Sunday, August 25, 2013

Broken Pentagrams.. { and wisdom teeth }

I had all four wisdom teeth pulled a couple days ago. Now you realize why I'm writing blog posts two days in a row.... *magical isn't it?*
First of all:   I'm not feelin so hot. go ahead and take that statement both ways, as one usually affects the other. I'll mention that I did shave today, therefore I feel more like a person and less like a wounded monkey.. my hair could stand to be washed though.. Details, all about the're welcome.
I'll confess though, all discomfort and unpleasantness aside, it's kinda nice to just lay here and read books and get some stuff done on the computer.

After whining, I'd now like to share something else with you. More interesting (in my opinion) than wisdom teeth and shaving.. Couple things --

1).  one of my other jobs.. Cleaning a tattoo studio, and giving henna tattoos at said studio.
2).  Pentagrams. we're gonna talk about pentagrams.
3).  annnnnnnnd profanity. (suppress your excitement)


So! As previously stated, I work at a tattoo studio twice a week. Worked out a deal with the owner, he lets me give henna tattoos there- annnd pays me to clean.
He wanted to teach me how to do real needle tattoos, and apprentice me type thing. Let me just say, I would love that. But it takes waaaaaaay more time and commitment than I have right now..anyways.

When I started working here I knew what I was in for. I was stepping outside of my normal, but in a way I knew I would be comfortable around those people...despite their inability to swear correctly ;}
Sometimes there are so many F-bombs flying through the air, I honestly can't understand what they're trying to say to me..
"f*** it was f******, I mean f***.. Ya know what I mean? F****** crazy stuff man."
Me: -____-  uh, no. actually I'm NOT sure what you mean..

{ a couple of my favorites: }

Gordon on the phone- "..the money talks, the bullshit walks. Fu**ing, we're busy people.."

Gordon- "can you tattoo my leg?"
Me- "Can you shave it?"
"You're making your customers shave their own shit?"
"Gordon I'm not shaving your leg."

There's this guy that hangs around the studio. I've just taken to calling him 'the ogre' because of how the owner, Gordon, referred to him one day..and I have a hard time remembering his name.. The Ogre keeps showing up and doing my cleaning job, and then expects to get payed for it, which means I don't get payed..heh..
I asked Gordon about it one day and he said, "yeah he's just a big ogre. Just tell him to f*** off and let you do your job."
me:   -___-  Gordon, he's a lot bigger than me.."   but he took care of it :]

Anyway, this ogre fellow was hanging around last week while I was mopping. He asked me quite randomly if I would henna tattoo a pentagram on his hand. The man is covered in tattoos, and a rather ugly pentagram adorns the opposite hand already.
I gave him a somewhat wishy-washy negative. "wahht, you got a problem with satan?? You know we're not churchy in here, kid."
me:  "I'm not exactly 'churchy' either, but I'm not into satan."
He laughs at me, at the simple situation, at god. Yes, he seemed to mock as he left the room. But worse, the feeling of regret that I had not said more. I felt like an idiot. Would it have been possible for me to say something stupider? maybe.

Then I had a thought.. I texted a friend of mine, one who always seems ooze the light and joy of salvation in christ. We happen to share a favorite band- Oh, Sleeper. One of their album covers features a broken pentagram. At first offensive and confusing, until you understand what they are trying to say by it. In the album titled song, Son Of The Morning, these words clear up any misunderstanding-
"If you could see like me you'd see you haven't won anything... If you could see like me you'd see, it's by my grace that you're breathing..."
"My angels will sing to a world reborn as I cut off your horns. I'll cut off your horns.."

My pal, Chance. He has the symbol tattooed on his arm. 
Because this is meaningful to him, I thought he would be a good person to talk to about it.. I was right :)  
He gave me some good advice- "It's time to buck up and share the gospel, my friend."

Broken Pentagram.. 

Normal pentagrams have the other two tips of a 5 pointed star. Turning the star upside down like this has become the commonly accepted satanic symbol of a goat type figure (the bottom tip being the snout, the two side points being the ears, the two top points being the horns).
Originally, this was a christian symbol. But like many christian symbols, it was perverted and turned into something other than what it was intended to be.
Oh, Sleeper has brought meaning back to the pentagram in a way that symbolizes christ's dominance over evil. I love this..

When I had finished cleaning I crashed on the couch and waited for henna customers. None.
I thought about what Chance had said, and I thought about the broken pentagram, and I thought about my own weakness in sharing faith, hope, and love.
The Ogre came over and sat next to me. He started a conversation, and I took my second chance. 
"hey man, I had a thought.."

I then explained why I was uncomfortable with the pentagram, and offered to tattoo a broken one instead. And explained what it meant, and what it meant to me.
To my surprise, he listened to me. He let me talk and didn't cut me off with jokes about god or my faith, like I thought he would.

This man, he's not a bad guy. He's just grown up rough.. he hasn't had the comfortable life I've had- one with time to figure things out, and no real attack on any effort to find truth.
Something I've been thinking about for a long time.. Is there a better way to share "the gospel" with those that are hardened to it? Surely there must be a better approach than throwing the usual at them..they've probably heard it a thousand times. I'm not saying the typical approach is bad, or that it should be thrown out.. I'm only trying to say that if we really want to reach the people who are hurting the most, we should care enough about them to find ways to talk to them in ways they can relate to. Something they are familiar with, something they don't have to be afraid of. Paul was pretty good at that.
I was given a crazy opportunity.. It really couldn't have been set up much better.

This may sound silly. But I think this was the first time I had ever really shared my faith with a stranger.
Laugh if you must, it may sound like nothing. But for me, it was super cool. I'm still pretty stoked.
This goes back to my post several months ago-  "My brain has so many problems, but mostly I have a bad heart.".  Sometimes I mature quickly in matters of faith, but the times that are harder to see- the times when I'm stagnant and don't know or don't care what direction I'm going are more important for me to talk about... Because like I've said before, that's when the real healing and changing happens in me. 

So maybe all this shows you is that I mature slowly in matters of faith sometimes, and that I'm weak sometimes. But I hope it also shows that when I am brave enough to talk about the state of my faith and what I believe in-  my faith matures, I become stronger, and what I believe in becomes more real.

"Proclaim Christ".


Saturday, August 24, 2013

A day at Blue Heron Orchard & garden..

This is one of my jobs. 
Working at an organic orchard and a large garden owned by hardcore throwback hippies.

The day these pictures were taken was hot, long, and full.  The other worker, Austin is pictured below harvesting squash. He hates harvesting squash. 
Everything about the squash plants is sharp and poky.. Every stem, leaf, stalk, vine, flower, and fruit is covered in splinters. When you reach into the plant your entire arm is swallowed by mammoth leaves covered in spiny prickles. By the time I locate the squash, clip the stem, and pull my arm away, I'm covered in tiny scratches and pricks.We don't wear gloves while harvesting..this has caused pain more than once --

Once, I found myself in the middle of a poison ivy patch while weeding. And of course my idiot reasoning was "oh hey..poison ivy. I'm pretty allergic to that stuff.. buttt pshh it'll be fine, I haven't gotten it in a while and if I do, it won't be bad at all. Hardly noticeable I'm sure.." so me, being stubborn and silly, continued to grab the stems of poison with one hand, and clip with the other. IDIOT. a couple days later I found horrible poison ivy boils between my fingers, a rash where my shirt meets my pants, and a rash across my breasts- where a stalk of poison brushed into my v-neck. stupid pervert plant.


In this picture we have a very small portion of the squash, part of the extensive basil rows, more squash, and the beginning of the tomato plants. Beyond that are rows of varied pepper plants, beautiful purple eggplants, and popcorn. And this is only part of the garden!
I'll just note that harvesting these tomatoes in not my favorite thing. The rows are too the time I'm halfway down the row my tray is already full and quite hard to carry. I've tried to make it into more of a workout by first picking the tomatoes and leaving them in piles through the row, then going down the row with the large clumsy tray and squatting with it all the way to the ground to retrieve the tomatoes.
Regardless of how they are harvested, the plants leave greenness and dustiness all over your skin. If I examine my arms at the right angle the hair has turned totally green xD  The plants are so overgrown, and the rows so close together, it's like wading through a jungle that wants to swallow you alive and spit you out- transformed -into a sweaty, smelly, tired, greeeeeeeeeeeeen creature with sleeves rolled up, sweaty hair flying everywhere, muddy feet, and dusty rolled up jeans...when perhaps I entered clean and dry, with shoes on my feet and hair tied neatly back with a bandanna.

gross side note:  after harvesting tomatoes and working all day, the shower is so coated in brown dust that the water has trouble draining....So I've started stripping to my underwear as soon as I get home, and jumping in the lake.

cleaning --

The processing kitchen. These are special cucumbers that never get bitter, no matter how big they get. They don't turn green at all, instead they turn either dark brown, mustard yellow, or pure icey white. They are delicious.

 squeaky clean! Ready to weigh, box, and take to the farmer's market.

harvesting --

picking the cherry tomatoes. I enjoy this, it's like a treasure hunt..and they taste sooooo good right off the vine. This particular variety is called Black Prince. Instead of bright red, the tomatoes turn a very dull reddish black, and are nice and firm.

p.s. Check out my awesome henna tattoo.. the Hindu symbol which basically means "serenity", serenity for all living things, and peace.



Shallots. similar to onions, but purple and less onion-y. This is only a very small portion of the dried shallots.. We harvested these and lay them out to dry on screens. There were soooooooooooooooo many...but that was only the beginning of the job. Once they had dried, we clipped the tops and bottoms and peeled away a couple of the top layers of skin to leave the shallot looking shinier, cleaner, brighter, and more attractive. And leaving my hands and nails in an opposite state of looks.


 small portion of the "cleaned" shallot crop.

visitors --


super cool moth on the tomato plants.. it had fuzzy bright orange legs.


A bit hard to spot, but there's a tiny light purple bug crawling up my henna-d arm. It tickled.

A couple weeks ago some people came to the orchard and did some filming for a documentary. They are from "Slow Food" (as opposed to "fast food"). They promote and expose food ideas and food philosophies which have already been in existence, filming documentaries across the country and helping real foodies learn about each other.
They came the day after Austin and I harvested a huge amount of Basil. While they were here, we prepared the leaves and made pesto! It was also a lovely day to pick the first of the early apples. Because they've been ripening in the sun, they taste like cider when you eat them directly off the tree.  I love to eat the whole apple, core and stem. I love not having to fear the pesticides and chemical fertilizers!


This baby. She's the new guy ;)  still just a pup, and very full of energy. She runs up and down the tomato rows at high speed...she's great to have around, but we have to hurry to pull the harvested tomatoes out of her path. Really though, the worst thing about this dog is that she's too distracting!! One look and I've forgotten my task in favor of puppy snuggles.

The cats that live here are not overly friendly to begin with, but now with this bundle of fluff here we only see the cats at mealtime..

 I can't seem to remember her name.. It's one of the 108 names for the East Indian goddess of "truth and deceit"... not wonder I'm having trouble remembering..
For now everyone just calls her "pup" anyway. Mannn she's so darn cute.