Monday, November 9, 2009

Custom made family tree assemblage/painting




Send me a request and I'll make with your family's information

Dirty Footprints

I am totally inspired by this artist's work. Here's a video to inspire you!

Monday, November 2, 2009

my prayer today

Glorious God of power and majesty, you bow down to hear our every sigh;

deliver us from arrogance and empty vanities. Prevent us from trying to

raise ourselves by lowering the position of others. Cast down our pride

that we may grow in humility. Take away the barriers of self-defense;

grant us the firm security that comes from trust in you and is built with

neighborly cooperation and mutual respect. Lead us in the lowly steps of

Jesus until we attain the end of a pure joy and eternal victory, through

Christ, our servant and sovereign. Amen.†



Reprinted by permission of the publisher from Touch Holiness, ed. Ruth C. Duck and

Maren C. Tirabassi. Copyright © 1990 The Pilgrim Press.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sorry for the rant

Today was no where near good. It started off just fine. We got up, went walking, ate breakfast, had prayers and then John Tyson and I went to the Library to pick up some books and cds. I got home and opened the door to a loud television and a teenager laying on the couch. First of all, we don't watch TV hardly ever and especially not in the middle of the day. The shear noise of the TV threw me off. Secondly, why in the world is this teenager in the living room instead of school?

Good question. I asked it and got no answer. No answer to many of the questions I asked.

I cut the TV off.

Then, I became a monster. I started saying mean things and breathing fire. I was so frustrated with the ungrateful lazy mess making disobedient teenager.

A neighbor came by and then another one. At the arrival of the second neighbor, the teenager got up and started whispering about somebody who is very very rich that he's going to live with and how life will all be better. (at least that's what I heard, anyways)

What!? I've been housing you and trying my best to care for you for 7 weeks now. I've been buying your favorite and expensive junk foods. I've been washing your clothes and cleaning up your messes. I tried giving you incentives like allowance and later curfew. We sat down and talked. I took you on family trip. And you have been giving me the silent treatment, coming in late, making messes everywhere, not coming home at all, going places with out telling us where you're going, talking back, eating everything in sight and now all of a sudden you're going to go live with some rich people where life will be better? Give me a break!

That was the last straw. I kicked the kid out. (for a little while) I told him to get out of the house: go find a job, go hang out, go walk around....do whatever you want to but get out of here! (MONSTER!)

He wouldn't budge, so I made him get out with the force of my body weight. Shoeless, he stood on the back porch. I went and got shoes and a jacket and handed it to him.

Here's the kicker....He then said to me "You're not smarter than me" and then proceeded to unlock the door with the house key that he STOLE FROM US!

Then he left. 5 minutes he came back with a friend and started doing laundry. Never you mind that my laundry was in the waiting line to be washed. He jumped in line and did his own even though I showed him mine was waiting. He talked to his friend, took a shower, and left.

While he was taking a shower, Joanie called Jamar and asked him to go into the bathroom and search the clothes for the Stolen key. No key to be found. He must have hidden it somewhere.

Without any end in sight, no resources for therapy or counseling, and little to no energy left, Greg and I are wondering if we can handle this for much longer. We are already housing one other teenager who is doing better, going to school, staying loyal to his job. Can we really do both?

The answer for me right now is NO! AAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!

Let the guilt wave commence.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Christmas wish list

I'm going to start my list now and add to it when I think of other things:

Bike that I can ride with ease
Bike attachment so John Tyson can ride with me and/or Greg
Anything from my favorites list over at etsy
Gift certificates to craft stores
Shoes size 10 (brown, black, red, and tennis shoes, I really like Clarks brand right now)
Anything homemade: mixed cd, goodies, accessories, art, etc.
Art classes
Art retreat
Free babysitting

For John Tyson
Stuff to climb on
An easel
clothes (size 2T)
coat
hat and gloves
shoes
music cd's

Monday, October 19, 2009

Keri Smith

Instead of being diligent about writing my own blog entries, I've been reading a lot of other people's blog entries lately. (sorry 'bout that) Anyways, I came across Keri Smith and just had to share her with others. I've already printed out the Artist's Survival Kit and the 100things to use for myself.

I also just have to share this piece written by Keri Smith. I'm searching for some ways to be refreshed. Maybe these things will be just the ticket!

1. Document what you are responding to regularly. *journal/sketchbook, blog, listmaking, photo journal, bulletin board collage, internet bookmarks, Allow yourself to go deeper into an idea. Find influence outside of your field. Consider that you are ALWAYS working for yourself.

2. Start to challenge yourself on a regular basis to try new things, (not just for work. *i.e. new foods, colors, processes, classes, travel, become a guerilla artist, etc. Your hobbies are your greatest source of play.)

3. Go back to your childhood, (the formative years). What were your favourite things to do? In this lies some clues as to where you want to focus your energy as an adult. What makes you burst with energy?

4. Do something that is not for money. For your own enjoyment. (Your greatest work will come from here!)
*examples…
-newsletter
-zine
-website
-x-mas card
-product concept
-toys
-gifts for friends.
Design for yourself. *See handout on guerilla art.

5. Use sources that are based on your daily life. Your life IS your art. What are the things that are most important in your current life?

6. Become a collector. Collecting allows us to look at one thing in a contemplative & mindful way. Giving you new insights and perceptions. Examples: Maria Kalman -purse contents, Steven Guarnaccia -shoe sole
rubbings, Ian Phillips & Grant Heaps -Lost & Found pet posters, Mark Ulriksen (former art director) -misspellings of his name, Charles & Rae Eames -toys from other countries

7. "Pay no attention to the man behind that curtain." Ignore what other people are doing. It has no bearing on your existence or vision of the world. The times we feel the most discouraged are usually due to the fact we are comparing ourselves to others. Most times reading awards annuals, and industry mags only serves to make us feel inadequate. Try cutting it out entirely. Designer Bruce Mau recommends not entering awards competitions. His reasoning, “Just don’t do it, it’s not good for you.”

8. Don't promote to target your audience. By all means send things out into the world, but don't think in terms of "promoting to get work". Send stuff out because -you're proud of it, -you want to share something with the world, -it's fun to get mail, -to have good karma, -you want to spread your germs, -you like licking stamps. Try sending a postcard of something you made for fun, (i.e. directions on how to make a finger puppet). When thinking of subject matter for promotions look to your current life. If you deal with topics that are important to you a piece will have much more life to it.

9. Take a lighthearted approach (Don't take yourself too seriously). If you feel stuck, you can always reinvent yourself, (re: try something else).

10. Study other artists or creators who followed their own vision. Research.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Whatever happened to me

"...I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."

Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903
in
Letters to a young poet


Live the questions, Rilke? Exactly how do you suppose I do that? There are too many questions to live!


I want to be all mystical and spiritual and live the questions, but I just don't know how.


Questions within me right now:

make art or clean house

veg out or do something productive

visit with another neighbor or close the door

check email or fast from the internet

spend time reflecting or wash the clothes

read a book or get 8 hours sleep

follow my dreams or make money to support the family

work a job or enjoy a job

work this job or work that job

juggle these things or let them get dropped

make something pretty or save some money

do something for myself or spend quality time with family

Walk 3 miles or get some rest

fuss at the rebellious teenager or forget about it

give up or keep fighting

Let things slide or dig in

hope for something better or live with what I've got


it goes on and on and on....

Do I take a shower even though I know the baby is awake and wants to get out of the crib?

Do I pick up the teenager's stuff AGAIN or let it just sit there?

Do I write the sermon or clock in some time or do I make something pretty that is not at all productive?

Do I wash the dishes again or let them sit in the sink?

When do I get some time for me?

What do I do with the time I have for me?

Who can I talk to?

Where are the pair of jeans that fit?

When and where should I get my hair cut?

What does it mean to choose life?

How do I work itunes?

Should I cancel my etsy site?

Can I get away with not talking for a while?

Do I have the energy to welcome 15 kids for dinner again tonight?

What am I going to cook for the 15 kids?

Why didn't I think to cook for the kids before it was already dinner time?

When will I have a chance to actually sit at the table during supper?


and on and on and on.....

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Choose life

Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him....Deut 30: 19-20a

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Little Bird

There's just something about little birds that make me happy. When John Tyson was little, we called him Little Bird. Sometimes I still do. Here are some of my favorite little birds on etsy.




Made by Studio Lyon




Made by ZephyrWoods

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Searching for life

I've been doing a little searching, a little reading, a little thinking.

Looked up "life" in my concordance.

Here's what I've found so far:

Gen 2- Tree of....
Breath of....

Ex. 21- Serve for......

Deut 12: "You have not come into the rest and the possession that the Lord your God is giving you."
The blood is the......

I'll keep reading and continue to write my findings.

Monday, September 28, 2009

melt down

Today's list of activities was going pretty well. John Tyson and I spent some time this morning dancing. We also played outside, swung under the tree, went grape picking, and ate lunch. Then, I left for work. Anna kindly agreed to watch John Tyson for the one hour window of time that I was gone and Greg was not home yet.

This morning, Greg took some of the Hyaets boys to ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail. He took what he thought would be an "easy" group. Long story short, he ended up having to walk a very long way down the trail due to a broken bike chain and at the beginning and end of the trip, he had to deal with disciplinary issues within the group. All this adds up to Greg coming home three hours later than expected.

After I talked to Greg, I called Anna. Her newest plan is to move out of our house and into her new duplex TODAY...as in RIGHT NOW when she has John Tyson with her. I trust Anna to do everything in her power to take care of John Tyson, but at the same time I'm imagining John Tyson being rolled on a wagon atop luggage and boxes from our house to the new duplex. Needless to say, this image does not excite me.

I called Jason and Joanie and told them about the predicament. They have agreed to take care of John Tyson. Everything will be fine. The boy will be safe and alive and happy when I get home. BUT....

I'm still having a melt down. I feel like I'm being neglectful, like I need to go home and get John Tyson. I feel like I shouldn't be at work. I feel like I can't be at work without anything crazy going on. I feel like John Tyson isn't being taken care of in the way that I would take care of him and I feel guilty for disliking that fact. I feel angry that I can't go to work without feeling neglectful. I feel like I don't want to be a stay at home mom with no outside work or world, but I also can't imagine how to balance the two.

Here's what I wrote in my journal after I got off the phone (crying) with Joanie:

I want to be a good mom.
I ant to be an artist.
I want to be a dreamer.
I want to take care of people.
I want to pursue my dreams.
I want to create beautiful things.
I want to inspire joy.
I want to be healthy.
I want to be taken care of.
I want to be honest.
I want to be expressive.
I want to be released from responsibility.
I want to be responsible.
I want to be admired.
I want to be honored.
I want to live fully.
I want to breathe deeply.
Are these things possible?
Are they possible all at once?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

one less bowl....


There's cute little Xavier eating his spaghetti on the front porch.

Xavier and Dana having a nice conversation.

Xavier gets up from his seat....

Uh OH!

Spaghetti on the floor

Anna to the rescue!


One less Blue Willow Bowl in my collection.

Lord, Why did you tell me to love?

Lord, why did you tell me to love all men, my brothers?
I have tried, but I come back to you, frightened....

Lord, I was so peaceful at home, I was so comfortably settled,
it was well-furnished, and I felt cozy.
I was alone, I was at peace,
Sheltered from the wind and the rain, kept clean.
I would have stayed unsullied in my ivory tower.

But, Lord, you have discovered a breach in my defenses,
You have forced me to open my door.
Like a squall of rain in the face, the cry of men has awakened me;
Like a gale of wind a friendship has shaken me,
Stealing in like a shaft of light, your grace has disturbed me.
Rashly enough, I left my door ajar. Now, Lord, I am lost!
Outside, men were lying in wait for me.
I did not know whey were so near; in this house, in this street, in this officce; my neighbor, my colleague, my friend.
As soon as I started to open the door I saw them, with outstretched hands, anxious eyes, longing hearts, like beggars on church steps.

The first came in, Lord. There was, after all, a bit of space in my heart.
I welcomed them. I would have cared for them and fondled them, my very own little lambs, my little flock.
You would have been pleased, Lord; I would have served and honored you in a proper, respectable way.
Until then, it was sensible...
But the next ones, Lord, the other men---I had not seen them;
they were hidden behind the first ones.
There were more of them. They were wretched; they overpowered me without warning.
We had to crowd in, I had to find room for them.

Now they have come from all over in successive waves, pushing one another, jostling one another.
They ahve come from all over town, from all parts of the country, of the world; numberless, inexhaustible.
They don't come alone any longer but in groups, bound one to another.
They come bending under heavy loads; loads of injustice, of resentment and hate, of suffering and sin...
They drag the world behind them, with everything rusted, twisted, badly adjusted.

Lord, they hurt me! They are in the way, they are all over.
They are too hungry; they are consuming me!
I can't do anything anymore; as they come in, they push the door, and the door opens wider....
Ah, Lord! My door is wide open!
I can't stand it any more! It's too much! It's no kind of a life!
What about my job?
My family?
My peace?
My liberty?
And me?
Ah, Lord! I have lost everything; I don't belong to myself any lnger;
There's no more room for me at home.







Don't worry, God says, you have gained all,
While men came in to you,
I, your Father,
I, your God,
Slipped in among them.

~ Michel Quoist
Prayers

Monday, September 21, 2009

Flowers from the Seed Bomb

I noticed, a couple of days ago, these bright coral colored flowers in the yard next door. I wondered where they came from. Then I remembered....the seed bombs! At the beginning of spring, Anna supplied me with some bombs and I threw them all over the place. These flowers are the result. So far, I've spotted five of them! Glad they are here. Beautiful.

Waken in Me a Sense of Joy

O extravagant God,
in this ripening, red-tinged autumn,
waken in me a sense of joy
in just being alive,
joy for nothing in general
except everything in particular;
joy in sun and rain
mating with earth to birth a harvest;
joy in soft light
through shyly disrobing trees;
joy in the acolyte moon
setting halos around processing cluds;
joy in the beating of a thousand wings
mysteriously knowing which way is warm;
joy in wagging tails and kids' smiles
and in this spunky old city;
joy in the tast of bread and wine,
the smell of dawn,
a touch,
a song,
a presence;
joy in having what I cannot live without--
other people to hold and cry and laugh with;
joy in love,
in you;
and that all at first and last
is grace.

~ Ted Loder
Guerrillas of Grace
Prayers for the Battle

Saturday, September 19, 2009

in the back yard


I fell in love with "purple heart" (Sucretia) when I worked at Swift Creek Berry Farm and Greenhouse!

Yellow heart
I believe the ants love the fig as much as we do.

Things I want to do

I want to make something that is useful
I want to make something that is beautiful
I want to read something inspiring
Say something inspiring
Figure out how to use my camera well
do something interesting
make new friends
clean my room (really, I just want it to be clean)
be more healthy
be happy with my body
be a good momma
write something that is worth publishing
follow up on lots of dreams

Monday, September 14, 2009

My trip to Todd


The Jarrell/Harris men enjoying some picking time.

Standing on top of Turner Mountain looking out



John Tyson running in the field..

The view from Turner Mountain


Grandaddy playing his guitar

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

finally realizing

If any of my friends actually read this blog, they will nod their heads in agreement when I say I am quite possibly the most experienced relationship mess maker there is.

I like to make messes with paint and food and clothes that I hate to put away, but the messes I tend to make with relationships are not so fun. In fact, they are painful.

My best friend when I was in elementary school and early middle school was Marcia Lynn. She and I could be silly together and played pretty well together. We stayed over at each others' houses and went on vacation together. In the summer of 6th grade, something happened. We got in some sort of argument and that was it. We were no longer friends. It was as if our friendship had just vanished into thin air and nothing was left.

I regret losing Marcia Lynn as a friend. I've even gone so far as to send her notes saying "Happy Birthday" and such, 17+ years too late.

I don't know what it is with me and relationships. I want to be good at it. I want people to like me and I want to be known. I want to know other people too. I want to be connected and have warm fuzzy friendship groups like this , but what ends up happening is something more like this .

Big mistake number one: Try to make meaningful relationships

To tell you the truth, I'm pretty sick of it all. As I've mentioned before, we're pretty isolated in this Hyaets world of ours. If I had to choose from those who are around me in my daily life, I'd have my pick of prostitutes, crack addicts, xcons, and children to be friends with. Don't get me wrong here, these people are my friends, but they are friends in a different sense of the word. They are folks I can tell jokes with and eat dinner with, but they are not folks who I can reveal my whole self to.

(I'm sensing at this exact moment some sort of sermon within myself asking the question, "Why not, Helms? Why can't these people be your deepest friends? What is within you that is holding them back from being who and what you need?" But, I'm not going to listen to that voice inside of me right now because I'm needing to rant and not to be convicted.)

Big Mess number two: The "talk"

And what is it with friends anyway? How come we can not (as friends) have "the talk)? The one that helps us to figure out just what kind of relationship we are in. Wouldn't you like to know if the one you are friends with has decided they are not going to call as much any more or get together as much any more because they've moved on from the friendship? Wouldn't it be nice to know that you are so loved and cared for that your friend can't bear to see you go for a week of vacation? Man, I sure would like to know when I'm being stupid and thinking that our friendship is still close when the other thinks we were really good friends a couple of years ago. And I wouldn't mind knowing what I could do better to make the friendship better. And I'd love to be able to tell someone how they could be a better friend to me.

I guess those conversations are usually off limits because then we'd have to actually acknowledge that friendships exist, that we depend on someone else for something, and that we have to actively work at being a friend.

Big Mess number three: Hope for mutuality
Have you ever wondered about any of your friends what would happened if you just stopped calling? There have been times in my long list of friendship mess ups that I have wondered, "If I stopped calling this person all the time, would they ever call me? Would they ever notice?" The answer is no. I've tried it. They won't call you. They won't mention they ever noticed you hadn't called. And the friendship will be at a distance at best.

Big Mistake number 4: Try to clean up your mess

There have been several times when I've tried to go to my friend and say, "Look I see this is happening between us. (discomfort, distance, anxiety)" We have a discussion about it and I end up feeling like it wasn't a "we or us" thing after all. It was just me. Either I was the only one feeling this way or I was the one feeling this way and so was the other person but the other person was feeling this way because of something I've done or felt or perceived that has caused us to be this way. And by trying to address the situation and talk about it, I've just made things worse. Because now these negative feelings are out in the open and they can be brought back up again and again.

Big mess number 5: Once you mess up, you and your friends will think you're gonna mess up again, and so you will.
Here's how it works. I mess up with friend one. Friend two sees that I messed up with friend one and even consoles me while all that is happening. Then when something unrelated but somewhat similar happens in friend two's life, they remember what happened with me and friend one, and the problem is escalated because now not only have I messed up with 1, but I've messed up with 1+2=3. And so on and so forth.

Big mess number 6: Blame it on your circumstances
Maybe the lack of friends and feelings of isolation are not a result of Hyaets, but instead are a result of being a relationship mess maker. I should stop trying to blame it on theology, practice, neighors, area in town. I should go ahead and just come to realize that these are not the problems. I am.

Ok, so I've written enough ranting for now. I've written this rant partly out of the truthfulness of my own feelings, but also somewhat jokingly so as to be entertaining. Please read accordingly. Thank you.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

all I wanna do....

Right now, I want to snap and make my house come a live with inspiration. I want the house to be beautiful and to smell good and I want sounds of birds singing. I want this to happen in a way that is ethical, economical, and ecological. And that's where the dream gets stopped.

I want to be able to spend time, money, resources on beauty and inspiration so that then I could be daily inspired by the things around me. Inspired to write, paint, take pictures, sing, stretch, exercise.

But to make a home look nice, one must have money. To make a home visually inspiring, one must use time and stuff and one must spend time making things look "pretty" and take time away from caring for other people and earning money to support the household.

So, I look at fabulous blogs like etsy, and Decor8 and Kelly Rae Roberts and I dream of a nice place with nice people and inspiration so that I would want to write and dream some more, but....

instead I pick up other people's messes constantly, I check my email hoping for someone to write, I run errands, I chase a baby, I drive to campus, I talk to people, I drive people around, I think about writing, I consider cooking, I think about painting, I think about making things look pretty, I put out relationship fires, I water the garden, I sweep the floors, I sweep the floors again, I do laundry, and I spend my time wishing.

I'm feeling stuck. again

Thursday, July 23, 2009

once the summer is over

I plan on turning my little tree trimmings blog into a photojournalism type of project. Every week, I'm going to post at least one picture from the neighborhood (artfully taken, of course....hopefully). Along with the picture, I may or may not choose to include a caption, story, or brief synopsis of what's going on in the image.

In addition to the photojournalism project, I'm going to keep on posting thoughts and notes too.

Since I lost track of my original daily posts and themes, I'm moving toward something that I think will be more easily kept up with.

We'll see.

a few photos from the summer





Isolation

Living how and where we do is very isolating.

I find myself checking and rechecking my email and facebook many many times a day to see if anyone sent me a note that I can respond to. Otherwise, I'll have very little communication with folks who are outside the confines of Hyaets and the neighborhood.

Kids are knocking at my door right this minute, but sometimes I'd rather just talk to someone my own age who I might better relate to. The neighbor down the street might love a visit from me, but sometimes I'd rather just talk to someone who doesn't need compassion in the way the lonely neighbor might need compassion. Then again, when I do have a conversation with someone my own age, my own social status, etc, I'm left with nothing to say. I can't relate to whatever someone watched on tv cause I don't really watch tv and I can't talk about the newest store or restaurant or movie because I don't go a whole lot of places or spend much money.

I long for an intimate friendship, someone I could do things with and talk to about whatever's going through my mind, but how is that possible? Everyone who looks like me, is educated like me, believes in several of the things I believe in lives on the other side of town in suburbia and is content with mommy play dates and running errands.

On the flip side, I sure would like someone to ask me to join a mommy play date or run errands with them!

Or would I? Would it involve conversations about potty training and trips to the Walmart? I'm not so sure I can handle too much of that.

But I've chosen a different lifestyle, followed what I thought was a deep sense of calling. Is it possible to follow this sense of call and have friends at the same time? If so, how? Who?

Virtual email friends and facebook friends are not enough to sustain me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

more things....

We spent a full week in Richmond on a mission trip. Our group was WONDERFUL and they got a long with one another and worked hard. It was nice to be in Richmond joining others who are doing good work: Tabernacle Baptist Church with Refugee ministry and BTSR with building repair and campus yard work. I had a good time with the kids that we took. I missed Greg and John Tyson.

The week that we were at home was also the week of July 4th, Matthew's b'day, and our first Living Room Lecture: Art, Faith, and Politics. I was disappointed with the turn out for the living room lectures. I had left 30 fliers to be passed out in the neighborhood, but no one passed them out while we were away, so I passed them out on the day before the lecture, but it was too late. I ran around like crazy cleaning up the house and setting it up and passing out fliers and preparing food on the day of the lectures. The summer missionaries took a day off that day, so a lot of the work was left for me to do last minute. We only had 3 guests, none of which were neighobrs. bummer. Our next lecture is July 24th: Music and Faith.

We celebrated Matthew's b'day with good food and friends. We watched the neighbor's crazy fireworks. Jackson and Sarah came for the party. I was glad to spend that time with them. Matthew got a bone from the Kelletts.

Krista and I left early for Unidiversity. I felt like I needed to be there early to set up since I was appointed the "co-director" and all. We got things ready and got settled in. The week went pretty well. I felt the whole week like I was trying really hard to do well so that folks would think I was good at being the director. I'm not so sure I accomplished the goal, but it was a good week nonetheless. At the end of the week, I was really tired.

No rest for the weary, though. Instead of riding home with our Hyaets group, I drove by myself to Raleigh where I picked up John Tyson from the Jarrells. Then, I went to Mom's house (nice nice guest room) and we made 100 pimento cheese sandwiches for Hollis' bridal shower. The next day, I got up early (THanks, John Tyson) and went to church with Mom. Then, we packed things up and headed to the shower. We helped set up and prepared my "work station" where I put together the hostess gifts for Hollis (scrap book and sea shell shadow box). The party was very nice and I think Hollis left feeling loved. That's what we were aiming for. Betsy took care of John Tyson while I was at the shower, so when it was done, we went to Betsy's house to visit and pick up the boy. I drove home, stopped at Cracker Barrell to rent a book on tape because I was so sleepy, and crashed when I got to my bed.

Monday, everyone was tired, but somehow kids managed to pry their way into our house anyway. We were all aggravated at each other and the kids due to the lack of rest, so I closed up the house midday during John Tyson's nap and took a nap myself. The summer missionaries retreated to the other house for some quiet. I took care of answering the door and phones when necessary. On Monday night, the Polaskis met us for dinner and we took Kelia so that they could meet her. They are helping to sponsor her while she's at Meredith.

By the way, Kelia got her letter from Meredith. After all the money she has earned through scholarships and such, she will only owe $5,000 a year! Amazing! Now it is up to us to help raise the rest. We can do it!

Today is Anna's b'day and because the girls are so tired and un-ready to be working, I've decided to give them a break by being on duty for them the rest of the week. Tomorrow, we're going to Union county to visit at my grandmother's house and see some friends at Passport Wingate. Then we'll come back for dinner and devos and I'll go to work at Student Orientation at UNCC in the evening.

Thursday, I'll take kids to the gym.

Friday, we've got a community meal.

I'm wondering when folks will give me a chance to rest, but for now I feel like I've got enough energy to make it through...although I don't feel like I have enough energy to clean my room (what a mess!).


Adam and Tracy come home soon. I've kept up with them via email and blog. It will be interesting to see how they adapt when they get home. Do not read when hungry! :) www.turnerjarrell.blogspot.com

We will go to the beach on July 25th. I'm looking forward to getting away. When we come back, though, there'll be 5 groups coming to do work and hear about Hyaets between July 31st and August 8th. Whoa!

Good news, we do not have to go to trail. Our neighbor made a plea.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Things I haven't said that I've been meaning to

One of our neighbors is in jail for murder. We've been commanded by the DA to be a part of the trial. We have nothing to say. No real evidence. No real character witness information. The trial is supposed to take place during our already planned vacation. ugh. There's a kids in the neighborhood who supposedly is upset with us because we "snitched on him" about this and apparently according to other neighbors, the guy is ready to retaliate against us. We don't even know this guy. Scary. Upsetting. Frustrating. Not a great addition to our summer.

At the 5k race in May, Samia said something that really hit home. We were in Dilworth and we were walking to the park when she said, "Man! This place is pretty! It makes me want to never mess anything up. Don't you think so too, Miss Helms?"

Dr. Jones came to our house today to read to the children. I was honored that he accepted the invitation to come. I tried my best to get the house ready for his arrival, but it was hard to make it spotless because of all the wear and tear lately. (we could really use a thorough cleaning right now). He came, children showed up, and he read some stories. The kids seemed really interested and did a good job of sitting still and listening. We fed the kids lunch and Dr. Jones headed on out.
It meant something to me that he came and invested a part of himself in us, even if it was only for an hour. What he did meant something. Not to mention that when he came, it was almost as if the Pope was coming to town the way we all acted. We were on our best behavior for the pastor.

Matthew's birthday party is on Saturday. This is the one party I throw per year. (I used to throw one in December, but I quit) Every year, I get all excited and make good food and set up the yard for the big event thinking that this'll be a great party and that everyone will have a great time and be so happy to be here. And then the party begins and it is sort of dull. I don't have the right music to play. I don't have entertaining things for my guests to do. And so folks just sit around, eat, drink, talk, and eventually leave and I end up feeling like I did a poor job as a party hostess. This year, I'm going to set up the food and the yard and I'm not going to care as much if folks don't have a good time. I've decided it is not up to me whether folks feel entertained or not. (I am going to supply a few games and some bug spray, though.)

I had a really good conversation with Dr. Galindo from BTSR when I was up there last week. He encouraged me to keep on writing. (I had stopped) I'm going to try. Just wait till this summer is over!

Can I stand this long thick head of hair any longer? I'm trying to grow it out to donate, but it is getting on my last nerve. We'll see.

That's it for now.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sponsored by Hyaets, the Living Room Lecture series gives us all a chance to gather and discuss important topics related to faith. We hope this will be a good opportunity for neighbors, theologians, lay people, church members, and others to come together and share in dialogue with one another about matters of faith.

This summer, Hyaets presents the first of many Living Room Lectures to come with a three part Art Series: ***
1) Faith and Politics: Join us as we watch The Ordinary Radicals, a documentary following the "Jesus for President" tour led by Shane Claiborne and sponsored by The Simple Way. Tentative date: June 30th, 6:30pm, 2910 Parkway Ave*
2) Music and Faith: Dr. Tony McNeil will lead us in singing and discussion on The Lord's Supper and Congregational Singing. Communion will be served. 7:30pm, July 17th, 2910 Parkway Ave.
3) Photography and Spirituality: Maggie Farrington will lead us in a discussion on "capturing the light" through photography on August 21st at 7:00pm at 2904 Tuckaseegee Rd. On the following Saturday (August 22), Hyaets wil host a practical seminar on the mechanics and artistry of photography. (Bring your camera on Saturday and be ready to go out into the neighborhood for some photojournalism practice!)

All Living Room Lectures are free and are open to the public. (Ages 15+ preferred) If you'd like, you may bring a donation to Hyaets and/or refreshments to share with others.

*Stay tuned for any date and time changes.
***Stay tuned upcoming lectures in the fall.

We hope you'll join us for all three lectures!

Blogs I love...

These are just a few:

http://dollarstorecrafts.com/
http://junkcamp.blogspot.com/
http://www.recyclethis.co.uk/
http://shuttersisters.com/
http://www.thingstodotoday.org/today
http://ethanandaubrey.blogspot.com/ (this is my college roomate's blog)
http://ethanandaubrey.blogspot.com/ (one of my hilarious old youth group kids from Richmond)
http://jademccullyphotography.blogspot.com/ (beautiful photography)
http://kellyraeroberts.blogspot.com/
http://turnerjarrell.blogspot.com/ (my brother and sister in law on a South American Adventure)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hello blog readers,
Hyaets recently had the joy of welcoming our two summer missionaries to Hyaets, but within 24 hours of arriving one of them has had to make the decision to go home (due to outside circumstances). Needless to say, the absence of one summer missionary leaves us in the lurch.

I anticipate that a summer without help will be unbearable and that I will likely be found in the back corner of a dark closet at the end of the summer if we do not find some committed and consistent helpers to join us regularly during the summer.

That said, do you know anyone? An older youth? A college student? A young single? Who could lend us a hand with some of our daily kids' activities/administrative duties/ household chores?

We are optimistically looking for someone who would fit well within our community and who might be willing to live with us for the summer and serve with us. If we can't find someone to be residential, we'll settle for someone who will come over regularly.

We are prepared to pay a small stipend to whomever might help us in this way.

I've got a detailed job description. So, if you think someone might be interested, I'll send the description to your email address.

If you know of anyone who might be willing to help step in and fill the void, it would be beyond appreciated.

Thanks for thinking it over with me,
Helms

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In response to The Well April 2009...

Michael-
I enjoyed your article [in The Well, April 2009]. I, too have been convicted lately of gaps between my rhetoric and my daily life. As we transition from the "just beginning our family/life/marriage stage" to the "been at this for a while and have our kids and lifestyle set stage", I think my responsibility to settle into a life for my family that is based on compassion, inclusivity, and sustainablility increases. Instead of starting those habits and ways of being now, though, I simply talk about doing it.
What good is joining and advocating for a CSA if I don't plant my own garden and teach my kids to eat what they grow?
What good is walking in an earth day parade if I always go shopping when my kids are in preschool?
What good is longing for community if I don't inivte people into my home weekly?
What good is thinking about inequality and the segregation of classes in our society if I don't even try public school with my own sons?
What good is recycling if I can't keep buying the crap I kinda sorta want a little with no restraint?
What good is teaching my kids to care for others without an eye for status if they never interact with any non-upper class people?

I don't want to wind up 50 and still be thinking I want to be more Christ-like in my social consciousness and activism...and instead be playing tennis and goiong to lunch everyday. With little changes in patterns and daily choices, our lives and experiential reality will drastically alter in the long run.
so thanks for your thoughts.
Brandi

Monday, April 27, 2009

Holy Weaknesses

In the most recent issue of Conspire Magazine, Will Braun writes an article about "success" and living faithfully. I found the article to be insightful and inspiring and I hope you will too. I would love for you to read it and share your opinion on it. I'd especially like to hear from those of my friends who are oppressed or live in the margins as they might have a fresh perspective. Please read and comment if you get a chance. Thanks

Holy Weakness
Resurrection and the limits of success
By Will Braun

If Jesus has toppled the oppressive government of his time, I would be much clearer about my calling. If he had launched a campaign of nonviolent direct action with the poor or brought about land reform or ushered in universal health care, o protected a pristine wilderness, or made poverty history, I wouldn’t be so conflicted about how to live out my faith.
But he didn’t. Jesus’ resurrection was a victory of cosmic proportions, but it didn’t seem to achieve any outcomes of the sort listed above. Most notably, although many people of Jesus’ time wanted him to overthrow the overbearing Roman occupation, the risen lord did not use his authoritative victory as a chance to appear to the rulers to depose, lobby, or convert them.
This troubles me because I’m realizing that I’ve devoted much of my life to attaining precisely that which Jesus’ life didn’t. For fifteen years, I’ve tried to be the most savvy, effective, and competent social-justice advocate I can be—in the fields of indigenous struggles, environmentalism, and justice-oriented magazine editing.
For a long time, I’ve found ways to sidestep the discrepancy between my approach and Jesus’ approach, but now I’m at the point where it has me in a vocational tail spin, wondering whether to change direction significantly. I still believe the Jesus’ resurrection means something for poor and suffering people—other than just that they get pie in the sky—but it doesn’t seem to mean that their earthly battles will end in success.
The crossroad I am at hinges partially on the notion of success. While “Success” seems ill-suited to Jesus’ mission, I fear it has been all too well-suited to mine, I worry that I have unwittingly followed the standard success narrative of our times—a script in which a person has a dream or vision, follows the dream with singular commitment, believes in his or her self (perhaps in God as well), doesn’t give up, achieves victory of some sort (or “makes a difference”). The moral of the story tends to be: Destiny is yours. Try hard enough and you’ll succeed.
Though Christians regularly squeeze Jesus into this script, I’m nagged by a strong sense that the resurrection is not a success story. I feel I need to untangle the resurrection story from the prevailing success narrative in order to understand it, and my calling, more deeply.
When I consider what has brought me to this point, three stories come to mind. They seem to have chosen me rather than me choosing them. They draw me to a profoundly counterintuitive and unsuccessful understanding of the resurrection and what it means for injustice and suffering.
While living in France, Jean Vanier met two men who lived in an institution for developmentally disabled people. He was moved. He sensed their primal cry for love and belonging, and in their cry, he sensed the call of God. So, in the prime of his life, he invited the men to move into his home. Leaving a promising academic career behind, this son of the former Governor General of Canada began tenting to the daily needs of these men. It was a backward thing to do in many ways, but what Vanier slowly discovered was the ability of these men to bring him, through shared daily life, to a deep experience of tenderness, love, unity, and God.
“The whole Christian mystery is revealed to us through the weak and powerless, the little ones,” he wrote in a set of unpublished retreat notes in 1986, “The resurrection touches the depths of the desolation of Jesus.”
Vanier called the humble household of three L’Arche (French for “the ark”). For decades later, there are many L’Arche homes around the world. In these homes, people with developmental disabilities (“core members”) and those who assist them share life together. But the point is not to make L’Arche sound grandiose. It centers around wounded and weak people. “L’Arche is something very small,” Vanier says, “Little people in little communities…We don’t do great things at L’Arche.”
Vanier writes about “descending” from a world of accomplishment to be with core members who have no hope of achieving success in life no mater how much they believe in their dreams. And in those communities, outside the realm of success, the wonder of God emerges.
Similarly, Henri Nouwen descended to L’Arche and there discovered the core of faith. An academic and widely read Christian author, he worked his way up to a teaching post at Harvard. But while there, he wrote: “Something inside was telling me that my success was putting my soul in danger.” So he left, and spent the next ten years of his life at L’Arche community north of Toronto, Canada, where he died in 1996 at age 64.
Nouwen left Harvard to feed and wash people who had no idea what Harvard was and who had no use for the skills he had worked decades to obtain. He quit something he was very good at to do something he was admittedly poor at. And though his time at L’Arche was not easy, it became a rich gift to him. In a book called Adam: God’s Beloved, Nouwen tells of his relationship with Adam, a core member who could not speak or move without assistance. With great tenderness Nouwen explains how Adam taught him “the language of the heart” and revealed to him the meaning of spiritual poverty and what it means to be the beloved of God.
Nouwen veered off the path of success into a different realm altogether, “I still get invitations to speak all over the world," Nouwen wrote while at L’Arche, “But I have to say no. My Community says it’s more important to…spend an evening with someone who can’t speak or do anything than to speak to thousands of people.”
The third story that keeps popping up in my mind is of the Little Brothers and Little Sisters of Jesus, two Catholic monastic orders. These monks and nuns imitate the life of Jesus as a common laborer in Nazareth before his public ministry began. They call it the hidden life. They live humble lives, usually in small households in unknown, marginalized places. They might work in a factory or sweep floors at a school, but they don’t start schools or hospitals like some other orders. Their role is a role of obscurity.
Carlo Carretto left Italy in the 1950’s to join the Little Brothers in North Africa. In his book, Letters from the Desert, he tells of traveling through the desert by camel and coming across a group of laborers “wielding the shovel and pick all day in the heat and dust” to repair a road. “I passed up the line of workmen scattered on the track, replying to their greetings and offering the liters of water in my gherba for their thirst. At a certain point, among the mouths approaching the gherba to drink, I saw a smile break out which I shall never forget. Poor, ragged, sweating, dirty: it was Brother Paul, a Little Brother who had chosen that detail in which to live out is Calvary; to be a kind of leaven there….I knew Brother Paul well, because we had been novices together. A Parisian engineer, he had been working on the Reganna atomic bomb when he heard the Lord’s call. He left everything and became a Little Brother…Nobody knew he was an engineer. He was a poor man like the others.”
While these stories are not about social justice per se, they suggest that the victory of Christ is discovered when we exit the realm of success and move toward powerlessness.
In his landmark book, The Politics of Jesus, Anabaptist theologian John Howard Yoder says our calling is not to reach for the levers of control by which we can “Get a hold on the course of history and move it in the right direction.” Jesus did not “make sure that things would turn out right,” he says. Instead, Christ chose servant hood over dominion, meekness over effectiveness. The relationship of cause and effect has thus been replaced with cross and resurrection. Yoder suggests that we Christians must be liberated from “the compulsiveness of the vision of ourselves as the guardians of history” in order that we might “receive again the gift of being able to see ourselves as participants in the loving nature of God as revealed in Christ.”
I know what it is to compulsively reach for levers that influence decision makers. And when I bring to mind the relentless sense or urgency, strain, and “savior complex” that come with this reaching and striving, I feel drawn to the liberating possibility of a different approach.
God’s approach leads to victory. Yoder says, but the victory is different than what we would logically expect. Commentators suggest that many of the people waving palm branches as Jesus made his “triumphal” entry into the great city of Jerusalem would have desperately wanted him to lead a political revolution. Their expectations quickly provide entirely misguided. I wince at that story because I fear that I , along with many Christian world-changer types, are those people cheering Jesus on, expecting him to do things that are entirely outside his nature.
Jesus’ next act was the cleansing of the Temple, an act that social justice-minded Christians like to cite as an inspiring story of someone boldly confronting the powers. Yoder says this comparison is “partially valid,” but suggests this use of the story breaks down when “one asks whether Jesus’ ‘demonstration’ was a ‘success’.”
And so we end up somewhere very different than the success narrative. Instead of straining to take destiny by the horns and attain success, we have a descent to a point of powerlessness and then the emergence into the realm where God’s gentle, liberating, ultimate victory is realized. In the wake of holy weakness a new song is sung. One narrative is about strength, effectiveness, competence, ascent, influence, control, and striving. The other is about weakness, meekness, holy failure, liberation, descent, obscurity, and letting go.
What then might this all mean in the life of someone who feels called to address suffering and injustice?
I’m thinking hard these days about what a noneffective approach might look like. I expect it might mean less busyness (less striving) and more time to be present to suffering people. It might mean more time with small people and less with influential people. It might mean taking on fewer projects and turning down speaking gigs (which I have already found myself doing). It might mean not pushing my ideas a forcefully—whether with colleagues or the public. It might mean fretting less when events of history do not unfold as I wish, and focusing more on those things that live on in a plane not reported by the media. It might mean less resisting. I might mean doing nonsensical things. It might mean veering off the path of success.
As I begin experimenting with the descent, I find courage in believing that Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is an authoritative validation of the path he took. It signifies for me that the path of descent to powerlessness and meekness is not---as Vanier, Nouwen, Adam, and Brother Paul discovered---a dead end.

Will Braun is a father, part-time social-justice advocate, and part time editor of Geez magazine. He lives in Winnipeg, Canada and can be reached at will@geezmagazine.org

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sticks and stones may break your bones

But words can surely kill you. Or even laughs, for that matter.

Recently, we've received some "criticism" of who we are both from neighbors (some rumor going around scaring kids into thinking we're bad people) and from clergy (some folks questioning why we're not "working" full time and why we're "always" asking for money).

What's so frustrating is that these comments, when said, consume me. They take over any amount of affirmation we may have had, any amount of encouragement, any amount of excitement and replace those feelings with feelings of self doubt, fear, and anxiety leaving me/us with dead spirits.

All we want to do is to be found faithful by God and others. We want people to recognize Christ at work within us. We're here doing what we're doing, living how we're living because we feel called, because we feel obligated by God, because we want to serve. We're working part time jobs so that we can serve our neighbors fully and also so that we can live more simply, not dependent on the fine material things in life. We don't raise money to support ourselves, we raise money to support our neighbors.

I wish when people had criticism, they'd come straight to us rather than speak their criticism to other people. (neighborhood gossip, clergy grapevine) It would help us to hear the critique, it would challenge us to think with a fresh mind about who we are and how we function.

So, if you think we're wrong. If you think we're a scam. If you think we're hypocritical. If you think we're unfaithful. If you think we're exclusive. Just talk to us. please.

Friday, April 17, 2009

If you want to give me a huge Christmas present....


Here's what I'd like:

http://bepresentretreats.blogspot.com/

Several artists are hosting a retreat on the Oregon coast in October. My goodness! Wouldn't it be wonderful?!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hyaets request

Dear Friends, Family, and Partners,
As the ministries and relationships of Hyaets have grown over the past year, we have discovered many needs within the Enderly Park Community. You may be aware that, in the current challenging economic times, needs arise within all areas of society. However, these needs tend to be greatest among the poor who have little to nothing to fall back on when jobs are lost or cut, few family resources, and greater competition for the limited government and charitable resources available. We have already begun to see these needs affect a variety of areas of life, including the education of youth. God is already at work in many of these areas in a variety of ways and we need your help to join with God in God’s mission and ministry among the neighbors of Enderly Park.

Neighborhood Home Repair
We currently have several neighbors who are in need of significant home repair assistance. The needs include floor repair, drywall work, painting, wheelchair ramps, demolition work, roof repair, foundation repair, and siding repair. Several neighbors who own homes in the neighborhood cannot live in their homes because this work needs to be done to make the house livable. In addition, the Hyaets Parkway house is in immediate need of painting the entire exterior.
Transitional Housing Initiative
For several months now we at Hyaets have been working on a Transitional Housing Initiative. This initiative developed out of a strong desire to help neighbors who have difficulty maintaining stable housing. We have found that eviction is a chronic issue in the neighborhood for a variety of reasons, including job loss, lack of needed financial management skills, certain life decisions, and housing choices. While Hyaets currently offers transitional housing within the current homes of Hyaets members, the needs are far greater than we have been able to handle thus far. For example, there is need for a life skills development component to our current offering of hospitality and there is need for longer periods of housing than we are able to offer in our own homes.
We are committed to offering temporary housing within our homes for neighbors who are in-between places or who find themselves as sojourners or travelers through Charlotte, but we see the need for a more substantial offering for folks who need assistance with more chronic housing issues. Thus, we have formed a partnership with NewLeaf Christian Transitional Housing Ministry and the Christian Men’s Alliance of Charlotte to secure a house adjacent to our current properties and implement a relational transitional housing project. The house needs much cosmetic work to make it livable or workable for such a project, primarily in the area of painting.

Temple Enderly Community School Initiative
A new relationship between Hyaets, Temple Baptist Church International, and the Q Foundation has brought about the formation of the Temple Enderly Community School Initiative which seeks to begin a school for neighborhood youth. The impetus behind the school is to create a positive educational environment focusing of the arts for elementary and middle school aged youth who have fallen behind and are educationally ‘at risk’. The facilities for the school need a large amount of painting and flooring work as soon as possible. Bathroom renovation is a necessity as well. The construction of a playground is a future need for the school.
Hyaets is committed to these two significant areas of need. We invite you, your church, your men’s, women’s, or youth group, your service/civic organization, or your family to help us! This spring or summer, plan a day, weekend, or week-long mission experience with Hyaets. We will tailor a mission experience to your group’s time, skills, gifts, and needs. We are not a one-size-fits-all organization. Rather, we desire to work with your church or organization to create an experience that will be mutually beneficial, holistic, authentic, and relational. Can you give of yourself, your time, your energy, and your gifts to those who need you – your friendship, your listening ears, and your helping hands?
We are eagerly waiting to speak with you and begin planning your life-changing mission experience in one of the most at-risk, threatened, and poor, yet equally beautiful and story-filled communities of Charlotte. Please contact Jason at 704-391-8529, 704-280-9116, or Jason@hyaets.org to speak personally about how you can join in God’s great work in the Enderly Park Community of Charlotte, NC.

Thanks, Grace and Peace,
The Hyaets Community



Have you missed getting the Hyaets announcements? Do you know what's going on in the life of Hyaets? Have you heard our good news lately? You must sign up to receive the Hyaets announcements! Do so by going to http://hyaets.org and clicking on "announcements".



Be uncommonly good
Helms
"And deep in my heart I do believe we shall overcome some day, by God's grace, by helping the seed of the kingdom grow in ourselves and in each other until finally in all of us it becomes a tree where the birds of the air can come and make their nests in our branches. That is all that matters really."
~Fredrick Buechner
crafts: www.littletreetrimmings.etsy.com
Hyaets blog: http://hyaets.org/blogs/index.php?blog=6
Little Tree Trimmings blog: www.littletreetrimmings.blogspot.com
Helpful family friendly tips: http://www.familyzip.com/author/iamhelmsie
704.763.3571

Monday, March 30, 2009

Taking an old Advent sermon and making it something new

I've been asked to share a few words tonight at the prayer house before the students participate in self guided reflection. I had in mind to take an old sermon and revamp it. I couldn't find the one I really wanted, but found an Advent sermon instead. I think the way I've changed it around will work for today. (5th Sunday in Lent, focus on Agape love for God and neighbor, spoken to college students who are members of NC's Baptist Campus Ministry at UNCC)

Are any of you tired? Do you feel sometimes like you are sleep walking to class and then laying your head down on the desk during the lecture?
It is almost as if we're asleep and we're dreaming some sort of horrible nightmare where people pass us by without speaking and we go to class without thinking; where people curse one another because of an orange bouncy ball and a hoop and we kill each others' spirits with silence and apathy. Is there any hope for us?

We're sleeping through our lives, not noticing, not appreciating, not thinking, not caring. Or at least that's what it seems like sometimes.

Don't you hear God yelling, "Wake up!"
"Wake Up! I am here!"

Our hope is here. Our life is here. Our light is shining. Wake up!

The Bible says, "Jacob came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the Lord stood beside him and said, 'I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.' Then Jacob woke fro his sleep and said, 'Sureley the Lord is in this place and I did not know it!' And he was afraid, and said, 'How awesome is this place! This is non other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."

The presence of the Lord is not a dream it is real. God is present in and with the person who has a rock for a pillow and a tree for shelter.

God is present in and with the boy who is sent on his own, away from home. God is present in our numb sleepwalking lives, beckoning us to "Wake Up!"

Like a thief in a sleepy night, God steals us away from the world we know and sweeps us off to real places and real people we can only dream of...to places like a holy manger, where we see a baby boy being born right before our very eyes. We'll hold his perfect body, we'll count his ten toes and fingers, we'll see a bright star scattering the darkness and bringing light. What seems like a dream to us is a reality. This is the real thing we're being snatched off to. In this dreamy reality, we're taken on a journey, fleeing from Herod, carrying the Christ child in our arms across dry land.

And then, in a blink of an eye, this boy becomes a man. His voice changes, his shoulders broaden and he'll leave home. Once again, he'll steal us away, leaving family and possessions to follow him. We witness never before seen miracles, unconditional love, and deep care in his presence.

He'll take us to a candle lit room and he'll share bread and wine with us. We'll pray together and enjoy each other's company.

As soon as we think we've got it all figured out, he'll set us down and say, "Wait here! I'm going to suffer this part of the journey alone."

We won't put up a fight. As if we are asleep again, we'll lay dazed and confused at the sight of our friend and teacher, dying right in front of us.

Forgetting what he said about waiting, we'll stumble to our feet and head home. Weary and worn out, we'll curl up and pray that this nightmare might end.

Wake up! He's here! Wake up!

Anxious and doubting, we'll get up. We've got to see this for ourselves. How can he really be here?

And there he is...Is this a dream? We'll have to pinch ourselves to make sure it's real.

Wake Up! He is Here! Expect him to be here! He IS here!

This isn't the time to by lying in darkness, in hopelessness, in dispair. This is a time to awaken your senses to God's presence. Let go of the heavy rock you've been slumbering on and Wake up! God is present and calling on us to respond with faith in Him and Love for our neighbor.

Spend as much time as you need praying with God, waking up to God around and within you. Respond to God's wake up call by pledging to serve your neighbor, praying for your enemy, and caring for the forgotten. God encourages us and challenges us to share our Love for Him with others, to wake up not only to God but also to your neighbor. Take this time to listen and respond to God's love and presence in this place. This is the time to Wake up! Wake Up, Oh Sleeper. Your light has come!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I had to share this




I love this icon painted by Roisin Reilly

Monday, March 16, 2009

I'm back!

I'm back and I've sort of forgotten my regular blogging routine. THis might be the perfect time to change some things up since I don't remember which day was designated for what.

I'm wondering, if I were to change up some things on my blog, what would I change? What would readers want to see? Do I have readers? If a tree falls in a forest and if a blog is written in the blogosphere, will anyone hear/read it? I'd like you to send me your ideas for what I could include in this blog. My intent is to redo my blog in the next few weeks...new pics, new colors, new format...maybe? I hope you'll give me some ideas of what would be interesting.

I just got back from a trip to Richmond with UNCC's BCMers. I witnessed a lot of things in one week: the lovely city life, architecture, my old stomping grounds, and a big house fire. I saw old friends and ate at old favorite restaraunts. All in all, it was a good trip.

Now, I'm back and I have tons of laundry to do and house straightening too.

Looking forward to hearing from you about the blog or about life in general.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Out of town

I'll be gone from now until March 15th. I will not add to my blog during those days.
Try not to miss me too much. :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Imago Dei

We read Psalm 51 on a snow day. Read it and see.

A Prayer for Forgiveness
1You are kind, God!
Please have pity on me.
You are always merciful!
Please wipe away my sins.
2Wash me clean from all
of my sin and guilt.
3I know about my sins,
and I cannot forget
my terrible guilt.
4You are really the one
I have sinned against;
I have disobeyed you
and have done wrong.
So it is right and fair for you
to correct and punish me.
5I have sinned and done wrong
since the day I was born.
6But you want complete honesty,
so teach me true wisdom.
7Wash me with hyssop [a] until I am clean
and whiter than snow.
8Let me be happy and joyful!
You crushed my bones,
now let them celebrate.
9Turn your eyes from my sin
and cover my guilt.
10Create pure thoughts in me
and make me faithful again.
11Don't chase me away from you
or take your Holy Spirit
away from me.
12Make me as happy as you did
when you saved me;
make me want to obey!
13I will teach sinners your Law,
and they will return to you.
14Keep me from any deadly sin.
Only you can save me!
Then I will shout and sing
about your power to save.
15Help me to speak,
and I will praise you, Lord.
16Offerings and sacrifices
are not what you want.
17The way to please you
is to feel sorrow
deep in our hearts.
This is the kind of sacrifice
you won't refuse.
18Please be willing, Lord,
to help the city of Zion
and to rebuild its walls.
19Then you will be pleased
with the proper sacrifices,
and we will offer bulls
on your altar once again.

J is for...


J is for jukebox. If you go to http://www.last.fm/ you can look up your favorite musicians and listen to them and other musicians like them online. I've found some of my favorite groups and have bookmarked their pages so that when I'm in the mood to listen to them, I can click and there they are. Check out bands like:
David Schultz and the Skyline
Stevie Wonder
Letters to Cleo
Julianna Hatfield
Wayfaring Strangers
Earth Wind and Fire
James Taylor
Paul Simon
and
Derek Webb

Bold and Beautiful

It finally snowed in Charlotte. It was enough to play in and reasonably enough to validate the day out of school that the kids got. We had a lot of fun playing with neighbors!

Best comment of the weekend: Lamar, along with several others, is headed to the park to sled. Ice is dropping off of the trees and onto the pavement. You can hear it hitting the pavement everywhere. Lamar says, "Miss Helms! It sounds like Pop Rocks!" It did! It did sound like Pop Rocks!

See the pictures from our snow day here.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Best of...

HOUSES

Take a look at this cool house on youtube.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Green Day



Some Green resources for ya...







1. J. Renee Blain HeelThese slingback pumps feature a lime green fabric accented in gold. The kitten heel makes these a great choice for the office or an evening out. These versatile shoes are on sale at Heels.com for just $59.99.2. Via Spiga Baffle SandalThis T-strap sandal from Via Spiga is ideal for St. Patrick's Day, Easter and beyond. Classy and sassy, this high heel is perfect in green. This shoe is available at Endless.com for $198.95.3. Michael Kors Carina Patent Leather Pump This patent leather pump is slick and sophisticated. What really makes this shoe unique is the demi-wedge heel covered in the basket-weave. You can get these pumps at Nordstrom for $118.95.4. Keds Bliss Canvas WedgeThe comfort of Keds sneakers in a high heel wedge! This shoe features a green upper complemented with a coordinating plaid wedge. These shoes are a cute option when you want to be comfy and dress down just a little bit, but still stay stylish. These are $54.95 and Solestruck.
Green Handbags5. Xhilaration Envelope ClutchDon't overlook Target as a place to shop for affordable, fun and flirty handbags . This green clutch features a chain strap handle that can be hidden away in the bag. Get this envelope clutch from Target.com for just $14.99.6. Gryson Sydney Shoulder BagThis soft Italian lambskin bag features both a shoulder strap and a short handle. This green bag has a turnlock closure hidden by the flap. It's a luxurious handbag with a price to match. At $875, this shoulder bag is available at Saks Fifth Avenue.7. Jessica Simpson Arena SatchelThis synthetic patent bag offers lots of shine. With its fun style and roomy interior, this satchel can carry all your essentials wherever you go. Whether you are wearing jeans to go shopping or a suit to a meeting, this green bag is a terrific choice. Get it at Amazon.com for just $88.8. L.A.M.B. Glazed Love Capri Handbag From Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B line, this structured bag is a bold alternative to your everyday handbag. Featuring quilted logo insets, double handles and lots of detailing, this bag is available at ShopBop for $625.
Green Accessories9. Chunky Turquoise NecklaceThis green turquoise necklace is perfect for springtime. It's a statement piece that will certainly garner some attention. This necklace is not only beautiful but also affordable at only $129 from Oceana Jewelry.10. Wide Green Patent Leather BeltThis neon green belt in shiny patent leather will add a big boost to any basic black outfit. This wide belt also comes in other fun colors such metallic gold, bright orange and daring red. Get this belt from Belt is Cool for just $14.99.11. Melinda's Apple Green Cocktail RingYou don't need to break the bank to wear dazzling jewelry. This sparking cocktail ring features a peridot green oval stone in the middle surrounded by shimmering cubic zirconias all around. You can get this ring from Eve's Addiction for only $48.12. Lee Angel Enamel Stretch BangleThis bangle bracelet features a green and turquoise scallop pattern to create a very unique look. Wear it anywhere from the office to a dinner date. This bangle is $235 at Macy's.