14 August 2010

The Cup That Overflows

I have had much to say.
And I've had very little to utter.

My life seems to operate in this push-me-pull-you kind of way these days. In the spring I felt strongly impressed by God to allow myself a time of silence, to simply sit back and "be," to keep my eyes and ears open but my mouth closed. To exercise my self-discipline. Perhaps preparing me to tend to other things that I didn't yet know were on my horizon.

In April I was diagnosed with breast cancer- although I knew it in my heart for almost a month previous to it being officiated. What graciousness that whispers these things early to my spirit! Preparing the way for hard news, readying me to face my husband, my children, my parents, my sisters and brothers, my friends and family and to tell them to their stricken faces- God is doing something in me and He is using my body as a vehicle.

I have wanted so often to come to this blogging "living room" of mine and tell the world what God has brought about, what He is still in the process of revealing to me. But I've feared the narcissism of it all. (And then I give myself a good chuckle, because after all, what else IS a blog if it's not all about what I want to say and how I want to engage the world? Blog= narcissism.) And at times, most of the time really, I'm at a loss for words. Breast cancer is a huge thing. Even more profound are the twists and turns my heart takes on a daily basis- some as a direct result of this new facet to my life, some just bubbling away in the day-to-day of life.

I've wanted to come to this "living room" to share with you, but then... what do I really have to say? The words do not come easy. The answers don't come easy. Even the questions themselves are somewhat hard to articulate.
So, again, I've had to learn contentment in just sitting quietly and letting it wash over me. Holding out my tiny cup of me into the pounding waterfall of life and taking what small droughts I can. Is this what they mean when they say "my cup overfloweth?"

I sit here these days breastless, hairless, tastebud-less, and sometimes energy-less. But I am not hopeless or loveless. My cup overfloweth.

And I truly apologize for not getting this out here sooner. But if you're interested, I have a Facebook support group that I write to frequently- it's the practicals and the weekly updates of what my treatment is like. Look for "Erin Teske Support Group" in the groups section of Facebook. I'd love to add you.
For those of you trying to steer clear of Facebook, I also send the same updates out through an E-mail loop. Just leave me your preferred E-mail address in the comments section here, and I'll add you to the list.

22 March 2010

Giveaway Winner- FOUND ART

Congratulations to Rebecca!

You've won a free copy of Leeana Tankersley's new book, Found Art. I know you will really enjoy this memoir.
Found Art: Discovering Beauty in Foreign Places

Send me your snail mail address, Becky, and I'll pop this in the mail to you right away.

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15 March 2010

Found Art- Leeana Tankersley

Found Art: Discovering Beauty in Foreign Places

Debut author Leeana Tankersley constructs a literary collage of memories and mementoes from living in the Middle East during the Iraq War in her travel memoir, Found Art: Discovering Beauty in Foreign Places (Nov. 2009). She reflects on discovering beauty in a foreign land by weaving together her experiences living in the Persian Gulf for a year.

After marrying a Navy SEAL, Tankersley moved over 8,000 miles away from her home in San Diego to Bahrain where her husband was stationed. She retraces her steps through the Middle East, and she recalls the subtle changes in herself that left her utterly transformed. Somewhere between bartering in a souq, a Middle Eastern market, and wearing a borrowed abaya, an Islamic overgarment, to tour the Grand Mosque, Tankersley found a profound beauty in the unknown that sunk beneath her skin.

Found Art is an insightful collection of stories that Tankersley crafts into a literary piece of artwork. With an artist’s eye she combines bits of memories and trinkets – a handwritten note from Kuwait, a braid of fringe from a Persian rug, a Navy SEAL Trident – to create her own piece of Found Art. She celebrates what most would overlook – a receipt from the Russian-Georgian restaurant on Louisiana Street, a bit of basting thread – to piece together a work of unexpected beauty.

“Writing, for me, is often about two things,” says Tankersley, “creative processing and authentic giving. The book has been my way of working through, and then salvaging, the bits and pieces of Bahrain. In that sense, I wrote it for myself, so that I would never forget. Also, I wrote the book for those who are feeling lost, as I have felt so often. Ideally it offers the honest gifts of permission and validation and hope and beauty.”

Found Art is a travel memoir, but in it Leeana travels to surprising places. Traveling is rarely only about the terrain, the language, the food, or the mode of transportation, is it? It's not so much about the history and culture of the places we find ourselves as it is about what being in that kind of place brings out of us. In this book Leeana travels to her needs, her insecurities, her bedrock of faith, her successes, her crutches and her props. She travels closer to her God and to her true self- all between Bahrain and San Diego.

This is the best kind of travel memoir.

* As part of the book tour for Found Art, I’m hosting a creative response project for folks who've already enjoyed the book. Will you play along?

Option 1: In Found Art Leeana talks about practicing silence.

The risk of sitting in the silence, as we all know, is what we will find there. (pg. 56)

Profound and slightly scary all at the same time, isn’t it?

Practice silence for one hour... or more if you're able. Is silence normally something you seek out or tend to resist? Create a collage as an artistic response based upon what you learned through silence.

Option 2: Create a collage of your life. Use words and pictures from magazines, odds and ends from around your house, and original paintings or drawings or writings. Don’t worry about creating something perfect. Just be true to yourself and choose items that particularly resonate with you, even if you don’t know exactly why.

I’d love to see how you are moved to create something representative of your own journey, so if you take up either of these challenges please leave a link in my comment box and we’ll share our journeys together.

* For those of you who haven’t read Found Art yet, I have a free copy to giveaway. Woohoo for free books! To enter the drawing, leave your name in the comments section along with a phrase that describes the “foreign land” you are traveling through at this point in your life.

Here's mine, represented in the collage below. "My Best Friend No Longer Believes the Truth of the Scriptures" and "Training to Run a 5K." To read a further explanation of my collage, click here.

I'll draw the winner's name and post it right here in one week- March 22nd.

My free review copy of Found Art was provided by Zondervan.

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01 February 2010

Role Reversal

Lately, as my husband tucks the mid-kid into bed she has taken to telling him a bedtime story. He delivers sips of water, hair smoothes, tickles, smooches and quilt tucks, and she fills his ear with an enthusiastic rendition of a much-loved bedtime story.

Currently she is recounting the Twelve Labors of Hercules.

Hercules' Third Labor- mucking the cow stalls of King Augeas- is tonight's featured program. (Line forms to the right.)


22 December 2009

Lions and Donkeys: Snow in Narnia

We got 18 inches of snow over the weekend.

A lovely gift on our 15th wedding anniversary.
All I wanted to do was stay home with my love and enjoy a cozy day. You can bet we weren't going anywhere when this was coming down, so I got exactly what I wanted.

Recently I finished the book, The Wisdom of Wilderness, by Gerald May. It's rare that a book intrigues and calls to me, yet constantly frustrates me all at the same time.
Much of May's words resonated with my spirit and kept me coming back for more. It's plain to me that both Gerald May and I are wired to respond to God in Creation. It's nice to have a compatriot.

But so many times May ascribed glory to something other than God. Or at least, some muddled version of God. I felt like he was leading me to the precipice of worship- where all I wanted to do was lean out over the edge and fall into the glory of the One True Creator, and yet this manufactured wind suddenly came up from below forcing me to teeter on my toes, stretching out over the edge, seeing clearly the wonder that was down there, but denying me the gravity to fall into that glory with all of my being.
Frustrating. Especially from a compatriot.

When a donkey is publicly paraded as a lion... and not just any lion... THE Lion... Aslan... well, the Narnian in me feels robbed. This so-called "lion" has a curious clip-clopping sound to its regal stride. It voices an odd braying when it commands its armies. It relies far too often on its monkey-of-an-adviser. This is a Puzzle-leader, hidden and mysterious behind smoke and disguises. And you want me to follow him? This is not the Aslan I've come to know and trust. As a Narnian, I smell a donkey.

Aslan will indeed come and reveal Himself. In a glorious way that puts all imposters and monkey-men to shame.

I'm waiting on May's precipice. Teetering on this wind that buoys my weight and teases my senses. I think I'm going to take that glorious fall, but no.
It wouldn't take much for May to just let me fall. (Which is my passionate desire. To fall.)

Just point me to Aslan. Just reveal him. Say his name.
Don't let the companionship falter now; not now that we've come this far together.

In the end, May never says it.
But I'm not really the one he needs to satisfy, am I?

For my part, I'll take my Narnian-self into those 18 inches of glorious snow. I will take Gerald May's companionship and learn from God in the wilderness. I know Who brought the snow and I know Who is teaching me with it.

No matter what anyone else says (or doesn't).

Further up and further in.

* Many thanks to Laura who hosted a group book discussion on High Calling Blogs. My faith walk has been enriched because of it.

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12 November 2009

The Wildest Place

These days I'm reading The Wisdom of Wilderness, by Gerald May.
Also doing a Bible Study on the Tabernacle/Temple.

The wildest place I can think of today:

The Holy of Holies

The beauty of the Lord attracts me, calls me.
The peace and safety in his Presence draws me in.
I'm quaking in my boots.


30 October 2009

Field Trip- Muir Woods

Coastal Redwoods, Hospitality

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?

Cradle or grave?
Or both?

I feel now that my average height is rather short.

Strike that. Very short.

Very, very short.

Another world lives beyond my line of sight.

Please pass this along to our Host.
I've had a lovely time.

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