New Blog Finds

I have recently found a whole slew of great blogs to learn from and who provide a community of voices different then my own to challenge me. Woo hoo! (Of course I am also putting off finishing my current dissertation chapter tonight by reading blogs online but…) Check out the mommyrevolution, missional moms, green mama, moms acting up, theology mama and more than serving tea for women who are speaking about their context, faith, families and race. I think the conversations that are coming out of places like these are helping to reinvent and create space for women and families and moms and discipleship of all stripes. Praise God.

I also love Experiential Theology, a new blog I found by a Christian Psychologist that has a wealth of information on it! While it’s largely very easy to read and written in a conversational style, he has heavy resource content – like publications and commentaries on everything from economics to theology in the public square, to Freud to Marc Driscoll. :)

Other blogs that I’ve either recently added or frequented include Arloa Sutter’s blog (at Breakthrough Urban Ministries – they do AMAZING stuff here in Chi-town), along with Soong-Chan Rah’s always fascinating read (ProfRah). JesusCreed (Scot McKnight) akways has a LOT of info and comments, which are fascinating to read – but lately the topic of gender and race have been covered more frequently. Informative.

These sites are reminding me to read, to think, to engage concepts with new dialogue partners…and also to do my own writing and reflecting more again. Also, to do my homework. :) I am now heading back to dissertation writing. Will peak my head out again later.

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The Four Agreements

I first heard of these ‘agreements’ from a great friend, pastor and life coach, Carleton Peterson. He embodied these agreements in a passionate and compelling way, out of a commitment to both psychological and spiritual health. A friend recently reminded me of them, and I am struck buy their profoundness again tonight. If you’re never heard of them, they are listed below. The background of these sayings can be found here – these agreements come out of a Mexican wisdom tradition that is “part of all esoteric world religions” – so these are not “Christian” claims, as some have argued over, but they do provide wisdom and point to health, just as many “sacred and secular” disciplines can inform excellent pastoral work and vital ministry (another convrsation can be had if the secular and the sacred are even separate realms.. but, that is another topic.) I am thinking through these agreements again tonight:  

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best

Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

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Summer “you-will-love-this” List

A few of my recent favorite summer finds that I think are worth passing on:

$5 movies IN THE THEATER: go to www.Kerasotes.com and click on the left on “$5 Club” – fill out a brief form with your info and you will receive a free ‘card’ in the mail a week later. It gets you into (2-3 week old) “new” movies at certain times – which includes almost all the good time showings. It’s a great deal – and you get the showtimes emailed to you for specific theaters near you each week! Sign up today. Now. Go do it.

Book: SHE – celebrate special woman in your life. This book is a fantastic collection of short little sayings and powerful reminders that we need to celebrate faith, compassion, bravery, strength, and authenticity as women. I re-read it this week and both cried and smiled a lot. Would make a great gift to yourself or someone else.

Envirosax: visit this website to find a great gift idea (that’s how I got mine!) or a practical everyday bag for yourself! Take one to the farmer’s market, Target, or your local grocery store and throw your purchases directly into an attractive, collapsible, recycled bag – no plastic, no waste, and a light-weight easy to stow bag to use over and over again. I already love mine!

Cafe Marbella: Chicago north-siders, you should know about this local tapas-serving eatery. Bring your own wine for a nice dinner with reasonably-priced, delicious, small plate options, or check out the cheaper lunch menu. I think its run by a family and isn’t too fancy or too shabby, its just right. Support local community economy AND love what you eat! (on Peterson, just west of Kimball)

Learn history and see Paul Giamati with fake teeth: We recently finished watching the HBO mini-series on John Adams and I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting and informative it was. See more of the complexity around how our country was founded and how figures like Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton and Franklin related to each other.

Music: The new Coldplay CD is really good, its more upbeat and U2-esque than some of their other albums (a good thing in my mind!) My recent playlist is mostly made up songs from their Viva la Vida album and Mamma Mia. Oh, and go see movie that if you haven’t already, or unless you hate musicals. It’s a great feel-good, girl power, sing along and smile kind of movie.

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