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Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

In Uncategorized on December 31, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Dear 2010,

You have been grand. You taught me a lot, brought a lot of changes to my life, challenged me to trust in challenging times, and all around surrounded my life with love. With that I send you out with a toast of green tea and tofu.

Sincerely,

Joy

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Dear 2011,

I welcome you with open arms. I am as excited for you as I am the new green that adorns our bedroom walls. My prayer is that God will show us how to decorate this year well.

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Mary love.

In Uncategorized on December 27, 2010 at 12:50 am

Merry, Merry Christmas (a day or two late) to you my friends!

I hope each of you had a wonderful holiday, filled with Jesus, family, good food, and good times. In the past few years I have come to appreciate the advent season more and more; which is kind of interesting because I don’t think I even knew what “advent” was before I began attending my current church. It just was not part of the lingo or tradition that I remember growing up. When I came to Cornerstone however, celebrating the coming of Jesus suddenly was not just a one day thing, but instead whole advent season to prepare for and celebrate Emmanuel.

Advent is a time of anticipation to me. We as the church anticipate God coming to be with us. We anticipate that one day Christ will return and bring justice, grace, and love forever to our world. The work will be done.

This year I have been thinking a lot about Mary, about birth, about my pregnant friends, and about what the Advent season of anticipation can uniquely mean for women. God showed women such a huge amount of respect by choosing to make a virgin pregnant with his/her Son, and having our savior spend nine months gestating like all the rest of us. At the time of Jesus’ birth discrimination against, and disrespect for, women was pervasive (but isn’t it always unfortunately). Even though women carried babies and bore them, they were not considered to have anything to do with the child’s creation. Believing that nothing good could come from women, society held that men planted the full human “seed” through their semen. So in the midst of this incredibly sexist society God chose to trust a woman with his/her Son. He could have brought Jesus here any way. Jesus could just have appeared… perhaps fully grown. But instead God chose to honor women and throw all the discriminatory nonsense on head by not having a male ‘s semen involved in the most famous birth of all history.

Having just finished reading about fifty birth stories this past week in “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” I have come away with even more appreciation for the female body, and awareness that women’s bodies can be trusted to bring life into the world as God intended. I am seeing birth more and more, to be a huge blessing and honor that God has given all of us females. God created us to be strong, powerful, full of love and grace, and then to be the very conduit of the most important person ever to be born.

In the birth stories I have been reading there has been a lot of talk of the anticipation the women feel for their coming delivery of their child. Many of them referred to the time as being holy. I am sure Mary felt the same anticipation. She probably also had a lot of stress occurring in her life around the time of Jesus’ birth (with the whole riding on a donkey for hours while pregnant, having to travel for a dumb census for their dictatorial ruler, and them not being able to find a place to stay), but when her baby came, when Jesus arrived I am sure it was a beautiful, holy time.  A time that God gives all of us with each birth that occurs.

Thinking of Mary anticipating Jesus’ birth, along with all the women I read about, has made me anticipate Jesus in a new way this year. It is less mystical and religious…and honestly more primal. It feels more settled. More natural. Like birth itself.

So here’s to a beautiful season of anticipation drawing to a close. I sure am glad we have kick-ass women like Mary to help show us the way…and bring our Savior to us. My prayer is that we can all move from anticipation to participation. That Emmanuel can overwhelm every aspect of our lives. I sure need this. I think the world and church (honestly) quickly makes it clear that we all do.

An awesome Mary thanks to good ol' google images

lately…

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Little snapshots of life and thought lately:

– Phil and I did our first wheatgrass shots this past Saturday. We’re crazy kids I know…but for real it tasted like grass, and nothing else. Surprise.

– Our church did Advent Conspiracy this year and ended up giving $25,000 to help start a ministry for children with special needs at our church, to support my friend Krissy and her friends starting an AIDS orphanage in Cambodia, to our local non-profit that works in the Bensley community, and to our 17 missionaries serving around the world. I could not be more proud and thankful for the community God has placed us in.

– Phil and I moved…downstairs. So come hang out with us in the new digs, and perhaps help us put it together!

– I have been reading Ina Gaskins “Guide to Childbirth” all weekend and am completely taken with it. Sidenote- Not pregnant, just passionate about birth.

– I think there are few things more tragic than a suicidal child. Spending your evenings talking with a child about how they are thinking about jumping off a nearby bridge is terrifying.

– In the midst of the above sadness I am surrounded as well by beauty. I have so many friends getting engaged, bringing new life into the world, and being content in single life. It is a beautiful thing.

– We have roommates living upstairs, which is exciting! Living closer with people, and learning about community.

– We had our first visit from neighbors yesterday. It only lasted for about 30 minutes, but fun with American Girl dolls was had by all.

– ….

Drop the I-word

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2010 at 7:27 pm

I cringe every time I hear someone use the term illegal in describing someone created in God’s image. Yes, some people break man’s law (many doing it justifiably in my opinion), and come into this country without legal permission, but EVERYONE one of us breaks God’s law…often on a daily basis. Would we like our “sins” to be hyphenated to the front of our name? I don’t think so. Moreover the word illegal carries with it such a horrible message about the person’s very existence. Perhaps we need to extend the same grace showed to us by God on a daily basis to others. Perhaps we need to drop all the words we put before people’s names. You may not call people “illegals”, but perhaps you put “jerk”, “slut”, “no-good”, “annoying”, “stupid” or any other derogatory description before someone else’s name. I know that I myself am guilty of doing this.

We have all got to stop. If everyone on this earth was created by God, then we are all God’s children. With that in mind no person deserves to be called illegal. They are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandmothers, singles, families, and communities who have immigrated here. They are more similar to us than dissimilar. In fact their story is in some ways very similar to the One I serve. Remember that Jesus, Mary and Joseph had to flee to another country and hide out illegally because Jesus’ life was being threatening by King Herod.

I think when we feel comfortable calling someone “illegal” it is a great sign of how our community and personal relationships have broken down. It is a sign that we are not living out the kingdom of God as we should. Because clearly we are not in any close relationship with any immigrants. Our lives are not being joined with them in friendship. Trust me once you get to know anyone that you may have called “illegal” before, you will not continue to do so, because you get to know them. You come to understand them, and God-willing you come to care for them. And then you cannot imagine calling that beautiful person something so degrading. Instead they become your brother or sister. They become what could have just as easily been you if you had been born in a different country.

leftover thankfullness.

In Uncategorized on December 7, 2010 at 8:28 am

Can I begin by simply saying how thankful I am for holidays that make you stop working so that you can spend good quality time with people you love, doing things you love. I mean seriously can I get an amen for how good a four-day break is. And well this was a four-day break filled with good food and family.

On with it then…leftover thankfullness from this Thanksgiving season :

1. Getting to see so much family. We got to spend time with both my grandmothers, and I had a good call out to California to talk with my sister.

2. Exercising with my husband. With all of my respiratory issues I am very thankful to God to have been able to run a 10k Thanksgiving morning with Phil and do yoga. I did not run fast, but I ran, and it was perhaps the most beautiful run I have ever experienced.

3. Spending time with friends. Talking with people face-to-face is always such a blessing.

4. Having more holiday time to look forward to.

5. Naps. Enough said.

6. Helping my father clean out the family storage unit…therefore getting to spend about two days sifting through family memories. I brought home about seven family picture albums that I have not seen in years. It was wonderful to see all the pictures of my mom. I also found all the cards people sent to us after her passing. It was a blessing to spend time reading all the kind things people had to say about her. Other treasures found include my American girl dolls (to be re-gifted this Christmas), my sister and I’s Cabbage Patch dolls, and my Raggedy Ann dolls (they will be staying)!

7. Having great quality time with my husband. I can never get enough of it, but I am always thankful for what I get.

8. Lastly I am very thankful to have a job to return to. It may be long hours, and little pay…but it is a great job, and I am blessed to have it. I continually hear about those who have been unemployed for over a year and I am amazed at how blessed I am to be working full-time.

It is all very good.