Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Different Kind of Music


Today I'm writing at Dan the Story Man's website Transformation Is Real about how the path that led me to Russia led to the death of my dream of writing songs but also led to its rebirth: transforming my writing and the way I think about it.

Here's an excerpt:

I don’t remember the exact words I used, but I remember the moment I told my mom I had committed to a two-month trip to Russia. 

I can only imagine what was going through her head. 

In the years since many people have gone to Russia and returned safe and sound, enriched by the encounter with a vibrant, deep culture. But in 1993 the walls had just recently come down, and going to Russia was new, mysterious, and in some ways, frightening for a parent, even if the child who was going was an adult child. 

“Going to Russia will give me new songs to write,” I justified myself.  

Read the rest at A Different Kind of Music - A Transformation of the Heart.

Share This:    
   


Related Posts
Link to: Walking Around the Block in Novosibirsk
Walking Around the Block in Novosibirsk
Link to: VE Day - Novosibirsk 2015
VE Day - Novosibirsk 2015
Link to: One Year After My Surgery in Siberia
One Year After My
Surgery in Siberia
Link to: Four Cities, Three Countries, Two Days
Four Cities, Three
Countries, Two Days

You Might Be Interested In
Link to: Waiting on the Shuttle in Moscow
Waiting on the
Shuttle in Moscow
Link to: The Calling of a Priest - Song/Video
The Calling of a Priest
Song/Video
Link to: Ode to My Suitcase
Ode to My Suitcase
   
Link to: ReEntry
ReEntry
   

Monday, June 29, 2015

Pressing Forward to Touch You - Mark 3:7-12 Post 2

Chalkboard: Mark 3:7-12 Post 2 Pressing In.
Because of the crowd, You have the disciples get a small boat ready  (Mark 3:7-12).   It doesn't say if You're going to sit in the boat and teach them, or if You're going to use the boat to escape, or maybe both.  Just that a boat would be ready so that the people wouldn't crowd You, because they were pressing forward to touch You. 

So many people have been healed that there's no longer a question, "Can Jesus heal me?  Will Jesus heal me?"  At this point it's obvious You can heal, and You are willing to heal. 

Who, then, in their right mind wouldn't be pressing in to touch You, if they had a disease or an infirmity of some sort?  Here, at last, is real hope, here at last, is someone who can DO something about their situation, and who WILL.

They knew it.  And they pressed in unrelentingly just to touch You.  
Just to touch You.

I know I'm not whole.  I know my infirmity, my disease, too well.  I know You are the One who can do something for me. And I know that I have clear access to You.  I don't have to fight a crowd of people to get to You, the veil that once separated me from You is gone, there is no real obstacle between me and You.  I can be with You this very moment if I want...

Am I...?

Am I pressing through the crowd of things in my life that would keep me from You if I let them?  Am I fighting to see You, to touch You?



Share This:    
   


Related Posts
Link to: To Be Where You Are - Mark 3:7-12 Post 1
To Be Where You Are
   
Link to: I Am the Man With the Shriveled Hand - Mark 3:1-6 Post 4
I Am the Man With the Shriveled Hand
Link to: When You Ask Me to Give You My Heart - Mark 3:1-6 Post 3
When You Ask Me to Give You My Heart
Link to: Shriveled Hand, Shriveled Heart - Mark 3:1-6 Post 2
Shriveled Hand, Shriveled Heart

You Might Be Interested In
Link to: One Year After My Surgery in Siberia
One Year After My
Surgery in Siberia
Kids on bikes in Novo: Ten Reasons I Love Novosibirsk brokenbreadandsmallfish.com
Ten Reasons I Love Novosibirsk
Link to: Do I Know How to Play?
Do I Know How to Play?
   
Link to: The Calling of a Priest - Song/Video
The Calling of a Priest
Song/Video

Friday, June 26, 2015

Do I Know How to Play?

Kids playing in Ocean. Do I Know How to Play?(poem) brokenbreadandsmallfish.com
Do I know how to play
Under all this seriousness
under the weight
of all I think
depends on me...?

and maybe
some of it is serious
but
the sky is still so blue
the branches on the trees swaying gently
and
they still say laughter is the best medicine
and maybe
if we could just
relax our sober faces
and laugh
and play
together


we would see
this world
laughing with us
trees 
their branches outstretched, grinning, 
calling
snowflakes 
dancing as they're falling
brooks 
giggling their way over rocks
squirrels chattering, 
playing hide and seek with nuts
horses 
tossing their heads and running
running
just for the joy
just for the joy

they all know how to play.


Linking up with Velvet Ashes at The Grove where the theme this week is "Play"

Share This:    
   


Related Posts
Link to: Is Anyone Sane?
Is Anyone Sane?
   
Link to: Green Pastures
Green Pastures
   
Link to: Watch You Leave
Watch You Leave
   
Link to: Ode to My Suitcase
Ode to My Suitcase
   

You Might Be Interested In
Link to: One Year After My Surgery in Siberia
One Year After My
Surgery in Siberia
Kids on bikes in Novo: Ten Reasons I Love Novosibirsk brokenbreadandsmallfish.com
Ten Reasons I Love Novosibirsk
Link to: Walking Through Fields of Grain
Walking Through Fields of Grain
Link to: Not That Kind of Fairy Tale - Video/Song
Not That Kind of
Fairy Tale -Video/Song

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ten Reasons I Love Novosibirsk

Kids Riding Bikes Down the Street - 10 Reasons I Love NovosibirskI'm not calling it "Top Ten" because as soon as I post it another reason will occur to me that would rearrange a Top Ten list.  And because except for one, I can't really say which is most important to me.  So this isn't a count-down, and it's not all-inclusive: just a list of things I love about Novosibirsk.

1. Novosibirsk has four distinct seasons.  Four incredibly different experiences of weather to embrace and love.  Most of the places I've lived have had two seasons - maybe three at best, which were mostly defined by what color the trees were, the amount of flowers and if it was chilly or hot. 
But here I get to experience each one (for three of them the experience is brief!).  Budding and new life and warming temperatures in the spring, hot in the summer (yes, it does get hot here), chilly with changing leaves in the fall, and VERY COLD with all the snow I could ask for in the winter.  

2. Which brings me to winter.   Maybe I'm a glutton for
Winter - 10 Reasons I love Novosibirskpunishment.  Maybe it's because I dreamed about a real winter all my childhood and youth and now I'm still relishing it (as I have been for twenty years now).  Whatever the reason, I love the winters here.  Even when it's 40 below.  (Yes, you read that right.) 

I love cross country skiing and the ice sculptures and the crunch of my boots in the snow.  I love the little caps the snow makes on top of trees and bushes and flower pots and I love the frost on on the windows.  I love the way the city keeps on going, taking the winter, the cold, the dark, and the snow and ice, in stride.

I will admit, though, that winter could stand to be a little shorter.

3.  In Novosibirsk we have all the perks of a large city with a small town feel.  Groceries a five minute walk away from the flat, public transportation that takes you pretty much anywhere you want to go, parks, various museums, a renowned zoo which is very much a park in it's own right, ballet, concerts, symphonies, and so on.  At the same time, there are open spaces.  You can see the sky.  The city is very green (in the summer, that is).  Trees stand at attention everywhere you look, even marching down the center of the main street (Krasny Prospect).  And the crowds at rush hour do not rival the crowds during a lull time in New York City or Moscow.  In the summer fountains bubble in both large and small parks and in front of stores. In the winter ice sculptures parade in those same parks and in unexpected places. 

Green in Novosibirsk - 10 Reasons I Love Novosibirsk4. The layout of the city, particularly the flats.  The buildings housing flats are usually arranged in a square with a courtyard in the middle.  This works itself out a little differently in different places depending on what else is around, but the idea is the same.  The courtyards vary in sizes, and can have a playground (sometimes elaborate, sometimes simple), benches for sitting, trees, flowers (often cultivated flower beds) and grass.  Paths cross through the courtyard allowing you to exit in different places on to the street.  The buildings along main streets often have shops on their first floor, that are entered from the street.  Entrances to the flats are usually from the courtyard, not the side.  So within the courtyard there will not be any visible shops, even if one is in the building.  This also adds to the effect of not being in a large city, together with the fact that there's always a playground of some sort nearby, usually several to choose from, and a place to sit in the shade and read or chat, even if you are not close to one of the many parks.  

5. Novosibirsk has a rich emphasis on music, art, and culture. It's easy not only to see a ballet, symphony, concert, dances, works of art, but also to be involved in them - to take art or music or dance lessons - and not too cost prohibitive - it's all accessible for folks like us.  Mostly for kids, if we're talking about taking lessons, but there are also affordable classes and groups for adults.  People are encouraged to develop in the arts.  My daughter was able to be involved in a Russian folk dancing group (kids and teenagers, mostly), and a friend of mine - in her forties - has just signed up for an artistic development group. 

6. Russian folk dancing.  Did I mention that my daughter was part of a Russian folk dance Ensemble?  I love Russian folk dancing.  Novosibirsk has some great Russian Folk Dancing Ensembles, including professionals that have toured in other countries. On the right is a video of Aleicia, together with her ensemble Lubava, performing the dance Березка (Beryozka -  Russian name for the white birch tree).

 7. Reading.  I love to read, and Russians are readers.  Maybe as whole they were more so when I first arrived 20 years ago, but Russia is still a reading culture. When you see people with devices in their hands on the metro (subway) or other forms of transportation, they MIGHT be playing a game - but more often than not, they are READING.   Bookstores and libraries are important, and both are available in what they are now calling "brick and mortar" stores and for reading online.   It's harder to get books in languages other than Russian, but it is possible.  I have bought English classics and others in some of the large bookstores here.  But I like reading in Russian, too.  And reading in Russian improves my language skills. 

8. Which brings us to ...Russian language. I love language in general - and I do love Russian.  I'm fascinated by the different ways of expressing yourself.  All languages have rules and limits (or no one would ever understand anything), but many Russian language rules are quite different from English language rules, and so the words and sentences are free to express in different ways than English.  (The reverse is also true, of course.) 

Russian Table - 10 Reasons I Love Novosibirsk9.  Russian food - yum!  in many ways it's not drastically different from the food I grew up with, but there are some significant differences.  Russians eat a lot more soup.  They tend to use more fresh dill - in soups, on baked potatoes, and I've found that I love dill, even on my pizza!  We also have a wider variety in our cultured milk products -  many of which I have learned to love.  There are several drinks I love that all I can say about them is well - it's sort of like plain unsweetened kefir (but not kefir) (although we do have kefir) and sort of like plain unsweetened yoghurt (but not yoghurt) (although we do have yoghurt).  Sorry, but for now that's the best I can do.  I also have learned to love kvas.  I admit I did not like it at all the first time I tried it, but I've developed a taste for it.  Russian bread, chocolate, cheese, the different soups and salads and pelmini and vareniki - love them!  I miss them all whenever I'm in America.  Russians know how to set a table!


10. But most of all - the people of Novosibirsk.  A city, town, country - it's always a product of the people who live there. None of the things I listed above would mean very much without people.  My experience of Novosibirsk is directly proportional to my relationships with people in Novosibirsk.   I have many dear, close friends here - that's the real reason I love Novosibirsk.    

Share This:    
   


Related Posts
Link to: Walking Around the Block in Novosibirsk
Walking Around the Block in Novosibirsk
Link to: VE Day - Novosibirsk 2015
VE Day - Novosibirsk 2015
Link to: One Year After My Surgery in Siberia
One Year After My
Surgery in Siberia
Link to: Four Cities, Three Countries, Two Days
Four Cities, Three
Countries, Two Days

You Might Be Interested In
Link to: Waiting on the Shuttle in Moscow
Waiting on the
Shuttle in Moscow
Link to: The Calling of a Priest - Song/Video
The Calling of a Priest
Song/Video
Link to: Ode to My Suitcase
Ode to My Suitcase
   
Link to: Not That Kind of Fairy Tale - Video/Song
Not That Kind of
Fairy Tale -Video/Song

Monday, June 22, 2015

To Be Where You Are - Mark 3:7-12 Post 1

Chalkboard: Mark 3:7-10 Post 1  To Be Where You Are  brokenbreadandsmallfish.com
You withdrew with Your disciples to the lake...
     ...to be alone? ...to avoid the Pharisees? ...to teach the disciples?...to rest?

I don't know.  It doesn't say here.  Maybe all of the above.  Maybe none of the above.

All I know is that You DID withdraw with Your disciples to the lake.
And...that people from all around followed You there.

A crowd from Galilee (Mark 3:7).  Even people from Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and Tyre and Sidon.  They heard about what You were doing, and they came.  (Mark 3:8)

In my mind today, none of those places was very far.  The farthest was Idumea in the South, about 60 miles.  An hour in the car, more or less.

Doesn't seem like a big deal.

But...

...they didn't have a car.  At best, they might have had a donkey.  So, assuming the roads were good and fairly flat, I'm thinking a few days, at least, of traveling.  If they walked about three miles an hour, six or so hours a day, it would have taken 3 days.  Eight hours a day would have taken about two and half days - which, technically, is still three days.  

I'm guessing it took longer.  But I'll say three days.

That's a long time to travel, and a lot of walking.  

It takes us about two days of traveling to get from Atlanta to Novosibirsk (or vice versa), depending on how we time it.  It's fairly rigorous, but not in the same way traveling by foot would be.  It takes a different kind of physical toll on our bodies.  A different kind of exertion, and different kinds of dangers.  

Why did they do it?  Why did they travel that distance?

Because... 
they had heard about all You were doing (Mark 3:8), and they wanted to see You, to see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears - maybe even to touch with their own hands.  

It's good to hear about who You are and the wonderful things You are doing and saying in the world.  

But is that enough for me?  Am I content to just hear about it?

No.

I don't want to just hear about it.  I want - I need - to know You myself.  And I want to be right in the middle of all You are doing today.  

I want to be where You are.

Everyone's role is different, and everyone's part is different. 

But -

I don't want to just hear about You healing - I want to see You healing people and I want to be healed myself and to help others be healed.

I don't want to just hear about what You are saying - I want to hear Your words myself. I want to hear You speaking to ME.

I don't want to just hear about how someone reached out and touched You, or how You touched them - I want to touch You myself.

I don't want to just hear about Your eyes, I want to look into them myself. 

And I don't want to just hear about how You fed the crowd.  

I want to be there, one of the crowd that You are feeding, eating what You have to offer, and, like the disciples, helping You get the food to others.  

How far am I willing to go to see You?
...to be in the midst of what You are doing?
...to be part of what You are doing?
...to be where You are?
 

Share This:    
   


Related Posts
Link to: I Am the Man With the Shriveled Hand - Mark 3:1-6 Post 4
I Am the Man With the Shriveled Hand
Link to: When You Ask Me to Give You My Heart - Mark 3:1-6 Post 3
When You Ask Me to Give You My Heart
Link to: Shriveled Hand, Shriveled Heart - Mark 3:1-6 Post 2
Shriveled Hand, Shriveled Heart
Link to: Is It Lawful to love? - Mark 3:1-6 Post 1
Is It Lawful
to Love?

You Might Be Interested In
Link to: One Year After My Surgery in Siberia
One Year After My
Surgery in Siberia
Link to Water Is Not Enough Part 2 - Mark 1:1-8 Post 9 (Video/song)
Water Is Not Enough
Part 2 (Video/song)
Link to: Ode to My Suitcase
Ode to My Suitcase
   
Link to: Not That Kind of Fairy Tale - Video/Song
Not That Kind of
Fairy Tale -Video/Song

Monday, June 15, 2015

Top Four Mark Posts So Far This Year (2015)

We are out of town this week. If you're looking for the new Mark post, it'll be back next Monday.  But here is a list of  the top four Mark posts (according to page views) so far this year.  (I was going to make it top five, but there were five posts tied for number five.)


4. What Does "Fast" mean, anyway? - Mark 2:18-22 Post 1


Link to: What Does "Fast" Mean, Anyway? - Mark 2:18-22 Post 1
What Does "Fast" Mean,
Anyway?

3. Can I Walk Away From My Booth? - Mark 2:13-17 Post 6


Link to: Can I Walk Away From My "Booth"? - Mark 2:13-17 Post 6
Can I Walk Away
From My "Booth"?

2. O Pharisee! Come Now and Eat - Mark 2:13-17 Post 9


Link to: O Pharisee! Come Now, and Eat - Mark 2:13-17 Post 9
O Pharisee!
Come Now, and Eat

1.  The Calling of a Priest (song/video)  - (Mark 2:13-17)


Link to: The Calling of a Priest - Song/Video
The Calling of a Priest
Song/Video




Share This:    
   


Related Posts
Link to: I Am the Man With the Shriveled Hand - Mark 3:1-6 Post 4
I Am the Man With the Shriveled Hand
Link to: When You Ask Me to Give You My Heart - Mark 3:1-6 Post 3
When You Ask Me to Give You My Heart
Link to: Shriveled Hand, Shriveled Heart - Mark 3:1-6 Post 2
Shriveled Hand, Shriveled Heart
Link to: Is It Lawful to love? - Mark 3:1-6 Post 1
Is It Lawful
to Love?

You Might Be Interested In
Link to: One Year After My Surgery in Siberia
One Year After My
Surgery in Siberia
Link to Water Is Not Enough Part 2 - Mark 1:1-8 Post 9 (Video/song)
Water Is Not Enough
Part 2 (Video/song)
Link to: Ode to My Suitcase
Ode to My Suitcase
   
Link to: Not That Kind of Fairy Tale - Video/Song
Not That Kind of
Fairy Tale -Video/Song