Posts Tagged ‘PeaceSigns’

Wow, it’s been a while.  Almost a month.  I’m feeling it, too.  But in the last couple of weeks I haven’t had much time to catch my breath.  I’ll be back soon to tell you about it.

In the meantime, here’s the beginning of this month’s article in PeaceSigns, and a link to the full article:

Several weeks ago the touchscreen on my fancy-pants cell phone suddenly stopped working. Panic-stricken, I rushed to the nearest wireless service provider before going to work. How could I survive the day disconnected? What if my husband needed me? What if there was an emergency? What if the car broke down? What if…?

{Click here to read the rest of the story.}


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It’s Holy Week, which means Maundy Thursday foot-washings, Good Friday extinguishing of candles, and just before Easter… Earth Day.  I love that Earth Day gets to be in this mix this year, which helps us to think about new life in so many ways.  This is my offering for this month’s issue of PeaceSigns:

Once upon a time (but seriously, this really happened) I stepped out of my office to walk to the corner café for a cup of tea. Then I remembered the mug sitting on my desk that I meant to take with me to save a paper cup. I went back and got the mug and, puffed full of virtuous feelings, headed toward the café.

At that time I had been experiencing a sort of environmental enlightenment and was becoming aware of how so many of my lifestyle choices contribute to the decay of our world. Honestly, there were times when it was quite paralyzing; I agonized over things like flipping on the light switch.

{Click here to read the rest of the story…}

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I’ve mentioned this hibiscus plant before.  One full week into Lent, it’s become my official mascot.


“Several months ago, I found a hibiscus plant in a dumpster. Half of it was dead, but the other half was perfectly healthy. It had been raining, and as I carried it home, the dripping five-gallon planter was so heavy I thought my arms might fall off.

It thrived out on the balcony until I brought it inside the night of the first freeze in late fall. Though it took up residence in the sunroom for several months, it limped through the winter. I did, too.

When spring came in the South with an explosion of warm weather in early February, I moved it back outside. Now I watch in awe as new life emerges from it daily. I observe the sprouting of each leaf and the development of each bud with joyful anticipation. It makes me wonder about God’s own experience of watching all of creation — including each person — grow and come into fullness of being.”


(Click here to read the full article in the March issue of PeaceSigns.)



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Oakleaf Mennonite Farm


Yesterday morning I cleaned a winter’s-worth of leaves off of our balcony.  Four bags full.   I seriously wondered whether if I had planted some seeds in the layer of ‘mulch’ that had accumulated, we could have had an 8′ x 8′ third floor garden.

This month, my article in PeaceSigns is about gardening — specifically, what could happen if a neighborhood worked together to produce not only food, but life together.  Here’s an excerpt:


This is the time of year when my thoughts inevitably turn to gardening and I find myself daydreaming about digging in the dirt, and planting seeds, and how wonderful a warm, just-picked, sun-ripened tomato tastes. I feel spring stirring in my soul while frost is yet on the ground. When this happens, I pull out my copy of The Wind in the Willows and look in on Mole, inside cleaning while, “Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.”

(For the full article, click here)



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This one comes with a major sense of accomplishment.  Many of us live lives that refuse to be quantified; we can’t often point to something at the end of the day and say, “I did that.”


It’s nice to finally be able to do that with “Two Dutch Girls – A Real Wooden Puzzle,” a piece that I’ve wanted to write for a number of years.  It’s about a puzzle, and time, and renewal.


Here’s an excerpt:


Despite having written about slowing down in my December PeaceSigns article <http://peace.mennolink.org/cgi-bin/m.pl?a=803>, I struggled to finish making all my homemade gifts, host and attend holiday gatherings, pack for our visit to California, and maintain some semblance of Advent preparation. Just at the point when I felt I might come apart at the seams, I took out this puzzle.

(For the full article, click here.)




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The truth is, I’m a bit disappointed.  Things haven’t gone exactly as I’d hoped.  For years now, I’ve been doing a mostly Buy Nothing Christmas, buying only the minimum amount of things I need in order to make all my Christmas presents.  I love spending time crafting gifts for my loved ones – whether a pair of knitted socks for my husband, or a pair of earrings for my mom.  I love all the moodling time spent thinking about these gifts – which yarn, which bead – would best fit the intended recipient.

But I’m feeling especially guilty because yesterday my December article for PeaceSigns came out.  In that article, I write about gifts and how we hope that they will bring us love and fulfillment – not in receiving a gift from someone else – but in giving a gift, we hope that we will get love in return.

As you must know with articles like that, it was written before Advent even started.  I relied on past memories of making gifts and projected hopes for this current season of gift-making.  Maybe there was no “out of control buying and spending” for me this year, but there was certainly more than enough “running in circles”.  It makes me cringe just to read those words of mine.

A surprising dimension of my gift-making this year is how inadequate I felt making them.  In previous years, it was a choice to not spend money.  And it felt good to detach myself from the world of retail consumerism.  I felt like I was taking a stand and doing something noble.

But this year, there was no choice.  I made gifts with what I had, was forced abort some ideas because it would mean buying extra supplies, and agonized over every single thing I made.  “Buying nothing” out of necessity made me feel like nothing I made was good enough.  All my high-minded ideas were turned on their heads and had their feet put to the fire as the war against consumerism raged within me.

In the end, just because I didn’t spend a lot of money doesn’t mean that I succeeded in having a better attitude about Christmas and gifts than someone who spent thousands of dollars at the mall.  That’s humbling.  One might hope I would learn some valuable lesson here.  But let’s not trust too much in my ability to be consistent.

Remind me sometime to tell you the truth about Thanksgiving after writing my November article for PeaceSigns.  Ugh.

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How to Cook a Wolf

from the book of the same title, by M.F.K. Fisher

Today I’d like to take you on a field trip over to PeaceSigns, a free e-zine of the Mennonite Church USA, Peace and Justice Support Network.  This is the first article in my new, regular column “Living from the Center“.

It’s called “How to cook a wolf — it’s not just for wartime and recessions“.

If you have other suggestions for how to cook a wolf, I’d love to hear them!

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