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All things Texas Auction

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Interesting day at Burley’s auction in New Braunfels.
I’m realizing how hilariously little I know about guns. It shoots? Great! $3000? Why?
Oh wait, sorry for the fuzzy picture, but this pistol “shipped to Charles Goodnight in 1881” went for $26,000…?!
I clearly don’t get this.
Very cool taxidermy and old bookcases though!

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Nourishment.

One happy by-product of harvest day at the World Hunger Relief Farm was this delicious home-made pizza!

I wish I’d snapped a picture of the lovely bunch of basil I brought home, but I did at least catch the end result.

Home-made Pizza

This was my first shot at pizza dough away from home (aww Mom always made it for me) and without a bread machine.  The first came out huge and puffy so I stretched the smaller two more. Flat. This one has fresh pepperoni, fresh basil leaves, mushrooms, and bell peppers.  I made a little vegan one for the roommate (no cheese) and one for M for the weekend so he wouldn’t starve.  (mildly successful, will leave cereal next time)

We enjoyed it with an interesting concoction of hand-squeezed watermelon juice and Moscato wine.  A week ago Michael and I ventured out to a nearby flea market I hadn’t explored (his wonderful idea) and picked up a pile of really cheap produce from Mexico, including two decent sized watermelons for $5!

He got bored one afternoon and decided to make hand squeezed watermelon juice (interesting..) but what to do with the pulp?

It had the consistency of ground beef, he noted, so he decided to bread it in cornmeal, fry it, add a little syrup and powdered sugar and surprise me with a watermelon pancake!

Watermelon Pancake

So very thoughtful! So…not very edible.  But this is the most creative food I’ve seen in a long time, so kudos. top that. hahaha…

Harvest

Work work work.  Isn’t that the opposite of summer?

While most days I get to gaze out at the heat from my over-air conditioned desk at a school district Child Nutrition office, I occasionally get to venture across the highway to the World Hunger Relief Farm for a morning of harvesting.  (Sometimes I get to move out there altogether!…for office work. But still, the laid-back farm atmosphere is refreshing, even without much a/c)

Harvest Day

The World Hunger Relief Farm is a farm with a mission to end hunger worldwide.  They research sustainable farming practices and equip adventurous people from all over the world who are daring enough to live on the farm, eat off the farm, and learn their skills.   They’re pretty legit.   The garden that we help harvest is part of a 60 share co-op and grows such interesting specimens as cowpea greens, peppers, beans, and basil to name a few….

Currently going on at the farm…they have an excessive number of bunnies 🙂 and cute grubby little pigs!  One of the guys at the farm has taken on nine pigs as a personal project.  He’s done a lot of mission work deep in Mexico and sought more sustainable methods of development than even building houses, so he came to the farm with his family to learn some tricks of the trade.  Pigs are very sustainable, as they will eat just about anything….but i was surprised to find that they’re sensitive little creatures too.  If you move them too often, if they’re lonely, or just over all sad…they die.  He keeps these pigs awfully happy with molasses and whey, and endless places to graze and wallow (indicated by their curly tails!).  I can’t imagine killing a pet and eating it (AH!) but with all the love he’s given these pigs he’ll just make someone else kill them – an inevitable occurence; when they’re happy with room to move and wallow they never over eat (surprise!) but they will grow and grow and grow….seemingly endlessly.  Anywho, at about nine months old they’re still cute:

Update

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Life in this little corner of the world is going by so fast, but I’ve never been happier.

Michael and I are soaking up every bit of free time we can this summer, spending time in Waco, exploring Cameron Park, playing frolf (frisbee golf, aka “disc golf”) visiting friends and family, and even enjoying cooking together, because…why not? He’s quite the chef and it’s been a creative good time, plus a great break from wedding planning. Oh! That. We’re getting married in December! (It’s kind of the highlight of my year…err, life?) More of that to come, no worries.

In the meantime, here are some tasty inside out strawberry cheesecake bits I made:

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live in us

Siem Reap, Cambodia

THAT LIVES IN US

– Rumi

If you put your hands on this oar with me,
they will never harm another, and they will come to find
they hold everything you want.

If you put your hands on this oar with me, they would no longer
lift anything to your
mouth that might wound your precious land-
that sacred earth that is
your body.

If you put your soul against this oar with me,
the power that made the universe will enter your sinew
from a source not outside your limbs, but from a holy realm
that lives in us.

Exuberant is existence, time a husk.
When the moment cracks open, ecstasy leaps out and devours space;
love goes mad with the blessings, like my words give.

Why lay yourself on the torturer’s rack of the past and future?
The mind that tries to shape tomorrow beyond its capacities
will find no rest.

Be kind to yourself, dear- to our innocent follies.
Forget any sounds or touch you knew that did not help you dance.
You will come to see that all evolves us.

If you put your heart against the earth with me, in serving
every creature, our Beloved will enter you from our sacred realm
and we will be, we will be
so happy.

 

listen to my hands

My friend once said, “The greatest human desire is to know and be known.”

Alexi Murdoch – Song for You   [listen] lyrics below

Sometimes I agree more than other times, but it definitely holds some merit.  I’ve thought about this a lot over the last four years of college.  What’s the purpose of developing friendships, relationships with people, with God?

People pass in and out of each other’s lives, and that’s something I used to grieve.  I “missed” a lot, always yearning for the way something was and never living in the present.  It became an excuse, an escape.  Travel some place far far away in my mind and don’t invest in anyone here and now, because if they know me that’s a part of me that they’ll always have.  And I won’t.  A lot of people come in and out of my life – part of it’s circumstancial, and it’s just become my pattern.  Growing up, I went to 10 different schools K-12, and that’s the best possible training to get to know people quickly, fully, and learn to move on.  I was an open book.  I yearned to be known and I had a true and honest desire to get to know my friends, what they think, why and how they think it, what values we have or share and what passions motivate them in life.  I was fascinated by the variety of the human psyche and actually read AP Psych books for fun, as if there was a secret code to be cracked.

Throughout college my interest in people endured, but I realized that everyone is only interested in themselves, and it’s easiest for everyone involved if I listen, support, encourage, but stay closed.

Lifegroup was unsettling.  Finally, a place where my story could be heard, and people asked for it.  But people as a collective whole, it was a pressure to tell your story, check, move on.  I told a few bits and pieces of my story, people nodded, no one remembered the next week.  It’s part of a process, I was told; it was good for me to let this stuff out.  But no!  I felt used, neglected. I’d rather keep my stories to myself than make light of them.  And as i share here, I know this is a common thread in the great human story of existence.  I have no solution, I just voice my complaint to God, rail against the way we’re all created and go on neglecting to get to know my friends because, after all, I’m a selfish creature too.

Here’s my tiny selfish voice in the storm:

[Why must I be the better person?  I overlook drama and push understanding beyond the limits of reason, accepting outright insults and misunderstandings because I’m not going to let the discrepancies of this moment disturb my emotional calm.  I am (determined to be) the anti-drama.  I’m in a relationship with someone who so emphatically declares, ‘I cannot be known!’ and yet I listen, and question, and listen, and realize I’m just a passing interest and outlet for the story of his life to unfurl and he needs an audience.  As long as I know this, I’m ok, but as soon as I know this, I’m a supportive friend, the detached, devoid…I recognize the transience of friendship and knowing and forgetting and the ultimate insignificance of this moment, so why give away my story when people just need someone to listen to theirs?]

I really do grow one revelation, one resolution at a time.  This is the way I am – I process until something soaks into my soul, vent until I find a course of action and silently change.  I became an individual this way, resolute, creative, untouchable.  It’s damned foolish to divest my emotional self with my story.  People can know me, but they can’t take pieces of me away anymore, because of the blessing of temporal memory.  No one really listens to other people or takes their story as anything more than a relation to self.  So even divulging my innermost thoughts, emotional changes, deeply personal stories of self will never be absorbed by someone who hears, but does not comprehend.  They’re still me, they’re still mine.

But here I resolve again to be independent – the only one to understand me can and should be my creator.  He is enough, more than enough.

And if I take the time to know people, I will Know them.  Why invest in a friendship unless I can bring some good to some one else’s life?

I pry not because I need to know, but because (most) people want to be known.  And occasionally, a couple wonderful friends press in, make me cry, and make me realize that I do have to depend on people around me – and that’s a beautiful thing.

Alexi Murdoch – Song for You

So today I wrote a song for you
Cause a day can get so long
And I know its hard to make it through
When you say there’s something wrong

So Im trying to put it right
Cause I want to love you with my heart
All this trying has made me tight
And I dont know even where to start

Maybe thats a start

Cause you know its a simple game
That you play filling up your head with rain
And you know you are hiding from your pain
In the way, in the way you say your name

And I see you
Hiding your face in your hands
Flying so you wont land
You think no one understands
No one understands

So you hunch your shoulders and you shake your head
And your throat is aching but you swear
No one hurts you, nothing could be sad
Anyway youre not here enough to care

And youre so tired you dont sleep at night
As your heart is trying to mend
You keep it quiet but you think you might
Disappear before the end

And its strange that you cannot find
Any strength to even try
To find a voice to speak your mind
When you do, all you wanna do is cry

Well maybe you should cry

And I see you hiding your face in your hands
Talking bout far-away lands
You think no one understands
Listen to my hands

And all of this life
Moves around you
For all that you claim
Youre standing still
You are moving too
You are moving too
You are moving too
I will move you

brevity.

earth & water : ysolda.com

The Importance of Living by Lin Yutang  challenged my ideas of the role of family in Chinese culture…and what it should be in Western culture.  He tells a beautiful creation story:

“God took a handful of mud, molded it into human shape and breathed into nostrils a breath, and there was Adam.  But Adam began to crack and fall to pieces, and so He took some water, and with the water He molded the clay, and this water which entered into Adam’s being was called Eve, and only in having Eve in his being was Adam’s life complete.  At least that seems to me to be the symbolic significance of marriage.  Woman is water and man is clay, and water permeates and molds the clay, and the clay holds the water and gives it substance, in which water moves and lives and has its full being” (The Importance of Living, LinYutang, p. 181).

Literally every class I’m taking this semester (with the exception of Russian) incorporated the Biblical creation story and the intellectual shift during the Enlightenment from a geocentric to a heliocentric universe, but this Chinese story is my favorite non-Biblical story of creation.  Honor of the family structure as the core of Confucian principles and the backbone of society makes so much sense with a foundation like this.  All pride, achievement, respect, really anything we seek to achieve individually in the Western world is only appropriate in the context of family and…it just makes sense.

On a global/social scale the nucleus of the family maintains social order and keeps each citizen acutely aware of their integral role in society, just like their essential role in a family, but how has this structure held up so long in Chinese culture?  Is it as prevalent in practice as in classic ideology?

> How important are relationships in life?

> Are people all meant to pass in and out of each other’s lives?  Are a select few meant to stick it out forever?

It is said that the philosopher Chuangtse, when his wife died, was found singing and beating a drum – he needed no sorrow for loss because she had come from the earth and returned to the earth joining in the eternal procession of spring, summer, autumn, and winter.  In following Daoism, the present holds all importance and time is only relative to the process of change.

This concept seems to be very popular in America, and Sarah Wilson’s reaction to this “popular” form of Eastern thought is priceless

“In recent times, the Buddhist fervour that’s hit yoga schools and water cooler talk has put the pressure on me to “let go” and “live in the now”. All good stuff, but ONLY once you’ve seen what’s down there. Otherwise, isn’t it like popping a valium and saying life is great? Isn’t it like viewing life from a cinema pew?”

I take a different route from her in posing a solution, per say. I know my spiritual and ethical background says that life is ALL about relationship – with Jesus Christ my savior, with the body of Christ (as in my community) and each person that enters another’s life is significant.  Oh, and marriage as a divine sanction and all that jazz, but that’s a topic for later.  So I can dig around in the origins of Christianity and find the ideal familial relationship – the tribes of Israel as they (ideally) completely depended upon one another, held each other accountable to stay true to their covenants with God, and take corporate punishment or blessing for their dis/obedience to God.

In the book of Joshua, the Israelites defeat the city of Jericho and one man, Achan takes spoils of war directly against God’s commandment and hides them in his tent.  The whole story (Joshua 7:1-26) sheds a bit of light on details, but in retribution he, his entire family and all their possessions are brutally destroyed.  The contrast to the mercy of the new covenant in Christ is huge, but I have to wonder, what happened to these crazy tight family relationships and societal bonds?  Not just in “modern society” or “in America,” but where does Christianity today stand on sustained relationships?

In my church, relationship with Jesus is of utmost importance (as I fully agree with) but the purpose of spreading the gospel and multiplying believers supersedes sustained relationship – and not just in college groups (where that’s completely natural), but in following Matthew 19:29

“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (NIV)

It often takes a direct correlation to day-to-day life for some things to make sense in understanding, not just knowledge and this is one area where I’m seeking understanding.  I’ve heard this in the context of separating from non-believing family members to follow Jesus, but what about people who leave their faith communities and are sent out as missionaries?  What’s the Christian role of sustained relationship in their lives?

What about non-stationary people who experience a natural flux of relationship, maybe even travel and share the gospel, but primarily through work?  So many questions.  So many possible answers.  If any of this strikes your interest, let me know what you think.