April is National OT Month and Poetry Month

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April: Not a month for fools! Pull a prank on the first, but the rest of the month is National Poetry Month and National OT Month.

Most of us know what poetry is, but what is OT? An occupational therapist myself, I can say a little something about that!

Let’s start with some spring cleaning and air out the room with what occupational therapy is NOT:

  • OT is not helping a person find a job and get back to work (though it could include that)
  • OT is not physical therapy (though it includes physical rehabilitation and exercise)
  • OT is not weaving baskets (though we started that way, helping injured Civil War soldiers find their usefulness again)
  • OT is not playing with children (though, if we are doing our job well, it feels like play to the child!)
  • OT is not making crafts in the psych ward (there is a method to their madness!)
  • OT is not a therapist prescribing activities you must do to get better (if it feels that way, we missed the mark)

Misconceptions aside, let’s focus on celebrating the awesomeness!

Occupational therapy IS a health profession that skillfully employs meaningful activities to create and support functional participation for people with challenging conditions. We work in hospitals, physical rehabilitation centers, homes, schools, daycare and mental health centers. We facilitate all facets of health with persons, families, companies, communities. . . even societies. As an occupational therapist, I freely, openly and unabashedly admit that I love occupational therapy!

To celebrate National Poetry and Occupational Therapy Month, I offer this, my poem about occupational therapy! As you will soon see, I am more OT than poet.

 

Occupational Therapy

 

An artful blend

of science

and simplicity,

therapeutic

authenticity.

 

Buoyed by heritage,

research, and college:

Intense preparation,

foundational knowledge~

 

There’s anatomy,

physiology,

neurology, too.

Psychology,

kinesiology,

technology, woo!

development and human ecology,

and a little pharmacology, who knew?

 

A touch of gerontology,

anthropology, yes.

Micro- to macro- sociology,

a bit of theology,  God bless.

 

There’s structure

and function,

identity, process,

abilities, unction.

 

There are roles and habits

to assess,

routines and interests

to address.

 

There’s history, framework

and principled theories,

Models and practice,

and, lest you grow weary:

 

Consider relationships,

values, beliefs,

cognition, attention,

caregiver relief.

 

Assessing environment,

ergonomics and means,

selecting equipment,

for elders or teens.

 

We modify, formulate

and make adaptations.

We codify, delegate

and give adulations.

 

All of this knowledge concealed from your view,

we come alongside and spend time with you.

We share in your struggle,

engage your connection;

we want to do more than facilitate function.

For joy, and purpose,

and efficacy too,

are the pillars supporting what humans can do.

 

We’re primed for the NICU,

the preemie-pound baby;

to nestle him, swaddle her,

give hope for what may be.

Teach parents and nurses

to grade stimulation:

his stress signs, her turning. . .

reduce light, sound and touch,

like a womb, for the learning.

Chin tuck, cheek support,

respect gaze aversion;

promoting connection,

’til infant can burgeon.

 

Then, later on,

tummy time,

feeding and play,

motor skills,

reaching,

into something all day.

 

Sensory processing,

modulation and then,

integration for ease

of all systems to blend.

Bringing the just-right challenge,

we grow–

producing responses

in beautiful flow.

 

Developing handwriting,

visual perception,

peer interactions

and social connection.

 

Teens needing special consideration,

peer groups and identity,

with little oration.

Any splint that we form,

or device that we craft

better suit the teen norm

so they won’t feel outcast.

 

On to adulthood,

where the great inclination–

to establish and master,

with keen inspiration,

independence and skill

in the face of impairment.

We come alongside,

being tough, with endearment.

Empowering patience,

setting goals for today,

equipping the wounded

with a will and a way.

 

You’ll find us with elders

wherever the need;

healing with basics

from bathing and dressing, to pulling a weed.

It may seem we’re playing when we bring you your putter,

but we’re really ensuring your balance is better.

“I can cook this at home,”

you may say with assurance.

“Teach me how,” we implore,

(for your safety, endurance).

Whether cooking or eating,

standing or seating,

playing piano, or maybe just listening,

balancing checkbooks

or just reminiscing;

we’re facilitating

what matters to you,

showing your value

whether just be, or do.

 

And then, in the workplace,

the healthcare machine–

equipped here to manage,

so much to convene:

Keeping ethics, best practice

and excellence as key,

we do billing and coding,

document properly.

For without reimbursement,

we could not continue

to make such a difference

For someone–like you.

 

So, in all walks of life

there is some occupation;

we therapists share

this one aspiration:

To be about

the work of imbuing

The beauty of

human beings, doing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Did I mention that I love occupational therapy? ;-)

Everyone knows someone who needs to hear about OT. Link up, pingback, spread the word! Please, all of you OT’s out there, add a stanza or two and tell us what you do.

 

©Joan T. Warren

AprilPoetryMonth

Action Request for Venezuela

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Please, readers who are U. S. Citizens, take a moment to visit this page and sign the petition. It is real. I have family who are living it. There is a petition on the White House agenda to sanction Venezuelan violators of human rights and reduce importation of Venezuelan oil. It has until April 11, 2014, to gain enough votes.

Read H. R. 4226 and the petition.

Sign it.

Pass it on. Thank you.

http://wh.gov/lVwEK

 

SOS Venezuela

SOS Venezuela

 

http://www.lapatilla.com/site/2014/04/06/caurimare-amanece-bajo-fuerte-represion-de-la-pnb-fotos/

 

Joan T. Warren

We’re All Sick of “Don’t,” So. . .

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Don’t tell me another “Don’t,” -please?

 

We’ve all heard “Don’t” enough. We’re numb.

We’re even numb to the “Don’t” messages that matter.

Don’t–I Feel Numb by U2

 

For example, almost every day we hear a commercial reminding us:

Don’t text and drive.

“It can wait,” they say.

Today I counted the number of oncoming cars whose drivers were looking down as they passed me. What would you guess? One? Two? No, in one mile, seven of ten drivers were texting instead of heeding oncoming traffic! Seven. Of ten. The mile included a school zone, a bridge and a playground entrance.

So, yes, I’d say we need those public service reminders. Let’s not be numb-skulls:

Don’t text and drive. It can wait.

Wait,

Don’t leave yet!

There is something else we technology-driven (pun intended) folk do these days with equally disastrous potential. It’s something we readily take for granted because we do it so much. It’s something we do so much because nothing bad happened the other times we did it.

Or, did it?

Little Johnny is excited to show Mommy his art project from school. He made it for her. “Just a sec, hon,” Mommy says,” as Johnny pushes his paper between her face and her phone. “Wait, I said,” as she takes it and lays it on the counter, quickly returning to her phone. Mommy doesn’t notice as John-John slumps off, shoulders curled forward, feet shuffling, lower lip pouting. “Stupid art project,” he sulks.

Betsy is thrilled to see Daddy come to her swim meet today. She’s been doing well; coach says she’s most-improved this season. Perched on the starting platform, she glances at Daddy to see his proud, encouraging look. He is looking down–his fingers steadily tapping away. Betsy misses her start. She fights down the lane, checks her time, checks her Dad. He missed it. He is still texting.

Baby Leila crawls across the floor and pulls up to stand at the coffee table. With brave anticipation, she lets go for the first time and takes a step toward Mommy.  Mommy doesn’t see. She is texting Gramma, sending pictures from this morning’s breakfast, yogurt all over Leila’s head.

We need yet one more public service ad:

Don’t text and parent.

Babies don’t wait. They grow up quickly, with or without us.

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Photos.com

©Joan T Warren

Many thanks to Jordan of Bushel and a Peck, for her post, which spurred this thought.

 

P. S. The author is also preaching to herself.

 

Related Links:

http://time.com/14953/parents-who-use-smartphones-in-front-of-their-kids-are-crankier/

 

On second thought, I think it IS alright to text while parenting IF you text your kid! Check out this hilarious link:

 

http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/reasons-why-parents-shouldnt-be-allowed-to-text

Faith or Fear: Roots Run Rampant

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Faith or Fear: Roots Run Rampant

Fear has roots with underground runners! Just when I think I’ve pulled the biggest, up crops another branch. I pull it, and off of that one, a myriad others, in all directions.

As a young adult, I realized I was a people-pleaser. I wanted people to like me, to approve of me, and for things to be peaceful, no conflict.

I dug into the matter. “There are weeds in this garden, Lord, help me pull them out by the roots and let your truth replace all the lies I believed!”

“If people get upset, you’re going to get hurt.” Yank. “I will wipe away your tears, bind up your wounds. A tender shoot I will not break.” (Ah).

“It’s all your fault!” Yank. “You were a child when you learned this, it was not your fault. Let me show you instead what is your responsibility now. . .” (Wha?)

“If you’re good, nothing bad will happen, so you must be bad because bad things happened.” Yank. “Bad things happen, regardless; look what happened to my Son.” (Oh).

One root led to another, until, looking up at the garden, it was disheveled. Some roots broke off, leaving tiny pieces and hidden sections that sprouted back up later.

“You’re a mess, you’ll never get this done.” Yank. “Let my Spirit guide you; I will send rain to loosen the soil, then the roots will give more easily. You are already perfect in my eyes, so don’t worry about it so much. As a matter of fact, how about you hand me those gloves and let me be the gardener now?” (Oh, okay).

That was over twenty years ago.

Gradually I got free. Free to say yes or no. Free to confront or let go. Free to choose according to what rang true in my gut instead of whatever others said. Free to live with the consequences, positive and negative, of my own choices. Free to learn and grow as a loved child would.

Fear still crops up, though. Just today I read a blog-friend’s post on fear and realized some new ones to take to the Gardener:

http://holisticwayfarer.com/2014/02/26/what-if-you-werent-afraid/

Without fear, I will be able to achieve my goals, which are huge, by the way. More on that later.

Your turn: fear or faith? What do you see as your biggest victory over something you feared, and how did you find the courage  to achieve it?

Comment and/or post your related link.

Related links:

http://kimberlyharding.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/to-fear-or-not-to-fear-two-images-to-help/#comment-5046

Resophonic Forever

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I missed the chance to see him again. My Uncle Mike. 

I had begun to loosely plan a family reunion that year. Seven hundred miles, other family problems, no vacation time–swoop, the hawk clasps prey in its talons.

I suppose I have no right to say how much I miss them–my aunts, uncles, cousins–when it is of my own doing. I chose to move away. Now, thirty years later, my heart doesn’t care if it has the right. I miss them!

I love my Uncle Mike. Not because we were so close; we weren’t. We weren’t close in a pal-around sort of way. I hadn’t even seen him since 1993, when he helped carry my mom’s casket. We spoke on the phone, well, maybe never. We emailed and Facebooked a little.

Our closeness was in mind and heart. A gentle soul, humble, quiet, unassuming, was he. His eyes twinkled; glorious wrinkles at the edges–evidence of many happy times. His smile turned the edges of his lips down a bit instead of up, especially when he felt a bit embarrassed by adulation. His hard drink was milk.  Mike was mild-mannered and humorous, with a self-deprecating style–not bound by fear or low self-esteem, simply unfettered by pride.

Courtesy Matt McClain/Washington Post

Courtesy Matt McClain/Washington Post

If any man had reason to be proud, it was he. A self-taught musician, he earned the respect of musicians world-wide. He not only mastered the instruments he set his hand to, but he innovated their use and design, especially that of his beloved resophonic guitar. His Auldridge tone and style are cited as the turning point in the sound of the resophonic guitar overall. Earning numerous awards throughout his life, including a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album (1994) and a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (2012), Mike was involved in mentoring many famous artists and playing with well-knowns like Emmy Lou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and Lyle Lovett.

He was a man who honored family commitments. In his earlier years as a musician, he kept his day job. Forsaking the call of Nashville with its star-making machinery (to borrow a line from Carly Simon), he chose to stay in the Washington, D.C. area, where he created a stable home for his family. He kept it simple. He kept life balanced despite his remarkable talent, inspirational creativity and incredible productivity. His band name reflected that choice: “The Seldom Scene.” He kept his head.

When I was little, uncles Mike and Dave entertained our family with their music in the living room, in the yard, at the park. No one knew what talent he carried back then. He was just Uncle Mike. He brought home a new toy one day, a pedal steel. He let us kids see it, touch it. “The difference between men and boys,” he grinned, “is the price of their toys.” I figured he felt about the same when I saw him with that Z-28 several years later. That was about the extent of his extravagance, though. Well, he might have paid someone to iron those jeans of his, I’m not sure about that.

As I’ve read what others said about Uncle Mike, I realize I miss not only the Uncle Mike of my childhood, but also a man of great import.

Uncle Mike, you have done well. You influenced many for good. This gives me heart-strength, encouragement, direction. Your nature and your accomplishments together are a star on our family tree.

You resonate beyond your years.

Here’s to you, Uncle Mike. You are gone too soon. May we catch up soon–and sit around God’s living room, listening to your heavenly strings, sharing our stories and a glass of cold milk. 

Love,

Joan

In honor of Mike Auldridge, December 30, 1938 – December 29, 2012

Related Links:

http://mikeauldridgetribute.wordpress.com/

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/mike-auldridge-mn0000478847

http://www.cullmantimes.com/features/x1633440287/Mike-Auldridge-Founding-Member-of-Seldom-Scene-Bluegrass-Group-Dies-at-73

Mike’s signature resophonic guitars:

http://www.beardguitars.com/guitarbeardMA6square.html

http://www.beardguitars.com/guitarauldridgemain.html

http://www.resohangout.com/archive/31391

A very important note for prostate awareness:

http://permissiontotalk.org/september-is-prostate-cancer-awareness-month/

bigstock-Blue-ribbon-for-prostate-cance-43468495

Liebster not Biebster

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This article has absolutely nothing to do with Justin Beiber, shown here turning himself into police on Jan 30, 2014, courtesy of abcnews.com

This article has absolutely nothing to do with Justin Beiber, shown here turning himself into police on Jan 30, 2014, courtesy of abcnews.com

All the talk about what the Biebster is doing wrong again. . .  instead of that, I am going to talk about the Liebster!

imageKhana, of khanasweb.com, was awesome enough to give me the Liebster Award nomination. This award honors quality blogs that have less than 200 followers. I guess she feels I qualify on quality, and my stats tell me I do on the last! As of today, 168 extremely insightful, astute and intelligent people follow this blog! It will be interesting to see if participating in this award will add to that number, but I’ll keep writing even if  just for you wonderful 168!

In order to comply with the nomination, though, I need to answer Khana’s ten questions–hers, not someone’s who started it 10,000 posts ago! I decided to turn them about and give them to you from #10, countdown fashion, to #1. After you get through this incredibly interesting material, you will find links to those I’d like to pass the nomination on to, and the ten challenging questions I thought would be great to know about them.

Here goes!

10. Describe yourself in a Haiku. (A three line verse of seventeen syllables, traditionally five, seven, five, but this is flexible).

Simple yet complex
Compassionate yet boundaried
Gentle, wild and true

Did that tell you much? Well, it’s a start. Let’s jump into the weightier questions–

Read the rest of this entry

Reblog of my Daughter’s Amazing Post Today

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You’ve read here about my daughter a bit, and you’ve seen some of my daughter’s photography. Now, be blown away with her most recent post:

http://theopenbench.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-yellow-brick-road.html

©DenesiaChristine on Instagram, View from Yellow Brick Road

©DenesiaChristine on Instagram, View from Yellow Brick Road

She is amazing. I love her so much–I am spilling with clichés to try to tell you, but I guess you can imagine, if you read this.

© Joan T Warren

I Feel Cherokee

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My Great-Great Grandmother Elizabeth Sophia Grey. Eastern Tribe. Can you help me find her true identity? She likely changed her last name at least.

My Great-Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Sophia Grey. Eastern Tribe. I believe she changed her last name. Do you know her?

I feel Cherokee.

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Shrouded in secrecy after hiding from Indian Removal in the 1800′s, my 1900′s family seemed unable to pass on important information to support our Cherokee heritage. We can trace all directions but this one.

Though just a small percentage runs through these veins, my Cherokee blood is mighty. I feel it when I look at the sky, when I walk near great waters, when I head toward the mountains, when I read their stories.

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I feel Cherokee.

I feel Cherokee values, these from the Cherokee Preservation Foundation website:

  • Spirituality, which creates a bond among Cherokee people in good times and bad, and is a source of hope.
  • Group harmony in community and kin relationships, and freely sharing and giving time, talent and treasures.
  • Strong individual character, with integrity, honesty, perseverance, courage, respect, trust, honor and humility.
  • Strong connection with the land and commitment to stewardship of the homelands of the Cherokee.
  • Honoring the past by knowing one’s ancestors, identifying with and belonging to the tribe, and living and preserving Cherokee culture.
  • Educating the children by providing values-oriented education and recreation, and by being strong role models for them.
  • Possessing a sense of humor, which can lighten pressure in serious situations and help people make good decisions.
Mary Agnes Grey Burris, my Great Grandmother

Mary Agnes Grey Burris, my Great Grandmother

Not knowing these values were Cherokee, they have been my values–except that I don’t know my ancestors. Not yet.

I want to know my ancestors. As a garden bed needs turning, I  feel the need to dig into the rich soil of those who have gone before.

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I feel Cherokee.

I feel Cherokee land. My husband and I sometimes dream about different places in the world we may like to retire to. When we are finally free of the commitments we have to our present locale, where will we land? Where is home? We could go anywhere.

Appalachia by DenesiaChristine

Appalachia by DenesiaChristine

The land that feels like home, though I wasn’t born or raised there, is the land of the Cherokee. It was their homeland for unknown centuries, until immigrants (whom they largely welcomed and helped) forcibly drove them out of it. Former leaders of our United States misled them, broke promises and cheated them out of their homeland. Now they have reservations. It all used to be theirs.

Winter in Higher Elevations, Appalachia by DenesiaChristine

Winter in Higher Elevations, Appalachia by DenesiaChristine

My daughter moved to their region recently. Nearly every day she posts pictures on Instagram, and expresses her pure joy and love for these mountains. I am moved. I can’t help but click ‘like’ on every photo! We love that land. We want it protected, nourished and cherished. We look forward to knowing and loving the people as well. If you would like to see more of her inspiring photography, you can follow her on Instagram, she is DENESIACHRISTINE.

Wildflowers in Appalachia by DenesiaChristine

Wildflowers in Appalachia by DenesiaChristine

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I feel Cherokee.

I feel Cherokee history and culture. I love the way Cherokees welcomed and worked with settlers. I’m intrigued by their prophetic awareness of the Great Spirit, how they saw peril coming from the new people, yet they embraced them, believing in a greater good in the long run. I endorse their respectful practices regarding hunting, caring for all living things and wasting nothing. I love how their “good medicine” includes healthy relationships.

I have much to learn about and from the Cherokee. As I write my first novel, I will be doing just that. One of the main characters in my upcoming novel is Cherokee. We will explore and learn in and through her character. I hope to learn important information to support my family’s Cherokee heritage for future generations, and to support the Cherokee nation as a whole.

I feel Cherokee. It feels good. I hope you’ll enjoy feeling Cherokee with me.

©Joan  T. Warren

To begin learning more about Cherokee, and Appalachian history,  try these links:

http://www.smokymountainnews.com/news/item/655-at-long-last-cherokee-telling-their-own-story

http://appalachianstudies.org/resources/docs/97whisnant63.html

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Hi friends–

Did you know I’m also blogging recipes? Check it out at www.impromptucuisine.wordpress.com.

It’s true! After years of being the step-mom whose cooking never lived up to dad’s, I’m finally stepping out of the closet with my creations! Some will be for the adult palette, and some for the picky eaters (every family has at least one). All are designed to fit into a busy lifestyle, no fuss, but you can always use organics and pure (non-GMO) ingredients to improve their quality.

Grace Is. . .

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. . . being a poor peasant girl,

discovering the child of God born in me!

A Christmas Song

Thank you, Brian, for the mention! Let us remember to pray those who currently suffer for doing good.

http://brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/links-roundup-42.html

©Joan T. Warren

This new mini-post series, “Grace is. . .,” is an impromptu, occasional, free-style offering of random kindness. Feel free to share your thoughts on grace in the comment section below! Spread the joy. ;-)

Grace Is. . .

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. . . Burying an old potato

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  and reaping a fistful of new potatoes.

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©Joan T. Warren

This new mini-post series, “Grace is. . .,” is an impromptu, occasional, free-style offering of random kindness. Feel free to share your thoughts on grace in the comment section below! Spread the joy. ;-)

Grace Is. . .

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. . . Coming home,

after storming out, swearing your parents were out to destroy your life,

and finding them happy to see you.

©Joan T. Warren

This new mini-post series, “Grace is. . .,” is an impromptu, occasional, free-style offering of random kindness. Feel free to share your thoughts on grace in the comment section below! Spread the joy. ;-)

Haiku Grace Journey

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The Fall

Heart falls–glass vase. . . down
Droplets and shards splay with force
Dreams, with them, splatter.

imageThe Ache

Heart aches–lost in gloom
Dull and flat to spite the sun
Hopes, defied and slain.

imageThe Hardening

Heart hardens–dark shroud
Surrounds, squeezes, tender shoot
Shriveled, left to die.
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The Gasp
Heart gasps–reflexive,
Violently as from sleep
Final thrust for life.
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 The Cry
Heart cries–help me, please–
Sobs deeply heaving, need dire;
Light enters, here, now.
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The Nurturing
Heart heals–sunrise warms,
Kissing snowdrops, melt to tears
warming buds unfurl.
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The Restoration
Heart rejoices–Grace is!
Joy and life fill broken heart
Carry on to love.
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©Joan T. Warren

DPchallenge this week, to write five Haiku (or more) about anything. I choose to write this series, a journey of grace.

Last Days of Sweet Sixteen

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There is a lot of talk lately about the last days. The last days of President Kennedy’s life in this 50th anniversary of his death, the last days of confidence in the USA being the strongest country in the world, the last days of planet Earth as we approach the Apocalypse, you know, that sort of thing. Somehow, I got to thinking about the last days of being sixteen. Perhaps it’s because my granddaughter, who is coming to visit this Thanksgiving, turns seventeen in January. Wow, it’s hard to believe, already, these are the last days of sixteen for her.

Remember being sixteen? I do.

My mother told me that it was very important to have a Sweet Sixteen Birthday Party, actually, a “Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed Party.” I was probably about six at the time, and this thought captivated me. I pictured myself at that Exciting Party, turning sixteen. I would be tall and thin, like Barbie. Read the rest of this entry

Grace Is. . .

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girl cries

. . .Crying all the way home from school

with a sealed note from the teacher for your parents to sign,

then finding out she reported a good thing you did that day

instead of the bad.

girl happy mom

©Joan T. Warren

This new mini-post series, “Grace is. . .,” is an impromptu, occasional, free-style offering of random kindness. Feel free to share your thoughts on grace in the comment section below! Spread the joy. ;-)

Grace Is. . .

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. . . finding a long lost love whom you had hurt

and learning (s)he forgave you a long time ago.

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©Joan T. Warren

This new mini-post series, “Grace is. . .,” is an impromptu, occasional, free-style offering of random kindness. Feel free to share your thoughts on grace in the comment section below! Spread the joy. ;-)

Tips to Finding the Door to Narnia

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Joan T Warren:

Incredibly gifted writer, Seth Adam Smith, reblogged here to share with you this encouraging thought for the day:

Originally posted on Seth Adam Smith:

Haven’t you always wanted to find a door that leads into Narnia?

A door to Narnia?

A door to Narnia? ( Source )

After watching a cartoon version of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe at the age of six, I was constantly on the lookout for any possible portals into the world of Narnia. Being an expert at finding where my Mom hid our Christmas presents, I thought finding the entrance to an entire world would be a cinch. Closets, laundry doors, dangerous trap doors under stages—all were potential candidates. Constant vigilance!

But after twenty years of searching, I never discovered a portal to a magical world. And yet, a few years ago I had an awakening so powerful it was almost like finding a new world.

While living with a host family in Moscow, Russia, I went to see the movie Prince Caspian. The cinematography was stunning, and while watching the movie…

View original 394 more words

Part 3: Excuse me, but, um, They’re Killing People!

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Perhaps the silence is breaking. In the last few weeks, cbsnews.com, foxnews.com and washingtonpost.com reported violence toward Christian and non-Muslim targets in Syria and Egypt. I still haven’t heard a word of it on the morning news, but at least  three mainstream media sources are touching on this serious human rights violation.

If you’ve been following my recent posts, you know I’m grappling with just how to respond to these atrocities. In part one of this series, I covered some personal background regarding author, speaker, activist and theologian, Brian McLaren. His recent blog posts (click here and here) discussed the issue, its relative silence in media and churches, and our responses to it. In part two of this three-part series, I delved into Brian’s first post, in which he posited six possible reasons for silence on the issue. I shared some of my concerns and posed many questions.

In this last installment, we will review Brian’s second post, in which he suggests six courses of action Americans, particularly American christians, should take. This is the post I’ve been looking forward to the most since beginning the series. After all, when people are being murdered just for having different beliefs, it doesn’t make sense to just sit on the problem, not doing anything to prevent future violence. Yet in all this time the most I could come up with actually doing about it, from here in my suburban life in America, is to write this series. I took some time to think about it, to read more, to develop ideas and share a bit at a time because, well, it wasn’t as though I could board a plane over there and step in the middle of it to break it up. Even if I could take the time and spend the money, my presence would only become another statistic, and probably not even make the news.

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Borrowed from donkeyphilosphy.tumblr.com

So, let’s take a look at the six courses of action McLaren recommends, and my responses to his framework. Again I invite you to join me with your responses. Here, again, is the link to Brian’s post; please refresh your memory and give it a read:

Muslims, Christians, Jews and Peace (2)

The first of Brian’s six suggestions makes perfect sense to me:

“We must join together to condemn human rights violations whenever they occur and upon whomever they are inflicted. We must become vocal advocates for the rights of religious minorities. . .”

Absolutely! There is power in numbers and unity. The only word I stumble on is the word “must.” As a recovering child of an alcoholic, there are a few words I am wary of, due to their power to subconsciously constrain me to live up to law instead of freeing me to live under grace, in free will, with choices. “Must” is one of them, along with its buddies, “should,” “ought to” and “have to.” I always try to replace those words in my mind with words like “can,” “it would be good if,” and “let’s.” Rephrasing this statement then, in my mind it becomes “We can join together. . . It would be good to become vocal advocates. . . “

Having made this freeing distinction, I suggest we need specific means to help translate this into reality. How do we join together? Do organizations exist working to this end? What can we do to become vocal advocates for the rights of religious minorities? Is it enough to engender discussions around the dinner table, at the golf club or in the workplace, or does it mean more than this? After all, people are being slaughtered, shot, blown up, raped, imprisoned, tortured, their necks slit! Do we just timidly raise a hand in a meeting and whisper, “Um, excuse me, but they’re killing people over there?” If it were happening to me, or to someone next to me, I wouldn’t hesitate to shout it out, call for help, make a big deal out of it until someone intervened. How do we do that in this situation? Is our advocacy vocal only or shall we physically fight back?

The second point McLaren makes is a huge task, one which births more questions in my mind: Read the rest of this entry

The Miniature Ballet

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Joan T Warren:

My blog-friend, Mark, wrote a beautiful tribute to autumn today. I reblog it here for you, with my response, as he elicited a treasured memory for me. Rich imagery, symbolism, joy! Enjoy, friends!

Originally posted on I'm Gonna Study The Rain:

A sudden gust of wind tore several dozen yellow fire tinged leaves down from the tunnel of trees that lined both sides of the road outside the cathedral. Still held up by the breeze, the performance began and they danced. Some pirouetted with graceful twirls that gradually slowed, stopped then elegantly floated to ground whilst rocking back and forth. Some were helplessly pulled from side to side then thrust upwards only to be forced back down just as quick. Others seem to drift on the periphery gently bobbing up and down content to watch the miniature ballet before them, waiting for an opportunity to join in. They broke up into groups and performed elaborate swirls that weaved in and out, back and forth. Some groups joined up to form larger groups, whilst others splintered off into smaller clusters. Each leaf moving in an entirely unique fashion, yet as a whole…

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Excuse me, but, um, They’re Killing People! Part 2

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“. . . writing from heart to heart toward healthy relationships and living, involves both personal lives on a small scale AND global relationships. After all, we are all individual people on this earth, and we are one humanity.”

Welcome back! This is part two in a three-part series. In part one, we learned some background information that is crucial to understanding this portion. Here is a link to part one:

Excuse me, Part 1

After reading Brian McLaren’s articles addressing the need to speak up about extremist Muslims targeting Christians for death, I shared some background with you on my history of personal experience with author and activist Brian McLaren, and initiated this series as a means to personally respond to his suggestions and to invite further discussion and thought on the matter with you, my readers. This series of three posts can serve as a platform where we can begin to speak about the rising tide of religious violence, and engage in meaningful conversation that has the potential, given form and shape by its partakers, to become a profound and guiding philosophy in our present day challenges.

Personally, I had many questions and concerns while reading McLaren’s articles. I hope that in sharing them here, our mutual engagement may advance my own thinking as well as, perhaps, our global consciousness. Here are my responses to part one of Brian’s article:

First, I must say that I agree with Brian’s assertion that the persecution and murder of Christians and other non-Muslims by extremist and terrorist Muslims is appalling. I agree, too, that the lack of reporting, discussing and acting upon these matters is also abhorrent. As Brian explores possible reasons for the relative silence on the matter, he suggests six possible reasons. Here, I review four of the six that, in my view, need further exploration.

First, Brian suggests that people are silent perhaps because we fear being counted as extremists, but that the resultant silence aides and abets extremism and is in itself evil:

“But wrongly and unwisely – many simply remain silent. In so doing, they aid and abet extremism in both Christian and Muslim communities. As Powers stated, quoting Bonhoeffer, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil.”

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Bonhoeffer

On this point I struggle.  Read the rest of this entry