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A Moment of Silence

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This was originally posted in The Shalom Experiment. But because I feel compelled to pause from blogging every day this week, also, I am posting it here, too. And inviting you to join me for whatever rest you need.

Welcome to rest week. May it be balm for your soul.

I started following my monthly cycle closely at the beginning of this year and I’ve realized that I get mildly depressed just as my period ends every month. The little research I’ve done tells me it might have something to do with low estrogen and progesterone. I’m feeling it now. I slept for 13 hours last night and probably could have gone longer. I have no interest in working my dream today.

Between that and the horrific news of the torture and death of an innocent little boy at the hands of his “parents”, I desperately need this pause.

When stuff like that happens, even if it’s not our loved ones, sometimes the only thing to do is stop and mourn. Contemplating the broken pieces of our world. Eventually it will be time to get up again do that thing we’re called to do to make the world a better place. But for now, we can rest.

One of my favorite things about the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) is the way God built sabbath into the very fabric of ancient life. I have all kinds of thoughts on productivity. I believe—especially in our 20s and 30s and 40s—that some of us are supposed to be busy and do not need to be shamed into slowing down or simplifying.

But I also believe in radical rest.

I believe sometimes we get to plan it and sometimes we don’t.

For some of us this week, there will be too much going on to fully stop and breathe in peace and quiet. But if you can, I invite you to do it—or to plan for it soon. And if you can’t, I invite you to carve out a moment for shalom this week—even if it’s just an hour. Even if it’s just five minutes. Take the time you need to do what feels restful to you. For me, right now, that looks more like curling up in the fetal position and sobbing. It may look like joy and gratitude for you.

Whatever it is, that’s okay. You are loved. Simply for being. And you are enough. Amen.

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

Love and Politics

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It’s Thursday night and I’m writing this now because I’ll be up at 5am and off to pick up my best friend to head to Charlotte with her and my kiddos for the weekend. But since it’s Election Week and my Facebook feed looks like rounds in a boxing match, I thought I’d leave you with this food for thought.

We’ve known each other since we were kids. Way before either of us had concrete ideas about Republicans and Democrats. But as we got older, our feelings about the respective parties solidified and before too long, it was clear that we’d ended up on opposite isles.

The thing is, I don’t remember this ever being an issue. 

We agree to disagree. And that’s not the white flag at the end of a long fight. That’s where we started.

By no means do I agree with everything my Republican friends have to say. But I still listen to them. And in some cases, I can see where they’re coming from.

Honestly, there are Republican-skewed news channels (cough, cough, Fox) that piss me off. I think they’re fear-mongerers and I don’t respect them. But that’s different from respecting Republicans (or libertarians) as a whole. And it’s vastly different than sitting down with a friend listening to an opinion that’s not your own. Sometimes they raise valid points. Sometimes I don’t.

I know a lot of my readers lean to the left like me. But you know what’s funny?

When Andrea and I switch places and lean just so . . . we hold each other up.

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

Week Ten :: Promises and Dreadlocks

Brandy Blogs the Bible

 

The Paraphrase (Leviticus 26—Numbers 7)

Chapter 26—Promises and warnings.

Chapter 27—Giving the first fruits, the firstborn and the tithe.

Chapter 1—The census.

Chapter 2—The arrangement of the tribal camps.

Chapter 3—The Levites get assigned specific tasks according to their tribes.

Chapter 4—God goes more in depth regarding the Levite clans and what they’re supposed to carry. The Kohathites get the most holy things. The Gershonites carry “the burdens”—the curtain, the actual Tent of Meeting, and the outer covering. The Merarites carry the frames, the crossbars, the pots and bases, and finally, the surrounding posts.

Chapter 5—Starts with instructions on purity. Specifically, who should be removed from the camp so that it will not be defiled. Next, an excerpt on when to make restitution for wrongs. Finally, a detailed test to figure out whether or not a woman has been unfaithful to her husband (in the absence of evidence). It involves drinking bitter water. If the woman is innocent, the cursed water won’t harm her. If she’s guilty, her abdomen will swell and she will become barren.

Chapter 6—The Nazirite. If an Israelite wants to make a special vow of separation to the Lord, he or she is not to drink wine or eat ANY part of a grape for the duration of the vow. Also, he or she is not to cut their hair. The chapter ends with a priestly blessing for the Israelites.

Chapter 7—The 12 tribes bring their offerings to the Tabernacle.

 

My Own Musings

Promises. The magic word is “if”. If they obey, God will dwell with them just as it was in the Garden of Eden.

The “old grain long stored”, according to Alter, is a reference to the importance of keeping the Sabbath year. I once heard Rob Bell say something about how rest for the land is simply “farming 101″. It’s essential. Apparently, so much so, that God built it into our laws.

I want to dive into the beginning of chapter 27. Because reading it made me sad. Simply put, it says that men are worth more than women. The Women’s Bible Commentary (edited by Carol A. Newsom and Sharon H. Ringe) offered me the only commentary I could find on this passage (though I’m sure there is probably much more). Judith Romney Wegner wrote the commentary for Leviticus and she explains that these numbers related to a person’s level of economic productivity according to their sex and age. She also notes, and I think rightly so, that the priests who came up with these numbers failed to factor in the economic benefits of child-rearing, care-taking, and housekeeping.

Numbers is called Numbers because, well, it contains a lot of numbers. Specifically, I’m talking about the census at the beginning [and the end, which we’ll talk about later]. It should be noted that this is a military census—all men over 20 fit to fight.

603,550. That’s a LOT of people. There is some speculation about this. The Zondervan Handbook to the Bible notes that including women and children the Israelites would total 2-3 million. Buuut, also, the total could be a scribal error. The word “thousand” should possibly be interpreted “troop”. Or/and that even today we use large numbers figuratively to describe “a lot of people”.

I thought it was interesting that the Levites were given specific tasks. Something about the idea of God thinking of everything is a little bit thrilling to me.

I wonder if the Gershonites or the Merarites were ever jealous of the Kohathites for getting to carry the most holy things. And, I wonder if the other Israelites ever resented the Levites for being set apart by God. Ooooor, I wonder if the Levites ever felt like they got the shaft because they didn’t get to own land. Also, they didn’t exactly get to pick their occupation. But, then again, I don’t suppose many people got to pick the profession back in those days.

As you can probably imagine, I raised an eyebrow or two while reading about the test for an unfaithful wife. A couple of things to note: this was supposedly a way of protecting the woman—a man couldn’t just decide that his wife had cheated and demand that she pay. And, apparently, tests similar in nature were common back then, and this one was incredibly more kind than the others.

If I lived while all of this was going down I might have attempted to become a Nazirite. I think it’s really cool that women were allowed in on this special vow. Fun facts: Rastafarians take Nazarine vows—thus, the dreadlocks. That way they can grow their hair long without scissors, brushes, etc. I think the Bible describes Samson (a Nazirite we read about later) as having dreadlocks.

For me, the picture of Bible characters with dreadlocks makes me feel like they could have been actual human beings instead of just characters in a book.

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here. I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process!

Every Thursday, I blog through the Bible—trying to get through the whole thing in the next two years. If you found this post interesting and helpful and you’d like to continue to follow along as I go through, you can read the intro to this project, along with week one, the detour we took into original sin, week two, week threeweek fourweek fiveweek sixweek sevenweek eight, and week nineNext week, read Numbers 8 through 20.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Nearly every Sunday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

Plotting :: What I’m Up to in November

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This month is a web of lights and grand plans. I am determined to get some good work done. And so I’m pushing limits and working my happy bum off.

Elora and I are working on the next round of The Rebel Diaries. She’s the fiction whisperer and I rock out with nonfiction. She can help with that actual syntax and I show people how to bust through huge mental blocks. Together, we make one hell of a team. This round will be a little different. With some extra special treats. I can’t tell spill all our secrets yet, but stay tuned and yeah, get excited!

I’m closing down The Shalom Sessions. Eeeesh. It’s a weirdly emotional feeling. But I know it’s right. This is the last week to sign up, if you’d like to get one before they’re gone. If money is an issue, email me at brandyglows@gmail.com and we can try to figure something out.

I am struggling with my newsletter. I haven’t sent it out in a couple weeks and that kind of eats me up inside because I don’t like not doing what I said I was going to do. But I also don’t want to just write some nonsense and send it out to my favorite people. I won’t send another one out until I figure out how to truly offer value to my readers. Brainstorming creative ways to do that. I know I’ll figure it out. And I’m excited for the people on my list once I do. Because honestly, when I set my mind to give good gifts, I deliver, yo. It’s the figuring-out part that is sometimes the hardest (but it’s also kind of the fun part)!

What are you up to in this month? I would love to hear it! Let me know in the comments what you’re excited about and what you’re struggling with. So much love!

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

What Does God See When God Looks At You?

Carlee

 

What does God see when God looks at you?

It’s one of my favorite questions. I ask it in Shalom Sessions. I quiz my daughter and random people on the street. The answer is always telling. The act of getting out of our own skin and looking at ourselves through God’s eyes is powerful. Inevitably, it leads to other, equally fascinating questions.

What does God see when God looks at my children? What does God see when God looks at my parents? My best friend? My work? The woman on the street below? The people who’ve hurt me? The people I’ve hurt?

It’s like asking a child to see things through adult eyes. Impossible. But useful. It stretches our brains and gets us to at least attempt to think outside our body-shaped boxes.

I’m reading John Hunter’s book, World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements. In the first few pages, Hunter talks about the three main things he aims to teach his students. Knowledge, or hard facts; Creativity, teaching them not just how to answer the questions we know, but how to work the questions that we don’t yet have the answers for; and finally Wisdom, the “deeper, broader understanding that emerges from both our successes and our failures.”

I have never in my life considered teaching a child wisdom. Because how can teach what I don’t have?

But, according to Hunter, that’s exactly what we’re supposed to do!

Writing and editing Wild Goslings has been a deeply humbling process. There are many days, usually when I’ve messed up with my own kids big time, I start to wonder who on earth decided that I should even consider writing a book like this. And then I realize, OH. Great God. It was me! What a fool I am!

Around that time, my daughter will walk up to me and give me a big hug. I will apologize to her or we’ll talk about what we’ve learned from whatever events just transpired. And then, at some point, I’ll get a Facebook message from a parent who is SO excited about this resource we’re creating. Then I’ll sit down to edit one of the pieces from our 20 contributors, and without fail, I will be reduced to tears.

John Hunter says that the heart of the World Peace Game, is the students’ collective wisdom. He openly admits that they, together, are smarter than he could ever be.

I am not doing it alone, I sigh with relief. Our collective wisdom will make this book a beautiful success. One that has the potential to bring massive hope and inspiration to teachers and parents all over the world.

Earlier this week I got an email telling me that I had been chosen as one of BlogHer’s Voices of the Year for my piece from The Bomb Shelter titled, “If Women Ran {Half} the World.” Can I just say – it is intensely gratifying to be “picked”. To be chosen among the masses as one of the best. And especially for that piece! Because my calling is so very closely linked to its words.

But at the same time, I cannot help but remember a lesson I’ve learned over and over again in this wild, wonderful world of entrepreneurship:

Don’t wait to be picked. PICK YOURSELF.

John Hunter didn’t wait for someone to ask him to create what may be one of our finest educational resources of our time. He picked himself. I didn’t wait for someone to commission me to write Wild Goslings. They never would have!

We picked ourselves. Our kids. Our collaborators. And we trusted in the vast collective wisdom of our community.

I had not decided until last week what I was going to write my piece on in the “Inspire” section of Wild Goslings. I was starting panic. So I got in the shower. And there, it came to me. A few hours later, I sat down in Barnes and Noble and, with shaking hands and tears in my eyes, poured my piece out onto the screen.

No one sets out to be an expert on kids and trauma without some sort of intervention, divine or otherwise. That was not my goal. My goal was simply to not eff up my daughter any more than I already had.

Some things, we don’t get to pick. Some things, even if they made us better people, we would gladly exchange for something less fracturing.

But in that space, we learn that God welcomes doubt. That God can take what we throw. We fall deeply into knowledge’s essential counterparts. With creativity and wisdom, we learn not just how to survive, but how to thrive. How to teach others how to learn what we do not yet know.

And then, when we come up on the other side of all that beautiful tension, we get a glimpse of what God sees when God looks at us.

And damn. We’re beautiful.

{Image Credit: Jermaine Walker}

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Nearly every Sunday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

 

This piece was originally posted on July 5th, 2013 and is dedicated to sweet, sweet Carlee Michelle.

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