Fable's Story.

I finally got around to writing this last week but before I could post it, I got distracted by life...and a toddler with hand, foot and mouth disease...and mastitis...and a UTI...and forgot my login info for this blog (because, as you can see, I only log in once every 20ish months to write a birth story apparently). I think these are the types of things that the hip moms are calling #momlife. Without further ado, I bring you an unedited, non-spell checked , copy/pasted instagram photos version of Fable's story. It's a little bit messy, a little bit rushed but seeped in so much grace and beauty. Sort of like life lately. I wouldn't trade it.

Fable Grace Schallert
12 June 2016
9lbs 4oz 20in

Sitting here trying to recall every detail of the past eleven days since Fable’s arrival I am stopped in my tracks with gratitude for her life and the privilege of raising her. And for raising sisters. And for raising siblings. From the first time they met it was as if they were just waiting for each other, as if they had always belonged to each other. I expected toddler tantrums and a learning curve and hints of jealousy but so far, it’s been joy and adoration and the occasional fight about whose turn it is to snuggle her.

Piling peace offerings for baby sister high. And he's convinced that he is pushing this electric swing.

Sister love.

The plan this time was to give birth at a hospital attended by the midwives who were present for Margot’s delivery. Because Vera and Desmond were born at home and we had grandparents in town to care for our other children during labor and delivery, the plan this time around came with a tiny bit of anxiety. Our incredible friend, Alissa, had volunteered to be “on call” to watch our kids. Because Desmond’s labor was only about two hours long and because the hospital is about an hour drive from where we live, I spent the week before Fable arrived counting prodromal contractions all night long so that I would be sure to have time to call Alissa (who has two kids of her own!) and make it to the hospital in time. I have heard stories of women giving birth in their cars on the way to this particular hospital and I didn’t want to be one of those women (even though a friend who has eight kids gave me a pep talk about how a car birth could be “cozy”). 

I was convinced that the stop and go contractions were because the baby’s head wasn’t yet engaged. I went to the chiropractor and got adjusted. On the day after my “due date” I had some bloody show in the morning and some more intense contractions that didn’t have a consistent pattern. The closest ones were about 15 minutes apart. I told Steve that I wanted to rest and then changed my mind and decided to go for a walk with the whole family. We got coffee and walked around downtown by the pier. I still wasn’t feeling consistent contractions but was really uncomfortable and tired. At this point I was wondering if everything was OK with the baby. Probably because of my experience with a negative OB on the day that Desmond was born, but I sort of had it in my mind that there may be some complications. One of my friends texted me that she had contractions 15 minutes apart with her fourth baby. I decided to call my midwife just to talk to her. She said that it sounded to her like I was in labor and that I should come in.

It was around 3pm. We called Alissa and I did some cleaning, threw some last minute stuff into a bag for the hospital, played a bit with the kids…all while sweating profusely. “Sweating is a good sign!” Steve encouraged. He’s a good one. 

As we drove to the hospital, I still felt really normal. My mind was clear. My body felt fine. I was having occasional contractions but wasn’t convinced it was real labor. Steve and I talked about how it kind of felt like we were going on a date. When we arrived at the hospital it was starting to rain and I remember feeling so happy that I had the opportunity to wear a sweater I had brought. 

As we walked down the hallway to the birthing unit I had a contraction that felt “real”. I said to Steve jokingly, “I’m not leaving here until I have this baby, even if it takes a week”. We arrived at the birthing unit and were greeted by Akiko, an amazing nurse who was present at Margot’s delivery, and two other nurses. They didn’t have a lot of patients at the time so were all eager to help us. Around 4pm they started out with a non-stress test. Steve and I sort of expected them to do the NST and then send us home but as they were doing it, I soon was handed a hospital gown and a patient bracelet was put on my wrist. “Wait, are we staying here?” I asked Akiko. “Yeah, you’re gonna have a baby” she replied. Obviously it was going to be a long haul since I wasn’t even feeling laborish yet so I sent Steve out to get dinner for himself. In the 15 minutes he was gone I had a few contractions but they weren’t very intense so during the last two I did some squats to try to speed things up. On the third contraction while I was sumo squatting, I thought I peed on the floor. I wiped it up with a chucks pad and just keep walking around. Then I realized, oh, I’m in labor so maybe my water broke. I called the nurse and sure enough my water had broken. I texted Steve and he came back to the hospital. I was a little bit caught off guard because I still felt so clear-minded and even though I was having more contractions, they seemed slow and steady instead of getting closer together and increasing in intensity. I wanted to go home. Even though the birthing unit at the hospital is set up to feel “homey”, I wasn’t as relaxed as I wanted to be because of the monitors and the hospital bed and the fact that the sun was still shining. I wanted it dark and cozy. So, I basically just walked around twiddling my thumbs for a while. I told Steve I was bored. A few days later he told me that he was convinced (and a little scared) that it might be a few days before the baby was born because of how calm I was. Because I was squatting through contractions to try to move things along, Akiko asked if I would like to use a birthing stool. I had never used one but decided to give it a try. For those who aren’t familiar with a birthing stool, imagine sitting on a toilet without the bowl. The intensity of the contractions was increasing. Pat, the midwife who had also attended Margot’s delivery, showed up and that confused me also. It seemed a bit early for her to be there. As with all of my labors, I wanted to be standing, or upright on the birthing stool, not laying down. But because of the position that the baby was in, Pat had me lie on my left side through a few contractions so that the baby could spin into position for birth. As I was laying there, Pat said, “wow these contractions aren’t coming very quickly, huh?’ I started to feel like it was time to push exactly one minute before shift change. I apologized to the nurses for getting so active at shift change and they laughed at me. As the new nurses came in, Steve later told me that everyone thought I was dozing in and out of sleep but I really was just closing my eyes because I didn’t feel like meeting new people right then. After a little while the baby had turned into position and I got out of bed. I sat back on the birthing stool and was telling Pat a story about South Africa. I took a breath, put up a “wait a minute finger” and bore down and made a primal noise somewhere between a groan and a yell and pushed once. ONCE. Here’s my shock and denial moment. Pat said, “the baby’s head is born, exhale” I exhaled and reached down to catch Fable. As I brought her to my chest, I gave Steve the “what the heck” look, got up and walked over to the bed. Delivered the placenta with one more push and that was it. It was an incredible birth experience that I am so grateful for. Getting to know her has been a dream. And just like we prayed and friends assured me would happen, it's felt like she was here all along. It feels like our hearts have always known each other and our bodies and minds are just catching up. 

A bit shocked immediately after she was born.
Falling in love with his littlest daughter.

It was always you, little Fable Grace.

One week old.


Desmond's Story.

I kept starting and re-starting as I tried to tell this story. I wasn’t sure where to begin because there is so much wrapped up into it- a year of struggle and searching and figuring out who I am as a mother. A year that could have been smooth sailing but when fear crept in felt stormy. Desmond’s birth feels like the culmination of one of the most challenging seasons of my life. He came so peacefully and quelled my fears.

Like my previous pregnancies, I was convinced that I would go into labor before 40 weeks. And like my previous pregnancies, my due date came and went. I was planning another home birth with the midwives who delivered Vera. Their group works closely with the doctors at a private (as opposed to government) hospital here in South Africa and the patients are required to choose a backup Obstetrician in the event that a hospital birth is necessary. Routinely, I saw the backup OB around 30 weeks and at the time, the baby’s heart was skipping beats so I ended up seeing her several more times. Anxiety crept in and I began to worry. She sent us to see a specialist and a neonatal cardiologist who both confirmed with confidence that the baby’s heart was perfect and functioning as it should. 

At the next routine OB appointment (36 weeks) she did an ultrasound where she raised some red flags about the size of the baby. She had said said similar things about Vera when I was about 36 weeks pregnant with her and V ended up being almost a pound smaller than her big sister. So, I brushed it off. Ultrasound measurements aren’t usually accurate that late in a pregnancy anyway. I expected to have the baby before I would have to see her again at 41 weeks…but 41 weeks rolled around and I was still pregnant. I got desperate- The OB had mentioned that if I went overdue she would not be able to recommend a home birth. I was feeling vulnerable and a bit fearful of giving birth in the hospital here. So, I decided to try the only natural labor inducing remedy that I hadn’t tried before- castor oil. I should have done more research before slugging it back because after two days of consistent (painless but intense) contractions my midwife informed me that I would have to have taken the whole bottle (500ml) for the castor oil to have enough of a shock to my body to put me into labor. 

Because I was past due, I needed to see my midwives for a CGT (fetal assessment) and the backup OB again for another checkup and ultrasound. During the CGT the baby’s heart sounded perfect and I was having some contractions. The next day I saw the backup OB again. My appointment was at 12:30 and we expected it to be fairly quick. As the OB did the ultrasound, the measurements were calculating that the baby was over 5KG (11lb). I was trying not to freak out despite the anxiety and stress in the tone of the OB. Because I was eager to deliver at home and it was my third baby, instead of jumping the gun and saying I needed to be induced or deliver in hospital right away, she decided to call a colleague for a second ultrasound and opinion. She sent us down to the hospital’s coffee shop to wait until her colleague could see us. While we were in the coffee shop we ran into Glynnis, one of my midwives, who was at the hospital to deliver another baby. She had a few minutes to sit and chat with us about our stressful meeting with the OB. She spoke with the OB and they came up with a plan that if I didn’t go into labor that evening (Friday) that I would come to the hospital first thing Saturday morning for my midwives to break my water and deliver the baby at the hospital. We also discussed that if I did go into labor that night and was having a long second stage that we would go to the hospital to deliver there. Glynnis told us to come and see her in labor and delivery after our second ultrasound before we left the hospital.  Of course we didn't want to risk shoulder dystocia or putting our baby at risk in any way. We trusted our midwife and were happy with the plan. As we walked the grounds of the hospital (and ended up at a strange park that we later found out was a walking trail for horses) I was having contractions that I was trying to ignore. I was feeling a bit disempowered and was convinced that I wouldn’t go into labor before they broke my water in the morning. We went back up to the OB offices to have the second ultrasound with another OB. He too said the baby was measuring quite big and advised against a home birth. We went back down to labor and delivery to see Glynnis and were making a plan to get the kids settled in at Omi and Opa’s (Steve’s parents who were visiting and helping us look after Margot and Vera)  and for what to pack in a hospital bag. Glynnis said that she wanted to check to see if I was dilated at all before we left and when she checked, to my surprise, I was dilated to 7cm. I was still in a really strange headspace after the appointments and 5 hours at the hospital so when she said, “rush home to have this baby!” I half thought that she was joking. By the time we pulled out of the hospital parking lot and were sitting in stop and go rush hour traffic, I was having intense contractions. When Steve went over a speed bump I looked him in the eyes and said, “don’t ever do that again”. He fist pumped the air and said, “yes! we are in the zone!”, celebrating that fact that I was in labor. As we got close to home another midwife, Susan, called me and asked if we had arrived at home yet. I told her that we were still in traffic and she asked that I call her when we arrived at home so that she could come over. I hung up the phone a bit bewildered and said to Steve, “um, I think Susan thinks that I am actually in labor”. He called me crazy, told me that I WAS in labor and that everyone except me believed it. As we pulled into Muizenberg (the town where we live) we decided to park our van a few blocks from home at the flat where Steve’s parents were staying so that they would have it (we had another smaller car at home). We walked home pulling our “just in case we need to stay at the hospital bag” (which was more of a security blanket to help me feel prepared that day since it didn’t actually have anything that we really needed for a hospital birth in it) behind us. We ran into some YWAM friends, one of whom said, “still pregnant!” I told her, “I think we are going to have the baby now” and kept walking. We arrived home and called Susan. Steve left to go over to his parents flat and tuck the kids into bed. As Susan set up everything for the birth I was in complete denial. I remember sitting on the couch hiding behind my phone thinking, “Susan is just going to have to pack all of this stuff back up”. and even though I felt totally comfortable with Susan, I was avoiding her-unconvinced that “this” was actually happening. Susan asked when Steve would be coming back home and because we thought that we had more time, I said “about 45 minutes”. Susan checked my dilation, said, “I think we should break your water so that you can have your baby now.” (it had broken spontaneously with my other two labors) because I was still at 7cm and the baby’s head wasn’t engaged yet. After she broke my water she said, “tell Steve to come home right now” (about 6:45PM). She spoke with urgency but I was still thinking we had a long while to go. In my previous labors I wanted to be completely alone, to pace and contract in peace. This time, still so unsure and lacking confidence, I wanted Steve right by my side the whole time. I stood at the island in the kitchen and rocked my hips back and forth as Steve put a cold washcloth on my neck. I felt like that sturdy kitchen island was keeping me grounded. A second midwife, Juliet, arrived (standard practice as it gets close to the time that baby will be born) and I started to believe I was actually going to have the baby. To my surprise (yes, still in shock), very shortly after Juliet arrived I felt the urge to “bear down” and we moved to the bedroom. The baby’s head was still high and so I squatted as I pushed, Steve supporting me with his arms. It took me a while to “remember” how to push and even as I did it, I could feel myself shrinking away from the process. I was asking Susan questions like, “Am I doing this right? Am I actually pushing?” I was holding back, still afraid of being rushed to the hospital mid-labor and needing a c-section. Susan’s phone rang in the other room and Juliet went to answer it. t was Glynnis and I heard Juliet say, “she is pushing- baby will be here very soon!” I remember thinking, “if Juliet is telling Glynnis then it must be true!” As my thoughts drifted, Susan called me back and said that the baby was crowning. As with all three of my deliveries I had a “What the hell?!?!” moment when I realized that I was actually giving birth. My confidence arrived (finally!) and one push later the baby was in my arms. Steve and I both immediately said, “he looks like Vera!” Our baby boy, nine days past due (but covered in more vernix than either midwife had seen on an overdue baby) arrived with ease and peace. And just like that, we are five. Desmond Reverie has only been in our lives for eleven days but I can’t remember life without him.

le petite prince.

Desmond: gracious defender (and a nod to Tutu, social peace activist and retired archbishop of the Anglican church of South Africa)

Reverie: an instrumental piece suggesting a dreamy or musing state

wynken, blynken and nod.


Vera's Story.

I was sure she would come early. Everyone was. My midwife bet on it. And then, 37 weeks...38...39...40. On my due date we decided to have a family day. Just the three of us while there was still only three of us. We went to the aquarium. We played at the park. We got frozen yogurt. No signs of labor. Nothin’. But I needed that day. I needed to intentionally take the time to be “just three” and I think Margot needed it to say goodbye to being the only “one”. Vera let us have our special day and then...

The next morning around 4am I started having consistent contractions. They weren’t painful or bothersome, just 5 minutes apart and lasting about a minute. I had contractions like these when my labor started with Margot, which landed me at the birthing center at 4am only to be told I wasn’t in labor and sent home. So, I tried to pretend that they weren’t so regular. I tried to sleep (yeah right).  A few hours later I lost my mucous plug (there is no eloquent way to phrase that. I tried ten times. But, this is a story about childbirth so I will just tell it like it is). I didn’t think much of it (still trying not to get my hopes up that this could be “the day”) since I had heard of people losing it and then not going into labor for a week. Since I was scheduled for a 40 week checkup that day, I called my midwife and told her about my contractions. She told me not to come in and that she was sure she would see my later that day. I wasn’t so sure. When Steve woke up I told him about my contractions and that if I didn’t go into “real” labor that day that I wanted to go for a pedicure. A few hours later I changed my mind and decided that I just wanted to stay home. He made me go. He said I should get out of the house, get my mind off of “things”. My mother-in-law and I went to get pedicures. The nail technicians asked when I was due. I told them I was in labor. They were astonished and told everyone who walked by that I was in labor. We came home and I tried to rest. I couldn’t rest. All I could think about was how this could be the last time that I had to have a tea party in Margot’s room while she was my only little girl. So, we had tea. She served me fake toast from her little wooden toaster and then she came and sat on my lap and put her hands on my belly and prayed the way that she prays. “praypraypray AMEN!”. Amen.

Around 6:30 I was having contractions that I couldn’t sit still for. I was pacing. So familiar. Steve looked at me and knew. He told me to call the midwife. Steve got Margot ready to have her first sleep over at Omi and Opa’s house (his parents) who were visiting us in South Africa and staying about 5 minutes away. Margot was stoked. She gave me a kiss, shouted “bye Mama!!!” and walked out the door. It was like she went from baby to “big kid” in a matter of moments.

My midwife, Ciska, came over and I walked down our huge flight of stairs to answer the door. On my way back up the stairs I thought, “there is NO way I am in actual labor right now doing these stairs so fast”. Ciska made a joke about how her husband told her she had a 2am curfew and we laughed. She checked my dilation and I was at 4cm. I didn’t really know what to think about this since I wasn’t checked with Margot until right before I started pushing. Steve came home and went into baby mode. Ciska went out to get dinner. I was glad she did. I was so grateful to have time with just Steve. A moment to connect and realize “THIS is happening”. He set up the room for the birth (oh yeah, did I mention that we were planning a home birth?). I tried to rest. No way. I tried to sit. No way. I tried to lay down. No way. I paced and paced. So familiar. After a while I started to feel like I was actually in labor. The contractions were more intense that I remembered with Margot’s labor. I wasn’t sure that I could do it this time, my legs were so shaky. I kept asking Steve to breathe with me. (That man can breathe. He can exhale for ages. I think it’s why he is such a good singer). Ciska checked my dilation again and I was at 7cm. I took the hottest shower of my life and when I got out, things changed. “Transition” I think they call it. Another midwife, Lydia, showed up to assist. She introduced herself and I shook her hand and thought, “what a strange way to meet someone”. I was hot. I was cold. I was shaky. I wanted Steve to rub my back and then when he did I wanted him to stop. I felt out of my mind and present at the same time. This controlled madness is what happens before I have babies. I started to “bear down” and I couldn’t believe it was happening. I thought it was too soon to push. A few minutes later Ciska said something about breaking my waters and then they broke on their own. I was so shaky that I had to sit. With Steve by my side, in the same place that he was when Margot was born, I started to push. About a minute later I saw an entire head and yelled, “OH MY GOD, I am having a baby RIGHT NOW!”. I pushed for a total of ten minutes and the baby was born! Steve cut the cord and we just stared at each other and at our baby girl. It felt like she had always been part of us. I didn’t cry, I actually didn’t have much emotion at all. It felt so natural, so right. This little baby girl who slipped into our world in the quiet sanctuary of our bedroom. My heart had never felt so full. I took a bath with Vera and then nursed for a while. Ciska packed up her things and I jokingly told her to thank her husband for giving me a deadline, I work well under pressure. An hour later I was making myself food in the kitchen and then Vera slept almost the whole night. So many people prayed that this would be a labor and delivery marked by peace and it undoubtedly was.

The next morning Margot came home to meet her sister and couldn’t stop giggling. She knew it was baby Vera (or Wewa as she says).
And then, we were four.

 Vera means "faith". We wanted to continue the tradition of our kids middle names passing on a legacy and we chose "Lizz" after Steve's sister (Elizabeth meaning "God's promise") who is a feisty, hopeful woman in the midst of writing a powerful legacy into the world.

Welcome to the world, sweet Vera Lizz.

[Eight Days Old]


Oat Flour Breakfast Muffins + PB Dark Chocolate Chunk

Move aside, Banana Avocado Muffins, there's a new muffin in town and we're eating it for breakfast.

The Mr. and I (and Margot, of course) are packing up for a month long excursion to mainland USA. In preparation I was cleaning out our cupboards and decided to make some healthy snacks for us to take for the 13 hour plane ride to NJ. $8 cheese and cracker platter? No thanks, United Airlines, I'll have a deliciously free muffin instead.

These muffins don't just seem good for you...they are packed with protein and fiber so they are good for you. I added some bonus ingredients to the second batch.The first batch is Margot friendly, the second batch is Steve approved.

Oat Flour Breakfast Muffins
1 1/2 C. Oat Flour (so simple to make...just grind up some rolled oats in the blender until really fine)
1 1/4 C. Rolled Oats
1/2 C. Plain Yogurt (or..you guessed it...an avocado)
1/2 C. Soymilk (I used Vanilla Soy)
1/2 C. Brown Sugar (optional...you could also use Agave or Honey if you're not making muffins for baby)
1/3 C. Coconut Oil (or sunflower/canola oil) 
1 egg
2 large ripe bananas
2 tsp. baking powder
1tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. raisens
1/2 tsp. salt

Mash up banana and combine with wet ingredients. Sift dry ingredients together and combine wet & dry. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full, top with some rolled oats, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds etc. and bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes.

Here's where the PB Dark Chocolate Chunk part comes in...
For the second batch I mixed in about 2 tbsp. natural peanut butter and some dark chocolate bits (smashed up a candy bar). Use carob chips for a more breakfast friendly version...that tastes like dessert.


Accidental Deliciousness

It is holiday WEEK in our family. Wedding Anniversary, Father's Day, Steve's birthday. Since two of these three special occasions revolve around Mr. Steve Schallert, I thought it appropriate to make his favorite treat...banana bread! Steve is of the persuasion that banana bread with chocolate chips smothered in peanut butter is breakfast food. I call it something different (dessert). BUT, because it is his favorite, I set out to make a loaf of pure sugary deliciousness. Halfway through mixing ingredients I realized that I didn't have any butter. And I didn't have any chocolate chips. So I scowered my cupboards and accidentally made it healthy...ish . Here's how:

2 ripe Bananas
1 mediumAvocado
2 eggs
1 C. granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/3 C. carob chips

Preheat oven to 350. Grease loaf pan.
Mash bananas and avocado together until smooth. Stir in eggs, vanilla and sugar.
Combine dry ingredients (except carob chips).
Add wet to dry.
Fold in carob chips.

Pour into prepared loaf pan.
Sprinkle top with brown sugar, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds. Cover with a "tent" of foil.
Bake at 350 for 30 mins then remove foil and bake for an additional 20-25 mins (until middle is cooked through.
Voila. Enjoy.

Beth Reid, looking forward to a modified gluten free version ; )


"my bride is here,...because my equal is here"

my very dear friends, lindsay and kevin, are getting married! i felt honored to capture some engagement shots for them. i am still going through the photos from the day, but here a few favorites so far. 


The 2012 Let Justice Roll Down Seminar

Steve and I are facilitating a three week long seminar at YWAM Kona in May! It is open to anyone and it is not too late to sign up if you are interested! Check out the website for more info and to apply. We would love it if you joined us!

Here's the gist.

How do we work with Jesus to undo oppression? How do we live the gospel within a violent context or war-zone? How do we build just communities of faith that really are good news to the poor? How do we challenge the status quo and work to reconcile communities?

The Let Justice Roll Down Seminar is in many ways a response to these questions. A response to the ever growing awareness of young people entering the missions field who are overwhelmed with the realities of Human Trafficking, Poverty, Violence and War. It's a response to an ever growing cry within the margins of society from oppressed peoples who are singing liberation songs and for people young and old who want to learn those songs but don't know where to start.

The truth is that in the wake of a world ripe with injustice most of us feel at a loss when it comes to actually doing something. We read the gospels and see Jesus creating holy mischief all over Palestine and feel inspired, but when it comes to our own communities and nations struggles, we can't connect the dots. Into this tension, the Let Justice Roll Down Seminar will connect young radicals with veteran faith-based activists and peacemakers in order to transfuse a vision of practical peacemaking and works of justice modeled after Jesus! Through a three week intensive workshop and seminar series participants will find themselves rooted within the vast history of faith-based activism and peacemaking, learn a biblical vision of justice, craft a practical tool-belt for engagement and return home ready to insight holy mischief within their communities, nations or missions field.

So whether you've been involved with addressing injustice issues for years, work within the mission field or simply have a yearning to learn how to actively engage injustice and violence in your own community with a "Jesus-centric" witness...The LJRD Seminar is for you.

SHANE CLAIBORNE :: Author, Prominent Christian Activist, Sought-after Speaker and Recovering Sinner - thesimpleway.org

With tears and laughter, Shane Claiborne unveils the tragic messes we’ve made of our world and the tangible hope that another world is possible. Shane graduated from Eastern University, and did graduate work at Princeton Seminary. His ministry experience is varied, from a 10-week stint working alongside Mother Teresa in Calcutta, to a year spent serving a wealthy mega-congregation at Willow Creek Community Church outside Chicago. During the recent war in Iraq, Shane spent three weeks in Baghdad with the Iraq Peace Team. Shane is also a founding partner of The Simple Way, a faith community in inner city Philadelphia that has helped to birth and connect radical faith communities around the world. Shane writes and travels extensively speaking about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus. He is featured in the DVD series “Another World Is Possible” and is the author of the several books including The Irresistible Revolution, Jesus for President, and Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers. Shane speaks over 100 times a year in a dozen or so countries and nearly every state in the US. Shane has given academic seminars at Vanderbilt University, Duke University Pepperdine University, Wheaton College, Princeton University, Goshen College and Harvard University. Shane also speaks at various denominational gatherings, festivals, and conferences around the globe. Shane’s work has been featured in everything from Fox News and the Wall Street Journal to CNN and National Public Radio. 

CHED MYERS :: Theologian, Author, Activist, Co-Founder of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries - chedmyers.org

Ched, a fifth generation Californian, lives in Oak View, in the Ojai Valley and the Ventura River watershed. Over the past three decades he has worked with many peace and justice organizations and movements, including the American Friends Service Committee, the Pacific Concerns Resource Center and Pacific Life Community. With Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries he focuses on building capacity for biblical literacy, church renewal, and faith-based witness for justice. Ched holds a Bachelors in Philosophy from the University of California at Berkley (1978) and a Masters in New Testament Studies from the Graduate Theological Union (1984). He has served as adjunct faculty at Memphis Theological Seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary, Claremont School of Theology and is the author of nearly a dozen books including “Binding The Strongman: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus” (Orbis Books, 1984)
Ched travels throughout North America and abroad giving seminars and retreats, teaching, preaching, and facilitating gatherings. He works with Catholic, Protestant, and Anabaptist parishes and denominational offices, as well as with ecumenical organizations. He is particularly committed to faith-based peace and justice efforts such as Christian Peacemaker Teams, Borderlinks, the Catholic Worker Movement, Witness for Peace, and the Servant Leadership Schools.

ELAINE ENNS :: Educator, Author, Activist, Co-Founder of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries - bcm-net.org

Elaine has been working in the field of restorative justice and conflict transformation since 1989 as a mediator, consultant, educator and trainer. She provides mediation and consultation services for individuals, churches, schools, community organizations, criminal justice agencies and businesses, and travels throughout North America teaching and conducting these trainings.
With a Bachelors degree from the Canadian Mennonite Bible College (Winnipeg, 1989) and a Masters in Conflict Management and Peacemaking from the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary (Fresno, 1995). Elaine was trained and still collaborates with the Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies at Fresno Pacific University. Elaine often partners with her husband, Ched Myers, to teach on the Theology and Practices of Restorative Justice, and most recently co-authored with him a two volume project entitled Ambassadors of Reconciliation (Orbis Books, 2009). She has led numerous seminars, retreats and conferences across the ecumenical spectrum. Born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Elaine currently lives in Oak View, CA.

Tim Nafziger :: Activist, Blogger, Organizer, International Outreach Coordinator for CPT - cpt.org

Tim is passionate about gathering people with shared values to work together for change in our communities and our world. One such space is Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) where he has worked as Outreach Coordinator since 2008, supporting the growth of CPT in the US, Europe, the Philippines,  Australia and Colombia. Another space is the blog Young Anabaptist Radicals, which he helped found in 2006. He has also been involved with organizing movements of young people in the Mennonite church in the US such as Spark Renewal, Becoming Undone and Cynicism and Hope.
Tim lives beside Lake Michigan in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago with his wife Charletta where they attend Living Water Community Church. He has written chapters in Widening the Circle:Experiments in Christian Discipleship, Fear or Freedom?: Why a Warring Church Must Change and 118 Days: Christian Peacemaker Teams Held Hostage in Iraq. His photographs have appeared in StillSpeaking and the Mennonite Weekly Review.

Sylvia Morrison :: Educator, Community Organizer and Undoing Racism Coordinator for CPT - cpt.org

Sylvia Morrison is an educator and community organizer who has done extensive work in the violence against women sector, serving as a counselor advocate for survivors of trauma, domestic violence and sexual assaults.  She is an anti-oppression trainer and Professor at George Brown College.  Sylvia engages in community development work locally in Canada, and internationally, supporting grassroots community initiatives in Cuba, Uganda, Benin, and Ghana.  

Sylvia is the Undoing Racism Coordinator with Christian Peacemaker Teams. She leads Christian Peacemaker Teams through change processes in which the framework and operations of the organization are being reworked to reflect anti-oppressive values and best practices.

Sylvia lives in Brampton, Ontario and is the mother of two young adults Yoeshae and Joseph Morrison.


It has been a challenging week with Steve out of town and an unusually cranky Margot. But at the end of the day, I embrace motherhood...even the hard parts. And when I see her smile and giggle at her Dad, my heart swells and I am left with only gratitude. It makes me want to stay in PJs all day and play with her and not care if I have checked anything off my list, seen another person (except, Steve, of course), exercised or brushed my teeth. Even at her crankiest little Margot day is perfect and I can't believe she is ours.

Off we skip like the most heartless things in the world- which is what children are, but so attractive; and we have an entirely selfish time, and then when we have need of special attention we nobly return for it, confident that we shall be rewarded instead of cmacked. -J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


Christmas Cheer for all who Hear!


Christmas esta aqui!

Even if it may not feel like it in Hawaii, Christmas is COMING!!! We went to a Christmas Lights & Music festival with friends last night in a little Hawaiian town called Holualoa. As its name suggests, the festival was complete with Hawaiian carols (think "12 Days of Christmas" in pigeon "...Numbah one day of Christmas, my tutu give to me one mynah bird in one papaya tree..."), free Kona coffee and homemade chai, and lots of twinkle lights. We came back to our place, baked Christmas cookies and watched "Home Alone". Our friend from Denmark had never seen it and we learned from our German friend that in Germany it is called, "Kevin Alone at Home". Fun. It was also the first time that Margot had to wear a sweatshirt. Big day.


Once again we will not be in our home for Christmas. We don't have a Christmas tree up (someday. someday. someday.) but I've decorated one little corner of our house which we have been referring to as "The Christmas Shrine".

My little family is going to South Africa from January-mid March and so we are making pit stops for the holidays to celebrate with family and friends in New Jersey, Tennessee and Michigan! This will be the first time that many of our family and friends are meeting little Margot and we are so, so excited to introduce them.

I leave you with this, the cutest way the Christmas Story has ever been told. Thank you, Jenni, for showing it to me.


we've been elfed.


Tunes for Sale!

We are selling CD's from Steve's former band, The Tide, to raise funds for our upcoming trip to South Africa. Please leave a comment below with your e-mail address to order! $10


laughter is good medicine. so is giggling like a 5 year old.

Today, I am sick. Like, call the doctor sick. ugh. So in between keeping a small human alive, taking naps and drinking tea (and the occasional short burst of energy...like when i decided to clean and accidentally vacuumed up a tape measure...oops) I have been watching these videos...and giggling like a silly little kid. Which Margot thinks is awesome so she tries to chime in.


le family.

Check out new photos of our little family here. Thanks Jannelle!


How do I tie thee? Let me count the ways...

I am the culprit of overdressing for Hawaii weather. I love jackets. I love sweaters. I love socks. I love boots. And I love scarves. Luckily, I get to go to the mainland USA where it's cold, cold, cold for a few weeks this Winter.

© 2010 unless otherwise stated all photos are copyright diane schallert and may not be used without permission. thanks.

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