Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday music...

No... this was NOT the music that I heard today! But when it came up during a random shuffle of my iPod, I decided it was worthy of blogging.

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,

Holy, Holy, Holy,

Dominus Deus Sabaoth.

Lord God of Hosts.

Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.

Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.

Hosanna in excelsis.

Hosanna in highest.

S is for....

Continuing on in the alphabetic blogging of gratitude...

S is for...

I love to sing. I don't do it as often as I used to, something that is somewhat discouraging. I guess it is a function of the church we attend, the busy-ness of my life, and estrogen leaving the building...

Studying... It is a blessing that I have the time and opportunity to do my studies. I'm aiming not to just be a repository of useless theological facts, but actually have something to offer that will help someone some day.

Sense of humor... I'm glad I have one. It helps as I slug through the Pentateuch in a couple of sittings. I confess that as I read Noah's story, all I could think of was Bill Cosby's version of the story... ("What's a cubit?") At least I self-entertain well.

Siblings... I was blessed to be born into a large family. My sibs are among my biggest encouragers, and are a talented, diverse group of strong individuals. In my family there have been bankers, artists, analysts, librarians, doctors, chemists, publishers... and somehow now pastor...

Seasons... I'm actually glad summer is over, as much as I enjoy the time with family on vacation. Fall is my favorite season, but I also enjoy the others too. One thing I found out early on in my adult life was that I did not do well in a part of the country with only two seasons (humid and less humid!)

Simply yours...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Five: I Like Myself

Singing Owl at RevGals has this Friday Five exercise in self-affirmation:

Lately I seem to be encountering many people who have a very difficult time finding anything good to say about themselves. They are able to extend grace and forgiveness's to others but find it difficult to extend that same grace to themselves.

With that in mind, let's share some healthy affirmation today! Tell us five things you like about yourself!

She's absolutely right... I do NOT do well when it comes to self-affirmation.

All I could think of was the the old SNL sketches, and this funny from ihasahotdog... (see more dog and puppy pictures here...)

So here we go...

1. I can laugh at myself. Or, as it was said in my growing up years, "Remember the 11th commandment: Thou shalt not take thyself so @#$% seriously." When I remember to laugh at myself, I don't get bent out of shape by the insanities of life.

2. I am a good mom and wife. Not perfect. Good.

3. I am smart and able to articulate things clearly, even for the non-theologically minded.

4. I am an excellent musician (piano, vocals, flute) and hold myself to high standards when I do play or perform.

5. I am not a halfway person. If I say I am going to do something, I do it. I'm a jump-in-with-both-feet, go-for-the-gusto, be-all-you-can-be type of woman. And woe be to you if you think you will stand in my way, once God has convinced me I'm supposed to do something!!

And doggone it... people like me.


R is for...

R is for....

Reading! There's a shocker. I was raised by book-oholics. I married a book-oholic (and a librarian to boot!) And, we are raising book-oholics. Right now on my non-textbook reading list is a short "biography" of the life of St. Brigid. Since I love to wear her cross, I figured I needed to learn more about her life. I'm also reading through the Jane Austen novels this year. And there's always a partly-read stack of something near the bed. Textbooks don't count as "reading"...

Relaxing... I don't do it enough. But I made time for it this summer, even with my full schedule, to enjoy family time and to "do nothing". For my birthday, the Bearded Brewer got a hammock stand for our family hammock. I actually listened to MP3s of Church History lectures while rocking away an afternoon. You know, if you have to listen to recorded lectures, they might as well be in a comfy place!!

Really good friends... The kind of friends that see past the casual answer and ask the next layer of questions. The kind who don't judge or give pat responses to the struggles I have. And the kind who believe in what I see as God's vision for my life. I am blessed. Truly.

Time to move on with my day...


Thursday, August 27, 2009

She is now... A JOHNNIE!!

A Johnnie Chair!

It's official... Yesterday, The Harpist officially became The Johnnie!

We were up at a ridiculous hour to be at registration close to 9 a.m. Since St. John's is not too far away, we didn't see the point in paying for a wretched night's sleep at a motel. We skirted the D.C. Beltway traffic and took a circuitous route towards the east, arriving with the humidity close to 80% and the temperature already close to 90.

Her dorm is one of the oldest and is over the dining hall (naturally - freshmen always get the dregs...) It overlooks the front lawns where croquet matches are held, the river on the other side and the quad on the other. There's no elevator, so move-in and life on campus means lots of steps.

St. John's always begins with a Convocation - each entering student is called up to the stage and signs the official register. In the opening address, the president listed all of the "friends" he had made in his lifetime... mentioning books and authors! (And as he said, some of them are even still alive.) It was an engaging, happy day. The school is unique. The curriculum is amazing. Bearded Brewer and I are a bit envious! Of all the schools we visited and she considered, it is obvious she is in the right place.

Signing the Register - sorry it's a blurry pic from my camera phone...

So... she's going through orientation today, with her first seminar this evening. It's exciting and rewarding to see her take these big steps.

Here's.... our Johnnie!

Celebrating the ride...


Continuing to do the ABCs of gratitude...

Q is for...

Quiet! Yes. Even an extrovert likes quiet now and then. Not TOOOoooo much, mind you, but enough to settle my heart and to re-focus on what matters. Unlike the Bearded Brewer, my silent retreats are not a week, but are 4-5 hours. I go to a local retreat center with other day retreatants and soak up some God time. The next one is September 2nd at the Dayspring Retreat Center. Join me, will you?

Quintessential Christians. The ideal of my Christian experience in a nutshell, i.e. to become the essence of Christ in my world. I have so many models of this in my life to contemplate and strive towards becoming... They are incredible blessings to me and I am grateful.

I'm struggling to come up with Q's... so forgive me for stopping with two. :)


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

P is for...

P is for...

We have two healthy, bright, caring daughters. They truly are a joy and a blessing. The Harpist (who will be known as "The Johnnie" tomorrow onward) is enjoying her last day pre-college. Reedy Girl spent the summer as a C.I.T. (counselor-in-training) and vegging before her first day of high school.

Boxes. Suitcases. Laundry Basket. Survival foods (Ramen noodles, Microwave popcorn, protein bars...) It's finally happening. Our first-born is headed to college tomorrow, (St. John's College of Annapolis). It's a happy, bittersweet, amazing moment. Hard to believe that the toddler who invented words to explain what she saw is now headed to begin studying towards an eventual graduate degree in linguistics.

The Grand Dame of our feline world. She truly IS "The Duchess Who Outranks Everyone." Just ask her! (Oh yes... she blogs, too, though not as much as the chatty youngsters.) We do love our kitties! Polgara, like all of our cats, is a rescue kitty. Her mama had her litter in a dumpster, and our vet rescued the babies. Polgara and her sister (who has since gotten her golden whiskers) came to live with us in May of 1997. We won't discuss her age, as that would be indelicate, but you can do the math...

Intercessory. Contemplative. Scripture. Music. Art. Healing. Blessing. And all the other kinds of prayer I am forgetting... I don't spend enough time in full awareness of the closeness of God.

Time to get back into my school year habit of playing my piano. I confess I play when every one leaves the house these days because I am so rusty...

Kinda goes with the last two, but I find I can focus on the things that matter if I keep my

and stay

about what is going on in the world, in my life, with my family and friends. It is easy to get angry, bitter and callous. My natural tendency is to be positive, but not in a stupid Pollyanna way. Life does suck sometimes. But God is in the middle of it. And that is the balance that I strive to keep.

Peace out...


Monday, August 24, 2009

O is for...

O is for...

Opportunity... I think about the discrimination that my grandmothers and mom lived through. I think about the jobs that they never considered, or the places they never went for an education... because women just "didn't do that"... Yeah... I am grateful!

Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent God... Some times it is hard to grasp the depths and the heights of an eternal God. (Wait - SOME times? Make that ALL the time!) To know that I have instant access to that kind of power and love. It's mind-blowing and amazing.

Openness... I was thinking today of the people I share my heart with and vice versa. The fact that we can live and talk and do life together with an open-hearted conversation is such a blessing.

October... Fall. Football. End of summer heat. My favorite MONTH of the year!!!

Ohio State... Yeah. Kinda goes with October. Go Bucks!

another heart song...

Yeah... it's kinda like that.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

N is for...

N is for...

Boy... this one was hard. But I came up with something.


I know that sounds crazy, but the "NOs" in my life have usually come with a really good reason.

NO... to the guy I was first engaged to. Yeah, he chickened out (his loss) but it was a good thing. God's NO meant I met my wonderful Bearded Brewer.

NO... to the church I thought I would work in forever... It was a great experience, don't get me wrong. But God has other places and plans for me. First stop, being a grad. assistant. And from there... who knows??

NO... to healing people I love who had cancer. And cats who had to get their golden whiskers.

NO... to "fixing" financial woes...

It's in the NO moments that I experience pain, anger, frustration, and loss... and where I also see God's kindness, patience, and providence. It's then that I realize how God's power works through me, in spite of me...

I really hesitated to put up this blog post. I mean, isn't being thankful for NOs kinda like praying for patience??

And yet... that's the word I've got.

So thanks (?) for NOs...


Friday, August 21, 2009

M is for Memories...

M is for Memories...

We just arrived home this evening. I drove the last 6+ hours of an eleven hour drive (by choice - my beloved offered, but I really prefer to drive.) Traffic from the Virginia border northward was simply NUTS. Three lanes of traffic, bumper-to-bumper, pushing 70 mph. It's just mentally exhausting.

But I can set that memory aside as I look at pictures from vacation...

This was where I had morning coffee, or an afternoon brew...
It overlooks the salt marsh, where the ibis, herons and egrets congregate.
And you know you are on vacation when you can sit in one place and watch
the tide turn...

This was taken one bright, sunny day (as you can see!)
from the beach, looking back at the row of houses.
My mom's place is second from the right. These are
duplexes -- spacious, quiet and refreshing.

I love this beach because it's a quiet, natural beach.
We never know what the shape of the shoreline will
be, or what critters will show up as we walk it. We loved
the barnacles on the back of this horseshoe crab!

One evening the girls and I went to the pool for a swim.
While they were in the water, I shot the sunset from the deck.
This overlooks the salt marsh, so the reflection was really something.

Our annual family photo: Yours truly, The Harpist (soon
to be The Johnnie!), Reedy Girl and Bearded Brewer. Taken
our last night on the beach. sigh....

SO... when my classes start to get to me, or my deadlines for papers and projects are too close together, I will wander back to my photos and remember... this space. This time. This resting place.

Thanks, Lord.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

College mindset from Beloit...

I read this year's list from Beloit College on the "mindset" of the "average college freshman" since we have one (a child entering college.) I found it a little surprising. Maybe we've done a good job (or at least better than "average") with our progeny...

Most students entering college for the first time this fall were born in 1991. (true. someone can do higher math... )

  1. For these students, Martha Graham, Pan American Airways, Michael Landon, Dr. Seuss, Miles Davis, The Dallas Times Herald, Gene Roddenberry, and Freddie Mercury have always been dead. (since they live on in their art... are they really "dead"?)
  2. Dan Rostenkowski, Jack Kevorkian, and Mike Tyson have always been felons. (and that's no great loss.)
  3. The Green Giant has always been Shrek, not the big guy picking vegetables. (um. FAIL.)
  4. They have never used a card catalog to find a book. (again - FAIL.)
  5. Margaret Thatcher has always been a former prime minister. (so?)
  6. Salsa has always outsold ketchup. (depends on the household, I guess.)
  7. Earvin "Magic" Johnson has always been HIV-positive. (since I worked with an AIDS ministry in the 90s, it really was never a big wow factor.)
  8. Tattoos have always been very chic and highly visible. (chic? a matter of opinion. highly visible? not particularly.)
  9. They have been preparing for the arrival of HDTV all their lives. (and... so?)
  10. Rap music has always been main stream. (not in our house.)
  11. Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream has always been a flavor choice. (aha! Finally something worthwhile on this list.)
  12. Someone has always been building something taller than the Willis (née Sears) Tower in Chicago. (OK, but not something we lose sleep over.)
  13. The KGB has never officially existed. (unless you watch old movies!)
  14. Text has always been hyper. (still use a lot of the print stuff around here.)
  15. They never saw the “Scud Stud” (but there have always been electromagnetic stud finders.) (no clue.)
  16. Babies have always had a Social Security Number. (OK)
  17. They have never had to “shake down” an oral thermometer. (Fail.)
  18. Bungee jumping has always been socially acceptable. (possible vs. acceptable.)
  19. They have never understood the meaning of R.S.V.P. (FAIL.)
  20. American students have always lived anxiously with high-stakes educational testing. (another education establishment experiment...)
  21. Except for the present incumbent, the President has never inhaled. (this is newsworthy why?)
  22. State abbreviations in addresses have never had periods. (apparently other 18 year olds have not written formal papers.)
  23. The European Union has always existed. (whoopee.)
  24. McDonald's has always been serving Happy Meals in China. (again. whoopee.)
  25. Condoms have always been advertised on television. (mission critical?)
  26. Cable television systems have always offered telephone service and vice versa. (really? no clue.)
  27. Christopher Columbus has always been getting a bad rap. (laughter...)
  28. The American health care system has always been in critical condition. (depends on the hospital/provider.)
  29. Bobby Cox has always managed the Atlanta Braves. (um. Where is Beloit? in Georgia? eh.)
  30. Desperate smokers have always been able to turn to Nicoderm skin patches. (another good reason not to start!)
  31. There has always been a Cartoon Network. (only if you have "always" had cable.)
  32. The nation’s key economic indicator has always been the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). (news to me.)
  33. Their folks could always reach for a Zoloft. (but we don't.)
  34. They have always been able to read books on an electronic screen. (this assumes that "books" have been available on PCs since the early 90s? in whose home?)
  35. Women have always outnumbered men in college. (whatever.)
  36. We have always watched wars, coups, and police arrests unfold on television in real time. (again. do other people not turn off their TVs?)
  37. Amateur radio operators have never needed to know Morse code. (again a little known fact)
  38. Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Latvia, Georgia, Lithuania, and Estonia have always been independent nations. (cool.)
  39. It's always been official: President Zachary Taylor did not die of arsenic poisoning. (I never knew he had/hadn't.)
  40. Madonna’s perspective on Sex has always been well documented. (If one actually cares...)
  41. Phil Jackson has always been coaching championship basketball. (No clue who that is either.)
  42. Ozzy Osbourne has always been coming back. (with fewer brain cells each time.)
  43. Kevin Costner has always been Dancing with Wolves, especially on cable. (good idea.)
  44. There have always been flat screen televisions. (really? guess we are still on our "old" non-flat one.)
  45. They have always eaten Berry Berry Kix. (ew. unlikely.)
  46. Disney’s Fantasia has always been available on video, and It’s a Wonderful Life has always been on Moscow television. (Yes on the first - no clue on the second.)
  47. Smokers have never been promoted as an economic force that deserves respect. (HALLELUJAH!)
  48. Elite American colleges have never been able to fix the price of tuition. (And the pedestrian, state colleges haven't been able to, either.)
  49. Nobody has been able to make a deposit in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). (never heard of it.)
  50. Everyone has always known what the evening news was before the Evening News came on. (who watches the news today?)
  51. Britney Spears has always been heard on classic rock stations. (again... there are other stations.)
  52. They have never been Saved by the Bell (we never did watch that show either.)
  53. Someone has always been asking: “Was Iraq worth a war?” (good question!)
  54. Most communities have always had a mega-church. (I am not sure if this is good or bad.)
  55. Natalie Cole has always been singing with her father. (OK.)
  56. The status of gays in the military has always been a topic of political debate. (good!)
  57. Elizabeth Taylor has always reeked of White Diamonds. (reek is an excellent way to say it.)
  58. There has always been a Planet Hollywood. (again - unimportant.)
  59. For one reason or another, California’s future has always been in doubt. (I should care about this, I guess.)
  60. Agent Starling has always feared the Silence of the Lambs. (how many 18 year olds actually have watched that movie?)
  61. “Womyn” and “waitperson” have always been in the dictionary. (LOL...)
  62. Members of Congress have always had to keep their checkbooks balanced since the closing of the House Bank. (GOOD!)
  63. There has always been a computer in the Oval Office. (good to know.)
  64. CDs have never been sold in cardboard packaging. (there is a reason for that.)
  65. Avon has always been “calling” in a catalog. (and got a busy signal...)
  66. NATO has always been looking for a role. (good one.)
  67. Two Koreas have always been members of the UN. (probably wise.)
  68. Official racial classifications in South Africa have always been outlawed. (HALLELUJAH!)
  69. The NBC Today Show has always been seen on weekends. (assuming anyone watches it...)
  70. Vice presidents of the United States have always had real power. (LOL...)
  71. Conflict in Northern Ireland has always been slowly winding down. (Depends on where you live, I guess.)
  72. Migration of once independent media like radio, TV, videos and compact discs to the computer has never amazed them. (me neither.)
  73. Nobody has ever responded to “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” (this is significant, why?)
  74. Congress could never give itself a mid-term raise. (GOOD!)
  75. There has always been blue Jell-O. (not in my house.)
I guess either because I have the perspective of being an 18-year-old's parent, or because we have tried pretty hard not to be mainstream parents, that I find this list rather anti-climatic.

And so it goes..


Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Sunset - the reflections on the salt marsh, the birds coming in to the rookery, the sounds of evening. Peace. Rest. The movement of the tides...

breathing deep and resting...


Monday, August 17, 2009

L is for...

L is for LUGGAGE....

We're on vacation and I haven't gotten around to doing more blogging. I'm grateful for this time with my husband and kids... grateful for a quiet corner of the universe where I can pray, rest and get back to "center"...


I'll get back to the alphabet later.

There's leisure time to be enjoyed...


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

K is for....

The letter K in my alphabetic gratitudes...

Kairos and Kairos Outside... I am privileged to share in a ministry that reaches out to men, women and teens who are impacted by incarceration. Whether it is a friend or a relative, friend or foe, living with the results of someone you care about being in prison is life-changing. I am grateful that God allows me to serve the women of Kairos Outside.

Jesus said,

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." (Matthew 25:35-36)
I am just going to blog about this for my letter today.... so sit and enjoy a virtual cup of tea and let me share with you about a very special ministry that I am involved with called Kairos Outside...

Kairos Outside began in California in 1989 and is a ministry designed to reach out to wives, mothers, sisters and other adult female family members/friends of the incarcerated to let them know there is a Christian community that cares about them and their needs.

Kairos Outside is set up as a weekend retreat to help strengthen the family unit and encourage small support groups. On two weekends a year, we provide a secure place for 24 women to share their struggles.

Kairos means "God's special time". In the lives of these women, we know it will be God's special time for them.

I am sharing this information with you because I will be one of the team members serving on the next Kairos Outside Weekend in Maryland. Kairos Outside #7 will be held September 25-27. 2009. The theme of the weekend is Soar With Jesus. My job is to serve as one of the Spiritual Directors (pastors). I am stepping out of my comfort zone, but I know God goes ahead of me and will be my Helper.

We need your help in a prayer commitment and financially to share this weekend of God's love. You can help us make it possible for this important ministry to continue.

Please take a few minutes TODAY to remember these women and to prayerfully consider a contribution. Donations of all amounts are greatly appreciated! It costs $180 to sponsor a woman for the weekend. $56 will provide all of the meals for one woman. $7 pays for breakfast, $10 pays for lunch, and $12 covers the cost of dinner. So, as you can see, any size donation is a blessing.

Thank you for your help as we share the goodness of God with these women.

God's love, peace and blessings -


* Checks should be made payable to Kairos Outside of Maryland and may be mailed to me (I will send them on) OR you may mail them directly to Kairos Outside of Maryland, P.O. Box 401, Burtonsville, MD 20866

P.S. Check out the Maryland Kairos Outside website here!

Monday, August 10, 2009


J is for.....

JAYS - they make my kittehs happy. Nothing like a little live entertainment for a bored housecat to keep peace in the ranks.

JAVA... OK, I put Coffee under "C" and this is kinda double-dipping. But I do enjoy a GOOD cup of coffee in the morning. Just one big mug. I actually am decaffed the rest of the day. It's the smell as much as the taste. Right now we are drinking coffee from a ministry in Nicaragua. Wonderful stuff - and buying it invests in the ministries our church supports there.

JOB... My husband has a steady job. I have a job as a TA which of course is not for the big bucks. But it is a job. Even The Harpist was given a work-study job as part of her financial aid. There aren't enough jobs to go around. I'm grateful.

JUSTICE... Yes, there are still wrongs and prejudicial decisons and laws made in the US. But we have a greater chance for true justice to be lived out in this country than in many around the world. It's not a small blessing.

JUICY BERRIES... Oh mannn!!!!!! LOOK at these puppies! They were being closed out from a roadside stand yesterday. Four pints were mine for $2.50! They exploded with juice when we ate them on cereal this morning. Dead ripe, juicy, sweet-tart blackberries. There will be a whole section of heaven with blackberries in it. I'm sure of that!

Having a very JAZZED day -


Sunday, August 09, 2009

The after midnight edition of IIIIiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii..... should be in bed. But I'm not. So let's blog a little, shall we???

Ice cream... Graeter's to be specific. Nom. smulch. yom. drool... Unfortunately, I need to be blessed with it a little less.

Ice cubes... Ok, just travel in Europe and drink luke-warm coke. Trust me. A blessing.

Inhalers... Yes, I am tired of sucking down micro-particles. But I am rather fond of breathing. How many people in the past died because they did not get the treatment they needed to live healthily with asthma? Probably far too many. SO - - because my next breath is clear and non-wheezy, and because I think maybe, finally!!! I have licked whatever bug knocked me low, thank you God for inhalers!!!

Introspection... It was an important skill to learn, being the extrovert type. But, as I've gotten better at it, I can honestly say I am glad that I have grown a wee bit in the last couple years. Taking the time to stop, pray, listen and respond to God has helped me in so many areas of my life.

Intercession... I remember specific instances where knowing someone was praying for me made the difference in coping with a difficult time. When my dad was terminally ill, there were people praying for me. There was this sense of a physical burden being removed from my shoulders, and being taken by 'someone' else. I have never forgotten that. When God wakes me up (or keeps me up) I search my mind for who I could pray for. And then I do. A blessing.

Intelligence... There are days I could use more of it. But I know that I have been given the ability to think and reason and respond to the ideas and life events around me.

Interdependence... There are several people that I have found are those "strong tower" people in my world. I lean on them. They lean on me. We kinda prop each other up, you know? And in those special relationships, where God is the third strand? Wow. Pretty amazing.

Ideas... I am an outside-the-box thinker. Big time. (Just thought I would be Captain Obvious in case you hadn't caught on to that one...) I like to explore and try new concepts. It's what keeps me fresh and positive.

And on that note - I will try the "new concept" of sleep. Maybe...


Saturday, August 08, 2009

H IS FOR......

H is for.......

Harshes... I'm one of many. And I love them all dearly.

Home... I am truly blessed to have a safe, lovely place to live, with people that I trust and am secure around. I know of too many people who could make that statement. It's humbling. I want to be more aware of this particular blessing.

Hope... I am constantly amazed at the HOPE that God pours into my heart and life. Reminders that there is so much more to my existence than what is known and seen outwardly. And a future that does give this deep-down peace.

Henry... He's a good kitty. He's fun, gentle and a very VERY good purrer. And he is very good at holding down my papers when I am trying to write.

Harpist... It's a treat to have someone who can play such a beautiful instrument. We will miss our Harpist next year when she goes to college, but are cheering her on for her next big adventure.

Husband... God blessed me with a great one.


Friday, August 07, 2009

and ON TO THE G's.........

G is for......


Immanent Incarnate Immortal.
Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent.
Paid in full.
Quick to forgive.
Your God and Mine.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

One last "F" - a Foremother...

F is also for foremother...

Ellen Brown Hickox Stewart
b. 1792, Middlefield, Ostego County, NY
d. 1883, Cherokee County, KS

Author of
Life of Mrs. Ellen Stewart,
Together with Biographical Sketches of Other Individuals.
Also, a Discussion with Two Clergymen,
and Arguments in Favor of Woman's Rights;
Together with Letters on Different Subjects.

~Written By Herself.~

Beebe & Elkins, Printers, Akron, Ohio, 1858.

I had the rare privilege of thoroughly LOVING my most recent research paper. "Loving" and "research paper" don't usually go hand-in-hand! However, my mom tipped me off to an amazing woman, Ellen Stewart, who was my thrice-great-grandmother. I'm in the final stages of editing a research paper on her for my Church History class.

I have included just a snippet of her writings here... I hope to actually do more with her published memoirs. She was a woman ahead of her time. I am SO grateful for all of the foremothers in our pastoring heritage!



“St. Paul said, the gospel he preached was not after man, for he neither received of man, neither was he taught it but by the Holy Ghost, and if the same Holy Ghost teaches the same gospel to females, and teaches them that they must preach it, who is Paul, or any other man, that they shall say they shall not? The Lord by His spirit inspired the prophet Joel to say, that in the last days he would pour out his spirit upon his servants and upon his hand-maids, and they should prophesy. Now, could they prophesy without speaking? …Again, if God has bestowed gifts for one calling, has any man a right to force us to choose another? And if He intended no female should preach, why has He bestowed on some the ability to do it?”
(Life of Ellen Stewart, p.18.)

“A female must encounter, on all sides, an inveterate prejudice, founded on a misconstruction of the scriptures.” (pp. 63-64).

“This very idea, that [men and women] are not equal, has been the source of oppression of woman by man. If they counted them their equals, one code of laws would have answered for both. …They have deprived her of the right of a voice in choosing lawmakers, or in the laws by which she is governed. They compel her to pay taxes without representation, and have enacted many other laws, equally if not more oppressive. Our nation has declared that all men are born free and equal. And is not this declaration irrespective of sex, color of condition; and does not the right of free speech belong to women, as well as men?” (p. 187).

F is For....

Gratefulness for thing that start with F.....

Family... my parents, sibs, spouse and kids. I have been blessed with a great family. They are among my biggest cheerleaders and confidantes. Growing up with six siblings, life was frequently crazy, usually busy and lots of fun.

Friends... Yeah. Those too.

Flowers... Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "The AMEN! of nature is always a flower." I agree. (Well, except for ragweed. Can't really put that in the same category.)

Fresh fruits and vegys... We're in one of my favorite seasons of the year - fresh fruit and vegy season. Nom. nom. nomnomnomnommmm!!!

Freedom... I am an avowed pacifist, but I do not take my freedoms for granted. And I do pray for the end to war and the safety of those who are in the war machines of this world.

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Alphabetic Gratitude Blog continues... with EEEEEEE!!!

DAY FIVE continues with the letter E...

Elections... Every time I read the front page and see someone like Kim Jong-il there, I am grateful for a country with free elections, without concern for my own rights, or those of my family being violated because I vote for a different party, or a different candidate. Remember the purple thumbs in Iraq's election? Yeah. I'm grateful.

Electricity... when I did a short-term stint in Nigeria, we called twisted the acronym for the power company to "Never Expect Power, American!" It meant I never knew when I would have water pumped to my faucet, lights for my apartment, or heat for my stove. At four a.m. the lights overhead would pop on, and I would stagger around, filling pots and buckets with water, before crawling back in bed. Rarely do we have a power outage that lasts more than 12 hours. Really. I need to stop complaining!!!

Education... By choice we use the "free" public schools (which aren't) and by choice we are using private institutions for college and grad school. But we (a) have a choice and (b) are getting an education for our daughters. It's a privilege many females do not receive around the world.

Examples... (good ones, that is.) SO many, I can't possibly name them all. Pastors, teachers, writers, leaders, gentle citizens all. Thanks.

Energy... compared to this time last week, I am awake at 3 in the afternoon. Physically I am on the mend, and generally, God has gifted me with lots of energy and stick-to-it-tive-ness for the tasks in my life. It's great to feel a little more energy today.

On my way thinking about E words... how about you...


P.S. someone asked me, "what will you do when you get to X? Improvise?" I said, "X-ACTLY!!!" :)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

And D is for....

I was tired of the usual. How about a semaphore?

Dad... I was given a great one. I married someone is also another great one.

December... Probably my favorite month of the year. It's crazy-busy in the church world, but it's my favorite liturgical season, and I love the lights, the stories, and the decorations.

Deciduous trees... I love the changing view out my window, the bare limbs in winter, the buds in the spring, the full green canopy of summer, the changing leaves in the fall. Evergreens are OK, but I love my deciduous trees!! Strange one, I know. But they help me follow the 11th Commandment: "Do not take thyself so seriously!" One of my favorite posters of theirs is THIS one!

Daily Bread... I have been enjoying a slow read through the New Testament. I'm in 1 Corinthians now. It's been a gentle, easy way to walk through the Scriptures. So much of my studies are intense, fire-house quantity of information. Taking it S-L-O-W-L-Y has helped me keep myself fresh. I read my devotions in either The Message or a contemporary version so that I am not doing Greek in my head or other analysis. Just a slow, deep, steeping in the Word. Gotta have it!

Dreams... I have them. I'm grateful for the ability and opportunity to pursue them...


Monday, August 03, 2009

Alphabetic Gratitude Blog continues... with C!

Too many hours of Sesame Street, because today only could be brought to you by THIS...

Cats... yes. We're cat people. Three at the moment. Cats remind me to relax, stretch and show appreciation for the Hand that cares for me. And there's nothing like purrs of appreciation...

Clutter... Strange one. I guess I don't love it, but it reminds me that all of my needs and really, most of the "wants" in my life have been met. So I try to remember how much I have to give, and not keep receiving.

CJ... one terrific 14 year old. You continually amaze me with all that you do, and your compassion for others. Love you!

Camera... It's a lens to the world that captures moments of beauty, laughter, and adventure. And every now and then, throws a new perspective on how God works through these stop-action moments. After a month without my camera (the lens was being repaired) I am ready for more photography!

Cell phone... It's a cell phone! It's a camera! It's a calendar! It's an iPod! WOOT! Love my new smart phone! Ever since I had to walk home 3 miles because I had no purse, no money and no gas, I have been grateful for my cell phone. It's a blessing and a curse, but I have learned that I can turn it OFF so that if I don't want to be "found" then I am not.

Coffee... must have... coffee... and... Chocolate... mmmmm..... chocolate. Need I say more?

Call... I didn't imagine 10 years ago I'd be in divinity school, or be back in the field of church-related work. But that nagging Call that I experienced in my 20s had never gone away. God is incredibly patient, working through and in spite of my fears and questions, and pulled me back into the place where I am supposed to be. You just know when you know... if you know what I mean!



Sunday, August 02, 2009

B is for.......

Continuing my alphabetic blogging of gratefulness... today's letter is B...

Beards... well, specifically, one beard. Belonging to my beloved spouse of 22 years. I've never known him without one. I love him and his beardliness!

Beth... a caring, ready-for-God's-next-big-thing, 18-year old. Proud of you, sweetie!

Birds... we have a huge variety of birds in our backyard. The Carolina wrens are raising their second brood of the summer in the birdhouse. The purple finches and gold finches are introducing their winglets to our birdbath and bird feeder. The sparrows, cardinals, bluejays, catbirds, mockingbirds, swallows, and robins are in the yard every day. And the hummingbirds stop by frequently to tank up from one of our feeders, or to care for our butterfly bushes. Pretty cool, creative, stuff, God. Thanks!

Butterflies... Both the biological and the spiritual ones in my life. I was an SD for the winter Chrysalis Flight #56 in February. It was a privilege to watch God work through the team and in individual butterflies' lives. And I continue to pray for them!

Boy Cats... We have two in kitty heaven: Klibban, the ring-tailed rabble-rouser, who was our first "baby". And then Clyde, the reformed barn cat with a snaggle tooth, scarred ear, and cross-eyes who was an incredible lover, not a fighter. Now we have King Henry the first who (tries to) rule the roost. And he has his own blog with Tiria HERE!

Bread... I enjoy baking bread, though most of the home-made loaves recently have been under the direction of Reedy Girl, who is quite an excellent baker at 14 years of age! There's nothing like that 'come-hither' smell as the loaf begins to crust over and brown. We tend towards "the-whiter-the-bread-the-sooner-you're-dead" bread. Recipe for the family favorite (non-bread machine) is HERE! That Jesus used the metaphor of bread to describe the life-giving gift of the Cross has always spoken volumes to me...

Books... Love them. Tons. I'm getting more serious about reading "non-school" books, which includes non-pastoring books, too. Recently I read The Other Preaching in Lynchburg by John Killinger, which was a snarky, angry memoir and could have used a better editor and a whole lot more grace in its pages. But I wonder if sometimes the truth isn't easier to just shell out in his unvarnished way. And I'm in the middle of Waiting for an Ordinary Day: The Unravelling of Life in Iraq by Farnaz Fassihi, the Wall Street Journal's Iraq correspondent. It is from the view of the Iraqi people, not the military, but it does offer a lot to think about. This fall members of our church are doing a Jane Austen book club and while I will miss some of the sessions because of my class, I fully intend to read along with them.

Blessings... there are so many in my life I am grateful for. Healthy kids. Great husband. Nice home. Rain. Sun. Central air conditioning and running water. Utilities. Even my computer. Things I take for granted but are forgotten as the blessings they really are.

Blogging... I didn't realize when I started journaling years ago that I would ever do this in an on-line fashion. But I continue to find cyber-friends, connect with old friends, and pursue living life with God's power and strength. It's an amazing journey.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Two people I'd ask you to pray for...

There's two special people I'd ask your prayers for...

Little Collin, who is 5.5 months old and has dealt with far too many tests, hospitalizations and "medical stuff" than a little guy should.

Pray for him to make steady progress, and for healing. And for a God-sized dose of peace for his parents...

And this is Dave... about a year ago, Dave had a serious motorcycle accident. By a miracle of God, the right emergency workers just "happened" to be in a car that came on him right after his accident. And with lots of surgery, prayer and support, he's on the road to recovery.

He has surgeries left to continue repairing the spaghetti of his insides, but mostly, prayers for him and his wife, Kendahl, would be huge.

Thanks for being a part of the unseen "cloud of witnesses" surrounding them...


Daily Blog Meme: Alphabetic Gratitude

I got this idea from MomPriest who learned of it from AltarEgo: Blog every day, going through the alphabet, listing things you are grateful for... It's the beginning of a new month, so it's a great time to play. Join me! It doesn't have to be long, doesn't have to be on the first of the month... just blog!

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. (Col. 3:16)
HERE we go!!!

Obvious. Sorry. I do love a fresh, crisp, unwaxed, warmed-from-the-sun apple. One that's tart on the tongue, and explodes with juice when I crunch it. A freshly-picked apple brings back memories of my grandparents' apple tree...

OK. I guess that sounds weird. But when I can breathe freely after one of the spells I'm having now, I remember how my daily breath is from God. And that God's creative Breath in the world is a constant reminder of joy and hope and peace.

A-LIST Friends
You know who you are... who have listened, prayed, encouraged and challenged. Love you tons.

I love good art. Photography. Landscapes. Sculpture. Prints. I'm grateful for artistic geniuses in this world.

I like positive people. Upbeat people. People who are ready to face life, not sit and whine about it. (I can do that fine without help!) I guess ATTITUDES of a positive nature make a huge difference in my life.

Specifically, the kind that my beloved makes in his homebrews. It may not make for great race relations progress at the White House, but I love the quiet end to a day with my favorite brewer.

My family has been large, extended and caring. My parents made an effort to keep us in touch with our grandparents, aunts and uncles. It gives roots and wings. I'm grateful for all of them.

I believe I was born with it, but I have met enough people in this world to know that not everyone has it. So I'm grateful for the pound of ambition God worked into my personality from the get-go.

No way can I list all of the formational authors in my life. There's lots.

I got 'em. And I will continue to pursue them. Langston Hughes said, "Hold fast to your dreams, for without them life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly. "

Feel free to join me in this exercise...