Friday, December 31, 2004

what a year!

wow. new year's eve, 2004. what a year! looking back it's been one of the most intense, fruitful, life-changing years of my life. i found parts of myself i never knew about before. some parts needed a lot of work, and others needed a lot of nurture to grow and still do. i will look back on 2004 fondly. strangely enough it was a very virtual year in many ways. much of the people who impacted me i'd never even heard of until i started blogging. wow, sitting here going through the list in my head i realize how long that it truly is. it's shocking.

i was going to begin the listing, but i would hate to leave someone off by accident and hurt them. you know who you are, and if you even think 'i wonder if she means me too?' the answer is YES! if i have ever commented on your blog or we've exchanged emails, you have a part of my heart. that's the kind of person i am. words are one of the most important parts of my world. your words endear you to me, challenge me, encourage me and have made me more like jesus this year. thank you all! happy new year!

looking forward to meeting many more of you in 2005!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

holding our breath

this tsunami/earthquake devastation has touched our family. our little compassion son yeremiah lives in indonesia. his little face looks out at me as i type this. he's 5. we have not heard how he and his family have faired through this horror. i cannot imagine the fear, loss and tragedy his family and country are facing at this time. my imaginings only leave me in tears. the powerlessness of one small family trying to help one small family so very far away seems like a tiny drop in the bucket.

watching pink and buck cope with the news that their little brother far away is facing the horror they see on the tiny bits of news brings them both into a world that i'd much rather protect them from, but know that they will be stronger and larger for it. giving them a global perspective instead of the small sheltered one i'd prefer to protect them with is hard, but i know important. pink wrote out yerimiah's name and placed it in our prayer bowl on the altar when we heard of the devastation. she also wrote out jenifa's name. she is our daughter in kenya who is facing drought and possibly famine.

we are so blessed, so confusingly blessed. why us? why them? it reduces me to a pool of tears. so helpless to help. oh god please move those who can truly make a difference to fund the real help that needs to take place to bring healing and health to those horribly affected places in the world.

preacher blogged bene diction's fear that this kind of tragedy silences us. rayne challenges gwb spend as little as possible on his inauguration (figures are from 30-40 million) and send the rest to the people who really need it. god please make it so. we waste so much, the need is so great. god please move the mighty to give mightily. amen.

UPDATE: rick sent me to the information site. the indonesia projects have not been destroyed, but at least 2 in india have. you can find update information here.

Monday, December 27, 2004

home sick...

we made it home safely last night (this morning) at 1:00 a.m. we decided to travel yesterday instead of today because liam's dad was too stressed with us in the house, and liam's mom was sick with stomach flu (from liam's new little niece we hadn't seen, until of course she came to visit and passed it on to my son and maybe the rest of us...) ugh.

so, we traveled up to ontario to see liam's dad for about 30 minutes, although we stayed in his house the whole time and not even see his mom... and of course to pass disgusting germs around in a multicultural exchange... i'm sure we left some of our bronchitis germs up there in exchange... it's like a viral game of pit. yuck.

anyway, it's so good to be home and hopefully buck can sleep through the night without the trauma he went through today (and thankfully we made it home before the trauma started, although he moaned and cried through most of the trip home...)

needless to say i hope we don't have to do that kind of a trip ever again! a weird holiday to say the least. liam and i were able to connect with his brother and sister and their spouses a bit, so it was good for that.

hope you all had healthy holiday weekends! it's good to be back!

Saturday, December 25, 2004

quick news from the north

safe and sound in ontario. liam's dad isn't doing well, mostly spends time in bed, it's been hard on liam to have travelled so far to see his dad and not have his dad engage. oh well, at least he knows he's made the effort.

boxing day with liam's mom's family tomorrow (i think this is about day 6 of presents for pink and buck!) hope all is well with you, doing great here except we forgot the WHOLE ENTIRE bag of toiletries - nothing, nope, none, zip - not even a hairbrush. that one cost liam a pretty penny... i refuse to see people i haven't seen in four years without a toothbrush or makeup! :)

have a wonderful holiday! miss you all!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

merry christmas to all!

we head to the great white north today. i've been recoverying from bronchitis in and amongst the christmas preparations. we celebrated our family christmas last night. figured we wouldn't give the border guards the joy of opening all of our presents! :p

hope you all have a wonderful season, merry christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

now that's a church christmas card!

now that's a church christmas card!

ben bell creates the christmas card for his church in london each year. this is his newest for 2004.

the model is a 14 year old girl in his youth group (stuffed with tea towels), he's got other images of 'mary' on his blog. very moving and puts into perspective the innocence of mary and the reality that she truly was so young. after reading claudia's 'incarnation' it seemed such a wonderful image for my morning reflection. beautiful.


my favorite diva

claudia is back in a big way and making me snot all over myself this morning. beautiful, beautiful words. what a gift, what a woman. enjoy!

somehow we become


Saturday, December 18, 2004

top 5 for 2004

corner bob has challenged bloggers to take a look in the rear view mirror and post their top 5 for 2004. i've only been blogging since memorial day, but this hasn't been easy to cull through all of the posts i've done and pick my favorites. a lot of my writing is done in 'shitty first draft' style (ala anne lamott). i just write and post and rarely ever read it again. i use my blog to get the stuff out, not to have well written prose. reading back i would change a lot, but i guess the rawness of what i wrote at the time was important and necessary to get me to this place in time.

so here are my favorites - 5 out of 302 (116,557 words before this post!) hope you enjoy this retro look back into my life this year.

my refrigerator box

we forgot the taste of bread

searching for answers

happy birthday liam

that little red haired girl

playground memories

Thursday, December 16, 2004

one person's trash...

i have been using the past 10 days or so to turn a bit of junk into some $$ for our trip to canada for christmas. one item i had treasured a lot, but i knew that parting with it and simplifying was important. it went for an abismally low amount yesterday, it broke my heart. but the best advice i've ever been given regarding ebay was 'list in faith, reap in faith'. i start those kind of auctions at $.01 with no reserve, it creates a lot of watchers and quite a competition for bids. unfortunately this item just didn't have much of a buzz. someone got my treasure for a paltry sum, hopefully it will make it an even more special item to them, who knows?

i had a couple auctions just close tonight. things i actually picked out of the garbage. honest. one was a vintage box from a mattel ken-type doll - it sold for over $25.00! and a vintage guitar that was in need of some resortation just went for over $100! yippee! it will definately make our trip a bit less tight.

one person's trash is another person's treasure. (or spending money for a trip!)

deep thoughts for christmas

this christmas is looking very different than it has in my past. it's much simpler and by choice free of the crazy making schedules that our christian culture has told us we must embrace to have this holiday. it's really been a joy to have everyone think that i'm as exhausted and busy as they all are, while i sit back and smile in the joy of a clear head and light shoulders. i'm not shirking any responsibilities, honest. i've just chosen a different path this year and I LOVE IT!

i'm also receiving christmas and advent differently this year. honoring the waiting, breathing through the lower emotions and being present with the people in my life even in the midst of their flurry has given me a richness i've so often passed by in search of what i thought this holiday was supposed to look like.

two blog posts i read yesterday have really helped me unlock some wonderful truths and deep thoughts about this season and i thought maybe you'd enjoy them too.

si johnson turns the stable on it's ear in Asymmetry and Bethlehem. my favorite line is:
For you could just be better off looking in the unstable than the stable, the asymmetrical than the symmetrical. Afterall, a god-baby surrounded by a matrix of power in a shed is asymmetrical.
and blue brings me to tears again with A Gift Worthy of the Season. blue's grasp of grace regularly quiets my soul. here's my favorite line from his post:
The Christmas story is not a story about perfection. The angels did not come to the shepherds with a message of "You'd better get this right." No, they said, "Be not afraid..." The Christmas season is not a time to demand that anyone--ourselves included--become Norman Rockwell perfect.
i think those are all words we need to hear this time of year. peace.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

wide open

I can't tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn't fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way. I'm speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!

2 Corinthians 6:11-13


Tuesday, December 14, 2004


this past month has been a new stage in the lives of our family. pink and buck have grown up into wonderful, polite, helpful kids. they are becoming independent and capable and contributing parts to our home life. not that they didn't ever contribute before, i dont' mean that. but they are now contributing without huge amounts of effort from me.

i doubted years ago in the middle of toddlerville that this day would ever come, but it has and i want to note it. hurray! the high maintenance stage has given way to a lovely interaction of family life that i am enjoying fully.

i can't imagine life without them, they bring so much and i am so thankful. we're even having great times of in depth discussion and lots of belly laughs. buck has quite the quick wit and pink's perspective always brings fresh new things to our family.

i know there will be the high maintenance stages coming again, but this season we have entered is truly a blessing and a joy. a big parental sigh.

Monday, December 13, 2004

this beautiful vision

i grew up with dispensational theology that said 'kingdom' language in the bible was totally reserved for the future millenial kingdom. this world here, oh it was just the waiting room for heaven. just get as many people 'saved' as you can, that's the reason you're left here. ugly theology. it makes sane people suicidal and justifies all kinds of wars and cruelty to fellow mankind.

this theology redeems that broken kind of thinking. this tells me there is a purpose here, today, right now. the kingdom is at hand, prepare the way of the lord. i truly think the world would be a much better place if that dispensational theology (ie. left behind crap) was cleaned out of our churches and lives. god has a great purpose in TODAY, you are part of the kingdom. i am part of the kingdom - live like that today!
Anticipating the Vision

The marvelous vision of the peaceable Kingdom, in which all violence has been overcome and all men, women, and children live in loving unity with nature, calls for its realisation in our day-to-day lives. Instead of being an escapist dream, it challenges us to anticipate what it promises. Every time we forgive our neighbor, every time we make a child smile, every time we show compassion to a suffering person, every time we arrange a bouquet of flowers, offer care to tame or wild animals, prevent pollution, create beauty in our homes and gardens, and work for peace and justice among peoples and nations we are making the vision come true.

We must remind one another constantly of the vision. Whenever it comes alive in us we will find new energy to live it out, right where we are. Instead of making us escape real life, this beautiful vision gets us involved.
from henri nouwen.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

sally the ragdoll

some might notice that i've changed my image. i adored that little girl who used to be there, but i just watched 'the nightmare before christmas' yesterday and connected with sally. it's an amazing post-modern parable, i loved it.

sally is a kindred spirit and i loved that she never gave up, kept speaking up and kept going till the end. i loved her heart and determination. sewing herself back up and seeing reality even when others were unable. she's my new icon for a season.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

great advent perspective

Waiting in expectation.

I have listened to this piece by Nouwen on tape several times. There can be no thoughts on Advent and Incarnation without taking into account the need to wait. Nouwen reminds us that waiting breaks through our fears and brings us to a place of hope:
A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else and therefore want to go elsewhere. The moment is empty. But patient people dare to stay where they are. Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there. Waiting, then, is not passive. It involves nurturing the moment, as a mother nurtures the child that is growing in her. Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Mary were very present to the moment. That is why they could hear the angel. They were alert, attentive to the voice that spoke to them and said, “Don’t be afraid. Something is happening to you. Pay attention.”
via karen</a>.

coming to a theatre near you july 2005

july 2005!

charlie and the chocolate factory trailer

translators for the rest of us...

this is hysterical! thanks to maiken for the head's up!

the dialectizer - you can post your blog in a variety of translations - here's my banner translated into the following dialects:

swedish chef:

imergeeng seedooeys. Um gesh dee bork, bork!..

thees is un ununymuoos blug tu fent, groo, chellenge-a myselff und feend my fueece-a. i em a vumun in a mun's choorch und seyeeng sume-a ooff zee theengs i need tu sey mey hefe-a mure-a cunseqooenses thun i vunt tu deel veet reeght noo, su thees is my elterneteefe-a, un unuymuoos blug. yuoo cun cell me-a bubbeee-a.


emergin' sideways...

this is an anonymous blog t'vent, grow, challenge mahse'f an' find mah voice. i is a woomin in a man's church an' sayin' some of th' thin's i need t'say may haf mo'e cornsequenses than i be hankerin' t'deal wif right now, so this hyar is mah alternative, an anoymous blog, acco'din' t' th' code o' th' heells! yo' kin call me bobbie.

elmer fudd:

emewging sideways. Oh, dat scwewy wabbit! ..

this is an anonymous bwog to vent, gwow, chawwenge mysewf and find my voice. i am a woman in a man's chuwch and saying some of the things i need to say may have mowe conseqwenses than i want to deaw wif wight now, so this is my awtewnative, an anoymous bwog. you can caww me bobbie.


emehgigg sideways...

dis is an anonymous blog t' bent, uh, grow, uh uh uh uh uh uh, challenge myself 'n find my boice. i am a woman in a man's church 'n sayigg some of the, duh uhh, thiggs i neid to say may habe more consekenses dan i want t' deal wid rite now, uh uh uh uh uh uh, so dis is my altehnatibe, uh uh uh, an anoymous blog. you can call me bobbie.

and my favorite - cockney:

emergin' sideways...

this is an anonymous blog ter vent, right, grow, right, challenge meself and find me voice. i am a lass in a man's church and sayin' some of the bloody buggers i need ter say may 'ave more consequenses than i want ter deal wiv right now, right, so this is me alternative, an anoymous blog. yer can call me bobbie.

funny christmas!

click here.

via fast company.


Maine Coon
You are a Maine Coon! You are larger than life, a
gentle giant. You are independent, but very
affectionate with your friends and family.

What breed of cat are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
thanks mumcat!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

the gift of choice

i received a surprise yesterday. a present. smack dab in the middle of hunting season liam chose to take a day off of work, not to hunt, but to spend it with me. i know to many that won't seem like any great shakes, but to me it was the best present i have ever received.

you see, my love language is time, but my dialect in that language is time freely given, with no strings and not asked for - that's when it's truly special. if i have to ask, or if there is hesitation in the choice, somehow that just negates the eventual choice. yes, i know, it's selfish, to request or require that love be spoken under such stringent requirements, but know it's never demanded, it's rarely even identified.

i receive love in other ways too, but this, this is what touches that part of my soul that hides like that young girl, under the bed crying and so wanting to be reassured. this is the love that was spoken to my soul yesterday. it was so rich, so right, so deep and so needed. i didn't even realize how needed it truly was.

you picked me. just for me. not for what i can do for you, not to win anything or score any points. you picked me. when i realized this we were standing in the hallway. you held me as i wept. it so completely filled that insecure place in my heart that was convinced that no one would ever understand this or choose me. i was heard. i was validated. i was accepted, for everything i am, and nothing i have to be.

it was spiritual. i never really understood how very much god loved me this way too. not for what i can do for him, or make myself into. just for me, in that deep spot of my soul no one ever sees. liam saw that spot and surprised me with the choice of time. without asking, without expecting anything in return. just to be with me.

i just needed to remember this. to mark it down so that when the fears come, as i know they will, i can chase them away with this memory. i am loved. i am chosen. freely given, freely received. thank you liam. i love you too.

sunrise wonder

donate your air miles to our soldiers

willzhead has given a head's up to a great ministry called heromiles. you can use your unclaimed airmiles to help soldiers and loved ones travel. i don't fly/shop enough to have any airmiles but i can help by increasing awareness. donate here.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Monday, December 06, 2004

trigger happy?

finally having some silent time this past week has allowed my brain to percolate through a lot of different areas, i'm kind of on blog fodder overload and choosing where to start to process any of this online becomes difficult because it's all really linked together (in my brain) but may not make sense when i finally put it on paper, so to speak.

one of the most successful stepping stones i've found in my recovery is identifying my triggers, what is the bell that rings that causes pavolov's dog to salivate?? compulsive behavior is not as unattached (at least originally in my thinking) to surroundings as many may think. i know for myself loneliness and shame are two huge triggers for me and i really have to change loneliness to solitude to keep myself on track.

figuring out my codependency triggers has not been as easy for me. i finally clued into one yesterday. liam is a self-admitted workaholic and one of the less known id's of that addiction is retreat mode. at times the workaholic gets sick of the rat race and withdraws, sometimes to lick wounds, sometimes to punish others, sometimes because of burnout or exhaustion. the push from august to thanksgiving left liam pretty drained, it was intense. i only realized yesterday that he is in 'withdraw' mode. unidentified this causes alarm bells to ring in my codependent state. this time i was able to identify them and talk with liam about it. he agreed that he was in shutdown mode and understanding that helped him through this process too.

it was a missing piece to the puzzle that both of us really needed. so, no, i'm not happy that i get triggered into codependent craziness, but i am happy that we were able to identify it and resist the temptation to do anything other than observe it for what it was, evidence that the crazy pace is draining us dry. december is really a gift in the youth ministry calendar. a couple of banquets and no real duties in the christmas holiday, it's a good slow down time, now we just need to know how to enjoy it!

Saturday, December 04, 2004

seek justice

one of the missing pieces in my recovery from abuse has been seeking justice on behalf of those who cannot find it on their own. international justice mission is one of the foremost ministries doing global work to free the captive, bind up the wounded and seek justice for the downtrodden.

liam and i have donated a small amount monthly and i have committed to pray weekly for the ministry. they have 3,750 prayer partners currently and are seeking to raise that level to 4,000. for me personally being allowed to involve myself in the lives of bonded laborers and young girls finding freedom from sexual abuse has been one of the most empowering aspects of committing to pray.

it is step 12 in it's finest form for me.

if this is something you would be interested in you can sign up for their weekly prayer email here. i also have permission to forward a copy of their prayer email if you'd like to it, just email me and i'll get that off to you. (there is also a canadian branch for my friends up north - just click on this).

Friday, December 03, 2004

permission slip

bobbie (insert real name here ) has my permission to be herself. she doesn't have to play, pretend, create or construct what she thinks she should be or others think she should be anymore. she can make her own choices, declare her own needs and set her own goals. she is a participant in a family and a community, but not responsible for the life or growth of either of them. she is responsible for her own and to be who i created her to be.

signed god.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

your voice matters

Did you know...

* Americans can help stop 2.3 million Africans dying of AIDS each year.

* Americans can help put 104 million children in school around the world.

ONE is a new effort to rally Americans -- ONE by ONE -- to fight global AIDS and extreme poverty. The ONE Campaign is engaging Americans everywhere we gather -- in churches and synagogues, on the internet and college campuses, at community meetings and concerts.

ONE will be promoted with the help of a diverse coalition of faith-based and antipoverty groups, celebrity spokespeople as well as corporate partnerships and local ONE Campaign organizers.

Please read on and learn more about the ONE campaign, then sign your name to the petition and add your voice to those calling for an end to global AIDS and poverty.

Your voice DOES make a difference.

sign the petition here.

maybe next year

click on image to enlarge

this is brilliant. i wish i would have had time to prepare our family for it this year. we're too far along to begin it now, but i think this is a concept that needs to catch on.

we're simplifying in our family, this may be drastic with young kids, we've got 12 months to decide as a family for next year, but it seems like a much better idea. it's not anti santa or super spiritual, it's just not buying into the materialism and commercialism that has run rampant in our world.

we've run a simple, credit-free christmas for the past couple of years and that is really a step toward simplifying life. i just know we're still so caught up in the craziness of it and it is stealing the joy. hmmmm... lots to ponder.

click on image to enlarge

the furnace of transformation

oh this is exactly where i am at today:
On The Journey Towards Solitude
written by Sue Mosteller

After his baptism and led by the Spirit, Jesus entered the desert of solitude to hear an invitation to transformation. The devil said, "Do something relevant by changing stones to bread; be spectacular by jumping from the temple before the crowd; and claim all worldly power by worshipping me." Jesus is alone to decide. He knows and we know that it's much more painful to be hungry than to be satisfied, much more 'ordinary' to be hidden than spectacular, and much more incomprehensible to be powerless when power is offered. But he also knows, as do we, that hunger, ordinariness, and hiddenness, ground us in the truth of our lives.

In "The Way of the Heart," Henri Nouwen says that solitude is the furnace of transformation. As the intense heat of the foundry furnace melts, purifies, and transforms hard ores into precious metals, so the furnace of solitude melts deceptions, confronts us with death, and invites our surrender to the presence and love of the One who dwells within and loves us with an everlasting love. This intense human struggle and surrender to our deepest heart and integrity is long and of great proportions -beyond our best abilities.

Let us reflect for a moment quietly on the burning issues of our lives today in the light of our certain death in the near or distant future. And let us connect for a moment to that wonderful and privileged place in each of our hearts where the One Who knows us intimately and with everlasting love speaks. "I love you. Your name is written on the palm of my hand. Do you love me? Act from your unique love and compassion and feed my lambs."
sign up for the daily or weekly reflection here.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

confusing grace

liam said something last night at our small group that made me groan inwardly. we were all processing our family thanksgivings and he was talking about having my brother-in-law here, who is quite legalistic and judgemental. quite a reminder of how we used to be. (back in egypt) liam said, 'well i guess grace is about allowing other's to live in their legalism without judging them.'


i want to judge them. i hate the pharisee. i burns me up like nothing else. grace means i have to let the pharisee be a pharisee?? crap. he's right. their path and journey is different from mine. i need to live here in the light and freedom, stand fast in the liberty, and breathe. hopefully that looks attractive enough for them to break free from the slavery they have chosen someday.

father, forgive me for judging them, and all the pharisees in my life so harshly. please allow me to extend grace to them where they are instead of requiring them to be where i am before i will show them the grace that you have shown me. amen.