Sunday, May 31, 2009

For Mary...

Resting in peace.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Five: The BIG To-Do

KatherineZJ of Revgals writes:

Greetings from the land of the Big To-Do!

It seems like every year I enter into the summer with a growing list of HUGE projects/events/trips that seem to have a permanent place on the 'to do' list.

This year I have a huge move pending so that takes up an entire list all on its own, but it doesn't take a big event like that for me to make plans bigger than my summer can hold!

How about you?

Is this the third summer in a row you have made a pledge involving your garage and actually getting a car into it?
Did you once again miss the registration deadline for the continuing education event of your dreams ?
Are you starting to think you couldn't even find the tents, let alone get it together to pull off a camping trip?

Here is your chance to get it out into the open and OWN your Big To-Do! Who knows? Maybe making the list will help you move the Big To-Do to the Big Ta-Da!

I can get me some ambition and drive my family crazy. Maybe I AM like Nellie Forbush in "South Pacific" (you know... A Cock-eyed Optimist?)

I dared to come up with a list....

1) What home fix-it project is on your Big To-Do?
Realistic: The roof is first. We're in the "getting estimates" stage. (We just did the water heater... fun times.)
Optimistic: If we can, doing the front steps, walk and driveway would be great.

2) What event (fun or work) is on your Big To-Do?
Realistic: keep up with the weeding...
Optimistic: Shall I go adventurous and say "dig up all my bulbs, separate and re-plant them" -- it could happen!

3) What trip is on your Big To-Do?
August. The beach. It's gonna happen! Ain't no maybe about that!!

4) What do you wish was on someone ELSE's (partner, family member, celebrity, etc...) Big To-Do?
Organize and de-clutter the garage, maybe even new storage units (i.e. racks, shelving)
Re-organize (new fixtures) in my closets.
Re-do my kitchen (floors, countertops, cabinets)
Re-do our bedroom

5) Getting inspired? What may end this summer having moved from the Big To-Do to the Big Ta-da? Realistic:
Finish two more classes.
Get The Harpist packed and off to college.
Help Reedy Girl get ready for high school.
Lose 20 pounds.
End world hunger.
Bring world peace.

OK, that's it!


Monday, May 25, 2009

Peonies for Memorial Day

This plant is a start from a peony bush from our family farm in Hocking County, Ohio.

My family "tradition" was that Memorial Day was "decoration day." My mom recalls going to the cemeteries and cleaning up the gravestones with her parents. My grandmother always had flowers to plant. Growing up, even well into my teen years, we would go to the family farm and stay in an unimproved cottage (well, except for electricity and a well) where it was usually hot, muggy and buggy. But it was family... my roots are there.

There's no grave marker for my dad's ashes. We scattered them at the family farm near some of the flowers he planted. Also that weekend we dug starts of plants (peonies, white coral bells, irises, ferns) for any of us who wanted them. I brought some back and planted them in my garden.

I thought it was a fitting tribute that the peonies are so lovely this weekend. On my dad's birthday (yesterday, May 24) they burst into bloom. My dad was an excellent gardener, a Korean War vet, an erudite scholar, an avid reader, and a great dad.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone... I love you, Dad -

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Wales... Where sheep wearing LEDs, dogs, and bored shepherds create art... Enjoy!!

Life's too fast...

Just praying and celebrating with joy...


Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Five: Vacation, All I Ever Wanted...

Mary Beth from RevGalBlogPals writes...

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted... I'm showing my age...
This was an anthem of my high school years. Wanna hear it?
Give this link a try. While you're bopping along to that (or perhaps holding your ears...?), let's think about VACATIONS! I certainly am!

1) What did your family do for vacations when you were a child? Or did you have stay-cations at home?

We did a lot of car trips, driving 9 people in the family VW Bus or Chrysler station wagon. It was fun, but not. It was pre-Interstate. Pre-Air Conditioning (until I was a teenager). Pre-in-car video. (Walking uphill in the snow. Both Ways. OK... I'll stop!)

We also got to tag along when my dad had professional meetings (easy on the meetings, heavy on the fun) near the New York World's Fair in 1964, and Expo 67 in Montreal. Those were car trips, too. It was extremely rare that we took planes. Maybe twice that I can recall.

Another favorite activity was family camping (which I now understand was a "vacation" for everyone but my mom...) We usually went tent-camping at a primitive campground near the Appalachian Trail, sometimes in the Great Smokies. Usually there was a spigot of drinking water, but no showers and no toilets. We lashed a latrine and washed up in the stream. While we kids helped with the cooking, my mom was the engineer of shopping, menus and entertainment. And laundry. LOTS of laundry. I'm guessing this photo was taken towards the beginning of a trip because we all look fairly clean and showered...

2) Tell us about your favorite vacation ever:

Anytime I go here....

It's a quiet, natural beach in South Carolina. God shows up every time. August can't come too soon.

3) What do you do for a one-day or afternoon there a place nearby that you escape to on a Saturday afternoon/other day off?

What is this "day off" you speak of?? Between pastoral duties, family, friends and grad. school, I don't get one very often. I try to schedule every quarter a part-day silent retreat at Dayspring Retreat Center. I forgot my camera in March, but here's the beauty of the place - even in January...

4) What's your best recommendation for a full-on vacation near you...what would you suggest to someone coming to your area? (Near - may be defined any way you wish!)

If you are coming to the Washington, DC area, I would encourage you to do maybe two days at the MOST in DC proper (the Monuments, the Smithsonian, etc) and then the rest of the week away from the madness. Go to Mount Vernon. Or the Baltimore Aquarium. Pay for cheap seats to a concert at Wolftrap. Then drive to some place like Monticello or Harper's Ferry, and chill the rest of the week. If life isn't complete without a theme park, an outlet mall, or a boardwalk with suntan oil and funnel cake, I'll give you a map... but I wouldn't go there myself.

SUGGESTION: do NOT come to visit in June, July and August. Traffic is awful. It's beastly humid and hot. The Mall (the "National" Mall - you know, the one with all the monuments?) is not air conditioned. You've been warned...

5) What's your DREAM VACATION?

I am going to take my Bearded Brewer and go back here... to the Bavarian Alps. To the spa pool with drinks served poolside. oh yeah.........

Bonus: Any particularly awful (edited to add: or hilarious) vacation stories that you just have to tell? ("We'll laugh about this later..." maybe that time is now!)

Travelling pre-Intestate meant that at least ONE of us kids (there were seven of us) ended up getting carsick. My mom finally resorted to preparing a "barf bucket" -- a gallon milk jug with the top cut down for easy access. Apparently, as she tells it, one trip was particularly bad -- the road was in terrible shape, it was nasty weather, and we apparently took turns with the bucket.

I don't have pictures of that. You'll just have to trust me. It wasn't pretty. The upside of it was that we became steadfast fans of Dramamine...

And with that... I'll stop.

My vacation starts in 90 days...


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Celebrating our Scholar

"The Harpist"
Distinguished Scholar in Humanities
Meritorious Senior Independent Project
Award for Excellence in Latin
Award for Excellence in Foreign Languages
Survivor of P.E., Chemistry and Pre-Calc :)

Humanities and Arts Signature Program
TS Wootton High School
Class of 2009
Future "Johnnie"
St. John's College
Annapolis, MD
Class of 2013

It's not been easy, but she's persevered, worked hard and has more than a medal to show for her efforts. We're super proud of her!!!

one proud mama...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Five: Friends

Jan from RevGalBlogPals writes:

Ever since I found out I could be the hostess for the third Friday Five of each month, I have not been able to get the thought of friends out of my mind. Being an only child (all growed up) who moved around a lot in my lifetime, friends have always been very important to me. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote: "The way to have a friend is to be a friend."

So today let's write about the different kinds of friends we have, like childhood friends, lost friends, tennis friends, work friends, and the list goes on. List 5 different types of friends you have had in your life and what they were/are like.

1. Childhood friends

Growing up, we lived in Ohio, then South Carolina, then Ohio again. I have "sets" of friends from elementary school, junior high, high school and college that I admit I have no clue anything about them - where they are, what they are doing in life, etc. Even m>y high school friends, BFFs to use teen parlance, and my closest friends and sorority sisters from college are not on my radar screen. Occasionally one of my sibs will hear from someone I know and send a "hello" -- and I think "gee, that's nice" -- and don't muscle up the energy to respond. So hey -- if you went to any of these schools - drop me a comment! :)
  • Lexington Elementary in Lexington, Ohio
  • Ebenezer Elementary and Ebinport Elementary in Rock Hill, SC
  • Sullivan Jr. High in Rock Hill, SC
  • North High School in Columbus, Ohio
  • OSU School of Music
2. Lost friends

My friends Carolyn and Tania were in my wedding. I have no clue where they are today. Carolyn got married. Tania got married and divorced, and I think she is now remarried. I'd love to find them again...

3. PTSA friends

Some of these women I have spent a lot of hours with, running committees, leading events, raising money, volunteering in the classroom, and advocating for our kids. One "set" of these friends is graduating... four more years... wow.

4. Seminary friends

These are very active, and Facebook sure makes a difference in staying in touch. We celebrate and love each other through the changes and challenges of finishing school (or managing to STAY IN school).

Last summer I took a Mentoring Women class. Our professor organized us into work groups, and we spent our modular week laughing, crying, and praying together. It was energizing and encouraging! We called our group "Daughters of the Lion" - a BIG shout out to them! (And for some reason, I don't have a group picture of us... bummer.)

Various other friends from divinity school - we started together three years ago and are still going at it, one semester at a time. We are from California, Texas, Georgia and Maryland, and still are friends and co-laborers for Godstuff.

5. Friends for the journey

There's groups within a group here...

- RevGals - so many... and I'm so grateful to have found you via a random "women pastors" Google search!

-I just realized I need a picture of these women... they are "The Pastorettes" as we jokingly call ourselves. We meet for life, love and encouragement every month. Dana and I are the seminarians, and Terry and Marina are pastors in the area. I truly love them.

- A dated picture, but here's most of the team at the church where I work. This was taken last year at a "Retro" party.

- My Bearded Brewer, Reedy Girl, and the Harpist. Love them the most. My prayer is that, as our girls grow up, they will be daughters and friends for BB and me.

As a bonus, put a link to a new (to you) blogging friend and introduce us!
Well, she's not a new friend, but she will be a new blogging fried to all of you. DebD is a homeschooling mom and long-time friend. We actually "met" via another on-line group, and then discovered we lived within 4 miles of one another. But that's a tale for another day...

Here's her self description:

I am a Christian homeschooling mom and wife with 6 children whom I have been homeschooling since 1991. As of the 2007/2008 school year, two of my children are in college, one in private school, and the final three are still at home. I am a convert to the Eastern Orthodox Christianity from a mixture of the Charismatic, Reformed, and Lutheran faith. I hope you will find a nice mix of family life, homeschooling, and faith on my blog.

“Of all holy work, the education of children is
the Most Holy.”
--St Theophan the Recluse.

Hope you'll visit her!

peace out, friends...


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Encouraging my Heart...

Every now and then, a song makes me stop, listen and weep...

God is so good. Even in the rain...


Bring the Rain

Mercy Me

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that
I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You

Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll
be days
When this life brings me pain

But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am yours regardless of the clouds that may
loom above because you are much greater than
my pain you who made a way for me suffering
your destiny so tell me whats a little rain

Holy, holy, holy
Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God almighty
is the Lord God almighty
I'm forever singing...

everybody singing...
Holy holy holy
You are holy
You are holy

Monday, May 11, 2009

Running Gunk-Free

Hebrews 12:1-3 (TNIV)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

It was pouring rain. I was filling up my car at the cheapest local brand-name station and just got tickled by this sign. That technical term... "Engine gunk" just slayed me. After I turned off the pump and before I headed on my way, I snapped a picture of their promo out my window...


At first I wondered what marketing genius came up with the phrase. Vague memories of high school science class, piston engines and driver's ed. reminded me that pistons can develop a carbon "residue" if the fuel does not burn cleanly or if parts are worn and don't fire the cylinder correctly. I realized it was a point of genius to call it something memorable - like "gunk".

The "gunk" is there from the moment we fire up the engine on a new car until it blows its last master cylinder. The problem is that we, the normal driver and consumer, don't measure the output of our car's cylinders. We just realize when things have gone very, very bad (i.e. we suddenly realize where there's a haze of blue smoke - or worse - there's too much "gunk" deposited on them and they don't move!)

Time and attention to the little details of a cylinder's output are part of regular car maintenance. "Regular" now means when the little yellow light blinks on when I start my car. Time to have an oil change. Or preventive maintenance on the belts, tires, hoses, etc. I don't intentionally ignore the warning light on my car, but sometime i let busy-ness put it too far down on my list.

The spiritual "gunk" build-up is easy to ignore, as well.

I'm starting up a new semester with just a week off from the last one. But in the time between, I had the opportunity to read and pray through areas of my spiritual life that had "gunk" on them. It wasn't quite enough time to have a full engine tune-up, but at least I am seeing where I need to spend more time with God (the "Master" Mechanic, if you will.)

Here's what I'm learning...

Some of the gunk in my life is self-imposed. I get a terminal case of the mindset woulda-coulda-shoulda. I get a B+ instead of an A and the "tape" in my head says I'm stupid. I set aside a project or chore because I want to enjoy the people around me, and then have a partly done task "scolding" me for leaving things un-done. (As if things could talk. Geesh.) Or I listen to the voices of society who think women are only one role or voice, to the exclusion of the multiple ways that God uses gifted female leaders in commerce, government, churches, and the home. I let them define, re-design or regulate where God is leading me. It's so wrong. It's GUNK!!

Some of the gunk is guilt-imposed by others. If-then statements probably put me into an emotional state of guilt faster than any others. Without stopping to analyze (is this true? is this real? is this honest?) I respond from my primary motivator, feelings. I feel guilty, so I respond to get rid of the guilt. I take on side-cars of projects or expectations because I think that they are valid for me... and they might not be! Or I labor under the impression that "IF" I want to be X "THEN" I must do Y. It's GUNK!!

Some of it is spiritually-imposed. It's as if Satan says, "OK, I can't side-track her with societal guilt. I can't get her in the old "tapes" of the past. Let's just throw some roadblocks in her life to distract her or pull her off course." It's GUNK!!

I don't think the writer of Hebrews had "engine gunk" in mind she used the analogy of the "road race of life" -- but it works for me.
I am purposing to throw off the GUNK that hinders and so easily entangles... and to fix my eyes on Jesus, the Master Mechanic, pioneer, and perfecter of my faith.

I'm on a life-long road race, not a drag race. I need regular pit-stops, oil changes and engine re-builds. But maybe, just maybe, I'll do it with less "engine GUNK" in my life.


Sunday, May 10, 2009


Resting. I'm not very good at it. But I did it this weekend. And, I did it in a way that is pretty unusual for me...

I didn't read any emails, play on Facebook, Twitter, blog or ANYTHING similar to that for part of this last weekend. Over 24 hours, in fact.

I turned off my cell phone, too.

It was wonderful.

I wasn't pushed to do someone else's agenda or take on someone else's tasks. I didn't get involved in a "discussion" because I wasn't on line to read it. And I didn't try to be/do/act in a way that wasn't putting God or my family first.

So I've decided to try (TRY) and limit my on-line playing for part of every weekend.

It's a simple thing, really. And yet, incredibly difficult.

My life is pretty full: Husband, kids, extended family, summer school, work, friends... Then there's stuff I want to do more regularly like garden, exercise, read non-theology books... I want to continue to write, play with my camera, practice my piano. I want to spend the limited time I have with my girls before one starts college in August, and one goes to high school.

Not a one of these things I missed out on was really "urgent" -- nor was it even "important." It's a good lesson for me to learn.

Some days, I will have time to email, blog, Facebook, tweet, IM, etc... and some days I will decide not to.

And finding God's peace in the middle of it? Ah. It's so totally worth it.


Friday, May 08, 2009


I am trying to be patient. Really. I'm not checking Blackboard except first thing in the morning... Classes were over almost two weeks ago and my last assignment turned in TEN DAYS ago...

Where are my grades?????


Friday Five: It's a Bug's Life

Sophia of RevGals writes:
As I was walking the beach today, I was surprised and delighted to find it swarming with ladybugs. The sweet little red beetles are one of my favorite insects and also my daughter's blogname--though as of this morning she was thinking of changing it to Butterfly. I'll keep you posted.

This got me thinking about spiritual insect trivia: Did you know that medieval mystics and theologians esteemed the bee for its dedicated work and transformation of ordinary ingredients into sweetness? That Spider Woman is an important creator Goddess to many Native American tribes? Or that Francis of Assisi was reminded of Jesus not only by lambs being led to slaughter, but also by worms (think "I am a worm and no man" from the Psalms)-- so he picked them up and took them out of stomping-vulnerable spots?!
In that spirit, this week's Friday Five is a magical mystery tour through God's garden of creepy crawlies!

1. Ladybugs or ladybirds? Pillbugs or roly-polys? Jesus bugs or water skeeters? Any other interesting regional or familial name variations?
UM? None that I am aware of... (see #3)

2. Stomp on spiders, carry them outside, or peacefully co-exist?
Since I react to spider bites, STOMP! (Sorry if that offends you. But if you saw what one leeetle spider can do, you'd understand.)

3. Favorite insect?
Mounted, in a case, at the Smithsonian.

4. Least favorite?
Live, in my house, crawling on me. Actually, I do enjoy butterflies. Outside. On the flowers.

5. Got any good bug stories to share?
Um. No.

Bonus question: share a poem, song, quotation, etc. about insects.
by Ogden Nash
Some insects feed on rosebuds
And others feed on carrion.
Between them they devour the earth.
Bugs are totalitarian.

I am no having an uncontrollable urge to scratch... ew. Bugs. I know God made 'em, but... ew.


Monday, May 04, 2009

The TOES have it

Ah, a completely pointless post. Finally. NO angst here. No defeat. Just De Feet. (ar ar ar ar) These are the entries for the shoes we liked the least during a recent trip to the DSW to find shoes to go with The Harpist's prom dress...

First up, we have the shoes voted "most likely to have been recycled from a lawn chair."

Next up, (and I'm sorry the color is off, but you will have to take my word for it), the shoes voted to be "closest to the color of pee."

Next, the shoes voted to have been "attacked by sea anemones." BACK!!! BACK!!! BACK I SAY!!!

And finally...

I do NOT care what Stacy and Clinton from What Not To Wear say about how shoes like this are "comfortable"... What a bunch of hooey.

These shoes were my size. And they HURT like the dickens. My poor toesies were so squished that I had a uni-toe. (And, as my sister pointed out, they were definitely made to squish bugs in the corners of a room.)

I give you - "The Uni-Toe Shoes."

Now, if you want to see the prom dress, and the cute shoes that she found to go with it, you'll have to wait. Prom's on May 29th... But here's a sneak preview...

There you are. Pearls of wisdom for today...


Friday, May 01, 2009

Friday Five: Celebrating the Seasons of Life

Sally, a RevGal in the UK, offers this Friday Five:

It is the first of May, or as I have been concentrating on dialogue with folk interested in the new spirituality movement this last week, it is Beltane, a time to celebrate the beginning of summer. The BBC web-site tells us that:

Beltane is a Celtic word which means 'fires of Bel' (Bel was a Celtic deity). It is a fire festival that celebrates of the coming of summer and the fertility of the coming year.

Celtic festivals often tied in with the needs of the community. In spring time, at the beginning of the farming calendar, everybody would be hoping for a fruitful year for their families and fields.

Beltane rituals would often include courting: for example, young men and women collecting blossoms in the woods and lighting fires in the evening. These rituals would often lead to matches and marriages, either immediately in the coming summer or autumn.

Another advert for a TV programme that has caught my eye on the UK's Channel 4 this weekend is called Love, Life and leaving; and is a look at the importance of celebrating the seasons of life through ritual and in the public eye, hence marriages, baptisms and funerals.

I believe that we live in a ritually impoverished culture, where we have few reasons for real celebration, and marking the passages of life;


1. Are ritual markings of birth, marriage and death important to you?
They are important, but the "day" itself is less important than the relationship. For instance, I celebrated on this blog my 22nd wedding anniversary last week -- but we are not actually going to go out to dinner to celebrate until this weekend.

I have a friend who is a bit freaked about the whole birthday thing. She spends a lot of emotional energy trying to figure out EXACTLY when to mail a card so that it arrives ON someone's birthday -- not earlier, not later. And then she agonizes over what to do if it's a holiday or a Sunday!!! I think that's crazy. Sweet, but crazy.

I think these remembrances are important, but I frequently forget to send/say/do them. In one respect, Facebook has been very helpful that way.

2. Share a favourite liturgy/ practice.
One of my friends sends her mom a thank you card on her own birthday as in - thanks mom for birthing me. Thought it was pretty cool. Occasionally, I remember to do that, too.

I have a daily devotional book that I wrote people's birthday's in for a while. I need to get back to updating it. It was a cool way to pray for a friend or family member as "their" day popped up.

3. If you could invent ( or have invented) a ritual what is it for?
When I write and upload my LAST paper for seminary, we are going to have a ritual "shredding of the Turabian"!!! Page by page.

4. What do you think of making connections with neo-pagan / ancient festivals? Have you done this and how?
I am not entirely comfortable, to be honest. Easter and Christmas of course are scheduled to coincide with them. And many of our "customs" are from these festivals. But I otherwise would prefer to focus on the Triune God.

5. Celebrating is important, what and where would your ideal celebration be?
What and where less important than "WHO" -- and there's a lot of them. Let the parTAY begin! :)