Monday, July 28, 2014

To affirm means to declare the truth of something, and to offer support and encouragement.

 My pastor and friend, Gregg Koskela, wrote and shared this on his blog this week. Of all of the millions of words written by Christians on gay marriage, I'm not sure I've read anything I love more.

It is good to name what we do affirm.

"We are in unity and we affirm our love for persons who identify as LGBTQ (both in and out of [our community].)

We are in unity and we affirm that all people, including those who identify as LGBTQ, are made in God’s image and can hear and respond to the Holy Spirit, the Light within.

We are in unity and we affirm that sexual intimacy is a gift of God, both for procreation and to build and sustain bonds of mutual love and respect between a man and a woman in a marriage relationship.

Where Friends are in disagreement is in our understanding of God’s direction for how sexual intimacy should be practiced outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. Some among us believe the Bible and the historic church clearly teach celibacy for those who are not in a heterosexual marriage. Some among us believe the Spirit’s leading and the Bible allow sexual intimacy to be practiced in a committed marriage, regardless of gender.

We acknowledge the extreme difficulty of a life of celibacy, and affirm that it is possible only through God’s sustaining power.  We acknowledge the difficulty involved when a largely heterosexual group interprets God’s will for those in the sexual minority.

So as we wait for God’s Spirit to bring us to unity, we also wish to humble ourselves before God in confession and repentance.

We confess that in the past and the present, our words and actions have not always matched our professed love for persons who identify as LGBTQ. We repent of this, and we ask forgiveness from those who have been hurt.

We confess that we have not always upheld the value of the person as we have condemned certain sexual behaviors. We repent of this, and we ask forgiveness from those who have been hurt.

We confess that we have not always obeyed Jesus’ command to be like the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). We have walked on the other side of the road as LGBTQ persons have died of AIDS, been bullied, harassed, abused, murdered, and committed suicide. We repent of this, and we ask forgiveness.

Have mercy, Lord Jesus."

I chose not to bold anything because I wanted everyone who read it to notice what they would notice. Here are some of the statements that stood out to me the most:

"We are in unity and we affirm that all people, including those who identify as LGBTQ, are made in God’s image and can hear and respond to the Holy Spirit, the Light within."

"We acknowledge the difficulty involved when a largely heterosexual group interprets God’s will for those in the sexual minority."

"We also wish to humble ourselves before God." 

"We have walked on the other side of the road as LGBTQ persons have died of AIDS, been bullied, harassed, abused, murdered, and committed suicide." 

"Have mercy, Lord Jesus." 

(I wrote some on this here.)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Set down here precisely.


all quotes from this.


"I praise each day splintered down,
splintered down and wrapped in time like a husk,
a husk of many colors spreading,
at dawn fast over the mountains split."





"If the Greeks had looked at Mount Baker all day,
their large and honest art would have broken,
and they would have gone fishing,
as these people do."


"'Teach me Thy ways, O Lord'
is, like all prayers,
a rash one..."






"All day long I feel created.
I can see the blown dust on the skin on the back of my hand,
the tiny trapezoids of chipped clay, moistened and breathed alive.
There are some created sheep in the pasture below me,
sheep set down here precisely,
just touching their blue shadows hoof to hoof on the grass.
Created gulls pock the air, rip great curved seams in the settled air;
I greet my created meal, amazed."


"Had she been new, or old?
Had she mated and laid her eggs,
had she done her work?"





"Of itself it is nothing,
but the view,
as they say,
is good."


"Is this the only final beauty:
the color of any skin in any light
and living, human eyes?"







"You spill your breath.
Nothing holds;
the whole show rolls."




"...all the landscape's occasions,
to all its weathers, colors and lights."

Thursday, July 3, 2014

and i wish we could all go camping and lay beneath the stars.

"and I wish all the people I love the most
could gather in one place
and know each other and love each other well

and I wish we could all go camping
and lay beneath the stars
and have nothing to do and stories to tell

we'd sit around the campfire
and we'd make each other laugh
remembering when..."

(the song my blog is named after)

arrival hugs.



strong tent men.

i was super helpful. chet's a slacker.

i love them so. 

at which point i repented of being grumpy we were going camping in illinois. 


good morning.










so very grateful that from
thailand, alabama, pennsylvania, new york, and oregon,

we were able to be together.

(we went to college together.
we graduated.
we went to colorado.
we went to new york.

i respect and admire each of them beyond words.

they know me better than almost anyone.

and i love them a lot.)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Praying today.

When I don't know what to pray, this book's words are so helpful for orienting my heart.


"In the strong name of Jesus
we bless all that is living,
and recognize in all that lives
the reflection of the Word
who said,
'Let there be life',
and it lives.

Teach us to care for
all that is entrusted to us,
and nurture every sign of Your presence.

May the blessing of our love
and our strong joy in blessing
call out new growth
in everyone we know and meet."

-from "Ninian- In relating to the whole of life"

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Matty.


Today, from 3,000 miles away, I have been gratefully reflecting on and celebrating the life of Matt.

Who over the last 12 years has been to me
a youth-group leader, mentor, example,
baptizer, landlord, counselor, navigator,
encourager, pray-er, listener, hugger,
brother, third parent, and dear, dear friend.


Outer Banks, 2006


Grateful on his birthday for him and his life,
and for the tangible reminder of God's love he is to me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Christ minds.


"Sometimes a lantern moves along the night,
          That interests our eyes. And who goes there?
          I think; where from and bound, I wonder, where,
With, all down darkness wide, his wading light?

Men go by me whom either beauty bright
          In mould or mind or what not else makes rare:
          They rain against our much-thick and marsh air
Rich beams, till death or distance buys them quite.

Death or distance soon consumes them: wind
          What most I may eye after, be in at the end
I cannot, and out of sight is out of mind.

Christ minds; Christ's interest, what to avow or amend
          There, éyes them, heart wánts, care haúnts, foot fóllows kind,
Their ránsom, théir rescue, ánd first, fást, last friénd."


-Gerard Manley Hopkins


Theology through poetry.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

mistakes and flowers.


i messed up at work last week. i got stage fright in an important meeting and totally choked on explaining details that mattered. i recovered, other people covered for me and the person most affected by the outcome of the meeting had way more important things to deal with and i doubt even noticed.
but i was SO UPSET.

i did the things i think we should do when we make mistakes:
i fixed it as best i could.
i owned it in the debrief, and i apologized sincerely.
i am genuinely feeling better about it today, because i didn't make the same mistake at a meeting this morning.
even though officially all is well,
i'm working on some ways to fix it even more in the days to follow.

but.

i really, really hate making mistakes.
i SUCK at keeping my "mistakes are good" rule in my own heart. 

i'm realizing more and more what a strange, closet perfectionist i am. i hide it because i am totally fine with being nothing close to perfect or best at things i don't care about, or don't think i should be good at.
i don't care about running fast, getting especially high grades, sewing straight seams, and i clearly don't care about cleaning my house before people come over. i enthusiastically speak my undoubtedly grammatically incorrect Spanish to every patient Mexican friend or acquaintance i have. i invite everyone and their mom over to try recipes i've never made before, figuring that if i wreck it i can just order us all pizza.

i can even give myself a decent amount of learning curve space with something brand new... 

but a mistake in an area important to me,
that i "shouldn't" have made?
i will lie awake at nights, man.

i've been ruminating on how maybe the most effective way to teach my girls that mistakes are good and God loves us when we make mistakes,
is not necessarily making them repeat it over and over,
but letting them see me make mistakes and be truly okay with them.

sooo... it would probably be easiest to "let them see me" do something...
that i actually can do.

i guess i should continue this "hard look" process at what feels so very not okay to me about making mistakes.

i'll keep y'all posted.

******

stories from two important people in my life helped me the next day.

i spoke on the phone with a close friend, one of the most intelligent and hard-working people i know. he sympathized with my story, mentioning casually he'd made a mistake at work last week too.

his mistake cost his company the amount of money that could buy...
could buy...

it's significantly more than i made in an entire year at my first full-time job. the one that was a good job with benefits.

hurray for what Brene Brown calls the shame-defeating power of "me, too"...



and miss hannah took a rough spill off her bike this week :-(.
involving lots of blood, a possibly broken tailbone, a sprained thumb,
and a trip to urgent care.
my poor baby!

amy asked her if she was going to be scared to ride her bike again.

"...She looked at me like i was crazy and said, "Um, no! Riding my bike is fun. I just need to learn how to use my hand breaks better."

girlfriend inspires me.

*****

back to work, lady.

mistakes are good because they're how we learn.

god loves us even when we make mistakes,
and can redeem them all
no matter how many or few zeros were attached.

riding my bike (or sewing, cooking, hostessing, therapizing, or meeting-facilitating) is fun.

i just need to learn to use my handbreaks better.

i'll keep practicing,
and then i will continue to enjoy the ride.

********

ps.
i still really, really hate making mistakes. i wish i were perfect.

*******

and on another note,
here are some pictures of recent major perks of a part-time job gardening.








Sunday, May 11, 2014

.happy mother's day.



what a gift i have been given,

to know without a doubt
i am unconditionally loved.

thank you.
i love you.






Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Because you're our neighbor.






This one, her mom, and brand-new baby sister spontaneously helped me plant freesia bulbs today. It was The Best.

I haven't posted much lately mostly because of finals and IEP reports;
and also because I've been wanting to write more intentionally...
so I've been saving ideas and writing them in my head instead of out loud in hopes they will come out eloquent later.

Along those lines, I've been saving this thought and these pictures;
but really... I'm not sure it's that complicated.
Which is part of what's so lovely about it.

For the past year-and-a-bit, but increasingly over the last few months,
I have been so enjoying blossoming friendships with my neighbors.
As in, the people whose front doors are visible from my front door.

None of them are people I know from church or school,
and if we hadn't ended up on the same street I might never have gotten to know most of them.

And I am so glad that I have.

Small gestures have built upon small gestures and pausing for brief conversations in the driveway has gradually evolved into comfort crossing a yard to sit on front steps. Invitations in, that felt shy to give or receive started feeling natural, and eventually stopped needing invitations at all.

Turns out casually inviting a grad student far from her family to your kid's birthday party might really matter to her.
Turns out showing up for a second-grader's birthday party to which you were invited
might really matter to him, and his mom.

Turns out discovering the guy next door is a carpenter and jokingly mentioning you have mismatched shelves that have sat under your coffee table for a year...
might mean he knocks on your door one Sunday afternoon with tools slung over his arm.
His smiling wife will to help you decide exactly where they would look best,
and he'll spend an hour and a half thoughtfully hanging shelves stronger and straighter than you knew shelves could be.
(And he might exclaim as he watches the level balance perfectly afterwards,
"Damn, I am good at my job!").

(It also turns out baking for people as a thank you is extremely well-received.)

If your neighbor owns the massage clinic in town and you confess how sore you are every morning,
he might schedule you an appointment, and when you go to pay the receptionist you might find out you were scheduled under the "friends and family discount".

And if you leave your kitchen window open when their kids are playing on the street,
they might run up to talk to you, and if you tell them they're welcome in,
they might spend their Friday afternoon building a fort in your upstairs.
Their parents might even stop by to hang out afterwards.

Realizing the pub your neighbor bartends at is on the same street as your favorite coffee shop makes it not so hard to stop in to say a quick hi while she works...
which might mean sometimes she stops by your house to chat after work.

Turns out quick hi's and kitchen table chats turn into friendships.

And if you apologize as you bake cookies with the sweet girl across the street and her little boy that you have to roll cookie dough out with a glass,
she may walk over a week later with a rolling pin with a bow around it.

Turns out cookie dough made with eggs from their chicken tastes better.

Spontaneous brunch on a snow day might turn into spontaneous snowman building might turn into texted offers to pick food up from grocery stores with 4-wheel drive.

Growing bellies you see every day as moms get the mail turn into brand-new babies you get to hold when you bring soup over the first week. Babies you first saw in bellies turn bright-eyed and alert and start grinning and waving at you from the porch when you walk by.

Turns out coming home from work to find several families standing on a front lawn chatting,
and laughing with them as they all crack up at the face you make when you sip from the drink someone hands you...
is a wonderful way to start the evening after a long day.

A couple weeks ago before Meagan and Avery and I walked down the road to the ice cream store, I asked if they minded if I left my bag at their house.
Avery, age 7, stared at me.

"We don't mind anything you do... because you're our neighbor."

Turns out becoming friends with my neighbors has added more to my daily life than I ever imagined.

















shelves above and below by Robbie. rolling pin from Meagan.




Human Needs Global Resources Covenant, 2009

As fellow travelers on this journey, we commit to this covenant before God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear these our prayers:

When confronted with scarcity, need, and inadequacy, may we be nourished by the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Abundance overflows from Your table, sustaining all who come in faith. Father, help us.

When monotony blurs our vision and dulls our senses, may we encounter others as Christ did, through intentional presence in daily life, submitting as clay to be formed into vessels filled with the Spirit. Christ, guide us.

When wounded by the fractured condition of Your people, may we be united by Your Lordship in faith, hope, and love; seeing, as through the facets of a diamond, the beautiful spectrum of Your light reflected onto Your holy Church joined in praise. Spirit, empower us.

When all Creation groans, afflicted by injustice and driven to despair, may the promise of redemption root us in the hope of Your Kingdom: "Behold, I am making all things new!"

Holy Trinity, send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.

Amen.