Saturday, December 19, 2009

my little monkey



well....little man. you're 2! (although when asked you will copy your friend fender and giggle stating that you're 2 and a half). at any rate, you're 2! and you are amazing. i can't believe how much you have grown and changed this year. from walking (you started that last christmas eve), to talking up a storm and now running around playing cars, trucks and "wrestling" with your papa. you have changed from my baby to a little boy.

i can't help but think of all our adventures this year from new york to colorado, minnesota and boston, you're year has been full. a whole lot more "firsts" came this year; from your first hair cut, your first girl-friend (the lovely evie girl) and all your first songs that you know by heart (my favorite one when you just spontaneously started singing head-shoulders-knees and toes at the dinner table. spaghetti sauce got EVERYWHERE but it was adorable). you can count to 10 (papa makes you every time you really want something and you need to be a bit patient) AND you can make every animal sound there is (on command, i might add)

you picked your first blueberries, apples and pumpkins this year (all of them you attempted to eat while still on the orchard). you now chase your sister, (emma the dog) around and around and around the house. you tell me to go away when you want to do something "naughty" like jump in the bath tub or climb up to find the chocolate chips. and now when you don't want to do something like get put in your car seat or get your shoes on you look me straight in the eye and say "no mama, that's not funny."



oh little man, i hope you have an incredible day and an other adventure filled year. you're about to wake up and discover your birthday tree has come, eat pancakes in the shape of a j, wear the cutest little monkey hat for your 2nd birthday party (you insisted on having a monkey party....either that or a truck but mommy got excited about the monkey party that could have a cake shaped just like a monkey...which only mostly looks like a monkey) and play with some of your new pals. i love you my little monkey, judah!

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I love you! (just so you can see how big you are now...here you are 2 year ago today!! told you you're SO big!)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Picture Perfect...



We were in the city again last weekend. I was down there for work, helping out with a church service and then we wanted to see Emma Thompson’s exhibit “Journey.” Along the way we got to catch up with an old college friend, Marg and then get some good family time: just me and my two boys.

On the way back to the car from a long day we decided to spend a little extra time in the city and walk the Brooklyn Bridge. It had been a gorgeous day. The sun was setting it was a warm 65 degrees. As we were walking across the bridge staring up at the city lights and the beautiful sunset, I just had a moment of “Oh my gosh, this is my life. I am so blessed. I can’t believe this is my life.”

We strolled the bridge and I had the brilliant thought, “We should let Jude out of his stroller and let him walk with us across the bridge.” I took him out and grabbed his little hand. We walked together. It was a beautiful moment. I turned to Kimbal and asked if he would take a picture of Jude and I on this perfect picture moment. I scooped Judah up in my arms to take the picture… AND HE WAS SOPPING WET!

In the journey that day we let the cloth diaper go a little too long and he totally wet his pants. I thought about just dealing with the diaper and wardrobe change on the other side of the bridge but that was quickly knocked down at the fact that if I let him walk the bridge with sopping wet pants, surely something will get chaffed (don’t you love my first thought was not about the sanitary issue here but that my son might get a chaffed behind).

So we pulled over to the side on a bench on the Brooklyn Bridge and changed that little man’s diaper and clothes. I am sure all the tourists walking the bridge that day LOVED us, ruining their picture perfect moment on the bridge AND I am sure some day Judah will love the story about how we had to change his diaper on the bridge.

After the fiasco was over Kimbal snapped a shot of me and my little man, and I thought “THAT’S more like it!! This is my life. I am so blessed!” Here’s to picture perfect moments…that include a diaper change along the way!


Friday, November 20, 2009

The world through the Eyes of Judah...and Louis CK

We headed to Denver yesterday and Judah couldn't have been more excited. He has flown before but this time was different because he actually made the connection "WAIT, I am in an AIRPLANE. The AIRPLANE is flying IN THE SKYE. THEREFORE I AM FLYING IN AN AIRPLANE IN THE SKYE." He just couldn't get over it. He didn't sleep the whole flight. He would doze off for a few seconds and the jolt awake and talk a mile a minute about the fact he was flying. It was adorable (once I got over the fact that he wasn't going to sleep all day)!

It reminded me of this video and I just had to post it...As a reminder from Judah how we should all feel about all the AMAZING things going on in our world...



So HAPPY FRIDAY!

Monday, November 2, 2009

peace...

what is it about a few moments with my guitar, my voice and a heart that is desperate for a moment with the Lord?

i still can't figure out what it is about song that can flip my heart, but it does. i also don't know why it takes me so long to come to a point where i pick up my guitar, lift up my voice and sing...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

a heavier weight...

i need a glass of wine....i have a headache....my mind is racing...my heart huts...and i feel sick.

today this article was sent out in the office (it is about a 15 year old girl who was gang raped for 2 hours outside her school dance while nearly 20 bystanders stood by and did nothing). i read it at my computer and i immediately felt overwhelmed, teary, mad. with each sentence my heart broke and questions arose. granted, working for a human rights group i hear horror stories all the time, but there are moments that i am just flat overwhelmed. today is one of them. as i read the article swear words came under my breath and i just wanted to hit something (great for my non-violence stance :)). questions just fly in one after another....

HOW CAN THIS ACTUALLY HAPPEN? how often do things like this in our world happen? would i be a bystander and not intervene in injustice if i were to stumble upon it on the street? do i stumble on injustices now that i am just a bystander? HOW CAN WE BE SO FAR OFF????? how did we get here? am i making a difference? what do we do? is it possible to end this? God, where are you? HOW DO WE END THIS????

the hows and whys become unbearable.

in the middle of all of this i am haunted by this simple reality... i am attached to this humanity! it is the same spectrum that mother theresa, mlk, my son, my friends, my family sit. it is all the same humanity! the potential for both horror and splendor in my neighbor and in me. i am in the mess. i am a part of the mess.

there is a quote by cs lewis that i have always loved. its meaning has morphed and changed over the years. it is shifting into a deeper meaning. i think of it today. in light of all this. the weight of glory, the angst for His kingdom, the yearning for redemption is strong in my heart tonight...so i remember what lewis once said:
"There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations--these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit--immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of the kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously--no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinners--no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses."
cs lewis, weight of glory
i am left undone today. the stakes feel high and the task even more impossible. and all i know how to do is continue to pray, maybe today with more desperation...jesus, come....i pray. in me, in this city, in the broken, in the abused, in the oppressed and the oppressor..in this world. your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Friday, October 16, 2009

...a new bedtime ritual

my son is into this new bedtime ritual.

we read a book, sing a song, pray. then one by one we say good night to all the stuffed animals in his crib. (good night elmo, ni-ni larry, good night monkey, ni-ni mr bear...) then i end with a ni-ni judah and a couple of good "i love you more than i ever thought possible" kisses...

that has always been the routine...

and now this new piece has emerged... as i walk out the room i hear this "one more kiss mommy" and with out fail, i walk back in the room give that little man one more "i love you more than i ever thought possible" kiss and close the door.

i hope that exchange sticks around for awhile...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thanks to Fairmont, MN...the middle of nowhere!

So I’m in the middle of nowhere Minnesota. It is cold! I’m staying by myself at a little Hampton Inn. I walked across the street last night to grab a bite to eat. I had to choose between McDonalds, Perkins and Green Mill. I choose Green Mill (I’ve never heard of it before but it is big in these parts…Just a restaurant/bar place like Chili’s).

I walked in and the place was pack with MN Twins fans cheering and cursing during the Twins/Yankees game. I sat at the bar, ordered a local-ish brew (some brew from Wisconsin) and a bite to eat. I watched the game.

I don’t watch baseball. I don’t like to watch baseball. A few years ago I got on the bandwagon when the Rockies went to the World Series (will be on the wagon again this year J) and I don’t mind going to games because it usually means 3 things: friends, hot dogs and a cold beer. But that is it! I don’t watch baseball!

I watched baseball last night, next to a few new friends from the middle of nowhere MN. I sat next to two best friends who have known each other since college. We chatted. They could tell I wasn’t from around here and asked what brought me here. I told them I was here for work, what I did (working for an anti-slavery organization isn’t generally good dinner/bar conversation). They asked questions. The engaged the issue a bit (of course in between huge cheers and four letter yelps). I asked them what they were up to this weekend. DUCK HUNTING, they told me. I joked with them telling them I had only hunted ducks with Nintendo way back when, but that I was a good shoot! We laughed. It was nice…

Our conversation ended and the two friends just continued to chat. I watched the screen but continued to eves drop on their conversation. They talked about 3 things: baseball, duck hunting and life. For the most part it was classic bar talk. Swear words. Making fun of each other. I smiled.

In the middle of this conversation an amazing moment took place. One of the guys looked to his friend and said “They found a heartbeat. It is amazing! They finally found a heartbeat.”

His friend looked at him with a huge grin that communicated more than ANY words could and said, “F@$% yeah. They did. You must be ecstatic. After everything you have been through. It is amazing. They found a heartbeat!”

He looked up and just said, “yeah. We are so f@$%ing excited!”

That was the end of the conversation…they went back to watching the game.

I sat at the bar and just felt good. I haven’t spent much time in small town USA. I grew up in the burbs, but it wasn’t a small town like this. I think in a lot of ways I maybe judge the level of engagement in places like this. Thinking the simplicity isn’t as good as complexity. Or a laid-back spirit isn’t as good as the go-getter change the world thing in me. I am so wrong.

In that moment I found myself noticing the little things in my life. The details, the simplicity, the small miracles I miss every day…

...like the heartbeat of a little baby in his mother’s womb (my son is a miracle)…the miracle of breath and life (we breathe in and out something we can’t see yet that is the very thing that sustains us)

…of ducks that swim and fly (birds are built to defy the laws of gravity!! That is just crazy when you think about it)

...of the food we eat and how it actually grows (any time I look across a field of corn, or crops, I am amazed! I mean seriously, things grow out of the dirt with water and sun. We can put big words on it that make us feel like we understand it all, like photosynthesis, but it is still a miracle it actually happens!)

…and the one I often miss the most is the miracle of friends, family and love (yes there is a WHOLE LOT that is wrong in the world. We hurt each other…YET we love each other too. It is a miracle that we actually have each other. We depend on others for our species to literally survive. REALATIONSHIP itself is a miracle.)

Thanks Fairmont, MN for reminding me of the simple truths and miracles that this life contain… Jesus, would you give me eyes to see them all again today!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

i am in love with this...

this is the most amazing thing EVER!



this makes me thrilled to live in the world we do. tap your feet at your desk today, twirl in the park, or dance barefoot in the kitchen cooking dinner tonight! make today a good day!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

love the one your with

its not news to anyone that sometimes i can be looking towards the next thing, the next move, making something better, doing something different, etc. in the middle of this constant drive it is so good for me to take a moment, pause and look around. there is so much around me i am utterly thankful for. when i take the moment to pause i see what there is to love right here, right now. Here are a few of those things:

  • i just rummaged the house looking for chocolate…i love chocolate so much that i settled on a handful of dark chocolate chips for dessert. my mom used to do that. i am so my mother, which isn’t a bad thing. i love my mother.

  • i really love this apartment. it is small and cozy, just enough room for all of us (and open so judah can run around and around and around in circles). it is light and has cute pillows (both these features I love about 8am in the morning when I am drinking coffee on my little window bench seat).

  • i am falling more and more in love with the two boys in my life. the first because he continues to love me despite about a billion reasons why he shouldn’t these days (and is starting to dance with me more randomly in the kitchen to regina spektor and other amazing artists i heart) and the second because he says this “thank you, mommy” thing right now that just melts my heart.
  • i love my buffs (that's the university of colorado buffalos for you non-college football fans)...even when they loose. even when i can't watch every game...i still just think they are the best(which also reminds me i just love fall and watching too much football!!)


  • i love new haven, ct. so many say this city is hard, that is true. so many say this city is strange, that is true. yet there is something about it that i just like, i just love…

o the relationships…there are lots of really good people that we love here.

o the architecture…both old and new, ghetto and chic.

o the big city/small town feel…I know you think its not possible, come and visit, you’ll see.

o the scent of fall in the air and hot drinks…especially the $1 coffee from atticus, pumpkin spice lattes from starbucks and honey ginger lemon tea from JoJo’s.

o the diversity… race, age, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic, class, education…I am constantly reminded of how complex, different and beautiful this world is

o the location…beach 10 min. new york city 1.5 hours. mountains in vermont 3 hours. boston 2.5 hours. rhode island pretty wave beaches 1.25 hours. (ok so the 24 hour ride to co is a little rough).

o the guys who plays his guitar & harmonica every morning…outside atticus on my way to work.

o the food… picking my own blueberries, crème brule, the best pizza in the US, lithuanian coffee cake, thai taste, mamoons, the mini loaves of bread from clairs, the pantry, romeo & cesars, fresh lobster rolls…bittersweet chocolate ice cream from ashley’s…should i keep going. i am hungry again for some reason!

  • i love #146. without a name, or picture and just a number and a story to me, this child on the other side of the world has captured my heart. these last months working with love146 i have learned about this issue of child sex slavery and exploitation. i have cried. i have wanted to scream, throw up, hit someone. i have laughed with co-workers (hearting things such as the @deskofjoy and @deskdoom wars, yummy new team lunches and conversations that make my head hurt). i have seen the impossible happen in restoration. while the learning curve has been steep and i feel like i am barely making it up the slope, i have appreciated engaging with a group of people that believes it isn’t only possible to end child sex slavery and exploitation but also leap willingly into the ranks to do so.
  • i really love fresh yoga, particularly pegs 10 am class on sundays mornings… i know it is probably heretical for me to say it but i like it being a steady sunday morning ritual. which also brings me to another point i love the fact that the church we are going to is on Sunday evening, 4pm. perfect time, perfect place and the people who go there are pretty sweet too…just trying to be people that love god and love their neighbor…so it’s a good fit, yoga for sunday morning church, church for sunday evening church.


  • i love friends…old and new, from colorado, to connecticut and london…if i take three seconds to pause and see a few faces in my mind, call a friend on the phone or spend full days touring the ends of the earth (ok, so it was just pieces of the east coat but it felt like so much more than that!) i quickly realize that what i am most grateful for today is this group of people i love and call friends.


mother theresa once said, “being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, i think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.” so i really have nothing to complain about…my tummy’s filled with bittersweet chocolate chips, and my life, a whole lot of really great people...including my hubby who just walked in the door and my little one is fast asleep in the other room.

Monday, August 17, 2009

drones...


so yesterday i walked into the kitchen and my hubby was reading this article (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/08/drone-strike-apparently-kills-pakistan-taliban-chief/). i saw that it was an article from wired mag and when it comes to articles about gadgets and the like i am quick to shut down. big words and random new gizmos usually keep me from engaging when he is reading this magazine. i asked him (admittedly, not really caring), "hey, what are you reading?" and he replied, "oh, this article about UAV's and killing the taliban."

now, i have seen the movies. i guess i live in some strange world where i just think that most everything i see on tv isn't actually happening. up until this point that's what i thought about little machines running around, fighting our battles for us. we chatted a few minutes about the article and left it at that.

however, it has really got me thinking. there has been this nagging question in the back of my mind all day....shouldn't something that one believes is worth killing for be worth risking their own lives for as well? mind you this comes from my idealistic, pacifist, non-violent "can't we just all get along" heart. however, it is an important question to ask. i'm beginning to really think that there may be things that one should be willing to die for, but so little (if anything) that one should be willing to kill for. this whole drones, UAV, robot warfare thing seems to be the opposite. when it come down to it i guess i just wonder, if we are going to be fighting this war, shouldn't we fight it and not let r2d2 do our dirty work?

Friday, August 14, 2009

a brown necklace

it was nearly 20 months ago that i got this amazing necklace. a few days after judah was born my dear friend carolyn came over bearing christmas gifts. it snowed a lot the week of christmas that year, so snow covered the ground. a christmas tree with all the right"trimmings" and this new little baby boy accompanied our gift exchange. she brought a bright orange monkey and a book, "la estrella de navid," for the new one. for me, i got this cute red sweater vest and this amazing brown necklace.

i barely made it out of bed that day for the gift exchange. i was still in the same polka-dotted robe and red flannel pajama pants that i had worn for days (it would be the standard outfit for weeks to come). i was tired and still in some pain from the hardest and most beautiful thing i had done in my life to that point, giving birth to a son.

i snuck upstairs after our gift exchange to put away all the new treasures. i remember the moment so clearly. i went to put the necklace away in the bathroom. just before i did, i draped it around my neck and looked at my self in the mirror. i began to cry. i cried because i was pretty sure i would never be at a place in my life where i would wear the necklace again. all i could see in that moment was this new life that had been flipped on its head overnight. i cried because i wasn't sure when the 3 hour "naps" would be over. i cried because learning how to breast feed (something i thought would be far more "natural" than it really was), take care of and love this new little life was so much harder than i thought before. i wasn't sure that night if i would ever get out of my polka-dotted bathrobe. i was scared, tired and felt alone. the next weeks would be the hardest of my life. in no way were they the glamorous "motherhood" moments i had dreamed of just weeks before when this little life was just kicking inside me. i felt defeated. i put the necklace in my jewelry box and walked away. a feeling of despair welled up inside me.

yesterday, i wore the necklace. i didn't even think about it when i put it on. it was during the middle of our "morning routine" (getting juice, drinking coffee, making oatmeal and sitting around the kitchen table) when the memory of that moment in the bathroom came to me. i paused for a moment and smiled. i made it. we made it. there was a hilarious toddler in the background saying "thank you mommy" that proved it.

there have been moments this past month were i have had a similar feeling of despair. it was good to be reminded of god's faithfulness in that moment. it caused me to pause for the day and intentionally remember just where i have come from. god has been so faithful. "oh you of little faith, just believe," echos in my ear today and begs me to have a posture towards thankfulness.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

...dancing shoes...

so the last few weeks have been a little rough. not going to lie. i have felt off and stressed out. my brain is always going. trying to solve the issue that surround my world. usually pertaining to work and my place in this world (yes casey, some things never change). this means i have been on a journey trying to find the "who in me." i have been meeting with a friend/mentor to talk through and dig deeper into ME. we've been thinking through what i am good at, what i may need to work on and how to move and be closer to the person that god made me to be. (of course if you have thoughts or insight into this you are welcome to share...)

all of this to attempt to allow the "who" in me to dictate the "what" i put my energy towards. it is a no brainer that i am passionate particularly around issues of injustice and seeing the people of god arise to bring hope, life, healing and peace into the center of those places. i know i am getting close to a few really key elements of the who and what i'll spend some time focusing in on (although i have finally realized that this is probably a life long journey...so that has to be forward progress for me)! but in this process there have been moments of what i would call despair and a longing to just pull away...

and tonight we went dancing!

a group from the church we've been going to (ECV, elm city vineyard) had a salsa lesson/dance party for their home group and invited us. it was strange dancing with a bunch of people that i don't really know yet, learning a few new moves in salsa (i've been begging kimbal to take salsa lessons for oh about 6 years now) and just having this moment of letting go.

the salsa dancing eventually turned into a tour through music and the classics of each era (including the key dances during those times) we laughed historically while doing the running man and roger rabbit to a myriad of 80's one-hit-wonders. i've never been a great dancer but i have always loved to bust a move. it was nice. i was reminded to stop in the midst of this world and just dance. hopefully that will be a good thing to remember in this process of discovering me. knowing i'm one who needs to stop, dance and let go...not to mention that it in so many ways it encompasses the world we are fighting, hoping, waiting for.

so in your kitchen, shower, or with baby in arm turn the radio up and in the words of young MC "bust a move."


Sunday, May 31, 2009

to be a mother...



maybe it's because i have been traveling so much....maybe it's because life is finally starting to settle into reality here...maybe its because my son is so freakin cute...maybe it's just because...

i have been doing some thinking about being a mom and working. the last days i have felt a little strange. i have a feeling that i am starting to miss out on something. judah is at this amazing place where he is walking and talking and laughing and growing and i have this sense that i am missing it. confused because i know that god ever so clearly called me into this place where i am working my dream job AND living out specific pieces of what make up the very fabric of my soul...but nothing is so important that i want my own flesh and blood to feel abandoned in the pursuit of it. so i have bee thinking about it all...

and now here is the catch...i think that is isn't what is actually happening that is causing me to fret. i think that all the thinking about what's next has been causing me angst. the thought "should i be home with judah," "am i a bad mom for not being home" or "how can we adopt or grow our family AND have me work" or as kimbal looks for work in his calling i think "is it a bad thing to send judah to day care" or "is this an all or nothing thing-day care OR being at home."

i just spent the last hour searching on the web for advise, article, blogs from a new perspective. all i could find were peoples defenses on their choice to stay home or work. there were loads of judgments about the "bad mom who chose her career over her kids" or the "out of touch mom who gave up her career to be at home." so much shame, guilt for all of these amazing women who want the same thing: to love their kids and feel like they are contributing to this mess of a world.

kimbal and i have been thinking that there has to be another way. we want to take this dual responsibility of parenting and raising children seriously. we both want to be in the middle of what god has for us in bringing his kingdom in not only this world but our family. i want to be a good mom and a women that inspires people to pursue a life the love of god and neighbor and self. i want to be a part of building the kingdom at home and for the orphan and widow. i might be off my rocker and just need to realize that there isn't enough of me to go around OR there has to be a new way of thinking, living and being that allows for mothers and fathers to fully engage their families and their callings/careers.

thoughts!?!? is there a third option between kids being raised in day-care and one parent fully being at home? what could it look like? what role do fathers have in the conversation?

i'll leave you with a pic of the one who day by day is stealing this heart of mine.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

the collective SHOUT...






so at the anti-slavery organization i work for, love146, we have this term we call the collective shout. it is one of the things that we think needs to happen for this horror to end. we define it as one voice added to another added to another getting a bit louder and a bit stronger until all that is heard everywhere is "ABOLITION & RESTORATION."

my voice joined this shout about 4 years ago. sometimes i have screamed it and others i have whispered it but ever since i heard stories of children being forced into sexual slavery i haven't really been silent about it.

well this last week i didn't shout, or whisper but tweeted to bring abolition. for those that don't know twitter is this strange social networking site where you can "tweet" to your friends about what you are doing, ask them what they are doing and share "thoughts" (the catch is that each "tweet" can only be 140 characters). i signed up to have a twitter account for the first time on wednesday afternoon (you can follow me if i stick with it at @believe146). why?

hugh jackman, aka wolverine from x-men, sent out a twitter about 10 days ago that said he would give $100,000 to a person's favorite charity IF they would have to convince him of course by using 140 characters or less. so in the last week hugh received thousands upon thousands of tweets from all of these amazing people highlighting some of the most amazing work that is going on in the world today.

we decided to join in and tweet for love & abolition. kind of last min and a bit of an experiment for us, we jumped in with a strategy to get people to tweet hugh at 1:46 EST for a couple of days. we were AMAZED. hundreds upon hundreds of people tweeted and tweeted and tweeted. shouted and shouted. love146 was followed that day by thousands upon thousands of people. we had spikes in our web site. clever slogans came and made their appeal to mr jackman. people tweeted for us all through the night. the "twitter voice" for abolition was much much louder than we were expecting. we were shocked. a collective shout could be heard.

i sat in the office friday listening to the ryan seacrest morning show (were hugh would announce the winner). and...we didn't get it...two amazing organizations ended up splitting the prize because hugh couldn't decide between the two (charity water & operation of hope). both organizations i am extremely grateful exist and got some $ friday ... kids need clean water and deserve a beautiful, sparkling smile...

although grateful that the kingdom is being built through this there was this feeling of "shucks" and a sense of just being bummed out. the work of abolition is hard. it isn't cut and dry like digging a well and watching thousands of people get clean water from it. YES we have stories of hope and restoration. we have seen children who shouldn't smile ever again play, dance and embody joy in the flesh. but the fight to end this feels tricky and SO much is required. we need a people who challenge current systems and structures, who change the way they spend money, who challenge sexual addiction, pornography and the reason why we place so little value on a child. we need business men & women to be a voice to their co-workers, families to radically engage the foster care system. we need a social movement and change where all take a stand and shout, scream, tweet and live "ABOLITION." it can be done. i am sure of it now but the road is long and i am beginning to see that it requires much more than even i want to give sometimes...oh, jesus, help me, help us. sustain me, sustain us!

i read this quote the other day and i wanted to pass it along to all of you who shouted with us this week AND who have shouted with us over the years and will continue to do so even if hugh jackman isn't doing some charity giveaway! i found it in a book, the impossible will take a little while (a collection of short essays, poems, etc all with a focus towards social justice, social change and hope). in one of the essays a women is telling a story about a conversation she had with her friend. her friend works in suicide prevention and had been walking alongside someone for awhile who had just completed suicide. sad, frustrated and "bummed out" (much more so than i was on friday!!) her friend looked at her and made this statement:

"you know i cannot save them. i am not here to save anyone or save this world. all i can do-what i am called to do- is plant myself at the gates of Hope. sometimes they come in;sometimes they walk by. but i stand there everyday and i call out til my lungs are sore with calling and beckon and urge them toward beautiful life and love"

here's to some sore lungs and staying planted at the gates of Hope...even if mr jackman didn't send his $100,000 through the gates... PEACE & ABOLITION!!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

...justice and praise...

tuesday night i found myself in a youth group outside NYC. i was there with the president of the anti-slavery organization i work with to present to a group of students about what is going on in our world today and what they could do about it. my weeks have been filled looking at the ins and outs of this horrid scene that exists today WHILE traveling to different speaking venues with one of my mentors watching him "pitch" our orgainization to churches. really it has been amazing if i sit and think about it. i have heard the same message about a thousand times now and each time i am looking at it from the lense "how can i share this story? how can i engage the church to respond to this injustice?" what an awesome opportunity...

well i stood there in an all too familiar place. the room was PACKED with kids. filled with a diverse group. much more racially diverse than any crowd i probably have sat in. it was absolutly beautiful. kids scurried in, the music started and the youth pastor proceeded to call the kids that weren't "in to it" to the front of the room to teach everyone else how to clap. the kids would blush and then ham it up. some things never change in youth ministry! :) the room was crazy! i am sure if you have ever sat in a youth group with loud guitars and funky, messy, beautiful teens you know just what i am talking about.

i felt a wee-bit akward in the room, the music was familiar and yet my heart felt far from it. i prayed for the group that god would be preparing their hearts to hear his message that night. that they would see this issue and know how close it was to the heart of god and that kids would become empowered to respond. a few songs went by and i found myself sitting down "reading" my bible to avoid singing. another song went by and i forced myself to stand again to sing...and then a chorus hit me... (maybe a pre-chorus but who cares right!?!?)

...let JUSTICE and PRAISE become my embrace...

my eyes welled up just a tad but my heart was shattered...my vision has gone arry these weeks...maybe these months...probably these years. in the midst of this seach for justice and peace (that god is TOTALLY for), i have managed to forget the tension that justice rests upon...praise, light, life...of course there have been moments when i have praised god and others over the years but they are becoming few and far between. it is beginning to feel "uncomfortable." and rather in all things giving thanks and praise in most things i have given critique with an occasional horray.

as i sit here on this good friday i am remembering the cross, the justice, sacrifice, judgment, that came down upon jesus. that it was the cross that was needed to make right. yes it was a huge display of god's unending mercy for us but it was this place where he screamed "enough, IT IS FINISHED." and died. so much of what i long for is god to arise and bring justice. for his bride to awake and bring justice into the world...which IS his hope too...

sunday is a few days away and the resurecction is coming. i often wonder what the resurecction actually looked like. my hunch it was this big fat moment of complete praise in hevean and inside a little tomb on earth. a reminder of who it is that we seek and how amazing he is. goodness, light, life at a full in one moment. oh, what my heart longs for forever... why we seek justice... care for the poor... clean up the earth... take orphans, widows and the oppressed under our wing... the other tension is praise.

on tuesday, i had a moment of remembrence. and longed to be a person that was known for embracing justice and praise...love. maybe that's where love is, where the two intersect...

jesus, may justice and praise become my embrace to love you from the inside out.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

musings on prayer

"the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (james 5:16)

i have been thinking a lot about prayer. yes, probably because i am now responsible for putting out a monthly prayer letter to those we call our "prayer partners" (you can sign up here if you are into that praying thing). it is focused on bringing people up to speed with our projects and asking them to petition the throne of god for his favor to rest on them. "magically" the sermon kimbal and i watched the other day "happened" to have a focus on prayer (you can check that out here if you are into that watching sermons on-line thing). pastor boyd had an in depth sermon focused on many of the questions i struggle with. faith, prayer, and how that interacts with massive injustice occurring on our planet. he talks about how he often gets confused and sometimes frustrated unsure of the place that prayer holds in bringing the kingdom come on earth.

i understand his frustration. it is hard. sometimes i feel like i pray for something and god responds. people need a job and out of the blue a job comes their way. a couple prays for the child they long for and somehow god responds and they end up with a beautiful child (who i might add is hilarious right now. he is into dancing. and does the cutest little butt shake thing. i'll have to post that soon). jesus prayed for healing and people walked away healed. and yet...

yet there are moments when we pray and pray and don't get the job we need, or the child that we are longing for...and then you throw in a massive injustice like the sexual slavery and exploitation of children and mix that with "ask and you shall receive"...and i wonder what role prayer plays. i know that hundreds of people pray for abolition. and yet...it remains. in many cases it grows. and i wind up confused and frustrated and wondering what the heck is going on.

we as followers of jesus are told to pray always, in all situations and that our father listens AND responds. that the father we pray to longs for life, love and justice to flow over this earth like water the sea... we are reminded often that the prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective... and yet... there is this question in my heart that aches, "is it?!?!"

now i out of all people have been given proof time and time again that there is something to this prayer thing. proof that so many long to see that indeed god listens and responds. but somehow that faith doesn't seem quite big enough. my "proof" doesn't feel like a sufficient match to all the unanswered prayers, especially the ones that i am certain jesus longs answer (ones that come from the hearts of girls and boys caged in a brothel or the subtle cry from those literally starving to death).

i don't intend to answer many, if any, questions that are brewing in my mind HOWEVER the 3 points in the sermon i mentioned above seemed to nudge me to keep praying...

1. prayer isn't magic but warfare- when i pray i am not saying the right words at the right time with the right magic scriptures read all mixed together to bring about the will of god. i am actually engaging in an act of warfare. (something my pacifist heart loves to think about!) it is an active response, an active movement, and active pushing on the side of the kingdom.

2. faith isn't magic but vision- vision to see the kingdom of god and then continue to pray and believe (causing more warfare prayer-ness) that it actually has the ability to come. not a name it and claim it but a see it and keep fighting for it. jesus saw the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. he had the faith, or correct vision to see it and fight for it until death.

3. somehow, someway the kingdom will come- this has always been spoken to me. from a "god is totally in control" to a "god is the bad.a. that will win cuz he is so awesome" mentality. accross the spectrum of faith, we are given the promise that life, love and justice will come...that the kingdom will come. it hardly makes sense to me but something in me feels at peace. a longing peace...

with those three points in mind...i want to be one who prays. and i want to encourage more of us to pray. i want us to see a world that is free and push on our knees until it comes to pass...

our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. thy kingdom come. they will be done on earth as it is in heaven. give us today our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever... (the prayer of a very righteous man...powerful and effective...come jesus.)

Monday, March 9, 2009

what barbie and i have in common...



alright so i bet you'll never guess what this adorable piece of plastic and i have in common...i found out this week while reading a magazine. i was floored...barbie and i share the same birthday. yup! today barbie turns 50!!! 50 freakin years old. you must admit that she ages super well. being 50 she always has looked more like 18 (guess i should figure out who her plastic surgeon is...ok, done with the cheesy humor).

forever i think i wanted to share something with barbie. and this year i found out that i always have. i was a HUGE barbie fan growing up. i know many folks that like to shy away from their barbie loving years but i probably played with barbie until some ridiculous age where my mom had to hide her in the closet and i realized it wasn't cool to pretend to date ken anymore...i loved her. i think i had this love hate relationship with her though. on one hand i loved her because she was pretty, had some great accessories and in my imagination i could live vicariously through her. i, however, did join the thousands of little girls that some where deep down felt a whole bunch of pressure to be her. and well, this curly haired brunette just never quite added up to the fake doll. of course i never knew directly that barbie hindered my self esteem. i didn't cry in my room as a teen because i didn't look like her BUT i think that the image of what it meant to be beautiful somehow burned in my mind...

it has taken years of searching and thought to undo my paradigm of beauty. i have seen some unbelievably beautiful people in my world. i have modeled my life, clothing and hair style after them and the barbies on the screen (i only went blond for a few months and then realized that was just silly!)...and over the years i think i have begun to see what real beauty looks like...and i am convinced that it is rarely seen on a barbie doll.

but...

in the eyes of my best friend on her wedding day as they glowed in awe of the faithfulness of jesus...in the beautiful heart of one who would lay herself down to learn what it looks like to truly choose the love of someone...in the sacrifice of my mother who choose to give me the world while loosing so much of it for herself...in the sweet giggle coming from a downstairs room as "i love lucy" echoed in the back ground...in the persistence of a young women who month after month of getting her heart broken says "lets keep trying"...in the patience of a young mom teaching her son how to draw a bus...in a grandmother who has chosen to take her grandchildren and love them as first borns...in the broken heart that chose to let herself love again, even if it meant significant risk...in a body of jesus who threw themselves into a burning apartment building to make sure everyone was safe...in the dark eyes of the little uganda girls laughing just for the fun of it...a mother who sees all the broken as her own...in the tears of an indian prostitute who just wanted to know how her kids were doing...in the smile of a little girl in a photo that burns in my mind who many see as 146...

beauty is indeed all around and in the eyes of the beholder. over the years i have had the opportunity to behold so much beauty. this year i turn 28 and this year i am convinced that i will get to behold so much more. i will have the opportunity to restore, create, empower and seek beauty. i was joking with kimbal the other day as we talked about my official "start date" with love146 being my birthday. i told him that it was very significant to me...that this year, beginning today, i am now working with a group of people passionate and brilliant in the work of abolition and restoring beauty to its original intent (love146.org). what and amazing gift!

happy birthday to me!

today i sat in a staff meeting listening to ideas, thoughts, budget updates, etc...and i was overwhelmed for a moment that this is where i sat on my birthday...as i sat there i began to reflect on the journey i have had and all the beauty i have had the opportunity to hold in this life...i have held so much more than any blonde doll ever could!

so barbie, i am glad we share a birthday...but i am thankful that i haven't learned beauty from you...thank you to all of you beautiful women who continue to teach me what beauty is indeed all about! you, over the last 28 years, have been the image that i will spend my years modeling. i love you. you make me smile!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

...on the road to home...




...so it was 10 days ago that we said good-bye to denver and began the road-trip out east to a new beloved city, new haven...it was nearly a month ago that we packed up all our stuff and loaded it in a truck so our house could make its way to our new home (which i might add is STILL sitting in some warehouse in denver that will HOPEFULLY be coming this weekend...if it doesn't come soon i may have all you denver faithful riot the warehouse and drive it out here for us!!! oh bummer you would be here sooner than expected :))

...anyway, since we left denver, and our house we have had quite the adventure. before officially leaving town we got the opportunity to hang out in junction with kimbal's family where i officially became the kurtz wii bowling champ (i can't say the same for tennis). we spent some great time with the kiddos, his parents and some family friends. we then moved in with my mom for a week of fun in denver and tying up all our loose ends. we learned we had too many loose ends and should have lived with my mom for much longer with all the free babysitting and GREAT time with friends...and then we said good-bye.



the trip out here we reminisced about our lives, loves and losses in denver. we spent much of the time thinking, talking and attempting to wrap our minds around the fact that we just packed up and moved. we dreamed about what this could look like and chatted over theories of LOST along the way. judah was a rock-star and hardly needed any "help" in the back seat. he just seemed to be content with all of us in one little car (emma in the back seat with him), his toothbrush always in hand and jingling his bells to the music. i was amazed! i had a moment while judah was sleeping where i just glanced back SO thankful he was with us. he has brought a fullness, a richness and just plain fun to my world...ahh!

we stayed at homes and hotels along the road. the hotels were fun because we had to find spots where emma was welcome! emma just loved staying with us, and sleeping on all the hotel furniture. she just fit right in! omaha, ne was a thrilling experience eating with the hoins' clan, watching some good old husker basketball (i'll admit it made it much easier to watch when they ended up loosing the game, i had a piece of homemade peach black-berry pie in my hands, and i got to see some amazingly hilarious photos of mr. zach hoins growing up ! love you, z! thank you leah and dan for all your hospitality. you give a very clear picture of what the gift of hospitality looks like.



we did attempt a little family challenge...eating local. (now by this i don't mean eating loca-vore, only eating foods that are grown and made locally but rather trying to stay away from chains, drive and extra 5 miles to the small towns off the highway and eat at "ma & pa" spots along the way). it was so fun! i often thought of all you small town friends and wondered what life looked like growing up. in julesburg, co we ate at D & J's Cafe just as the local high school came for their lunch. we ate at a local pub with our dear friend in chicago and the friday night hang-out, Bulls Run Inn, in the cute quaint town of lewisberg, pa. however, i must give props to the best little cafe in newton, ia of all places. the cutest little cafe with AMAZING salads and mexican mochas, Uncle Nancy's Cafe. if ever happen to find yourself in the middle of iowa, do yourself a favor and visit!










the not so fun part of it all was when i got a winter-bug-cold thing somewhere in the middle of illinois. the last three days of the trip i had a painful fever, sore throat, and cough. kimbal was amazing! he made sure both judah and i were well taken care of and was filled with so much grace. it was an interesting experience pulling into new haven so sick i was hardly awake and trying to muster up the excitement of "we're here." i think both kimbal and i were disappointed in the initial moment. however, with sleep, some good time with friends, a classic east coast winter storm and a few hours in my new job we are warming up to this idea. today i was finding it hard to whipe this big goofy grin off my face that has me saying "this is so not my life...ahh!!" on this road it will be soon where i am saying "ahh!!! this is my life!"









Sunday, March 1, 2009

a warm back

i am sitting in our friends house. it is cold outside and we are supposed to get 8 inches of snow tonight and maybe another 6 tomorrow. i just spent a few hours touring around a city that will hopefully feel like home to us soon and my nose is still running from this nasty cold that has been holding onto me since chicago...

i just finished a cup of tea, and my back is near the pellet stove and that makes me smile. i am glad to be off the road. being in a warm house with friends, and watching our children play together is great medicine for someone with getting over a cold and homesickness...i love you denver and miss you! come play soon!

PS soon, i'll post about our roadtrip adventures...we did take some pictures and have a few stories to tell!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

these are a few of my favorite things





denver. colorado. home.

this city is home to me. i have lived in and around it my whole life. from my first steps in boulder to down south to graduating from DU a few years back to living in my first barn. this city is filled with memories, places, moments that i treasure. of course when you are in the thick of life it is hard to actually see your home for all that it is. and now life is moving me, my family somewhere new. two weeks from right now i will be in a new city, finding new treasures, family, friends and places to call my own...in this time of transition i have been lucky to sit. to observe. to remember life here, home. i thought i would gather some of my thoughts and share my spaces. a few of my favorite things. there is indeed so much i will miss. this place has been good to me. as i write i am not quite sure when i'll be home (visits of course!!) but i am not sure if this space will be my home . but i do know that it will always be a space where home is. where "welcome home" will always mean something to me. so here it is. a few of a little girls favorite things over the past 27 (almost 28 years!)




-the view from the playground on 16th and boulder (of course with jude smiling in the swing)
-walking to vitamin cottage to get my groceries
-1/2 coffee 1/2 hot chocolate @ ink cafe
-the sun coming through the windows at the starbucks in REI
-big fat biscuits from lucille's
-the artisan's center
-the red bud tree in our yard that we might not ever see blossum
-jude's window when the sun is shining through and his "bird" just look like shadows
-the schrug @ vita
-70 degree days in january



-the view from the top of keystone when the sun is shining and i am strapping my board on
-grandma and grandpa's 26th floor view
-the humanities gardens @ good old DU
- old school parker days...
-blueberry pancakes @ duo (with the yummy syrup)



-the "lake" :)
-the open mic at celebration
-our first barn
-dirty chai's with breakfast begals @ cafe cafe
-concerts at red rocks...oh my! so amazing!
-rio margaritas



-top row, section 203 folsom field (like it more when we are wining but i'll take it any fall day!)
-kids running through the fountain on pearl street
-pasquini's chocolate candle
-sunflower market
-lawson park
-mediterranean blt at gelman's
-the patio i've yet to eat in at potager
-jazz in the park
-the mistletoe hanging at the botanic gardens every holiday season



-the get-downer days
-97.3
-mexican chocolate ice cream @ little man
-the view from the exit just past lookout mountain
-better together happy cakes
-the chicago dog at mustard's last stand
-wash park in june and november
-all the microphones my voice has worshiped through (but mostly those folks i stood beside)
-the kurtz kabin in amazing norrie



my list could go on and on...as i sit and write i am still amazed by the home here and i am so quick to realize so much of the home is in the people i have discovered this place with! i love you!! you know all are!!! and instead of continuing it i am gonna go out and enjoy home (and all those people who will always be home to us) before we leave it!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

i think i am a mother...


so just a little over a year ago this little man walked into my world. actually he rudely shoved himself into my world and demanded everything of me. i will be the first to admit that on december 19, 2007 when our son judah was born i was not a mom. i mean, of course i had become a mother but it was hard. it was a struggle. i was often told by my own mother in the early days that there would come a day when i couldn't imagine life without jude and i would be willing to do anything for him.

early on i knew that should be true but it was hard. i had NO clue all that was included in the new role of motherhood. my life quickly broke down into 3 hour segments. the nights were shorter and days felt long. i should have been able to put him to sleep better, calm him when he cried...but it all was so anti-me. being home with him made our house feel empty and lonely. i continued to tell myself that being home with judah for this first year was indeed a privilage but i didn't always believe it.

day by day, 3 hour segment by segment this year squeeked by and now i sit and wonder where it has gone. i think about where a lot of things went; my free time, my life, my heart, me. taken. stolen. by this now 13 month old son...somehow the moments spent rocking wondering when he might fall asleep lead to the place where today i rocked him and held onto him a little longer. not quite ready to let go of him yet. his little laugh melts my stubborn heart. bath time, meal time and play time are mere peaks now into what i am sure is what life is meant to be. and the word mama trembling off his little lips when he wants to be held is enough for me. i am glad that "i" was stolen. "me" is no more. i have changed.

jude...my little love. thank you for taking me. with joy and a grateful heart, i am privilaged to be your mama.