Monday, April 30, 2007

step 10

i have begun to ponder step 10 and what intentionally "doing" this step will look like for me.

Step 10: Continued to take person inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

i regularly take my inventory and make amends, apologize and keep my list short - but i know that there is more that i can do that will breathe life into this step (and me) if i take my time with it.

i have been contemplating the daily examen - i know anj has much experience with this in her "best and worst" and daily at supper we have our "highs and lows" conversation with our kids - but i really want to learn about this ancient practice and build it into my own spiritual disciplines.

anyone have any help, advice, experience, strength and hope to offer?? i probably won't read "spirit of the disciplines" or other involved works on the topic due to time and prior reading commitments - but i would love to read bits, blog posts, articles or chapters if anyone has "what worked for you" kind of input - i'd be eternally grateful!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

now we know why they sold it so cheap!


washer and dryer hooked up - turned on the dryer and instead of squealing like a stuck pig it jingled, crashed and jangled so loudly i wanted to cry.

it took us a minute to locate the noise and we realized it was money stuck in the fins of the dryer. liam pryed off the top and unloosened the nuts for the fins and we found $13.45 in the dryer - and more lint than you can imagine!

those 6 little orbs are actually lint balls - solid little puffs of lint - i think i'll send them to RLP so he can sell them on ebay or give them as christmas presents in his white elephant gift exchange next year!

$13.45 - how could they not fix it - it took liam about 15 minutes - some people... their laziness is our gain i guess.
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decisions and rules

oh my goodness - this quote has so many repercussions - it just popped up on my google page and i had to put it here to remember to write about it:

"The truth is that many people set rules to keep from making decisions."

Mike Krzyzewski

who the heck is mike krzyzewski you ask? deep spiritual thinker? nope, basketball coach of the Duke Blue Devils - whoda thunk it? this is so big i can't wait to drag it into the church and unpack it there... later though - my laundry room awaits!

we are getting a "new" to us washer and dryer today - my dryer has been squealing like a stuck pig since lent and today we are getting a matching pair - only 3 years old for $200 CDN! yippee! god is so good!

Friday, April 27, 2007

god laughs & plays - david james duncan

this review has been staring me in the face for months - i finished the book (which took far too long - but it was too rich to read quickly) back during march break, but because my kids were home i couldn't string two intelligent thoughts together to actually write it then. so today i will be writing this and giving it far less passion that i would have (unfortunately) written with at the close of the book - but i will do my best to give it the regard i think it is due.

david james duncan is mind-blowing for me - i don't agree with nearly everything he writes - but it was like sitting down to a celebration turkey dinner - eating the meat and leaving the bones - the meat was some of the most juicy, tender, rich meat that i have ever found. he writes with the passion of a man who has spent much time pondering and in tune with both god and nature and thinking big deep thoughts that spring from that time alone.

thoughts he wasn't churning from others - but from a furnace rooted within himself - i loved the originality of many of this thoughts - thoughts i had never been exposed to and introductions to concepts that are fuel for my own furnace. thank you.

my truly favorite part of the book i have already blogged on here:


i loved being introduced to duncan's inspiration - meister eckhart and his dear friends the benguines - women of incredible passion, love of god and the heart of being christ to their world. it is one of my life's goals to emulate them, learn more about them and one day begin a benguinage in their honor. duncan's honor of this mystical female touched something subterranean within me and gave a structure to the passion i have to create community and a sustainable, creative lifestyle that truly reaches to the heart of helping those most in need of this life. i truly had no idea that women like these had gone before without being nuns. it truly was life changing for me.

most of the time i read this book i found pencils far away - so i ended up dog-earing my copy of the book so much - the deeper the turn of a corner the more profound the affect the idea put forth resonated with me.

the deepest corner points to the time in the chapter entitled "De-bore-HA!" when this grade-school storyteller realized that loosing his life in the story he told was part of christ's very own words "He that loseth his life shall save it." He also quotes Flannery O'Connor "No art is sunk in the self, but rather, in art the self becomes self-forgetful in order to meet the demands of the thing seen and the thing being made." And W.H. Auden "To pray is to pay attention to something or someone other than oneself. Whenever a man so concentrates his attention - on a landscape, a poem, a geometrical problem, an idol or the True God - that he completely forgets his own ego and desires, he is praying."

this gave me back something i had lost. i'm still furnacing what that is, but the beauty of being lost in creation as a prayer to the creator deeply moves me in at a level so deep i have rarely felt it's equal.

the other deep place i found in the book was when he spoke of trying to verbalize a deep spiritual moment of loss in his life and finds words strangely inadequate:
"When I later tried to write of the experience, I ran into a familiar wall: the event had not really been personal, it had been spiritual, and only the spirit has spiritual experiences. So when the limited "I" tries to write of such experiences that the soul and mystery of them vanish and what remains are what Merton calls "itsy-bitsy statues" of a spiritual experience.

I abandoned my attempt. Years passed. Then one day, while I was lost in the effort to create a long work of fiction, a character in my story unexpectedly, almost effortlessly underwent the very experience that I, as an "I" had been unable to capture at all."
this is why fiction is so important. this is why tolkein and lewis had to create another world to tell their stories - this is why we must keep reading and writing and watching the stories, because the truth dwells there in such a safe way that our hearts are able to find it when we are ready. this is why story finds such a sacred place in my soul. it gives voice to the "I" when I am unable to find it alone.

i think too that this is why it is so hard to blog on a trip to africa (mike) or my experience at "the path" at linwood house years ago - those deep places were spiritual, not personal - we find there truths that will filter into and out of our lives in ways that are not intentional. no personal words will do - they would only be 'itsy-bitsy statues' instead of the tribute we long to give them as they have played such monumental places in our lives.

i also blogged the last highlight i want to make here in a post for lisa samson - all of us who have the author buried deep in our souls need to know this truth. duncan understands this and verbalizes it so importantly here that i'm going to quote it again. i truly believe that one of the best ways to live out kingdom compassion and justice is by telling stories:

One of our greatest human traits is compassion, which means, literally "to suffer with another." But this high art is seldom born in an instant as a response to watching the TV "news," or even in response to firsthand experience. More often compassion's seeds are sewn via preliminary magic known as empathy. And empathy begins with a fictive act; What would it be like to be that black girl four rose in front of me? a little white girl wonders in school one morning. Her imagination sets to work, creating unwritten fiction.

In her mind she becomes the black girl, dons her clothes, accent, skin, joins her friends after school, goes home to her family, lives that life. No firsthand experience is taking place. Nothing "newsworthy" is happening. Yet a white-girl-turned-fictitiously-black is linking skin hue to life, skin hue to choice of friends and neighborhood, skin hue to opportunity and history. Words she used without thinking - African, color, white -- feel suddenly different. And when her imaginary game is over they still sound different. Via sheer fiction, empathy enters a human heart.

To be a Christian, a Buddhist, a Muslim, is to immerse oneself in unstinting fiction making. Jesus's words "Love they neighbor as thyself," to cite a famously ignored example, demand an arduous imaginative act. This deceptively simple line orders me, as I look at you, to imagine that I am seeing not you, but me, and then to treat this imaginative me, alias you, as if you are me. And for how long? Till the day I die!

Jesus orders anyone who's serious about Him to commit the "Neighbor = Me" fiction until they forget for good which of the two of themselves to cheat in a business deal or abandon in a crisis or smart-bomb in a war -- at which point their imaginative act, their fiction making, will have turned Christ's bizarre words into a reality and they'll be saying with Mother Teresa, "I see Christ in every woman and man."

True, the ability to love neighbor as self is beyond the reach of most people. But the attempt to imagine thy neighbor as thyself is the daily work of every literary writer and reader I know. Literature's sometimes troubling, sometimes hilarious depictions of those annoying buffoons, our neighbors, may be the greatest gift we writers give the world when they become warm-up exercises for the leap toward actually loving our neighbors. Ernest Hemingway's is the definitive statement about this. "Make it up so truly," he said, "that later it will happen that way." This, I dare say, is Christ-like advice, not just to those practicing the art form known as fiction writing, but to anyone trying to live a faith, defend the weak, or sustain this world through love.

as you can tell, this book moved me deeply. i look forward to reading duncan's fiction. while i can't recommend every thought or premise he ponders and writes on i will highly recommend this book for anyone who longs to write, think deeply on spiritual truth and enjoys the natural beauty of a trout stream from the eyes of one who i imagine finds god there.

disclosure: i was provided this book through adam walker cleaveland's blog pomomusings and triad institutes generosity.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


to the best of my ability i have truly and honestly finished step 9 today. i am a puddle.

Step 9 - Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

i have been praying for the past couple of weeks that god would bring to mind any other amends i might have missed - but today i finally received a response for the amend i had been putting off for years.

and it was the most gracious, loving response - from someone i love dearly - and i have grieved the loss of this relationship for over a decade. today i feel like i might have it back. it means the world to me.

this man was my boss during my 10 years in hamilton. he was the most engaging, passionate, intelligent, fun person i have ever had the honor of working with. he was also the first man who really truly listened (minus my husband, who still to this day struggles with this, but his heart is there) to me, sought my input and honored my skills. i loved him dearly, and he loved us back.

he was also incredibly generous. we owed him money. money we just could never seem to find to repay him. so it just got easier and easier to avoid that contact, sometimes it even dropped totally off of our radar screen like it never happened. but then cracks would appear in the denial and i would grieve again the loss of the relationship and the shame of the debt would drive me back into my addictions.

we even at one point sent a letter that went unanswered - and so i assumed that my effort was enough. it was not. i knew in my heart that i was not done with this. i have googled his name 100's of times, hoping to find an email address that could find it's way to him. i finally found one a couple of weeks ago and sent it. it was a email address where applicants could send their resumes to the company he owns. it was a shot in the dark hoping it would get to him - and today, about 10 minutes ago i received a response.

i called liam in from the other room as i just couldn't read it alone. my stomach was flipping and my hands were shaking. the subject line said "great to hear from you" - so that was encouraging, but still it was scary to see if the friendship once shared was strong enough to endure the silence of this past decade. he was so excited to hear from us and updated me on all of his kids and how much his business has grown and then he wrote this:

As for the money you owe us I would forget about it-it's long gone and it
appears for a while there you really needed that relief from financial burdens so forget it happened and so will we.

Please keep in touch and hopefully if and when you're in the area we'll be able to spend some time together and catch up.

grace received is such a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

confession and forgiveness

i have a lot of thoughts brewing on this as liam and i are doing some deep work here. i think we've uncovered something that i haven't heard anyone write on or talk about before. i'm trying to see if it resonates "out in the real world" or if it's just between us...

becoming un-meshed has been part of working my program these past couple of months. i have lived vicariously through liam for our whole 23 years together. it started because of bad theology and coming from a family of addictive behavior - but it's not working for either of us and i have found that being intentional in this regard is helping so much.

becoming un-meshed has allowed for so much more clarity in our interactions and i have spotted some areas recently that have consistently tied us into knots for the whole of our married lives. one of those massive tangles comes in the area of confession and forgiveness.

i will try to write about this with respect to liam's story being his own - but so you know that the areas that do touch his story are added with his blessing.

as i've written before my dearest husband is one of the gentlest souls i know. he would never intentionally hurt me, or anyone else i think. he struggles with intention and has to work very hard to live in that space. it is his virtue and his vice. one of the ways in which this manifests is that because he never intentionally hurts me he assumes that he hasn't hurt me.

therein lies the rub. what we have untangled here is an area that goes to the root of one of the miscommunication areas we regularly find ourselves in. i am injured, he is confused, he is sad i am injured and apologies to me.

looks like it's working - but it's not. this is the knot we have had to unravel in the past few months and it finally twisted free the other day.

i was finally able to listen to the words he used and actually heard his apology. he said "i'm so sorry that i hurt your feelings" - i realized at that moment it sounded an awful lot like so many of his other apologies - "i'm" what i realized is that his apology wasn't dealing with his behavior - but my response to his behavior.

i asked if we could stop the current conversation and deal with the over-problem that i saw that was bringing this issue up so frequently lately. he agreed and i tried to explain what i saw.

instead of apologizing for the behavior that hurt me liam was apologizing for my feeling badly - so i had been actually forgiving him for me feeling badly. instead of apologizing for his own actions he was really obtusely saying "i'm sorry that you're fragile" or "i'm sorry that you aren't strong enough to weather this" - i truly believe that this is an area that leads back to him not really feeling like his 'unintentional' action warranted an apology. he believed in his heart that since he didn't "try to hurt me" he really didn't have anything to apologize for - but did so just to clear the road.

kind of "well, if this is what it takes to move the discussion forward -i'm sorry - there is that better?"

what i tried to help him understand is that confession really isn't for the person you are confessing to - but confession is for the self - the one - it is the tool that brings freedom from shame - i confess to god, to myself and another human being the exact nature of my wrongs FOR ME - not for them. god doesn't need me to confess my sin for him - he has given me confession as a tool because he knows that by saying it out loud i am owning it and then receiving the glory of forgiveness, and the healing that it brings.

if we are unable to confess from our own moral inventory - even the things we "didn't mean to do" we are then free from them and don't carry their shame any more. a true confession and apology should never have the words "i'm sorry you..." in them. confession is an "I" and "I" alone kind of tool.

does that make sense? i think he understood it and we both felt like the strands of that tangle came free. what do you think?

Friday, April 20, 2007

thinking blogger meme

sarah louise of the many pink sneakers was kind enough to nominate me as one of her 5 thinking bloggers - it's a meme you've probably seen floating around the blogosphere.

the part i play is following up by naming 5 blogs that make me think - far too many have already been nominated, but i think i have 5 on a list that i at least haven't seen post their 5 - so hopefully i don't overlap.

willzhead - i emailed will about 2 months ago because i had an 'ah-ha' - i had been grieving how frail tony campolo seemed at the last NYWC (he looked FANTASTIC on the hour last month, so i'm not so freaked out anymore) but i was telling god that he had better get on the stick and raise up another prophet quickly to fill tony's shoes - i had a sense after that prayer that god said 'it will take many to fill those shoes" - and will samson was one of those people i know god is going to use to speak into these deep places that tony has always proclaimed. i have yet to meet will and his amazing wife - but hope to one day!

waving or drowning
- mike todd is another prophet whose voice i adore. he is so passionate and gifted and i can't wait to see the platform god is going to give him. i have had the opportunity to meet mike a few years ago at linwood house, an incredible ministry he and his wife work very closely with.

the corner
- bob carlton is a most gracious man -with a sense of humor and the ability to tie together spirit, truth, concept and life in a beautiful way. he regularly makes me think and i can't count how many times he's given word to thoughts that have been hovering on the edges of my mind that haven't found words yet.

best and worst
- my anj - oh my anj - she has a perspective on life and love that i've never found in anyone else before. she makes me think and feel and understand and fathom thoughts and ideas that i have to reach on my tippy, tippy toes and can only brush with my fingertips. like that ripe piece of fruit just teasing me on the tree branch over my head. she is strong, she is opinionated and she is woman - i love to hear her roar! - renee, iphy - she's the reason i'm here. reading her words gave me hope that my own story had value. her's has touched my life in the deepest places. places i had blocked out, long ago forgotten, places that i didn't even ever want to know existed. renee lives in those places with integrity and honesty that is so brutal and beautiful - she's like the deepest color of purple that exists - so dark and rich are her words.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

it is not an either/or world

found today at inward/outward

Reclaiming Ourselves

A great deal of energy goes into the process of fixing and editing ourselves. We may have even come to admire in ourselves what is admired, expect what is expected, and value what is valued by others. We have changed ourselves into someone that the people who matter to us can love. Sometimes we no longer know what is true for us, in which direction our own integrity lies.

Reclaiming ourselves usually means coming to recognize and accept that we have in us both sides of everything. We are capable of fear and courage, generosity and selfishness, vulnerability and strength. These things do not cancel each other out but offer us a full range of power and response to life. Life is as complex as we are. Sometimes our vulnerability is our strength, our fear develops our courage, and our woundedness is the road to our integrity. It is not an either/or world. In calling ourselves "heads" or "tails," we may never own and spend our human currency, the pure gold of which our coin is made.

Rachel Naomi Remen, Source: Unknown

Monday, April 16, 2007

glow in the dark lives

i celebrated a milestone yesterday - 7 1/2 years of abstinence from sexual addiction, chocolate and some other destructive behaviors. it was wonderful to mark this anniversary with serenity and the knowledge that i have been really working my program.

part of my abstinence includes the discipline of sitting on the edge of my bed every night before i go to sleep and reading the "next" part of wherever i am in the bible. i pick whichever book interests me and read it through, pick another book and read it through. while reading in james (i come back to him frequently) i noticed a verse i hadn't seen before - james 5:10 - "Take the old prophets as your mentors" - i have always wanted a mentor and had been avoiding the old testament as of late, the warring and violence (and plain old inconsistencies irritate me) - but i love james and thought "what the heck, maybe i'll read one of those old prophets to see what he means".

so i started isaiah - crap it's long. and lots of it is crash and burn religion, it was hard to get through it - but somehow on easter i was actually at isaiah 53 - uncanny timing, and last night i had progressed to isaiah 58 (i only read the "next portion - however peterson divides it, that's what i read). i thought 'oh man, now i'm to the good stuff' - yes, i have read isaiah before - it's just that the NASB and the NIV are just like reading someone else's mail to me - the message draws me in, makes it personal some how.

i awoke this morning to find that my dear friend erin was reading my mail

Marking this place...

“You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, making the community livable again.” Isaiah 58:12
for those of you who don't know erin is a highly skilled renovation carpenter, she is so humble she probably wouldn't tell you herself - but this verse is HER - turns out i was reading HER mail!

read the rest and see if it's your mail too:

This is the kind of day I'm after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
cancel debts.

What I'm interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.

Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.

If you get rid of unfair practices,
quit blaming the victims,
quit gossiping about other people's sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.

I will always show you were to go.

I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places --
firm muscles, strong bones.

You'll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.

You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.

You'll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
make the community livable again.

Isaiah 58:6-8, 9-12

mentor me isaiah!

patriarchy and racism on the radio

gwen ifill graciously speaks for those who won't be heard. thank you gwen, your grace speaks volumes to me.

Trash Talk Radio - New York Times: "So here’s what this voice has to say for people who cannot grasp the notion of picking on people their own size: This country will only flourish once we consistently learn to applaud and encourage the young people who have to work harder just to achieve balance on the unequal playing field.

Let’s see if we can manage to build them up and reward them, rather than opting for the cheapest, easiest, most despicable shots."

does dieting make you fat?

this was something i figured out early on and decided that i wanted to be at a size and weight that i could maintain with my abstinence. it's never been about being skinny for me - just a healthier body/mind/soul - i am back at that place now and it feels very manageable.

Does Dieting Make You Fat? - CBC News

Friday, April 13, 2007

my ancestors were survivors

never had a chance... sigh... mix this gene with addictive behavior and whaa-laaa...

Genetic link found for obesity: "People who had two altered copies of the gene were about three kilograms heavier on average, and had a 70 per cent higher risk of obesity than people with no copies of the gene. Those with one copy had a lesser but still elevated risk of having a higher fat mass."

Thursday, April 12, 2007


i have made two amends today by email - the people involved are too far away to do face to face. i have one more to make today and then a phone call to clear the decks with a friend locally.

i am using the anxiety i'm having about the phone call to spur me on to making the amends i have set aside for months (years for one) and it's working. instead of eating the anxiety i am pouring the energy it gives me into moving foward and working my program.

this past week has been full of massive ah-ha's, answers to prayers and revelation. the penny dropped yesterday on a stalled area between liam and i - and the revelation truly felt miraculous. the images and ah-ha's we had could only have come from god - answers to about a dozen questions we have had - it was like a curtain lifted and we were given insight into some really destructive behavior we both have that has been foiling intimacy, healing and recovery.

now the work begins - but at least we have a starting point.

it feels like the logjam has been freed for me - like a hinge has turned and opened a door that has long been stuck shut. i have answers to questions and prayers i didn't know i was even asking.

resurrection is happening in places that have long been dormant and dead. spring is arriving and life is being made new. it's terrifying, emotional and wonderful.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

too busy cleaning to blog

i'm ridding the house of all virus/cold/infestation germs today - loads and loads of laundry and bleaching everything in sight.

i leave you with my absolutely favorite slice of british comedy - mitchell and webb - this is the one "fit to link to" here on my blog - but if you are brave and have a strong stomach for edgy humor search you tube for "mitchell webb green clarinet" - their scooby doo sketch is also really funny too!

Monday, April 09, 2007

feeling better

well, pink, buck and i are all feeling much better today - and poor liam was up all night sick. our plans were to head to the "big city" to shop today - and break our spending fast for lent. pink's birthday it tomorrow and liam said for us to go without him.

as i was standing at the mirror this morning i looked at my body and realized that there was something different. i haven't weighed myself in months (the scale helps me with reality because i always imagine myself to be fatter than i really am - or my brain thinks i'm gaining weight and i'm not really) - and i have lost 12 lbs. - i am lower than i any time since having kids. i am in shock.

i have been loathing myself for the past 2 months feeling like a big, fat failure - and i wasn't. i've been doing the work, tracking my food, going to meetings, but still my brain was telling me that i was still the lump of nothing i have been telling myself for the past 30 years.

i know that loosing weight doesn't all of a sudden make me something - and this is always a danger spot for me - as soon as the compliments start coming and people start to notice i'm not invisible anymore i get all panicky and begin padding myself again.

so today we're headed south and celebrating resurrection - somehow my body knew better than my mind that the work i've been doing has been working.

keep coming back...

Sunday, April 08, 2007

still sick

frustrated as i am too dizzy and weak to head to church. pink is still fevered and feeling sick too. i really needed this easter service. i needed the resurrection after this long winter. i have to admit i'm quite put out about not being able to celebrate today.

the ham sits in the fridge and the side dishes will have to wait. liam said he'd cook, but why make such a huge meal for just he and buck to eat. you know i'm sick when i haven't eaten anything in 24 hours. gross. having to put the eggs out this morning for the hunt just about slayed me. did you know that hard boiled eggs stink? gag.

christos a inviat! adevarat, a inviat!

we have inherited the custom of my romanian orthodox step-father-in-law - they have an easter tradition where each family member takes a hard boiled egg and then the WWF of the egg world takes place - one person says "christos a inviat!" (christ is risen) and clicks their egg down on the egg of the other family member while they reply "adevarat a inviat!" (he is risen indeed) - whoever's egg does not crack continues to challenge family members until one egg reigns supreme. i just couldn't stomach it this morning. so we'll save our eggs, traditions and big meal for tuesday when it is pink's 11th birthday, and we're all (hopefully) feeling healthy again.

christos a inviat! adevarat, a inviat!

would love some of that resurrection power myself this morning.

happy easter all. pray you're celebrating in my stead.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

i can't be sick it's easter!

well - i kept avoiding the head cold going around and got the stomach flu instead. to say i feel wrung out and hung to dry would be an understatement. the norwalk virus is going around and even quarentined the local 2nd floor of the hospital - so that's probably what we got a hold of. dang.

i'm also feeling really "homesick" - missing my family and hating being so very far away...

i was able to get out today before it really hit and get some groceries and easter candy for a couple of families in our community. i love dropping off groceries - it's better than being santa.

happy easter.

Friday, April 06, 2007

my hero on my favorite show

my hero on my favorite show - 'the hour' is one of the most thought provoking, interesting hours on television - be sad you don't have access to the cbc - but enjoy george stroumboulopoulos (say that 10x fast!) on you tube if you get a chance. he asks intriguing questions and takes interviews in really intense directions. people feel safe with him and they open up - this interview is over 9 minutes - but worth watching the whole piece.

i kept checking back to see if they had loaded this clip yet, but just saw it on the church of the exiles blog - thanks jordon!

spoiler alert!

Savage Chickens: Good Friday Cartoon

my reflection in your eyes

Your eyes, twins of justice and mercy,
make me understand clearly
why Turkish warriors
scratched out the eyes of the icons
before looting treasure from ancient churches.
Haunted in the dark, cool, candlelit spaces-
(muscles gleaming, armor intact,
dagger clutched in hairy fist)
by the reflection in your eyes
of their own guilt.
Those dark pools of light that cause me
to forget who I am-
aware only that here is a door into
something infinitely greater than
my own white-washed tomb of a heart.

by Kristen McCarty - found at the matthew's project website

Thursday, April 05, 2007

blog against sexual violence - women around the globe

i noticed this gridblog at dry bones dance (she has a MUST read article for every parent/youth pastor/church worker) today and have recently been reading so many articles and news reports about women globally, i thought maybe i would draw some attention to these to remind us that we are not alone in kicking at the darkness.

global issues facing women are making the news - and it seems like something is breaking - real attention is beginning to be drawn to women's issues - keep shining the light:

first steps...

BBC NEWS | Africa | Ugandan adultery law 'too sexist'

one down, how many more to go?

Female genital mutilation banned in Eritrea - health - 05 April 2007 - New Scientist

from tammy jo and the CBE scroll:

nicholas kristof has a moving article exposing some of the ugly underbelly of what continues to happen in pakistan and how wives and women are treated:

Sanctuary for Sex Slaves

that coupled with the firing of the chief justice of pakistan, one who was working toward the betterment of the backwards laws and righting the corruption of the police department makes things desperate indeed.

ANAA's president Dr Amna Buttar met the suspended Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry

as a survivor of sexual violence i know the damage that one moment in time can have on a person - please be aware of what is happening in your area of influence - is there a young girl who has no light in her eyes? is there a woman at work who just seems to be more accident prone than the rest of us? where can you shine the light today?

you can't be sick it's a snow day!

coo coo coo coo coo...

welcome to the great white north... sigh. snow days in april - so much for spring.

i told both of my kids this morning "you can't be sick today" - both had puzzled looks - "because it's a snow day" - yay! so now we have a 5 day weekend instead of a 4 day weekend. but that also means we have SNOW. i am sick of winter, i am sick of winter, i am sick of winter... sigh.

have a wonderful day wherever you are and just be thankful if you can see green grass!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

home to snow!

ha - i asked you to pray that there wasn't snow up north - we had lovely weather up north, but came home to 3" of snow here!

i had an amazing time away - just what i needed. we stripped wallpaper in 3 rooms and prepped and painted their bedroom. lots of good, hard work, and wonderful deep time together. i will miss having this friend close by - but know that these few hours between won't be too far to traverse to spend more deep quality time together.

sick boy today - we're going to snuggle on the couch and watch the princess bride together. hope you're doing well.

Monday, April 02, 2007


out of town for a couple of days with a girlfriend - should be a nice change of pace. please pray as we head north that we don't hit any SNOW, i think that would just wreck it all emotionally for me. we've got nice weather here in "the south" (ha!) but it's still pretty chilly.

hold down the fort while i'm away - have a great day!

via crucis grid blog: in remembrance of me

via crusis grid blog 2007 - in remembrance of me

Holy Week Stations (Phillipine version)
April 2
1. Jesus institutes the Eucharist

Luke 22:19-20

And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

do this in remembrance of me

i think i heard those words once a week my whole childhood. my church had little ceremony. it was a very plain service, no instruments, no candles, no altar - just a small sign above a plain wooden pulpit that said "What think ye of Christ?", and a wooden table with these words carved into them:


atop it sat 2 silver-plated wine goblets filled almost to the brim with mogan david wine and 2 silver-plated platters, one loaf of sentry foods white bread (unsliced) and a white starched napkin. on the floor sat two hexagonal, oak wooden offering boxes with a large oval slice in the top and little brass hinges and a tiny brass clasp.

i stared at those items every week for at least an hour on sunday mornings, and at least two other hours - minus the communion table and elements during the rest of the week.

i barely have to close my eyes to remember it all because it might be etched on the back of my eyeballs. i can smell the fresh bread and the sweet smell of the wine even now.

broken bread, fermented grapes. do this in remembrance of me.

always full of questions "WHY" was ever on my mind, and rarely on my lips. bread and wine. WHY?

i still don't know, other than it translates into nearly every culture on the globe in some form or another. the basics of life. elemental it seems.

and yet two elements that i, as an addict struggle with the most.

the wine has been far from my lips for decades as i realized after high school that it would mean death to me. somehow i knew deep in my heart that if i continued to drink alcohol i would be dead soon after.

from there i turned to bread. elemental.

communion is the basic things of life. sharing the table. community incarnate.

bread and wine. WHY?

broken for you, poured out for you. WHY?


i know if i can understand this one day i will be much farther along in my recovery, much closer to the truth of the basics of my life that god longs for me to understand. WHY? i do not know.

the service was called "The Lord's Supper", or "The Breaking of The Bread" - it was never eucharist in my experience. It did not transubstantiate or consubstantiate in my world - it was always and only sentry white bread and mogan david wine. ever and always. elemental.

broken for you, poured out for you.

ever loving the story i am so grateful to the son of god for giving me such elemental icons to remember. every bite i chew, every swallow i take, elemental.

we would spend one hour each week focusing on the "Lord's death until He come". not his life, not his birth, not his resurrection. but his death. elemental.

the basic of basics. it could not be less ornamental, less liturgical, less codified. just men, moved by the holy ghost praying, giving out hymns and sharing scripture - all focused on the death of christ. until 10:15 - when as if given a holy shove a brother would rise and give thanks for the bread. another brother would slowly walk to the front of the chapel, stand at that table, dig his fingers deep into that bread and pull it apart. he'd set it down with one half on each silver-plated platter. another brother would rise, they would pass the platters, hand to hand, criss-crossing the 15 pews - no aisle - until all had participated, though none unworthily. the bread platters were returned to the front of the church, and the brother would reassemble the loaf of bread, stacked back together like some grocery store food puzzle and the white starch napkin would be shaken out and set over the bread like some holy loin cloth. i never knew why.

another holy shove and a brother would rise, give thanks for the cup and the same two brothers would now pass the wine from pew to pew. i can still feel the wine burning deep into the back of my young throat, making my eyes water. the smell stayed with me as if i had tred the grapes with my own feet. there was no covering of the wine goblets as it was time to grab the small oak hexagons and pass them hand to hand until it was time for announcements.

somehow i wonder if that is really communion. was that really what our lord was instituting? it was special, sacred even - but i have always questioned if it was the meal we were supposed to duplicate, not the practice. communion... community...

this was so sterilized and proper. so little like that last supper we were remembering. i'm sure that one smelled far more elemental. those swarthy men, the roasted lamb, the bitter herbs and the sweet charoset. elemental.

i in no way wish to impugn the practice of any church and their tradition, let alone the one i was raised with. i am just sitting with the idea of the bread and wine and where it has brought me today.

i still am in a church with very little formality or liturgy. but it is far less sterile. much community happens during our communion. tears are shed, hugs are given, prayers are prayed. small round loaves of homemade bread now, grape juice now, even some swarthy men in attendance. no roast lamb, no bitter herbs - but much done in remembrance of him.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

palm sunday

i found milton's blog through real live preacher - and it's been such a wonderful gift through this lenten season. today's post puts into words how i feel this morning ready for worship:
At our church, we begin by gathering before church in the garden to bless the palms and then we process, singing, into the church to begin worship. The idea is wonderful and has been logistically challenging to coordinate the singing on the outside of the building with the music and singing on the inside. We’ve tried several things – opening windows (too cold), strategically placing choir members along the path – and some have worked better than others. Over the years, we’ve gotten better at it and we’ve learned that part of the deal is those of us processing into the church are never going to be exactly in sync with those inside until we all get inside together. That was never the point. We process because we, like the people in Jerusalem that day, are trying to understand who Jesus is and what he has done for us.

The first time around, I’m sure there was a much smaller gathering of the faithful at Golgotha than on what we have come to call Palm Sunday. Even the first Easter was not so well attended. I wonder how many years on it was before churches began putting out extra seating for the “Easter crowd.” I don’t know of any minister who doesn’t wonder what could be done to get more of those who come primarily on Christmas and Easter to participate more regularly and meaningfully in the congregation. The reasons for why people don’t find a more significant connection are as varied as the number of them who come: grief, pain, indifference, priorities, hurt feelings, time, to name a few. But on Easter, and maybe even Palm Sunday, they’re in the room.

Let’s start there. Don’t worry about the timing. Feed them.

I have mixed feelings as we gather in the garden with our palms each year. We wave our fronds and sing hosanna, emulating the people who welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem, yet, as I read the story, we are emulating people who sort of missed the point. The king they were cheering for was not the one coming to town. Jesus rode into town on a donkey, not a valiant steed. Did they not notice that as they cheered? Whether fair-weather or faithful, few if any knew where the path they lined with their coats was heading. My feelings get mixed because I have a hard time coming to terms with identifying with them, which I need to do if I’m going to get to Easter. I miss the point too, even though I’ve always waved my palms knowing where the story goes. I still miss the point, sometimes.
read the whole post here and add him to your bloglines, you won't be disappointed!;

don't eat alone

ficus on the family??

Update: okay - I might be the most gullible - but I still can't believe that would pen someone's repentance letter - I know it's the Door - but still. Just to show that I'm not totally vapid I did catch the Google April Fool's joke (took me a sec, but this one slipped right by me....) I still can't comfirm or deny it - but assume since it is the 1st that they got me - I still think it was in bad taste to have him "repent" as a joke.

I received this in an email from the Wittenburg Door this morning and I honestly couldn't be more stunned. As one who has grown up through this similar ugly form of Dispensationalism I must say that I applaud Dr. Dobson and am so proud of him for his public repentance. I have taken quite a few swipes at his inconsistencies myself on this blog, so I want to make sure to give credit where credit is due:

We have tweaked our friend the Rev. James Dobson pretty regularly in the past, particular for his involvement in politics. And when Dr. Dobson called for the resignation of the Rev. Richard Cizik, president for the National Association of Evangelicals because he believed that Cizik was spending too much time worrying about global warming and not enough time spent on “core” Religious Right issues, such as abortion and same-sex marriages, we gigged him pretty hard then, too.

However, we received this e-mail this morning from Dobson’s Focus on the Family ministry and we think it is a remarkable document. It is probably the most honest, most revealing statement ever made by the normally carefully controlled Dobson.

So, in the spirit of Christian reconciliation, we’re making available Dr. Dobson’s complete statement, without editorial comment. (If you would like to send Dr. Dobson an e-mail of support for his courageous reassessment, we’ve kept his contact information at the end of his statement.)

Perhaps he should rename it FICUS on the Family

– Robert Darden, Senior Editor

Colorado Springs, CO – Dear friends and supporters:

Since my ill-advised attack on my dear friend Dick Cizik a few days ago, I have had an extraordinary week of reflection and spiritual enlightenment.

Through the counsel of godly men, such as the Rev. Dr. Jack Hayford, the Rev. Rick Warren, Richard Stearns (President, World Vision), David Neff (Editor, Christianity Today) and other members of The Evangelical Climate Initiative (, I’ve come to see that my assessment of Dick’s motives and, in fact, “global warming,” have been in error as well.

I have been guilty of a particularly pernicious form of short-sighted Dispensationalism, believing that since the earth has no future with the blessed Second Coming nigh, we, as Christians, have no responsibility to care for Creation.

Through loving testimony, instruction and careful study of the Bible with these and other mentors, I no longer believe that Dick is – as I said earlier, much to my regret -- guilty of a “relentless campaign” to save the planet at the expense of what I called more “serious” issues, such as same-sex marriage. I see now that I have strictly exploited those issues and others like them to manipulate my audience and as a calculated and callous form of fund-raising.

As part of my penance for my unmerited attacks on a courageous, godly man, I have initiated contact with both the Rev. Jerry Falwell and Don Wildmon, with the earnest desire to convince them of the error of their ways as well. While both continue to condemn what they call “earthism worship,” I will continue to pray that this revelation will be made available to them as well.

As for the rest of my penance, I will devote the rest of my career – however long the Lord sees fit to continue in this capacity – to working with my Christian brothers and sisters to insure that all life on the planet, God’s first and greatest gift to us, is protected and cherished.

God bless you all,

Jim Dobson
Focus on the Family
8605 Explorer Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80995