Tuesday, August 30, 2005

quick update

quick update, not a lot of time to write and the kids are goofing around in the other room, so my brain is not engaged, but i did want to post and say things are going really well.

i got a chance to visit connie with her husband rob last night at camp - those salvation army teenagers were among the most talented i've ever seen/heard/watched - wow! seeing connie, even for the short bit of time we had was wonderful. i love these intense friendships that pick up right where they left off. it was wonderful to see her in her element calling forth beauty and teaching art to these teens, using her gifts and connecting with such vibrant, talented youth.

i also got to pick her brain about my own path and give her updates on how i'm beginning to own my story.

speaking of 'the path' - liam and i are working through the workbook while we are here. i know how much it helped me last november to identify and define my own passions and call - i know it will help him to be able to do the same. if anyone has a moment to pray for him we'd really appreciate it - tomorrow we will be working on his action words and core values - a crucial time to the process. i've asked connie to help noodle the words to see if any type of mission statement jumps out at her - anyone else want to be involved in the process?? anj? steph? lisa? mike & sue?? idelette? georgia? (if i've forgotten anyone please don't be offended...) this is the part i knew would be difficult with just the two of us - the more input and creativity in this step will make it much richer and deeper for him.

have a wonderful night all!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

oh the beauty and rest

blogging from dawsonwood and it is a wonderful thing. connie has outdone herself here and we are so enjoying getting to know her husband rob and her dog babe.

the view of the river, the comfort of the soft, warm beds and the decorations and art are all soothing our souls here. it is just what we needed!

connie is at camp this week, so i am unable to ask her about her amazing artwork throughout the cottage. the theme of doors, doorways, gates are resounding to my soul. they speak so of 'next' and the unknown. each are unique and beautiful and all lead to a different room, home or garden i'm sure. unfortunately we don't have monty hall and the 'let's make a deal' crowd here to help us choose which one we're to open. but i guess, who needs monty hall when you've got the holy spirit, right?

well all, have a glorious day - we'll be the ones in the paddleboat - enjoy!

Friday, August 26, 2005

safe and sound in canada

we've arrived, safe and sound and are enjoying daylight visits with liam's family. we usually get such a late start that we always get here late.

have a great weekend!

bookmarking - want to read while in canada



thanks holly!

i want to be where yaks can run free

well, we're off today. no, the package doesn't arrive until monday... finally got the tracking numbers around 4:00 yesterday, sigh. so we've decided to go and come back early. we can make up the week of school for the kids throughout the semester.

that also gives us a week away without school books, so that will be much more relaxing and vacation-like.

i will have some access to the internet, so i'll post if i'm able. so looking forward to seeing connie again and catching up with some friends we haven't seen in years.

hold down the fort for me while i'm gone - will miss you all!

leaving you with some of my favorite obscure lyrics:

Welcome to Canada, it's the Maple Leaf State.
Canada, oh Canada it's great!
The people are nice and they speak French too.
If you don't like it, man, you sniff glue.
The Great White North, their kilts are plaid,
Hosers take off, it's not half bad.
I want to be where yaks can run free,
Where Royal Mounties can arrest me.

Let's go to Canada, let's leave today,
Canada, oh, Canada, I Sil Vous Plait.

They've got trees, and mooses, and sled dogs,
Lots of lumber, and lumberjacks, and logs!
We all think it's kind of a drag,
That you have to go there to get milk in a bag.
They say eh? instead of what? or duh?
That's the mighty power of Canada.
I want to be where lemmings run into the sea,
Where the marmosets can attack me.

Let's go to Canada, let's leave today,
Canada, oh, Canada, I Sil Vous Plait.
Let's go to Canada, let's leave today,
Canada, oh, Canada, I Sil Vous Plait.

Please, please, explain to me,
How this all has come to be,
We forgot to mention something here.
Did we say that William Shatner is a native citizen?
And Slurpees made from venison, That's deer.

Let's go to Canada, let's leave today,
Canada, oh, Canada, I Sil Vous Plait.

five iron frenzy

anyway

People are often unreasonable and self-centered.
FORGIVE THEM ANYWAY.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.
BE KIND ANYWAY.
If you are honest, people may cheat you.
BE HONEST ANYWAY.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous.
BE HAPPY ANYWAY.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
DO GOOD ANYWAY.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough.
GIVE YOUR BEST ANYWAY.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.
It never was between you and them anyway.

Mother Teresa

Thursday, August 25, 2005

see, i told you it was from the devil

Business Travellers Against Human Trafficking » Cocoa industry fails to address child slavery.

deadline come and gone - how can this change when they had 4 years to fix it and did NOTHING... sigh.

The Complex Christ: Rebellion, Godliness and the Emerging Church

The Complex Christ: Rebellion, Godliness and the Emerging Church

oh this thrills my rebel soul!

best response to pat robertson i've read yet!

Addison Road - Dear Pat

rhythms pace

there is more to life than increasing its speed

ghandi

i love this quote.

we're finding a lot of urgency in people's questions lately, especially now that we've chosen to slow down and breathe and not rush these huge choices.

i find men especially can't understand liam needing/wanting to take a sabbath break. our world has become so urgent and panicked and i'm realizing it's more to do with the fact that people can't handle stillness and silence, than it has to do with really being important and things being urgent. it's so counter-culture to choose simple and slow. it's almost like they are afraid they will be forgotten if they don't press their way into the frantic culture stream around us.

the art paper and pastels have found their way onto our dining room table, charcoal pencils and sketches are appearing around every corner. life is finding a soulful rhythm and pace that is far more fulfilling and life affirming. giving room and holding space for the inner teacher to bubble up those things that are needed and necessary.

it makes for a much more purposeful way of life. are we naive? probably. are we foolish? possibly. are we going back? not if i can do anything about it. we are truly finding the 'unforced rhythms of grace' and it is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

update: i was catching up on my 'daily digs' and found this:

Unfortunately, in seeing ourselves as we truly are, not all that we see is beautiful and attractive. This is undoubtedly part of the reason we flee silence. We do not want to be confronted with our hypocrisy, our phoniness. We see how false and fragile is the false self we project. We have to go through this painful experience to come to our true self.

It is a harrowing journey, a death to self—the false self—and no one wants to die. But it is the only path to life, to freedom, to peace, to true love. And it begins with silence. We cannot give ourselves in love if we do not know and possess ourselves. This is the great value of silence. It is the pathway to all we truly want.

M. Basil Pennington

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

peace comes dropping slow

The Lake Isle of Innisfree - William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

our family is on hold waiting to leave for canada for a much needed visit with liam's family and a wonderful get-away time at dawsonwood cottage through the generosity of connie and rob. in reading this above poem i was given the motivation i need to get us out the door as soon as the awaited package arrives.

we had intended on leaving tomorrow, but there was a holdup in pink's curriculum for cyber school, and we'll be away far too long to go without their school books. it looks like a friday departure will be more reasonable now.

so looking forward to that 'lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore'.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

magic words

i have been going back to this so many times, letting it pour over me like oil, softening the hard places, rubbing it into my wounds and trying to excise the poison so that healing can come more quickly. i know it is a process, and it takes time, natural time. it will run it's course, but i can so easily slip into the martyr role and that is a slippery slope for me.

i like to pretend sometimes that blue writes just for me. i know it's silly, it's a whole huge blogosphere, but the anonymity of the words are always so timely it's as if he/she is reading my thoughts like an angel and taking me to where i need to go next. reminding me that all is not lost and that new thoughts like rain will fall from the sky if i only bother to notice.

these words are especially timely for me:
For everything that is lost, there are a hundred--a thousand--or more new things sprouting and shining with possibility. Don't grieve so long you miss them. Grieve deeply and well and then notice the freedom that loss affords. Your dreams are not gone, they have only shifted and you can shift with them.
in the stupor i seem to be in i have been missing those sprouts, those new things growing at my feet. i feel like i'm stumbling, walking through a mist with my arms outstretched missing all that my feet walk over, trampling the beauty that is the path i am on.

shifting - it sounds so graceful. it is not a term i associate with myself. years ago liam and i brought a dance instructor to a teen camp we we programmed to call a square dance (cutting edge back then - dancing at a christian camp! gasp) and near the end he taught us all to waltz. i felt so graceful in liam's arms as we all swirled in that large oval around and around. that is until i saw the video - we all (not just me) looked like hippos stumbling and bumbling around. not shifting smoothly and gracefully like i imagined.

i have longed to carry myself with that feminine grace i see so often in other women. i know it comes from an inner strength and confidence within their own skin. i may be able to find it one day on the outside for others to see. but for today, i want to shift gracefully into gratitude, into noticing the shining gifts that surround me. seeing those things that are sprouting at my feet.

growing up our property backed onto a large woods, it was my private play ground. land locked by property owned by friends and neighbors it was my place of solitude and i would spend hours alone, all summer, wandering through the woods, picking at toadstools and sitting in the dead leaves, pulling them back to explore the almost white new growth that begins in the humus of the forest floor. wild violets and jack-in-the pulpits were my favorite finds, may apples and climbing vines surrounded me.

i think in the mist of all of this i have forgotten that my path is through this kind of forest, friendly and familiar, not nearly so terrifying and threatening. nothing has changed, but everything has changed. all is still familiar, i just need to sit for a spell in the humus and find my bearings. take time for the mist to clear a bit and remember to notice all of those wonderful, beautiful things that are growing right at my feet.

blue writes on:
Look around you and find one of the many gifts of Life. They are rarely hidden well. There is always a corner peeking out to draw your eye. I want you to find them, and I want to watch you search with faith's anticipation on your face.

There are magic words that will help you find them when you cannot seem to see them on your own. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and repeat after me...

"Thank you."
thank you. thank you. thank you.

in the middle of pain it is difficult to be grateful, but remembering all that we have at times like these can make all of the difference. so today as i journal my three pages (the artists way at work) i am going to focus on all of those things and 'search with faith's anticipation on your (my) face'.

thank you. thank you. thank you.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Dictionary.com/Word of the Day: schadenfreude

Dictionary.com/Word of the Day: schadenfreude: "schadenfreude \SHOD-n-froy-duh\, noun:
A malicious satisfaction obtained from the misfortunes of others."

so i'm not supposed to be happy that the senior pastor and his cohorts are getting crap for what they've done to us?? i am bearing much schadenfreude...

ppppppplllllllllllllluuuuuuubtttt

i'm trying to type the sound my tongue makes when blown lethargically through my lips... it's how i'm feeling right now. spent, bruised, grieving, tapped and thin (no, unfortunately not in that good way). liam used the word 'throbbing' yesterday - kind of like a vein leaking on the ground, life is there, but it's draining.

and then there are moments of rapture, belly laughing and intense creativity and brainstorming like we haven't had in years. such is the roller coaster that has become our lives.

for all of you who have emailed me - thank you - i will respond, but i'm not getting much computer time in and every time i try to write back it just all seems too intense and hard to put into words. please be patient, your words and care soothes my soul - thank you.

simplicity has been a spiritual discipline we have been nurturing for almost two years now. first it was out of necessity - massive debt reduction and little income. choices we made to tighten our belts and focus on what matters. then we realized how much life this brought to our lives and we now choose simplicity intentionally. things lately haven't been very simple.

is there such a thing as being 'whelmed'? we're tired of overwhelmed, we'd like to be whelmed for a bit please. that's a strange word isn't it? i'm sure it has amazing roots and deep meaning, i'm just too overwhelmed to find out what they are right now.

in an attempt to simplify we have reduced much down to hoops - the two largest hoops right now seem to be caused by the need for health insurance at the end of december. liam being canadian and on an expiring r-1 visa mean that we've got this biggest of decisions to make. canada or the u.s.? i can sponsor him and he can get a green card. we've been told by those in the education field that will allow him funding and grants like citizenship so we're just frozen with how do we manage it all?

there are good educational alternatives on each side of the border, and one side will take care of our medical insurance by being residents - but that means leaving my father either to fend for himself, or on my sister and brother-in-law (or his sisters) - he's been so helpful and supportive it's the last thing we would ever want to do, but he has no desire to immigrate to canada - so the pull each way is excruciating.

i just don't see how we can maintain parenting to the level we've committed to, one of us working full-time to make enough income and get full benefits, while liam goes to school... canada seems to simplify that enormously. it's just so completely HUGE that it just crashes down on us each time we start to make progress or lean in one direction or the next.

all the forms are filled and ready to file for liam, and he should be able to get a temporary work visa, it just seems like such a huge waste of $200-$400 to file them if we aren't staying - i just know how much he needs this next bit to heal and have sabbath. the draw of double income is huge and i know it will fix the 'temporal' things - the tangible things will be made easier - but i know that the real quality of life stuff will suffer in the long run. we truly saw this severance time as a gift from god to get healthy, dream, write and even play.

ppppppplllllllllllllluuuuuuubtttt

that's how i feel. crawl under the covers, i don't want to think about it - it makes my head hurt.

ppppppplllllllllllllluuuuuuubtttt

this is what happens when you can't just take 'one day at a time' i guess. just for today. those are my favorite recovery words. just for today. god help me to figure out what is crucial 'just for today'...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

their name is today

Many things can wait.
Children cannot.
Today their bones are being formed,
their blood is being made,
their senses are being developed.
To them we cannot say “tomorrow.”
Their name is today.

Gabriela Mistral

via

Friday, August 19, 2005

Powells.com Ink Q&A - Anne Lamott

Powells.com Ink Q&A - Anne Lamott: "Why do you write?
I write because writing is the gift God has given me to help people in the world. I came with curly hair, green eyes, and the ability to shape and tell stories in a way that a certain kind of person finds helpful, and funny. I love to make people laugh, because nothing is more life giving. I love to help people feel a sense of connection in their lives, by sharing the truth and details of mine — this seems to greatly decrease people's feeling of isolation. I try to write the books I would love to come upon, that are honest, concerned with real lives, human hearts, spiritual transformation, families, secrets, wonder, craziness — and that can make me laugh. When I am reading a book like this, I feel rich and profoundly relieved to be in the presence of someone who will share the truth with me, and throw the lights on a little, and I try to write these kinds of books. Books, for me, are medicine."

via jordan

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

MTV to air Angelina Jolie Africa diary

MTV to air Angelina Jolie Africa diary: "MTV has announced that The Diary of Angelina Jolie & Dr. Jeffrey Sachs in Africa will premiere on September 14 at 7 p.m.

The 30-minute special episode of the long-running DIARY series follows Angelina Jolie and UN adviser/economist Dr. Jeffrey Sachs as they travel to Sauri, a remote group of villages in Western Kenya, where Sachs' UN Millennium Project team is working to end the poverty, hunger and disease afflicting the area. With cameras in tow, Jolie and Sachs experience first-hand the effects of the devastation unique to Africa -- and provide hope as they highlight hopeful progress in this Millennium village."

Taizé Founder, Brother Roger, Slain

ZENIT News Agency--The World Seen from Rome

oh this just makes me weep!

via jordan

yeah, what he said

Vintage Faith: Reality Church?

via bob

Monday, August 15, 2005

it is finished!

finished, but far from over... liam is a man without a drug (work) today... pray for him. he said if anyone asks how he's doing is should use the word "crushed"... sigh.

85 at youth group last night - but he's incompetant... it's so hard not to hate those people who send their own children out as spies... well, we finished well. now on to 'next'.

that looms very large today. i found out that i made a huge immigration mistake by not sponsoring liam myself instead of using the r-1 visa. we thought that the 'in the country five years' thing applied, but only to permanent residents... sigh. we have a long shot we're working on, but it's really a long shot. please pray that is a possibility, otherwise school here in the states is probably out of the question financially...

so that either means work, another church or heading back to canada for school. oh lord we need that light for our path please! another ministry would be a marvelous thing (instead of a church) but we have no ideas or leads and liam is so fried and overwhelmed right now he truly can't even put into words what he longs to do. what happens when you mix burn-out with a mid-life crisis and throw in a little spiritual abuse for seasoning?? he found this article and is afraid it is all too true.

please also pray for me - liam is my rock (yes, i know jesus is supposed to be my rock - and he is, but liam has always been so solid for me) - watching him endure all of this is excruciating (and not being the co-dependent fixer to make it all better is so difficult). we will be working on 'the path' curriculum together to the best of my abilities. it is my hope that he can find within that which breathes life into his soul.

i have found what i think is a really good option for school in canada - i found it in a round about way - wilsonian quoted dan wilt and he had a link on his blog (he's also going to be teaching there) and i found st. stephans university in new brunswick. yes, i just typed the words new brunswick... yikes. it looks to be a place where we can learn in community - without constantly having to fight the 'seminary' mindset - they have a masters in ministry degree, and while liam could walk his way through a more 'famous' masters program, we just don't have the energy right now - we really need a safe place to land.

so that is life here today. we were given this quote on a plaque from liam's intern:

What the catapillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.

Richard Bach

Sunday, August 14, 2005

when words fail

where to start? last night was incredible, absolutely incredible. the fact that the planning was done by those who 'get it' instead of those who play fake made the night rich with emotion and full of meaning.

when my friend asked to hold the party my first words were "NO" - i knew the the church's penchant for pretend - and i couldn't stomach that. she assured me i was allowed to set the 'rules' and she would make sure they were followed. my rule was 'no fake' - the only people who could talk were people who truly meant their words. and instead of the fancy, schmancy catered meals they do i wanted a real live church pot luck - sadly missing in our church.

it was all that and more. we arrived to a room filled with bright yellows, lime green, orange and bright blue - a celebration. at each place there were small little wooden hearts with words burned into them - simple, unfinished and rough. my girlfriend got up to explain the night and then proceeded to talk about why the hearts - how we are all rough and unfinished and how god is writing these words on our hearts. we sat down - at unspecified seats - both liam's and mine were 'wise' and pink's was 'noble' (the meaning of her name) and buck got 'tender'. my other friend had saved us a seat, but she had no idea about them. it wasn't 5 minutes into the night and i was tearing up.

then i looked down to the card at each setting - it read (our names):

You exemplify
tender, rich and
humble hearts
for God,
for youth,
for men,
and
for women,
for those who seek,
for those who have found,
and for those who struggle
in the process.

"Obeserve how Christ loved us,
His love was not cautious
but extravagant.
He didn't love in order to get
something from us but to give
everything of himself to us.
Love like that."
Eph. 5:2

Thanks for the example
of Christ's love
you are to us.


okay, now i'm really crying. then my girlfriend at the table sees me and starts to cry - how will i get through this evening? we pray and get in line for food, things become much more light hearted.

the room is filled to the brim, and so many told us they were unable to make it because they were out of town. it is a very moving display of affection. and best of all those who maneuvered to remove us are absent - no fakery allowed. the SP and his family are there, but we knew that and were actually glad he'd have to hear/watch/see/experience it all, knowing the whole time he and his cohorts caused all of this. he tried many times to maneuver his way into control of this event. he wanted to tag it on to the mission dessert and my friend protected me (well her husband is head elder now, so that helps...)

we get through dinner and it's announced that there is a program in the worship center (not the little old one - but the big stage) - i have never touched the big stage in all of my time here - i know that in and of itself is going to overwhelm me.

we have saved seats down front center and the youth band (which has been my husband's passion to teach these kids how to truly worship) just rocks - then the power point tribute starts, and they honored me, and then my children - pink sees the pictures of her with her friends and starts to wail. this i am not prepared for at all - i thought of liam and i crying, but never imagined that they would be so moved. now i'm a complete wreck - when we talk after liam and i both had the same impulse to jump up - point at the SP and say 'you did this, we are a family and you did this!' needless to say we kept ourselves at bay and consoled our daughter. then came the tribute to liam - and it was fun and touching.

then one of the elders who had stuck by us got up to pray for the youth and what is next for them. and then came the part i was totally unprepared for.

my bible study got up and gave a tribute to me - i have erased and re-typed, sat in tears for minutes on end - trying to put into words what was said, how it touched me and the redemption that happened as those words were spoken to me and about me from that stage - i was totally unprepared, i never thought that anyone noticed, it was truly beautiful. and then they sang this song:

This is Your Land

Didn't anyone ever tell you
Didn't anyone ever say
Did you capture a vision of glory
As she held out her hand today
It's reaching to the broken heart
Right down to where you stand

Didn't anyone ever tell you
This is your land
Didn't anyone ever tell you
It doesn't matter the last will be first
For the sad and the meek and the righteous
And all those who will hunger and thirst
So let the poor in spirit know
These dreams are not of sand
Didn't anyone ever tell you
This is your land

You'll be given the robes of princes
You'll be flying on golden wings
You will live in pavilions of splendor
Be surrounded by beautiful things
So hold on to these promises
And keep them in your hand

Didn't anyone ever tell you
This is your land

Point of Grace

i had never before heard the song - and as each one sang a verse they looked deep into my eyes and we both cried and they gifted me with such beauty and power. i have never felt more honored and cherished.

then they opened the mikes and let people share memories - laughter, tears, deep emotion. when my friend's son got up - he's going into 5th grade - and told my kids what wonderful friends they were, and he begins to weep, loud, groaning crying - saying 'oh i wish you didn't have to move, i don't want you to move, i'm going to miss you' the room was finished. we were all bawling. especially buck, who takes this time to melt down. 'i don't want to move, weep, weep, mommy, why do we have to move... weep, weep...' i calm and soothe him and we listen to many more share deep words of affection and lives touched. the constant theme of 'you were there when i needed someone, my faith is now my own, you taught me how to serve god, you made it so much fun, you taught me how to have fun..."

then they called us up front, prayed for us, gave us gifts and an envelope and allowed us to have a few words. looking out at that group (from that stage) i was given hope for our future. no matter how very much this process has wounded us, it has released us to next. whatever next may be.

afterward in the lobby one of the mother's said it best 'this is a cross between a reception line and a funeral'... hugs and tears were shared and we were able to put some closure on five really good, really hard years of ministry. so, while i've been able to type out some things that happened, i am unable to put into words the real, intangible things that happened last night, but those things were the most real of all.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

dissonant bible: a tale of ten concubines

dissonant bible: a tale of ten concubines

this newer blog is so good for my soul. especially this post. i don't know why, but it redeems something lost for me because mark notices these kind of things.

Friday, August 12, 2005

i really did wear a side ponytail in highschool!

Deb
You are Deb and you could drink whole milk if you
wanted.


Which Napoleon Dynamite character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

thanks laura!

what’s so good about marriage?

jeremy my favorite photographer/monk/teacher/blogger has returned from his summer sabbatical to ask this question. i am late to the party and have had the luxury of follow up posts and have seen that he is seeking good news, great stories and the positive spin to that major-est of major commitments - marriage (please say it with me - 'mah-wedge')

i honestly meant to write a tribute to liam on his 40th birthday, but life and time ran away, so i've been brewing with all that has happened/is happening here to take a moment and put fingers to keys that add up to a post that both answers jeremy's question and reminds liam of my love and commitment to him and to us.

lover, comrade, amigo, accomplice, soul-mate - you are all and more. no one else in this world understands the short-hand of a look, or the unnecessary need to finish the thought because words aren't needed. no one takes the time to argue with me, to challenge me, to inspire me and to sharpen me like you do.

from the moment you wake up in the morning and stumble to the bathroom in your tighty-whities i am struck with how intimately i know you. like nothing else in this world i know and am known. the intricate interplay between these two who are one - separate, equal, similar and yet so very different.

no one can move me like you do - to each extreme of the emotional scale - depths of anger and frustration that terrify both of us; to heights of passion and joy where the air is so thin we are giddy with rapture.

our morning coffee ritual is my favorite time of the day - sitting with you at our common table, watching the wheels in your brain spin and engage mine like cogs in a machine - we take each other into thoughts and realms of possibility and purpose. it is as i only dreamed it could be one day 18 long years ago. the evolution of who and what we are apart and together is epic in nature and the greatest story in the world to me. even if it never influences or affects anyone but our children i know that we know, and that is all that truly matters.

in a crowd your are the only eyes i seek, i search the room in a frantic, introverted panic until they rest on your face, and then i am calm, serene even. i can endure all because you are there. you are a rock in the storm of life. so stable, so sure. the way your eyes crinkle on the sides and your face breaks into it's happiest moments thrill my heart. to hear your hearty laugh inspires my soul to great places of joy. to know the safety of your arms, and your massive hands that wrap me up and dwarf me, even me. there is nothing like the feeling of being safe in your arms.

they may have stolen much from us - but these things, and more they cannot touch. all that is good in life we still have - and i would and will travel with you to the ends of the earth to follow the path god has for us together.

i love you babe, and as we head into this new frontier together i am thrilled to do it by your side.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

date night

it has been nearly six months since liam and i have had a real date. tonight we are going out for dinner and a concert.

tomorrow we head with the family to the amusement park - last two perks of being 'on staff' at the church...

only 3 more days - on saturday night our real friends at the church are hosting a 'going away' party for us, i know it's going to be a very emotional evening. unlike the 'go away' party that had for us last month! :p

and sunday is our LAST one - it will be a tough one for liam - please keep him in your prayers (me too if you think about it!) have a great night ya'll!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

the beauty of her soul

my dear friend anj has returned to a best and worst and i read it with great joy this morning, i also felt her pain as she posted about her dance with fear in her adjustment to living with the chronic disease of rheumatoid arthritis.

i left a comment on her blog, but i wanted to pay tribute to the beauty of her soul, the immensity of the light she carries and to encourage her in my small way to understand how god has used her in my life.

i included this image because i have noticed something in some of the conversations we've had recently, she is expert at taking my thoughts and words and helping me to connect the dots. she ties these loose strings together and shows me with her words how things that seem so very random to me are god's fingerprints in my life.

i truly feel like a novice sitting at my loom, frustrated and afraid i won't be able to continue the work i'm called to do, and the master weaver comes along side me and helps me tie up the loose strings i've been given and continue with the work i have to accomplish - the weaving of the tapestry that is my life.

oh dear anj, please know you have the words of life, they pour from you like a spring. i am so grateful for your involvement in my tapestry, for apprenticing this novice as i struggle with warp and weft to continue weaving, noticing everything now, remembering to be present, to keep the tension of the threads in place so that what is created is as full of color and life as possible.

i love you anj, i am holding you and your weavings today in the light. thank you for being my friend.

Jeffrey Sachs Podcast at World Vision

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download short podcast here:

How to End Poverty: Learn From Leading Expert Jeffrey Sachs

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

the body of christ

whoa. i go away for a week and the emergent royalty visit my blog - shocking really. i never imagined that my words would have been considered flames, and for that i am so very sorry. it was my intention to write to doug, tony and brian mclaren before i left, but ran out of time. i want to dwell in the emotion that this created, both for me, and the reactions to my words, because i truly believe that this is the crux of the issue.

my heart longs to have people like doug and tony understand my pain because i am truly an emergent fan. i am not someone who is a critic or opposed to emergent, it is very far from the truth. what i want them to understand is that i have been following the conversation since it's infancy and have pinned much of my hope on them getting this right.

as i spoke with my friend anj today she reminded me of a conversation we had last summer when i told her how important it was to me for this (emergent) to work. i truly believe that jesus would not have called the church his body here on earth if it wasn't meant to work, to look like him and to be the instrument for change in this world. i have a love/hate relationship with the church and know that when it works it's like nothing else on earth, but when it wounds it wounds more deeply than any other institution because it involves our souls.

my soul has been squelched by the church for as long as i can remember. i will be 40 in october and i have never wanted anything more than use my gifts in the church. you see i was raised plymouth brethren, in the same 'denomination' as brian mclaren. i have a deep love for theology and am gifted in very non-traditional female areas. nothing has wounded me more deeply (and i have been raped) than the lack of openness by the church to me as a woman and as a person in the body of christ. nothing.

i have pinned my hopes on this 'converstion' because i know brian's past**, and i know he has a wife who had to endure much of what i endured growing up. i so long for someone to finally get it - to treat women like jesus did. how can the embodiment of jesus on earth abuse women when he never did? it makes no sense to me.

i know there were women at the round table - i read ivy's post and know there were others there. i am not anonymous in the traditional sense of an anonymous blog - people know who i am, and i will gladly answer any emails mailed to me in my real name. i am just trying to fly under the google radar so that my husband's (former) position at his church was not put into jeopardy because of my blog. i have met tony at nywc and have read your books (brian's and doug's too) - i am a supporter. that's why this kind of thing hurt so badly.

maybe you don't understand the power that you weild? maybe you don't see the weight of things like 'hazel eyes' being thrown around so innocently as marginalizing the wounds that many of us have suffered at the hands of the church. our pain is real. hearing our stories instead of judging us immediately will go far further in your attempt to create a place of diversity.

i long to hear your stories, and hope that mine will someday be heard too.

please forgive me if verbalizing my frustration seemed like flames, i didn't mean it to be so - i thought the article was really great, it was just that line 'hazel eyes' took me back years to a place i really thought this conversation had past.

peace and hope to the future doug and tony - thank you for the work you are doing for the conversation.

**update - 08-10-05 - please know i wasn't assuming i 'knew brian' - just his denominational past with the brethren - i am reading his story here and see grace's history is not in the brethren church, so maybe his sympathy of other women (maybe his mother included) might allow him sympathy with my own story. please know i meant no illusion that we were familiar or even have met.

weblog :: jordoncooper.com: Life Status

please pray for jordan

weblog :: jordoncooper.com: Life Status

Daily Life in a Homeless Shelter - Daily Journal - New Wine

this is who/how i long to be, this is why when my soul smells like death it grieves me so deeply:

Daily Life in a Homeless Shelter - Daily Journal - New Wine

The Sith Sense - way cool!

challenge darth vadar!

The Sith Sense

via addison road

Monday, August 08, 2005

a mirror to our souls

his name is russell, he's like eleventy seven years old. body eaten up by cancer, teeth gone and living in a trailer across from the youth center we were working on. he has three little kittens who hear his voice and they follow him, he is the kitten shepherd.

every month when he receives his social security the area rough necks know that his door is broken and they steal his meager income. he can't read or tell time so he shows up to the little church in town any time there are cars there, woman's bible study or just the deacon cleaning the church. he so doesn't want to miss any thing.

the head of the ministry we were working with told us of his plight, his home and his health. we of course were so moved by his great need. his air conditioner is broken? oh we'll fund a new one. he needs a new door? oh sure, we'll help.

one of the local adults agreed to install the items with the help of our teens. only one volunteered to help. a little red haired girl named emily.

i met russell the last night we were in town. we had to park our van over by the youth center and walk to the church. we walked right by his trailer. my kids drawn to the 3 kittens laying like tigers in his long grass. he of course couldn't miss the chance to show off his shepherding skills and have some small social interaction.

it hit me like a wall. the smell. like death itself. ancient body odor, the pee stain, days old on his pants - cats, many more than 3 i think and the hovering smell of death. bile started to rise in my throat, my gag reflex has a mind of it's own. my children walking straight to him, petting the kitten he is holding out. talking to him like he's their grandfather. i step back and i see myself like an out of body experience.

you are everything you hate. throw money at the problem, don't really invest yourself. the great white hope coming to town. phoney. you don't really want to hear his story, know his pain. and i watch as my children and my husband interact with this kind-hearted old man who wants nothing more than the love of god, and i couldn't step closer. i couldn't make myself shake his hand.

as i shooed my children on 'you know we don't want to be late for the meeting...' (oh god, i really said those words - i am everything i hate deep inside my soul...)

i knew i needed to find emily, you see i realized that little red haired girl who helped russell with his door and his air conditioner is my hero. she showed up. she stood in his home. she was jesus to him, and to me. i needed to tell her.

as i sat next to her on the bench she tried to tell me how it wasn't a big deal, but i knew deep in my heart that i would have never done it. never. god forgive me.

i knew in that moment it was the reason i had come. i needed to see the real nature of the sickness in my soul. talking a big talk was no longer possible. my nose betrayed me, i wasn't really any different than those at my church that i had been judging so severely. my heart is as black and as selfish as i judge their's to be.

god help me, i don't want to be like this. i truly want to be the kind of person who can sit with someone and hear their story, share their table and not judge them because of the smell, or the culture, or the differences between us. because you see i have smelled my soul, and it smells like death.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

model of church quiz

You scored as Servant Model. Your model of the church is Servant. The mission of the church is to serve others, to challenge unjust structures, and to live the preferential option for the poor. This model could be complemented by other models that focus more on the unique person of Jesus Christ.

Servant Model

72%

Herald Model

55%

Mystical Communion Model

39%

Sacrament model

39%

Institutional Model

0%

What is your model of the church? [Dulles]
created with QuizFarm.com


via iphy

back in town

wow! what a difference a week makes - in my mind, my heart and even here on my blog! whew! if you've missed it there is a most amazing conversation going on in my comment section in response to this post. i plan on responding directly, but want to acknowledge that right before i left i was gathering tony's, doug's and brian mclaren's emails from their blogs to write them directly, but ran out of time before we left for west virginia.

while at his blog i saw doug's post about the frustrations and junk he's dealing with right now at SP and i was sick that i could have added to any pain or frustration he was facing. we're in a hurtful ministry time too - and know how fragile that feels, and i want to apologize if i added to that in any way. i debated removing the post, but knew that he could have read it already or someone could have copied it and it could have hurt just as much either way.

i still stand behind what i wrote, i do want to apologize though for any words written in anger. i'll post on that soon.

what i do want to post on was the amazing week we had. i renewed my call and re-established the true love i do have for teens - i had forgotten how much i enjoy their spirit and their souls - they are so full of life. we truly had an incredible time away, and man did we work! at breakfast before we left we were told by the owner of the ministry we stayed at that we accomplished a full year's worth of work for them and the youth drop in center there in town. a full year! that felt incredible.

i realized as i sat on the deck of the cabin and watched the sun rise over the misty mountain tops that we are very good youth ministers (both of us!) and the choices the leadership at the church have made are wrong, but they have set us free - free to find next, free to heal and find a true place of worship where we are both free to use our gifts and skills.

only a week more - and i don't even know if i'll be going to church today. we're drop dead exhausted. poor liam - he's like a tube of toothpaste that has been squeezed out all over - too little butter spread over too much toast. my dear, dear bilbo!

tomorrow is his birthday - 40 years old - whew!! we'll be making a bunch of big deals, both here and in canada - but tomorrow is just for our family. quiet time together to celebrate us - the things they can't touch or steal - the things that are more important and far more valuable.

have a wonderful day, i'll post more later! love you all and thanks so much for your prayers - it was far more than i could have ever hoped!