Wednesday, February 28, 2007

links in a chain

you know it's going to be an intense day when you're plunging a toilet before 6:00 a.m. in the morning, right?

well, yesterday was a doozie.

i posted here
about setting some boundaries with friends and beginning to reclaim pieces of myself i had let go of.

that post was soon followed by a phone call with my father to catch up. we're good on the phone, he loves to tell me about his basketball teams and how they're improving their shots and the chances they have for tournaments. he then told me about one of my cousins who has been single for most of his 48-50 years (i'm not sure of his exact age). my dad told me he had a girlfriend he was traveling with out west. he started to tell me about her and said something like "well, she's not fat, she's "big boned", she's a big girl" (she's probably 45, but a girl to my father...) and then he told me she liked it when he gave her fish he caught or venison from his hunting.

my heart fell. i instantly wondered if he described me that way to people "well, my daughter is big boned..." i knew he did, i've heard that all my life - that and SOLID, "you're solid". he meant it as a compliment of sorts, meant that i was good under the net at getting rebounds and holding my own in the lane.

i shut down, listened but didn't really interact with him for a bit. then i set it aside and talked about some other stuff. then from somewhere deep within me i said "hey dad, can i talk to you about something?" i told him that earlier when he described G's girlfriend it wounded me because i felt like he reduced her to her body size and i didn't like to think that people did that to me. i said "dad, every women you've ever loved was a large woman, your mother, your 5 sisters, your wife and your daughters - you know that we are all more than our body size. we have big hearts and care deeply for the people in our lives - i'd really appreciate it if you'd think about that before you use that kind of language to describe women like me."

where did that come from? wow. he heard me, received my words, owned them and apologized for them - and then said "you know i love you, i wish i could give you a hug." it was very special.

from there i went to my short scheduled doctors appointment (at the encouragement of my dear friend hope) to ask the doctor to run a test for me. this was big. i hardly know how to write about how i have shut down part of me - how i have closed the door to my physical body, both out of my food/size/sex issues, but also because every time i have ever talked to a doctor about my body when it's not working properly i have been made to feel crazy or like a hypochondriac. i hate it.

my breathing has been labored. i think i have found out why. i wanted a test to confirm/deny this - and the doctor pulled that "oh you people with the internet" crap on me. i stood up for myself. i didn't allow her to bully me and i said that i was going to push on this because i didn't think she was a very thorough. and i had evidence to back that up.

she sent me for a mammogram, but never once did a breast exam, she did a pap test, but never once did a pelvic exam. i have seen her for over a year now and never once has she physically touched my body. stethoscope to listen to my heart and lungs, the most basic of pap smears - but other than that she has rushed in and out and i felt her standard of care was lacking.

she did not like that one little bit. you see i've lived in about 8-10 different communities and have the best of care in each one. yes, some doctors made me feel like i was making things up at times, but the care i was given was always top of the line. i knew her care was not up to snuff and i told her, respectfully and directly. she didn't know what to do about that.

i really flustered her. she eventually said 'well then you should probably find another family doctor'. i said i had planned on it, her response to this visit was going to determine that for me. unfortunately we live in the most under serviced area of our province. there are no doctors here. i can't blame it on social medicine, the care i had in ontario was the best i've ever had.

it will be a chore to have to talk another doctor who isn't accepting new patients into treating me and my family. i have spent the morning on the phone with the bureaucrats and the watch dogs, they are toothless. i fear for the women in this community who have never had better medical care - i know they would never think of demanding better. i am not called to be an advocate, but i will if needed. it's just exhausting.

so, i guess that the small challenge of calling back my friend allowed me the courage to speak truth to my father, which allowed me to stand up for myself at the doctor's office. all links in a chain - small successes to enable me to not settle, not blame myself, not feel crazy or lost or powerless.

but now the work begins.

oh, by the way, i did get the order for the chest x-ray - i have no idea how i'll get the results, but i got what i wanted. (oh #2 - i also finished my collage - it's beautiful!)

lions, tigers and orangutans oh my!

this story was just what i needed today:

CNN - Tiger, Orangutan babies bond as inseparable playmates

moby interview

moby is interviewed in this month's wittenburg door. he always makes me think:


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

lean on me

i awoke this morning a bit subdued. liam asked what was wrong and i couldn't really put my finger on it. until i was given a picture. it felt like i was surrounded by rake or broom handles, each one leaning against me. i knew it was a great metaphor for what i have allowed to happen in the past month.

small obligations, none requiring much from me, but obligations all the same have been piling up around me. each good and things for which i am skilled, but far too many of them so i am left feeling fenced in and a bit weary from the mental energy that comes from having to hold them all up, manage each small piece and have them all take a bit more than i originally through they would.

having that picture has allowed me to begin to visually identify what they are and begin to tie up loose ends to move me to the place where i am able to give them back to their owners.

it is one of the small trials (and i say this understanding that there is little really required of me in life, and so many have so much more to bear) of not having a job. i am not very self defined at the moment and so being 'helpful' is a way in which i meet the world. it gets me out of the house, outside myself and uses some of the skills and gifts i have. it is very depleting of my energies though and i find i regularly feel like i am not accomplishing much or using my best time and resources to my own benefit.

i end the day depleted and drained and feeling like i've not really done anything all day.

as of yesterday i set a really good boundary. i gave something back that had been weighing on me and for which i was doing a lot of work that the employee was shirking. it felt good. really good. i think i'll do it again. :)

self definition is a big part of this year for me. part of learning to be centered is figuring out where i begin and end. i am more than an assistant. i have lived far too much of my life making other people look better. i need to figure out ways to help myself. putting my own skills to work for my own good. what that looks like i don't really know.

as i was getting ready to blog this i got a phone call from a good friend here. she is the person i most enjoy spending time with. she stopped over for coffee yesterday and helped me with my plans to make cabbage rolls for supper. she showed me how to soften the leaves and remove them so they can be rolled. i knew we'd have lots, so i invited she and her husband for supper. it was a big meal, and a lot of work. i was really proud of myself. i took a recipe i had never made before (actually 3 of them) and made them for company, which i have NEVER done (only tried and true for company, what if it doesn't turn out??)...

back to the real reason, she asked me to come over and help her with a proposal she's writing for her final project. i have other plans. i wanted to finish the collage i started yesterday that was interrupted by her visit and i set aside. i know it's not the most important thing i could ever do, but it is something i was enjoying and something that focussed on being centered...

damn. i need to call her back and tell her i can't come. that what i was in the middle of is important and i need to finish it. set down the rake and sit and be for an hour or two. i'm going to make the call... really.

Monday, February 26, 2007

step two

Many of us had asked God to help us control our weight and this prayer hadn't worked. Later we understood why our pleas for help seemed to fall on deaf ears. What we were really asking God to do was remove our fat while allowing us to go on eating whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. Most of us also needed to learn to ask other people for help and let God speak to us through our fellows. In OA, God's healing power comes to us through a caring community of other compulsive overeaters. Before we joined the OA Fellowship our prayers for help might have gone unanswered simply because we were never meant to face this disease in isolation. We were meant to open up so that we might learn to truly love others.

The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, pg. 15-16


this hit me the other night square between the eyes. community is the path to healing. isolation is not.

Friday, February 23, 2007

postpartum depression

watching the horror of what britney spears is going through right now is bringing back a lot of my own story and pain from my own battle with postpartum depression.

after buck was born it hit me hard. we were living out on a dirt road in a town of 400, working for a church that hated my american soul and liam was working on the average of 70 hours a week between his job at the high school and the church. i had a 2 year old and a newborn and began the darkest slide into the biggest, blackest hole i have ever experienced.

dooce blogged this morning on her own journey with postpartum. it too reminded me of my own. what few people realize is that the break that happens in the mind of the mother is so severe that nothing in life makes sense anymore. the desperation is terrifying and you can't even remember what normal felt like.

there is no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel, no realization that there even is a tunnel. no understanding that this just might not be your fault. the shame and the despair is so crippling that it seems there is no future to be had.

looking back i can remember how it felt to regularly place my crying son in his crib and have to close the door and walk away because my own hands wanted to shake him till he stopped. hiding under the covers to escape each day. the thoughts of drowning my children in the bathtub so that they could go to heaven and have a better "life" went through my head more times than i can count. i was steps away from being one of those women you see splashed across the headlines. i loved my children more than life itself, but hated and loathed myself for my inability to be the mother they needed.

my addictions were out of control and my life bottomed out into such a dark, dismal place. no one knew. no one cared. no one stepped in to say 'hey, are you okay"? no one loved me enough to give me a break. get me some help.

so please, please if you think about her, pray for britney. i don't mean this in a syrupy, churchy way - i mean this in a 'change your own heart' kind of way - i believe that by praying for her your own heart will be turned to notice those in your own lives that have this kind of struggle, are facing this kind of shame and confusion.

it happens every day. you have someone in your life who is struggling with this.

maybe it's you? please know you are not alone. it's not your fault. tell someone. tell me. call this hotline, get some help. you don't have to do this alone like i did. you are worth it, and your babies are worth it. there is hope and a future - reach out. please.

Postpartum Support International (PSI)
Wikipedia - Understand Postpartum Depression

Thursday, February 22, 2007

speaking the truth in love

either i've become soft or my theology is truly changing my heart. i never really thought that conflict was a problem for me. i am an opinionated woman and lead from my gut. i can think on the fly a lot of the time and hold my own in most conversations, even heated ones.

but one thing that i have found recently is that i have begun to let "old relationships" die. we have moved quite a bit, and maintaining friendships over distance isn't something i'm good at unless they are like you all - internet savvy and as interested in pursuing online correspondence as "we" are.

i have recently realized though that i am allowing some of these relationship to die because i believe in my heart of hearts that if they knew what i believed about their faith now they would brand me with a scarlet H and out me as a heretic. even here i haven't blogged through some of the ways in which my theology is morphing and my questions are becoming larger than my answers.

i do believe though that conflict and conflict resolution is truly the bridge to community. when we care enough to work through our problems the ties that bind us grow stronger.

i have realized that i can say that all i want and it still doesn't make it true unless i live it out. one of the filters i use on being opinionated and outspoken is that of 'speaking the truth in love'. if i can't say it in love i can't say it.

what i am finding through living out this filter is that the love i have for people and relationships isn't as strong as i thought it was. i realize that if the relationship cannot maintain the work it will take to walk through this problem it's probably not going to sustain me in the hard work i have to do to get to the other side. i don't like that. love isn't nearly as good of a motivator for me as being pissed off or when i am seeking justice. those emotions motivate me to action. love i'm finding is much more difficult than i realized.

i find i love myself and my peace of mind more than i love some others from my past.

i have a very good friend, things between us got a bit sideways. i was tempted to write her off. i was afraid if i spoke my truth she would have chapter and verse to show me i was wrong, and i don't really have the energy for those kind of debates anymore. if there is more heat than light i want nothing to do with it. i know that some things are worth fighting for - but i'm finding that the list of 'those things' is growing smaller each day.

the temptation to just loose contact was strong, but i realized that the love i have for her is stronger. i don't want to loose her friendship. i had hoped we could speak face to face over the holidays, that didn't happen and i was left with few good options. i decided to write her a letter, i sat with my words for the full weekend and finally sent them.

they were well received, but now the work begins. trying to speak my truth, keeping it about me and not her, and not basing my behavior on her response is key to this for me. i know much of this is more for me than it is for her. it is still hard. much of what i am addressing is still so fresh and new, i haven't had the courage to verbalize much of it before. i explained to her that these ideas feel like new shoots in the garden and i don't want things uprooted or squashed.

putting these things down in writing is important. speaking them "out loud" is necessary. if they don't have the strength to grow into real beliefs what good are they?

i left a comment on a new blog today about letting the worms out of the can. the damn things just won't go back in. so i sit, with my worms and new growth, i know they are good for each other - but it's a dirty, fertile place of waiting. waiting for the light to bring strength, growth and maturity to these fledgling seeds. god send the light.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

craig ferguson makes me cry, really.

please watch this, it's not allowed to be embedded - so click here:

craig ferguson tells his story on late night - wow.

so powerful.

ash wednesday

image by carl spietzwig - after carnival

as a compulsive over eater fasting is a complicated issue for me. i have learned to fast items instead of days. it has become an important spiritual discipline in my life. i have found great life in choosing to give things up.

another spiritual discipline that i use to balance my fasting is commitment. again, this isn't done in sweeping large ways, vast measures usually reduce me to failure, so i find 'items' if you will, to add to my day to create balance in the fasting. i have found this positive/negative to bring a lot of wholeness for me.

considering lent this year i prayed and reflected through the filter of "centered" which is my watch word for this year. what discipline could be added/taken away that would help me toward living a more centered life? i prayed for weeks, nothing it seemed fit.

this weekend liam and i spoke about lent in quite a few conversations. he too had been considering his own lenten discipline and we realized that the moral support of working together on a discipline would also bring some partnership that we are trying to regain in healthy ways in our marriage.

other conversations this weekend kept surfacing around finances, the state of the union here at the flat and our seeming loss of a discipline we came to know and love in years past - simplicity. somehow not having to live on the edge of life, moving and financial ruin allowed us to stray from that simple place we had come to know and love. enough somehow wasn't anymore - and we both felt it's loss. we have also found that having a bit more than 'enough' in the bank account has left us quite undisciplined and getting sloppy financially. we were both feeling the stress of the fear of the unknown in that area of our lives too.

then a light turned on, almost at the same time - we realized that this would be our discipline for lent. simplicity and enough. i know in my own life that i use "things" to pull my focus away from the important aspects of life. i settle for good in trade for better.

i find i loose my center quickly when our finances are sloppy. it doesn't matter if there is enough money in the bank to meet our needs, bills and even wants - if it is sloppy and unknown it floats through my life like an ethereal specter haunting me and the choices i make throughout the day.

so we have chosen to use these 40 days to simplify, organize, clean-sweep and ask ourselves regularly 'is this enough?', 'is there a more simple way to do this task i am given?' - and most of all to do it with a view to the eternal - how can i choose today the best instead of the good?

i find that these choices and intense time of intentional discipline gives life and legs to the rest of the year.

so happy lent, i pray your choices for these next 40 or so days bring you light and life and wholeness.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


short list this week, i think the snow days and the noise stunted my reading time!
  • now this is what i need to keep me warm and cuddly when those chills hit! selk'bag

Friday, February 16, 2007

now you're speakin my language

oh how i love recovery people. 12-steppers speak my language and i hadn't realize how very much i missed it.

we've had 3 weeks of meetings now and i am loving what is happening here, and within me. it feels so good to be back in active recovery. there is a shorthand that happens at meetings for those of you who aren't addicts, one word or small phrase in someone's story touches the group and we all smile together, each knowing that it is the same in our own lives. it's just something universal, a deep written code, like XML for the addict, you can't see it, but when 2 or more are gathered together... the language is effortless. stories flow and bonding is immediate. a newcomer feels like a long lost friend. it's really a beautiful thing.

i find that being back in recovery has helped me to speak my truth more confidently too. i just got off the phone with a good friend here who's daughter is struggling mightily with an anorexia. months ago i was timid and unconfident in my words to her. today on the phone we spoke for over an hour and as she asked questions i was able to tell my story and share my experience, strength and hope in a way that i had been unable to previously. she noticed. she heard and god willing it will make some difference in the life of this young girl and her family.

so today i rejoice in "hanging with my peeps" and having a fledgling community of people who speak my language face to face.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

12 ton telephone

one of the things i have found in common with many in recovery is how dang heavy that telephone can be. i used to work on a switchboard and have done customer service in many of my jobs along the way - so it's not the telephone per se, but something about picking up the phone to actually dial it and reach out for help. most of the time it looks about as appealing to me as a nautilus machine, and about as much work.

i know that it is one of the 12 tools of recovery, and once i'm actually on the phone i love it (ask hope about our 90 minute phone calls...), but i have a real block when it comes to phoning for help. i think that is why the internet is such a godsend for me. no, it's not as instantaneous to send an email, or post a blog, but there is something about the "HELP" i can send out via the www that is different.

i'm suspecting that it has more to do with asking for help and admitting weakness in a 'real time' relationship than it really has anything to do with the telephone, it just gets blamed for my phobia, like the leaves get the blame that belongs to the roots...

sigh. the reason that i'm bringing this up is that i've had two amazing phone calls with total strangers who had the courage to pick up the phone and dial a number to a person they don't know. you see, my name and number are at the bottom of the posters and ads we've circulated through our community. and two brave souls have taken the difficult step of reaching out today. they have encouraged me with their bravery. i know what it's like to show up cold at a meeting, not knowing a soul. and i've even made a few of those phone calls myself. i've just not been on the receiving end of them before, and they are gifts. shots in the arm that i needed today.

so if you've been putting off a phone call can i encourage you that the other person on the other end of that line just might need to hear that you need something they have today? just for today.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

22 valentines days

22 years ago i was on a scavenger hunt through the college to find the ugliest 80's hot pink and teal paisley blouse i would ever own. it was a gift from liam. he thought the blouse was beautiful. i, on the other hand, with my BRIGHT RED HAIR knew that hot pink and i would never be friends, but i was so touched at his thoughtfulness. that he had spent his pennies at the mall, wandering the stores looking for that perfect gift that would encapsulate the most intense love and passion that we could must in the 20 years we had been on the earth.

i have no memory of what gift i got him. he probably doesn't either. maybe it was that ugly mug i painted with the big eyeball w/ lashes, the <3 and the sadly drawn sheep -eye heart ewe... (see, i really shouldn't be complaining about the ugly blouse, should i?). but neither of the gifts mattered. what mattered is that it was the first day meant to celebrate the passion we felt for each other.

22 valentines days. it hardly seems possible, and yet it also seems like it should be 77. just yesterday and forever. how can that paradox exist? we have officially been together longer than we've been apart. the most rocky, intense, passionate, quarrelsome, fun-filled, hilarious, crazy making ride of our lives. i don't think either of us would have it any other way.

i love you liam. happy valentines day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

hands outstretched

okay, i think i am finally coming out of the fog that has encapsulated me for the past couple of weeks. my head feels clearer today than it has in weeks. i have the mid-winter blues and as i told liam this morning that i have felt like winter had me by the ankles pulling me across the floor to a very dark room, my fingers were raw from trying to stop the abduction and i realized that in the past couple of days i had finally stopped fighting.

this weekend was filled with deep sighs, lots of tears and feeling the emotions that i had been avoiding for weeks. there is a lot happening on my emotional landscape. not so much that others would notice, but i have finally figured out that i have been trying to keep the balance in our home while a lot of healing and recovery is happening, and it's not my job to do. i'm exhausted.

my overly responsible, first born status had kicked into overdrive and while the things that are happening are positive and will bring a lot of healing, they do throw off the equilibrium in our relationships and i have been overcompensating. so via la imbalance. helter skelter it shall be. i know we will find our way through this all, and it might look like chaos for a while, but it is our chaos and we will learn from it.

i have been thinking through m. scott peck's four stages of community lately. our church here is expert in this and it's teaching us so much.

from wikipedia

Community building

In his book The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace', Scott Peck says that community has three essential ingredients:

  • Inclusivity
  • Commitment
  • Consensus

Based on his experience with community building workshops, Scott Peck says that community building typically goes through four stages:

  • Pseudocommunity: This is a stage where the members pretend to have a bon homie with one another, and cover up their differences, by acting as if the differences do not exist. Pseudocommunity can never directly lead to community, and it is the job of the person guiding the community building process to shorten this period as much as possible.
  • Chaos: When pseudocommunity fails to work, the members start falling upon each other, giving vent to their mutual disagreements and differences. This is a period of chaos. It is a time when the people in the community realize that differences cannot simply be ignored. Chaos looks counterproductive but it is the first genuine step towards community building.
  • Emptiness: After chaos comes emptiness. At this stage, the people learn to empty themselves of those ego related factors that are preventing their entry into community. Emptiness is a tough step because it involves the death of a part of the individual. But, Scott Peck argues, this death paves the way for the birth of a new creature, the Community.
  • True community: Having worked through emptiness, the people in community are in complete empathy with one another. There is a great level of tacit understanding. People are able to relate to each other's feelings. Discussions, even when heated, never get sour, and motives are not questioned.
i have seen this work here in our new community, differences are embraced and the right brained, sincere, creatives are given as much influence as the left brained, organized intellectuals. it is a beautiful thing.

i have been pondering this in relationship to family, specifically ours. chaos is terrifying for me. to think that there must be this stage of development in my own children's lives means that i don't control everything. that they get to do things in their own ways and learn from their own mistakes. the mama bear in me wants to keep them in the cave, safe and sound forever. but in my heart i know that is not true. i long for them to be whole, healthy independent individuals who aren't my little minions or robots.

i finally admitted yesterday that i was grieving this last stage of their childhoods. i have so enjoyed it. i know there will be much to enjoy in the future, but these past few years have been so wonderful. my kids are truly a joy. it has been the 'paycheck' for staying at home with them. i will miss it greatly. they are becoming more independent, so capable and their needs have changed from "mom can you" to "mom can i"...

sitting with the grief of this has been difficult. finally admitting it has helped though. i think this might be where those "surprise" babies come from. the panic of feeling not needed, the panic of "what now?", the panic of "what's next?". no, i'm not contemplating adoption or getting pregnant again, but i do need to say I AM A GOOD MOTHER, it was something that i excelled at. and it feels so 'over' - i know they're only going to be 9 & 11 in the next couple of months, but this stage was glorious. i really felt like i was doing one of the things i was made for.

i know that there are other ways to use these skills, giftings and desires - and that i am not done mothering my own two. i just know that by not acknowledging the end of this stage and grieving it properly i would find it cropping into other areas of my life. so here i sit. wondering where my little kids have gone. looking at the beautiful young tweens they are becoming and rejoicing in what lies ahead, but still missing those stages we have been through together.

so, that is where you'll find me today. not clawing at the floor anymore, but sitting with my hands outstretched, one back letting go, one forward reaching to next - missing and yearning, and most of all trying to be present to what that means today. just for today.

36 days until spring!

image source nancy rotenberg, natural tapestries

8 days until lent!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

to the least of these

another article in the nyt highlighting something the church, albeit a very informal one, is doing in new jersey to help the homeless. it made me cry. we waste so much, and people like minister steve have so little help. and yet he is so very faithful. what a great heart he has for his little church:

NYT - A Ministry in the Cold, with the Gospel of Propane

Friday, February 09, 2007


UPDATE: i've added the link to DRC journal 4 as tonya has just published it - wow!

  • our gypsy girl tonya is changing the world in the democratic republic of congo (DRC). one woman just one day decides to make a difference and does it. she is inspiration personified. i can't be more thrilled that she's letting us journey along with her in her chronicles:
  1. DRC Journal Entry 1
  2. DRC Journal Entry 2
  3. DRC Journal Entry 3
  4. DRC Journal Entry 4
  • ice like the pros - do you have a chronic knee injury or need to ice regularly? this is the coolest new invention for helping you keep your body working as it should (and it's surprisingly affordable): donjoy iceman cryotherapy unit
  • when bad ideas happen to bad people... what is going on? a marriage amendment - forced procreation initiative in washington state... i'm thinking maybe there should be a rule against these people procreating??? dave paisley has some thoughts too: Disaster Area - Stupid Retaliation is Still... Stupid
  • got a chance to hear/meet phil visher at the nywc in cincinatti this year. he's blogging and has a great three part series called 'So you want to make Christian Videos" - very readable and FULL of expert, FREE advice - lots of bad news/good news type of things:
  1. Part One
  2. Part Two
  3. Part Three

Thursday, February 08, 2007

feeling the blogland luv!

i keep a post office box across the border for books, bills and US mail, and as i went to check it today it was like christmas! my box was packed full of wonderfulness.
  • and finally, last, but not least her zine-ness herself - jen lemen's zine that is truly the most encouraging hug of grace and beauty.

    all of that and a great haircut have made my day!!

habitude february - random acts of kindness

our lovely abbess has decreed that february is random acts of kindness and free love giveaway month. i have made a commitment to engage in this habitude, and because i almost forgot it began today i have decided that i am going to daily track my 28 days of habitude-ness here:

1- i made a poster for the woman in apartment #1 that reminded her of all of the amazing things about her and what an incredible woman she is and stuck it to her front door. i knew she'd come home from work tonight needing encouragement as we have our first OA meeting tonight and if she's as weird about this as i am every little bit will help.
2- baked my family a lovely apple pie for dessert tonight.
3- took a nap (this is harder to do daily than i thought it would be) - i took a nap for the sake of my family. i was so crabby and nasty.
4- sat and shared stories with a hurting student at the university after church. he told me that a comment i made during the discussion part of the teaching time at church the week before gave him the freedom to talk to me and not feel so alone.
5- went with liam on a day trip for work he needed to make. we spent a wonderful day away together.
6-became the contact person/representative/secretary and whatever else you'd call it for our new OA group we've started here. i designed a website, posters, press releases and have contacted all of the media in our little burg here. i avoided starting a group last year for this very reason, but have realized that i am the one with the most time and nobody else has come along (yet - but it's their's as soon as they do!). this was as much for myself as it is for the community.
7-made whole wheat raisin tea biscuits for pink's class yesterday. people usually bring in yogo's or fruit snacks, but i thought warm biscuits might be a bit more homey on a cold winters day. and i know pink sure did appreciate it. she even asked me 'so mom, is this your random act of kindness for today?? :)
8-we had a shower today for a women in our community who has just left a very broken marriage and is finally out on her own with her daughters. we had a kitchen shower and invited tons of church ladies to 'warm up' her house and fill it with all of the things we take for granted. while there i agreed to mentor her and her daughters. she came to the women's retreat we had last november and according to her best friend really resonated with my story. how could i say no?

UPDATE: i suck at this, big time. i didn't realize how hard it would be to try to do kind things creatively each day. i am kind and helpful (not to pat myself on the back, i just am) regularly, i'm just not very creative about it, and i've lost track and can't imagine that i'll really keep track of this any better than i have so far... but if i figure out anything spectacular i'll make sure to post it... sigh.


yay february!

thinking so i don't have to...

ze takes on a biggie:

ze-frank - pro-cra

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

spiderman 3 - the greatest battle lies within

the first trailer for the new spiderman movie is out and sap that i am, it made me cry. i was doing some research for a trip that pink wants to go on with her class as they've discussed seeing this movie at the IMAX on their trip and i wanted to know if it was appropriate for 5th (almost 6th! graders).

from what i have seen so far, it is beautiful. revenge, forgiveness and finding the strength to ask for help. what a story of recovery.

you can see trailer one here:

spiderman 3

now THIS is church!

ben witherington pointed to an article in the NYT about an episcopal parish that was reaching into the world of the homeless and poor in a new/ancient way.

ben also tells everyone's favorite tony campolo story - go and take a read:

Ben Witherington - A Church Home for the Homeless

and here's the link to the NYT article -

NYT - No Altar, No Pews, Not Even a Roof, but Very Much a Church

thank you church of the epiphany - you are well named and are doing a great, great work!

Friday, February 02, 2007


  • new blogger alert - and he has TWO!! Boze! (i can't seem to make the little sign over the zed like he does) and The Hour of Scampering - i have so enjoyed the small gleanings i have had and he really made me giggle with this post here on the eucharist - ghost toasties... :)
Furthermore, even if the numbers were somehow nationally representative, they still tell us absolutely nothing about "present trends." Trends have to do with changes observed over time. The numbers presented in the book have to do with differences in generations measured at one point in time. Without knowing whether the observed cross-sectional differences reflect a cohort effect (what the author assumes) or a life course effect (a more plausible alternative), we are no more able to project the claim that we are on the verge of losing a generation eternally than we can predict that all babies today are going to grow up to wear diapers as adults because we see that they are wearing diapers now.

and here's the money quote:

The real question is not whether evangelicals can clean up their statistical act. The deeper question is whether American evangelicals can learn to live without the alarmism that is so comfortably familiar to them. Evangelicals, by my observation, thrive on fear of impending catastrophe, accelerating decay, apocalyptic crises that demand immediate action (and maybe money). All of that can be energizing and mobilizing. The problem is, it also often distorts, misrepresents, or falsifies what actually happens to be true about reality. And to sacrifice what is actually true for the sake of immediate attention and action is plain wrong. It should be redefined as a very un-evangelical thing to do.

gosh i hope so...

i love dog river saskatchewan

okay, i'm late to the game, but i am hooked. I LOVE CORNER GAS! here's the first segment of the first episode you can watch here - click on the youtube logo and it will take you to the rest of the episode. all of the first season is uploaded there for you to enjoy. it's clean, funny and endearing - give it a try and you'll see what the rest of canada knows - corner gas is one of the greatest exports we have:

Thursday, February 01, 2007

pray for jim!

will samson's good friend jim has been waiting for a double lung transplant for over a year now - it has been a long, long wait. he is in the hospital right now awaiting the news if the donor lungs they hope they have for him will be available, and then he will be going into surgery.

please pray - either way it's huge - if he doesn't get the lungs it will be disappointing, if he does he and his family will need our prayers. please, please pray.

check on jim

UPDATE: We are not clear on whether the lungs are here in the building or still in transport, but we were told that the surgery is definitely going to proceed. We are overwhelmed with relief and gratitude to our donor and the donor’s family. You are welcome to come over to the main waiting area at UCLA and hang out with us. We’ll probably be here into the night.

UPDATE #2: YIPEE!! jim is through surgery and in recovery - his family has been allowed to see him, and he is still sleeping. GOOD, GOOD NEWS!

UPDATE #3: From the blog: Jim’s ventilator is turned off. He is breathing on his own, but the tube is still in his throat. If he can breath on his own for about an hour and a half they’ll take the tube out. Overwhelmed with gratitude and relief again.

UPDATE #4: Keep praying - recovery from this kind of surgery isn't easy. Yesterday's update said this:

Dr Ross and Dr Ardehali have decided to put Jim back on the ventilator, perform a tracheotomy, and insert a small feeding tube for a number of reasons. Since the transplant Jim has been having problems breathing deeply which resulted in high CO2 levels in his blood. He has also not been able to cough enough to get rid of mucus inside in air passages. Dr Ardehali felt that the most conservative approach should be used as he is mostly concern with the long term; namely, to protect the new lungs, allow Jim time to heal from the surgery, and let Jim learn to breathe again. The tracheotomy will allow the doctors to clear out the passage ways and protect the new lungs from any pneumonia. Dr Ardehali explained this was all part of the process of getting a great outcome.

god help me to love this man

this was a prayer i prayed a couple of weeks ago. desperate for connection through this place in our journey together. it is an intense place. a place of plowing, upturning and digging in. it is a place of intention. most marriages dissolve before they get to this place. there are not a lot of guides, signs or lights along this path. it is hard. doing nothing is tempting. i think that is what most marriages do. i don't say this from any self-congratulatory place, just an observation.

so i prayed this prayer 'god help me to love this man, help me to understand him, to care about him, not for him, and give me some insight that will bring us closer, not farther apart'. it was a skeptic's prayer, i really said it more as a challenge than a heartfelt plea. i really wanted this, an answer, a lifeline, but figured unanswered it could be an excuse to give up, ignore or place blame, either at liam's feet or god's. i really didn't care, i just wanted to be able to stop having to work so hard trying to find real intimacy and love.

i awoke this morning with a thought bubble over my head. i don't know if i can explain it. liam understood it when i talked to him about it over breakfast, but if it translates here only time will tell.

i awoke with an ah-ha feeling of something that seems quite obvious. it's obviousness made me ponder it all the more, and as i engaged with this thought i felt it sink deeper and deeper into my consciousness. it felt like water reaching the deep places in the earth after a drought. i understood for what might be the first time how ungrateful i have been for how hard liam works.

i explained to him that because his addiction is workaholism the line gets really blurry between what i love and what i hate. if he was a crack addict hating the crack would be obvious, right? hating alcohol would be just as easy. but hating work gets blurry, fuzzy even. my loathing of those things about work that take him away from me, shut down his world and closed him off to the rest of us was right and good, but the ungrateful place in me that never seemed to be able to honor his provision, his determination and diligence was so unhealthy and wrong.

i never thought that when i prayed that prayer this would be the first way that was answered. i was given insight, understanding and sympathy into the struggle he must face daily. as a compulsive over eater i can respect that. with alcoholism or drug abuse, alcohol and drugs can be avoided in life and life can function normally. food cannot. i have to eat. liam has to work. these are both complicated addictions that don't have easy answers and solutions. there is no clear abstinence that is easily defined. the door cannot be slammed shut never to be opened again. work and food are necessities of life. finding the balance in them is the tricky line we must walk in recovery.

i hope that this ah-ha moment might help others who are struggling with this in their marriages to understand their spouse a bit better from the light i was given today. i know it built a bridge between liam and i we didn't have before.

it also nurtured me deeply to know that god stepped into our marriage today in a way that i hadn't suspected before. i know this thought bubble came from god. it wasn't anything i could have conjured on my own. so i will keep praying this prayer. god cares about our marriage and somehow that makes it seem like there might be a reason for all of the struggle.

the word for this year

her zine-ness, jen lemen, has challenged us to pick a word for this year. i have been pondering this even before her challenge, and i think i might have found one, but it seems so boring and personal. i would love a word like 'adventure' or 'passion' or 'world-changer' but the one that keeps coming back to me is 'centered'.

i know that this year is about me getting comfortable in and with my body. my recovery has plateaued to a place where i know this is the next step i must take if i am going to move forward. my body fear and discomfort stem from the fact that somewhere deep inside of me i believe that my body is my enemy and i must pack it with this extra weight and food to keep me safe from it and the outside world.

i really believe somewhere deep in my heart of hearts that if i was shapely i would stumble in my sexual addiction. there. i said it. yuck. i think i need to admit that i really believe that if i was thin i would be promiscuous or shatter my marriage. yuck. i said that too. so i know that being centered might not be as fun and bold as others words i want to choose, but i also know that i'll never really get to those words without going through this one first.

so my word for 2007 is CENTERED.

is it any wonder i'm so co-dependent?

Enneagramfree enneagram test

i did those personality tests the other day and was probably the most honest i've ever been on them - answering real answers instead of what i thought i should, or wanted to be. yuck. i don't want to be a 2! i'm putting this here so that i'll have it as a reminder...

Profile Summary for Enneagram Type Two

Healthy Levels

Level 1 (At Their Best): Become deeply unselfish, humble, and altruistic: giving unconditional love to self and others. Feel it is a privilege to be in the lives of others.

Level 2: Empathetic, compassionate, feeling for others. Caring and concerned about their needs. Thoughtful, warm-hearted, forgiving and sincere.

Level 3: Encouraging and appreciative, able to see the good in others. Service is important, but takes care of self too: they are nurturing, generous, and giving—a truly loving person.

Average Levels

Level 4: Want to be closer to others, so start "people pleasing," becoming overly friendly, emotionally demonstrative, and full of "good intentions" about everything. Give seductive attention: approval, "strokes," flattery. Love is their supreme value, and they talk about it constantly.

Level 5: Become overly intimate and intrusive: they need to be needed, so they hover, meddle, and control in the name of love. Want others to depend on them: give, but expect a return: send double messages. Enveloping and possessive: the codependent, self-sacrificial person who cannot do enough for others—wearing themselves out for everyone, creating needs for themselves to fulfill.

Level 6: Increasingly self-important and self-satisfied, feel they are indispensable, although they overrate their efforts in others' behalf. Hypochondria, becoming a "martyr" for others. Overbearing, patronizing, presumptuous.

Unhealthy Levels

Level 7: Can be manipulative and self-serving, instilling guilt by telling others how much they owe them and make them suffer. Abuse food and medication to "stuff feelings" and get sympathy. Undermine people, making belittling, disparaging remarks. Extremely self-deceptive about their motives and how aggressive and/or selfish their behavior is.

Level 8: Domineering and coercive: feel entitled to get anything they want from others: the repayment of old debts, money, sexual favors.

Level 9: Able to excuse and rationalize what they do since they feel abused and victimized by others and are bitterly resentful and angry. Somatization of their aggressions result in chronic health problems as they vindicate themselves by "falling apart" and burdening others. Generally corresponds to the Histrionic Personality Disorder and Factitious Disorder.

Key Motivations: Want to be loved, to express their feelings for others, to be needed and appreciated, to get others to respond to them, to vindicate their claims about themselves.