Sunday, July 27, 2008


As requested by Cheesehead

software solutions update

Things learned on a Saturday night:

  • The mouse wheel noise is "room room room room."
  • The headphone cord picks up movement and creates spontaneous editorial comments.
  • The on and off positions for the microphone icon are not appropriate for someone who is 12.
  • Sometimes commands become commentary.
  • Speaking louder does not increase understanding.
  • It does not recognize most of the seven words you can't say on tv.
  • Laughter is poorly translated into a repeated word. The word chosen is dependent on pitch.
Predicted outcome: I don't think it will significantly add time to my work after enough training has happened.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I see the resemblance


1. Sit in a straight, comfortable chair in a well lighted place with a fully-charged laptop.

2. Read over the scripture carefully, to make certain you understand it.

3. Take a quick trip to Starbucks to buy some coffee to help you concentrate.

4. Make a quick call to clergy colleague to see if she's started her sermon, either. If neither of you has started, you might meet up somewhere for a quick bite to help you concentrate. If she casually says that she finished hers last Tuesday and was just brushing up on her delivery, hang up quickly and pray for the future of your friendship.

5. When you get back to your room, sit in a straight, comfortable chair in a clean, well lighted place with with a fully-charged laptop.

6. Read over the scripture again to make absolutely certain you understand it.

7. Check your e-mail; reply to everyone who sent you messages.

8. You know, you haven't thought about your Jr. High band camp roommate in years... You'd better look her up on Facebook right now and get it out of the way so you can concentrate.

9. Go look at your tongue in the bathroom mirror.

10. Download that song you've been wanting to add to your collection, and that's it - I mean it - as soon as that's done you are going to start that sermon. (This, of course, involves digging out your iPod from your gym bag, which necessitates starting a load of laundry.)

11. Put together a photo slide show using new song as background. Send it to everyone you know.

12. Check your e-mail again. (Do not - EVER - read email from members of your congregation that arrive at this crucial time. No good will come of this.)

13. Head for the bookshelf to find inspiration. (Perhaps that illustration you need is in that blue book you bought at that conference and never read.) Organize your library so books will be easier to find in the future.

14. Phone a clergy colleague and ask if he's started writing yet. Exchange derogatory remarks about your congregation, your D.S., your Bishop, and the Conference.

15. Sit in a straight, comfortable chair in a clean, well lighted place with a fully-charged laptop.

16. Read over the scripture again; roll the words across your tongue; savor their special flavor.

17. Check your e-mail to make sure no-one sent you any urgent messages since the last time you checked. Check Facebook while you're at it. It might be your turn to play Scrabulous!

18. Check the listings to make sure you aren't missing something truly worthwhile on TV. NOTE: When you have a sermon due in less than 12 hours, anything on TV from Masterpiece Theater to Sgt. Preston of the Yukon is truly worthwhile. Hey, there might be a sermon illustration lurking on that infomercial!

19. Check Facebook again. Maybe that friend from Jr. High accepted your friend request.

20. Phone your clergy friend to see how her sermon's going. Make fun of other sermons you read posted on the Internet.

21. Go look at your teeth in the bathroom mirror.

22. Check Facebook. Maybe someone wrote on your wall. Challenge a friend to a Scrabulous game.

23. Sit down and do some serious thinking about your plans for the future.

24. Open your door and see if it's too cloudy for stars tonight.

25. Sit in a straight, comfortable chair in a clean, well lighted place with a fully-charged laptop.

26. Read over the scripture one more time. Perhaps you missed something earlier.

27. Put the laundry in the dryer. Make a list of things you must buy at the store tomorrow.

28. Check your e-mail. Put your new photo slideshop on your MySpace page.

29. Scoot your chair across the room to the window and watch the sunrise.

30. Lie face down on the floor and moan.

31. Leap up and write your sermon.

edited later: I got this from an email forward from another clergywoman

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Five twofer from RevGalBlogPals

Friday Five: What You Absolutely, Positively, Can't Leave Home Without

as posted by Singing Owl on July 25, 2008

We will be at a chaplain's convention when you all are answering the Friday Five Questions. I'll look forward to reading your answers next week when I get home. At the moment we are trying to get the car loaded so we can hit the road, so this will be a simple F.F. This running around madly in order to leave has me wondering: what are the five things you simply must have when you are away from home? And why? Any history or goofy things, or stories?
1. books
2. medication
3. gps loaded with geocaches
4. laptop
5. if traveling with children, dvds and player

Multiple time events in our family:

When I was a child going to spend the night with grandparents, I would "forget" to pack pajamas because then I got to sleep in one of grandpa's t-shirts.

When the SportsQueen packed her own clothes (for multiple days), no socks were included even though she needed them.

When the Entertainer travels, there is a stuffed animal that goes along. She has also traveled via the United States Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS.

The Friday Five: What's in a name?

as posted by RevHRod on July 18, 2008

If you are a regular reader of Songbird's blog, you know that "The Princess" has requested a new name. Her older brother changed his "secret identity" a while back and now this lovely young lady is searching for a new name on her mother's blog. This got me to thinking. How do we come up with all of these names? There must be at least a few good stories out there.

In honor of the Princess I have posted a picture of one of my favorite members of fictional royalty, Robert Munch's "Paperback Princess." She is a brave young woman who doesn't need anyone else to fight her battles. And she knows that what is most important isn't tiaras and finery but what's on the inside. If you haven't read this little fairy tale, I highly recommend it. But I digress.

BONUS: We LOVE the Paperbag Princess! "hey dragon" for a great review and telling of the story click here

1. So how did you come up with your blogging name? And/or the name of your blog?

Well, the Vicar part came from Vicar of Dibley and trying to be geographically appropriate for the place. The place is the "hometown" for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. While some Christians have criticized the Harry Potter books for various "anti-Christian" themes, it was apparent to me from the first book that the themes and values share a deep affinity with Christianity if they are not based on Christianity (which I really think they are). I'd like to think that somewhere in the back story the Vicar of Hogsmeade was a regular part of the lives of many of the faculty at Hogwarts even if not so involved with the students.

2. Are there any code names or secret identities in your blog? Any stories there?

The names have been changed to protect whomever needs protecting. Generally, they reflect characteristics or they are the first lame pseudonymn I could create.

3. What are some blog titles that you just love? For their cleverness, drama, or sheer, crazy fun?

preacher, blogger, procrastinator
St. Casserole
Cheesehead in paradise
cafe diem (it's about coffee)
skewed view (one of the re-occuring conversations in my PhD program is about how we all have a skewed view but some of us are better at identifing ours)

4. What three blogs are you devoted to? Other than the RevGalBlogPals blog of course!

I use bloglines to keep track of them all.

5. Who introduced you to the world of blogging and why?

Mostly it was RevGalBlogPals. I wanted to answer a Friday Five but I didn't have a blog. So I started one to tell about how I got to play Jesus in a Southern Baptist church.

Bonus question: Have you ever met any of your blogging friends? Where are some of the places you've met these fun folks? I was on BE 1.o. And I met Mid-Life Rookie because of an obsure reference to a place that closed several years ago.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

software solutions

In an attempt to reconcile myself with the functionality of my body and my need to produce documents, I have obtained a well known voice recognition software program. This is proof that it really does work pretty well.

On the advice of Disability Services at the University where I am scheduled for comps, I was exploring the software options before the most recent arthritis concern. Just in case. Now, I think that was pretty good advice. The software package came with a wired microphone headset that seems to work well. However, if I upgrade to a Bluetooth headset microphone, I can even wander around while writing.

I guess the next thing to do is to write my sermons with this program. So then I will get used to it before I have to take comps.

The most awkward thing so far is actually speaking my thoughts out loud. I'm so used to typing my thoughts that speaking them is odd.

And then there's the editing, I don't have it completely figured out yet. But a few mouse movements and keyboard strokes go a long way.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

when the theory applies

The Theory
Excerpted from Ask the Expert (While this refers to psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and the facts here are also applicable to me.)

"All 3 anti-TNF medications (etanercept [ Enbrel ], adalimumab [ Humira ], and infliximab [ Remicade ]) have been shown to be amazingly effective and safe in the treatment of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. However, a few important anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) realities must be appreciated, all gleaned from a worldwide experience with these wonderful new medications over these past 5 years: [huge snip of of points 1 and 2 which also apply but aren't the particular focal point for this post]

All of the anti-TNFs may "run out of gas" to one degree or another after 2-3 years, and some type of medication switch or dose change is needed. "

The Application
Two years ago I maxed out the dosage while losing effectiveness for Humira and switched to Remicade. Now I am 0.5 mg/kg short of maxed out on dosage for Remicade and I am very clear that it is no longer effective. (My methotrexate has increased and I am very clear that it is providing as much relief as it can. But it's kinda like a 4-cylinder car trying to do the work of an 8-cylinder truck.) My next dose is scheduled for the first week of August. Depending on insurance, I may receive a new medication by then (probably Orencia). I am so clear about the lack of effectiveness of the Remicade that I called my RA's office on Friday to make sure the paperwork with the insurance company is being done. I rarely follow up with them because they are so efficient. That phone call really was a reflection of my anxiety.

Let me elaborate. The anxiety is driven, in no small part, by the fact that I am scheduled to sit for comprehensive exams for my PhD in September. A delay in the paper work or approval by insurance means a deteriorating ability to study which is already compromised by "brain fog." "Brain fog" is one of those things that you usually learn about from others taking methotrexate not the doctors, although some of them do tell you. Brain fog tends to occur close to the dosage day and your brain is slower, better with recognition than recall, and sometimes stuff is just gone. As you move away from the dosage day, clarity returns. With the increase of the methotrexate, I've had an increase in side effects that my body had pretty much adapted to on the lower dosage so I've had a return of brain fog that I was kinda used to not having. And, further more, since the Remicade is failing, I am noticing the drop off of the relief provided by the methotrexate toward the end of the week. So when I don't have brain fog, I have pain -- which isn't so conducive to thinking either.

So now, already overwhelmed with the task of organizing and studying for comps, I have added brain fog, pain, and fatigue. So, am asking for you to pray for these things: 1) that the paperwork is completed in a timely manner and the insurance approves the switch for the first week of August; 2) that I can set aside the "overwhelmedness" long enough to get some focus for the organization needed to study; and, 3) that I can actually have productive study time.

And applications for study buddies are open now.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

planting seeds

The more I read and hear about Josh Hamilton the more impressed I am with Johnny Narron, Clay Council, and Josh's family, especially his grandmother.

While there's not as much information about Clay Council and his relationship with Josh, I'm thinking that a 71 year old who still pitches batting practice for teenagers has got some influence on the lives of young people. Obviously, Josh remembered him enough to ask him to pitch for the Home Run Derby.

John Donne got it right: No one is an island.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

well said

Elizabeth Edwards wrote an incredible article reflecting on the death of Tony Snow. Be sure you read it

a Pam Tinnin story

When this story was originally shared through a public email list for preachers Rev. Pamela J. Tinnin was pastor of Partridge Community Church-UCC, the only church in Partridge, KS, USA (population 250).

“Last week I spent some time in the waiting room of a social service agency in Hutchinson. Except for the large woman with bright red hair who sat behind the desk, there was only one other person there, a thin woman who looked to be in her early forties. In blue jeans worn white at the knees and a sleeveless cotton blouse, she looked tired, her eyes sunk deep in the sockets, her hair lying in damp curls. I was waiting to talk to one of the staff people about a project I’m trying to organize, a volunteer chaplaincy program for people who find themselves homeless and in dire straits.

Glancing over, I saw that the woman was looking out the window at the street, her eyes sad, her hands held still in her lap, her feet in the scuffed tennis shoes side-by-side, flat on the floor.

I picked up a year old Readers Digest and began flipping through the pages, past the ads, past the jokes, past the uplifting stories. To be honest, at that moment, I didn’t have the energy to take on anyone else’s problems and she looked like problems came in the door with her. Early that morning I’d had some bad news from California. Pretending to read, all I could think of was how little I could do for the woman sitting across from me, much less my family, almost 2,000 miles away.

Just then a whispery, rough voice said, “Are you in trouble?” I looked up, and then behind me, thinking the slender woman was talking to someone else, someone who’d come in when I wasn’t looking. But when I turned back she was still waiting for me to answer. “Me?” I asked. “In trouble?”

She ducked her head then, like she was embarrassed, but answered. “Your face…you look like something bad has happened…like you feel really lost.”

I couldn’t speak for a minute and could feel myself flush with shame, me thinking all the time she had wanted something from me. Then to my surprise, I told her what had happened, told her how hopeless I felt, told her how more than anything I kept hoping for a miracle. She moved closer and sat down in the next chair. She told me not to give up hope, that miracles do happen. “About five or six years ago I got into smokin’ dope; then it was cocaine and meth…my husband left me…then he went to court and took my kids away,” she said. “I thought my world had come to an end…I didn’t believe in anything…not my family or friends…not even God,” she said, and smiled a funny smile that only curved one side of her mouth.

I didn’t know what to say, so I just kept quiet and patted her arm.

“But you know, just when I’d almost given up, I met some folks who gave me another chance,” she said. “They gave me a place to live; helped me get a job. Pretty soon, I’m gonna get my own place…try to get my kids back, least part of the time. Don’t you worry,” she said, “things work out.”

“But you don’t understand,” I said, “I’m a pastor…I’m supposed to have answers…I’m supposed to be the one who knows how to help everyone, how to fix things.”

“The way I look at it,” the woman said, smiling this incredible smile that seemed to light up the small room, “that’s the work of all of us … we all got to help each other … who else is gonna do it?” And she tipped her head then and winked. “This is a hard old world,” she said. “We got to be there for each other. Don’t you think that’s the good Lord’s plan for things?”

Just then a woman in a suit, a clipboard in her hand, came through the door and said, “Mrs. Holcomb?”

The woman in the worn jeans stood, reached down and slung an old blue backpack onto her shoulder. She stepped past me, then turned back and hugged me hard. I could smell the shampoo she’d used and I glimpsed five tiny silver hoops in a neat row along her ear.

“Good luck,” I told her, “and thank you…thank you.”

She walked away and I sat there thinking how easy it is to look at someone and not even see who she is … not even see that she's a unique and amazing child of God, someone who has come into our life to give us a blessing. None of us has a lock on God’s grace; none of us — pastor or president or homeless person — no one is more special than any other. In the First Letter of Peter, Chapter 2:9, it says, “…you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people.” It doesn’t say some of you … it says you, as in all of you. That woman in the waiting room was right … each of us is called to care for each other — it’s the work of all of us. As she said, “We all got to help each other…who else is gonna do it?” It is pure arrogance to think that one person is called to be all things to all people. When we falter, someone else will reach out a hand and help us walk on down the road. Then there will be the days when our turn will come and hopefully we'll be the ones to reach out that helping hand. Sometimes this is a hard, old world and “we got to be there for each other.”

Monday, July 07, 2008

Guess what we're doing tonight?

We have free tickets and probably it'll "be a shame" but I get to have a Hebrew National 1/4 lb dog with grilled onions!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th

hat tip to my long lost cousin who doesn't even know I read his blog :)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


two shopping carts have been used

two hard drives have been ordered

two hard drives have a status of shipped

two computers should be upgraded soon
Site Meter