Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Twelve Days of Christmas, Six Geese a Laying

On the sixth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
I'm continuing my series on The Twelve Days of Christmas. As I shared previously, Brian McLaren pushed me to ponder how I might put the Twelve Days of Christmas into action. Today, I ponder geese and a wild God.

Six geese a laying. Six geese a birthing. Six ganders partnering with six geese, guarding young and birthing life. Cooperative spirits in a wild land. They are wild migrating noisy spirits, honking their approval and encouragement.
They fly intentionally. They fly formally. One never carries the high winds alone for long before dropping back. Another will step up to shoulder the burden. He who is rested moves up to where winds rage strong. They trade off the highest winds and coldest air. They commit to togetherness, no matter the cost. A sick, weak, or wounded comrade will be escorted by two geese to the ground. They wait with the gander or goose until she or he has recovered or died. They commit in birthing. They commit in dying. A sancto insulam tres. 

Insula Sancta
Iona Abbey, island of Mull. Ii-shona. Picture by Oliver Bonjoch (Wikipedia)
The Celts likened God's spirit to wild geese. Migrating, even today, the committed gather at Iona Abbey, and take the spirit of Iona back to homeland and hearth. The spirit of Iona: craftsman who minister and ministers who craft. Poverty and mankind meet, living out the wild Spirit through hands and feet.
Here I Stand 
by Iona
Here I stand, looking out to sea
Where a thousand souls have prayed
And a thousand lives were laid on the sand
Were laid on the sand
Years have passed, since they have died
And The Word shall last
And the wild goose shall fly
Shall fly
Here I stand, looking out to sea
And I say a prayer
That the wild goose will come to me
That the wild goose will come to me

Iona is pilgrimage. Iona is a living breathing cell. Discerning the Spirit is the present desire. Do I want to know, hold the wild Spirit of God within?

Like wild things in our world, how quickly we dispense of God, if He encroaches upon our realm. Like the farmer, whose grasslands border the wildlife refuge, who is forever chasing wild geese away, we chase God away.

We shoot Him out the sky, the stars, and the heavens. With feet bound by us, and His comrades gathered round, He says, "Father forgive them. They know not what they do." And the grave shall not hold Him.

If visions be lacking, if prophecy be false, if revelations be lost, it is because we no longer want God in our wilderness.

Sunday it's easy to pretend we seek a wild God, but maybe we are simply running from our demons. Some Sunday's the drums rage so very loud, I'm convinced the noise is the clanging bells of hell. Yet, as we run from our demons, God speaks. The One wild Spirit lives.

God of the stillness speak today. Your voice cannot be tamed by men. Your voice cannot be taught. Your voice cannot be bought. Your voice is found in wild places. Your voice is caught in the silent space between the storms.

I tune my ear to the wind, Son, and Word. 
God speaks into the wilderness.
The Word.
Hearing God's voice in my ear? 
My choice.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Twelve Days of Christmas, Five Golden Rings

The Fifth Day of Twelve Days of Christmas
I'm continuing my series on The Twelve Days of Christmas. As I shared previously, Brian McLaren pushed me to ponder how I might put the Twelve Days of Christmas into action.

I laid awake last night pondering five rings that we often wear: friends and family, community, self identity, faith, and presence. The substance of our lives is made up of these rings, the circles of humanity, that surround us.

The ring of friendship and family is fraught with trial and error, especially while young. We move from, "Who likes what I do?" to "Who believes what I do?" The journey is not without agony, where one truly loves, yet friendship and family help us survive, even thrive. CS Lewis reminds us, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”

And Lewis on the cost of love, lest we forget:

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

I'm not an expert on the subject of love, but I do know that love is most often an act one lives out. It's rarely a 24 hours a day feeling, past the first blush of a crush. There are moments the heart swells each day, moments the heart smiles and is warmed, but much of our lives is built on living out the act of love, creating a love that lasts. Where do I need to practice love today?

The ring of community is what keeps me living outside of myself and giving something back. While children, we are hopefully nurtured in community, but by the time we reach young adolescence we ought to be giving back in community. Community sustains us, as we sustain it. Community is forward thinking. It may need to address the past, but the best communities are daily planning for future generations. They are preparing to give back, while they yet live the present day. Where do you and I need to invest in our communities in a way that only we can invest?
A Survival Birthday. Let us do more than survive community!
The ring of self identity or peace with self is one of relinquishment. I will not always be who I hope to be. I will let go of expectations that are unrealistic. I will learn to love myself by actively putting myself out there in the world and living the gifts I have been given. I will take the time to figure out what gifts I have to give. I will be brave enough to ask others around me, "what are my strengths and what are my weaknesses?" I will recognize that I can never truly love others deeply and wholly until I love myself. I will get up every day and work on this journey.

The ring of faith reminds me that I need hope coursing through my veins and the world doesn't revolve around me. It recognizes that even if I cannot see the other side of the rainbow, it is there. It attests that while I cannot see the wind, I know it exists because I see how it blows the world around me. It humbly believes that while science may solve amazing mysteries, as it opens up new ones, I will not decide mankind is God. There are simply things I do not know. This is the beginnings of faith - relinquishing faith in one's self and one's limited knowledge. Admit need. Admitting you and I don't know it all. In this place, God's spirit has opportunity to abide.
Let us remember that God inhabits the praises of His people. My heart cry this year has been and will continue to be, "More of your Spirit Lord in our home and hearts. Increase our faith in You." Certainly, we will reach children in the way that is best for them, if His Spirit is within us. How can we care for the least of these, unless we have God's heart with which to care?

Finally, the ring of presence makes all the other rings possible. All real giving is given in relationship that honors the One True Giver and the recipient. Presence requires the gift of time, the relinquishment of one's own agenda for the day. Time. time. Presence keeps us awake at night with prayers for the one who is struggling. Presence means we go out of our way to do what is uncomfortable, when it's most uncomfortable, with no guarantee that the investment will at some point turn "comfortable." Presence means there's no guarantee we'll ever get anything from the situation, but we give anyway.
 Presence is not giving the repeated gift of being walked upon. Presence doesn't mean one must be subject to slander of one's self or others. Presence has boundaries, healthy ones, that recognize that your gift may be a one time investment, a pointer along their path and yours, that to give is better than to receive. Yet, presence listens to the still small voice of the Giver and knows when it's time to pull back and put one's energy elsewhere. Giving a gift is sometimes painful, and receiving a gift can even be painful, but God never intends for the gifts He bestows upon us to beat us down or berate us. God first came as love. We attempt to move from within the love of God, the Spirit of Love. But we remember, God doesn't knock down doors and force His presence and His time where it's not welcome. God shows up to those who open the door

Let us this year wear the rings that matter most upon our fingers and interlaced upon our hearts: the rings of friends and family, community, knowing self, faith, and presence. When December of 2015 comes round, we'll have given and received gifts that matter. We'll be adorned with golden rings that cannot easily be taken away, and who's value doesn't diminish.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Twelve Days of Christmas, Four Calling Birds

Day Four of the Twelve Days of Christmas
On the fourth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

I'm continuing my series on The Twelve Days of Christmas and keeping it simple this fourth day. As I shared previously, Brian McLaren pushed me to ponder how I might put the Twelve Days of Christmas into action.

On this fourth day of Christmas, let's savour each other and nature. In the midst of our return to busyness, let's find five minutes (or more!) to simply sit with the birds, take a walk in nature, gaze out a foggy window, or look to the heavens. Let us notice the true rhythms of a world all around us that's increasingly crowded out. Let us take time for God's creatures and for each other. Let us invest in living souls and relationships. Let us lay down Facebook snippets and really know one another. Call a friend or family member. Chat. Listen. Let us offer up the gift of presence to others, just as God invites us to the gift of His presence.  2 Peter 1:3 NIV
Four Calling Birds by J. Ferwerda
Drawing Song Birds at John Muir Laws
For little artists, the Draw Write Now books are awesome, especially if someone they love spends time helping them hone their skills.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Twelve Days of Christmas, Three French Hens

Day Three of The Twelve Days of Christmas
 On the third day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
I'm continuing my series on The Twelve Days of Christmas. As I've shared previously, Brian McLaren pushed me to ponder how I might put the Twelve Days of Christmas into action. Today, the third day of Christmas, three french hens are hard to find, but I'm exploring French traditions. It's cultural awareness, meets fire and baking, with some pondering in the mix. I'm exploring ideas and heading towards Epiphany with intentionality.

To begin, let's explore the French version of The Twelve Days of Christmas. Many believe, "the French folk song "La Perdriole" ("The Partridge") is a cumulative song with the same kind of lyrics and a similar (but slightly different) melody." (Wikipedia) Is La Perdriole the song that inspired the song?
As for baking, the French incorporate Buche de Noel into their Christmas traditions. This delightful pastry is often mistaken for the Yule Log. In fact if you do a search on yule logs, you will find Buche de Noel, but they are different. See below.

It would be very easy to make the above Saveur version gluten free/cream free by using coconut cream in place of the cows cream. We are going to give a gf/cream free version an attempt this week.

Give baked goods away this week? Post Christmas baking sounds less stressful and like a whole lot of fun!

For the baking challenged:
Beginning with the Celts, the Yule Log was traditionally burned to welcome the sun back to earth, and then later in the Middle Ages, to cure people of illness and drive evil away.
The French carried on the tradition of burning a special Yule Log, until it was eventually replaced with the Buche de Noel, as gas stoves replaced the fireplace. The Yule Log worked its way to the table as the sweet Buche de Noel, surrounded by evergreen boughs.

When the kids were very young, I used to decorate a special log and place it by our gas fireplace, but we've not done this for years. I'm thinking we need to revive the tradition and place a special log to burn in our wood stove.  The walking/hunting time to find a yule log, and the calm fire time, can be used to discuss what spirits we want to fuel our home in the new year. Out with New Year's resolutions (which we've never done anyway) and in with a long family walk to discuss what matters most in the new year!
We are praying for the spirits of love, joy, peace, and patience, amongst others. As we endeavor in God this new year, we are asking for His Spirit to come without limit into our home, just as He's promised.John 3:34-36 MSG.

I'm also reminded of the need for wood by many. In rural areas, many still fuel their homes with wood, like us! Someone always needs wood. March is a good time to give wood away. Wood piles run low, and winter is not yet over. Have extra wood? Share some. Better yet, next summer or fall, order a cord of wood for someone in need. 
Photo from Shannon Berrey
Many French families display a creche in their home.  They also personalize their family creche with santons, or "little saints" that represent the people of their village. I love the idea of personalizing one's nativity to one's own home and village. 

Visit the Santon Festival in Marseille next Christmas? If not, here's two lovely options in Oregon: The Corvallis Nativity Festival and The Grotto. We were awed by the nativities from around the world at the Corvallis Festival. There were at least 200 creches from around the world. The kids were enthralled.

Or, begin a personalized creche/santons tradition in your home. We have several nativities, but none are personalized. I'm thinking about how we might make the manger more personal. With little kids, you might make your own nativity kit. I prefer clay or ceramic. Hmmm.... Maybe, I'll approach a local art center about helping us create some figurines in 2015.

Last night, we finished Richard Peck's, Season of Gifts. It's a slice of Christmas cheer set in rural America, but the overall message is that the best gifts are given throughout the year. Sister also started Jan Karon's Mitford series this Advent. She began with Shepherd's Abiding.
Shepherd's Abiding and the St Paul Christmas video have me pondering how we might bring the nativity alive next year. I'm thinking of a one minute nativity randomly performed throughout town. Now, just to rope another family or two into the process!

While, I love the idea of "elves for the twelves" in this series, especially for the kids, it's just not working for me. Maybe elves for twelves is a series for next year, or a stand alone story. I think the latter. For now, I'm going to stick with finding fresh ways to live out The Twelve Days of Christmas
Not exactly three french hens, but who can resist this kid? 
Spring chicks will arrive before we know it. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Twelve Days of Christmas, Two Turtle Doves

 Day Two of The Twelve Days of Christmas
 On the second day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
The dove is my favorite bird. Still and calm, she's a constant reminder of our potential for peace. Doves show up throughout Christian history, but I think it's safe to say, doves are important in many cultures, whether as food or religious symbols. Indeed, doves live in most every climate on earth, except the Sahara and Antarctica climes.

In Christianity, Noah sent the dove out to determine if the flood waters had receded enough to disembark the ark.  John saw the Spirit of God alight on Jesus like a dove, signifying Jesus' anointing by God. Jesus encouraged his disciples to be as wary as serpents, but as innocent as doves as they headed out into the world without him.
Elves for Twelves Ideas

 Give a peace offering.
Blessed are those who make peace. They will be called children of God. 
Mathew 5:9

Peacemaking is hard. Enough said. Right? Each of us, could work on peacemaking every day of our lives and never finish the work we have to do, but God.

 Make a financial peace offering.
Donate to an organization that promotes peace, not violence. I'm not well informed on what organizations I'd recommend that would spend your money well, but I will say that changing lives is where it's at. Let's make sure we give to organizations that equip others to lead the pack in peace. Organizations that don't choose predetermined sides. It's so easy to be entangled and not see which way is up in a conflict. We all need to be peacemakers daily, as well as expect to need peacemakers often in our lives.  The Center for Justice and Peacebuilding is powerful. 

From Wikipedia: Worldwide, EMU is probably best known for its Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP), especially its graduate program in conflict transformation.[8][9] CJP has educated and trained more than 3,000 people from 119 countries.[10] CJP's founding director, John Paul Lederach, and its expert in restorative justice, Howard Zehr, are considered to be international leaders in the fields of peace and justice.[11] CJP alumna Leymah Gbowee was a co-recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

We know people who live their training because it's their lives. Peace is who they are. We thank God for them, and we miss them like crazy!

Analyze your giving.
In 2015, where will you build, foster, and promote peace? Consider KIVA. The loan program that offers a chance out of poverty.

Consider the gift of education. Children who are educated are less likely to fight in wars or be recruited into a radical militia. Consider sponsoring a preschool education, or part of one, in your area. A love of learning must happen before 3rd grade. If a student is behind in 3rd grade, they'll likely be behind forever. Make a difference locally. All our children, all God's children, are important. Yours, mine, and ours are increasingly at risk in our increasingly violent world. Let's give them an education to ponder. They can and will make a difference in their world, but they need an education to do so.
 Stretch your own personal beliefs.
Educate yourself on what the rest of the world is struggling through. Make a point to get to know people of other heritages, cultures, and religions. What are their daily struggles?  How might we respond? Be willing to change preconceived notions, and get uncomfortable.  I could list 25 books, but here's two. If you like them, check out what other books Amazon recommends in this category.
Stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. 
Get involved when you see someone being bullied whether in the work place, school, or yes, at church. It will always be uncomfortable to get involved. Yes, always. Yet, now more than ever, we need citizens who will get involved.

 Get out of town.
If you live in the city and see only “pigeons” make your way to the country seeking doves. Leave a gift in a rural community. Sit and chat in a local shop. Support a small town business. Buy coffee for another? Start this tradition? 

If you live in the country, head to the city. Bring something to share with those less fortunate. Offer a smile to a harried city dweller, for aren't we all harried these days? Loop a scarf around someone's neck. Offer a pair of mittens on a cold day. Drop a book into someone's lap. Buy someone the newspaper, better yet, a comic book. Pay for their bill at the lunch counter?

Care for doves in your neighborhood. 

Let's continue to be elves for the twelves of Christmas, as we continue to seek the manger and the Messiah and walk towards Epiphany.

The Twelve Days of Christmas, a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Today begins the Twelve Days of Christmas. A few months ago, Brian McLaren pushed me to ponder how I might put the Twelve Days of Christmas into action. What if we did more than take out the trash and rest on the 26th?  

Surely, Facebook had me in a dither last night. Trash piled up under trees. It's a reality, but is that the world we want to live and share? Is this what I have to offer our world only one day after Jesus' birthday?

Might we stay upon bended knee beside the manger? Might we keep Christ, Christmas, and Advent our humble posture? It's not about the stuff folks. It's about Christ and what that messy manger birth might bring alive in me.

Certainly, some of the world hasn't even experienced Christmas yet, and we're already moving on. The Eastern Orthodox celebrate Christmas January 7th based on the Gregorian calendar vs. our December 25th Julian calendar celebrations. 

As we work our way towards the Magi's epiphany, how might we have an epiphany? I'm posting ideas for the next twelve days, follow along if you wish, but first a little background information.
The first known publication of The Twelve Days of Christmas was in 1780 England. Yet, the carol is believed to be of French origin. Some Christians believe the carol conveys a secret message about Christianity, but this secret message theory has neither been proven, nor disproven. 
Helen Haidle's Twelve Days
Whether you believe in Santa, St. Nicolas, our Savior, or all three, let's live The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Santa's elves rest with reindeer.
It's up to us to elf,
the real Twelve Days of Christmas.
Let's not put Christmas upon a shelf.
Human elves we shall be, 
living and giving,
The Twelve Days of Christmas,
ever cheerfully. 
 On the first day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
A Partridge in a Pear Tree 
A medium sized non-migrating bird, partridges live in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Ground dwelling, partridges are considered a lowly and humble bird.
Elf the birds
Whether you own a bird feeder or not, put food out for the birds today. Ironically, the Humane Society encourages humans to place bird food and feeders at least twelve feet from brush and shrubs where bird predators hide. Recommended Feed: Mix peanut butter with suet drippings and high protein millet, cracked peanuts, or medium grain cracked corn.
Elf your neighbor with the blessing of birds. 
Make or buy several packages of bird suet. Hang with twine on a neighbor's tree with good window viewing. Next year, don't ask. Elf your neighbor the night of the 25th. This year, be brave. Take a plate of cookies over and ask about hanging bird suet in their tree. Watch the birds together.

Make a donation to the National Audubon Society.

Make plans to plant a fruit tree in late winter or very early spring. Don't have room for one in your yard? Purchase a tree for planting at a local community garden. In a few years, the fruit may be shared with birds and humans alike. Have a large orchard? Get involved with a gleaning organization in your area, or start one!
Why does every gingerbread man lose his head?
Maybe this series ought to be titled the The Twelve Elves of Christmas. Let's be elves for the next twelves!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Life is Messy

A few of us, and yours truly with a cluttered soul, need our visual spaces clear. We need our eyes to be free in order to see. My mess, often limits my ability to interact with others. My messiness keeps me from offering time and space, and the gift of presence to others. 
Surrounded by abundance, my soul still starves. Type A, American abundance, is more baggage than blessing, affecting my ability to love those things that really matter.
 But, type A's move their mess easily. We've moved several times in many years. Moving helps clear out the mess, just as it opens up new spaces and places. We leave some baggage behind, but not nearly enough, and we rarely leave the baggage behind that hinders our loving well in new spaces and places. The mess of our lives ever surrounds us. Dust and ashes cling to us, every move we make.
As wood heats our home, ashes accumulate. Like ashes, heartache accumulates. Some experiences never make sense. Things done, costing us and others pain, and things done to us. Our lives are fragments that will one day be made whole, but not here, not now.

This dark season, I seek to give all the fragments of my throbbing soul to a Soulmate. He's promised His yoke is light. I'm not there yet, giving it all to Him. So many days, I take back what I promised I would throw out. I keep the mess close to me. The baggage, ashes, dust, and mess are a millstone, but He's there, offering to take my burden. Because this side of His mountain, men are bent under the weight of the world. But one day we shall be whole, and bend under the weight of His glory.
Oh Jesus, so often we make a mess of our lives and we mess others up at the same time. Yet, you offer hope, yourself, amidst the mess. Help me relinquish my mess. Redeem the mess and the years the locusts have eaten. Help me embrace my mess, so I may embrace others, and embrace the Son in a dark solstice season.
Messy thoughts inspired by C. Last week, she got her hands on Marie Kondo's book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Inclined to collecting, along with her brother, they cherish messy work spaces with nuts and bolts around them. I'm thankful for her motivation to straighten her creative space. One cannot find what one needs, when one needs it, in a space, where nothing has a place!
And just for fun, here's an excerpt from a children's book I wrote this fall that's roaming the planet for a home. 
  Bless Our Mess
by Kim Conolly

All across the map, there are dangerous traps. Rooms so dirty, kids are stuck in their precious muck.

From Egypt to Mongolia, parents complain of smells they disdain.

From Papau New Guinea to Cameroon, you hear, “Clean up your room!”

From Minnesota to Marrakesh, they say, “Take care of this mess!”

From Iceland to Vietnam, it is heard, “Your closet makes me cry; my nose want to die!”


Wishing you a lovely Christmas. Let us, this season, embrace our messiness and give it to God. Let us live moments with others that matter, and let us give our burdens to our Messiah, the One who saves. Merry Christmas, dear ones, He is born, the hope of our world and the world yet to come. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

St Lucia of the Light and Dark Matter

There was no St Lucia Day lussekatter this year. The young lass likes to sleep in these days and glutens are a no-go. Yet, it's hard for me to lay aside traditions, especially ones that involve baking. I miss my carbohydrates, but am living this tummy diet with her. If I sat on St. Nick's lap, I'd ask him to talk to the tooth fairy about vanquishing dietary restrictions with the wave of her wand. Yet, we are learning how to nourish and be nourished in new ways.
For every carbohydrate low meal, I'm reminded it's never about the bread, but about the Bread of Life. So we sing in a new season of gratitude. Dear God, Help us send gratitude and merry tidings into the dark nights. 
We thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas Ships this weekend with grandparents. We challenged ourselves to name a gratitude for every twinkle of the lights that grace our home. We are hoping our hearts will feel lighter by Epiphany.
And on winter's eve, I find myself penning darkness and Light. 

Light and Dark, Matters
Galaxies emit light from beyond,
reflections from God's luminescent pond.
Science says dark matter signals are weak,
and fail to interact with the light we seek.

Millions of miles away, light strobes along,
coming to us on the wings of the dawn.
While dark matter engages gravity's song.

Before the origins of man, what was dark matter?
Why do we care? What was out there?

Beyond the curtain of light, time, and space,
what hides in galaxies ablaze?

The mysteries of dark matter may forever abound.
Will the universe expand or decay?
In all this, we dance unbound.

All invisible matter, is it part of me?
Opening my eyes to the universe, what do I see?

Star dust and light, dark matter formed.
Molded in man's night, by God: “Let there be light.”

Then the God Light came, a broken world to see.
This dark matter, it matters to He.

Open our eyes, living Light.
Lift the curtain of the universe and help me see.
The veil torn for me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Advent Advances

How is it that walking into the dark, 
we are really walking into the Light?
Our family continues to walk forward with Safe Families. The new year will eventually hold new kids in our home. Right now, we must get off our duffs and finish our paperwork, a Christmas gift for our Lord. We are no Magi. We have nothing sweet, nor expensive for the Babe, but we have space. We can make room for one more weary head in our home. So, we walk into the dark, following the Light.
The shepherds quaked this year. No jest. One hit the deck, and he wasn't decking the halls. Maybe the cold night got him, or maybe he was in the barn struggling with a bad head cold, but quaking shepherds are real. Sometimes they look a lot like us.
Last week, a quaking threatened. Chaos sought us. In our home, in our community, and in our tummies. Because when we walk into the dark carrying the Light, in spite of our brokenness, because of our brokenness, we face an enemy who wishes to push us back into our dark places and dark spaces. "Get back into your dingy dark hole." he says.

Our enemy knows that when we bravely step out of our darkness, when we look up, we are given a Flame. The Flame that illumines a pathway to God. Ironically, this Flame most often leads us right back into the darkness, theirs and ours. Yet now, we hold the Flame. We are lit by the Light. The Flame burns  within and throughout our night.

Last week, Flame, God, Manna met with us, and we trekked to First Lego League qualifiers, not to Seattle Children's. God met a real need. The Flame bid us, "take off your sandals and praise in this wilderness." Manna consumed, healed. While we quaked, sustenance arrived in a manger. We only needed to walk with the Light. This week? We're still working on our chaos. Darkness ever threatens, but we know: the Light overcomes.
 So, let us walk towards the Light, like the shepherds. 
And let us carry the Light within, like Mary.
God of the Manger and God of the Barn, God of Manna with ministering hands, Flame of Fire and Light of Mankind, consume our darkness. Bring your light into our world, into our quaking and into our breaking. Let us carry your light, until it streams into a broken world and makes whole the weary, wandering, and woeful. Us. 

Light of Mankind, never give up on us. Meet us at the manger. We come empty handed, but quaking we come. Fill us dear Shepherd, that in turn, we may feed your sheep and give them a place to lay their weary heads. This Advent, help us look for your light and your life. Surely, we will find you in a dark space filling a manger, Manna for mankind.
‘My people are so poor, that God can only appear to them in the form of a piece of bread.’ ~ Ghandi

Saturday, December 6, 2014

We Qualified!

Pretty darn proud of these kiddos!
   First Lego League asked students this year to improve learning for kids in ____________ field. Each team got to choose their focus. Our students decided to enhance and improve the study of architecture for kids in Oregon. They visited the University of Oregon School of Architecture, and interviewed architects, professors, interior designers, and students to learn more about architecture.  Each student also made their own architectural design and build, because architects: invent, design, and build! They've also been working on a future web site that will help kids learn more about the study of architecture in fun and engaging ways, as well as preparing to share their information at a local library in late winter. On top of all that, they've been learning Lego Robotics, game regulations, and programming. Their hard work paid off! Today, they won two trophies and qualified for the FLL Oregon State Tournament.
Table time at our station. There was hardly any down time.
Presentation time before the judges. One judge was the head of ORTOP. No stress there!
The "real" table time!
Will it do what we want!!!!?????
A future Robo Builder
Did we just qualify for state?
Now: breathe, prepare for state, and have a good time!
Way to go!