Friday, April 29, 2005

She's got a new one!

Just when I thought Maddie was getting all grown up and leaving her baby talk behind, she handed me a little gift... instead of saying "not very much" she says "not quite a bit". Like when I asked if she wanted to go to the babysitter's today, she turned up her little nose and said "not quite a bit."

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Hangin' with Maddie

I'm off work today 'cause Marcel's in the hospital with hernia surgery and because I had to transport him back and forth, and someone has to stay with Maddie, it seemed easier to take a couple of days off than make arrangements for someone else to do all those things.

Maddie and I have had a delightful day so far. We started out cuddling on the couch while she gave me a running commentary of all of her favourite TV shows. It was nice to know what she was talking about this time - she frequently gives me commentaries when I get home from work but because I'm never home with her, I have NO CLUE what she's talking about. A typical commentary might sound like "you know that guy who had a hat on and he said 'put your hands up in the air?' and then he climbed over the fence? you know that guy?" And I either pretend I DO know that guy to simplify the conversation, or I admit that I don't and she tries, in even more detail, to get me to "remember".

After the TV shows, we made peanut butter cookies. Now here's a STUPIDLY simple peanut butter cookie recipe for all you Mom's out there who have kids who dig peanut butter (it's Maddie's favourite food). Here it is... don't blink 'cause you might miss it...

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg

That's it! Ya just mix it up, roll the balls, and do the fancy criss-cross thing with a fork (like everyone knows you HAVE to have on peanut butter cookies) and then you bake them for 10 minutes. For all you lazy cooks, believe me, you can't get much more simple than that! They look just like ordinary peanut butter cookies. They taste like them too, but have a slightly different texture and are a little sweeter. Maddie and I have enjoyed quite a fewof them by now! (Apparently it's called "I can't believe it's a cookie")

Maddie's cookies were rather worm-like. She called them "peanut butter carrots". The perfectionist in me was tempted to reshape them the "proper" way, but than the laid-back mom in me said "don't be silly!" The heat of the oven distorted them into peanut butter blobs, but she was quite fond of them none-the-less.

It's bound to happen

And then one day
"yub-yub" or "pla-ba" becomes "peanut butter"
"PT" becomes "TV"
"spa-ba-dee-dee" becomes "Sponge Bob Square Pants" (yeah, I know, go figure!)
"Ju-ju" becomes "Julie"
"kee-kee-kie" becomes "Lizzy McQuire" (she's got older sisters!)

And somewhere along the line you realize your three year old is growing up. You expect it, even welcome it, with the first two. But with the third and last, for some reason, you just want to hang onto it a little longer.

But then today when she heard the radio announcer say "House of Commons" she said "House of GUM? How could anybody do THAT?" So all is not lost :-)

Friday, April 22, 2005

Meet me on the journey

I’ve been thinking lately about the things in life that shape us – those events along the journey that mold us into what we become.

In the span of the last 2 weeks, I’ve visited several blogs that have sent me back in my memory to significant “life-shaping” moments. First it was a blog of someone who’d lost a parent in the last 2 years. I could relate to that one – I lost my Dad less than 2 years ago. Then it was a blog of someone whose friend was dealing with her husband’s suicide attempt. I could relate to that one too. Nearly 10 years ago, when I was pregnant with our first child, Marcel went through a really rough time and thought I’d be better off without him. Thankfully he survived the attempt. And then, within the last week, I visited the heart-wrenching blog of someone who’d lost a baby. Once again – I could relate. My son Matthew was born dead a few years ago. I haven’t found a blog of someone who’s been raped, but if I did, I could relate there too.

Sometimes, it feels like I’ve been given more than my fair share of pain. But, haven’t we all? There are so many kinds of pain…in my family alone we’ve had to deal with infertility, loneliness, depression, cancer, death, failed adoption, mental handicap, unemployment, divorce, near bankruptcy…and the list could go on and on. There is pain everywhere and everyone gets a piece of it. Yours might not be the obvious kind – linked to a significant event or cause – but it’s pain nonetheless.

Despite all of these things that have happened to me, I don’t think I would change my life if I had the option. Yes, these events have been devastating and painful, but they all contribute to who I am. They’re like the deep black strokes on a painting. The picture wouldn’t be complete without them. I am who I am because I’ve lived through pain. The people who’ve come and gone in my life – even my son who never breathed – have changed me and molded me. I wouldn’t want it otherwise.

I had a meeting with Steve Bell yesterday (a local singer-songwriter). He’s going to work with us on some projects, and suggested we use his song “Deep Calls to Deep” for an audio-visual presentation we’re creating. The name of the song has been in my head since then. Deep Calls to Deep. I think the deepness in my pain calls to the deepness in yours, and that’s what builds friendships and community and trust. I think without the pain, our relationships wouldn’t be the rich tapestries they are.

Another Steve Bell song helped me get through the stillbirth of my son. It’s called Faith’s Song and it’s about his sister losing a baby. It gave me comfort to hear the story of someone else who’d lived through my pain. It felt like a lifeline reaching out to me in the storm.

That’s what we have to do with our pain – use it to build hope. That’s how we redeem those gut-wrenching, agonizing moments. Turn them into something meaningful, not only for us, but for those we touch along the way.

Shared pain lifts us up and gets us through the darkness.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


We were curled up in bed together last night, and after I'd already read 2 books to her, she wanted more. "No," I said, "it's time to go to sleep." She looked earnestly at her bare wrist and said "Mom, on my watch it says it's time to read a book!"

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Sunday afternoon delight

Sometimes uninvited memories sneak into your conscious mind, and you either chuckle or cry, depending on the impact the event had on your life. The one that snuck into mine the other day was of the chuckle variety. I have no idea why it showed up, but it is
a) one of my most embarrassing moments
b) one of my favourite stories

In my former role as a communications director in the federal government, I often had the (sometimes dubious) pleasure of escorting dignitaries around my corner of the world. On this particular Sunday afternoon, I was driving a former Member of Parliament back to the city after attending a veterans’ convention with him.

We were about to drive past my parents’ farm, and so I innocently said “Do you mind if we pop in at my Mom and Dad’s for a bit? I have to pee (yes, I’d already reached a reasonable comfort level with this particular MP and could talk about my bodily functions), and besides, my Dad would get a kick out of having an MP in his house.” He said “no problem”, and so I pulled into the driveway, delightedly oblivious to what I was about to witness.

Mom and Dad lived in a big old 2 storey farm house at the time. I knocked first (because I had a guest) but when no one answered, I stepped inside and yelled “Hello?” Still no answer. Assuming that no one was home, I suggested to the MP that he wait downstairs, while I ran upstairs to relieve myself.

Halfway up the stairs, I heard Mom’s voice from the bedroom “Is somebody there?” Still suspecting nothing, I bounded into her room to say hello. Nothing about this seemed out of the ordinary – Mom often had mid-afternoon naps on lazy Sunday afternoons. What I WASN’T prepared for was the fact that she wasn’t in there alone!

Peeking out from under the covers was my Dad, and frantically scrambling to dress herself in the closet was my Mom. This was no afternoon nap! By the twinkle in my Dad’s eyes, I could see that there was something else ENTIRELY going on in here, and my spontaneous visit had thrown a major kink into their SUNDAY AFTERNOON DELIGHT!

Just when you think all the kids have left home and it’s SAFE to sneak upstairs to “tear off a piece” on a Sunday afternoon, they start popping in unexpected! And not only do they show up, but they bring along a MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT to increase the embarrassment factor.

I laughed so hard all the way down the stairs, I thought I’d pee myself. And when I got to the front door, I found the MP doubled up on the front lawn, laughing as hard as I was. He’d quickly figured out what was going on and decided it was better for him to wait outside.

I saw that MP several times after that, and he always commented on that Sunday afternoon adventure. He said it had inspired him – that he wanted to have just as much fun as my Mom and Dad when he was in his 60s.

Needless to say, I rubbed it in a bit with my Mom and Dad. I told them to start watching TV when the House of Commons was in session to see if there were any MPs in the back giggling. ‘Cause if there were, I said, they were probably telling each other the story of the farm couple having a Sunday afternoon romp in the hay!

Note: for those of you who think the reappearance of this memory has ANYTHING to do with the fact that my Mom is getting re-married in a couple of weeks, you can check your psychoanalysis at the door!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

My turn for the Book Stick

Gina passed me the stick, and I've finally gotten around to doing it. Here it is...

You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

Hmmm… not sure how to answer this question, because I haven’t read Fahrenheit 451 (though I know a bit about the premise). Would it be better to be a “fluff” book, so that you were no threat to society and wouldn’t get burned as quickly, or a more “meaty” book that might help you change society so that books no longer get burned? If it’s the first, I might choose one of the disgustingly fluffy Hillary Duff books my daughters have on their shelves (thankfully, they’re finally growing tired of them!) If it’s the second, then I might choose the Bible, with the hopes that it might inspire someone to take a risk and stop the burning.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Yeah, but sadly, I have a fairly short memory for books, so I don’t remember the characters very long after I’ve read the book. I remember a bit of a crush after reading Little Women… one of the young men who stole the heart of one of the sisters (if only I could remember who). But, truthfully, one of my favourites would have to mirror Gina’s fave - Sir Percy Blakeney from The Scarlet Pimpernel. Ooohhh… he had that little bit of “danger” that’s just so sexy!

Longest lasting crush?

Like I said before, my memory’s pretty short, so the crushes lasted about as long as the period of time before I started my next book. But Sir Percy probably rates, ‘cause I still get a little tingly when I think of his daring spy missions :-)

The last book you bought is:

If you saw my post from April 8, you’ll have your first clue. I bought Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott. Her book Travelling Mercies is my favourite book of all time, so I couldn’t resist buying the follow-up. After a tough day, I treated myself to a new book. Hey – when it comes to indulging, it was better than turning to alcohol or food!

The last book you finished:

Same as above – Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. It didn’t take me long to finish, ‘cause I devour Anne Lamott like expensive chocolate. I finished it on the plane on the way to Toronto earlier this week. It wasn’t quite as good as Travelling Mercies, but still DEFINITELY worth the read (with just a bit too much Bush-bashing). I have found no one who can write about her faith journey, her life as a mother, her relationship, etc., with such honesty, humour, and brilliant inspiration. I laughed, I cried…oh, you get the picture.

What are you currently reading?

The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace by Scott Peck. I started reading this book in Africa in February. It had been recommended by a couple of friends, because I was going to be travelling with a group of 12 people for 3 weeks, and they thought it would be interesting to read about community making in the context of a unique community experience (2 weeks in a bus with 12 people is certainly an interesting way to learn about community!) I’ve been enjoying the book quite a bit, but I took a break from it after Africa, because when I came home to my family, I didn’t really feel like focussing on community for awhile. I brought it along to Toronto this week because I was pretty sure I’d finish Plan B and needed something else to read. It’s a great book. Scott Peck is brilliant.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:

This is a tough one. I couldn’t decide whether to take “old faithfuls” because they were comfortable and familiar, or new ones that I hadn’t read yet because I wanted to be inspired. I chose a combination…

Travelling Mercies by Anne Lamott – As I said before, this is my favourite book and I wouldn’t want to be without it. It gives me hope when I’m feeling hopeless, and makes me feel human when I’m at risk of losing touch with my humanity.

The Bible – I often wish I were more faithful at reading the Bible. I get tired of it sometimes, and other times it frustrates me, so it gets ignored. But there are still so many things I love about it, and enough things that challenge me and keep me wanting to learn more, that I wouldn’t want to leave it behind. One of the things I admire most about Jesus is that he is a master communicator – he tells great stories and knows how to get people’s attention. I am a great lover of stories, and always interested in learning more about my chosen field - communication. So even when I don’t feel particularly connected to my faith, I can find something of interest and value in the Bible.

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron – I figure out there on that deserted island, I’d finally find enough time to do The Artist’s Way justice and work my way through the lessons. I’m not sure what my “Artist’s Dates” would be – perhaps picking seashells at the beach, or meandering through a wildflower meadow.

A blank book – yup, this one would have nothing on the pages, ‘cause if I DID bring The Artist’s Way along, I’d have to have a blank book for all my morning pages. And who knows, by the time I got rescued from that island, I might have written a whole new book to leave behind for the new inhabitants to enjoy!

The Last Word and the Word after That: A Tale of Faith, Doubt, and a New Kind of Christianity by Brian McLaren – this is in the category of new books that I’m looking forward to reading (on my wish list). I fell in love with McLaren when I read A Generous Orthodoxy, so now I want to read more of him. This one sounds intriguing.

There, that's it for me. Now I'm happy to pass it on to whomever wants it... CCAP? h8s2clean (although you may have already done it)? thebloke? I'd LOVE to pass it to Michele or Linda, if only they'd ever get around to creating their own blogs (perhaps this is just the inspiration they need)!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Things that make you go HUH?

Warning: political rant ahead

Yesterday, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights voted on a Right to Food Resolution. Basically, they were resolving that all human beings should have the right to food, and that those countries with excess should take some responsibility for making sure others have enough. Fifty-two countries voted in favour of the resolution. One voted against. Guess which one. The United States.

So... (here's the political rant - don't say I didn't warn you) this from the same government whose President tried to step in and insist that Terry Shiavo should have the right to food. Huh? I don't pretend to know what was the right thing in the Terry Shiavo fiasco, but you've gotta admit that something's smellin' a little rotten here. A brain dead, white, American woman, whose right-wing fundamentalist supporters happen to have alot of political clout has the right to be fed, but those 842 million people in Africa and all over the world trying to eek out a living on parched soil and in the context of unfair trade rules DON'T?

I guess it's just too much for this mere mortal to understand.

(My sincere apology to any of our southern neighbours who might be reading this - I'm really NOT anti-American. Just sometimes your government confuses me. But you're not alone - sometimes OUR government confuses me too.)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Quote for the day

"You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions."
Naguib Mahfouz (Nobel Prize Winner)


I know NOTHING about the whole nature/nurture debate. All I know is this... I have three daughters, and they are all so DIFFERENT! They're being raised by the same Mommy and Daddy, and yeah, you can find the similarities, but mostly I see the differences.

Take this one example... I step off the bus after work, and it is always Julie who rushes down the street and throws her arms around me before I can make it halfway home - every day. She has always been the one to attach herself to me - she sits on my lap as much as she can, she wants me to sleep with her, etc., etc. Maddie, on the other hand, hardly notices whether or not I'm around. I come home from two days in Toronto, she briefly glances in my direction, and then carries on with what she was doing. I'm sure she's happy to have me home, and she likes hanging out with me, but it doesn't make a whole lot of difference to her either way. Nikki is somewhere in between. She needs me, but she's quite happy to be apart from me too. She's always been more of the "check in" type - she shows up now and then to get a little affection and Mommy time, and then disappears again.

Whatever the case, I'm crazy about all of them and lucky to be their Mommy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Home again, home again, jiggity jog

I got back from Toronto late last night. I just have to say... if you're ever looking for a place to lay your weary head in downtown Toronto, check out Mulberry Tree Bed and Breakfast. It is delightful! It's in a hundred year old house, with lots of antique furniture and artifacts from all over the world. I had a wonderful night in the Ochre Room - comfy and relaxing and so much better than all those cookie-cutter hotels I usually stay in!

And if you take my advice and end up there, be sure to check out Spring Rolls just around the corner on Yonge Street. Very yummy Pad Thai, topped off with deep-fried bananas and coconut ice cream for dessert! To die for! (Though, I have to admit, the walk back to the B&B was a little uncomfortable, 'cause my stomach was complaining about the way I'd abused it with shameless over-consumption.)

I don't know why it has never occurred to me before (duh! I'm a slow learner!), but since I travel a fair bit, I should start looking for more B&B's instead of just your run-o'-the-mill hotel chain. So if anyone has suggestions for interesting B&B's in Canadian cities, I'm listening...

Note: I have received no remuneration for advertising on this site, but if anyone WANTS to give me money, feel free :-)

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Jesus on a bike

Julie was getting a little frustrated with her umpteenth attempt at learning to ride a bike. In an attempt to console her, I told her EVERYbody has trouble learning to ride at the beginning. "Even Jesus?" she asked. "Yes," I said, "if bikes had been around in Jesus' time, I'm sure he would have had trouble too."

It painted a nice picture - put it all into perspective for awhile. Mary trying REALLY hard not to get frustrated as Jesus made yet another attempt at riding his two-wheeler. Jesus blowing up occasionally, when Mary gave unsolicited advice yet again. "Try it THIS way, son." "But I don't WANT to try it that way! I'll try it my OWN way!" "But it works better if you keep your eyes OFF your feet and focus on the road ahead of you." "Mom! I'll do it MYSELF!"

It turned out to be a fruitful exercise this afternoon - Julie can now ride her bike! But in order for her to learn, I had to learn a little mommy-lesson first. I had to let go, and let her try it HER way. We have the same nature, her and I. We're both quite convinced OUR way is the RIGHT way. So, needless to say, we often butt heads when I'm trying to help her learn something. Well, this time, she was quite determined to learn without my help, and for a change, I backed off and let her, even when I was convinced she'd have more success MY way. We agreed to try it my way for 5 attempts, but after that failed, she went back to her way, and, of course, that's the way she finally succeeded. I celebrated both her victory and mine (as I ate a small slice of humble pie :-)

You should see my "Julie learned to ride a bike" dance! It puts Michael Jackson's moon dance to shame!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

It's amazing what a little nice weather can do

This morning I was feeling really blue. I'm not sure why, but I just felt stuck in a serious state of inertia. It felt like NOTHING in my life was moving along - I was stuck in a rut everywhere. At work I have way too many big projects looming over my head, and, since "beginnings" are the hardest part, and they're all kinda overwhelming me, I'm just spinning my wheels and accomplishing nothing. At home, I'm behind in everything. The laundry has gotten out of control again, every room in the house needs some serious Spring cleaning, I haven't done our taxes yet and the deadline is in sight, the yard work needs to be done, and now that it's getting nicer out, I'm reminded that I only painted HALF of the exterior of the house last year so the other half needs to be done. I could go on and on... I'm not getting a handle on this overeating thing like I'd hoped I would, etc., etc.

Well, this morning I felt like all I wanted to do today was spend the day in bed. Given the fact that I had to play "Mommy-chauffeur" most of the day, though, didn't allow me that opportunity. So I got moving, and only had the luxury of a short nap while the oldest two were at a birthday party and Maddie napped. After that, though, I finally got enough energy to clean the living room, and then headed outside for some fresh air - first taking Maddie on the tricycle, and then going for a bike ride with Nikki.

The fresh air and exercise did me WONDERS, and now my perspective on life is getting a whole lot better. Sure I'm behind on stuff, but it's not the end of the world. The sun is shining, I can wear sandals outside (yippee!), I have a fun (and short, thankfully) business trip coming up which will give me a nice opportunity to regroup while I spend a quiet evening in what looks like a lovely Bed and Breakfast, and at least my living room is clean! Life is pretty good after all.

Friday, April 08, 2005


You open the door and the sounds of classical music greet you. Mingled with that are the warm muted tones of a myriad of voices - booklovers and cafĂ© visitors - reverberating gently from the book-covered walls. A sigh escapes your lips as the aura wafts over you. You slip inside the room like a foot into an old slipper. Books stand sentry at the door – some familiar and comfortable, others new and intriguing. You pick one up and flip through the pages. The feel of the book in your hand awakens a piece of you that you hadn’t noticed had fallen asleep.

You walk past the stairway winding around Christopher Robin’s tree. You touch the rich wood of a bookshelf – it grounds you like a touchstone. You pick up a few books and find an empty chair – a big soft one in a quiet alcove. You curl up in the worn chair and let the tension in your muscles slowly drift away. You open the book on your lap and lose yourself in the pages.

You have found it. Sanctuary.

Yes, I got to enjoy a beautiful, uninterrupted, unencumbered hour at my favourite bookstore last night. (No, it wasn’t the same bookstore that contributed to my faith crisis a few months ago. This one is SO much better.) Those hours are few and far between, so when they come, I savour them like expensive chocolate. And when I left the store at closing time, I carried a book home with me and continued to relish it, curled up in my bed.

And what did I take home? Well, last night I needed an old friend in comfortable clothing, so I took home Anne Lamott. She’s writing about faith again, and that’s JUST what I needed. She’s like an old friend, and there are few people I’d rather curl up in bed with than Anne. She didn’t disappoint either. I didn’t get too far into it before my eyes refused to stay open, but I enjoyed the first couple of chapters. I fell asleep, peaceful and inspired. She lifted me up above the din.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

How NOT to please me at 10:00 at night

...come traipsing down the stairs with about a cup of hand lotion plastered all over your hands and arms and pajamas and say "Mommy, I have some soap on me." And then, when I go upstairs to find MORE hand lotion all over the walls, the stair rail, my bed-side table, the door knobs, and the bottle of lotion, say "But it was just an accident. Accidents happen, you know."

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Is it wrong?

The other day, I was playing the Game of Life with the girls. It's a board game where you have a little car that you drive along this path through the various stages of Life. (Don't get me going on how restrictive the stages of Life are - there is, for example, no option for getting married, or for buying a house. AND the only "success" at the end of Life is if you've amassed a whole whack of money. But it's just a game, so is it all that important? I dunno. But I digress...)

When you get married, you have to place either a blue or pink tiny plastic figure next to your own tiny plastic figure in the car. For some reason (probably because it's rather tittilating and she can giggle about it), Nikki likes to be a "lesbian" with 2 pink figures in the car. I don't make a big deal about it - I just suggest she refrain from doing it if Grandma is playing with her.

Well, this time, she had second thoughts about it. She hesitated, and, because I know her so well, I was sure there was something behind her hesitation. Sure enough... part way through the game came "The Question" (there are ALWAYS questions where this girl is concerned). "Mom, is it WRONG to be a lesbian?"

Well, is it? Hmmm... I'm not sure I had a satisfactory answer for her. I mumbled something about how alot of people feel it goes against God's will, blah, blah, blah. Thankfully, she didn't push it beyond that. But have no doubt, the question will come back again. And next time it will be tougher.

I don't know if I'm ready for this level of questions. Having a daughter who's now a pre-teen, and has always thought way beyond her years is going to challenge me to come up with answers that satisfy her. For alot of this stuff, I haven't even found satisfactory answers for MYSELF, so how can I offer them to her? I guess it will mean I just have to be honest - that there are alot of things I haven't figured out yet. But she needs clearer boundaries than I do. Especially at this age. And she can be pretty persistent when she NEEDS to figure out where those boundaries are.

Sometimes (just sometimes) I think parenting would be easier if I were more like my mother. In her world, there is so much more black and white and there are EASY answers for these questions. My world doesn't work like hers though. It seems like the older I get, the more shades of gray there are. I'm getting used to it, but it doesn't always make for easy parenting. And, considering the fact that I've had a few good friends in my life who ARE lesbians, I just can't write them off the way my mother can.

I told Nikki last night that I thought she'd make a good journalist. She asks ALOT of good questions. But she says she'd rather be a politician. She wants to be President. When I told her she can't, because she's Canadian, she was bummed out. But I think she'll settle for Prime Minister. Is there an official name for "mother of the Prime Minister"? And do I get to live in a fancy house? Maybe I can get one of those patronage appointments as an ambassador to an exotic country...

Another sign of spring - the lambs have been born! Now that Grandpa's gone and so are his sheep, we had to visit the fair to find this one.

Monday, April 04, 2005

How's your truth-metre?

Sometimes I wish I had a truth-metre – some contraption that worked like a smoke detector and beeped every time truth was in the air. I want to know truth, but I’m not always sure I’m good enough at recognizing it. Sometimes, as I grow into myself, I come to the conclusion that something that I once believed was truth is really an untruth disguised.

I’ve been challenged with this ever since that faith-shaking moment in front of that wall of books. So many of those books seemed like disguises simply muddying the truth instead of clarifying it.

We’re all trying to figure it out. I’m not alone. All those people who’ve written diatribes and commentaries and lengthy theology textbooks – they’re no different from me. Some of them THINK they have truth-metres, but no one has a corner on truth. Not even the pope had it ALL right (of course I mean no disrespect for the dead). We all see through a “mirror dimly”.

These thoughts have been with me as I worked my way through Generous Orthodoxy. I LOVE this book, and so much of it resonates with me. I want to say “YES! YES! YES!” I want to believe THIS is truth. But can I be sure?

I used this quote when I spoke in church on Sunday… "I must add, though, that I don't believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu or Jewish contexts." I knew it was provocative, but I felt I had to say what was in my heart. If anything, my experience in Africa convinced me that spreading God’s kingdom is not necessarily about converting people to OUR version of the truth, but letting God’s truth find its way into THEIR version of it. There are, after all, so many things that they seem to understand better than us – how to live in community, how to demonstrate compassion and friendship.

Well, it seems I picked just the passage that has gotten Brian McLaren (the author) into all kinds of trouble (it happened last month, but I just stumbled on it AFTER I used the quote). Apparently the Kentucky Baptist Convention withdrew its invitation to Brian McLaren to speak at its Evangelism Conference because they didn’t like that particular section of the book.

So, I can’t help but wonder – what IS the truth? I’m still convinced that McLaren is onto something, but obviously the southern Baptists think their truth-metre is working just fine and his is faulty.

And all the while, I can’t help but wonder if God is shaking his head and wondering why his people can’t figure out how to get along and just get on with building his kingdom. What gives me hope is that that’s just what McLaren is proposing – that we find some way of setting aside all the trappings of religion and work together. He contends that following Jesus means rising ABOVE what we have defined as Christianity in our own contexts.

According to the media reports, McLaren was quite gracious about the whole thing. I’m SO glad, because THAT’S the way I think Jesus would have asked him to react. He lived out Matthew 10:14… “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.”

Until God finds some way of convincing me otherwise, my faulty truth-metre still continues to point in the same direction McLaren’s points in.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

At our house, springtime means SLURPEE-TIME!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Spell that backwards

Julie, my word girl who learned to talk almost as soon as she could breathe, and who didn't really learn to read so much as absorb it, is currently into backwards words. On a frequent basis, she'll tell me what a random word is backwards. And now she's starting in on "palindromes", those words or phrases that are the same backwards as forwards. Anyone want to help us think of some? Here are some of hers... Hannah, Bob, mom, dad, level, pop... (and then when you've caught the bug, you can check out www.palindromelist.com to see the longest palindrome EVER!)