Tuesday, July 31, 2007

if everyone else jumped off a bridge ...

cause everyone else is doing it and I want to be with the crowd (just in case the scores don't make that clear)

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Friday Five from RevGalBlogPals

Friday 5- floods and droughts posted by Sally

Here in the UK we are struggling with floods, other parts of the world have similar problems without the infrastructure to cope with it, still others are badly affected by drought.... My son Jon is in Melbourne Australia where apparently it has been snowing ( yes it is winter but still!).... With crazy weather in mind I bring you this weeks Friday 5...

1. Have you experienced living through an extreme weather event- what was it and how did you cope? I have had multiple extreme experiences.
  • When I was about 3, our apartment flooded and my dad cut his hand bad enough he had to get stitches. I still have vivid memories of standing on the dresser eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as my dad was cleaning out the window well. There was glass in there that he could not see. While Mom took Dad to the ER, I went upstairs and stayed with the landlord.
  • Later, we had an ice storm when I was in first grade that shut everything down and electricity was out. It was out for sometime, days, but I can't remember exactly how long. We had gas heat so we were able to stay warm and my mom improvised cooking.
  • I once found out after the fact that we had driven very close to a tornado just missing it's path.
  • A different extreme cold situation had us bringing the car battery inside and doing everything from the water bed with the heater turned as hot as possible and blankets piled on top.
  • A massive storm with hail smashed windows on the cars, house, and damaged the roof significantly and we had no power for 3 days. When it did come on, it wasn't right and the electric co. had to come fix it. That storm was the scariest because I was a mom by then.
  • Then there are the more recent flooding experiences that impacted travel to class and canceled SportsQueen's softball games but thankfully didn't do much other than trim trees at our house.

2. How important is it that we wake up to issues such as global warming? A long time ago, I was a biology major and our professors talked about how our selfishness was harming the resources we took for granted. And my Physics professor talked about how we had the technology to have better gas mileage but the big 3 and the oil companies opposed further development because it would negatively impact their business.

3. The Christian message needs to include stewardship of the earths resources agree/ disagree? I think true Christian stewardship must include all resources. I really think that's the point of humans being "given dominion" in Genesis. Even crop rotation is sabbath for the earth and a part of stewardship.

And because it is summer- on a brighter note....

4. What is your favourite season and why? I like spring because of all of the new life. I like fall because of the changing colors and apple butter and my birthday.

5. Describe your perfect vacation weather.... weather like Maui, 80s not too hot, not too cool, perfect for jeans or shorts, comfortable for short sleeves and bring a jacket along just in case

Friday, July 27, 2007

summer camp

A long time ago, at a camp far, far from home, I was struggling with the question, "why even bother being a Christian?" I could not reconcile a God who loved me with the God who planned my father's death and further, I could not get that same God on board with kids who were abused physically or sexually by Christian adults. The pat answers that said everything was a part of God's plan wasn't working for me. If life was full of suffering, why not drink, smoke, and do drugs anyway 'cause God sure didn't make any difference. That was the summary of my extensive thoughts about stupid Christians and their God that wasn't worth spit.

It so happened that the camp far, far from home was a Christian camp. You might wonder how a kid with such deeply held opinions against God ended up at a Christian camp. The short answer ... Mom never said, "No," to church stuff. So even while I considered church and God a waste of time, church stuff got me out of the house -- and church camp got me out of the house for more than a week.

There were various "workshops" (I think they had a different name for them) to choose from. I don't know how I ended up there but in one workshop this guy was talking about Grady Nutt. If you remember Hee Haw, you might remember him. He was a Christian comedian and he died in a helicopter crash. The guy talked about how unfair it was for Grady Nutt to die. The guy talked about asking the same questions I had been asking about what kind of God does that kind of stuff. I had no idea it was theodicy but I did know that no one else had ever talked like that around me before.

The guy talked about how he had talked to some other Christians and pastors about the whole situation and how he finally came to understand that while God does have a plan for our lives sometimes we choose not to follow God's plan. He talked about how God made creation and loves creation but chooses not to be the grand puppeteer toward creation or its creatures including us. He talked about how God put the laws of physics in place and lets them work. And sometimes things just happen. and that when we cry because our hearts ache from grief and loss that God cries with us because the Creator cares so deeply for us. And I found a God that I could believe in again.

I didn't know all the theological background for all of the well intentioned but unhelpful comments that had been made as I grieved my father's death or the different theological background articulated by the guy four years later. I did understand that the very certain statements offered by the former did not convey what the less certain statements offered by the latter did -- grace.

Grace, grace, God's grace,
grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
grace, grace, God's grace,
grace that is greater than all our sin

p.s. I'm pretty sure the guy was Andy Stanley when the only reason anyone knew him was because he was his father's son but I could be wrong.

remember your baptism and be thankful

That's what the preacher is supposed to say when water is used in a way that cannot be construed as baptism.

We have had seven of these huge fans, yes seven, in the church since late Tuesday afternoon with two de-humidifiers.

The water heater for the oldest restrooms decided that we should have a baptistery in the women's restroom. I'm not sure that the ladies who usually use that room for others things would appreciate the layer of water on the floor. When I first looked in there, I thought, "Did the trustees already get it tiled?" Nope. That was water. Yeah, that shiny surface covering the entire floor was water. The admin asst had already called the chair of trustees and another one had happened by in the meantime. The one that happened by had already shut off the water supply and had called the Rescue Man.

With seven of those fans, I think it sounds like standing on the end of a runway as the plane prepares for take off. This afternoon, the Rescue Man came and took away some fans and removed some baseboard. The missing fans make the church seem almost quiet now. However, even with the very loud fans everywhere, it seemed more quiet than usual because no extraneous noise could be heard. It was kinda like extreme white noise.

After the water, comes the wind.

Maybe the dove will come back with an olive branch tomorrow.

And then there will be a rainbow.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Monday after Vacation

While on vacation, I received several phone calls from doctors' offices, specifically, the Rheumatologist and the Primary Care. I had already called the Primary Care doctor to set up a physical because of Rheumatologist's concerns over slightly elevated blood sugar levels. The earliest appointment I could get for that visit? Sept 11. However, after one of the nurse practitioners in Primary Care's office saw the lab results sent by Rheumatologist, a call was placed and message left for me on the machine asking for a quick response. I talked to the person on Friday and saw the Primary Care today.

I waited forever to see Primary Care, not really surprising. I really like my doc alot. I wish the office was managed differently so I would not sit and wait so much.

After waiting forever, having a decent amount of conversation, I got to learn how to use one of these.

oh. joy.

First, I forgot to put the strip in the machine first so I got an error message for using a previously used strip. Damn. Another stick.

Second, even though I have the minimal amount needed monitor, I didn't get enough very easily. So I "milked" and finally got enough.

Then, as I was taking everything apart to put the sharp part in the red box, the protective cap slipped off and the sharp part stuck my thumb. I had plently of sample then! Why couldn't that have happened for the finger? So by the time I was actually done with the first test, I had three spots instead of one.

At least the test two hours later, after supper, was a one stick test.

I'm on a new learning curve.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (no spoilers)

What a story! I didn't think JKR could get everything wrapped up without the "answers" sticking out but she did it. I got the answers and it felt authentic (well, for a fictional story set in the wizarding world).

We had a great time at the Potter Party. We were in the car with our books by 12:20 am. A local coffee shop became The Leaky Cauldron and served ButterBeer in addition to their regular items. Their Butter Beer was made of Butterscotch flavoring and Ginger Ale so all ages could enjoy. All three of us liked it.

Now I need some sleep.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday five from RevGalBlogPals

Friday 5- looking back, looking forward

posted by Sally

When I began work here at Downham Market a wise friend told me that after one year I would see a few changes and sense God at work- years two and three would cause me to question and to wonder why I had chosen to accept the post here and in year four I might see the beginnings of something new.

And so with that in mind alongside yesterdays celebrations I bring you Friday 5 Looking back, looking forward..

1. Share a moment/ time of real encouragement in your journey of faith Finally, I am in a church where "staying" is not a chore but a delight. I am the pastor not just because I have an office that says so and I wear a robe but because the members behave in ways that show their "ownership" of me as their pastor. There's something about the church claiming me as their pastor instead of seeing me as the pastor the Bishop sent here that makes ministry more comfortable and natural.

2. Do you have a current vision / dream for your work/ family/ministry? The current vision/dream for work is to continue to help the church live into God's call for them which will also allow me to stay here giving both my family and this church some continuity and stability. Personally, I have one class left for coursework for PhD work. I'll take it in the spring but I can see the finish line from where I am.

3.Money is no object and so you will..... travel through Europe, see the Seattle Seahawks play at home, go to concerts by John Mayer, Eric Clapton, Dixie Chicks, Norah Jones, The Eagles, see multiple Broadway shows, and buy a house.

4. How do you see your way through the disappointments? What keeps you going? Sometimes the only thing that keeps me going is the two kids that are dependent on me. When I separated, they were too little to do much on their own. I had to get out of bed to feed and clothe them. Within church life, the paycheck that allowed me to meet their financial needs (well, and the house that comes with that job) kept my mouth closed and one foot moving in front of the other. But don't be fooled into thinking that I did it alone. The rare and few friends I had gave me the ability to claim my value in the face of repeated devaluing. More than once "I'll pray for you" meant "I know you can't pray right now so I'll say your prayers until you can find your voice and pray again for yourself."

5. How important are your roots? Well, both very important and not really important either. On the one hand, I wouldn't be who I am without those roots but, on the other hand, there are many ways in which I have distanced myself from those roots in order to live a more balanced, healthier life.

6. Bonus= what would you like to add ? I'll be reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in hours!

Potter Party

We're on vacation and on the way to a Potter Party. There's a bookstore that has organized a Diagon Alley event in conjunction with other businesses. Menus have been adjusted at local restaurants. We are so excited! By this time tomorrow, we'll be reading the real deal book not the leaks or rumors.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Which witch is which?

No, really, this was the first try ...

You scored as Albus Dumbledore, Strong and powerful you admirably defend your world and your charges against those who would seek to harm them. However sometimes you can fail to do what you must because you care too much to cause suffering.

Albus Dumbledore


Hermione Granger


Harry Potter


Ginny Weasley


Sirius Black


Severus Snape


Draco Malfoy


Remus Lupin


Ron Weasley


Lord Voldemort


Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
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vacation: the farm, and history

A few days ago, we were on the farm. Papa called into town to say, "Let's roast weenies and marshmallows." Turns out that Papa and Good Neighbor were burning a huge dead tree in the field. Papa had figured out that about dark the coals would be "perfect." And they were. We had such a great time out in the field with the smoldering stump. We used chocolate chip cookies as the outside part for s'mores. The Entertainer went with G'ma to the store. The Entertainer is the one who chose chewy chocolate chip cookies. They worked even better than we thought they would. MMMMM.

While we were out there, Papa was talking about the Butterfield Trail going through the property. On our part of the trail, we even have a culvert built to help the stagecoach across a ditch. SportsQueen got up early the next morning and Papa dumped her out on the trail. She ran about half a mile on the trail on the farm. That was pretty cool. G'ma took both girls to a nearby historical marker to take their picture.

The day after that we traveled north about 90 miles to see Mimi. Mimi's house is on the corner in a small town and the Butterfield trail runs right past her house. So as we talked she told us about another marker that was down a country road in the direction we needed to go to travel back to the farm but not on the road we usually take. So we followed Mimi's directions and took another picture. At that marker, there is also an old wagon. We weren't really planning that history lesson but had a great adventure with the whole thing.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Five from RevGalBlogPals

Wotcher, Harry! ...or not posted by reverendmother

(Don't miss the big news in the post below! Mark your calendars!)

As you may have seen in this Wednesday's Festival, Pottermania has hit the RevGals---though not all of them. Yes, I am all over Harry like a Seeker on the Snitch, but I know there are others who will be ecstatic to see the July madness end.

So today's F5 is a Choose Your Own Adventure: do the magical version or the Muggle one, or both:

The OF COURSE option

Option 1: Accio Friday Five!

1. Which Harry Potter book is your favorite and why?

Book 3 is my favorite. The flippant answer is: chocolate is what you need to recover from someone trying to suck the soul out of you.
The deeper answer has to do with having the power to summon the energy to confront evil even while that very evil attempts to take your essence. The other deeper answer is that evil tries to go it alone while the good look very much like the communion of saints -- the body of Christ with the angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven. I truly believe that we cannot be Christians alone and that good overcomes evil in community.

2. Which character do you most resemble? Which character would you most like to get to know?
hmmm, most resemble? probably Hermione.
I'd like to get to know Professor McGonagall, Lupin, the Weasleys and Madame Hooch better.

3. How careful are you about spoilers?
a) bring 'em on--even if I know the destination, the journey's still good
b) eh, I'd rather not know what happens, but I'm not going to commit Avada Kedavra if someone makes a slip
c) I will sequester myself in a geodesic dome to avoid finding anything out

First answer here is "b." But I did go look for what the "hacker" said, so "a" fits, too. I thought what the hacker said was lame and mirrored previous events too much. If that is what really happens, I trust Rowling's storytelling for it to "ring true" and be appropriate for the story.

4. Make one prediction/share one hope about book 7.
I hope Harry, Ron, and Hermione survive and Neville comes into his own. I predict that Beatrix Lastrange dies.

5. Rowling has said she's not planning any prequels or sequels, but are there characters or storylines (past or future) that you would like to see pursued?
I want to see the Dementors brought under better control. And I'd like to see Hogwarts with McGonagall in charge.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Movie

Last night, the SportsQueen and I went to see the Harry Potter movie at midnight. I purchased the tickets online sometime last week. When I ordered them, there was one screen in the complex showing the film. Last night, there were four screens. That is a lot of people out at midnight.

The SportsQueen had never seen any HP movies at the theater. She has been too young previously to go with me or even for me to take her later. Even though she has read all of the books, I am convinced that there is a huge difference between the vision created in your own head from reading versus the vision created by Hollywood projected on a very large screen. She was not happy with me for making her wait to see HP 4 on DVD. But I was not going to take her to the movie to see Cedric's death in extra-large without any control of the "play" button.

Anyway, now she is 13 and even though HP 5 is darker than the other books, there are no children who die. So we went to the midnight showing. She was so excited to be in the theater for a HP movie. She was even more excited that we were at the midnight show. Because we had ordered our tickets ahead, we were in the theater with other committed HP fans. It was so cool. During the advertising before the movie, the theater was so loud with talking that none of the commercials could be heard. During the movie, the theater was so quiet during dialogue that you could have heard a pin drop. I was an extreme outlier, on the older end, for the age range represented in our theater but NO cell phones made any noise at all. There were eruptions of laughter or other expressions of emotion but they were quickly silenced in order not to miss anything being said on the screen.

There was only one spot during the movie where my reaction was "it didn't happen that way." Overall the transition from book to movie was better than the Book 4 transition. One particular scene evoked the thought "The waters of baptism quench the fires of hell."

Can't wait to see it again. And book 7 is almost here!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

image of God

"I side with Bishop Irenaeus on this point. He argued in the second century that while humans had not been created perfect in the image of God, humans had been made perfectible with the potential to grow into the image of God. According to Irenaeus, sin was a product of learning and growth and therefore part of God's process. The important point is to believe that we are worthy of love just the way we are so that we are then capable of loving others just the way they are." by Fred C. Plumer, Progressive Christian Spirituality in The Progressive Christian p. 15

It's been a long time since I read Irenaeus bu this summary rings true to my memory.

I wonder what kind of world it might be if we acted in ways that lived out this belief that we are capable of loving others just the way they are because we have been loved just the way we are. And that by that very love we become more than we currently are and they, too, become more than they currently are. And we both grow into the image of God.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


I'm watching Live Earth.

I'm a PhD student

I'm singing along with Pink Floyd

"We don't need no education!"

Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday Five: Hasty Edition from RevGalBlogPals

Posted by reverendmother, Whoops! I have been in a family-induced haze these few days, with the July 4 holiday and taking time off while relatives are visiting. So I literally lost track of what day it was!

So rather than make you guys wait even one minute longer for the five, I'll dig up an oldie:

Today, what are you:

1. Wearing: softball t-shirt from 2005, blue jeans, Hanes boys socks because they are SO soft and they fit right

2. Reading just finished Brad Meltzer's The Book of Fate. I'm currently reading "Ultimate Unofficial Guide to the Mysteries of Harry Potter" by Galadriel Waters (my admin asst loaned it to me. It has some pretty good tips for themes to watch and some that are kinda lame. It covers the first four books. It's not Cliff notes but it lets me refresh my memory without actually trying to read all 6 books by July 21) , "Unlucky in Law" by Perri O'Shaughnessy, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix followed by Harry Potter and the Half-blood prince. If I don't finish the Harry Potter stuff already published by July 21, I'm reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows anyway! We are even going to a special Harry Potter release party for the end of vacation!

3. Eating Peach Mango Paradise baked fruit chips, Cheese & Garlic french toast pizza, with cool (as opposed to cold because the fridge is dying) Diet Mt Dew

4. Doing catching up on blog reading and posting, watching The Shield season 5

5. Pondering whether we can realistically leave for vacation Sunday night or if we really need to wait until Monday.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

4th of July

Today I partied with the oldest group in the church. They have a standing 2:00 on the 4th party. So I was at work but it didn't really feel like work. I love this church and I love these people. We played Bingo using Texas shaped pasta for our markers. We had a competition to unscramble a list of words related to 4th of July. And, of course, we ate.

Someone asked where the girls were. At dad's. Then someone else said something about it being a sad holiday for me. Not really. This is the 10th 4th of July since separation. I think the girls have been with me 2 or 3 times on the 4th. This is not new. I can remember when I was very sad and it was hard. Now it is just part of the reality that counts as "normal." There is a peaceful grace for me in that.

That conversation at the party and another blogger's recent posts have made me more reflective than usual on the 4th of July about what happened 10 years ago. It was 2 1/2 years from separation to divorce. So, technically, the marriage lasted 10 years but in reality I have now been unpaired longer than I was paired.

And that, too, is not such a big deal. Funny how the turn of a conversation can bring such reflection.

And for the other blogger, the prayers that come from a soul that recognizes the path. Peace be with you.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I am on a movie binge. I have completed the work for the unofficial incomplete and I have no summer classes. I have finished the fiction book I received for Christmas. I'm halfway through another one. The girls are on summer visitation schedule and gone for days so, right now, I can watch whatever I want whenever I want. I've lost count of the number of movies I have watched in the last four days but it is well into double digits. Thank goodness I have a Blockbuster subscription 'cause there's nothing on tv.

Freedom Fighters and Pursuit of Happyness are on the "to purchase" list. Miss Potter is a well told story and may also be purchased. I liked Breach and DejaVu. I wanted Because I said so to be funnier. Loved the music and the acting in Dreamgirls. Elizabethtown and The Queen were okay. The Good Shepherd was better than okay but not as good as Breach. Aeon Flux has been on the "recommended" list for me for months so I finally checked it out, should have gone with my own instincts and left it. Someone said Scaramouche was terrific, not for me. I didn't get very far into it before the dvd open button was pressed. I also watched The Godfather and The Godfather II, now I know what everyone is talking about. King Arthur (2004) is an interesting take on the tale, certainly not a repeat of Sword in the Stone. Those are the ones I remember right now.

a dry house

So the house we worked on had 1/3 of a roof left after the tree smashed it two years ago. We had to move tarp to do the work we needed to do -- blue tarp from FEMA. There were packs of shingles stacked in the front yard waiting for us. I thought the construction crew was able to get the delivered early. Yeah! Later I found out that those shingles had been sitting in the front yard for 2 years because there was no one to do the work.

In five days, the two teams working on one house left it better than we found it. When the 14 of us -- 4 adults and 10 Jr and Sr High -- were done there were:
  • a finished roof with new decking, tar paper, and shingles making the house dry for the first time in two years
  • a completely painted house with Kilz under the paint to get rid of the mold
  • a neater yard because the old carpet, padding, insulation, and drywall that were pulled out 2 years ago were finally taken to the dump by our group
  • a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen with new insulation and drywall walls and ceilings
  • hope for actually being able to live in their home again
On Sunday night our construction coordinator told us that there were two teams on this one house because it was a big job but we could do it. On Thursday night, when it was obvious that we would finish, he finally confessed that he didn't really know if we could get all of it done. We weren't really supposed to get the bathroom done or paint the trim. Our youth were terrific.

On Friday, there were 14 smelly, sweaty youth and adults sitting in the much cooler kitchen under a completed ceiling eating our sack lunches. We brought extra food with us and shared lunch with the momma and the son for their first meal in the kitchen in 2 years. The mamma said, "You are God's grace. You are an answer to my prayers. You are God's grace."
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