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Rainy day treasures

05/26/2011

My family moved around a lot when I was little, and one such move I made was from Washington to Illinois. In my first few weeks there, I unearthed a great secret: when you don’t live in a rainy climate, teachers actually tuck away a few surprise activities for rainy days. In Seattle, the rain was always there, a persistent friend and so our school-day recesses were nothing short of ordinary, whatever the weather.

But in Illinois– oh the magic of rainy days. I looked forward to them, too excited to sleep when I heard the rain drizzling onto my roof dark in the night. Finally, I’d drift off, wondering what treasures awaited us the next morning.

I know that may seem like a strong reaction to rainy days– but during that time in my life, I loved them. Rain was the comforting constant in my life full of military moves from coast to coast, and finally to Illinois.

But back to the treasures. The days when I’m most alive are rainy days. I love those days. I relish them and when the weather outside is rainy for days and days (as it has been here in CO), it makes me more likely to stop, to think and to wonder what treasures God is storing up for me, what gifts from His good and faithful love he’s waiting to pour down.

Here are some of those rainy-day-treasures stored up for me:

The smell of the cool breeze, slightly scented of rain, but the promise of new blooms, rushing through my car window.

The vivid green leaves, the deep dark trunks of the newly awakened trees.

Wet grass against bare feet– cold, but lush.

And perhaps most exciting… more and more reasons, more and more days on the horizon to drink iced coffee. Is there a more perfect drink?

Just one of my rainy day treasures: Paris, France

For every season…

05/23/2011

Life has been busy as the start of summer arrives– so this writing exercise was the perfect way to keep me thinking, writing, creating. It was helpful too, to reflect, to pause and breathe– things I haven’t been very good at of late. The inspiration behind this post  comes from Kathy Escobar, a friend and wonderful writer. Check out her post too, and download the template for your own use.

a time for new dreams wrapped in hope and peace to be born

       and a time for unkindness–to ourselves, to others to die.

a time to plant the seeds of justice for the voices that people think are too small to be heard

     and a time to harvest loving mercy.

a time to kill the monsters of past regrets that haunt us

     and a time to heal from the wounds of yesterday.

a time to tear down the things we falsely worship: perfection, busyness, looking put together on the outside

     and a time to build up: community, real and honest; the freedom to be where we’re at, to love where we’re at.

a time to cry about feeling so alone in this journey

     and a time to laugh with the richest community I’ve experienced.

a time to grieve over the dreams I’ve had to let go of, the places I’ve left behind

     and a time to dance because of the bigger, more beautiful dreams I’m inheriting.

a time to scatter the hopes of tomorrow, plant them in fragrant soil

and a time to gather the blooms from yesterday.

a time to embrace the unknown, to step into the wild wind

and a time to turn away from my comfort zone, from being too afraid to take the first step.

a time to search for more ways to love

and a time to quit searching for the right answers, the right doctrine, the right dogma.

a time to keep good friends close

and a time to throw away the attempts to keep everyone happy.

a time to tear apart my list of shoulds

and a time to mend the list of things that my soul delights in.

a time to be quiet about the lacking

and a time to speak about the abundance.

a time to love the pure, the good, the lovely

and a time to hate the unjust, the evil, the painful.

a time for war against injustice, inequality, and corruption

and a time for peace worth pursuing, lasting, true peace.

amen.

What does your life look like this season?

Let us be women who love…

05/16/2011

I have something new going up soon, but I wanted to share this absolutely BEAUTIFUL piece from the SheLoves Magazine. I cannot get over this, and want it to be a a “life rule,” a way of living:

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women willing to lay down our sword words, our sharp looks, our ignorant silence and towering stance and fill the earth now with extravagant Love.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women who make room.

Let us be women who open our arms and invite others into an honest, spacious, glorious embrace.

Let us be women who carry each other.

Let us be women who give from what we have.

Let us be women who leap to do the difficult things, the unexpected things and the necessary things.

Let us be women who live for Peace.

Let us be women who breathe Hope.

Let us be women who create beauty.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be a sanctuary where God may dwell.

Let us be a garden for tender souls.

Let us be a table where others may feast on the goodness of God.

Let us be a womb for Life to grow.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us rise to the questions of our time.

Let us speak to the injustices in our world.

Let us move the mountains of fear and intimidation.

Let us shout down the walls that separate and divide.

Let us fill the earth with the fragrance of Love.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us listen for those who have been silenced.

Let us honour those who have been devalued.

Let us say, Enough! with abuse, abandonment, diminishing and hiding.

Let us not rest until every person is free and equal.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women who are savvy, smart and wise.

Let us be women who shine with the light of God in us.

Let us be women who take courage and sing the song in our hearts.

Let us be women who say, Yes to the beautiful, unique purpose seeded in our souls.

Let us be women who call out the song in another’s heart.

Let us be women who teach our children to do the same.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women who Love, in spite of fear.

Let us be women who Love, in spite of our stories.

Let us be women who Love loudly, beautifully, Divinely.

Let us be women who Love.

Scraping the Barnacles

05/10/2011

I’ve decided to let go of anxiety-builders. Those things that keep me up at night. There are the simple ones— money, family, education— and those likely won’t go away. But then there is layer after layer of crusty theological ones, soul-threatening ones, like barnacles on a dock, building up while also wearing down. Who am I offending with my social justice lens on the gospel? Who has labeled me today, and how will that impact our relationship? How will this Christ-centered orthodox woman anger her family today? Who hates my perspective of creation, of hell, of women in ministry? Who hates my love of liturgical practices, or my belief that inner reflection, soul-care, are crucial to following Jesus?

These chains, the parasitical weight that I carry around? It turns out it’s my choice to let go of them. Whales practice breaching— a behemoth belly-flop— to remove barnacles from their thick skin. Throwing itself up, out of the water, and slapping down into it, the power of the water hitting the whale, acting like a pressure washer.

I know I’m supposed to write about what I have let go of. But the truth is, I haven’t let go enough. It’s painful, the skin-scraping that has to happen. But I’m committed to it, to removing the barnacles.

Because the days I’m successful? They are the most joyful. They are the days where God’s grace is the easiest to see. They are the days when it’s easy— cool water over smooth rocks easy— to love everyone.

I want more of those days, the-fullness-of-beauty-creating-thin-places days. And I realize that those days require me to let go, to walk into them without my cinderblocks, without the anxiety-builders.

This post is part of a May Synchroblog, the topic being “Unfurling.” Read some of the other posts below:

Are you my friend? (Rally to Restore Unity)

05/04/2011

The truth of the matter is, even if you spell many, many words wrong, we can still be friends. In fact, if you believe that Catholics are wrong, liberals are evil, women should be silent, and this woman in particular should be burned at the stake, we can definitely still be friends. What? Yes. In fact, come over for dinner tonight? Let’s break bread together.

That’s the beautiful mystery of God’s grace, isn’t it? That it’s big enough to draw enemies together– to love until there is no more pain, but only love (to paraphrase Mother Teresa, however poorly).

Just a few months ago, I was celebrating a friend’s birthday. We sat, eight of us around a long table, prepared beautifully, feast-ful of wine, of food, of the promise for laughter and sweet memories. But something strange happened to the eight of us, perfect-friends though we were. The evening began in silence, a somber reverence for what was before us. Suddenly we were strangers, hushed, listening for what was to come. The quiet crescendo of celebration.

Soon enough words flowed as easily as wine.

And in that moment where lights caught the flickering smiles, the chimes of forks against plates, the tinkles of glasses touching for a toast, I saw it.

Oh how big and grand and lovely that feast table to come will be. Bigger than we’ve ever imagined it could be. The liberals, the conservatives, the Catholics, the Calvinists all of us together. Perfect strangers being made into perfect friends. How lovely it would be if we could live into the quiet crescendo of celebration, to see the kingdom of God at our imperfect banquets. If you and I could break bread together tonight, if tomorrow we could invite one more stranger-friend to the party.

How else do you honor the blood poured out, the body broken? The feast– seasoned with sorrows, with tears, with anxieties and fears, but most of all with love.

A beautiful and blessed Easter to you!

04/24/2011

Good Friday Reflection

04/22/2011

Since it’s been awhile that I put up a piece of writing by CS Lewis, I want to for today, Good Friday. This comes from the book The Business of Heaven (Harcourt 1984).

God, who needs nothing, loves into existence, wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them. He creates the universe, already foreseeing–or should we say seeing, there are no tenses in God– the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross, the flayed back pressed against the uneven stake, the nails driven through the mesial nerves, the repeated incipient suffocation as the body droops, the repeated torture of back and arms as it is time after time, for breath’s sake, hitched up. If I may dare the biological image, God is a ‘host’ who deliberately creates His own parasites, causes us to be that we may exploit and take advantage of Him. Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.

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