Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Spiritual dusting

My morning Scripture readings are in The Message. I chose this paraphrase because so much of my school assignments and so on are done with either NASB (for technical analysis) or NIV (for preaching/teaching.) It seems that whenever I read devotionally in one of those versions, I get stuck in "divinity student mode." Devotionally, I need to be in "daughter of God" mode. (If you've been through the coursework, you know what I mean!)

Today as I read in 1 Timothy 4, I came across this...

Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use.

Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don't be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation. [The Message- 1 Timothy 4:12b-16]

One of the things that God consistently does is to bring me into situations where I have opportunity to "keep the dust off." I was reminded this last weekend how important it is to keep the spiritual gifts entrusted to me sharpened and at the ready. And even more important than that, to cultivate them in the people I pray for and lead.

When I am obedient, God does amazing things. It really is a matter of staying focused and not being diverted from what God asks me to do...

As I finish my education and go where God sends, I want to "keep the dust off"...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Five: Seasons Change and So Did I

Singing Owl from RevGalBlogPals writes:

Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest. Jeremiah 5:23b

The Autumnal Equinox has just come 'round again. I took a look back at our Friday Fives and noted that it always seems to make the Rev Gals and their Pals think of changes.
There is something so nostalgic about this time of year, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. The nights grow cooler, crops are harvested, for some of us the leaves are beginning to change colors. The scent of smoke is in the air, pumpkins are in the stores (or on wagons, or in roadside stands for those of us in the country). I'm thinking of putting away my summer clothes and pulling out the sweaters. And I have a tub of Fall-themed items that my husband just lugged up from the basement. I'm looking for my scarecrow.

For this week, let's share some memories along with some hopes and expectations:
*~* since I'm headed out on a retreat in *~*
*~* just a few hours, my blog is mostly pictures *~*
*~* this week *~*

1. Share a Fall memory. Going here and doing this...

2. Your favorite Fall clothes--(past or present)? Hands down... it's this sweatshirt!

3. Share a campfire story, song, experience...etc. The joy of s'mores for my kids! (This gal isn't mine, but I love her expression as she contemplates the sticky joys ahead...)

4. What is your favorite thing about this time of year? The scenic beauty everywhere!

5. What changes are you anticipating in your life, your church, the season changes and winter approaches? We are adjusting to one less child in the house as The Johnnie is settling into college life and Reedy Girl is a high school student. It's a shift from parenting two at home, to parenting one at home and coaching one at a distance!

Bonus: What food says "AUTUMN" at your house? Recipes always appreciated.

It's almost SQUEEZO season! We have plans to make applesauce this year -- made easier once my husband discovered you could take off the handle and attach a cordless drill to the corkscrew... and away we squeezo!!! (It's also good for making tomato sauce, fruit puree for jellies, etc.)


P.S. Double bonus points if you caught the song reference... :)

Being measured with my own yardstick...

I am writing sermons (school sermons) for an upcoming class. As I have been praying about what to preach on, God keeps bringing me life lessons on having a critical spirit, and on being judgmental. I desperately tried avoiding preaching on the topic since I know full well that it means I have to "preach it to myself" first. And I didn't want to go there.

However, for various reasons, God is impressing on me the need to face it. SOooooo -- the first of my sermons for modular week will be on Matthew 7:1-6 [TNIV]

1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in someone else's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from the other person's eye.

6 "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

Judmentalism is at an all-time high right now, in every quadrant of politics, at every red carpet event. People get paid to make snarky comments, and audiences love it. (I should know -- I love repeating them!)

This was not what I wanted to focus on, but it's pretty clear it's where God wants me to do some serious "interior remodeling."



Thursday, September 24, 2009

Remember what is most important...

I bought a little refrigerator magnet the other day. It is one of those little "by the check-out" kind of wee gifties that frequently catch our attention. I bought it just because its message is so perfect for my life right now...

Remember What Is Most Important...

It's not having everything go right;
it's facing whatever goes wrong.
It's not being without fear;
it's having the determination
to go on in spite of it.
Remember that every day ends
and brings a new tomorrow.
Love what you do,
do the best that you can,
and always remember
how much you are loved.
Vicki M. Worsham

Pretty good stuff! It ties in with my reading in 1 Timothy this week where Paul is exhorting those who are called to lead the Church to persevere and live out their callings to the best of their ability. It reminds me that I am asked to not just "do my best" but to present God's best to the people I meet every day.

Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor,
by love, by faith, by integrity. (I Timothy 4)

Now THAT'S really what is most important!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

one of those songs...

This is one of those songs I play when I'm really needing to quiet my heart and pray...

Stopping to care...

In a moment of insanity, I decided to make a Costco run this morning. ("Run" + Costco = a crawl... but you knew that.)

In the bottled water section, there were two women looking at all of the various packagings and having a whispered conversation. One woman was about my age, trim and neatly dressed, and had a computerized shopping list in her hand. The other woman was much older, learning on a walker. The younger woman tried to lift a case of water into her cart, and barely was able to lift it. After it dropped into the cart, she stood there, rubbing her arms. The older woman looked worried and anxious. More whispered conversations... as I waited.

Finally, in a nonhurried way, I asked if I could help them lift another case in. With a grateful smile, the younger woman said, "Oh yes, please. I shouldn't have lifted anything that heavy. I am getting over breast cancer surgery."

So I hoisted their case into the cart, and then asked if she was OK, because she was still rubbing her arms. "I think so," she said, "I know now why you aren't supposed to lift anything heavy! That really hurt! I wouldn't have done it except I promised my child's soccer coach I'd bring in some cases of water today."

I told her to make sure she got someone to load up her car for her, and to unload it for her at the school. "You can bet I will," she said with a smile. I smiled back and told her I'd pray for her today. "Prayer is what keeps me alive," she said.

Normally I am the worst of "Type A" shoppers. I don't quite mow people over, but I hate the sauntering, wandering shopper when I have a list and know what I need to do. Today, for some reason, I just didn't rush it. And this little holy interruption was a real reminder that the planet I share has many needy people on it. (And yes, Captain Obvious, I spend far too much of my hours thinking about me. I'm a work in progress, to be certain!)

The rest of the meanderings around the store I thought about her. On the way home I thought about her. As I unloaded our haul, and worked on homework, I thought about her.

I don't know her name. God does.

So, unnamed sister, you are in my prayers today...


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Thinking in 1 Timothy

Continuing my New Testament readings... today in 1 Timothy 1:

The whole point of what we're urging is simply love—love uncontaminated by self-interest and counterfeit faith, a life open to God. Those who fail to keep to this point soon wander off into cul-de-sacs of gossip. They set themselves up as experts on religious issues, but haven't the remotest idea of what they're holding forth with such imposing eloquence. 1 Timothy 1:5-7 [The Message]

It's difficult to read this verse and be someone who believes that one's faith should be lived out in the public square. Blowhards are a dime dozen, particularly on the internet. (For a thought-provoking post, on this, see Variety's analysis of web blowhards...) I do not want to become someone who is an "expert" without "the remotest idea" of what I'm talking about. There are far too many coached sound bites and far less discussion on important issues that we face as churches and as a nation!

And yet, to be silent and not speak up is just about impossible. Particularly when it is an issue that is a passion or an injustice that is too often ignored!

Rather than suggesting we NOT respond to the issues around us, I believe that this instruction is instead an exhortation to carefully, prayerfully and lovingly respond to the injustices and issues we see every day. It doesn't mean you start a snarky blog about someone who isn't the "right" flavor of religion. It also doesn't mean you make assumptions and then tell everyone what you think someone means (this is also called "gossip!") Finally, it doesn't mean that you mock other people because they don't preach/worship/dress/live the way you do. (Yeah. That sounds obvious. But I've heard -- and participated in -- these conversations. And so have you, if you're honest.)

So, "living a life open to God" means that you take the time to consider your off-the-cuff responses to life's situations. It requires some honest self-examination every day. And it means that you consider what it means to extend God's love to another human being. Caring without seeking your own agenda or self-interests. Correcting without trying to bolster your "niche" or "target audience."

That's a tall order. But after listening to several weeks of "How would Jesus insure?" I think that perhaps this verse is more apropos than we think!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Morning Prayer...

(I don't often have time to blog in the morning, but wanted to this morning after receiving a huge dose of encouragement from my morning reading...)

We pray for you all the time -- pray that our God will make you fit for what he's called you to be, pray that he'll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something. If your life honors the name of Jessus, he will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus, Christ, giving himself freely. (2 Thess 1:12-13, The Message)

It always astounds me to have a prayer that seems meant "for my ears only" leap of the pages of the Bible.

I was feeling pretty discouraged this morning. I'm struggling with Greek (REALLY struggling) and have found it harder than I figured it would be. And I'm facing a busy week with ministry, family, school and "life" so I know I'm at a time crunch. When you know you are swimming upstream, it's daunting. It was hard to toss off the covers and start the day.

After Reedy Girl left for the bus an hour ago, and I had a bit of time with the Bearded Brewer, I started my morning routine. A wave of discouragement poured over me. I'd love to say it was lack of sleep (though I was up late last night grading papers!) but it is more than that.

It was not a lack of faith, but honesty, that showed me this summer that the kinds of things God has called me to do are not options where I worship and serve right now. It was the reason God graciously dropped a teaching assistantship into my lap, to begin to transition me into whatever role in ministry is next. What I once thought were options, God seems to have taken off the table. I know there is something God has in mind for me. The problem is, I don't really know what that is.

But. God. Does...

As I continue to read through the New Testament, I'm starting 2 Thessalonians. I know Paul was writing to the church in Thessalonica and it was almost 2000 years ago. But the words in my morning reading were exactly what I needed as a reminder.

I think we all face this battle of discouragement from time to time. It's especially hard to believe that God is battling through life with us when the day seems to be way too short for our responsibilities!

Yet... God is there...

When the tasks seem mountainous...
When there are more questions than answers...
When we act in good faith and find out we are being second-guessed...
When the gossip mill makes up what it can't find out...
When we show kindness to someone and are taken advantage of...
When we are ridiculed because we choose a different path...
When we serve willingly and get used up...
When we make mistakes and pay the price dearly in terms of our own time and resources...

God is there...

I don't have answers. I do have God's strength and peace and power, holding me up.

And so I start today, choosing to walk through a day that attemps to honor God...


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday music this week...

Oh God... hear my heart...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Five: Where on the Stairs?

Halfway down the stairs
Is a stair
Where I sit.
There isn't any
Other stair
Quite like
I'm not at the bottom,
I'm not at the top;
So this is the stair
I always

Halfway up the stairs
Isn't up,
And isn't down.
it isn't in the nursery,
it isn't in the town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head:
"It isn't really
It's somewhere else

— A. A. Milne
“Halfway Down,” When We Were Very Young

Jan of RevGalBlogPals writes...

Thinking of your childhood as a stairway, when did you feel (and how did you feel then)

1. at the bottom?

I felt like there were places to go, people to see and things to do! (Apparently I was one busy child... and yes, God gave us a kid just like me...)

2. at the top?

I felt like I had accomplished something. I also felt like I was in a safe place, since my bedroom was always upstairs.

3. halfway?

There was always a nightlight in the hallway. When we were supposed to be in bed asleep, we would take books and read around it. And when we heard a parent coming to check on us, we'd run back to our beds and pretend to be asleep. I found out years later that they weren't fooled...

4. At this point in your life, where would you place yourself on your own stairway?

I am about two steps from the bottom!!! Graduation is next May. I am praying for where God wants to take me... even though I have to complete 2 classes in summer school, it's really REALLY close to being "done" so I can see the "hallway" and the "front door" and it's pretty cool.

5. Identify a place for you that "isn't really anywhere" but "somewhere else instead."

As a child, I loved to climb trees. Not TOOOoooo high, mind you. But high enough to be off of "terra firma" as Tigger said. Now, it depends on my setting. I can meditate and be "somewhere else." But my favorite place to be somewhere else is the stone labyrinth at the local silent retreat center. It is one of the best "God places" I know. The paths are grassy, with small stones, leaves and twigs scattered through it. And in the silence... I am truly "Somewhere Else Instead."


So they went off together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Because kids matter...

If you are TRULY pro-life, you will care about this...

The US Department of Labor as released its list of slave-made goods. In particular, there is a study of what items are made by children. I don't know how in a global economy to choose items which are NOT on this list. But I do know that where I can afford to make a better choice, I will!

Info can be found...

...from the US Department of Labor website


...from Change.Org's website

If this isn't food for thought, consider how the Association for Christan Retailers has yet to take action on this request from Change.Org to anti-slavery standards. The ACR refuses to take a stand on this issue.

Walk into your local Christian bookstore and see how many items (from bible covers to "Jesus junk") are made in China...

It's pretty sobering.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Why "unfinished" ?

Someone asked me recently why I titled my blog "Another Unfinished Symphony." I guess I have a love of things that aren't perfect, aren't filed, categorized and broken down into 60 nanosecond steps. I care for people, I don't "manage" them. I listen to stories, I don't "catalogue" them. And I really don't give a frip about "best practices" which are about saving money, not serving.

But that's just me...

So when I was trying to come up with something that could represent the ongoing saga, the timeless tale (hmmm... what other drivel can I rip off?) of Deb.... I was at a loss.

My iTunes was on "shuffle mode" as usual, and it began to play Franz Schubert's Unfinished Symphony. (# 8 in B minor, for you music-holics.) And it just seemed to work. There's a lot I haven't finished.

For instance,
- a quilt.
- cross-stitch projects.
- mending.
- laundry. Always laundry.
- the research that covers my desk and clutters my thoughts.
- weeding.
- putting photos in an album... since forever.

What gets done instead?
- chauffeuring
- listening to friends
- a truckload of reading
- Facebook/blog and other black holes of time wasting!
- Family
- prayer, writing, procrastinating.
- meals, cleaning, etc.
- serving on a Chrysalis or a Kairos Outside team
- small group, friends, etc.

I'm not complaining. I make choices on how I spend my days, and many times there isn't extra seconds to do those "other" things. But it's just a reality that everything does not get done. As as I know the only Person who ever finished things... was God. The rest of us have forever to learn how to care for what God created.

So I leave you with a bit a classical music, to run errands, chauffeur my favorite oboeist, and to ponder... what have you left unfinished that you might complete today?

And.... Ze last!! blogging gratitude...

Z is for...

Geesh. Ending with an "easy" one, huh?


Zinnias.. Easy to grow and in a multitude of colors. Mine were rabbit food this year lil varmints!) so they didn't do so well. But I enjoy watching them sprout and grow. One of the few things I can grow well. I love flowers like zinnias which don't have a strong odor, but still have bright colors.

Zig Zag... My life has been kind of like a zigzag... This is my third go-round in the halls of higher education. I didn't expect that I would really and truly see this dream come true. But it is... Amazing!!!

Zoe... the Greek word for life. I am someone who enjoys living. I have faced difficult questions, hard decisions, frustrating circumstances... but I am blessed. As long as I am breathing, I intend to live!! So many people give up or don't look at life as an opportunity, or an adventure. I'm not stupidly Pollyanna -- sometimes life does suck. But I thank God for life!

My 88 key Zither... OK, it's a piano. But I love playing it. (Wait... did I mention this under "P"?? Oh well.)

Zero Mostel... "tragedy tomorrow... comedy tonight!" Life is too short to dwell on the things that tick you off. (Hellloooo??? Serena?) So laugh a little. It keeps your blood pressure down.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Y is for...

I can't say it any better than this...

Y is for...


Kim Walker of Jesus Culture...

Good stuff!

Last week I had lunch with a friend at a local Greek restaurant. I brought home a take-out order of baklava, figuring that it would be a yummy dessert for dinner that night. (Besides, who can eat a WHOLE order of baklava???) I figured I would get to split it with the Bearded Brewer, since most of the time our girls are not adventurous when it comes to desserts. Since The Johnnie was on campus, we only had to split it three ways, and gave Reedy Girl a taste. To our surprise, she thought it was wonderful!

She liked it so much, that she decided to find out how hard it would be to make it at home. The next day she did a web search for a recipe and decided she could easily make a batch. She came up with her shopping list, conscripted Bearded Brewer to get what was needed, and made a batch completely on her own this afternoon!

She did it all - chopped the nuts, rolled out the phyllo dough, created the layers, and made the sweet topping. We sampled it tonight at dinner... It was amazing!

Here's a photo journal.

Reedy Girl demonstrating the thinness of phyllo dough!

The first layers in the pan...

She is totally focused on separating the layers of phyllo dough!

And... here it is! Fresh out of the oven!

This is one proud pastry chef!

I don't think I would have tackled this with the confidence that she did. It's pretty cool. Kudos to our pastry chef! (And if you get over here fast, you just MIGHT get a sample!)


Friday, September 11, 2009

Guns into plowshares...

On this anniversary of September 11th,
I pray and remember....

Guns into Plowshares
detail of sculpture by Esther Augsburger
(Story HERE)

Guns into Plowshares
Sculpture by Esther Augsburger
Judiciary Square, Washington, DC

He will judge between many peoples
and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.

Everyone will sit under their own vine
and under their own fig tree,
and no one will make them afraid,
for the LORD Almighty has spoken.

All the nations may walk
in the name of their gods;
we will walk in the name of the LORD
our God for ever and ever.

Micah 3:3-5

It's after midnight so it's the FRIDAY FIVE: PJs edition

Sophia of RevGals writes...

As the weather cools off into a lovely fall, my son and daughter are rediscovering their joy in cozy footed "pajammies"--though not to sleep in. They love to hang out in the pjs before bed or in the morning, but when it's time to actually sleep they strip to their skivvies! Good thing they finally have their own rooms, now that they are getting older.

Without going to TMI land, share with us your sleepwear memories and preferences....
1. What was your favorite sleeping attire as a child? And did you call them pjs, pajamas (to rhyme with llamas), pajamas (to sort of rhyme with bananas), jammies, or ???
JAMMIES!! and sometimes, PJs. Favorites were usually flannel. In the summertime, babydolls.

2. Favorite sleepwear put on your own little ones, or perhaps those you babysat? (Bonus points if you made it). Those little footie pajamas (though they were lousy for midnight diaper changes). No, I didn't make them. I think I made one outfit for my kids before they outgrew them. (As in, I cut out the pattern and didn't get it finished before they were too big for it. And my kids are 4 years apart. Sad.)

3. How about today-do you prefer nightgown, pajamas, undies, or au naturel? Without turning PJs into PG... Men's pajama pants (because they have pockets!!! WHY don't women's pajama pants have pockets????????) and usually a camisole. In the winter a T shirt.

4. Silky smooth or flannel-y cozy? Cooler weather, more flannel-y.

5. Socks or bare feet? bare feet... but my "wicked-good" slippers are not far.

Bonus: Funny story regarding sleepwear (or the lack thereof). Well... to keep it PG, let's just say it included a pre-dawn fire alarm, buckets of water and a polaroid camera... and best of all, it didn't happen to ME! (heeeee heeee....)


Thursday, September 10, 2009

X is for...

I can't believe I am trying to do this but...

X is for....

Xeroxes... The end of purple mimeographs is done. No more sniffing ink while I copy off dittos or stencils. No more forms in triplicate (except for the occasional government form.) I can get copies of articles and work through the copious research I need to do for my papers. I am used to this convenience and I love it.

XML... the genius folks who make the web the snazzy stuff it is today. No more spinning icons or sparkle text. Love. it.

We are finishing an Xciting year... The Johnnie finished high school and started college. Reedy Girl is now at AP-Obsessed High School as a freshman. I finished my church job and started working as a T.A. for Whoopin' Holiness Divinity School. And the Bearded Brewer continues to make milestones in his work. Pretty good stuff.

Thanks, God.

Monday, September 07, 2009

W is for...

W is for.... WHATEVER!!!!!!!

Sometimes I do not realize how blessed I am to write on whatever I am prompted to discuss. My citizenship affords many freedoms that I know are not present in some parts of the world. This sparked me to thank God for the right to post my opinion... even if I know that it could tick off someone. (Setting aside presidential addresses and public policy for a moment...)

In my Old Testament class this week we had to write a short essay on what it means to be "made in the image of God." We were address specifically the spiritual, moral and physical attributes of humanity, and what it means to respond to those who do not believe in God...

Everything was fine until I suggested that all human beings, even members of Al-Qaeda, are made in the image of God and created for a relationship with God. That many humans choose not to does not make them any less loved or wanted by God. And I noted that because of the effects of sin, we live in broken relationships and skewed realities. In the interests of integrity, this is what I wrote:

Being created in the image of God means that in the totality of our creation, humanity reflects the breadth, power and strength of God. We participate through His Spirit being breathed into us (Gen. 2:7), that same Spirit which was over the waters and midwifed creation. We are not separated from creation but are intertwined in God’s creative work. Physically, humanity is “unlike” all of the animals (Gen.2); spiritually, we are called to preside over God’s creation as his regents and stewards (Gen. 1:28). Ethically, we are challenged to work and preserve God’s creation (Gen. 2:15) and to obey the restrictions God placed on our use of it (Gen. 2:16-17).

Hamilton notes that we are not just an imitation of God, but a “likeness-image,” for we are “not simply representative, but representational, of the invisible God” (Hamilton, p. 27). We were created for work; it is not a penalty for sin, though the thistles and the pain of childbirth certainly are (Gen. 3). Though we are image-bearers of God, Genesis 3 also explains why humanity faces the effects of sin in broken and skewed relationships. But only in our dependence on God can we even begin to show the God we are images of – not of our own initiative (LBH p. 24).

How do we respond to those who do not believe in God? I think it is important to keep God’s frame of reference: all human beings are created in God’s image. All of them are designed for relationship with God, whether they know or desire it or not. Therefore, there is no one, not even a member of Al-Qaeda who is not worthy of hearing the Gospel. That is pretty humbling, considering that we would happily bomb out of existence those who were responsible for 9/11 and act as God’s judge and jury.

How should we respond others in the Body of Christ? By remembering that each of us is also an image-bearer of God, each has been endowed by the Spirit, and called to serve the Body and Christ, we will give each other the value and the honor due one another. We do not limit what the Spirit is gifting someone to do because of age, race or gender. And we accept that we each have a part in bringing about God’s Kingdom. And by doing this, we advance God’s purposes over our own.

I have been thoroughly nuked by a couple of my classmates for daring to suggest that any person, even a terrorist, or someone on death row, (mentioned in a later discussion), is deserving of "grace"... It was suggested that with this being the period immediately before 9/11 that I have somehow cheapened or disgraced the deaths of so many.

I am growing very weary of rhetoric and assumptions of the meanings of words and phrases.

Please take what I say at face value. I'm not running for a political office. I'm not lobbying for anything. I'm writing about what I see as the logical, philosophical end result of seeing all humanity as being image-bearers of God.

Do I fulfill this perfectly? NO. And neither do you...

Quodlibet. WHATEVER.

I continue in my quest of pursuing peace, though there are times that this pursuit is quite tiresome. However, in an attitude of gratitude, I am exceedingly grateful that I can spew off my WHATEVER opinion without fear of persecution or imprisonment.


Saturday, September 05, 2009

V is for....

V is for...

VENI, VIDI, VINCI! (Sorry couldn't resist! Too many years of Latin!)

Today I'm struggling to find V words...

Victory over some difficult, emotional points in my life. God is gracious.

Velcro moments - where I have clung to friends and God and made it through.

Volumes of music... I admit they are dusty. I'm pulling them out and beginning to play again.

Vivaldi! I love hearing his music. I confess that since when I play a violin the cats scatter and people wince, I don't try to play. at. all.

OK, I give up. This is getting harder!


Friday, September 04, 2009

Recharged/Recharging Friday Five

Sally from RevGals writes:

A few weeks ago my lap-top battery died, suddenly I found myself looking at a blank screen and was rather relieved to find that it was only the battery and not the whole computer that had failed. This morning a new battery arrived in the post, and suddenly I am mobile again!

After a week with what feels like wall to wall meetings, and Synod looming on the horizon for tomorrow I find myself pondering my own need to recharge my batteries. This afternoon Tim and I are setting off to explore the countryside around our new home, I always find that walking in the fresh air away from phones and e-mails recharges me. But that is not the only thing that restores my soul, so do some people, books, pieces of music etc....

So I wonder what/ who gives you energy?

1. Is there a person who encourages and uplifts you, whose company you seek when you are feeling low?
Either my husband or my prayer partner, D. Either one knows me well, accepts me as I am, and helps me to see the "God-adventure" side of my circumstances. Also my family (my kids) and my mom and sibs. Usually I need to be reminded that I need to REST. There are days I do a good job of chilling. And then there are days where I can't find the "off" switch for my brain. My husband and I are opposites, so it is a real God-gift that his energy level and temperament remind me that I don't have to choose to go 100 mph, 18 hours a day!

2. How about a piece of music that either invigorates or relaxes you?
I'm a musician... the music that lifts me really depends. If I need a quiet space, then it may be Celtic harp. If I need motivation to get moving, then it can be anything from Bach to Rock. (And when I travel to other RevGals to read their blog on this, I'll probably think "ooohhh!! I like that piece too!" )

3. Which book of the Bible do you most readily turn to for refreshment and encouragement? Is there a particular story that brings you hope?
I tend towards the Gospels. Since I have a special acquaintanceship with Mark, I will go read it frequently, but I also love reading Isaiah and Jeremiah, and Colossians. Leviticus, not so much.

4. A bracing walk or a cosy fireside?
Ummm.... depends on how cold it is outside!

5. Are you feeling refreshed and restored at the moment or in need of recharging? Write a prayer or a prayer request to finish this weeks Friday Five....
I'm feeling very loved and prayed for at the moment. Prayers for me as I struggle with Greek this semester would be appreciated. I just don't get languages naturally and I find them very frustrating.


Thursday, September 03, 2009

U.... U... U...

I need You, you you...

I can't get the BLUES BROTHERS song out of my mind!!! But off we go on today's Alphabetic blogging... U is for...

U2... Some of their songs, not so much. But many of them speak volumes to me about being an authentic "world Christian." Take a spin through their discography (there's too many to mention) and see what you think.

Utensils... Let me explain! The right kitchen tool saves a lot of time in the kitchen, which is not my favorite place to be! Having a serrated knife, or my favorite "tomato knife" (if you have one, you know what I mean!). And some of my most treasured ones are hand-me-downs from my grandmothers' kitchens. The best nutmeg grinder I will ever find, for instance, came from one of my grandmas!

Un-scheduled... When I have the time to "do nothing" it's such a nice relief. I am trying to build more of an "un-schedule" this year, so tha tunless I have a test or something that is due THAT evening, I sign off my computer to be available for the unscheduled family times I'm needed.

Understanding... taking the time to hear and be heard is a blessing in and of itself. So often the assumptions we hold are simply not valid. And many times they are skewed by politics, economics or culture. Cultivating a deep understanding of others is part of my DNA. I have been learning how to release long-held opinoins and suspend judgments. Every time I do, I am blessed.

Uncles and aunts... growing up in a large family, I had the additional benefit of having numerous uncles and aunts, great-uncles and great-aunts. There is a sense of rootedness that comes from being connected to my family tree. I try to extend that same sense to my kids, though we do not get to see extended family nearly often enough.

Stopping there for now...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

T is for....

Plodding along finishing the alphabetic blogging of gratefulness... now we have T!

T is for....

Trust... I am fortunate that I have friends I can trust. Friends that I can have the hard, down-to-the-nitty-gritty discussions about life, ministry, family, and so on. I don't betray their trust. They don't betray mine. That's a huge blessing. I don't take it for granted.

Tears... I do cry. I am a "feeler" type person. I used to try and "stuff" my feelings but I figured out that they were God-given for a reason. Tears are one way that I can release them -- whether alone with a trusted friend. I've met enough emotionally constipated people to know that being able to cry is a blessing. (So pass the tissues!)

Toll house cookies... Need I explain this one?

True love... I married my best friend and true love. Not many people can say that.

Tests... Ugh. Can't believe I typed that. But it's true. Tests help me see what I need to do, what I need to work on, and where I have at least gained some mastery.

It's all good...