Thursday, April 30, 2015

It can't be proven,

 but I'm fairly certain

 heaven smells like my house
 this time of year.
Just sayin'.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Baltimore "Mom of the Year"?

I know I'm the exception...
I don't think so.

I know you've seen images from the protests in Baltimore,
probably even the 'live' footage;
I mean, how could you get away with not seeing it?
it's 'viral'.
 A woman, grabbing her 16 yr old hooded and masked son
right off the riot lines;
screaming at him to get his ass home
and then hitting him multiple times in his head.

I've heard her interviewed.
I've even identified with her story. 
As a single mother who has raised teenage sons myself,
 I totally support her imposing her parenting rules on her son.

He's her only son.

She, along with all the other black moms in our country,
 know the dangers waiting for
their male children
in our culture;
she worries for her son
in ways I could never imagine
having to worry for my boys.

She had forbidden him to be at the protests.
She had warned him about the dangers of mob action
 and told him that's not the way to respect the memory
of a young man killed while in police custody.

She was at a doctors appointment 
when she realized he had disobeyed her.
So she left
when she realized he was putting himself directly in harms way,
when she saw him with a rock in his hand, 
ready to confront police full on- 
she reacted "in the only way she knew how".

I agree with the Police Chief of Baltimore
 that if more parents in the African American community were actively involved
in their children's lives,
the current climate would be markedly different.

But this morning,
she admitted 
on the CBS Morning Show 
that this isn't the first time
she's 'disciplined him like that'...

and that's exactly the problem.

Instead of using just words,
instead of using her physical presence, 
grabbing him by the scruff of his neck
and getting him to safety,

she hit him -
multiple times - 
in his head.

She struck out 'instinctively' 
and repeatedly 
in anger, 
while losing control.

Which is, by her own description,
 her parenting 'style' - 

which cumulatively over the years
only teaches kids that when you're angry and frustrated
it's OK to strike out;
it's OK to inflict damage on others
when you don't know what else to do...

which is exactly what the protesters and rioters are doing
 in mob actions
in our country.

They're reacting with the limited skills they've been taught
because no one has ever shown them
or exhibited
critical thinking;
no one has demonstrated the power
or effectiveness
of thinking problems through,
formulating responses,
using your words
and changing your behavior
to work with others
 toward the solutions you want.

They hit instead
and keep hitting
because it's 'instinctive',
it's what they know
and it's what they've been taught
and how they've been treated
by people who love them 
for generations.

And it needs to be stopped.

Our culture is awash in violence;
and until it changes on the micro-level in our homes,
it will never change in our society at large.

So, while I'm glad this mom has her son safe at home,
for now,
let's PLEASE not hold her up
as Mother as the Year!

She's not.
Loving mothers don't use their kids heads as punching bags -
no matter how much they're provoked.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The perfect Saturday morning

There was a log cabin

with a fantastic view;

a creek filled with watercress
that was too much 
for someone to resist.

There was wonderful food.

and beautiful,


wild things in the woods.

The most beautiful, colorful, strong, serene and wild creatures in the woods
were my friends!

I feel the Heartbeat of the Earth deep within...

I surrender into the life force of Creation, 
as it floods into my being...
cradling my fiercely passionate heart, 
embracing the essence I carry.

My wildness is my wisdom.
I am protected in my knowing.

I am nourished, 
within the streams of existence

I am the sacred breath of all wild women...

It was a morning filled with blessings.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Dear God,

if some of the lessons you wanted me to learn 
in this two year period of my life  
are that systems are essentially impervious to change,
people can be as nice as can be
yet still thwart you at every turn 
and that it hurts my head 
to keep banging it against a brick wall,

just so you know,

I had already learned those
in the first 30+ years I worked here.
Not to be ungrateful,
I'm still waiting for the magic key
that will get things turned around;

not just for me,
but for all our team
and the kids we serve

If the main lesson to be learned now is
that I'm powerless, 
which makes me appreciate more fully
how all our kids in foster care feel -

you can cross that one off my list too!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

At war with myself ...

the very definition of an auto immune disease.

My body has identified something 'alien' within its own borders 
and is acting, 
or reacting, 

There's something poetically symbolic in it all
and disturbing 
and sad.

Rheumatoid arthritis,
not lupus,
low dose chemotherapy
in an attempt to bring on a remission.

Methotrexate may be my new best friend.

For the first time in 5 years,
I didn't wake up in the middle of the night 
from pain.

Learning to live better chemically -
which also seems to be a contradiction in terms.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Signs of new beginnings

were all around me this weekend ...

branches heavy laden with color

a feast for the eyes.

A wonderful reminder that there's a season for everything;

which made going to a funeral on Saturday afternoon a bit easier.

Not that it's ever easy;
especially not a death like this.

A 45 yr old woman,
the daughter of a parishioner;
a talented singer, musician, 
horticulturalist and humanitarian;

struck by lightening while sleeping in her own bed,
the strike setting the rest of the house on fire.

There's no making sense of that.

Enjoyment and laughter weren't completely absent,
simply muted;

and we all took time for rest
and being quiet
at home.

Sometimes weeks never unfold 
as we anticipate.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Life ... it goes on

I haven't been writing. 

It doesn't mean I’m not thinking and doing and feeling.
It just means that I haven't been writing. 
And I can't freak out about it. 

 The desire to express myself in written form will come back – 
or it won’t.

In the meantime,
there have been 
computer classes for new skills,
solicitations for new ventures, 
speaking engagements,
scheduling conflicts,
conversations with children 
celebrations of life,
(those newly begun and those tragically ended).

There's been 

I've seen a whole different side 
of the adult medicine world
and learned that,
if it's OK with you, Lord, 
I'd rather not see any more!

I've remembered why I thought 
retirement was a good idea
in the first place
and found a few more reasons 
to be grateful for
coming back to work.

And, as always,
in the midst of all the 'not still',
there are still moments of

and beauty.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Feeling drained ...

have a whole new appreciation for the phrase!
 The docs can now surely add anemia 
to whatever else may be wrong with me!

Good thing I'll be filling up again this weekend!
I'll be talking about the Camino 
and responding to Gods call in your life 
at a spring faith retreat at a friends church 
in a neighboring community.

Yes, I know it was a year ago
but it doesn't ever get old.

Not sure I could do it again;
know I wouldn't want to
but it sure is nice to have the memory 
of having done it!

Have to admit,
I'm about ready for another beach break!
although it wouldn't have to be 
at the end of the world!

A trip 'home' would work too!

There's no way around the reality
that work can suck the very life
right out of you.

Need to replenish -
in all kinds of small ways -
and take care of myself
this weekend.

Be good to yourselves as well, friends.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Other

I mentioned earlier that, during Lent, 
I had the opportunity to do some acting; 
some improv to be precise.

The recent unrest in our community, 
the evidence staring us in the face that we are a divided city,
 caused some of us to wonder how we would ever bridge the divide. 

That question prompted a member of a local University Repertory company 
to believe we had to first be open
and ask ourselves 
who is 'our' other?

 She asked volunteers from two faith communities, 
an Episcopal and a moderate Jewish congregation, 
to meet and discuss several aspects of that very question. 

We met separately with our own group for 4 weeks 
and then came together for one session 
in which we acted out 
several scenarios that challenged us - 
with surprising results.
All of us, 
from both congregations, 
saw ourselves as liberal and accepting. 

We have 'mixed' families, 
some along racial lines, 
others embracing various religious backgrounds. 
We all believed ourselves to be 'above prejudice'.

As the weeks unfolded however 
and we were presented with various scenarios, 
we surprised ourselves 
during improv 
with what came out of our mouths.

Maybe, unlike the parents in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner,
we wouldn't balk if a child brought home a partner of another race;
but what if they brought home 
a Southern Christian literal fundamentalist?
A devote Muslim?
A science rejecting creationist?
A Jew - 
and your daughter was converting 
and wouldn't ever share Christmas or Easter holidays with you again?

The exciting part for us all was that in the final session 
we got to be 'the other' in the improv.

I discovered my inner Jewish grandmother,
lamenting that my only grandson was marrying a 'diluted Jew'
and they were being married by a yoga instructor, not a rabbi.

I was also the mother crying 
at never being able to use the Christmas ornaments 
my daughter and I had collected over the years 
because she would no longer be an observant Christian.

The depth of our reactions during the scenes suggested 
we held our own constructs and beliefs 
far more strongly that we consciously acknowledged.

It was also a visceral shock to recognize that, 
given the right, or wrong, circumstances,
we ARE someone else's 'other'.

Powerful things to think about as we headed into Holy Week.
It was a fabulous experience.

Not to mention 
the Artistic Director of the Rep told me I shouldn't stop acting; 
I was a natural! 

Maybe a whole new direction to pursue...
there's room on the shelves for a few of these!