rewind, pause

well it’s been exactly 1 year and 2 days since the carnival blog started!  i remember that christmas vacation 2007 i got totally sucked into wordpress & facebook and yes, that addiction lasted throughout 2008. it has been a great year, i have been able to say so many things on my heart about church & God & life & relationships.  i have met some amazing new friends. i have learned so much about the kingdom. i have been challenged. i have been humbled. i have been inspired. i have been discouraged. i have felt far too vulnerable.  i have made people mad. i have made people feel less lonely & crazy.  i have grown as a woman, a pastor, a leader, a wife, a mommy, a friend.  i have discovered i still have a lot to learn.  yeah, the whole process has been one of the most surprisingly fun & beautiful parts of the past few years & i am so glad that i took the plunge.  when i originally started the carnival i committed myself to one year. i am a person who is extremely loyal. when i am your friend, i am your friend forever.  when i start something, i stick with it to the bitter end.  sometimes that is a good thing and sometimes it can be a bad thing.  that’s why i gave myself an out, a neat & tidy timeline that would force me to re-evaluate and not feel guilty if it didn’t work out.   for the past few months i have been praying and thinking about what to do in 2009. i have contemplated shutting the blog down completely.  i have thought about just keeping things the way they are and not making any major changes. i have thought about making some shifts to expand the conversation & experiment with some new ideas.  and here’s where i’ve landed:  i want to keep the carnival going in 2009.

i think there are more conversations to be had, more friendships to form, more challenges to make, more stories to be told, more thoughts to be stirred, more growing & learning & expanding to do.  but, i am going to take a break for a bit, a blogging sabbatical. to catch my breath, re-group, think, reflect, chill.   so for all of january, no new blog posts from me.  it’s going to be hard for me as i have developed a-little-on-the-unhealthy-side attachment to my laptop!  but i need a break, to listen for God, to be a little quieter & make a few changes in my week.  in february i have a series of interviews i am working on with friends from the fringes called “a view from the margins.” pieces of their stories need to be told:  what it’s like to be in their shoes, mingle with “the church” and discover hope in the midst of hard places.  it will be nice to hear from others instead of just me around here anyway.  after that, who knows, i have some other ideas of ways to mix it up & we’ll just see what comes over time.  tell me some of the things you’d love to see, hear, taste, try.  for now, i just want to say thanks, from the bottom of my heart, for entering into the fray with me, for hanging with me even when you disagree, for helping me feel less alone, for making me think, for believing in & trying some of the same dreams (and way crazier ones!), and for watching my back when i got ripped now and then.   it has meant more than you know.

* * * * *

REWIND: so now, it’s a new year, 2009, and it’s always time to take a little trip back, to press rewind & reflect on the past year.  some highlights, some bests, some worsts.  here are a few that come to mind:

best movie of the year – oh most everyone knows i am a movie fiend so it’s hard to choose.   but i will say that the standout of the year for me was lars & the real girl.  i loved it on so many levels but mainly the beauty of healing in community (my favorite subject in case you didn’t know).

best book i read a prayer for owen meany.  a friend got me a copy at a garage sale & knew i’d love it.  i read it on one of our vacations and couldn’t put it down. i was so sad when it was over. 2009, since i’ll be offline a bit more,  i hope to catch up on some of the nonfiction books that have been sitting on my nightstand all year!

most read blog posta nifty chart for the journey: stages in the life of faith. i told you that that book was worth how much i spent for seminary classes.  the chart i adapted from it definitely got quite a run & i am just happy it helped put to words some of people’s experiences.  most overlooked post:  springtime for a church.  i didn’t write it, but it’s a poem that j. ted vogt wrote after one of the posts he read here about the refuge & i reposted it.  for some reason, it always makes me smile.

biggest surprise of the year – how much true & meaningful connection could actually be formed through a blog! thank you, my friends.

biggest regret of the year – that if i had used just 1/10  (even 1/20th) of the time that i spent on facebook & blogs and applied it toward going to the gym instead, that i’d probably be in the most amazing shape of my life.

friends’ blog post that i loved the most – tracy simmons’ rescue parade.  i can’t wait to do this at the refuge in 2009.  i just loved it. oh, and honestly, mark at pragmatic-eclectic made so many of my days with the craziest, funniest Jesus kitsch i’ve ever seen.

family highlight – jose graduating from law school & passing the bar.  yeah, it is so lovely to see the culmination of all that work & his heart so passionate about this new season.

refuge highlight – to see the shift toward a much more diverse sharing & collaboration within our community, people stepping up and into all kinds of things that were unexpected & simple & beautiful & healing & surprisingly powerful.

most recognizable healing moment –  going back to my old mega-church for a memorial service and realizing how much i’ve really truly changed.

verse that kept ringing in my head all yearthis is what the Lord requires of you, to seek justice, love mercy & to walk humbly.  micah 6:8

favorite quote of 2008: “hope begins in the dark. the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. you wait and watch and work. you don’t give up.” – anne lamott

most embarrassing moment – it’s a tie between my recent fall at the movie theater (on my butt in fine form, diet coke spilling all over the place & spectators gawking)  and falling apart at off the map live in the middle of a difficult conversation & having to run onstage late to be part of the closing show with a snotty nose and the puffiest eyes you ever did see.  yeah, that sucked.

a project that has been incubation in 2008 but is actually going to be birthed in 2009: voca femina.  a place for women to use their voices creatively, powerfully, passionately.  check it out at  it’s launching mid-january.

words that described this year: chaotic, beautiful, angry, surprising, intense, free-ing, creative, consuming.

words that i hope describe 2009: simple, unexpected, relaxed, present, passionate, deep, hope-full, kind.

oh i could go on and on about all different kinds of categories, but what i intend to do this week is sift through some reflection questions i wrote to wrap up 2008 & look forward to 2009. i’m using  this next week at our house of refuge as a way to reflect & dream, so i thought since i won’t be around in january i could leave it on here  too, if anyone wanted to use it as a guide.  enjoy!

PAUSE:  so for now, i’m just pressing pause for a month.  if you’re new here, there’s lot of long lengthy posts to catch up on.  please don’t hold me to everything i have said. i am processing all kinds of things out loud and in-the-moment.  if you are a regular at the carnival, enjoy the gift of having your reader be a little free-er for the month!  i’d also love it if you would let me know if you have any great ideas for things you’d like to see more of here in 2009.  see you in february!  lots of love &  hope & happy new year,  kathy<!–[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE <![endif]–><!–[if gte mso 9]> <![endif]–>


Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar is dedicated to creating safe and brave spaces for transformation and healing in real life, online, and outside. She co-pastors at The Refuge, a hub for healing community, social action, and creative collaboration in North Denver, co-directs #communityheals, a non-profit organization dedicated to making spaces for transformation accessible for all, and is the author of Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World, Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.


  • Hi Kathy, I just found your blog while I was looking through Technorati seeking blogs about ministry. It sounds like you had quite a year. I enjoyed reading your Rewind, especially your most embarrassing moments and your Most Recognizable Healing Moment.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Kathy,
    I am sooo glad that you have decided to continue your blogpage through 2009!!! I get so much out of your thoughts, ideas, feelings, sharings, stories and writings. Thank you for them all.

    I fully do understand your decision to take a 1-month “sabatical/break.” I will “miss” you, but know that you will return in February.

    I hope that this month will give you a much deserved rest, relaxation, time to focus, meditate and continue being busy with all that you do.

    ~Amy 🙂

  • Kathy, so glad you’ll continue to write and equally glad to see you’re taking a month off from it…I love the balance that brings.

    I started to go through your blogs so that I could tell you what my favorite post of yours was last year, but I gave up after about 5 minutes. It’s like asking what my favorite chocolate is: Mission Impossible.

    I feel so grateful for the healing your words and your life have brought to me this past year. I have such joy in my life right now and much of that is due to the healing I walked through in 2008. It’s so wonderful to wake up delightfully, stupidly happy every single morning :).

    I am so looking forward to all 2009 has to bring, including what comes to me from Father through your life. (And who knows, this might be the year I get out to meet you in person!)

    Love and hugs,

  • Yippee! She’s going to keep blogging in 2009! after january that is…

    kathy what i would like to see this year is just more of your heart regarding the poor, marginalized, and disenfranchised. it is mine as well, but i am feeling the need to spend a time growing my relationship with father, son, and holy spirit.

    in truth i wish the refuge was in sacramento california as it sound like a place i need to visit after my experience in the last c-h-u-r-ch i was part of. sorry i just can hardly even write the word chrch without feeling the heebee jeebees.

    if you have read my blog you may know i am actually trying to get the ecclesia to stop reading using that word. for good reason i believe.

    Tom Wilson

  • Hooray!! I’m so excited to see what will come out of 2009…Enjoy January!

  • Kathy… you impacted my 2008 in many ways, most of which I am thankful for 🙂
    I for one am glad you are sticking around for ’09…I like being challenged and encouraged by your words & life.
    Enjoy your time away but don’t get too used it!!
    Love you!

  • Hoo-ray for taking a breather!! This weekend has been a big pause for me to reflect & just be, and I used the attached template of questions as a guide to process some stuff. Really loved it. 🙂 2008 was a crazy whirlwind journey for me, and WHO KNEW that it would create the joy and hope that is to come for 2009?!?! I, too, a, thankful for the meaningful connections that can be birthed in a blog. Love ya!

  • Hi Friend! Happy New Year! I’m sorry I haven’t checked into the blog lately-it just popped into my mind so thought I’d check in. I’m glad you’re going to “take some time off” (I do laugh-is it ever really possible for you to take time off with your life?!!!) I hope that we can see you sometime soon-congrats to jose….I’ve got a carnival in my head most of the time!!! love ya

  • Kathy,

    The Refuge has definitely been a place of shelter for me, both at the physical location and on-line. I can’t tell you how many afternoons your blog helped me through. Just knowing I had a connection to someone who cared and who wanted to introduce me to others who cared. I’ll never forget our lunch on July 2nd in Lone Tree where I first had an opportunity to talk with you at length. Thanks for making that long drive down to do that with me.

    I LOVED this posting. As I was reading your reflections, I mentally made a note that I was going to copy your format and reflect on the same questions over at my blog. I could really relate to your most embarrasing moment of falling @ the movie theatre. In fact, the image of it made me laugh. As a sophmore in High School, after handing in a test to my Geometry teacher at the front of the room, I slipped on the floor and fell on my a**. I was mortified…especially because I couldn’t explain how it had happened. As we would say in group: “Thanks for sharing:)”

    Love ya, Lisa

  • Oh yeah…and A Prayer For Owen Meany is one of my all time favorite books too! I love how John Irving can take a very serious moment and suddenly turn it comical when you don’t feel like you should be laughing. I also loved the line “I am a Christian because of Owen Meany”. Soooo…many great quotes in that book.

  • Kathy, I’m so glad to hear that you are going to keep blogging in 2009! This blog has been such a source of hope and encouragement for me this past year and I wanted to say thank you!

  • Kathy, I’m glad you’re continuing with the Carnival. I appreciate how you’re writing from the perspective of Christian community with honesty and fresh insights. I’ve made a lot of use of your stages of life chart. Good thing you made it through seminary. Cheers.

  • Kathy,

    Thanks for your summary of 2008 — especially about how much blogging has unexpectedly blessed and surprised you. I just committed to blogging more regularly (it’s been a slow launch for me at radically authentic), and your words put fuel in my jet pack.

    Also, thanks for the tip on Lars and the Real Girl (I knew it was about a guy and a blow-up doll, but that was all I knew until reading your comments.) I just added it to my Netflix.

    Sorry to hear that the laptop has stolen away your workout time. If you’re ever in western Montana, swing my Missoula. Minnowspeaks and I would love to take you to lunch. And, I work for a women’s only gym that rocks. Bring your suit and towel. We’ll say we’re going to go work out, but we could just spend hours moving from the silky-warm pool to the steam room, to the sauna, to the hot tub, and back to the pool. Howz that for a 2009 goal?

    All my best,


  • well i am catching up a bit today. the break’s been nice, but i do miss everyone 🙂

    valerie – welcome! it’s always fun to hear how people find stuff out here! hope you come back

    amy – thanks, it has been so great to have your input and thoughts here and i look forward to more in 2009…

    tracy – you always have the kindest words to share. thanks. what a year, eh? who knew so many wild and crazy and beautiful things would happen on the journey. i, too, look forward to staying connected out here

    tom – thanks for the input. that is my hope, too, and what i want to continue to focus upon because i think it’s so easy to talk theory until we’re blue in the face, but where does the rubber really meet the road? in the incarnation. i have so many stories i wish i could tell but not enough space for it. i appreciate your heart & Jesus journey & look forward to staying connected out here, too.

    ryan – i think it’s going to be a fun year…

    donna – 🙂 the “most of which” really made me smile!

    mark – thanks for being so faithful to always comment, you know how much each one means…

    brother maynard – thanks for the link love

    jenn – same to you!

    stacy – it’s kind of wild, eh, what can happen? God is crazy and fun sometimes. i am glad you liked the exercise, too, i used it here at a couple of groups and it’s been really helpful for me, too. something about taking time to reflect.

    libby – great to hear from you here. yeah, we’ve all got our own carnivals, don’t we? love to you guys from afar.

    lisa – my triple gold star participant 🙂 that was so funny the other night. i am glad that you enjoyed the exercise and i’m just glad that other carpool didn’t work out, hahhaha. i am so glad we’re on this journey together and i do look really forward to all that’s ahead in 2009. another refuge owen meany fan! karl’s the one who kept telling me “you need to read this” and finally found me a copy at a garage sale. jose’s reading it, too.

    bethany – thanks for your encouragement. i look forward to more synchroblogs, too, i always like the different perspectives.

    david – thanks for letting me know that chart has gotten some mileage!

    randy – love to you from across the mountains, my friend.

    shelby – thanks for getting in touch, and it would be so fun to make it to montana one of these days. i’ve never been there and yes, i would cherish that conversation. i am glad that i met minnow out here and that she introduced you to the carnival…i am glad, too, that you have been pressing out on your blog, keep writing!

  • kathy, marty nunez referred me to your blog a while back and i’ve been following but commenting for the first time only today.

    …really appreciate your thoughts and your journey!

    i’m curious: do you do anything with the emergant movement and have any thoughts about that phenomenon? your church makes me think of it.

    looking forward to your writings in 2009!
    best, mihee kim-kort

  • kmr – just kind of getting back into the groove, but i am glad you said “hi” here. of course we love marty and john..ah, the emerging movement. such a long conversation we could have. yes, i am a huge proponent of as many different and creative and beautiful and passionate expressions of the church as possible. the word “emergent” unfortunately has so much baggage with it for so many. i actually really like the word (sans baggage) because i think it expresses the idea really well, that new forms and expressions of church are continuing to emerge out of both traditional and nontraditional settings. i am not a big label person, in general, because they can be so limiting, but i know they can also be helpful to people. what is your community like?

    pops – ditto! nice to hear from you and see you on facebook, too!


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