Sunday, December 22, 2013

Winter solstace- The longest night

Dec 21,2013

At this time in my life, it seems a lot like the longest night or perhaps "the dark night of the soul". So, it was natural for me to do a labyrinth walk again this month. For those of you unfamiliar with the Labyrinth, it is the ancient "journey" for those unable to make the actual journey to the Holy city. It is a time of contemplation and meditation to hear from the inner spirit. So for me, it is a time to hear God's voice as I quiet my spirit and the other voices of chaos. This walk, we each carried a light, (candle or small flash light) into the path. We were welcomed into the path by a gentle bell, and asked to name the concern or person for whom we carried the light.
      This night, it is for my sister Debbie. With each step, I asked that God would shed light into her journey. I asked that her spirit be illuminated with the Light of the world...Jesus!  I asked that obstacles be removed from her pathway of understanding. I asked that my path journey be one of support, as I walked and carried the light on her behalf. When I reached the center, I stood with open arms and uplifted  hands. My heart whispered, " I release her to you, as I do everyday, flood her soul with your light!"

I began my walk out of the center, using the flashlight to see my path. "Lord, with every step, what do I need to know to leave this in your hands?

    With every ending, there is a new beginning.
    Keep carrying the light.

Tears stream down my cheeks as I leave the Labyrinth pathway.  Show me how to do that Lord.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Winter Wonderland

A winter wonderland... 

While spending last weekend with friends in Grass Valley, we went to the Cornish Christmas on main street. The snow started falling, and the venders were forced to pack up because snow covered everything. It was chilly, but beautiful. We drove back to our friends house and curled up in front of the fireplace, watching television, and the falling snow cover the trees, and our car. I wasn't worried about leaving the next morning because the car has 4 wheel drive.

The next morning my inner child watched with wonder at the landscape only God could create. There were no footprints, and the explorer in me debated about being the "first". The older and more wiser me decided to stay warm, grab the camera and take pictures.

The trees were draped with a snowy curtain that adorned the branches. Snow had come softly in the night, and changed the scenery into a winter wonderland.

I looked around, and saw hummingbirds pecking at the frozen hanger.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Full Moon walk on the Labyrinth

November 17th 2013. The chilly night air made me glad I had worn my heavy coat. Darkness was creeping across the sky and the full moon not quite visable. The scene had been set for us...small candles placed at every turn of the Labyrinth path, with a larger candle burning in the center of the rose in the middle. Each person there for a different pilgrimage of heart and soul.
       We were ushered onto the path with a small chime and a prayer from our guide. I expressed my intent of this particular journey...to have understanding of how to embrace and comprehend the health journey of a special loved one. Every day I live with my own fears and conflicts about things I have no control over, but don't seem to be able to let go. Looking for peace.

   It wasn't quite dark as I began my contemplative walk...I followed the lights to know where to turn. There were some places where I couldn't see the path at all, and walked in the shadows. At one point another traveler whispered, "Go straight ahead". Slowly...for darkness makes me hesitant..placing one foot in front of the other. A moment of panic later on the trip to the center...had I changed paths unintentionally?

I looked up and saw a full moon peeking through the trees.  I was aware of music softly playing in the distance. With each step, I intentionally said, I release this to you God...my fear, my love, My unknown future, my tears, my anger, my joy.  I release it by an act of my will. Please fill my heart with peace

At last I was at the center, surrounded by light and others on their journey...and silence. I stood with open hands, lifted up to receive.

I began the journey back...soon I was totally lost of my path, but not hemmed in. There are no walls on a Labyrinth...I stepped to the edge, then out of the pathway. Had I missed it. Was I cheating myself of a completed journey?  No, this is my path for now. There will be other walks, other meditations..and for now, this is where I am.

Learning peace.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

50 year High School Reunion

Last month, I drove 800 miles to attend my 50th high school reunion. I was delighted to see so many name tags that I recognized.  I didn't recognize the faces at first.  All those class mates got old!

I so enjoyed talking with everyone and catching up on their lives. I realized that it's way past time to set aside my judgments of who was popular, and who wasn't during the 60's. They have all grown old along with me, even tho I haven't seen some of them in 50 years.

I was sad to see where 20 of our class mates have passed away.  We are way to young for that to happen.  And, there are 17 folks we haven't been able to find, perhaps by the 55th reunion.
 
The upper left photo is that of my twin sister, Arlene. I thought about her a lot during the reunion The man in the 3rd row over, on top, is Fred. I went to the Senior Prom with him.

I am always curious about folks and was pleased to find so many have been married almost 50 years...to the same person, even!

I was thrilled to bring my partner for life, Becky Lake, and introduce her to folks who shared my formative years. Becky did real well, and everyone seemed to make her welcome.

This is a photo of me in front of the Historic 7th Street Theater, holding up a copy of my book, "A Christian Lesbian Journey.  I gave away a few copies.
I'm glad that I attended the reunion.
I feel better about my high school years...and my senior years.
 

Monday, May 7, 2012

An empty grave/

I'm not speaking of Jesus on resurrection day. This is a much more current story. Picture with me a cemetery setting in a hilly, wooded rural area. A fresh grave site is open, awaiting the ashes of a loved one. A time of 1P.M. had been set for the private service for Robert Eli Harvey, 34 years old.


Robert is the youngest, adoptive son of Rev. Naomi Harvey. He was the 3rd generation of "Harvey" folks on Grays Harbor, Washington State. The cemetery is Fern Hill, the resting place of Robert's grandparents, and two brothers, Roberto and Davido., who died in a house fire many years ago The full story is told in Naomi's book, "A Miracle Woman-The Naomi Harvey Story" available on Amazon.com by Darlene Bogle.








Robert had long ago expressed the desire to be laid to rest in the family plot, and arrangements had been made several years earlier. Now, there would be no RIP for him, and no time to grieve his loss.
Robert Eli Harvey
No urn to place in the open grave, because the remains were stolen.


Yes, 15 minutes before that service, Robert’s wife of 5 months, Shannon Wildner Tiedemann, and Mae Hamilton, the sister in law of Robert’s brother Izzy ran up to the mortuary and grabbed the ashes then left the area. Naomi arrived to be told that Robert was gone, and that Shannon had them.

The fact that she was Robert’s wife, did not entitle her to the ashes, because she had signed them over to the cemetery to be buried. If she was entitled, she could have just gone and picked them up.

So, why is it important to tell this story? Robert’s siblings, Rosa,Juan,Miguel,Manuel,Victor, along with Darlene Bernard and Rocky Liester, and Mike,Dan and Dennis Kennedy had part of their history stolen also

I tried to have this printed in the Local newspaper, however, even tho I could prove what was done, their policy is not to print pieces where people are called out for actions like this. Say What? I thought we had freedom of the press and freedom of speech. Not in Aberdeen.

So, the big question is why did this happen? Why were the actions of Robert’s biological family so cruel and despicable? It is all tied up in their mis-understanding of homosexuality. They are all convinced it is a choice we make, and that we are going to hell for being gay! Naomi Harvey is a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ, preaching to straight and gay, transgendered and every person that crosses her path. She shares the good news that God loves them, just as they are, without exception. She lives that love in how she treats others.

So how could these people be so cruel and deprive her of a last opportunity to honor Robert’s desire to be laid to rest in the family plot? They told me he would not be buried in a grave owned by a lesbian! So they stole his ashes…and we do not know where they have taken him.

Naomi will not have the ashes to bury, but she has 35 years of memories, and the knowledge that when he knew his life was ending, he came home to mama.



My prayer is that the evil deeds and vicious comments made by Shannon and May Hamilton, will come back to rest upon their heads. Amen! May it be so.

A message to the person who commented on this posting with vile hatred. You said if I really knew Naomi I would not be defending her. The opposite is true. It is because I know her heart, and the heart of the Father that I stand by her. It sounds like you have a heart filled with unforgiveness and condemnation. I pray you will find healing and peace. God has forgiven her, as He has each of us, and we will all meet in Heaven someday.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

ECWR Connection 2011

I want to talk about this years EC Connection. Evangelicals Concerned is in the midst of change and it is like birthing a child. It is painful but necessary if new life is to emerge. The recent conference was a vivid reminder.


The first night, our keynote speaker was Gerald Palmer from Missouri. He is a straight ally and reminded us that there is a coming out process for them as well as the LGBT folks. The more convinced he became that marriage equality is valid for everyone, the more he was alienated from his own church. There is always the ability to think one thing and keep your mouth shut, hoping you never have to take a stand. For Gerald, this was not the case. the result was that he had to leave the church and the people he had come to love as he ministered there in Kansas City. It also resulted in him being denied communion at one church and being denied the right to serve communion to his church. The reason, he was told, was that he had a brown suit and everyone else had a black one. Of course, that wasn't the reason and it hurt Gerald on a deep level. God's table is for all and it's a large table, not a TV tray! It was the beginning of much identification with the gay community.


We who were in attendance at his session felt his pain. A new thing was being birthed in Brother Gerald, and we were on the edge of a major rebirth ourselves. We were unaware of the events about to happen.
On Friday morning, the general assembly of the membership was held at breakfast and the new board members were introduced. One of them was Rev. Eunice Coldman from New York. She is an African-American recently ordained through an inter-faith fellowship. Eunice has been my friend and soul sister since the day of our meeting some four years ago. I was delighted that she had been nominated and then confirmed as a board member.


After breakfast, we went to the first session where the founder, Dr.Ralph Blair was to speak. Minutes before the session, Eunice came up to me and said, "Be praying. I'm going to be called out by Dr. Blair"

My heart sank. It reminded me of the previous year when my friend, Rev. Deborah Johnson had been uninvited as a speaker when they learned she was the pastor of an Omni faith church. The title and definition of Evangelical is too invested in this group to allow outside influences.


I sat in shock as Dr.Blair began to tell of the Evangelical leaders that have supported and quoted him over the years. He is Evangelical Concerned.Inc. and nothing that detracts from that definition will be tolerated. He said he was blindsided by a board that put an all faith pastor up for a board position. He went on to say that while it was not personal against Eunice, it was her affiliation with groups that worship God by other names: Buddhists; Islam, Wicken and Pagen to name a few. This is totally unacceptable. While I support his right to hold those beliefs; I do not support his manner in addressing this issue in a public forum without first going to Eunice.

I thought of my own church family made up of many of these faith beliefs, and how we declare: " Whoever you are, whether a person of faith or no faith at all, you are welcome here. Wherever you are on life's journey...the inclusive belief that I embrace, has put me at odds with this Evangelical leader. Who would Jesus exclude from fellowship?


I watched the faces of my friends, my brothers and sisters whom I have come to love..and many of them were in agreement with Dr.Blair. I watched Eunice as she sat there, not saying a thing.


Love the Lord God with all your heart and soul and mind, and your neighbor
as yourself. Who is my neighbor Lord? I love you with all my heart.

The murmurs began. She should resign. There is only one way to God, Through Jesus. For the good of the organization, she should leave. My heart was breaking. I listened for several more minutes, then Dr.Blair said, "If she is allowed to stay, then I will have to cut off my affiliation." He drew a line in the sand. The birth pangs of change intensified.
In a moment of time, my resolve was just as firm. If she is forced to go, I will leave also. I can't be affiliated with a group that excludes someone not because she is not a Christian (she is) but because of who she is associated with and welcomes into her fellowship.

The rest of the day, we attended workshops, but nothing was the same. This process was painful to new and old. Change of some kind will happen, we just don't know for sure what it will be.

On Saturday Bishop Yvette Flunder was the speaker for the woman's retreat. She shared how the Lord's table has plenty of room..it's a large table and not a TV tray. She is also Eunice's Bishop and was a good support for her. I am resolved to finally visit her church one day soon.

On Saturday night, I was one of three churches who shared the process of open and affirming process. I introduced them to my church family who stands with us in opposition to Prop 8; to my pastor who vowed not to sign marriage licenses until marriage equality is a reality for everyone. I told them of our welcome not just in word, but in deed each and every Sunday. I told them how it took two votes for our congregation to approve our O and A status and some folks left because they felt the church would be overrun by sinful draw queens.(not). We have about 20 gay families and a congregration that includes Buddhists; Islam, Wicken, pagan and others. Some folks beleive in a triune God, some don't. However, everyone is welcome to our church. Many prayers are ended in the name of the God who is known by many names, the greatest of which is LOVE.

Some were offended that I would identify God in such broad terms, after all, there is only one God, one Jesus and that's how you get to God.

Well, it's a good thing I wasn't on the board, for I'm sure I would be asked to resign also I'm Evangelical + too many other variables. I went to one person who had spoken to the friend I was rooming with for the conference. He was upset about my comment. He didn't come to me, but According to Matthew chapter 18...I felt I needed to confront him. Said if he knewdevotion to God as my father...He said he didn't know me, although we've known each other over 5 years. I said," Well, if you did know me, you would know I don't talk to others when I have a problem with someone..."


Sunday was our worship service. I was asked to open the service in prayer and did so, by addressing Father/Creator God and Spirit of truth and compassion etc. I was feeling pretty proud of myself and thought, Hope I didn't offend anyone by the many names of God."

I heard God speak to me very clearly. Darlene, you wern't talking to them, you were talking to me!"

so, ok Father. . you put my focus where it should be!


Serving communion at the end of the service was a deeply emotional time for me. When Eunice came up to me, I could only whisper, "The body and blood of our Lord." and put my arms around her and wept.

When Kathy Baldock came to my station, My tears were flowing so that no words would come out. I was a broken woman and realized that this would be my last connection. My last time to see so many of the people I have come to love over the past few years. I suspect that Jesus at the last supper, also had some sorrow. This was going to be his last meal with friends until they joined Him in Heaven.

While change is difficult, so is letting go of friendships and love. Whoever reads this article, please know that I am no longer with EC, not because I no longer love each and everyone of you, but because my love is inclusive of all God's children, even those who embrace other faiths. I invite you to stay connected with me at Turtlehrt@aol.com, if you want to continue our journey together.

In the Name of our God, who is known by many names . . the greatest of which is love!

Monday, August 8, 2011

When God seems absent



Life could be so much easier to understand if God was visible and sitting down in the living room with me for a long chat. I could ask the tough questions, like why do people hurt one another; why does there have to be war and why do children die. Would He tell me? I wonder.


When adversity knocks on the door. . . and it will . . . why does God seem absent from my circumstances? It is easy to think that because I am a Christian, I should be insulated from this roller coaster ride of life filled with persecution; rejection or poor treatment from others. After all, we act like we are the priviliged ones here in the USA.








I have tried to treat others with compassion and do the right thing in my relationships. Why should I be subject to these inconveniences?







My faith in God should be strong enough to find the silver lining in any negative circumstance. Shouldn't it?







Is my faith limited to the blessings part of life?







Where is God when families lose their jobs, homes or health? When life dumps sorrow upon sorrow . . . does God even care? Have you wondered about this even a little?








I recently counseled a women who feels like God had abandoned her in a time of crisis and after all she had done to serve Him was a cosmic joke. He is totally absent...so she felt on that day. She asks and doesn't receive. She prays to a God who ignores her...or does He?








She asked me to pray . . . because I at least think someone is listening. She was looking for a new place to live; closer to work, within her budget and open to her dog. The search had not resulted in any remote possibilities. So, I not only talked to God . . . but He talked to me. Told me the town she should look in for a place, and to give it 2 days. I told her what I heard . . . and she scoffed. God doesn't talk back. Really?







Well, two days later, she had a place in that town, all requirements met . . .and she didn't know how I knew that would happen. I listened.







I don't always listen that well, but this time I did. She has a renewed faith because God finally heard someone's prayer. But what about when it seems like He's just not interested?

I think about Job who lost his home; land; family and friends. The friends he had left told him to curse God and die! With friends like that, who need them?








Things didn't turn around over night, but eventually everything was restored. All the followers of Christ lost their lives when they refused to deny him. I wonder . . . would I lose heart if everything went wrong?








There are examples every day of bad things happening to good people and adversity knocking on the door. So what do we do?


















  1. Stop . . . breathe. Breath and Spirit are the same word and it is spirit that connects us to one another. That's why we care about injustice and pain.






  2. Be Thankful. Remember the things that have worked out in the past. Pray for others.












  3. If you can't change it, release it to God. Praise God for all the things He has done in the past, and Remember them during the hard times.

    You can see the hand of God in your life and the lives of others regardless of circumstances. There are prayers being lifted all around the world, by all kinds of faith followers . . . and God is listening. So, until we meet Him face to face to ask those hard questions . . . Listen and encourage one another. This too, will pass.