Tuesday, May 19, 2009

TUESDAY TUNES - "You Are the Woman"

I know - I missed last Tuesday. I'm sorry. Last week was CRAZY! Here's what our week looked like: Gatlinburg, Lexington/Wilmore, Indianapolis, Veedersburg, Noblesville, Veedersburg, back to Noblesville, back home to Veedersburg. WHEW! Throw in my trip to the emergency room in Noblesville Wednesday night, and you've got yourself a BUSY WEEK! I'm sure this sounds like a bunch of excuses, but get over it. It's my blog, and if I want to miss a week, I can do that. :)

Today's song is really special to me for a lot of reasons. This is a song that I remember hearing a lot when I was growing up. My mom would sing this song to me when I was little, and I remember hearing this album playing often at our house.

A couple years ago I took part in a spritual direction retreat led by my friend Peg in Wilmore. I signed up for the retreat without knowing a lot about it. I showed up not knowing a soul. I was the only woman there who wasn't a student at the seminary, and I felt COMPLETELY out of place.

I'm not sure I can put into words exactly what this retreat was like. I imagine it was different for all of us. At some point during the weekend, we each got a chance to "work" through issues that God wanted to deal with, and we were guided by Peg (and the Holy Spirit of course) through this process in a loving way. It was totally amazing. I know it sounds wild and a little crazy, but just trust me on this one.

I was the last girl to "work" that weekend. I remember sitting through the whole retreat, and wondering what it was that God wanted to work through with me. My marriage? My family? My discipline (or lack therof)? I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but something inside of me was stirring - I knew God had an issue He needed to bring to my attention.

I sat down in that circle of women - nervous as anything - and I tried to steer the conversation towards the issue I finally decided I wanted to work on. We talked for some time, and sensing that this was the wrong topic, Peg asked me to close my eyes, and ask Jesus what He wanted to work through. I closed my eyes, and the memory of a familiar photograph flashed in my mind. It was a photograph I had looked at thousands of times before, but I hadn't seen it in years. It was my high school boyfriend's sophomore yearbook picture.

I remember squinting my eyes and shaking my head - almost as if I was trying to push the memory away. Peg (she's just so intuitive) asked what I saw, and when I told her, she knew that we had to found our issue.

I'm not going to go into a lot of detail here about what happened. He's not a caveman - he knows how to use the internet and he may someday find this little blog of mine. We have a lot of mutual friends still, and I don't want to dredge up old drama. I won't even give his first name, because honestly, you don't really care.

We dated for a little more than 18 months. We fell in love (as much as 15 year olds can), spent all our time together, had lots of fun, and made a LOT of mistakes. He ended the relationship, and I really did not take it well (understatement of the millenium). He ended up dating a really good friend of mine not too long after that, so that threw our group of friends into a tailspin of drama; sides were chosen, people felt victimized, and we all felt like our little world was crashing down on us (or maybe it was just me). We continued a physical relationship - even though we both were dating other people - and I continued to believe in my teenaged brain that we would be together in the end. Young love is so brutal, isn't it? Oy - if only I knew then what I know now. Hindsight is 20/20 though, and I definitely see how God worked in my life to bring me through that muck and mire to the point I am today. I wasn't a Christian at the time, and I only knew Matt as a friend, but God used this situation to bring Matt and I together as best friends, and used Matt to steer me towards the Lord. I am so thankful that God works in every situation for good.

Anyway - back to the retreat. We worked on lingering issues I had from this tumultuous relationship. Issues that seriously affected my sexuality, my self-esteem, my relationship with my husband, and my relationship with God. It was an amazing time for me - so healing and wonderful!

After we had finished, we were praying together as a group. As these women came around me to pray over me, God brought this song to my mind. I remember hearing the lyrics, "You are the woman that I've always dreamed of. I knew it from the start. I saw your face, and that's the last I've seen of my heart." It was almost as if God were singing it to me!

I remember thinking that no one would ever love me as much as that boyfriend once had. Then - years later - I discovered that Matt loved me more. That day, as I heard this song playing in my head, I knew that God loved me even more than Matt could ever dream. He really is the lover of my soul, and although He began wooing me years ago, that day was the day I realized that THIS was the romance of my life. This is like, OUR song...God's and mine. I really think that when I get to heaven, Jesus will be there waiting to dance with me to this one!

With that being said, enjoy "You Are the Woman" by Firefall. This is from their first album, and if you don't own it, you should! This isn't the only good song on the album.

You are the woman that I've always dreamed of
I knew it from the start
I saw your face and that's the last I've seen of my heart

It's not so much the things you say to me
It's not the things you do
It's how I feel each time you're close to me
That keeps me close to you, woh oh

You are the woman that I've always dreamed of
I knew it from the start
I saw your face and that's the last I've seen of my heart

It's not so much your pretty face I see
It's not the clothes you wear
It's more that special way you look at me
That always keeps me there, woh oh

You are the woman that I've always dreamed of
I knew it from the start
I saw your face and that's the last I've seen of my heart

It's hard to tell you all the love I'm feelin'
That's just not my style
You got a way of send my senses reelin'
Every time you smile, woh

You are the woman that I've always dreamed of
I knew it from the start
I saw your face and that's the last I've seen of my heart
(I saw your face and that's the last I've seen of my heart)
Of my heart, oh, of my heart

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What are YOU looking for???

I read a magazine article tonight listing 10 Things Every Traveler Should Do. At the end of the article, the author posed a question that I found interesting:

"What else are we looking for in travel (and in love and in life) but a tasty mix of the strange and the familiar?"
From "10 Things Every Traveler Should Do" by Pico Iyer in Real Simple magazine, June 2009

Your thoughts??? Comment below...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

TUESDAY TUNES - Discover your own!

I have been away at a conference for work, and will be leaving tomorrow for vacation with Matt's family. I have hardly had time to listen to myself think lately, let alone listen to music! I hate that I don't have a Tune for you today, but I want you to go out and discover your own Tuesday Tune today!

Have you heard of Pandora? It's a great website - especially if you like to discover new artists. It's so easy: go to Pandora.com, enter the name of an artist you enjoy, and a station will be created just for you according to your tastes! You can tell Pandora if you like a song (thumbs-up) or not (thumbs-down), and Pandora will continue to hone the station for you. I love it! Because of Pandora, I have discovered the Wailin Jennys, Sugarland, Mick McAuley, and lots of others.

Go there. Enjoy some Tunes this fine Tuesday. Hopefully I'll be back with a fabulous road trip song for you. I'll be looking for inspiration as we drive to Gatlinburg and back this week!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Caution Tape


I am so excited to be able to share these following words with you. Ted Lyddon Hatten is the Conference Artist for the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. We were blessed to have him speak at our PAUMCS conference this week in Des Moines. I was so moved by these words, that I e-mailed Ted, and asked if he would mind sending me the statement. He was very gracious to share this with me. The first part explains a little about the art he created, and the rest is a beautiful, haunting statement for you to read and meditate on. Enjoy...

The artwork for the PAUMC gathering was created to be part of a larger installation for the 2005 Iowa Annual Conference Session. Our theme that year was Stewards of Creation. In addition to these three images, I incorporated sod and caution tape in various locations throughout venue. The following words served as my artist statement. tlh

They call it caution tape and it is intended to be noticed. Yellow with black letters – Police use it to cordon off a crime scene. Construction workers use it to mark off an area in need of repair. You are supposed to see it, to take note, take caution.

If your eyes are open you will see the caution tape around here and what it surrounds. It is sod; grass. There are seven circles of sod – four in the building and three elsewhere. It is up to you to decide if the sod enclosed by the caution tape is a crime scene or an area in need of repair. If it is a crime scene you’ll want to be careful not to touch it – you wouldn’t want to leave fingerprints. It’s the oil that does you in. The oil. That’s why fingerprints can be left on a wet glass. It’s the oil. And you need a solvent to dissolve oil. Petroleum distilled and refined works well. Wipe down what you touch and not even of trace of you will remain. It is also handy as a fuel for the combustion engine in your car, your SUV, and your RV. With gasoline we can go wherever we want in speed and comfort.

“Sovereign God, when we look upon the heavens, at all of creation, and we see the work of your fingers.”

“Stewards of Creation” is our theme for this year’s Annual Conference.

Adam and Eve were the first stewards of creation and they have taught us well. They did not ask to be made but made they were. Made in God’s image which means they were hungry. They found themselves in a garden that had everything they needed – including limits. Abundance beyond the need to measure. And they were told by their Creator to “till and to keep that garden.” Translated another way – they were told to serve the land – to be servants of the land.

I believe the future of this planet hinges on the order of those words.

And they were also told that if they honor their appetites – honor, elevate, obey their appetites they will have open eyes to see the death they have brought.

But the fruit forbidden was ripe – a delight to their eyes and they were surprised that it hung so low – so easy to reach. And with their emerging vision – just before they sank their teeth in the fruit they saw God’s fingerprints.

Hanging over the chancel for these 3 days is a triangular prism that depicts the four elements around which each of our major worship services is built. Fire, air, water, earth. The Fire is the light that shines within just as the light burns, shines within everything that lives.

Air is the side dominated by a Great Blue Heron. Her eyes are locked in on one of two things; Either danger to her offspring or food. It is possible, I suppose, that she is sizing up the fish in the adjacent panel though they nearly out-weigh her. But I think the former is more likely the truth. She has spotted danger.

In the Water swim three fish. They are either trying in vain to blend in with their surroundings or they too bear the fingerprints of a Creator apparently obsessed with color.

The water looks like the air in the other panels and the plowed ground resembles the ocean floor and the marsh and this is quite intentional. The ecosystems that enable life here are infinitely complex and intimately connected one to another. The chemicals we apply to the land end up in our water. The waste we belch into the air falls down onto the land.

The land, of course is our home and our destination. We know it well – it feeds us, shelters us, holds our roots in place and gives us life. The apple in the center of the Land panel has a pattern that, with your emerging vision, you will find in the Air and Water panels as well.

But it is tempting. Tempting to reverse the order of the words spoken to Adam and Eve by God. To act as if the land is here to serve us. Tempting to honor our appetites. Tempting to continue to repeat the sin that stopped being original a long time ago.

As the juice ran down the chin and neck of Eve and Adam – so too does the crude oil run down our chin and our neck. Our combustion engines take us from place to place with speed and comfort but petroleum, refined and distilled, is also an effective solvent. And with it, we are erasing fingerprints of the Divine.

We are stewards of creation. Each of us is called in many ways – a blend of vocations unique to us – as original as the patterns on the pads of our fingers. But to be a steward of creation – that is a calling that falls equally on us all. No one is ordained or consecrated or set apart for the roll of Steward of Creation. We are all called to this ministry.

But if we are unable or unwilling to answer that call faithfully then the sod and the earth it comes from is indeed a crime scene.

The Heron has spotted the danger to her offspring and her eyes are locked in on us.

Should we find a way to answer that call and become faithful servants of creation -

should we find a way to honor God rather than our appetite

then our already opened eyes will see Divine fingerprints

and Divine presence everywhere we look.

And we will hear the echo of God’s voice;

“It is good.”


Ted Lyddon Hatten

Conference Artist

Iowa Annual Conference



Here is the script from a skit we saw this week at PAUMCS. It's a conversation between God and St. Francis of Assisi about suburbanites... enjoy!

GOD: St. Francis, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the World is going on down there in the USA? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honeybees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.

ST. FRANCIS: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers weeds and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

GOD: Grass? But it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it, sometimes twice a week.

GOD: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?

ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

ST. FRANCIS: No, sir -- just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

GOD: Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

ST. FRANCIS: Yes, sir.

GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back On the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the gro wth and saves Them a lot of work.

ST. FRANCIS: You aren't going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a Sheer stoke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It's a natural circle of life.

ST. FRANCIS: You'd better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

GOD: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the Winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?

ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy Something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

GOD: And where do they get this mulch?

ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

GOD: Enough! I don't want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

ST. CATHERINE: Dumb and Dumber, Lord. It's a real stupid movie about.............

GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.

God is a Greenie!

Sorry I missed Tuesday Tunes this week. I am in Des Moines for a conference, and was flying all day Tuesday. I would have set up a blog to post ahead of time, but the truth is, I've been so busy that I haven't had time to enjoy music lately!!! Ugh...I hate all this go, go, GO and being away from home.

I'm homesick, Matt-sick, kitty-sick, and bored in Iowa. I think I'm going to head out shopping or something here in a bit while we have some free time. For now though, I wanted to put up a quick post about what we're doing at this conference this week.

I am a member of the Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries (PAUMCS), and we're in Des Moines for our annual conference. The theme of our conference this year is "Sowing Seeds of Promise," and we're really trying to focus on "Going Green."

I know that all this "Green" talk is getting a little annoying to some people. It seems like it's the cause-du-jour the past few years. Global warming, greenhouse gases, carbon footprints...ACK! I don't even know where to begin! This week we have had some great experts come in to teach us about what is going on in our environment, what we can do to help fix it, and why we should care.

Matt and I have been making the tiniest of baby steps to become more green at our house. We have been using reusable shopping bags a lot (although I must admit that in the beginning, it was mostly because the ones at Trader Joe's were SO CUTE!). We have purchased our first few compact flourescent light bulbs for the house, and we have been recycling our cans, plastics, and cardboard. We do these things because some part of us feels like it's right to - Matt calls me a "hippie tree-hugger" for it, but he loves me anyway.

This week it has become abundantly clear to me that we should care for our Earth because it's God's creation. Whether global warming is real or not; whether it saves us money or not - we should care for creation because God made it.

If you follow me on Twitter, you were probably bothered by my multiple posts this afternoon with some wisdom I'm taking away from this conference. If you don't follow me, you're still in luck because I'm going to post it here too! Below are some things I wrote down during our sessions in the past fewe days. Forgive me if they aren't verbatim - I was trying to listen and write at the same time...enjoy!

"In Scripture God routinely uses the natural world to accomplish His tasks. Surely He is in active relationship with His creation."

"There will never be peace on Earth until there is peace with Earth."

"Mission is not a project of the church. Mission is the PURPOSE of the church."

"Mission is a lifestyle best learned early and practiced often."

"All day long, God is at work for good in the world."

"If we are in relationship with God, we are forced into relationship with all that God has created."

So let me ask you: how do YOU care for God's creation? What are your practical suggestions for young greenies like me?