"Graceland" is the name of my favorite song and album. It's by Paul Simon, but more importantly, it's what "home" sounds and feels like to me. We always listened to this album as we traveled from my home in Tennessee to my parents' childhood homes in Florida. But today, it's also a pretty good snapshot of my theology. Somewhere I really believe that the Christian journey is all about a wild trip to Grace-land. As I see it, Grace-land is the place where God is waiting to meet even us–with all the baggage and brokeness that we tote with us. Grace-land is the place where we will be received with open arms, even though our attempts at “getting it right” have been miserable failures at best. But, I think, every step we take is a step on the journey to Graceland.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

You know you're old when... part II

Cracker Barrel is the place you most want to eat.

On one of our few nights that didn’t have any plans in place, that’s where we chose to go. Maybe it was that the weather is finally feeling “fall-ish”. Or maybe it was closer than almost anywhere else we could go.  Or maybe it was because we hoped they had a fire going, just because we love them.  Or maybe it was because, we, after all, are southern folks, and sometimes you just need to eat those things that remind you of your heritage.

I don’t know why Cracker Barrel is what has been appealing to DH lately, but for me, it’s something else.  When I go there, in a way that doesn’t happen anywhere else, I’m transported to another time and place.  We lived in Atlanta for a while--and ate at lots of the hot restaurants.  I’ve been to Dixie Stampede and Medieval Times.  But none of those places, despite their cost or their elaborate scenery, has been able to take me away like a meal at Cracker Barrel.  At all of those other places, DH and I have still managed to talk about bills and politics and who said what or who was wearing what. We’ve counted calories and pinched pennies. But when we’re at Cracker Barrel, we don’t do those things.  We talk about our dreams.  We sit and linger longer than is probably acceptable.  And sometimes, we even dine quietly (which if you know my husband, is unfathomable), completely at peace in the silence.  Somehow, a glass of rootbeer in a frosty mug is more soul soothing than anything we might find at a hip bar.  And admittedly, dining by lamplight makes everything more magical.

When I go to Cracker Barrel, I’m transported to a simpler time.  A time which I haven’t known, but which I'd desperately like to see.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

You know you're old when...

A new piece of furniture is the most exciting thing rocking your world...

But I do love my new sideboard.  I’ve been wanting one since last Thanksgiving when I realized I didn’t have enough space for both the people and the food.

DH has been indulging my quest, and we’ve happily snuck in little trips to antique stores as often as our schedules would allow (which hasn’t been terribly often lately.)  And maybe as much as I love my sideboard, maybe I’ve loved spending time with him just as much. It’s almost felt like it did when we were dating-- just heading off on the spur of the moment, making the very most of every minute we have.

We’ve seen a lot of great pieces, but not great for us.  They’ve either been wrongly shaped, or the wrong color of wood, or beat up, or too much money.  But this one is perfect-- and it very nearly matches the china cabinet that we bought a few weeks before we got married.

Somehow, slowly, we’re developing our own sense of style.  Our “just married” furniture is gradually being replaced by things of which we love.  And maybe we’re turning into grown ups-- who knew?

All that from a piece of furniture...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Practicing Gratitude

I’m working on a sermon for Sunday on Luke’s story about the ten healed lepers, only one of whom said thank you.  And as it always does, this text wants something from me. It wants to know if I’m grateful.  It wants to know if I’ve bothered to look around, and follow the advice of the song, “Count your blessings, one by one.” The truth is, at best, sometimes.

But on a blue-sky day like this one, I want to remind myself of the things that fill me with life and dreams. I want to practice an attitude of “Give thanks in all things”, which of course, is not as easy to do as it is to talk about doing.

Today, in no particular order, I’m thankful for:

my husband, and the ones that love me even when I have little to offer them

my doggy, who seems to have no care in the world, besides having the most fun that she can at any given moment.

this delicious weather, and the bold colors and flavors and textures that come with it

a quick chat with a much-missed friend, and the promise of a longer conversation later

a quiet, drama-free week...so far

a little space to breathe and think and dream and pray

eyedrops that are helping a random, weirdo eyeball infection

a good meal on the horizon tonight, with some of the people I love

And so... “as we go on our way, we rejoice and give thanks; for in giving thanks in all things, we find that God, indeed, is in all things.” (Kimberly Long)


Monday, October 4, 2010

Brilliant Quote of the Day

In an interview with Pastor/Writer Eugene Peterson:

Q: As a pastor, then, you see grace in some pretty unlikely situations?

A: Yes, and my job is not to solve people’s problems or make them happy, but to help them see the grace operating in their lives.

(As read in The Contemplative Pastor)