Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Farm Life in the Fall

I'm enjoying the fall here, even though the leaves aren't as beautiful as normal (so they say... I still think they're great). The summer's been dryer and warmer than it generally is, making the leaves reticent to change color which, some predict, will make most of them simply turn brown and fall off. Still, there are many vibrant colors -- my favorite is the Virginia Creeper, a vine that turns crimson-red and runs its way along trees and power lines, reminding me that I am indeed alive and capable of awe.

This past weekend was a rough weekend for Monterey. Rain came steadily for nearly 48 hours, without stopping or letting up more than twice. Many basements are flooded and many dirt roads are impassable. On the farm, Diane's Trail lost part of a bridge and is messy at the moment, and one of our front fields was partly flooded.

Work here continues as normal, with me feeling less like someone who is pretending to be a residential advisor and more like someone who really is a residential advisor. I am also feeling like I'm a real part of the community here. I'm starting to be able to relax back into who I am and not feel the need to be someone/something different; to be able to spend less energy trying to connect on what felt like a sometimes artificial level and spend more energy bringing my gifts and personality to every situation.

The choir is starting slowly but surely. I'm still having trouble finding music that people can gather together around. Hymns and classics have been good for the groups I've heretofore been a part of, but neither seem to work as well with this population.

I've had some really great conversations with guests here about the nature of community, the necessity of trust, and the impact of integrity and confidence, reminding me that every person has things both to teach and to learn. Besides that, I've gotten beaten in chess more times than I've kept track of, yet I've almost beaten one of the best chess players on the farm. So, my brother... your attempts to teach me chess did work at least a little bit. =)

Seth and I are just commenting on the idea of "smoosh time" and saying how much we love our boss... Shelly trusts us to use our 40 hours each week in the ways that will be most helpful to us and to the farm -- therefore, for example, I can work extra today and take an extra break on another day if that makes the most sense. It's so great that she trusts us that much. Far from giving us something to take advantage of, she inspires us to work up to our potential. How great!!

'K... I'm still in the residential office and even though I'm not working, I feel like I'm still at work. Time for me to go home and do some Laura stuff... In the mean time, here's a question for you to ponder -- What's the nature of Truth? (is it absolute? relative? knowable? incomprehensible?...)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Iona Community Link

I just added a link, mostly for the benefit of my friend Seth, but also for anyone who wants to know more about the Iona Community -- they are an ecumenical group in Scotland (and around the world) that has an intentional Christian community on the island of Iona. I spent 8 weeks there last summer as a volunteer housekeeper and really enjoyed it. Their resource group puts out some really great music and other books... check it out! If you have questions, let me know...

Monday, October 03, 2005

Book List

August and September Book list revised (new ones starred):
"A book is a great book when the characters make us care enough about them to let them live, love, and hate on in our head long after their final epitaph on the page." ~Renita Weems

*Listening for God: A Minister's Journey Through Darkness and Doubt (at least, I think that's the title... by Renita Weems, well-written, exceptional content, good reference and not a really long or intense read)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (not bad... a good light / quick read, I recommend reading it before you watch the movie)

Making a Literary Life: Advice for Writers and Other Dreamers (really great practical and humorous look at the life of an author, esp. a fiction novelist, written by Carolyn See)

The Art of Being a Healing Presence (a pretty good description of what kinds of things my job entails)

An Unquiet Mind (memoir of a psychiatrist who struggled with bipolar -- a really great discription of the disease)

The Day the Voices Stopped (memoir of a man with schizophrenia -- another really good discription of mental illness)

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (like the movie, only a bit better)

Reviving Ophelia (good points about the effects of culture on adolescent girls; perhaps a bit outdated but still good)

Gathering Blue (if you liked the Giver [a must read, by the way] you'll probably like this one too)

(Also, be sure to look at comments for more suggestions [and comment yourself]... some wonderful ideas of books to read... So many books, so little time!)