Feb 26 2017

Confession, I am a ‘once churched person’

Dear Friend,

Something that’s been rolling in my head for months now, came to light today.

I am a once churched person.

In high school I was, in my opinion, a bit fanatical. I was as I see and perceive it now, headed down a path of extremism. I was judgmental. I was inflexible. I was intolerant. I had a skewed view of my responsibility as a Christian. A skewed view of my responsibility as a human. It was not how I was being raised, but how I was evolving at the time.

Growing up it was church Wednesday night, Sunday morning, Sunday night, any other time in between for anything. At school, President of the chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Much of which I am proud of. What may be a surprise, is that as I look back or had conversations with some since 1979, a few things I am embarrassed about and apologized for. That would be the fanatical side of all of it. (Thanks Coach Black)

My decision in 1985 to do what I had wanted to do all along propelled me into an exploration that was inevitable when I went back to college. Exploration not as an educator, but someone who would express (or wanted to express) themselves through images and words. While the path moved and changed here and there, not being truly realized, the path has been good.

If you take my high school persona and sit it next to who I am today, some might be surprised. Some may not. I’m not sure where I fit into that analysis. Where I am does feel better than where I think I was.

What completely shifting my path did, was bring the beauty of our diverse world front and center to me. While I haven’t yet seen the whole world yet. I had glimpses into it from unique perspectives and experiences through professors and classmates. I think my eye’s were pretty wide to begin with, but what I learned, my mind was also open. And the beauty of humans I have experienced is a lifetime of love.

I’ve been thinking about all of this a lot for many years and even more within the last decade. The beauty that surrounds me in the people that have graciously allowed for me space in their lives. Goodness to last a lifetime.

Some of it is confusing to me. I have often ask my Mom, who took me to that Church 3 times a week, what shifted? What changed? And by the way, took me but I never felt pressured to go to that Church 3 times a week. It was part of me, it was home. With people I loved.

How do you explain, understand or accept the differences that I see today? Some are ideologically, figuratively, metaphorically and literally so different. Not only are we no longer in the same pew, we aren’t across the aisle or even in the same building. Diametrically apposed. Where I feel it now, is in my heart. In high school I now know I felt it in my head. I am certain of that. Certain because of how it feels now. I don’t know who is right or if anyone has to be right. I just know how it feels to me. How it feels in my heart.

College and 1985 was about digging deep. At the time I don’t think I knew that. I know now that there I only scratched the surface.

A lot happened that year. Despite the fact that I was finally doing what I wanted to do, the family unit I had grown up in was kind of crumbling. My ground, my dear cousin died. Then my Great Grandmother. Jung, Nietzsche, Thomas Moore, Plato, Hesse, the Masculine, the Feminine, Symbolism … Religion. Many of my classes were therapy. Deep self refections and vulnerability that now I realize, again just scratching the surface.

During this time I use to spend Sunday mornings at a teachers house talking, Sufism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity … praying together, eating together and talking about religion. Not as a specific, but as choice and exploration. A heart settling knowledge that it was love and compassion that was religion. A religion I wanted. That there was a possibility that there was not just one way. But that we could all come together for the greater good, listen and take care of each other with no judgment, no expectation. Just love.

Now more than ever before we have at our fingertips so much information. We have so much access to each other. We have such an incredible opportunity to share love. To honor and care for another. Yet I read and see so much anger and hatred. A lack of tolerance for difference. Accusations of people that we just can’t know. Us vs. them.

What is it that makes us believe one thing over another? Why the disenfranchisement? What appears as ones attempt to understand something to express the understanding of it, often feels like judgment or reads as hatred. A feeling that often brings tears to my eye’s and weighs on my heart so heavily.

What is happening?


A once churched person

Feb 4 2017

the lump in my throat

On Monday January 16th I met a coworker for the first time in our Seattle office. On Monday afternoon January 23rd her ex-boyfriend shot and killed her then killed him self in front of police and her 15 year old daughter. I didn’t know her personally but it affected me. It affected me in that way that seemed surprising. At least for me anyway.

I’ve been living life the last few years with a lump in my throat. It’s constant I always know it’s there. Then something like this happens and it grows a little. And I wonder, how am I going to manage it? How do I not cry all the time?

How have we come to this place?

I can’t wrap my head around much these days. I don’t understand how or why humans aren’t taking care of each other? I can’t wrap my head around why people, because of race, because of religion or because of differences, hate. Yes, it feels like hate. And how did that seep into the White House with a man who by his actions, is full of fear and hatred, no diplomacy, disrespectful and to say the least troubling beyond a level of comprehension. My opinion of course.

I also can’t wrap my head around how so many are so easily pulled down a narrow, fact less world and make or take opinion facts and push on completely blind to the reality. Your opinion is just that if it is not based on fact. Why do I see hate in their anger?

One action, one incident does not a person make. Are you ready for that? But character? Now that is a different concept. And we do seem to have a skewed perception of character, “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual”.

Many a friend on Facebook have taken to the streets, taken to calling Senator’s, writing letters, making phone calls, all in an effort to save and preserve the rights that so many before us worked so hard for. I am too, and I will not stop. And yet this seems to be lost on many. Yes, even giving you the right to spread and invoke the demoralizing hate and lies you will so easily share as truth.

I fear we have left respect in the past. We care not about our neighbor, our foe. Our humanity is in flux. Somehow it’s become, I am the way.

Currently, in my opinion, we have the most unbelievably disrespectful, unpopular individual with no diplomatic experience or understanding leading us where? I find nothing distinctive about his character. Some of your work to divert attention by your continued hatred of our last president or the past with blatant lies is old and tired, the anger is useless and a bit ugly. It feels like an acknowledgement of your fear and lack of interest in understanding in the bigger picture. It is a ‘yuge’ pile of lies coming from the likes of individuals most of us wish still only existed in movies and bad television. Attempting to divert everyone’s attention from what this man is actually doing to our country, good luck. There are many watching, reading and paying more attention than you are. Many who whether you want to believe it or not are fighting for you as well. We all have too much access and are too smart to be victim of a gaslighting and have much to lose.

The falsehoods and blatant lies that continue to be feed will get us nowhere. I questions true intentions along with the potential demise of our basic rights and freedoms. These things that some share, says more about them than I think they realize. Your freedoms are at risk more than you understand. They may align with your opinion, this does not make them right for the greater population or the greater good. Denigration should not be a course of action.

I don’t like a lot of things that a lot of people do or say, but I don’t hate any one. And this I do not understand, this I don’t think I want to understand. How is it that we can departmentalize and not take care of everyone, only those some/you “deem” worthy. Are you okay with being unworthy? Are you okay with being on a list? I’m not. Therefore, I will do everything in my power to continue to support all humans without judgement, to be able to be and feel safe, to have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Oh, and no longer read the comments sections of articles I read. My heart can’t take it.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing,” Frankl wrote in Man’s Search for Meaning, “the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” I chose grace, compassion and love. I choose us, not just me. The world is bigger than the small space I am in.

I will keep that lump in my throat as my barometer for love and compassion. And thank my mother and my father for raising me with the grace of a compassionate Gods love.

Apr 5 2016

Daring Manifesto

Lately, most days, many days I am brought to tears by the things I see, hear and read. They aren’t always tears of joy. Lately they are mostly tears of sadness. Tears of confusion as to how we allowed ourselves to…wait strike that. Tears of my perception of how we have allowed ourselves to become.

I see and read such hate on online social media outlets. I see people that I have respected and even admired posting and sharing things that are mean, hurtful, disrespectful and nine times out of ten just straight up false and hold no factual integrity. Again, my perception along with an occasional Google search to fact check.

Kindness and respect seem easy and universal. Yet I perceive to often such scarcity in simple kindness as I scroll here or there, read this or that.

Several weeks ago I started Brené Browns, Living Brave Semester. Half way through this online semester we were required to write a Daring Manifesto.

This experience has been a challenge on many levels. “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” Uncomfortable, yes.

My life feels a strange dichotomy. Often I feel that I am just an observer, sitting back watching life, taking it in. Being silent. Then on the flip side I very often feel I am full on leaning in and living my true north, showing up every damn day. I know that I show up every day. Fully participating and engaging the situation. And absorbing too much. Those are the days, more often than not I get knocked down or a little beat up.

I don’t have all the answers and on most days no answers. But I have insight, thoughts and ideas about those around me that mean so much. Those around me that I want to live a life of pure joy and happiness. To experience no disenchantment or heart break. But I can’t block it all or even stop most of it.

With an open loving heart I have tried to contribute, help and yes sometimes question something that is going on; and make a suggestion of another way. Or question and ask why to get an answer that I am certain I don’t have. But to no avail, have I gotten the answer or in some instances the simple respect and consideration that I am certain I afford those around me unconditionally.

I don’t feel that I am a complicated person or so complex that those who know me don’t really know me. So just in case. Here is my Daring Manifesto for you to ignore or read. And if you read and feel compelled, hold me to it.

Nov 30 2015


What has happened to us? What is it that creates and causes once friend, room mates even, to have such difference that one would “unfriend” on Facebook?

I have over 400 friends. It seems like a lot to me. But then there were over 500 in my graduating high school class. I went to a state college for two year and new fairly well more than a handful of people. Several jobs, another college, small so knew most of those people at some level.

There is a distinct divide and difference in the overall opinion of my “friends”. Some extreme, some not. Some caustic, some not. Some very funny, some not. Some diametrically apposed, some not.

Some post things that I absolutely agree with. Some post things that I absolutely disagree with. Occasionally, I try to articulately and with as much reason and logic that my brain can muster, comment on what they post. And I mean occasionally, rarely actually. Can probably count on both hands when I have done this.

I’m not changing their mind, just like they aren’t changing mine. I will say this, at least if I post something I do my very best to vet it for fact, truth and reality. Some of my “friends” who I held in high regard or thought very smart, have made me question that of late.

It would be one thing if what they posted I was not able to in 30 – 50 seconds debunk with a quick Google search. But 9 out of 10, I am able to do that. In some cases bogus beyond, beyond that it makes me think…maybe they aren’t as smart as i thought they were. Then I think, I’m not that smart so that can’t be true.

Why is it that I take care to check and be careful to not just post anything? Or stay away from extreme tragedy or brutality?

Like I posted on 11/29;
My opinion. The only truth on Facebook, pictures of food. Oh and maybe cat videos.

The rest, mean, wide sweeping generalizations that have no potential for anything positive and perpetuate stereotypes. Crazy unreal fact-less opinions and accusations that can only serve to continue the pain and suffering that I would think at this point we’ve all had enough of.

If you have access to Facebook you have access to the internet. How about a little caution and research before you share?

How can misinformation or misunderstandings not perpetuate the evil that exists? How can it not perpetuate the hatred?

Haven’t you had enough? I know I have. (with a picture of my Thanksgiving turkey)

The only thing I would have done different with that post was actually end it with, “and here is a picture of a turkey.”

Yesterday a friend posted this;

I commented something to the effect that we should help and that I would be helping, not all Syrians are evil and I included a link to Mercy Corp.

Then I posted on my Facebook page;
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Today, she unfriended me. Makes me sad. Not sure why, but it does. Some of her posts have been on the more conservative side of things and in my opinion, kind of mean and disrespectful. But I didn’t unfriend her. I haven’t unfriended any of my friends who have opposite opinions to mine.

So, I guess I was too…I don’t know? Too kind? Too honest, too inclusive? I don’t know, just sad.

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Sep 22 2015

Sticking My Neck Out

And I take full responsibility for my words and the consequences they may bring. Because I am certainly not perfect.

I see this posted here and there. That we, “need God in the schools”. We need God here or there.

I don’t think that we need God anywhere other than were he is already, or should be, in the hearts of millions of believers, period.

Would it really make a difference? I think not, since most of the hate and judgement that I see is from those who “quote” God and use him as the platform for a belief system that in my opinion is contrary to the God that I was raised on and learned about in the Christian Church.

I think about my youth and what I believed and what I thought about God, church and people. And I am glad that my Mom, Merle McConnell or whom ever was there to teach and build my foundation for belief were compassionate, open and not closed off or judgmental.

I realize that the path I was on in high school could have sent me in an entirely different direction. I honestly believe that I was on a path to persecute and judge those around me. God only knows why I thought that was my job. So thank you God or whom ever for keeping my mind open and curious and for taking no words for granted.

In my opinion, if we are to be true believers then God says a few things about that. I don’t need to list a line of scripture here because most of you, apparently spend more time in the bible than I do these days. I think you know what I am talking about. Love others as I have loved you. Turn the other cheek. Judge not lest you be judged. But maybe some of you should go back and read the entire book consider the context and the time it was written. But that’s just me.

If we have God in our hearts and minds then how should that translate in how we treat all of God’s children? No, seriously. I’m asking. If we love God, how do you show him your love?

Let me cheat here a little bit here with this quote because I love it!

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So back to my question. Would it really make a difference and what do you mean, we need God in schools or here or there? I was thinking, we added God to the Pledge of Allegiance in the 50’s and look where we are today.

Do we need to have it in front of us all the time to remember? On the wall, in a book, over the door that we or our kids walk through? Flashing at us at every corner like a walk/don’t walk sign? Is that really going to make a difference?

Are we so weak that unless we have it in our face every day like a Kardashian that we are unable to just be the loving, caring, compassionate beings that God created us to be….if he in fact created us?

Here’s more trouble.

If he did create us in his image, how is it that we (or some of us) feel that his image is vengeful and judgmental. That any of us truly no what his intentions were? Go ahead, place scripture reference here.

If we are to believe this, then how is it that we can judge those we know nothing about by actions reported in the media, liberal or otherwise. By nuance or innuendo? Do we blindly believe what others say just because if fits what we think is right or wrong? Oh and don’t get me started on right or wrong! Cause I’m thinking, some of what some of you think as right or wrong, in my opinion are not for you and I to decide.

If we are to believe this(or if I am to believe this), how is is that we believe venomous hateful speech from a few who have been given an open forum to judge, denigrate and splash hate at those different than the skewed version of a human they believe we should all be.

Sometimes I login to that place call Facebook and leave crying for the things I see or read that others have written or shared.

Because if you deem yourself in a position to judge and condemn, in my opinion how can you say you believe in God. Again, not the God I learned about growing up.

Someone said a while back that they where going to worry more about what God thought of them than others here on earth right now. Well, yeah I guess. Since God will judge you on judgement day. Don’t you think that he will look at you and question how you spoke about or treated his other children? To me this is ironic? Or contradictory or actually kinda crazy at best.

If there is a God. I too worry what he will think of me if those gates are real and they are pearly. Will he say, good job! Or will he say, you disenfranchise the poor. Kicked those who were down. Passed judgement on those you knew nothing about. Robbed the poor and stole from the blind. And twisted my words so out of context that I’m even afraid of your judgement of me. Your call I guess based on what kind of God you believe in.

I don’t know anything. Never have, never will. But I have to believe that if there is a God, he wants us to love and care for one another. That there should be no discrimination of that love that all of his children are worthy of that love, just as he has loved us. But what I am I to believe with so many clergy or people who present themselves a Godly are the ones casting the most judgment and just being down right mean. What has happened to them that they have such fear?

I see so much hatred. So much judgement. And for what? No seriously! For what?

I think we need God in our hearts and minds. Act like we are servants of him and treat one another with compassion, kindness and the love we all deserve. Yes, there will be people who will tempt and test you…just remember what Jesus did or said to those who tested and tempted him.

If we are to not believe this, then what are we to believe?


Sep 13 2015

Passive Aggressive Post

This place, Facebook is such an interesting place. Is it a true window into the hearts and minds of those you thought you knew? Some you barely know and those you wonder if you really ever knew?

Some days the things I see and read here break my heart. Bring me to tears. And too often are void of the joy that does surround us. How did we get here?

People are different. People have different opinions, beliefs, ideas and ideals.

Now this is just me but some of the opinions I read, I can rarely find facts for. And on a regular basis debunk. Granted some think that the Internet is not the place to find information, (according to a comment on a string I was part of a while back). But it’s what I have. Sure I could go to the library or wherever that individual goes for his info. But I’m lazy so Google and the internets it is. And I read all sides, not just the side I agree with. And I don’t read traditional news resources or outlets. I try to go to the source and vet it if I can. Not always easy.

I also don’t try to imagine that I have any idea what the intent of something written 50, 100 or even 2000 years ago. Hell sometimes I don’t remember the intent of things wrote last month! And I always question if it’s real or truth.

I saw my Naturopath last week and he said, “uh-oh, gloom and doom again”. We worked through it and am working through it. There is an occasional ray of hope! An occasional good thing here or there.

I guess my point of writing this is to ask. Do we really hate at the level I read? Am I too sensitive? Do I need to get over it and let it go? How did our differences turn into such disrespect and hate? What does it say about us, that in my opinion, we write and share hateful, hurtful, disrespectful things?

And yes, I am paying attention. Just so there is no question. But is hate and vitriol the answer?

What if we all just let go and got over it? And moved on! Moved on to what? Maybe we could move onto a kinder, gentler and respectful discourse. A true discourse. A factual discourse with solutions. I can hope or dream can’t I?

The acceptance of what some are saying today is at a level of hatred and disdain that to be honest; I didn’t think we had it in us. To openly discount another human and have millions cheer you? And listen?! I just don’t get it.

Do we become a nation of intolerant, vengeful beings looking out only for me, myself and I? Do we do nothing to help the disadvantaged, the abused, the hungry, the veterans who served and protected because of a few bad apples? Do we kick those who are down as we pat ourselves on the back for being righteous and God fearing? (And there is a whole other topic! Fear God? Not the one I was taught about growing up in church…I digress) How is it that one sentence or partial sentence from the bible gains such momentum and others ignored?

Do we become so blinded by the hate that we can’t even actually have a discussion about solutions because we are lost in name calling, finger pointing and a blame game that is endless and pointless and will never get us anywhere. I guess one would have to actually have a solution. Or be interested in a solution.

What have we come to? What is our intent? Our purpose? If we are to believe this book the bible that so many like to quote. God says love one another. Not just this group or that group, this religion or this race or people from that country. LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU. Ok, so I took one sentence or a version of one sentence and use it to make my point. GUILTY! What does that sentence or concept mean to you?

Again, that’s just my opinion.

And now a promise to not participate in the negative hate and disrespect of anyone. How about you…got solutions or just more posting and sharing of juvenile name calling and factless, untrue stories?

Sep 6 2015

That Depends….

on what version of God we go with.

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Mar 1 2014

Nothing is Forever

I’ve been thinking lately, for a long while actually, that nothing is forever. I think and believe that compassion should be forever.

“Hatred brings more hatred, and violence only brings more violence. What we must do is stop this cycle here and now by transforming anger and hatred into compassion.”

Hatred for me is a pretty big word. It feels a certain way. The word hatred carries a pretty intense extreme feeling. But hatred has many levels. From the simple discomfort that fear brings to someone when something or someone is different from them or changes. To the extreme that results in physical violence to another. It’s something that causes an action of oppression of another at any level. Any level.

Hatred is real and shouldn’t be dismissed. But should be carefully checked, worked through and never acted on. Other’s hatred blinds us and our own hatred blinds us as well.

“The real enemy is their anger, our anger, their hatred, our hatred, their violence, our violence.”

Nothing is forever, but compassion should be.

Be descent. To everyone. Stop, take a breath and think before you speak or act.

Quotes are from, The Real Enemy, part of Tricycle’s Winter 2001 special section, “September 11: Practice and Perspectives. Other articles in the series can be found here.

Feb 15 2014

I’d Stand with Sam

It’s hard to explain why I feel the way that I do. That in some ways is so contrary to some that I know. Sometimes so contrary, well so contrary that it makes me wonder, have we always been this far away from each other?

I watch this;

I watch this;

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And I cry. I don’t know if I cry because of how grateful I am for what these two have said, for so many of the wonderful people in my life that I love and care for, or because so many believe they are wrong.

Like feelings or love has a right or wrong. (you know what I mean) That we as a species can love and tolerate some, but cast aside others like trash or criminals. For me that’s fear at it’s worst.

Students in Missouri “Stand with Sam” and blocked the Westboro Baptist Church from doing what they do. I hope the parents of those students are proud of them.

There is goodness in our world. There is compassion and love for others. Why does this create such dissension? Who is it hurting?

It’s hard to explain why I feel the way that I do. Is it because of how my parents raised me? Bringing me up in a church that was open and shut no one out. Is it because of my cousin who I will never know if he was happy? Or was able to live the life, short as it was, that he wanted and was able to be loved and feel love. Is it because of the amazing people in my life who share my feelings?

It’s hard to explain why my heart hurts when I think about the things that people say about and to others that they know nothing about.

I’m not the smartest person in the room most of the time. All the time probably. I hope instead that at the very least I’m always fair, descent and compassionate toward those around me. Never hurting anyone, never saying anything so as to create a wave that directly or indirectly hurts another.

It’s hard to explain why I feel the way that I do. But I’m glad that I do feel the way that I do.

Thanks Mom and Dad and who ever else out there taught me to love no matter what. To be open hearted and open minded. To not judge or disenfranchise others. To consider others equal and deserving of every good thing in life, no matter what.

Aug 22 2013


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