Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tuesday. AGain!

So, it's Tuesday and I swung by the office to check in...although no one is really around, since the office is cold. Sorted some mail, made some calls, looking out at a windy but bright New England December day. Tomorrow we are supposed to get more snow...so I need to get that durn Wovel put together. I just don't have the right tools...I need a ratchet, which in my meager and sundry collection of tools, I do not happen to have.

I was hoping to make a couple of pastoral calls, but that looks like they will happen on Friday. That's o.k.

On NPR this morning, I was listening to an interview with Juno Diaz and he said this:
The work of the artist is to strive to undermine her/his previous work.

I find that so interesting, but I get it. You want to push, pull, stretch, engage even deeper with each artistic endeavor. I find this so true in clay...whether I am making the same thing over and over, I still want to tweak it, get into more, try something a little different.....

Just a random thought for the day.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


you know when you have a Sunday where you do pretty much everything right,
but it all felt flat?
that could sum up today for me.
the liminal space felt like a huge chasm.
yes, it was a low attendance Sunday, so some of the community energy wasn't there.
the best part was coffee hour, getting to chat with some people I don't usually get to connect with.
oh well.
this happens.
and in spite of me, it was still worship,
and God was with indeed with us. I know this, because God shows up, even when we don't feel God.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

saturday procrastination.

yes. so I got up early to write my sermon, and now, a couple of hours later I realize that I haven't done a thing but catch up on my blogreading. well, maybe that is my prep for writing...
now I will head downstairs for another cup of tea, let the cat in, and get started. and finished. yes, I will finish before noon. yes, I will, yes I will, I will, I will....
because I promised these girls a long walk this afternoon, and they are WAITING....



Venus las Vegas


Friday, December 26, 2008


I should really be writing my sermon.
but I am just putzing about.
That's about all I have to say!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

lefse--or norwegian burritos?

Lefse is a norwegian potato bread that sort of looks like a soft tortilla. You spread butter on it and brown sugar and roll it up and eat it. My mother has made this every christmas every year of my life and beyond--and she has probably eaten it every holiday season of her life. So, I thought it time for me to start learning. It requires all sorts of special baking items like a pastry board, lefse stick, lefse griddle, rolling pin with a stocking. I have never really been a pastry maker.

A good lefse is very thin, and round.

As you can see from the pictures, uhhhh, well, my first try wasn't exactly round or thin....

Lefse balls

Pastry board and rolling pin, without its little sock.

The griddle and lefse turning stick, ready for action!

Final six. Then the electrical element died. Now, what I am going to do with all those left over balls of dough?

christmas eve day!

this is one of my most favorite days of the year. growing up, my family would go to the drugstore to eat cheeseburgers and fries and cokes at noon. we are going to do this today--b and I--in harvard square. (veggie cheeseburger, for me though).

I got up early and went to the grocery, and got all kinds of stuff to make for tomorrow. I am even going to try Songbird's Crash Hot Potatos, since no one volunteered for mashed potatoes (which I can take or leave) but I feel certain will miss the good old potatoe if there aren't any. Don't you just love the name of them? "Crash Hot Potato"? It is fun to say out loud.

so, now I need to get on the stick and write my pastoral prayer (unless someone wants to share theirs) and the welcome for tonight, and practise my story a little more.

last night I tried to make lefse. I will write more about that later, but imagine my dissappointment when my brand new lefse grill (gift from dad, stepmom, and twin sister) had a bummer of an electrical element. I made about six, and then had to just quit--since the griddle quit itself.

prayers for beautiful and deep and surprising worship this evening for all congregations...everywhere.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


The snow is pretty today. It is still cold, but brilliant with sun. Hard to believe that all of this will melt (well most of it) in the next few days.

This is a funny thing about Boston. If people dig their cars out on the street, they are allowed to put cones or folding chairs to mark their "spot" while not parked in it, for at least 48 hours, sometimes more. It is your...reward, I guess, for doing all the work. So, when you drive around the streets, if you see cones in parking places, you better NOT move them and park your car there. It is grounds for getting slashed tires! Thank goodness we have a driveway!

Not much going on here at the office this morning. I am piddling, you could say. I need to write my sermon for Sunday...so I could get a start on that. If I can get it sketched out, I am going to reward myself with a manicure. ( I actually have a gift certificate with money remaining on it.) My new favorite color is OPI's "We'll Always Have Paris". I ought to tidy things up a bit, too.

I feel like I am in a good space. It feels a little empty, but that is good. Maybe I am making room in my inner inn to be ready for the wild blessing of Christ-mas.

Open me, even more.
Help me be receptive to where and how the journey unfolds...
in these moments, in this day, in this week...

Monday, December 22, 2008

monday morning wanderings

It is cold and windy here in Boston. (not as cold as North Dakota, though)
I spent the good part of the weekend, among other things, shoveling 15 inches of snow. Am really looking forward to getting my wovel...or a snowblower. There are no snowblowers to be had, though.

The Christmas Pageant yesterday was great. We even had a real baby Jesus who could not have been more precious! The only thing that wasn't covered is that there was no one assigned to put away costumes. Needless to say, there was a mess. I just stashed everything in the CE Resource room, and will ask those in charge of the Pageant to deal with it. Afterwards, we had a pizza party with decorating cookies and Yankee Exchange with the Youth.

When the holidays come, my grief in not having children is heightened. This year is no exception. It is always a source of suprise that I never have had a baby. B and I consciously decided not to, but still, there is that part of me that lingers in some regret. It's o.k., we talk about it, and B is always wonderful to listen to my grief without taking it personally. Or, if so, we talk about that. Anyway, I would have been a wonderful mom. I know that. Literally, all of my friends have families. I love their children. I love all the children and babies and young people I get to work with...and my adopted nieces and nephews...and my two nephews are precious to me. I just find it curious that the unfolding of my journey hasn't included being a mommy. Just mulling on that today. A little, anyway. sigh.

So. On another note, I spent some time in my studio this morning, and am headed back down there, shortly. I working with some terra cotta clay today, doing some experimentation with carving and glazes. As soon as I finish up some stuff, I will post the pictures. The photo above is scraffito through yellow slip on brown stoneware--the picture is taken before it had been bisqued.

Peace to you on this cold and windy winter day.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Five Five Things Before Christmas edition

This is what I hope Santa will bring me for Christmas. It is a "wovel"

Songbird made Friday Five quite easy today.
Five things you need to get done before Christmas.

hmm. I was just thinking of the five things I need to do in the next hour! But let me think more expansively...

1. Order and pick up pasta dishes at Comella's for beloved's staff party she is hosting on Monday. Also, go to Trader Joe's and get easy appetizers, clean house, make dessert, decorate house, get stuff like wine, soda, teas, etc. You get it.

2. Learn the story I will tell on Christmas Eve.

3. Restock pantry for guests coming on Christmas Day (just two)

4. Enjoy the snow storm that is a'coming

5. I am sure there is more, but strangely, the bulletins are all finished for the 28th and the 4th of January, sermon titles/topic in the hopper, and frankly, I am not really stressed. At all.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

what? rick warren?

I have to say, I am dissapointed in Obama's choice for the invocation giver at the inauguration is Rick Warren, Saddleback Church in California. He is rabidly anti-gay. I think if the administration wanted to reach across the aisle, which I am totally for, I think a less radical evangelical would have been nice.
I think what would have been wonderful for the Change agenda would have been to include a rabbi, priest, imam, and pastor...and some of them WOMEN.

hmm. my word verication is "phinc" which sounds like "fink"

spooky sighting!

so, we have had a feral kitten living in our basement for the past three months. long story on how she got there. we feed her everynight, and she eats all her food, drinks water, and uses the litter box.
however, we have never seen her since the first day we took her in, when she escaped from her kennel. I named her Spooky.
but finally, last night,
we were able to trap her.
I am so relieved she hasn't turned into a one-eyed ghosty light depraved monster. She just is scared, wild, and fierce.
And a cute calico kitty.

Not sure what we will do with her now.

I am just glad to see her.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Petsmart Howl-i-days

(photo from http://www.ohmidog.com/tag/santa-claus/, but could have been from Saturday, December 13, at PetSmart!)

so Saturday, Beloved and I volunteered for Kitty Connection by taking photos with Santa at PetSmart. This is a great gig for rescue groups--Petsmart pays for everything, you just have to supply volunteers and Santa to run the booth, which is the dogtraining area in PetSmart. For that, PetSmart charges the customer $10, in which they receive a digital photo in a cute (debatable) plastic frame that says Holiday 2008. $5 goes to the rescue organization. For small rescues, this is great--much better than having a yard sale.

Well, wow. People and pets and photo shoots--HILARIOUS! PICKY! WEIRD! FABULOUS!
Some people thought we were professional animal handlers or professional photographers. hah!

I was going to be Santa, but we were there a little late, so someone else suited up.
Beloved was the amazingly patient and cheerful photographer, sometimes taking 20 photos for people who thought their little doggie or kitty should be smiling, or posing perfectly. Only one couple decided they didn't like any of the pictures. Please. Just buy one for the spirit of giving!

Anyway, we were exhausted after five hours of doing this, but truly it was fun. I loved meeting all of the dogs and cats--animals are extremely forgiving of their nutty owners (including yours truly). They were patient as we called to them, cajoled them to sitting close to our somewhat glum Santa, happy when we fed them treats, and just generally wonderfully spirited as they wagged tails and stretched out for ear scritches and belly rubs.

I highly recommend the experience!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Over at RGBP,
Sophia writes:

This Friday Five is inspired by my husband's Lasik surgery yesterday....He'd been contemplating it for a while and was pushed over the edge by the fact that we put too much money in our healthcare spending account this year and it would have been gone anyway. (There was only enough for one eye, but the kind people at the eye clinic figured out a way to divvy up the charges between surgery and followup in January=next year's spending account). So please say a little prayer for his safe recovery and share with us your thoughts on eyes and vision.

1. What color are your beautiful eyes? Did you inherit them from or pass them on to anyone in your family?
My eyes are blue. Norwegian blue. Got'em from the family heritage.

2. What color eyes would you choose if you could change them?
Big dark brown eyes with little hazel flecks. (a girl can dream, right?)

3. Do you wear glasses or contacts? What kind? Like 'em or hate 'em?
I used to wear both. Contacts usually irritated my eyes, and I liked glasses, but had such coke-bottles that when I didn't have glasses on, I could see nothing. My first pair were in 4th grade. Now I wear reading glasses. But that is the bonus of being 45, right?

4. Ever had or contemplated laser surgery? Were you happy with the results?
Yes, yes, and yes. However, I have to say, I had to have it twice--a follow-up correction. The first time was cool, the second time I was a little nervous. But oh, oh, oh, how wonderful to SEE!!!!
5. Do you like to look people in the eye, or are you more eye-shy? Definitely look people in the eye. Eyes are the window to the soul, right?

Bonus question: Share a poem, song, or prayer that relates to eyes and seeing.

"No object is mysterious--the mystery is your eye" --Elizabeth Bowen

"I shut my eyes in order to see" --Paul Ganguin

Thursday, December 11, 2008


hard to believe she is 11 years old.
hard to believe at just ounces over 5 pounds she can take on a doberman, if needed!
hard to believe that she is as sweet as she is saucy!

notes to self

*it's easy to feel blue when planning a blue christmas service.

*i like Mindy Smith's My Holiday CD

*sitting down to carve a very large ceramic platter covered in blue slip takes a lot more time and intention that I planned on.

*i LOVE carving pottery. it's about the third most popular thought in my head.

*it is rainy and cold. it is 2:27 pm. i am in my office. i forgot my bag so i don't have my list and books and stuff that i need.

*there is still plenty to do.

*why isn't there a naptime for adults? the preschool across the hall always has naptime. not fair.

*i am not feeling particularly inspired or motivated.

*advent/christmas makes me sad, thoughtful, hopeful, quiet.

*i wish we could be with my family of origin for just a couple of days. this christmas will be so hard on all of them, missing aric's joy.

* the titles of books on my desk are earthprayers, growing together, bread for the journey, the green bible, sacred journeys, in wisdom's path, guerillas of grace, imaging the word. isn't that a delicious combination?

*last year, a little girl in my congregation gave me a christmas card. it is on my bulletin board. it says, "pastor karla, i hope you are looking stunning. happy holidays! love, f." that must mean that sometimes i must look stunning. ;-) i hope in a good way.

*the sooner i finish my edits on sermons, the sooner i can go home.

*i am so glad i exercised already.

Monday, December 08, 2008

silent night.

this weekend was very full...christmas caroling on Saturday afternoon,then on to Sunday. Packed with the beginning of a new church school term, getting new teachers settled, worship, with advent candles, reception of new members, communion, then an adult forum afterwards,after that a youth holiday show at another nursing home, then back to church for a community crafts and carols event.
a lot of EXTROVERT energy pouring out from me. so today, I am a little left over, but in a full way.

what struck me, amidst many other things that were meaningful, was the singing of silent night in all of these venues.
first, in a small dark living room, with a housebound elder and her adult daughter who lives in a group home with other developmentally disabled adults...her daughter brought the aides and her friends from her home...and we sang a gajillion christmas carols...and when we got to silent night, it was so moving to witness the young family that was with the group of carolers....a couple with 4 children, 7years to 3 months...singing with wide eyes and rosy cheeks with this room of elders and other adults. Baby girl was sleeping, indeed, in heavenly peace...
and then,
at the next nursing home, with gangly teenagers, all self conscious and proud, singing with a large room of elders all in wheelchairs, and in various stages of chronic illness or aging...stumbling through three verses of silent night....where elders had tears in their eyes, and the teens, not really having a clue what an impact their presence was in that room...such a deep expression of what advent hope is...
and then, later in the day, singing silent night again, with 30 children and parents sitting in folding chairs, all trying to match the high key of the piano accompaniment, sweet high little voices, warbling in earnest...
this is what glories streaming from heaven afar means.
gloriest stream, and heaven sings,


in worship,
my colleague described Moltmann's idea of hope as a restless waiting.
indeed, this fits my heart these days...
Moltmann also describes hope as a "passion for the possible"...
and I can resonate with this.
so much more is possible...
and yet, the time isn't now...
it is a balanced pull between present in the restlessness, and still having passion for what is possible.
in this threshold, liminal place I am, I pray for gentleness and mercy and grace.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Thanks to Peace Bang for this....

PeaceBang has this on her website,and I just had to share it...
See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

dark at 4:30 and wandering....

The hardest adjustment I have had to make living in New England is the darkness of December. It's 4:30 pm and night has fallen all around me...and I still have meetings to go to, and if it is before 5:00 pm, shouldn't it at least stay light for rush hour traffic?
I want to curl up on the sofa and read a book, sip tea, and fall asleep.
Lucky my office only has a church pew from the 1800's and you know, people were smaller back then.
I know that for Advent, it is fitting for it to be so dark...we wait in darkness...we look for the light..we hope for the light...
we just hope...
sometimes just to endure the darkness.
Morning always comes.

I am very aware of the shroud of shadows today. I am restless...I am not feeling very challenged (NOT PRAYIN' FOR CHALLENGE, THOUGH. That's like praying for patience.) o.k.--I am not feeling creatively challenged right now...and that creates restlessness. I remember when I was a chaplain in an institution that was incredibly so much more conservative than me--not theologically (although many were)institutionally. Tradition above all else was to be kept, in spite of the fact that it held the institution back. Anyway, I felt like I had to fold up my wings and pin them inside my back...and because I didn't feel like I could fly sometimes, it really affected my groundedness. In fact, the balance was so off, I was simply stuck.

My wings now, are not necessarily folded up...I wouldn't say that at all. But I don't think I am flying creatively as much, either. Hence the shroud of shadows. I need a flight plan that will keep me rooted and free at the same time.

That's where I am wandering in the darkness today.