Friday, December 31, 2004

Mondo Beyondo

Loving lists and loving to think ahead to the New Year and possibilities while 2005 is still an untouchable year, I want to make a Mondo Beyondo list as suggested by the blogger at Superhero Journal. I've only just read her blog for the first time today, but the name alone is enough to sell me on her quirky mind.

A Mondo Beyondo list is made up of the beyond my wildest dreams resolutions that I am making for my life. Things so fantastic that they would never happen...probably. I like it! Here is my stream of conscious list of crazy ideas...

To write for a living

To beome an academic super genius

To raise extraordinary kids (already doing this!)

To grow in excitement and passion in my marriage every year (so far, so good, but how much more could we have if we worked on it?)

To dye my hair red

To run in a marathon (yet I hate running??)

To live in spiritual freedom

To live debt free

To work for myself

To grow in generosity to those close by and those far away

To live as a family in Europe, South America and Africa, finally to settle on an island with fruit trees and chickens in the yard

To become trilingual

To return to acting

I wonder how these compare to my other list of resolutions that I made the other day?

Micah Girl

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Bret Lott -- the mind of a woman and the knowledge of grief

I just started reading A Song I Knew By Heart, by Bret Lott. It is a phenomenally beautiful book about love and sex, marriage and grief, sin and grace. Lott is able somehow to put himself into the mind of a woman in a way that is unbelievable. He must have a wonderful relationship with his wife, mother, sisters, etc. to be able to understand the heart of a woman and to speak in her voice the way that he does.

The other part of his writing that gets under my skin is his intimate knowledge of grief and the yawning ache of injustice when one who is loved is taken. I have had a couple significant losses in my life of peers who were gone too soon, and mourned and grieved for them, and wondered at how to go on, and yet I walked through the grief, leaned into the pain and came out the other end changed. And when I read someone who knows what that is like, I am surprised that the sympathetic grief I feel as a reader is not over my past losses, but is sharp and pointed as I look ahead to the loss of those that I love right now and wonder, when they are taken, if I shall be able to stand again and walk bravely through the muck and lean into the darkness and come out in the light at the end.

Micah Girl

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tsunami Tragedy

If you are like me, the news coverage of the tsunami and the unbelievable death toll has been beyond comprehension. I urge you to make a donation to a relief organization such as the International Red Cross. If each of us gives what we can, we can make a difference...whether it is $5 or $5,000.

Also, I urge you to email President Bush and ask him to increase our national donation to the effort. We have given 15 million dollars so far, and yet that is a small amount in the face of such a horrendous disaster. His email address is

Below is a copy of the email that I just sent off to him.

Dear President Bush,

Thank you for the millions of dollars that you have already earmarked for the tsunami tragedy in the Indian Ocean region. Please, Mr. President, would you send more money? We have an obligation as the richest, most generous nation in the world to do even more! In the face of such unbelievable tragedy it is not only the Christian thing to do (speaking as a believer myself) but it is the humane thing and the political thing to do! We need to do more because it is the right thing to do... it will also be a testimony to our enemies that we are doers of the right thing as well. But most important is to do good where we can because we have been blessed and have an obligation to bless others.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Resolutions, Anti-Resolutions & Revelation

With Christmas festivities behind me, New Year's Eve ahead, my head swims with resolutions to do things, resolutions to NOT do other things and prayers for God to reveal what He has for me this year...

Resolutions (a work in progress):

To listen to God more through reading and meditating on Scripture and listening to His still small voice

To appreciate today--the sweetness and the blessing and to keep a complaining spirit far from me

To set goals for myself, my family and my ministry that are challenging yet appropriate and God-honoring

To grow in personal spiritual disciplines

To grow in physical health by healthy eating and regular exercise

To lead with strong conviction and to set clear vision while never giving up collaboration and consensus

To develop a workable household routine that allows for homeschool, work, housework and fun.

To keep my temper and grow in grace with my children

To exercise personal creativity everyday

To blog and to grow an audience (for what I'm not sure!)

To get paid to write more this year

To set some personal business goals that will free us up finanically

To be I have hungry children who are looking for breakfast...


Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas Conversation

We had a sweet Christmas Eve, hubby, the kids and I. We finished assembling gifts and wrapping presents, we went to a small candlelight Christmas Eve service at church and my eldest girl sang carols up front with the worship team and one of her young friends. Two new people to our church were there at the service--two people who really have no one else in the world right now for the holiday, both separated from their spouses, both new to the city, both alone on Christmas. If we were hosting Christmas I would have loved to bring them home for the holiday. In just a few minutes of conversation, each of these people shared personal struggles with me, intimate details of their lives and opportunities to know them. I pray that we can become the church family for them.

Today, as my love is at work for the day (having overcome his bout with the flu), the kids and I will go to our extended family celebration this morning and he will meet us later. My prayer for today is that I will be able to have the same quality of conversations among my family as I did with these virtual strangers last night. That I can both listen and be heard on a deeper level than the surface. That the love we have as family would be manifest and that the Holy Spirit would guide my steps. That this Christmas would indeed be festive and fun and memorable for the kids, but that it would also have depth and spiritual purpose.


Friday, December 24, 2004

Christmas Eve Success?

It's the morning of Christmas Eve. I have tons of baking yet to do, present wrapping, gift card buying, preparation for Christmas Eve service, Christmas Eve celebration with the kids at the house--they're getting bikes!--and still am feeling peaceful. Oh, and did I mention that my husband, the healthcare worker who got a coveted flu shot, is sick as a dog with the flu? Oh, yes, and need to pack for a couple days at Grandma's. But, our Christmas is not breaking our budget, our purchases and presents are thoughtful though modest, and I really am mindful of the celebration of the Savior's Birth. My kids are SO excited and can't wait to have Christmas because it is a birthday party for Jesus, and they really like Jesus. I think that makes it a successful holiday.


Saturday, December 18, 2004

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang & other childish fare

Watching movies with my own kids that I saw as a child is so much fun because it reminds me of my own childlike imagination. My kids are so like me because of their ultrasensitivity to the emotion of films...the bad guys really frighten them (even slapstick villains like in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) and the sad parts make them cry out loud. I know almost no one else in my life who reacts as strongly to movies. When we watched Monsters, Inc. for the first time not only was my daughter crying hysterically, but I had tears streaming down my face.

There is a song in Toy Story 2 that makes no one cry but me--Jessie, the cowgirl toy, sings a song about how she once was loved by a little girl, but was abandoned by her when she grew. If I am in the kitchen and the kids have it on in the living room, I still have tears rolling down my cheeks. It's written and sung by Sarah McLachlan.

"When She Loved Me"

When somebody loved me
everything was beautiful
every hour we spent together
lives within my heart

And when she was sad
I was there to dry her tears
and when she was happy so was I
when she loved me

Through the summer and the fall
we had each other that was all
just she and I together
like it was meant to be
and when she was lonely
I was there to comfort her
and I knew that she loved me

So the years went by
I stayed the same
but she began to drift away
I was left alone
still I waited for the day
when she'd say
I will always love you

Lonely and forgotten
never thought she'd look my way
and she smiled at me
and held me
just like she used to do
like she loved me
when she loved me

When somebody loved me
everything was beautiful
every hour we spent together
lives within my heart

When she loved me...

It's so poignant because it reminds me of the bittersweetness of growing up, and watching my own children grow only accentuates the longing I have for preserving the innocence of childhood.


Thursday, December 16, 2004

More from the Irish Jesuits at Sacred Space

Everything has the potential to draw forth from me a fuller love and life.
Yet my desires are often fixed, caught, on illusions of fulfillment.
I ask that God, through my freedom, may orchestrate
my desires in a vibrant loving melody rich in harmony.

The meditation above is a prayer that I feel like I could have written, but I found it today on Sacred Space. FREEDOM is my cry these days--and much of that has to do with not lusting after illusions. Seeking after God's heart, trusting in Him and delighting in Him, transforms my heart into one that is in harmony with His perfect love.

Psalm 37:3-4
Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart


Saturday, December 11, 2004

The Incarnation

I love Christmas.

The fact that God loved humanity that He would enter history as the most helpless of His own creatures--as a human baby--really blows me away. He left heaven to be born of an ordinary young woman, to be raised by ordinary parents, to live among us--simple and ordinary as we are. He willingly put himself into a position where he had to learn to walk, talk, eat and play like you or me. He wasn't pretending to be a baby and biding His time until He could--ta daa!--remove the mask and show that He was the Messiah. He really knew hunger and felt wet swaddling clothes and heard sweet lullabies and woke up Mary and Joseph many times in the middle of the night. He really put on human flesh so that he could be one of us.

This is the central message of Christmas that never gets old for me, that never gets buried by the commercialism and the hype. Jesus loved us so much that he lived and died and rose again--YES, that is the gospel. But it all starts with a squealing infant who needed his parents and was completely dependent on them for his very life. What a miracle.

Widows and orphans- Homeless mothers and kids in state custody

My church spent the morning and early afternoon today serving the homeless and hungry in our neighborhood. We cooked spaghetti and meatballs and worked together in a way I have not seen our small church work together before. There is unity in serving God.

There was a young woman there who has been staying at the shelter the last few days who asked for prayer. Her six month old baby is in state custody because her boyfriend hurt him and she is fighting to see him now and to get him back. My heart ached for her...I'm sure the situation is more complicated than I can understand, but as a mother my heart wept for her. I prayed with her and cried with her and prayed for her and the safety of her baby. I often wonder if we should take in foster children. I know that it is hard, but if I were this young woman, I would want someone like me--a stable, loving mother--taking care of her baby if he was taken out of my hands.

God cares so much about the helpless and the hurting, the orphan and the widow, the outsider and the cast aside. Lord, how do you want me to be involved in this woman's life and the life of others? How are you calling me to serve here?

Deuteronomy 10:17-19 
17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.

James 1:27
27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Great Commission is for DOUBTERS

The Great Commission
Matthew 28:16-20

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; BUT SOME DOUBTED. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

The command to go, make disciples, baptize, and teach was given also to those with doubts! Not just for the hard core!



Preppies or Guidos

Growing up in my city there were two groups that kids identified with: the preppies or the guidos. The preppies were the rich kids, the smart kids, the Jewish and the Protestant and the free thinking kids whose parents were professors, doctors, business leaders or otherwise wore a suit to work. At Christmas time they never strung gaudy colored lights, only tasteful white ones. At school the kids proudly displayed the ski tags from their weekend excursions on their LL Bean down filled parkas. The guidos were the Italian kids or those who wanted to adopt the look of big hair, designer jeans, gold chains and mafioso junior. They were Catholic, had lots of cousins and weren't known for their academics. I was from the wrong side of town to be a guido, and I lived among the preppies. But I had a secret: I was working class.

My brains were my entry to the preppie world, but I was always a fringe player. Not popular. Not well-travelled. I would have two or three new outfits each year for back-to-school, and the rest we got from the Salvation Army. This is before vintage was cool. This was when you would be terrified to walk into the store because somebody's rich mother might be dropping something off, just as you went in to buy.

The Salvation Army store had a unique smell. It must have been how they laundered the clothes. Everything smelled of it until it was washed. It was like a treasure store to me because I loved to look through the jewelry, piles of bangles, necklaces, earrings...all for pennies. I loved the scarves--silky, funky, psychedelic and old money chic. Wool sweaters were usually the primary goal. If they could were still in good shape, no holes, no pilling, then they could be layered. Layered with a button down shirt, I could almost pass for preppie. There were never any fair isle sweaters there, nor any in cutesy shades of pink and green, so I was always a plain preppie rather than a trendy one.

It was my ambition to attend an Ivy League school and to come to a place of real belonging among the preppies. To become a professor, to arrive in the academic circles by virtue of my brain. Then I discovered theatre and found much greater belonging there than I ever had in my usual social groups. This was not the popularity contest of school plays, this was the world of community theatre with a wild mix of people I had never met before. It was an inner city group so there were so many more blacks, Latinos and poor than I was used to mixing with. There were many ages so my friends started to be out of the ghetto of just my grade in school.

In theatre I learned that I was creative, I had something to say...I could even sing it if I needed to. I was looked up to and was listened to. I loved the applause, but most of all I loved the emotion. I heard people laugh and even made them cry sometimes or hoot in appreciation. It was powerful. The rest of the small-minded cliques didn't matter anymore because I had found a place where I belonged.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Hollywood production of a 19th Century Heroine with iBook.

I am playing loud and jubilant classical music on the radio that makes me feel like a fun-loving Jane Austen heroine in a movie montage detailing the minutiae of her day. Don't tell me that doesn't happen to anyone else! Except of course I am typing my thoughts on an iBook and not in a fabric bound journal tied with a lacy ribbon. I am wearing black sweats and sneakers and looking at the breakfast dishes on the table instead of spreading a blanket for a picnic with a party of formally dressed friends with badminton racquets. And, unfortunately, my swarthy, handsome love interest is not shooting me meaningful glances from under his hat as he is away on business--that is busy working at his ordinary 21st century job. But, alas, a little orchestral music thanks to the local public radio station transports me to my adolescent fantasies of literary romance.


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