Quick Update

These last few days have gone really quickly. I haven’t posted in a few days, mostly because…well, nothing has really seemed like a decent topic. The living room construction is still chugging along, our Friday meal went beautifully, and my vocational art classes are shaping up to hopefully start next week. Last night was a little weird, Kenny was away for a full day. Before, I was weirded out because it was so quiet, but this time I felt very vulnerable and unprotected. Granted, Josh, Summer, Jason and Julissa are about fifty feet away, but I was a little uncomfortable still.

I can’t tell for sure what caused the change, but I have a decent guess. Recently, Israel was seen around the property again without permission. Kenny gave me a pretty stern warning to make sure that I didn’t run into him when I was alone, and I had a nightmare based on that idea a couple nights later. Two days ago, I saw a guy cutting through behind our rooms again. I wouldn’t say that I feel unsafe around here, but not having a guaranteed protection around exacerbates the unease (and here just a few blog posts ago I was mocking sexism). It’s a pretty safe neighborhood, and it’s all in my head, but with Kenny leaving tomorrow for a week it’s something I’ll have to deal with.

That’s about it for now. I’m trying to get my butt up early to go for a walk again – I’ve been finding excuses to not do it, and I really need to start it back up. It’s late (early) and I’m tired. And there ends my update.

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It’s that time of the sumer again. Just shy of about half way through, the dreaded summer apathy and boredom sinks in. Realizing that I only have an hour of Abbey work a day (which at this point is still mainly painting), three days of work a week, and three days of meeting with the Abbey/church and youth group stuff (so the day has three or four hours-ish taken up by that), the rest of my time just seems to kind of…float away.

Don’t get me wrong, with how hard I work myself during the school year, I need a break during this time. It’s not that I want to be busy or stressed or any of that, but I think there’s a necessity to do something useful with my time – not just working more hours, catching up on TV shows, or playing mindless games online. I really need to get out more.

Even though I paid my tuition this pay period, I also sprung for some art supplies. It may not be getting out, but it’s getting away from my computer and a way to feel at least somewhat useful. Plus, I always feel much better during and after doing something creative. If I’m upset, have a big decision, or am in a bad mood, art helps me clear my head and focus. It gives my brain something else to work on consciously while being able to process whatever is going on subsconciously. Granted, sleeping has some of those same effects, but that’s pretty hit or miss and I’m already known as a serial napper.

I think I may start volunteering at the library more. Right now I’m at about one morning a week, maybe I’ll jump that up to two or three – I’m sure Heather’s mom could find work for me.

I might also extend my half an hour of silence to be a bit longer. Kenny and I are semi-racing each other through the Old Testament. I mean, um, what? Okay, actually, reading The Message is more interesting to me than my NIV Bible, and after Kenny made mention that he had read through Exodus twice in the time it took me to read Genesis (granted, a chunk of that time was before I was being consistent about reading everyday) the race was unofficially on. I just haven’t told him yet. Maybe I will around Deuteronomy? Yea, that sounds about right.

Other than that, I’m doing fairly well. My dad loved my gift (I’ll post a photo in my next blog, I’m already comfy in bed and don’t want to go out to the conference room to get my camera) but he was busy working on restoring a truck for his dad, so I mostly hung out with my mom and Esther. My family’s never been big on just hanging out together, but between lunch, exchanging photos, and desert, I spent five hours with Esther (probably about three with my mom). It’s good to catch up with her, I’m finally starting to feel like I know my sisters and I don’t as often feel like I’m back to being 12 or 13 when I’m around them.

By the way, in retrospect I should have expected teasing for my last blog. It’ll probably take a couple days to no longer get crap about “writing a blog where I just go on and on about penis problems”. I really walked into that one, but oh well.

My eyes are staying closed longer and longer, and I can’t think of a good ending for this. I also don’t have a title yet. Ummm….If I was more clever, I’d put in a witty picture related to something I talked about, as a reward for reading all this. But I’m not that clever, and this made me giggle for an embarassingly long time.

Barren? Sure, blame it on the women, patriarchs.

During my now increasingly regular silence and meditation time, I’ve been rereading the Bible, starting at the very beginning. Okay, so I admit that I’ve never read the entire Bible, but if you combine all of my reading over my lifetime…well, I’d at least come pretty close, within a book or so.

This, however, is my first time through reading the Bible with my (comparatively) newfound ideas about thinking about the context and intentions of the authors and the influence that the history of the culture and society had on the writing (that seems like it was quite a mouthful). Basically, instead of just reading the way I tend to read a textbook, eyes sometimes glazed over, forgetting what it was I actually read, that sort of thing, reading now involves thinking about several ideas at once.

Admittedly, I haven’t had any massive philisophical, theological, or ethical epiphanies. I have, however, laughed quite a lot. A lot. I never before thought the Bible could be entertaining, but it certainly is. Even just small things, like how little emphasis the writers don’t put on some things. For instance, one of the first things that struck me was that after Sodom and Gomorrah, there’s a brief anecdote about how four kingdoms were battling five other kingdoms. I don’t remember offhand which alliance wins, but Lot gets taken prisoner. What does Abraham do? Struts off, slaps them around a bit (them being the armies of several kingdoms combined) and walks off pretty well unscathed. So I know Abraham was a patriarch and had a decently sized family and whatnot, but that just seems ridiculous.

I think what’s been a bit reassuring for me is recognizing that the people being written about have a lot of the same problems we still do today. People make the same mistakes over and over (i.e. “oh no, my wife is beautiful! I think I’ll just pretend she’s my sister” and “Hmm, I’m not having kids. I think I’ll trick my dad/father-in-law/miscellaneous other male relative into sleeping with me. Yeah, that’ll work out well.”), and there’s PDA even in ancient Caanan (“One day, after they had been there quite a long time, Abimelech, king of the Philistines, looked out his window and saw Isaac fondling his wife Rebekah. Abimelech sent for Isaac and said, “So, she’s your wife. Why did you tell us ‘She’s my sister’?””). The one that interested me the most, however, was the recurring theme of women being barren. Several times it’s mentioned that God opened or closed a woman’s womb, but I can’t help but wonder how so many of these Biblical women would all be barren. Or maybe an ancient patriarchal society reeeealllly just didn’t want to talk about what might be some problems with some of those Biblical men. This also sparked a mental image of men sitting around trading fertility folklore; “If you’re on top, you’ll end up with a son!” “Make sure she doesn’t stand up for at least half an hour afterwards, let gravity do it’s work” (I don’t really think they had a word for  or idea of gravity, but you get the idea).

It does make me sad to see the Israelites being douches and realize that it’ll only get worse. At least at this point in my reading, the Caananites, Hittites, and Philistines have all been welcoming and decently friendly, and it’s dramatic irony that I know they’ll get slaughtered later on. On a personal note, I would also be pissed if someone ran around my homeland renaming everything.

I’m just sayin’.

If only W.I.P. required less Work and had more Progress

It’s finally happening. After weeks, months, our living room is beginning to border on a decent place to actually…you know, live.

The tape is coming off, the lines between different colored paint is getting crisp and sharp, and now it’s a matter of working on the details, rather than huge blotches of color.

It really struck me today, as Josh moved in his bookcase in preparation for making one of the corners his office. Just in that one little corner, with the bookcase and our big comfy chair, it looked like a place I can enjoy spending my time. Hopefully I can snag some space for Heather and my art supplies, maybe a table for our sewing and painting. I would quite enjoy that, really.

Also, I look forward to looking up at the rafter and the beautiful color it’s being painted. Okay, okay, so I’m biased – I’m the one painting it – but still, somehow it ended up being almost the exact shade of my favorite color. I don’t know who chose that color, but they have my gratitude.

I’ve lived in the Abbey for 8 months. It’s felt like home for almost that long. And now finally, finally, it will actually look like a home.

And I can stop banging my shins against the ladder trying to move it underneath the rafter!

The Family

Last night was my big family catch up night; I facebooked back and forth with my mom (how weird does that sound?) and spent an hour and a half or so on the phone with both my dad and Ruth. My dad and I have our issues, but especially lately we’ve been able to navigate around incendiary topics and fare decently well. It may not be a deep heart to heart, but it’s still better than our communication was when I was still living with my parents.

Ruth and caught up for the first time since my visit, planned presents for our parents for birthdays and Father’s Day, and worried over the state of our parents (as has become habitual during just about any conversation with at least two of us present). On the bright side, it sounds like she’ll be visiting in about a month, and I’m planning a sister date day for her. The date day she had with me in Sparks consisted of shopping for walking shoes and sewing supplies, catching a movie, having all-you-can-eat sushi, and desert at a place best described by my other sister, Esther, as ” a place where cute boys bring you chocolate and don’t judge you.” I’m not sure how to top that, and I don’t think she expects me to, but so far I see Thai food and pottery in our future. Other than that, I’m not sure what to do with her; it’s hard to suprise a native of this small town, and with the growing ruckus of dissent from all of my sisters about my choice to stay in town for the time being, I would very much like to find a few things to pleasantly surprise her.

June is a busy month for Boyds – not only Father’s Day, but the birthdays of both of my parents as well. My mom thankfully agreed to let me knit her something (tuition due in one week! eeep!) and she’s sweetly agreed to have me make this for her though she won’t need it for months.

For his birthday, my dad has asked for donations to the Jesus Center, which is a very cool idea. For Father’s Day, I’ve coerced family members into emailing me old pictures, and I’m making him a scrapbook picture holder for those pictures out of stationary, glue, tape and a whole lot of luck.

It is nice to go through old pictures, though. I still need to nag Ruth to send me a picture I found on her computer of Dad at Christmas one year, opened box on his head and an insane look on his face. It’s a look I’ve seen many times. I’m lucky to have iPhoto – with a few clicks and sliders, I’ve remade a couple simple family photos to look decently nice. This one’s my favorite, by far:

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Followed closely by this one

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(strange facial expressions are a very definite Boyd genetic trait, evidenced not only by the males but also the women)

Ruth 011That’s about all the family silliness I have room for. I still have a scarf and a scrapbook to make, and only, you know, my entire sabbath to do it. 😉

My Sabbath and Post-Noviciate Check In

Yesterday was a good day. I finally had my check-in, which by this point I had psyched myself out about horribly, but went much better than I expected (I think it conjured images of my work reviews, which always felt unfair and biased – this, thankfully, did not). It gave me some encouragement about what I’ve been doing well, and gave me specific reasonable goals to work toward. That was definitely a relief.

My sabbath served its purpose very well, I feel much more relaxed and ready to take on the next week. I’m still kinda sick and I sound pretty crappy, but I feel better and I think that’s an improvement. Also, since I’m sick I won’t be allowed anywhere near the Friday’s for Lunch preparations, which I usually do on Friday mornings, so I can spend some of that time chipping away at my hour-a-day of work to earn my rent. I got in half an hour yesterday with correspondence with Garth and Barb about art classes, and would make some phone calls today for that except that at this point I sound vaguely like a frog. Hm. Maybe that’ll clear up at some point. Ah well, looks like painting and removing tape for me.

In case you haven’t noticed, I changed my blog title. I was never really happy with my original name, just kind of stuck it there so it wasn’t blank. After trying to think of clever names (especially those involving monks) I decided just to find something in Latin that I liked and that applied. Following a trend, yes, but I still like it. I chose this name because it reflects what I think is a huge difference between my life in the Abbey and what it would be like without it – a lot of my old friends try to rush through life, keep themselves busy, and never take time to take a break or become more self aware. In no other area of my life am I challenged to actually be a better person, understand my weaknesses and work on minimizing them, and find my strengths and passions and use them to the best of my abilities. By “dare to know”, I mean daring to know, understand, and challenge myself.

At this point, I need to go get my daily silence done – one of those weaknesses I just mentioned. Here’s to small steps!

Back from Santa Cruz

Okay, so I didn’t go for my walk this morning. My thighs still hurt from hiking, yowch.

The Abbey’s monastic retreat went well, I think; it was a long drive both ways, but the I enjoyed Saturday, the only entire day we had there. It’s really refreshing to just get away for awhile, be with people you care about, and have time to think. We did a lot of liturgy, and I liked the flow of it – for the record, if you’d asked me about liturgy a year ago, I would’ve laughed and told you that I could never stand to be in a church that had liturgical services. How times change =)

Tomorrow is my interview for a youth leader position, and I’m super nervous, not only for the interview itself (I have a bad habit of stumbling over myself while trying to talk) but if I get the position, would I actually be able to pull it off? On top of that, I have a nagging feeling that the second I walk in the door, a light will go in all of the interviewer’s heads saying “too young. next!” But I’ll do my best – after discovering that my nice slacks no longer fit me, I’m going shopping this morning to find some clothes, both for interviews and for casual contexts – I’ve gotten in a bad habit of wearing tighter shirts, and I’m desperately in need of a belt.

I’m also nervous because after my interview tomorrow is my our end of the noviciate check in with Josh. I know I have some shortcomings, and logically I don’t think I’ll be made an associate member, but my ever-pessimistic side that kicks in whenever I really care about something keeps nagging at me that there’s no way I’ll still be a full member of the Abbey after tomorrow. Even though today is busy, I wish my interview and check in were today, just to get it over with and not have to worry about either.

In other random news, since I went to Thursday Market last week, I’ve been getting a slew of random truth box messages. Some have been nice, complimenting my eyes or whatnot, but a lot of them have just been random phrases that seem kind of rude but are diffused by the use of question marks and hesitant words like “maybe?”. It’s not a big issue, but I am curious, even though I know I shouldn’t care. I really don’t want to get caught up back in with the drama of my old group, where truth box messages could be the start of entire episodes of drama.

All in all, however, I’m fairly at peace. There are just a few things that I just have to push to the back of my head because it’s not worth worrying about them, and writing them out helps me a bit.

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