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Practice Resurrection…..

Wendell Berry’s quote, “Practice Resurrection,” has been one of my favorite quotes for years.  It was scribbled on a yellowed piece of paper and stuck to my fridge forever.  His words served as a quiet little reminder that just when I think the end has come I discover that the end is not the end, after all.

When I was working in full time ministry, the number one question people asked me was, “How do I know God’s will for my life?’   Which turned out to be another way of asking, “How can I avoid making mistakes and ruining my life?” And  any old  mistake would do…like moving to the wrong city or even the wrong house or taking the wrong job or most devastating of all…falling in love with the wrong person.   So I worked really hard to figure out how to offer sound, mistake proof advice so everyone would have a happy life and a happy God.  But, that question was a loaded question from the get go because it is absolutely the wrong question to ask.  It’s a question about getting life right or wrong.  It’s a question about doing and not about being.  It’s a question about winning or losing.

Plus wrong questions can’t really have right answers.

I understand the question, though.  Who doesn’t want a guarantee from their all powerful God that no matter what in the world happens to everybody else……..”Me and All My Peeps Will Be Just Fine, Thank You.”

We  love us some signs and wonders.

Some of us miss our whole lives waiting in the wings for that one magical cue that lets us know….’THIS IS IT, YOU’RE ON, YOU’LL BE FABULOUS, HEAR THE APPLAUSE!!”

So…on this week leading us to resurrections I am struck by the simplicity and beauty of Mr. Berry’s words. Practice…..Resurrection.

Practice…not wait for, not pine away for, not even pray for, not postpone, not wait to be perfect for, not deserve, not understand, not dissect, not manipulate, not figure out……..just practice.

Just show up and ride it all  the way home.

Practice.  Don’t wait to get all those spring ducks in a row.  They tend to wander off anyway.

Start now.

Mr. Berry is a one of a kind farmer/ theologian still living on his farm in Kentucky.  He practices resurrection everyday in his fierce love of his land and his fierce belief that others should have their own land, too.

I’m guessing he discovered the will of his life by simply living what and where he loved.  On his land.  And his love for his land brought him so much joy that he never had time or need to ask questions about looking for God or his will or a plan anywhere else.  So, he has lived his chosen will loving, serving, protesting, growing, resurrecting.  And along the way, he became a whole lot of things… a farmer, a husband, an activist, an environmentalist, a writer,  a chef, a theologian,  a protestor, a brilliant poet , even a prisoner. All part of the will he chose and practiced.

Practice is such a simple, kind word.

It’s what we required our kids to do when they were little.

Practice the piano. Practice your spelling words.  Practice soccer.  Practice being kind to your sister.

Practice…experience the good stuff so you can be the real stuff down the line.

And kids learn early on that if they like – even a little bit – what they are asked to practice…the very act of practicing does something kinda magical inside of them…it brings them joy…..and that practice of practicing forms a kind of powerful rhythm in their young lives.

And for some..that simple practice of practicing something they love…. informs who they are and the very will of their lives.

They can’t imagine living a day without their practice.

But sometimes…we kids grow up and we no longer practice much of anything.

Oh, we work hard. But we don’t have a practice.  We don’t have an informed rhythm.

That part of us has sorta…died.

And on some days…we whisper that something precious is missing…

Without our practice of something we love…we have sorta lost our way.

And…truth is…it has absolutely nothing to do with those billboard decisions…where we live, who we love, what we do to earn money….not really…not deep down honest really.

Wayward pilgrims we have become.

So, on this weekend of resurrections.   I’d like to give this practice a shot.

I’d like to resurrect that little twelve year old girl who giggled her way through early drama classes, learning the lines to The Wizard of Oz. I’d like to raise up that kid  and let her sit once again at the piano, practicing scales. I’d like to practice taking her out for her daily walk through her woods.

I’d  like to practice resurrecting her before I even know for sure if  she could be resurrected.

The sheer practice of hanging out with her again would be resurrection enough for me.

She brings me such joy.

If you feel a bit like a weary, wayward pilgrim and have let the grown up world pull you away from your best practices……read these honest words from Martha Beck…

“Don’t worry about losing your way.  If you do, pain will remind you to find your path again. JOY will let you know when are back on it.”

Pain is such a powerful healer.  It screams at us that something has gone wrong.  Something is broken and needs our attention.  And  then when we least expect it, joy  shows up.

Joy is the sign and wonder.  Joy is the  will of God.  Joy is the healer of the past, the power of the present, and the promise of the future…For everyone.  But, we have to stop looking for answers to the wrong questions.

Joy is our resurrection.

Practice….practice….practice…… resurrection.  Just start.  Go outside.  Look up at the sky. Remember  your joy.

Practice it…go practice it again.

Don’t stop.

Easter is coming….


coming home by way of love….

04 Home by Lauren Marsh…..sweet way to begin the day……

i know…i know…it’s been a while since last checking in with you….my sincere apologies

new adventures ahead so old monsters found hiding under the bed and they can be so bothersome….

But just in case you are rounding the final bend toward your Easter or your spring celebration and rather than arriving perfectly fitting into that new Easter finery…you find you can no longer even fit into your old Easter finery…

so…you don’t feel all that shiny and new…

please take a listen to the lovely voice and heart of miss lauren marsh singing her way to her true home…

“My broken heart doesn’t leave me in the dark.  It lights my way home.”

Sweet, true words….

What if you decided right now to only, finally believe…to know deep, deep in your gut where your truest home waits….what if, right this second…you just shut up your inner mean kid and believed you have always existed for one reason and for one reason only….to love and to be loved.

That’s it.  Cheesy, mushy blow you out of the water love.

And in that home built by love, there is absolutely not one single square inch of space available for judgment, bitterness, unkindness, hatred, arrogance, self righteousness, exclusion and on and on and on.

Oh, I know we church folk speak of such love all the time but, truth be told, we are the last people on earth to live it.

We are so incredibly hard on ourselves and so we are hard on everyone else cause we all know that “spiritual misery” loves misery more than any other kind of misery.

Suffering for Jesus…we say.

Bull crap.

Maybe your high and holy Lenten promises fell low and lousy within the first week.

And you have eaten shame and guilt every day since.

Seriously, do you really believe that is the message of resurrection and redemption?


Listen, friend….whatever your age, whatever you story…

There isn’t enough time left on your clock to waste one more minute on your personal vendetta to prove yourself worthy or unworthy or impressive or unimpressive or absolutely right or needing to be punished or barely adequate or just getting by….

And if you are living to only escape or avoid what you believe is humilating brokenness and unforgiveble failure….

listent again to sweet Lauren…

“My broken heart doesn’t lead me to darkness…It leads me home.”

Maybe it’s time to follow our broken heart cause brokenness opens up so much more room for love….and humility….and gratitude….and hope….than being right ever, ever did.

I don’t know.  Easter is crazy mysterious to me so the only thing I can figure out is love.

I’m too old to care about winning anymore.

I’m happy for you to win.

I’m happy for you, period.

I’m happy just to know you.

Who in the world am I to judge?

I’ll tell you what….if my brokenness can encourage you, can help free you of your misguided judgment of yourself or anyone else…welcome to my home.

It’s being flooded with light.

And that, for me, is the crazy mystery of Easter….even if I can’t fit into my splashy new Easter finery.


Sweet forgiveness…..

For the last few weeks I had the priceless privilege of being present with my dearest friend as she cared for her brother in his final days of battling cancer, then celebrating his young life, and now grieving his absence and her loss.  The time spent in his small Hospice room was a holy and powerful gift.  My friend loved her brother through the very last moment and beyond; tenderly caring for his weary body and soul, easily forgetting and forgiving any trespasses or  debts that may have occurred in healthier days. And though the ravages of disease were costly to his physical presence, there was the unmistable beauty of surpassing peace on his face that I believe resulted from her selfless, unconditional, forever love.

All was forgiven.  Only love remained.

Wednesday is the annual invitation to the lovely, remarkable season of Lent.  The loveliest of invitations for any of us to unload, detox, and relinquish any joy stealers, peace disturbers, and love haters in confident anticipation of finding forgiveness, grace, redemption, do-overs, love.

A few weeks ago in my first returning post I wrote, “This Quest (for soul freedom) is a Hobbit sized one…so the first gremlins and goblins you meet will force you to face the one fierce barrier to freedom – unforgiveness.”

Helps to start with yourself…..might as well start now.

Sometimes it helps to begin by listing the wrongs you have done to yourself.   Pay attention to your body’s responses.  Brains lie.  Bodies don’t.

Put words to the mean girl/ bully boy who taunts and threatens your heart and mind.  Tell yourself your darkest secrets.  Yell, scream, raise your fists.

Then stop.

Be very still.

Look in the mirror  and allow forgiveness to swarm your bullied heart and soul…

and apologize to yourself.

Ask for forgiveness for being such a mean bully to one so undeserving.

Whatever shortcoming you believe you have, whatever failure you have allowed to follow you wherever you go, whatever potential you believe you wasted….

lean into your good self….and apologize.

You survived.

You have done what you have done.  At any given moment, you did all that occured to you to do.  You spoke. You acted.  You did all that you knew to do at that moment.

And whatever happened…well, it really happened.

And if there is massive fall out or if you have pounds to lose and addictions to conquer or debts to pay and relationships to mend THEN you need all of your wonderful self to be present and accounted for in order to meet such a quest.

So, with utter kindness and profound respect for yourself….leanintoyourheart…and forgive yourself for whatever offense you believe  you will never  deserve to be forgiven for.

Forgive. Relinquish all bitterness.  Relinquish all shame.

You survived. You showed up.  You kept going.

You were created for love.  To forgive extravangantly.

Despite the fact that there may be people who have deeply wronged you and yes, forgiving them will be a massive mountain along your quest…despite that fact….we are hardest on ourselves even when we are the ones who have been wronged.

So, long before you can genuinely, deeply, completely forgive another human being….you must begin with yourself.

Forgive yourself for not being more…better….smarter…thinner…richer….forgive yourself for believing out of pain and fear that you deserved what you got; forgive yourself for staying too long or for leaving too soon.

Forgive yourself for saying yes when you meant to say no and saying no when you meant to say yes.

You lived.  You showed up. You kept going.  You never quit.

No more grudges. No more hateful resentments. No more private punishments.

Open you hands.  Free your beautiful heart.




12 New Year’s Day

Click on “New Year’s Day” and treat yourself to the beautiful Carole King guiding you into a gentler, sweeter new year…


EPIPHANY…a flash of insight…a scene or experience that occasions a moment or vision…EPIPHANY

I completely believe in epiphanies. I love them. I even love the word – epiphany.  Just sounds elegant, magical, powerful…and they are.  But, living in the aftershocks of an epiphany can be hard work.

So, we tend to miss them…dismiss them….talk ourself out of them…even avoid them.

Maybe that’s because they’re so damn hard to prove and we believe we should immediately be forever changed…..and forever change, well, takes forever.

Maybe because the best epiphanies are so private and so dear and so invisible.  They pierce our souls and our souls pose tricky landscapes for tracking any sure footings.

We pretty much ignore, dismiss, disrepect, deny our poor souls.

I don’t want to do that anymore.

But I need a power surge; a trumpet call.

Just one word.

Short and sweet.

A clarion call.

One word to plaster across every nook and corner of my world. One word that will take my hand or shove me through my soul’s door to the epiphanies that have been piling up for too many new year’s gone by.

One word that will serve as a sign post for my comings and goings in 2013 – planned and unplanned, welcomed and unwelcomed, internal and external.

Hmmm…..maybe my one word should be freedom.

See, personal freedom scares the hell out of me.  Though I talk a good game about freedom, I crave control and worship order so I prefer to live by clear rules and regulations giving me the illusion of having massive control.  Spontaneous I am not.  So real, true blue freedom is one of the greatest challenges in my life. It is a value  I either took for granted or suffocated to death.  When I use the word, freedom,  I don’t necessarily mean freedom as in our American freedoms though goodness knows my even indulging in personal freedom is a direct result of living in a free country.  So, from the outset, choosing to live with increasing awareness of  personal freedom begins with profound humility and gratitude for those who made such a quest even possible.

The truth is I didn’t so much choose this word as it chose me.  Once I made the move from the town where I had lived for over 25 years this word smacked me in the face at the first Tennessee state line.

When I moved, I spent alot of time reflecting on the numerous areas of my life that had determined my identity and so my decisions.  And I realized with stunning conviction that I had never, ever questioned whether I even agreed with the beliefs and conclusions that drove those decisions.  And those beliefs, regardless of their accuracy, conspired together to create my life.

Once I was physically removed from so many of those influences and obligations, I looked deep down underneath those beliefs and conclusions – and you know what?  I could not find me.

I could not find me.

Oh, I saw lots of other folks and circumstances and events.  But, my small self was noticeably missing.

So, whose life was I living and why?

I had believed a huge, giant, devastating lie.

(and I am embarrassed to say something so often said by 18 year olds)

I believed I was born to be someone other than me.

I believed I was not free to be myself but destined to be someone else….someone better.

Spent crazy years playing hide and seek.   Came pretty near being forever lost in that game.

Can’t blame anyone else  but me for playing that backyard game far too long.

At this late date….playing hide and seek has lost its sparkle.

Time to be found.

But, how to step out from behind the big oak tree?

Tell the Truth.             Just tell the truth.

Tell the truth without judgment because this dangerous freedom is best lived with love.

And where in this world of hide and seek does one begin to find one’s self?

Soul, baby.

Soul – That marvelous mystery of gut, heart, will, intellect, spirit and all that makes life worth the fuss and bother.

Soul, baby.

Soul is the beat of every song ever loved,  every dance ever danced, every kiss ever cherished, every prayer ever prayed.

And I  - and maybe you – have badly dishonored, dismissed, and disrespected my soul.

Oh, and for the love of your own soul, please do not reduce your soul to your belief or lack of belief in God.

Beliefs are your beliefs. Beliefs are not your soul.

Beliefs may certainly be nurtured by your soul though it is more likely that  your soul has been starved by your beliefs.

Even now as I write I am shocked to discover that I have made zillions of excuses to avoid getting to know and love my soul….my gut, my intellect, my will, my heart and so have made zillions of decisions deaf to my soul’s waving bright red flags and shouting,”NOooooooooo!”    or  ”YESssssss!”

Oh, you know what?  You know what?

As I am writing these words so early this morning that even the sun is still sleeping, tears are streaming down my face because I am just so damn grateful that my poor little underfed soul didn’t up and die on me.  After years of pounding it and squeezing it and choking it in an endeavor to force it into boxes and closets and pews and offices and houses and god knows where else that it never, ever belonged …it still hung on for dear life.

Sweet soul of mine…..forgive me.

Here’s a promise I now make to you…

One small first step into freedom of soul is to love on, indulge in, take care of, show respect to my soul’s mystery. And I am the only person in the universe who gets to do this great work for me. No one else can do it. Just me.  And I am free to listen, to be surprised, to wrestle, to rest, to absolutely honor this inner compass, this inner light, this soul of mine.  Because if I neglect to know my own soul then I will not live my own life.

So, the best place to begin a new year, a one word quest is right where you and I are.

In the center of our guts where our personal epiphanies lie waiting…

Now you may have to go find yours….your soul, I mean.

And when you bump up against yours….that bump might feel a little unnerving, even intrusive, definitely unfamiliar.  Keep going. Especially once you peel away any artificial layers you have plastered over it.  Keep going.

And what do you do once you bump into your grand old soul….

Love it!!

Lose all that is not truly and magnificently you….

As the brilliant and the brave Walt Whitman once said,

What you will need….

1. Time

2. Guts

3. Patience

4. Forgiveness

5. Grace

And, oh yea,  one true blue trusted companion comes in really handy….

What you will find…


(and you will probably lose weight and gain muscle)

What you will give….

Crazy, over the top, wild, winsome don’t give a hoot what you think love….

(This quest is a Hobbit sized one…all in 3-D…so, the first goblins and gremlins you meet will force you to face the one fierce barrier to Freedom….Unforgiveness….but, that’s for another day’s conversation)

Sweet love to you….


Thanks to all of you who responded to my first shakey step back into writing and connecting to an online community.  Your kind words were like a long, cool drink of the purest water.

To be honest, returning to writing feels more about me than about you.  I hope saying that doesn’t sound incredibly selfish because actually writing for others to read is increadibly terrifying. But, it’s the strangest thing….I can’t seem not to do it. And here’s a few reasons why….The first one is about you.  I have a huge hope that you will be encouraged, challenged, even unsettled from time to time.   Truth is this simple practice is necessary for me right now.  Like all disciplines, the sweetest fruit will take time to show itself but already I know these things to be true….

#1 – writing provides a daily discipline that I very much crave and need….

#2 – writing keeps me honest cause I tend to blur the truth from time to time…

# 3 – writing provides a much desired community with you within which I can practice loving well

So, thank you for being a part of a team that I need and treasure….

Along with writing regularly and posting one of my  goals is to relaunch my coaching practice and website so as to empasize the blog rather than the coaching.  This shift is huge for me because I am very computer challenged and a big fat scaredy cat when it comes to technology and transparency.  But I believe it is more powerful and far more interesting to focus on stories – yours and mine – and allow partnerships to emerge as a result.   As changes occur, I will let you know because your feedback is crucial.   For now,  any  input from you or sharing with your friends about  the blog is much appreciated.

Thank you….you are treasured…..


Oh, how you’ve been missed!

Oh, how you’ve been missed!  Oh, how I hope you find yourself welcoming this shiny new year with open arms and an even more open heart!

So, the thing is…..I have been on an extended sabbatical of sorts…moving from North Carolina to Tennessee and using that move as a kind of cover up for  foolishly vowing to never again write or coach or tell stories.

Just as I packed away boxes  of memories to squeeze this move into a respectable space, I packed away my love for writing, coaching,  telling stories, and even for all of you.   I believed that old wounds justified wrong judgments.  They do not.  They absolutely do not.   Yet, in the darkest corner of the attic, I hid my boxes, bound and burdened by weathered tape, never to be opened again.

But, those loves – as all true loves – would not be denied.

So, on this blustery second day of this brand new year, these loves have relentlessly hounded me until I must release them to the wild and open way of 2013.

And in doing so, I have discovered how deeply I have missed all of you  and myself.

There are two roads.

One is marked by judgment and condemnation and fear and offers no power, no love, no hope.

The other flagrantly flaunts love, power,  joy , forgiveness, and precious freedom even  in the midst of  mess and miracles.

The first road is so very crowded because many choose it only to become stuck smack in the middle; wondering why there are no new sights or vistas or risks.

The second road is filled with new sights, vistas, and risks.  But, it is oh, so gorgeous and exhilarating and true.

We’ve been absent so long from one another that I have no idea which road you find yourself traveling this new year.  Doesn’t matter…the truth is you are never, ever stuck.  But, you may need to recalibrate.  You may need a paradigm shift.  You may need power.

The truth  is you have always had such power within you.
You only need to tap into your joy reserves – which are directly opposed to your critical voices.

Wherever and whenver you have experienced true, honest, intrinsic joy that is your pathway out of the crowded, suffocating road and onto your own road less traveled.  But….you might need to intentionally seek such joy…remember it…identify it….savor it…..and then  pursue it with everything you’ve got.

So, let’s get started.

And if you need  a word of hope, a story to lift you up….let me know….once I emptied those dusty old boxes, I found I have more than enough to share.

Love Love Love You…..