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Family

25 Jun

This week has been the longest, hardest, and deepest week of my life. At this time last Thursday my friend Ogun summoned me to come see his wife and my dear friend Jennifer. I was blessed to be able to talk with her and speak words of love and share a hug. She was entering hospice then and today was her first celebration on life service.

I was one of the lucky ones, since Jennifer received many of her treatments here, I got to spend lots of time with her over the last several months. When I moved to Lee’s Summit 9 years ago Jen, Ogun, and their daughter Joy adopted me into their lives. Even though they moved away to follow their calling, we were never that far away in our hearts.

I understand that some people are close with their blood relatives. Since I grew up half a country or more away from my parents siblings, I never have had a consistent ‘I really know you’ kind of relationship with most of the extended family. Of course we loved them and had fun on trips, but a year or two is a long time between visits especially for a kid. We did however have some great family friends who were my ‘aunties’ and ‘uncles’ and of course the church grandma brigade.

I moved far away from the place I grew up and began the process of finding my ‘people’ all over again. It is a beautiful thing to be willing to love and be loved by the friends who do become your family. Family can sometimes have something to do with shared DNA, but it can also be about shared experience, understanding one another, acceptance, and positive regard.

This last week I’ve spent a good portion of my time with the family and close friends of Jennifer. Together we laughed and cried, shared stories, had golf cart adventures, and held vigil. Jen’s sister and Ogun’s sister tended to Jen’s needs in a beautiful dance of service, love, and tenderness in the weeks leading up to her return to Unity Village which they continued along with others when they were here. My role was in service to them and the family: airport runs, where can we find a such and such, a shoulder to laugh or cry on, and supplying cinnamon rolls. There are not really words to pull together the fullness of our experience, but I will never forget it.

Today when I made some remarks at the service, I thanked Ogun and Joy for allowing me to be a part of their family. I included all of the family, Jen’s parents, Ogun’s mom, and the sisters, in that sentiment. I feel like as a last gift (that I know of at this moment) Jennifer gave us each other. For that, I am truly grateful.

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Preacher Chick goes video!

17 Feb

Adding some variety to the menu!

Football fever, thoughts from a non-fan

17 Nov

I have never been a football fan. My family prefered game night, reading, or a family movie over sports. In high school I attended a total of half a football game (a friend wanted to go to the game to meet up with a boy, once we found him we went to Shari’s for pie). In college I handed out flyers for the theatre department’s upcoming show once the game began, I left. The tally of games attended has remained thus ever since.  

As I write this, the Kansas City Chiefs are playing the game that could make them 10-0. Even I know this. Kansas City is a pretty strong sports supporting town, but this year is noticeably kicked up. Every store has Chiefs branded merchandise, and it’s not the usual depleaded halfway through the season selection.  

We’ve been taken over by football fever. Some would call it a Fairweather fan situation. Maybe that’s it, maybe there is more to it.  

Who doesn’t want to be on the winning team? To understand what everyone is taking about. People want to belong, to feel connected. To be a part of something bigger than themselves.  

As a minister, I will admit that I lean towards a spiritual community as a fantastic place to be connected to something bigger. As a nature girl I would also suggest a quiet walk in the woods.  

But for some, prophets wear shoulder pads or coach headsets. Sacred music is the roar of the crowd. Ritual involves body paint, and the dress code is more concerned with color than style. Then there’s  communion… Well, you can interpret that on your own.

Is there a lot of angst, energy and explosions of joy and anger that might be more productively aimed elsewhere? In my opinion, probably yes. On the other hand, sports are one of the few safe places in our culture where it is okay to have big emotions (at least for men). You can jump for joy, cry in your beer, hug your friends, and as I mentioned, belong to something.  

So while I don’t have much of an opinion on who wins tonight, (though there is a Broncos flag in my husband’s man cave) I am sitting in appreciation for the phenomenon that is sweeping KC. It has brought hope, confidence and a sense of ownership to our community, and that indeed is a blessing.

Go team!

perspectives while driving

5 Nov

My mom lives on a squiggly road. Those of you who have spent any time where ravines, bodies of water and large hills are scattered about like a giant’s playthings know what I mean. The road from where my mom lives to the next town where the Unity church and the beach are located is 18 miles long though it is only about 10 if you could go direct. 

The thing about driving on squiggly roads is that you have to keep quite alert to every moment of the driving. There is no using cruise control and you have to coordinate sips from your coffee to the few straight stretches. Those few straight stretches are also the only place to pass a driver going slower than you would like to go. I admit my first drives down that road were slower than the 50 MPH speed limit, and I’m sure folks wanted to pass me as I was getting used to which turns were how tight. 

Certainly it was always a practice of mindfulness, but not always in the same way. When I was behind an RV or delivery truck, I noticed that my focus would shift. If we were going only 35, I would notice different things. I could see the orange house nestled up on the hill that was way out of my field of vision when zooming by at 50. I could notice more about the fences that I wrote about previously.

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And so it became a practice of mindfulness. Not “how soon can I get out from behind this slowpoke?!” but “what is there for me to see today?” I can tell you it is much less stressful to focus on what there is to see than the few minutes later I’ll arrive. Who knows, maybe you’ll see an orange house, or a grove of trees, or someone riding horseback. (insert your own city/suburb version here) You all know what I’m saying so I’ll be brief and sign off with:

Stop and smell the roses, see the wonder that is in front of you. Turn a delay into a delight.

With love,

Ra

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Lavender Wands ~Instructions with pics

10 Jul

No, I don’t usually post this kind of thing here, however, it seemed the easiest way to give text and pictures, so here goes:

Start with freshly cut lavender. I’m not sure yet how many days you have after it’s cut, but it still has to be able to bend and not break.

Select 9 stems and pull off any leaves or flowers below the main part of the blooms. It has to be an odd number to work right, 9 seems to look the best.

step 1

When you have them mostly lined up, tie a ribbon around the stems and get the flowers nestled up nice and close to the ribbon.

Now you flip it over and pull a stem down over your ribbon. (see why you need fresh stems?) the next stem should be under the ribbon and on you go over and under around your flower bunch.

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4

Just keep going around. If you have a problem with your pattern, you either started with an even number of stems or you goofed up your pattern somewhere

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As you’re going around, try to keep your ribbon as close to the ribbon above as you can, this keeps the flower buds inside even if they fall off the stem.

When you get near the end of the buds, you have to make a choice, one is to just wrap your ribbon around a few times and tie off.

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Or you can make a pretty wand handle by wrapping the ribbon around and down the stems.IMAG4935I like to add a loop for easy hanging and then tie off.

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Now all that’s left is to trim the stems and hang somewhere!

8 and done

If it’s been hanging there a while and you would like more scent, just give the bud area a squeeze or two. Enjoy!

Checking in

6 Jul

Hey there,
I know I said I was getting back on the blogging bandwagon, and I am, really. These last couple weeks I’ve had a couple other projects in the works, one is looking at taking preacherchick to video! Lots of things to work out before I go live. But if you’re reading this, I’d interested to know what you would like to hear me talk about.

Also I’ve been working on my contributions to the Unity advent booklet. It’s a fun project to be a part of and I’m honored. I’ve been drinking from a Christmas mug and playing Christmas music in the background as I work. Looking out over the future pasture that is bathed in summertime sun I wonder if this is what it’s like at Christmas in the southern hemisphere.

Anyway, I’m here and well, hopefully some new blogs or video blogs coming your way soon.

Peace out
Ra

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Protected: A Christmas Letter

24 Dec

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