I’m so happy for you…really!

A whole stack of my writing friends just released new books. Another group just signed publishing contracts, some for multiple books. Friends signed with agents. Friends with speaking engagements. Friends with writing jobs that pay the bills. I read their status updates and their tweets and I'm genuinely happy for them. It is exciting to see a dream realized and they are my friends, after all. I read their writing, it's good, and I want more people to have the opportunity to soak in their words. Any time you seek to make a living doing something creative, it's a risk and it's a joy to know that risk is working out for people who I like. Sometimes I worry that my congratulatory comments don't sound as sincere as I intend for them to be.┬áBecause let's be honest, while I'm happy … [Read more...]

The Face of the Jubilant

This is Margaret Matinde. She is someone whose life has been changed through the work of Nuru International. There is joy all around us, even in places that might seem too dark for joy. My birthday is 2 days away, and I am still far shy of my goal of raising $500 for Nuru. I would love it if you would consider making even a small donation. They are helping to change lives. They are helping people lift themselves out of poverty. To find out more about how Nuru does this, check out their FAQ. No matter the size of your donation, you will be helping to put a smile like Margaret's on the face of many more who are living in extreme poverty. You will be helping to make others jubilant. Click here to donate. ++++++++ This is a part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival hosted … [Read more...]

Things That Have Gone Missing Because My Husband is an Atheist

Lost and Found

When Jason came out to me about being an atheist, I assumed that there would be a litany of shared interests that would be missing due to his lack of faith. Some are what you would expect, like attending church together regularly or having a singular vision for our children's spiritual education. To be sure, there are times when I absolutely miss these moments. But I have also discovered that because of his deconversion, there are other things that have gone missing, many that I didn't expect. My assumptions about what atheists think about Christians. Obviously I don't know all of the atheists in the world, but my interactions with the bulk of the atheists that I've met online and those I've met in person through Jason have pretty much shattered how I assumed that group felt about … [Read more...]

Be More Than You Can Be

For most of my life, the slogan for the US Army was "Be All You Can Be." I regularly saw that phrase co-opted by the Church for various youth events and what have you. The culture wars have been raging my whole life and it makes sense that the Church thought that using something associated with the military would help. We were soldiers in the Lord's Army. We needed to be all we could be. Being all I could be was tough. Lots of rules to follow. Lots of deciding who was in and who was out. Lots of fear to contend with. Lots of questions that needed answers. But no matter what, I could never reach that mythical "all I could be." It was always just out of reach. So I gave up. I didn't have to be anything. And when I gave up, I found that there was so much more to be. When I gave … [Read more...]

A Bit Much

  I absolutely love meeting new people. One of the goals for my "do year" was to put faces to some of my friends in the virtual village. It's easy for me to say, "Let's get together," and then never actually do anything that furthers the cause. I wanted this year to be different. One of the ways I was going to meet some people was through the Sacred Friendship Gathering. For months, I was really excited about having a chance to meet David Nilsen face to face. I've felt a connection with him since we met a year ago online, and I was very much looking forward to seeing if that translated to the real world as well. But as the date closed in, I got a little bit nervous. When I say that I'm an ENFP, I can't stress enough how much of an "E" I really am. Whenever I take a … [Read more...]

This Message is Approved by…Who?

So a few weeks ago I submitted a proposal to an agent. As part of my Do year, I'd been working on this and I felt like it was pretty solid. It was turned down. The agent was very complimentary. She gave me positive feedback on my writing voice. She made some suggestions regarding platform and marketing. But ultimately she said that she was going to pass on this project. There were a couple of reasons, but the one that stuck with me is that she said that my proposal was "too soft." In my desire to have something that I thought might be approved by the masses, I wrote something that wasn't good. The pieces were fine, but when it came down to it, I chickened out. Instead of writing the way I write, I opted for safety. Instead of writing in specifics about things that matter to me, I … [Read more...]

Afterthought or Celebration?

At our church, we're preparing for our Easter service. I go to a large church, and special services like Easter are large events that require a number of additional time and rehearsals. I'll be honest, I absolutely love it. Sometimes it gets a little bit frantic, and sometimes the rehearsals extend way past when they should, but for the most part, I love the time we get to spend together, getting ready for the celebration to come.But sometimes in the midst of the busyness of our preparations for the main event, those smaller, more quiet moments are lost. They become afterthoughts - elements that we recognize as necessary, but which aren't flashy enough to garner their own service. They are too depressing, too quiet, too ugly.I get that. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday. These … [Read more...]

Memories of Faith

1984 - We sing a lot of songs at my Christian school. Songs to help us remember the books of the Bible, songs that have silly motions with them, old hymns that Mrs. Montag likes to teach us. We're getting too old for this to be cool, but when she allows us to sing Pass It On, I still get a little teary when we sing "the Lord of love has come to me, I want to pass it on." That summer I'll go to Creation Fest for the first time and find out that people sing songs like this in their actual church services. Every week.1986 - I'm in trouble for wearing hot pink tights under the acolyte robe at church. I love that I get to serve the church in this way. I love the ritual of lighting the candles in a particular order. I love the symbolism in the robe and the knotted belt. But it's the 80's … [Read more...]

What To Do With Madness

I read a sexist comment from a prominent pastor and I get mad.I hear blatant lies from a Christian organization and I get mad.I see fear being used to score political points and I get mad.I discover another layer of depravity among my fellow humans and I get mad.Every day, there are things that happen that contribute to my madness. Sometimes I feel like the only viable response to all of the hatred and falsehoods and injustice is anger. Shake my fist at the sky and scream obscenities. More often than I'd like to admit, that is my lone response.Madness doesn't have to be my only option. It may be the first stop, but it by no means has to be the destination.Instead, I can take that anger and allow it to fuel something better, something less mad. I can use that emotion to find my way to … [Read more...]

Dinosaur Disappointments

Growing up, my dad was my primary source for books that were worth reading. He introduced me to some of my very favorite books and authors. One in a long list was Michael Crichton. My dad and I were fans of Jurassic Park and when we heard that it was going to be made into a movie, we couldn't wait to see it. The release was on my dad's birthday, so I made plans to take him to see it to celebrate. Our expectations for this were through the roof on this.But as we sat there, in the air conditioned theater, our fingers slick with butter from the popcorn, we couldn't help but feel disappointment. Sure, there were some great effects, the sound was amazing, and it's hard not to love Jeff Goldblum, but compared to the book, the movie just didn't measure up. The world that Crichton created was … [Read more...]