28 March 2008

right but not necessarily wise

In the category of learning, opportunities abound. I decided to voice an opinion about something that didn't seem quite just, or "hospitable," as I put in my email.

So here's the thing, my position was right, but at the end of the day, communicating about it and identifying it via email lead to some hurt feelings and a strained relationship.

How do we make wise decisions in our correspondence? You'll have to take my word in this case that I labored over my word choice. I knew that the communication alone might ruffle some feathers so I was committed to use respectful language. At the end of the day, my boss suggested the words could have been "softer." With that assessment, I'm not sure I even get an "A" for effort. Perhaps it comes down to motivation. A friend of mine reminds me often when discerning action in a situation to ask myself "what do I want?" And then attempt to communicate accordingly. That may sound rather selfish, but for me it often brings me back to the motivation that I want Jesus Christ to be glorified. Sometimes then it diffuses my reactions entirely because it gives me pause enough to set down my righteous indignation, or overcome the perceived slight, or overlook my puffing pride, or even abandon words in the trust that God is my defender and judge.

It sounds easier than it is. I often sit in the tension of those worlds--deciding whether or not to speak, advocate, or rest.

So, I may have made the wrong choice again. But I'm certainly learning.
"Lord, thank you for beginning a work in me and your promise to carry it out until completion. Have mercy, Lord!"

25 March 2008

Faraway fargo fun

Fun springs up wherever you make it.
And despite all the jokes about Fargo,
I like the city--especially being there with my family.

Thus I offer just a few photos of our time there over the weekend...
because we had fun.

We painted eggs.
We made nests.
We created an indoor easter egg hunt extravaganza.
(unfortunately, I didn't capture all of these great moments.)

We also laughed, played cards, sang,
played violins (at least a couple of us did),
celebrated Jesus resurrection,
watched a few movies, endured hours of scooby doo,
participated in a fierce snowball fight, went sledding,
hung curtains, hung pictures, assembled a stool
(well, some of us participated in that, mostly Barkley),
hung out with the neighbors, visited the mall...
among other things.

I just really really really wish it were a few hours closer.
That's all I'm saying!

Oh and we saw some interesting things on the road, too.
One of them being this billboard. Hopefully, despite the distance, you can
recognize the billboard base. Pretty crazy.

19 March 2008

nothing like a good routine

I'm headed to Fargo.
It's where I get to go. For Easter and for Thanksgiving.
My sister and I get there one way or another.
As some of you know, we've gotten "stuck" there because sometimes winter hits Fargo sooner than other places in the world.
We've had several planes, trains, and automobile stories.

This time we're driving.
Which means we'll laugh ourselves silly at moments when we think we're the funniest people in the world. (And we don't care that we're not.)

And we'll share a few days with our sister, bro-in-law, and our nieces and whoever else might make the mix.
It's a huge privilege to be with family.

It's one of my favorite routines.

So blessed Easter weekend, all. May the peace of Christ be yours in abundance, wherever you are!

18 March 2008

Meeting place

I went away this weekend to attend Acquire the Fire (atf), a conference geared mostly toward junior high and high school students (of which I am not, but, none the less, I went). Events like this, held in large venues, sometimes on college campuses, with multiple speakers and bands and intentional worship leading are sprinkled throughout my life. Often these events mark pivotal moments.
But there are moments when I wonder, am I just being caught up in the emotion of it? And if that is true, is that wrong or bad or inauthentic or??

I know that can be a criticism of certain events. But as I reflect on my time, on what I heard, witnessed, and experienced, I can only say that God is real. He speaks in different ways to all. In prayer and worship I experience the presence of God. It is a meeting place for me. It is a place where my heart connects to God's heart and I am changed. Sometimes the change resembles a gentle knocking and a reminder of who I need to be (but that I'm not yet there). Sometimes it's the crumbling of walls which I've erected or my choices constructed which God's grace and truth dismantles. Sometimes it's the piercing word of scripture which removes the mask and reveals who I truly am.
It is not always pleasant. Sometimes it is utterly exhausting, as I recently put on my facebook page, I become rubbish, or completely undone by the reality of who God is and who I am not.

Perhaps it's not that way for everyone. But it's my experience. I don't want to engage the intensity everyday. Not surprisingly, God seems to know and implement the perfect timing! And it allows me to walk more closely and more connected, I hope, to his very heart.

13 March 2008


This is a tribute to my friend Sabrina, superfluous over there in the blog world.
She's consistently blogging her fabulous creations or things someone else creates that she is eating. I love it.
And it's a tribute to the incredible meal my sister made
(with a tiny bit of my help) the other night.
It was beyond super, really. It was fabulous.
So here is the recipe (or as I like to say, of course intentionally, repice, just because):

Salmon with Puff Pastry and Pesto

4 pieces of purchased puff pastry, each cut to be just larger than a piece of salmon
4 (4 to 6-ounce) pieces salmon
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup purchased pesto
2 tomatoes, sliced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

On a foil-lined baking sheet, place the 4 pieces of puff pastry. Also place the 4 pieces of salmon, being careful to make sure they are not touching. Sprinkle each piece of salmon with 1 tablespoon of the sliced almonds. Bake for 10 minutes.

To serve, place each piece of puff pastry on a plate. Top each puff pastry with 1 tablespoon of pesto. Top the pesto with 2 slices of tomatoes each. Top the tomatoes with the salmon and serve.

We served this with asparagus.
And beer bread (the staple, of course).

YOU should try it.

10 March 2008


In August 2006, as I was considering starting a master's degree program, my sister Hildred and I went shopping for a Macbook. Hangin' with my sister at the Apple store in downtown Chicago AND buying my lil computer stacks up as a great memory.
It only seems fitting, then, that I should witness her receiving a new computer, a brand spankin' new Macbook to be exact.
And so here we were, sharing another significant moment in our lives. :-)
This is not overrated, people.

She's got the latest MacOS, the Ilife photo software, the latest and greatest. Sigh!
I'm all shades of happy for her (if not a slight shade of j).

Happy computing sis!!

06 March 2008

Whether or not you believe

Last week part of my "unwell" season was complicated by some major shoulder and neck pain. I love sleep. Nothing disturbs it too much. In my Mansion years I slept so soundly that students couldn't wake me. I went through periods of sleep deprivation, however, such that I would fall asleep mid-sentence, mid-prayer, etc. It was bad and embarrassing, even, like the time I feel asleep as I was interviewing someone (but that's another post). But I'm a recovered sleep-deprived individual and don't sacrifice sleep for much (an occasional conversation is well well worth it, but not on a regular basis).

I say all of that to say, this pain was soooooo bad I couldn't sleep.
In fact, I woke up one particular night in such pain
I could only beg, "Oh Jesus, please, please, help me."

I am unfamiliar with such excruciating pain. For those that experience such pain on a continual basis, I am so sorry.

The pain subsided enough to go to work, but even there I was completely aware of it. I recall one other time of pain like this about three years ago. Finally someone suggested I go to a chiropractor. Have you had this conversation?

"A chiropractor?"
"Um, right.
Yeah, but, aren't they the people who are not "real" doctors
and just get you trapped into seeing them
so that you're quasi-addicted and
"need" to see them the rest of your life?
That chiropractor?"

The same.

Let me tell you. I went. I faithfully attended the suggested appointments. My pain subsided. I was done. Sufficiently satisfied that I had avoided that whole addiction trap. so there! But it helped. I overcame my skepticism and previous stereotype and moved to advocacy.

I didn't need much encouragement this time, you see, to return to the chiropractor. Only I have different insurance and yada yada. Thus, I visited a new doctor on the recommendation of my coworkers.

The intake procedure includes cataloging some history of pain, and charting the intensity of current pain, as well as a computerized scan of the spinal cord (very impressive!!), and xrays. As the chiropractor asked me to do certain movements (did u know for instance, that a person should be able to bend their head to their shoulder--not moving the shoulder--so that the ear about touches the shoulder?), it was obvious that I was in much pain and had limited movement. He asked whether or not I heard clicking noises, whether or not I had frequent headaches, frequent sinus issues, etc.
I gratefully replied "no!" to most questions. I feel healthy most of the time.
"I need an occasional back massage from a friend b/c I carry stress in my shoulder blades," I mentioned, "but other than that I'm good."

Then we took a look at my posture in the mirror. And saw a bit of a drooping on my right side. Then he had me do some shoulder rotations, again, on the right side. As the bones clicked and cracked he asked, "do you hear that?"
"yes," I smiled. (Hoping THAT was the right answer.)

"See those noises," he said, "those aren't supposed to happen. Those aren't normal."

"Oh," I responded, rather sheepishly, "so I should say I do hear clicking and cracking all the time then. Because those noises are very normal to me."

We proceeded to look at the xrays. And he showed me how in two places in my neck, the space for my nerve is reduced because of the growth of bone spurs.

And then he asked whether I had experienced any traumatic events or accidents as a child.

"Well," I chuckled, confident I did have this answer right, "anyone who knows me knows that I fall all the time. I did trip over a tree root when I was nearly five and broke my leg, just for starters."

"This would be a traumatic thing, like, you lost consciousness or something."


I thought for a bit longer and remembered the whole fall on my head story that my family loves to tell. And it's true. When I was a very small baby, like three months or so, my just older sister Carmen needed to go to the doctor. My Mom had me in the carseat and when she set me on the counter at the hospital, I fell over, car seat and all, on my head. The doctor quickly examined me and determined I was okay. My poor Mom has really never quite recovered. But it's worked as a great excuse to explain things my whole life.
so I told that story in hopes that it would qualify. Certainly it was traumatic!!

"No," he said, "this would have occurred in your late teens, say at 15 or 16 based on the development of your bones."

I confess, I'm at a loss. I don't know when this traumatic experience happened, really. I've invited my parents to think about it with me. They of course remembered the whole fall on my head as a baby thing. But that's it. We can't explain it.

But, my pain is getting better.
I'm doing my "therapy" exercises at home. I'm seeing the chiropractor a bit these next few weeks. I'm sleeping through the night again almost normally. And I'm so thankful for the relief.

Where you could help, however, if you feel so inclined, is to pray that the bone spurs heal completely. See, the chiropractor can't make those go away. But God can. So if this comes to your heart and mind while u're talking to Abba, I'd appreciate the request.


03 March 2008

More to life!

You know that sound a balloon makes as it spits out it's remaining air?
That's what I feel like.

That, after spending a week studying Sabbath for my class which included inhaling a most fabulous book titled Sabbath, by Wayne Muller. But notice I say inhaled.
After each chapter we were challenged to engage in these wonderful Sabbath practices which I laughed at thinking maybe I'll practice those in the summer. There is no time to practice Sabbath right now!

That, after utilizing a sick day after I realized I was still sick so why brag that I don't take sick days? (okay that's misleading. I only realized it b/c my friend lasered in on that reality by saying that's it's all fine for me to boast that I've only taken one sick day in my working life, but if I'm still sick the next day, is it really a gain or even something worth bragging about?)

That, after a great weekend that really did allow moments of rest and catching my breath, despite feeling busy.

There is more to life than this. Like Celebrations!!!

Like my friend Cathy. It's her birthday today.
Happy Birthday lady! We celebrate you.

and it's a good friend's son's birthday today, too (is that the right punctuation??). So Happy Birthday Kyle!
You also are a gift from God!