Kristin Herdy’s Quest for the Holy Landfill

I’m an auntie! More on that later. On the way to and from the hospital to see my nephew, I drive along a country highway, dotted with several large estates and ranches.

What you notice as you pass are the iron gates, large houses, softly rolling green hills, cattle, pristine estate grounds and long drives, and the signs. Those houses all have signs up right now. STOP THE LANDFILL, they say. The signs are large, professional, and look costly.

I can’t help but think about the “sides” of this landfill issue. I wouldn’t want a landfill in my backyard, either. I wouldn’t want my groundwater potentially compromised by rainwater runoff over mounds of trash. I wouldn’t want the stench. On the other hand, landfills have to go somewhere, right?

Who should bear the brunt of the landfill?

Those who produce the most waste?

Those who can’t afford to stop the initiative?

Who deserves to live in a landfill-free environment?

Those who pay the most for their houses?

Those who bear the lion’s share of property taxes?

Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.”

Reading those signs, I couldn’t help but feel that, as human beings, we know our waste, our excess, our sin, will come back to haunt us, but like the Pharisees, we also believe we can keep the facade looking clean and pristine and avoid the consequences.

We might try to hide it away in someone else’s area. We might try to slap a new coat of paint on it. We could rebrand and repackage it. We could recycle it or shoot it into space. We can’t seem to eliminate it, though, not through all our efforts.

No one wants a landfill in their backyard. No one wants to live in their own waste. No one wants the consequences of their sin to pile up and over their fences and spill into their flower beds.

If your sin were represented by a mound of trash… what is the capital of Assyria? how much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? what is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow? look! a baby!!!!

In other words, what absurd things do we do to avoid the punishment of our sin, instead of asking forgiveness and accepting the consequences?

To Love A (Wo)Man

It’s a humbling experience to return to a blog after nearly a month and see that the stats are still quite high. I almost cannot fathom that so many days have passed in silence, here, and yet, people still visit and read. In many ways, I’m still speechless, because of what has happened to me while I’ve been away, because of what is still happening to me on my journey.

I’ve taken a break from most of my regular activities. I stopped holding meetings at church. I didn’t attend my life group last time around. I skipped church Council meetings to stay home with my children. I haven’t written much of anything in the last four weeks. I haven’t read much in the last month. I haven’t commented, haven’t logged into Twitter, haven’t passed along many blog posts. I’ve been on a break.

And you know what I found in the silence? in the stillness? in my swing?

I found love.

There’s no big announcement there. I’m not getting married or anything. I’m talking about the love of friends and family and kids and regular readers.

I’ve found that love isn’t some grand romantic gesture but a card in the mail on the day you want to give up.

Love is the friend who humors you with another round of online Scrabble at 2 am, because you need to keep talking to someone.

Love makes you dinner and draws you pictures in crayon (Thanks, Sara!)

Love wakes up early, drags a stool into the kitchen, and pours you a cup of chocolate milk (Thanks, Mia!)

Love gives you big squeezy hugs until you think your head will pop off (Thanks, Wendy!)

Love chases you around the house, and when you’re caught, demands to be tickled (Thanks, Matt!)

Love is the honest assessment of mistakes you’ve made and the just-as-honest assurance that you can meet your goals and achieve yours dreams.

Love brings sandwiches to the homeless, groceries to the elderly, goes door-to-door and makes quilts for people affected by disaster and poverty.

Love shows up to teach students who are eager and those who can’t wait to leave.

Love plans ahead and love is spontaneous.

Love is green in the mail when you are staring at an empty bank account and your kids are in need of school supplies.

I’ve been blessed to have the best friends and family in the world, who know just how to love a (wo)man. I’ve been blessed to have each of those forms of love visit me in the past month, like the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, to show me a better way.

I just want to say Thank You. Thank you for reading. Thank you for sticking with me. Thank you for Tweeting and FB messaging. Thank you for cards and calls and prayers and cares and thank you for the love.

How has someone loved you recently?

 

In the swing

When I was a little girl, my grandpa had strung a plank of wood between two trees and I would sit on the swing for hours, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

Photo by Norman Rehme

Days spent in that yard, days spent on that swing, days spent where my cares were lifted high with my feet, sent skyward on my girlish sandals, those days are summer to me.

These days, summer isn’t so carefree. It’s hectic and I have more troubles than my feet can lift, trying to make money, preparing for classes, teaching, trying to find something more stable, plus my girls, my relationships, my friends, it’s not a lazy swing in the backyard.

I need to get into the swing of things again. I need to get school going and syllabi written and do some job searching. I also have some, shall we say, adversarial, issues to work through, and I’ll be taking a break.

I will be back once school is in the swing. I will be writing once again when I’m firmly seated and can lift my heavy feet skyward.

I will see you again in a couple of weeks.

Will you return when I do?

Death by GPS, part I

The girls and I traveled, along with my mom and sister, to Dallas this weekend for a girly getaway. On the way home, we turned to the GPS to get us back on the road. “Nancy,” our GPS, kept trying to get us on a highway blocked by large orange barrels and flashing lights.

Nancy continued recalculating, instructing us to “when possible, take a left” and (maybe it was my imagination), but seemed to get more and more angry and insistent the farther away from her path we tread. It’s tempting to take the GPS as an authority, and just follow that route.

A few weeks ago, though, I read this piece on NPR, that discussed our over-reliance on GPS and the flaws in that trust, especially in dangerous locations, like Death Valley, which was so named because of a wagon-train’s ill-fated “shortcut.”

Some have found themselves on long-forgotten logging roads, desert paths, ice roads, and a few each year die because help doesn’t find them in time.

Many people have been misdirected by their GPS systems because of over-reliance on the map, and as Korzybski says, “the map is not the territory.”  The green tree icons are merely representations of reality, a cheap simulation of the richness of nature.

‘Somebody had a map, and somebody said, this is a faster way to get to the gold fields,’ Callagan says. ‘Deep down back in the brain, the common sense says, you know, this is not the wisest thing.’

That’s what makes the difference between our trip home yesterday and dying on an unmarked road in Death Valley: common sense.

I’ve got this idea that following a GPS to your death (turning directly off a bridge into icy waters) is a lot like those who elevate Scripture above the Spirit.

“The Letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” – 2 Cor 3:6

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Legalism is following the map, not being guided through the territory. You can use the Scripture as a guide and SHOULD use it as a guide, but call it common sense, call it intuition, call it what it is, the SPIRIT should discern the best way to proceed.

Look for Part II of Death by GPS next week.

Has your GPS ever led you astray?

How do you know it’s the Spirit and not the Letter that guides you?

The too late

Sometimes, I don’t check my email all day. I’ve got into a bad habit of just checking in late at night and answering only one or two essential email messages, groaning that it’s too late to do too much,  then simply going to bed. In those messages I skip, is a daily deal from Living Social. On those, you have to buy that day or lose out.

I’ve never bought a Living Social deal, even though I’ve been getting their emails over a year. I’m always too late, or they cost too much or I wouldn’t use it. Mostly, I’m too late. I never commit before the day expires.

There are two ways I could go with this post now: I could preach a mini sermon on the 2nd coming of Christ, or, I could do what I’m going to do, and encourage you to live your life in the now, not the too late.

Don’t lose sight of the big deal.

Carpe diem.

What are you waiting for… to show love to others? Love is not cheap, it’s going to cost you. Perhaps that’s why you hesitate. Love will almost certainly cost you your pride, your time. You have to lose your cowardice and go after it, instead of watch it languishing in your inbox. Love won’t speak itself.

Tell your family you love them. Call your sister. Email your cousin. Send your mother flowers before mid-May. Take your dad out to the green and play golf. Read a book to your children. Tell them before the too late, before you run out of days here, or before they do.

Show your friends your love. Invite them over and be hospitable. Play games. Sit and talk. Treat them to a delicious dessert and then tell them that you know you’re all busy, but this time together is worth carving out a spot in your schedule.

Give love away to those who cannot repay. Take some clothes to the man who sits at the exit with a cardboard sign, before it’s too late to share with him. Volunteer at the shelter or soup kitchen. Life expectancy is alarmingly low for those families living on the street. Tomorrow might be the too late for any one of them.

Treat your significant other significantly. I’ve seen more than one marriage (including my own) destroyed because love is withheld or gone silent. By the time someone manages to eek out the words “I love you,” the relationship is darkened in the haze of the too late. Be bold, be honest, be pure, be prompt.

We have only a finite number of days. We have busy lives and insecurities and hesitations. I’m encouraging you today not to let the too late catch up with you.

Have you ever lost out on something wonderful because you waited too long?

Make a plan for showing love today. Right now! Write it down and follow through.

Picking a favorite baby

Indulge me in a hypothetical, please. Let’s say that upon your death (in the next 30 days), your assets will be liquidated, everything sold and all the money could be given to only one of your children. Which one inherits the green? Is it the eldest? the youngest? the poorest? the one with the most sense? the boy? the girl? the one you love best?

As a parent, I can tell you that choosing a favorite child is frowned upon. I don’t like to see other people do it and I’d be hard-pressed to choose one of my children over the other, BUT, as my uncle pointed out this weekend, it’s easier to choose a favorite from among your friends’ children.

For instance, I teach at a day care. My oldest daughter is in my class, and while she’s obviously my favorite, there are kids I would take home with me instantly, and ones I’m fine seeing go home with their parents at day’s end. That’s not to say I don’t like them, or wish them ill, they just aren’t my favorite.

When you don’t love children like a parent, it’s easier to see their faults and strengths objectively. There is no objectivity with my own children. I can still see faults and strengths, but over that is a layer of unconditional love.

When we join the family of God, we’re not just anyone’s children, we are God’s children. He doesn’t play favorites with inheritance. No matter who we are, what sins lie in our past, what malice we previously held in our hearts, we still gain the same kingdom.

We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. He isn’t going to divide his grace equally, he gives it to each of us fully.

But we aren’t God, so, how would you pick a favorite baby?

You don’t have to have children to play. You don’t have to be serious. What ultimate method  you devise for making that hypothetical choice easier?

 

 

Guest post slumber party- Dating Talk

Today, you’ll find me at Mary Kathryn‘s place, Beauty for Ashes. I’m guest posting as part of her blogiversary party all month long. MK is a single girl, so I thought I would give her a weird dating story for the occasion.

To all the men I've liked before

I’ve dated some quirky guys (and to tell you the truth, they’ve dated AT LEAST one quirky girl…). There was the one who constantly warned me I was going to get fat, the one who turned out to be gay, the one who joined the military and didn’t tell me…. but the quirk of the guy I describe in this guest post might take the cake.

So, join me over there, for this, Say My Name, a blog post about dating, getting a call, and disaster.