Friday, March 25, 2005

Crash

Liam here,

Home computer crashed. Incommunicado - she misses you all. Have the forces of good working on it. Pray that no files are effected as we fix the problem.

May your Easter be most happy.

Liam

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

in the garden - take two


join our blogging garden

last july i blogged on a metaphor that really helped me understand some things about myself, and as i posted i invited other women to ponder and blog about their own flower metaphor. we're still pretty grey and brown here in the north-east, so a little pre-bloom beauty in our world wouldn't be a bad thing.

it was a wonderful exercise and it gave us the opportunity to know each other and bond in a unique way. we created quite the blogging garden.

i was talking with my new friend susie yesterday and she used the wildflower metaphor (kindred spirits) and i mentioned our blogging garden, i realized that there are many of you who are newer to our circle here - and i would love for you to have the opportunity to add your flower to our bouquet!

i've searched the links to find those who have participated already. i'd encourage you to read their posts (links are to my posts, but within there are links to each individual blog).

so i would encourage each of you to take some time to really think about this. i know it sounds like a simple, silly women's retreat kind of thing. i thought so too, but once i participated i realized that this metaphor really unlocked a lot of things about me, and honored places in my soul that i had never realized before. so come on in, the air is full of fragrance, you are safe here in our garden, we'd love to have you. post your contribution and email me so that i can link to it and others will be able to appreciate your beauty. (also, if you read and don't blog, but still want to join you can email me your contribution and i will gladly post it on my blog).

here are the links:

deb at abiding
lilly at lilly's pad
jae at sparks
neritia at coming down the mountain
anj at living at both ends
brenda at beulah 1225
jan at shalom
idelette at idelette
candy at a little insight into my world
lisa at get yer goat
chris(tine) at tattered thoughts
maggi dawn at maggi dawn (my apologies for mis-spelling your name in the original post maggi!)

see what a beautiful garden we are? if i have forgetten anyone please email me - i will remedy this as soon as possible. i searched through my archieves, but it's possible i've left you out - i'm so sorry if i did. i'm re-writing my metaphor and will be posting it soon.

you know you want to be part of it now don't you?? ponder, post and email me - i would love to add you to our garden!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

illegitimate

as i sat in the silence this morning i forced myself to stay, it was uncomfortable. i've been avoiding silence lately. it's affecting me. it's a clue to me that i'm avoiding something larger than silence.

i've been pondering a quote from anj for the past 12 hours - "if we are using our gifts to legitimize our existence, then we are using our gifts illegitmately". i know that quote was written for me. i know this is a truth that i need to face. it is a key to unlock a lie that i believe to be true in my life.

i’ve been carrying around this trunk called illegitimate for a very long time. i don't mean my parents weren't married when i was born, not that kind of legitimacy. i don't know if i’ll be able to explain it because i am using this as a tool to help me understand myself. i just know that this trunk is locked with lies. that quote from anj is the key to unpacking what's inside.

i have felt most of my life like i was illegitimate progeny in the kingdom of god. like i was spawned instead of born, snuck in instead of adopted. different some how. maybe everyone feels this way, it doesn't seem like it though. i have felt all my life like i’ve had something to prove. like i had to validate my own existence in the kingdom.

i don't know if i can explain this deep need, actually my deepest need, but i have never wanted anything more than to minister. some girls want to grow up to be models, or doctors, cowgirls or lawyers. other than an architect i truly wanted nothing else than to serve in god's kingdom. this would have been much easier if i had the confidence to have gone overseas, or a musical talent that would be warmly embraced, even in the choking structure that was my heritage. i wasn't one of those who had a burning passion for the lost in a distant land and my gifts lie dead center in male dominated territory.

in my heart of hearts i truly think i just wanted god's approval. i worked within every structure i was given. growing up that structure was so small, but i truly didn't care. i knew i was called, and was positive since i couldn't do it alone that meant i was called to marry a 'full-time worker' (brethren didn't have pastors back then), or a camp director. that really was the full extent of my scope because of the rules inflicted upon me, and i was really okay with that. no one ever told me i could reach higher and still be within 'god's will'.

somewhere along the way i must have been taught that my legitimacy would be found in using my gifts for god. i can't remember that defining moment, so i have to go on the assumption that it was a continual, constant teaching, because i truly believed (believe) that to be true.

one of the most frustrating parts of having to read and ready myself for the '40 days' has been rick warren's constant 'give god a blank piece of paper with your name on it' and he'll give you a ministry guarantee. well i’m here to say that is a lie. i have done nothing else for my whole life. and so because that has never happened for me i sit here feeling like a cast off. like i’m unfit or unworthy.

please don't think this a pity party, honest. i am trying to mine these lies out of my soul. i am in bondage to them and want the truth to set me free. my whole life has been one big cry for validation and legitimacy. gosh that's pathetic. pathetic and sad. that is why when wes sent me that email it went to the starving places in my soul so deeply. i truly wish i could be a person who doesn't care. who says 'oh, not here? okay, i’ll find my own place then, thank you...' what fatal flaw lies within that this bastard daughter that so craves her father's attention.

i put it in terms of tangible family life so that i can understand more fully how the dynamics work. i almost titled this 'bastard princess' but i figured it was a little off-putting... i know this goes to the root of both my family of origin and my church of origin - neither was honoring to the feminine. not honoring? who am i kidding? they were violating to my feminine soul. others seem to shake it off so well though, i don't know why i just can't seem to move on, find a career, go back to college, refocus these passions, or find new ones?

this past week i realized a character defect that i have never even considered before now. it ties closely into this other realization. i will be focusing on it for my next 12 steps. jealousy. i never owned it before. i never even realized it. but once i did i was able to see how green everything had become. i was really jealous and angry at god and others who had found their ministries or their validation outside of those. i know that co-dependency is rooted in this truth of anj's. too many pastors/missionaries/workers serve to legitimize their lives. i am not alone in this. but feel i am alone in not having even that broken ministry to validate my illegitimacy. i know that doesn't make sense to anyone but me, but it's helping me to understand the true depth of the ugly nature of this beast.

jealous, jealous, jealous. as i typed that i realized that it's actually deeper than that - i am coveting other's ministries. not only do i want what they have, but in my brokenness i don't even want them to have what they have. i find a myriad of reasons why they are unqualified, or unfit, or broken. invalidating them somehow makes me feel less illegitimate. oh that's an ugly thing to realize about oneself. i know it's at the root of my critical nature.

live and left live. not me... what a concept. that i don't have to drag others down, cut them down or wound them to make myself feel less alone and illegitimate.

misery loves company. yuck. i know i have just gotten to the first layer of those things in the trunk. but the lock is open, the lid is up and light and air is circulating here for the first time. this isn't going to be an easy thing to unpack, but i know there is a bottom, and i know that i can get there, and maybe along the way i’ll find what it is that i am so looking for.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

preach it sister friend!

notes from a truth-seeker � Womb of Life = Relatives = We

superchic[k] - beauty from pain

yee haw! i've got it in my hot little hands!!! it doesn't release until the 29th, but they gave it early to interlinc subscribers.

this cd was supposed to be released last november, and i promised it to pink for christmas, and it's finally here! i know i rant and rave about how much i LOVE this band, and if you don't get it i'm sorry, but i'm going to keep ranting - i wanted a soundtrack for my life that validated me without it all being about relationships, boys and 'luv' - and i want to give this to pink.

the cover of this has tricia's megaphone, it's cracked and bruised, duct taped and covered in stickers - to me that megaphone is a metaphor of this woman's voice - and she's been using it - empowering a generation of young women in a way that was never available to me.

you'll be so sick of all of the lyrics i forsee myself posting about, but i'm starting with the lead song 'anthem' - read all the way to the end - the last lines are the best!

for pink:

here's to the one's who don't give up
here's to the one's who don't give up
here's to the one's who don't give up
this is your anthem
get your hands up

we are fire inside
we are lipstick and cleats
we are not going home and we're playing for keeps

we are girls with skinned knees
we are concrete and grace
we are not what you think
can't keep us in our place

here's to the girls on their boards with bruises and scars
here's to the girls whose fingers bleed from playing guitar
here's to anyone who never quit when things got hard

you'll never let them say you'll never get that far
never get that far
never get that

we are fire inside
we are an army asleep
we are a people awakening to follow their dreams

we don't have time for your games
we have our own goals to score
we have trophies to win
instead of being one of yours

Thursday, March 17, 2005

feature book: the seeker's way

one of the new, fascinating (and suprising) benefits of blogging is that i have somehow been added to a list of bloggers who love books. i have been getting quite a few lately from publishers or pr firms and as a hopeful author i can imagine that getting your book into the hands of people who would most appreciate it might be more difficult, than we all who have never published, might imagine.

i have been trying to think of a way to honor these authors without writing reviews. for the most part, i'm not a critical person, especially when it's something so personal as words and writing. so to critique the books is not my style. i would like my blog to be helpful to emerging authors, so at least once a month i've decided to begin a 'feature book' section. i will tell you upfront if this was a book provided for free, or if this is one that i am just so passionate about i actually parted with some $$ for. the book i'm starting with is:

The Seeker's Way by Dave Fleming.

i have asked dave some questions about the process and the book and hopefully it will inspire you to follow that link to amazon and buy the book yourself.

what influences shaped the writing of this book?

My own spiritual background influenced the book. Of course, one's own
background can be an ally or an enemy in the writing process. I had a
great editor who, I believe, helped me keep my background an asset.

I grew up in the evangelical milieu and found myself, for many years,
longing to find a more expansive faith than what is often found in
evangelicalism. One of my frustrations with evangelicals is the emphasis
on "never to be questioned answers." Answers have become the foundation
of spirituality rather than experience of God (the Mystery). I wanted to
write a book that challenged this notion, without doing it in an
antagonistic fashion. I didn't want to dishonor anyone in the book, but
rather show parts of my own struggle that led me to a different view of
faith and life.

I don't believe the spiritual life is simply about finding the right
answers and then being satisfied that those answers ARE the sum total of
the spiritual life. The book, therefore, is an exploration of a
spiritual journey that is grounded in the cultivation of
longings-longings that open us to God and take us beyond our own
answers, without negating the need for core beliefs.

The people I interviewed in the book also influenced the book in a big way.

you weave the stories of seven seekers into the content of the book.
talk a little about why you decided to add these seekers to the book and
who they are.

I chose people who have influenced me and whose writings seem to me to
embody some element of the seeker's way. I did not choose them because I
agree with everything they postulate in their writings. Rather, because
there is something in the quality of their writing that showed me they
were authentic seekers. I spent time with each person and in that
face-to-face time my suspicions were confirmed. I found each person an
authentic seeker of God. The people I interviewed:

Wayne Teasedale
Alan Jones
Marcus Borg
Phil Gulley/Jim Mulholland
Lauren Winner
Joan Chittister

okay, now i'm jealous! what would you say is the dominant theme of the book? talk about the interviews. that did you learn? how did you conduct them?

The dominant theme of the book is that life is not a static event, but
an ever-unfolding and dynamic journey that invites us to seek God and
pursue a vibrant existence. Each longing helps us do just that. Each
interview only confirmed that reality to me. As I met with each person,
in his or her own way, they all expressed a similar idea. I enjoyed the
interview process itself. I used a form of interview-based research for
my doctoral dissertation. It was fun to use some of those ideas in my
interviews for this book, notably to watch patterns emerge and learn
what those emerging patterns might teach me. Writing the book was itself
a microcosm of the seeker's way.

in the book, you call god 'the mystery'. what do you mean by this and why do use that word for god?

I am indebted to the great Adrian van Kaam for this designation. The
Mystery is a term he used to describe God. I can't think of a better
word to use. God is so beyond our conceptions. When I use the word
Mystery I am recognizing that reality. I don't mean by the word that we
cannot experience God.

The Mystery can be known. Mystery does not mean confusing or confining,
but rather One who is beyond us and yet simultaneously immanent.

you talk about starting seekers groups. can you explain what a seekers group is and how one could start a group with other seekers?

I encourage people to form seekers groups in order to explore their
spirituality. A seekers group find its common ground around the dynamic
of seeking the Mystery. They may or may not share the same theology.
They do, however, share the same desire to know God in the present
moment of life.

I was in the same seeker group for 10 years and it radically changed my
life. I pursued a spiritual life with others who were reading and
thinking along the same lines as I. Again, we didn't always agree, but
we always supported each other's journey. I think this kind of community
is critical to living an authentic life. We really do need the support
of others who can walk with us, challenge and comfort us; and we can do
the same in return.

In the book I give a number of ways a seeker group can form. Many form
around the reading of books-almost a book club with an eye toward the
spiritual life, if you will. There are other ways a group could get the
conversation going. I offer several suggestions in the book.

thanks dave! i really love the term 'mystery' - that is one of the best names for god that i have heard, and may adopt it myself. if you are interested in starting a seeker's group or would like more information you can find dave's website here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

the power to bless

i don't know if it's because of the abuse, any neglect or my church of origin that i have this distorted need for male approval, but in this area of my life i would be classified as 'high needs'. whether it was coaches, teachers, professors, bosses or my father i learned to recreate myself into whatever was needed by those men to meet their needs or gain their attention so that there may be a chance of some approval or validation.

unfortunately i became really good at the recreating part, but not very good at the realizing the pay off was never really worth the work.

i have been more involved lately at our church with the '40 days' stuff coming up and it has brought me into a lot more contact with the staff and leadership and has also emboiled me into the politics. i, like parker palmer writes, am drained by institutions, they make me angry and stressed. palmer speaks of his love for the educatational system, but his complete frustration every time it sucked him in. this is my love/hate relationship with the church. when i'm not involved or sucked into the church i can resist the politics, but as soon as i step in, my boundaries are so weak that i become a stressed-out zealot and emotionally tied into even the simplest of controversy. so in my time of non-involvement (except with the youth program) i forgot to be working on strengthing my boundaries so that i didn't get so suprised at how quickly these politics drain my batteries.

after our meeting at the church last night i came home feeling sucked in, i was marginalized and a couple of times used as the brunt of jokes. i guess i must seem like i have thicker skin than i actually do.

i spent the morning venting to liam, and then to my girlfriend who is an elder's wife and loves me dearly. it was very freeing and helpful. but it also raked up the inability our church has to honor effort and encourage and bless involvement, no matter how small.

this, tied into my overactive need for male approval and made me grieve once again how those who have the power to bless, when they choose not to, leave such a lack and a void in the lives of those they could have almost effortlessly helped. needless to say there were many tears in those coversations this morning and i left them feeling very empty and very fragile.

as i opened my email today someone i respect and appreciate, who i look up to and have grown to love, took the time to email me the most moving, heart-felt letter. i wish i could explain the lifeline that was to me. it felt like a blood transfusion, or the oasis in a dry and desert land. he saw my heart, heard me and spoke love and truth into those starving places of my soul. oh what a gift he has and he passed on to me.

i literally wept, called liam to read over my shoulder, because some of it was addressed to him too, and then i printed it out and took it to my room to re-read and hold to my chest like a warm hug. it is now stored safely in my journal so i can re-read it when i need a lift.

wes said things to me i have always longed for my father to say. spoke of things i hoped my senior pastor might notice. and inspired me to keep going and not give up. the power to bless. it is mighty and it is so needed.

i would be so bold to say that when we have that power, and are stingy with it, it is sinful. how simple it is to notice, to step across our comfort zones and to speak truth and love into someone's thirsty soul. very simple, but not easy.

wes, you are so kind, you honor me with your friendship and leadership, you and judy are true gems in the kingdom. thank you for taking the time to bless me. you don't know how badly i needed those words, at that exact moment. i am very, very grateful. may god bless you as much as you have blessed me!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

frailty

i don't do 'frail' well. i can own my weaknesses and moral failings, but the idea of being thought weak and frail rubs against everything within me. yet i do know that in many ways i am frail. i have stress points in the frame of my soul that when pressed cause me to crumble.

i am not a medically trained person, but i did hear somewhere that when a bone breaks the healing process makes the area of the break stronger. i think that happens too in the healing of the soul. there are areas of my soul that have been wounded. they are healing and strength returns with each step. but if these areas are used by other people or myself to recall shame or wound me, i crumble.

the best thing about being addicted to redemption is that those weaknesses, as i turn them over, are healed and redeemed, and then used to glorify THEM in wonderful and surprising ways.

something incredible is happening here at our church. it started with liam's sermon a couple of weeks ago. he owned his weaknesses in front of the congregation and they responded, oh how they responded. we are still hearing amazing things about how that touched lives.

the most frustrating thing about serving here has been the 'perfection image' that the senior pastor and some of the leadership felt they had to project. it runs counter to everything i believe and hold true. i felt as if i was diametrically different to everything they held up as 'fit for service'. it has been incredibly frustrating and disheartening to keep going and to hold fast to the things i know to be true. all the while being held away from the ability to use my weaknesses and strengths in active ministry outside of the youth program.

it got to the place where real resentment, anger and loathing were building to the point of causing bitterness. i knew that the only way to stop this was to begin to pray for them. to come before god and pray. the problem was that i was unable to honestly pray for anything life giving because of this bitterness.

so the only honest prayer i could pray was 'crack the door lord, i don't know any other way to pray, just please crack the door.'

i told liam this morning that it was really a pretty faithless prayer - it was almost a challenge to god - "they'll never be real, but somehow, some way help them to find that they don't have to project perfection to minister".

sunday was the first signs of the crack in the door. i think the pastor came home from his mission trip and was flooded with responses to liam's and the other staff's sermons - they were grace filled and honest. i think he saw the tide shifting and realized that it was moving without him. it's baby steps, but that's what a crack is isn't it? that's where it has to start. that's where the LIGHT gets in. i'm still skeptical, but very encouraged.

my new prayer is 'open the door lord, heck, take it off it's hinges...' that's a prayer i'm praying in my life too.

last night at recovery i heard from my friend who was giving the lead that the senior pastor snuck in and was standing at the back corner of the room. there is nothing else in the world that i want more than for all of us to be on the same page, not my page, but god's page. nothing more. it has been my heart's desire since we arrived. my constant hope and prayer. i constantly was questioning 'why are we here god? why am i here?'

tears are falling as i write this because i know now that god did hear that faithless prayer, and it's THEIR heart for the leadership and our church to own their frailty so THEY can be glorified.

liam read this quote this morning:



Snowflakes are frail, but when they stick together they can stop traffic.

Vance Havner


i look at the momentum of an avalanche, or the incredible power of a blizzard - our frailties individually are easily used to melt away at us. but together we can affect great change.

dear god, would that it could be so today.

Monday, March 14, 2005

hey jeremy - check this out! Josh Rubin: Cool Hunting: Lomography Fisheye

Josh Rubin: Cool Hunting: Lomography Fisheye

hormones

i have a girlfriend who always said that teeth were the only mistake god ever made. i personally will have a few questions for him about hormones.

with this thyroid stuff going on mine are so out of whack. i am not sleeping at all. 3:44 rolls around every morning and blink... i awaken. i try for all i'm worth to remember that fading dream, find a way to reunite myself with that state of restful oblivion that i was experiencing only moments ago. breathe... crap... it's not working, mind is engaging... no mind, stop engaging... sleep... rest... breathe...

crap.

mind engaged. okay, i'll lay here and pray. okay, now i'll lay here and ponder. okay, now i've got to pee. if i pee i'll never get back to sleep. if i don't pee i'll never get back to sleep... sigh. roll on side, less pressure on bladder, maybe that will help... sigh.

crap.

doesn't help. look at clock. 4:30... oh i might as well just get up.

that has been my struggle for the past months. i have tried everything (no anj, i haven't given up coffee yet, but i have cut back...) naps, no naps, going to bed at 8:30 when i can't even keep my eyes open, or fighting to stay up until midnight just with the hopes of sleeping until 5:00. 5:00 - isn't that insane? it's become my magic number. remember when it was 11:00? if i can just sleep past 11:00 - oh, then i'll really have slept. 5:00. crap.

in doing research for thryoid disease i saw that one of the symptoms of low thyroid is insomnia. i've never said that word out loud or typed it before. in-som-ni-a. it always seems to me to be a self fulfilling prophesy. if you don't say it, you don't have it. if you say it, it will never go away. insomnia. crap.

i know nothing else to do but embrace it. if we had a meandering estate this wouldn't be a problem, i could clean, i could do something productive, i have all of this energy - but we are so squished in here that even flushing the toilet wakes everyone up. i tiptoe trying to protect the slumber of those i love so much.

so i read blogs, catch up on the bbc news website (i still haven't watched the news since the election - it's been so nice not to care about the dynamics of the talking heads anymore) to make sure the world is still intact, and if anything catches my eye i'll stay and read awhile. did you know that alpaca farmers in peru are loosing their prized breading alpacas to aplaca rustlers over the border? i do now. i even watched the little clip of the woman in the andes reporting as they placed lojacks in the ears of those fuzzy, upset alpacas. crap. i wish i was sleeping.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

only followers need apply

What Christ Asks

Soren Kierkegaard

If you have any knowledge at all of human nature, you know that those who only admire the truth will, when danger appears, become traitors. The admirer is infatuated with the false security of greatness; but if there is any inconvenience or trouble, he pulls back. Admiring the truth, instead of following it, is just as dubious a fire as the fire of erotic love, which at the turn of the hand can be changed into exactly the opposite, to hate, jealousy, and revenge. Christ, however, never asked for admirers, worshippers, or adherents. He consistently spoke of "followers" and "disciples."

interested? keep reading here.

sign up for your own daily dig here.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

ask for what you need - part 2, or is it 3??

well, i did it. i humbled myself and wrote a couple of letters to the holistic endocrinologists in my area who don't take my health insurance. they both come highly recommended and actually hear and care for their patients in a way that i want to be cared for. so i wrote them each a letter and asked, near begged to see if they'd be willing to see me without putting our family in the poor house.

we'll see what happens. all i know is that i needed to ask, and so i did. gosh that was harder than i thought it would be. whew, i'm glad they are sealed and stamped and waiting to be picked up by the postal worker in my snow covered mail box.

it's unbelievable here today. fluffy white snow everywhere, and there is no end in sight. liam headed to the city today to attend the YS CORE workshop with his team. marko was going to be there, and that almost got me there, but the thought of having to have my house clean for the babysitter was more than i wanted to have to deal with yesterday! :p

so today, i am reclaiming the piles of paper, the unwashed floors and the laundry that my ADD just can't seem to remember to keep going on... i'm ready to post a big sign at the top of my basement stairs that says "hey forgetful one - you have laudnry to fold!"

maybe mental hope is in sight. if you think of me please pray that one of those doctors would be moved by my plight and treat me affordably. have a wonderful day!

Waving or Drowning?: Stan Grenz Update

Waving or Drowning?: Stan Grenz Update

please pray for a miracle and his family today.

update 10:15am (est): stan grenz passed away this morning. so unexpected and so, so sad. please pray for his family and those who knew and loved him.

via jen

Friday, March 11, 2005

spend 45 minutes with bono - TED Video

TED Video

this is one of the most motivating, innovative, exciting things i've seen in ages.

while you're there don't forget to sign up for the one campaign!

via mike

benbell: Easter card


jesus on trial

despised? rejected? betrayed? let down? traumatised? friendless? innocent? son of god?

benbell: Easter card

remember his amazing christmas card? this easter one is tops too. just brilliant!

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Rape ruling in Pakistan suspended

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Rape ruling in Pakistan suspended

i'd like to think some how our prayers had something to do with this uncommon intervention. *tears*

sempre con amore amica mia

i want to honor one of my dearest friends. her story is similar to mine in many ways and yet so very different. her subtle passions are unleashed in ways i only dream of. she is the most understated sensual woman i have ever met. she is hospitality incarnate. her guests are sheltered in her care in ways unknown to even them, but it is the joy of meeting the unspoken need that stirs her. i have never met another of her calibre or capabilities.

she lives tucked away in a remote land reachable only by ferry serving god and all who come in contact with her, in a wonderful ministry when she could be running her own inn in some expensive travel destination.

even her words are welcoming and warm. i adore my friend stephanie, and you can too here.

sempre con amore amica mia!

"It was her thinking of others that made you think of her"
Elizabeth B Browning

are our cosmetics safe?

AlterNet: EnviroHealth: Chemical Soup and Federal Loopholes

if this doesn't pass the responsible companies should start to mark their products "Phthalate-Free". gosh i hate lobbies.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

okay, i'm asking...

from today's nouwen meditation:

We have to keep asking God to help us see clearly what our call is and to give us the strength to live out that call with trust.

i ask today for clear understanding of my call and strength to live it out god.

howdy partner

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why don't senior pastors know this??

today's daily dig:

We are called to be fruitful - not successful, not productive, not accomplished. Success comes from strength, stress, and human effort. Fruitfulness comes from vulnerability and the admission of our own weakness.

Henri Nouwen

okay, i know some sr. pastors do, but it seems like so many are far more concerned with being productive, accomplished and successful... sad.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

cool day

do you ever have one of those days where things just go "click"? today feels like one of those days.

we've been aching over finances here at home and have really been praying/talking about pulling our kids out of christian school and doing the 'cyber school' thing. there are so many facets other than just finances that are contributing to this decision, but it's not an easy one. we truly wish we had a good alternative for public school, but we just don't. so this is the next best option. we have not been impressed with a lot of the "christian" influence at the school, we see a lot of legalism and ugly christianity that i would like to keep pink and buck away from. unteaching science error is a lot easier to spot and correct than unteaching spiritual error.

too many times i see the fruit of those errors in a student's life and help them trace it back to crap they learned years before from an ignorant sunday school teachers or a flippant comment an older christian said. it's always damaging to their understanding of god and builds a walls in the path of their faith walk. i think it is the great myth of 'christian education' - sometimes i think less is more when the more is graceless christianity.

so today, i've had some good results tracking down a school that will allow us to enroll this late in the game, and i know that we can make up time by being intentional and engaged, so pink and buck will be well prepared for the fall. it will also allow us to bring some other things into our lives that we have had to say no to up to this point, like art school, voice lessons and ymca memberships, etc. and i envision nurturing the love of the public library and reading in them as i see the school really lagging behind in.

the other cool thing that happened today is a friend called and asked if i would lead a spiritual retreat for her and her friends in early may. this is a true gift. there is nothing i would rather do, and i will be able to do it away from the control of our church and fully incorporate all of the things that i have been holding back within myself for so long. it truly is an open door that is pouring fresh air into my life today.

and i just checked my email and i had a reply from blood:water mission in response to my request to volunteer to help with their upcoming jars of clay concert in our area. to be doing something practical to really help touches a spot in me that gives me great joy.

so, let the 'clicking' continue - it feels really good to be restoring order and planning to be a part of the kingdom in practical, useful ways.

what theologian are you?



"God will not suffer man to have the knowledge of things to come; for if he had prescience
of his prosperity he would be careless; and understanding of his adversity he would be senseless."

You are Augustine!

You love to study tough issues and don't mind it if you lose sleep over them.
Everyone loves you and wants to talk to you and hear your views, you even get things like "nice debating
with you." Yep, you are super smart, even if you are still trying to figure it all out. You're also
very honest, something people admire, even when you do stupid things.

What theologian are you?

A creation of Henderson


thanks m2!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

weblog :: jordoncooper.com: An interview with Sally Morgenthaller

weblog :: jordoncooper.com: An interview with Sally Morgenthaller

Truly, our deprioritization of our own offspring is one of the great tragedies of late twentieth century America. The effects are staggering, and I'm not just talking about broken homes. It goes much deeper than that. The cessation of intergenerational narrative is at the core. The exchange of story has been one of the most important roles of family life. But getting involved in that exchange means sacrificing time, listening, and value that our children are actually worth the effort.

The Corner: I think women are superior to men

The Corner: I think women are superior to men

thank you bob!

happy International Women's Day all!

let's get jesus back



really good essay by bill moyers - highly recommend taking the time to read it!

Over the past few years, as the poor got poorer, the health care crisis worsened, wealth and media became more and more concentrated, and our political system was bought out from under us, prophetic faith lost its voice. The religious right drowned everyone else out.

And they hijacked Jesus. The very Jesus who stood in Nazareth and proclaimed, “The Lord has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor.” The very Jesus who told 5000 hungry people that all of you will be fed, not just some of you. The very Jesus who challenged the religious orthodoxy of the day by feeding the hungry on the Sabbath, who offered kindness to the prostitute and hospitality to the outcast, who said the kingdom of heaven belongs to little children, raised the status of women, and treated even the tax collector like a child of God. The very Jesus who drove the money changers from the temple. This Jesus has been hijacked and turned from a champion of the disposed into a guardian of the privileged. Hijacked, he was made over into a militarist, hedonist, and lobbyist…sent prowling the halls of Congress in Guccis, seeking tax breaks and loopholes for the powerful, costly new weapon systems that don’t work, and punitive public policies.

Let’s get Jesus back.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Hartford Courant - Health Insurance At Big Companies Often Left To State

Connecticut Business - State, National, World News from The Hartford Courant - BUSINESS

Some legislators were outraged that the state is helping to provide health insurance for profitable companies, particularly Wal-Mart.

"Here is the richest retail company in the world, and we, the taxpayers, are subsidizing their coverage," said House Majority Leader Christopher Donovan, a Meriden Democrat. "I think people aren't aware of the extent that we're subsidizing the biggest, richest, most powerful companies. Wal-Mart shoppers need to know there's an extra cost of doing business."

kindred souls and good biology

i have met a kindred soul. her name is susie, i have been catching up on her blog posts (luckily she has only been posting for 2 months - but she has 2 blogs and it's all good!) this post called bridesmades, midwives, mothers touched off so many thoughts that as i started to leave comment on her blog it turned into a blog post of it's own.

she writes:
i found the most beautiful blog today and for a moment i was jealous...this ugly part of me that read another's words and wished that i had written them...nuances and artistry with words that i can only stab at...i was so conflicted in this moment of utter delight and awe at another's gift, and my own ugly jealousy...it caused me to pause...to reflect for a bit on how hard it is to really champion another if i am insecure in who i am and what i have to offer.

her jealousy was touched off by kristin's blog unveilings. i know i have felt this so many times reading other's writings and her willingness to admit it outright was so refreshing. she goes on to say:
we as women have such an opportunity to give life, or to deny it in the way we handle our jealousy. Now, I am less afraid to admit my jealousy, though it took many years of denial to get here... As i name the feeling that wells up inside me, i can stop scrambling to measure up and i can simply enjoy another's gifts or beauty that blesses and graces the world, in its utter essence and offering rahter than run to comparison. when i am willing to name the jealousy of another woman's gift, i feel far more free to enjoy it, embrace it and celebrate it. I am not lost in a battle or competition, rather i am free to live in the midst of the enjoyment and the want for more.

i have come to believe that we as women have to power to uphold or tear down, with a simple glance of the eyes, a word well spoken, a hand offered in gracious and sincere support. we have been so conditioned to compete and compare, rather than compliment and share. but i believe that we can change the face of feminine interactions and offer what comes from the depths of our being, a life giving offering, if we take on the roles of bridesmaid, midwife and mother.

we all want to be a bride, but on the day of our friends wedding, we delight in being a bridesmaid...we are there to usher in the main attraction, to set her off to be noticed in all her beauty...it is all about the bride, and we delight in this role.. what if we were bridesmaids to each other on non-wedding days. if we really believed that there is plenty of love, attention, accolades to go around and that the Bridegroom delights in each of us...

i wanted to be a bridesmaid to the woman whose blog soared above mine, to the woman who just wrote the book i have been wanting to write, to the beautiful woman who lives next door, to the mother in my playgroup who is an example to me, to the teacher, speaker counselor who is more gifted than i am...can i sing the praises of another... will i be a bridesmaid?

Or as a midwife, i can help to usher in new life...help another give birth to what they have created, i can be part of the process without any glory... is that not the beauty of midwifery...being part of and assisting in, being a support, a cheerleader that allows another's creation to be the main event. will i be a midwife, when i feel barren, when my creativity fails me or is not fertilized with life and acceptance? can i help give birth to another's dream, vision, offerings, or do i shy away, because i am afraid or jealous like peninah of the love and accolades another woman receives?

as i read the work of other women and see their hand prints on the kingdom, i want to be a midwife...a woman who comes alongside another woman and helps, supports and upholds the her creation, celebrates her gift of life giving artistry.

and i think this category would not be complete without the role of being a mother...it is in that role that we as women are life giving, nurturing and sustaining one who is totally other...one that will grow beyond us, another being whose very essence causes us to pause and glorify god in his miracles... will i be this nurturing presence to those who come after me, who will surely outshine me and offer life generatively...not denying my role, or part, or offering, but acknowledging another who walks alongside? will i make room for another, and give them space and nurturing to grow in a self sacrificing way? will i see the beauty and giftedness around me and celebrate it, engage with it and champion the one who brings it to life?

these are the thoughts that went though my mind as i found this blog today...would i hide my jealousy and pretend i didn't feel it, or would i name it and offer it to God as my own fear of being less? would i be willing to champion another and point those who read my words to another's words that may bless them more deeply... will i believe that there is enough love and enjoyment to go around, rather than live with a scarcity mentality?

often when i am trying to find a way to image the possibilities in women frienships, i picture a field of wild flowers and the beauty that comes in the diversity of texture, color and size. i would much prefer a wild flower bouquet over a dozen roses...all the same. Can we as women can view each other in this way...as a field of wildflowers with so much to offer in so many different ways, made all the more beautiful in our diverse gifts and offerings...all shining in the uniqueness that is ours? what would women relationships look like and how they would change the world in the giving and receiving of blessing to each other?

as a 39 year old woman who was raised by a mother who competed with every woman around her (including me) i was given insight into how destructive this is first hand. she raised my sister and i to compete through our whole teen age years. it wasn't until she died that we realized we could stop being rivals and start being friends. how sad.

this comes from believing the lie that there will never be enough. if you get attention, that means there is less for me. parker palmer (again) unlocked this for me in his writings on scarcity and abundance. believing the lie of 'survival of the fittest' is a great disservice to us all. when you get something that never means there will be less for me, unless i choose to believe in abundance. if i hoard or live in fear of scarcity it is a self-fulfilling metaphor - that there truly isn't enough.

a better metaphor, he goes on to say is thinking about the cells in our body working together in community for the good of the whole. what if we as women (and men in community) decided that we were going to choose this better metaphor instead of the tired old one our mother's and grandmother's handed us? there will always be enough. we have a god of lavish abundance - we aren't competing for thoughts, resources or attention, let's learn to keep celebrating each other on a cellular level, nurturing and applauding like the bridesmaid, midwife and mother we all hoped to have.

i love being in this community of brilliant, funny, inspiring women (and men). you all make me better and i love you for it!

Friday, March 04, 2005

what jesus didn't say

brilliant thoughts from mumcat!

what jesus didn't say

New Worlds Open as Darfur Women Learn to Read and Write

New Worlds Open as Darfur Women Learn to Read and Write

beauty from ashes

ripening

today's daily dig:

Being means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast. I learn it every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for: patience is everything!

Rainer Maria Rilke

7 years!

wow, seven years ago today i gave birth to our son. we had just sold everything, moved into ministry, and began the saga that was the past seven years.

last night it all hit me as i washed my face before bed. i looked into my eyes (not something i do regularly) and i saw new eyes, well, eyes that used to be there, but haven't been for the past seven years. in the past couple months i have tracked back the symptoms of my low thyroid to my son's birth - and because i have just started on the armour thyroid when i looked into my eyes last night i realized they were back. they are cellularly different. i don't know how to explain it, but they are changed.

the other day on the phone when i spoke with anj i told her of my frustration that came with the low thyroid of having a lot of mental confusion, and feeling like i have no brain any more. she asked 'did you have problems with your mind/memory in the late part of your pregnancies?' i reflected, 'oh yes, that was a big problem for me.'

she said 'well, it just shows that you are about to give birth to something'. gasp.

last night as i sat on my bed it all clicked. the conversation with anj, the horrible reaction to the prednisone, the seven years of this journey into ministry (to the minute) and having my eyes back - there is definitely something being reborn today. i picked up my journal and wrote like mad. wanting to capture that 'ah-ha' experience. wanting to remember the exact moment i realized i was "pregnant" and what the locust had eaten was being restored.

i wouldn't trade these past seven years for anything. they were my lowest lows, and my journey back. i learned things in that time that will serve me forever, things i don't think i would have learned any other way. the dark time a couple days ago reminded me afresh at how very far i've come. everything knit together to bring such hope and realization and a recapturing of the vision for the future. it is well with my soul.

i slept a slumber far different than any i have in a long time. peace and hope. i know that redemption is happening and i am truly grateful. happy birthday buck!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

hi ho hi ho back to the doctor i go...

well, i called the nurse and decided to inform them of my mental state yesterday and to ask if i could stop taking the steroid, and they IMMEDIATELY made room for me in their schedule today... boy, mention instability and they do just about anything for you...

the nurse said it was definately a reaction to the steroid and i'm to get my behind back there this afternoon. nice to know i wasn't crazy... (again)... :)

UPDATE: i saw the physician's assistant and she said because of the skin reaction and the emotional one it was definately a reaction to the drug, it is rare, but does happen. i'm so thrilled it wasn't me dropping into the pit of despair - what a relief! i am off of the prednisone and my energy level is up and i'm feeling better than i have in weeks, and so relieved that i'm not going crazy!

thank you all again for your prayers and encouragement!

new every morning

'ask for what you need' was the phrase that kept running through my head yesterday and finally forced me to post my desperate cry for prayers.

the mc vicker women up at linwood house emblazoned that thought on my brain during 'the path' in november. how simple - ask for what you need - simple, but not easy.

today i have wings, even wind beneath them because of your prayers, kind comments, some nurturing time with liam, and especially a wonderful phone call from a dear friend about 5 minutes after i posted that cry for help. it was about the time i thought 'no, delete it' that the phone rang. i was given exactly what i needed.

i talked with anj about shame, and breaking through the shame to admit my needs, admit my lack and admit my struggles. shame is the silencer. it is the isolator. and it had convinced me that i was too far gone for anyone to know and still love. shame is a lie. in her inimitable wisdom she encouraged me to do some good self care and challenged me to find the things that energized me. i am all too familiar with the things that bring me down - but what are the things that build me back up?

she mentioned how her sister had challenged her back in her grey days to become aware of things you see that refill you and thrill you, in a magazine or in day to day life - notice them, and use them to bring about some intentional refilling. so that is my assignment for the next while - figuring out what it is that gives me joy, brings me happiness and wholeness and seek to bring them into my life more intentionally to care for myself.

the first thing on that list is phone calls from anj.

oh, and as a side note - 'the lake' in my fantasy is in the town i grew up in - far away from here - it wasn't really anything i was planning - it was just the peaceful thought of being surrounded by the water in a place i hold so dear. it was more about peace and safety and an end to the drama than it was about suicide. thank you all for your concern, just wanted to clarify in case anyone was worried.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Red hair alert, April 2003

chatelaine, Red hair alert, April 2003

while looking for images for my sidebar i came across this short article about red haired women and anesthesia - fascinating.

i can vouch that this is true for me as novicaine and epidurals rarely worked for me.

damn, i should have given up coffee...

okay, so the giving up swearing for lent thing sucks. i am at the lowest point i have been in months - maybe even a year, actually it feels like about 12 years ago emotionally.

i don't know if it's all of this medicine, a side effect of one, or just the fact that i've become a recluse for nearly a month and feel so cut off from the world i can hardly stand it. i have been weeping for the past week, and today i can hardly even function. i've tried to blog about 5 times, but break down each time. i don't know that i'll even post this - but i guess it's just a desperate cry for prayer.

i spilled my guts to liam this morning because all of the yucky thoughts that have been running around my brain. they feel like rats trapped inside, spinning, chewing and eating away at my psyche, confidence and determination.

i've even got a new fantasy (which was why i told liam about everything this a.m.) - filling my pockets with rocks and walking into the lake in the town i grew up in to drown myself. gosh, typing that makes me feel like such a big fat failure.

the prednisone has brought out a new crop of rosecea on my face and all i want to do is chuck my abstinence and binge. it's only the fact that i'd either have to close down my blog or confess it to you all that keeps me from doing so.

i told liam that i felt like i wanted to rend my clothes, cover myself in ashes and ezekiel-like stand in front of the congregation and tell them all what big fat phonies they all are. hardly one of them has even bothered to reach out and see if i'm okay. no one from recovery, no one. well, unless of course they want to speak to liam, or ask me to do something...

i am just raw. the hardest part of all of this is that i've walked this road before. i know what isolation does to me. i know it will end, and i will get better, but it just feels like there is a black hole trying to suck me down again, and i'm circling the rim. it's been so long since i've felt this way, and i loathe feeling this way again.

i've almost closed this window about 3 times. i just need to post this so that i don't erase it.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

medical update...

i know you're all on the edge of your seats keeping up with my medical saga... not...

but i just got back from the doctor, she's got me on steroids to deal with the lung inflamation. she thinks the infection is gone, but it's touched off a respiratory reaction (i didn't really pay attention to the official diagnosis), i was doing the math for the pharmacy bills...

praise god for m.e.r.p. accounts! (medical expense reimbursement plan - or something like that). anyway - they take $ out of liam's pay tax free to cover medical expenses, so it's out $, but it feels like it's not when we get reimbursed. i don't know how senior citizens or really long term sick people do it. every time i'm there i think of sam and the carrusso's and how their pharmacy bills must feel... yikes. i have nothing to complain about.

anyway - she gave me a shot of prednisone in the office and i take it for the next eight days, slowly decreasing the dose. i really didn't like the sound of this, my mom was on mass doses of prednisone to fight her lupus symptoms way back when and remember the emotional toll we all paid because of it. i don't forsee any effects in this short term use, but would rather not have ANY of the symptoms i remember from her.

but my desperation to be back in the land of the living was strong enough to overcome even those anxieties. pray for my family! :) hope you are all staying virus-free and enjoying your first day of march!

more fair trade links

anj and christy have given me a few more great links:

local harvest

co-op america

i was able to locate an organic farm that delivers produce from may - thanksgiving in my area - i never figured that would be available to me here. we used a service like that when i was expecting our first child and loved it, but stopped when my income stopped, and then we eventually moved.

i have contacted them and am excited at the possibilities of having a good variety of fresh produce again, and supporting a local farmer. it's quite the wonderful operation they have, and it will be fun to take pink and buck to visit and see the amazing work they are doing this spring!

i'm heading back to the dr. today as my lungs are still not 'right'. i saw on the 'singulair' commercial last night that one of the side effects might be 'upper respiratory infections'... i thought i was taking that pill to deal with this, not cause it. ugh.