pegkerr: (I told no lies and of the truth all I co)
Here's a new card I made tonight that I quite like.

I've taken the Strengthsfinder test, and my very top strength is "Strategic."

The Woman Who Copes Ahead - Committee Suit
I am the One who plans ahead to make the future as successful as possible. I can instantly plot the best path through the maze. I am the Ant who brings in the harvest, who keeps an eye on the clock and the calendar, who saves for emergencies and retirement and always remembers to pay the insurance bill. I am gifted, wise, confident, and clever. My family benefits from my foresight and organization.

I am the One who plans ahead to make the future as successful as possible. I can instantly plot the best path through the maze. I am the Ant who brings in the harvest, who keeps an eye on the clock and the calendar, who saves for emergencies and retirement and always remembers to pay the insurance bill. I am gifted, wise, confident, and clever. My family benefits from my foresight and organization.
pegkerr: (Fealty with love valour with honour oath)
I went to adult bible study before church. Pastor was talking about today's text from Isaiah, which he was basing his sermon text upon rather than today's Gospel text. It's the famous part, often called "The Peaceable Kingdom." Here's the text:

1Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.

2The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

3And He will delight in the fear of the LORD,
And He will not judge by what His eyes see,
Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;

4But with righteousness He will judge the poor,
And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth;
And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.

5Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins,
And faithfulness the belt about His waist.

6And the wolf will dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard will lie down with the young goat,
And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little boy will lead them.

7Also the cow and the bear will graze,
Their young will lie down together,
And the lion will eat straw like the ox.

8The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra,
And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.

9They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
As the waters cover the sea.

10Then in that day
The nations will resort to the root of Jesse,
Who will stand as a signal for the peoples;
And His resting place will be glorious.

Isaiah, 11:1-10
This is a text often used during Advent because Christians recognize the shoot from the stump of Jesse as Christ, descending from the house of David. (As usual, I raised my hand and spoke about my habitual irritation that the first chapter of Matthew traces Jesus's ancestry, from father to son ONLY--no women here--through Joseph back to David. And wasn't that pointless, since the story of the virgin birth means that Joseph had nothing to do with Jesus' ancestry. As usual, Pastor acknowledged my point and moved on.) Pastor went on to mention that people reading this in Isaiah's time would take this as being about a newly crowned king, like, say, Hezekiah. I looked at the description of the ideal king here ("The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him,/ The spirit of wisdom and understanding,/The spirit of counsel and strength, / The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. / And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, / And He will not judge by what His eyes see, / Nor make a decision by what His ears hear; / But with righteousness He will judge the poor, / And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth"). That doesn't sound a lot like Trump, I thought, sadly considering the recent election. He is so gullible that he bases his reasoning on every baseless thing he sees on the internet, and as for judging the poor and deciding with fairness for the afflicted, no. He sounds like the opposite of that. And the peaceable kingdom sounds like the opposite of Trump's America.

As Pastor continued, I idly started flipping back further to look for references to David and stopped suddenly when a bit of poetry jumped out at me from the middle of a passage of prose. I looked at the top of the top of the page, and read "The parable of the trees." Now, trees, as readers of this blog know, is a subject of particular fascination for me, but I didn't remember this at all. Here is the bit that caught my eye, which is taken from Judges 9:8-15:
“8The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them.
And they said to the olive tree,
‘Reign over us!’
But the olive tree said to them,
‘Should I cease giving my oil,
With which they honor God and men,
And go to sway over trees?’

“Then the trees said to the fig tree,
‘You come and reign over us!’
But the fig tree said to them,
‘Should I cease my sweetness and my good fruit,
And go to sway over trees?’

“Then the trees said to the vine,
‘You come and reign over us!’
But the vine said to them,
‘Should I cease my new wine,
Which cheers both God and men,
And go to sway over trees?’

“Then all the trees said to the bramble,
‘You come and reign over us!’
And the bramble said to the trees,
‘If in truth you anoint me as king over you,
Then come and take shelter in my shade;
But if not, let fire come out of the bramble
And devour the cedars of Lebanon!’
Read this commentary here.

My goodness, I thought. That's Trump, that's absolutely Trump. Read the verses around the parable, too, Judges 8:22 through the entirety of Judges 9 and the wikipedia entry here. He won his throne by treachery, climbing over a heap of bodies (think the Republican primary and then the general election). He is like the bramble; the other trees bore fruit, but the bramble bears only hurtful thorns, and when the other trees turned to him, he revealed only a penchant for selfish ambition and treachery. And that's what Trump has done, too. All he has for us is thorns.

And note the manner of his death: After cutting a swath through and killing thousands of his own people, he is hit on the head by a woman who throws a millstone down on the top of his head from the top of the tower he is besieging. Get this, he beseeches his armor-bearer to kill him so that he wouldn't be known as a man defeated by a woman. I guess treachery goes hand in hand with misogyny.

If the parable can be truly be applied today, putting Trump in the role of Abimelech, it suggests that Trump and the Republicans will end up destroying each other. And the Republicans should have seen it coming, but no, they started with treachery, and started robbing people and jostling for power, causing Trump to take revenge, and so they will reap what they have sown.
pegkerr: (Default)
Week 20: Twelfth
Once again, we gather around the table to celebrate the end of Christmas.

Week 20 Twelfth

Yes, yes, this card should be named 'Twelfth Night' But I am limiting my card titles to one word. Not quite satisfactory, but I couldn't find a one word that would substitute (unlike finding "Hogmanay" as a substitution for "New Year's Eve.")
Again, this card was an experiment with different media. The table cloth and napkins are tissue paper, the forks are cut from aluminum foil. And the plates are from the foil wrapped around the Hershey's Kisses we had inside the miniature stockings.
We did indeed manage to gather around the table this year, although it was a Twelfth Night dinner this time rather than breakfast. That's just the way the schedules worked out.

Week 21: Severus
He was the bravest man I ever knew.

Week 21 Severus

This was the week that Alan Rickman died, and I made this card in honor of him and in honor of one of my favorite of his performances. Once I started thinking about Severus, I started making connections between his situation and mine (and not all of them are flattering, to say the least). This gets into personal stuff, so Elinor Dashwood will leave it there for now.
It was the last day of the previous week, January 9, that was Severus Snape's birthday. Rowling deliberately chose that day because it was the feast for the Roman God Janus, the two-headed god who guarded doorways, looking both into the past and into the future. An extremely appropriate choice for the ambiguous Severus Snape's birthday, and an appropriate thing for me to ponder, as I think about my career--where it has been as well as where it is going.

Week 22: iPod
I lost my iPod in the snow and felt helpless without it.

Week 22 iPod

At least by process of elimination, that's where I figured it wound up. I never got it back. I held out a week, gritting my teeth, and then I bought a replacement. Screw the fact that I am unemployed. I need one to organize my life.

Annoyingly, I found out when I upgraded to the next model, that I can't synch it on my iMac. The software on my desktop Apple is too old. Planned obsolescence is pretty damned annoying.

Week 23: Three
There are three things I do to help myself.

Week 23 Three

This was a tough week. Again, Elinor Dashwood will not provide many details. The three stones represent three stepping stones, the sort to keep you above the water you would drown in otherwise (I tried and tried to find an image of three stepping stones, but for a variety of reasons, what I found just didn't work. So I used an image of stacked stones). The stones represent three things I do throughout the week for self-care. The stones are carried by a manatee, and if you haven't found the site Calming Manatee, really, what are you waiting for?

I know what the next card is (Card 24) and I worked on it today, but I had tremendous trouble with figuring out the right fixative to use. I had an image with words superimposed over it. I printed the words on waxed paper, but every fixative I used just smeared or blurred the words. I have an idea for how to fix the problem, but it involves a trip to the store. So I started working on the next card (Card 25), and finished it, too. I worked on the cards OUT OF ORDER! I felt SO GUILTY! And I will not scan and show this past week's card until I finish the card for the week before.

This means we are almost halfway through the year! (It also means it's been half a year since I've had a job--groan). [ profile] minnehaha K. impishly suggested that we could swap decks and I would do the rest of hers and she would do the rest of mine. I firmly vetoed this idea. But then she made the clever suggestion that we would each do the jokers of the other person's deck, one at Week 26 and one at the end. Which I think is a really cool idea.
pegkerr: (Default)
An interesting article, a review of a book about literary fame here.

The always wise Jim Hines ([ profile] jimhines) has a pithy list outlining the nature of depression, here. Much of it looks extremely familiar.

I have been busting a gut laughing at the Twitter hashtag TedCruzCampaignSlogans. Especially now that on the first full day of his campaign, CNN has pinned him into admitting that he, the tireless hater of Obamacare ('We must repeal it!') is going on Obamacare himself now that his wife has left her employer, Goldman Sachs to join him on the campaign trail, and so his family has no healthcare coverage. The delicious, delicious irony.
pegkerr: (Default)
I discovered this song when my family sent me on a spa weekend getaway for my fiftieth birthday.

I have been playing it a lot lately, when the wish for a Time Turner starts itching at me again, as it has a lot lately.

But hey, I'm not wishing for a Resurrection Stone.

Tell me about ways you are living in the moment.
pegkerr: (Default)
I've been reading a lot for escape lately, but reading has been difficult. I've had bad luck with a crappy succession of mindless escape fiction I've been taking out of the library, so I went out on the internet looking for fanfiction.

I was in the mood for some Éomer/Lothíriel, which is generally my preferred pairing in the LOTR universe. I like Éomer as a character, because he is quite well-rounded and has an extremely interesting background. He's heroic, but he's human, too. He shows the full gamut of human emotion. Unlike the more saintly Aragorn, Éomer has a temper which has at times altered the course of his character arc.

We know, from Tolkien's afterward, that he married Princess Lothíriel of Dol Amoth, and we know at least a little about her family, but Tolkien (to the best of my knowlege) never brough Lothíriel onstage. This is catnip for fanfiction writers: a pairing with one incredibly interesting, appealing character (Éomer) and another who is more or less a blank slate, so they can build a very wide range of stories. But Lothíriel's situation is interesting, as little we know about her, too: she is coming to a new culture, learning an entirely different language, and it's a great device for the reader: as Lothíriel learns about Rohan, the readers learn about it, too. And the culture of the Riddermark is extremely interesting, not just standard medieval fantasy.

The great risk, of course, is turning Lothíriel into a Mary-Sue character. I haven't run much into that, however, because the Éomer/Lothíriel pairing is one of the rarer ones due to the fact that the courtship and wedding and indeed the entire relationship happens after the book ends, off-stage, and so the more clumsy beginning fanfiction writers may not even KNOW about the pairing. On the contrary, the few who do write it are steeped in Tolkien's lore, and I think, better writers.

Two of the prominent writers I've enjoyed the most are Lady Bluejay and Lialathuveril, both of whom have returned to the pairing again and again, writing some impressive, novel-length works. They have played with a number of questions: was it an arranged marriage or a love match? Or was it an arranged marriage which turned into a love match? Or was it an unhappy marriage? What is Rohan like? What sort of role does Lothíriel have in her new home? What does she discover about the different role of women in her original home by the sea as opposed to her adopted home?

Deandra writes Éomer/Lothíriel, too, and she's quite prolific but her works are generally shorter, and not, I think, quite as richly complex.

However: as I said, I went out on the internet looking for more (since it's a rarer pairing it's hard to find new stuff) and I ran across a story and author I'd never encountered before. I must say I think it's one of the strongest fanfiction stories I've ever read. It's REALLY different than the standard Éomer/Lothíriel story, which often concentrates on how they met, how they fell in love, and how did Lothíriel adjust to Rohan.

I've seen some Éomer/Lothíriel stories that deal with Haradian characters (generally they're cast as villains), but I've NEVER seen a Éomer/Lothíriel story which takes place partly IN Harad. Éomer and Lothíriel spend almost the entire story apart, but they are learning about each other and their relationship is changing, even so. It examines big, big questions which seemed to me particularly timely, considering the goddawful news out of the Middle East: what is justice? How does a nation recover from war? What should you do when you encounter your enemy afterwards--if you win OR if you lose? What are the moral justifications for going to war? There was what (I thought) was a really surprising twist toward the end, and the ending itself was absolutely stunning.

I'd really love to get your reactions. The story is In His Face A Shining Light and it's by Carryon14.
pegkerr: (Delia)
My church has a lovely custom which we have performed the past several years in order to celebrate the children we have seen grow up in the church who are about to graduate from high school. A knotted fleece blanket is made for each grad in their high school colors, and they are draped over the rail at the front of the church through the entire service. At the end of the service, the students, each wearing a corsage, are called up, and they are joined by their families, Sunday school teachers, confirmation leaders, and any other caring adult who has gotten to know them over the years who wishes to come up, too.

Delia's school doesn't really have colors--it's a very small charter school--but their mascot is the dragon, and they are very LGBTQ friendly, and so the rainbow is welcome there. The church found exactly the right fabric to honor her ("my blanket is the awesomest!" she said). At the end of the prayers of blessing and sending forth, the parents and other adults who love the child drape the child in his or her blanket.

Out in the Narthex, a gift bag is set up for each grad, with a description of their plans for the coming year taped to the front (where they plan to go to college or trade school; what they want to study). The congregation is encouraged to write caring notes which are slipped into each of the balloon-decorated bags, and then everyone celebrates with cupcakes.

When we were walking out to the car, it brought another memory flooding back, which I wrote in my journal in 2005 here. This is the crucial paragraph, a description of a moment when I looked at her when she was almost nine years old:
I looked at her, really looked, as we approached the car. The balloons bobbed over her head, blobs of bright and happy color bouncing on the breeze. She had a Blizzard in her hand, a treat that she loves. She wore her dearly beloved flip-flops, and a lilac blouse, and a pair of stained and battered shorts that spoke of hours in the sun, playing. And I was suddenly proud that I could give her that moment, and all the other moments we have given her. She was out for Dairy Queen with her family. We were giving her a life, a childhood full of balloons. I hope she will look back on this moment someday and agree that yes, it was good. As a parent who loves my girls with a passion and tries really really hard, it helps to know that sometimes (at least once in a while) I manage to do some things right.
I showed the entry to Delia recently. She looked at me today as we approached the car, again with balloons bobbing over her head, and she said aloud just what I was thinking: "a childhood, with balloons!" Now her childhood is ending, again with balloons, and a lovely ritual to remind her that no matter where she goes on her journey from here, our love and our prayers go with her.

May 18, 2014

May 18, 2014
pegkerr: (candle)
The Midlife Journey
The Midlife Journey - Council Card
I am the One who responds to the Call or inner restlessness or new freedom by sailing away from the familiar and secure, in hopes of new energy and purpose. I can only leave with the support of those who love me.

This is related to a whole mess of cards:

The Call

The Hidden Passage (I really like the fact that it even looks like the same woman.)

The First and Seventh Chakra cards (the Tortoise and the Swan), as well as the swan patronus cards. (Well, okay, those are turtles in this new card whereas the chakra card is a Tortoise, but, um, close enough). The idea is that first chakra, The Tortoise (security needs) up to the Seventh Chakra, the Swan (connection with between myself and the rest of the universe) bless this journey.

I see links to Trustworthiness, too, with the linkage of hands (which is meant to show that this journey is very much supported. I am not intending to cut myself off from the people I love by taking this journey. Instead, it is (perhaps wishful thinking) very much supported by them.

Even the Silence card is related (which also has the bird)

Of course, what the woman wants to escape from is this and this.

I like this card very much, aesthetically, and it is getting at the heart of what I've been struggling with the past two weeks. I want to leave my job, my career. But how? How can I reconcile that with my security needs? How can I care for my family?

Another title for it, I suppose, is Midlife Crisis.

Upon a little extra reading, in which I was trying to remember which tarot card this reminded me of, I was tempted to stick six swords through the composition. It does resemble the Six of Swords card, in that it resembles that boat, beginning a journey. The Six of Swords card is sometimes called the Slough of Despond card....except the boat pushing away from shore suggests hopefulness, a movement toward something new.

Making the card was a better way to spend the afternoon than diving into the abyss that threatened to swallow me. I got out of bed, managed to choke down a little bit of food, and made something artistic rather than brooding.


Feb. 14th, 2014 01:29 pm
pegkerr: (Default)
A long time ago, someone gave me Zoe Mulford's song Elegy (Crystal Glass), which you can hear in its entirety on her website here. The lyrics are also posted there.

Do listen to it, and leave me a comment if you do. I think it's a lovely message. I draw it to your attention in honor of the ten beautiful crystal iced tea glasses my mom has given me, as part of her move to a smaller home.



pegkerr: (No orc would say that)
Interesting article here.
"CEO Barilla has released another apology, this time on video. It’s difficult to watch the video, and Barilla’s near comatose delivery, without thinking of Patty Hearst. Clearly this is someone who’s had a bad 48 hours, and appears under some duress....In response to the video, a number of people on Facebook defended Barilla’s homophobia, and actually got upset with him for apologizing. Sadly for Barilla, his defenders didn’t do him any favors."
Mr. Barilla's apology is undercut by previous remarks, which suggests that this 'apology' is simply back-pedaling to protect the company's market share. Yet: is it possible that people whose opinions are laced with homophobia can change? Is it possible that the outcry from Mr Barilla's remarks have shocked him into really rethinking his attitudes? It's possible. Difficult, but possible. Since he does want to protect the company, his apology is suspect, and one wonders how sincere it really is (he still insists he has never discriminated against gays. Yeah, right). Yet, if he does follow through with his offer to meet with people whose definition of family differs from his, perhaps his mind will be opened. A little.

For the time being, however, I won't be buying any Barilla pasta.

What do you think?

See also this article.
pegkerr: (Excellent you seem to be coming to your)
I have been thinking quite a bit about this article the last couple of days. Marriage equality has come to Minnesota, but some people, apparently are all about the 'Oh Noes!' and 'The moral downfall of our state' and 'Hate the sin and love the sinner.'

I've been probing my own feelings about this. It's difficult: I want to both mock and get angry. Part of my emotion comes from the fact that when I was much, much younger, I suppose I would have been disapproving of marriage equality--if I had even thought about it, which no one I knew did back in the 80s. Why did my opinion change? It was because I came to actually know some gay people, and it all crystallized because of all the research I did for The Wild Swans. The other reason was that I hear echoes of my Dad in some of the words here. I called him on it, strenuously, when I scolded him for his vote in Georgia. I do wonder if I would have been able to change his mind if he had lived long enough to vote on the matter in Minnesota. I would like to think so. He was certainly ashamed of himself when I explained to him that he had, entirely without realizing it, voted against civil unions too when he cast his vote in Georgia, which he hadn't intended to do.

I remember the conversation I had with a co-worker a long time ago about gay civil rights. She was very conservative, and I tried to open her mind a little. She got quite offended, and as she stalked back to her desk, she said something revealing: 'I'm too old.' As in too old to change her mind? That comment has always haunted me.

This article, "Why Privilege is Hard to Give Up" was fortuitously timed to reflect upon the first article I linked above. It's true: these people have been accustomed for so long to think that their marriage, cis-gendered heterosexual marriage, is the only real marriage. And now they're throwing a tantrum because their privilege is being taken away. Despite my tug of sympathy (I came from a place where I understood that point of view) I can't help but think that their tantrum makes them look ugly and clueless. And even MORE ugly in protesting 'Don't call us bigots!'

Um. Cluebat? You are bigots.

There's a little tragedy buried in that article, too. One of the commentators, going on about 'Hate the sin, love the sinner' notes that he has a son who is gay. But they don't talk very much anymore. He also said sadly that his son identifies as an atheist.

GEE, I WONDER WHY?! Could it be possibly because you've been doing such an extraordinarily lousy job of modeling God's love to him that he's decided, "You know, for my own self-preservation, I don't want any part of a 'loving God' who looks like that. Who judges and rejects me for the way He created me."

Changing minds is hard. But it's worth doing. I have a great deal of respect for the guy who is doing the blog My Obama Year, a conservative who decided to take a year to really delve into and try to understand all the liberal opinions and stands he's been reflexively rejecting for years.

See also this post I made about changing hearts and minds.
pegkerr: (Default)
I found this to be sweet and quite moving.

The director's commentary, here, is worth reading, too.
pegkerr: (All we have to decide is what to do with)
I had no intention of pulling out my soulcollage materials tonight.

My backbrain, however, insisted.

This card is related to several other cards in my deck: the Bearer of Burdens card, the Time card, the Dementor card, and The Woman Who Listens to Ravens card. I also think it's the card about what can happen if you resist crossing the Hidden Passage.

Cog in the Machine - Committee Suit
Cog in the Machine - Committee Suit
I am the One who feels trapped by duty and necessity into doing work without desire. I have hidden my authentic self behind masks for so long that I am deadened to everything. I am effective for other people's profit, but never for myself. I am a slave to routine, helpless to change my own fate.

Obviously, this has been much on my mind lately.

Not sure how I feel about this card. It's something I've certainly been thinking about lately, which makes it powerful, but I don't think it's one of my more sophisticated cards, artistically.
pegkerr: (Default)
I discovered the blog Advanced Style and have been poring over some of the entries with great interest. First of all, I've been thinking a lot about my body and how I dress. Pennies have been tight for quite awhile, but although I don't know much about fashion, I know all about the mental lift it can give you when you feel as though you look fabulous.

This blog spotlights women in their seventies, eighties and even older who dress them to suit themselves and carry themselves with confidence. Some of them look stunningly elegant:



some of them (in my opinion) look more than a little dotty:


but what pulls the blog together is these women's self-confidence. Many of them choose pieces with brilliant color:





They are dressing to suit themselves, and they've reached the age where they can say they don't really give a flip about what you think; they're not doing this for you, they're doing it for themselves. It's the difference, as one woman puts it, between 'Look at me!' and 'Here I am.' It's no coincidence that many of these women have active and busy lives into advanced old age.

The man doing the blog, Ari Seth Cohen, has a book out and a movie in development:

I'm very attracted to these women, who seem quite sure of themselves. It was interesting to probe my reaction to these pictures of confident crones, if you will, (and I use the word 'crone' in the best sense of the word) with the more wary reaction I have to the Red Hat Society (and not just, as [ profile] sdn says, because their website looks so awful that it sort of breaks the eyes). The Red Hat Society, if you'll remember, is a social organization for ladies, primarily over 50: they do outings together, where they all wear purple clothes and red hats. Both Advanced Style and the Red Hat Society are trying to tap into the power of older women, help them harness self-confidence. And yet...I once was in a Red Hat Society store, and it struck me quite forcibly: 1) how corporate it is...see all the stuff they're trying to sell (note all the ads on the website) and 2) maybe it's encouraging women to discover their inner zing, stand out, be bold. But note how it works in practice: all the women at a Red Hat Society meeting dress alike: red hats, obviously, and purple dresses. The women that the Advanced Style blog follows seem to me to be much more individualistic. And they often make their own clothes, or create their own art pieces that they wear, sometimes with thrifted items.

I am sure the Red Hat Society has been a godsend to some women, opening them up to new adventures.

Somehow, I kinda think I might prefer, however, to hang out with the ladies profiled in Advanced Style.
pegkerr: (Delia 2012)
Delia sent an email message to some of her loved ones that read in part:
So, I've been thinking a lot about my birthday, what it means to me, and what I want. This year however, I don't really want the expensive camera, or the latest apple product or the newest cricut machine. I don't think I want material things this year.

Could you find some way to send me wisdom? I respect and admire each and every one of you, and I would love just a little piece of the wisdom that you all have. You are all such great people who have loved me no matter what, even when I made mistakes or I didn't believe you when you would say "I love you".

I know that this is a really different request from my past birthday wishes but I have some ideas in case you're stumped. Just know however that I want to know even more than what I ask here. Tell me and teach me things that I haven't even thought of.


These are just some of the things I think about when I'm wondering how you're doing and how you have lived such great inspiring lives. Your lives may not have been easy to start off with, and they may not be easy now, but you are satisfied with them. That is what I'm most envious of, your pure spirit, loving nature and wisdom that has let you all be satisfied with your lives, even at the worst of times.

Even though this might be confusing, I hope you understand somehow or someway. If you send me some wisdom in the mail, could you have it on it's own piece of paper? I want to collect these from all of my heros and inspirations and keep them together, for me to look at when I feel lost in life or simply miss you guys. Oh, and don't be afraid to decorate it!

I love you all!
This is what I wrote and included with her birthday card:
For Delia, on the occasion of your sixteenth birthday
With love, from Mom and Dad

1. You don't have to have everything figured out all at once.
You have a lifetime to discover who you are. We have no doubt that who you are becoming will be a wonderful person, but some parts may take years to figure out, whether it's what you want to do for your career, or who you want to love, or what you believe about God, or politics, or ethics, or all the other big life questions. Be patient with the process, because no one is keeping score. The journey is part of the process.

2. Be kind to yourself.
You are worthy of being loved. You are worthy of respect, even if you screw up and make mistakes. And you WILL make mistakes, because you are human. Frankly, if you DIDN'T make mistakes, you'd be kind of insufferable. Love your own body, show it respect, and treat it well.

3. Be kind to others.
Or if you can't be kind (because you just don't click with someone, or your values don't mesh with them, or they've hurt you), be wary and put your energy into protecting your boundaries, rather than being needlessly cruel.

4. Make sure that others are kind to you.
Don't let others treat you badly. Remember the rule we raised you with: when you say, 'Please stop' the other person has to stop. If they don't, you don't need them in your life. You have the right to expect that respect.

5. Be open to experience.
Be brave, without being reckless. Try new things. Be open to new people. We think that your inner creativity will probably make you a natural at this, but remember to keep renewing your commitment to this as you grow older. It's natural to fall into patterns and to go with what's easy. Strive to keep from falling into ruts.

6. Ask for help if you need it.
You will acquire mentors throughout your life. You have already shown your wisdom by asking for wisdom for your birthday. Keep doing that. Keep an eye out for people whose lives you admire and pick their brains. People are usually delighted to be asked for their expertise. If you realize that you are in a situation where you are over your head, or you feel trapped or you're being abused, and you need help ask for it. Don't let pride stop you.

7. Be open to love.
Love can hurt, but it is also the source of some of life's greatest joys. Sometimes it takes work, and that can be kind of a pain, but it's worth putting in the work. It won't be perfect. No one can effortlessly intuit what you need, and sometimes you have to tell them. Sometimes loving someone else doesn't mean feeling love, but it's an act of will. Your mommy and daddy come down strongly on the side of, 'Love is worth it.' You are worth it. Never doubt it.
pegkerr: (Default)
"We feel instinctively that societies with huge income gaps are somehow going wrong. Richard Wilkinson charts the hard data on economic inequality, and shows what gets worse when rich and poor are too far apart: real effects on health, lifespan, even such basic values as trust."


"I think the take home that we can improve the real quality in human life by reducing the differences in income between us."
GNP per Capita isn't predictive. But income inequality is. Very persuasive.

pegkerr: (A light in dark places LOTR)
Maybe it's giving up a writing career and then giving up karate and not knowing what, exactly, will replace it.

Maybe it's that, after thirty plus years of daily faithfulness, I no longer write in my paper journal.

Maybe it's the unseen daily struggle, the stuff that Elinor Dashwood does not think seemly to hash in this online journal. It takes up what feels like maybe seventy, eighty percent of my brain space, and yet so much of it I do not feel at liberty to disclose (it involves other people's stories rather than my own, and why would I want to vent about such dreary, depressing stuff anyway, and oh, Peg, aren't you just sick of the self-absorption of it all?) And so this journal has been quiet.

I keep thinking of "To Room Nineteen" by Doris Lessing. I'm definitely feeling haunted by it. Don't misunderstand me: I'm not saying that I'm feeling suicidal or anything; I'm definitely not. But the similarity of that protagonist's situation to my own situation niggles at me, like a tiny yet fierce sliver under the skin. The children have grown and are moving into independence, and now...what? She sits in a room, silent, with nothing to say, trying to find her way back to herself.

What happens if she can't?

There have been so few comments on my posts lately. Is it because I'm disappearing, because I truly have nothing left worth saying?

I need a new purpose. I don't know what it is yet. There has to be some point to my life from this point on other than falling into silence.

It would help if I didn't have to deal with all this other crap in my life, that weighs me down, burdens and exhausts me emotionally.

But I suppose wishing for that is pointless.
pegkerr: (Default)
I kidnapped Fiona tonight so that I could take her out to see The Lion King 3-D.

You must understand: for a period of perhaps three years, Fiona was OBSESSED with the Lion King. Perhaps it was because we started her watching videos relatively late in her childhood, so when she finally saw a movie like that it made a huge impact on her imagination. Our particularly special custom was that we woke her up with the soundtrack every morning. That is more profound than you may realise: each morning, she was awakened by Lebo M's joyful cry to the sun, followed by the hushed counterpoint, echoing across the African savannah:

Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba [Here comes a lion, Father]
Sithi uhm ingonyama [Oh yes, it's a lion]

Nants ingonyama bagithi baba
Sithi uhhmm ingonyama

Siyo Nqoba [We're going to conquer]
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala [A lion and a leopard come to this open place]

And then a solemn, swelling incantation followed, calling her to life, to wakefulness, assuring her that life has pattern, meaning, order. Circle of Life makes me think of youth, family, right beginnings.

Then, as the sleepiness ebbed away and we wrestled her into her clothes, the bouncy, optimistic strains of "I Just Can't Wait to Be King," started up, a cheerful ditty brimming with anticipation and good humor. That was a great way to encourage her to look forward to a new day.

It was wonderful to see the movie again, and fun to experience it in 3D. Unlike many standard movies that have 3D added, animated movies work very nicely in 3D. Since the colors are so rich and saturated, you don't have that murky sense that plagues some. It was wonderful to share it with her again.

I think that by beginning the mornings of her childhood with these songs, we gave her a very great gift.

pegkerr: (Default)
Here's a post I bookmarked years ago, which I occasionally reread, along with the comments.


pegkerr: (Default)

April 2019

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Peg Kerr, Author


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