Thursday, October 19, 2006

At age 46, I am the mother of a 13 year old daughter. Readers, don't panic, I am not becoming a grandmother! I'm just old enough.

My staff is all at least 20 years my junior and when the generational gap has been visible I am reminded that "You are old enough to be my mother without having been a child bride." It's true. I don't feel that old, but it's true.

Two of the staff are a married couple expecting their first baby. Today we looked at the first ultrasound picture and while not as fancy as the picture here- the baby was about the same age.

I am not ready to be a grandparent mostly because my daughter is not ready to be a mother. But it is fun to watch these two expectant parents and share in their joy at what is to come. Not from the perspective of peer, but from the perspective of one who's "been there and done that." There's a sadness in knowing you won't go there again, but a joy that comes from watching the next generation come into the world.

So, I'm old enough but not quite ready to be a grandma. So I think I will just practice on this sweet young thing and wait for the adventure that lies ahead.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Long time, no blog...

I have been negligent in my blogging. But as I drive my car up and down Lincoln Drive (an experience akin to go carting) I think of things I could blog. Now if I could just get them into the computer. Well here are a few...

1) My daughter and I saw a group of high school kids walking down the street. Four boys and a girl all dressed in black. "That's an interesting group," I said. "They're goths," responded Soda Chick. I agreed that the boys had that gothic look. But the girl was dressed head to toe in a muslim jilbab. This caused me to wonder, are there Muslim goths? Or gothic Muslims? What do their parents think!?!

2) We are moving into a 162 year old house owned by the same church that owns the parsonage we've rented for the last 15 months. The house is smaller and sits right on the edge of the cemetary. The previous tenants were evicted and for good reason. A note was found by the cleaning crew, "This is not a crack house. It's a crack home." Happily, the place has been cleaned, painted and looks great! A friend asked me, "Are you still going to call it the crack house after you move in?"

3) If something has been in the basement in a sealed box for more than a year, do you still need it? Some say, NO. I say, "I will be glad to find all of my glass measuring cups!"

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Things are happening in Mt. Airy!

From the "Philadelphia Inquirer"...

Eileen DiFranco sang the hymns, prayed and took Communion as she had done at countless other Catholic Masses.

But yesterday, for the first time, she led the service as an ordained priest - and received a warm reception from hundreds of Catholics and others.

"Nothing is impossible with our God," she told a congregation at the First United Methodist Church of Germantown. "Not even a woman priest."

It has been my pleasure to have conversations with Eileen DiFranco over the past year and she is a delightful woman. How sad it was to blog her name and find some really nasty blogged comments in another site.

The content of the blog included name calling, slander and petty childishness. I understand that the Catholic church does not approve of these actions and that's their right I suppose. But for faithful people to post comments referring to her as a fruitcake granny just made me mad!

Why can't we have civil dialog about these issues?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Frozen Fab Five from the RevGalPals

This week it's all about ice cream!

1. Ice cream: for warm weather only or a year-round food? Is this a joke? Ice cream could never be considered a seasonal food. It's the manna of my people!

2. Favorite flavor? B&R Chocolate andPeanut Butter or Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby.

3. Cake cone, sugar cone, waffle cone, cup? I could care less about the cone. I want the ice cream. Plus while you're goofing with the cone, your ice cream is in danger of melting or falling off. Who needs that kind of anxiety?

4. Childhood ice-cream memory? Going to B&R and having bubble gum ice cream and spitting out all the gum so that I could chew it all at once. Also, my parents got engaged at the Dairy Queen. I'm telling you, ice cream is key to my heritage!

5. Banana splits: discuss. Bananas should mind their own business and stay on the cereal where they belong. Or they should quietly turn brown before being made into banana bread. I do not need them in my ice cream.

Bonus from the RevGal List Maker: Baskin-Robbins used to make ice-cream sodas. During the 18 months I worked there, I think I made about 3 tops. They're no longer on the menu, but you can still order them. Question: What are the ingredients/steps for making an ice cream soda? Tall glass, pour in syrup, add ice cream followed by seltzer.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Cruciform shapes

I was reading P. Softly's blog and she's been looking for cruciform shapes in nature. As an alternate, she posted a lovely photo of a jack-in-the-pulpit trinitarian photo.

It got me to thinking and then surfing for photos. Here are two for her....

The first was a file from an English seed catalog site with info describing the shapes of blossoms... "Cruciform" had this photo as an example.

The second is a "Cruxifix Fish." My old colleague in Illinois had one on his credenza that someone had given him years ago. If you like it, go to Ebay, baby! You can get anything on Ebay!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

CPE... glad that's over!

I have some friends doing CPE this summer and all I can say is "Been there! Done that! Donated the shirt to a worthy cause!"

CPE is an important part of the seminary process, but I'm not sure if anyone ever really understands how difficult it really is. For some, the congenitally shy, it means forcing yourself to "bother the sick and dying" when you're pretty sure that they'd rather see "a real pastor" or no pastor at all. For others, the trouble comes with the therapy. They've never been in therapy before and now they aren't sure why anyone would pay $150 an hour for that kind of torture.

I didn't mind the therapy, but I did find it hard to walk into rooms unannounced and unrequested. But it got better with time. And it was great training for the future.

Personally, one of the things that made CPE the hardest for me was a member of my small group who, unbeknownst to any of us, was trying to kick a heroin addiction while doing CPE. Needless to say, he was very moody! He confessed all of this to me on our last day together. Talk about your pastoral dilemmas! Do you share this kind of info with the supervisor? Or take it to the grave as a confidence?

Any great CPE survival stories are most welcome for my friend KS who, when she isn't tapping on hospital doors, finds a few moments to read this blog.

Bearing False Witness

Years ago, my mother made the snappy retort that "It's not bearing false witness, if it's true." We laughed and moved on, but the comment has stayed with me for years.

Luther's Small Catechism says this about the eighth commandment:
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. What does this mean?--Answer. We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, or defame our neighbor, but defend him (sic), [think and] speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything.

I'm struggling this week. When someone bears false witness against us, what do we do? I try to put the best construction on things. I really do, but this week it's been tough. On the commute home I prayed for forgiveness. Forgiveness for not being more forgiving. For being angry. For feeling slighted.

Don't know what more to say. Just needed to vent, I suppose.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

God's Grandeur

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs --
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

-Gerard Manley Hopkins

Friday, June 16, 2006

Friday Five Zzzzzzz....

This week the Rev Gal Pals are thinking about sleep. God knows I could use some!

1. In what kind of environment do you sleep best? I like to have a cold nose and warm toes. I cannot sleep if my feet are cold. I like a pillow under my head and one to hold. (My husband will only snuggle when he's awake. So pillow it is!) I like it fairly dark, but I'm flexible. Pajamas? That's a personal question

2. How much sleep do you need to feel consistently well-rested? 8 to 9 hours How much can you get by on? 7 What are the consequences when you don't get enough? If I go too long with too little I am bound to get first slap happy then cranky followed by weepy.

3. Night owl or morning person? My father is a classic morning person. Totally chipper and checking his email at 6:00am. My mother is a classic night owl watching old movies until 2:00am. Me? I'm a nap person.

I'm probably more my mother's child, I suppose. But I really like getting plenty of sleep. I hate being tired. So by 11:00pm, it's off to bed for me.

4. Favorite cure for insomnia Prescription drugs or sex.

5. To snooze or not to snooze? Why or why not? Snooze when you can! Sleep when the baby sleeps! Naps are a gift from God!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Personal or Professional?

I had to make a difficult decision this week at work. It was a professional decision, but like most difficult professional choices, it has personal ramifications. I prayed about my choices. I consulted my superiors and ultimately I made what I think was the best decision.

But it was painful.

Working for the church means that people often think that we must make our professional decisions with a different set of rules. But really, that doesn't make sense to me. If I were a banker or a lawyer or a carpenter- I would make my decisions in the same way I do now. My choices are influenced greatly by my faith, but so are the decisions of millions of other faithful people. Just because the church doesn't sign their paychecks doesn't mean that they aren't using the same guidelines that I use.

If church institutions are going to remain viable, we have to make wise choices. Good professional choices.

There will be an ache inside me for quite a while, I know. But I pray that I made the right choice and if I was wrong, that forgiveness is not an elusive thing.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Bishop and Lady!

Today I spent an inordinate amount of time driving from Philadelphia to Worcester, Mass. Somewhere along the way- I can't tell you where- I saw a huge billboard that said, "The Cathedral is Coming!" Even at 65 miles an hour, it caught my attention. I can't tell you the denomination or when the cathedral is coming, but I can tell you that it is being run by Bishop... and his wife Lady... I was fascinated! I never thought of a Bishop's spouse having such an interesting title. Clearly this was not a Lutheran billboard. There's no message in all of this. Just found it interesting. By the way, Lady "Fill in the Blank" had big hair, a healthy dose of make up and quite a bit of shiny stuff in her wardrobe. Hmmm.....

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Barbie Doll Pink

I got tired of my blog template. So, in honor of summer and painting your toenails- here's to Barbie Doll Pink!

Personally, I never had a Barbie doll. I had her younger cousin Francie. Francie unlike Skipper did not have completely flat feet. Francie was able to wear a low heel. Nothing too stiletto, though. After all, that was Barb's area! Francie also had less make up and brown hair. She was more demure, less sexy. A basic B cup kind of babe.

I have wondered on occasion about why I had Francie instead of Barbie. There's probably no real reason. And Francie got to date GI Joe as often as the next girl. She had plenty of swinging clothes to wear and she had more than enough fun! But she wasn't the star that Barbie was!

Oh well, it could have worked out worse- she could have been named Midge!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Frivay Five: Summer Blockbuster Edition

Reverendmother from the RevGalPals offered up this week's inspired by the various summer films currently in the theaters or soon to be released.

1. If you were a mutant, what ability would you like to have? Instant transport. More like I Dream of Jeannie than a member of the Xmen.

2. Tell us about a memorable road trip you've experienced. On the way back from my parents' 25th anniversary celebration, my college roomie and I had the trip from Hell. First, she totally froze up the engine on a side trip to Minneapolis. The whole block had to be replaced. Mechanics did not put a rebuilt engine in- just a spare one that happened to be lying around. Second, after picking me up in Chicago we headed west. In Dubuque the "new" engine died and we were stranged on a Sunday afternoon. My cousin drove up from the quad cities we had the car towed to a dealership in Dubuque and we waited. The timing belt was shot. Threee, we got as far as Omaha. The next morning we started up the car and the engine caught on fire. Gas leaking from the various little tubes that had dried up in Minnesota and had not been replaced. With no money we finagled another night in the motel and roomie's brother drove out from Denver to fix the car. We had to get money wired to us from roomie's parents who were on vacation at the time. And this is the short version of the story.

3. Do you enjoy solving riddles and working on puzzles? I love crosswords!

4. Take two of your phobias and combine them to make a campy horror/disaster flick. Falling and undercooked pork. What would it be called? Trychanosis at 10,000 Feet

5. Just how batsh*t crazy is Tom Cruise, anyway? He is totally nuts. I used to really like Katie Holmes, but I am worried about the girl. Tom may be somewhat babe-a-licious, but his elevator buttons are jammed on the fifth floor.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Empty Tomb by He Qi

My new wallpaper on my work pc. Ooh I love this picture!

Hi Mom!

My mother is reading my blog! And she is totally erudite, so I really think she should make comments when the spirit moves her. So Mom, it's really easy. Even Little Sister #1 has made comments, don't you know! You just click on the "comments" button and follow the directions. It's all quite anonymous and you can be wickedly funny. So this is your personalized challenge. ;-)

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Being Lutheran - Is it living in the gray areas or on the razor's edge?

My dear friend the Lutheran Zephyr asked a question a while back about being Lutheran. What does it mean? The first thing that came to mind is that being Lutheran means learning to live with the gray areas. And I suppose I should clarify by saying that I think this is part of being an ELCA Lutheran but not necessarily a part of being WELS for example. The ELCA is not always one to give black and white answers and I like that. Some examples...

On the topic of abortion, the social statement of the church states that whatever decision a woman or couple may make, there will be grief and a need for healing. I appreciate the wisdom in all of that. There's more elbow room to struggle with the impact of this choice pastorally and faithfully.

On the topic of Biblical inerrancy, the ELCA constitution says that we believe all scripture to be the inspired word of God. This means that I have had parishioners with a wide variety of beliefs about inerrancy and all of them could be comfortable with the constitution of their church.

Some people don't like when things get fuzzy or gray. But I'm not sure that this is about the gray areas as much as it is about living on the razor's edge.

The Razor's Edge is a 1944 novel by W. Somerset Maugham. In the 1984 film of the novel, the main character, played interestingly enough by Bill Murray, is told "The path to salvation is narrow and is difficult to walk as a razor's edge." What I mean by all of this is that as a Lutheran, I am encouraged even challenged to struggle with what it means to live a life of faith. I am not lead around by the nose. Instead I am called to carefully think and pray and discuss the issues of the day.

Over and under and around all of this are some concrete things. Sola Fide. Sola Scriptura. Sola Gracia. Simul Justus et Pecatur! Faith, Scripture, Grace. I'm a saint and sinner all rolled up into one. I am justified and I am being sanctified.

This I Believe

This is a late addition to the RevGalPal's Friday Five Meme. Five things that I believe...

1. That being a Christian is a lot like making lefse. It's a very simple recipe but it's hard work to get it right. For those unfamiliar with lefse, it's Norwegian flat bread. You make it with leftover mashed potatoes, cream and flour. Very simple recipe. My mother makes great lefse. Mine, not so good. I complained because she had told me it was easy to make. "No," she said. "It's very simple, but it takes a lot of practice and hard work to make good lefse." I believe being a Christian is simple, but the act of living a faithful life takes lots of practice and hard work.

2. Children should go home from church having these things in their pockts: a) God loves them; b) the people at church love them; 3) church is a nice place to be; 4) there are valuable tools for living to be found at church. "Children" should not be limited to those under 21 years of age.

3. Chocolate, bread with real butter and red meat are not bad for you. They are spiritually sustaining.

4. Books should never be thrown away.

5. The Bible is not about how things happen/ed. It's about who and why. Most religious arguments seem to center on the how.

Where did May go?

Okay, it's been a month and I haven't blogged. What are my reaons/excuses/explanations? In no particular order...

The hubby and I have spent a lot of time working on our financial plan, such as it is. We're trying to spend less and save more. And for the first time in our fifteen year marriage we are actually having weekly budget meetings.

Sodachick has had a lot of homework lately. I now know a lot more about genetics, the Civil War, and irregular French verbs. Actually I probably knew it all before, but I forgot.

I spent 18 days in a row at work. This is not unusual for many of us, but it does take up one's time.

And finally, I am addicted to "Fish Tycoon" which is a simulated game that involves hatching, doping, mating and selling imaginary fish. Sodachick and I have five tanks going and at any given time the fish are going belly up or we're making bundles on their prolific mating patterns. Clearly I need to get more of a life.

Pink Shoes and Softly- thanks for checking on me! Zephyr- let's do lunch when you're back in town.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

I guess the gray has to go!

Your Hair Should Be Orange

Expressive, deep, and one of a kind.
You pull off "weird" well - hardly anyone notices.

Friday, April 21, 2006

My Favorite Ring

I was explaining blogging recently and advocating the use of a ring. My favorite ring! And here's why... Any group that has a tshirt like this is the kind of group I want to join.

So if you're looking for a group of very interesting people. Check out RevGalBlogPals. The link is at the bottom of this page or to your right.

Fab Five Favorites

The Rev Gal Pals meme for the week.... On this particular day, these are my favorites:

  1. Fruit - Raspberries
  2. Song - Can't think of one right now. Sodachick keeps playing, "You've had a bad day" really loudly around the house.
  3. Beverage - Diet Coke with a real lime or a Tanqueray Martini on the rocks, dry with four olives.
  4. Shoes - Birkenstocks
  5. Flower - Tulips

Happy Birthday Sodachick!

It's official! As of 8:27am this morning, I am the mother of a full fledged teenager. How did this happen? (I know, I know! It's a matter of biology.) How did my baby become this mythical creature- the teenage girl!

Five of the girl's friends are coming for a sleepover tonight after having home made pizza and chocolate fondue. (It's a retro, budget oriented party.) Her french class is going on a luncheon field trip today and her friends will certainly decorate her locker before class. Me? I'm going to work and at 8:27am I'm going to sit quietly and remember that little bundle they laid on my chest. Still a little damp and sticky, but oh so beautiful. She snuggled in and my life has never been the same.

Criminal Behavior

Recently, Lutheran Zephyr posted the following:

Sales of Duke University lacrosse team t-shirts and hats have sharply (and disturbingly) increased since the indictment of two white team members on charges for the rape and kidnapping of an African-American woman two weeks ago.

Is this benign support for a troubled university organization, or a new symbol of defiance for over-privledged, rich white kids in the highly stratified Old South? I'm skeptical of the former, but sure as heck hope it is not the latter.

"I have a dream," Martin Luther King, Jr. once proclaimed. Let's keep dreaming, friends, and keep struggling to achieve those dreams.

My question- why does this act of violence get so much more attention than the other 60,000 rapes committed in this country over the last year? Every two and a half minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted.

One in six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape, and 10% of sexual assault victims are men.

In 2003-2004, there were an average annual 204,370 victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault.

It's not that this case isn't important. It's just that it isn't the only crime like this that has happened of late. What makes this a national news story for weeks?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

No snacks?!?!? Airline travel is not what it used to be!

This past week, I went on a business trip with Lutheran Zephyr. We flew off on a little jet owned by a major airline and were offered NO SNACKS! What is with this? I wasn't expecting salmon with a buerre blanc sauce or anything. But a bag of pretzels would have been nice. Or maybe a couple of cookies. It was a LONG flight. Fortunately for me, LZ never leaves the airport without snacks and water. So we were okay for the next several hours. I know this sounds like whining and it probably is. It's just that I remember when about the only place you ever got honey roasted peanuts was on an airplane. Ah, the good old days.

Ramona the Pest and other friends

A while back, the preacher in "Pink Shoes" made a request for new book titles to add to her reading list. I found myself ignoring all the classy literature on my shelves, so that I could write about children's and adolescent literature.
I am a sucker for anything that was ever nominated for a Newberry medal. Not fluffy teenage girl junk, but the classic good books they made you read in school. I like interesting plots. Well written imagery. Stories that are funny or heart warming or universally smart and educational. So my list went like this...
- Anything by Madeleine L'Engle
- "The Chronicles of Narnia" in their original order.
- "Hoot" by Carl Hiaasen, which is coming out as a movie this month. Funny and smart.
- The "Ramona the Pest" books by Beverly Cleary when you need a nostalgic good laugh.
- "Fever 1793" by Laurie Halse Anderson. Haunting story of life during the American Revolution.
- "Maniac Magee" by Jerry Spinelli
I have read some grown up books in the last six months, but every so often, I need to explore the world of Ramona or Meg or Eustace.
p.s. The picture is of a statue of Ramona that lives in Portland, just like she does!

Mentos Explosion

I love NPR. Not only do they provide you with intelligent news of world happenings, they're willing to do something really stupid on occasion as well. Apparently if you take a two liter bottle of pop and put a package of Mentos candy into the bottle, the chemical reaction is such that the entire bottle of pop will shoot up into the air. Soda explosions have been measured from ten to twelve feet. Warm soda works better than cold. Go figure! Listening to the report on NPR made me want to rush out and buy pop and candy. But so far, I've not ventured into the backyard to create my own little geyser of sugar water. But it's tempting....

Friday, April 07, 2006

Friday's Fab Five from the RevGals has to do with artistic performances that somehow made an impact. So here they are in no particular order.

  1. "The Music Man" at my daughter's elementary school. SodaChick played "Woman Number 1" and had two lines in the play. She did a fabulous job of acting out the role of a middle aged mother with attitude.
  2. "Les Miserables" in London. I had jet lag from flying in that same day. But the play was wonderful!
  3. "The Phantom of the Opera" in London. My sister and I were trolling around the city trying to find something to do during a day long rail/transit strike. We ended up in front of the theater where Phantom was showing. At the time it was only showing in London and New York. We sat on the sidewalk all morning and managed to get seats for the matinee show. Even though our view was partial (we couldn't see the chandelier) it was a memorable day in many, many ways.
  4. "Honk" at SodaChick's elementary school. She had no lines this time- just a chorus member. The play is about the ugly duckling. What struck me about the play was a line from one of the songs that the mother sings to her little gosling, "Hold your head up high, like the most happy fella, while down below each thigh, apropos a propeller, must keep paddling, like the clappers. You keel paddling with your flappers, while seeming to be dreaming and calm." The play came about at a time when I felt like I was paddling like a dickens and not getting anywhere with much grace. The gentle music and words of this song were some how an encouragement.
  5. "The Sound of Music" at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion in Los Angeles. On my tenth birthday, the entire family went to see the play. It was my first outing of this kind and I felt so grown up. What I remember the most is that the fellow who played Colonel Klink on "Hogan's Heroes" played the Captain's friend Max.

Why so quiet?

For the past few weeks I have been a non-blogger. I don't know why. Nothing particularly strange has happened. Just the usual stuff. Have I had NOTHING to say? I don't think so, but maybe I've been too tired to say it.

Today I logged on to one of my favorite blogs and found that while I was quietly not listening, the mother of Lutheran Chik had passed away. I felt so sad for her and strangely disappointed in myself for having not paid better attention.

The blogging community is such a strange thing. We're stitched together with bits of wire and electricity. We have great commonalities and wild differences. But somehow, there's a link. So, my apologies to anyone (Lutheran Zephyr in particular) who has wondered where I've been. I'm still here. I just wandered off for a little while.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Rev Gals Need a Logo

NCAA Tournament - I like to say Villanova!

Truly I am not a big fan of basketball. I think college basketball can be especially hard to watch because I don't know who any of the players are AND their shoes really squeak a lot on those hardwood floors.

I do however enjoy the brackets. I don't bet on the games. I don't need to. I just like to pick my teams and see what happens. I tend to favor teams with fun names like Gonzaga and UConn (which sounds like they're from Alaska, but they're not!)

I vote agains teams like Oral Roberts University purely for religious reasons and if everyone else in the office has picked the local favorite- I go the other way. (This explains why last year, everyone else was stuck with Illinois at the end and I picked the winner. Don't ask me who it was. I just know my guys won.)

My father would be horrified to read this. How could I possibly be so public about my lack of interest in sports? What's next? Choosing the winners based on their team colors?!? (They never include that in the bracket info I get.)

So if you'd like to enter a no-money, no-skill, no-real-interest NCAA pool, here's your invite. You do not need to be a member of AOL to participate in AOL’s Bracket Pool Manager game, but you do need an AOL screen name. If you have a screen name with any of the following you can use the same screen name: AOL or AOL Instant Messenger.

Once you have a screen name, just follow this link to join the league You'll be asked for your league's ID number and password. They are: LeagueID: 8902 Password: ELCA Post a comment if you decide to play!

No Deal

I am afraid for my family's mental health! Please, please, please, SOMEBODY explain to me why "Deal or No Deal" is a good thing to watch. It's moronic. It's the televised equivalent of scratch off lottery cards. It takes no imagination or wits to play. It's stupid. And yet, my family enjoys it. Blech!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Fab Friday Hair Meme

The RevGals are blogging about their hair this weekend.

1) Do you like your hair? Yes. Except when it makes me HOT.

2) Have you ever colored your hair? After my daughter was born, my hair broke off a bit in front of my face. Not a good thing. The stylist suggested coloring it would help the gray take up more space visually. I colored it then for about ten years. Then I quit. The gray is really white and it tends to be mostly around my face. I periodically highlight the rest to blend things out a bit. Cheaper and less time consuming.

3) What's the longest you've ever worn your hair? Middle of my back when I was in high school. The shortest? Really short as a kid when my mother was in charge. And once after a family vacation in Florida, I came home and cut it to about ear lobe length. See number 1 for explanation.

4) When and what was your worst haircut? The most maddening was three months before my wedding. I had moved and was looking for a new place for a haircut. After checking with friends, I made an appointment. I explained that I wanted waves but not kinky curls. Shorter, but not too short. It took the next three months to make a semi-recovery and I still wish I had avoided that stylist when I look at our wedding photos.

5) Tell us a favorite song or scene from a book or movie dealing with hair. There is more than one movie that shows a woman cutting a man's hair. The sensuality of those scenes always gets to me. But when my husband wants me to just "trim it up a little in the back" I always refuse. It seems more dangerous than pleasant in real life.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Computer Commits Assisted Suicide

Okay, I didn't mean to do it! But I think I've become the Dr. Kevorkian of the computer world. On Friday I was going to replace the graphics card in my computer at work. I know how to do this. It involves taking off the case on the tower, unplugging the old card and plugging in the new card. Unfortunately, the IT people had sent me a card that was much too sophisticated for my machine. The new card was designed for operating systems newer than Windows 95 and my machine, alas, is firmly stuck in the last century. So after using canned air to blow out dust bunnies the size of cotton balls, I blew off the old card and put it back. But now the computer is stuck in "safe mode". There is no coming back! I've tried everything and nothing works. There are other issues with this machine as well. Now it sits on my desk, clean and very, very sick. I am hoping that another will come to replace it, but that could take a little while. So for now, I've pulled the plug and draped the office in black. It is too, too sad.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Parisian Webcams and Weather Pixies

Yesterday a friend came in my office and noticed that I had a picture of the Eiffel Tower for wallpaper on my pc. It's from a webcam in Paris. I told him I change it every so often and then the subject changed. The truth is, I do change the wallpaper, but mostly to another shot of the Eiffel Tower. I didn't realize how odd it might look until I turned on my computer this morning. Why this place? Why this picture? I'm not French. I don't have a love for tall buildings. But I do love Paris. I've been there three times. The last was my honeymoon almost 15 years ago and in my heart I hope that I will visit that city again. I'm not sure why I love Paris, but I think that there are three good reasons. 1) Paris makes me feel smart. I get to use my four years of high school french to order food and make reservations. And people actually know what I'm talking about. This makes me look smart to the rest of my family who can't speak french. 2) Paris still looks like it did in the movies I watched as a kid. The city looks the way I imagine it should look. It's like a dream come true. Not everything turns out that way. So Paris makes me feel like the fantastic things of my imagination are possible. 3) Paris smells good, tastes good, looks good, sounds good, feels good. And I've never met a Parisian who was genuinely rude to me. If you make an effort to say please and thank you in the language of the place, most people will make an effort to understand you as best they can. I love Paris and so my wallpaper remains a Parisian webcam shot and my blog has room for both a Philly Weather Pixie and a chic little number from Paris.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Eustace, Dragons and Lent

Tonight my pastor, lovingly known as "Interim Jim" because that's who he is and what he does, gave a great sermon using imagery from C. S. Lewis' The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. He talked about Eustace Scrubb who arrives in the magical land of Narnia and finds it to be rather annoying and unpleasant. (Go figure!)

After being a total pain in the neck for weeks, Eustace is stranded on an island with the rest of the Dawn Treader crew. He takes a walk on his own and discovers a dragon lair filled with treasure. He falls asleep on the treasure and finds that he has been transformed into a dragon.

Time passes and gradually Eustace finds ways to give and receive kindnesses, all while remaining a dragon. His heart softens. He repents. He wishes to be of service to others. One night while all alone, he meets Aslan, the lion and Christ figure of the Narnia chronicles.

Aslan tells Eustace that to become a boy again he must bathe in a pool, but first he must "undress" himself. Eustace tries in vain to peel off the layers of dragon skin, but he finds that he can't dig deep enough. Finally Aslan undresses Eustace, which is both painful and relieving. Eustace is tossed into the water and emerges a new boy. Reformed. Redeemed. Forgiven.

IJ's sermon dealt with the notion that on our own, we can't dig deep enough to remove all the ugliness from ourselves, no matter how hard we try. We have to turn to God. It may be painful, incredibly painful, but the Lord can peel off that dragon's skin and help us to be new people.

I haven't done IJ's words enough justice, but it was thought provoking and a good reminder for this Ash Wednesday. If we would be changed people, then we need to turn our will over to God. We cannot do this life alone.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I like this better than the Simpsons Personality Test. But of course, I didn't come off too bright in that one!

You Are Scooter

Brainy and knowledgable, you are the perfect sidekick.
You're always willing to lend a helping hand.
In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.
"15 seconds to showtime!"

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Timothy the Cat gets time on the keyboard.

In response to Whistle and Fish, here are my answers to their meme.

1. What's your favorite food? Yoghurt or ice cream off the spoon that my human is using.

2. What is your favorite toy? I'm not really into toys. At least that's what I tell people.

3. What is your best trick? Getting my morning beverage by licking off the walls in the shower.

4. What is your favorite human trick? Getting them to turn on the bath tap by standing in the tub and crying at night.

5. What human rule do you break often? Sleeping on the clean laundry. Honestly, though, I don't know what the big deal is.

6. What do you wish your human knew about you? I wish SodaChick would stop picking me up to make me "dance." I do not dance on two feet. I am a cat. Cats dance on four feet. But she's young, so I don't bite her.

7. What are you glad your human does NOT know about you? Although SodaChick named me Timothy Lutheran Church when I first came to live with the family eight years ago, I'm really a Presbyterian.

Signed, Timothy

Saturday, February 25, 2006

This made me LOL

Hey, Bode! This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs.

In an AP report today, Bode Miller said, "As far as my own personal involvement, I would not change anything. I had an awesome Olympics. My preparation certainly could have been different, but I'm not a guy who looks back." Bode! Turn around!! You didn't finish your last event because you skiied into one of the gates. This is not good! I can't help but wonder if he might have won at least one medal if he'd been partying less and training more. I know it's his life and his choice, but sheesh! If this guy hadn't been taking up space on the team, someone else might have had a chance to give it a shot. This whole thing makes me peaved. Not because he cost the USA team some medals. I couldn't care less. It bothers me because this hedonistic, selfish brat has gotten way too much attention. Not to mention the fact that when you drink and ski you are putting yourself and those around you in danger.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Friendship Friday Five

Thanks to the Rev Gal Pals there is always something new and interesting to write about on Fridays! This week, five friends who have been there for you.

  1. Cindy- There's not enough room to say everything, so one story. I am not famous for my abilities as a long distance driver. Three hours and then I'm ready to pull over and let somebody else have the keys. Cindy knows this because she and I have gone on many a cross country youth outing together. This summer when I moved from Chicago to Philadelphia, I drove by myself. (SodaChick was with the grandparents. Hubby stayed back to sell the house.) Cindy called me every couple of hours just to see how I was doing. It made a long trip go faster and it made the loneliness less. Those are the kinds of things that she does.
  2. Sara - Little sister number 2. When I moved to Chicago in 1995, she was there. I am so glad she was holding the net so I wouldn't fall.
  3. Lisa - Little sister number 1. When the rest of the family moved to Illinois while we were in college- we stayed in Colorado. We did all the family holiday things. We double dated. We kept our boats afloat, together.
  4. Ann - College roomie. Seminary classmate. She helped me through grief and heartbreak and challenges to my faith. She's a wonderful pastor.
  5. Lutheran Zephyr- When you move to a new city, you're not always lucky to find a new friend right away. Not me! A cool wind blew in and there he was. He listens, he kvetches, he asks me out to lunch for no reason at all. He has good stories about his cool daughter and his smart wife. What more could you ask for?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

How to hang up your coat

First of all, this is not my closet. I just wanted some art to go with this. Silly, I know. Second, my husband actually came in the office tonight to give me instructions on how to hang up my coat. According to him, there is a right way and a wrong way. Personally, I feel that hanging the thing up at all is an accomplishment. And I am always delighted when SodaChick picks hers up off the floor. Anyhow, there are two pieces to hanging up your coat correctly. 1) Don't fight the curve in the hanger. If you're using a cheap dry cleaner hanger, this is not an issue. But if you inherited some of those nice wooden hangers from your grandmother's estate, make sure that the coat is hung AROUND the hanger. 2) There is apparently a correct direction to hang your coat. They should all face the same direction. I don't know if it's always the same direction or if it varies with whichever closet you're working with. It might have something to do with which hemisphere you live in, but I'm not sure. Bottom line, I hung my coat up the right way tonight. I am pretty certain that my salvation is not dependent upon this issue. So I'm not inclined to give it a lot of thought in the future. What troubles me is that my hubby actually thinks there is a correct way to do this. I figure if the coat stays on the hanger and doesn't leave a sleeve hanging outside the door, it's "mission accomplished!" Ah well. My Simpson Personality is probably the explanation for all of this. [See previous post.]

Yes! There IS a Simpson's Personality Test and Alas, the news is not good....

You Are Barney

You could have been an intellectual leader...

Instead, your whole life is an homage to beer

You will be remembered for: your beautiful singing voice and your burps

Your life philosophy: "There's nothing like beer to give you that inflated sense of self-esteem."

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

It's like changing your hair color!

Okay, I got bored with the way my blog looked. Give it a couple of months, I'll probably change it again. Maybe I could change it to fit with the color of the liturgical season?

Is this what Tom Hanks' doctor meant when he said he had a "Brain Cloud"?

Seven Song Meme

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they're any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they're listening to. If you're reading this... consider yourself tagged. Just post a note that you've joined in!

  1. "When God Made Me" by Neil Young. The refrain has been haunting me for days. The tune is stuck in my head and the words have made for some interesting prayers.
  2. "The First Cut is the Deepest" by Sheryl Crowe. I love to listen to her best of album on my commute, turned up to a very loud roar. Loud enough to embarrass my daughter.
  3. "Defying Gravity" from the soundtrack to "Wicked". Also best listened to at a high volume. I first heard this song at a time when I needed to defy some gravity of my own.
  4. "Popular" from "Wicked." Too much fun! Kristin Chenowith is so good at being perky, annoying and rude in this song.
  5. Whatever is on "Radio Disney." I tend to listen to a lot of NPR in the car. But when SodaChick gets in the passenger's seat, watch out! It's a lot of bubble gum pop. I don't like it, but I do get to listen to it.
  6. Whatever SodaChick is playing on her Ipod. I can hear the sound echoing out of her head. And when she sings along- oh my! Not a good thing. But she's happy! Lately we've heard John Lennon's "Imagine" quite a bit.
  7. Old movie musical songs. This morning it was "Good Morning" from "Singing in the Rain" Last week it was something from "Easter Parade." I love old musicals and the music gets replayed in my head quite a bit.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Cooking with SodaChick

SodaChick is one of my daughter's many alias. (She's the one in the middle. It's a photo from about eight years ago. I had posted a more current one but she made me change it. Not sure she'll like this one any better.) She is a budding chef and lately weekends have brought experiments. This Saturday it was Canneloni. This was not your typical twelve year old trip to the kitchen. There were shallots and heavy cream involved. A tomato cream sauce from scratch and yours truly got to debone two pounds of chicken thighs. The fun part was putting the filling in the food processor and then watching SodaChick fill the wrappers and place them in the various baking dishes. The results were FANTASTIC! Unfortunately, the recipe called for a small bit of nutmeg. SodaChick did not like the nutmeg. So while her father and I oohed and ahhhed, she munched on garlic bread. Last night she cooked for her dad while I went off to an event. (See blog below.) SC made parmesan cheese balls- a pastry like thing with sauce to dip in, boxed tortellini and a homemade alfredo sauce. If I didn't know better, I'd think the kids was Italian! But unless the Vikings travelled far south and married some good southern cooks.... It's fun to watch my daughter grow in this activity she enjoys so much. It brings out her creative and brave spirit. Watch out, Betty Crocker!

Recording Session for ELW

Last night I had the privilege of attending a recording session for the first Setting of Holy Communion for the new Evangelical Lutheran Book of Worship- aka the ELW or "the new red book". And it was stunning! The tunes were singable and yet not boring or trite. The melodies fit with the meaning of the words. There are all kinds of possibilities for instrumentation. And an added plus, the presiders won't have to learn a new chant tone as those small pieces have been recycled from the LBW with updated language. Although the recording was done on a pipe organ, the tunes would also be marvelous with piano and flute. I have listened to a lot of liturgies over the last few years, having served a congregation that knows at least ten different settings. And I am glad to say, that this new setting is good. And I'm looking forward to hearing what comes next.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

When God Made Me by Neil Young

Was he thinking about my country,
or the colour of my skin?
Was he thinking about my religion,
and the way I worshipped him?
Did he create just me in his image,
or every living thing?
When God made me.
When God made me.
Was he planning only for believers,
or for those who just had faith?
Did he envision all wars
that were fought in his name?
Did he say there was only one way
to be close to him?When God made me.
When God made me.
Did he give me the gift of love
to say who I could choose?
When God made me.
When God made me.
When God made me.
Did he give me the gift of voice
so some could silence me?
Did he give me the gift of vision
not knowing what I might see?
Did he give me the gift of compassion
to help my fellow man?When God made me.
When God made me.
When God made me.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

An Essay from My Daughter- "My Modern-Day Ben Franklin"

My modern-day Benjamin Franklin is my grandfather. Like Ben Franklin, my grandfather has worked throughout his life to help other people.
For most of his life Grandpa worked as a manager for institutions owned by the Lutheran Church. He supervised many people and always tried to make their lives better. He helped employees with their problems quietly and patiently.
After he retired, he began volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. Not only does he regularly help with carpentry he also helps families with their financial planning so that they can pay for their share of their home. One woman he helped was a single mother with two children. She didn’t know how to create a budget or manage her bills. With my grandpa’s help, she and her family were able to have a house for the first time. My grandpa also serves as the treasurer for his county’s Habitat for Humanity organization. He keeps track of the accounts and helps the group make smart financial decisions.
My grandpa is very active in his church. Three years ago he helped them remodel the church building. He designed the plans for a larger kitchen, a bigger worship space, a new dining room and handicapped accessible bathrooms. He worked five or six days a week for many months doing carpentry, plumbing and electrical work. A local builder estimated that Grandpa had saved the church at least $10,000 by serving as their building contractor for free.
Like Benjamin Franklin, my grandpa has traveled around the world. He has been to 46 of the United States and more than twenty countries around the world including China, Russia and Israel. One of the reasons he loves to travel is that it has helped him to appreciate the many things all people have in common.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Take your Evangelism Hat out of the closet!

This artwork is entitled "Leper Cured" by Ian Pollock. The text for this Sunday is from Mark- the teller of the "Messianic Secret". After healing a leper, Jesus says, "Don't tell." But the guy can't help it. He tells EVERYONE. Pretty soon, Jesus has to hide out in the boonies because he's getting overwhelmed by the crowds. Why aren't we all more like the man who couldn't keep the good news to himself? A number of years ago I wrote a sermon for a friend of mine. (There were other people in church too. But the sermon was for her.) She had recommended what she deemed to be the "Best Eyeliner in the World." She was so excited about this product. Everyone should have one! She couldn't contain her enthusiasm. Meanwhile, I was playing it cool and keeping my evangelism hat in the closet. I knew she was struggling with some things. I was pretty sure that church would do her a world of good, but I was being shy. After a little soul searching, I got my hat out of the closet and wrote her sermon. I told her that she needed to get serious about finding a church home. She listened. And for a while, she had a home in a congregation that was dear to her. Things have changed though and now I find that the hat needs to come back off the shelf. Maybe she'll read this. But I think Jesus would want me to make a phone call.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Woman in the Pink Shoes

This summer I was driving around Philly and saw a Muslim woman crossing the street to her car. She was dressed in black, head to toe, in her hajib- except for her accessories. She had on Barbie Doll pink shoes. She had a matching bag and a pair of styling sunglasses. She has stayed in my imagination now for a good six months. All too often I wish I was as brave as that woman. I wish I was willing to wear something a little different. Something that couldn't help but get me noticed. My wardrobe looks so suburban mommy, midwestern, comfortable. The pink shoes had spiked heels. They were not made for comfort. They were meant to make a statement. I wanted to pull my car over and ask this woman what made her so interesting. And that's the thing of it all. The pink shoes made me assume that this woman was interesting, funny, clever, smart. What do my black suede Birkenstocks say about me. That I like to be comfortable? I know we're not supposed to judge a book by its cover or a woman by her footwear. I just can't help but be curious about the woman in the pink shoes. Maybe I'll wear my red leather Birkenstocks tomorrow.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Watch out for those box cutters!

I cut my thumb today at work. Basically I did it with a fancy box cutter. After watching it continue to bleed despite a butterfly bandage and a certain amount of gauze- I headed for the emergency room. (Worker's Comp will get to pick up the cost for three stitches and a tetanus shot.) I have to admit, I've wondered how much damage one could do with a box cutter. Not that I am looking to do any damage, but they have always seemed less than scary looking. But having now made a good sized slash in my thumb with what is known in the bookstore trade as a "label scraper" I have much more respect for what a box cutter can do.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Is it time to get a tattoo?

About three years ago, my best friend and I challenged my daughter. If she would get her ears pierced, my friend would get her cartilege pierced and I would get a tattoo. My daughter refused. What were we crazy!?! And now, at age 12 and three quarters, my girl has gotten her ears pierced. So now she's wondering about my tattoo. Does the deal still hold?

Storycorps, NPR and Olvera Street

When I lived in Chicago (a mere 8 months ago) my favorite radio station was WGN. I loved the quasi-liberal banter and the frequent, but not too frequent news and traffic reports. Having moved to Philadelphia, I have found no replacement, so I have returned to NPR, my favorite station when I lived in the Ozarks. This year, NPR has been engaged in a wonderful activity they call "Storycorps." People from across the country are doing brief interviews with friends and family members- one on ones- that shine like little gems in an otherwise bleak radio landscape. I encourage you to tune in to your local station or check out NPR's website to listen to a few of these pieces. (Please excuse the run on nature of this post as I am having trouble with my "carriage return" for some reason.) Tonight I went on NPR's site to see if I could track down a "Storycorps" piece I heard on Friday. One quote stuck with me in particular. The woman was remembering her mother's last months and said that as she left one day, her mother said, "It's been nice knowing you." Not a flip comment but a heartfelt, genuine reflection on how good it had been to know her daughter. It came to mind again tonight as I read RevBirdSong's post on her own mother. (See Unfortunately, I could not find the story I was looking for, but instead found a piece on Olvera Street in Los Angeles. Oh, Olvera Street! As a child, this was the place they took you for a fifth grade field trip. Our family also went several times and it is like no other place I know. It's just one street, several blocks. The oldest street in Los Angeles. But what amazed me the most, is that when I returned there after 30 years- it smelled the same! A wonderful smell of leather goods and really good Mexican food. My sister and I could hardly wait to find an open restaurant! The food was so good we refused to swap tastes and I think we scraped the plates clean! There are days I long to go back there just to have one more taste. It was that good. Or maybe it is the memories that make it taste that good.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Presenting Jesus

This piece is titled Anna the Prophetess, by Louis S. Glanzman. Isn't it wonderful? Anna gets very little press unless The Presentation of Our Lord falls on a Sunday or you use her story at Christmas time. I forget sometimes that she was 84 years old and that she had spent the majority of her time praying and waiting for Jesus to come. And then he was there! How excited she must have been. How stunned Mary and Joseph must have been. Luke uses words like "ponder" to describe Mary's experiences, but it seems a bit tame. Ponder! I might ponder what to make for dinner. I might ponder what movie to go to. But this kind of news?!? Ponder just doesn't cut it. To know that my Redeemer is present? A redeemer is your next of kin who is obliged to be your "get out of jail free" card. A redeemer is the person you can call when nobody else will answer. A redeemer is going to save your bacon! Mary and Joseph must have been totally amazed. First Simeon meets them and then Anna. Fantastic day at the temple!

President Skippy and Stale Ice Cream

I thought about watching the State of the Union address last night but I was too tired. So I had a little nightcap and off to bed I went.

This morning as I listened to NPR, they broke it all down for me and as I listened I became perturbed. It seems to me that listening to the speech is kind of like buying an ice cream bar from the 7-11. It looks good. The packaging is intact. You take the ice cream out of the wrapper and the chocolate seems to be fresh. But then you bite into it and you realize the ice cream is stale.

So much of what the President said seemed palatable, but then as you dig into it, you find that it's not quite what it seems.

Only a fifth of our petroleum imports come from the Middle East. A great percentage comes from crazy places like.... Canada!

The biggest cutback in petrol usage in the last few decades came not from using something different but from using less oil. It was a result in improvements to automobiles. It was a technological improvement, not a change in fuel.

And don't ask me about the whole war thing. Or whether we could have stopped 9/11 by spying on our neighbors.

And the budget numbers GW crunched that sound so positive? Didn't include expenditures for the war or aid for Katrina victims.

Stale ice cream. The only reason you eat it is because there's nothing else available.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Jesus in Capernaum - A Question of Authority

Last week, I blogged about a comment made on NPR. A woman said she trusted George Bush because he was a Christian. It made me crazy and I blogged. (See "Do you trust the President? Why") Thanks to Pounding Softly's comments on that post, I found myself rewriting my sermon this morning.

I was going to go a safer quieter route, but why? What's the fun of being the supply preacher if you can't just say what you think?

So here's the end of today's sermon...

In our world today there are so many people who claim to be speaking for God. Their proclamations are in the news and on the bookshelves. Magazines and television reports are filled with people saying this is what God wants. The most notable recent example being Pat Robertson and his claim that the people of Dover, Pennsylvania should not be surprised if God sent a natural disaster for the stand taken by their Board of Education.

The trouble is, we are left with the difficult task of discerning who is really speaking the authoritative word of God. And our discernment cannot just be based on whether or not we agree with the person making the proclamation. Pat Robertson and I have very different political views, but that doesn't mean that he is always wrong and I am always right.

We need to listen carefully and watch closely. The phrase “What would Jesus do?” has become greatly overused. But it is not a bad idea to measure the things we hear against that phrase. Jesus’ ministry was about love and forgiveness. He could be painfully direct in challenging people. But it was because he was constantly working for justice for all of God’s children- not just a chosen few.

So if the words that we are hearing do not call us to live out that same kind of loving justice- it might be good to be more than a bit skeptical about the person who’s preaching to us.

We need to measure the news against the truth that the Lord has promised to be with us always. No matter what. There is no place where his love cannot surround us with care and comfort. Would the God we know really punish Ariel Sharon for his stance on the Gaza strip? Is that what Jesus would do?

We need to challenge those who claim to speak on behalf of God with the truth that Jesus’ activities demonstrated a concern for the whole world. Ours is a Lord who teaches that anyone in need is my neighbor- not just the people in close proximity.

At times we may think that we want an authoritative Lord who would lay out all the rules for every situation. "Wouldn't it be great if Jesus had just talked to the disciples about this?" It would be much easier for us to know what to do. But what we have is a God who in all his power has made our welfare his chief concern. And he chooses to use his authority to work out our forgiveness and salvation. Because he loves us he calls us to be a part of his kingdom. Because he loves us, he invited the whole world to be embraced with his grace.
And we honor his power and we respond to his authority when we act with that same kind of care and that same kind of love.

I don’t know what Jesus said that day at the synagogue, but I have to believe it was a message of love. A powerful message of love. And I gladly bow to his authority.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Rev Gal Friday Five

It's all about books this week....

If you received books as holiday presents, how many and what were they? No books as gifts which is kind of sad.

Did you buy any for yourself, and if so what are the titles? I did buy some books recently: The Secret Life of Bees; Listen! God is Calling; The Blacker the Berry; Shopgirl.

Have you read any of them yet? What’s next on your list? I've read Bees and Shopgirl. Haven't started Wallace Thurman's "Blacker the Berry" yet. It was published in 1929 and it's the first American novel to ever address the issue of racism within the black community. I'm mostly done with "Listen! God is Calling."
Do you have a favorite place to read a new book? And does the weather have an impact on that choice? My favorite place to read is a room where no one else is lurking. Sometimes that's the living room on the couch. Sometimes it's my room.

Does reading in bed make you sleepy? Not really. Sometimes it keeps me up. If I get really involved with a plot twist, I may stay up way past my bedtime. On the other hand, non-fiction almost always puts me to sleep and gives me strange dreams.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Do You Trust This Man? Posted by Picasa

Do you trust the President? Why?

This afternoon (1/26) I was driving home listening to NPR's "All Things Considered." They were discussing the President's stance on tapping phones to prevent terrorism- without a warrant. As a means of gauging the nation's debate on the topic, they went to Lincoln, Nebraska home of The Cornhuskers.

The first woman they interviewed said she was okay with the eavesdropping given the events of 9/11. And she said she trusted the President because he was a Christian.

I screamed. It was good that I was alone in my car!

Have we learned nothing? There are plenty of law breaking, untrustworthy Christians out in the world. How is it that President Skippy gets a wave from this woman simply because he is a Christian? Am I being too cynical? Too liberal? Acckkkk!

Would she trust him less if he was a Muslim or a Buddhist or a Jew? Still faithful. Still devout, but not Christian? What if he was a pacifistic athiest?

I would trust him more if I thought he had a just a few more lights on in the attic.

The 25 Question Meme

Borrowed from LutheranChik and others

1) When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought? Oh good, the zit is going away.

2) How much cash do you have on you? Ten bucks and some pennies.

3) What's a word that rhymes with TEST? Zest

4) Planet? Can it? I don't get this question. But I haven't had enough caffeine yet, either.

5) Who is the fourth person on your missed calls? My daughter. It's always my daughter.

6) What is your favourite ring on your phone? Some piece of music by Grieg. Nobody else ever picks it.

7) What shirt are you wearing? Black pullover sweater

8) What do you label youself as? Child of God. I like it better than wife, mother, pastor, liberal, democrat, Lutheran, etc.

9) Name the brand of shoes you've recently worn.

Merrell clogs

10) Bright room or dark room?
Light, but not in my face.

11) What were you doing at midnight last night?
Just starting the REM pattern after telling myself stories and listening to that weird noise my husband makes in his sleep.

12) What did the last text message on your phone say?
It was probably my daughter telling me to call her. She's the only one who text messages me.

13) Where is your nearest 7-11? About two miles away. But the "Wawa" is much closer and has better stuff.

14) What's a saying you say a lot? Cool.

15) Who told you they loved you last?
My husband.

16) Last furry thing you touched?
The cat. Didn't actually touch him, I tripped over him. He stalks me in the morning and I don't always see him.

17) How many drugs have you done in the past three days? Three. All legally obtained- even the Sudafed.

18) How many rolls of film do you need to get developed? There are probably two or three rolls buried in a box down in the basement somewhere. My husband will eventually find them, develop them and wonder who the people in the pictures are.

19) Favorite age you've been so far? Now is shaping up okay. 45

20) Your worst enemy? My expectations for myself.

21) What is your current desktop picture? My daughter in a subway station in Manhattan.

22) What was the last thing you said to someone? Do you need any help with that.

23) If you had to choose between a millions bucks and being able to fly, which would you choose? I'm afraid of heights. I think I'd take the money.

24) Do you like someone? This reminds me of junior high note passing. Today, yes, I like and love my husband. Last week, it was a little iffy a couple of times on the whole like thing.

25) The last song you listened to? Part of a Barbershop Quartet CD my husband left in the car. I immediately went to NPR.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I don't understand "American Idol".

My family is watching "American Idol." In my husband's defense, he's also doing some paperwork but still, he can hear it! They're in the preliminary phase of the show where every other person cannot sing. But still my daughter is attentive.

It feels embarrassing to watch these people. Why do some people enjoy watching others make fools of themselves? It seems so cruel. So unnecessary. Aren't there good stories out there that we could tell? Aren't there talented people who might actually be entertaining?

What is it about our culture that we create programs like this? Somehow it feels akin to "Punch and Judy" shows and the Three Stooges. I never liked those either. Or "America's Funniest Home Videos." They're not funny, just cruel.

A Sermon about Forgiveness

I have a new therapist. Breaking in a new therapist is always an interesting experience. Some of them just ask questions, keeping any kind of personal info to a minimum. My last therapist was that type. I left her office knowing nothing more than her credentials and her taste in decor.

This new guy is different. When I have an appointment it's not all about me. And that's okay too. It's a technique I've used myself more than once. But today he asked a curious question at the end of our session, "Have you ever written a sermon about forgiveness?" I wasn't quite sure how to answer, except to say "Yes."

My new doctor is in his 60's. A nice Jewish fellow who serves on the board of his temple. He's been a therapist for a good long time. And I am so very fascinated by his question. Was it really about his desire to understand more about forgivness? Or was this a question about me?

He said he might like to read one of my sermons on forgiveness as it is something he has to help people with now and again. I'm not sure which one I want to give him. But maybe some of this would do. I wrote it in September of 2001.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote:“I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, no anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.”

Our calling today is to love in that same way. To love without limits. To love without hesitancy. That’s the best weapon we have against the terror that has been unleashed upon us.

We are called to welcome the stranger and the wanderer in our midst. We are called to share our bread, our life and our love with all who are in need. So that there are no hidden places. No lost coins. No missing sheep.

Our calling is to live like Jesus. We are to bear witness to the world that our faith makes a difference. It affects the way that we treat others.

We must be clear in showing the world that the love of Christ is extended to all people. That’s how we will demonstrate the difference that faith makes. We can be “a light to the nations.” If we live the love of Christ. If we follow Jesus.

In these difficult times, we are called to be a people of hope. A people of loving actions. A people of prayer. A people of thoughtful and faithful discussion. And a people who are committed to working towards healing and forgiveness.

My dear brothers and sisters, we have a choice. We can live in terror and let our grief rule our heads and our hearts - or we can follow Jesus.

When he wrote to his friends in Corinth, Paul put it like this, “Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”

One reporter this week said that “courage is fear that has said it’s prayers.” And so I would commend you to be faithful in your calling. Be diligent in your prayers. Keep hope alive in your heart. Knowing that the love of God goes with you always. May we go forth from this place today, following Jesus.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Customer Service Sucked!

Saturday night my parents were here and we wanted to go have some good German food. After consulting with friends and surfing the net, we made a reservation. (I won't tell you where. Just know we won't go back.) We were a bit early but they seated us immediately. Fifteen minutes later, we were still hoping for human contact and some menus.

When we stopped a waitress, she sent over the hostess who looked totally confused when my father asked if they were short staffed. She promised to send some one to wait on us and left some menus. Ten minutes later we left.

On the way out the door, I asked to see the manager. The waitress I had spoken to looked confused. "Your boss. I want to talk to your boss." Unfortunately, she sent the hostess over again. She thought probably it was maybe her fault that we hadn't been waited on. She thought that maybe she had made a mistake. No real apology- just more confused looks.

We went down the street and found a noisy Irish Pub- Fergie's Pub in downtown Philly. Good beer. Great service. Loud music. Very authentic looking. Shepherd's Pie was pretty tasty. And the waitress got a 40% tip from my very content father. (He and my mother also offered to adopt her.)

So whatever happened to apologizing when you make a mistake? Whatever happened to doing something that's not in your job description so that the business succeeds?


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Meme - rhymes with theme

Thanks Zephyr man for passing on an interesting set of questions.

[The photo is one of the four places I'd rather be. My parents' backyard in Colorado.]

Four Jobs You've Had: 1]Avon Lady; 2]Parish Pastor; 3]Personal Assistant (housework, clerical, driving- all for $6 an hour) for a retired University of Chicago Econ prof and his wife; 4] 1/3 of the LSTC's Dean of Faculty Secretary - (He's retired now. No names please. What a guy! "Don't disturb me for twenty minutes. I'll be doing my somnistics." Yep! Taking a nap!)

Four Movies You Could Watch Over and Over: 1] "The Philadelphia Story" (Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart, what more need I say!); 2] "Corrina, Corrina" (I know it's a Whoopy Goldberg movie, but there's something about the story and her chemistry with Ray Liota and the little girl that gets me every time.); 3] "The Shop Around the Corner" - ("You've Got Mail" was a cute little flick but it has nothing on the original!); 4] "Charade" - (Much better than the remake of a couple of years ago.)

Four Places You've Lived: 1] A garage apartment- four small rooms above a two car garage- across the street from the old married student's housing at LTSS in Columbia, SC; 2] Ava, Missouri- home of the Missouri Fox Trotter's Association and the county seat of a county known by others in the area as "Booger County". I never learned why they call it that. 3] Boulder, Colorado; 4] Canoga Park, California- I was a "Valley Girl" before they had Valley Girls.

Four TV Shows You Love to Watch: 1] "Charmed" - It's a guilty pleasure; 2] "The Gilmore Girls" - Don't feel quite as guilty about this one. My dad even likes "The Gilmore Girls!"; 3] Old movies - The best reason to have Tivo is so that you can record old movies at 3:00am and watch them at a decent hour; 4] "Sunday Morning" on CBS - Now that I am not serving in a parish, I can actually watch this show before church. It's smart. I like it.

Four Places You've Been on Vacation: 1] Paris - We stayed in a totally cool hotel decorated in "20th century Parisian Garage Sale." Nothing matched but it was wonderful; 2] Summit County, Colorado when the snow was great! 3] Delawanna Resort 90 minutes northwest of Toronto - It's a little like the resort in "Dirty Dancing" without the dancing. 4] New York City with my daughter. We stayed at the Seaman's Institute. A great bargain and if you're Lutheran clergy they give you a 10% discount.

Four Websites You Visit Daily: 1] My company intranet site; 2] AOL to get my mail.... that's about it for daily visits.

Four of Your Favorite Foods: 1] Baskin and Robbins Chocolate and Peanut Butter Ice Cream; Chocolate; 2] My mother's Cornish pasty; 3] Good bread with real butter; 4] A good steak.

Four Places You'd Rather Be Right Now: 1] Bed - It's the first thing that came to mind; 2] Paris; 3] The hammock in my parent's backyard in the Colorado mountains when the temperature is above 60 degrees; 4] Drinking beer and eating chips at some Mexican joint with my best friend from Chicago.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The secret life of kids

Today my kid got a spew of instant messages from a "friend" at school. They weren't nice. It was the kind of thing that junior high girls have been doing to each other since the week after they invented junior high girls. But it stinks!

And somehow, it's worse when it comes into your house over the computer. Unless you block the offender, you're going to get a spate of unsolicited crap. And when you're a junior high girl, friendships are very mercurial. So one day you're best buds and the next day you're being addressed in a manner quite PG-13.

I remember suddenly realizing when my daughter was about 4, that she had a secret life that I knew nothing about. While she was at daycare she was making friends with other people that I had never met. She was having conversations and adventures that never quite got reported. Which is good. Children need to develop autonomy. It's part of growing up. But now, as she is approaching the teen years, I flip flop between wanting to know nothing about the secret life and wanting to know everything so that I might protect her.

Junior high girls are mean. And when someone is mean to my kid, I wish I could make it stop. And then I wonder, is she being mean to someone else's kid? I hope not. I hope the kid that I know is the same one that's going to school and sending instant messages and hanging out with her friends.

I will try not to embarrass my daughter.

This morning I told my twelve year old that I had started a blog. She seemed intrigued. After all, blogging seems more like something she would do...

"What's the blog about?" I knew I was in trouble.
"Well, I did write something about you." With that I received the pre-teenager eye roll. I knew I shouldn't have. After all, I promised to always warn her before I talk about her in a sermon. And now I was just willy-nilly sending things about HER out into the ethernet.

"It's anonymous. My name's not on it."
"Oh, what else is it about, Mom?"
"Oh. That's always good."

So I guess she'd prefer I limit myself to things theological but it ain't gonna happen!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Epiphany 3

Mark 1:14-20
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

When I was younger, I always wondered why Peter and the boys would drop everything to follow Jesus. How could they abandon their nets, their jobs, their father!?! They didn't know Jesus was going to turn out to be such a big deal. (And maybe if they had they might have stayed home.....) The thing is, we miss so much when we look at the fishermen's call from this perspective. In Jesus' time discipleship was a formal relationship. With a formal call "to follow me." Calls were issued to young men who had been groomed from early childhood. Disciples were the best of the best. The cream of the crop. They were the kids who got A's in Hebrew School. The kids who really knew their Torah frontwards and backwards- quite literally.

But Jesus called these fishermen! They hadn't been their rabbi's shining light when they were kids. If anyone had ever thought they might make it as disciples, their lives would have been remarkably different. And yet Jesus chose them. Not the brightest. Not the best. Not the guys with the fancy degrees or the fine education. But Jesus chose them. "Come, follow me."

Mommy, come tuck me in!

Why is it that I am the only one who can "tuck in" my twelve year old? And it's not like I actually tuck the child in. It's a quick peck and a lowering of the tv volume and shutting off the lights. I tuck nothing! The blankets are loose!

I suppose I will miss the ritual some day when my presence is no longer requested. But then again, maybe not. She bellers from upstairs and I am to come running. It was one thing when she was trapped in a crib. But she's twelve!

She insists that she sleeps better if I tuck her in. So I guess while I still have this magical power, I should make the most of it. And maybe, we'd all sleep better if we knew that when we yelled, someone would drop everything to come and give us a good night kiss.

Why blog?

I asked a friend to explain to me why I would want to have a blog. He replied with this- "It's a place to vent and rant and say what you want semi-anonymously. I have too many opinions. One day my wife told me I needed to get a blog."

So here I am. My spouse isn't sure what a blog is. But sometimes it's nice to just write out one's thoughts and let them sail.