Monday, December 31, 2012

World’s Biggest Congregation

World’s Biggest Congregation
Fascinating story....

Jewish Jesus

Jewish Jesus
From Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.....

Hopes and Fears....

Alban - Building Up Congregations and Their Leaders
Hopes and Fears: Everyday Theology for New Parents and Other Tired, Anxious People
Bromleigh McCleneghan and Lee Hull Moses have written a book about being not-perfect parents in a not-perfect world. The result, Hopes and Fears: Everyday Theology for New Parents and Other Tired, Anxious People, is a joyous celebration of child-rearing in which any parent—no matter how perfect—can share.
"I want to have a happy and healthy marriage, and I want to have happy, faithful kids," proclaims co-author McCleneghan in the introduction to the book. "But I reject the pervasive cultural lie that a happy marriage and the faithful kids are somehow the byproducts of some rigorous and largely unattainable personal or moral perfection."
Thus, Hopes and Fears is neither a "how-to" book nor a mere meditation. Rather, the authors seek to find the beautiful and the spiritual in the sometimes mundane activities that parents have performed since the beginning of history, while at the same time allowing beautiful and spiritual insights of the past to inform and shape the activities of modern parenting. Thus, the words of a hymn can trigger an idea about how to deal with bedtime, and an exercise in baby-naming can lead to a better understanding of a passage in Isaiah. The intertwining of the spiritual and familial in this book constantly surprises and delights: a quote from Paul Tillich can stand next to one from Tina Fey or What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
We are often reminded that the authors, two longtime friends, are ordinary working mothers. Fortunately, they are also experienced and well-read congregational leaders, and they bring that perspective to their reflections. McCleneghan, a United Methodist Elder, works as the Associate for Congregational Life at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago and is a frequent contributor to Christian Century. Lee Hull Moses is the pastor of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Hopes and Fears is also about sharing, in the widest and deepest sense of that word. As many parents know, learning to share is one of the most difficult things for many children to acquire. McCleneghan and Moses have decided to teach by example with this book, noting: "we’re hopeful that as we share our lives—the trials and tribulations and incredible joys—other parents will feel inspired to reflect on their own experiences, and perhaps even to consider new ways in which their own faith is relevant to their identities as parents."
Hopes and Fears: Everyday Theology for New Parents and Other Tired, Anxious People is highly suitable for group study as well as individual reflection.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Don't be afraid to be who you are. I've wasted so many days and sometimes years it seems wanting to be something I am not. Be freed from this fear, this angst. It steals your joy and your time here on earth. paz.

Healthy Practices for Practicing Balance

Healthy Practices for Practicing Balance
Some more ideas for the new year. blessings!

The Martha Stewart Blog

My Holiday Brunch – Part Two - The Martha Stewart Blog

Peter Mayer "Holy Now"

From Bread, Not Stones

Bread, Not Stones: Ten Things I Want to Tell Parents
Consider adding this to your New Year's Resolution - 

Eternal God, your Son points us to the unfolding of your kingdom in our midst. May we become living signs of the kingdom through the love we show those around us. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
-From Daily Prayer


Peter Mayer "The Play"

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Holiday Greetings from the Art Institute of Chicago

Don't forget to go to the Art Institute over winter break. It's one of our favorite places to visit - especially the Miniature Room collection!!     paz.

Friday, December 28, 2012

random acts of christmas kindness

random acts of christmas kindness :: summary
It’s a gift to joyfully recognize and accept our own smallness and ordinariness. Then you are free with nothing to live up to, nothing to prove, and nothing to protect. Such freedom is my best description of Christian maturity, because once you know that your “I” is great and one with God, you can, ironically, be quite content with a small and ordinary “I.”
No grandstanding is henceforth necessary. Any question of your own importance or dignity has already been resolved from the inside out—once and for all. Such salvation is experienced now in small tastes, whetting our appetite for eternity.
Richard Rohr

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry Meditations

Luke 2:16-19

"So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told to them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."

Kenneth L. Samuel

If you really think about it, the Christmas story is far too amazing to be fully comprehended. An ancient prophesy from Isaiah promising the birth of a child who would be called 'Wonderful' and on whose shoulders the government would rest. An imperial tax emanating from Rome that brings a carpenter and his pregnant fiancee to the obscure little town of Bethlehem. A barn that serves as a venue for the first-born of a young virgin. Shepherds on the night shift enraptured by a multitude of the heavenly host proclaiming: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace. Good will toward men."

The amazement of those who witnessed these events firsthand has not dissipated in over 2000 years. Today, we still speak of the baby born in Bethlehem with an awesome wonder. We still gather around manger scenes and Christmas trees with a certain joy that is unspeakable. We are still astounded by the miracle of life that is divinely manifested in the midst of all our taxing troubles, trials and tribulations.

In a world in which so much of our persistent analysis results in so much paralysis and inertia, isn’t it good to just relax and hold some of the deep mysteries of life in reverent meditation? And is it not refreshing to know that life itself is not really dependent upon our ability to comprehend everything? Is not Christmas a time that beckons each of us to simply be thankful for that which we cannot explain? Is this not a time to deeply appreciate and meditate on miracles?

Revelations that are incomprehensible. Miracles. Experiences of life that are unexplainable. Miracles. Mysteries of God that are unfathomable. Miracles. Peace that passes understanding. Miracles.

Mother Mary knew that the miracle of Jesus could not be reduced to logic. She knew that while the birth of Jesus could be fully experienced, it could never be fully explained. So she gave her will to control through comprehension a rest, and opened her heart and mind to the awesome wonder of the Christ event. And in so doing she found the great treasures of Christmas in the sacred pondering of her own heart and in the inexpressible gratitude of her own consciousness. What an amazing gift to give oneself on this Christmas Day.


Dear Lord, we are in wondrous awe of your miracles of life and new life on this Christmas Day. Thank you for keeping us amazed. Amen.
Best Albums of 2012

Is longevity overrated?

Is longevity overrated?
Reflections on living as we enter a new year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012


Own Less. Live More.

Great blog. Check it out. Just might be liberating for you....

Shifting Perspective

Collector of Moments Has Lots of Storage Space

from Life Edited:
Each week we are profiling real people who are editing their lives for more freedom and happiness. This week we hear from Lucy, a grad student and an active proponent of a new, sharing-based economy and showing how we can all do and live more with less stuff.
Tell us about yourself
I am a 21 year old business school graduate from Toronto, Canada. I work at a Canadian telecom company and for a start-up organization called Unstash, a peer-to-peer platform for collaborative consumption. I am a strong believer in creating social change through sharing and collaborative living.
What makes your life an ‘edited’ one?
I don’t feel the need to be obsessed with stuff anymore. I used to be a mindless shopper, but then I learned about access over ownership, the idea that we don’t need to own everything, in fact, we don’t need stuff, we need the utility it provides. If we can get that utility through sharing, we can also save money, create less waste, deepen our relationships and live happier lives.
Before, I used to dream of having a large library filled with books. But during my editing, I realized that a book sitting idle on a shelf has no purpose. I thought to myself, do I really need to own this book when it’s available to me at any time from the library? This prompted me to donate over 40 books to my local library. I felt great knowing each book could get maximum utilization as more people now had access to them, allowing their content to be constantly shared.
the Unstash Manifesto
Now, before I buy anything, I think to myself, do I really need this? Can I borrow it from someone else? For example, I borrowed a Halloween costume from a friend rather than buying one that I would only use once. And on the flip side, I am always open to lend or give my things to others. Sharing is a part of my life editing. Once I gather all the things that I can go without, I ask friends if they need any of the stuff I no longer need. I have given a dress to a friend who was looking for one to wear for her birthday. I gave away a large stack of post-its to a friend who uses them to organize her files. These actions allow me to share something that’s not useful to me with someone who needs them.
How long have you been living this way, and do see yourself continuing to live this way?
I started living this way in May of this year. I had watched the Ted Talks of Rachel Botsman and Graham Hill, where I began to learn about collaborative consumption and living minimally, namely, less stuff = more happiness. The ideas made a lot of sense to me, and I will definitely continue to live this way. Living an edited life is practical, efficient and a smarter way to live.
What are the biggest advantages of living this way?
The biggest advantage of living this way is being able to focus on experiences rather than things. I’m able to spend money I’ve saved on a night out with friends or on a memorable trip. I feel like I can spend my time on what really matters to me–with friends, family and doing things that make me happy. The less we are consumed with the stuff we own, the more time we have to collect those moments in life that really matter to us.
What are the biggest challenges?
For me, the biggest challenge is trying to explain the concept of sharing and minimal living to friends and family who don’t grasp the idea and label it as hippie, backwards thinking, or just a fad.
Do you think you could maintain this lifestyle with a family?
Definitely. With more stuff, there’s an even greater need for less clutter. There’s also a lot of stuff that can be shared when you have a family, like children’s clothes and toys.
What is the number one suggestion you’d give to someone looking edit their lives?
Start editing right away, even if it’s just a few things. Go through those old filing cabinets, closets and storage boxes. Once you actually get rid of stuff, you will feel amazing. That feeling will prompt you to continue editing and move towards a life edited lifestyle.
What item(s) have made your lifestyle easier?
My laptop and my smartphone, which include lots of easy-to-use apps like Airbnb and Orchestra. Everything is digitized, centralized and customized for my needs. Oh, and my library card :)
Do you have any design or architectural suggestions derived from your lifestyle?
Don’t buy a huge bookshelf or lots of storage because you will want to fill it and might end up hoarding or buying stuff just to fill those empty shelves or boxes.
Anything else?
Check out Unstash, a mobile app for life editing. Our belief is that every social circle has a huge overlap in consumer goods that don’t all need to be purchased, owned and maintained by every individual. We enhance the sharing experience, while helping people save money, deepen relationships and create a more sustainable future together.

Sharing Our Abundance

Running Strong Logo Shield RUNNING STRONG FOR AMERICAN INDIAN YOUTH® began in 1986 as a project of Christian Relief Services Charities.

Today, Running Strong is led by an American Indian Board of Directors that strives to build the capacity of communities, grassroots Indian organizations, families, and individuals to leverage their strengths and solve problems.

OUR MISSION is to help American Indian people meet their immediate survival needs – food, water, and shelter – while implementing and supporting programs designed to create opportunities for self-sufficiency and self-esteem.

• Food distribution and nutrition
• Water wells
• Youth programs
• Cultural and language preservation
• Housing assistance

OUR ADVISORY BOARD is composed of a special group of leaders in American Indian communities across the United States. They are an important resource to ensure that our programs preserve, promote and respect Indian culture and values.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Savior in Work Boots with Lillian Daniel

Calm in the Rush

Give Yourself the Gift of a Calm Mind...
Meditation with Susan
giving and receiving
Giving and Receiving
Wednesday, December 5
6:45 - 7:45pm
Instructor: Susan Diederich
Giving and receiving gifts can be gestures loaded with significance. Our gifts can reflect our feelings for others, our perceptions of their desires and our hopes for the relationship. Gifts we receive can reflect the giver's perception of us and our desires as well.
The holiday season is an appropriate time to examine our thoughts about giving and receiving. Susan uses the imagery of gifts and giving in this guided meditation to help us explore our feelings for others and about intimacy, and fine-tune our own self-awareness and self- acceptance.
Fee: $16 or one class card punch.

Don't Miss this Sweet Treat of a Class...
Yoga, Chakras and Chocolate!
Sunday, December 9
2:00 - 3:30pm
Instructor: Susan Diederich
Even as yogis strive for control over the senses, our deeper awareness allows for greater sensitivity. Enjoy an immersive sensory experience in this workshop, combining simple yoga poses, deep chakra work and delicious chocolates.
Through centering work, warm-ups and a series of selected poses, Susan leads this exploration of the physical body and the energetic centers of the body (chakras). She combines this work with the rich flavors of carefully selected chocolates. From the root chakra to the crown, Susan offers delectable insights and chocolate flavors from the subtle to the explosive: chili, vanilla, salt, ginger, mint and more. This class is suitable for all levels.
Fee: $25; includes fee for chocolates.
Focus Yoga, Brookfield IL


India Partners works alongside a broad group of indigenous Christian grassroots agencies in India focused on alleviating poverty and injustice. We believe in helping the people of India help themselves, with God's grace. Our partner organizations in India serve all regardless of caste, religion, gender, or creed.
Our vision is an India rich in hope, justice, and the compassion of Christ.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Churches and the Disabled

Churches and the Disabled
We have so much to teach one another.
Happy December. Happy Advent!! paz.