Friday, September 30, 2011

Coffee and Walnut Soap

Made another batch of soap today. I have a list of reasons I like making soap, and some pictures, but first I have to give a shout out to this website, where I found this particular recipe, and Aldi, where you can buy groceries at verrrry nice prices.

Top 5 reasons I like to make the soap:

  1. The more soap you make, the more cost effective it is! 
  2. It combines so many fun things: science, art, home economics, etc
  3. It takes all the things I like about baking, and all the things I wish were involved in baking, and combines them (preparing, measuring, and mixing ingredients.....and then leaving the project to sit for 24+ hours, and then cutting it up and then letting it sit for a few more weeks...and then using it. And the product not only doesn't expire, it gets better the longer it sits).
  4. Safety goggles and rubber gloves are very in style in our apartment right now.
  5. The possibilities are endless when it comes to different soap recipes, and learning/inventing them (I am not to the point where I know enough to invent a recipe).

This evening Steve was around and took some pictures of me making soap. The captions are to give you an idea about the process, but are in no way meant to be instructional.

All of the ingredients are edible....except the lye (or, Sodium Hydroxide, or caustic soda...or, as you can see, drain opener....they're all the same. You don't want to eat this. This is the reason for the safety goggles and rubber gloves).

Thank God for immersion blenders. Basically all soap is lye mixed with some sort of fat/oil. This particular recipe also has brewed coffee. Coffee acts as a deodorant, so if you're chopping onions and garlic, apparently it would be a good idea to wash your hands with this soap. We shall see!

Also added some ground coffee and ground walnuts, as exfoliants.

I just liked the motion and color in this one.

Don't be deceived! This will not taste as good as it looks. There is a reason why washing your mouth out with soap should not be a pleasant experience. After the soap is the proper consistency, and additives are added in, pour it into whatever you have designated as a soap mold and let it sit for a while. 1-2 days, depending on the recipe.

No peaking until tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Stalling and autumny pictures

At 11pm I said, "Well, I better go to bed before Conan gets funny."
At 11:06pm I said, "Ok, well I'm definitely going to bed during the next commercial break."
11:10pm Conan says, "Seth Rogen's on the program!"
I thought that since I was awake I would post a picture or two that I made at the apple orchard this past weekend.

This was my favorite in an unexpected way.

Lots of apples on the ground.

Too bad I don't know how to iPhoto a worm into this. It would be perfect

11:16pm, Conan puts on a smock suit and introduces the Audiencey Awards.
11:20pm. Sorry Conan. Sorry Seth Rogen. I need sleep.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Never buying soap again.

Well people. When you plant an idea in my head, and it starts to grow, sometimes I just have to run with it. I know I said just two weeks ago that my soap hobby would have to start at a later date (because I had all of these legit excuses), but I couldn't stop thinking about it.....and....I may have gone out and ordered a couple more soap books that are wayyy better than the original that cultivated the seed of soap making that was planted earlier this year.
I may have made a batch of soap yesterday.
Today I took it out of the make-shift soap mold (the box that the immersion blender came in. I'm frugal)...and cut some bars....
Now I have to wait somewhere between a couple and a few weeks before I can try these bad boys out (they need to dry a little more, and the lye needs to become milder).
They are a recipe that one of my books said was a good starter recipe. Very simple. No fragrances or additives. Just a simple bar of soap. Vegetarian, if you're interested (Olive oil, coconut oil, water, lye).
I can't wait to try them out!
I made a big cube and cut it into bars. Looks like cheese!

Gloves as a safety precaution....and a fashion statement. 
My cutting tool.

Ten bars of soap!

Again. Next time I think I will add things like cinnamon and coffee.

Fresh soap.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On introversion and irony and enigma

It is no secret, I am an introvert. I get overwhelmed by large groups of people (especially if I don't know them, but not limited), and I think an evening alone with my thoughts and a book is energizing.  Don't get me wrong, I love people. I'm still not an extrovert. People are complex. Don't let tell you that being an introvert and being shy are the same thing, they're not! At least, in my mind they aren't. Anyway, this isn't really about being an introvert. Not completely. When I feel I've been "peopled out" I tend to find an excuse to withdraw for a while, just to recharge.

An illustration. Because I haven't made too many pictures in a while, and therefore haven't posted any for a while. For shame....but I made this one all by myself using a handful of coffee beans and the stove top!

Lately I've been wondering, though, if it is really accurate to put the umbrella of introversion over all the times I feel like being withdrawn. Coincidentally, I've been doing a lot of thinking and reading about the enneagram (well more thinking. I read over the summer). I think that I am a type 4, one of the types that withdraws to get what they want (they disengage from others to deal with their needs) (page 63)*. Sometimes, I think....and this is hard to admit, I withdraw from people not to recharge, but out of insecurity. I think, "people must be tired of me by now," (or, if I don't know them that well, I expect that they probably don't remember who I am) and preemptively avoid them. I do this passive-aggressively in the social media world by taking posting-sabbaticals and unfriending** people left and right. I do it in the real world by saying "no" to invites to hanging out/attending events (though, I love to be invited. Please don't give up on me if I say no a lot...I've been better at trying to say yes to things lately. I do crave community, I just don't want to overstay my welcome....and I've also been trying to be protective of my time...though both of these are just sort of lame excuses).
Sometimes I also wonder if this is due to moving every two years for the past few. We are starting our second year here (for the second time***), and I am trying hard not to get into the mindset of saying goodbye to everything and everyone (though it's difficult when you are constantly in an educational environment...people are always moving on). Perhaps, too, in getting used to this way of life, it becomes more foreign territory to be a part of a community for longer than a couple of years. It is a frightening and exciting thing.
Anyway, as a 4, I am aware that I can be enigmatic, so to add to all this, I resonate most with the Social Variant (of the enneagram's instinctual variants....Social variants are not necessarily the life of the is the much more fundamental desire to be known and liked...the ability to adapt well to whatever environment we are in. Social variants tend to be "big picture" people, and like to make connections with others).
Anyway. Just some thoughts I've been thinking. To complete what has turned into an enneagram blogpost, I might as well also say that I'm a 4 with a 5 wing. The bohemian. It really doesn't have to do with the title of the post, but it does have to do with the content.
Please don't have the misconception that I'm depressed. I really am not. Just very aware of the pros and cons of my personality/tendencies.  Some positive things about introverts are that we are usually among the intelligent and gifted. Some positive things about type 4s are that we are creative and unique and honest and appreciative of beauty and intuitive and have a great sense of humor. To name a few :)
Have you ever taken the Enneagram? What type are you?

*Wouldn't it be great if all documentation were this easy? Perhaps in the future.
**Most of the time my criteria for unfriending is based on how long it has been since I've seen them (and if I think I will ever see them again) and whether or not I would wish them Happy Birthday if facebook told me to....or if I saw them in a grocery store would I go up and talk to them, or just wave, or go to another aisle and pray they didn't see me.
***Isn't it funny when you tell God you'll go anywhere, and He sends you to Western PA twice?!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Markings, Part 18, Fin

In case you forgot that I didn't actually get up early every day in September in order to post these. They are the beauty of scheduling posts! (though I still read them every day. I likes them).

86. As I continued along the Way, I learned, step by step, word by word, that behind every saying in the Gospels stands one man and one man's experience. Also behind the prayer that the cup might pass from him and his promise to drink it. Also behind each of the words from the Cross. (205)

87. Sleepless questions
In the small hours:
Have I done right?
Why did I act
Just as I did?
Over and over again
The same steps
The same words:
Never the answer. (209)

88. June 11, 1961
To carry it,
To assay it,
To suffer it,
And free
To deny it,
I saw
For one moment
The sail
In the sun storm,
Far off
On a wave crest,
Bearing from land.

For one moment
I saw.

89. July 19, 1961
Have mercy
Upon us.
Have mercy
Upon our efforts,
That we
Before Thee, 
In love and in faith,
Righteousness and humility,
May follow Thee,
With self-denial, steadfastness, and courage,
And meet Thee
In the silence.

Give us
A pure heart
That we may see Thee,
A humble heart
That we may hear Thee,
A heart of love
That we may serve Thee,
A heart of faith
That we may live Thee,

Whom I do not know
But Whose I am.

Whom I do not comprehend
But Who hast dedicated me
To my fate.
Thou --

90. Almighty...
My doubt,
My anger,
My pride.
By Thy mercy
Abase me,
By Thy strictness
Raise me up.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Markings, Part 17

More of this.

81. Not knowing the question,
It was easy for him
To give the answer. (190)

82. Because it never found a mate,
Men called
The unicorn abnormal. (193)

83. Easter, 1960 Forgiveness breaks the chain of causality because he who "forgives" you -- out of love -- takes upon himself the consequences of what you have done. Forgiveness, therefore, always entails a sacrifice.
The price you must pay for your own liberation through another's sacrifice is that you in turn must be willing to liberate in the same way, irrespective of the consequences to yourself. (197)

84. The tension increased.
In the noonday heat
Their wills began to waver.

Night flared.
The jungle wailed in the fierce grip of the storm.

They paid
The full price of love
That others might enjoy a victory.

Morning mist,
Chirping of early birds.
Who recalled the night's sacrifice?
December 2, 1960 (200)

85. The road,
You shall follow it.

The fun, 
You shall forget it.

The cup,
You shall empty it.

The pain,
You shall conceal it.

The truth,
You shall be told it.

The end, 
You shall endure it.*
December 3, 1960 (201)

*The only rhymed poem Dag wrote. The translator was unable to make it rhyme, so here is the original (it's in Swedish, in case your reader automatically translates it for mine often does):

du skall följa den.

du skall glömma den.

du skall tömma den.

du skall dölja den.

du skall lära det.

du skall bära det.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Markings, Part 16

Dag. The man liked him some haikus. They were originally written in Swedish, but the translator tried to stay true to having 17 syllables.

76. Denied the Sought-After,
He longed to deserve
To be the Sought-After (180)

77. A box on the ear taught the boy
That Father's name
Was odious to them. (180)

78. On Christmas Eve, Good Friday
Was foretold them
In a trumpet fanfare. (186)

79. When he saw them all flee,
The skunk decided
He was the King of Beasts. (189)

80. Beauty, Goodness,
In the wonder's here and now
Became suddenly real. (190)

Friday, September 16, 2011

2 Timothy 4:1-5

I don't really have anything profound to say. Though I have been wondering which ministry, if any, God will give me. Feeling sort of tired, but not in a sleepy sort of way. Should be doing homework, and I want to be, but I felt like I needed some Scripture before I began. Biblegatewayed the words "hear" and "listen" and was eventually taken to this passage from 2 Timothy. Is it proper to say "second" Timothy, or "two" Timothy? I've heard both. I usually say "second," but don't see a reason not to say "two," if that's what floats your boat.  Anyway, here is the word for the day:

I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his Kingdom: 
Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.
For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 
They will reject the truth and chase after myths.
But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.

Markings, Part 15

You know it.

71. That piece of pagan anthropomorphism: the belief that, in order to educate us, God wishes us to suffer. How far from this is the assent to suffering when it strikes us because we have obeyed what we have seen to be God's will. (164)

72. The pure, simple self at the hour of waking -- and the first thing it sees -- its grotesque image in the distorting mirror of yesterday. (164)

73. Did'st Thou give me this inescapable loneliness so that it would be easier for me to give Thee all? (166)

74. Therefore, in my great loneliness, serve others. Therefore: how incredibly great is what I have been given, and how meaningless what I have to "sacrifice."
Hallowed be Thy Name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done --

75. Lord -- Thine the day,
And I the day's. (170)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Markings, Part 14 (I know, right?)

Vad är detta?
66. Another opportunity was given you -- as a favor and as a burden. The question is not: why did it happen this way, or where is it going to lead you, or what is the price you will have to pay. It is simply: how are you making use of it. And about that there is only one who can judge. (158)

67. Did you choose your words carefully enough, what impression did you make, did they think you were trying to be ingratiating, etc.? It is questions like these which keep you awake. Are you no longer confident that your instinctive reactions will guide you right? If so, you know why. You have allowed your hunger for "justice" to make you self-conscious, so that, in the performance of your task, you no longer forget yourself. So, and only so, can you be wounded by the opinions of the crowd. (160)

68. The madman shouted in the market place. No one stopped to answer him. Thus it was confirmed that his thesis was incontrovertible. (161)

69. That piece of pagan anthropomorphism: the belief that, in order to educate us, God wishes us to suffer. How far from this is the assent to suffering when it strikes us because we have obeyed what we have seen to be God's will. (164)

70. The pure, simple self at the hour of waking -- and the first thing it sees -- its grotesque image in the distorting mirror of yesterday. (164)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Markings, Part 13

61. We have to acquire a peace and balance of mind such that we can give every word of criticism its due weight, and humble ourselves before every word of praise. (151)

62. This being so, your endeavor to reach the goal should have taught you to rejoice when others reach it. (153)

63. The answer -- the hard straight brutal answer:  in the One you are never alone, in the One you are always at home. (154)

64. Result and reaction -- The intense blaze of your anxiety reveals to what a great extent you are still fettered, still alienated from the One.
However, don't worry about this or anything else, but follow the Way of which you are aware, even when you have departed from it.
"Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt." (154)

65. Do not look back. And do not dream about the future, either. It will neither give you back your past, nor satisfy your other daydreams. Your duty, your reward -- your destiny -- are here and now. (157)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Markings, Part 12

What is this?

56. Vanity rears its ridiculous little head and holds up the distorting mirror in front of you. For an instant, the play actor adjusts his smile and his features to the role. For a mere instant -- but one too many. It is at such times that you invite defeat and betray Him whom you serve. (144)

57. You ask yourself if these notes are not, after all, false to the very Way they are intended to mark. 
These notes? -- They were signposts you began to set up after you had reached a point where you needed them, a fixed point that was on no account to be lost sight of. And so they have remained. But your life has changed, and now you reckon with possible readers, even, perhaps, hope for them. Still, perhaps it may be of interest to somebody to learn about a path about which the traveler who was committed to it did not wish to speak while he was alive. Perhaps -- but only if what you write has an honesty with no trace of vanity or self-regard. (144)

58. Forward! Thy orders are given in secret. May I always hear them -- and obey.
Forward! Whatever distance I have covered, it does not give me the right to halt.
Forward! It is the attention given to the last steps before the summit which decides the value of all that went before. (145)

59. We act in faith -- and miracles occur. In consequence, we are tempted to make the miracles the ground for our faith. The cost of such weakness is that we lose the confidence of faith. Faith is, faith creates, faith carries. It is not derived from, nor created, nor carried by anything except its own reality. (145)

60. Be grateful as your deeds become less and less associated with your name, as your feet ever more lightly tread the earth. (146)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Markings, Part 11

You know the drill.

51. Twice now you have done him an injustice. In spite of the fact that you were "right" or, more correctly, because you were, in your conceit and your stupid pride in your powers you went stumping on over ground where each step gave him pain. (137)

52. It was when Lucifer first congratulated himself upon his angelic behavior that he became the tool of evil. (140)

53. How humble the tool when praised for what the hand has done. (140)

54. Hallowed be Thy name,
                           not mine,
Thy kingdom come,
                      not mine,
Thy will be done,
                  not mine,
Give us peace with Thee
  Peace with men
  Peace with ourselves,
And free us from all fear. (142)

55. Your own efforts "did not bring it to pass," only God -- but rejoice if God found use for your efforts in His work. (143)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Markings, Part 10

The first post about Markings

46. In many matters, profound seriousness can only be expressed in words which are lighthearted, amusing, and detached; such a conversation as you may expect to hear from someone who, while deeply concerned for all things human, has nothing he is trying to gain or defend. (121)

47. Before Thee, Father
In righteousness and humility,
With Thee, Brother,
In faith and courage,
In Thee, Spirit,
In stillness. (123)

48. When the morning's freshness has been replaced by the weariness of midday, when the leg muscles quiver under the strain, the climb seems endless, and, suddenly, nothing will go quite as you wish -- it is then that you must not stop. (124)

49. Forgiveness is the answer to the child's dream of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is again made clean. The dream explains why we need to be forgiven, and why we must forgive. In the presence of God, nothing stands between Him and us -- we are forgiven. But we cannot feel His presence if anything is allowed to stand between ourselves and others. (124)

50. With the love of Him who knows all,
With the patience of Him Whose now is eternal,
With the righteousness of Him who has never failed,
With the humility of Him who has suffered all the possibilities of betrayal. (135)

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Awhile back, I read this story. And I was thinking about it again today, or the last couple of days, because I recently acquired a book about Soap-making at a local antique/consignment mall (so small, so new, so local that they don't have a website, not even a social media page...but if you come and visit me, I will take you there).
This book, actually. It was just under three dollars. Score.
After reading through this book, I really wish that I had the space to make some soap! It seems like the perfect pairing of science and well as frugality.  I think I will do a little more research though, and wait a while before I start my soap hobby.  For one, I am back at school and need to devote my brain to homework. Two, our kitchen is small-ish, and I feel that I would need more space to work on/let my soap sit for the necessary length of time. Three, after reading the reviews for this book, I  think I will have to get another more up to date book on soap-making. For one, I'm not necessarily into making highly scented bars of soap that look like various shapes (shells, flowers, etc), I'm more into fragrance-free (or naturally scented) rectangles of soap. And for two, there are some dangerous errors in my edition of the book that I would not have known about, had it not been for the warnings on amazon.  For example, in the book it says to pour water into lye. In actuality, that would cause an explosion. Luckily someone caught these, and other errors before I experimented with making my own soap.

Here are the other corrections, in case you ran out and bought this book before finishing reading this blog post:

From the Publisher

CORRECTIONS to The Complete Soapmaker, by Norma ConeyNote to the reader: the changes on page 34 are particularly important and should be noted for reasons of safety.

On page 34, step 5 should read:

5. Make sure that the pitcher with water in it is resting on a protected surface. Carefully and slowly pour the lye into the water. Use your wooden spoon to lessen any splashing of the lye solution caused by chunks of lye dropping into the pitcher. Don’t make the mistake of adding the water to the lye.

On page 34, the first sentence of step 6 should read:

6. After you’ve added all the lye to the water, stir the solution gently with a wooden spoon until you’re sure that all the lye has dissolved.

On page 50, the first sentence of step 6 should read:

6. Continue to stir periodically until the soap has reached a pudding-like consistency.

On page 50, the first sentence of step 7 should read:

7. When the soap has reached a pudding-like consistency, remove it from the heat and stir it gently as it cools. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Anyway, error-full book or not, go back and read the etsy article, in the link above. How can you not be inspired?!

Markings, Part 9

Intro to Markings

41. You can only hope to find a lasting solution to a conflict if you have learned to see the other objectively, but, at the same time, to experience his difficulties subjectively. (114)

42. All first-hand experience is valuable, and he who has given up looking for it will one day find -- that he lacks what he needs: a closed mind is a weakness, and he who approaches persons or painting or poetry without the youthful ambition to learn a new language and so gain access to someone else's perspective on life, let him beware. (114)

43. Diplomatic "finesse" must never be another word for fear of being unpopular: that is to seek the appearance of influence at the cost of its reality. (114)

44. Really, nothing was easier than to step from one rope ladder to the other -- over the chasm. But, in your dream, you failed, because the thought occurred to you that you might possibly fall. (116)

45. The everlastingness of things -- an ironic commentary upon your claims to ownership. (117)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Markings, Part 8

Read first, if you don't know what these are.

36. "For man shall commune with all creatures to his profit, but enjoy God alone." That is why no human being can be a permanent source of happiness to another. (101)

37. "What! He is now going to try to teach me!" -- Why not? There is nobody from whom you cannot learn. Before God, who speaks through all men, you are always in the bottom class of nursery school. (104)

38. Before Thee in humility, with Thee in faith, in Thee in peace. (104)

39. Prayer, crystallized in words, assigns a permanent wave length on which the dialogue has to be continued, even when our mind is occupied with other matters. (106)

40. "Those scarred by suffering, those who have beheld --" You can, if you choose, enter into their consciousness and learn -- without having gone through their hard school -- to see and hear like one who "hath not" and from whom "shall be taken away even that which he hath." (111)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Markings, Part 7

The post that started it all.

31. The responsibility for our mistakes is ours, but not the credit for our achievements. Man's freedom is a freedom to betray God. God may love us -- yes -- but our response is voluntary. (97)

32. Beside our need for a meaning, also a need for human intimacy without conventional trappings -- for the experience of a circle where power expresses itself in meaningful and beautiful forms. The holiness of human life, before which we bow down in worship. (99)

33. Thou who art over us,
Thou who art one of us,
Thou who art --
Also within us,
May all see Thee -- in me also,
May I prepare the way for Thee,
May I think Thee for all that shall fall to my lot,
May I also not forget the needs of others,
Keep me in Thy love
As Thou wouldest that all should be kept in mine.
May everything in this my being be directed to Thy glory
And may I never despair.
For I am under Thy hand,
And in Thee is all power and goodness. (100)

34. Give me a pure heart -- that I may see Thee,
A humble heart -- that I may hear Thee,
A heart of love -- that I may serve Thee,
A heart of faith -- that I may abide in Thee. (100)

35. The "unheard-of" -- to be in the hand of God.
Once again a reminder that this is all that remains for you to live for -- and once more the feeling of disappointment which shows how slow you are to learn. (100)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Markings, Part 6 (told you there were a lot...and this is only a sample!)

What are these Markings?

26. April 7, 1953 "Their lives grounded in and sustained by God, they are incapable of any kind of pride; because they give back to God all the benefits He has bestowed on them, they do not glorify each other, but do all things to the Glory of God alone." (Thomas Aquinas) (91)

27. In your attempt to break down the boundaries of a personality, you are building a new prison for yourself. (92)

28. If only I may grow: firmer, simpler -- quieter, warmer. (93)

29. The pride of the cup is in the drink, its humility in the serving. What, then, do its defects matter? (95)

30. With all the powers of your body concentrated in the hand on the tiller,
All the powers of your mind concentrated on the goal beyond the horizon,
You laugh as the salt spray catches your face in the second of rest
Before a new wave --
Sharing the happy freedom of the moment with those who share your responsibility.
So -- in the self-forgetfulness of concentrated attention -- the door opens for you into a pure living intimacy,
A share, timeless happiness,
Conveyed by a smile,
A wave of the hand.

Thanks to those who have taught me this. Thanks to the days which have taught me this.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Markings, Part 5

Giving credit where credit is due.

21. Pray that your loneliness may spur you into finding something to live for, great enough to die for. (85)

22. How ridiculous, this need of yours to communicate! Why should it mean so much to you that at least one person has seen the inside of your life? Why should you write down all this, for yourself, to be sure --perhaps, though, for others as well? (87)

23. "--Night is drawing nigh--"
For all that has been -- Thanks!
To all that shall be -- Yes! (89)

24. Goodness is something so simple: always to live for others, never to seek one's own advantage. (89)

25. Not I, but God in me. (90)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Brief break from Dag for a curious verse (or two)

Skimming through the book of Acts to see what it has to say about the Holy Spirit (hint: a lot), and came across these verses. What do you think they mean?

Acts 8:14-17 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Markings, Part 4

If you're just tuning in...

16.  He came with his little girl. She wore her best frock. You noticed what good care she took of it. Others noticed too -- idly noticed that, last year, it had been the best frock on another little girl.
In the morning sunshine it had been festive. Now most people had gone home. The balloon sellers were counting the day's takings. Even the sun had followed their example, and retired to rest behind a cloud. So the place looked rather bleak and deserted when he came with his little girl to taste the joy of Spring and warm himself in the freshly polished Easter sun.
But she was happy. They both were. They had learned a humility of which you still have no conception. A humility which never makes comparisons, never rejects what there is for the sake of something "else" or something "more." (71)

17. He received -- nothing. But for that he paid more than others for their treasures. (77)

18. Work as an anesthetic against loneliness, books as a substitute for people -- ! You say you are waiting, that the door stands open. For what? People? Is not the Etna for which Empedocles is waiting, a fate beyond human companionship? (82)

19. Now you know. When the worries over your work loosen their grip, then this experience of light, warmth, and power. From without -- a sustaining element, like air to the glider or water to the swimmer. An intellectual hesitation which demands proofs and logical demonstration prevents me from "believing" in this, too. Prevents me from expressing and interpreting this reality in intellectual terms. Yet, through me there flashes this vision of a magnetic field in the soul, created in a timeless present by unknown multitudes, living in holy obedience, whose words and actions are a timeless prayer.
--The Communion of Saints" -- and -- within it -- and eternal life. (84)

20. Never, "for the sake of peace and quiet," deny your own experience or convictions. (84)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Markings, Part 3


11. The little urchin makes a couple of feeble hops on one leg without falling down. And is filled with admiration at his dexterity, doubly so, because there are onlookers. Do we ever grow up? (56)

12. God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illuminated by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason. (56)

13. To be "sociable" -- to talk merely because convention forbids silence, to rub against one another in order to create the illusion of intimacy and contact: what an example of la condition humaine. Exhausting, naturally, like any improper use of our spiritual resources. (63)

14. To exist in the fleet joy of becoming, to be a channel for life as it flashes by in its gaiety and courage, cool water glittering in the sunlight -- in a world of sloth, anxiety, and aggression.
To exist for the future of others without being suffocated by their present. (67)

15. Dare he, for whom circumstances make it possible to realize his true destiny, refuse it simply because he is not prepared to give up everything else? (67)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Markings, Part 2

About Markings.

6. What is one to do on a bleak day but drift for awhile through the streets -- drift with the stream?
Slowly, with the gravity of an inanimate object, now coming to a standstill, now turning, where currents meet, in listless leisurely gyrations. Slow -- and grey. The November day has reached the hour when the light is dying behind a low cold bank of cloud, but the twilight brings no promise of mitigation or peace.
Slow and grey -- He searches every face. But the people aimlessly streaming along the grey ditches of the streets are all like himself -- atoms in whom the radioactivity is extinct, and force has tied its endless chain around nothing. (24)

7. The one reaction was no less genuine than the other. We may be willing to turn our backs on life, but we still complain like children when life does not grant our wishes. (30)

8. At any rate, your contempt for your fellow human beings does not prevent you, with a well-guarded self-respect, from trying to win their respect. (41)

9. Only tell others what is of importance to them. Only ask them what you need to know. In both cases, that is, limit the conversation to what the speaker really possesses. -- Argue only in order to reach a conclusion. Think aloud only with those to whom this means something. Don't let small talk fill up the time and the silence except as a medium for bearing unexpressed messages between two people who are attuned to each other. A dietary for those who have learned by experience the truth of the saying, "For every idle word...." But hardly popular in social life. (44)

10. Hunger is my native place in the land of the passions.
Hunger for fellowship, hunger for righteousness -- for a fellowship founded on righteousness, and a righteousness attained in fellowship.
Only life can satisfy the demands of life. And this hunger of mine can be satisfied for the simple reason that the nature of life is such that I can only realize my individuality by becoming a bridge for others, a stone in the temple of righteousness.
Don't be afraid of yourself, live your individuality to the full -- but for the good of others. Don't copy others in order to buy fellowship, or make convention your law instead of living the righteousness.
To become free and responsible. For this alone was man created, and he who fails to take the Way which could have been his shall be lost eternally. (53)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Dag Hammarskjöld's Markings

Just a few days ago, I discovered Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961).  Since then, I've been perusing through his book of thoughts, prayers, and poetry and loving it. It's going to be no fun trying to un-dog-ear every single page before taking it back to the library (a sure sign that eventually I will probably buy this book).

I thought, perhaps I will go through and blog a little something from each page that I dog-earred. But that would be a really long post, and I fear no one would read the whole thing. So instead, I will post a few quotes over the course of many posts (also, I've been dying to try the "schedule" feature listed under "post settings" to see if I could type this all today, but have it post over the course of the next week or so. Imagine that. A week's worth of blogging all in one sitting! Could be revolutionary.).

Anyway. Some of his stuff is sort of depressing, but not all of it is! And some of it is spot. on. Others I am still thinking about.


1. (From the forward about Hammarskjöld) In addition to the success which his talents and industry win for him, his life, to the outward eye, is exceptionally fortunate. He has never known poverty, he enjoys excellent health, and, as a citizen of a neutral country, he is spared the privations, sufferings, and horrors inflicted by the war upon the majority of people in Europe. Inwardly, however, in spite of all these advantages -- in part, perhaps, because of them -- there is great spiritual distress. (Page xiv)

2. (From the forward again) Further, though endowed with many brilliant gifts, not, I think, a genius, not, that is to say, a person with a single overwhelming talent and passion for some particular activity -- be it poetry or physics or bird-watching -- which determines, usually early in life, exactly what his function on earth is to be. (xiv)

3. Isn't the void which surrounds you when the noise ceases your just reward for a day devoted to preventing others from neglecting you? (12)

4.  How can you expect to keep your powers of hearing when you never want to listen? That God should have time for you, you seem to take as much for granted as that you cannot have time for him. (12)

5. If you don't speak ill of others more often than you do, this certainly isn't from any lack of desire. But you know that malice only gives you elbowroom when dispensed in carefully measured doses. (15)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Relearning a language you never knew is hard.

You know how, when someone whose third language is English is returning to their international school, and they say they've "lost" some of their English over the summer, or they're starting to get English headaches after the first couple days back? And you think, wow, they must be super smart to be studying in a language that isn't their first. They must really think highly of that school if they would go there despite it not being taught in their first language.
Or, you know how, when a seminarian is going back to class after the summer, and worries that they've forgotten all of their Greek or Hebrew. You think, well, Greek and Hebrew are tough, so I can understand not remembering it all...but I'm sure it will come back to you faster than it did the first time around.
These are the illustrations and responses I want people to keep in mind when I say that I'm worried I forgot all of my "Anglican language" over the summer.  Here's to another September where I don't know what page we're on in the Prayer Book.
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