Saturday, May 31, 2008


I already tagged Mindy for another meme, so I'll do this one.

How it works:


It's harder than it looks! Erase my answers, enter yours, tag 10 people, post it to your blog, and then notify them, including the person who tagged you. Use the first letter of your first name to answer each of the following. They have to be real places, names, things..nothing made up! Try to use different answers if the person in front of you had the same 1st initial. You CAN'T use your name for the boy/girl name question.

TV SHOW Dragnet
CITY Duluth
FOOD Donuts

And I can't sic this on 10 people. I just can't. Play if you want. (Hope your name isn't Xavier!)



Reedy Girl and The Harpist are also novice fencers. Their coach, Olympic medalist Gitty Mohebban, was featured in the local paper.

Today was a tournament of sorts for her students, and Reedy Girl participated. While they have been keeping scores all along and the advanced kids were usually whupping our novice gals purty good, Miss Gitty has been encouraging... "GOOD! You scored two points on him!" and "Next time he drops his guard, get another point!" So they keep working away at it.

Reedy Girl's bout is featured below... she lost 5-3 but showed herself to be, for a 12 and under, a good student.

FIRST - warm up. She just plops down on the floor and grabs her toe and casually stretches and warms up. (And I'm thinking the whole time, "ow ow ow ow ow!) It never seems to bother her!! Little Miss Flexible!

When they have electric bouts, they wear a special vest, called a "lame". The jacket, foil and fencer are hooked up to a light and buzzer system to help judge the points. Miss Gitty is checking the connections in the "bodywire" in Reedy Girl's vest before her bout. The foil is wired too with a switch in the point that records contacts or "hits" on the opponent.

The fencers are connected to spoolers (on the floor - you can't see them) which keeps them under tension all of the time. One of the hardest things to get used to is the constant pull. Reedy Girl says it feels like her butt's on a string... which, technically, it is!

Both competitors are ready and take the en garde position.

Point one from Reedy Girl!

Her opponent scores back.

While she lost the bout, she was happy with her fencing. And then she got to settle in and watch some really advanced kids bout.

Reedy Girl and Miss Gitty. We think they're both pretty amazing!

Now it's time for a shower, and dinner and relaxing a little... Oh yeah... maybe some homework...


Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Five: Garage Sale

From the RevGalBlogPals:
Welcome to your irregularly scheduled Fifth Friday Five, hosted by will smama and Songbird!
Since will smama is preparing for a joint garage sale with her parents, and Songbird's church had a Yard and Plant Sale last Saturday, we have five enormously important questions we hope you will answer:

(cartoon from

1) Are you a garage saler?
Not so much right now. But in the past, that was how I got a lot of clothes and toys for the kids when they were little. Including a Victorian styled doll house, Legos, play kitchen, and a gazillion toddler clothes.

2) If so, are you an immediate buyer or a risk taker who comes back later when prices are lower?
I usually buy on the spot, particularly if it is something that I spot as being valuable and worth the money.

3) Seriously, if you're not a garage saler, you are probably not going to want to play this one. (That wasn't really #3.) 3) This is the real #3: What's the best treasure you've found at a yard or garage sale?
A set of French lead crystal (still in the box with the price tag) which, yes, we gave as a wedding gift. We're talking a $100 set of champagne flutes and I bought it for $5 when we were barely making rent... (Is that re-gifting? Is that tacky? Oh well... the bride loved them!)

4)If you've done one yourself, at church or at home, was it worth the effort?
Community/church ones are more fun. You hang out, talk, and then laugh at what people will actually buy. (Best garage sale moment EVER - Beloved Bearded Spouse and I were given the world's UGLIEST casserole dish as a wedding present. It was a home-thrown ceramic/clay dish with a lid -- that didn't fit. It had swirls of brown, green, blue and atomic puke pink. And someone BOUGHT IT for $5!!! For a wedding present!!! I think it is still out there, being sold by the next bride that gets it.)

5) Can you bring yourself to haggle?
No. I get tired of people who want you to knock off bucks off of things that are already priced cheap... Besides, when I have organized a garage sale, there is a charity pick-up scheduled for the next possible day already, so it's not like "everything must go."

BONUS: For the true aficionado: Please discuss the impact of Ebay, Craig's List, Freecycle, etc... on the church or home yard/garage sale.
It depends on the item. Nice things don't go easily on Craig's List or Freecycle, even with pictures. Big things, however, do. And broken things do!! People get greedy.

And eBay? I still can't believe how I was able to sell Precious Moments figurines for $20 a pop, because no one even LOOKED at them at a garage sale! But ONLY on eBay could you buy this piece of toast:

Ah... America...
Land of the free. Home of the deranged...


Thursday, May 29, 2008

This is your life...

A research paper that is a synthesis paper, incorporating personal theology and reflective writing on the topic of women in ministry?
You love the idea.
You enjoy the in-class discussion.
This is your life...

This is your life in grad school...

(That's for all of you who are thinking of going for that DMin or PhD...)

who needs to read another book to read like she needs a hole in her head... just sayin.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Extra thoughts on Mary Hines

I am taking a "Biblical Perspectives on Feminist Theology" seminar this summer. Last week was the classroom and F2F part of the course... Now we have a few webinars and a mongo paper and the course will end in August with only about another gajillion hours of work. Oy.

Anyway - part of the in-class assignments were to present the main teachings and lives of the writers in "Freeing Theology" (ed. by Cathering Mowry LaCugna). I was clueless on who to pick. This whole discussion is new and extremely fascinating to me... at any rate, I had the great fortune to randomly choose Mary Hines, Prof. of Theology at Emmanuel College in Boston.

I won't bore you with the points of her article (she is wonderful to read -- as is the whole book!) but I have been pondering what she wrote and what we discussed in class. And since this assignment is done and turned in, and I have "extra thoughts" that are percolating, you get a bit of a brain dump...

In the process of sifting through the arguments and discussion on the patriarchal and hierarchical nature of the Church... and wanting to validate and hold dear some of the greatest teachings and praise saints through the ages, I've been pondering...

It seems that the Virgin Mary’s lessons for us include:

  • submission and direction by God
  • recognizing and holding to a holy task
  • acknowledgment of Christ’s calling and role
Many a fundamentalist would disagree, but we must not forget that Catholicism brings to the evangelical community:
  • a richness of church history and liturgy
  • a clear and holier understanding of the Passion
  • great depth and meaning to the Eucharist in its celebration and reverence (even if we are not transubstantiates)
In issues of women’s ordination:
  • we can not ignore it -- HELLO!
  • mistakes were made in the past for the sake of the status quo
  • godly people have been hurt by the impact of unexamined tradition
  • it is an issue for Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants
Catholicism and the history of Church in Europe:
  • we are indebted to their careful recording and preservation of the Scriptures
  • our family records are embedded in their genealogical records and local history
  • the politicalization of the Church (especially in France!) was to the overall detriment and health of the Church today
Brain dump over...


Spring in the Back Yard

Dinner was still cooking. The humidity was low tonight, and the mosquitos hadn't started biting... so I grabbed my camera for a little photo journaling. It's a beautiful time of year in our back yard! Here's our new neighbors, the House Finches. They are busy feeding their hatchlings...

The peonies just popped open last weekend. This is a special plant to me because it was my grandmother's bush. We got a start of it from the family farm about six years ago. It's amazing how BIG the blossoms can get!

My favorite rose... a Peace rose! It starts out a gentle pale yellow, and gradually, as the buds open, adds deeper and deeper shades of pink to the petals. This one is just about at peak! And the smell! WOW.

Columbine... Fragile. Lovely. And the hummingbirds' favorite.

Climatis growing up part of our trellis. It is doing better this year, with more blooms and more vigorous growth, I think in part because the heat hasn't started with a vengeance yet.

A shot looking across the back yard. Wish you could have heard the birds singing as I stood and drank it all in...

Oh yes. One last photo. The first baby Anaheim Pepper!!! YUM. Salsa, baby!

It was a nice stroll while it lasted...


Poetry Party

From Christine at Abbey of the Arts:

Poetry Party Number Nineteen! 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 or email me 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 at random on Saturday morning from everyone who participates and will send the winner their choice of zine.

Feel free to take your poem in any direction and then post the image and invitation on your blog and encourage others to come join the party! (a blog is definitely not required to participate!)

The photo below is of course of my beloved Abbess Petunia. This is the first time she stars as the prompt for a Poetry Party. She teaches me many things, but her total abandon when it comes to rest is one of the most precious gifts she offers. I have been thinking a lot about Sabbath these days because summer is coming when my husband’s and my schedule slow quite down a bit and we make time to relish relationship, to linger, to make discoveries in the sacred space of being rather than doing. So my invitation to you for this week’s Poetry Party is to celebrate the gifts of being – what do you discover in those still spaces and holy pauses? Where are you invited to release the hold of doing and surrender to something much bigger?

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

She snoozes in a comfy spot
At peace. At rest. A-dreamin'...
Her paws chase after rabbits.
Her nose twitches as she mumbles a "woof"
And I smile.

She is. She knows.
At peace. At rest. A-dreamin'...
And yet not.
The first jingle of a leash and collar
And she's up with a shake and wag.

:What's next? Where we goin'?:
She wrinkles her brows with question marks dancing over her head.
:Who's here? Time to play?:
Her tail wags, she smiles at me.

"No, silly dog. Go back to sleep. I'm just cleaning off the counter."

She slumps back on the bed.
Blinks twice and yawns.
Her tail thumps a wag. Once or twice.
She drifts back to the rabbits...

At peace. At rest. A-dreamin'...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

go figure

So... I took an on-line "spiritual gifts inventory" just to see what it would say. It's at least as accurate as any of the others I have had to complete. And yes, my primary gifts came out to: Pastor/Shepherd, Administration and Mercy. All was well and good until I got to the "comparison" charts...

Could the results from these comparison charts be skewed? Probably to some degree. Two factors to consider are 1) Results are not compiled from the Christian public at large but only those who are Internet users. 2) On the laity side, a much larger percentage of those taking the spiritual gifts inventory on-line are women (63.7%). Women tend to score high in the Gift of Shepherding because the characteristics of the gift of shepherding are very similar to the God-given instincts of mothering which comes natural to most women. Although many women have the gift of shepherding and it manifests itself in many areas of service, we believe women should consider this factor when evaluating whether or not they actually have the dominant gift of shepherding. They may want to also look closely at their second dominant gift.

Yes. That small primal scream you just heard was me! "Women" who have a "dominant gift" of "pastor/shepherd" probably aren't really gifted in that area???

I truly hate junk science. But this takes the cake.


Tagged... I'm IT again

I was tagged by Presbyterian Gal. I promised her I'd get to this when I needed a study break, so here goes!

The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about himself or herself. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

Ten years ago:
1998. I was parenting a 3 year old and a 7 year old. It involved the mundane stuff like looking for a preschool for Reedy Girl, bringing The Harpist home from the E.R. from a playground accident (she was fine - only stitches and bruises), facing the reality of my dad's terminal cancer, and volunteering in the elementary school. I was leading worship and struggling with not doing more. I was writing and dreaming of teaching/speaking and saw no way for that to happen.

Five things on today's "to do" list:
1. Read textbooks for Mentoring class (I am behind... again!)
2. Read for my research paper on feminist theology.
3. Laundry. Always laundry.
4. Clean out fridge. I was gone for a week. We're makin' penicillin here...
5. Do some serious calendar coordination. It's going to be a busy summer.

Three bad habits:
Only three??? Geesh. It's more like which 3 I want to admit to having...
1. Caffeine (WAY too much)
2. Saturated fats
3. Going emo.

Five places I've lived:
1. Rock Hill, SC
2. Columbus, Ohio
3. Coral Gables, FL
4. Bloomfield, NJ
5. Montgomery County, MD

---ooops!! I forgot this one!----
Things I'd do if I was a billionaire:
Go for a D.Min. since money would be no object, after I had paid back into my savings what I've spent so far. Endow a fund for small churches refurbishments and R&R cruises for their pastors. Endow a chair at a conservative seminary for feminist theology and give a bunch of bucks to Christians for Biblical Equality. Maybe buy out a televangelist's studio so that a more balanced perspective on Christianity could be broadcast. (Barring that, buying up the world's supply of hairspray and false eyelashes. just sayin.) And last, but not least, spend a whole lot of time caring and listening to people who need a pastor, wherever in the world that takes me!
----end of oopsie----

Five jobs I've had:
1. GS Camp Counselor
2. Waterfront Director
3. Music Teacher
4. Music Therapist
5. Medical Secretary

I will tag:
1. Jeff (since he whined the last time I didn't tag him)
2. Sarah
3. Tiria
4. Mindy
5. YOU! (If you got this far, you have to play. HA)

waiting for the caffeine to work...

song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes

If you don't get it, you don't.

Monday, May 26, 2008

I'm back...

Yes, I did get home. It was a great class. My brain is still recovering. :)
And now there's stuff like my OTHER class and the fam that need my attention.

We went to see Prince Caspian today (GO SEE IT!!!) and had some friends here for dinner. Good stuff. Really nice way to end the weekend.

But the weekend is over... back to the grind... however, I am sure that when I have homework to do I'll be blogging instead.

See you soon...


P.S. Presby Gal - I saw your tag... will do it tomorrow when I'm procrastinating... grin...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Five: Vacation Thoughts

Sally from RevGalBlogPals writes:
It is a holiday weekend here in the UK, and the weather forecast for much of the country is not good!!! But we can still dream and so with that in mind I bring you this Friday Five.

1. Getting ready for summer, do you use the gradual tanning moisturisers (yes, gentlemen, you too can answer this!!!) or are you happy to show your winter skin to the world?
I don't know if they are any better than they used to be... but I tried them once and looked like a cremesicle (you know - pasty white with orange on the outside) and it was just not a great look. So I stick with my atomic whiteness. Besides. Even with a tan, my varicose veins show anyway.

2.Beach, mountains or chilling by the pool, what/ where is your favourite getaway?
The beach. Oh yes. The beach. But if it's buggy, from a screened-in porch with an overhead fan... But you know, a nice tranquil day or two in West Virginia near Dolly Sods would also be nice. One of my favorite places is the South Branch of the Potomac River... There's just a lot of God Space there!

3.Are you a summer lover or does the long break become wearing?
What is this long break you speak of? And have you experienced summer in Washington, DC? Yuck. H cubed: Hot, Humid and Hazy. No thanks. I am not really a summer person.

4.Active holidays (hiking, swimming, sailing), or lazy days?
I can do some activity as long as I have time to READ! And SLEEP IN! And not be the catering and laundry service!

5.Now to the important subject of food, if you are abroad do you try the local cuisine, or do you prefer to play it safe?
I'll try just about anything except the water. But usually I ask my host for a recommendation before I go off on a grand explore. Even here in the States, you have to ask around to find a really good "local" place. (puh-leese - I can find Olive Garden on my own!) That's how we found this amazing hole-in-the-wall Turkish restaurant in Virginia Beach called (unintuitively) The Mayflower Cafe! Man. I'd go back there in a heartbeat!

Being real... I have three papers, two projects and a bunch of busywork to do before mid-August. Oh. And another modular class in June. I might actually get a "vacation" -- before September... sigh...


P.S. the BONUS was optional but here's mine... "a blast from the past!"

"Seasons in the Sun" by Terry Jacks
(snort... the fro. the depressing lyrics. the 70s!)


I should not let it annoy me. Really, I shouldn't.

This morning on a break from class, I was headed back from the bathroom. Near our classroom there was a lecture/discussion group of various bigwigs and campus visitors. I don't really know what it was, but I saw VIPs in there, so it wasn't picking the softball team captain. Usually when there's a bigwig discussion, there are various "perky people" setting up information tables and smiling at everyone who goes by. I am really good at "smile, nod and scoot." (This is because my worst nightmare is that I might get stuck in a crowded hallway have to gladhand or speak to a particular individual associated with my school for whom I have little respect. But I digress...)

Anyway, one of the perky people asked me "are you So-and-so's wife?" I smiled and said, "no, I'm a divinity student."

:blink. blink: "Oh. Here?" :blink. blink:


:blink. blink: "Oh I didn't know women were in divinity school here." :blink. blink:



Thursday, May 22, 2008

Imagio Dei: Beyond Fig Leaves

Beyond fig leaves...
and Adam and Eve...
and beyond the "gender wars"...

I've spent this week trying to wrap my mind around the total image of God - the one that incorporates the descriptors "male" and "female." Discussions at lunch and in class have been intense, but not heated or adversarial. It's interesting to sit in a class with men and women who are all committed to living out their Call in Christ, but who are not in agreement with how this "image" should be known.

The deeper I delve into this, I am grasping a greater and greater picture of God. Beyond my experience, knowlege or comprehension, God is, was, will be. Greater than any point OF God's Creation or IN God's Creation, God is. Trying to explain God's "maleness" and "femaleness" without creating a new heresy (or an old one) is a bit of a challenge!

So when I get home at the end of the week, why would this matter?? Several reasons:

Because of those who "rank order" gender as a means of restricting ministry and vocation
Because of the place and time I find myself as a woman and a pastor
Because of the way that I view the Bible and attempt to bring a "total picture" of God to the forefront as I preach
Because of the people I teach and prepare to be leaders in the church
Because I can no more explain this than the last theologian who attempted it... and so there's a great sense of maintaining humility and dependence on God in the first place.

And there's the total "brain dump" of what I have left after another eight hours of class...

Clear as mud? ;)


Monday, May 19, 2008

modular week woes

If you heard a loud


My brain is exploding...

...just thought you'd like to know.



Fellow blogger DebD posted on the earthquake tragedy in the Sichuan Province of China...

More photos here...

Praying for the mothers of China...


AP Photo

Saturday, May 17, 2008

"doing" theology

My modular class on Feminist Theology starts Monday morning. The number of pages I have left to read before my class starts is... well, laughable. I decided to take the pressure off and just read what I need for the first two days. Tomorrow is always exhausting. Church for 5 hours. Rush home. Pack. Give last minute instructions. Drive for 4.5 hours. Collapse in a strange bed and don't sleep well. And start the week - looking forward to seeing old friends - maybe - and making new ones - hopefully.

But since several of the authors I have been reading talk about "doing" theology I struggled to be sympathetic to what they mean. Because, you see, to me "doing" theology is what I do all day, every day. Listening. Praying. Laughing. Walking through life. Wondering. Knowing I don't know. Experiencing Jesus and trying to "be Jesus with skin on"... That to me is "doing" theology.

I completely understand that one's theological framework determines the way one lives. I even "get it" when people wax poetic about picking apart and putting back together the Scriptures with intense analysis. I don't live for it, but I understand. And this process of learning and pontificating $100 words when yakkin with nickel ones will do... That, I will NEVER get.

Here's what gets me.

For years, I listened to people "do" theology. They would rail against this deadly sin or that... and then go do another one. My favorite was the preacher who went radically, foam-at-the-mouth crazy over people who read porn... and was himself a large blimp-sized personage. (Uh. gluttony, anyone? Eh. Don't look at my butt. PLEASE.)

I believe in "doing" theology. I also believe in living it. REALLY living it. Wrestling out what it means to show love. To demonstrate kindness. To possibly parse a little Greek doing it... but to be careful what one preaches in light of how one lives.

And now, stepping off my soapbox before I trip and fall... yet again...


too much time on their hands...

Truly... too much time on their hands...

(But it's still funny!)


Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Five: Grand Tour

Songbird from
RevGalBlogPals writes:

One of our original ring members, jo(e), wrote yesterday about a trip she and her sisters are taking overseas with their parents, to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Many other RevGals are headed for the Festival of Homiletics in the coming week (click here for information on a RevGals meetup!!). In honor of these upcoming trips, herewith your Grand Tour Friday Five.

Name five places that fall into the following categories:
1) Favorite Destination -- someplace you've visited once or often and would gladly go again Germany. The Alps. In a heartbeat. Do the rounds at all the wonderful pubs. But THIS time? Beloved Bearded Spouse goes with me!!

2) Unfavorite Destination -- someplace you wish you had never been (and why) Disney World/land. Must I say why? Isn't it obvious? When a bottle of water costs $5? When you are stuck in crowds all day, everywhere you go? When the asphalt seems to burn through your shoes by 11 a.m.? When the admission price (not to mention hotel costs) for a family of four approaches the cost of a small car? When everything saccharine, sexist and misogynist is all around you? (Don't think Disney is misogynist? Can we talk about LINES to the bathroom? LINES to everywhere? And all those small kids tired, sunburned, whining and wanting a potty??? And... OK. Never mind.)

3) Fantasy Destination -- someplace to visit if cost and/or time did not matter...
The mind boggles... I should say something wild and crazy like a safari in Kenya, or climbing Mount Everest. But I think I'll just say a month in Hawaii. On the beach. In a private home. Hammock time required.

4) Fictional Destination -- someplace from a book or movie or other art or media form you would love to visit, although it exists only in imagination...
I've always thought Rivendell would be the best place for a vacation. Ever. Though Diagon Alley is right up there.

5) Funny Destination -- the funniest place name you've ever visited or want to visit...
Oh dear. If I said Noodle, Texas, then I would have far too many RevGals to visit!! So I'll say Newfoundland because the list of funny names makes it just too hard to choose!

Sigh... Can I go now???

Thursday, May 15, 2008


I can lean on this promise...

You know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all of the good things that the Lord Your God promised concerning you...
[Joshua 23:14b]

Sorry for the whining. I am gaining some spiritual muscle, I guess. And building up muscle... HURTS as you grow stronger.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


This is hard.

I am trying to write an essay to the divinity school financial aid committee which explains how I need financial aid, what my goals for ministry are, and why they should "pick me!"

Somehow "Just give me the money!" is not the kind of essay they are looking for, I suspect.

These last few days, there have been all kinds of "holes" poked in my emotional balloon...
...snarky little comments
...interpersonal challenges
...condescending people
...failings and struggles out the wazoo (mine)

I know one does not serve God based on "feelings" but on faith. Yet the process of fighting for my dreams, of resting in my Call (and not defending or justifying it) has me just, well, deflated.

This emotional battle, this spiritual push to persevere is so tiring. And I'm not in "real" ministry yet... It's just the warm up? Geesh.


Poetry Party #18: And a donkey shall lead them

From Christine at Abbey of the Arts:

"This is our 18th Poetry Party! 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 or email me 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 at random on Saturday morning from everyone who participates and will send the winner their choice of zine.

The image below was taken at a sheep farm in Arlington, WA, about an hour from Seattle. We went there as part of a Slow Food event and got to see the dogs herding the sheep which is quite remarkable. I was most moved however by the donkey they keep in the pasture with the sheep. Apparently he provides some extra protection for them from coyotes because he bonds with the sheep and then his size scares away some of the predators. At one point the dogs had herded the sheep behind the donkey and the image made me smile. I was reminded of the Isaiah 11:6 quote “and a little child shall lead them.” I believe in the power of humility and of offering ourselves to the wisdom of animals, so this photo made me wonder what you, my wonderful poet friends might imagine. Where do you go when you choose to relinquish your own ego and follow a path that might seem foolish?"

I used to do Stuff.
Busy, productive, weight-bearing, exciting Stuff.
Stuff that hinted at prestige, power and popularity.
My heart wasn't in it any more.
So I quit.

I took the off-ramp.
I put myself out to pasture.
To be who I am
The way God made me
And am actually loving this new track I'm on...
Because it is not Stuff that consumes me any more.
It's God.
It's People.
It's the wind instead of air conditioning.
It's leaning back on a tree instead of an easy chair.
It's the sunshine instead of a furnace.
It's picking dandelions instead of roses.
It's knowing that I have grass stains all over me.
It's knowing others have grass stains too...
and wanting to help them be clean.

I'm just one herbivore
telling other herbivores
where to find the dandelions...


Monday, May 12, 2008

And another semester begins...

It was nice while it lasted...

My "Summer school" began today - two classes (Feminist Theology and Mentoring). Good stuff. Just have to read about, oh, 300 pages before my first modular of the semester which HAPPENS to start next week.

I can do this... I can do this... I think I can... I think I can...

20 hours to go... 20 hours to go...

May 2009... May 2009...



Sunday, May 11, 2008

Spent for Jesus

Two services....
sermon delivered...

It's done. I'm spent. Not sure how it went but the word was "good job" from God so... all the rest I take as gravy.

I have great kids. A great husband... what a blessing.

And now??? It's naptime!


Saturday, May 10, 2008

ack ack ack ack


That's not the sound of a hairball.. that's the sound of a student preacher in a mild state of panic.

Sermon is written but is TOOOOOOooo long. WAYYYyyyy too long!!!

Dang it.

I know why. I wrote it and then took everyone's suggestions and added them.

I know all good movies leave half the film on the cutting room floor.

snip. snip. snip... here I go!!!


Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday Five: Gifts of the Spirit

From PresbyGal at RevGalBlogPals:

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 " 'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' [Acts 2:14-12]

(My personal favorite in this passage is how Peter insists the men cannot be drunk because it's only 9:00 a.m.) Anyway, it's Pentecost and my very first Friday Five! Thinking about all the gifts of the spirit and what Peter said of the "last days"......
Have you or anyone you know...

1. ...ever experienced a prophesy (vision or dream) that came true?
Yes. Personally I was prayed over and was prophesied that I would be standing and speaking "with arms raised"... and this was long before I ever thought of going back to seminary. And I have been told a prophecy for a family member, but that's not my story to tell.

2. ...dreamed of a stranger, then actually met them later? Nope.

3. ...seen a wonder in heaven? (including UFO's) Dang. And I was going to talk about this trip to Roswell... OK. Never mind.

I have seen a double rainbow. This photo was taken was in France last November. Cool, huh?

4. ...seen a "sign" on the earth?
Um. I've seen pictures of crop circles. And this sign...

5. ...experienced knowledge of another language without ever having studied it?
Well, yes, actually. When I was going on a short term mission trip, the flight attendant asked me a question in Dutch (and I do not speak any, unless it's the name of a cheese or a beer...) At the end of the conversation, she told me (in English) that my accent was very good and how long had I studied Dutch... and I had to tell her uh... never!

Bonus Question: What would a modern day news coverage of the first Pentecost have sounded like?
"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream. I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family. They misunderestimated me. Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"

Oh sorry. I answered the wrong question...

Oh well...


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Real life. Real sermonating

My average week has plenty to keep me busy, thankyouverymuch.

This week -- one of the two times a year that I preach? Is packed and more stressful than usual.

Hammering out an agreement for a part-time ministry position. (Make an offer, blast it! MUST we do all of the legwork?)

Helping Reedy Girl get ready for a band trip -- her first major trip out-of-state with school. She was so excited and anxious that NO prep work on my sermon happened last night. It was OK. It was just that I thought I would have a couple of hours.

Talking options for senior year with the Harpist, whose academic stress level is off the charts. It's OK. She's a junior with 2 AP classes and 2 hard academic classes (for her) that are NOT AP but are killing her (Algebra 2 and Honors Chem.) It's just that what's ideal and what's reality may be two different things and her self-imposed expectations are high. Trying to encourage and walk through that mess is just not easy.

Listening to my beloved bearded spouse and some issues which truly suck. Truly. And having no answers because of the Machiavellian nature of it all... And having no time to listen because I have work to do.... but listening anyway because I love him.

And then there's extended family prayer concerns... an ill brother-in-law, a healing sister or two... inlaws and outlaws stuff. Yikes. My brain is full.

SOooo.. I prayed. Listened to Pray-as-you-go for some peace and refocusing and Jesus time.... And it's time to blog and then work...

JUST as the house finally gets quiet, the cat horks, the phone rings (telemarketer I can ignore), and there's a day laborer at the door wanting work (I don't answer). And I need to set all this aside to finish up my sermon outline.

Because, though it ain't gettin' preached until Sunday, the outline MUST be done for tomorrow so that the slides and program can be finished.

AH. real life. real sermonating.

Just mildly stretched, thanks. You can call me...


Tuesday, May 06, 2008



I'm preaching on Sunday. Mother's Day. On Hannah. And struggling with competing ideas, suggestions and lots and LOTS and LOOOOTTTTTSSSSS of advice.

And yes.

Typing away... praying a lot... revising... editing...
Getting it together...
One step at a time...


Monday, May 05, 2008

A Reader's Survey

The front page of the Washington Post this morning highlighted a web survey which claimed to know what kids are reading. The survey conducted by Renaissance Learning Web site sampled the reading habits of 3 million children and the 78.5 million books they read. According to the survey, the five most popular authors are: Dr. Seuss, E.B. White, Judy Blume, S.E. Hinton and Harper Lee.

According my very unscientific sample, (a progeny group of two), the books by Hinton and Lee were "required reading" books in their English classes. And they hated them. Reedy Girl loved "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing" as did The Harpist. Both had it read to them by the fourth grade teachers. Reedy Girl was thumbs down on "The Outsiders" saying it was a "stupid book" and "nobody in her class liked it." The Harpist shuddered at mention of Harper Lee's book and said that her teacher "killed it" with all of the analysis.

Which brings me to my objections.

1. The study was done by a group which sells reading programs to schools.

Accelerated Reader, AR, ATOS, Make Teaching Exciting and Learning Fun, Renaissance, Renaissance Learning, the Renaissance Learning logo, and STAR Reading are trademarks of Renaissance Learning, Inc., and its subsidiaries, registered, common law, or pending registration in the United States and other countries.
2. The participants were students in those schools which used the copyrighted software.

3. The participants only recorded the books they had read, not whether or not they (a) liked them or (b) were required to read them.

What would be more interesting would be to find out from public libraries across the country what readers actually like. Our local branch is always soliciting comments and "reviews" to get a broader understanding of what people liked. They recognize that just because a book is checked out that people did not necessarily read it (or enjoy it.)

To be blunt, the article in the Post this morning is not "news" - it is a sales pitch for this company. It makes me shudder.


Sunday, May 04, 2008


Calvinomics: [Kal-vinn-ohm-iks]

1. The science that deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services and with the theory and management of Calvin's systems.
2. A state of being chosen, whether you know it or not.
3. "This snake chose ME." (to paraphrase a T-shirt)

Maybe you wondered how snakes eat. (Well... maybe you didn't. If so you can skip this post.) Basically, to eat like a snake, you hug your food to death and swallow it whole.

FIRST - you have a snake. And a mousie. Mousie is verrra verrrrra still so snake no see him?? Maybe??

No such luck, mousie! Snake DEEElighted to see mousie and gives BIG hug. Scares the - uh - STUFF out of the mousie.

REALLY hugs. REALLY scares.

Bigger BIGGER hug. Nom nom nom nom nom...

Snake smileth. Helps girl do homework. (Probably math... snakes are ADDERS you know.... heeheheeee.... Sorry.)

I promise I will get more sleep...


Friday, May 02, 2008

Friday Five: Wait and Pray

Sally of RevGalBlogPals writes:

Part of the Ascension Day Scripture from Acts 11 contains this promise from Jesus;

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Then he was taken from their sight into the clouds, two angels appeared and instructed the probably bewildered disciples to go back to Jerusalem, where they began to wait and to pray for the gift Jesus had promised."

Prayer is a joy to some of us, and a chore to others, waiting likewise can be filled with anticipation or anxiety....

So how do you wait and pray?

1. How do you pray best, alone or with others?

Without a doubt... I need others praying with me. But much of the "waiting" is done alone. There is a sense of comfort, though, knowing that I have shared my heart and others are listening.

2. Do you enjoy the discipline of waiting, is it a time of anticipation or anxiety?

You've GOT to be kidding! That's like saying, "you can't wait to have a root canal, right?" Uh, no. I hate waiting. I hate not knowing. I hate that period of what seems to be silence from God. I don't know like not knowing if it is a "no" answer or a "not yet"... when on the waiting side of a situation, they both look like a "no."

3. Is there a time when you have waited upon God for a specific promise?
Oh. I am definitely in one now. The tension of "the now and the not yet" of a place to be in ministry. The prophetic knowledge that God has something in mind for me... and not knowing what it is.

What comes to mind and helps me in this waiting zone is to remember the principle of the "fallow fields". When I was in France last November on a mission trip, I took this picture of a vineyard which looked like a bunch of dead sticks tried to the trellises. I was a symbol to me of the place of rest and fallowness in between periods of blossoming, fruit-bearing and harvest. We forget that in the cycle of ministry, of life, there is this "fallowness" -- and when you are there, it just ain't easy. Because you FEEL like sticks tied to a trellis, not a vine deeply rooted and preparing to yield fruit.

4. Do you prefer stillness or action?

Therein lies the problem of "waiting and praying" for me... I like ACTION, baby! And a lot of the wrestling I have been through over the past few months has been because I have had to WAIT. Ugh.

5. If ( and this is slightly tongue in cheek) you were promised one gift spiritual or otherwise what would you choose to receive?

Oh no. You're not getting me on that one. I am NOT going to pray for patience. Every time I do, I get handed a shipload of situations to practice it!! Truthfully, the desire of my heart is to be wise. And you only get that by experiencing life... sigh... so there's no short cut but listening, learning, watching, praying... failing... and trying again.

Blessings to all as we wait!


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Poetry Party #17: Inner Compass

From Christine at Abbey of the Arts:

When I was in Maine I was struck by all of the weathervanes on top of buildings, something you don’t see as much in other parts of the country. I loved the image of finding the direction the Spirit is blowing within you. What would an interior weathervane or compass look like? Feel free to take your poem in any direction you feel moved, focus on one image or all of them.

Feel free to post any of the images and invitation on your blog and encourage others to come join the party!

Inner Compass

I turn not
because you push me
but because I want to move
and face the change.
I turn not
because you force me
but because it is time to embrace
new winds,
new power.
I turn.
And turn back.
And the Center?
I pivot on Christ.

Deb Vaughn
from An Unfinished Symphony