One word JOY ::: AND WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

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Super quick post tonight and then I’ll be announcing my 3 WINNERS from my blog relaunch party….!  But first  …. Let me tell you my One Word for 2015. It is  J O Y. The idea of One Word is that instead of decreeing resolutions that are action-oriented and often lead to failure ( for me at least before New Year’s Day is even over!), is to choose one word and make that one word like your mantra or mission statement for the year. Last year I felt drawn to the word SOAR. I didn’t know how or why soar was to be my word,  but I felt that if I paid attention during 2014, the word would unfold for me with meaning and insight … Keep reading …

Blog Relaunch Kick-Off PARTY with PRIZES ! ! !

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HELLO…. Long time,  no blogging!  A year ago my teen son was diagnosed with cancer. 2014 has been a blur of doctor appointments and hospitalizations, tests, and chemo and radiation and tears and fears and hope and disappointment and scans and … so much ! The dust of last year is still on my shoes, but this is a New Year and  now that the hard part of cancer is over (!!!) I am starting to re-emerge from the quiet and make my voice and presence known once again in the great big ocean of the blogosphere.  To kick off my relaunch I want to CELEBRATE my now 17-year old son Jeremy being CANCER FREE ! Eight cycles of chemo, 15 rounds of radiation, 13 … Keep reading …

Where I Left Off…

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This past February, my wonderful readership may remember that I wrote about my teen son’s diagnosis of stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I blogged very little after that. Instead, I turned to art for healing, comfort and strength… more about that later. For now, I want to pick up where I left off with my son’s diagnosis and let you know the rest of the story. Jeremy was 16 when he was diagnosed, on the verge of his 17th birthday. He was halfway through his junior year of high school and was having the BEST year of his school career. A full-blown theater geek, Jeremy had just landed a major role in the spring production and was looking forward to a full summer of theater related activities. … Keep reading …

Courage to Fail

The Fail Harder sign at the offices of Wieden & Kennedy is made up of more than 100,000 push pins.

I tried hard not to feel self-conscious as a small audience gathered to watch me as I struggled with the pallet mover, also known as a Blue Giant. I pivoted this way and that way, moving ever so cautiously in fear of hitting something or someone and breaking bones. Maneuvering the power equipment was like being a little girl trying to walk a doberman pinscher. I feigned coolness. I got this. I pretended to be indifferent to the half dozen or so of veteran operators watching me struggle. It was my first week at my new job at the Nabisco factory. I had never worked in manufacturing before. The power equipment required for the job intimidated me. About the only power equipment I knew how to … Keep reading …

The Black Swan Effect {Why I Still Care about Sexism in my Faith Tribe} PLUS a GIVEAWAY!

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Women are still treated as secondary citizens in the faith tribe I call my own known as Christianity. Not in every clan, but in general it is accurate to say that women are not permitted to teach, preach, hold leadership positions or be aligned in full partnership with their husbands who are commonly referred to as the head of the home. I have blogged many times about this. So much that it became the topic of my first book, Unladylike: Resisting the Injustice of Inequality in the Church.  Though I have become kinda DONE with blogging about many aspects of church and Christianity, the issue of women and the justice denied them is not one of them. I suppose that ’til my dying breath my … Keep reading …

Mother’s Guilt & the Art that Is Saving Me

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A blogger soul sister of mine, My Inner Chick, whose tagline is Attitude with a side of Bitch! recently wrote a post called, Our Stories Become our Lives. She writes: The stories that make us who we are, mold us, shape us, sharpen us, & cause us to breathe in empathy, compassion, kindness. Stories that interweave within our roots, our blood. Stories that make us strong, powerful. E M P O W E R E D. Aware. Educated. Amazing. Our stories transform the universe into something unimaginably better, immeasurably enhanced. Sometimes our stories include rape, domestic violence, cancer, oppression, murder, physical disabilities, discrimination, disfigurement, disconnectedness. Sometimes we don’t want our stories –because they hurt like double hell, but regardless, they become part of us. Yes, our stories can change the very fabric … Keep reading …

My Son Has Cancer

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**I wrote this a few days ago. I didn’t want to post it until my son gave the thumbs up. Tonight he did. This is the hardest post I have ever, ever put on my blog. ** * * * * *  “Pam, you need to get him checked out right away. A CT scan and a biopsy,” said the naturopath on the phone. “He has all the symptoms of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.” After months of mysterious symptoms and many trips to the clinic and seeing several different doctors, all the clues came together and the tests confirmed what the naturopath told us : My 16y son has Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a kind of cancer that is the third most diagnosed cancer for teenagers in the United … Keep reading …

A Love Letter (finally!) to My Body

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In the summer of 2012, She Loves magazine  issued a call for women to submit love letters to their body. Ugh, I groaned, I don’t think so. My body and I have not been on speaking terms with one another for decades. I couldn’t remember EVER a time of liking my body let alone loving it. I’d have to pass on this one, I told Idelette, the magazine editor. Like a true story-sniffing editor, she proposed I write about that. And so I did.  I posted it the day before my husband and I left to camp in a gorgeous Oregon emerald green forest out of reach of social media and wi-fi signals. It was strategic on my part. If I was going to post something so … Keep reading …

Be Kind, Be Sexy

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I’m sick this week. I can’t really focus to write much but I did manage to take an old quote of mine and artify it with the fun tools of PicMonkey. I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to print it, post it, pass it on and of course, artify your own quote. Hope you’re having a good week! Let me know if you agree or disagree : Is common kindness a turn on? … Keep reading …

Letting Go of a Church-Centered Me (Plus, WINNERS Announced!)

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***Thanks to all who celebrated with me and participated in my 1000 Sales Giveaway! I am happy to announce that with the good help of RANDOM PICKER I have three winners to announce. (Drumroll……) CARRIE         DEB          J. STAHL Yay! Congratz on winning a signed copy of Unladylike! I can post it in the mail by the end of the week. LEt me know the name you would like me to sign the book to, though Carrie don’t you still live in my zip code? (A great excuse to hook up and catch up!) Deb and J. Stahl please click HERE to email me your address. So excited to have done this! This has been SUCH A BLAST that I am … Keep reading …

Celebrating 1000 sales with a Giveaway!

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Unladylike, has finally passed the 1000th sale mark! In the world of big publishing, this is not much to celebrate. But in my world, where the average author manages to sell about 100 books, this is a milestone to C E L E B R A T E ! !Unladylike has been out for two years. It was a  great first book project for me about a topic I am deeply committed to. Writing Unladylike helped increase my confidence as a writer. Being a blogger, I knew I could write in short spurts. But writing a book is like a marathon. I can jog around the block (or blog in this case!) but did I have the stamina to write a full-length book? And the … Keep reading …

My Rose in Ireland

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***This is a rare post about family life for me. As a blogger, I have chosen not to reveal much about my family, especially my children. But I have now been in the  blogosphere for a long while and have enjoyed wonderful connections with my readers. Today, let me introduce you to my daughter Rose. She has just reached an important milestone in her life.*** My daughter Rose was just three months old when we took her on her first road trip. Destination: Ensenada, Mexico. Since that time we have been able to show Rose and her brother places all over the Western United States. In 2007, we all traveled to Hong Kong–where Jerry and I met and married 25 years ago — we also … Keep reading …

In Search of a Little god

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“God is beneath the ordinary details of our lives,” wrote someone somewhere in the great big unending heaven of words known as the Internet. Yeah, I believe that too, I thought as I skimmed the post of whereever-ness I found it. That night I sat in my operator chair at work, my fifth month now working graveyard and becoming a day sleeper, just as my dad was when I was growing up, except he was a security guard. I’m a line operator at a Nabisco factory. When the line is running well, as it was this particular night, there is a whole lot of sitting down and reflecting. So as the river of crackers moved passed me, I recalled what I had read, (where did … Keep reading …

Book Project Update: I Ain’t Giving Up

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I worked for three years as a patient dining assistant at a big hospital here in my city of Portland, Oregon. I loved the job, but it definitely could be stressful. My last year there I took on a position in a very busy unit. In fact, many of my coworkers dreaded working on this unit. I decided to go for it, to sink my teeth into a challenge and CHALLENGING it was! In an effort to destress after the shift was over, I begin to keep a journal, one I titled “Hospital Journal : Unit XX.” (For confidentiality as well as compliance with HIPPA laws, I won’t tell you what unit it was, but my former coworkers will totally know what I’m talking about). … Keep reading …

Soaring into Everyday Loveliness with ONE WORD

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HELLO 2014!!! My New Year’s resolution is  To Not Have a New Year’s Resolution! Have you heard that one before? For the last several years I have decided on focusing on a word or a phrase that I find affirming and life giving. Resolutions are… such downers for I inevitably fail and am left standing in a pool of self-loathing. Not a great way to begin a new year with a puddle of failures to wade through. My word last year was Be True. This became my compass as I forged forward into 2013, especially as a writer. I am ever on the quest to hone my truest voice when I am writing or speaking. Who I am on the page or the internet or a … Keep reading …

Announcement: I’m Gonna Be a Radio Guest!

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SUPER EXCITED to let you know that Drew Marshall, Canada’s most popular spiritual radio host (and he’s hilarious!) has taken a leap of faith to invite me to be a guest on his broadcast THIS SATURDAY! It will be streamed LIVE from his website. He told me to expect a call at 11:15am my time which is Pacific Coast time in the US. I think the broadcast is taped and made available online later but I’m not sure. Here is a LINKwhere you can check for more details. It is a weekly 4- hour broadcast with several segments. I will be featured as Drew’s God Blogger. I asked Drew if God knew about this and he said, “No, but it’s ok. He doesn’t listen to … Keep reading …

To Be Seen

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My core fear is that I will be forgotten. I am the one who is terrified that  when I leave the room, no one will notice nor care. It is what drove me to insane levels of overserving and volunteering in order to garner not only belonging, but also to maintaining a sense of purpose and higher mission. I refused to be left behind as  the forgotten one. It is a long story for another time, but as I came to realize my toxic codependent service in the communities of faith I served in, I dialed back,  though fearing that by not serving I would become invisible. And my fears were realized. In two separate tribes of church, my withdrawal from communal serving resulted in … Keep reading …

The Everyday Ordinary of Being True

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I have known dozens upon dozens of people who despise their ordinary existence and think that their life does not have much significance. This is the revolution I am most interested in — the grassroots, invisible reformation of the Everyday Woman and Everyday Man. The revolution I need is to revolt against the cultural, national and religious forces that have built into my identity a plan for how I need to live and have my being in order to be significant. I am on the road to living a storied life that others may interpret as mediocre. I call it the Everyday Ordinary of Being True.  Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the … Keep reading …

Work to Live, Live to Work {and why I don’t go to potlucks anymore}

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“I can’t go,” I explained to my husband as I determined that I was too exhausted to attend a potluck we had been invited to. Normally I am all-in when it comes to gatherings of people with hot covered dishes. My momma raised me right. But the learning curve for my new job–did I mention I work the night shift?– had me too tired to even think about getting out of the house. “How’s your new job going?” I asked a friend who also has started a new thing about the same time I did. “It’s hard,” she said. “I feel like I work all the time or else I’m resting to be ready to work. It’s like I don’t have a life anymore. I’m … Keep reading …

Food Lady : Low-brow Curiosity and My First Patient

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*****Here’s a little sample from my current book project, Food Lady: What I Learned about Life and Death Working at a Hospital.   I had hopes of releasing it before the end of the year, but my new job has slowed down my progress. Still on the fire, though, simmering instead of  boiling, but on the stove and not the shelf! ***names have been changed**** “How do you do it, Tara?” I asked when I had gotten word that I was hired and had a start date. A perpetual worrier, I was already fretting about the skill needed to talk to the sick and dying about something as intimate as food choices. I imagined mangled bodies deluged with tubes and wires. As the patient clung to … Keep reading …

11 Things That Turn Me On

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One of my absolute fave bloggers, My Inner Chick, just posted a list of 13 things that turn her on. Just reading it turned me on, so much so that I’ve decided to post my own, but instead of 13 turn-ons–which 13 is one of my FAVE numbers!– I’ve decided to post only 11 — which is another fave number of mine. I’m actually numbers challenged, but there is something about these two odd numerals that, you guessed it, turns me on!  When I say Turns Me On, I am not talking about sex, which I know you probably weren’t even thinking that …  but I was! In the spirit of Kim’s list (My Inner Chick), I am listing things that rouse my imagination and … Keep reading …

My Hair Net Matters

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“No offense, Mom, but I don’t want to end up working at a factory like you and dad,” said one of my teenagers to me, though I’m sure the other one feels the same sentiment. “I agree. I want you to soar higher than we did. And that’s why we work at this job, so we can help support you pursue your education and aspirations,” I replied in my bestest non-lecturey-mom’ish voice. “I’d love for you to have a job that doesn’t require a hairnet,” I joked. Oh, the idealism of youth. I totally remember being a teenager and SWEARING that I would not end up like my parents. Their jobs seemed so…. boring… and meaningless. I wanted to change the world and leave my … Keep reading …

I Need a Wife

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I’m on my fourth week of working graveyard at my new job. Total reality change in every way. Becoming a day sleeper is completely altering the rhythms of rest, hunger and productivity. In other words, I sleep weird hours, I’m hungry at odd times (2a.m. is my new lunch hour!) and my house is getting kinda grungy, though I feel quite accomplished that I managed to sweep up the kitchen and dining room today. Hurray for Super Women and the image they create for the rest of us to live up to! I grew up with a dad who worked the night shift, and my husband has worked grave for years. Both of these men worked nights with grace and stamina. I have not yet … Keep reading …