Feb 082012

I’ve been really sick for the past several days – like can’t get out of bed sick. You newbies should know that I suffer from Lyme disease. I mean, I’m recovering from Lyme disease. I’ve been recovering for almost three years. Sometimes Lyme leaves me alone, but when it hits, I feel like a butterfly who some bastard is trying to pin down into one of those awful display boxes. My body becomes literally pinned to my bed as if by centrifugal force – every limb weighs a million pounds and the aches in each joint are ridiculous. My mind becomes foggy  – chronic Lyme is neurological – but I’m just coherent enough to know that I’m not at all coherent. I can’t think of the right words, which is a lot of fun for a writer. My mind panics. Panics, panics, panics. Why won’t you work? What if you never work again? And what about all my dreams? Another baby, a writing career, not totally sucking as a wife and a mom and friend, SIMPLY REMAINING VERTICAL….is none of it going to happen because of a damn TICK? My soul knows, always knows, that all is well. But my mind and my body- they fight that knowledge.

When I’m Lymie, neither my body nor my mind is my friend. Last night I lay pinned to my bed considering how wondrous it would be to get rid of this broken body and spastic mind and become all soul. That’s how I imagine entering heaven . . . it’ll be like stepping out of the freezing cold and into a toasty family room – shedding my mind and body like a heavy coat and itchy scarf. Sitting my soul down in front of the fire.

I’m a skinny girl, and skinny has been in this past few decades.  When I was eight, I started worrying I’d be fat and spent the next twenty years being bulimic. After I stopped binging and purging, I turned out to be naturally skinny. Probably would have been all along if I’d just left well enough alone. So annoying. What a waste of time and tooth enamel.

Anyway – whenever women mention that they’re jealous of my body, I consider that I’d happily take on an extra twenty if it meant I could have a body that worked right, a body upon which I could depend. I guess the ass is always greener.

I got a few respectful but concerned emails yesterday regarding the family we helped in Atlanta. In short- these people were wondering if it was responsible of Momastery to support a woman who continued to have children while knowing she couldn’t support them.

I’m not going to have that conversation right now, except to say that I am not in the business of deciding which human beings are deserving of help and which aren’t. That’s a slippery slope, and one that a girl like me must avoid like the plague. I spent the first twenty years of my life with my arms open wide, accepting gifts from God and family and friends and promptly walking over to the trash can and throwing them in. By the time I was helped out of my crappy life once and for all, I certainly didn’t deserve it. But help came anyway. Grace, I believe it’s called. Undeserved favor.  Grace is scandalous, and I can see how someone who has lived a responsible life might get frustrated by it. I really, really can. Grace is totally unfair. So, that’s the bad news. The good news is that if you ever need help- we will be here to offer it. And you can bet your Monkee bottom that we won’t be concerned with whether or not you deserve it. You’re worthy of love and grace just because you are.

Since I write about God a lot, people often ask me to explain Himself.

They send me pictures of earthquake victims and babies with cancer and they say, “How can you believe in a god who would allow this to happen?”

I always tell them the truth, which is: I don’t know. Seems totally ridiculous, doesn’t it? I just don’t know.

Mostly, I have three prayers. I imagine them as huge signs – billboard sized signs – that I hold up toward the sky throughout the day, in hopes God’ll see them. The first sign says: Come in! The second says: THANK YOU! And the third says: WTF?????

Many of you will write to me today.  You will be angry about the irreverence of a WTF sign to God. You will tell me I shouldn’t write like that, shouldn’t think like that, even. But I don’t write what I should think, I write what I actually think. And I think it’s irreverent NOT to tell the truth. My truth is that I feel just as angry at God as those who write to me do. Maybe more so, because those people aren’t always writing about how GOOD He is all the time. They got less ‘splainin to do. The truth is that I think piety is sometimes inappropriate in the face of the insane suffering and pain that people face. And if we want to get biblical, we could discuss the fact that most of the Psalms are one giant WTF???? sign to God.

I’ve sat with a friend whose son just drowned in a river. I’ve stood in a room with two families whose children just died of cancer. I’ve felt two adoptions – two babies – slip through my hands like sand. I’ve sat on a hard floor with my Sister’s head in my lap while her marriage fell apart. I’ve held a best friend’s hand minutes after she discovered that her husband was cheating and leaving. In none of these situations did I feel like the appropriate reaction was to give thanks, to assure a suffering person that everything happens for a reason. Jesus. We get to gratitude, eventually. Slowly, slowly, impossibly slowly. But we’ve gotta get through the WTF? Stage first.  Kind of like how Jesus, on the cross…said, “My God, WHY have you forsaken me?” If Jesus is allowed to feel abandoned, than I think it’s okay that we occasionally do too, and that we tell the truth about how that feels.

And even so.

I believe. I do. I believe that in the midst of all of life’s chaos and clatter and awful, awful noise there is a constant note – a frequency that vibrates softly but certainly – and some people can handle the awful banging and clanging of life’s suffering because they can somehow tune in to that one glorious note. And that note is what I call God. Jesus. You call it what you’d like. I just want you to listen for it. Eventually, you will dance to it. Even amidst the clanging.

In the meantime- here is a story for you. About God. About the clanging and about the note.

By God, There Will Be Dancing

I am sitting in a quiet bedroom with God. We are alone – the two of us. I am perched on the edge of a four poster bed and my legs are dangling off the side. God is in a rocking chair across the room and She’s knitting. God knits, it turns out. She also rides a Harley, but never while knitting.

I am pissed at God, so I’m glaring at her while She rocks and knits.

She won’t ask me what’s wrong. I’m waiting for Her to ask. I’m dying for Her to ask. I sigh. I breathe as deeply and loudly and with as much angst as possible.

Nothing from Her. Nothing disturbs Her peace, nothing breaks Her concentration. She is not curious.

So I just start.

Why would you say all of those things about caring for orphans and make me love them so much and then lead me on a seven year wild goose chase and then leave me empty handed? This adoption’s going to fall through, isn’t it? You’re going to leave me empty handed, aren’t you? Aren’t you? I know you are.

Please don’t. If you do, that’s it for us. I’m not kidding. I’ll quit trying not to be a jerk. I’ll quit writing. I’ll quit talking to you and caring about other people and smiling so much. I’ll spend all my money on fancy make-up and couches and I’ll spend all my time watching Real Housewives of Orange County. No. Housewives of NEW JERSEY. Take that. I’m serious. Friendship with you is too exhausting. I’m going to have to quit you, based on principle and utter confusion. If you don’t pull through for me this time- it’s atheism for me. Atheism. I’m so serious.

God keeps knitting. Then She smiles and holds Her stitch for a moment. She looks up at me with her soft crinkly eyes and She says:

Honey. You are so angry. I understand. I love you so much. Would you like me to stop knitting so that we can talk about all of this?”

I think for a minute and look at the knitting in her lap. I gaze at the part that’s done. It’s breathtaking. All blue and green and hot pink and gold and silver. At first the colors seem to swirl wildly but then, suddenly, I recognize a pattern. The pattern is me. I am beautiful. Swirly, wild, and beautiful.

No, I Say. Don’t stop. Keep knitting.

Because She is knitting my life, of course. I am what Her hands are working on. And I want Her to concentrate. I still trust Her.

God? I say. I’m going to dance. While you knit, I’m just going to dance. I don’t really know what else to do.

And God looks up one last time and I see that Her eyes are twinkling this time.

She says:

Oh, Good. That’s all I’ve ever wanted you to do, Sweetheart. You dance and I’ll keep knitting. It’s going to be beautiful, Honey. I promise. Just Dance. I’ve got this.

Kay, I say.


Tomorrow:  WE DANCE.


Feb 092012

 Monkees – Meet the Croyle Family.

This is Kristin, Lance, and their eight children. The youngest,  Amirabelle,  is seven months old and the oldest,  Joey, is 18.

Kristin and Lance are deeply in love. They each describe themselves as simple people – Lance says that Kristin is tough as nails, full of energy, fun, bright, wise, faithful, and hopeful. Their home and hearts are full to bursting.

Kristin’s friend, Debby, wrote recently to tell me that Kristin Croyle, wife to Lance, mother to eight, dear friend to many- has just been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. The Croyle family, their wide circle of friends, their church, and their entire community have been devastated by this news. Debby didn’t have any idea who I was, or who the Monkees were. But a friend of a friend  mentioned that we help with miracles, so she decided to give us a try.

Lou, the Chairmonkee of Monkee See- Monkee Do, called the Croyle home and spoke to both Lance and Kristin. They were gracious and kind and lovely to Lou. Lou told them about the Monkees and asked them what we could do to help. Kristin requested prayer. Then she informed Lou in no uncertain terms that it was not her time to go, no matter what the doctors said. She explained that she had babies to raise. Beautiful babies to raise. She loves them each so achingly much that she refuses to leave them behind. Kristin told Lou that she was not going to die.

Lou believed her. I do, too.

We are going to grant Kristin’s request and pray ceaselessly. But we are also going to offer the Croyles a living prayer. Kristin’s humility wouldn’t allow her to share the secret wish of her heart with Lou. But we discovered her secret wish. Monkees have ways.

The Croyles have never taken a family vacation. They are hard workers, these Croyles, and putting food on the table has required all they earn. That’s always been more than  fine with them. They’re an extremely grateful couple.  But Kristin recently told a friend that what she really wants right now, in the wake of her diagnosis, is to put her feet in the sand, feel the warmth of the sun on her shoulders, stare out at the big, big ocean, and listen to Lance and her children play in the surf . . . for the first time.


This group – this Monkee group, many of whom have been together for years and many of whom were brought here by a post about Kairos– is going to provide a week of kairos to a family who needs it.

Thanks to Lou and Lance’s sister, Kelly, we have reserved a house for the Croyles. Here it is. It’s on Captiva, on the Southern Gulf side of Florida. Captiva is known for its tranquility, seashells, and sunsets. Perfect. Look, there are already ten chairs all  set up and ready. We’ll just need a little beach jumper for Amirabelle.

The Monkees will fly the ten Croyles – plus Joey’s adorable girlfriend – from Pennsylvania to this beautiful place. We will pay for their flights. We will pay for their house and we will pay for their food. Maybe we’ll even hire a chef. We will hire a photographer to take family pictures on the beach. Kristin’s children will swim with the dolphins. Lance will take a deep breath or two. And Kristin will sit on the beach and soak up the sun and the energy and the prayers and the inspiration she needs to come home and kick cancer’s ass. Because it is not her time. Because Kristin has some babies to raise.

We are going to raise this money, one Monkee at a time, as a team.

Here’s the catch –  no Monkee is allowed to donate more than $25 per day.

These Love Projects are as much for the givers as they are for the receivers  – and we want as many human beings as possible to be part of this miracle. We want thousands of souls  invested in this family . . . thousands of people praying and sending healing energy and love towards Kristin.

Heal her, God. Heal her completely and fully. Shock the doctors, God. Send Kristin home to love those beautiful babies and live out her one, precious, irreplaceable life. 

In the meantime . . .

Please, go to the PayPal button on the right side of the blog  (in the middle of the column) and donate whatever you can- 5, 10, or 25 dollars.

Then think of five friends who have a heart and twenty five dollars and invite them to share in this miracle, too.

Come back each day. I’ll let you know how we’re doing.  Also – prayers, please. This vacation will not be the Croyles’ miracle. We expect nothing less than Healing. Complete and total healing. Then we celebrate like we’ve never celebrated before.

Let’s do this. For Kristin. For ourselves. For Love.


Debby, Kelly,  Lou and G

Feb 092012


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead


Sister, Lou, and I had a secret goal to raise 25 thousand dollars for the Croyles. We didn’t share that goal with you because it was so BIG. We were worried that as the days wore on, you Monkees might be discouraged if we didn’t get there.
Well. . .

We got there.

Oh –  we got there. 


The Monkees (and all those who’ve joined us for the day)  raised TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND AND ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS for the Croyles. In ten hours. 


Kay. So I am going to go sit and cry a little and thank God for the kindness of strangers. I am going to thank God that each of you believed that YOU MATTERED. That today you believed that  the extra few minutes and dollars it would cost you to LOVE this family would MATTER. It did. 5, 10, 20 dollars at a time- it all added up fast and furious. We danced today like Monkees on a hot tin roof. WE DANCED.  Alone, together, all over the freaking WORLD.

This is us. 


I get to be Fergie.


Croyles – start packing. Just start packing. It’s gonna be a helluva vacation,  folks.

And Kristin- You can stop praying so hard. Just breathe. We’ve got this. Thousands and THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of souls are praying for you now. There are thousands of conversations being held with God right now and they’re all about YOU. We’re gonna carry you, sister.



I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU, MONKEES. Thank you for helping me believe. Thank you for helping me see that I actually live in the world I’ve always dreamed of living in.

We do! We live in that wonderful world!


Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.





P.S. Paypal is closed now- today’s flash mob is done. But if you missed it, fear not.  We are just getting started up in here. Stay tuned.



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