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Showing posts from October, 2011

Baaaah

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Psalm 23The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
In getting ready for Trunk or Treat at Hope this week, I was working on costume ideas.  While it sounds fun, it felt overwhelming.  I have lots of ideas so the decision process has been more about what could I reasonably execute with my time, energy and money available.  Life has felt a little challenging lately.  My mental energy has been higher than my physical which means I was chasing my tail a lot.  I realized today that on…

I Only Have Bandaids

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Did you ever wonder if you are crazy because your mind is exploding?  Ok, me neither, but I have been obsessed this last couple weeks (just ask my poor husband).
While exploring ways to heal extreme poverty, I have been looking at what it might look like to live on about a dollar a day.  And I cannot.
I cannot drive my car to work since the gallon of gas it would take me is $3.48.  I cannot ride the bus either because one way is 2.15.  I could not take my medicine because the total is  0.83 & I would still like to eat if possible, but at least flush my toilet once in a while (and that includes buying the 1.6 gallons of water that each flush takes and the daily fee of 0.80 for sewage).  I haven't added in light bulbs or electricity (fridge) or heat (getting cold) or food (shopping for the old stuff at Amelia's will still add up).
So, I decided that I really cannot LIVE on a dollar a day.  I could sit on my sofa, sipping water that I got from a creek down the hill, and peeing i…

Let It Begin With Me

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Since I have started this series of rants and wrestlings over what to do about extreme poverty, I have come up with answers that have questions and questions that lead to more questions.  In the end, somehow I am back to me.  (For those of you who do not know, the World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than $1.25 a day whereas Unicef defines it as living on less than $1.  About 1 in 6 people fall into this category globally.)

There is this song that makes me want to sway like an ice skater when I hum it in my head.  "Let...there...be peace...on earth...and let it begin....with me....Let....there...be peace...on earth...the peace that was meant....to be..."  If it weren't such a hokey song, I may have attached the video, but the videos all seem much lamer than those phrases.

I wish that eradicating extreme poverty were as simple as microfinance and child sponsorship.  I also wish that hurting marriages could be healed just with a therapist.  The therapist h…

Why?

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A friend wrote me:  Is the problem of poverty because we Americans have "too much money and we are selfish consumers who spend it on ourselves" OR is it something totally different?  Is it that Americans are greedy? That businesses are greedy? or is it that we aren't helping people?

It would be wonderful if there was a succinct "why" to the question of poverty because then we would be able to answer it, relieve it, heal it, more easily.  I am not sure it really is that simple.

Is it my fault as an American?  I don't think so. I do know part of my personal equation, part of the reason that I am concerned and try to actively pursue resolutions toward inclusion to spreading the wealth (figuratively, not literally) is tha I struggle with grace.  Why am I given things, blessed if you will, while others are not?

Truly, that is one of the reasons that I even write this blog-this struggle, this wrestling.  While the grace of God's loving redemption is an amazi…

Should We?

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So the Occupy movement has even hit our small town/farming community of Lancaster.  It makes me wonder, if we are a global community, is it that tragic being the 99%???  Shouldn't we be working to end the true poverty in the world?  We, who live in the United States, have many advantages such as free education, food stamps, reduced lunches for students, medical assistance programs, food and clothing banks, free or sliding scale medical and dental clinics.  Many, globally, do not have these luxuries.

I am not saying that corporate greed is good.  I think the big companies that take work to 3rd world countries and pay the workers a mere pittance should be held accountable for the harm that they do to both economies.  But as long as we, as consumers/materialists, are willing to buy, well, they are going to be willing to sell and as cheaply as possible.  (And just so you know, the projections for a single shopping day this year, Black Friday, are that an expected 225 million consumer…

Could We Really?

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I sponsor through Compassion.  I do it for many reasons, but the biggest is that I hope that my small contribution (which really amounts to a monthly credit card payment) might make a difference in a little girl's life.  And, I have found that Compassion has given back to me over the years, most recently in the form of tickets to a screening of the movie 58:Fast. Forward. The End of Poverty.

I have to admit, I was nervous about the film.  Many years ago I foolishly prayed that I might glimpse the world through God's eyes and I have found my heart broken, again and again.  As I learned more about God's love for me, I became more concerned with the suffering of others.  We sponsored one little girl in Peru because that has always been a country that I felt drawn to.  One girl, well, it reminded me of the story about the little boy throwing starfish back into the ocean ("I made a difference for that one!"), but there were so many more!  And, while we aren't wea…

Fitting In?

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I remember being different for a very long time.  As a little girl, my mother said I was different because I was artistic, that I felt things more intently than others.  My father said that our family is just never able to settle, that we always feel restless.
Is that what this is?
I am a do-er.  If I am learning about something, I want to learn how to apply it.  If there is no practical application for something, there doesn't seem to be any reason to waste my time on it. 
As I learn, I am discontent.  I want to do more.  I want to move.  I want to do now.
I don't fit in.
Instead, I twist and reframe and refocus to find a nicer way of dressing up this passionate discontent.  But there isn't any.  Just awkwardness.  I should learn to cook.  Or refinish furniture. 
I don't fit in.  Gangliness of a spiritual adolescence perhaps.  Restlessness of a nomad.  Emotionality of an artist.
Peace is found in knowing that nothing surprises You.  Peace is knowing that You are the God of…

Blog Carnival-Seasons

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It was all so much simpler in my spring.  I suppose it is for everyone. 
That is why babies and puppies and newness are squealed over. 

I have been struggling.  Spring has long gone.  The leaves are falling.
I loved what I had, what once defined me.
Without it now, I feel like a crab without a shell-
             vulnerable...
                           homeless...
                                          dry in spirit.

I know, that all is not lost.
I know, things change.
I know, that God,
             who brought me from there to there once,
             will bring me from here to there again.
I know, the story is not over.
I know, the season will change, again.

I wish my heart knew all this as well.

Check out more blog entries on Seasons at the Carnival.

Armchair QB

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“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” John 4:21-26 NIV
(Ok, so maybe this wasn't exactly what the message was about, but it is what I tuned into.)
It is interesting that the text speaks of "true worshipers." If there are true, there must be false. (This is a little scary, especially because it echoes that passage when people are trying to come into heaven and Jesus …

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off to Church I Go....

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Somehow, this is the family I have always pictured when it comes to being a church-going family.  And, those of you who know me know that I am not in that picture at all!  LOL  In fact, I would probably burn the picture, give mom a mustache or horns, and then make spit balls out of it to shoot at the preacher.  Ok, so I am not that bad anymore, but since it has only been 3 weeks without a smoke, I am in a bad mood.  (Kirk, please make sure this picture NEVER gets on a bulletin anywhere near me!)

I am also in a bad mood about church lately.  I don't feel connected.  I sort of drag my feet about going, but Gus's homefries are good enough to get me out of bed.  Church just doesn't seem to be making a lot of sense to me lately.  Still I go.  And this is why:

The Bible tells me to.  Oh. My. Goodness.  I just heard something my fundamentalist grandfather would say come out of my mouth (or at least off my fingers as I typed!).  Hebrews 10:23-25 says, Let us hold unswervingly to t…