We are the Light Bearers

I am over at She Loves Magazine today! Head on over and join me in the sharing of hearts and dreams and rising up together: Bold For Change!

” There is a call to action traveling through the winds—to the north, to the south, the east and the west. All directions. All volumes. A calling … to Rise Up!

Now is not the time for silence. Now is the time to stand tall. Oh, lift your heads. Look up. A time to Awaken.

With the rising of the sun we are beckoned from slumber. I hear my own name and feel the call: “Rise Up.” This life. Oh, this life. Dry bones, rise up! ” – Jenny Rose Foster

READ THE ARTICLE  at She Loves jenny-rose-foster-light-bearers

One Life Gift

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I have been sick for days. When I say days I mean, right now, I am wrapped in blankets going on the 7th day of turning this far right corner of the couch into my quarantined personal medical center.

The coffee table is tucked up close littered with Nyquil, antibiotics, elderberry, colloidal silver, cups and bowls of half sipped teas and broths. Ibuprofen and tissues. Lozenges and a thermometer. The whole gamut.

The last 6 months has been strange; getting hit with lengthy health issues. Usually when I get ill I bounce back within a day or two. In fact, I often take pride in that.

The most curious part is that I may have the curse of the facial morph!

What I mean is, each time I have gotten sick, something seems to physically change on my head or neck area, creating a temporary morph of physicality…so to speak.

In October I dyed my hair. A deep dark brown with some bright streaks of teal. I absolutely loved it!! Within the next day my entire scalp felt tight. My neck was rippled with inflamed lymph nodes. I shrugged it off and carried on figuring it was just an irritation that would simmer down.

The following day,  I was nearly fainting on the floor because of how strange I felt. My skin was tighter. My neck was robotically stiff. And my forehead had begun to noticeably bulge. My husband rushed me to the ER and on the way we jokingly dubbed me as “The Dolphin” – Morph #1. (I cried though, worried that I would always look like a dolphin. Of course it went away).

In December I was volunteering for my daughters ballet performance in The Nutcracker. I volunteered by putting make-up on the dancers. Getting up close and personal to everyone’s beautiful faces. Person after person. Then a few days later I came down with conjunctivitis. The first time I had ever caught this virus. Hopefully the last.

My neck hurt, I had an ear ache, my eyes were weeping. One eye was bloodshot deep red. It would have been great for Halloween. And then the swelling began. I could hardly open my right eye. The area around my eye was bulging so big that I dubbed myself: “Igor”. My daughter titled me: “Blowfish” …I cried because I didn’t want to look like an Igor…but of course it went away. And then the virus kindly migrated to my chest and left me with a two week respiratory infection – Morph #2

This time, as we were heading up to the mountain I noticed that my throat was hurting. I figured it was nothing. Once we arrived to the ski resort, I slipped on some ice and hyper-extended my thumb, resulting in a sprain. I did a few runs and fell hard 5 times and suddenly it hit me how terrible I was feeling. I checked straight into the lodge to sleep all day and all night, while out on the slopes the most amazing powder was coming down fast. This set the precedent for the next 7 days.

In the past if I got strep throat, I would simply get an antibiotic and be free to get back to life within a couple of days. I have never had such a stubborn case! To follow the trend, of course, my neck swelled up so much that the doctor called it supple… Supple?!! — I looked in the mirror after the appointment and my chin was on a stiff double and my neck had expanded. I could feel it, I was just so sick that I hadn’t taken a moment to look at it. I also lost my voice and it sounded like a gremlin when I talked (just call me Mogwai). I of course took full advantage of my new voice and sent voice messages to some lucky friends and family. It kept me amused. This time I am dubbed: “The Bullfrog” – Morph #3

So here I am, as the bullfrog, sitting on my couch waiting for this to pass. I did cry a few tears of course even though I knew the bullfrog metamorphosis would soon pass…I mean who wants have a supple neck?!!…Ha ha ha… Ohhhh the humor. But mostly I cried because I haven’t been able to swallow anything more than broth or liquid for 7 days!! I think I want lobster, or lamb or duck when I am healed.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel though. My body is slowly getting better each day and it gives me hope.

And as I sit in this spot on the couch I have found myself resting and reflecting on the little things. It is always the little things that I seem to go back to.

In moments like these all of my obligations no longer hold meaning. They become a distant concern.

Sitting here for days I think about how much I love my two children. I listen to them playing together all day long. Entertaining themselves with their imaginations and respecting that I am sick by giving me space. My daughter makes me soup and tea. My son takes care of our puppy for me and brings me more blankets. They both peek in to make sure I am OK. I love them.

My husband is the finest of all men. He cares for me like no other. Not only has he been physically working, but he gets home and does the shopping, the homework, the cooking, the cleaning. He brings me all that I need. He takes the kids out of the house to give me a quiet space. I tell him thank you and he replies, “In sickness and in health, babe, in sickness and in health…” — HEART MELT — He really loves me. The kind of love that takes care of your sickest most unattractive moments with care and gentleness. I feel beautiful even when I know I look a mess, just because of the way he looks at me. With those eyes…those brown eyes look at me with an admiration that no one has ever shown me in this life, except for him.

I am thankful beyond words. I am thankful for the little big things. Those are the things that will always matter the most. The rest contribute in the shaping of my life…our lives, and that is important. I will give my goals and my community and my church and my work a full attention helping of my efforts and care; passion and love and ministry… but my family I will give them my heart. My whole heart. They are my gift. They are my one life gift and I will always hold you in the closest most intimate parts of my heart. That is my promise to you, my family, my one life gift.

Release

After the new year I shut down my Facebook, for a hiatus of sorts, as a way to simplify the noise and the clutter of clanging symbols.

I decided if I simplify my connectivity sources, I will hear the friction a little less. This was a survival tactic…

You see, for me, when I see pain, when I see anger, when I see actions that make others feel lower. I become very sad. I become very angry. I begin to feel pain in a sometimes polarizing way. I carry empathy. In reaction, I can find myself in a protective mode, to guard myself from feeling too much.

Right now, there is so much pain and so much friction and so much chaos obliterating the connections between people, all due to political wars and terrible leadership. So many of us are tuning in and feeling it too. I feel it. And we should feel it. There is a lot to care about. It is all relevant. Pain comes before the shift and uprisings are birthed from tears.

When I declare that I am a follower of Christ, that means that I love my neighbor. My neighbor near and my neighbor far. When I see my neighbors being destroyed, my brothers and my sisters of this global earth, going through so much tragedy. When I see people seeking refuge and being denied. I feel it. When I see people that I love being denied opportunities because they are women. I feel it. When I see women lowered and not allowed to do certain things within the church…I feel it most of all! Like a fire blazing in my belly, I feel it.  When I see our first nation people being ignored and abused and lied to, again and again and again… I feel it. And it sometimes feels like a dark cloud of hopelessness…  I sometimes want to just sleep a little while longer.

It is a beautiful thing to encompass the joy, really feel the joy of someone else. I treasure hearing laughter and gaining that energy to laugh along with them. It is also a sacred thing to deeply connect to the sorrow of someone else and cry for them and with them. Emotion is a created part of us and it drives me to do things, to propel forward. Emotion beckons me to speak up. It motivates me to pray, in a way that I wouldn’t be able to pray if I hadn’t felt the pain, or the joy, or the struggle of my neighbor. Emotion is God made and we should not restrain the very essence of our beauty.

In this moment, for a small window, God is beckoning me to a place of prayerful posture and a time of quiet space away from the noise. I need the sacred throne…I need the consciousness from within my stomach to RISE UP and become words of meditation, intercession and declaration. With the outpouring of empathy also comes the power of authority. Authority to call out to the four corners of this earth and declare thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven! — Sometimes it is good to stand back a little, give time for release, make moments of quiet exchange. To rejuvenate and stir up the fire for a new ROAR!

With grit against the grain of sorrow, may we rise up with the defiance of joy and grab hold of those deep feelings of awareness and call out to the winds and release them.

– Jenny Rose Foster

 

I’m Spacing Out

Television blares. Talking heads spout, “blah blah blah”.

Shadowing mimics crow the nonsense as an echoing “caw caw caw”.

They debate their sides and then so do we.

So we copy…we copy?

They argue and then we argue.

They say they are right. Then we say we are right.

Shadows of the beast. Mere shadows.

Dark shadows.

Pretending intelligence. Pretending revolutionary thought.

It has already been written.

I’m spacing out. I’m spacing out. I’m dialing down the static.

The frenzy. The fuzz. The blur.

Time for space. Time for grace.

Time for thought. Time for rest.

Time to work and work…

And also time to create.

Create in me a clean heart.

Renew a right spirit within me.

Time to create. Beloved one. Time to create.

Creative spirit. Wake up. Make beautiful things. Wake up!

Clarity. Crystal pure clean clarity.

Drink. Water…spring water. Soak.

Stop yawning. Stretch your legs. Make beautiful things with words.

With sounds. With color. With lines. With shapes. Make them. Make them beloved.

Stand up. Flex your muscles. DANCE.

Make hope. Make kindness. Make love. Make peace.

Speak them. Speak it. Turn the caws into pure bell tones. The tone of kindness.

And rest and love and dream.

I’m spacing out. Not stepping away but Making space. Spacing out between the lines.

Spacing out the dusty fog. Spacing out the battling words. Making SPACE for grace.

Seeing through the fog. Sifting through the smoke. Clear horizons lay ahead.

Hands held high. Chin up. Touch the sky. Look up dear one. Stand tall. Look up.

RAISE YOUR VOICE. SING.

– Jenny Rose Foster

WE

ONE

Our J’s had their very first big concert to date Friday night. The whole experience was ice cream and 7-up. The atmosphere was a blend of rockin and rollin and jumping around to the beat in fantastical expression!! It was a lot of clapping and singing along. A lot of laughter and huge smiles. It was my little girl who got to jump on the stage and groove. It was my boy sitting on the shoulders of his daddy; waving his hands around.

My husband and I love to attend live music and recently decided to start taking the kids with us a little more often. It is extra money to get them in,yes, but the experience is worth it. Here is why: MUSIC BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER> It really does and it is an experience I want my kids to remember having with us. I think that is why I enjoy it so much. The gregarious uninhibited freedom to dance…an uncomposed sense of self to really feel the palpable sounds and the sing alongs. The stand out part is that it is among others. You are singing together. You are dancing together. It is the togetherness that makes the whole experience magical.

In fact, whenever I am in the moment singing along I feel myself enter into a sense of worship. As a believer of God my Creator and Jesus my Savior, I feel Holy Spirit in ALOT of music, regardless if it came from an organized church group of claimed believers or not…regardless of the singers beliefs, regardless of the crowd, regardless — I feel God in a lot of music genres … in the image of God WE ARE…WE ARE ALL CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD and that reflects God’s beauty and spirit through us whether we claim Creator or not. — And through that connection; through that camaraderie…through that beauty of human expression, living life together for “life is love and love is life” we embody our Creator. DO YOU think we people of humanity made up that kind of emotion. That is God emulating through the very fibers of our beings!!

Before the concert, my husband and I worked a very full, very hard day. We both own our own company together. We partner as co-owners of a remodeling establishment. We love our work; as any business owner knows, the work is never over. Thus we left our home at a later time than we should have. We arrived to the show at a much later time than ideal. The show was a sold out Micheal Franti explosion of patrons. We rushed in as quickly as we could, just as the opening band began to sing out their first set of notes.

Our eyes scanned the beautiful outdoor arena smothered in blankets and chairs and people. Hardly a dot of a spot left to be claimed, unless you wanted a lovely giant tree in the way of your view. Bummer! I was so disappointed. I wanted this experience to be so good for my children.

As we walked up and down the narrow grass aisles we found nothing and nowhere to place our little bundle of concert chairs. Just before we relinquished our efforts and headed to the very back, a man approached us and asked if we were looking for a place to sit. “YES!” we answered. He pointed back a little ways towards his spot and said, “Do you see that blue blanket on the ground…THAT IS FOR YOU!”

Wait. What?!! Absolutely floored, I follow this man to the very center of the outdoor seating arena. He lead us to the most coveted seats. Front & center at the precise decline of the grass hill creating a scenario where the people below would not be in the way of our kids being able to see the stage. Impeccable seating! I couldn’t believe it! — “So you have no one you were saving these spots for?” I asked. The man and the woman sitting next to him, both shook their heads and the man said, “That blanket is yours. We were saving this spot for you…” —

We Were Saving This Spot For You! Intentional LOVE. Pre-schemed Pre-meditated LOVE! —  My heart literally exploded into a million gushing pieces of WOW. I told them my thank you’s… and said, “You are both going to make me cry, I am so touched by this.” … As we settled our J’s into their little concert seats, I held back tears. I was literally feeling an overwhelming desire to just weep of gratefulness for the beauty of the human spirit which echoes the image of God, was just roaring out of these two people. Gush!!! My heart felt such an intensity of warmth that words have no comparison of expression.

I left to go get ice cream for my J’s on that sizzling hot summer evening and while standing in line I wiped away little tears that kept wheezling their way out. I stood in that line reflecting thankfulness for those people. Contemplating the beauty that they conspired. Apparently, they arrived to the concert early and they told me that they remembered what it was like to try to get out of the house with kids; they decided to set out a little blue blanket in anticipation for a family. They waited. They waited in that massive crowd for us.

Being of a mind of WE allows us to view the world with a lens of readiness. A lens of how can I bless YOU. How can I see you. How can I listen. How can I prepare a way of kindness. 

This is what the kingdom of heaven looks like: The kingdom of heaven looks like a couple of people saving a spot in a crowd of hundreds for a family that they don’t even know. This is a living on earth as it is in heaven mentality. 

After the concert was over and we were all packing up in a crowd now hushed to the hum of hundreds of people in conversation; I turned back towards the couple and told them again, “Thank you! Thank you so much for your kindness. You crushed me with love. You made our night special! What you did is kingdom living!” — I have no idea if they understood what I meant, I have no idea what they believe spiritually, but in my eye-sight their actions were kingdom living! There is enough already in this world that we conjure up in our minds that creates shallow senses towards one another. Enough of it! They saw God in my eyes and I saw God in their eyes. It is the word Namaste ~ which means: I honor the Holy One who lives in you.

May we live life honoring the Holy One that lives in all of us. For whether we say it out loud or not, the Holy One is part of our image and we are all brothers and sisters and we are all neighbors — locally and globally. WE ARE ONE. ~ Blessed Are The Peacemakers ~

– Jenny Foster

A Time To Lament…

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I know that I am not alone with this. I know that you also feel it too. As far apart in distance as we span in this nation…so many of us are collectively feeling this burden. Collectively holding hands. But my sadness and exasperation of these tragedies is nothing more than a glimpse of empathy… the pain I feel is real, my empathy is real, my desire to want to do something to show that I care is REAL… but it doesn’t hold a candle to the sorrow that so many families are engulfed in; living all of the nightmares in the reality of their loss.

Last week was one tragedy after another. Pain upon pain on top of pain. Hurt on hurt. Hate on hate…FEAR on FEAR… This is FRESH…but only a few weeks ago we had more of it… and months ago and years ago… it is not new…it is HERE; it is NOW; and it is PAST and the fallibility of the human condition is still trembling with pain.

Last weeks tragedies shocked, enraged, and stirred up the nation. And as it so often goes, the social media posts began pumping out “answers”, opinions, gun control banters and gun freedom banter. blue lives vs. black lives, polarizing comments full of exclusive nature… Confusing statements of judgement and demobilization of progression, and of course questions… so many questions… questions of how can we speak up for the injustice? How can we bring change? How can we make resolve … so that it is not our FUTURE…

I have always been the kind of person that sees a problem and wants to fix it. Sometimes to a point of being so confident in my self proclaimed ability to come up with solutions or make sense of things that I forget the bigger picture and I forget how little I really am. — When tragedy hits the news media and everyone and their cat wants to banter a little or push some point to be made…and mind you, many people are incredibly well meaning!! I am guilty of it. I most certainly want to say things that I think would make some sense of a situation, I am as contemplative and deep thinking as the rest of us…but sometimes it is better to simply stand back and soak in the reality of what it is that is actually happening…and to give time for lament.

Lives were lost because of deeply rooted issues…Issues of exclusion. Issues of elitism. Issues of segregation. Issues of supremacy. Issues of hate. Issues of fear…   stories from the past that are still rumbling to this day. The cords of our past stories have not been cut off… If we pretend that our history doesn’t influence our future, if we forget about the past because it is simply “long ago”, then we have the ability to pretend that the now is OK… but that kind of mental pretending can catch up to us all when the tremors of the past rise back up… Sometimes we have to face the past to address the pain that was never healed… Our Nation holds a lot of pain that has never been properly faced, and the darkness of these stories of our past are still living in action today…there is much work to be done. Healing takes time and healing takes care and healing takes change.

When I heard the news last week I wanted to say a lot of things…I did say a little, and I even re-posted a few things that I thought were so good at the moment, but then admittedly I deleted them after realizing that maybe there were aspects of this that I still need to understand. I know that I need go deeper. We need to dig deeper as a nation. Dig into our history and really take a truth look at how far we have come and also to see how much we still must push towards…Every time I feel like I have found good perspective, solid understanding…Every time, I am turned and twisted upside down, baffled by my own thinking…realizing time and time again how much MORE I need to listen and how much MORE I need to learn…it will be an always process. If we think that we know it all…or if we think that we have come to a place where we have the answers…then maybe we are the very people that need to shut up! 

At the moment, I have no answers except for this: I think I (we) need to LISTEN MORE and I think that I (we) need to PRAY MORE… here is the thing about prayer: prayer really doesn’t stay right there in a physical stance of prayer, but prayer really is action. To become what we pray for .

We pray for peace…then BE PEACE.

We pray for more love in this world…then BE LOVE.

We pray for grace…then BE GRACE.

We pray for understanding…then BE A LISTENER.

We pray for healing…then BE A HEALER.

We pray for freedom of injustice…THEN BE JUSTICE.

We pray for change…THEN BE CHANGE.

if We pray for black lives to matter…THEN SHOW THAT THEY MATTER. 

if We pray for native lives to matter…THEN SHOW THAT THEY MATTER.

We pray for all lives to matter…THEN SHOW THAT THEY MATTER…

… starting with the “least of these” …

(that runs deep in so many directions if you let that settle a bit).

A simple band-aid answer simply says… “God cares about all Lives…Jesus is our answer”. Whilst I believe this to be essentially true; I would hope that I am not guilty of simply throwing some Bible verses at the pain and assuming I DID something to help with the injustice. As a believer of the the faith of The Way of Jesus Christ, I have great admiration for how Jesus lived… and what he did that impressed me so much is that HE DID what he said, and he lived out his PRAYERS...he lived out his love and died for the ultimate LOVE… he didn’t slap a label — A hash tag — A bible verse — A Love or Peace sign — a quote — a word of “wisdom” onto the pain of this world…no…he LIVED IT! His LIVING IT, is what was REVOLUTIONIZING and is the very thing that HEALED. LOVE IS LIVING and moving and breathing. LOVE IS ALIVE. LOVE IS MOVING. LOVE IS EMBRACE. LOVE IS EYES OF VALUE.

So before we speak too much… may we quiet our mouths for a moment and lament…

Saying the names of last weeks loss…

Brent Thompson.

Patrick Zamarripa.

Michael Krol.

Lorne Ahrens.

Michael Smith.

Alton Sterling.

Philando Castile.

To those that lost your lives last week I lament. I light a candle and I will say your names. You are deeply valued. Oh there are so many more names to call out. Name of scattered throughout history…names; valued names.

And in this moment I know there is much work to be done. There are so many ways that we can stand with one another…but I am not going to spout or banter solutions right now… I am going to do my best to live out understanding, respect and love in my personal realm of influence that I am given, that is a place to carry out what you live. May I be a person that shows value to every person that my life encounters… that is my prayer that I deeply desire to live and become… and may I never shy away from the hard questions. From the hard topics and from speaking up for injustice.

In this moment may we pause then, with all of these thoughts and light a candle to lament…

 

Freedom Dancer

 

ballet slippers

Around the table tonight we talked, my family and I, exploring the happenstance moments of our day. Life holds so much in one passing of dawn to dark… our evening ritual to share those point-in-time occasions with one another seems to capture the swift moving hours of our lives for just a little bit longer and we linger in it for just a while…

Stories from the day have no boundaries in our household. Sometimes silly. Sometimes joyful. Usually unorthodox. Sometimes serious. Sometimes boring… and sometimes little stories become like setting stones as a memorial in totem fashion within my mind. They hold. They stand above the rest.

Tonight my daughter Jade shared a story of the 80 year old dancer. She taught ballet. A woman of her age; body graced with the lines of life and feather soft skin similar to an infants state of smooth… eyes bright and wild…silver hair perfectly aligned in precision of the ballet bun.  Designs displayed the forever face from her years of youth carved into her brow…this 80 year old ballet instructor taught my daughters ballet teacher when she was just a young girl herself.

As she taught these princess daughters to dance the art of ballet, her long bony fingers would poke at their stomachs… “Straight torso’s! Suck in that belly!” … “Stand tall. Lift your head!”… She would whisper again to herself, lift your head.

…She was strict…a little grumpy.

…but when she danced, OH when she danced, years of life unraveled and the youth of a woman living on earth as it is in heaven unfolded before their very eyes.

She held with her posture the movement of knowledge and discipline paired with the freedom of the dance.

She had found her gift a long time ago…but when she found it, the gift felt foolish and unknown; yet she knew!

She was determined. There was a fire in her spirit.

She practiced. She practiced and she refined her character.

She listened. She listened and she sought wisdom.

She found passion! And with passion she was moved and shaped and made.

She became the freedom dancer. She was released with grace…she became HERSELF.

Expressions of love unfolded as she leapt into an allegro ensemble of movement before the witness of her students…

And in her old age of 80…when she danced… she danced on earth as it is in heaven.

– Jenny Rose Foster-Stewart  ~ inspired by Jade Adora.