"Too Polished" or "Let me just give you my card"

I will admit it, I'm afraid of people.  Despite being able to talk to random strangers, even the scary looking ones if my mom is telling the stories, I am afraid of meeting people if my own self promotion is involved.  Don't get me wrong, I cover it up really well, probably erring over to the side of coming across egotistical. Though maybe I just think that, and the false-self-awareness is what makes me nervous in the first place?  (Anyone else notice how easy my brain can morph anything into a circular, chicken or egg debate?)  But honestly, the most painful part of networking for me is getting and giving contact information.  It always seems so trite and rehearsed.  "Here, let me give you a card, which I have had made because I connect with a lot of people, you know.  I can't be writing my number out every time, I would get a hand cramp!" (insert double guffaw).

Anyway, fellow moon-light blogger, Jeannie Rose (of The Faux Gourmet and City Stories), asked me to go to the Brooklyn Blogger Meet-up at Bell House tonight.  I left my answer open ended, wondering if I could really show up and call myself a blogger when I hadn't posted in over a month, and there is so little of a theme in my posts anyway.  What do I refer to this thing as when introducing myself?  A theology blog, and cutting edge blog about a single girl in NYC? None of the specific labels fit, and it's not because this is so unique.  It's just not a very specific forum for me.  Anyway, all these things have been running around in my head, but ultimately, I'd like to pick up some writing, and I have to start somewhere.

So, last night I put together a new card.  Something that goes better with my redesign of Jromaniszak.com, up soon hopefully.  Which matches my imprint here, and on twitter, etc, etc.  Hopefully looking at my pretty design will distract people from my awkward delivery.

"Why, yes!  I would love to guest post!  Let me give you my information:  


"Lenten FAIL" or "Well, maybe not"

I am stuck feeling like I failed at Lent this year.  That statement betrays so much of the broken theology ingrained in my soul, but I feel like every year I look forward to Lent as a contemplative, challenging time for my faith to be strengthen, and this year has been a let down.  My (misguided) attitude toward Lent is as a 40-day spiritual boot camp.  This year though, I feel like so much has been going on, that Lenten disciplines were all pushed into the background.  That is, until I think about how selfish my Lenten disciplines sounded in the first place, and I have to remember what I really wanted out of running and not drinking anyway.

I have been training for the Holy Saturday Half Marathon (formally known as T.D.M.), and thinking about it, training has actually been going ok.  I have made some major progress in accepting my body as a part of me, and not a traitorous villain.  Let me explain. 

My notion of 'me-ness' has always lived somewhere in the area of my head.  I think this is because in my life I primarily experience the world through my senses of sight, sound, and taste.  Yet, when I watch a dancer, I get this impression that she knows exactly where her arms are going, that her body is something more than just the vessel of her brain.  I long for that, to inhabit my body, and not just throw my feet in a general direction and hope they agree it would be a good placement.  Being isolated from your body also makes it very easy to see as an enemy.  If you don't like what you see in the mirror, there is something to be mad at.  And if you feel no ownership of your body, then why would you care for it anyway?  It's escapism at it most extreme. 
Through the training process I have been learning to respect my body in a new way and am starting to see it as part of me, not an enemy of me.   That is huge for me.  It's very exciting, and is helping my understand my relationship to God as Creator in a much deeper way.  I just need more reflection time with that.
Okay, so no fail there.

The other part, not drinking for Lent.  Well, to be honest, it probably just that I was drinking more than I should have on the front side of Lent, and it was a convenient way to throw the brakes on and give my liver a break.  I cheated when I went out to Long Island for a mini-vacation, and then again for St. Patrick's Day, and then for Third Thursdays, and then for my mom's visit to town.  It seems like why even try anymore.  Oh, I also cheated Wednesday with the rest of the church staff when we went to the bar for Eric's birthday.  Giving up alcohol didn't cause me to reflect or pray more this year; it was a poorly chosen "sacrifice" from the beginning.  I did it for me.

So maybe I didn't "fail" per say, that's too harsh and assessment; I must remember to let myself be a human.  Maybe I just came the realization that I forgot all about what Lent is. 

Here's to a contemplative and challenging Holy Week.

Also, my car died last night.  RIP Suzuki Esteem.  I loved you and you were good to me.


Tonight is 3rd Thursdays! Special free drinks offer!

Anyone one who shows tonight and uses the secret code word "Jenn-I-Read-Your-Blog" is entitled to one drink on me, whether I know you or not.  Non-transferable, and if I think that skanky chick at the end of the bar told you about this, and you did not in fact read it here, well, no drink for you. 


Eat'n'Learn Round I: Pysanky Party

This is the first of several "Eat'n'Learn" events I will be hosting to generate some extra income for my self-employment dreams.  Future offerings will cover basic sewing, home canning, quilting, and other things I know how to do that people have expressed an interest in learning.  Want to learn something you think I may know how to do?  Let me know what it is!

Pysanky, pronounced peh-san-keh, with the emphasis on the "peh", is the Eastern European technique of egg dying.  Tradition goes that during the weeks leading up to Easter, eggs would be dyed in secret and revealed to others only on Easter morning when brought to church in a basket for the traditional Catholic Easter table blessing.   I taught myself how to do this last year and found it so entertaining that I thought I would offer to teach others this time.

I will have an "Eat'n'Learn" on March 26 at my apartment in Brooklyn.  I will provide a basic entree for dinner, and all the materials for 2 eggs for each pysanky-er; you bring whatever you would like to contribute to a donation bin for a "class fee" and you own beverages for the evening.  The class fee is a suggested $10-$15 donation or something of equivalent worth; I am open to barters.  If you are so inclined, you are also welcome to contribute something to share for the dinner or a desert.

YOU MUST RSVP by 3/24/2010 so I know how much supplies I need to pick up.  Please spread the word and invite any friends you think might be interested in learning.  I will have to limit class size at a certian point, though, I don't anticipate maxing out.

Don't let any creative fears hold you back; pysanky can be as basic or complicated, as traditional or modern as you would like.  Last year my favorite egg had a picture of a beet  and marshmellow peeps on it.  And though it is traditionally considered a feminine art, I see no reason gender should stop anyone in this case.

Some of my non-traditional eggs from last year.

The Basics: Making the eggs is less complicated than it appears, though you do have to "think backwards" during the planning stages  (kind of like a riddle).   Patterns are created by marking lines with kistka (a little metal funnel on a stick) which is heated in a candle flame and then dipped in beeswax.  You draw on a raw egg with the beeswax, marking out what you want to be a particular color (white=marked the first round, yellow=the second,... black= never marked off).  At the end of the dying process, your egg is all black.  You let it dry, and then melt off the beeswax by holding it over a flame rubbing the shell with a soft cloth when it is shiny.  You are left with a colorful egg.  The more skill you have with the kistka, the more detailed your egg gets.


"Family Emails- Pt I" or "Ignorance is forgivable, but denial is just plain dangerous"

For ease of reading, I have separated this post into two parts.  One event has got me thinking about two issues: Technology (Part I) and Politics (Part II).  At least I separated this into two parts to avoid accusations of too-long-posts from the Wilson's and Dudley's of the internet. 

I received one of those emails today.  You know the kind that starts: "Forward this email and add you name on the bottom to prove to Washington that we care about topic X", "Forward this email finding your name and putting a tally next to it; it's for a kid's science project", "Forward this to everyone if you are not afraid to profess your love of Jesus".  

Not to stereotype, but I haven't gotten an email like this from anyone under 50 and over 13 in a long time.  What is it that keeps many of the Baby Boomers in my life filling my email box with fluff?  I am beginning to assume it has something to do with an email-er's level of comfort with technology.  Example: As my parents have begun to communicate more and more via email, as it becomes a daily part of their lives, their filter for what they want to attach to their name and send to others, gets more precise.  By now, they only send me exceptional and thoughtful forwards or funny pictures of animals.  I find it is the Boomers who still do not use email as a primary source of communication that keep throwing this nonsense out there.  Email is still a novelty to them, and it seems to me there is little self-awareness that what they email is attached to them in a very real, permanent way.  These people in my life clog my inbox, not because they were thinking of me, but because they were bored and I was the requisite number 13 to forward to for "good luck.  I swear, some guy in Tampa did it and then Publisher's Clearing House showed up 15 minutes later!"

Sometimes I wonder if there is a logic black hole when it comes to the internet.  Let's think through a "For instance".  The popular internet petition/poll.  I am not even going to waste my energy explaining this.  Here's someone elses words:
An email petition arrives with some information (often lengthy) about what the sender believes to be a worthy cause. It asks you to add your name (and sometimes other info) to a list and then pass the list on to all your friends and colleagues requesting that they continue the chain. It also asks you that should your name be (eg) the 100th on the list, to mail the list back to the organiser.

Let's suppose I start such a list, and pass it on to 5 friends, and ask that they continue the chain. To simplify, let's suppose a) that no one signs the list twice, b) that no two people supply identical information, c) that everyone who receives the list passes it on to between 1 and 9 people, d) that no one delays passing on the list, and e) that there is an infinite supply of people.

By the time there are 15 names on each list, up to 36,000,000,000 emails will have been sent, and each one one of them has my name on it. But how many times do the names appear of the 5 people I sent the original list to? And how is it possible to know the total number of people who have signed the petition?

The fact is unless you are using a third-party Poll/Petition site, there is not accurate way to track results, and results wouldn't stand-up under any level of scrutiny.

Part II...  What actually got me mad about it.



I admit it.  I have been pretty emotional lately.  I would be easy to go into default, blaming PMS, but I have never really been impacted emotionally by my menstrual cycle.  Perhaps because I have recently started exercising seriously for the first time since 4th grade, maybe my body is just reacting differently than I am used to. The human body does do strange things.  And then, maybe it's the new relationship-thing in my life: that coupled with the impending September move could be causing the wider and more rapidly changing slew of emotions.

But, I'm pretty sure it's answered prayer.  This year, during Lent, I have given up alcohol (as usual), and started exercising (for a half marathon, and also for a new years resolution; Easter is kind of like
Christian New Years). But as an added discipline (and I need that word, discipline, applied very loosely) I have also renewed a prayer that I forgot I was no longer praying.  It usually goes something like this:

"Father, let me taste and see your goodness.  Open my eyes to all your beauty in the small things.  Let that be my daily bread."

It always seems to be answered too. (Like with the LSD/Holy Spirit incident assisted by Henri Nouwen about this time last year.  See my post about being afflicted by thigmorphilla.)

I had a good friend who was praying the same thing with how he lived his life. We would often end a day talking about all those little surprise revelations, usually over "pint-sized" blessings.  I guess, we would in a way RE'count our blessings', without the cognitive tally.    These conversations were a type of praise, of worship.

My friend moved away, and has ceased to be a daily reminder for me to continue this practice.  I guess I just forgot to pray.  I miss that type of worship, especially when lately, my prayers of relying on God look more and more like a stress relief wish list.  Yesterday, I also saw a friend from back home Chicago had updated his facebook status to "I can think of nothing good, except submitting two scholarships, that happened today."  That made me so sad.

So, in an effort to begin again, as I often do, here is an inexhaustive list of the small blessings from the beginning of to today, waking until getting to work. 

- There was sunshine outside my curtains when I woke up.

- I went for the teapot, and there was already enough water left from the roomies for my oatmeal.

- On my way out I realize that I needed 3 cents more for coffee.  I keep change in a big 5Gal. water jug, that is hard to get change out of once it is in (that's the point).  I found 3 cents in the first alternative place I looked.

- When I walked out my front door, there was a sunshine immediately on my face and an unidentified child walking up the stairs. The first person I talked to/greeted this morning was a child.

- My Deli Guys had my coffee ready (small, no sugar, little bit of milk, napkin please) and I got to skip the line of high school students ordering sandwiches.

- I got a new monthly Metro card at work yesterday, because someone else was grabbing one, not knowing that this morning my current one was not going to have expired.

- The line in the Khrusty Brothers song Every Time A Lie song came on the headphones. "So I was sipping on my whiskey in Kentucky-town, where the top-shelf burboun is a Jim Beam brown", reminding me of my wanderlust, and the beauty in the commonplace and average of most of America, even if it is about liquor at 8:30 in the morning.

- I got a seat on the train while still in Brooklyn.

- There was an article on the NYTimes iPhone app.  called "JFK Condolence Letters Published for 1st Time".  It's about a new book complied of letters Americans write to Jackie after JFK's assassination.  After reading,  I was thinking about human connections, and that what creates the most intense connection (between non-lovers, and even then, maybe lovers, I wouldn't know) is sharing our
purest, most singular revelations. Which all led me to thinking about my pure, singular revelations.  Which reminded me of my forgotten prayer, and led me to sharing this morning.

- Mike bought my Americano for me this morning.



Round 3 of introductions... And it's a 3-fer!

True Stories
Sam Wedelich & Corey Hayes
Show Specs:
251 W 80 Street (Btwn B'way & West End; All Angels' Church), NY, NY 10024
Opens March 6: 6-7:30 Opening, 7:30-9 Coffee House Concert, 9-10 Reception & Second Viewing

In keeping with the theme of True Stories, Jeannie Rose Field, our Coffee House curator (and the voice behind the stellar blogs City Stories and The Faux Gourmet), has put together a show of the most storytelling inclined genere: the singer-songwriter.  That plus a few other people, telling their stories.
(Jeannie Rose also tweets up a storm under @_CityStories and @TheFauxGourmet.  Follow her.)

Shalom Sahbity Preview- Catherine Hanna and Simnia Singer-Sayada
The full Shalom Sahbity performance will be showing at All Angel's Church on Saturday April 10th.

Shalom Sahbity is a collage performance of storytelling, dialogue, movement, music and media, written and performed by Israeli-American, Simnia Singer-Sayada and Egyptian-American, Catherine Hanna (an All Angels' native).  It tells their unique personal experiences of Middle Eastern culture, as well as the stories of Arabs and Israelis who have been directly impacted by this multi-facted political and historical conflict.  As they tell their stories through word and images, they incite a variety of themes and topics including: immigration, mixed cultural identity, race, family, language, motherhood, woman’s self-image, religion, and tensions in relating to the news and media, among other topics.  The performance provokes a fresh new dialogue about the Middle East and the surprises found through friendship.  This will be the second year running that All Angels' Church is pleased to present this performance.

Visit Shalom Sahbity on the web. 

Melanie Penn

I have never met Melanie before, so I am going to be looking for someone to introduce me to her Saturday.  But I hear good things.  And, DANG, ain't she cute, boys?

Take a listen over at her MySpace page.
Homepage: www.melaniepenn.com

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson needs little introduction.  If you want to talk about singer-songwriter, which, honestly, who doesn't,  Paul's music is in the vein of those originals.  I mean, when he plays, you are looking around for Peter and Mary.  (Har, har, his wife's name happens to be Mary.)  Personally, Paul's music also makes me a little nervous sometimes.  It's Pavlovian.  I will have shuffle on the iTunes at work, and all of a sudden the Senior Warden is in the room singing to me; it seems like I should immediately close the non-work relevant Firefox tabs (like Blogger?).
Purchase: www.cdbaby.com/cd/paulleejohnson

Who'd You Miss:
Sam Wedelich
Corey Hayes

Still to come:
Cory Cavin


Introduction: Corey Hayes (photographer to the stars and church staff assistants)

As promised, a continued set of introductions...

True Stories
Sam Wedelich & Corey Hayes
Show Specs:
251 W 80 Street (Btwn B'way & West End; All Angels' Church), NY, NY 10024
Opens March 6: 6-7:30 Opening, 7:30-9 Coffee House Concert, 9-10 Reception & Second Viewing

Corey Hayes (photographer to the stars and church staff assistants)

Corey is a stunning portrait photographer.  For True Stories he is using a new body of work that I won't tell you much about because I don't know if I am supposed to.  I did just sneak into the prep area though, and let me assure you, the stun-factor is up there.  I will leak that the photos Corey is showing are all black and white, my fav.

Corey has an amazing ability to capture his subjects without all the extra detritus and props that some people use.  In fact, more often than not, Corey's got someone in front of a flat backdrop, which lately seems about as unpopular and day-glo and oil paints.  I find it refreshing and admire the challenge limitations bring to the photographer.  Within restriction, photographer and subject rise to the challenge of portraying personality with just body language and expression.

Personally, I also love Corey's photography because of my obsessive attraction to post-minimalism.  Striped down, but with very singular and pure intention.  Is my penchant toward the black and white becoming clearer?   Corey's sense of balance and composition always keep me on my toes (squealing with joy like a piglet that love delicious photography).

(The pictures here were all pilfered from his website, not the body of work in the show.)

Also, last year Corey worked with the ever indomitable Russell & Cheryl Sharmin on a book titled NightShift NYC.  The Sharmin's did the writin' and Corey did the photo-in'.  There are some great shots where Corey proved he can go beyond the portraits.  But really, why would you?  People are just so interesting!

Corey also took one of my favorite adult pictures of yours truly.  Here, indulge my ego.

Corey's links:
Corey Hayes Photography
NightShift NYC

Who'd You Miss:
Sam Wedelich

Still to come:

Catherine Hanna and Simnia Singer-Sayada
Melanie Penn
Alexa Wilkinson
Paul Johnson
Cory Cavin

Introduction: Sam Wedelich (a.k.a. DwellDeep)

There is a rad show opening this Friday in the flotsam/jetsam gallery I help run.  There are talented artists participating; and I am not just saying that.  There is a lot of crap out there to be seen, and I am unabashed in calling it out and avoiding seeing it; you will not see it this Saturday.  There is also a (free) rad singery-songwritery show combined with the gallery opening.  Over the next few days I will be introducing you to some very talented people worth you attention or link following for at least 10 minutes.

True Stories
Sam Wedelich & Corey Hayes
Show Specs:
251 W 80 Street (Btwn B'way & West End; All Angels' Church), NY, NY 10024
Opens March 6: 6-7:30 Opening, 7:30-9 Coffee House Concert, 9-10 Reception & Second Viewing

Sam Wedelich (a.k.a. Dwell Deep)

Sam is a full time artist/illustrator/poet.  That's ballsy.  Most of her material is autobiographical, but in that universal way, not a I-have-a-peanut-allergy-and-can-you-believe-they-put-peanuts-in-my-waffle! sort of autobiographical.  Sam does a great job blogging and tweeting updated illustrations and notifications about new Etsy items, and when you're lucky, a poem or two.  Also, she might rebuke me for mentioning it, but Sam and her husband, Russ, have also recently formed a band with another set of my favorite spousal musicians, the Paul-Shores.  You WILL hear about it when they leak me more info.

Here is an exhaustive list of Sam/DwellDeep's links.
Homepage: www.dwelldeep.com
Blog: www.dwelldeep.com/blog
Twitter: twitter.com/dwelldeep

Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/dwelldeep

[AN ASIDE: Please follow, subscribe, and visit them all.  In this social media driven culture, small businesses can grow based on viral media, but that requires foot traffic.  Even of you never read what she posts or says or buy anything from Etsy, please consider adding the links to feeds, readers, etc. and just letting them sit there.  What's one little placeholder?  When it comes down to getting featured on art blogs and press, a lot writers will judge an artist's, crafter's, blogger's professionalism based on their popularity (subscribers and hit counts).  It's not necessarily fair, but it is the way things work.  Help out a small business, subscribe to their blogs, twitters, et. all.]

Still to come:

Corey Hayes
Catherine Hanna and Simnia Singer-Sayada
Melanie Penn
Alexa Wilkinson
Paul Johnson
Cory Cavin


"T.D.M." or "Speeding to Reduce Curves"

Wow.  Training has been taking so much more time and energy than I thought I would.  I apologize for the lull here, but I have managed to keep a steady stream going on the Twitter if you follow me there,

Grand Announcement:  I have reached half of my fund-raising goal!  Only $250.00 to go.  If you haven't given to Haiti relief yet, or even if you have, please consider giving, even just $10.00.  Read my whole post about how you can fight obesity, heart disease, and contribute to Haiti relief on one just one donation here.  I mean it, just $10.00!  You don't need it.  That's less than one swanky cocktail; that's less than 3 tall lattes; that's much less than new kicks, a bag, or a dinner out.  DONATE HERE, totally tax deductible.

The rest of this week:  Look forward to an awesome set of introductions...


"Personal Record" or "I want to eat a cow."

5 miles
58:02 minutes
.53 miles of that walked during warm up and one water break

I would usually reward myself with a jigger of whiskey on the rocks, but seeing as how I gave up alcohol for Lent, I am at a loss.  Suggestions?


"The Damn Marathon" or "Why I will look like a Twin in 40 days."

I recently made a really terrible decision. It's a good terrible decision, but I still face the consequences with trepidation and dread.

That's right, I decided to run the NYC half marathon on April 3.  It happened a few weeks ago when I walked into a staff meeting late, frustrated, of course, after having spent the past hour looking for parking.  I sat down and about two seconds later was told the entire staff (with one hold out) had decided to run/run-walk/walk the half marathon for Haiti Relief on April 3rd.  It took me a few days to agree to do it, but I did eventually agree, "Yes, I will run a half marathon for this good cause."  "Yes, I will do the sport I hate more than almost any other, because it is for a good cause."  "Yes, I will train nearly every day between now and then, meaning I will have to spend time at the gym, a place I hate more than almost any other, because this is all for a good cause."

Of course, by now, only three of the staff are still planning on doing it.  One down-graded to walking the whole thing because of shin splints (Which by the way are undiagnosed by a professional and I still don't necessarily believe yet).  The other probably shouldn't quite "run".  Which means that I am the only one on staff capable of actually doing this as a more than a symbolic gesture (which is what it is for me anyway).  Well, crap.

If you have heard me talk about all of this over that past few weeks, you may have heard me refer to it as "The Dumb Marathon Thing", "The Damn Race", or "Bad Choice Twenty-Ten".  My attitude has been quite unsportsman like, which is probably because I have never been much of a sportsman.  Physical activity for the sake of physical activity is unenjoyable for me.   Throw some nerdy nature or geocaching in there for hiking, or the transpiration benefits of biking and I am a tad more willing to get off my butt, but I just get bored so fast.  Enter the most boring sport there is, running, which I have been known to proclaim does not make any sense unless there is someone or something bigger than you following closely behind with malicious intent.

Ok, so despite the negative tone of all this.  I still stand in agreement, "Yes, I will run a half marathon for this good cause."

And you know why?  Because it's good for me.  I am running to raise money for Haiti, but I also running for a very very selfish reason.  My body needs it.  And this whole I-Hate-Running thing is a mental battle with some serious spiritual implications.  Not even starting into body image issues, I (along with most believing Americans) have been pushing the truth of certain scriptures aside for decades.  I know God knows the treadmill is a very mental battle for me, and through His knowledge of that, it becomes intensely spiritual as well.  I should seek God's grace and mercy in this battle just as all others, sacrificing my will, and asking the Lord to take over.

Here's a few verses I have been muddling on.
(If you don't like reading the bible stuff scroll down to "Here's your part.")

Romans 12:1-2
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

In college (and all the other hormone-charged faith communities I have been in) pastors love to preach on Romans 12:1-2 as a passage about abstinence and celibacy.  That's fine and dandy, but I don't think they go far enough.  Paul doesn't say.  "Don't screw everything that walks, okay?"  He says our bodies are to be living sacrifices.  We are to give up our bodies to God for his use, holy and pleasing, and that is our "spiritual worship".  Paul says, "do not be conformed to this world", which is what I have been allowing to happen in this department for a long time.  Certainly many people fall on the other side of the line; body becomes the God, not the Temple of the God (Holy Spirit), but by and large (no pun intended) fat, pudgy, lazy Americans, i.e. "this world", are not presenting their body's as living sacrifices.
Maybe lazy is the wrong word.  Some westerns are genuinely lazy, living up to the steak dinner, golf, video game, McDonald's stereotypes, but most are just busy.  Even those with the most noble intentions are too busy dealing with important things like social justice, environmental lobbying, and educating underprivileged school children, to deal with basic body maintenance.  It is easy to push aside crunches when otherwise you could be spending the time writing a grant that might feed 100 starving children for a year.  In cases of not-so-obviously-philanthropic jobs, the mental battle is not much easier.  But the Lord genuinely cares about the state of our flesh and what we do with it.  He redeems the whole body, not just our brains.  I know people are going to be pissed to hear it but I firmly believe we are ignoring a huge command of scripture to say "to-hell-with-it",and grabbing McDonald's just because we are running late to church.  Maybe He likes twinkles, I don't know, but I am going to go out on a limb and posit that He might like an apple more.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

This flesh and bone is a gift!  Bought!  And then given back to us to maintain as a dwelling place of the Holy Lord.  Try not to treat it like a ugly sweater from Aunt Maude, stuffed in the back of a closet, brought out once a year when you absolutely have to wear it (read: when you have to run a marathon).  It's a good gift!  A super extravagant, expensive one too.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 
Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.

This one is the most difficult for me to read as an average, slightly soft, American woman.  I am God's temple and His Spirit dwells in me (ok, I am with you here.)  If anyone destroys the temple, (my body, from the passage above), God will destroy him.
Shoot.  I am the one destroying my body.  So what follows is that God is probably not too happy with that.  There are a lot of ways a building can go about getting itself condemned.  One could be an earthquake, suddenly unfit for habitation.  Another could be total abandonment, left to the elements.  But most often it is "failure of maintenance" stories we hear that are the most heart breaking.  People being evicted, because someone has let a leak go on in the basement for 15 years.  No one removed the lead paint.  The elevator broke with the door to the shaft open and no one bothered to fix it.  Neglect.  I have been neglecting my body for so many years now, that it is hard to even know where to begin.

So here's where I will begin.  For Lent this year, conveniently lined up with the Half Marathon being the day before Easter on Holy Saturday, I am going to give up complaining about all this exercise stuff.  That means no saying "I don't wanna!" (at least not in a whiney voice).  That means no more referring to it as "The Damn Marathon".  It also probably means that I can't put a picture of Bethany Klein, Ankle-Sprainee and/or a quadriplegic in my gym bag to remind me that there are people who would like to run "The Damn Marathon" but cannot.  Oh, and I am giving up alcohol too, because I tried running after a pint and lunch at the bar, and it just doesn't work.

Here's your part.  Give to Haiti, and give to me being healthier.  Whichever you feel more passionate about, you can give in the same place.

Please consider giving to Haiti through my World Vision fund set up here: http://twv.convio.net/site/TR/TeamWorldVision/General?px=1069501&pg=personal&fr_id=1090
I have set a very modest goal.  Admin costs for the race were $55. The World Vision Team jersey is another $30.  I also had to buy shoes for about $100.  I want to raise at least enough to make up for the money I have spent on this.  Other wise, I probably should have just given $185 to World Vision and been done with it (hence the its-also-for-me mentality).  Please consider donating with one of these amounts in mind.

Whoever gives the most gets to dictate what type and take a jar from the next batch of jam I make.  Or I will crochet you a squirrel or chipmunk pelt.  Your choice.


Also, if you want to give more, and to a more worthy team running the same race, give to these guys.

They are m' boyz, I love them all.

This race was originally set up for funds for Africa, so if you see information saying that all your money is going to Africa, not Haiti, the webmaster just hasn't caught up yet.  I assure you there has been an earthquake in Haiti.

Thanks, I love you all.

I will close with this thank you gift.  A list of the funny things that have gone through my head to keep me from running that I will not be allowed to repeat after Wednesday.

@ 11:53 pm: Kate, I can't run tomorrow at 6:00am.  All I have at home are clogs and pajama pants.

I shouldn't run because right now my silhouette has a nice ripple effect.  It's a graduated change in width from my waist to hips.  If I loose that padding then I will go straight from waist to hips and it will be more obvious how huge my hips really are.

Why would I do something that makes my calves even bigger?  They are the one part of my body that is naturally muscular.  If I do this race then my calves are going to look like Arnold Schwartznegger's in those shorts in Twins.

I will have to snack more.  (Okay, this on can also fall into the "Pro-Marathon" category.)

I must look so disgruntled and unhappy when I am at the gym.  Everyone always asks me questions thinking I am an employee.  No, I don't know where the sauna is.  There's a sauna?

Follow my Twitter for almost daily "Lessons from the Gym".

If you lucky, there also might be one posted right now on the top right of this blog page!


Guest Post

I can't help but share these poems that arrived in yesterday's edition of the JenniferMillsNews Vol.6 Iss.24.  Jennifer and I went to school together a few times, and collaborated on a few projects and shows.  Sign up for free deliver of the whole newsletter at missjennifermills@gmail.com.

Absolutely ridiculous; love it.

Love Calculator

O Calculator of Love
Sent from Heaven above
Can you add me plus you
And see if it equals love so true?
O Calculator of amour,
Can you tell me what love is 4?
O Calculator of Bliss,
How can you multiply the infinite love in your kiss?
Please don't divide us apart,
for thou shalt subtract 50% of my heart

Love Factory
Oh Love Factory of Love,
Sent from Heaven above,
Mass Produce me love so sweet,
An Slice it into portions for me to eat.
Love Factory with your diligent employees,
Make me ten thousand pounds of Love cheese.
Love Factory, I want a full time job immediately,
But I want to be paid with a love salary.
I don't need health benefits or a 401 K
Just let me take home the extra love
At the end of the day.


"Shoreline" or "Why canoes and Water Taxi Beach make me uncomfortable."


I love the shore of Brooklyn. Be it Coney Island, Plum Beach, Red hook, Dumbo, or the small inlets of Dockside. The closer I get to the shore, the better I feel, the brighter and clearer the sun shines. I like going in the morning, before the nanny/child pilgrims and the surveyors. I like being alone near the shore.

I was afraid of boats for a long time, but really just deep water. I have always attributed it to a Fourth of July in Michigan, 1993 or 4, I think. We were spending the holiday with an older couple; my mom had been tutoring the wife and they invited us to their cottage on a lake near Holland, Michigan. It was evening and my mom and I were sitting on the top of a double-decker pontoon boat which was docked in the back. We were watching some teenagers two properties down, who were setting off fireworks towards the middle of the lake. One of the rockets went sideways and landed in the water a few feet in front of us. The neighbors yelled their apologies, but I was terrified that it was still blazing and was going to pierce one of the floats, like a torpedo, and sink us. I asked my mom if we should go inside, and she said it was okay. The boat wouldn't sink or and they were going to be more careful. A few minutes later, she slammed my head forward onto the AstroTurf flattening herself over me as another stray bounced on the turf behind us, leaving the smell of melted plastic before hissing into the water on the other side. I wasn't scared in the few minutes as we climbed down, just shocked that it had happened again, that I had forseen what my mom couldn't. I am not afraid of fireworks.

The shore line draws me now because it is a definition. It is an end and limit placed on development. House boats and pier resturants keep it from being an edge, but there is only a minimal blur. Everything here is expanding, trying to claim as much space as possible, but the water is there, steady and moving at once. It has no need for gluttony. Thus far, it remains uncolonized by permanent fixtures.

The closer you get to the water in Brooklyn, the further you get from civilization. Even from those western views that afford the grandest views of King Manhattan, you can feel separate. The trains, concieved of and laid down before ferry boats were obsolete, aren't close enough to be convenient. We are on an island, but you must be so intentional about getting to the edge.


Sure shore: You are there, like the edge of the world; like when He separated night and day and you became the evening and dawn. I am bound to one side by my human nature, though I long to be enveloped by the mystery of the other side.

I love being alone near the shore.


"Bacon!" or "Take & eat; do this in remembrance of Me."

Warning: This is not a kosher post. Literally.

I am a believer in little graces. I think we get little gifts each day, designed especially for us. Spotting them is just a matter of perspective and awareness.

For example, when I go down to the subway to catch a train and it pulls up just after I reach the platform, I like to thank God for that little gift. I remember to do this a lot more in the middle of winter or summer. It's not that I think the trains/ world revolve around me, but rather than feel lucky, I feel thankful.

You may wonder what goes through my mind then when I am stuck with terrible 2 train traffic or construction on the weekend, waiting on a platform for 30 minutes in the freezing cold, at 2am, with a shady fellow pacing 30 yards away. Instead of wondering what I did wrong to deserve this though, I remember that a punishment is not the opposite of a gift. It wouldn't be so special if the train always showed up just as I did, when I had done something particularly nice or moral.

There is no equation for grace. Grace is the inexplicable part of sanctification, little graces included.

I received a special little gift today in church. But first, some background knowledge.

May I present the example of a miraculous scent of roses. For those who don't know, there are many Christians who believe there have been Marian Apparitions, visits from the Blessed Mother, even in the past 50 years. These are usually to children to deliver a warning for peace and the exultation to pray to the Lord for peace. Sights where this has happened often become destinations for religious pilgrims. One of the most often reported experiences by these pilgrims worldwide is an inexplicable smell of roses, Mary's dedicated flower. On person may smell them and the person next to them will not. (In her 70's my Grandmother visited a sight in Bosnia-Hercegovina called Medjugorje, and returned a claimant of the rose scent.) I don't say this to agree or disagree doctrinally, but to give the example of a small grace. Even if it turns out that the woman who wears rose perfume and sits near an air duct in the next building is to blame for the rose scent, it is still a small grace. I think God must use things in the world to talk to us, even when we can explain them. Probably more frequently, even, when we can explain them. He's not sitting in heaven racking his brain trying to find ways to convince people to believe in Him by inventing something that cannot be explained away by science or circumstance; I would think God doesn't really have a whole lot he has to prove to us.

For this reason, I would like to publicly thank the Lord for filling the church with the glorious smell of bacon just as communion began this morning. I did nothing to deserve it, but it made the Eucharist all the more special. Jesus knows I love bacon.

And it was hilarious.


"Hilbert's Ghost" or "How I Stopped Loving and Learned to Worry about the LHC"

So, I have LHC Mania. I barely understand what the Large Hadron Collider is, but it seems very romantic to me. A Victorian romanticism where science is more of a wild guess than an question asked based on the answers of questions before. In short, my best understanding is that it is largest particle accelerator ever, with which physicists hope to replicate the environmental and material conditions that began the universe in a fraction of a second all those years ago. It will give light to question about the basics of the laws governing the universe, and presumably answer questions that have existed for a long time. I am not even going to go into the theological implications here.

While I am fascinated by the science, I cannot pull myself from combing for new information about the social situation and implications for community surrounding it. For example, this Physics of the Universe Summit that was covered in the NYTimes today.

Intro my brilliant idea...
A comedic musical starring the LHC and the people surrounding it. Think modern Dr. Strangelove meets Bones meets Back to the Future. I imagine a female main character, her partner in research a man whom is hopelessly in love with her, but very timid. (He also never corrects her errant assumption that he is a homosexual, or calls her on her slightly homophobic, non-politically correct cracks about his sexuality. In fact, he is so beflustered and helpless that he even goes on a date with her cousin from Minnesota when he is on town. [only referred to, we never met the cousin] Yes, she is that socially dense.) But our physicist is married to her work, she is afraid to flip the switch (read: afraid to love).

The whole thing is an analogy. Repressed love, fear of beginning something new and unpredictable, of turning the LHC on and what could happen. Our main character has hidden behind science and has a very low view of love and affection (It's just a mix of dopamine, norepinephrine, and oxytocin after all.) It is the story of her coming over to the side of risk. And the guy growing the balls to finally confront her.

The closing scene is the two flipping a switch together. We don't find out what happens. Armegeddon? Maybe. Nothing? Maybe.

Alternatively, the whole thing could take place in flashbacks. 50 years after the switch was flipped. Nothing happened and all the scientists had to find something else to do with their lives. The two meet at a reunion organized by network TV and talk over drinks. They have both changed and could end up together or not. I'm not really partial at this point.

Setting: Geneva, French/Swiss border (and the future maybe)
Minor characters would include:
A quirky junior fellow / intern (what are these called in science stuff?)

David Hilbert (mathematician who authored the 23 Hilbert problems that steered 20th century math) who visits our main scientist as a ghost/vision/who she just talks to when by herself a la Marley and Scrooge. (As a bonus for nerds each of the Hilbert Problems will be subtly referred to through out the musical.)

Some authority figure who drives the timeline. This is the person forcing the switch flipped, tired of the 'lollygagging of you science folk.' They are motivated either by needing a distraction for the public (a bad war perhaps?) or the secret hope that the time/space travel myths about the LHC are true and they will be able to correct a grievous wrong they did in the past.

Also, the theological implications could be a great subplot. Creator vs. created, etc.
(Vanity Fair: "There was also a CERN subplot in Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, in which Illuminati steal anti-matter from the L.H.C. in order to evaporate the Vatican.")

Okay, there you have it. Now who wants to write it? Who wants to check the science? Who wants to choreography the "Waltz of the Proton Synchrotron"? Don't all get up at once.


Miracle Music

I'm sorry Bethany, it's time to acknowledge that most Coldplay songs, a few Keane songs (God bless those rediculously chubby hands that bring us rediculously soulful ballads), and the entire Red Hot Chili Peppers 'One Hot Minute' album, are a good background soundtrack to a miracle.

I fully expect in my life, to see good and miraculous things happen. To see prayers answered quickly. To see people pushed out from the front of trains by unseen angels. I only hope I can open my eyes wide enough and not blink for long enough to recognize them for what they are.

- Posted by mobile; forgive my gramatical shortcomings. -


Shoot man, technology is confusing!

Hey all, this was supposed to be posted here yesterday, but instead, I posted to my other blog. And I am without computer, so, "Oops, sorry, redirect...."


- Posted by mobile; forgive my grammatical shortcomings. -

I have imported all posts from the Seeking the Hollows blog over here. I will keep that one up for posts related just to that project, and for the meantime, will cross-post to both if it seems appropriate.


"Fear" or "Reference for future plotting against Jenn"

While doing research for the much anticipated (at least by me) redesign of my site, jromaniszak.com, I can across the most complete listing of fears I have ever seen. As I scrolled through, I started to assess whether or not I had a particular fear, and if so, to what degree. What's that syndrome first year med and psych students get where they think they are afflicted with everything they read about? Yeah, it was a slight case of that. I realized there are quite a few things that make me shake in my boots, and a few others that I would pointedly work to develop a fear of, just so I could use the word that it is called. Here is my in-exhaustive list.

Bolshephobia- Fear of Bolsheviks.
Cancerophobia or Carcinophobia- Fear of cancer.
Chrometophobia or Chrematophobia- Fear of money.
Dutchphobia- Fear of the Dutch.
Eremophobia- Fear of being oneself or of lonliness.
Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia- Fear of the number 666.
Kainolophobia or Kainophobia- Fear of anything new, novelty.
Leukophobia- Fear of the color white.
Lockiophobia- Fear of childbirth.
Mechanophobia- Fear of machines.
Pteronophobia- Fear of being tickled by feathers.
Scriptophobia- Fear of writing in public.
Teratophobia- Fear of bearing a deformed child.
Xerophobia- Fear of dryness.

The ill-advised exercise got me thinking about fear, and that old phrase "The only thing to fear, is fear itself."


I'm afraid of a lot of things. Not nessicarily bugs or zombies, but plenty of things scare the beegeeses out of me (Hey, my grandfather had to flee the Bolsheviks!). And then there's the guilt about the fear, because Christ's most often repeated command is the "do no fear" type. And don't forget then the inevitable fear that the guilt will never go away, and the fear that Jesus will be mad at me that I feared at all in the first place..

For me, fear could be synonymous with worry. I worry about money; I worry about being alone on a Friday night. Sometimes I even catch myself worrying that I will worry about something later. There are so many things that could go wrong in the world, that to worry about them all, to fear every little thing, could become all-encompassing, soul swallowing, and change who you are at the core of your being. It's more than a full time job, AND FEAR IS EXHAUSTING! But even with this logical assessment, I still fear. Even though Christ commands me not too, I still worry. I think He knows this, and that's why Christ takes every chance in the Gospel's to remind us not to fear. We are more than sparrows and lilies and see how they are cared for?

Why are we given such a difficult and abstract command? Sometimes it's even involuntary! Creepy dude runs at me with a butcher knife; shoot, there I go sinning again when I cringe and run away. I think that this command is like a hand full of other key imperatives given by Christ that serve a particular purpose. The rules we struggle with the most are usually the gateway for understanding mercy, and especially grace. Christ also says to give everything away (Rich Young Ruler). He says, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:38) There is no way for me to make myself perfect just like God, and that's the point.

Lemme break it down fo' ya.

Me: (worry, worry, worry)
Me: (worry, worry) "...oh shit."
God: "See, that's why you need me."
Me: "Oops... sorry ...again."

The opposite of fear and worry is not bravery. It is trust. We MUST trust that when we are told we are made perfect in Christ, he wasn't lying. There's no way for us to double check.

That's not to say, that you just throw a switch and, WHAM!, now I trust. Even when Paul writes to the Colossians about being perfect, he clearly states there is a process involved. "We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me." The labor allows us to be prefect, but the only way into and through the labor is with "all His energy". It is our labor, our work, our change, but it is His means.

Let me break this into clauses; it makes it easier for me to understand if I say it part by part.

When we overcome our fears,
by being transformed
to trust in the Lord,
we are freed
from the self-centeredness
of a life steered by worry.

When will I eat? What will I wear? We are clearly promised these things if we will only believe in them. (Matthew 6:25-34).

OKAY, now here's the important part:
Being freed from fear opens our lives up to obeying the second most repeated commandment: "Lord God and others." And though it's only second in frequency, Christ does identify this as THE MOST important commandment. " 'Love the Lord your God..., and Love your neighbor as yourself...There is no commandment greater than these.' "

I have a pattern. When I worry, I start worrying more. A metaphor: With each little thorn in my paw, I start looking closer and seeing more and more little thorns that I hadn't seen before. Then I pull out the magnifying glass and when I am just about ready to start bawling, thinking my had is made more of slivers and thorns than muscle, some one will tap me on the shoulder and say, "Sorry, I can see you're busy, but I need some help. As you can see, I just got hit by a falling tree and am bleeding from my eye sockets. Do you have time to point me in the direction of the hospital?"

Fear makes me self-centered, and reinforces selfishness. Trusting requires me to be Christ-centered, and practice selflessness.

So, maybe "The only thing to fear, is fear itself" is not very helpful, but another commonality about fear might be. I forget who says it, but the idea that once you name your fears they are easier to deal with, that gives me comfort. As I learn more and more to recognize the signs that I am acting out of fear for myself and not love for God and others, it gets a little easier.

Bit by bit,
over time,
just like all disciplines.