• jesus,  spiritual conversations,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    You Don’t Look like a Christian

    It’s Ash Wednesday. And likely that you’ve seen some folks around town who appear unhygienic but in reality have had ashes imposed on their foreheads to signify the beginning of Lent- the 40 days leading up to Easter.   A friend recently commented to me- “If I saw you in a crowded restaurant I wouldn’t guess you were a Christian. You don’t look like a Christian.”  This gave me pause to wonder- “what do people think a Christian looks like anyways?”  On Ash Wednesday it might seem a little more apparent than usual. A Christian- Catholic or Protestant could look like this:   Or this: Possibly this: And yeah, this…

  • art,  inner world,  jesus

    Technicolor Jesus

    “I just want to hear God. To know how he’s speaking to me” she said tearfully, looking at the ground her shoulders slumped in defeat and frustration….. Check out the rest of my guest post at Gabbing with Grace….I’m psyched to be posting there today!

  • baking,  inner world,  jesus,  working moms,  writing

    DDIY

    Don’t Do It Yourself. This is my motto for December. Amongst the amazing Pinterest ideas floating around about making your own DIY decorative Christmas trees out of recycled materials, cookie baking, and connecting with people whether through our work of year end fund development or holiday get-togethers and the the pressure of working on my book I just. can’t. do. it. this year.  After a helpful conversation with our respective supervisors about the tricky dynamics and scheduling of both serving on staff with InterVarsity Christian fellowship I realized I was still stressed about the stuff I felt like I should be doing this Christmas. Our plans changed for the holiday…

  • inner world,  jesus,  justice

    The Lenten Slacker

    I’ll fess up- I have been a complete slacker this Lent. I had great ambitions to fully engage in World Vision’s Relentless Act:s of sacrifice campaign. And I did for the first two out of six weeks. Then life got kind of hectic- between a trip down south to visit friends and donors in Louisville, KY, Atlanta, GA and then back up to Cleveland, coming home to head to Morgantown WV and then preaching at church Sunday morning…..well, I’m sure you have your list too. Lent is supposed to be a time to sacrifice something in life to help you refocus attention on God. Rather than thinking about the next cup of…

  • inner world,  jesus,  spirituality

    the s-word

    Submission. or, the s-word as some Christian women call it- can raise feelings of anger, injustice, pain and resentment. For me, submission recently brought the word ‘gratitude’ to mind. As some of you may have seen from the picture I posted on Facebook, I inadvertently dyed my hair royal blue five days before Christmas.   As I was watching blue foam drip off of my head as I shampooed out what I thought was toner that would give me a more platinum blonde do’, I peeked out from behind the shower curtain to look in the mirror and saw myself in unexpected smurfette glory. I posted the picture online for…

  • food,  inner world,  jesus,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    wife points

    “you don’t get wife points for calling your husband a butt” our babysitter Nita guffawed after my derogitory derriere related remark directed at Dave while frantically racing around the kitchen trying to load the dishwasher with cereal bowls, put away the milk and get out the door to get some work done. A few weeks before that I had been at Nita’s dorm room to pick up the kids after she and her roommate Rachel had kindly watched them so Dave and I could see a play (the perks of working with college students!).  Rachel, Nita and I have ongoing conversations about gender roles in society, the church and marriage-…

  • inner world,  jesus,  spirituality

    I’m not the girl I used to be

    Twigs + logs + matches + newspaper = fire. At least for a girl who spent the first 17 years of her life growing up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where I’d wager that many kids learned the skill of how to build a fire amongst other skills like ice fishing, downhill & cross-country skiing and how to swim in Lake Superior just long enough until your toes feel numb. Recently my friend and colleague Grace spent a weekend in a lovely log cabin, tucked in the back of a generous person’s property, overlooking a stream and surrounded by woods. Though the two of us usually run the gamut conversationally from…

  • food,  jesus,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    melts in your mouth, not in your hand.

    Though the chocolate may melt in my mouth, I still have blood on my hands. A few weeks ago I was supposed to give a talk at Oakland University on Everyday Justice drawing from themes from Julie Clawson’s book by the same name. As I did research, read her book and scoured online articles and websites I thought about themes on everyday justice that would connect most with students living in the affluent suburbs that border derelict Detroit; While cars and clothing might have been good choices for a school where students sport coach tennis shoes & drive Escalades but chocolate seemed like an easier thing to tackle in a 30 minute talk on…

  • food,  inner world,  jesus,  Uncategorized

    mailman alex

    MAILMAN ALEX!!! DO YOU HAVE MY HENRY TRAIN!!! Reuben belted out whenever he saw our friendly mailman Alex heading down our sidewalk wondering if his missing train had arrived in the mail. (thank you carole for sending it!)  This summer I noticed our mailman sitting in his mail truck munching on a sandwich reading sports illustrated on his lunch break. At times I was a little irritated that he’d park in front of his house, guilty that I was inside enjoying air conditioning while he was sitting in a hot mail truck, or wondered if anyone ever invited him in for a meal or glass of water. While I was…

  • jesus,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    out of the boat living

    While I’d rather be like Andy Samburg sporting a nautical themed pashmina afghan on a boat, life has felt much more like the disciple Peter- half-sinking, half-having faith that Jesus is able to grasp ahold of me and keep me from drowning. Our move to Cleveland was in many ways been an experience of stepping out of our own comfortable nautical vessel- being near family, having a secure funding network in a job that requires us to raise 100% of our support (Grand Rapids consistently ranks high among charitible giving across U.S. cities), and all the other comforts that living in one place for 10 years affords.  It took us…

  • inner world,  jesus,  mom blogs

    the double-bind- life as a working mom

    Confession- at various points in my life I have thought all of these things: kids are speed-bumps on the career path, being a mom seems lame, God is a jerk if he wants me to have kids and give up a job I love. Maybe you’re in the other camp entirely and have been waiting to have babies since you went through puberty. I have never stepped foot in that camp.  Now that I’m approaching having not one, but two children it’s made me think and pray a lot about how my life will change when spawn of Fick #2 arrives this summer. It’s been a hesitant path to motherhood for…

  • inner world,  jesus,  spirituality

    Merry Freegan Christmas!

    Do other parents feel guilty and sad that they too won’t have the same elated faces on their children’s faces when they present an XBox 360, complete Thomas the Tank engine set (with newest Misty Island Rescue attachments), or any other toy that said child would enjoy on Christmas morning? Have you noticed how even McDonald’s is equating personal fulfillment with food ordered and consumed from their menu this holiday season? Though Dave and I are typically content with the lifestyle we’ve chosen of glamorous non-profit student ministry, are creative with our resources and try to live simply, there are times I just am sad or pissed off we don’t make more…

  • inner world,  jesus,  spiritual conversations,  Uncategorized

    when cheating just feels right

    Last night I made a decision to cheat- on my sabbatical. Though I’ve been given a year for academic leave, rest and reflection to hopefully help me continue a long career with InterVarsity, I’m beginning to feel a bit antsy.  On Wednesday Dave asked me if I’d be willing to help him teach on Ephesians 5 at the weekly student gathering at Case Western. For those of you not familiar with Ephesians 5- it contains some of the most controversial and misused scripture in the New Testament- “wives submit to your husbands, husbands love your wives.” He thought it would be a good idea for both of us to teach…

  • church,  grad school,  inner world,  jesus,  spirituality

    the church of my imagination

    Choirs of unicorns singing gospel hymns, humorous sermons by Stephen Colbert and joyful potlucks with BBQ ribs afterwards comprise the church of my imagingation. Well, not actually, but it’s fun to picture right? Unicorns, Colbert, ribs- sounds like a divine trifecta to me. Dave and I have been looking for a church here in Cleveland and I’ve been reflecting on what we value in a church, how we go about evaluating those values, the dissonance that occurs between what I picture as an ideal church and what we experience in reality.  Recently I took a class with Rick Richardson (aka Slick Rick) at Wheaton Graduate School on various models of…

  • inner world,  jesus,  spiritual conversations,  spirituality

    how open minded are you?

    We all like to think of ourselves as open-minded people, tolerant of others who look different than us or have different beliefs. We want to be more enlightened thank many of the close-minded who have gone before us. Yet most of us have histories that shape the way we view people and people groups that leave lingering feelings of resentment, suspicion or judgement.  Sometimes this can be warranted- someone breaks trust by doing or saying something really hurtful which makes us likely to not trust the next person who comes along who is also a member of the intergalactic cat-lovers society or the Girl Scouts. I’ve chosen to associate myself…

  • inner world,  jesus,  spiritual conversations

    the dirtiest man at Burning Man

    There are plenty of legends about the porta-potties at Burning Man. 50,000 people. no running water. in the blazing hot desert. Things get a little stinky.  Even for people with RV’s who have the luxury of not needing to walk from their camp to the public potties have to deal with the question: “what do you do with the poo?” Thankfully there were people like Dustin at Burning Man. Guys hired by the festival to drive the sewer trucks around and remove the waste for a fee from festival attenders.  The live in RV’s on the outskirts of camp, have their meals catered and spend 12 hours a day cleaning…

  • art,  jesus,  spirituality

    Larry Saves- the spirituality of burning man

    While some people go to Burning Man looking for drug-fueled hook ups in the desert, there are plenty who aren’t.  One of the reasons my friends and I went to Black Rock City is that we believe it to be a spiritually rich place, a place where people haven’t given up on exploring life, experiencing something transcendent or being freed  shame in their lives and doing that in community. As my friend and mentor Rick Richardson put it, Burning Man “smells like spirituality” there is a quality about the festival makes people open up about their lives, give space to rethink their preconceptions or explore new ideas.  The daily grind…

  • art,  inner world,  jesus,  sex,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    nudity does not equal sexuality

    I saw a lot of peeps and boobs at Burning Man this past week. After a 10-hour drive in an RV Saturday night after the man burned, a 4-connection flight on Sunday, and a 5 hour drive home on Monday to Cleveland after picking up Reuben in Ithaca, I’ve had a lot of time to begin processing my experiences at the Burning Man arts festival.  Even now I’m in a hazy-tired-ear-plugged up from changes in elevation but I wanted to begin writing before I forgot all the cool stuff. So- back to the peeps and boobs.  Burning Man is a quintessential post-modern experience in community- “whatever works for you” is…

  • art,  books,  fashion,  grad school,  jesus,  Uncategorized

    peacock progress- burning man preparations!

    Only 4 days to go until Dave and I arrive at the Burning Man festival.  Costume prep has been going well so I thought I’d post a few pics of our progress. I would be considered remedial at best when it comes to sewing. As I’ve been working on my costumes I sorely wished that my crafty friends Sarah, April and Jackie lived closer to lend a skilled hand. However, I have been pleased with how things are turning out so far. I found a couple of cheap sundresses at thrift stores & decided to adorn them peacock-style.  Since the weather in the day will be over 100 degrees I…

  • art,  grad school,  jesus,  spirituality,  Uncategorized

    the omission trip

    I’m going to Burning Man 2010- why? Because I think it is a place that Jesus would hang out. Along with all the freaks, artists, people wearing only body-paint, and cadre of mutant vehicles in this crowd of 45,000 that assembles in the desert to form the temporary Black Rock City Dave and I are heading out with 5 other friends to see what God is doing amongst “the burners.” Strangely enough this is considered a research and mission trip by the organization I work for, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, is sponsored by the Billy Graham Center and is being led by Dr. Rick Richardson, the head of the M.A. program…

  • jesus,  justice,  race issues,  Uncategorized

    racist vomit

    “do you need a ride to the airport? I’ll glad you dump you back where you belong…why don’t you go back to your own country” The words were violently spewed out and even though they weren’t directed towards me by the angry woman whose bulk was covered in a baggy tweety bird tank top, I still felt attacked.   I was bagging my groceries at Aldi as an argument about grocery store line etiquette erupted into a torrent of racist slurs. What do you do in these situations? How do you react when someone you don’t know or care about violates the preciousness of what it means to be human?…

  • inner world,  jesus,  mom blogs,  Uncategorized

    Raise your hand IF…You have Crazy Mom disease

    My Friend Lisa posted this blog recently & I found myself feeling similar sentiments recently.  You can check her out at: http://haller4307.xanga.com/726517508/raise-your-hand-ifyou-have-crazy-mom-disease/ I’ve been trying to hold it together while Dave is away for work for the next two weeks & I am home caring for Reuben, packing our house to move in a month, and trying to write two papers amongst other things. Lisa’s post inspired me to write a Crazy Mom Disease Post of my own. What is Crazy Mom Disease? Symptoms may differ between moms but may include: 1. Hurricane Head: Thinking a hurricane of thoughts all at the same time about vastly different things: i.e. “when…