Monday, February 28, 2005

Theoblogy: God Working in Serendipitous Ways


Theoblogy: God Working in Serendipitous Ways

fair trade

anj and will have got me thinking a lot about fair trade lately. we support ijm and do everything we can to raise awareness of slavery, bonded labor and prostitution that is happening world wide. when i read the article about the chocolate the other day i never once imagined that i could be contributing to it myself.

i don't eat chocolate, but my family does. and i do drink coffee devotedly. it makes me literally sick to my stomach to think that i've been contributing to the cycle of pain in the world by being so unaware. this following of 'the way' is harder than it looks. it was easier to be a self-righteous consumer, full of american capitalistic pride, buying without conscience, than it is to realize the global implications that come from things as simple as making coffee and feeding my family.

we live here on a very small budget. we buy everything we can 2nd hand, garbage pick furniture and pinch every penny possible. that usually means that we shop at (ugh) walmart. it pains me to type that. liam and i have had many conversations lately about making better choices as to where we spend our finances for food and consumables. it's just so hard when every penny needs to be stretched as far as it can go.

we've started buying our meat from my cousin who's a butcher. it becomes a much more intentional process than just picking up things when you need it, and means that money has to be spent differently than it used to be. i'm trying to buy my produce from the market instead of the local grocery store. walmart produce was never an option as it is disgusting (oh how i miss canadian grocers!) i thought that i was making a better choice by using the local grocery chain instead of walmart, but found out recently that they were purchased by corporate office to break the union and bring in cheaper labor. walmart's arm is so far reaching.

how do people buy underwear in the fair-trade market? i honestly can't afford the mall, and wonder if it really is any different in the long run?? once you start to unravel this thread it is unbelievable how many areas this really touches.

anj gave me some websites to look into, i'll pass them on to you here if you're interested:

fair trade usa

no sweat apparel

fair trade coffee

please if you have any advice, help or research i'd really love to see it. thanks.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

NPR : Disconnecting Chocolate from Slavery

NPR : Disconnecting Chocolate from Slavery

i knew chocolate was from the devil! all three big us chocolate makers - hershey, nestle and mars use cocoa from child slave labor in ghana and the ivory coast. there are better ways - how can we help them find them?


tough enough

Your Brain is 66.67% Female, 33.33% Male

Your brain leans female

You think with your heart, not your head

Sweet and considerate, you are a giver

But you're tough enough not to let anyone take advantage of you!

via wow

the seeker's way

i've just been sent this book to review and have started reading and came across this very promising quote:

Christianity, in many circles, has become like a game show in which all the answers are given before any questions are asked. This does not resonate with the path of Jesus. The narratives about Jesus portray him as one who upset the confident and ignited a childlike wonder in those who could appreciate not knowing. The path of Jesus does not lead so much to assurance as to adventure and transformation. This is true of any authentic spiritual journey.

The Seekers Way, Dave Fleming, pg. 6

family secrets

annie at new life rising is my new blogger favorite. she's witty and talented and very creative. we've been corresponding about journals lately and she blogged about it here.

her post made me think about my family and how they deal with the past, present and future. i come from a family on my mother's side where secrets and shame silence everyone. my mom is gone, and she was the only one who could charm them into honesty. when they die(d) all of the history will go with them. it's so sad.

my father's side of the family is open and talks about everything. they've done all of the geneological history and have even discussed the shameful stuff. watching the two sides of the family you can see how differently they relate to each other. one is based in fear, and the other in love. one side has family reunions and real fellowship with each other, and the other only comes together when necessary, things are surfacey and everyone knows the rules. well almost everyone...

my sister and i threaten their structure. we lived in a state far enough away not to be influenced by the secrets. after our mom died we realized how temporary things can be and wanted answers to the questions we had. it was amazing to see the military precision that happened between the cousins and my aunt. they went into red alert battle zones and 'got their story straight' in record time. i was shocked. i wouldn't have believed it if i hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

i've written before that i've learned that their secrets are not my truth. they can have them. i used to be the self-appointed family detective, driven by the need to 'expose the truth' and felt that my own recovery and story couldn't be whole without the information they determined was not mine to know. i have learned since that i have everything i need to be able to face my own truth.

this was very freeing for me. yes, i'd still like to know - but really have come to understand that their secrets are really their's to keep. i've learned from both sides of my family that it's about now, it's about the choice. to choose the work of keeping the hidden things hidden or the freedom of living in the truth. one side of my family lives in the truth - their relationships and their freedom speak volumes to me. that's the choice that i want to make. i choose the truth.

nerdier than 23% of others...

I am nerdier than 23% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

via rob

Friday, February 25, 2005

Bill,s bad day

this is the story buck wrote at school this week (i've left punctuation and spelling at the first grade level):


Bill made a Go-Cart.

he got into a rase.

The rase is to day

it is st tene (starting) at 1:30

lett the rase bee-gin

down-down-down thai went

not Bill he went right.

He crashed!


i love that they let them spell creatively so that they can tell the story they want to tell. looks like the "-" is hereditary, i know i use it far too much! :)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

germs, germs go away!

after reading amy's tribute to hand sanitizer i think i'll join her in singing it's praises... monday was spent at the doctor for pink and buck, they both have ear infections, and buck has a sinus infection, and his ear infection is so bad it exploded. needless to say we're hopefully on the mend with some antibiotics, and they are feeling much better, but i'm ready for this to be over with.

i on the other hand do have bronchitis, with the side benefit of asthma-like symptoms. she doesn't think it's gone to pneumonia, but says if it doesn't clear up by the end of the week i should come back... ugh.

i'm still weak and exhausted and feel like a big whiner baby. i have not got two good brain cells to rub together and am a crabby pirate today... hopefully the zithromax kicks in soon and i'll be back to whatever normal looks like... it seems like so long ago that i can hardly remember.

we're also making some big financial/time decisions that should probably wait until i'm feeling better, but it's all i can think about anyway, so we might as well deal with it.

maybe i'll have it together enough tomorrow a.m. to write about that. hope the germs are staying away from you all and that you're enjoying this last week of february. ttfn.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

practice resurrection

i've been on an anne lamott binge lately. i finished plan b, two days after i received it in the mail, and was struck again at how true to the core of my soul her writing rings in me.

i headed to the library to find some of her fiction. i read all new people, and just finished crooked little hearts. i became so invested in the characters in the second book that i was an emotional wreck by the time it finished. it was glorious. i identified with each character on a level that suprised me.

the character 'rae' used a phrase that has been running around in my head for days. 'practice resurrection'. i love it. some of you know that i frequently say that i am addicted to redemption. i believe that our christian view of redemption stops a lot of the time at the cross, and i think that's a mistake. i believe we are continually being redeemed - the broken make new, the half made whole. the dirty made clean. nothing is wasted. that's why this term spoke so deeply to me.

i feel like i've been living in a fog of late (even before i started getting sick). this winter has been far different than i imagined it to be. i expected to be squirrelled away in my office typing madly on my stories and fulfilling my 3 year plan in the ways that i was able. it's actually been very little of that. i can hardly name what it has been, but it's not been the vibrant nesting that i had so hoped it would be.

i have been reading palmer a lot lately, going back to LYLS and his new 'a hidden wholeness' - anyone who has read palmer knows metaphor is his passion, and the seasons are his strongest example. the winter is a time for dormancy, and when i read those words today i remembered that - it is a time for the work to be done deep down where it is out of sight, not dead, but dormant. it gave me great hope to realize this.

this winter has been very dormant for me. i am so looking forward to spring.

as i began to type this out this morning, the sun crested the hills over the river, and it shown so brightly into my window that what bounced off my computer screen made me gasp. it felt like the sun reached out and tapped me on my shoulder this morning. reminding me that spring is coming. it was so beautiful i wanted to capture it. i grabbed my camera and this is what i saw.


after breakfast i headed back to bed. i felt like i had wasted that tap on the shoulder, i shamed myself for being sick and wasting a day with my family home in bed. exhaustion soon overcame my shame as i slept for hours. i was awakened again as the sun tapped me on the nose. the same beam reached through the space between my window blinds and nudged me awake - 'get up sleepy head - i haven't gone anywhere' it said.

i was rested and refreshed. not fully healthy yet, but with a much better perspective on the day.

so today i practiced resurrection, and plan on doing the same tomorrow and the next day. i don't expect to get it right any time soon, but i won't stop trying.

weak week

i should have gone to the doctor yesterday, i tried today, but they don't keep saturday hours anymore... i am weak and living in a fog. a flight of stairs winds me and gives me the wheezes. stupid not to have gotten myself to the doctor yesterday, but when the fevers stopped i thought i was getting better.

today is a definately turn for the worse... yuck. liam preaches tomorrow and i've got to be all smiles and hand shakes - ick. as if it isn't yucky enough to have to do that when i'm feeling well and confident - i'm heading back to bed soon. love you all.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

$1 provides one year of water for an african

it's alive!

the blood:water mission website is up and the 1000 wells project is ON!!

*make water your only beverage for just 2 weeks
*save money you would usually spend on beverages and collect it in a special cup
*after 2 weeks, send the money to blood:water mission and it will be used to drill clean water wells where the need is great.

$1 provides one year of water for an african

the taste of manna

albert m. lewis wrote in the nouwen's society's weekly reflection about heaven. it was nice, but what hit me was this line:

Jewish text teaches that the manna given by God to the Israelites in the desert tasted like whatever they imagined it to be.

wow - i had never heard that before. isn't that the willie wonka dream of every person? food that tastes like whatever you want it to - but still nourishes your body with healthy sustenance? no extra carbs, no added sugar - just tastes like what you want it to be?

i'm sure that wandering around in the desert those first bites of manna were like heaven - everything they ever thought it could be. i'm sure each person had every wish fulfilled in the things they had been missing back in egypt - leeks and onions, haroset and honey - all of it in wafers that fell from heaven. god providing exactly what they needed to meet each individuals tastes and desires. incredible.

it exposes their hearts when those wafers began to taste like the sand the people collecting the manna walked upon. how their hearts determined their satisfaction with god's provision. something that tasted like heaven later became unswallowable and insufficient.

i realize how often what god provides for me starts out with joy and excitement, and later turns sour in my mouth? nothing changed but my heart. oh forgive me blessed one for the dissatisfaction of my heart - help me to be content with the manna you provide me with today.

feed me better

jamie oliver is changing the way kids are fed in school in the UK - brilliant!

Jamie Oliver: Jamie's Diary: "Jamie's School Dinners"

let's pretend

blue goes right to my heart again:

"Pretend you matter. Pretend someone you meet today needs to know you. Pretend you will say exactly what they need to hear. Pretend you will offer them kindness and love right when they need it most. Pretend you will be an agent of grace--God's hands at work in the world."

go and read the rest here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

way cool!

The Baby Name Wizard's NameVoyager



well, the compulsive handwashing didn't help. i'm fevered and sick. it never wound it's way into infection with my kids, they're both better and back to school. i think i'm either getting a sinus infection or bronchitis... ick.

my head feels like it's twice it's normal weight.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

talking to kids about sex - part one

cheryl left a comment on my post about sex and mentioned her concerns about talking to her own daughter about this topic. she mentioned her struggle when the instruction she was given was so very lacking, this is true in my life too. how can we teach what was never taught to us? it is the question of every adult raised in a home of addiction or dysfunction.

i am no expert here, my oldest child is almost 9, so i've never talked to 'my own' kids before about sex, but i have talked to 100's of other people's. this would be my 'free advice' on the matter.

i know that my 'learning' came from very distorted sources - on both extremes of the spectrum - pornography and the church - neither of those extremes help anyone to have a real, healthy, life-giving understanding of sex and intimacy.

the most damaging aspect to my 'education' was that both extremes were so shame based. being a female was objectified by the pornography and degraded and impugned by the church. (my experience - not all i know). neither equipped me to be female. i still struggle with this today.

so i think it's most important that when teaching is done that is filled with grace, truth and love, not shame and fear. first of all i know that i can't teach anything that i don't believe to be true myself. i am wrestling with my own female-ness in part because my daughter is blossoming into a beautiful young woman and i want her to accept her femininity as a god given blessing instead of resenting and fearing all that life has in store for her. we need to own our own brokenness in this area before we can teach it to our kids. remember they have a 'b.s.' (pirate warning) detector that can sniff out hypocrisy and inconsistency from a mile away.

the best answer sometimes is 'i don't know, but i'm going to find out'. liam and i have committed to answering our kids questions honestly and age appropriately. we figure if they ask, they are old enough to know the truth. preparation for puberty comes early now as they are developing much more quickly than we did at our age.

pink and i have been reading the care and keeping of you together since november. it's a great start that begins with things like brushing your teeth and combing your hair. all things that were totally left out of my education - no one every did basic hygiene with me - i always felt like i was trying to keep up, and watching my friends to learn and copy. it was a horrible place and made for a very insecure childhood and teen age years. i don't want pink to have to learn anything from copying - who knows who she will think is worthy of copying? i know the people i copied were definitely not the kind of people i want my children to model themselves after.

liam is on the lookout for something similar to begin with buck soon. he's only going to be 7 next month, but we know that being intentional with these precious things needs to be one of our priorities.

the book eventually will come to the place where body parts and feminine hygiene will be discussed. this will bring many questions (as it should) and i want to be there to be able to answer each and every one.

one of the other things that i feel needs to happen with children; is that they need never to be shamed for asking questions. parents who project their embarrassment with these issues on their children punish them for their innocence. too many times of shaming and kids will know they're on their own and search for answers elsewhere.

the other area of sensitivity that i would caution about is not punishing your children for telling you the truth - even if it means they have broken the rules or 'sinned'. there needs to be consequences for these actions, but not for the truth telling. punishing your children for telling the truth creates liars and sneaks. children are brilliant - they know the logic of relational math - [i tell you the truth] + [you punish me] = i am stupid and will stop telling you the truth.

most parents fail to realize the real effects of this kind of economy in their homes. thoughtful consequences vs. reactionary punishment will build the kind of relationship that will keep communication open with your kids in a way that keeps you in the circuit. it's not fool proof, but you've got a better chance of being the person they come to instead of going to places where misconception and ugly lies dwell.

the next item i've been realizing is that metaphor speaks truth into my life in a much less threatening manner that facts and figures. i think we can use story and metaphor to describe those things that are conceptual about marriage, sex and love in ways that honor our children's brains and souls, and in a way that stays with them into the times when they really need it.

the only equipment i was ever given was 'just say no'. it worked for a year or two, but when i realized i didn't want things to stop i was out of ammunition to fight temptation and the emotional/hormonal/societal pressure i was facing.

my parents, youth workers and the church couldn't admit that in marriage sex was fun, wonderful and something to be desired to themselves, so they were unable to prepare me any farther than they were willing to go themselves.

honesty and transparency without graphic details at age appropriate times is the best direction to take - speak the truth in love.

love casts out fear, is never shame based and honors the other person and yourself in a way that brings hope and life. it takes courage. most of the time we avoid it because it might bring up our own baggage - but when we take the time to unpack our bags and deal with those things that are holding us hostage our children will benefit, but more importantly so will we.

so, i guess it's taking longer to get to the 'birds and bees' - so i'll make this part one.

coming in out of the wind

That is why the real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day.

Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind. We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system: because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us. It is the difference between paint, which is merely laid on the surface, and a dye or stain which soaks right through.

CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

Monday, February 14, 2005

i wanted to hate you.

i fell in love with you at the gas station.
i didn't want to, really.

i wanted to hate you.

i wanted you to be as shallow as i thought you were.

but your brain, oh your brain.
you were so smart, so funny.
you made me laugh, even when i wanted to hate you.

we waited and waited, there at the gas station.
you kept telling stories and drawing me in
even when i wanted to hate you.

you smiled and laughed and looked like a rebel
a rebel in bible school days

the smell of gas probably weakened my defenses
i wanted to defend myself from you.
oh i wanted to hate you.

but i lost, i lost that day
there at the gas station.

happy valentines day babe!

sex - heaven or hell?

Sex - Heaven or Hell? - Johann Christoph Arnold

We live in a society that is constantly talking about sex, but we remain deeply impoverished in our understanding of what it can mean. And it's not just the pharmaceutical industry that plays off our obsession. TV producers and radio hosts, plastic surgeons, film directors, and publishers - all of them play off an unprecedented public appetite for more. The obvious result of all this has been the wholesale commercialization of sex. But it has also meant the gradual disappearance of true intimacy and the degradation of the erotic into the crude and banal. In the space of a half-century, attitudes that were once unthinkable have become commonplace, and what was once classed as perversion is now said to be natural and normal. Yesterday's porn, as the saying goes, is today's advertising.

Some people insist that negative attitudes have merely become healthier; and it is true that much of what our grandparents saw as sin, our own generation sees as freedom. But for many of today's teens, neither view holds true. They regard sexual activity neither as a sin nor as a source of liberation, but as a quick fix for loneliness and boredom. "Sometimes I think the whole world is focused on sex," says Jake, a fifteen-year-old, with a world-weary sigh. "There are nights when I'm locked away in my girlfriend's bedroom while her parents are out…and sometimes I think, maybe we could really be out doing something else besides this." And even those who boast about their exploits often live in quiet fear of diseases like AIDS.

We are leaving our children a world where the very dimension of human experience that was once regarded as the most sacred and heavenly may turn out to be the most hellish. Robbed of the chance to discover sex as innocents, they have little idea of its mysterious capacity to satisfy not only bodily cravings, but the mind and spirit as well. To them,reverence is a meaningless, old-fashioned word; lust something to indulge; a condom the only necessary precaution. But the price is often high: anxiety, self-hatred, confusion, and despair.

How can we rediscover sex as the wondrous, divinely created gift it is? How can we be delivered from experiencing it as misery? There are no simple answers; after all, the sexual sphere is always precariously balanced between grief and joy, fulfillment and frustration - between heaven and hell. But that should not discourage us. Rather than leading us to treat sex as a problem to be solved by moralists and prudes, we ought to grapple with its challenges and enlarge our understanding of it.


Sunday, February 13, 2005

okay, 2 sick kids...

pink just came to me with thermometer in hand and drippy watery eyes. poor kids. hopefully it stops with them - i'll be the one compulsively washing my hands for the next week...

up with a sick kid tonight

well, by the forth time of having your sleep interrupted by a sick son you know it's going to be a rough night.

the last time he was at the end of my bed weeping unintelligible words. i quieted him and walked him back to his room where he abruptly turns on the light and i can finally understand what he's saying as he flips his blankets in the air 'i need help with my paperwork, help me with my paperwork.'

first grade must be harder than i remembered... he was like a little charlie sheen in the end of wall street, panicked, sweaty and very concerned with paperwork... poor kid.

i used to hallucinate with high fevers all the time when i was little. mine were spiders crawling all over the walls. i'd scream in terror. sobbing is definitely a better way to be awakened from a dead sleep than high pitched shrieks.

needless to say i won't be at church tomorrow (today) and we'll be hanging around home for the duration. hope i can get a nap...

focus on the flintstones

Feb. 8 - The ongoing campaign against alleged gay icons in animated cartoons continued today as a newly formed conservative group demanded that television stations stop broadcasting "The Flintstones" at once.

Harland Devane, leader of the group Focus on the Flintstones, said at a press conference in Washington, D.C. today that his organization was issuing the demand because, "Quite simply, everything about 'The Flintstones' is way too gay."

The conservative activist distributed a memo itemizing over 50 ways in which the self-styled "modern Stone Age family" series promotes homosexuality, but left little doubt that most of his concerns centered on the relationship between the two main characters, Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble.

"Their relationship is more flagrantly homosexual than anything in Oliver Stone's 'Alexander,'" Devane said.

He pointed out that Fred and Barney are virtually inseparable, are never seen wearing pants and live together in the suggestively-named town of Bedrock.

He also noted that the two men work together at a quarry wearing hard hats and construction garb, an oblique reference to the construction worker in the classic disco band "The Village People."

"Do I believe they are gay icons?" Mr. Devane said. "I abba-dabba-do."

He added that Focus on the Flintstones' efforts will not stop at banning the cartoon series from U.S. television stations, telling reporters that the group is also "taking a close look" at Flintstone-related consumer products such as Flintstone vitamins and cereal.

"We are very uncomfortable with Fruity Pebbles," he said.

Elsewhere, President Bush announced a budget of $2.57 trillion, most of which will go to paying for last month's inauguration.

Satire by Andy Borowitz



Saturday, February 12, 2005


hope at a song not scored for breathing linked to a website i wasn't familiar with. it's called 'but you don't look sick'. she highlighted a story about a woman with lupus trying to explain to her best friend what it was like to live with a life long disease.

my mother (the real bobbie) had lupus and died (at 43) 17 years ago on february 6th. i've been thinking about her quite a bit lately. this story has helped me be much more sympathetic in my memories of her. if you are sick, or have friends with life-long sickness this story is brilliant in helping those of us not struggling with our health to better understand those who are. it's a metaphor using the idea of spoons.

Friday, February 11, 2005

today is the day!

well - the thyroid saga continues. my own doctor didn't think that my second set of results warranted any treatment, and that hit me like a ton of bricks. i contacted one of liam's friends who is an ob-gyn and an elder at our church to get his take on it.

he would have treated me if i had been his patient, so he encouraged me to either challenge her or to get a referral to an endocrinologist - i did both - i scheduled the appointment with the endo and wrote a letter to her asking her to reconsider.

late yesterday afternoon her nurse called me to tell me she was prescribing treatment - yay! i go to pick up the script today.

i know it's not a miracle drug, but i sure would like to reclaim whatever i've lost to this. if anyone has experience with this treatment or has any advice i'd love to hear it!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

suffer me not to be separated

i just found this on sisters online and thought it so appropriate after my last post:

Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated
And let my cry come unto Thee.

T.S. Eliot - Ash Wednesday

ash wednesday 2005

yesterday morning liam and i walked to the little episcopal church in our neighborhood for their 8:00 a.m. ash wednesday service. we climbed the steps with about eight college students and entered the simple sanctuary. i quickly grabbed a wad of kleenex for my pocket to wipe my tears and sat in the padded chair waiting, ackward and expectant.

i have been to roman catholic services and romanian orthodox ones, but this form of casual high church was new to me. it was a deacon's eucharist and the service was taken from the common book, and a home-made lenten service pamphlet from years gone by. i found it hard to follow along at first, wondering which page we were on and playing catch up. there were about 20 of us there and it was clear everyone knew everyone, but us. the deacon regularly made eye contact with us, not knowing who or why we were there. it was very welcoming and nurtured me to be a newcomer and kind of unknown.

being a staff wife at our church of over 1000 means that strangers know who i am. i am the most helpful person at the grocery store because i assume everyone i meet could possibly be someone who has visited our church and knows who i am - so being anonymous and wondered about was a feeling i hadn't had in a long time.

i found it different to have my face buried in a book during worship. i have a good memory for lyrics, and even in the days of the hymnal i rarely needed to read the words to be able to join in the singing. even before 'off the wall' participation was normal i was worshipping with my face turned upward, or with my eyes closed all together so that i was less distracted by the stage or other people's style of worship. it was strange to see heads bowed and buried, following along with the responsive readings while i was unable to locate the page.

once i got in the flow it wasn't as strange, but it was strange to have a service with no music at all. i revelled in the kneeling, the challenge of the prayers and the readings - especially joel 2:12-13. it has worked it's way deep into my bones:

"Even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love and he relents from sending calamity."

my favorite ghetto monk blogged about ash wednesday yesterday and it's still haunting me:

And let’s say hey, priest, rub it in extra hard today, grind that shit straight into my brain. And then please come to my house and mourn with me—we aren’t made to die alone. And maybe if we do that today, even if just today, just today let some homesickness sink in, let it sit, let it do its thing, let that black ash dig into our brains, make it so we can’t think about anything else, we’ll begin to understand what home means.
i wanted my ashes to remain through the day, helping me remember each time i glanced in the mirror that this year was different. they faded very fast, i never even saw them. i must have wiped my bangs out of my eyes and removed them without even knowing it. but jeremy's words made me hope they seeped in deep - deep into my brain - helping me understand what this is all about.

i also LOVED the idea that i was participating with people all over the world in an act of worship 1000's of years old - i felt like a part of something much larger than myself. it was very powerful, and still is.

i told the deacon on the way out who we were and he invited us to come back anytime. i assured him we would, the other church owns us on sundays, but the rest of the week is our's.

it will be hard to sacrifice the idea being forced to celebrate palm sunday and easter filled with a lot of hype and pomp, but i've been trying to pray i will allow it all to be what it is and find the nutrients within each part i must participate in. part of this lenten period is also preparation for liam and i to participate in a different kind of 40 days.

our church will be doing '40 days of purpose' after easter. this is hard for me. as connie says "anything with the word "driven" in it scares me silly". i know that for right now there is a purpose in us being here - but it's becoming so divergent to who i am and what i believe. it's all i can do not to stand like isaiah or jeremiah in torn rags raging against my perception of how badly this all misses the point. i am trying not to be judgemental, not to be arrogant, not to have pride, but this all breaks my heart. i so long to have simple, so long to have community, so long to seek justice and love mercy and walk humbly with my god - and this just seems so bloated and so excessive to me.

i read on dave's blog yesterday his thoughts on 40 days:

You still see "40 days of purpose" banners hanging up in front of churches as an advertisement to fellow motorists that there is something happening for 40 days that will be about purpose. (I am not sure of the effectiveness of such banners, wouldn't these banners tell the pagan motorists that if they come into the church, they will have to be there for 40 days? Isn't it hard enough to get a non-believer to attend just once?)

he also quotes rick who commented on his blog:

"Well said. Thank you for taking the time to write. Outstanding. I attended the emergent conference in SD early this year and experienced many of the same feelings. In some ways it is sad because we seem so far removed from reality. It felt inauthentic in many ways. Rick Warren was speaking at the confeence "next door" and he asked, "Has anyone heard of 40 days of purpose?" I yelled out, "Yea, for 2,000 years we have called it Lent!"
both of those comments have helped me to put some perspective on all of this. 'to accept the things i cannot change, the courage to change the things i can, and the wisdom to know the difference.'

well, in all of this, the only thing i can truly change is myself, my response and my attitude. i know that my feet have walked along the path that went through 'purpose driven' land to get to where i am now. not that i'm farther ahead or anything, but i do have hope that maybe this might be a catalyst to draw others into a place where they become discontent with imperialistic theology, begin to see the needs of the world and want more than magic, plastic jesus in their spiritual lives.

so as those ashes sink their way into my brain, and i rend my heart, not my clothes - i am realizing that this is about my inward response of homesickness, not my outward displeasure of this temporary home. i need to extend grace in ways i wish it would be extended to me on my journey. god help me.

hey guys - want to really win her heart this valentines day??

World Vision Online Donations: Girls and Women

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

giving up the pirate life for lent

well, at about 10:30 last night it finally came to me. what was that thing that i was holding on to and caring about far too much lately? i knew it had to be my salty language. so, for the next 40 odd days i am going to allow my impulse to swear to be that snooze button that reminds me of my constant need for THEM.

it's not about legalism or even right or wrong, it's really just a tool to allow me to increase my spiritual muscles. giving up something that i do regularly, especially when i am feeling powerless and angry, will direct me to a place of being present in those emotions and bringing them to the light.

should be an interesting couple of months... at least it wasn't coffee. $#()@ :)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

gmails wide open

just in case anyone who wants one doesn't have a gmail invite they've blown the doors off of the invitations - 50 for each account (between all of us we've probably got about 10 accounts here!) - so i've got hundreds of invites if anyone wants one.

no images like hotmail or yahoo - lots of storage - 1 gig - totally searchable. i've used it for months now and love it.

let me know if you want one (or 100!) :)

you give and take away

to refrain or to add? that is the lenten question i've been wrestling with for the past week. last week i was giving up blogging for lent. that still might be an option, but i am befuddled.

to introduce a small discipline for pink and buck we talked as a family, describing lent and it's purposes. they decided that it would be a good thing to give up ice cream for lent - and we'll celebrate fat tuesday tonight with sundaes and easter with a trip to the store to get any kind their little hearts desire to break their fast.

i already have been fasting ice cream, so it's not much of a stretch for me, and i probably won't be breaking my fast with them in practice, but will be fully participating in the event and watching the joy on their faces as they receive that first bite.

i'm befuddled. it seemed so easy last week - i am taking on walking and reading each morning with liam, i thought giving up blogging would be good to force me to journal and to write other things. i don't really know now. my blogging hasn't been the manic compulsion that it once was, it's settled itself into a tool, and i think a useful one. is giving up a useful tool what lent is about, looking at it i don't think so.

i love the spiritual muscles that are built through abstinence. daily i renew my commitment to my abstinence, those days are linking together into a long chain stretching back over five years now. what muscles are still flabby? what is realistic. that is my prayer, trying to find that place in my soul that stretching will help. that the snooze alarm of abstaining will strengthen. i know when i find it it will fit, it's just that right now nothing seems to 'fit'. well, i guess that's what today is for.

enjoy your fat tuesday!

Friday, February 04, 2005

lenten newbie seeking guidance

hey all! for as dense as i was about advent, i at least had some clue about a direction to take, lent to me though never meant more than watching my catholic friends have fish on fridays and giving up something like chocolate. help!?!?!

i've never had ashes on wednesday or have a clue what maundy thursday means - any help or direction, books or website recommendations would be really helpful!

another question - any episcopalians - what does ash wednesday service look like? can i go and participate, and what about communion?? am i allowed or not - i have never done high church before, but really feel a deep yearning in me for some ritual and depth this season. i just don't want to break any rules or step in any awkward situations that i don't understand. thanks for the help!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

lust and anger

there was a hint in my comments yesterday that making friends with our lust and anger meant embracing sin - that's not what this means or what i'm saying.

spending time in silence and meditation is about understanding and feeling the emotions that cause the sin - it's about looking at the temptation, wants and feelings without the actions - understanding more about why i feel i have unsatisfied needs and unresolved relationships. sitting with those things - not sin, and holding them in the light. this helps in stopping the sin from actually happening - it breaks it's power over me and helps me build bridges instead of walls in my relationships and allows god to meet my needs instead of grasping to meet them myself.

the most helpful tool i've had in maintaining my abstinence and sobriety over sexual addiction and compulsive overeating is by carving out margins in my mind and in my time. realizing that i don't have to react to temptation or be shamed by it (remember jesus was tempted - it's not a sin to be tempted) into sin has been the biggest victory of my recovery. before it was temptation/shame/sin, bam, bam, bam - i would give in because the shame that came from being tempted caused me to feel like i had no choice but to continue in my way of life and cycles of addiction.

but carving out that time - to respond, not react to the temptation or emotion - specifically anger or lust (and lust isn't just sexual) has given me breathing space so my mind can engage, my heart can feel the emotions and my soul can give voice to hope. it's how jesus handled his temptations - i'm not saying that in a spiritual one-up-man-ship way - but really - look at the way he faced temptation - there was no avoidance, there was no fear or shame - he was spending time in silence and prayer previous to all of the documented temptations, he took a breath, engaged his brain and soul (i don't mean a soul like ours - i don't want to get into the theological stuff, i'm willing to admit he's got way more soul than we do!) and addressed the temptation head on and told it to flee. you have no home here, no right, no nest to lay your filthy little eggs - be gone! (my paraphrase)

now jesus did this instinctively, he wasn't compulsive or an addict - but we can learn this response - but it only comes with margins - it only comes with silence, space and time to make friends with our thoughts and feelings - not be driven by them to behavior that causes us to sin or escape into behavior that is destructive.

nouwen continues today:
How do we befriend our inner enemies lust and anger? By listening to what they are saying. They say, "I have some unfulfilled needs" and "Who really loves me?" Instead of pushing our lust and anger away as unwelcome guests, we can recognize that our anxious, driven hearts need some healing. Our restlessness calls us to look for the true inner rest where lust and anger can be converted into a deeper way of loving.

There is a lot of unruly energy in lust and anger! When that energy can be directed toward loving well, we can transform not only ourselves but even those who might otherwise become the victims of our anger and lust. This takes patience, but it is possible.
here's to loving well, telling the temptations in our lives to go to hell (in jesus' name!) and finding that true inner rest that brings us all to a deeper way of loving.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

love me or hate me!


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turning enemies into friends

a day in the house - to myself!! yippee!

i started by getting some financial matters straightened out and then walked for 30 minutes on my new (to me) treadmill!! i had been praying for a way to get some exercise that didn't force me into the 16 degree weather since winter began and god has bestowed on us a used (free) treadmill. so today i have begun to relcaim and redeem that which was lost to the winter. don't know if phil saw his shadow today, but i'm going to be ready for spring, and there is already a spring in my step today.

as i was heading to spend some silent time with god i read today's daily reflection with henri nouwen, which was exactly what i needed, this day of all days.
"We need silence in our lives. We even desire it. But when we enter into silence we encounter a lot of inner noises, often so disturbing that a busy and distracting life seems preferable to a time of silence. Two disturbing "noises" present themselves quickly in our silence: the noise of lust and the noise of anger. Lust reveals our many unsatisfied needs, anger our many unresolved relationships. But lust and anger are very hard to face.

What are we to do? Jesus says, "Go and learn the meaning of the words: Mercy is what pleases me, not sacrifice" (Matthew 9:13). Sacrifice here means "offering up," "cutting out," "burning away," or "killing." We shouldn't do that with our lust and anger. It simply won't work. But we can be merciful toward our own noisy selves and turn these enemies into friends."
so i'm off to turn some of those enemies into friends. take care!

loggers, floggers, bogglers

i was writing a letter in microsoft word the other day and saw that 'blogger' was highlighted as misspelled. when i clicked on the options to see what they suggested as alternatives these were the words i was given:

loggers, floggers, bogglers

it made me smile.