Every evening, after dinner and just as twilight is settling in over the skies of Indianapolis, my husband and I are forcibly gathered together in the living room. Continue reading “Family time: brought to you by the dog”
At least once a month, I tell my husband that we should move to Alaska. Continue reading “Ready to bloom”
I do a whole lotta talkin’ on this blog without ever really saying anything. I keep my shortcomings and failings and misgivings and opinions to myself. But today, I think I’m going to change that. You see, I am one of millions that attach myself to the “Christian” label. I believe in God, I fully believe in the story and deity of Jesus. But at the same time, I’m a fake. A big fat fraud. A charlatan.
21st century life is, at least 90% of the time anyway, absolutely overwhelming. Continue reading “I’ll be the one with my head in the sand”
I’m in love.
With a book.
I checked out Barnheart: The Incurable Longing for A Farm of One’s Own by Jenna Woginrich from the library, fully planning to leave it on my iPad until I got to the airport next Monday for my flight(s) to Seattle. That plan lasted all of…oh… seven minutes. Before long, I had my eyes glued to the screen and now I’m stealing a minute or two here and there in order to read some more.
As I said before, I’m in love.
Jenna’s memoir about establishing her farm on rented property in Vermont while living paycheck to paycheck is endearing. Her prose is entertaining and she has a way with words that sucks the reader in. (I mean, she talks about the “sun getting tired.” How cute is that???) I loved reading about her determination to get a small flock of sheep, her driving need to get a border collie, and her adoption of Finn, the most adorable baby goat to ever appear in any book.
I haven’t finished it yet. In fact, I have 33% to go. I’m trying to take it slow, even though I’m a fast reader, and savor it like a piece of decadent fudge. It’s too beautiful, too entertaining a story, and I want that life. As I sit in my townhouse, which is tucked under some trees but still close enough to a busy city street that I never escape the sounds of traffic, I realize how much I want that life. I feel the longing deep inside. It burns as strong as heartburn, but Tums will do nothing to take it away. I want my own flock of hens and four (yes, exactly four) goats, as well as two horses and a passel of misfit dogs. I want dirt under my fingernails. I want the kind of satisfying, exhausted sleep that only comes after a day of hard labor. When will I get to pluck a green pepper straight from the vine?
Jenna, though, has advice to offer about this exact question. In the introduction of the book, she says:
“When your mind wanders like this and your heart feels heavy, do not lose the faith, and do not fret about your current circumstances. Everything changes. If you need to stand in the slanting light of an old barn to lift your spirits, go for it. Perhaps someday you’ll do this every day. For some, this is surely the only cure.”
I have plans for my very own garden and livestock and even my own barn. They’re on hold until a few years down the road, after certain stock options have matured and are cashed out. But the important part is that they’re there. And as Jenna so wisely says, everything changes. Until then, I, too, have barnheart.
I’ve got a new address! Now, when you go to gettinsentimental.wordpress.com, it will redirect you here to 14thandoak.com.
So you might be asking yourself, “What the heck is 14th and Oak?”
I chose this domain in honor of my beloved Fibber McGee & Molly. Anyone who is a fan of the show knows that anytime anything ever happened in the lovely little town of Wistful Vista, it happened at 14th and Oak. Bank robbery? At 14th and Oak. Fibber’s car stolen? He last parked it at 14th and Oak. Fibber’s hand caught in a mailbox? It was the one at 14th and Oak. Molly headed to the Bon-Ton Department store to check out the new fur coats? She did that at 14th and Oak. Fibber craving ice cream from the soda counter at Kramer’s Drugs? That was located at 14th and Oak.
Free domains associated with Fibber McGee & Molly are hard to come by. I was very happy when I stumbled upon this one. So in honor of my favorite show from the golden age of radio and the two stars, Jim and Marian Jordan (who feel like family to me because of the hours I have spent listening and laughing at their antics) my blog, too, is now located at 14 and Oak!
I am constantly conflicted. The same person who is obsessed with the 1940s and is fascinated by the idea of a life of total simplicity is also a technology fiend. Macbook, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Kindle – I have them all. And one or the other is usually no more than a foot away from me at any given time. My iPhone is always with me. I drive to work listening to Fibber McGee & Molly on one of my old iPod Nanos. I fall asleep at night, after reading in the dark for a while on my Kindle Paperwhite, to old time radio shows on one of my even older iPod Nanos. I just bought both an iPad Mini and a brand new iPod Nano last night. And now I feel overwhelmed.
Can one be too in touch with the world? Because I feel like I am. I’m always reading the news and checking the weather and checking my Twitter and my Tumblr and I’m just over it. I have a Facebook account but I started hating Facebook years ago so I barely check it. This particular blog is honestly the only web-based thing that I’m not sick of these days.
(Meanwhile, I’m wanting to develop a website dedicated to Fibber McGee & Molly and life in the 1940s. I’ve already bid on a website address that I’m trying to get for this site. This is in total contrast to the fact that I want to run screaming away from anything online. See? Conflicted!!!)
I just… I’m overwhelmed. I don’t know what to do. I need to focus on the things in my house that need doing, like putting away laundry and scrubbing the stove and dusting and making things just feel good. Instead, I’m drawn to my electronic devices and end up wasting copious amounts of time. I don’t know where the happy medium is but I want to find it. I hate the idea of being disconnected from the world but at the same time, I absolutely hate this feeling of being disconnected from myself. I need to pull back and spend some time cooking (because Lord knows that I need to get creative. This working the night shift thing is killing me when it comes to meal preparation.)
I guess I have a choice to make. I love my technology and I will continue to do so, but perhaps I need to love it less. Unfortunately, it’s like an addiction at this point, and I’m not sure I’m strong enough to change my habits, but I have to try, right? I guess I need to focus on the parts of the web that I love and let the things that I make me insane fall away.
One topic I usually avoid discussing is religion. My avoidance isn’t really because I don’t want to get into disagreements with people or because I’m uncomfortable with the topic, but because it’s such an intimately personal topic for me. My religious journey, it seems, is ever-ongoing. So why am I writing about it right now? Honestly, I don’t know.
First and foremost, I am Christian. I was “saved” as a child in the Baptist denomination, then belonged to a non-denominational church with a bib overall-wearing pastor while growing up. As a young adult, I fell away from church attendance. The 9/11 attacks, though, brought me (and a lot of other people) to church again. I became a member of the United Methodist Church then and was so happy there.
(Sidenote – my father is big into ancestry and all of our ancestors were Roman Catholic. As a result, I grew up traipsing around the grounds of Saint Meinrad Archabbey. My father had a deep fascination with the Catholic Church despite the fact that he was Methodist.)
Anyway, I moved around a bit as a young adult and eventually had to leave my UM church behind because I left the state. Once I settled again, I met and fell in love with the man who is now my husband. He was staunchly Catholic. There was no budging on this and he made it clear that if we had children, they, too, would be Catholic. Because I always had a healthy respect for the RCC, I began exploring the idea of conversion. This led me to the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) and eventual baptism into the Catholic Church. For four years, I was utterly happy within the RCC. I grew in my relationship with God more than ever before. I prayed the rosary, had a special affinity for the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, participated in Eucharistic Adoration, and even developed and ran my own blogging site about life as a Catholic woman and wife.
And then… something changed. I can’t pinpoint what it was, but it seemed to change at the same time for my husband. We were happy in the Catholic Church where I was baptized, but once we moved back to the city I had lived in long before, we became weary. I honestly believe it was because each and every week, the homily, instead of being about topics to help us live our lives better as Catholics and Christians, was all about abortion. Week after week, the mantra was “abortion is bad, abortion is terrible, we must stop abortion.” Regardless of a pro-life or pro-choice stance, it got old. As a married couple unable to conceive, this weekly lecture became tedious. My spiritual well slowed to a trickle and eventually ran dry. So we’d go to a different church, only to have the same thing happen. I was no longer being spiritually fed. I was no longer feeling Jesus in my life. The prayers became nothing more than rote mumblings before they stopped completely. And then I walked away for good.
One Sunday afternoon, approximately 6 months after we stopped going to Mass, my husband said, “So tell me about these Protestants.” We talked for a while and he told me that he’d like to attend a service. Because I know him and what he likes, I took him back to the same United Methodist Church that I’d belonged to ten years before. He instantly fell in love. In no time at all, we were Methodists. I removed my rosary collection, took down our crucifixes, removed our holy water font, stopped my reading of books by Mother Angelica, and we left the Catholic Church. We ignored my mother-in-law’s declarations that we were hellfire bound and found new spiritual life. Three years later, we’re still members of the UMC. I’m free from the things I never really found comfort with in the Catholic Church (confession to a priest, the heavy emphasis on Mary, the heavy focus on abortion at the expense of absolutely everything else going on in the world) and find myself moved to tears by the amazing sermons of our gifted pastor.
I say all the time that I don’t miss anything about the Catholic Church but that’s not entirely true. The music was reverent and beautiful. I was never more at peace than when I sat in total silence for an hour during Eucharistic Adoration. I miss my intense passion for reading all things about the RCC, volunteering with religious orders, and spending time talking to nuns, who are among the bravest and strongest women I have ever met. The thing I miss most, though, is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. One particular version of it is done in song and it is among the most beautiful prayers I’ve ever heard. Recently, I decided that I was going to start praying this again, whether I’m Catholic or not. The bottom line is that I’m Christian and I find immense peace and comfort when praying it. It calms my tired soul when nothing else seems to work.
So all of this leads me to the video posted below. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy in prayer is too beautiful not to share with those who might find comfort from it, regardless of the church they’ll attend on Sunday.