Live Blogging the Vice Presidential Debate
Oct 2nd, 2008 by Sonja

Join me and others as we live blog the Vice Presidential debate this evening … should be fun!

Blake Huggins did this for the first Presidential debate last week, but I think his computer died. So I’ve set this up just in case he can’t make it tonight.

So … Blake has made a comeback and a smackdown is about to happen.  He’s got the liveblogging on his site …

Go Here for lots of commentary and fun talk during the debate

Count the catch phrases and wonder at how silly politics has become!

Smaug Makes a Comeback
Sep 24th, 2008 by Sonja

I’ve felt a general dis-ease with my life for a couple of weeks.  I’ve been in a weird place.

On one hand, I seem to be doing well.  I’ve been laughing.  I’ve been getting things done.  I’ve been eating.  I’ve been sleeping in what are normal patterns for me.  And yet … something was askew.

I finally figured out what it was the other day.  I seem to be angry a lot.  It especially leaks out here in the rants that I seem to be posting lately.  And I realized that I don’t like that.  It’s not who I am or want to be.  Part of the problem is that I’ve had no time to myself for months and my batteries are running on empty … literally.  But there is another component that I could not identify.

So, yesterday I mentioned all of this to my counselor.  I’ve been seeing her for two and a half years now.  When I first walked into her office in February of 2006, I was very nearly hospitalized for depression and panic.  It was only the support system from the LightFamily and the SheepFamily that kept me home.  So she’s worked with me through quite a bit.  She listened carefully, and thought it was time to administer another testing instrument.  Something to look at where my head is at somewhat more objectively.  So we did.  And the results were not surprising, but somewhat unnerving.  I scored as mid-range in mild depression – and my counselor noted disappointment at this, since I’m on some strong anti-depressants.  She felt this score should have been closer to the normal range.  I scored in the normal range in the panic section so that has been effectively dealt with.  But then we got to anger.  I scored in the “severe” range for anger … so now I have anger issues to deal with.  Beautiful.  (sarcasm)  Just beautiful.

I’ve worked so much else out and in waltzes anger.  It never seems to end and I feel overwhelmed on this road to health and wholeness.

So, I’m sorry I’ve subjected all of you to my anger, albeit without intent.  But still … there it is, I did it.  So I am sorry.  I can only say that I will be working through this and hopefully gain more insight in the future to keep myself in check.

Things To Come
Aug 15th, 2008 by Sonja

Thanks to all for your kind words and encouragement for our quilt yesterday.  BlazingEwe and I are very happy with that achievement, but we have plans to make another just for us using color in another more dramatic fashion.  We play with color in the way that some people play with marbles.  And it gives us great pleasure indeed.

So she and I and another friend are starting a quilting company.  Yes, I’m saying that in my outloud voice and with great trepidation.  We actually have a customer and are working on our first consignment quilt.  It’s due on or before October 31, the recipient’s twenty-first birthday.  His mother has asked us to recover and reconstruct a quilt he recieved when he was a baby.  He still sleeps with this quilt.  Wrapped around his head.  He seems like an otherwise average well-adjusted twenty year old … who gets attached.  Sweet.  In any case, when we have our website up (soon), I will post it here and you can see what I do some of the other parts of my day.

I won’t be around much this weekend, it’s the annual fam damily get-together at the lake.  My brothers arrive today.  My parents arrive tomorrow.  We (of course) have been here for two weeks.  Well, LightUncle2 arrived last night with my oldest niece; his wife and youngest daughter stayed back home for a variety of reasons.  LightUncle1 arrives today with his wife and two children.  We’re all going to watch LightGirl scrimmage at her hockey camp this afternoon.  Tomorrow – blueberry picking in preparation for the annual pancake cookoff on Sunday morning.  The nieces and nephews have such high standards you see.

And, just in case you were wondering at the paucity of Olympic pondering here.  There’s no television set in the cottage at the lake, so I have not watched any Olympic coverage.  I’ve read about three articles.  But otherwise, I am an Olympic-free zone in my mind.  It’s sort of nice.

Have a great weekend and I’ll “see” you on the flip side (as they say).

Scene Around The Sphere
Jul 29th, 2008 by Sonja

I dunno if it’s a cycle of the moon.  Maybe I shouldn’t try to explain it.  But there just seems to be some stuff I need to share with you right now.  So here is some of it … in no particular order.

Rachel Barenblatt of Velveteen Rabbi is studying in Israel this summer.  Her descriptions of life in the Holy Land are not to be missed, but of particular note is this meditation with photos of a day trip to the West Bank and Bethlehem.  She has a remarkable ability to see the humanity in both sides of Israeli-Palestinian dispute that is touching and beautiful.  Here’s a little taste:

Walking around the camp [refugee camp in Bethlehem] was surreal. It didn’t feel like what I imagine when I hear “refugee camp;” it felt like a neighborhood in any one of the developing nations I’ve visited. (It’s easy to forget that once a refugee camp has existed for a few decades, the army-issue canvas tents are replaced with buildings, but it’s still a refugee camp.) We quickly acquired a cadre of small children who followed us shyly saying “hello, what’s your name? Hello, how are you?” I’ve had that exact experience in so many places, so that felt very familiar. The streets of the camp are tiny, and in every window people watched us with curiosity.

But Shadi’s remarks gave us a sense for what some people may be feeling behind the walls. “This is a ghetto,” my friend Tad said to me, sounding stricken. “Is this what our grandparents survived the ghettos of Europe for: to do the same thing to someone else?” I couldn’t answer him.

Doug Jones at Perigrinatio posted this video challenging us in the arena of forgiveness.  What do you think?  Could you forgive?

Kent Leslie is working at a summer camp this summer and has an interesting take on the usual tradition of the altar call.  I think he’s probably onto something.  If you don’t have Kent in your feed reader, I’d recommend him to you as an interesting and provocative read.  He takes his faith, both orthopraxy and orthodoxy very seriously … his writing?  Not as much.

“When you screw up, we’re going to forgive you. When you make mistakes, or break rules, or are mean or do anything wrong, we’re going to forgive you. We’re not gonna hold it against you—although if you plan to take advantage of that forgiveness and just be evil all week, we might have to send you home for our own safety and the safety of the other campers. But for those of you who are trying to do right, this camp is going to be a giant clean slate for you. No worries. No guilt. Just forgiveness.”

Then we invite them to follow Jesus, and get ’em saved from the very beginning, and spend the entire week walking in newness of life, instead of waiting till Sunday and having an altar call to “wrap up” the week.

Who knew you could find such great music at the Smithsonian?  They have blues, African, jazz, Native American … all available for electronic download (to purchase, of course).  And much, much  more.  It’s an amazing collection to prowl through.   You can hear samples of everything before you purchase, but it’s all pretty fabulous if you like folk music and music from our roots.  I highly recommend prowling around there for a while.

Pam Hogeweide is messing around again.  She challenged herself to a 10 day duel.  She’s winning, by the way.  She writing everyday for ten days and finding the supernaturally beautiful in the ordinary … things like a bologna sandwich.  Everyone said it couldn’t be done.  Read Pam and see the God-beauty in the everyday.

Updated, courtesy of BlisteringSh33p, to include (drumroll please) the 7 Hamburgers of the Apocalypse.  Do not, I repeat, do NOT read this post if you are at all queasy, or have the tiniest little bit of an upset tummy.   However, if you want to see the fattiest, gluttoniest ways to eat red meat on the planet … it’s an absolute howl.

Finally … watch this space for book reviews and an e-zine … coming soon.   I’ve got book reviews coming on the following books:  We The Purple, Feel, Hokey Pokey, The New Conspirators, Rapture Ready, The Tangible Kingdom and Oh Shit! It’s Jesus … oh, and one cd, Songs For a Revolution of Hope … oh, and coffee too … I ordered two pounds of Saints coffee.  We’re taking it to Vermont at the end of the week.  I’ll let you know if it’s a good buy.

The Terrible Threes
Jul 10th, 2008 by Sonja

Just about every parent has heard of the terrible twos.  It’s that period of life when a child is two.  Supposedly they become terrible.  Acting out, rebellious … suddenly aware of their own power and self-dom, they wield it with aplomb, spouting, “No.” or “I don’t wanna.” at any turn.  It is an important era in the development of their character and personhood, that they begin to understand the limits of themselves and others.  And it seems to begin at two, with a rather sudden onslaught of apparent disobedience and rebellion.  I never experienced this with my children.  Maybe it was because I understood what two was all about, but the twos seemed to go well for me.  Three on the other hand … the threes were terrible.  And yet, also not really.  Neither of my children were horrible toddlers.  Inquistive?  Yes.  Self-motivated?  Yes.  But the threes were more difficult than the twos.

Blog CakeSo I’m not sure what to think now that my blog is three.  We turned three the other day.  July 7.  I realized it a day late and now I’m blogging about it even later.  I’m ambivalent about my blogiversary these days.  I began this blog as an exercise in community to which I no longer belong and from which I was rudely dismissed when I began to point to inconsistencies in leadership.  Then I became the problem. I continue to grieve that gaping hole in my life and struggle with the accompanying anger, stress and mistrust on a daily basis.

On the other hand, I have found a new community of friends to whom I owe a great debt for the love, grace and patience they have granted me as I’ve walked this road.  Alone, yet accompanied virtually by a host of companions.  They go with me on this road, some before, some behind.  All calling out to one another that yes, we can walk this way, we can.  It’s a careful community.  Our skin is in various stages of healing from the burn so we are tender and raw.  Perhaps not yet ready for IRL community.  Or only ready for it in small doses with carefully selected friends.

So this blog has been an incredible exercise in community.  2462 comments.  827 posts (more or less). I blog at least once a week, most weeks several times a week.  Most posts are commented on.  Sometimes I get a good idea.  We’ll see if the threes are better than or more difficult than the twos 😉 …

Saturday Fun
Jul 5th, 2008 by Sonja

Image hosted @

Here’s a fun little game going around in blog-land.  For no reason … it was just fun.

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

The questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

Some of the photos ended up a bit obtuse. I added notes below to make deciphering my choices a little easier.   I left 10 and 11 blank for you to fill in with your own imagination.  I’m sure you’ll have fun with them.

1.  Do I need to answer this?
2.  I have favorite foods for different restaurants or times of year … so I just picked whatever came into my head.
3.  U32 … don’t ask.
4.  I don’t have a favorite color … I just typed the color that came into my head.
5.  Heh … Mr. Big … gotta love him and have since he started wearing plaid ties on L&O in the 90’s.
6.  Coffee … the magic bean.
7.  Ireland and a Celtic monastery.
8.  Good apple pie.
9.  What else?
12.  Threadbare …

This is a fun way to see a lot of different photos.  If you decide to play along, leave a link to your version of the mosaic in my comments.

Shall We Dance – Perichoresis v. Hierarchy
Jun 30th, 2008 by Sonja

PDL Banner

One of the places I follow along loosely is Porpoise Diving Life.  The editor is Bill Dahl.  He’s a very interesting guy with a neat purpose for the site.  But he needed to take this year off and do some writing, reading and growing.  So he asked around for some help to keep things going.  I think it’s been a great success.  Each month a different person has stepped forward to take the helm and organize the content.  The result has been startling, refreshing and riveting.  Like the difference between cold clear mountain spring water and fizzy sassy mineral water.  Both taste wonderful and slake your thirst, but they have a remarkably different feel in your mouth.

Patrick Oden (of Dual Ravens) and I decided that we’d handle the wheel for month of August.  Patrick is also the author of  It’s A Dance, a wonderful conversation about perichoresis … the dance of relationship between the Trinity and us.  I fell in love with the book.  Then I read The Shack and we had visions of doing something that would cross-pollinate the two books.  But that never took off.  So we’re focusing, instead, on the differences between perichoresis and hierarchy.  And best of all … we need you.  Yep.  You.  You with the great ideas, poems, photos, stories, articles, etc.

You see it’s like this:

The Trinity is hard to understand.  It’s far too complex to have been made up, and no where do we have it explained to us with any kind of absolute understanding. We’re faced with the fact there’s one God, and yet there is the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  They’re all different.  But there’s only one God.  Unity and Diversity.  Three in One.  How does this work?  Well, there have been a lot of suggestions over the centuries.  The latest prevailing attitude has been to see the Trinity as a hierarchy. The Father, then the Son, then the Spirit.  But that’s not quite right, because there’s a lot of discussion in Scripture that doesn’t make it all that neat.  The Father gives all his authority to the Son, who sends the Spirit, who had already sent the Son.  It’s unusual.

Add to this the fact it’s not the kind of relationship we’re used to dealing with in organizations. They love each other. It’s the love and the relationship that is the bond. God is love. There’s no intimidation or manipulation or ambition or dissension. There’s just relationship.  And this kind of relationship has been given a name. Perichoresis.  Basically this is a big word to say something not that hard to understand, but almost impossible to live.  Instead of being a hierarchy, the persons in the Trinity are continually circling around each other, interwoven, interdependent, interpenetrating. Or to put it more simply… the relationship is kinda like a dance.

When the idea of hierarchy really was getting attention it was thought that churches should be modeled on this.  So, churches became about authority. From Father to Jesus to Apostles to Pope to Bishops to Priests to the People.  Some churches are still like this either explicitly or implicitly.

Notice who is left out. The Holy Spirit.  Paul tells us the Holy Spirit works in all of us, and makes a very interesting metaphor.  We’re not a hierarchy.  We’re a body.  Yes, Jesus is the head. But we, the Church, are to be a body. Gathered together in unity, expressing the diversity of the Spirit who works through all of us in different ways.  We too are a unity and diversity.   However, we still aren’t comfortable with that. The Trinity doesn’t have sin or ambition.  We do.  In our gathered communities we still tend to manipulate or seek authority or otherwise intimidate others and try to prove we’re somehow better. This seems worth considering.  Not leadership or organization topics. Rather ‘dance’ versus ‘power and manipulation’.  Perichoresis versus hierarchy and power.  This isn’t only something for those high in the hierarchy to consider.  We all face this.  We all use the tools at our disposal to gain an advantage, stand out, and sometimes push others down and aside.

When we use the tools at our disposal to engage in power and manipulation to subdue others in our presence … by whatever means, we are negating the power of the Gospel in the very space that the Gospel is to be transcendent.   So … how should we dress, act, engage? Well … that’s up to you and your particular dance with the Holy Spirit. See, none of us is the same. The rules are all the same, yet they’re all different. All we can do is ask questions of each other … where do you live? How do your neighbors dress?  What is your context?  What are the local standards? What is welcoming amongst them? How do you create a welcoming environment in your space, where you are free to proclaim the Good News to people so they will hear it from you?”

Please consider writing, musing, considering music, church liturgy, and other forms of God’s call in our lives that has been distorted by grabbing power rather than dancing with the Trinity.  We’d love to have articles, poems, stories, videos, paintings, photos,  … anything that you create that speaks about the Dance.

If you feel that that tug on your sleeve calling you to join us, please let me know in the comments and I’ll get in contact with you with more details about the whole process.

What Be Up?
May 30th, 2008 by Sonja

So … I’ve fallen deathly ill and been carried off.  It’s not the cough that carries you off, but the coffin they carry you off in.

I don’t know why, but that line has cracked me up from bottom of my feet ever since the first time I read it when I was about nine.  I think it’s the funniest thing … and I repeat it endlessly every time I get a cold.  Inside my head of course.  Otherwise I might drive my lovely children insane and I would not want to be the cause of their craziness.

Of course, I am not deathly ill at all.  I’ve just been distracted by the chickens as Blazing Ewe would say.  My schedule has gotten out of whack and I haven’t been arising early enough to get any writing in.  Or get any started before my lovely children disturb my train of thought.  Perhaps if I write, “lovely children,” often enough you’ll begin to get the picture that I’m more than a little fed up with them right at the moment.  Okay?  Okay.

Among things that have been happening is that a cousin came to dinner the other night.  I haven’t seen him in a long time.  His lovely wife came too and we had a wonderful evening catching up all around.  He told me about a unique event happening tomorrow with a mutual uncle.  My uncle who served in WWII is coming to town for the day and a ceremony at the WWII memorial.  So we get to go spend the day with him and see the memorial.

“The” quilt came back from being quilted the other day.  BlazingEwe and I are putting the binding and other finishing touches on it.  A final photograph should be up soon.  Hopefully I’ll be able to sell raffle tickets for it on-line.  Once I get the logistics and legalities figured out, I’ll let you all know.  Proceeds from the sale of tickets are going to Fisher House (essentially Ronald McDonald House for military families).  The guild voted between this and a charity helping school children in Ethiopia (my first choice).  Fisher House won, but only by 6 votes.  I love my little guild.  We’re only about 80 members, but we make about 150 quilts for charity every year … these go to mothers with new babies and nothing else but a car seat at our local hospital, they go to children entering foster care and the C.A.S.A program, they go to the local Medicare nursing home patients … little old ladies and men who have no one to visit, have a quilt specially for them, and they go to the amputee ward at Walter Reed.  I’m proud of this accomplishment.  When I was president of the guild back in 2002, the community service program was the focus of my presidency.  I’ve had the enormous pleasure of watching it thrive and grow ever since.  It just makes me smile to see these quilts come into our “treasury,” knowing that they’ll go out again to people who need the love they embody.  Even though this is not a “Christian” organization, this is an example of the Body of Christ at work in the world.    Quietly working in the background to care for the least, lowest and most disenfranchised.  This is why I love the ladies in my quilt guild.

More quilts are in the works and as I work on them, I’m percolating on a couple of posts.  So hopefully I’ll get some writing time and will get those up in the week or so.  In the meantime, I’m talking immigration law with LightGirl as she engages with her passion for people in this new nativist atmosphere we live in.  It makes for some lively conversation around the dinner table and in the car.

Stayin’ Alive
May 22nd, 2008 by Sonja

I’m still here. I’m still alive. I don’t know what’s been going on in my head lately, but the well seems to be dry for the time being. I do have some things percolating, but the bubbles are moving slowly and gas seems to be on low.

What little writing energy I have has been going into exchanges with old youth group kids. They’re all grown up now, but we’re re-connecting on FaceBook and having some good conversations. Some of those have gotten sorta deep and required some thinking and processing on my part … and on theirs.

I’m also trying to finish up the school year with my kids, continue on with managing the hockey team through some choppy waters and dream about new adventures in quilting with some friends. I’m still around, and things will continue to arrive here, but I won’t make any promises about reliability in the near future.

I’ve got some reviews to post in the near future and some thoughts … and some photos of recent field trips.  So stuff is on it’s way soon, I just need to realign myself with some things.  Restructure my time and go home and rethink my life.  Or something like that.  😉

Top Ten
May 13th, 2008 by Sonja

I got tagged … actually I been tagged twice now. Once by PerigrineMan and once by JJ. So today I’ll answer Perigrine’s questions and tomorrow I’ll hit JJ’s. Today is movie day … I need to tell you my top ten favorite movies and why … here are the rules of the meme …

Movie NightThe rules of the “game” are simple:

1. list your top ten favorite films (in no particular order).
2. if you’re tagged, you’ve got to post and tag 3-5 other people.
3. give a tag back (some link love) to the one who tagged you in your post
4. give a hat tip (HT) to Dan

Here, in no particular order, are my ten favorite movies of all time …

Braveheart – yes, PeregrineMan, you were correct. It is on my list. I can watch this movie over and over again and still find good nuggets in it … even if it is historically incorrect.

Monty Python’s Holy Grail – one of the funniest movies ever made. ever. It never ceases to crack me up. The parts I think are funny have changed over the years, but I still love it. Brilliant comedy at it’s finest.

The Long Riders – the Keach brothers, the Carradine brothers and the Quaid brothers made a movie about the James/Younger gang. There is a chase scene on horseback at the end that is not to be missed.

Lord of the Rings Trilogy – what a beautiful set of movies. They grabbed me and held me captive. I watch them time and again.

Uncle Buck – John Candy … what more can I say?

Planes, Trains & Automobiles – John Candy AND Steve Martin … even better.

Overboard – the penultimate chick flick and date movie.

Philadelphia – Tom Hanks’ finest role.  Absolutely stunning film.

Ghandi – Ben Kingsley is absolutely fabulous in this role.  I read Ghandi’s autobiography as a result of watching this movie.

Pretty Woman – completely unrealistic, but I love the redemptive story line.

So … I’ll tag … hmmm …

VikingFru … so she can think about fun dates with her hubs and fam 😉

Jeremy … because now that his first year of seminary is finished, he can think about movies again

Shawn … because I’m watching the Pens (win) right now and in honor of his new AppleTV

Mak … cause anyone who smokes cloves must like iiinterehstin’ movies

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