June 18, 2005

D-(as in Departure) Day

Linda and Samuel will be spending the summer months up in WV with the grandparents. (It is the deepest of mysteries to me as to why they moved from the center of the world to its most far-flung corner--nevertheless, that is as it is.) Linda's sister has a small house and a large yard with chickens, goats, sheep, and other assorted farmyard animals. We thought that Samuel would have a great time being there. Moreover, we wanted him to have some time with his grandparents. I wasn't content with our usual week-long trip at Thanksgiving, so I'm hoping this is everything we imagine it might be.

As you might well imagine there is some sense of trepidation at so long a separation. The plus side is that toward the end of the trip I'll travel there also and we'll probably spend some time in Washington D.C. and perhaps in Charlottesville (really at Mount Vernon and at Monticello). Until then though, I'm more or less on my own and there's something a little scary in that. And sad. I'll miss them both. And as fun as it might be, I suspect that Samuel will miss Daddy as well.

What I will not miss are the mandatory three thousand and five daily repetitions of "Move it, Move it" from the Madagascar Soundtrack On the other hand, I will miss hearing, "March Slave" (as Samuel calls it), "Odd to Joy" and other tunes he's beginning to pick up. It's amazing how his ability grows by leaps and bounds although he doesn't really spend all that much time practicing.

In their absence, I suppose I'll immerse myself in my Father's Day present--David McCullough's 1776 as well as other works of similar vintage and theme. I've got about four Franklin Biographies stacked up to read, and heaven knows a plethora of Washingtoniana.

Anyway, prayers for safe travel and wonderful trip would be deeply appreciated.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:19 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 17, 2005

Living in this Moment

One of the most difficult things to relearn after a certain age is the ability to live in the moment. As we enter adulthood we often lose the ability to live moment-to-moment in anything like comfort. We find ourselves planning for this expense and that expense, for this vacation and that event, for retirement, for college expenses for children, for hurricanes, for the Apocalypse. You name it, we're planning for it.

Not that planning is a bad thing--it isn't. But too often we are so wrapped up in planning that we forget to live. We're living in the future that is not yet here. In other words, we're not living at all, but waiting for some magical instant when the harmonic convergence will converge and we will enter the age of milk and honey.

Ain't happening. This is Satan's most clever ploy. How many times do we hear, "There will be a better time. Just wait. The time will come"? How many times do we listen. "We should wait to have children." Why? What are you waiting for--more money, better time? It isn't going to happen. "We should wait to get married. . ." Until?

Occasionally there is great prudence in waiting. For example, waiting upon God's will is what we are supposed to do. Of course that waiting isn't an example of mere stasis, it is waiting in the sense of table-waiting--performing then as it were. But even at that there are prudential times and there are times for things to come to fruition. Problem is, we aren't really good at tellilng when these are AND so, as we age we tend to wait.

Well, there's really no point. Even when we're maxed out, as I have been at work recently--those are moments to embrace and live and feel the vbrant, life-giving, encompassing love of God that fills every moment of every day. Seize this moment, this time. Now is the proper time. This instant is the proper instant. Don't think about yesterday and tomorrow--at least don't allow them to loom so large that their shadow obscures everything present. Live now. Live in God's Love which is now, in the present, in the only moment we have. We have lost yesterday and we may not have tomorrow. Now is the time to practice the presence of God. Each time we sin is the time to repent and start up again.

We can stand all summer at the edge of the pool and contemplate whether or not we will jump in. Or we can plunge in, swim and rejoice in that mysterious lightness of body that comes from being present to God, from living in Him.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 08:10 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Reading List

Founding Brothers Jospeh Ellis
Benajamin Franklin Edmund S. Morgan (The man who is organizing the Franklin Papers)
Streams of Living Water Richard J Foster
Shadow of the Wind Carlos Ruiz Zafon

There are of course a million other things that float into and out of my perception, but for the moment, there will probably be a strong focus on things American, and particularly things Revolutionary. I love the Founding Fathers, Mothers, Brother, whatever you want to call them. And perhaps at the end of the summer, I'll have another opportunity to visit that most wonderful of Revolutionary Shrines--Mount Vernon. (I'll be a mite closer to Monticello, I suspect, but we'll see.)

Wow, what a summer--the Dry Tortugas and Mount Vernon. The only thing to make it better would be Williamsburg. But we may end up waiting until 2007--the tercentary of the the Landing at Jamestown.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Killing Floor Lee Child

A tremendously violent, extremely high body count mystery thriller. This novel won the Anthony for best first book. And despite its horrendous excess, it deserves the award.

The prose is smooth and supple. I had picked the book up with the idea that I might read it later and found myself taking every free moment (and there were very many) to read it. Compelling and engrossing both for the character presented and the intricate and ornate plot. There are implausibilities that would cause me to balk ordinarily covered by enough velvety smooth prose that they go down easily. (I think for example of the identity of the first victim.)

The novel starts with the arrest of a man in a diner--a man who has only recently arrived in town. He is arrested for a murder that occurred near a place he walked by early in the morning. It is nearly Kafka in its inception. And from that point on it's a roller-coaster ride.

The only author I can think of off-hand who I like better is James Lee Burke, whose prose is equally smooth and whose violence is nearly as overwhelming. I'm not sure I'd care for a steady diet of Child, but a book here or there can punctuate the vast sea of bad prose that consitutes modern fiction.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sharkboy and Lava Girl

Okay, given the title you didn't expect much. Unfortunately for adults, you don't get much. What plot there is is utterly incoherent. Even the 3-D is not all that great.

But, as with all the Robert Rodriguez films aimed at children (see Spy Kids) the underlying message is the importance of the family and of staying together and overcoming obstacles in your way to success. Now, whether it was worth wading through the tedium of this film. . .

. . . Oh, but wait. Samuel loved it. He wanted to see it again and again. He loved the action and the effects. He loved the story. So apparently this film wasn't meant for me anyway, and my delight comes from Samuel's delight. I rejoice in his joy and so, were he staying around, we'd probably see it again. As he's on his way with his mother to Grandma's they'll probably go and see something else. (Willy Wonka I expect.) But then, so shall I.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Not with a Bang. . .

but a whimper. The return to blogging. It seems as though it may be possible, ande so, expect a couple of things today before the heat gets poured on.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:28 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 13, 2005

Interim Report

You've seen things grow scant.

Work's at a peak and it doesn't seem to resolve itself into days with normal numbers of hours and so I have little time for blogging. That will change in the near future; however, for the time being bear with me.

More importantly, I'd appreciate it if you'd think to remember me in your ongoing prayer requests at least until such time as this project comes to an end.

Posted by Steven Riddle at 07:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack