Step Back and Breathe

woman drinking a cup of anger

We seem to feed on anger

I wonder how many times, in my life, I’ve stood in the midst of angry, taunting teens. I wonder how many times the anger has been directed at me.

I’ve been called names. I’ve been threatened. I’ve felt like crying. (Okay, sometimes I have cried.) I’ve helped separate kids in the middle of fist fights and tended the wounds they sustained in battle – both the physical wounds and the emotional, which tend to gouge a bit deeper. I’ve stepped in between two kids when one pulled a knife. (Upon further reflection, that may not have been my smartest move. Especially considering both of them were bigger than me.) I’ve stared kids down. I’ve called them on their bluster. But, most importantly, we’ve all just calmed down. Together. We’ve all just calmed down. Continue reading

Unnecessary(?) Church Traditions

The ever changing church

This is the Church

Every first and third Tuesday of the month, several young adults from our church, as well as a smattering of young-at-heart adults, gather for an alternative worship service. At our most recent gathering of “Wild Goose Worship,” the question was raised: “Which traditions do we continue, here in the church, even though they’re outdated or even silly?” Continue reading

The Little Church that Could

half full>half empty

Which is It?

My church sits nestled in the uppermost corner of the Pacific Northwest, in the “land of the nones,” where people are happier worshiping nature than any Divine Being. Once a beautiful, three story, downtown cathedral, our church eventually downsized to a more practical facility on the outskirts of town, as the 1950’s heydays of church gave way to the realities of the postmodern era. Now, as people drive past each weekend, cars loaded down with kayaks and canoes, backpacks and skis, my little church seems to let out a wistful little sigh. If these walls could speak, they just might whisper, “I’m still here!” Continue reading

A Complicated Good-Bye

father and child

My Daddy & Me, 1958

I stood halfway down the street, as straight and tall as a seven year old could stand, sobs wracking my body. About twenty yards from the front of my house, perhaps thirty from the entry to our cul-de-sac, I watched as my father drove away. It was not the first time we had bid each other farewell. It would not be the last. Continue reading

I Pray the Lord My Stuff to Take

Craft room catch all corner

In my “Santa’s Workshop” craft room – a catch all corner of confusion

I learned the prayer as a tiny child, as so many of us did. “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” The words have long haunted me. They’re words I never liked and so it’s a prayer I did not teach my own children as they grew. They’re words a friend of mine did not care for, so she taught an altered version to her children. (Their version had angels watching over them and was much nicer.) As an adult, I rarely think of the prayer. That is, until recently.

Continue reading

Living in THAT Kind of Neighborhood

porch light with red tennies

Leave the Porch Light Burning

We’ve survived another Halloween. We purchased enough candy to feed the hordes. We put up the graveyard on the front lawn and the Headless Horseman in the front window. Dracula and our many spiders were well in evidence. The dogs were barricaded from the entryway, so as not to terrify the visiting ghouls and goblins. And we did all we could to make our visitors feel welcome. Continue reading

Breathe in the Peace

When a Newfie says sit, you sit.

When a Newfie says sit, you sit!

We have a large beast in our home. He doesn’t seem to know that he is a large beast – or perhaps he does. He is large and loud and rambunctious and sometimes even a bit aggressive. It’s an unusual things for a Newfoundland to be aggressive, but our Mo is a tad on the unusual side. Still, we love the wee, uh large, beastie. Continue reading