Monday, March 31, 2008

In Defense of Philosophers

"I don't know where my expertise is; my expertise is no disciplines. I would recommend to drop disciplinarity wherever one can. Disciplines are an outgrowth of academia. In academia you appoint somebody and then in order to give him a name he must be a historian, a physicist, a chemist, a biologist, a biophysicist; he has to have a name. Here is a human being: Joe Smith -- he suddenly has a label around the neck: biophysicist. Now he has to live up to that label and push away everything that is not biophysics; otherwise people will doubt that he is a biophysicist. If he's talking to somebody about astronomy, they will say "I don't know, you are not talking about your area of competence, you're talking about astronomy, and there is the department of astronomy, those are the people over there," and things of that sort. Disciplines are an aftereffect of the institutional situation." Heinz von Foerster, from an interview with the Stanford Humanities Review ------ Having married a philosopher, I feel it's time to speak out in their favor. When people ask me what my husband does, I say, "He's getting his master's degree in philosophy at BC." (Sometimes I have to add, "Well, that's what he's doing right now. He wants to do a lot of things, including a few PhD's and maybe a JD and business experience.") It's always a little irritating when they say, often derisively, "Oh, what does he want to do? Teach?" Why is it that people think the only thing you can do with a philosophy degree (or classics, for that matter. grrr) is teach? Good philosophy should be the thorough and honest study of everything--the pursuing of one's unrestricted desire to know. Do you know that Ph.D. means "Doctorate of Philosophy"? That means you get a Doctorate of Philosophy in Chemistry, or a Doctorate of Philosophy in Cello Performance. Philosophy means the love of wisdom. If you have a PhD in chemistry, you have a love of the wisdom which chemistry offers. But what if you get a doctorate of philosophy in philosophy? You profess a love of wisdom offered by the love of all wisdom. It makes perfect sense to me that T wants a PhD in philosophy--he wants to know everything about everything. It's true that not all philosophy programs (and teachers) foster this love of wisdom about everything (or one thing). There are two analogies from Walker Percy that I think are fittingly applied to the word philosophy. It is like a very old coin that is still in use, but whose markings and differentiating symbols have been rubbed bare by over use. I often hear people clamoring about a "philosophy of living" or that "philosophy = X." But what do they mean when they use the word? Or, the word philosophy is like the hull of a very old ship, encrusted with so many barnacled layers of meaning that it is now barely recognizable as itself. Truly, philosophy carries with it much baggage. In this picture, the debate rises, "but what do you mean by philosophy? Is it a way of living or is it something you study in school and have tests on? Can you do philosophy or can you just read about it? Are there implications or is it just a collection of nice ideas to think about when you're bored?" The questions are endless. But still, bearing in mind the above quotation by von Foerster, I think philosophers should reawaken their unrestricted desire to know everything about everything. No more of this "I'm a 'philosopher' but I'm only interested in so-and-so's interpretation of this one particular sentence in this obscure work by another so-and-so you've probably never heard of." If the 'philosopher' is sincerely interested in that obscure something, fine. But he shouldn't let it be the sole focus of his studies. Similarly we, the "common people," the "uneducated," the "non-specialists," should NOT rely solely on the advice of the elite specialists! Everyone has a desire to know. Go find out everything about everything. As Calvin puts it, "Let's go exploring."

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

It may seem a bit cliche, but it's true! Since moving to the east coast, T and I have been missing many things about the west coast and GU and, yes, even Spokane!

I miss being close to family. T's family was only four hours away, mine was 19 (19 may seem like a lot, but it's 19 hours driving, and in our good little car it's still cheaper to drive for 19 hours than to fly for 5 1/2 hours from Boston). Also, being on the west coast meant not changing time zones whenever we did go to visit family. We went down to CA at least twice a year (and were able to stay for at least a week or so) and we'd visit Seattle every few months for long weekends. It was so good to be around all our little siblings and nieces and nephews. They grow up so quickly that one wants to be around for as much of it as possible! They've changed so much since we left...

It was also good to be around people who love you, and have always loved you, and will always love you. I'm not saying that our friends over here don't love us or won't love us in the future, but family is just different. My mother told me "your spouse is the only member of your family that you get to choose," which is true. But that means that God has chosen the rest of your family--your immediate and extended family, AND your in-laws (and their extended family!). There's no question about loving these people. They were put in your life by God and you have to love them (that's the way I put it when I was a kid--especially when my sisters and I were fighting). Friends may come and go, but you're stuck with family forever. :) And it's beautiful!
But speaking of friends--we have been blessed with those kinds of friends who become like family. The guys who are like brothers, women who are like sisters, and professors who become like favorite uncles or grandparents or older siblings, even. True, there aren't too many of them, but those we have are infinite beings whom we can spend the rest of our friendships getting to know! Some are here in Boston (Praise the Lord!) and others are scattered over the US and the world. We love our new friends, and we miss our old friends (so how 'bout that farm idea, eh?!).

T and I miss the Ruthenian Byzantine rite. Though, to be perfectly honest, neither of us are technically Byzantine. T's family converted and were all baptized into the Roman rite, but soon after started attending the Byzantine rite. He was mostly raised Byzantine, though, since they converted when he was 9-ish... Six of his younger siblings were baptized Byzantine. I was born and raised Roman Catholic and "became" Byzantine after meeting, falling in love with, and marrying T. My love of the Eastern Catholic traditions draws from, I believe, a deep and abiding love for all the beautiful aspects of the Roman rite. We love both rites! In Spokane, we'd go to Divine Liturgy on Sundays and to daily Mass during the week. I miss the fullness of experiencing both.

More specifically, I miss our dear little Ss. Cyril and Methodius church! I miss the icons and the Holy Doors and the processions and the vestments and the CUTE little altar boys and the singing and the babies and the INCENSE (so much incense--my hair usually smelled "like church" when we got home) and the Slavonic and... just everything. I miss Fr. Bill's homilies: "It's the quality of the fast, not the quantity, that is so important in our eastern tradition, my brothers and sisters. ::long pause as Father stares at the ceiling. Baby coos (sometimes crickets chirp):: And we must remember that as we move into this season of Great Lent."

For that matter, I miss going to St. John's in Seattle. I miss Fr. Joseph's homilies too: "The way you live is the way you die, and the way you die is the way you'll be for all eternity. So fast and pray!" (They're not all like that--he's just terse sometimes during Lent when he's only eating vegetables. His homilies are beautiful and profound!) I miss, too, all T's younger siblings singing the psalms and Fr. Joseph's gardens outside, and the bells!

And generally speaking, we miss the laid-back-ness of the west. It's not that the east coast is "uptight" or anything, but there's just a feeling of relaxation out west more than there is here. There's more space, too. And mountains--I miss the mountains.

Oh well, enough reminiscing. I didn't want this post to come off as complaining about being on the east coast--we are really enjoying ourselves out here (honest!). We have made wonderful friends, have good jobs, a nice home, and we get to have lots of fun, too. I guess I just wanted to put my two cents in about all the good we left behind. We'll get back there someday!

On the (Transferred) Feast of the Annunciation

Today Roman Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation (since March 25th fell during Holy Week it was "trumped" by Easter preparation). The priest even said that one of his fellow priests calls the Annunciation the feast of the Incarnation (life begins at conception!). :) During the prayers of the faithful, I wanted to add an intention for all expectant mothers--that Our Dear Lady would give them a safe, happy, and healthy pregnancy and delivery. But most of the other intentions were for those who have died, those who are dying, those who may be dying, those who are sick, those who mourn for the dead. These prayers certainly aren't bad or frivolous. Indeed, death is an evil that entered the world with original sin. We are right to pray for comfort for those who mourn and strength for those who are dying. But in the beginning it was not so (Gen 2:17). I've never lost someone very close to me, but I will--everyone will. It is sad and painful to part with anyone the way death parts people. But death is not the end. It struck me during the prayers of the faithful that Christians especially, in the face of all the pain and suffering caused by death, are called to be heralds of the Gospel of Life--to proclaim that Christ conquered death! We are called to oppose this culture of death, directly and firmly. We need to argue against the ideologies that tell us to avoid death at all costs, to stay "forever young" (that is, physically young. There is nothing wrong with being young at heart (as Frank Sinatra said so aptly in the song.)!). We still have to pass through death, but because of Christ's sacrifice, we pass through death into Greater Life. In George MacDonald's book, The Golden Key, Mossy has a conversation with the Old Man of the Sea:
"You have tasted of death now," said the Old Man. "Is it good?" "It is good," said Mossy. "It is better than life." "No," said the Old Man, "it is only more life."
It is more life because of Christ. And what about all the life we have already?! I know of at least 10 babies who have been born or will be born just this year. If I counted, I'll bet I could come up with at least 100 babies that I know (personally) who have been born in the last 5 years. That's a lot of children. Lots of beautiful children.. Which brings me to another thought. T and I are expecting. No (no), we're not pregnant. Not physically. But we are pregnant with the love God has given us, pregnant with the desire for new life. We are full of expectation and hope for the gift of a child. Our hearts swell at the chance to be parents. Why don't more people feel that way about life? We are blessed with happy families and many (many!) wonderful friends who are just as excited as we are about procreation, but what about the world? What happened to the sense of wonder and awe at the gift of new life. I've heard of villages who would throw a celebration if a baby cow was born. How about an immortal human soul being created? Anyway, enough ranting. Praise God for His gift of sweet life and lovely love. Happy feast of the Annunciation!

Friday, March 28, 2008

My Philosopher King.. uh, Husband...

Lying in bed last night, T and I were talking about our day. Mine was pretty ordinary of late: at work all day editing a very long report. I can't say T's was un-ordinary, but listening to him sleepily tell me about his day, snuggled up close to him in the dark, made me smile and remember how much I love him... First, we went to Mass together, which was nice. It’s always better with him.

He works at the Lonergan Center on Thursdays. Yesterday he was asked to run an errand by the director of the Center:

“T, here’s my card, here are my keys. Go to this place and do this errand.”

“Ok, where is the place?”

“On Market Street by the something-or-other”

“Oh, is it near this thing?”

“Yeah, but you make a sharper left.”

“Oh, ok. Cool.”

Then he tells me:

“So I went to her car and drove to the place. The radio was tuned to a mix-it station, and I listened to 5 songs on the way there. It occurred to me while I was driving that these same 5 songs were always played on the Seattle mix-it station in high school. Then I wondered if all mix-it stations played the same songs all across the nation.

Anyway, then I got to the place, did the errand, and drove back.”

After work on Thursdays he goes to class. His first class of the day is at 2 in the afternoon:

“In Kierkegaard today, our professor was looking around the room to find someone to help her out of her pause, and I was smiling. She said, “T, do you have something to add?” And the whole class looked at me.

“I opened my mouth, which was a mistake, and then paused, because I wasn’t sure if what I had been thinking about was the same thing she had just stopped talking about. I didn’t want to say that I was thinking about Lonergan’s idea of the agent intellect and how it could be called “god” the way Kierkegaard does because I thought someone might stone me, so instead, I just said: “I wasn’t paying attention.” And everyone laughed and laughed.”

Normally he goes to his favorite class next: Bernard Lonergan's Insight taught by the one, the only, Pat Byrne. But..

"Insight was canceled today because Professor Byrne wanted to to go to this lecture thing. When I got there, everyone was really dressed up, and I was wearing my hobo coat. So the nice name tag people shoed me through the door so no one would see me outside the lecture hall. Then I took off my coat [he had on a nice blue sweater his mom got him for C'mas] and went out again and they were much nicer."
His “hobo coat” isn’t really that bad; but it’s the typical plaid-flannel, polyester-lined, over-sized coat that he wears when he’s working outside and it’s cold.

T really liked the lecture. The speaker was good and she incorporated several solid elements into her talk (even JPII). “But she was introduced by four different people. And at the end, another guy got up to talk about her.” He wanted to record it, and kept telling himself “Ok, get ready to record. Get ready…” He even had his voice recorder in his bag. But I guess the number of introducers threw him off because he realized he was still telling himself “Get ready. Get ready…” half way through the actual lecture. Oh well.

He called me at the end to ask if it was ok to bring home a friend or two for dinner. I love that about him—he always calls to make sure it's alright. I don’t think I would go berserk if he didn’t ask me, but sometimes it could be bad… He’s very considerate :)

We had a delightful friend over for dinner and spent some time watching youtube videos about babies and hiccups and funny songs and fainting goats and had a good time laughing together. We told philosophy jokes (even about Plato and his political philosophy--the philosopher kings..) and talked about theology. We're such geeks.

Getting ready for bed, T began to do several things but forgot to finish them. He walked over to our humidifier, looked to make sure there was enough water in it, but then paused to, undoubtedly, catch a thought racing around in his head. Then he kinda stumbled away from the humidifier…

and plugged in his phone to change and reached to turn off the light. Except we have a lamp plugged into a socket that’s controlled by the wall-switch and he was reaching for the lamp. “T, you should turn it off at the wall,” I told him. “Oh... yeah” he said.

Then he climbed into bed and snuggled up to me and we said prayers together. Before drifting off, I asked him, "T, did you look at the humidifier and forget to turn it on?" He said, "Um.. yes." So I got up and turned it on :)


I think he’s deeply pondering one of the papers he will write this semester. One he will call "Kierkegaard Crosses the Rubicon" (a paper comparing Kierkegaard to Walker Percy, which title he told me about when he was in the shower: "Oh, and I've decided what I'm going to call my paper!"), and another for Insight. I don’t know what that paper will be about. I don’t know if Taylor knows yet either—but he’s super-excited to write it!

Or he could be thinking about the small village he and a bunch of friends are dreaming about building in Spain in a couple years. Apparently land there is quite cheap, and the spot is fairly close to Madrid but still fairly rural.

In any case, he was just adorable :) If anyone ever asks me why I married him, I quote my mother:

"He makes me laugh."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Don't Fence Me In...

A couple of friends of ours want to buy a farm with us. It's a grand plan that we're all dreaming about. Let's see if I can explain it... **fades into wistful idealism** First, A & R were married a year before T and I were. All four of us are Byzantine Catholic. T and A both chose grad schools far away from any conveniently-located Ruthenian Byzantine churches (it's not hard to do, though, so it's not really their fault). In any case, we have ALL been missing the pacific northwest (Go Zags!), family, friends, and the all-too-typical "simple life." So, we thought once the husbands finish school, it would be fun to buy a farm somewhere in WA, build a Byzantine church on it, and raise our kids together. There are all sorts of perks to having a farm... 1) Our own garden. T loves to garden. It's been quite a trial in a condo here, where the only two plants we have in the house are an African violet and an Easter lily... We could have all sorts of plants, provided we can keep animals and bugs away from nibbling the fruits, veggies, and flowers we'd grow. It'd be beautiful! 2) Milk cow or goats. I love raw milk--it makes me feel good about drinking it, and I love that I can make my own butter, sour cream, cream cheese, buttermilk, and any number of other fun dairy products (including ICE CREAM!). 3) Lots of space for kiddies to run around. See T's note: Random Memories. 4) The best of both worlds. In the pacific northwest, the farm would be close enough to "civilization" that T and A could commute to a University somewhere to teach, and R and I could afford to stay home and be wifely. There are other things that would be awesome, but I can't list them all here. If you think I should add any, leave me a comment! 5) Birds I think it would be fun to have a "bird haven" somewhere on our farm, preferably somewhere I can watch from a kitchen window! I love to watch birds--especially the rare ones like cardinals and blue jays that don't come out so often. 6) Bees. I think it might be fun to keep bees and have our own honey. Raw, unfiltered honey is so yummy--and it smells like wildflowers! And we'd be helping support the declining bee populations in the world. Yay for honey bees. Our farm wouldn't have to be a huge farm, and we certainly wouldn't have to have lots of animals or anything. T's family had some (about 4?) goats and (I think) it was enough milk for their dairy-loving family. We could raise chickens (T knows all about them) and then we'd have 1/2 our menu taken care of: eggs, roast chicken, chicken soup, chicken a la king, chicken pot pie, etc. Basically, you can do anything with chicken. The rest of the menu can be filled in with bread we bake and fruits and veggies we grow. And after my cousin in TX starts his beef ranch, there's another kind of meat for us! mmm... R and I could home school our kids together and A and T could supplement with more-specialized subjects (haha, because it's real likely our kids will want to know more about Lonergan's personalist thomism or Plato's political philosophy before they reach college). If we succeeded in building a church on our farm, T or A could become a Byzantine priest (gotta love the East) and then we could have liturgies on Sundays with anyone else who wanted to come. Or, Fr. Joseph could retire to our farm and say liturgy for us.. or Fr. Bill when he wants to retire :) Anyway, it's a fun dream, and it's not even outside the realm of possibility! I don't know if it will ever happen, but it would be grand if it did. :D Here's a nifty blog that sounds like the same kind of thing we want to do.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Indeed, He is risen!

What a beautiful holiday Easter is!! We went to the Vigil last night at St. Clement's--it was lovely! I always love to see the church so prettily decorated (one of the reasons we were married during the Easter season), and the priests so finely dressed. Truly, Christ is Risen, just as He said!

Mass was wonderful yesterday evening. The church was dark as we walked in and took our seats. After my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I was able to faintly discern the lilies lining the steps before the altar. I could discern an image of the Risen Christ above the Tabernacle, and the church smelled of incense already.

The liturgy began outside before a small coal fire which was blessed. The Easter candle also was blessed and lighted, and we began our procession into the church as the priest sang, "Christ our Light" to which we responded, "Thanks be to God!" As the congregation filled the holy space, our vigil candles were lit, one by one, from the Easter candle and the church was ablaze with candle light. In this ancient light, the Light of Christ, the Exultet was sung by the main celebrant: This is the night... this is the night. Oh happy fault.. oh necessary sin of Adam, that gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Then the liturgy of the word began--three of the seven readings from the Old Testament were read, with psalms in between--all in darkness. The epistle, too, was read in the dark... Then the lights came on as the Gloria began (a bit out of order, I think) and the Alleluia was sung, and the Resurrection Gospel (the Good News) was proclaimed!! I got goose-bumps as the gospel narrative was read--the earth shook, and an angel from heaven came down, rolled away the stone and sat upon it! I can't imagine being the ointment-bearing women seeing such events. But what I love about those women, is that they believed the message and immediately went to tell the disciples. Almost as a "reward" for their faithful action, Jesus meets them on the way! He is THERE before them: their Risen Lord! For three days their world was shattered, but in a moment it was changed and renewed forever. In one moment, unending joy entered their hearts and the Love from God was present to them in a new, ever-permeating, and everlasting way!

The renewal of baptismal promises: I DO reject satan, and all his works, and all his empty promises. I DO believe in God, in Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit. I DO look for the resurrection of the dead, and life everlasting. Amen.

Communion, as always, is especially moving after the Good Friday communion service, to once again witness the miracle of the Eucharist. To be truly one flesh with God... and be a true member of the Body of Christ, devoutly processing to receive Him into their hearts.

And the closing message: Go in peace, Alleluia! ALLELUIA!
Our response, which should be our response every moment of every day: Thanks be to God, Alleluia! ALLELUIA!!
for Christ is RISEN!

..just as He said.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter things on Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday is a day of waiting.. a day of meditating on the death of our Lord. Our icon corner is clothed in black, mourning His death.. ..... Still, I love Easter. I love it so much I can barely sit still during the vigil Mass or Liturgy. I can't WAIT for Mass tonight.. T is always telling me to be quiet and sit still, just like I was a little kid. :) I keep wanting to sing the Resurrection hymn we sing in the Byzantine rite (for those of you who went to our wedding, you should remember it--we sang it at least 20 times, probably more: "Christ is risen! Christ is risen! Christ is risen from the dead! By death he conquered death! By death he conquered death! And to those in the grave, He granted life!"). But T kept telling me "Not yet, just wait a little longer." I was thinking about it today and I can't imagine how it must have been for those first Christians--those who watched Christ die on the cross and were there as he was buried. What would it have been like for them who didn't know He was to rise on the third day? But, on the other side of the coin, I can barely imagine their JOY when they heard (and, for some, saw) the Risen Lord was ALIVE! I am glad that we can remember our Lord's Passion with the alleluia always in the back of our mind. It is a great grace to live life knowing and believing in the Resurrection. Praise God for His goodness. Since we're "bi-ritual" Catholics (or, as bi-ritual as one can get..), we had to decide on how to celebrate our Triduum weekend.. We decided, rather than drive to New York and stay with family in order to attend the Ruthenian Byzantine services for the Triduum, that we'd stay here and go to St. Clement's parish, a Eucharistic shrine under the direction of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. Roman liturgy done well is AWESOME! We've really enjoyed the services so far! One of the Byzantine traditions we like is to prepare a basket of all the food we've been fasting from (though not always so diligently!) during Lent: eggs, cheese, all sorts of meat, sweets, wine, and butter (any any other dairy--but milk can be hard to carry in a basket). We contemplated preparing a basket this year and taking it to the Roman parish where we've been going to church, and asking the priest to bless it, but we ruled it out because of the weird-ness factor of 1) it sitting in the pew with us all during the Vigil, and 2) having to ask the priest to bless it: "Hi, will you bless this basket of food for us?" "Uh.. why?" "Well, we're Byzantine and we've been fasting from these types of food for, like, 8 weeks now, and it's part of our tradition to have our already-prepared Pascha food blessed so we don't have to cook on Easter Sunday and so that the food we eat is holy." "Oh.. uh: Lord, bless the food here before you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Is that alright?" I mean, it would work, but.. maybe next year :) Among the traditional items placed in the basket is the Pascha bread, a very rich bread made with lots of eggs, white flour, and butter. Last year, Taylor's mom got us one from their home parish, St. John Chrysostom's in Seattle. This year, since that wasn't an option, I made my own. I didn't have the right size pan to bake it the more usual way, so I made a braided loaf with a three bar cross on top. It turned out rather prettily, and we'll see how it tastes tomorrow! :) Also a Byzantine tradition is to make a lamb cake. Ha ha, no, this is not a cake made out of lamb meat, though that's what I thought when I first heard T and his siblings taking about it. It's a pound cake baked in a lamb mold and decorated to look like it has fleece (usually involving coconut). T's family usually puts chick-peeps around it to make it look more spring-y. I don't have a lamb cake mold, and the one I ordered won't get here till bright week. Luckily the "feast" of Pascha lasts for 7 weeks... :D
I've also decided that some traditions from Christmas should also be Easter traditions. Most notably egg nog and springerle cookies. After all, isn't Easter more about eggs than Christmas? And, I happen to have a cookie mold (prefect for springerles) of the Paschal Lamb. :)
All in all, then, despite being so far away from our families, it should be a delightful Great Pascha! I leave you with a link to St. John Chrysostom's Pascal Homily.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I'm a Rotten Person

...according to my track record for forwarding emails, actually. According to these forwards, I don't love Jesus, I don't support our military, I don't want to find a cure for cancer, I don't want to make people smile, I don't want to show my friends I love them, and I don't care about a dying girl's wish to tell the world to slow down and enjoy life. Pretty rotten, huh? I thought so too. I don't get forwards very often anymore, due in large part to the fact that most of my friends don't have time to read and send on the good ones. But when I do get them, I delete them. I do enjoy reading the few I get these days (thanks Nina!) and they make me smile or laugh or thank God for my blessings. But I still delete them.. Part of it, I'm sure, is the fear of viruses or trojans lurking in the pictures or .gif images of forwards (which I almost never download). Part of it is horror stories I've hears about people whose computers crashed after forwarding a chain letter. Part of it is laziness... part of it is pure hippie-style rebellion. I'm not even sure why I'm blogging about it, except for the fact that every time I get to the end of a forward, after the cute (sometimes dumb, sometimes moving, sometimes evocative) message, I get a twinge of guilt when it says, "If you love Jesus and want His word known throughout the world, pass this on to 20 friends" or "If you believe people can change the world, share this with everyone in your address book," ...because I DO love Jesus and want His word known throughout the world. I DO believe people can change the world (for better or worse). But I don't have to forward the email to prove it. So I suppose this is my guilty confession: I DELETE FORWARDS, even though I care about my family and friends and want to find a cure for cancer and all that. There. That's all.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

Twice-Baked Potatoes

T and I helped with a confirmation retreat this weekend at the parish where he works. It went very well, but we were exhausted when we got home around lunch time. I only had energy to warm up some left over soup and I baked a couple potatoes--one red and one sweet (a yam). We didn't eat the potatoes for lunch, and they were just sitting out 'come dinner time, so I had to improvise with the recipe below. I cut each potato in half length-wise, and sliced the insides of both crosswise (to allow the toppings to soak through. On the red potato I spread some butter and topped it with cheese (I used Irish cheddar--any kind would work). For the sweet potato I mixed together brown sugar and oats (uncooked) to form a crumb topping, which I spread thickly on the top of the two halves and dotted with butter (to make it crispy!). I put both potatoes under the broiler for a few minutes to melt the topping and then we ate them. I added sour cream and green onions to the red potato... and I have a hunch that some sort of sweetened sour cream or cream cheese would be delicious over the sweet potato. Next time.... :) The only thing I would change is this: instead of broiling them, I'd (really) bake them again at about 350 degrees for maybe 15 or 20 minutes. I don't know if this would be better or not, but our potatoes weren't warmed all the way through with the broiling method.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Folding Clothes

I like to fold clothes. Some of my friends and (I think) most of my sisters think I'm a little silly, but I really do like folding clothes. I enjoy sorting the huge pile of clean clothes and matching socks (though I hate when socks disappear!). I guess there's just something about a nice stack of folded t-shirts that's appealing to me. My favorite way to do my folding is to dump all the clean clothes on the couch and put on a good movie or some nice music. It's relaxing... Of course, my enjoyment of folding clothes may change once we have a baby. I know from (second-hand) experience how much clothing children can go through in a day and having that much folding to do and one or two or three or more kids could be a bit much. We'll see... But the funniest part about all this is that, before I got married, I didn't have very much folding to do. I mean, I would fold my family's laundry at home sometimes, and there were always towels to fold. When I went to college I had very little folding since I hung up most of my wardrobe. So now most of the folding I do is of T's clothes. Maybe another reason why I like folding is because I know it's just one more way to take care of my sweet husband. That's the true joy of being a wife, I think. Momma always told me "Your husband is the only member of your family you ever get to choose." "So make it a good choice," I always added to myself. To Love is a choice. To get caught up in the "feeling" of "falling in love" is to be swept away by the evanescent. Feelings are certainly a part of Love and Loving, but the real "stuff" of Love is a choice you make every day. To freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully give yourself to your husband: this is Love. I have made my choice and each day I am blessed to find new ways to live it out. Each morning when I wake up, I have the opportunity to show my husband just how much I love him. I can only pray that I receive the grace to be a helpmate "fit for him," to be the wife he hoped for, the wife he deserves, and the wife God intended for him. There are countless ways to show T that I love him; that I have chosen him and do choose him everyday... everything from moving to the east coast for his master's degree to smiling at his ideas of raising our children in outer space...and folding his clothes! Happy folding!