Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Oh the places you will go

This got me thinking this morning:

If we find nothing of interest where we are,
we are likely to find little of lasting interest
where we wish to go.

Edwin Way Teale

Friday, January 23, 2009

Carman's Muesli Bars

Okay, I have never in my life taken a bite of something, grabbed the packaging and moved to the computer to thank the maker of said deliciousness before. But today I did. This weekend when we were at Whole Foods in Portland, ME I grabbed a box of Carman's Apricot & Almond Muesli Bars because they had an incredibly low GI (Glycemic Index) and thought to myself, either these will be inedible or too sweet and I'll have to pass them on to Keith (esp. if they're inedible) ;)

This product is extraordinary. It's natural, tasty, well made and even better than all of that is the story behind them. You know I'm a sucker for a good story, and this is one of the best I've heard.
You need to do 2 things - go to the website and hear Carolyn tell her story (she's adorable and I want to make her my new best friend) and find this product - even if you have to beg someone local to stock it (as I will be doing around here - because the 5 hour drive to Whole Foods is just a bit too long, even though it would still probably be worth it!)

Carman's - Australia's Premium Gourmet Muesli

What keeps me from beginning?

Someone has been spying on me... from one of my daily readings:

Say when it's time to begin.

I have a friend who is always planning to start a writing project "as soon as she gets organized." She has read nearly every book, attended every seminar, and bought all the tapes on the subject. She has closets full of organizers, drawers stuffed with folders, and several related computer programs. There's only one problem. Instead of starting, she hides behind a mask of "firsts." "I'll start writing, but first I've got to learn this program." "I'll listen to that tape, but first I've got to read this book."

Are you hiding behind a mask of firsts? Is there always something that keeps you from beginning? Take off the mask. Start the project. Ask that special person for a date. Do that Fourth and Fifth Step. Stop making excuses. Eliminate them.

Learn to say when it's time to begin.

God, please help me eliminate excuses from my life. Show me how full my life can be when I pursue my dreams.

You are reading from the book:

More Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Theology of Hope

This quote embodies so beautifully the community I have found here in St. Stephen. Thank you to all who engage in it.

Prophetic imagination, or prophetic dreaming, keeping visions alive, is what stimulates diverse groups forming society into becoming a culture of life, a biophilic, life-loving culture, to use an ecological term. It is also an authentic dimension of being and becoming Church. Together with the power of dangerous memory, these two activities are at the heart of a theology of hope. For prophetic imagination is outrageous---not merely in dreaming the dream, but in already living out of the dream before it has come to pass, and in embodying this dream in concrete actions.

Prophetic imagination linked with dangerous memory - what an incredible combination.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jon Foreman & To Write Love on Her Arms

Awesome video from last weekend at the House of Blues with Jon Foreman (Switchfoot) and tons of his buddies singing the Beatles tune "Help from my friends" for a benefit for TWLOHA - this is one of the most exciting awareness programs for those who self injure. If you work with teens you probably know someone who is self injuring. This is a terrible curse that haunts far too many. TWLOHA is shedding light and love on this difficult issue.

I highly recommend watching both videos - the music video and the PSA - I can't embed them here - but you can see them here:

SPIN Exclusive: All-Star Rockers cover Beatles

To Write Love on Her Arms: Heavy and Light

Love, Dad

Parade Magazine has an open letter Barack Obama has written to his daughters - friend or foe - these are the kind of words a daughter would love to hear her father speak to her:

'What I Want for You — and Every Child in America'

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cleaning spaz

I don't know if I've ever blogged here about what a spaz I am with cleaning. I was never taught how to properly clean anything. My mom was sick for most of my time at home and I honestly don't know if she was ever taught either. I can clean, I don't like to, but I am capable. I just don't always know the easiest, fastest or proper way to do it. So I am constantly amazed when I learn something new. I mean, really, I'm 43 and still have to shake my head when I find a new trick, tool or process.

We were at friends the other night for dinner and afterward the husband stacked the dishes, took them to the sink, ran 1 1/2" hot water & soap and one by one rinsed the dirty dishes in the sink. He took a dish brush and gave everything a swirl before he put it into the dishwasher. Pretty basic, eh? I looked at him like he had just taught me how to dance. He was a bit flustered, but I told him it never, ever occurred to me to only put a tiny bit of water in the sink and use a dish brush. Rocket science, I know.

Rinsing dishes before meant water running, flinging at the gunk with the fork in my hand, or using the dish rag to basically wash the dish before I even put it into the dishwasher (which in my not so humble opinion is SUCH A FREAKING WASTE OF TIME AND EFFORT WHY BOTHER HAVING A DISHWASHER??) I was of the mindset that if the dishwasher didn't get everything off I'd then clean things at the other end - which wasn't at all a great success because it's usually my kids putting away the dishes and they barely ever check to make sure something is really clean before putting it away. The dish brush on the other hand is effortless, conserves resources, time and energy.

I have to tell you that as I finished up my lunch dishes today I smiled again as I swirled the dirt out of the dish with my new handy, dandy dish brush and put it into the dishwasher. My hands didn't even get gunky. B.R.I.L.L.I.A.N.T.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Listening to the necessary

Quote for the day from my daily reading:

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary
so that the necessary may speak.

Hans Hoffman

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

What she said

Words of wisdom from down under this morning:

Life beats down and crushes the soul.
Art reminds you that you have one.

Stella Adler

via Kel

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


 Today is the Feast of the Epiphany and also the third anniversary of our arrival in New Brunswick.

A few months after our arrival we found out that the New Brunswick motto is "Spem Reduxit" - literally "Hope was restored" - it is so true to our story. Epiphany comes in so many ways.

May you find one today.

(I took this picture at St. Saviour's church in Bar Harbor, Maine - I don't know if it is one of the Tiffany stained glass or not, it is very beautiful though)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

My survey of 2008

1) What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

Took a real, live family vacation to the Oregon coast for a family reunion there. It was glorious.

2) Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don't make resolutions, but I do have a word for the year - last year was "complete" and this years is "thrive"

3) Did anyone close to you give birth?

My sister gave birth to her second child Sam - and I still haven't had the joy of meeting him yet.

4) Did anyone close to you die?

Keith's father, Andy died last spring and no one in my family until the last week of the year when two of my cousins died. One from each side of my family. These are the first from "my generation" to pass and they were both unexpected and tragic. 50 is far too early to die.

5) What countries did you visit?

Still only in North America.... sigh.

6) What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

Something big to pour my energies into - pioneering a project that meets a real need in our community and beginning to develop it into a vital ministry.

7) What date(s) from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Election day.

8) What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I can fit a size 12 jean. WOO HOO! :D

9) Did you suffer illness or injury?

no, very healthy year for me.

10) What was the best thing you bought?

living room furniture - I am a grown up now! :D

11) Whose behavior merited celebration?

I loved watching Barack Obama this past year. We got to see him live in Bangor last February and as most of you know I was/am a big supporter. Seeing him navigate this election was beautiful, his responses to challenges and difficulties - there were very few times I was disappointed.

12) Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Appalled would be a strong word, but there are so many in my life from my past who have distanced themselves from me and judged me because of my political views. It makes me so sad that different = bad to so many.

13) Where did most of your money go?

Money? I guess our vacation and furniture, although we didn't spend grand amounts on either.

14) What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Politics were a surprise to me, I got really invested in the election. Cooking was also a bit of a surprise.

15) What song will always remind you of 2008?

Switchfoot - This is Home
Coldplay - Yes!
The Once Soundtrack - I know the movie came out in 2007, but I hadn't heard it until last year and it filled my head for half of it.

16) Compared to this time last year, are you:
Wiser? Yes
Healthier? Yes
Richer? No

17) What do you wish you’d done more of?
Kept on top of our finances and my school work

18) What do you wish you’d done less of?


19) How did you spend Christmas?

It was wonderful to finally realize that we didn't have to travel this year to feel like we were "home" for Christmas. We truly are home here in New Brunswick and we celebrated with each other, our friends and our community.

20) Did you fall in love in 2008?

I worked hard on love this year. 21 years married and 25 together - that doesn't happen by accident.

21) What was your favorite blog post that you wrote?

Leaning into the fear

22) What were your favorite TV programs?

The Office

23) Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I used to NEED to have an enemy - I didn't know it, but it drove me. Once I figured out that this wasn't working for me I truly can say that NO, I didn't hate anyone last year, although many people pushed my buttons! :D

24) What was the best book you read?
The Brothers K

25) What was your greatest musical discovery?
The Once Soundtrack

26) What did you want and get?
Serenity and a much healthier view of my femininity and body image.

27) What did you want and not get?
Magical paper writing skills :D

28) What was your favorite film of this year?
Wall E & Once

29) What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was/am 43 - and I invited my tribe to my home for Canadian Thanksgiving - and minus the plate smashing incident (accident, not Greek Opa fun) it was lovely.

30) Which celebrity/public figure did you like the most?
Guess??? Barack & Michelle Obama

31) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
What Not to Wear is my fashion bible - that show has helped me figure out what works for me and doesn't (most of the time) - I can only call it thrift store Heidi. :D

32) What kept you sane?
The 12 steps

33) Who did you miss?
My sister and her kids

34) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
I learned that I am not dangerous. I learned that I am capable and worthy of love and deep friendship. I learned that loving myself and caring for myself is the best way I can love my family. I learned that community is healing. I learned that living with longing isn't sad desperation, but how we learn to grow and unfold.

35) What did you gain this year?
I became comfortable in my own skin.

36) What did you lose this year?
lots of weight and a very bad image of myself and my body.

37) Who was the best new person you met?

38) Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Suddenly I See - KT Tunstall

Her face is a map of the world
Is a map of the world
You can see she's a beautiful girl
She's a beautiful girl
And everything around her is a silver pool of light
The people who surround her feel the benefit of it
It makes you calm
She holds you captivated in her palm

Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see)
This is what I wanna be
Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see)
Why the hell it means so much to me

I feel like walking the world
Like walking the world
You can hear she's a beautiful girl
She's a beautiful girl
She fills up every corner like she's born in black and white
Makes you feel warmer when you're trying to remember
What you heard
She likes to leave you hanging on her word

Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see)
This is what I wanna be
Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see)
Why the hell it means so much to me

And she's taller than most
And she's looking at me
I can see her eyes looking from a page in a magazine
Oh she makes me feel like I could be a tower
A big strong tower
She got the power to be
The power to give
The power to see

Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see)
This is what I wanna be
Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see)
Why the hell it means so much to me

Here’s to ‘09…

I saw this on Marko's blog (who saw it on josh treece’s blog.)

New skin!

Inspiration comes where you find it - and two of my blogger friends have recently given their blogs a facelift. Claudia & Kel have chosen funky, fun new skins for their blog and my old blog was looking pretty sad. I have been playing with my blogger template and I think I like the one that I have installed. I had to keep the old blogger so that my "old skin" was compilable - and now I get to have all of the gadgets that the new blogger template affords. That does mean though that I lost my blogroll and have to replace it - so if I happen to miss your blog on my blogroll please just shoot me an email and I'll happily add you.

Wish I could upgrade my own skin so easily! :D

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Slow, permanent change

While journalling last night I caught myself starting to feel the pressure of the New Year begun (it was after 1:00 a.m. when I was writing). I quickly caught that random thought and realized that today was no different than yesterday. Just because of a calendar flip I was programmed to play some very old tapes in my head.

As I felt the anxiety this brought I remembered that each and every new day is a calendar flip for me. One day at a time really means something to me. Recovery has taught me that slow, permanent change is far more meaningful in my life than resolutions and promises that fit into once a year commitments.

I do enjoy the fresh feeling that the New Year brings and I celebrate it joyfully - but I am doing nothing different today than I was yesterday - other than focusing on my word for this year - THRIVE.

I had some conversations today along this same line. As I processed this verbally I realized that the mindset resolutions always tricked me into was that when broken I needed another BIG day to begin again. Treating each new day as a fresh opportunity for change has been so healing for me. Today is all I have been given. I awoke to this in my inbox this morning:

I was regretting the past and fearing the future.
Suddenly my Lord was speaking: My name is I AM.
When you live in the past, with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard. I am not there.
My name is not I Was.
When you live in the future, with its problems and fears, it is hard. I am not there.
My name is not I Will Be.
When you live in this moment, it is not hard. I am here.
My name is I AM.

Helen Mallicoat

Source: Found in The Silence of Unknowing by Terence Grant