Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Porch Story :: October 2018

October Days 2018

desert spirit's fire October Happenings

porch story 31 October Happenings

• Porch Stories host Kristin had a wonderfully full month with her family. Unlike September, the tenth month gifted me with several interesting activities.

LA Metro Conference Assembly

• Very early in October some of God's people from congregations in the Los Angeles Metro Conference (basically a local division of Southwest California Synod that's our mid-level judicatory) met for worship, breaking of bread, fellowship, conversation, and a view into a possible future.

• Artistic skies make early nightfall worthwhile.
• How do you like the cross of hands on the door?
• As at many church gatherings, we had Subway subs for dinner.

early October night skies hands cross subway sandwiches

Second Annual Critter Blessing

• With Annual Blessing of the Animals Take 2 incorporated into Sunday morning worship, a few people brought their pets, but more of us went with pictures of our companion critters along with endangered parts of creation that especially concerned us.

blessing of the animals blessing of the animals blessing of the animals

God's Work Our Hands

• We went very local in the church campus backyard for an installment of the denomination's God's Work Our Hands initiative and put together several hundred nutritious lunch bags to help feed the area's transient population.

God's Work Our Hands

Air Show

• This year I enjoyed the Huntington Beach Pacific Air Show from a friend's front yard, with some gorgeous trees as a backdrop; her kittehs stayed inside. Before visiting the website, I hadn't realized it was the biggest air show in the country!

air show 2018 air show 2018 air show 2018

Reformation 2018

• The year 2017 was Reformation 500, a major worldwide celebration. I designed my worship folder cover for Reformation 501 to convey a sense of continuing faithful re-formation and revitalization in the power of the Holy Spirit of life.

Reformation 2018 narthex scene

Red Sox Nation 2018

• I've belonged to Red Sox Nation almost forever; this year (my City of History, as this blog refers to it) Boston's American League team won their fourth world series title of this century! Living in Current City 3+ years means I'm no longer a Previous City transplant, so technically the Dodgers are my team, but you know... no illustrations because I wasn't at the game.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Write31Days2018 • October 17 Pause • Porch Story

day 17 pause

porch stories 17 October pause

Edited later to say I quit the October 31 days writing challenge (and may or may not retrieve and finish it), but I'm republishing this episode because it's a Porch Story.

Kristin's Porch Story for today is a wonderful one about her family's recent Caribbean cruise.

Whether or not you're a musician, you may realize pauses and rests or are as important to the overall effect of a piece of music as are individual notes, harmonies, instrumental timbres, and venue acoustics. On my porch story icon I very lightly wrote "Pause" in barely there Helvetica Neue Ultra Light Condensed (but increased the tracking some). Seems as if sections of my past couple of decades mainly have consisted of long pauses. How many times have I observed on this blog Life Has Seasons? Similar to music, life includes times of high productivity and intense engagement with the world interspersed with months and years as fallow as ground in winter—or maybe that's as still and hope-filled as farmland settled into jubilee sabbath?

When I wrote, "sections of my past couple of decades mainly have consisted of long pauses," that had to mean discoverable audible music between the pauses, because without the main music there can't be any pauses, rests, or other interruptions. I'll easily admit there has been discernible activity and literal music. Quite a lot of it.

However...

People realistically expect skills, education, and experience partly to determine the extent they contribute to the greater good. But overall, have my past decades been as lightly inscribed into my surroundings as a word in ultra light Helvetica Neue?

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write 31 days 2018 potpourri graphic

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Write 31 Days 2018 • October 10 Boots • Porch Story

write 31 days 2018 Boots

porch stories 10 October But I like boots

Edited later to say I quit the October 31 days writing challenge (and may or may not retrieve and finish it), but I'm republishing this episode because it's a Porch Story.

Porch Stories host Kristin writes a long one about her daughter Rachel wanting to do, wanting to get almost everything that occurs to her because... "but I like it!". As Kristin explains, our self-willed impulses generally even out as we grow older, closer to God, and seek to align our actions with what's best for everyone.

When I chose my daily prompt from the lists Crystal provided, it had to be boots for today! Though at times I've enjoyed shorter and taller ones, most days I wear one of my pairs of what they (actually!) call combat boots. They look fun and urban with most skirts, pants, and dresses; they even go okay with shorts, though if I won't be walking much, usually when I wear shorts I rock sandals—either flip-flops or huaraches. In a cityside stroll, boots support my ankles better than tennis shoes/sneakers. Despite the firmness plus the comfort they provide, I don't wear boots because I like them!, but I've discovered a lot of other people really like my boots, so I want to wear boots because other people like them! Yay! I can't count the times people on the street, at an event or meeting venue, on the subway, in the park have complimented me because they like my boots!

On the other side of likes and preferences, I'm currently highly stressed and very distressed; I need to figure out how to regain my life, which means daring not to do optional things I'd rather not do if and/or when they're not essential to my economic or practical survival or that of others. This year's Write31Days is an example... unlike last year's Celebrating Place I'd wanted to do almost forever, I had no series topic in mind. Unlike the previous year of five minute free writes, I had no impulsive desire to illustrate every post. But I like boots, so I'm writing about them for this day 10.

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write 31 days 2018 potpourri graphic

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Write 31 Days 2018 • October 03 Sweet Spots

write 31 days 2018 sweet spots

porch stories 03 October Sweet Spots

Edited later to say I quit the October 31 days writing challenge (and may or may not retrieve and finish it), but I'm republishing this episode because it's a Porch Story.

It's Wednesday, so it's blogging doubles with Write 31 Days and Kristin Hill Taylor's Porch Stories, where this week Kristin writes about The sweet spots of Washington, D.C. she and Greg discovered on their recent trip. I'm picking up Kristin's topic.

With double faults and sweet spots, tennis can get challenging, tennis can be fun when you let it be by not taking it too too seriously. We all seek that best results, least effort sweet spot on our rackets. We look for sweet spots in relationships and activities, too. Relationship sweet spots happen when your conversation partner gets what you're telling them and does not offer an analysis or a solution, when you're in a lovely natural setting and know you're both (or y'all y'all) part of creation with a common dream of keeping the good good, helping making the less good better.

You can read about some of my sweet spot places and spaces in my Write 31 Days 2017; it even includes pictures! Short version? The Desert that revives and restores me, The City that holds my heart top my list of geographical sweet spots.

From a magazine ad for illustration board:

In the beginning, a small bell chimed. Creativity! It chimes at the heart of the human spirit. Remember the first time you spoke to the world...?

The literal full-body, mind, and spirit excitement of drawing, painting, or laying out a design that's going well is my ultimate sweet spot. Maybe as a writer. a cook, a baker, a musician, a knitter, or any other kind of artist, you know that sweet feeling and that sweet place? Nothing better ever!

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Monday, October 01, 2018

Jeannie Marie • Across the Street and Around the World

Across the Street and Around the World: Following Jesus to the Nations in Your Neighborhood…and Beyond by Jeannie Marie on Amazon

across the street and around the world book coverYou don't need to be either Christian or considering local or international travel to a culture different from yours to benefit immensely from Across the Street and Around the World, yet if you're in either situation, and supremely if you're Christian and venturing into a nearby or across the globe community of mostly immigrants or refugees or permanent residents unlike yourself, so much the best.

Jeannie Marie reminds us everyone is not "all the same," so don't ever assume they are. Her experiences with people in Eastern – primarily Muslim – countries held high value and interest for me. I have enough basic western smarts to know (for example) despite North American culture possessing a sameness, every state and each province has quirky distinctions we need to watch out for and may not understand at first encounter. Hey, we may not even understand their regionally accented English!

Everyone everywhere is not all the same, so don't ever assume they are. "In the Gospels Jesus didn't offer the same good news [gospel] in the same way to everyone. How he offered good news always depended on the person's immediate visible need—and his or her inner felt need." (page 88)

Jeannie Marie explains Muslim culture ("culture" encompasses people who practice the religion of Islam and those who aren't necessarily religious but go along with ethnic Muslim culinary and social habits) is honor and shame based with almost no notion of sin and guilt. Although I've never been much concerned with guilt or sin, either, most Western Christians emphasize Jesus obliterating sin and guilt. That absolutely comports with many passages of scripture, and with Jesus' words recorded in Matthew 26:28, "this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured our for many for the forgiveness of sins," (though best guess is "for the forgiveness of sins" is a gloss by a later redactor to align Jesus' words and actions with passover), but the author makes clear Jesus' birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension led to a full, abundant life in every way for the entire world, all the people, all creation, and wasn't simply a near-static cancellation of sin and guilt many assume. As we reach out to previously unreached / unengaged people, we need to be like the bible as the written word of God that brings us gospels by Luke the Physician and by John the Beloved, that provides thought-filled practical counsel by James, vivid apocalyptic by John the Revelator, and not offer the same pictures and words about Jesus the living Word of God to everyone.

In the author's world, "field worker" rather than "missionary" is the current term for anyone who lives cross-culturally in order to make disciples for Jesus. Because they contain the "sent" word root, I prefer the old-fashioned missionary and missioner we still use in the protestant mainline, but that's simply an aside.

Field workers, missionaries, Jesus people interacting with other cultures also need to be aware of different life styles and worship styles amongst Christians. An individual's post-baptismal apparel isn't necessarily a white shirt and black pants for guys, long skirt and long-sleeved blouse for women. The worshiping assembly may or may not meet in a rectangular room with stained glass windows, a cross, and a plushy red carpet. Friends of Jesus may or may not gather around a round kitchen table for praise, scripture study, breaking bread and drinking wine. Particularly in terms of worship we need to remember worship and hymn-singing in both the spoken and the cultural vernacular languages of the people was one of Reformer Martin Luther's seven marks of the true church.

Although you could describe Jeannie Marie's Christian perspective as conservative evangelical rather than my own more liberal mainline, in the end all of us are about helping lead people to Jesus and thus replace life-denying practices with life-engendering ones. As my review title states, Across the Street and Around the World is solid evangelism and solid anthropology. It's impossible to cite any part of the book as more valuable than any other.

I ordered Jeannie Marie's book especially because the urban church where I'm active is in an ethnically exceptionally diverse urban area and has been successfully reaching out to nearby Iranians; more than a dozen have been baptized and have become active in worship and other activities. As an amazon vine reviewer, I read it as interested individual so didn't do anything with the Small Group Plan, Small Group Bible Reading list, or Recommended Resources for Further Exploration at the end.

my amazon review: fabulous anthropology and evangelism resource

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Porch Story :: Church

porch story 26 September nearby church

Intro

Last Saturday was the autumnal equinox; in southern California, September and October tend to be our hottest months, though this has been the third overcast day in a row instead of fulfilling predictions of near 90 along the coast and beach, close to 100 inland. As much as I love the poetic light and shadows of late summer and early fall, shorter darker days affect me physically and psychologically as they do most people. I've begun my dance of almost October ... Reformation again ... Advent's near ... then the shortest day ... followed by Nativity's bright winter lights. Then days get longer!!!!!

For her Wednesday blog, Porch Stories host Kristin reveals her September Highlights. For the first time in almost forever, nothing bloggable happened during my September, but I'll post an October summary because at the end of October we'll celebrate Reformation 501, and I anticipate other eventful activities, so stay tuned.

Questions

April asked the question on her Facebook page; she also has a standalone site—April Fiet. What question?

If you had a church located in your immediate neighborhood, what kinds of things would you love to see that church doing? What might a church in your neighborhood do that showed the church was present and cared about the people around them?

Immediate neighborhood. When I read Kosuke Koyama's Water Buffalo Theology and discussed the book on a long-ago iteration of the United Church of Christ forums, little did I know the neighborology concept would stick closely to me as I later (that later is this now) facilitated the mostly-lectionary adult forum, a.k.a. "Sunday School" at the church I attend. That word – the logos – about the neighbor was central during Luke's lectionary year C that included so much Deuteronomy and Jeremiah. For the past few Sundays we've had a semi-continuous reading through the epistle of James, though last Sunday, Pentecost 18, was my first time talking about it because we have time to consider only a single lection each week. James wrote to an experienced Christian community, and despite popular impressions of Martin Luther's not liking James because he emphasized works rather than grace, Jimmy's not about works-righteousness, but about walking the talk, living the word about the neighbor out loud. Remember, he wrote to mature Christians.

Mr. Rogers always asked the question and offered an invitation, "Won't you be my neighbor?"

The guy asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

Where We Live

Everywhere you look they claim the year 2018 is post-Christian; stats all over the place show a low rate of weekly worship attendance, despite people continuing to check the "Christian" box on surveys and questionnaires. You've heard a one-on-one invitation most often gets people to at least visit a church? Not the pastor, not the building, not the programming.

Before saying more about what I'd want a church to do to prove its interest to the surrounding community, I'll describe how the first church of my involvement achieved local creds. Because it was very small, everyone could hold each other accountable. A person pretty much had to attend worship, go to bible study, participate in "Holy Club"—a small group that studied a book, chapter, sermon, or other document and met at someone's home with all of us taking turns hosting and providing yummy snacks. We casually called it holy club because activities for kids and teens all had the "club" designation. In addition, we got involved in local civic affairs, sometimes with more than one entity. They expected everyone to choose a political candidate or broader cause and get their feet on the ground or hands on the keyboard for whomever or whatever it was; Christianity was a lifestyle. Being a Christian meant being a neighbor by walking the talk. Their worship and study informed their public witness, so it wasn't a matter of glancing at the 'hood and deciding to do something random. I'll end this paragraph by adding that church met some of my unique needs by giving me a chance to teach piano as part of the affiliated multi-service center's programming and design some event posters and fliers.

So he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" A guy was going down to Jericho.... Technically and theologically, every human, every creature, every part of nature is our neighbor, but practically and realistically, we need to concentrate on people God's places physically closest to us. My current church doesn't remotely meet my needs to work with youth and kids or to teach art; in fact, a couple of families with young kids (young kids aren't my specialty, but all of us get older) moved far out of the area because of high housing costs. My current church can't respond to my sense of call to do any of the pocket of poverty inner-city ministry I've prepared to do, so I need to continue looking elsewhere for those things.

As examples of what a local church can do to demonstrate their presence and their care about the people around them, I'll cite my Current Church's outreach to surrounding ethnic communities, particularly several families from nearby Little Tehran. The church has provided scriptures in farsi as well as (English-language) instruction in Christian basics with an overview of the apostle's creed and the commandants, has explained why we follow Jesus, what it means to be Christian and counter cultural in twenty-first century southern California. Every other Wednesday evening they host a pro bono immigrant law clinic with legal counsel in Persian, Spanish, and English languages. Those actions directly meet obvious needs and will attract people who have those needs. Kosuke Koyama asks, "How can anyone be a teacher of religion unless he is at home with the language of the people?" It doesn't take many if any semesters of cultural anthropology to realize languages go beyond words spoken and read.

In a pocket of poverty urban or rural setting, it would be wonderful if a church could provide more than occasional fill in today's hunger food, if it could offer tutoring for students and recreational, social opps to help connect humans with other humans, to help individuals belong to community. Needless to say, wherever they are, people need to abolish typical church insider activities and insider language, to invite newcomers to take part in all aspects of ministry, even to join committees that have consisted of the same people for eons. I'd specifically like to see a church in my neighborhood say "yes!" to my offer to offer some art classes or workshops, but at least current church has been happy with my posters and bulletin covers—a distant second.

Church?

However, we're talking about church, and cannot stray so far the church turns into another social service agency. Claiming the authority of scripture, the Reformers insisted the church was the assembly gathered around Word and Sacrament, so that's where we need to begin, that's where we'll always return. If there's not sufficient energy, time, personnel, or budget for anything else, available resources go to worship. This liturgy – laos ergon, literally work of the people – models the words and the actions we need to repeat when we venture into the world after the Sunday assembly.

April asked how we in the church, we who are the church, can convince our immediate neighbors we care about them? How do we offer the invitation, "won't you be my neighbor?"? We need to acknowledge, maybe learn their spoken and written languages. We need to learn how some of their cultural habits and symbols speak a vibrant language of communication and meaning. Food, anyone? Of course!

I'm an Amazon Vine reviewer and get my choice of cool products I can keep for the cost of a timely, intelligent (whenever possible) review. A few days ago I received a copy of Across the Street and Around the World: Following Jesus to the Nations in Your Neighborhood…and Beyond by Jeannie Marie. I'm excited to start reading, and I'm excited my church invited me to serve on their newly-formed evangelism committee. With my lifelong passion for cities and The City, I tend first to think of street evangelism, but there are other-than-that approaches and I suspect Across the Street and Around the World will be inspiring.

More Chances

The font I used for the word Church in my header porch picture is Second Chances Solid by Kimberly Geswein. She has a lot of theology-tinged font names; I used her "Be Still and Know" for my Reformation Sunday 2016 worship bulletin cover. Be still and know is verse 10a of Psalm 46 Martin Luther loosely paraphrased for his hymn, "A Mighty Fortress." The Revised Common Lectionary that provides the Sunday scripture readings we use most weeks always appoints Psalm 46 for Reformation Day/Sunday, so Be Still & Know {the font} added up to a theological, liturgical, ecclesiastical triple win.

Will we as the church provide those second chances, a third chance, sixth and tenth chances just as Jesus did, those chances to reclaim disarticulated lives and fragmented humanity and show our neighbors we are with them and we care for them? It's not about scoping out the scene, picking an interesting activity off a menu, and trying it out. We faithfully can provide second and eleventh chances to our neighbors and for ourselves when our worship and study inform our public witness.

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Porch Story :: Green Team Talk

porch story 18 May Green Team Talk

porch story 18 May Green Team Talk

Porch Stories host Kristin's younger daughter Rachel is three years old! Happy Birthday, Rachel!

Intro

September and October typically are our hottest months in southern California. Two more days until Saturday and the autumnal equinox. Water year begins 01 October, the rainfall year—01 July; both are at historic southern California lows. Meanwhile, Florence has sent floods, devastation, and grief along the Eastern seaboard and she's become another hurricane name that will be retired forever. Today, September 20th, I'm finally blogging my Green Team talk from May 18th, Friday of Easter 7, the 48th day of Easter, two days before the Festival of Pentecost. Although I kept my six pages of notes, I'm reconstructing what I said from my single page outline.

Green Team Talk

Today is the forty-eighth day of Easter!
Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
response: Christ is risen indeed; Alleluia!

Today is the forty-eighth day of Easter! In a couple of days the church's year of grace will cycle into the green and growing liturgical season of Pentecost, and we'll begin counting Sundays after Pentecost. Even Trinity Sunday can be called the first Sunday after Pentecost, or the octave of Pentecost. The church long has celebrated important events in octaves of eight days...

During this season of the Spirit, time of the Church, we act upon and celebrate the reality of the Holy Spirit of life, the Spirit of resurrection from the dead that fills all creation and that we specifically receive as a gift of our baptism.

A month after the Day of Pentecost, the wheel of the year will welcome another summer solstice; summer's unfolding parallels the early part of the Sundays after Pentecost. Long ago the band Spirit sang, "I've Got a Line on You" because "the summer, she's coming on strong." Spirit! Just listen to that name! During the great fifty days of Easter, the lectionary gospel texts have showed us quite a few misunderstandings of Jesus' call to serve, and by extension, confusion regarding our baptismal call to life as God's servant people in Christ Jesus.

I love reminding my adult Sunday School class Romans 8 reminds us all creation waits for us to be revealed {to all creation} as true offspring of God, as people who authentically reflect and embody God's image as careful stewards of all the earth, all creation just as Jesus would. In fact, that passage is the appointed second reading or epistle for Trinity Sunday in this lectionary year B:

Romans 8

19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God...
20for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope
21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

I love reminding my class when we claim our divine image in the Spirit, creation itself will be set free from death and decay and enjoy the same bounded freedom we humans do as God's presence on earth. I frequently point out the same Spanish word – esperar, espero, and cognates – means hope, wait, and expect.

The days and the nights of summer convey a sense of lush, full, completeness. Spring's yellow-green has turned richer and darker; seeds have displayed their once-hidden promise in fruits, veggies, berries, and blooms.

The late James Agee {A Death in the Family; Knoxville, Summer of 1915} wrote about summer with a poem later set to music for a solo vocalist by Samuel Barber, for mixed choir by Morten Lauridsen:
Sure on this shining night
Of star made shadows round,
Kindness must watch for me
This side the ground.
The late year lies down the north.
All is healed, all is health.
High summer holds the earth.
Hearts all whole.
Sure on this shining night I weep for wonder wand'ring far
alone
Of shadows on the stars.

I've been enjoying the PCUSA's Daily Office app that follows a 2-year, standalone {not related to the Revised Standard Lectionary} daily lectionary. This morning's psalms were 96 and 148; both psalms are appointed for all the Christmas/Nativity liturgies in all three lectionary years!!! Psalm 96 charges humans and "all the earth" to sing a new song to the Lord, with happy skies, singing trees, rejoicing prairies, roaring waters. Psalm 148 demands sun, moon, stars, mountains, fruit trees, cedars—and people, too praise the Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer God.

During this season of the Spirit, time of the Church, we act upon and celebrate the reality of the Holy Spirit of life, the Spirit of resurrection from the dead that fills all creation and that we specifically receive as a gift of our baptism.

This denomination emphasizes God's Work, Our Hands. Does everyone have a chrome orange slogan t-shirt? {I have two: one from one of my churches in Previous City, one from my church in Current City.} In the SS class I facilitate, we've talked a lot about neighborology—the word about the neighbor. Especially during these great fifty days of Easter, particularly in John's gospel and Luke's Acts of the Apostles we've considered the shape, form, and function of the servant church God calls and enables us to be. Now we're moving into another Season of the Spirit, Time of the Church.

Now we're moving into another Season of the Spirit, Time of the Church. God's promises in the Spirit through Paul of Tarsus' letter to the church at Rome, the psalmist's word imagery of creation fully alive look exactly like the realization of God's work done by our hands, voices, hearts, and feet. Like the band Spirit, in the power of the Spirit of Life, we've got a line on all creation.

Amen? Amen!

Outro

This typescript of my page of sparse notes probably is close to what I actually said four months ago; like most people, I tend to say the same things over and over. When I assembled this talk, summer with its long, sun-filled days officially was four weeks on the horizon, only ten days out in the popular sense. As I blog on this September Thursday evening, late summer's shadows, shortening daylight, and a settled sense of completeness rivals James Agee's whole hearts of earth in the grasp of high summer.

Recently admitting I'm doing less with my gifts and education, participating less in church and world, even earning less in my design endeavor than during my last bleak year in Previous City has made me weary and thoughtful. Like someone in a small town with declining population and departing industry, I relocated north to Current City because I'd mined all possible opps where I was. Like Mary Chapin Carpenter's sibling in "Only A Dream," I departed Previous City leaving no sign of someone who expects to be back, though I left the bed in the old condo, gave the desk to the son of a good friend.

Please tell me all this was only a dream and I'll wake up to something new?

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Season of Creation 2B • Humanity

Season of Creation 2B - Humanity

You have made them
a little lower than God
and crowned humanity
with glory and honor.
Psalm 8:5

Original B&W faces art by Prawny via RGB Stock; recolored by me in my suntreeriver design identity.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

It's Momplicated :: Debbie Alsdorf & Joan Kay

On Amazon—It's Momplicated: Hope and Healing for Imperfect Daughters of Imperfect Mothers by Debbie Alsdorf and Joan Edwards Kay

It's Momplicated front coverThis is a most amazing book! Co-authors Debbie and Joan have solid psychological and scriptural backgrounds, so "It's Momplicated" is super-sound in terms of contemporary psychological practices; it's firmly grounded in Old and New Testament scriptures. Everyone needs to read it and gain more wisdom regarding relationships, though authors and launch team particularly focused on women because even mother-daughter relationships that have experienced lifelong sweetness never are quite perfect. As a grateful member of the launch team, for me the best aspect of the book (so far) are short case studies or vignettes that help clarify what's within a normal range and what's way far outside normal, expected, and acceptable.

Without delving into much of my own pain or history, I've previously mentioned learning about some of my late mother's history and struggles has helped me understand her in general along with providing perspective on her often outrageous, hurtful, treatment of me. Though like every human she had her faults, my maternal grandmother was an almost constant nurturing presence from my early years until her death at 96 years old; by the time I reached high school, she'd often comment on some of my mother's – her elder daughter's – out of line behaviors. Page 33: "When we realize our mothers faced difficulties, we may think it insensitive to acknowledge our wounds. ... However, the fact your mother faced personal trials does not remove the reality your needs were not met." We can carry over this realization to all sides of all our relationships.

Ideas I plan to start implementing right away include: page 54–realizing when we're not doing something or thinking about something in particular, our minds return to a default network; page 64—not so much focusing on my mother's mistakes as on my needs as a daughter and taking positive steps toward healing; page 72—when an event or rejection triggers negative feelings, ask if it's a legitimate concern or not.It's Momplicated back cover

Besides rich revelations related to both authors' mom-daughter situations and those of anonymous others, we get many opportunities to put the Serenity Prayer into practice, an "Explore Your Story," and a written "Connect with God" prayer for each of the dozen chapters. It's Momplicated is a prayer book, a journaling opportunity, and a workbook. As I plan to do my second time through, I'd strongly suggest starting a new journal book or spiral-bound notebook (my choice for serious life reflections), or whatever format works best for you to take best advantage of the content.

Notice of material connection: I received a free pre-publication copy of this book from author, publicist, agent, or publisher with no obligation to write a positive review. As always, I've expressed my own opinions in this review.

my Amazon review: relational wisdom

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Porch Stories :: August & Summer 2018

summer summary header

• Time to summarize another meteorological season and review the month almost past! I've been neglecting writing a weekly Porch Story and haven't blogged anything else. Most often I pick up the same topic as Porch Stories host Kristin, but despite formatting my porch header image at least a dozen times for a post that never happened, as August concludes with a seasonally sunny southern California day and urban foresters noisily trimming magnolias up and down the street, I'll claim two of Kristin's recent themes:
• trusting the time keeper

• changes and seasons

• and I'm participating in Emily P. Freeman's summer 2018 seasonal linkup.

porch stories Changes and Seasons summer 2018 blueberries August 2018 porch story

• Today (I'm illustrating more blueberries because they've been abundant and succulent) I finally link up again with Kristin's Stories from the Porch in August. I love how she divides her months into categories!

• Although this month's overview is image- rather than text-heavy (but not because of the old Photoshop sub-app ImageReady), its progression from the 2nd to the 28th plus August including outings and activities provides you, the blog visitor, a sense of trusting the Time Keeper and Life Giver with changes and seasons. At the end I don't say any more about this journey, about railroad tracks, or about homecoming, yet all those were all over desert spirit's fire! during my last few years in Previous City. You can look under labels tell the story, tellingthestory, and life stuff.

• To say I'm still extremely discouraged is an understatement, yet symbols as ordinary as a stack of dishes on the shelf (color-filled stock photo from unsplash, but I could've pictured kitchen actuals), the agricultural cycle doing its thing, the church's year of grace keepin' on keepin' on till by now it's run three-quarters of its course continue to remind me to trust the Divine Time Keeper who self-reveals in commonest everyday objects and events, whose claims to fame include subverting the status quo and resurrection from the dead. (If resurrection isn't "subverting a status quo," what could it be, what could be?) Not long ago friend Sara I met in Previous City when we were neighbors blogged about praying intently and incessantly for a couple of years about a situation, almost decided the Time Keeper must have gotten things wrong (so for a short while almost rejected God's surprise answer), then by grace realized it was Heaven's gig, not hers or her family's. This sixteen plus year long blog (still!) remains my testimony to my life being Heaven's gig, not mine...

mid-August railroad tracks

• Railroad tracks are a major new world icon. Visiting Promontory Point was a touristy highlight of my entire life—or minimally of my mixed reviews years in A Former City in the Intermountain West. Railroad tracks are the Wolverine and the New England States humming underneath my berth (riding the train because logically that meant we were rich so didn't need to consider time passages, ha ha (and to minimize chances of another of "Lost Luggage in Cleveland" incident?).) Maybe. Train tracks mean Previous City to Current City to Previous City.... on the Amtrak. Train tracks mean waiting for the Buddliner south to North Station on a snowy late December evening in Salem; they're endless freight cars alongside the freeway as we returned home from Idaho late on a Sunday evening; countless freight cars accompanying our drive back to Previous City from any of JS's many concerts late on any weekday evening. More than anything, railroad tracks still are Al Stewart singing, "Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight." Name of the song? Time Passages! This photo pictures the tracks around the corner from where I'm living; the header for another of my other recent monthly rundown blogs featured tracks around the corner from my place in South Central.

Painting Day at church

• First Saturday in August at church we hosted a visit from famous artist John August Swanson and a demonstration of woven paintings from our office manager. I've finally divided my notebook portfolio into five sections, and showed off two to John August. I'd describe him as "beyond excited and impressed" with what I'd done.

Glendale August

• Green Team met again in Glendale. No excellent art or other fun stuff from the resident school, but I captured some greenery in late summer glory.

Hermosa Beach Hermosa Beach
Hermosa Beach Hermosa Beach
Hermosa Beach Hermosa Beach

• A short post-Glendale side trip to the Farmer's Market in Hermosa (lovely, beautiful, gorgeous) Beach and still more examples of what a major architectural treat Current City can be.

Hollywood Bowl banner Hollywood Bowl entryway
Hollywood bowl Hollywood Bowl

• The morning of Tuesday 21 August at Hollywood Bowl, "Where Summer Plays," meant huge excitement of an open rehearsal with LA Phil, Gustavo Dudamel The Dude, guest violinist Itzhak Perlman. Two famous pieces formed the program: Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony No. 6 and Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. Parks and Recreation oversees or manages – or both – Hollywood Bowl.

moon flower dry seedpods eight moon flowers moon flower seedpod and seeds

• Backyard bed of moonflowers has been constantly interesting as I've watched spiky fresh green pods full of unready seeds gradually turn brown and then burst open. First picture on kitchen table shows how open pods form graceful flutes; next pic is from the morning of 28 August and a rare total of eight new blooms; third is an open pod and seeds beside the garden bed. Pods won't and can't break open until the seeds inside are ready to open them; the seeds won't be ready until sufficient time has passed. Etc. You know!

• Moonflowers/ datura have been a daily reminder of trusting the time keeper plus trusting changes and seasons. I need to figure out an analogy in my own life to the flowers that bloom mid-evening, stay bright and wide open only until the next mid-morning, yet always always, more are on the way, now and then missing a day.

Emily Freeman summer 2018r

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