Friday, February 29, 2008

Leapin' Lizards....RGBP Friday Five

Songbird and willsmama over at RevGals leapt into this one! I don't know if I have any thoughts on this, so I think I will just go for it and see what happens....
They write:
It's Leap Day!! Whether you're one of the special few who have a birthday only once every four years, or simply confused by the extra day on the calendar, everyone is welcome to join in and play our Leap Year Friday Five.

Tell us about a time you:

1. Leapt before looked
Pretty much any time I jump into water. I close my eyes.

2. Leapt to a conclusion
Hmmmm. Too often to admit.

3. Took a Leap of Faith
Moving to Florida, Moving to New York City, Moving to the South, Moving to New is one big leap, I think....

4. Took a literal Leap
When I was about eight, my twin sister and I were in a three legged race, and at first, we were sort of stumbling, but(instead of falling on our faces)we leapt into a perfect spring and we blew the rest of the third graders out of the water. I will never forget that feeling of being in perfect connection with was exhilarating!

5.And finally, what might you be faced with leaping in the coming year?
Well, I am feeling out of kilter for an array of reasons--personal grief over my nephew's suicide, and professional stress. So, being diligent and open and honest about self-care and focus is going to be my life instead of it living me.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New Mercies

I woke up incredibly stressed and tired today, clutching my blackberry and pushing the snooze button every five minutes.
Then, I rolled over, closed my eyes, and breathed...
and sang this in my heart:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
God's mercies are new everyday,
They are new every morning,
New every morning,
Great is thy faithfulness, O God,
Great is they faithfulness.

I breathed some more,
closed my eyes, and prayed to be open to new mercies today.
I felt something heavy and soft on my chest..
and opened my eyes to see Callie touching me with her paw.

new mercies indeed.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


You know, there are days when you just don't know where you are.
In your heart,
In your work,
In your administrivia,
In your ministry,
In your life.

Come find me, Holy One.
I think I am a little lost.
I will wait for You.

Friday, February 22, 2008


I hate this commercial on t.v. where people are chanting "Who stole a cookie from the cookie jar" and someone answers, "I stole the cookie from the cookie jar....and I lost 5 billion pounds on the COOKIE DIET."

Cookie friggin diet?

Can someone explain, pleeeze?

Heavenly Friday Five

This is my play on the RGBP Heavenly Friday Five
What is your idea of a heavenly (i.e. wonderful and perfect):
1. Family get-together
I think a heavenly family get together is a giant hike and picnic lunch, just being together and enjoying creation. In my greater family, it's simply being gathered together in my sister's living room, parents, sisters, spouses, children, dogs, cats, a music concert on t.v., and a million conversations going and laughing.
2. Song or musical piece
Anything by Patty Griffith, anything on hammered dulcimers, anything by Allison Krauss, and Barber's Adagio for strings.
3. Gift
Shoes. Books.
4. You choose whatever you like-food, pair of shoes, vacation, house, or something else. Just tell us what it is and what a heavenly version of it would be.
Shoes. Books. Any version of aforementioned is heavenly. Of course, right now at this point in a New England Winter, a week on a private beach somewhere warm and sunny and tropical sounds divine.
5. And for a serious moment, or what would you like your entrance into the next life to be like?
What, from your vantage point now, would make Heaven "heavenly?"
hmmm. Heaven heavenly? I don't know. Perhaps that those who suffer so much here from violence, pain, war, injustice, hunger--especially children and mothers and elders--would experience the sweetness of belonging and mercy and love and justice.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Journey to Emmaus

At the end of our Lenten Bible studies,
we celebrate communion. It is very low key, and we just sort of do it off the cuff. (Hey, probably the way Jesus did it the first time, huh?). So, I used the story of two travelers walking the road to Emmaus, and meeting the stranger, and in the breaking of bread together, they realized it was Jesus.
My colleague was looking at me strangely...(not sure if the story was approved)
but I really love that story. It seems so fitting for the celebration of communion. I have been looking for a good liturgy, for worship, that incorporates that story, but haven't found one. Guess I will need to write my own.

I have been on my own journey to Emmaus, these days...recounting the events of the past month, even year, but especially month...and there have been countless holy encounters with people I hardly know. I also realize, as I walk, how attentive, extra attentive I need to be to self care. I am not doing a great job at that...and that is nuts.

So, my prayer is for attentiveness and attending
to this person, me, that you have created, Holy One.
Circle me with your love,
Illumine me be gentle, with me...
It sounds so self absorbed...but I know I need to fight that...
and simply take care, take care, take care.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lucky buns

So Lucky is our oldest cat. He was almost named Bullet, because he was found by the side of the road, shot by someone who I guess didn't want him sleeping in his hay in the barn any more (Hey, wait, aren't barn cats good for like, keeping the barn mice population under control???) I digress. A wonderful, skilled vet saved his life, but had to leave the bullet in him. You can feel it. Anyway, that was years ago, and Lucky has lived to the ripe age of 13 or 14 (not exactly sure). He is snow white with blue eyes (you can only see him curled up in the picture). He has become a bit senile the past few months, and walks around the house with a dog toy or sock stuffed in his mouth, meaowing, which is muffled, and sounds more like a trumpet. He walks in circles doing this. Is he hiding his babies? His prey? I don't know, but it is the funniest sound, and I love that he does that. He is the crabbiest, loudest, sweetest old man cat here.

Monday, February 11, 2008

and speaking of rocks....

So, for children's time, the Sunday after the women's retreat, I decide to talk about Psalm 18:6, where the Psalmist says "God is my rock and my refuge". I wonder out loud with the kids, "hmmmm. I wonder what that means--God is my rock? How can God be like a rock?"
Well, their wondering went flat...mostly I think because these children in this parish haven't really been offered the possibility of different images of God,besides "our Father" and Jesus. All and good, I say, but whoah--so many more in the Bible! Back to the point--I encouraged them to wonder this thought with their families, in the car, at bedtime. It was clear this was a new concept--God as a rock!
Well, the next day I get an email from a member, who said she was doing her spiritual duty to engage in conversation with her child. It went like this:
"Honey, do you want to talk about what Pastor Karla said in church, about God being like a rock?"
"Nope, I already know"
(at this point, mom noted that a little hubris is normal in a six-year old, and I should foster her self-confidence but also maintain my place as a spiritual teacher)
"Well, can you tell me honey?"
Honey replies matter of factly, "You know how a lot of rocks have crystals inside them that we can't see? Well, God is like the crystal inside of all of us."

Guess who is the real spiritual teacher in this family!

Stones on the Road

So, a week ago, I led our church women's retreat. It began with registration around
4:00 (read wine and cheese hour between the lines, because I missed that but will make note of that next year) Dinner at 6:30, and then a group gathering that night, followed by more wine and cheese into the wee hours of the night. We had 40 women at this lovely retreat center in our city, which made it possible for some women to attend only Friday evening; and others only Saturday. I completely overplanned, but it was o.k. It was the best retreat ever...because it
EMERGED and EVOLVED in the way it needed to.
I provided a gentle structure,
and women were able to move around it in the way they needed.

So, Friday evening, we built cairns in small groups, marking where God's presence had been with us lately, like the Israelites....and the parting of the river as Joshua led them into the promised land, where they built a cairn/altar of twelve stones from the river bed they passed through to Gilgal.
After sharing, we brought the cairns back to the altar space in the middle of the room, and had a meditation...silent, and then lit candles for prayers, and sang the Tallis Canon in round. It was very lovely.

Saturday morning, I plans to continue this theme, but since we had 40 women, three generations of fabulous ladies, someone said, can we just sit in one large group, and share about ourselves--our names, a little something of who we are, and how we ended up in this church? Even though a 40 person sharing time sounded like a nightmare to me, we went with it. What magic! What blessing! That Holy Spirit sure does work wonders, huh?

We continued with the stone theme thru the afternoon...and pack-up and left. Our church isn't that big,so to have 40 women was to have about 1/3 of the church present.

It was wonderful...and I just want this post to be my stone of remembrance and gratitude for that time, so I can return to it (especially in the lean, wilderness times of ministry).

So, I set my stone here as remembrance.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Lenten Friday Five

So here is RevGals Friday Five....I haven't played for awhile, so here is my short play before I run off to something else:

1. Did you celebrate Mardi Gras and/or Ash Wednesday this week? How?
hmmm...yep, on Fat Tuesday I had some nice yummy pasta and a lovely glass of wine. We had a lovely service in my congregation for Ash Wednesday, which included flash paper, candles, pyrotechnics, and ashes. The confirmation class (all boys) enjoyed it. I got to spend some time with some people that I haven't had the opportunity to get to know much before, so it was nice.

2. What was your most memorable Mardi Gras/Ash Wednesday/Lent?
I loved Mardis Gras when I was teaching, as our music teacher was big into celebrating Mardis Gras with lots of drumming and wonderful music....then in my department we would always fold up a banner of Alleluia and place it in a trunk to discover at Easter. Another great Mardis Gras was when I was a college chaplain, and I ordered 300 Krispy Creme donuts and told the students to come to chapel, grab a donut, and enjoy the next 30 minutes just playing (rather than having required chapel). They loved it, and I loved it!

3. Did you/your church/your family celebrate Lent as a child? If not, when and how did you discover it? Are you kidding? I grew up a staunch Lutheran in the Plains states. We went to Lent services every Wednesday night, and would get a ticket. If you had five tickets out of 7, you would get a pin--a cross, a fish, a dove, whatever. I had a whole collection throughout the years. Crazy, huh?

4. Are you more in the give-up camp, or the take-on camp, or somewhere in between? Probably in between. I have done both for a discipline...and it is a great practise.

5. How do you plan to keep Lent this year? Well, I am not giving up or taking on....but I hope to be mindful. We are studying the parables for our series, so I will immerse myself in those stories of Jesus...but personally, my plan is to remember to do the lovingkindness meditation at least once, daily. I guess that is taking on, huh?

On a personal note, thanks for kindness and prayers expressed on my earlier posts about my nephew. Thank you. Blessings and peace and joy to you.

Thursday, February 07, 2008 whatever makes me love you more....

there are some that would say "God called Aric home".
Excuse me, but how f---d is that?
What does that say about God? That...God who so loved the world would invent bi-polar disease, make an amazingly good guy miserable with mania and the depths of depression...make him feel so miserable and tragic and desperate and desolate and excruciatingly in pain that the only escape
was to hang himself with his mother's belt in the garage so that he could be released from the pain.
Did God tell Aric to go kill yourself so you can come home to heaven, honey?
Was that what God said would make Aric love him more...if you would just kill yourself for me? Was that the sort of love that God called Aric to?

Am sorry if I don't buy that crap, but this isn't the God I know.

I think Aric's unfully diagnosed disease is what killed him.