Thursday, September 28, 2006

Happy 19th Anniversary Keith!


19 years! It's hard to believe. It feels like yesterday and forever all wrapped together. The path we have walked together has knit our hearts tight. The good, the bad, and the ugly - we have shared it all. I am amazed we made it through. I am thrilled we made it through.

Our marriage has been the hardest, most rewarding work of my life. Look at us - we're doing it - together.

I love you dear husband. No one stirs my passionate heart like you. Thank you for being my best friend. Thank you for these 19 years! Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 25, 2006

Much bewildered, sore afraid

At church Walter has been teaching on fear. This post by Darren at The Alternative Hymnal brings the subject of fear to Jesus' ministry. Overcoming fear is a constant obstacle for me. He writes:

"When I started to think about it the words “Do not be afraid” kept on coming to mind, in particular how the Gospel story seems to start with the words “Do not be afraid” (in Matthew) and, in the same book ends with the same words as Jesus and the angel appears to the women after the resurrection, it’s the same words Jesus uses on the mountain after the Transfiguration and the same words he uses as he calls the fishermen to follow him on his journey, it’s also the same words used as he walks on water and frightens the disciples and when the Synagogue leader is told that his daughter has died."

Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of being known - all of those things rear their ugly heads in my life and I am tempted to isolate. To hide, to withdraw and to stop engaging in the community I so long for and need. I found this post a real reminder that most of life is really about overcoming our fears. All of us. Not just me.

I wonder what it would be like to sit together in a safe community and share our fears. Talk about them, say them out loud. Realize how very much alike we really are to the people sitting to our right and our left. I know that most would bristle at the thought. Few would show up, and fewer still would probably feel safe enough to share. But what could be overcome if we spoke our deepest fears into community and we were heard and not alone?

I have come face to face with some of my greatest fears in this past year. I am now in a community that embraces me - will allow me to use my gifts and participate as I am. Not as who I have to construct myself into to be acceptable.

This is terrifying to me.

What if I am judged as unacceptable. What if I stand and don't deliver? What if I can't live up to all that I so long to be? What if I'm all talk and no action?

That would be one of my greatest fears realized.

Do you ever just pick up a book at THE RIGHT TIME to read a line that HITS HOME, square, right between your eyes? I did that this morning. A Christmas devotional by Calvin Miller was calling to me today, "Pick me up" it said. This page opened and I read this prayer:

"Lord, may I quit trying to figure out the mathematics of grace. You have chosen me because it is Your nature to use the bewildered. And that is enough for me. What would you have me to do?"

The bewildered. The afraid. The lost and confused. That hit me square between the eyes. Okay. Today I will own my bewilderedness and do it bewildered. Here I am God, send this bewildered one.

You can read the rest of Darren's post here:

The Alternative Hymnal Faithless - Mass Destruction - P*Nut and Sister Bliss Mix

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Finding My Voice

I have started a Vox blog today because I like the features it has for private posting and releasing things to only family or friends.

Pretty cool format too. Check it out:

Finding My Voice

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I've been everywhere man

I have lived in many different places - a lot with very distinguishable language systems (Pittsburgh especially) and it seems not to have affected my home-grown, midwestern roots.

We escaped Pennsylvania without the dreaded silent "l" of swimming in the "poo" after we go "dahn tahn" to pick up groceries from "Giant Ego". It seems that here we must be aware here of that pesky "a" for "o" transfer that seems to be creeping in as my son said "dag" yesterday when he was describing a puppy - we've got to put a quick end to that one!

Your Linguistic Profile:
55% General American English
20% Yankee
15% Upper Midwestern
5% Midwestern
0% Dixie

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Princess and The Goblin

We are reading George McDonald's The Princess and The Goblin together each night and there are quotes in here I don't want to forget:

"But Mr. Author, why do you always write about princesses?"

"Because every little girl is a princess."

"You will make them vain if you tell them that."

"Not if they understand what I mean."

"Then what do you mean?"

"The daughter of a king."

"Very well, then every little girl is a princess, and there would be no need to say anything about it, except that she is always in danger of forgetting her rank, and behaving as if she had grown out of the mud. I have seen little princesses behave like the children of thieves and lying beggars, and that is why they need to be told they are princesses. And that is why, when I tell a story of this kind, I like to tell it about a princess. Then I can say better what I mean, because I can then give her every beautiful thing I want her to have."
pg,. 11-12
"...on she ran, unable to think for fear, and ready to run anywhere to elude the awful creature with the stilt-legs. Not daring to look behind her, she rushed straight out of the gate, and up the mountain. It was foolish indeed -- thus to run farther and father from all who could help her, as if she has been seeking a fit spot for the goblin-creature to eat her at his leisure; but that is the way fear serves us; it always take the side of the things that we are afraid of."
pg. 138-139

"The lady was seated on a low chair by the side of the fire, with hands outstretched to take her, but the princess hung back with a troubled smile.

"Why, what's the matter?" asked the grandmother. "You haven't been doing anything wrong -- I know that by your face, though it is rather miserable. What's the matter, my dear?"

And she still held out her arms.

"Dear grandmother," said Irene, "I'm not so sure I haven't done something wrong. I ought to have run up to you at once when the long-legged cat came in at the window, instead of running out on the mountain, and making myself such a fright."

"You were taken by surprise, my child, and are not so likely to do it again. It is when people do wrong things willfully that they are the more likely to do them again."
pg. 147-148

"You must not suppose that I am blaming you for that, I daresay it was out your power to help it."

"I don't know, grandmother," said the princess, beginning to cry. "I can't always do myself as I should like. And I don't always try. -- I'm very sorry anyhow."
pg. 159

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I was reading Meet the Austins by Madeleine L'Engle before I hand it off to Alinea so we talk about it together and found this quote. It reminds me so much of the incredible views we have on our Bay of Fundy:

"One side of the room is all a big window which Grandfather had put in. It has shutters you can close, but when they're open you look down the steep bluffs to the ocean and the only thing that's farther out on the bluff than Grandfather's stable is the lighthouse. Mother and Daddy always look forward to sleeping in the enormous bed, but Mother says that the first couple of nights, even if they close the shutters, she always stays awake for a long time to see the lighthouse light as it swings around. There are no pictures in the room; Grandfather says you can't ask any picture to compete with that view. But on one wall he painted in soft gray Gothic letters:

"God is over all things, under all things; outside all;
within, but not enclosed; without but not excluded;
above, but not raised up; below, but now depressed;
wholly above, presiding; wholly without, embracing;
wholly within, filling."

That has always been one of Grandfather's favorite things, so we knew that it was by Hildevert of Lavardin, who wrote it sometime around 1125."

Meet the Austins, Madeleine L'Engle, pg. 151

Friday, September 08, 2006

You are like a Hurricane

During Lent last spring I was tempted to 'give up' something meaningful. And then I remembered that the past 12 months were about giving many things up and away. I decided to embrace instead of push away, to add instead of subtract. I decided that I was going to pour my Lenten meditations and prayers into my fingers and onto paper.

It had been years since I had allowed myself the freedom to do art. I completed three pieces, each in a different medium. This one is my favorite. It is a self-portrait.

It didn't begin that way. I just had my sketchbook, my pastels and the sunny warmth of the front porch at 29 Union calling to me. I would have never set out to draw myself. I don't know what happened.

I have never been light on my feet. I guess I've always been too self-conscious. I'm sure the church's stern frown upon dancing in my younger years had is affect. Needless to say, I have rarely lost myself in the moment of movement and the dance of joy.

But, there were two euphoric recollections of freedom that have etched their way deep into my memories. I guess they came to life here on this page.

The first was during my college years while staffing a week of camp. This was not the camp of my childhood and they held a DANCE (gasp) for their campers and it shocked my little Brethren roots to the core. I watched from the sidelines with my pharisaic nose in the air. Until the dj called all of the females, young and old to the center of the floor. How could I not go?

We all joined hands and he played Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Want to Have Fun - and we circled and circled, spinning faster and faster. I have never felt so free. So full of life and so uninhibited. All self-consciousness stripped away and I joined the whole instead of the fear of the one alone. The isolation that comes from judgment can be a desolate thing indeed.

The second time was only about five years ago, at the National Youth Workers Convention in Pittsburgh. They invited Andy Hunter to a late night option to give us a taste of what England was doing on the rave front. I was so excited. Keith not so much. I wanted to get lost in the crowd and find that place of becoming part of the whole in worship.

Walking into the room they reserved was a huge disappointment. About 12 people were on the dance floor with about 20 more watching. At a convention of 1000's I had to admit that I was more than a bit saddened that more people weren't joining in so that I could loose my inhibitions and spin. Childhood restrictions on dance also make for little grace and ease of movement on the dance floor. I pictured myself doing the "Elaine" and becoming a spectacle instead of a sum of the parts that make up the whole.

We sat at the sidelines, Keith wanting to leave, I wanting to stay until more people showed up. Then I noticed that his stage was set up in front of a large curtained off section of the room. I got up, without telling Keith where I was going and snuck back behind the curtain. No one could see me. I became invisible even to myself, and able to dance for that audience of One. Tentatively I put out my arms, I closed my eyes and began to feel the beat and I swayed and wove my hands into the music. My feet were still firmly etched to the floor though.

A couple of minutes changed that as I realized my invisible safety and then I began to spin - I know it wasn't full of dancer-like grace and moves of skill, but rather it seemed like the three year old I once was turning in time to the music of Lawrence Welk my parents often listened to in my childhood. Although not artistic in the least I was free and worshipping my God to my full extent, body, soul & spirit, tears streaming down my face.

I think that it what flowed onto the paper here. I imagined myself in the middle of the greening grass, long skirts and sleeves flowing in the wind and spinning like my life depended on it. I was lost in the medium, adding color, my hands smearing and blurring, green, yellow, orange and red all swirling and whilrling onto the paper.

It is how I long to be - so carefree, so uninhibited, and fearless in my worship. So unlike reality.


I'm glad it's on paper. It makes it feel more real. It reminds me that there are times when heaven touches earth and I am transcendent in my worship. Freed from all that hangs on me, body and soul.

I realized after looking at it that it was so similar to a weather map of those tropical storms that whirl and spin in this season - so dangerous and out of control. Oh the damage they wreak and wreck.

That brought up another memory from when I was in middle school. Our bus driver was a crazy lump of a woman named Hilda. I remember crossing Highway 50 on the way home and we were sideswiped by a car on the four lane highway. After that we called her "Hurricane Hilda". It was then that the fear of the hurricane began winding it's way into my psyche.

Hilda is far too close to Heidi for my liking. I never wanted to be known as "Hurricane Heidi" - destruction, wind gusts of 100 mph, unruly wildness. Not the image the church ever told me a woman was to embrace. And far too much like the wild things I knew were deep within me.

This became a secret obsession of mine. Each hurricane season I would listen for the choice for "H" - fearing that my own name would be linked to those horrible tragedies. Hurricane Heidi. Oh the destruction, the devastation the wild things within me can wreak and wreck. Not a metaphor I welcomed freely.

Since then I have pondered it's similarity to the fears I have in embracing my voice and my call here in our new community. I have been silenced and silenced myself for so long that the power of the force within me terrifies me. Will I come on as a fire hose instead of a fountain? How will it ever be possible? How can I spin and not wreck? How can I participate and not be so self-conscious and afraid? How dear God can I serve you and fulfill the call you have on my life?

Only when I spin for You. Only when it is truly done in worship. God help me.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Make a difference

It makes no difference, unless you make a difference.

Peter Fitch

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Myers-Briggs Prayers

These are spot-on! Which one are you?

ISTJ: Lord help me to relax about insignificant details beginning tomorrow at 1:41.23 am e.s.t.

ISTP: God help me to consider people's feelings, even if most of them ARE hypersensitive.

ESTP: God help me to take responsibility for my own actions, even though they're usually NOT my fault.

ESTJ: God, help me to not try to RUN everything. But, if You need some help, just ask.

ISFJ: Lord, help me to be more laid back and help me to do it EXACTLY right.

ISFP: Lord, help me to stand up for my rights (if you don't mind my asking).

ESFP: God help me to take things more seriously, especially parties and dancing.

ESFJ: God give me patience, and I mean right NOW.

INFJ: Lord help me not be a perfectionist. (did I spell that correctly?)

INFP: God, help me to finish everything I sta

ENFP: God,help me to keep my mind on one th-Look a bird-ing at a time.

ENFJ: God help me to do only what I can and trust you for the rest. Do you mind
putting that in writing?

INTJ: Lord keep me open to others' ideas, WRONG though they may be.

INTP: Lord help me be less independent, but let me do it my way.

ENTP: Lord help me follow established procedures today. On second thought, I'll settle for a few minutes.

ENTJ: Lord, help me slow downandnotrushthroughwatIdo.