Category Archives: Listening Life

Impressions of a Summer Passing

So.  Fall’s almost here.  And I have yet to feel like summer ever started.  Last summer I remember more free time, more days spent in the yard, less scheduled events.  But my mind has a tendency to wax poetically, and it’s very likely that I spent last summer like I spent this one, since I can’t even remember what I did last week ….

We gathered at Yearly Meeting in July.  The heat “encouraged” me to take advantage of the full range of opportunities:  workshops, board meetings, evening gatherings, evening celebration times.  Two words:  air-conditioned childcare.  Really, I did it “for the kids.”  🙂  But as I saw the eldest forging some bonds, making friends, loving to go play in the sprinkler and watch Larry-Boy and run amuck with wild abandon, I felt less guilty about dumping him off, filling myself up with connections with adults and quiet time to prep for upcoming events, and recognizing:  Hey, I liked YM for those same reasons!  And now he gets to have those memories as well!  The toddler would be less rosy about his experience, but next year when he moves to the “children who don’t wear diapers” room, I think it’ll all be good.

Following Yearly Meeting came our worship gathering’s Vacation Bible School.  Which I wasn’t sure about the eldest’s participation.  But again:  I saw the crafts, the running around, the morning cheer of “Yay!  VBS!”, and I knew why it was a good thing for him to be there.  Actually, VBS is where I first had an opportunity to “make a decision for Christ” – not that I didn’t make repeated decisions at later opportunities, but still.  And somehow it became oddly important to me that Judah have such experiences.  Finally, parental inclinations might be manifesting …

The next week the kids were shipped up (lovingly, of course) to the grand’rents while Jason and I went to join about 350 other crazy people at the coast for Surfside, our high school camp.  I facilitated a tract for the high school grads focusing on life transitions and our identity in Christ.  It was GREAT:  high schoolers are amazing people.  From kids voicing fears that they will only have dead-end jobs and therefore a dead-end life, to others talking about wanting to leave their faith gatherings all their lives until the community had a split and now wanting to walk through that pain and grief with them – wow.  The larger camp met corporately under a tent in a meadow.  Then it rained.  Then it heated up:  swamp thing!  Meals were served in the dining hall and neighboring meeting room.  Through it all (even my 1am bedtimes and 6am wake-up times) people loved on each other and loved on God and were loved on by God.  God.Is.Good.

After that, I felt like summer could start.  Except now it’s mostly prep for the fall.  Which is good and enh, all at the same time.  Fall is the hardest transition for me:  grey skies are coming, plants are dying, hibernation is on the way.  How not to repeat patterns that weren’t the best from past years?  How to live in the life and light that I feel in the summer without getting discouraged in the daily mundane?  How to re-enter into a more scheduled community life … or enter in at all? …

God is present in every season, ready to speak life and light and healing.  I’m not called to live in the summer season all the time:  I’m called to live a day at a time, with each one being a gift (although some days feel like they were gifts picked out of the dollar bins at Target).  🙂  Summer:  thank you for your light.  Fall:  soon we shall meet – please be kind (rewind).

Life, Together

I have had a lot of life together lately.  My boys and I vacated up to the grand’rents for a change of scenery/untapped energy sources to connect with.  The boys played; I read (like a book a day – Life Together, Shaped by the Story, Life with God, etc.  Like cramming for finals before seminary:  my brain kinda hurt); we all chatted about life and the daily and church and bearing the Light of Christ and baptism and the beauty of local blueberries and how long will it take Granddaddy to separate all the jumbled Lego pieces from my brother’s childhood into their proper kits?  You know:  good stuff.

We came home.  Jason’s parents came to town:  talking, family showers, missional gatherings, good food.

Northwest Yearly Meeting came, along with Wretched Heat which “encouraged” us to participate in YM moreso than usual:  hmmm, sit at home with no a/c and the stir-crazy boys, or deposit boys in programmed childcare and enjoy the conversations and stories of adults in an air conditioned environment?  The answer was clear.  I even managed the inter-generational ice cream social with two boys up past their bedtimes without the aid of the husband who was serving his time on the softball field (in 90+ temps – we’ll just call it “dedication”).

Then:  off to the beach to enjoy time with Jason’s family before dispersal back to our corners of the world.  Tomorrow:  VBS.  Next week:  Grad Camp.

That’s a lot of together.

In the midst of that activity, I still find my mind clinging to the thoughts and ponderings and rubix cube cunundrum that my brain is processing of “how do we do Life Together?”  I know Bonhoeffer is known for writing his timeless Christian classics, but this book seriously shifted some paradigms in my noggin, and I’m not sure what to do with it.  Questions of rhythms of life with a family, emptying oneself, confession – individual and corporate, the compounding elements of ministry (interesting:  Bonhoeffer says one must master certain ministries – holding ones tongue, meekness, etc. – before engaging in the ministry of delivering a word; otherwise, it will be too tainted by our desires for outcomes of this Word rather than being empty enough to be a vessel of Truth).

I really want to just sit with this stuff; but I can’t.  And I probably shouldn’t:  it’s best “field-tested”.  If only I can shove the grocery lists out of the foreground of my mind …. or maybe I should see if I missed that ministry of managing consumption chapter.  🙂

Ministry vs. Group

Last night while sitting on the porch swing watching my youngest son get his Bamm Bamm on with a plastic bat and big bouncy ball, I read a good portion of Mike King‘s Presence-centered Youth Ministry:  Guiding Students into Spiritual Formation.  I’m gearing up to facilitate a special track for the high school graduates at our regional Quaker high school camp.  The title of Mike’s book hits right where my spirit thinks we should be heading:  creating space for grads to question, reflect, explore their identity rooted in Christ, and dream of the future.  And have fun:  but I’ll let the other staff people head that part up.  🙂

Mike’s take on youth ministry (and ministry in general) has had a *significant* shift over the years.  Currently he worships at Jacob’s Well where he says they have a youth ministry, but not a youth group per se.  The youth are very much a part of the congregation, not segregated to the youth room.  Some people work more with the youth, but it sounds like the congregation is more integrated through mentoring, walking alongside a specific youth for a time.  And the youth walk alongside the adults as the gathering worships together and shares the light of Christ in their daily lives and neighborhoods.

In my history of being part of faith communities I realized that those who are “group”-oriented seem more clubish, more “come in, be one of us”, more fractured, more self-interested.  Those that were “ministry”-0riented thought of the bigger picture, had more awareness of the each other, practiced more over-arching hospitality.  And in my faith gathering we have many ministries, but not a lot of groups … but the places where there are groups, we seem to have more lack of communication and conflict with each other …

My boys are part of the childrens’ *ministry*, but once they become teens, they’ll be part of a youth *group*.  This is not to say that youth leaders are not needed, but when one is known as The Youth Pastor, one seems to shoulder all the responsibility of those in that age group.  I’m sure different pastors would say different things regarding other being involved, but my observation has been “I’ll volunteer with the kids, but once they’re teens, they’ll go off their merry way:  it’s what they want, after all, because we aren’t communicating well, and I’d love a break.”

I wonder where other “group” mentalities take place:  perhaps with seniors?  “Well, this way they can sing songs they like and talk about things important to them:  they’re happier off over there in their Group.”  Perhaps recovery programs?  “Oh, they wouldn’t want to talk to me:  I don’t understand their experience, and I’d probably say something stupid anyway.”  Ethnic groups?  Etc …

I love being part of the women’s ministry at NFC, but if I knew if was a “group”, honestly I’d pack up my knitting needles and head elsewhere:  I refuse to be segregated.  Integration would be wonderful, but methinks that requires some humbleness and vulnerability and risk of rejection and practice of hospitality:  not necessarily easily-taken postures, but oh so worth it.

Oh, so you weren’t just cranky for no reason …

I’ve been reading the New Testament in chronological order this year, currently I’m winding things down with the opening of the Revelation seals of DOOM (nothing cheerier to read over a bowl of Bob’s Red Mill Oatmeal w/cinnamon and homegrown cherries!).  And I’ve found out:  things make so much more SENSE!

I’ve never been a big fan of Paul.  Yes, I’m stepping aside before the heavenly lightning bolt strikes.  He’s just so … wordy.  I know I’m wordy as well, but at least I throw in a bit of self-depricating humor here and there, and somehow his “I’m the King of All Sinners” just doesn’t strike my funny bone.  But reading about a) the history of the early church, 2) the history of Paul interacting with the early church, iii) seeing the typical process of things fall into place (everyone on board, times get tough, people start to doubt, people are persecuted, people start to doubt, heretics infiltrate trying to take power, people start to doubt), it just makes so much more sense.

Some of his writing is proactive:  urging readers on to the end goal.  And some of his writing is reactive:  correcting muck that’s around.  But when I didn’t know about the muck, I thought Paul was just being really micromanaging, perfectionistic, and judgmental (and wordy).  When I “walked” with Paul, through not being liked by many early Christians, through being in jail for no real good reason, through being shipwrecked with people who probably were a little on the “savory” side, through house arrest, through seeing the people he worked with and loved go through tough times (sometimes self-inflicted), it just made so much more sense.  And the words carried so much more meaning.

Not so much with Revelation, though.  John’s coming off a bit manic:  boy, he loves, and boy, he pours on the doom.  And redemption, I’m sure, but he certainly is Image-Full.

Bullet the Blue Sky

My neighbor across the way has a drum set.  He likes to practice in his garage, with the garage door open.  During the time that I’m fading in and out of consciousness on my couch while the boys are contained in their rooms for Quiet Time.  Today it sounds like he’s hitting a little old school U2, or at least I’m choosing to hear that.  When he breaks out the electic guitar, it’s a bit harder to be selective in my interpretation.

Oh, how I love Rattle and Hum Bono.  Fling my hair Bono.  Strut around like the proud Irishman that I am Bono.  Not care that my pants are almost up to my mid-chest Bono.  Take everything so seriously and piously Bono.

I wonder how he looks back on himself.  I rarely let photos be taken, and especially never video, because I just cringe.  Really?  I wanted to wear that?  I said that?  I acted that pompously?  I was that self-assured?

I rarely reread my journals, and I often even wonder about obliterating my blogs someday just because:  oy, it’s just so much.

Right now I’m facilitating my Sunday School class.  They didn’t have a specific topic in mind, so I picked something that’s been on my radar as of late:  how is the church called to respond in these economic times?  But it’s intimidating because it’s a) my sort-of peers (some used to be youth leaders of mine, some are my parents’ friends) and 2) I am a humanities major who often runs from things involving “finance” and “economic” and “projected” or just “numbers”.  I have no answers to this topic, but “like a splinter in my mind, driving me mad”, I can’t ignore it.

So I started reading, because that’s what I do.  I read a How to Budget/Finance Christian-style book.  Then I read Ron Sider‘s “Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger” followed by Arthur Simon (founder of Bread for the World)’s “How Much Is Enough?”  Apparently that was enough, and yet not enough.

My first sharing on Sunday went …. enh.  I was just really scattered.  Even if I can find time to pull my thoughts together, my brain doesn’t focus lately.  And there’s just so much to share.  And how to share my journey in a way that’s an invitation for others to explore their own journeys through crises and what helped, rather than a “we should…” or “we shouldn’t” nagging/OT prophetic kind of presentation.  I have an idea of where I want people to go … but is that where God wants them to go?  How to let go of that control stick ….

Then during Sunday morning worship we were reflecting on our time in James.  You know, James, where there’s this doozy of a passage.  Also after finding out that a sort of church plant, right across the street, that we thought wanted “independence”, is in need of help.  And the typical thoughts are, “Oh, well, they must need financial help in this time, because they don’t make much:  giving must be down.”  It’s true:  their congregation is made up of folks who struggle for most of the income they make.  And yet their giving is *UP*.  2 Corinthians 8 was SCREAMING in my head.  And yet I didn’t know if I should share that in Open Worship.  Why?

Because I might look pompous.  I might come across as idealistic and passionate.  I might look like Bono Bulleting the Blue Sky.  I might look like a boob, but such a self-righteous boob.

So I cop out:  I come home, mull it over, and throw it up on my blog where maybe it won’t come across so intensely, or at least be heard by so many people.

But sometimes I wonder if this intensity that’s in me is really going to drive me mad.  Maybe a good rock-out to the neighbor’s drums is truly a God-ordained thing, or a quick YouTube education for the younger tykes in the house on Uncles Bono, Edge, Adam, and Larry in their classic years:  ‘well, the God I believe in isn’t short of cash, mister.’ (screaming fans).

In the Past Day

My son told me he didn’t like me.  My automatic response, “Well, sometimes I don’t like you.”  My idealistic/good response probably should’ve been, “I still like you,” or just a plain, “Hmm.”  I responded out of hurt feelings, which seems so … preschoolerish, but it was the automatic response to rejection.  Part of me thinks the idealistic response of “I still like you” isn’t very helpful:  if someone told me that, I’d feel guilty that I didn’t like them or that they were better than me because they weren’t bothered by events – they weren’t affected by the conditional like myself.  I’d rather be honest, though, with the hopes that Judah realizes I’m a mere mortal with conditional responses that I’m submitting to God hopefully on a day-to-day basis, and seeing actions that speak of a more enduring, day-to-day kind of love.


My son came home from a church event saying he didn’t like his friends, that they were bad.  And so he hit them.  The messiness of establishing community, appropriate actions and reactions, and stating the truth of feelings being experienced (logical or not) is hard.  The path of least resistence, of the moment, would state, “Just don’t put him in settings like that anymore.”  Avoidance doesn’t truly help:  it simply numbs out the issue for the moment.  It’s hard for me not to take on the labels others might bestow on your kid:  hitter, out of control, whiner, weak, shrieker.  I’m glad I’m not a label to God, and that through my kids, God’s peeling those labels off of my Self.  I pray I can be a part of peeling those labels off of my kids, just like they’re so fond of doing to the produce in the store (though the store may not be so fond of that practice).


Last night at our church group we talked about the concept of The Embrace (via Miroslav Volf):  he was referencing embracing the enemy, but the group facilitator was talking about the concept of embrace in marriage (which, yes, there were comments about if they were truly all that different :)).  Four steps:  open up, wait, embrace, release.  We also talked some about our spiritual personalities, looking at results from an inventory.  It was mentioned that these can change depending on the phase of life we’re in, which is good, because my strengths are all about being alone, and my “areas for growth” are about caretaking, i.e. the complete opposite of my day-to-day life.  I felt a bit better in regards to comparing myself to women who seem to take to motherhood so naturally:  perhaps they’re more natural caretakers.  I told Jason that if I could sense God strongly there, I’d caretake till I fell over.  But I sense God in times alone, in my head, in simplicity and rhythm.  Yes, opportunities for growth, but it’s hard to initiate embrace in a place of weakness … or perhaps that’s where the Most True embrace occurs …


This morning Judah and I read The  Jesus Storybook Bible, a recent gift from the Gran.  Friends had highly recommended it, saying it didn’t gloss over Bible stories or dumb them down, but spoke truth in simple, poetic ways.  I had prayed for some opportunities to talk to Judah about “theological” stuff, the stories of God beyond details, making it more formational than informational.  After reading a few chapters, Judah told me that God is bad because He lets us sin.  He then told me God kills bad guys, that God doesn’t like him, and wondered if we can buy fruit at the store like on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Perhaps teaching theology and story isn’t my strong suit, that, or I’m sending him to seminary to confubulate the professors there – at least they get paid for such questions and teachings.  🙂


This morning I was reading Fruit of the Vine, and the writer mentioned something along the lines of the committment to be in relationship with others is not contingent on being conflict-free, but of committment to resolve the conflict.  A timely reminder.

The God Who Moved Into the Neighborhood

Last night I went to a meeting at church.  I had no idea why other than that I needed to go (and that it was being coordinated by two friends who I adore and love any excuse to spend time with them).

A call was put out to gather folks concerned about immigration issues taking place in our area:  what are legal ramifications, what is being done, how are we called to move?  The immigration population in my church neighborhood centers mostly around a Hispanic population (as opposed to Portland which also has a more diverse group of folks affected).

I don’t speak Spanish:  I took four years of high school French and spoke it very poorly.  I’m involved in ministries and life with Caucasian suburban working/stay-at-home moms and high school/college-age students.  But I needed to go.

Our church has a relationship with a Hispanic Friends church right across the street.  I’m not sure of the technicalities – whether we “started “the gathering, supported it monetarily, partnered with, worked alongside? ….  That’s part of the issue at hand.  The Hispanic faith community is living with these issues, but there seems to be a lack of communicating between us … at least a lack that I know about.

It’s always sketchy to talk about things I don’t know about:  I don’t want to put my foot in my mouth or cause more harm – this is simply my perception or experience.  I’m not casting blame, and if there’s a place where our faith community needs to apologize in an effort to connect and walk alongside each other, I hope we do that.

Other things I didn’t know:

  • A community garden is coming to Newberg with the hopes of helping folks in need.  It’s not necessarily in the midst of town, but it should be accessible.
  • A place called The Welcome Center at a local grade school assists immigrants with paperwork, finding ESL classes, living here, meeting needs.  They are in the midst of this.
  • Families are barely making ends meet; the immigration process contains endless loopholes; some people have the option to immigrate, but many don’t; the Hispanic culture places great important on relationships, many of which are left when upon immigration, which leaves them foundation-less – these relationships do not seem to be naturally taking place here.

I sat on a couch in the conference room next to my son munching on Teddy Grahams.  I wanted to bring him along:  didn’t know why.  Perhaps it’s a small step in helping him look beyond himself at how others live, to understand and be welcomed into our call as a family to walk alongside others and help, to get out of our comfort zones – admitting that we’re getting out of our comfort zones – and simply start with “I’m willing.”

My friend talked about “as we worship a God who moved into the neighborhood, we’re called to do the same.”  I don’t know my neighborhood, but I’m willing.

Why Do We Commune?

The weather is sunny, and I’ve found my typing fingers.  I know I should be out of doors enjoying the last of the rays for a bit, as clouds are rolling in even now, but I know the sun will return:  it *has* to.

I’ve been out and about in my neighborhood, taking walks, checking out the spring flowers, noticing which houses have sold and which one are on the market.  People are talking to each other, having barbeques, playing at the park.  I love the noises of hearing kids squeal as they slide down the corkscrew slides or get pushed just That Much Higher on the swings.  People are talking; people are communing.

My Bible study has switched topics as of last week.  We had been working through certain materials since our start in the fall, taking two weeks for each lesson to really get into the ideas presented.  Our groups was fairly large, and a number of folks were attending specifically because of the material we were using (they really enjoyed the author/presenter).  Now the attendence has changed.  True, the cold season is still upon us; work picks up; peoples’ schedules get busy.  But I also know that people aren’t present due to the topical change.  And it bothers me.

When I was in college, I had a roommate who was event-oriented.  A new movie was coming out, one that all the roommates wanted to see.  But something came up, and we had to postpone.  Except she still went:  found other people to go with.  This hurt my feelings, silly as it sounds, and as obstinate as I am, I didn’t even want to see the movie when the opportunity arose:  she already saw it and therefore ruined it.  Finally I realized why I was so cranky:  I’m *community*-oriented.  Many times I could care less about *what* we’re doing as long as we’re doing it *together*.  She’s not wired that way.  Realizing this, naming this, gave me freedom to be me and for her to be her, for my feelings not to be hurt, but to recognize that our expectations were different.  And this is something I have to remind myself of in situations like my bible study.

In Sunday School we had a new speaker (tis the season for change, apparently:  get out your white pants, your outdoor eating gear, and your new speakers) who is speaking for four weeks on the idea of Community and Spirituality:  that we often take an individualistic approach to spirituality, not a communal one.  Jesus is our personal savior.  I need to take care of my sins for my sake.  I attend which church I want to because it relates best to my needs.  He mentioned the idea of the parish church where one attended a church, or rather was *assigned*, due to location.  And you duked out all the joys and the muck that comes with community rather than leaving when things got uncomfortable or “didn’t relate.”

I’ve heard people speak on the topic at hand at Bible Study; I’ve heard it a number of times.  I’m still attending with the hopes that I’ll take away something new from this person’s individual experience in this area, but more so that I can come alongside others who haven’t heard these things, that are struggling, that need people to walk alongside them and strengthen and equip them in these areas.  This is my community, and as much as I complain about different things, I really don’t want to leave just because the topic doesn’t “totally” relate or connect with me:  I want to help, to be present, to commune because if/when the roles are reversed, I would want the same from them.  If others are called to leave, I want to have a heart that speaks peace and freedom to them as well.  Wherever we are called to be, I pray that we will simply be fully present.

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Blog silence.  Pretty buy cialis 5mg typical on this little WordPress blogaroo.  Other blogs seem so prolific:  so much to say, so much to say, so much to say, so much to say (okay, so I’m listening to DMB right now:  make my hubby proud).  When I started blogging, I found myself attracted to two types of posts:  informational and formational.  Informational:  giving terms and naming concepts to my experience of wandering post-college.  Formational:  sharing stories of their own orientation, disorientation, and surprising reorientation in which I could relate or find myself in their journey.

But lately?  So.Much.Information.  Answers:  so many answers.  Or critiques.  Or slams.  Or “I’m in the Emergent/Missional/Converging/Reformata/Baby-Wearing/Attachment Parenting/Babywise/Dave Ramsey/Fox News/CNBC/Obama Hopeful/Obama Critical” bandcamp.  As more and more people connect or input on the internet, the more polarized I see it becoming.  And I get sad.

I don’t feel I have answers:  just my journey.  And lately I’ve been hesitent of sharing that story because of the way people treat me:  “Keep your head up!”, “Boy, it must be tough!”, “You’ll get through this!”  Perhaps that’s the eternal plight of a melancholy who allows folks into the inner sanctum:  I didn’t think I made it sound “that bad” – it’s just the way I see things.  Folks from a different generation would probably say that censoring my thoughts or being more selective in the means of how I share would be prudent.  And it probably would:  but goodness, I don’t think my wiring has anything labeled “prudent” in there – believe me, I’ve looked.

This past weekend I got to participate in a gathering called Kaleo:  both energizing and discouraging.  Energizing in that I realized how much I adore being in situations like that:  with people eager to listen and contribute and discern the presence of God for the betterment of the world and the adoration of Christ.  Discouraging in that the next day while I was having a really rough time of parenting (Jason went snowboarding at the last minute with a friend), I wondered what could possibly be the purpose of going out to a conference, getting excited, and then coming home to fold laundry and put away dishes and deal with fairly crabby children with little to no thanks.

This is where I should input some sort of take away:  “But I realized that Christ was really inconvenienced when he came to earth.  Whatever I do to the least of these, I do unto him.  I realized I should find joy in all circumstances.  I found peace in realizing that these days will pass, and I need to keep my eyes on the future.”

Excuse me while I try to stop rolling my eyes and making my “thooey” face.  I didn’t realize those things.  I realized I needed to dance.  To Really Bad Pop Music.  So I did:  Ipod blasting while the boys were confined to their rooms, I rocked out to boy bands and Brit pop and a little Ms. Spears.  It didn’t provide answers, but it tired out The Furies, and now my butt hurts (getting so old).

Something that stood out to me at Kaleo, or perhaps it was the Recalibrating Church conference, was the idea of takeaways.  Somebody somewhere said that in Olden Church the priests did not exposit on the Scriptures:  no takeaways.  They allowed their congregants to enter into the story, to participate, to be formed and transformed by the Spirit through the Word.

Sometimes I wish I had answers or take-aways.  Maybe that would make my blogging more directed, prolific, marketable.  But then I’d probably skim it just like I do so many other sites.  Our society seems to be moving beyond “just the facts, ma’am” — but to what?  And how do we meet them there?

Maybe the answer, or rather the experience, is simply in the dance.  Which won’t always be bad pop music:  I’ve also been known to blast Mr. Sinatra as well as Mr. Diamond.  🙂

Is Motherhood on the 3G Network?

When my husband and I last upgraded our phones, he was very excited to see a certain icon:  3G.

“What’s that?”

“For third generation.  It’s the latest network.”

“So we can hear better?”

“Ideally, yes.  Of course, they don’t have phone towers with the right technology everywhere yet.”

“So, I can only hear well some of the time and in certain areas.”

“Yeah. . . . But isn’t it cool?”

I love being married to a tech head.

My friend Carla (well, she’s a friend of a friend, but I’d prefer to adopt her as one of my own) has written a post titled “Is Motherhood a calling?” that’s created space for some quality conversation.  My friend Kim has extended her thoughts over at her own space.  I’ve recently been wondering about my role in my childrens’ lives lately.  It started from seeing a posting for a job that a) I would love to do and 2) I could actually do really well.  Those two things don’t often collide for me.  I’ve since let it past:  I couldn’t figure out how I would “do it all”.  Which I wouldn’t:  the time committment to both tasks (in the home and out of the home) are too great at this juncture in my life.  And, the job will always be there:  my kids, not so much.

But thinking of the job did make me realize how much of my identity is tied up in my current work, and how would my identity change with this adoption of new activities?  How do I balance the conservative voices I hear in my life that talk about the functions of gender roles as they see it biblically (and honestly, I see some wisdom in their words) with the more liberal voices that desire to break away from those rolls completely due to the abuse that has stemmed from them?  My friend Robin has more than once reminded me that early Quaker women would hear a calling from the Spirit and up and leave their families to spread the Good News about the Light of Christ within us.

Sometimes it feels like motherhood is a cell phone within changing networks:  if you’re in the right place and the right time, it’s all so clear; othertimes, you’re hollering at anybody within range:  “Can you hear me now?”