28 February 2006

What To Do

As far as bloggers go, I'm relatively a newcomer to the world. And I mix things up. I think a lot of men probably find my blog frustrating. I don't focus on one thing (theology, or running, or photography). I focus on my life, which is a mix of many things. I homeschool my children, I help plan worship services for my church, I quilt, I fall off virtual cliffs in my mind, I track my extended family, I tentatively track the emerging church, and you will find all of that and more (U2) here. Women can track this, men find it frustrating. Oh well.

I also follow a lot of blogs. I especially follow blogs about the emerging church. I find those very interesting. Well ... I did. But now I find I'm getting frustrated with them as well. I'm getting bored. Because they all seem to be saying the same things over and over again. I don't want to point fingers, because you know what happens then, don't you ... you get three fingers pointing back at ya.

But, lately I've been noticing a lot of complaining about the church. What's wrong. Why won't it change? And on and on. But here's the thing. The so-called Institutional Church really is feeding a lot of people. Or at least they think they are being fed. (Maybe I'm splitting hairs here). But the thing is that they are happy, they sense God and the Holy Spirit at work in their lives. So ... why should we change things for them?

My problem (and it is my problem) is that God and the Holy Spirit does not work in my life like that. So I need to find something different. That doesn't mean that I need to change the entire institution of the church universal. I don't think the entire church needs to change for about 10% of the population who are not being fed. That 10% can find another way of working things out. I think God is big enough to work things out for and with us.

The problem here is not spiritual, it's cultural. We (in the West, and particularly the US) as a result of the Industrial Revolution have been weaned on this idea that uniformity of function will produce more perfect results. We are now 4 or 5 generations into this. Our schools raise our children with this idea. Our factories and our offices stress this idea. Our suburbs and our farms all look alike. Just think about it, when was the last time you ate at a truly independent restaurant? And the time before that? We want to be able to go anywhere and find things that look, taste, smell and sound just like home. Including church.

But ....

There are some of us who are not like this. There are some of us who see life differently. We see God and His Kingdom differently. This is important. God needs all of us in order to unleash the fullness of His grace. It's not limited to just the institutional church, or just the emerging church. It's going to take all of us. And it's even going to take some people who haven't made themselves known yet. But we need to stop poking at our differences and stop talking about why we're different or how we're different. And just take a look around at the work that God is doing in the world and see where we can get on board with it. Where can we, in our individual communities, join up with our Creator in unleashing grace in our communities. How can we (no matter our church affiliation) bring His Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven ...

(HT - Scot McKnight and Brother Maynard)

22 February 2006

Idle Curiosity

Here's something fun to waste time on. It's a website where you can find the number one song on any given date since the 1940's. So go ahead click on this link. I looked for the song on my birth day. It was "Runaway" by Del Shannon. Hmmm ... meaningless to me. So I looked for other birthdays and found some real winners. My twelfth birthday: "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree" by Tony Orlando and Dawn (oh ... major groan). Sweet Sixteen - "Hotel California" by The Eagles (well ... that's better). Twenty-one - "Chariots of Fire" by Vangelis (huh?). Now you try it ... have fun.

18 February 2006

A New Fan

I've found a new channel to watch. I watch every night from 5 to 8 to the dismay of the LightChildren. We turn the television off during dinner ... sometimes. Definitely during evening prayers. But when the run ends I'm going to be lost, I won't know what to do. I've become addicted ...


... to ...


I love it. It's so calm and quiet and has fun terminology that doesn't mean what you think it should mean. People use brooms to make heavy stones move across the ice. It's archaic. It's not about speed, it's about poise and good sportsmanship. It's written into the rules that the game is to be played in such a way that both teams can go back to the club house and sit down to a round of drinks together afterwards.

My favorite comment from a commentator: "That rock has a vapor trail on it." That knocked me over ... a 45 pound granite stone drifting down a sheet of ice most assuredly does NOT have a vapor trail on it. It was too funny. If you choose to watch some night, click on this link first so that you know some of the rules and strategy first. It's loads of fun and funny to listen to the commentators and the yelling. Be sure to watch as the camera pans the stands and you'll see some very funny hats too.

16 February 2006

The Fourth Time ...

... is the charm.

We caught the peregrine falcon on film today! Actually we caught BOTH of them on film today. As it turns out, there are two, male and female, in our neighborhood. These shots are of the male. He perched in a tree that we passed on our way out and he was there still when we came back sitting still as a stone, watching. Amazing.

Poetry Thursday - Tolkien

JRR Tolkien

Earendil was a mariner
that tarried in Arvernien;

he built a boat of timber felled

in Nimbrethil to journey in;

her sails he wove of silver fair,

of silver were her lanterns made,

her prow was fashioned like a swan

and light upon her banners laid.

In panolpy of ancient kings,

in chained rings he armoured him;

his shining shield was scored with runes

to ward all wounds and harm from him;

his bow was made of dragon-horn,

his arrows shorn of ebony;

of silver was his habergeon,

his scabbard of chalcedony;

his sword of steel was valient,

of adamant his helmet tall,

an eagle-plume upon his crest,

upon his breast an emerald.

Beneath the Moon and under star

he wandered far from northern strands,

bewildered on enchanted ways

beyond the days of mortal lands.

From gnashing of the Narrow Ice

where shadow lies on frozen hills,

from nether heats and burning waste

he turned in haste, and roving still

on starless waters far astray

at last he came to Night of Naught,

and passed, and never sight he saw

of shining shore nor light he sought.

The winds of wrath came driving him,

and blindly in the foam he fled

from west to east and errandless,

unheralded he homeward sped.

There flying Elwing came to him,

and flame was in the darkness lit;

more bright than light of diamond

the fire on her carcanet.

The Silmaril she bound on him
and crowned him with the living light,

and dauntless then with burning brow

he turned his prow; and in the night

from otherworld beyond the Sea

there strong and free a storm arose,

a wind of power in Tarmenel;

by paths that seldom mortal goes

his boat it bore with biting breath

as might of death across the grey

and long forsaken seas distressed;

from east to west he passed away.

Thought Evernight he back was borne

on black and roaring waves that ran

o'er leagues unlit and foundered shores

that drowned before the Days began,

until he hears on strands of pearl

where end the world the music long,

where ever-foaming billows roll

the yellow gold and jewels wan.

He saw the Mountain silent rise

where twilight lies upon the knees

of Valinor, and Eldamar

beheld afar beyond the seas.

A wanderer escaped from night

to haven white he came at last,

to Elvenhome the green and fair

where keen the air, where pale as glass

beneath the Hill of Ilmarin

a-glimmer in a valley sheer

the lamplit towers of Tirion

are mirrored on the Shadowmere.

He tarried there from errantry,

and melodies they taught to him,

and sages old him marvels told,

and harps of gold they brought to him.

They clothed him then in elven-white,

and seven lights before him sent,

as through the Calacirian

to hidden land forlorn he went.

He came unto the timeless halls

where shining fall the countless years,

and endless reigns the Elder King

in Ilmarin on Mountain sheer;

and words unheard were spoken then

of folk and Men and Elven-kin,

beyond the world were visions showed

forbid to those that dwell therein.

A ship then new they built for him

of mithril and of elven glass

with shining prow; no shaven oar

nor sail she bore on silver mast:

the Silmaril as lantern light

and banner bright with living flame

to gleam thereon by Elbereth

herself was set, who thither came

and wings immortal made for him,

and laid on him undying doom,

to sail the shoreless skies and come

behind the Sun and light of Moon.

From Evergreen's lofty hills

where softly silver fountains fall

his wings him bore, a wandering light,

beyond the mighty Mountain Wall.

From a World's End there he turned away,

and yearned again to find afar

his home through shadows journeying,

and burning as an island star

on high above the mists he came,

a distant flame before the Sun,

a wonder ere the waking dawn

where grey the Norland waters run.

And over Middle-Earth he passed

and heard at last the weeping sore

of women and of elven-maids

in Elder Days, in years of yore.

But on him mighty doom was laid,

till Moon should fade, an orbed star

to pass, and tarry never more

on Hither Shores where Mortals are;

or ever still a herald on

an errand that should never rest

to bear his shining lamp afar,

to Flammifer of Westernesse.

14 February 2006


"How can you hope to make the imperfect things perfect, unless you keep before your eyes the vision of God, who is perfection? The prayer that is only against evil destroys itself. If you look at nothing but sorrow and sin, your heart may be at first full of love and pity, but presently anger -- righteous perhaps, but still anger -- will enter and begin to crowd out love; and then despair will come and deaden pity, and at last will even smother righteous anger. and then there will be silence for the heart that is filled with despair cannot pray.

It is not enough to know that the world is full of evil, we must also know that God is good."

Florence Converse, The House of Prayer (meditation from the Celtic Book of Daily Prayer)

13 February 2006


We saw the peregrine falcon again today. But LightHusband did not have his camera. The raptor flew into a tree not 20 feet above our heads and inspected us for our prey-worthiness. Nearby the little song birds were hiding out under a cleft in the snow. We distracted him from them and then he soared away. Beautiful.

Out and About

These boots are made for walking.
And that's just what we did. We went walking yesterday. We go walking everyday. It's part of what the doctor ordered for me. Yesterday it was particularly fun to go tramping through the snow. LightHusband packed his camera in hopes of seeing the peregrine falcon that we've seen twice before. But all he saw was a turkey buzzard.

LightBoy spent the night of the snow at a friend's house. So we walked over to said friend's to inspect the snowforts that the two had built. But they were sliding and having a snowball fight with some neighborhood girls by the time we got there. We took some much craved for peanut M&M's to friend's mom.

The LightChildren will have a snowday today so they can play in the snow again. It's so rare down here in the "Banana Belt," as my Vermont mother refers to it, so I feel compelled to let them enjoy it.

12 February 2006


So I've been watching the Winter Olympics. I didn't mean to. I don't usually. The last time I paid this much attention to the Winter Olympics was 12 years ago. LightGirl was about a month old and they were held in Lillehammer, Norway. They were broadcast at all hours of the day and night. Conveniently, I was up at all hours of the day and night taking care of this new infant that was in my life. So I watched the Olympics for distraction.

She's the reason I'm watching again this year. Well, that's not entirely true. She's the reason we began. But now I'm sucked in. We began because she began a love affair a few weeks ago. She has fallen in love for the first time. It's very sweet. You'd think her father and I would be worried, but we're actually sort of encouraging this. She's in love with not one, but several men. But they all play for the same team. The Washington Capitals. And ... she's in love with hockey. She wants to play hockey. She wanted to watch women's hockey. So I found myself revisiting the Olympics, revisiting hockey and revisiting (for some strange reason) ...


Eddie the Eagle.

Remember Eddie? The British ski jumper who made the Olympics at Calgary in 1988. The only ski jumper Great Britain has ever sent to the Olympics. Well, he's going to law school now. He recorded a best selling song in Finland in 1991. Then he went bankrupt. There are reports that a movie is being made of his life and he hopes that Brad Pitt will be selected to play him.

Well ... when you make the Olympics you know how to dream big and make it come true.

02 February 2006


I don't know about the rest of you, but God regularly sends people to me with messages. By that I mean He sends strangers to me to give me messages that He wants me to hear. It's happened maybe three or four times in my life. It happened again this morning.

I've been trying in fits and starts (more fits, than starts truth be told) to get us starting each day with prayer. I know that sounds all holy and everything. But I need it more than anyone else in the family. I've been wanting to use the Celtic Daily Prayer from the Northumbria Community. I've had it for over a year now. We begin every now and again. But I realized (after my chat with the doctor yesterday) that it really is important to me. So I decided to become very intentional about it.

But ... I tend to be sort of ADD sometimes. And I got distracted. I had a plan. But something else came up. Couldn't tell you what it was. LightGirl got up late, LightBoy was building a Bionicle, LightHusband got a phone call. Everyone was spinning off in their different directions and the way my head is right now, spinning in many different directions all by itself, well, the prognosis wasn't good. Then the doorbell rang. So I answered it and in so doing, groaned inwardly. Two ladies in dresses with Bibles. Oh no, it was probably Jehovah's Witnesses or something. YIKES.

But no, they just wanted to read one verse to me. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 - "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

And really, that was all they wanted to do. They didn't tarry any longer. Then they got in a car and drove away. Originally they'd said they were in the neighborhood knocking on all the doors, but they didn't seem to go to any other houses; just mine. And, it was just enough to remind me of my determination for prayer and how to begin the day.

And here was the Scripture that went with today's prayers:

Psalm 139:7-8
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

1 John 4:16-18
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

It seems arrogant to say that God had a message for me, but if there was any Scripture that I needed for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training today, it was those two. Today's meditation was extremely poignant as well. It was clear to me that God still pursues us and I wanted to mark it with an Ebenezer of some sort. I want to remember this morning that when I called out, He was gracious enough to reply.

Of Balrocs and a Long Fall

So I'm on a long strange journey of my own lately. It's not terribly comfortable although I do seem to be spending an awful lot of time on the couch. I'm not really sure when it started, but the straw that broke this camel's back came last Wednesday. I'm not even sure what the straw was. But I started having a panic attack and it lasted all day. And into Thursday. And I started thinking about how strange my thoughts have become over the last 3 or 4 months. It seems to have come about during the time I started a new medicine to control my seizure disorder. So I called my neurologist. He recommended decreasing my dose. And I asked for something to control the panic attack. But he could not prescribe that without seeing me and that he could not do until mid-February. He suggested a visit to my primary care doctor. So I made an appointment for Friday morning with one of the physicians in that practice. That doctor prescribed a well known anti-depressant.

Sometimes when you pause to say, "You ... shall NOT ... pass!" to a monster, even when it's in your head, it can still grab you by the knees and pull you over the edge of a cliff. I'm in the middle of a long dark fall now. I went back and saw my actual primary care doctor Wednesday morning. I love her. She changed the anti-depressant because I'm not responding well to the original. Not well at all. I'll spare you the gory details, but I've spent a lot of time on the couch and I've not been eating. I've lost 8 pounds in 5 days. That's the upside. It's better than the Special K diet (according to LightHusband). Then she prescribed a half hour walk every day. Every, every, every day. Outside in the full spectrum sunlight. And then she used her Jedi Knight powers and told me to, "... go home and rethink your life." (a favored line from one of the first 2 Star Wars movies). Really what she said was that perhaps I needed to follow Jesus' example of 40 days in the desert and take some time out or off to re-evaluate my life, how things were going and what I'm doing. She said it's okay to do that every now and again. She even wrote it down as part of my prescription. She also ordered blood work to make sure that this is not being caused by something organic.

I have no grandiose misperceptions of myself. I am no Gandalf the Grey. This is frightening. Something mysterious is messing with my head. While I am prone to being melancholy, I am also far more likely to sing "It Is Well With My Soul" than anything else. So how on earth did I come to be in the Mines of Moria facing a Balroc? And how did it pull me over the edge of the cliff? I know it's all metaphor and analogy, but that's how this feels. The best thing I can hope for is that the fall did not kill Gandalf, but it did change him. He came out purer and stronger in the end. I guess that would be a good thing ... but right now it looks pretty bleak and I'm not real keen on the falling sensation.