Tuesday, May 29, 2007

GOD is doing a new thing....

A few years ago I dug up a "start" of peonies that were planted probably fifty years ago on my grandparents' farm. They have not done very well in previous years. This year, they are thriving and knocking me out with their vigorous growth. Since early May I have been waiting for them to bloom... six buds set on and no late frost came to wipe them out!

FINALLY!!! The peonies finally busted open this week. They've been holding their tight-fisted heads of buds for what seems like forever. On Saturday morning, the first one popped. Just when I thought they could not open any more, or smell more sweetly, they expanded even more in the warmth of a lovely Sunday afternoon.

Then I read these verses this morning in Isaiah 43:18-19

"Forget about what's happened;
don't keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new.
It's bursting out! Don't you see it?
There it is! I'm making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands."
OK, OK, I'm a slow learner, Lord.... but I think I'm getting it!!!

I still don't exactly understand what is going on in my life... I still have questions... but I am watching things unfold in an attitude of faith. And, as I wait, I keep getting these little reminders of the power and beauty of my Creator and my Savior. Stuff will burst open before me as I watch and wait... sometimes longer than I think is necessary.

Hmmmm.... why do I think I know best?

Aaron Shust wrote a song called "My Savior, My God" and it has been my theme song this week. It's where I'm living...



I am not skilled to understand
What God has willed, what God has planned
I only know at His right hand
Stands one who is my Savior
I take Him at His word and deed
Christ died to save me; this I read
And in my heart I find a need
Of Him to be my savior
That He would leave His place on high
And come for sinful man to die
You count it strange, so once did I
Before I knew my Savior

My Savior loves, My Savior lives
My Savior's always there for me
My God: He was, my God; He is
My God is always gonna be

Yes, living, dying, let me bring
My strength, my solace from this spring;
That He who lives to be my King
Once died to be my Savior
That He would leave His place on high
And come for sinful man to die
You count it strange, so once did I
Before I knew my Savior.

Aaron Shust - My Savior My God
From the album Anything Worth Saying

Friday, May 25, 2007

Good Habits

(No, not THAT kind...)
Reverendmother says:
As many of you know, I have been experimenting with some severely curtailed Internet usage. I realized that I had gotten into some bad habits, which got me thinking about habits in general. I understand that a habits/random facts meme has already been going around. In the hopes that it hasn't hit too many of us yet, be as lighthearted or as serious as you'd like with the following:

1. Have you ever successfully quit a bad habit, or gotten a good habit established? Tell us about how you did it.

YOU GOTTA LOVE FLYLADY!!! It really DOES take only fifteen minutes plus an hour of weekly cleaning to keep things at a sane level. I don't live in House Beautiful but I am usually not embarrassed if people drop in mid-project. And if they do, I don't run around apologizing and frantically picking up. We go sit where it isn't as chaotic. I love and live with them in the present moment. I stopped trying to have a perfect house with perfect housekeeping. Instead, I keep things reasonably straightened up, and in the process, I'm teaching some good habits to my kids.

2. "If only there were a 12-step program for _________________!"

Nailbiting. sigh. I've tried it all. "Carrots" for when I don't. Guilt trips (my parents were great on those.) Hypnosis. Painting yucky stuff on my nails. Tabasco sauce. Rubbing in lotion. Snapping a rubber band on my wrist. I even had someone pray that I would have "deliverance" from it. Fuggedaboudit.

3. Share one of your healthy "obsessions" with us.

Giving my kids a hug, a kiss and an "I love you" in their ear before they go catch the bus in the morning. No, they don't "need" me to get up and be around before they leave for school. It's a small thing. It's grounding. It's presence. It's love.

4. Share the habit of a spouse, friend or loved one that drives you C-R-A-Z-Y.

UNFINISHED PROJECTS. There's four I can think of on my mental list, and that's just in our bedroom... sigh...

5. "I'd love to get into the habit of ___________________."

More regular walking. I was doing fairly well until pollen season hit.

Bonus: What is one small action you might take immediately to make #5 a reality?

Just do it. With my Bearded Beloved Spouse.

Bonus 2: Try it, and let us know how it goes in a future post!

OK... you get a "definite maybe."


Tuesday, May 22, 2007


I have been having a sit-down, face-to-face session this afternoon with God. It has not been fun. In fact, I am a mix of a little mad, a little sad and very confused. I'm disappointed about some events that, at the moment, I can't change. He knows I've tried.

Now it's just tears. Grumbling. Trying to believe and listen. And being honest emotionally with God about it all.

And, I figure, if you read this blog at all, I should be honest with you. Because right now, I'm not some smiling Jesus lover. I'm hurt and mad... and trying to keep my head up while I wait on God for HIS timing and HIS direction.

It sucketh mightily...

This song by Phil Keaggy came to mind. So... you get a photo essay of my heart condition.

Real. Honest. Raw. But still one of faith.

That's life...


DISAPPOINTMENT (from "Love Broke Thru")

Disappointment - His appointment,
Change one letter, then I see
That the thwarting of my purpose
Is God's better choice for me.

His appointment must be blessing
Though it may come in disguise
For the end from the beginning,
Open to His wisdom lies.

Disappointment - His appointment
Whose? The Lord's who loves best.
Understands and knows me fully,
Who my faith and love would test.

For like loving, earthy parent
He rejoices when He knows
That His child accepts unquestioned
All that from His wisdom flows.

Disappointment - His appointment
No good thing will He withhold
From denials oft we gather
Treasures from His love untold.

Well, He knows each broken purpose
Leads to fuller deeper trust
And the end of all His dealings
Proves our God is wise and just.

Disappointment - His appointment
Lord I take it then as such,
Like the clay in hands of potter
Yielding wholly to Thy touch

All my life's plan is Thy molding
Not one single choice be mine
Let me answer unrepining,
Father, not my will but Thine.

lyrics: an original poem by Edith Lillian Young
music: Phil Keaggy

Clutter: a problem of competing philosophies

Words of wisdom from somewhere ended up in my email today...

The Minimalist says:
"We already have one, so out it goes!"

The Miser says: "What if the first item breaks? We are trying to save money, so we'd be wasting money if we had to replace it."
The Martha Stewart says: "We could do something really cute and creative with it!"

The Charitable side says: "Let's donate it to Goodwill!"

The Anxiety Side says: "What if we get rid of it and decide we needed it?"

The Organizer says: "We haven't used it and forgot we even had it."

The Procrastinator says: "Let's put this aside and think about it later."

The Chocoholic says: "Forget this whole project. I want chocolate."

Now just guess which one I am???


Monday, May 21, 2007

Dreaming big... The "Come Away" Edition

(This is what I get for procrastinating and surfing instead of studying...)

Gary Means wrote:
"If you could start any ministry, and have it fully funded by an anonymous source who did not want to be credited, what would you do? I guess I should limit the amount, otherwise everyone would just end world hunger, etc. So, let's say you were given a mere $5,000,000."
Oh. Dream big, huh. OK, here goes.

A retreat center. It would be called "Come Away."

There'd be several small cabins. With a huge used bookstore. With a brewpub. With a bunch of outdoor recreation specialists doing what they love to bring the love of God's creation back into the hearts of tired, weary, over-churched and exhausted lay and clergy visitors.

A place where you are able to fully "retreat" as much as you'd like. Or not. A part of the center would be a place for silence (that's for my beloved bearded spouse). Another part would be full of art, and music, and laughter, and creative tasks like an on-going quilt project. There'd be flowers and an organic garden. And people could weed, tend or just walk in the gardens, but no kibitzing unless you are on your knees getting your hands dirty, too!

A place to come worship in the outdoor chapel in the trees, or in a glassed-in (solar fueled) sanctuary. (It goes without saying that I would want it to be 'green' in terms of power and use of resources!) The sanctuary would double as a concert hall, dance hall, preaching practicum, meeting space for conferences.

There'd be a place for respite care of elderly parents. Or children. Or anyone for whom the caregiver wants to be with -- but not to do their physical care for 24/7. So yes, there'd be a medical clinic and professionals too.

There'd be a place for job training. In hospitality industry. In food service. In the arts. In pastoral care. In medical specialties. In education or childcare. In landscaping. In physical plant maintenance, construction, etc. In retail sales. In just about anything that is involved in running a retreat center!

But I see this need for people to come away. They spend themselves, pour themselves out for their Lord, for their love of serving. They do it gladly. But they become tired. Very tired.

Evan Earwicker's song is running through my mind...

I can see the river run, in the city of my God
And the people now they run to bring their offering of praise
But can I steal away for a moment here with You?
I hear a whisper from the throne, "let's get away and be alone"
You know I love it when you say
Come away, your invitation now has come
Come away, come away and fall in love
Come away, come away and be romanced
Come away, I am asking for this dance.

Yes. Even an extrovert, hyper-committed, over-achiever knows her need... to come away and be in God's Presence.


OK - some day. No more dreaming... back to work!!


P.S. Your turn! Answer the question! ... and then link to it in the comments.

temper, temper

My, my, my.

A friend who is a teacher sent me this link to read the rants and raves of modern educator/s/. Well, as a student (as long as the checkbook holds out) I was a bit bemused. As I work on my second graduate degree, I still find professors who (a) do as little as possible to get by because they are tenured or (b) do as much as they can to help students learn and grasp their chosen profession. There doesn't seem to be any "Mr. (or Ms.) In-between" -- not in my experience, anyway.

I would also note that whoever wrote the rant on May 21st does not talk like a human being. At least, not like any of the people I deal with in the "real world." I am very VERY tired of people who sound like they swallowed a thesaurus, whether they be professors or seminarians. Actual quote:

"May your perfidy ramify through your life, so that all your dealings are as twisted as you are."
Goodness. Someone needs a nap!

Oh wait. I forgot. That's MY job. You lecture. I nap! Riiiiiiight. Whatever.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

For a guy, this is TMI

I have no great theological ponderings today. At least, no more than any other day. But I'm wondering about these unanswered questions of the female universe... and if you are a guy, this is probably TMI, so click on by...

WHY is it so hard to find a nice purse of the right size? WHY (when you do find the right size) must that purse look like it fell out of the foo-foo machine? You know, all blingified and stuff? I found one that sort of works (that isn't a tote bag or a glorified leather-covered black hole). By the time I load in my wallet, albuterol inhaler, checkbook, Palm, cellphone, keys and tissues, it's as heavy as a small suitcase.

WHY isn't there a comfortable bra that does its job without pain, or with straps that look like lederhosen? WHY must they either look like granny boulder holders or like strumpet city? I mean, must the bras which don't make you look cone-shaped or like the prow of a ship PINCH so dang much? And WHO was the idiot who decided that lace on such a tender part of the body would ever be comfortable?

WHY do women think thongs are comfortable? (I will never figure that one out!)

WHY do people tell a woman who is breast-feeding her baby to "go to the bathroom and do that"? Do THEY want to eat their meal in the ambiance of the Ladies' Room? And where do you sit
besides... well, you know. I'm just sayin'...

WHO thought of "wings" and WHY did they think that women needed instructions to peel off those little tabs and use them? It ain't rocket science...

WHY do I have to wear "heels" to be dressed up? WHY is my purse supposed to match? Why can't I find a pair of "dress Birkenstocks" and wear those instead?

There. A totally useless blog entry. That is, unless you're a woman.

That's my story and I'm sticking with it!


Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Five:Big Event Edition

Songbird wrote:
Did you know that the major purpose for forming a non-profit, RevGalBlogPals, Inc., was to be able to attract grant support for a large scale RevGalBlogPal meetup? My dream from the beginning has been attracting financial support that would allow as many of our bloggers to be together as possible.

RGBP, Inc. now has a planning committee, and we are in the early stages of planning the RevGalBlogPal Big Event. What, When, Where and Who are all on the table at the moment. In that spirit, I bring you the Big Event Friday Five.

1. What would the meeting be like? (Continuing Ed? Retreat? Outside Speakers? Interest Groups? Workshops? Hot Stone Massages? Pedicures? Glorified Slumber Party?)
Worship. Laughter. Brainstorming. Listening. Why bring in outside speakers when there is so much we don't get to hear from each other? I'd love to hear a Christian contemporary singer like Sara Groves or Ginny Owens. If you felt an outside speaker was essential, I'd love to hear Mimi Haddad from Christians for Biblical Equality, or Carrie Miles or any number of CBEs writers and authors!

2. When in 2008 might you be able to attend? January? Shortly after Easter? Summer? Fall? Some other time?
Beginning of the semester only. By the time we hit mid-terms and end-of-term, I am a hermit.

3. Where would your dream meeting location be? (Urban Hotel? Rural Retreat Center? New England Camp? Southwestern Fantasy Hotel? Far away from civilization? Nearby Outlets or Really Great Thrift Stores?)
Well, I'm a beach person. However, those areas are notoriously expensive. Not too far from a major airport hub since I would imagine most of us would fly. Maybe a beach resort off-season would be feasible (i.e. the beach in January would be cheaper than Denver!)

4. Who would make a great keynote speaker? (That's if #1 leads us in that direction.)
One of our matriarchs. Or one of our daughtriarchs.

5. Did I leave out something you want to suggest?
Please, PLEASE don't make it into a strident female fest. I was not happy with a recent event that I promoted others to attend (a breast-feeding advocacy "feed in" on capitol hill) when the voices got shrill and finger-pointing. Bring in politics (public or religious) and I'm not gonna be there.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Every Time I Breathe...

Words that are my heart... someone else put them to music!

I am sure all of heaven's heard me cry
As I tell You all the reasons why
This life is just too hard
But day by day
Without fail I'm finding everything I need
And everything that You are
To me

Every Time I Breathe
by Big Daddy Weave

PHOTO CREDIT: "Tears of Rain" by Biliana Rakocevic

Useless Theology

After finishing three (count 'em - THREE) research papers on esoteric theological topics* in less than a month, I had a great laugh over this from Everything2.com:

What was once just a rhetorical illustration used to demonstrate the futility of out-of-touch theological debates is now a exciting science experiment you can conduct in your very own home!

What you will need:
  • pencil and paper
  • one pin
  • a large number of angels (Note: Seraphim and cherubim are most desirable, but almost any angels will do. The garden Anaheim variety of angel should be avoided.)
  • one copy of "The Song That Doesn't End (Extended Version)"
Instructions: Insert the pin upright into a sturdy surface, such as a pin cushion or Styrofoam block. Begin playing "The Song That Doesn't End (Extended Version)" and instruct the angels to step onto the pin and begin dancing. Count each angel, stopping only when no more angels can dance on the pin, and remembering to make sure all of the angels are dancing on the pin and not just hovering above it, so as to avoid a potential source of error. Repeat several times, removing all angels from the pin after each trial. From these trials, determine the average number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin.

Not being a math-oriented person, I could not come up with a good algebraic equation as an adequate basis for this "study" but perhaps one of you left-brained-math-types will.

And now... back to Present Active Indicative and other fun endings in Greek. (Procrastinating is fun while it lasts!)


* Topics - Biblical women of the post-exilic period; Missional Churches and the Lord's Supper; The Corruption of Wisdom in I Corinthians 2:6-16 (all great cures for insomnia!)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Falwell's passing

Jerry Falwell passed away today, May 15th, after being found unresponsive in his office at Liberty University.

While I know he was beloved and cared for by many, including his family, church, students and supporters, I have always felt he was a mixed bag of blessing and embarrassment for evangelicals.

Like any person who stands in a position of leadership, it is easy to take potshots at him. He stood out in a crowd of televangelists and Baptist preachers. He was unashamedly Republican, and a conservative one at that. He seemed to join Pat Robertson in the "GWB foot-in-mouth club" for his amazingly inept public statements. Yet at some level he was likeable and personable, like some grandfatherly relative who bumbled along and you could tolerate because it was "just how he was."

Even his ghostwriter, Mel White, who came out of the closet and later founded Soulforce, admitted in an NPR interview:

"Jerry Falwell is a person you like immediately, up close and personal," White says. "He doesn't take himself seriously. He enjoys life. And even while he says some of the meanest things, it's hard to not like him."
As I ponder Falwell and people like him (such as the Chancellor of a certain Mideast seminary,) I truly don't know what to think. Initially I either want to scream or throw water balloons at them...

But then I ponder and pray, and have a variety of emotions and thoughts...

As a woman called to the pastorate, they annoy me tremendously for their stuck-in-their-ways values and narrow views of ordination.

As a mother, I appreciate their concern for the rising statistics of teenage sexual experimentation, and their voice against literature and the arts which subjugate or devalue women and girls (call it porn, tweenerbopper music, or designer kiddie fashionistas, it ticks me off!)

Somehow, somewhere, I pray for a gentler, honest voice on the issues he had raised. A dialog of listening, writing and accepting that people can differ in their opinions and still respect each other. Without being cocky, self-righteous or overconfident that one is always right... that would most definitely be my desire... so the learning and the listening and the heart of prayer for God's peace and right-ness starts with... ME!

The healing of the world does not begin in some far-off land that we must hasten to help, but in the geography of your own heart. There the sinner is washed in mercy and becomes thereby an instrument of mercy, not merely by his prayers, but in everything he does. For he is a vessel of grace. We cannot heal all the world’s problems, but we begin with our own heart if our help is to amount to anything.

— Fr. Matthew Kelty

I have not gotten this all figured out, but I know that I know I have much to learn...


Monday, May 14, 2007

You know you're a DE (Distance Ed.) student when...

...you have all of the wireless hotspots memorized in your hometown

...you have figured out your course schedule for the semester and then realized if you pay your tuition you can't afford housing when you get to modular week

...you have yet to figure out how you are supposed to research a project for your modular class when the library closes early every night you are on campus for your modular class.

...you know how to respond to the statement, "Oh, so if you take your classes on-line, you must have lots of free time!"

...you love the flexibility but hate the BlackBoard postings

...you love your family, your church and your friends... and have yet to figure out how to have good quality time with all of them when you have another paper due...

...you keep plugging away at your degree... maybe Jesus won't come back before you graduate!



P.S. Yes - I am in class this "summer" (the term started last week...) Intro to Biblical Languages and Church Administration. Nothing too taxing (har dee har har)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day


I love you, Mom-

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Friday Five: PoTAYto, PoTAHto

Reverend Mother of RevGalBlogPals writes: There are two types of people in the world, morning people and night owls. Or Red Sox fans and Yankees fans. Or boxers and briefs. Or people who divide the world into two types of people and those who don't. Let your preferences be known here. And if you're feeling verbose, defend your choices!

1. Mac? (woo-hoo!) or PC? (boo!) Why yes, the Friday Five author reserves the right to editorialize!
SIGH... I wish I had a Mac. I don't. It's a PC world.

2. Pizza: Chicago style luscious hearty goodness, or New York floppy and flaccid?
Chicago ALL THE WAY, baby!

3. Brownies/fudge containing nuts:
a) Good. I like the variation in texture.
b) An abomination unto the Lord. The nuts take up valuable chocolate space.
[or a response of your choosing]
Truly great brownies have nuts AND chocolate chips. Anything else is just amateur.

4. Do you hang your toilet paper so that the "tail" hangs flush with the wall, or over the top of the roll like normal people do?
Doesn't this depend on which hemisphere you live in? I mean, like there's a choice? "You canna change the laws of physics, Captain!"

5. Toothpaste: Do you squeeze the tube wantonly in the middle, or squeeze from the bottom and flatten as you go just like the tube instructs?
OK, I admit it. I went and read a tube of toothpaste... I'm an equal-opportunity squeezer. Sometimes I roll with it, and sometimes, I just squeeze that sucker.

Bonus: Share your favorite either/or.
Ohio State or Michigan? OHIO STATE - LET'S GO BUCKS! (Oh - Did I ever mention I'm a BIG OHIO STATE fan???)

I might be the last one to answer (so no one will read this) but I sure had fun!!


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Prayer for Childbirth

Something truly wonderful to pray for... a safe birthing experience - for every mother, for every child on the planet.

This is important, even if you aren't female, pregnant, or a parent, because as Jennifer VanderLaan points out at Birthing Naturally "we are all born!"

So in honor of a truly HAPPY mother's day... Check out their information on a Global Day of Prayer for Childbirth, planned for July 7, 2007.

I'll blog more about this later...


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Just showed up

I LOVE this hat!!!
It's on my birthday wish list.
I LOVE that it's not pink and purty with a girlie script and flower power stuff all over it.

It's a WOMAN OF GOD thang.
A claimed one.
A Called one.
A scared-to-death-but-I'll-preach-it one.

I guess it speaks to me like this song -
One that makes me stand up and claim GOD'S CALL on my life.

Look out Church!!!
I've just SHOWED UP for my own life - HIS and Mine in lockstep!


There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real
And I just showed up for my own life
And I'm standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright!

From Sara Groves
Song: "Just Showed Up"
Album: Add to the Beauty (2005)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Grading myself on a curve...

I can let everyone else have a break but me. I can't take being graded on a curve. I want that top o' the heap, nail the 100% A+ grade every time. Since I don't always achieve it, I'm setting myself up for disappointment every time I don't get that grade.

So where does that expectation come from? And why can't I take a solid "B" in a class and relax???

I know who is recorded on this "tape" in my head. I replay it over and over, and it isn't healthy. It makes me want to do one of two extremes: give up and say "why try? I never will!" or dig in my heels and aggressively tackle the assignment, or task ahead of me.

It drives my family crazy when I am in "A+" mode. And even if I joke with them about the fact that I can get a "C" on my paper and still get an "A" in the class, I want to nail that "A" just to prove I "deserve" to be in seminary.

What's with that?

I can give you several reasons why...
- the words from people in my past who tell me what a woman/wife/mother should or should not do
- the overwhelming feeling that I need to knock out quality work because it's for my vocation, my calling
- the unintended guilt trip from a professor who states that many students "do not take the time" to do quality work on a project or paper...

In the words of Stuart Smalley:
I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!"

Or as Robert McGhee says:
Satan's lie: "Your Worth = Your Performance + Others' Opinions"

I am going back to my Truth Card that I wrote out when I studied McGhee's Search for Significance a few months ago:
  • I am deeply loved by God (I John 4:9-10)
  • I am completely forgiven and am fully pleasing to God (Romans 5:1)
  • I am totally accepted by God (Col 1:21-22)
  • I am a new creation, complete in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17)

No longer bound
to earth's trails that deceive me
I am walking in faith
and in God's love that encompasses me.
I leaned on friends,
but now only YOU...


Still learning and leaning...

Friday, May 04, 2007

Friday Five: It's My Party

Songbird at RevGalBlogPals writes:
I hate to say it, but over the years I've been to too many parties where I, or the birthday child, has felt much like the chorus of Lesley Gore's old tune. I am therefore not the biggest fan of birthday parties.

For this Friday (which happens to be my birthday), tell us these five things about parties, birthday or otherwise.

1) Would you rather be the host or the guest?
I don't mind being either.

2) When you are hosting, do you clean everything up the minute the guests go home? Will you accept help with the dishes?
Clean up "EVERYTHING"? No. Clean up enough so that there's room on the counter to fix breakfast, yes. And oh YES - help is always welcome.

3) If you had the wherewithal, and I guess I mean more than money, to throw a great theme party, what would the theme be?
A Hawaiian luau - in Hawaii, natch.

4) What's the worst time you ever had at a party?
When the guy I thought was my date was there to hook up with someone else.

5) And to end on a brighter note, what was the best?
This is actually most of the time - when I can look around, and see the faces of people that I love...

There's a party goin' on right here
A celebration to last throughout the years
So bring your good times, and your laughter too
We're gonna celebrate your party with you


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Reminder on paper dolls!

Don't forget about the paper doll project! (I blogged about it here...)

We have about 20 paper dolls that should get mailed in the next week or two. Care to join in the effort? Full details here!

God's peace- the transcending kind...


Tuesday, May 01, 2007


I may worry for naught... but an email from my professor that she would be posting our grades on our research papers over the next 24 hours (with comments we are not to take as being "hurtful" but "helpful") has me on edge.

And NO -- this last paper, due Friday, is not done and is still being written. Methinks I will wait to check my grades until this last one is done. If I get a lower grade than I anticipate, it will likely derail my progress.

On a realistic note, I "did the math" and figured out that all I need is a 75% on this last paper (weighted) to get an A in the course. So that does take some stress off...

I truly dislike all of this...

Lord, keep me focused on Your heart and Your word, not my papers and my grades!!!