Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A funny and a break

Got Milf? Funny, but too close to the truth. It's too easy to be seduced by the attraction. Lots to think about.

and I am tired. I'm taking a break from the computer today. I took a break for a few hours yesterday. I'm weary and still recovering from that stupid bad cold last week -- my lymph nodes are still swollen and I am not getting enough rest. I've got a full schedule for tomorrow and Thursday. Getting out has refreshed my spirit and thoughts, but it's made me weary. I'm going to go take a nap....

Morning Prayer

As the sun does daily rise,
Brightening all the morning skies,
So to You with one accord
Lift we up our hearts, O God.

Day by day provide us food,
For from You come all things good;
Strength unto our souls afford
From Your living bread, O God.

O LORD, I call to you;
my Rock, do not be deaf to my cry;
lest, if you do not hear me,
I become like those who go down to the Pit.
Hear the voice of my prayer when I cry out to you,
when I lift up my hands to your holy of holies.

Blessed is the LORD!
for he has heard the voice of my prayer.
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I have been helped;
Therefore my heart dances for joy,
and in my song will I praise him.
The LORD is the strength of his people,
a safe refuge for his anointed.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
shepherd them and carry them for ever.

Lord, I'm really tired. I am weary. I'm not taking care of myself, and I know it. Watch over me today, renew me in body and spirit. Lord, you give strength to the weak and the comfort to sufferers. Hear my voice as I cry out to you and when I left up my hands to you. Please in your mercy, accept my prayer, and grant to your servant the help of your power, that this sickness may be turned into health, and our sorrow into joy. Thank you for the circumstances you have bestowed to me, allowing me rest and reflection. I pray that it points my life and thought to you. Be my strength and refuge today.

Lord, you are the author of every good and perfect gift: Send down upon our leaders, the RevGals and other clergy, and to the congregations committed to their charge your holy grace; and, that they may truly please you, pour upon them the continual dew of your blessing. Grant this, O Lord, for the honor of our Advocate and Mediator, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Monday Mornings are full of stress

Getting the kids out the door on Monday mornings is awful. They move so slow. They aren't ready to go on time. Yelling occurs. Crying occasionally occurs. They don't want to go. I try to prep on Sunday night. I try to get the bookbags and clothing ready. Yet on Monday mornings, something always goes wrong. Milk gets spilled on the good shirt and we have to rummage around for something else that matches. Nothing matches, so now we have to change the shorts and socks as well. I start to get anxious about getting to school on time. The little one takes 20 minutes to put on her socks and shoes. I've done it for her for years, but she needs to do it herself. I sit and tell her what to do and get up to do something else. When I come back to her, she's done nothing. I tell her to put her sock on. I leave. She does nothing. Times 10 times in 20 minutes and I am ready to blow my top. The instruct and walk away method worked with her sister, why is this not working now??? She finally gets her shoes on as my voice begins to rise in volume... but she has to take her toast and milk with her in the car.

We prepare the bookbags, but as the LH and I get them in the car, she suddenly remembers her school picture form. She panics. I can't find the form, she can't find the form. More panic. Crying, raised voices. I find it 10 minutes after they leave in her room. It's not due until Thursday.

We have already changed the routine so that I get them up a full half an hour earlier. I get the bookbags and clothing ready the previous night. Breakfast orders the night before, hairbrushes put where we can find them. Division of labor so that their father and I know exactly what we need to get done. Yet, the stress remains, nothing seems to have changed. What now? Right now, I am so stressed that I cannot do Morning Prayer. I'm going to go take a shower and do some deep breathing exercises....

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Proper 17A, Penecost + 15

God of all people, we give thanks to you today and, call on your name, and ask that you make known your deeds among all people. We seek you today and know you will make our hearts glad. Lord, we remember the works that you have done in our lives and we thank you. You have revealed yourself to us so many ways, sometimes in a burning bush and sometimes by a still small voice. Yet we know your steadfast love is always with us and we want to walk in your ways all the days of our lives. God in your mercy, hear our prayers.

God of all people, Lord of the Church, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word and deed: we have not loved you with all of our heart or served you with all of our strength; we have been blind to the vision of a renewed world and deaf to your call to discipleship; we have been indifferent to the suffering of others and unwilling to forgive each other. Pardon ua and restore us, that together we may serve you with joy all the days of our life. God in your mercy, hear our prayers.

God of all people we ask to you let our love be genuine; help us hate what is evil and hold fast to what is good. Help us to love one another and show each other honor and respect. Help us to not lag in zeal, but be ardent in spirit, serving you always. Help us rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer, contribute to the needs of the saints and extend hospitality to strangers. Help us bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Let us rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. God in your mercy, hear our prayers.

God of all people, hear our prayers for those who are suffering illnesses or disappointments. Give assurance to them that you have not forgotten them. Give comfort to their spirits and cradle them in the palm of your hand. Give shelter to those in danger from gathering storms. God in your mercy, hear our prayers.

God of all people, God of all times and places, we praise you for all your servants who having been faithful to you on earth. Keep us in communion with them until we meet with all your children in the joy of your eternal kingdom. Now with the assurance that comes of being a child of God, let us pray the prayer that your son taught us, Our Father….

Just stuff

Salvation Mountain Salvation Mountain is actually an amazing labor of love created out in the California Desert. Folk art visionary Leonard Knight decided he needed to express his religious feelings in a big way. He has painted this small mountain (in a place called "Slab City") outside the town of Niland, California, which is located near the Salton Sea.

Grotto of the Redemption The Grotto is a composite of nine separate Grottos, each portraying a scene in the life of Christ.The Grotto includes the largest collection of precious stones and gems found anywhere in one location. The artistry has to be seen to be appreciated, plus the message it gives is beyond words.

65 Girls At Area School Pregnant 65 out of 490 female students. Wow.

Koreshan Unity Movement. Wow.

Animal Activists shut down guinea pig farm by stealing the remains of a relative from a churchyard and holding the remains hostage.

The Union of the Vegtable an offshoot (ha!) of Santo Daime.

the world is odd. decidedly odd.

Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Friday Catblogging

Here's my sweet little kitty, snoozing on the sofa. She's got the eyes cracked just a bit, so that I know she's aware of me. She sits on me all the time now -- or perches on the sofa right next to my head, so that she can reach out a paw and touch me.

She's very dedicated to sleeping now-a-days. She's about 16 years old and so she's an old lady kitty. She's put on about a pound since winter -- she tops out at 7 pounds now. Her activity level is going down. There's parallel in my life. I'm feeling old right now. If I continue on the educational plan that I have sketched out -- a DMin and/or a PhD after this bout of schooling, I will be way past 50 before I am finished -- if the family and I go away for the PhD, that means I can go directly from student housing to assisted living. Is it the diplomas that I am after? Am I looking for the real end to all this? Or do I just enjoy the journey, being a student so very much? I do know that I love to teach. I want to teach more in the future.

For the last couple of years I keep thinking about the future -- what will I be doing? Where will I be? and looking forward -- maybe I need to be more intentional in my time NOW and live NOW and not rely so much on the future.

The kittens that we looked forward to getting have run away. Either they have found new homes for themselves or the coyotes have gotten them. They were on my friend's screened in back porch and either they or the mother pried up a piece of the screening and they escaped. My kids are heartbroken. Chaos especially. She prayed very very hard that the kittens would be OK and would come home. She's had a little crisis of faith when they did not.

So we are loving on little kitty especially hard right now. Here's a closeup -- I've been stroking the fur on her nose for comfort.

Morning Prayer

Rising in darkness,
let us all keep watching
let psalms provide our source of meditation
And sing with all our strength
hymns of adoration
to our Creator bring.

O LORD, you are my portion and my cup;
it is you who uphold my lot.
My boundaries enclose a pleasant land;
indeed, I have a goodly heritage.
I will bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
my heart teaches me, night after night.
I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand I shall not fall.
My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices;
my body also shall rest in hope.

Dearest Lord, you are the source of every good gift. You created this world and called it good. God -- it is so easy for me to reflect on the things that are not good -- things that go wrong. It is easy for me to become frustrated and anxious. Lord, I give you my anxiety and ask that you ease my frustrations. Help me rest in my blessings and be at peace. Help me to be content with the pleasant land and the goodly heritage you have given me.

Lord, give me a heart for those who do without. Use me to your ends, God and help me to become a blessing for them. I pray for those who suffer illness, who cannot do for themselves. I pray for the parents of children who do not flourish. Comfort them. I pray for those whose employment is uncertain. Sustain them. I pray for those whose hearts have no ease. Soothe them with your presence. I pray for those who are homeless. Grant them the security they so desperately need. I pray for those who have lost loved ones in a storm's fury. Ease their pain and grant them peace.

God our Father, you see my children -- our children -- growing up in an unsteady and confusing world, full of things that can harm them yet tempt them. Show my children that your ways give more life than the ways of the world, show them the path that will preserve them. Help them to take failure, not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in you, and to keep alive their joy in your creation. Watch over my children as they are away from me today and bring them safely home, just as you will bring us all safely home to you. I pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Morning Prayer

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, and in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind myself to You today. Heart, mind and soul. Bind me together, bind me to You and bind your broken world together with bonds that cannot be broken.


*From the Prayer on the Breastplate of Saint Patrick

The Best Obit I've Read In a While

Seriously. It starts:

"On June 3, 2005 at 10:45 p.m. in Memphis, Tennessee, Dorothy Gibson Cully, 86, died peacefully, while in the loving care of her two favorite children, Barbara and David. All of her breath leaked out."

Read the entire thing here.

I found it on a cool new blog (well, new to me) called the Church Lady Chronicles. I want her to be my personal assistant.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Late Morning Prayer

Blessed are those that are undefiled in the way
and walk in the law of the Lord.
Blessed are they that keep his testimonies
and seek him with their whole heart.
For they who do no wickedness
walk in his ways.
Thou hast charged
that we shall diligently keep thy commandments.
O that my ways were made so direct
that I might keep thy statutes!
So shall I not be confounded
while I have respect unto all thy commandments.
I will thank thee with an unfeigned heart
when I shall have learned the judgements of thy righteousness.

God you are the creator and preserver of all that there is, that there was and that there is to be. Today I ask for your preservations and care you for all sorts and conditions of people; that you would show yourself to them, and declare and who your saving health and grace to all nations. More especially I pray for your holy Church universal; that it may be so guided and governed by your good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life.

Help me to be your servant, guiding those who I meet to desire true discipleship. Lord, discipleship is costly and it is not easy. He us all perserve in the faith. Finally, I commend to your fatherly goodness all those who are in any ways afflicted or distressed, in mind, body, or estate; that it may please you to comfort and relieve them according to their several necessities, giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions. In your Son's name, Amen.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Just Life

I joke by calling my kids Chaos and Entropy. Yet, as the Bard said in King Lear, “Jesters do oft prove prophets” or as the Roxburghe Ballad says it “many a truth is spoken in jest.”

I feel as if I live in disorder. Chaos means complete confusion or disorder – Entropy is a state of complete disorder. Chaos and Entropy surround me.

I push at the stuff, I pick it up, I organize it and still I can lay my hands on multitudes of things that need to be sorted, put up, glued, fixed, repaired, painted, polished, cleaned, framed or just plain fixed.

I now have back my front door panel from the stained glass repair people (after a week) and the repairman placed it into the freshly painted door. The interior trim and walls have been painted, as well as the ceiling. I have a new door knob. The exterior of the house has been pressure washed and painted and the electrical fixtures replaced. I go into the foyer and look down. Somehow someone has broken the plate over the electrical outlet. And the dragon in the dining room was playing with my antique world globe and now it has a pencil tip sized hole in it. And the glass in two of the pictures is broken. And my favorite ticky-tock clock is no longer keeping time. Sigh. When will it all be finished and the house be fixed and clean, at the same time?

What's new with you?

Morning Prayer

In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; *
early in the morning I make my appeal and watch for you.

For you are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, *
and evil cannot dwell with you.

Braggarts cannot stand in your sight; *
you hate all those who work wickedness.

You destroy those who speak lies; *
the bloodthirsty and deceitful, O LORD, you abhor.

But as for me, through the greatness of your mercy I will go into your house; *
I will bow down toward your holy temple in awe of you.

Lord, today I dwell in thoughts of your righteousness. I must confess that I do not understand it. Perhaps it is too large for me to grasp. Yet I find myself drawn to it. I want to know it, I want to dwell in it. I know I have a long way to go and I know that the path to true discipleship is not easy or painless. But I do know that your grace will be with me and sustain me. Help me discern the path. Be with me today as I go about my work. Help me to discern what is truly important and what is not. Help me to build relationships, not tear them down. Use my hands as your hands here on earth.

Almighty God, whose loving hand has given me all that I possess: Grant me grace that I may honor you with my substance, and, remembering the account which I must one day give, may be faithful stewards of your bounty, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Calling all RevGalBlogPals

Please check out the common blog about the Advent Devotional here.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Morning Prayer

Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.

Alleluia. The Lord has shown forth his glory: Come let us adore him. Alleluia.

God, I am sick from my head to my foot this morning. Sick in the body, sick at heart. Hold me in the palm of your hand and grant me healing and peace. I pray for those around me who are sick at heart, for those dealing with depression, for those dealing with disappointment, for those dealing with death, for those dealing with heartbreak. Hold them in the palm of you hand and grant them peace. O God, you give strength to the weak and comfort those who suffer: Mercifully accept my prayers, and grant to me the help of your power, that this sickness may be turned into health, and our sorrow into joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

You, O LORD, are a shield about me;
you are my glory, the one who lifts up my head.
I call aloud upon the LORD,
and he answers me from his holy hill;
I lie down and go to sleep;
I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.

In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Evening Prayer

Lord, forgive me.
So many times I speak when I should be listening.
Help me listen to your children.
Help me to listen to your Word.
Help me to listen for your voice.

And yet,
So many times I am quiet when I should speak.
I should speak against the injustices in this world.
Help me to speak, I pray.
To be a voice for peace in the midst of suffering.
To be a voice for those who have no voice --
To be a voice for those who do not have the courage to speak.

Heal my woundedness -- heal my heart.
Fill me with your peace and let it dwell in me.
Fill me with compassion for those who suffer.
Fill me with your righteousness and your zeal for Justice.
Fill me with your love. Cover me with your love, God. Envelope me with your love.

Watch over this wicked old world tonight. Watch over those who are homeless. Watch over those who are spending the night in hospital waiting rooms. Watch over those who are ill. Watch over those who are well and yet sick at heart. Watch over those who do not yet know their need for you. Watch over children who are heartbroken. Keep watch.

Keep watch, dear Lord,
with those who work, or watch, or weep this night,
and give your angels charge over those who sleep.
Tend the sick, Lord Christ;
give rest to the weary,
bless the dying,
soothe the suffering,
pity the afflicted,
shield the joyous;
and all for your love's sake. Amen.

The Presence of God

      The car door opened slowly, creaking with age. He wearily pivoted his legs around and placed both feet on the ground. For a moment he just sat there, unmoving. His hat was firmly settled on his head, his black shoes perfectly polished, his London Fog coat immaculate. But for what? Was it habit? Who was left to care? He had driven to the church on this cold November day to yet again collect sheet music for a funeral. How many friends had he buried? The march to death had started more than 20 years ago. One day it would be his funeral but who would be left to attend?
      He sighed and levered himself out of the driver’s seat. He fumbled with the keys for a moment and shut the car door. He labored along the walkway to the church’s front door, each step causing a crunch in the gravel. As he began to climb the steps to the door, two other cars came into the church’s gravel parking lot – Mrs. Johnson’s old Cadillac and from the other direction a pickup truck zoomed in, spraying the side of the old white frame building with loose rock. Loud pulsing country music blared from a speaker mounted in the bed of the truck. A large confederate flag flapped on a pole mounted on the back bumper. A half dozen youth dressed in plaid shirts with the sleeves cut off tumbled out of the truck -- each drinking beer.
      “Hey, look who’s here!”
      “Whatcha doing here, you old pervert?”
      “Hey, Faggot!”
      “Hey, let’s call Fred Phelps!”
      They hooted with laughter, drunk enough to fall over each other. He fumbled with the keys a little faster. Was it not bad enough that most of his friends had died? Was it not bad enough that he was going to die? And die alone? Allen had died almost 10 years earlier. He had not had the comfort of companionship for such a long time – there was no one left to talk to. And the community had been talking. There were Sundays that he could feel the hostility from the congregation – the congregation he had been a member of his whole life. The congregation that had sung to his music for more than 30 years. He almost had the door unlocked when the first bottle hit the front door. He looked at the spot on the red door with unbelief for a moment when the second bottle hit him in the small of the back. Soon he was being pelted with not only bottles but little rocks from the gravel parking lot.
      “Hey! What are you boys doing? Jimmy Brown! Does your mama know what you are doing?” Mrs. Johnson! he thought. She’s going to get pelted!
      “And Fred! What do you think you are doing? You should be ashamed of yourselves!” He watched as the kids began to grown quieter, shuffling their feet, not looking at Mrs. Johnson. Some of them faded into the growing night.
      “We were just having a little fun, Mrs. Johnson. We didn’t mean anything.”
      “When does drawing blood not mean anything, Vic Johnson?”
      He finally opened the door and bolted inside, abandoning the old woman outside with the punks. He couldn’t see clearly because of the blood in his eyes. He had lost the hat when the first rocks were thrown. He had always heard that head wounds bled bad, but damn! He stumbled into the sanctuary and fell into the front pew, right behind the piano. He tried weakly to stanch the flow of blood with his handkerchief. He sat in stunned silence for a few moments and then began to feel guilty and angry. Guilty about abandoning the old woman and angry at, well, everything.
      He heard the door open and close again. “Jacob, are you alright?” He felt her move beside him and he began to weep. He wept for Allen and for himself. He wept for John who died just 2 hours ago, alone because his church and his family abandoned him. He wept for Jimmy and Dennis. He wept for all the others. She enfolded him in her arthritic arms and she began to weep as well and then began to gently clean his cut with a towel.
      “Mrs. Johnson, you can’t get near me! It’s spread through blood!”
      “Hush! I know, I was a nurse. It doesn’t matter anyway.”
      He realized that there was a lot blood on her skirt – more than just his.
      “Oh, I stopped to bandage Vic’s hand. He cut himself on one of the bottles. I was on the altar guild when he was baptized. I drew the water for the font. I couldn’t let him bleed, could I?”
      “You stopped to help THEM?” he asked with disbelief.
      “Jacob.” She stopped. “Jacob… Yes I did. I had him in VBS, too. What he and those others did was evil, but…I couldn’t let him bleed.”
      She closed the wound on his forehead with a Band-Aid. They sat there for a moment. She said, “It’s time to go home.”
      He said, “Just a minute.” He got up and rummaged around in the filing cabinet behind the piano for a moment and pulled out the sheet music for Pia Jesu. It was what John had wanted.
      They left the little building together. As he opened the front door, he heard the skrich sound of a broom and saw a flash of denim. A boy with dark curls crushed under a watchcap was sweeping up the glass. Startled, he dropped the broom and started to run down the road. “Vic,” cried out Mrs. Johnson, “Let me take you home!”
      The boy stopped for a moment and Jacob saw a white bandage and the brilliant blue of the boy’s eyes before he began to run again. Jacob never realized that Vic was so much like a wounded bird – so skittish and frightened.
      “You know his father beats him, don’t you?” said Mrs. Johnson.
      “Your son?”
      “Yes.” They were quiet for a moment. He looked down at her eyes as they filled with tears. She patted his arm.
      “Let’s go to my home and I’ll fix you some dinner,” she said. She turned and locked up the church. Pia Jesu domine, dona eis requiem...

Friday, August 19, 2005

Morning Prayer

I'm ready, God, so ready,
ready from head to toe,

Ready to sing, ready to raise a tune:
"Wake up, soul!

Wake up, harp! wake up, lute!
Wake up, you sleepyhead sun!"

I'm thanking you, GOD, out loud in the streets,
singing your praises in town and country.

The deeper your love, the higher it goes;
every cloud is a flag to your faithfulness.

Soar high in the skies, O God!
Cover the whole earth with your glory!*

God our Father, we praise and and thank your for this beautiful day. God today I pray for the little ones, our children. God we ask for your tender care -- you see your children growing up in an unsteady and confusing world: Show them that your ways give more life than the ways of the world, and that following you is better than chasing after selfish goals. Help them to take failure, not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in you, and to keep alive their joy in your creation; Bless our children today, keep them and guilde them.

God you are the strength of the weak and the comfort of sufferers: Mercifully accept our prayers, and grant us the help of your power, that this sickness that we feel today may be turned into health, and our sorrow into joy. We entrust all who are dear to us to your never-failing care and love, for this life and the life to come, knowing that you are doing for them better things than we can desire or pray for. I pray in the name of Christ, your son. Amen.

*Psalm 57:7-11, The Message

Thursday, August 18, 2005

How come?

How come so often great people of God who preach and practice God's peace die violently?

We pray for Brother Roger today -- and also for the young woman who stabbed him.

Just for Mindy

Princess of Everything -- this news story. Mindy has been cow blogging -- and I thought she would like this.

It starts:
Picture this… you’re driving down the Interstate. It’s a warm summer day and you’re glancing at the passing scenery. There’s nothing to see except endless farmland until you see a sight that makes you think you’ve entered the twilight zone: 100 cows grazing in a field, with a website address painted on their bodies and several even painted completely purple!

This is from the casino that purchased unbelievable stuff from ebay. Like the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese and the Jesus Dumpling. Strange stunts to get people to gamble. Huh.

Morning Prayer

Wake my soul with all things living
thanks be giving to the Source of life and day
Sunlight comes and gone confusion,
night's illusion, like the starlight
fades away.

Lord of all life, wake me to all things living. Make me aware of the source of all life -- make me aware today of your Love and Providence. Blow away all confusion -- burn it away with your Light. Bless my efforts today of making clear you Word through my words. Focus my thoughts and efforts so that I can be fruitful today and not lost in my anxiety.

Lord of all life, I confess that I have sinned. I confess that I have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what I have done, and by what I have left undone. I have not loved you with my whole heart; I have not loved my neighbors as myselves. I am truly sorry and I humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on me and forgive me; that I may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name.

O Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on me.
O Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on me.
O Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on me and grant me your peace.

Direct me, O Lord, in all my doings today, my writing, my interactions with others, my manuel labor, direct me with your most gracious favor, and take me beyond myself with your continual help; that in all my works begun, continued, and ended in you, I may glorify your holy Name, and finally, by your mercy, obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


I've been practicing morning prayer for a while. While the kids were home, there seemed to be no time and it was hard to do. Since they have been in school, I've made time. I've been posting them as a sort of accountability check. I receive few comments on the prayers. They do not flow freely from me. They seem laborious and hard to write every morning -- but not in a bad way. It's hard to be honest in prayer. There, I admit it. It's hard to be honest sometimes in prayer. I want to maintain the control -- I want to skitter around the things that bother me. I feel guilty when I don't do "all the things" you are supposed to do in prayer. ACTS -- adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication. I didn't do it all this morning. Each prayer seems to focus on my mood for the morning -- each one seems untimately selfish.

I think I'll stew on that for a while.

Morning Prayer

Wake my soul with all things living
thanks be giving to the Source of life and day
Sunlight comes and gone confusion,
night's illusion, like the starlight
fades away.

Dearest Lord and God, I fill my life with busy-ness. I fret with things that truly do not matter. I fill my home and my mind and my body, not with the goodness that flows from you, but with things that are of little substance. Lord, still my heart. Cover me with your peace -- let it gently fall upon me like snow, so that I am blanketed with your presence and tranqulity. Bring my will into harmony with yours. Fill my desires with your holiness. Help me fix my eyes on the final goal. Focus my eyes on you, bend my will to your will.

Lord, fill me with your holy and life-giving Spirit so that it moves my human heart and centers my consiousness on you. Focus my attentions on loving my brothers and sisters so that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions are healed and so that we may live in justice and peace. Fill me with your peace -- the peace that passes all human understanding.

You are the God of peace, you have taught us that in returning and resting in you we will be saved, resting in you in quietness and confidence, you will be our strength: By the might of your Spirit lift us, we pray, to your presence, where we may be still and know that you are God.

Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated unto you; and then use us, we pray you, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; I hand all that I worry about over to you, I hand my anxiety over to you, I hand my heart and will to you. I pray in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


I took a shot at Lakewood a few weeks back about mission. Now maybe the mega-church people will show me wrong. Rick Warren, of Purpose Driven fame, is taking on the country of Rwanda. The entire country will be his mission field. Mega-church, mega mission. Story here. I'm bumfuzzled. I don't know what to think or say. I guess time will tell. Hmm......

Another hmmm... I found at The Main Point. World Naked Gardening Day. Naked people in the garden. Haven't we been through this before? Hmmm.....

And another. Here we find a story that starts "A Christian preacher in the Bahamas is recanting a news release he issued claiming his miracle water had brought a dead man back to life." So did the man die? Who is to know?

And another. Here is a story about how a Baptist found the actual Pool of Siloam. A Baptist. Makes you go hmmmmm....... Maybe the minister in the Bahamas has been dipping in this pool. Hmmm.....

Morning Prayer

Through the night your angels kept
Watch beside us while we slept;
Now the dark has passed away,
Thank you, God, for this new day.

The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.


Come let us sing to the Lord;
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving
and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
ome, let us bow down, and bend the knee,
and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.
Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!

Blessed Lord Jesus, you ministered to all who came to you: all -- the young, the old, the lame, the well, the rich, the poor, the women, the men, the elders, the children. Look with compassion upon all who through disease, lifestyle, accident or addiction have lost their health and freedom. Comfort them and restore to them the assurance of your unfailing mercy; remove from them the fears that beset them; strengthen them those who care for them, give patient understanding and persevering love.

God, I give you all the thanks and all the glory. Only you could bring people together in faith and understanding in the ways I have experienced these last few days. I give you thanks and stand in awe of your grace and mercy.

For John at Locust and Honey

FORT BYRON, Ill. (AP) - An Illinois man claims a $10 pet rabbit saved the life of his pregnant wife. Ed Murphy said the rabbit was unusually noisy one night, banging and jumping up and down in her cage.

Murphy tried to ignore the racket by putting noise buffers on top the cage, but the pet would not let him go back to sleep.

Murphy then noticed his wife seemed to be sleeping heavily with her eyes wide open, so he called 911.

Darcy Murphy was quickly taken to a hospital, where she remained five days for treatment of gestational diabetes, a carbohydrate intolerance during pregnancy.

Murphy's obstetrician, Dr. Anita Pinc, credits the rabbit with telling Ed Murphy ``Wake up, wake up. Something is wrong with your wife.''

Murphy delivered baby Brenna on June 13.

Found here.

Monday, August 15, 2005


it is overwhelming. Sometimes I wonder if anything can possibly be good. Sometimes it all seems too much like always pushing the rock uphill. A good friend was to go into Saint Joseph's this morning for a heart cath and stint -- and he was transferred but only after another 70 year old man had reached the end of his endurance. The 70 year old's wife had been in the hospital for several weeks. The man went into the hospital at 6:15 this morning and shot his 70-year-old wife, who was a patient in the intensive care unit. He then shot himself. She had been in the hospital a long time and her recovery was not going well -- so in desparation he picked up his gun. What agony he must have been in! What agony he has left behind.

And then someone on TV quoted Romans 8:28 "All things work together for good..." and I can't accept that. Sometimes it just all bad. And this is just all bad.

So far this morning...

Sick and croupy child.
Need new Garage door.
Grumpy husband.
Grumpy Sunday School classes.
Dirty dishes in sink.
Dirty Laundry.
Clutter is overtaking the Living Room and kitchen.
Painters here at crack of dawn.
Loving Husband left his lunch and had to come home and get it.
Loving Husband's car is on fumes after I used it (oops).
6th Grade girl drama.
Way behind on project.
Anxious about in home Bible Studies.
Back on the diet after a weekend off.

Any wonder I need prayer and coffee? Mmmm.... coffee.

Morning Prayer

Precious is the heart of love;
may, at length, such hearts be ours;
God, please send down from above
your love and truth divine.
And may they cleanse our willing souls
of earthly ills and make them whole;
for Christ did come to share our toil
and will not spurn our prayers.

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. Help us to discern your will -- help us to find our way in this broken and hurting world.

Lord Jesus Christ, Good Shepherd of the sheep, you gather the lambs in your arms and carry them in your bosom: We commend to your loving care the children and adults who died yesterday in Greece. Heavenly Father, send your Holy Spirit into the hearts of the relatives and into our hearts, to direct and rule us according to your will, to comfort us in all our afflictions, to defend us from all error, and to lead us into all truth.

Almighty God, heavenly Father, you have blessed us with the joy and care of children: Give us calm strength and patient wisdom as we bring them up, that we may teach them to love whatever is just and true and good, following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Hospital Visits and Waiting Rooms

Three hospitals in two days -- people hurting yes, but mostly people being anxious. Not knowing how surgery will turn out, not knowing the progression of disease, not knowing what exactly the problem is, being alone, feeling alone, feeling abandoned. The human condition.

We went to the "Gospel of John" starring Brad Sherrill -- website is www.gospelofjohn.com. I've seen it I don't know how many times -- the Loving Husband has seen it at least 6 times and myself many many more. Everytime I experience it, something new hits my ears -- I see more interconnections in the text, I get shocked again by the story. The elemental nature of the text -- fire, water, spirit and earth came through to me last night. As well as the fact that John is such a testimony -- the language itself and the message.

I was struck again by the Old Testament allusions -- the raising up of the snake by Moses, the quotes of Isaiah, the interweaving of Psalm 22 in the passion narrative. I was struck again by how unique the testimony of this Gospel is -- no agony in the Garden -- the agony is elsewhere. No institution of communion at the last supper -- it's elsewhere. The pivot of the narrative in the Lazarus story.

But what really struck me was the phrase "eternal life." We hear it in the familiar John 3:16, but we find it also in John 6:56 "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." John contains the words "eternal life" 16 times. Why do we focus so much attention on John 3:16?

Off to the hospital...

Morning Prayer

Hear us, O God, in your dear love,
Let our prayers rise to you above,
And help us, this and every day,
To live as truly as we pray.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Lord, I thank you for the faithfulness of your servants. I thank you for their committment and the grace and love that come from you through them. I thank you for that great cloud of witnesses that surround us -- the saints who are dwelling with us and those who have gone on before us. Thank you for Brad, who shares your word in unique ways. Thank you for Gordan who minsters in unique ways. Thank you for Phil who proclaims your Word and encourages even in uncomfortable circumstances. Thank you for Janet and those who can minister to those who are hurting and suffering. Thank you for John whose individualized ministry means so much to us handful of people. Thank you for friends, for Dave, Allison, Lynn, Sylvia, for the women and men I have met via the internet who minister to myself and each other, mostly unaware. I pray for those today who are sick and ill and suffering -- in spirit and in the body.

Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance;
Govern and uphold them, now and always.
Day by day we bless you;
We praise your name for ever.
Lord, keep us from all sin today;
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
Lord, show us your love and mercy;
For we put our trust in you.
In you, Lord, is our hope;
And we shall never hope in vain.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Morning Prayer for a dark morning

Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
-- 2 Corinthians 7:1 (NIV)

Psalm 102
1 LORD, hear my prayer, and let my cry come before you;
hide not your face from me in the day of my trouble.
2 Incline your ear to me;
when I call, make haste to answer me,
3 For my days drift away like smoke,
and my bones are hot as burning coals.
4 My heart is smitten like grass and withered,
so that I forget to eat my bread.
5 Because of the voice of my groaning
I am but skin and bones.
6 I have become like a vulture in the wilderness,
like an owl among the ruins.
7 I lie awake and groan;
I am like a sparrow, lonely on a house-top.
8 My enemies revile me all day long,
and those who scoff at me have taken an oath against me.
9 For I have eaten ashes for bread
and mingled my drink with weeping.
10 Because of your indignation and wrath
you have lifted me up and thrown me away.
11 My days pass away like a shadow,
and I wither like the grass.
12 But you, O LORD, endure for ever,
and your Name from age to age.
13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion,
for it is time to have mercy upon her;
indeed, the appointed time has come.
14 For your servants love her very rubble,
and are moved to pity even for her dust.

Lord, when they came for you in the garden, you experienced the pain of the betrayer’s metaphorical knife in the back. Lord, he was someone you loved and I ask myself how could you bear it? Have mercy on me, even though what I experience is only a shadow of what you felt. Help me to forgive -- especially those who I love and are close to me. Keep me from participating in sin by giving me forbearance. Grant me the wisdom to find a way to repair or transcend the situation. Help me be a solution to the problem and not part of it.

Lord, I do not understand all the things that trouble me now. Therefore I thank you for these problems, because it has brought your will into sharp focus, it has brought me closer to you and to others, and it teaches me my need for you. I ask for your grace to persevere in faith as long as this stress in our lives shall last. I ask for wisdom to know when and how to be helpful to others -- and how to ask for help when I need it. I hand it over to you, so that your will be done. Thank you for you loving care, which I know endures forever. Amen.

Walking in sunlight all of our journey;
Over the mountains, through the deep vale;
Jesus has said, "I'll never forsake you,"
Promise divine that never can fail.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Fun little game

From Emily.
Go to google. Type "(your name) is" and paste your favorite 10 responses.

1. Mommy is this OK? (Is *what* OK?)
2. Mommy is sick. (And tired of doing housework.)
3. Mommy is a punk rocker. (in birkenstocks)
4. My Mommy is my hero. (How sweet!)
5. Mommy, is Aunt Sally in the rice puffs? (We don't have an Aunt Sally.)
6. Mommy is the household's sadistic disciplinarian, dismissing Grandma at every turn. (We don't have a grandma.)
7. Mommy is a deceitful gold-digger who has married Daddy for his money. (Daddy has money?)
8. Mommy is friggin’ huge. (Let's don't get personal, here.)
9. Mommy is insane. (Refer to number 8.)
10. Mommy is stretchy. (And bounces back rapidly.)

You try it.

Morning Prayer

Every morning we will raise
to our God our songs of praise.
Every morning we will raise
to our God our songs of praise.

What this day will bring to pass,
gladness or sorrow we cannot guess.
You, who give the light divine,
shine on us, Christ Jesus, shine.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and call upon his Name.

For the Lord is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his faithfulness endures from age to age.

O Loving God, whose beloved Son became poor that we might be rich: save us from our love of this world, so that we may love you and serve you with singleness of purpose and heart. Let us bask in the Light of Christ that shines on us daily, bursting through the clouds that gather around us. You divide day from night, darkness from light, the mourning of death into the morning of new life. You change shadows into sunlight. Let us use your light as a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.

God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infects our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thy will be done. Thy kingdom come. Come Lord Jesus. Come. Amen.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Read "Today at the Mission"


What can be do for this broken world? How long, o Lord, how long?

By the way

I hope the person who found me yesterday using the search "Somewhere over the rainbow funeral sermon" liked what they found. I thought I did a good job on that one. Facinating to see how people find you on the internet. I was the number two hit.

I was also the number two hit for "ash wednesday burn water lye" which is a good thing. It's not good to be burned by your Ash Wednesday ashes.

But I don't think the person looking for "mending children's clothes poem" found much... or the search for the "genealogy of dr. vivien thomas."

But I would love to know what they thought of the sermon.

Morning Prayer

Every morning mercies new
Fall as fresh as morning dew;
Every morning let us pay
Tribute with the early day:
For your mercies, God, are sure;
Your compassion does endure.

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name.

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Sprinkle us with showers of blessing -- the blessings that fall like rain on this parched world. Help us to be cisterns of blessing for others -- full of your living water. Help us live for You in this world, by Your Word and precepts and not by the conflicting voices that we hear around us.

Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Just in case

You were feeling particuarly sinful today, I have found an online solution.

Here is a website that offers absolution of sins, online. A quote from this page:

We don't require anyone to believe anything from any belief system. In forgiveness of sins we knew we should make some presentation of entitlement other than the approval of the Church's Board of Directors. We did and for most it was sufficient for acceptance or at least the end to inquiry. For some nothing would suffice beyond their Sunday School training days regardless of their present lifestyle, so we accepted the reality of the situation and continued in good-faith and sincerity asking others to do the same.

My response -- Oka-a-ay? What the heck does this mean??

I think I'll stick to the old fashioned thing -- i.e. confession and repentance.

From Morning Prayer

Open my lips, O Lord,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence
and take not your holy Spirit from me.
Give me the joy of your saving help again
and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.

Most merciful God,
We confess that we have sinned against you

in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have failed to do.
We have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry, and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name.

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day. Preserve us with your mighty power, so that we won’t fall into sin or be overcome by adversity. And in all we do, direct us so that we will do your will, so that when we end this day, we will rejoice in your providence and grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.

Monday, August 08, 2005

OK, I hadn't taken this one...

but it's pretty accurate.

You scored as Mystical Communion Model. Your model of the church is Mystical Communion, which includes both People of God and Body of Christ. The church is essentially people in union with Christ and the Father through the Holy Spirit. Both lay people and clergy are drawn together in a family of faith. This model can exalt the church beyond what is appropriate, but can be supplemented with other models.

Mystical Communion Model


Servant Model


Sacrament model


Herald Model


Institutional Model


What is your model of the church? [Dulles]
created with QuizFarm.com

This is a day of new beginnings

This is a day of new beginnings,
time to remember and move on,
time to believe what love is bringing,
laying to rest the pain that's gone.
Then let us, with the Spirit's daring,
step from the past and leave behind
our disappointment, guilt, and grieving,
seeking new paths, and sure to find.

-Brian Wren, 1978, UMH 383

Most people consider January 1st the beginning of the new year -- where all things are fresh and new. Time to forgive and forget, time to start over, to zero the counters and see where we can go from here.

The Liturgical year begins right after Thanksgiving with Advent. The fiscal year for a lot of businesses is July 1.

My year begins the week school starts. Today is the beginning of my new year. All things are forgiven and forgotten. There is nothing ahead but possibilites. Yes, consequeces of the past can and will remain -- the scars never really fade, but we take a moment and remember move on and beyond them, easing their tightness with balm.

I began a diet (I need to loose an entire 6th grader...), I am going to seriously begin to do the spiritual disciplines again in the morning -- prayer, fasting, meditation, study, contemplation. I am going to start walking again, even thought it hurts. I am reducing the clutter in my life -- material possessions, but also the busy-ness of modern life. It is not a deprivation of my children if we get rid of soccer, Girl Scouts and piano lessons -- and only do Church and karate. It will allow them time for quiet and contemplation, free play, exploration of the backyard, exploration of who they are aside from their activities (Mommy too.)

I have also been cleaning strange and hidden things -- under and behind the washer and dryer, under the refrigerator, in the base cabinets in the kitchen. I painted the interior of the cabinets yesterday and Saturday. For the first time in years, it not only is clean (I actually have scrubbed the paint off in places), but I have covered all the stains and wear on them with paint -- It looks so clean. The exterior painting will come sometime soon, but I dwell in the idea of "white washed tombs." What good does it do if the outside is pristine, if the inside is full of dirt and wear?

I was going to do an art project a while back -- I was going to take a white and gold chasable and make it beautiful -- and then line it with a piece of cheap cloth with stains, tire tread marks and words of filth written in a coarse hand. The lining would be ripped and unrepaired. A commentary on the priesthood, as a whole. But starting with me.

Here is an interesting website about the practice of faith. I don't agree with it one hundred percent, but it is good for contemplating.

But first rest. And rest can be a spiritual discipline.

Christ is alive, and goes before us
to show and share what love can do.
This is a day of new beginnings;
our God is making all things new.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


Begging is occuring. We visited with some kittens this afternoon. When they get to 7 or 8 weeks old, the daddy and I *may* consider having them come live with us (official line). Unoffical, oooo.... they are so cute!! The tabby is mine. Mine I say. Mine. Hiss. Grrr... Keep your paws off my kittens.

Beau (number 32)? or Mittens?
Every tabby in our household has been Beau. Named after a cat that my g-g-grandmother had that she named after General Pierre Gustave Toutant de Beauregard. Upon whom, my g-g-grandmother had a crush.

and the Vicar of Dibley (if it's a girl) otherwise the little one suggested Darth Kitty, Kitten of Darkness.

What do you think?

Friday, August 05, 2005

Dragon Update

The baby dragon in the dining room is doing well. It is now hunting on its own, consuming several Barbies a day. It changes colors frequently -- mostly back from red to green with an occasional yellow or gold. The S.A.S.D. (Secret and Ancient Society of Dragonologist) have noticed that the baby dragon (Smauglybob) changes with the paraments in the church so it is indeed a Draconus Liturgicous. Here's a picture on a recent outing.

I have too much

I have too much going on right now. It's a mad rush to get the kids ready for school -- and I have contracted to have the exterior of the house painted. The painters start on Monday -- and I have asked for an estimate for the interior. I've managed to burn myself with Jello (second degree) and my eldest has dropped her father's laptop computer. I anticipate an outcry for the sacrifice of my first-born, but I hope that I can convince the Loving Husband that Mercy is greater than Justice. Busy-ness is actually ramping up right now. I am looking forward to the "rest time." I can't even string together two thoughts right now to make a passable blog entry...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Busy kind of day

Today is your basic busy day. Registration for school for the kids. Open house this afternoon. Admin Council tonight. Busy-ness. Which if you use normal spelling rules becomes business. I've been contemplating a lot of things recently. Gluttony is one of them. Gluttony is more than just food, I have come to realize. I wonder if gluttony is anytime we fill our lives up with stuff and activities so that we do not have to think about the voids we have inside. Being busy makes us think we are "accomplishing something" that gives our lives a sense of value -- and then we say that we value peace and quiet, contentment, stillness. Is that not a conundrum? It actually makes little to no sense.

I am becoming a fan of a regular schedule -- routine. Structure. When the kids are in school and I am not, I can easily structure in a space for contemplation. When there is no structure, I cannot seem to find that space or time. There is a sort of discipline to be found in a structured space for stillness.

I've blogged before about seasons of life, seasons of time in the year. I am entering into that season again where I can take that time to contemplate -- to reorder and restructure my house so that there is room. I'm looking forward to it.

What's new in your life?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

More pictures

I am going to post a few more pictures today -- but first, RLP has launched a new site and has a chat box available. Addicitive, I'm telling you. Addicitive.

Spaceship One



Liberty Bell (B17)

Formation including Glacier Girl

A Wisconsin Barn -- the countryside is beautiful

Monday, August 01, 2005


Feels wonderful.

However, more than 12 hours from door to door for an hour and a half plane trip seems excessive.

Tired -- so here's some pictures.

The obligatory airshow picture

The airplane the Loving Husband is building in the basement

Glacier Girl

Global Flyer