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Showing posts from 2016

On (well)Being and Baking Scones

This morning I got up and cleaned up a dog-made mess in the living room, then walked the dogs and cleaned their bowls, and fed the dogs, and took a deep breath.

Now, there are muesli scones in the oven (recipe below). The pups are lounging, the husband is sleeping in (it's his day off).

While I wait for the scones to finish, I'm reading a research report out of the University of Notre Dame. It's for my job, but it's more than just work. It's relevant to the application I'm working on this week for a PhD program... And it's relevant to my daily life.

The report is on "Flourishing in Ministry" and the factors associated with well-being for pastors working in a variety of church-based roles. I'm working part-time in a church this year, and my husband works in a church all the time, but even beyond that - there are some good reminders/insights for all of us who value well-being (which I think, hopefully, is all of us).

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Here's what stood out…

Journal Entry, Dated September 19, 2016

Journal entry, dated September 19, 2016

We are into the fall routine. It is full, and I worry about dropping the ball on so many little details, and yet in the evenings I flop on the couch, or the bed, or a chair. I stop working, I stop thinking. I hold my phone too close to my face. I check Twitter and Instagram, then Facebook. I cycle through. I play Candy Crush, use up my available lives, and check all the sites again while I wait for the next life to load.

I am not proud of this.

I read many interesting things online - recipes, life-hacks, personal essays, posts of people I admire from afar. I measure their lives against my own. Then, to make myself feel better about all the holes and gaps, I measure my life against the people I don't admire, the people who irk me, who have hurt me in the past - I keep them available for this purpose.

It's a game in which we're all losers.

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I am not writing much these days. I am not journaling, I am not blogging, I am definitely not…

5 Rules for Being a (North) American Adult or No One Wants You to Love Yourself

5 Rules for Being a (North) American Adult
(paraphrased from a lecture by Anne Lamott, whose priest friend shared them with her many years ago)

1. Have it all together. 2. If you don't have it all together, fix whatever is broken in you so that you do have it all together. 3. If you can't fix whatever's broken, pretend that you have. 4. If you can't pretend to be fixed, don't show up - it's a bit embarrassing to the rest of us. 5. If you do decide to show up broken, at least have the decency to be ashamed of yourself.
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We are encultured towards self-loathing and self-avoidance. 
Be perfect. Do it all, do it right.  If you can't be better, pretend you are. Don't look any deeper. Keep busy. Keep your chin up. Keep up appearances.
It takes so much energy. It takes too much energy.
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What would happen if I just loved myself? is the question I have been asking since my last post.
It's the question I hear when I see photos of lovely fat ladies who refuse…

Some Sins Are Not Like Stealing Plums

Some sins are more comfortable than others.

(More comfortable to confess, at least.)

William Carlos Williams’ poem, “This Is Just to Say,” is a quintessentially endearing confession:

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

It’s not that hard to confess eating the plums. We sheepishly shrug our shoulders, offer a hug or a kiss, buy a few more plums for tomorrow, and move on.

But it’s harder to confess the sins on my heart this week. Sins that are not only my own, but make others culpable too. Sins rooted in arrogance and self-centredness (okay, all sins are rooted there), sins that categorically look down on other people simply because they are not like me.

I need to confess these sins because I don’t entirely know what to do with them.

I need to confess these sins because they are almost ever-present in my life.

I need to confess these sins because even though they seem “mild” and “not such…

Ten Years Later

This post has been ten years in the making.
It started when I graduated from my undergrad degree, and created this blog. I had just accepted my first full-time job. I was getting ready to move across the country. I bought my first cell phone. Twitter didn't exist. Facebook was just a baby.
Now here I am, in 2016, about to graduate from my Masters degree. In the intervening decade, I have: Moved across the country, and then moved back east, to the largest city in our nation. Held four different jobs - ministry, nanny, small business, college office. Freelanced as a photographer, and as an editor/writer.Traveled to six different countries- three each in Europe and Africa.Lived in five different homes (#6 is two weeks away!). Dated five men, and been on many other dates.Been a bridesmaid six times. Celebrated other weddings, births, and joys. Walked with loved ones through illness (physical and mental), death, infidelity, and other heartache.Gone into debt to go back to school. Cur…

Love Is a Waste of Time (Lent Poem)

“Love is a waste of time.”

The best possible waste –
an extravagant gift
with no guarantees.

No measure of success
and a great deal of risk.

Love is a waste
that we all want to have

too much of

running over

flowing freely

wasted on us.

Love is a waste of time –
but I still hope you waste your time on me.

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Today's Scripture readings include this story about a woman wasting a year's worth of perfume on the feet of Jesus. It is one of three stories we have about this Mary. The other two are the death (and return to life) of her brother, and her refusal to leave the presence of Jesus to help her sister prepare dinner.

I think that this trio of stories is worth looking at together. And I think that what we find here is a woman whose relationship with Jesus was characterized by intimacy, and that intimacy gave her a willingness to be judged by others, to let her love be seen as wasteful and extravagant. She defied societal norms. She gave sacrificially. She made herself vulnerable.

I do…

A Terrifying Darkness (Lent Poem)

“Count the stars,”
he told me. “This land will be yours,” he said. Outrageous! I thought. “How will I know?” I asked.
I brought the sacrifice, slaughtered the animals, sat down, and waited.
He didn’t warn me that after the promises, the obedience, and the waiting, the darkness would come.


From Genesis 15, the Old Testament lectionary reading for today.

This is one of several passages in which God makes a covenant with Abram. What struck me in this particular instance is the strange, unsettling way in which God reiterates the covenant. What was Abram expecting; how did he think God would respond to his request for a sign or guarantee of the promise? Why did God put Abram to sleep and send a "terrifying darkness" after making these massive and intimate promises? And what does either of these questions have to do with us today?

Lent & Wilderness

This morning, I led a hospital ecumenical service, and gave a short message on Luke 4:1-13 and its significance for those of us who are observing Lent. 

I decided to post it here because I'm planning on sharing some Lenten poetry in the next few weeks, and I know that many of my readers are from Christian traditions that don't observe Lent, or from traditions that aren't exclusively Christian. I hope this helps set Lent into a specific context and a narrative - and I'm always happy to hear what doesn't make sense, or dialogue around any of the content. If you're unfamiliar with the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, click on the link above so you can see what story I'm referencing!


For many Christians around the world, we are now in the season of Lent.

And when Christians talk about Lent, there are a few other words that are very often heard:
wilderness
fasting
temptation
preparation

Each of these words is present in the Scripture story we just read, and…

A Poem for Ash Wednesday

Ashes and dust, we all fall down.
These bodies of ours will fade away
Til nothing is left but a smudge.
The smallest trace of life.

All our dreams and doings,
Our hopes and hollering.
One dirty smear for the eye to see
And the invisible effects
Of how we lived:

The slaves we loosed
The meals we shared
The time we gave
And the fullness of our grace.

On Making Space

It's ten pm.

There's a pie in the oven. I made ginger snaps while the piemaker peeled and chopped.

We chatted as we worked, and laughed, and kissed a few times.

I'm putting together a pump-me-up playlist of lady-songs and trying not to stress about what I'm not getting done.

Tomorrow I have homework to do - a whole semester to map out and plan for.

And there is work-work to do too. I gave up one job so I could get through this last semester, but took on another theoretically smaller one. It's a good job, one I hope to carry on after graduation.

It's been a long time since we've had a night like this, one where we've left the TV off, had the energy to do relaxing things, where I've thought, Maybe I'll write on the blog.

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I know we're closer to the end of January than the start, but I might say a thing or two about resolutions anyway.

I don't make resolutions. Or rather, I don't like to broadcast my goals, and science tells me that&#…