Donald Trump calls himself a Christian. I feel sick. I watch fellow Christians fall for it. What is it about that man that appeals to the Christian Right? Or Christians of any kind? Oh yeah, that’s right. He campaigned to feed fears and self-righteousness. It worked. It’s clear that Christian Americans came out last night and took part in voting Donald Trump into (more) power. Despite flapping his arms in mockery of the disabled, talking about grabbing women by the pussy and calling all Mexicans rapists…despite this and so much more, we filled in the vacant space next to that man’s name and gave his ego all it needed to reign, disregarding counsel, because he says he doesn’t need that. Here will sit a man who refuses to own mistakes, nothing to apologize for, he says. At the heart of every narcissist is the inability to apologize or accept even the best advice. […]

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come back home

November 17, 2015

When we blame an entire religion, or its people, for something terrifying, it makes it easier. It makes it all feel far away, over there, by Them. Those People. The Evil Ones. This is born of fear and insecurity and those are natural things to feel, but we have to work through them and come back home. And if we claim to be Christians, home is where we keep the fatherless and the widow. Home is where we pick up the man who is opposite of us but still us, on the side of the road, bleeding. (Syria photo credit – Amnesty International) Do you see how we are all connected? We once were anyway and I can’t remember it and neither can you and most of us are fine with that. Terrorism, war, carnage…results of isolation and separation and disconnection and fear. We all did that. Not just politicians or religious fanatics, both […]

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photo via google images via bradytoops.com I posted a link to a short article about Brady Toops being on The Bachelorette​ on Facebook a couple of days ago. What I said in that post was, “I used to take care of him in the church nursery. That is all.” My FB friends and I were all humored by that. It’s funny. In that way that makes you feel really really old… But I want to tell you about some other things that have nothing (and then maybe everything) to do with Brady being on The Bachelorette. I want to tell you about community, courage and support. The people I’ve talked to around this place where Brady grew up are excited about his career in music, his talent, and they support him. You might expect criticism from way up here–about Brady’s choice to do a reality TV show–but that hasn’t seemed to be the case. I’m sure some locals are judging this […]

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be here now

October 9, 2014

I was driving along and paying close attention to how many leaves have fallen. Holy buckets, I thought. It happens so fast. And it was so gusty, so the leaves were swirling and whirling and even getting caught up in the air, sweeping circles above the minivan. It was like they were trying to fall back up to the branches. I was pulling a trailer with a lawn mower in it, because I am small town Minnesota, hear me roar. I was on my way to the Cre8tive Escape building, which everyone in my life, including me, lovingly calls, The Building. The lawn, it did need a’mowin’. And we have our Grand Opening in ONE WEEK and maybe mowing isn’t the highest priority for that, but it is a high priority for me because the renters at the building should have a nice place to come to work and create, not a marshy […]

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Just Write {143}

July 8, 2014

It’s a cross tattoo, with the initials of her family in it. It has details I haven’t noticed before, so I asked to take a closer look. We laughed about some huge changes that make the skin ink a little tricky to take in. Then I asked about the date at the top of the cross and she said, hesitantly, her eyes rolling, That’s the date I…well, that’s when I was first “saved”… Why do you roll your eyes at that, I asked. I don’t know…it’s just that I haven’t been all that close to God all the time. And I’ve made some big mistakes… I wanted to shout HE LOVES YOUR FACE OFF, SILLY HEAD. Tattoo or no tattoo, date or no date, air quotes saved or air quotes not saved. He loves your face off. Instead we talked about praying a certain prayer to get “saved” and remembering the date. We […]

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oxygen

July 3, 2014

I pulled up behind the buildings of Main Street, in the alley, by the dam. I work from the Middle Fork Cafe a lot, and love the food, atmosphere and small town regulars. The owner babysat my sister and I when we were kids, and she’s still a friend, because that’s how it works around here. Hi Heath, she calls from the kitchen when I walk in. I had pulled up at the same time as Kim did, her truck backed up to the door of her vintage store, The Dancing Goat. (Not a dance studio for goats.) She asked me if I noticed the blue car by the dam. Then she explained that it is there all the time, an old man in it, homeless. She said no one really knows what to do, but there he is, for the last couple of weeks or so. She knows I was a social […]

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Just Write 133

April 29, 2014

She said, Yeah…you get to just be human now… and I closed my eyes and saw the sun shining all aglow around her brown curls. But she was on the phone, so this was just me, thinking of her. A friend who came to me perfectly and has stayed and we’ve walked these things that can’t be predicted. It hit me so hard. I get to just be human now. Well, that’s obvious, a person would think. We’re people, humans. Yup, be one. But some of us are just so opposed to this, sailing around so sure of sainthood, of rightness with all things, of overcoming and pressing on and keeping straight. I’m so tired. And then sometimes you walk into something so foreign and terrifying that there is absolutely no way to deny your humanity. You can only be absolutely sure you are going to make a whole lot of mistakes while […]

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I can see inside of you

April 17, 2014

When Really Big Life things are going on, I find that even though these big things are so often stressful, I am more at ease about the little things. I mean, there isn’t any room for a long conversation about why a lot of sugar is bad for your body. They know this already and good grief, they don’t even have that much sugar to consume around here. So I get over it. I say yes. We move on. Later they eat broccoli with dinner and I don’t even have to make them. There’s give and there’s take. There’s push and then pull. There’s pain and then grace. There’s a marshmallow Peep at the beginning of the day and a whole pile of carrots at the end. Only one is actually even food, but so be it. Maybe one day I’ll tell the rest of the story here. Maybe I won’t. Is that […]

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Just Write {131}

April 15, 2014

The dog is hiding under my desk because the thunder is pounding so loud. Asher is at school, but he’s probably thinking about how God must be bowling or moving furniture, because that’s what he says thunder is. I don’t mean to be vague or leave you with teasers, but life is so different right now than a few weeks ago. I can’t really talk about it right now, but I’m sitting here in awe of how God takes time from bowling and rearranging furniture to care for me so whole-heartedly despite my messes. Getting sober started a very slow honesty in my life. It’s really hard, to face really big things and it has taken me over four years to be truly free of lies I was living. And I’m sure I’ll discover more, but I don’t need to know right now. I just need to keep not running from them. I […]

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what does love look like?

March 27, 2014

Sooner or later a story is going to get to you. I don’t care where you hear it. You can’t predict where you might but one will get a hold of you, at an open-hearted moment. It’ll be like there’s an actual ear right there on your heart and you can put your pointer finger behind that ear and bend it close to the teller. And right then, just like that, you’ll get it. That thing, that you’ve never been able to understand, to feel, before. We hide from the chance of this softening because maybe it will hurt too much, the pain that comes with changes of heart. Openly listening removes the ruminating mind, and then what? Our hearts get all bruised up with the hurt of the world around us and in our homes and in people who we have taken part in hurting, and then we’re moved to help or […]

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say what you need to say

December 19, 2013

People are changing their profile pictures to either support or oppose Phil from Duck Dynasty. Let’s maybe pause a moment to think that over…. You know I love the Internet….but wow, I hate the Internet. Anyway. I think we can agree: Freedom of speech is da bomb diggity. (What? So I use phrases from the nineties. That’s how I roll, yo.) Today I’ve been thinking, what with all of this Dynasty of Ducks kerfluffle, that maybe what matters most is where these freely spoken thoughts and feelings come from. What’s the point in speaking them? The intention? The core? The things buried deep down in Self that are outing themselves? Do we stop to ask that? Really honestly? About ourselves? Openly…really? This is what confuses me. I so rarely see Love in the voicing of the views. If it is missing, this Love, then how are we standing up for it? And if it […]

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Just Write {113}

December 2, 2013

I’ve never lived a December with 70 degree weather in it, but I am. I went to open the window in my office, to let the warm breeze in and a fly was freed from between the pane and the screen. Now it wants to land on my coffee mug, to bug. The boys play outside and play outside some more. They can’t stop. Elsie sometimes goes right out the front door, following them, giving me fits. I hear the soft click as she sneaks out and I run just in case she’s going to go out in the street. Her brothers are always on the other side, Stay right there, Elsie…you can’t come out without Mommy. Enforcers. It is no different here when it comes to decorating for the season. Lights are appearing along roof lines and up in the trees. Twinkling deer and angels and manger scenes are being set out […]

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Babushka

September 26, 2013

All those years ago it felt like a punch, a cheekbone punch coupled with a knife to the heart. Dramatic, yes? It wasn’t their fault, it was a stupid game in which a difficult (or ridiculous) question was asked and everyone answered confidentially and all the questions were about each other. It was like being online before the Internet. Anonymous. If life is a highway, which one of you got off on the wrong exist? Ballots were cast, opened and read, unanimous. Heather. Heather. Heather. Heather…. I knew it was coming. Then we all cried. Awkward, No no no Heather, I don’t think it means anything horrible. It’s okay. Oh I’m sorry! I don’t even know why I picked you! I love you. It was the truth and the truth hurts and it extra hurts when you are sitting in a situation where you realize that the people who know you best agree […]

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Just Write {103}

September 23, 2013

After all of this drought, we were caught in a deluge. Running out into it was like standing under a bucket, dumping it over yourself, drenching. We took shelter every time we could, bus stops, full trees, building awnings, but it was so much. So much water. Our feet would slap slap slap the ground, counting out a rhythm out of tune with the rain drops whoosh, all at once. Over and over. We ran from the sidewalk to a path through the Texas state capitol’s grounds. Our clothes and hair were soaked all the way through, puddles in my shoes. I had been hanging with a bunch of do-gooding out of towners and they were all like, Drought. Yeah, right. I know, it doesn’t seem like it right now, but it’s true. We ducked back inside to hear more speakers and we stood at the back, because, soaked. I thought about the […]

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Just Write {100}

September 3, 2013

This is (WOW) the 100th installment of Just Write. Please join me in free-writing your (extra)ordinary stories, your memories, your moments. I would love it if you would…. Here’s to 100. *clink clink* ::::: These were the best fajitas I’ve had in…well, maybe ever. The kids jumped in the trampoline outside, yelling and screaming and bumping into each other on purpose and sweating a lot. Ryan stayed home with an under the weather Elsie who needed bed. Miles rode his scooter, ahead of us and Asher walked with me, behind. He held my hand. He still loves to hold my hand. More and more I want to hold these days and these moments in my hand and keep them for as long as possible because they feel more and more slippery. And then there are other times, in these young years when the whining and waking up over and over and the diapers […]

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Homeboy

June 27, 2013

I got up early this morning and when I opened facebook I saw all kinds of updates about people unfollowing each other in various places online because of political/religious beliefs. It doesn’t surprise me. Where else can we say so much while still being seen so little? We get a little Screen Courage. Kind of like Liquid Courage, only different. Someone said something about how many people don’t say a word when maybe we should be courageous enough to be honest about our beliefs. Aside from many who maybe just don’t know exactly where they stand on all the things, there are also many of us who are quieter for another reason. That’s because I look around at all the debating and such and it almost always has a thread of religion or something about God or the assumption that conservative=Christian and liberal=non-Christian. These arguments and statements hardly ever leave out God, the […]

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Just Write {81}

April 15, 2013

We entertained them in the car with stories from our lives before they came. They asked questions about the most exciting parts. Daddy, do you think the eyes in the dark by your tent were a bear or a cougar? Mommy, when you got lost in Canada, where were you supposed to be? Why did you move to Michigan and then move back one week later? We laughed and laughed, dramatizing parts of our true stories for effect, their eyes wide. Back home, we shushed them and rushed them to bed. Miles came to the kitchen for “one more” drink of water and looked at me with big blue eyes over the top of his small glass. He took a big breath after a big gulp and sighed out, Mommy? Yes, Stall-y Stallerton?  Has anything bad ever happened to you? He says this softly and I feel my heart in my throat… Yes, I […]

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we are…

April 5, 2013

    Let’s go together into spring, shaking the dust from our eyes and ears, spitting it out. It comes from too many damning thoughts, floats around and brings us to sitting, face in the dirt of our own piling. No, you are not lazy, unless you think you are. No, you are not going to be alone forever, unless you think you are. No, you are not going to go unheard. You are not going to stay right here. You are shaking it off and out and today is a day for moving. Out of your head or your very self or even your city. There are things to not ignore, getting trumped by your repetitive thinkings that demean you and rattle around and whisper hurtful and damaging things. The things to not ignore are heart-gut nudges that you choose to ignore because no no no, not that. That sounds hard. That […]

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WHY?

March 28, 2013

In junior high and high school, my friend Jessica and I talked to each other in little kid-like voices that we borrowed from the way her mom would talk to us. We all did it on purpose, just a silly way to have our own little way of communicating. With that tone and silliness, Jess would ask me WHY after every single thing I said. (Preparation for motherhood?) But WHY? she’d ask, over and over after every answer I gave. It always came to an abrupt end when she was satisfied–with always the same exact last response I could possibly come up with–because He’s God. Then we’d move on. What else can you say? There are no answers after that. ::::: I want the marriage equality debate to be simple, but nothing with this much emotion behind it is simple. This is a many-layered issue from all viewpoints. Seeing some of my Christians friends […]

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three years sober

January 21, 2013

{just write will be up tomorrow morning, Tuesday} {this post was written yesterday} Our dog is the color of copper, maybe a bit lighter, almost orange. Tia Maria. She has a stripe of white like a cowl around her neck, and more white like sweat socks on her legs. About half of her tail is white, too. It changes from copper to white at the point in which her tail was once broken by an over-zealous preschooler who yanked a wild hello. After that, her tail has always had a bump and a strange bend to it, but it wags just fine. Quite violently, actually. Her happiness is vicious. Thwap slap thwap slap. She is sleeping on the floor beside me, Tia Maria, with that tail laying over one of her back legs. She is softly snoring. I love her more lately. Many mothers admit that their love for their pets dwindles with […]

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beware the loudest songs

January 14, 2013

  (image credit) Asher is enthralled with song lyrics. Trouble is, he quite often hears the singer belting out something other than what they’re actually saying. He’s only five, so of course this makes sense. And who among us has never mis-heard song lyrics? You know the song Voices Carry? From the 80’s? When I was a kid, I thought Til Tuesday was singing a soft, ominous, This is scaaary. Yesterday Asher questioned some of the lyrics only he heard. WHY is he saying that? He’s not, Sweetie. Yes. He says, (whatever he thought Adam Levine was singing but wasn’t, I can’t remember) !!! No, honey. He’s not saying that. It just kind of sounds like that.  Yes, he is.  Well of course he thinks so. That’s how he heard it, from his five-year-old perspective, the way it would make the most sense to him. This made me think of how we all […]

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so this is love love love…

December 20, 2012

I share this song every year and this year more than ever, it means so much. in the midst of the pain and darkness, love was all around Preparations were made For his celebration day He said “eat this bread and think of it as me Drink this wine and dream it will be The blood of our children all around The blood of our children all around” The blood of our children all around Father up above, why in all this anger have you filled Me up with love Fill me love love love Love love love Love love And the blood of our children all around So the story goes, so I’m told The people he knew were Less than golden hearted Gamblers and robbers Drinkers and jokers, all soul searchers Like you and me Rumors insisited he soon would be For his deviations Taken into custody by the authorities Less […]

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Just Write {65}

December 10, 2012

I pressed the coin into his glove-covered hand. I want you to have this. It’s the first one I got. It’s the 24 hour one, they give it to you even if it’s been more than 24 hours.  It had been a month when I showed up for the first time. I was white knuckling it. I was terrified. Not drinking for the rest of my life seemed like a bad idea. Turns out it really is all about taking 24 hours at a time. One sober person told me at the beginning, don’t think. what are you doing thinking? You can’t think about it!  That’s like telling me to stop breathing, that’s what I thought. I suppose he meant something about not thinking about this being for the rest of my life. Just for today. I can do anything for one day, right? Today was no joke, almost three years later. I […]

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There’s no point.  Before trying to sleep, I had said, “We’re not going to agree here are we, friends?” Where is our time better spent? I wondered that, too. So I hung up, if you can hang up on facebook, which is often a really good idea. Here’s a platform not only for “keeping in touch”, but for constantly impulsively spouting off what we think. Rapid-fire! We are so much better off being quiet and waiting. Immediate gratification is over-rated. I wrote Vikki (who happens to be a lesbian) a letter and she wrote back to me. We made it public in hope. We hoped. Well, we hoped to show what a loving conversation can look like. But then that night, someone on facebook supported the letters and it started, as per usual. We were arguing about homosexuality for all the wrong reasons and am I the only one who can see that? […]

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An Open Letter

November 9, 2012

{posted with permission, after reading each other’s words and deciding to post together. Vikki is co-directing LTYM Minneapolis with yours truly, and it’s a crazy good thing to be working with her.} Dear Vikki, I know there are a lot of political issues and I care about those issues, but yesterday (election day) you were heaviest on my heart. Maybe because we had lunch this week. Maybe because you shouldn’t have to be an issue. Isn’t that such a big part of it? People were voting about you, not just marriage, even if they don’t see that. That’s how it must feel. That’s how it feels to me. I try to imagine what it would be like if I were you, and I think I’d feel like a puppet and not a person–a stereotype, a label, a cardboard cut-out signage version of the all of me. All these months, while ads blared and […]

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Just Write {59}

October 29, 2012

Do what you love. Don’t leap before grace. Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.  I have these sayings up around my office. They’ve been there so long, I don’t notice them. It’s funny, how we hang up words that we want to live by and then they become background to living, invisible. I hardly even see them anymore, but every once and a while, I sit and look around and they pull me back to my core, center me and remind me of a few things my spirit knows. Invisible doesn’t have to mean gone. I’m working on a post for tomorrow. It will be up at A Deeper Family. It’s about my grandparents, mostly. It’s part of our story. It’s largely about faith and how they lived it and how I live it the same and differently. It’s mostly God’s story and I wish we could all see that our spiritual paths […]

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Just Write {56}

October 8, 2012

I have a plan, she says. Oh good, I love plans. What is it? I’m going to be an arm chair psychic and have my own television show. I know I’m psychic because I was thinking of a friend and then he called me.  We laughed a lot, at this. Yes, yes. Another great plan. Go for it. When people ask how you know you’re psychic, you have SO much proof. No problem! We talked about knowing things. About looking back on the past and celebrating the times we did not get what we thought we wanted. She said, I was going to move to Minneapolis and become a graphic designer. I mean, obviously, if you’re from small town Minnesota, that’s what you do, you strive to move to the Twin Cities. Many of us, anyway. I never did get to Minneapolis, but I’ve had a really interesting life. I got all choked […]

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I’m so honored to tell you that I’m now a contributing writer at A Deeper Story’s sister site, A Deeper Family. I’ve been a subscriber of A Deeper Story for a long time, and I’m just plain excited to be a part of the Deeper Family Family. Heh. I don’t speak a lot of Christianese here at The EO. It’s not a secret that I’m a Christian, but I’m, in all honesty, quite uncomfortable with one word labels. I own my faith with no regret or shame, but I walk around with it quite differently than a lot of people with the same label. We all do. We’re all so much more than one word and we all put on all of our descriptors in different ways. I get terribly itchy around Christians, that’s just the honest truth. This is understandable since I’ve been trying to shake off some hurtful things for many […]

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an update-ish sort of thing

August 13, 2012

  Now I can say I’ve been to Kentucky. I was a first-timer. I can also say Louisville without pronouncing a big E in the middle while also pretending I have a mouthful of marbles or bubble gum. My friend Holli says it would be spelled like this – Luavul (but don’t forget the mouthful). I have been practicing hard. I’m getting very close to letting go and garbling. We Minnaaahhhsoooohhhtaaahns are not terribly good at leaving out vowels…or consonants for that matter. Anyway, ya’ll. I had a fantastic time in Kentucky. I met lovely people. I spent time with Ellie and Holli. I sat under the stars on a perfect Kentucky summer night in an amphitheater while Brandi Carlile completely astounded me with her talents and the talents of her band. I had no idea. I screamed SHE SINGS THIS??? like three times during the concert because when I have heard her […]

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not flat, but round…

July 21, 2012

This morning the chickens jumped out the coop and I peeked in their first ever eggs peeked back. I nearly squeeled. I took them in the house and left Ryan a note “from the chickens” For: Ryan… We made you something. From: Haymitch, The Road Runner and Boss Hog. Sorry about the chicken scratch. On Instagram, with this picture, I said “Thanks for the eggs, Haymitch.” Someone asked if the name comes from The Hunger Games and I tried, not so eloquently, to explain. (If you don’t know much about The Hunger Games, Haymitch is a soft-hearted, hardened and drunk human being.) “Yes, actually. I understand Haymitch a little too well. So there’s some meaning for me. Chickens make me feel peaceful and that name reminds me of how much I need that dose of grace. Which sounds weird if chickens aren’t your thing.“ Yesterday a friend told me that Brennan Manning died. (Edited […]

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