living with roommates

I've had my share of adult roommate experiences. I've been fortunate to have had some great roommates--roommates that share my values, my taste in food and decorating, and love of cheesy movies (except dancing/gymnastics movies--those are not allowed in my home.). I've learned a lot about sharing my space and life with someone else. Whether you are rooming with a best friend from preschool or someone you are just getting to know, I think there are several things that make a roommate relationship successful:

1) Eat together. My last two roommates and I committed to eating together whenever we could, at least once a week. The current Roommate and I have taken to cooking together, too. I've really enjoyed spending the time in the kitchen and at the table. It's much easier to talk about things around the house when you are relaxed and sharing a meal. Last night, the Roommate and I made sweet potato fries and meatloaf (shut it, it was delicious!). We had a great time making the food and talking and cleaning up while we waited for everything to finish up in the oven. And the kitchen was sparkling when we finished.

2) Verbalize your specific needs. I need to have a quiet place that is free from disturbances. I bought a reading chair for my room. I tell my roommates, when I'm in the chair, I don't want to talk. It's not code for I hate you, leave me alone. It's code for I'm thinking, I'll talk to you when my brain has recovered.

3) Dishwashers. In college, our three-person, no dishwasher combo bred ill feelings quickly and often. With a dishwasher, the load what you see, unload what you see policy works well.

4) Have a social life that is uniquely yours.

5) Share your life with your roommate. It is important that your friends know, respect, and care for your roommate (and vice versa).

6) Chocolate.



I'm curled up on my couch, studying some vocabulary flash cards. CNN is on the television. I should have turned it out. Shoulda, coulda, didn't. The reporter is talking to patrons at a party for the some Wall Street exec. They are talking about lifestyles on Wall Street before and after this crisis.

While watching this piece, I was struck by the isolation that Americans live in. Take the words of one interviewee: "It may be new and different to middle America, but this is where things happen."

I can hear the retort of a farming friend from my hometown saying, "I've got news for you, New York City, this is where things happen. Wanna eat?"

We're more interdependant than we're willing to admit.


fall morning

A bad dream tossed me out of sleep. Clandestine war operatives too complex, scary for the early morning. My nose was slightly chilled. I pulled the covers deeper around my face, curling my limbs close together. There it was warm, safe.

Just for a few minutes longer.

Then I'll face the cold cold world.

Just a few minutes longer.

The birds twittered from their gutter nest.

It's morning now. It's time to get up.


transitions lenses

I often twinge with pity for the kid whose parents bought them transitions lenses for their glasses. On one hand, they are crazy cool. They turn into sunglasses when it is bright. On the other hand, they are ├╝ber geeky. You can't control when they decide to transition to dark lenses. It might be at the outdoor track meet or it might be during math class. The worst is the in-between mode when they are only a little shady and seem like somebody hasn't wiped them clean in years.

Those lenses remind me a lot of life transition, something that is on overload in my ministry setting these days. We are facing great changes to our congregational ministry and it is both exciting (sunglasses and regular glasses at once!!) and disheartening (but I don't want SUNglasses in math class!!). Two of our pastors followed the call to new ministries. Our facilities (including our offices) are in flux. Our governance is under serious revision. Job descriptions may change. Relationships to staff members will change. New positions have been created.

The lenses that I see my ministry through can't seem to decide on their tone. Are they sunglasses or clear glasses? Are they something in between? What if I don't like the transition taken on by the lenses? What if I don't fit in with the ministry transitions in my midst?

Transition is uncontrollable and overwhelming. And yet regardless of the changes and transition, one thing remains the same: the frame. The lenses, the transitions, the changes in life fit inside the framework. My framework for ministry, for life is Christ. That stability brings me peace.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Ephesians 2:19-22


the fact and the truth

Madeleine L'Engle writes in her book Walking on Water that children are taught early in life to equate truth with fact. She warns of this dangerous frame of mind.

Facts are not always loyal to the truth. Their deceptively frank nature leads one to trust in the fact without questioning its position on truth. Facts can be proven or disproven. They can be manipulated to argue which ever position the holder fancies.

Truth, on the other hand, cannot be proven and cannot be manipulated. It simply is.

I'm struck by the words of Jesus in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." I'm not a biblical language expert, but I'm willing to assume that the translation is faithful to Jesus' original word choice and that truth is distinguished from fact in this place.

Jesus is truth. Occasionally, he is also fact (He was a man. He ate. He walked.). But more significantly, he is truth.

An unmanipulatable, unquantifiable, unprovable truth.


if autumn made lists

Autumn's to do:
Change the leaves.
Make tea taste so wonderful in the morning.
Tighten the skin of knuckles, cheeks, and lips.
Water eyes up with mystery autumn allergens.
Fill the stores with pumpkin paraphernalia.
Confuse plants with wide varieties of temperature and precipitation.
Knit scarves for winter's doom.
Pull out heavy blankets from storage.
Make s'mores more.
Hide Christmas cards and lights on back walls of retail stores.
Control apple proliferation through excess apple crisp making.
Prepare metabolisms for hibernation.
Fend on winter from trying to start early.