While you by no means have to use this time to learn a second language or write a best-selling novel, we do hope that you are able to make some space for the things that bring you joy, stretch your imagination, and challenge your perceptions.
Filling the Creative Well
Social Justice Conversations
North Clackamas School District EXTENDING GRAB-N-GO MEAL SERVICES!
North Clackamas Schools will be providing Meals for all district students who need them. CLICK HERE for more info on the student meal service during school closure.
Preboxed food packages will be available at the Wichita Center starting on Monday, March 16 through Friday March 20 and March 30 to 31 from 10am - 4pm; Wichita Center is not open during spring break. Families accessing this service will be asked for the size of your family so staff can size the box appropriately. This will be done on a drive-thru model where the food will be delivered to your vehicle
Clackamas Service Center
Hours have not changed due to Corona Virus
Oak Grove UMC Check-In & Pray
Wednesday nights at 7 pm
to Join Zoom Meeting type this address into your internet browser
Call in from any kind of phone
+1 253 215 8782 US
Meeting ID: 424 387 134
Thursday mornings at 9 am
to Join Zoom Meeting type this address into your internet browser
Call in from any kind of phone
+1 253 215 8782 US
Meeting ID: 248 825 809
With school and work closures, chances are that you are spending A LOT of time with your kids right now, more than you usually may have to plan for, and it's okay if that's hard! We also know that it's hard for kids as well as they find their schedules disrupted and deal with their own loss of social interactions.
Here you'll find a compiled list of kid-friendly resources that hopefully give you some ideas and tools for engaging with your children in these unusual times, and give your ideas for at-home activities that can include the whole family or keep your kids entertained so you can get your work done. We will be continually adding to this, so check back in regularly if you need more!
1. Illustrated Ministry: Free Weekly Faith Formation Resources for all ages.
2.. Virtual Field Trips: There are a lot of great online field trips, like the ones below!
4. Busy Toddler: Realistic parenting during COVID-19, help with activities, schedules, and planning.
5. Indoor Games and Activities to Get Children Moving by Big Life Journal
6. Scholastic Magazines for Kids
7. Lakeshore Learning Material- Free learning resource
8. April 3rd Disney-Sing-Along Accordion Concert Live Stream!
Do you know your next door neighbors?
I know some of them well enough to know who lives there, but I confess, that I don’t know all of them. With everybody working different hours and spending less time in our yards and more time online, we don’t run into each other as often as we did when I was growing up. As an introvert, I love being able to come home and talk to no one, but while people are staying home to slow down the spread of CoronaVirus, I’m concerned that some of our most vulnerable folks might need someone to check on them. So here are some ideas about who you should check in with and how to do it safely!
Make contact safely with neighbors, family or friends:
guest post from Pastor Heather at Oak Grove UMC
The world is not ending.
We are now officially in a time of global pandemic. The last truly global pandemic was the Spanish Flu of 1918.
A lot has happened since then- we have the technology available to get the word out faster, but we also have the technology available to spread angst, misinformation, guesstimations, and worry. It seems like a Catch-22.
In light of that, let’s offer some grounding for the state we find ourselves in.
Recommendations in a time of Coronavirus
First, Governor Brown issued the following recommendations/statement this morning, March 12th.
Here are some highlights of the recommendations from the statement
Caring for the Vulnerable
Also from Governor Brown's office:
"Individuals in high-risk populations (those over 60 years of age, or those with an underlying health condition) should avoid social and community gatherings of more than ten (10) people, for four weeks (through April 8, 2020).”
For us here in Milwaukie/Oak Grove, that means that a lot of our colleagues in faith communities are facing the decision of canceling their worship gatherings from now until Easter.
Storyline Community has canceled our Sunday gathering, as have our partner communities at Oak Grove UMC and Milwaukie Lutheran.
It means we’re going to need to be mindful of our at-risk populations and neighbors such as:
Connection in a time of Coronavirus
All of this means we’re going to need to learn how to stay connected with one another in creative ways. The CDC is recommending the practice of social distancing, this includes canceling unnecessary meetings, dates, and social engagements where a 3-foot distance cannot be kept.
Be looking here, at our blog, for links to grounding conversations that we’re hoping to host via ZOOM and tips for how to consider reaching out to your neighbors and family in the coming weeks.
Click here for some tips/specifics on healthy social distancing.
What's next for us?
Looking ahead, it’s going to also mean we find creative ways to Sabbath and remind ourselves that it’s ok even in the midst of a world that often operates at breakneck speed to slow down and stay home, or at least keep to outside spaces where you have the option to keep your distance. Going for walks is still ok. Taking care of yourself is super important. We’re also going to dig into some ways to help continue conversations online about best practices for mental and emotional health.
In the meantime, keep yourself informed. We recommend the source material:
Throughout January we have been focusing on rhythms and practices of Sabbath and how we can incorporate those into our lives. At our Lab, we had Sabbath Boxes, or Peace Boxes, filled with things that help ground and relax and promote a state of rest.
For more information on how to make your own Sabbath Box, check out some of these fun links for resources and ideas about what to include in yours!
Lavender play dough or cloud dough:
Rollsed Beeswax candles:
Stress balls (with essential oils):
The following are activities that build on one another until that final moment.... Christmas!.... arrives. Please feel invited to engage the week-by-week activities once a week or as many times as your schedule allows. They're meant to be flexible.
You can participate in most of the reflections without specific materials, but the "kits" that went home with our families are pictured below. In addition to those items, you'll need glue, a craft brush, crayons and greenery. h, crayons, greens from your yard and some matches.
HELLO means GOODBYE - December 1st-7th
The beginning of waiting and the start of the Christmas season can feel like a very overwhelming "HELLO!" All of a sudden there are lists and lights and parties and plans! BUT, in every "hello", in every beginning, in every start.... there is an ending; a "goodbye". What are the things you are saying "goodbye" to as you begin waiting for Christmas? What things are ending? What are you putting away (even just for a little while) to make space for this season? As a household, use the blue Sharpee to write or draw those goodbyes and endings on the pottery base. Come back to this question as many times this week as feels necessary. Each time you finish writing, place one candle on the base and light it. Then take time to dream out loud about one thing this week that brought light, life and "hello" to you.
What we *really* need - December 8th-14th
Have you made your wish list yet? Looking for a way to balance the ever-present question: "is this *really* what Christmas is all about?" Don't worry Charlie Brown, we're inviting you to dig in to a different kind of list this week. There are probably more delicate entry points to this dissonance, but let's get into it. To quote the prophet Martin Luther King Jr., "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere....whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly." There are neighbors in our community for whom this season is hard. The lights, the lists, the hubbub only serve to remind them about their loss or how little they have. Maybe they are missing a loved one who is no longer with us. Maybe no matter how hard they work they cannot afford the things that others' can. Using the blue tissue paper, consider: 1) the things you have that you can give to others. (money, food, hand-me-down clothes to a clothes closet, time and conversation etc.) and 2) what your neighbors' Christmas list might look like this year. Using crayons, write those words on the tissue paper and then collage the tissue paper onto the pottery base. Together as a household, light TWO candles and consider how your artwork moves you to reach out to your neighbors this holiday season.
SURPRISE! - December 15th - 21st
One of the really exciting things about Christmas is the space it creates for us to celebrate and experience surprise. We're surprised by the gifts we receive, we're surprised by an experience of joy and wonder , we're surprised when it begins to snow on Christmas Eve! Surprise is a particularly important emotion and experience in a world that can feel so planned. Letting our kids help us to experience surprise is particularly important as well. This week, share stories together as a household about experiences of surprise, times you've encountered the unexpected. How did you feel? What was special about that experience? Each time you share a story, take a star from the kit and place it on the pottery base in the midst of your candles. Then, light three candles and hold some silence together to dream about the ways you might be surprised this Christmas!
The Longest Night and the Liveliest Moment - December 22nd-25th
December 21st is the longest night of the year. Sunset to sunrise on the 22nd is 18 hours, 15 minutes and 50 seconds in Portland, OR. Beginning the night of the 22nd, light lengthens. Days begin to get lighter and lighter, even in the midst of winter. Christmas comes just after we begin leaning into the lengthening of days, which is appropriate because Christmas is the story of a lengthening and a lightening. It's the story of God showing up in the most fragile and light-filled way possible: as a baby. Christmas is a time we get to claim the truth that things that are alive, that are light, that are joy.... show up in our world no matter what. The story of baby Jesus, born of a peasant girl named Mary reminds us that life is always possible and that often the most special moment isn't the quietest or the most ordered. (Because childbirth is neither of those things!) BUT it is often the liveliest moment! These next days, take time during meals to name the "lively" moments of your holiday celebration together. Each time you name a lively moment, celebrate it together by placing something green, growing and lively into the circle of your candles and pottery base. Notice how "lively" moments can be fragile, and joyful, and chaotic, and loud, and quiet and.... a lot of things! On Christmas, light all four candles and take time to share one thing with one another that is helping you feel alive in these days of celebration.
This last Sunday we gathered together as community to unpack what it means to "take a sabbath". Our illustrious Paul Potter shared with us that we, our bodies, our minds, all of creation is called to abide. Which is not so much obedience as it is presence. Remaining. Pausing in the midst of our motion to be grounded in the rhythms set about by the Holy One. I was floored by Paul's reading of Genesis. True story: something new rises every time I allow myself to abide and simply listen and let it's poetry rise. This time? No different.
Six days the Divine One took to create the earth and all her creatures. And what we always seem to think of as "the last thing", Paul introduced as the first thing. The first day that the WHOLE of Creation spent as the WHOLE of creation was a day of rest. OUR first day as Beloved Creation together was Sabbath.
So.... WHY IS IT that I keep convincing myself that I have to EARN my REST?
For this, might I highly recommend taking time on your own to continue or enter in to the journaling we all did together.
STEP ONE: Make a "T" Chart.
STEP TWO: One one side, write "Things that aren't actually restful" (you can include in your journaling things that you've been TOLD are supposed to be restful but aren't). On the second side, write "thing that bring me rest".
STEP THREE: Spend time creating your lists. Come back to them as you dwell in reflecting on them. Circle the ones on the "restful" side that you want to try out. Cross out the ones on the other side that you are realizing you need to abandon or let go of.
STEP FOUR: Try out some of the practices on the right hand side without any expectation of them working a certain way.
STEP FIVE: If you live in a house with young folx, consider gathering together for a family meeting and doing the T chart journaling together. Compare and contrast one another's T charts. Make a T chart together as a family. Then, make a plan to try practicing one of the practices on the "restful" side together. Let your young ones steer the decision making and scheduling. The more ownership they have over the process, the more you are gifting them with the ability to be self aware humans who can recognize their place in the created order.
Here's the other thing that I've been thinking about lately. This practice doesn't have to be all Jesus-y and reserved for the most excellent Christians. For one, our Jewish brothers and sisters are sometimes worlds better at practicing sabbath than we are. For another, EVERYONE is part of creation. Everyone is connected to the earth and her rhythms. So, if we believe in Sabbath, we are invited to believe that it is for everyone. Anyone can practice sabbath rest. Because everyone's bodies need rest. Everyone no matter who they are should feel invited to practice their wholeness.
Written by Anna Hoesly
Anna is a community organizer and pastor at Storyline community, where we are currently doing a book club about the currency of women's bodies, and leaning into a series in November about what it looks like to operate out of abundance rather than scarcity, in the nooks and crannies of our lives!
This is the story of how, today, I found myself at a birthday party for my belly.
A little background you should know: My 5 year old son legitimately has a relationship with my belly. He kisses her. He talks to her. He plays with her. He makes sure she is not feeling left out. When we are snuggling in the morning before we face the world, he sometimes looks like he just remembered something very important, and gives my belly a good morning kiss.
He commonly refers to my belly as his best friend.
I have to remind him that we don’t lift mommy’s shirt in public, and that he needs to ask mommy’s permission to touch my belly. Because best friends deserve consent too. And also because being seen talking to your mom’s belly is probably not the best way to make human friends.
This morning, he declared that it was Belly’s birthday.
I did not know this.
I thought he would forget about this declaration, because, well, it’s a weird thing to say that can’t possibly be grounded in anything more than a fleeting misfire of neurons. But when I picked him up from school, he ran to me with sad eyes and said “I’m SO sorry I missed Belly’s birthday”.
He asked if he could make it up to Belly by throwing her a birthday party.
His eyes were so big and so earnest that I heard myself say yes. AND THAT is how I found myself walking into a birthday party with a crop top on at 4 pm on a Monday.
There was a play dough cake.
And dolls who also brought their bellies; all of whom were hiding under blankets initially, because it was a surprise party, as all good belly birthday parties are.
My 7 year old daughter was in attendance as well and, by the way, did not for one second question this whole endeavor. When my son told her it was belly’s birthday and belly needed a party, she just nodded her head like “Of course, yes, we will do that for belly, that makes perfect sense, what would we like for appetizers”.
This is all very ironic, because while my son has a relationship with my belly, I , historically, do not. In fact, of all the parts of my body, it is the part of myself I have most disenfranchised from my existence.
Belly and I have always had an on-again, off-again relationship, but after I birthed two babies via emergency C-section, I think we officially broke up. I didn’t mean to do it. It just happened. I didn’t know how to understand my belly after she was done with her very important job. I spent months in awe of what she was capable of. I held her, caressed her, gazed at her, beheld her. I fell in love with my belly as she quietly, surely, provided for all the needs of my babies, held safely inside.
But afterward, she looked like an empty vessel, vaguely mimicking the shape of the important thing she used to hold. My belly button was not the proud center of attention it once was... by which I mean, it literally LOST. ITS. ABILITY. to be in the center of my stomach. Which I didn’t even know was a thing. And a scar showed the portal through which those very important magical parcels of life were miraculously, almost inconceivably, delivered to into my arms. My son once told me what Belly reminds him of; in the same manner you would tell someone that their eyes are like infinite pools of water and their smile is like the radiant morning sun. He said ever so fondly- with a sigh of adoration- "your belly is just like Flarp".
I had flashbacks of the belly I used to have, and how I understood it growing up- though I preferred the term “tummy” thankyouverymuch, because I understood tummies as feminine and flat, and bellies as things people refer to in metaphors including beer and bowls full of jelly. I was always monitoring its size, its shape, its tautness or lack thereof.
Not noticing so much the way one kajillion gut wrenchers in soccer conditioning week could make me a badass with a core of strength that centered my whole body into powerful movements across the field... but noticing how it transformed me ever-fleetingly into the mythical kind of girl who could wear a bikini top with confidence.
When I looked at my body I did not see what it could do, I saw a social currency that would determine my status and desirability.
I didn’t mean to see it this way. It wasn’t on my vision board of goals for my life, it was just the auto-focus I seemed to inherit from the world.
I learned early on that our wider culture often scales and ranks the currency of women’s bodies, with a lens of scarcity. Only a small pool can be the MOST beautiful, the MOST desirable, and that small pool becomes the standard by which others are measured. Hot or not. I remember learning this in 5th grade when one of the boys in my class referred to Vanna White as a “dog”, in contrast to someone else who was “hot”. I remember this being shocking to my little ten year old ears. Because Vanna White was quite literally the most beautiful person I could imagine. If Vanna White was a dog, then what was I? That scarcity mindset propels women to compare themselves with each other constantly, competing for a piece of the beauty pie, while slowly learning to discount the beauty that is right in front of us. And frankly, it makes our understanding of beauty so small, and so boring.
As I grew older, I started to become aware of this auto-focus and work to dispel it for myself. I didn’t start by changing the way I saw my own body, I started by changing the way I saw other women. I chose to reject the scarcity mindset and intentionally look for the unique beauty of all women in their manifold shapes and expressions. Sounds a bit like the kind of aspirational quote that is written on a poster floating across a sunset, in a doctor’s office. But as it turns out, its true. I came to see the forms of other women as unique works of art, embodying the full and radiant life emanating out of their soul. And over time, it began to change the way I saw myself.
And yet here I was, post-baby, suddenly transported back to my old way of seeing. My belly had exceeded my wildest expectations for what a human body part is capable of, and yet all I could see were the remnants of the super power I no longer needed- and a betrayal of the currency I thought I no longer believed in.
So in the end, I mostly managed my confusing remnant with the ever-so-timely trend of high-waisted pants, hid her in moments of intimacy, and chose to forget about her. I could not make sense of her so I dismissed her from my consciousness, avoiding eye contact and human touch.
And then along came my son, the one person in the world who seemed to admire her. At first I swatted away his touch because it challenged her shield of untouchability.
But over time, I began to receive it and allow her to be seen.
His love for her started to reconnect me to her.
My image of her began to shift from being a useless collection of flesh to being a part of me; a part that was soft and loved and lovely.
The “currency” she provided me, began to feel like a silly game that I no longer wanted to play.
What seemed real and true is that she is mine.
She is a part of the whole that is me.
The body that connects me to others through the portal of touch.
That provides a soft place to lay a little head.
That forms one-of-a-kind curves and edges that my own hands can hold and touch and wonder at.
That holds all the parts that work together to feed and nourish me.
That carries traces of who I’ve been-
from the muscle memory of those one-kajillion gut-wrenchers
and my one (magnificent) break-dancing move,
to the sensory spark of my husband’s touch.
from the space she carved out to hold the life inside me,
to the pain she survived and brought me through.
I don’t know how she will continue to change in shape and function over time.
But she will continue to carry the traces of who I am to become- a vessel for the moments I have in front of me.
Like that one friend who, day after day, year after year, always shows up for you, to bear witness to the moments that make you.
So, as it turns out, it actually feels quite appropriate to throw Belly a party.
Yeah. Bring on the weird presents and play dough favors.
This gal deserves to be celebrated.