Wednesday, August 13, 2008

from now on

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

names and new beginnings

After 228 weeks and 3 days, I’m leaving Boston. Up and on. Tonight is it. Wheels up in 11 hours.

I am feeling so strange right now.

A while back, I started thinking about my name. Mary Joanna. Mom told me a long time ago that my first and middle names were carefully chosen for me, her first daughter. Mary for Mary Magdalene, Joanna for my great aunt, a woman very much admired by Mom. Joanna is also a biblical name. Both Mary and Joanna were once lost and sorrowful women. Both had been healed by the Savior. (Luke 8.) Both gave up everything to travel with Him during his ministry. Both were there at Calvary. Both were at Joseph’s tomb. Mary was the very first to see Him following his resurrection. Both of them saw the Risen Lord and spoke with Him. (Luke 24:10.) When I think about this, I feel pretty humbled. These are my foremothers. I bear their names.

Helaman had two sons, which he named Lehi and Nephi. Lehi and Nephi were revered ancestors of Helaman, and deeply loved. Helaman told his sons, “when you remember your names ye may remember them...their works...they they were good.” He named them in hopes that they would remember their fathers, and “that [they] should also do that which is good, that it may be said of [them]...even as it ha[d] been said...” of their forebears. (Helaman 5:6-7, Book of Mormon.)

In Hebrew, Mary means “sea of bitterness.” When I read that I felt vindicated on so many levels. Likewise for the second Hebrew meaning cited: “wished for child.” Also true. I took a slight pause though when I found the Egyptian root for Mary, “mry” means “beloved” or mr, meaning “love.” That was nice. Joanna in Hebrew means “god is gracious.”

I’m grateful to finally recognize that embedded in my very own name are the two most prominent of Christ’s characteristics: love and grace. Mary (Love) Joanna (Grace). I wish I would remember always that my name beckons me to always remember Him, His works, and how good indeed they were. Likewise for Mary and Joanna, how strong, how faithful and vibrant they must have been, how devoted they were to their Redeemer. Wouldn’t it make for a glorious life mission to live such that it might be said of me what has been said of them? Tall order, but one to die trying for.

A few months ago, I called up Mom to thank her for my name. I think she thought I was drunk or something. But I really did want to thank her. I had not realized just how precious and beautiful my name was until this year. She needed some gratitude paid for that. Thanks, Mama.

In 2005 when I started this blog, I assigned it the URL, Lately, the cobwebs have been collecting on this specimen of online journaling. I’m moving out of Boston, to a new town and a new life. I think this calls for a new blog as well. I’m not sure yet what to name it. Joanna Mary perhaps? If I have any readers left, please stay tuned. A new link, a new blog, and a new life will be posted hopefully soon.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

make up a story time...

Sareth grew up in a town that might as well had gone unnamed. No one who lives there ever travels outside the town limits, there is no outside postal system, no phone towers, and no one born there ever moves away. To oblige a sense of community, however, the early settlers gave their town a name, in 1897, which they they still go by today. The name is Haviland.

Haviland is evergreen, dense, and overcast, all the time. Every year, there is a brief season of rain. It occurs in January, and lasts anywhere between five and twenty-three days. Total rainfall each year is considerable, even an average of six to nine feet. But every year, there is enough to sustain Haviland for eleven more months. Folks who live in Haviland consider this as one of the advantages to living there. Two weeks of rain, and for the rest of the year, they have their beloved gray skies to enjoy.

The houses are mounted on solid pine stilts, high above ground. According to local building codes, all houses are built directly in the center of a thirteen acre plot. Each plot looks like a park; such green, rugged landscape. The kind you see in photographs. But no flowers. And surrounding each house there is a mote, drilled ten-feet deep and twelve-feet wide, with its very own drawbridge. Just like the castles Sareth read about, only more modern. Thus, all the folks of Haviland are situated close enough to feel in company with other households. But not connected. And that is how it is preferred. And they are happy. it interesting?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Top Chef without apology.

No, actually. I do not find it ironic that I crave and often prepare frozen pizzas whilst watching Top Chef, pretending that I, too, can cook. Not at all. I throw that frozen round thing on a piece of foil and slap it on the rack with fierce authority. And I swear that show inspires me to know the precise minute, indeed the very nanosecond, when that sucker needs to come out. Perfection. In 17 to 19 minutes. I’ve never cooked a better frozen pizza than when I’m watching Top Chef.

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