Posts Tagged ‘furiously happy’

Life: Favorite Things

June 5, 2017

oceanOne of my very favorite things about my life is that I get to live in the city. When we were looking at houses over twenty years ago, I tried to get us right downtown in an old dilapidated fraternity house, but the financing was no go.

We ended up in an older home up on what is called the Bench, or the New North End, as realtors like to call it now. The old North End is an area with tiny cottages and postage stamp yards that are uber expensive. It was once the yucky part of town. Then someone decided it was the trendy wonderful “historic” part of town, and now it is expensive.

It is a mecca for the political left. One of my conservative friends was stopped at a light and a man who objected to her bumper sticker got out of his car and forcibly removed it from her bumper. She was an elderly non-confrontational type of person, but it was upsetting for her.

I would have responded and, it would not have been one of my best What Would Jesus Do? type of moments.

I write tangentially. If it is driving you to distraction, my recommendation is to read just the first paragraph and the summary sentence of the last paragraph, or as an alternative, you could read the blog of someone more mentally balanced.

The Bench is not nearly as expensive, but boasts older, usually but not always, larger homes with old trees.

Another of my favorite things is just taking walks around my neighborhood. I have a favorite route that is three miles. I know because I drove it in my car for the purpose of measuring it. Sometimes when I am extra ambitious, I also take in the Capitol Blvd. hill which if you return behind the Anniversary Inn is about ninety nine steps pretty much straight up, or as straight up as you can be without having to actually climb.

There are a lot of beautiful gardens in the front yards of the houses in my area. They probably have some eye popping floral spectacles in the back as well, but I don’t want to be found trespassing to find out.

I was going to say that people are really friendly, but the truth is that I would not like it if they were overly friendly. I like the level of friendliness that lands somewhere between nodding and/or smiling as you pass one another or for the other end of the parameter, the extreme of bold, saying something inanely rhetorical such as, “Isn’t it a beautiful day?”

I don’t want political comments or satire or investigative questions. I don’t want to have the burden of having to remember the name of someone who lives one and a half miles from my house. Life is just too darn short for that. An exception would be that I don’t mind knowing your dog’s name. I like petting other people’s dogs since I don’t have one and won’t anytime soon in the future.

Have you ever thought about volunteering to walk someone else’s dog for them? I have, but then I thought it would involve a lot of interaction and actually getting to know other people, and I just felt all tired inside.

I was reading a book the other night in which someone expressed my thoughts about people so brilliantly, so succinctly that I noted it in the margin and indexed it in the back of the book.

I will be quoting from Furiously Happy, A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson. Remember in my review a few days back, I said it was incredibly funny, encouraging to mentally ill people and completely profane. You have been warned.

“I believe it was Sartre who said, “Hell is other people,” and I suspect he wrote that after spending an hour with over-involved parents who won’t stop yelling at coaches, instructors, or crying four-year-olds who really just want a snow cone.”

I love my family and friends, some of my neighbors and co-workers, but people are exhausting. Let’s be honest. Part of walking is intentionally leaving the cell phone, the internet, and people behind, so that I can recover whatever emotional equilibrium is left to me in this life. Why would I want to talk to people while I am doing it?

Well, there you have it. Two of my favorite things. I was going to do three, but I don’t know what the third one is. It is probably seeing the ocean, if I had to guess. If I don’t know what my third favorite thing is, I don’t know how to find out. I will got out on a limb here and say that my third favorite thing is the Oregon Coast/Pacific Ocean/any ocean. The only bad thing about seeing the ocean is that when it time to leave, I always feel incredibly grieved with my whole heart to the point of actual tears. Yes, it feels like a death to drive away from the Oregon Coast. That is why it is number three and not number one. If I could stay there always, it would be number one.

I like to take walks there and be comfortably distant with people and friendly to their dogs. Lots of people bring their dogs to the Oregon Coast. It’s the thing. The ocean always make me think of the Lord and how He is big beyond anything we can really grasp with our minds or senses. He is just as big when I am in Boise, Idaho, walking around, but I don’t think about Him that way when I am here.

That is probably why I usually carry around a little card with a Bible verse on it when I take my three mile walk. It just turns my heart that way spiritually. I don’t need any cards on the Oregon Coast. It is like the difference between skyping someone or actually being with them.

My last paragraph was no doubt filled with heresy or scriptural inconsistencies or both. I meant that is how it feels.

My three favorite things are living in the city, walking in the city, and chaining myself to something immoveable at the ocean.

The End




Mental Illness and Other Stuff

May 24, 2017

I haven’t written much lately. We didn’t have internet access at our house for about a month. I went to a local Starbucks to read my email and do necessary stuff. I didn’t feel like staying longer to blog.

Without the internet, and also since we dropped our cable, which did not return when we reinstated the internet, I started reading more books. Some were worthwhile. Some not so much.

I will spare you a recap of all of the books.  I am fast forwarding to what I am enjoying lately.

My current books are Minimalism – live a meaningful life by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemua, Furiously Happy – A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson, and Colossians and Philemon from the NavPress Life Change Series.

mnimalismI first encountered Minimalism in a Netflix special by the same name. I was intrigued enough by what they had to say that I ordered the book , used, of course, you know me. Since it is fairly in demand, I had to be patient. Thank you, Thrift Books.

Minimalism explores the transformation of the lives of two men who left their six figures corporate lives to pursue meaningful lives by discovering minimalism which allowed them to eliminate life’s excess and focus on the essential aspects of life. I stole those words from the book jacket because they are concise and to the point. The book is a lot better than that. You will have to trust me when I say that it is worth reading. If you have caught the show on Netflix, it is much different than the show which chronicles their lives. The books examines the five general areas of a person’s life which can be changed and improved with minimalism. Minimalism is kind of trendy right now, i.e. Leo Baubata of Zen Habits, and the kazillion books out on having less stuff like Marie Kondo. I think the reason it is trendy is that we are all sick of all of our stuff.

furiously happyMoving on. The next book I am reading, usually at night right before I fall off to sleep is Furiously Happy. This is a book written by a woman who is mentally ill. It is one of the funniest books which I have ever, ever read. Warning: it is profanely funny. I decided to overlook that and read it anyway because it is one of the only books that my psych patients have ever recommended to me that cheered them up. I am not going to ruin the book by telling you anything else about it. I will say that if you have a friend who has recently been diagnosed with mental illness and hospitalized that I would recommend that you visit them and take a copy of this book with you. I can’t give it a higher recommendation than that.

colossiansNumber three. Colossians and Philemon has been one of the best Christian books which I have read and studied in a while. I took it with me on a recent trip to Portland and spent a lot of my free time studying it there at the Rain or Shine Coffee Shop. The best thing I can say about the book is that it has stirred up a hunger in me to study the Word of God in a more intense way. Of course, that could be God working in my life and He just happened to use this book, but then again, maybe the book is really good also. No matter. I feel more alive and focused spiritually than I have been in a while. The best thing I can say about the Rain or Shine Coffee Shop is everything. Great coffee, great aesthetics, great service.

Lately I have been called upon in different venues to explain why human life has value. When I am asked this, I give an illustration about Jesus and real estate.

Many years ago, I was called to jury duty in a civil case. Our job was to decide the value of a condemned building which had been destroyed previous to the trial.

A building is worth, in simplest terms, what someone will pay for it.

If someone will pay only $10,000, then that is what it is worth. If they pay $1,000,000 for a shack on the side of a hill which might fall into the ocean, then that is what it is worth.

When Jesus died on Calvary, the value of human life was determined. Christ, the spotless Lamb of God, was of infinite value and worth. He gave his life for yours, for mine, for each of us.

Your value as a human being was decided at Calvary. Once and done. He decided your value.

That is why you can go on living when every person or circumstance in your life is telling you that you are worthless. In the eyes of God, you are a person of worth and value. No experience or encounter or assessment will ever change that. It is not based on your accomplishments or achievements or your lack of the same. It is the same for each human being, Christian or not. Jesus died for all.

Infinite value.  Grace decides.

That is all.