Tuesday, September 6, 2011

updating with old stuff

Sorry if I've overwhelmed anybody's readers. I pulled all of my old wordpress blog posts from Brook Said What onto this blog, so I'd have them all in one place. I've also added labels to all of the original Brook Unfiltered posts. That said, I did this for my convenience, so stay and read the old stuff if you'd like, or don't.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I've been rereading The Allure of Hope by Jan Meyers, for what is probably the 6th time. This thought struck me today:

Glory asks something of us. Our hearts say, "Leave us alone; we're fine. Please don't unveil our faces, because we're not sure how the glory will be handled." It might be too much. We would rather have the comfort of a marred painting than deal with the brillance of the original. The beauty of revealed hope is often met with such distain.
I would welcome a discussion surrounding this unsettling thought from Ms. Meyers. 

Monday, July 18, 2011


The remaining sludge and sediment from a batch of beer I brewed.
When brewing beer there is always sediment left in the fermentation bucket that you have to  avoid getting into your bottles. You can put your beer through a secondary fermentation process that brings about clarity to the beer and decreases the sediment even further. I usually skip the latter step because I am able to drink my beer a few weeks sooner. However, I also leave the last bit of beer in the bottle as to not ingest the sediment I missed. It feels like it ruins the finish of a otherwise delightful quaff.

I was thinking about the accuracy of my blog title. Why do I usually (always) have  filter? Is it because I am using discretion and I want to be tactful? Sure. Is it because I'm hesitant to be brutally honest, because I don't want to hurt someone's feelings? That's probably the truest reason the blog got it's name. But lately I've become more aware that I filter my words because I don't want others to know that I'm needy, and messy, and scared. I filter so that everyone will think I'm competent and strong and independent, and just fine. I filter so that no one can really know my heart. I don't think it's going to work much longer. That makes me angry, because I'd rather feel angry than scared.

Further unfiltered: this is what I thought about in church yesterday as I was profusely disrupted by 2 of the songs we sang, and started thinking about the idea of surrender. I'm sure there's another blog post in the works on that topic.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Choosing Death

I choose death every day. I don't have to, but I succumb to it. I could choose life if I wanted, yet I trade down. I think it's because I don't hate death the way I should.

We go through life looking for greener grass, believing that the choice we have is life and better life. I think it's darker than that. We don't want to sit in the reality that we live in a world that isn't as it should be, so we pretend that it's really okay. In pretending that it's okay we don't properly long for it to be better; there are no birth pains. We live with a constant epidural. I guess longing and what we do with longing has been on my mind lately.

Every time I choke back desire I choose death. When I want to connect with someone and I pick up the TV remote instead of my cell phone, I choose death. When in my mind I spew out contempt towards the person I wanted to connect with, believing that they don't care about me, I choose death. When I spew hatred at myself, thinking I'm too much or not enough, I choose death again. Choosing death is choosing to shut down feeling alive, the kind of alive that it meant to remind us that better life is coming.

I have friends who are currently experiencing the hard sucker punches of life. They are lonely, they are scared, they worry, there's uncertainty, there's sorrow - everything in their circumstances screams at them to find a way to shut it all down. Like me, many of them do. Honestly, I'm not sure I want to enter into what they're feeling, because I might have to bear a taste of their agony. Maybe I can try to fix it for them, or give them words to placate and minimize their experience. Maybe I can just not even ask. I can choose death.

Or . . . I can get angry at the injustice, weep for the losses, long for the hideous pain of labor to be over.

If I choose life I will become acutely aware of my shortcomings, my weakness, my neediness. If I choose life I'll need a Savior.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Alluring My Heart

In the past weeks I've been sitting with friends, clients, books, and my own internal ponderings. Many I have been with have been weary from activity and unsatisfied with daily routine. There is such pressure to do, to conform, to participate, and at the end of it all, there is such longing for more that fights its way to the forefront. Usually, longing brings about more busyness, because longing is so very hard to bear.

My own current journey had lead me to be very aware of how much I desire relationship, and how adept I am at keeping people from knowing my heart. As I've faced my own longing, I am left with deep loneliness. In my ambivalence I welcome the loneliness, because for the first time in my life I'm not trying to flee from it through temporary aloes, but I also hate my awareness and experience of it. Loneliness hurts! Yet, this has brought to the place where I'm aware that I have the choice to move towards people and relationships or to spew thoughts of blame and contempt as to why people aren't pursuing me. Only one of those choices is acceptable.

Additionally, I've been reading through the Bible chronologically, which means I'm currently in Chronicles and Kings, which is full of stories of murder, deceit, war, envy, hatred, disobedience, selfishness, and don't forget genealogy. Many chapters end with a prompt that if I should desire to know more, that I can find it in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. Thank you, I've had enough. There are a few kings that weren't evil and grotesquely disobedient, but still they failed to remove the totems to the false gods, and this is their noted offense, not only because it was a black mark against them, but because it meant that the hearts of the people were not set upon God.

This jarred me this morning, because it made me remember what God wants, what he's wanted all the way back in the garden. He wants relationship with his people; He wants their hearts. My longings are there for such a lovely reason, to allure me to God. Busyness, television, alcohol, pornography, work, etc. all deadened our longing for what we were made for and for what we can have: deep, meaningful relationship where we can be vulnerable, weak, needy, messy, adored, doted on, cherished, known . . . . Today I am thankful for loneliness, because my loneliness is actually longing, and my longing does not have to go unmet.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Rabbit Hole

Tonight I saw the movie Rabbit Hole. It was phenomenal.  I loved it for many reasons. It was raw and real and I believed it. There are few movies to which I give a 5 star rating, but this is one of them. Just sayin'.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Weight of Words

Yesterday I was listening to NRP on the way to church.  On Being was the program that was being aired.  The guest of the day was Elizabeth Alexander, the poet who read a poem at Obama's inauguration in 2009.  Now, poetry isn't something I naturally get, but I've been more intentional as of late to read poetry regularly.  What Alexander said in this program explained why.  She said that when she writes poetry it's all intuition.  When she stood up to do a sound check at the inauguration, she recited a poem  about building apartments in Chicago, and the crowd grew silent.  It wasn't Alexander's voice that silenced them, but the words they were hearing. It's as if their beings were longing for what their brains couldn't give them, words set in poetry that communicated what they knew only in their guts to be true.  Words that affect.

My bedtime reading changed in the fall and winter of this last year, to no longer be of novels that allowed me to leave my reality, but instead novels and memoirs whose words aroused affect.  The words on the pages read more like poetry, and they felt true, and more then once I wept because I felt known in the words.

So, here's a poem, a haiku, because it's one form of poetry that I'm able to easily write.

Beautiful woman,
not because of how she looks;
much deeper within

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sometimes Death Hurts Less

On New Year's Day around 11 a.m. my grandma, otherwise known as Gram, passed away.  She was 99 years old.  In October she suffered a significant stroke that sort of signaled the beginning of the end of her life.  I think most of us thought she would live forever.

When my dad told me she had died, I felt relief.  Since, I have felt sorrow.  I don't want to in any way trivialize her life or her death, but at 99, after almost all of her friends had died, her hearing and eyesight dwindling, and unable to walk or speak as she once did due to the stroke, I have a feeling her last breath was more of a deep sigh that began true rest.  She was welcomed to the other side, where I am sure that the sparkle returned to her eyes.

I find I am more happy for her than I am sad for myself and for her children who are feeling the loss of their mother in a way I cannot imagine.

Below is her obituary.

Donia Talsma

Published: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 1:13 AM CST
SPRINGFIELD — Memorial services for Donia Talsma, 99, of Springfield will be 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at the Friedensberg Bible Church in rural Avon. Crosby-Jaeger Funeral Home in Springfield is in charge of arrangements.

The family requests in lieu of flowers, that friends and family donate to Samaritans Purse, Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607.

Donia Elva Talsma, daughter of Peter and Amalia (Dirks) Unruh, was born September 10, 1911 at her parents’ home in rural Avon, SD in Bon Homme County. She died peacefully at her home in rural Springfield on January 1, 2011. Donia attained the age of 99 years, three months and 22 days.

Donia was privileged to have graduated from Springfield High School. She married Ray Talsma at her parents’ home in rural Avon on September 1, 1931. Nine children were blessed to their union. Donia was a hard working, loving wife, mother and farm/ranch helper. Her husband died September 20, 1974.

Donia had been a member of Friedensberg Bible Church and Grace Bible Church.

Donia loved gardening and reading her Bible. She will be remembered for gathering her children together and reading Bible stories and encouraging her children and grandchildren in their Christian faith. Donia spent time every day in prayer and meditation on the Word of God, praying specifically for her family, our nation and the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She was a true prayer warrior.

Thankful for having shared her life are her children: Joyce Lukkes of Springfield; Merle and wife Sharon of Iona, SD; Mollie Nichols and husband Wayne of Wray, CO; Rose Adema of Winthrop, MN; John and wife Gladys; Pete and wife Tommie; Larry and wife Georgia, all of Springfield; Robert and wife Mary of Norfolk, NE; and Lyla Brandt and husband Dennis of Avon; 26 grandchildren; 42 great grandchildren; nine great-great grandchildren; sister Alda (Unruh) Ferwerda and husband Bill of Springfield; and sister-in-law, Grace (Unruh) Hemeyer of Spearfish..

Donia was preceded in death by her husband; parents; brother Wally Unruh; sister Delphia at age four; granddaughters: Tanya Talsma and Kay Brandt; great grandson JD Corfield; and daughter-in-law Shirley Talsma.

Yankton Press & Dakotan