Tuesday, August 28, 2007

i'm not ignoring you...

Finally I have so much to write about and no time to write. I owe emails and have so many blog post ideas in my head but life has gotten so busy. I can't wait for school to start next week - I hate that the week before my kids go back is filled up with a major project deadline that is overwhelming me at the moment.

I also hate that we have lost our cool, east coast weather and inherited the ugly mid-west humidity we have avoided for most of August. All my kids want to do is swim and have friends over and I don't have time/energy to do either. I know that I have enough time to do what needs to be done - it's just that the thoughts linger in the back of my mind that I am forgetting something...

Oh well - all I really wanted to say is that I'm not ignoring you if I owe you an email, I just want to give it more time than I have right now. Sorry for the whinging, I promise it will be over soon!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

i am officially writing

i have officially begun writing the story that has been floating in my head for the past 3-4 years. i've only told two people about it and i need to pour any steam i can generate into the writing instead of the talking about it - but it feels good to have finally begun to put pen to paper (and actually it is pen to paper as it has always been moleskine and pen, not computer and typing so far). when inspiration strikes i just have to put the thoughts down on paper.

i'm really loving it. so if you pray please do so for me to keep embracing the creativity when it comes.

Friday, August 17, 2007

heat and light

i have been having a conversation with a friend via email where i used the term "more heat than light". she asked me to explain it and as i typed out my answer i thought it might make a good blog post - and because they are so few and far between lately i'll take anything i can get! :)

i used to be quite the scrapper in groups of people - eager to state my views and beliefs and argue theology left and right. i think it was one of my ways of dealing with my misbelief that i was an "extrovert" as my social discomfort was soothed by making everyone else in the room uncomfortable... sigh.

i now judge my participation in conversations by whether they are generating "heat" or "light" - if it's a debate I want no part of it any more - (i used to think that every time there was more than one view in the room it had to be a debate or an argument) - now i know that different views can be in the same room without it escalating into chaos and anger. it's been one of the best gifts emergent has given to me. not having to CORRECT everyone's theology before the end of the discussion. gosh it's tiring being the holy spirit! :p

so if people are there to argue i want no part of it - if they are there to speak and listen i'll gladly join in. i want light - not heat. does that make sense?

it's how i judge conversations with people of other faiths too (especially those of the "old time religion" i used to participate in) - i used to try to argue them away - now i'll gladly talk if there is a real conversation happening. i don't live in fear that they will pollute me or my beliefs - or that I AM THE ONLY JESUS THEY WILL EVER SEE... sigh. it's exhausting being jesus too! :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


This just appeared in my google clips and it made me laugh out loud:

"I don't need you to remind me of my age. I have a bladder to do that for me." - Stephen Fry

a crisis of confidence

these past few weeks have been difficult ones for me. coming back from vacation i was ready to engage in summer and our community and i realized that in the hub-bub of prepping for the trip and being away we had kind of fallen off the map. i have been struggling with the realization that while i love this community it is not perfect. i am a bit of an optimistic denial junkie when i come upon something/someone new. i am so afraid to admit the flaws, that some things are wrong, or identify problems for fear that by beginning to do so everything will fall to pieces around me.

i am feeling so much better since i really spent time last week pondering all of this and put the pieces of the puzzle together last weekend. i have traced back a lot of the anxiety i was feeling to the end of last november. it was a grand month for me. i got to preach my first "sermon" (although i would never really call anything i'd want/do a sermon personally), i got to attend the national youth workers convention in cincinatti and then spoke at my first women's retreat. it was a high for me on a lot of levels.

december is such a month of inconsistencies - everyone's schedule changes, families tuck in and just the chaos of the holidays brings so much change. i enjoyed december, but felt pretty lost and alone for the rest of the winter months. it was a dry winter. liam was just coming out of his deep, dark place and i think i had been holding it together up to that point and when he got stronger i was able to be weak.

going away and being with our families on the holiday was nice in it's way, but it also really emphasized how very different we are from them and how little we really have in common with those who share our blood. it's a sad realization and left us both feeling a bit of grief. coming back to this place we held such high hopes (at least i did) for re-engaging with deep people, deep thoughts and cultivating rich community. the realization that much had moved on without us left me feeling so rejected.

rejection, whether real of perceived pushes major buttons in my life. especially church rejection. while none of this "rejection" was active, it was a kind of 'benevolent neglect' and still made me panic nonetheless - when i showed up somewhere i was welcomed, but my insecurities and the psycho tapes that play in my head wind me into a wobbly vulnerable place and eventually seclusion or begrudging participation in activities that i don't fully engage in because of my shredded self confidence. i am my worst enemy.

the big ah-ha that helped me this weekend was when i realized that there is a deep theological difference that i hold from my community here. our space here is very healing. many, like us, relocate here after woundings and major life changes. for a town of 5000 and a church of less than 300 when the students are here we have had 8-10 families transplant here since we have arrived. i love it because it is a hybrid of ancient, postmodern, charismatic & evangelical thought that is truly beautiful. i have learned so much about the holy spirit, prayer and healing since i have arrived. none of it is high-pressure, emotionally driven intensity, but a beautiful, welcoming space. very different from most of what we've seen in other churches.

the ah-ha i had this past weekend lies between what i believe and what many around me practice, although they may not "preach it". it is a subtle one, and the reason i think it was so hard for me to see.

i believe that while miracles are possible and do happen there is usually far more healing in the journey and that living in the tension of the "now and the not yet" is where god meets us. i believe that talking about the journey and telling our stories in the present tense, and not just the past is vital to real community. and i can sense that makes some people really uncomfortable.

i realized that most who come here broken are ministered to and expected to be "healed" and move from the healing category to the "healed" category. i am unable to do that. i have sensed frustration on the part of some in leadership that we haven't been miracles. that we are still living in the tension. that we can't seem post our addictions and struggles in the "past" column and move on. you see one of my super-hero powers is the inability to be fake. i just can't pretend.

i have observed this community for over 20 months now and have seen too many of the "healers" lives not being lived in freedom. i see their needs, so like my own, not owned or admitted for fear of loosing status, or healing, or admitting problems so that would indicate that their "faith" might not be real enough to "claim the miracle". again, these things are never said out loud. i just think that they come from roots of past churches and old theology that hasn't been brought into the light (yet).

i realized that i have felt like a failure because of this. for months now i have shamed myself and berated myself and felt the rejection of the perceived failure to take up the "healed" mantle and move past those things for the sake of their ministry. again, it is subtle. i have seen it blatantly in other churches. from the stage at our church these words aren't spoken, and actually support for what i am choosing is given - but deep down those pentecostal roots run deep and the pressure is passive, but it is there nonetheless.

in the netherworld between sleep and wakefulness this weekend i realized that i had believed that this meant that i was going backwards. broken, more broken than before. that i was faithless and if i just believed i wouldn't struggle so. as i shook off those thoughts i realized that the WHOLE person lives in the tension. the WHOLE person knows that the journey is about the process and living the emotions we are given fully and not medicating them away, but inviting god into the process. it felt like i was given my serenity and sanity back. i haven't changed. i didn't loose something i once had. i had just given it away momentarily because of this subtle pressure.

i have it back now and know that what i believe is mine. some people might be avoiding me because they don't want to be near the tension. that's okay. i don't have to pretend anymore that i believe i am "past" anything. i think one of the shortfalls of scripture (gasp) is that no one is ever tracked "after" the miracle happens. lazarus came back from the dead, but man i'm sure at some point afterward he was pretty pissed at jesus for letting him die. blind bartameus had to get a job now. he no longer could beg - he had no skills, he had to cope with the "after-affects" of the healing - it changed everything, it didn't make it all shiny and perfect. yes, he could see, but dang, now he could see. life still goes on. the process and the tension doesn't go away.

i no longer will abide by the silent pressure - the wounded healer is who i am called to be. not living out of my pain - but admitting it if it is real, inviting god into it and healing in the process. i will be grateful for the miraculous if it is bestowed upon me - but i am no longer doubting that this is the truth i am called to live out.

crisis averted.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

csi my mother

in the organization of last weekend i finally tackled a large trunk of musty, mothy paperwork that i have lugged (oh who am i kidding - liam lugged) from pillar to post on the many moves we had made. i had thought it was filled with my mother's old writing. i was wrong. it was a treasure chest. filled with bounty from my childhood, my mother's childhood and my father's childhood. pictures, letters, scrapbooks and ephemera from decades gone by. i have a huge sinus headache because of the mold and i can't bear to put everything away again. it feels like i've found pieces of myself i never knew existed.

did you know my mother went to college and dropped out in her first semester? i did not. nope. never knew it. i found that in a letter typed in a round-about by one of her high school crushes who was a math geek and at technical school pining away for her. he called her dumb for dropping out. i was shocked. i never knew. i knew she worked for the college, but i never knew she enrolled. i think i have stumbled upon a family secret.

my grandfather was a brilliant man. he held the formula (in his head) to some aluminum magic mumbo jumbo that was in high demand. he just could never seem to roll that into income. i think he was such a kind-hearted soul that people took advantage of him. i remember hearing about loosing investments and bill collectors. the shame of it all drove my grandmother into seclusion and no one ever talked about it in detail. i only remembered fragments of information overheard or talked about above me.

i wonder if she had to drop out due to financial reasons? she was so bright, excelled at everything she did. all of her friends went to college. but she was left behind. i can't imagine how disappointed she must have been. it feels like a piece to a puzzle i don't know where to put yet. i have so many questions, but don't know who to talk to about them. the secret keepers are still in full force in some bastions of my family.

i also saw the scrapbook of her first love. things were gangbusters and then nothing. zip. zilch. no information. it just evaporates. like the trail into the forest that ends at a stream. which way to go? what happened here? my mom always told us she was a virgin when she married dad. he tells me now that he doesn't think she was. i wonder if they had sex. she moved out to wisconsin shortly after the trail of the relationship died. maybe he just broke her heart. maybe she just needed a change of scenery. but it would answer so many question marks as to why she told me what she told me about men and how life can treat you. again, more questions, very few answers. i really feel like i'm reconstructing bobbie.

i could spend all my days looking over pictures, reading old letters, trying to piece the fragments of information together. she called my dad "tiger" in her letters to him. he bought her extravagant cards for every holiday. she saved them all. when did the alcohol begin to overtake their marriage? i can see the glamorous pictures from "before" - then in the beginning they start slack off, only a few snapshots here and there, not nearly as glamorous, and then hardly any from the time of the heavy drinking. i wonder if that's why there are only a very few pictures of my sister's childhood.

i know this is a gift. that there are answers here to some of the questions i have, and maybe leads to find the answers to others. i only know that looking at the pictures of my parents together, or my mom in her career clothes, riding in parades for being the "top-seller" are ties to a life gone by that fill in the gaps of my memories and brings me closer to the woman that she was. i am grateful.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

justice in the burbs

how can you love two people so much when you've never met face to face before? i don't know, but two of my most favorite people in the blogosphere, who also happen to love each other so much and HAVE met face to face are will and lisa samson. i am pleased as punch to hear of their new endeavor together and want to highlight it here on my blog.

most of you if you've been reading my blog for some time already know of will and lisa, but just in case you don't their blogs alone are reason enough to get to know them, let alone their writing. they are living out the kingdom in Lexington, Kentucky and have put so much of what they have learned and who they are into the pages of this work. i have yet to lay my little fingers on it - but can't wait to begin to plumb it's depths.

it is a practical guide to kingdom living for those of us who can't drop everything and join that commune we've always dreamed of. mother theresa said it best: “We can do no great things; only small things with great love.”

here's what lisa and will have to say about in their own words:

here's what others have to say:

"Will and Lisa have joined talents to offer a compelling argument for living justly in an unjust world, and for loving our neighbors in a hands-on, life-changing way." LIZ CURTIS HIGGS, author, Bad Girls of the Bible.

"Whatever happened to the vital social and moral energies of the Christian faith? They are alive and throbbin in this book that shows how the gospel can walk the missing sidewalks and unfriendly cul-de-sacs of the suburbs." LEONARD SWEET, Drew Theological School, George Fox University.

"Will and Lisa are provocateurs of imagination, writing for a desert where folks are thristy for more than the American dream. This is a much-needed invitation for justice to flow throught the suburbs liek mighty waters and bring to life all the parched souls trapped in the ghettos of poverty and wealth." SHANE CLAIBORNE, activist, author, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical.

"Will and Lisa Samson's new book, Justice in the Burbs, is a moving book. I wept with joy, knowing how many people will be moved to join the work for justice God has already begun in the world." CHRISTIAN SCHAREN, author, One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters to Those Seeking God.

follow the Justice in the Burbs blog for yourself here.

buy your own copy of Justice in the Burbs here on Amazon

congratulations will & lisa - i am just so excited and proud of this amazing product. i can't wait to see what it releases into the kingdom!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

a promise fulfilled

i have mentioned before that the biggest regret of my parenting thus far has been my inability to teach my kids how to ride their bikes. they are close enough in age to have both been mobile, but with liam always working so many hours when they were little i just couldn't manage it. we lived on a double corner where cars would whip so fast i just felt we were in danger, and the trees grew so large they buckled the sidewalks. it was a constant shame to me that my 11 & 9 year old did not have this wonderful freedom, this child hood skill that many master at such a young age.

it didn't bother them until this summer, and we miraculously acquired bikes that were the perfect size for each of them (i have given away 3-4 perfectly brand new bikes that we promised we'd use each season and never did). it was important to me that both liam and i be involved. my processing disorder is really good at explaining things verbally and maybe one single physical task, but the multiplicity of skills necessary for bike riding x 2 kids all at once seemed like more than i could handle. i think also that the fear of them being injured without liam there to help was strong too.

anyway - this being a 3 day weekend in canada i had a serious talk with liam (who has been riding his bike all summer and now has buns of steel btw) about making the commitment to do it THIS weekend. nothing was getting in it's way. invitations to friends house, disappointments - nothing. and today with great joy we walked their bikes over to our church parking lot 3 blocks away and they have mastered it. we went back after dinner and they are leaps and bounds ahead of this afternoon already. i knew they would be - i just knew this was a hump that i couldn't get over myself.

now we are able to return to the church with just the 3 of us because they are confident and mobile. still practicing awareness and fine motor skills, but the progress we have made today as a family has been victorious for all of us. i don't think you could wipe the smiles off of our faces on the way home.

some crashes, some scratches, bumps and blood, but finally, yes finally pink and buck are mobile. thank you jesus!

parents strongly cautioned

thanks jordon!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

who wants a twig when you can have the whole tree?

listening to the Hairspray soundtrack with my pink and can't wait until the movie finally makes it to our local theater. if it doesn't come on friday we'll drive to the "city" and see it this weekend.

there is something deep that moves in me with this movie theme - big girl makes bigger - no one ever told me i could. in fact they told me i couldn't... i posted a picture on my facebook this week of me in my freshman year playing first base softball - i thought i was so fat back then - not a stitch of fat on me - what went wrong?

this line from 'big blonde and beautiful' made me laugh out loud - who wants a twig when you can have the whole tree! ha! can't wait to share this with her.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Third Step Prayer

"God, I offer myself to Thee, to build with me, and do with me as Thou wilt.

Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.

Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help, of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of Life.

May I do Thy Will always."

Page 63
- Alcoholics Anonymous