Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Advent #3 -- "Herald In the Wilderness" (John the Baptist)

Herald, in the wilderness,
Breaking up the road,
Sinking mountains, raising plains,
For the path of God;

Prophet, to the multitudes
Calling to repent,
In the way of righteousness
Unto Israel sent;

Messenger, God’s chosen one
Foremost to proclaim,
Proffered titles passing by,
Pointing to the Lamb.

Captive, for the word of truth
Boldly witnessing;
Then in Herod’s dungeon cave,
Faint and languishing;

Martyr, sacrificed to sin
At that feast of shame;
As his life foreshowed the Lord,
In his death the same—

Holy Jesus, when He heard,
Went apart to pray:
Thus may we our lesson take
From his saint today.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Advent #2 -- "Arise, Sons of the Kingdom!"

Arise, sons of the kingdom!
The King is drawing nigh;
Arise, and hail with gladness
The Ruler from on high.
Ye Christians, hasten forth!
Your praise and homage bring Him
And glad hosannas sing Him,
Naught else your love is worth.

Arise, ye poor and needy!
The King provides for you;
He comes with succor speedy,
With mercy ever new.
He Who a beast did heed
Lets not His children perish;
All hopes that man may cherish
He can fulfill indeed.

Arise, ye faint and fearful!
The King now comes with might,
His heart hath long since loved us,
He makes our darkness light.
Now are our sorrows o’er;
No wrath shall e’er befall us,
Since God in grace doth call us
His children evermore.

Haste then, with eager footsteps,
To see your Sovereign there!
He rides as King of Zion,
Strong, glorious, meek and fair.
Draw near the Lord and give
To Him your salutation,
Who bringeth great salvation,
And bids the sinner live.

The King in grace remembers
His loved ones here below
With gifts of royal treasures,
Yea, doth Himself bestow
Through His blest Word and grace.
O King, arrayed in splendor,
To Thee all praise we’ll render
Here and there face to face.

O rich the gifts Thou bring’st us,
Thyself made poor and weak;
O Love beyond expression
That thus can sinners seek!
For this, O Lord, will we
Our joyous tribute bring Thee,
And glad hosannas sing Thee,
And ever grateful be.

Note: I am aware that the lyrics are not particularly gender inclusive. I present this just for your edification and suggest that if necessary, you might change them for your use.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Advent #1 -- "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!"

Advent started on Sunday. I've been thinking about hymns. We typically sing Christmas Carols for the Advent season because there are only a handful of Advent hymns in our hymnals. Advent just isn't celebrated the way it used to be. For instance, we now use blue instead of purple because we do not view this season as one of reflection and repentance.

So starting now I am going to blog one Advent hymn a day, with music (if possible) ending with Christmas Eve.

Have a Blessed Advent. O come, Emmanuel!

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.


Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.


O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.


O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.


O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.


O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.


O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.


O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I'm having a hard time blogging (in case you hadn't noticed.) I'm either really dry, or I'm tired of people pontificating or maybe a little of both.

I've entered into a couple of conversations recently where I just grew weary of the debating. They are usually the same old debates: the authenticity of Scripture, double dipped supralapsarianism with a twist, evil, yada, yada, yada. I am just tired of it. I wish we could spend less time debating and more time living it.

I honestly wonder if there is anything new under the sun; if all the big newsie stuff is just the old stuff in a new package, in a new medium.

Just where I am right now. I think I'll go back to posting pictures of kittens.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Illustration for the Widow's Mite

Sermon title: Enough


I Wish You Enough

Speaker Bob Perks was at an airport when he overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together. They had announced her departure and standing near the security gate, they hugged and he said, "I love you. I wish you enough." She in turn said, "Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy."

They kissed and she left. He walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?"

... Read the rest at the website.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Kitten pictures

Princess and "Mini-me"

The last couple days of pregnancy. She was very large. Much larger than any other pregnant cat I've ever seen.

The reason why -- she had 9 kittens. One didn't make it after the first day, though.

She's now an OctoMom. 8 kittens. That's a bunch!

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Text for Sunday

Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12
1:1 Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets,

1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds.

1:3 He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

1:4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

2:5 Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels.

2:6 But someone has testified somewhere, "What are human beings that you are mindful of them, or mortals, that you care for them?

2:7 You have made them for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned them with glory and honor,

2:8 subjecting all things under their feet." Now in subjecting all things to them, God left nothing outside their control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them,

2:9 but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

2:10 It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

2:11 For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters,

2:12 saying, "I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters, in the midst of the congregation I will praise you."

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A Prayer for the Night

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

Sorta Wordless Wednesday, Late

The "view" from the portable parsonage last week.

Pregnant cat is so very very pregnant. She still hasn't popped.

Computing nest. A place for ME. But it gets shared all too often.

The mess o' cables. I used pink ribbon instead of cable ties. It helps some.

The Obsessive Compulsive side of the computing nest. All things must be either parallel or perpendicular. And yes, that is a crystal tumbler on a saucer. Why drink out of plastic when you don't have to?

Projects recently:
  • Chaos' learners permit.
  • Pregnant Cat.
  • Revivals.
  • Steam Cleaning All Things.
  • Homeschool.
  • Practicing Stride Piano.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bishop Bev Jones

Blogging Life

I've not been able to blog much lately. I think it is just a dry spell -- or at least I hope. I always am afraid that I'm going to run out of things to say; that eventually all words are going to be used up. I'm always afraid that I'm not going to be able to preach on Sunday; that eventually I'm going to use up all my words. I know that there is always the Word there; it is eternal and unchanging; spoken yet ever being spoken and will be spoken. But I think that *I* am going to run out of words.

Life is also very full. Preaching; ministry; homeschooling; cleaning and housekeeping; ordination papers; relationships to maintain -- I've not left much time for quiet reflection. And I will admit to a certain amount of financial difficulty. We've almost paid off all credit cards -- not much left. We've almost paid off my latest hospital bill (from May!!) We have the mortgage(s), student loans and the ever looming threat of the loss of jobs. Things considered "secure" two years ago aren't so very secure.

There is one time in the morning that I can sit and be quiet -- after the LH goes off to work and before the kids get up -- an hour or so I can sit and reflect on life. I've been filling that time with busy work (or sleep!) -- I'm not going to do that anymore. I need this time, not just to blog or whatever, but to center myself. An hour of prayer and meditation. If I don't make this more this, there is the possibility that the hour will never be "given" to me.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Cats and Grace

I found myself sniffing and sniveling today as I was reading a passage written by Roberta Bondi in “Nick the Cat.” The book concerns reflections on the stranger; people we willingly or unwillingly open our lives to. She writes:
Of course, this is generally the way with stray cats and grace, too; they appear on your driveway or your doorstep in in the grocery store or gas station in an animal or person, your spouse, yoru child, or your worst enemy, you never wanted in the first place and certainly wouls never choose yourself. And one day you wak up to find yourself changed, wounded, perhaps, by love or something like it, understading or manybe not understanding what has happened to your, but filled with an unexpected gratitude as apparently impossible as the gratitude of the cat we ended up taking into our family.
Unexpected grace, in the person of someone I didn’t want or even want to care about. I cannot recount how many times this has occurred to me. Most grace is unexpected -- if not all grace. It happens slowly sometimes, over time, where you find yourself loving and deeply caring about people you never even wanted to know. It happens to me time after time, as I am moved from church to church. I think “I’ll never love these people as deeply as I love those who I left behind.” And then I do. Over time, I begin to care deeply for the people I have been given charge over; even if and when I protest.

Roberta tells of giving the unexpected cat away -- looking for a loving home and of a young man who dares to come and pick up the smelly, wounded animal. He scoops Nick up in his arms and Roberta finds herself saying “I changed my mind… I can’t send him away; I want to keep him myself.” She writes:

All this time, I had never one touched Nick deliberately, never petted him or stroked him. Now I held our my arems and Jeremy brought him to me. Immediately the big cat, for so he had turned out to be, rolled over on his back and wriggled up against me, watching my face and purring in ecstasy. I looked into his eyes and rubbed his dirty, hairless stomach with pleasure.
I teared up at this. She had begun to love Nick, not willing herself so, but growing into that love. I do not know what deep seated need within myself this stuck a chord, but I hear it reverberating inside me. Ah, to love and be loved! What grace can be found!

There is a young man at one of my churches who has begun showing up during services. His brother and sister in law attend, but not this young man. He told me that he thought that the roof would fall in if he went to church -- I’ve been praying for him. He feels unworthy of love; he feels perhaps that he has sinned to badly. This is my stranger who is living among us. He is not someone I would pick from a crowd -- but he is the person that God has given us. May I and may we live up to this challenge. What grace can we find? What blessing is in store for us?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Charge Conference Today

We've Charge Conference for both churches today. Lots of paper to put in exactly the right order. I've to preach as well -- I think I'll preach on the book of Numbers. No joke.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Life is Full

I've neglected a lot of things the last couple of weeks -- back burner kind of neglect. With homeschool officially starting today and Charge Conference in a week and a half, I've had my brain in other places.

I've also started to practice the piano some. I was actually "good" at one point; I even started accompanying at church when I was 12 years old and considered a Music degree. I stopped playing when I was 24 when I was hit by lightening and suffered a bit of damage. It seems that lightening courses over the body, especially the brain, it causes damage like a stroke. By 3 weeks after the lightening strike, my 2nd degree burns were healed, but I had coordination problems, especially with fine motor control.

I mourned that loss for a long time and wouldn't even try to play. I've taken it up again -- I figure that most of Music performance is really mental and only partially the physical ability. I hope that by practicing, I can regain some of that physical ability.

In particular, I've been studying Jazz. It is quite mathematical in form; almost formulaic. If I can get a good walking bass line going and practice some riffs, with practice I should be able to get pretty decent at it. I'm also studying some of the history of Jazz, so I'm starting with "cakewalks" and "stride piano." The difficult things have been tremolos and little with the physical coordination of 16th notes in the right hand and triplets in the left. But I'm working on it.

After I get some proficiency with the Blues, I'm going to move to "Gospel" piano.

In other things: I'm working on Charge Conference papers, ordination papers and I have some mentoring appointments to make before January. AND I want to clean OUT the house. Blogging, Twitter, FB et al -- these are taking a back seat right now....

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

william shakespeare
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Morning Prayer -- Thankful for the morning light

Thankful for the morning light
shining over earth and sea;
thankful for the sky so bright,
Creator, God, to you.
To you with all our hearts we pray,
now at the dawning of the day;
we know you have us in your care
and you will hear our prayer.

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

-- James Reed

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.

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.
(Known as the "Prayer of Humble Access" it can be found in many different forms across many different denominations)

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. 5 He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight 9 he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
-- Eph 1:3-10

Lord Jesus Christ,
you stretched out your arms of love
and we placed them on the hard wood of the cross.
May people know of your love
So that everyone might come within the reach of your embrace.

Clothe me in your Spirit
Help me reach my hand out with your Love
So that I can bring your Love into this world to those
Who do not know you.

All for your honor.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Morning Prayer -- A Prayer of St. Patrick

A Prayer of St. Patrick

I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.

I bind this day to me forever,
by power of faith, Christ's Incarnation;
his baptism in the Jordan river;
his death on cross for my salvation;
his bursting from the spiced tomb;
his riding up he heavenly way;
his coming at the day of doom:
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
of the great love of cherubim;
the sweet "Well done" in judgement hour;
the service of the seraphim;
confessors' faith, apostles' word,
the patriarchs' prayers, the prophets' scrolls;
all good deeds done unto the Lord,
and purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven,
the glorious sun's life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch, his might to stay,
his ear to hearken to my need;
the wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide, his shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.
But we, in nature’s latest hour, O Lord, will cling to Thee!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Morning Prayer -- from the Anaphora of Addai and Mari

May your tranquility to dwell among us and
May your peace within our hearts.
May our tongue proclaim your truth and
may your cross be the guardian of our souls,
while we make our mouths into new harps and
speak with fiery lips.
May we be worthy, my Lord, with the liberty which is from you,
to pray before you this pure and holy prayer,
which your life-giving mouth taught your true disciples,
the children of your Mysteries:

Whenever you pray, pray in this manner, giving thanks and saying: Our Father in heaven, may your name be hallowed. May your kingdom come. May your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us our necessary bread today, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us to the test, but deliver us from the Evil One. For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever, amen.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Bulletins -- done and folded. Sermon printed out. Practiced piano twice today. Drank lots of tea, ate dinner out with my family. Bubble shooter -- conquered. Cleaned out closet. Played with kitties. Good Day all round.

Morning Prayer -- Anaphora of Addai and Mari (Nestorian)

Lord, Lord, grant us boldness before you,
that with the liberty which is from you
we may fulfill this living and holy ministry,
our consciences cleansed of all wickedness and bitterness.
Sow within us love, tranquility, and unity with one another and with all people. -

Worthy of praise from every mouth,
Worthy of praise from every mouth,
and confession from every tongue,
and adoration and exaltation from every creature
Worthy is the worshipful and glorious name of your glorious Trinity,
O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
for you created the world in your grace and its inhabitants in your mercy;
you saved your people in your compassion,
and showed great grace unto mortals.

Thousands upon thousands of those on high bow down
and worship your majesty,
O my Lord,
and ten thousand times ten thousand holy angels and spiritual hosts,
the ministers of fire and spirit, glorify your name, -
and with holy cherubim and spiritual seraphim offer worship to your Lordship.

*Kushapa is a beseeching prayer, said on the knees.
The Gehantha is a prayer unique to the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, consisting of 4 long prayers that according to Eucharistic scholars are the most similar to the Jewish blessing ofthe bread.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Morning Prayer -- Let us break bread together

Let us break bread together on our knees,
let us break bread together on our knees.
When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun,
O Lord, have mercy on me.

Let us drink wine together on our knees,
let us drink wine together on our knees.
When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun,
O Lord, have mercy on me.

Let us praise God together on our knees,
let us praise God together on our knees.
When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun,
O Lord, have mercy on me.
-- Spiritual, composer anon.

Psa 78:15-20
He cleft rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.
He made streams come out of the rock, and caused waters to flow down like rivers.
Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved.
They spoke against God, saying, "Can God spread a table in the wilderness?
He smote the rock so that water gushed out and streams overflowed. Can he also give bread, or provide meat for his people?"

1Corinthians 10:16,17
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

A little bread—a crust—a crumb—
A little trust—a demijohn—
Can keep the soul alive—
Not portly, mind! but breathing—warm—
Conscious—as old Napoleon,
The night before the Crown!

A modest lot—A fame petite—
A brief Campaign of sting and sweet
Is plenty! Is enough!
A Sailor's business is the shore!
A Soldier's—balls! Who asketh more,
Must seek the neighboring life!

-- Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Morning Prayer -- Bread of Heaven and Hippolytus

Arglwydd, arwain trwy'r anialwch,
Fi, bererin gwael ei wedd,
Nad oes ynof nerth na bywyd
Fel yn gorwedd yn y bedd:
Hollalluog, Hollalluog,
Ydyw'r Un a'm cwyd i'r lan.
Ydyw'r Un a'm cwyd i'r lan

Guide me, O thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
Hold me with thy powerful hand:
Bread of heaven,
Feed me now and evermore
Feed me now and evermore.
-- Hymn known as Cwn Rhondda (Welch, anon)

John 6:35, 51
Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

We give you thanks, O God,
through your beloved Child Jesus Christ,
whom you have sent us in the last days as Savior,
Redeemer and Messenger of your will.

He is your Word, inseparable from you,
through whom you have created everything
and in whom you find your delight.
You sent him from heaven into the womb of a Virgin.
He was conceived and became flesh,
he manifested himself as your Son,
born of the Spirit and the Virgin.
He did your will, and,
to win for you a holy people,
he stretched out his hands in suffering to rescue from
suffering those who believe in you.

When he was about
to surrender himself
to voluntary suffering in order
to destroy death,
to break the devil's chains,
to tread hell underfoot,
to pour out his light upon the just,
to establish the covenant, and manifest resurrection,

he took bread, gave you thanks and said:
"Take, eat, this is my body which is broken for you."

In like manner for the cup, he said:
"This is my blood which is poured out for you. When you do this, do it in memory of me."

Remembering, therefore, your death and your resurrection, we offer you the
bread and the wine, we thank you for having judged us worthy to stand before
you and serve you.

And we pray you to send you Holy Spirit on the offering of your holy Church,
to bring together in unity all those who receive it.
May they be filled with the Holy Spirit
who strengthens their faith in the truth.
May we be able thus to praise and glorify you through your Child, Jesus Christ.

Through him glory to you and honor, to the Father and the Son, with the Holy
Spirit, in your holy Church, now and forever! Amen.
-- From the Anaphora of Hippolytus

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

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

1 Hear my teaching, O my people; *
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in a parable; *
I will declare the mysteries of ancient times.
3 That which we have heard and known,
and what our forefathers have told us, *
we will not hide from their children.
4 We will recount to generations to come
the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the LORD, *
and the wonderful works he has done.
-- Psalm 78

35Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 41Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43Jesus answered them, “Do not complain among yourselves. 44No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. 45It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” -- John 5:35, 41-51

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread. -- Mother Teresa

Blessed art Thou, Lord our God, King of the universe who brings forth bread from the earth.

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha-olam hamotzi lechem min ha-aretz.

Monday, August 03, 2009

A Resolution

I haven't blogged much this last couple of months. I don't know why -- I just hit a blogging wall. Nothing seemed very relevant. So here's a resolution: I will blog the rest of August, at least Morning Prayer.

My praying habits have changed as well. Quantity seems less important; Quantity of words at least. More important is just listening. I have been taking one or two verses of a hymn or a poem plus a bit of scripture and just listening to the text and then sitting in silence.

So there it is. Less words, more listening. Maybe that explains my blogging slow down.

Savannah 2009

Morning Prayer -- Bread of Heaven on Thee We Feed

Bread of Heav’n on Thee we feed,
For Thy flesh is meat indeed:
Ever may our souls be fed
With this true and living Bread;
Day by day with strength supplied,
Through the life of Him Who died.

Vine of Heav’n, Thy blood supplies
This blest cup of sacrifice,
Lord, Thy wounds our healing give,
To Thy cross we look and live:
Jesus, may we ever be
Grafted, rooted, built in Thee.

-- Josiah Conder

Friday, July 24, 2009

Morning Prayer -- Merton

My Lord God,
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 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 will I trust you always
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 struggles alone.

-- Thomas Merton

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Life Rules Inspired by HGTV

  • Life rule number 1: Doesn't matter if you are Mid-century simplicity or Late-Victorian clutter, neatness counts. An ordered environment lends itself to serenity and a chaotic environment to anxiety.
  • Life rule number 2: It's important to have a good solid well coordinated color palette and to stick to it.
  • Life rule number 3: Your environment should always lend itself to expressions of creativity. Intentionally have a place you can make messy but messy artistically. A sink nearby is a plus.
  • Life rule number 4: A place for everything and everything in it's place is wonderful when you live alone. In shared spaces, the places for everything should be a joint decision or you will be totally frustrated, all the time.
  • Life rule number 5: If your laundry ends up in the same corner instead of the laundry hamper every single day, you have your hamper in the wrong place. It's easier to move the hamper than to break someone's ingrained habits.
  • Life rule number 6: Unless your house is really really empty, adapt a rule of one thing in, one thing out. Except for maybe groceries and other things you "use up" regularly.
  • Life rule number 7: There are some things in life that are worth the fuss and bother: kids and pets, especially. Large parties that take 4 days to clean for and 4 days to clean up after. Finger painting with toddlers, baking with your teen. Vacuuming pet fur and cleaning cat boxes. Video game clutter that is used by the husband and kids.
  • Life rule number 8: If it's been in your closet or garage or basement, untouched in 5 years, you probably don't need it. Give it away, throw it away, recycle it or sell it to make room in your life for new blessings.
  • Life rule number 9: Everyone (even the momma) needs space that is totally their own. Even if it's just a chair by the fireplace or a corner of a garden. A place to read, pray and dream.
  • Life rule number 10: Don't sweat the small stuff. And life is mostly small stuff.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Morning Prayer

Come, let your voice be one with theirs
shout with the shout of praise
See how the giant sun soars up
God's gift for all your days!
So let the love of Jesus come
and set your soul ablaze.

The LORD is King;
let the earth rejoice;
let the multitude of the isles be glad.
Clouds and darkness are round about him,
righteousness and justice are the foundations of his throne.
A fire goes before him
and burns up his enemies on every side.
His lightnings light up the world;
the earth sees it and is afraid.
The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the LORD,
at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
The heavens declare his righteousness,
and all the peoples see his glory.

God, you are indeed King -- ruler of the Universe. Thank you for you goodness and the goodness of your creation.

Lord, there are those who mourn today. Shelter them and protect them from the storms of life. Hold them in the palm of your hand. Ease their pain. There are those who are alone, there are those who are anxious, there are those who are dying. God, you are giver of life and health: Comfort and relieve the sick, and give your power of healing to those who minister to their needs, that they may be strengthened in their weakness and have confidence in your loving care; through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray all these things. Amen.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

New Diet, or rather, New Lifestyle

The Loving Husband and I are trying to change our lifestyle -- to eschew processed food of any sort and to use meat and dairy as a condiment. The bulk (ha!) of the diet is plant material, in particular green vegetables and fruit. For breakfast we have two pieces of fruit topped with a little whole grain cereal (about half the suggested portion size) with a little milk. For lunch, a green salad with a hint of dressing, plenty of vegetables, a cup of some sort of beans and a piece of fruit. Dinner consists of a green salad or cooked green vegetables, other vegetables including corn, carrots, squash, potatoes and so forth, a cup of beans, perhaps a small piece of lean meat and fruit. I have been eating more dairy than the LH in that I am eating some organic yogurt, a little more milk and some cheese with whole grain crackers for a snack.

Of course, I'm not horribly strict with this. That's part of the plan. You can have a little of anything -- a little, a bite, a smidge. The purpose is to increase nutrients and decrease calories. We are basing our new diet off the book "Eat to Live" by Dr. Furhman, but the diet has really been around for a while. There is another author who gives three simple rules (Michael Pollan):
  • Eat Food
  • Not Too Much
  • Mostly Plants
Yep, that about sums it up.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Morning Prayer -- Unsettled

The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.
-- M. Scott Peck

True vocation joins self and service; it comes from the place where your deepest gladness, your passion, meets the world's deepest need.
-- paraphrased from Fredrick Buechner

"Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
-- Howard Thurman

I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.
-- Frederick Douglass

The next day John was back at his post with two disciples, who were watching. He looked up, saw Jesus walking nearby, and said, "Here he is, God's Passover Lamb." The two disciples heard him and went after Jesus. Jesus looked over his shoulder and said to them, "What are you after?" They said, "Rabbi" (which means "Teacher"), "where are you staying?" He replied, "Come along and see for yourself."
-- John 1:35-39 (The Message)

Dearest and most Holy God,
There are days where I am not settled. Where my body and mind are restless and I do not rest comfortable. Ease my tension, my uneasiness. Strip away the parts of life that make me uncomfortable which are not healthy for me -- I can name a few -- jealousy, envy, being territorial, being prideful. Let me rest in You. Keep those things that make me uncomfortable that are healthy -- a sense of social justice, of being fair to the disadvantaged. Keep me focused on that outside myself and not dwell on the pettiness within myself. Help me be your servant here on earth. Let my hands be Your hands, let my feet be Your feet. In your name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Intersecting Interests: Church and Small Portable Spaces

From October 2008 National Geographic

"New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland, with a combined population smaller than Poland...have more automobiles in service than the whole world outside of the United States," wrote William Joseph Showalter in his October 1923 National Geographic article, "The Automobile Industry." Pictured in that issue was one of those New York cars in service—to a higher power. The Reverend Branford Clarke's Brooklyn-based "traveling chapel" was equipped with stained-glass windows, an organ for his wife to play, and a fold-down steeple to help the whole thing fit in his garage.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Comtemplating the Delay of the Parousia or Reflections on Cat Theology

I've been contemplating the Delay of the Parousia -- for those not in the "know", that's fancy seminary talk for "Waiting for the 2nd coming of Jesus." We recently had a guest speaker speak on this topic and his comments got me thinking about what I really believe about this and it's companion piece -- eschatology (fancy seminary speak for the "theology of the end times.")

To be frank I don't think about these topics very much -- to quote myself -- if you knew for a fact that Jesus was coming next Thursday at 2:03 pm, would you live your life any differently? If the answer is "yes" then you aren't living your life correctly to begin with.

However, I do get into those conversations about end times -- are you post-millennial, pre-millennial or millennial? Am I a Preterist or a Historist? What if ... ? And I try again to wrap my brain around the whole thing.

I was contemplating this Delay of the Parousia the other day when my Maine Coon kitten got in my lap, blocking my view of, well, everything as she tries to fit under my chin. Now that she's gotten bigger (9 pounds at 6 months -- this cat is going to be huge!) she doesn't quite fit anymore. It's hard to think deeply about theology when you have that much fluff in your face. I stopped and moved her to my lap and begain to brush her. She enjoyed it tremendously. Her purring causes all her whiskers to vibrate. Eventually she got down and said "Meow!" in that tone that tells me she wants food NOW.

I realized that cats live in the moment -- only human beings dwell on the past and worry about the future. That the task is to live NOW, not dread or anticipate what is to come. In Matthew 25, in the Parable of the 10 Virgins, Jesus tells us that we don't know the day or the time, but we need to be prepared. Live in the moment, doing what you need to do NOW. Feed the hungry, visit the sick and do it NOW. Not tomorrow, not next week. Do it NOW. And then don't worry about it anymore.

Cats know how to do this; we humans can take a cue from them. NOW.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


–verb (used with object)
1. to fill or litter with things in a disorderly manner: All kinds of papers cluttered the top of his desk.
–verb (used without object)
2. British Dialect. to run in disorder; move with bustle and confusion.
3. British Dialect. to make a clatter.
4. to speak so rapidly and inexactly that distortions of sound and phrasing result.
5. a disorderly heap or assemblage; litter: It's impossible to find anything in all this clutter.
6. a state or condition of confusion.
7. confused noise; clatter.
8. an echo or echoes on a radar screen that do not come from the target and can be caused by such factors as atmospheric conditions, objects other than the target, chaff, and jamming of the radar signal.
(Thank you Websters)

I thought I was a cluttered housekeeper until I found this website.
Oh. My. Goodness.
At least I know that I'm not a 9.5 on the clutter scale!! I'm not even a 3! (Well, in most areas... we have a problem bedroom upstairs, a problem garage and a problem basement. We are working on it...)

The full sized picture and story about the scale here.

Morning Prayer

You are great, O Lord and greatly to be praised.
Your power is Magnificent and Your wisdom infinite.
And that you would care for and glorify humankind,
Humans, who are just a particle of Your Creation,
Humans who bear about them the marks of their own mortality,
Humans who show and witness to their own sinfulness,
The witness that You resist the proud
Yet we humans would praise You,
Us small humans, a particle of Your creation.
You awakes us to delight in Your praise,
For You made us for Yourself
And our hearts are restless, until they rest in You.

Teach us, dear Lord, to number our days;
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Oh, satisfy us early with Thy mercy,
that we may rejoice and be glad all of our days.
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us;
and establish Thou the work of our hands.
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us;
and establish Thou the work of our hands, dear Lord.

Let nothing disturb thee,
nothing affright thee;
all things are passing,
God never changeth!
Patient endurance attaineth to all things;
who God possesseth
in nothing is wanting;
alone God sufficeth.

+ In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

(from the BCP, St. Augustine and I don't remember...)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Speak the Language -- Sermon for Pentecost

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ 12All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ 13But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
17“In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
18Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
19And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
20The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
21Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Pentecost – birthday of the Church. The spirit of God come to each and every one gathered
  • unusual, b/c before now, the spirit of God would be “on” only the prophets – given to the disciples in the upper room when Thomas doubted. (John 20:24).
  • Veil was torn in the temple at the resurrection / God no longer confined to the Holy of Holies, but now moves freely among the people.

How did the spirit of God come? As flames/ and each heard his own language.
  • God speaks to us in our own language so that we can understand
  • Some see this as the correction of the great sin of the Tower of Babel
  • That sin is the building up of the human and a lessening of the Divine
  • Pride, puffing up of our selves, hubris, selfishness
  • Divided us up into “peoples” who compete with one another
  • But no longer, because we are all one church
  • Everyone is welcome – radical hospitality
God speaks to us in our own language
  • Why should we speak to one another
  • When should we speak to one another?
  • how should we speak to one another?
  • what should we speak to one another?
We speak the gospel of Christ – what does that mean?
  • we need to speak the gospel of Christ to one another in a way that reaches their deepest need
  • We tend to use “churchy language” that WE understand but may not be understood by the unchurched
  • Need to learn to speak the Gospel in a what that this world can hear

What do we speak?
  • Follow this train of logic
  • God so loved the world
  • What IS God? God is love (1 John 4:7&8)
  • We need to speak this Love to a loveless world.
  • What the world needs now is love sweet love… it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…

5 Love Languages – Gary Smalley
  • Word of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Gifts and visual symbols of love
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch
Jesus used these languages -- he often spoke word of affirmation -- look at the Beatitudes
  • He gave quality time to his disciples
  • He gave the ultimate gift -- the gift of himself
  • He served all -- look at the Last Supper
  • He healed often by touch...

Likewise, we need to speak in a language that people understand
  • What is their greatest need?
  • We tend to speak of a God who saves through “substitionary atonement”
  • That’s great for us churchy types, but not everyone understands the need to be “washed in the blood of Jesus”
Different theologies of soteriology – the doctrine of salvation
Substitionary Atonement is just one of them
  • Other people believe that it was the suffering of Christ (movie “the Passion of Christ” great example)
  • Some people the moment of salvation occurred at the Virgin Birth.
  • Some people believe that it was the life example of Christ that was the saving action.
  • Some believe it was the teachings.
  • Different denominations relate differently to each aspect of this – we need to become familiar with the entire package – We as Methodist proclaim it’s the Life, Death AND Resurrection of Christ.
I had a good friend ask me yesterday how she could share the Gospel of Christ with someone who just doesn’t “get sin.” The woman believes in God but just doesn’t “get the Jesus thing.”
This describes the majority of people today – they just don’t “get the Jesus thing.”
  • How can we tell them of our relationship with Jesus Christ in a way they will understand?
  • Maybe we don’t need to share how Christ’s blood washes away our sin – because they just don’t “get sin.”
  • Maybe we need to look at their spiritual needs first and then tell them about how the Gospel will meet those needs.
  • For instance, this woman is expecting a baby in July. She knows that this child will need a good community that will help raise it up to be a “good person.” She yearns to be loved – she talked about how she never felt loved by her parents.
  • How do we share the Gospel with her?
  • First, because Jesus never did a “cold call witness” (I did several of them as a teen – I’d knock on doors and say “if you were to die tonight would you go to heaven or hell???” – never really did share the Gospel) – he first entered into relationship with the person. He has conversation, dinner, he healed them THEN asked the person to follow Him. Relational Evangelism.
  • Better to ask a person ‘what are you praying for’ than ‘are you going to heaven or hell??’
  • She is yearning for love – tell her that our God is a God of love – that Jesus is God come to earth with skin on so that He could show us that love. He put on flesh and dwelt among us. He loved humankind. He healed us, he fed us, he prayed for and with us, he lived among us and then he died for us. God’s love reaches across all sorts of boundaries – race, color, age, sex, national origin.
  • Speak the language – this world is yearning for direction, for love, for healing, for sustenance. She is yearning for community. Tell her that in some mysterious way that the church IS the body of Christ now – that the church is here to love this world the way the Christ and God loved this world. That we are here to put hands onto Jesus’ body, to speak Jesus’ words, to teach Jesus’ teachings, to carry the message to all the ends of the world (reference the text) "How Beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News!"- Isaiah 52:7
Last week we spoke of our purpose – to make disciple of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. To fulfill that purpose, we need to learn to speak the language of the current world; a universal language; the language of love.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Best Argument FOR Big Screens in Worship

The Best Argument FOR Big Screens in Worship -- It's really the old fashioned way.

It seems that before Gutenberg and his printing press, Hymnals were HUGE. They were hand copied and illustrated and the manuscripts were large enough that when placed on a stand, they are big enough for the entire choir to see.

So a big screen is really more old fashioned than new fangled.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Prayers of the People for Pentecost

This is one of my first pastoral prayers, written many years ago. It's not as good as I remembered, but I also remember my earnestness and anxiety as a fresh young "minister" delivering this prayer.

I don't remember if I borrowed anything from anyone -- I don't think so. But if I did and if you recoginze a phrase as yours, please let me know and I will give credit where credit is due.

Almighty God, Creator of all things,
For fifty days have we celebrated the fullness of the mystery of your revealed love.
See your people gather in prayer, open to receive the Spirit's flame.
Speak through us, O Lord,
that others may listen,
and the very nature of the world be changed.
Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer.

Yahweh, Center us in your love
that our work might be for justice.
Lift the weariness of this life so,
that we may rise and dance, dance again to your great song of life.
Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

Lord of Life and Love,
Fill us with your life-giving breath, your Ruah so that we may feel
the fire of your Spirit deep inside our chests,
its warmth diffusing throughout our whole being;
strengthen our faith that we might abide in your presence, to do your work,
comforting us and sustaining us when that work is hard, and lonely, and long.
Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

Adonai, Fill our voices with your heavenly song, Let your beauty shine forth.
Let your holy fire shine forth from these eyes of ours,
that we might enlighten the darkness of these times,
and glimpse the birth of your new creation,
Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

Jesus our Messiah, See your people gather in prayer, open to receive the Spirit's flame.
May it come to rest in our hearts and disperse the divisions of word and tongue.
With one voice and one song may we praise your name in joy and thanksgiving.
Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

And burn, Spirit, with your fire,
burn away the little idols we’ve made in our own image,
those things we’ve looked to for security, for peace, for happiness.
Burn a clear path for our repentance,
that no obstacles might stand in the way of our embracing the truth of the good news for our lives and for the world.
Then we can rejoice and worship and dance in the joy of the truth, and then, too, will the world see in us a more faithful and compelling witness.
Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

Spirit of the living God, fall on me;
Spirit of the living God, move me;
Spirit of the living God, fill me;
Spirit of the living God, seal me.
Spirit of the living God, consecrate me to do your will,
Spirit of the living God,create in me a soul burning with Your endless Love and
Seal my soul as Your own, that Your reflection in me may be a light for all to see.

All of this we pray, in the name of the Son, who, with the Father, sent You, our comforter, the Spirit of Holy Adoption, into our hearts that we might truly pray, -- Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name...

A Prayer for Pentecost

O Spirit of the living God, Thou light and fire divine,
Descend upon Thy church once more, and make it truly Thine.
Fill it with love and joy and power, with righteousness and peace;
Till Christ shall dwell in human hearts, and sin and sorrow cease.

Blow, wind of God! With wisdom blow until our minds are free
From mists of errors, clouds of doubt, which blind our eyes to Thee.
Burn, winged fire! Inspire our lips with flaming love and zeal,
To preach to all Thy great good news, God’s glorious common weal.
-- Henry H. Tweedy

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’

--Acts 2 1-13

Breathe on us God
Let the violence of your Spirit sweep among us and
Make us discontent.
Fill our churches with the overwhelming sound
Of your rushing wind -- your ruah.
Prepare us for the coming of your Spirit
Let us listen with anticipation the teachings of Jesus the Christ:
Make our hearts and minds be ready to receive
The blessing of the Holy Spirit,
Prepare us to be filled with the strength of his presence

Breathe on us God
Prepare us for the coming of your Kingdom
A perfect kingdom where no sword is drawn but
The sword of righteousness,
A perfect kingdom where no strength known but
The strength of love:
Breathe on this world your breath and so spread your Spirit,
So that everyone in the broken world may be gathered under
The banner of the Prince of Peace,
So that everyone in this broken world may be children of one Parent.

Breathe on us God
Prepare us for the perfecting of your Church.
Set up on fire for your Word.
Perfect us with a burning desire to do your will.
Let us speak to each person in this world
In language they will understand.
Fill us with all truth, in all truth with all peace.
Where your church is corrupt, purify it;
Where it is in error, direct it;
Where your church does not promote your kingdom, reform it.
Where it is right, strengthen it;
Where it is in want, provide for it;
Where it is divided, unite it;
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday Randomness

  • Facebook has cause a great decrease in my blogging efforts.
  • Either that or I'm just not 100 percent yet from surgery.
  • I am looking at (continuing) to declutter the house and to do some "home improvement" projects for two reasons 1) we've been here a while and things need to be freshened up 2) if we are going to move anytime soon, the house needs to get to a point where it's ready to sell (heh! In this economy!)
  • The laundry room is my focus right now. The walls are beat up and builder beige, it's unorganized and just plain drab. I have put in new curtains (about $25 total including new rods) and spray painted (most) of my peach baskets red to match (about $10 of spray paint). I'm using a can of paint leftover from painting the living rooms, so there is zero additional cost there, therefore the total on the project is about $35. Good price for a fresh look, in my humble opinion.
  • The deck is a simultaneous "next" -- I work on the deck when the weather holds. Which it really hasn't -- lots and lots of rain recently. The deck is iffy -- I don't know if it is salvageable or if we need a new one. I'm going to try to pressure wash it gently with Deck Bright and stain/paint with a semi-opaque exterior stain. The supplies to do this are about $75 -- a lot cheaper than a new deck.
  • We are still working on "stuff reduction." I am thinking about putting my books outside and taking a picture of the ones that are in nice boxes and selling them on Craig's list. There are about 1250 to 1400 there are sorted nicely and that I know I want to get rid of -- I'm thinking about listing them for $400 OBO. There are around 30 boxes like this so that's just a bit more than $10 a box. Second idea: a "Book Sale" to be advertised on Craig's list and the homeschool email lists -- fill up a box for $10. It's still going to take quite a bit of sorting and cleaning up to get to either point.
  • I actually want the garage COMPLETELY cleaned out in order to stain/seal the floor. Long term goal? I don't know, but I do know that we can't show the house with it looking that way and it's weighing me down.
  • I am noticing more and more in my life a real and dynamic connection between my physical life, my emotional life and my spiritual life. They MUST be balanced for me to be fully fulfilled. This is my "work" spiritually right now (or so my spiritual director tells me.) I thought I would be finished by now -- but I'm also getting an understanding that there is no "finish" -- it's all a process....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thought of the Day

Contemplating "Life of the Beloved" by Nouwen:

"But what I would like to say is that the spiritual life is a life in which you gradually learn to listen to a voice that says something else, that says, 'You are the beloved and on you my favor rests.'"

"You are the beloved and on you my favor rests."


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Still Recovering

Starting to feel "trapped" by the house. I want to get out, but I don't have lots of energy. I missed my appointment this morning. The appointment card said "Wednesday, May 19th." I thought it was for tomorrow. The scheduling nurse put down the wrong day of the week -- Honest mistake on both our parts. So I'll go in on Thursday for my followup.

I've been working on collecting my ideas for my log cabin project as well as the Portable Parsonage Project (a park model trailer). I wonder sometimes why I spend so much energy doing "pie in the sky by and by" things instead of working in the moment -- so I also have been working on getting my laundry room re-organized (kid labor) and re-designed. It's coming along OK; I actually spray painted my peach baskets red this afternoon and worked a bit on the deck (it's the next project.)

I do like spray paint.

Sugar kitty and I have been bonding. She's almost 6 months old and still very much a kitten. But she sure doesn't look like a kitten! She's about 7 to 8 pounds and her paws are huge. She's still very scared of everything and very needy. Here's some pictures.

What do you mean I have big paws, hooman?

Sugar on the bed -- I am the lump in the bed...

Big eyes. Big paws.

Well, I haven't even looked up the text for the week, much less had deep and insightful comments to make on the text... so until later.

Next time: Princess the Prissy.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Catching Up

I have been recovering from surgery on Monday. It's going OK. I think that the hoarseness and roughness of my voice from the intubation is worse than I expected. I'm getting up and around somewhat and am spacing out the pain pills, so I'm doing OK.

It's hard for me to "take it easy." I see something that needs to be done, I usually just do it. I'm thinking up things to do with the computer and things I can do without picking up more than 5 pounds, but it's still hard. I have a substitute preacher -- I don't have to do any sermon prep; so I'm writing in my "Log Cabin Idea Book." I'm up to 130 or so pages, so I have a lot of material.

The kitty cats have been keeping my company. Tucker in particular as he had THAT surgery on Tuesday. I miss my old kitties still, but I do love my Tucker, Johnny and Sugar. Sugar is going to be huge. Her paws are half again as big as Johnny's and she's only 6 months old. I have wanted a Maine Coon for a while and she sure fits that bill. She's still a 'frady cat, so I don't have any new pictures.

I have also been planting my garden in the back with the "point and plant" method -- "Here, Chaos. Plant this there." Works OK until they get bored.

What it looks like now:

We are using the "split open the potting soil bags and plant directly there" method. I am also repurposing the swingset as a big bean pole. I was going to give it away but it is 1) BIG and 2) sorta rotten near the bottom. Therefore, it is now a giant bean pole.

This is what I hope it will look like by the end of the year:

I want to replace the landscaping timbers with rock and add a lanturn and firepit. Maybe even a water feature.

OK, I'm tired. More later.