Wednesday, June 30, 2010

on what matters

So last night I scrolled down through a lot of my old blogs - it was a fascinating look in the mirror and I was interested to see what has mattered to me. Ever wonder what matters to you? Do you know?

Steve often says that other men have wives who wake up in the morning and want a new dress or want to go out for dinner. I wake up and say, "Are you sure God really exists?"

Stuff like that. Hard to answer at 6:15 in the morning, even WITH coffee.

I don't ask those questions because I am of little faith. Although that may well be true. I think actually I am of HUGE faith because I can't leave God, although sometimes I have to sit on the other side of the room than He. A friend told me a couple days ago that she and God are not talking. At all. I was able to assure her that He was all right with that.

I am reading a novel that has a moment when the boy who has only known terror and abuse has a sudden redemption that will affect all his life. The author wrote, "He was trying to discover some obscure figure in the carpet from the randomness of his own fate. It did not look like the work of God, but it might have represented the hand of a God with a joyous sense of humor, a dancing God who loved mischief as much as prayer and playfulness as much as mischief."

Now I don't know everything, or even some of everything. But I do know that God is full of some kind of ridiculous joy, is the one who tickles children in church and who lets us be any kind of mess we truly are. My questions are there because I really do believe.

Monday, June 28, 2010


I am toying with the idea of writing a blog for women, for women who are trying to figure out their faith and bodies and responsibilities and dreams. If you are interested in being invited to such a conversation, because I hope it would be a conversation, would you email me at

Put 'invitation' on the subject line. That's all you have to do. We'll see.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

beach wisdom

Got this in an email from my son in law, Curtis, who IS a great dad. I thought it was soaked in salty wisdom and wanted you to read it.

As you may know, we're on vacation right now with the girls at Atlantic Beach. And we've quickly fallen into a lovely morning routine. Sleep in 'til 9ish. Breakfast together. One episode of "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?" Then off to the beach 'til lunch. Upon arriving at the beach, Kyra and Meg along with their boogie-boards make a quick beeline for the surf while Rae and I set up the rest of our stuff. Within five or ten minutes, they're calling for me to join them ... which I do. And here's what I've noticed. When I join them, they don't do anything much different than prior to my arrival. They stumble through the surf; try to catch a big wave with their boogie-boards; pick up shells; look for sea-cicadas and other critters. But when I'm with them, their joy elevates. And this isn't to say I'm some great parent or amazing dad ... but their experience is somehow heightened when I'm taking it in with them.

Last night over a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, Rachel and I were reflecting on this ... and we wondered if this is maybe part of God's hope for us. That we too will find the experiences of life heightened when we recognize our Father is with us ... because He is.
One of the pleasures I have in the way this little family lives is that along with a devout faith they are completely free to embrace ridiculous joy.

Leaving behind firm footprints

I have been re-reading old journals of mine, and came upon this poem I have notated as "written by a woman from Kenya." I wish I had made a clearer notation - is this one of my African women friends or did I read it somewhere?

In any case, it is written by a woman who communicated to her mother in Kenya that she was homesick, longing for her mother and her 'home'. Her mother wrote back, and the woman made the mother's words into this poem.

Daughter, do not romaticize home
Do not, my daughter, for many who are home have jail for home.

Thousands who are home have streets for home
Millions who are home are crying for home
The whole land is crying for home.

The whole land is crying
The waters are bitter
What shall we drink?

Daughter, do not romanticize home!
Do not! Daughter...
you who have chosen the path of people's struggles
Must find the courage to build new homes,
To start new lives,
Wherever you are -
Be it in the air
Be it on the seas
Be it in the trees
Be it in the desert.

Create new life.
Create human beings out of these
And build new homes on whatever patch of ground your feet tread.

Walk well.
Step solidly.
Leaving behind you firm footprints.
Walk well along the path you have chosen to take.

My morning meditation today was in the book of Proverbs. This proverb caught my eye, as it always does: a wise woman builds her own home, but a foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands. So many women are busy tearing their home down. Wishing they had someone else's home. Someone else's person or people. This month I have had a little family living in my home while they wait for their new home to become available. I have deep satisfaction that my home is built well enough that it can become a peaceable resource for others. A well built home (and that doesn't mean the same thing as a well decorated home :-) is a treasure on this ragged earth. My sisters, don't underestimate the work of building a home.

Monday, June 21, 2010

joy in small and large packages!

So... I am laughing out loud. This is the best email I have ever gotten, I think. I sometimes get overwhelmed by the seriousness of world issues, politics, environmental problems - all things so far beyond me that I feel the grip of paralysis in my heart. But then one of my young beautiful honest little momma's in my mentoring circle sends me this:

A few weeks ago on your blog you posted that you needed to hear some good news. Here is some:
I had orgasms three days in a row last week. Seriously.
I passed my prospectus defense and now I am ABD.
This is news I thought you would like to celebrate. :)

When we are the 'too serious' about everything we miss the point.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Sanur Plaza Hotel. Star date June 18, 2010. Sitting in the lobby talking to a young pregnant woman. About women stuff. Real woman stuff.

The lobby is elegant and huge. As big as half a foot ball field. There are groups of chairs in squares... eight chairs, two each side by side. The chandelier above us is easily 25 ft. across. I notice it and hope it doesn't fall on us - it would surely kill us. Huge ornate statues of some kind of flying dragons watch over us. The lobby is open to the outside air and a breeze is lightly swirling. Buses and taksis (their spelling) are pumping exhaust fumes into the breeze. A man with a security wand is examining every parcel and lump on a body (you may remember the bombing of a Balinese hotel a couple years ago - we have been assured the perpetrators were caught and shot. No tolerance for terrorists here. Please tell your friends Bali is safe.)

We sit in two chairs. No one else is around. We begin talking about woman stuff. Real woman stuff. Babies. Sex. Men. Tiredness. Fear. Guilt.

Then two Indonesian men come into the room - the huge room, and sit in two chairs in our square. They light up cigarettes. Then two more men join them and start talking. They also light up cigarettes. We are all crammed into one square setting of chairs. We are talking about being responsive sexually and they are smoking and talking Indonesia. We are talking quieter and quieter.

Before the whole thing is over ... which means we leave ... there are seven Indonesian men sitting in our small group of chairs... smoking. Did I mention the whole lobby has probably ten such settings of chairs?

Don't for a minute assume the men were there because of us. They totally ignored us. I think it just says something about how they use personal and public space.

Just thought it was a strange moment. Hope they didn't speak English.

Monday, June 14, 2010

98% water

We are, apparently, 98% water in our human bodily makeup - something like that (I am reaching back into my biology information from high school.) But whatever they told us in high school I would like to confirm that we must be, indeed, 98% water.

I am experiencing Bali through the waterfall of sweat pouring off my head, my arms, my whole self. I cannot describe the extent of liquid that is me moments after exiting air conditioning. It is not a pretty sight. At one meal I simply and slowly poured a glass of water on my head and it made no difference in my appearance or attire.

98% water. And by the measure of water I have lost in the last couple weeks I think I should be half a person by now. Sadly, that is not the case either. The more water I lose the more swollen I become.

This my friends is the state of marilyn these days. Another time I will give a more erudite report on my journey through the exotic land of Bali, but for today, this is the best I can offer.