Monday, June 30, 2008

Power to the people...?

We have a nice clean new outdoor mall. On Friday nights this summer there are free concerts. This past weekend we went with friends to hear Nelson Rangell (jazz sax) while our friends' junior high aged son hung out with his friends. There were lots of other teens walking around the area. And they had to keep walking because mall security was everywhere making sure they didn't loiter for more than 2 minutes! Will these threatening youth mess up the mall? Will they deal drugs or hook up for sex? Are they "bad" people? I don't know whose idea it is to make sure the teens cannot have a safe place to gather and be welcomed along with the rest of the public, but it strikes me funny. I am sure Johnny and his friends spend money at Pac Sun and other retailers that market to teens and they often see movies at the AMC theaters. Seems like it would be a good idea to purposely open coffee shops and pizza cafe's just for their population. Or would we rather have them go away and do their suspected dirty deeds in the dark? What message are they getting from the adult community? It has been on my mind since we were with Johnny and his parents. Fear of the unknown and fear of losing control can make us do things that do not bring the desired results. Why would the youth even want to be at a place where they could not sit and talk and laugh (like their parents are free to do?) Bigger and more serious questions are brought to light in the following quotes. The church is sometimes guilty of thinking backwards out of fear and it is no wonder that we do not obtain our desired results: to see people come into the kingdom and live freely. Maybe we have the idea of power upside down?
Traditionally in the mission of the church we go to God to try to find out WHAT to do and then the world to find out HOW to do it. The asking of beautiful questions reverses this order. The questions give us permission to go to the world asking WHAT to do and then in desperation we turn to God to find out HOW. At the essence of this shift is the transfer of power. God gave all the authority and power to Jesus and He in turn gave it all to the Holy Spirit, who then gave it all to the church. Who does the church give up power to? The sad answer is that we give it to no-one. We have disrupted the flow of power by in fact hoarding it for ourselves and giving it up to no one else. Instead, the church should be giving away its power to the most powerless in its community.
Read the entire article by Joel Van Dyke here. A challenging post on the shift of power (and thinking.)
eyes upward
Jesus didn’t want his community to ‘have’ a social ethic; he wanted it to ‘be’ a social ethic. Their very way of relating was to be an affront to the system of dominance and power; it was to name reality in a new way. They were to live in a new symbolic universe. This radical idea is given in a simple clue found throughout the New Testament: Jesus’ presence with others at table.
Richard Rohr, Jesus’ Plan for a New World
found at inward/

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Result of a hard year

Even though I love my God, my friends, my family, my creative work, my garden, and of (which helps me keep going,) somehow chronic health issues, pain, inability to sleep, grief and busy weeks have robbed me of my "vitality," if you could call it that. I can't remember feeling good or energetic for a long while.

I took this week to slow down a little bit, but am still putting in hours on web work and getting a health site ready to go online (irony?). The hours gardening seem like a relief, though that can be overwhelming, as well if I get obsessive.

My mom arrives in a couple of weeks to celebrate her 80th birthday with us. I will shift into my interior designer mode to finish the guest room after T. builds the bed pedestal. That is fun work that I look forward to. Always a challenge to work on a budget, but I have gotten good at it. I just want to know when I'm going to be able to go fishing....

Friday, June 27, 2008

Graffiti for all ages

Kathy's son looks at one of the favorite sections of the wall

It was a really hot day down on the asphalt just off I-25. A bunch of us sprayed our way to fun and created some profound personal poetry, too. Sam started us off with an overview of the history of graffiti and a video of the lifestyle it comes out of. It is part of his own story and he believes the form can be redeemed and embraced. We discussed our thoughts about it and asked questions of "the master." I felt pretty inept as I walked the brilliant wall that he and his friends had painted at Joshua Station where we met for the workshop. A lot of time, talent, skill, and love and hard work must have gone into each section. None of us produced anything of that standard, but we got our feet wet and gained a few beginner's tools to pursue it further.

Our next step was to write a poem about our self. We learned graffiti is all about identity. Sam gave us a list of statements to complete. This took the pressure off and allowed the answers to flow. When done you have an instant poem. His girls bravely read the ones they had done before. He has previously posted those here. Thank you Jessica, Angel, and Myah for allowing us to hear your beautiful poems.

Kathy has already posted her take on it here. She got to read everyone's poems while typing them for us.

When our poem was finished we gathered images and other printed materials, stamps and papers to use in collaging our theme. We each sprayed a multi-color background on a foam core board, and when dry, began to work into it gluing images and our poem, using markers and more paint. Sam painted people's names on their boards graffiti style if they wanted. Everyone's final result was completely unique with such cool different colors and styles. I wish I had taken more photos of the results.

The next week I bought cans of spray paint in bright colors, stencils, and a silver paint marker. Over several days I transformed (botched, messed up, improved??) a patio table and a large metal container to use in our Jesus stations. That wouldn't have happened without the inspiration from the graffiti workshop and the encouragement that if you make a mistake, just go over it and keep working. (You can see my results in the previous post's link to the Jesus Stations photos.) I also worked more on my graffiti board from the workshop, but don't know if it is done. How do you know??

Here are my pictures from the wall and workshop.

The template for the I Am (identity poem) is as follows:

I am: (two special characteristics you have) ___________________________
I wonder: (something you are curious about) ___________________________
I hear: (a sound you imagine) ___________________________
I see: (a sight you imagine) ___________________________
I want: (something you actually want) ___________________________
I am: (the first line of the poem repeated) ___________________________
I pretend: (something you pretend to do) ___________________________
I feel: (a feeling about something imaginary or real) ___________________________
I touch: (something you imagine touching) ___________________________
I worry: (something that really bothers you) ___________________________
I cry: (something that makes you very sad) ___________________________
I am: (the first line of the poem created) ___________________________
I understand: (something you know is true) __________________________
I say: (something you believe in) ___________________________
I dream: (something you actually dream about) ___________________________
I try: (something you make an effort to do) ___________________________
I hope: (something you hope for) ___________________________
I am: (the first line of the poem repeated) _____

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Trinity - the Son

Sorry I did not post photos or info about week 2 in our Trinity series at the Refuge. We met outside and I set up the (glass) trinity heads on a central round table covered with mirror discs over a black cloth. A votive candle holder beside each head. Heads faced outward. A communion station was nearby. We explored parent God, the Father, our own father images, wounds, hopes, needs. Often our father image needs to be trued up to who God says he is as loving, wise, affectionate, present, attentive, trustworthy parent.

I've posted a set of photos from creative worship stations about Jesus, here. Week 3 was all about Jesus, the Son. Like the people in John 8:25 we ask,
"Just who are you anyway?"

He has many answers for us. The 6 experiential stations let him speak for himself and call for a response from us. Missional, emerging, incarnational--It's all there in him. Jesus hacked that path clear for us way back then. He is the forerunner showing what it means to truly love and what it means to obey God in complete trust in the Father's goodness. Listening to God and doing with him the mysterious revelational redeeming healing work of the kingdom, he send us out to do the same.

Brainstorming, reading, praying, writing and preparing these stations caused gratefulness to well up in me. Jesus really is for me! See what you think. Download the PDFs of all the station guides here. The hard part was condensing an exploration of Jesus into only 6 themes. We will definitely have to revisit the person and mission of Jesus many times. From the feedback I've received, this visit seemed to bring serenity and peace and even unexpected emotion for some. It was strangely quiet and peaceful outside on the patio after all went through. We usually have a bit of chaos and plenty of discussion and laughter. I think people honored the heart of the space in an amazing way.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Kissed the teens "Goodbye."


My youngest youngin, my babiest boy turned 20 yesterday.
Happy Birthday Ben!

I am secretly glad because I was the oldest mom I know of with a teen. I bought regular and cheese brats, chips, spinach dip, potato salad, and brownies--i.e. some of his favorites--for a cookout. His bro. Nick and all his friends had to work and T. is out of town. He decided he really wanted to go out for sushi. Sigh. He knew of a cool place in Broomfield and we had a really nice time together.Since he moved out we are having more enjoyable adult conversations. There is life after the teenage years. Hope for those just beginning.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Book meme

It will be difficult to follow the rules. Tag 5 more people. Many have done this one. So, if you have not and want to--please do and leave me a comment. Bobbie tagged me back from last time with this:

Step One – pull out a book on the book shelf.

Step Two – go to page 123.
Step Three – read and write out the 5th sentence.
Step Four – tag 5 more people.

I recently borrowed She got up off the Couch by Haven Kimmel.

p.123, sentence 5:
I had just added something to the photo album of Things I Wished I'd Never Seen. This one could be cross-referenced under Not Sure What It Was.

I added sentence 6 for interest (...they went together!)
I tag Amy (in thanks for letting me borrow the book, hah!), and Phyllis just for fun.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


In our new series at The Refuge we are exploring the mystery and beauty of the trinity. I composed a still life altar of 3 glass heads with white lights inside. They sit atop mirrored circles. This week they faced each other. Karl used a Chagall-esque painting to illustrate how our perspective affects what we think we see and what we think we believe. When I viewed it up close I could see the paint glazed onto the canvas, colors, details, and symbols. From across the room I was able to see the whole picture, more of the story and meaning. Scriptures which talk about the trinity--God, three in one, leave us with mystery and a larger reality than our minds can grasp. The picture is bigger than a single brushstroke or symbol and there is always more to understand. More to appreciate. The next few weeks will give me a chance to think about the trinity in new ways. Is God male or female? Is there a hierarchy of authority within the Godhead? Is the trinity a community?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


my little side deck is a nice place to sit-- more so for eating than blogging.

Amy tagged me a couple of weeks ago and I'm just getting around to posting my response.

The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about himself or herself. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

Ten years ago:
We were in a Vineyard church. I was learning to loosen up with some very fun and good new friends, learning more about the prophetic, heading up prayer ministry, unprepared for the upheaval and craziness and conflict we were about to see. The kids were in a charter school and I spent half my day driving back and forth. My youngest son was a 1o year-old. Next Monday he's no longer a teen.

Five things on today's "to do" list:
Work out with my friend who's letting me be a guest at her fitness club.
Trim the thyme on my patio between the squares of the concrete paver grid.
Call my mom.
Mail a card and some money to my son for his trip to Turkey with the grad program.
Work on web design stuff, as usual.

Things I'd do if I was a billionaire:
Establish multi-emphasis retreat/learning/healing/community centers
Help fund artists to be able to spend time doing art
Give to organizations, ministries and individuals who are making a difference
Have a house where I could entertain and host people all the time-- have a sanctuary space to get away by myself--and have a working artist's studio--with a view.
Travel and make it possible for others who can't afford it to travel.

Three bad habits:
Not exercising.
Too much coffee.
Too little sleep.

Five places I've lived:
Albany, GA. Thomasville, GA. Carrollton, GA (college), Athens, GA (college), Madison, WI. Huntington Beach, CA. Thornton, CO. Okay, I know that's more than 5.

Five jobs I've had:
Clerk at a drug store. Framer, filer, film processor for a photographer. Graphic designer/photographer/web designer. Interior/garden/fountain designer. Mom.

I will tag:
Sharon. Shannon. and Shannon here, too. Bobbie.

And, if you are reading and haven't played, join the fun! You are now tagged.

Friday, June 06, 2008


Our wedding was 27 years ago on this date. We didn't have anything special planned and enjoyed a low key evening trying a new restaurant and hearing free live music outdoors at our new "walking mall." There was a really good (and loud) cover band and before them was a guy with a guitar playing a variety of oldies. Lots of people brought fold-up camping chairs. We'll have to remember that for next time. We want to go back next week to hear Hazel Miller (blues.) We enjoyed a walk around the area since all shops are on little streets and you enter each from outside, which is the new trend here. We ran into a couple of people we knew and stopped to talk. We've always wanted our area to have more of a neighborhood feel. This is a start.

Monday, June 02, 2008

On to more craziness - GA trip cont'd

On Saturday, we had to leave early for Atlanta to be able to meet with the gravestone salesman and go to the cemetery in Newnan (south of Atlanta.) Seeing my dad's grave was strange. Since last October patchy grass has regrown over it and there is only a very small marker that the Albany funeral director left with his name and dates on it. I guess many people of my generation don't want to think about or talk about death and funerals, but with our parents aging, it is definitely on the radar to reckon with.

old homeplaceWe drove out to see my uncle, who's living in the old home place in the country. It's sad that the house where my mother was born and that to me is one of the most special places on earth is about to fall down. I walked around and took some sad pictures and detached a little bit behind the lens.


Once we reached the western Atlanta area of Lithia Springs, I visited with my elderly aunt who has been ill and in and out of the hospital. I was so glad I got to see her as she is failing so rapidly, and I don't know when I'll get back. Her long life of excellent health has not prepared her for the limitations in mobility and heart trouble and all she is encountering now. She just wants to go home.

irish band The wedding was in the evening at the gorgeous event center (Le Jardin Blanc) which one of my cousins owns.While my mother and aunt went to the wedding I got to hang out with another cousin and her husband in Douglasville. We walked to their town center with a neighbor couple and heard an Irish band in concert. Sitting on the patio of an Irish pub with great food and great music for hours was fun.

Elementary aged kids started dancing in the open concert area as soon as the music began. Smaller children watched for a minute, then pulled away from moms to join them. No one seemed to know how to dance, but they knew freedom! I had an interesting conversation with the neighbor couple, who, as it turns out, are in a "non-traditional" Presbyterian church with many emerging church values and specifically seemed to resonate with what I shared about The Refuge. Who wouldda thunk? I love to talk about whole-life faith, grace, creative expression, good food, and the challenge of parenting older teens all at the same time (to live Irish music, no less!)
first dancer
pub table group

Oh No, Sirens

Because there was a forecast of bad weather, my cousin warned me that the tornado sirens were right across the street from the house (just in case they went off in the night.) They are very loud. They woke us up the first time at 2:15 a.m. We got up 2 times about 2 hours apart, stumbled into the den and turned on the weather channel to see if indeed we needed to take cover in the cellar until all clear. It looked like the most intense weather (rotation detected) was 30 mins. west of us, then later, south of us. As we were back in our respective beds finally about to drift off (5 a.m.), my aunt called to be sure we knew of the weather! No real sleep was to be had. Cuz and I too soon had to get up and start the food prep for the Mother's Day meal for 11. Thankfully the sun came out and dried off things enough we were able to set tables outside.

While we were cooking we found out by phone that our elderly aunt was taken to the hospital after I saw her the previous night. She reached up and something popped in her shoulder. X-rays showed a chip in the bone. So, before we went back to Albany we visited with her. The stressful situation continues for her and several family members.

Driving south we passed through some of the worst tornado damage in S. Fulton County. We slowed for crews still cleaning up trees and power lines that were down. I remembered one of the houses they showed on TV earlier in the day with a tree impaled in the roof. This was that area.

Back to Albany by dark, tired and hoping for sleep, I pulled into the driveway and looked around for wind damage (broken limbs, pine cones, etc.) Not too much to deal with. The next morning a funeral for a 22 yr-old packed one of the largest church sanctuaries in town. It was a real show of support to the 3 generations affected. Many people stood and more were not even able to get inside for the service.

Just try to get home from there

Plan carefully if you travel by plane to ABY (the southwest regional airport.) My flight home at 5:25 was delayed 3 times and left around 9 p.m. I missed my connecting flight to Denver. Apparently this is not out of the ordinary. My dad used to say if they didn't have a full plane they would just wait until they did. The Delta desk attendants will always say there is a computer glitch or a mechanical problem being dealt with in Atlanta and the plane will be on the ground as soon as possible. The plane has to fly from Atlanta, load up and head back there with a lot of disgruntled passengers. Over and over they do this, but this is my first time being one of the disgruntled. What made it ever so much more bearable was sitting with my new friends who were on their way to Memphis to cook barbecue for a panel of judges for the weekend. Our delay gave them plenty of time to imbibe a little bit and tell funny stories of pig roasts past. In Atlanta we all found out where our hotel rooms would be and they got me an upgrade to their hotel. We were told we could get our bags, but after a lengthy wild goose chase in the baggage claim area we were handed toiletry kits and sent away. So some of them found a bar in the airport and the rest of us went straight to Atlanta Bread Co. for a late dinner on our vouchers. I learned a lot about BBQ--your whole hogs, your shoulders, your ribs, your spices and sauces. It was midnight by the time we got off the shuttle and got our room keys. Even though the room was quite nice and the bed comfortable, with a nice fluffy duvet and high thread count cotton sheets, I could not get to sleep--all night. It is also weird not having your "stuff" in the morning to make your sleep deprived face and hair look better. I was zombie-woman who just wanted to get back to Denver. Don't mess with me. If not for the good breakfast at the hotel, the whole thing would have been a wash, and the plane taking off late could have made me cranky. And the tiny little airplane seat. And some rude people. But I focused on having a nice talk with my flight attendant who was sitting in his little flight attendant seat across from me. I wasn't going to talk to anyone, but 3 of us got on the subject of Memphis and the civil rights museum. If you've read my posts from 2008, spring, you will know that was significant enough to come out of zombieness for, at least for a few minutes.


For some reason my life feels chaotic. I can't catch up with all the tasks I have assigned myself. With yard season finally here I am juggling the weeds and the web. We have 3 birthdays, a wedding anniversary and Father's day. Negotiations are underway on the guest room bed and bookshelves to be built. (Seems to be more my priority than the spouse's, but he will provide the labor. We're doing a contemporary/natural theme. I am excited to create a little sanctuary space.) I am thinking about the creative worship and prayer experiences I am responsible for and T. is gearing up for a week of Ride the Rockies. I have some fun design projects and lots of online learning to do. 28 full days to go until the end of June, which will rush past us before we know it.

I want to finish describing how chaotic my GA trip was, but sleep and energy have been low, and life here is...well...chaotic.
sweet tea

I need a break.