Sunday, November 30, 2008


This has been, in a word, a happy week.
When I am happy, rested, content,
I tend to smile a lot. Without really being conscious of it.
What has been fun this week,
is the surprise of returned smiles.
I have had so many people smile at me--returning my content has been so sweet.
and dear.
and lovely.

last day...

I am looking outside the window at a foggy, frosty, silvery grey misty blue ridge mountain morning.
Sipping coffee, watching the gas logs burn (pretending that they are crackling, real wood logs but grateful not to have to tend a fire), writing, my mind seriously wandering,
I am content.
This has been true rest this week. Soaked in the bones and heart and mind rest.
It has been pretty amazing...we have been completely satisfied with just spending every evening in, reading, watching old movies, unwinding in the hot tub.
Typically, on a trip here, we would go into hippy town almost everynight, to enjoy fabulous dinners and pubs at the wonderful diverse delectable restaurants...but this time, not so much. One night, sort of...but mostly, we have grazed on leftovers and little things from the store...yesterday was lunch out, but yesterday we shopped a little (ooooh, new setting for my ring, originally made by these artists and now they will re-make it into a more sturdy setting since I have a tendency to be a little hard on my rings...and ignore the price tag. The original was much, much less, and I had my own diamond, and the re-making is a tiny, tiny, fraction of that tag. Not that I need to justify, but well, it is a luxury, I know.)
Back to the point.
My body is loose, (except where I am sore from hiking and dancing in the yard)
My breath is deep and clear...
My mind, is rolling a few things around but for the most part, open and fresh...
and I know I say this all the time,
but I am so grateful.
For this moment.
For this amazing life I have.

Oh holy one,
on this day, this first day of advent,
knowing that we begin in shadows and flickers of light,
hopefully hoping against all hope but with deep hope because you give it...
the candle in my heart is glowing, firm, strong,
and today, this week,
help me to offer that light and warmth
to places that are cold...and on short fuses...

Friday, November 28, 2008

just today...

beloved and I are have rented a rustic cabin in the Western North Carolina mountains for a week. we have been here since last Monday afternoon. we have slept a lot, read, hiked, jogged, and ventured into hippy-town to do a little grocery shopping and sampling of local micro-brews. ;-)
in the past, when we have done this, we probably would venture into hippy-town almost everyday. but this time...not so much. which is mildly ironic, since the cabins we have had in the past have been less rustic than the current one....
we have hiked my favorite all time hike,
we jogged on a river trail that brings back so many memories--but that is a separate entry...
I cooked thanksgiving dinner--abeit with a little help from expensive grocery boutique store...
and we have watched both nights of the finals of Dancing With the Stars, as well as football, Saturday Night Fever (yes, with John T.) and another movie with no point...
and we visited Highwater Clays
showroom and store, and after I almost had a heart attack when I walked in-the tools! the wheels! the underglazes and frits and clays!! the slabrollers! the gorgeous books and breathtaking pottery all around!!--I am pretty sure I left drool on everything I touched and looked at. What bliss. it is grey and shrouded in frost and cool temperatures. it is quiet, with the smoky aroma of fresh coffee on the pot, the gas logs warming the cabin...beloved is sleeping...
and I am breathing deep..
the wonder of it all,
the beauty of fulness,
the love of this perfect moment..
oh yes,
how grateful I am.
Holy One..
thank you,
for being so present in this moment (ah, I hear you singing thru that bird outside in the tree...)
a call, I imagine,
reminding me that You Are as present in every moment as this moment.
Grant me the grace to know You more.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

on abundance...a pastoral prayer, with prayers of the people

O Holy One,
We come before you this morning,
Mindful of the abundance of our lives,
And mindful of the scarcity and fear in our world.

We bring to you this morning the concerns of our hearts…
For those people and places we can’t get out of minds because we are aware of their pain, their transitions, their struggles, and the hopelessness they face.

We also come to you this morning grateful…
Grateful for this moment
Grateful for the abundance of this congregation that is called to be your light and your hope to one another and to the world.
Remind us, o God, of all that we have to share, to give…to those who need your grace and love in the lives.
Remind us, not to hoard, but to give recklessly and with joy
Out of the thousand upon thousands of blessings you bestow upon us.

Holy one, we live in the abundant love of Your heart--
In the friendships you give us, the means by which we live,
The health we have--.
And even in the struggles we face,
The knowledge in our hearts and minds that we face nothing alone, but always with You, above us, below us, around us and in us.
Thanks be to You, o God.
Thanks be to you, o Christ,

Friday, November 21, 2008

Funny Friday Five

Over at RGBP, Songbird is cooking Thanksgiving Dinner. I am laughing at her questions, because although I like to cook, her questions are far too technical for MY kitchen! ;-)
1) Do you have a food processor? Can you recommend it? Which is to say, do you actually use it? I have a coffee grinder--is that close?

2) And if so, do you use the fancy things on it? (Mine came with a mini-blender (used a lot and long ago broken) and these scary disks you used to julienne things (used once).)
see above

3) Do you use a standing mixer? Or one of the hand-held varieties?
hmmm. I think we might have a hand mixer,if it made it in the move two years ago. I will have to look. I guess you could say I use a spoon.

4) How about a blender? Do you have one? Use it much?
Yes! yes! yes! I have a blender. It is red. I used to use it alot when I had to grind up dog food crunch with water for our sick lab Annie in her last days. I also use it when I make butternut squash soup, a couple of times a year.

5) Finally, what old-fashioned, non-electric kitchen tool do you enjoy using the most?
I like my garlic press. Plus, it is the only kitchen tool that I can think of besides spoons and knives and forks.

Bonus: Is there a kitchen appliance or utensil you ONLY use at Thanksgiving or some other holiday? If so, what is it?
Well, I don't have one of these, but I really would love one to carry on the tradition of my mother making flatbread and lefse for the winter holidays. It is a lefse griddle.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Through You, I am at Play"

It's Wednesday.
Just out of 90 minute staff meeting.
A staff of three, and we meet for 90 minutes weekly. Yes.
I have been thinking about this line from A Prayer Book for the 21st Century by John McQuiston II from the Wednesday Morning Canticle (Thanks to RevCrystalk for the recommendation)

"Before the oldest of my works,
From the timeless I was...
Before the beginning,
I was there...
My delight is in you day after day,
and through you I am at play.
I delight in the children of all people."

And through you, I am at play...
I wonder,
How God is playing through me today?
Is it the brief but lovely phone calls that connect me and my beloved during the long workday? I think so.
Did God play through me yesterday, when only one of my commission members show up for a meeting, so we played with our iphones for an hour, exchanging ideas for great applications? Silly, but yes.
Will God play through me this afternoon, as I administriviate? How?
Keep it light,
the Holy One beckons and reminds me...
Live in the play, the dance of life.
This is it. Enjoy dear one.

Oh Holy One,
Play through me,
fully and wonderfully today.
Help me remember how to play.

How is God playing through you today?
p.s. my word verification is ferrhe, or furry. God plays through my furry fun friends, too!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Supplication (Concerning the Parable of Talents)

In this blustery windy morning,
In a world where nothing seems sure anymore
We gather together,
In our worry, in our questions, in our shaky hope.
Lasting, faithful God,
Where it seems like the options are limited,
Where life seems either/or
Where there are those—us?--who don’t care off whose back their security is gained,
Where there are those—us?—who simply hide and hoard all of who we are in fear
Because there is so much potential for harshness, cruelty, uncontrollable outcomes.
We cry out to you.
Help us, we pray
To imagine other possibilities,
To dare to risk something other than what has always been done before.
Take the energy around our fear, and transform it into power that leads, that loves, that risks, that knows You are with Us.
Use our lives, our faith communities, to be the economy of Good News,
Another way to live in this world that respects all life,
and where all life is lived to fullness in You.

(photo from, used without permission, yikes!)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

oiling the wheel

(photo from stock photo on google)

what a day!
I spent it as if I didn't have something important to do, oh,
like finishing a sermon. We slept til 10 am, then I did a little pottery work, we walked doggies, cleaned house (uh, just a little), did errands, went to lunch, and stopped by a friend's house to celebrate a birthday.
The last hour I have spent drooling over new pottery tools, talking to my mom, and blog surfing.

This text is hard, the parable of the talents (MTW 25:14-30). Matthew takes the original parable in Q, first seen in Luke, and fits it to his purposes of talking about the parousia. Don't sit around. Risk what you have been given. The master doesn't tell the servants what to do with the talents they have been given, but in his absence the first two servants do some pretty creative investing to double the talents they have been giving.

My heart is with the third, fearful servant. Burying money in the ancient world was a very reasonable thing to do. In fact, in a society who regarded those who created wealth as suspect (the only way to get rich was at the expense of someone else) this is what they would do.

And yet the master deals harshly with the servant who does what would be regarded as the best thing to do.

If parables are supposed to tip things upside down, shake up the balance of power, this parable doesn't seem to do so. Those in power crush those who aren't. What on earth is Matthew thinking as he tells this parable? Is he ignoring cultural norms to make a point about risking?
Could be.

The master is not God, I do not think. There are some biblical scholars who hold that view. And a talent is money--15 years worth of working!--it has nothing to do with ability, with god-given gifts--it is money. However, if Matthew is trying to create some symbolism in this story, maybe the talent is God. God in us, as one commentary writes.

God--is as valuable as money was for the ancient Jesus followers. What was important--was the God-life. And in the waiting for the Parousia, the Jesus followers just can't bury that treasure--the presence of God as they experience, but go out, and try to double that presence in the world. If we hoard God, hoard community grounded in Christ, then we will be cast into the edges of darkness..because it community can't be hoarded. It dies. It withers. It gets dry and crumbly and boring.
Indeed, what keeps community vital is the continual open door, and continual practise of invitation.
Which is risky, in a world economy that values riches, financial stability above all else rather than living in a Jesus-centered economy that throws riches to the wind, and challenges us to risk...even at the risk of losing ourselves to find ourselves.

I am not sure we know how radical that is...
on Sunday mornings of glorious music and fervent prayers and laughter over coffee hour.
If that is our God-life...then what are we risking to...double it? triple it?

Just thinking here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


This morning I...
- ordered some yummy books from Amazon...including The Green Bible, how cool is that?
-penned our weekly e-newsletter
-am still in my pajamas at 11:04 AM
-but got up at 7!
-But am working on administrivia
-am considering going to my alma mater seminary for inauguration of the new president.
-am considering going to the RevGalBlogPal Big Event.
-am thinking about the future.
-cooked dogfood
-should clean the kitchen, take my shower, get on in to the oficina
-can't believe I don't have a meeting scheduled for all day.
-am thinking about lunch since is is now 11:04
-excited about vacation in two weeks.
-am looking at two chipped nails that I can either paint over, or remove all paint from all nails. hmmmm. which will take less time since I really need to get in gear?
-am thinking about these clogs but know they would be a crazy purchase.
-am thinking my shoe wardrobe should contain more than clogs, but I like them.
-am listening to Venus bark b/c she wants to be let back in. I am on the third floor.
-am wondering why my thoughts are so random and not so deep...
-am grateful. I feel good today.
-am grateful. for health, for ministry, for love, for challenges...even for procrastination in moderation.

Can she just wait? Like two more minutes? Venus! Be patient!

Sunday, November 09, 2008


In the shortening of our days,
In the lengthening of these deepest nights,
We turn to the light within,
The precious light of grace, of truth, of hope.
You are the light,
Open our hearts, to tend that light…
With the oil of prayer,
The oil of music,
The oil of worship,
Oh Holy One,
Give us oil in our lamps,
Keep us burning, burning, burning
So that your Flame of love
Can stoke the heart of the world,
In the shadows of our living.
Give us oil in our lamps,
We pray,

(photo from

Thursday, November 06, 2008


You know,
I can't believe I haven't written for a week. I keep putting off writing, as if it were a frivolity, something to do in my spare time (does that exist? for anyone?)
Indeed, life is full.
We live in an urban, sort of blue collar neighborhood...and things have been nuts. There was a dog attack on another small doggie that my beloved got in the middle of, trying to save the dog being attacked. She got pushed down...but was able to save the doggie, who only lived because of her bravery and her generousity when we took the animal hospital for emergency surgery. The people who own the attacking dog are living in substandard conditions. They feel victimized because we filed a police report. (what?)Our neighbor across the street thinks we should have settled this "peaceabley" rather than file a report. (What?) She says our neighbors feel really bad, but love their dog, which is a really nice animal (what?). Oh, and did I mention that no one from the attack dog house ever came over to see if my beloved was o.k., or called the owner of the little doggie that was torn to shreds, with broken ribs, injured kidneys, bruises every where and punctured lungs? (How neighborly is that?) Not to mention the owner of the injured doggie, well, has a big heart, but is not the greatest of social skills and so she is wreaking havoc, although we just try to encourage everyone to drop it. We aren't asking a dime from anyone. We do feel obligated to report the vicious attack--because there could be quite possibly a next time. We would prefer (and we are animal lovers extroadinaire) that the dog be put down, because my beloved doesn't feel safe living two doors down from a vicious animal that was clearly out to kill, for no reason. But we aren't demanding that, and the animal officer won't do that. He will just write it up. We are fine with that.
We would feel more like neighbors if one of the three adults in the house with the vicious dog would at least leave a note, make a phone call, stop by, and say something like "we are so sorry this happened, are you o.k.?" or "how are you doing?" or some sort of acknowledgement. Sounds decent, doesn't it?
Our neighbor across the street feels like we are over-reacting, basically.
And these, dear readers, all three of you, are the Days Of My Life.