Friday, November 30, 2007

On. The. Floor. Laughing...

OK, so if you need a laugh. If you want examples for your sermon of crass, tasteless, consumerism polluting the Nativity story...

Please visit this site! (Hat tip to RevAnne for finding this bit of amazing excess.)

And, if you have any of these nativity sets, I promise I won't laugh too hard when I visit your home...


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Friday Five: "Don't Call It a Comeback" Edition

Will smama from RevGals offers this bah humbug Friday Five. And she made me laugh -- hard -- mid-paper! Gotta LOVE her!

Parishioners pushing for carols before you digested your turkey?
Organist refusing to play Advent hymns because he/she already has them planned for Lessons & Carols?
Find yourself reading Luke and thinking of a variety of ways to tell Linus where to stick it? (Lights please.)
Then this quick and easy Friday Five is for you! And for those of you with a more positive attitude, have no fear. I am sure more sacred and reverent Friday Fives will follow. I know, I know.... pretty grumpy for November but why not get it out of our systems now so we are free to enjoy the rest of the festivities. Peace, friends.
Please tell us your least favorite/most annoying seasonal....
1) dessert/cookie/family food
This is NO contest. Can there be ANYTHING more inedible than a fruitcake? Yes, I know you can add brandy or rum to them and that is supposed to "help" them taste better. I can think of other things that would do those spirits justice. Fruitcake. BLICK. EW.

2) beverage (seasonal beer, eggnog w/ way too much egg and not enough nog, etc...)
Hmmmm.... the only thing I can think of is that fizzy green punch with the ice ring floating in it that has ginger ale and sherbet in it and is sickly sweet.

3) tradition (church, family, other)
Bad Christmas music. Sung by people who think they can sing, but they can't. One of us needs more eggnog. I would prefer it be me. See Bonus below...

4) decoration
Blue lights, strung like a glow worm in a bad design across a bush or two. Or maybe those huge inflated snowglobes???

5) gift (received or given) That's a toughie. Might be the electric knife that didn't cut anything (and I found crumbs in the box so I think the giver had already found out it didn't cut anything either.)

BONUS: SONG/CD that makes you want to tell the elves where to stick it.
We have all heard a soloist give a truly unfortunate rendition of any and all of the following...
PA RUM PUM PUM PUM and a partridge in a pear tree... and it's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size... I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus... Oh Night, oh Hooooooooooooooooohh {glass breaking} ooooooohhhh - leeeee - heeeeee nigh-TUH. Oh Niiiiiiiiiiiiiigh-TUH....... DEEEE-Vine!

I feel better.
Even with three papers and 7 days in which to BS I mean write them.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

France photoblog: first edition

front row: Naomi, Sara, Vanessa
back row: me, Bill, Jen (in front of) Dan, Keith, Mandy
Taken at the castle Chinon, in the Vienne River Valley, France.

Two weeks ago, the Creative Arts Team from Journey's Crossing was winging its way to France! We were in the city of Poitiers, about 4 hours southwest of Paris. We were tasked with assisting with 2 outreach coffeehouses, and providing part of the music for their American-style Thanksgiving dinner.

The memories and experiences are almost too much to express. I saw God in a new way, He was BIGGER than I had ever had known. I felt God's presence in a small church more powerfully than some of the largest worship services I've ever attended.

It. Was. Amazing.
We went to help this church, Eglise Chretienne de Poitiers. The church planters are friends of our home church. The Poitiers church is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Church planting in a country of centuries-0ld churches seems anachronistic. Yet a minority of citizens actually ever attend church services of any kind, during any season of the year. Protestant churches, particularly evangelical ones, are almost seen as a "cult" because the members are active and involved in church year-round.

The altar at St. Hilarie, Poitiers

Though they are seen more as "museums" than places of worship, to me there was a sense of God's timelessness. And a sense that He works in history, through history, reaching a people He calls His own. I see what I do every day as just a speck of dust in the grandeur of a plan for Eternity. Not in a self-deprecating way, but in an awe-inspiring way, that what I can do is part of a great Movement, a grand design.

Baptistère Saint-Jean, Poitiers

I did not get to visit the inside of this Baptistere, but those who did had to tell me that they were overwhelmed with a sense of history and of the Presence of God. The building has been dated to around 360 A.D. and was built for the sacrement of baptism. (Until it was built, converts were baptized in the nearby River Clain.)

part of a Roman temple column in Sanxay ruins
the ruins of the Roman ampitheatre in Sanxay

Part of the history of France is the way that the Church intertwined with the people, with power and with politics in a negative way. It seems that since Roman occupation, it has been that way. Small wonder that the modern citizen looks at any church with suspicion... or with at least a major disinterest. Dare I say it? The Church in America today should have a cautionary moment of reflection before we get too immerse in politics that we forget our primary mission is people. And that God can and will put into power those He chooses, without our "help"!

a double rainbow! driving from Sanxay to Poitiers

As I shot this photo, I couldn't help but think that we still are living in the time of God's Promise Kept, God's Promise to Come. We are starting to move into Advent. The double rainbow neatly illustrates that...

I have hope. I live in the promises.

More to come...

Monday, November 26, 2007

When I graduate...

When I graduate...

...I am going to take my copy of Turabian and either rip it into pieces, or put it through my shredder, page by page, with great zeal and joy.

And that's all I'm sayin...


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happee Fangsgivings

Too cute...

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

preaching without a voice

How do you preach without a voice?

Dunno. But that's what happened today. My cold did not go away. I have a cough that will make ya cringe. And me and the lotion tissues box are never far away from each other...

Was it perfect? No. Was it the best I could give. Yeah, I think so. Did God's message get across? Judging from a couple of heart-to-heart chats afterwards... yes.

I didn't do this on my own. I have great mentors. I have the resources of an experienced teaching team who willingly share with me their knowledge and experience. And I'm still overwhelmed at the process of being bent, shaped, molded and used... and knowing that in my heart of hearts, what I managed to bring out (exegete, if you will) pleased God.

To my praying friends and family, blogging and non-blogging - thanks...

with a full heart...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Post Thanksgiving Day Friday Five

Singing Owl of RevGals writes:

Ah, the day after Thanksgiving -- groan! Fortunately, I love Thanksgiving leftovers.

Thanksgiving is the American holiday when the greatest number of people travel somewhere else to celebrate. I am posting this from my son’s home in Minnesota where we are recovering from the food shopping and the preparations and the meal and the clean up. It is difficult to think of anything requiring much energy today, and I am enjoying my sweet baby granddaughter, so I will keep it simple. For those of you not in the USA, I apologize for the nationalistic tone of this Friday Five!
1. Did you go elsewhere for the day, or did you have visitors at your place instead? How was it?
We had a relatively quiet day. Just Beloved Bearded Spouse, his mom and our kids. Since I felt pretty stink-o, it was probably just as well that we weren't around a lot of people... I would have infected them all.

2. Main course: If it was the turkey, the whole turkey, and nothing but the turkey, was it prepared in an unusual way? Or did you throw tradition to the winds and do something different?
Personally I would rather have ANYTHING besides turkey. It's not my favorite dish. I make a great dish of squash and apples that the adults love and kids choke down. (The recipe is HERE.) This year I threw tradition to the winds and got a meal from the grocery with a pre-cooked turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, rolls and pie all done for me. Sacrilege? Maybe. But the part the girls like the best was the stuffing, and no one else seemed to mind.

3. Other than the meal, do you have any Thanksgiving customs that you observe every year?
We use napkin holders that look like turkeys, made my by mother-in-law. For two years in a row now, we have watched the National Dog Show as the turkey finishes cooking. And then later, football!!!

4. The day after Thanksgiving is considered a major Christmas shopping day by most US retailers. Do you go out bargain hunting and shop ‘till you drop, or do you stay indoors with the blinds closed? Or something in between?
Well, actually, we usually never go out. Kind of a rant against the machine sort of thing. This year we went with folks from our church and handed out hot chocolate and coffee for the hordes who were shopping at a local mall. Free always goes over.

5. Let the HOLIDAY SEASON commence! When will your Christmas decorations go up?
Probably after all of my papers, assignments and projects get turned in on December 8th!! Or sooner if someone in the household gets inspired. (One can always hope.)

Still sneezing... please may this cold go away!


Thursday, November 22, 2007

10 things!

I am getting a cold just before my student sermon this Sunday. What great timing. (not) I really feel like crawling into the nearest hole... but I have made it through making Thanksgiving dinner (with help) and Beloved Bearded Spouse is going to do the rest of the clean up. I am taking a break from sermon prep. I'm trying not to complain here, but this demon of a cold could have waited until next week. Ya know?

OK. An antidote to complaining is gratitude... or so I am going to preach... (very funny, Lord.) So for a taste of my own medicine, here's 10 things that make me thankful for this cold.

  1. tissues
  2. purr therapy from Tiria (apparently I am forgiven for leaving for 10 days)
  3. throat spray called "Singer's Saving Grace"
  4. ibuprophen
  5. robitussin cough gels (last 8 hours)
  6. it's not the flu
  7. it's not bronchitis
  8. I don't have to sing this week
  9. so far I haven't given this bug to anyone else
  10. I'm getting out of cleaning up after a turkey dinner


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

25 Steps

From Cathy and MaryBeth's blogs:

I saw a blog game on a couple of Quaker blogs (this one and this one), so I thought I'd offer a similar game with a spin on class based. It's based on an exercise developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University that I found on this Yahoo group around class on college campuses. The exercise developers hold the copyright but have given me permission to post it here and ask that if you participate in this blog game, you acknowledge their copyright.

  • Father went to college
  • Father finished college
  • Mother went to college
  • Mother finished college
  • Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.
  • Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
  • Had more than 50 books in your childhood home
  • Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
  • Were read children's books by a parent
  • Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
  • Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
  • The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively
  • Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
  • Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs
  • Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
  • Went to a private high school
  • Went to summer camp
  • Had a private tutor before you turned 18
  • Family vacations involved staying at hotels
  • Your clothing was bought new before you turned 18
  • Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
  • There was original art in your house when you were a child
  • Had a phone in your room before you turned 18
  • You and your family lived in a single family house
  • Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
  • You had your own room as a child
  • Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
  • Had your own TV in your room in High School
  • Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
  • Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
  • Went on a cruise with your family
  • Went on more than one cruise with your family
  • Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up
  • You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family
In the group exercise which was originally designed for college students, staff and faculty, everyone stands in a line and steps forward if any of these things are true for them.

Notice that each of these are things that were given to you or provided for you rather than things you necessarily earned yourself. The exercise instructions note that just because you've taken a lot of steps doesn't mean that you haven't worked hard to get where you are. But perhaps consider the things you've had handed to you that others didn't have.

How about you? How many would you have taken? How many steps will your kids have taken by the time they're 18 (or how many did they take before they turned 18)?

To participate in this blog game, copy and paste the above list into your blog, and bold the items that are true for you. If you don't have a blog, feel free to post your responses in the comments. If you post this in your blog, please leave a comment on this post.


This was thought-provoking!

If we were all in a big room, I would have taken 25 steps forward. I've often jokingly said that the only thing my parents never gave me was a horse. It's really true.

As I post this on my blog, it's the day before American Thanksgiving. I've just come back from a mission trip to France and once again seen how BIG our GOD is -- and how much He loves the world. The WHOLE world. And I also have seen how narrow and petty my focus can be...

So I leave this for your reflection as well. I found it incredibly humbling. I'm blessed and don't want to seem ungrateful for my upbringing, because I am. My parents were good to me and my sibs, and sacrificed a lot for us.



Now playing: Building 429 - Because You're Mine

via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Home. Tired. Dirty clothes and wine unpacked. Must. find. bed. More later...
And yes. BEAUCOUP pictures to share. And stories. Soon.


Saturday, November 10, 2007



No, I'm not packed, finished with my paper, my sermon or the chores that need doing before I go. It's gonna be a LOoooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggg night. And an early morning. ai yi yiiiiiii!

We are leaving for France tomorrow, right after church!!!!!!!!!! I am on a team with 8 super folks. It is going to be fun, hard work, exhausting and exhilarating. Catch you when we're back!


Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday Five - Extravagant Unbusyness

Sally from RevGals writes:

I am writing in my official capacity of grump!!! No seriously, with the shops and stores around us filling with Christmas gifts and decorations, the holiday season moving up on us quickly for many the time from Thanksgiving onwards will be spent in a headlong rush towards Christmas with hardly a time to breathe.... I am looking at the possibility of finding little gaps in the day or the week to spend in extravagant "unbusyness"(a wonderful phrase coined by fellow revgal Michelle...)
So given those little gaps, name 5 things you would do to: care for your body

Step AWAY from the cookies. And the chocolate. Seriously.

2. to care for your Spirit
Keep up my Pray-As-You-Go sessions. Whoever it was that pointed me to this resource, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! You don't have to do the podcast... you can listen on-line. It's a breath of fresh joy every day.

3. to care for your mind
When my textbooks are closed for the semester (in a little over 3 weeks!!!) I intend to read, but read stuff that is not footnoted and theological! Not brain candy either. I've got to blog what is on my reading list... and my wishlist!

4. to bring a sparkle to your eye
Contact lenses, perhaps? Hmmmm... no, more likely to look around my home and my church and see the people that God has providentially put into my life. They make me smile.

5. to place a spring in your step
Laughter. Fun stuff. Places and spaces to communicate thanks and peace and joy to the ones I mentioned in #4.

Enjoy the time to indulge and dream.... and then for a bonus which one on the list are you determined to put into action?
Well, the hardest one will be the first one. But I hope that I will be able to live out the rest. I didn't go crazy with my ideas. Just stayed practical and real. Time as a family over Christmas week is very important... to my beloved and me.

That's what I'm thinkin'


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Grace falling like rain...

I have a sense of God's love washing over me... in ways that I did not expect today. It's busy. It's almost so busy it's frantic. But love and peace are falling down on my head, in an almost overwhelming way...

Why is that? and why and I so surpised?? WHO is in charge?? I sense His love and blessing and am weeping...

  • Maybe it's because I am a few days away from departure and am feeling some (self-induced) performance pressure
  • Maybe it's because I am writing a sermon on "complaining" and I realize how much I do it myself... a case of preacher, heal thyself?
  • Maybe it's because I am receiving emails and letters full of love - - of excitement, joy and encouragement as I'm preparing to leave
  • Maybe it's the deadline extended on a paper that was supposed to be done and won't be
  • Maybe it's because God's grace flows when we look up and cry, "OH GOD, HELP!"

I am undone.
God is kind and loving and gracious.
And it is never earned... only given...

Not whining or complaining.
Just incredibly grateful...

and dang it, crying again.


Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me
Hallelujah, all my stains are washed away, washed away

Now playing: Todd Agnew - Grace Like Rain
via FoxyTunes

Buckeye Jesus???

This possibly comes under the heading of taking the Lord's Name in vain... but with tongue in cheek, it's the "Big Butter Jesus" helping out with the 'O-H-I-O' cheer.

We won't go into WHY a church thought that statue was a good idea... OK? It's not my church. Not even in my town... I would note that last year the "touchdown Jesus" at Notre Dame "helped" do the same cheer.

Keeping a sense of humor in the whirlwind...


Monday, November 05, 2007

political leanings...

well, I don't know as this is accurate, but it was fun to play...

Your Political Profile:

Overall: 45% Conservative, 55% Liberal

Social Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Ethics: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I got an award!

Sista Cala at Timeless Text Messages gave me this award. And you know what? Just getting it from her made me smile, too.

So thanks...

And now I will ponder who I will nominate for this award... (Note: the judge can be won over with chocolate.)


Saturday, November 03, 2007

some serious fun!

First... I got my swap from Mindy. WHAT FUN!!! I have hidden the hot chocolate. (With 4 confirmed chocoholics in the house, do you think I'm crazy???)

The Harpist swiped the headband (you can't see it in the pic because it was already GONE!) There was a cool bookmark made with a silvery handle and beads. There was Play-Do (I am such a kid at heart), some fun, fun buttons, stickers and 3-D glasses, coupons, mini-gourds (SO cute) and more.

Next... the creative mind of ReedyGirl who decided that, after she took her hair out of many, many braids from a special "do" from the Ren Fest, she looked like Hermione. The Harpist was surprised but hammed it up for the camera... And then Reedy Girl posed with a "wand" (a wooden dowel, really. But don't tell.)

Then... I saw a kiosk top (made of paper mache') and thought that she could have an UMBRELLA Halloween costume... so we cut a hole out of the middle and put in a bicycle helmet so that she could wear it. Word on the street is that people thought she was a mushroom (aka a "Smurf Mushroom") or a "blueberry meringue" BUT they liked it enough that they gave a 12 year old candy... so as far as she was concerned, it's ALL good.

Finally... a major disappointment. I wanted The Harpist to call me for a ride home from high school on Halloween. I was all ready for her. I was going to be "Miss Understood" but alas!! She took the bus. Dang.

You know, I haven't embarrassed her properly in front of her friends for at least, oh, three days. This seemed to be a golden opportunity. (Need I tell you that she was relieved that she decided to ride the "Cheese-Wagon" that day?)

My costume was inspired by Meryl Streep's little known solo "Nobody Understands Me." (Mindy - I must send you a CD... one of the songs is "COWS"!!! YES. REALLY!) And if you don't know the words to the song, they are from the "Philadelphia Chickens" album...

And that, my friends, is all of the silliness that happened this week...

Everything else is quite serious. Really. You know me...


Now playing: Truth is a Whisper
via FoxyTunes

Friday, November 02, 2007

Life on the Rapids...

My calendar is overstuffed.

I'm not complaining! It's the hum of life... family... school.. interning... errands... household chores... But deep thought blogging just isn't possible at moment...

I'm here. I'm doing well and feeling loved. One of my friends describes it as "life in the rapids" -- exciting, busy, and all I can do is paddle and enjoy the ride!

Please do pray for me and the rest of the creative arts team from Journeys Crossing heading to Poitiers, France on Sunday, Nov. 11th!! I am part of a great team, very committed, very talented and I am learning a lot from all of them.

Here's a rough schedule of our trip:

  • Sunday, 11/11 Depart Dulles around 5 p.m. Travel overnight, arrive at Charles deGaulle about 6 a.m. local time (12 midnight EST)
  • Monday, 11/12 Take train to Poitiers with equipment and luggage, arrive about lunch time. Spend afternoon renting band equipment, setting it up, checking into the hotel, getting groceries and making dinner, etc.
  • Tuesday, 11/13 Band rehearsal, walking tour of Poitiers
  • Wednesday, 11/14 and Thursday, 11/15 Coffeehouses (evenings - about 2 p.m EST)
  • Friday 11/16 and Saturday 11/17 community outreach for church, including an American Thanksgiving Dinner
  • Sunday 11/18 assist with morning church services, pack up and take train back to Paris
  • Monday, 11/19 Americans in Paris for the day! (yes, only one day.)
  • Tuesday, 11/20 head home to Dulles airport, return about 2:30 p.m. EST
Between now and the 11th, there's lots of "stuff" going on. And if I get a chance, I'll blog. It's really amazing to watch God work.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

273 emails later...

Yes. 273.

All SP*M.
All within a 20 minute period.
All advertising pharmaceuticals which enhance body parts that are not on my body.

Yes, I changed my email password. Ran my virus software. Changed my on-line access password. Cleared my cache, and rebooted.



P.S. WHO KNEW there were so many ways to spell a certain anatomical word and still have it pass the email trashcan filters???