Time to wash the ashes off our foreheads and move into the solemnity of Lent. Or are you celebrating Valentine's Day? Some love notes:
--I love the idea of the art discussed in this article in The Washington Post. The artist creates lifesize figures of cardboard, paints them, and puts them in provocative places, like a gardener outside of George Clooney's house or a fruit picker outside of the Capitol building in D.C. He's making a point about immigration and who does the work that supports our comfortable lives, but he's doing it in a more subtle way than most protest art. And it's cheap. He created one of his pieces from cardboard he scavenged at Costco. Bravo!
--My Lenten discipline is going well. Poem #2 written this morning. As anyone who has participated in a poem-a-day project knows that the early days are often the easiest. That thrill, that adrenaline that says, "I could keep doing this even after my poem-a-day project ends!" Life has yet to intervene.
--Last night, our pastor preached his Ash Wednesday service that focused on the deprivations that most people undertake during Lent, which is fine, but our pastor suggested we should focus on remembering God's love for us and setting it loose into the world. As he was wrapping up, he said, "So, if you must, flush your chocolate down the toilet--" when he was interrupted by a child who wailed, "No!"
--I still like this photo essay that I posted last year. I also love this photo essay, which takes a theological approach.
--And while I'm directing you to other places, let me recommend this blog post by Rachel Barenblat, which talks about treating your body as an object of your love, whether you're smearing lotion on your hands or taking care of your medical conditions. And this blog post by Kelli Russell Agodon reminded me of a variety of ways that we can practice optimism.
--My spouse and I have been doing a lot of sorting. Our church is having a rummage sale, and I'm happy to get rid of our junk for this good cause.
--Sure, I could have a yard sale and make some money for myself. But that would be a LOT more work, both the prep work of putting prices on everything and the sacrifice of a Saturday to have the yard sale. No, let others do the work and pocket the proceeds for their good cause.
--One of my favorite paid writing projects is writing prayers for the devotional book, Bread for the Day. I've written about this project from several angles, most notably in this blog post where I talk about how my poetry writing has been good practice for writing prayers. I'm thrilled to be asked to participate again and even better news: we get a bit more pay this year!
--This week, I've also gotten an offer to write curriculum for pay. I said yes.
--I've been thinking about the time that we had to have syllabi on file for every departmental course in the catalogue. We didn't have much in our files, so I created syllabi from a course description: course objectives, assignments, grade determinations, topical outlines, weekly and term assignments. Not for the first time did I think about my liberal arts background and how it had prepared me for all sorts of projects my undergraduate self never would have anticipated. I thoroughly enjoyed the project and only wished that I could teach some of the cool courses I created.
--When I think back on my education, I'm happy that I have no regrets about the education that I got, aside from the regret of wishing I had studied an even wider variety of subjects.
--Most of all, on this Valentine's Day, I feel fortunate to feel so rich in love of all sorts. Every day is Valentine's Day, when you've got an abundance of love.
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