Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Off to the Snow!

Just writing to say that I'll be out of town and out of blogging touch for a week. I'm off to the northwest to visit snowy mountains. It will be wonderful. And crazy house of children. But fun. I hope to be a better blogger upon my return! I miss it and it's somehow been squeezed out of my routine. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Hello, dear blog friends. Merry Christmas to you all. I am grateful for offer to me the gifts of your stories, your wisdom, your poetry and your words. Thank you. May you be filled with joy and peace in the next few days.

with love,

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Ghost of Christmas Present

Sigh of relief. Last night's disc. meeting went so great. The group is really feeling comfortable together and conversation flowed. The reason it went well, the main reason, is that I wrote a spiritual autobiograhy to share. I read it aloud. It was just what we needed because it forced me to put into words things they had to know. I had to take control and choose to share with them a lot. Then they had so much more to go off many good questions. The practice itself of writing a spiritual autobiography was so good for me, but so so difficult! So hard to organize into coherent thoughts. So hard to really tell the truth. But I did it and now I feel like we're really in discernment together, instead of tip-toeing around the edges.

Regarding the play, I'm making myself push through and do it. My impulse was to keep up my brave face and not let the others in, but I ended up confessing how terrified I was to the director. So that's good.

Christmas is upon us and I yearn to be PRESENT in the next my family, to the advent, to others, to the food :)

presence to you all,

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Ghost of Future Yet To Come

Wow. I've been a pathetic blogger. I had a blogging loss of innocence a few weeks ago and what with all the other stuff going on in life, I've just been a little blog shy. I was tagged to do a 10 random things meme and I offered quite a few details about myself. I was blogging under the false notion that even though I was offering details, no one I knew would read it! Well, a friend of my father made a comment on my post and it completely freaked me out. His post was very nice and short but I felt exposed and invaded. So silly, really. This blog is out there and anyone could find it. But it was a good lesson. I still have no idea how he found my blog. I suppose key words appear on search engines?? saying that, here's more info and oh well if I end up not being completely anonymous. I had the weirdest experience last night. A friend of mine invited me to be in her theatrical production of A Christmas Carol. It's her own adaptation and her theatre company is very physical and fun and different. Definitely not your run of the mill production. She offered me the role of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. And the show opens in one week. She told me I'd be completely disguised and that my face would be veiled. Given the fact that I've had major issues with fear on stage, despite my advanced degree in theatre, this was the perfect role to offer me and she knew it... I could be part of the play, be on stage, but be hidden at the same time. So I said yes. Because I am a firm believer in walking through the doors that open in front of you. So I showed up last night and it was completely and utterly directly out of a nightmare. And I mean that in the literal sense. When I used to act more, I'd have anxiety performance dreams of being thrown into the middle of a performance and not knowing where i was supposed to be or what to say. For those of you who have never been in a play, this may seem silly. But it is a terrifying out of control dream. So that's what happened last night. Because everyone else had been rehearsing for weeks, it was so uncomfortable trying to dive in. I was paralyzed and didn't offer much at all. I basically just tried to survive the rehearsal. I survived, then came home and fell apart to my husband. It had taken so much energy to just keep it together at the rehearsal, that I just had to let it out at home. And of course, because life has a sense of humor (or maybe I should call it wisdom), I have my third discernment meeting tonight. How do I explain? I was always an actor. I had talent. But I never felt comfortable in that skin. Sometimes I did. But only once in a while. The creative process was riddled with anxiety and struggle. So as I've been pondering choosing a different path, it has felt very good not acting. Last night represented something I let go about 6 years ago and haven't done since. It represented something deep down that I didn't recognize until I came home. It was so painful to be in that room and to be so paralyzed. And maybe it was a final face to face confrontation with a death of this side of me. And let us not fail to notice that it was the Ghost of Future Yet to Come...the very ghost I've been wrestling with myself. And this was the role I was embodying. This spectre of the future, the unknown. I think it just shook me up on my insides to be crossing worlds in such a major way. This probably doesn't make much sense to those of your reading this. I'm surprised I'm not thrilled that I had this experience. In one sense, it is an affirmation that this is NOT me anymore and is more reason to go this other direction. But I have a deep fear that once I go to seminary and then become ordained and then have a job...that I'll experience the same anxious paralysis of fear. It's something I must push through. But it is present. Still not sure why it has such a grip on me. I'm quite emotional today and shaky. Thank God I wrote a spiritual authobiography to share with the committee tonight. Otherwise, I wouldn't know what to say. But I try to trust Timing. and God. But icky painful feelings...

Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Five

Will Smama posted a fun Friday Five at Revgals this week. Here goes:

Please tell us your least favorite/most annoying seasonal....

1) dessert/cookie/family food
The ice cream logs at our annual family Christmas Eve party. Don't they sound gross? Well they are. They are huge logs, cut crosswise into pieces so you get a round thick disk on your plate. It's ice cream (like spumoni or something) and the edge is coated in walnuts and in the middle there is a shape of a bell or a Christmas tree made out of sherbet...they are seriously disgusting but it's a tradition.

2) beverage (seasonal beer, eggnog w/ way too much egg and not enough nog, etc...)
Definitely egg nog.

3) tradition (church, family, other)
the ice cream logs.

4) decoration
Okay, this is kind of a toss up between my least favorite and most favorite: the Christmas Poo. Yes, it is a stuffed poop with a Santa hat on it and a smiley face. My brother gave it to my baby daughter a few years's from a South Park episode. It was funny in an irreverant way for few years but I had to draw the line when last Christmas my 3 year old (who loves to dress up as Mary) was sitting in the middle of the livingroom wearing a veil as mother Mary cradling the Christmas Poo, nursing it, and singing "Away in a Manger." That was it. It had to go bye-bye.

5) gift (received or given)
hmmm...gonna pass on this one. Just too lazy to think too hard.

BONUS: SONG/CD that makes you want to tell the elves where to stick it.

Oooh, Will Smama definitely has it right with Feliz Navidad. I guess I'd have to say "I'll be home for Christmas" because it is SO SAD. Or Judy Garland's rendition of "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas" for the same reason.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stuck in Black and White Land

My church is hosting a very progressive adult formation class this year. It has been good...stirring up good conversation, etc. But it has made me realize how I still tend to try to see things in Black and White. I try to do otherwise, but I seem stuck. The curriculum for this class is presented in DVD sessions with various scholars being interviewed. On the most recent installment, focusing on incarnation, Spong talked a lot about how we need to do Christology and the church and basically Christianity all over again...give it a good overhaul. I can go with this idea of approaching Jesus from below...really emphasizing his humanity and our humanity. But Spong believes that Jesus was different in degree, not kind. It's so interesting, but just hard for me to go with. I know it was the early councils that struggled with a developing theology and came up with their truth: Jesus was both divine and human. Spong debunks this a little. He believes that there is a continuum and humanity is on one end, and divinity on the other, and Jesus was the most fully human possible. I do like this idea that Jesus showed us our human potential, showed us what it is to be fully human. But what I struggle with is that so much a part of our humanity is our darkness. Yes, we are gorgeous creatures, full of creativity and beauty and potential. But there's a lot else. It's such a huge part of us. Hard to imagine that we were created to be completely devoid of this pain that is such a part of our existence. Ah, but that is the mystery. And in the end, it doesn't really matter what percentage of Jesus was human/divine. But what does the resurrection mean if he was just human? Just a human completely infused with Godself? I know it's semantics, but it makes a big difference. I don't need to believe in the virgin birth. It may have happened. It may not have happened. Regardless, there is great truth in that story. I don't even have to believe in the bodily resurrection. At least I don't think so. There is still great truth that somehow Jesus is still present. Still alive. But walking away from the evening at church, I felt a bit lost as to who God is. Yes, MYSTERY. With a capital M. But as I contemplate becoming a feels scary not having more of a grasp on where I am. Where God is. etc. But I know this happens in seminary anyway and it's normal and it's a hell of a lot better admitting cluelessness than claiming certainty. shiver. don't want that. It's just that the evangelical folks I'm around a lot are so certain as to doctrine and what you have to believe. It's seductive because what if they're right? And it's so nice to have things that clear. I'm tempted to really explore what feels to me as dangerous and stimulating possibilities. I'm just somewhere in the huge middle. But last night it saddened me because I felt like the evangelical community in which I have a lot of friends, and the community of my progressive church...well...they truly seem like different religions, not just denominations or expressions. And that's sad. Because I want to hope for more unity in the church. There's just a wider spectrum than I ever knew about.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A poem for fast-approaching Advent

Withered leaves panic
Before the knives of wind.
They scurry directionless,
Longing for peace,
Burial in a swansdown of flurries.
Deadblown, yet swirled into false life,
Their nature calls for a return to earth--
To become bits and pieces of the kingdom
From which new life will grow.

Darkness drives down the sun,
Loosing the night cold as blue metal;
Together we beg the return of fire
And you hear, O Lord.
Sun's slow revolve enthrones a
Little one on wood warmed with straw.
Childbirth is risky--he comes
As he goes
In a rush of blood and water.
In the night, with loaves and wine,
We become the little one;
Blood brothers and water sisters,
Bits and pieces of the kingdom.

- "Leaves in Solstice"
Dennis Kennedy

Sunday, November 18, 2007

still here

Hello, readers, if there are any out there after my blogging fast. It was unintentional. Just life going on and me being lazy and not feeling like engaging in thought. All is okay. My daughters are delicious scrumptious cuteness these days. My husband is in the other room grading with candles lit. I'm tired of discernment. I'm tired of myself. I'm supposed to talk to my committee more specifically about my call next time (Dec. 13th) and I don't feel like thinking about that. I'm so happy Thanksgiving is coming. I love this time of year. I love Thanksgiving Day. I'm bringing two homemade pies to my parent's house Thursday. Yum. Today was misty and chilly, a welcome relief from the 85 degree weather of a few days ago!! I know, you who live elsewhere, I shouln't be complaining, but it doesn't feel like fall when it's hot and I'm FROM this part of the world, too! I'm sipping a yummy glass of red wine. I made taco soup for my family tonight. I'm just living in the more material world these days and it's kind of nice. good night and I'll try to be not so much a stranger. Oh, and I've been tagged by Mrs. M, so I must get to that!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

the dark

As today is All Saints Day, I was reading through some of my Madeleine L'Engle collection and I came across a story she told in one of her Crosswicks journals. As I re-tell it here, I am paraphrasing. As a young woman, L'Engle was at a conference at Yale Divinity School and the speaker was a child psychiatrist of note. He opened the discussion up to questions, and one woman asked, "Why is it that everything falls apart at home around 5pm? What is it about that time of day that is the witching hour?" He replied with the obvious reasons: tired and hungry children, mother irritable after a long day at home, father comes home tired from work and not wanting to deal with the stress of the home, etc. (this was obviously a more "traditional" generation). And then he said, "Do you want to know the real reason? We're all afraid of the dark." Woah. This struck me today as very profound. And true. The doctor continued to speak, "And what do with our children who are afraid of the dark?" One mother answered: "We give them night lights." Yes. And Madeleine has been a night light for me. She is someone who is very aware of the dark, of the evil and hateful forces. She engages them in her writing and she does not deny them at all. Yet her theology and life are so full of hope and affirmation. Thank you, Madeleine, for being a night light in the dark.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A good, if tentative, beginning

Well last night went well. I'm just so glad that first meeting is over and done with! And the group is such a great group!! Great dynamic, great diversity. There is one person who I can already tell is going to really push me, but in a very good way as long as I don't have too thin a skin. The most fun part of the evening was its beginning....before I even got to church. Granted, I was feeling very vulnerable and open, but it was as if the Spirit made a point of showing me she was with me. The hot Santa Ana winds were blowing fiercely and this always makes the air feel full of possibility. I left home with a little time to spare and drove to a favorite spot in the city, overlooking the hills and ocean beyond...the moon was was so peaceful. I listened to a favorite song about feeling God all around...and it felt so true. This is a funny yet spooky detail. I got to church and met up with one of the committee members....the one I know the best. And as we approached the church doors, they just opened for us, I kid you not, like a hydraulic system or something. Very funny.

ANYWAY, it was a good beginning, overall, if a bit awkward at first. None of us knew how to proceed, since we're starting without any kind of structure. We're going to take some time before we dive into the official diocesan process. I was advised to just show up and let the others who have been on discernment committees before guide the meeting, but everyone kept looking to me to be the leader. It's funny because normally I rise to the occasion and even over prepare when I'm expected to lead a meeting. But because last night was about me and because there were so many unknowns going into it, I was unprepared to lead it. One man said, "We're taking our cues from you. What do YOU want from us?" Hmmm...damn good question. And it was a hard one to answer. But I was able to be myself, truly. I felt naked and it felt as though I were throwing caution to the wind. I could have been much more calculated in my responses, but as it should be, I am choosing to be completely honest. It's the only way forward. At some point, I'm going to have to claim this more and tell the committee what I want. But it's hard to claim things that absolutely. The same man looked straight at me and said, "you know what you want." But I'm not so sure. Or maybe I'm deluding myself. I do know I want to be a priest. I'm not so sure I want to have my own church. I do know I'm gifted pastorally, and that I think that being ordained would open doors otherwise closed. I kind of feel like I just am a priest. But this whole process intimidates me. I know I want to go to seminary and I believe that it is there where I will sharpen my SENSE of call. So in the meantime, I'll just put one foot in front of the other and try to be brave and claim outwardly to them what I can. Our next meeting we'll be talking about "call". I sense that one member in the group feels it's very important that a postulant have a strong "calling." This is a tricky word. It just feels so arrogant and certain. But I cannot deny my experience of being pulled in a very strong way. It's just hard to say that I feel I'm being called to the priesthood. I have a very hard time saying that. Anyway, thank you for your prayers and encouragement. Regardless of outcome, this will prove to be an amazing experience. I am so honored that these 5 people are willing to spend their time and energy helping me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I start my discernment committee tomorrow night. May I have your prayers? Thanks! Prayers that I can just speak my truth. Prayers that the Spirit will be with us. Just prayers for the beginning...this beginning feels very hard. No priest will be present to get us started off and it just feels very amorphous...and now I take my leap and let go of control...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Another poem/prayer

My Sequoia Prayer
by Dr. Monteen Lucas, found in the book Women's Uncommon Prayers.

When I feel tiny, weak, and trembling
Or pulled this way and that by swirls of change,
Too insignificant to be of service,
Too "uprooted" to hold my ground,
I pray my Sequoia Prayer.

Sitting quietly, breathing normally, becoming centered in the present moment --
in this holy instant --
My mind's eye gradually forms and image of a giant Sequoia.
My Sequoia prayer takes form in my heart and soul
As the image forms and fleshes out to fill my being.

Centuries-old roots so wide and deep they have become part of the earth,
Supporting enormous, gnarled trunk that soars into the sky,
Eternity wrinkles carved into its surface, holding character markings for the ages,
Thick, porous bark skin covering the body, letting the trunk breathe,
protecting it from the fires that must come to support its growth,
Green leaves gushing out the top, reaching up to the heavens,
Nurturing birds and other beings, offering up limbs as if in prayer.

Awareness of God fills my soul.
Sequoia image fills my being.

Down into the earth,
Deep into the soul,
Strong into the body.

Breathing calmly, sitting quietly, praying trustingly, becoming
Grounded in humanity,
Rooted in God,
Striving ever upward.
My Sequoia prayer fills my cells, my lungs, my heart, my brain, my soul, my being
With love, grace,light.
With joy, hope.

With the strength of God I need to go on! Thank you, God!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Here we go again

Why do I feel like I'm repeating myself? Oh, but I must get it out. There's no way I'll be able to sleep unless I express these thoughts in some way. So the date of my first discernment meeting is fast approaching. Why does the you-know-what always hit the fan at the last and least convenient moment? I mean, I know I've been voicing these thoughts for some time, but still. Maybe the reality is sinking in. My Husband and I (mostly husband) have issues with our church. Who doesn't have issues with their church? It actually bugs me when people are too judgmental of their churches. There is no perfect church. And my point to my husband was that if he invested himself more in the life of the community, it might transform Sunday mornings for him and make them more meaningful. But his views echo mine, I'm afraid, even though I'm able to transcend them a lot of the time because I love all the programs and the people and the idea of our church. But the leadership is SO uninspired. The two priests stand up at the altar with their hands in their pockets and make inside jokes during the hymns. (okay, I exaggerate...a little). The rector could care less about the Bible, seriously. If he says "big tent" one more time in reference to the Christian Faith I'll throw my hymnal at him. YES, we must be inclusive, but are there no standards whatsoever? Is there absolutely no structure? All he cares about is social justice. Which is so so so so important and a major part of Jesus' message...but there is more. And so my main angst right now is: is it okay, is it a good idea, to begin discernment in a parish that would become my sponsoring parish when I feel so ambivalent about its leadership? My husband is talking about wanting to visit other churches and I exploded at him asking him to be a little more sensitive to where I am in my process...and yes I agree with him, but hello, I'm finally having the guts to start this and now it's all going to go out the window? But he has a good point. It wouldn't be going anywhere, it would just shift and perhaps to a deeper level of honesty in myself. But the thought of starting over again...
I received comments in my last post about my doubts about being in the right denomination. I know that denominations are personal and arbitrary and that what matters is our walk with God, but when you're considering being a leader in the church, denomination means a lot...especially when you feel ambivalent about the choice...and not really that loyal...and when the worship feels dead in your own particular church. I LOVE how progressive our church is and it has challenged and deepened my faith by leaps and bounds. But it's all about pushing the envelope as far as possible...where does that leave me? I feel adrift and unsure what to believe.
Sleepless Somewhere on the California Coast,

Monday, October 1, 2007

A poem/prayer I found...

Friend, you lie quiet,
watching the dawn light color your heart,
dreaming of healing for your hurt body
laying there unanswerable to your will.
You breathe deep and your breath has two sides:
inside and outside. You are on both, being breathed.
The future approaches. You will heal or
you will go back to being God.
Which will you do?

Oh, by all that is beautiful--
May it be that you live!
May your body heal happy and whole!
May energy fill and delight you!
May we join the dance your presence gives!
May you live!

And if you die?
Oh dear self, by all that is beautiful,
Know you are Safe! Everything is All Right.
Forever and Ever and Ever!
The most wonderful, exquisite, familiar
Truth is what is True, and welcomes you.
It will be very easy.

You lie quiet now, praying.
A great healing is coming
and you want to be ready.
The colors of your heart blend
with the light of the morning.
You are blessed.

--Elias Amidon

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Wild Goose

Things bubbling up today. You know those times? When little bubbles of spirit come to the surface.

Tonight I attended a talk at my church led by two people who recently went on pilgrimage to the Iona community, on a teeny island in Scotland. Many many people go on pilgrimage there each year. Its site is one of the oldest in Christianity. It's a community dedicated to ecumenism, refreshing inclusive and creative liturgy, stewardship of the environment, peace, and activism in the world. Man, I want to go there.

One of the travelers talked about the worship services. They sounded amazing. Full of expansive poetic language, with gaelic hints. And theatrical interesting ideas for worship services. As I listened, it was like my soul perked up. like a little puppy taking a snooze then smelling something interesting and pricking up its ears.

This notion of finding new ways to worship, and working with language, music and the arts is so at the heart of this vocation I'm feeling out. Okay, duh, no news there, I suppose. Most clergy thrive in this arena. But as I feel my way in the dark, this is definitely a candle that lights my path. Maybe it's my theatre background. Maybe it's my love of language and music. But it all comes together in the creating of meaningful liturgy. And I have very little experience in this. But it so attracts me. And there is definitely a nugget in here about ecumenism. One of the most powerful worship services I experienced was the Thomas Mass. It got it's start in Finland and it's an example of bringing together all our varied Christian traditions into one service, sprinkled with embodied, incarnational ways to reflect on the scripture or sermon. Very cool.

And sometimes I wonder if I'm in the wrong denomination. Wrong for me, that is. I've only officially been an Episcopalian for two years. I was raised in the Presbyterian church. The Anglican liturgy was so new and ancient and poetic for heart lurched toward it and for some reason(s) it's the only church I've ever been able to picture myself ordained into. I also like the "big tent" philosophy in the Anglican tradition and the "middle way." But sometimes I wonder if I'm acting too impulsively.

Anyway, some things that I loved about tonight were the Iona tradition of likening the Holy Spirit to a wild goose, as opposed to a little dove. The holy spirit as noisy and swift and disturbing and wild. I love this.

She also spoke of faith as an adventure. Yes.

And of course I so resonate lately with this notion of pilgrimage. That we are all pilgrims on ajourney to discover the the world around us, in those we meet on the way, in ourselves. Just beautiful.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Alexander and the No Good Horrible Very Bad...

Utterly ridiculous, this day. I am so beaten down and discouraged. Granted, it's that time of the month and I truly have a rough time for a few days a month. But the absurdity, the humor, the ridiculous of my humanity: this morning I proudly announced to Husband that I have a new strategy with my four year old who has been exhibiting adolescent horrible attitude towards me. Instead of getting mad and punishing her, I planned to "disarm her with love." To look at her slyly and say, "Oh, love, you just need a big hug!" I told Husband I was going to practice Jesus' non-violence with my 4 year old and love the enemy. unraveled immediately. We went off to the store to buy dance clothes/shoes for her new class. The unstable element was bringing the two year old, but I had no choice. So there we were in this teeny dressing room trying on jazz leotards and pants and it all went to hell. So much for my calm confident parenting. My older daughter transformed (as she has been lately) into her bratty disrespectful attitude persona and began her barrage of insults. This utter disrespect just unravels me. Especially when we're in public. I lost it. And I lost my authority. And I continue to lose her respect. I feel like a total failure.

But we just had bed time. And we made up. And we prayed.

...And just to continue to spiral in my negativity, Husband is off to rehearsal for the night and I am reminded that my entire existence revolves around taking care of the girls and the home and sometimes I get so resentful. I have a one-day retreat for the hospital chaplaincy coming up. I haven't been able to do the chaplaincy for the last month because I can't find childcare that morning. But this retreat has been on the calendar. Well it turns out his mother (who I love) is arriving in town to see his play and that's wonderful, but of course it's the same day I have this retreat. So yes, I could still go on the retreat, but it would be kind of rude. Of course, Husband can't spend the day with his mom cause it's a work day. And this is my struggle: because he earns the paycheck, my "volunteer" commitments must take second priority...and therefore they can't be commitments.

Sometimes I think women had it better when we had fewer choices. In some ways, the family life was better off when women were just expected to live only in the domestic sphere. Now that there is choice and possibility, I struggle with these issues.

Sorry for the venting. It's just one of those days.

But the night air is gorgeous. My children are in bed. A friend is coming over for a glass of wine and a heart to heart. Husband vacuumed the house before he left.

It's all okay.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Madeleine L'Engle

Husband was checking news online last night and he said to me, "Honey...Madeleine L'Engle died." I burst into tears. She was a soul mate. And I'm glad she's with God. She was 88. But I am missing her. Just knowing she's not alive on this planet with me.

A tribute from her book Walking on Water, Reflections on Faith and Art:

Time is to be treasured, worked with, never ignored. As the astrophysicists understand time now, it is not like a river, flowing in one direction, but more like a tree, with great branches and smaller limbs and twigs which may make it possible for us to move from one branch to another, as did Jesus and Moses and Elijah, as did St. Andrew and St. Francis when they talked with each other in that light of love which transcends all restrictions of time. Kairos. Real time. God's time. That time which breaks through chronos with a shock of joy, that time we do not recognize while we are experiencing it, but only afterwards, because kairos has nothing to do with chronological time. In kairos we are completely unself-conscious and yet paradoxically far more real than we can ever be when we are constantly checking our watches for chronological time. The saint in contemplation, lost (discovered) to self in the mind of God is in kairos. The artist at work is in kairos. The child at play, totally thrown outside himself in the game, be it building a sandcastle or making a daisy chain, is in kairos. In kairos we become what we are called to be as human beings, co-creators with God, touching the wonder of creation. This calling should not be limited to artists -- or saints -- but it is a fearful calling. Mana, taboo. It can destroy as well as bring into being.

so there you have it. I could have spent all night coming up with the perfect L'Engle quote, but that is what was in front of me when I opened one of her books. She is forever in kairos now, and maybe even more likely to touch our lives now without our knowing it.

Thank you, Madeleine.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Friday Five: on Overcoming

Sally at Revgals give us this week's Friday Five:

1.Have you experienced God's faithfulness at a difficult time? Tell as much or as little as you like...

As many of the revgals have mentioned, I've always felt an abiding presence of God. God's always been faithful. It's I who have been myself, to my God, to my life. And this brings me to...

2. Have you experienced a dark night of the soul, if so what brought you through?

That is when I feel like I'm experiencing a dark night of the soul...when I feel God, yes, but I don't feel me. Does this make sense? And I'm there now, folks. So I choose to choose to trust. And to continue to rest in that presence I feel. And to TRY to have a sense of humor about it all. But it's hard. And in my worst moments I take it out on my daughters. :(

3. Share a Bible verse, song, poem that has brought you comfort?

My favorite hymn is "Be Thou my Vision."
And I love this Bible verse: "When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, says the Lord." Jeremiah 29:12-14

But ya know, I've read some posts of yours that express a reality that challenges this promise of God's. Who knows? Maybe there is an intentional withdrawing that God does sometimes. But I struggle with that possibility. It's too close to the notion that God causes suffering. Which brings me to...

4. Is "why suffering" a valid question?

Yes of course, a very valid question. And no answers. Sometimes I think of C.S. Lewis' analogy of the blows of the sculptor's chisel are what create and reveal the beauty and potential that was hidden beneath the raw stone. But seems a little simple. Dunno.

5. And on a lighter note- you have reached the end of a dark and difficult time- how are you going to celebrate?

Hmmm. Not sure. I think I'd celebrate by truly being full of joy in the moment. Of living that moment whomever I'm with fully with joy and presence. Because whenever I come out of a dark and difficult time, just the day to day moments feel free and joyful when not shadowed and burdened with darkness. And alas, PERSPECTIVE, that healer and merry-maker comes again.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Five: Seasons Change...

Reverendmother over at RevGals gave us this Friday Five:

It's Labor Day weekend here in the United States, also known as Summer's Last Hurrah. So let's say goodbye to summer and hello to the autumn. (People in other climes, feel free to adapt as needed.)

1. Share a highlight from this summer. (If you please, don't just say "our vacation to the Canadian Rockies." Give us a little detail or image. Help us live vicariously through you!)

Standing among the tidepools of northern California with my 4 year-old. I shared with her a favorite pasttime from my childhood: squishing sea anemones and watching them squirt. I do this as gently as possible, and only a few times! They're just so squishy and cute!

2. Are you glad to see this summer end? Why or why not?

I suppose so. My husband is on the academic calendar, so the summer represents family time and a lot of teamwork regarding the house and the girls. So it's hard to transition out of that but I feel ready for the return of more routine and schedule.

3. Name one or two things you're looking forward to this fall.

Well, I'm looking forward to starting my discernment committee. At least, I have been looking forward to it until recently. Right now I'm dreading it and in terror, but I think I just have to START. Once I get a date I'll feel better. No, once I have the first meeting I'll feel better. I'm also looking forward to exploring the Saving Jesus curriculum with my church. It's the focus of our Christian formation this year and should be very interesting and thought provoking.

4. Do you have any special preparations or activities to mark the transition from one season to another? (Cleaning of house, putting away summer clothes, one last trip to the beach)

Not really. I like the idea of this. I like ritualizing passages. Especially here in California where seasons blend into one another.

5. I'll know Fall is here when I start feeling like baking apple things and making butternut squash soup for dinner...when the air gets drier and the sky gets bluer and I feel like pumpkin things...when the one deciduous tree (Sycamore) in our back yard view starts to turn orange.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Falling in trust

Something happened yesterday. I won't go into details, but something...a possibility...a hope...appeared and was a big reminder to trust God. One can hear the words "trust God" from others, but the truest way to remember this is to experience it. So I am thankful for the perspective it gave me. For the energy and hope. Why does this alway seem to happen when we're at the end of our ropes and not before? Maybe because it strengthens our faith. If it happened before we wouldn't need it as much and we wouldn't notice it as much.

Who said that "there are no coincidences, just spiritual puns." I think it was G.K. Chesterton.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Morning After

I feel better after last night's late-night post. And a little sheepish and vulnerable. But feels good to release those demons into the written word. Written word that is actually read by other unknown witnesses. I think it's good for me, if a little embarrassing. I feel the temptation to qualify those thoughts, to dilute some of the tone, but no. I'll just let it lie there and be. And here I am today, feeling a lot better and with a little more perspective. Maybe it was watching the recent film Becoming Jane. Mercy! I SO TAKE FOR GRANTED the liberties women have today. What a world it was back then. NO freedom. SHACKLES of class and fortune or lack thereof. It still exists today for many people, yes, but not for me and for that I am, at least today, grateful.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Scary to post this one cause it don't make me look good. Should probably do a bit more of this.

Authenticity. Honesty. Integration. These things don't come easily to me. Or do they? Jeez, these thoughts just feel so narcissistic, and yet they consume me lately, as I approach the beginning of official discernment. I was flipping through Listening Hearts, one of the books recommended to discerners and there was a phrase that warns against making an idol of discernment. Ouch. I am guilty.

But how can I help it? It is so overwhelming to consider a life-changing move, a huge decision that impacts others I love dearly? And all this business of "call." Do I feel called? Yes and no. Unfortunately, I feel so distorted lately. I feel so far away from that energizing life-affirming God seeking place of call that I have felt. Now I am stuck in a mire of neuroses and paranoia and fear. What if it's all just a huge ego trip? What if I just like the idea of being a priest? Sometimes it doesn't feel at all like entering into a humble life of service, but a powerful position of purpose and importance. I just need to write these words because I need to realease the power they have over me. What if I'm so full of it? I know I've written this before. What if the most loving and "Christian" thing for me to do is to resign this dream that feels so much for myself and truly live for others, like um, actually be present to my children and family and neighbors? Why do I have to be ordained? Why can't I just support my husband's career instead of threatening it? Why can't I just volunteer my time as a layperson at church? Why this insistent obsessive pull to the priesthood? Some would say it's a call. It's sure not letting me go. But I so fear its motives. I suppose that's a healthy thing, in a way. At least I'm not this egomaniac certain of God's call. But I'm an egomaniac in a different way...obsessed with this process and so doubtful. And yet....And yet....How I am to claim any sense of call when I'm so stuck inside my head listening to all these voices?

Just a little Vent session

Warning: I am about to vent about mom things.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaagjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj. Okay, I feel better. Ya know, I really have nothing to complain about. But I'm still pulling my hair out. I'm a "stay-at-home" mother of a 2 year old and a 4 year old. I am just so TIRED of never being able to complete ONE task. AND what's really getting me today is I spent the morning taking them to a park and met a friend there and I just wanted to complete ONE sentence with her. It was absolutely impossible to carry on a conversation. I brought the kids to a fun place where I wanted them to just PLAY without me so I could have an adult conversation. Forget it! I felt pulled in so many directions and I spend so many of my days pulled in all these directions and it feels like I'm going mad. When I tell Husband about this, he listens, but doesn't really get it, because whenever he takes them for a few hours he manages to complete 3 loads of laundry, play with them beautifully, and tidy the house, without breaking a sweat. But I struggle. And it has a lot to do with me being with them all day every day. I love them. I live in a ridiculously beautiful city. But unless I spend the whole day on the floor with them (which I am not willing to do), it feels like a desperate attempt to just do ONE thing without them screaming and whining and trying to kill each other. This will be better when the 4 year old starts preschool. And I know that I have particularly "active" children. On my worse days I take it personally, but I've realized lately that it really is their personalities. And it will be wonderful later...they are so full of personality. But sometimes I envy the dull sweet well-behaved children I observe sometimes with their mothers. Of course, I'm sure I'm just catching them at a good moment. sigh. Sorry. I just needed to do this. I SO hope my desire to go into the priesthood isn't because I'm desperate to get out of the house. I know it's more than that but I wonder sometimes. Thank God they're in quiet time right now. bye.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Waking up to my life

Today as I was at the beach with my family, life hit me. Does this ever happen to you? It was as if I was floating along in my day, doing the tasks set before me, then WHAM I realized what was actually around me. I stared at my little girls frolicking in the sand and the waves. WOAH. I have two daughters! And this is what they look like!! I remembered back to my teen years when I daydreamed about what my children might be like some day. And here they are! And here I am! Trippy. And wait a second, look at that hot guy. That's my husband. The same guy I bitch at and take for granted a lot of the time. He's so handsome. And look how he plays with his daughters. It was like a DOSE of the PRESENT. of the MOMENT. That we so rarely allow ourselves to experience. I think it was brought on by one of my favorite authors Annie Dillard. I'm re-reading her authobiography An American Childhood and in it she writes:

What a marvel it was that so many times a day the world, like a church bell, reminded me to recall and contemplate the durable fact that I was here, and had awakened once more to find myself set down in a going world.


Time streamed in full flood beside me on the kitchen floor; time roared raging beside me down its swollen banks; and when I woke I was so startled I fell in.


Who could ever tire of this heart-stopping transition, of this breakthrough shift between seeing and knowing you see, between being and knowing you be? It drives you to a life of concentration, it does, a life in which effort draws you down so very deep that when you surface you twist up exhilirated with a yelp and a gasp. Who could ever tire of this radiant transition, this surfacing to awareness and this deliberate plunging to oblivion - the theater curtain rising and falling? Who could tire of it when the sum of those moments at the edge - the conscious life we so dread losing - is all we have, the gift at the moment of opening it?

Help! Attack of Atheism

I know you've had one. An atheism attack. My most recent one happened two days ago after I read about the devastating earthquake in Peru. I know there are horrible things that happen every day. And I shake my head at them, heave a sigh, but move on pretty easily. Probably too easily. But the fact that 85 people died while worshiping in church has just pummelled me. They were praying and the walls caved in. Is nothing sacred? I know children die unjustly every day. And this should send me into despair as well. But it was this that did it for me.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Five, Word Association Redux

Today is Friday Five from Rev Gals. I'm not feeling particularly verbose today, but I like these words:

Below you will find five words. Tell us the first thing you think of on reading each one. Your response might be simply another word, or it might be a sentence, a poem or a story.

1. vineyard
Well, I think of all the vineyards in these lovely mountains of Southern California...all the wineries and vines full of grapes...and how they're all covered in smoke and ash right now. I think of the great movie Sideways and all the commercialization it's brought to this part of the world, bringing the good and the bad with that. I think about how the vines will continue to produce sweet delicious grapes despite these wildfires...which brings me to the association with the next word...

2. root
I think of roots as the saving element...they go deep down into the soil where they draw deeply from water unaffected (to some extent) from the smoke and dirty air above.

3. rescue
the image of a live-saver comes to mind...the kind a lifeguard might throw to me in a pool.

4. perseverance
Man, I need this now. Perseverance in not giving up on me.

5. divided
Well...the church. That comes to mind immediately.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Seeking Christ

I'm enjoying this book right now: Taking the Plunge: Baptism and Parenting by Anne Kitch. In Chapter 10, she writes about the part of our Baptismal Covenant that asks Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? She writes: "We're marked by the sign of the cross on our foreheads to signify that this bond with Christ is sealed. Yet this ritual is a symbol for something true for the entire world. We believe Christ saved all of creation. Through baptism we choose to participate consciously in that salvation. Nevertheless, Christ saved the entire world, baptized or not. That's why we can seek Christ in all persons. We can look for in any person that which is the redeemed image of God. What does this mean? It means to look for that which is risen in one another - that which is beautiful, powerful, and loving. This promise asks us to 'seek' out the image of God in others. We are actually to go looking for Christ."

I love this. Of course, it's nothing new, but it hit me in a new way when I read it this morning. I've witnessed so many baptisms and I've read those words so many times, but never really paid attention to the "seek" verb. I love the notion of actively seeking Christ in others...especially in others in whom Christ is hardest to see.

She connects this to parenting and offers a story about how we as parents need to avoid knee jerk responses, even when our children may have acted terribly or disrespectfully. Not that we should avoid harsh discipline, but that we need to take a breath and really listen past the behavior and sometimes just offer grace and love them through their ugliness. I could REALLY work on this. When Center of Attention spouts off some of her attitude I tend to fly off the handle. Nothing gets me going more than when she is blatantly disrespectful. And of course I shouldn't allow this behavior towards me. But perhaps I can be the grown-up and take into account the time of day, her level of fatigue or hunger, the situation at hand, and sometimes offer a hug instead of a reprimand...or at least just let it go sometimes.

Anyway...this book offers much to chew on and great ideas for living out our baptismal covenant as parents and creating a spiritually nourishing home environment.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Hail, Mary, full of grace

Husband and I left the kids with my parents and we drove up north one mile to the town of Mendocino...time to get away together for an afternoon and evening. It was beautiful on the road, but I was in a funk. Under a shadow. In the grip of icky grumpiness. There's just something about being around my parents and brother...I just get dark and judgmental. Such a shame because we're in this beautiful place together and it feels like I can't control it. Husband sweetly turned to me from behind the wheel and asked if there was anything I wanted to talk about. "Not really", I sighed. I didn't feel like exploring it. We arrived in town and grabbed lattes to go and walked out to the headlands and found a spot atop a rock jutting out over the bay. It was unusually still...usually very very windy this time of year. And I felt my tension melting away. For one hour we just vented...but it wasn't gossipy mean venting, it was more like just letting go of thoughts and feelings...together. My mood lifted and I felt so close to Husband. It was so therapeutic being alone together in the open air with all that beauty around us. We were sifting through a lot of stuff. At some point, I shared my worry about I feel called to be less greedy and more free and less of a hoarder and more of a giver...we had a good talk, but I felt weighed down by this. It was time to go and we meandered back through town, all the shops closed for the day. But there was one with its doors wide open and golden light pouring out. "Wisdom House" the sign read and I saw an incredibly inviting image of Mary in the front entrance and I had no choice but to go in. It was just too inviting. I walked in and I was surrounded by the most healing and powerful and womanly images of Mary. I'm sure some of the paintings were goddess imagery, but so many of them were Mary. I gushed to the artist, the shop-owner, how much Center of Attention would love her gallery...she loves Mary. But it was me to whom these paintings ministered. Husband and I spent 15 minutes in there but I left feeling so peaceful and joyful and just okay about everything. It's was only later, after reading through her catalogue, I realized how "new age" you could label that place. But there was so much beautiful divine feminine energy in pretty much knocked my socks off, and I am sensitive to new-agey stuff and stay away from a lot of it. But I am so grateful that Mary reached out to me yesterday, reminding me how loved I am, reminding me how beautiful I am and how hard I am on myself. Thank you, lovely woman, full of grace.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Technologically spoiled

Well here I am "up north" as we call it and it appears I won't be blogging as much as I hoped. It takes FOREVER to check email and use this computer...I'm so used to my DSL at home and this is dial-up. So...that's my lame excuse in case I don't write much while I'm up here. We've been picking huckleberries today...will make a pie with Center of Attention later. Should be fun. And we were hiking along the tidepools and almost stepped on what looked like a big rock...turned out to be a huge sea lion! Glad it reared up when it did. They are loud right now! So loud that they can keep you up at night. The cutest thing EVER: in the middle of the night, I woke up and heard The Two Year Old stirring in her pack n play...she was just lying there making her little sea lion bark, imitating them. She did it a few times then rolled over and went back to sleep. A delcious moment for me. The rest of the family arrives tonight and I'm making paella. yummy! I'm enjoying Sara Miles' book Take This Bread. I'm only a little way in, but loving her description of the Eucharist. Anyway, be back soon, I hope.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Sea Lions and redwoods here I come!

I'm off for 10 days to northern California, to my favorite place on earth. My grandmother used to live there and I grew up visiting her...dramatic sea cliffs, gorgeous ocean vistas, and the best smell in the air EVER...I wish I could bottle it up and bring it home with me. Husband and Center of Attention are camping out for two nights on their way up there and I'm going on an airplane with The Two Year Old...she's horrible in the car and it's a 10 hour drive, so airplane it is! I'll be blogging from up there. I plan to spend good time with my crazy family (parents and brother) as well as reading and journaling. Because this is the beginning of the trip, I'm romanticizing it...but sure enough, it will spiral...there's just a bit too much wine drinking at night (mostly my dad and brother) and Husband likes to stir the pot with inflammatory questions and topics of conversation and then I add to the drama with being over-sensitive....hmmm...will I be able to survive 10 days? Luckily there is space...and everyone does tend to mellow out up's just a lot of family time, if you know what I mean. But oh, the beaches and the tidepools! The squishy sea anemones! The wild windswept meadows and fields of llamas and geese....deep breath. I can't wait.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Five

First of all, can someone kindly tell me how to get pictures as part of the blog post, and not just above the post? How do I incorporate pictures within the individual post??

1. Have you experienced living through an extreme weather event- what was it and how did you cope?
Okay, so I was born and raised in Southern California, so not much extreme weather events there. BUT despite that, my biggest fear as a child was a tornado. I was utterly terrified. Not make much sense, huh? Since we NEVER get tornadoes in southern Cali. But what can I say? I was a sensitive child with a wild imagination. Just the image in my mind of a funnel cloud still sends shivers down my spine. We had very windy hot winds, called the Santa Anas. They're kind of spooky and people associate them with "earthquake weather." Was I afraid of earthquakes like I should have been? Nope. Tornadoes. And a close second was tidal waves. BUT just this summer I experienced a crazy storm on a teeny lake in the north tip of Idaho and I was so brave. Even though it really was like a cyclone, I remained calm. Because my girls were watching me and so I had to be. And we lost power for 6 days. Cool. Glad to be home.

2. How important is it that we wake up to issues such as global warming?

Very important. very. What will it take for us to wake up? An inconvenient truth definitely made an impact. It did on me. And I find myself asking the question, what will it take to make real changes in how we live? I fear as long as there is the option to ignore it, we will. As long as the threat isn't imminent, we don't really change. I make an effort. But I could make a bigger one. Convenience and habit are nasty little powerful things.

3. The Christian message needs to include stewardship of the earths resources agree/ disagree?

Agree. God gave us this creation for us. There is so much of God in the creation. The church should be spending more time and energy on this message.

And because it is summer- on a brighter note....

4. What is your favourite season and why?

Hmmm...the Fall. Even though I live somewhere where "the Fall" might as well be summer winter or Spring, I have become attuned to the difference in this season...the air is drier and cooler and the sky is bluer. The few deciduous trees in my city lose their leaves and I seek out those crunchy sycamore leaves on the sidewalks. I pretend it's more fall-like than it appears and it does wonders...I feel like baking and sipping apple cider and going apple picking. I think there's also something so poetic in Autumn...something so melancholy and bittersweet and metaphorical. Just love it.

5. Describe your perfect vacation weather....

A little humid (because that feels "other" and romantic to me), mostly sunny, but weather coming in and Kauai where the day starts out a little humid and warm, then out of nowhere a thunderstorm comes and dumps crazy rain for 10 minutes, then leaves with just the trace of freshness and then a rainbow appears and more hot sun. Or like the skies in Minnesota in the summer...kind of the same thing...

Discernment Panic

Okay, just had a sobering conversation with someone else from my church going through the discernment process. Jeez! I need to get my stuff together. I have this trust in the process, because without that trust I'd be in a complete panic frenzy. I just keep clinging to the strong sense of call I have and that God is leading me. But got to be realistic...I am going to be TESTED and grilled and I'm still so unsure about the nature of my vocational calling...I'm so unsure and I like to envision discernment as DISCERNMENT and not PROOF and DEFENDING but exploring and envisioning in community. But I need to be able to articulate and claim my sense of call. My biggest fear is that I won't be able to articulate my feelings and my sense. It still feels blurry and so very slowly coming into focus. Does this mean that it's too early to do the official discernment committee? I've been waiting for a while now, in the hope that my vision would sharpen, but finally I decided the only way for it to sharpen is to allow the committee to help me. But I'm afraid it will be the third degree and that I'll crumble under the pressure. I am not convinced I should become ordained. I just have this very strong pull and yearning and dream that I've had since I was a little girl. I have gifts that could be used as a priest. But they can be used elsewhere. Do I HAVE to become ordained? No. Do I have to pretend I'm more sure than I am? In a sense, I AM more sure than I let on, even to myself. It's just hard for me to say it out loud to others. To "sell" myself as an obvious choice for the priesthood. I have so many misgivings, how honest can I be? Really, as I strive for authenticity and forthrightnes and honesty in my life, I have to be honest with the committee. It's my only way forward, but I have to have the guts to say that I'd be a damn good priest. Just feeling nervous as the first meeting approaches (in September, I think). It feels like this is my one shot and what if I mess it up? I can get in my own way, and in the Spirit's way, sometimes.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

This I Believe, Too

Well, I shared my "This I Believe" with my small group today. I'm including it here because I changed quite a bit since the last time I posted it. What a great experience to share that. Someone else read it out loud a second time and that was wonderful and hard to hear someone else reading my personal words.

btw - I just read ReverendMother's Harry Potter is amazing! Check it out. I feel too lazy tonight to create a link...just go to my link list and click on that and go to her archives till you find it.

This I Believe

I believe in faith. I have faith in faith. I have since I was a little girl. As far back as I can remember I have been aware of a loving presence inside me, in the eyes and words of other people, and in the hugeness and beauty of nature. I haven’t always been able to describe or articulate this faith. It seems I struggle to now more than ever. But it’s always been there, like a steady current running deep under a sometimes stormy ocean. If I had to describe who God feels like to me in a stream of consciousness sort of way, I’d use words like infinitely and agonizingly patient, ridiculously lavishly loving, terrifying in scope and power, amused at human silliness, heartbroken over human pain, absurdly funny, profoundly, beautifully, agonizingly mysterious and incomprehensible, ever ever ever present, ever approachable, always offering an invitation, and eager for intimacy with us.

When I was 10 years old, my grandfather died. It was that week that I was supposed to go to my first sleep-away camp in the mountains. I can’t remember if I wanted to go. I know that I had to miss the funeral. But I went. I’m not sure if my parents agonized over this decision, but there I was, up in the mountains for one week with lots of other 4th graders. I was sad and lonely and confused. But it was the first time I slept under the stars. I remember staring up at the pine-infused black night sky, covered with stars – such a contrast to the sky of my city childhood. I was awe-struck and full of wonder and questions. We sat around a campfire every night and sang cheesy Christian songs. But I loved it. “Spirit of the Living God, fall a-fresh on me. Meld me, Mold me, fill me, use me”. I so remember this song, and the Sunday school sign language that went along with it. I felt the Holy Spirit with me those nights...present in the night air, in the gathering around the campfire, in the sweet off-key lilt of the children’s voices. And at the end of one of these evenings, the head camp counselor invited anyone who wanted to ask Jesus into their hearts to stay after. Writing this now, I cringe. This theology freaks me out. But I felt a pull and a curiosity and something kept me seated on that log bench, even though it drew snickers from my friends. I remember my counselor leading me to a large flat rock in the shadows, under the stars and we prayed for Jesus to enter my heart. I think I hoped something big would happen, or that I’d at least feel some kind of flicker inside me. But nothing. Just the prayer and then off to bed. I remember being confused that I had to ask Jesus. Wasn’t he there already? What would keep him away? Well...I no longer believe in the need to say the right words for God to be with me. But I do believe something shifted in me that night...if for no other reason than that night has always stayed in my memory in a very potent way. I do believe in Jesus as a living present reality active in our world. I believe something cosmic shifted with his birth, death and resurrection. I pretty much believe in the Nicene Creed, as it attempts to put words to great mysteries that can never be explained by words. I believe that all matter is inherently good. I believe in the achingly beautiful stuff of the physical world: the way my baby smelled behind her ears, the pudgy pudge of her baby feet, the feeling of my milk letting down, the smell of the air in northern California – salt and pine and cedar and sweet grass, the shock of diving into a mountain lake, my husband’s warm body under the sheets, the sound and smell of rain, a cat’s purr. It’s all so damn gorgeous and it all points to a creator so in love with us. I believe in the its ability to do great good and healing and exploring and reconciling and storytelling and feeding and encouraging. I believe in church bells. Every time I hear them it feels like a voice from another time and place, calling to me, reminding me that time is passing, reminding me that another time exists super-imposed on this one, reminding me how insignificant I am but also how very significant. I also believe in you, my fellow women at the well. I believe in your stories and in your dreams. I believe in the pilgrim heart that lives within each of you. Besides all this, I believe that the most important thing we can do as parents is to stay in love with our kids. I believe that guacamole is the best food on the planet. A close second is linguine with melted brie, basil, garlic and tomatoes. A close third is warm sour dough bread fresh out of the oven smeared with butter. I believe in the light and hope I see in my two daughters’ eyes. And at the end of the day, I believe that all will be well... that all is not well, but that all will be well. That it really is all right. And even though I’m trying to claim my own thoughts and express them without fear, I must end with a quote from my love Madeleine L’Engle: “I mean these words. I do not understand them, but I mean them. Perhaps one day I will find out what I mean. They are behind everything, the cooking of meals, walking the dogs, talking with the girls. I may never find out with my intellectual self what I mean, but if I am given enough glimpses perhaps these will add up to enough so that my heart will understand. It does not; not yet.”

Monday, July 16, 2007

Hospital Monday

Just some thoughts/questions from my morning at the hospital.

One kind older gentleman said, "I guess my faith just faded away. It shouldn't have, but it did. Maybe it will fade back someday." I like his wording...that faith can fade back. How does a chaplain respond to this comment? I nodded and told him I liked how he put that. I just listened and was present. He went on to describe his Calvary Chapel experience, where he and his wife attend. He loves the energy there. He clearly is uplifted by the music and the services. What more could I have said? My role at the hospital doesn't seem to be necessarily one of guiding people back to faith, but to be present to where they are at the moment. And that's what I did. But I wonder if I could have gently said something else...

I meet so many people who have left the church because they couldn't stand the hypocrisy they saw there. What is this? I hear it all the time. Is this a failure of the church? The notion that the leaders have to be perfect pure holy people, and not in fact human? What I like about my church is that the leaders are human and they bring their wholeness into their leadership and they encourage us to bring our whole selves into the pews and up to the altar for Communion. So often I hear of churches that only accept our Sunday bonnet perfect happy stable selves. And yet, and yet...leaders must really try to lead Christ-like lives. And I suppose this is the trouble...they so often fail and they are such public figures. I wish my church challenged us more regarding how we live our lives. The emphasis is on challenging us regarding social justice. We are challenged about how we spend our time, talent and treasure. Very very important. But I never hear about the importance of trying to be holy or pure for God and for others. I struggle with this holy pure expectation of clergy and of Christians in general. I think it has done a lot of harm. But Paul asks us to seek purity. How do we navigate this? How do we balance this?

I met a woman this morning whose faith was alive. But it was SO different than mine. She called herself "born again" and shared that she left the "corrupt Episcopal Church" because it was full of hypocrisy. (There we go again.) She told me she's sure the endtimes are near. I prayed with her and it touched her and we shared a sweet connection. But I felt a little false. As a volunteer hospital chaplain I meet many people from many different expressions of Christianity. But I struggled with this one...I did a lot of empathetic head nodding...again, where do I just listen and when do I gently nudge? It seems wrong to try to bring people to my personal faith, when there's is working just fine for them....

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Well...I just got back from 10 days in the Northwest. Visiting family. I missed blogging and reading your wonderful blogs and feel quite out of sync. But it was a good trip. Glad to be home. Just to catch up, I think I'll transcribe a few journal entries because they belong here.

From my journal on retreat, 6/16/07:
So it's 1:30pm. I've been here for 4 hours. Wow. I find it hard to be in the present. As I discover beautiful benches and holy nooks, I find myself trying to plan when I'll return to that spot with what book instead of just enjoying it in the moment. But I've found a bench overlooking a dramatic mountain view and I am swiftly transported back in time one year ago exactly when I was on a different retreat; when I bravely blurted out my dream of priesthood; when I walked around the grounds feeling right in my skin as if my true essence had finally oozed its way to the surface. One year later, I'm about to finally meet with my priest to tell him I'm ready to begin formal discernment. One year. A year of endless reading, some praying, stumbling through parenthood and marriage amidst a crisis of identity shifting, reorientation and disorientation (not in that order, or maybe not?), speaking in code and generalities in my small groups, and finally here. O yeah, and groping my way through the darkness of hospital rooms in my chaplaincy. And tomorrow I tell my priest I'm ready. I'm ready to let-be-known my sense of call. I'm ready to seriously explore it in a discernment committee. If I wait any longer, I'll be 80 before the time I get ordained, if ever. Still so scared and full of doubt, but got to jump forward anyway. I have a safety net in God who loves this attempt, even if She's shaking her head and rolling her eyes. Or maybe, just maybe, she's the one taking my heart and lovingly, skillfully pulling it through my ribs and out into somewhere else and I must follow.

From later that day:
I am now sitting under this beautiful palm tree. It's short and thick with a huge trunk and an enormous umbrella of fronds creating gorgeous shade. I'm sitting in an adirondack chair under its branches. And I feel so protected. And suddenly this tree feels like God saying, "I want to protect you." From what? This is quite a strong feeling. I just notice one empty chair beside me.

From later on still:
I just walked the stone labyrinth. Rugged. Messy. Beautiful in its chunky ragged order. I loved the printed sheet that guided the walk, especially:
Discard our many roles and simply say "I am."

Choose to ignore all our ideas about God and other theological concepts and any spiritual skills and seek to become a child.

These two resonated with me the most. When I got to the center I noticed offerings of fellow pilgrims: rocks, money, photos, bracelets, notes. My first thought was a reprimand to myself, that I didn't do it right. Then, a smile, loving my silly rule-following self. Then I really took in all the little rocks and burdens, wishes and sorrows, hopes and dreams, fears and pain and I reached out and touched them with an outpouring of compassion. And in that moment I felt like a priest - loving, touching, honoring but not disturbing the stuff of my fellow pilgrims. I wanted to gather them up and do something with them, but instead I offered a prayer - a general prayer of lifting them into God, and I blessed them.

Back to the guidelines for the center of the labyrinth- the ones that stood out were:

Take the risk of recognizing an emptiness in myself that only love can fill.

Contemplate the blessing of the hidden nature of God who cannot be fully known, cannot be manipulated, cannot be made into an idol, cannot be pinned down, contained or tamed.

This came as such a relief to me. I breathed a deep releasing satisfying breath. I've been spending so much energy on trying to figure out who God is, who Jesus is and this seeking is essential but there must be the balance which holds the reality that the HOLY is unfathomable.

I was a rebel and picked up one of the little rocks in the center and carried it with me out into the world. I now feel the responsibility to pray for this rock and for the pilgrim who has unwittingly entrusted it to me. I hesitated before I did this, then decided that I would love it if someone did that for me.

On my journey out of the labyrinth:

Move away from anxiety toward peace and faith.

Yes. Away from anxiety. So I bowed to the labyrinth and bounced away, centered and free, to explore more of the grounds. I found a sitting rock I must return to at sunset. I traipsed along, then stepped into a huge pile of shit. God has a sense of humor. He likes taking me from the clouds down to earth. So much for letting go of anxiety. I decided it must be mountain lion poop because it was huge and also very fresh. I tried to scrape it into a nearby tuft of grass and started seeing huge buzzards soaring over me. Okay, time to get back inside the cloister. Was this the Fragmenter, the One who tries to keep us away from God? Or just the absurdity of life?

more later...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

back from the mountain

I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted! Just shows how much has been going on. I had an incredible 24 hours at the monastery. Wow. Just all that delicious silence and gardens and libraries and bells. I must share this poem that was on the wall. It so speaks to me:

A Prayer to the God who Fell From Heaven

If you had stayed
tightfisted in the sky
and watched us thrash
with all the patience of a pipe smoker,
I would pray
like a golden bullet
aimed at your heart.
But the story says
you cried
and so heavy was the tear
you fell with it to the earth
where like a baritone in a bar
it is never time to go home.
So you move among us
twisting every straight line
into Picasso,
stealing kisses from pinched lips,
holding our hand in the dark.
So now when I pray
I sit and turn my mind
like a television knob
till you are there
with your large open hands
spreading my life before me
like a Sunday tablecloth
and pulling up a chair yourself;
for by now
the secret is out.
You are home."
- John Shea

All for now. There's just too much...must do it in pieces...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

This I Believe

Have any of you ever heard the NPR "This I believe" stories? I'm in a small group and our leader suggested that we write our own "This I believe" statements. It's quite an exercise. Might some of you try it on your blogs? If you do, let me know! Here's mine:

This I Believe

I believe in God. I have since I was a little girl. As far back as I can remember I have been aware of a loving presence inside me, in the eyes and words of other people, and in the hugeness and beauty of nature. When I was 10 years old, my grandfather died. It was that week that I was supposed to go to my first sleep-away camp in the mountains. I can’t remember if I wanted to go. I know that I had to miss the funeral. But I went. I’m not sure if my parents agonized over this decision, but there I was, up in the mountains for one week with lots of other 4th graders. I was sad and lonely and confused. But it was the first time I slept under the stars. I remember staring up at the pine-infused black night sky, covered with stars – such a contrast to the sky of my city childhood. I was awe-struck and full of wonder and questions. We sat around a campfire every night and sang cheesy Christian songs. But I loved it. “Spirit of the Living God, fall a-fresh on me. Mold me, fill me, use me”. I so remember this song, and the sign language that went along with it. I felt the Holy Spirit with me those nights...present in the night air, in the gathering around the campfire, in the sweet off-key lilt of the children’s voices. And at the end of one of these evenings, the head camp counselor invited anyone who wanted to ask Jesus into their hearts to stay after. Writing this now, I cringe. This theology freaks me out. But I felt a pull and a curiosity and something kept me seated on that log bench, even though it drew snickers from my friends. I remember my counselor leading me to a large flat rock in the shadows, under the stars and we prayed for Jesus to enter my heart. I think I hoped something big would happen, or that I’d at least feel some kind of flicker inside me. But nothing. Just the prayer and then off to bed. I remember being confused that I had to ask Jesus. Wasn’t he there already? What would keep him away? Well...I no longer believe in the need to say the right words for God to be with me. But I do believe something shifted in me that night...if for no other reason than that night has always stayed in my memory in a very potent way. I do believe in Jesus as a living present reality active in our world. I believe he was God incarnated in a human person, and not just a man fully infused with God. I believe something cosmic shifted with his birth, death and resurrection. I pretty much believe in the Nicene Creed, as it exists in the realm of poetry, of attempting to put words to great mysteries that can never be explained by words. I believe that all matter is inherently good. I believe that there is true power in the Bible, even though it is flawed and full of human stuff. I believe there is power in actually saying the words of the Gospel, beyond our understanding. I believe we’re all priests and that God calls each of us in different ways. I believe that God does act in our lives...that She gets down in the nitty gritty and does things. I believe the Eucharist is the heartbeat of what we do as a community of faith. I believe I’m sounding rather boring and religious and obnoxious. I believe in the its ability to do great good and healing and exploring and reconciling and storytelling and feeding and encouraging. Besides this, I believe that the most important thing we can do as parents is to stay in love with our kids. I believe that guacamole is the best food on the planet. A close second is linguine with melted brie, basil, garlic and tomatoes. A close third is warm sour dough bread fresh out of the oven smeared with butter. I believe in the light and hope I see in my two daughters’ eyes. And at the end of the day, I believe that all will be well. That all is not well, but that all will be well. That it really is all right. And even though I’m trying to claim my own thoughts and express them without fear, I must end with a quote from my love Madeleine L’Engle: “I mean these words. I do not understand them, but I mean them. Perhaps one day I will find out what I mean. They are behind everything, the cooking of meals, walking the dogs, talking with the girls. I may never find out with my intellectual self what I mean, but if I am given enough glimpses perhaps these will add up to enough so that my heart will understand. It does not; not yet.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Body Shots

Okay, seriously, this cracked me UP. I returned home from a long meeting with one of the priests at my church. The door to the garage opened and my husband greeted me with a tequila shot. And not just that, he wanted me to do a body shot. Ha ha ha aha. There was salt on his neck, mkay? Hilarious that he greeted me with this. From the holy to the profane. This is very unusual behavior and I thought it was pretty great. Can he greet me with that every day? Okay, maybe not.

And on a COMPLETELY different topic....I'm doing it. And this is NOT the tequila speaking. I'm meeting with my rector next week to tell him I'm ready to start a parish discernment committee in the fall. This is a huge step for me. Feels good to have finally made this decision. We'll see what he says...

The irony of this post is not lost on me...

The Best Guacamole you're ever had.

Okay, so these amounts aren't exact....but it's the ingredients that count, not the quantity. Quantity should be to taste...

Take white onion, cilantro, kosher salt and diced jalapenos and squish them in the bottom of a bowl with a fork or the back of a spoon. Do this as long as you releases all the flavors. Then, add the avocado and mix it together. Then add diced tomatoes and Voila...perfection. Make sure to not add too much salt at the beginning. Best to add some, then test later to see if you have enough.


Monday, June 11, 2007

I've been tagged: Eight Random Things

Okay, first the rules:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3.At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

8 Random things about me:

1. I haven't talked much about my two little ones on my blog. Which is strange because they are a WEALTH of good stories. I suppose I've focused on things theological and they don't fit into that category a whole lot...except lately since my 4 year old...let's call her Center of Attention...has been asking me lots of questions about God. I tried to explain that when we pray, God can hear us. So when she prays with me at bedtime she says, "Hi, God. Are you there? Is that Him, Mama? Can he hear me? Why doesn't he have a voice? If he lives in my heart, where is my heart? Does he live in our cat's heart? Does he live in my stomach? Why did Jesus die? What did Jesus look like? Is he alive? Why can't I see him?" You know...THOSE easy questions to answer. And as usual with children, in the face of their earnest questions and my stumbling attempts at answering, I come face to face with what I truly believe. Or what I have no idea about (which is most of it).

2. I was once, gulp, this is SO embarrassing, a debutante. That's right, folks, coming out party and all. And it was the biggest conflict I ever had with my mother. It was so important to her that I do this whole thing and I found it repulsive and dripping with money and generally icky. She even made me take cotillion dance lessons. She says to me in a teasing way, "You will always be a debutante." Harumph. My small act of rebellion was to ask one of my highschool teachers as my date. Well, he wasn't really a teacher, he was the piano accompanist for my highschool singing group. He was super cute, though he looked a little like Kenny G with his crazy long curly hair, and he was significantly older than me and helped me mock the whole evening, respectfully...meaning, no one knew we were inwardly mocking and snickering. We're still friends and that night is a great source of laughter.

3. I have a secret passion to be in musical theatre. Wait, that's not true. I USED to have this dream. Don't really have it anymore. But last night I watched the Tony Awards and it stirred up those old passions. I even stood in my kitchen alone and belted out a ballad just to prove I still had it., I didn't really still have it. :) It was fun, anyway.

4. I have a MFA in Theatre and now I'm following a call into the church and you know what? Church is the best theatre I've ever seen. Hmm...maybe that's why I'm an Episcopalian.

5. I wish Madeleine L'Engle was my aunt who lived next door. And that she was 20 years younger, so she'd be on this earth a bit more.

6. I just noticed something about myself. It's not actually new, but it hit me in a new way. I've always been someone who has found it very easy to be positive. To be full of good energy. People have often commented that I naturally radiate a love and a joy and a light. But you know what? When I come home, I get a bit shadowy. Not that I don't have moments at home of joy and laughter and ease...there is much of this. But lately, I notice that out in the world I'm full of light, and at home I'm under a cloud. What does this mean? I have the most wonderful family EVER. Granted, having two little ones is challenging. But still...I want to radiate that same love and joy to THEM. That's my job. That's more important than how I act at the grocery store to perfect strangers. Hmmm....going to have to reflect on that one. It's definitely a pattern in my life. I remember being that way in my teen years. There's a bit of letting down at home, but not sure this is the healthiest way to be.

7. I love guacamole. It is my favorite food ever. And I have the BEST recipe, if anyone is interested.

8. I think N.T. Wright is helping bridge my theology....from my conservative upbringing to my progressive (way out there progressive) church that I currently attend. Still feeling stuck but I have hope at least.

Okay, I will now tag EIGHT of you....
1. Mother Laura here
2. Feminary here
3. Kate here
4. Susie here
5. Reverend Mother here
6. More Cows Than People here
7. Gannet Girl here
8. Cathy here

Friday, June 8, 2007

Friday Five: Island Escape Edition

As posted by Cathy over at

We snitched a bit of time on an quiet island nearby this week. It was a last minute plan, escaping with a minimal amount of preparation. One must have essentials that make it a relaxing time. Perhaps you have had this opportunity to escape, or maybe it's only been a thought to get away. However, suppose you were told to pack some essentials for a trip to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.Describe your location, in general or specific terms and....
1) What book(s) will you bring?
Okay, so I'm a total dork. Normally, I CRAVE and LUST after island getaways, but right now, as I answer these Friday Five questions, I'm salivating at my ACTUAL escape that is coming up in just a few days. I'm going to a monastery in the mountains for a one night retreat all by myself. No husband. No kids. No schedule. So...I'm not bringing any books because they have this great bookstore and I'm going to have to exert major willpower to just buy a few. And I will leaf through those books while I'm there.
2) What music accompanies you?
None. This will be a time of gorgeous symphonic harmonious QUIET.
3) What essentials of everyday living must you take (as in the health and beauty aids aisle variety)?
Sunscreen, lipgloss, the basics.
4) What technological gadgets if any, will you take with you or do you leave it all behind?
None. Except for my cell phone in case there's an emergency. But I will NOT be making any outgoing calls, nor will I answer the phone. Just there in case my hubbie has to leave me a message regarding emergency.
5) What culinary delights will you partake in while there?
Ummm...the meals are made by the brothers. They're supposed to be quite good. I hope the mealtimes aren't too awkward. I think breakfast is in silence, so that might be nice. I'm hoping to meet some of them...we'll see.
As a bonus question, what makes for a perfect day on vacation for you?
Assuming we're talking out-of-monastery vacations, plenty of time to read, to meander through the day, lots of time outdoors. A good meal at night with a bottle of wine.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Moonlight Sonata

Just some scenes from my life I want to share:

The other day, at the end of my first spiritual direction meeting, my 80-something spiritual director led me to the door and said, "Go get 'em!" I loved this. How cute is this?

Last night, I woke up around 2am and had to squint my eyes because the full moon was shining through my window so luminous, so BRIGHT. It took my sleepy breath away. It was stunning. Such an odd thing to wake to such moonlight. I found myself bathed in this glorious light and sank back into my pillow in gratitude. It was like a hug from the universe. I think it's something about his time of year. This time of year the moon shines directly through those windows in the middle of the night. I forgot this. Because most of the time I'm sleeping. But it reminded me of the last time I noticed this. My youngest daughter was a newborn. And I remember going into her nursery to check on her, or probably nurse her, and seeing her teeny new body bathed in this glorious moonlight. I remember opening her curtains so that this moonlight would surround and bless her...

And on a completely different note, I'm afraid. I'm so afraid. You know what my biggest fear is right now? It feels silly typing this out. It's that I'm severely delusional regarding wanting to be a priest. I'm afraid there is a group of people at my church conspiring to break it to me that I have no business dreaming what I'm dreaming and that I really am not cut out to be a priest. There, I said it. It is this fear that keeps me from beginning official discernment. It is this fear that keeps me from articulating my dream as clearly as I could. But I AM articulating it. And I am making baby steps. But I'm so afraid still. How silly. But I just don't want to be foolish. sigh.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Friday Five: Hopes, Dreams, Visions posted by Sally at

1. Think back to the time you left High School, what were your hopes visions and dreams for your life/ for the world?

When I graduated from high school I was full of dreams and excitement. I was on my way to a foofy Ivy League school and it was a miracle I actually got in. I was on the wait list for EVER and my SATs were not at all impressive. I wanted to go there because they had great English and Theatre departments. I couldn't decide whether I wanted to go into the church or the theatre. Hmm...not much has changed. I ended up going the theatre route and it was wonderful but frought with insecurity and obstacles. By the time I got to college I was smacked in the face with humility. Many of my classes felt over my head. But I thrived on the social scene and the arts on campus. It was the first time I set foot in an Episcopal church...a tiny chapel and I thought to myself...I am home. I completely fell in love.

2. Have those hopes visions and dreams changed a lot, or are some of them still alive and kicking? (share one if you can)

They haven't changed that much except I have fulfilled my biggest dream which was to get married and start a family. Sometimes I forget how much this dream has been fulfilled because it's so much a part of my everyday reality. I never gave breath to the dream of being a priest...until now. So I'm very excited with this possibility. I still have a crush on this dream, you know what I mean? I'm just trying to gain perspective and make sure it's not just the crush that propels me, but an actual calling and purpose. Trying to figure that one out.

3. Hebrews 11:1 " Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. " Comforting, challenging or frustrating?

This is comforting to me. Faith has always come easily to me. But it's the articulation of that faith that I find challenging and frustrating. And necessary.

4. If resources were unlimited, and you had free reign to pursue a vision what would it be?

I would move to New York City or Berkeley and go to seminary. My husband would get an amazing job in one of those places. Then we could return home here and I could pursue ministry.

5. Finally with summer upon us- and not to make this too heavy- share your dream holiday....where, when and who with...

Just my hubbie and me on an odyssey a la Eat Pray Love. Have you read the book? It's great. The author travels to Italy ("Eat"), an ashram in India ("Pray") and Bali ("Love). Okay, maybe that would take more than a summer...

Thursday, May 31, 2007

adapted to seek God

You know that Indigo Girls song about Virginia Woolf that goes "So I know it's all right. Life will come and life will go. So I know it's all right, cause I just got a letter to my soul." That's how I feel right now. I was glancing at my bookshelf the other day and found Evelyn Underhill's The Spiritual Life. I read it years ago, but couldn't remember its content. So this morning I started reading's just a little book. But SO rich in its pages. SUCH a good reminder. Check this out: "for life means the fullest possible give and take between the living creature and its environment: breathing, feeding, growing, changing. And spiritual life, which is profoundly organic, means the give and take, the willed correspondence of the little human spirit with the Infinite Spirit; its feeding upon Him, its growth towards perfect union with Him, its response to His attraction and subtle pressure. That growth and that response may seem to us like a movement, a journey, in which by various unexpected and often unattractive paths, we are drawn almost in spite of ourselves - not as a result of our own over-anxious struggles - to the real end of our being, the place where we are ordained to be: a journey that is more like the inevitable movement of the iron flying to the great magnet that attracts it, than like the long and weary pilgrimage in the teeth of many obstacles from 'this world to that which is to come.' Or it may seem like a growth from the childlike, half-real existence into which we are born into a full reality."

The first half of this quote is the Eucharist, yes? And the second, calling. I love this. Makes me relax and just surrender to that pull and stop agonizing about it. To just pray and be in God and enjoy that reality.

Okay, bear with me. One more quote: "This, of course, is what religion is about; this adherence to God, this confident dependence on the unchanging. This is the more abundant life which, in its own particular language and own particular way, it calls us to live. Because it is our part in the one life of the whole universe of spirits, our share in the great drive towards Reality, the tendency of all life to seek God, who made it for Himself and now incites and guides it, we are already adapted to it, just as a fish is adapted to live in the sea. This view of our situation fills us with a certain awed and humble gladness. It delivers us from all niggling fuss about ourselves, prevents us from feeling self-important about our own little spiritual adventures, and yet makes them worthwhile as part of one great spiritual adventure."

sigh. Thanks, Evelyn.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

progressive Christianity

Check out this thoughtful post on progressive Christianity from mompriest:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


I'm so sad right now. I just got home from a wonderful talk with a newly ordained priest. The reason I decided to meet with her was to finally ask details about the real possibility of going to the closest seminary...quite a drive away...for their commuter program, which she attended. It was empowering. As we fleshed out details she said, "You're excuses are dwindling away." And she was so right. I was realizing that I've been clinging to my excuses as a reason to put this off. But it's so doable! So exciting that it's an actual possibility. UNTIL I came home and told my husband all about it. Whenever I get serious about this, and talk about it like it's going to happen in the near future, he gets nervous. So normal! This would be a huge change for our family and for him! BUT in his questions, in his wording and tone, I hear judgment and skepticism and fear and sexism. He insists that I'm seeing his comments through this prism, which is very possible. But it's the feminist that flares up inside me. I fear he completely takes my decision to stay home with the girls for granted. True, when I got pregnant, all I wanted to do was stay home. I didn't want to work. I had no ambition of any kind other than motherhood. But this has changed. I now have a dream and I am passionate about it. And I need his support if I have any chance at following through. When I say this to him, he gets very defensive about how hard he works and how cushy I have it. This is true! He works hard and I appreciate our life and all he does to support it. But that's not my point and he doesn't hear me. He doesn't hear that he has a career. He has a space, an office, a whole day away from the home. And I don't. My situation has major perks, but all this isn't the point. I point blank asked him if (ideally) he wants me to stay home until the kids are in college. I thought he'd say no, but this was his answer: "I don't think we have enough information to answer that question." Give me a break. He won't admit that he doesn't want me to go to grad school and become a priest. I SO understand his misgivings, I just wish he'd be honest about them. He says he wants me to be honest about my personality and that this grad school thing would be stressful for someone like me who is a bit high strung. Well, yeah! Does that mean I shouldn't do it? What's the alternative? The way he panics is to get very practical and to ask very practical questions, all which lead to arguing. What I want him to say to me (and this may be asking WAY too much) is "Honey, I know how much this means to you. I think you'd be great at it. We'll figure this out. It will be hard but I'm behind you. I love you and I so appreciate all you've given to this family while I've been pursuing my dream." ha ha ha ha ha ha. Pollyanna perhaps? C'mon revgals. I know this is something many of you have confronted. Why do we have to get into an ideological fight every time I'm actually serious about going back to school? He wants to know exactly what it will look like. "How will this affect our family?" A good question but not what I need right now. I've been such a coward, I need encouragement! Not this. And how can I possibly know (until I'm doing it) how it will exactly affect our family. But I love him. And I need to be sensitive to where he's at. Just feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place.