Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mothers Day

My Mom died just over 4 years ago - Mother's Day is hard. For some reason, I see it more as a day about my Mom than about being a Mom...
Today I videotaped a short little blurb to be added to a montage about Mothers for worship on Sunday. It was so hard for me to do it. I wanted to and then I backed out, then I asked to do it again...thanks for your patience Steven.

When I think about my Mom, so many memories flood my mind. We were so very close. Having my Dad die when I was 11 really impacted the dynamic of the Mother-Daughter relationship. We just had to suck it up and work together through grief, financial issues, moving, turmoil, rebuilding etc. I gained a tremendous amount of respect for my Mom seeing her reinvent her life.

Taking care of her as she struggled with breast cancer and literally hearing her take her last breath has changed me forever. God equipped David and I for that three year task and He used it to form and shape us in ways that we can not really describe.

But the two characteristics about her that I chose to share on camera today were these:
Her extravagant generosity and her hospitality. She gave above and beyond and sought out people who were in need. Our house was the church event place. We always had something going on or someone over to eat, or spend the night etc etc. Great memories.

What is more amazing is that here at Central, God provided me with a friend, Becky who is old enough to be a Grandmother but not old enough to be my Mother. Yet, she has loved my kids like a surrogate grandparent would. What a huge blessing for us all. And the incredible thing is that when I look at Bek, I see someone who is generous and hospitable. Just an extra little gift from God, I guess.

So, as this weekend approaches and I continue to wipe away spontaneous tears as they erupt. My heart shouts, "this one is for you Mom."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

24 again

Whenever I post about TV or pop culture I feel the need to preface it with something along the lines of...."I know this is shallow but.." So here we go again.

OH MY GOSH and yes I am shouting. 24 last night was fabulous. I am waiting to hear from Steven about how many minutes he stood for. Seasons 1-5 were so good that he stood most of the time. This season has been different and so the stand to sit ratio went down. However, last night was incredible. I am not sure why it was so great to me, and I think that is the genius of good TV writing. It just connects in ways that are inexplicable.

Milo taking a bullet for Nadia was unbelievable. It made me shriek and cry. I loved that. Surely the nephew is really his son. The sister-in-law, who is drop dead gorgeous IMHO, needs to be loved so badly after having been married to creepo and Jack really needs to love in order to fully realize his human self and so this would all be perfect in my little world if they were together. Plus it would bring Jack full circle with her. Oh why do I care so much about this stuff....

Monday, May 07, 2007

One Another

If you have read the archive posts on this blog, you know I have written extensively about Community. I love people and relationship is what drives me. I enjoy hanging out and being silly with friends, but I enjoy equally and if not more times of real sharing. So it is no wonder that when God lays out issues of community before me, it really gets my attention.

In our Sunday morning class we have reached the section of Renovation of the Heart where Dallas Willard talks about the social dimension of the self. Essentially, I think what he is saying and I agree with is that real Spiritual Transformation does not happen in isolation. We are formed more fully into the likeness of Christ when we are living in community with others. Confession, accountability, discernment, fellowship and sharing are vital elements to us being renovated.

I am in relationship with someone in our church who for the last 7 years has struggled to heal after divorce. She has spiraled down into such a bad place over the last two years that it will make your heart ache. We got to spend several hours this week drinking hot tea and sharing on my couch. In these settings I am usually a listener, but this night I chose to really share some of what God was laying on my heart about her situation. She was literally "gob smacked" because what I was saying to her was also what she was hearing from our Senior Minister. Now you may think there are limited words to be spoken in this settings. But God was calling both of us to talk to her about things other than her divorce and rather to focus on her spiritual life. She was amazed, I was amazed but God wasn't. Dan and I are not working in cahoots with her, God is using community to speak a word to a hurt heart and He is using community to help her discern it. Don't you love that.

And then yesterday was Senior Sunday. I cry as I see the pictures of the kids and hear the great things they have to say. I cry harder when I hear what the parents have to say to them. Altogether it is an emotionally exhausting day. But yesterday I was struck by the community experience. I love that we can flood the aisles and lay hands on the kids or the person in front of us who in turn lays hands on the one in front of them, and so forth. I love that at this church it really is true that it takes a village. One senior mentioned a thanks to her second parents and then named about 6 families who are actively involved in her life and have in some way raised her. Inspiring. Last night at the Senior Banquet we were invited to sit at the table of one of the girls graduating because we are close to her family. We shared and laughed and cried. And we ate off special plates. You see this family has a tradition, the oldest daughter painted a set of plates, one for every family member and set her table with those several years back at Senior Banquet. The younger sister set her table with those also and added a few more. One for her best friend and some for us, the Kasselmans. And in doing so, she spoke words of community, family, love and creativity.

I believe completely that when we are less concerned about boundaries and more concerned about living fully in relationship with others, we allow God to transform us in ways that can not be done in other settings.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Things That (don't) Matter

Last night my heart broke as Phil Stacy and Chris Richardson left American Idol. Once again, let me say...I know it is just a TV show - but these are real lives!! Even though the hype has been around the girls this season, I have loved the boys. Blake is still there and that is good. He did such an amazing job of his Bon Jovi song this past week. In fact, surprisingly they all did good with Bon Jovi music, which is not necessarily easy to sing.
But back to Phil and Chris. Chris seems like such a sweet, genuine guy who just happens to channel some Justin Timberlake...what's not to like? Phil has had this upbeat, grateful attitude the entire time which is so refreshing. He is a Dad of two little girls and just happens to have a shaven head (love that) and so once again...what's not to like?

And now to more pressing things like....NBA play off games. I do not get enough sleep during playoffs. My team, the Mavs are killing me. Killing me. They are so close to being taken out by the Golden State Warriors - yes, I know, WHO???? This is personal you see. After Finley and Nash were no longer MAVS, it was hard for me to be a fan. I am a "Nashite." I wondered off and flirted with the Suns, the Heat (theme going) but, I have slowly returned to my first love only to be met with their sluggish, confident-less (I know thats not a word) attempt at round one of the playoffs. Come on guys!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The anti-blessing

I have not blogged much about 24 recently. Partly because it took 3/4 of the season to get really good and partly because my friend Greg is pushing me to think about pacifism and how that impacts our life.

However, after last night I just couldn't stand it anymore. Oh my gosh. Poor Jack. He has always been a broken character and that is what is so attractive about him really. But this season he seems to be even more vulnerable and broken. I have been so drawn in by the mess of his real life (as a TV character) and his emotional bankruptcy that I see him more as a person and not a CTU operative this year. Well, to crown it all - last night he has the ultimate "anti-blessing" spoken over him...."stay away from her Jack, because in some way or another, everything you touch eventually dies." Seriously - what worse thing could you say to a person. I wanted to reach out and just hold the man!!!!

I know - it is just a TV show, but those words were so piercing and hurtful that I can not shake it from my head. Dallas Willard talks about living life as a blessing in Renovation of the Heart. While I do not usually pronounce such open judgemental "anti-blessings" on people, I wonder how my thoughtless words or behaviors may crush people nevertheless. Hmm..