Saturday, December 24, 2005


Samwise Gamgee is my hero.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

flannel time

so apparently i am not being creative enough in law school.

i had all these plans of what i wanted to do on my time off - mostly as close to nothing as possible. but i found myself instead desiring to create things. i started off with my traditional once-a-year flannel pajama pants... bought the fabric and sewed those one night. but then i thought about all my scraps of fabric from previous pj's... and i decided to make a flannel quilt.

so after having cleaned my house from top to bottom, i proceeded to pull out my box of old fabric from the bottom of the closet,dumped it all over the floor, and began to cut out pieces.

this was not exactly out of the blue, since i have long wished to make a quilt out of flannel. but i wasn't really planning on spending my time working so hard on something. so anyway, 8pm monday you would have found me at the fabric store, buying a couple more fabrics for the top and the backing & batting. and then last night at 1am you would have seen me pulling the just-finished quilt out of the dryer. so now it's done.

quilting has always been really good for me. when i was doing full-time ministry in a very stressful environment, where the kids i was working with continually made horrible choices and found themselves locked up or hurting somehow, quilting gave me something tangible to do - where i could actually see i was making progress and have an end product to hold in my hand - to point to and say that my time was not wasted. now i suppose it is a little bit the same. i am learning much in law school, but currently have nothing to show for it. so now i have a flannel quilt, to show me that i am not only living life in my mind and to remind me that i am indeed a human being.

now i suppose i'm on to baking... breads, sweet rolls, curry, cookies... yes - i am not being creative enough in law school.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

happy thoughts

i am now officially halfway through lawschool. woohoo! i am so ready for a celebration.

instead, i'll be cleaning my house, catching up with people i never see, reading books, watching movies, sewing some brand new flannel pajama pants, and other such relaxing and enjoyable activities.

and i'm going to try really, really hard not to start my homework for next semester. i have to admit that i am somewhat addicted to the process of learning, and i love new material. i get to study evidence, tax (yikes!), remedies, ADR, write a law review article, and do a directed study on mediation. sounds like a good time to me! :)

so here's to cozy winter nights and holiday cheer and only doing the homework i want to do.

now--if only they'd play the old claymation christmas program on tv...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

on giving

i've been thinking some about giving, during this Christmas season. i find myself without close family nearby for the holidays, and it's been interesting to try to figure out what i'm going to do with my time.

i've had some random offers to spend time with people - from strangers at my church, to people i half-know, to one of my best friends from school. and as i've considered who i would be most comfortable taking from, it's definitely the people i have relationships with. i don't really want to interrupt a holiday celebration of someone i don't know. but i'm a little more comfortable intruding on the kindness of people who know and love me already.

then i compare that to how many people traditionally give during this season. one of my classes, actually, got together to adopt a family through the United Way & buy them gifts, household items, and a Christmas meal. we pooled our money, sent out representatives to buy, and i'm sure overwhelmed them with the amount of stuff that we brought to them.

but as i read my professor's description of the visit on our school website, i was immediately uncomfortable. besides the fact that his descriptions made the law students sound like knights arriving on white horses to bring salvation to a family living in a hovel, really our giving was void of relationship. we had no relationship with the woman and her children when we gave her these gifts. so what did our gifts communicate to her? how did our presentation of those gifts make her feel?

it is possible to give in a way that dehumanizes people. it's possible to give thinking only of the wonderful tingly feeling you get when you give something to another person, or thinking of what a wonderful person you are. it's possible to give in a way that's hurtful to others.

and this brings me to the whole idea of charity and welfare, the church's role and the government's role. i saw many things while working with at-risk youth, and one of my observations was what happens to people who receive welfare. many people who get welfare really would rather be working - they would rather be out there earning their own money than just taking from the government. in many ways, allowing them to just take the money each month dehumanizes them in the same way that some giving dehumanizes the receiver. we are meant to work, to contribute to our families, our societies, to be a part of procuring the things we need for ourselves. though many of us cannot do that on our own, and need help from our communities, we still need to have an active role.

so one of the problems i see with our current governmental welfare system (and the more socialistic welfare systems of other nations), is that we put people into a position where they are allowed to become dehumanized, so that they are no longer even able to contribute to society. i understand that to try to tie welfare in with people and relationships makes it a lot more difficult, and the bureaucracies of our government probably can't handle it. but really, are we helping people? is this an outcome that is intended? if not, what might we be able to do about it?

that, i think, is where faith-based programs could really be effective. with these kinds of programs, at least you have the option of making the giving and receiving somewhat relational. additionally, people can receive not only monetary assistance, but also find a community support system, which is another thing that's essential, but often lacking.

i'm really not sure that handing out just money is the right thing to do.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

designer what?!

so i was on my way to a meeting this weekend, and heard an advertisement on the radio for a new kind of toilet paper.

yes toilet paper. and i was struck by the ridiculousness of it all.

you see, we have quilted, one-ply, two-ply, different colors, different patterns... the list goes on. there are people out there who actually spend their working lives developing new kinds of toilet paper - indeed, the advertisement was explaining how this kind was for some reason so much better than the other kinds currently available.

i just had to stop for a minute.

our nation is so wealthy. we're so wealthy, that we don't even know what poverty is. even those who have been displaced by the recent hurricane have more than those in some other nations can even dream of.

why is it so difficult for us to be generous? why do we hold so tightly to the things that we have? why do we buy designer toilet paper, when we could simplify our lives and have more to give?

God forgive us.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

exams - they are a'coming

exams are almost here.

after i'm done with them, i'll be halfway through law school - yay!

if you notice a greater than usual lapse in my posts, just picture me with my lovely law outlines studying my days (and nights) away.