Friday, September 29, 2006

Wanwood Leafmeal

Spring and Fall

to a young child

MÁRGARÉT, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, líke the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Áh! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

(Gerard Manley Hopkins 1844-1889)
photo: Rockford, Michigan 1986

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Autumn Chant

Now the autumn shudders
In the rose's root.
Far and wide the ladders
Lean among the fruit.

Now the autumn clambers
Up the trellised frame,
And the rose remembers
The dust from which it came.

Brighter than the blossom
On the rose's bough
Sits the wizened orange,
Bitter berry now;

Beauty never slumbers;
All is in her name;
But the rose remembers
The dust from which it came

(Edna St. Vincent Millay 1892-1950)
photos taken Rockford, Michigan 1987

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Two in a Row

What a week of celebrations! Happy 44th Mom and Dad!

Love, Heidi and fam

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Thinking of You!

You know who you are! Happy Birthday from half a world away! We hope your day was as good as it could possibly be!

Love, Heidi and fam

Take on Me

. . . or should I say, "Take Me Away?!"

Here I sit surrounded by 270 pages of essay tests I need to grade as well as my own unfinished homework - ten-page grad proposal that is due - professional growth substantiation to write up. There are dishes in the sink, dust on the shelves, dirt on the floor, piles of clothing to be hung up, laundry to put away, stacks of papers and mail to go through . . . Back to school night is tonight as are chruch activities . . .

I'm in need of a blast from the past to take me back to a simpler time!

Although I was part of the first generation of teens to whom MTV was available, I was never much interested in music videos, but this one, "Take on Me," I REALLY like (check it out - it really is good!), and right now, watching it is making me feel younger and giving me brief escape from the pressures of the moment.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Dutchaguese Dreamer

I love having a very diverse heritage. Half of my family is Portuguese/Catholic, and half of my family is Dutch/Protestant. It is really cool to be part of both worlds.

As a child I was much more immersed in the Dutch/Protestant part of my heritage, so much so that at that time it felt like being Dutch/Protestant was “normal” (that’s what EVERYBODY was) and being Portuguese/Catholic, for reasons too many to fully list here, was exotic and romantic. (To illustrate this, I really should post a picture of my cousin as queen of the festa – pronounced “feshta.” My grandfather’s stories about his parents returning to their village to fulfill a “promesa” to God seemed romantic as well.)

The picture above is of the Azore Island of Pico (pronounced “peak”). My dream as a child was to visit the Azore Islands, where my Portuguese ancestors came from – sort of an Atlantic version of Hawaii. I’ve recently heard it described as a combination of Hawaii and Ireland. Beauty aside, as a child I wanted to go there because it seemed like a hidden part of myself was calling me there to find some secret half of me I didn’t fully know.

Growing up, I felt I didn’t entirely belong in either world. Imagine having the last name Fernandes and attending a church entirely populated with Dutch people. Imagine visiting Portuguese relatives and being Protestant. (Back then I didn’t want to celebrate being different. I just wanted to fit in, as I think most children do!) In these settings I felt at times like I was only half of what I should have been, but now, instead of feeling halved, I feel doubled – doubly blessed.

As an adult I see and revel in the richness and romance in both sides of my heritage, but the little child inside Dutchaguese me still dreams of visiting the Azores someday. Given this picture, can you blame me?

(For a post with other images, click here.)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Quirky Goals

In the spirit of my last post, I thought I'd list some of my more unique life goals.
1) Attain a finite Erdös number
2) Prove Goldbach
3) Build a full 52 card poker deck of "found cards"
(I'd also really like to author a book that is published by a major publishing company, but I think that's less quirky and more common.)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Celebration of Eccentricity

Quirkiness is a great gift, and I admire people who show their eccentricity rather than marching in conformity like bland cloned “sheeple.” We are each created unique, and that is something to be CELEBRATED!

Get out of the Conga Line and dance to the beat of your own drummer! Stand up; stand out. Do random acts of kindness. Right wrongs. Celebrate life! Poet Walt Whitman wrote “The Song of Myself.” He found his song. What’s yours? You have one! Find it! Sing it! Sing like no one’s listening!

(If you need some inspiration, CLICK HERE and check out someone singing like no one’s listening! It’s kind of scary at first, but it grows on you. In fact, a good start to finding your own song might be watching this a few times and rocking out in front of your computer! Then go from there.)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Personal List (שבת של׀ם)

This is a list of verses that are particularly meaningful to me right now.
It is for FREEDOM that Christ has set us FREE. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
. . . be transformed by the renewing of your mind . . . Romans 12:2
. . . we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself. Why, we felt that we had received the sentence of death but that was to make us RELY not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead; He delivered us from so deadly a peril, and he will deliver us; on him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. II Corinthians 8b-10
See, I am doing a NEW thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19
But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh my LORD, I am not eloquent, either heretofore or since thou hast spoken to thy servant; but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him dumb, or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” Exodus 4:10-12
You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine; and he who is troubling you will bear his judgment . . . Galatians 5: 7&10
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
So there remains a SABBATH REST for the people of God; for whoever enters God’s REST also ceases from his labors as God did from his. Hebrews 4:9
He brought me out into a broad and spacious place; He delivered me because He delighted in me. Psalm 18:19
And the Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s hand shortened? NOW you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.” Numbers 11:23
Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me FREE. Psalm 118:5
It is for FREEDOM that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Friday, September 08, 2006

Great Question

My grad studies are now fully underway. I'm in my twentieth year of teaching, fourteenth at the college level, and it's been really strange to sit in the seat of the student and have someone hand ME a syllabus! It's pretty cool to see how other instructors run their classes and to see their quirks. (The price of books and the unavailability of student parking has not been fun, but it sure has given me opportunity to empathize with my own students.)

When I arrived home today from attending my night class, my 12-year old asked me, "Mom do you ever get confused and go up to the front and start teaching when you're supposed to be the student?"

I thought that was a pretty cool question!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Mathematical Koan

A koan is a story, dialog, question, or statement generally containing aspects that are inaccessible to rational understanding, yet that may be accessible to intuition. A famous koan is, "Two hands clap and there is a sound; what is the sound of one hand?"

After you've pondered that for a while, try this true/false math quiz koan:
Determine whether the following sentence is true or false:

"This sentence is false."
(If that isn't hurting your brain, you answered incorrectly.)