Thursday, December 12, 2013


Rarely if ever does an empathic response begin with At Least ...
—BrenĂ© Brown



Wednesday, November 20, 2013


"Reconciliation, like forgiveness, cannot be declared from the thrones of the powerful. It flows from the wounds of the crucified, and forgiveness to be meaningful, it has to be seen to flow from woundedness." - Radical Reconciliation pg 37

Radical Reconciliation is wrenching my heart, holding up a mirror to my soul, treasuring the tears shed, embracing my darkest graceless space, mourning injustice.

i am awed by the woman, Rizpah, who grieves the children of Merab as deeply as she mourns her own children, a widow defending the crucified bodies against carrion birds and predators that move along the ground - not just for a few hours but from the beginning of the harvest until rain fell on them from the heavens.

Rizpah leaves the comfort of the palace.
She knows the deadly consequences.
She stands in resistance.


2 Samuel 21:10

Thursday, October 24, 2013

living in less

thursday is a good day

a later start to my work at the food pantry leaves time for reading and listening at the computer ... time with Harley on my lap ... quiet reflection ... working on whispered hopes and touched twice, breakfast with a friend ...

time for arranging sprigs of fresh eucalyptus harvested from my garden ... preparing two rooms for a guest ...

our old house ... two empty bedrooms

prayerfully and hopefully ...

a sanctuary?

the living room quiet ... the television silenced perhaps permanently ... the memory of submitting my life to God, agreeing to bloom where planted ...

believing that 'downsizing' our lives is not only about living on less, but living in less ... making room for more ... community

believing in abundance ...

enough eucalyptus for two bouquets ...

"... for every animal of the forest is mine,
    and the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird in the mountains,
    and the insects in the fields are mine."
Psalm 50:10-11 NIV excerpt


Saturday, October 19, 2013

destiny jeans

i am a mess.

serving at a food pantry is difficult.

serving at a food pantry while looking in my own mirror and feeling the dark shadow of poverty creep up behind me is more than difficult.

the sadness is often so heavy on my heart that i feel as though my body will simply stop breathing.

yet 'not breathing' never happens.

i breathe because only God decides when breathing stops.

so i often feel stuck here in this place and this time ... and when i whine "Why?" the words of Dan Allender haunt me:

"What is God doing?" he asks.

and my focus shifts:

God is providing.

God is providing daily bread.
God is providing physical fitness in time spent unloading trucks filled with food.

and when weight loss diminishes the options in my closet:

God is providing sparkling hand-me-up jeans from my friend Destiny.

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God, ..."

Isaiah 43:1-3 excerpt NIV


Vocation and Passion by Dan Allender inspires me

Friday, September 20, 2013

i am not this person

i am not

... this person

... ... who misses appointments and is late for meetings
... ... who responds to your email a day after you needed the answer
... ... or finally writes that letter of recommendation 51 days after you asked for it.

i am not

... this person

... ... who remembers today is special to you but doesn't send a card ... or call ... or text

how did i become this person?

... To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Rev 21:6 excerpt


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cheryl Miller on Overcoming Poverty

... still in the process of transformation

i often wonder at the great blessing God gave me when He brought this strong and beautiful soul into my life.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

daisies in the ditch

A few weeks ago Morning Glory stopped by and we sat in the shade on the east side of the house, not far from the garden where the rusty vintage fencing supports clematis -- a garden of day lily, iris, violets, eucalyptus, rhubarb and chives.

Yesterday, Kathryn Victoria and I walked around the house, looking at the flowers that grace the foundation, contemplating which might eventually be included in her gardens, taking measure of the black walnut trees the squirrels unintentionally planted -- trees that are now ready to be relocated to more spacious places.

In the days in between, the ditches on our country roads and four-lane highways filled with daisies -- without mulch or fertilizer, irrigation or weeding, planting or planning. Gracefully growing as God intended?

Even in laughter the heart may ache,
and rejoicing may end in grief. 
Proverbs 14:13 


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Violence & Silence

"In the end what will hurt the most is not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

 Violence & Silence: Jackson Katz, Ph.D at TEDxFiDiWomen


Monday, May 6, 2013

statistically insignificant

Recently there is a tightness in my chest, a physical manifestation, un-uttered fear, a lurking dark certainty that deadly critics are poised for the kill just around the next corner. i am hit in the chest with a sledgehammer, my body crushed in a single moment; breathing out, eyes traveling up the wooden handle to the hands, arms, shoulders and eyes of the perpetrator; seeing no remorse, no compassion; gasping and wheezing for my own next breath. What had once come naturally and without thought - breath - is now painful and uncertain. Tears form and slide down the sides of my face, i close my eyes and there is comfort in the soft darkness; sound enters my consciousness, the chirping and singing of birds in the trees outside my window, spring returning, the sound of life renewed; breath finds its way into my lungs.

Bracing for the impending and imagined blows leaves me feeling brittle and fake, a discarded and hollow plastic doll. i find myself functioning without actually feeling, slipping easily behind a mask, unwilling to risk taking more than i can give.

White and black. Right and wrong. Givers and takers. Generosity and greed. 

No room to receive.
No redemption.
No grace.

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour." 1 Peter 5:8

A couple weeks ago i spent a day doing research and discovered 74 strip clubs open and doing business in my state, which lead to a conversation, and eventually a verbalization of the heartbreak i feel when i think about the 700+ women on stage each night. 

The other person responded that 700+ is statistically insignificant ... 

700 women is 0.000123 of the population.

In the dark shadows of my silence the enemy flourishes. 

When i begin to live as though i am brittle, when i choose to slip behind the mask, when i am silenced by what others perceive as insignificant, i dishonor my God, the one true God who makes all things new again - a God who fully embraces each life in grace.

am i willing to receive?


Friday, March 22, 2013

My Peeps

Do you really want to be converted? Are you willing to be transformed? Or do you keep clutching your old ways of life with one hand while with the other you beg people to help you change? - Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love more

Clutching. Definitely clutching.

I read this book in the spring of 2012, when it appeared on my front porch, a clandestine delivery by a friend, her husband driving the get-away van. The Inner Voice of Love arrived with Cheetos and chocolate, my comfort foods, in what was one of the darkest periods of my life. I read the whole thing, crying, sitting in my rocking chair, in our living room, the place where my journeying tightly with God began. 

And still I push away, refusing to be transformed.

You know that inner voice. You turn to it often. But after you have heard with clarity what you are asked to do, you start raising questions, fabricating objections, and seeking everyone else's opinion. Thus you become entangled in countless often contradictory thoughts, feelings, and ideas and lose touch with the God in you. And you end up dependent on all the people you have gathered around you. - Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love

I started kneeling the other day, taking a submissive posture during prayer. 

Yes, Lord. It is time to let go of my peeps, rely solely and soul-y on You to lead me on this journey. Rw

Monday, March 18, 2013


I remember sitting with the other pall bearers at the funeral for my paternal grandfather, a quiet defiance coercing through me as I sat back in the pew, eyes staring forward, chin tilted slightly up, jaw clenched, challenging someone – anyone, everyone – to confront me.

I wanted my father to be tortured and shamed in this moment with this one simple act: my refusal to take Communion.

Lord, forgive me! What an ugly place for my soul to be!

This culmination of my defiance began long ago, shame shadows haunting me, isolation, a dark divorced place, bitterness like mold growing within me twisting a core Catholic belief – bread and wine becoming the true presence of Christ – into a toxic prison assuring my own exile.

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner 
worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Philippians 1:27 NIV excerpt

Yesterday, watching Perry kneel not just once but multiple times – broken beautiful humanity demonstrating the joy of the apostle Paul and the divine obedience of Christ – opened my hardened heart to the realization that I rarely kneel ... often exhibiting pride in not kneeling, a pattern of defiance and isolation extending back decades.

Grieving Woman


"Why not?" the selfish toddler me demanded. Why can't non-Catholics, Evangelicals and Protestant denominations receive Catholic Communion? more >

Monday, March 11, 2013

$30 VIP

reformed trafficker now
educating vulnerable youth
"$, $30 VIP, 1/2 Hour Rate Available" reads the sign, posted boldly where all who enter might see.

On another night, in another city, the "Champagne" room is far from the entrance and stage, beyond the engaging bouncer at the desk who arranges some thing. The customer and young woman disappear for a time. By chance i look up to see her return. She stops momentarily, bends to slip on her shoes. She is a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend, a teen-aged adult.

She is Cinderella. See her stiletto slippers?

Our daughters in middle class homes grow up thinking "I'm a princess to be rescued and loved."

The sellers of sex know the fantasy.
charged with trafficking
two midwest teens

We parents buy into the media-perpetuated lie: "traffickers are brutish dark strangers" not fun and engaging young women, or well-spoken intriguing and attentive sweet guys.

The heartbreak in all of this madness is the youth that get caught in the trap. Not grabbed from the street by strangers or randomly kidnapped from homes. Vulnerable youth are invited – romanced by beautiful promises, distorted shadows of grace, hope and love.

The dark twisting is often coercion, skilled chameleons changing color, flagrant and unexpected hues:
- a big city shopping day ends in a nightmare;
- a spontaneous romantic destination devolves into isolation, abandoned without money or car;
- a high school sweetheart softly asking, manipulating, then demanding sexual favors for friends;
- a video filmed without permission now sold to others who devour and share.

Children are growing up vulnerable. Innocence is being eroded each day. Will we let go of the "prince" and the "princess" and replace fantasy with open communication and unconditional love?

Embrace the young lives around us with God's grace, hope and love?


inspired by
Holly Austin Smith

Parents, don't come down too hard on your children 
or you'll crush their spirits. - Colossians 3:21 MSG

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Reading my friend Kimberly's blog always brings tears, sometimes tears of laughter, more often tears of sorrow so deep as to take my breath away.

I saw a tenderness in the father’s loving concern for his child, and a hopeful trust in the cradled child as she looked into her father’s face. This may sound normal to you, but it is extraordinary in a land riddled with fathers who abandon their children through war, famine, fear, or through trauma that seems to emotionally just shut them down. - Matt McGowen, guest blogger, Life that Matters 

This morning as I read about a father and daughter in Sudan, my heart also grieves for daughters here in the U.S. whose fathers abandon them, often putting them at risk economically, physically, spiritually. Abandonment in our culture - perhaps in all cultures - opens the door for the enemy's cruel lie of worthlessness, a false belief that she is not worthy of love.

We are all worthy of love.

What is is about U.S. culture that is traumatizing our fathers? Our young men?

What is the first step in healing? What is the first step in the restoration of Hope?

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. - Philippians 2:1-4 NIV

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What We Talk About When We Talk About God by Rob Bell

Celebrating the growing sense that our Spirituality is in some vital and yet mysterious way central to who I am as a person ...

 I believe God is with us and for us ... ahead of us, pulling us forward ...


Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Unopened emails for a daily devotional pile up in my inbox, each arrival a click in my spiritual odometer, an opportunity to draw closer, a reminder not to walk away.

The questions waiting for me today: What circumstances has God used over the years to get my attention? How do i pay attention to God's gentle nudges in my life?

Gentle nudges in my life come and go, usually without my paying attention. The quiet magnetism i believe all humanity senses in our Creator is often ignored by me. i am a lost sheep, prone to wander and do things my own way, believing somehow i am able to find food, shelter and protection on my own.

When i stop to reflect on what God used to bring me back into the safety of the sheepfold i find my heartbeat slows with sadness. i remember circumstances of darkest night, brokenness, inhumanity  not gentle nudges but troubled places, deep hurts and primal fears for which God had prepared in advance a resting place, a healing hospice readied with people to journey with me from death to Life.

In my humanity i am like a tiny ball of yarn rolling away and coming back again. Created human i am woven into an infinite skein of wool: God's compassion and grace, His passionate embrace.

[T]he LORD came and revealed his presence, calling out as before, "Samuel, Samuel!" Samuel answered, "Speak, for your servant is listening."
1 Samuel 3:10

Heart Image:
Magnet Image: X Factor Consulting

Sunday, February 17, 2013


As a divorcing 23 year old mother of an infant and a toddler, I was broke and broken, with more month than money – jealous of my friend whose landlord let her pay her rent with sex.

At age 45 I stood in our living room angry and frustrated, stamping my feet like a toddler pitching a fit. My son and daughter were now in college and life still wasn't the way I wanted it: all about me.

God showed up there, in our living room, in the moment of my deepest frustration. My heart's violent prayer erupted into submission: the decision to bloom where I was planted.

And God opened doors. Closing my eyes today and returning to that time and place, I can hear the clicks of door after door unlocking – places where I felt a captive.

First work, a new job. Then relationships, a renewed marriage.

Stale wilted friendships ended.

A co-worker invited me to church, a community of people following after Christ. As I spent time with the church people a beautiful transformation happened: strange faces grew familiar, the church people became my church friends, then deeply and simply my friends.

And HOPE returned to my heart. A deep sense of life's purpose grew within me, and LOVE bloomed where I had been planted.


The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:11-13 NIV

Photo Credit:

Saturday, January 5, 2013

an open book

the opening page reads ... copyright 2000 by Bill Zimmerman. has it really been more than a decade that "My Life" has rested on my book shelf?

as i flip through the mostly empty pages, there are entries in ink and pencil, dates jotted in the margins and on the tops of pages, and tidbits floating in thin air - words written without connection points to the timeline of my life.

there are dark holes of deep disappointment - the child who cannot create an imaginary world, the girl who does not recall having someone she always trusted to share her worries and joys.

there are celebrations - the awkward and happy second grade girl making her first communion, the teen who tried out for the dance team year after year before finally making the squad as a senior, the college freshman finally cutting ties with the awkwardness of high school ... and the dedication page:

my life
(an open book)

dedicated to my children

this morning the pages lay open. near the middle of the book i add an excerpt from this blog

"... in the final 15 minutes that my heart beats, I reach out and take your hand. You are so very special. You are as God intended you to be, your gifts and joys, the life of grace laid out before you were a heartbeat in your mother's womb..."

and i note the date these words were first written: 02 June 2011.

Everything on earth
has its own time
    and its own season.
There is a time
for birth and death,
    planting and reaping,
for killing and healing,
    destroying and building,
for crying and laughing,
    weeping and dancing,
for throwing stones
and gathering stones,
    embracing and parting.
There is a time
for finding and losing,
    keeping and giving,
for tearing and sewing,
    listening and speaking.
There is also a time
for love and hate,
    for war and peace.



Thursday, January 3, 2013

reading her story

an unexpected gift arrived in my email today: the story of a friend, her handwritten pages scanned into a computer and sent to me by her patient and loving husband, the vivid details released and billowing like parachutes, softly floating in to fill the crevices left in the oral narrative she shared with me as we began our whispered hopes journey together.

i am deeply grateful and deeply awed by her trust in me, her trust in God, her willingness to live ...

"a life set toward helping those who are enslaved."

on this my first 'working' day of the new year, as i erase the tired marker board in my office in an attempt to open my heart to what lies ahead, i want to be more like my friend, to set my life on the course God intended, the path God designed, to deeply embrace God who ...
"is sovereign over all the world."

... I prayed to God in heaven, 
and my mind was healed. 
Then I said:
“I praise and honor
    God Most High.
He lives forever,
and his kingdom
    will never end.
To him the nations
    are far less than nothing;
God controls the stars in the sky
    and everyone on this earth.
When God does something,
we cannot change it
    or even ask why.”