Friday, February 29, 2008

No Glass Ceiling Movie

Cool images, awesome words - good reminders. If you have a few minutes, check out THIS LINK

Friday, February 22, 2008

Theory and Practice

I am in Mesa, AZ right now to attend my step-son's wedding which will occur tomorrow. I've been up late to grade papers for the two online classes I teach - Principles of Sociology and Sociology of the Family. This week in the Family class we are talking about concepts like Role Strain, Role Conflict, Work Overload and the consequences to families when work and personal relationships collide. Um. Yeah. GOT IT. All day I've been more or less torn between wanting to spend time with the boys (grown men, but still my boys) and the weight of knowing I had work needing to be done.

Then, over in my Principles class we are talking about the family as a social institution, how it operates, how it breaks down, etc. As I sat in the banquet room of a local restaurant this evening with various members of our family - in laws, outlaws, and some I had not seen in many years --it occurred to me that no matter how much I may be able to quote out family dynamics theories with my eyes closed and one hand tied behind my back, LIVING it is still a challenge.

We have a mostly good group, our clan. I have been richly blessed by this brood I married into. Still, there are the moments of strain, potential conflict, and occasional discomfort that are more or less inevitable when you get this many different personalities together.

I'll be here through Monday and then travel home back to the new job I've recently taken on. LOTS of stuff going on there... I've made the deliberate choice that I will not be blogging about my professional life. But suffice it to say that I'm dancing as fast as I can to wade through the challenges of my learning curve and feeling a bit intimidated about having some very big shoes to fill in the position I've recently stepped into. I've gone from being very much behind the scenes to wearing the hat of Grand Poobah of a complex department with 65 people who answer to me. GULP.

Life is busy. I long for simple days.

But for now I will keep putting one foot in front of the other - balancing my full time job, my teaching, my personal life, my church life, my family relationships and all the rest with as much sanity as I can muster.

It's never so simple or clear as the the theories seem to depict.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Chicken Little was right. The sky IS falling, at least in the Pacific Northwest. We had a meteor enter our atmosphere yesterday morning. My beloved and I were woken up about 5:30 AM by a BRIGHT flash of light and then a rolling thunder-like boom that shook the roof of our house. "What the heck was that?" we asked ourselves. Turns out it was the meteor.

Lots of folks have been buzzing about what they saw or heard. I guess the scientists are out searching to see if they can find evidence of where pieces may have landed. Jury is still out whether it came down on the Oregon or Washington side.

Then tonight there is supposed to be an eclipse of the moon. Regarding that phenomena, I got this message from my long time pal, Sylvana:

There is an Eclipse tonight. It is a perfect time to get out the sage, burn it as a purifying blessing and turn your troubles over to the God's universe and for your ancestors to work things out for you. Let things go as the moon fades... allow nothing but positive energy to fill you as the moon returns. Give thanks for all things you have experienced, good and bad, and welcome the new.

Sounds good to me!

The universe seems to be giving some powerful signals. Since these just happen to be coinciding with some big personal and professional shifts in my life I am paying special attention.

On a lighter note - my stepson, Greg, is getting married in Arizona this weekend. Greg will turn 41 next month and this is his first wedding. We keep joking with him that the universe is in such shock over his impending nuptials after decades of confirmed bachelorhood that the very sky is going bonkers.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Preparing for Lent

Next month will begin the season of Lent for my Orthodox friends. This will be the fourth Lent that I have observed in my own modified way.

I am not Orthodox. My faith does not recognize Lent in any formal fashion. Still, I have found that each year as I spend that sacred 40 days in increased prayer and pondering, fasting, and personal discipline my spiritual walk is enriched and my life is blessed.

My faith does not have liturgy and is very minimal in ritual. We do not repeat prescribed prayers. In most cases, I am grateful for the freedom of the "from the heart" conversation sort of prayers I have with God. Still, I find there is comfort in reflecting on the words of some of the set prayers that my Orthodox brothers and sisters wrap their souls around.

For example, the Prayer of Saint Ephraim... One translation of it is:

O Lord and master of my life!
Do not give me the spirit of discouragement and slothfulness,
of ambition and vain talk!
Instead, give me the spirit of prudence and humility,
of patience and charity.
Yes, my king and Lord, let me look at my own sins
and refrain from judging others:
For you are bless'd unto ages of ages, amen.

I can be blessed by soaking in those words.

I will not observe the feasts and fasts in the same way as my Orthodox pals. But my hope is that I WILL be able to use this upcoming 40 days for some focused, dedicated reflection of spirit so that I might come out closer to God when we get to holy Pascha, when I can truly celebrate with them in calling out Christ is Risen!

I have a deep and peaceful testimony of the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I believe to the core of my being that the story of the First Vision is TRUE, not just some made up tale. I believe in a God with a very real physical presence, a God I can hug. I believe in Jesus Christ as a separate being, also physical - united with the Father in sacred purpose but a distinct separate individual member of the Godhead. I believe in the Holy Ghost as a distinct personage without a corporeal body.

Because of what I believe - denying the Nicene Creed of trinity - most other churches judge me to not be Christian. So be it. I know what I know.

But I also know that somehow my association with friends of OTHER faiths has helped me better understand and more strongly believe in my own.

So I am preparing for Lent...hoping to approach in with as much sincere humility, repentance and faith as this weak sinner girl can.

I will hold strong to prayer. I will fast in my own way. I will study. I will reach for ways to overcome the "natural man" passions and be renewed. I will try with all my might to lay aside my prideful nature of wanting to control my own fate and practice spiritual surrender.

Lent, for me, is a very private thing between me and my God. Sometimes I wish I had others I could turn to for sharing the insights, the struggles, the epiphanies that come along the way. I don't have the support system of a congregation sharing a similar journey. I can't truly share with my Orthodox role models, because for them it is a very different sort of experience than what I embark on. So I go my own way as best as I can and try to make meaning of it according to the belief system that I have embraced.

Perhaps that solitude of journey is why I have always related so much to St. Mary of Egypt...who spent all those years alone in the desert. I prepare to cross over into my own desert to confront my passions, to submit my soul. I know from past years there will be times of tremendous heartache and times of mind bending joy as I glimpse even a fraction of the Love the Savior has for me.

My greatest challenge is reconciling my sense of unworthiness with the knowledge that God is real and does know me, and loves me still.

There is so very much I do not understand. Each year as my walk through Lent comes I find that more to be true. Still, each year that comes, I learn that striving to open up my spirit to the questions blesses me, even when the answers do not readily come. So I prepare to begin again...

Friday, February 01, 2008


For current update on what's happening here see my post over at my other blog.

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