Saturday, June 12, 2010

I'm moving!

Blogger has been annoying inconsistent again!  I am moving my blog to WordPress this weekend. Same title... new URL:

You will be able to find my updates there.

Please update your bookmarks!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Patience and persistence Friday Five

I also most didn't do this week's Friday Five because I still have not finished a loooonnngg rambling post form about 3 weeks ago... but I decided this was a good one to jump back into the blogging fray...

Sally from RevGalBlogPals writes:

As I write this I can see out over our newly set up veggie plot from my study window. When Tim and I moved here in August last year he set to work clearing the ground, this spring I began planting seeds indoors and out, and now the beds are full of leaf and promise. We have harvested some spinach and lettuce, but still have to wait for the main crops....

Patience is something that sometimes comes easy and sometimes doesn't, in the case of the garden it is easy, I can see the growth and know that waiting will produce good results. With other things patience is more difficult....

Along with looking forward to eating our own veggies, we are also looking forward to seeing four of our children graduate with Bachelors degrees this year, they have worked hard over the three years and stuck at it through some difficult stuff. It would have been easy for them to give up, but they haven't...

Persistence often pays off, but we need to be aware that it sometimes turns into sheer pig headed-ness...

With all that in mind I offer you this Friday Five:

1. Is patience a virtue you possess? If it is then does it come naturally, if not how do you/ did you work at it?
Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha....!!!!!!!!!!  Um. That would be no. I don't try to work on it, but as I go through life, I am challenged to live in a way that requires I develop more and more of it.  What's that old saying?  "Don't pray for patience, pray for grace."

2. Being patient with ourselves can be a huge challenge, we are often our own worst critics; is there anything you need to be patient with yourself with at the moment?
Re-learning how to be wife, mom, friend, etc since my studies are over and I "only" have real life to deal with on a daily basis. I'm in a time of transition and adjustment, and I need to extend grace to myself...

3. Are you the kind of person who can/ will persist with a difficult task? How much of this is personality related?
If my family were to read that over my shoulder, there would be loud guffaws. It IS the way I was wired to push through and get it done. When I procrastinate or let things slide, it causes me so much internal stress that I am motivated to release that stress!!!

Case in point... from the Zits web archive...

4. Can you spot when persistence turns into pig-headed-ness, or do you never get there?
No I get there plenty of times. Usually after the fact, I figure out when the optimal time to "let it go" would have been. I think I am getting better in this regard.

5. Post a song or a poem that chills you out and helps you to re-group, re-focus and carry on?
I believe the wise sage, Shel Silverstein has a great perspective:

Listen to the MUSTN'TS, child,
Listen to the DON'TS
Listen to the SHOULDN'TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me--
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.

Bonus, a picture or a photo that speaks to you of patience or persistence....
This was taken on the South Fork of the Potomac River (near Dolly Sod, West Virginia)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Five: Family Tree Edition

Sophia writes:

I moved across country for a college teaching job last September, and my mother came to visit for the first time last week. We had a fantastic genealogical adventure tracing the family roots of her father's grandfather, who moved away from this state sometime between 1887 and 1891. 

We drove a few hours to their county armed with some names and cemeteries, and wondered if we could locate anyone. It turned out there is an awesome local history room in the public library, with a very skilled librarian library, and with her map and a pile of copied records we struck gold! We found, cleared, deciphered and took pictures of old weathered stones marking members of several family branches in four tiny country cemeteries--the one above is my fourth great grandma. Of particular RevGal interest, we spoke with a friendly and helpful pastor at the United Methodist Church (window above) on the site of the Presybterian church my fifth great-grandpa helped found in 1814! 

1. Do you have any interest in geneaology?
In a roundabout way. My parents and one of my older sisters have done the research and spadework to find the clues to our families of origin. They have spent years doing this labor of love! My parents have published several books based on their research. It's amazing what we have learned by their efforts!

2. Which countries did your ancestors come from?
Primarily the Palatinate (Germany and depending on the borders at the time, France/Belgium). Also a lot from Ireland and Great Britain.

3. Who is the farthest back ancestor whose name you know? 
Thanks to the research of my family, I can name relations on both sides of my family!

My dad's side emigrated from the Palatinate in 1740. Simon Hirsch was 18 years old. The family legend is that they left their home at night and escaped down the Rhine River, went by ship to Rotterdam, and then on to America. There was intense persecution by the Catholics at the time, and the legend has it that they left a candle burning in the window and escaped death or coerced conversion from Lutheranism.

On my mom's side, we know that the immigrant couple, William and Hannah Morrow, came from Calarney in Donegal County in 1787. At that time they had only a 2 year old son. They were also Protestants, and it is likely they responded to the pressures of the time (Parliament refusing Ireland's bid for sovereignty, spats within the Anglican and Catholic churches, poor harvests) and moved to America.

4. Any favorite saints or sinners in the group?
I've written about her before, but my thrice-great grandmother, Ellen Brown Hickox Stewart, was an evangelist in the mid 19th century. It's still my dream to write a book about her extraordinary faith and ordinary life. Her book is part of my personal collection.
The Life of Mrs. Ellen Stewart: Together with biographical sketches of other individuals : also a discussion with two clergymen, and arguments in favor of ... together with letters on different subjects, (yes - that is the title!)
What was most amazing about her was her resilience and faith as an abolitionist and suffragette long before either cause was popular. Then add to that her calling as a preacher and evangelist... and wow. My own faith seems very small!

(This photo is one from my family's archives. It was taken in Shawnee, Kansas in the late 1800s. Notice her bright blue eyes, starched collar and the bonnet!)

I guess Ellen would fall into the "saint" category, though I am sure if you shake our family tree long enough, the nuts will fall down in greater numbers.

5. What would you want your descendants to remember about you? 
Hmmmm....  My sense of humor and perseverance. That I loved my family and friends and that I LOVED life!  And maybe, just maybe, I'll get that great American novel written about Ellen...

Bonus: a song, prayer, or poem that speaks of family--blood or chosen--to you.
A famous relative (distant) is Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women and many other books. Attributed to her is this poem:

'He prayeth best who loveth best
All things, both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all'

Friday, April 30, 2010

Band GRRrrrls

Last night was the end-of-the-year band concert for Reedy Girl. Though I know she dislikes the "Mamarazzi" I took my camera anyway. Thanks to my new zoom, I could sit in the back and get a couple good shots.

Entering stage right. Jazz band exiting.

Ninth grade band playing. 

Reedy Girl is in the center of the picture.

Band Grrrls. This is their 6th year playing together!
(L to R: Reedy Girl, French Horn, Clarinet, Flute.)

There. semi-annual torture is over... (But I'm proud of our girl!)

Friday Five: Friendship Edition

KathrynZJ of RevGals writes...

I spent the better part of last week on a continuing education cruise with a group of revgals. Both the class on hospitality and the connections made with friends (old and new) were phenomenal. I always have a difficult time with re-entry into reality from times away but this, aided by getting nailed with strep throat, has been more difficult than usual. Not only does it a take a few days (weeks? months?) for it to stop feeling like I am on a boat, but my heart misses my friends.

In parish life the boundaries are clear and they are there for a reason, but it can make the life of a minister a lonely one. It is such a tremendous gift to spend a few days with women who not only are wonderful and gifted, but who also get exactly what you do and why you do it. The hugs are genuine and free and the laughter is awesome.

Many of us have friendships - past and present - with these same qualities. And so today we will celebrate Friday with friendship:

1) Do you remember your first best friend? What did you do together? Are they still in your life?
Her name was Joann and she lived down the street. (At the time we lived on Rawlinson Road near Rock Hill, SC.) Her dad was (interestingly!) a Methodist pastor. She moved away after 3 years. I have not thought of her in years and have no idea where she is now.

2) Did you ever have to move away or have your best friend move away from you?
Both are the case. 

We moved from Ohio to South Carolina when I was 8 and then back to Ohio when I was 15. The move back to Ohio was not fun. But, because of family needs, it was necessary. 

In the recent past (around 2 years or so) a couple of good friends have moved (Sarah, Becky) and I miss them. 

3) Are there people in your life now that you can call 'friend'?
Oh yes indeedy. They are amazing.
4) What are some of your favorite things to do with your friends?
Laugh. Listen. Love. Learn. Pray. Cry. Read. Talk. Serve. Worship. Walk. Eat. Find my center.

5) What is a gift friendship has given you?
The gift of encouragement. One of the greatest blessings in my life outside of my family are some "RevGals" IRL. There are five of us. We meet for a meal once a month and do as much of the things I listed in #4 as we can. We try to be the kind of friends who are there to cheer, cry and watch out for one another. Three of us are ordained and done with school... Two are well on their way (having their first district council meetings in May! We actually met through being involved in Walk to Emmaus weekends. They are just a gifrt from the Divine. (Here's a photo of 3 of us... one had to leave early, and I was taking the picture. We need a pic of all of us!)

I look forward to meeting MORE RevGals IRL some day!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Not sure why...

NOTE: This "conversation" is a compilation of the things that have been said to me in the last month. The people in question didn't really want a response... they wanted to impress me (or get in a not-so-subtle dig...)

God, give me grace so that I do not develop a 'tude, nor be unable to stand for the high Calling you have placed on my life. And the rest... will get sorted out in heaven.

original post follows...

"Congrats on your graduation."

"Not that it matters. I mean, we all can study the Bible."
"You're right about that."

"I mean, you don't need a seminary degree to know what the Bible says. It's silly. All these people with degrees telling other people how to read a book!"

"So when are you getting a real job? You know --  one that isn't just on Sundays?"
"Well, actually I..."

"You know, every minister I know just likes to use big words and impress me with the Greek. Or Hebrew. SHUH KYE NUH. There! I know Hebrew too."
"Good one."

"Yeah. See? It's just not useful information. How many times do you need THAT word when you're going to work? I mean, I'm happy for you and all, but I don't see the big deal. You know, people who graduate from seminary are so snobby. They think they know more about the Bible than the people in the church. They act so holier than thou!

"Yeah. I don't get why it's so important. Are any of those fancy classes worth anything? Hey, thanks for seeing my grandmother at the hospital. She's been having a hard time since my grandpa died. I think she's lonely."
"Sure. Glad to do it."

"OK. Gotta run. See ya!"


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Morning Worship

I am so thankful for God's grace...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

TOP TEN THINGS I am going to do...

OK, so my last paper has been submitted. It's all over but the grades being posted...  WOW!!!  I am doing my HAPPY DANCE!!*

I can't remember what it's like to have less than a stuffed-full life. I'm kinda liking it, though. 

CPE doesn't start until June. Before then, we have Commissioning and Graduation, and then moving The Johnnie home from college for the summer. But, yes, I do have a wee bit more free time.

Not so much free time that I'm inventing stoopid things like this "To-Do-Tattoo" thingy. But since I keep getting asked, "so, what will you do with all that free time?"  I thought I'd make a list...

* NOTE: the letters A, B, C, D, E play different songs to play while you do your "Happy Dance." Make the little pipecleaner dude move by clicking on the keyboard as given or roll your mouse over them.


Here's what I've come up with so far...

1. Clean my study. 
While I have cleared the largest piles off my desk, I need to go back and find the stashes of papers that either need to be filed, shredded or reorganized. Yes, you can SEE the top of my desk, but it's pretty messy. I finished the taxes and stashed everything related to them in a big box. Bills are getting paid and shoved in another box. Not good. It's easy for me to miss a few that way. (YIKES!)

2. Cull my books and re-organize them and start compiling my reading list for the rest of the year.  Some of the books I know I will not want, so I have a massive sale list started on Half.Com (Pssst! Hey buddy. Wanna buy a book?) I do have some books I want to read for just FUN. (Wait. Is that allowed?) So if you have nominations, I'll take them. I will have to post what's in my "reading pile" later... it's in too many places in my study to be organized as of yet. 

3. Go through my closet.
There's stuff I won't wear, stuff that I don't need, and stuff that doesn't fit or looks dated and worn out. BUH-BYE!  I also need to think "professional work attire" which is different from "professional student attire" (rats!) and maybe do a little shopping to fill in the holes.

4. Enjoy my evenings with my family! Maybe see friends too...
Yes. Tonight, I have no paper to write, posts to put on Blackboard, or anything. I can get used to that.

5. Be a little better at planning and cooking nutritious meals.
My family has had four years of "desperation casseroles" or another nuked  "Healthy Choice" meal. I'm not that great a cook (and I don't really enjoy it) but before I'm working full-time, I at least need to plan better. That, and be organized so that I can dole out the kitchen duties when I am doing my CPE.

6. Weed my garden.
If they gave out tickets for messy flower beds, I would be bankrupt paying the fines. Unless I can figure out a way to cultivate thistles and dandelions and say that they are ornamental... naw... I like to garden. I just haven't had the time to do it.

7. Play my piano.
Most specifically my Mendelssohn Songs Without Words and maybe a little Bach. Which means, sadly, scales and arpeggios as well. I have lost a lot of technique.

8. Keep up my exercising.
We go to Tai Chi twice a week. I need to get something else in there three more days a week... hmmm...

9. Serious hammock time.
Yeah. No explanation needed!!!  Kinda goes with #2 anyway.

10. Tackle the overwhelming jobs in the house: the garage... the basement... the pantry... and try to bring a bit more organized chaos into our lives.
Four years of neglect and super-busy-ness show. We do have a 2 car garage... not that 2 fit in it. Time to have a yard sale or make a donation of "treasure" to someone! (And no, I won't take on your jobs when I'm done with ours.)


There. How's that for starters? I'll get around to leaping tall buildings at a single bound and solving the world's economic crisis once I have this other stuff done.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Henry, our resident boss cat, loves to snoopervise, especially if you are busy and don't have a free hand to scritch him. He also is quite curious. He decorated himself with some used post-it flags after rolling around on my papers...  RevDrKate thinks we need a caption contest -- so please feel free to come up with what you think he's saying -- asking for -- explaining -- or whatever you think is on his little mancat heart... just put your caption in the comments...

We await your wisdom. :)

Friday Five: what is there to smile about?

Jan from RevGals writes:

With the end of RevGalBlogPals' third annual Big Event, I am wondering who went and what it was like. There must be a lot of smiling from the Big Event! Hopefully, the rest of us are not frowning either.

So let us know how your past week was for you. Write about five different aspects of the week  OR answer the following questions:

1. When were you smiling lately?
When I finished a rough draft of my FINAL PAPER for my M.Div. about 1 a.m. this morning.  WHOOOO hoooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2. What happened unexpectedly to you this past week?
Reconnected with an old friend (from our "pre-kids" days!) and will see her next month at my Gradumacation wingding.

3. How was a catastrophe averted (or not)?
Well, the popcorn in the microwave didn't set off the smoke alarm. I got a retching cat off the bed and onto the floor before a hairball reaction. I remembered to make a back-up of my paper (no small thing at 1 a.m.!) And I put my travel mug INSIDE the car before driving away... Sometimes I think I need to buy back my brain from eBay (it didn't fetch that much, anyway!)

4. What was the most delicious thing you ate?
Ooooohhhhhhhhh... that's a close one! It's between the cheesecake we had on Sunday and the fresh strawberries on my cereal this week... but I'm gonna go with the strawberries!  YUM!!!  (I gobbled up the strawberries before I could take a picture... but you'll have to agree the cheesecakes looked grand.)

5. Did you see any good movies or read any books or articles?
No, I confess to being in an edumacation hole this week... but we are hoping to see "How to Train Your Dragon" this weekend. AND celebrate our anniversary. AND parTAY for the end of my M.Div. (not that I'm excited or anything...)

My friendly co-editor and study companion, Henry, makes me smile... after rolling around on top of my desk he sat up with used post-it flags on his head. I was amused. He was not...