Monday, December 29, 2008

What an honor!

Erin just tipped me off to a precious gift this morning. One of my blog posts *blushes* has been listed in the "Emerging Women Best of 2008" - thank you Sonja! I am so honored.

Emerging Women - Best of 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Turners!

MMMMMMM.... Can you smell that? Our home is full of fragrance and warmth. Today's menu included Maple Sausage and Cranberry Bread French Toast for brunch. And on the dinner menu this evening we are offering Prime Rib, Coconut Shrimp, Baked Potatoes, Roasted Cauliflower and Splenda Coconut Chess Pie.

Hope your day is merry, merry! Wish you were here!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I want you Art!!

thank you andrea!

Art Attack - PLAY!!

Kel has an Art Attack challenge up using the word play - this is about as creative as I can get today - but it's two times I have had so much fun with my kids - Jacob always is a prompt for play in our house - here he's taken two old couch cushions and a headband of his sister's and made himself a funny hat. Alinea is in our tent - which we set up in the meeting room at our church so that I could host a sleep over for her and some friends. We had a great night - the highlight was having nerf gun wars as we set up the chairs as barricades and ran for cover.
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Word for 2008 - Complete

Each year I ask God for a word for the year. 2007 was "centered", 2008 was "complete" - I have been praying about what 2009 might be.

I was reading through my posts on my anonymous blog about "complete" and a post that I wrote on a recovery anniversary popped up - and it had this Psalm in it - I hadn't made the connection to "complete" when I wrote it originally, but today it just jumped out at me. In our small group we've spent this past year talking about different Psalms and this one is one of my favorites - especially in the hands of Eugene Peterson. I just love these verses, they are very 12 steps:

Psalm 18:20-24
GOD made my life complete
when I placed all the pieces before him.
When I got my act together,
he gave me a fresh start.
Now I'm alert to GOD's ways;
I don't take God for granted.
Every day I review the ways he works;
I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
and I'm watching my step.
GOD rewrote the text of my life
when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

This past year I have felt very "put back together" - it is the first time I've truly felt comfortable in my own skin. I can't wait to hear what 2009's word will be.

Monday, December 15, 2008

To my daughter at 15

I am so relieved not to be at this place in parenting Alinea just yet, so I am saving this here until then. I have read Gordon's blog for years and his writing touches me deeply. I can't imagine having a father pour words like these into a daughters soul.

My favorite part is:
Now, my young woman. Now have come the days of your choosing. You are both discovering and deciding what kind of woman you will be. You are deciding what of your life will be hidden and what you will show. Choose carefully, for what shames you now may serve you one day. And what serves you now may one day make you ashamed. Many girls will lose themselves in this time. They may find themselves again someday, but many years will be lost.
Read the whole piece here: Real Live Preacher - To My daughter at 15

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Myth & Divine Therapy

I was up far too early this morning, but it gave me time to catch up with some of my dearest blogger friends. They have given me much to ponder.

My Anj, my dear Friend Anj - she is such a deep well has me thinking about the myth that creeps into our lives and exists as an overarching story we believe in without really ever understanding it is a myth. I had never considered this idea before, so I have lots to unpack here.

And my bestest Hope, she of the northern sky, so very far away I don't know that we'll ever have a chance to meet, but she knows me like the back of my hand - she spoke today of Divine Therapy - spending time in silence, being present to God. I have so much to do today that I realized that if I don't take that time I will never get it all done.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Falling like rain

Some days there are just well-timed gifts waiting to be opened. A few days ago I was at the thrift store and was peeking through the books. Tucked in and amongst the childrens books was Good Goats by the Linns. I have had that book in my Amazon wish list for over a year - it was like a tiny little Christmas present from God.

Today I was clearing out my inbox and found this - from back in July - from the StoryPeople:

There are days I drop words of comfort
on myself like falling rain &
remember it is enough to be taken care of by myself.

It was exactly what I needed to read today. Today I can comfort myself with words. Thank you!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Oh Come Oh Come


I took this picture in one of my favorite places on earth. St. Saviour's Church in Bar Harbor, Maine. It is a Tiffany stained glass - one of very few left in the world. I felt like I was standing in one of the famous art museums of the world. Keith and I had the place to ourselves and we spent hours there. We stumbled upon it, not knowing the beauty it held within its walls.

It is where I would choose as my happy place. This image transports me back there. I know it's so anglo - and that Jesus & Mary looked nothing like this - but it is oh so breath-taking. The rapture on her face, the knowing look of the child. It is my most favorite Madonna & Child in the world and I share it with you this advent season.
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Monday, December 01, 2008

The Beautiful Good

I Have Turned My Face to the Roots

Obviously or consciously, we are all pilgrims, searching this world over for the Lost Thing---that which the early Desert Fathers called philokalia, the 'Beautiful-Good.' In all the Celtic affairs, soul-yearning seems as much the stuff of life as breathing. In our time it is a more haphazard affair, for we are constantly grasping at the moon. The cure is a kind of open secret, a turning around, a shifting of the gaze from what is far to what is near, to the stillness of beginnings, to the simple secret place where the soul gathers its nourishment: a knowing of the roots. A knowing of the roots. This is a quality of Traditional People---those drum beaters and dancers and firelight storytellers who chose to dwell outside the walls of the empire.

Source: Michael Green, December, 2008, Celtic Blessings Calendar
As always via inward/outward

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

That's MY hubby! :D

Went with Keith to Saint John on Monday as he presented before a task force on mental health issues in the Province. He made the paper! I'm so proud of him!

Telegraph Herald - New Approach Advocated

World AIDS Day 2008

I received this in my email today - and loved it's thoughtful encouragement for all of us as we face World AIDS Day on December 1st.

Dear Heidi,

My name is Lt. Colonel Shane Kimbrough and I am on the International Space Station orbiting 200 miles above the earth.

During the 90 minutes it takes us to circle the earth, we do not see borders or boundaries. From up here, the task of solving the world’s biggest problems seems less daunting. But when our shuttle lands next Sunday, we will return to a world where border disputes and financial crises lead the nightly news. Those challenges define our world and their solutions will define our future.

That’s why I joined ONE. I believe with my voice and yours and millions of others taking on the challenges of extreme poverty and preventable diseases, these problems become less daunting and more solvable.

I wouldn’t be here today if President Kennedy hadn’t called on America to make space exploration a priority. In 1961 he said, “We face an extraordinary challenge. Our strength as well as our convictions have imposed upon this nation the role of leader in freedom’s cause.” He called on America to marshal its courage and creativity, its intelligence and determination to put a man on the moon.

There were skeptics. Some said it wasn’t possible. Some thought we should instead focus on other concerns here at home. But President Kennedy – and the American people – would not be deterred. We set a goal; we made a plan; we put a man on the moon; we changed the way we saw our world.

President Kennedy’s vision forced us to look to the moon and raise our expectations of what is possible. Looking back at the earth with the same perspective as those early astronauts, Kennedy’s philosophy about our own planet is with me today: “Our most basic common link, is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children’s futures, and we are all mortal.”

Today, a renewed courage is sweeping the world. People are dreaming boldly and, more importantly, they are ready to turn those dreams into actions.

On World AIDS Day, December 1st, we are celebrating our success in helping to bring lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatment to 3 million people globally, including 2 million Africans. But there are 7 million more people who are in critical need of AIDS drugs and don't have them. There are also millions at risk of becoming infected with HIV.

We can drastically reduce poverty and preventable diseases, including HIV/AIDS, on our planet. But it will take all of us working together as one to achieve that goal. As Bono has said, ending extreme poverty could be our generation’s moonshot. This could be our new frontier. We should focus our attention to those on our planet who need help the most.

That’s what I believe. That’s my story. And that’s why I am a member of ONE.

What about you? Why are you ONE in the fight against global poverty and preventable diseases? Share your story at:

ONE plans to feature what we have to say on its website, to inspire more people to add their voices to ours, and to make a real difference for those who are fighting hard to break free from extreme poverty. Use your webcam or your keyboard. Send in pictures. And spread the word.

Up here, we see one world, one home we all inhabit.

I’ll check in again when I’m back from orbit.

From the International Space Station,

Lt. Colonel Shane Kimbrough
Mission Specialist, Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-126)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Now I become myself

What a long time it can take to become the person one has always been. How often in the process we mask ourselves in faces that are not our own. How much dissolving and shaking of the ego we must endure before we discover our deep identity---the true self within every human being that is the seed of authentic vocation.

I first learned about vocation growing up in the church. I value much about the religious tradition in which I was raised: its humility about its own convictions, its respect for the world's diversity, its concern for justice. But the idea of vocation I picked up in those circles created distortion until I grew strong enough to discard it. I mean the idea that vocation, or calling, comes from a voice external to ourselves, a voice of moral demand that asks us to become someone we are not yet---someone different, someone better, someone just beyond our reach.

Today I understand vocation quite differently---not as a goal to be achieved but as a gift to be received. Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess. Vocation does not come from a voice 'out there' calling me to become something I am not. It comes from a voice 'in here' calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God....
Parker Palmer

again from inward/outward

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The wonder years...

Maybe my growing up on the bar-room floor wasn't so strange in Wisconsin?

NYT - Some See Big Problem in Wisconsin Drinking

Monday, November 17, 2008


What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?
The world would split open.

Source: Muriel Rukeyser,From Cries of the Spirit, edited by Marilyn Sewell

via inward/outward

Friday, November 14, 2008

Surrendering her green

Slowly she celebrated the sacrament of letting go.
First she surrendered her green,
then the orange, yellow, and red
finally she let go of her brown.
Shedding her last leaf
she stood empty and silent, stripped bare.
Leaning against the winter sky
she began her vigil of trust.

Shedding her last leaf
she watched its journey to the ground.
She stood in silence
wearing the color of emptiness,
her branches wondering;
How do you give shade with so much gone?

And then,
the sacrament of waiting began.
The sunrise and sunset watched with tenderness.
Clothing her with silhouettes
they kept her hope alive.

They helped her understand that
her vulnerability,
her dependence and need,
her emptiness,
her readiness to receive
were giving her a new kind of beauty.
Every morning and every evening they stood in silence
and celebrated together
the sacrament of waiting.

Macrina Wiederkehr

via inward/outward

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Alice Walker's words of wisdom

I just read an essay posted on a blog I frequent: Useful Perhaps: From Alice Walker, with Love, to the President-elect and it is rich and beautiful in the wholeness of leadership it represents. I pray that the president elect reads these words of wisdom and lives them for all of us to see. What a world this could be.

Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, poet and activist. In 1983, she won the Pulitzer Prize for her book The Color Purple. She has written many other bestselling books, including In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens and Possessing the Secret of Joy. Her most recent is We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: Inner Light in a Time of Darkness. She recently wrote an open letter to Barack Obama posted online at

My favorite part:
I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Rock band meme

In an effort to do something mindless that totally ignores all of the work I have to do today I am participating in a meme from Renee via Marko - I have started a band. No, really. Just kidding, just a game - first, generate a random wikipedia entry to get your band name, followed by random quote - take the last 4 words from the first random quote, that is the name of your hit song, and finally, a random flicker image, the cover of your first album.

Here's my band's debut:

Bataka Squad

and our hit song:

The road, take it (from Yogi Berra's famous fork in the road quote)

and our album cover - extraordinarily beautiful!

major props to niccodeamus

Want to play along? Tag yourself and post in the comments and I'll link to your blog post.

Story People Ornaments!!!!

Oh my, such joy - look at these beautiful works of art!

They just arrived in my inbox and I had to share them with you. This email came along to explain them:
We don't know about you, but now that the election is over, we can't wait for the world to be fun again. For a long while there, the only thing that came to mind was that we were a little like pinatas at a party of politicians & all of them had way too much sugar.

We thought it was just our problem, since we have a high fun requirement. Now it looks like a lot of people had the same trouble. But, just to be sure, we took a quick poll & here's the result: almost a hundred percent of everybody we talked to is looking at the pinata stuff on the floor & thinking it needs a whole lot of cleaning up, but at least we're finally going to do it together.

We think it's a perfect time to fire up some magic to send us on our way...

You know how magic works. You sit down, think gentle thoughts & ask the universe. Then you listen for the answers.

We didn't have long to wait.

Completely out of the blue, we got a call from Lynne Suprock. Who happens to be an artist from Pennsylvania & a maker of delicate & lovely jewelry. It seems that Lynne had been stirring a little of Brian's art work into her handmade jewelry. After watching her for a few months, her friend Carol just about stood over her until she gave us a call. She told us what she'd been cooking up - part StoryPeople print in miniature, part suncatcher, part jewelry & part holiday ornament. It was magic of the highest order...

We know that when you see them you'll be so delighted you'll most likely want to have your very own. (We know because that's just what happened to us when we saw them..)

Now, the only problem is that Lynne makes each one by hand, so she can get the balance of sparkle & light & magic just right.

So, we calculated how much sleep & personal time Lynne needs between now & the holidays in order to make all the ornaments you might want. We wrote it down on a tiny slip of paper & folded it & slid it across the table to her. She took one look & laughed & said she hasn't had that much free time since she was eight. So, we came up with a new plan. Lynne says you can order all the ornaments you want for the next three weeks & she promises she'll get them to you in time for the holidays. How's that for the universe being on your side?

If you're ready to let the magic back into your world, now's the time. You've got three weeks, so don't wait. (OK. Wait a minute. That's not completely true. We hope you know that you can let in magic any time you want. You only get three weeks for this particular bit of magic... :-)) These hand-made ornaments are available to order for the next three weeks (through Thankgiving Day, Nov. 27th to be precise), so get them while you can!
I <3 the StoryPeople. Wish Iowa was that cool when I lived there!

Place your order here: StoryPeople Ornaments

Monday, November 03, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

God made poor

Jesus is God made poor. His coming was prophesied to bring social revolution, and his kingdom would turn things upside down: The mighty would be brought low, the rich sent away empty, the poor exalted, the hungry satisfied (Luke 1:52-53). Jesus identified himself with the weak, the outcast, the downtrodden. His kingdom undermines all economic systems that reward the rich and punish the poor.

The early Christians shared their goods with one another and with the poor. The Jubilee redistribution was fulfilled among them, no longer just at periodic intervals, but as a way of life. The apostles taught that one could not profess love for God while ignoring the needs of hungry neighbors.

Jim Wallis, The Call to Conversion


Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Old Sow

As part of the masters program I am participating in we are in the middle of intensive classes right now. One of them is a spiritual direction class taught by my friend Lorna. She is leading us through some Ignatian prayer exercises and we began the class by recalling a memory that happened while we were preparing for this module.

Because I live local to the university I got to play this past weekend instead of having to worry about packing and traveling like so many of my fellow students. On Saturday my family and friends joined a tour of the Passamaquoddy Bay to see the whales, seals and local sites. It was a joy to introduce our kids to the 60' fin whale just feet from our boat and see the joy on their faces as they connected with such beauty.

My favorite part of the trip was after that though when our boat found The Old Sow whirlpool. The thing about the Old Sow is that you have to be at the right place at the right time, and we were. It was a moon tide, and we were there at high tide and it was like being a potato in a big boiling pot of stew. Our boat sat atop the swirling, churning water, surrounded by the chaos. The convergence of the bays meeting the ocean while the tide changes churns up the water unlike any other place in the world. It felt somehow prepared by God. I knew it was special. I didn't know why, but it's promise stayed with me and I knew that it's richness would pull forward and unpack itself in a profound and powerful way.

This was the memory I recalled in Lorna's class. I don't know why I chose it, or rather why it chose me, but I spoke of it there and have been chewing on it since.

For those of you who know me personally you may know that I struggle with food addiction and body image. You also know that I love a good metaphor like little else in the world. I figured these things were somehow tied together but I couldn't really noodle them out. I have thought about it during any moment of free time I have found these past couple of days.

The first thing I began to think about was the name "The Old Sow". As a large woman I am very sensitive to animal names used in conjunction with fat people - cow, pig, whale. Sow is a word deep with cruelty in my language memories and I tried to think of all of the reasons that it might have been used to name this geographical phenomenon.

We used to live next to a pig farm for a season and I am very familiar with the vivid sight, smell, violence and noise an "old sow" brings to mind. Very little of it was positive. I began to sit with the emotion that word brought to my mind. My body has been feeling so old to me lately. I look at my hands and feet and see the skin's elasticity is retreating and I am left in my weight loss with more wrinkles and less beauty. I catch my image in the mirror when changing and understand it's not just my hands and feet that are showing their age. I begin to connect with these words on a cellular level. Old Sow. I breathe. I know. I feel my age and my body around me.

Much of the scars my body bears come from birthing my beautiful children. Nursing them to life and growth. Kind of like that old sow. She has been faithful to her vocation. She has given herself well to her place in life. She has fulfilled the call on her life well. Birth. Nutrients. Protection.

And then I remembered the wildlife we saw at the whirlpool. This place was one of the richest places on earth for the whales, birds, seals and porpoises we saw surrounding us. That Old Sow was feeding everyone. Life was continuing to churn and grow because of that Old Sow. This fertile place was continually a place of life, a place of bounty.

I remember back to a word that was spoken to me before we moved here. I called a friend who had been dear to me and was mentoring me in our last church with excitement to tell her of our decision to move here. She said "Oh Heidi, you don't want to move to New Brunswick. New Brunswick is barren."

That word hung around my neck for months. You see I had 9 years of infertility, an infertile woman understands barren. I have lived through barren years and greatly feared more. I remember finally mustering the courage to talk about this one day and it was then that I decided then to give that word back.

New Brunswick has been the richest, most fertile place we have ever lived. I am constantly amazed at the depth of soul, the beauty that surrounds us and the abundance of riches we have received since we have lived here. The Old Sow reminded me again of THIS place. This place where my feet walk, where I am placing down roots. It is life giving. Is sustaining. Is nurturing and mothering to me.

The Old Sow speaks of the feminine to me. The mothering and grandmothering that I have so longed for in my life. The place where so many things converge, join and journey on, just like that place in the water.

This place, this person, this body, this soul - rich, fertile, life giving, bountiful, abundant, feminine, maturing, deep, changing and faithful.

This is the place I will feed and feed others.

A place at the table

Charity is commendable; everyone should be charitable. But justice aims to create a social order in which if individuals choose not to be charitable, people will not go hungry, unschooled or sick without care. Charity depends on the vicissitudes of whim and personal wealth; justice depends on commitment instead of circumstance. Faith-based charity provides crumbs from the table; faith-based justice offers a place at the table.

Source: Bill Moyers, Foreword, Faith Works, Jim Wallis


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blogging against poverty

I used to think that poverty was all about money. Just a lack of generosity, will or opportunity, both given and taken. I used to think that people could make simple choices that could raise them up out of poverty if they just really wanted it enough. I was incredibly naive.

I have come to learn that poverty isn't just about income. Poverty isn't about finances. Poverty isn't about jobs.

Poverty is pervasive. It depletes and erodes and siphons away at all it touches. Poverty is subtle and sly. It is a glutton that munches around the edges of life, eating at the structure and stability humanity relies on. Poverty is no respecter of persons.

I didn't know that when we moved to New Brunswick we would be on the very edges of the Appalachian chain of mountains that stretch down the eastern seaboard. There is a pervasive poverty that is attached to these mountains. They hold great beauty and richness, both in people and in culture, but there is also a profound brokenness that infiltrates and cultures a deep scarcity that has affected generations. It is a poverty that wounds and magnifies itself forward into the lives of it's descendants. It is a poverty that has little to do with money.

This is why trickle down economics never works. It is why programs about programs cannot seem to make a dent. It is why Jesus said "the poor you will always have with you" - because he knew that poverty of soul was far greater than the poverty of the pocketbook.

I am astounded with the depth of need I see around me. Stupefied even. Frozen with the vastness of it all. How can we make a difference? What can we do? What can be done to break this pervasive, generational cycle of poverty so that there will one day be hope for those that follow?

My husband Keith regularly reminds me that far too often when I am overwhelmed and discouraged by the pittance I am able to offer, "Sometimes we can only see the lack and we don't know what could be happening if we weren't here standing in the gap, offering our small contribution." That is a perspective I struggle to achieve. I forget that by "doing small things with great love" the world is changed.

So today, just for today, I will do small things, with as much love as I am able to muster. It needs to be enough. It will be enough.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Campaign to BAN Torture

One of the best things to come from the debate the other night was the fact that BOTH candidates actually took a stand against torture.

I participated in a campaign to bring this issue before both McCain & Obama previous to the debates and it worked:

“--we’ve got to--make sure that we--don’t ever torture a prisoner ever again.”

“--the torture issue--is something that undermines our long-term security--”

This surprised and thrilled me as this has been an issue close to my heart. We must all learn to have a consistent ethic of life.

(Image from Ban Torture)

Here is the Declaration of Principles:

The “Golden Rule”
We will not authorize or use any methods of interrogation that we would not find acceptable if used against Americans, be they civilians or soldiers.

One National Standard
We will have one national standard for all US personnel and agencies for the interrogation and treatment of prisoners. Currently, the best expression of that standard is the US Army Field Manual, which will be used until any other interrogation technique has been approved based on the Golden Rule principle.

The Rule of Law
We will acknowledge all prisoners to our courts or the International Red Cross. We will in no circumstance hold persons in secret prisons or engage in disappearances. In all cases, prisoners will have the opportunity to prove their innocence in ways that fully conform to American principles of fairness.

Duty to Protect
We acknowledge our historical commitment to end the use of torture and cruelty in the world. The US will not transfer any person to countries that use torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.

Checks and Balances
Congress and the courts play an invaluable role in protecting the values and institutions of our nation and must have and will have access to the information they need to be fully informed about our detention and interrogation policies.

Clarity and Accountability
All US personnel—whether soldiers or intelligence staff—deserve the certainty that they are implementing policy that complies fully with the law. Henceforth all US officials who authorize, implement, or fail in their duty to prevent the use of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners will be held accountable, regardless of rank or position.

Please, add your voice to this campaign to encourage our future president to ban torture:

Campaign to Ban Torture: Sign the Declaration of Principles

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cast my absentee vote for Obama today

I know, no surprise here - but it feels good to participate in democracy - even if it was only at my kitchen table and will conclude with a drive over the bridge to the post office today.

I know this confuses so many of my dear friends - how in the world can they not see what I see and how in the world can I not see what they see? If you love me and are confused please read this, it says it better than even my own words can:

Reframing the Story - why I'm voting for Obama

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The main event


Praying Our Distractions

You can't say about praying: "Practice makes perfect; gradually you will get to be really good, so be patient with the messiness of your beginner's results. In time you will be proud of what you achieve." Instead, the advice might go something like this: "Honey, prayer is God's way of getting you to meet the cast of characters you call your distractions. God knows we spend a lot of time disowning them and pretending we don't know them. They are family. Prayer will always be messy, because they are. Those 'distractions' are our mess. They're the mess we are in. So prayer is our rendezvous with them and God is present to introduce us. Maybe what you call your distractions are really the main event."

Source: Newsletter of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, Martin Smith

via inward/outward

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Got an idea? Project 10^100

Google is celebrating their 10th birthday by holding a competition of ideas. They will contribute up to $10 million dollars to the winning ideas completion.

"These ideas can be big or small, technology-driven or brilliantly simple -- but they need to have impact," Google said in a news release. "We know there are countless brilliant ideas that need funding and support to come to fruition."

Ideas like the Hippo Water Roller are just the beginning. (which makes me want to jump for joy at the simplicity it brings to the lives of women the world over who are the water carriers)

"By opening the project to anyone -- not just laboratories or universities -- Google is embracing "crowdsourcing," the Internet-age notion that the collective wisdom of mass audiences can be leveraged to find solutions to design tasks."

For more information or to submit your idea go here:

Project 10^100

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Just ONE question

The ONE Campaign is asking Jim Lehrer, host of the debate on Friday night to squeeze a question in about global poverty:

Only two questions about global poverty have been asked in the history of modern presidential debates - a shockingly low figure. In 2008, voters need to know what Barack Obama and John McCain will do to end the most extreme suffering in our increasingly interconnected world.

You can help make sure that changes, by signing our petition to debate moderator Jim Lehrer urging him to ask "Just ONE Question" on global poverty at the first presidential debate, September 26th in Oxford, Mississippi.

Sign here:

Just ONE Question Petition

Monday, September 22, 2008

What have I done?

Great meme list (or Heidi finds something mindless to do while she should be doing something else...)

What have you done? (copy & bold your own - I am also italicizing the ones I think I might be able to do one day)

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game (and survived the crush afterwards)
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk.
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

via Stephanie

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Obama: The Moral Choice

My good friend Will Samson has written a well-seasoned piece that gives voice to much of what I am feeling today:

Obama: The Moral Choice

"Lying is a sin. So is greed. So is unprovoked violence. So is arrogance.

In our highly sexualized world, we have forgotten that the bulk of moral instruction that comes from scripture does not relate to who you sleep with or what happens in the event of an unwanted pregnancy. Instead, the depths and breadths of lessons on how to act that come from the Bible deal with questions of how to form a moral community. These include instructions like don't provoke violence (Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God, Matthew 5:9), don't lie (Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment, Proverbs 12:19), and don't be arrogant (To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech, Proverbs 8:13)."

Continue reading: Obama: The Moral Choice

Monday, September 15, 2008

Les Misbarack

A inconsistent ethic of life

Pew Forum Poll shows support for torture among Southern evangelicals

"A new poll released Thursday (Sept. 11) finds that nearly six in 10 white Southern evangelicals believe torture is justified, but their views can shift when they consider the Christian principle of the golden rule."

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Man in Black

Other than Lawrence Welk one of my earliest memories of music is Johnny Cash. Today is the five year anniversary of his death. His rendition of Trent Reznor's HURT is one of the most moving songs for me. If you have never heard the song or seen the video with it I highly recommend it. It can't be embedded, but you can see the video here:

Johnny Cash - Hurt

Here he is late in life singing with Willie Nelson one of my other favorite songs by him - Ring of Fire

On a lighter note here's Johnny on the Muppet Show

I miss him and thank him for living such a transparent, spiritual life.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Governor Palin, Put Away Falsehood

As Americans and people of faith from around the country, we were extremely disappointed in Sarah Palin's divisive, sarcastic, and often deceptive address last night at the Republican National Convention. We call on her not only as a political figure, but also as a prominent Christian, to recommit herself to campaigning in good faith, with a strong commitment to truth-telling.

As Christians, we are called to be respectful and loving toward our neighbors, honoring their intentions even if we disagree with their plans. We are also called to "put away falsehood" (Eph 4:25) and to refrain from slandering, belittling, or speaking out of contempt for anyone.

If these are the standards God has set for us in our personal lives, our church communities, and our neighborhoods, how much more so should they be the standards of those Christians who choose to be in the public eye? Shouldn't we also expect our brothers and sisters in politics to speak the truth in love and to extend respect and goodwill even to those with whom they disagree?

Sarah Palin has shaped much of her life around her Christian faith [1]. Indeed, it has been continually suggested that one of the major reasons John McCain chose Palin as his running-mate was her Christian faith and her ability to energize evangelical Christian voters. Thus, it is no stretch to say that Palin has suddenly become one of the most visible faces of Christianity in today’s political scene.

As such, we believe she has a calling even higher than her responsibility to her party's victory in November - a calling to represent Jesus to the rest of the world. This is why her speech at the Republican National Convention last night was so disappointing to us at the Matthew 25 Network.

In questioning not only Senator Obama’s policies but also his motivations, and mocking his career, Palin went far beyond what could be considered acceptable disagreement and into what seemed like open contempt for a political opponent.

To be blunt, we saw very little of Jesus’ love in Sarah Palin's speech last night, as she heaped contempt on those who disagree with her politically, while offering no vision for how to resolve the critical issues facing Americans today like job loss, health care, growing child poverty rates and the war in Iraq.

Moreover, as has been documented by major media sources including the Associated Press [2], Palin spoke falsehoods not only about her own record, but about Barack Obama's record as a State Senator and as a U.S. Senator. As Christians, we are called throughout Scripture to speak the whole truth, to put away falsehood, to bear true witness even when it hurts our own interests. The name of Jesus should never be associated with falsehoods or deception, but last night, in Sarah Palin’s speech, we believe it was.

Therefore, we in the Matthew 25 Network call on Gov. Palin to repudiate her attitude of contempt towards her political opponents and to tell the whole truth, not only for the sake of a more honorable politics, but also for the sake of our Christian witness in the world.

Senator McCain is no less responsible because he selected Gov. Palin and praised her speech, and he claims to be a Christian as well. It is ill-fitting to use Christian identity and language for one's political advantage without seeking to live up to that high calling. Ultimately, as the Presidential candidate, Governor Palin's tone and infidelity to truth reflect negatively on Senator McCain as well.

Brian McLaren
Author and Pastor

Douglas W. Kmiec
Caruso Family Chair & Professor of Constitutional Law
Pepperdine University School of Law

Rev. Dr. Susan B. Thistlethwaite
Professor of Theology, Chicago Theological Seminary

Vince Miller
Georgetown University

Peter Vander Meulen
Coordinator, Office of Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church

Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins
Nineteenth Street Baptist Church

Bart Campolo
Urban minister, Founder of Mission Year

Sharon Daly
Former Vice-President of Catholic Charities

Rev. Wilfredo De Jesus
Vice-President for Social Justice, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Delores Leckey
Senior Fellow, Woodstock Theological Center
Former Director of the Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women and Youth
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Add your name here...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thank you Community Organizers!

Joe Klein: What a Community Organizer Does


My dear friend Deb highlighted a new-to-me blog on her blog today and this quote was enough to add yet another blog to my bloglines - it's heartbreaking to read of her loss and joyous to read of her new baby daughter - and this just says it all:

I may be A Woman With A Troubled Past, but I don’t act the part. I think sometimes we try too hard to fit our lives into the shapes of the stories we know. I doubt we’ll ever really stop doing that, so I believe the best we can do is to make sure there are as many stories out there as possible.

Go read more: Flotsam: Coda.

Monday, September 01, 2008

As far as I get

Back from a wonderful camping trip on the Maine coast with friend. This was the story I found in my inbox this morning and it fit perfectly today:

Thinking the sea is good for not thinking & for some reason,
this is as far as he gets

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Great Losers

I have a confession. I am a scavenger.

I just can't seem to walk past a smidgen of interesting brokenness or discarded story. I am so moved by outsider and found art because deep in my heart I long to be a mosaic artist. I have not yet begun to piece together those precious bits and fragments pocketed along my journey.

As Keith and I were walking to church Sunday he bent to pick up a bright piece of turquoise "glass" at the curb. I exclaimed "Don't! It's not glass, it's a discarded cough drop! I only know because I picked it up yesterday and it was sticky..."

Redemption resides deeply in both of us.

We spend hours at the shore with our noses down hoping to find precious bits of pottery or beach glass worn smooth by sand and waves. All the diamonds in the world don't mean as much to me as a tiny little shard of blue and white pottery or a heart shaped rock found by a loved one.

That is why this quote touched me so deeply. I long to be the kind of friend who gathers great treasure and wisdom by carefully listening and fixing those pieces in my heart.

Fragments scavenged from Bob at The Corner:

Every hour’s talk we have with a friend leaves fragments that we ought to gather up and keep to feed our heart’s hunger or the hunger of others’ hearts, as we go on. When we hear good words spoken or read a good book, we should gather up the fragments of knowledge, the suggestions of helpful thoughts, the broken pieces, and fix them in our hearts for use in our lives. We allow large values of the good things we hear or read to turn to waste continually because we are poor listeners or do not try to keep what we hear. We let the broken pieces be lost and thereby are great losers. If only we would gather up and keep all the good things that come to us through conversations and through reading, we would soon have great treasures of knowledge and wisdom.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Long, happy dawdling

I LOVE this:

The imagination needs moodling--long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering. These people who are always briskly doing something and as busy as waltzing mice, they have little, sharp, staccato ideas, such as: "I see where I can make an annual cut of $3.47 in my meat budget." But they have no slow, big ideas. And the fewer consoling, noble, shining, free, jovial, magnanimous ideas that come, the more nervously and desperately they rush and run from office to office and up and down stairs, thinking by action at last to make life have some warmth and meaning.

If You Want to Write, Brenda Ueland


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tragedy in Afganistan

Four aid workers were killed today in an ambush in Afghanistan, they were IRC staff members, 2 were Canadians.

Please pray for peace and for their families, and the foundations they serve.

International Rescue Committee Releases Names of Victims of Ambush in Afghanistan

Friday, August 08, 2008

Tell better stories

“Neither revolution nor reformation can ultimately change a society, rather you must tell it a new powerful tale, one so persuasive that it sweeps away the old myths and becomes the preferred story, one so inclusive that it gathers all the bits of our past and our present into a coherent whole, one that even shines some light into the future so that we can take the next step forward.”

Ivan Illich (Quoted in Just:Imagine by Danielle Strickland and her co-author Campbell Roberts)

thanks mike

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Peace for all

Woe to us indeed if we forget the homeless ones who have no vote, no power, nobody to lobby for them, and who might as well have no faces even, the way we try to avoid the troubling sight of them in the streets of the cities where they roam like stray cats. And as we listen each night to the news of what happened in our lives that day, woe to us if we forget our own homelessness.

To be homeless the way people like you and me are apt to be homeless is to have homes all over the place but not to be really at home in any of them. To be really at home is to be really at peace, and our lives are so intricately interwoven that there can be no real peace for any of us until there is peace for all of us.

Source: Frederick Buechner - The Longing for Home


Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Keith's math

Keith was doing some math the other day and I encouraged him to write it down (and even blog about it) so that others might benefit from the calculations of living on the margins. You can read it here:

2 miles in their shoes

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane...

This trip feels like God was our travel agent. It's a gift to be going to Oregon to be reuniting with my family. I am so excited. We are spending a couple of days in Portland, a week with my aunt near the California border and 5 days on the coast. I can't wait. Don't know if I'll have access to the internet while away, so I might not be back until the 20th. Be good to yourself today.

Friday, July 04, 2008

You are someone's favorite unfolding story

Sarah Louise highlighted Ann Patchett's commencement address at Sarah Lawrence this year and it was just what I needed to hear.

The answer to the question What now is never what you think it's going to be, and that is the thing that every writer has to learn. I came to understand that fiction writing was like duck hunting. You go to the right place at the right time with the right dog. You get into the water before dark, wearing a little protective gear, stand behind some reeds and wait for the story to present itself. This is not to say you are passive. You choose the place and the day. You pick the gun and the dog. You have the desire to blow the duck apart for reasons that are entirely your own. But you have to be willing to accept not what you wanted to happen, but what happens. You have to write the story you find in the circumstances you've created, because more often than not the ducks don't show up. The hunters in the next blind begin to argue and you realize they're in love. You see a snake swimming in your direction. Your dog begins to shiver and whine and you start to think about this gun that belonged to your father. By the time you get out of the marsh you will have written a novel that is so devoid of ducks it will shock you. It took me a long time of standing still and being quiet to figure out what in retrospect appears to be a pretty simple lesson: writing a novel and living a life are very much the same thing. The secret is finding the balance between going out to get what you want and being open to the thing that actually comes your way."

Listen here: Ann Patchett Sarah Lawrence Commencement Speech 2008

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Google Photo Meme

I just got this meme from renee and thought it sounded fun:

The questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you attend?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you.
12. Your Flickr name.

Photo Credits:

Badger High School
Cobalt Blue
Jason Bateman
Black Coffee
Sugar Free Raspberry Pie
Mosaic Artist
The Turners (my family)

Be jealous!

Erin's coming to visit today!! Yippee!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Donald Miller - part 2

Just got Donald Miller's newsletter and it has a link to a free mp3 - YOU MUST HEAR THIS!

Oh, please, take the time to listen to this: Let Story Guide You

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

This is why I love blogs

Where else in the world can you keep up with people like Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz) as he rides his bike across America raising money and awareness for Blood:Water Mission who dig wells in Africa giving people access to clean water.

He writes here about getting caught in a huge hail storm and finding shelter in the back of a car driven by two men who spoke no English.

It's like reading a book in tiny little installments - really, the best of the internet right at our fingertips.

DONATE HERE and receive the first chapter of Donald Miller's new book A Million Miles in 1000 Years

Thank you Scot!

Jesus Creed - Dobson on Obama

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The stakes are too high

This video was the first political commercial ever used in the history of politics in North America. It is poignant and only ran once. Somehow we have lost our way.

Brilliant article on this here:

Steve Cone: The Big Bang of Attack Ads
The spot starts with a little girl picking daisies in a meadow and counting aloud as she plucks each petal. She mixes up her numbers, which brilliantly reinforces the innocence of a small child. Then a man's voice is heard counting down from ten. It's official sounding -- like something right out of the Pentagon War Room. As the countdown proceeds the camera zooms in on the little girl's face, and then her eye and finally from her eye the image of an atomic blast appears and fills the screen. Next you heard President Johnson quote several lines taken form a W.H. Auden poem about how "we must love each other or surely we will die." And finally a professional voice over announces to vote for President Johnson on November 3rd. "The stakes are too high to do anything else."

Monday, June 16, 2008

It is there for each and every one of us

May today there be peace within.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be confident knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.

Saint Theresa's Prayer

thanks Suzi!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Funds for Iowans Trying to Rebuild

My favorite daily story comes from The Story People - located in Iowa (why didn't I know people this cool during my three years in Iowa??) I just got today's blog post saying they are wet, but okay. They are located in Decatur, and have had some weather trouble, but nothing like what the cities to the south are facing. This was the poster they offered post-Katrina and they are reissuing it to help their local friends in Iowa rebuild. It reads:

the water washed away everything
but the chance to begin again

so we came from cities & towns,
from long golden fields
& we stood side by side
until we made a bridge to dry land,

back to a place
we have promised to hold safe
for each other's children,

back to a place
called America

by Brian Andreas

Posters are $20.00 and all proceeds go to help the flood victims - purchase here:

The Story People

Remember the mix tape?

Fabulous new idea for the old 80's declaration of love - the mix tape! Thumb drive with a retro gift case - brilliant!!


I Dare You

via bob

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Erin will you help me make these?!?!?!?!?

These are the COOLEST - only available in France, and I'm sure even if they were here I couldn't afford them - and I want them! Our flat is filled with these rocks in real life - how cool to have them supersized and comfy - Livingstones - brilliant!

JK Rowling's Harvard Commencement Speech

Julie Unplugged blogged JK Rowling's speech to the graduation class of Harvard this year - you can read or watch it here - well worth it:

The Fringe Benefits of Failure and The Importance of Imagination

Monday, June 09, 2008


If you don't have access to President's Choice products, I'm sorry. This is truly the best summer drink ever.

Monday, June 02, 2008

I Love to Tell the Story

What a wonderful experience Sunday was for me. Other than being sick and hyper from the cold medicine I took I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The picture is of my new storyteller statue that I got for Mother's Day. I used it for the background of the power point slides.

Here's the link to the talk, I'd love any feedback if you do listen to it:

I Love to Tell the Story

60 hours left - please sign!

This just in from

The world food crisis is skyrocketing – steadily rising prices are squeezing billions and triggering food riots from Bangladesh to South Africa. Aid agencies say 100 million people are facing starvation.

In response, the United Nations is convening an emergency summit of world leaders in Rome this week. There is a real danger that rich country leaders will push half measures and band-aid solutions – we need a huge global outcry to demand rapid, massive, coordinated action.

The head of the UN, Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, will receive our petition at the summit at 9:30AM on Wednesday morning. This is a huge opportunity for our voice to reach our leaders directly, but we need half a million voices in the next 60 hours. Click below to sign the petition if you haven't yet, and forward this email to everyone you know:

Sign the petition here

Already over 200,000 Avaaz members have joined our call for emergency food aid and deeper solutions such as investing in food production in poor countries and fixing harmful rich country policies such as burning food as biofuels. Our campaign was launched in response to a personal video appeal to our community from the foreign minister of Sierra Leone, where 90% of the population are facing severe hunger. Click above to watch the video.

The food crisis, like the climate crisis, is a planetary emergency. It's another sign of how interdependent and fragile our world is. And how we all need to work together, across all our borders and divisions, to save it.

Sign the petition here

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ending the Silence

Growing up in the Plymouth Brethren silence echoed through my life. As a woman I was to be silent with my head covered. This I could and did endure. I thought it made God happy and I lived most of my childhood in confused silence spiritually.

The other enforced silence that few acknowledge is the silence of God. God's written word is THE ONLY way God speaks/spoke to His followers and any supernatural interaction is strictly exposed to be that of self-seekers and people who's faith just wasn't strong enough to "get in the Word". This was the silence that stalked me. This was the silence that confused.

Because you see, if you place a child in silence long enough God meets them there. In those hours of enforced quiet in church, three times a week I learned silence - but God somehow didn't know the rules. Far too often He kept me company, a willing companion alongside my dumbness.

I quickly learned in my teen years that this was not acceptable and spent most of the rest of my adult life in fear of mental illness for "hearing voices" or swallowed in the shame of self importance - who did I think I was that I was so special that God would speak to me? I quickly learned that those silent times needed to be filled with fantasy and day dreaming to keep my mind from sinning and hearing God.

Silence can be golden, but this silence was the shiny, stainless-steel of a bullet that lodged itself in my soul.

The tight fist of control this sect enforced had squeezed the life out of me, it had convinced me that I was completely broken. Born into the wrong body, given the wrong gifts and suffering under the delusion that I was either crazy or so puffed up that God would love me just like He did Moses or Peter - enough to show himself to them, and me. My shame was magnificent and as shiny as that silver bullet of enforced silence.

After we were kicked to the curb in our at the end of our first paid ministry at a Brethren church we were free, we didn't know it yet, but the violence of that encounter would have been the only thing that would have severed our commitment and devotion to that small sect of faithful believers. We loved them. They were our life. They are not mean, evil people, just sincere fellows laboring under a very heavy load of really ugly theology. It is a mean God they serve, and we loved him too, but we were now free we began to explore the big, wide world of the church.

We had spent our whole lives judging other Christians and faith systems. We truly believed WE were the only ones with THE TRUTH and the others were just playing games with their faith and God.

What a wide world exists on the other side of that door. We had no idea how vast and varied the kingdom of God truly was. I am unable to say that every experience we had was grand and glorious. We were still us and that boat we sailed just couldn't seem to stop rocking. We made many friends and found much grace and eventually floated that boat to the shore of a community of true folk. Honest people who don't take themselves so seriously, but do take God seriously. They are all such individuals - no homogenization here.

We had spent our lives trying to look like those around us, chipping away and folding ourselves up - but to no avail, we were horrible at being anything but ourselves. Here we found characters, I guess it's the ocean air - but as we saw each individual honored for their uniqueness and loved for their quirks we realized that we were home. Finally home.

Here we can be us. I can be me. I am so very different than anyone that I have ever met. I have found many kindred souls along the way - but there was just too much Heidi to "knock off" to fit into the cookie cutter. And here I am loved. Truly loved. Quirks and all. I am amazed and honored to be a part of this small group of people who think really B.I.G. thoughts.

This Sunday I will be preaching. It's not the first time, but somehow it feels like it because they know me now. They've lived life with me and they still asked me to teach. You see, I am a teacher. Silence inflicted on those of us who are teachers is brutal. Long ago I was told that if a man learned something from me, as a women, it meant that I was usurping creation order, not that I was a good teacher.

This Sunday I will be given the honor of standing in front of a room of the most unique people - and telling my story. Talking about story and using what God has gifted me with to play my part in this body of believers.

I opened my email this morning to this quote from Margaret Wheatley - it's where I got the blog title from. I didn't awaken with any intention of writing this post - but when I read these words I realized that I was truly beginning this process publicly, in my community face to face, and so following with my virtual community seemed fitting too.

Silence is a beautiful thing, I now embrace it fully as a time to meet with God. I now know that when he speaks to me that I am not crazy, it is a gift and I honor it as such. And I also know that breaking the silence by using the other gift He's given me is just as important.
A gesture of love is anything we do that helps others discover their humanity. Any act where we turn to one another. Open our hearts. Extend ourselves. Listen. Any time we're patient. Curious. Quiet. Engaged.... Conversation does this---it requires that we extend ourselves, that we open our minds and hearts a bit more, that we turn to someone, curious about how they live their life.

Speaking to each other involves risk. It's often difficult to extend ourselves, to let down our guard, especially with those we fear or avoid. When we're willing to overcome our fear and speak to them, that is a gesture of love. Strangely, what we say is not that important. We have ended the silence that keeps us apart.
Ending the silence out of love is right and good. When it divides and keeps us apart silence is anything but golden.