Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Friday, May 29, 2009

Small Town, Mississippi on Friday Night

Every Friday night during the summer, a band plays on the town plaza in Water Valley.  We were invited tonight to join some friends of Randy's from work, as the husband of one of them plays in the group.  After dinner at El Charrito, we sauntered across the street and enjoyed the music while waiting on our comforter to wash and dry.

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The doors are always open at the Church of the Cleansing Waters.
 When I lived near Water Valley when I first moved to Mississippi, Randy was still in Texas, along with our washer and dryer.  I made a weekly visit to the laundromat, where I was introduced to Mississippi small town culture.  I met some fascinating people each week, and generally struck up equally fascinating conversations.  My highlight of the evening was the group emails between me and my friends back in Texas.  Since Water Valley is in Yalobusha County (an American Indian name), somehow it became Lottabusha in our chronicles, and thus, the Lottabusha County Chronicles were born.

I wonder what has become of some of the people with whom I conversed each week.  I still remember them and their stories--all of which are tucked away and waiting for me to finish writing them some day.


I have struggled to let go of a painful issue for 5 months now.  Just when I think I have, back it comes, rearing its ugly head to dance around singing "naya naya naya" like a taunting school boy bully.  The other night, I read a brief excerpt about a book called Huna: Ancient Hawaiian Secrets for Modern Living.  In a section on practicing forgiveness, King writes: "When you hold a grudge, the only way your body knows how to react is to tense up.  But forgiveness physically releases it, freeing your energy for more productive things."  

We might know that cognitively, but how to forgive someone--especially when it is one of those wounds that just seems to defy healing and forgiveness?  "You don't have to forgive what they did, just forgive the fact they felt they had to do it, and that they must have been feeling really jealous, sad, afraid or insecure.  Feelings are often easier to understand than actions."

I have known for years (due to my professional training) that the emotion under anger is usually fear.  Somehow, looking at the event from 5 months ago as something that emerged out of fear and insecurity--and I can clearly see that now--allowed me the freedom to move past it.  It was as if I could stop thinking about my wound that was undeserved and recognize the deep fear and insecurity in the perpetrators that unleashed that wound.  

I cannot forgive what was done--at least, not yet.  I can forgive the fact that they felt they had to do it.  One of my supervisors used to say, "The burden is on the one with the awareness."  Once you have that insight, it becomes a responsibility.  To ignore the insight or awareness and continue to nurture the old unenlightened self is as it indicates in the Christian Greek Scriptures, "like the dog returning to its own vomit."  Now there is an in-your-face way of putting it if I ever heard it.

Interestingly, ever since I read that phrase about forgiving the feelings rather than the action, it has been a burden lifted from my soul.

Shortly thereafter, a friend sent an email she had received from her church, saying she thought I would get a "cosmic kick" out of it as it related to our earlier conversation.  One line caught my attention: "However many cues we have missed, however many wrong turnings we have taken, however unnecessarily we may have complicated our journey, the road still beckons and the Lord still "waits to be gracious" to us (Isaiah 30:18)..."our own true independence no longer challenges God's sovereignty but is precisely a most wonderful expression of it, as we receive our freedom day by day, minute by minute, from the creative love of God" (Simon Tugwell).

Monday, May 25, 2009

All in a Day's Work

I glanced out the living room window yesterday just in time to see this squirrel climbing onto the bird feeder from the magnolia tree.  I originally put the feeder where it is so the squirrels would stay out of it--since I do feed them elsewhere.  Apparently, the tree has grown enough that they can now easily reach it from the branches.

He (or she) carefully made its way down the pole...

and snagged the perch to pull it close enough to reach the seeds.
"Whoaaaaa....this thing is slippery..."
"I can hang on...I can hang on..."

"I can't hang on..."

"Whew...that was hard work..."
"Okay, I think I have the hang of it now...let's try it again..."
"Yeah, piece of cake..."
"Uh oh...I'm losing it again..."
"One more seed...just one more seed..."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday night on the hill

After a day of working on the research grant, I deemed it time to go feed the birds and check the magnolia blossoms.  It is fascinating to me how they colors vary depending on the maturity of the blossom.  

I do not ever recall seeing the pink stem before, though when the blossom finally dies, the center section above the stem will fall to the ground and has little red "seeds" on it.
Randy and I decided to drive over to Water Valley and eat dinner at our favorite restaurant--El Charrito.  J was still working on his car and had a web game scheduled for tonight ("I'm raiding.") so declined to accompany us and asked for take out.
A band was playing in the park and people were gathering.  By the time we came out from dinner, the barbeque was rained out and folks were running for cover and the band was stashing instruments.

Just when I was finally able to walk across the yard without it squishing and get to the bird feeder without stepping in mud, it is now going to rain and storm for the next 10--count them--10 days.  The kudzu will take over my entire house!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A New Blog

Randy says I will do anything to avoid work.  He may be right.  With much research work to do, I spent most of the afternoon creating a new blog.  I am currently in training with my colleagues about how to create on-line classes.  It has been fascinating, and today we were looking at how blogs can be used in the class.  It reminded me that I have wanted to share some of the experiences and photos from my summer on St. Paul Island in the Pribilof.  Today seemed like a good day to do that.  The new blog is www.stpaulalaska.blogspot.com.  Feel free to join me there.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

It's Graduation Day

My niece, Jacque, graduated from Tarleton State University on Saturday.  She has a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and just finished her first interview for a job as an educator--certified at middle school level--in Snyder, Texas.  She left today for Houston, where she will be checking out schools there.

Jacq lived with us for a year while she attended Ole Miss--planning a pharmacy major.  We loved having her here--she was like the daughter we never had--and we were sad to see her go home to Texas.  Not only was she a tremendous help to me--willingly going to the grocery store or other errands, helping cook dinner and clean house, but she was just such fun to have around.  While I did not want to see her leave, I supported her father's decision that she had to return to Texas to finish school.
Jacque and her older sister, Kristi, before the graduation.

Jacq and her mother, Ann, who has been my "sister" for over 30 years.
Jacq's Uncle Darwin (Ann's brother) and his partner, Travis (on the right).
Mom, Jacq, and Dad
Jacq and her graduation present: A fish painted by Taylor artist Christine Schultz.  Jacq admired Christine's work while she lived with me, and always wanted one of her fish.

Jacq and her father, Russell

I was pleased to see the flags before the ceremony. I surmised the flags represented the various countries from which students came to the university--I was surprised to see South Africa amidst them. :)