Thursday, December 9, 2010


At this time of year we are waiting, that is what Advent means. Can I use Advent as a verb (at least just for this blog)? To advent takes purpose, and special effort. You can't hurry and advent at the same time. You can't shop and advent at the same time. We need time to imagine and be silent. God sent Himself in human form and revealed himself to the world. Have you thought about the revelation to the Magi? How did they know about the star, and why were they compelled to go?
There is so much beautiful mystery to Jesus first coming. Take time to think about it.
We look forward to Jesus' return...we are waiting for Him to come again. We say that, but are we really looking, and waiting?
What if I told you that I am looking forward to Jesus coming now, and again. You might be wondering if I'm depressed, or I think this life is just horrible, but it's not. I just have confidence that Jesus' Kingdom is much, much, so much more better than this. There is a lot of beauty for us to see now, who can even imagine what is to come!

Friday, August 6, 2010

journey to the sacred

I grew up in the non-denominational evangelical church. I came out of my formative years with a fear of other churches and other traditions. They were all possibly cults and no other teaching could be completely trusted. This is normal because children don't have the tools to make evaluations on matters of theology. Children want to be taught what is right. Now, this doesn't apply as much today with the post-modern generation. They want to figure it out somewhat on their own.
Until a few years ago words like tradition, ritual, and liturgy were words that, to me, spoke of uninspired religion. I'm being to fall in love with these words. My eyes are being open to the early church and the power of being intentional with my encounters with God and Church. I must thank Jim and Janna Matthias for guiding our group in Lectio Divina and teaching us that church tradition is beautiful and communal.
I'm on a journey to experience God in a new way, for me. Not a new way in regards to church history. The first believers continued to worship God in their daily scheduled prayers. Jesus didn't come and throw out the prayers of Judaism, but fulfilled the prayers; adding His teachings of the Kingdom (good book on this "The Jesus Creed").
At some point, soon, I hope my post will be titled "Journey in the Sacred."

"Language was the one sure and steady presentation of the sacred in life....the one space or exercise in which the human and divine truly met and in which every act of both was recorded beyond adjustment or deletion. To give oneself to understanding the workings of language was to accept vocation at the high altar." P. Tickle The Shaping of a Life

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I tend to get sucked into memoirs that I can't put down. This last memoir, "Her Last Death" was pretty disturbing. Doug was puzzled by the fact that I couldn't wait for it to be finished and I treated the read like something I had to get done. I was hoping for a little light to shine, but really nothing brightened the pages. Don't even pick up "Running with Scissors." I cut that one short around the 5th chapter. The review said it was disturbingly funny. What does that mean?! It was nothing but disturbing. I'm now reading Anne Lamott and I'm going to stick with her.
There are two common threads in all the memoirs I've read. The authors have major dysfunction in their childhoods' and they have a great passion for reading at a young age.
I've been taking great pride watching Maegan devour books and even reading as she walks about. But the other day I feared, "What will she write about me in her memoir?" Will she remember with fondness, "My mom was obsessed with healthy foods, and sent us to bed with nightmares of bio engineered foods." Or, "My mom's love for everything natural instilled in us a love for the smell of rain, and the satisfaction of eating meat that still smelled like the farm." (I'm not really that healthy, but I do rant about it).
You never know which lens your children are going to use to remember you. I'm hoping for quirky and endearing not controlling and naggy. I think the lens depends on the birth order of the child.
Another thing that strikes me about memoirs is the ability of the authors to remember stuff that happened at 3 years old and events that don't really seem that memorable. Maybe I'll start writing Maegan's memoir for her since I can get the memories right :)
Or, maybe her childhood won't be dysfunctional enough to make a best seller. But, I would like it to be interesting enough to write about; dysfunction makes good life lessons!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Severing Hands As Punishment for Theft

I just googled "punishment for kids stealing." Maegan stole $5.00 from Doug's wallet so she could buy stuff at the school book fair (even though she bought 2 books the day before). We are pretty sure this isn't the first time she has helped herself to our cash. She has also refused to give part of her allowance to church. We agreed in the beginning that she would "save, give, spend" her allowance. Next google, 'way to force child to love giving'.
Spencer stole a chocolate from Menards last Saturday and a candy bar from there today. I tried to talk to him about it. I said, "How would you feel if we gave you some candy and then one of your friends stole it from you?" He said, "Well, I would be mad and go to the store and take some candy from them." Nice.
Top this stuff with Maegan telling me I deserve to die and other unthoughtful words. Maegan threw her helmet down and broke it today and Spencer pushed a toy crib over and broke it. Doug discovered our printer was broken by the kids (spilled water or something). Oh, and this is just scratches the surface.
What are we doing wrong?! How have we failed?!
Parenting is very hard and leaves me running to the books furiously searching indexes for answers. And yes, shaking the old google 8 ball to find some wisdom.
One article I discovered was a clip of a Hammas children's show that taught kids that Hasim the bunny should get his hand cut off for stealing from his dad. it's movie night!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

first mile

I just completed my first mile. For every mile I walk, run, or swim until the end of May I will raise some money for Love 146. If you'd like to sponsor me per mile it's not too late. (my goal is 50 miles)
So, I was walking and listening Brett Dennen on Pandora. I've been listening to Brett, on Pandora, for a couple of years. I was thinking that I would describe Brett as being like Tracy Chapman, but better. By the end of my walk I discovered that Brett is not a black woman, as I have thought for 2 years. Brett is a 30 yr. old white guy. It's extra funny because back in the day I used to think Tracy Chapman was a white guy.
I really enjoyed my walk and had time for some thinking (it was just Graham and I). I was thinking how people often view music, movies, books, and art as an escape from reality. But those things are just as real, if not more. We have two lens to look through. The one lens sees that a dirty diaper is just a dirty diaper and a traffic ticket is just a pain in the arse. The other lens sees the quotidian as a little more mysterious. In order to use this lens you need to stop and observe.
Maybe we do turn to art, books, and music for an escape. Perhaps you need an escape from something in your life right now, or you can create something with what you are escaping as a way to make sense of it all and share it with someone else.
Ok, off to change a dirty diaper!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

in spite of all the crying

It's good to be a girl. (I never refer to myself as a women, unless I'm singing Whitney Houston's song). I often tell Doug that he is really missing out; which is in response to him saying, "I'm so glad I pee standing up."
Doug can't imagine how I deal with all these emotions I have. Yes, as a woman I analyze things and break down our social encounters to how everyone might have felt when so and so said such and such. I believe in treading ever so lightly with other people's feelings and emotions. Doug, and the other boys, believe that you should just cut to the chase, break it down, and then move on. Have you watched men do this? It's amazing how they can be brutally honest and not give it a second thought. They even get away with pinching each other's stomach fat. I think it takes men years to learn to navigate a conversation with women that avoids all the mines that are our feelings. And still, once they've learned how to deal with our delicate state we throw out tricks like, "Do these pants make me look slimmer." His reply, "yes." Her reply, "Are you saying I need to look slimmer?" If his reply was "no", she would say, "Are you saying I look fat?"
I do think the crying part of being a girl is bitter sweet. I like that I have great compassion for all living and some non-living things. Doug reminded me yesterday that I cried when Martha Stewart got arrested. I was concerned with how she'd fair in the joint. I'm not even a fan of her. However, I was pregnant at the time.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

i'm an artist, a poet, a musician, and there is more to come

I've spent a lot of my life living into how others view me. In high school and college many of you thought of me as the fun girl. My mission then, be the most fun and keep topping your idea of just how fun I could be. I didn't always feel like being fun, but there was a fear I'd lose my title.
I was an average student until Mr. Glidden, junior year at Avon, told me he thought I should be in the honors English class. I ended up acing his class and embracing the idea that I could be a good student. I majored in Secondary Education English.
Words and expectations can be powerful, very powerful. Just think of the power you can wield for good in someone else's life.
However, now that I'm 35 I'm finding that the power of other people's opinions of me can be harnessed. I don't want to care what people think in some regards. I just can't. Over the last 10 years I've embraced the fact that I don't know it all, or in some cases, very much. But, I have a passion for learning and hearing other people's point of view. I've learned that sometimes it's more important to learn other's views than to have a stance of my own.
And, for the title of the post. I love art, singing, dancing, writing, and thinking. I've never considered myself to be a master of these things, or someone who could get paid to do them. But, I'm going to pursue them and I don't care if you like my art, singing, dancing, or writing (you may not even see any of it happen.) It's my own little joy and treasure. I'm not waiting for someone to declare that I'm these things,I'm declaring it for myself.
Perhaps you've always wanted to be something. Go ahead: you are, you can be.

Monday, March 22, 2010

world water day

We truly take for granted that we have an abundance of clean water. Not only do we have plenty to drink, but clean water for our beautiful lawns, clean cars, and I bet we could actually drink the water the flushes down our excrement.
Helping others get this clean water is a very simple solution to right many ills in the world.
Doug visited an girls orphange and school to see the new water purification system that our churh bought. Many of you helped raise the money. Another system was needed for the school and has been purchased, but $750 more is needed to get it installed and get all the equipment needed.
If you'd like to help with this, in honor of world water day, leave a comment and I'll tell you how.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spencer is 4!

Our little sweetie turned 4 last Saturday. He is such a joy and full of compassion. He likes to keep the peace around here, especially with Maegan. I have to serve as his advocate, making sure she doesn't take advantage of his adoration for her. She hit him in the face yesterday and Doug said he could go hit her back. (Sorry if this shocks you. This isn't part of our parenting plan or philosophy. You just find yourself tired and crazy sometimes. We all need a little spontaneity in our lives, and this is ours.) Spencer ran back to Maegan's room and said, "Maegan, Dad told me to hit you, but I don't want to."
He also smiles despite the misery he has right now after his adenoid surgery. He is smiling now because he is on his second episode of cartoons. I'm bribing him with the TV. If he lets me put Vaseline on his nose he can watch cartoons. Again, judge if you wish. If we don't use the Cathode ray therapy his nose tissues will never heal.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

unscientific thoughts on spiritual compost

I was thinking about compost the other day. We've had a composter thingy back behind the shed that we haven't ventured to use yet. You know how it is, it can be daunting to do something new.
I started to think about how now I neatly tie up all our garage into little bags and set them out for someone else to haul away. Nice and tidy, no smelly stuff sitting around fuming, gone from sight. I can even light candles to make sure nothing stinks at our house. Do you see where I'm going with this?
What if I took all the things that seem like trash, and kept it. What if I held onto my garage;, not carrying it around with me, of course, but putting in a pile behind where I live. Every once and awhile I'll go out there and stir it up, change up the layers and watch it turn into something that stinks, but can nourish other things for growth. Do you see where I'm going with this?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Jesus, Surfing, and Chuck E Cheese

For Lent our family is unplugging on Sundays, and on those nights we do a family devotional time. I love these devotions (that I found online) because they make us use our imaginations.
We read a passage from the Bible that is from Jesus' life. Then there are some questions that involve us closing our eyes and picturing Jesus being with us. What would we say to Him, what would he say to us?
It has been neat to hear what the kids have to say, and even for Doug and I to sense relief just being with Jesus.
The first night I asked Spencer what He pictured Jesus doing during a difficult time. Spencer said, "I see Jesus and His angels by my bed. I see a shadow...but it's Jesus'."
Last night we talked about Jesus amazing us. I had the kids close their eyes and I told them to imagine themselves at the beach. There is a man coming down the beach in a bright white robe and His face is shining like the sun (we had read about the transfiguration for our passage). It's Jesus! He says, "Maegan, Spencer, you are chosen to be in my family and you are loved." Then He walks with them down the beach. When we all shared how we felt walking with Jesus Maegan was most struck by Jesus saying she was chosen to be in His family and she thanked Him. Spencer's imagined that he and Jesus decided to go surfing and then later went to Chuck E Cheese.
When I imagined walking with Jesus I immediately felt my shoulders relax and stopped worry about all my shortcomings.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

most wonderful time of the year

Tomorrow begins my favorite time of the year. I look forward to Lent because I usually feel I need some spiritual renewal about now. I believe we all need a marker in our life, on our calendar, to stop and evaluate how things are going. A time to ask ourselves: what do I want my relationship to God, my family, and others to look like? If we wait for things to just happen, things will; but probably not the things we really want for our lives.
I've decided to give something up for Lent again this year. Last year, if you remember, I didn't give anything up, but planned to add things into my life. That didn't work out so well. So, this year I'm doing both. As a family we are going to unplug on Sundays (no TV or computers). I shared this with the kids and Spencer said, "Mom, why do you have to ruin everything!" I think they will be glad in the end because they will get more of our attention. Like, right now, Spencer really wants me to get off this computer and help him with something :)
Check out these family prayers and this Lent guide for some simple ideas.
Family Lent Ideas
Family Prayers for Lent

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Join Me

I'm hosting a Not for Sale Book/Bible study starting Feb. 25, that lasts for 8 weeks. It will be at my house and go from 7:00-8:30p.m. Please let me know if you are interested in joining me. Here is more information about the study.
The Church and people of faith have a special role to play when it comes to the work
of abolition: freeing slaves and creating a world where survivors can thrive. Human
trafficking is a crime that exists on the fringes, in the darkness, making its full breath and depth challenging to fully comprehend. Victims and survivors are devastated physically,emotionally, mentally, and, often times, spiritually overlooked. It is for this reason that the Not For Sale Campaign presents “Set the Captives Free.” This eight-week study is a tool to enhance our Biblical understanding of human trafficking and our mandated response to fight for freedom and justice. The study utilizes two texts: the Bible and Not For Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade & How We Can Fight It. Each week you will be reading a chapter from Not For Sale to provide the context for the discussion. You will then dig into God’s Word to learn His Truth. When we are confronted with evil, we must respond with Truth. It is essential that we are grounded in God’s Word and understand God’s heart. We desire the outcome of your eight- week study to equip and inspire you to advance the abolitionist movement in your church and community.
Each week is broken into seven distinct study periods: six you will complete individually before coming together as a group to discuss the week’s experience.
In addition to the Biblical underpinning provided through this study, we encourage you and/or your group to partake in some of the practical steps for action provided throughout the study. By bridging our spiritual growth with hands-on action, we will see freedom prevail in our world. The engagement opportunities should serve as guides to turn knowledge into action, but we encourage you to seek God’s instruction for innovative, creative ways to engage your community in the fight against slavery.
Welcome to the abolitionist movement.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

rapunzel-a children's story?

There once was a women who loved radishes, who couldn't have children. She really fancied the radishes in her neighbor's yard, so she sent her husband out after them. Her neighbor was a witch. One day, while gathering the stolen radishes, the husband ran into the witch. The witch asked for the couple's first born child in exchange for the small, bitter veggies (my own commentary). The husband thought that was a fine deal, since they couldn't conceive. Well, they did. The witch named the baby Rapunzel and locked her up in a high tower to keep her away from the world. Rapunzel had a lovely voice, which attracted a young prince. The prince found a way to reach Rapunzel (you know...Rapunzel, let down your hair). Well, to make this story short. The witch cut Rapunzel's hair and banished her to a desert, the prince threw himself out of the tower and fell into thorns which "pierced his eyes", making him blind. He wandered the desert and heard Rapunzel's voice singing to two young children (his children apparently...oh, yeah, by the way children, Rapunzel and the Prince had special tower visits). Rapunzel's tears healed his eyes and they lived happily ever after in the Prince's kingdom. When the witch heard of their happiness she was so enraged that she exploded.
I checked this book out from the library and read it to myself last night because I forgot the story. I guess there are many strange tales I read when I was young that involved people giving their first born to witches (Sleeping Beauty) and trolls (Rumpelstiltskin), or children being enticed by goodies in order to be eaten (Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood). Ah, the classics!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

pants on fire

We all have hopes for our children's future. It seems Maegan has a future in design, invention, as an undercover agent, or a white collar criminal. (If she is going with crime, it might as well be white collar, right?!)
Maegan's deception abiblities are well thought out and without care. Some of you hear my stories and say, "Oh, Maegan is so smart." Hmmm, that is a nice way to look at it. So, we have many stories to give as examples, but here are just a few.
Maegan has apparently been pulling the wool over my eyes regarding Spencer's behavior. She would report, "Oh mom and dad, Spencer has scribbled on the wall downstairs. I'm so sorry! I told him not to, but he didn't listen. I guess you'll have to punish him." So, Doug and I put them in separate rooms and did a "shake down." This is when you use questions that trick them into telling the truth. When the shake down was done it was clear Spencer was lying and he got a spank. The next day Maegan confessed that she has been lying everyday to get Spencer in trouble and it was all her fault (she created the Spencer like scribbles on the wall.)
The other story involves Hannah and Maegan sneaking candies from the cubbard, after getting in trouble for sneaking them earlier. They hide the candy under Maegan's bed and then sent Hudson and Spencer to fetch them. Loree found Spencer and Hudson setting up a "candy picnic" (based on the girl's instructions.) So, when Loree asked who got the candy. The answer to the question was Hudson and Spencer, because technically they are the ones who got the candy from under Maegan's bed. Technicalities, right?!