Tuesday, August 31, 2004

staying power

christy at dry bones dance blogged on john 8 today. you know from this post that this part of the word really moves me. hop on over and read her incredible insight. here's just a taste:
All they had to do was hang out with grace and let that change and heal them.
what, are you still here? go, it's really, really good!

journals update

yesterday i had a great discussion with the producer of the project, we talked for over an hour. the first half of the conversation was filled with expressing her concern for me, my journey and healing and how this affected me. she is a wonderful woman and she never once asked me to participate until she heard from me that i was safe and in a good place emotionally.

i had really prayed and taken time this past weekend to figure out exactly what i wanted from this process, and why it has fallen into my lap. like i've said many times, i am an addict for redemption. i truly believe nothing is wasted. i knew that this was brought to me so that this period in my life could be redeemed, that this experience brought life instead of death.

i had decided if she was as kind 'in person' as her emails seemed to be that i would be willing to participate in the documentary. she was, and i am.

she said some phrases in our conversation that really spoke to my heart. things like 'you will be speaking for 100's who were hurt by this project', 'you will be able to tell your story'. i knew before we talked that this project was about breaking free of fear. so much of my blogging and healing is recovering my 'voice'. using it in this way will truly allow me to continue that process.

i had 4 years of art in highschool. 3 of those years were spent with a male teacher who's goal was to make little carbon copies of himself. he was a very gifted naturalist, he painted farm scenes and fence lines, fish and wildlife - all very realistic and detailed. he froze me where i stood. i am not that kind of person, detail brings out the perfectionist in me and i found myself painting blades of grass instead of broad brush strokes. each painting was forced, stilted and unimaginative. i was trapped painting photographs instead of art. it killed a part of me that i really needed to be alive, back then, and when i signed up for the journal project, and more so even today.

i told her that my art had always been safe, controlled, in a box. i wanted to participate in the project so that i could set something free. so that i could contribute to something bigger than me, release it and not have control over it. i know now (what i didn't know then) that it was about fear, about breaking my need to have control over everything in my life. that by allowing that journal to fall into the hands of others they could rip the pages out, deface the art or ignore it completely. i was okay with that. i knew what followed after was completely out of my control. i wanted that.

what i wasn't prepared for was what came before i received the journal. that was completely out of my control too. i was blindsided by that image, totally unprepared to be subjected to someone else's baggage and hatred of women.

part of this redemption redemption process is that the producer has tracked down stalled journals, she is sending me one so that i can still contribute. she suggested this even before she knew if i'd participate or not. that's how cool she is. this is becoming a story of redemption, a story of hope, instead of a story of pain. i like that. as i am typing i just received an email from her telling me that i should have a journal in my hands by the end of the week. it was one of the early ones and it has little in it, it has set in a box for the past three years. it too is being redeemed!

i know my 30 seconds on film will have far less effect on the audience then they will have on me. this isn't about the project, even though it is an honor to participate, it's truly about god giving me an opportunity to find redemption in the midst of pain. feeling the feelings, crying the tears and allowing there to be hope and life because of it.

sidenote - she was stunned to find out that i had never had contact with the artist who made that image. because it affected me so personally she assumed he had more information about me than just my name. she has spoken him and he told her that he meditated over the names and created art that he received during his mediation time. i know that this was spiritual, that there was a purpose that i was supposed to be hurt and involved in this. i don't want to make too much out of it, i just thought that it was fascinating detail that i didn't want lost.

anyway - i'll keep you posted on how this progresses. thank you so much for all of your advice, counsel and support with this and many of the other issues in my life! you are a truly amazing community!

a little clarificiation

i awoke to an email from my good friend janet this morning. she gave me an encouragement and a good swift kick. i like those from time to time. she challenged me about this passage that i wrote:

i am a firm believer in the fact that you are not responsible for information that you don't have. so right now i am in this 'state of grace' that allows for my insane control freak behavior and explains away my issues. but it's time to move forward. to stop avoiding and really sink into this next layer of the onion and my psyche. breathe... breathe... lord, help me to be willing to be willing...
this was based on avoiding the reading of the next book on my list - 'compelled to control', not that my fear is bad or that i think it makes me safe. i am in full understanding of the devastation it is bringing to my life, and that the truth will set me free.

thanks so much for that reminder janet!

Sunday, August 29, 2004

i love this man...

okay, i'm reading at wes' blog and my eye is caught on the sideline by an image of the cover of a book he's reading.

how many other men in the world (let alone the church) read SARK? i love this guy!

the path where my feet have not yet walked

the next layer

avoidance. it's huge with me. i've been avoiding the issue i need to be dealing with next. each time i sat to blog for the past month i knew i needed to write about this, but i set it aside for easier topics, safer topics, topics about places i've travelled before on my journey.

this is a place where my feet have not walked. a journey i am avoiding. this is a place where i'm not sure i want to go.

i've heard that when a child is broken they choose one of the three major emotions to express themselves. anger, sadness or fear. mine was sadness. we weren't allowed to be angry in my house growing up, and fear was a very uncomfortable emotion for me, so i picked sad. every negative emotion i had was expressed through sadness.

i couldn't tell you how many times my mother told me 'oh, you just need to have a good cry.' crying was the 'fix' to any problem my mother identified in my emotional trunk. i became addicted to it, comfortable with it, it soothed me and made me feel safe. it was a release of the pain/shame/anger/fear in a way that was so familiar that the true emotion was masked or numbed, crying was my outlet.

when i first started into counselling and recovery it was my sadness and depression that we dealt with. it was the first layer of my onion so to speak.

next, with my violent outbursts and fits of rage directed at liam, i knew that i was in need of intervention in regard to my anger. that's when the abuse memories surfaced and i was able to truly begin an abstinence and find real healing.

guess what's left... yep, fear. yuck. i know i need to go there. i know i need to face it, i know it is something that i MUST do, but this layer of the onion is the most bitter, the most horrible, the most engulfing that i can even imagine. i am terrified.

i know from my own past experience that i truly will have the strength to face it when i finally take that step, and that my anxiety is only making things worse. but i have been coasting and resting, i guess building up for this climb. facing my fear is the highest hurdle i've yet to cross.

i've mixed metaphors and been all over the road, and i apologize. this is one of those posts that's more for me than for you. i knew if i didn't write it i would keep avoiding. keep stalling and pretending. it's time. i need to 'get off the pot' and stop dragging my heels.

i know that my massive control issues are based dead center in my fear. i've mentioned before that i am going to begin compelled to control by keith miller. i know that not wanting to deal with my fear is the reason i avoid finishing my other work book.

i am a firm believer in the fact that you are not responsible for information that you don't have. so right now i am in this 'state of grace' that allows for my insane control freak behavior and explains away my issues. but it's time to move forward. to stop avoiding and really sink into this next layer of the onion and my psyche. breathe... breathe... lord, help me to be willing to be willing...

why can't batman fly?

we're sitting at lunch today and buck gets this serious look on his face and says 'hey mom, why can't batman fly?'

the six year old is starting to sift, this is good. 'superman has a cape and he can fly, why can't batman's cape help him fly?'

so i take that opportunity to delve into his world. 'if you could have any superhero power what would it be?' i ask.

buck invents bullet time (although he's never seen the matrix or even heard of it before) and pink tells me she wants to have lazer beam eyes and sing people to sleep like jigglypuff. deep thoughts today.

i tell them that i want to be able to breathe underwater and fly. oh, and i'd have a really cool superhero car, with air conditioning. they agree, definately air conditioning. our justice league will have a great super hero car.

i remembered back to the time when buck and his best friend invented their own superheroes - 'action diver' and his trusty sidekick 'slick cutneck'. isn't that a great name? say it out loud. it sounds like a quentin tarrentino character. slick cutneck. i think that action diver should be the sidekick with a cool name like that. buck disagrees, slick protects action diver so he can go and rescue the people who are drowning.

so, what are your super power needs today?

like to read blogs at work??

hey ya'll - public service announcement. this site is a 'web fire escape' for those of you who like to read blogs at work. i on the other hand am self/unemployed so no one is looking over my shoulder, but thought i'd make it available to those of you who might need a quick exit! :)

i blog therefore i am

i want one!

Saturday, August 28, 2004

oh the generosity of a good friend

well, we got some wonderful news today. friends of mine are going on an extended 'holiday', well for her and the kids it's a holiday, for her husband he's doing a job. they're heading to austrailia for four months.

she calls me today, 'hey bobbie, could you do me a favor while we're gone?' i'm thinking check on the house kind of stuff. nope. she says 'do you think you could drive my van for me while i'm gone? you know it's horrible to leave a vehicle sit for four months.' i hear her husband in the back echoing her words.

she said 'you told me your van died and we thought this would be a way to help us both.' i cried. well, actually i told her multiple times, 'oh gina, i can't, that's too sweet, no, really, you don't have to do that...' receiving is difficult for me. finally i took a deep breath (after the holy spirit knocked me in the back of the head - duh!) and said 'yes, gina. thank you.'

so god not only has worked out this wonderful solution that will allow us to be both safe and saving for that next vehicle. it will also free up the $$ we were paying to insure our own van. god is so very kind.

optional endings - my theories

bill at poet in motion has asked for input into the questions being raised in eschatology. again, i started to comment on his blog, but these issues turn into posts of their own, so i am responding here.

i was raised in the denomination that 'invented' dispensationalism and studied it at bible college, not for professional reasons, but for a deep love of theology. a deep need within me to know as much of god's word as i could possibly understand. to piece together the puzzle that the bible was to me.

most of my emerging is from a lot of the that doctrine and the belief system that i grew up with. i started to call it into question when i began to study the beatitudes. you see dispensationalism sets aside the beatitudes for the millenial kingdom. those precious words of christ are not intended for now, no, it wouldn't be possible for us to be merciful, meek, or mournful, the sermon on the mount was jesus' picture of the millenial kingdom, those are saved for a future time. i started to realize that the christianity i was a part of looked very little like jesus.

that scared the hell out of me. i started to pick those parts of my theology apart, and the rest of the ball got unravelled too. this emerging thing for me is looking at all of the string and keeping the bits of truth and seperating knots of untruth and lies and throwing them away.

for me it began in 1995, i was a faithful reader of the 'left behind' series. (and i can proudly say i never purchased any of them to feed the lehay/jenkins money machine.) as a good dispensationalist i knew they were flawed from the beginning because they made america the center of the story, but i was willing to overlook that for the sake of the world awakening to the coming threat of the rapture... the more i read, the more my stomach turned. i kept reading each installment so that i could intelligently speak on the books to the youth and parents in the church my husband works at, but with each book i soured. by this last book 'glorious appearing' i was so put off i couldn't finish it, and i finish every book i read. jihad jesus stomping through the holy land uttering red letter verses taken out of context and zapping the unbelievers with his eyes. it was horrible. it made me so angry. this was not my jesus.

throughout the series i started to see how this theology and belief really played out in my life and the lives of others who hold that view of the future.

i started to see that the rapture had become the hope of the church, not jesus, the rapture had become an idol. getting swept away from this 'god-forsaken' earth was what those around me really wanted. leave all the sinful to their sodom and gomorrah and we'll just be in heaven. yuck. what a club for people who don't want to live in the present. what i saw when i took off those rapture colored glasses was really ugly.

back in june i blogged on the beginnings of my ability to voice the discord i was feeling about what i had always believe and how i was seeing that play itself out. after reading this post by jonny baker. he blogged the concept of 'escapology', and it cracked a door for me.

here's how i see this theology play itself out in our lives today:

~i had always been taught that protecting israel was necessary, that god would bring back the temple, so the palestinian people (many of whom are christians) didn't matter. all that mattered was isreal having that piece of property, and the north american church was going to somehow make that happen. (yuck)

~why recycle? we don't need this earth and it's resources anyway - god is going to give us a new heaven and a new earth, and jesus is coming back 'any moment', so screw the earth, screw the environmentalist and their fear mongering. we know that we aren't going to be here when things get really bad, so by making it worse i might actually be making the rapture happen even sooner... (ugh)

~we need more wars because the bible says that they show the end times are coming, more earth quakes and natural disasters, hurray! that means the 'big sweep' will happen any minute. (ick)

~everyone and anyone who opposes 'the church' becomes the 'antichrist' when the church itself looks less like christ than just about anything i see.

i realized in june that i have options. i don't know them all yet, or even which one i'll finally land on. the newest theory i've been able to uncover is
preterism and from what i have read (please correct me if i'm wrong) is the concept that other than the millenial kingdom and the real stuff that supposed to be at the 'end' the other stuff has already happened.

the defiling of and destruction of the temple, the torture of the jewish people, all of that that jesus predicted 'would happen within their lifetime' (matt 16:28) did.

this for me reconciles a lot. i haven't had the time to really study it, but again, it's cracked the door and shed some light on things that never really made much sense for me.

i remember our first church as a married couple. we were fresh out of bible college and ready to take on the world. there was an amazing older man, a theologian, who i adored. we spoke many times of deep interesting subjects and he respected me and my voice (unheard of in a brethren church). there was one day when our discussion turned to eschatology. i waited with bated breath to hear his wisdom. he looked at me and said 'well, i am a WAS'.

a 'was'?? what the heck is that? 'wait and see' he said. what a cop out i thought, god gives us all this amazing information to sift through and that's the best you can come up with? wait and see? i was actually angry, and disappointed. oh the naivety of youth. how i'd love to sit and talk with him today.

some things we were never meant to be sure of.

fashion designer

on the palm of his hand

"and the lord god fashioned into a woman..." genesis 2:22 (nas)
what does it mean to you as a woman that you were 'fashioned' by god?

in genesis 2:7 we read,

'then the lord god formed (body) man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils (spirit) the breath of life; and man became (soul) a living being."
the hebrew word yatsar is translated 'formed'. the meaning of yatsar is: to mold like a potter or sqeeze into shape.

a different hebrew word banah is used by the spirit of god in genesis 2:22 when god fashions woman. banah can also be translated to mean 'skillfully formed'. god changed his creative method from molding and squeezing the man to fashioning and skillfully forming the woman.

this is taken from a newletter i used to get called inscriptions, august 2001. it is not used by permission as i have tried many times to track down the author, and they are no longer publishing the newsletter. all i know is that her name is 'kathy'.

i remember reading this years ago and finding it very difficult to receive these words. my journey to accept my female-ness and feminity was a difficult one. stephanie at just etchings is blogging about how silence is taking her by the hand to reclaim this part of her soul.

we share much in common. we were both raised in that tiny dysfunctional denomination where the silence of women is the keystone to biblical interpretation. the damage that comes from making each woman bear the curse of eve in enforced submission is one of the most spiritually destructive tenants that reek havoc in the feminine mind. it wasn't that we were raised to be contemplatives, nurturing that silent place with god as the quakers do, no, just sit down, shut up and listen. no thought is given to what distress this creates in the human soul.

stepping further into that damaging belief structure you will also see that god is also silent, so if in that silence you hear a voice, you're probably crazy. the 'written word of god' is the complete revelation. silence becomes the enemy, silence becomes the enforcer. silence becomes the prison, with invisible bars that lock themselves shut in everyday life.

so the redemption of the feminine now becomes critical. understanding that those heresies were not what god intended. they need to be called the lies that they are so that the truth of who god is, and his incredible love for all things feminine can be revealed, and redeemed and brought into the light.

he didn't just squeeze us into a broken mold that he knew he'd have to punish for eternity, no, he fashioned each female into an incredible, beautiful likeness of him. we are the image bearers, we are made in god's likeness. creation wasn't complete until the beauty that is female was fashioned by god.

so use that scalpel stephanie, cut away the lies, brush away the dirt and the dust of other people's shame and annoint yourself with the oil of myrrh to honor the suffering you have endured because they called a lie the truth. you have been fashioned by god, created in that secret place. he has inscribed you on the palms of his hands (isaiah 49:16), he adores you, and all things stephanie. you make him blush, you make him cry, you make him jump for joy and want to dance.

i love you and you are in my prayers as you walk this path, know that you are not walking alone.

Friday, August 27, 2004

FactCheck.org - Annenberg Political Fact Check

FactCheck.org - Annenberg Political Fact Check

want to cut through all of the rhetoric? here's a great site that has nothing to gain, but the truth.

thanks to chuck at the world according to chuck for the link.

The Father's Love Letter

The Father's Love Letter

neritia is speaking deep truth at her blog coming down the mountain about her pain and childhood. she is so very brave.

one of the shittiest things about our finite minds is that god must illustrate himself to us in ways that we can understand, and that usually means that someone can come along and screw that up. (ie, jesus being like the body of christ - church, and god being like our father here on earth).

if our dads drop the ball, or even worse seek to harm us it tells us things about god that aren't true. identifying the lies and replacing them with the truth becomes necessary if we are ever to have intimacy with god in the way he intended.

this site is a good place to start.

i've been listening to 'life of the beloved' by henri nouwen on tape since the kids have returned to school. that is another great step i highly recommend (or reading his book, but listening to his dutch accent is precious) to help replace the lies with the truth and give us a fuller understanding of just how crazy in love he really is with us.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

wisdom needed

hey friends. i have a situation that i need some advice on. it's something i never thought i'd need to think about, but now that it's here on my doorstep, so to speak, i'm stuck.

a couple of years ago i tried to participate in a project called 1000 journals. it was a brilliant idea, send out 1000 journals and pass them around the world and see what happens.

you signed up online and waited in a queue until your turn came. every step of the way could be tracked online and journal participants could post updates and images of the pages they made. it was artsy, creative and i hoped life giving.

it turned out to be a very destructive experience for me. the man who was 2 steps infront of me decided to dedicate pages to the following 9 people signed up behind him. he posted the images online and the page dedicated to me was horribly graphic, filled with grotesque images of breasts and women's parts put together to create what looked to me to be these cattle or cow images. needless to say this touched some very raw places in my psyche.

i felt abused by a total stranger. whatever would possess someone to be so cruel to a stranger i just couldn't fathom. instead of this project being life-giving and part of healing it wounded me deeply.

i have always struggled with my weight, and most of you know how i struggle with sexual abuse and addiction. seeing this image representing what someone, who never even met me, thought of me reinforced every horrible thing i've ever told myself. i withdrew my name from the project, and other than a couple of emails from others looking for the journal i had closed that door.

recently i have been contacted by a documentary producer who is seeking to chronicle this project in film. she is asking me to tell my part of the story. this journal has gone missing. my theory is that the person who was between this horrible man and i didn't like her dedication either and pitched it, or it got waylaid in the post.

the producer is a kind, authentic woman, very sympathetic and understanding. she is truly seeking to involve me in this project and i am feeling so mixed up i'm not sure what to do.

i have expressed my reluctance to be hurt again by this, and she has assured me repeatedly that she will not allow me to be wounded again. i just don't know. the idea of being 'on film' in the first place is difficult enough. she is willing to shoot me from 'afar' and allow me to do a voice over telling about my experience in full. i'm so confused. people like me don't have to make decisions like this.

i truly am committed to redemption. if this can be redeemed at all i would like that. it felt so arbitrary, so destructive, like nothing good could have come from it, if healing is to be found i think i want it, but i'm just so afraid.

she has asked to speak with me by phone... i need to get some advice, if you have any, please contribute. if you don't have advice, could you please pray? i'd really appreciate it. thanks.

concrete thinkers

this weekend at a rest stop along the way we were sharing lunch together. i looked across the table at my two adorable children and remembered what i read on jen's blog earlier that morning. i told liam of how jen talked of wanting to gobble her kids up, eating them whole because they were so delicious. not to make them disappear, but to take them inside of you because you can't stand how wonderful they are.

i told him i was feeling that way then. i looked over and saw my son's quizzical look. liam reminded me 'don't forget, they're concrete thinkers'. buck pipes up and say 'yep mom, and concrete is really hard to swallow.'

fasting for sudan

karen at onehouse is fasting on monday for sudan. i know i have too felt the helplessness of this situation. i blogged on it months ago. i'm so tired of there being such a mess and not having anyone with any power to help do so.

world vision is actually making a difference. donate here

gmail users blog

i stumbled across this blog yesterday and it's quite helpful for the techno illiterate that i am. thought i'd let other gmailers know about it if you're interested.

i also have 5 gmail invites if anyone would like one? email me at emergingsideways AT hotmail.com and i'll send you an invitation.

i love my gmail account (will love it even more when they add 'groups' to the address list). it's user friendly and groups email dialogs together in 'send/reply/send/reply' folders so you can continue a discussion without having to begin anew each time or have loads of recopied text.

the other nice feature is that being owned by google all the mail is fully searchable. if you are looking for an email you can't locate you can search key words and find it quickly.

and, yes, the storage space is vast, so you're welcome to my invites. first come, first served! :)

i've got some esplainin to do

okay, just to clarify, that story below isn't 'mine'. i mean i wrote it, but i didn't live it. i've never been with a married man, or had an affair, or felt like a prostitute. but it is mine because it poured out of me.

i saw those eyes. i realized i was the only one holding the rock that day. no one else was condemning me. it was only me. i was making 'me' feel like a whore.

those words just flowed onto the paper, i don't know where they came from. it was unlike anything i've ever experienced before.

so, just so we aren't confused, it is fiction. i've told some friends that it was harder to post that than it was to post my deepest shame. it seems somehow more personal, maybe because you can reject it, i don't know? it's just far more intense than anything i've written to this point.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

woman caught

i can't believe it... he set me up...

i thought he loved me... and he set me up.

i thought i loved him... he set me up.


they dragged me...

not him...

just me.

he said he'd leave her for me... we'd start over... he set me up.

they didn't even give me time to dress...

i grabbed this sheet to cover myself...

i looked...

i felt... like a whore.


'love' he said...

he said he loved me...

he set me up.

used me like a prop for his friends...


too good to help me when daddy died...

had to do the best i could...

DAMN, he told me he loved me...

how could he use me like that?

what am i gonna do now?

i think i'll wait... til it's darker...

so no one sees what a mess i am.


i can sneak home...


i'm tired of sneaking...

and him... who was he?

'go' he said, 'go, and sin no more'.

those eyes... i've never seen anything like them before.

i've been with lots of men. felt their eyes on me.

but him...

he didn't look at me like a piece of meat.

those eyes.

that tear, running down his cheek.

it was like he felt my shame.

like he knew what it was like...

to be used...

to be exposed.

like he knew what it was like to hurt...

the shame... he knew my shame.

those eyes.

writing in the sand... he made them embarrassed...

even made them feel ashamed.

it got so quiet.

i looked up and all those self satisfied smirks wiped off their faces.

they just watched his finger in the sand.

what was he writing? i wish i knew.

shut them up though... such important men.

the town thinks so much of them.

but me... i know...

i know their dirty little secrets.

and they knew i knew, and they knew HE knew too.

who was he?

'i don't condemn you either.'

you know, i actually believe him.

the first man i've ever met who treated me with respect.

like i remember daddy did before he died...

so kind.

those eyes.

oh those eyes.

it's getting dark now.

i better get home...

get some clothes...

before momma sees me... like this.


oh momma... you're home.

yes momma... i'm a mess.

no momma... i'm not hurt.

yes momma... i was out in public like this.

yes momma... some people saw me like this...

...a lot of people saw me like this.

i'm sorry momma... i know it was wrong momma.

you heard?

oh momma... it was so horrible.

i thought he loved me... thought he'd help us momma.

he just used me...

trapped me...

set me up... and threw me away...

like trash.

i'm sorry momma...

i didn't mean to shame you.

i just didn't know how to make it better....

i thought this was the only way.

they were going to kill me momma...

stone me.

i thought he loved me...

said he'd leave her for me.

they tore me out of his bed momma...

they knew where i'd be.

he set me up momma.

they brought me to the temple, to a man momma. a rabbi.

i realized then that i was a prop momma...

a prop.

it wasn't ever about me...

just a piece of meat...

to trap him.


this man...

this rabbi...

not like any of the other rabbis at the temple momma.

his eyes...

those eyes...

momma... you should see his eyes...

they asked him what to do with me...


wrapped in this sheet...

my hair a mess...

covered in sex.

straight from his bed....


what to do with me...

should they stone me? they ask him.

and he says nothin' momma... nothin'

he kneels down and starts to write in the dirt momma.

oh i wish i could read..

wish i knew what he wrote momma.

cause those men... those important men...

their faces white...

they couldn't look at me anymore...

they ask him again.

can we stone her?

kill me momma...

he said only those who haven't broken the law could throw the rocks...

and then he went back to the dirt...

writing in the dirt...

when i looked up they were all gone...

just me...

just him...

and those eyes...

what's that in my hand?

my hand... oh yes..

a rock momma...

he gave it to me...

it was one they were gonna use to kill me...

i think i'll keep it momma...

to remember...

to remember...

those eyes.
this was written last november after this day of practicing the presence of god with mike yaconelli and fil anderson. we had focused on john 8 and i spent that afternoon writing. this is what i wrote.

Monday, August 23, 2004

packed and waiting to leave

well, we're packed and liam just went to reclaim the wounded van. pray god he doesn't loose the breaks on the short drive home! i think we're going to donate it to the kidney foundation.

i've just put on my new present liam brought home from the festival. it's a t-shirt, and the sentiment is too good not to share with you. he told me that he knew when he read it that it was the shirt for me:

less words, more love
well, he made it home safely (praise god!) so we're off. have a great day!

letter to the editor, bobbie's response

christy at dry bones dance has written a response to an articles in sojourners by jim wallis and brian mclaren. this is my response to her response. i started to reply to her in her comment box, but i got so long winded that i needed to move it to my own blog. (she has since added a disclaimer of sorts, but this was written before she went away, and i didn't want to post it until she got back) so here it is:

good thoughts christy, but i have to disagree with you. it may seem that way in california, but here in the 'heartland' there is really this mentality. it's so prevalent that for me to even challenge anything the president says in my sunday school class or small group has me labeled immediately as a liberal. not in the way you use the word, but like a swear word that when said the speaker looks like they've just tasted something vile.

wallis was also raised in 'a world of premillenial dispensationalism where we were told to watch out for what evil rock bands were saying on their records backwards, where practically everybody was Republican, and no one had much good to say about the liberal media' church (he was from the same denomination i was raised in). so there is probably some 'fear mongering' going on that is left over from his heritage.

that is a valid point, that trying to stop others from fear mongering whilst fearmongering himself is not his best move. but in his defense (not that he needs me to defend him) he had just come off of that debate with falwell and i think it left him in shock at the reaction and wake that followed.

95% of the people in my educated, upperclass, seeker sensitive church believe that because bush calls him self an evangelical christian he truly has god on his 'side'. a vote for kerry is a vote against god.

i don't think that voting for kerry will change much, but i do know that i don't want to be part of a 'holy war'. i think that the mentality that is here in middle america is a fearsome, broken, nearly brainwashed one.

i am scared. not because jim wallis told me to be. i am afraid because i hear things coming out of christian mouths, of well meaning people, that are dangerous and poisoned. they don't sound like jesus and i truly don't want to be lumped into any movement or church or even america that thinks that a theocracy is a good idea. things done in the name of god by governments in the past are some of the most atrocious, horrific scars on history. if i can do anything at all to prevent one from happening in the future i want to be a part of it.

this is new ground for me. part of my emerging is political. sifting through the platitudes and untruth of the stuff that i was spoon fed my whole life. part of it looks like standing up and saying 'you don't speak for me'.

i think what was meant when he said 'our faith has been stolen' was that so many of the public 'christian' figures are truly highjacking the name evangelical and putting a public face on a group of people who may feel they are being misrepresented. i know i feel that way.

yes, am i owned by god more than i own my faith, but there is still an ownership on my part. do i own my faith like a stereo? no, but it is mine. mine is not an easy faith, it is hard, it is work, but i think anything worth having is.

would it still be there if i didn't own it? i don't know. it used to be 'easy', it used to be simple. i used to accept anything they told me was true. i don't do that anymore. i now have taken possession of my faith, not because it was given to me, but because i am figuring it out. not working for it in any non-grace, works kind of way, but working for it to strengthen it and sift through the crap i was fed for so long.

but this i know though, my faith is not what it used to be and i don't want to be bunched in with 'them' anymore. i signed that petition proudly. they don't speak for me. i don't want 'that face' of graceless, christian radio and televangelist to speak for me anymore. i don't know who i will vote for yet, but it will be about issues, and not just because one man calls himself an evangelical and says 'god told him to run for president.'

wallis' previous article spoke of the highjacking of the term 'evangelical'. people like falwell and dobson putting a face on that word that isn't what the word truly means. that face that they place on it represents that public faith that wallis is fighting against, that political power has an ugly face to it whose mouth no longer speaks for me.

i believe that the left can do as many horrible, horrific things in the name of peace and helping the poor that the right can do in the name of god, i don't agree with that or support it any more than i do the 'right'.

i just i don't want to be a part of this unholy war. not just iraq, not just osama, this unholy war that is raging right here in america, in the church. people believing things to be true and 'christian' that aren't biblical or christlike. jesus isn't an american, america isn't a christian state and the patriotism i'm seeing looks more like idolatry to me than support of one's country. that is unholy.

yes, my faith is personal, and it is mine. i am owned by god far more than i own my faith. but because this has become a politcal issue now i do feel it must become a battleground of sorts. the world needs to know that the church just doesn't care only about pre-born babies, but children living in poverty. not about 'protecting marriage' from two who say they love each other, but about strengthening the family and communities they live in. we have more depth, more brains and more passion than that unholy face has been spewing. i think it's time to take back the issues and remind them that they don't speak for us anymore.

i love you christy, and this passion i'm feeling isn't directed at you, it's from biting my tongue more times than i can count at church, small group, or even at the grocery store. i wrote this to give voice to the self-silencing i've been doing and to get my thoughts organized enough to voice them publicly if i feel so moved.

the thing that saddens me the most is that NO ONE at my church will even hear or see that sojo article, or even see the new york times ad. we are so insulated and isolated in middle america that jim wallis doesn't even exist.

off on a mini holiday!

liam is home! we had a potluck missionary luncheon at the church and he swooped in and found me there - i love reunions! they had a good (wet, muddy time - think chocolate frosting 12" deep) and everyone was safe and well behaved. the blindside concert got rained out (again) so i was glad i didn't go because they were the only band i hadn't seen before, and i would have been really miffed to have waited in the rain all day to miss them again.

we got home and enjoyed being together again, as a family, and a couple. we laid in bed and talked late into the dark about the future and dreams and plans. it was a great night.

today liam has a meeting with the head of our denomination's youth program, he has a free night in the holiday inn, so the kids and i are tagging along to use the pool, mini golf and just plain hang out in a place that is different than home. pink and liam love hotels and this is a wonderful surprise to end the summer.

they start school on wednesday, buck has a 1/2 day on wednesday to break him into 1st grade - and then on thursday he's full day. i can hardly believe it's really happening. i know we all make different choices, and please don't mistake mine for one that i think everybody should make. i totally understand the desire or need to return to work, i felt it many times. but these past 8 years of being a stay at home mom weren't the most instantly gratifying that i've ever had.

they were filled with many very wonderful times, but staying at home is a long term investment as far as i'm concerned. the pat on the head and the paycheck aren't received or cashed for years to come. there were many times of little support and financial hardship. we had to make tough choices and i had to sacrifice any thoughts of career or further education, many times so did liam. it's hard sometimes to sit with my girlfriends who've 'made so much of themselves' professionally and feel like such a failure.

but i am so pleased with my children. they are truly a joy (and other people think so too!) and i can honestly say i didn't miss anything. that is a regret i am overjoyed will not haunt me years down the road (when they enter therapy!) i will know i did my best. i wasn't perfect, but i was in the game and there. they have been heard, they have been cherished, they have been disciplined and challenged. pink and buck are well-rounded, deep, enthusiastic children. i am proud to be their mother.

on thursday i am starting a new phase of life. i know it won't be easy for other reasons. i will miss have that little dimple and those curls around to keep me company, those encouraging words and 'hey mom, will you please come and play super smash brothers with me?' to add a little spice to my day. but i truly feel that i will be entering 'next' here. my home will not be getting continually messy as soon as i clean it, my children are getting much more capable of actually helping now, structure is good for my soul. i used to think i liked free-flowing, spontaneous days, but i realized in this past year that having a routine feeds a place in me that i've never had before.

it's going to be a good week. it's going to be a good year. i'm really looking forward to what's in store.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

so much for being debt free...


got a call from the mechanic (this one is new, my former one recommended him) and he's informed me that my little old van is not worth fixing. to get it certified safe would cost more than it's worth... we wanted another year out of it. poop.

this has raised a lot of anxiety in me. lots of 'what if's?' and 'should we's?' without liam here to process it with it makes me want to eat. so instead of eating i balanced the check book, paid bills and while that didn't make anything more rosey it sure put reality dead center in my mind. escape is what i longed for. reality is what i need. see, that quote on the paper towels did come at the right time! :)

and instead of escaping again, i decided to blog about it. i hate big decisions like this.

liam and i have only purchased 3 vehicles in the 17 years we've been married. our first was a 1964 ford falcon. it was our first car and we ended up giving it away when we moved to canada. we lived in canada for years without a vehicle and then broke down when we moved to the country and bought our little mazda 323. it was a standard, and my favorite little car. it got creamed by a 86 year old man with coke bottle glasses driving his 84 year old wife to the hospital. he t-boned pink and i when she was 8 months old - we were safe, but the mazda was toast.

that brought us to our villager. i too love(d) that van. liam has always done the research to make sure when we do purchase a vehicle it is sound. both vehicles were purchased using consumer reports and everything turned out to be bang on. so i know we will again do the research. i've already started, but the thought of going into debt again just sticks in my gut. we wanted this year to save for a vehcile in the spring. we haven't saved a cent. so we're stuck with crummy options.

liam's car, a ford tempo was given to us by an older couple in our community. they replaced it and felt god leading them to pass it on. it has been a true gift. is it wrong to pray for another gift to drop out of the sky? it feels selfish, almost greedy.

the other struggle i'm having is that it's been quite some time since i've had anything 'nice'. i don't know if i can explain it, but it almost seems that i am unworthy of having anything nice. writing that seems wrong, but it's truly deep down how i feel. the thought of walking onto a car lot and picking out something shiney and new almost feels sinful, indulgent. i've lived so long with dents and rust that it almost is like a second skin. yuck.

i don't know how to balance the desire to get a nice shiny nissan quest with the knowledge that i don't deserve it because we can't pay for it upfront. oh, this is getting far more complicated and emotional than i intended it to be. makes me want to go eat... breathe.

supper is soon. i can make it until then. lonliness and anxiety are big triggers for me. i spoke with liam today and tried to sound brave, he knew that i was struggling though. not because he's gone, i am strong enough to make it through a weekend alone. i was fine until i heard his voice. oh how i hate being so weak. so dependent. well, i best go and make some dinner. thanks for listening to me blaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhgggggggg.

thus spoke the paper towels???

as i withdrew my paper towels from their package today they spoke to me. no not with a voice, but in words, printed nicely amongst the butterflies.

nature forever puts a premium on reality
in doing a google search they are from emerson, taken from a piece on manners.

good thoughts to ponder today.

been there, done that. doesn't work.

jennifer at my true self and i have been having a dialog about recovery from past pain. i started to comment on her blog, but i got so passionate and so drawn out that i felt it was more responsible to move to my own blog. so you can read the beginning of the dialog there and here is my response:

been there, done that. doesn't work.

it wasn't that i misunderstood your words, i knew them too well. it's what i was told my whole life. feed the white dog so the black dog starves, crucify the old man, you can say it anyway you want, but it's just putting paint on an ugly old building.

i was raised with this dualist mentality and it's not biblical. god is the god of redemption, he doesn't make old things new, he makes all things new - he will use your pain, when you face it, to help yourself and others. pretending or avoiding will only make it surface in other ugly ways. depression, anxiety, addictions, denial. none of them work, i've tried each and every one.

god is using my journey, and all the pain i've endured to help myself and others to see that it's not just wasted. god becomes the king of sick jokes otherwise. he's not. he's the redeemer. he'll redeem your past if you let him. but it only comes through facing it. not to dwelling there, like i said in my other comment, but facing it long enough to untangle it and see how it's causing pain in your life today, and stopping it from causing pain in your tomorrow. it's a hard, ugly road to walk, and it's 'not fair' or fun or a blessing, but it's worth it.

i highly recommend 'the wounded healer' by henri nouwen. it's in our brokenness that he is strong, glorified and life makes sense again. otherwise it's just this life long battle of curses and shame. god becomes a masochist and nothing makes sense.

it is the most diabolical teaching that i've had to free myself from. those who teach it can't even fathom the damage they are doing in the kingdom of god. it makes it 'our job' to do the crucifying, instead of it being a finished work. we become the one to be redeeming, instead of god. it's heresy and it's horrible. and until we call if for what it is the kingdom and churches will be in bondage to the idol of self, instead of seeing GOD as the redeemer and completer of our salvation.

that is the beauty of the 12 steps. that is why i truly think that they are inspired (not like biblical inspiration, k?) by god. truth was redeemed in those 12 steps. truth that somehow along the way the church seemed to loose.

step 1 - admit we are powerless and our lives have become unmanageable.

thinking that i can do this on my own is, well, i'm gonna call it for what it is, satanic. there, that's plain and simple how completely distorted this teaching is. i think it comes from the pit of hell.

satan doesn't want us cutting animals to bits and sacrificing virgins in his name. he'd much rather have us tied up in knots and not getting the full understanding of the redemptive process of god.

when you say:

"Today I am very aware of living between 2 worlds. The world of my false self – the victim, the hurt child that wont let anyone close…..and the world of my true self – willing to feel the real pain of what really happened, but not be controlled by it. It's my true self that Jesus is redeeming. That redemption is the primary issue on which I need to be focused, not past abuse, or its current affects."

it sounds so close to right that you might not see how very far this path will take you from your end goal. one small notch on a navigation compass might not seem like a huge deal when looking at the compass, but when navigating a course at sea it will mean leagues of distance you have to traverse to recover your true course.

i have traveled those leagues. this is truly just a plea to learn from my mistakes. see that the lie is subtle, but diabolical. god truly will redeem your pain if you let him. you don't have to war within yourself. there is only one world, your reality lives there. the journey is 'in and through'. like i said above. it's not easy, but it's worth it.

Friday, August 20, 2004

brown paper packages tied up with string

these are a few of my favorite things...

stacey at on the backs of angels has said 'lighten up' to herself, i think that's probably something i need to say to myself too... more gentleness breaks. so here are a few of my favorite things. okay, it's a lot, but gratitude is good for the soul.

  • eight o'clock coffee - fresh ground in my garbage picked cuisinart coffee maker that grinds the beans then brews the coffee. their decaf is the best coffee you will ever taste. affordable and of a higher quality than most of the 'coffee house' beans (okay, there a few better specialty beans, but twice the price just isn't worth it for everyday.). and yes, my coffee maker works beautifully. some rich person couldn't be bothered to spray out the water resevoir so they thought it was broken and set it to the curb in the BOX!
  • garbage picking, dumpster diving, hilly-billy christmas, call it what you will, but i love 'big garbage day'. many think i should be ashamed for 're-using', but i think more should be ashamed at what they throw away (although please don't stop, as i am grateful!) this year i got my water cooler!
  • a good used bookstore. especially one that i've never been in before. i love them, no, i adore them.
  • catwalk honey and oatmeal shampoo comfort food for your hair.
  • splenda
  • long, meaningless drives in the country with no destination, rhyme or reason.
  • seeing that tiny little scar on liam's upper lip for the first time (and every time since) he shaved his mustache and goatee off for me after i asked him to. i had never in 20 years of knowing him seen his whole face.
  • kissing those hairless lips!
  • belly laughing with pink and buck when their real sense of humor shows itself from time to time.
  • finding out that starbucks make a sugar-free, french vanilla, soy, iced latte
  • hearing waves of a lake come into shore and the tinging of the masts of the sailboats in harbor.
  • butter. it is the ultimate comfort food.
  • cobalt blue glass
  • finding a piece of blue and white pottery for my oddball dish collection
  • restaurant ware dishes, they are so smooth and chunky, i love them, especially in blue and white.
  • fresh ground pepper
  • being heard by people i respect.
  • blogging and reading blogs
  • watching my dad smile
  • hearing liam preach
  • worship in large crowds with the lights off
  • the feel of an old binding in my hands from a book i treasure and the smell of the pages
  • a big feather pillow
  • standing on a step and hugging liam, looking into his eyes without craning my neck
  • good hair days
  • flat irons
  • driving standard really, really fast
  • the feel of the wind in my hair (i wouldn't do this anymore, but when i was in college one of the guys i dated had a motorcycle and we would ride without helmets in the warm, summer rain - there was nothing like that).
  • bridging cultural divides and finding kindred souls
  • finding that old friends have embraced new truth
  • explaining something difficult to someone and seeing the light of understanding flash across their eyes
  • replacing the lies with the truth
  • the scent of patchouli
  • diet rite cola
  • crisp, fresh granny smith apples, alone or with peanut butter
  • unique and different really, really good cheese (what can i say, i'm a dairy fairy...)
  • great lyrics
  • a good cry
  • when princess fiona stayed an ogre
  • tickle belly hills
  • laughing with my relatives until your cheeks hurt and your stomach is sore
  • making someone who is funny laugh
  • sitting at the 'fun table'
  • playing california canasta with my aunts
  • finishing well (it happens so rarely)
  • the relief that comes from having the checkbook balanced and the bills paid, with some money left in the bank (it happens less rarely than it used to)
  • waking up after 7:00 in the morning (that is happening less and less as i age... ugh).
  • using those early, early mornings to write from my heart.
  • watching pink learn about growing up and finding herself in the mirror with the innocence of an eight year old.
  • buck's single dimple in his right cheek, and the gleem in his eye when it shows.
  • taking my bra off (sorry guys, this is a feeling you will never understand, but i'm sure it's a bit like what heaven is going to be like!)
  • catching liam watching me
  • seeing someone using their gifts well
  • giving extravagently and secretly
  • finding a comfy chair and a good book/magazine at the library at the same time
  • the library in my home town. it looked out at the lake and was designed by one of frank lloyd wright's apprentices, the smell of that place brings calm to my soul. it's one of my favorite places on earth.
  • the boat house at the camp just down the lake from the library where i would sit early in the morning to hear the waves and tinging of the masts.
  • coming home to a clean house (and that is the rarest of all!)
  • holding hands with my family while we pray before a meal and feeling my father stroke my fingers and squeeze my hand while we pray.
  • that first rush of wow that happens when liam and i have been apart for an extended time period. when he returned from nepal after 2 weeks the electicity was tangible. i love that feeling. unfortunately we have to be apart to feel it. (he's away for the weekend at a music festival with the teens - yay sunday!)
  • watching a storm roll in and seeing the lightening dance across the sky
  • going out for breakfast, i guess it reminds me of my mom. she's always wake me up during my teen years by bribing me with breakfast so she'd have some company for the day. we'd go junkin' after that. those are some of my favorite memories.

rhythms of grace

oh, oh, oh - have i found gold. she left a comment on ragamuffin diva's blog and i loved it so much i followed the link to her site.

prepare yourself. this is amazing grace.

Rhythms of Grace

'blog this' isn't working

blogger has a feature that while you are surfing the web you can use an icon on your google toolbar to 'blog this'.

i did that twice yesterday and both times the links were broken. i have fixed them manually, but it's a weird glitch. so, again, google people, if you're listening/watching/searching blog this has a glitch!

help fight breast cancer with the largest pink ribbon in the world!

click on the site and register your name and post-its will donate $1.00 to breast cancer research.

help fight breast cancer

Thursday, August 19, 2004

General Mills Recalls Crispy Glazed Pop Secret Popcorn - Aug. 11, 2004

General Mills Recalls Crispy Glazed Pop Secret Popcorn - Aug. 11, 2004
i am miffed. there was new product out that was totally made with splenda and it was better than real live carmel corn and kettle corn. totally sugar free, and because some people can't read warning signs they are re-calling it.

general mills, i will sign waivers, disclaimers, legal anything if you ship all of those recalled cases to my house.

idiot people can't work a microwave and a bag of popcorn. ARGH!

a double portion

hi all. i used my blogging time this morning to make additions to my sidebar. darren at alternative hymnal was a godsend in giving me code to made those additions. THANKS DARREN!

so after i purged out all of that emotion yesterday i felt much better... sorry... (and thank you). i did go to my tea, it was a wonderful day. only 5 of us were able to attend (instead of the usual 8) and the drive through the country did this girl a lot of good. it was a gorgeous day and we had an outdoor tea under the maple trees on my girlfriend's grandmother's lawn. each moment kept building warmth and healing into my soul.

i introduced myself to her grandmother and she said to 'call me grandma'. i teared up thinking those words haven't come out of my mouth in a very long time. i got to sit next to her and hold her hand during the prayer and i realized how very much i missed having that grandmotherly figure in my life.

my paternal grandmother was the most amazing woman, she raised 6 kids virtually by herself, while her husband was alive he spent most of his time avoiding work and drinking his pay at the bar. he died when my father was 6. grandma cooked, baked, sewed, crocheted, knit and crafted. some of my favorite memories were making lefsa and sugar cookies with her.

earlier this month i made the connection that the reason i used to binge on uncooked baked goods was because it reminded me of the safety and support that i felt when we would bake at home. i thought it was with my mother, but after yesterday i realized that the real memories where when my grandmother would come to visit. it was her stability and warmth that i craved. she died when i was about 11.

we visited and shared and laughed and told stories around the table, it was a gentleness break that was much needed. after the meal my hostess shared about her mother's struggle with her weight and i was able to share some of my own recovery with them. i tried to help them see that if she was like me it wasn't about dieting, but about dealing with the emotions i was trying to avoid that caused me to want to stuff myself full of food. i was able to talk about it in the first person, using only my issues and how it affected me, and i was heard. it was a nice step 12 moment.

on the ride home i realized that i was riding with two women who were on the prayer committee at the church and that we were together so that i could share my struggle with some of the politics at church that have been stressing me out, without being gossipy or inappropriate. they would hold my confidence and truly pray for me, and the concerns i was able to voice. and again, i truly felt heard.

afterward i stopped over to the pool to see liam and the kids and then went home to a quiet house to read and reflect. as i walked in my porch renee's book was there and i was able to enjoy it and the comments you all left on my blog.

so i am feeling so incredibly blessed to have had such a nurturing day, such a gentleness break and such a wonderful community 'to come home to'. thank you all for praying, and your kind, funny and inspiring words. they really meant a lot to me.

it was a good, good day.

my newly improved sidebar!

thanks to darren at 'the alternative hymnal' i am able to finally have an informative sidebar. i spent all morning (i woke up at 4:30 again...) tweaking and playing with it. it was a lot of fun.

so, before you think i have really horrible taste in music i must explain - we get christian music cd's (which is do like) as a part of keith's budget, and i can't seem to justify shelling out $$ for the secular ones that i like (evanescence and black eyed peas are the two on my wish list right now). i think i'll probably end up going to a music download site to buy the songs i like and then burn a mix cd. does anyone have a good recommendations of ones they use? i am operating windows 98 on a large hard drive, but my technology isn't pretty dated. we finally got a burner here at home and nemo came with the package, i haven't used it yet myself, so i don't know if there is anything better?? any advice would be appreciated and helpful. also any tips on some good songs that i should head toward to broaden my horizons would be great too!

i can't seem to find images of books small enough not to knock out the rest of my sidebar yet, so those will be added soon.

if you scoll all the way down to the bottom of the list you will see 'an if you're bored' list - some of those sites are really fun and cool, i like them all.

i just thought it was a way that i could round out things a bit here at the blog. have a great day!

okay one feature about the navbar i like

did you know that you can use the navbar at blogger blogs to search the site? you can now google just the site if you are looking for references for hyperlinks or to see if anyone has written on a subject you are interested in.

i had just installed 'free search' on my sidebar because i was having problems finding my own posts, so this is a good thing. still not sure about the 'next blog' fearture. i think they should let us classify our blogs and the 'next blog' feature should take you to a similar one. so google people, if you're listening - random next is a BAD idea, finding similar blogs is a good idea, k??

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

it's here, it's here, it's here!!

it's beautiful renee!

stumbling toward faith - home

i am holding in my trembling hands the work of my friend, AUTHOR renee altson.

renee, it's beautiful. i'm weeping. i am so proud of you woman!


yac is smiling and shouting WOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOO in heaven!

renee will be visiting my blog on her virtual book tour on september 23rd!

red in the morning

sailors take warning

this was the view i saw looking out my office window this morning. i knew i needed to capture it to share with you.

forecast of things to come??

it feels like it. stormy weathers in my soul this morning. i am a weepy mess, so moved by everything i read. claudia, christy, steph and amy all made me bawl this morning, or maybe they touched that raw place that seems to be surfacing in my heart and soul.

some of you know that i'm planning to attend 'the path' at linwood house this november. many of you are joining me. i am so moved at the thought of having this opportunity to just go to 'the most beautiful place on earth' (as i've told mike todd for almost a year now) let alone to have it be filled with so many real people that i've come to adore and love that have faces and arms, not just words and screens.

but somehow i am also terrified. i hate to have to type that. but i am. terrified. this world is so safe for me here. what if we all get to vancouver and find that we really don't like to be in the same room (or you all love each other and realize that i am as caustic and overbearing as i say i am??)

the 'real world' just doesn't feel like a very safe place for me right now. i'm really struggling. writing every day is churning up so much stuff that i feel exposed to everyone i see, even though they haven't a clue what i've written. i feel like the scales have fallen off and i'm all jangly nerves and raw flesh - like i haven't been dipped in the pool yet, and i'm not fit for public consumption.

i know it's 'that time of the month' (i hate that term) and it's that time of the summer, and it's that time of my life (i'll be 39 in 2 months...) and simply put i'm tired. bone tired. it's like 'my soul caught up' to me after the busyness of the past two months and said 'this? this is what's left? no thanks, don't want to stay here...'

i have been avoiding EVERYTHING lately. everything. except feeling my emotions, writing and reading your blogs. my house is in disarray, i haven't yet balanced the july bank statement or paid august bills. this is a red flag, danger danger will robinson kind of thing for me. this says 'if you don't shake it off you're gonna slip' kind of behavior. i don't want to slip, really i don't, but i definitely don't care one whit about the other stuff.

i have become compulsive about blogging and reading other people's blogs. there i said it. yuck.

this 'world' is so much more attractive to me than what's outside my doors. i run into people i call my friends here and think 'please be real, please show my just a little of yourself today, don't look at me with veiled eyes, just one person, could you please just show me some courage or trust, please?' it seems like i'm living in a world of mannequins (not here at home, liam and i are good), but outside the walls of my house (my cave) i can't stand it. masks, plastic people, fake lives, shallow conversations - i want more. i want community. i have found it 'here', but i need flesh and bone, i need eyes and faces. i need acceptance without judging. i need a safe place where i can trust, and am trusted by others.

i am a member in a 'tea group'. 8 women from all different ages and walks of life who meet together monthly at each other's homes and share a meal. when this started almost 3 years ago it was cold water to my thirsty soul. no one in my life had ever taken the time to prepare such extravagance for me. frilly tablecloths, pretty napkins, dainty food. in my white trash childhood you had to pay to be treated like this. these women nurtured a place deep within me. they loved and accepted me and brought me to a place where i felt very safe.

somewhere along the line 'nice' stepped in. something happened. i don't know what it was, but things changed. masks went on, tablecloths stayed in place. covering up became necessary again. being the paranoid social misfit that i am i assume it is something i have done or said. some social faux pas that i didn't understand. the last year of tea groups has been fake, plastic, forced. we're no longer building, we're maintaining now. i don't like it. instead of bringing life it feels artificial and like acting. once we were the care free girls playing tea party, now we're just trying to act like we are. the difference is so subtle, but it's diabolical in sucking true joy away.

today is 'tea party day'. something that should be bringing me great joy (heck, it's should be enough that i get a break from the kids and home) but it's made me feel unsettled and unsure. today we get to go to my girlfriend's grandmother's farm for tea. this is something that should bring me joy. yet i want to call off, stay here and isolate myself. insulate myself. avoid, withdraw and lick my wounds.

danger, danger will robinson... so admitting you have the problem is the first step, right?? right. okay, i have a problem. red in the morning, sailors take warning... what does the storm of today hold for me? will it be a nurturing rain? or an entertaining thunderstorm? a windy, uncontrollable gusty storm? i guess it's my choice. respond, don't react. i can pick. there is some control in the uncontrollable around me. i forget that so often.

deep cleansing breaths.

father, today i truly feel 6, i want to go and play with my friends, but i am afraid that they won't like me. afraid that i will say or do the wrong thing and that there won't be enough grace to make it better. please come with me today and be a buffer of grace in all i say and do. hold my hand daddy. i am afraid.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

the navbar

okay, blogger has started a new and strange service. notice at the top of my blog there is now a 'navbar' - instead of the usual google ad you can now get to random blogs throughout the blogger blogosphere (say that 10 times fast...)

so i am getting weird hits from random referrals because of this, it is so strange. i tried it myself from a couple of friend's blogs and you jump to incredibly different, strange and weird sites, out of context blogs in many different languages and types appear.

a better idea might be to consider allowing us to categorize our blog and people can hop to another similar type blog. i don't find it a useful tool right now.

i know it is making for some WEIRD comments from abstract users who have no idea the kind of dialog that is happening at each blog.

poor steph at 'just etchings' got a random visitor who left a bizarre comment that i personally would have found a bit offensive if it was left on my blog. not so sure i'm a big fan of the nav bar yet...

a musical psalm 23

while eating my new vegetable curry for lunch (thanks darren for the recipe!) i happened upon his blog and found the most amazing song in his 'alternative hymnal'- it's breath-taking and there is a free download - take a listen, this song is SO beautiful.

it reminds me of all of the psalm 23's that were written a couple of months ago at idelette's urging. it's played three times now and i can't bear to close the window. it's called 'in the middle of the air' - and my mind quickly went to my early rapture training, but i realized after that the invitation to meet in the middle of the air is a daily prayer. oh, stop reading here and go download it - it's gorgeous!

we forgot the taste of bread

sushi anyone?

inspired by amy's request for information on frodo/lotr for her english class i jumped the gun on a post i had been planning. i had ordered 'return of the king' from netflix and had been saving it for a time when i could watch all 3 uninterrupted hours and take some notes.

i'm waiting for the trilogy to be packaged all together (i'm sure just in time for christmas) before i purchase the dvd's for myself.

last night i skipped out on my recovery group and engaged the dvd player as soon as my wee ones were tucked in for the night. i had not watched rotk since the first time last year when i sat alone (on purpose) in the darkened theatre and wept through most of it. i knew this viewing would not be as emotional, but i wanted to relive those parts i knew touched me deeply.

i love the way peter jackson begins with smeagol being the hobbit fishing on his birthday. giving us a more complete progression of gollum's tragedy. these words he speaks as he crawls into the darkness haunted me:
'we forgot the taste of bread, the sound of trees, the softness of the wind, we even forgot our own name.'

only through the kindness of frodo does gollum begin to remember. i have a friend, the woman who heard my step 5, who's husband is a heroin addict, she's moved over 25 times and has experienced so many horrors and trauma in her life. all she ever wanted was to be a missionary. her husband is gollum to me. watching him choose the drug instead of life each time makes me realize he has forgotten the taste of bread.

near the end of the movie, after shelob's lair and the brush with the orc's. samwise and frodo are collapsed on the rocks and sam begins to speak of the shire, of strawberries, of the past. frodo's words echo smeagol's:
'no sam, i can't recall the taste of food, the sound of water, the touch of grass... naked in the dark... there's nothing... there is no veil between me and the wheel of fire... i can see him with my waking eyes'

the lure of the ring is becoming too great for frodo, the evil all encompassing. the addiction to it's power is worth trading food, nature and shelter for.

sam then utters the best line of the film about not being able to carry the ring, but he can carry mr. frodo. our heart's leap, we long for comrades like sam, and they enter the doorway to doom.

as we're watching this last night liam says, 'sam is a good co-dependent' and i argue with him. i told him i'd state my case today on my blog.

i've told you before that i struggle with co-dependency. it is something i have discussed long and hard with my therapist. it seems etched into my dna, carved in to places i don't even see.

as i argued with her about how i was a pastor's wife, i was made for helping people. how am i to continue to do this and not be co-dependent? she explained that it was my motives that needed to change. was i filling that deep dark need within myself by meeting liam's or other's needs? was my addiction becoming their addiction? was i able to help because i was helpful and skilled, or was i being sucked in and loosing myself in and amongst their pain and struggle.

samwise never looses himself in frodo's journey. he is the consistent comrade. more like a slave, not bound by chains, but by love. he is still sam in and of himself. he is not defined by frodo. yes, the quest is gruelling, yes he would not be there if not for frodo, but he never confuses frodo's quest as his own. there is a time where he is tempted to step into frodo's shoes, but oddly enough it is gollum who saves him by planting suspicions into frodo's mind.

as a helper i am able to best help when i am sure of my boundaries, sure of my self, and sure of who i am apart from helping. when those lines begin to blur i am in a danger zone. i am owning someone else's pain and emotion, their struggle and journey. i will never be able to be the one to help them remember their own name. i cannot be their savior.

to love those who have forgotten the taste of bread is an enormous call. i know there were many times when in my active addictions where i forgot the sound of the trees, the softness of the wind.

to watch others injure themselves or choose ashes instead of amazing (idelette) without making their pain our own is like walking on the razor's edge, an extreme balancing art. seeing liam overworked and under appreciated and not entering into that arena to define myself is a temptation i face daily. i long to fulfill the call god has placed in my heart, i long to serve in the kingdom. but enabling or living vicariously through liam is damaging to myself, to him and to our marriage.

can i be 'sam' and not blurr the lines between those i help and myself? i don't know yet. it is my 'next journey'. as my children age i know that this is of utmost importance. this was the elastic cord my mother installed in my back. can i cut the cord? can i not install it in my children's lives? can i allow them to fail, to fall and to struggle without making their own pain my own? that is a mountain i must scale. for my own sanity as well as their's.

god help those who forget their own name. help us to remember we cannot name them ourselves, you are the only name-giver. help us lead them to you, by their side, loving like samwise, knowing all the time their journey is their own. help us to love the smeagol in them and help them to remember those parts of their lives that will draw them back, in and amongst their pain.

Monday, August 16, 2004

take back our faith

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my hero

frodo and the ring

amy from amy loves books has asked for LOTR help as she is not a fan, and an assignment on heroes leaves her needing to brush up on all things hobbit.

i on the other hand am a fan. my copies of the books are in sad shape from their many readings, and my glee was made full at the release of the trilogy on film (and especially on dvd!).

that little hobbit frodo is my hero, he gives me hope, he brings balance and joy to my soul because when faced with the temptation to become gollum he still chose to throw the ring into the fire.

you see i daily face those choices. do i covet my precious, give in to my obsessions, feed that instant need for gratification or do i, like frodo make the choice to crawl to the edge of the fire and release them from my hand?

the way the movie(s) played this out in technicolor was so vivid to me - to watch frodo's eyes widen as they faced the darkness, more gollum-like with every step showed me in wide screen splendor how the fondling of the ring in my own life takes me farther away from the innocence of the shire.

each time frodo gives into temptation life becomes more difficult. he thinks it will be easier, the invisibility of the ring screams safety to him, but the true nature of the ring (addictions) are shown as the wraiths know instantly his location and weaknesses. each time i choose to participate in the numbing effect of my addictions my demons become more real, more intense and more terrifying.

director peter jackson somehow knows about addiction and the slippery slope that comes from giving into them. the picture i chose above is taken from the time frodo is in the pub and is terrified after his first brush with the ring wraiths. his bumbling friends expose him and he thinks there is no alternative but to hide. he drops the ring and it falls onto his finger, innocently. he is invisible. he thinks he is safe. he feels the numbness that comes from this choice. it is good. it makes his fear less noticeable. it becomes the power that controls him every time he is face to face with his emotions.

two other men in the story know the power of the ring. bilbo baggins and smeagol. in the films each are fleshed out into the full effect the ring has played in their lives. bilbo reluctantly leaves the ring with gandalf, he is sad, but knows that he is no longer able to participate in it's temptation. when the ring reappears in his life later he is instantly transformed into the hideousness of craving and lust. it's momentary, and his shame is great. but he is able to walk away.

smeagol is the underlying current of addiction that permeates the whole of the tolkein stories. from the hobbit through to the end of the trilogy we see the full effect that the ring has on this man. his divided soul is shown so tragically in full screen effect as he argues and fights with himself along the road to recover his precious. we watch as this transformation from man to creature spreads across the screen and gives us the ugliest depiction of slavery to desire.

so frodo stands straddled between the shire and mordor. knowing that with the ring still in existence he cannot have one without the other. he will never have home and health again unless he walks that horrible road to rid himself and the world of the ring.

he is wise enough not to go it alone. gollum, for all of his selfish desires is still a guide along that road. and he has friends, many begin the path with him but in the end it is only with the strength, support and devotion of samwise gamgee at his side that he is able to confront each and every temptation and finally rid middle earth of the horror of the ring.

i wish that sam could be my hero, that innocent, deep hearted wonderful friend. but i don't know what it is like to be sam. sam is not influenced by the ring. he cannot understand the depth of desire within frodo, it confuses and angers him. sam is untouched.

frodo is my hero because he is able to face it all and succeeds. i wish there were a mordor to dump my addictions in. i wish there was a place where i could travel, even with threat of orcs and spiders, that i could rid my world of addiction. yet daily i must relinquish that ring. that deep desire to meet my own needs apart from god. daily i must face this quest, this road, these choices. he did it. he made it. he was victorious. frodo is my hero.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

friends who really aren't friends

as i wrote that 'best and worst' for anj i realized that not only was god redeeming a relationship she had in her past life, but he was also doing the same in mine.

lynn was the first person to reach out to me in my pain. she was being as abused and trashed by our former church as we were, so our 'inner ring' of pain caused a fast friendship.

it was her name that god first spoke into my spirit. i had been praying for a mentor for years. and just at the time when i started to allow god to speak (remember my heritage said that the written word of god was the only allowable way for god to 'speak') it happened to criss-cross with my desperate need for a mentor.

i remember being at our broken church's women's retreat. it was the only allowable ministry that i actually enjoyed being a part of, and the team working on this retreat was filled with women starving for something real and tangible from god. so the retreat was filled with touches of this. (most of the 'locals' couldn't be bothered to help us, so when they attended the retreat they were blown away at it's depth and terrified at the same time - it was the beginning of the end).

anyway - lynn's name came into my mind after literally hours of praying 'speak god for your servant is listening'. i wasn't looking for an answer to that specific prayer, i just longed to hear god's voice in my soul. it came while using the facilities. (god's timing for me is always bizarre.)

our friendship was fast and fierce, she had mentored women who had been sexually abused before and it was she that gave me the safety to finally admit that someone had hurt me. i remember sitting in the sand of that great lake, hearing the waves and feeling like god had truly heard my cry for a mentor.

just after that her husband, who had just finished IT training got a job offer stateside and they were relocating. they moved away and i was heartbroken. god had allowed my first real friendship to be snatched away. i was very confused.

it wasn't long after that my husband was called by a church literally 20 minutes away from where they relocated to and asked to apply for their youth pastor's opening. it ended up being the church that god called us to. i was shocked at the 'coincidence'.

it was also at this time that i was preparing my 'step 4' and readying myself to 'give it away' (step 5). i asked lynn to be the person that i gave it to. i knew that god had placed her in my life, i just didn't know that it was only supposed to be for a season.

what followed i still don't understand, but it was filled with me giving, calling and seeking out, and lynn using, taking and bossing me around. she enjoyed the power that 'mentoring' gave her, and liked to do the 'fun' part of mentoring without any of the actual work involved. she backed out of hearing my step 5 and wouldn't give me a reason. (i thank god now, because if she had heard it and abused me afterward it would have been very damaging to my soul).

i also found out that the complaining and moaning that bonded us at our old church got really old. i thought it was a reaction to one event, not that it was her personality. she and her husband became serial church hoppers, each one had 'major' problems that they just couldn't live with. another hand of god thing was that they never came to our church - i don't know why, but i am grateful.

i subconsciously started to put some distance between us because i saw that her 'mentoring' was really an excuse to have someone around she could bitch to, boss around and use when she wanted to. this caused huge amounts of grief in my soul.

remember that my theology about god was pretty screwed up, but i truly felt that god spoke her name into my life, and i was pushing away what god provided. did that invalidate his word? did that mean that i wasn't able to take criticsm or critique? all i knew is that i needed a safe distance between us. so i stopped calling, stopped inviting and stopped feeling resposible for the relationship.

somehow she got the message. it was really a one sided relationship, so i guess the effort was wearing on her too? i don't know, but weeks turned into months and i still was filled with angst and guilt.

there were about 3 other relationship that i had to distance myself from at that time too. they were women i was ministering to, they were very needy and were sucking me dry. i remember sitting at my counselor's office and finally sharing my failure and shame with her. (i bet this was about the time she started to insist i was co-dependent - duh)...

she looked at me after i told her about lynn and said 'wow, she sounds an awful lot like your mom.' GASP! i never put 2 & 2 together, it made so much sense. why i was such a willing victim for lynn's abuse, why i had mountains of guilt, why i was so unable to address this with her face to face. she was the reincarnation of my mother. yuck.

my counsellor talked about my lack of protection from those kind of people and how the distance and 'dropping her' was my way of protecting myself.

i've never written about this before, so when anj and i were processing that 'best and worse' i was able to see how god was redeeming this relationship with lynn (and my mother) by giving me someone in my life who was willing to do the hard work, speaking the truth in love. i knew as soon as i heard back from anj that i needed to untangle this mess of twisted emotions and start to address my relationship with lynn. i know i'm probably avoiding some face to face relationships that could become mentoring roles out of fear. i do realize now though that i am much healthier and have better boundaries to not allow myself to be treated so poorly.

i still long, deep within my soul, for a woman to step up and commit herself to loving me and speaking truth into my life. i always dreamed it would be the 'senior pastor's wife', which i now know was a silly desire. but i always seem to have lots of 'timothy's' and never any 'paul's'.

i also know that 'it's time' to speak truth into lynn's life. to meet with her and tell her about why our relationship imploded. i get vague emails from time to time, i know she wonders what has happened. i know if i don't do this intentionally that soon it will happen unintentionally. circles here are smaller than i like to admit, and there will come a day when i unexpectedly am face to face with her. i think i'd rather be prepared.

now that i've processed this a bit i'm feeling much more prepared. maybe once school starts we could meet over coffee. i'm ready to let this part of my life go and move on to wholeness.