While I’m on Break

I’m writing

but not posting.


but not always commenting.

or sometimes I am

it depends really

on my mood

as much as my inclinations.

Holy Week  isn’t much of a time of rest for us

as it is work.

I offer you two places to rest this week.

1. My friend Lisa is doing a series on Holy Week at Councelor’s Inklings.

Lisa Lessing used to be my pastor’s wife before they moved to St Louis. Today, she is a trusted friend and mentor. (Awkward phrasing… Lisa is still married to Reed, he’s just no longer our pastor. Reed is now a Prof at St Louis Seminary.) – Thanks Rena!

2. Another friend is writing a series of Letters from a Devastated Artist.

     Randy Elrod is a new acquaintance from last year. My husband and I spent 48 hours in a personal retreat with him at Round Cove. He’s one of my shadow or indirect mentors. I learn from him by reading. He’s an artist like me. He’s been silent on the blogosphere for a while focusing his time and attention on his new book Sex, Lies, and Religion. (Awesome book by the way). Check him out.

Both series are exceptional.

Until next week. Have a very blessed Easter.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for the above mentioned books, authors, or blogs. I am only recommending people, writers, that I personally enjoy and think might be of interest to my readers. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

This blog post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. All rights reserved. March 30, 2010

Let’s Talk About it: Censorship and threats

I was reading a friend’s article today on New Christian Voices and was sad to discover that his family was threatened this week. As a result of the threat, he asked the editors at NCV to take down his original post. 

I was looking forward the story because I knew that he and I share the same opinions on Healthcare reform. I wanted to read his words. He articulates his opinion far better than I do and I like learning from him.  Now, I won’t be able to.

But this isn’t about me and what I wanted. It’s about the voice of America.

Do you think we are being censored today? Are some groups being censored more than others? What do you think about people’s families being threatened over a simple editorial news story?

Let’s talk about it. What say you friends?

Wordless Wednesday: where there is smoke, someone forgot to check the oven.


This was my popcorn bowl. Now it looks like a clam. The culprit? My oven. I was in a hurry and put some bowls inside of it for “safe keeping.”  Plastic popcorn bowls are not forgiving of forgetful women like me and 400 degree ovens. They also make a lot of smoke. Did you know that if you open the oven door you let in oxygen and not only will you have smoke, you’ll now have flames.

Have you ever done something like that?

Let’s talk about it: Oh Just Shut up

It’s been assessed today that I am stupid, selfish, heartless and self-serving. I’ve also been told I need to shut the deleted swear word up, because I have health insurance. Good thing I don’t get my selfesteem from Facebook. 

Scripture has a lot of answers on handling conflict, and being agreeable even when we disagree. My brain came up empty in the heat of the moment. I didn’t stay calm and pray, because frankly my prayers of “forgive them for they know not how stupid I think they sound right now,” probably would not have risen past my ceiling. So I removed my hurt feelings and insulted self from the entire conversation by deleting all my comments.

Seems the best thing to do. The last time I lost my temper with someone, I was put in commenter’s purgatory for six months (true and embarrassing story).

Having said that, What do you do when you are passionate about something and it’s obvious the other person just isn’t going to agree with you. Do you listen or tell them to shut up? Have you ever been told to just shut up? How did you handle it?

Let’s Talk About it: But is it stealing?

Charlie’s college sent out an online survey a while back. They asked two questions:

1. Do you think it’s wrong to burn copies of CD’s for your friends? — 75% of the people who responded said no.

2. If you had the chance to steal something of low monetary value, would you? 90% of the people surveyed said no.

Eye opening conclusion. Most of the kids / young adults who responded to this survey do not recognize burning CD’s as stealing. 

Let’s bring that home a little. 

Do you think it’s stealing when a church plays a contemporary worship song not found in your hymnals, without a CCLI license and prints out the lyrics and all either in the bulletin or on the screen?

Is it stealing to order one bible study book and make copies for the class?

What do you think? Let’s talk about it.

Things a Mom Says

My boys are making a video over Spring Break. Charlie is playing with his new Mac Imaging Software and Dillon is enjoying the ride. Making videos is nothing new for these boys. I bought Charlie his first video camera when he was 13 and they have been making movies ever since. His love for filmography, writing, and editing is in part what led him to major in broadcast journalism in college.  He’s smart, good-looking, and funny. I think he’ll do well.

I was listening yesterday to my boys discuss a scene which would involve Dillon flying through the air, suspended (I’m assuming) by some sort of wire and harness. My maternal-protection instincts kicked in and as nonchalantly as possible, I interjected my two-cents.

“We don’t have the budget for special effects.”

I could see the wheels turning in their creative brains. Their eyes danced and as soon as they made eye contact, Charlie blurted out the inevitable.

“I got it. Yes we do!”

I can only attribute what happened next to the fact that I’ve been their mom for 19 years and I know how they think.

“No. You cannot hang your brother from the roof with the dog harness.”

QUESTION: Mom’s say the craziest things, what crazy thing have you said to your kids that makes you laugh?

My Life: The Flying Circus

Dreams of running away and joining the circus are best left to childhood. That or Spring Break when everyone is home. Don’t worry, I’m not running away. I remember too well that clown college is all fun and games right up until you put a dyslexic clown trying to juggle silk scarves next to a flame thrower.

Who knew yak hair wigs are so darn flammable?

I live in busted stick Oklahoma with a husband, two boys, two dogs, two white dumpies, a Holland Lop, some kind of dragon and a tank of fish. I don’t need Ringling Brothers or Monty Python for that matter; My life IS a flying circus.

Growing up in a single parent home I have lived in over 25 different cities, attended nine different schools from Kindergarten through 12th grade, and had my own share of comedic mishaps including dropping out of clown school and being dumped for a shot at dating Brooke Shields. Granted the only funny part about that last bit is he never got past her mother. I think that is hilarious.

You were dumped? Who’d he dump you for? (wait for answer) Yeah, well I got dumped for Brooke Shields, top that!

Personal misery stories makes people laugh and apparently pays well.

My mother was pretty selective on what she allowed me to watch as a child so I’m fairly certain that I received my first introduction to Monty Python’s Flying Circus while living in Varnamo Sweden. It was during that formative year in Sweden that I learned about the wonders of Spam, dead parrots, silly walks, and lumberjacks in women’s clothing.  Now please understand that I am in no way shape or form making fun of cross dressers, it’s just that at 15, well, this was new to me and I thought it was all hilarious right up until…..

I met one.

Åre, Sweden has got to be one of the best places to ski. The mountains are wonderful and so are the Northern Lights —  which are best seen in baby doll jammies and ski boots in case you are wondering.  Rotary must have thought so too (about the locale, not my attire) because that is where they chose to send our motley crew of highschool students for a week of snow and fun.

Being experienced youth leaders, our guides understood the rule of thumb that girls are red and boys are blue. In order to not make purple as my son would say, the boys had the main resort while we gals were stuck half a mile or so down the road in a smaller cabin with multiple rooms. Staying in the cabin were also a visiting family and the staff of the hotel. For some reason, they believed this set up would keep us out of trouble. Silly youth leaders. Teens love the color purple and where there is a will, there is most certainly a way. And if my Mom is reading this — we always stayed in our own cabins Mom, no worries.

I learned many lessons that week — mostly about the laws of gravitational physics. What goes up (via a ski lift) will come down at a rapidly alarming rate, ricocheting off every fir-tree on the path. Somewhere in this world exists a photograph of two crisscrossed skis and me buried in a snow mound. I also learned if you are going to pick a fight with an image in the dark recesses of a basement, you might not want to be wearing baby doll jammies and ski boots. Or maybe you do, I’m not sure. I guess it just depends on who you are.

Which is how I met my poor lumberjack in women’s clothes.  I don’t think he started out that way. I believe he came over for a party hosted by the hotel maids in the basement of our cabin, whiskey was involved and I believe he was the first to fall asleep. That’s where I come in.

Which just goes to show: I don’t care how old you are, never be the first to fall asleep at a party.

A group of us had gone outside to see the northern lights. And when we came back in, we could hear them all down there. Not wanting to get in trouble again for being “loud all night” like we did for the last three nights, I went to the stairs and started yelling at whomever to be quiet.  They must have woken him up and sent him up to deal with me.

I could see a figure emerging from the shadows of the basement and by the time I realized I was chewing out a 6’10’ lumberjack with blue eyeshadow and other assorted accessories, my girlfriends had all scattered to their rooms, locking me in the hall.


I’m not sure what amused this poor man the most, the fact that I was wearing baby doll jammies and ski boots or the fact that this little 5’4″ fly of a female was poking him in the chest and chewing him out for being so darn loud. Either way, he didn’t like being poked in the chest and apparently thought if he picked me up and kissed me, I’d stop.

I was mid-air when I kicked him and he let go with a velocity that sent me flying backwards. No worries, the wall behind us stopped my trajectory. I screamed, he looked in the mirror and screamed and while he was distracted I ran upstairs to safety.

My arrival to the second floor sent the boys (who weren’t really there) flying out the windows like lemmings off a cliff. No one wanted to be caught in our cabin, especially not with a crazy lumberjack on the loose. And no one would send help because doing so would mean admitting they were there. Only Duffy remained. He either wasn’t fast enough to jump out the window, or he was full of more testosterone than common sense. Either way, Duffy went down stairs to chase away my boogie man so that I could get back into my room.

Mr Lumberjack wasn’t as amused by Duffy as he had been me and well, Duffy wound up with a black eye before he left for the main cabin.

We all stayed locked in our various rooms while the lumberjack vacuumed the halls that night.

This story does  have a happy ending. The maids didn’t throw any more parties. We all got a free breakfast, courtesy of the resort, and Duffy? Well, he went down in my book as one of the sweetest heros I’d ever met. Too bad I can’t remember his real name.

So dear readers, now that you know that I am a clown school failure, was dumped for Brooke Shields, and once picked a fight with drunken lumberjack in drag, what silly thing about you have you never told someone? Why don’t you share it with us.

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. All rights reserved.

Deana is presently staying home with her family for Spring break, watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus, enjoying tales of college told by her oldest and throwing in a few of her own stories now that they are old enough to enjoy them.

Conversation With my 15 Year Old Self

Susan Sarandon and Goldie Hawn in The Banger Sisters

Call me Susan and color me beige. My 15-year-old self showed up this week, and she has a bone to pick with me. It seems I’d kept her locked away in a tattered old box in the bottom of my closet and she isn’t happy about it.

How come you never told anyone about me?

What are you talking about, lot’s of people know about you.

Really. Do they know we were in Sweden?

Sorta, yeah. They know we were in Sweden. But that was 30 years ago. A lot’s changed since then. I have a life. I have a husband and kids and responsibilities.

What about your husband and sons, do they know about me?

Are you kidding. No.


Oh don’t get all hurt. They know I went to Sweden when I was in high school, but that’s all they know.

Did you tell them about Grimslov?

Not exactly.

The hockey players from Yale?

Dear God no.

Why not?

I was 15. I made a complete and total blithering idiot out of myself. No one needs to know about that. It was pathetic.

No it wasn’t. It was sweet. See I have pictures.

I’d glare at her, but she’s too busy digging through our box of stuff she found buried in my closet. She is right about the hockey players though. They changed the dynamic of Grimslov when they showed up. Everyone looked up to them. They were college men afterall, with nice cologne (Polo), cigars, and brandy. I thought they were the coolest thing I’d ever laid eyes on. I had a huge crush on one of them and went out of my way to get him to notice me. He handled it very well and was really sweet about it. I just wish I’d remembered that before I found him on facebook. Now, I’m just embarassed.

What about this? Remember the castle at Malmo and that statue of Michelangelo’s David?

Give me that! No one needs to see a photo of me and the statue of David. I’m pretty sure that had nothing to do with y appreciation for art.

The ski trip? Don’t you remember those lumberjacks in drag? One of them tried to kiss you and you kicked him in the shins with your ski boots, remember?


Sure you do, Duffy came to your defense and got a black eye. I’m sure you have a picture of him in here somewhere.

Oh shut up already.

What about the time you saw the French Lieutenant’s Woman? You drank wine for the first time that night and spent the whole movie in the bathroom throwing up.  Or what about the time you got stranded and had to hitchhike back. Two Iranians picked you up and you lied and said you were from Australia. You even got engaged for a short time, remember?

No. No. And No. If I drink wine will you go away?

You can try, but I doubt it.

Darn. She was right.

When did you start putting the hyphen in anal-retentive? You used to be so much fun. We lived life together. You never cared what anyone thought. You fell in love and pursued it with your whole heart – you threw yourself into everything you did every day you were there.

I threw myself at boys and put myself in dangerous situations.

You did more than that. We did more than that. Did you at least tell people about meeting the King? That was cool.

I insulted him.

So what. You met him didn’t you? Think about it. We came from the wrong side of the tracks and yet here we are meeting the king. How cool is that?

Yeah, that was cool. But the picture is all faded. No one will be able to make it out.

So tell them about it. Paint a word picture. If you won’t tell people about me, will you at least tell people about meeting him?

I’ll think about it.

Cool. Then maybe later we’ll talk about the Lumberjack.

Don’t push it.



This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. All rights reserved.  A friend from Sweden found me a few weeks ago and I am having fun going through my box of memories. Over time, I’ll blog about different parts of my trip and how those events impacted who I am today. It’s that or listen to my 15-year-old self continue to give me a hard time.