Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Patron Saint of St. Croix Vineyard

One of the most wonderful discoveries we have had here in St. Stephen is the profound humor and writings of British humorist, Adrian Plass. He is the patron saint of our church. (can you still be alive and be a patron saint?) His stories and writings wiggle their way into a multitude of teachings and sermons. This morning Walter used a story from his autobiography, The Growing Up Pains of Adrian Plass, as a reading during our Celtic service. I wanted to remember it so I'm posting it here:

It was my earliest encounter with the truth, although I certainly wouldn't have called it a religious experience at the time, and it happened on the top deck of the number 81 bus which used to run between Rusthall and Tunbridge Wells. The journey only took about twelve minutes, but on this occasion that was long enough for a startling new truth to penetrate my ten-year-old consciousness so profoundly that it has affected alost everything I have done since that day....As I sat on the front seat....a phrase I had read earlier repeated itself over and over in my mind: 'Everybody is I.'

For some reason I sensed an important inner core of meaning in the words, but I was unable to dig it out. I was frustrated and fascinated by the problem. If only the answer - the secret, had been a solid thing. I wanted to stretch out my hand and grasp it firmly - make it mine...

Suddenly I stiffened. Body erect, hands flat on the ledge below the window, I pressed my forehead against the glass and stared in amazement at the crowds on the pavement below. The true meaning of those three simple, but puzzling, words had exploded in to my mind, destroying the illusion that I was the centre of the universe, and leaving me to cope, for the rest of my life, with the burden of knowledge. Every one of those people down there in the street, walking the pavements, driving cars, waiting for buses - every single one, whatever they were, whatever they looked like, whatever I thought of them, were as important to themselves as I was to myself! I shook my head trying to clear it of the incredible notion. Everybody is I.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Change in plans...

Well, things have changed in the past hour. We had originally planned to get an early start tomorrow, but Jacob had been complaining all afternoon of a stomach ache. And tonight he didn't keep his dinner down. Normally traveling with a sick kid is a bad idea, but a vomiting diabetic is even worse.

The doctor said that travel isn't an option because if he goes low he has to be admitted to the hospital for IV if he can't keep food down. She also said that this could be days long...

So, I guess Keith will be flying on Monday-Wednesday by himself... Please pray.


Have seen the original map running around the blogosphere - like this one, at blue like elvis WAY better!

ht to scot mcknight for pointing it out.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Please pray for Keith

Just heard that Keith's dad just died. He was there last weekend to say goodbye and was told it would probably be some time before he passed, then it was 2 weeks, and yesterday it was the weekend. He didn't make it. He was so sick, it is a blessing he is no longer suffering.

Please pray for his wife Betsy, Keith's brother Clark and his sister Jeannine and step-brother Michael. He also has a brother in Ontario who I finally got to talk with for the first time this week, Alan (who Keith is named after) and Morris who is in Ireland.

They thought there was more time and sent Jeannine on vacation, she is to return tomorrow. She will be shattered that she didn't get to say goodbye.

Any prayers would be so appreciated right now. Thank you.

Here come the girls

I highlighted a work that was being done with the women of Sierra Leone by Ann Jones and the IRC with blogging and digital cameras. They had given digital cameras to women to document their lives and it changed things so miraculously. Tiny technology empowered these women so beautifully - they decided it was time for some girls to tell their stories too.

Today is the first post in the series and it is filled with hope and I can't wait to read more:

IRC: Here Come the Girls

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Teach us a new language

Cheryl, from [hold :: this space], wrote this recently and it expressed my heart deeply and wanted to remember it so I'm posting it here:

Teach us a new language

We are trying, God,
and we are angry that the world will not listen
when we try to speak of you,

yet deep down
we acknowledge that we no longer have the words
that speak of who you are
and all you have done.

While we know it is no sin to be speechless,
we must confess that we have stopped looking.

Teach us a new language, God -
one of wild imagination and courageous vision -
so we can begin to tell a new story
that will unfold your ageless plot of freedom
and grace
to a world longing to hear.
A story that will speak of hope with the turning of each page.
A story that you promise has no ending but love.

Brothers & Sisters


Monday, March 24, 2008

Twilight Zones in Community

Two amazing quotes sent to me via Inward/Outward & Henri Nouwen today - they entwine into a really beautiful picture of community and friendship.

I don't think Nouwen realized the cultural significance of the words "Twilight Zone" in his writing - but I like the natural metaphor it brings separate from the t.v. show.
There is a twilight zone in our own hearts that we ourselves cannot see. Even when we know quite a lot about ourselves - our gifts and weaknesses, our ambitions and aspirations, our motives and drives - large parts of ourselves remain in the shadow of consciousness.

This is a very good thing. We always will remain partially hidden to ourselves. Other people, especially those who love us, can often see our twilight zones better than we ourselves can. The way we are seen and understood by others is different from the way we see and understand ourselves. We will never fully know the significance of our presence in the lives of our friends. That's a grace, a grace that calls us not only to humility but also to a deep trust in those who love us. It is in the twilight zones of our hearts where true friendships are born.

and another from Jean Vanier:
We feel small and weak, but we are gathered together to signify the power of God who transforms death into life. That is our hope, that God is doing the impossible: changing death to life inside of each of us, and that perhaps, through our community, each one of us can be agents in the world of this transformation of brokenness into wholeness, and of death into life.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sky watchers & photographers please note

Wednesday, March 12, 8:00 pm (ET), Region-Wide - Western Sky - Sky View - This evening the waxing Moon in the west makes a pretty picture with the Pleiades to its lower right, and Aldebaran and the Hyades farther to its left. Courtesy Sky and Telescope For more information contact Web Site: Sky & Telescope
via Culture Pass (thanks Jude!)

Saturday, March 08, 2008

New Old Believers

It’s better if one doesn’t try to un-story any person who has suffered, for soul is the preeminent storyteller of all that has occurred. To silence a person’s most poignant stories is to silence the soul. Better to make safe time and place for such healing-speaking.
Please take the time to read this important essay by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, especially after this sad, sad day in American politics.

The Babushka Brigade: What old believers say about torture of human beings

Let everything in you that can sing, be sung; everything that can dance, be danced; everything that can heal, be healed; everything that can love, be loved in return.

Are you a new, old believer?

New Soul

Love it! (and it's not a mac commercial!) :)

Thanks Amy!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Small things with great love

"We can do no great things, only small things with great love." — Mother Teresa

I was reminded yesterday of the website 43 things by a post by Tex and I wracked my brain for my user name and password - finally got in and found that I hadn't been back to the site in 2 years. It was such a blast to see the 32 things I had listed and see what kind of progress I had made. I need to add to my list the extra 11 things and edit and mark finished the ones that I have accomplished. Some even made me smile that they had even made the list - they have faded from memory as to why they were so important to me at the time. Some gave me great joy to see that I have accomplished, even without actively knowing, many of the things on my list, or am making progress in the right direction. Each of them hopefully small things done with great love. RED is for works in progress, ORANGE is for things I have really achieved some success with.

Here's my 32 things as of 2005:

1. learn to be a storyteller
2. start blogging under my own name
3. embrace my femininity
4. voice my opinions without shame
5. speak the truth in love
6. write every day - since November 21, 2007!!!!!
7. pitch my book idea to publisher
8. take a yoga class
9. start painting again
10. finish one fix up project around the house
11. stop grinding my teeth
12. go out on "date nights" with my spouse on a regular basis
13. practice compassion
14. get off this continent - sadly canceled trip to Ireland this summer... sigh.
15. be more present with my children
16. get a laptop - not as big of a "need" - have found they are finicky and have enough time at home to write - now I want THIS instead...
17. have better posture
18. write a book
19. Find a balance between the things I want to do and the things I need to do
20. make a difference
21. Kiss in the rain
22. remodel my bathroom
23. eat healthier - this is the one that gives me the greatest joy - we're really doing it!
24. Spend less time fooling around on the net and more time actually working
25. Be a better friend
26. learn to sail - this one surprised me - it is still a deep desire, but I had forgotten how long I have wanted to do this.
27. exercise 3X a week
28. practice discardia - I RAWK at this now!
29. play more board games
30. find inner peace - far more peaceful than when I wrote this 2 years ago!
31. Finish what I start
32. Travel to India - this is the BIGGIE - one day!

I'll post my revised 43 things sometime soon. Do you 43 things? Let me know and I'll cheer you on!!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Freedback: Unilever - Update

Dear Unilever Brands,

I want to take this time to thank you for all of the work you are doing through Dove brands and beauty awareness. This campaign is life giving beautiful work. I want my daughter to grow up knowing the things that the Dove Beauty campaign is teaching the Western world.

I stood at the pharmacy today to spin the bottle of AXE body spray in my hand because for the past couple of days I have seen some of THE most offensive commercials I've ever been exposed to for the young male teen body spray. I was crestfallen to see that YOUR VERY SAME COMPANY was the maker and purveyor of this backward, obscene trash. Young girls stripped to their underwear in public buses and grocery stores. "HOW CAN THIS BE THE SAME COMPANY BUILDING UP MY DAUGHTER" I ask myself. I am sickened by your divisive messages. How is my 12 year old daughter supposed to understand this, or my 10 year old son? Stunning young women stripped from their clothing so they can be ogled by some scent-spraying predator? Is this truly the message you want to send?

Women reduced to body parts in one ad, followed by another that tells them the exact opposite. Shame on you. It's pandering. It makes me wonder if you really mean what you say in the Dove commercials or if it's just a marketing tool used to woo the money from the pockets of women? I cannot stomach such hypocrisy. I have never held major corporations in high esteem. I know you are profit driven - but this Dove campaign won me over. I really believed you. I am so disappointed.

Friends - if you are as frustrated as I am with this mixed message please blog on this and then follow this link and tell Unilever about it. Leave me a comment and I'll add the link to your blog post here, consider this a meme, and I've tagged you all.

I am really considering a major switch away from any and all product lines they manufacture and promote. I am not a boycotter at heart, but this really saddens me.


I will also post any response I receive from Unilever here.

These are the brands I have in my home at this very moment made by Unilever:
Bertolli, Dove, Hellman's, Wishbone, Knorr, Lipton, Sunlight & Vaseline... that's quite a loss of shopping revenue.

Here's the response I've gotten from Unilever UK:

Hi Heidi,

Thanks so much for writing!

Unilever is a large, global company with many brands in its portfolio. Each brand's efforts are tailored to reflect the unique interests and needs of its audience. As a manufacturer we feel it is a major responsibility to provide our friends and consumers with the most creative and informative means of advertising possible.

In developing product messages, Unilever and its agencies may not always anticipate all possible implications of an advertisement or television commercial. It is never our intent to offend anyone.

Consumer comments are very important and evaluated on a regular basis. Your comments have been forwarded to the appropriate staff within the company.

Chris Green
Unilever Consumer Services

Response from Dove Canada

Hi Heidi,

Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns with us. I'm sure you can appreciate that as individual brands, and as a company, Unilever takes its marketing responsibilities very seriously.

We have a wide portfolio of everyday consumer brands across both foods and home and personal care - offering products to consumers that address different needs. Each of our brands talks to its target consumers in a way that is relevant and that communicates its own unique proposition.

What unites all the products in the Unilever portfolio is our Vitality mission, which seeks to promote products that help our consumers look good, feel good, and get more out of life.

Unilever is a large, global company with many brands in its portfolio. Each brand's efforts are tailored to reflect the unique interests and needs of its audience. "The Dove brand is dedicated to making more women feel beautiful everyday by widening today's stereotypical view of beauty and inspiring women to take great care of themselves. "As part of this commitment, the brand created the Dove Self Esteem Fund to educate and inspire girls on a wider definition of beauty. The brand is dedicated to reach 5 million girls by 2010 with self-esteem programming. (in addition to the million girls they have reached thus far)

The Axe campaign is a spoof, of "the mating game" and men's desire to get noticed by women and not meant to be taken literally. "This campaign is targeting guys 18-24. Axe regularly tests its campaign with men and women who have shared that they see these ads as clever and funny .

Consumer comments are very important and evaluated on a regular basis. Your comments have been forwarded to the appropriate staff within the company.

Chris Green
Dove Consumer Services

I guess they don't have any problem at all with their mixed messages... sigh.

The Hermeneutics Quiz

Scot McKnight developed this for Leadership Journal - great tool to open discussion.

The Hermeneutics Quiz

What does it mean? Read his article here:

Your biblical blind spots and what you tend not to see.