Walking the Sea

Walking the Sea: October 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Waking Up to the Waves

I love waking up to the waves lapping up on the shore. Up here on the island I look out the windows and as far as I can see north and as far as I can see south past the clear glass balcony railing is a mile of rolling blue water stretched out before me me and it gives me a renewed perspective of the eternal, of the regular rhythms of a grace-filled life. I am at home here on the island, it is a place of peace, love, and delight.
















My aunt and I crossed the Narrows Bridge this afternoon to go shopping at the mall in Tacoma.


We had so much fun looking around together and doing womanly things. She saves the girly stuff up for when I come to see her. There were even lots of little tricker treaters to smile at.

Tonight we watched "Dirty Dancing" which my uncle actually stayed to watch with us. He doesn't quite understand how a person can watch that movie several times over. But we went out to see "The Stepfather" last night (his pick) which, of course, I yelped at. It would have been an outright scream but I already had my hands tightly clamped over my mouth. Then they brought up the movie, "Taken" which they had on their available movie list. I told them I'd already heard about it, that Peggy told me I shouldn't watch it until after I got back from Africa. Oops. We watched it anyway, and, well, lets just say if any of you wanted me to be super careful and ready to obey my "handlers" as Peggy calls them, you just got your wish. I was going to be careful anyway but now even more so. I hope I don't have any nightmares tonight. Last night I didn't and had a good friend in them instead. I hope she comes back tonight, I could use her there after a movie like that. It's a good thing I'm in a place with people who love me because this is exactly why I don't watch scary movies. They scare me.

I am going to step out on the balcony for a while and look across the water at the lights. Hi God.


Thank you God for these shoes!

365-09 #311

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WOW...

I am amazed at God's provision and attention to detail. Before coming here to Fox Island, my aunt mentioned her step-mother-in-law had given her a pair of new shoes she didn't want but they were a size 9 and too small for my aunt's feet which are also size 9. Me being a 9 1/2, there was no way they would fit me but we tried them on anyway. The shoes are 9 1/2. They fit me well. They are Sketchers, one of my favorite brands of shoes. They are good sturdy tennis shoes, good for walking. They are grey, white, silver, and sky blue. They will match the fleece pullover I'm bringing perfectly. The woman who bought them doesn't want any money for the shoes. She gave them to my Aunt Sharri months ago. The tongue of one shoe has something in it that makes a bit of a crinkle sound when I walk. The other tongue is silent. Therefore, as Quakers would say, one shoe is programmed, the other shoe is unprogrammed. I told you I loved diversity!

Don't ever tell me God does not know exactly what we need and provides it exactly when we need it. I am amazed, humbled, and sooooooo grateful. My aunt didn't even know I had been looking around for shoes. THANK YOU GOD!

365-09 #310

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

How Do You Make Them Listen?

I was working at a school this afternoon in the pass room which pretty much means I get to read and tell the kids to stop talking. I only had one student most of the day so I got to do a lot more reading than telling kids to be quiet. Most of my reading was in a book about Burundi and the violence and reconciliation there. At the same time, I have lunch detention duty and have separate talks with two students about the long-standing conflict they've had for a few years. "Stop staring at me!!!" was angrily thrown several times. It's stupid, stupid stuff- suspicions, labels, stereotypes, anger, the same thing I was reading about that led to widespread massacre. How that all starts was giving glaring looks at each other before my eyes. How do you help teach 12 year olds to look past their prejudice and at the heart of a person? How do you teach them to put down their "weapons" and reach out? How do you make them listen to what is true? We have enough killing in the world.

365-09 #309

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Safe as Can Be

While planning this trip to Kenya, I have heard repeatedly about the steriotype of any white person oozing money wherever they go. On one hand, I'm not rich. In some ways, I'm financially poor but I also know there are a lot of people who even live nearby who make it with a great deal less than I have to work with. Then, when I think about it internationally, over half the people in the world live on less than $400 a year, including those in Kenya. So part of me wants to argue the stereotype and tell them I am not rich, I am only able to go on this trip because others believed along with me it is worth taking. The other part of me wants to completely agree with them that I do have a lot materially and comparitivly, ooze money wherever I go. It's a hard truth to swallow. It also surprises me to know that even just being with me can put native Kenyans in danger as well. I feel like a highly sought after prize and an enemy of the state at the same time. It will be a great trip, but there will be a lot of challenges, discomfort, and even danger as well. (Though I will try very hard to stay safe as can be.) I should also tell you that Eden assures me Kenya is quite safe for travelers.

365-09 #308

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fundraising Letter

This is the fundraising letter I am sending out to help raise the rest of the funds for Africa. THANK YOU to everyone who has helped out thus far; I am truly humbled and grateful for you assistance.

Sarah Katreen Hoggatt
PO Box 7522
Salem, OR 97303

Monday, October 26, 2009

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, I have been invited to be a speaker and workshop leader in Kenya for the African Young Quaker Christian Association Conference this December of 2009. I am really excited about this opportunity to minister with and spend time with the people of Kenya! While there, I will also speak at a youth conference, visit the mission in Turkana, and promote the Quaker Youth Book Project.

When I first received the invitation from my friend, John Lomuria, in September of this year, I took the trip under careful consideration; I thought about why I may or may not be called to go. I reflected on my long-standing interest in the church in Kenya, in my passion for the African people and the issues they face, and on my longing to let other young adult Quakers know they do not stand alone. I considered my God-given gifts as a speaker, as a spiritual director, and as someone who can listen without judgment, someone who loves to learn about other ways to live and to see the world, to explore other cultures. I then realized these are exactly the gifts John was looking for: someone who can speak well, share her story with fellow young adults and listen to others with an open mind, someone who respects other cultures and who would fit in well helping with various ministries.

For me, Kenya is no longer some distant country, it is my friend’s home and by ministering there, by speaking my story and working alongside the African people, I hope they will also come to understand that despite our differences and sometimes because of them, we can stand together in God. Through the Quaker Youth Book Project Editorial Board, I have seen what power cross-cultural relationships can wield and the African young adult Quakers are eager for such experiences with those from other cultures. Through my ministry there with them, I will be giving them this by honoring who they are and who we are together.

All told, the trip will cost about $4,000.00 between airfare, room and board, conference fees, vaccinations, and other miscellaneous expenses. Four-thousand dollars is an amount way beyond my personal budget so to meet this goal, I applied for and was awarded three grants totaling $2,675.00 from three Quaker organizations which have largely made this trip possible. The rest of the money I am fundraising through donations and what I can set aside out of my own income. I would greatly appreciate any help you could give whether that is financial or holding me in prayer as I undertake this ministry. You can make out any checks directly to me. Specific prayer needs include smooth travel and adjustment, safety, good health, and most importantly, that the words I bring to this group of African young adults are blessed and used by God.

I will be posting to my blog as I travel, www.WalkingtheSea.blogspot.com. I invite you to check in with me there to see how the trip is going; I leave on Nov. 28th and return on Dec. 22nd. Thank you for your consideration in helping me minister in Africa. Please contact me by phone or by e-mail at katreen16@hotmail.com with any further questions. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Sincerely,

Sarah Katreen Hoggatt

365-09 #307

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Africa Update - Yay!

I thought it might be time for a new Africa update:

I now know which safari company I'm going with. Now I just need to work out the details of sending her the deposit which Eden, who is in Kenya, is kindly going to help me with. I also am pretty sure which hostel I'm going with for at least two nights of the trip, possible more depending on how much a guest house costs.

Now that some of the big stuff is taken care of, I am now working on arrangements to see one of the slums (which some of you won't like me doing but I want to see it for myself if possible, safely of course), and getting the things I need to take with me all together. Today I bought a good pair of sandals that look nice enough to pass at church as well. I also found a good day pack at the army surplus store for really cheap.

Fundraising efforts are coming along. Writing a formal letter is one of my next tasks. I'm planning on getting those out this week and will be posting it on here as well.

Thank you for your continued prayers and encouragement as I get ready to go.

365-09 #306

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Friday, October 23, 2009

The Blue Jay

One day in early autumn, a blue jay was flying past a house. As the blue jay flew by, he saw a lovely chimney and he decided to stop and talk to it. “I was just flying past when I noticed what a lovely chimney you are. Your bricks are so red and you stand so tall and proud above all the other chimneys around.” The chimney was rather surprised at this for everyone knows that blue jays do not talk to chimneys. After a moment’s thought the chimney replied, “I thank you for the compliment but I must tell you that it’s the roof that supports me so I may stand so tall, and it was the bricklayer who made me who picked my bricks so red.” The blue jay was a little taken a back by this for everyone knows that chimneys do not talk to blue jays but decided to go talk to the roof instead. “I was just talking to the chimney when I noticed what a lovely roof you are. Your shingles are so straight and you protect all that is beneath you.” The roof was rather surprised at this for everyone knows that blue jays do not talk to roofs. After a moment’s thought, the roof replied, “I thank you for the compliment but I must tell you that it is the walls that support me and the roof builder that laid my shingles so straight.” The blue jay was a little taken a back by this for everyone knows that roofs do not talk to blue jays but decided to go talk to the wall instead. “I was just talking to the roof when I noticed what a lovely wall you are. You stand so upright and must be so strong to uphold all that is above you.” The wall was rather surprised at this for everyone knows that blue jays do not talk to walls. After a moment’s thought, the wall replied, “I thank you for the compliment but I must tell you that it is the foundation I stand upon and the construction worker who made me so strong.” The blue jay was a little taken a back by this for everyone knows that walls do not talk to blue jays but decided to go talk to the foundation instead. “I was just talking to the wall when I noticed what a lovely foundation you are. Your cement is so thick and your sides are so flat.” The foundation was rather surprised at this for everyone knows that blue jays do not talk to foundations. After a moment’s thought the foundation replied, “I thank you for the compliment but I must tell you that it is the earth upon which I sit and the one who poured me who made my cement so thick.” The blue jay was a little taken a back by this for everyone knows that foundations do not talk to blue jays but decided to go fly away instead. As the blue jay was flying, the sun stopped him and said, “I was just shining here when I noticed what a lovely blue jay you are. You go so quickly and fly so well.” The blue jay was rather surprised at this for everyone knows that the sun does not talk to blue jays. After a moment’s thought of thinking about what the chimney, roof, wall, and foundation had all said, the blue jay replied, “I thank you for the compliment but I must tell you that it’s the wind that pushed me along so quickly and the one who made me who gave me the gift of flying so well.”

365-09 #305

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Places of Illumination

I needed to hear this today, I thought you might too.

"Darkness is really not so different from places of illumination, it's simply that the light hasn't touched it yet. In essence darkness and light are the same in that God is fully present in both, and that is the most important reality. The other is that the everyday ups and downs, the emotions, the good news, the bad, the triumphs, failures, frustrations and even boredom, while these things are the essence of daily living, i.e "life", they are not Life. Life is below the surface of activity. So no matter if there is a raging storm or placid calm, the true substance of Life is always deep below where it is quiet, and it is peace. I was grateful to be reminded of this, and was reminded also that even these moments of illumination are grace, are gifts not earned by our own efforts. Thank-you, God." - Christine Welch-Elder

365-09 #304

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thomas Merton

I loved this quote by Thomas Merton: "He who attempts to act and do things for others or for the world without deepening his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity, and capacity to love, will not have anything to give others." I have been thinking a lot lately about the importance of service and of taking care of myself at the same time. I tend to do better on the service than self-care. I particularly resonated with Merton's use of freedom. Freedom, real freedom, is deep and all-encompassing. We can't really serve until we are free. We can't love until we love from freedom. It's important to remember to nourish ourselves as we nourish each other. If we don't, we would not have anything of real value to offer if we don't have it ourselves.

I also was intrigued by his discussion of emptying ourselves and being open to whatever God would say to us and however he chooses to say it. It feels like God speaks to us in ways our soul can hear but our ears cannot. Sometimes, I close my eyes and try to listen for his song, the one that connects us all together as one, the song of life humming around me. I haven't heard it often, but I've heard it enough to know it's there and that, as Thomas Merton says, hearing it changes everything else. Hearing that song changed my perspective of who we are and what we are connected to. I am grateful he sings it; It is a song worth listening for.

365-09 #303

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Words I Remember

It's amazing what you can learn in the schools. Last week I was listening in on one of Adria's lessons with the kids in the library. I often listen in on what she is saying for I have found there is much wisdom in lessons to third graders. That lesson was no exception. The kids were sitting at the tables somewhat attentively as she explained what they were about to do in the computer lab and what she said, though not intended, struck a chord in me. Adria told them, "Some questions will be easy and some questions will be hard. But that's okay. Don't worry."

Her words are a great paraphrase of a deep truth. In life, some questions are easy and some questions are hard. But that's okay, that's the way it's supposed to be. We get both, it's part of our humanity so we needn't worry if we can't answer the tough ones. Not all questions need to be answered. Sometimes, it's the search for the answer that is the answer. Both kinds of questions, and every question in between, is okay to ask. Ask away and answer what you can. Don't worry, leave God the rest.

Thanks for the reminder Adria and for the lessons you gave me on that topic so many times in years past. They are words I remember.

365-09 #302

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The Deeper Dream

Today turned out to be quite different than I had been planning on. I was going to go to church and women's group. That was it. But God, as he often does, had different plans. I did go to church and I did get to come back home, edit for the book project and take a nap, but that's where the similarity ended. After speaking with a friend last night, I found out about a baby shower for a woman I used to be friends with along with many mutual friends I hadn't seen for a long time in attendance. The shower made for an interesting contrast of who I used to be and the life I led versus who I am and the life I lead now. The journey between the two has held some very unexpected turns, plans failed, dreams birth and realized anew, and new opportunities seized. After the shower, I headed to the theatre to take some pictures of scenes I couldn't get during a normal dress-rehearsal and ended up staying for the whole show (which by the way, sinks in deeper and deeper every time I see it), after women's group was canceled. Not what I planned on, but I am so glad I got to see the play again tonight and got to hang out afterwards with my friends in the cast and crew.

Life doesn't turn out the way we plan. It's a simple fact. Often, what we plan is not the best for us, there is something better on the horizon. Like pulling a plant out of the ground to make room for something else, there may be a gaping hole in our life but we can rest assured that God has something in mind to put in it. Some of the richest friendships are the unexpected ones, the ones when we are looking for one thing and find a special soul instead. Sometimes we loose a dream which then makes room for a much bigger one we would have never dared to imagine. I could never have imagined I would be going to Africa this fall. I had very different plans for my time. But between those plans not working out and me being willing to give up the others, God had the holes required in my life to plant a very big dream.

It is always hard to give up something you've hoped for, had faith in, and dreamed about, but I challenge you to keep looking and keep searching for what God is bringing into your life instead. It may just be exactly what you really needed, your deeper dream come true.

365-09 #301

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

A New Glory

Though already a few hours into the morning, the forest is still seemingly cloaked in barely lightened dawn. A lone bird quietly sings the day's arrival as we make our way through the eerily silent trees. Muted yellows and puddles of red mixed with the green trees among the hills, autumn slipped in among the leaves. "BOOM!!!" thunders through the clouds, wave upon wave of drumming rolls through the air followed by a flash of bright light. Across the swinging bridge, over the creek, the heavens open, keeping their whispered promise of poured out buckets upon our heads. Every drop releases a fresh breath of forest air into our lungs as if God was in the air, in the rain, and he wants to infuse our bodies in baptism, close to his spirit. His waters of renewal run down our faces, soaking through straight to our souls, to join us with the bird singing his name. Out of the forest, our baptismal pool, we arise with a new glory, a new moment to cherrish for the eternal gift such moments are.


video

365-09 #300

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Friday, October 16, 2009

God Knows What I Need

God knows exactly what I need and today is certainly a good example of that. With all the vaccinations I am taking, there seems to be two or three days of feeling "under the weather" a few days after I get each round of shots. It's not fun. Substituting, you never know what you'll get from day to day. Today I got called in to substitute at an elementary school and what it turned out to be was working on projects at a desk in a quiet computer lab where I am pretty much left by myself with a bit of hall duty here and there. I needed that today. It's nice to be able to stay in once place and drink my hot water. Tonight is a young adult retreat and there will be hot soup for supper. Yay!


365-09 #299

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

God in the Darkness

Note: I wrote this in response to a fellow student's posting from the mystics class.

I believe we tend to sense God more deeply in the darkness because we cannot rely on our five physical senses and must therefore rely on that deeper intuition that God is nearby. We must reach out for him with the hands of our soul, the eyes of our heart. Our souls echo with the eternal divine and when we let the senses of our soul fully explore the world, we can better sense "God's incomprehensibility". When it's dark outside, when the night falls, it is only then we can see the brilliance of the stars. In the light, during the day time, we have no idea how "incomprehensible" the universe really is. God is much the same.

It might also be easier for God to touch us in the darkness because we don't see what is coming and don't have time to run away. As you so aptly said, we are more vulnerable in the darkness but while vulnerability can be the source of great fear, it can also be the source of great love and great joy. When we are vulnerable with another soul or with God, when we risk being hurt in the deepest places we hold inside ourselves, opening up to another and letting them feel our wounds and catch our tears, it is one of the most real things you can experience in this life, a treasure, a pearl reserved for the dark ocean depths of the human, divine spirit.

Darkness can be a wonderful thing in our lives. It is when we realize we cannot find our way on our own, to reach out, and take the hands of God. However, I think darkness is something God gives us, not something we should seek after. He gives it at the right time, lovingly, compassionately. The light is to be enjoyed as well, but when we do find ourselves in darkness, we must reach for the hands outstretched to hold us and let him guide us through.

365-09 #298

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Update on Michael

Great news! Michael opened his eyes yesterday and is responding! The doctors are going to try letting him breathe on his own today and he is going to have an MRI to look at his brain functioning. The family has started a blog to let everyone know how Michael is doing. You can find it at:
http://michaelyonkmanhealthupdate.blogspot.com/

Thank you for your prayers!

365-09 #297

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A Love Worth Serving

This evening at church we had been discussing how one can be the image of God to those around us, particularly through service and conversations. What I talked to our pastor, Jordan, more about afterward was the place service has in our lives. Though our conversation in the group was more along the lines of service to those who don't know the love of God, I think, and Jordan agreed, that service is vitally important no matter who it is to. I believe we can all give in some way. Serving another in love is good for our souls. It gets us out of our own worlds and teaches us to look to the needs of those around us as well as our own. It can be so easy, especially when we are busy, to bury ourselves in work, but that is one of the most important times to remember to step beyond ourselves and reach out with love and a helping hand.

Our lives are a gift but we are not the only recipients on the card. Our lives are meant to be poured out, given out, invested in gardens not our own. Whether in overtly Christian service or not, it doesn't matter, it is all for God. We need to make sure our own gardens are watered, well taken care of, but our gardens will not bloom the brightest until we take our watering cans into other pathways and tend other flowers. Choose the gardens to invest yourself in. I don't always understand the why, but this I know: any service done in love is never wasted. The seeds planted today will grow into the flowers of tomorrow. The scent will permeate your life.

When I get to the end of my life, I want to be able to look back and say that I lived my life with love, that more people benefited from the breaths I took than just myself. I want to make a difference. I want people to be reminded of God's face when they see me. It's a great big dream but I know it's possible because I see his face reflected so often in the faces of others, others who serve God with great love. It is definitely a love worth serving.

365-09 #296

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Join Me in Prayer

I think I understand better the dream I had with God. In my journal I wrote that it was like being with God on the other side of death, the darker side beyond death. Let me tell you, when you're actually there, it's darker still.

Last night, my friend's son hung himself. I can hardly grasp it, it's a living nightmare. It's having evil, darkness, and horror an inch from your face. Michael's mom and step-dad found him and he is currently in the ICU in an induced coma. My heart is breaking for them, especially for his mom whom I love dearly.

Tonight there was a prayer vigil outside the hospital. About 70 young adults showed up to pray, sing, and hold each other in our pain. All day, tears have kept coming. It was incredibly comforting to be with people who share in the pain. We were all staring the same evil in the face and in response, we sang. Outside the emergency room in a large circle, we lifted our voices in tender worship for song after song. We prayed, we cried, we lifted up love for his family. His sister led the vigil with God's word and prayers of her own. If you can affect what we cannot see, if you can hold up power in prayer, then something incredibally beautiful and unbelievably strong was created tonight.

In a few hours, at 4 am, the doctors are going to start bringing his tempreture back up though it may be days before they know anything. Please pray for Michael, his family and friends. May God's peace and love surround them and bless them with the peace giving sleep they need right now. Amen.

365-09 #295

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Africa Update

Last Thursday I got two of the vaccinations I needed and have slept more than usual since. Tomorrow I get two more. I feel sorry for my body. I already put it through a flu shot and it thanked me by feeling under the weather for about two days. I also took a pint of blood out of it at the Vampire Club last week though my body is just fine after that, ironically enough. After I recover from the next two, I start taking the typhoid vaccination pills currently sitting in the fridge.

The biggest task right now is finding a good safari company. My friend, Christine, recommended one today so I have an e-mail out to them. After that, I'm working on getting together everything I need to take with me. You would be shocked at the list I got from a site, quite practical though, and I am shocked how much of it I don't have.

I have started the process of contacting some publications to see if they would be interested in an article when I get back and thus far, have had two very favorable repsonses. They will be fun pieces to write, I am sure.

365-09 #294

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In Dreams He Came...

Last night God came to me in my dreams. He doesn't do it often but when He does, it's always very powerful and always stays with me for a very long time. This particular one has been in my head and heart all day. I originally wanted to take the mystics class at the seminary again because I missed that part of myself and I needed to find nourishment for my spiritual life. Both desires have been fulfilled and the question I am now left with is how do I keep myself nourished, what habits do I place into my life to keep my mind challenged and my heart fed? It's a question I am sure many of us ask at one time or another.

It's funny, there are so many things to do, people to talk to, projects to work on, but a few minutes with Him and it is all nothing to me. The only thing I can see is His face and the only thing I can feel is the contentment of being at His side.

365-09 #293

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Stop Kiss Backstage

Part of the "photography package" for a show is me spending some time with the cast taking pictures of them putting makeup on and hanging out. It is actually one of my favorite parts of what I do. Last night they were a little camera shy so I put the really good zoom lense on and stood by the piano. I'll have to remember that little trick. Some of the these pictures are also crew, it's a pretty small cast. It was also my first time actually getting to see the show out from behind the camera lense and let me just say, it is a very good play. Even now, though it's a fiction story, I still want to rip limb from limb the guy who severely beats Sara. Sara is played by my real-life friend, Cheryl, and the images in my mind of her head getting bashed against the wall, brings out the fighter out in me real quick. They never actually show the scene but they describe it in enough detail to break my heart. There are a lot of laughs in the play too, fun moments and the two lead characters are very endearing. You quickly get wrapped up in their relationship. The following is the Statesman Journal's review of the show. You can find it online here.

"Stop Kiss" is a love story about two women who gradually discover, to their surprise, that they are attracted to each other. The Pentacle Theatre's current production, directed by Jo Dodge, brings this out with sensitivity and humor.

It's also about what happens after one of the women is beaten senseless by an attacker who has seen them kiss in a park. Playwright Diana Son reveals as much just minutes into the show, so it's no spoiler to say that here.

The horror of the attack — which is described but not shown on stage — could overshadow a play presented in chronological order.

Instead, the playwright splices the aftermath of the beating with touching scenes of growing love — something nearly anyone can relate to.

Callie (Sophie Morris) is a streetwise New York traffic reporter who tends to coast through life. Sara (Cheryl Witters) is an idealistic teacher newly transplanted from the Midwest. They meet over Sara's cat, share talk of boyfriends and jobs, and begin spending more time together.

In what is nearly a two-woman play, both Morris and Witters do an excellent job. They keep their characters from becoming caricatures of opposites who wind up attracting. There really does seem to be chemistry between them, but they let it develop at a natural pace.

Morris' task is especially challenging: Within seconds, she must transform from the traumatized witness to Sara's beating to the carefree girlfriend of happier times, and then back. Considerable credit goes to Tony Zandol's set and lighting design, which allow for rapid changes of time and place. Backstage dressers Nancy Gorrell and Elise Von Kemp seemingly zap characters through time in a brief blackout.

Among the supporting cast, Jason Cude stands out as the ditched boyfriend who still can support Callie.

Although this play is partly about a hate crime, "Stop Kiss" is not a grim evening. It offers a surprising number of laughs along with serious food for thought, and it ends on a hopeful note.







365-09 #292

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Let's Go to Bauman Farms!

Ever since I heard about Bauman Farms last year from Emily, I wanted to go. Thus, it was added to my yearly bucket list, the things I would like to do the next year. Knowing it was a kids oriented place, I talked Randy into taking his granddaughter, Hannah. This is the same girl we took to the Enchanted Forrest this summer. Talking him into it wasn't that hard. We had fun. We, and I do mean we, went on the gigantic slides, swung in the big swings in the barn, went through the two story castle made of hay, went apple taste-testing (Randy and I added the wine) and drove the bikes around the track. We had a very good day and it now truly feels like autumn to me. I believe Baumans is open until Halloween so if you are in the Willamette Valley area, I would highly encourage you to steal a kid and go. Even if you can't steal a kid, go anyway. We all need days when we can simply go play. Besides, it's a lot of fun!




Yes, that is me on the swing.










365-09 #291

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Find Your Wings

It has been a full day full of work at home, going out and joining Marjorie's family for lunch, and going to see Stop Kiss tonight. I got a lot of that little stuff done and that feels good.

As a follow up to yesterday's post on what does a hero do when they lose their mentor, here is one of my favorite "mentoring" songs from the point of view of the mentor letting go of the mentee.



365-09 #290

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

What Does a Hero do When They Lose Their Mentor?

I was putting sticker labels on books today at my favorite library when one of the teachers I'm acquainted with was talking to me about a lesson he was preparing for his kids: What does a hero do when he or she loses their mentor?

We came up with various stories this happens in such as in Star Wars when Luke loses Ben and Yoda, Harry Potter when he loses Dublemdore, and in Lord of the Rings when Frodo loses Gandalf. I thought it was a very interesting question to think about. What does a hero do when they lose their mentor?

In all three stories mentioned above, the hero's mentors help them find out who they are and help them grow into the person they are meant to be. Luke finds out he is a Jedi and Ben and Yoda teach him wisdom and control. Dumbledore helps Harry be a wizard and gives him comfort, guidance, and knowledge. Gandalf helps Frodo reach a destiny Frodo could never have imagined, he helps him take the journey he was meant to walk to Mordor. In all three there is guidance, teaching the mentee how to trust themselves, and most importantly there is love, the one necessary ingredient to make all things grow. Losing that source of teaching can be life-altering, definitely a jolt at least. It's really hard to lose someone you've come to depend on, someone you've respected and treasured. You feel like you haven't quite finished learning what they had to teach you.

A hero is usually not a hero when they lose their mentor; they're still a student, a mentee, learning how to deal with the world they find themselves in, a world that is often strange and even rather frightening. But we can't always remain a student. There comes a time when we have to leave the sheltered wings of another and learn to fly on our own. There comes a time when we have to realize we really do have everything we need within us, that we have something to teach as well.

What is it that we have to teach? What our mentors first taught to us. Though we lose them, they are still living in our hearts, in the choices we make, in the lives we live. Our mentors have invested themselves in our beings, loved us, took time with us, gave us their wisdom. They will always be with us. The best way we can honor them is to live out that wisdom, to let their love and support guide us on our way as we undertake new journeys. They themselves may be gone, but they have each left an imprint on our hearts that will continue to guide us. They can be the voices in our heads, the inspiration in our feet, the love that keeps us strong.

Our mentors have helped us find ourselves, they have helped us know who we truly are. So what do you we do when we lose them? We keep taking the journey, we keep walking the road we are called to, we keep putting one foot in front of another, learning and growing, remembering what they taught us and passing the blessing along to others. We become the hero we were meant to be, the one our mentors saw all along.


“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope [hero] inside yourself.”
Oprah Winfrey

365-09 #289

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Heaven's Light

Tonight while working on my computer, the sun was casting a red and golden soft light on the world and looking out across the lawn and other apartment building (I have a good view on the 3rd floor), I thought to myself, "It looks a little like Heaven." It reminded me of the garden I imagaine God and I walk in together. The trees, the soft light, it was one of the moments when you are swept away in the timelessness of beyond. It sounds rather like the moment you had with the trees. I wonder if those moments just come on occassion or if there are ways I can be more open to them. (?) Sometimes I wonder how much we expect to see specific images of God and how often we let him take us by surprise? Was it C.S. Lewis who said that God in his mercy shatters the images of him we hold? We have to just keep looking. I really liked that quote.

365-09 #288

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Desiring God Within Human Limitations

This week in our mystics class, we are reading Augustine of Hippo, Teresa of Avila, and C.S. Lewis. I love these three mystics and I really enjoyed reading them together. One of the reasons I like this class so much is that the people in my group are asking similar questions. We don't necessarily need the answers, but it is very comforting to ask the questions together. This week's question seems to be, "How do we live and follow our desire for God within human limitations?" Here are my reflections upon these fellow mystics who also raised their hearts and voices to ask this question. I am glad to be in such good company.

As the Quakers say, this week's reading really spoke to my condition. (Translation: This week's reading was exactly what I needed to read right now.) It seemed that each reading built upon one another. Whether Carole planned that (which would be brilliant on her part), or God's design (and we all know God is brilliant), I found it absolutely rich in that mystical song I hear, each author adding a new harmony to the music.

Augustine first brings up my question, the question I did not have words for: "Why are thou cast down, O my soul, and why dost thou disquiet me?" (Page 65) With all the soul has known of God, with all the inward delights, the sight in the darkness, having touched the hand of God, Augustine wonders how on earth the soul without a doubt that God is and that God loves could be sad? And the soul answers an answer that my own soul is crying, "Because I am not yet there!" "Wouldst thou have me not disquiet thee, placed as I am yet in the world, and on pilgrimage from the house of God?" Augustine then assures the soul, and me, that hope in God is the answer. But I am still distraught.

Teresa of Avila then picks up the same question. She says while discussing her butterfly metaphor, which I love, "Oh, to see the restlessness of this little butterfly....and the difficulty is that it doesn't know where to alight and rest. Since it has experienced such wonderful rest, all that it sees on earth displeases it, especially if God gives it this wine often....It now has wings. How can it be happy when it can fly?" (Page 445)

It seems that Teresa says those who have gone through the cocoon experience, which I believe I am correctly translating as the Dark Night, have a whole new set of trials to go through. Having felt the hand of God in the very deepest of places, having experienced that transformation and intimacy while in the cocoon, learning to see with different eyes, they feel "estranged from earthly things", they don't know where to go. Such souls have a very deep peace but are conflicted between the earthly world here and the world they know.

A picture that came to me while I was reading these selections was of a dirt hole in the ground, maybe built into the side of a hill. There is one window with thick tree branches imprisoning the soul within. There is no way out but I stand in this hole and reach out my arms through the branches toward the star-lit night sky. I may be imprisoned but past those branches holding me in, my hands are free under the stars. My hands can pray and touch God even though the rest of me cannot. Mysticism, I think, is lying on the dirt floor asleep while my soul escapes through the branches to dance with God in the night. Sometimes I am content to stay in the hole as I know it will not always be that way. At others, I go over to the bars and shake them with every ounce of strength I've got. I want OUT! I am tired of having to deal with all the limitations of this life, all it's troubles and my own failings, when I've tasted and held the eternal. I can sense there is a whole world beyond my hole, the world I belong to but I'm not there, I am here and while there is definite joy in my hole, I know it was born of the stars.

C.S. Lewis says this hole is merely a stage, that it is not the real world but that it is a real stage, part of the real world. We are the actors and although we have lives beyond the stage, for now we are trapped in our roles and cannot go beyond them. It is in prayer this real person, the one beyond the stage, speaks to God, the director, producer, and audience. Lewis says, "The attempt is not to escape from space and time and from my creaturely situation as a subject facing objects. It is more modest: to re-awake the awareness of that situation....Here is the holy ground; the Bush is burning now." The stage then, the hole, is holy. God is on the stage, God is in the hole.

All I've got to say is that if for now I'm stuck on the holy stage, it better be a good play.

365-09 #287

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Update on Africa

I bet you're wondering how the planning is going for Africa. I first want to shout out a HUGE THANK YOU to those who have helped fund this ministry to Kenya. I am so grateful for your help and generosity.

I just bought the plane ticket tonight, it's nice to have that part settled. The other big thing I still need to settle is choosing which safari company to go with. We have been discussing the itenerary a lot and we have decided I will go to the Young Adult Quaker African conference to lead a workshop and speak then travel on up to Turkana with a stop by a hospital with a specialty in holistic healing. After a few days in Turkana, I will be ministering at a women's conference before flying back out of Nairobe. My official dates of travel are November 28th through December 22nd. It's hard to believe I will be gone that long, not to mention missing most of the Christmas season at home. That will be a first for me but I wouldn't have it any other way.

God placed a magazine all about hunger in Turkana in my path and I read it from cover to cover. I now understand more of what they are going through. It will be life altering to see it with my own eyes.


(I needed a good hat to protect me from the equatorial sun and found this one at the Mt. Angel Octoberfest. I had just gotten the official word I was going to Kenya the day I bought the hat.)

365-09 #286

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Tap Dancing at the Elsinore

I also was in a tap dancing show on Saturday night. I had so much fun rocking out on stage! Here are some pictures mostly taken in the dressing rooms downstairs!








365-09 #285

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Bridal Show

Here are pictures from the Bridal Show this weekend. It was so much fun to hang out with the other women and to wear such BEAUTIFUL dresses!







365-09 #283

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Bridal Fashion Show

I asked Brenda when we tried on the wedding gowns for the fashion show if she had any grooms for sale at her store. She told me she didn't but I am hoping there might be some in a booth somewhere at the bridal show tomorrow. Whow knows but that there might be a quality fellow at a clearance price? I'll bring along my check book just in case.

The woman in charge of the models and the fashion show encouraged us to bring sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, games, and snacks, anything to keep us busy during the hours betwen getting our hair done, putting on our makeup and actually performing the shows. It sounds like some kind of huge slumber party for grown women to me. You got the sleeping bags, game, snacks, getting all dolled up- all we need now is a huge tv set to watch Dirty Dancing. Perhaps My Big Fat Greek Wedding might be more appropriate, or The Wedding Planner. 37 Dresses could work too.

In all sinceretry, learning the choreography, practicing again and again, and talking with the other women was quite an experience. We oggled over the wedding gowns in our dressing room and talked about tips the experienced models gave to those of us who are new at all this. I learned how to pivot turn on the runway, to smile at the audience, the classic twist-smile, and the little circle turn. I also learned how to make a dramatic pause and to hold myself in my dress. Whew. There is so much to remember!!! I felt like a china doll that belongs to someone else. As you may guess, there are all kinds of rules about where we can go and what we can do while in the gowns (absolutely nothing). They get to do my hair all up however they want and put in clothes I had little say on. But, I am okay with this. I really like my gown. It's simpler but elegant style suites me.

No matter what, it will be a very interesting two days and I think a fun one too.


365-09 #283

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Margins

The two needles that broke the camel's back rolled into my life today and I called a friend in tears. We talked for a bit and then I took a hot shower, deleted old text messages, and did my homework for the mystics class. I felt a bit better but the problems didn't go away. Darn.

The biggest issue is me. I overbook myself and don't leave any margins in my life. Thus, I have my HAVE TO get done today list and the REALLY NEED to get done list that only sometimes gets done. Thus when these other things come up, they push me over the edge for a bit and I have to let myself break then I pick myself up and figure out what I need to do. Just one of those days when I want to go back twenty-five years, cuddle in my mother's lap and hear her say everything is going to be all right.

Moral of the story: Give yourself margins in your life. Time for YOU. You'll need it.

Speaking of lack of margins, I'm in a bridal fashion show at the fairgrounds in Salem this weekend. It's in the Jackman Long Building at 12:30 and 3 on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $7 to the bridal show though I may have a free ticket or two to give out. The two dresses I get to wear are BEAUTIFUL!

I am also dancing in a show at the Elsinore Theatre Saturday night. We are the last act in a fund raiser variety show. Should be fun, show is at 8 and tickets cost $15.

365-09 #282

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