Sunday, February 17, 2008


"the role of stories: we live our lives by stories we tell about ourselves and that others tell about us. these stories actually shape reality in that they construct and constitute what we see, feel, and do." -- gerald corey

i love stories. about almost anything. especially if they are about people. getting to sit down and hear someone's story, what their life has been like, what their dreams are ... mmm. makes me happy. we've been having a dialog group once a month for the past 4 (or so) months, with both romanians and americans. one of my teammates is working on a long-distance degree in human development so is reading and encountering all sorts of interesting information. he's wanted to take this information and create dialog (with both americans and romanians .. especially those who work with and among the poor), and last week we talked about stories. not only personal stories, but also cultural stories. national stories.

for instance, there is the 'american dream' and talk about equality, independence, freedom. these are ideals and therefore aren't always practiced, but they are some examples of how americans seen themselves .. and how others see them too. this is a relatively positive national story. other nations might have a more negative story. take romania, for instance .. where corruption & submission to someone more powerful have been and still are part of the story, in many ways. (one is too positive and the other is too negative. both forms of pride, in their own ways. neither country is perfect or realistic.)

if i view my nation and culture a certain way, the way i view myself is also affected. and probably i fit into that story, one way or another. what would it mean to change the story? to believe that i could be someone who doesn't need to seek money and security first of all (vs. the american dream)? or to believe that i could be a person who loves others and doesn't always choose my own interests over the interests of another? it seems like believing the story can have a different ending (or even a different middle) takes hope. is a way to hope .. rewriting the story and aiming for change is a tangible way to counteract the lies we are told.

and clearly, i think the best way to change the story is to make it more like the Story. the Story that has a good God, and a Son who chose to come to earth as a frail human to save humans from their sinful selves, and grace and forgiveness that don't make sense, and a cross and an empty tomb, and the sun coming up tomorrow. how much do we actually believe the Story that we are told in the Letter from our Father? how far we all have to go .. and yet, there is somehow enough grace to fill the space from here to Home.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

all that from a regular piece of paper?!

someone recently sent me an email with some wonderful one-page pieces of artwork. and somehow that led me to a website for a man named peter callesen.

if you have a few minutes, you might enjoy taking a look at his sight. enjoying some art. taking in pieces of beauty. being amazed that out of a simple piece of paper can come things so intricate. laughing to think about taking a pair of scissors yourself to a similar regular 8.5 x 11 (or 8.2 x 11.5, as the case may be..?) sheet of paper and coming up with anything remotely similar. i guess lots and lots of practice might be involved. (i haven't yet looked at all his varieties of art work, but hope to slowly take them in during the next few days.)

something to enjoy.
peace to you.

Friday, February 08, 2008

some real dancing!

wednesday i got to teach dance to our girls. which is quite a landmark. for that to make sense, a bit of background. i grew up dancing. once or twice a week since i was 4. then in high school, it became 3-5 times a week. at least. and i loved it. some people do varsity sports -- i did dance company and children's dance theater. two good programs. all of which to say, dance is something that comes rather naturally to me, and which i love to do. but i forget that sometimes. i forget how free i can feel when i dance. and how excited i can get about moving. and trying to figure out how to share my love for movement and physical expression (and the beauty of good dance) with others.

so wednesday, i had an hour and a half or so with 4 teenage girls and one other staff person. i didn't know this would happen for sure until tuesday afternoon, and was busy tuesday night. so wednesday morning found me in my apartment trying to find music and exercises to do with them. thinking back to my time at CDT, and the internship that i did senior year of college teaching a number of friends about my style of dance. doing some warm-ups, creating a short pattern, thinking about how to teach them about time, space, and energy (three elements of dance)...

it went pretty well. i showed them a short video, and there were mixed reactions. but 4 of the 6 girls were ready to try it. and they did put themselves into it, working to understand how i moved and move in a similar way. my pattern wasn't particularly easy (which i will fix next time i do this) but they tried it and even wanted to add one of the warm-up exercises to it from the beginning of 'class'. so they got involved in it, and participated, and would do so again (i asked to make sure).

good signs:
-- my brain is already going, thinking about what i'd most like to teach them and what might be ways to do so. interesting ways that involve creative thinking and movement that is 'outside the box'.
-- i was sore yesterday (and a bit today) .. what with my practicing beforehand and then actually doing, i did quite a bit of movement. and apparently haven't been doing enough recently.
-- while we were ice skating today (we took all our kids for a treat, and they enjoyed themselves), i was dancing to the music a bit and being reminded how much i like to use my body
-- did i mention being sore? it hurts, but it also makes me happy because it means i actually worked