Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I love advent.

I love the longing for the Kingdom that is here and the Kingdom is coming.

Saturday night and Sunday morning I got to sing Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel. It is my favorite. So I am sharing it here.

1. Oh, come, Oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

2. Oh, come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

3. Oh, come, Thou Dayspring from on high,
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

4. Oh, come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heavenly home:
Make safe the way that leads on high
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sabbath?

I have not written here in ages- I mean there have been some posts here and there, but I am not writing consistently or with the quality that I aspire to. I would love to say that my recent failure to post has been because I have been too busy 'living life' to write about it. Truthfully, I have just been too busy. Too busy to reflect; too busy to fulfill many of my commitments with care; too busy to take time to rest.


Each Friday my little android phone reminds me that I have Sabbath scheduled for Saturday, and each reminder is ignored. Last week I skipped out on a ONE campaign event, because I realized while most people get excited about their weekends to rest and have fun, I mostly think of all the work and commitments I have. It was amazing how skipping just one thing (well 2, I bailed on Sunday morning church as well) can really change a weekend. It was restful and wonderful, in fact it really was so great that I am going to post a very late reflection on it soon, but still a tad bit overstuffed.

I am afraid I am on the verge of burnout, but I have so much I want to and need do.

As I write this it strikes me as profound that the Sabbath is a commandment- taking one day off a week ranks up there with love God, don't kill people, tell the truth and don't have sex with other people's spouses. Seriously working 7 days a week ranks with murder and adultery? Add to that even before the 10 commandments were given from the beginning God made it a point to let us know that it took 6 days to create the world, then there was rest. A full day of rest. All seven days matter, 6 for work and 1 for rest.

So why is it that I think it is no big deal to ignore that little reminder? How is it that I fill my Saturday, my everyday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. rushing from one commitment to the next? Do I really think that God can create the universe and rest, but if I fail to run around for one day a week my friends will feel neglected, slavery will go unchallenged, my career as a faith leader will never come into existence, and really just about everything I care about will crumble? I hope my ego is not quite that over inflated, but actions speak louder than words.

Maybe next week I won't hit the dismiss button.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The inner dialog of a runner

Or at least the crazy talk that goes on in my head.

Lap 1 - I am already board and the goal is 4 miles
Lap 2- Already tired of running, there is no way I am going to make it to 3 miles - wait the goal is 4, crap
Lap 3- almost a 4th of the way to the finish
Lap 4- serious pep talk begins- a quarter of the way done- keep going
Lap 5-wondering thoughts
Lap 6- half way - nope not true the goal is 4 miles
Lap 7- just keep moving, I don't like this song
Lap 8- half way, you can't quit after half way, keep going
Lap 9- Just Dance- thank you Lady GaGa
Lap 10 - just a mile and a half more, I can do this
Lap 11- those people are faster than me, I should run faster
Lap 12- wait is this lap 12, it might be lap 11, shoot I lost count, I'll just have to add one
Lap 12- again
Lap 13- 3 more I can do this
Lap 14 - 3 more? seriously I need to find a way to count down better
Lap 15- lets say 2 more that way I will know for sure I did 4 miles
Lap 15- again
Lap 16- almost done, what if I do 5 miles, I should run the last part faster, unless I am running 5 miles then I don't want to waist all my energy going faster... but the faster I run the faster I am done, I can totally do 5 miles
Lap 17- I am doing 5 miles
Lap 18- so doing 5 miles, easy
Lap 19- almost done with 5 miles, so easy
Lap 20- what if I do 6 miles
Lap 21- yep doing 6 miles
Lap 22- I need better music if I am going to run 6 miles
Lap 23- The Killers, smile like you mean it
Lap 24- 6 miles done
Lap 25- walking
Lap 26- why are all the gates of this track locked?
half a mile walk home

6 miles done- half marathon in February? Bring it on

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Crafty Night

After staying out late too many nights this week I decided to stay in an craft. These are some of the pieces I created. They are all promised to someone, but if you like them let me know! I can make something uniquely for you!!



Thursday, October 15, 2009

Additional Blog

So as I have been getting back into researching and publishing human trafficking info I have decided to create a blog dedicated to the topic: abolitionist diva was started tonight. Check it out if you like.

http://abolitionistdiva.blogspot.com/

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Uneven

All of my life I have been an artist. Often I have been a perfectionist. Even worse, I have regularly left artistic dreams unfulfilled because the project was evolving imperfectly.

One such time of frustrating imperfection happened during my childhood/adolescence. I was in my grandmother's home. I am not sure how old I was, but old enough to think I knew a few things about life. I was crafting with my grandmother and making some sort of doll. The doll was a woman.

I was cramming cotton into the figure to make it the right shape. I was old enough to know that the boobs on my doll were supposed to be even.

As I let out an overly expressive juvenile groan of frustration my grandmother calmly informed me that I really should not worry about it. After all, her breast were uneven.

My grandmother is a survivor. She was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, and they were able to remove it. She opted out of full reconstructive surgery. She is secure in the beauty of being stronger than a disease. In that moment she inspired me, and she still does.

I decided my doll was more perfect in her imperfection, and I left the cotton stuffing uneven.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. If you can give to the research please do. If you are woman check yourself regularly. If you are a man remember the women in your life and pray for them.

Grandma - I know you read this. I hope I did not embarrass you. You inspire me and I wanted to share your inspiration with anyone else that reads this. I love you so much. Thank you for fighting it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

LOVE

I will forever be perplexed by the concept of being in love. It is not that I have never fallen, in fact I do it once every few years. It is that I have never loved someone who has loved me, or at least been 'in' love with me. I have been loved by wonderful men, but none of them were 'in' love with me (Yes, I am that girl with deep and wonderful guy/girl friendships). So every now and then, as I attend weddings, and see comfortable couples sitting together on the BART, I wonder how it happens for some, and not for others. I wonder at the magic of finding someone. To many people this might sound naive; however, Solomon in his wisdom considered that way of a man with a woman to be one of the greatest forms of wisdom. If finding your way with the opposite sex is one of the greatest forms of wisdom then you have to agree that it must be at least a little complicated.

LOVE

Just out of reach I see you
The story I cannot seem to write for myself

I see you
The tale that is not mine to tell

Just beyond my grasping fingers you are there
The promise that is not mine

It is not that I want you
It is that I am intrigued

How did you become who you are
While I was becoming me?

How did you fall into something so beautiful
While I was diving into something else?

Somehow you found that comfortable place
And I found that itch for more

You were written with someone to hold
I crafted tall tales of men to want, but never have

You are the story I thought I would live
Still you are the sun passing beneath the horizon
While I am gazing at uncharted space

It is not that I want you
It is just that tonight I am perplexed by you

Tomorrow you will be hidden by my work, my projects, my goals and my adventures
Tomorrow you will be a memory of dream, of dream

Tonight you are the mystery that I long to comprehend
Tonight you are the story I cannot write for myself

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I want to write a better ending

Incomplete

I am hiding in walls,
sleeping in spaces cramped and small
tears too dry to fall,
on cheeks too bruised to hurt
my skin too tender to feel,
still my heart is strong,
beating, beat by beat,
like a clock counting down to the next man to come here,
to the next violent moment,
to the rescue that might never come,
for a child that no one knows is missing...

I want to write a story of rescue.
I want to write of The One that redeems.
I want to end this poem with hope, but I fear that there are two types of wisdom: the wisdom of what should be and the wisdom of what is.
What is, is the reality that most girls in prostitution or slavery are not rescued.
I want to write of the God who took on flesh to feel the pain that all humans feel.
I want to write of Jesus with skin that was broken, ripped apart, bruised and bleeding.
I want to write that this girl knows that God has heard her cry, but until we stand up for her, until we find her, until we pray and cry out for her, I do not know that I can genuinely end a poem of heart break with hope, because we are her rescuers and so few of us are running to her, so few of us are taking on her pain.
This is not an accusation, because I cannot accuse you as I sit in my apartment on my computer, comfortable with food in my stomach.
Still, it is where I am at with this poem.
I cannot end it well, because I fear her story does not end well.

Redeemer,
Hear their cries, help me to cry with them, the men, women, and children, break our hearts, move us to mercy and action, guide us, and equip us to be their rescuer.
Give her hope, use me.
Amen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Goals for 2009 evaluated

So I just turned 27 (a few weeks ago) and the year is almost 3/4 done so I am evaluating my progress on these goals - I am bit scared b/c I don't think I am doing so hot.

My goals for 2009-

write meaningfully - doing it some, should do it more
run- maybe even race - doing some, need to do more
become 'gainfully' employed - completed the task today- it requires 2 jobs but I am on it
take the GRE and rock it - nope
go on a trip for fun- pure pleasure, nothing else (preferably one that involves a national park) - do day trips count?? I went to Big Basin last weekend
get one of the two major tattoos I want - appointment has been made :)
live the vows made with Seven - on it
hang out with my mom in San Francisco - DONE!! JOYFULLY DONE!!
Overcome my irrational fear of 'steep' things (yes I know I live in San Francisco and there are a lot of steep things- I am scared a lot) - working on it and getting better
start saving money to buy property - nope
remember how it feels to be deeply in love with my Creator - often yes
spend a weekend in silence - not yet
wear lipstick - yes
mail letters using the actual postal service - no
take pictures on film and develop them - lost my camera in Houston :(
decorate my room - nope I am homeless and couch surfing so this will have to wait
paint something honest - haha, I don't even want to go there
fight human trafficking - invite another community to do their own version of ABOLITION - I am leading it for a second time
prepare for ordination, get licensed and become a pastor - harder than expected but working on it
meditate on the cross with out forgetting the life of Jesus - I feel like I am growing in this area
meditate on the life of Jesus without neglecting the death and resurrection - I feel like I am getting this one more and more each day
paint my nails on a regular basis - nope they are still tiny bitten little nubs
visit my senators office in San Francisco - nope, but I have called
pray more - oh I have prayed so much more
love more - this year has taught me so much about loving people despite hurt and frustration
listen more - not sure that I can quantify this one, but I would say I am growing
ride my bike - nope, I hate hill the end
walk to work more - easy
be open to the new and adventurous - very open, I am not sure I have a choice!
take daring steps of faith - I feel like that phrase defines my life

Well that was a reality check. It has been an interesting year.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Word

As we walked in he reached up and shut off his small wall mounted television. I am almost sure he had just chosen the show he wanted to watch, but we were more interesting. We introduced ourselves as chaplains* here to chat with him. We just wanted to check in. At first his words were a stream of unconnected phrases that I could not decipher, then he jerked his chair back and using all the agility he could muster, which was not much, he was able to reach for his Bible.

The chaplain with me knelt down, asking if he wanted us to read to him. With perfect clarity he asked for the beginning of the second letter of Peter. He explained to me that he intended for me to read the letter, not the other information printed above the letter in the NIV I was holding. Listening intently for a moment he interrupted me to inform me that he liked to pray the Bible, as I read I saw him bow his head in prayer, sincere prayer. After reading for a bit he took the Bible away and said that the next time I returned he wanted me to have found the passage that speaks of the armor of God. By grace alone I instantly remembered that passage as Ephesians 6. I asked if he would like me to read for him now. He was pleased I knew the passage. We alternated reading, and the power of the words in his life rung truer than I could ever know. The expression on his face revealing that in these words he found his strength.

After a bit of reading, when he appeared tired, we left. He handed me a flower as I left and the other chaplain a coin with a blessing engraved on it. He insisted that we both take our gifts.

I don't know what my meeting with him meant to him today, but I can tell you the Word of God was powerful. It was if in hearing the Word read, this man could feel God there with him. I do not often expound on my love for scripture. In fact I will admit that often mine is a love affair that requires that I have access to commentaries and language studies to fully appreciate it. I realize that the text I have is the best tool available to me to know God, and for that I am grateful. Honesty compels me to confess that despite my love for the text I take it for granted.

Today I saw the power of the Word. This man who is barely present in life, sick and alone in the hospital, was present in the reading of the Word. In it he found peace. He reminded me of how beautiful the words are, and hearing him read them I can tell you they are breathtaking.

*I am a volunteer chaplain at SF General. It is one of my favorite things I do with my time here in SF.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My hope is painfully intertwined with waiting

I am not complaining.
I am so very grateful for the hospitality I have experienced.
Still, it hit me today:

I am homeless.

It is frustrating. I am only 2 and a half weeks in. If I get hired for a job tomorrow it will still be weeks before I will have the money required to pay a deposit to move in anywhere, and there is nothing I can do about it.
So I wait.
I wait to hear if the job that I want wants me as badly as I want them.
I wait to see if anything else opens up.
I wait on the Lord.
I wait.
I have a bed, keys to a friends place, places lined up so that I can move once a week for the next few weeks.
And I am waiting.
Waiting to know if I need to move to another city.
Waiting to know how I will find the money to pay my bills.
I am waiting.
Hoping that I am not a burden.
Hoping that I am learning and growing.
Hoping that someone will see that my ability to learn a skill trumps my lack of experience.
Hoping that a job that fits the years of experience I do have will open up.
Hoping that when this is all said and done I will be stronger, and more able to serve others than I am today.
Hoping for the day I take my friends out to say thank you.
Hoping and waiting are painfully intertwined in my world.
Still I anticipate the redemption of this moment, even as I already see that it is being redeemed.
As I used to sing at UBC on a great many Sunday mornings:
"Rescue is coming." (DCB)
Still I will tell you, even as I hope for it I wish it was already here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Please Don't Miss It

walking down the beach, with a gate that implied intention and direction
I realized I was not going anywhere
So I slowed down
wearing my flip flops, as I walked along the sand
I realized they were protecting my feet from the feeling of sand between my toes and I did not need or want the protection
So I walked barefoot
running from the waves as they began to splash at my feet
I realized there was no harm in getting wet
So I waded in
Finally I realized that I was moving to fast to enjoy the moment
So I stopped walking
I sank my feet into the sand, sinking deeper with each wave, allowing the water to splash up to my waist - still careful not to get my white t-shirt wet
I realized standing there wet and laughing, cold water rushing up to my knees, looking out at ocean as far as I could see, watching surfers ride the tiny waves, this is life
I spent the morning with the blinds closed sitting in the living room fighting the demons in my head, reviewing job descriptions, pondering the right words for cover letters that I fear will not receive any response, wondering if all my feminist jargon is simply a cover for the fear that I will never be the powerful successful woman I imagine that I am, arguing with the voices of my conservative past that tell me only lazy people can't get jobs, hoping that I am as hard of a worker as I think I am, hoping that I am not a failure, believing that God will provide for me and that this too shall pass.
I spent the morning hiding from the sun and the waves, because my weary soul was too exhausted to even aspire to more than staring at a computer screen dreaming that I might get one of these jobs that I am applying for today. I realized that all this internal conflict was entirely unnecessary and it was not getting me anywhere, if any of you has ever fought with me you know that my arguments are not always rational and this morning my irrational thoughts needed to be silenced for a while.
So I left the house, walked out into the water, breathed in deep, and realized that this is life
It is beautiful, complicated and intense, and as I sat hiding from it this morning I almost missed it.
It was as if God was whispering to me, 'Please don't miss this, these are the moments that will define and shape you, these hard times are the times when you will grow in faith and trust and strength, this is how you become the woman I have created you to be, with each small realization and each change you make in response to my urging, that is how you learn to live. This is life, please don't miss it.'

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Lord's Prayer

A week ago my ReIMAGINE group gathered to hear the stories of Melanie and Julie as they returned from Africa. As we closed the night we prayed for them and for Africa. Below is a version of the Lord's Prayer I rewrote for the night.

One thing I love about prayer is that I believe it is more about us being opened to God to allow God to change us than it is about us getting God to change. As I started to read the prayer I wrote, tears filled my eyes and I had to change some of the words I wrote. I felt God tell me to pray a prayer with more love and grace for my own community than the words I originally wrote. Honestly, as soon as the prayer was over I had already forgotten the exact new words that I had spoken- so this is the almost version of what I read that night.

Our Redeemer in heaven,
Reconciler is your name,
May your Peace come, your desire be done,
in all nations as it is in your presence,
Provide every stomach the sustenance needed, food and water,
and teach us to be grateful for enough,
Forgive us our judgment and humble us to love others,
Lead us not into indifference,
Rescue us from pride,
For Thine is the presence, hope and the renewal, for all time
forever and ever
Let it be so

So this is my prayer for Africa, for the world, for my community, and for myself.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A slightly Different Take on the Woman at the Well

Slut or Survivor?

Sitting in church this morning I listened to a well crafted sermon that a few years ago I would have taken in with no question. This morning it made me cringe a bit. This is not to say that I find fault with the pastor that toiled over the text to create the lesson he taught. It is more a commentary on how we have been taught to see the women of the Bible. With that said I want to express some of my thoughts on the nameless woman at the well. A woman so rejected by society that she came to the well in the heat of the day to avoid their judgment and still he has been judged in almost every reading of this text for 2,000 years. I would like us to show her the same grace Jesus did and consider that maybe, she is a victim as much as she is a sinner.

John 4:16-18 (NIV)

16
He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back."

17"I have no husband," she replied.

Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. 18The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."

Reading this passage all my life I have read this word between the lines:
slut.

Obviously she is of low moral character, right?

What if instead I read between the lines:
survivor.

In a society where women have no control over their married lives she has been abandoned by 5 men, used and thrown to the side. After each man she found a new one in hopes that this one would stay, this one would treat her well. After each man she wondered: where her next meal would come from, where she would sleep that night, where she would be able to get clothes. In a society where practically the only paid work for women is prostitution she has chosen not to sell her body. Instead she has found a man willing to provide for her, but he is unwilling to marry her. She has accepted this arrangement. After all she has been through, what use does she have for a marriage contract when 5 men before have broken that contract?

On top of all of these emotional crimes against her the other woman have rejected her and gossiped about her. Imagine the well side conversations: "I wonder what she did to run this man off?" "Maybe if she took better care of herself her men wouldn't leave?" "Did you the last man she was with? Wow, what a looser. She must be desperate, pathetic."

Then one day she meets Jesus. He speaks to her. He knows her pain. He speaks the truth. "You have had five husbands." We read this statement as an accusation, it sounds like an exposure of sin. What if instead it is a consolation? Instead of hearing his knowledge as judgment, what if He is looking at her saying with compassion: "I know you have been rejected, I know you have been heart broken 5 times over, and you have found food and shelter the only way you know how. I am your savior and know how to love you. I know how to care for the broken and rejected. I know your pain. I want you to know that despite all this I still think you matter. All of those men have left you, but I will not. I know you are living in sin, but I will not reject you for your choice. I know society has cast you to the side, but I have chosen at this moment to speak with you, because I love you."

In the passage John does not give her the dignity of a name. Still, she is one of the first preachers to her community. Her town comes to know their Messiah because the Messiah believed that she mattered. I do not want to give her undo sainthood. I do however, want to propose that when this story was recorded John was not intending to ensure that she suffer the rejection of all Christian society. I believe that in our current treatment of the text we judge her in a way that grieves the heart of God. I believe that we are unjust when we treat a woman who has suffered as much as this woman as a criminal. Instead, we should love her as a victim, that is healing and loved by her creator. We should see her as the voice of truth running back to her home to share the love of Jesus with the very same people who had rejected her.

We have for thousands of years re-victimized a victim. With respect to this woman that is nothing short of a survivor, I would like us all to reconsider the way we see the 'sluts' of scripture, and while we are reconsidering our view of them lets rethink the way we treat the survivors we know.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Health Care Issue

This post is in response to some recent conversations about Health Care Reform. If you are offended- that is fine with me, I just need a space to get this off my chest and clarify some of my thoughts.

Honestly, I don't know near as much as I would like to. I trust organizations like The Sojourners to help me think about these issues from a Christ like perspective, but I do feel less informed than I would like to be. Still, I want to come out with a very important issue for me when it comes to affordable health care.

I CANNOT GET ANY.

I have a chronic illness. Insurance companies don't actually like to pay medical bills for people who are actually sick. Although I am currently unemployed, I have been a contributing to the betterment of society all my life. I volunteer and work non-profit. Not that those things make me any more deserving of health care, but I do feel that they debunk the idea that only lazy poor people don't have health insurance.

Further to the question of: "Why are people trying to let illegal immigrants have health care?"

My response is this: "Do you think they should die?"

That is not a rhetorical question. Affordable health care is a matter of life and death. If you are saying that illegal immigrants and people who cannot afford health care should not get health care, you are saying they do not deserve to live.

At some point in the future my health care will be a matter of my life and death.

So please, please, please support health care reform.

grace and peace

Friday, July 24, 2009

Simple Pleasure

I lifted the book off the shelf and began reading. It was a book of poems and I read them dramatically. We laughed as I enacted the drama of Emily Dickenson's words, at times convinced that Emily was making up words to fit her need.

It was simple pleasure, reading and enjoying poetry. I wonder what life was like when people spent their evenings in parlors reading to each other?

In honor of this fabulous memory I am posting a poem that I loved from that afternoon.

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
~Emily Dickenson

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Letter Writing

So you need a fun activity with some friends and funemployment has you broke?

Here is an idea: Write a Letter!! and not just any letter write your congressperson or your senator.

You can tell them how our foreign assistance programs are out of date (www.bread.org will tell you more about that)

You can ask them to protect children victimized by trafficking (www.IJM.org is doing some good work)

You can thank them for the many good things they have done already. (You'll have to research them yourselves for that.)

You can encourage them to work with our President on Health Care Reform. (Barack Obama's Organizing for Heath Care Page and www.sojo.net If you have more good sources for this please feel free to post them as a comment.)

You can encourage the to get some real work done on environmental issues. (Sorry I got nothing; if you know anything you can post it as a comment and I promise I will write a letter.)

There are lots of things you can tell them. My point is TELL THEM. They need to hear what we are thinking so they can do something.

Tonight my ReImagine people and I sat in a friend's living room and as part of our weekly gathering; after a meal, prayer, communion, and scripture reading we wrote Senator Boxer and Congressperson Pelosi. We asked them both to support a bill that should soon be introduced to make our foreign aid more effective. It took us maybe 20 minutes (and that is because we all talk allot).

So do it. It is easy, cheap (supplies: paper, pen, envelop and stamp), you have the time, and it matters. We are in the worst recession since the Great Depression. This crisis is an amazing opportunity for the world to change. We need to be part of the change.

Also when you are done writing your letter, you should take it to their office! Set up an appointment, they want to meet you!

Love

Friday, July 17, 2009

A dear friend of mine needs support

Below is a letter from a good friend of mine that is working with IJM. Please read it and pray about giving!

Dear Friends and Family,

I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing because I have exciting news and I want to invite you to share in the work I have ahead of me. As many of you may know, I graduated from Baylor this spring and I have been praying about the next step. The Lord has answered my prayer and provided a remarkable opportunity to pursue my dream of helping those the world has neglected. The Lord grants the desires of our hearts in what He ordains. I am so excited to launch into the next phase of my life.

Enslaved and downtrodden, the Hebrew people suffered in bondage. Until the God of Abraham heard their cry for freedom and demanded that Pharaoh release His people. Let my people go! He ordered. Loathing injustice, the Lord God intervened on behalf of the oppressed and led them into a land of promise and freedom. Tragically, slavery is not an abstract crime of the past. It is real and happening every day all over the world. In fact, there are more slaves today than were sold in the 400 years of transatlantic slave trade (National Geographic). This injustice is heartbreaking and I am asking you to join the fight against such evil. Families have a right to live free lives and work to support themselves instead of a master. My heart’s cry is that perpetrators of slavery would “Let God’s people, all people go!” I want to be an instrument in the Lord’s hand as He rescues the slaves of our generation. I have learned of the plight of the oppressed and their fight has become my fight. I cannot be silent; I must do my part. The heart of God is to set the captives free and establish his righteousness and justice on the earth. I believe that His calling on my life as a Christian is to carry out His great purposes of redemption in our world. Jesus has worked to heal the broken places in my own life and my heart is to extend His Gospel of freedom to those the world has rejected.

Thus, I am humbly joining the ranks of those who fight injustice and serving for a year in South Asia as an intern with International Justice Mission. IJM is a Christian human rights group with a four-fold purpose:
• Victim Relief
• Perpetrator Accountability
• Structural Prevention
• Victim Aftercare
Specifically, my job will be as an Administrative Intern. I will be supporting the field office by providing assistance with casework, records and files.

I have the amazing opportunity to serve those the world forgets and I want to invite you to join me in the work of the Lord. My needs for a year in South Asia include:
• Financial support - $25, 000
o Airfare, housing, visa processing, immunizations, transportation, food, etc.
• Prayer
o Confidence and protection

I know this sounds overwhelming, but I believe that our God is faithful and will supply all my needs to do His will. It is for this reason that I ask you to prayerfully consider helping me. This can be a one-time or monthly gift. Additionally, a contribution such as $10 would help me eat one more meal or pay for part of my electricity bill. No gift is too small.

If you’d like to join me financially, please read the details on “How to Provide Financial Support” below. All donations are tax-deductible if made out to International Justice Mission and do NOT have my name anywhere on the check, including the memo line. IJM has full discretion over the use of the funds and will reimburse me for my various expenses.

If you’d like to learn more about justice and using your time and talents to rescue the oppressed, check out IJM’s website: www.ijm.org.

Thank you dear friends!
Lela

How to Provide Financial Support:

1. Give online using a debit/credit card at: www.ijm.org/getinvolved/in
ternshipsupport
Select my name from the dropbox menu or type my name into the comment box

2. Set up monthly giving. More info can be found on the link above.

3. Write a check. Write it out to IJM and DO NOT put my name anywhere on it. Then send it to:
101 South Ave
Edmond OK 73013

Some trafficking stuff you should know about!

1) The Child Protection Compact Act of 2009
IJM is working on some important changes. Check out the status of their work.

2) In the past the US has failed to monitor itself when it comes to our trafficking issues.
According to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this is going to change!!

3) check out the SOLD blog for updates on an American paedophile arrested in Chiang Mai

I want to write so much more but I need to get to work on getting work...

love

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A love affair ending?

I often write here about how much I love my city. Well, I just wanted to state plainly the infatuation is over. I am currently deciding if I will continue to give my love to this city and if this city will love me. It is possible we have had our fill of each other.

"December Baby"
Ingrid Michaelson

The colored lights, they brightly shine.
Unlike your eyes avoiding mine.
The snow is folding sheet upon sheet.
Our hands not holding as we cross the street.

You have had your fill your fill of me.
You have had your fill your fill of me.

I wore the dress I thought you loved.
But my boots are filling with snow you shoved
Off of the car we climb into.
You finished first, I must catch up to you.

You have had your fill your fill of me.
You have had your fill your fill of me.

How can I catch up when I don't don't want to?
How can I catch up when I still want you?

You have had your fill your fill of me.
You have had your fill your fill of me.

December baby, you are my,
December baby, you are my,
December baby, you are my,
December baby, you are mine.

It does not snow here, but you get the point.

Friday, July 10, 2009

You can help save a generation of Thai children from Sex Slavery



The Goble's back yard is a beautiful place to host a dessert.

The intimate setting felt as though just a a couple dozen close friends had gathered to enjoy a beautiful Northern California summer night, but the evening was about more than just socializing. It was a gathering to save a generation.

In Thailand children are being sold, coerced, and manipulated into sex slavery. For some it is the only way they know how to survive. An entire generation is at risk of being lost to the horror of sex tourism. The SOLD Project is working to end that. They have created a video to raise awareness, and a scholarship program for prevention. The students receiving these scholarships come from a village that the UN has reported as the highest trafficking source in Thailand. Education is the first step in giving these children more options.

So last night we gathered, many of us strangers, all of us supporters of the cause, to hear the vision of The SOLD Project's next steps. Rachel and Carrie shared with us the vision that has evolved since their most recent visit to Thailand.

Sadly education is not enough. Joyfully they are willing to do more. Their vision is exciting.

Over the next 5 years they want the project to transition into a fully Thai project- they want to work themselves out of a job, and empower the Thai people to run the project themselves.

They want to create an after school program, so the children have a place to study and play. Many of them come from terribly broken homes and they need a save place to spend their evenings once the school day has ended.

They want to create a mentoring program. Most of the adults in the village left school after grade 6. In order for these kids to see they can have more they need to spend time with adults that have completed school and vocational training.

They want to raise awareness for trafficking among the students who are most at risk of being trafficked. As children leave the village to go into the city to find work many of them have no idea the risk they are taking. They are going into the city so that they can support their families, and once their they find there are no jobs and prostitution becomes their only option.

They want to create a prevention model that can be duplicated though out all of Thailand. Most trafficking work focuses on the aftermath. Someone has to stop the tragedy from ever happening.

I want anyone reading this to help them. I am posting their link. Please donate, learn & pray, and re:act.

TheSOLDproject.com

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

1000 times over

Way back in the day I said that I would post some lyrics from the worship experience at Convergence. So I am finally going to do it.

This is 1000 times over:

This broken heart of mine has been mended a thousand times
This broken heart of mine has been mended a thousand times
Something like hope is coming
Something like peace is coming
Something like joy is coming


Can I let it? Can I let it? Can I let it?


I am clean/ I am new/ I am changing/ I am changing

Can I let it? Can I let it? Can I let it?

I am about 95% sure Angie wrote these words and I love them.

I am thinking about them as I in the in between- wishing reality looked more like my dreams. Still holding onto hope and believing that hope, peace, and joy are coming. Knowing that I am clean, new, and changing. Asking God to help me let these things happen and let them be.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Reasons I am Proud to be Baptist

By Baptist I mean Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Sorry SBC you have broken my heart one too many times. You have been replaced by a Fellowship of Baptist that love me back.



Last week was CBF's General Assembly in Houston, TX. I appreciated the excuse to go home and my other post about Houston will express my joy of being in the Lone Star State.

The theme of GA focused on loving your neighbor, in a very active sense.

My friend Julie preached an inspiring sermon. I missed the sermon due to slow service at a fabulously cheap sushi place but I found the sermon on You Tube. This woman is amazing. I was proud of CBF for choosing to follow through with their commitment to empower women. It is one thing to say that you believe women can preach; it is something much more to actually let them do it, and Julie did it. My CBF people really do love us woman pastors.

Rewinding a bit: the main reason was there is because I have the joy of serving on the Current Leadership Missions Team.



Those meeting started on Monday, and as all good Baptist activities should it began with an eatin' meetin'. South Main Baptist in Houston was kind enough to host us. Among many other wonderful qualities SMBC is within walking distance to Tacos A GoGo. Tacos a GoGo boasts a taco that made Texas Monthly's 63 tacos to eat before you die list. The Barbacoa taco (lamb) was worthy of its title. It was so good! Plus our cashier was from San Francisco. How small is our little world?

Now I know that tacos have little to do with Baptist life, but they were worth mentioning. After the tacos we pondered how we are want to see young leaders engage in Baptist life, we planned our fall simultaneous day of service across the country and day dreamed ways to make this world a better place. I am looking forward to the Current Retreat in Nashville this spring, where we can do all of this some more.

After meeting all day Tuesday all we had to Wednesday was set up during the day and attend a commissioning service that night. My friend Christy was recommissioned for her work with Touching Miami with Love. It was exciting to hear what CBF missionaries are doing all over the world.

Thursday the conference got going. The exhibit hall was filled with booths of CBF partner organizations. It was inspiring seeing the way CBF has partnered with amazing organizations such as:


Bread for the World is an amazing organization that works with churches to help them engage in policy issues that affect hunger all over the world. I attended their workshop on Thursday.

Baylor and Truett were well represented with a monstrous booth that required professionals to build. I think we had 5 booths total between Baylor's Ethics journal, the School of Social work, Baylor Press and something else. Truett in general represented well- so many of my old friends were in attendance. It brought joy to my heart to see us all together.

On Friday I had the privilege of attending the Baptist Joint Committee luncheon. My ticket was purchased by a wonderful woman from First Baptist Austin. I have never met this woman, but I have a few dear friends at FBC Austin and they were gracious enough to invite me to join them.



Chet Edwards spoke and I loved being in a room of Baptist that thought having religious license plates was wrong- and unconstitutional. Seriously it makes me proud to hang with people on the right side of the Religious Liberty conversation. I also learned more of what the first amendment really is intended to mean. It was very insightful.

I heard a ton of talk about human trafficking and the need to get churches involved in the re-abolition of slavery. The Christian Life Commission just hired a wonderful friend of mine to work with Good News Goods- a line of Fair Trade products by Trade as One- that can be sold in churches to help them get involved in helping end global slavery.

I could go on and on. Overall both my time with Current Leadership (a wonderful collection of friends) and my time at GA (an astounding gathering of Christians seeking to serve the Bride of Christ guiding her to justice and a life of love) was beautiful and empowering.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Going to TX tomorrow!!

BOOKS on CD and other glorious reading

As some of you know I have a bit of an obsession with Audio books- this should not be too shocking considering I tend to obsess, and I love books but have a hard time with the discipline required to read a lot. Well, tomorrow I will get on a plane - perfect for listening to books- then on Friday and Saturday I am driving 10 hours round trip to see my parents and sis and other North Texas peeps so even better listening time. Other friends of mine have shared their reading list and I find it inspiring so here is my reading/listening list:

Fifty Poems of Emily Dickinson, by Emily of course
I Am America (and So Can You!), the hilarious Steven Colbert

as for actual books:
Harry Potter (the first one, I know I am soooo far behind)
A Passion for God's Reign, Jurgen Moltmann
Here If You Need Me, Kate Braestrup- this book has already made me weep!!

So I have no intention of finishing this reading but I am taking it with me cause I am a nerd.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Life is Good

just a bit of FYI:

I feel like a ton of my posts have been intense and/or downer ish: in reality I am strangely happy and calm in light of the stress I am under to find a job and get some money in the bank- I have seen God provide for me creatively and I am grateful.

Friday night I helped host a prayer gathering for friends leaving for Africa; last night I enjoyed a free movie in the park; today a strolled through an Independent Design Show/Market thingy, and I laid in the sun for some hours while a man with a guitar played and a young child danced; this evening some friends stopped by for a chat and prayer.

So yeah life is good, really, really good.

The request is for daily bread- it is request for enough, and I have abundance.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Our Bad Economy?


I stole this image off my friend Morgan's facebook. I had to copy it- it hit me like a ton of bricks. As someone who is unemployed, and has been looking for a while, this image served as a healthy reminder: I have a privileged life. I have a huge safety net, as long as I am willing to ask for help I will not go hungry, there are services all around me so in the worst case scenario I will have enough, even still I am sitting on a comfortable couch, in a nice fleece, with a tiny diamond ring my grandma gave me when I turned 13, typing on my Mac, as I take a break from my job hunt to reflect on the reality that I have no idea what real poverty feels like.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Truth

I want to tell you truth- but I have held it so close to me that I cannot let it go
I hold truth like a child gripping a blanket for security
It is enough for me to hold - I do not have to share
As I do not share, I do not share my security and I do not share my love

Still I will only share my truth with the people that can hold it with me
I will only give truth to the people that will not take it away from me
My truth is my security- it is my protection
It is guarding me from your truth- I fear your truth will break my heart

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Why I will not leave a denomination that (mostly) doesn't want to hire me

Last fall I was able to view the document in DC that gave women the right to vote. The sight filled my eyes with tears of joy- that paper declared me equal.

Women and men suffered so that I could have the right to vote. They did it for themselves, but they did it for me.

This past week one of my former students was accepted into Truett. We are now colleagues and peers, when I was once her mentor. I love that.

Truett has always allowed women, and always will. Still, women before me lost so much in the fight to allow women to minister.

I have sat with women older than me with tears in their eyes because they were never encouraged to pursue their passion to preach the way the men around them were. I have read countless job descriptions that state that only men are encouraged to apply. I have cried with frustration as I know that I am capable, and God has called me, still my options are fewer.

I do often wonder if I can stay Baptist and still find a vocation in ministry that allows me employment- but as I think of the women who will come after me, and the women who have come before me- I plan to stay. So that when they cry it can be tears of joy because they are aware that their church has finally seen them as equal.

So dearest- Jen, I am proud of you. Have a great time in Seminary and know that you are inspiring me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

2 am and she calls me cause I am still awake

I call- I call out to my laptop
well not really- I just noticed that it was 2 am- I should be sleeping- it made me think of the song
I left dancing early to sleep
but I got home and got online- like the addict I am
I reread my goals for 2009 that I posted on New Years Eve
Goal 1: write meaningfully - at least I think it was number one- it was up there- at the top
well I have not written since The Rescue and my entries before then had been sparse and weak for a few weeks at least
so this week I will write daily
I mean it
I mean it because writing here forces me to process creatively the powerful, beautiful and the mundane as I interact with all of it
I have thought of posting the random things that get said to me on the streets daily- they would make you all laugh, or be horrified- but I am not sure if they would constitute meaningful- well the man declaring that I will die when she dies (whoever she is) I am sure he thought his message was meaningful- but really is it?

Still this is my 2 am rant (btw: I have not been drinking) more it is my promise- next week I will write, and it will not be gibberish- it will be my truth (I am reading eat, pray, love- some of the best words in the book are the admonishment to speak your truth- so that is what lies ahead, get ready)

love you all- that phrase reminds me of a chat I had with my friend Kates- she is studying this whole emergent people blogging obsession- and one question she asked dealt with the idea that in writing this thing I assume I have an audience- funny I do kind of, and I assume that whoever you are, if you are reading this, I either love you- or I believe that if I knew you I would love you- I wonder what that says about us blogger types? but like I said it is 2 am- I should not be awake

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Some thoughts on The Rescue

I woke up shivering with moist eyes- you might say I was crying.
my bed was the passenger seat of my friends car- a car the served us well this weekend
my toes were numb, and so was my arm
I had dreamed that I had missed my mother- when I found her she was so sad that she invited me to just lay with her and cry a bit
Then I woke up- it was possibly 3 am- the camp site was quiet
We were waiting to be rescued and no one was coming
The car was protecting me from the biting wind- but over a 1000 others laid out in the cold
I had abducted myself to say that the children in Africa matter
My dream reminded me that I do not know there pain
My tears humbled me with the reality that I live a safe life- I have missed my mother many times over the years, but she has not been taken form me, nor was I stolen from her
She is safe in her bed tonight and only by my own choice was I without mine

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Rescue

3 years ago- I slept on the ground in Downtown Waco
2 years ago- I slept in a card board box out side of Austin
this weekend- I am not going to sleep

Why the random updates on odd sleeping arrangements?

I was participating with thousands of people in the US to raise awareness for the Invisible Children- child soldiers forced into slavery by the LRA in Uganda.

This weekend we are at it again.

First we commuted in solidarity with children that cannot sleep in thier own homes for fear of being abducted from their beds; then we slept in make shift refugee camps to remind the world that displacement is not a permanent solution; this weekend we will wait to be rescued. Over a 1000 of us will wait for someone of power to care that we are sleeping in a park- waiting for them to acknowledge the heart breaking war- waiting for President Obama to take a stand on the longest running war in African history.

I am hopeful- I know that people sleep in the parks of my city every night without rescue- nonetheless I will ask for rescue, and I will wait.

Check out the website to learn more: therescue.invisiblechildren.com
Join us if you can- it will change your life.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

it has been too long since I took the time to write something meaningful here- Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter all moved me beyond the words I have failed to say.

mostly I have been processing grace a lot lately- I am in am in awe of how painful it can be to be on the receiving end of such a powerful gift. a full on meditation on this will hopefully come soon. right now I am mostly just aware of how it hurts in a way that tells me I am growing and learning.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Reflecting on the $1 Challenge

This is a bit late but here it is:

As the week began I made the statement to a friend that I could never really be poor- society would not allow it. I am too involved in my privileged class. As my last post reflects I am using the term privilege loosely to include all of us that have a college education, have ever owned a car, have the freedom to choose to be poor for a week (most people that live on a $1 a day don't do it by choice). I realize these things might not sound like a lot, but when statistics say that anyone with a roof over their head, a bed to sleep in, and a refrigerator are wealthier than 75% of the world- I would have to say I am rich.

With that said here is how my eating and socializing went last week:
  • Sunday- Amy threw a dinner party
  • Monday- Leah's brother was in town, we went to a hookah bar- they knew I was trying to not spend money- they paid
  • Tuesday- Jen made me a great rice and bean dinner
  • Wednesday- we had dinner at staff meeting
  • Thursday- I was invited for wine and tasty treats to discuss a women's conference coming up this summer (PURE- it is going to be beautiful!)
  • Friday- I stayed home b/c you can't do anything social for a dollar- I chatted on the phone with a friend and watched old Grey's episodes I was behind on (it was a great night! I had the apartment to myself and probably would have stayed in even if I had money!)
  • Saturday- Rachel bought me coffee and a coconut at this amazing coffee club in the Sunset (Trouble Coffee) We went to the beach. I broke my $ by getting my groceries. I had to do it Meg had a car!! Cars are so great when you need to buy groceries!! (however I waited on eating the groceries till Sunday so I could at least feel like I hadn't busted my $1) I almost broke the $ again by going dancing (I have decided recently that I should dance more! It is so fun.) Instead I went over to one of my best friend's houses to paint. We painted and had a much needed chat- another wonderful night.
Where in the course of that week do I even slightly appear to have experienced poverty!?!?! No where. Not once. I couldn't buy my coffee, I had to make it; I couldn't grab a drink when I was thirsty, I had to drink water; I skipped out on dancing; seriously- I hung out at the beach and painted, other people provided me with great food. It was a beautiful week, and I am grateful for it.

I might try again soon- and this time not allow others to pamper me. Who knows maybe God just wants me to experience abundance. Statements of that nature make me uneasy- I believe that God desires abundance for all people. Why am I part of the 25% that experiences it so freely?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

$1 a Day- Day 1 of 7

Melanie has inspired me to take the $1 a day challenge. I am committing to only spend $1 a day for 7 days. I have to eat what is already in my fridge. I can only spend $1 all day- entertainment, food, whatever only $1. Today is day one, and it has me thinking about how some things that change possibly shouldn't.

The summer after my junior year in college I experienced a great loss. My Zoe, a '92 Mercury Capri, with white billows of smoke died. With $3 in the bank I traded her in for D.C., a '02 Ford Focus.

With $3 in the bank I bought a slightly used car. (We wonder why our credit system has crashed???)

Buying a car with no money and a low paying job, while also paying rent, paying for college, and all the other needs of life forced me to live as cheaply as possible during my senior year. I was the type that would skip meals and be a little on the hungry side to pay for concerts. That year was a year of creative spending.

I remember opening my fridge on many occasions, seeing basically nothing. Some cheese, an egg, some left over rice, salsa- WAIT! I can put those all together and make a meal! Yay!! The next day- there was no egg, but there is still rice and salsa- another meal!

Each creative creation made me proud.

I was 21, I was paying for my own life (mostly, thanks mom and dad for the health insurance). I worked 3 jobs, I pulled a 4.0 and I was happy. I went to the gym and payed flag football- because they were free. I studied more, therefore earning the 4.0, because studying is free. My friends and I sat on the hillside watching the sun set. We found so many ways to entertain ourselves without spending money. I cannot deny that there were many moments of freak out, because I had spent all my money on a trip down town- still every time I figured out how to stretch my resources I was excited.

What changed? I graduated. I took out more loans in grad school so that I didn't have to be that poor. I got a job that paid me well. The past few years were great years of full fridges and expensive nights out.

This past fall I experienced another great loss- my financial security was lost when I took a risk at a job that required I raise support- I left that job and as I was unable to find a job within my passions.

The car is paid off and sold. Rent, paying off my student loans, and looking for a job that fits my passion are draining my wallet, and I am relearning the sense of accomplishment when I open my fridge to see Quinoa, black bean soup, a tomato, and an half gone onion- Perfect! Throw that together and it's a fabulous meal!

Somethings should never change- the ability to be grateful in plenty and in want is one of those things. (Paul said something like that once. Phil 4:12)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

What can you do to end slavery?

Slim's hosted a smattering of people- some from ReIMAGINE, some from Crew, some friends of friends, a bunch of actual fans of the music (and the music was worthy of fans). It was a beautiful gathering of people. Joined together in response to the need to bring slavery to an end.

27 million people are in slavery.

It can end in this life time. I believe that with all my heart.

Justin Ancheta did a great job using his gifts as a musician to craft this night. He did what he knows how to do- he gathered musicians and fans. The event was able to raise some money for the organizations represented. Admittedly not all that had been hoped for- but I think it was a fabulous endevor nonetheless.

So this is my question: what are you good at? What can you do to end slavery?

All of us can do something.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Slim's Tonight!

A group of fabulous people have done some great work to get a concert together to raise funds and awareness to aid trafficking victims and the organizations that serve them.

So head out to Slim's tonight to support them!

The show is $15.

Four local bands will be there! I love Weather Pending! and Justin has done great work to set this up. I can't wait to hear him!

Organizations that will be present include:
Not For Sale
S.A.G.E
and
The S.O.L.D. Project

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Beautiful Choas

"Hello!"
"Where does the food go?"
"Where can I chop this?"
"What do you want me to do?"
"Hi!"
"I haven't seen you in weeks!"
"Put me to work."

The kitchen was filled with people. The living room as well. The tiny apartment was crowded with love, energy, and close to 25 people. We chopped onions, attempted to make queso, burned some corn chips, forgot to buy plates and cups, cooked up a fabulous pot of rice, and created a feast!

Tonight was simple and beautiful. My community gathered together to celebrate God's provision, to craft a meal, to be present with each other, to learn from others experiences, to be in the presence of a Holy God as we enjoyed each other, and to feel just a bit of the Kingdom surrounding us.

too obvious

When I went home to Texas in December I almost stayed- well not exactly, but I was dreaming of how I was going to come back to San Francisco for just long enough to say good-bye.


After flying back into my amazing city on the bay in January I felt sure that God was asking me to stay just a bit longer- and I was not comfortable with that.


Who am I here without my role on the ReIMAGINE staff? Who am I as a faith leader not leading in any faith community? Who I am without a title?

Wait!! Did I really just ask those questions??? Did I, a person who has told many people that they are not defined by their accomplishments and titles, really just ask these questions??

The answer was so easy when I was talking to someone else; as they failed a test; as they received rejection letters from jobs and schools; as they were passed over; as they had to reevaluated their identity.

Still, the too obvious answer went unnoticed for much of the past 3 months as I went without a title.

This time last year I chose to go over 40 days without makeup or jewelry, because I needed to know I was not defined by my adornments. It seems this year I am going a yet determined amount of time with out a title, to teach me I am not defined by a job description.

I don't know how long I will have the joy of living in this place. I do however know that at the very least God is teaching me who I am.

Friday, March 13, 2009

another purposely vague post

Today I found out that a job I want badly does not come with a promise of funding for the program.

I want it anyway.

I am either stubborn beyond reason or passionate beyond rational bounds.

It doesn't really matter to me.

I want it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

now or later

A few months back I watched the movie Shop Girl. (In general the movie was good enough- not great, but not a total waist of my time- I might have liked it more in that moment than I am remembering liking it.) In the movie the heroine of the movie has fallen in love with a man that refuses to love her back. As she comes to this realization she says "So I can either hurt now, or I can hurt later." She chooses now.

I never want to choose now. I don't want later either.

I am not in love. That is not what hurts or is going to hurt. However, I am aware that I can hurt now or later. I am choosing now, or at least I am trying to. I am choosing it, because it is honest. I am choosing it because in reality it is my later. I have run out of time and the hurt has caught up with me.

Hurting now requires that I be present in the reality that I am living in, not in the one I wish for.

Despite the oncoming and present pain I am grateful. My friends are some of the best a person could ask for. Furthermore I know that my Creator is present with me in this.

I hate that this post is so vague- but my point is this:

If your options are to hurt now or later- choose now. In reality it is the only real option you have. It is the option that is truest, it is the option that allows you to show up, and we all need you here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

So I went onto Wordle today and it created this from my blog- so fun!

Wordle: blogable

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Connecting all over the place!!

My wonderful boos Vicki just introduced me to Noel from CCDA- such a gracious man.

I am excited to say that I am now throwing off all my weekend plans to attend the training in Walnut Creek this weekend! I am excited!

I will let you know how it goes!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Morality and Holiness

I am currently pondering how it is that I have spent most of my life confusing morality for holiness. Even more I am currently pondering what holiness looks like if it is more than morality.

As part of my community's Experiments in Truth I am supposed to pick 3 experiments to participate in over the next 40 days. As I ponder this task I have come up with a few things I want to address in my life. However I have felt a stirring in my soul telling me that, more than changing some habits, my greater desire is to seek holiness.

The problem is that the more I think about creating a to-do list around the idea of holiness, the more I see that I cannot task out what it looks like to seek holiness.

I know there are a few passages that call me to holiness- specifically ones that say "be Holy, because I am holy." (Lev 11:44; 19:2; 1 Peter 1, just to name two of them) I know that I am called to seek holiness, but when I read of God's holiness as well as Jesus' life and sacrifice- morality seems to be a weak response to seeking holiness. I long for a response to God that is worthy of my Creator.

With that said and without any clear direction as to what this looks like I am going to continue to be moral person; I am also going to try to seek holiness.

As for my experiments:
  • I am going to try to get up earlier (my least favorite thing in the world is getting up in the morning) and be more aware of my time. I tend to loose track of what I spend my day doing, and I need to be more aware of this precious life.
  • I am giving up meat and sweets for Lent- and reading the Passion narrative daily.
  • I am going be intentional about encouraging other people- through notes and phone calls. The goal is to love people deeply and make sure I let them know how much I love them.

They seem really basic and I am having a really hard time getting motivated by them. Who knows, maybe they will surprise me and push me toward the holiness I seek.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Being a 'Preacher Girl'

Preface: Growing up as a pastor's daughter, then going to a small baptist college, and then heading off to Truett I have spent a great deal of time around 'preacher boys'. A habit of preacher boys that tends to drive me crazy is how at almost any point in time they slip into conversations about the church- this would not be so obnoxious if they were not so cliquey about it. They tend to isolate the women around them and assume we have nothing to offer to the conversation.
(end preface)

A small group of us headed to grab a drink after worship tonight. As we sat around the table we chatted about work and ministry and all that. Then it happened: I became a 'preacher boy'!!! My friend Joe and I just jumped into it. We talked abut the state of the church, the future of ministry, the future of our ministries, how being a pastor has the potential of effecting our relationships, and on and on. My friend next to me moved over to another seat so that she could chat with the other people at the table, as we chatted away. He asked my opinion (and I gave some unsolicited thoughts as well), I was respected and valued the same as anyone else in the profession. I was a preacher girl- and although I do feel slightly bad that my other friends left the chat- it felt so good to be respected. It felt great to jump in and talk about my passion. It is good to be a preacher girl.
Thanks Joe.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Tension in Worship

There is something profoundly beautiful about the honest worship songs we have been singing this weekend. These songs were written by the worship leaders that are here and they sing of pain and the healing. They admit that we have been broken before and we know we will be broken again, still follow.

On my flight to Convergence I was reading Walter Brueggemann's Spirituality of the Psalms. As I read about the psalms of orientation, disorientation, and new orientation my heart resonated with that understanding of God and of how we praise our Creator. At one point in time my faith was naive, then it was shattered, and it was re-created. The new faith has at times been just as naive as the first faith- it has be reoriented. Still, my faith is often more cautious than it was before. It is tender. I have experienced that cycle more than once. In fact I feel that I am probably in a place of disorientation even now.

The worship here has echoed that understanding of the flow of life. We have sung songs of both grief and rejoicing. The sound of distinctively female voices rising up in confession to the Lord has be therapeutic for my soul. God is here- wooing us. Reminding us that we are created in the image of God as a precious creation. Also reminding us that we must surrender to God's goodness, we must choose to allow God's redemption. I love the tension of those two realities. The freedom to cry out in earnest to my Abba, along side the understanding that God is already aware and already healing me.

I hope to post some of the lyrics here, but first I have to get permission. Their honesty is refreshing, and healing.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fragile Strength



Fragile strength.
Held together by the cut and torn pieces of fabric.
Bent and broken branches, creating a nest.

These baskets were the center pieces on each of our tables at Convergence.
They represent our lives.
Our beautiful mess.
Trusted by God to hold precious pieces of life.

We are women who lead In The Way of Jesus.

We sat together and shared our stories.
We had 15 minutes each to share and in that time we were listened to.
For 15 minutes 4 women sat and heard me- with out judgment, without advice, with love.
They listened with love and understanding.
They have been hurt and are healing.
We know each others pain without having to speak it, but we have the freedom to speak it here.

We are that nest- we are the broken and bending pieces that create the whole.
The whole that is fragile strength: malleable enough to be used by God, strong enough to hold the church, to guide her and move her toward The Way.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Other people's prayers

In recent years I have begun to love written prayers.

I have a little gift shop book of prayers diverse backgrounds and I enjoy it immensely.

Here are two little ones that I love:


I want to want to want to want you God. ~Michael Ramsey



You, whose day it is, make it beautiful. Get out your rainbow colors, so it will be beautiful. ~Nootka Song


As for the first, mt heart echoes the dream of desiring God more.
And the second reminds me that this day- every day- belongs to My Creator.

I'd love it if you shared some of your favorite prayers with me- one liners like these or long monologues- all are welcome!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009



This weekend I will be spending 3 days with 4 lovely ladies from Seven at this fabulous event.

I am excited!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

untitled poem

Hope blessed beautiful hope
No more anger
No more fear
Stop dwelling- be here
Be awakened
Be aware
Change the future
Change the past
Grab hold of only those things that last
Beauty full of truth
Directness- honest love
No more lies
No more hiding
Grabbing hold of something
Finding peace
Finding grace
Giving more than you take
Seeing people
Seeing truth
Helping others- helping you
Knowing wisdom
Loving fully
Thinking clearly
Letting go
Living in freedom
Watching people grow
Changing the world
Acting simply
Living in love
Hoping for something true
Loving others- loving you
Dancing with excitement
Living each moment
Embracing truth

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Because I pretty much love my life and want you to enjoy it with me!



This is the beautiful flier created by my fabulous friend Rachel.

Just in case the image is too small for fragile eyes-
The show is:
Friday 7-10
455 Dolores St @18th

It is going to be RAD!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Chocolate with a Heart



This chocolate is a gift from the cocoa gods (or proof that God really does love us)!! Divine chocolate is some of the best chocolate I have ever partaken of and I have enjoyed an abundance of chocolate. As a farmer-owned fair trade company they are not only producing amazing chocolate they are providing sustainable economic growth. I seriously love, love, love this chocolate.

Fair Trade chocolate tastes better in general- it is usually higher quality, and it doesn't reek of child labor and slavery.

Just in case you haven't crossed over into the world of fair or ethically traded only chocolate here is an excerpt from an article I was checking out:

"Today about 70% of the world's chocolate comes from West Africa, while the remaining bit is harvested in Central/South America and Asia. About 40% of the world's cocoa comes from the small West African country Ivory Coast where in 2002 it was discovered that 284,000 children were trapped in bonded labor on cocoa farms. 15,000 of those children have been trafficked from surrounding countries, the majority of which are Mali, Benin, Togo and Burkina Faso. Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon, West Africa's other cocoa producers are also known to receive and provide trafficked children." (http://knol.google.com/k/responsible-shoppers/modern-day-slavery/3vc4m1bitkaj4/4#)

The article goes on to discuss the multitudes that rely on the cocoa industry and how much we as American's consume. It is pretty interesting. The site has some helpful links to understanding the problem in multiple industries.

Happy Chocolate shopping!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

red lipstick

The tiny red tube of paint intimidated her the when she saw it in the store.
She thought instead to buy the berry or whine tone- they were less dramatic.
Still, the goal was to be dramatic.
With some insecurity she bought it.
She set out on her mission:
30 days of red lipstick
30 days of knowing that the words she allowed to escape her mouth would require an elegant force in order to compete with the lips they were passing through
30 days of believing that she was worthy of her own luxurious full red lips
30 days of audaciousness

January was red lipstick month and these were the lessons learned:
Red lipstick is like a secret you tell the world without ever saying a word.
Red lips are not bashful; they refuse to hide.
They are an invitation to allow the world to see you and know that you are here; you matter; you are passion; you are truth; you are beauty; you are a creation of the Master Artist.

Even wisdom literature knows that red lips are significant.

You're so beautiful, my darling, so beautiful, and your dove eyes are veiled by your hair as it flows and shimmers, like a flock of goats in the distance streaming down a hillside in the sunshine. Your smile is generous and full— expressive and strong and clean. Your lips are jewel red, your mouth elegant and inviting, your veiled cheeks soft and radiant. The smooth, lithe lines of your neck command notice—all heads turn in awe and admiration! Your breasts are like fawns, twins of a gazelle, grazing among the first spring flowers.
Song of Songs 4:1

Friday, February 6, 2009

introducing Mrs. Nonpareil


She is proper, and perfect. She sits on the front pew quiet as a church mouse all through her husbands well crafted sermon. She is the PTA secretary (being president would be too flamboyant). She married the her husband immediately after graduation and their life is pure bliss. She votes Republican. Dinner is served at 5 and she wears heals and pearls while she cooks and cleans (a lady must present herself well at all times).She has never done anything daring. She has impeccable etiquette. There is nothing remarkable about her, she is busy, and needs no attention for herself. She is convinced that a proverbs 31 woman is far too scandalous a lifestyle to pursue.
She is the woman my stubborn spirit refuses to be; while I secretly envy her.

Monday, February 2, 2009

What if Jesus came to live for us more than he came to die for us?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

coffee is a joy


so for my creativity class we took 5 photos of things that bring us joy- here is one of my faves
I love the idea of recording the little things that thrill your soul and the details of how life really is a blessing
the coffee was purchased and shared with me by my fabulous friend Pryor (great name) at Coffee to the People in the Haight.
love the french press

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Christen's Wedding!

In December I had the joy of being in my friend Christen's wedding.

The entire weekend with her was beautiful! She is an amazing friend to have and I love her with all my heart.

She also has great taste in photographers so check out her wedding photos.

Steve Myers Photography Blog

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

All or None

So pretty much anytime I make a major life choice I end up with a song in my head that sums up how I feel about it. They are almost always break-up songs. This is the one that keeps running through my head these days.


"Where I Stood"
~Missy Higgins~

I don't know what I've done
Or if I like what I've begun
But something told me to run
And honey you know me it's all or none

There were sounds in my head
Little voices whispering
That I should go and this should end
Oh and I found myself listening

See I thought love was black and white
That it was wrong or it was right
But you ain't leaving without a fight
And I think I am just as torn inside

And I won't be far from where you are if ever you should call
You meant more to me than anyone I ever loved at all
But you taught me how to trust myself and so I say to you
This is what I have to do

'Cos I
dont know who I am, who I am without you
All I know is that I should
And I don't know if I could stand another hand upon you
All I know is that I should
'Cos she will love you more than I could
She who dares to stand where I stood
Oh, she who dares to stand where I stood

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hearing the words and remembering

She was seventeen- with a pixie hair cut, as she got out of the car.

The hair cut was new and it was brave move.
Just months before she had long flowing hair, half way down her back; but late one night, after a home football game, she chopped it. Just a few weeks later she got the pixie cut- everyone thought it was some kind of female coping mechanism- a way to feel some sense of control- they were right.

"Look at you, your beautiful"

The words surprised her, and burned into her memory.
She had not really even had a chance to acknowledge her grandmother standing in the drive.

Her sweater was sheer and knit light as air- the color a feminine burgundy, almost a rose tone.
The tank top under the sweater was white and soft, with girly detail.
Her denim skirt was shorter than her father would have like it to be.
Her white flats completed the perfect outfit for a wanna-be teen angsty artist type.

It was probably not the first time her grandmother had told her she was beautiful- but it was the first time she heard the words.

"Look at you, your beautiful."

Gliding toward her, her porcelain skinned grandmother cupped the girl's face in fragile hands.
She looked at her deeply, taking her in, as if it was her first time to see her.

"You have grown into such a beautiful woman."

~I write this because I often forget these precious moments, they get lost in all the other things that go on. I know it has been 9 years since I got out of that car in east texas, but I still remember the first time I heard the words. I assure you she said them before- but I don't know that I was listening.~

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I'm Famous

Well not really- but The SOLD Project featured me on the RE:ACT page of their website.

So fun! So any way check it out and read the stories of other people who have participated in the Abolitionist movement. Who knows maybe you'll get inspired.

grace and peace

Monday, January 19, 2009

I am enough

So this time last year I had just moved to SF and I was in the creativity learning lab (learning lab=class or workshop). At one point we had 7 minutes to write a poem to the voice of fear in our heads. I am back in the class and this week we are facing those fears again. So I was reading through the old poem and I felt like posting it- read it like you are telling someone off, head bob and all. Then you should time yourself for 7 minutes and write own :)

I am enough


Stop
Leave
Speak only truth
I am done with lies
I know you reject me
But you are nothing and I am alive
I can
I will
I am…

Go
Flee
Run
You have no place
This is my sacred space
This is my time to hear the truth
I must stay
You must go
I can
I will
I am

I am enough
I don’t need more
I have my freedom
I am done
I am ready
I am able

Go
Run
Flee
I am not defined by you
I am defined by me
I am more than my accomplishments
I am more than my failures
I am
I am ready
I am able


Leave
Get out
You are doubt
I am courage
You are insecurity
I am strong
You are judgment
I choose grace
You are done
I am beginning
I am able

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