Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gifts at my doorstep

One of the things that has come of the fire, is that we have many many empty boxes from all the stuff that was taken out of our house, dry-cleaned, then returned to us folded and smoke-free. One of my daughters' favorite games is taking one of the big boxes, putting it on our doorstep, and climbing inside. They're both small enough so they actually fit, like little sardines. Then I come into the room and say loudly to my husband, "Honey, there's a big box on our doorstep. Do you know what it is?" Then I open it and behold, there are two gorgeous little girls pretending to be babies who have been sent from the "orphanage." Then I exclaim with delight and take them into my arms and show them their new home. "Oh my! What beautiful little girls! Can we be your new family? Can we love you and cuddle you and help you grow up?" "Yes!" they exclaim in baby voices that sound slightly demented. Then I show the around their new home. It's the best game. ever. And it makes me realize as I open the big cardboard box, what a huge gift they are!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Catapulted into the Present

Wow, has it been quite a few weeks. I haven't blogged in forever. Basically, I live right smack dab in the middle of one of the neighborhoods heavily hit during the recent southern California wildfires of a few weeks ago. Unbelievably, our house was spared. You cannot believe how close the flames came and how random the fire was that night. Our next door neighbors' house burned to the ground. As well as the one kitty-corner. We have a street that is a small loop and 2/3rds of the homes burned down. We now live in a devastated neighborhood. But there is hope. So many of the families (we know all of them cause our commuity is all faculty who work at a nearby college) have been so lovingly cared for. It's amazing to see how our community has rallied to help. We've had to be out of our home for 16 days to clean it up, get the smoke smell out, and now I'm back and it feels like home again. The black hillside behind our home already has green things shooting through the ash. My daughters have to drive and walk by ruins of friends' homes every day, but they are resilient and they still feel safe. It's crazy how a crisis like this creates an immediate shift in perspective. My focus has shrunk to my little nest. It's all I want to focus on these days. And only now, do I feel my head coming up out of the water and being able to look around and remember past cares and responsibilities. I bought some new plants yesterday to replace the charred ones. I'm getting used to the sour burn smell in the air. I kind of like only having a few clothes, since the rest are at the dry cleaners. Thank God for insurance. Some didn't have it. So that's what's been going on. It's been a fascinating experience of being forced to live in the moment. We never knew when we'd be able to move back...we had to rely on the generosity of others...we stayed in 7 different places during those 16 days. We learned to find the sense of adventure and surrender and gratitude in all of it. But I had my grumpy stressed moments. And I learned about my attachment to things. The night I thought our house was gone, I told myself it would be okay. It's just stuff. I had my little family in my arms and safe and that's all that mattered. But when I discovered my stuff was all there, just smoky and dirty, I was relieved and guilty, then very burdened by it. Everything teeny thing had to be cleaned and it made me obsessive. Suddenly this stuff was feeling very heavy. So interesting, this whole journey. phew. Glad to be starting to move on. And then reading about Mumbai, etc...this world is just so fragile and unpredictable. I am catapulted into the present because anywhere else is too scary. And God is in that place. Thanks be to God.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

little earthquakes

Having some tectonic shifting. Man is it uncomfortable. But good. It's growth. Had a hard meeting with my rector. He morphed before my very eyes into "authority figure" and I panicked and my voice went out the window. shit. Thought I was over this. So he wants me to begin a time of therapy. I've been wanting to do this anyway. I felt on the hot seat. I spoke from my heart, but I gave voice to all the disqualifiers instead of all the courage and positive movement. I really tried. But I cried. And I let him intimidate me. So I need to deal with this now. Cause if I don't, I'll get eaten alive during the rest of the process. I had come to the point where I thought just being myself would be enough for someone to recognize my "call" but when I panic and worry about how I'm being assessed, it doesn't go so well.

So...that's where I am. I NEED TO FIND MY VOICE. WHY is this such a hard process? But it's exciting to realize that this is my task right now. To find that voice. And the the even harder work of letting that voice be VOICED. It has been finding its way in the soil and pushing toward the light. It really has. It has made significant progress. But there seems to be a rock sitting on top of the seedling just as is thought it was going to break through. I need to figure out what that rock is. It might just be a matter of time. And just continuing the work I'm doing. I have a supportive husband. And a wonderful discernment committee who is willing to stick with me for a little longer. And I have this wonderful blogging community. Thank you for your voices and for your listening hearts.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

discernment blah blah

Okay so here's where I am. I'm writing this to help me cause I have a meeting tomorrow and I definitely process things in writing. So FORGIVE me if I sound like a broken record. I know I do. And believe it or not, I actually think about other things besides discernment!! I just tend to blog about it all the time since it brought me to this blogging community which has been a wonderful support.

So...I've been meeting with my discernment committee for about a year. We've had a total of 7 meetings. They feel pretty ready to wrap up. They see a call. They're ready to support me. They now want me to tell them what I want. A good part of the year has been my articulating my hesitation and struggle to "own" this sense of call.

This year has been incredible. A lot of movement and discoveries and it all points to the possibility that ordination is the most fitting place for me to carry out my ministry. This won't surprise any of you who read my blog, but I feel like my discernment committee could meet forever. And I know that discernment never truly ends in life. But regarding this issue, I have to make a decision at some point. I've met with various mentors who all advise me in different ways. One says, "go for it now! Now is the time! The church needs you now." The other says, "you have time and don't give up your autonomy before you have to. Gather as much ministry experience as you can cause seminary doesn't let you do so in the same way." So what do I think?? I'm in a position of leadership (volunteer) at my church and it's a relatively new one and I am learning a ton. It is amazing experience for a future ministry. It's a current, vibrant ministry and I'm learning a lot and giving a lot and it is very joy-filled. And it makes me want to be a priest. If I start the diocesan process (meaning going beyond my committee and interview with the bishop and the commission on Ministry), I have less say. They'll have lots of ideas for my "formation." They could very easily send me to another church for a ministry study year before seminary. And I'm in such a good place right now. But it's a very very progressive church and it's not representative of the whole church.

And as I've written before, I hesitate to put it off any longer cause I'm almost 35. But I think I need to let that one go. If I let go of ego stuff and let go of the need to have a tidy package, it seems to make the most sense to stay where I am and continue discernment as I work in leadership at my church. And it would probably be easier to start commuter seminary once my youngest is in Kindergarten (in two years). And this is a question for my rector, but what happens if I end the discernment committee process and wait a while beforel I start the next official step. When does the committee submit the report so that it doesn't "hurt" me? I know I'm not the first one to have a break between congregational discernment and the interviews.

But then there's the other lightbulb I've had recently. Being a postulant doesn't mean discernment is completed. Being a postulant is only the very beginning. I've been thinking of it as the end. So I could just go ahead and just get all the scary stuff over with (cause it's heavily weighing on me) and then be a "postulant" and then just do what seems to make the most sense timing wise. But I'm not sure how much freedom I'll have as a postulant.

So there is my blah blah blah.
Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

the latest

I seem to be beginning all my recent blogs this way, but I can't believe how much time has passed since I last blogged. It is representative of something, but I don't have enough distance to name it. Life is different and new right now. My eldest started kindergarten and woah is this an adjustment. I'm loving it. As is she. But she is utterly exhausted. It's funny, I am a huge believer in NOT over-scheduling and keeping things PEACEFUL and UNHURRIED, but it seems I have done just the opposite. So I'm in a period of re-evaluating and just trying to figure out this new phase, and juggling the needs of my youngest as well. But I'm loving this new phase. Just trying to carve out the quiet and space my older one so needs right now.

My discernment continues along at a steady pace and it seems to be buoyed along by a flow I'm not in control of. As long as I stay out of the way. At least, that's how it feels. I'm at a point where I need to make a decision as to the next step. And because I'm in the Episcopal church, the next step is planned out for me: an interview with the bishop. But my job is to determine when that happens. It happens this fall is when it happens. But I just don't know if I could do it without fainting. Anyway, we shall see. I meet with the rector in a few days to talk about it all. I'm praying. I'm trying to surrender.

all for now.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Five

Singing Owl over at Revgals hosts this week's Friday Five. Wow, haven't done this in a WHILE.

1. Tell us about the worst job you ever had.
Okay, the worst is a tie between being a first-time waitress at a cheesey corporate restaurant, and being an "optician's assistant" at my uncle's optometric office. Being his neice, he gave me responsibility that I probably shouldn't have had. Ah, the poor souls who had me to adjust their glasses or convince them which lens was the most suited to them. As for the waiting tables, I was HORRIBLE. Great at the social part, awful at the multitasking when it got busy.

2. Tell us about the best job you ever had.
Working at the Guthrie theater in Minneapolis. I acted in several plays there and it was a wonderful time and a wonderful place.

3. Tell us what you would do if you could do absolutely anything (employment related) with no financial or other restrictions.
be a priest in the Episcopal church. Or be a singer/songwriter and perform in coffee houses and small venues.

4. Did you get a break from labor this summer? If so, what was it and if not, what are you gonna do about it?
My break from labor came in the form of a week-long christian formation conference. The labor I had a break from was being a mom. The conference represented labor to some folks, but to me it was a SPA.

5. What will change regarding your work as summer morphs into fall? Are you anticipating or dreading?
Huge transition as husband goes back to work and children start school. I'm anticipating this very much. It feels like a new phase of life.

Bonus question: For the gals who are mothers, do you have an interesting story about labor and delivery (LOL)? If you are a guy pal, not a mom, or you choose not to answer the above, is there a song, a book, a play, that says "workplace" to you?

My labor with my second child went smoothly and quickly. I got to the hospital and informed the nurse that I most certainly wanted an epidural. BUT (and I didn't know this could happen) I got stuck between anesthesiologist shifts. The guy had two hours to come and I was DYING. I would have been fine mentally if I knew there was a chance of him not making it in time but I was not prepared mentally and I was not on top of the pain. By the time he FINALLY got there I was almost fully dilated but they felt so sorry for me that they gave it to me anyway. By the time they got it in (it took 3, yes 3, tries of that huge long epidural needle -- I apparently have unusually small "potential spaces" in between my vertebrae --it was time to push the baby out. wasn't going so well and the baby's heart beat started to drop and the doctor got out the vacuum thing AND literally shoved with all his might on top of my stomach in the attempt to get the baby out quick. Luckily he was a large man and he did the job. And all was well. Phew! Craziness.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fall on the way

Well it is the last days of summer. Especially since husband starts back with his teaching and my daughter begins Kindergarten. It has been a wonderful summer of spontaneity and traveling and now I'm ready for more routine and structure. This will be the first time in 6 years that I have 3 mornings a week to myself, as my little one will begin preschool. It's not that much time, but it is significant and I am a bit paralyzed by the possibilities. I suppose I'll calm down after a few weeks and not feel that it is so precious.

I'm reading a New Earth by Eckart Tolle. I resisted this for a long time because it seemed so pop new agey. I'm always suspicious of bestselling self help books. But I listened to a thoughtful interview with the author on Krista Tippett's speaking of faith and it made me want to read the book. I have found it very interesting. It's all about the ego and the unnecessary suffering our egos create in ourselves and others. Very thought provoking. Of course, I apply the concepts to my time of discernment and it feeds into my worry that the notion of priest is just an image-enhancing move for myself. But he says that awareness is the first step towards dissolving the ego, so perhaps my awareness of the ego needs of this vocation won't necessarily lead to its dissolution. It's still possible that priesthood is still the best use of my gifts and is truly linked to who I am. But it's also possible that it's not.

Other than that, I'm receiving pressure from the 3 other members of my little family to get a dog. They all really want one. But I'll be the primary care giver and I'm not too excited about the idea. Unless I can fall in love with the little guy. Hmmm....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

belated blogging

A few readers have gently emailed me and asked....hello, where are you, are you all right. I so appreciate these touchstones of checking in. Yes, I'm fine. I've been so utterly uninspired to blog. Why is that? Well, probably because I'm feeling a little stuck. And I'm feeling shy about writing freely. Not sure why, but the blogosphere feels suddenly un-anonymous and scary. There's nothing I'm hiding, it's just that for some reason the personal element of the sharing feels exposing instead of freeing, lately.

Having a great summer, regarding the family. Lots of good family time. I went to a wonderful conference where I met lots of other female was wonderful to hear so many different stories. And the conference itself was challenging and thought provoking and it was AMAZING to have 5 days to myself.

This coming week I'm going camping with my little family. My hubbie and I used to camp a lot before we had kids. This will be our first family camping trip and I'm really looking forward to it.

Regarding discernment, my next meeting is in two weeks and I haven't met with the committee since APRIL. They met with my husband in July, but I am feeling very out of touch with the whole process. The process continues internally, of course, but I wonder how our meeting will go. I'm feeling (as usual) ambivalent. Some days I want to start school next fall, some days I want to pause everything.

I'm learning the guitar and LOVING it. LOVING it. I'm having coffe house fantasies of being a local acoustic artist. hee hee. yeah right.

I just came home from a morning talk with a friend. She's depressed and frustrated about being a stay at home mom with ambitions outside the home. She's brilliant and gifted. She gets very down on herself when she feels grumpy. It's sinful, so she says, and that the only path is one of self-sacrifice and suffering. Jeez. I told her I just can't wrap my thoughts around that philosophy and she asked me to find a biblical model that says otherwise. harumph. I'm tired of the notion that we have to suffer and deny our every desire to be true Christians. I mean, of COURSE we suffer, we're human, but I truly believe God wants us to live abundant lives of joy.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Truth is in the Timing

Well, the discernment meeting with my husband went well. They had fun and he felt comfortable and it sounds like it was very positive. He was able to share with them a lot more info about me than they knew...sometimes it takes a different person...I have a hard time talking about myself anyway. The biggest two things that seem to have come from the meeting (and they're related) are that my husband has reached new acceptance about the whole thing, which is MAJOR. And happened naturally...he doesn't remember the huge resistance, and he's grown into the idea. The committee saw this and felt like he wasn't as at odds with it as I had depicted it. But time has done its work. The meeting coincided with our anniversary week and he wrote me a card and on it he wrote that he was realizing that he had to share me with the world, and that he was a little sad about it, but that it felt good. Wow. I cried as I read that supportive and loving statement. So...more doors have opened. What remains is a LOT of work, regarding preparation for the hard questions that come AFTER the discernment committee. We've barely scratched the surface. But that's cause we've been dealing with my resistance and doubts, more than anything else. TIMING seems to be the biggest question for me right now. I want to be a young(ish) priest. But I have time. But if I take the time, I won't be young when I finally start the work. So we'll see.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

As I write...

As I write, my husband is meeting with my discernment committee. This is weird. But so good. Right now, they're all talking About my deepest dream. Feels scary. And feels right. I'm glad that he has a chance to ask questions, to share honestly about all this. But this is weird to not be part of the not hear what everyone is saying is kind of killing me, but I know it's all good.

Tomorrow night we're celebrating our 9th anniversary and I'm surprising him by taking him to a fun camping spot...but not really's a cool safari-like yurt in a canyon by the beach and they bring you a barbecue kit with chicken and s'mores for dessert that you cook over the fire. Should be fun!! This will be the first time a babysitter stays overnight with the girls. (that is, someone who isn't a grandparent) Hope all goes well.

I need a role model. I mean, I have many many wonderful role models at Revgals, but I crave to know someone who has been in my spot...someone my age with kids the same age. I'd also love to hear other vocations of priesthood that aren't the typical parish priest full time model.

And what exactly does a deacon do? I know that the diaconate is an option, but I am quick to dismiss it because I feel that the priesthood is where I belong, but I can't dismiss it without knowing more. I just don't know any deacons. There aren't any in my church. At least, not that I know of.

Been reading a lot of interesting books lately: How (not) to Speak of God by Peter Rollins. Very interesting. I'm quite intrigued by this whole "emergent conversation". And also What does a Progressive Christian Believe by Delwin Brown. Annoying title, but it's proven to be a good read.

Haven't blogged much. I'm just feeling acutely aware of my shortcomings lately. I know this is growth and that it's okay, but I'm ready to get out of this phase.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Day 8

So much for blogging every day. Oh well.

I'm hanging in there. Just had the sweetest bed time with the girls. We sang (one at the top of her lungs) a lullaby my mom taught them: May you always walk in sunshine, slumber warm when night winds blow. May you always live with laughter for a smile becomes you so, etc.

My brother came to stay over last night to "help out" and keep me company and he proceeded to get fall down drunk. sigh. He is getting worse. I'm not letting him stay over ever again. Unless he gets himself into recovery. I've been going to Al-Anon (for relatives of alcoholics)...both for how to deal with my brother, but also since I was raised in an alcoholic home and have some patterns I'm trying to change. This really is a time of growth and sometimes painful introspection. But I know it's all towards wholeness, healing and authenticity. And good parenting.

My sunflowers are already peeking their sprouts above the soil. That was fast!! Very satisfying.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Day Three

Okay, so I'm feeling a little sheepish. For those of you reading this who are single parents, you're probably rolling your eyes. Perhaps it seems I'm making a big deal about having two weeks on my own, when many women are in this situation every day. But I'm not used to it, okay? AND, they're 3 and 5, neither of whom is in school.

Okay. I'm done. I was just feeling a little defensive. (Even though I'm not even responding to anyone). I'm silly.

My mom is here with me for 3 days. It's that I have company, I'm back to my old martyr shenanigans. I was stronger and more positive when I was on my own and had no one to complain to. interesting.

My older daughter has been getting up at dawn lately. I put a digital clock in her room and told her not to come out until the clock read 6 -3 - 0. She came into my room this morning and asked, "Mommy, what does 5-4-5 mean? (sigh)

I'm so excited about Obama!!!

My husband called me tonight from the top of the Empire State Building. Wow!

Good night.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Day Two

Feelin a little tired. Highlights of the day:
Releasing ladybugs into our garden at dusk with the girls. Umm...I think I released too many. It's teeming right now and a little scary. They supposedly eat the harmful pests. We shall see.

Having a picnic with my youngest at a park, watching turtles swim and huge kobe fish go by.

Watching my eldest learn to swim! She swims! So amazing to me.

Feeling centered enough to not lose my patience during one of their many spats.

So, all in all, a good day. With wonderful moments interspersed with expected tensions.

I don't feel very loquacious tonight.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Day One

Okay, just to make me a more consistent blogger, and because I have more time at night since hubby is away, I am committing to writing one entry for every 14 days I'm on my own with the girls. Just for kicks.

So, today went pretty well. Full of good stuff! Church this morning, then dropped the girls off for a playdate and I went with my friend to a local recording studio in town that offers free 20 minute recording sessions once a month. We recorded a favorite song and had a blast. Mind you, the result is far from stellar, but it was so much fun to sing and get it on a cd.

Then put the wee one down for a nap and my older one and I began planting a mini vegetable garden. Fun! We'll see if anything grows.

Talked to hubby and he is safely in NYC, happy as a clam.

I'd been having huge mood swings before he left. Glad he's gone so I can get on with this and now I'm excited for the two weeks and gee, he'd sure like me a lot better now. We've been married 9 years and we're at a point where things are just way too comfortable. I know this is natural, but I still struggle to be my best self with him. It seems lately I've been my worst. So right now (I know, I'll be singing a different tune come Day 10) I'm looking at these two weeks as a gift. How am I different with the girls when it's just me every day? How am I at home, in my everyday tasks. So far, I've been WAY more on top of things with him gone. But again, that's natural since I have to be now.

All for now. Bonne nuit.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Speaking of Faith

My latest obsession is NPR's Speaking of Faith. (, hosted by Krista Tippett, who I kind of want to be. She's an incredible interviewer. Anyway the one of the recent interviews was of Karen Armstrong...a controversial figure in some Christian circles, I believe...she subscribes to a "freelance monotheism." I liked some of her ideas....that theology should be like poetry; that when someone hears a theological idea, it should resonate within them like poetry, and inspire and move them deeply. She likes to think of religion as an art form....that we should take as great care with our rites and rituals as we do in writing a poem...that we should make our rituals absolutely beautiful and inspiring. I definitely echo these beliefs, but this is no surprise since I see such deep connection between ritual and theatre. Theatre was originally religious ritual.

Monday, May 12, 2008

What is happening to the world

Just feeling dumbfounded this morning. What with Myanmar, and now the earthquake in just seems out of control. How are we to respond to such devastation. Where is God in this? Just feeling tenuous this morning. So much pain in this world. And so little (really) in mine.

Friday, May 9, 2008


WOW I'm a pathetic blogger. Sorry, to those of you who still read from time to time. And I'm grateful to you for continuing to check in and leave comments even with my sporadic posting.

Let's see...what's new? In transition...Husband is entering his summer professor time which is WONDERFUL because he's home more and I have so much more freedom, but definitely a transition because I don't realize how much the home is my territory until he's home more and it changes everything....parenting, space, cleaning, etc. But it's wonderful and I'm so lucky.

My little baby just turned 3. I am overjoyed and terribly nostalgic for the baby that is no more. sigh. She is so CUTE right now. So darn cute.

Discernment is continuing at its slow and steady pace. The committee is meeting with Husband next. Without me. This is good. We shall see what comes of it. It will be great for him. How I wish I could be a fly on the wall. And how grateful I am that I can't be!

Going to an out-of-town retirement barn dance party for Husband's father. Should be fun!

I heard about Sara Miles, author of Take This Bread (great book) doing a "This I Believe" on NPR. I want to listen to it.

that's all for now.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sultry Sunday

phew, it's hot today. Kind of nice. Spent the afternoon at the neighborhood pool with the girls. This weekend I took a step and actually went to a prospective student weekend at a seminary about two hours from here. It's not somewhere I envision myself going, but it is a possibility. Though not an obvious choice within my denomination. It's funny how relative it all is. Depending on who you ask, they think this seminary is "too conservative" or "too liberal." That is very funny to me. I'm still shocked by the sheer spectrum of theology in Christianity. It's mind-boggling. And sad. But then I think it's quite glorious that there are so many expressions through the varied as all of humanity, it seems. It would be nice if there was a bit less divisiveness over it and less "us and them" thinking. The was very interesting and very helpful - it helped clarify how I actually might be an Episcopalian after all. And that felt good. To just have a teeny more clarity. I went with one of my favorite girlfriends and that was wonderful. I also found a cool conference this summer about Christian formation and youth ministry so I'm thinking about going to that. Husband leaves in June for two weeks and I'm feeling pretty okay about it but everyone now and then I start to panic...TWO WEEKS with the girls by myself??? But heck, it will be fine. I'll just have to make it fun. Let my 5 year old sleep with me, go out to eat, go visit friends....I'm going to try to look at this as an opportunity, but not quite there yet. I know two weeks isn't that long in the long run, but even 1 hour can seem endless with my little ones when they're not getting along.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Theatre of Cruelty

So tonight we decided to have a "family meeting." After weeks of terrible sibling rivalry we decided to take matters into our own hands and try to be creative in our parenting. After all, the time-outs, threats, bribes and talks have not been working. So we lit candles, sang a song all together, and performed a little skit for our kids (ages 3 and 5). Well by the time our skit was over, both girls were in tears and hysterics. It was hilarious, actually. Are we really that good at acting? They thought what we acted out was horrible. In truth, it was merely what I've been witnessing from them over the past weeks. Guess it hit home! Then we talked about why they thought it was so sad and scary. And then, of course, we did a happy version and all was well. I'm getting excited about our Sunday night family theatre! As long as I don't send them into years of therapy in the future! :)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Waxing and Waning

Feeling overwhelmed today. My discernment seems to be a constant swing of the pendulum between trust/inner knowing that I'm on the right path, and doubt and insecurity. I know this is normal to some extent. Yesterday at a party, Husband was asked for the first time by someone in public: "How do YOU feel about all this?" He gave a thoughtful, honest answer, but it made my heart sink. I thought he was further along in being okay with all this. He's okay with me being in the process. But not really that okay with me being a priest. Luckily, ordination (if it happens) is years and years away, since I'd probably take seminary part time. So I need to take a deep breath and just love him and be thankful that there is time. And often, he's only reflecting the doubt and insecurity he sees in me. It's so strange how one day I feel so sure about this path, and other days I think I've got it all wrong. sigh. Can someone be a good priest who isn't very administratively gifted? I'm not the priest-in-charge type. I'd probably make a great associate. Or a priest on staff at a really big church. I'm a great collaborator. I have vision and creativity and the ability to carry it out, but not alone. I get overwhelmed quite easily and Husband is worried I'd be in a constant state of stress and bring it home to the family...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Wow, I've been a pathetic blogger.

Life is good. My discernment committee is finally meeting with the rector to go over the process and make it "official." This could have happened months ago, but it's been nice to have the more gentle beginning. I feel good about it, with occasional bouts of panic and doubt.

This morning I'm leading a time of Lectio Divina with my community Bible study. I'm really looking forward to this. I love doing Lectio in a group. I'm leading it with one of my favorite people of late. Don't you love it when you meet another woman and you just hit it off and it's so fun getting to know this new person? So great.

Anyway, my almost 3 year old just asked to play blocks with me so I must say yes cause I almost always seem to say, "In a second, honey."

bye for now.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Random catch up details of life:

Had a wonderful week on a trip with my family. The girls are seeming older and it is more obvious during traveling.

Feeling that inner warming/nudging again that I associate with "call." It's just this wonderful "sweet unrest" that both gives me peace because it feels like God is near, and tumult because it always feels like I need to act....but in what way...still in discernment and feeling more sure somehow, which feels good. My committee is definitely needing to see some confidence and vision right now. My rector has been so busy and overwhelmed and it's really time for a crucial conversation and I'm having to be very persistent and assertive. Which is good for me but c'mon now!

Speaking at the college was a good experience. I was very nervous and I think it showed, but that's okay. I listened to it and I didn't rush so that's good. It's so interesting how I can get consumed with anxiety. In the end, it wasn't that hard to write and all the energy was used up in anticipation and worry. I assume the more I do this the less scary it will be. Someone gave me some very encouraging words afterwards. Someone I respect deeply. And though it really made me feel good, I don't want to depend on positive words from others to feel good about a talk. That's why I spoke about authenticity and speaking through fear. Cause it's the path I'm on.

Anyway, the girls are suffering from my morning blogging. Got to get them ready. Until later!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I'm back

Wow, I can't believe it's been since March 7th since I blogged. I feel very out of touch and I'm missing the blogs that I love to read. I've been out of town and just need to find a rhythm again. All is well. I'll write soon, but probably not till the weekend.

Friday, March 7, 2008

I feel like I've given birth

Phew! If this is what you pastors go through writing sermons, I have found a new appreciation. Not that this is a sermon, but still. I think I'm done. and it's fun to post it here. It's the talk I'm gving with my husband at a local college this coming week.

I have a confession to make: It was back in October of last year that (Pastor) asked (Husband) and me to speak here. At that time, the date March 15th, 2008 seemed very very far away. No problem! Even though I have NO IDEA what I’m going to talk about, I’ll DEFINITELY know in March! That’s 6 months from now and even though I’m having a lot of trouble lately as to who I am and what I’m doing on this planet, I’ll have NEW INSIGHTS come March 15th! And here we are. March 15th. And it came very quickly. And a month ago I was in a bit of a panic as to what I was going to share with you. I even had fantasies of just making (Husband) do it himself. After all, he’s used to this. (right, Husband?) So what I want to talk to you about today is that very thing: not knowing…panic over not knowing… and yet speaking and living from that place of uncertainty. And this is timely because it just so happens that we are in the middle of LENT. A time set apart in the church to mirror the WILDERNESS that Jesus found himself in during those 40 days between his baptism and the beginning of his public ministry. So I want to talk about that wilderness, that desert, that Jesus found himself in and that we so often find ourselves in and I’d like to speak from that place as well.

So…what does my wilderness look like? Well…it’s a pretty 5-star wilderness: I live in this beautiful city, I have a great marriage, I have two adorable little girls. These are all dreams that have come true. But perhaps, like many of you, I find myself still asking the question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” It’s a question I thought would stop once I reached ADULTHOOD (whenever that starts), but ten years after graduate school and as a mother of two young children, I find myself asking that question once again. And it feels disorienting. I’m realizing it’s a question that will keep cropping up throughout life, in various forms. It was a little crisis for me when I realized one day that being an adult didn’t look like I had always thought it was going to look like. I remember day-dreaming when I was a teenager about being grown-up: I would be TALL, even though this defied my genes. I would be neat and tidy and put things where they belong – all the time. I would be completely mature and TOGETHER. I would know what I wanted in life and how to get it. I would be a benevolent presence with total integrity. In one sense, this speaks highly to the adult role models I had in my life back then, but it is very funny to me now. Now that I’m officially “an adult”, I think to myself, “Oh, I’m still me. I’m not tall. I do not have my stuff all together and I sense I never will. I feel a pull towards integrity, but I realize I will never be fully whole. Not in this life, anyway. I guess the only grown-up who fit all these criteria was Jesus. (though not sure how tall he ever was.)

A pastor here in town says that one of our assignments in this life is to become who we are, and that it’s a trial and error process. I think a lot about “call.” What is God calling me to do? Who is God calling me to be? And I think God is calling me to be myself. I think we are called to be ourselves. And this takes time. It takes a lifetime. No wonder people change careers, change paths, change their minds. Sam Portaro is an author who writes a lot about vocation and he describes the Bible as stories about the vocational journeys of our forebears. I like that. There was a lot of wilderness wandering in the Bible. The Israelites wandered through the wilderness for 40 years and it was a time of them finding out who they were. (and it kind of makes me feel better that they complained the whole time, despite the fact that God rescued them and provided for them at every turn). And then of course there is the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness -- the time that Lent is meant to reflect:

In the 3rd chapter of Matthew, it is written:
“And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” Then Jesus was LED by the Spirit into the wilderness.
In the gospel of Mark, the language changes slightly:
“And the Spirit IMMEDIATELY DROVE him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.”

Jesus is baptized, then goes directly into the wilderness. Jesus has a revelation of identity, of vocation, an intense encounter with the Holy Spirit, then he’s driven immediately into the wilderness. The gospel writers describe the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus “like a dove”: a shy and gentle bird, but the writer Madeleine L’Engle likens the Spirit to a hawk. And as I read these Bible passages, the Spirit that drove Jesus into the wilderness definitely seems more like a hawk than a dove. There’s something about entering into the flow of our vocation that sometimes drives us into the wilderness, at least for a time.

We can’t talk about the wilderness without talking about temptation. It is clear that Jesus was tempted to be someone other than who he was. In this world, we are tempted to conform. We are tempted to fall for the mirages of self that aren’t true to who we really are, the mirages of things that look like they offer life. We are tempted to try to leave the wilderness before we are meant to. Or at least to numb the experience somehow. I’m definitely facing temptation in my wilderness. But the thing I’m trying to discern is: what is temptation and what is call? When we read the passages in the Bible, we KNOW it’s Satan tempting Jesus, so it doesn’t seem that tempting. We KNOW it’s “temptation.” But what makes discernment challenging, is we don’t know the source from which possibilities present themselves. Ah, now we’re really in the wilderness.

Sam Portaro talks about Jesus emerging from the temptations in the wilderness with a new confidence, as if he’s truly in possession of himself. He writes, “It is a sense of assurance that reveals an essential trust of himself in relationship to his creator.” This goes back to the notion that we are called to be ourselves, that we are called to be in relationship to God, and we are called to TRUST that.

There’s a saying that you can’t give your life away until you possess it. I’m starting to see that that journey into authenticity, into relationship with God, begins with letting go: letting go of caring what others think, letting go of expectations of being perfect or “successful” – basically letting go of all the bad parts of EGO. As I’m trying to discern my vocation, I realize the question is different as a mother of young children. And this is a role I cherish and value. And it’s a vocation in and of itself. But I was raised to believe that women can do it all. That we can have fulfilling family lives AND fulfilling careers. But then that word “fulfilling” trips me up. It’s such a hard question…wanting to follow our heart’s desires, but wanting to make sure our hearts are focused on God. Not easy. Walking that line between having the courage to “go for it” and be who I have the potential of being, and grasping at something that just looks good or makes me feel better about myself. It’s a discipline of SURRENDER. Of TRUST. It’s about showing up. Despite the anxiety and the uncertainty. And it’s about letting God into that place. Because the wilderness is also a place of ENCOUNTER, a place where we meet God. There’s a beautiful paradox that when we feel most abandoned by God, we are closest to Him. The Gospel of Mark tells us Jesus was in the desert with the wild beasts, but the angles waited on him. And I think of the moment when Jesus was dying slowly on the cross. He was in the wilderness then. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He was utterly forsaken AND utterly held in God’s arms. At the same time. Isn’t that the reality of our lives on earth?

My favorite image right now of being in the wilderness with God comes from a poem by John Shea and he writes: “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.” Now that’s a metaphor of vocation and relationship with God that I can get behind. When I get stuck and paralyzed trying to figure out what God’s will is for me, when I obsess on finding the right way, I can remember that there is always a right now way. I can imagine God spreading out a Sunday tablecloth and pulling up a chair. “Okay, Grace-thing. What are we going to do? What dishes are we going to put on the table? What centerpiece? Who are we going to invite? What surprises are in store for us?”

Monday, March 3, 2008

Tonight's dinner table conversation

5 year-old: Mommy, you need more sleep than Daddy.
Me: I think you're right, honey. Different people need different amounts of sleep.
5 year-old: You should go to bed before Daddy, okay?
Me: Well, usually mommies and daddies go to bed at the same time.
5yo: Why?
Me: Because it's cozy.
5yo: Do you sing each other songs? (This made me laugh out loud. Just the thought of Husband and I singing each other lullabies. But hey, why not?)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

A Call in the Wilderness

Well...I've slacked off with blog posts again. sigh. I still read others' fairly often, but not as often as I'd like. It's hard to blog when things feel full and muddy. I'm sitting down at my computer attempting to focus my talk I'll be giving next week with Husband. I'm such an odd mixture of fearful and brave. Aren't we all? It's just so funny to me how much fear/anxiety sieze me. I can actually watch it happen...which is a good step. At least I can have some objectivity and humor when I'm seized by it. And that is good. But in considering ordained ministry, in considering being a leader of some kind, I've got to get over this. I think that's why this talk feels so significant. I'll be speaking from that place of fear and uncertainty and discernment. Once I figure out what I'm saying, I'll post the gist of it. Husband is the best. He thinks I'm funny. I wouldn't want to have to plan a talk with me. He's so mellow, go-with-the-flow. Thank God I married him. He took the girls to the farmer's market this morning so I could work on this. Until later..

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Heavenly Friday Five

Singing Owl over at Revgals offers this weeks Friday Five:

What is your idea of a heavenly (i.e. wonderful and perfect):

1. Family get-together

Around the table, home-made bread, good red wine, (okay, this is sounding a little too eucharistic), a perfect roast chicken, laughter, children (well-behaved of course with just the teensiest hint of mischief), ease, stories, reminiscing, visioning...

2. Song or musical piece

Something by Bach

3. Gift

a pug. Or maybe a baby who never woke up in the night, who only nursed once a day, who never cried more than 5 minutes a at a time and who could magically take care of itself when the parent had to go out for a few hours. And who could be frozen for a few months when it reached a really magical age (like my 2 1/2 year old right now.)

4. You choose whatever you like-food, pair of shoes, vacation, house, or something else. Just tell us what it is and what a heavenly version of it would be.

The earthly version IS the heavenly version: Linguine with Brie and tomatoes and basil. You marinate for a few hours chunks of brie, fresh basil, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil and salt and pepper. Then you boil some linguine then pour the sauce over the pasta and the brie melts and.............I just died thinking about it.

5. And for a serious moment, or what would you like your entrance into the next life to be like?
What, from your vantage point now, would make Heaven "heavenly?"

A sense of deep peace soaking into me like warm sand. Deep love. Recognition. Home.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A bit more on the latter

I feel the need to comment on my last post. It is very easy to complain about the sermon one hears. It is much harder to write and deliver those sermons. I feel acutely aware that quite a few sermon-givers read this blog from time to time and I wish to be sensitive to that. I've never had to give a sermon. Especially not week after week. So I need to be careful when complaining. I just want to clarify that the majority of sermons at my place of worship are hyper-intellectual and belong in adult education, not in the pulpit on Sunday mornings. But this is just my opinion and I am one of hundreds of congregants in those pews. But this raises an important question. What is the role of the sermon? I suppose it's about balance. And about being open to the Spirit. About being bold, yes, but sensitive. Goodness...not easy.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

rambling roaming rhetoric

I'm frustrated with my church today. They don't preach at my church. They intellectually unpack conservative theology. At least that's how I feel today. I'm so tired of the intellectualizing and the unpacking...what happened to preaching? Maybe this isn't the place to serve as a lay leader. grumph. Maybe it is just the place for me, but not feelin it today.

I'm excited about Obama.

I'm having a baby pang. How can this be?? Make it stop, someone. It's only because my two year-old is almost three. I knew it would come around now, even though I SWORE I could never do the baby thing again. And I won't. Our family feels complete, but must confess the pang I've been feeling this week. This would completely stall the momentum that's going on regarding school/career. It's just a pang.

I took my 5 year-old to Disneyland for the first time a few days ago. It was MAGICAL. So wonderful to experience it through her eyes. Just too cute.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunshiny Day

Today we celebrated my daughter's 5th birthday. She's been counting down for DAYS. It was a glorious day. And she is too wondrous. (and highstrung). but so am I. Wondrous and highstrung. :) We had a birthday party tonight and the house was full of gorgeous 5 year old girls. And my 2 year old was in HEAVEN. And as she slyly stole all their food and goodies out of their goodie bags, they readily forgave her. Because they love her. And she is utterly loveable, even in all her mischief and nakedness (she REFUSES to keep her clothes on...AT ALL.)

So I'm exhausted. Husband is out delivering extra birthday cake around the neighborhood. I ordered a quarter sheet. They made a half sheet by mistake. So we got a lot of cake.

Today is unusually warm. (apologies to those of you reading this from the chilly region of the midwest!) I'm going to bundle up, grab a blanket, lay it out on the grass and lie down and look up at the stars. They are BRIGHT tonight and the frogs are so LOUD in the creek far below and the night is so beckoning. I'm going to listen to the music of the night.

Then I'm going to make a pot of tea (not feeling so well) and crawl into bed and flip through Lenten prayers cause I'm in charge of finding opening and closing prayers for our Lenten series.

Good night.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday Five: What are you doing for Lent?

Mother Laura over at Revgals offers us this Friday Five:

1. Did you celebrate Mardi Gras and/or Ash Wednesday this week? How?
I took my whole family to our Ash Wednesday service. The girls were upstairs in the nursery while Husband and I attended the service. I love the ashes smeared on everyone's foreheads, listening to the hushed tones of the priests reminding us that we are's all so theatrical. L'Engle writes of us being made of stardust. What would it be like to have stardust rubbed on our foreheads? Oh dear, I'm spending too much time with my 4 year-old daughter.

2. What was your most memorable Mardi Gras/Ash Wednesday/Lent?
Hmmm...I suppose my first service, which was only a few years ago. I grew up a Presbyterian and I'm not sure there was an Ash Wednesday service. I don't think Lent was ever mentioned in my Sunday School.

3. Did you/your church/your family celebrate Lent as a child? If not, when and how did you discover it?
I discovered it in college for the first time, but not personally until a few years ago.

4. Are you more in the give-up camp, or the take-on camp, or somewhere in between?
I'm definitely in the in-between. I love doing both and find each one profoundly helpful.

5. How do you plan to keep Lent this year?
I'm giving up alcohol this Lent. I've gotten too used to having a glass of wine every night and it makes me sleepy and a little fuzzy and I want to be present this Lent. It's time to do this. I'm adding on a practice of centering prayer every day and I'm going to focus on a word that keeps coming to me: SURRENDER.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Into the Wilderness

Well it's Ash Wednesday. Appropriate somehow that I feel lost today. But it's okay. I can tell its just my usual ebb and flow. I actually love Lent and this year I'm going to give up alcohol (gotten a little too used to having a glass of wine every night) and I'm adding a centering prayer practice of 20 minutes a day.

My low-grade (or not so low) anxiety lately has been about an upcoming speaking engagement. Husband and I were asked to speak way back in October. At that time, March seemed so far off, we both said, "Sure!" But now...panic! It's in front of an entire student body of college students and I just feel so lost as to what to share with them. We get to plan the 25 minutes however we want to. I just wish I felt more secure and less unsure of everything. But I KNOW this is a wonderful place from which to speak to college students. To get up there and just be unsure and talk from that place. But that is HARD for me, especially right now when I'm in discernment. But it's really just my ego that is causing this stress. There will be lots of faculty that know me and my husband and it's them I'm afraid of. silly. AND if I'm at all truthful I'll have to talk a little bit about considering becoming an Episcopal priest which feels like coming out of the closet. And not sure I'm ready to yet. I'll talk a bit about wrestling with the angel of vocation. I'll talk a bit about the qualities of "wilderness", good and bad. Speak from my own...maybe talk a bit about Jesus'. Talk about what I want to be when I grow up and that we probably never stop asking that question, because we're constantly growing up. I'll talk a little about listening to your life and tell a little about my story and Husband's and where it has brought us this far. I don't know...

So that's where I am today.
Blessings to all of you as you journey into Lent,

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I LOVE this poem

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

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Morning Mayhem of Musings

Random thoughts:

I went to a Healing Touch workshop a few days ago. Woah. It was profound for me. I don't really know the science behind the information presented regarding energy fields around us, etc. But it was interesting and in sync with my own experience. Then after some time in centering prayer, we had a short time of laying on of hands on our partner. Both times, as recipient and as "healer" I truly felt an outpouring of God's love. It was like a current and it was beautiful and humbling. It made me want to learn more.

My discernment committee meets this week. I'm supposed to talk to them about my spiritual gifts. Hmm.. Kind of hard to determine yourself. I mean, I have some ideas...should be an interesting exercise to journal about that before the meeting.

I'm re-reading yet another L'Engle book and it has an immediate effect on me. In the healing touch workshop, they talked about a part of our brains (and the brain-heart connection) that is full of potential that we hardly tap into. And when we're merely in survival mode (which we're in most of the time) we don't have room to explore this more intuitive, hopeful, imaginative side of ourselves. When I read L'Engle (who writes about the need for the recovery of our intuitive selves and who writes from that place) I feel that part of me re-awaken and I calm down and I trust more.

Quote of the week:
My almost 5 year-old said, "Mama, I want to get married some day. Mama? Is my husband a little boy right now?" And she said it with such wonder and wide gorgeous hazel eyes. sigh.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday Five

Here is Friday Five from Revgals:

1.What book have you read in the last six months that has really stayed with you? Why?
William Countryman's Living on the Border of the Holy. This book is amazing. Someone recommended it to me as a way of talking me out of wanting to become ordained, but it made me want it more! It is a beautiful and intelligent look at the priesthood/laity division and calls for a change. It is a cry out for everyone's part in the fundamental priesthood. Every time I go to this book, I find more and more.

What is one of your favorite childhood books?
A Wrinkle in Time and the whole series. I just re-read them as an adult and it was amazing.

Do you have a favorite book of the Bible? Do tell!
I love the Psalms. And John.

What is one book you could read again and again?
Any of Madeleine L'Engle's books in her 4-book Crosswicks series. These are her memoirs and I have read them again and again and will continue to.

Is there a book you would suggest for Lenten reading? What is it and why?
A Hidden Wholeness by Parker Palmer. This book would be wonderful read on one's own, or as part of a small group during Lent. It's about integration. It's about sacred circles of sharing. It's about our darkness and our light, our childhoods and our adulthoods.

And because we all love bonus questions, if you were going to publish a book what would it be? Who would you want to write the jacket cover blurb expounding on your talent?
Hmmm...I suppose it would be a book about my spiritual journey cause those are the books I most love reading. I can't get enough of other people's pilgrimages on this Earth (pilgrimage in the metaphorical sense). I guess that's why I love reading blogs at Revgals so much.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Timing is Everything (or at least it feels that way)

Help! I thought I had made my decision. When I made it, it was with a "who knows what the future will bring, let's take the bird in the hand (or ministry in the hand)" attitude. But I met with my rector yesterday and he helped clarify some things. He affirmed Husband's pov that it wouldn't be wise to do church leadership and seminary at the same time. This is probably very true, especially with my kiddos being so young. So the question that has arisen I continue the discernment process, the whole kit and caboodle, ending around Spring 2009 and then put off seminary for a few years until I'm ready (and church leadership position is over) OR do I stop the official discernment process now and take the church position and then when I have an actual timing plan for seminary, start the discernment process over at that time. Rector thinks that seminary needs to follow pretty closely after the completion of the discernment process. Granted, Rector tends to be a very inside-the-box thinker. He said, "Make sure, though, that you're not using this ministry opportunity as an excuse to postpone the discernment process." He's right. It's possible I'm doing that. But it's just as possible that it's just what I should be doing and that God is telling me to slow down. And I truly do not know which way to go. I know God will follow me wherever I go. It's that tension I've been living in for a while now: not wanting to put off seminary any longer because it could take me 6 years to complete it (it's a commuter program), but not feeling ready to go. Certainly not feeling ready to have an interview with the Bishop. Yikes! At least I have my discernment committee next week and Rector gave me permission to put off my official decision until then.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Well, call me superstitious, but someone once told me that when you come upon a feather, it is a sign that the Holy Spirit has been with you. I don't know where this comes from, but there have been uncanny moments in my life where a feather has come at a very interesting sure has seemed like a sign of the Spirit.

Today I made an important decision. I accepted an offer of significant lay leadership at my church (volunteer position). It is a 4 year commitment and I'm trying to see how this is complementary to my seminary journey and not a stop in its flow. It's ministry. And it is the perfect next step. It was just VERY HARD to make a 4 year commitment when I feel so uncertain about the future. I agonized about it for a week, then while staring at the elephants at the zoo with my youngest daughter, I made the decision to accept. I hung up the phone with only a slight twinge of "O God, what have I done?" and my little girl pointed to something on the slide in front of her. It was a teeny soft feather. It almost made me weep. It truly felt like a hug from the Spirit. An affirmation. It may have just been a feather, but I am choosing to believe it was more.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Annie Dillard is one of my favorite authors. Check out this passage from her book Holy the Firm.

"One night a moth flew into the candle, was caught, burnt dry, and held. I must have been staring at the candle, or maybe I looked up when a shadow crossed my page; at any rate, I saw it all. A golden female moth, a biggish one with a two-inch wingspan, flapped into the fire, dropped her abdomen into the wet wax, stuck, flamed, frazzled and fried in a second. Her moving wings ignited like tissue paper, enlarging the circle of light in the clearing and creating out of the darkness the sudden blue sleeves of my sweater, the green leaves of jewelweed by my side, the ragged red trunk of a pine. At once the light contracted again and the moth’s wings vanished in a fine, foul smoke. At the same time her six legs clawed, curled, blackened, and ceased, disappearing utterly. And her head jerked in spasms, making a splattering noise; her antennae crisped and burned away and her heaving mouth parts crackled like pistol fire. When it was all over, her head was, so far as I could determine, gone, gone the long way of her wings and legs. Had she been new, or old? Had she mated and laid her eggs, had she done her work? All that was left was the glowing horn shell of her abdomen and thorax – a fraying, partially collapsed gold tube jammed upright in the candle’s round pool.

And then this moth-essence, this spectacular skeleton, began to act as a wick. She kept burning. The wax rose in the moth’s body from her soaking abdomen to her thorax to the jagged hole where her head should be, and widened into flame, a saffron-yellow flame that robed her to the ground like any immolating monk. That candle had two wicks, tow flames of identical height, side by side. The moth’s head was fire. She burned for two hours, until I blew her out.

She burned for two hours without changing, without bending or leaning – only glowing within, like a building fire glimpsed through silhouetted walls, like a hollow saint, like a flame-faced virgin gone to God, while I read by her light, kindled, while Rimbaud in Paris burnt out his brains in a thousand poems, while night pooled wetly at my feet."

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I have one!

oh my gosh. I'm so lucky. I have one in my house! I have one to myself! I have a toddler! And I am not writing with any sarcasm, believe it our not. I have in my own house a little dimple-wristed girl with soft baby shampoo smelling hair with huge, I mean, huge saucer blue eyes and pouty little lips. I have a little toddler with a squawky heart melting voice...mispronouncing everything, attempting at singing, which sounds like a baby whale moaning. too cute. I have a sweet-breathed teeny human in my house who....guess what....loves me more than anything in the world! Her bottom is unspeakable in its perfection and ice cream scoop-ness. Triple scoop. Her belly sticks out of everything. It is so easy to make her laugh. And to make her cry. She is utterly ticklish. When she's asleep she is transformed from her mischievous self into an angel of peace.

You know those moments when grace pierces your life and you realize for just one second what you have? I've just had one of those moments.

Stay tuned for the next post, which I'm sure will be the other extreme of having a toddler. But for tonight, I am forever grateful and want to freeze time.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Top Ten Wishes for the New Year

In my women's group at church, this is our assignment. To dream BIG and freely, without the little critic/judge voice. I'm not one for New Year's resolutions. I like to think of it more as a process, starting over each day. So these aren't supposed to be resolutions, more like dreams.

So here are mine:
- Start a vegetable garden and a compost bin.
- Learn to play the guitar.
- Learn to knit my daughter a little green sweater.
- Trust God more with my discernment.
- Have more sex. (That is, want to have more sex.
- Have such a relationship with God that I can't help spending time in prayer every day. (hee hee, I like the order these just happened in...funny)
- Love myself enough to care more about my home environment. It's just not tidy. I try, but I don't make it a priority/habit. I go in MAJOR cycles and I just wish I could ALWAYS just put things where they belong without making "for later" piles.
- Work on my friendships more; more effort and initiative.
- Be more of a giver in my marriage.
- Use some money to really help someone in a major way.

Anyone want to share theirs?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Down the Mountain and into the New Year

This marks a new attempt at blogging more regularly. For those of you who still check in with me and bother to see if I have a new post, thank you! I hope I can just do this more frequently. It is a gift to me, as is reading all your blogs.

My husband's family has a tradition every New Year's Eve. We hike up a very steep snowy mountain ski run, in full ski attire, carrying our skis. Then, at the top, we gather for a time, catching our breath, gazing up at the stars and down at the valley below, toasting with hot cocoa, then we light flares and ski down the mountain, in a slow S curve. All our children wait back at the condo with the grandparents, cheering us on, watching our orange lights in the distance snake their way down the mountain. I love this tradition even though it nearly kills me every year. It is hard work. But as I race into the darkness with my family, holding scary flares, feeling the cold air rush against my face, I can't think of a better metaphor for leaping into the new year...with all its unknowns, with all its gravitational pulls, with its thrills and disasters, I want to throw caution away and just go for it. I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, but I do love this embodied metaphor we do every December 31st.

And for some reason, every January, things happen in my life. Good things. Doors always seem to open in January. Not sure why. So now I am faced with decisions...all good ones, but not easy ones. My church is offering me roles in leadership in two categories: leader of worship or leader of Christian formation. This is a tough one. But what makes it even tougher, is that it's a 4 year commitment. I have NO IDEA if I'll even be living in this city in 4 years. I probably will be. But I may be enrolled in seminary, in which case this would be way too much to take on. But I may not be enrolled, in which case it would be a shame to say no. I could say yes with the possibility of having to leave the role mid-way, but I don't like making decisions that way. I like being reliable and taking commitments seriously. Husband is very nervous about all this. He doesn't want me to get over-committed, when my kids are still so little. I'm going to have to pray. And talk to people. This would be very hard to say no to. But if I did say no, it would be more of a commitment towards starting seminary sooner than later. Why am I in such a hurry to start seminary? I want to be young when I get ordained. At this rate, I actually won't be young. I'll be young-ish. But it could take me 8 years to complete the degree in the part-time commuter program. When I really think about it, it makes me want to start since it's going to take so long to complete. So...prayers needed for discernment!

Happy New Year. Happy rushing into the wind. Happy rushing into the moment.