Sunday, March 28, 2010


Wishing Everyone a blessed Palm Sunday.  Hosanna!

A praying in color for Palm Sunday ...  Click image to go to artists website.

"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!" - Matthew 21:9

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Art of Tranquility

 quality or state of being tranquil; calmness; peacefulness; quiet; serenity.

How do I attain tranquility?  How do I imagine tranquility in my life?  How can I create tranquil waters for both by inner and my outer life?

These were questions I was contemplating almost a year ago at a yoga retreat in Colorado.  The word tranquility kept coming to me and I knew it was something I needed to pay sincere attention to.  I believe this desire for tranquility comes from a deep inner yearning for peaceful wholeness.  I imagine I'm not unlike most people who desire to be content with who they are, where they are in their lives, who they are becoming, even what experiences they have had.  I desire to grab that brass ring of serenity and to never let it go.  But how?

There are ways we can nurture our spirituality that can lead to inner and outer tranquility, however, these are spiritual exercises that must also be seen as spiritual disciplines.  In order to be good at something, most of us need practice.  The more we do something, the better we become, the better the feel we have for it is and the more confidence we have in our own abilities to do what it is we're doing.  It is the same in our spiritual lives.  We need to be mindful not to neglect the conditions of our souls.  Paying attention to that deep inner voice can bring us great certainty and tranquility...over time.

One spiritual discipline I enjoy is meditation.  Meditation and prayer go hand-in-hand.  For years I struggled with a decent prayer life, some days I still do, and that was partly because my mind was so busy I couldn't stay on the prayer track.  Have you ever experienced that?  You know, one minute you're praying for something and the next minute you're thinking about all the things you have to do tomorrow.  Our minds need tranquility in order for our souls to have tranquility.  Meditation helps with this.  It helps us train our minds to be calm.  This takes time and practice, but it makes a tremendous difference.

On Friday night, I attended a local event at the yoga studio I attend.  They hosted a female (which was surprising, not sure why, but awesome none-the-less) Buddhist monk from a local Buddhist temple.  The monk came to talk about meditation and how it can help with alleviating stress.  Aaah, that's a key word right there.  Boo stress.  I want to make sure you know that being a Christian doesn't mean we don't listen to, study and dialogue with others from different faiths.  Whether it be Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Taoists, Catholics, Protestants...we have a lot to gain from one another if we would simply talk to each other.  Attending a Buddhist or Jewish event doesn't mean we're converting, it means we're open to seeing our faith through a different lens.  Since opening my mind and my soul to this kind of interfaith dialogue, my relationship with God has ever deepened.  I am a better Christian for spending time with people of other faiths.  Their faith has often inspired me to be better and more attentive to my faith.

Anyway, the meditation class was wonderful.  The monk taught us different ways of meditation to help us get to deep silence...I find this a great time for deep prayer.  Often times we think that a good prayer is filled up with big words and lots of words.  Some of the best prayers are the ones where we invite God into the moment and ask God to hear our hearts.  We remove the words.  We remove thinking about it. this silence, we open up the opportunity for us to stop talking and start listening to God.

The monk did say some pretty enlightening things.  I'm sure you've heard them before, but they bare repeating.  She said that we spend our whole lives seeking to find happiness.  All human beings, regardless of faith or culture, race or geographic location, we all want to be happy.  So many of us try to buy happiness.  We believe that the more things we have, the more money we earn, the bigger the house, the nicer the car, the better we can attain the better we will be.  We all know that truly this is not the case.  Our eyes are on the wrong things.  In order for our happiness to be evident in all things external, we must find the essence of happiness internally, we must seek happiness for our soul.  Maybe I think having another baby will make me happy.  Surely it will, but it will not be able to be the center of my happiness through life.  There will always be something else I want or need or desire that will make me happy, but only for a moment.  Traveling makes me happy, my family makes me happy, but what if...what if...I couldn't travel ever again and I found myself suddenly alone.  Could I find happiness inside?

What do you think?  Can you define your happiness by things internal or just things external?  Does your spiritual life bless and reward you with inner happiness?  In what ways are you seeking tranquility?

By the way, the photo above is a picture of me meditating in my "happy place".  I traveled to Maui in January of '09 and this spot was on the Road to Hana.  I hiked up these lovely lava rocks in flip-flops (not advised) and found this spot.  Whenever things in life seem to be at an unrest, I soar right back to this place and pray.  This is my "happy place" for meditation.  It's, for me, the essence of tranquility.  As the ocean waters would rush in and slam against the rocks, the water would softly trickle down and for a few moment in the rush of the waves, there was still water, there existed a calm.  The waves will always be rolling in upon our shore, but we must seek to notice the moments of tranquility and embrace them with sheer delight of soul.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Little Giggle

Just a little something for laughter...

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Saturday, March 13, 2010


It's TIME to SPRING forward!

Don't forget to set your clocks an hour ahead tonight.

Happy Spring

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Loving through the Suffering

Artist Unknown

I have been spending the weeks of Lent following the stations of the cross as laid out in the book
Following Christ: A Lenten Reader to Stretch Your Soul by Carmen Acevedo Butcher.  To read my previous post on this reader, click HERE.

I am currently studying, praying about and meditating on the suffering of Christ during his trial and walk to Golgotha, the place where he was crucified.  We can imagine ourselves there, present and in the midst of all that was happening.  We can sense the reality that Christ knew human suffering; emotional and physical suffering.  Christ became human and connects with us through the bond of humanity.  Christ was flogged and beaten.  Christ was cursed at, mocked, humiliated and spat upon.  His head was stuffed inside a crown of thorns, meant to both torture him and to humiliate him as "King of the Jews."  After being tortured to the point of pure physical exhaustion, Christ was then made to carry a cross, speculated to weigh approximately 100 pounds, over challenging terrain to the mount where he would be crucified.  Christ suffered.

I have often felt the comfort of knowing that Christ knows what its like to feel human pain.  It is calming to an extent to know that when I suffer, I do not suffer alone and that Christ indeed suffers with me and suffered for me.  And yet, I must admit, there are times when I wonder if Christ really knows MY pain.  Christ, after all, was a man.  Being of the male gender, Christ never experienced menstruation, child birth, infertility or any other pains that are unique to women.  Given those facts, how can I make sense of my own suffering in a way that draws me closer to Christ?  How can I see my pains in his eyes?

I have never suffered as Christ suffered.  Not even close.  But, I have suffered as we all have.  We have all faced and continue to face various challenges in our lives that are emotionally and/or physically painful.  For me, one that is excruciatingly fresh is infertility.  I faced it before my son was born; I faced it for over 2 years.  I was poked, prodded, medicated, tested, examined...I felt like a lab rat with no personal physical privacy left.  I felt broken.  After all, didn't God make me with a body designed to have babies?  So here I was with empty arms, empty hopes and feeling as if I had failed as a woman and a wife.  I felt forsaken, rejected and broken.  I wondered then, "does Christ know what this feels like?"  I wanted some voice from the Bible to speak to me and tell me they knew my suffering.  Besides the amazing stories of women in the Bible who came before me and experienced life in at least this one way like I have, I also wanted to know if Jesus knew how I felt.  Today is a little different.  I've come along way in my spiritual journey since the days of my first round of infertility.  Then I was still wandering in a desert.  Today I'm out of that desert but on a journey.  On this journey, I found myself in a new and different kind of desert.  This is my second round of infertility and we've been trying this time for over 3 years now.

I guess I'm all emotional about this today because I have started back to doctors appointments, poking, prodding, exams, and yesterday was my first day of my new cycle of fertility meds.  I'm just a mess of emotions.  I think this is partly because of the side effects of these drugs, but also because I'm wanting to be pregnant already.  I want the pain to stop.  I am thankful though that while I'm waiting on the Lord that this time I have a strong faith to sustain me.  I'm not sure if Christ knows what its like to be a woman and face infertility.  Maybe, like my husband, he can compassionately understand to the best of his ability because he too has suffered.  Suffering causes us to have a heart of compassion for those who we see are suffering.  Christ is that friend that may never know the depth of what you feel, but loves you beyond words and will walk across fire, or rocky terrain, or suffer...for you.  Christ may not know what infertility feels like, but I believe he cries with me. 

One of the beautiful stories that comes from Christ's walk with the cross is the story of a man named Simon.  Simon picked up the end of the cross and helped the suffering Christ endure the remainder of the pain of that journey.  So maybe infertility is a cross I have to bare, but I am beyond grateful for the cross bearers who walk behind me.  I feel their presence and their prayers.  I know that Christ is there too.

There is joy in the suffering.  I can see joy in the eyes of the son I have, the one I held in my arms after his birth and said "even if I have to do this all over again, it is worth it just for this one marvelous moment."  We suffer.  Christ suffered.  We can't escape suffering in this life, but we can love ourselves and each other through it.  Simon loved Christ through his suffering.  I am forever grateful for those who are loving me through my suffering.  And I will forever be convicted to love others through their suffering.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Our Vote Counts

"A line of women rally for women's suffrage and advertise a free rally discussing women's right to vote in Washington D.C. on Oct. 3, 1915."  Photo by NPR and AP.

In "Organizing for Social Change After Suffrage" Nation writer Stella Crossley Daljord wrote that "Just 'Votes for Women' may not account to much. But the votes of women cast intelligently in the struggle against the present sick economic order may make considerable difference."  - Read the full article and view photo slide show by clicking on the photo above or HERE for the NPR page.

  As we celebrate Women's History Month and take a look back at various women and issues that have preceeded us, one that stands out for most is the fight for the right to vote.  'Votes for Women' was empowering and important when it was a thriving issue almost 100 years ago.  But is the right to vote still an issue for women today?  Do women still take some kind of pride in their right and priviledge to vote, or has it gone amiss?

  Today, more women vote than at any other time in history.  If you don't believe that the voice of women has any influence or power in our country and in our world, take a minute to think again.

  • According to the US Census Bureau, there are approximately 8.8 million more legal (meaning of voter age) women voters than men.  That's 67.3 million women to 58.5 million men (2004).
  • In the 1996, 2000, 2004 & 2008 Presidential elections, women voters outnumbered men in voter turnout.  According to the Census Bureau, this number averages over the four elections to be differences from 7.2 million to 8.8 million.  That's a lot of women voters.  I think an 8.8 million voter difference could swing just about any election, don't you?
  • Each year voter registration is higher for women than men in the following racial groups: Asians, Blacks, Hispanics and Whites.
  • Statistically however, of the population of eligible women voters in the US, only a fraction are registered in lower middle class and poverty households.  That being said, single mother households are on the rise as are the number of women on Social Security, Medicare and food stamps.  These women are highly under-represented.
  More than ever, it is important for women to remember the value the right to vote has.  Women have the ability to make dramatic changes in our country by simply registering to vote and turning out to vote.  Some political experts believe that women had the deciding vote in the 2008 Presidential election because women tended to like Obaman more and McCain less (some say do to Sarah Palin).

  Are you passionate about health care?  Are you passionate about the education system in our country and how it affects your children?  Maybe you're passionate about tax law, gambling, abortion (pro-life or pro-choice), human trafficking, environmental issues, same sex marriage, poverty, child welfare...whatever it is you find yourself passionate about, you have a voice and a vote.

  Statistics tell us there are more eligible women voters to vote and more women voters who actually do vote.  Given thesea are the cold hard facts, that means the work of women almost 100 years ago did something tremendous...they gave us the ability to be heard, not as a superior voice, but as one that is equally influential in nature.  We need to encourage each other to embrace this unique freedom that we have, to celebrate it and to vote on city, state and national issues.  It's not enough to just be compassionate and "feel" for situations, we must take action in ways that can benefit the greater good of the whole community.  We must stand next to our husbands and vote, whether we vote as he does or not.  We must stand as single women, stay at home moms, career women, single mothers...we must stand together as women and make important marks on a piece of paper that can impact the lives of billions of people. 

  I want to honor the women who fought for my right to vote by being diligent in my civic responsibility to know the issues and to vote.  It's not about being political, it's about having hope for the future of things and putting in your two cents.  Before we know it, our TVs will be plastered with awful campaign ads that I personally just detest...this is a great plug for the DVR as I praise the ability to fast forward through them now.  Yippie!  When the local and state elections swing around this fall, be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for the issues, research the issues and how different votes would affect them and get out and vote.  Don't like the radio and TV news drama?  I don't blame you.  Turn them off and tune them out.  Do some online research.  Each state will have a list of various ballot issues and you can do online research on your own without the choatic bickering that makes our ears burn and our hair fall out.

  Go empower yourselves today ladies.  Be active parts of your community, after all, it is YOUR community.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Celebrating WASPS - You Go Girls!!!

Photo: Courtesy of Texas Woman's University and NPR 
WASP (from left) Frances Green, Margaret Kirchner, Ann Waldner and Blanche Osborn leave their B-17, called Pistol Packin' Mama, during ferry training at Lockbourne Army Air Force base in Ohio. They're carrying their parachutes.

I woke up this morning not knowing that today I would be stirred by the stories of women from WWII.  It never surprises me to find little known or untold stories of women in history as tremendously inspirational.  I am reminded of the amazing presence women have held in many realms of our world and our American culture.  My grandmother never flew a plane in WWII, but she accomplished many other wonderful fetes.  I am honored by her stories and I'm honored by these stories.

The month of March is Women's History Month.  I hope to celebrate with you many more stories that can inspire us and help our souls to take flight in many new and exciting ways.  Today's story simply came to me.  I was reading my morning NPR news when I found this fascinating article about WASP's - Women Airforce Service Pilots.  This article comes at a time where we can truly celebrate these stories.  Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 10th, President Obama will be giving these women, the WASP's, the Congressional Gold Medal.

I do hope you take a few moments to read the article by clicking the link below.  Here is a preview:

Female WWII Pilots: The Original Fly Girls

"In 1942, the United States was faced with a severe shortage of pilots, and leaders gambled on an experimental program to help fill the void: Train women to fly military aircraft so male pilots could be released for combat duty overseas. The group of female pilots was called the Women Airforce Service Pilots — WASP for short. In 1944, during the graduation ceremony for the last WASP training class, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Forces, Henry "Hap" Arnold, said that when the program started, he wasn't sure "whether a slip of a girl could fight the controls of a B-17 in heavy weather."
"Now in 1944, it is on the record that women can fly as well as men," Arnold said."

Courtesy of Texas Woman's University and NPRWASP with a plane named "Miss Fifinella," the mascot designed for the women by Walt Disney Studios

A close up of the WASP logo "Fifinella" created by Walt Disney

Click HERE for another great link about the "Fly Girls".

The L.A. Times also published this piece on our new WASP friends.  Click the image below to read the article (from the LA Times).

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Monday, March 8, 2010

International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day.  
Join me in celebrating all the women of the world...we are all worth far more than rubies.  
We are wonderfully made and perfectly loved.

What is International Women's Day?
"Historically, women’s social movements begin when women begin talking to each other about their sense of unrest in their society. They find common ground with each other and organize to provide solutions to their problems. The same is true of the origins of International Women’s Day.
International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated all over the world and has roots in labor, suffrage, the Russian Revolution and the Women’s Liberation Movement." - Jennifer Lee, The New Agenda

The following is a great article by  This article is full of information regarding what International Women's Day is and its history.  Be sure to check out the website for more information on things happening around the world (Haiti, Pakistan, France, etc.) in the women's movement.

The First International Women's Day

In 1869 British MP John Stuart Mill was the first person in Parliament to call for women's right to vote. On 19 September 1893 New Zealand became the first country in the world to give women the right to vote. Women in other countries did not enjoy this equality and campaigned for justice for many years.
In 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named Clara Zetkin (Leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women's Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day - a Women's Day - to press for their demands. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women's clubs, and including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament, greeted Zetkin's suggestion with unanimous approval and thus International Women's Day was the result.
The very first International Women's Day was launched the following year by Clara Zetkin on 19 March (not 8 March). The date was chosen because on 19 March in the year of the 1848 revolution, the Prussian king recognized for the first time the strength of the armed people and gave way before the threat of a proletarian uprising. Among the many promise he made, which he later failed to keep, was the introduction of votes for women.
Plans for the first International Women's Day demonstration were spread by word of mouth and in the press. During the week before International Women's Day two journals appeared: The Vote for Women in Germany and Women's Day in Austria. Various articles were devoted to International Women's Day: 'Women and Parliament', 'The Working Women and Municipal Affairs', 'What Has the Housewife got to do with Politics?', etc. The articles thoroughly analyzed the question of the equality of women in the government and in society. All articles emphasized the same point that it was absolutely necessary to make parliament more democratic by extending the franchise to women.
Success of the first International Women's Day in 1911 exceeded all expectation.
Meetings were organized everywhere in small towns and even the villages halls were packed so full that male workers were asked to give up their places for women.
Men stayed at home with their children for a change, and their wives, the captive housewives, went to meetings.
During the largest street demonstration of 30,000 women, the police decided to remove the demonstrators' banners so the women workers made a stand. In the scuffle that followed, bloodshed was averted only with the help of the socialist deputies in Parliament.
In 1913 International Women's Day was transferred to 8 March and this day has remained the global date for International Wommen's Day ever since.
During International Women's Year in 1975, IWD was given official recognition by the United Nations and was taken up by many governments. International Women's Day is marked by a national holiday in China, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

What's Your Feminism?


 Are you a Feminist?

Recently, a great discussion ensued on the Lady Bloggers forum regarding Feminism.  It's really interesting and I'd like to encourage you to stop by there by clicking the image above and check it out.


Here was my response/input:
"Feminism is…
Feminism is a vast array of things. Our mothers feminism may not be our feminism, but it’s still feminism. There are entire schools of thought on this topic of which I’ve spent a considerable portion of my educational career invested in.
Feminism is NOT a negative thing unless a person makes it to be as such. Feminism is not a result of a mistake that God made. Theologically, I don’t think that God made mistakes. I think the division of sexes and the patriarchal structure that suffocates so much of our global culture is a result of sin and not creation. I believe men and women were both molded by the hands of God and are uniquely and wonderfully made.
I am a feminist. I am also a number of other things like: a career woman, a wife, a mother, a student, a minister, a teacher, an activist, a peace keeper…I am me and feminism is just a part of who I am. It is a part of who I am because I am against oppression and violence against women in any form. This does not make me a male hater…I’m in love with one and gave birth to one…and I love my boys. As a feminist, I am for women being able to choose the life they want to lead. If you’re Muslim and you choose to wear your veil because you want to, then I want you to be able to do so. If you are a stay at home mom and that’s what you love, I want you to be able to do what you love.
This is too big of a topic for me to just summarize in a few paragraphs…but feminism is what we make it. It’s our feminism. It’s our voices working together to strive for the best opportunities…it’s a part of our pursuit of happiness. It is also a human construction and it is flawed. But feminism has afforded us the right to make the choices we do in a world that didn’t want to give us any voice. I think we often take for granted the work done by women, whether they called themselves feminists or pioneers or something else, that came before us. We are able to have the opportunities we do today because women before us were brave enough to stand up to injustice. Are we brave enough to do the same?"

This forum discussion has inspired me to open up a dialogue on feminism here on CGM.  
I'm interested to know:
  • What do you know about Feminism?
  • Do you find yourself to be a Feminist?  Why or why not?
  • How does Feminism affect your day-to-day life?
  • Can Feminism co-exist with Christianity?

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

I'm Having An Affair ...

...and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Although I will always love you, my dear sweet fabulous scrumptious COFFEE, I have found another to tantalize my lonely coffee free days.
In the words of Carrie Bradshaw, "Hello Lover!"

That's right...I've taken a lover and I call my lover Venti Iced Green Tea.  How do I like my lover...sweetened and often.

Seriously friends, I have found a fabulous replacement for my coffee addiction.  Yes...this still comes from a coffee house where I can can sniff my way to coffee nirvana, but, it's not coffee.  It's mega healthy for me and is a great alternative to my creamer induced coffee mug.  Yet I must confess, I rendezvous with coffee every Sunday morning and oh the bliss.

Can I tell you how beautiful today is here in Okie-ville?  The temp is warm, the sun glowing, the iced green tea is in my hand and I'm dreaming of a very green and blossoming spring.  I've been spiritually drinking up the word, prayer and meditation every morning and have been soaking up the Lenten season.  I feel so blessed by the time I have spent in the word and walking the stations of the cross.  I feel rejuvenated.  My spirit feels as if it's being properly tilled for spring planting.

How is life in your world?  How is Lent?  Have you felt the presence of God lately?

Sending love to all.  Happy Thursday!

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I'm a Guest Barista

I'm so very excited!!!
Today I'm featured over at Internet Cafe Devotions.
Click the image above to visit their blog community and to read my devotional for today.
I do hope you'll leave a comment there and then come back and tell me what you think.

Wishing everyone a beautiful and blessed Wednesday.

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