jpmurad

Archive for November, 2008|Monthly archive page

Emptying and Thankfulness

In Eclipse on November 27, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Another Turkey Day!  Last year at this time, Lindsay and I spent Thanksgiving on the small island of Vieques to the south east of Puerto Rico (coincidentally a small island to the southeast of the US).  We at an American Turkey dinner in the upper room restaurant of a guesthouse called Tradewinds.  We had a perfect view overlooking the Caribbean sunset from an enclosed balcony.  What a honeymoon!

Lindsay and I will spend our day today in Huntington Beach with her parents enjoying a standard Turkey day Menu: Green Bean Casserole, Sea Salt and bacon-brine Turkey, sweet potatoes covered with sweet crunchy goodness, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I was reminded this morning that it was originally instituted by Abraham Lincoln during the time of the Civil War.  It was an institution designed to remember God’s goodness and to turn back to him (as a country); for thanking him for his provision and care for us.  I was reminded about how thankful I am for story. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Investment versus Spending

In Wise Eyes on November 21, 2008 at 7:39 am

Lindsay and I are on a trip for our first anniversary to California’s Central coast.  We are staying in the small town of Cambria, just south of Hearst Castle.  So far, I have been thinking about investments and wealth, living richly.  Strangely enough these thoughts began with my teeth.

Yesterday, I felt pain in my lower row of teeth, which have been pushing against the upper row.  I had an orthodontic evaluation in July about the shifting teeth.  Because I have had braces in the past, I was bummed to learn that my teeth were still shifting on ‘living tissue’.  I tend to look at making difficult decisions as an inconvenience, rather than a natural progression of living.

“So, how much is orthodontic treatment going to set us back?” I thought.  I notice that I was already orienting myself toward the expense as ‘spending’ rather than ‘investing’.  As you might have guessed it was a pretty penny, considering some of the other ways Lindsay and I are invested right now (grad school, writing a book, working part time, etc.) Read the rest of this entry »

Last Day of School

In Onward on November 12, 2008 at 9:44 pm

Remember the last day of school when you were in junior high or high school?  I anticipated it for weeks, excited for the summer and the downtime.  I often walked out of the heavy-metal double doors throwing my hands up like the victor of some competition.  I had successfully completed another grade!  More honestly, I was looking forward to the summer break.

This high was usually followed with a let down.  I mean, I did not see the same people every day.  Sometimes, I missed the rigid daily schedule that provided a promise of connection with classmates.  In one way or another, we had all agreed to ‘show up’, no matter how reluctantly.

I was thinking about this transition when I walked out of work today.  After today, I have 10 working days, eight-and-one-half hours remaining.  But, who is counting?  I thought about all the times I have agreed to ‘show up’ with coworkers; and they have done the same.  How many more times would I walk down the industrial-carpeted hallways?  For that matter, I wondered how many times I already have.

Essentially, the last eleven workdays will take place over the next three weeks.  So, technically, I am midway through my last full work week.  Every week from here on out will only be partial.  As I am hearing the amount of conversations I have had about this (in my own head), it seems a bit obsessive.  Regardless, my time is coming to an end; my sun is setting; my projects are closing.  It is ironic that I sometimes feel an anxious accountability for some of the projects I am on.  I want to be remembered.  I will miss connecting with my old coworkers (however ready I am to leave).

With the opening up of this ‘break’, I am filled with possibilities.  I am excited about taking off with writing, honing my craft and become more sensitive to cultural trends.  I would like to spend more regular time studying cultural icons (I.e. magazine articles, newpapers, movies, bestselling books).  In addition, I want to learn more about the Renaissance.  I have the sense this summer break will lead into a sort of cultural Renaissance for me.

Going to the Polls

In Speaking into the Silence on November 4, 2008 at 11:28 am

It was raining pretty hard this morning.  Although stormy skies are unusual for Southern California, I welcomed the rhythmic drizzle in memory of my mid-western roots.  Today marks one of the first critical elections during my life.  At least, this is the first election to which I have paid serious attention.  There are many levels to the conversation surrounding the candidates – at least Barack & McCain; some of the conversations are Republican/Democrat, Racial barriers, Age, Health, Policies, Comparison to the current administration, social issues, economic issues, etc.  And the list goes on.   I will vote this afternoon.

But enough talk about politics.  I have committed to writing one page of my book for about the next thirty days.  Man, that is a stretch!  I had no idea that creative activities could require discipline.  It requires that I stay focused on the story and my vision for it.  (My book perishes for lack of vision – spun off a proverb) On the one hand, it is good to be prepared to write and have the creativity stored up.  On the other hand, art seems a violent act of assertion.  It is Speaking in to the Silence.  James Taylor called it a ‘Daring Daylight Escape’.  I like that. Read the rest of this entry »