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Friday, 13 July 2007 1 comment

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    Categories: Life, etcetera

    living life; limping through relationships and finding balance

    Wednesday, 6 June 2007 Leave a comment

    It is hard sometimes to find one’s place–to find stable ground. Life seems to present a variety of challenges–from the teenage angst that each of us encountered [whether we were aware of it or not], to what do I do with my life and to how to I create a family [whether that is a family of one or with another]. The disruptions of life are just that: disruptions.

    I had a recent encounter where a loved one began to ask questions about relationships and finding balance in relationships. This is a difficult one largely because the relationships about which this person was mentioning is a formative and integral relationship. But, just how formative and integral are relationships when one feels abused, neglected, put-down, shut-out, etc.? They may become toxic over time and this toxicity mayvery well just creep up on us. This is a sad reality, but reality nonetheless that presents itself to each of us. So, how do we live life and in relationships where we encounter such difficulties? We must discern–using both internal and external resources–we must find the balance that preserves us.

    Perhaps that is what Jacob was doing when he was asking for a blessing from the Angel of the Lord? Caught in a “wrestling” match, he found himself wanting that fierce person to be present. The Angel was indeed present, but soon the angel would be leaving–but before so, Jacob was left with a limp and his name was changed. Wow! What a disruption in this could-be “spiritual”/”heavenly” relationship. I wonder if it felt more like a dungeon or being a prisoner of war during the time when they were wrestling?

    Perhaps that is how we feel when we enter into times of darkness in relationships? We become prisoners of this war of challenges and finding power in relationships. We walk with a limp. And, sometimes we stumble. We try and reach out, but our faint voice cannot be heard over the clutter that we hear inside of us. We are certainly off balance. We are far from the reality of life and balance, yet we are living, still.

    And so, Jacob’s name is changed to Israel and he departs back to his family–a changed person.

    That’s a great story for Jacob, but what about that person who doesn’t know really why they have a limp? What has tormented them in silence [or perhaps blatantly] that has now produced the limp? Where is their prison? Furthermore, where is their freedom? How does one find balance from the perspective that the limp presents a pretty definite disadvantage and/or disability? That is where I get stumped. I don’t know where to find the balance? I don’t know how to be healed of the limp?

    What if the limp is permanent? What is the balance can never be restored like you thought? Are there ways that we can live, be in relationships, and find balance that look radically different than what our minds and history and traditions tell us?

    I sure hope so! Peace to YOU who is currently struggling with the limp.

    faith, poverty, politics, “skinny” bibles and phat diets

    Monday, 4 June 2007 Leave a comment

    I have just had a lovely “coffee” hour w/ a friend.  I love the place where we typically meet for coffee.  Its an organic, vegetarian sort of place where I truly love the Mexican hot chocolate–w/ soy!  Today we gathered and whilst it was quite loud with dishes banging about, I found myself invited into the conversations of life.

    My friend, clergyperson, scholar, feminist, pastor and good friend and  I talked about writing.  I shared how I have a sense and call and perhaps an urge to write.  From where does that urge or call or sense come?  Is it internal?  Is it external?  I don’t know?  I tend to err on the fact that it is both internal and external.

    And so, I come to this virtual space and begin to press the labeled buttons on my mac thereby producing words, sentences, thoughts.  My words are coalescing into a sense of meaning that is billowing from within, but this sense probably has been affected by external stimuli.

    And there you have it…I have come to a place where the written narrative woven with embodied experience is bubbling within me.  I have also come to a place where [the] “church” [that group of folks who form an organic gathering] has become another place that has been inviting me into her presence and waves of justice.

    I continue to look for the wavemaker–that One who partners with me to do the good work of justice and continues to help me make little moves against destructiveness.

    ‘Hall of Shame’ Exposes Dangers of High-Level Homophobia

    Wednesday, 30 May 2007 Leave a comment

    ‘Hall of Shame’ Exposes Dangers of High-Level Homophobia International Day Against Homophobia Highlights Persistence of Prejudice

    (New York, May 16, 2007) ? Pope Benedict XVI, US President George W. Bush and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have undermined human rights by actively promoting prejudice against lesbian, gay,
    bisexual and transgender people, Human Rights Watch said today in its annual “hall of shame” to mark the International Day Against Homophobia.

    On May 17, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups in more than 50 countries will commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, an initiative launched in 2005 that commemorates the day in 1990 when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its roster of disorders. Read more…

    On the Bike::Riding for a Cure!

    Wednesday, 30 May 2007 Leave a comment

    TNT

     

    27 May 2007

    Dear Family & Friends both near and far,

     

    I’m excited to write to you since I’m teaming up with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society again to ride for a cure!  Last year I wrote to you and entered into an invigorating summer of fundraising and training.  And, following the success of the ride and your contributions for the Illinois Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, I have decided to join the cycle team again for another event and am doing so as a mentor for the Cycle team!  

    You may recall that I rode in the Apple Cider Century last year in Three Oaks, Michigan, and I’m happy to be training for that ride which is scheduled for 30 September 2007.  I have some additional involvement this year.  Not only am I a participant, but I was also invited to be a mentor for this season!  I still fundraise and train, but I also have the opportunity to partner with a group of folks who are fundraising and training for this event.  The mentor’s job is to serve as an encourager during the efforts of fundraising and a partner with participants on training days.  So, either way, I pedal with those participants both on and off the bike!

    When I wrote to you last year, I wrote a letter that mentioned why I joined the Society.  To refresh your memory [and remind myself why I’m committed to community], I rode in the memory of a patient of mine who suddenly died following her diagnosis; she had an acute onset of Lymphoma.  And, I rode for Ben who was doing his best to recover from aids-related Lymphoma.  This year I ride for both Sandra and Ben.  Sandra, the patient I mentioned above and my young friend, Ben, who died last June from aids-related Lymphoma.  And yet, I ride for some new folks, too!  I continue to be amazed at how cancer, any cancer, affects all of us!  This year it’s Brian, a colleague-friend of my spouse, who is 31 and recently diagnosed with Metastatic Testicular Cancer.  Lance Armstrong’s LiveStong is not riding in or near Chicago, so this year I ride for Brian.

    Drumroll please…Let the fundraising begin!

     I hope you’ll consider giving a financial gift to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  The bleak reality of the Chicago winter has passed and outdoor training rides have begun, but the bleak realities of cancer abides and will abide until there’s a cure.  Chicago winters and the journey of blood-related cancers still present struggle and suffering, albeit not exactly parallel. And so, while I’m out struggling to pedal 35, 50, 75 and eventually 100 miles, cancer patients are struggling on their journey down a path of fatigue and suffering with an added bonus of varying emotional responses to the reality of living with cancer alongside the poisonous chemotherapy and tiresome radiation that some patients receive! 

    While we can hope and trust for this summer to be beautiful and a nice reprieve from the blustering winter, most of the cancer patients I saw as a hospital chaplain hoped for a brighter and better day; they strained and hoped for a cure—hoped for a life!  The new life of spring and the subsequent enjoyment of summer-filled activities come only after some very dark days of winter which always come at different times for all of us; and for some of us who struggle with cancer, the new life of being cancer-free is far beyond our reach. 

    I speak about blood-related cancers [and cancer in general] from the perspective of a Chaplain who provided services to persons and their loved ones facing what I heard articulated as an uninviting future and a shocking and lonely present.  I also speak about blood-related cancers from the perspective of one whose family has been threatened with diagnoses of blood-related cancers and the subsequent challenging times.  I have witnessed the great need of emotional and financial support when I worked with patients in the hospital.  I only wish I was aware of the emotional and financial support that is always available through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Now that I am aware, I have a responsibility to my community.  This is my attempt to contribute to the society and partner with those suffering from blood-related cancers. 

    Barriers to a cancer-free life are often the disease processrs, financial accessibility and emotional support.  I want my efforts and time with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help diminish and finally eradicate the barriers of blood-related cancers!  I hope you will help me too!  How, you ask?  Well, while I am no longer serving as a chaplain in a hospital, my path crosses many who do and I continue to meet folks suffering from cancer, including blood-related cancers.  And so, I’m teaming up with the cycle team for an early summer century.  Will you join me in helping me meet my goal of $1,760?

    Now, do you ever wonder how your financial gift helps?  I always wonder where my money goes when I send a financial gift to a charitable organization, and so I have some data for you!  Though this data is specific to the Illinois chapter, this information is nonetheless helpful.

    $100:                Provides free health education for 10 patients

    $500:               Provides a blood cancer patient with financial aid to support medical treatment and travel for one year

    $1000:              Assists in the organization of 47 Illinois support groups and education programs for patients, and contributes to Society sponsored blood cancer research.  Donors contributing at this level are welcomed into our DeViller’s Society, named for the family who started the Society in memory of their son, Robert

    $10,000:           100% of your gift will help support a cutting-edge blood cancer research project of your choice

    Below is a chart to help you see where your money goes when you donate through me to the Illinois Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. 

    As you can see from this chart, the money that is raised for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society goes to aid three sectors within the Society, the largest percentage supporting patient and community service.  This is what impresses me with the Society, and why I want to team up again with the Leukemia & Lymphoma’s Team in Training cycle team.  I invite you to consider with me how you can participate in the patient care of those living with blood-related cancers.  Ready to give?  You can donate online securely at my Team in Training website. 

    The address is http://www.active.com/donate/tntil/robyncycles07  Or, if you’re the check-writing type, you can mail your check to my house…which I’m not publishing on the internet!  Please include my full name in the memo line ensuring that your funds are listed under the appropriate participant.

    Last April when I sat down to write my very first support letter to many of you for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, I recall both the excitement and challenge of raising money and training for a century.  I now find myself in that place again!  Those who supported me became beacons of hope!  It is my hope that this list of beacons will grow exponentially!  Thanks in advance for your support—financially and especially emotionally during this time of fundraising and outdoor training each Saturday!

    Just Do It for a Cure!

    Robyn

    P.S. Thanks in advance for your help, financial and otherwise!  I’m grateful for your partnership in the endeavors I pursue!  I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

    Tuesday’s Telepathy::Feminist news that you can count on!

    Tuesday, 29 May 2007 Leave a comment

    thanks to chicago foundation for women for their TUESDAY STARS

    Bravo and brava to everyone who helped pass Illinois SB 75, the First Offender Probation Act, so women convicted of felony prostitution will have the opportunity to see their charges dismissed after 24 months probation. This bill failed last year, but thanks to strong support it will soon become law (Gov. Blagojevich is expected to sign it soon). Thanks to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless as well as the elected officials who helped—and people like you, whose individual advocacy helped get the needed votes.

    Lauren Breayans, Lauren Chief Elk and April Grolle witnessed a gang rape by a college baseball team of an underage girl who was passed out drunk at a DeAnza College campus party in San Jose, Cal. Despite eye-witness testimony and DNA evidence, the case was dismissed as too weak to prosecute. We applaud these women for speaking out to local media to seek justice. “It makes us think that no girl is ever going to want to come forward” with rape charges because “they’re going to think it doesn’t even matter,” said Chief Elk. “But it does.”

    NEWS IMPORTANT TO YOU
    MEMORIAL DAY: WOMEN IN THE MILITARY
    This weekend we remembered and honored our soldiers who served in the military. We ask you to also to remember the women who serve and how they are affected by service or association to the military. Check out these stories:
    Department of Justice finds male veterans are jailed for rape twice as often as other men.
    Servicewomen can’t get emergency contraception.
    Sexual assault by men in the military is the “private war of women soldiers.”
    FDA APPROVES LYBREL
    The FDA this week approved the drug Lybrel, an oral contraceptive that would halt menstruation. All birth control pills halt ovulation, though Lybrel stops even the “fake period” resulting from hormonal withdrawal. The Sun-Times asked women what they think of Lybrel. TELL US in an email: Would you prefer to use it, once it’s available in July, or not?

    STEREOTYPES: WORDS CAN HURT
    Girls often suffer math anxiety precisely because they are expected to do worse than boys, a study by the University of Chicago finds. When people worry, they erode their “working memory,” a type of short-term memory. Plus, these anxieties can spill over into other subjects, which can lower scores on standardized tests or grades in classes that come after math.

    TAKE ACTION
    Bills and policies that need your energy. Up-to-date as of Friday, May 25.
    NOTE: the Illinois Legislature adjourns May 31. Take action now.

    ILLINOIS ACTION – CONTACT YOUR STATE REPS
    YES on Illinois SB 12: Increase Illinois’ Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low-income families. Read the fact sheet. We need action THIS WEEK.

    YES on Illinois HB 1826: Legalize civil unions in Illinois. Read the fact sheet. We need action THIS WEEK.

    YES on Illinois SB 5 and SB 1: Illinois Covered and state tax reform to fund it.

    YES on SB 715 (now in the house) for school health centers. Opponents object to reproductive health services, such as referrals for birth control. Clinics will also provide students with immunizations, counseling and asthma care. Read more at the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health.

    YES on HB 949 (now in the senate) to increase the TANF grant by 15 percent for low-income families. Like the minimum wage, TANF has not kept up with inflation. Read more.

    FEDERAL ACTION – CONTACT YOUR NATIONAL REPS
    YES on U.S. Senate Bill 1105 and NO to a promised veto: Matthew Shepard Act, to expand “hate crime” to include gender, sexual orientation and disability status. CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSPEOPLE NOW.

    YES on U.S. House Resolution 121: Ask Japan to apologize for the “comfort women” of World War II.

    NO to federally-funded abstinence education. Tell your Congresspeople to let Title V funding expire June 30. Remember, studies show it doesn’t work. Read more on cfw.org.

    YES on federal HR 2064, the Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act, so women in the military can access emergency contraception. In the Armed Services committee.

    YES to U.S. S.972/H.R.1653: Responsible Education About Life Act for medically accurate, comprehensive sex education. Read the fact sheet.

    WHAT IS MISSING?
    We add perspective to recent headlines

    The story: Baseball players are manly men, but sportswriters who cover them are girly. Chicago Tribune sports columnist Rick Morrissey said writers’ reactions to White Sox coach Ozzie Guillen swearing on a live radio show were “like a 6-year-old tattling on her brother.” He wondered aloud if sportswriters like himself “have lost our compass guywise, if we ever had one” since baseball “might be the last bastion of American guyness,” where men are together all the time, reveling in “arrested emotional development.”
    What it didn’t say: Morrissey made a black-and-white distinction: There are real men and then there are the rest, but we think men don’t have to live inside the “man box.” Athletes don’t have to “walk with [their] knuckles dragging behind” to be good at sports and sportswriters don’t have to avoid criticizing men to be good at their job. When we ask “What will it take?” we know one answer is changing the way we think. Learn more about the “man box” and masculinity from anti-sexist activist Jackson Katz, also a former athlete.

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR
    TOMORROW
    MAY 30: Reproductive health issues briefing via conference call, 3 p.m.

    NEXT WEEK
    JUNE 7: Music Matters Concert: Singers and Songwriters Unite Against Violence featuring Jill Scott, 8 p.m. (“What Will It Take?” special event)

    LATER IN JUNE
    JUNE 13: 2007 Impact Awards with Dr. Ruth Westheimer, State Senator Carol Ronen and Silvia Rivera, 6 p.m.

    JUNE 13: Not to my mother, my sister my friend: A day-long youth conference in Urbana (“What Will It Take?” cosponsored program)

    JUNE 21: Town Hall – DeKalb/Rockford, time and exact location TBA

    COMING IN JULY
    JULY 26: The Fairway Network Annual Charity Golf Tournament, 1 p.m.

    For more programs and events see our calendar page or the “What Will It Take?” statewide events page.

    IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
    Catch up on more at our Press Room or our Past Events page at cfw.org or our News page on whatwillittake.org.

    WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
    WHERE HAVE YOU SEEN “WHAT WILL IT TAKE?” If you see our PSAs on TV or hear them on the radio, or if you see one of our ads in newspapers, on buses or on billboards, email lfletcher@cfw.org saying when and where the ad appeared. We will enter you in a drawing for a t-shirt and a few surprises. Please include your name and a daytime phone number.

    Speakers bureau: Want a free speaker to come and tell you or your organization about “What Will It Take?” Contact Laura Fletcher at (312) 577-2824 or lfletcher@cfw.org. More about the speakers bureau…

    JULY 12 tickets to “The Color Purple” in Chicago on sale now, to benefit the Sojourner Fund of the African American Leadership Council.

    SAVE THE DATE
    SEPT. 11: The Foundation’s 22nd Annual Luncheon and Symposium, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Featuring Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, speaking on how women’s rights are human rights.

    monday’s monarchy

    Monday, 28 May 2007 Leave a comment

    So, I have the day off!  Thank you!  Thank you!  I return to my life–writing/blogging, coffee, protein shakes, biking!  And, in fact, I’m off to some of that coffee right now!

    Cheers!

    Categories: Life, etcetera