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.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sermon Spice

I'm submitting my very first video to Sermon Spice dot Com.
I've uploaded a Quicktime version here. I need to sell a few before I can buy the QT plugin to translate it to *.avi.

What do you think?

Somehow this reminds me of Gavin

Tyson the Skateboarding Bulldog

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My Kind of Commercial

After All, Even Cowboys Buy Nothing

I'm at home

with Viral Gastroenteritis (goody) and a sinus infection. I have zero energy. None. I don't even have the energy to eat. I'm just watching TV and I have come to a conclusion.

I am buying NOTHING for Christmas. Nothing. Except for food. No new decorations. No presents, except for the kids or those important to me. Nothing. When did Christmas get to be all about what you buy? When did it get to be all about Greed??

I like this site (Buy Nothing for Christmas).
and Buy Nothing Christmas
and Rev Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping
and of course The Church of Immaculate Consumption/

I know someone else posted this, but the commercials are getting to the point I can't STAND it.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Well, Duh.

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

You're probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people's grammatical mistakes make you insane.

Dedicated Reader
Book Snob
Literate Good Citizen
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

A post just to say

that I'm still alive.
The LH was too sick with a GI bug to drive, so I drove the complete 12 hours from WVa. Then he gave me the bug (on top of this sinus infections.)
So, we are home alive. And I'm grateful for it, but could do without the bug.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving at Grandaddy and Elizabeth's House

The menfolk roasting the turkeys over an open fire. This seems to involve: fire, power-tools and shooting the bull.

Entropy looking out over the mountains. No civilization in sight. However, she and her sister got nervous when the deer-hunters got a little closer to the house and they stopped wandering around in the woods.

The chickens. Entropy didn't eat the eggs this morning when she realized where EXACTLY the eggs came from. She's facinated by the whole process and told me it seemed really "organic." Yep. That it is.

Chaos is too cool to be sucked into the whole farm thing. She did like shopping at Fenton Glass and at Prickett's Fort today. She also likes the fact that Daddy got the WiFi working.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Labeling the cat.

Perhaps a label other than "Theology" is needed, as I now have 10 shelves labeled "Theology."

My Mouse in the school variety show

Entropy chasing chickens. Great fun for her, stress for the chickens. She ate fresh eggs for the first time this week.

Clyde who thinks he is a dog. He loves to be petted and will butt you if you stop.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I've Spent Two Days

In DeLurking fun -- and now it's time to get ready for Thanksgiving.
I'm meeting a RevGal IRL (exciting!)
I've had the kids to the doctor's today (both with sinus infections, ugh.)
I've had my teeth cleaned.
I've gone grocery shopping.
I've done laundry.
I've tried to take a picture of the cat and now I have a question:
How come when I DON'T want the cat in the picture, she won't go away, but when I WANT a picture of the cat I can't find her?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Thanksgiving Delurking Week

There are so very many things in our lives that we can be thankful for. I personally, am thankful for such a wonderful group people represented by the RevGals and BlogPals and our community here online. At Bits and Odd Pieces of Mindy's Kingdom recently, some of us were noticing that there has been a drop in commenting recently. So, in honor of Mindy, Princess of Everything, we are having a Thanksgiving Delurking week! (Please notice the cow; that's for Mindy).

Place this image on your blog and announce Delurking Week, starting today and running until the 26th. When you visit a blog, you can either just say "Thank for for blogging" or place a blogstone (o) (The invention of PPB of The Ice Floe) or whatever the Spirit moves you.

Let the Delurking begin!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Full Plate

How come when you have a full plate more things happen?
This is my last Sunday at my home church (home for 10 years) and my first Sunday at my new church (at 11:00) -- end of the semester, final projects to work on, finals to prepare for, trip coming up for Thanksgiving so...
I now have a strained muscle in my back -- hurts to move and I've taken a muscle relaxant.
And then Chaos steps on the cat -- she made a muffled squeaky meow and had problems breathing (the cat, not Chaos). One trip to the emergancy vet. Little Kitty is OK, just bruised. The only thing that's hurting now is my wallet, which has a smoking hole in it.
Oh and Chaos? Now renamed "Leadboot Catcrusher."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

OK, I snorted Iced Tea Out My Nose.

This is so true!! I think I'll post it on my blog. That my Brother-in-law reads. And maybe his neighbor.

Having Fun

New Toy

I'm having fun labeling things. One day I WILL be organized. I WILL. Right now, I'm going to be disorganized with really cool labels on things. I think I'll label the cat.


Because of my own poor planning, sick babysitters, babysitter's sick dad, rain, etc. I'm going to have to go home instead of stay at school today and I'm going to miss Lunch and Lecture with BBT.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Evening Prayer

Hushed was the evening hymn,
The temple courts were dark;
The lamp was burning dim
Before the sacred ark;
When suddenly a voice divine
Rang through the silence of the shrine.

The old man, meek and mild,
The priest of Israel, slept;
His watch the temple child,
The little Levite, kept;
And what from Eli's sense was sealed
The Lord to Hannah's child revealed.

O give me Samuel's ear,
The open ear, O God,
Alive and quick to hear
Each whisper of your Word,
Like him to answer at your call,
And to obey you first of all.

O give me Samuel's heart,
A lowly heart, that waits
Where in your house you are,
Or watches at your gates;
By day and night, a heart that still
Moves at the breathing of your will.

O give me Samuel's mind,
A sweet unmurm'ring faith,
Obedient and resigned
To you in life and death,
That I may read with child-like eyes
Truths that are hidden from the wise.

-- James Drummond Burns

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.

Gracious and Everlasting God,
You made this universe
You created order out of chaos, and gave it marvelous order,
Its atoms, worlds, and galaxies, and the infinite complexity of all living creatures:
As we explore the mysteries of your creation,
May we know You better and
May we come to know how best to serve you to Your eternal will.

In the stillness, let us hear You.
In our newness, let us hear You.
In the quietness of the night, let us hear You.
In our sleeping and in our waking, let us hear You.

Dearest and Gracious God,
Your loving hand has given us all that we possess:
Pour on me your grace so that I may honor you with all that I am and all that I have.
Make me a faithful steward of your bounty.
I give to you but Thine own.

Found at

St. John's Rev Abi, and sticking in my mind right now -- perhaps because I am building a literal sacred space in my house right now.... Even if I know that real sacred spaces are not literal or physical -- they are beyond.

Inside of sacred space you are indestructible, even though you feel quite vulnerable and unsure of yourself in many ways. Inside of sacred space you can love America and critique America at the same time. Inside of sacred space you can weep for the bigger evil of which both sides are victims. Inside of sacred space you can imagine an alternative universe because you have now been there yourself. Inside of sacred space you can - if you can dare imagine it - hear God.
- Richard Rohr

The Strengths and Weaknesses of the UMC

Strengths of the UMC

As I reflect upon the Discipline of the UMC and my experience in the denomination, I would say that the major strength of the UMC lies in its connectional system. Rev. George Cookman in 1839 in a speech in celebrating achievements at Centennial says, when pressed “with the question, ‘What is the grand characteristic, the distinctive peculiarity of Methodism?’ I would answer, It is to be found in one single word, ITINERANCY. Yes, sir, this, under God, is the mighty spring of our motive power, the true secret of our unparalleled success. Stop the itinerancy, let congregationalism prevail for only twelve months, -- Samson is shorn of his locks, and we become as other men” (Richey, 246).

It is the heart and soul, the distinctive mark of the Methodist system. Thomas Frank says, “Like breathing in and breathing out, the local churches of United Methodism and the connection through which they are linked together are both vital expressions of the church. Each local church is gifted in its own way for worship, fellowship, education, and care – breathing in deeply the life of Christian community. Each is drawn into mission in company with churches of a broader connection, breathing out the witness and service of the church in the world” (Frank, 38). The connectional system is a beautiful reminder of the unity in and of the body of Christ. Each member is just a small part; the sum is larger than any of us could imagine. With our connectional system we are able to do things that smaller denominations and independent churches cannot. We are able to pool resources in times of trouble through organizations like UMCOR. We are able to operate a publishing house so that we are not dependent on a secular house deciding on doctrinal issues. We are able to create powerful resources like the General Board of Discipleship. We are able to better support congregations by insuring that they will always have a minister. This connectional system also allows for series of checks and balances in order that power not be mismanaged and abused. The connectional system is the crowning achievement of Methodism in America.

Weaknesses of the UMC

The largest weakness of the UMC is the connectional system. “The United Methodist Church must seem an immensely complicated mechanism” (Tuell, 162). It is a large cumbersome machine, at that. Like any other large organization, there is a lot of bureaucracy and wasted effort. Like any other large organization, there can be a lot of strife and infighting among small groups. There is emotional distance between the laity and the clergy of the church. The itinerant system is seen to be outdated. The church’s position on some modern issues is outdated. The denomination is shrinking in membership as the numbers of people attending independent churches is growing. Our own congregations do not understand the value of the itinerate system.

But all these types of problems have been seen in the past. In the 1820’s to the 1840’s, the MEC was swept into arguments about their young, mostly single men preachers moving from the circuit to a “station” or being “located” in one place. In an article from the Christian Advocate on October 27, 1841, editor Thomas Bond writes cogently about the dangers of locating. He claims that it is onerous to the churches because of the large debt that they could incur. He talks about the “unfriendly influence” on the spiritual state of the churches and how if a minister were located, he would not be able to proclaim a message of deliverance and repentance. He is concerned about the country people and the small village churches (Richey, 248-250.) However, locating did not cause the death of itinerancy. More than 150 years later, when there is tremendous debate about the future of the itinerancy, the current arguments against the reformation of the system reverb with this same rhetoric.

To continue Thomas Frank’s analogy, we must allow the church to breathe in the wind of the Holy Spirit and breathe out the witness of Christ upon our communities. Any living breathing organism has need to grow and evolve. Our opportunity is before us -- to change and to reform our connection in order to better suit the needs of our people, society and congregations, as has been done throughout the history of Methodism in America. Our threat is our own lethargy and entropy.

Change can be threatening. Our task is to carefully evaluate our needs and our strengths and deliberately, one step at a time reform our system to meet those needs. “The United Methodist connection has always been a challenge to maintain. To meet and make decisions in conference requires deep commitment, energy and attention. To assign pastors where they are most needed and best able to serve is exceedingly complex. To worship and serve as a congregation means continually swimming against the tide of American privatism and consumerism. And no ecclesial role is more daunting than trying to be a bishop of integrity” (Frank, 319). We have the means for reform in our hands – our Book of Discipline. It has teeth. It has methods developed over generations to help us along in this modern world. We need leaders willing to use it – from the laity to the episcopacy. We need leaders that will boldly take Methodism into this next century, reforming the itinerancy system, as it has been reformed and reshaped in the past. We need leaders that will identify waste and bureaucracy. We need leaders that ask themselves have I “been oiling the machinery of what exists while failing to employ a tough mind and tender heart, pastoral soul and a prophet’s conscience for the kind of radical transformation that is conducive to the gospel and creates a Church that is a harbinger of God’s kingdom/reign” (Sprague, 112). How can we become leaders that can affect this kind of radical transformation.


The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church 2000, (The United Methodist Publishing House: Nashville, TN), 2000.

Thomas Edward Frank, Polity, Practice, and the Mission of The United Methodist Church, Updated Edition, (Abingdon Press: Nashville, TN), 2002.

Russell E. Richey, Kenneth E. Rowe and Jean Miller Schmidt, The Methodist Experience in America: A Sourcebook, Vol. II, (Abingdon Press: Nashville, TN), 2000.

C. Joseph Sprague, Affirmations of a Dissenter, (Abingdon Press: Nashville, TN), 2002.

Jack M. Tuell, The Organization of The United Methodist Church, 2002 edition, (Abingdon Press: Nashville, TN), 2002.

Working On My Bedroom Retreat

I had "help" with the laundry.

I purchased on of those "Bed-In-A-Bag" things. I like the green color.

My dresser with lots of candles, but without the new green draperies. The green tray I rescued is on the dresser with candles on it.

And I conceded to the fact if I wanted to watch something "mommy" oriented, I needed a TV in the bedroom. I resisted this for years, but caved in. This is the old TV from the Living Room.

I've set up a desk in the corner and it's being used by myself and the kids on occasion for their homework. I've put special treasures on the desk -- that old silver bowl with pillar candle, a mirror tray and pencil cups, my upstairs hard-drive, a picture of my children, a paperweight, an old Fenton "Peach crest" vase from the 1940's. I'll take a picture soon -- right now I'm cleaning out the closet.....

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Broken Dish and Rescued Treasures

This broken dish that I am trying to repair. It was painted by the Loving Husband's grandmother and broken about 50 years ago (well, I don't know how long it was broken...) There are a few missing pieces, so the repair will be interesting. Also a few "Jelly Jars" (I think that they were actually shrimp cocktail sauce jars) that I am going to make into votive holders and an old mirror that was so very dirty that I couldn't tell it WAS a mirror until I cleaned it up. I thought it might have been a framed picture -- it was so very covered with grime and dirt. It cleaned up OK -- I'm going to hang it in my bedroom retreat.

There is something very satisfactory about cleaning up things that are dirty and broken.

A Short Evening Prayer

But heartfelt.

At your feet, O Christ, we lay
your own gift of this full day;
Doubt of what it holds in store
Makes us crave your aid the more;
Even in a time of loss,
Mark, it Savior, with your Cross.

Yes, we would your Word embrace,
Live each moment on your grace,
All ourselves to you consign,
Fold up all our wills in yours,
Think, and speak, and do, and be
Simply that which pleases you.

Hear us, Christ, O, hear our prayer;
Hear, and bless our deepest care.
May your love to us impart,
Loyal singleness of heart;
So shall this and all our days,
Christ and God, show forth your praise.

Words: William Bright (19thC) adapted

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

We look and we really don't see

Today I saw:
* a semi-truck with a whimsey on the back bumper -- a 18 inch tall rubber mouse. With really big ears.
* the ribbon of the centerline fading into the soft grey of the horizon, exactly matching the yellow of the turning leaves.
* a little girl skipping alongside an older man, running ahead, lagging behind for a reassuring touch on the head. She was wearing rainbow striped stockings and red sparkley Mary Janes.
* my two children's heads bowed together with their arms around each other as they read a book.
* a couple kiss each other and hold hands after 60 plus years of marriage.
* a pattern of red maple leaves against a robin's egg blue sky
* the flame of a candle shining through 100 year old glass
* the dark curl of my husband's hair
* a flickering ginger tail under my desk. Just the tail was showing.
* a tree hung with old CDs at sunset

Evening Prayer

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
--Words: Henry Lyte, 1847

89 O LORD, your word is everlasting; *
it stands firm in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness remains from one generation to another; *
you established the earth, and it abides.
91 By your decree these continue to this day, *
for all things are your servants.
92 If my delight had not been in your law, *
I should have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget your commandments, *
because by them you give me life.
94 I am yours; oh, that you would save me! *
for I study your commandments.
95 Though the wicked lie in wait for me to destroy me, *
I will apply my mind to your decrees.
96 I see that all things come to an end, *
but your commandment has no bounds.

-- Psalm 119

Luke 13:10-17 (NRSV)

10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, 'Woman, you are set free from your ailment.' 13 When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God.
-- Luke 13

Almighty and most merciful God,
it is only by your faithfulness that your people know of faithfulness
It is only by your service that your people know of service.
It is only by your example that we know fullness of life.
It is only by your touch that we know of true healing.

You are an almighty and everlasting God,
Your Spirit is our advocate and help.
Help us stand straight and tall, for your sake.
Hear our prayers, not just for ourselves but for the whole body of your people, for your sake
Help us find our vocation and passion so that we may truly serve you, for your sake.

God of peace,
You have taught us that in returning and rest our hope in your presence we will be saved
In resting we will be healed,
In resting we will become straight and tall,
In resting we will be renewed,
In resting we will know You in the stillness of the night.
In stillness and in quietness You will be our strength:
By the might of your Spirit lift us -- raise us up, we pray, to your presence, where we may be still and know that you are God; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
(A Prayer of John Wesley)

Attention all Methodists

Please check out:

This is an attempt for open and honest conversations within Methodism. WesleyBlog is defunct; Blogging Methodist never really took off. This is a fresh new try.


Three weeks and 2 days of classes left.
One Systematic Paper (Dec 8)
One Evangelism Project (Dec 7)
One Systematic Journal (Nov 17)
Three William James Reading interactions after today (one a week)
Three Evanglism Reading Interactions (Ditto)
Reading Week then
One ORAL final in Systematics (Dec 17)

It's the home stretch....

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

All the Cool Revs are doing it

'What will your obituary say?' at

Just some pictures

The bowl that St. Casserole gave me advice about. It was black with grime/tarnish. It had been classified as "trash." I almost threw it away. It had 30 year old silver polish dried in all the crevices and grooves. It polished up OK.

But there is definite pitting and corrosion in the inside part of the bowl that will NOT go away so...

I made a candle holder out of it with the help of some marbles. It now sits on my desk along with...

My lamp and hard drive. And organic hard drive warmer. It tends to shed.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Danger Danger Will Robinson!

Major Time Suck!!

But fun!

I think it will be useful for video projects to science fair projects.*

*Chaos has joined the "nerd club" at school -- that is, the science fair club. It's her, a friend and then lots and lots of "nerds."

Morning Prayer

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, *
the moon and the stars you have set in their courses,

What is man that you should be mindful of him? *
the son of man that you should seek him out?

You have made him but little lower than the angels; *
you adorn him with glory and honor;

You give him mastery over the works of your hands; *
you put all things under his feet:

All sheep and oxen, *
even the wild beasts of the field,

The birds of the air, the fish of the sea, *
and whatsoever walks in the paths of the sea.

O LORD our Governor, *
how exalted is your Name in all the world!
-- Psalm 8:5-10 BCP

22He said to his disciples, 'Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your
body, what you will wear. 23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24Consider the
ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how
much more value are you than the birds! 25And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of
life? 26If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? 27Consider the
lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like
one of these. 28But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the
oven, how much more will he clothe you-you of little faith! 29And do not keep striving for what you are to eat
and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30For it is the nations of the world that strive after all
these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things
will be given to you as well.
-- Luke 7:22- 31

O God the Father,
Have mercy.
O God the Son,
Have mercy.
O God the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy.

Remember not, Lord, our offences.
Spare us, Good Lord.
From all evil and sin,
Good Lord, deliver him.
From the assaults of the devil,
Good Lord, deliver him.
From thy wrath, and from everlasting damnation,
Good Lord, deliver him.
In time hour of death,
Good Lord, deliver him.
In the day of judgement,
Good Lord, deliver him.

By the mystery of thine Incarnation,
Save him, O Lord.
By thy Cross and Passion,
Save him, O Lord.
thy thy Resurrection and final Triumph,
Save him, O Lord.

That it may please thee to grant him relief in pain
We beseech thee to hear us.
To give him such health as is agreeable to thy will
We beseech thee to hear us.
That it may please thee to deliver his soul
We beseech thee to hear us.
To cleanse him from his sin
We beseech thee to hear us.
That it may please thee to receive him to thyself;
We beseech thee to hear us.
To set him in a place of light and peace
We beseech thee to hear us.
To number him with thy saints and thine elect
We beseech thee to hear us.

Son of God;
We beseech thee to hear us.
O Lamb of God;
Have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God;
Grant him thy peace.

-- 1928, BCP

Monday, October 30, 2006

What I'm Doing

After this summer's CPE experience, I've really started examining all of my actions. I suppose it is a natural result of the method used in CPE in an effort to become more self aware. So when I begin acting in a different manner, or doing things that are a departure from the normal schedule, I start wonder what's going on. I really believe that we work out things that hare working in and on us emotionally and spiritually in our physical environment. That's the first thing.

Second is my husband's and my ongoing dealing with "stuff." When my grandparents died or downsized or went into nursing homes, my parents took in all their "stuff." China and furniture and pictures and placemats and linens and shoes and vases and papers and books and ... They gave much of it away to myself and my sister, to cousins and relative and large amounts to Goodwill. But they kept quite a large amount. When my mother moved after my father's death, she began to unload even more of the stuff and when she died, my sister absorbed quite a bit into our households. (Actually, I still have garage and storage unit full of "stuff.")

When my husband's mother died and his grandfather, he became the executor of his grandfather's estate. And his grandfather had a incrediable mountian of "stuff." We have been dedicating every other Saturday to going through that stuff. My parents and grandparents and his as well had what I call the "depression mentality." It's a result of doing without for so long in the 1930's and then having things rationed out in the 1940's. It shaped their thinking and their way of being. I heard so many times "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." They never threw anything away because, hey, you never knew when you might need it again.


The husband's grandfather's attic was ... overwhelming. It was full. There were boxes of stuff that had been packed up in 1938 when his grandparents moved to New Orleans. The newspapers are dated 1938. There are boxes of stuff that had been packed up in 1948 when they moved back to Atlanta. So many of these boxes were obviously never ever touched. There were toys from his mother's and his uncles' childhood that were played with and then placed back into the original packaging. There is clothing, shoes, hats -- all in boxes and just packed away. There are entire boxes of household goods that were packed away when his uncles died in 1971. Opening these boxes is like entering into time warps. There are boxes of "good stuff" -- linen, china, silver and the like, packed away for a "special occasion."


The attic was hot then cold for years and years. The roof leaked. Racoons chewed holes in the eaves and nested in the boxes. Squirrels lived in the attic. Mice made themselves a home. Most of the stuff in the attic is just ruined. And it makes me so very very sad. It was all packed away "just in case" and "for a special occasion" that never came. It was never used much or appreciated. The shoes and clothing was not given to people who could have used it. The special occasions never came. Is it better to have a ballgown ripped while dancing joyously or to have it rot on a hanger and then used as nesting material for mice? And now my husband and I are spending so much time and energy clean it all up.

I have been bringing home a few items -- trying to salvage them. I've brought home some hand painted china things that were broken and I am trying to mend them. I've recently washed some of the evening wear (even if it was not meant to be washed) and I've washed some of the quilts. I found a green tole tray that was really nasty. I washed it up, sanded out some of the rust and sealed it with poly. I found an old mirror that the mice had really made nasty and cleaned it up. I found a relatively cheap silver bowl that someone tried to polish more than 50 years ago and left the paste on to dry. I tried to salvage it. I'm trying to salvage something out of this mess.

We are given blessing/money/resources to use and not to hoard. We aren't supposed to dig a hole in the ground and put our stuff in it -- we are to use our stuff. John Wesley would say we are to earn all that we can, save all that we can and give away all that we possibly can. The stuff in the attic was not "saved stuff" -- in a way it was totally wasted stuff.

I am making myself a quiet place in the house -- in the only place that I can and that would be our bedroom. I'm placing some of the things that I am salvaging in my new space. I'm combining my stuff -- that came from my parents and grandparents and my husband's stuff that came from his family along with our stuff that we purchased together to make my space. And I am giving away huge bags and boxes of stuff to those who can use it. I've sent a lot of kid's stuff and books to Slidell -- and some of my clothing. I've given away stuff to the church and Family Promise.

And I am gluing broken things together to see if something of value can come of it.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Age Old Questions

1) Dare I eat after the cat?
2) Will Kiwi/Orange yogert upset her stomach?
3) Why do I leave my yogert laying around?
4) How much yogert CAN she eat?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Amazing Grace -- for Jen

as it would be sung in 1840 is found here. This is the New Britain version.

It's the melody in the tenor and the soaring harmony in the sopranos that are so very different here. This group doesn't do as good a job as some in the accenting of the first beat of the measure.

Sounds different, doesn't it? But there is another that's really different -- a different melody.

A Reflection

I've been thinking today about candies and chocolate: starting with light and fluffy candy; Divinity, as my grandmother made it in her 1940’s kitchen. She was one of those souls who would have something “nice to say about the Devil,” as my mother often teased her. She would wait for a clear day in December with absolute no humidity; there could be no grease on any of the cooking implements. Divinity is delicate and grease or humidity will ruin it. Yet she could not conceive of Christmas without Divinity. My mother on the other hand, never could make Divinity; she stuck with Nouget, a sort of cocoa-less fudge. It too was a light and fluffy candy -- bowing to the realities of humidity and grease, but had none of the bitterness that comes with cocoa.

My father, however, was a fan of dark chocolate. What would be marketed today as bittersweet chocoate, it is dark and rich, but leaves a bitter aftertaste. It is a drug; modern research shows that it can actually change the chemical makeup of the brain. My grandfather was much less stable and would take great and heaping spoonfuls of cocoa right from the can, leaving the dank smell of a sugarless existence in his wake.

In my latest hospital setting, I saw all these types. I saw the Divinities that could not stand up to the humidity of the tears of true grief and we just left with a sticky mess. I saw the Nougets whose cocoaless existence became cloying. I saw the Dark Godivas and Lindts; some of which were such pure cocoa that they could not melt; their bitterness and pain and agony made them rigid and frozen.

Where is there unity to be found? It seems that most of us are in that huge variety of Milk Chocolates; the gritty to the teeth cheap chocolates that satisify for a while; the Hershey’s, the ubiquitous and blandness of most people’s ordinary lives; the sublime quality of a Godiva Milk Chocolate truffle. These are to be found in a unity, forged in the smithy of the soul, of the Divinities and Nougets along with the dark and liquid pure and bittersweet cocoas.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Small Rant

One of my classes (Evangelism) uses a lot of film. Contextualization, you know.

Anyway, I'm supposed to watch the rest of Malcolm X today -- I just finished Amistad.

What a wonderful film (painful, but wonderful.) One small gripe, that I am sure is a sign of a true geekette.

When the drab and morose group of Christians went around, they were singing. That's probably accurate. They were singing "Amazing Grace." That's OK, because it was written around 1799 and its history is all tied up in slavery. Good choice. But they were not using the 1840 harmonizations. AARRGGHH!!! No!!! That arrangement is SO late 20th century. Not good.

See? I'm a geek. (Or is that a Nerd?? I never remember.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Oh My

"During those moments I was not in my faith. I seemed to stand completely naked -- a soul without body, raiment, relationships or roles. A soul alone with -- with what? With whom?

"Faith is a coat against this nakedness. For most of us, most of the time, faith functions so as to screen off the abyss of mystery that surrounds us. But we all at certain times call upon faith to provide nerve to stand in the presence of the abyss -- naked, stripped of life supports, trusting only in the being, the mercy and the power of the Other in the darkness. Faith helps us form a dependable 'life space,' an ultimate environment. At a deeper level, faith undergirds us when our life space is punctured and collapses, when the felt reality of our ultimate environment proves to be less than ultimate."

-- Stages of Faith, James Fowler, p. xi-xii

The To-do List

1) Sit, pray, think for an hour without thinking about the readings I need to do, the laundry, etc. Turn off the phones, too.
2) Read James Fowler's "Stages of Faith" and write a two page reflection paper as a dialogue between Fowler and William James. (Ugh) (Due Wednesday)
3) Read my Systematic Theology readings (after finding out what they are supposed to be....) (Due Friday)
4) Read my Evangelism readings (after finding out what they are supposed to be....) (Due Tuesday)
5) Prepare an hour long lecture/powerpoint for Evangelism (I'm including a history of the RevGals) (Due Thursday)
6) Make a pan of Baklava.
7) Take the kids shoe shopping (and dinner while we are at it)
-- Karate (maybe), bug them to practice piano, guitar, homework, chores (sometimes easier for me to do it than to get them to do it!)
8) Collect up at least one bag of stuff to give away and one bag of stuff to throw away
9) Watch the rest of "Malcolm X" and write a reflection paper (due Wednesday)
10) RevGal's meet and greet.

Sounds like a lot, but it really isn't. I don't put much effort into reflection papers. Pity, that.

The Unexpected

It started out a small, slightly yellow plant
In my well ordered garden.
Marshaled into strict geometries
Even the flowing vines of the clematis
Were reined into submission

All in order, all planned, all serene and peaceful.
My hand hovered over the small little volunteer
Ready to weed it out as I had weeded others.
But for some reason, I hesitated. I decided
To wait and see what it could be.

The leaves soon became a delicious shade of
Chartreuse – deep yellow green, sharply indented and fuzzy.
I realized that a tomato seed must have survived the
Compost heap and germinated against all the odds,
Became vigorous and thrived.

Soon it sprawled all over the bed and I decided
Not to stake it up – choosing instead to let it express
Its self and its nature.
Soon it had over-run the bed, pushing out of the way
The sedum, clematis and lamb’s ears.

Again I debated taking an axe to the trunk,
Ripping it out by the roots
Smothering it in the cradle
And yet
There were little yellow flowers and the possibility
Of life.

Tonight I had tomatoes on my salad
Unexpected fruit from a plant I didn’t plant
Life I didn’t anticipate
A garden I didn’t intend
Which yielded a harvest plentiful and generous.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

More About a Blue Funk

I have, in the past, experienced physical exhaustion as well as academic exhaustion. I've had post-partum depression. The Blue Funk last week was ... different.

I've had time to look at the events leading up to and around my Blue Funk and I've decided it was spiritual exhaustion. Must be, almost.

I was pretty regular about the Morning Prayer thing all last year; taking time three and four times a week to sit, drink my coffee, think and pray. CPE caused a change in my routine -- but I still had the time to sit and think and pray; it was just at the hospital in the chapel most of the time, but it was still there. I got out of the habit of doing it at home in the morning.

This week, I've taken some of that time, and I am feeling better. I am a pretty extreme extrovert at times, but that doesn't mean that I don't need solitude. This week end, I've started making a 'space' for it even, in our bedroom. An oasis of calm and order in a world that is pretty chaotic and noisy. I've set up the sound system in there, cleaned up some of the clutter, placed out a bunch of candles. I want to re-arrange a couple of pieces of big furniture and maybe even paint the walls, even get a few pieces of new bedding. I think back to Jung and his castles at Bollingen and his little fantasy castles he made of stones he picked up on his walks. He did it in solitude and wrote "At Bollingen I am in the midst of my true life, I am most deeply myself." By creating a space for his physical self to dwell in, he could better dwell within himself to discover his authentic self.

Jesus often tried to go off to a different space and be. I had forgotten how essential that solitude is.

So here are a few quotes about solitude:

The monastic hermit realizes that he owes his solitude to his community and owes it in more ways than one. First of all, the community has bestowed it upon him in an act of love and trust. Second, the community helps him to stay there and make a go of it, by prayers and by material aid. Finally, the hermit ‘owes this solitude’ to the community in the sense that his solitary life with its depth of prayer and awareness is his contribution to the community, something that he gives back to his ‘monastic Church’ in return for what he has been given.
-- Thomas Merton

Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present, and unless you look for it in the present you will never find it.
-- Thomas Merton

It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers. The more solitary I am the more affection I have for them…. Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say.
-- Thomas Merton

One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude.
-- Carl Sandburg

Language... has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of being alone.
-- Paul Tillich

Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.
-- Barbara de Angelis

The mark of solitude is silence, as speech is the mark of community. Silence and speech have the same inner correspondence and difference as do solitude and community. One does not exist without the other. Right speech comes out of silence, and right silence comes out of speech.
-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers.
-- Henry David Thoreau, "Solitude," Walden, 1854

When they are alone they want to be with others, and when they are with others they want to be alone. After all, human beings are like that.
-- Gertrude Stein

Converse with men makes sharp the glittering wit, But God to man doth speak in solitude.
-- John Stuart Blackie, Sonnet--Highland Solitude

O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell, Let it not be among the jumbled heap Of murky buildings: climb with me the steep,-- Nature's observatory--whence the dell, In flowery slopes, its river's crystal swell, May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep 'Mongst boughs pavilion'd, where the deer's swift leap Startles the wild bee from the foxglove bell.
-- John Keats, Sonnet--O Solitude! If I must With Thee Dwell

Friday, October 20, 2006

Morning Prayer

New every morning is the love
Our wakening and uprising prove;
Through sleep and darkness kindly brought,
Restored to life and pow'r and thought.

New mercies, each returning day,
Come down around us while we pray;
Old fears are gone, old sins forgiven,
New thoughts of God, new grace from heaven.

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.

-- Words: John Keble, (19thC) adapted

1 All wisdom is from the Lord,
and with him it remains forever.
2 The sand of the sea, the drops of rain,
and the days of eternity-who can count them?
3 The height of heaven, the breadth of the earth,
the abyss, and wisdom Ý-who can search them out?
4 Wisdom was created before all other things,
and prudent understanding from eternity.
6 The root of wisdom-to whom has it been revealed?
Her subtleties-who knows them?
8 There is but one who is wise, greatly to be feared,
seated upon his throne-the Lord.
9 It is he who created her;
he saw her and took her measure;
he poured her out upon all his works,
10 upon all the living according to his gift;
he lavished her upon those who love him.
Ecclesiasticus 1:1-10

Come, Holy Spirit, come
Come into my heart; draw close to me through you power,
O my God, and pour into me your love.
I await with trembling.

Preserve me, O Spirit,
From every Evil in this world,
Warm me, inflame me with your love,
And every pain will seem light to me.
My Creator, my sweet Lord, help me in all my actions.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Child

Who is now taller than me. We noticed yesterday. She's maybe an eighth of an inch or a fourth of an inch taller than me. Taller. Than I am. Taller.

An Exercise

I was going to buy him a cat. He had been in the nursing home for years; too many one might say, but the medical care he received made him healthier and stronger. It was hard to give him the proper care anywhere else.

Papa had made for himself an “office” in the gathering room on “A” wing. He would pull his wheelchair up to a lowboy dresser that someone had donated and diddle with his papers. He and I had filled the top drawer with office supplies: a box of cards, a handful of pens, stamps, scissors and his address book. He would spend hours writing cards to the people he had known in his lifetime. He liked to be busy and as long as I knew him, I knew of his work ethic. He wrote to people from the hospital where he had been a purchasing agent for 30 years, people from his old community, people from church, relatives. In that book though, there were a lot of scratched out names. He would sit and look at those names and tell me stories; “I remember when Billy Rae was just a kid in dungarees. He passed last year.” He was aware of his own mortality. He would hold my hand as he cried.

He had lost so much, really. He lost his autonomy; he had lost his home. He couldn’t even maintain personal dignity, as his bladder would betray him. He was ashamed of having to wear an adult diaper. In the end he had lost his identity, as he couldn’t remember his full name. He eventually gave up writing his cards, but couldn’t give up shuffling them around. He actually wore them out moving them around and trimming off the corners. He lost his purpose. He would cry out that he didn’t even know why he was alive anymore. But only at times. Most of the time he reverted to what I realized was his essential self; a sunny-souled man who loved people and knew he was loved. When I entered the room, his face would brighten up, he’d reach out and he’d say, “Come over here and give me some sugar!”

I was going to buy him a cat the week he died. The nursing home had adopted a new policy of allowing pets – a couple of cats and dogs per hall and birds in cages, goldfish and hamsters. It was a cheap substitute for human touch (without which we really will wither and die.) He had refused to leave his bed for a couple of days and he hadn’t eaten. I cajoled him into eating a Dairy Queen strawberry shake earlier in the week, but he didn’t want any on this particular day. It wasn’t that he wasn’t aware but he just was somehow beyond me. He lay prone in his bed. I was used to him tucking me in bed at night and it was strange to see him there. I sat with him a while that day and then on the next. We didn’t say much. There was no need or compulsion to talk. I would hold his hand and stroke his shiny bald head and sing a bit. He wanted me to read from the book of John.

We got the call around 6:00 in the morning a week after he took to his bed. He had died between the 5:00 and 6:00 rounds. The next days were a blur. I don’t even remember getting his possessions from the nursing home or the funeral. I know that I saved a handful of worn-out greeting cards with all their corners trimmed off and a pair of brass handled office scissors. I keep them in my own office.

I have watched so many of those I love age and die. So many funerals; maybe 12 or 15 in the last 10 years. Each showed their essential nature before they died; Leslie’s generosity, my Dad’s passion and fire, my mother’s compassion and gentleness, Aunt Mary’s greed, Lou’s vanity. What will my essential nature be?


This was written as an exercise to create a dialogue between William James' concept of the healthy-soul and the sick-soul and Joan Erikson's Ninth Stage of Life (the Dystonic Stage).

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Evening Prayer

O Savior Christ, you too as we;
You have been troubled, tempted, tried;
Your kind but searching glance can see
The very wounds that shame would hide.

Your touch has still its ancient power.
No word from you can fruitless fall;
Hear, in this solemn evening hour,
And in your mercy heal us all.

Words: Henry Twells, 1868

Psalm 10:1-10
Why do you stand so far off, O LORD, *
and hide yourself in time of trouble?

The wicked arrogantly persecute the poor, *
but they are trapped in the schemes they have devised.

The wicked boast of their heart's desire; *
the covetous curse and revile the LORD.

The wicked are so proud that they care not for God; *
their only thought is, "God does not matter."

Their ways are devious at all times;
your judgments are far above out of their sight; *
they defy all their enemies.

They say in their heart, "I shall not be shaken; *
no harm shall happen to me ever."

Their mouth is full of cursing, deceit, and oppression; *
under their tongue are mischief and wrong.

They lurk in ambush in public squares
and in secret places they murder the innocent; *
they spy out the helpless.

They lie in wait, like a lion in a covert;
they lie in wait to seize upon the lowly; *
they seize the lowly and drag them away in their net.

The innocent are broken and humbled before them; *
the helpless fall before their power.

Luke 8:47-48
When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in thepresence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. He said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.'

God of peace,
You teach us that in returning and rest we will be saved,
Resting in quietness and confidence, you will be our strength:
By the might of your Spirit lift me, I pray, to your presence,
Where I may be still and know that you are God;

I pray that your grace may always precede me and follow me.
I pray that your light cut the clouds of darkness,
I pray that your presence be made know to me.
Be my light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy defend me from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Blue Funk

Is deepening. I've had bouts of depression -- postpartum, after both kids, but never "out of the blue" like this. Maybe if I call it what it is, it will help: Depression. I'm depressed. (And yet there is still a part of me that goes "Yeah, but it will be over soon. Just grin and bear it." Can it be a real depression if I'm still thinking that?)

Headache, lethargy, task avoidance, lack of sleep. I couldn't think of a compelling reason to put my shoes on today. I stared at them for a while and tried to think of one. I finally did it when my daughter reminded me she was going to be late to school.

I think a part of it is the weather; a part of it is the heavy academic load; a part of it is never catching up with the housework; a part of it is missing my parents this time of year. The days are becoming shorter and the skies are grey. I don't take time to really worship anymore; it all becomes a task that I have to do, that I'm compelled to do.

We went to Wallyworld yesterday and the mere thought of buying more stuff to take care of wore me out.

Just Blue.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Losing My Jesus

A couple of times a year, I get tired/overwhelmed/burned out to the point that I "lose my Jesus."

Madeline L'Engle called it a sort of "spiritual flu" that all who minister get occasionally -- and if you just get rest and take care of yourself, you get better. She also occasionally said she "came down with a case of atheism" on occasion and prescribed the same cure.

What's surprising to me is that I'm NOT as busy/overwhelmed/whatever as I have been in the rather recent past -- CPE was all that and I didn't come down with this spiritual flu. But I wonder if I've been running on spiritual adrenaline for so long that it was bound to happen.

I suppose it's part of the "pastor never taking sabbath" thing, too. I'm going to have to start doing the Morning Prayer discipline again and start going to Evensong on occasion. I get so TIRED of the happy happy joy joy type of worship.

So there you go. That's where I am right now.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Comfort stuff

(see following recipies)

Beverage: Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon, Merlot at night.
Chair: the horrible looking brown thing in the living room (think brown velveteen with duct tape (the kids call it the Lazy Butt chair)) or my big fluffy chair in my office.
Comfort Read: NOT Karl Barth. Or Billy Jimbo. Or any other theology dude. Or anything published by Alban or Orbis or... actually anything that is a murder mystery with a woman clergyperson.
Comfort TV: Law and Order. SOMEONE must have Law and Order in their life, right? Or ST: Enterprise. I heart Captain Archer. Or House or Gray's Anatomy.
Comfort Companions: I was craving snuggling my kids earlier -- they are fighting now. What WAS I thinking?? Top of the list? the Loving Husband.

Comfort to me is food. So, I am passing onto you my comfort recipies. Enjoy.