Converting old jeans into rugs, or a metaphor for Lenten life.

Ragged jeans

This spring I’ve cleaned out closets. I gathered up the stashes of jeans I’d been hoarding and unwilling to chuck — not the jeans that are simply too big or too small, but the ones with worn-out inseams or missing buttons. The kind not even the thrift store wants, as likely they’d get thrown into the garbage or shipped off to other countries. Tossing the fabric to the curb seemed wasteful. Continue reading

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God’s Anger Brings Hope? Reflections on the Book of Isaiah

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When I read my Bible, I tend to ignore the prophets. Well, except for Jonah. I come back to that gem again and again. Jonah is not a children’s story — its real target is curmudgeonly adults like me.

I steer away from the prophets because, well, God’s rage scared me. So, imagine my surprise when I felt nudged toward reading Isaiah this Advent. When I’ve read Isaiah before, I narrowed my focus to the happy and hopeful sections, while forgetting hope is made more substantial by the presence of God’s anger and justice. I looked for the love and light, while glossing over the gory.

But, not this time. Isaiah interrupted my world this Advent. Continue reading

Juggling despair, grief and hope: morning after election reflections

031416 rock stack secureI don’t know how to write today. I have intense feelings, and I’d prefer to rail at the world. I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to blame. However, I’m still going to speak my pain and my heart.

I can’t wrap my brain around the results, or the deep divide I’m seeing between rural and urban areas, or the Coasts and the rest of the country, or frankly, along racial lines. For a significant number of people, anybody was better than Hillary Clinton — even if that someone was Donald Trump. We’re entrenched in two very different visions of the U.S. we’d like to see, and we seem to have lost the ability to communicate with each other.

This country turned out not to be the place I hoped it was. And whether it’s healthy or not, Clinton’s loss feels like an assault on womanhood (among other things). An intelligent woman with political experience loses the electoral vote to a man without political experience (and with a questionable business track record) who expresses racist, sexist, xenophobic sentiments. No, I didn’t like Clinton just because she’s a woman, and yes, I can understand why some folks don’t like her — though not the degree of vitriol I’ve seen this year.

Perhaps I’m most disappointed because yesterday morning I teared up on the way to the polling place. I was overwhelmed at the significance of having a woman as a viable candidate for President. I never thought I’d see this in my lifetime. I felt empowered in my womanhood yesterday morning, and then found myself feeling like a caged bird this morning. I’m suffocated by the limitations of womanhood today, and I struggle with despair. Continue reading

Photo Friday: Growing in Rocky Places

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Trying something new here — Photo Fridays.

In the midst of the politics and the violence all over social media, I am weary, and my shoulders are struggling with the weight of the world’s brokenness. Maybe your shoulders need strengthening, too.

I needed to be reminded of this: beauty is still out there in the world, too. Hope is there, too.

These hen and chicks gave me a burst of courage. In the midst of what seems like an inhospitable environment, on a hot and dry rock, of all places, they hang in and keep growing.

In the face of what seems impossible or unbearable, may you and I find the strength and courage to keep growing and loving instead of giving up in defeat. May we lean into the discomfort we feel because of the world’s brokenness, rather than slinking away and hiding from it.

Even if evil seems like it’s winning, even if the challenge seems too big to tackle,  let’s be stubborn like these hen and chicks.

Between Spaces

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Anxiety settled in during May, and I weathered a rough couple of weeks. Hence, the silence in this space. I don’t publish when I’m struggling to keep my head afloat. The clouds have lifted, for which I’m so deeply grateful I could click my heels like a leprechaun.

Still, I hate dwelling in the state of “between” things, the space where I’m not where I was and not yet where I want to be. I want to be at a final destination, in a settled place. I want stability in my grasp for an extended time. I want more than just bread for today. I forget there’s no guarantees in life. All I hold is this moment. I can’t fast-forward, rewind, or pause. Continue reading