Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Five: Labor Day

Singing Owl over at RevGals has this Friday Five:

Here in the USA we are celebrating the last fling of the good ol' summertime. It is Labor Day weekend, and families are camping, playing in the park, swimming, grilling hotdogs in the backyard, visiting amusement parks and zoos and historical sites and outdoor concerts and whatever else they can find to help them extend summer's sun and play just a little bit longer.

It is supposed to also be a celebration of the working man and woman, the backbone of the American economy, the "salt-of-the-earth neices and nephews of Uncle Sam. With apologies to those in other countries, this is a Friday Five about LABOR. All can play. Put down that hammer, that spoon, that rolling pin, that rake, that pen, that commentary, that lexicon, and let's have some fun.

1. Tell us about the worst job you ever had.
Umm... it's a toss up between a church ministry job (LOL) and working as a burger jockey at the Ohio State Fair. For the latter, I went home every night, smelling of sweat, grease and grilled onions. Even my shoes stunk. The pay was... lousy, too.

2. Tell us about the best job you ever had.
That's a hard one... probably being a camp counselor, because I got to play all summer.

3. Tell us what you would do if you could do absolutely anything (employment related) with no financial or other restrictions.
Ahh... I think I'd go ahead and open that pastors' rest and retreat center. I was going to choose the mountains, but I think instead I'm going to go for a beach location. Any place where quiet outweighs commerce, and seagull outnumber people! It would be a healing place, a place to create, to study, to write, and to eat fresh shrimp by the gallon.

4. Did you get a break from labor this summer? If so, what was it and if not, what are you gonna do about it?
Yes... we had our week at the beach. It was not long enough. But it was good to unplug, to have BODACIOUS amounts of fresh seafood, and to chill with the fam. The photo here is the sunset our first night. It kinda set the tone of the week!

5. What will change regarding your work as summer morphs into fall? Are you anticipating or dreading?
Ah. It's already started. My classes. Work. The Harpist's senior year (and college visits and applications). Reedy Girl's last year of middle school. Bearded spouse. etc etc etc...

Bonus question: For the gals who are mothers, do you have an interesting story about labor and delivery (LOL)?
Both of my labors were "precipitous." From first twinge to final push, #1 daughter's labor was 8 hours, #2 daughter's labor was 4 hours! And both labors, over 10 days late, were brought on (unscientifically) by a no-holds-barred HOT Mexican food dinner. Beans, burritos and birth pangs... hmmm... sounds like a book title!

And now it's time to... GO to work!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Friday Funnies

Check out this one:

If the embedded video doesn't play, you can find it here!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Quotes that encourage me...

I finished re-reading the Gospel of Matthew and found myself going back to read over a pithy comeback from Jesus to (surprise, surprise) the Pharisees:
"Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: 'I'm after mercy, not religion.' I'm here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders." [Matt.9:12b-13 MSG]

I had to stop and try to grasp a truth that has often eluded me... God is looking for people to serve who are about mercy, not religion. The problem is, many of us in the "religion" business (like the Pharisees!) are forgetting that we are actually in the "mercy" business. How many times do I react to someone, or pre-judge them because of a previous interaction or experience with them, or someone like them? How many times do I accuse in my mind and find them guilty without a hearing?

Way, WAY, WAY too often. And I suspect, if you are human, you are with me on this.

I remembered something in Michael Kelly Blanchard's book Unsung Heroes...
"What I have only recently come to see is that mercy is ultimately not a tool of judgment, to be dispensed or withheld in response to our behavior, but a free choice of a loving God originating from His tender

"The wild card of mercy is a characteristic of God - not just one of the many ministry arrows in His quiver. It is who He is, not just simply a description of what He so frequently does."

I was feeling a little guilty and doubting my "fitness for ministry" because I can't seem to get a handle on this. I begin to doubt my effectiveness because of my judgmental nature. Or I wonder if I can honestly, gently preach grace and mercy when I can not extend it to someone else.

Self-doubt is part of this down spiral of self-accusation and I seem to wallow around in my own whine. It's not a pretty picture, that.

Samuel Rutherford, in his letters... (found in The Loveliness of Christ) and quoted in Jan Karon's book Home to Holly Springs:
"When I am in the cellar of affliction I look for the Lord's choicest wines."

I am grateful for a merciful God who sits in the cellar with me... and then walks me upstairs to the High Places, too.


Back to School...

It's official.

Summer is over and the time for the typing of papers has come.

I'd rather be beaching. Ah well...


Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Five: Friday Dates

Songbird of RevGalBlogPals writes:

It's Friday afternoon, Eastern Time, and this is your faithful Songbird with a calendar-related Friday Five. Due to some confusion with our dates, I'm stepping in today, although I am usually here only on the 5th Friday, when there is such a thing.

Here are five things to ponder about dates. I hope you'll play!

1) Datebooks--how do you keep track of your appointments? Electronically? On paper? Month at a glance? Week at a glance?
Our church staff now uses Google mail, calendars, etc. It syncs with my personal Outlook 2007 stuff, including my "smart" phone. I love it. However, I also use a paper calendar to make sure that my family is all on the same page. It helps! I also have ALL of my class assignments, due dates, etc. on a paper calendar. It's my "brain" and I can't do life without it.

2) When was the last time you forgot an important date?
Anniversary or birthday - never. Appointment - probably more recently than I can remember. Which, at the moment, I can't remember at all.

3) When was the last time you went OUT on a date?
Wednesday. :)

4) Name one accessory or item of clothing you love even though it is dated.
I don't know... I am sure my fashion consultants (aka teenage daughters) will tell me, though.

5) Dates--the fruit--can't live with 'em? Or can't live without 'em?
Eh. Great to get things moving, if you get my drift. Otherwise... not so much.

Thanks, Songbird... :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Meet Up with one of Mindy's friends!

We're leaving in the morning.... sigh...

Here in Beaufort, you can meet just about anyone. Bill and Hillary Clinton have been sighted at Hilton Head. Tom Hanks filmed a movie here, and so did a whole passle of other folks.

Beaufort is a sweet l'il ol' southern town where they still make sweet tea from scratch and call you "honey." It's just a nice place to vacation.

So, it really didn't surprise me when I ran into one of Mindy's friends...

She had some kinda rash! She told me that a girl can get her skin really roughed up if she doesn't use sunblock and moisturizer. Looking knowingly at my freckled, slightly pink face, she 'llowed as how I was gonna be peeling myself in a few days.

As for the things on her back? She shrugged. She was sure SOMEONE thought it was a great pun -- "bloom where you are planted. ha ha."

And she wondered why the Beaufort Arts Council decided to make her live just a half a block away from Talbot's, where, she noted, NO ONE with HIPS ever bothers to shop!!! As she pointed out, she was facing the other way... towards the Dairy Queen just a few blocks the OPPOSITE direction!

I like her style.


Oh... to Mindy she says, "y'all come to Beaufort any time."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Hat tip to fellow-Twitter Evan Courtney...
I can't get the video to embed properly, so please go visit HERE! for a video from Rob Bell on the feminity of God!


Major Oogies.

Haven't figured out a lot of things that God has done... including why God created mosquitos... or palmetto bugs... or these...

Talk amongst yaselves...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Not really a country music fan...

I'm not really a country music fan (despite being from OHIO). However, I was introduced to the song "Anyway" by Martina McBride... I read at another pastor's blog (Deanna) that it is a take off from Mother Teresa's poem, Anyway. After surfing around the web a bit, I found out it is actually by Dr. Kent Keith, from his book The Paradoxical Commandments.

The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas
can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001

Here's a link to the video from Martina... (worth a listen!)


Why should I leave??

Why should I leave?? I could do distance ed. from the beach... right???

I could send everyone home and coach them on what to do by phone... right???

I'm sure I could type a paper at the beach... right???

No one would miss me... right??? right???



Friday, August 15, 2008

A very late Friday Five

Mary Beth of RevGalBlogPals writes:

Here in my neck of the woods, rain is falling...a little uncharacteristic for August, but most welcome! It'll be hot and humid later, but a break in the heat is most welcome. Also falling (especially into my driveway) are the fruits of the bois d'arc tree (also known as the Osage Orange). We call them "bowdarks" and enjoy bowling them down the driveway to the empty lot across the street. (Yes, I may be a redneck...)

Bois d'arc fruits are used only for: 1) making more trees and 2) eating by squirrels (if you have another use, please let me know!)

The wood of the bois d'arc tree, however, is very hard and very beautiful, and makes gorgeous items like this vase. Such a lovely thing, from such an odd-looking source!

For this Friday's Five, share with us five transformations that the coming fall will bring your way.

OK... so this is what we saw last night...

and this...

(Is it even ALLOWED to think about the Fall when I'm on vacation???
Yeah. Re-entry is going to be hard... So I might as well do this Friday Five...)

1) Full-time coursework AND part-time pastoral work.
Last year, my internships were 1/3 of my classes. This coming year, working in ministry is added on to my load. Yeah... I know. It's a lot.

2) College visits for The Harpist.
Currently, the list includes: William and Mary, St. John's (Annapolis), Bryn Mawr and (because we need to ponder the range of possibilities) Univ. of Maryland and Johns Hopkins. And here's a shock: Ohio State! Likely course of study in languages/linguistics or classical languages.

3) Pulpit supply. Maybe...? My current church has three excellent full-time teaching pastors. I want and need more experience... so I am putting my name out there for others to help supply the time in the trenches that I need. I believe (and have been told) I have a gift for communication. So, in faith, I'm working towards building on God's gifting.

4) Final decisions on coursework. I am just at the halfway mark. I have some options for my classes that I have left, as well as some of the "everyone shall take forevermore and amen" requirements. Trying to get things in optimal sequence for the goal of finishing in 2010.

5) A trip to Ohio State for the OSU/UM game.
Yes. It's in November. Yes. I'm excited!!!

Bonus: Give us your favorite activity that is made possible by the arrival of fall.
Gee. I know this will shock you... but it ain't homework. It's BUCKEYE FOOTBALL!!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I'm ready...

See ya...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Deb Needs...

(The picture has nothing to do with this post.)

Since our cats blog, I find out all kinds of interesting things about what goes on around here... you never know what they will tell you! Anyway, Tiria did a "needs meme" and I thought it would be fun to try it.

Besides, classes are done for a few weeks and I have a time to BURN!

Google your name and the word needs after it. Put the text string in quotes to limit your search. (i.e. "Deb needs") List the first 10 items where your text string shows up in a complete sentence (assuming of course that they are G-rated...) and see what you get!!

I got 2,500 hits!

1) Deb needs HAL removed.
(I'm sorry Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that!)

2) Deb needs to be uploaded.
(errmmm... not yet. I hope.)

3) Deb needs Facebook.
(Of course! Doesn't everyone?)

4) Deb needs help with whole words.
(Someone has been reading my papers!)

5) Deb needs help PLEASE!
(Geez. I know, I know!)

6) Deb needs a desktop file.
(Believe it or not, I don't. Just today I cleaned up my desk!)

7) Deb needs helpers!
(I won't turn you down!)

8) Deb needs more time to look at the menu.
(I confess that often happens.)

9) Deb needs "faction music input".
(Have NO clue what that means...)

10) Deb needs a revelation when a grisly ax murderer kills a man & demolishes his car.

OK. Talk amongst yaselves and then try it.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Feeling thin skinned...

I need to get a grip. Or a thicker hide. Or change ponds. Or just float away and let it go. Or maybe all of the above. Like this gal...

Man. There are times that estrogen really, really SUCKS!

Just sayin.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Friday Five - HOT HOT HOT

Presbyterian Gal of RevGals writes:

It’s August. An oppressively hot and humid month where many of us live.

I remember the Al Pacino movie though not much about the plot. Just that it was very, very hot. And he had giant sweat stains on his shirt.

As I pass through this year’s dog days in my felon ridden neighborhood (OK, just two housefuls. But isn’t that enough?), I am trying to focus on the blessings apparent around me, past and present, that I might not notice, necessarily. In that spirit, this week’s Friday Five goes thusly:

1. What is your sweetest summer memory from childhood? Did it involve watermelon or hand cranked ice cream? Or perhaps a teen summer romance. Which stands out for you?
Summers at the pool. Running in the sprinkler. Summer camp. And home-made Popsicles.

2. Describe your all time favorite piece of summer clothing. The one thing you could put on in the summer that would seem to insure a cooler, more excellent day.
My broomstick skirt and a tank top. Birkies, too.

3. What summer food fills your mouth with delight and whose flavor stays happily with you long after eaten?
The fruits of the season.... peaches. tomatoes. berries. Yuuuuummmmm. (Wait. Tomatoes ARE fruits, right??)

4. Tell us about the summer vacation or holiday that holds your dearest memory. Probably the way we end our summers - taking a week at the beach. It's coming up next week... can't wait!!!

5. Have you had any experience(s) this summer that has drawn you closer to God or perhaps shown you His wonder in a new way?
I would have to say being ordained this summer, surprisingly, spoke to my vision and my dreams, and reminded me that indeed God is in the middle of this thing called "life"! I had been told it was "just a piece of paper." It is SO much more...

Bonus question: When it is really hot, humid and uncomfortable, what do you do to refresh and renew body and spirit? A nice tall glass of iced tea with mint and Splenda. And the sports section to read about college football! Fall will be here before we know it...

who says (for the first time this season...) HEY! QP!! O-H!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Big Read - part 2

The last time I posted about a reading challenge, I was corrected on the existence of the "real" one called "The Big Read" by a blog commenter. The list I posted was a mish-mash of two challenges. Whatever.

ANYWAY... You can read about the real "Big Read" HERE! Whoopin' Divinity School is a participant and all of us Whoopers are encouraged to squeeze in a non-Divinity book... I am going to try and read a few of them that I either hated the first time, or would like to try as a new one this time... Besides, I have a week coming up at the beach and I need something to read!

Here's the list...
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
My Antonia by Willa Cather
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
The Shawl by Cynthina Ozick
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Yours for better beach reading...

...who is already at the beach in her mind...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


The Mexico team is HOME! Despite all odds, everyone got a ticket (including a change of planes in Houston less than 24 hours after Edouard!

The Harpist is enjoying her first hot shower in a week, and shortly, will soon be snoozing in her own bed...

Thanks for praying her, and the rest of the team, HOME!


P.S. Yes. She will do a guest blog in the next week!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Maybe tomorrow

Our friend, ED, has closed the Houston airport for several hours today... Their flight never left Mexico because of the storm's projected landfall. ...So our girl and the rest of the team are delayed. Pray for good flights, hopefully tomorrow... and safety.


UPDATE: (3:45 p.m. EDT)
They are on stand-by for Wednesday... there's only 2 flights out of San Luis Potosi each day. Then IF that works, they are on stand-by to get out of Houston....

Keep praying...

Feminist Kitteh

Somehow, this one seems appropriate since my Feminist Theology paper is done...

more cat pictures

Monday, August 04, 2008 the way...

Gad, I am an idiot.
200 pages into my day this all becomes quite clear to me...

It is NEVER a good sign when your prof says (after reading your proposal for a paper topic) "well THAT will be a very interesting and challenging paper!")

It would be much better for them to say, "your paper will bore my socks off and will be a piece of cake for you. Here's your A+."



Today The Harpist is spending her last (planned) day at Casa Hogar in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. However, we have been watching the Gulf of Mexico and this lil ol' storm named Eduardo. Projected to be making landfall in the next 24 hours... and while I don't wish it on my RevGal friends in the Katrina affected area, I don't want it to hit Houston, either. (That's where the team changes planes and goes through Customs...)

So pray for a fast, safe uncomplicated return.



In the midst of being overwhelmed yesterday to the point of tears... Naomi and Bill sang this as part of the morning worship. And peace descended...

And God is more than enough for whatever I look at trying to accomplish today. That is, if I remember as I try it, that God is in the midst of doing it with me...

oh. yeah. that.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I hate the phone


I don't like the phone.

I especially don't like phoning to recruit or schmooze or "survey" or otherwise do visitor follow-up. Or persuade other people that it is a great "ministry" to do it so that I don't have to...

It's a problem because it is now becoming a large part of my work as a pastoral underling (aka "associate pastor.") I am recruiting, training and "empowering" people to do it...

SOooo... what about the things I am passionate about in ministry???

Teaching? very little.
Preaching? non-existent to barely ever.

If you'd pray for my attitude and a miraculous change of heart... to loving "cold calls" (which is what this feels like) I'd appreciate it...
Because that what's on my plate this week, and I really REALLY don't want to do it...

And that sucketh mightily.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

That flippin' calendar...

I finally got around to flipping the calendar to August. (OK, so I'm slow. Sue me.)

It's good and it's bad. It means that I'm almost done with another semester. It means that the fall schedule with its intense busy-ness for the rest of the family starts up again... soon. VERY soon.

Reedy Girl saw the awful words "1st day of school" and said, "NO NO NO NO!!!!" Her only consolation is that my semester starts before hers.

I feel her pain. Even though my summer schedule, in some ways, is worse than the school year, I've enjoyed knowing that the girls are around during the days.

Time is flying by... in a little over three weeks...
The Harpist will be starting her senior year in high school.
Reedy Girl will starting her last year of middle school.
I will start another year of divinity (FUDGE!) school. (I always want to put that word after "divinity"!)

To quote Mayor McShinn's wife in The Music Man...


Friday, August 01, 2008

Friday Five: Lock Me Out, Lock Me In

Songbird of RevGalBlogPals writes:

For some reason, Blogger declared this blog possible SP*M and locked us down yesterday. This morning, we're free to post again, but there was a fair amount of excitement last night among our contributors, who found a dire notice on their Blogger dashboards threatening that this blog might be deleted in 20 days!

We requested a blog review, and I posted a request at the Blogger Help group, where I found we were not alone. Many other perfectly nourishing and cromulent blogs got the same notice last night.

This turned out to be a very small barricade in our blogging community life, but it seemed appropriate to explore locks and blocks and other barriers this week. Also, I liked the picture of the security team above! Could they be Blogger's Spam Prevention Robots, working overtime?

In honor of their efforts, I bring you the "Lock Me Out, Lock Me In" Friday Five.

1) How do you amuse yourself when road construction blocks your travel?
Pre-GPS days, I would play "radio roulette" and just keep punching the "search" button on my FM radio. (Did you know that, regardless of where in the US you travel, there are an inordinate amount of Country stations??? yilg...) Now, I hit that "find detour" button. At least I'm moving. It's questionable whether I am actually getting there any faster...

2) Have you ever locked yourself out of your house? (And do you keep an extra key somewhere, just in case?)
Sigh. Yes... The worst was when I was taking the trash out late one night. The door to the house (the handset in the door handle was finicky) blew shut and locked itself. I could spend the night in my car... or I could bang on the door until my husband let me in. He, of course, was sound asleep. Neither one of us were happy. (A moment of marital bliss it was NOT!) My husband took some Lock-eze to it the next day. And no - no keys hidden anywhere outside our house. We have a neighbor who has ours, though.

3) Have you ever cleared a hurdle? (And if you haven't flown over a material hurdle, feel free to take this one metaphorically.)
Um. No, but I knocked them down regularly in the Track and Field P.E. unit in high school...

4) What's your approach to a mental block?
It depends on what it is. Since I am one mental block away from finishing my latest round of Turabian uh... fertilizer I assign myself "mini-tasks" to make the insurmountable seem possible. If that doesn't work I throw food around on Facebook. When I get really disgusted, I go blow off some steam at WellGames! (And those of you who struggle with getting distracted on-line should NOT go there. Repeat: NOT!!! But if you like a fun game, try Glassez or Beadz!)

5) Suggest a caption for the picture above; there will be a prize for the funniest answer!
"Huey felt their relationship was one-sided; Dewey and Louie thought he was acting a bit unhinged..."

And now... on to my day...