girl growing

and a space for her to play in

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

'safe space' blessing

while i was in telford, england a few weeks ago i got the chance to create a meditation for the 'safe space' thursday night gathering.
since part of the world is presently celebrating ramadan, i thought it would be neat to take a deeper look into the practice for new insight and experience.
conveniently we ate dinner after dark since the ramadan feasting wouldn't have started until 7:23pm-'when the white thread becomes distinct from the black thread'.
this is the blessing that came from that meditation.

blessings on us as we stand on scorched ground,
surrounded by blazing fire & intense heat-
looking into the darkness...and waiting.
blessings on us as we pursue patience, sacrifice & humility-
purifying ourselves of the past...
and looking onward to the future.
blessing on us as we share a meal with family and with the rest of humanity-
people who are searching, and yearning, and seeking just like those of us here.
blessings on us as we breathe in peace
and as we exhale calm.
let us remember those in need, those hurting, and those who go unnoticed.
let us remember that we have entered into a safe space,
that we are loved,
and perhaps above all-
we are blessed.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

ryan & i

so after 3 months spent apart thus far, ryan and i have decided to give 'us' another go.
i think that many people in their early twenties undergo their first experience of 'dying to self' or as i like to call it, 'undoing'.
ryan and i just happened to go through that process together.
i think it made us both a little crazy (or maybe that was just me!),
and rather than being puzzle pieces that are able to help and heal each other...
we started to do more damage than good.
the best thing ryan ever did for us was to finally say enough is enough after two years of dating.
that was a week before i left on this trip and one of the most painful experiences i have ever gone through...even thinking about it now makes my eyes tear up.
but instead of giving into the temptation to pendulum swing over to extreme independence, withdrawal, and the ugliness that characterizes many young breakups, 
we chose to give each other time, stay connected, reach out to those around us that could help, and were vulnerable.
i kept thinking that elizabeth gilbert was right, 
that soul mates aren't meant to last forever...
that it's too painful,
that they reveal layers of us,
that they tear apart our egos,
show our obstacles and addictions,
break our hearts so new light can get in,
make us so desperate and out of control that we have to transform our lives,
and then they leave.

but maybe she was wrong.
maybe sometimes they can come back.
maybe it is possible to live with a soul mate forever.
we're going to give it a try and see what happens.
i've still got another 2 and 1/2 months overseas.
we've both got plenty more learning & growing to do,
and even though i'd like to be home with him, with my family & friends,
i know deep down that this journey isn't over for me yet.
but today is a good day.
a day full of hope and new chances.
a day to be thankful for.

the broken blessing

most of you know my friend jonny baker who published the 'book of blessings'  from wellspring in tomball, texas.
last week his son harry did an improvised blessing for the grace
worship gathering in london.
they also had this table (pictured above) created from broken pieces.
lovely. enjoy.

'May we be blessed.
As we look to the year ahead, and the year gone by.
As we return to our schools and workplaces and find New rocks and New brambles.
May you be blessed as you engage with others,
as you find the time to participate and give others the chance to do the same.
May you have the courage to create and take risks,
and may you find your rest in God.

May you be blessed, as you show your weaknesses and accept God's Grace.
May others see that you are fragile that they might join in your fragility.
May our broken edges fit together to become one body.
As Christ kept the holes in his hands and feet having rose from the dead,
may we keep our wounds even after we have healed.
May you be blessed as you are healed by Christ's own wounds.
May you become broken in order to become whole.
May you become whole by knowing you are broken.

May you remember your wounds and embrace your hurt.
May you go into the places that scare you.
May you deal with anger and with sadness
And may God be with you all the way.

May you be blessed, that you are perfect in your imperfections -
as you are forgiven, but never forgotten.
May you be blessed, as you are accepted as you are.
As you are broken.
As you are wounded.
As you are hurt.
As you are loved.
-harry baker

Saturday, September 20, 2008

it's cold over here.

my friend mark topping sent me some of these lyrics this week. a bit of fun for my english friends and texan friends back home!

'well when you're down on your luck and you ain't got a buck 
in london you're a goner,
even london bridge has fallen down and moved to arizona.
now i know why and i'll substantiate the rumor that the english sense of humor
is drier than the texas sand.
you can put up your dukes or you can bet your boots but i'm leavin' as fast as i can.
i want to go home with the armadillo good country music from amarillo and abilene,
the friendliest people and the prettiest women you've ever seen.

well it's cold over here.
lord i swear i wish they'd turn the heat on.
and where in the world is that english girl i promised i would meet on the third floor,
and of the whole damn lot the only friend i got is a smoke and a cheap guitar.
my mind keeps rollin' and my heart keeps yearnin' to be home in texas bar.
i want to go home with the armadillo...

well i decided that i'd get my cowboy hat and go down to marble arch station,
'cause when a texas fancies he'll take his chances,
chances will be taken that's for sure.
and them limey eyes, they were eyin' the prize some people call manly footwear,
and they said you're from down south and when you open your mouth,
son you always seem to put your foot there.
i want to go home with armadilla...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

day 68

there are some days while i'm traveling when i realize just how much i miss another human's touch. 
it's especially noticeable whenever i've got little kids around.
little kids break the barrier.
they aren't afraid to hug, or cuddle, or climb all over you.
i have been away from my family for 68 days now.
most of those 68 days i have gone completely without the touch of another person, and those add up.
handshakes are more normal,
and hugs are rare.
it makes me really not take for granted the times my family hugged and held a little bit longer than normal,
or when i had someone hold my hand or even a playful punch in the shoulder.
it makes me sad...
and lonely.
but it also shows me what kind of person i want to be,
and that gives me hope.
i want to be someone who doesn't hesitate to reach out and break the space barrier with those around me.
i want to be someone who never takes for granted those special moments when i'm lucky enough to have someone else reach out and physically connect with me.
i want to be different, 
and somehow, 
i think i will be.

to travel light.

'if you wish to travel afar and fast, travel light.

take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.'

-cesare pavese; italian poet

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

mother nature

'leisure is a form of silence,
not noiselessness. 
it is the silence of contemplation such as occurs when we let our minds rest on a 
a child at play, 
a divine mystery, 
or a waterfall.'
-fulton j. sheen

a few days ago i watched as hurricane ike hurled itself at my home in houston.
so far on this trip i have felt a huge amount of movement internally:
emotionally, physically, psychologically, spiritually...
but i was thrown off balance by the out-of-control feelings i got 
watching that hurricane,
worse than the suffocating feeling i sometimes get right before i travel here alone.
i watched, horrified, as swirls of green, yellow, red, and orange slowly traveled,
and spent hours online clicking the 'refresh' button on weather sites.
i saw friends' statuses on facebook change from humor around the hurricane,
to devastation after when they really wondered whether their friends were alive.
i waited, almost in panic, to hear from my family and friends as the storm passed over the little dot labeled 'houston'.
finally i called home and spoke to a few people and was assured everyone was okay.
it was the first time i've heard their voices in over two months.
i have several friends who have lost absolutely everything.
my father's building in houston-the chase building-had all it's windows blown out.
people are still waiting to have food, baths, and electricity and may be for weeks.
i'm still processing through just how powerful the anxiety of the past few days has affected me,
and even though most of houston still lies in ruin,
i'm just glad the storm has passed and clean up can begin.
two days after watching the hurricane pummel houston,
i went on a day trip with the berry family over to wales to visit a waterfall.
it was breathtaking.
we stood at the bottom of the fall and looked upward,
and then climbed the mountain and were able to look downward.
me, being as stubborn as i am, decided that i need to get a photo going straight down the fall.
this required me to crawl across the fall...
and, being clumsy as well, took a tumble in the chilly waters.
it was hilarious, and i got the shot i wanted once i finally made it to the other side.
she is a funny one, that mother nature.
sometimes we curse the winds and rain,
and other times we stand in awe and reverence of the beauty.
i experienced both of these within days of each other.
i am thankful for both-
thankful that i could be challenged once again for more movement within me,
and thankful that i could see waterfalls-something some people never see in their whole lives.
perhaps it's true, that to the depth we feel pain is to the height we feel joy:
'who do you think 'spoke and it happened'?
it's the master who gives such orders.
doesn't the high God speak everything,
good things and hard things alike, into being?
and why would anyone gifted with life complain?'
-lamentations 3:37-39

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


my friend shannon sent me this message today as we discussed my staying overseas:
'there is an odd space on the day we choose to not return and to stay... 
but i pray in this space great hope and excitement about peace.'
and then in another message:
'...what happens when people that come over leave their ticket...
and every one of us talks about what happens when we really abandoned ourselves to the journey.
be in it today.'

day 59

today is the day that i was originally scheduled to go home.
instead, i've got another 3 months stay across the wide atlantic ocean.
really today is just like any other day,
but i guess in some ways it shows the second half of this journey.
it shows a commitment to staying...
and a commitment to trust that i can make it over here on my own.
i've not only got to trust myself, 
but also the people around me and in the big G-O-D 'up there'.
that kind of trust is a difficult thing for me...
but i have a feeling it will be alright.
it's also hard not to wonder what life would have been like if i had returned.
there are people that i was so looking forward to seeing,
and now there's another 90 days before i see their shining faces.
the weather has turned cold here...and rainy...
autumn is definitely here,
and it will definitely be colder when i head back up to the orkney island in two weeks.
so far i've done some really great things-
i've got to see a real, live english football game!
it was the local telford united team and was great fun.
i got to visit warwick castle,
and i got to eat one of the local popular foods: an indian balti!
in addition to doing, i've met some great people.
mark's group that meets at his house on thursday night, safe space,
are an interesting bunch.
they come from all different faith backgrounds:
charismatic, traditional, no faith at all...
the charismatic is the furthest from where i've come in my own journey.
we've had lots of conversations about
the group partners in harvest,
the todd bentley scandal in florida,
and what the 'gifts of the spirit' actually are.
they have been fun conversations and some intense conversations.
those topics are ones that were far away from my very baptist university,
and the people who i've met have had some great experiences and stories...
and some really painful ones.
it has been interesting and i am being stretched by the worlds outside of my own.
on sunday i got to visit one of these charismatic churches.
it was...different.
it wasn't nearly as wild as i imagined it would be,
but i'm proud to say i ventured out there.
no one tried to cast a demon out of me,
no one decided i need healing or 'deliverance',
and other than a bit of shaking and yelling out...
it was a fairly normal service.
i'm glad i'm able to touch on these parts of the world and meet these really great people.
i can only imagine what kind of interesting things await me in the next 3 months...
even if i still am still a bit sad to not be on a plane right now headed back to texas.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

the blessing.

the lovely jenny baker helped get the greenbelt blessing put on the actual greenbelt website...
it's in the right column with the quote from o'donahue.
you can check it out here

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

a safe space

i'm in telford, england now with mark berry's family and the safe space  space community.
i've already picked a word for them, and it's 
i think part of my comfort is the fact that i met mark berry two years ago and we've stayed in pretty good contact.
another part is that i've got my own room with a large double bed! hooray!
the room is full of neutral colors and just oozes peace.
they're also a family that really reminds me of my own.
today i went shopping with mark's wife-louisa-and the supermarket really resembled the ones back in the states and i suddenly found myself really missing shopping with my own mother.
kinda made me homesick a bit.
mark and louisa are a lovely couple and they have an adorable (and energetic) four year old named nathan (or 'natty' as they call him).
today i got to meet one of the families that journeys with 'safe space'...
they are actually leaders in another church that is much more charismatic than the meditative safe space.
i got to hear some of their journey this afternoon and really enjoyed getting to hear where they've come...the families' journey is drastically different from my own, but i was put at ease very quickly by their kind and inviting manner.
tomorrow we'll head off to wales or the peak district (yay jane austen!)
i really am loving it here in telford.
i suppose deciding to stay on these next couple of months made me realize just how much i've been running myself exhausted by all the experiences i've had thus far,
and it will be nice to be in a place i can rest. 
in a week or two i'll head back up to the orkney island to take care of andrew jones' kiddos while he and his wife debbie are away.
it's already cold here...and rainy, of course.
makes me kind of miss the hot texas days,
but who can beat london in the autumn and winter?
perhaps another cup of warm tea will do the trick...