Wednesday, October 31, 2007

fun vs. madness

As this rant begins, please understand that I like to have fun. I like to dress up. I've bought my share of Disney costumes because "nothing else" would do.

We've handled Hallowe'en different ways. We've just gone to a "holy" Hallowe'en party at a church (aka "Harvest Party" or "Trick or Trunk" which takes the holiday and plasters it with Bible characters.) We've been at a friend's house. We've walked our kids around the neighborhood and socialized with friends... and we've gone away for the weekend. I've sewn elaborate costumes, and created simple ones. This year I have done nothing to help the girls with their costumes... they both had their own ideas. One is dressed as "Polly" from "An Acceptable Time" and the other one is "A Paradise Lost" (A pair of dice- lost). I am going to be "Miss Understood". Tiara, scepter and regal banner across my chest.

It was the article in the Washington Post yesterday on the highly hyped and sexied-up costumes for our girls that first got my thoughts whirling. Though I don't know what took so long to get people's attention, because I have been distressed by some of this "tarting up" of Hallowe'en (not my favorite holiday, anyway.)

I wonder why we feel the need to give in to these whims of our kids, especially our girls. Why we let them bare their bellies or wear fishnets and high heels. Yes, it is only make-believe. Yes, they can pretend. But do you really REALLY want your 10 year old to be dressed up as a "french maid"? Or as some kind of "fairy-licious" creature who is showing more skin than they do in a bathing suit? Why is it that boys don't seem to feel the need to accentuate their various body parts?? Google "pre-teen Halloween" and see what I mean...

There is a line between being a prude, being creative, and being exploitative. I don't know as I have figured that one out yet. But there's one thing I do hope becomes clear...

I hope parents will finally realize that most of the costumes out there are market-driven, product placement cheap "made-in-prison-factories" outfits. They are not creative. They are not fun. They sell movies. They capitalize on games. This is all OK, I guess, as long as you can see yourself as a market-driven pawn.

I really dislike it. (That summation was in case I wasn't clear...)



Monday, October 29, 2007

Freeze Warning

The weather service just issued our first "Freeze Warning" for the season. Time to fire up the furnace, (we haven't yet), cover the plants and find my fleece socks and fuzzy slippers...

Interestingly, the cats were warning us of this a few days ago. They were always finding snuggly places and warm humans. Fleecy blankets which were ignored a month ago are prized landing zones. And don't leave anything wuzzly on a flat surface or you will have a cat holding it down for you.

But what started this post was actually a phrase in the email "ALERT" that just popped in...

"The first FREEZE WARNING of a season usually signifies the end of the annual growing season for the warned area. A freeze warning is issued when below freezing conditions are imminent. These conditions will kill crops and other sensitive vegetation left outdoors."

A lot of my studies this semester have been focused on creating a climate for spiritual growth. Preaching. Teaching. Small groups. Pastoral care. "Disciple-making" and "leadership development" come with a lot of early warning systems for the "end" of a spiritual growing season. At least, I think that there are some "freeze warnings" for our hearts. Simple things like...

  • Excuses
  • Lowered commitment (in time, talents or treasures)
  • Lack of follow-through
I look at my own "growth curve" and my own cycles of growth and struggle. There's times of amazing growth and lush development of my gifts. There's the fruit-bearing and harvest times. There's also the pruning and 'die-back' season when things seem fallow and dead. And then, the time again for buds and promised change.

Where am I now? Where are you? I think that as we ask each other these questions, we all become more fruitful for the Kingdom's sake. Even in the coming "FREEZE"... God is there.

But as someone who is committed to seeing others grow spiritually, there is also a lesson in this. I can't make anyone "grow." And I am not responsible if they choose not to. And... perhaps the most important... the climate I set and maintain is only the setting, not the reason for their growth.

Just musing...


Sunday, October 28, 2007

sometimes I won't lock-step

I got one of these emails that we all probably get...

"I wanted to alert you to this terrible _______ (movie/book/product/activity) that is being promoted. It will destroy our children's faith and bring us all into heresy if we _______________ (watch it/read it/use it/do it). Tell all of your friends to boycott ________________!"
NOTE: This is not an actual email.
This is similar to many I have received.

OK. It's time for a mild rant...

First of all, I have usually deleted without a thought the emails that suggest I don't love Jesus if I don't forward whatever someone has sent with with artsy-fartsy graphics and glitter text, with a Bible verse tacked on the end. I do love Jesus. I just don't think He wants to see His Name linked with this stuff. And I also don't like the ones that expect me to send it back to you if you are my BFFIJC - (...for those of you not in the know, that "Best Friend Forever In Jesus Christ.") And if you have sent me these emails, I apologize for being so rude about it. But I am still your friend if I don't send it back to you. I promise.

Second, I really, REALLY dislike Bible verses used out of context. And in these kinds of emails, they usually are. Don't make me get out my commentaries and use them on you.

Third, I don't think that just because a leading Christian organization or speaker doesn't like a specific movie/book/product/activity excuses me from the right to use my own MIND and DISCERNMENT to prayerfully evaluate it. Your life may require that you abstain from things like this. Or, your personality make-up may cause you to struggle with certain things that don't bother me. (And to be honest, the reverse may be true.) I think in these cases, it calls for acceptance that others may interpret the "shoulds" differently that you or I do. And it's OK. Really.

That's it. I'm done. (Stick a fork in me...)


Saturday, October 27, 2007

makes no sense

Yeah... there's folks who make
about this much sense in real life too.
The more I try to puzzle it out,
the more stupid it seems!

And, since I have rehearsal in the early a.m.
this cogitator needs to just chuck it
and go to bed...
can't say no mo about this...
just trust me on this one.





(and don't call me Saturday night... I will be BUSY!)

just sayin...


Friday, October 26, 2007

Good for what ails ya...

As I slowly rise to consciousness to hunker down over my paper, I have decided that coffee is good for what ails ya.

Especially GOOD coffee.
FRESH coffee.

Today's Flavor Combo:
Chocolate Fudge coffee beans, freshly ground and brewed...
Coconut Creme flavored creamer...

Oh man.
It's like Mounds bar in my cup!!!

On a rainy Friday, it kicks.
I'm just sayin...


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Friday Five: It's a Pumpkin!

Singing Owl of RevGals says...

All Hallows Eve (Halloween) is near. As a child, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. We didn’t yet worry about razor blades in apples or popcorn balls or some of the other concerns people have with Halloween these days. Halloween was a chance to be mildly scared, and better yet, to dress up and pretend to be something we really weren’t. Let’s talk about that a bit, but then let’s add in some food ideas for this year. Where I live the leaves are falling, the temperature is chilly and pumpkins are for sale everywhere, along with many kids of apples. What's more, the "Holiday Season" will soon be upon us. ACK! I could use a new idea for dessert. So, here we go…
1. How did you celebrate this time of year when you were a child?
Usually with some kind of PTA carnival at school. My parents opted out of participating after many years of organizing and planning them. By the time they had survived four kids' worth of carnivals... they just dropped us off at school!

2. Do you and/or your family “celebrate” Halloween? Why or why not? And if you do, has it changed from what you used to do?
It depends on what is going on for the church or neighborhood. We have done the neighborhood "trick-or-treat" thing. We've gone to a holy version of Halloween called a "Harvest Party" with hordes of kids wearing their parents' bathrobes and towels tied on their heads (all of us representing some "biblical costume." My favorite was the family covered in "leaves" made from trash bags... they were Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel.) We've gone camping and been out of town.

The photo here is from two yeas ago, when The Harpist was "Cyradis" (you have to have read David Eddings... it is too long to explain.) Reedy Girl was a DORITO! (Note the Orange Hair!) This year, for the first time, we won't have anyone going out in costume to get candy. However, R
eedy Girl may go dressed as an umbrella to school on Halloween this year. (I PROMISE pictures for that if it happens!!!)

2 (1/2?) Candy apples: Do you prefer red cinnamon or caramel covered? Or something else?
Eh. I like apples au naturel. Or in a pie. Or made into applebutter.

3. Pumpkins: Do you make Jack O’ Lanterns? Any ideas of what else to do with them?
We have carved and decorated them in the past. I don't know about this year. Should be interesting. I've always wanted to go to the pumpkin chucking contest here in Maryland, though! And the day after Halloween, the elephants at the National Zoo in Washington, DC get to smash pumpkins and eat them. I've always wanted to go see that, too.

4. Do you decorate your home for fall or Halloween? If so, what do you do? Bonus points for pictures.
Not really. Usually just a jack-o-lantern.

5. Do you like pretending to be something different? Does a costume bring our an alternate personality?
I don't know if that's really the case. (Or if it is, I am stranger than you think...) One year I was a blue crayon (a blue leotard and tights, a cardboard tube decorated to look like the wrapper, and a blue flowerpot on my head.) Another time I was a bag of jelly beans (balloons inside a clear garbage bag, tied with a ribbon.) Another time my beloved and I wore boxes painted to look like "dice" and had signs around our necks saying "I'm lost." ("Pair of dice - lost" Get it?? - har de har har.)

Bonus: Share your favorite recipe for an autumn food, particularly apple or pumpkin ones.

Baked Apples and Squash (You'll find this on our table EVERY Thanksgiving!
  • 1 lbs tart apples (Granny Smiths are good)
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 3/8 cup cup currants
  • 3/8 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp butter, chunked into small pieces
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • nutmeg, salt and pepper
Peel, quarter lenthwise, seed and cut crosswise the squash into 1/4 inch thick pieces. (About 3 cups). Cook in a large pot of water until almost tender, about 3 minutes. Drain.

Peel, quarter, cut crosswise and seed apples into 1/4 inch thick slices. (About 3 cups).

Combine squash, apples, and currants in a 9" square glass pan. Season generously with spices.

Combine maple syrup, butter and lemon juice in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 10% power until butter melts. Stir. Microwave until bubbly. Stir and pour over pan. Toss squash and apples to coat evenly.

Cover pan with foil. Bake at 350 degrees until squash and apples are very tender, stirring occasionally (about 1 hour). Cool 5 minutes before spooning into serving bowl.

THANKSGIVING DAY BONUS: This recipe can be made a day ahead! Allow to cool on counter after baking. Cover with foil and put in fridge. Rewarm in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes OR (if you use a microwave-save pan) in the microwave.

Enjoy! Bon Appetite!


Poetry Party #6

Abbey of the Arts is hosting her next Poetry Party... She writes...

I’ve been reflecting a lot on grief and brokenness lately – I think there is something beautiful in our capacity to mourn over loss, to have an instinctual longing for life, to grow from our woundedness. Below is an image I took at Mt Rainier this summer and then altered in Photoshop as an experiment. Feel free to take your poem on the beauty of brokenness in any direction you please. I look forward to your marvelous gifts of words.

This picture struck an immediate chord with me. I am stepping into God's Call more and more surefootedly - more and more openly. And with so much joy! The dry places are being watered. The barren places are full of growth. It is stunning. It is envigorating. It is also terrifying. Because the picture is one that is in MY mind - of how I perceive myself. I think, as I ponder it all, that in GOD'S mind, it is blooming and lush and there are birds and animals and JOY raining down everywhere in showers of petals and leaves...

I guess you need to know this... Years ago, I started down a path towards vocational ministry. It was hard. I was young and stupid. I did not have supportive mentors and encouragers. I was beaten back, beaten down, ignored, chastised, vehemently rebuked for daring to try to be a pastor (after all, I am female!) and even scolded and told I had "no gift for ministry" -- and in my confusion, I believed these voices of condemnation...

(Anyway, having said all that... Here's my entry.)

Never say never.

Once I said I'd never climb again.
I said I wouldn't try to scale
the heights
the depths
the rough places
of caring and listening
of preaching and teaching
of serving and pouring out.
It hurt too much.
Even though the Call was unmistakeable,
the Pull relentless,
I was afraid. I said NO.

It's been years.
The branches that bore fruit are starting to bear again.
The places that were pruned give new growth.
And here I am...
Back in harness.
Full of challenge.
Full of joy.
I am doing what I was MADE to do.
It's amazing.
It's freeing.
It's all God.

This time, though
I climb with focus and intent
I climb with steady progress and thoughtful plans
And that safety harness?
Yes. You bet.
Jesus hasn't let go of me yet!

Deb Vaughn

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

sermon writing time...

I'm working on my next sermon... (I know you weekly preachers probably are chuckling at my "occasional" sermon writing. I'm still a student, ya dig?)

ANYWAY -- the only way I make progress is teasing out where God is leading is by listening. And singing. SO... here's the words to one that is kinda cranking on the back burner...

Search my heart, search my mind, search my soul
Make me clean, make me new, make me whole

All of my plans, all of my dreams, I lay them down before Your feet
All of my time, all that was mine, I now submit to Your design
'Cause you are the one only one that give it all away for me
that give it all away for me

You are my strength, You are my God, you are my King
You make me laugh, You make me dance, You make me sing

All of my plans, all of my dreams, I lay them down before Your feet
All of my time, all that was mine, I now submit to Your design
'Cause you are the one only one that dared to give it all away for me
that give it all away for me (give it all away..)

Everything inside, everything outside, I give it all away
You never change, but You rearrange my heart more everyday

All of my plans, all of my dreams, I lay them down before Your feet
All of my time, all that was mine, I now submit to Your design

All of my plans, all of my dreams, I lay them down before Your feet
All of my time, all that was mine, I now submit to Your design
'Cause You are the one who can make my life complete
You are the one who can give light to my feet
You are the one, Only one who that give it all away for me
that dared to give it all away for me...
that dared to give it all away
that dared to give it all away for me...
that dared to give it all away for me...

Search my heart, search my mind, search my soul ....

Aaron Shust - "Give it all away"

Yes. ALL of them. At Your Feet... I submit them to Your design.


Now playing: Aaron Shust - Give It All Away
via FoxyTunes

Monday, October 22, 2007

First Dunk

I had another pastor-in-training milestone... I was blessed to baptize Sarah yesterday, a woman in our college and career ministry. I didn't hit her head on the side of the hot tub (the pool was under 70 degrees, so we opted for the hot tub!) And... she came back up, breathing.

One of the pastoral staff who were there (they were ALL there) said that for a first baptism, it was tricky. Yeah. Negotiating the small space and shallow water was a bit of a challenge. And it could have been nerve-wracking since there were lots of other folks there, just to celebrate with her. I didn't want to make a pastoral "bloopers" reel. Darin did the intro and charge. And then it was time to get wet!! But you know? I wasn't nervous. I had the privilege of being His hands. He had already done His work in Sarah's heart... I just helped her seal it. And the rest was not "my job" at all... (Funny how that works.)

There's many pastor "firsts" I guess. I didn't realize how many. First time you preach. First time you baptize, marry and bury. First time you counsel someone. First time you lead communion. First time you hear your name and "pastor" from someone in the same breath... and I hadn't stopped to ponder all that before.

So many firsts -- and if they all flow as naturally as this one... Wow... It's something to watch GOD work... that's all...


Now playing: Phil Keaggy - Waterfall
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Friday Five: Top Chef

RevHRod at RevGalBlogPals writes:

This Fall my family has been energetically watching Top Chef on the Bravo channel. My teenage daughter watches with the dream of some day being a chef. My husband watches because he loves reality shows and I mean, really loves them. Plus the whole competition thing really works for him. Me, I love cooking and good food. Every so often I get an idea from this group of talented young chefs who are competing for big money and honors galore.

The winner for this season was Hung. Not the fan favorite, but he won fair and square. In his bio, he says if he were a food "I would be spicy chili - it takes a while to get used to, but once you eat it you always come back for
more!" With that in mind, here is this week’s Friday Five.

  • If you were a food, what would you be?

  • I would most likely be some crazy combination of flavors with a weird title. Something that sounds like a Ben and Jerry's flavor of ice cream. Something with unexpected bits of spunky flavor, with the occasional meltdown, and definitely something that tickled. I might be a flavor that takes some getting used to, but once you do, you enjoy it in a weird kind of way. Nothing bland, though. I would not be a casserole with cream of mushroom soup. But I also would not be so exotic that you'd never try to have me around again... (And if you can figure out what in the heck I am, let me know! Because I don't have a name for me other than 100% Deb!)
  • What is one of the most memorable meals you ever had? And where?
    It would have to be the little restaurant in Northern Virginia where we went for a friend's wedding reception. They had lobster bisque for one of the courses. Chicken Marsala that was fabulous. And there was some kind of kickin' chocolate dessert. The lobster bisque alone was so fabulous I wanted to lick the bowl! But it WAS someone's wedding reception. And I WAS trying to be a grown-up. (Even if they didn't have crayons to color at the tables... sigh...)

  • What is your favorite comfort food from childhood?
  • My mom's fresh bread from the oven with country butter. White. Yeasty. Totally yum. And the smell of bread baking as I came in the door from school? (drool, drool....) Then add to that some of her homemade jelly or jam??? Oh my.

  • When going to a church potluck, what one recipe from your kitchen is sure to be a hit?

  • Well not THIS one. (Scroll down... I just blogged about it...) Every summer I make a batch of peach salsa and the batch I took to the Labor Day picnic disappeared before anyone came back for seconds. It's only good when you make it with FRESH peaches. One of the highlights of our summer...

  • What’s the strangest thing you ever willingly ate?
  • It would have to be fried chicken necks. Yes. Really. Deep fried. Supposedly you crack them open and slurp. I could not ever do it again. And darn! Part of mine fell on the ground and the dogs took it away.

    Bonus question: What’s your favorite drink to order when looking forward to a great meal?
    My absolute favorite is a good German wine. A pinot gris perhaps. And if you happened to serve it to me in a jacuzzi overlooking the German Alps, so much the better... sigh...

Bon Appetit!

Should be...

...getting dinner ...studying ...practicing ...maybe even praying ...or practicing my French...

INSTEAD - I wandered over to The Gallery of Regrettable Food! and then clicked onward to find a recipe for the worst jello and food combination I could think of... who knew that someone had actually made Carrot Olive Lime Jello??
Oh my. How positively disgusting. I must be finding this humorous because I have spent too many hours in a Greek Lexicon today... or because I'm just warped.

While it could indeed be my lackadaisical cooking, this time it isn't. Click on over and enjoy... funny stuff!



These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want. [Jude 16]

I re-read Jude after my friend Dana preached on it... and as part of my word study of "complaining" which I will be preaching on next month. This little word "contentment" keeps popping up on my mental radar screen.

regardless of circumstances.
regardless of whether or not what I do is worthy of recognition.
regardless of how hard the job or seemingly unimportant the task.
resting in God's direction, care and counsel.

Complaining and a lack of contentment are linked in a deep way. Now if I can just tease that out so that I can show God's way, not our "default mode" of operations...

Just thinking out loud...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

On being grateful...

I finished the book Left to Tell last night. It is the story of Immaculee Ilibagiza and what she experienced as a Tutsi woman during the Rwandan Holocaust. I could hardly put the book down...

Several moments in her story gripped me, but there is one part of her novel that was a clear reminder of a heart that is focused on being grateful...

Immaculee and seven other women hid in a small bathroom in a Hutu's home for 91 days. The night after they were released to the French army for protection, Immaculee and the others slept outside on the ground. The French soldiers were apologetic because there was no room for them inside, but she did not care. She said that she could sleep under the stars, the Face of her Father God! She was grateful for the crackers and small food items they were fed. Grateful for being able to wash her clothes. She was grateful for LIFE!!!

Her faith, her absolute trust in God's protection and love for her kept her focused on her future, in a day where there seemed to be none. Her love for God did not diminish went nearly all of her immediate family were brutally slaughtered.

In a country of Happy Meals and fast internet service... with generations of people who are used to having what they want when they want it...

I wonder...

...are we grateful? or just used to having the world as our oyster...



Monday, October 15, 2007

spinning my wheels...

I haven't gotten this balance between an honest self-appraisal and rating myself in the bottom ten of whatever I attempt. As I wrestle with this, you'll have to be patient with where I'm blogging from day to day. I know I seem to vascillate between "I AM all that and a bag of chips" and "I am a flippin' idiot." Not just in preaching, but in anything.

Healthy? Yes, when I can take myself less seriously and yet be serious about growing.
Unhealthy? Sure. Because I obsess and deal with perfectionist "tapes" in my head.

As I pray and think on this, I understand that the same drive to do it all "perfectly" is the same drive that causes me to self-destruct, or to not move at all in a fit of anxious "how-am-I-gonnas"...

Not stuck... just spinning my wheels on this...

Now playing: Casting Crowns - And Now My Lifesong Sings
via FoxyTunes

Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday Five: The B-I-B-L-E

Mother Laura of RevGalBlogPals writes:

Does everyone remember the old Sunday School song?

The B-I-B-L-E,
Oh, that's the book for me.
I take my stand on the Word of God,
The B-I-B-L-E.

I have been working on an expansive language version of the Psalms and the Liturgy of the Hours/Divine Office/Breviary. (For you non-liturgical gals and pals, that's a set of prayers for morning, noon, evening, etc., mostly consisting of Psalms and other biblical texts).

So I have been thinking a lot about the Bible recently, and how we encounter it as God's Word--or don't--in our lives, prayer, and ministry. (Great minds think somewhat alike this week, as yesterday's Ask The Matriarch post dealt with ways to help as many people in a community as possible engage with a scriptural text in preparation for Sunday worship).

So, in that spirit, I offer my first Friday Five. I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's experience and reflection on these B-I-B-L-E questions:
1. What is your earliest memory of encountering a biblical text?
Probably Sunday School - and I don't know how old I was, or what the text was.

2. What is your favorite biblical translation, and why? (You might have a few for different purposes).
For study (as in analysis): New American Standard or New Revised Standard
For devotional times: New Living Translation or The Message
For teaching and preaching: It depends on how it is phrased, but either NIV, NLT Contemporary English, or The Message. Sometimes The Message is so "down-home" as to seem rude... and other times, it cuts to the chase.

3. What is your favorite book of the Bible? Your favorite verse/passage?
That is a very hard one... I love the Psalms. I even have begun to love the Post-Exilic Prophets after my (tough) seminary class on them last year. As a book, probably Hosea (though I have not ever wanted to name a child Gomer!!) My "life verses" are Psalm 40:1-3

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.

4. Which book of the Bible do you consider, in Luther's famous words about James, to be "an epistle of straw?" Which verse(s) make you want to scream?
I'm still in seminary. I plead the fifth.

5. Inclusive language in biblical translation and liturgical proclamation: for, against, or neutral?
In the words of a former President of the United States, it depends on your definition... "inclusive" where the words "man" or "he" are obviously intended for humanity vs. male gender, OK. If you are going to extend it to ridiculous limits then no. (...Such as one translation or liturgy that I read which named Mary as "the parent of Jesus" -- and no I don't remember where I read it...)

Bonus: Back to the Psalms--which one best speaks the prayer of your heart?
Psalm 62 [CEV]

Only God can save me, and I calmly wait for him.
God alone is the mighty rock that keeps me safe
and the fortress where I am secure.
I feel like a shaky fence or a sagging wall.

How long will all of you attack and assault me?
You want to bring me down from my place of honor.

You love to tell lies, and when your words are kind,
hatred hides in your heart.

Only God gives inward peace, and I depend on him.
God alone is the mighty rock that keeps me safe,
and he is the fortress where I feel secure.

God saves me and honors me.
He is that mighty rock where I find safety.

Trust God, my friends, and always tell him
each one of your concerns.
God is our place of safety.

We humans are only a breath;
none of us are truly great.
All of us together weigh less than a puff of air.

Don't trust in violence or depend on dishonesty
or rely on great wealth.

I heard God say two things:
"I am powerful,
and I am very kind."

The Lord rewards each of us according to what we do.

That's it for me...

Now playing: Pat Metheny & Lyle Mays - Estupenda Graca
via FoxyTunes

Take a survey???

Hey friends,

At the The Scroll the blog for Christians for Biblical Equality, there is a request for help on a survey:

CBE was recently contacted by a doctor of ministry student named Barb from Langley, BC, conducting a survey among Christians who have recovered from experiences of emotional and spiritual distress under authoritarian and controlling church leaders. The results of her survey will provide her with a critical piece of research and will help her on her way to the completion of her dissertation.

There's more from this blog - check it out and see if you are someone who would like to take part.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lay it all down

What is holding you back?

That question, asked by one of my classmates today, caught me off guard. Today I did my student sermon in class. I thought I was being demonstrative. Declarative. Proclamative. Apparently not.

My raised eyebrows must have been a question mark for the words I didn't say.

I know you - I know your passion. I didn't see as much of it as I wanted. You've got a fire. Let it show!

I have to ponder this one... because he was right. I was holding back. Why? I don't know.

Certainly stage fright is a part of it. Certainly the time constraint and the design requirements were as well. And certainly the power and drive I wanted to give my words did not come through.

I am frustrated and disappointed. It was my third time out (officially) in a "preaching" setting. The things I want to do for God, I dream of doing... the power of the Word He pours into me... weren't there.

I am feeling defeated and a bit deflated. Maybe this isn't for me, I thought. Maybe I am not hearing God on this one. Just as quickly back, deep in my soul, comes a response.

NO. You are a student. Learn. Revise. Refresh. Re-evaluate. Persevere. Listen. Absorb. Practice. Live it.

:deep breath:

OK, Lord... here we go again. I'll keep at it until you say "stop"...

I really do want to burn it all up. Lay it all down. Hold nothing back.

Help me, Lord.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Poetry Challenge:

Christine at Abbey of the Arts writes:

Welcome to our Poetry Party No. 5. These are posted every other Monday. I select an image and suggest a title and invite you to respond with your poems, words, reflections, quotes, song lyrics, etc. Leave them in the comments and I’ll add them to the body of the post as they come in along with a link back to your blog if you have one (not required to participate!) I’ll add your contributions all week and then I will draw a name on Friday again from everyone who participates and send the winner a copy of Praying With the Elements.

Feel free to post the poem along with my image below on your blog with a link back to this post. Invite your readers to come join the party too. Community poetry is wonderful!

Under God's wings
rest, little one, rest
you are safe
you are loved
you are sheltered
I shall find rest
dream, little one, dream
fly high
fly free
fly strong
Until I shall land
homeward fly
see my love
In a nest of love and peace.

Deb Vaughn
October, 2007

Monday, October 08, 2007

questions this all a pipe dream? I going to suck?
...why can I not get out on paper what I am feeling and thinking? what I want to say even going to make sense?
...will someone suck at this more than I will?
...can I just skip to Saturday and have it be over?

still plodding along...



Last week at the staff retreat (the one where I got my act together for my high wire stunt) we poked a lot of fun at old songs, particularly the sappy Christian variety. It's not hard to do, especially when the first hippie Jesus music was so terrible! (And if you are thoughtful and careful in your analysis, there's a whole lotta bad stuff out there today... but I digress!) I was amazed at how much of the really bad music and lyrics I could remember (complete with harmonies and accompaniment!) It's like all of the grunge is embedded in my brain.

I'm digging into some research this afternoon now that class is out (10 minutes early WOOOO HOOOOOO!) and finding that it is hard to get old songs or old "tapes" of any kind out of my head.

I have a million ideas and concepts and they are not jelling into something that is "from God to me to you." I'm trying not to stew. But since I could be doing this "sermon" as early as Wednesday after lunch, it's a bit of a pressure point. And then there's my prejudice against this kind of dry bones stuff.

"Expository" preaching has been in my past experience a totally dry, tedious exercise in hearing someone's regurgitated knowledge of Greek or Hebrew. Instead of drawing out the meaning of the text, it shut down the brain of the listeners. I know that's not the point of the "expository" exercise I am working on right now. But I have to shut off years of dry and dusty to bring about the fresh, ENLIVENED, preaching that I so desperately want to give as God gives it. The preaching that brings change. That brings LIFE. (not snores)

I hear this kind of "good stuff" every week at church (the life-giving stuff, not the snores!) I want to emulate it. More than that, I want what I preach to be deeply ingrained and shown clearly in my own life.

So I'm not there yet. That's today's report. The sermon is still "veiled" but I see some glimpses of the good stuff... (can you see that I am working on 2 Cor 3??)

OK - back to work - library is only open until 6!


Sunday, October 07, 2007

back at school...

This week I am at modular week. This is the week I preach a student sermon and participate in who knows what else (usually there is some "group learning experience" during our class time which is also part of the fun.)

So... if I don't blog much, you'll know I am busy. And if I DO blog a lot, it's because my mind is overstuffed and something has to escape that doesn't need a Turabian footnote. Or that doesn't have to be capsulized in "3 points, a poem and a prayer..."

I am still pondering the final bits of a paper (almost ready to upload) and I'm polishing a student sermon. The sermon is far from complete. Lots of ideas, and nothing is jelling.

It would be great to have a mind meld with God at the moment. Since that's not happening it's time to get back to work.

Love to all my peeps...


Thursday, October 04, 2007


In a fit of brainless preoccupation, I misplaced my keys. I know where I last used them (I locked the car) but I don't know why they didn't make it in to the office from the church parking lot.

I figure someone in the building picked them up (it's a rental space and there are other tenants.) But they have yet to surface, and they have BOTH car keys, house keys, and miscellaneous other important key chain "cards" to grocery stores, etc.

Drummer Dude rescued me and drove me home to get my spouse's set of my keys, then drove me back to the office.

Beloved Bearded Spouse is annoyed. Let's just say I'm not in the best of moods either.


UPDATE!!! =============

The keys were returned. They are in the church office waiting for me. They were taken home for a visit with someone else in the building who kept them safe for me. I am relieved. VERY relieved! :) The plan is to get them tomorrow when I go in to do some prep for rehearsal!

I laughed out loud during my QT this morning when I read in James 1:

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." [The Message]
You know what??? This is SMALL potatoes. NOT that hairy a deal. One of those little annoyances, self-inflicted things, that make you want to throw things. But in the end? Eh. I raised my blood pressure for THAT???

humbly and thoughtfully...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

This is your life...

Oh my. Those of you who know me well might be surprised by this post.

I did something yesterday that I promise you I had not envisioned I would EVER EVER try doing again.

I went on a high ropes challenge course at our staff retreat. I did not have to do it. But I decided to give it my best shot. A leap of faith (well sort of - attached by safety gear... but you know what I mean...)

Here we are, pre-ropes course. Note the brave FAKE smile...

I am going to do WHAT? Go HOW high?

Mental comments unprintable...

Being bolstered by one of my mentors.
Moving from platform to platform... AROUND a tree. A big tree. A very tall tree. And then onto one of the scarier parts, a sort of V-shaped bridge.
A visual definition of the phrase: unmitigated terror

And then... the only way down.
I have bruises and a few scrapes. I also have muscles that are convinced that I was beyond crazy. But as crazy as this sounds, if I were asked to do it again to bolster a team member who said, "I can't!" then I would try.

I think...


P.S. Appropriate song playing!!!

This is your life, are you who you want to be?
This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be

When the world was younger and you had everything to lose?

Don’t close your eyes...

This is your life are you who you want to be?

Now playing: Switchfoot - This Is Your Life
via FoxyTunes