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Monday, December 30, 2013

Those Helpless Nights


If you are a parent, you know the ones I mean. The first night home from the hospital, the first time they get a fever, the first time they get their heart broken...

Of course I've only experienced the first two so far.

I'll never forget the first night we brought our son home from the hospital. It was like he transformed into a super-crying baby. Nothing we did could get him to stop crying. We walked him, fed him, changed him, put clothes on him, took clothes off him, rocked him, laid him down, picked him up. He just cried and cried. We didn't know what to do for him. I felt so helpless, I cried.

There were a few nights in the weeks to follow where I felt similar, but not quite as bad. The next time I felt almost as bad was last night. The first time he had a fever. It was like time was rewound 15 months. I walked him, fed him, changed him, put clothes on him, took clothes off him, rocked him, laid him down, picked him up. He cried and cried and I didn't know what to do for him. I felt so helpless, I cried.

These are nights that moms dread, but have to live through. And as we pace the floors, holding them tight in our arms, whispering comfort in their ears, we pray. We pray to God that this passes quickly and they are happy, healthy and whole again.

This won't be the last time I feel helpless as a parent, but I hope the next time is a long way off. I don't look forward to comforting him after the first time his feelings are hurt because I never want him to feel that pain. But his mommy will be there for him, God-willing, to do whatever I can to make him feel better. Even if I feel completely helpless doing it.


For all you parents, I hope your helpless nights are few and far between. And even if you feel all alone and completely helpless on those long, dark nights, God is there...pacing with you, holding you, whispering comfort in your ear.   

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Adventures in Breastfeeding


I know not everyone can or wants to breastfeed. Whatever feeding road you are traveling or have traveled is just as good as anyone else. 

I am writing this post because I believe breastfeeding my son is one of my greatest accomplishments.

My reasons for wanting to breastfeed vary from health benefits, emotional benefits (on both ends since I was at risk for post-pardum depression) and even financial reasons.

From day one we had trouble breastfeeding. My son had latching problems and it was so painful. All the lanolin, salt-water soaks and artificial nipples couldn't help the soreness! But I was determined to stick with it, scabs and all.

I still remember comparing the pain of those early days of breastfeeding to child birth. (and since I had just given birth, it was pretty accurate). I would scream out in pain when my son latched. The first few seconds where a blinding, breath-taking pain I can't fully explain. This is one of the things no one tells you before you start breastfeeding.

We went to our first well-baby visit and they were concerned about my son's weight. They said if it didn't increase in the next few days we'd have to supplement. I was determined to exclusively breastfeed. So I upped his feedings and barely slept.

I tried pumping so I could get some sleep but I wasn't producing enough. Those nights were brutal. I was sleeping at most 2 hours before getting up to feed him. It took about a half-hour to feed him at the time, so I would put on a TV show to stay awake. (Luckily one channel was having a Golden Girls marathon for a few weeks). Before I had my soon I needed 9 hours of sleep to feel rested. In those early months I remember thinking, “what I wouldn't give for four hours of sleep!”

My son was pretty fussy and I was pretty sore so we went to the Breastfeeding Resource Center and had a consultation. He did have latching issues. No one ever “taught” him and I how breastfeeding worked. Sure it's natural, but that doesn't mean every mom and baby naturally knows how to do it. We got some pointers and it started going better. His weight increased and the doctor backed off.

He fed every hour and a half. I could not be away from him for more than an hour at a time. I felt like a prisoner. It was very taxing. It was very lonely. I was living a half hour from family and 45 minutes away from my job. I guess I could have taken him out more and fed him in public. While it didn't make me uncomfortable to BF in public, I could tell it made others uncomfortable. My husband was always trying to hide me. Most of my “public” breastfeeding was done in the car.

When my maternity leave was up I had to quit my job because I could not continue to work there and breastfeed. (By this time I gave up on pumping since it took longer to pump than to breastfeed). Nights were still rough. Many family members suggested supplementing at night so I could get sleep. But I didn't want to. I was determined to exclusively breastfeed.

My husband supported me all along the way and kept letting me know that he wouldn't blame me for giving up. He reminded me that again when I got mastitis.

But I was determined. 

My son was getting very frustrated at the breast and would pull and tug a lot. So I went back to the BRC for a follow-up consultation to see if there was something I was doing wrong. Turns out I wasn't producing enough at a time (which is why pumping didn't work). So for my son to get enough milk, I had to feed him more often (which of course I was). And do something they called “super switch” where I'd switch him from breast to breast multiple times in a feeding.  This helped with his frustration.  

We continued to stick it out.  It got a lot easier when he was 6 months and started eating solid food. Alleluia for solid foods!

There were a lot of times I sat in rooms, away from the crowd, feeding my son. And while some might have thought that wasn't fair to me; secretly, I loved getting away from the crowd to have a quiet moment alone with my baby.

I called the BRC again when my son started teething and learned how to bite! (If you're wondering what to do—take them off and end the feeding—they are usually done if they are biting). Thank God for people who felt breastfeeding was so important they opened the BRC!

Originally, my goal was to feed him for a year and start weaning at around 11 months. In the early months I wondered how I'd ever make it to 12 months. But as 11 months neared I realized that not only were we not ready to wean, I didn't really want to either.

One day when my husband took him out, he was asking for milk, so my sister-in-law suggested giving him cow's milk. They put cow's milk in a sippy cup, gave it to him and told him it was milk. He took a couple sips, gave them a strange look and said, “No?” haha, it seems he wasn't quite ready for cow's milk either.

Here's a word of hope to those in the beginning stages of breastfeeding--- it gets easy! Once the babies get the hang of it, it's quick and easy. If my son isn't tired, it takes about 5 minutes for him to eat. No set up, no refrigeration, no cleaning bottles or sippy cups. It's pretty awesome.


I would say that every feeding is a beautiful bonding experience, and while some are, at this point it's pretty routine and the middle of the night ones can get frustrating. The beginning was absolute hell-- we hit so many walls in the beginning, but we made it through.  So I hope this gives hope to mommas out there that are having a tough time with breastfeeding. If you need to give it up, don't beat yourself up.

I know I'm blessed to be able to do this. It doesn't work out for everyone. It's not always glamorous... but it is amazing. I never really respected my body until it conceived, carried, birthed and fed my son. I mean, how could you not respect something that can do all that? So I may not look like a bikini model anymore, but my body image is better than ever.

Maybe I'm stubborn, maybe I'm determined, but I can say after almost 15 months, he's never had a drop of formula. And we're so in sync. Of course when I ask him who I am, he replies, “milk.” I guess it's true that the way to a boy's heart is through his stomach! And my heart melts when I ask him what he wants and he responds, “momma's milk.”  


The most supported I've ever felt was when a pediatric GI doctor gave me a very enthusiastic high-five for exclusively breastfeeding my son. It was such a great feeling, so here's a high five to all of you moms who have stuck it out too.   

Reflection on He Qi's "The Magi"

Advent is a time of expectation, hope, miracles, blessing, joy. When I was a kid, Christmas was always a magical time. I would joyfully, impatiently await the arrival of Christmas--- Christmas meant the birth of Jesus, it meant church being alive, it meant family being together, it meant Santa was coming, it meant profound joy. It was that one day I looked forward to all year.

I have a vivid memory of sitting on the couch one Advent day with a stuffed Santa doll, watching my mom decorate the house for Christmas. I can remember another time being in Fellowship Hall right before the big Christmas pageant and everyone was so happy and excited-- even the people in the church who were never happy. Christmas was that time that brought out the best in everyone. I can think back to those times and feel the warmth that Christmas brought.


But then I grew up. The congregation I grew up in is no longer in existence. Advent is one of the busiest and most stressful times for a person working in the church. Preparing for Christmas became more of a chore than a joyous process. The magic was fading. Ever year, I was losing the spirit and joy of Christmas more.

And then I experienced a miracle.


Two years ago, while I was in seminary, I was taking a Liturgical Dance class. For those who aren't aware, dance is my ultimate soul food. I loved being in that class and communicating with God through movement. Our teacher gave us instructions for our final project: Embody something from the lecture series being held at our school.

That night I had a dream. I had a dream that I was holding a baby. It wasn't surprising to me that I was having this dream. After years of doctors telling me it would be near-impossible for me to conceive, carry and a birth a child, all for different reasons, my husband and I decided to try to have a baby anyway. We talked about adoption and surrogacy, but kept coming to a stalemate. I finally put my fears aside, went to the doctor and told them I wanted to try to have a baby. So I had a dream that I was holding a baby and I was holding this baby in a very specific way. When I woke up, the image was seared into my memory.

That day, I attended the lecture series. There was an artist there named He Qi. His paintings were all over seminary hall. They were nothing like I had ever seen before. They surely captured my attention. Downstairs they were selling prints of his work. At $10 a piece I figured, “hey maybe there's one that speaks to me. I can buy it and embody it for my dance project.” So I grabbed a stack of the prints and started going through them.

And then one caught my eye.

                                                              (used with permission)



It was of Mary holding the newborn Jesus in the exact same way I was holding the baby in my dream that night.

I knew instantly I had to embody this painting. So I did.

I decided to perform a dance from Mary's perspective of what it was like to be a mother expecting a child. I studied the first chapter of Luke. I thought of what it was like for both Mary and Elizabeth to be filled with joy in their unexpected conceptions. What it was like for Mary to find out she was pregnant, carry that holy child inside of her, give birth and then watch him grow up. I included the elated “Magnificat” into my dance. I was having a hard time coming up with a song, then “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles came on the radio and my husband said, “You should use this song.”

It was perfect. The day of my performance came. I embodied my interpretation of Mary's journey to motherhood to “Here Comes the Sun.” I was then asked to perform it again at our seminary's Advent Service which was themed “Mourning to Dancing.”  So I embodied it again. I don't know how many times I embodied this, practicing it for both my final presentation and the Advent service, but something registered inside me because a few weeks later
  I became pregnant with my son.

It was a miracle.

Every time I look at this painting I am reminded of that dream and that dance. The way I communicated with God and God communicated with me. I am reminded of the hope and joy that Advent bring and this miraculous moment in my life. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Five Minute Friday-- Fly

As I mentioned last week, Lisa-Jo Baker is a blogger who has a writing exercise called Five Minute Friday.  You write for five minutes on a word she provides---no editing--just five minutes of writing and then post.  http://lisajobaker.com/

So here goes:


Fly

Recently I had a dream I was flying in an airplane and outside my window was the most beautiful scenery I had ever seen. 

 There were bodies of water, ice formations,s ky, mountains, and all in the most beautiful colors you could possibly imagine. I think it was the most visually beautiful dream I've ever had. 

Since I've had that dream, there have been times in my waking life when I just needed to escape (although that's not quite the right word)....and I fly above my problems and board that plane and sail through the sky and watch that beautiful scenery go by and for a minute I'm free and nothing else exists.


End.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Five Minute Friday-- Tree

I know, it's not Friday.  But one of my favorite bloggers--Lisa-Jo Baker ( http://lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday/ ) has this writing exercise called Five Minute Friday which I've done from time to time, but never had a blog to post my entries publicly.  I have loved this since I've found out about it and wished I could get my friends to do it too.

The rules are simple-- write for five minutes--no editing--on the word Lisa-Jo provides.

Now I know it's not Friday, but I never seem to get to it on Fridays and I figure if I don't start now, I never will.  So here it goes, my Five Minute Friday on Sunday.


Tree

Trees are.....air.  the lungs of the world.  history. solid. beautiful. Mary Oliver wrote that angels dance on the treetops, an image that has stuck with me.  Trees connect us with the earth in a way nothing else can.   have you ever looked at a tree?  REALLY looked at a tree?  Stopped and noticed the beauty and majesty of this being.  it's alive. breathing life all around it.  Have you ever stopped to look at a tree and wonder what it has seen?  If the tree could talk to us, what kind of memories could it share with us?  Trees outlive so many other things on this earth.  They have seen our history first hand.  They have endured our collective pain.  They can heal us.  They can provide food for us.  Physical, emotional, spiritual.  They are life-giving.

End.


Monday, November 4, 2013

The Time Between Driver's License Renewals

It's the time again.  Time to fill out the forms, head down the to photo license place, say cheese and get a new license.  It happens every four years.

But did you ever stop to look at your old ID?  Place the new and old next to each other?  Think about how the two people smiling up at you are so different?  "They are both me," you think, "they both look like me, they both have my name, eyes, nose..."  But who are each of these people, really?  Yes, they are both you.  But you at different stages in your life, in your journey.  Depending on which four years of your life this falls on, these two "yous" could be perfect strangers.

As I was looking at mine from 2009 and 2013, I thought about how much I've changed.  My life, my worldview, my friends, my family, my address, my education, my career, my thoughts, my heart.....one was a girl, one is a woman.

The first was taken right after I got married, moved out, and started seminary.  I married my soul mate. Marriage taught me how to commit, how to make compromises, how to take care of another, how to be an adult, how to take care of a household.  Over the past four years, we've grown together, gained a deeper respect for each other, and fall more in love every day.

Seminary taught me how to view the world in a whole new way.  I would need a book to explain how seminary changed me, but even if I had the space to write it, I don't think I could describe how many ways seminary has changed me.  How it erased years of what the world taught me, to bring me back to my core knowledge.  Seminary taught me how to be compassionate and to fight for justice.  It opened my eyes to the problems, sufferings and injustices of the world.  It taught me how to love people.  All people. It taught me how to be more like Jesus.  It wasn't just the classes, it was the community.  It was the friends I made, the worship I attended, the knowledge I gained through lectures and through hearing the stories of my classmates. I can put a price tag on my seminary education since I'll be paying it off for a long time, but what I got out of it was truly priceless.

Besides these two major life changes, I moved a few times, traveled, and had two other major changes--I became a mother and a pastor.

In seminary I interned at churches, but interning really only gives you a glimpse into the life of ministry.  Even though I am only part-time, being "the pastor" really changes things.  It is harder and more rewarding than one can imagine. I am still working this one out, maybe when I've experienced it a bit more, I'll write a follow-up blog.  But I can say, this is what I'm called to.  I am so passionate about ministry as a pastor.

And finally, the other major life change-- becoming a parent.  When people say, "You can't explain it."  You really can't.  Children change you in ways you didn't know you could be changed.  They teach you things you didn't know you didn't know.  You find that love goes deeper than you could possibly imagine.  They change your views on things that you thought you knew for sure. They turn your world upside-down.  They exhaust you more than anything else, make you more scared than anything else, make you worry more than anything else, make you laugh more than anything else, smile more than anything else, and make you want to be a better person.  I never realized how strong I was or fully valued my body until I gave birth.  I never fully understood the word "sacrifice" until I became a mother.  And I wouldn't trade it for the world.

So when I look back to the younger, well-rested, fresher-looking 2009 version of myself, I think, "Girl, you have no idea how your world is about to change."  And when I look at my current ID photo, I picture the 2017 version of me holding it and I wonder what she is thinking.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Reflections on "It's a Boy!"

It starts with the ultrasound--before they are even out of the womb--gender identity.  The sex of the child is male or female, but that's not what they tell you.  They say "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!"
Immediately, visions of a blue nursery, toy cars and soccer balls or pink frilly dresses, dolls and princess tea parties come to mind. Sure, some things are innately male or female, but should we force our children into a gender-defined box?  Specifically, our boys?  What message does it send?

More and more it has become acceptable for girls to like "boy things."  Girls can play with cars and watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  And more girls are out on the soccer field or doing karate.  Because in the fight against sexism, we are starting to acknowledge that girls can do what boys can do.  yay! Girl Power! Girl. Power..... Power.  We honor power...toughness...strength....thick-skin...
The problem is, this isn't a 2-way street.  While girls can be like boys-- powerful, strong, tough, thick-skinned....boys can't be "like girls"  --sensitive, nurturing, submissive (in a good way).

My son loves balls, trucks, trains, cars, airplanes, everything a boy "should" love, but he also gets just as excited about dolls.  But we have received no dolls as a gift or a hand-me-down. And I have to defend his choice when he is playing with one, because, yes, there are comments.  But why is it so offensive to see a little boy play with a doll?            Because he's being
                                                                               Lowered to the level of a female. 

We are accepting of ^^^raising girls up^^^to the level of boys--but not of "lowering" the boys.  We don't easily accept the feminine attributes of boys-- the caring and nurturing side.  The sensitive side (suck it up, be a man)---boys don't cry---boys don't give hugs (they shake hands and high five).

Similarly, we don't bat an eye when a girl likes Cookie Monster, Grover, or Bert & Ernie, but if a boy were to like Zoe or Abby Cadabby his gender identity or even sexual orientation would come into question (which  also perpetuates heterosexism) Yes, we wonder if 1 and 2-year-old boys are gay because they like a female television character.  What other reason could a 1-year-old boy  have for loving a brightly-colored, magical muppet?

I'm not saying we need to raise gender-neutral children or over-correct and not let our sons play with cars. I'm gently inviting us to look at the reasons we might object to freeing our children from gender-based stereotypes.   Girl. Boy.     Girl?  Boy? 


Thanks for reading.  Blessings!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sermon-- The Thankful One

Luke 17:11-19
17:11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee.

17:12 As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance,

17:13 they called out, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"

17:14 When he saw them, he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were made clean.

17:15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice.

17:16 He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan.

17:17 Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they?

17:18 Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?"

17:19 Then he said to him, "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well."


********************************************************************************
Sermon-- "The Thankful One"  October 13, 2013

Whenever I read a parable, I automatically put myself in the shoes of the good person, the one who gets it right. Oh yes, I'm the good Christian who..... in this case, I'm the good Christian who comes to church and thanks God when most people I know do not. Of course I want to think that way. I want to think that I have it all right but how arrogant of me to think that. After all, a Christian is loving and humble.

So I thought about the other nine lepers. I thought about, “when have I been like the other nine?” Really, they were being obedient Jews, doing what Jesus told them to do and what the Law required of them. These lepers wanted to get to the Temple to prove their cleanliness and get on with their lives.



How many times in our life have we asked God for help, gotten that help, and didn't turn back to say thanks? How many times have we felt God pour grace upon us and we didn't utter so much as a, “hey, thanks.”


The lepers were in a place of crisis, then went back to their lives, without a thank you.

How many times have we begged God for something in a moment of crisis and when “whew,” it's all over, we “forgot” to say thanks?

I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me. I get all worried and upset about something and I beg God to help me. ….. and the whole time, talking and pleading with God. Begging God for mercy, healing, another chance. And then that grace comes. Everything is alright, big sigh.. and then in joy we go back to our lives, like a miracle didn't just occur. No thank you to God.

Now that we have what we want, we're done with God until the next tragedy strikes. Or we are so swept up in our joyfulness, we forget God. We tend to forget God in the good times.... we are quick to ask for God's help, but forgetful when it's time to say thanks.

A year or two ago we had a bad storm. “J” and I were living in the suburbs at the time. We had no electricity, and the weather was pretty crazy out. But we made a good time of it. We played board games and cooked on the range, almost like camping indoors. It was a lot of fun being forced to unplug for a day.




But then the night came and with it, the worsening of the storm. There were tornado warnings. A tornado had touched down ten minutes from us.... the rain water was flooding and coming into the house. It was no longer fun. I was worried for us and our families back in Philly. It was a time to turn to God. On some level I knew we were going to be fine, but hearing about natural disasters on the news all the times gets into your head. We carried sentimental items to higher ground and then went back to the basement to camp out.


We listened to the radio, praying that everything would turn out alright. It was a pretty frightening night for me, a city girl, who grew up in a row home, right smack in the middle of the block, in a brick house-- to be living across the street from a farm, in a flimsy new development, hearing about tornado warnings on the radio. So there I was praying everything would end up all right.

And It did. The flooding wasn't bad at all. Could have been much worse. The tornado didn't harm anyone, it was a small one that did minor damage to property.

Did I thank God? Honestly, I don't remember. I remember asking God for help, but I don't remember thanking God. It's possible I did, but certainly not as enthusiastically as I asked for help.

I could have thanked God for sparing our lives, our house. I could have thanked God for the great day we spent together, unplugged. I could have thanked God for the beautiful rainbow that came after the storm.




What if we praised God and thanked God with the same kind of urgency and fervor we use to ask for help?

How many times have we been obedient Christians, done “what we were supposed to do,” without being truly on fire for God? Without being so in love with God that we turn back in ecstatic praise, like the 10th leper and praised God?

Jesus said, your faith has made you well. Why shouldn't we praise the one that makes us well, the one who makes us whole? The ten lepers asked for Jesus' healing and were healed, but only one came back to thank him.


Barbara Brown Taylor, an episcopal priest, wrote, "Ten behaved like good lepers, good Jews; only one, a double loser, behaved like a man in love... I know how to be obedient, but I do not know how to be in love."

How true is this for so many of us church-goers?

When was the last time you prostrated yourself at the feet of the Lord in praise and thanksgiving? Picture the kind of praise this leper was giving. If someone were to come into our church and go prostrating in front of the altar, what would we think? I can just imagine what some of our faces may look like.

We wonder why people don't want to come to church and one teenager at my last church summed it up nicely. “Why would anyone want to come to a place where you sit in uncomfortable silence getting the sense that everyone is just waiting for it to be over?”




Maybe that's not how you are feeling, but that is obviously the vibe some people are getting from church. This is the idea of church many people have in their minds.

Why would anyone want to come to a stuffy room with fake Christians that are going to judge them? Yes, this is the image people have of church. We can get upset about it all we want, but what are we doing to change their perception?

People have put a guard up against Christians, because it seems to be a trend that the only vocal Christians are the ones that are more in the business of promoting a condemning God than a loving one. So people tense up when Christians approach them to tell them about their God. People are hurt by the church and these Christians. But not all Christians are like that. Some Christians are so excited by God's blessings and radical love that they want to shout from the rooftops how awesome God truly is. Let us be those Christians. Let us be that beacon of light in this neighborhood.

If we were so in love with God we couldn't contain it, would people think that way about church and the Christians in them? What would we do differently if we weren't just obedient Christians? What if we were like that 10th leper? What kind of revolution, reawakening, Renaissance..... could church have If we were more like that 10th leper-- in love with God and on fire with the Spirit?




In a meeting recently, we were asked what qualities we looked for in a religious leader and I offered they should have a contagious spirit. But really, every Christian should have a contagious spirit. John Wesley said, Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn.” YES! We say we want to grow the church, but what are we doing about it? If we were truly IN LOVE with God to a point we couldn't contain it, we would live our lives in a way that would attract people to us and then they would see that it wasn't us they were attracted to, it's God.

When the early church was started, when the UMC was started, they were movements, it was an experiment. In the next few weeks, I am going to be deep in research and reading about the people of faith who started the church and started the United Methodist Church. These were people who were IN LOVE with God. Who couldn't contain that spirit and it was just bursting out of them. And from that came these massive Christian movements. You will hear this John Wesley quote again. We need a radical new attitude about this thing called church if we want it to survive. We need to be in love with God and on fire with the spirit. Are you ready to be those Christians, and that beacon of light in this neighborhood and beyond?



The Girl Who's Learning to Roar

"Create Blog"
Check.

"Create Blog" has been on my to-do list for years.  I have transferred it from to-do list to to-do list, from the ones scribbled on an envelope to the "official" one on my phone.  Perhaps what was holding me back was that I didn't know what I wanted to say...or was it that I lacked the courage to say what I wanted to say?  No, it was that I lacked the self-confidence to think that I had any right to say anything of importance and meaning.  

Who am I?  I am Julia.  I am in my late 20's.  I am a wife, mother and pastor.   I don't pretend to have all the answers... I know that in 20-some years of living and learning that I have merely glimpsed at life.  So who am I to write a blog worthy of others to read?  I am someone who is learning to grow.  I am someone who is daring to love.  

If there is one thing I learned in seminary, it is that it isn't easy to learn, grow or love.  It isn't easy to lay aside everything you think you know to hear someone else's story and perspective.  It isn't easy to accept that maybe, just maybe their story is "true" ...at least to them.  It isn't easy to open the door of your mind and (holds breath) heart to learn and grow and love.  If we open our minds, sometimes we have to admit that we are wrong, that what we have learned is not complete truth, that the people who taught us (yes, those ones we love and respect and look up to!) are fallible.  If we open our hearts, we run the risk of getting hurt, or scarier yet, finding out how deep love can go--being vulnerable--learning how to put others before ourselves. 

So, I don't presume to have all the answers, or any answers really... but this is a place where I will write.  I will write what I learn while my spirit hitches a ride in this fire-haired, earthly body.  

Thanks for reading.  Blessings.