Aid and Comfort to the Resistance

Time has taken on an odd quality lately. I hear a bit of news and think “Oh yeah, that! I forgot about that. It happened so long ago. Wasn’t that way back … yesterday afternoon …?”

In the days following the election I was disheartened discouraged and disoriented. I felt adrift. I was by turns angry, fearful, combative and depressed (and sometimes those turns were very tight). It was hard to work, but impossible to relax. I was snappish with everyone, but being alone gave me too much time to get wound around my own axle. What worried me most was I could feel a defeatist mindset sneaking up on me. “Wouldn’t it be nice,” it whispered to me, “to just admit it’s all over now? To just admit you lost, look away and go with the flow.” Continue reading

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

The beauty of NaNoWriMo is that there is no right or wrong. No basis for success or standards of quality other than words. Words, words, words. Just 1667 words a day, every day, for 30 days. No one cares if they are beautiful words arranged in glorious ways or a string of frustrated obscenities. Just get the words down on paper. Some words. Any words. Editing is for January. I love NaNoWriMo because it forces me to ignore my Inner Critic and keep going, no matter what.

The terrifying thing about blogging is that it requires both speed (so your posts remain fresh and timely) and quality (so your posts are, well, readable and worth reading). It’s feels at times like it combines the pressure of NaNoWriMo and normal writing, giving you twice the Inner Critic for one low price. Continue reading

The Retreat

I am just home from leading my first solo out-of-town Enneagram retreat. It was about a dozen women from my church and we spent the weekend on the bank of the Mississippi – or maybe the St Croix – river – or maybe it was a lake (we spent a fair amount of time sitting in chairs around a fire holding coffees or beers or a glass of wine debating the topic in that fun, easy way you do when no one really cares and no one can’t be bothered to pick up their phone and check).

It was good – at least for me. I know the women enjoyed the time away from daily life and the time together. I hope they got something out of the many, many words that seemed to tumble out of my mouth and my hastily drawn diagrams and my probably far too many handouts. But I met the two goals I always set for myself when I speak: 1) I made people tear up and 2) I made them laugh. Just now I am thinking I need to add another goal for retreats. It’s a goal I always set for myself when taking groups of kids somewhere: I returned with the same number I started with.  Continue reading

Overthinking and Creativity

My daughter shared this article on Facebook and dedicated it to all her 6s.

Apparently research shows that people who tend to be anxious and overthink are more creative. They don’t say than who. People who underthink and are too calm I guess.

I am just enough of a contrarian to be suspicious of this conclusion. (But not so much that I didn’t take a moment to bask self-congratulation.) I am leery of people who say “This is creativity. This is what it is like and what it takes to get it.” I cringe when anyone talks about this or that group being more creative that another group. I have stood, tired and sweaty, over a problem I solved after days of trial and error only to be told I didn’t understand what it was like to be creative. I have had people gush over my creativity when what I had just done seemed dull and mundane to me. I am beginning to think creativity is wild and wooly and way bigger than we usually think. Continue reading

It’s What We Do

This past weekend, I set my alarm for Too Early on A Saturday O’clock, showered, dressed up and then grumpily drove for two hours into the heart of Minnesota farm land. I had a funeral to attend. The father of a friend of mine had passed peacefully at 92 years old and, well, I guess we needed to bear witness. It was not my first choice of weekend activities, to be honest. But it need to be done.

So we gathered in the church, heard and said all the right things. Then we ate the ritual ham sandwiches on white buns and drank the instant lemonade. We made the required small talk. We toasted Leonard’s memory with the traditional weak, lukewarm coffee. Such are the Middle American Christian funeral rites. Continue reading

Book Review: God Rest Ye Stressed Communicators

stressed communicatorsThe Center for Church Communicators  has another book out. This one just in time for Christmas planning. I wrote a review for Amazon, so I won’t go into much detail here. (My review shouldn’t be hard to find, since at this writing it’s still the only one there.)

Like most of the books created and published by CCC, it’s a collection of small articles written by the folks who actual did the thing the article is about. It’s a way for people to share and learn from each other. Very skim-able. The articles tend to be light on logistics and details, maybe too light for some. Sometimes it’s too light on details for me. But it’s a GREAT idea generator and conversation starter. In fact I had trouble finishing it, because every third article had me dropping the book to send someone an email or make a note to talk to someone else.

Highly recommended for anyone in any aspect of making Christmas go well in a church setting.

At the moment only the Kindle Edition is available, but I have it on good authority the print version is on the way.

UPDATE: The print edition is now available as well.

Trust Falling

I am beginning to think I learned one of my biggest lessons about trust in high school.* I was a dumpy, clumsy girl. At least that’s how I felt. I was heavier than most girls and was always, always aware of that. I walked through life half wincing, so that when everyone started laughing at me, I was prepared.

Our school was hosting a gathering of kids – including foreign exchange students – from other schools in the area. We played team games and getting-to-know-you games. Then came the dreaded trust exercises. Continue reading