Small Acts

I piled the books and boxes against the wall and set up a card table in the study yesterday. Then I unpacked all my scrapbooking stuff—and I do mean all of it. It may not be pretty, folks, but I finally have my permanent (ok almost permanent) craft zone.

Despot of my own land, no longer will I invade neighboring kingdoms of dining room table or living room floor for unspecified periods of chaotic domination.

This is a major win, both for crafting rights and for clutter control.

Also for one’s self esteem, because yesterday wasn’t really looking like major win material for a while there. First there was the whole waking up to feelings of totally immobilizing exhaustion thing. Then there was the missed phone meeting. Then there was the schedule mix up where I was pretty sure my boss had the time of one of his appointments wrong, but since I wasn’t at my computer to double check I didn’t put up too much of a fight when he insisted it was later in the day. Yep. I was right. He totally missed the meeting. Chalk up one more reason to do those assertiveness exercises the self-esteem books are always suggesting.

… This is why it’s so cheering to have a craft space. I mean, after a day of no shower, no nap, and no dang baby it’s kind of necessary to have a place where it’s ok to spend half an hour trying to figure out how to make a rainbow out of scrap paper.

Small achievements, people. Don’t underestimate the encouraging power of small achievements.

In honor of these small acts, I stopped by the library after dropping Carl off at work this morning and gave myself 45 minutes of unrestricted foraging. I understand most people don’t have time for more than a quick dart to the catalogue computer and a direct line to said stacks. But libraries are a lot like the introverts who love them: you get what you give. And nine times out of ten, you won’t even know the right questions to ask in order to get to the really interesting stuff. It just takes time, a little curiosity, an open mind, and a lot of wandering around.

I’m always interested in spirituality, gender studies, and writing, but lately I’ve been broadening my horizons a bit to include gardening, parenting, and home design/decoration. Here’s my latest haul:

The last title is Thoughtful Gardening, a collection of essays by a scholar who writes prize-winning books on Alexander the Great… while overseeing the grounds at New College, Oxford and writing one of the longest-running columns on gardening in history. I haven’t started reading it, so I can’t honestly say I swoon, but the set-up does sound sort of swoonable, you have to admit.

Although, if we’re going solely on cover art/presentation, I’m probably most excited about Comfort: An Atlas for the Body and Soul.

And if we’re going for most-intellectually-stimulating-and-potentially-rant-inducing, I’m going to nominate Faith No More, an interview and statistics-crunching book that looks at why people leave religion, what the process generally entails, and what kinds of philosophical perspectives the formerly religious tend to favor afterward. The book was written by a sociologist, by the way, so it’s not by any means a lament; I’m sure he has his own agenda to promote, but I’m very curious to hear the actual numbers and actual interviews. It’s a topic that’s been on my mind a lot lately as I realize most of my Christian friends, when honest, fall into three categories—the minority of which is cheerful, unquestioning orthodoxy while the majority is either polite and infrequent mention of spiritual topics or a kind of wistful, tortuous ambivalence toward the faith.

Attraction, certainly, but also repugnance, and sometimes there’s a difficulty in extracting the one from the other.


I’m looking forward to this week’s reading adventures, even though I’ll probably toss aside half of them as boring and run out of time for another quarter and maybe only actually finish 1 or 2. It doesn’t really matter.

As long as the acts are small, I have time for a lot of them.


6 thoughts on “Small Acts

  1. Do tell how those books turn out! Looks like a great stack! I took a little browse through the library to cure a rotten morning myself. Darn those rotten mornings.

    Your rainbow is sublime.

    • Thanks! The rainbow is for the baby book… I love that her name has so many different meanings. Actually, I’m kind of obsessed with it. It’s the only part of her I really have yet.

  2. I love that you’re always learning and growing. Joel and I read the other day that “Friends are flowers in the garden of life.” We both looked up and smiled, remembering your cross stitch by the kitchen sink. Thanks again for this reminder of your love!

  3. Yes, that rainbow is totally awesome. It’s so great that you got your scrapbook area set up. There’s nothing quite so inspiring as a nice, dedicated work space.

    I’d be interested to hear what you glean from Faith No More.

    • No worries; I feel bloggish several times per chapter so far. 🙂

      I think the thing that most stands out to me so far is that people seem to blow out of faith because their ideas of religion are super rigid, literal, and black and white. I keep thinking “well, yeah, I would have lost my faith too if I believed that if you go to church regularly God will bless you with a good life” or whatever. I guess maybe what’s really going on is that the reasons are far more psychological/emotional than they are rational, because even the people who think they lost their faith due to scientific reasons are usually presenting arguments that could easily be answered by even a slightly more liberal religious viewpoint.

  4. I’ll be the third person to love the rainbow plus bird. Good idea!
    Agree with you about the scientific reasons for losing faith and wanting those people to consider a little bit broader of a view. Wish some friends who have turned to atheism because of this reason would consider reading/ sympathizing with Traveling Mercies or other books that present a more open-ended view toward faith rather than giving everything up altogether.

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