Monthly Archives: June 2016

Freedom of Speech and Freedom from Listening on Face Book

Regarding homosexuality: I want to free any friends and family to un-friend me that are offended by gay marriage. Homosexuality runs in my family at least all the way back to my great-great aunt who was brilliant and courageous enough to manage to become a pediatrician in the 1800’s and loving enough to start a clinic for the poor, but was never mentioned in our family because she lived with the same woman all her life. I think the purpose of life, including the Christian life, is to learn to love unconditionally and to serve others. The best, though not the only, school for learning unconditional love is marriage  (But NOT abusive marriages).

Living with another person and learning to truly love that person, even someone of the same gender, while also serving others meets my criteria for spirituality and I believe with all my heart that it meets God’s. I respect others’ opinions and do not want to offend their sensibilities. I will not be hurt by your choosing not to see my posts.

As to politics: I think any organization, corporate or governmental that gets so big that it is no longer able to be concerned for the individual, even the least of our brethren, will become demonic. There are corporations like AT&T, Banking Conglomerates, Insurance Companies, Oil companies and it’s beginning to look like, Obama Care,that are simply too big. I think the mildest of us has wanted to do physical harm to someone at times when we have had to deal with a bureaucracy of robots. The problem is that when a multinational corporation becomes more powerful than the government and richer than many nations, there are no checks and balances. Very few human beings can make a billion dollars and not fall into the trap of thinking they are above the law (in other words,  equal to God). The government isn’t the only entity that has become too big and powerful. The major problem that needs solving includes, but isn’t limited to the size and complexity of the government.

Regarding the role of religion: Christianity is about using our gifts for others, not about power over others.

I have no answers, but as much heartbreak as irresponsible sex can cause through unwanted and abused children, abortions, or deadly viruses that infect innocent unborn babies, greed is what is our worst enemy. Greed infects CEO’s, politicians, people on welfare, and middle class people who teach their children from childhood to feel entitled to everything anyone else has without any effort of their own. The external trappings of Christianity, such as public prayer, are not what is at the core of our faith. It is love and the willingness to not only lay down our lives for others, but as the very minimum, to be kind. I both respect and struggle with both polarities of political opinion, but think that is the exact problem, polarities. We push each other into extremes instead of working together to find the right balance between personal responsibility and government assistance, corporate or government growth and the value and rights of the individual, personal or corporate freedom and accountability. And finally, the reality is that the viciousness and misinformation used by both ends of the political spectrum do not help or change anyone.

I love and care about all my face book family and friends, but I simply cannot support or be a conduit for the kind of political expression many are choosing to use today. I will not un-follow you, because if I am not willing to print and publicize either the style or the content of your communications, you shouldn’t have to do that for me either. I will happily accept your un-friending me and will also feel free to do the same. I think this is an act of lovingkindness.

RAINBOWS, PRIDE AND JUST LOVING MY DAUGHTER

This is a beautiful true story that takes us into a life of rich community and kindness.

poetry, photos and musings oh my!

“Love isn’t something you find. Love is something that finds you.”  – Loretta Young

“Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.”   – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.”  – Audrey Hepburn

When I left my ex-husband, I took my children and moved away from a very toxic family of origin. For the first time in my life, I had some support. A young man who taught a class the previous summer provided a link that had been missing all my life. (Yes, Michael, it has been 26 years this Friday.) Michael and his partner, Cliff, became the ‘brothers’ that I had wished for as a child. Michael had lived in Sacramento before and since his ex was moving there with Michael’s son he was going to be there for him. They kept telling me…

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Monet Refuses the Operation

by Lisel Mueller, from Second Language

Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and change our bones, skin, clothes
to gases. Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

Quoted on ifemmanuel-ifeOluwa’s Rambles

at https://ifenihinlola.wordpress.com

 

what does it mean to break?

Very timely though known, because I’m being challenged on a whole different level now. Need all the reminders I can get.

Make Believe Boutique

1-Pics for Blog Edits408

Before you send the heartbreak away – before you process it, dissolve it into space, convert it to joy, and spin away from it in shame and blame – turn toward it and see. Go slow. Breathe into it. Provide safe passage for the heartbroken one that has been looking for you for so long.

Perhaps at a much earlier time, with a star or a tree or the water as your witness, you made a prayer of wholeness. The response to that prayer has come, but not in the way you expected. It has arrived by way of the shattering of an old dream, the dream of how you thought it would all turn out. While this dream is painful, it is alive, sacred, and holy.

No, heartbreak and disappointment are not easy. As two of the fierce emanations of integration, they will throw you off at times…

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The Healing of Our Autism

Because one of our grandchildren was diagnosed at two years of age as suffering from Autism, I’ve attended many classes and conferences on the subject.
The documentary Looking for Me of dance therapist Janet Adler working with two pretty little girls, who were severely autistic, seems to me to illustrate beautifully what God has done for us by becoming fully human in Jesus.
One of the girls was close to three years old and the other was almost four, when they began therapy. Neither of the girls had ever wanted anyone, even their parents, to hug or hold them or even touch them. They made no eye contact. In fact, they didn’t respond to anyone’s presence except to try to keep their distance.
One little girl walked on her toes while waving or shaking her hands. She was in constant motion. Even when she tired, she would sit on the floor rocking back and forth. The other little girl made strange little movements with her fingers, curling them in and out and shaking her head a lot and sometimes standing, licking the wall. Neither child paid any attention to her own reflection in the mirrors in the large dance room or to the therapist.
The therapist worked with them separately. She put music on and just stood to the side. Slowly she began to copy their movements, watching them carefully, so she could get it right. She skipped around the room on her tip toes along with the one child, but giving her plenty of space. When the child sat down and held herself, rocking back and forth, the therapist sat in front of her, but at a ‘safe’ distance, and did the same thing, until the child did something else. She copied the hand movements of the other little girl and even licked the wall.
This went on for months.
Very gradually, the children let the distance close between her and them, but never touching. Slowly, you see them watching her intently and changing behaviors to see if she would. They began to look less tense and even began to seem to be enjoying the ‘interaction,’ such as it was. Finally, in a breath taking moment, when the therapist and the child are skipping side by side all around the room, we see the child reach out and take the therapist’s hand as they are skipping.
Soon, the other little girl, when she and the therapist were sitting facing each other almost in touching distance, suddenly got on her knees and reached over to put her arms around the therapist’s neck and even snuggled her head on her shoulder.
Both children progressed slowly to sitting on her lap, establishing eye contact, and even feeling her face and body over and over, like a baby learning the shape of her mother. Then and only then, they began to notice themselves in the mirror and to spend time looking at themselves, turning away and coming back over and over. They would touch their reflection, lick their reflection, see their movements copied, touch their own face and body, connecting the feeling with the reflection and finally smile at their reflection. Then, they would move back to relating to the therapist.
In the last video the children would hug and snuggle and smile and laugh and play and dance with the therapist.
The video didn’t say when or whether they began to talk, but it did say that they began to relate to other people also.
Can you imagine the joy of their parents?
Do you think perhaps God’s (and the universe’s) joy is like that, when we finally accept unconditional love and begin to respond?
It seemed to me, that the therapist in reflecting the children, took on their limits. She communicated not only acceptance, but even a valuing of who they were. She spoke their language and walked in their skin with them, freeing them to grow in the safety of that relationship. Finally they were able to generalize from that relationship and risk the vulnerability of relating to others.
It seems to me that God, through fleshing out His love in Jesus, has shown us that he not only accepts us, He understands our humanity from the inside out, that He knows first-hand what a rough gig life is. He says to us, like the therapist to the children, “You are not alone.” Then He loves us gently and patiently into wholeness, or holiness, freeing us to love ourselves in our imperfection, and thus, to then risk the vulnerability of loving one another.

Love is a Special Olympics Race

What is love? Do we love “because?” When the one we love is broken is that tender protective nurturing healing love that we give them how we need to love ourselves? We all come into this world imperfect, vulnerable, unfinished, incomplete, with natural talents for some things and none for others, and all too soon battered and broken by life. When we can love that inner incomplete, never going to be perfect, only called to play the hand we were dealt (never a royal straight flush), scarred and broken person that we all really are, the healing begins.  But it’s healing, not perfecting.
Interestingly, the only children I’ve seen that appear to know they are loved unconditionally are at least some of those with disabilities. At a Special Olympics I attended, a child fell down in a race and the others all turned around and went back to help him get up and complete the race. Perhaps we need to recognize that life is a Special Olympics and that what is important is that we all finish the race, not who wins it.

Hitting Bottom and Finding Gold

Laughter: Carbonated Grace

Religion begins with personal spirituality. Spirituality begins with the question: Is there meaning to life? If so, what is it? How does that play out in my own life? And is this life all there is? In seeking meaning in life, inevitably we come to the question of the reason for suffering. No religion seems to have come up with an easy answer to that, but many including Buddhism and Christianity have come up with similar ways for dealing with suffering. The core spiritual response to personal suffering seems to be acceptance in the sense of embracing it. Much of the time we are unable to bail out of the actual situation that causes us pain, but we can and often do seek the means to dull the pain or at least pass it on to those around us. A few of these escape attempts are emotional denial, depression, addictions…

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Joy

The most infallible sign of the presence of God is joy.  Joy is not pleasure or excitement or even happiness. True joy fills us so full that somehow we must let it overflow or we feel that we would burst.

Sorrow stretches our capacity for joy. True sorrow is not sadness or discouragement or even depression. It is heartbreak.

We expend much energy avoiding heart break by choosing sadness or depression and we settle for pleasure or excitement in place of costly joy.

Joy comes from the deepest part of us where God resides. The path there is through fearful darkness, but once you have found it, perfect Love casts out fear and you know it’s safe to return

Listen for the Whisper

Recently I heard a sermon about the great awakenings in Christianity through the ages. It seems obvious that we need a great awakening right now.
But great awakenings don’t just happen. They begin inside each of us.
They happen when we, the people of God, start taking God more seriously than our success, our health, our love life, our bank accounts, our image, or even our children’s soccer games.
They happen when we fear missing God’s call so much that we pray each day like we are beating on heaven’s door, crying and clinging to God like hungry children.
They happen when we read the Scriptures like they are daily emails from God to us personally.
They happen when we begin to hear God speaking to us through everything, even the suffering and heartbreaks in our lives.
They happen when we live like we might die today and would have to look Jesus in the eyes and see his broken heart because we missed the point of both His life and our own.
I wrote a poem , The Whisper, several years ago and today this devotional reading by Max Lucado brought it to mind: “Your last chapter can be your best. Your final song can be your greatest. It could be that all your life has prepared you for a grand exit.”
The Whisper
I hear my name whispered
in the new day’s softness.
I hide in the shadows,
perhaps it was birdsong.
I hear it carried on the wind
much clearer now.
But, I’m old and tired,
I pretend not to hear.
I have a longing in my heart,
a hunger in my mind.
But, I’ve tried and failed so often,
I cling to where I am.
I glimpse a narrow path
winding in the mists.
Abram and Sarah
are there beckoning.
But still I hesitate,
too afraid to follow.
Finally, I see a face
with eyes that see
into my soul,
a smile so warm
it melts my frozen heart,
a hand that reaches out
to grasp my own.
Jesus calls my name.
Here I am, Lord.

The Scripture Luke 9: 57 – 62 tells of Jesus warning to those that say they want to follow him:.
57As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”61Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Whatever your age, whatever your situation, whatever your fears; listen closely, you’ll hear the Lord call your name.

Dirty Little Old Ladies Should Get to Have Fun Too

Well, they’ve ruined my physical therapy now. All us old and lame had bonded and developed a sense of community as fellow sufferers who all now come in generous sizes and slightly lumpy shapes. Yesterday they started testing young male job applicants’ physical fitness for a local industry. So, here we old folks are gasping and sweating (and farting), while struggling to bend over two inches below waist level and these young hunks are flat handing the floor. I think I was two the last time I could flat hand the floor. If I was able to be invisible, I might actually enjoy watching them. (Dirty little old ladies should get to have fun too.) But realizing that I might be the cause of someone never marrying, because they were prematurely exposed to what a prospective wife might look and “sound” like at seventy-nine, is too much guilt to bear. So I deny myself the pleasure of the debate between pecs and buns and do my exercises with my eyes closed, pretending if I can’t see them, they can’t see me.

(I apologize to the readers who follow me for my “spiritual” posts. But I personally think being a slightly raunchy great-grandmother and being spiritual are not mutually exclusive.)