Saturday, July 31, 2004

maggie dawn joins our garden!

magnificent yucca blooms

the right reverend maggie dawn has 'caved in' as she calls it and joined our garden. she transparently shares of how doing research and tending these plants in her own garden in cambridge, england brought her to this realization.

i chose this image from the search because it was on the '' website. i have no idea what type of website it is, but those words described maggie to me. god has used maggie deeply in my life. her brain, her teaching ability and beautiful writing, her tenacity and strength, but most of all her passion for truth has reached across the ocean and redeemed a place in the heart of that 10 year old girl who sat in church silent and head covered, knowing that this was my passion too. i love theology, pulling apart tangled thoughts to find the truth - if only given the chance i might have been 'maggie' when i grew up. that she is ministering, even an ocean away makes the church a safer place for me.

thank you for joining our garden maggie, i am honored to be planted near you.

oh the variety and beauty of the garden of god. i love that he didn't just force us all to be roses, even though they are gorgeous and possess incredible fragrance, or sunflowers so the birds could feed on them, or even good sturdy, dependable daffodils that cheer us after the long cold winters. we truly have this vast variety, each different and beautiful in it's own unique way.

Friday, July 30, 2004

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getting tired of taking 'eye tests' every time you try to post a comment on a typepad user's blog?? if so - there is hope!

i guess because we are tech novices at our house and we have digital internet our computer has been used by others 'out there' to send spam to people, so we've been added to a growing list of banned ip addresses. many times this is caused because of malware or spyware that has hijacked it's way into your computer and installs a program that calls to the spammers letting them know of an open line.

ridding the world of malware has become a new hobby of mine, so i thought maybe you'd like some shortcuts. here is all of the best information out there (that i could find). the first is a helpful link that started me in the right direction. then there are three free downloads - totally safe, that will clean your computer of the hijackers (not like a window washer - but more like a purge of all freeloaders and trackers). they have been developed by people who hate them as much as we do. i've been using them for months and love knowing that my computer is protected from the outsiders who want to exploit us.

spyware/adware removal guide

ad aware free download

spybot search and destroy free download

spyware blaster free download

this website will help you identify your IP address:

how to find your ip address

and this is the dreaded 'sorbs' data base. good luck trying to get removed, even if you do you can be added again the next day, but it's worth a try.


hope this helps any and all of you. i know it's been an education for me, and i love to know that things i've researched may help someone else out there!

my elvish name

my elvish name:

Nellas Sáralondë

it's pretty isn't it?

okay, can't resist - here's my hobbit name:

Belba Burrows

i'd rather be an elf! :)

the prayer of the teacup

i have just been introducted to marcina wiederkehr, she is a wonderful spiritual director and benedictine monastic. i'm excited to read her work and know her more. this was my first exciting find:

The Prayer of the Teacup

Never get tired of staying awake to pray for the saints. Eph 6:18

In this beautiful reminder to pray for one another the author of Ephesians is certainly not talking about the saints in heaven. The saints spoken of here are the saints at your elbow, the saints in your household, and the saints you shop with at the supermarket.

I used to worry about how to be faithful in praying for all these ordinary saints. While looking for a way to pray for those who are a part of my life, the way found me. I call it the prayer of the teacup.

The first 15 minutes of each day I reserve for the saints on earth. It is one of my favorite morning rituals. I begin my day with a cup of tea or coffee. As the steam from my cup ascends to the heavens I pray for friends and strangers. I see their faces in the ascending steam. I receive the persons who come into my memory and give them back to God.

So many folks are brought together in my dawn ritual: my family and friends, my community, those I have worked with in the past, political figures, and church leaders. Often the faces of people whose names I don’t know come to me: people at check-out counters, folks I’ve seen during my travels, in the airport, or on the streets. There are even the faces of those I read about in the newspaper or see in the evening news.

I like this prayer because it is so simple. When we pray for others we often get bogged down with words. I need few words—just a name or a glance is enough. I simply gaze at all these people whom God loves, and I yearn for their good.

I stand at my window and watch
one by one the stars all leave me
I am having tea with the dawn
the first ray of sun descending
into my teacup
into my heart

The steam of my tea ascending
to the heavens
into God’s heart

The yearning in my heart streaming
to the heavens
into God’s heart

And God, standing in the heavens
watching the sun rise in my heart
leans down to breathe in
the first rays of my yearning
and names it morning prayer.

©Macrina Wiederkehr
Seasons of Your Heart

Thursday, July 29, 2004

god i miss him...

i was just reading over at lisa sampson's blog author intrusion that she is starting to read messy spirituality by mike yaconelli. i began to leave her a comment about it and started to bawl. i haven't thought about him in a bit, but another wave of grief washed over me as i realized how very much i miss him.

we're planning on attending the dallas national youth worker's convention this year and it will be my first without him. he didn't play an active part in my every day life, but he spoke truth deep into my soul each time we met and the world is just a little less messy without him.

here's part of the tribute i wrote after his death.

This past year we looked at our calendars and although it made no financial sense we decided to attend the Phoenix convention. And I again “Practiced the Presence of God” with Mike and Fil Anderson, this time in a Hyatt Hotel convention room.

I knew when I arrived that I had been avoiding spending silent time with God again because I was working through some past issues that were just too painful. Mike’s introduction told me I was in for trouble. We were going to do Lectio Divina on the woman caught in adultery. I knew there wasn’t any escape - God had placed me there to deal with my pain. To feel through the emotions and to allow Him to begin the healing process in a safe place surrounded by Him and others who loved Him.

Between the sexual abuse in my past and the distorted view of women I grew up with in the denomination I was raised in I was pretty messed up in my view of being female and being called. Mike and Fil gave me the space to deal with both of those issues by working through that passage.

I can still remember it like it was yesterday when Mike said that in closing we were going to focus on the words “but Jesus” - and it was like I was there, that woman in the dirt, looking up to Jesus’ eyes and seeing that I wasn’t a piece of meat, or a second class citizen of His kingdom. Jesus held me there in that chair for what felt like hours, but was probably only minutes.

It was the first time I was redeemed as a woman. Mike gave that back to me. And I sat in my chair and wept. He closed our session by talking about the woman taking one of those rocks off the ground that were once meant to stone her and using it to build an ebenezer, an altar to God - to use the pain, the sin and the grace received as a place to meet God.

I looked up on the wall of the room we were in and there was a bird - a Phoenix and then started to laugh as I realized why Phoenix was so important - rising from the ashes - from the dirt, resurrection and rebirth, and I realized also and why I was back once more to “Practice the Presence of God” with Mike.

I made it a point to talk to a local and asked her to bring me a rock from her yard (have you ever tried to find a rock in downtown Phoenix?). She brought me three, and they sit as my ebenezer on my windowsill above my sink and I see them every day as I wash my dishes.

Mike showed, lived, exuded and introduced me to grace, and he was instrumental in giving me the space and permission to hear God’s voice, and reclaim my call as a woman in the kingdom of God.

Thank you Mike! I’m so glad that you don’t have to “practice” any more - enjoy His presence!

god i miss him.

relevant roles

nils swanson does some delving into his own soul and view of gender issues in this month's relevant magazine.

However, I did discover that Aristotle taught that very point. (that women are to be kept from leadership because they are too emotional) He discussed the differences between emotions, logic and reason. He then identified logic as male and emotion as female. This bolstered his position (and in Greek society) that women were a curse of the gods given to afflict men. (Plato originated the phrase “can’t live with them, can’t live without them.”) This attitude was picked up by one of the early church fathers, Augustine, who sought to integrate Aristotle with his faith. It comes out clearly in his statement that “I do not see in what way it could be said that woman was made a help for man if the work of childbearing be excluded.”

i thought that added a bit to the discussion that i had never heard before. i guess the fact that augustine was a sexual addict should probably play a role here??? woman=bad/curse because he couldn't control himself???

i'm not sure where i'm going with this, but could it be that the small 'c' catholic church, that later became the big 'c' catholic church struggled/s with women so much because they couldn't contain their own sexual appetites? so it was easier to demonize them than include them in kingdom society? again, i haven't really given this much brain time, but it jumped out at me when i read it and i'm just noodling it around today. care to join me??

ps - the article is well written - the comments will break your heart though...

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

i don't know about you, but i like her

speaking truth to power

“My right to speak my mind, to have a voice, to be what some have called ‘opinionated,’ is a right I deeply and profoundly cherish,” she said, evoking her childhood under a dictator in Mozambique. “My only hope is that, one day soon, women — who have all earned the right to their opinions — instead of being labeled opinionated will be called smart or well-informed, just as men are.”

“In America, the true patriots are those who dare speak truth to power. The truth we must speak now is that America has responsibilities that it is time for us to accept again,” she said.

kindred spirit??

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

money where his heart is

this was tucked away in the bottom of the 'ministry tool box' newsletter i get (the church where my husband is employed is 'purpose driven', so i like to stay on top of these things...)

Next Monday, July 26th, and Purpose-Driven will merge into one non-profit ministry structured to serve pastors and their congregations.

Our goal is to encourage and support your efforts to bring health to your congregation, and to build your church around the five biblical purposes of worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and missions.

This merger is part of Rick's desire to be a faithful steward over the resources and influence God has placed in his care, and as a result, Rick has given all of the profits from The Purpose-Driven Life and the sales of his sermons to this new non-profit ministry. This will allow us to be of even greater support and service to your ministry as we all work toward the same goal: lives transformed for the purposes of Christ.

- PD Staff

for all of the flack he gets this is encouraging to me. his passion isn't getting wealthy or building his own kingdom - but helping other pastors and the kingdom as a whole. it warms a place in my heart to know this.

a hidden wholeness

i have my hot little hands on a proof copy of parker palmer's new book a hidden wholeness, the journey toward an undivided life. i'm giddy with anticipation. it's not available in stores until september, and i am gleefully looking forward to sitting down with a cuppa joe and absorbing his every thought.

for those of you who read my blog regularly you know i can't shut up about let your life speak, it was life changing for me, and i can't wait to read what he has to say about 'welcoming the soul and weaving community in a wounded world.'

here's the first quote:

wholeness does not mean perfection: it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life. knowing this gives me hope that human wholeness - mine, yours, ours - need not be a utopian dream, if we can use devastation as a seedbed for new life.

okay, off to read! ttfn!

how to get rid of fruit flies - a public service announcement

okay, totally off my usual beaten path, but i was just glorying in the fact that my house is no longer abuzz with fruit flies and thought 'hey, i wonder if anyone else out there in the blog world is as bothered by them as i was???' deep questions here this a.m.

okay - if this is a problem for you there is hope!

step 1 - make a cone out of paper (like a funnel) and tape it so it stays cone shaped.

step 2 - find a glass or cup (see through is best) that the cone fits snugly into.

step 3 - trim a small hole into the end of the cone.

step 4 - pour small amount of cider vinegar into the bottom of the glass (malt vinegar works too, just not as well (i don't think white vinegar does though).

step 5 - insert funnel into glass (don't let the bottom touch the liquid) and if you really hate fruit flies tape the cone in place so they can't get back out.

step 6 - watch them fly into the cone and not be able to get back out - hurray!!

step 7 - enjoy your fruit fly free zone!

this is what happens when i have blogger a.d.d. - i can't decide what to write about, so i avoid it... maybe some depth of soul later in the day... have a great one!

Monday, July 26, 2004

dreaming out loud

10 year old akiane kramarik paints her prince of peace.

christianity today has a featured e-article on an amazing artist - her name is akiane kramarik, and she is a 10 year old girl living in idaho who has been painting and drawing since she was 3. her self portrait recently sold for $10,000.

self portrait

she watches no television and is homeschooled. god has spoken to her in her dreams since she was 3 and given her this gift and she is using it to paint, and is donating the funds she receives to help the 'garbage children' in her home country of lithuania.

When asked how she knows that it's God who is speaking to her, she replies, "Because I can hear His voice. His voice is quiet and beautiful." Although she was 3 at the time, she'll always remember God's first message to her. "He said, 'You have to do this, and I'll help you.' He said, 'Now you can help people.' I said, 'Yes, I will.' But I said it in different words in my mind. I speak through my mind to Him."

Akiane also has another dream that she believes God has given her—only this one is one that she dreams during her waking hours."I really want to help needy people in Africa and other places," she says. "Especially the Lithuanian people—the 'garbage children' is what they are called. They live in the garbage, and 2- and 3-year-olds are being killed for the first place in the food line," she says. "Lithuania has the highest suicide rate in the world. They need help with food and medicine, and a free hospital. I really want to build a free hospital for them."

i am so touched by her story i just felt the need to share it with you. what a gift of innocence and unsullied beauty she is. her gifts and hearing the voice of god validates in some way god's voice in my own life. thank you akiane! please keep painting and listening to god!

Sunday, July 25, 2004

ashes for beauty?

idelette is grieving a loved ones choices over on her blog. the idea that anyone would choose ashes instead of amazing is baffling.

lies are safe. lies are familiar. lies are screaming so loudly that i am undeserving that the amazing that is being held out for me only makes my shame more real.

i read her blog before bed last night and it drove me from mine this morning. it is the cry of confusion, of frustration and disappointment. many have cried it for me, and i am learning that cry for others now.

shame is a horrible task master. it regularly reminds me that i am wrong, i deserve nothing better. that is not said in any way to gain reassurance from those around me. reassurance doesn't help. i can't hear you. the lies are far too loud.

satan is the master of the bait and switch. he takes what is given by god and bastardizes it just one notch. instead of healthy, healing, god-given guilt the devil steps in and turns it into shame. guilt brings life and restoration, shame only death and separation.

the only problem is that in an addict's mind the two have never been separated. our minds are so clouded by shame and the addiction that the life giving guilt that allows others to make different choices has been bastardized by the devil into one and the same. shame convinces me that i am wrong, that i have no choice.

that is why a feast can be prepared before an addict and they will choose to eat the ashes. i try to explain it to the youth i work with by talking about fishing. i personally hate fishing, but liam and my father love it.

they wade in the water and offer food to those fish. big, juicy looking worms and bugs. but they aren't offering food are they? they are offering bait. there is always a hook involved in bait. satan is the baitmaster. he holds out the counterfeit and says 'hey look, yummy!' and those pre-disposed to bait end up falling for it. the false intimacy of pornography, the mind numbing effect of drugs or alcohol, the quick fix of adrenaline that comes from risky behavior, the lie of feeling less empty with my mouth full of food. it all has a hook. it's not the feast of amazing.

watching someone you love head down a path of destruction is one of the most excruciating experiences known to us. a spouse or child, sibling or friend making choices of death instead of life. it is the most confusing thing to watch.

'why can't they see it? here is amazing, here is beauty, here is life.' i can only imagine what we feel as they make those choices is a bit like our heavenly father feels watching us make our choices. seeing life, but choosing death.

nothing convinces an addict but the bottom. it's different for each of us. my bottom was different for my two strongest addictions. sexual addiction's bottom came when i was so rage filled from my shame that i was physically abusive to liam. my food addiction came the first time when i found myself making chocolate chip cookie dough 2-3 times a week and consuming batches at a time, raw.

the second bottom after a relapse came when i was making jiffy cake mixes every day and drinking them raw while hiding between my fridge and my cupboards so no one would see me. addiction drives us to do things that we know are stupid, we know are wrong, we know are ashes. but the relief from the demons of the past, even temporarily is better than the shame of how undeserving i am to accept amazing.

only grace. unbelievable grace when we grasp it. i am powerless on my own. only grace. grace is the one thing that is amazing enough to overcome the shame.

unfortunately our churches have NO IDEA how amazing grace truly is. they also have no idea how diabolical shame truly is either. so until they can get their act together we have to look to things like 12 step groups and psychology (good psychology - there is so much broken, shame based psychology out there that just churns up the rot and stink and makes things worse). until the church gets it's head out of it's backside and starts to get grace it will have to be found individually, not corporately.

my own journey began with phillip yancy's what's so amazing about grace. in that book i finally began to understand the beginnings of what it meant. how amazing it truly was. if you're not into reading he recommends a movie called babette's feast as an illustration of grace, expensive grace, lavish grace. there is also a new visual edition of the book here, here or here.

it is only when we truly get grace that we will truly get amazing.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

playing catch up

christy at dry bones dance and steph at just etchings are both touching deep places in my dry soul.

christy tells a story a friend shared with her about, oh heck, i can't summarize, so i'm going to copy and paste:

There was a guy travelling through the bush in Africa. He had a group of porters carrying all of his things, and the group moved faster than he expected. After a couple of days, he calculated how much ground they had covered and was happy to realize that they would reach their destination sooner than he expected. After they stopped for lunch that day, the porters didn't get up after they had eaten to continue their journey. When he asked them why, they said, "We have travelled too fast. Now we must let our souls catch up with us." So they waited for a day and a half until they felt one with their souls again.

and stephanie talks beautifully about having dinner with god in rest. both posts read back to back have helped me realize how very 'thin' i've been feeling. not thin in the good way, but in the bilbo baggins 'too little butter spread across too much toast' kind of way. i just can't seem to get my act together lately. i feel so out of whack.

when i read christy's story i realized that's exactly what my problem is, my soul needs to catch up with me. i've been scurrying and sometimes even avoiding my soul and i'm paying the price. i am craving solitude. i want everybody to leave me alone. i'm short tempered, impatient and irritable. i just want to scream 'go away!' i am counting down the days until school begins. my poor kids are stuck with this crazy mom wishing away their summer.

i don't think i'm going to make it for a month without a break. i need to schedule some intentional time - time for my soul to catch up.

u2 chris??

our desert bloomer

okay, bad pun, but chris at tattered thoughts has chosen her bloom from the desert. she picked the flower blossom of the joshua tree (see bad pun...) and has explained her metaphor beautifully.

the tree will not bloom without the damage of winter forcing it's blossoms, and the tree itself cannot have branches without the flowering. it's a unique choice and her reasons run deep.

i quote:

"So I accept this metaphor for my life - that the freezing temperatures of winter may feel like they are damaging my growth, but that this very damage may force a bloom, and that out of that stress may come a branching out of my life and force my growth into as unique a creation as the wild, other-worldy and unique Joshua Tree."

see, told you! i recommend following the link and reading her whole post. welcome to our garden chris!

for those of you who might be wondering what i'm speaking about you may want to read here. we'd love for you to join our garden!

Friday, July 23, 2004

become your own superhero

i love daring girl - she's spunky, got red hair, a lime green cape and eyes that express emotion when necessary - who could ask for more? i want to be daring girl.

keri smith at wish jar journal is such an inspiration for me. she's my canadian sark. both women who inspire women and live life large.

their creativity and writing makes me think i can. releases me from art class boxes and the limited can't and don't of my past.

if you haven't found these two wonderful women you need an introduction, and i'm please to open a door into their wonderful worlds for you.

conflict and confrontation

i've been having some email correspondence with a fellow blogger. we were writing about something totally different, but i wondered after i left a comment on her blog a couple days before if the comments i left her were received in the heart in which i left them.

she wrote back and explained the emotion with which my comments were received. the spirit in which i wrote them, and the spirit in which they were received were diametrically opposed to each other. i was sick. the thought that those comments could have built a wall between made me frantic. a wall that i possibly would have known nothing about.

i apologized profusely and tried to explain my heart, she received my words, forgave me and we exchanged about 6 emails yesterday, tearing down that wall, and building a bridge. it was a good experience for both of us. but it only came with icky feelings, questions, courage and honesty.

i hate to think of how many possible walls i have created out there with my words. UCK!

later last night i was reading blogs and went to one of my favorites - anj at living at both ends. she was writing about her worst and a post that has knocked the wind out of her. i remembered while reading this that i had commented on that post and thought 'oh no, here i did it again...'

i left a new comment there apologizing because i didn't want anyone to think that i was an ignoramus and not own my own stuff. anj reassured me, both by a following comment and email that it was not i that took the wind out of her sails, but the post itself. i was so relieved i cried. we also committed to emailing each other if there is ever offense taken and to following it through.

i think that's a worthy commitment we need to make in this blogosphere. there is so much difficulty in not knowing the emotion of either the typer or the reader as things are sent around the world.

i promise that if i am offended by any comments or questions you make on my blog i will email you and explain myself, k?? i would truly appreciate the same.

you see, being the intimidating woman that i am perceived to be, i have so very few people who will speak truth into my life. when that translated into this new world i was crushed. am i that as intimidating in word, as i am in deed? i hated that thought.

it took my friend courage yesterday to say so, and when she saw my heart we were allowed the opportunity to get to know each other a bit better, and we definately challenged each other to understand us, and our words more clearly. i think it was kingdom building. no, i know it was kingdom building.

i know that this is so difficult to do in 'real life' - so how 'bout we practice virtually? how 'bout we commit to each other that if we read between the lines and wonder 'what did that mean?' - we will ask. it takes courage and boldness - and it might not be well received, but we are building a community here - virtual though it is, and i don't want to loose one of you to some misunderstanding or perceived insult.

you also have my permission to challenge me - i want to be more than i am today. i want to be sharpened, get these rough edged knocked off, inspired to greater thoughts and life. speak the truth (in love). i can take it, honest. now that i've written it i almost want to deleat it, but i don't think i'm going to. it is truly the cry of my heart to be more christlike and less bobbie-like. (and i mean that in both the anonymous way, and the 'less like my mother' way too!)

oh, and if your challenge has to do with capital letters, sorry, you're out of luck! :)

Thursday, July 22, 2004

a simple life

no, not paris and nicole. bobbie and liam.

simplicity is one of the spiritual disciplines that has basically been foisted upon us. we lead a very simple life. it hasn't always been that way. during the many years of infertility and two incomes we kept every restaurant in our area in business. i never cooked, rarely cleaned, and we were never even home.

going from 'there' to 'here' seems like 2 lifetimes ago. when we were driving on our way to the big move into ministry i looked at liam and gasped 'oh no, this means that pink and the baby i'm carrying will be pk's (pastor's kids)!' i was serious. i had never even considered that our vocational choice would directly effect our children in such a grave manner.

i had seen far to many mk's, pk's, faculty brats, and camp urchins in my life to know that i wanted better and more for pink and buck. too many children who's lives were destroyed by their parent's call to 'serve god'. i was terrified.

one of the observations i've made since being in ministry is that the 'called' are usually the 'broken'. i wish i had the education and know how to do a study, because i think that one would be fascinating. many are in ministry to meet the deep dark needs of their own soul by helping others. real co-dependency masked by a servant's heart.

it was at that point i knew that i needed to stay at home with pink and buck and attempt to restore balance and simplicity to our lives so that they were not two more statistics shipwrecked on the rocks of church ministry.

god's timing for heading into ministry was definately not ours. we had tried for the nine years after college to open any and every door we could find, and god slammed them all shut. we had finally resigned ourselves to the fact that we weren't 'fit' for god to use. the worker's were few, but god wasn't desperate enough to need us.

the call came less than a year into the purchase of our first home, and into our first child's life, and when i was expecting #2. i had just started my own home-based business, and was doing well. definately not 'our timing'. we put our home on the market and lost our shirts in the sale. god was driving us to give it all up for him, and we did it willingly.

we moved into a rented, broken down, bat-filled farm house on a dirt road in the complete middle of nowhere. and we were never happier. well, at least at the beginning. the church told us when we moved there (to 'part-time' ministry) that they weren't able to pay us a lot, but we would never starve. they lied.

by the time we entered our second year there we were eating out of the local food bank and existing on our credit cards. liam had just gotten a position at the high school to supplement the meager income the church paid us, but it was too little too late. we were in debt up to our eyeballs, even on our basic subsistance life. family vacations were to camp to work with the teen staff. they paid our gas and took care of our expenses, clothing was all second hand, and our groceries bill was only the things that weren't supplied by the food bank.

it seemed as if god was stripping away each layer of excess and forcing us into a place where we had no other choice but to rely on him. then the hurricane hit and that tiny church decided that we were no longer 'fit' to minister.

that next year was filled with even more winnowing and lack, but also health and healing. i again found recovery, liam wasn't working 70 hours a week any more. and we were visiting churches that actually were feeding us. our marriage which had fallen into great disrepair was beginning to thrive again, and when the move stateside finally materialized we were healthier, happier and more grounded than we had ever been. but we were in severe debt.

we were totally transparent with our new church during the interview process. they knew it all. my addictions, the past history at our previous church, and our financial situation. breaking through the shame of all of those issues and 'coming clean' allowed us to face our problems head on and not isolate ourselves and try to solve them on our own. and the fact that they knew all of those things about us and hired us anyway redeemed that place in our souls that said we weren't fit to minister.

the church paid for my therapy and found us finacial counselling. two of the elders took liam under their wings and have mentored him for the past couple of years. pouring their lives and love into him and restoring what the locust had eaten.

with two tiny payments i can excitedly say:


the tears are rolling down my face as i type this. it has been a LONG haul, filled with hard choices, and simplicity, doing without and saying 'no', but it has been worth it. just for today.

when i started into recovery i was very skeptical, i read the promises aloud at meetings and thought 'ya, right...' but truly today i can say that they have been, or are being fulfilled in my life. today, especially #9, #10 & #11. finally free.

As a result of working the Twelve Steps:

The Twelve Promises

1. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.

2. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

3. We will comprehend the word serenity.

4. We will know peace.

5. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.

6. The feelings of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.

7. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.

8. Self-seeking will slip away.

9. Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change.

10. Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us.

11. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.

12. 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."

- From the A. A. Big Book.

wild fire wild flowers

and they were calling wildfire...

lisa at get yer goat has heard from god on her addition to the garden. what a gift, and a beautiful blessing this strong voice adds to our eden.

a gerbera daisy joins the garden!

candy - brilliant and reaching toward the sun!

candy at a little insight into my world has joined the garden. she is also celebrating her birthday today, so stop on by and read her wonderful post and wish her a happy birthday!

correction - candy's birthday was sunday, but i'm sure she'd still love to hear happy birthday!

daddy's girl is the ys featured blog entry!

iphy (renee) at youth specialties featured my 'daddy's girl' post yesterday in the ys update. my hits have jumped 200%! thanks iphy! you're the best!

btw - her new book comes out in just over a month. you can get your autographed copy directly from iphy on her website!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

and the bride wore white

idelette's fragrant bouquet

"God says you're a bouquet of white flowers. You're a bouquet of roses and daisies, lilies and calla lilies. All white, because of the level of purity."

read more of her deep discussion with god on her blog.

(sorry, i couldn't find a pretty one with all of those flowers in it.)

jan's climbing rose

"I feel the touch of the Spirit as the rose feels the caress of the sun."

jan, from shalom has written of her likeness to a flower from childhood memories. it is wonderful to understand more of each other through the metaphor of the garden. thank you jan. your post is beautiful!

oh what a glorious morning!

morning glories

brenda at beulah1225 commented about the flower metaphor and shared a beautiful story about her mother.

i can't get a permalink to the story, and i don't want to loose it months down the road, so i hope she doesn't mind, but i'm going to post it here:

'i asked my mom what flower she identified with most. i thought she'd have to think about it and not really have an answer, but she immediately said morning glories.

i asked her why and she said it's because they grow in the cotton and are considered dangerous weeds. to protect the cotton the farmers destroy the morning glories.

then she said that as a child she would go out into the cotton field and try to rescue the morning glories by transplanting them.

so i have this wonderful picture of my seven year old mother rescuing small things, something she still does.'

i love that picture of her arising early to save the flowers. can you imagine this beautiful flower being thought of as a weed? the passion of a small girl already showing itself at seven.

i wish i could find out what flower the real bobbie (my mother) thinks she would be. i'm going to have to ponder this and assign her one of my own. she was very sunflower like too, but i think that's too easy. i'll have to give this some real head time. i'll let you know.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

the rose called love

the rose called love

anj has joined the garden. i highly recommend navigating away from my blog and reading her moving explination as to why. she has shared a piece of her heart.

i chose this rose to represent her because it is called 'love' - and upon reading her blog you will understand why. thank you anj!

Monday, July 19, 2004

make sure you receive rather than remake

got a kick in the gut this morning reading over at jeremy's blog junkmail for blankets. the ghetto monk moves things in me i thought were dormant, if not dead. his writing takes my breath away.

he writes of 're-making' instead of receiving.

'All of my resentment, anger, hubris, selfishness, callousness, lovelessness, and self-righteousness stems from the perverted stance of demandingness. And, most stingingly, demandingness is the seed of almost every instance of personal disappointment; and, thus, inability to trust; and, thus, inability to be honest; and, thus, inability to love.'

i am an incredibly demanding person. i loathe that part of me. abhor it. to see it in this context is helping me see that it's not serving me well.

i know i am demanding of liam, my children and even god. what if i just received instead of remade, accepted instead of demanded?

love given freely is so much more meaningful. why do i have to be in charge and full of expectations? why can't i relax and refrain from imposing my will and desires on those around me?

my next book after i finish the gentle path, is compelled to control by keith miller. it's sitting on my shelf waiting for me to be willing.

oh god help me to be willing to be willing soon.

looking for work

since the fall is coming i thought i'd get a jump on the job market.

saw this site on willzhead and thought i'd give it a spin.

my real name informs me i'm perfect for 'second-hand car salesman'. bobbie registers as a 'cowboy'. i like that one better, i think i'll go with that.

liam's real name shows that we'll have to change denominations, his call is to become a 'nun'.

just for fun i typed in the kids names. it was shocking how very close those came to things they would love to be. pink is going to be a 'kids tv presenter' and buck is going to be a 'superhero'.

fun way to start the morning.

oh that and listening to mp3 of a talk by ian cron. recommended by mike at waving or drowning. thanks mike, good stuff!

neritia's joined our garden!


always heartmoving and fully defined neritia has contributed beautifully to our blogging garden. thank you!

Sunday, July 18, 2004

the kingdom of god is on abc

okay, i'm a fan. i'll admit it. liam always works sunday nights, so i'm home alone and i am hooked on extreme home makeover.

they step into these stranger's lives and bless them in ways they could never imagine possible. to hear their stories, to see their lives. to watch the renovation. i just can't imagine why the church isn't doing this.

each time i watch i see people who make no claim to faith acting out the kingdom of god in ways the church can't even touch. most of the people they help are actually people of faith. you hear their testimonies throughout the show. how they sacrificially give and serve and make a difference in their communities. i just can't get enough of it.

i know it's just a show, but each time i am moved to tears. such grace, such unadulterated grace. embarrassing grace. i'm hooked.

hospital people

it's a melancholy day and i can't stop thinking about sam. his little face is now the wallpaper on my computer. it could be buck, or pink. he's directly between their ages. and i can't imagine how i'd breathe, let alone thrive as it seems his parents rudy and kafi are doing.

i was so pleased to hear that trevor was able to go and visit them at the hospital. so many people i don't really know experiencing trials and pain, and yet it is so very real to me.

i was grateful to trevor for going because i knew that he knew exactly what it was like to be in their place. that his being there left the family with 'more' instead of 'less'.

it takes a very special person to be a hospital person. it is a rare gift. one that i cherish deeply. i spent too many nights in hospital waiting rooms during my adolescence and teen years. my mother, the real bobbie, was very sick. there were more close calls than i can count, and constant fear of relapse and hospitalization plagued our family.

during those times i saw the vivid difference between 'hospital people' and those who should stay far away. hospital people are those who after they've left make you glad that they came. they aren't needy during the visit, they give more than they take. they know that silence is okay, and that eye contact conveys far more than their lips ever could. there is a solidness to hospital people, a core that brings hope, not empty words and jesus-y shame or advice.

it is truly a rare gift.

because of our lengthy experience with hospitals our family has a ritual that kind of developed. we remember what it was like to be pinching pennies at the hospital, or returning home to an empty fridge. we investigate the likes and favorites of those families who have loved ones in hospital and shower them with groceries. simple, dumb, indulgent things. things that they would forget themselves because of the cloud they are existing in.

i remember my sister telling me of a woman in her church who came home to 2 grocery bags on her doorstep after leaving her husband at the hospital. she looked in the bag and found a 'clearly canadian' and sat on her doorstep and wept. she wrote my sister telling her that finding that drink waiting for her was a reminder that god would take care of them, even through the horror of sickness they were facing.

it's a simple thing, but it's a practical way of being there, and leaving more than we take.

i pray god surrounds rudy, kafi and sam with hospital people. people who can love on them and be jesus to them. thinking for them without asking. making life easier and less complicated. allowing the silence and the eye contact to convey more than their words could ever say.


freckled, splotchy, red skin
scars, moles, stretched skin
i've never felt comfortable in my skin
there's been some mistake
this skin's not mine
it belongs to someone else
wrinkled, sagging and ruined
i'm trapped inside
feeling like i'm suffocating
hard to breathe
inside and out
i don't want anyone to see me
to notice
how uncomfortable i am in this skin

march 26th, 2002

Saturday, July 17, 2004

our blogging garden

our blogging garden

flower power

well, three wonderful women have taken the challenge on choosing which flower they are in the garden of god. we have two lilies and a daisy - all beautiful in their own way. their blogs give insight into why each has chosen their flowers. enjoy these wonderful reads.

jae at spark

lilly at lilly's pad

deb at abiding

wanna join our garden? we'd love to hear your heart on this too. just leave me a comment on this blog and i'll link to you! can't wait to hear what you each pick!

taking out the garbage

neritia, janet, and lilly have all got me thinking about forgiveness.

i think this is one of the huge areas where the church falls down. most of the teaching that i've heard on this, or even read for that matter is watered down and weak. shame based and full of should's. rarely about the why's and the tools that we are given in dealing with conflict, anger, health and healing.

lilly talked about ogres and onions. that is one of my favorite parts of shrek, the conversation about layers and parfaits and onions makes me smile even now as i think of it. ogres have layers, and those layers are like onions.

i have likened my recovery to an onion. god brings me to a place where i am facing a huge part of myself, my sin or stuff that has been done to me. i work through the pain, feel the emotions and gain perspective and learning from it. i think 'oh good, now that's over, whew. glad i'm finished...' and about a week later, in my face is another layer of the onion - just as big, or sometimes bigger than the last layer. that is the paradox. we keep thinking that the onion is going to get smaller with each layer, but in my experience it doesn't.

please don't get discouraged by that - it only means that we have the experience, strength and hope from that last layer that allows us to face the next one. and each layer usually involves it's own emotions and levels of forgiveness.

i remember reading that 70x7 time in the gospels as a kid and thinking jesus was a bit daft. i mean that in the most respectful way, but really, smack me in the face once and apologize, i'll probably forgive you, but turn right around and do it to me again (let alone 70 more times) come on jesus? really?

what i have come to find out in recovery is that's probably not the full explanation of the message that jesus was trying convey.

each layer of that onion that i am dealing with brings back old junk that i have to deal with. each time i think 'oh, not again...' it's like that scab gets picked off sometimes and those emotions rise up and i need to deal with the event, the person or at least the emotions again. forgiveness is a choice. don't let anyone ever tell you it will be this dimly lit, soft music playing in the background scene where you both walk off into the sunset. it's gritty, real and the stuff that life is made of.

after each recovery session we join hands and say the lord's prayer. 'as we forgive those who trespass against us' sticks in my throat each time. yuck. only as much as i forgave them?? yep. why?

i think it goes back to that layer thing. i am only able to receive as much as i am able to give away. eternal principles are at work here. if i have my hands full of the junk other people have given me, done to me, or abused me with then i have no room to receive the forgiveness i am asking for. my hands are full.

i try to explain it to the youth i teach with this illustration. when someone hurts, injures or wounds you it's like they hand you a bag a garbage and say 'here, hold this'. and we do. we walk around with it, and the others we have been given and carry them through life. the whole time we are thinking 'this stinks, i hate this. look at all this crap i have to carry.' all the time getting more weighed down, tired and resentful.

jesus says 'set the bags down, step away from the garbage, choose to walk around free and clear'. (my paraphrase). and each time that layer strips away and i stand facing the next one i am tempted to pick that bag up again. muttering to myself 'i'll get you now, see this garbage, this stinks. i'll get you now...' when really all that has happened is that i've returned like a dog to my vomit and am wallowing in it.

it is only with empty hands that we are able to receive. 'as we forgive those who trespass against us.'

i think that there has been a lot of error in teaching too about the way forgiveness is to take place. god is the only one who forgets. he's the only one capable of the forgetting. that horrible line 'forgive and forget' isn't in the bible - yet i heard that heresy my whole life.

what forgiveness really means is giving up the rights to punish and seek retribution. letting go. setting down the bag. i'll never forget that i was raped. never. but it doesn't bring back poison every time i remember it. really. i know that may sound trite or simple. it's not. it's never easy, but it does get easier.

i suspect that 70x7 really means is that i personally am re-experiencing the
emotions and trauma again. that those feelings are welling up within me again, and i need to deal with them each time - even 140 times they could haunt me. not that someone has smacked me in the face 70 times and i am supposed to keep forgiving them. those layers of pain, trauma and emotion would kill us is we had to 'eat the onion whole'. that's why 'next' is so important in my recovery.

that's why the founders of AA were god inspired (IMHO), 12 steps, broken down into bite size pieces. not one whole big unswallowable chunk rammed down our throats. just 'next'. it's linking all of those tiny 'nexts' together that brings health and healing, in tiny little baby steps.

what garbage do i need to take out today lord?

Friday, July 16, 2004

i wanna be like... paul???

good morning!  i'm finding it hard to decide what to blog on for the past couple of mornings.  having the structure of the serenity prayer was really nice because i had that decision made for me.  get up, write on the next line.  no deciding to do this early in the morning...
something that's been rolling around in my head lately has been the need to explain my 'church of origin'.  in counselling they call your childhood family your 'family of origin' - so for pulling this all apart they are now my 'church of origin'.
when i say things like no participation and silent in the church many who haven't experienced this 'brand' of fundamentalism might think 'what does she want?  to preach?  aren't most women sitting silently during the sermon??'
i almost don't want to type their name because i don't really want to make this a place for argument, and the last thing i really want is being googled by somebody with an axe to grind, (unless their axe is like mine!) :)
the plymouth brethren (there i typed it..) are a distinct sect of christianity.  they believe in the priesthood of all believers (except women) and are similar, but independent chapels, assemblies and gospel halls all over the world.  their church structure is leadership by elders and deacons and there is not (usually) a pastor.   some more progressive ones do have 'full time workers' or maybe even pastors now, but the main-line pb's are very staunch and proud about their ability to be 'leaderless'.
they usually have 4 services a week (and i grew up dragged to each one of them).  the first is 'the lord's supper' or 'the breaking of the bread'.  it is a weekly hour long service that focuses solely on the death of christ and consists of men, 'moved by the holy ghost' to pray, read scripture (with very little commentary, all focused solely on christ's atoning death) and request a hymn (all focused on christ's death) to be sung accapella, but it is usually read first by the requester (in total) and then sung, usually poorly by the 25 people in attendance.
the second service is 'the family bible hour' and that is when the children are shuffled to the curtain divided basement while an itinerant speaker shares the same sermon he just shared last week at another brethren assembly in the next state.
the next service is sunday night, supposedly meant for bringing your unsaved friends, and the same speaker gives the gospel to the same 25 people who showed up that morning.
the final service was the wednesday night 'prayer meeting' where about 10 people show up and only the men can share requests and pray.  some progressive churches allow the women to retreat to the basement to pray.
this is all done with women's heads covered and silent.
if this was like a quaker service where we were trained for introspective silence and there was true reflection and pondering taking place that would have been enjoyable, but this was bone-numbing, day-dreaming silence, interrupted occasionally by a long winded (similar to last week) prayer.  my critics will say i just wasn't holy enough, that i just didn't try, or that my heart wasn't submissive.  that would be a lie.  all i ever wanted was to please my heavenly father.  i jumped through every hoop and was totally obedient to each and every dictate.
not only was my head covered, but my heart was also.  believe it or not i was truly submissive to my father, the elders, and then to liam.  they spoke for me (well my father never spoke, and that is a huge reason why i was so confused as a child).  this was my lot in life, and i was okay with that.  we were RIGHT, we had pure, biblical theology.  we were the new testament church.  to try to explain how distorted this was, i grew up thinking that john wesley was too liberal.  methodists weren't really going to heaven.  he was an okay hymn writer, but his theology was 'off' the mark.
so it's not like the church where i currently attend where there are the same people who talk/pray/preach every week, in my 'church of origin' everyone got to share, except for the women.  it was our punishment and reminder that eve screwed up everything.  we were silent to remind us not to usurp the authority of our husbands and fathers, and the almighty elders of the church.
my devotion to this 'ideal' was so strong i attended the brethren bible college (which i'm definately not typing because there are still many that i love there and don't want to bash them publically).  they trained my brain, taught me theology and awoke in me something large.  but still even with that 'awakening' i was still silent with my head covered.  it was an incredibly confusing time for me spiritually.  i knew i was called, now i was trained, but for what?  i wasn't called for oversees, so i guessed it must have been to marry someone else called into ministry.
i knew that i needed to marry a man who had upfront gifts, who could 'keep me in my place' and had a stronger personality than i did so i didn't end up like the real bobbie and my father.
i found liam there.  he grew up in an even more conservative branch (gospel hall) and somehow was untainted by it all.  he was called, dynamic and as passionate as i was.  (and by god's protection not a caveman in any sense of the word - god is good).  i knew we were meant to be.
what i could never synthesize was how completely different jesus was from any and all of their teachings.  he was left behind (to use their own words on them), set aside for another dispensation.  they truly didn't want to be more christlike, they wanted to be more 'paul-like'.  somehow that apostle captured everything each one of those men held up as important, and they became just like a distorted version of him (or what they thought him to be).
what i know now is that this type of church is very attractive for men who have power issues.  they split faster than the baptists, splinters and church breaks are very common in this undenominational denomination.  they rule by making everyone else look like heretics.  i truly didn't think that anyone outside this belief system was right.  looking back i realize now that it is almost 'sect' like in it's existence.
i need to add a disclaimer.  when this type of church works it's the best church structure i've ever seen.  if they didn't have such a distorted view on power and women they would be growing instead of dying.  many i love are still firmly embedded in this faith structure.  i watch the women become bitter and gossippy - their inability to participate severs any desire to participate at all.  god is as male and silencing as the elders.  it effects the spiritual life deeply.
so today, i stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith christ has made me free!  i wanna be like jesus, not paul.  today, in this 'dispensation' may your kingdom be on earth as it is in heaven dear god!

Thursday, July 15, 2004

a fundamentalist who has stolen the word evangelical

thanks cleave for the sojo link!
jim wallace and jerry falwell had a debate about values in the upcoming election. this is an important and timely discussion - read jim's take at the above link.

yay blogger!

woo hoo!  blogger is now full-color, with new fonts & formatting tools, and even images (i can't get any to load, but there is an upload image button!!
even keyboard shortcuts!!  i'm just tickled!

scarcity and abundance

there has been a lot of introspection and blogging about scarcity and i plan on adding my 2 cents soon, but no one i've ever read says it better than parker palmer. i was going to pick and choose bits, but it's not that long and it's so good i'm going to paste the whole essay here. he has developed these thoughts further into a full chapter entitled 'there is a season' in let your life speak. i can't more highly recommend this book.

Where I live, summer's keynote is abundance. The forests fill with undergrowth, the trees with fruit, the meadows with wild flowers and grasses, the fields with wheat and corn, the gardens with zucchini, and the yards with weeds. In contrast to the sensationalism of spring, summer is a steady state of plenty, a green and amber muchness that feeds us on more levels than we know.

Nature does not always produce abundance, of course. There are summers when flood or drought destroy the crops and threaten the lives and livelihood of those who work the fields. But nature normally takes us through a reliable cycle of scarcity and abundance in which times of deprivation foreshadow an eventual return to the abundant fields.

This fact of nature is in sharp contrast to a human nature, which seems to regard perpetual scarcity as the law of life. Daily, I am astonished at how readily I believe that something I need is in short supply. If I hoard possessions, it is because I believe that there are not enough to go around. If I struggle with others over power, it is because I believe that power is limited. If I become jealous in relationships, it is because I believe that when you get too much love I will be short-changed.

Even in writing this essay I have had to struggle with the scarcity assumption. It is easy to start at the blank page and despair of ever having another idea, another image, another illustration. It is easy to look back at what one has written and say, "That's not very good but I'd better keep it, because nothing better will come along." It is difficult to trust that the pool of possibilities is bottomless, that one can keep diving in and finding more.

The irony, often tragic, is that by embracing the scarcity assumption, we create the very scarcities we fear. If I hoard material goods, others will have too little and I will never have enough. If I fight my way up the ladder of power, others will be defeated and I will never feel secure. If I get jealous of someone I love, I am likely to drive that person away. If I cling to the words I have written as if they were the last of their kind, the pool of new possibilities will surely go dry. We create scarcity, by fearfully accepting it as low, and by competing with others for resources as if we were stranded on the Sahara at the last oasis.

In the human world, abundance does not happen automatically. It is created when we have the sense to choose community, to come together to celebrate and share our common store. Whether the "scarce resource" is money or love or power or words, the true law of life is that we generate more of whatever seems scarce by trusting its supply and passing it around. Authentic abundance does not lie in secured stockpiles of food or cash or influence or affection, but in belonging to a community where we can give those goods to others who need them-and receive them from others when we are in need.

I sometimes speak on college campuses about the importance of community in academic life, one of the most competitive cultures I know. On one such occasion, following my talk, a man stood in the audience, introduced himself as occupant of the "Distinguished Such-and-Such Chair of Biology" and began what I thought-given his rather pompous self-introduction-would surely be an attack. Instead, he said simply, "Of course we must learn to live in community with each other. After all, it is only good biology." Biology, the discipline that was once driven by anxious metaphors like "the survival of the fittest," and "nature red in tooth and claw," has a new metaphor-community. Death has not ceased, of course, but now it is understood as a legacy to the community of abundant life.

Here is a summertime truth: abundance is a communal act, the joint creation of an incredibly complex ecology in which each part functions on behalf of the whole and, in return, is sustained by the whole. Community not only creates abundance - community is abundance. If we could learn that equation from the world of nature, the human world might be transformed.

Summer is the season when all the promissory notes of autumn and winter and spring come due, and each year the debts are repaid with compound interest. In summer it is hard to remember that we had ever doubted the natural process, had ever ceded death the last word, had ever lost faith in the powers of new life. Summer is a reminder that our faith is not nearly as strong as the things we profess to have faith in-a reminder that, for this single season at least, we might cease our anxious machinations and give ourselves to the abiding and abundant grace of our common life.

let's create a community of abundance!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

okay friends - what flower are you??

as i blogged today i wrote about one of the metaphors of my recovery - the sunflower:

the second to last metaphor i'll be bringing is a sunflower. at our last women's retreat the speaker told us we all needed to ponder what type of flower we were in god's garden. i thought it was a stupid 'ladies retreat' type of thing to do, and was very irritated by it, but upon actually meditating on it (reluctantly obedient that i am) i realized that i was a sunflower.

sturdy, tall and practical, can be planted alone or in groups or fields. have you ever tried to pull one of these from the ground? stubborn and rooted also fits too. they nourish others and lift their faces to the sun. even for a dumb ladies retreat assignement god used this metaphor deeply in my life. it was also a wonderful way to get to know and understand the other women i was in a small group with. i think i'm going to assign this to us all in the blogworld. (file for later)...

we've developed quite the modern day quilting bee here in blogland - albeit a global one - i'd love for each of you to take some time to think of what kind of flower you are. i know it sounds shallow - at first, but it can be a deep spiritual exersize if you allow it to be. i want to know what flower, what characterisics made you pick that flower and tell us all how it describes you.

if you just leave a comment that you have blogged on this i will link to you all in a posting. that way you don't have to fight the long comment blocker. i so enjoyed everyone's psalm 23, it helped me know each of you more deeply, as i'm hoping this little object lesson might too??

feeling a bit stalled...

it's late here for me to be blogging. usually it's the first thing i do after i put the beans on to grind. thought about a lot of different blog topics today, and none seemed like anything i really wanted to spend my time on. so whenever i get stalled i know it has to do with my recovery. the best way i've found to beat a stall is to do what's 'next'.

WARNING - this is a hugely long post. it's more for me than you. feel free to read on, but i'm really just trying to get my thoughts and plans organized.

i know why i feel frozen, i don't like to finish things. it's either they don't end well and i feel like a failure, or they end so well that i have to grieve their passing.

i am on step 11 on two of my workbooks, and both are looming to an end. one is just a trivial step series that has only taken me this past year to do, and i'm looking forward to finishing it. the other one though i've been working on since october 2002, and it's the best tool i've ever used. i hate the thought of it ending.

it's a gentle path through the twelve steps by patrick cairns. the steps, while gentle, aren't easy. they are indepth and mine deeply into my soul.

i know that this next step will be life changing for me and i am terrified.

step eleven

sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with god as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.

here's the excerpt that i need to address today:

'spirtuality is simply another level of 'knowing' or finding. often this takes the form of a journey or quest. to undertake such a spiritual quest, you will need to make special preparations. here are suggestions for what you might need:

- a dream journal
- a seeking place
- a guiding metaphor
- a collection of sacred things
- a spiritual mentor.'

while i'd love to go to taize or linwood house or backpack around europe i have neither the funds, nor the freedom. so i have to think on a smaller, less grand scale. i think i've found my location. it's a romanian orthodox monastary i've visited about 10 miles from my home.

they have homes that can be used for pilgrims and a beautiful site, complete with a chapel filled with breath-taking icons. it's run by nuns and not monks, and they are warm and welcoming.

the issue i am stalled by is what it's supposed to 'look like'. do i hike there? do i drive? is it a silent retreat? do i participate in the routine of the monastery? how long should i go? i am so indecisive it is overwhelming me. i just don't want to screw this up. i have spent a day alone with god before, it's not the silence or solitude that bring me the anxiety, i guess it's more like 'this is my big chance, don't goof it'.

i put so much pressure on myself and god for everything to be 'just so' that i am terrified i will be disappointed (kind of like the dance - which should remind me that i will never be disapponted, but the intimacy thing still terrifies me...)

anyway, back to planning.

as far as a 'dream journal' goes, i don't have 'dreams' like spiritual people have dreams (like amy does). i've always wanted deep spiritual dreams, they just don't seem to happen when i sleep. maybe i'm meant to dream while i'm awake?? but i am 6 pages away from finishing my current journal (back to that hate to finish stuff thing - it's the first journal i will have actually filled, lots of them started, but they're just so pretty, and i want a new one all the time... i have forced myself to stop buying them and finish at least one...) so my goal is to finish writing in the current one and take a brand spanking new one with me on this trip. i have been preparing it for almost a year.

the current journal i have was a gift, and every time i open it i'm blessed with a fragrance, like i've walked into a wonderful candle shop. so i have my new journal in a zip lock bag with some wonderful scented aroma, and am hoping that this will continue the sensory experience.

boy am i full of bunny trails today... (okay, this is more for me than for you, sorry!)

so i have the seeking place, and the dream journal. now the metaphors. throughout the book you are encouraged to find metaphors that give you pictures of your recovery. i have many. my metaphor for my childhood is a hedgehog. curl up and protect myself because no one else seemed to. my metaphor for adulthood is the mama bear. hyper vigilant, protecting her loved ones (that includes you too) from any danger or attack. and the metaphor i gleened from reading when the heart waits by sue monk kidd. the butterfly.

there are too many layers to describe how this metaphor has touched me. my journal is filled with pages and pages. i'll have to blog on this another time.

the second to last metaphor i'll be bringing is a sunflower. at our last women's retreat the speaker told us we all needed to ponder what type of flower we were in god's garden. i thought it was a stupid 'ladies retreat' type of thing to do, and was very irritated by it, but upon actually meditating on it (reluctantly obedient that i am) i realized that i was a sunflower.

sturdy, tall and practical. have you ever tried to pull one of these from the ground? stubborn and rooted also fits too. they nourish others and lift their faces to the sun. even for a dumb ladies retreat assignement god used this metaphor deeply in my life. it was also a wonderful way to get to know and understand the other women i was in a small group with. i think i'm going to assign this to us all in the blogworld. (file for later)...

the last, most recent metaphor god gave me while starting preperation for this pilgrimage was a circus performer balancing on a ball. so much of my life has been marked by extremes. i don't do 'middle ground' very well. it is my prayer that my recovery is marked by balance.

sacred things... the thought of walking the 10 miles gave me the idea for a walking stick (balancing circus performers also use a stick to help them balance). i found a stick while at creation, now i just have to personalize it a bit. walking sticks also alert helpful drivers to know that the walker is intent on walking - and doesn't want a ride.

i will also need a mirror. body image and my self image is a very big part of my recovery. i hesitate to type that i'll be bringing a mirror. it seems vain. anyway.

i also have collected a small cloth bag of sacred objects. rocks, acorns, gifts from my children, reminders of childhood. i hang it on the corner post of my bed and dump it out when i need some connections or am feeling alone. it is a wonderful tool to help replace the lies i tell myself.

i also have a floppy hat to shade my head and it has a beautiful copper butterfly pin on it. i have copper colored hair, and remember the 'red hair' jokes of childhood that hurt me so much. i can't remember when/who it was that corrected that and gifted me with the words, 'you don't have red hair, you have copper hair'. somehow that made a lot of it all better.

the last sacred thing i want to bring (and this probably would have worked better in the early summer, but the timing wasn't possible) is a pocketful of sunflower seeds. i want to drop them along my path and either feed the birds who follow, or maybe plant sunflowers this year or next along my path.

the last on the list is a spiritual mentor. this is probably the most difficult for me to blog on. i have longed for a mentor all of my life. i have a wonderful therapist who 'fills the gap' but i truly want someone who loves me for who i am and is willing to step into my life and commit to loving and mentoring me. it has never happened.

i have heard rumor that a spiritual director has moved back into our community. i am very excited about this and hope to make contact soon. i would really love to have a director in my life that is close by and can be seen regularly.

so... there is my list. i have done what is 'next'. maybe that will break the stall that i feel like i've been in.

please father, help me as i plan, not to have too high of expectations, not to freeze or stop from moving forward. help me today to take another step toward you - and i pray today for knowledge of your will and the power to carry that out. amen.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

daddy's girl - an open letter to fathers of daughters

dear father,

i don't have the courage to give this to my dad, but maybe, just maybe, something i say will help your relationship with your daughter, or maybe even a daughter's relationship with you and her heavenly father.

please know that more than any other person on the planet your daughter wants to be noticed by you. for you to be proud of her, for you to be aware of her life.

so many are hurting and lost and usually it's because their daddy doesn't know they exist, or doesn't have the ability to connect with her.

please remember, you are the grown up. even if your daughter is 38 years old like me, you are the adult in this relationship. it is never your daughter's responsiblity to mend the wall that you've let fall. never. she may begin, but will be unable to move forward without your full participation.

just once i want my father to turn to me with a smile on his face and say 'i am so proud of you!' just once. i know he thinks i know that, but i don't. i really don't. because if he really felt that way, he'd tell me, right? please tell you daughter how you feel, and especially how you feel about her. we are never too old for a hug or a kind word. wrap her in your arms, or hold her face in your hands and bless her with eye contact, deep words and time.

time. for most of us it's in short supply. what and who we choose to spend our time with tells those around us what's important. it appears that the newspaper or baseball game mean more to you than we do. i know you work hard, you deserve a break, and honest, we'll be the first one's to give it to you, but first, can't you please recognize that we are here? that we matter?

you more than any other person on the planet will tell your daughter what to think of herself. who she will be as a woman will be determined mostly by you.

scary thoughts.

if you have a problem with viewing pornography or hold that super model up as the standard for all women she'll know it. she'll try to be it, or like me, totally give up and go the other way. even negative attention is attention for the starving.

i can look at the girls we work with and identify the families where distortion is taking place. i can. i can tell by the way the wife dresses, acts and interacts, and the daughter rebels, exposes and challenges that the father is struggling with his sexuality, struggling with pornography or has a distorted image of women. i know from personal experience.

eating disorders, self mutilation, risky sexual behavior - most of it is based in the father/daughter relationship. we watch the way you treat our mother's, the way you touch or don't touch them, the way you talk to them, the way you prioritize them. we watch and learn.

i know when you held us as infants you never realized how much power you would weild over us, but you do. you even have the power to tell us what god is like. our first interpretations of god stand or fall by your example. that's a big responsiblity. what are you telling me about god? is he too busy? is he too distant? is he only impressed by the outside appearance? is he fickle? does he only care about accomplishments? you are telling me about god by your actions.

anything worth doing is worth doing well. fathering above all else is worth doing well. start today. talk to her. tell her you dropped the ball.

can you imagine the healing that would take place if men across the country would begin to apologize for the way they've dehumanized women? brought their wives or daughters up in front of the church and confessed and committed to better. can you imagine the walls that would fall down?

you are a team, you and your family. it's you against the world. act like your daughter is on your team. spend time with her.

for many of you it might be too little too late. the pain may be greater than than a quick apology can fix. but a true commitment to becoming a father that shows her what god is truly like will take time, but it will be worth it. grace, love, patience, kindness, commitment. care about what's happening between her ears, more than what's happening on the outside.

it's about her heart. it's about your heart. when the two connect great things can happen. when they don't things get ugly, distorted and broken. wash her feet. she'll never forget it.

it's live!

the online link to my article is live!! hooray!

so to those of you who emailed me and i sent the site can check it again as the article is now active.

liam finally recieved his copy and i got to see it in my hot little hands, it still doesn't seem real though.

i finished 'bird by bird' by anne lamott before vacation and it reminded me (what i really needed to hear) that writing in itself needs to be the important thing - not publishing. if writing alone can't fill the void publishing won't either. it's true.

Monday, July 12, 2004

kingdom size me

idelette and janet have been pulling apart the knots in the tangle of body image and hunger. i applaud them and their courageous insights. most of you know this is one of my major struggles too. my body isn't usually my friend. it seems that i have a lot of work to do in allowing god to redeem this area of my life.

one of the things that idelette wrote spun my thoughts outward:

"For the first time my hunger and my desires intersected. I could see my hunger, not as a physical hunger, but as a cry of my soul. A yearning of my heart. A deep hope for a destiny I couldn't quite understand. All I knew was that it felt Large. Kingdom-sized, I guess."

i love this thought. that my emptiness and hunger is more related to the kingdom than my body. i knew in my soul that it was spiritual, that i could pray instead of eat - but that rarely works. i also know that i can replace the compulsive overeating with churchy busyness, but that usually makes me feel just as empty in the long run. i want kingdom work, i was made for more than this.

i don't know if that is a longing i'll have to wait for the presence of god to be fulfilled, but i hope not. i pray that it's something 'on earth as it is in heaven'. for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. that means now, right? not some future millenial kingdom - forever is forever, am i mistaken? i hope not.

word on the street psalm 23

while away last week i was working on my new 23rd psalm and read rob lacey's from a new copy of 'the street bible', or as zondervan now calls it 'the word on the street' either way it is a refreshing, new take on an old favorite.

here's a taste:

psalm 23:1-6 you comfort me (rock opera a la 'bohemian rhapsody')
(copyright david)



you're my guide and my guard, my minder, my mentor
what more do i need? what's better at the center?

you sit me down, put my best cd on,
and my dismembered soul remembers who i am again.


(chorus) (backing)

you're with me; you comfort me (x2)


and you hold my swaying heart - so soft, so strong

(chorus) (backing)

you're with me; you comfort me (x2)


you stop them tearing me apart - i fear no wrong
you show me where to go, without telling me
you set a value on my life, without selling me

(chorus) (backing)

you're with me; you comfort me (x2)



you call me to the streets; you show me such good things,
right things with no hidden strings - just your name on them.
my soul celebrates; there's something about your great repute,
like a distant flute it comforts me.



i crawl through the alley of the shadow of cancer;
i know, you know the answer, and the battle won't rattle me.
you're around, and i've found there's something about your empathy,
your symphony of sympathy, that comforts me.



you lay out a table, you sit me down;
my rivals arrive from the greatest to the least,
but my cup's kept full, and my head's held high
as you boast about me, your least priest,
and make them toast me right through the feast.
boy, does it comfort me!


(end song)

i know that your good, your best, your love and passion
will stalk me, steer me, stand alongside me,
outlast every fad and fashion, through all eternity.
for i'm going to live with you,
see heaven's great views from my own cosmic mews;
no lease to renew, no terms to review, no one else to view -
just me and you, me and you, me and you,
right through, to the end of time.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

turning the knife

What a blessing for your friend to feel comfortable enough to let you help turn the knife back on the secret.


I want to unfold. I don't want to stay folded anywhere, because where I stay folded, there I am a lie." -Rilke

Saturday, July 10, 2004

trip the light fantastic

where to start? it was a really good week, exhausting, but really good. the youth (30 of ours - 5000 others!) were incredible and well behaved, so that made our job much easier. the worship was probably the most amazing that i've ever participated in before.

2 years ago at the last convention god met me there is such a big way, i'll have to blog about that at a different time, but i had a vision, and it's the only the second time i have ever had one and it left me with high expectations and lots of pressure for this week. i attended each time of worship with bated breath, almost challenging god to show up, and that kind of attitude usually backfires.

on wednesday i was getting discouraged and just hoping and praying for a big revelation or moving experience. you see i wasn't raised with any type of a showy god. things were all about the mind, all about the learning. it's only been in the past 5 years that i have even allowed god to 'show up' in my life. i hate to think of all of the times he did before that and i missed it because my mind was so closed.

anyway - that night we had an extended time of prayer and worship, great drama and art exercises and tangible worship tools. i was pretty thrilled by the fact that the 'head office' had stepped out of their comfort zone and allow god to work in a less constructed space.

i know it's not very emergent of me, but i love worship music. chris tomlin was our worship leader for the week and that night all pistons were firing. he played a lot of songs from his new cd, so experiencing them for the first time allowed me to hear them unlike the songs i've sung before. during one of them i had my eyes closed and as i stood there a picture of myself and god dancing came to my mind. i watched it for a couple of minutes, and then it really freaked me out. i was almost embarrassed. the voice in my head kept saying things like, 'how silly, god dancing with me'. 'who do i think i am??' 'i mean really now bobbie, god has much more important things to do than dance with you.'

it was from that moment that things fell flat for me. flat. the songs were just songs, the words were just words. i listened, even sang, but for the rest of the conference it just wasn't the same. i think i was really ashamed. that intimacy seemed just a bit too real for me. i almost thought i had concocted it just so that i would have a special moment to remember. almost.

i enjoyed the rest of the conference, but told myself that this year it was only supposed to be about me facilitating the experience for others. i was okay with that.

then i got home.

waiting for me saturday in my emergingsideways at gmail dot com mailbox was an email from a wonderful, virtual friend. we have never met, we have just bonded online because of our shared experiences. this is what her email to me on wednesday said:

"Bobbie - I was awake really early and in my conversation time with my Beloved I talked about you.

And He said that today He wanted to take you dancing!

I don't know if you know how to or not but just go ahead, abandon yourself to His music and dance your socks off. Oh maybe it is too hot for socks so go in your bare feet. Even better because then you feel the beat in the floor!!!"

i still weep when i re-read it. it was real. she had NO way of knowing that i needed a good dance with my beloved - and neither did i. i actually had kicked off my shoes on that wednesday night, and in the 'vision' i was barefoot. god wasn't more than a shadow, but i could feel him spin me and hold me. the intimacy of it all terrified me. it was so close that it made me ashamed, not sexual mind you, just intimate. like i imagine the daddy/daughter dance at the wedding would be. i never had that before, and this time it was so real that it took my breath away.

coming home to that email confirmed god's care for me in such a deep, intense way. i can hardly even begin to explain it, and my words hardly do it justice.

a woman from vancouver gets a message from god for me, takes the time to pass it on and i am unable to read it until the exact time i needed it. the lyrics to the song chris was singing were written two years ago, by a first time song writer. louie giglio held on to them thinking one day they would be a good fit for him. it's a beautiful song.

indescribable, uncontainable,
you put the stars in the sky and you know them by name.
you are amazing god!
all powerful, unchangeable,
awestruck we fall to our knees and we humbly proclaim
you are amazing god, you are amazing god.
indescribable, uncontainable,
you see the depths of my heart and you love me the same
you are amazing god!

there's no place like home, there's no place like home...

back from oz and it's good to be home! i have been reading blogs and have about 10 posts brewing in my brain - can't wait to tell you how god met me there! thanks for your well wishes and prayers!

Monday, July 05, 2004

internet cafes

hola from the convention! just a quick stop to say hey. don't have a lot of time, but just wanted to say we're having a great week and i'm getting a lot of time alone to journal. amazing how different it feels to have a pen in my hand again instead of a keyboard.

have a wonderful day!

Friday, July 02, 2004

signing out...

well, i am signing out, we leave for the church tomorrow at 4:30 a.m. - so even though i want to check my messages i am going to refrain. ttfn! if you think of me please pray that god meets me there! have a great week!

christian carnival XXIV

jeremy at parableman has developed a really cool blogging idea. a blogging invitational. he has 20 entrants and by entering they are all given both critique and praise. inventive. haven't had a lot of time to read through, but the sampling is quite prolific. it doesn't seem to have any emergent entries, but it would be a great idea for a community blog to build discussion and start to hash out some of emergent ideas. kind of like an informal ooze, or what is being done on the emergent planning blog, but with a chosen topic flavor of the week kind of idea.

my psalm 23's

idelette's homework has me tied in knots. i know that was never her intention, but in trying to do this it touched an infected place in my soul. only poison came out. i kept trying and trying to be positive, profound, moving and deep, but these two subjects kept playing like a broken record in my mind.

silence is a huge theme in my life - i was silenced by the church of my youth, and it also taught that god was silent in this dispensation. his only word for me was the 'written word of god'. both of those things have had such an impact on me and my spiritual life. i know now they are both lies, but i'm having a hard time breaking through them for this effort.

so, here i sit - with two poisonous psalms. i have hesitated many times to post them, but they are honest and from my heart.

please know that god and i have reconciled much of this already, and i'm a little stumped why it's resurfacing again, but it is, so i guess i need to go with it. while i'm gone i'm writing my rejoicing psalm. if i can find an internet cafe i'll post while i'm gone.


the lord is silent
he does not speak

his complete word for me is in written form
this is not the dispensation for a personal god

you love david and moses and paul more than me

i thought i heard you call me, but it couldn't have
happened because you are silent
the fields are ripe for harvest and the workers are few,
but how is anyone to know if they can't hear your call

there are verses i read that seem to contradict this,
i am confused, surely there must be some mistake

you can't be that distant, that uncaring, that remote
i long to hear you speak just once


the lord is my silencer
i shall not talk

he makes me sit quietly in church service
he doesn't care that i have anything to contribute

only males are fit to share, teach and pray

yea though i think and dream and
am educated in theology
my contribution is not necessary
your elders and deacons control me

have you called and prepared me for more than this?
you've placed a burning passion in my heart,
it is overflowing within me

surely somewhere, somehow i am meant
to use the gifts and dreams you've given me
may i be allowed to serve in
the house of the lord someday