”

In Rev. James Martin, SJ’s book “Becoming Who You Are,” he talks about sanctity being attainable by becoming the person who we are, not the person we want to be. By focusing only on the desire for the traits we see in others, we deny those that God made in us.  It’s a neat little read, focusing mainly on two holy men and their own journeys through their battles with self to attain holiness, Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen.  

“I thought that being holy meant changing an essential part of who I was, suppressing my personality, not building on it.  I was eradicating my natural desires and inclinations, rather than asking God to sanctify and even perfect them.  Here’s the way I thought about it: I knew that I certainly wasn’t a holy person, so therefore must mean being a different person.”

Happy reading!

Posted by: agapeflower | June 3, 2009

The Secret

So apparently the key to the Pittsburgh Penguins winning Stanley Cup games is to have both Michael and I watch the game all the way through, as we did last night.  Good thing we don’t have much going on tomorrow night!

Posted by: agapeflower | June 2, 2009

Current Events.

So I’ve been thinking about the Tiller shooting a lot today.  I’ve kept pretty quiet about it for a few reasons: one, it’s incredibly sad to think about for the man and his family.  I don’t want to imagine anyone dying in such a violent and hateful manner (in the supposed name of justice) while his wife and other members of his church family watched, because to imagine it means to know it did happen.  Two, because of the response it has generated.  Not the messages of condolences and the anger by the general media and blogosphere, but the large amount of hatred and fury that is being thrust upon people – people who have never heard of Tiller before yesterday – who are pro-life and who work tirelessly and pray for hours each day to end abortion.  And three, rather selfishly, because the first thought that came to my mind when I heard about the man who did the shooting was “Thanks, guy.  It’s not helping.”  Because it isn’t.  It’s hard enough living as someone who wants to follow Jesus and have that looked upon as something freakish and something that is connected in the script around us as being congruent with ignorance, arrogance, hatred, and, now, “domestic terrorism.”

Christianity – true Christianity – is not that, is never that.  It is, by nature, its antithesis.  It is the love that everyone is seeking in their anger and their frustration and their fear.

Let’s be clear: God does not feel any joy about the situation, just as I don’t feel He condones any type of violence made in His name that ends human lives, lives He created and He loves as His children, whether they’re born yet or not.

I know, as someone who works with the media, that news stories and blogs are blowing up with talking points, folks pointing fingers to Christians saying “See! See! They are all like this! They all hate people who are not like them! They condemn everyone they see, they are full of hate! They are ignorant and backwards and women-hating and horrible, people!”  It serves them well to do so: it generates interest and money and more Internet hits.  But they’re so incredibly wrong, the way highlighting a scandal in the Church somehow “explains” the whole of Christianity and becomes a stand-in for the rest of those who truly pour all of themselves in sacrifice for others.  They’re wrong because they stop their finger-pointing there.  Why not keep pointing? Keep pointing and highlight all of those who do work tirelessly with scared pregnant women who need guidance, and direct them towards other means – besides abortion – to help themselves and their families? Why not highlight all that many consecrated men and women are doing to help those who are in need of help?

A small example: I’ve said I’m without health insurance after I lost my job.  I can’t afford to join my husband’s insurance, and so I attend a health clinic, run by the Sisters of Saint Joseph, for care that is made available to me free of charge until I can find work and get back on my feet.  It is excellent care, provided to me because those followers of God helped as best they could to solve (even the tiniest bit of) a problem.

Good Christians are out there.  People who love God and serve Him are out there, and they are not murderers, are not spiteful, and are not hateful.  They are not all extremists.  Are they sinners? Yes – in fact, that’s a requisite.  But if you’re reading this, so are you.

Please, take this opportunity to learn from each other.  For those who feel that Tiller’s death was justified and desired by God, pray for more mercy and compassion towards those who are not like you.  For those who feel that Tiller’s killer is indistinguishable from all others who call themselves Christian, find one and ask them what they think.  Dialogue.  Talk.  Try to fit into each others’ shoes.

We should all be grieving, no matter what side of the fence you’re on.

Posted by: agapeflower | May 29, 2009

7 Quick-Takes Friday

7_quick_takes_sm

[Check out the original 7 Quick-Takes here at Jen’s journal!]

1.  Congrats to Father Edmund Luciano, who was ordained last Saturday in the Diocese of Metuchen! It was wonderful to be there and witness that amazing day! 🙂

2. Sunday marks our first wedding anniversary! (And on Pentecost, too! Sweet!)

3. We made our first homemade pizza the other night! It was crazy delicious, and way easier than I thought it would be.  The dough took a while to rise, but it came out really really well.  🙂  The next recipe I want to try is homemade spinach bread…I’ll keep you posted on that one!

4. While at the ordination, I got to catch up with some friends I hadn’t seen in the better part of a year…it was wonderful to see them.

5.  So I went to Confession yesterday afternoon down at the Oratory (it’s offered every day), and it was packed.  No idea why! There must’ve been something in the water on Wednesday in Pittsburgh…

6.  Speaking of Pittsburgh, it’s going to be hosting the next G20 Summit in September.  I’m not looking too forward to the traffic from the protesters, but that the city was recognized makes me pretty happy!

7.  And…how about those PENGUINS!! Made it to the Stanley Cup finals for a rematch against the Detroit Redwings! First two games are this weekend, we’re totally psyched! 🙂 Go Pens!

Posted by: agapeflower | May 28, 2009

What I Am…

What I am currently:

Reading:

  • Hinds’ Feet on High Places, by Hannah Hurnard.  It’s this phenomenal little allegory I found years ago and re-discovered over the weekend.

Listening to:

  • Flobots
  • Beastie Boys
  • Van Morrison
  • The Roots
  • Polarboy

Watching:

  • “Beautiful People” on LOGO.  It’s such a cute show.
  • “Breaking Bad” on AMC.  Oh my word, people.  Best show on TV, period.  It’s the hottest thing in the game right now — definitely the next “The Shield.”
  • EVERY Pittsburgh Penguins game since they made the playoffs, haha.

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