Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Five...for RGBP

So over at RGBP, Willsmama (who is one hilarious woman)writes:
As I zip around the webring it is quite clear that we are getting BUSY. "Tis the season" when clergy and laypeople alike walk the highwire from Fall programming to Christmas carrying their balancing pole with family/rest on the one side and turkey shelters/advent wreaths on the other.

And so I offer this Friday Five with 5 quick hit questions... and a bonus:

1) Your work day is done and the brain is fried, what do you do?
Many of my work days don't end until 9:30 or 10:00 pm. If that's the case, then I honestly will come home, put my sweats on, chat with my beloved, and relax with a glass of wine. If I get home at a normal hour, walking the dogs is really nice.

2) Your work week is done and the brain is fried (for some Friday, others Sunday afternoon), what do you do?
Face plant nap, the kind that when you wake up, you discover drool on your pillow.

3) Like most of us, I often keep myself busy even while programs are on the tv. I stop to watch The Office and 30 Rock on Thursday nights. Do you have 'stop everything' tv programming or books or events or projects that are totally 'for you' moments?
That's a good question. Reading a good novel. I don't want to read when there is other stuff going on. My favorite is reading in bed, before I go to sleep. I just love that.

4) When was the last time you laughed, really laughed? What was so funny?
About five minutes ago when someone sent me a photoshopped photo of political candidates dancing on Dancing with the Stars. It was so out of context, it was really funny, to me, at least. I laugh a lot, though. I get cracked up many times a day.

5) What is a fairly common item that some people are willing to go cheap on, but you are not.
kleenex, eyeliner, lipstick, and shoes. (so shallow, I know)

Bonus: It's become trite but is also true that we often benefit the most when we give. Go ahead, toot your own horn. When was the last time you gave until it felt good?
Before we moved here, we cared for a feral cat colony doing trap, neuter, and release (tnr). This was costly, both financially, time-wise, and heartwise. It felt like we were making a difference, until the property owner (a non-profit Christian institution) decided that all of the cats needed to be gone. We tried to save them, but didn't win. So, it was sad, but good. I guess. Since we have been here, we have helped our neighbor who runs a cat rescue alot, by taking in fosters, trying to work with ferals to tame them, etc. etc. Not always convenient, but the person is the real giver is our neighbor.

This is just so funny, I had to post it:
Let us know in the comments if you played and I'll come around and visit. The first 50 are entered into a drawing for a new car (sorry, that's a lie. We are immersed in political attack ads here in the US that lie and so I thought I would join in). Seriously, go ahead and let us know if you play. I will visit. And buy you a new house (lie). The last person to do the Friday Five is a socialist and hangs out with computer viruses (STOP!).

As always, comments and programming on this station do not necessarily represent the view and values of the revgalblogpals website or its associates. If you are an American citizen please vote by Tuesday or your computer will self destruct in 5 seconds...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

cold out now....

I know.
It's not snowing.
The sun is even shining.
The wind is breezy and bold.

But it is starting to feel like November. When everything is really dead and grey and cold, but no snow.

I don't like the inbetween time of the transition. When it isn't fall really, any more, and it is not quite winter.

Makes me restless.
and my toes are cold.

Monday, October 27, 2008

my mon-Day

so today after I took my beloved to the airport for yet another business trip...I went to the studio and made
1. test tiles
2. 3 little bowls, also to be tests.
3. put one vase and one oval plate on the bisque cart.
4. slathered slip on another larger oval plate that I hope to carve (if it doesn't dry out.)

Then...I went to Target and bought four long sleeve t-s to wear under sweaters and a diet dr. pepper. ($40)

and to Ulta to get gel eyeliner and a brush ($30 bucks!)

then home, where I cleaned the kitchen--washed dishes, comet-ed the countertops, scrubbed the stove (all sparkly now) and swept and mopped the floor and the front entry way (why don't we pay someone to do this??...oh, yeah, can't really afford that right now)

then ate lunch and finished Augusten Burrough's book, "Dry"

watched two episodes of Entourage on demand as I worked out on treadmill and elliptical.

took shower.

talked to beloved several times inbetween all this stuff.

fed dogs, fed feral cat living in basement. Her name is Spooky. I have never really seen her. long story. for another time.

wrote a piece for newsletter. checked email.

went out to grocery store.

walked big doggies around the block--second time today.

cleaned up pee-pee in hallway from one passive agressive 5 pound poodle that did not get to go on second walk.

and am currently procrastinating editing a paper for a dear friend of mine.

all in all, a lovely day off.

am grateful.
for all I got to be today.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

pain and suffering...

am acutely aware this evening
of loved ones tonight
that are in pain,
that are in soul-suffering,
that are so very dear and brave and courageous and good.
please send Your sweet angels
to hold them,
to offer courage,
to affirm their wisdom...
and bathe them in your comfort and your grace.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

spiritual practise time...

So, I was speaking with someone the other day, who was listening well, and offering insight.
I know that I am at a place where I really need to take the time to discern, listen, and focus...and we were talking about that. I said, "wow, I really feel like I need to really be intentional about listening and praying about this...but I just get busy and forget about it until I sit and talk about it with someone like you...I used to be really good at this, journaling my heart out, taking that quiet time every day..."
Wise one said, "isn't that a little ironic and sad--that you, as a spiritual leader don't have time to be spiritual and listen to yourself?"


Guess who has some priorities mixed around???

So, I am wondering, do you have a daily spiritual practice of intention with God, and with year heart? Is it yoga/meditation? Journaling? walking slow? sitting in a chair and praying? Do tell. I am pretty certain my quiet time in the car while I drive to my office is not exactly cutting it for me right now--especially if I am trying to listen to NPR at the same time!

Monday, October 20, 2008

crazy dreams...

maybe it was the extra garlic in the whole wheat pasta, or the licorice gumdrops I snarfed down yesterday afternoon at our association meeting, or possibly the dissappointment that my Sox lost the AL pennant and another run in the World Series, but I had some zany crazy wacky dreams last night....
1)a nightmare. I dreamt I saw these women kidnapped and killed--shot--actually by these evil men in black. although everyone knew it happened, no one appreciated the trauma and fear I felt.

2) I was at my dad's farmhouse (doesn't exist anymore, the home of my early childhood). I was there with pottery colleagues, and it the bedrooms were divided up into studios. Outside, my dad had this sickly baby camel whose fur was a beautiful indigo blue. she was on a very short chain, and couldn't move or lay down.
my dad came into the house, and a very adult me said, we have got to call a vet immediately. My dad started to get defensive and said don't ask me to apologize...and I said I am not asking you anything, except to do the right thing. this animal is suffering, and you know it. I will pay for the vet, whatever. she shouldn't be in pain or suffering if she is that sick. He sheepishly relented, and the vet came. We put the baby camel in a large crate...she walked around, she was much better just off the chain and in the house. She settled into the crate, and a kitten came and curled up with her. The vet said that yes, the camel is sick, but she will get well. He also said that other people had baby camels from this litter, and they spoiled them, and two families got kicked out of their houses by their now bossy entitled camels. He suggested we have firm boundaries and rules for the baby camel so she didn't take over the house. I said, "don't worry"

3)I am a little boy, but me. About 9-10. Apparently I have done something against the law, or being scapegoated. The police are looking for me, and they will do anything to find me--including torturing my family. So, I run away and become a muslim actor in bollywood movies, where I dance in them. We set up a secret code so that I can tell my family this is me, and that I am o.k. My family is so happy, and they send secret code messages back to me, to tell me to stay. I am still being hunted down, and even though the charges are false, they will still throw me into prison for life.

4) I am young and beautiful. I am going to a big, fancy party, with several beautiful gorgeous friends. We have a benefactor who gets us these delicious evening gowns. Mine is a burnt orange paisley thing with leggings and a flowy top. I am stunning in it.

All right. That is all I remember. Carl Jung, have at my unconscious! I know these dreams are all parts of me!
Oh my. It is hard being me sometimes!

Thank goodness it is Monday, my day off, and I have a day completely free of outside commitments. I can do what I want to get done at a very leisurely pace. What a gift!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Time on Tuesday.

I find myself today in a lull. Sure, I have things to do. Probably some church growth things to read, visioning to envision, finish those bookmarks for the fall fair, count Sunday School offering, organize a living gift fair for Heifer project for December, make some pastoral calls (in person and via phone and email. it is 2008, you know.)
But all of it is not pressing up against me,
my attention isn't being demanded in this minute,
I have finished up my list for the day, had most of my meetings.
I check my calendar. Nope. nothing scheduled this afternoon. My early evening meeting is cancelled, and I just have Coordinating Council tonight.

I find that I have time.
How strange is this?
No one ever has time.

I sort of feel guilty about having a stash of time on my hands.
I wish I could give it away. My friend Jess could use some of this time.
If there was a way to "bank" time and give it away to people who need it, wouldn't that be great? I would still take the time I needed to be balanced and fulfilled and not overstretched....

but today I am bemused by this few free unscheduled hours.

I have time.
It is GORGEOUS outside.
This weather will soon sink into snow and dark and cold and winter.

I think I will put my time to good use...
and revel in the sunshine
and go for a long walk along the river...
and pray.

I am grateful, for this time.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


I am grateful today...
for all your kind notes and wishes and prayers for Venus...
I am grateful today...
for the sweetness of understanding and compassion from you as I grieve and miss Bussy....
I am grateful today...
that Venus tumor is BENIGN (sp?)
I am grateful today...
for cool air, turning leaves, my tired but quiet soul...
I am grateful today...
for the 12 years that Bussy had in Kentucky, North Carolina, and Boston..for his dear nature, for the way he cudddled up to Venus, for his tingly meow, for his wandering soul, the way he slept (the KING of snoozing and relaxing)and for his beauty...
I am grateful today...
for breath and breathing...
I am grateful today...
for Miriam who wants me to come over and knit with her....
I am grateful today...
for my home, my beloved, the animal friends who live with us...
I am grateful...
for the kindess of others,
and I am grateful that you, God, give me the courage to embrace that kindness.
I am indeed grateful.

Monday, October 06, 2008

on death and dying...

I am leading a discussion group on "Living for a Good Death" in which we consider the concept of death, our own deaths, and listen to one another about our feelings about death. We are using poetry, scripture, and the Bill Moyer's video series on death and dying. (this is not my original idea. Thank you Claire, for sharing what you did at your church so that I could cobble this together!)

We have had some fruitful conversation, and it is interesting what bubbles up. I think that people are comfortable in talking about loved ones who have died, or the questions of death, but we are still working towards expressing our own feelings about our own deaths. It is something we all do, and yet we never talk about it. It's important, I think. There are some choices we can make...even if we die suddenly.

It is ironic to me that since starting this series, I have been faced with two very different situations of "death" in our little community of animals that live with us. Venus, is possibly facing a diagnosis of terminal cancer. I am thinking positively, but I am also being realistic. We know that our treatment choices will only be palliative, rather than trying to "save" her life. She has a great life.

This morning, however, the shock of sudden death slammed fully into my life. I was upstairs, reading the paper, drinking coffee, relaxing on my day off, when the doorbell rang. It was only a little after 7, so I knew it was my neighbor, Marie. When I got to the door, she wasn't there, but her car was parked kind of funny...and then she came out of her door with a blanket, and shouted to me, "Buster, your Buster, I think he's been hit by a car."
I couldn't believe it would be Buster, because he never leaves our block to go to the busy street.
I was wrong.

My dear Buster was laying in the middle of Riverside Ave, dead. He had been hit by a car, and there was blood everywhere...(I will spare the details) and I just fell on top of him and started screaming like a crazed person. Marie, bless her golden heart, wrapped him up in a blanket, and urged me back over to my house. I was crying, I was hysterically talking, my whole body was shaking, and I just kept cradling our kitty in my arms, rocking...while Marie just stayed and hugged me, even though she was late for work. She took Bussy away from me, and told me to rest and not go anywhere. She put him in her fridge (now that is neighborly!) and said one of her volunteers would take him to the vet to be cremated.
(I will write more about Bussy when I can...)

[Important note, perhaps out of guilt or fear that you might criticize the fact that he was outside at all. Buster was the one cat we could not keep inside all the time when we moved to New England. We tried, very hard. But he voiced his serious displeasure by spraying everywhere. After a couple of months, we realized that he would be happier in and out, even though it was more risky for his life. Again, a "good life" question. Bussy was a horse farm cat, an outdoor cat, who mostly preferred sleeping on the porch than inside. We brought him in every night, and when we left during the day. Although I am sick to my stomach that he got hit by a car, I still feel we made the choice for Bussy's sake. We would have preferred him inside--well, without the spraying.]

As I sat alone (dear beloved was at the airport, boarding a plane for Texas) in the house, I just let complete and total feeling wash over and through me. I didn't move, I didn't think, I just felt Bussy. I don't know how to explain it.

After awhile, I knew that there was no way I was going to let a stranger take my Bus to a strange vet to be cremated. So, I got dressed, went across the street, found Bus in the fridge, and placed him in the car. His body was so limp, still, almost warm, still, so, so, sweet...and yet dead.

I got to my vet, with him wrapped in the blanket, and they let me be alone in the room. I held him, cried, apologized, told him what a great spirit he was, told him why beloved was not there.....I opened the blanket, to touch his furry paws...and just to make sure he was really, really gone.

The physicality of being with his dead body was important.

I said, good bye, dear one. Thank you, you sweetest cat ever.


I was able to let him go.

Even though I am incredibly saturated with sadness.

Venus is SO much better.

My little trooper love dog is doing so much better.
She is home from the hospital,
has effective pain management...
is getting stronger and sassier by the hour.
She even gave a few "barking" cheers when we watched the Sox game last night.
We won't have biopsy reports until later this week,
but it's o.k.
I am just glad to have her home,
and happy to just be with her.

Friday, October 03, 2008


so, I went to the hospital to see my Venus.
It was rough. She is such a gracious being, and wagged her tail when she saw me. She ate a treat. The ICU tech was helpful and great. But when she left Nini (Venus) and me alone for awhile, Venus laid down on her blanket, and I laid on the floor next to me....and she just whimpered the whole time. I have never heard anything like that come from her, ever. She was in so much pain.
Yes, it was a major surgery--the incision is huge (6 inches, at least).
It just broke my heart.
She looked at me as if to say, "what happened to me? why do I hurt so much? I am really miserable"
I was ready to cry with her, when Sarah (ICU tech) came into check on us.
She said that after the IV morphine drip, which stopped last night, I guess, she hasn't been given anything.
We wouldn't do that to a human, would we?
I begged her to ask the doctor to give her some tramadol, something to ease her pain.

I am going back to check on this in this evening.

I feel so guilty putting her through this, even though it was an informed decision that we thought was best. It is just killing me.

So, I did a little comfort care--I went to mcdonalds and ate two cheeseburgers. Mind you, I am a 98% vegetarian, so you know I am upset. I don't eat red meat AT ALL. But I heard that Micky D' burgers are mostly soy. Anyway, for me, it is ultimate comfort food from childhood.

Then, I got a manicure for some physical pampering and two lipsticks, because lipstick always fits.

But I don't feel better--and I know it didn't make Venus feel better either.
I probably should have gone with praying, first. I am so damn human sometimes. Forgive me Venus. Here is my prayer, which I breathing in and out, mantra style.

God be with Venus.
Ease her pain.
Help her heal.
Help her know we love her.

St. Francis Friday Five

OVER at RGBP, Sally is dedicating Friday Five to St Francis of Assisi.
I must say this is quite fitting for me right now!!

1. Saint Francis experienced a life changing call, has anything in your journey so far challenged you to alter your lifestyle?

I had been resisting ordained ministry for a while, because I am a very progressive, liberal leaning Christian, and I didn't see a place for me in the "church" in spite of being in professional ministry for 13 years! I was working on a masters in english literature while still teaching bible at a presbyterian day school...and one of my 8 year old students asked me to preside at his grandfather's graveside service, because he saw me as his "pastor" (according to his mom). So, I did. And when I was peeking under the astroturf with 5 third grade boys, looking at the hole in the ground, and looking for the dirt pile hidden by more astroturf so they could each get a fistful to drop in the hole, while talking about beginnings and endings...I knew I was doing what I was meant to do, and knew that I was being called to full-time ordained ministry, however that worked out. It was a very special experience.

2. Francis experienced mocking and persecution, quite often in the comfortable west this is far from our experience. If you have experienced something like this how do you deal with it, if not how does it challenge you to pray for those whose experience is daily persecution?

I had a colleague (in a d. min. class) when she realized I was in a same-sex relationship ask me if I thought I was an abomination. That wasn't really persecution, but I did have to take a step back, breathe...and then engage in a loving but agree to disagree conversation about biblical interpretation. I pray for LGBTQ kids all of the time...for their safety, for acceptance and welcome, and for people to talk to when they need someone.....especially in places where they are subject to being called abominations and told they are going to hell or need to CHANGE because it just isn't what God wants for them....

3 .St Francis had female counterpart in St Clare, she was influenced by St Francis sermon and went on to found the Poor Clare's, like the Franciscans they depended on alms this was unheard of for women in that time, but she persisted and gained permission to found the order. How important are role models like St Clare to you? Do you have a particular female role model whose courage and dedication inspires you? If so share their story....

Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa, Oprah, Jess Wilson and her daughter Darby (and Kendall!), my sisters, my mom, my spouse, my neighbor Marie whose passion keeps this organization alive ummm there's hundreds more but I will stop now....

4. Francis loved nature and animals, how important is an expressed love of the created world to the Christian message today?

Uh. yeah. Stewards of the earth? Climate Change? I would say the most important issue in the church today is advocating for global action to stop/reverse global warming. See Bill McKibben's website, Other wise, bad pun that it is, we, and our children, and our world, are toast.

5. On a lighter note; have you ever led a service of blessing for animals, or a pet service, was it a success, did you enjoy it, and would you do it again?

Everyday at my house is a blessing of the animals, since 11 live with us! Yes, we are nuts! However, yes, I have led several animal blessing services, and LOVE them. I think dogs should come to worship every week! However, there are many that well. As a p.s. my dear Venus had surgery yesterday to remove a mass from her liver. she made it through surgery (thank you God...and now we are waiting for biopsy results. I covet your prayers for her strength to return quickly and for her happy bark to soon be back home with us....