Sunday, December 31, 2006

Nothing to blog about

I have nothing to blog about ... or way too much to blog about and way too little time.

Between leftover Christmas Dinner (a week old tomorrow), party food leftover from the choir party, take-home boxes from various eating establishments, a ham for tomorrow, a huge bag of collard greens, black eyed peas and other goodies, there is no room in the refrigerator. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen such a packed refrigerator. And yet, I open the door and can't find a single thing I want to eat.

So it is with blogging material. There is so much I could blog about, but nothing urgently pressing. So here are some dots.

* T-Minus 2 days and about 3 hours before we leave for the conference in Myrtle Beach.
* The main floor of the house is clean and I'm taking wagers to see how long it will last. I'm betting less than half a day.
* The family is lazy and is staying home from church, but I get to go because it's my job.
* I have been invited to at least 3 or 4 parties for tonight, but would just as soon stay home.
* The gurgling sound that woke my husband up last night -- the sound that he thought was the plumbing -- was my stomach and it's not a happy camper this morning but
* I have almost zero responsibilities in worship this morning, so life will be OK.
* We are having a watchnight service tonight and that appeals to me more than parties.
* I have come up with a thought to put in my Theology paper (due Jan 8) that is more femo-radical than anything I've read. Uber-radical. I hope it doesn't get me a "F."
* My schedule is really messed up for next semester and I hope that it doesn't mean that I can't graduate.
* Next week is going to be exciting with at least 5 RevGals in Myrtle Beach. Woo Hoo!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bury Me in a Free Land

Bury Me in a Free Land

Make me a grave where'er you will,
In a lowly plain, or a lofty hill;
Make it among earth's humblest graves,
But not in a land where men are slaves.

I could not rest if around my grave
I heard the steps of a trembling slave;
His shadow above my silent tomb
Would make it a place of fearful gloom.

I could not rest if I heard the tread
Of a coffle gang to the shambles led,
And the mother's shriek of wild despair
Rise like a curse on the trembling air.

I could not sleep if I saw the lash
Drinking her blood at each fearful gash,
And I saw her babes torn from her breast,
Like trembling doves from their parent nest.

I'd shudder and start if I heard the bay
Of bloodhounds seizing their human prey,
And I heard the captive plead in vain
As they bound afresh his galling chain.

If I saw young girls from their mother's arms
Bartered and sold for their youthful charms,
My eye would flash with a mournful flame,
My death-paled cheek grow red with shame.

I would sleep, dear friends, where bloated might
Can rob no man of his dearest right;
My rest shall be calm in any grave
Where none can call his brother a slave.

I ask no monument, proud and high,
To arrest the gaze of the passers-by;
All that my yearning spirit craves,
Is bury me not in a land of slaves.

-- Frances Ellen Watkins, freed black woman who died circa 1920

Bury me low in valleys green
And where the milder breeze
Blows fresh along the stream,
Sings roundly in the trees -
Bury me low and let me lie
Under the wide and starry sky.
Joying to live, I joyed to die,
Bury me low and let me lie.

-- Robert Louis Stevenson

I remembered these two poems when I read this article. It seems that Franklin Graham wants his parents to be buried at his new mega-slick complex he calls the "Billy Graham Library" -- which, to IMHO sounds like a Disneyland ride. It sounds awful -- tacky, starting with the talking cow. Ugh!

Ruth Bell Graham wants to be buried at The Cove -- a work of love that she has been at for many, many years, which might be called the "real" Billy Graham Library. I suppose it's not flashy enough for Franklin's ego. Let the woman lie in death on the land she loves next to the man she loves. Please do not make their graves some sort of sicko tourist attraction!

Busy Day

The kids are going to go play Whirlyball with the Loving Husband. I'm going to stay home, clean for the choir party, write papers (gah, pfft!), etc. Tonight we are going to go play trivia at a local eating establishment with friends. Busy.

This morning, though, I'm having Breakfast Casserole -- and I may make grits.

8 slices bread broken up into bite sized pieces
6 to 8 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 package sausage, crumbled and browned
2 cups shedded cheddar cheese (or more, or less, depending on how much you like cheese)
salt and pepper to taste
dash nutmeg
optional: half cup each of diced bell pepper and onion, cooked in with the sausage

Butter a 12 by 8 baking pan. Sprinkle the bread into the pan. Add the browned and drained sausage. Stir in the grated cheese. Whip the eggs, cream and milk together with the salt, pepper and nutmeg and pour over the top. Refrigerate, covered overnight. Bake at 350 for 35 to 45 minutes (or until set) the next morning. Cut into squares and serve with fresh fruit and grits. Mimosas are good too....

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

It's T-minus 5 and a half days...

And I am off to a BIG RevGal and MethoBlog meetup with Dogblogger, Rev Abi and Gavin (also, Jay of Only Wonder Understands, Allen Bevere, John the Bunny lover, and Jonathon of St. Phransus.)

We are PRESENTING at the Congress on Evangelism in Myrtle Beach Jan 3 to 5. Y'all come! We are talking about the Internet and Evangelism -- and it's entitled "The Internet is Our Parish."

I'm not ready!! Arrgh!!

How to Brine a Turkey

We had guests for Christmas day -- and they wanted to know how I prepared the turkey and gravy. I cooked for two solid days. Homemade everything. I used 3 pounds of butter and a quart of heavy cream. I will have to diet soon...

So here we go!

Brining a turkey will help flavor the turkey and it certainly makes for a moist and tender bird. Your turkey needs to be thawed – either a fresh turkey, never frozen or one you have left in the refrigerator for a couple of days to thaw. It shouldn’t be injected or treated with anything – no additives, just turkey.

Boil 2 quarts of water in a very large pot. I own a 10 gallon stock pot and use this for brining. Add a cup of salt, a cup of brown sugar, one bunch of rosemary (crushed, fresh), a couple of sticks of cinnamon, one bunch of sage,(crushed) and a handful of black peppercorns. Boil for a few minutes and set aside to cool. When cool, add a cup of apple cider.

After the stock is cool, rinse off the turkey and place in to stockpot. Fill with cold water and ice (as much as you can), cover and set in a cool place for at least 12 hours, but not more than 24. If you wish, stick a thermometer into the brine and do not allow it to get over 40 degree F.

When you are ready to cook the turkey, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Chop two or three apples and a couple of onions. Steam the apples and onions for a couple of minutes in the microwave, along with more rosemary (dried this time), cinnamon (powdered), rubbed sage, pepper and a cup of apple cider. Let the aromatics steep while you prepare the turkey. Rinse the turkey and discard the brine. Place the turkey in the roaster in the usual manner (which is actually upside down for the poor old turkey.) Tuck the wings in. Place the apples and onions in the cavity, mix a cup of white wine (I use a sweet wine, like a Riesling) with the liquid and drizzle the liquid over the turkey. Pour a cup of olive oil over the turkey and rub in the spices and oil with your hands. Place the turkey in the oven, uncovered for 30 minutes and brown the skin. This will keep the moisture in the turkey.

After 30 minutes, take the bird out of the oven and flip it over, so that the breast is down. Cover with the lid and cook for an additional 2 and a half to 3 hours (for a 12 to 15 pound bird, you will need to adjust for a smaller or larger bird). A half hour before the turkey is done, flip it over again and recover. Basting is not necessary. Take it out when done (when the interior temp gets to 162 to 170 degrees F) and leave it covered. Let it rest for 15 minutes to an hour before you carve it.

While the turkey is resting, you can take the stock out of the bottom of the pan and make a gravy. I don’t like giblets, so I make a traditional brown gravy. Start with a roux made with butter. When the roux is nice and brown, use the stock to make the gravy – you can add some wine, if you wish and if you like a creamy gravy, you can use some heavy cream. I also will chop up the onions and apples and some of the meat to give the gravy some texture.

This bird will have a slightly sweet flavor, with apples. You can do this with a hen, if you wish, but will have to adjust the cooking times. You also leave out the apples, sage and cinnamon, and use only onions, rosemary and lemons. (I do dearly love Lemon/Rosemary chicken.)


Friday, December 22, 2006


Me and Grandma Jean at Thanksgiving (Finally!)

Here's CatBlogging on Friday (Yeah!)
(Santa Snaps for the MacBook -- too cute.)

Blogging today instead of
1) cleaning
2) cooking
3) shopping
4) wrapping
5) writing papers....


I got in a heated discussion yesterday with a person who was rather critical of my girls being in karate. The kids go train a few times a week and really enjoy it. It's fun.

The girls are doing Tang Soo Do, which is an older form of karate than Twae Kwon Do and there are subtle differences. Our studio spends a lot of time with the kids stressing exercise, healthy living, drug avoidance, discipline (mostly self discipline), obedience to elders and parents, doing your best and respect of self and others. It's not considered a "sport" at our studio, but a discipline and an art. Competition is a part of it, but is not stressed but rather doing your personal best. Master Long gives the kids lots of positive encouragement. It is a much more supportative environment than the soccer teams (boy, those soccer parents are harsh!) or even the Ballet Nazi. And I know that my girls have had some solid self-defense training, as well.

This person critized me for putting my girls in karate, saying that I am promoting a violent lifestyle and that the ethos (OK, she didn't use that word) that was being promulgated is not a Christian ethos. What?? Of course, she had no real data or anything to base this on, just her prejudice. Then she went further -- "I don't think I would want to be a part of a church where the MINISTER has her children in karate." OK, fine. You're Baptist -- I'm Methodist. You probably wouldn't come to my church anyway. Just had to get in that parting shot, eh? You say, woman, that you don't believe in a violent lifestyle, but just attacked me and mine verbally. Do you not understand the problem here?? Do you not see it?? Sheesh.

I felt like doing a roundhouse kick and an upper cut. (Verbally, of course.) But I didn't. Because I DO believe in a peaceable lifestyle.

Christmas Prayer -- Robert Louis Stevenson

But you, O Bethlehem Eph'rathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.
-- Micah 5:2

A Christmas Prayer

Loving Father,
Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift
and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing
which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning
make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds
with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven,
for Jesus' sake.


-- Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Woo Hoo!

Sermon Spice put my video up for sale today!!
Woo Hoo!
Look here. Add a review! (Please please please!!!)

Why I'm not shopping right now

Our builder used, well nicely said, "builder grade" plumbing stuff. In twelve years of living in the house, the flapper valves on all the toilets have worn out. If one clogs the toliet for any reason and are not careful, it overflows and runs all over the place. Gallons and gallons of water. Well, we had one flood on Saturday before the belt test. Chaos caused that one and suffered the consequences of having to clean it all up.

A few minutes ago, Entropy just caused the downstairs toilet to become a fountain and flooded the main floor and into the basement in Daddy's radio shack which contains three computers and lots and lots of radio equipment. So Entropy is going to be busy cleaning up. I'm helping and for some reason the urge to shop or decorate has fled.

And I really could use new flapper valves -- and I really could use that wine.

Wine Selections

Ok, I'm going to make shrimp and grits for Christmas Eve and I want to get a couple of bottles of wine. Which wine shall it be?

I really like the 2002 Louis Jadot Pouilly-Fuisse. White burgundies are more complex than basic chardonnay and this one is pricey. It will run about $23 to $25 per bottle. It's not overly oak-y or sweaty in flavor. It's full of the taste of cinnamon and apples. Dry, but not acidic. Nice lively taste. My favorite.

The Louis Jadot Macon-Villages Chardonnay is a good second choice -- it runs about $10 a bottle. Nice color, not too pale. Crisp, dry, slightly acid, tastes of apples and pears. Simple taste, not really complex.

Next on the list would be a Beaujolais. Domestic wines -- I stick to a Napa Riesling or Chardonnay.

A good Merlot will be on the list as well.....

Time to go shopping.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Heavy Topics

Or topics that will make you heavy ....

What's for dinner?

I've got an earache (still) that has caused the Bell's Palsy pain to flare up. So I'm going for soft and comfortable food today.

I think I want Shrimp and Grits. Yes, I had planned that for Christmas Eve, but we can do a test run today, right?

4 cups water
Salt and pepper
1 cup grits (stone-ground are the best, but quick grits will do in a pinch)
3 or 4tablespoons butter
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream

Cook the grits in the usual manner: boil water, salt and pepper. Slowly add grits, stirring as you add. Cover and cook for recommended amount of time (remember quick grits are different than “real grits” – quick grits cook in about 5 minutes, real grits take about 30.) Remember to stir as you are cooking. When they are at the “lava bubble’ stage, add the heavy cream and cheese and butter. Stir and let finish cooking – set aside.

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined -- about 20
6 slices bacon, chopped or 1/2 cup tasso ham (hard to find, you can use prosciutto)
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup diced leeks (or scallions, or MILD onion)
2 tablespoons diced onion
2 tablespoons diced green peppers
Dash of salt and pepper
1 tablespoon white flour
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

Sauté the shrimp in about 1/4 cup olive oil or butter (don’t scorch!) until nice an pink. Remove from pan and then either cook bacon or tasso in the pan until browned. Remove and add to bowl with shrimp. Saute the aromatics, saving the garlic for the last minute or so (or else it will become bitter.) Sprinkle white flour over the aromatics when they are transparent and stir well. Slowly add wine and cream, stirring continually until thickened. Remove from heat and add back into the pan the shrimp and bacom. Stir well. Season with salt and pepper. Place one cup of the grits into a rimmed soup bowl and top with a quarter of the shrimp (about 5) and a quarter of the sauce. Serves 4.

Serve with oyster stew, fresh baked bread with garlic spread, green salad. Yum.

Garlic Spread
Roast 4 heads of garlic in oven for a nice long time. Remove and let cool. Set out a pound of butter to soften and place in big bowl. When cooled, break apart the garlic heads into cloves. Snip the tip of each clove and squeeze the roasted garlic into the bowl Add a dash of salt and pepper and about a tablespoon of grated cheese. Mix with flat spatula until and chill until use.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Thoughts in Solitude

I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think
that I am following your will
does not mean that
I am actually doing so.

But I believe that
the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have
that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything
apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this
you will lead me
by the right road
though I may know nothing
about it.

Therefore I will trust you
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear,
for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

-- Thoughts in Solitude By Thomas Merton

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Today is Entropy Day

(that would be my youngest daughter, btw)

She's having her piano recital at a local Lutheran church and then she's taking her Black Belt test tonight.

Big day for a little girl.

Oh, and the big sister is torturing her. It's part of the job, I think, of being a big sister.

Friday, December 15, 2006

John Rutter

Uses Sibelius.

“Sibelius does just about everything except think up the music for me.”
“I never thought I would abandon pen and ink, but Sibelius’ quality, speed and ease of use have completely won me over.”

John Rutter, choral composer

Check it out here.

I've waited to purchase this product (lack of true need and money), but I think at this point, it would be worth the money. I have had so many different ideas about music I want to do -- music I need/want to arrange. Now that the Music program at my new church is my responsibility, I really could use this product.

(This is a not too subtle hint that I really, really, really want this software product. And look! It's only a few days to Christmas!)

John Rutter

Uses Sibelius.

“Sibelius does just about everything except think up the music for me.”
“I never thought I would abandon pen and ink, but Sibelius’ quality, speed and ease of use have completely won me over.”

John Rutter, choral composer

Check it out here.

I've waited to purchase this product (lack of true need and money), but I think at this point, it would be worth the money. I have had so many different ideas about music I want to do -- music I need/want to arrange. Now that the Music program at my new church is my responsibility, I really could use this product.

(This is a not too subtle hint that I really, really, really want this software product. And look! It's only a few days to Christmas!)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I'm So Dizzy

my head is spinnin'.

Really. I have an inner ear infection and boy oh boy am I dizzy.

Maybe I should go blonde (again...)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Chalcedon Compliant

So I'm not a heretic. Whew. What a relief.

You scored as Chalcedon compliant. You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant




























Are you a heretic?
created with

Saturday, December 09, 2006

My New Old Church

Was formed around 1819 or 1820 (records are unsure/ not too clear about it) near what is now Tribble Mill Park right off the Alcovy River. It was in a log cabin and at sometime before 1841, the church's moved (another log cabin or the same one) to it's present location. The current building was constructed around 1851, altered in the 1880's, altered again in 1939 when they got the building wired for electricity, added to in about 1957 when they remodeled the sancutary, added two classrooms, added a choir loft and the back of the current building. In the 1980's they built a two storied Christian Ed building with a new fellowship hall, kitchen, restrooms, office, preschool classrooms and playground.

I've had a couple of, uhm, odd things. I was alone in the building playing the piano in the old choir room and as I was playing, I heard voices. I thought, "Hey! Someone is here!" I got up to see who it was and I was still alone. I sat down to play some more and I heard voices again and saw something flickering out the of side of my eye. It got cold. I left. Abruptly. I'll go back into that room when someone is with me....

I'm really super rational, but.

Edited: I think I figured out it was the heater switching on and off. And that I have a very VIVID imagination.....

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Picture of My New Old Church

Entering the Home Stretch

One class done.
Second class -- oral final done today.
Third class -- all but the final paper.
Fourth class -- uh. Maybe tomorrow I'll do something with that stuff. About 50 pages to write... and an oral final. Sigh.

New Church

I am so very much enjoying my new appointment. It's a really different context and yet very much the same. The demographics are very similar; after all it's only 4 miles away from my previous church. Yet this area has yet to see the mega-boom of growth that my old appointment saw about 5 to 10 years ago. It's coming, though. Soon.

This church, my old church and three others shared pastors off andon for a long time. Sometimes it was a 4 point charge, then a three point charge, then a two point charge. They were a one point charge with a student pastor for a long time; now they have a real full time pastor. With my addition, this is the first time this church has had two appointed pastors (that I know of.)

It's about a tenth in attendance of my previous church, but they seem to be very faithful in attending. There is a larger percentage of really committed people (committed to service and presence) than at my previous church.

Right now, this little church is moving from the small church paradigm to a less small church paradigm (almost a medium sized church); from the Matriarchy/Patriarchy model to the Pastor Driven model (if you know what I'm talking about, here.) It's going to be really interesting to watch and help with that transition.

I just get the feeling that this church is a ripe seed planted in fertile ground and you better watch out! We are going to grow! (and I'm not talking numbers here!)

Monday, December 04, 2006

William James, in poetry, version One.

Word on the Mac has an interesting feature -- Autosummarize. I took the etext of William Jame's Varieties of Religious Experience and set the Autosummarize to 87 words. This is what I got. I like it -- it's like poetry or a prayer.

experience. If
experiences. Religion,
life? religious.
religious life.
condemn life. God.
God experience.
O God! life.

Life for God.
If life. If subject's life.
God is life with minds who experience. God!
God of God.

God experienced.
Experiences of life.
Subconscious life.
If experience. praising God. God experience. If man's.
If positive
Religious mind. Spiritual life.
If Gentle God, then
life? life. If

life. solitary life.
towards God. life.
Take God's experience.
Spirit lives. Experience man to God, man with God. Religion.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Looking at the Headlines for the News

Sixth Grader Tasered At Middle School
Student Killed Trying To Get On School Bus
Three Teens Accused Of Bringing Assault Rifle To School
12-Year-Old Charged With Bringing Gun To School, Threatening Teacher
CIA Agent Stole Jewelry, Panties

The first four make me want to move. The last on is just plain strange.

Reflections and a Proposal

As the controversy continues on Methoblog and others, I keep coming back to an word a Lutheran friend taught me – adiaphora. Adiaphora is a Greek term that is most most of the time translated as “indifferent matters” or “indifferent things.” The Lutherans have a definite list of those things that are considered adiaphora and if you want to know lots and lots about the Lutheran church, you can research the development of this concept after Luther’s death and as the Lutheran church formed. It was not a bloodless conversation. People sacrificed and died for these ideals – blood, sweat and tears. Each of us have our own idea about things that are necessary for the transmission of the Gospel, things that are indifferent and things that undermining and ultimately destroy witness to that Gospel.

If something is necessary or a matter of indifference, it is considered good and acceptable for the unity of the church local and the Church Universal to practice these things. I suppose my favorite example would be things like liturgical garments, stoles, paraments, purificators and whatnot. These are adiaphora. Gavin once told a story about someone who released pigs in the sanctuary. This, too is adiaphora, but right on the line for me. It does not really destroy the witness of the church to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, nor does it distort the Gospel for me, but it could make the message harder for some to hear (as well as being in really bad taste.) Communion is necessary, for me as a Methodist. It is a means of grace that cannot be underestimated. It is a feeding of the body and the soul in a manner that nothing else can even begin to approach.

So here is the question: what things undermine the proclamation of the Gospel and what things do not? What things can we agree to being necessary? What things are adiaphora? How are we to judge? By what method? We would (as we always have) begin with scripture.

I quoted “Our Theological Task” from the UMC Book of Discipline earlier this week. One of the most endearing things to me about the Methodist church is the encouragement of doctrinal inquiry. It is a hallmark of Methodism. As we each, individually, work through the doctrines and dogmas of our faith (and yes, I use the word dogma), we more fully appropriate into our lives. A part of that appropriation is a careful listening to each other. I personally am not so arrogant to think that a “liberal” or a “fundie” can’t teach me something. It takes a deliberate pause to not react, but to listen and try to understand another person’s position. I know that I am not that good at this task at times, so I’m preaching to myself here.

Jay noted today that somehow theological and doctrinal differences faded away into the background when his local pastor’s group joined in prayer for their community. Earlier he had asked for Resolutions for the next General Conference.


I propose that the Methobloggers unite in a Resolution for a monthly/yearly day of prayer for the unity of our denomination. And that part of that prayer have feet – that it required action of some sort/ service of some sort that will spell out unity across vast theological difference.

We are one in Christ Jesus, all one body
All one spirit, All Together
We share one God,
One mighty Lord,
One Abiding Faith
One binding love
One single Baptism,
The Holy Spirit uniting all.

The "Yeah, Right" Wish List

Canon XL2 -- $3500.00
Plus accessories -- $500.00
Mac Pro -- Modest setup -- $3500.00
OR Mac Pro -- What I want setup -- $6600.00
30 inch display -- $700.00 (or two...)
7T Xserve RAID - $13000.00

Total -- $21,500.00 to $25,300.

Yeah, right.

What I can really afford:

The Mac-A-Sketch.