Monday, January 30, 2012

Orange Slices

Nothing is random. Life is filled with choice.

My life moves forward in the tension, belief in the Creator who intelligently and divinely grants me the dignity of free will while laying out a plan for every breath of my life before I was a heartbeat in a living womb.

Orange Slices is devoted to celebrating the sweetness, pushing back the murky shadows in my peripheral vision and centering on a celebration of life. This year
I am committing one blog a month to a retrospective of goodness.

If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Trust 30

Books, Poetry, Prayer:
Escort Me by Crystal Mahan
B by Sarah Kay
Glass Beach by Jill Marie Landis
Now You're 50! by Brandon Crose
Sea Glass Prayer by Anne Bender

Excellent Choices:
Lunch at Lucy's with my friend DeAna
A baby shower of pink in a most unlikely space
Dinner with Amy, Bryan, Kathryn and my husband Lw
24-hours cocooned with friends in Touched Twice United
Touring Mission Possible, a bricks-n-mortar place of healing
Couples 4 Cards with Vicki, Reggie, Jo Anne and Bill
Touring Altered Ego, a new place of beautiful care and prayer
Chili with friends

and the murky shadows ask what if you forgot someone, offended them?

"Quiet!" I reply for among the gifts is a troll named GRACE for my shoulder.

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed. Mark 5:18-20 NIV


Saturday, January 28, 2012

3 Boxes of Joy

[Jesus] looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. —Mark 3:5 NIV

As I make my way through the New Testament, I continue to be amazed. Yes.
I am new at this. Perhaps I am easily amazed? Perhaps, when I've been truly studying for a significant length of time, the amazement will cease and I will find more 'serious' messages. Today, though, I am joyously amazed.

Closing my eyes and returning to the church of my youth, I remember offering baskets lined with softly faded green velvet on long poles held by the ushers, men dressed in fashionable leisure suits. Our hands never touching - our eyes never meeting - as we placed our offerings in the baskets, cash and checks hidden within neat preprinted and numbered envelopes, from the boxes of envelopes provided each year to adults and to children. A tidy organized system. A familiar and effective routine.

Fast forward to the decade I was without a church, the Sunday I found myself visiting a community called Valleybrook. As baskets were passed hand-to-hand through the congregation, the pastor welcomed guests and encouraged us to simply be guests, gave us permission to abstain from giving. It was unexpected, odd enough to make me rethink giving and the collection of offerings. Suddenly,
I saw things differently, witnessed a leader's faith that provision will come; discovered the abundant God, our God who is able, in the eyes of the person passing a basket to me. NASB

In 2007, at the end of my years without a place to worship - my decade of solitary confinement, my personal and self-inflicted exile - God deposits me at Fellowship. When I first arrive, I am perplexed.
Where are the velvet-lined baskets on poles? Earthy cane baskets passed hand-to-hand?

The 'bulletin' in my hand expresses appreciation for giving, "Offerings are not collected, but placed in the Joy Box! as we enter and leave worship." Just as Jesus healed the man with the shriveled arm, Christ opens my gnarled heart like an outstretched hand. Mark 3

God loves it when the giver delights in the giving. MSG

Fellowship is a place where delight is embraced.

A few weeks ago, our pastor at Fellowship re-christened it Hilarious Giving.


Tomorrow we're adding a third box, not at worship but at the place where Man Club and Freestyle and Prayer-n-Coffee Ladies gather, where married couples meet with engaged couples preparing for marriage, where we all are welcome to share meals and sorrows and dreams and prayers, in the place where Fellowship really happens.

As my precious friend and son-of-my-heart Patrick Writz once said in our Sunday afternoon small group, "If you're only at Fellowship on Sunday mornings, you're missing the best part."



Friday, January 27, 2012

facing the abyss

If you're not willing to face the abyss of choice,
you will almost certainly not spend enough time
dancing with opportunity.

Seth's Blog: What to do next

The guilt builds, one email at a time, subscriptions fall into my inbox.

Even with a rather obsessive-compulsive filing system placing my emails in folders by topic and source, multiple bold UNREAD messages greet me each morning. Greet me THIS morning.

4:23 a.m. The coffee is brewing.

A short time after reading the Seth-words that open this entry, I unsubscribe from Seth's Blog, choose to follow it here instead. The change signals growth in me. Seth was my first blog subscription - March 9, 2010 7:19AM - and his Trust 30 initiative taught me so much!

The Domino Project retains
a place in my email inbox,
as does Pressenza my cherished news feed. Alas, [insert heavy silent-movie sigh here] like the early-arriving suitor in this dance called life, he will now vie for my attention like any other beau. His voice will become one among many in an ever- expanding sea: friends' and friends-of-friends' blogs.

I am facing the abyss of choice.

I want to spend more time dancing with opportunity.

My Dance and One Friend's Dance

and my personal favorite: Evan Almighty Dancing with God



photo by dmbaker 123RF Stock Photo

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Little Catholic Bubble

Dear liberals/leftists/secularists/atheists:
You are welcome in the Bubble! In fact, I encourage your comments and perspective. I will give you a fair hearing,
I will not misrepresent you, and I will remain respectful in
my questioning and responses... Pope John Paul II once
said that it's impossible to correct every error we encounter,
but we must always speak the truth. I know that some folks will never be convinced, and others will react with a knee-jerk emotional outburst. I accept that. I won't censor them, and I will occasionally dissect their words to get to the truth of the matter.
—Leila, Little Catholic Bubble

Fair enough. I'm willing to follow the blog, give Little Catholic Bubble a try.

I once was a Little Catholic GIRL. The title of Leila's blog is intriguing to me.

As I explore the welcome statement, I find that according to
I am not athiest, nor rightist, that I comfortably wear two of her labels: liberal
and leftist. Perhaps I am a secularist as well: I don't want the government choosing the religious element inserted into public schools from innumerable elements termed religious in this broken world. The public education system, elected government officials, hired administrators, steering committee
volunteers, human beings - WE - could choose poorly. NASB

In RADICAL, David Platt invites us to
come to worship ready to learn
so that we can TEACH.

I believe learning requires exposure to new-to-us ideas, words affirming our beliefs AND words calling into question the core ideas we hold onto most tightly. The challenge is to engage in conversations and fully listen, be open to hearing words with which we may not - or will not - agree. LISTEN as though we will be called to TEACH.

Leila may be onto something.

Despite scars carried from the traditional religious architecture of my youth,
I find great healing in the 3-minute Retreat on my sidebar AND find myself open
to hearing what Leila has to say. Little Catholic Bubble is recommended at Coffee With God, its author Lori,  a trusted friend with whom I often - and not always - agree.

While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him
this message: "Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man..."

Matthew 27:19 NIV

As I explore the New Testament cover to cover for the first time, I discover things
I missed in the Catholicism of my youth. While my heart yearns for what Pilot's wife is saying, "Christ is a noble man" MSG, today I hear as selfish, "for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him." NIV

And, I cannot see all that God has planned.

I am not skilled to understand
what God has willed
what God has planned

Photo Credit

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Missions in Action

"I used to hate being alive. Now my biggest joy comes from being
able to work and provide for myself, to be able to work in the
daytime and go home to a peaceful sleep at night."
— a fashionABLE woman

When a Missions In Action video first pops up in my Facebook news feed, one face is familiar. In a later episode, in a van filled with people, I recognize two.

The world is smaller than we think.

In Episode #6 the host is milking a cow ... by hand. I laugh and share the link. In Episode #8, the guys are 'helping' weave fashionABLE cotton scarves. I smile, then laugh. Missions in Action captures the hope.

This past weekend, in the beautiful space in Oswego IL, a man sits next to me. We talk about the scarves, the photo of his sponsored child that hangs on his 'fridge, how the scarves, photos and t-shirts bring opportunities to talk about our passions, the work we witness, the hope. He is wearing a World Vision t-shirt.

The next morning, as I tearfully admit to the group my exhaustion, I feel a hand of comfort on my shoulder. Later, there are words of encouragement, a brief hug and a smile. As noon approaches, our meeting begins to wind down. The man sitting next to me and another member of our group leave for the airport.

An hour or so later, my husband warms up our Jeep, brushes the snow from the windshield, puts our suitcase in the back seat. As I pull the seat belt across my lap, my husband asks if I am ok. He too has seen my tears.

He reaches into his pocket, hands me a t-shirt, a World Vision t-shirt. He says, "When Alex and Scott left for the airport, Alex gave me this, asked me to give it to you."

More tears, then laughter.

Once more I wonder how this 5th grade GIRL, ended up in this place.

Today, I smile and extend an invitation to you: please take a few moments to witness the hope at Missions in Action. Share with me your favorite episode.

The world is smaller than we think.

Cheers everyone!

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Proverbs 31:8

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Touched Twice

“I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am
no better than my ancestors.” Then [Elijah] lay down under
the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him
and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there
by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and
a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
The angel of the LORD came back a second time and
touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey
is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank.
— 1 Kings 19:4-8 NIV excerpt

This verse is from the board gathering for Touched Twice United this past weekend. For the first time, my husband went with me, to Oswego IL where we gather from noon to noon. In a beautiful space we cook together, eat together, pray together. In the unstructured time before dinner, I bring up Bell v Driscoll with my friend Jc, which moves to an exploration of how Jesus ignores the Canaanite woman. We ask Bill to shed some light. I often wonder how this 5th grade GIRL, ended up in this place. I am not sure her husband has ever seen her like this.

The hospitality extends overnight, multiple bedrooms in the beautiful space invite us to sleep here, to watch the snow fall, safe and warm under the sturdy roof. In the wee morning hours, our executive director shovels the driveway, frees the plowed-in cars we left on the street.

My first Touched Twice United free clinic was Church With A Heart. I am inspired by the 3 founding volunteers who remain at the table, the men and women who embraced in 1996 the Touched Twice vision of free clinics in communities coast to coast by 2011, serving human need in Christ's name. I am amazed at the viral nature of the flash mob and awed by 113 churches coming together in Share the Hope.

I am embarrassed that in 170 blogs this awesome ministry is barely mentioned. I am thankful for my husband, who stepped in to help when I was exhausted.

I am grateful for God's ability to touch us twice, and breathe a new vision into Touched Twice United: the Elijah Project.

We serve an awesome God!

Tomorrow: a man gives me the shirt off his back.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Predictable Me

In the first cupboard I opened this morning - the first cupboard I open every morning - there is a greeting card.

Immediately recognizing that I am more than predictable, I laugh and close the cupboard door, leave the envelope unopened, wonder briefly why an R is scribbled beneath the MOM, why my husband would address a card to me as MOM.

Later I discover it is 'from' our black lab mix Dozer. He encourages me to share birthday treats, "trip while carrying cake to the table."

Another card awaits me in the upstairs office, atop Harley's dog food container. Predictably he wakes to breakfast every morning, in the office that doubles as his bedroom. Harley's card asks, "Did I train you right, or what?"


There are sugared raised donuts - my personal favorite - in the fresh bakery bag next to my husband's computer. Not wanting to wake Harley too early, my husband's desk is where I often begin writing my almost-daily blog.

I am predictable.

Listening to a snippet of audio here, I am reminded that God has a way of showing up when and where and how He wants.

God is unpredictable.

The question today is, will I let go of control and routine, open my hand and heart to the unexpected?

In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. Psalm 102:25 NIV

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


... there just isn't time or energy or inspiration.

Is it ok, instead, to share another's blog?

Today I find hope here:



Monday, January 16, 2012

Vivid Words

Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,
but only say the word and I shall be healed.

In the Catholic mass of my youth these words, the preparation for communion, washed over me like a warm summer wave, a feeling of closeness with my Creator embracing me.

In a church full of people, words from my own mouth forged a solemn moment alone with God.

As this season of darkness registers yet another month on my earthly calendar, I recognize a need for silence, a closing of my mouth, a waiting for God to say the word.

We see this
image too often:
the duct-taped
mouth, a hostage
in a hopeless situation.

This image is intentional.

I need a
vivid reminder
to listen
to wait
for God
to say
the word

Last night I prayed aloud the words
of the communion preparation, and heard

Everything you need
is already there
already in place

The words wash over me, a comforting moment alone with God.

As for you, I'll come with healing, curing the incurable Jeremiah 30:17 MSG

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Was I pushed?

Or, did I jump?

When telling the story
of my journey with Christ,
the early days of Whispered
Hopes, the days before we
even knew the name, I use
the word PUSH.

People who don't know me,
and some of those that do,
might hear PUSH as violent,
overriding free will.

Nope. That's not it at all.

verb (used with object) to press upon or against (a thing) with force in order to move it away. to move (something) in a specified way by exerting force; shove; drive: to push something aside; to push the door open. to effect or accomplish by thrusting obstacles aside: to push one's way through the crowd. to cause
to extend or project; thrust. to press or urge to some action or course: His mother pushed him to get a job... verb (used without object) to exert a thrusting force upon something. to use steady force in moving a thing away; shove. to make one's way with effort or persistence, as against difficulty or opposition. to extend or project; thrust: The point of land pushed far out into the sea. to put forth vigorous or persistent efforts.

The person originating the PUSH couldn't be in the water, waiting for me to jump in from the side of the pool. I was on the high dive. I was afraid of heights. The PUSH needed to come from someone standing right next to me, on the diving board, a person willing to risk with me, someone who knew the water below was deep enough to catch us both.

Like a first time skydiver, who needed a not-so-gentle nudge from the plane, or a novice hang glider coaxed from a cliff, I wasn't going to jump off the high dive on my own. My life was warm and dry, predictable and safe.

Kids jump into life all the time, dive into joy. Kids risk.

"I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God's kingdom. What's more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it's the same as receiving me. Matthew 18:3-5 MSG

Next time I tell the story, I hope to be more articulate so that everyone will hear me saying what I really mean:

Thanks for the PUSH.

Karen Roach, Photographer
High Dive

Friday, January 13, 2012


When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret.
And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they
sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought
all their sick to him and begged him to let the sick
just touch the edge of his cloak
, and all who touched
it were healed. —Matthew 14 NIV

Men too.

Men touched Jesus' robe and were healed. I am surprised.
Then, after a moment of reflection, I am not surprised.

Jesus healed the sick. Jesus heals the sick.
Women and men. Then and now.

The story of the woman with enough faith
to be healed simply by touching Jesus'
robe was and is my personal favorite.

I envy her faith.

I am awed by the miracle.

In my chapter-by-chapter journey through the New Testament, I discover the story of the woman touching Jesus' robe (Matt 9 MSG) is a miracle repeated in another context, another city (Matt 14 NIV).

I smile, remembering the voice of my friend Howie behind me on Sunday mornings in 9am Tattoo. God repeats Himself, Howie says, as the clueless me struggles with Biblical concepts, questions everything, aloud.

There is comfort in the repetition.

At times when I feel as though the bloodletting of sharp-tongued Trolls might kill me, or that the tortuous medical solutions to the biology of an aging woman's body will never bring healing, I find hope in the multiple human beings healed by the faith to reach out and simply touch Jesus' robe.

Photo Credit: Woman from The Passion

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


"Good morning, this is God..." reads the front of the card on my desk, the one my baby sister sent in October. Beside it, a friend's 2012 New Year's note and new parents' pink birth day thanks bring a smile.

Tucking my treasures into the
wire catch-all above my desk,
I think about good and bad days, the ups and downs life takes. My stash contains paper affirmations, notes of thanks, wisps of weddings, funerals and births, puffs of ordinary weekdays and long weekend holidays.

Days of bright hope. Dark nights of despair.

the image upsets my little Catholic girl
The little Catholic girl in
my head says NO NO NO
to Smoking Jesus. My inner
rebel enjoys her discomfort, embraces the many changes birthed in our adult pain.

This image brings laughter, then tears. I remember the darkness. The permission to rest. A friend witnessing the struggle. Encouraging words.

As I read the New Testament as though it were a novel - the little Catholic girl screams NO NO NO at the casual word NOVEL - the Bible story of Jesus feeding thousands with
a few loaves of bread and a couple fish is framed by granite bookends, deep adult pain.

When Jesus learns that his cousin, John, has died He withdraws
by boat, privately, to a solitary place.

The crowds follow Him.

He has compassion on them, heals their sick, gives them something to eat.

Later, sending the disciples ahead by boat and dismissing the crowds, Christ climbs the mountain, seeking solitude, prayer.
Jesus stays there alone, late into the night.

Christ grieves deeply. His pain opens my heart.

I cry out in fear.

Jesus responds,“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Matthew 14 NIV
Photo Credits Smoking Jesus Loaves and Fishes

Encouraging Words

Thank you for all you do. You are a good shepherd. You are
striving to lead people where our enemy is not interested
in you going. You are following the One True Lord. The
people you remind me of are stuff of legend.

You are wounded. Its time you admit your humanity and take
care of yourself. You are not alone.

These pictures make me think of you and I pray that they
bring a smile to your lips and to your heart.
—your friend and champion


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

tools for you own path

...find courage to trust yourself. You have taken the risk to lose everything for the sake of something better. Everyone must do this, but few do. You are a rare breed, and a part of that breed’s constitution is that it is courageous, resilient and determined. You must listen to your inner wisdom and trust it. The same wisdom that motivated you to leave is the same wisdom that will guide you. Yes, listen to wise voices from the past and the present. Read good books. Take good advice. But filter it all through your own innate intelligence. You will be surprised how well equipped you are to walk your own unique path with nobility, finesse, dignity and finally joy.
—David Hayward, nakedpastor

When I first encountered the work of David Hayward, it was one of his cartoons displayed in bigger-than-life proportions on the movie theater screen behind our pastor, Sunday morning 10am.

Or maybe 10:20am, as most of us linger at the coffee pot on the way into worship, more focused on the fellowship.

For me, a great cartoon brings together wit and philosophy, shines a spotlight on our cultural hypocrisy, reveals duplicity within me.

PhotobucketMy notes from Sunday's teaching:

I am
not Abel
but Cain,

not the
prodigal son
but the
jealous sibling,

the virus
not the

And, I am a ministry leader, broken and limping. That's allowed here at Fellowship, here in Christ.

When Fellowship people were reading "The Starfish and The Spider" many of us questioned the word SHOULD, consciously removed it from our vocabularies. The word we are examining today is BUT – we are challenged to replace BUT with AND.

So, my self assessment reads, "I am Abel and Cain, the prodigal son and the jealous sibling, contain the virus and the antidote."

This tool puts a new spin on the whole Christ-following thing, invites a fresh perspective, a new light.

A new Light.

Teaching 2012.01.08
Abel and Cain
Prodigal Son

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy Birth Day!

When you arrive you will be named Bryan which means "strength, virtue, honor" (if you are a girl, we'll call you Andrea Nicole which means "womanly" and "victorious").

Mommy got up early to start the coffee ...

crawled back into bed at 7:11am ... a really hard pain ...

[the pains] keep up for 3 hours ...

we got to the hospital around noon.

We had an OB/GYN appointment at 2:30pm.
You were born at 2:10pm.
So polite.

I think you look like your sister - especially when you're angry ...

at 18 months you like to look at Lw your dad and say Mama.

I laugh as I read the notes in your baby book.


Ruth 4

Bad Dream

In 5th grade, I wanted to be a priest.

I didn't think much about questioning then ... bad dream

What happens if we allow our leaders to teach instead of preach? Be human, flawed and real? Share our fears?

Make our questioning a vital part of God's classroom?


i am enjoying the naked pastor's blog immensely!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


An unopened package of Cheetos sits near the dog treats in my kitchen. I put it there, just for this photo, a reminder to savor each morsel.

I've given up on giving-up-resolutions these past few years, you know, the resolute promises made to give up junk food or couch potato habits in the New Year.

A year ago I celebrated with a list of a dozen things I'd helped accomplish in 2010. This year, I am adding a daily something instead - a chapter a day for 260 days, a journey in the New Testament, beginning to end.

The nutrition label indicates
130 puffs inside, 1 cheesy treat for every 2 chapters.

In 2011 my wanna-be writer matures, blogging with Trust 30 in June, achieving daily discipline in December. I celebrate!

06 Jun Come Alive
09 Jun A Heart Not Big Enough
13 Jun The Dance
21 Jun I Want This
23 Jun Easily Crushed
28 Jun Simple Inclines
05 July Vietnam
06 July This
12 July Legacy
22 July Morning Glory
14 Aug 4am Cucumbers
27 Aug Delight
28 Aug Puffed
01 Sept Rising Darkness
06 Sept My Heart Knows This Place
10 Sept Cave
13 Oct Perfect Fit
07 Nov EZ Coffee Rules
11 Dec Cascading Light
23 Dec Snow-Woman Delight
25 Dec Messiah

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation 
or shadow due to change. James 1:17 ESV


Friday, January 6, 2012


We realize that life is not a bunch of loose ends we must tie, or problems we must solve, but it's a profound, eternal tapestry that we are called to be part of.
—Abbie Smith, Inspired By Tozer

The knotted fringe of the handwoven scarf invites my fingers to a gentle caress. I close my eyes, remember the vibrant images, the rich colors, the soft feel of the woven cloth.

What must it feel like to weave something so beautiful?

In a season when I am struggling, feeling pressured choices, short lists, limited options, A or B, is there time for quiet exploration? Opening my mind? My heart? Meditating?

The silence of choosing inaction? Unspoken possibilities in taking no action at all?

When I understand that everything happening to me is to make me more Christlike, it solves a great deal of anxiety.
—A.W. Tozer

Is there room in God's tapestry for quietly waiting?


Thursday, January 5, 2012


In the comment section of a friend's blog, I discover:

Preach the gospel always, If necessary use words.
~ St. Francis of Assisi

As parents we often feel
our words fall on deaf ears,
or worse, that our attempts
to communicate actually
backfire, prolonging the
2-year-old's tantrum
or pushing the teenager
in rebellion in the
opposite direction.

2:16 a.m. Startled awake,
we feel anxious, afraid. When the familiar voice on the phone
asks for a ride home, do we prepare a stern lecture or give thanks, as we warm up our car?
When the voice reveals an accident, do we cling to panic
or choose to pray?

Parenting is an inexact science, unpredictable, without measured outcomes. We are ill-equipped for the position. Receiving on-the-job training, we journey by trial-and-error. Our job is
to equip children for an adult journey, to provide a compass.
God provides the itinerary.

10:00 p.m. Sidewalks and roads covered with fresh fallen snow.
1:30 a.m. The driver and passenger are both wearing seat belts.
2:16 a.m. Rescue personnel are on the scene.
1:15 p.m. Husband and wife embrace each other at home.

Parents, don't come down too hard
on your children or you'll crush their spirits.

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune
with each other, in step with each other.

Colossians 3:21, 3:15 MSG

The MoM in me is WoW'd.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Radical Plan

The words within Radical, continue to crush me. The author asks difficult questions:

What would happen ...
if we stopped asking how much we could spare
... starting asking how much it will take?
if together we stopped giving our scraps to the poor
... started giving the surplus, instead?"

David Platt

He challenges, a one year experiment ... a dare to:

pray for the entire world
daily, including the 4.5 billion people without Christ
read through the entire Word
refreshingly honest, the writer Platt looks at the bookstores
and ponders his own work, "Do we really need another book?
sacrifice my money for a specific purpose
not merely give, but sacrifice
spend my time in another context
connect my going to my sacrificial giving
commit my life to a multiplying community
come to worship ready to learn so that I can teach

Near my desk is a collection of artifacts, gifted pieces from friends through the years.

The feet on the bracelet remind me, not to expect my breakfast in bed.

Christ asks me to sleep
in the kitchen, serving
others, my feet on
the floor.

Don't look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don't fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life — to God! — is vigorous and requires total attention. Matthew 7:13-14 MSG


Bracelet designed by Colleen
Framed Postcard by Seek Publishing


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Project 100

Among the list of posts unpublished in 2011 were six drafts
~ the final draft entry contains a link to a blog that begins:

The discovery of my Grandmother's books has ignited
in me a rapidly growing interest in classic literature.
Definitely an interest that is worthy of further investigation.
—Rich Proctor, The Lionheart, then and now

In The Lionheart blog, within
the Project 100 list, I find
seven titles are books enjoyed,
one that was started but not finished,
one that is a work in progress ...
and I create my Book Pile 2011:

Jesus Calling - Sarah Young
To Live Is Christ Day By Day - Beth Moore
Inspired by Tozer - Lauren Barlow, general editor
When Helping Hurts - Steve Corbett, Brian Fikkert
Radical - David Platt
Self Reliance - Ralph Waldo Emerson
To Be Told - Dan Allender
Drops Like Stars - Rob Bell
Touch Stone - Andrea M. Polnaszek
If You Want To Write - Brenda Ueland
Pure Heart - Shellie R. Warren
The Thorn Birds - Colleen McCullough
The Core Issue - Christine Caine
God Of This City - Aaron Boyd, Craig Borlase
No Will Of My Own - Jon Zens
What Happens When Women Say Yes to God - Lysa Terkeurst
The Message New Testament - Eugene H. Peterson, translator
Love Wins - Rob Bell (all 3 of my copies out on loan)
Resonate - Nancy Duarte
An Anchor for the Soul - Ray Pritchard
The Transforming Friendship – Leslie Weatherhead
Passport Through Darkness - Kimberly L. Smith

Closing on 2011, a year that I vowed to purchase only female authors, I am not surprised to find a gender mix. Coloring within the lines has never come easily.

Kimberly L. Smith and Dan Allender were in the "intimate group of five strangers" at the conference in Green Lake this past May, a heart-wrenching To Be Told workshop. A couple days afterward, I read Passport Through Darkness in one sitting on the Memorial Day holiday.

If you only read one book in 2012, please choose
Passport Through Darkness. (sorry Dan)

Within my list, there are familiar faces. Friends and I attended Rob Bell's Drops Like Stars event, sat in the 3rd row, in Minneapolis 2009. His first book, Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith, is one of my all time favorites.

Andrea M. Polnaszek is the friend who first introduced me to the work of Rob Bell, and I was honored to help her publish her book, Touch Stone, this past January. Jon and Dotty Zens, met at the Green Lake conference this past May, were strangers who quickly became friends. Jon is a rather prolific author. More of his work awaits me in 2012.

And, this year-end post wouldn't be complete without a word of thanks to all the bloggers, the writers who inspire and encourage me every day, especially Rich, Rich, Nico + others from Trust 30!


Monday, January 2, 2012

Midway Telephone Company

Among the list of posts unpublished in 2011 were six drafts
~ the fifth draft entry contained this 1949 news:

The Medford exchange of the Midway Telephone Company installed its first dial tone Saturday afternoon, which was added to the equipment for the purpose of convenience to the customers. When the receiver of the phone is lifted and the line is clear there is a distinct tone that can be heard. After the first number has been dialed the tone disappears if the line is clear, and if it doesn't it is
a clear indication that the line is out of order or in use.
—The Star News, 3 March 1949 The Time Machine

dusty family treasures

The child-me remembers
the power often going out
in high winds, winter storms,
sitting around our table,
me with my sister and mom,
soft candlelight. When winds
rattled windows, dad wasn't
at home with us. As a lineman,
he was out in the storm, atop
telephone poles, making repairs.

1:25am arrival

The story of my birth is set in a winter storm, the onset of labor inviting my dad in from a bitter cold winter night ... when I finally arrive and my dad is called into her hospital room, mom bursts into tears, a response to the overwhelming exhaustion
and my dad's well-intended observation:
the long fingers of this baby girl.

morning glory
4:23am arrival

Decades later, holding my newborn,
family connections, nuances echo,
the hands of my daughter are crested
with the long slender fingers my dad
first noticed in me.

Morning Glory was in her first year of college, University of Minnesota, when a new family tradition began. A 4:23am birthday call from me, her mother, woke her from a deep winter's sleep.
The next year she set a alarm and answered a very chipper
"hello mom" - she'd been waiting for predictable me.

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100:5 NIV

17 Jan 1962 Weather temp -22º with wind chills approaching -40º

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Wiffle Guitar

Among the list of posts unpublished in 2011 were six drafts
~ the fourth draft entry contains:

Guitar Audio

You can use a guitar
for a lot of things but there is
one thing it was made for.

God can use you for
a lot of things but there are
specific things you were made for.

... when you do the thing you were made for, the thing
that the voice within is calling out to you all the time to do,
when you find that, you will hear the most beautiful song ...

... a song that has never in the history of the universe, ever,
been played before ... a song created only for you and it will be
a song that will never be played ever again ... and the only reason
for this song is for your enjoyment ... to experience Joy.

Shane Hipps, Calling 062710,

Wiffle Guitar is one of 234 teachings my heart embraced since 2007, podcasts from Grand Rapids, Michigan, a community called Marshill.

Hot coffee, human touch, compelling Sunday teachings
in my home faith community sustain me, guide me, AND in
the self-imposed exile, six days in between, the voices of Marshill break down my barriers, invite Joy again midweek.

Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, 
God's Sunrise will break in upon us, 
Shining on those in the darkness, 
those sitting in the shadow of death, 
Then showing us the way, one foot at a time, 
down the path of peace. 
Luke 1:78-79 MSG


Acoustic Audio: WIREHAPPY
Podcasts by Shane Hipps & Others:
Photo Credit: Guitar

Marshill current podcasts are free, the archived item "Wiffle Guitar" is $2