Monday, December 31, 2007

The Art of Longing

One of my all time favorite authors inspires me for this new year:

When you tell a story, the world rushes by you in the same way, leaves you standing silent and alone, your face pressed up against a well-lit window, gazing at something, wanting it fiercely, knowing that you are probably not going to get it, but willing, anyway, to dream, to try .

I’ve decided that telling a story is more than anything else, the art of longing.

Read the complete entry here:

Kate DiCamillo, December 2007 Journal

via Looking Closer

The Human Experience

Just the trailer made me cry - I can't wait to see it.

Thank you CrazyAcres!

Yappy Hew Near!

From the StoryPeople:

Maybe I don't want a Happy New Year, he said.
Maybe I want an intense New Year
with a lot of growth experiences
& I had to admit I'd never thought of that.

Wishing you an intense year with a lot of growth experiences! :)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Abomination of Decoration

Okay, it's a little after the season, but made me laugh out loud - thanks Mike, I needed that!

Have an Airy Christmas

Friday, December 28, 2007

Fear of Change

Me luvs them chickens!

New Years Resolutions

My bloggity friend, Penni, over at Martha, Martha picked at topic for the day. I started to comment on her blog, but it became a post and it began to ramble, so I'm answering it here:

are you one who makes resolutions?

Yes, but not in the traditional way. I love the routine that a year cycle brings - so I don't only use January 1st as a marker and make resolutions regularly - but never the kind that are legalistic - only those that are life giving.

do you write them down?

I journal about them throughout the year, blog on them and track them so that I can be encouraged by the changes that are happening in my heart and soul.

do you recheck them a week later (or a month or two) to see how you are faring?

It's not so much about "faring" for me - but as a reminder - kind of an "oh yeah - how is that folding into my life?" I'm kind of A.D.D. so I can loose the thread at times - rechecking helps me find it again.

are you looking forward to the next year?

Yes - I love the clean slate a new year brings. I also am marking the close of Step 10 "Continue to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it" Choosing to actively work this step I have introduced the daily examen each night and find it gives me much life. It has become ingrained into my routine now and love it. I will be starting Step 11 - "Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out." - in January and am excited to see what this brings to my life.

are you happy to see this one come to a close?

2007 was a big year for us - so many major life changes (without having to move!) - we started our Masters Degree, Jacob was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes and Alinea is loving French Immersion and Middle School. It wasn't always easy, but taking one day at a time we did it all together.

Last year I prayed for a word to focus on and I got "centered" - I used it throughout the year as a touchstone and am amazed at how much I have grown because of it.

My new word for this year came to me just the other day - complete - I don't know what it means yet, but I am looking forward to finding it weaving it's way into my life this year.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The waiting is over

All of these things have tied together for me today:

I wonder, if we were to stop people at random in the street on December 24 and ask them what they want most for Christmas, how many would say, 'I want to see Jesus'?

I believe that the single most important consideration during the sacred season of Advent is intensity of desire. Paraphrasing the late Rabbi Abraham Heschel, 'Jesus Christ is of no importance unless he is of supreme importance.' An intense inner desire is already the sign of his presence in our hearts.

Source: Brennan Manning, Lion and Lamb : the Relentless Tenderness of Jesus

Don't You Sense Me?

I am, you anxious one.

Don't you sense me, ready to break
into being at your touch?
My murmurings surround you like shadowy wings.
Can't you see me standing before you
cloaked in stillness?
Hasn't my longing ripened in you
from the beginning
as fruit ripens on a branch?

I am the dream you are dreaming.
When you want to awaken, I am that wanting.
I grow strong in the beauty you behold.
And with the silence of stars I enfold
your cities made by time.

Rainer Maria Rilke Book of Hours: Love Poems to God


Advent complete.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Angels we have heard on high

Tiffany Stained Glass window in St. Saviour's Church, Bar Harbor, Maine.
Not for commercial use.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Local celebrity dies in car accident

I just found out from Keith that our local country station DJ Perry White was killed in a car accident today. We didn't know Perry from the radio, we knew him from the laundromat.

He was the first person we met from St. Stephen when we visited 2 years ago. He was so personable and kind. He gave us lots of local lore and legend and really gave us a taste for this community. It wasn't long before he introduced us to another Local legend - Dot, the crossing guard - she's probably the biggest celebrity in town and is Canada's Top Crossing Guard for 2006.

He made sure to get our names and told us to listen to the radio the following morning as he talked about our family on the air (our kids were famous!) and that we would be returning from Pennsylvania in January to make St. Stephen our home.

We'll miss you Perry.

Telegraph Journal - Radio Personality Killed

Monday, December 10, 2007

More on Simplicity

We simplify our lives.
We live gladly with less.
We let go the illusion that we can possess.
We create instead.
We let go the illusion of mobility.
We travel in stillness. We travel at home.
By candlelight and in stillness,
In the presence of flowers,
We make our pilgrimage.
We simplify our lives.

Source: The Prayer Tree, Michael Leunig

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Oh the glory of a good nights sleep

When I spoke with Jake's doctor last night she said some beautiful words "Since he's not going low in the middle of the night, let's cut out the 3:00 a.m. blood check." Music to my ears! I really would have done it for the rest of my life if necessary (she said we'd probably only have to do it for a couple of weeks) but the difference it made to be able to go to bed and not have to get up until morning was glorious.

I felt like a new woman.

We have an early communion/celtic liturgy service that I had been attending and so missed last week that was fuel for my soul this morning and then Joel did Cockburn's Mary Had a Baby for worship and it somehow felt like Christmas again.

So I guess I just needed a long cry, a good whine and a night's rest to have some sanity restored.

We also had a celebration dinner out last night. We went to the local steakhouse/pub across the river and had a sandwich (and I didn't have to cook). We celebrated Jake's health and Alinea's amazing report card (she's doing so well in French Immersion - we are so proud of her!) and just had a fun, giggly night out together. Life feels much more manageable on all fronts.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

More like Easter than Christmas...

If it wasn't for all of the snow and two munchkins constantly reminding me about present lists and advent calendars I wouldn't really even know it was Christmas. It must be all of the needles, blood and exhaustion, but in my heart it feels a lot more like Lent than Advent right now.

This has become my life. Middle of the night blood tests and doing more math in two weeks than I do in a year. Constant thoughts of meal plans, supply lists and telephone calls to endocrinologists who should be more tired of this than I am but don't seem to be. The celebration of the holiday is just lost on me. We're supposed to get a tree this weekend, but I can't say that I even care. It seems like way more work than it's worth but maybe it can kick start me into the holiday season. I truly doubt it though.

Keith is sick and has pushed so hard to get the Activity Center ready for the grand opening yesterday. He doesn't have the resources right now either. Poor Alinea is getting the dregs and is showing the signs of all of this change too. The hardest part is that we don't have grandparents or any family to come in and save the day. It's not like we ever really have. We did two babies alone for their whole childhood. I should be used to this by now, but it just seems so real in the shadow cast by the "joy of Christmas". Having the energy to fake through this holiday to make others feel better right now just isn't possible.

I don't know how to get from Lent to Advent this year.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Granolier than thou...

Wise words from inward/outward today. Simplicity has been a watch word for our family for a couple of years now and we have noticed this creeping into our conversations at times. It used to be "holier than thou" - how quickly it can become "granolier than thou"... living that organic, simple life can be a source of pride too...
Simplicity itself can become an idol resulting in judgmentalism and self-righteousness. That which was initiated out of inner simplicity becomes an external effort to "keep down with the Joneses." That which was meant to be liberating becomes a rigorous list of "simplicity do's and don'ts." That which sprang from a desire to express compassion for those with so little becomes a tool of judgment wielded against those with so much.

On the other hand, simplicity, when combined with genuine Christian spirituality, offers a prophetic, culturally-challenging alternative to the good life. Simplicity stands in quiet contrast to our culture's dominant messages. It reveals and challenges the idols of our day and calls us, individuallly and societally, to live lives of compassionate integrity.
Source: Simpler Living, Compassionate Life, Michael Schut

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Home Safe

We have been home for almost 24 hours now and it feels SO GOOD! Jacob is doing amazingly well for all of the changes he has to face. I kept him home from school today as the teacher didn't need "oh and by the way I have diabetes" first thing after two snow days.

I am meeting with the teaching team tomorrow at 2:00 to help them all be on the same page. I have to admit I'm a bit intimidated, but I know that it's for his care and that the Diabetic nurse on Jake's team has already done a teaching time at his school earlier this year - I don't have to teach them about diabetes - I have to teach them about Jacob, and other than him, I guess I'm the expert :)

It truly changes everything though. Gotta run and get supper on (on time!) The routine is starting to sink in, but it's a bit of work. Keep praying for us all (Alinea included) if you think of us - it's quite an adjustment we're all making. Thanks for your encouraging notes and prayers!! Much love!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Getting back to himself

Well, the diagnosis of JD isn't the best in the world but knowing is WAY better than not knowing. I feel the weight of the world off of my shoulders and shared by so many of the staff here and the doctor is amazing.

He looks like himself again and although we're tired and not sleeping well things are progressing. I think we're here until Wednesday though, so please pray for sleep if possible.

Thanks so much!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Please pray for my son Jacob

We have noticed in the past week that Jake has lost a lot of weight and he's always thirsty and we have suspected he might have Type I Diabetes. My father is type I and after reading an update email my friend Gracie, who is an RN in Australia and who's son is 12 and was diagnosed last year called me on the phone and told me to get him to emerg. Keith took him and they're doing bloodwork. Please pray he gets the help he needs.

Pray for me too as I'm a bit freaked out. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dreaming of Ikea

I have always wanted to work at Ikea so this cartoon made me giggle.

It also reminded me of the article I wrote for Youth Worker Journal a couple of years ago on power in the church:

Why Sayers Wanted

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Kingdom people

I hope you've met at least one Kingdom person in your life. They are surrendered people. You sense that life is OK at their core. They have given control to Another and are at peace. A Kingdom person lives for what matters, for life in its deepest sense. There's a kind of gentle absolutism about their life-style, a kind of calm freedom. Kingdom people feel like grounded yet spacious people. Whatever they are after, they already seem to be enjoying it - and seeing it in unlikely places. Kingdom people make you want to be like them.... Kingdom people are anchored by their awareness of God's love deep within.

Richard Rohr

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A fiercer delight

"What we need is not the cold acceptance of the world as a compromise, but some way in which we can heartily hate and heartily love it. We do not want joy and anger to neutralize each other and produce a surly contentment; we want a fiercer delight and a fiercer discontent. We have to feel the universe at once as an ogre's castle, to be stormed, and yet as our own cottage, to which we can return at evening.

No one doubts that an ordinary man can get on with this world: but we demand not strength enough to get on with it, but strength enough to get it on. Can we hate it enough to change it, and yet love it enough to think it worth changing?"

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Saturday, November 24, 2007

16 stories, 16 days

International Rescue Committee (IRC) is featuring 16 women's stories for the next 16 days - a photo and a story each day to your inbox from women living through war.


The IRC is in conflict zones around the world, helping many thousands of women and girls every day. We know they have much to say and we know how easily their voices are lost, so we're working with writer, photographer and long-time women's advocate Ann Jones to give them an opportunity to speak, loudly and clearly.

With digital cameras, women who have survived conflict, displacement, discrimination, sexual and domestic violence vividly document their own lives. Through these personal photographs, stirring portraits are revealed and women come together to tell stories of strength, reclaim their rights and make their voices heard.

Be a part of this powerful exchange, which begins tomorrow, November 25th, to kick off "16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence." Over the course of the 16 Days, you'll be inspired by the many extraordinary changes these brave women make with the bold clicks of their cameras.

Just sign up for our 16 Days e-mail list, and on each of those days you'll get a special
e-mail with one woman's photo, an amazing story and a chance to add your own voice. Afterward, you'll get occasional updates from Ann and the IRC about the latest stories, IRC programs empowering women, and the many ways YOU can help.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Don't break the chain!

Now that I have my wonderful office I have NO EXCUSES not to actually write. I was reading on Jake Bouma's blog the other day about a practice Jerry Sienfeld uses that I thought might help me write - it's called Don't Break the Chain - pick a goal, begin one day, mark your calendar with a big red X and continue to do so until you have accomplished your goal or you break the chain.

Sounds simple, eh? I have found much recovery living One Day At A Time and thought maybe linking together a bunch of red X's might give me what I dream of. I know that writing, whether blogging, journaling or REAL WRITING, gives me life, so choosing to do it each and every day is something that will add and not take away. As of yesterday I have begun my chain (I actually have written my first words (shitty first draft ala Anne Lamott who I just found out by googling "shitty first drafts" in the article I link to at 43 folders has the same birthday as my daughter Alinea - that just warms my heart!) of the novel that has been haunting me for years. Up to this point I have only jotted notes and done research. But it has begun and that gives me some satisfaction and joy.

I have broken through the fear (it hasn't gone anywhere, but I've decided I'm not going to let it control me) that I am not skilled enough to actually write the wonderful story that longs to be told. I know that if I don't begin it will never be told, and anything worth doing is worth doing badly, right?

I should be doing the 30 pages of reading a day chain that Jake is doing, but writing is way more fun than all of the reading I'm supposed to be doing for school... (I'm reading too, honest I am.)

Monday, November 19, 2007


My desk

The kids computer

Keith's drawing table

Let there be light!

A view from my window

The floor I had to paint (and paint, and paint)


Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Phylis Tickle - The Great Emergence

Phyllis is writing on The Great Emergence and she has begun to share publicly on her thoughts and research. I don't think I've been so excited to get my hands on a book as I've been for this one. She just spoke at NYWC in Atlanta and she was incredible, I can't wait to get the DVD.

I need to mark these and thought here was as good of a place as any:

Marko: Phyllis Tickle @ NYWC Atlanta
Don't Call Me Veronia: Phyllis Tickle - The Great Emergence

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

i <3 e.e. cummings...

walter used this poem in our celtic worship and his talk on sunday - it is my new favorite:
may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile
i <3 e.e. cummings...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Don't be afraid

Afraid to Ask

Anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity. It is the fruit of unanswered questions. But questions cannot go unanswered unless they first be asked. And there is a far worse anxiety, a far worse insecurity, which comes from being afraid to ask the right questions--because they might turn out to have no answer. One of the moral diseases we communicate to one another in society comes from huddling together in the pale light of an insufficient answer to a question we are afraid to ask.

Source: Prologue to No Man Is an Island, Thomas Merton


Saturday, November 03, 2007

1000 Journals - The Film

Tomorrow is the big Hollywood premier of the film. It's also the when the reviews can be released. I'm excited, nervous and so wishing I could be there.

You did it Andrea and I am so very proud and excited for you!

I'm going to track everything I can find here as my virtual travel log since I can't be there myself. Weird that people I don't know will see my face and hear parts of my story and I won't be there in person.

LA Times - 1000 Journals - The story in their stories

Moving Pictures Magazine - 1000 Journals (wonderful, descriptive article)

The Hollywood Reporter - 1000 Journals

IMDb - 1000 Journals

1000 Journals at (review not yet posted)

MRQE - Movie Review Query Engine - 1000 Journals (no reviews posted yet)

Variety - Fall proves fruitful for femmes

If you do get a chance to see it I'd really love to hear about it.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I'm a One Hit Wonder

How 'bout you?

One Hit Wonder

Thanks Hamo!

It's the other way around

My girlfriend Kathleen is the children's librarian across the river. I hope to one day write in the coming-of-age genre and so I spend a lot of time in her lovely library space talking with her and breathing in the smell of old books and big thoughts.

While there before Halloween we got talking about scary stories and edge of your seat movies and Stephen King's name came up. I'm not a horror movie aficionado. Too impressionable I guess. Once those images get in my head they don't leave and so I've learned not to put them there in the first place. But I raved about his thrillers and his redemption stories. Stephen King writes the best redemption stories I know. Facing his demons of addiction in Misery and navigating the power of imprisonment in both The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption opened up my thoughts to how we can tell many stories all at once with a large enough tale. Even when the stories are translated to film they delve into themes so rich and full. This is a man who writes from the core of his being.

Kathleen jumped to tell me that while in Bangor last week, shopping for dog food her youngest son pokes her and says "Hey mom, I think that's Stephen King behind us." She did a sideways glance and confirmed yes, it was Stephen King. A quick run to the car to get older son who had read and seen his whole repertoire, who rushed and gushed to shake his hand and engage him in conversation.

I knew he was a Bangorite (or is it Bangorian?) and I have longed to hunt for him with my least "Annie" (Misery) like personality and pick his brain. I dream of begging him to hold a small writing workshop or just sit with him over coffee asking every question I can ponder.

My quest when we moved to the Pittsburgh area years ago was to find and meet Mr. Rogers. He unfortunately passed shortly after we arrived. Upon moving a river's width away from Maine my new quest became finding and meeting Stephen King.

Last night there was an incredible Sacred Writing workshop here in town that got my creative juices flowing again and I found that I was not the only frustrated poet in our community. The room was rich with such a varied and interesting group of souls and surprisingly enough it looks as if it might turn into a regular writers circle! My brain is whizzing with ideas and I'm beginning to ponder this long, cold winter with an (almost done) new office. Today while returning books to the library I realized I might be able to have a small fix to keep me going, until the writers group comes together, by checking out Stephen King's On Writing. Not that I don't have enough non-fiction to read at the moment, but it might save me from staking out the Pet Smart with my first edition of Dolores Claiborne in one hand and a Sharpie in the other.

The back cover makes me glad I did:
For years I dreamed of having the sort of massive oak slab that would dominate a room... In 1981 I got the one I wanted and placed it in the middle of a spacious, skylighted study in the rear of the house. For six years I sat behind that desk either drunk or wrecked out of my mind...

A year or two after I sobered up, I got rid of that monstrosity and put in a living-room suite where it had been... In the early nineties, before they moved on to their own lives, my kids sometimes came up in the evening to watch a basketball game or a movie and eat pizza... I got another desk - it's handmade, beautiful, and half the size of the T. rex desk. I put it at the far west end of the office, in a corner under the eave... I'm sitting under it now, a fifty-three-year-old man with bad eyes, a gimp leg, and no hangover. I'm doing what I know how to do and as well as I know how to do it. I came through all the stuff I told you about... and now I'm going to tell you as much as I can about the job...

It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn't in the middle of the room. Life isn't a support-system for art. It's the other way around.
So as I set my computer desk into the eave of my new office I will try to remember this well. Thank you Mr. King, I look forward to telling that to you in person one day. I'll be the red-head at the Pet Smart.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

All Saints Day

Here in Southeastern New Brunswick we are reminded regularly of the saints in everyday life. So many of our towns, St. Stephen included are named after them. The hip way to refer to a destination around here is to shorten it to it's nickname - "I'm going to The Fred" (for Fredericton) while we live in "The Steve". Unfortunately Saint John looses much of it's charm with it's shortened name.

I love the saints now as I have spent much time with Francis, Ignatius, Catherine of Sienna, Mother Teresa, Teresa of Avila and Thérèse de Lisieux through their writings and stories. They are precious friends to me.

Growing up Plymouth Brethren we were indoctrinated into understanding that WE ARE ALL SAINTS and there is nothing special or important about those through history who were bestowed the title Saint. I would beg to differ (who me?) that there just aren't enough titles given out for those who have made their lasting, gentle impact on the church and our lives.

My good friend, Matthew Glock has blogged today about the saints in his life who have gone before that might not have been given a title by the church, but have made a deep impact on his life. One of his list has brought back such fond memories for me as we shared classes together at Emmaus Bible College during the last years of this professors life. John W. Harper was a man among men and taught me much of the saints.
Mr. Harper was the first person who introduced me to my soul. Up until that point it had all been about my head. Reason and logic where going to save me, knowledge was my idol and Mr. Harper cracked that door to story, poetry, art and beauty.

My favorite times were the private lessons he taught me. The college had relocated from Oak Park, Illinois to Dubuque, Iowa and took over the Thomas Aquinas Catholic Seminary. All of the crucifixes were stripped of the dying Christ, but the crosses, altars and the stained glass windows were made of far to precious stuff to remove. The marble chapel was the most spacious indoor place of worship I was ever graced with and I spent much time in there surrounded by these vast saints, in all their glory, depicted in 20 foot stained glass down the sides of this glorious room. There must have been 20 of them in total. I am so sad that I never did get pictures of them.

Mr. Harper would find me in there enjoying the quiet and give me lessons on all the saints. He'd explain why that guy had an ax in his head and this one had a sword. He knew so much and was such a rich, gentle soul. I loved him dearly. I was yearbook editor the year he passed and I dedicated it to him. This was the page. I give you St. John of the Marble Chapel. Thank you sir for helping me find my soul.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Growing churches vs. growing christians

I am so moved by Bill Hybels "mea culpa" in Leadership Journal where he states that the method Willow Creek has been using for years isn't truly helping their members become more like Jesus. We left ministry in this type of church three years ago because we saw the same thing. People, especially those helping the church to function, are so busy and packed with programs they have no time to "be still and know God". We saw that the church itself grew and grew on the backs of these dedicated people, but their own spiritual lives were spent pouring out so much that they had very little time to draw in.

Here's a portion of the post:

Having put all of their eggs into the program-driven church basket you can understand their shock when the research revealed that “Increasing levels of participation in these sets of activities does NOT predict whether someone’s becoming more of a disciple of Christ. It does NOT predict whether they love God more or they love people more.”

Speaking at the Leadership Summit, Hybels summarized the findings this way:

Some of the stuff that we have put millions of dollars into thinking it would really help our people grow and develop spiritually, when the data actually came back it wasn’t helping people that much. Other things that we didn’t put that much money into and didn’t put much staff against is stuff our people are crying out for.
People are so hungry to truly experience God. Programs cannot give people what they really long for. It's bait instead of a banquet.

Hybels confesses:

We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their bible between service, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.

I loathe the limited description of spiritual disciplines that CT's Leadership Journal confines themselves to "through the age old spiritual practices of prayer, bible reading, and relationships." - why stop there? Those alone don't work either. Spiritual disciplines are far richer and deeper than those worn out, sad, old three - church history is filled with far deeper and richer experiences than just this Protestant trifecta. I know that Bill Hybels was speaking in much broader terms than LJ narrowed them to - thank God.

Diana Butler Bass addresses this beautifully in The Alban Institute article - Intentionality, Practice, Vitality:

“Congregations that intentionally engage Christian practices are congregations that experience new vitality.”

The sentence combines three components: intentionality, practice, and vitality. Further defining them, I point out that intentionality involves choice and taking responsibility for individual and communal spirituality; that practice is not a program, rather it is a meaningful way of life; and that vitality cannot be measured in terms of numbers as it means spiritual health and maturity. A vital congregation is one where all people—including the pastor—are growing members of an organic community of spiritual practice.

Driving people with programs strips them of the time they deeply need to develop individual and community spiritual disciplines that will help them "self-feed" as Hybel's terms it. I don't like the individuality that term brings - as "communal feeding" is truly what will build strength and vitality and Christ-likeness into the soul. Disengaging from the system and shutting down the programs that are facilitating church growth instead of Christian growth is crucial to allow those, especially in leadership, to draw in so that when they are required to pour out they have that wellspring that comes from being still and knowing God. Living a life of being drawn and not driven.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Merton via Rohr via Cooper

Jordon Cooper is my dealer right now on what's happening at Soularize with Richard Rohr - I just can't get enough - this quote made me smile:

Contemplation should not be taught to monks if they are still slamming doors

Thomas Merton

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Mark the false trail

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, novelist and Kentucky farmer.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Tragedy please pray

I can't give out too many details here but a dear friend of mine has experienced the most horrific thing a mother can experience. Could you please pray for her?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Andrea posted yesterday on the Docublog that the 1000 Journals documentary went LIVE yesterday at 12:00 noon west coast time. That meant that critics and the press got to see parts of me that other than being present at the time I have never seen!

I really want to go to LA in November to be at the premier. And I really want all of the reviews to be smashing for Andrea. She has poured every ounce of herself into this and birthed it like a baby. But this is even more difficult because my babies never had to sit in front of a group of people and be judged before the world. Holding thumbs Andrea!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

My birthday wish

This is the story from The StoryPeople today:

Wish for your deepest desires, she said &
when I asked if they'd come true,
she said they always do,
so you might as well get them out in the open
while you're still young enough
to correct any serious mistakes.

I thought it was appropriate for my birthday. 42. My mom died when she was 43. I never understood, really understood, how young she was. I was 21, she seemed old to me. She was so sick I think her body was much older than the calendar said by the end. And her soul was definitely much older, chronic illness has a way of doing that to some people. Most of my conscious interaction with her as a child was colored by the knowledge that she was ill and dying.

43. Until about three months ago I thought she died when she was 42. I had forgotten she had a birthday before she died. There is something that happens to a child when their parents die young. It's somehow a date stamp in the psyche that says "here and no further" - I can't explain it, but I have talked with others and it is a shared fear. I have learned in my 42 years that fears only get bigger when you don't talk about them - that they loom bigger and darker when they are hidden away and actively ignored.

So today my birthday wish is for a year of change. A year of hope. A year of freedom from fear. I begin classes for my masters program on Monday. This is a big step for me. I have a lot of fear here too. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Both options bring me a lot of fear. It's easier to live the familiar life I have now, but it's definitely not nearly as interesting.

I now know that 42 is young. 20 years of marriage. 42 years of life. I truly feel like I am just growing into all of this - like the best is still out there. This second journey gives me great hope and I can't wait to see where it takes me. Happy Birthday Heidi.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Max and his Barlow Girl

Alinea has been home sick all week with a possible case of mono so today, as we made the TESL flash cards for the team from our church to take to Mozambique, we listened to our whole collection of Superchic[k] songs. Great bonding time over some amazing music and lyrics.

It put a huge smile on my face to see that Max Hsu has found his Barlow Girl - these wedding pictures are breath-taking.

Max + Shara by Jen Kroll

David Jay's Photos

Inner Circle is the best Facebook application ever!

I added Inner Circle on Facebook the other day and have been working with the developers to iron out the kinks. It's working now and I have found it to be a great tool to tame the growing circle of friends.

It allows you to create circles of friends that you pick for whatever reason and keep updated on their updates. None of your friends can see your circles and only you benefit from the application. There is even a feature that I haven't used yet called "Shout" that allows you to interact with each circle and begin a conversation. It looks promising.

I know I've said it before but Facebook truly is the most elegant web tool I have found to keep people in touch. It's effortless. I think Inner Circle is Facebook 2.0 and is going to make the effortless interaction of Facebook even sweeter.

Oh, and if you aren't using Facebook, why not? You obviously are reading blogs so you're online friendly - this is the next level. Really. Yes, I have drunk the Kool-Aid. I am a convert. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Brant Hanson makes blogs funny again!

I feel like an old geezer saying this, but remember when you used to read blogs and they actually made you laugh out loud? Miss it? I did. Kamp Krusty is changing that for me again and Brant Hanson hit one out of the park today - enjoy!

The Krusty Sage: Get All Exorcised Over Halloween

Friday, September 28, 2007

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

George Herbert - The Pulley

I can't say I was looking forward to reading this dusty old book for school. I have the heart of a poet, but neither the skill to write it or many times the mind set to read it. I actually prayed before opening this book that God would prepare my heart and my mind to receive these sacred old poems and was so surprised when I attempted the shortest one that God answered my prayer. It is so beautiful I was moved to tears.

The Pulley

When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by;
Let us (said he) pour on him all we can;
Let the world's riches, which dispersed lie,
Contract into a span.

So strength first made a way;
Then beauty flow'd, then wisdom, honor, pleasure;
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that alone in all his treasure
Rest in the bottom lay.

For if I should (said he)
Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature;
So both should losers be.

Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness;
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to my breast.

Note: Title: The poem transfigures the legend of Pandora's box, from which were released all man's woes, leaving only Hope behind.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

And the wall came tumbling down!

A Note to our Readers: We have ended TimesSelect. All of our Op-Ed and news columns are now available free of charge.

Thank you American Express!

Yippee! The only sad part is that Kristof is on book leave. Oh well, I will have to be content with his archives!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mac User help please!

The Institute of Contemporary and Emerging Worship has an upcoming class taught via Mac Chat and we want to record it digitally - anyone know how to do this? There has to be some internal recording available, even if there is special software needed. Please help! I will begin the research, but it would save so much time if you already knew the answer! Thanks!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Magnify + Light = Fire

My good friend Anj just posted this and I need to sit with this part some more and didn't want to forget it:

On Saturday morning, in the Powell House library we sat in early worship, and I shared with him my lectio divina for the day. It was from the book of Luke –Elizabeth saying to Mary, “And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?” A piece of Mary’s reply, the bit that spoke to me, was “My soul magnifies the Lord.” In the margins of this bible, I wrote “My soul makes bigger the Lord. My soul makes the Lord visible.” Then I wrote “ Magnifying + Light = Fire.”
Thank you Anj!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I shall miss her.

“Why does anybody tell a story?” Ms. L’Engle once asked, even though she knew the answer.

“It does indeed have something to do with faith,” she said, “faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically.”

Madeleine L'Engle - 1918-2007

Update: My good friend Dan Wilt says it so much better: "I can't wait until I remember how to walk on Water."
Madeleine L’Engle: In Memoriam

Friday, September 07, 2007

I'm going to Hollywood

Well, I don't really have a ticket (yet) but the documentary I was in 1000 Journals is finished and has been invited to compete at the AFI Fest in LA from November 1-11. I was hoping it would be at the TTFI, but no such luck.

It feels totally weird though. People I don't know watching part of my story, a very intimate part I might add, in a large room with popcorn. Life is strange and getting stranger, eh?

I'm trying to figure out how I can get out there - our student budget really isn't made for Hollywood premiers, flights to LAX and the like, but it would be cool to be part of that crowd.

UPDATE: Cool article on the films at the Festival this year: The Envelope AFI Unveils Initial Lineup

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Into the opening sea

I Want to Free What Waits Within Me

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear
without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.

May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

Source: Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, Ranier Maria Rilke

via Inward/Outward

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Carried away

An Innate Violence

There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence ... [and that is] activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence.

To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence.

The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.

Thomas Merton

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'm not ignoring you...

Finally I have so much to write about and no time to write. I owe emails and have so many blog post ideas in my head but life has gotten so busy. I can't wait for school to start next week - I hate that the week before my kids go back is filled up with a major project deadline that is overwhelming me at the moment.

I also hate that we have lost our cool, east coast weather and inherited the ugly mid-west humidity we have avoided for most of August. All my kids want to do is swim and have friends over and I don't have time/energy to do either. I know that I have enough time to do what needs to be done - it's just that the thoughts linger in the back of my mind that I am forgetting something...

Oh well - all I really wanted to say is that I'm not ignoring you if I owe you an email, I just want to give it more time than I have right now. Sorry for the whinging, I promise it will be over soon!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Easy Reading

Ha! I doubt it will be easy, but there is the possibility that Keith & I will have massive amounts of reading to do in the near future. We are debating starting the Masters in Ministry as a module program this October. Because we would be deciding late there is tons of reading to catch up with. I know many of you have done/are doing post graduate work and I was wondering if you have any tips or help you can offer this old brain of mine for reading.

I love to read, but mostly for enjoyment. Reading for assignment hasn't happened in over 20 years now (yikes) and I usually read now to slow my mind down and put myself to sleep at night - it's been a great discipline for rest, but not for study - and some of this reading is the kind that could put you to sleep anyway! :P

Any tips, recommendations or advice would be SO APPRECIATED!! Also any prayers as we discern the start date would also be welcome!

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Story of our Desolation

As I am working through the 12 steps this time I am attempting to find spiritual disciplines that marry each step. Practices I can build into my life that not only enlarge my recovery, but also my spiritual life, shore up my emotional stability and find their way into my daily routine. As part of working Step 10 I began implementing the daily examen, never really knowing just how deeply this would open up my world. I have become more in touch with my own self because of this. I am finding truths about "me" that I had never given ear to before. The benefits of this bring so much life to not only my recovery but my well being and my relationship with God.

The guide I have been using for this has been Sleeping with Bread by the Linns. It has been incredible for me to find this simple, gentle way, written with such love and ease. It is truly a gift. At the end of the book there is a chapter of questions. I almost skipped this because they have done such a good job at answering my own I thought I wouldn't need it - I'm so glad I didn't. It's as rich as the chapters.

One of the major objections I have heard from people outside of recovery, most of them Christians, is that they struggle with the misconception that it dwells on the negative. "Hi my name is Heidi and I am a compulsive overeater" - I have heard that people think it labels the negatives instead of thinking on the positive healing that comes from recovery. I have also sensed from others through the years that people avoid it because they don't want to feel the negative emotions that come with recovery. That's what gets us into problems in the first place, right?

I have found the opposite to be true. Uncomfortable, difficult, but true.

The question asked in the book is:

You are encouraging me to be with and listen to desolation as well as consolation. I was taught to resist or go against desolation. Why are you saying the opposite?

An axiom that I have learned in recovery is "The good news is that you get your feelings back. The bad news is that you get your feelings back." I have found this to be true. All of the things that I had so stuffed down with food come back to me so frequently - and feeling the pain of the emotions is what got me into this in the first place, right? Actually, no. I have found that exactly the opposite is true. It is feeling the tinglings of the fear of the emotion and driving it away that got me here. If I had been taught how to own my emotions and fears instead of avoiding them I could have learned to do life without the crutches of my addictions.

The Linns answer the question this way:
We agree that our attitude toward desolation is somewhat different than you may have been taught. Our present attitude is somewhat different from what we were taught, too. We were taught that many of our desolations, such as feelings of lust, anger, etc., were sinful. Sometimes such feeling states were called "capital sins." The truth in this teaching is that we need to resist the impulse to act upon feelings in a way that would be harmful to ourselves or others. For example, feelings of lust if acted upon might result in promiscuity, or feelings of anger if acted upon might result in violence.

Yet this teaching often missed the distinction between acting upon feelings and listening to their story. Such teaching assumed that if we resisted certain feelings, they would go away. However, this isn't how our feelings work. When feelings are ignored or resisted, they grow inside us and are likely to eventually lead to an explosion in which we act out in even more destructive ways than we might have at first. We believe that what negative feelings or desolations really want is not destructive behavior but rather to have their story heard. When their story is heard they are satisfied and they quiet down naturally. If we then take steps to meet the needs revealed by the story, this desolation is unlikely to recur.

Our emphasis on hearing the story behind our desolation is consistent with the teaching of great spiritual writers like St. Ignatius. When, for example, we follow his suggestion to look at the beginning, middle and end of any temptation or his suggestion to discover the roots of what he called "sin," we are beginning to listen to the story of our desolation. Any process can help reveal the story of our desolation if it puts us in touch with what started it (the beginning), what keeps it going now (the middle) and what it needs to be resolved (the end). Contemporary psychology, which has helped us understand the nature of the unconscious, the dynamics of emotions and the results of emotional wounding, has given us new tools for hearing our desolations' story.
(Emphasis mine - especially the part about story!) Oh my - I just love it when something I believe to be true is affirmed elsewhere. It is so deeply moving to me. Like deep calling to deep. I think I need to read some Ignatius soon!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Thinking/feeling? I'm close - 47/53 on this one - strategist or defender... this is really making me think... any input?


ISFJs are traditional, loyal, quiet and kind. They are very sensitive to other people's needs because they are very observant. They have rich inner thoughts and emotions. They value stability and cultural norms. They are very adept at giving attention to detail. They do not seek positions of authority.


INTJs are introspective, analytical, determined persons with natural leadership ability. Being reserved, they prefer to stay in the background while leading. Strategic, knowledgeable and adaptable, INTJs are talented in bringing ideas from conception to reality. They expect perfection from themselves as well as others and are comfortable with the leadership of another so long as they are competent. INTJs can also be described as decisive, open-minded, self-confident, attentive, theoretical and pragmatic.

I'm also very close on the judging/perceiving too...

It's too noisy to do anything else...

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Caring for Your Introvert

My good friend and fellow introvert Dan Wilt just published a link to this - and I want/need to read it:

Caring for Your Introvert

Friday, August 10, 2007

Stand by the poor

Seeking Poverty - Anonymous

You seek poverty not for its own sake,
nor from contempt or fear
for the good things God gives you,
but because you want to contribute something
to alleviate the world's poverty,
to make even your own possessions available.
Live like a poor person
without parading your poverty.
Stand by the poor wherever they live and work.
Your first love must go out
to the least of these.
Don't tie yourself down to the rich or powerful
of the world.

Source: Rule for a New Brother

via inward/outward

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Justice in the Burbs

How can you love two people so much when you've never met face to face before? I don't know, but two of my most favorite people in the blogosphere, who also happen to love each other so much and HAVE met face to face are Will and Lisa Samson. I am pleased as punch to hear of their new endeavor together and want to highlight it here on my blog.

Most of you if you've been reading my blog for some time already know of Will and Lisa, but just in case you don't their blogs alone are reason enough to get to know them, let alone their writing. They are living out the kingdom in Lexington, Kentucky and have put so much of what they have learned and who they are into the pages of this work. I have yet to lay my little fingers on it - but can't wait to begin to plumb it's depths.

It is a practical guide to kingdom living for those of us who can't drop everything and join that commune we've always dreamed of. Mother Theresa said it best: “We can do no great things; only small things with great love.”

Here's what Lisa and Will have to say about in their own words:

Here's what others have to say:

"Will and Lisa have joined talents to offer a compelling argument for living justly in an unjust world, and for loving our neighbors in a hands-on, life-changing way." LIZ CURTIS HIGGS, author, Bad Girls of the Bible.

"Whatever happened to the vital social and moral energies of the Christian faith? They are alive and throbbin in this book that shows how the gospel can walk the missing sidewalks and unfriendly cul-de-sacs of the suburbs." LEONARD SWEET, Drew Theological School, George Fox University.

"Will and Lisa are provocateurs of imagination, writing for a desert where folks are thristy for more than the American dream. This is a much-needed invitation for justice to flow throught the suburbs liek mighty waters and bring to life all the parched souls trapped in the ghettos of poverty and wealth." SHANE CLAIBORNE, activist, author, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical.

"Will and Lisa Samson's new book, Justice in the Burbs, is a moving book. I wept with joy, knowing how many people will be moved to join the work for justice God has already begun in the world." CHRISTIAN SCHAREN, author, One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters to Those Seeking God.

follow the Justice in the Burbs blog for yourself here.

buy your own copy of Justice in the Burbs here on Amazon

Congratulations Will & Lisa - I am just so excited and proud of this amazing product. I can't wait to see what it releases into the kingdom!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Eventually we will walk into the light

Needed this reminder this morning:

Hope and faith seem related, but faith is the one who stays when hope has left with a whimper. When hope gives up, faith rolls up her sleeves and asks; " What needs to be done?". Faith is the strong one. Faith does not have the luxury of self pity and despondent despair. Faith is what makes us put pen to paper when we feel like we have nothing left to say and there is no ink in our proverbial pen. Faith pushes on when hope flees. Doubt is hope's other face and who knows what face will show up because hope and doubt are flip sides of an emotion.

Faith is knowledge and action and faith remembers that we've seen hard times before and that in those hard times our needs were met and the water flowed and we had what we needed when we needed it. Faith knows what hope forgets. Faith is what enables us to become more than we are because faith is belief in action. Faith and courage are the true cousins. While we may doubt that we can cross the desert, faith knows that we can take the step we need to take today and that with enough steps, eventually we will walk into the light.

Create and live in faith.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Protected by silence

Waiting is endless.... I wait because I am powerless to do anything else. I wait because what I most treasure is what is deepest within and protected by silence. Out of waiting comes patience. Out of accepting my powerlessness comes strength and love and the courage to dare.

Christian Lore Weber
from The Cup of Our Life, Joyce Rupp

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hope next summer is different!

Received this from family on the Green Isle. We're saving our pennies to head there next summer as Keith's wonderful Granny turns 100!!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Don`t touch me till October

That was the refrain I heard all summer long in my teen years at Lake Geneva Youth Camp from a dear friend Bob Carrera. Bob was a mountain of a man and had the sense of humor to match. People would go to give him a hug and he`d say `Don`t touch me till October` - it would always make me laugh.

New Brunswick has just gotten the heat wave the rest of the world seems to be suffering from and I`m hating it. I just melt, sweat and whine. Our computers are giving us problems too - nothing major, Keith just doesn`t have the time to fix them yet, so I am solving two problems at once today - blogging at the library and soaking in their lovely air conditioning. I`m sure it will make going back outside into the heat even worse, but for right now it is glorious!

Hope you`re getting through the heat!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Never Gonna Happen Dinner Meme

Marko has blogged his dream dinner guests and turned it into a meme of sorts. Here are the rules:

- the person has to either be a) dead, or b) alive, but no way you’ll ever have a chance to have dinner with them.
- real people only. no fictional characters.
- it’s not 6 individual dinners. it’s a dinner party with 6 people (plus you). think of the mix.
- assume no language barriers. in other words, it doesn’t matter if they speak or spoke another language than you and your other guests. you have magic instant translation technology.
- Jesus doesn’t count. it’s a dinner party. therefore, 2 or more are gathered. therefore, Jesus is already there.

I've been in a blogging blah so I thought maybe this would shake something loose.

1. I'd have to start with Joan Chittester, Sister Joan has been a wonderful voice in the wilderness for me in these past few years. Her social conscience and prophet's tongue get to the heart of the matter very quickly. Keith & I have been working through her Rule of Benedict for far too long now! She understands deeply about being a woman in the church under that stained glass ceiling and still fully uses her voice and gifts. I just love her.

2. Parker Palmer - His book Let Your Life Speak changed my life. Understanding that "in and through" the emotional landscape instead of the duck and cover that I had learned growing up gave my life a richness and depth I never understood before. His authenticity and articulation of big thoughts shakes everything loose in me and helps me put it back together.

3. Anne Lamott - the kingdom doors blew wide when I first read her work. I grew up being told Methodists weren't conservative enough to go to heaven, let alone Philistines like Anne. And yet she loved Jesus in such a fresh new way, and He loved her right back. Her humor on this journey spills into my own and makes me look at life in a way I had never done before. She is an inspiration to me and I adore her.

4. Stephen King - I hate horror movies, but this man has a rich soul. His prolific writing always captures my imagination and I would love to pick the brain of a man who struggled with his own demons in Delores Claiborn and found redemption in Shawshank & the Green Mile.

5. The Apostle Paul - no, not to be spiritual - I really want the straight goods - untarnished by translators. I want it from the horse's mouth. Give him a chance to set the record straight. I also think he'd be a much better story teller in person than he was in scripture. I'd really like to see his heart and find out what he thinks of the mess we've made of the church today.

6. Hadewijch of Brabant - she was a Benguine mistress martyred for her work with the poor, orphaned and sick. The church despised these amazing women, working outside of their power, but doing the work of Christ. She is one of my heroes and I long to pick her brain and sit and listen to the way they did the hard work of caring for the forgotten.

So there's my list - all authors, storytellers and saints of some strange distillation - I could make a dozen more lists - but this one I think would be a marvelous blend of insight and clarity. Three women, three men - all with great passion and prophetic voices. All have influenced me deeply and I fear one dinner just wouldn't be enough to find the answers to every question I have.

Thanks Marko - great challenge! I'm going to tag a few:

Dan Wilt - Conversations on Emerging Worship

Mark Peterson - Open Hands

Bob Carlton - The Corner

Renee -

Hope - A Song Not Scored for Breathing

Lisa - Author Intrusion

and anyone else who'd like to play! Just leave a comment if you do and I'll link to you!

Monday, July 16, 2007

This is the truth

Found at Vanguard Church blog where Bob found it from Granger Community Church - it really does turn things upside down.

Home again, home again

Jiggity jig... my mother said that almost every time we drove into our driveway when I was a child. I have no idea where it comes from, most likely a nursery rhyme that I've lost the words to.

Well, the Turner Family Vacation and Mechanics Tour of the Northeast has ended and we are all home safe and sound. What a wonderful trip. What an exhausting trip. We realized on the trip that we have never taken a two week vacation before - what we have missed! It is the perfect amount of time to really disengage and withdraw from life and revitalize ourselves.

Here are some of the memories:

  • Two weeks on a double air mattress!
  • Two flat tires, one leaving and one returning (it wasn't the quality of the tires, but of the valve - somehow the right side valves both cracked (need to get the left side checked!!)
  • 3 U-joints needing replaced in Ontario (one was bad, but we decided to get all 3 replaced)
  • Stretched cable from the transmission to the engine causing the car to rev and not change gears in the stretch from Niagara Falls to Pennsylvania
  • Two very happy campers who adored Rock Mountain Bible Camp
  • One incredible week reconnecting with my sister, Denise and her family - especially my lovely, adorable niece Marybeth.
  • A piddling, leaking radiator that we needed to babysit like a rebellious teenager and can hopefully replace now that we are home - maybe they'll be able to locate the missing part that didn't come in the two that were ordered before we left...
  • The most amazing mechanic in Pennsylvania who fixed things on the Volvo that we didn't even know were wrong - and the wonderful assurance that our transmission is spotless and we should get years left our of her!
  • Amazing fireworks on Canada Day right out the front door of my in-laws home.
  • Getting to know my niece Olivia & nephew Clark. I will never hear the word "cousins" and not think of the adorable way in which she says it - it's like a great big sigh.
  • Enjoying their gorgeous view and home and being mesmerized by their 150 gallon fish tank. If I wasn't so dang lazy and afraid I'd kill the investment of the fish I'd really think about replacing our TV with one - it was so relaxing to sit and watch them swim.
  • A wonderful night stay at The Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, ON (and a real live bed to sleep in!)
  • Camping again for a week reminded me just how very much I love civilization - although we were treated royally by the amazing camp kitchen staff and I was never once required to cook or clean ANYTHING! God bless Rock Mountain Bible Camp!
  • Waking up to an incredible, peaceful view of the lake every morning right out our front zipper. Sitting with our coffee (yes, we brought our Cuisinart coffee maker on the trip to grind our beans every morning! We're addicted)
  • Two dousing rainstorms that we enjoyed as they played on the roof of the tent knowing we were dry and safe.
  • IKEA - do you think it's fair people in the Toronto area have THREE while the rest of us do without??
  • Reconnecting with Keith's family and having brothers & sister in the same place at the same time - nobody gets a word in edgewise!
  • The mini-reunion with Deb, Erin & Lynne - it was so sweet to spend time with those amazing women!
  • Seeing Alinea & Jacob with their grandparents is such a beautiful thing.
  • A last night stay in Saco, Maine just minutes away from Ocean Park where we worshipped Sunday a.m. at the Temple. A round wooden structure built in 1881, singing old hymns and having my kids hear Tony Campolo for the first time - and having him kiss and hug them on the way out of church afterward. He is my hero and I was reminded again why. He is the best storyteller and his love for the real Jesus and his unabashed ability to challenge each and every one sitting under his teaching to fall madly in love with that Jesus and live a life of sacrifice. It was the icing on the cake for me. No, really it was the cake, and the rest was the icing. Such a wonderful end to a wonderful time.
Thank you so much for your prayers while we were away - it helped us face the mechanics and car trouble with a much brighter attitude and made family interactions much richer I'm sure. It's good to be home again. Jiggity jig.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Whew, what a trip!

Finally have access to some real time in front of a computer with internet access. This trip has been incredible! We loved our drive here through the New Hampshire and Vermont mountains and quickly cut across I-90 in New York to celebrate Canada Day with Keith's mom Dorothy & step-father George. They live on the Hamilton Bay and we are so impressed with the beauty that is being restored to that part of the city. What we didn't enjoy at all was the noise that our 20 year old Volvo made as it chugged into their driveway.

Not knowing much about cars we assumed it was the transmission and the death of "Vanna" (our endearing term for her as I just couldn't get the term "put this in the van" out of my vocabulary after driving a van for 10 years, thus we called her "Vanna"). We feared the worst and knew that having to find another vehicle was going to be a more expensive proposition that we wanted to consider. George has a good friend who has a large mechanic shop in Hamilton and Vanna was towed in. Great news, it was the U joint. They decided to fix all three (Volvo's have three - who knew?) and after $410 and many phone calls and impatient waiting for it to get done we were back on the road yesterday and spent last night sleeping at the Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

This was our touristy reward for camping. It is water slides and wonderful touristy time together. Alinea & Jacob are in their glory.

I am so excited to be able to spend time with my family as my father is already in South Gibson, PA (near Scranton) with my sister Denise & her husband Andrew and their beautiful baby girl Marybeth. We have not been all together for years. Ali & Jake are attending camp for the week and Keith & I are camping on the grounds as they have a camp ground attached to the camp property.

We sure do appreciate the prayers and are so enjoying our family and friend time.

One of the highlights of the trip for me was Thursday night when I was able to spend the night in Oronto, New York on Lake Ontario (yes, the gorgeous house was RIGHT on the lake) with my blogging/Path friends Deb, Erin & Lynne. We had such an amazing time together and it felt so good to just be "me" and not "mom" for a night.

Hope you're all enjoying your summer too!

Friday, June 29, 2007


Well, the Volvo is FINALLY repaired and we are heading out tomorrow as planned. One week in Ontario with Keith's family and a week in Northeast Pennsylvania with mine. My sister Denise and her husband Andrew are working at a camp there and Ali & Jake are going to attend Junior Camp. My father Erv is coming from Wisconsin to join us. It should be a wonderful time for all. Happy Canada Day & 4th of July - enjoy the celebrations and we'll be checking in from time to time as we have internet access.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Afraid to Be Alone

Peter has been talking about Life Together, Bonhoeffer and community at church lately and this quote just sprang out at me today - from inward/outward

Many people seek fellowship because they are afraid to be alone. Because they cannot stand loneliness, they are driven to seek the company of other people. There are Christians, too, who cannot endure being alone, who have had some bad experiences with themselves, who hope they will gain some help in association with others. They are generally disappointed. Then they blame the fellowship for what is really their own fault. The Christian community is not a spiritual sanatorium. The person who comes into a fellowship because he is running away from himself is misusing it for the sake of diversion, no matter how spiritual this diversion may appear. He is really not seeking community at all, but only distraction which will allow him to forget his loneliness for a brief time, the very alienation that creates the deadly isolation of man.

Source: Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Savage Joy

Real Live Preacher has been one of my favorite reads for years now. Every so often he opens the door of his heart on parenting his three daughters. It is always a beautiful thing.

As Alinea and Jacob have so recently grown past the stage of needy childhood I resonate so deeply with these words:

I was drawn to my little girls in those days in ways that are quickly fading as the three sisters grow into young women. Our biological connection showed itself in my love of the smell of their scalps, my physical and intense need to hold them, and my desire to feel their small bodies pressed against my own as we watched movies together on the couch. And I always had a strong attraction to the sounds they made. Their voices were a kind of OM for me, a sound from below all sounds, a noise from the foundation of my existence. Hearing my daughters play was a joyful thing, and the ache of its absence will never heal. It is a wound I will carry as long as I walk this earth.

The best things are like this, aren’t they? They are savage and untamed. Like a great sunset, they can be discovered by chance and enjoyed, but never owned. Like love they can be received but not bought. The best things in life ride a ticklish wave along the surface of your skin, leaving raised hairs in their wake. They move through the world leaving no visible sign. You cannot follow them, nor anticipate their direction and wait for them in a blind.

You will come across spontaneous, unique moments of joy like this now and again. They are Life’s gifts to us all. They come to the washed and the unwashed, to the common and the sophisticated, to the rich and the poor, to the just and the unjust.

Moments of savage joy are there for all of us to find. If you haven’t seen one lately, you only need to slow down a bit and keep your eyes open. I can give you no counsel beyond that. But if you come across a moment of wild, untamed joy, for God’s sake eat it; drink it; hear it; receive it. This is the stuff of life. It doesn’t get any better.

You can read the whole post here: Savage Joy