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KarenR
Southwestern United States
I'm an at-home parent with 3 kids.
Interests: spirituality, current events, parenting, books, politics, weblogs, environmentalism
Recent Activity
I don't usually write fiction... except the little stories we all like to tell ourselves about who we are and what our lives are about. But the germ of this idea popped into my head during the last few days. If you read this and feel compelled to argue with me or if you read this and it makes you angry, I've done something wrong. 2012 Voice 1: I am a hunter; a veteran; a gun enthusiast. This seems as much a part of who I am as my right arm. I don't consider myself a violent person. Really -... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2012 at The Way Life Is
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I spent my morning putting Shadow Rock back together again. Well, not literally or completely, but I did take the confirmation class's work on current events down from one bulletin board and moved it (with some editing) to another bulletin board. And I took our Technology of Participation sticky wall from the Chapel where it was used yesterday for an adult education workshop and took it back to the sanctuary where it is serving to highlight our community conversation about the hardest questions of a life of faith. As I was moving and carrying, I snapped some pictures of this... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2012 at The Way Life Is
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I went home last night TIRED. The energy of junior high students is wonderful to watch, infectious (I laughed at things I probably shouldn't have), and completely exhausting. Our session title was "Putting Our Lives Into Perspective." My idea was to have the students experience and celebrate their lives as part of the larger whole of human history and the universe story. We used a Technology of Participation "sticky wall," which makes things fun. The kids wrote 4"X6" cards with events of their lives, the lives of their families, and all of history - all the way back to the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2012 at The Way Life Is
In these posts, I'll do my best to share (for the kids, anonymously) the journey of Shadow Rock's confirmation students. Along the way, I'll write a bit about part-time church work, parenting, theology, reading, and politics. Comments and feedback are welcome. Thanks for reading. Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2012 at The Way Life Is
Hi there. I'm re-purposing my blog, The Big 3, to help document and explore the journey of our Shadow Rock confirmation class this year. So posts will hopefully be fairly regular, and primarily about this group of nine 7th and 8th grade students. Occasionally as I am inspired/led/called, I will write about some other stuff too. When I joined the staff at Shadow Rock UCC, confirmation was one the programs I was excited about. My own oldest child ('G-man' here in blogland) had just been confirmed. For several years, Shadow Rock had used as a basic confirmation curriculum the book,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2012 at The Way Life Is
Two stories for tonight. It's a crazy crazy week here, but I'm feeling the need to capture somethings about vocation and calling. First story is circa 1990. I'm a lazy good-for-nothing college student enjoying political theory (the only politics major in my year that loved the two required theory courses). In a small college, there was one political theory professor, Jeff Poelvoorde, quintessential absent-minded professor. In the midst of an advising session, he told me that I would someday make thinking my life's work. In my mind, this meant one thing: that I was meant to pursue a Ph.D. in... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2011 at The Way Life Is
I had a bizarre idea today. It started with my lamenting that working and middle class people tend to vote against their own economic self-interests. It's the secret weapon of the ultra-wealthy... If the American legend of self-made wealth that's purely the result of hard work and bootstraps continues, poor and working class people will continue to believe that they have a shot at being the 1% and thus will vote for policies that protect that 1%. It was all downhill from there. Then I started remembering friends who were frustrated by their voting choices. I had a college friend... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2011 at The Way Life Is
This past Sunday was Children's Sabbath. Children's Sabbath is an opportunity for people of many faiths to re-commit themselves to advocating for children. People of faith are compelled by the Spirit to be a voice for justice for all people everywhere, but children even more so because they lack a voice of their own in the political process. Perhaps if children could hire lobbyists... The following worship resources are largely the work of the Children's Defense Fund. I have re-written to adjust for inclusive language, congregational participation appropriate to my own audience, and for a largely nontheist worldview. The CDF... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2011 at The Way Life Is
I'm here again in my undisclosed Wifi location on a Saturday night, hanging out and trying to stay awake while G-man boogies with his not-quite-a-girlfriend-but-more-than-a-friend. I remember thinking of something marvelous to write about earlier this week, but the thought has escaped. I'm reading some wonderful books right now - Philip Gulley's latest, The Evolution of Faith, Richard Rohr's Things Hidden, and a new memoir, Unquenchable Thirst by Mary Johnson. Despite their wonderfulness, I don't have any new insights or synthesis to share with you. I would love to say that I have something to say about Occupy Together... but... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2011 at The Way Life Is
TypePad has a little button, Stats, that tells me how many pageviews I've gotten in the last 30 days and where they came from. I'm a sadly addicted glory hound. But thanks to those who listened to my late night rant. I've been trying my hand at writing some liturgy. We have a tradition of creative and celebrative worship. This is wonderful, except that it means someone has to do some writing or some searching/cutting/pasting every week to prepare the worship experience. Back in the spring, I wrote the order of worship for our Good Friday service. It was pretty... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2011 at The Way Life Is
I'm sitting alone on a Saturday night, at an undisclosed location with free Wifi. My oldest, known as G-man here on the Big 3, is at a dance with a member of the opposite sex. THAT deserves its own post for sure, but there's something else on my mind this evening. We've been knocking around the idea of mission statements in staff meetings here lately. It's a subject with a long checkered history at Shadow Rock, which I won't go into here, but I've been thinking a lot about the big questions. Not that that's too unusual for me, but... Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2011 at The Way Life Is
When I was a teenager, I had an 'artsy' poster with this poem: "Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2011 at The Way Life Is
Patriotic holidays are tough for me. Memorial Day may be the worst. On Saturday, I went to Wal-Mart (I know... that's part of the problem right there). There were some VFW veterans at the door with the little paper poppies. I said 'no, thanks' and felt like a complete heel. My beloved Gramps is a veteran as was my father's father, along with many men and women that I love and respect. But here's the rub. The sacrifices made by veterans were made possible by their willingness to be used by our nation in war. Being a part of war... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2011 at The Way Life Is
The chorus lyrics to an old youth choir song: Fill my cup, Lord. I lift it up, Lord. Come and quench this thirsting of my soul. Bread of heaven, feed me 'til I want no more. Fill my cup; fill it up and make me whole. I just started a new book this morning, The Cup of Our Life: a Guide for Spiritual Growth by Joyce Rupp. The author describes a cup as a metaphor for life. It's as if we're born thirsty and holding a cup. With what will you choose to fill it? It's a rich metaphor... 'My... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2011 at The Way Life Is
I have a story to tell this afternoon. You probably have heard it before with different characters. In eighth grade social studies (North Carolina history with Ms. Andrews, to be precise), I sat across from a guy named Victor. Victor could have been an extra in Revenge of the Nerds - thick square glasses, oxford shirts, hair parted straight and on the side. I wasn't exactly setting the world ablaze with 13 year old hotness, so we struck up a friendly acquaintance. Nothing earth-shattering, nothing deep - just two slightly geeky adolescents chatting in the minutes before Ms. Andrews entered... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2011 at The Way Life Is
Are you a closet existentialist? Well, I don't know about you, but I've been accused of worse. We're in New Mexico this weekend on church business (I've got church business; DH and the kids have been sight-seeing). So while the kids watch Bugs Bunny and DH snores, I'll share some thoughts with you. New Mexico is a state that seems comfortable with existentialism. It's the only state in the US with an official state question. It's an existential question, because you have to answer it for yourself: "Red or green?" It's referring to food... red or green chili sauce of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2011 at The Way Life Is
Last night, I was privileged to listen to author and social scientist Sister Joan Chittister speak. She was terrific: warm, witty, and no-nonsense just like a nun should be. in the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that I had a childhood fantasy about becoming a nun. I think it was just the result of watching the Sound of Music. The essence of her speech was the new opportunities to relate to God offered by evolution. The theology of merit is dead. Our hearts tells us that God must be more than a remote and stern Scorekeeper. The merit... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2011 at The Way Life Is
First, a disclaimer: In this post, I'm using the term schizophrenia in a way that is technically incorrect. In my thinking for this particular subject, I'm using schizophrenia to mean 'cognitive dissonance or emotional conflict to the point that one feels as if one is experiencing a mental disorder characterized by multiple and conflicting personalities.' This is a gray area in terms of offensive language, and I'm sensitive to the way our culture demonizes and marginalizes persons experiencing mental illness. If anyone is offended by my use of this word in this way, I sincerely apologize and I hope you'll... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2011 at The Way Life Is
Good morning, gentle readers. This morning has answered two crucial questions: 1) did the good folks at Typepad auto-renew my blog service even though the site has been inactive for oh-so long? Yes they did. 2) am I capable to letting Profound Journey Dialog things lie fallow on my desk and take the morning off? Yes I am. Hence the latte in my hand and my fingers on the keyboard. I wanted to share just a bit about my struggle at the new job. This is a little embarrassing, but I've been surprised by the amount of pastoral-type care and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2011 at The Way Life Is
Hi. Remember me? Let me tell you an embarrassing story. Around 1990, I was in college grappling with a potential triple major - political science, French, and psychology. Of the three, psychology was something of a stepchild, but at that time, I could still be found on the third floor of Kuhn Science Hall chatting about behaviorism versus cognitive approaches. One of my favorite profs, Dr. Baker, taught a course on the basics of behaior modification. In the class, students were required to design and conduct an experiment on themselves using behavior modification. My project was a complete failure. To... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2010 at The Way Life Is
I'm teaching the confirmation class tomorrow evening. My topic is 'God' and I have 60 minutes of classtime. That's just funny... 2000 years (to be conservative) of Christian thinking about the Creator of the Universe in an hour or less. UCC folk do confirmation in 8th grade. After a day of school, homework, possibly chores and sports, they are guaranteed to be somewhat distracted. I have hopes that a little something will sink in. Actually, what's important about me teaching is that I'm teaching. In their heads I want this thought to form: 'Adults at my church care about my... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2010 at The Way Life Is
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Just now I was sitting on our semi-decrepit loveseat folding white boys' socks. I counted 19 pairs, in 7 different sizes, styles, brands, or shades of gray. This never fails to amuse me. It's like I'm always surprised that 3 children need approximately 5 loads of laundry weekly... sometimes 6 if school uniforms don't get worn twice. As I'm folding, I glance behind me to find that I am not alone in the family room. Three undead warrior skeletons are standing sentinel in the candle arrangement just behind me. This charming tableau - plastic skeleton dudes and vast numbers of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2010 at The Way Life Is
"Work," the Persian poet Gibran writes, "is love made visible." A spirituality of work is based on a heightened sense of sacramentality, of the idea that everything that is, is holy and that our hands consecrate it to the service of God. When we grow radishes in a small container in a city apartment, we participate in creation. When we sweep the street in front of a house, we bring new order to the universe. When we repair what has been broken or paint what is old or give away what we have earned that is above and beyond our... Continue reading
Reblogged Sep 9, 2010 at The Way Life Is
So Monday was Labor Day, and I discovered that it's not just religious holidays about which our culture has complete amnesia. Labor Day was established in the 1890s to celebrate workers. Yet the accomplishments of organized workers and the history of the labor movement in the US is a total black hole in my education. Sunday morning at church we talked about work. Is earning a living a right or a privilege? Always suspicious of choices between two things, I am hoping for a third path. When work is a right, employees can become complacent about the job they perform.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2010 at The Way Life Is
Review: Why Great Teachers Quit by Elisa :: Thu Sep 02, 2010 at 09:00:04 AM PDT Over the break, I had the pleasure of reading a book by our very own Katy Farber. I always get a thrill reading books by people who I know and admire. Katy, who not only parents two girls and writes for MotherTalkers and Non-Toxic Kids, but she is also an elementary school science teacher. (Where do you find the time, girl?) In her first book, Why Great Teachers Quit And How We Might Stop the Exodus, Katy examines just that: why are so many... Continue reading
Reblogged Sep 2, 2010 at The Way Life Is