Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Heart

If you are following this blog at all you can see that I am wrestling with who I am and what I believe and what that looks like at the end of the day. Growing up in a preacher's family and all the circumstances around that pretty much destroyed my ability to have polite religious relationship with God, church or any form of religion, unless it is radically authentic. Which isn't always a bad thing, but it certainly comes out looking a bit crazy. I have totally had direct personal encounters with the spiritual world, both the good and the bad. And then my gifts allow me to know and see things that I can't do on my own...so if you tell me you have visions, hear voices, see ghosts etc...I don't automatically think you are crazy, and if you are crazy well I am okay with that too.

Anyways I was lent this book called "The Sacred Romance" by Brent Curtis & John Eldrege and it touched my heart, it speaks of the struggle my heart and soul is in. So I will share this paragraph: "Starting very early, life has taught all of us to ignore and distrust the deepest yearnings of our heart. Life, for the most part, teaches us to suppress our longing and live only in the external world where efficiency and performance are everything. We have learned from parents and peers, at school, at work, and even from our spiritual mentors that something else is wanted from us other than our heart, which is to say, that which is most deeply us. Very seldom are we ever invited to live out of our heart. If we are wanted, we are often wanted for what we can offer functionally. If rich, we are honored for our wealth; if beautiful, for our looks, if intelligent, for our brains. So we learn to offer only those parts of us that are approved, living out a carefully crafted performance to gain acceptance from those who represent life to us. We divorce ourselves from our heart and begin to live a double life. The inner life, the story of our heart is the life of the deep places within us, our passions and dreams, our fears and our deepest wounds. If is the unseen life, the mystery within--what Buechner calls our "shimmering self." It cannot be managed like a corporation. The heart does not respond to principles and programs; it seeks not efficiency, but passion. Art, poetry, beauty, mystery, ecstasy: These are what rouse the heart."

This touched me because this is what I believe life is about. If I don't live here in this above belief and protect my heart I soon loose desire to exists. I have tried to teach this to my children and sometimes I think they live it with more confidence than I. Each of my children are very unique, my oldest Josiah (18), is very academic, he can give you a guided tour about each animal at the zoo, even ones I did not know existed, and he is not reading the signs. But he also is very tenderhearted and can have deep conversations with his friends, he pays attention to people's feelings, he also plays drums and guitar and has written a song as well. My second son Aaron(16), is very artistic, whatever he sets his mind too he does with his whole heart. His room is painted black with different gray and red artistic accents on each of the four walls, he has long red hair and a lip piercing and is considering tattoo sleeves on his arms and he plays drums and guitar as well and is working on a band and writes music too. He also is compassionate and has many friends which he thoroughly enjoys. My daughter, Angelle(12), is also artistic, she loves to paint, takes art lessons,and is very aware of fashion. Not fashion in the just the shopping, but in creating her own clothing and mixing just the right clothes to portray different looks. She just got a sewing machine for her birthday and loves creating fashion for her Barbie's. She already seems confident of who she is and what she likes. She also does very well in school and has many friends. I am glad that my children can be whoever they are, I refuse to say no to things just because they make me uncomfortable or stretch my personal boundaries. This has enriched my life and I am grateful for all the expansion even when I am scared spitless and shitless.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fair and Just

This is the main thought rolling around in my head since yesterday, and the preacher who I felt I disagreed with. (I really wished I could have asked some questions in the middle of church yesterday, because I had a lot of them.) I don't believe it is possible to have everyone feel like there is fairness and justice for everyone. In order for one person to be taken care of it always comes at cost to another. For instance if I am putting on a party for someone, I am trying to honor this person. I can not invite everyone who would want to come, because not everyone makes this person feel special. So in essence I am not being fair to the person who is not being invited.
I have this issue with many things, like family too, not everyone gets along...and when you add divorce into the picture...funerals, weddings and family gatherings are awkward at best. If things are handled somewhat civilly we can usually cope, but things being fair and just, not even maybe. A friend of mine, Dr. Jay Rock wrote a song called "Why?" basically saying "why can't we all get along?"
There is the clash of culture too, something like belching is a compliment in one persons world and an insult in another. Different beliefs, ideologies, and philosophies all contribute to our difficulty. The stronger someone believes that they must make others conform to their beliefs the greater the struggle becomes to have any semblance of peace.
I tend to be a right fighter, bluntly stating what I think, but the older I get the more I realize being right does not bring happiness, getting along does. But there is also a balance here, because if I am willing to have peace at any price, I will loose myself and find no happiness. So I come to the conclusion that this thing called 'fair and just', is far more like walking a tight rope...if I get over balanced either way, I can fall off. And when I fall I always hurt more than just myself, I also injure others, due solely because of community and all the many and varied relationships I have.

Friday, April 17, 2009


This is not a popular thought. I do not like it either. But my counselor keeps telling me to embrace the pain, face the pain, accept the pain and in that comes deep healing. Fortunately for me I have experienced that healing before with other pain. But I still try fighting the truth and running from my feelings only to make this thing called pain last longer...I am a slow learner. Especially when pain comes from many directions at once.

One of my pains comes from the loss of key people in my life, both my parents-in-laws passed away and though that sounds strange I grieve their absence, both because they are gone and the changes that has brought to our lives as their children. This change, them being gone, has come at great price and not all relationships are intact this side of the estate being settled, and that brings great grief. We lived in the same yard as my parents-in-law and inherited the home they used to live in, and much as this is a privilege. I must also work through all my feelings while I work on this house, because it is another piece of them. I grieve that they did not get to finish or enjoy the beautiful home that I am building and at times in any building project I feel anger or confusion when I have to solve building problems that were left by them. I know that God told me to finish this house and He will use it for something special but their is still sadness. I know that this house building, along with this sadness has done a very special work in my heart and for this I am extremely grateful, but the tears roll down my face at times.

I am surprised sometimes where grief comes from too. Like my children growing up which is something I have worked hard to make happen, but as they pull away and become independent I feel sad. I guess a mixture, I am proud of them and who they have become, but a part of me feels lost as my role with them changes. But once again accepting my grief and asking God to help me, I can release this beautiful emerging adults and trust them to God, no matter what happens. And I can see all the new opportunities there are for me with these changes.

Some of my sadness comes as a really good friend of mine, Tara Robertson, had to move away to Ontario with her family. I miss her. Even though we are all grown adults and can understand that moving for a job is a necessary part of life, I still grieve, and sometimes more than others. It is an adjustment to be far apart and at times I am very lonely.

Acknowledging my feeling as sadness, understanding what is making me sad and then allowing myself time to feel this feeling and spending time alone with God and my feelings eventually bring healing. And when the sadness comes again next time hopefully I will embrace the feeling.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Amusing Wisdom

Quotes from Maya Angelou

In April, Maya Angelou was interviewed by Oprah on her 70+ birthday. Oprah asked her what she thought of growing older. And there on television, she said it was 'exciting.' Regarding body changes, she said there were many, occurring every day...like her breasts. They seemed to be in a race to see which will reach her waist, first. My mother sent me this by e-mail and I thought they were worth sharing:

'No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow!'

'You can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.'

'Regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.'

'Making a 'living' is not the same thing as 'making a life.'

'Life sometimes gives you a second chance.'

'I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back.'

'Whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.'

'Even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.'

'Every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.'

'I still have a lot to learn.'

'People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.'

Please send this to five phenomenal people today...
If you do, something good will happen: You will boost another person's self-esteeem.

If you don't...the elastic will break and your underpants will fall down around your ankles! Believe me, I didn't take any chances on MY elastic breaking....I sent it to a lot of special people. This was the part where I doubled up laughing...hope you enjoyed.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Sequel

Okay, just like usual God showed up. This is the bizarre but real relationship I have with God. I rant and rail about whatever is bothering me in my inner being and feel better and then am able to see more of God and have intimate talks with God. My previous post about religious holidays, traditions and symbolism was frankly how I felt.

I went to church on Easter Sunday because I continue to pursue God and I usually find Him there at church (I also find Him a lot of other places too). But finding Him at church is rather consistent for me. Although I won't say that I don't have to work very hard at finding Him there most Sundays. See I believe that God rides with me wherever I go...so I am not big on inviting Him to come because He and I have this understanding that He is already along...so its kind of redundant. Anyways I was busy sitting in the pew sorting out what was God from what was driving me crazy from what was truth and what was lies...normal Sunday morning activity for me. It usually takes me the rest of the day to find equilibrium again. Some of the songs we sing are lies you know?! Anyways that's another topic. I was sitting there realizing that we all come to God differently, we all have different backgrounds, personalities and life experiences....so obviously God has to use very different approaches for each human being on the planet. WOW!!! So as this came to me I suddenly relaxed and felt okay, its okay for some to like what I don't, its okay for some to see God totally different than I do, and He is so big that its just fine! I don't have to conform and shut down me in order to fit with God and church, and I don't have to try to change anyone else. And its just fine that it seems to be a mess this thing called church. I can handle that!! We are just human beings in search of a God we will never understand.

I ran into a book yesterday called "crazy love" by Francis Chan, this man says in this book " Not being able to fully understand God is frustrating, but it is ridiculous for us to think we have the right to limit God to something we are capable of understanding. What a stunted, insignificant god that would be! If my mind is the size of a soda can and God is the size of all the oceans, it would be stupid for me to say He is only the small amount of water I can scoop into my little can. God is so much bigger , so beyond our time-encased, air/food/sleep-dependent lives." If you are interested Francis Chan, he has a website www.crazylovebook.com you can see some of his thoughts there. So thanks for thinking about my crazy thoughts.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Religious Holidays

Okay truth be told I am having trouble with Easter coming. I always have a lot of trouble with religious holidays...if I could avoid church around Christmas and Easter I would be good. I was raised a preacher's daughter and I know that the religious part of church killed me, and had God not intervened and supernaturally became part of my everyday life I would have no room for spirituality. Instead I have a hard time with structured religion. It has nothing to do with my relationship with God or Jesus Christ but I sure could rant on about the church!!! And for whatever reason those who like traditions and sayings, pat yourself on the back your a good person bunk are raring to go when it comes to religious holidays. The preachers who will stand up on Sunday morning and say "He is risen" and we are supposed to say back "He is risen in deed" drive me around the bend and back. To me doing the same thing as we did last year at Easter makes my relationship with God dull. I dislike the Lord's Prayer, Psalm 23 all for the same reason...repetitive...it looses its value, I can say it without thinking...not a good thing. I don't like lent, the ministerial lunches leading up to Easter and you will never catch me wearing a cross. Speaks of traditional religion and I have absolutely no use for it. I want the real God who is busy today doing something that will rattle my cage and others around me. I want to know what He is challenging you with today and I want to share the miracles that He did this week. Not what he is doing in a book you read, or in another country. TODAY, HERE, NOW, ACTIVE PRESENT TENSE!!!! And if you find yourself not knowing the answer to that then I would like you to question whether God is actually a part of your life or if you are just practicing religion. And even as I write this I know that I love the sweet old ladies, nice elderly gentlemen, the young children and all the rest who are trying to find God may feel offended at my writing this because these traditions are how they find God. I am not trying to offend you, I just need to write another opinion because there are a lot that think like me and they need a voice too. And I am sad and angry when religion keeps people away from a relationship with God.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Well I just got back yesterday from a weekend with my family as we had my Grandmother's funeral and celebrated her life. I really did enjoy seeing everyone, but it is just such a large number of people that my brain is still trying to sort and file it all away. My Grandmother had ten children, five boys and five girls. My mother was the fourth child and second daughter. I am the second grandchild and first granddaughter. Being one of the oldest grandchildren gives me the advantage of being able to remember when most of them were born and watching them grow into wonderful adults. That was what impressed me the most was seeing them, meeting their spouses, hearing about what they are doing, meeting who they are dating, meeting their children, hearing their passions and being reminded of what makes each of them so individual.
Getting together with family reminds me of who I am, and what parts of me come from them. Some parts I love, some parts I don't understand, some parts I wish I was more like, some parts I don't want to copy, and some parts I would like to change. Family is fun and frustrating. I have my own immediate family, my husband and my three children. I have my husband's family and then my own extended family. I am married into a family with culture and traditions which are foreign me and at times I find my own biological family weird. We fight, love, terrorize, joke, play, tease, and much more... We learn about ourselves and others as we interact, through life together, it seems to me that it is a pulling together and apart, sometimes it seems we fit and other times we don't. We are all alike and yet different. A beautiful mosaic that is always changing. And now with the death of our Grandmother we will still change again.