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God will give you more than you can handle: I guarantee it.

all our lemmony things

There’s a certain phrase I’ve come to really dislike.

All my life, I’ve heard this phrase whenever I go through a rough patch. *And by rough patch, I mean a prickly, gnarly patch that leaves me bleeding to near death*. You’re probably familiar with those kinds of “patches”.

“God will never give you more than you can handle” is the phrase I’m referring to.

more than to bear

And it’s a sweet sentiment, really. The people who say it are speaking from caring and concerned hearts.

BUT–it isn’t true.

I know that sounds harsh, but I promise I haven’t suddenly lost my mind or have become an angry-with-God bitter woman who hates the world. Actually, when I realized the simple fact that God can–and will–give us more than we can possibly bear, it got easier.

And it all started to make more sense.

I’ve often trudged through trials that overwhelm me. Ever since my…

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Disturb Us

Yesterday was a “post-fast” day, which is another way of saying that I didn’t write for lots of great reasons, all boiling down to one: I just didn’t.

In lieu of my own thoughts yesterday, I want to share this prayer by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, modified from a prayer by Sir Francis Drake. Our priest read it to us yesterday, and — well, it’ a lot better than anything I can say.

Disturb us, O Lord

when we are too well-pleased with ourselves
when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little,
because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, O Lord

when with the abundance of things we possess,
we have lost our thirst for the water of life
when, having fallen in love with time,
we have ceased to dream of eternity
and in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision of Heaven to grow dim.

Stir us, O Lord

to dare more boldly, to venture into wider seas
where storms show Thy mastery,
where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.

In the name of Him who pushed back the horizons of our hopes
and invited the brave to follow.


gratitude to the website here for the link.

Sound Advice

I’m not a theologian. I enjoy loud rock and fast cars and cable TV. I don’t avoid swearing, drinking, good sex, or occasionally off color jokes. I’m not holy or somehow more devout than anyone else. I do believe that Christianity is the best possible path to God.

I think most of the time, other self-identified Christians actually make it harder to make sense of the wisdom written in the Bible because they over-simplify it, or they use some but not all and twist it to their desires. Life is not simple and the Bible isn’t either; when someone tries to make it so, it ends up insulting to everyone involved, and most particularly God.

I am also a professional worrier. Some of this is natural talent, and a lot of it is the byproduct of having lived through domestic violence. Either way, I kick ass at what-ifs and completely suck at kicking back. This was a useful trait back when I was a project manager or quality assurance auditer; it isn’t so useful now.

To my panic attacks, I also add guilt because the Bible tells me I shouldn’t worry, so does my worrying make me a – gulp – bad Christian??

There are problems with a little old lady patting me on the hand and telling me to not worry, and worse yet, if I had Real Faith and Trust in God, I would never worry about a thing. One of these problems is the inherent smugness of someone belittling my personal terror. (And by the way, isn’t that act of “comfort” judgmental in its dismissiveness?) I hate this blithe and idiotic notion that I willingly worry.

God is not Santa Claus and my praying to Him asking Him to whisk away what I don’t like and just give me what I want is not going to work. I need to be attentive to my life so that I can participate in it; life is not something I should sit by and watch. But how do I balance a readiness for action against unnecessary anxiety?

There has got to be some middle area between freaking out and tra-la-laing through one’s day, oblivious to the signs of pain and suffering and injustice in the world. Being reassured to “not worry” isn’t a get out of responsibility free card. We still need to tend to the gardens of our lives, in all the good and unpleasant tasks which that involves. I think it means: “Don’t panic.” I freely acknowledge, though, that I have never been able to understand how to not panic.

I don’t *want* to worry too much, but it would be psychotic of me to pretend that the serious challenges in my life aren’t serious, and in some cases, life threatening. Ignoring these facts is not trusting in God, it’s magical thinking. Not only is that just stupid, but I don’t think it’s what Christ meant in Matthew 6:31-34.

I don’t think, as far as I can tell, that God is trying to belittle our real reasons for worry in this life: illness, bereavement, vulnerability, and pain. I think the passage in Matthew is meant to reassure us, much like the Beatitudes discussed a couple of days ago here, and to point us in the direction of trust and fearlessness towards which He would like us to go.

As for how to take that advice: well, I worry about that, too.

I’ll always love the bloody sock, but after reading this, I agree – the Roberto Clemente award is a much more wonderful accomplishment.

38 Pitches

From Mike Murphy

What was the single most memorable moment of your career? What is the one career accomplishment that means most to you?


An unfair question. There were moments, both good and bad, that are enduring.

Moment I was most proud of? Winning the Roberto Clemente Award in 2001.

Back in the winter before the 1992 season Shonda and I were talking and she asked me “What’s the one award you want to win before your career is over?”

My answer? The Roberto Clemente Award. The reasons were many. Growing up a Pirate fan (my dad was born and raised in Somerset, PA) I was a fan from the time I can remember, around 1971, until I got to the big leagues. I grew up with the Pirates of the ’70’s, which was a great time to be a Bucs fan. My dads favorite player when I was…

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tricky recipe

disclaimer: this was written, um, a few years ago, during my blue period. as i’ve started writing reviews of other people’s works, it’s only fair to give them a chance to review something i wrote. i sincerely don’t know what i think of this little bit, other than it’s a bit self-aware and unnatural. but, maybe it’s not “bad.” i can’t tell. it oozes earnestness. for better or less than. 


come out come out where-ever you are

but you

can’t catch me i’m the gingerbread girl

catch the ginger-



out of the oven at 350

burnt and howling

as her-


wrenched a way pulled

a part



-self crumbling in (my)

grasping digits

clawing (at) my/-self

he reaches

in and down and through and between



as I search for the wo-man

I despair to

evolve into, grow into — or maybe it’s just disinfect

I stumble over what I am forced to be

the forced me, the cauterized I

slithers to be come

(m)other to my/self

to heal these

burns and lacerations


I will remix the ingredients


and pull myself out


I am burned

then decorate like Christmas

Book Review: The Dust Beneath Her Feet and A Change in the Weather by Shaheen Ashraf-Ahmed

The Purana Qila Stories

The Dust Beneath Her Feet

A Change in the Weather

by Shaheen Ashraf-Ahmed

Some stories rest in the margins.

Some are always just past the rim of our glasses, and we turn pages, squinting, trying to improve our view.

The Purana Qila Stories: The Dust Beneath Her Feet and A Change in the Weather, by Shaheen Ashraf-Ahmed are pearl-like, almost glowing from their own light, suggesting, but not telling all they’ve seen.

Purana Qila is the oldest known structure in Delhi, and it was also the locus of Muslim refugees trying to leave India and move into the newly formed state of Pakistan during the Partition. The stories themselves are refugees. In some instances, the fleeing is physical and divisive; in others, the flight is ideological or emotional. Ashraf-Ahmed asks us not only from what do we run, but towards what, and with whom?

Each story laps the ankles of one man and the people associated with him. They are fluid in time and geography and point of view, moving shamelessly like memory.  Ashraf-Ahmed pushes at the notions of honor and loyalty, shifting points of view and time. Roti-like, they wrap around the binding decisions of common men, containing bites of lives. The dish, however, remains largely outside of one’s hands.

‘If the eggs spoil in their shells, it is because of something we did.’ Safiyah tells her daughters, as she tries to navigate the whims of her husband, his employer, and the increasing danger of being an unprotected individual in 1947. The Dust Beneath Her Feet is an observation of those who may only react to the decisions of others. The action, the movement, in the story is all committed by second-tier characters. Thus, the novella itself describes the margins of activity, the consequences of being in someone else’s shade.

The prose is tight and delicate, each phrase carefully tuned. It is musical in tempo and cadence. It is powerful in its restraint and discretion.

A Change in the Weather brings our hero into closer view. Only a point of reference in The Dust Beneath Her Feet, in A Change in the Weather, Imran is presented to us for evaluation, after he has out lived his potential. The narrative presents us with his choices during the decades since The Dust Beneath Her Feet , and we are left to determine if he chose properly or poorly.

Both stories are available through amazon. They are extraordinary, and worthwhile.  Shaheen Ashraf-Ahmed’s blog is


This review first appeared on, Friday Reads.

What the #$%^ just happened?

Was it just me, or did Biden seem a bit “happy” during the debate?  In other words, do you think the munchies run was for brownies or chips?

Kidding aside, The VP’s behavior was, at best, disrespectful, rude, condescending and amateurish during tonight’s Vice Presidential debate.  After about 45 minutes or so, I started to get worried. I mean, there are bad manners – and then there’s drug abuse and psychosis. Is this guy okay in his head? Does he need help? Intervention???

This election is historic, and it really is about two different Americas: there is the America that is becoming more like the European Union, and will surely follow the same ruinous economic path, and there is the more capitalist, smaller government, individual make-your-own fate America.

There are three things I believe. (Well, more than three, but I’ll just stick to three here.)

1) No person, group, or government has the right to tell anyone what his or her morals, beliefs, charitable causes, family relationships, houses of worship (or choosing not to participate in an organized faith), vocabulary, slang, etc etc etc — no one has the right to tell someone else how to live. This goes for both parties. I think government needs to let the citizens make our own decisions about how to construct our families, raise our kids, make our health decisions, and save or invest our money. I won’t tell you how to live; you don’t tell me. I do promise though that I will do what I can to protect your right to live as you believe is best.

2) All the nobel social cause ideals only work if they can be paid for. The money that pays for programs comes from taxes. Taxes are the revenue that the government collects from businesses so that the government can run its programs. So, if people can’t work, then they can’t pay taxes. If they can’t pay taxes, all discussions about military size, healthcare, social security, education, gay marriage or abortion — all these topics become completely academic. For anything else to happen, first, people need to be able to work. Which means that the people who start businesses and try to grow them so they can hire more people need to feel like they are in an environment that will allow their businesses to grow.

3) As Scrooge said in “A Christmas Carol,” “I’ve given my bit to charity. I paid my taxes.” If you tell people which social issues to support and how you will support them by proxy, you leave people with a) less to donate to charities they chose and b) a false sense of having already done “their bit.”  On the other hand, one need only look at Bill and Melinda Gates, or the Romneys for that matter, to see examples of these super-rich “bad guys” doing more for charity than most nations do. They do it because it is right, not because they have to do it.

Charity is a MORAL issue — not a legislative one. You can’t make people be nice to each other.

Just look at Biden tonight. He’s from the warm fuzzy “I’ll take care of you” party — and he acted like a condescending selfish – and possibly drunk or psychotic – out of touch pathological liar. Do you really want him deciding what your moral values should be?

Ryan was right tonight: this election comes down to the America you think we ought to be. I’d remind you that the America we have been for the first 200 years worked pretty damn well, and personally, I’ve never seen a more beautiful, inspiring, gorgeous government than our Founding Constitution. Let’s not change that — let’s live up to it.

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