Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Baby Steps

In a few weeks, I'm participating in the "Baby Steps" Walk for Life as a fundraiser for the Crisis Pregnancy Center and Hannah House Maternity Home in Bloomington. Before you click past this as "just another fundraiser letter," let me say that this is the most incredible non-profit I have ever had the honor of being a part of. I've volunteer for 4 1/2 years and have been on the board for going on three. I treasure the times I get to go and serve women and families, and I actually look forward to board meetings because the members are so dedicated to honoring to God.

If you already know about this ministry and just wanna go ahead and pledge for my 2-mile walk, just skip to the bottom after the stars. If you want/need to learn more about the ministry, please read this...

True to the name. this ministry serves women in CRISIS pregnancies: unsafe home lives, financial duress, emotional instability, or simply friendlessness. I have seen an incredible staff be more selfless and loving than any human being should be. The center provides free pregnancy testing and counseling (a major gift to the IU community), as well as support for families in the way of diapers, clothing, formula, etc... It provides life skills and parenting classes, and more than anything, a friendly face to talk to in the midst of life changing situations. The Hannah House provides safe lodging for expecting women and their babies, consistenty staffed with more of these Christ-walking people. The ladies are expected to learn to fend for themselves when there time here is over, working on GEDs, learning how to get jobs and how to run a household. The House holds up to 8 women and their babies. Indianapolis recently closed their maternity home, and our waiting list grows daily. We're currently a full house - with two babies to come into the world this week!

*****HOW TO HELP*****

1. Leave a comment with your pledge and the best way to contact you. I'll get in touch with you for the details.

2. Send me an email, rayjean@mail.com. Ask any questions you want, or let me know how to get back with you. This is a registered non-profit in its 21st year of serving. All giving in tax-deductible. You will get a statement in the mail!

3. Go online to learn more at www.cpcbloomington.org.

Please contact me by Wednesday, October 3.

Thank you for taking time to read this. For those of you who have given in the past, thank you so very much. Your generosity has changed lives - I am privelidged to have held some of those very lives in my arms!

Hope to hear from you soon!

Peace of God,
Denise <><

P.S. If you're in the neighborhood, you can also walk yourself and collect support for the event! It's Oct. 6. 9:30 a.m. at Clear Creek Christian Church in Bloomington. Breakfast and lunch provided; games and prizes, and bouncey toys all a part of the fun! Go online to register, print forms, and see tips for collecting pledges: www.cpcbloomington.org.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Crayon Clouds

What cloud islands today! Just how
a child I could have borne by now
would draw them, in all their crayon perfection
of loose-loop tops and crooked bottoms. Each
seemingly a nation, floating soft
in July blue.

My mind-scissors cut out
a piece of the parchment air –
I run to tack it to my internal refrigerator.
I want to rush home to hold her:
light long curls and a serious mouth,
a hug all arms and legs and weight
of total trust. Such heavy invisible love.

It’s not the first time this figment-child
has drawn me. I carry her
in hip-saddled grocery bags
and tell her of the castles along I-74, those
tall and grey and royal silo kingdoms
surrounded by green more Ireland than Illinois.

Yet, she is only me sometimes,
wanting mommy stories and a magic eraser
for all I wish I did not have to know
or fear
or hate.

To think I may have found the backdoor
to my own innocence…
laying under all these words.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Early Morning Sighting

Through fuzzy eyes, the International Space Station was seen by one just-caffeinated dj in the parking lot of Spirit 95 studios at 5:46 a.m. Wednesday. It amazed the humble early-riser to contemplate the view from that point of light - how all her familiar surroundings of buildings, county, state would be indestiguishable from there. That smoothly-sailing light won't even slow down if passes over the birth of a child whose mother was contemplating abortion just a few months ago, the death of a grandmother in Texas, or a group of Christ-believing Taliban prisoners. The dj turned her face back to the earth, feeling very small, yet somehow one with the universe. Before walking from the parking lot in a renewed frame of mind, she raised her eyes once more and said, "Stacey says hello!"

[dedicated to my friend Stace, who has inspired a little more sky-watching than usual.]

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


After a 6-day vacation, I found myself at the office door this morning, putting my house key in the lock.

The auto-response of where my body apparently thinks I should be always seems a phenomenon to me. It brought to mind a quote that Anne Smith shared at a Women's Prayer Retreat I was at almost a year ago from Rachel Remmen...

"If you lose the key, throw away the house."

The braveness of this sends a quake through every safety net I ever knitted. Proof of a pack-rat? Evidence that I am more materialistic than I let on? It's deeper than that. The future is. Scary. Especially if there is any hint it will be different than this brea(lity)th.

What houses do I no longer have access to? What dwellings do I need to walk away from? My Key has morphed - it refuses to let me re-enter the houses of Meek Denise, Directionless Wandering, Fat Kid, Teacher's Pet, Never Asked to Dance, Ignored Daddy's Girl. Forget walking away. Those are condemned buildings that, if I don't tear them down, will haunt me even if they Key won't turn.

The truth is, I can still jimmy a window and let myself inside. Everything is dimmer and dustier, but recognizable, and I risk injury in the dark. Even truer: I need those building blocks - there are new structures under construction than can only be built on those reworked stones. Strip the moss and mold off Shame to build Beauty. Beneath the rot and rust of Selfishness is Love. And by shattering Assumption, there are a million cornerstones of Learning.

Here comes the neighborhood...

Friday, May 25, 2007

So new, it just saw ink this afternoon...

Airing out

We are airing out; a people of pale
arms, fed through drivers’ side windows.

And like our flesh, the earth remembers heat.
Eats it. Soaks its toes. Stores it for breakfast.

While the sun cleans out our ears:
a birdy conversation in answer to the trees,
the breeze climbing the rise like a man,
a new green louder than death.

It’s spring and I want to catch fever,
meet my poison and swallow my fear.

It’s spring and I’ll race you to the hill
where this laughter already passes
and our souls already stand.

This actually began as a re-write that then worked in about three old haikus from last spring. Still a bit rough, so could use feedback!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

words that sun and leaves bring...

Brother David and I just donned the walking shoes and struck out for downtown - where I write now from the library. It has to be one of the most perfect weather days we've had yet this spring.

My straw hat tied to by back and sunscreen on my shoulders - Lord, help me if I don't feel like anything is possible.

Today I had the blessing of being in worship with two of my dear church families... and I still feel so full after being with them. A call to women on this Mothers' Day: Dear sisters, we are so beautiful when we know we are strong! Don't let anyone tell you that you have to hide your intelligence, your voice, your ability to see deep. Dear spirit mothers and fathers, speak to the young women in your lives, tell them how they are beautiful, how they are strong. We need you.

All dear ones, remember spring. Remember the coming alive that happens. Remember to wonder over it.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

What does it sing about you?

Today is Top Ten Song Day - an excuse for me to make my very own list! These were heard 7-8:15 this morning on my show...

10. Say Won’t You Say, Jennifer Knapp. From The Way I Was Made, 2001.
Admittedly, I wanted to be Jennifer Knapp when I was 20. She’s such a rock star. So I have this inability to play any of this project and not croon along.

9. No More No Less, MercyMe. From Coming Up to Breathe, 2006.
Who doesn’t desire to be understood? And how do I live my life so that there is no question that “this is who I am?” There’s so much about this CD to love.

8. You Never Let Go, Matt Redman. From Passion: Everything Glorious, 2006.
Singing this in worship this past summer with my friends at Tehillah ( Genesis Church) and reading Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge is what caused me to own the fact that I am always pursued.

7. Something Beautiful, Newsboys. From Go, 2006.
It took all of 10 seconds to fall in love with this song. As Paul Colman said when we talked with him this past week, it’s no mistake that we can feel the Ultimate Beauty in otherwise common things.

6. In the Middle, Mat Kearney. From Bullet, 2004.
From the moment he hit the chorus of “Undeniable” at the Bloomington concert with Shane & Shane, this guy had my attention. I bought the CD that night (but stupidly, I didn’t have signed; ah, well, live and learn).

5. Where to Find Me, Watermark. From All Things New, 2000.
I just imagine myself standing at the top of that mountain, singing these beautiful words in to the wind, to be carried to my Maker. When I want to offer praise and be reminded of who we are in Christ, I turn to Watermark (especially The Purest Place album.)

4. I Have Always Loved You, Third Day. From Time, 1999.
Away from home for a good year, I heard this for the first time at WQME, where I worked during college. To this day, this beautiful love letter reminds me of how my life right now is a product of eternal Love.

3. “Divine Romance” Phil Wickham. From Phil Wickham, 2006.
I was mystified by Phil’s voice, and ran out to buy the album after hearing the very first radio release, “Grace.” Musically, this is one of the most engaging albums I’ve found in the past couple years.

2. “Little Boy Heart Alive” Andrew Peterson. From The Far Country, 2005.
C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien references abound on the project, and the line “grab a hold of the golden mane/This is the love of Jesus/So strong, but he is not tame” brings tears every time. “Queen of Iowa” and “For the Love of God” also rank right up there. I’m also enamored with Carried Along and his Christmas album Behold the Lamb of God.

1. “Loving a Person” Sara Groves. From Add to the Beauty, 2005.
If I wanted to be Jennifer Knapp in college, I now imagine myself as Sara Groves. Her poet’s heart shines through in absolutely every single song on this album. And this is a theme to a lesson God is teaching me right now, that love is starting where a person is and stopping my own mouth long enough to hear what this beloved of the King has to say.