Monday, October 29, 2012

Friedman's Theory of Differentiated Leadership Made Simple

applies to life at home, in a community and at work. Fascinating!

Sunday, October 14, 2012


My Aunt Sylvia sent this to me from California. I'm sorry that I don't have the author yet but I'll try to get it. It's just a miraculous story.


 Father Boyle opened his talk with a story about Mario.

Of all the people with tattoos in the Home Boy Industries,

Mario had the most,  on arms legs, back, torso, only a small space was left open on his face

Ask anyone, though, who the kindest, most gentle, most loving person in place was

And all answers would be an easy, “Mario.”

Invited to speak at his Alma Mater, Gonzaga, in Washington State

Father Greg took Mario for his first plane ride

When they arrived to a schedule of not one, but countless speeches,

Father G told the young man he would be

on his own to speak in some of the classes

And so he shared his story

His mother had beaten him every day of his young life

With belts and hangers and all manner of objects

He wore three tee shirts to school each day to cover the blood her beatings left

His mother took him to an orphanage near Baja California and left him at the door.

It took his grandmother 3 months to find him there and rescue him,

She raised him after that.

In one of the classrooms, a member of the audience said

“You now have children of your own, what advice do you give to them?”

Struck dumb by the question he could not response for a time, then he said with some force,

“ I will tell them just not to be like me.” 

The audience went silent.  The woman who asked the question

 then said, pointing her finger at him

“Why shouldn’t they be like you, you are warm, and loving kind and generous, why shouldn’t they be just like you?” 

At that point the whole room rose as one and clapped and clapped and would not stop clapping as Mario just buried his face in his hands.

Father Boyle said the audience had moved at that moment from empathy to awe, and Mario was no longer the object of pity , but the subject of reverent admiration for the weight of what he had carried and survived.

Tears streaming down, Father G said, “This is all God asks of us, to reach a state of awe in the wonder of the sacred souls of the other. Quoting from the Book of Jeremiah, he concludes,

 “In this place of which you say, “It is a waste…there shall be heard again the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness… the voices of those who sing…”

(33:11) Your lives are not a waste.

Sleep Tips for You

Sleep tips for every day
Eat and drink for sleep. Connect the dots between what and when you eat and how well you sleep — sugar, caffeine, and alcohol may be factors to consider.
Adapt your routine. Set a reasonable bedtime, unplug before bed, and try exercising in the morning or at midday instead of in the evening.
Promote good sleep hygiene. Be sure your room is dark, quiet, and has comfortable bedding. Don’t allow electronics or digital clocks to “zap” you in the night.
Consider your stress and anxiety. The stress hormone cortisol is connected to our circadian rhythms. Supporting healthy cortisol balance and adrenal health may help to reset your sleep-wake cycle.

taken from women to women site: more great tips for pms, perimenopause, menopause here.

The "D" Word

Great article on depression and faith.  If we talk about it more with one another then perhaps our days won't seem so dark and lonely.
May you find joy today and know that you are loved.

Healing Oils!

This Monday...essential oils
Essential Oils with Ellie
Monday, October 15
1:00 - 2:00pm
Instructor: Ellie Taylor
Essential oils seem like such a sweet indulgence. They can smell so wonderful, it's easy to see how they can foster
relaxation, focus, and a feeling of well-being. But, can they do more?
Join Ellie Taylor and learn about the benefits of essential oils. Learn how oils can be used to enhance personal wellness, the home environment, meditation, and yoga. You will leave with an idea of which oils would be helpful to you, and how to best use them. There will be no asana, just experiencing, discussion, and information.
Fee: $16 or one class card punch.
Focus Yoga, Brookfield, IL
Call us at 708 471 0487

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bread For You

"Conversion is light renewed, love of God renewed. The convert is a [man or woman] who has died and has risen again."
- Rabbi Israel Zolli

Food Deserts

Food Deserts

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What is An Evangelical?

The most important thing we evangelicals have to learn from Buechner is honesty. His books seem to show that it is possible to learn to tell the truth, to be frank with ourselves about our doubts and fears." -- The late Professor Joe McClatchey, Wheaton College.
"Grace is something you can never get but only be given. The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you… The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."
-- Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking
Evangelical is probably one of the most misused words in the public square today. Most often it is equated with fundamentalism or dogmatism; and, of late, it seems to have picked up a decidedly Republican and Neo-Conservative flavor and aroma.
None of those things should have anything whatsoever to do with being an Evangelical Christian.
When I was an undergraduate student at Wheaton College in the late 1980s, I missed opportunities to take classes or at least audit them with either Frederick Buechner or Joe McClatchey.
To me, those two gentlemen are and were the most formative voices on what it means to be authentic Evangelical Christians.
Being an Evangelical Christian means accepting grace and being honest about your faith with others.
First, I think you have be honest with yourself and God; and, then, when you’re as true as you can be about both what you actually know and what you actually don’t -- that’s what’s worth sharing.
A few years back, I visited a Christian couple at Yale while they where working on their doctorates in psychology. The husband, David, was doing research around “EQ” or emotional quotients in people. One of the research projects he developed was about how we perceive ourselves.
It turns out that most people rank themselves in the top 80 percent of almost everything, which obviously can’t be true. The people who most accurately rank themselves are depressives.
Being authentic doesn’t always mean being an optimist. What the English call “happy-clappy” Christianity probably isn’t true.
C.S. Lewis said that grace is what separates Christianity from the other faith traditions. Grace, as I understand it, is simply making the exception the rule.
In the Judaic tradition, God attempted to establish justice by covenants governed by laws that failed as many times as they were tried. Christ came to fulfill that covenant, which every person -- or the proverbial “Adam” -- broke almost as fast as it could be established.
The good news of Christianity is that everything -- the entirety of creation -- is being redeemed and it’s all happening through Christ’s work. As followers of Christ we are called to co-labor with him. That is what evangelism is about.
Many Fundamentalists have been concerned lately with a movement towards Christ redeeming everything and not just the few lucky buggers who elbow their way into heaven’s supposedly Titanic-sized lifeboats. Somehow, they think that a God who would torture people forever in conscious torment is a story the world needs to hear. They seem to revel in revealing a God who makes the Nazi death camps seem humane.
They point to a future escape from this world where none of what happens here really endures. If that’s the truth of what God is, then I’m reverting to my Frisian pagan roots. Valhalla is a thousand times better than that.
The truth is that Jesus didn’t talk about burning non-believers in conscious torment forever. He did talk about burning the trash off of the religious leaders who were tormenting their followers on Earth with the weight of extra rules no one could fulfill.
Oppressive rules create a co-dependency and order whilst filling pews and coffers. It offers control to people that live to bend others to their will. It is not good news. It is not a better society.
I’m on the board of Growers First, which is a business-as-mission organization that works with rural poor coffee farmers. We take St Francis’ admonition seriously to “Preach the gospel; and, if necessary, use words.” We work to apply the Lord’s Prayer, in particular, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven.”
Growers First is decidedly not a Christian organization although many of us are involved because our faith includes a responsibility to work with the poor.
During a lunch meeting with Phil Ryken, the new president of Wheaton College, last year, he responded to St. Francis’ credo saying that at some point someone has to use words to preach the gospel. I’m not sure I agree.
If you truly believe in God’s sovereignty, then you believe that he doesn’t need us. He lets us participate in his will. Forcing a need to convert people to our beliefs may not be aligned with God’s will to redeem them to himself.
As the Irish sage, Jack Heaslip, has taught me, it behooves us to develop a laziness for God’s will, a willingness to wait, listen and move as God calls us, as he opens the doors for us.
Our approach at Growers First has let us co-labor and helped us lead one of the largest pastor’s conferences in Mexico every year. We take discipleship seriously with those who are thirsty for it.
Rob Bell is a good friend and former Wheaton classmate. He has a great analogy about why we ought to follow Jesus, and how we should share it. Rob says that if you knew there was a vast buried treasure in your backyard, you wouldn’t need threats to go dig it up and embrace it. No one would be able to stop you from pursuing it, and once you found it, no one would be able to stop you from celebrating it.
That is the Gospel.
So being an Evangelical Christian is, for me, about finding grace and embracing it, celebrating it with others and then working to bring about God’s will on Earth as it is in Heaven.
- David Vanderveen