What began as a friendly game of capture the flag amongst the neighborhood kids quickly turned a new direction as the older children took control.  The majority of them had played together in the same backyard for years, coming home to toss their bags in the house and run to the sanctuary of play.  Aside from the occasional argument over whose turn it was next, they gave and took turns and blows with general good humor.  The motley group of boys and girls ranged in ages and the bigger kids looked out for the little ones and parents young and old agreed that this was a great group of young people.

Lately, though there seemed to be a shift in attitude, as though with the onset of middle school the invisible lines were drawn and camps created.  Today the innocent game seemed to have a frenzied sense to it, as though there were an undercurrent running that no adult would be able to see or feel.  The hits a bit harder, the barbs a bit more cutting, tackles that were meant for touch only sound more violent, harsh.  Then the words, the comments riddle the air.

“Take that one, freak!  You’re going down tonight; I’ll make you wish you were like the rest of us.”

“I told you not to talk to me when I’m at that table with the rest of the gang; you’re not one of us.  Get that through your head.  You’re not welcome there.”

“Gawd, no!  I will never walk into that dance with you!  Dude, what is wrong with you!”

The barrage of complaints rain down on their fellow neighborhood player.  Where yesterday they traded “who’s your mama” jokes, today the jokes are replaced by hate and threats.  The ambush of rage spewed forth, these young teens choosing to bushwhack one of their own, to make them pay for something beyond their control.

“Hey, step off; I haven’t done anything to you!  What is your deal?  All I did was wave your way in the lunch line, is that a friggin’ crime?  You’ve only spent whole weeks at my house and vacationed with my family every summer.”

“You are a freak!  Get this through your head; you made your choice when you decided to “come out.”  You knew what would happen, man, you coulda rode the high all the way through school, and you had to declare who you are so the whole damn world would know.  You don’t think people wonder about me?  Man, you’re so dense!  It’d be better if you’d just transfer or just… Ah, hell.  I’m outta here.”

He took the rest of the group with him, leaving one alone, bushwhacked, bombarded, and beaten.  Maybe it would be better to transfer or, there are other options.  Yah, there are always other options, there is always another choice.

The hate, where do we learn it?  When does the familiar companionship of a neighboring game of tag become something sinister?  What motivates us to turn against each other so easily?  The blows of a tackle may heal and the bruises fade, but the words and the intentions remain.  Those don’t lose impact and can do far more damage than any broken bone or wounded ego.  The tapes play for a lifetime, shaping ideas of identity and limiting potential.  How unaware of the impact we have on one another.

The Creator looks at each of us with joy and love, unconditionally.  Where we see a flaw or imperfection, or a different way of behaving in the world, God sees pure perfection and potential.  All of creation is embraced with a love that knows no bounds, no barriers, and nothing can separate any of us from that perfect love.  It does not matter who we love, how we love, what we have done, said, or left undone; we are called and claimed as beloved children.  In that moment of conflict in the backyard, the love for every one of those kids overflowed from the Creator, the same love covered each of them and will continue to cover them no matter what happens tomorrow.  That unconditional and fierce love covers each of us, no matter the age, experience, past, present, or future.   That is an impact which can move mountains and tame even the most hateful tongues.  The impact of steadfast love now and forever holds true.

“If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you.
John 15:17-19


BUT!!!! i HATE to FLY

“Delta flight out of Sioux Falls leaving at 12:35 pm August 7 has already been delayed.  Please refer to check in times when you arrive”

GREAT!!!!  Just what I wanted to hear, leaving for almost a week, on my own, knowing the last time I took a trip by myself I was going to North Carolina, 3 months pregnant, and my luggage was lost for 2 days.  NOOOOOO!  This is not going to happen again!  Yet, here I was, back at an airport, flying back to Asheville (yes home to filming of the Hunger Games), and this time my son is 5 and I am no longer pregnant…and I have included a change of clothes in my carry-on.  HAve I mentioned that I LOATHE flying?

So, the stage is set for what looms ahead, my last trip to the east firmly in my mind, I anticipate with massive trepidation what will occur.  While I yearn for adventure and creativity,  i tend not to do well when it comes to flying.  The take-off and the landing are the spots that get me the most, I try to hold my breath as soon as I feel the descent.  I find that this is not a wise move, since a DESCENT could last longer than the actual flight.  I am learning to re-vamp my strategy–slowly.

I sit at Joe Foss airport and wish to god that I had a pair of ruby-red slippers, maybe if I could just click my heels together…I could magically transport.  Maybe if Madeleine L’Engle is correct, I can tesseract my way to North Carolina….maybe, just maybe.  No, the plane is now 1 1/2 hours late, having a mechanical issue and the part needed did not come in FED EX…ok, then, send Harry Potter’s owl to fetch it…DO SOMETHING!

Restless passengers eye one another, I check my ticket for the umpteenth time and vow that no matter what, I have my will in place (at least verbally) so should something happen to me….my love ones know what to do with my earthly possessions.  AS IF i had any earthly possessions…I just graduated Seminary, the Federal Government owns me!

FINALLY we are to board, and I walk down the ramp, no one feeling the confusion and apprehension that I feel.  No one suspects that I am terrified to fly, or that I have left the 2 most important people in my life with their father….I KNOW they will be fine.  I also know that I HAVE to make this trip, that it has been gnawing at my guts for a number of years and months since I received finances to make the trip.  Truth is, I fell in love with NC 5 years ago and the trip I am making is to an International Biblical Storyteller’s Conference.  Storytellers?  ME?  Me.

I look for my seat, silently thanking the airline gods that I am able to find the seat (the correct one) and stow my carry-on luggage (which can hold a small pug—-not that I would know) and buckle my seatbelt.  The person next to me is ….a kid.  Well, not a small kid, but compared to my age and station, he’s a kid.  We talk

He is on his way to interview for another summer internship with Monsanto,he has been in Nebraska all summer with them and the package they give these interns is amazing…car, gas, living expenses, food, lodging, and a credit card for the summer.  HELLO!  Here I smile quietly to myself as I introduce myself as working for a grassroots community development non-profit which specializes in school teaching gardens.  The exact opposite of the agriculture hemispheres collide and I think what more odd moments could happen on this day?

More was in store as we continue to climb in altitude.  We continue to talk and realize that small ag is not a threat to big business, nor is big business the all-encompassing evil we think it is.  They can co-exist and understand one another, if we allow it to happen.  ANYWAY……we talk about what is happening and I find out that he is from a small town in southeastern mn, where lo and behold, a person that I work with daily lives.  Connection 2 established and then a couple more when we talk about people that he knows.  We really do live in a small, small world.

We laugh thinking what an incubator we live in when I start thinking about SDSU in Brookings….my alma mater.  I spent a number of good years there and fell in love with the town as much as I did the people.  There are just some places that have good energy…Brookings, SD is one of them.  We gab of campus and the changes and I giggle thinking of my dorm in Wecota…all the furniture was moveable.  I remembered my first class in BIO Stress Building and my first day at Doner! and the trek from Wecota to HPER in the dead of winter.  He is total AG-buisness….I smile.  He is all of 20 and gets to move off campus for the first time.

Fasten your belts…this gets bumpy.  He describes the house he is moving into with 5 other guys.  I ask if he has invested in Febreze and he proceeds to describe a little mint green house with cute white shutters…well, he didn’t say cute…I did.  Starts to name the address and before I know it he cites a McDonald’s right up the street and a little further up the block used to be a Zesto’s.  1448 7th Street I inquire and he nods.

NO WAY!!!!  That is my 1448 1/4 7th street.  Well, mine and my Jenn’s.  I lived there in college and sat there aghast as he talked of the sliding kitchen door one can hear from every room in the house.  I lived in the basement and wanted to live on the main floor with the hardwood floors.  I lived there as I student taught and underwent my first sinus surgery with Dr. DeSautel.  HE worked wonders.  I laughed and studied and dreamed there, now a house full of 6 boys will do the same.  Those in the basement still have the huge armoire in the large bedroom and a set of pale pink dishes with ivy on them….Compliments of an aspiring theatre major.

Day one on my trip and my first flight sees connections that I could not possibly invent on my way to Mpls.  The flight went on without incident, I forgot to hold my breath, forgot to be scared of taking off, forgot to be scared to fly.

I know that many may read this and disregard my comments as so many coincidence….it wasn’t.  There is no way I could put together that chain of connections in that time and place to reveal to me at that moment.  I could not invent that and I did not ask for those variables to be present.  Truth is, I wanted to be a bit surly, soaking in my discomforture.  i did not want to admit to anyone how excited I was to be going back to NC or to be a Storyteller….or to incorporate my love of theatre, music, writing, and faith all into one arena.  I did not want to admit that anything that perfect existed or that I would be so called to do so.  So called….me, who hates to fly–so called out of the nest.  So called, to fly.









I Wish I May…

Not sure what kind of mood I am in tonight, so I will depart from usual ramblings to create an I WISH list….don’t even know what direction it will take, I just plan to write it and see where it takes me.

In no particular order….


Chocolate was declared a food group

Money grew on trees, and those trees grew in my backyard.

My children would stop destroying my house

Time did not seem to fly the older I become

We would understand the importance of family

I embraced more laughter

I could see an ocean

Wood ticks, snakes, and spiders were eliminated from existence

Fall weather and its colors lasted longer

Algebra did not elude me

Words like thong, pantyhose, panties, and jock straps were never uttered

I could hula hoop

All manner of hatred, cruelty, injustice, intolerance, and human and animal abuses would end

I were not afraid of heights, pizza cutters, or water chestnuts

My children understand the joy of sleeping in and taking naps

I did not think Freddy Krueger were not quite so funny.

Prayed more and fretted less

My children a safer and cleaner environment than the status quo

Strength was not measured in what we can accomplish on our own, but within the loving openness of community

Mullets were outlawed

I communicated truthfully without fear of retribution

Our young people loved learning for the sheer joy of adding to their knowledge base

They knew that knowledge is power

We realized we do not have to repeat cycles of dysfunction

Boys knew how to aim in the bathroom better

Said bathroom cleaned itself

I lived closer to the mountains

I had three more wishes………….

Go! Embrace your Liberty….

There is a scene in one of my favorite movies, ( yes it’s a chic flick–DEAL with it.)  Little Women.  In the scene with Susan Sarandon as Marmee and Winona Ryder as Jo, the two interact about a trip to Europe that Jo’s younger sister Amy, has just landed.  Keep in mind, Amy is the youngest, daintiest, blondest, and by Jo’s standards, prettiest…Brunette thinkers, you know what I mean.  Amy has just captured the dream Jo had for years and in a fit of remorse and anger she flops down on the bed to talk with Marmee….It’s a beautiful scene, and as I play it back in my head, I can see it clearly.

Marmee is absently stroking Jo’s hair while she cries a bit, lamenting the loss….”

“Well, of course Aunt March prefers Amy over me. Why shouldn’t she? I’m ugly and awkward and I always say the wrong things. I fly around throwing away perfectly good marriage proposals. I love our home, but I’m just so fitful and I can’t stand being here! I’m sorry, I’m sorry Marmee. There’s just something really wrong with me. I want to change, but I – I can’t. And I just know I’ll never fit in anywhere. “


Oh, Jo. Jo, you have so many extraordinary gifts; how can you expect to lead an ordinary life? You’re ready to go out and – and find a good use for your talent. Tho’ I don’t know what I shall do without my Jo. Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it. 

If I could kiss Marmee in this moment, I would.  This interaction brings tears to my eyes each time I replay it…somehow it has ingrained itself in the midst of my soul, and try as I might, I cannot rid myself of this scene.

As a mother, I smile softly at this direction, knowing full well that my boys will want to fly away sometime soon.  I see it happening little by little already.  Gone are the days when they need me desperately, and while that feels good in the sense of freedom…my lower lip trembles a bit when I think of the years spinning away from us.  I want to call out to them to WAIT, stay here with me, let’s journey this together….But, I can’t.

On the flip side, I feel intimately Jo’s comment, I always have.  This need to fly, to bust out of the ordinary and DO something.  I write about it, talk about it, dream about it, and try to talk other people into experiencing it too.  Most people just nod and smile at me like I have lost my marbles.     Those are the times I feel like someone is patting me on my head and playing into my childish fantasies of adventure.  Other times people wonder why I can’t be content with what I have.

Well, I spose I could, but that would be antithetical to me, to the essence of who I am.  Therein lay the struggle.  I deeply resonate with Jo.  I love where I grew up and the people with whom I have related.  I love the rooted grounding I have received, the education, and the experiences of being in the Midwest and country life.  But, like Jo, I am restless….wandering aimlessly until that moment that feels like magic.  I try to fit the molds, and those that know me best have heard me speak of this till the mold is blue in the face!!!!  I have tried to chip away the restless and uneven parts of me…they still don’t fit a mold.  I have tried to envision a life that is quiet and certain and safe and controlled, it makes me feel like I am trapped.

I worked at a convenience gas station the last 2 days…yup.  Graduated from Seminary and I am working for minimum wage at a till—I am a certified teacher too….try that on for size.  ANYWAY!  I worked the last 2 days, about `18 hours (give or take)  I tried to think that I could do this day-in, day-out…I could be content to do this…to walk away at the end of the day and not think about anything and be quiet.  I could greet and smile and serve..I could.

But.  I. don’t. want. to.

That sounds selfish.  I hear myself type that and I think, oh hon, can you hear how trite you sound?  The thing is, if it were my children saying the same words, I would send them on their way…without remorse, without regret.  Marmee does just that with Jo.

Jo wants to change, to fit the mold, and Marmee gives her permission to break free…to GO!  Embrace your liberty!  I want this MARMEE!!!  Maybe I am looking for someone to give me permission…maybe I want someone to look me in the face and tell me it’s time to GO.  Maybe.  Maybe I want someone to tell me that being safe isn’t always right…that to live a life of purpose is to live dangerously….to love dangerously and to rebel against the social injustice and hatred that is prevalent.  Maybe I want a guarantee that there will be people there, ready to embrace me no matter where the road takes me.  Maybe.

Or, maybe I am scared.  Scared that a life of extraordinary means hard work and sacrifice and a constant feeling of wanting more.  Maybe I do not know if I am strong enough to handle it…that I never had it to begin with, or that I will let people down in the end.  Maybe I am scared of being able to do it…of feeling like it is time to Go and that means leaving the safety of the known…as cumbersome as it may appear sometimes.  Maybe I am terrified to Go.

I can’t imagine what Jo was thinking after her mother told her to embrace her liberty.  I have never heard someone say that to me, much less a parent.  Here is her mother, handing Jo her dreams on a silver platter….willing her to take the leap of faith-admitting her pain at her absence, yet tells her…GO!  How can you expect to live in the box when you have been otherwise gifted…..I yearn to hear that…maybe I have and I have been to deaf to hear.  It certainly wasn’t easy for Marmee to tell her, nor for Jo to act.  She had to, and her mother knew it.

I am not sure what my writing today is about…a jumbled jigsaw of thoughts.  I tried to sort them as I worked today, thinking back to my high school and college days at grocery store work.  I came by the interactions naturally, was a hard worker, and kept the position and grew into more leadership.  That often happens when I am somewhere.  It isn’t long before the “quick study” morphs into another position and usually one of leading or managing….so many instances of “could do”, so many “you should’s”  Most people will read that and think I am egomania personified.  It does not come from ego, it simply happens.  Try as I might, however, I just could not envision myself at a cash register for the next 30 years…and I am sorry that I can’t.  I want more than this provincial life (thanks belle)

Thoughts, questions, comments, rude remarks?  Please?




To be or not to Be….

So, the major fundraiser on which I was working as part of a team is over.  It went smashingly.  All the work and collaboration coming together toward a common goal, it was amazing to see.  It was more amazing to watch people as they enjoyed themselves at the event, the energy was palpable.  I had mixed feelings, wanting to see more people there and more cash flow coming in, but one of my challenges is to find the joy in the moment and relish it for what it is.  Ah, the standards I possess.

One item has become clear, above all the titles that I may hold or have held over the years, the overwhelming call that rises to the surface is that of communicator.  If I look at the Strength Finders assessment, I find that WACA fits….Woo, Activator, Communicator, Adapter.  We always knew I was WAC~  As I work with Community Development, it makes sense for me to embrace this idea of Communicator above all.  All the others flow logically into it.  A good communicator can take any message, dream, call, and tailor it for the people that need and want to hear it.  It does not matter if it is written or verbal.  I am grateful to have been trained and gifted in both.  I have spent years searching for the “perfect” title to describe my existence…Eclectic?  Maybe.  Nah.  I am a communicator.

Even if I chose to be a certified Spiritual Director and Chaplain, I still communicate.  I have the privilege to convey a message of hope and forgiveness that we all need to embrace.  I found that marketing and connections proved important in this endeavor and I found them easy fits for me.  Who knew that I would be putting these to work, marketing, months before I graduate with my MDIV.  The truth is, there is ONE that knew the entire time.  There is a sense of liberation that comes in this understanding.  Maybe I do not have to search for the consummate title that will encompass my existence, much less justify it.  Maybe I can be comfortable with effectively communicating the stories I have been given from others, or from my experience to help someone else.

The height of the night for me was not counting the spoils, or taking the pics.  It was the food, although that was WONDERFUL….part of the joy was sitting back and watching people enjoy themselves…hearing the laughter from people who love each other and the mission we represent.  I truly love the team that I work with day in and day out.  My boss and our other comrade are top notch people and I love them like family. We fight, laugh, tease, argue, argue, laugh, work, and love–hard.  Whatever we are doing, we do hard and committed.  We have shared dreams, goals, hurts, frustrations, tears, giggles, laughter, and more dreams.  We have each other’s back and that is worth more than anything in this fear-laden society where one has to be on constant guard.  We do not fear with one another, we do not fear the board we serve..we love them–dearly.  I wish I could adequately communicate how much we would do for them and how honored we are to partner with our board.  Aside from the monetary finances, (which will come–we hope), we are a gifted staff, with people and connections that build us as people and as an organization.

I know this is a more boring blog than what I normally write, and I have not commented in quite awhile.  Grant me some lee-way and I shall continue my writing.  For those interested, I am on chapter 3 of the book, and feel new compunction to complete this project.  I also sold 2 framed pictures recently…more than the pictures, was the story that went with them–that is worth more than the $ amount they brought.

A sidenote, telling those stories, bringing people together, and remunerating the mission of what we are doing was the best part of my night.  I felt alive, I felt real, I felt like me…hand me a chance to talk with people and convey a message and I am the happiest camper.  Now, how doth one receive payment for something like that?  Does one receive payment for that????

Blessings in all your communications, may they impact you to the core! 



Consumed by Pride…response to my last blog.

Consumed by Pride…response to my last blog..

More Haiku attempts.

 shall post here and see what comes of it.   1 a day Haiku challenge has morphed to 5 a day…good for veggies, good for me!


falling deeply down

drifting listless-blanketing

hush now and listen

 15 jan 2012  cahl


Snow cont.

silent singing flakes

so soft to touch-to watch float

such a pain to plow

16 jan 2012 cahl



it grows not on trees

nor claims a pocketbook

oh missing greenback

16 jan 2012 cahl



shimmering like glass

silence begs deeper silence

reflects back true self

19 jan 2012 cahl



slashing energy

ripping pristine veils away

exposed and primal

21 jan 2012 cahl


toilet paper

rolling from top down

in white waves its softness claims

please replace when used

21 jan 2012



 squish squash sucking in

warm earth surrounds ankles-toes

uh oh- lost my shoes

24 jan 2012 cahl

Chai Tea
a dash of froth; steam
mixes amongst pungent brews
creating pure bliss

30 Jan 2012 cahl


Haiku? Achoo!

A Colleague of mine challenged me to the great Haiku write for 30 days.  In an effort to streamline my writing and to concentrate on economy of words and idea efficiency he posed the idea to write a Haiku a day for 30 days.  Never one to shy away from hard work, I dug in and committed to the veggies idea….According the the Food Pyramid, we are to eat 5 a day (fruits and veggies that is) for healthy mind and body.  So, I endeavored to write 5 a day…I choose 5 random items or concepts and write based on what the energy and spirit gives me…..

Some stink….like dead fish.  Some are not bad..I am offering a handful for comment and reflection.  Throw your thoughts my way, I also try to accept critique in a more grace-filled manner…Be not hurtful, but honest.

   Turtles                                                                              Peace                                                                Hope

poking through a shell                                             shimmering like glass                                  down the crap pit placed

hesitant to venture forth                                    silence begs to deep silence                       drowning in mud; stuck in time

what wonder revealed                                         reflect back true self                                      for light to renew

Bubbles                                                                                 Blue                                                                                  Cookie

dig deep the wand below –                                       azure most brilliant                                           little blue monster

slowly remove- careful drips                          the splash of sky a lake             with no teeth- yet your mouth chomps

breathe in -blow- it grows                                     weaves earthly connect                                  the cookies i crave


we pour in millions

as the flood of age claims more

of what we once were

                                                                all written by cindyaheidelbergerlarson  jan. 2012



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