Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Brief Endorsement for a Sponsor

I am currently drinking my second pot of Saint's Coffee. Mike Morrell and The Ooze probably sent me this back in July and I'm just now getting around to using it.

I wonder why I waited so long. I think maybe I thought it would be shabby goods. OK, I'm used to getting shabby stuff from "Mission type organizations" so that they can use the money for good works. I have been very pleasantly surprised that this coffee is most excellent. MOST excellent. It's not charred, it doesn't have that awful icky taste that moldy beans can get when they are roasted and ground. Lovely body and flavor. Very nice mouthfeel, mildly acidic with wonderful nutty overtones. I think I am going to order some medium roast and some light roast called "Toasted Coconut Cream".

They ship REAL pounds of coffee (16 and not 12 oz) and they have a unique air (or fluid) roast process.

So that's the coffee -- I also have to mention that it's Free-Trade, organic and part of the sustainable movement. In addition, Saint's Coffee donates a third of their profits to fighting world hunger; specifically providing food for hungry children.

I am feeling really good about this cup of coffee...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Matthew 21:33-46 -- Blogging toward Sunday

Matthew 21:33-46

33“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 34When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. 35But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. 37Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.” 39So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.” 42Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’? 43Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. 44The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.” 45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. 46They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.

Of course the vineyard owner is God; the tenants are humankind; the messengers/slaves are the prophets and the son is the Son. And he will be seized, beaten, given a miserable death. And what will happen to us? Are we those that will be seized and killed or are we those who are producing fruit.

Of course, the Pharisees saw it differently. They understood that Jesus was talking about THEM.

Somehow this story is getting tangled all around the stories coming out of the news channels -- about homes being mortgaged to people who really can't afford them; about mortgages being sold and shuffled around -- and the piece of paper losing their human "face" of the person behind the loan and becoming just another statistic; just another number to enter into someone's ledger sheet. Some how this parable is getting tangled with the stories of people being seized and thrust out of the building they had been calling "home" -- to end up homeless and one the street; and their former home empty and desolate.

Where are we in all this? We are that mortgage broker; we are that CEO of the mortgage company who sells these bits of paper that represent people's lives; we are the people foreclosing on other's homes; we are the foreclosed.

On one level this parable is all about greed. On another it is about the generosity of the master. On another it's all about the fruit.

I read somewhere that the cornerstone always joins two walls -- here perhaps it is joining the Jew with the Gentile. This stone is referenced in Psalm 118:22-23
22The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
23This is the LORD's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

I am also struck with the idea of crushing fruit in this passage. There is the winepress with the wine vat -- the fruit of the faithful -- people being crushed by falling on the stone and the stone falling on them -- the violence of how people are seized is also a type of "crushing." The word for Son (ben) and Stone (eben) sound similar -- is this play on word made so that we associate the Son with the Stone? How do I reconcile my concept of Gentle Jesus, meek and mild with a Stone that will crush so violently?

Home again tonight.

We burned about 4 gallons of gas going to revival and back tonight. We passed 11 gas stations with no gas and only one with any gas -- it was Premium and expensive (not to mention the line.)

Some say that it might be 3 more weeks. Others say that the need for gas in Georgia is now critical. People are being told to stay at home, avoid unnecessary trips, carpool and combine trips. Well ... duh!

I have 2 more nights of revival this week -- Sunday worship and 3 more nights next week. Our third car (more fuel efficient) is being repaired. It gets about 30 mpg. Better than the Expedition's 20, but not as good as the Saturn's 35 to 40. I may just go get it without the Air Conditioning being fixed.

The plan tomorrow -- I'm going on a gas hunt right after I drop Entropy off at school. I've planned a circuit that will only add about 3 miles to the trip. I hope that ONE of the 5 or 6 stations will have some gas. I have 3/4 of a tank in the Expedition -- about 280 miles.

I have a parishioner whose sister has died and I would like to visit her -- in Danielsville. Then go to Comer to visit another parishioner (99 years old -- I need to go). Then head on out to the revival. Are these critical trips? Probably not -- except it's my calling. What to do?

Home again, Home again, Jiggity Jog.

We got home yesterday after burning about a third of a tank of gas -- about 8 gallons. Every single gas station we passed was closed. There seems to be more gas in the mornings -- I guess the fuel trucks work through the night. The LH was able to pump 6 gallons into his car this morning, so we will be using his more fuel efficient car tonight to get to the revival.

Heard yesterday at church: "Those Bama fans! They stomp our Dawgs then they buy up all our gas!" I don't know what they were more upset about -- the football game or the lack of gasoline.

The radio today is reporting not traffic snarls and back ups, but rather where there is and is not any gas. There is still a tremendous lack of gasoline. So today will not be an errand day, per usual, but a stay at home day.

Funny -- last few weeks all I heard were complaints about the cost of gasoline. Now I think most people would pay whatever it took just to HAVE gasoline. It changes your perspective.

Between the economy, the drought that continues and the lack of gasoline, we are living in extremely anxious times.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Georgia is Dry?

I've been told that Oglethorpe County has no gas. It seems that the Ga/Alabama game has wiped out Athens, as well.

On the radio, I heard that out of 111 gas stations polled, only 28 had a little bit of gas -- most of those were running out. The I-85 corridor is dry, the I-75 corridor is dry, the I-20 corridor is dry. Hwy 78 has no gas.

I've a 150 mile commute today, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I need 8 gallons a trip. I need 32 gallons give or take for the week if I drive my car -- the husband's will take about 20. I wonder what I will do? Perhaps we will have an unplanned "vacation."

I think I will tell the churches that if school is canceled because of lack of gas, then all church activities are canceled....

What's the theology in this? Something to muse.

P.S. I will NOT be mentioning the game today. Seems the Bulldogs were out of gas, too.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sermon this Week: Need ideas from the interwebs

The lectionary (Matthew 21:23-32) this week explores concepts of power and authority -- and from whose authority Jesus acts. He contrasts his ministry with the Pharisees and poses them a question in a parable. What exactly are your intentions?

Are you saying "Yes, Lord" out of blind obedience and never really intending to fulfill your promises? Do you really MEAN to fulfill those promises but never really get around to it? Do you initally say, "No" and then change your mind.

Good intentions can get you in trouble -- our financial mess this week (year, decade) can be traced back to the late 1970's by some analysts and "Good intentions."
For those looking for a real start to today's financial meltdown and government rescue, you need to go back — way back — to 1977, and the Jimmy Carter presidency.

It was then, for the best and purest of reasons, that well-meaning Democratic members of Congress brought the Community Reinvestment Act into being.

The main idea, as the late Democratic Sen. William Proxmire said on the Senate floor in 1977, was "to eliminate the practice of redlining by lending institutions."
From here.

How else can our gospel be tied to the current events?

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

Random Stuff

  • I'm friends with Pat Terry on facebook... I remember seeing him in the 1980's. I'm getting a kick out of it.
  • I think Pat Terry needs a Wikipedia page. I'll work on it in a while.
  • I'm watching the news about the economy. It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion.
  • I have a very strong urge to cash out my portfolio. It's really all that I have for retirement at this time because I choose to not buy into Social Security. I know it's the wrong thing to do that I need to be conservative with it -- that I haven't lost any money until I cash out. But I still have the urge to get cash or gold and put it in my mattress -- or in a coffee can in the backyard.
  • If you look at this situation in a very simplified manner, the problem is bad mortgages. People getting mortgages when they really shouldn't have gotten mortgages. There is a statistic in the paper today that of the millions of current mortgages, 10 percent are in foreclosure. That is a lot of people and a lot of homes. Why did they get these mortgages? Because the government mandated it. This was disaster in the making from the get-go.
  • Some would claim then, that because the government caused the problem (partially, mostly?) then the government should fix it. The proposal is that the government purchase all that bad paper. Seems to make sense, doesn't it?
  • But there is always the butterfly effect. How much worse is this system going to get if we continue to mess with it without understanding the eventual outcome?
  • The housing industry is bad in Georgia because of more than this current situation. It looks as if it started with the Fleet Financial Fiasco in 1992. The overbuilding of the Atlanta area, the foreclosure that have been occurring for more than a decade, the drought -- who knows all the variables involved. Is the government messing with this really going to help in the long run?
  • Yes, it will help in the short term. If the government takes over all that bad paper, then we won't have (simultaneously) thousands of homeless people and thousands of empty houses.
  • And there is a part of me who really believes this is all powered by greed -- the multi-millionaires wanting to be bigger multi-millionaires. For instance, the dude at WaMu made $20 million in one year. You read that right -- $20 million in one year. I can't help but think that amount of money could purchase outright around 200 $100 K houses. That could be up to 800 people with a paid for house and not on the streets. I can't help but think of this as sin. If he works a normal 20 years, he alone could take care of 16,000 people. And that's just one of these dudes.
  • Now I do believe in personal liberties. I believe in a free market. I don't believe in typical socialism. I wonder about giving people housing without a little sweat equity. I don't like the entitlement thing. But the amount of money these "fat cats" make is obscene.
  • I don't think we should "take it away" from them. But why do they need that much money? Many multi-multi-millionaires have given away millions of dollars. It's a blessing to give and to give generously, especially when we give out of the love of God.
  • How to make this right? I don't know. I worry a little about my investments -- but I know I have a roof over my head and a good job -- and my husband has a very good job. I am not lacking for anything. How would I feel if I were being kicked out onto the streets? I don't know. I know I would be scared. I know I would want help.
  • God help us all!

Awesome -- Theremin and Cello in a Reverb Chamber

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More Pictures of the Baptism -- Party

After church and after the baptism, we went to a parishioner's house that was just down the road. We had a great time. The food was wonderful and there was plenty of entertainment. He owns a fleet of ATVs. Here is the Loving Husband doubling up with Entropy. Note that Entropy brought a change of clothing, but my Husband is still wearing his wingtip shoes and his Spongebob tie.

Chaos driving....

Swap seats... they spent hours just driving around the property, exploring. I can see how these vehicles are really handy for larger farms.

There were an amazing number of hummingbirds -- a "swarm" of hummingbirds. There were close to 50 at one point -- about 4 to 6 at each of 10 hummingbird feeders. As well as bees -- they are also beekeepers. Their bees are not doing so well. They have lost about half their hives this year, probably from Colony Collapse Disorder. I discovered that it is very difficult to get pictures of hummingbirds. If I was far enough away to get more than one bird, they became just little blurry dots. If I got in close enough, I could only get pictures of one at a time. They actually make a pretty loud buzz with that many of them.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

For My Daughters

Who want to learn Japanese

song chart memes
more music charts

Some Link Love for Container Housing

SG Blocks has some of the most interesting information on the web. They advertise as homes that are fast, sustainable and safe. Here is a YouTube video:

Here is an excellent news video about a builder in Zigloo

Container City with a bit about Future shack

Then for something completely different:
House on a Table

Monday, September 22, 2008

Gospel Today Pulled from Lifeway Store Shelves

The magazine Gospel Today was pulled today from the Lifeway bookstore's shelves. You see, Lifeway is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention. The cover of the magazine features 5 attractive women dressed in black. That's not so unusual. The fact that they are all women Pastors is indeed unusual for this magazine. And the Southern Baptist do not ordain women (how come I have the urge to type "wimmen"?)

This comes on the heels of my preaching last week at a Baptist church. I was probably the first woman in that pulpit in it's 150 year history. I was told by the little Baptist ladies that they had never hear a woman preach before -- and that I "out-preached" some male preacher that they have heard. I also heard someone say, "Well, looky! The walls of the church didn't fall down!" Yes, imagine that.

The call to ministry is hard -- it's not exactly something I would wish upon just anyone. It's lonely and isolating. It's doubly isolating to be doing this as a woman. It's hard to read this in juxtaposition with my previous story. Emotion washes over me -- feelings of anger of course but also a deep abiding sadness. Attitudes like this not only devalue my ministry, but it also tarnishes yesterday's baptism a bit. Was that indeed a second class baptism done by a second class minister? Or can it possibly be that God is bigger that all that? That the only value that there is to ministry is that it points to that higher power -- to God?

Baptism in the Creek

Stratton Bridge on Long Creek in Oglethorpe County. This is not a bridge in the traditional sense. It is slabs of aggregate concreted, reinforced by re-bar and attached to each other with extremely large hook and eye. The slabs are sort of "floating" in the creek. At times, the water is just rushing between the slabs and at times there is a couple of inches of water on the slabs. Because of these slabs, there is a nice bit of falling water below the bridge and a large swimming hole above it.

This is part of the congregation. We must have had 50 people at the creek to witness the baptism, including Bart, the dog.

Part of the baptismal party. I wore my surplice with no cassock because it is made of stain release material. My alb is not. I didn't know it would make me look like a marshmallow with legs and a head. And pink crocs. The girls acted as my acolytes -- I was able to hand them the Bible and what not. Also with me is one of the children, the candidate for baptism and the congregational sponsor.

The congregation gathering on the bridge.

The baptismal party. The candidate for baptism is a large man -- well at least bigger than I am. I had three other people with me to help me lift him out (good thing, too). The water was a little low in this spot. It was much higher last week when we scoped it out. It did drop off quite precipitously a few feet to the left -- much too deep. So this was our compromise. Next time -- deeper water.

I used the older version of the Baptismal Covenant -- more comfortable language for this congregation. We also sang as we gathered "Shall We Gather At The River?" and as we left "Amazing Grace." I gave Mark a Bible -- and the little girl (Cynthia) a cross necklace. There were several people there who have never been to church -- friends and families and neighbors. Many told us that they would like to visit.

It's amazing what happens when you take "church" out of the walls of the building. I felt the spirit moving among us yesterday. I believe it was a powerful witness to those gathered. On the service all that really happened was a few people getting wet in the creek with their clothes on -- and yet with the older liturgy, the movement of the water, the fish and the wildlife in the creek making it feel so alive, the palpable love you can feel in this group of people, it was so much more than that. I loved Cynthia dancing around and having Bart the "goggie" there. It was a beautiful thing that I don't know that words can describe.

Praise be!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Going down to the river to pray

Baptizing in a River today (creek actually).

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol' way
And who shall wear the robe & crown?
Good Lord show me the way

O brothers let's go down
Let's go down, come on down
Come on brothers, let's go down
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol' way
And who shall wear the starry crown?
Good Lord show me the way

O mothers let's go down
Let's go down, come on down
Come on mothers let's go down
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol' way
And who shall wear the starry crown?
Good Lord show me the way

O fathers let's go down, let's go down, come on down,
Come on fathers, let's go down
Down in the river to pray

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Theological Musings on Today's Green Thing

Paul at Soupablog has a good posting about Very Small Houses. I've been involved in similar thinking. Most of the houses I've been researching recently have been Micro-houses.

This is from Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. The concept is simple -- literally. Simple living. Few possessions. Small footprint.

Part of the impetus for my Log Cabin is based on these principles. I want something sustainable, enduring, simple, clean and what is called now-a-days "green."

In my reading around about small, sustainable housing, I have found that people are building housing out of ISO shipping containers. They are almost indestructable and abundant. Standard shipping containers have been around since the end of WWII but they really began to be used by all the world in the 1960's. They can be used several times before they are discarded or (as is more the case today) they are discarded in destinations that have nothing to ship back. In the USA, there are around 700,000 shipping containers that are abandoned each year. That's a lot. Of course, they can be melted down for the steel or they can be used for basic storage, but they are very well suited for other purposes. There are military uses. There are commercial uses. There is a hotel in London that is being built completely out of shipping containers for the next Olympics. They are being used as student housing. And you build houses that are practically hurricane proof out of them. Here's Bob Vila in Florida.

Below is a dwelling (complete posting found here) that was 9 years in the making but cost about $15,000 to build. It is based on two ISO20 shipping containers.

We are a consumer society. We consume at such a great rate that we have problems with supply and demand, and with disposal of the resulting debris. This rampant consumption of the Earth's resources -- it cannot be what God intended. We are to be stewards of this world so that each generation can rejoice in creation and see God's handiwork, not destroyers of the world so that the next generation is consumed themselves by picking up the trash.

To take "trash" of this scale and to make habitation of it -- what a redemptive act. The fact that these containers can be outfitted before the fact and then shipped off to where they are needed -- that is beautiful. To think that we can make these into little houses that can be filled to the brim with supplies and then send them to disaster areas -- how wonderful.

Now to be frank, I probably will not be able to use shipping containers for my cabin. I'm looking at property that is off very rough dirt roads. I don't know that you can get a tractor trailer into spots like that. But the concept is so very appealing. I love the fact that you can tell in this last picture that they are indeed a shipping containers. To see to bones of the structure makes it more beautiful. To see the old scars and chips in the paint -- the patina of the container -- makes the containers somehow more attractive in my eyes.

Like seeing the scars and the chips in the paint of an old wise soul.

Friday, September 19, 2008

In Honor of all Pirates

On th' fourteenth nightfall we were still bein' driven across th' Adriatic Sea, when 'bout midnight th' sailors sensed they were approachin' land. They took soundin's and found that th' rum was a hundred and twenty feet deep. A short time later they took soundin's again and found it was ninety feet deep. Fearin' that we would be dashed against th' rocks, they dropped four anchors from th' stern and prayed fer daylight.

In an attempt to escape from th' ship, th' sailors let th' lifeboat below into th' sea, pretendin' they were goin' to lower some anchors from th' bow.

Then Paul said to th' centurion and th' soldiers, "Unless these men stay with th' ship, ye cannot be saved."

So th' soldiers cut th' ropes that held th' lifeboat and let it fall away. Just before dawn Paul urged them all to put grub in me gullet. "fer th' last fourteen days," he said, "ye have be in constant suspense and have gone without grub--ye haven't eaten anythin'. Now I urge ye to take some grub. ye need it to survive. Noe one 'o ye gunna lose a sin'le hair from his head."

After he said this, he took some bread and gave hearty thanks to God in front 'o them all. Then he broke it and began to put grub in me gullet. They were all encouraged and ate some grub themselves.

Altogether thar were 276 'o us on board. When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened th' ship by throwin' th' grain into th' sea. When daylight came, they did not recognize th' land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, whar they decided to run th' ship aground if they could. Cuttin' loose th' anchors, they left them in th' sea and at th' same time untied th' ropes that held th' rudders. Then they hoisted th' foresail to th' wind and made fer th' beach.

But th' ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. th' bow stuck fast and would not move, and th' stern was broken to pieces by th' poundin' 'o th' surf. th' soldiers planned to murder th' prisoners to prevent any 'o them from swimmin' away and escapin'. But th' centurion wanted to spare Paul's life and kept them from carryin' out their plan. He ordered them who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. th' rest were to get thar on planks or on pieces 'o th' ship. In this way everyone reached land in safety. Once safely on shore, we found out that th' island was called Malta.

-- Acts
27:27 - 28:1
Beautiful downtown Lexington, Georgia. The small Barbeque place belongs to a parishioner. They are only open on Saturday. There are several small shops, including a wonderful antique shop. There is a couple of storefronts for sale or rent. All three schools are just down the road a bit -- almost half way to Crawford, Georgia. I didn't get a picture of the County Courthouse. I'll get that next time.

Lexington Presbyterian is the old Beth-Salem Presbyterian church. It is quite old. It was founded in 1785 (which is later than I would have thought) and there were many prominent Georgians who helped charter the church.

This is the church building proper. It is quite old. I wish I could have maneuvered to eliminate the power lines from the shot! Each of the old towers is a slightly different elevation and design. I am sure there is a story behind that.

Directly across the street and next to the Baptist Church where I conducted a funeral yesterday is this small white framed building. It is the original building of Columbia Seminary.

Talk Like a Kitteh Day

funny pictures
more cat pictures

A Pirate Kitteh

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Some of my favorite pictures of Log Cabins

There are a few log homes on the internet that I have found that I love. There is this one from Hearthstone Homes. This is a big structure -- I don't need anything that big to begin with. What I love about this house is the authenticity of the furnishings and the color of the stain on the interior. The log widths are very nice -- these look to be a good 12 inches. I would love to do a cabin with reclaimed logs that are 12 to 20 inches wide. The chinking doesn't look harsh with this gray stain -- it looks almost a cream color. There isn't too much contrast.

This Great Room is lovely. The homespun coverlet material on the settee is fabulous. And the muted barn red of the painted trim is a nice pop of color. I don't have pieces like this -- I wish I did! But I do have three "Martha Washington" chairs that I love, a few windup clocks and some other small pieces. This room is what I consider an peaceful, balanced room. Some many times we do "Colonial" and it's really "Kitschy." This room is wonderful.

I would like an Inglenook in my home -- a "room within a room" around the fireplace. I think I would rather go with an Arts and Crafts design (after all, most of the antiques I own are Arts and Crafts rather than Colonial). But what I enjoy about this house is the blue-y, gray color of the logs. It makes for a serene backdrop for any design style.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Long Day and Pictures

It has been a long day ... long week, actually. I have spent quite a bit of time in Lexington this week. I love small southern towns -- I have fallen in love time and again with little towns; Oxford GA, Due West SC, Abbeville SC, Madison GA, Carlton GA and now Lexington GA. Here for your pleasure are a few pictures.

This is Highway 77 from Lexington to Enterprise -- almost at Vesta. This shows you the beautiful low rolling hills; the enduring hills of Georgia. This road does not have the large trees that are along many of the roads in Oglethorpe county. When their large limbs stretch over the road and intertwine with the limbs of the trees across the road, it feels like an embrace. The land is beautiful -- it's a soft feel to the land; there are no harsh protruding rocks, no abrupt cliffs -- just the gentle rolling hills. It is part of what I love so much about Georgia. If you will notice, you will see some ragweed and Margarite on the side of the road. This is our fall allergy season. The pollen is bad -- but not nearly as bad as springtime.

Here is a old homestead directly off Church Street in Lexington. There is a large pile of reclaimed brick in front of the house. The house is gray and weathered -- the tin roof is rusted. In the next picture, you will notice that it's been "papered" with that siding that was so popular around the depression. I believe it's an asbestos siding in a yellow "brick" pattern.

If you were to look closely, under the siding there is a pattern. I am convinced that this building is a log cabin that has been covered up long ago with siding. The shape of the house is about right; this part of Lexington was built in the 1820's. Can you see the kitty cat? And what is in their side yard?

A pile of timbers. They aren't cut right for a log structure; rather it looks like the mortise and tenon of an old timber framed building. You can still see the peg-holes. Maybe they came from the same building the brick was salvaged from. I wonder if they want to get rid of them? Maybe I can give them a home... or rather build a part of a home out of them.

More of the Same

The Busy-ness continues.

I'm off to Oglethorpe County in the rain. 74 miles in the rain does not appeal to me. I covet prayers of traveling mercies.

Of course, I am going to be making this trip 5 times in 8 days -- when gas is $4.16 a gallon. Lovely. At least I'm getting OK gas milage.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I've a funeral with all that attendant planning, a baptism (ditto), District committee meetings plus several 7th grade and 9th grade projects.

I'll be back.... later.

Several 7th and 9th grade projects to supervise. The mama has to look over shoulders and say things like "that looks nice!" and "Good job!" On occasion, the mama is a typist. I transcribe grammar errors and all... (gee, Mama, the least you could do is correct my spelling! She took of 5 points!)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Bullets

A little Ike video I put together from the NHC.

  • I have not even begun my sermon yet. I've thought about the scripture, but don't have a single thing done.
  • BUT I have finished the Charge Conference. We met last night and it was fabulous. A lot of work, but fabulous. We had good fellowship, a good sermon and good food. These are the "eating-est" churches I've been in in a long time.
  • We blessed one of our members who has been a lay-speaker for a few year and sent him off to serve as the pastor of another church. We also had the honor to recommend him as a candidate for ordained ministry. What a real blessing that was. We gave him a new Bible in which we all wrote a prayer. It was most wonderful.
  • Also wonderful -- I am going to be privileged to baptize a young man of about 30 years old Sunday after next -- and we are going to do it in the river. I've never done this before, but I love the idea of running and living water.
  • On other fronts, we are praying for the LH's first cousin's family who lives in Houston -- and his other two cousins who live a little further inland. I believe they have evacuated, but have been unable to get in touch. His cousin and her husband both work for NASA or the Defense Department. We've been watching Ike... and praying.
  • In the mean time, I'm watching Blog Cabin on DIY. Full video. What fun! I think that the LH needs a real Man Cave in the Log Cabin.
  • I enjoy Blog Cabin, but it's too too for me at times. I want antique (meaning: real) logs. I don't want "dowels" for my logs. But I do want my Garage area to be pretty modern in design. Modern design inside an antique shell. With wi-fi. And off the grid.
  • Today's green thing: LED Lightbulbs.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


  • Today is the 7th anniversary of 9/11. What can I say? What can any of us say?
  • Still working on Charge Conference Paperwork. The Charge Conference is tonight at 7:00 and then it will all be over.
  • Here are some beautiful pictures of a merging between "Dovetailed" log cabin design and a timber framed system. I want the support for the Log Cabin's roof (and the garage, for that matter) to be timber framing. I love the look of the timber framing, stone and dovetailed logs all together.
  • From Dirt to Done has done a project (log cabin even!) with Spancrete for a garage floor.
  • The concrete floors will be stained and sealed. There is zero wear and tear on a floor like this under normal circumstances. And they look like natural stone. Absolutely beautiful.
  • In front of the gigantic window that will be the Garage door, I am going to install hospital curtain track and very large curtains. I will probably put the tracking in the ceiling as well, to make "cubicles." Most of these will be a quarter of the main space. The floor will be blocked off into four quarters and the floor will be stained a different color -- red, green, blue and gold. Each quadrant will have a different purpose: stained glass, sewing, drafting and lounging (with a nice big plasma TV). The cubicle curtains will be a dark gray that is complementary to the color I am staining the logs and the chinking color.
  • I want to finish building my theremin this weekend. The world's best birthday present would be a Moog Etherwave, if anyone is interested.
  • There are a record number of people in Georgia, if not unemployed that are "under-employed." I know of so many who have lost their job this last month. And so many more who have having difficulties making ends meet.
  • Eight percent of Georgia homeowners are behind in their mortgage payment. Eight percent -- that is a lot. There has been a 16 percent drop in home sales. That means that anyone with the construction industry is hurting; the suppliers, the builders, the contractors, the plumbers, the electricians, the stone industry. It's a lot of people.
  • I need to lose weight. I think I'm going to be pretty extreme in looking at exactly what I am eating and cut back. I have been doing the karate thing and I could tell last night that I have much more muscle than I've had in the recent past -- now I need to do more of the portion control. I still look like a meatball -- but I'm now a leaner, meaner meatball.
  • I am so addicted to Pink Grapefruit Fruit Naturals. I don't think those are all bad. I am also so very addicted to Lindt Excellence. Each square is about 55 calories. And coffee. Just any kind of coffee. Maybe I'll go on the Grapefruit-Chocolate-Coffee diet.
  • The school schedule has been hard this year -- having one to catch the bus at 6:30 and the other the bus at 8:30 is OK -- it's the getting up so early after my little night owls don't go to bed until midnight. We are all running on sleep deprivation.
  • Sleep deprivation causes weight gain. Lovely. I think I'll eat some chocolate (one square = 55 calories, portion control!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Storm Shelter and Space Under a Garage

Picture from this website -- beautiful work!

I am hoping to build a "Garage" structure before I start on the actual Log Cabin. It will be a kit from a reputable company that does a nice 24 foot square garage. Of course, I am not going to use it as a garage but as an "Everything-including-art-studio." I will either put a clear Glass or Plexiglas garage door or glass French doors in the door opening to let in light. I like the idea of this high-tech modern look adjacent to the rough hewn logs. Above the garage door, I want to put a nice big window rescued from an old home or church -- I am hoping for a nice Gothic arch. Or I may have to purchase new (double paned, of course.) The garage will be slightly taller than the standard kit -- maybe two logs taller or more for a 3 to 4 foot kneewall. This will provide a little more headroom upstairs which is going to be a sleeping loft at the beginning and a guest room for the long haul. I want to put a basement under the garage that will be earth sheltered. The main floor of the garage will be concrete that will have radiant heating built in -- heated (and cooled) via Geoexchange. To do this wondrous thing, I am going to use a Spancrete floor. It will rest upon a nice solid foundation wall that is built within a foam form -- ICF. I may or may not want an additional vapor barrier and I don't know if the Spancrete will need additional structure (like steel I-beam) to rest on or not. I will cover the exterior of the foundation with reclaimed granite from the leftovers from Elberton's monument cutting industry. Followed by a sill plate shaped for good water drainage, it should last for a very long time. The structure of this basement will be fabulous for a storm shelter -- Georgia gets a fair share of tornadoes. I will also put the "guts" of the house (the solar batteries, the inverter, the hot water heater and all that kind of thing) in this basement, but that still leaves a nice bit of storage. Depending on the lot I may get another garage type door on the back of the building.

All pipe dreams for now until: 1) we finish settling the LH's G'father's estate 2) we find a nice piece of land (that slopes off nicely to Europe for all those European Ham Stations).

Musings about the Weather

Gustav, Hanna, Ike and Josephine.

MeteoSat Picture from September 10, 2008 showing the "Hurricane Gun"

For a long time I have been fascinated with the weather. I used to have my office at the Science Center in with the meteorologists taught math classes in the Met Lab. I was trained to use some of the equipment and teach a few of the classes. In addition I have had my pilot's license for about 16 years. So my fascination is probably understandable. The girls have grown up watching hours of the Weather Channel. Entropy’s pre-school teachers used to let her give the weather report every morning after they said the pledge of allegiance.

So I have I have been watching the weather this year – this hurricane season is pure drama (well, at least to a weather geek.) I found this image of the visible water vapor on the MeteoSat website that shows very clearly the “hurricane gun” that exists in western Africa. This is today’s image. You can see the string of storm like precipitation and clouds that form in the interior of Africa and then move west into the Atlantic. If these storms start a low pressure area from adiabatic heating and cooling, then they have the potential to become a "tropical depression" -- then with a little coriolis effect and steering winds from the troposphere, they start rotating and voila! you have a hurricane.

There was a time a few weeks ago when you could see 4 different big storms from the MeteoSat and also from the GOES satellite lined up in the Atlantic like a string of beads. (First image) This week, it seems clear -- Josephine has dissipated, but there is possibility that it may reform if it gains a bit of rotation.

There have been 7 storms this year already that have had landfall from the Atlantic. There is the probability of about 10 more. Thankfully, they have not had much punch as compared to damaging storms in the past. Maybe there will be rain without flooding and damage. We can pray for that.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Text for the Week

Matthew 18:21-35
Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

"For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made.
So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, 'Pay what you owe.' Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you.'But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?' And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart."

  • The part of the Lord's prayer that we say "forgive our trespasses are we forgive our trespassers" I used to say a a kids "forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors." This is the portion of the Gospel that makes me wonder if we should say "debt" rather than trespass.
  • We are a nation of debtors. We have more than $20,000 of debt per person. I remember when the LH was unemployed and we called all our creditors. I remember how many did indeed show mercy on us -- allowing smaller payments or no payment at all until we got back on our feet.
  • And I remember that were some who did not show mercy.
  • I also remember a time where I had to ask someone to pay back a large personal debt and it caused tremendous conflict. I was administering an estate and the lawyer of the estate demanded that I collect this debt. I knew the person didn't necessarily have the money -- but I had to demand it anyway. It broke the relationship. It was not a pretty thing.
  • Money has been a source of conflict since the very idea of "money" came into being. It's a major reason that marriages break up; some claim that "money" or commerce is also one of the major causes of war.
  • But it's not money in and of it self -- it is the love of money and the value we put on money. It's conflict around how we USE money.
  • More later.
First, I am going to go visiting. I love to visit people; I love to listen to their stories. I have about 6 or 7 stops planned while I'm there -- but I think I'll not stay as long as I have in the last few weeks. Entropy has whatever it was the the LH and I had -- Chaos had it last week. I think I'll visit a while and then come on home. I also have Charge Conference on Thursday night... lots more blank places to fill out in the paperwork. I don't think the reports will be as complete as some of the other, larger churches I've served have been BUT I will have them a little more complete than last year's report. Just getting it a little further down the road.

Monday, September 08, 2008

We passed this forming up on Sunday morning

On the way to church... I remarked about how there seemed to be an unusual number of motorcycles on the road. The LH didn't notice. =o)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

More About My Log Cabin

The bulletins are almost finished (early for me!), the sermon is sketched out. I've done bunches of work on the Charge Conference Reports -- so more about the Log Cabin.

Bob Timberlake is a company I am considering for the studios on either side of the main house. (See this link as well.) Or this company (it even has a drawing.) I am also considering using this company for Phase 3 of my homebuilding adventure, which be a series of guest houses where people could come and retreat -- I'm thinking clergy and sermon planning type retreats at first. The guest houses would be based on something like this, small with just the basic necessities. This is a Bob Timberlake design. He does a really nice rough hewn look with random spacing between the logs so that it will blend in well with the recycled timbers of the main house. This little cabin has a bathroom, a tiny kitchen area, a fireplace and a sleeping loft. It will be cozy without being fancy.

I want the main house to be a classic "Ell" eventually. We will start with a little cabin that will be the eventual main kitchen. I am looking for insulated roofing systems -- and very energy efficient windows. It will have a full basement -- this is where the master bedroom will be to begin with, along with my "1950's" office area and a small but functional bath. I want a real slipper tub here with a nice vanity made of a recycled old piece of furniture. I want a reproduction "Crapper" toliet (high tank) with a 2.5 gallon flush (water sparing). I would also like, tucked under the stairs maybe, an energy efficient and water sparing stacked washer and dryer. The upstairs will be one big room "1850's" style -- the kitchen will resemble this picture. Farmhouse sink -- either stone or porcelain, a small refrigerator that uses ammonia for a coolant and is dual powered -- electric with auto switchover to LP gas. That way I can be off the grid and if I run out of electricity, the food doesn't spoil. I don't need a big refrigerator. I think that having too much food that has to be refrigerated around is decadent and wasteful. The stove will either be LP, electric with the old fashioned look or genuine wood burning. I will purchase wood or cut it myself and use the ashes in the compost pile or garden or use them to get lye.

Underneath the studio on the left, I am going to put all the "guts" for the solar power and other systems. I will also have storage and a storm shelter. I want to float a concrete floor of about 6 to 8 inches above the basement for the main floor and stain it and seal it with poly. The basement of both structures will be earth sheltered for energy efficiency. I am going to lay down the mother of all vapor barriers, though, to prevent radon and black mold.

The main house will be recycled logs from one of various companies. I have found this one, and this one, this one in Georgia and this one. Believe it or not, there are multiple companies that do this. Phase 2 of the construction will occur when the LH and I are ready to live in the cabin full time. I will put an "extension" onto the house that will be two stories, to complete the "Ell" shape. I want this portion to be something like this picture, except I would like it to be a real Dogtrot -- where there is a large main hall between two log "pens." The original cabin will become the kitchen and "keeping room". The master bedroom downstairs will become a guestroom; the sleeping loft will become a sitting area. The office will remain where it is. I will add a reproduction large refrigerator from this company. I LOVE the look of this refrigerator -- it is frankly gorgeous. I think I might order something for my current house from them. For stoves, I have two choices: restored or reproduction. I am leaning toward reproduction. The two storied addition will allow for a dining room. This will be space for all my lovely antiques that we have inheirted from my parents/g'parents and the LH's family. I want a gray wash on the wall and a very dark floor. There will be a living room/family room on the main floor as well and two bedrooms upstairs. I will connect the loft to the upstairs landing in the hall.
There is a necessary orderliness to all this. In order:
  • Purchase land. Cheap with a nice slope off to the NE, river/running water on part, a hill for the shack on another part.
  • Drill for water, build well house and install pump.
  • Survey for placement for buildings; need southern exposure on back side of house for solar panels/shingles.
  • Concrete pour number one -- the driveway landing, foundation and basement slab for the first cabin, foundation and slab for the left-side studio/garage. This will be the time to lay down the piping for the radiant floor heating/cooling.
  • Septic system, attach to electric grid, installation of LP tank.
  • The site is ready for the travel trailer -- place on cabin slab or driveway landing and hook-up to utilities.
  • Purchase Garage kit and assemble as a studio with a concrete floor (second concrete pour and second set of radiant heating pipes). Put French doors and transoms in Garage door opening. Install solar systems and geothermal heat pump. Plumb for very small bathroom upstairs and stub in downstairs. Use purchased steel/iron spiral stair case. Drywall bathroom. Put in loft for sleeping. This structure can be now used for storage and sleeping, if desired.
  • Move trailer -- now first structure HAS to be used for sleeping; small dorm refrigerator -- hot plate for cooking.
  • Begin construction of first log cabin. (There is a whole list of things here.)
  • At completion, move in! This first build will be used as a "retreat home" or "vacation home." The studio can be partially cleared, but still have tremendous value for storage.
  • Build shack and antenna farm for LH during this time. He may desire it up on the hill; he may want it next to the house.
  • Phase 2: Build "Ell" when it's time to do so -- complete studio. A carport of structural timbers will be placed in the optimal placement.....
  • Phase 3: Little Retreat Houses.
Eh, yeah. Maybe I think about this too much.

Edited: This is a wonderful website. There is no contact information; I think I'll snoop a little to get an email addy.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Interesting Thing

I handed out a bunch of business cards tonight to some of my friends from karate. They all say "Oglethorpe County Circuit, Burts UMC and Glade UMC." I've never given it a thought until one person said, "What's a UMC? Is that like a EMC?" (Well, sorta!)

First, I am SO HAPPY to be a part of a community where it's just so 'not church.' Church is such a part of my personal context -- but I think I am richer by my involvement with this community and my ministry will have more depth I just didn't realize that people don't know what the UMC is ... Wow.

This world always have so many people who are in pain -- and so many seem so alone. There was one young man tonight at dinner tonight who needed some affirmation about how to handle some pretty serious family difficulties. It just struck me how alone he was. Without his karate 'family,' I think he would be adrift. He has little real family; his girlfriend doesn't have the maturity; he has no faith community (apparently, I've actually never asked).

And I'll never forget the woman who had no one in this world; who I prayed with as her child lay dying in the hospital. For various and sundry reasons, she had no support network and I was the chaplain on call that night. I did all that I could for her, helping her with telephone numbers for funeral homes, the endless paperwork around a death, a telephone calling card, a "memory box" and I made sure she didn't have to pay parking. But it seemed so paltry with the support I would receive under the same circumstance -- I would have friends, family and my faith family. I helped her get into her car and watched as she drove off alone into the night and my heart bled a little for her. Every time I think of her, my heart bleeds a little. I know where my support comes from -- and I know its source. I want people to know about my Source of strength about my support network. I want people to join me in my community. Now I know that the UMC isn't the only flavor of 'church' but it's what I know; it's my context.

So when these business cards are all gone, I'll spell it out all the way -- "United Methodist Church" and let them know about the Source of my power.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I Should Be Writing a Sermon

or at least doing Charge Conference Reports, but instead I'm thinking about my "dream cabin."

I've wanted a little log cabin near a nice river/running water for quite some time now. So far the dream contains:

  • Recycled Logs from an old cabin. I like the squared off gray logs of the Appalachian Mountians. I want a 800 to 1200 square foot cabin in a traditional form (Ell, Dogtrot or just Story and a Half) flanked by two other log structures made from a "Garage" kit. One will be my studio -- the other will be the LH's Ham Radio shack.
  • Geothermal heating and cooling, sometimes called GeoExchange. Basically it's a heat pump. You pump a coolant (or water) deep into the ground and do a heat exchange. The coolant will always come about about 57 degrees F. That's nice and cool for an air conditioning unit and almost warm enough for heating. It takes up to 70% less energy than conventional heating and cooling.
  • The garages will have a cupola. A Cupola is really a thermal chimney and will draw cooler air into the structure as the air warms and rises out of the house. It will be opened during the spring and fall and shut off completely during the winter.
  • Solar Shingles -- Ovonics makes them. Basically you get about .1 kilowatt hour per shingle. The more shingles you put on the roof, the more electricity you make. I'll need about 100 or them, as well as about 10 solar deep-cycle batteries, an inverter and a controller. Eventually, I want to take myself off the grid or have the option to sell electricity back to the electric company. Wind is not really an option around here because, hey, there isn't any wind.
  • We will drill for a well and be on a septic tank. I'm thinking a pond as well to fill with water for irrigation.
  • A garden for food.
  • And the cabin will be furnished with the things I love in my current house. The rest will be given away. I'll keep the antiques and my Heywood Wakefield. Oh yes, and books and cats.
  • Upstairs will be "1850 House." I am going to get this really cool reproduction refrigerator -- the original model was built in 1909 and is still running. It does not uses CFCs for cooling; it uses ammonia, which is a lot better for the environment. 100 years before the fridge wears out? I'm ready. It's made of quarter sawn oak and looks like an icebox. Too cool. So to speak. I am also going to get a stove that looks like an old wood burning stove but is electric and have an old trough made into a sink. I don't know if I'll do a dishwasher. I'm still debating about that. The upstairs will have seating that is leather club chairs/ sofa with nailhead trim, a deer head on the mantel and so forth. Dark wood flooring, vintage artwork.
  • Downstairs will be "1950 House" -- this is where I'm going to put my office, eventually. The foundation walls will be stacked stone, the sheet rocked walls will be painted purple. I'm going to get my Eames era sofa recovered with a nubby gold fabric, there will be a gold/purple rug on the floor and everything in the room will be Heywood Wakefield. Very mid-century.

What does your dream home look like?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Random Linkage

Still Watching the Weather

It appears that Gustav was no Katrina. Thanks be to God. I have a couple of good friends whose families live in Houma who have not heard from their loved ones, but chances are good that all is well.

However Hanna is looking threatening to the Georgia coast. You have to understand that Georgia has not been hit by a hurricane in over a century. St. Simon's Island and Epworth by the Sea are right in the cross-hairs. I have too many friends and family who live in this area -- some of which have already moved inland to Atlanta.

I have a feeling that a hurricane would be devastating to the Georgia Barrier Islands -- you can compare the way the houses are built. There are few houses that are raised on pilings. Time will tell.

Monday, September 01, 2008


GOES Weather Satellite Image from 11:00 am EST.

You can see Gustav, Hanna and the leftovers from Fay. You can also see the TS off the Baja Peninsula in the Pacific. TS number nine is just behind Hanna.

This weekend also: flooding in Bangladesh, a 6.o earthquake in China, a 5.8 earthquake in New Zealand.

UMCOR gathers together "stuff" -- as well as money. If you feel so le go to their website and donate money or download the lists of "stuff" you can donate. The girls and I have packed Health Kits before. A health kit contains:
  • 1 hand towel (15" x 25" up to 17" x 27", No kitchen towels)
  • 1 washcloth
  • 1 comb (large and sturdy, not pocket-sized)
  • 1 nail file or fingernail clippers (no emery boards or toenail clippers)
  • 1 bath-size bar of soap (3 oz. and up)
  • 1 toothbrush (single brushes only in original wrapper, No child-size brushes)
  • 6 adhesive plastic strip sterile bandages
  • $1.00 to purchase toothpaste