Category Archives: Faith

Thin Place

One Community March

There is this Celtic belief concerning the “thin place,” where the earth is so close to heaven, the two blend. For each person, this place is different. It may vary with time, or location. The idea is, if you are open to prayer and the Holy Spirit, you may find yourself one day feeling so close to God, the space between you and heaven blurs.

My mind and heart have been heavy, carrying the burdens of many I love. There are my own worries too. The last year has been a constant calendar of big life changes.

I was praying last week, writing in a journal, before returning home to take Nelson on a walk around the local lake. During the walk, I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, “The Moth.” The storyteller this time was Krista Tippett, someone I’ve long admired — having listened to her faith podcast “On Being” for years. She talked about her relationship with her grandfather, visiting Scotland, and hearing about the thin place. Several of her fellow travelers had visited a local “stone reader” in Scotland who somehow knew things about their lives. They urged her reluctantly into going. And when she did, the stone reading woman told her that her beloved and misunderstood grandfather was there with them. He wanted her to know how proud he was of her. And he, a teetotaler in this life, was raising a glass of champagne to her in the next.

I fell to my knees in the emerald green spring grass lining the lake’s edge and breathed deeply. Proud. I had just prayed that morning, in a moment of sorrow, that I hoped my grandmother was proud. (Sometimes prayers take the tone of a babbling child. So it goes, when you are completely, wildly vulnerable.)

Proud. 

And here she was, in her own way, telling me to pull myself up by my own kinda-Celtic bootstraps and to carry on. She was proud.

I ran my hands through the grass, feeling the earth beneath my fingers. They came upon something cool, nearly out of reach. A stone, turquoise in the light. Her favorite color, and mine too. The stone reader sending me a message from a continent away.

Carry on. It is what the women in our family do. Chin up, stone in hand, I grabbed the leash and we finished our walk with my grandmother’s spirit keeping my own afloat.

~K

 

Papal Awesomeness

IMG_9087

Who would have thought the world would change if a Pope came to power who actually embodied the characteristic love and kindness of Jesus?

Who would  have thought any human, Pope or otherwise, could be this good? Someone who seeks social justice, works for the poor, eschews the fame and glory of such a prominent role,  and instead reminds those who report to him to him “no intrigue, gossip, power pacts, or favoritism.”

Who couldn’t use a reminder that intrigue, gossip, power pacts and favoritism — at home and at work — hurt us all? (Hey Arizona legislators, please consider this.)

I am loving Pope Francis. He gives me hope for the global Catholic church.

~K

Baby Kimono Wrap Sweater

Robyn and I don’t really know each other. But we have long read each other’s blogs and supported each other. Well, really she has supported me. She and her community of knitting friends regularly pitch in for my variety of projects. Boxes of hats, scarves and other hand knits have arrived from around the country for homeless vets, for example. Her generosity knows no bounds.

Baby kimono wrap: finished

She is expecting a little girl soon. Her first! I thought it would be nice to send some non-pink or purple love her way to celebrate the addition to their family.

Baby kimono wrap: finished

 

Pattern: Kimono Wrap in Mason Dixon Knitting

Yarn: Peaches and Cream cotton

Time: This knit up within a couple weeks. It took far longer to decide what to do about the closure. With the move, my sewing supplies are packed (and machine is in the shop) so when Sue suggested braided ties, I jumped on the idea. I love the colors of this yarn; they remind me of the sea.

Baby kimono wrap: finished

Next up: ball band cotton dish cloths — a pattern from the same book. I have a lot of small bits of cotton yarn remaining from a variety of projects I’d like to clean up, and a few friends moving and settling into new houses. Perfect fit.

~K

Prayer

Praying for peace

 

Africa is hurting. The people of Central African Republic are under siege. The folks of South Sudan are involved in a brutal, new civil war. For Zimbabwe, falling again into man-made, infuriating famine. The Second Congo war rages on, killing more people than any other conflict since WWII.

My prayers are for these people. The women who huddle under plastic tarps as the humid equatorial rain pours at night, unable to comfort their children. There is no comfort when hiding from violence. For the health care workers who may be able to stop wounds from bleeding, but cannot keep the malarial mosquitoes or dirty water away from the thousands and thousands who huddle in makeshift refugee camps. For those coordinating food and medical supply drops — may there be fewer hungry bellies on the great continent.

For the leaders — to be strong, courageous, peaceful and just.

My prayers and heart are with you, great Africa.

 

~K

Insomnia in the Garden of Good and Evil

Birthday girl

I’ve struggled finding sleep lately. Wide awake from midnight to 3 am is becoming the new routine. I’ve considered that this may be because of electromagnetic waves from all these technical devices, as I’ve heard they can disturb sleep. There are canopies that I’ve been looking into that protect you from the dangers of EMF, which you can Buy Here. I listen as Nelson chases bunnies in his sleep from the foot of the bed. As the landscaping company meticulously blows every leaf from the Sprouts’ parking lot across the street, into the street at 1 am. As our neighbor, who is a bouncer at some Scottsdale club, returns on his Harley Davidson around 2:30 am, grinding the throttle as he parks in his garage.

With plenty of time to think, I’ve wrestled with the idea of staying on the right path in life, and how temptation is constantly present. Imagine walking down a path in the rainforest. The brush has been hacked away and bare feet of those who have traveled before you created a winding line of worn earth that leads deeper and deeper into the unknown. Light trickles down from the canopy overhead, where birds and monkeys fight to sing the loudest chorus.

If you stay on the path, you know there will eventually be an end. It is impossible to turn around, as much as you may try. The path disappears behind you. Your memories are the only trace. There are highs and lows. Vistas that take your breath away, moments of intense pleasure. And also bogs you must wade through, quicksand that suffocates with grief and hardship. Times that are hard to shake off.

But if you can just get back on the path, you know these highs and lows become easier to navigate. You’ve found and developed tools along the way. Yet the biggest challenge you face are the vines. These try to pull you off course toward bright and shiny objects of desire that seem so worth stopping to admire in the moment. But if you linger just a moment too long, the kudzu starts at your feet and slowly works upward until the shiny object is all you have. The forest has enclosed around you. The path is gone. You are forever lost. Your beloved item is no longer so shiny.

I feel the pull.

I had dinner recently with a married couple who are friends. The woman is my age and does not have a wrinkle or freckle on her truly beautiful face. I stared at her wondering if it was more than genetics. Regardless, I came home to examine the ever increasing map of an Arizona childhood playing out across my brow and began to consider what I could do to stop time. The vanity vine wound itself around my feet as I pulled here and thought about injecting that there. A patch of gray hairs continue to sprout from my crown. Gravity is doing my figure no favors.

How does she do it? So beautiful and thin and put together? Why can’t I look like that?

We stayed in another friends’ home during the holidays in Denver. They are newly married and purchased a home that is just my style. I wandered it, admiring the furniture and linens and thinking about my life — which is a bit chipped and stained and worn after so many moves in the last few years. I watched as Nelson ran outside in the beautiful yard, chasing squirrels and sticking his nose happily in mounds of snow. The vine of envy took root.

Why don’t I live in a home like this? Why haven’t I been smarter with money?

Again commuting, although mercifully a short distance, I find my patience wanes the moment I get behind the wheel. I tell others jokingly, “I’m a pacifist outside of my car.” And in that flash of stupid anger when my temper flares, I feel the vine of wrath wrapped around shaking fists.

Why am I sitting in this damn traffic?

The extra glass of wine I shouldn’t drink. The married man who winks and smirks. The snarky judgments I hurl at women. And the swears. Oh, the swears.

The vines never cease.

My strongest tool is faith. I have faith that the life I am leading is perfectly imperfect. I have faith that I will be a better person today than I was yesterday. I have faith that my Grandmother Maxine, gone one year today, is helping guide my steps through her experience.

I have faith in an all-loving, compassionate, wonderful God.

And, worst case scenario, Botox is fairly cheap in these here parts…

~K

 

Thanksgiving!

Autumnal Walk with Nelson

Where ever you may be in this world — may today be one of great company, food and laughter.

And now, I’m off to pour myself a glass of champagne, find a clean apron, and pull out the board games.

xo,

Kelli + the gang

Sisters In Spirit: Gratitude

Sisters in Spirit is a series of essays by a group of women who felt a spiritual perspective lacking from the steady stream of daily news.  They each agreed to carve space monthly on their blogs for a spiritual conversation.  The topic this month is … wait for it … gratitude.

Mom + Dad

I know! Gratitude. Before you jump away, your eyes rolled so far back into your “If I read ONE more ‘thankfulness’ post this month I’m going to shave off every Movember mustache and shove them into the turkey” head — this is a little different.

I’m not going to get overly sentimental and gushy; I’m going to give it to you straight, Internets.

The older I get, the more I realize 99% of my success and survival has been thanks to my parents. My folks, who met as teenagers and somehow, by the grace of God, have made it work for nearly 4 decades. I find myself in situations daily where I am using lessons they taught me. And not just, say, washing my hands after using the restroom. More like, speaking up for my views even though I’m the youngest in the room AND being ready to listen to the advice and wisdom of others present.

There wasn’t a day of my childhood when I didn’t hear, “You can do anything you want. You can be whatever you want to be. The sky is the limit.”

Mama y Papa

I thought all kids were so lucky.

So, this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for my parents Rex and Karel. They are two of the kindest and most generous people in the world. Thanks Mom and Dad for not only loving us knuckleheads, but for also loving each other. You’ve set the bar high, and my family is my greatest blessing.

{I’m I’m only a little weepy that we aren’t all together for the holidays.}

P.S. Love you too, Codeman.

Cody + Raj

I hope you continue this conversation by reading and commenting other perspectives on Christianity with my other Sisters in Spirit. Become part of the conversation:

 Sarah is municipal attorney, mom to two boys, and United Methodist’s pastor’s wife.  (She does not play the organ.)  She is a life-long Missouri girl with a heart for hospitality and social justice.  Sarah enjoys cooking, running, knitting and embroidery, reading, and playing in the sprinkler.  Sarah blogs at www.beautyschooldropout.net

Bianca is a Navy wife from the great state of Texas (where she coincidentally currently resides), and she and her husband welcomed their first child in the fall of 2012. She has a passion for serving others, asking hard questions and sharing The Gospel with both her words and actions. Bianca loves Jesus, her hubs & her son, authentic friendships, traveling, making lists of all kinds, and trying new recipes which she blogs about on BecomingBianca.com

Rhonda is an attorney and native of Missouri.  She is known for being overly-emotionally invested in her three, elderly dogs and dabbling in a ridiculous amount of hobbies, including sewing, music, and writing, while mastering none.  She was baptized in her late twenties and is amazed and grateful that Jesus continues to put up with her.  She blogs atbigsnafu.com

Sisters in Spirit: Hospitality

Sisters in Spirit is a series of blog posts by a group of women who felt that a spiritual perspective was lacking from the steady stream of news and information that flowed through their daily lives. They each agreed to carve out a space on their blogs on a monthly basis for a spiritual conversation. This month’s topic is hospitality.

Culinary Dropout

I far prefer a home cooked meal to eating in a restaurant. If you invite me over for your family’s favorite spaghetti? I will think about it all day and be so very excited to sit down and gab and take it all in. I’ll bug you about the recipe. I’ll enjoy every moment of the experience. There is something about being invited into a home to share a meal that is intimate and full of grace.

The plate may be chippped, the wine soured and the kids screaming for something else. But, still. We are sitting together, sharing bread.

I have always wanted to have one of those homes where kids could go after school to hang out. It has a big dining room table with cookies and fruit and space for homework. It has a game room, with disheveled boxes of board and card games – beloved by the family. On the walls are framed posters from museum exhibits that were so good, you bit the bullet at the pricey museum store; you had to bring a bit of it home with you.

Most importantly, I always want a home where people feel welcome.  I think hospitality – giving like you’d like to receive – should be considered a tenant of a Christian home. It isn’t just the nice thing to do, it is the right thing to do.

In Luke, Jesus said,  “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Culinary Dropout

My hospitality is rarely fancy. Our friend Trond regularly stops by these days. He’s a bachelor and lives nearby. I get a text mid-week and sometimes mid-weekend asking what we are up to. I know this means, “Are you cooking?”  Sometimes those meals are celebrations – with linens and courses. And sometimes they are a matter of survival, with warmed up leftovers and a plopped bag of tortilla chips on the table.

We eat together in friendship and the menu doesn’t seem to matter. Trond doesn’t hide his affection for my cooking, and we don’t hide our enjoyment of including him at the dinner table. He knows he is always welcome.

Hostess Basket

My favorite hospitality hack for house guests is to put together a small basket of goodies for their room. Along with clean towels and a bar of soap, I like to include chocolate, samples of beauty products and recent magazines. If I am really on top of my game, there is a covered glass of water on the nightstand and a bouquet of tied herbs from the garden tied with a pretty ribbon. (And if I’m working extra hours and struggling to make sure the Crockpot dinner isn’t burning – the basket is likely still tucked in the linen closet, alongside my good intentions.)

So, friends – I believe in hospitality, even if I have little to give. Not just because I think it is the polite thing to do, or because I have been hosted and helped so many times by kind friends too. But because great, giving, selfless hospitality is what God calls us to do. Also: a home is a far more interesting place to spend your time with a varied cast of characters.

~K

Continue the conversation here:

Sarah is municipal attorney, mom to two boys, and United Methodist’s pastor’s wife.  (She does not play the organ.)  She is a life-long Missouri girl with a heart for hospitality and social justice.  Sarah enjoys cooking, running, knitting and embroidery, reading, and playing in the sprinkler.  Sarah blogs at www.beautyschooldropout.net

Bianca is a Navy wife from the great state of Texas (where she coincidentally currently resides), and she and her husband welcomed their first child in the fall of 2012. She has a passion for serving others, asking hard questions and sharing The Gospel with both her words and actions. Bianca loves Jesus, her hubs & her son, authentic friendships, traveling, making lists of all kinds, and trying new recipes which she blogs about on BecomingBianca.com

Rhonda is an attorney and native of Missouri.  She is known for being overly-emotionally invested in her three, elderly dogs and dabbling in a ridiculous amount of hobbies, including sewing, music, and writing, while mastering none.  She was baptized in her late twenties and is amazed and grateful that Jesus continues to put up with her.  She blogs at bigsnafu.com.

 

St. Francis

This week my mom was in town to help take care of family after Wenard’s passing. Coincidentally, she brought her new dog with her — Dixie, and our church was having a blessing of animals to honor St. Francis.

I got my crazy love for animals from my mother, who needed a light-hearted break this week during the otherwise stressful visit. So, we drove over one early evening to join a handful of other folks with their dogs and cats on the church lawn. The reverend was ready with holy water, a Bible and sermon, and poop bags.

The blessing of the animals

The blessing of the animals

The blessing of the animals

The blessing of the animals

The blessing of the animals

 

I’m not sure Nelson could look more guilty or uncomfortable in this photo, which cracks me up. Little devil.

~K

Thank you

I snapped a few photos this week to remind me of Wenard:

Wenard

Wenard

Wenard

Wenard

JB was their beloved pound puppy who died last year. SB is by gram. LC was Wenard. T is their last initial. This is the step into his workshop. 

Thank you all for your kind words and messages. We were very, very lucky to have Wenard in our lives for 25-plus years. Several other friends have lost grandparents this week; it seems this is the season of life for many of us. How blessed we are to have had these elders for so much time!

WIth love,

Kelli