Friday, January 28, 2011

Just a Word About Chronic Illness

It seems to me that every human struggles to share their internal world with this external world.  Part of growing up, maturing, and intimacy is dealing with this very thing.  Now if you add to that the layer of chronic illness, then things get even more messy.  (That same thing can be said for grief, or anything else that is not readily apparent, by the way).

I have hesitated to write much about dealing with chronic illness, because it can really be burdensome for people to read.  And there is this "victimy" feeling that I project that other people are projecting on me.  Not fun.  And I want to be careful, because I think there are many important things for people to hear about dealing with chronic pain or discomfort.  There is something terrible about it; but there is something holy about it. 

This has come to mind in recent weeks for me because I have been dealing with a non-chronic health issue that is not serious, but concerning.  And I have had this overwhelming fear as I have walked into each doctor appointment that the bobbling doctor head would recite, "Oh, that is because of your chronic issues."  And before I even walk in the door, I want to punch the doctor in their face.  Terrible!  But this is where the holy part comes in:  I have to slow myself down; waaaaaay down.  Pray.  Ask God for whatever: patience, insight, assertiveness, receptivity.  And somehow, instead of wanting to punch the doctor,  (which really is NOT an option), I see the other human standing in front of me, (a really smart one), just trying to figure this big mess out.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Project I See You

I just realized that I have not posted a link to the group that I am going to the DR with!  Check out Project I See You at  Or you can find us on Facebook or Twitter.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Beach Day? I Mean, That Is $400.

As part of Project I See You's trip to the Dominican Republic Feb 4 to 11, we are taking a bus full of women to the beach for a day.  Last night at our benefit concert auction, someone sponsored the day - it went for $400.  $400!  That is a lot of money compared to the other "more practical" things we were auctioning off like $500 for two sewing machines, or $250 to pay two cooks for the week.  I mean - wouldn't it be better to buy food for these women?...they could eat for a month or more for $400!.!

Good question.  My pragmatic mind goes straight there.  But consider just a few things that are expanding my heart, and curb my boxed in thinking:
1.  In May 2009 we did this very thing for these women.  They still talk about it.
2.  How do you communicate to someone that they have inherent, indelible value?  I am not sure, but I think it leans towards extravagance, which by nature is not practical.
3.  And if my practical mind persists, I go back to this:  Many of these women, who live just 20 minutes from the beach, have never been!  White, sandy beaches; clear blue/green water.  Their lives do not allow this.  That simply would not be true for any of us sitting at a computer and reading a blog.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Raising Money

I, like many, hate raising money.  I can remember feeling badly asking my grandparents to buy girl scout cookies from me.  I mean - come on!, grandparents are a shoe in.  And the stories of undue guilt like this have only continued as my life has lead me to work that inevitably involves raising financial support: non-profit, church work, entrepreneurial endeavors, etc.

Like I said, some of this is "undue" due to some insecurities that needed (need?) to be worked on.  Granted; duly noted.  Some of this is rooted in my upbringing in a family full of ministers and missionaries that have had specific ideas about how money should be raised for ministry endeavors.  Some of this, though, still remains as viable doubt that guides me as I search for confidence in money raising ventures I find myself in.

Here are just a few pieces of "this":  The love of money (and ease) is common to all humans; myself especially.  I need to check myself.   My friend pointed out many years ago that some people pay full price for "service vacations" to do some humanitarian work cross-culturally.  As far as I know, they don't get a tax-break on this.  I realize there is more to donor involvement besides paying the bills, (ie - building an involved community and donors that simply want to give to good causes), but it does serve as a double-check for my own sacrifice and financial commitment to projects I am involved in.

Also, non-profits and ministries alike have to constantly balance overhead, lifestyle, and stewardship.  And motives are messy.  This will always be an issue, regardless of the project, and will hinge upon the personal integrity of those involved.  This deserves special attention, but also is difficult and terribly problematic to judge.   So I try to keep it simple and pray:  is this where I am to invest my time and energy?  If the answer is yes, and these issues of integrity seem balanced, then my confidence gains steam.

What are your thoughts?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Foot in Mouth

I’m kind of notorious for putting my foot in my mouth.  As a small example, I say things like, “I got roped into this,” when what I really mean to say is something like, “I’m not sure how I arrived here, but I am thankful.”  Now, combine that with some of my efforts, (and authentic desire), to connect with and relate to minority, marginalized, and oppressed individuals and groups; and oh, my ignorance is undeniable.

In high school I had this fantastic US History teacher, Mrs. Lewis. She was African American woman who identified strongly and proudly with her African roots as well as her American heritage.  She was passionate, genius, and gracious in teaching us about slavery, civil rights, and detailed African American history. Her father marched with Martin Luther King.  I so desperately wanted to be teacher’s pet and was constantly looking for connection points with her.  One weekend I met an African American pastor from our area; I was sure this was Mrs. Lewis’ pastor – perfect!  You see where this is going…: “Mrs. Lewis, I think I met your pastor this weekend,” I said eagerly….it was a downward spiral from there; foot in mouth.  Thankfully, I wasn’t the first eager, white kid Mrs. Lewis had come across and her grace flowed like a river.

This weekend I am attending the Gay Christian Network’s annual conference,   I’m straight, I’m an evangelical Christian, and I’m newly reengaging my own thoughts about the number of issues that surround my fellow conference goers.  Perfect recipe for Lizzy to put her foot in her mouth.   So, for today I was mostly in listening mode at the conference.  But I will say at least this through my blog, (to my handful of faithful followers), "I'm not sure how I arrived here, but I am thankful," and grace flows like a river.  Philip Yancey spoke this morning at the conference and fleshed out this idea:  grace is like a river, it always flows downhill.  For that, I am really thankful. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Outdoor Mentors

Santa brought Dan and I snowshoes this year and boy do we love them!  Today we took them out for a quick spin on Mt. Evans and it was just beyond beautiful.  As we were hiking along, my thoughts got to floating, as they often do when I am trudging up along a path.  The theme that emerged was simple: I love doing this!, and I am so thankful!  Thankful that I am able!, and thankful for the many mentors that got me to this point.

When I first moved to Colorado, I was attracted to the many outdoor activities, but also overwhelmed by all that I did not know and completely intimidated, mostly due to my tendency towards comparison and difficulty with being a novice.  Thankfully, I had friends that mentored me along the way:
- Kevin: you got me out on hiking trail before I even knew that I wanted to be.  Thank you for your presence and for teaching me that in order to stay warm at night, I needed to keep my arms inside the sleeping bag.
- Lynne: you went walking, hiking, running, and skiing with me when I was recovering from cancer and beyond.  Thank you for your belief, encouragement, and steady friendship.  And for laughing through it all.
- Addy: you knew that my biggest hurdle is my fear of being cold!, so you taught me about good gear and then stuck me in the deep end with winter hut trips and snowboarding in frigid temps.  You are a gifted guide and the antidote to unhealthy competition that plagues outdoor enthusiasts. 
- Dan: you take care of things and take care of me; often tying my boots when I am exhausted or on the verge of giving up.  You are patient and kind, even when frustrated.  And you always bring really good snacks (and beverages) - so key.  Being outdoors with you is a deep joy and especially fulfilling.

Today I thought of all of you with gratitude and big doses of warm nostalgia.  (Especially you, Dan, because I was looking uphill at your backside!!!).