East Of Eden

"A curious mix of the relevant and reverential"


To borrow some words from Drake, "I'm more than just a number." But if I WERE a number, it would be 7. Since it's God's number, the 7th day is one to rest, and... well, I think it rocks. But if life were a scale of 1-10, then me being a 7 fits too, because I'm not perfect. But I'm not your average girl, either. :-) I'm 30, a Christ-follower, slightly off kilter (but aren't all "ar-teeests"?), and happily married to Keiron, my solid and strong rock. And Techie-extraordinaire. We are the proud parents of a baby girl, Zoe. Hope you enjoy my rantings, don't take my sarcasm too seriously and know that comments are welcome. Very welcome... ahem, HINT, HINT, HINT! But enough about me, time for this 7 to give it a rest. xoxox

The sophistication of "The Simpsons".

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(Complex)

If you don't know by now, I'm a huge fan of "The Simpsons". The classic, early years AND the current episodes. I never stopped watching, even during that *very* rough period in the ealy aughts. 

Why? Just watch the video below from Vulture which celebrates the landmark show's thirty years on television (it first appeared as a series of shorts on "The Tracey Ullman Show" in April 1987 before getting it's on show in 1989).

 

For more fun, check out this Complex article from 2012 showcasing "The Simpsons" love of high brow art, or "The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'Oh! of Homer", a book that critically analyzes the family from various views such as American anti-intellectualism, Aristotle and Sartre, or this Traveller article on the funniest takes on international travel from Homer and co.

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The Preachers: Rev. Jim Jones and the horror in Guyana.

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(Image and Caption from "The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones & The Peoples Temple")

 

I just finished "The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones & The Peoples Temple" by Jeff Guinn and, really, I'm not trying to sound cliched or hackneyed here, but the book is stomach-churning, frightening and by it's end, downright disturbing. This is actually a compliment to Guinn; he vividly captures the horror of the story of Jonestown and the turbulent societal years that led up to it.

 

Speaking of hackneyed, despite occurring a few years before my birth, I was quite familiar with the Jonestown Massacre. At least, I thought I was. Much like my experience of watching the OJ Simpson documentary "Made in America" last year, what I "kind-of-sort-of-pick-up-from-pop-culture" is most definitely not the same as learning the actual facts of a case. Below are some facts that surprised me most:

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Easter 2017

Happy Easter! Sunday was very warm, bright and sunny. Our church's sanctuary was decorated with many lilies and tulips, and the smell of incense wafted through the building. The sun's rays poured through the stained glass windows depicting various scenes of Jesus Christ's earthly ministry. The organ accompaniment, the crisp taste of the consecrated host, followed by the sweetness of the wine- attending Easter services at an Episcopal church is a rhapsody for the senses. Here are a few pictures of our day. I hope you all had a Blessed Resurrection Sunday.

 

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Lent- Day 39: Good Friday.

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C.S. Lewis (Image Source)

 

An excerpt from today's reading of my Lenten devotional book, "Preparing for Easter" by C.S. Lewis, titled "What Are We to Make of Jesus Christ?": 

 

Then we come to the strangest story of all, the story of the Resurrection. It is very necessary to get the story clear. I heard a man say, ‘The importance of the Resurrection is that is gives evidence of survival, evidence that the human personality survives death.’ On that view what happened to Christ would be what had always happened to all men, the difference being that in Christ’s case we were privileged to see it happening. This is certainly not what the earliest Christian writers thought. Something perfectly new in the history of the universe had happened. Christ had defeated death. The door, which had always been locked, had for the very first time been forced open. This is something quite distinct from mere ghost-survival. I don’t mean that they disbelieved in ghost-survival. I don’t mean that they disbelieved in ghost-survival. On the contrary, they believed in it so firmly that, on more than one occasion, Christ had had to assure them that He was not a ghost. The point is that while believing in survival they yet regarded the Resurrection as something totally different and new. The Resurrection narratives are not a picture of survival after death; they record how a totally new mode of being has arisen in the universe. Something new had appeared in the universe: as new as the first coming of organic life. This Man, after death, does not get divided into ‘ghost’ and ‘corpse’. A new mode of being has arisen. That is the story. What are we going to make of it?

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Lent- Day 38: Tonight we eat and drink, for tomorrow He dies.

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The Last Supper.

 

Today is Maundy Thursday, A.K.A., the day before Black Friday. From Wikipedia:

 

Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Sheer Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries, among other names) is the Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the Maundy and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels.[1] It is the fifth day of Holy Week, and is preceded by Holy Wednesday and followed by Good Friday.[2]

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Lent- Day 37: Consumed.

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(Image Source)

This week in Bible lessons, Zoe and I discussed the story of Jesus in the Temple with the money changers. We read from Mark 11:15-19:

15 Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves;

 

16 and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple.

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Lent- Day 36: Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?

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My palms from Sunday, twisted into a cross. Please note, I have no idea how to do this and just kept bending until I got this.

 

On Sunday at church, we read from Matthew 27. Verse 46 always breaks my heart:

About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?").

 

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Lent- Day 35: The Last Temptation of Alisha.

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Beloved, my husband brought home the cake pictured above. Along with a large tray of brownies.

There was a bakesale at his job, he said, and well, he brought me... a cake. And a large tray of brownies. 

As I mentioned earlier in this Lenten season, I gave up sweets until Easter. So I haven't so much as popped a peanut M&M since February.

And here we are, at the start of Holy Week, looking ahead to celebrating... and my husband, the man I vowed to love and honor before God, came strolling into our home with some kind of green frosted chocolate cake. And a large tray of brownies. Oh, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

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Lent- Palm Sunday: Hosanna


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(Image Source: Youtube)

 

Happy Palm Sunday! Today's song is Israel Haughton's "Hosanna". I hope you have a blessed Holy Week. Please remember to say a prayer for our Coptic Brothers and Sisters in Egypt.

 

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Lent- Day 34: Why blog?

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(Image: John P. Weiss)

 

Yesterday's post, complete with cutie-pie pic of Z, got over 70 hits. Thursday's barely hit 20. My most popular post in this Lenten series got something like 150. So basically, I'm not even half a blip on these here interwebz.

Sometimes, I'll get discouraged. Afterall, I started blogging in April 2009 at Far Above Rubies, and it's sad knowing thousands of posts have pretty much collected the online equivalent of dust without having been read by more than 7 or 8 people.

At least, it would be sad if I primarily wrote for others. Thing is, I don't. You lovely Readers matter of course, and sometimes, I do write for you (I'm especially talking about Kiki, Thomas, Maria, and Xiamora... ya'll are loyal). But I owe my blogging longevity to my own desire to write. I started journaling around 7, and I wasn't consistent with it. Weeks or months may pass between entries, but inevitabaly, I'd be back at it. Writing is like my social awkwardness, introversion, or sensory neuropathy: chronic.

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Lent- Day 33: Say a little prayer for you.

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This week, Zoe painted an old glass pasta sauce bottle, put pen to note cards and listed names of family and friends, then dropped said cards into the bottle. Every day since, she has opened the lid and pulled out a card. With clasped hands, she says a little prayer for the Loved One.

 

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Lent- Day 32: Be you.

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While straightening up earlier, I came across the above picture made by Z. She explained it as, "the name of my new song I'm writing." She never ceases to amaze me.

The message- "Be you."- made me smile. A little command to remain. It made me think of I Corinthians 12:14-27:

 

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many.

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Lent- Day 31: Still missing?

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(Image via Buzzfeed; Evan Hurd Photography / Getty Images)

 

Remember how I talked about the Missing Richard Simmons podcast last month? Well, it wrapped, and while it did make me think, it won't hold too much space in my personal pop culture collective. Maybe it would've had more room if I hadn't listened to the very powerful S-Town last week. Still, there IS a there- there, and Pier Dominguez, writing at Buzzfeed, expounds on it. Namely, the very peculiar religiosity within Simmons:

 

But the real problem with Missing Richard Simmons is that the show’s narrative added to the confusion around Richard Simmons the cultural persona and Richard Simmons the person. The fascination with his disappearance is ultimately a cultural conundrum that can be traced through a consideration of the way Simmons’ celebrity evolved, especially the persona that emerged in the ’80s and ’90s as a kind of Mother Teresa of fitness. That image worked — apparently too well — by disrupting gendered boundaries between personal and professional, between commercial and spiritual, between camp and sincerity. And it is by understanding how that image functioned — and how it was received — that the fascination with his retirement makes a different kind of sense.

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Lent- Day 30: Have a slice.


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(Humble pie. Can I get you a slice? Image Source)

 

 

Zoe's Bible lesson for today was on Jesus' parable of The Pharisee and Tax Collector found in Luke 18:9-14. By the way, we're using "Countdown to Easter: Daily Lenten Devotions for Children" by Ruth Geisler. The Kindle version is just .99 cents, so you may want to just go ahead and download it today. Now on to the scripture:

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:

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Lent- Day 29: 13 Reasons Why.

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(Image Source: Salon/Netflix/Beth Dubber)

 

Apologies for having no "Day 28". I spent most of Saturday binging Netflix's powerful "13 Reasons Why". It left me... not just speechless but wordless, to the point I couldn't post. I couldn't post on it or anything. Instead, I read a number of articles about it. From my favorite TV reviewer, Alan Sepinwell, published on March 23rd:

 

The tapes arrive in a box: seven old-school audio cassettes, with 13 of their 14 sides numbered in blue nail polish. They come with simple instructions: Listen to them all, then pass them on to the next person on the list. The tapes were recorded by Hannah Baker, a teenage girl whom everyone on the list knows terribly well, because she recently killed herself. And Hannah’s voice promises two things:

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Lent- Fifth Sunday: Fearless.


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Happy Sunday! Today's musical pick is by Zoe, Jasmine Murray with "Fearless". 

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Lent- Day 27: For rich or poor.


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(Image source: YouTube)

 

My home infusion nurse Charlie was over on Wednesday, administering IVIG. While the Gamunex dripped into my vein through my accessed PowerPort, he spoke about visiting a very rich patient upstate some years ago. She lived in a mansion that was staffed with white-gloved maids, personal chef, and a driver to chauffeur her to shopping trips in Manhattan and back. He set up her infusion while she reclined in a giant bed, swathed in high count sheets. After finishing, he was escorted to the front entry by a stern faced Black maid wearing a highly starched black uniform. It was undoubtedly the most expensive place he had ever stepped foot.

Immediately after, he drove to the markedly-not-so-tony city of Patterson. His next patient lived in a dank, dark basement apartment only accessible around the back of a multi-family home. The stairs leading down were steep and creaky, and the cold air from outside came through old wooden windows. The furniture was stained and worn. The patient remained bundled up in layers to try to maintain bodily warmth. After finishing that infusion, Charlie remembers driving home in astonishment at having patients back-to-back with such contrasting socio-economic states of living. 

"And you know, both of those patients ended up passing away. One was worth millions, the other very little, and in the end, they wound up the same way, in the grave," Charlie said with a faraway look in his blue eyes.

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Lent- Day 26: Congratulations.

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In Thomas Edison's workshop. (Picture, my own.)

 

Today, I took Zoe to the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange (N.J.- um, if you aren't aware by now, I live in Dirty Jerz). While I found the place fascinating, full of actual history (a kinetoscope!), Zoe was much less interested. In fact, she doesn't want to go back. While she liked dressing up in old tyme clothes and playing with Tinker Toy blocks, she was sorely disappointed to be the only child there. A museum with ancient artifacts is one thing, but with ancient people, too? Nope, fail.

 

One of the park rangers there, Gage (true story, that's his actual first name... Ranger Gage is a superhero-in the making, just wait for it), spoke to us about Edison's inventions, legacy, and rivals (ahem, Tesla, ahem). After I mentioned a "Bob's Burgers" episode about Edison and Topsy (fair warning, the real-life story is hella grim, Guys. If you want to check it out, start here, but you were warned!), he even discussed the history behind that. I thought he may try to give me P.R.-approved answers to such non-flattering questions, but Ranger Gage kept it real.

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Lent- Day 25: For them, I give thanks.

One of the things I love about attending an Episcopal/Anglican church is the liturgy from The Book of Common Prayer. During the Thanksgiving season, we use prayers specifically listing the many things for which to be thankful, from life and leisure to firemen and police. The leader may say, "For all valiant seekers after truth, liberty, and justice," and the congregation will respond by saying, "We thank you, Lord" or simply, "We give thanks".

 

This post is a prayer of thanksgiving for my husband K and daughter Z, and the very special daddy-daughter relationship they have. This week, K and Z have come to some kind of arrangement where K would take Z's stuffed polar bear ("Ice Bear") to work with him and take pictures of the bear's adventures. I'm not sure how this set-up came to be, but it's been on, and this afternoon K sent a few pictures via text for me to share with Z:

 

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Lent- Day 24: Everything?

Spoke with the BFF about an hour ago and she asked me if anything was new. "Um... with me? Nope. Just the same ol', same ol'. Except this blogging everyday again stuff... I feel like my time is really limited. I added something but it's not like anything else got taken away. So there's still meals to cook, Zoe's homeschooling, cleaning...", I trailed off as I pulled a tray of meatless meatballs from the oven.

 

No, there's nothing really new with my day-to-day life in the past month. I'm still getting Zoe to her Vocal, Dance and Gymnastics classes every week, followed up with addition flash card drills, Social Studies on various countries around the world, and the proper construction of stories. There's also piles of laundry to put away, and stacks of dishes to wash, and vacuuming and... so on. To be real, the non-newness of SAHM-life, crossed iwh the frustrating challenges of being disabled started to grate at me last week. So much so, that by Saturday, I found myself inwardly griping about... everything. My weight, my acne (at 35! Ever since the chemo last year...), my marriage, my... God. I started to annoy myself and turned on Dave Chappelle's new Netflix specials just to stop the inner soliloquy. By the way, it worked.

 

Emotionally, I've been cool the last couple of days, which is great because my devotional reading today from "Lent with St. Francis" was titled "Do We Like Complaining?". And later, I stumbled across I Corinthians 16:14:

Do everything in love.

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