Monday, November 24, 2008

self-soothing goes out the window when you're sick

i've been sick for almost 2 weeks. it started out with just a sore throat, moved to the sinuses, and is now stuck in my chest. my lungs hurt from the heaving and my throat is raw from the coughing. saturday night, i had to try to sleep sitting up and not sleeping well doesn't help much with the recovery.

so, what does one do when the methods of self-soothing aren't working? normally, when life is tough, i soothe myself with a nap or a walk - neither of which work right now. i've tried to numb the pain by watching a lot of television - and at least it has done what it was meant to do, be the anesthetic i've needed...but i'm still missing the soothing. i've drank at least 20 cups of chamomile and tension tamer tea...and that's as close to soothed as i've been in 2 weeks.

so, now what? meditation is difficult when pain is present and is even harder when the focus is supposed to be on the breath that happens to be labored and interrupted by wheezing and coughing. sleeping is impossible. exercise taxes my lungs. t.v. numbs me. i even tried to do some cleaning and the dust combined with the chemicals made things worse.

does this mean i'm forced to be un-soothed for the duration of this sickness? is there a greater meaning or purpose to this discomfort, irritation, nuisance? am i missing something? am i making too much of it?

all i know is i've been miserably uncomfortable for 2 weeks. i'm holding my breath (what's left of it) waiting to feel better. i'm racking up undone normal daily tasks until i'm well again...but what about those who don't have the luxury of feeling better? what about karl who has battled 2 herniated discs in his back for 18months and has pain daily? what about those with chronic ailments like asthma or arthritis? how do they self-soothe? are they extra creative? or can they just hold their breath longer than me?

i don't want to miss anything - but i fear i'm missing everything. i never want a learning lesson to pass me by, and yet, in the holding my breath, waiting for this sickness to be over, that's exactly what i'm doing - i'm missing the now. i'm missing the gift of the present. i've got blinders on and i'm focused on the afterwards, so i'm missing everything happening peripherally right now. i need to find a form of self-soothing that works so i can take off the blinders and enter into this discomfort while at the same time not torture myself with the inevitable pain that comes with sickness.

make sense? probably not. afterall, it's hard to write when you're miserable...or is it?


Friday, November 21, 2008

the unbridled hope of a child...

i was so glad i was present and available to answer lucy's request for snuggle time before quiet hour today. i was all ready to get in the shower, but that could wait for a few more minutes. lucy wanted to pick up our conversation that we'd been having the past few nights about disney world. she wanted to know how big mickey was. what were the rides like. what kind of games could be played. and was there dancing too? so, today i chose to tell her all about the 'it's a small world' ride. the description of that ride must have just been the answer she was looking for as she was then determined that she wanted to go. so, i told her maybe she should ask for a trip to disney world for christmas. she guffawed at the thought of santa bringing her disney world. i quickly explained that he could bring us the tickets to go.

she thought for a minute and asked if we could go to the mall and if i could sit on santa's lap and ask him for us. understanding a childs' fear of sitting on a large jolly bowl full of jelly, i told her that she would have to be the one to ask if that's what she wanted. but, i suggested there might be another way.

i said, "you know, santa only works during christmas, but do you know who works all year round and is only a prayer away?"

she responded, "Jesus?"

i told her that if she didn't want to ask santa, she could ask Jesus. she thought about this for a moment and said, "will Jesus drop the tickets in the sky down from heaven?"

i said, "maybe. but they might also show up under your pillow, or under your plate at dinner."

she was having fun with this idea and asked for me to tell her more places they could show up. so, i said, "maybe they will be in your carseat, or in your lunch bag at school."

it was fun to watch her laugh and giggle at these thoughts. then, she looked behind her out the window and said, "i don't see the tickets in the sky, will i be able to see them when they come down from heaven?"

i brought it to her attention that while she would be able to see the tickets if that's where they were, she hadn't even asked yet. she quickly said, "then, let's do it right now."

she bowed her head and clasped her hands and prayed, "dear Jesus, i would really like to go to disney world sometime. could you please send us some tickets? amen."

with a tear in my eye grateful for her hope and trust, i smiled and was thrilled to be a part of this moment. then, when it was time for me to go she said, "i'm just going to look under my pillow real quick to see if they're there."

obviously there were no tickets to disney world - but that didn't deter her hope. i told her she might have to be very patient, and possibly remind Jesus. she asked if he would forget, and i reassured her that he wouldn't, but it didn't hurt to ask again. so, i'm sure she will. over and over again she will. and everytime it will be a reminder to me that Jesus loves the little children...all the children of the world...


full circle

I'm taking this interesting class right now called Care of Soul and the Call to Sacred Activism. In fact, I'm about to run out the door to my second day of this three-day course, but I wanted to leave you with a little taste of what we're attempting to work through together.

"Globalization has created possibilities for local, regional, and global integration, but it has also left waves of disintegration in its wake. It has given us more and more of a free market, but it has unmasked human and structural 'unfreedoms' that contribute to making so few so wealthy while so many remain so poor. It has given us new technology such as global positioning systems, which help us find our way in time and sapce, but in other ways it has made us less able to find the ethical coordinates and the spiritual vision that would help us find a place of human solidarity. In order to understand the assets and liabilities of our contemporary context, we need to examine more carefully and critically the meaning and motor of globalization, the premises and players that shape it, and ultimately the direction and destiny that are defining where we are headed as a human family." -Daniel G. Groody, Globalization, Spirituality, and Justice

And you can check out an insightful article/interview about my professor here.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sneak Peak

My sister just emailed me a few photos from her wedding so I posted them to our family blog. You can check them out here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

what does God's peace look like?

Jesus says in Matthew, "do not suppose that i have come to bring peace to the earth. i did not come to bring peace, but a sword." and later in John, Jesus says, "peace i leave with you; my peace i give you. i do not give to you as the world gives. do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

as i wrestled with this idea of peace, i re-looked up the John passage in the message version of the Bible and it says this, "i'm leaving you well and whole. that's my parting gift to you. peace."

this sentence comes right after Jesus talks about leaving the Holy Spirit with us to comfort us. so, is it possible that the peace he is referring to is the peace that comes from the wholeness and oneness offered through his Spirit?

meaning...we may be at odds with others, or we may encounter pain in conflict, or we may not see eye to eye - but, we can still know peace if we trust that the Spirit will guide us, comfort us, show us, teach us and ultimately complete us as we walk through the storms that upset us.

so - could the sword part of his mission be that his yoke will cause division and flip things on their heads - but the peace part is that he has left his Spirit to complete us and speak to us and make us whole when his way has caused an upset?


Monday, November 17, 2008


lyrics to song, when spoken words don't work anymore:

Heal the Wound

I used to wish that I could rewrite history
I used to dream that each mistake could be erased
Then I could just pretend
I never knew the me back then

I used to pray that You would take this shame away
Hide all the evidence of who I've been
But it's the memory of
The place You brought me from
That keeps me on my knees
And even though I'm free

Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar

I have not lived a life that boasts of anything
I don't take pride in what I bring
But I'll build an altar with
The rubble that You've found me in
And every stone will sing
Of what You can redeem

Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar

Don't let me forget
Everything You've done for me
Don't let me forget
The beauty in the suffering

Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I recently wrote an article for the WBCC college group blog. You can check it out here:

He Came For This

Monday, November 10, 2008

following the instruction manual

i'm learning the hard way that to follow the instruction manual line by line is not to really live. to have to walk through life carrying a dog-eared, highlighted list of dos and don'ts doesn't prepare you or ready you for the real-deal. just like someone who had a heart attack would die if the person trying to save their life spent too much time reading the how-to before using the defibrillator, moments and opportunities for growth and living die when we aren't prepared to walk through them because we've leaned too heavily on the manual.

i feel like i've lived my life by an instruction manual. i've paid close attention to the what-to-dos and what-not-to-dos, but when the moments hit - i'm completely unprepared to say the right word, do the right thing, or be the right person. i learn all about love - but do i actually practice it? i learn all about truth, but can i actually describe it to someone? i learn all about considering others, but do i ever practice selflessness? i learn pin-pointed, taken out of context verses and try to apply them in real-life scenarios when i haven't understood the over arching idea of the scripture, or experienced the meaning it has to offer. i've only read it as an instruction manual - and not immersed myself in its themes, in its context, in its relevance to this life.

so, when friends come to me hurting - i don't know what to say or do. when someone comes to me searching for answers - i leave them with more questions. when someone needs me to bear their backpack of shame, i've got my own aches and pains and can't lift another.

i feel terribly unequipped to do life. i feel like i've counted on everyone else to live it for me. to tell me what to do. to point me in the right direction. and now - now, there's just me and my instruction manual. how do i translate reading about life and awkward situations, and tough challenges, and frustrating people, and loving when it hurts, and forgiving when i don't want to, and dying in order to live, and suffering in order to be comforted - into living it?

Father, equip me.


Saturday, November 8, 2008


mhgs what if no. 1 from blaine hogan on Vimeo.

mhgs what no. 2 from blaine hogan on Vimeo.

For your viewing pleasure

I just thought I'd share these two little iphone-captured images from my day of savoring earlier this week...

Friday, November 7, 2008

a woman.

i stumbled upon what may be a very interesting woman. more details to come - but in the meantime, a teaser:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sensory Overload

Wow. What an interesting couple of days. I've wanted to greet this blog each day this week as a means of recording everything I've been receptive to these past few days. The demands of the second half of my trimester in school have prevented me from doing just that...but I'm not complaining because it's forced me to simply remain open to soaking it all up.

After a fun-filled-four-day weekend with the girls, I woke up MONDAY morning aware of the anxiety swirling through my stomach. It didn't take long for me to realize that the anxiety, or maybe a better descriptor is "anticipation", was not bound solely to the approaching due date of the first of a series of research papers, but that it was somehow connected to a more collective experience of those who call themselves American citizens. The opportunity to come together to jointly determine the outcome of this historical election was finally within reach.

TUESDAY was the big day. I rode the bus to school that morning and discovered that everyone seemed to be effected by the magnitude of this opportunity. Typically I hide behind a book and listen to my music or the latest Rob Bell podcast, but this bus ride was different. No one seemed to be able to keep hidden the heightened level of arousal which caused an increased level of sensory perception. People were actually looking into one another’s eyes and acknowledging the presence of those around us. It was as if the realization that we were all connected and necessary for this decision had the power to break through the habitual functioning we've all grown accustomed to. People were awake. And you could sense it. You could see it on their faces. You could hear it in their excited conversations.

After staying up way too late working on a paper while simultaneously watching CNN (FYI - it's very difficult to finish a paper on Election Day) I woke up WEDNESDAY morning wondering what they day would be like. Would people still see each other? Would they be excited? Would the division so strongly revealed when looking at the popular vote be evident on people's faces? Would it feel like some were winners and others were losers or would there be a sense of unity? I rode the bus again yesterday morning and was so saddened by the difference a day had made. I literally felt like people were afraid to look at each other. I found myself wondering if my upbeat mood would be a dead giveaway to those around me of how I felt about the decision. And then I felt like I needed to somehow reign in the emotions I tend to wear on my sleeve out of fear that I might offend someone or be deemed "different" from those who didn't share my sentiments.

As the day went on and I realized that Tuesday had been a gift - not necessarily because of the election of Obama, but because for a single moment in time I glimpsed what life could be like if people were able to see the face of the other and acknowledge our connectivity. I knew the sensory overload that had allowed me to catch this glimpse would soon be numbed again so I fought to remain open to what my sense could reveal to me for the rest of that day. Here's a little something I wrote at the conclusion of an emotionally-charged couple of days:

What I took note of today...

:::The smell of Seattle filled with hints of damp leaves trampled upon, coffee beans - the drug of choice in the great northwest, and the aroma of freshly baked pastries seeping out of Le Panier as I walked through Pike Place Market on my way to school.
:::The now familiar sound of squeaky buses breaking as they hustle all of the environmentally-conscious people about.
:::The felt comfort of dressing down and wearing my grungier clothes including a brown hat that makes me feel a bit younger when I wear it.
:::The sight of an artist intent on his representation of my favorite aesthetically-pleasing bus stop filled with trees barely grasping the brightest gold leaves I've ever seen.
:::The taste of hot apple cider from Trader Joes while sitting with the ones I love the most after a long and sleep-deprived couple of days!


Sunday, November 2, 2008

you'll be a different person a year from now...

i've heard it said, "you'll be a different person a year from now based on the books you read and the people you meet." i concur!

this weekend, i had the books that i'm currently reading merge into relevance with one event - an argument with karl. we were arguing and didn't have the time to resolve the conflict due to it being a saturday, the kids were awake, and karl's mom was in town. so, needing something to quell the pain...i first turned to the idol of pleasure - an idea recently garnered from the book, "Breaking the Idols of Your Heart", a review of Ecclesiastes. i wanted to use pleasure to anesthetize the pain and frustration of arguing with the one i'm supposed to be one flesh with. i turned to pleasure for my gratification rather than resolving the issues. then, i went for a drive to meditate, pray, clear my head in the beautiful autumn of colorado. but, i was also reminded of a passage from "Sacred Marriage" which reminded me that my prayers won't go very far if i'm in the midst of dissension with my spouse (I Peter 3:7). so, i took the challenge of Matthew 5:23 to leave my gift of prayer and meditation at the altar and go and be reconciled to my husband.

i picked him up and he went for a drive with me. we listened to a song by NeedtoBreathe called Looks Like Love, and the song became our mutual prayer and i believe we were heard.

Looks Like Love

Take another step
Don’t give up on me just yet
We could take a chance
We could find a child’s romance
At least we’d love until we can’t

I wont run when it looks like love
I won’t hide beneath the fear
Of how my past has come undone

I wont run when it looks like love
I can’t spend another night alone
Regretting what I’ve done
So, I won’t run

The breeze can only be
When she overcomes the heat
Our hearts can only shake
When there’s risk that they could break
Yeah it’s a chance that I will take

Raise your head
Its time to say
Those words that I have left unsaid
I’ve slept through the sunrise
And I turned
Away every time it got bright

so, i guess i'll buy the quote about the books i read, and the people i meet and add, "the music i listen to".