Sunday, December 31, 2006

kindred hearts for a new year

thank you all for your excitement and wishes for our time with erin. she is as lovely in person as she is in words.

i feel so blessed to have her here. she fits in like she's been here forever (and should be forever!!)

stories intertwining, questions asked and answered. there have been lots of words shared at our table.

i think we all should have this opportunity, those of us who's hearts have been entwined together here online, we need to meet face to face and be reminded that we are not alone. this is real.

i have also learned that there are some lurkers out there on my blog who have questions about me. you don't know how much it would mean to me to know you too. please, ask away, i am truly an open book. if you regularly read my words and take the time to come back here again and again you are a friend. please even let me know if you blog so that i can have the honor of reading your words. it would touch me greatly.

i pray this year, as mike said on his blog is filled with something BIG. there is something viral happening, something BIG. i can't wait to be a part of it somehow.

happy new year dear friends!

Friday, December 29, 2006

she's safe!

i don't know how she made the 13 hours all by herself, but erin has made it here safe and sound - yipee!!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

my best christmas present is almost here!

our dear blogger friend, she of the twice-baked thoughts, will be here, visiting for a lovely long weekend starting tomorrow. i am so excited!

one of the best things about the internet was showing me that although i am different than most people i live around, i am not alone. i am unique, just not 'one of a kind'. the kindred spirits i have found in the blogworld have allowed me to 'fit in' for one of the first times in my life.

erin is definitely a kindred spirit and I CAN'T WAIT TO MEET HER!

it is so strange to speak of one of your best friends coming to visit to those in your community, and then you realize how strange it sounds to them that we've never met face to face. there are some of you who know me better than my own sister now. i consider you sisters of a sort.

having the opportunity to welcome erin into our home is just such a gift for me. to show her around our area (and persuade her to relocate! ha!) is going to be a lot of fun. and just hanging out and connecting face to face will be the best thing ever!

safe travels erin!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

self-care christmas

this was the first christmas since the kids were born (pink is soon to be 11) that we haven't been in ministry, traveling or moving for the christmas season. it seemed so indulgent. almost selfish. when i look at reality it truly wasn't. but we have gone so long for 'others' that we had forgotten what caring for ourselves looked like.

we had intentions of announcing an open invitation to anyone at church who didn't have plans, but one second before i stood up another woman stood to invite all to their home. we considered going but there weren't any children out kids ages and knew that taking them away from their just opened presents to sit with adults and babies would be a long journey of "is it time to go home yets".

so, we decided that our turkey dinner would be just for us. on christmas morning liam blessed us all with crepes and a lovely cheese filling, topped with a three berry compote. it was incredible. for dinner i baked two pies, splenda pumpkin and splenda apple/pear. there was one packet of yeast left from the st. lucy buns, so i decided that i wasn't going to be afraid of it and made clover buns to go with our turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, ginger sweet potatoes, broccoli salad, and local cranberries.

the whole time i was preparing i kept getting the impulse that this was too indulgent for "just us" - we rarely cooked a roast, or actually went to the trouble of preparing a real meal in my home growing up unless company was coming.

i serve my family real meals and cook regularly, but somehow putting this much work into a meal that "no one else was going to see" just seemed almost silly. i had to keep reminding myself that we were worth it, and that modeling that for my children was so important.

it was the most enjoyable meal, no pressure, no stress, just us and an abundant meal, prepared with love for those i cherish most. it was truly a lesson in self-care. we learned that we are worth it, this pace of life honors us and our personalities and we figured out those things that give us life, put us in touch with the sacred things we long for and reminded us of what is truly important.

it was a truly, merry christmas.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

emerging sideways - top 5, give 5, fav 5

corner bob puts together the "top 5" blog every year and this year he's added a great twist. he's calling it "top 5, give 5, fav 5" - and everybody gets to play, not just bloggers - but blog readers too!

i you are a blog reader, and don't blog yourself you can submit your 5 favorite posts you have read this year too!

to participate we're all donating $5.00 each to the tipitina's foundation, a new orleans, post-katrina, effort to restore the music to that amazing city.

here are my top 5 for 2006:
  1. mary and martha
  2. the higher road
  3. the thumb in my back
  4. dirty little secrets - porn and the church
  5. youth ministry - the next 50 years - part 1 and youth ministry - the next 50 years - part 2

more than meets the eye..

definitely not your children's cartoon...

transformers in theaters july

Sunday, December 24, 2006

merry chrismtas!

christmas power post

good christmas eve morning!

no, i am not in a puddle in the corner of the room, honest. sorry, life has just gotten full and i am truly enjoying the holiday season and emotions. even the melancholy ones.

i am way behind in my correspondence, book reviews and blogging. please know that i am not ignoring you, but my computer has decided to crash and i have wanted to wait until after the holidays to bug our good friend here who might be able to fix it for us. i don't think it's fatal, just more than we can manage on our own.

my christmas present is on it's way - a new screen. i will take a picture and post of the ANCIENT screen i have been using - it is HUGE and cumbersome, and my new flat screen will give me lots of space on my desk to do art now too!! and i won't have to play the "oooh, let's guess what the capture is on the typepad blogs 15 times so i can post a comment..." (that has been going on for almost a year now...)

we have had fun this season using our surprise baby bonus check from the government and are putting it to good use. i think it might be a bit of coping going on, but we're not going into any debt, so i'm not going to feel guilty, well, i'm not going to let the guilty feelings stay. we're being generous with it too and have got to help out some other families in our community have a christmas too.

pink and i celebrated our first 'santa lucia day' - she did so well and was a shining light in her white gown and wreathe (we need to get a 'real one' next winter). i've included a picture of the saffron/current buns we made together. we have also decided to embrace st. nicholas day next winter as buck felt very left out of the preparations, so we are doing research and finding traditions we can embrace that will allow buck to have 'his day' like pink has her's now with st. lucy day.

i am just loving the rhythm and flow of this first christmas without ministry or moving in the way. it is simple and beautiful and we are finding the things that truly matter to us. i do miss family, even liam's family, but i think our choice to stay close to home this season has been a good one.

i promise i'll write more soon. i've put together my top 5 post and will get that up as soon as bob launches the blog. you're invited to join - and this year blog readers can join too - find the top 5 posts (from any blogger) that you've read this year and send it to bob at the corner blog and he'll add it to the list!

have a wonderful next couple of days - please know that you have made this year more rich and far more interesting for me! merry christmas!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

5 things you don't know about me

my favorite irishman across the pond tagged me for the 5 things you don't know about me meme.

and on this blog where you all know so very much about me i think it might be difficult to find 5 whole things you don't know.... hmmmmm...

1. it is my deepest dream and aspiration to feed the hungry. i fantasize about a ministry that begins with a soup kitchen (gosh i hate that term) and a food bank (another limiting term) here in our community that is run so well that it can be duplicated in small towns and cities across north america (and elsewhere if they want it). i pitched my idea to tony campolo 3 years ago and he liked it so much he invited me to eastern to study and begin my project. i have furnaced this idea for over 5 years and it ties together every job i've ever had, every financial struggle we've gone through and redeems all of it. it is the desire of my heart and i just can't figure out how to get from here to there...

2. following si's lead (who wants a sinus transplant) - i want a skin transplant. i have severe rosacia and adult acne that scars far too easily, it can be masked by cosmetics, but i loathe them and miss the days (pre-baby) of my peaches and cream (what my mother used to call it) complexion. i dream about contacting someone like oprah who wants to do a show on REALLY BAD SKIN and get some new dermatological wonder treatment i could never afford.

3. i have visions. not all of the time, but about 3-5 times a year i am given intense images that usually explain something very important in my life or community. liam is the only person i've really ever told about it. i am in a community now that would be open to them, but it is so strange to me that i still doubt them. the most important one i've ever had was last year at this time when i saw a long, back lit hallway, and there was this person walking down it very slowly. the closer the person got the more i could see why they were walking so slowly. they were dragging their left leg, and their left shoulder was dropping and as they came closer to me i realized that their left arm was deformed and twisted.

as they got closer still i could see it was a man, the light started to hit his face and somehow i knew it was jesus. he had a stroke and the whole left side of his body was paralyzed. he kept walking toward me and got about a foot away from me, the dropping face deformed, spittle running off the side of the mis-shapen lips and i looked into his eyes and a tear ran down the right side of his face.

when i looked into his eyes i knew that this was a picture of the body of christ. the church, that one half of it is paralyzed from fulfilling it's full potential and it broke his heart. it moved me so deeply i cried for days.

see, that's why i don't tell anyone.

4. wow, this has gotten really heavy... so i need to think of something more light-hearted... i love to sing, and have a pretty big range, but i have no ability to harmonize. i am a follow. when someone stands next to me i follow every lilt and note they sing instead of what i'm supposed to sing myself...

5. i am a dumpster diver. my hubby calls it 'shopping at curby's' and i just plain old call it garbage picking. my house is literally FILLED with unique finds that i re-purpose and reuse and they are mine (and the ones i get most compliments on) and i love them. my favorite piece is a cool old dresser that the paint is all chipped off of (i've sanded it) and we've removed 2 of the drawers and it holds our t.v. everyone who sees it wants one. i guess it's part of that redemption process that thrills my heart.

so there - those are my five things... i can't believe i told you that stuff, i just couldn't figure out what else you didn't know... :) thank you si - it was fun to play!

i tag hope, claudia mair, erin, deb and connie

Sunday, December 17, 2006

mad tv pig potty blooper

i don't like the mean rosie jokes, but this blooper from mad tv last night is very funny. CAUTION - not for the faint at heart:

Mad TV Pig Potty Blooper

Saturday, December 16, 2006

you don't just have a body, you ARE a body

awoke early to a quiet, christmas light filled home. so i lit my candles and sat in silence, waiting. it was a beautiful way to start the day.

after my knees gave out i sat on the stool, bemoaning the creaks i felt from the fall i took the other day. still so thankful nothing broke, but feeling every one of my 41 years.

i moved over to the computer and opened my email. each day i start with the storypeople. today's message said that he gets along much better with his relatives now that most of them are dead. it made me smile.

then i moved on to the newsletter from CBE - christians for biblical equality. they are a voice crying in the wilderness for me. i clicked on their newsletter and saw that this one focused on eating disorders and the church, body image and raising ourselves and our daughters to be engaged with their appetites, both sexual and regarding food. those two always go hand in hand.

i will link to all of the rich and wonderful articles here so you don't miss any, but i want to highlight the largest ah-ha i had this morning (many more will follow) that said "you don't just have a body, you are a body". obvious, eh? not for me.

the dualism that we, especially in the church, view our bodies with nears gnostic heretical proportions. did you know that rates for eating disorders are higher at christian colleges than others? something is drastically wrong with our theology and the way we are raising our girls.

i am a body. it's supposed to be that way. god made me that way. light bulb.

shocking that at 41 it had never occurred to me that it was not just a necessary evil, but that it's where i am, and the holy spirit is to dwell. it's always felt like two separate things. my body was (is, if i am really honest with myself) a curse. something that traps the real me inside who so longs to be free. lots of maintenance and much shame is associated with it. like i said in a post months ago, in my world women were either cooking meat or a piece of meat. there was no in between in my childhood.

i am a body.

i think i started to understand this a bit when i was pregnant with my kids. it was the first, and really, again, if i'm honest, the only times i have ever felt present in my body for extended periods of time. reading that back i realize how very lame (and sad) that is. i know much of what these articles explain is so necessary for me to understand. remedial, basic principles are necessary to re-wire the messed up circuitry in my head.

realizing things like this re-ignites the anger and betrayal i feel toward those in power in the church. i want them to have to answer for the mess they've made. disengaging generations of women from their bodies, the bodies god intended for them to inhabit and indwell, animate and engage the universe in. now you're reaping what you have sown. brokenness, confusion, inability to engage, addiction and even death. i hope it tastes like dust, cobweb filled dust.

i am a body. you can't take that away from me now. i will teach it to every woman, girl, boy and man i am able to. you are a body too. god meant it that way.

here are the articles from the newsletter:

all artwork is done by eric nykamp of eyekons - read his story here:

about the artist

Friday, December 15, 2006

merry christmas from sufjan!

don't forget to call your grandma!!

christmas alone

christmas can be hard even when life is good, rich and full. scott williams blogs here on his rememberances of being alone and single for the holidays. it's very moving:

christmas alone

Thursday, December 14, 2006

flashback christmas

my favorite transplanted maritimer, kyran at notes to self has made my day with this walk down christmas memory lane:

santa you bastard

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

flat on my face

upon returning from picking up the last gift on my list this afternoon (the store called to inform me that it was in, and they'd hold it today only...) i noticed how muddy the driveway was and decided to keep to the snow patches. bad idea. it was really an ice patch and before i knew it i was BAM, flat on my face. literally, nose touching the dirt, shocked as all get out and thankful that i don't have osteoporosis or brittle bones.

i think my knee broke my fall, but it's just scuffed, but my pride and my shame were in full force as i stumbled into the house with all of my US mail in hand, scattered like leaves in the wind when i fell.

i think my pride was bruised most of all, but i am sure i might be feeling it a bit tomorrow. so much for silence and serenity, eh?

please pray for me as this afternoon i have been invited to an intervention for a dear friend here who's daughter is fading quickly from anorexia. i have never been involved in anything like this, and will probably just be there for emotional support. i know if it was my own daughter i would appreciate this greatly. thank you for your prayers.

slow slide

i have beens struggling lately. there i've said it.

i am sad. i knew it was coming. whenever i have great highs i have great lows. i am low.

low always makes me scared. will this be the final descent into the big black hole, or is this just a rebalancing of the scales because of last month? i never know. so to embrace it seems silly. to sit with it and be present to it makes me a bit panicky and so i push it away until my arms are so tired i can do it no longer.

so today i sit, with tired arms wondering what it will look like to embrace the emotions. face those things i have been holding at arms length.

my counselor asked me yesterday "you have unlocked a lot of big issues lately. do you ever take a break, or get tired?" crap. that opened up a great big hole. i acknowledged that i can be as compulsive about 'getting healthy' as i can about other things in my life. he asked what sabbath looked like for me. my life is pretty laid back. little is required of me (and i can't seem to even manage that well since we got back from cincy) so taking a break, allowing myself to just be? i feel like i'm "being" a whole lot more than the others around me. but he's right.

i need a break. carnes calls them 'gentleness breaks' - and i haven't had one in quite some time. i told my counselor that fear is running a lot of my life right now. that i fear if i'm not moving forward in my recovery that i'm sliding backward. that black hole is like a thumb in my back. i miss serenity. i've been white knuckling my recovery for far too long. how i wish there was a group that fit my issues around here. i am in great need of some 12 step people.

so maybe today i will sit and create. make that collage i have been pondering for months now. or draw with my new pastels that my dear sweet friend sent me. gentleness. mothering myself for a change. even though the apartment is in shambles, i will try to stop shaming myself and just be.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

renee's story made miami ink

i was watching miami ink with liam tonight and the lead singer, mr. j from the procussions was on getting his tattoo 'forgive us' and he went on to tell the story of reading renee altson's 'stumbling toward faith' and how much it impacted him.

it was really beautiful.

see, our stories are where redemption is found.

love you renee. thank you for being so brave.

she's been holding out on us!

our dear friend wilsonian, she of the twice baked thoughts, has been keeping a beautiful gift for fiction tightly wrapped away from our eyes.

how do i know this you ask?

she has entered into the mind and the heart of the 'wise men' as they journey from the east to meet our savior.

you can read her lovely ponderings here:

advent::blog - do you feel wise now magi?

Monday, December 11, 2006

new way to help out (red)emption

while looking up a recipe at the simply recipes blog for carnitas and i saw an ad for 'the' and clicked on it because they said they'd donate $1.00 per person who searches for something RED on their site.

always one to want to help out (especially if it's for a great cause - doctors without borders) i clicked and searched. now you can too: - red search donates $1.00 to doctors without borders

and don't forget - if you haven't donated your $10.00 CDN to (red)emption you can do so today!! you've got only 20 more days until it closes up shop!



ah 2006, it hardly seems like you were really 12 months long, and yet so very much has happened i can hardly believe it's only been 12 months.

i spoke with my good friend, the worship pastor's wife, from our old church this morning and i can hardly believe that this time last year we were still there. not at the church, but in that community. it hardly seems possible.

hearing how bad things are there now makes me even more grateful that we have moved on. whoa. we definitely got out of there in the nick of time. i feel so badly for her, still trapped, with her husband killing himself for ungrateful people. it surely isn't what god meant ministry to look like. how did the church get so off track?

so today, i am grateful. to be gone, to be free, to be settled in and living life at a pace that allows for life to be enjoyed. even though this past year was filled with packing and moving (twice) i know that we are placing down roots into fertile soil. god is calling us to minister in new ways here and it is good.

i am looking forward to what 2007 holds. it seems to be a year of vast opportunity, farewell 2006, you served us well. i'm glad this transition time is over and the settling in has begun.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

the smells of christmas

clementines and pine needles - ah the smell of christmas! mmmmmmmmm!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

now all i need are some square pants!

said blogging friend below followed up in an email this a.m. - jokingly she told me that i can now call myself 'sponge-bobbie' :)

that made me laugh out loud!

hope you're enjoying your weekend, trying to get the flat back in order here. too much time away throws everything off for me. life is beginning to return to normal, and getting on top of the house, getting the decorations put up and the boxes/totes put back in the attic until it's time to re-pack will be very helpful.

it's hard to believe that this time last year we were packing up pennsylvania to move here. what a difference a year makes.

Friday, December 08, 2006

this just in - hsp #2

a blogging friend just wrote me this in an email:

The "word verification" part of the comments isn't showing, so it's not possible to post a comment (i removed it for the time being). Anyhow, I took the test and guess what? 27 out of 27. But I figured that before I even took it.

I saw this paragraph while reading about HSP and it reminded me of you:
As we have come to know, Highly Sensitive People's systems are very porous, meaning that external stimuli seems to be more directly absorbed into their bodies. (It has been said that it is as if HSP "have no skin" to protect them from these outside stimuli.) Non-HSP generally are less porous and have natural defenses which defuse external stimuli thereby not directly impacting and overloading their nervous systems.
Sounds a bit like a sponge, yes? God is showing you things and helping others along the way. Thanks for blazing the trail.

you're welcome! i love that the light is turning on for other too - it makes such a difference to know and begin to understand this. long ago i told liam it felt like my nerves were on the outside of my body instead of the inside. is it any wonder a church of 1,500 and a foyer the size of rhode island made me physically sick each week before church? we are in a much better place for me now.

i spoke with pink when she got home from school today. this will be huge for her - she'll be so much gentler on herself than i was.

just last month i said to liam "okay, i'm 41 years old now and i'm giving myself permission not to like parties." i hate them. i am so uncomfortable there, and i can FEEL other people's discomfort too. watching them self-medicate with alcohol or food too bridge that just makes me so sad. malls do the same thing to me. i can feel people's loneliness there, really feel it. i hate them. i hate parties and malls for other reasons too - but that is the biggest reason.

i have shamed myself for far too long because of this. so nice to know i'm not alone and that i have very good reason not to. yay!

the highly sensitive person

oh my goodness.

i feel like a light has turned on.

yesterday blair left a comment on this post describing herself as a 'highly sensitive person' - i read that and thought 'oh, interesting term' and kept reading.

today i got an email from anj, who was having difficulty leaving comments and again used the term 'highly sensitive person' and told me of a book i could read entitled the same. at first i thought "oh you can't mean me? i'm not sensitive, i'm blustery, i'm "out there", i'm not your typical introvert-type person." or would those who know me (i think) think of me as 'highly sensitive'. i took that term to mean kind-hearted, gift of mercy, nurse-like type people. not me.

i thought, "well, there must be something to this to hear this term twice in 24 hours" - so i typed "highly sensitive person" into google and got their website:

The Highly Sensitive Person

they have a little test you can take, because, skeptic that i am, i thought, "well, we can rule this out quickly". there are 27 little questions - if you score 14 or higher you are probably a "HSP" - i scored 22. gasp!

it feels like a light has turned on. thank you blair and anj!

my pink has to leave the room when the vacuum cleaner is on - she cried and plugged her ears when we took her to fire works as a toddler. pink is a 'highly sensitive person' - oh my goodness. BIG FAT KEYS TO BIG FAT DOORS!!! yippee!!

this makes SO MUCH SENSE now. i can't wait to read the books. i'm just in awe of all of this new information that will help me unlock so much of my own and my daughters life. thank you, thank you, thank you!

off to read more of the website.

are you a highly sensitive person? take the self-test here: self-test

Thursday, December 07, 2006

christmas carol meme

patchouli tagged anyone who wants to play in the 'favorite christmas songs' meme, so i thought i'd bear my soul and confess my greatest shame... i have a dolly parton christmas cd that i listen to every christmas. (hangs head in shame)...

the thing about it is that i hate country music. it's just not my thing. at all. zilch.... maybe the dixie chicks latest album - but other than that none. never. except this crazy christmas cd - and it makes it feel like christmas, i don't know why.

so i have 2 lists - the cool list, and the dorky list...

here's my cool list...

1. sufjan stevens - o come of come emmaunuel
2. bruce cockburn - his whole christmas cd
3. plankeye - jesu bambino (it's beautiful)
4. jars of clay - little drummer boy
5. lost & found - joy to the world

dork list:
1. amy grant - (yes, i know, but it's christmas) - breath of heaven (mary's song)
2. bing crosby - would it be christmas without adeste fideles (or mele kalikimaka??)
3. dolly parton - o little town of bethlehem
4. sandy patty - bethlehem morning
5. wayne watson - (okay, now you know all of my christmas secrets...) - one christmas eve (such a wonderful song about keeping the little sparrows out of the snow)

shameful, eh? now you know ALL of my secrets!

i tag ya'll!

study help from zefrank

this makes me want to go back to school (oh yeah, i am...)

study then sleep

healing metaphors

i wrote yesterday about sponges and mirrors and used them to identify a problem. this morning i awoke to a comment from erin on that post that said this:
This thought just occurred to me, and perhaps it is really off-base, but... a sponge can only absorb more when it is not already full. I'm wondering if in practicing being fully present, one can be more "full", not have the same capacity to absorb from other sources?
that's it. the key. the metaphors don't only identify the problem, they also help with the healing here. sponges and mirrors.

soak in the good, be full and whole within myself and the need to absorb others emotions co-dependently won't be so easy for me to do.

reading that helped me unlock the mirror too. using the mirror metaphor can help me to reflect my loved ones emotions back to them instead of absorbing them myself. hearing their pain, allow them to feel their emotions, and reflect what i am hearing and seeing back to them instead of absorbing them myself.

THANK YOU ERIN!! these are big keys to those big doors!

kristen also mentioned ritual. as a borderline o/c/d i find great healing in ritual. so much of my healing has come in this form. i am also beginning to ponder what this one will look like.

thank you for your feedback friends, for reading my words and interacting with them. this journey is richer with you along side!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

this is why i am a friend of emergent

scot mcknight has written

A Letter to an Emerging Christian

this explains my hopes and dreams for what is to come. the only two things i would add is to give voice to those who the modern church has silenced or sidelined, and to bring together not only the various denominations, but to break down the racial and societal divides the modern church has ensconced for far too long.

Friend of Emergent Village

emotional osmosis

osmosis - noun - a gradual, often unconscious process of assimilation or absorption

i am a sponge. not the kind that takes from people and never gives, but the kind that soaks things around me up without discretion... i have known this about myself for a few years now, but i've not really known what to do with or about it.

this week i saw it in my daughter so clearly that i learned something, actually a lot of things about myself.

one of those things is that i need to learn what to do about it quickly. seeing those things we hate about ourselves in our children is great motivation to begin to find tools for making better choices.

the metaphor of a sponge doesn't describe exactly what happens though. maybe a mirror is a good additional metaphor.

i thought writing about it might be a good place to start to untangle this knot, to try to explain the process so that i (and anyone else who shares this tendency) can understand it and put a stop to it.

i know i've been this way all of my life. i take on others emotions, especially negative ones without thinking. i guess it was my role as first born in the family to watch the winds and carry much of what was not mine to carry. seeing pink mirror my emotions back to me the other day showed me in technicolor the dynamic that existed decades ago with my own mother and me.

i snapped at pink because we were running late (and that is one of the 10 commandments of our family growing up - never be late, only lazy, disorganized people are late - not us... sigh) and all of my shame kicked in and i vented it at her.

immediately she went from carefree, young, willow-girl to fire-eyed, stiff backed pre-teen. i became livid. 'oh no you don't,' i thought as i stormed out of her room. 'you will not take that tone with me young lady'... upon entering the living room i realized what had transpired there. it was like i was outside of myself watching what had just happened.

she internalized all of my negative emotions and was so overwhelmed by them that they spilled back at me through her own eyes and demeanor. she wasn't feeling that way before i entered her room. i was so excessive in my own emotions that i poisoned her and she mirrored that poison back to me. i did not like this, not one little bit.

you know those places in the movie when the back story is being played out and no time is elapsing in the present - that is what happened as i stood in my living room. i remembered all of the times my own mother would overwhelm me with the depth of her emotion and i would mirror it back to her. i would get in trouble and she'd be scott free. she was not responsible for one minute for poisoning me, overwhelming me and like a sponge i soaked it all in and assumed it was me.

everyone assumed that i was the over-emotional one. the one out of control. the rebellious teenager. no one could understand why i was so angry, so upset, so confused, so very confused. i realize today that it was because they weren't my emotions in the first place.

this all took place in a split second. it was like the penny dropped and so much made sense. in my childhood, in my marriage, and in my parenting. it was why buck and i have such a calm relationship, and why pink and i were beginning to have a tumultuous one. why my mother and i struggled violently to find a bridge to each other and my sister and she were so able to have calm interactions.

i was/am an emotional sponge.

my mother was an emotional sponge.

pink is an emotional sponge.

somehow we absorb the negative emotions for our family and mirror it back to them. it is some kind of sick, twisted osmosis and bad boundaries that cause us to feel responsible, overwhelmed and so very confused when we are in the middle of the storm.

i do this with liam too.

it's why no one in our home growing up was allowed to be angry except my mother. the only way she knew to put up boundaries was by manipulating all of us into not having any negative emotions around her - instead of figuring this out for herself we all had to walk on eggshells... yuck.

bigger yuck... i think i'm doing this to my family too.

god forgive me and help me figure out a way through this. give me better tools.

i think this is a big key to understanding my overblown need for control. i feel so powerless in the face of others grand, expansive negative emotions. it's so scary to inherit some one else's pain and not understand why i am feeling so crushed myself.

i tried to explain it a bit to liam like being an empath. that diana character on star trek who could feel others emotions. she got to use it as a tool - i just get to be bashed around by it.

i'm sitting here weeping as i look back at my past and all of the counseling and depression and wondering if some of it that seemed so unexplainable was really because there was no explanation - it wasn't my emotion to begin with. had i inherited the negative emotion of a boyfriend, my mother, my husband or the other people i was co-dependent with? what if much of that had nothing to do with me at all?


where does one learn boundaries for something like this? i have never heard this talked about before. i'm sure i didn't invent it, or discover it - so why hasn't this been covered in my past 25 years of counseling? does anyone have experience with this, know what it's called or have tools or books to suggest that i could read?

is this something every woman or eldest child inherits? or is it just as sporadic as being left handed?

i'm also wondering if this is why liam doesn't seem to be able to work through the negative emotions that have him stalled? is it because i haven't allowed him to feel them because i don't want to have to share the trauma too? shit. this feels big. like a big, fat key to unlock a big, fat door. damn. i feel like i've opened pandora's box somehow. i know it's not bad, it's actually good - but the ah-ha's keep growing exponentially and i'm not sure i can get my head around it all.

any feedback here would be really appreciated. i know this is where i'll be heading in my counseling now it makes so much sense, but i have so very many questions. thanks for listening, i think i really needed to get this out.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

postively trying

i am having such a difficult time putting the past month into words. i don't know why, but i have been wondering if it is more difficult for me to talk about positive things and success than it is for me to write about my trials and tribulations... i am not really sure, but i know that i have started many different posts that end up in the virtual, crinkled up waste bin. i think i'll just say that it was amazing and i enjoyed it fully and it's good to be home.

life is back to "normal" and it feels great.

Monday, December 04, 2006

to write love on her arms

at the nywc this year we were provided with a teen girl mag called 'niNe' - i hoped that it would be appropriate to give to my pre-teen pink, so i've been reading it to see. it's way above her right now as it talks about relationships and is far above her head space on navigating things like that (thank god).

i came across a very provocative ad in the magazine that used the "f" word and it shocked me so much i had to follow it down. if you've read this blog long enough you'll know that i'm not offended by swear words and use them rather frequently (much to liam's frustration) myself. this just seemed so incredibly out of place. i had to know more.

what i found is the new face of the church. 20 somethings ministering right smack dab in the center of their world. it touches me deeply. so deeply that i wanted to share it with you. hear renee's story, see the amazing good these young people are doing.

my space
website -
renee's story
where the title came from

i am moved. this is love.

Friday, December 01, 2006

world aids day 2006

in case you've missed it, today is world aids day. That used to be something that made me roll my eyes, sit in judgment and assume i'm better than the rest of the world. i'm so glad that isn't true of me today. it's about the only thing to be glad of in regard to aids though. there is some good news on the horizon, but too much is depressing and disheartening. the commitments made by countries, while not being large enough to begin with aren't even being fulfilled as promised.

who will hold them to their promises? fiddling while rome burns. so, instead of focusing on the things that aren't happening i want to draw your attention to the things that are.

as i type saddleback church is holding a global aids summit
. incredible what a little pillow talk can do. thank you kay!

the other amazing news is that bill clinton has been working tirelessly with drug companies in india to create meds that are less expensive and easier to take and will prolong life of those who have access to it.

so, not all bad news today - but we can make it better next year. really - WE ARE THE PEOPLE WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR!

agree? help. please - just $10.00 CDN - donate here:



artist - ben bell

Thursday, November 30, 2006

seattle protest - dec 3rd

great thoughts from shari mac donald on the upcoming seattle protest of the "wee-man woman haters club" here:

they thinks we doest protest too much

if you are in the northwest i encourage you to join. information here:

people against fundamentalism

UPDATE: rose madrid-swetman has blogged of the sit-down, face to face meeting held nov. 30th, so has mark driscoll. i must say that this turn of events makes my heart glad. i hope the protest continues as planned as they are using his own words to remind those in his pews of the damage they have had. i pray the future of the woman haters club and that it also grows into maturity to see the true potential that the other half of the kingdom of god truly has.

UPDATE #2 - wow - that was fast, as soon as i posted the above i checked my email and the link for people against fundamentalism cancellation of the protest because their objectives had been met.

wow! this was a beautiful way of drawing attention to this ugliness - i am so glad paul's courage and foresight has brought about such progress. thank you for standing up against this!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

unpacking slowly

this past month has been a whirlwind of experience, opportunity and enjoyment. i have so much to say, but i am unpacking slowly. taking the time to savour the moments, ponder what happened and be gentle with myself upon 're-entry' back into real life.

i have learned much. i plan to write about it, it's just going to come in trickles instead of streams (i think).

Monday, November 27, 2006

decision making, happiness and god's will

rick at new life emerging has a question post about determining god's will. the comment i was leaving got so long i just decided to make a post out of it here:

i think that having 'happy' as a goal for our lives will always leave us searching.

i find that real joy and contentment are far more satisfying in the long run.

we have made many major life changes and our first indication of a need to change circumstances is our mental and spiritual health.

we find that as we get more healthy, especially in ministry, that we no longer tolerate situations we used to agree to. when that happens and we have no influence to change things we begin to investigate our options. knowing all of your options is the best place to start with decision making.

then we begin to pray for open doors. we seek counsel from people we love and who love us and continue to investigate each option to it's full potential. if we feel any hesitation with the information we find (like cost of living or school situations for our kids, etc) we assume that is a closed door. we proceed until doors close. when they close we take that as an indication that we aren't supposed to head in that direction.

my theology used to be so specific in this area - that there was some magic combination needed to make god happy and that i had to figure out - so that i didn't step "out of his will" and end up a smudge on the highway. i now believe that there are lots of good options and it's up to me to continue to choose life instead of death in the decisions i make. could we have been happier/whole-er/more fulfilled in ontario instead of the maritimes? maybe? but the doors to move here didn't close and we are making the healthiest, most life giving choices we can each and every day.

we are content, have much joy and know that god is giving us the desires of our heart. we have found the community we have always longed for and while it's not all sunshine and roses we know that the choices we have made have consequences that we can live with as we seek to expand the kingdom of god here in our community.

i am so glad to be free from the 'magic path theology' of yesteryear. it is a confusing trap that i think doesn't come from god at all. i used to joke that paul's verse 'whatsoever state i find myself, therewith to be content' meant even iowa! :) (where i went to bible college and met my husband).

i think there is truth there that folds into this. contentment is a far more tangible goal than happiness. god never promises us a happy life. it's an unfulfillable goal - and it actually creates a void of happiness because it remains so fleeting - so it backfires instead of bringing life. joy allows for richness even when situations are difficult, even when i am not happy. i can be grieving and still be full of joy - i cannot grieve and be happy. joy allows me to be present to all of my emotions, not just the ones that fulfill my goal of 'happiness'.

it makes for a much richer, reality based life, instead of having the temptation to stuff away bad emotions and pretend. i have seen far too many christians (especially) need to sugar coat everything so that god doesn't get a bum rap - like they are his PR person putting a spin on it all. it's so sad to see, especially when they have to admit that bad things do happen to good people.

i know that this was way more than rick was looking for - but once i got going i just couldn't stop. making small, continual, positive choices for life. i think that is what god's will for his people truly is.

THE ragamuffin diva

claudia mair hawthorne-burney you astound me!

did you know i once told this lovely woman that her writing skills would be wasted on fiction. forgive me dear friend.

i have just finished "Murder, Mahem and a Fine Man" and how wrong i was. Claudia Mair pours herself into her writing like marie belle hot chocolate in a big, warm mug on a cold, frosty day. she holds nothing back and leaves it all on the pages. you see, i said those words to my diva friend because her own story has moved me so deeply in the years i've been reading her amazing blog - ragamuffin diva.

no fiction could come close to the trials this woman has endured. you just can't make this stuff up. her life has been a journey toward redemption and each chapter is so rich. but she does it ya'll! she does it. she weaves her own story right into the pages of this book. it is extraordinary and courageous. she is one of the bravest women i know (whom i've not had the honor of meeting - yet).

this book is funny, the dialog is tight as a drum and you will fall in love with the rich, deep characters as they are drawn together to solve this mystery. i enjoyed every page. as lisa samson says on the cover "sign me up for the fan club" - i can't wait for the second in the series, Death, Deceit and Some Smooth Jazz, to hit the shelves!

it's coming!

life will be slowing down starting today long enough to prepare for advent (i hope). there are some amazing posts out there that are far more thoughtful than mine today, so i thought i'd make you aware of them:

erin at biscotti brain has some wonderful links for the season here and bob at the corner explains (for advent newbies like me) the difference between advent and lent - and does it so beautifully here.

i also want to tell you about my favorite advent tradition - susan (of visual voice & banjo bunny e-cards fame) spends countless hours and tons of love and puts together THE MOST AMAZING online advent calendar. (it still says 2005 - but never fear as she will update it just in time!!)

2006 Advent Calendar

Friday, November 24, 2006

off to speak

spending the weekend within my community of women at our retreat. i am the speaker for the weekend. please pray that god uses me and that i am centered. feeling a bit pulled in a lot of directions thought wise, and haven't caught up on sleep from the trip. liam reassured me yesterday morning that i have been preparing my whole life to do this - it's just hard to believe sometimes and rest in that.

thank you for your prayers!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

thankful heart

today i am thankful that we celebrated thanksgiving in october on the canadian holiday and that i don't have to make a turkey or have any hungry company today.

i do miss my family today more than i did yesterday. we had a wonderful tradition that we are not going to be participating in today. i will miss that.

but just returning home and having to speak this weekend at our women's retreat makes for far too much stuffed into too few days. i don't feel ready or focused enough to get ready. liam reminded me this morning that i have a lifetime of 'getting ready' for this, and i know he's right, i just don't want to ramble and be all distracted.

so, just for today i am going to be thankful. i am home, safe and sound with my family here. we have an amazing community that we are putting down roots in and i am able to use my gifts in a church like i've always longed to do.

i have the blogosphere where i can send my thoughts and words into and they don't return void - you read them and respond and we interact in such a beautiful way. i am so very thankful for you. even those 'lurking' - actually, especially you today - i think about you often. wonder what it is that brings you back here. i pray for you too. hoping that something i say will be a key to a lock that opens something beautiful for you. something life giving and full of hope. for you i am grateful. you bring me back here to write.

my friends - you know who you are - you've changed my life and given me keys to unlock doors in my own heart that have been rusted shut for years. you inspire me, challenge me, kick my butt and keep me going. you show me jesus in ways i never knew possible. for you i am eternally grateful.

my husband - your faithfulness and love, patience with my struggles and my growth. better and worse - we have and will walk this path together. i am grateful for you liam. thank you for your constancy and joy. your stability and solidity. i love you and am so thankful for these past 20 years.

my children - oh how i missed you while i was away! you bring so much fullness to my life - your humor, presence and personalities are so rich. it has been a joy to watch you grow into the individuals you each are - thank you for being the YOU god made you to be.

i pray today is a thankful day for you too. happy thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

back to blogging (sort of...)

where to start? i missed you all and also missed being able to put my fingers and thoughts into words here. i got to check emails 2 times for about 5 minutes just to make sure there weren't any urgent items needing my attention - but other than that i had NO access to the internet.

how can so much happen in 8 days? it feels like a lifetime. traveling 'non-rev' (on a buddy pass) is great for the pocket book, but it's not free by any means. our 5 1/2 hour trip turned into a 19 hour trial that could have been it's own version of 'planes, trains and automobiles' - although ours would have been called 'airports, food poisoning and lost luggage'...

it was horrible. i ate something in the philly airport that came back to haunt me on our 're-route' from charlotte to cincy... yes, on the plane. you think those bathrooms are too small to toilet in? try barfing - 6 times... it was horrible. the only thing worse was that the vomiting was so violent that i peed my pants (yes the ones i had to wear the next day because our luggage didn't arrive until 11:00 p.m. the next night)... i told liam that if we didn't love YS and the NYWC so much it would have put me out cold for ever returning.

so for those keeping track it was
-one case of food poisoning
-two pieces of lost luggage
-three bumped flights
-four airports
-five states (and one province)
-six episodes of barfing
and a partridge in a pear tree....

the way home yesterday was much smoother, although our bags didn't make it on the flight with us and we had to stay in the city until the next flight came in. we were very thankful they made it on that flight as i would have had to drive back today (2 hours each way) to pick them up.

i feel for those of you traveling for the holiday weekend (or who travel for a living). it has quenched my desire for the jet set lifestyle. i would much rather be home with my family living a quiet centered life any day.

now i just have to get ready for speaking at the women's retreat this weekend... whew.

hope you all had a great week, i can't wait to catch up on your blogs. missed you too!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

It's alive! (well, live)

the link to my talk is up and i've posted it on my other blog.

i'd love to hear any feedback if you listen!

done - thank you for your prayers!

oh it feels so good to be on the other side of this! it went really well, i was nervous and my voice quaked and my hands shook - but it flowed and the response was overwhelmingly positive. tears were shed and i think people heard things that resonated with them.

it was the most fun to watch the faces register, the heads shake in agreement and the emotion on the faces - it was so powerful - i almost wanted to stop and just soak in it for a bit - but i kept going.

i'll put the link up on my other blog when it goes live if anyone wants to hear it. if you don't know my 'real' name/blog email me at emergingsideways AT gmail DOT com and i will send you a link.

it's only been because of this blog, my blogging community and all of your honesty and support that gave me the courage to do this. thank you! you mean the world to me!

now, off to pack and get up at 3:00 to head to the national youth workers convenition in cincinnati tomorrow... yawn. i am exhausted, drop-down exhausted. maybe i'll get some sleep on the plane... yah, right...

i hope to have access to a computer there, so if i do i'll post. have an amazing week!

ps - even my hair turned out!! :)

done - thank you for your prayers!

oh it feels so good to be on the other side of this! it went really well, i was nervous and my voice quaked and my hands shook - but it flowed and the response was overwhelmingly positive. tears were shed and i think people heard things that resonated with them.

it was the most fun to watch the faces register, the heads shake in agreement and the emotion on the faces - it was so powerful - i almost wanted to stop and just soak in it for a bit - but i kept going.

i'll put the link up on my other blog when it goes live if anyone wants to hear it. if you don't know my 'real' name/blog email me at emergingsideways AT gmail DOT com and i will send you a link.

it's only been because of this blog, my blogging community and all of your honesty and support that gave me the courage to do this. thank you! you mean the world to me!

now, off to pack and get up at 3:00 to head to the national youth workers convenition in cincinnati tomorrow... yawn. i am exhausted, drop-down exhausted. maybe i'll get some sleep on the plane... yah, right...

i hope to have access to a computer there, so if i do i'll post. have an amazing week!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

a bigger platform!! yippee!

people against fundamentalism is taking action!

i couldn't be more thrilled. i asked people in this post to use whatever platform they had to speak out against mark driscoll and his ugly, misogynistic theology. this was never near to what i hoped might happen - so i must say i am just tickled!

anyone in the seattle area please take note! here's what they have planned:

Take Action on November 19

james dobson has lost his moral authority

i don't have a lot of time or energy for indignation right now, but i am just sick and tired of james dobson and his tribe at focus on the family loosing the forest for the trees.

the news of dobson dropping haggard like a hot potato just sickens me. (here and here) of all of the families in america who need to be focused on right now i would say that the haggards qualify pretty high up on that list.

i actually think that the haggards will be better off without dobson and his shame based ministry providing counseling. i don't know if he could really provide this family with the help they need anyway. but this 'i don't have time' garbage is just sickening. his "kingdom" is the closest to the former "haggard kingdom" - so it's not like travel would be a problem... and the fact that he was involved previously with haggard and didn't love him enough to give him a safe enough place to confess shows what dobson's counseling looks like anyway. it is my opinion that he (and others on this "team") must share in some of the blame for this escalating to this point without any of them seeing the warning signs. at least their discernment must be called into question.

this news comes on top of this article i read on the god's politics blog (here) regarding the voting guide FOTF provided to pennsylvania voters. it rated don sherwood a "pro-family" politician - this was the man who admitted to having a mistress, but denied the charges that he strangled and abused her... pro family? is this really how we are making our choices for our children?

all i can say is focus on your own damn families. leave ours alone please.

Friday, November 10, 2006

the ground on which it is safe to stand

i joked in an email to erin this morning that i have figured out why women shouldn't be pastors/ministers. yesterday i got my hair cut. i'm freaking out a bit this morning. it doesn't look like the stylist did it in the salon. i can't imagine what sunday morning will be like.

i imagine this is something that most male preachers never have to consider. the trials of having a bad hair day on the day you also have to stand in front of a congregation... sigh. i guess many of them just have 'bad hair lives' as my dear liam of the tall baldness will attest to! :)

i'm beginning to get nervous. i know it won't be this level of anxiety if and when i do this more often, and breaking through in a new community for the first time, telling my story and practicing my teaching skills - but today i sit before you all at this keyboard wondering 'what was i thinking?'...

i have literally been putting this sermon together for months. on tuesday it all fell into place and i was very comfortable with the flow, stories and quotes i will be including. i know that this is what i am meant to talk about. it is just risky. to hand people the tools with which to hurt you always strikes me as just plain silly. but that is the point isn't it? that is where intimacy happens.

others talking from books and keeping everything/everyone at arms length is what i have complained here about for years, right? so to do the same would make me the the biggest hypocrite of all. but boy is it tempting. i feel much more sympathy for those i judged so harshly. projecting a version of oneself is much easier and safer isn't it? that way if we are rejected it wasn't really us to begin with.

i have been working with my counselor in walking that tightrope of determining self revelation that is balanced, true, and honest. i fear being gratuitous or over the top. it is a difficult boundary for me. i have prayed about it a lot.

one of the main focuses of my teaching is parker palmer's concept about being pushed down to the ground on which it is safe to stand. much of my journey has been finding that ground. i realized that if i can keep my feet firmly planted on it no one will be able to knock it out from under me.

speaking from a place of wholeness and healing instead of projection and insecurity. finding the "author"-ity i own instead of grasping for power i have no right to.

please pray for me. it is an excited fear, not a loathing or crippling one. but it is fear none-the-less. i have found myself finding comfort in eating these past couple of days. it's not something i want to trade for my serenity. my prayer is to have real serenity even in the midst of anxiety. oh, and that i'll be able to have a good hair day too!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

a bully culture

david byrne of talking heads fame has a fascinating blog. he posted his election day thoughts here and said something that resonated deeply with me:

I sense that the balance of power in the house and senate and the rollback of the neocon agenda is only part of the job ahead, as the country has been inundated with bully culture, the culture of greed, for at least a dozen years. For many young professionals, that’s all they know in their working lives — the attitude of winner takes all, bigger smashes smaller and do it if you can get away with it. It might take a while to allow another more humane culture of getting along and nurturing each other and benefiting from each other’s skills and knowledge to rise from the ashes. At present ashes are pretty much all there is. Social animals know better than this — they seem to instinctively know that there are limits to what the bosses and the alpha males can get away with, and that cooperation within the group is how the group survives. Checks and balances — something that’s been missing for a while.

I sense this culture every day, on the streets and in the media. Every time a cop car from my local precinct runs a red light or speeds down a one way street the wrong way (just because they can, no other reason) and every time an SUV with darkened windows muscles other cars, bikers, old ladies and kids out of way — sometimes narrowly missing pedestrians as they run a red light — well, it’s all been sanctioned by Bush and Cheney and the senators and congressmen who allied themselves with these bastards. They reflect and encourage one another. Push in line, build your building right in front of someone else’s, destroy a neighborhood, be a winner, a survivor. To me, those reality shows “teach” bully culture — that’s the lesson that is imparted — and that includes ones like Laguna Beach, which seems to promote backstabbing, lying, duplicitous behavior and entitlement — all in a world where no one works.
what are we teaching our children?

important post from jenell paris on the haggard story

lynnette davidson directed me to an important post by jenell regarding the response of the evangelical church to the ted haggard incident:
NAE says Ted Haggard’s situation was individual, not institutional. I don’t know anything more than I’ve read in the media about Haggard or the NAE, and I’m not implying anything about that specific situation. In principle, however, I don’t buy it. When evangelical institutions distance themselves from disgraced individuals, they perpetuate the radical individualism that marks evangelicalism. They are also acting more to preserve themselves than to necessarily tell the truth or to love anyone. My suspicions are these: a person is rarely caught the first time they do something. There’s usually a pattern, and there are usually people who saw the pattern unfolding. Even if no one knew about the sexual issues, people knew about how the person handled power, secrets, and authority. Institutions also hold people accountable for how they spend their money and their time. When individuals sin boldly, there are usually institutions and individuals in institutions who commit the sin of self-deception. They know, but they don’t want to know, so they tell themselves they don’t know.
read the rest here: Notes from an out-but-not-so-proud evangelical

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

skinny with a heart of gold

oh andrew, you've made me weep with this one. it's beautiful and so heartfelt. i will be praying for those children to have a safe place to feel loved and connected in a much deeper way than before i read your story. thank you for your courage and transparency. it is beautiful.

please go and read andrew's story:

carrying your dad's dumbell

blogging the bible

while on the msnbc site reading news this a.m. i followed a link to slate magazine and followed another link to 'blogging the bible' - i am fascinated.

david plotz, who calls himself "a proud jew, but not a very observant one" and later an "ignoramus" about biblical matters is taking a fresh read of the old testament, chapter by chapter and blogging it. he's on the story of david and bathsheba in 2 samuel now and his writing is fresh, funny and very readable. genesis to 2 samuel can be found here:

blogging the bible (so far)


via the huffpo

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

how to write a book in three easy steps

didn't want to loose this article:

how to write a book in three easy steps

thanks jordon!

vote, please go vote!

as an american in canada i have lost my right to vote today - i used to live in the 'bellwether' state of pennsylvania, so my vote today would have been important.

please, please, please go vote today.

Monday, November 06, 2006

thank you ted haggard!

i know, strange title, but i am so grateful that what is spilling out over this mess is a dialog about pastors, christians, evangelicals and their views on sex, power and sexual addictions. we are all talking about it now.

i am horrified at some of the responses i am reading though. i am learning so much about people's theology and what they believe about sex, god and women. i think you can learn more about people when they talk about sex and money than when they talk about church and jesus.

i think that's why the bible spends so much time on these issues. they show the heart and soul of a person more clearly than hiding behind flowery church-talk.

if i can introduce anything into the dialog it would be this:


please understand this people.

alcoholics aren't really thirsty people.

alcoholism isn't about alcohol.

drug addiction isn't about drugs.

and sexual addiction isn't about sex.

hotel rooms and fat preachers wives aren't the reason that pastors stumble into sin.

addiction, especially the sexual type happens when there are broken parts of the past that have injured the body, soul and spirit of the addict. masturbation, pornography and acting out sexually feeds those broken areas in a counterfeit way that masks what we truly want and can't seem to find a way to achieve.

true intimacy and wholeness sexually would fill and replace the need for this acting out behavior, but because so very few of us have the ability or help to navigate this, we settle for the counterfeit and it becomes the fix.

blaming other things and people for our brokenness is NO WAY to find healing. owning our junk, confessing to god, to ourselves and another human being is THE ONLY WAY we can break through the shame we carry so that we can find the healing and wholeness we all long to have in our lives.

i have a precious son (i also have a precious daughter, we're just not navigating this area right now in her life yet) who has awakened to the opposite sex. he was shown pornography a couple of months ago by a friend and since that time we have been dialogging about it.

this morning he awoke and found me at the computer, reading about the ted haggard story, and said "mom, i'm having a hard time when i see someone not thinking about them without any clothes on" (he is so honest and real, i respect this child-like innocence he brings to this so much).

first i prayed for wisdom. and then i reminded him about what we have been talking about for the past couple of months. this is about building muscles. spiritual muscles, that will help him navigate this journey called growing up. we talked about 'taking every thought captive', and that temptation isn't a sin. those pictures will pop into his head for the rest of his life. learning to set them aside and see that person as real and an image-bearer, instead of reducing them to a 2 dimensional picture or image. this is what will help him navigate this.

i reminded him that i must do this. daddy must do this. and pink must do this. all for ourselves. it's not something we can do for each other. it is our responsibility to learn, stretch and grow.

it is a very sad thing to hear of someone, with much influence, reducing women to ornaments and add-ons to their lives. it makes me weep. i would ask that we would each use what influence we are given to speak out loudly against this. it is theology like this that feeds the broken kingdom that cannot truly minister the love of god.

"There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life," Haggard wrote.
how much more powerful would it have been to his congregation if he had started HERE and not ended HERE?

how much light and life could have been brought into the life of his congregation if he had admitted how hard it was to live his life? love his wife? parent his children? how much more could people have learned from him if he lived transparently - free of the shame and owning his junk instead of the portrayal of the shiny plastic christian with no problems and free of struggle?

if we confess our sins one to another, pray for each other, we will be healed.

james 5:16

Sunday, November 05, 2006

they won!

dolce & anna from USC have won the contest!! can't wait to here who they
help with the $$

Saturday, November 04, 2006

you go girls!

these two back to back articles in the BBC just thrill my heart! i want to live in this world.

1. If the Democrats make major gains in next week's elections, Nancy Pelosi stands to become the first woman to serve as US speaker.


2. Congratulations Bishop Jefferts Schori!

*tears & cheers*

impeding progress

max wax, the blog of max hsu (superchick fame) has a great post on following your dream - and i need this kick in the pants today:
As you well know if you're a regular here, I'm a big fan of people chasing their dreams. Here's the max formula yet again:

1. dream,
2. research/plan,
3. try,
4. fail,
5. repeat.

after lunch today with a friend who's road managing a backstreet boy, I have come to this conclusion:

Sometimes people get stuck in the planning stage. I believe in planning. I love research. I think before you embark on any endeavor you should ask someone who's done it to tell you all about it. If you don't know any astronauts/ballerinas/pro bass fishermen you should read a book about it. But here's where it goes wrong. If after 60 days you're spending more time planning than doing, you're probably letting fear keep you in the planning stage. If you've pretty much only done planning then you're most likely stuck. Planning feels like progress. But it can actually impede progress if you never get past the planning stage.

So quit waiting for the weekend to work on your book. Quit building the perfect creative space. Quit reading books about creativity. Quit reading this blog. Hold your nose and jump in. Get your feet wet. Make beginner art. Be bad at something. Get your bum in the chair and create/practice/snowboard or whatever it is you wanted to do.
thanks max, i needed that!

the sin of sodom

will samson has a challenging post for the church up today - definitely worth your read:

Recapturing a Complete Sense of Morality

Friday, November 03, 2006

looking haggard - ben witherington post

ben witherington has a really thoughtful post up on the scandal:

Looking Haggard, Ted steps aside

cancer in the body of christ

reading will's blog today i saw that ted haggard, the head of the national association of evangelicals is caught in the middle of a great and grand mess. god help him. true or not this again sheds light on the issue of pastoral struggles and the environment we have created for those who lead the church.

i blogged at the end of september on the church and porn. maybe i should have entitled it 'pastors and sex'? either way we have a HUGE mess on our hands and we need to begin again. the elephant is sitting square behind the pulpit and if we don't begin to dialog about this in new ways we will NEVER weed out this hidden behavior that is eating like a cancer in the body of christ.

please know i am not condemning ted haggard - there but for the grace of god go i. i pray that this is false, but the new acting sr. pastor at his church said (here) that some of the allegations made have been admitted to by haggard.

i don't see this as much as his failure, but the failure of the church. we have trained these men to be separated from their souls. the disconnect will wipe us out.

i know that when i was in the middle of my acting out in my sexual addiction that i was the most vitriolic and shaming of everyone around me. my own shame was so great that i had to keep throwing it outside of myself. those who are the most vocal in shaking their fingers in others faces many times are the ones that struggle the most deeply. i know it was true for me.

that is why telling out stories is where healing can be found. finding the safe place to share our fears, confess our sins and receive grace and healing is what truly will bring this back from the brink.

it truly is a cancer. and it's breaking god's heart. instead of portraying perfection, image and the bright shiny plastic jesus we need to return to the place where redemption is found. by bringing our stories into the light and allow those damaged places to find healing. we then become the 'wounded healer' nouwen writes so beautifully about.

cancer survivors are some of the most vibrant, enthusiastic souls. watching them minister to those currently going through treatment is like watching jesus himself. they know what it is like to be so afraid. be so sick. be so wounded and broken. real survivors make the best ministers. they never shame. they never wound. they are present and carry their story with them wherever they go.

the church needs a lot more survivors.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Marigold Path Grid Blog: remembering mom

image designed by adam walker cleaveland

It is still so new
& all we see is
the empty space,
but that is not
how it is in the
landscape of the heart.
There, there is
no empty space
& he still laughs
& grapples with ideas
& plans
& nods wisely with each
of us in turn.
We are proud to
have known him.
We are proud to
have called him friend.

for bob who put this grid blog together, from Story People .

grief and remembering is something i must do intentionally lately. it's been 18 years since my mother, the real bobbie died. i was 21, she was 43. there is never a good time to loose a parent, but this time for me was very traumatic. she seems so very far from me now. like a distant friend living in a far away town who i haven't seen in a very long time.

i never thought i would say this in the middle of all of my grief, but it has gotten easier. it's not easy - but easier than i'd imagined it would be.

she was a bundle of contradictions, my mother. i think it was her sickness that made that real. i got stuck for quite some time in the anger stage of my grief. a lot of unresolved emotions that i had to untangle. what was god's and what was hers? it took me years of therapy to figure that out, heck, it took me years of therapy just to be able to admit it. i guess that's why it was such a drawn out stage of my grieving process.

she was so ugly to me before she died. they told me it was the medicine. the mass doses of prednisone and constant frustrations with her inability to care for herself. i think that by finally admitting how angry i was at her i was finally able to have her back again.

that's what i tell people now when they speak to me of their grief. that it's okay to feel any way you need to - even angry. it doesn't mean you don't love them any less. anger and love are both valid, deep emotions that can co-exist within a heart at the same time. and by admitting the anger i was able to deal with it and move it out of the way to make room for the good memories to show up again.

one of my mother's favorite things to do was to go out for breakfast. i don't know how many saturday mornings she would awaken my teen-age self and try to coax me out to go junkin' with her by first bribing me with breakfast. that's probably when i miss her most. in the simple things. like finding an amazing antique at a yard sale and knowing she would be right by my side if she could have been.

or raking and burning leaves together. how many times the smell of burning leaves brings her back to me. i can see her with her red bandanna on, flaming rake in hand, carrying the fire from one pile to the next in our old back yard. she loved to burn those piles of leaves.

i smile as i remember her sitting with a golf umbrella in the sunshine of the bleachers watching me play first base, while others stared, wondering if this woman thought that it was going to rain. she was allergic to the sun, her lupus made her so sensitive and the sun took so much energy from her. but she wouldn't miss a game if she could help it.

the clacking of the typewriter will forever remind me of her. sitting at her smith corona desperately trying to write something that someone would publish. it was her greatest dream. she would have LOVED blogging. hitting that 'publish' button would have fulfilled a great void in her life. she was never so sad as when the mailbox held the large envelopes with her manuscript, rejected, inside. i could never understand why she kept doing that to herself. i do now.

i wish she had written about her pain, her struggles, her journey through living with terminal illness, that would have been something that could have captured a publishers eye. there aren't even journals. just forced poetry and sad pre-teen, christian romance novels. she so desperately wanted to figure out what the magic combination was that would get her words read.

i know she would have loved recovery too. i think she longed for it her whole life. serenity, wholeness, healing. she died with so much unresolved. so many questions, resentments and bitterness. i wonder if it exacerbated her sickness? did that emotional baggage weigh her down and she bore the consequences of that in her body?

i know she would be proud of me today. thrilled at the level of healing and wholeness i have found. rejoicing with me in the choices i have made. i also know that i wouldn't be where i am today if she was still here. i think realizing that was one of the biggest helps to my grieving process. we had quite an unhealthy co-dependent relationship. i think i am stronger and healthier today because i don't regularly have to navigate a relationship with her. i hope that doesn't sound bitter. it's not meant to. i just know that she who installed 'my buttons' knew how to push them like no one else.

so today, i remember you bobbie. thank you for the life you gave me. thank you for your strengths and weaknesses. i have learned and continue to learn from them both. i miss you mom.

read other's stories here: Marigold Path Grid Blog

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

(red)emption x 30,000!

chevy is having a contest where you can vote for your favorite college students to win a chevy aveo - the two USC students are going to donate ALL of their winnings ($30,000 value) to third world countries.

vote Dolce & Anna HERE and tell your friends, blog the vote and help these young women make a real difference and draw attention to such a great cause. DON'T FORGET TO VOTE EVERY DAY UNTIL NOV. 3rd!

thanks glenn

UPDATE: they're ahead - keep voting!!

godmen: promiskeepers with an edge?

hugo has an amazing post on the article in newsweek about a new movement beginning in nashville called godmen. the article, "Real Men Talk About God, A new Christian movement lets guys be guys". it features a glimpse of the first event that hopes to one day grow into a movement within the church as a whole. i was unfamiliar with this group, but i know it won't be under the radar much longer with this article.
When the GodMen band seized the stage again, they tore into an anthem called “Grow A Pair!”: “We’ve been beaten down/ Feminized by the culture crowd,” they sang. “No more nice guy, timid and ashamed/ We’ve had enough, cowboy up/ In the power of Jesus name/ Welcome to the battle/ A million men have got your back/ Jump up in the saddle/ Grab a sword, don’t be scared/ Be a man, grow a pair!” Said Tholstrup, as he surveyed the crowd: “If 200 men are feeling this, other men are feeling it too.” Which ought to provide enough testosterone for plenty of GodMen gatherings to come.
hugo writes:
If there's one thing I loathe above all else it's the appropriation of the language of the oppressed by the oppressors themselves; all the Godmen are adding to this tired mix is the apparent imprimatur of our Savior Himself. According to the Godmen, Jesus didn't come to build a "peaceable Kingdom". He came, it seems, to restore traditional gender roles and act as a Savior to that most noxious of cultural archetypes, the "hen-pecked husband" in danger of drowning in feminist rhetoric.

Scripture calls us to war. But it is not a war to be fought by men only, and it is a war to be fought with prayers, not swords. And war is, in the end, only a metaphor for the intense struggle we all fight on behalf of peace. Paul, in Ephesians 6:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Paul's audience would have known better than any modern one what a shield and a helmet looked and felt like. And the shields and helmets and swords Paul speaks of are entirely spiritual, to be used in congruence with a gospel of peace. Paul and Jesus take classic symbols of masculine aggression and artfully turn them into tools for building a peaceful, just world. For Paul and Christ, means and ends are radically, divinely congruent: peace is built peacefully with the shield of faith and a sword of the Spirit. To mistake the physical sword for the spiritual one is an old and tragic mistake, one that Christians have been making since, oh, the early fourth century.
read the whole post here: Cowboy Up for Christ: the Godmen, muscular Christianity, porn, and saddle imagery

god's not enough

found the link to this at hopeful amphibian - thank you mark

I find that pretty well every time I try to beat my addictions or my habits or my struggles on my own, I lose. Then I beat myself up, and then I give up.

When I take the risk of letting someone else, maybe you, become part of the story, I still often lose battles. But then I see that you’re “going for it” too, and your honesty and determination creates hope in me. So that instead of beating ourselves up, there’s the possibility of building each other up, and giving each other the gift of hope. And carrying on.

Being alone is the first thing in the bible that God ever said was not good. For Adam, God wasn’t enough! He needed someone like him. Another person to be with and work with.

We can’t do this alone.

I need to know that you’re going for it. Because then I can too.

read the rest here - God's Not Enough