Tuesday, July 31, 2007

'cause all the cool kids are doing it...

You're Catch-22!

by Joseph Heller

Incredibly witty and funny, you have a taste for irony in all that you
see. It seems that life has put you in perpetually untenable situations, and your sense
of humor is all that gets you through them. These experiences have also made you an
ardent pacifist, though you present your message with tongue sewn into cheek. You
could coin a phrase that replaces the word "paradox" for millions of

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Monday, July 30, 2007

blocked... and I know why...

I am working on this one paper, ONE PAPER... and then the summer can be finished with family and friends as my priorities instead of school. As soon as this ONE PAPER is done, I can play, read and hang out without guilt.

That should be a great motivation. Should. Be.

The problem is... I am struggling to write. It's not a difficult paper. I'm not tracing a grand theological theme. I "only" have to write about the philosophical and practical framework for my vision for ministry of a community-based pastoral care ministry as it connects with my home church.

The blockage? It makes future ministry too "real" and I am in a fear of failure loop. It makes me dribble around in circles of self doubt and never get the guts to shoot the hoop.

Geesh. This is what I am pulled to do like a moth to the flame. But if I put it on paper, it suddenly scares the livin' daylights outta me... like I'm really a fraud. Or that I will truly stink at it.

OK. I know. I've been here before. I know it's a faith-building time. But that doesn't remove the simple, real fear...

I'm going to get some sleep and try again in the morning. One blinkin' paragraph at a time.

This. is. harder. than. it. looks...


Sunday, July 29, 2007

just a TASTE...

The view from the pool... Yeah... sigh... it was lovely. (This was taken at sunset and shows the Alpenglow... the way that the mountains change colors with the setting sun...)

More pics coming. And more thoughts. I know I get no sympathy for telling you this, but I still have a paper to write...


home.... home... home...

Wonderful to travel and be blessed with wonderful scenery and the love of family. More wonderful still to be home.


still to come!


P.S. MINDY! I met some cow friends of yours in Germany and Austria! Who'd a thunk it!??? Pics coming on that too...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Time to pack...

We have had a couple of wonderful days here in Munich. I have to say that I have enjoyed the city, but I am very glad it was our shortest leg. I am still a country girl at heart.

One of the joys of this trip as been taking along an iPod. I downloaded the "Pray-as-you-go" meditations and they have been a nice way to think and talk with God. I recommend them highly!

Yes - pictures WILL be coming. Once I am home and in sort of the same time zone I'll post the "good parts" version of the trip!

Later friends...

Friday, July 20, 2007

There IS a reward...


Let's make you jealous...

Picture this...

The Alps (snow already melted)
Big puffy clouds
Bright blue sky
A pool at a comfortable temperature
And a loungechair poolside.

I'm thinkin' I earned this one...

I will have pictures. The connection is very slow so you'll just have to imagine it...

Smirking but feeling very VERY blessed!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Packing... packing...

The new TSA regs make life interesting when one is traveling overseas for two weeks... Determining is a "gel-like consistency" and what is not has made for a fun rearrangement of my toiletries bag. Plus I heard from a friend who travelled Spain and back that they do not like "geezer boxes" of meds (my usual method of packing my meds because it is space-effecient!) She apparently did this and she got the, uh, "Spanish Inquisition" (and NOooobdy expects the Spanish Inquisition!) SO... I will take individual bottles and pillboxes and "geezer them up" when I arrive.

I have tolerated having a pat-down and getting the "special interviews" going and coming through Customs. I understand the reason for turning on and hand-checking all electronic devices. I even accepted that I would have to take off my shoes. But I feel a bit exposed having ALL the supplements and meds labeled for the world to read as I re-pack them.

In the grand scheme of things... it's nada...

See you in a few weeks, friends... don't feel too sorry for me!


Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Five: Magician or Muggle.... or both?

Reverendmother of RevGals writes:

As you may have seen in this Wednesday's Festival, Pottermania has hit the RevGals---though not all of them. Yes, I am all over Harry like a Seeker on the Snitch, but I know there are others who will be ecstatic to see the July madness end.

So today's F5 is a Choose Your Own Adventure: do the magical version or the Muggle one, or both:

Option 1: Accio Friday Five!

1. Which Harry Potter book is your favorite and why?
OOoohhhh.... dear.... must I choose? Um. Probably Goblet of Fire because of the labyrinth, and just when you think you have it figured out... you don't.

2. Which character do you most resemble? Which character would you most like to get to know?
Well, on the weeks that papers are due I am probably most like Moaning Myrtle. But actually, I'm probably closer to Ron, gender excluded, of course. I'm a klutz, tend to get my caboose in trouble for opening my yap, and I stick by my friends... But I'd like to get a clone of the Whomping Willow... just to keep stray cats from my garden!

3. How careful are you about spoilers?

tell me tell me tell me!!!!!! I won't get to read the book until about 2 weeks after it is out... what are the chances I won't hear anything? So I am resigned to hearing spoilers anyway.

4. Make one prediction/share one hope about book 7.

Malfoy buys it. And Hermione is the one who does him in!

5. Rowling has said she's not planning any prequels or sequels, but are there characters or storylines (past or future) that you would like to see pursued?
Well, there's the other schools of magic that came to the Tri-Wizard Tournament... I am SURE that they are each worthy of a series (and their own evil nemeses...)

Option 2: The Muggle Version...

1. Former U.S. First Lady "Lady Bird" Johnson died this week. In honor of her love of the land and the environment, share your favorite flower or wildflower.

Columbines... some beauties are growing (finally) in my garden
this year.

2. A man flew almost 200 miles in a lawn chair, held aloft by helium balloons. Share something zany you'd like to try someday.
I could be a Missus Smarty Pants and say "finish seminary" but... I love horses. I can't afford to even ride regularly.
I've always want to be someone who does barrel racing. Just don't make me sing Country. Please? PLEASE? I beg you....

3. Do you have an iPhone? If not, would you want one? no and nope.

4. Speaking of which, Blendtec Blenders put an iPhone in one of their super-duper blenders as part of their "Will It Blend?" series. What would YOU like to see ground up, whizzed up or otherwise pulverized in a blender?
Since it would be rude to say "You-know-who-Hilton" I guess I would dearly love to put the cellphones of those who talk (or text) on their cellphones in a restaurant or theatre, or (dare I say it??) in church!!!!

5. According to
News of the Weird, a jury in Weld County, Colo., declined to hold Kathleen Ensz accountable for leaving a flier containing her dog's droppings on the doorstep of U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, apparently agreeing with Ensz that she was merely exercising free speech. What do you think? Is doggy doo-doo protected by the First Amendment?
Well. What does the dog who gave the droppings think about all this? I mean -- was it with the dog's permission??? Seriously? I think that everyone concerned (the poo-pooed and the pooed-upon) need to take a chill pill. And apologize for being, um, poops. At the very least, it was bad manners. At least she didn't set it on fire like some people have done on folk's doorsteps back in their misspent youth... not that I would know or anything
... (and wouldn't YOU love a dog poop IluvU? The things a dog'll do... do...)

And now, folks, I need to get cracking and pack my bags... I'm off to Germany and Austria for two weeks. Total vacation... even if I do have to finish a paper in three days once I'm back!!!

If I have a place to connect to Net, I'll try to pop in with a picture or two. I'll lift a brew in your honor...


Missing my girl...

Reedy Girl has been at a conference for junior high kids this week. She's been with good friends and sponsors (church youth group) I know and trust... but it was a big change to have her away.

She comes back TODAY!!! HURRAY!!!

I've got some hugs overdue for giving...


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Values statements

I have to present some "Values Statements" for my Church Admin class... (Help me, Lord, only four days to get this done...)

SOooo with some humility and a beg for kindness... feel free to read over them and give me some feedback. (If you know me IRL you can fire me an email instead of posting comments...)

A caveat -I can only have 6-8 statements and they should encompass personal and professional values...

  • I value the Bible as God’s Living Word for its application to contemporary discipleship, and the truths of historical Christianity for the salvation of a rootless, contemporary society. (1 John 5:1-5; 2 Timothy 1:13-14; Joshua 1:8)
  • I value the full expression of emotions in those around me, and I desire to nurture emotional well-being in those with whom I live and work by representing the love, compassion, empathy, fairness, caring and respect extended to me by Jesus Christ. (Philippians 2:1-4; Titus 1:7-8)
  • I value a life that strives to know and live in the fullness of God’s love for me, is reflected in a living, breathing, and growing relationship with my Father God, and that testifies to the hope of God’s kingdom on earth and yet to come. (Matthew 6:31-33; Psalm 42:7-8; Romans 8:15-16; 1 John 3:2; Psalm 23:4; Isaiah 40:1-2a; Revelation 11:15b)
  • I value dependence on the Holy Spirit to transform and remold me into the image of Christ and to empower the use of my spiritual gifts in my home, church, community and world. (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 12:4-5)
  • I value authentic, caring, praying, healthy and healing relationships with other believers who are also committed to serving the people of our city by promoting justice, by caring for the poor, disadvantaged, and hurting, and by acting as a change agent concerning injustice in our community. (Romans 12:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 4:15-16; Psalm 68:5-6; Isaiah 61:1-2a)
  • I value a lifestyle which does not value possessions over people, and which is evidenced by a balanced approach to giving, saving and spending my financial resources. (Deuteronomy 8:17-18; Proverbs 21:20; Proverbs 6:6-8; Matthew 6:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:1-5)
There. Fire when ready...


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Foot Notes

Reedy Girl's birthday party has caused me to think about feet. You see, I did not remove the fancy-schmancy foot decor that the girls helped me create for my feet before church this morning. (PeaceBang might not have approved.) But it was fun, and besides, there are perks to going to a casual, contemporary kind of church!

However, this week I was on the worship team. I prefer to play keyboards barefoot. (NO - not WITH my feet, IN bare feet!) It comes from too many years of practicing in bare feet, I guess. It's just more comfortable to play in bare feet, or flats, than heels. Especially with the foot pedal. I never gave it much thought. It's just my habit.

Then one of the couples leaving church Sunday morning laughingly said to me, "I see you aren't barefoot since you put your flip flops back on!" As we joked about my barefoot rock'n'roll, the husband said, "Oooh! How funny! Your feet have their Sunday best on, too!" As I shared the story of Reedy Girl's birthday, and we had a good chuckle, it struck me that there are parts of our bodies we often neglect, or at least, leave for last.

I'm not much a fashion diva. (If you know me at all, that's no news flash!) Reedy Girl often coordinates or suggests improvements to my outfits. And frequently she suggests changes to my footwear.

Feet. If you think about it, they look kinda funny. Relatively hairless (unless you are a hobbit or have mutant hairs on your toes...) and with mini-sausage-shaped appendages. They get dirty. Rough. And occasionally smelly.

I just don't think much about my feet. Unless they hurt. Or I trip on something. Or when the new shoes I am wearing suddenly start to rub holes in my skin. They are on the end of my legs. They get me places. They don't dance well. They hate high heels but love toe socks!


Every hair on my head is numbered (and graying) and, for the moment, every toe on my foot is quite bedecked and decorated...

Nothing profound today... humor me!


Friday, July 06, 2007

Happy Feat

SOooo... after much anticipation, the guests arrived. Presents, giggles and happy-hyperness everywhere. After the BBQ, we had the main event of the evening. Creating custom flip flops.


bargain flip flops..
a rainbow of nail polish...
toe rings...
toe bling...
stick-on stuff...


Chick on a stick, hot dogs, chips, dip, fruit, chocolate cake...

(a close up of part of the birthday girl's creation!)


8 (hyper happy) girls...
2 (tired happy) parents...


There was plenty of advice on how to complete my work of art. Do note the bling on my flip flops. (I had toe rings on later... but not for this picture!) I also learned how to "polka dot" my toenail polish with a toothpick dipped in nail polish! According to the girls, I am officially a crazy mom ...but you probably already knew that!

And yes, it was fun. But I couldn't do it for a living.

Friday Five: Hasty Edition

ReverendMother of RevGals writes:

Whoops! I have been in a family-induced haze these few days, with the July 4 holiday and taking time off while relatives are visiting. So I literally lost track of what day it was!

So rather than make you guys wait even one minute longer for the five, I'll dig up an oldie:

Today, what are you:

1. Wearing
Capris, a tank top and a pair of happy bare feet!

2. Reading
FIRST - I am WAITING for the next HP book!!! But in the meantime, I am reading Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell (OK, so I am a month behind on RevGals reading!) and a smattering of (YAWN!!!) Church Administration textbooks. Slogging through Leviticus in my daily Bible chapters. Not to mention the odd "eh, THAT looks interesting" at the library...

3. Eating
Fresh strawberries and blueberries on my cereal this morning!

4. Doing
Getting ready for Reedy Girl's Birthday BBQ tonight! 7 friends are coming. We are having Chicks on a stick, chips and dips, chocolate cake and having fun with flip flops (decorating them!) Should be wild and fun to boot.

5. Pondering
The conservative Christian subculture. (See this post...)

Yeah. It's been a pot-stirring week. He he. "Mischief managed."


A Coalition? or a Reaction?

I am intrigued by the recent establishment of "The Gospel Coalition". Apparently, the likes of John Piper, C.J. Mahaney, Mark Driscoll and D.A. Carson felt that the "modern evangelical church" was "drifting away" from the constructs and designs of Her "roots."

A recent conference, attended by fifty men who comprise a "Who's Who" of evangelical conservatism, announced a call to reform and renewal in the evangelical church today. The head shots of forty male "stakeholders" are comprised of two African-Americans, three or four of Asian descent and the rest were the majority: white males with a few Hispanic pastors sprinkled in for diversity.

What is more noteworthy are the faces and names of those who are NOT on their website. Names like N.T. Wright, T.D. Jakes, Bill Hybels, and Brian McLaren. This is what gives me hope. Brighter, better trained minds than mine can see through the smoke screen! The "finger in the dyke" mentality is being rejected in favor of a truly Biblical world view and living out of the Christian faith.

Why am I "intrigued" by this? Shouldn't I be outraged?

I see this as another sign of the defensive posturing and a reactionary attitude of many in the Church towards the egalitarian work of men and women in ministry.

Also, I guess I have come to see that I am not, and will never be, invited to scratch in their sand box. I'm not about to start a war of words with those who have established and successful "churches." They hold the credentials card and I acknowledge that. But though they may command large congregations with big budgets, that is not how they will be Judged as successful. Or noteworthy. Or influential in the grand scheme of things.

I will agree on the need for the personal renewal for all who call themselves followers of Jesus. I will affirm their statements that the Church exists to be a witness of Jesus Christ to our world, and that we have lapsed into a comfortable, self-centered existence. I will pray for the Holy Spirit to lead, guide and direct any of us who are involved in Church leadership and nurturing of the sheep. And, I will ask for God to convict us all in our areas of blind spots and misguided theology.

The rest of their actions will be judged by God now, and by history. If this indeed a "reaction" and not a "coalition" then we will all know. Soon. And no amount of defensiveness on my part or theirs will be able to stop the movement of God in the Church.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

It's a heartache...

I heard today of another pastor-blogger's heartache. I won't share her story. It is hers to tell. Suffice it to say that I have heard this story too often in the last few years...

Bonnie Tyler sang it best...

It's a heartache
Nothing but a heartache
Hits you when it's too late
Hits you when you're down
It's a fool's game
Nothing but a fool's game

Standing in the cold rain
Feeling like a clown.
I have no answers... just my quiet, broken-hearted prayers reaching up to God alongside hers...



I don't even know how it happened.

Some jerk phished my account and tried to sucker us out of over $2000 in less than 24 hours!

Fortunately, I check my on-line accounts FREQUENTLY and carefully, so I caught it quickly. But I feel violated. As well as vulnerable and pissed off.

I am very VERY careful with how I use my card. I don't use web sites that don't have high security. When possible, I use PayPal or another means of payment where my information is secure.

It was not even easy to get through to my bank. I sat through endless "automated messaging systems" and playing "phone bingo" with customer service for about 20 minutes. Finally a live human being!!! I found out from my bank that there were 20 more "requests" in the queue.

The friendly guy in the fraud department told me that it could have come any number of places where you would think it is secure.
...at a restaurant where the server takes your card (and takes a picture of it with a cell phone camera, both sides.)
...at a gas station
...at a store or vendor of any kind where they stop and look at the back of the card for your signature

SO yeah.

I've changed my on-line passwords (which was a royal pain!)
I've checked to be sure my anti-virus and anti-spyware programs are up-to-date.

Like Sgt. Phil used to say, "be careful out there!" (10 bonus points if you know the show that quote is from... if you DARE to admit your age!!!)


Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Sorry... I'm tweaking the template I want to use and it is not looking as nice as I wanted. SOooo I'm back to a generic Blogger one until I figure out what I'm doing wrong with my CSS...

who really is procrastinating studying.... (but you knew that!)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Church For Men

Apparently the modern evangelical church is unfriendly to men.

I am not making this up. David Murrow has a website and is selling a book about it. According to him, there are seven "proven principles for creating a man-friendly church" today.

Rick Warren in his "Pastor's Toolbox" has included an article by the author to explain these principles. I won't quote the rationale here (it's copyrighted after all) but I would like to respond to them...

Principle one: Cultivate a healthy masculine spirit in your church.

Excuse me. How about a HUMAN spirit? Wait, no, that's not good theology. How about the HOLY Spirit? Too simplistic? Too touchy-feely? Does this mean we are going to get more of the football analogies and wrestling match metaphors?

Principle two: Make men feel needed and wanted.

Yes. And women too. And children. And the poor and ill. The refugee. The disenfranchised.

Principle three: Present Christ's masculine side.

It makes sense that Christ was made incarnate in a male gendered person for a male-dominated first-century world. We've come a long way, baby. Or maybe not.

Principle four: Avoid feminine terminology.

Apparently, according to Murrow, words such as "relationship" or "precious" are not words that a "typical man" would say. I am sure that the women they are married to would agree -- but perhaps it is time to change this??

Principle five: Preach shorter sermons.

The "ADD'ing of America" has hit both genders. I am not sure this is a "manly" problem. However, if Murrow means to stop preaching sermons that sound like you swallowed a Greek lexicon, or you have miscellaneous facts you learned in seminary and must squeeze them in or your brain will pop, I'm the first to yell AMEN!

Principle six: Become students of men.

Murrow feels that pastors spend their time making women volunteers "happy" and they don't "understand" men. I can see the collective head-scratching of my fellow female church members on that one.

Principle seven: Create a culture of person-to-person challenge.

Murrow suggests that it should not be a pulpit-only challenge to personal growth in Jesus, but a one-on-one, iron-sharpening-iron mode. And this only works for men???


Ugh. Now why is it that when books like this are published they are hailed as "ground-breaking" but if one were to be written from women's perspective it is often referred to as "divisive" and "strident"???

I really do try to not sound like a crazed feminist, but when I read stuff like this, I either want to hurl something at my computer, or just hurl.

Jesus came, lived and died for ALL people. Men. Women. Slave. Free. Jew. Greek. Or was Paul just joking in Galatians 3?

There are issues in the church today that have nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, to do with gender, and much more to do with real, painful, human needs.

Things like single-parent households. Divorce. Infidelity. Addictions. Lifestyle choices. Music and cultural icons that should be challenged for being ungodly and unhealthy.

OK, so I'm an idealist. I'll admit that. And I am "only" a student. Guilty again.

But somewhere, somehow, we in the Church need to stop pitting men and women against each other and start considering how to build up the Church together, and not compartmentalize it into special interest groups. It doesn't matter who gets more attention. Or where they sit. Or who is in charge. It really doesn't.

It does matter Who we are there to worship and serve. Somehow, I think we all tend to forget that. And books like Murrow's are part of this "me-serve" mentality.

Rant mode off...


Jesus said: "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A night at the Opera...

NOoooo.... not THAT one

We went to see The Phantom of the Opera at the Kennedy Center Friday night. Such fun! And even though it was not cheap in the "nosebleed seats" it was still worth it. It was a four-way birthday celebration since we managed to compress our birthdays into two months of the year, June and July!

Our lovely daughters! At left, Reedy Girl and the Harpist pose on the terrace of the Kennedy Center. Our couture was approved and coordinated by Reedy Girl. The Harpist is in a new ensemble she wanted for her birthday. Even Beloved Bearded Spouse and I cleaned up pretty well for this auspicious occasion!

"Masquerade! Paper faces on parade . . ."

I couldn't resist getting them to pose when we saw these masks at the gift shop! (No, we didn't buy them...)

It was truly a magical night. Even if we did drive into Northern Virginia because we missed a turn and ended up on the Roosevelt Bridge... (ooops! that was our turn!) ...did a U-turn to cross back over the bridge again, made another U-turn to go the right direction on New Hampshire Avenue, and then made an illegal left turn to finally find the Kennedy Center parking garages.

Ah well. It was worth every pretty penny!