The Isolation Journals and Studio Visit with Nadia Bolz-Weber

Prompt 112 last week from Nadia Bolz-Weber was writing about “Things I’m not proud of…” Here is more:

Write a confession—something you did or said that you still carry with guilt and shame. Then write your own absolution, honoring the aftermath of your actions, calling in grace.

*Optional: Burn after writing.

This was powerful for me. I wrote and wrote about things I am ashamed of. Of words that I have spoken to my own children and my students. My tongue is  too sharp. Over the years, I have felt the millstone around my neck getting heavier and heavier, a sad reminder of the little ones I have offended. 

Then He said to the disciples, “…It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. 

~Luke 17:2

I wrote my confession and then shredded, instead of burning, it (due to the smoke alarm in my flat).

As a result of Nadia’s prompt, I subscribed to the Studio Visits at The Isolation Journals. Tonight I got to go to my first Studio Visit with Nadia Bolz-Weber and Suleika Jaouad. It was a lovely hour spent soaking in grace and hope and peace.

God, I thank you that you understand that I am complicated, so many folded together layers of humanity. So much to be ashamed of, yet so much to rejoice in. So much fruit and life and joy and service. I thank you that you have gradually given me freedom to grow past my mistakes, actions, and words that shame me. You are never surprised by what I do, you love me and forgive me. Thank you. Thank you, Jesus, for picking up the pieces and patching me together with you, the living Word of God. Amen.

Human Complexity

Is there a person in your family who is the holder of human stories and conspiracy theories? I have a sister like that. Over the years, I liked to imagine that her rumors and theories were just that and not really true about the history of our family. I have always been a bit of a Pollyanna.

I prefer not to hear about the dysfunction of the humans in our family, but she seems to be a collector of these stories and is not afraid to tell them. She uses them to keep us all more honest and down-to-earth. Nothing shocks her. She has a much healthier appreciation of the complex truth of human experience than someone like me.

She is three years my senior, so I grew up with her and her stories. Most often I didn’t believe her about alcoholism, adultery, out-of-wedlock births, undisclosed gender and sexuality issues. How did she know all these things? She is a detective in her own right.

As a teen and adult, I began accepting that there were truths in her stories, and I have come to more greatly appreciate the complexity of human life.

Wednesday, Day 92 in Bahrain. This is Day 57 of The Isolation Journals with Suleika Jaouad.

Clean Towel Wednesday and Alphabetizing the Spices


My husband just came in and excitedly said, “I’ve changed the towels tonight.”

No response while I hovered over my computer.

“You know tomorrow is Clean Towel Wednesday, right?”

Oh, that’s right. We celebrate different holidays these days.

I had my own moment today, as well.

“I’m going to alphabetize the spice cabinet,” I announced after dinner.

And that’s what I did.

We have too much time on our hands.

This is only about half of the spice jars
Yes, I did start the alphabet at the bottom because all our favorites start with C. (My husband insists the peanut butter stays here too!)

Sweet Conversation Today

After a long day at work, I had  a sweet conversation with my team. It was a nice ending to a long day. In a meeting this morning, I came to learn of a GIGANTIC report that the Ministry of Education asked us to complete last week, while we were on spring break. God bless our administration for not calling us in and making us do it. Instead the Ministry gave us an extra week.

Yesterday our VP explained some things to us in email, but we had a lot of questions, so I just waited until our Tuesday morning meeting. Today we realized what it entailed. I started texting the teachers on my team:

We discussed and began to figure out what was entailed. We each had to gather eight different pieces of evidence for each class they teach. As well as figure out how to best represent it–photo, Google Doc, video, link page.

It was a lot of work. Of course, we didn’t do only that all day! We had family commitments, other school work and connecting with students. I even participated in a virtual TeachMeet by leading a five minute session.

But at ten minutes before our deadline, ten hours after we started, we were finished, and it was a job really well done! We gave each other virtual high fives and applause. We gave flowers and congratulations.

There were lots more messages flying through the virtual airwaves. But the best one for me, as the team leader was this note telling about a Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol quote about how the best thing that functioned was the team. I miss them so much.