Oct
22

Conservative AND Progressive

My husband Michael wrote the following poem describing his experience working within a group of bright software engineers.  In his Netscape management days, I frequently heard the term “herding cats” spoken with frustration. As he has grown older and wiser, Michael can now approach these issues with more patience, kindness and a lot of humor: […]

Oct
12

You Are Not Alone

One of the not-so-terrible things about this year’s isolation for me has been the brainspace.  Right now I have the time and space to consider if I’m living the kind of life I want to be living. I pause to note that I’m acutely aware how privileged I am; I realize very many people do […]

Oct
09

Strike the Rock

     “Strike the rock, and water will come out of it,               so that the people may drink.”                                                                     —Exodus 17.6 Awful journey. Barren place.  Deep thirst. Despair, looking back.   Imagining this is where the journey ends. Dry rock. Hard place.   Yes, and this: there’s no water in it—yet. But there will be, if you […]

Sep
19

Grief and Stress

In July 1986, I moved from Cincinnati to Silicon Valley. Michael and I had been engaged for three months. Since the bulk of our courtship had been conducted through letters and phone calls, we decided to actually date for a few months before planning our wedding.  On a late September afternoon, I walked along Escuela […]

Sep
02

Deplorable

Deplorable.  Conspiracy.  The n-word.   When Kelsey was five years old, as we were driving home from a playdate, she announced.  “Mommy, I know what the f-word means!”  I tried to keep my face neutral as I glanced back at her in her car seat.  “You do, Kels?” “Yes, it means ‘fat.’ At Cheryl’s house, […]

Aug
21

On Being Right

Dissent. Several years ago, my church family went through a painful transition period as the founding pastor retired. There was no great scandal but there was plenty of disagreement, miscommunication and hurt feelings.  Having been at the church since its first Sunday gathering 22 years before, I had seen enough to recognize behavioral patterns in […]

Aug
08

Love and Logic

  A parenting program with this name – Love and Logic – was making its rounds through evangelical churches when my kids were young (perhaps it still is).  Its basic premise was that parents should allow children to experience the natural consequences of their behavior. Example: your dawdling child who doesn’t get dressed in time […]

Jul
29

Hurricane

  Last week, a category 3 hurricane swept toward Maui, where I am living at the moment.  I have experienced only one other hurricane in my life, in 2007, during my first-and-never-again time on a cruise ship.  The ship’s captain had to negotiate with Cuban authorities to shelter us behind, but not too close, to […]

Jul
18

Now I Know

Just because we want something to be simple doesn’t mean it is.  And if you’ve been told your entire life that one viewpoint is good and the other is bad… if three times a week and twice on Sundays, you have had one perspective, stamped with Divine approval, drilled into your mind… and suddenly you […]

Jul
16

Abortion

    (photo taken by Michael Toy, San Francisco Women’s March, January 2020)            In Cincinnati, in the early 1980’s, Dr. J.C. Willke and his wife Barbara, a nurse (credentials properly established) were at the center of a growing pro-life movement in politics.  I was there, too.  I helped fill a […]

Jul
13

How Did We Get Here?

I can remember when Republican politicians realized there was untapped potential in the suburban white church. In the 1970’s, my parents were more concerned with raising our family on a blue-collar salary than what was happening in Washington. They voted, watched the Watergate hearings and my dad occasionally got into political discussions with my uncles. […]

Jul
11

What are we thinking?

It has been two months since my last post.  Two months in which life in these United States has become even more seriously altered.  And what has become clear is something I’ve long suspected: I must be the center of the universe. Here’s the evidence: Last year I was becoming more concerned about my health […]

May
18

Sibling Rivalry

In my middle life, I wondered if the purpose of my life was simply as a cautionary tale.  I had chosen poorly so often, with such severe consequences, I wondered if all I could offer was to be an example of what not to do.   Although self-condemnation threatens to whip that notion into a […]

May
12

My Story

 Where to begin my story?   Does it begin with my birth? My parents’? Their parents?  In this tapestry that is America, that is humanity, where do the stories that walk among us begin and end?   It is May 2020.  Covid-19, a literal worldwide pandemic, has kept us isolating in our homes for the […]

May
06

Depression

Clinical depression.  Such a sterile term for a tempest of emotions.  For me, major bouts are cyclical but there is a persistent low-lying depression that has been a daily cloud for most of my life.  Medication helps, therapy helps, prayer helps.  What doesn’t help, even though I keep doing it, is berating myself. I try […]

Apr
26

Waves

A friend commented yesterday about how our emotions seem to come in waves in this time of quarantine. There are waves of grief over what or who we have lost. There are waves of uncertainty, bewilderment about our future. Waves of anger, depression, fear. There are even waves of joy, gratitude that we can be […]

Apr
12

Resurrection Sunday

4/12/20 Easter Sunday 2020. Today, there are some churches determined to hold meetings despite local government stay-at-home orders.  They believe they are being faithful to God by defying the government. Even if scientific evidence warns that their actions will perpetuate the virus, will endanger the vulnerable among them, still they will gather.  Some believe God […]

Apr
11

Holy Saturday

4/11/20   Holy Saturday.   A day of waiting.  The day before the resurrection.  Except Jesus’ friends didn’t know they were waiting.  They didn’t know resurrection was just around the corner.  They only knew devastation. Grief. Bewilderment. They had given their lives to follow the Messiah and now He was dead.  Logic shouted that they […]

Apr
07

2020 Hindsight

Last fall, during a memoir writing class in Berkeley, I had an idea.  Still too timid to publish my work into print, I could begin sharing my writing on a blog.  I would name it 2020 Hindsight, and I would reflect back on key moments in my life from which I gleaned pieces of wisdom. […]

Mar
29

social distance

When I am stressed, the walls go up. Walls between me and others, between me and God, even between me and my own feelings.  I “social distance” from myself. I curl into an un-feeling, un-thinking ball of existence. This dissociation, whether a defense I learned in childhood or part of my DNA, is as automatic […]

Mar
22

Stay till you know

3/22/20  From Unfolding Light:    the Shepherd of our Souls is here with us, leading us, right now. Behold this moment. Behold the love. Look till you see beauty. Stay till you know.   It is not protection from the future, but the presence of the Shepherd, even in the darkest day, that is our […]

Feb
27

Love and ever more love

2/27/20 Yesterday was Ash Wednesday.  I didn’t realize that when I began writing but again, my tendency to self-edit revealed it on the Loyola Press website.  The website also offered a book and reading guide for Lent called “Finding God in the Mess.” It sounds pretty appropriate for where I am right now, so I […]

Feb
26

Desolation and Consolation

2/26/20 Pulling out of the pit: The problem with email, just as with physical mail (or social media), is you never know what is lurking there.  It could be encouraging, it could be overwhelming. Most likely it is stuff to be dealt with, thought about, absorbed and processed. If you are feeling unmoored, it whips […]

Feb
16

A new coat

February 16, 2020 Father, I ask for your blessing on this day.  May I be replete with Your joy, filling me up and spilling over to others.  I want to be in this day, aware of Your presence, aware of Your love and overwhelming acceptance. I want to treat me like You treat me.   Trying […]

Jan
03

I am enough

1/3/20 I am enough. God has me right over His heart.  He says I am enough. I do not need to prove my worth. The truth is, I have not believed this.  I am ashamed to come before Him, looking for my performance to prop me up.  I am naked, trying to cover myself with […]

Jan
02

The Missing Piece

1/2/20 Christopher was working on his Christmas puzzle this week.  Last night, we helped him search for a missing edge piece that couldn’t be found. This morning, Kelsey told me it turned out the piece had simply been put in the wrong place in the picture.  Even though it fit in that place, it wasn’t […]

Jan
01

A New Year

1/1/20 Reading David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech re: the water we swim in: Here is just one example of the total wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute centre of the universe; the realest, most vivid and […]

Dec
28

Thoughts from my Journal

12/28/19   Where i am — at the end of a several days’ binge of media coma Who God is — the Creator, Sustainer of life   Father, You who are without gender, without the limitations of the dimensions within which I live, I want to know Your ways.  Jesus invited me into Your fellowship […]

Dec
03

Awareness

He stood on the corner, waiting for the walk signal. I sat in my car, idling across the intersection. He studied his phone; I studied him.  He wore a leather jacket, the back highlighted with upside-down crosses. He was tall, skinny, his dirty blond hair roguishly styled with complicated shaved sides and a topknot. He […]

Dec
02

A NOTE ON GENDER LANGUAGE

God and Personal Pronouns   I believe God is Spirit, both without gender and encompassing the fullness of male and female in whose image we were created.  I believe Jesus had no choice but to refer to God as Father in a patriarchal society that valued the male as authority over the female.  Because my […]