Thursday, September 29, 2005

no ukes


i read marko's post about the newest dangerous trend amongst teenagers with great interest and actual fear. i have heard of the new craze of teens 'choking' themselves to get high, not the way they used to do it, just choking. or the 'death by dust-off' information that keeps finding my inbox of every concerned aunt that knows we work with teens. i have a friend who is the principal of the local middle school and i would regularly talk with her about these kind of things that the area community youth could be struggling with.

i was prepared for the worst. marko really builds it up, my gut clutches as i read on:

you may not want to read further. it could become painful. those with medical issues or weak stomachs are encouraged to stop here and begin praying for the rest of us, who, because of our calling to love teenagers, are compelled to find a way into and through this latest beelzebubbian lure.

i can hardly type it. i did not even know about it myself until this past weekend, when i spoke to a group of so-called “leaders” — high school perverts who embraced this new vileness.

but i must make you aware. because my calling is to equip youth workers, i am compelled, though i hesitate even now…

it — the evil thing — is…

the casual use of the ukulele — four-stringed baby-guitars of death.
aaaaahhhhh - you got me - i had a good laugh, called liam over after a bit and with all seriousness said 'you've got to read this...' he got caught too - and then spent some time designing this for marko. he has started to put some of his work together at cafe press - you can find his store here.

note about the store: we started this on a lark, the prices/profit are a joke and the free store limits you to one of each of the shirts - if you do see a shirt style that you'd rather have, email me and we can switch it around.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

18 years!

this was the most bizzarre image i could come up with to honor our anniversary this year. it made me laugh. i can't tell if it's a candle or just a tacky knick knack - either way i knew it would make liam smile.

we both turn 40 this year, it feels like we're entering the 'next stage' or as stephanie wrote this yesterday it really sang to me:

"So when I read the following quote by Carl Jung "Stages of Life", it grabbed my attention:Wholly unprepared, they embark upon the second half of life. Or are there perhaps colleges for forty-year-olds which prepare them for their coming life and its demands as the ordinary colleges introduce our young people to a knowledge of the world and of life? No, there are none. Thoroughly unprepared we take the step into the afternoon of life; worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and ideas will serve as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the programme of life's morning - for what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie." pg 9 When the Heart Waits - Sue Monk Kidd"

we are heading into our 'afternoon', our autumn-time - and we are doing it together. i couldn't be more excited and full of anticipation to see what god has for this next stage. i truly am so thrilled to be walking this path with you liam - i can't wait for the next 18! happy anniversary!

too good to be hidden in my comments

If only the black and white thinkers of this world could be swept up in a tesserat and experience some life shaking alternative reality.
Connie Knighton

oh connie - i love you! this made me laugh out loud at 5:30 this morning!


and this needs to be read by more people than just me. she left this in another comment:

What is this feeling like death,
companion to birth,
this emptying,
this flux of blood.
Anxiety?
Excitement?
Expectation?
Fear?
Regret?
This pulse.
This knowing.
Life may yet be snatched from the grave of misunderstandings,
compromise,
willful ignorance,
abandonment,
betrayal.
I die to the past.
I am born into the future.
In between, I hold my breath
and wait for the miracle.

this one gave me shivvers, it's so beautiful, thank you! you are a sage indeed!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

how many banned books have you read?

will has asked how many banned books have you read?

here's the link to the ALA's 100 most frequently banned books. here's my list:

  1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  2. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  3. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
  4. Forever by Judy Blume
  5. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  6. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  7. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  8. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  9. Blubber by Judy Blume
  10. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  11. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  12. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  13. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  14. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  15. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
  16. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  17. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  18. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  19. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  20. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  21. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
  22. Carrie by Stephen King
  23. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  24. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  25. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
  26. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
only 74 more to go! (just kidding!) i can't believe the ignorance of fear that makes things like this important. so very sad. i believe that children shouldn't have access to madonna's 'sex' book - there are ways to avoid that kind of thing. but banning 'a wrinkle in time'? just plain ignorance.

red

wilsonian noticed my new 'image' picture i picked out yesterday. i usually do a search on 'red hair' to try to find an image that personifies some part of 'me'. the one i was using was getting old, and they kept moving the url (probably to keep people like me from linking to it...).

yesterday i just did a google image search on 'red' and this was one of the images that came up. i had such a visceral reaction to it that i knew it was the image for 'me' right now. i just feel squeezed, drained and 1/2 empty. please don't fret, i'm not going to injure myself. it just is the emotional equivalent of how this process has left me.

yesterday it poured here - just tons and tons of rain. it was very purifying, it felt like it washed away this long, hot, miserable summer. it feels good to be on the other side of it all. i'm sure you're all so sick and tired of my miserable ramblings, i know i am. i really appreciate your patience. there is a newer blog (to me at least) called 'cheaper than therapy' - that's how this has been for me lately, therapeutic. that's why i haven't claimed this with my real name yet. there is still some junk i need to purge, and it's more likely that i will do so 'anonymously'.

so, for today, i'm a bit 'red', squeeze out and splattered around. but i know that we are on the downside of this mountain, and the sun is in sight. thanks for journeying with me.

Monday, September 26, 2005

yipee, i've been meme-ed!

renee has tagged me for a new meme floating through the blogosphere. it cheered me up immensely as i needed to think about something other than 'here'.

5 things I plan to do before I die:

1. get off this continent and see the world.
2. write books and get them published.
3. plant a community.
4. paint on canvases.
5. become a storyteller.

5 things I can do:

1. speak the truth in love.
2. talk and teach in front of lots of people.
3. own my own junk.
4. spend time alone.
5. explain things so that others can understand them.

5 things I cannot do:

1. keep my mouth shut...
2. tolerate cruelty.
3. fake anything.
4. remember things that fall off my radar without a list or a reminder.
5. absorb information that is not organized well.

5 Things that attract me to the opposite sex:

1. liam's eyes
2. liam's legs (solomon like towers of ivory... sorry, too much information??)
3. liam's laugh and sense of humor
4. liam's giant hands that make my man hands look feminine
5. liam's lips

5 things I say most often:

1. hey babe (what i call him)
2. crap for crap (strongbad...)
3. @#()$ insert swear word here...
4. i am so tired.
5. okay, break's over (cyberschool...)

5 celebrity crushes (characters more than people):

1. charlie brown
2. napoleon dynamite
3. shrek (part 1)
4. colin firth (ala pride and predjudice & bridget jones' diary)
5. ewan mcgregor (ala moulin rouge)

5 people I want to do this next (i'm picking people who i don't know very well) :

1. cheryl
2. elizabeth
3. friar tuck
4. layla
5. wilsonian

i'm more evil than susan!!

This site is certified 36% EVIL by the Gematriculator

thanks susan

Sunday, September 25, 2005

you gotta find another Bible Study

tj left this comment on my post yesterday and she is so right. just so you understand a bit about me i need to tell you why i stayed.

i have stopped everything else - it's not at the church and i thought i could handle it, these were the women who sang to me and planned our going away night. i stayed because it was the closest thing to community that i had, and i knew that if i had nothing i would start to isolate myself (that is already happening). this is a big problem for me, it has been all my adult life. it was a problem for my mother and her mother before her.

i truly could be the kind of person who only leaves home to be anonymous. it is because of shame. i know i haven't done anything wrong here - we can hold our head's high in our community - but i just despise running into anyone at the grocery store or in town. too many things to explain - most of which are none of their business. if they really cared they would have called - this seems/feels like mining for information to tell their friends.

the other reason i choose to stay was because they choose to study the beatitudes. i felt like i could really have some input here that wouldn't be the standard, christian 'jesus answers'. i really wanted to challenge that thought, verbalize truth and fight the rich, suburban mindset that fills those women's lives. this study is rocking their world. the truth is making them very uncomfortable. helping them unpack these words of jesus in a way that transforms what they think being a christian is all about. it's very satisfying in some ways - to allow jesus' own words to convict them. to make them think about poverty and loss of power - to understand that 'poor in spirit' doesn't just mean 'oh i feel so blue today'.

so that is why i have stayed - sanity and kingdom life. if either of those two are compromised i'm done. and if i can find anything else to fill that requirement i will step away. these are really the only people (with skin on) that have made any effort to remind me that i meant more to them than my husband's job.

speaking of that, tonight is the business meeting - we have fantasized about showing up - i think we're still members - unless some bylaw states otherwise - but secretly, well not so secretly i want some parents to get up and give them hell. to hold somebody accountable. i know it's not really going to happen - they silence every critic and shame every courageous one - and call it unity - but i just want someone to make them uncomfortable and hold them accountable.

it's like somehow on the calendars in our brain that this was the last date that tied us to the church - getting past today will be a milestone of sorts. yesterday was hard, i shut down. i haven't been sleeping well and it caused stupid things to be important and i found myself scratching at liam when i wanted to be scratching at 'them'... we talked it out, but it was another affect of their stupid power to hurt us still.

off to our new church this a.m. - it's a god send. i'll tell you more about that later. have a good day!

Friday, September 23, 2005

it comes in waves

we are on the crest of another wave of pain hitting right now. both liam and i are just reeling today. it's unbelievable how people have the power to hurt you still even when you're never around them. i know it will receed and we'll be farther along the healing path, but for right now it just hurts.

i was at my bible study and one of the women asked for prayer as she is doing an art piece to celebrate the worship pastor's 5 years of service. the children's pastor caught my eye across the room, acknowledging that she knew it was liam's turn to have been honored in this way (the only real honoring the church ever does - and my girlfriend's art is so beautiful and personal - she truly pours her heart and soul into it). i started to cry, fighting back the tears, biting the inside of my cheek to refrain for feeling such deep emotion in public.

the tears come again, knowing that liam should be preparing to be honored this weekend too, but instead he's reeling and wounded. dwelling in the present means honoring this new wave, but it's so hard not to let the sadness and grief mask itself with anger and resentment, those emotions are there too, but it's harder to just allow ourselves to feel sad.

liam is spending some time away today alone, journalling and working through his 'artists way at work'. the portion he's working through right now is about anger and i know he's been avoiding it, it's been deep and buried. when we met (20 years ago...) he was punching walls and a punk rock slam dancer. when we got serious that anger seemed to go away. there have truly only been less than a dozen times i have seen liam really, really angry since.

i think he's afraid that the level of pain he's feeling will bring that deep level of anger that he used to struggle with after his parent's divorce.

what is taking place deep in our souls, deep in those hard to reach spaces is a level of acknowledgement and ownership - it is healthy and good, but it is also very painful and elemental in a sense. we are finding that hidden wholeness that parker palmer speaks of. it's just been quite a process, and i know it's not over yet.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

laughed until i couldn't breathe

you know when you watch something edgy and funny you're afraid to recommend it to anyone because you don't know if they'll be offended? well, this is like that, but i'm going to risk it because i truly haven't laughed that hard, or seen liam laugh that hard in such a very long time.

this is another reason to join netflix, i'm sure you'd never find this in the video store - 'billy connley: live: greatest hits'. okay, he is a master of the f-shot, so this is not for the weak at heart, and some of his glasgow stories are for the home town crowd, but when he get's on a roll i literally could not breathe. again - do not show this to children, it's not filthy like chris rock or profane just for the sake of profanity. it's just his style, but it was just what liam and i needed to lighten up. enjoy!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

quote from hannah coulter

Living without expectations is hard but, when you can do it, good. Living without hope is harder, and that is bad. You have got to have hope, and you mustn't shirk it. Love, after all, "hopeth all things." But maybe you must learn, and it is hard learning, not to hope out loud, especially for other people. You must not let your hope turn into expectation.

Wendell Berry, Hannah Coulter, pg. 146

peace on earth

will via dwight have reminded me that today is the international day of peace.

"The day," according to Kofi Annan "is meant to be a day of global cease-fire. I call on all countries and all people to stop all hostilities for the entire day. I also urge all people around the world to observe a minute of silence at 12 noon. Let us hold in our hearts the ideal of peace."
i cannot effect world peace, but i can calm my heart, breathe and cease fire with those in my home and community today. setting the alarm for 11:55 to observe that silent time with those around the world (at least in the eastern time zone). may god grant us peace today.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

jon bon jovi makes generous choice

Telegraph | Arts | 'I feel I've found my niche': "Instead of producing a video for his forthcoming single, Who Says You Can't Go Home, Bon Jovi is donating the cash that he would have spent to housing charity, Habitat for Humanity.

'That money is going to house four families,' he says. 'I'll be writing a cheque for a good portion of it personally and that's fine. It makes you feel good and you're doing it for the right reasons."

Street Prophets :: Faith and Politics

new blog alert

Street Prophets :: Faith and Politics: "I'm suspicious of manifestos for exactly the reason my friends wanted me to write one. That is, their major use seems to be to say who's in and who's out.

I hate saying who's in and who's out. It doesn't seem like a very Christian thing to do.

So, with all those preliminaries out of the way, here's the manifesto: Street Prophets is a place to talk about faith and politics. That's it. You're welcome to hang around here, on the condition that you're not a jerk or a hater."

raspberries to the new york times

i'm really irritated with the New York Times and their new 'subscription service'. i truly hope it irritates everyone else as much as me and the outcry forces them to open the doors again.

follow the great leadership of salon if you need to generate more revenue - but keeping those of us who faithfully follow the editorials from access is just crummy.

i can't afford it and won't pay it, but will gladly jump through hoops of commercials to have the priveledge to read kristoff and dowd. i can't imagine that the writers are happy about this either. gating off their thoughts behind a wall when open source has become the way of the world.

pppllllllllllllbbbbbbbbbbbbtttttttttttttt NYT!

Monday, September 19, 2005

big week

well, dad's home safe and we had an amazing day at church yesterday. we found a new one in one of the growing suburbs of the major city here and have gone for the past 2 weeks. it meets in the movie theatre and it's 2 years old.

the lead pastor (i don't think he calls himself that) and i have already had a better conversation than i ever had w/ the old sp in the full 5 years we had been at our last church.

yesterday he told, and told is the right word, he didn't preach, he just talked, about his biggest frustration being the questions 'when are we going to build a building?' liam and i sat there and had everything we had been saying for the past 2 years confirmed. our OLD church just went through a 5.4 million $ expansion, they paved paradise to put up their stinking parking lots and are now talking that it's too small and they have to 'grow again'... it sickened us as broader, not deeper growth was their goal. this illusion of the mega church just wearied our souls.

at the new church he spoke of growing people, not building projects, planting new works instead of super-sizing everything. they just celebrated their second anniversary yesterday and are already planting another church on the south side of the city, and have plans to do 3 more in the next 8 years. vibrant, relevant, life-giving churches. it was such a gift to liam and i to know that we aren't crazy.

the best thing about it is that our kids are really enjoying it too. they so needed something to replace all that we have left. this is really good for them too.

so, this week will be filled with things like real talks with my dad about moving, where he'll go if we head to canada, immigration issues and next. i'm tired of big decisions, tired of intense conversations and life changing so very quickly, but i know it's time. we need to get past some of this so we don't fritter away our decisions with indecision.

sunday night is also the OLD church's first business meeting since all of the fall-out. i know it will be on our radar screen all week. getting past the 24th will be a good thing too. i think we secretly want people to raise a big stink and come to our defense... i have to keep praying thy will be done... thy will be done... thy will be done... thy will be done... thy will be done... thy will be done...

have a great day!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Religion

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Religion: "I'm exploring theology as an art form."

works for me!





You Belong in Rome


You're a big city girl with a small town heart

Which is why you're attracted to the romance of Rome

Strolling down picture perfect streets, cappuccino in hand

And gorgeous Italian men - could life get any better?


What City Do You Belong in? Take This Quiz :-)



via

liam's lament

My wife got off the phone last night and told me about a friend of ours who's being crushed by our old church. Here's this mom - who's just found out she has a serious medical problem, with a husband who is so over-committed at church they can't get free of their obligations to care for themselves. They are financially strapped because his job doesn't pay him enough to support his family without a strict budget. They are getting by as best they can, dressing their kids in low cost and hand me down clothes, making do, saying no to extras- trying to get just a few more miles out of the car.

I can really sympathize - in fact I wept when I heard the news. I know these people - they are not grand and extravagant - rather sincere and cherish simplicity. The sane among us would say, "Well they need to be doing less for the church - and more for themselves!" and maybe even "How can he let his family live like that?" (Incidentally just a while ago you'd have asked the same questions of me.)

You see my friend WORKS for our old church as the worship pastor. Everyday (and I mean every day not five out of seven) he goes and pours himself out into the lives of this congregation - putting in long hours - both high profile, and wholly unnoticed.. Splitting appointments - trying to help as many people as he can - to do as much as he can - with the required smile.

But the inattentive, the oblivious, the disconnected - the plastic unenthusiastic don't see it. They ignore that most often for the staff, the church is the black hole of need that will just keep draining the staff (or whoever turns up). Since there is no community - nobody knows. The embarrassment keeps them silent and the expectations just linger. If the flock there knew they'd react at once I believe. But since life is not shared - since it is mostly just another division of Jesus Inc. they suffer - a multi-million dollar budget, and staff members that are scraping by to make ends meet. Pray for my friend and the systems both in his head and at his job that hold him frozen. Pray for his wife - she's terrified. Pray that God sends them help - cause I'm not too optimistic about the church coming through for this.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

anyone want to make a 7 year old's day?

hey all, my son buck has been nagging me lately to finish something i committed to do. i am ONE offer away from a nintendo game cube for him.

i have received my very own ipod, and got them a nintedo ds already - and i've just got to coerce one more person to complete an offer so he can get his game cube.

you only need to sign up for blockbuster for a month (i'll even paypal you the $$ to do so) or complete one of the other offers on the list. you can cancel most of them before you incur any costs. and they are spam free, but i'll also gladly set you up with a gmail account to sign up with.

it is a great way to get things that we can't really afford any other way. i'll even trade for a referral - i'll do an offer for you on another site if you do one for me!

can you tell i really want to get this 7 year old off my back? :)

here's the link.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

President Bush Addresses United Nations General Assembly

i have no idea what the numbers mean - but he showed up and spoke up - thank god!

President Bush Addresses United Nations General Assembly: "A third challenge we share is a challenge to our conscience. We must act decisively to meet the humanitarian crises of our time. The United States has begun to carry out the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, aimed at preventing AIDS on a massive scale, and treating millions who have the disease already. We have pledged $15 billion over five years to fight AIDS around the world.

My country is acting to save lives from famine, as well. We're providing more than $1.4 billion in global emergency food aid, and I've asked our United States Congress for $200 million for a new famine fund, so we can act quickly when the first signs of famine appear. Every nation on every continent should generously add their resources to the fight against disease and desperate hunger.

There's another humanitarian crisis spreading, yet hidden from view. Each year, an estimated 800,000 to 900,000 human beings are bought, sold or forced across the world's borders. Among them are hundreds of thousands of teenage girls, and others as young as five, who fall victim to the sex trade. This commerce in human life generates billions of dollars each year -- much of which is used to finance organized crime.

There's a special evil in the abuse and exploitation of the most innocent and vulnerable. The victims of sex trade see little of life before they see the very worst of life -- an underground of brutality and lonely fear. Those who create these victims and profit from their suffering must be severely punished. Those who patronize this industry debase themselves and deepen the misery of others. And governments that tolerate this trade are tolerating a form of slavery.

This problem has appeared in my own country, and we are working to stop it. The PROTECT Act, which I signed into law this year, makes it a crime for any person to enter the United States, or for any citizen to travel abroad, for the purpose of sex tourism in"

free month of netflix anyone?

hey there, just wanted to make this offer if anyone is interested. we have used netflix for over a year now and LOVE it.

we have access to all of the movies they never release in our area, and there is no hassle. make your queue online, pick your movies - they send them to your door with a prepaid return envelope - drop back in mail and get the next one on your queue. it's brilliant, really.

here's the link:

free netflix for a month.

offer expires september 28th. (our 18 year anniversary!)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

rising from the ashes

i responded to the email i received from the film-maker after our day by copying the blog post into the email and sending it to her as a thank-you.

i forgot to blog about the discussion we had about on that park bench where she told me of letters she wrote to people who wounded her. she and her therapist burned them, and then she was told to bury the ashes. there was a brown spot in the lawn near her apartment, so she choose that place to bury her ashes.

she noticed a couple of days later that a spunky little plant grew in that exact place. the ashes had nourished the soil and produced life.

she wrote some of the kindest words to me:

Whatever will grow at our park bench... I wonder whether it will be as beautiful, brave and strong as you are.
i really needed that this morning!

what does this mean?

as i was on the phone with pink's friend's mom (also my friend) last night we started to re-hash the mess of the church and the process. i got emotional and voiced my frustration that no one was being held accountable for their power-play.

we talked a bit more and i verbalized how important it is for those who have spiritual leadership to be held the most accountable and said 'one of them is still an elder'... she got quiet. too quiet. no, he's not. she said that last month at council meeting the new head elder announced that he has 'stepped down' because of 'sin' - whatever that means.

i didn't press for details, and i knew she had none to give, but this has raised 1000 questions in my head. he was the main brunt force behind all of this - his 'super spiritual' criticism of us and our 'post-modern' ways. was it because of his reaction to the new leadership confronting him in this process, or is there real, clear sin that disqualified him? were we used as a smoke screen to distract everyone away from his behavior? and why hasn't anyone come to talk to us about this? why hasn't anyone said 'er, sorry... we didn't know we had bigger problems (er sin...) than the relational ministry you were doing instead of the indoctrination a few people wanted you to do...'

ARGH! i hate when this stuff creeps back into my life. it's like the tank of our lives is allowed to settle and here comes the big spoon to stir it up again... what a mess. i think if i'm ever going to get a decent night's sleep again we need to finish this exit interview process. it has been playing havoc with my mind each morning at about 4:00 a.m. i've got too much going on to be functioning at these levels right now. too many big decisions at play.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

anyone else having problems with iTunes 5??

help! since i downloaded the updated itunes i have been unable to get it to load. i have 'repaired' it too many times to count.

i really want the new switchfoot 'nothing is sound' cd today and i can't get to it! very frustrating!

has anyone ever 'uninstalled' and reinstalled and updated from their ipod?? i'm so afraid to loose my song catalog. i've backed up cd's of all the purchased music, and real cd's of all of my other music, but don't want to have to take the time to reload everything - any advice?!?!

and what a time it was

a time it was
and what a time it was
a time of innocence
a time of confidences
long ago i had a photograph
preserve your memories
they're all that's left you

simon & garfunkle

i listened to this album ad infinitum as a teenager and these words always took me to a space of safety, a place of imagination, a place of beauty. these were the words that came to mind this morning as i pondered yesterday and all that happened.

yesterday will be a day marked in my memory of all that song pictures. it seems like a dream, like something other-worldly. so very different from my every day life. it was a gift, wrapped in a beautiful, big bow and handed to me in such a clear way that said, 'okay, it's time to own your story, right here, right now, this is for you.'

it was beautiful and redemptive and full of life and being present, emotion and hope. it was closure in it's perfect, redemptive sense. it was as if god had said 'i know you've been watching for redemption, i know you have longed to tell your story. i know you have been thwarted many times, today is the day of redemption.'

it started with a trip to my hairdresser. she is one of my favorite people in the world, she makes me seem like an total introvert, she is bubbly, effervescence and she hears me and pampers me. because of our trip to canada i had to cancel my regular 4 week appointment - it had been 2 months and my hair was out of shape and the change was dramatic. i felt confident and beautiful. i had on a new pair of jeans and a new top that god had left at goodwill just for me - they fit perfectly and followed 'the rules' and were very flattering. i was tempted to do the dress and heels thing, but i remembered that today was about me - just me - the inner part of me, and if i wasn't comfortable and confident it wouldn't be me on the screen, but some version of me i create to please someone else.

i went to the cafe where we planned to meet, they weren't there yet, and one of our students was working there. so we chatted and she went on about how pretty my hair looked, and i got a chance to tell her i was meeting my german film-makers who were coming from h-wood to meet with me (that was kind of fun). i got my double shot and turned around to find them there.

they were so euro i knew it had to be them, comfortably chic and obviously not from around our little 'county'. we sat at a table outside the cafe and talked about the locations they had scouted. they hadn't found anything they thought sounded like 'me' and asked if there was another place that was special to me. i told them of one of the old churches in the town that i had stumbled upon and asked to use their sanctuary for a day alone with god. it was a place of safety and healing. i knew if it worked out i would feel very comfortable there.

they asked to see it - and i prayed silently that they would allow us (total strangers) to use their facility to film me for the voice overs. they did and i still can't believe that feeling my heart had when she said 'action'. it made me smile deep inside as i walked up to the church doors knowing they were filming my 'backside' and being okay with that.

from there we went to the park to do the interview. a shady park bench along the river where i was given free rein to tell my story. this was being filmed by a wonderful german man in high definition, and it was amazing how they evaporated into the background and i felt as if i was truly talking with a friend. i felt so safe, so right, so free to tell my story.

i spoke of redemption and god not wasting anything if we allow it to be used. i spoke of the deep desire i had in joining the project to push myself out of my small controlled box and allow something i had written or created to be used, or abused by others. how i was prepared to let what i had contributed fly out into the world, but i was not prepared to have the control taken from me even before i participated. how that blind-sided me to have a person who knows nothing of me, other than my name and address so able to injure me with graphic images and hurtful words. how it raked up all of the mess i had just come through in recovering the memories of the rape and dealing with a life-time of self-loathing and ugly body images.

the film-maker asked me questions from off camera, knowing she would edit her voice out of the film and use my answers to build my story. it was such a joy to watch her creative process. to be so close to this artist as she built her vision around me. to glimpse the bigger picture that i was becoming a part of. it was why i originally wanted to participate in the journals project. to be a part of something grander and larger, and global - far removed from my dinky little town, and my dinky little life.

during a break she told me that she was the one who would be doing all of the editing and she had complete creative control. she respected my story and would not make this a painful process. she envisioned the extras features on the dvd being used to more fully flesh out our stories. the portion she puts into the film might be small, but the other parts might be used to tell 'my story' as a featurette at the end.

it was then i realized that this was larger than me. that god was going to use some small part of this to encourage others not to feel alone, not to feel like the only ones who are voiceless and wounded.

we ended with the images that were so hurtful. she had printed them off of the internet. i hadn't remembered how horrible they were. one of the pages he did was of his face - and it looked like one from a nightmare - close-up, blue and glowing - like he had photocopied himself. she asked me to speak of them. to talk of the emotions they stirred within me. it was the only time i cried (she teared up quite a few times while i was telling my story). then she asked me what i would have done if i had gotten the journal (it was either destroyed by the women who had it before me in the queue or 'lost in the mail' - i suspect the images injured her too and she destroyed the journal).

i told her of the power a book binding has to me - how holding that in my hand somehow makes it real. that is why i withdrew from the project, i didn't want to hold them in my hand. i said that i would have removed, shredded and burned them. she gave me permission to rip those pages up, and i threw them to the wind.

afterward i joked about how anti-litter i was and so we collected them and made a little pile and burned them right there in the park. sitting in the smoke of those pages it was clear, as i smelled the burnt paper - this is over. it no longer has any power over you.

the best part was right after i shredded the images 3 different types of butterflies flew by. i have used this metaphor since before this whole process started 5 years ago. i had read 'when the heart waits' by sue monk kidd and i was fed deeply by her image of the metamorphosis of the process of rebirth. seeing those butterflies honored that part of my story so beautifully, it was like ruach elohim had blown those winged friends my way to remind me that something here was being born anew.

it was four hours, intense hours, glorious hours that truly changed my life. i will remember them forever.

Monday, September 12, 2005

jayber crow quote

i just didn't want to loose this quote after i returned the book to the library.

If my bad night dreams needed daytime confirmation, I have not needed to leave the river to find it. It might seem to you that living in the woods on a riverbank would remove you from the modern world. But not if the river is navigable, as ours is. On pretty weekends in the summer, this riverbank is the very verge of the modern world. It is a seat in the front row, you might say. On those weekends, the river is disquieted from morning to night by people resting from their work.

This resting involves travels at great speed, first on the road and then on the river. The people are in an emergency to relax. They long for the peace and quiet of the great outdoors. Their eyes are hungry for the scenes of nature. They go very fast in their boats. They stir the river like a spoon in a cup of coffee. They play their radios loud enough to hear above the noise of their motors. They look neither left nor right. They don't slow down for - or maybe even see - an old man in a rowboat raising his lines.

The fisherman have the fastest boats of all. Their boats scarcely touch the water. They have much equipment, thousands of dollars worth. They can't fish in one place for fear that there are more fish in another place. For rest they have a perfect restlessness.

I watch and I wonder and I think. I think of the old slavery, and the way The Economy has now improved upon it. The new slavery has improved upon the old by giving the new slaves the illusion that they are free. The Economy does not take people's freedom by force, which would be against its principles, for it is very humane. It buys their freedom, pays for it, and then persuades its money back again with shoddy goods and the promise of freedom. "Buy a car," it says, "and be free. Buy a boat and be freely. Buy a beer and be free." Is this not the raw material of bad dreams? Or is it maybe the very nightmare itself?
Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow, pgs. 331-332.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

unsettled

we had an amazing week coming home and getting school started. being together as a family in our home and focusing on 'us'. i cooked the whole week and things flowed so naturally. it was really beautiful.

i should have seen it coming. after a great time away in canada and a good week at home i should have known that the down after the up was on it's way. i forgot. you see the up side was just so normal and natural, beautiful and balanced. no mountain-top time to come crashing down from. but i think the sustained positive time needed balanced some how with this funk i've found myself in.

because i was so blindsided by it i found myself eating my stress and avoiding my emotions. so today, i'm attempting to feel them and breathe, but the past couple of days have been filled with a lot of short fuses and angry outbursts. i can't remember the last time i was so crabby and unsettled. it has really been quite a long time when i start to look back. i guess this is a good thing, but i really HATE all of these emotions that are churning up inside of me.

another ingredient to this malaise stew may very well be the fact that the film-maker is flying in from h-wood tomorrow to interview me for the 1000 journals documentary. this is putting closure on a painful experience, but i think dragging it back up again is really making me deal with all of it like i might not have previously.

i blogged about it last year here and here.

i haven't even read those posts. i know i need to go back and do that now... brb...

wow, that was like a blast from the past. i hardly remember that optimistic woman i was this time last year... sigh. maybe this process will find her again?

i wrote:
i know my 30 seconds on film will have far less effect on the audience then they will have on me. this isn't about the project, even though it is an honor to participate, it's truly about god giving me an opportunity to find redemption in the midst of pain. feeling the feelings, crying the tears and allowing there to be hope and life because of it.
that's pretty good advice to give myself (one of the features of the blog i had never imagined...)

so tomorrow i'll be the one getting my hair done and heading to meet her and her assistant at the coffee house nearby to discuss what i've been avoiding for so very long.

i know this is about body image, about my feminine psyche, about the damage that the abuse, pornography and culture have done to those parts of me. i am not an object, i am not a cow (although it was the mantra i told myself all through high school 'fat cow'...), i am a woman, inside and out - both of which have become so very distorted over time. i know i want healing, redemption and understanding of my feminine soul - i just can't seem to even find the thread to follow on this one.

i have had stephanie paulsell's book 'honoring the body' on my sidebar and desk for the past six?, eight? months... and i honestly haven't cracked it, not once. i feel like such a hypocrite. like such a poser - a wannabe - i just long to find this person who is within, that imagio deo and embrace her, accept her and love her. i just don't know where to start.

maybe tomorrow i will be able to begin to find her by telling my story. honoring my path. please if you would pray for me - insecurity and film are a lethal combination. much love.

ps - i'm also contemplating owning my blog, coming 'out' and ridding the blog of it's anonymity. any advice?? caution?? encouragement?? i'd really appreciate your thoughts.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

color me purple


VIOLET



You surround yourself with art and music and are constantly driven to express yourself. You often daydream. You prefer honesty in your relationships and belive strongly in your personal morals.




Find out your color at Quiz Me!




thanks sushi!

screenshot

Thursday, September 08, 2005

steps out of the money pit

i received an email while on vacation that asked if i knew any good debt counseling companies. i explained that we received debt counseling through our old church, and they used crown financial services. i told her though that i would put out a call for recommendations if you have them. please - only if you've actually used the company/ministry, or can lead her to someone who has - this is a scary time in a person's life and falling into the wrong hands can be more wounding than no help at all. just leave a comment or email me and i'll happily forward them on to her.

i also committed to writing about how we climbed out of the hole that was our financial lives.

while all of the book work and all of the advice is helpful, the best motivation is actually desperation. i'm going to give some of my history first so that things make as much sense as possible.

i grew up in a home with white-knuckle, dry alcoholics who were never taught to care for their money. my father made a good wage, but he couldn't keep up with my mom's keeping up with the joneses and money was always a source of stress and frustration in our home. i regularly remember her saying 'the checkbook doesn't balance, lets go out for dinner'... great logic, eh?

looking backward i realize that my mother had the same processing disability as i and my daughter have, and so math (and cooking) were (and are for me too) very overwhelming. this was her way of 'simplifying life'... little did she know she was training me in some very broken behaviors.

our financial counselor would say 'bobbie - just balance your checkbook!' - (he was convinced that i was the detail person of the marriage - he was right, but that coupled with my 'mad math skills' made for a lethal combination). i'd look at him and say 'if i could balance my checkbook i wouldn't be here.'

you see we were in financial counseling - but it wasn't remedial enough. we were in primary school, but i needed to go back to 'pre-school' - so i did. unfortunately i didn't have a teacher. i had to construct the most basic financial foundation possible. it works, but you've got to work it. you will not be using any computer programs for this process - this is a re-learning of the basics. yes, there are easier ways to do it, but if they worked, we'd be using them already, right? this really works. it's not easy, but it's not hard either.

Supply list:

8 1/2 x 11" printer paper
3 ring binder - make it unique, easy to spot, not bulky (no trapper keepers please!)
3-hole punch
refillable pencils w/ refillable erasers
refills
calculator
mini stapler
cardboard file folder box w/ lid

step #1 - admit that you are powerless - it works for every other kind of recovery - financial recovery is no different. 'i can't do this god, i have made a mess of things'. (follow other steps in the process - if you don't know what they are you can find them here.)

to encourage you i'll add these:

the AA promises say:

• If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
• We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
• We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
• We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
• No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
• That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
• We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
• Self-seeking will slip away.
• Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
• Are these extravagant promises? We think not.
• They are being fulfilled among us-sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
• They will always materialize if we work for them.

(Big Book - pages 83-84)

i've bolded my favorite ones - especially that one about intuition - it's true, and really does happen. i LOVE that!

step #2 (or 13 if you're counting...) this is going to be the most difficult - but the discipline that comes from this will make you stronger and more committed to the process - consider it boot camp. you need to find out where you are in your checking account. i know that this is so hard it will make you want to quit before you've even started - but you can do it.

stop writing checks - i know it seems impossible, but it's temporary. let everything clear.

step #3 - look back over your statements and make sure that all of the numbers are in sync - with none missing. this might be hard if there are some missing and you have no record of checks written - did you void them or are they still out there?? what you need is a clear date and a clean number to start with so you can keep records from that point.

if you can't do this on your own your bank will help you with this. i know that it will take some wallowing through the shame to go to the bank with your account in hand, but they want to help you. just pray for a really helpful person and not one who wants to show you how smart she is...

find out what hasn't cleared and make a real list on a real sized piece of paper. total it if you can and minus it from what the bank says you have in your account. if you can't you still need that paper - DON'T THROW IT AWAY. punch 3 holes in it and put it into your binder.

WARNING - i know people will say 'oh just open a new account, start over' - PLEASE DON'T - easy never teaches us anything - it will be 4 months from now and you'll be in the same stew - but now with TWO disorganized checking accounts (because we never bothered to close the other one....) it's only the hard job of actually doing the work that forces us to maintain things. once we know how hard it is to get out of the hole it reminds us that we don't want to go back. monthly maintenance is easier than starting over.

the best friend you will have in this is SIMPLICITY - you are going for the most basic type of money management - one account - keep is simple.

rule #1 - you must have a paper trail. this means carbon checks - this is the ONLY way you will get out of this hole. if it was easy everybody would do it. it's not. and we aren't disciplined enough to actually write down every number in our checkbook ledger - so this is the first way to begin to give yourself that trail.

i know you'll think 'but i have all of these other checks here, it would be wasteful to throw them away'. tough, throw them away. find an online check company (don't go through your bank, they are too expensive. i have used promise checks, they don't need to be pretty, just make sure they are carbon.

rule #2 - throw away that cheap little check book holder. find an inexpensive wallet that has checkbook holder in it - you need a good large zipper pocket in it because you are going to save every piece of paper you touch. (receipts that is). (warning - don't let your partner carry the check book - putting it in a pretty wallet stops this most of the time - but if you are the person doing the work, you are the person with the checkbook).

and here is the hard part, especially if your partner has a.d.d (like liam). they MUST save them too. the only way to do this properly is to have a real paper trail, honest.

i threated liam all of the time that i'd have to take away his debit card and put him on a cash allowance if he didn't take this seriously. we've been doing this for over 2 years now - it really works.

step #4 - create a place in your home that can collect the paper - that file folder box needs to be accessible, i know it's not pretty, but neither is financial chaos. create a space and a routine that allows you to begin that paper trail.

rule #3: mail must be opened daily - remove bills and mailing envelopes, throw away original envelope and all of the junk that comes in each mailing. unfold the bills, clip the mailing envelope to it and highlight the due date. put organized bills into the file folder box too. nothing goes into the box that hasn't been opened though - i know bills are painful - but facing reality head on will get you farther than avoiding it. look at them, touch them, feel them, and feel the effect that they are having on you. it will help when you are making shopping choices to remember that feeling.

i think we'll stop here - there's lots more - i'll keep this going. i've wanted to organize this process for a long time, this is helping me to put it from 'start to finish' - as we didn't maneuver through this so cleanly. much of it was trial and error - but this is the best of what worked for us. please know i'm praying for you as you read this. you can do this.

my favorite line from a movie (and i can't wait to get it exactly right - will have to wait for the dvd) is from charlie and the chocolate factory where grandpa joe asks 'why would you let something as common as money spoil your dreams?' you are in control - money doesn't control you any longer. be brave, feel the emotions this brings to the surface - you are strong enough to feel them and get to the other side where it is safe to stand. god's peace.

rebuilding

i just received this information today:

Habitat for Humanity has launched a massive long-term rebuilding plan for families affected by Hurricane Katrina. They will be assembling materials to build houses. Then working with affiliates, churches, and others in communities all over the country, they will "pre-build" home frames and ship them to the Gulf Coast and New Orleans where families, volunteers and builders will build the homes. To read more about their efforts please visit their website at: habitat for humanity

as i sit in my warm, comfy home this morning i realize afresh how terrifying displacement and homelessness would be. god help them please.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Osama and Katrina - New York Times

Osama and Katrina - New York Times: "These are people so much better at inflicting pain than feeling it, so much better at taking things apart than putting them together, so much better at defending 'intelligent design' as a theology than practicing it as a policy."

spot on - leaves me speechless...

Whatever: Being Poor

Whatever: Being Poor

maybe barbara and the george's can give this a read and get a clue...

via laura

catsup, ketchup, catch-up

were to start? every time i try to write about katrina and the horror that it is i am prevented by so many deep emotions, sadness, fear and anger. so much has already been said, way better than i can say it. see here. so i will pass and keep praying, feeling inadequate and so very moved.

we're still unpacking and trying to get settled in. we got some good news last night that made us both take a deep breath. it's not a sure thing yet, but some of the influential people at the church who were as blind-sided with this as we were are holding the leadership's toes to the line and telling them that liam's severance shouldn't begin until he was finished with work, so we may be receiving another month and 1/2 of grace, which would take us to february and give us a much better amount of time to figure out what we're doing here.

we're getting some really good direction on that front too. some of the 'big hoops' are looking a bit clearer. liam has lived with 'his words' he chose for the path and is comfortable/happy with them, so those will be coming today to those who agreed to help us blend them into a meaningful sentence.

last sunday i felt such a need, like a thumb in my back, to check out 'the meeting house' in oakville while we were up north. so glad we did as we got to see path participant and friend lynne (mike todd's sister) - it was wonderful to see a friendly face and it was a great church, tre laid back and it reminded us that god truly isn't done with us yet.

so i will try to answer emails between school assignments today and catch up on so much of what went on while we were gone.

i made a commitment to blog on finances and getting out of debt to a new friend, and i really want to fulfill that commitment, so look for some posts on $$ coming soon.

love you all.

maggi dawn: I have not yet done that for which I was made

maggi dawn:

I have not yet done that for which I was made
:

"O Lord my God
teach my heart
where and how to seek you,
where and how to find you.
O Lord you are my God
and you are my Lord
and I have never seen you.
You have made me and remade me,
and you have bestowed on me all the good things I possess
and still I do not know you.

I have not yet done that for which I was made.

Teach me to seek you
for I cannot seek you unless you teach me
or find you unless you show yourself to me.
Let me seek you in my desire,
let me desire you in my seeking.
Let me find you by loving you,
let me love you when I find you.

St Anselm"

thanks maggie, we needed that today!

Monday, September 05, 2005

home

safe, sound and well rested. it feels great to be back home. school tomorrow - more later.