Monday, March 31, 2008


I had a dream last night that I was at my parents' house, and everything was all cleaned off. I walked from room to room. Empty. No piles of papers and junk. Just cold hardwood floors and a couple of dust bunnies and your voice echoing off the bare walls. I began to cry at this indication that they were preparing to sell it, and because apparently home isn't home without all of the crap everywhere.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Smile. It's the Law."

That is what the man whom I pass on the way to work each morning, who sits on the corner, cradled in the monumental lap of the church, has written on his cardboard sign.

I kind of imagine him as someone who is actually highly educated but just couldn't quite fit with the mainstream. Maybe he found himself in this situation and just decided to make the best of it. Or perhaps he chose this path; perhaps he has found something more than the rest of us have found. It is a bit of an outrageous idea, it is true, but he certainly has an impact... at least in this small corner of the world. A modern sage, of sorts. Maybe he has had the mysteries of the universe unfolded to him, and what it comes down to is smiling at those who pass by, spreading a little joy to the world. And we humbly ask him to tell us the secret to life and he just points to that sign. "Smile. It's the law." Because maybe that is THE law: if we share joy, we receive it as well.

Orrr... he could just be a crazy old bum.

I kind of would prefer not to know either way.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Well, I am officially agnostic.

I have been doing a lot of introspection. For the past year or so, I sincerely asked questions, sought answers, reached out in "prayer" (as much as I could when I felt like I was just speaking to a void), listened for whatever might come my way. I do not know what else I should have been trying.

And I've grown tired of it. I have worked on this more than I have worked on almost anything. Or let me re-phrase that: more than I have worked at least on anything for which I have seen so little progress. For most things, when you put time and energy into them, you can see yourself improving, growing stronger or faster or more sensitive (or whatever quality you are working to cultivate). It seems that personal connection to a sentient "God" is unrelated to effort or desire on my part or anything I can control. And yet, I know of intelligent, thoughtful people who would swear there is a God, would swear that they have felt his presence or heard his voice in their lives, directing them towards the Good. So, while I haven't confirmed the existence of such a being, neither have I ruled out the possibility either, because I cannot discount the words and experiences of such wise and loving people.

I believe in humanity. I believe in love, in beauty, in virtue. I see a miracle in the world around us, in my fellow brothers and sisters. I wish to pass on a legacy of hope and rich tradition to the next generation, and I hope -- in some small or big way -- that my life may have an impact for good in this world. It just seems to me that if there is any type of divinity, if there is anything supernatural, it exists only as a non-intelligent force in the universe. It exists when two people laugh from some shared joy. It exists at the birth of a child. In a seed. It exists within the heart of an ancient man or a young girl. In earth worms. It can be found when we tell our children the stories of our ancestors. In song. In poetry. In art. It is the pattern found in the genetic code. It is a creative force, constantly refining and organizing chaos. But I cannot tell you whether it is anything or anyone "aware" or "omnipotent," as many others would claim.

Anyway though, I am thinking I will continue to participate in my church community. I do care about people immensely. I do want to make this world a better place. I certainly have the desire to change society for the better, but I have learned that I really do shine best within an existing framework. And there is a tremendous infrastructure for service already set up in this organization. It is a place where I have found many other good people who are striving to live better, more virtuous and loving lives. It is a place which welcomes my offering of service and efficiently puts it to use to benefit other people.

Maybe this new state of belief isn't so different from where I was before. I did not know then either. But it does FEEL different. Before, I was still seeking for some sort of intelligent connection. I guess not anymore. I guess I have lost hope in one type of god but am redoubling my efforts in finding (or cultivating???) another.

So, for now, this is my choice.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

In a Strange World

Seriously I have been feeling like a little monster lately, like the kind that chews on your ankle with its gummy mouth and tickles you in the ear, making weird little noises as it scampers off... Not dangerous, just slightly creepy. Some days the feeling is more like a strange and beautiful creature, but rarely do I feel human. It's not overwhelming, though. Just a kind of lonely backdrop to daily life. Or maybe just church life, which seems to be creeping more and more into normal life.

Well, the other day, my roommate made me watch this little clip and said "makes me think of you for some reason, Katie." And I am glad it does because the video makes me SO HAPPY. Watch until the end.

For what it's worth, she also, on a separate occasion, told me that she could imagine me working at Trader Joe's. This, I take as a most tremendous compliment, as I would like to marry Trader Joe's some day.

B and E are home on Spring Break, which means we get to spend lots of time together eating green frosting and watching such obscure childhood favorites as Dot and the Whale, and I remember my place in this world.

I guess it's just nice to feel affirmed.

Anyway I think I'm going to grow some vegetables this summer.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

International Women's Day

A friend and I were talking yesterday evening about how fortunate we are to be women in America in this day and age. It is tempting to glorify the past, but to be serious, it was actually pretty rough to be a woman then in many ways. Giving birth was a terrible risk; education was out; property ownership was out; voting was out. Wow! I am so blessed. I certainly wouldn't have been working as an engineer.

Anyway then you think about it and realize that in other places, even in America there's still a long way to go.

I love BBC News' "In Pictures" features. Well today highlights International Women's Day. Click on the picture to see more beautiful and amazing sisters from around the world.

Anyway, what can we do to help with the fight?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Trail Mix

"What are you doing???" we asked, eying the plastic baggie of Skittles and Golden Grahms.

"Eating trail mix," she replied.

"That is not TRAIL MIX. You cannot just mix random foods together and call it trail mix."

But we were wrong. Apparently she can.