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)


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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.