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  • This observation by Lori-Lyn amused me (especially since I picked up Julia Cameron's Finding Water at Robie & Robie on Saturday, and last night I read a section where she exhorts artists to get past the urge to indulge in drama instead of work): "...we all know that if you have a proclivity toward writing there is at least one small wedge of your soul that drinks black coffee all day long and grouches at the world and weeps into your shirt sleeve and downs a whole bottle of scotch in the back seat of your car while your spouse is inside tending to the children."

  • Whoever manufactures the to-go cups for Sonny's BBQ does a great job. I took a turn a hair fast last night, which sent my tall container full of iced tea flying out of its holder... but not a drop escaped from its confines. Wow.

  • Finally finished browsing through Eugene Lowry's The Homiletical Plot: The Sermon as Narrative Art Form (something I'd picked up for an academic project a while back, and then kept because it was interesting). While I share neither his theological assumptions nor conclusions, I'm fascinated by his arguments nonetheless. For instance, in recalling his early career as an unsuccessful Fuller Brush salesman, he mentions how his sales director "was never in touch with the fact that my problem was not lack of motivation, but shyness of personality which resulted in the fear of doorbells." Lowry subsequently found his director's efforts to push him "from the back side" unhelpful... which he then discusses in terms of his current work as a teacher and preacher:

    Frequently I have remembered that experience when called upon to 'spearhead' some program by delivering an 'inspirational address' at a 'kick-off banquet.' The image is powerfully clear. I was being asked to push people -- at the very least to engage in a 'will-nudger'which was supposed to prime the pump of their good intentions.

    But is it not true that most people are doing about as well as they are able? Never once in over twenty years of preaching have I been confronted with people who had 'decided' to do less than they felt they could. I believe it is unlikely that the trouble lies in a lack of will to intend well. Sermons which assume the problem to be lack of will invariably boot from the back side. But I do believe that people are hindered from doing and being by many other factors. The oppressive personality (discussed earlier) which is engaged constantly in putting people down is behaving out of necessity -- not freedom. (Some of us need others to look down upon so that then we can bear looking at ourselves.) The redeeming focus for change is to remove the necessity so that they no longer need to look down upon others. This is precisely what the gospel of Jesus Christ provides. It is a release from evil necessity into the freedom of loving others as we love ourselves. And we can now love ourselves because in fact we are loved by God. No longer having to prove our own worth, we may now be set free from making others prove themselves to us.

  • I'm wearing "Celadon Green" today, a scent from Possets. It has a similar weight and feel to my beloved "Asphodel," but with a strong presence of mint in the mix.

    (For those of you curious about my perfume habit: there's a massive swap and resale market for BPAL, particularly in the form of samples known as "imps." (BPAL encourages this in part by adding several free imps (or "frimps") to orders placed with them, as well as allowing orders of imps for the scents in its general catalog, and it has become standard practice for resellers and swappers to include frimps, tea, and/or other goodies in their own shipments. The resale market also includes "decant circles," where individuals buy bottles of the limited edition scents and then parcel them out into a half-dozen imp-sized samples, which makes them much more affordable and less risky to try out. At this point, my collection consists of five partial bottles and maybe two dozen imps, almost of it acquired via gift or resale except for the bottle of Asphodel (which was being discontinued) and a handful of imps (some intriguing general catalog scents I wasn't seeing in resale lists). Many devotees have collections that run in the hundreds (my roommates at Lumos both brought along giant chests -- it was fun watching them sniff and swap), but I'm frugal, choosy, and messy (the idea of me keeping anything in mint condition is laughable) and many of the most popular scents don't work on me at all (none of the "Moon"s, for example); also, perfume is verboten when I rehearse/perform, and my spouse thinks most of it smells like bathroom freshener, which cuts way down on my opportunities to wear it. That said, the scents are super anti-depressants, inhaling them makes for a nice alternative to caffeine, and they're a far sight more portable than fresh flowers.)

  • Naps! I had a really lovely one a few days ago on a bench in the UK Arboretum near the Azalea Path. It was labeled with this plaque:

    And there was some fine company in some of the other gardens, including this gentleman:

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