Thursday, December 29, 2005

Born. Eat. Shag. Die.

I followed the link at good in parts and found The Mayfly Project.

Basically you write about your year in the amount of words as a mayfly has hours to live (24).

Here is mine:

It's a boy!
Tears turned to joy.
Back to work - sad.
Boy at home with Dad.
Friends are fun
Learning to blog/knit - done!


And no, you don't have to rhyme, mine just started that way and I decided to see if I could finish it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Revgalblogpal Christmas Meme

1. What is the best gift you received this year? (Tangible gifts only, please!)
My husband gave me a NY GIANTS jersey - Tiki Barber edition. It was great because I had casually mentioned how cool it would be to have another one (my other one is vintage Mark Bavaro). However, I was not expecting it because TDH is shall I say... frugal? I was surprised and VERY excited and I got to put it on during worship on Sunday because our theme was The Gift. I did manage to wait until AFTER the baptism.

2. What is the best gift you gave this year?
I gave my Mom a necklace and bracelet that she will really enjoy.

3. When did you do most of your shopping/creating?
We were well into December for both - the weekend of the 18th is when I did the majority of our baking.

4. Did you go shopping the day after Thanksgiving (U.S.)? Today?
No and no... although my mother and sister did and I had them pick us up some lights for next year.

5. What stands out already about Christmas 2005?
The Boy's first Christmas. He had so much fun and inspected and explored each and every gift. Soon the gifts will be ripped into so I was really trying to just soak in this moment.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Pics

Hunt for Red December
Where did those humans put all the ribbon?



Mover and a Shaker
Christmas gifts taught me how to crawl
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Silly Symbols

My Christmas Eve meditation needed a reference to humorous definitions of Christmas symbols. I searched the web but could find none so I made up a few. Go ahead and give them a read and then give me some silly definitions of your own.

Oh yeah, and if no one has told you yet, great job tonight. Your worship service was wonderful and meaningful!

CHRISTMAS TREE
Tradition begun in prehistoric times as man got tired of bringing in bits of wood to throw on the fire and finally just drug in the whole thing. It couldn’t just lay there on the floor so he propped it in the corner and in order to keep himself out of trouble he threw stuff on it so it would look more decorative.

CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTS

Designed by NASA to determine if anyone would be smart enough to figure out that it is just smarter to just skip them. So far, no one has. As soon as they do, this person will be recommended as the Head of NASA in perpetuity.

ADVENT WREATH
Exercise equipment for ministers in both body and mind as they constantly leap and turn to make sure the darn thing is still lit, but has not hit the evergreen part yet which by Christmas Eve is better known as kindling. It is exercise for the mind because they must come up with new answers every year for why one of the candles is pink.

TINSEL
Remnants from the documents shredded during the Elf ENRON scandal that were packaged and sold in order to pay off lawyer fees.
If you had a pet who ate tinsel then you have a story that no one wants to hear.

CANDY CANE
Item that well-meaning sales clerks give to very young children paying no mind to the fact that within seconds it will completely dissolve covering every item in the store with sugary, sticky drool with the only evidence that any of it was ingested at all being their hyper behavior throughout the rest of the day and well into the next.

MISTLETOE
Used by teenaged girls everywhere as props for their dreams as they determine how to get their secret crush and themselves under it at the same time. This activity usually ends in frustration for when the two are finally under the mistletoe together the teenage boy is merely looking for some soda and the teenage girl’s parents are watching.
As married adults the frustration continues as husband is still looking for some soda and even if he does see the mistletoe he will take it down and laugh and hold it over his backside.

What are your silly symbol definitions?

ps - Was it wrong of me to think in the middle of our worship service tonight, "Oh my God,
Jo(e) wrote that she liked my last post. How cool is that?!?!"

Friday, December 23, 2005

Things that my Son Learned While I was at the Meeting

He can now propel himself in a military crawl to get to what he wants.
What he wants are the presents under the tree.
He doesn’t open he shakes and bangs on them with his hands.

He points at the cat and makes a hard ‘c’ sound when she enters the room… hunting for ribbon.

He can pull himself to a standing position by pushing off with his feet and using the couch to pull himself up using his hands… and his teeth!

He prefers Chiraz to other reds.
After reading it a second time, War and Peace is no longer his favorite novel.
He has decided that the Masters in molecular biology is unnecessary since the PhD in organic chemistry will more than advance his career.

Seriously, how long WAS that meeting?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Thank You

One of the hazards of growing up Presbyterian is that while your decent and in order sides (not to mention the liturgical and committee sides) become very well developed sometimes the spiritual side lags behind.

Spiritual development is an area that I need to work on. That said, I felt your prayers tonight.

Thank you. Thank you for holding me, my family and my congregation in prayer.

The meeting was two hours long. It had to be in order for people to leave confident that they had been heard. We were able to separate the issues from the desire to have this family come back. It was agreed – fairly early on – that although the issues should be addressed they should not be addressed just to get this family to come back.

It seemed healthy and there were no post-meeting conversations in the parking lot something I always consider to be a good sign.

My favorite part came when we were way into the second hour and someone mentioned wrapping things up. Someone else said, “It is the week of Christmas, you know.”

Yes people, I know.

It was essential that I be a non-anxious presence during this meeting and I firmly believe that it was because of your prayers that I was able to do so.

Thank you, friends. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Big Picture

I do not usually post right on top of each other. There is something about throwing something in the blogging pot and allowing it to steam without covering it with the lid of another post.

I realized this morning that I had left out a few other stress points going on and then I remembered the big picture. That was the name of my Christmas Eve meditation last year. Here is an excerpt:

The challenges and frustrations of life often cause us to miss the big picture.

The small picture includes frustration with the fact that it is our turn to have Aunt Edna over this Christmas. When we pull back and look at the big picture we see families whose loved ones are spread throughout the globe fighting in wars who will not be home for Christmas this year. When we pull back and look at the big picture we see families in mourning whose loved ones will no longer be around the Christmas table.

The small picture includes frustration that our counters are covered in fattening, sugary high carb foods making it hard to stick to the diet. When we pull back and look at the big picture we see families in our own country and throughout the world unable to feed their children. When we pull back and look at the big picture we see refugees in Sudan and innocent bystanders in Iraq and Afghanistan waiting in long lines for rationed water and grain.

The small picture includes frustration over getting a winter cold. When we pull back and look at the big picture we see an entire continent being engulfed by the tragedy of AIDS.

--------------------------------

Only two years ago my family went through a personal tragedy and we did not celebrate Christmas. I just tried to type it, but I can't. If you read my Advent devotional then you know. Substitute pastors were called in and we left town.

This year we get to celebrate it with a little one who is having his very first Christmas.

So they can call their stupid meetings and have their silly power plays. The presents can be late. The bulletins can go ahead and be overwhelming.

The big picture of our world includes the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace… the light that shines through the darkness and will not allow the darkness to overcome it.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Thank You Sir, May I Have Another?

My Dad cannot make it up to Cold State from Warm State for Christmas because of a bad back.

My sister and I are just coming off an unfun pothole in our relationship.

My in-laws’ health is steadily declining… and yet their stubborness, judgements and demands remain steadfast.

Although I planned ahead, I once again was side-swiped by the January bulletins I have to do so I can be away on vacation. I always forget those until it is crunch time for all of the other stuff too. Long story short: I am doing/have done 8 bulletins in 2 weeks (this means planning worship too, not just doing the paperwork).

My new Administrative Assistant is just that, new… and this is not her calling.

We just received notice that the MAIN PRESENT for all of our relatives WILL NOT BE HERE FOR CHRISTMAS. I ordered them mid-November.

The Session (our church’s governing body) is having a meeting forced on us by three of them who met with the family who left.
The informational packets they handed out are ten pages long.
The meeting is set for Thursday night.

That’s right. December 22nd.

My strategy?
Today I had a massage (I pre-scheduled it two months ago. The January bulletins snuck up on me, but the tension did not).

Tomorrow I will meet a friend for afternoon coffee.

Thursday I will bake comfort food with my Mom and sister. .. and eat it hot out of the oven.

Friday is dinner and a movie with Tall, Dark and Husband.

Saturday is Christmas Eve. I love Christmas Eve.

Sunday I already have a relaxed worship service planned, complete with Baptism.

Monday we leave on vacation.

I. Shall. Not. Be. Defeated.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Confessions of a Ribbon Addict



Dear Friends, Family and I guess that Stupid Dog,

It is with deep reflection and much staining of the carpet that I admit to all of you that I have a problem... I am a ribbon addict.

It has been very hard for me to admit I have a problem. I knew that occasionally I overindulged, but who doesn't when crinkly ribbon is involved... (especially with curls in it and being lightly blown by the heating vent... oops, er, I digress).

This year it has become increasingly apparant that the problem is far deeper than that. I have found myself chewing on flat ribbon, velvet ribbon and even those little bits of ribbon that come attached to other decorations - blech!

I have spent my nights looking for fresh ribbon-kill and then spend the early morning making a mess since it won't digest. My days are spent in a ribbon-induced stupor sleeping on any chair with a blanket and a heat source. I have fallen so far as to be caught kissing up to that Stupid Dog all in an attempt to score a bow or two.

I finally hit rock bottom when I ran to The Little One - he with the herky, jerky limbs and the dangerous tail-grabbing lunging - I ran to him because I thought they said, "Does he have some ribbon?" but really they said, "Does he have his bib on?"

Since that moment I have tried to make amends. I helped take the string of lights off the tree that weren't working and a limb of the tree that was blocking the view of the presents has been removed thanks to me.

Still. I need your help. Please do not bring this tempting product into the house. I cannot help myself.

With some Like and a bit of Disdain,
Maude

Saturday, December 17, 2005

RevGal Friday Five: Holiday Party Edition

1)Have you ever gotten a really good kiss under the mistletoe? Tell the truth. Spare no details. Was the mistletoe real, because kisses under the fake stuff do. not. count.

Sigh… no.

2) Do you know anyone who makes real eggnog, not the stuff from the carton? And if so, do you actually like it?

No and blech.

3) What's your favorite Christmas party album/CD ever?

Any of the compilations that has Barbra doing Jingle Bells, Nat King Cole singing The Christmas Song, Bing Crosby singing White Christmas… you know those albums where people are singing the songs you want them to be. No Brittany Spears singing Santa Baby or that #*&(#$ Feliz Navidad.

4) Does your office/workplace have a party? Do the people there ever behave the way people in movies behave at office parties, which is to say, badly?

No. When I got here they did not even do Christmas bonuses. Now they do (except for me). I have always worked in a church so my office parties have always been rather tame.

TDH and I have coffee fellowship at our house after the worship service closest to Christmas Day (we live across the parking lot from the church). This year that is tomorrow. It is actually quite convenient. This way you have an Open House and yet folks are still in the Sunday morning coffee fellowship mindset, so they leave after 20 minutes!

5) If you have to bring something to a party, what is it likely to be? Do people like it?

Applesauce cake. I don’t bake much but I humbly admit this stuff is awesome. I think it is the cloves that give it a more unique flavor than other breads I have had. Every year we make Christmas goodie bags for the leadership of the church. TDH is always coming up with some new, crazy bread – half from a recipe and half from what he thinks would be fun. Every year I make the same ol’ bread…
and every year mine is better. Thanks Gram!

Applesauce Cake
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup margarine
1 cup applesauce
1 tsp baking soda dissolved in 2 tbsp of hot water
1+ tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
2 cups flour
1+ cup raisins

Cream first two ingredients and then add the rest and mix. I usually mix them all up and then add the raisins last. Bake in a greased loaf pan.

Cook one hour in oven preheated to 325.

Peace friends.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

What I Love

It is a stressful time here. I have posted previously about a family who left the church. Unfortunately they have not left the business of the church and he especially remains in contact with a vocal minority mostly about what I’m doing wrong. A called Session meeting is in the works… the silent majority is running out of time to speak up.

In the height of the chaos of Advent and Christmas, I am now also polishing up my PIF (resume for you non-PCUSA’ers). Needless to say I have got a lot of bitter to blog… but I’m not going to blog bitter (at least not now).

Reverendmother has done a couple of 'What I Love' posts and that is really what I want to focus on right now:

I love…

... TDH and The Boy.

... My friends.

…Sunday afternoons after the parking lot is cleared and lunch at our house has been served. It is quiet. It is peaceful. And because Monday is my day off, my brain is usually at ease.

…The Boy in his dark blue sweatshirt. It just makes him look all boy and yet cute and cuddly at the same time.

… hugs and kisses when I come in from the office whether it be just for lunch or at the end of the day.

…how excited The Boy gets when he hears a familiar voice coming in the door and how that excitement doubles when he sees them poke their head around the corner.

… homemade macaroni and cheese.

… Christmas cookies and the smell of a house that has been baking them.

… Christmas Eve.

…That as the dark clouds have been forming over this latest controversy and TDH and I realize that the writing is not quite on the wall yet, but magic markers may be opening he says to me, “Don’t worry. We need to buy a house anyway.” (We live in a manse.)

…This ‘quiet’ moment of coffee, baby babble (in the distance as he plays) and blog (I am posting this later than I wrote it).

…That now much later in the evening, The Boy is sleeping and ‘Moonstruck’ is on the television.

... My winter-themed flannel sheets.

... Peppermint ice cream. It is seasonal which is disappointing, but that does make its reappearance at the end of November and finding that random half gallon in the back of the grocery store freezer in late February oh sooooooo good.

What do you love?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Fair Enough

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
You are 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing'. You take
Christmas very seriously. For you, it is a
religious festival, celebrating the birth of
the Saviour, and its current secularisation
really irritates you. You enjoy the period of
Advent leading up to Christmas, and attend any
local carol services you can find, as well as
the more contemplative Advent church services
each Sunday. You may be involved in Christmas
food collections or similar charity work. The
midnight service at your church, with candles
and carols, is one you look forward to all
year, and you also look forward to the family
get together on Christmas Day.


What Christmas Carol are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, December 9, 2005

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five - Snowday Edition

1) Snow: Love it or hate it?
LOVE IT! I don’t have to drive in it because I am close to work so there is everything to love.
However TDH is on a whole other level. He has been known to stay outside the ENTIRE day playing with the dog, shoveling and making snow sculptures (very amateur snow sculptures). Once he even brought in the head of his snow tiger because he felt he could do better detail in the sink. It's in his blood, he was born and raised in Minnesota.

2) First Snow Memory
I was 6 and our moving day was set for late January. Of course, there was a huge blizzard, the move was postponed and all I wanted to do was play outside. I remember how patient my Mom was with me as she explained that I couldn’t go outside because the snow would be over my head. It took me until I saw my father attempting to do something outside with snow drifts up to his chest to realize that maybe an inside day was a good idea after all even if all my toys were packed up.

3) Best Snow Day ever (actual or imagined)
Mine is actual. I was older now and a bunch of us were outside playing all day. After dinner we all went out again and the night was still – almost warm – but the air had a magic quality about it. We started playing stickball as if it were summer – adults played too. I remember actually thinking that I never wanted it to end.

4) Best Use of Snow in a Movie, Song, Book or Poem
Well, it might be because the movie is being overwhelmingly promoted, but off the top of my head I would still say the imagery in my head of it always being winter but never Christmas from the book The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

5) What are you Planning to do Today with or without Snow
TDH has been shoveling, our new snowplow hire has been struggling (job bigger than the truck he brought), and I have been inside on The Boy duty. Eventually this reprieve will end and I will be at the desk staring at a computer screen where my sermon is supposed to be.We might take more pictures of The Boy a little later, but we already took a few this morning.

We took 40 pictures. In 3 of them he is smiling. In most he is staring at the snow plow. In a few - like this one - he is looking at the camera like: "Are they kidding me with this? It's snow, I get it. I mean really what is there not to get about cold and wet?"

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Do You Remember When?

I found this all over the net, but I understand it found its start at Faith Or Fiction. I finally took the bait to play the game at bride without spot.

Please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL MEMORY OF YOU AND ME. It can be anything you want--good or bad--BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE. When you're finished, post this paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people DON'T ACTUALLY remember about you.

I was going to give you a PG-13 parameter but suffice it to say this: My Mom reads this blog. 'Nuff said. And to my sister, no fair posting truths masquerading as fiction.

Have fun!

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Slang of the Times

For reasons I cannot disclose due to the sensitive nature of it being Christmas I needed to get digital pictures from our hard drive over to my computer in my office at work. All the pictures save one would go through by email. So I put that one picture back onto a memory card in our camera and loaded the camera and the cord up to bring over with me to the office in order to download it onto my computer at work directly from the camera.

My husband laughed hysterically at me as I left. Why? Because I grumbled as I went out the door:

“I guess I’ll have to go do this the old fashioned way.”

Sunday, December 4, 2005

JACK FROST!!!

I love snow... except for Sunday mornings. And this morning it is not really snow, but rather ice. There is nothing we can do about it. The plow would do nothing against it. We just have to wait for it to warm up enough to melt it.

Of course, the only people who showed up for Sunday School are the die-hards (read: older folks who have EVERY excuse to skip church when it is an ice rink out there).

Gotta go back out and shovel and spread environmentally hazardous salt.

ADDENDUM: Well, the parking lot only melted a little bit BUT one of the perks of the country church is that it is a matter of pride to get to church when the weather is bad. The place was full - yeah!

Friday, December 2, 2005

Christmas Be Thy Name

Due to some sort of evil joke our home email is the recipient of the American Family Association’s daily email newsletters. (Digression: NO, I will not link their site. YES, I have tried to unsubscribe; when attempted it says that email address does not exist in their files therefore they cannot unsubscribe it. YES, I am looking forward to who may ‘Google search’ their way here thanks to me stating their name in the post. - End of Digression)
Their emails come in about who they are boycotting now and I can never even make it past the first sentence before I am disgusted, sad, and near puking from their mega-judgments and lack of compassion, inclusiveness and those two crazy notions of grace and love.

So when they sent out an email about boycotting various national chains of stores because they refused to use the word ‘Christmas’ in their advertising, I immediately sought out the opposing point of view.

Here is what I came up with:
1) In God’s sense of time – meaning eternal – this is not a big deal. The Eternal Kingdom is the goal, not winning earthly arguments over advertising language.

2) I think God would like us to put our energies into searching for means of peace, sheltering the homeless and reaching out to those in need. I think God might be thinking, “Um, thanks for caring about the name of Christmas, but if y’all could send some aid and figure out the whole Darfur mess you have largely been ignoring – that would be great.”

3) Isn’t this a good thing? As Christians we are not supposed to be ‘wrapped up’ in the retail part of the holiday anyway. As the tracts that my in-laws insist on giving me in their Christmas card every year tells me, "Jesus is the reason for the season" - not tinsel and lights and the latest Hallmark ornament. Is this not what every pastor preaches about at least once per Advent?

These are all great (she humbly typed) but here is where I am now.

NOT CALLING IT CHRISTMAS IS THE STUPIDEST THING I HAVE EVER HEARD!!!

Please hear me out:
I understand that when putting up a retail display that encapsulates the entire November 1st through January 1st frenzy that you might want to say, “Holiday Sale”. This way you are including: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Junior’s December birthday, New Year’s and any other reason to celebrate people might come up with (I believe Richard Branson is now calling it 'Chrismahanukwanzakah. He is actually marketing ornaments with this saying on it - but that is a rant for another day).

However, when you market Christmas Trees as Holiday Trees THAT IS JUST STUPID!!!

It is what it is and that is a Christmas Tree.

Don’t believe me? Ask a child brought up by folks who do not believe in the religion behind Christmas who was born that day and they might not know. Ask them what that thing in the window is with the green needles and covered in lights and ornaments and I am pretty sure they are going to say: CHRISTMAS TREE!!!

I am not a huge fan of Halloween, but if they started calling it Black and Orange candy instead of Halloween candy I would find that stupid too.

It may be deserved backlash against the current political culture that is masquerading as Christianity (not my Christianity, thank you very much). However, it is STILL stupid. And thank you VERY much for giving me reason to line up in agreement with the likes of Falwell and Robertson - although I am SURE they will take it too far and then once again I can step out of line (actually this has already happened. I have waited far too long for the new Target that is opening soon right near me to go and boycott it now. And I gotta tell you, we are diligent about giving to charities throughout the year and exist on a very strict budget so I don't mind missing the guiltfest that is passing a Salvation Army bell ringer without putting any money in the pot).

The sad part is that it is not just stupid. It is also discrimination. Do not take my word for it though. Check out this editorial found in the Boston Globe written by their columnist, Jeff Jacoby, a practicing Jew. If nothing else check out his last paragraph.

There, I've said it. I am looking forward to your comments whether they agree or disagree. In the meantime, please enjoy this Holiday Time and for God's sake:

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

RevGalBlog Pals Friday Meme - Christmas Edition

1) Do you display a nativity scene, and if so, where?
We actually have numerous nativity scenes. I realize it is a bit cliché to be a minister and collect nativity scenes, but that is not how it started. In fact for a few years there I actually argued that I didn’t collect them… but when you start running out of places to put them it is time to admit you have a problem.

Growing up we had two scenes. One was fancy and “not to be touched”. The other was wood and specifically put in a low place for curious little hands. I will do the same for our child(ren?), but have not purchased a true children’ s nativity scene yet.

At our current location we have deep window sills so there are scenes throughout the house. However, my favorite is hanging on the Christmas Tree. It is small, but has 9 pieces including sheep and cow and angel and wise men, etc… It is fun every year to find a way to hang all of the characters of the scene within the confines of the tree branches - front and center, of course.

2) Do you put a skirt under the Christmas tree? If so, what does it look like?
We do, but it is ugly. I hate it. Unfortunately 'tree skirt' never gets too high on my “to buy for Christmas” list. I am big on buying Christmas decorations AFTER Christmas when they are cheaper and of course by then the pretty skirts are gone.

3) Do you hang lights on the house or put them in your windows?
We have candles year long in our windows. TDH is in charge of the outside of the house. He usually uses a variety of spotlights, wreaths and the occasional light strings to decorate.

4) White lights or colored lights on the tree? Big bulbs or the small, pretty ones?
I like white lights better, but we have more colored lights and our artificial tree (it kills me to type that) needs excess lights in order to look good.

TDH does have one string of the retro big bulbs that he drapes around our backyard porch roof. They are sad, but make him happy - so be it.

5) Do you have a tree topper? What sort? Who puts it on top of the tree?
No tree topper. Had a star as a kid and I remember this was the only time my father of Jewish heritage and long, blue collar working hours would step in and help decorate the Christmas tree.

Please stay tuned for my post on not using the word 'Christmas' in stores.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Gospel Birthday Meme

You may have seen this around. Basically you take the numbers for your birthday and then find the Gospel verses that match. My birthday is May 23rd.

Matthew 5:23 - Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you...
(verse 24 continues: leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.")

Mark 5:23 - ...and pleaded earnestly with him, "My daughter is dying. Please come and put your hand on her so that she will be healed and live."
This is Jairus pleading for his daughter's life. Great pericope with the hemorrhaging woman bracketed by the journey Jesus makes to visit and heal Jairus' daughter.

Luke 5:23 - Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'?

John 5:23 - ...that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

Cool. I like 'em all.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Tardy Thanksgiving Blog

It's weird having another blogger in the house.

Although I know they have a blog and we both actively read and comment on one another's posts, there was something about having them RIGHT THERE that kept me from logging on and even sharing the briefest of comments.

So I am tardy with this, but here it is:

1) Did you cook or bake anything for Thanksgiving?
The joke is that I make cranberry sauce every year. Hats off to those who make fancy jellies with various rinds and eye of newt, but I am a Neandrathal who enjoys it out of the can... with lines please.

This year it was particularly hard to make because the brand we bought did not have a rim at the bottom for the can opener to open the bottom lid. There was no way to release the suction in the can so that the beautiful column of sauce would be intact naturally. SO I had to use all of my cooking skills gained at the cooking academy and use a spatula to coax the cranberry sauce out into the bowl.

There were some minor blemishes but the flavor was there! Thanks be to God.


2) How was it received?

It was received well by all but my mother-in-law who just doesn't 'get' me and frankly doesn't care to. Someday, we shall blog about this... but not now.

3) Anything left over?
Actually had to MAKE leftovers the next day.

4) What's the best use of Thanksgiving leftovers you have ever seen?
In my belly.

5) And the worst?
Too much in my belly.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Children's Sermon, Part II

So our 8th grader fill-in did great on the Children’s Sermon. She had a glass mostly full of water and then handed out rocks to all of the children. She talked about how sometimes we think our lives aren’t full enough, like the glass of water, and when that happens we should count our blessings (the rocks). She then invited the kids to take turns and come up and place their rocks in the water and as they did to say something they are thankful for.

Of course the idea was that the glass would overflow because of the water displaced by the rocks.

All of the kids would put a rock in and say something they were thankful for and then go sit down.

“Family” [plip]
“Baseball” [plop]
“Dessert [plip]
“Jesus” [plop]

One of the people who had come up front for the children’s sermon was ‘Michael’ (3) and his Daddy who was holding Michael’s 7 month old sister, ‘Julie’. When it came around to Michael’s turn he just stood there and wouldn’t budge. Around and around the kids went and the water moved its way to the top of the cup but didn’t go over.

The whole event started to drag out and the kids were running out of things to say (I knew things were getting desperate when one of the kids mentioned me). STILL the water refused to overflow and STILL Michael would have none of it as his father began to struggle with keeping Julie quiet and away from the stones he held in his hands.

Eventually the kids threw in their last rocks and all eyes soon rested on Michael and family who were the only ones with rocks left and the cup had still not overflowed.

With the pressure mounting Michael’s Dad stood up with Julie, walked over, dropped all of their pebbles into the cup and in a baby voice said, “breast milk.”

The cup… and the laughter overflowed.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Serendipitous Laziness

The woman who usually does our children's sermons told me on Friday she wouldn't be there. I have been attempting to slowly climb up the mountain that is my 'to-do' list for now through December 26th so in a whim of laziness and stubborness I sent out a mass email to my congregation: Would anyone like to give it a try?

No one wrote back, but last night TDH and I went to see some of the high school kids we know who are in a Shakespeare Troupe perform. One of the siblings of a Trouper was there and she said she would like to do it. She is in the 8th grade.

How cool! Now I am really glad I decided to send out an SOS and I'm willing to bet that hers will be far more thought out than mine would have been.

Yeah God!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Revgalblogpals' Friday Five

Alright. Enough with the hormone surge

1) Earliest book you remember (read to you or by you)
Corduroy (thank you Songbird and my nightly 3AM think tank) and the Pokey Little Puppy.

2) Picture Book you would like to climb into
Make way for ducklings

3) Favorite series of books (then or now)
Then Bobbsey twins. I think I've read all of them - I was stunned to find out they were not real and that the books were formula books written by a group of writers. I think when I learned that my childhood officially ended. Fortunately I didn't figure it out until I was 30.

4) Character you would most like to meet
The swan from Trumpet of the Swan

5) Last childhood book you re-read (for yourself or to someone)
Goodnight Moon

Follow Up Question

Okay, as I continue to blog about things with great theological significance vital to life as we know it - what about hottest guy in a particular role?

Example for me would be Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It. I remember being convinced that whoever that guy was his last name HAD to be Redford.

Or Matthew Schoeffling in Sixteen Candles. The timing might have just been right for me on this one.

George Clooney in the Oceans movies and Out of Sight. Alright, kind of cheating because the man looks good - period. But as much as I love O Brother Where Art Thou I LOVE him with the tux and hair combed.

Brad Johnson in Always. Weird one for me, but when I went to see this awful movie in the theater (Audrey Hepburn must have owed someone a favor) I was stunned by this guy. I've seen him in other things and he has never struck me the same way.

Dennis Quaid in The Big Easy. I actually think he has aged incredibly well and looks really great in the ads for Yours, Mine and Ours although can you really beat Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda?

Finally the one you have been waiting for - the sexiest man alive himself - Matthew McConaughey in The Wedding Planner. Not bad.He pulls off the charming in this movie without edging over to the dark side of weird. I also like the glasses.

So c'mon people, jump on the procrastination train with me! You know you want to mention Pride and Prejudice one more time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Matter of Life and Death - well....

Okay, not really. And after going almost a whole week without a post, what an odd thing to grab my attention, but people I must know your opinions!

In your humble opinion, is MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY the sexiest man alive?

Is this all that we have left now that Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise have both gone to the dark side of infidelity and lunacy (not necessarily in that order, but probably)?
Did Jude Law make one to many bad movies and 'Alfie' his way right out of consideration?
Is Harry Connick Jr. too music-oriented or too charitable?
Mel Gibson too conservative and covered in fake blood?
Harrison Ford too old (and a bit sad with the earring)?
Clint Eastwood too genius?
Pierce Bronson too (let's interrupt this rant for a moment to imagine ourselves in the role of Renee Russo in The Thomas Crowne Affair............ mmmm)

Anyway, I digress....

Matthew McConaughey? Have you heard him give an interview - dude is weird! And not just Texas-weird (hello reverend mother, quotidian grace and others I just offended - hopefully you know what I mean, if not... sorry ;)).

People rally around and tell me:

Who IS the sexiest man alive?

(And consider this amnesty on having to list your significant other. We'll just consider it a given).

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Debunking the Myth

I don’t get along well with other women.

At least that was the myth.

The blame list goes on both sides.

On My Side:
I definitely feel more comfortable around men.
I speak ‘sports’.
I am not home with my child, my husband is.
I don’t look like them (no makeup, I love my jeans; I rarely care how I look).
I don’t smell like them (perfume… are you KIDDING me).
I don’t talk like them (my subjects: sports; my demeanor: confident, boisterous even).

On Their Side:
They always want to hug me even when we have just met. I mean, what is up with that? First, WE JUST MET. Second, I am from the northeast, we do not touch there. Third, I am usually way taller and definitely broader than the woman hugging me – so it is awkward. I have to simultaneously: guess which way they’re going so we don’t bump heads, not squish their multiple earrings into their heads, keep my boobs from poking them in the eye, and not crush them with my softball-playing, 25 pound baby-lifting, arms (really they are not that huge, but I FEEL huge when these tiny women come in for the kill).
They often seem very fake to me. Everyone is trying to hard to come off like the perfect Mom, the perfect wife, the perfect consultant… I don’t have time in my life for bs. I want authentice, non-bs relationships.

I admit a lot of this comes from my own feelings of inadequacy and not belonging. I have been Julia Roberts in the store and no one would help me because I didn’t look like them (perfect illustration except that I’ve never been to Beverly Hills, I am no longer a hooker (kidding) and I could not look less like Julia Roberts if I tried).

Lately, something pretty cool has been happening with my relationships with other women. I am not sure if it is because I am a bit older or if it is because I am a Mom now – but something has definitely changed.

I have found authentic community with three separate groups of women.

First, I have this blogging community, The revgalblogpals. My friend told me about The Real Live Preacher. I read his book first, I checked out his website, I registered… it asked for your blog site. Guess I’d better make one of those! I ‘chatted’ and then I was invited. I interact with these women on a daily basis. I have found authentic community with these women.

Second, there is a group of ordained PCUSA women (some with children, some without) in my area who commit to getting together. I had coffee with them yesterday. We laughed and cried and shared and drank coffee and ate scones and they accepted me for who I am and I accepted them right back. I have found authentic community with these women.

Third, a group of women involved in various religious organizations are attempting to pull together in our town. There is no agenda, no book to read – just a monthly lunch for those who can make it. We had lunch together today and shared ideas for Christmas day and talked about some of our hidden talents. I have found authentic community with these women.

Of course, some adjustments on my part will need to be made. For one, sometimes I need to listen more and talk less. I love community and I love making people laugh, but there is a time for that and there is a time to shutty. Also, I will have to adjust things so that all of my authentic women groups do not meet in the same week or else we will have no authentic sermon!

In the end I guess ‘it takes one to know one’ is a good phrase for me. I think being involved in ministry can only be truly understood by others involved in ministry. This goes even more so for being a woman in ministry.

It is that bond that can transcend all of the other stuff we carry with us.

Maybe someday I will be able to have authentic community with women who are not in the ministry, but for now this is good.

Thanks for debunking the myth.

The Plot Thickens...

Well, now I am feeling a bit more pastoral towards this guy. Would you really want to make your fortune like this?

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

An Open Letter Concerning Science and Religion

There is a Clergy Letter Project within the Christian community that is taking a stand against militant Biblical literalism. It is called An Open Letter Concerning Science and Religion. Please check it out and if you agree, sign. If you know others, please forward the information to them.

The effort is attempting to collect 10,000 signatures and is a bit stalled at 9,300.

Thanks.

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Benefit of the Doubt

I think I have something in common with George W. Bush.

I said I think.

There comes a point in everyone’s interaction with a group of people when they believe they deserve the benefit of the doubt. I think this is what George W. was banking on from the GOP when he introduced Harriet Miers as his nominee for the Supreme Court. Sure, he did it out of allegiance to her and certainly she was not qualified (this ranks as old news, I know) but I do not think he expected the extreme, violent negative reaction from his own side. My guess is he figured they would give him the benefit of the doubt.

He could not outright say, don’t worry boys, this chick is 100% ready to set this society back at least 100 years. He could not say it out loud, so he tried to ‘wink, wink; nudge, nudge’ and hoped they would give him the benefit of the doubt.

I have been at this church for over four years. It is true that this is my first ordained call, but it is not my first position in a church. I served as a non-ordained interim to the interim at a church after seminary when their pastor retired and before the interim came in. This gig included five funerals in two week. I interned for one year at a church during seminary. I did a year long CPE at a psychiatric hospital. Before seminary I worked in a church as a Youth Director for 5 years and when the Head Pastor left about halfway into my stint the other Associate and I took on a lot of responsibilities.

If that isn’t enough, I am not new to the Presbyterian Church – I am one of those first-borns who was baptised, hung out in the nursery, went to every VBS and was eventually president of the youth group (whatever that means) in the Presbyterian Church. I GET it. I know we are decent and in order and I know what that means for worship (liturgy, seriousness, God forbid we clap or shout ‘Amen’).

SO – when last Sunday I had my reasons for coming down out of the pulpit during the children’s sermon and throwing rice krispy treats into the congregation I think I deserved the benefit of the doubt(no one got hurt, trust me – you do not know me as well, but please read the title of this essay).

In the 4+ years I have been here I have never done that. On this day the woman who always does our children’s sermon (whom we love, but can be a bit flaky) did a bit about sharing and handed out bags of M&M’s to the kids. She RAN out of M&Ms before she ran out of kids. I was already down there and saw the crisis and her panic so I created a diversion. She also had Rice Krispy Treats in her bag so I teased her about holding back on us and if she really wanted to share she should share everything that is in her bag. I then proceeded to ‘hand out’ the contents of her bag.

It went along with the flow of the service. People laughed. Trust me, although not something I would recommend for everyone and for all occasions it was okay at that time and in that place.

Most people I am sure were ok with it – giving me the appropriate benefit of the doubt – a few were not. One even felt it necessary to apologize for me as if I were her 10 year old delinquent child to a couple who have been visiting. She also felt it necessary to make sure that I knew that she and others did not approve of my behavior and that in the future such displays would be unwise.

When she cornered me yesterday (yes, Saturday) I was hungry, I was tired, I was in day 3 of The Migraine and I snapped, “Betty, I’ve never done that before and I will most likely not do that again, can’t you just give me the benefit of the doubt for once.”

Now it is Sunday afternoon and I did not throw anything into the pews this morning. No one seemed too worse for wear and the visitors were all back again this week. Some folks told me they thought it was a riot – others seemed relieved when I mentioned it in worship as part of a sermon illustration… almost like acknowledging the big, elephant in the room. Yes, I KNOW I threw rice krispy treats last Sunday, yes I KNOW it was inappropriate.. but c’mon people,
can’t you just give me the benefit of the doubt?

Thursday, November 3, 2005

Where's the Compassion?

Am I going to have my pastor license revoked because this made me laugh?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Copy, Paste, Answer - From Hazelnut Reflections

1. smoked a cigar - yes
2. crashed a friend's car - no
3. stolen a car - no
4. been in love - yes
5. been dumped - yes
6. dumped someone - yes
7. taken shots of alcohol - yes
8. been fired – yes (8x by my Dad – does that count)
9. been in a fist fight - yes
10. snuck out of a/your house - yes
11. had feelings for someone who didn't have them back- yes
12. been arrested - no
13. made out with a stranger - no
14. gone on a blind date - yes
15. lied to a friend - yes
16. had a crush on a teacher- no
18. seen someone die - yes
19. been on a plane - yes
20. thrown up in a bar - yes
22. miss someone right now - yes
23. laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by - yes
24. made a snow angel - yes
25. played dress up - yes
26. cheated while playing a game - yes
27. been lonely - yes
28. fallen asleep at work/school - yes
29. used a fake id - no
30. felt an earthquake - no
31. touched a snake - yes
32. run a red light - yes
33. had detention - yes
34. been in a car accident - yes
35. hated the way you look - yes
37. been lost - yes
38. been to the opposite side of the country - yes
39. felt like dying - yes
40. cried yourself to sleep - yes
41. played cops and robbers - yes
42. karaoke - yes
43. done something you told yourself you wouldn't - yes
44. laughed till some kind of beverage came out of your nose- yes
45. caught a snowflake on your tongue - yes
46. kissed in the rain - yes
47. sang in the shower - yes
48. made love in a park - no
49. had a dream that you married someone - yes
50. glued your hand to something - no
51. got your tongue stuck to a flag pole - no
52. worn the opposite sex's clothes - yes
53. Been a cheerleader – NO!
54. sat on a roof top - yes
55. talked on the phone all night - yes
56. ever too scared to watch scary movies alone – yes (you can even take out the ‘alone’)
57. played chicken fight - yes
58. been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on - yes
59. been told you're hot by a complete stranger - no
60. broken a bone - yes
61. had a 3-some? - no
62. dipped snuff? - no
63. lived overseas - no
64. Ever passed out/fainted? - yes
65. blown bubbles in the wintertime - yes

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Newsletter Article

Every month we put out our church's newsletter. I usually try to put some sort of article in there from me personally although rarely on the front page. I figure the newsletter is to get information out and not for me to wax poetic about winter snow or the theological significance of the spread (click here for my rant about spread)on the fields.

The problem is that with all I usually have to say at any other time, when it comes to newsletter time... I've got nothing. Now part of it is that usually I haven't thought about it ahead of time and all of the sudden I am facing a deadline of yesterday. Now usually such deadlines get my juices flowing but not in this case.

So with that AMAZING fanfare, here is November's article with only three minor edits:

Beloved Children of God,

One of my favorite times during Session meeting is toward the end when we lay business aside and we pray for one another. We not only share our joys and concerns that evening; we also pass around a cup filled with the names of everyone in the meeting and whomever we draw becomes our prayer partner for the month. Sometimes God’s sense of humor is witnessed firsthand as the person with whom we disagreed with the most is often the very name we draw.

This past meeting as we went around and said who we were praying for this month we also shared something we are looking forward to as we enter the busy holiday season. Spending time with family certainly topped the list.

It got me to thinking how thankful I am to be sharing this time in my life and in my ministry with you, the family of Church.

This will be our fifth holiday season together and the familiarity that brings gives me a sense of comfort and warmth. I am looking forward to another season of thankfulness, Hanging of the Greens, the build up of Advent towards the celebration of Christmas, the joyful lessons and carols of the Christmas Eve service and this year an opportunity to worship and share with one another our gifts on Christmas Day.

I am so thankful that The Boy’s first holiday season will be spent surrounded by folks who have loved him and prayed for him before he was even born. I look forward to watching him take in all of the sights and sounds of the holidays at Church.

What are you looking forward to?

Peace be with You,



I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus.
– I Corinthians 1:4 (NRSV)


So my friends, what are you looking forward to?

Advent Devotional

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Heart is Smiling...

Sunday morning in between Sunday School and Church I walked up to the nursery to check on my 8 month old. He was sitting on someone's lap and when I came around the corner his face lit up and he waved that cute little kid wave with the palm up and just the fingers moving.

He waved to me!

As my husband says, "We are so keeping this little guy."

Friday, October 21, 2005

RevGalBlogPal Friday Five

1) What was the last CD you purchased?
Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising

2) Did you like it?
Yes. Especially Track #10, The Fuse, which proves you can be married for awhile and have kids and still have ‘it’.

3) Is it the kind of music you would call your favorite?
Not really. Bruce and Bon Jovi are kind of a NJ allegiance thing. I like them both enough, but they are not my favorite. Not sure if I have a favorite, it depends very much on the mood I am in. I am also very much aware that I have only barely glimpsed all that the musical world has to offer. I am very mainstream and I am using a lot of revgalblogpal recommendations to open my ears to more.

4) What was the first album (CD for you youngsters) you ever owned?
It was an album, and it was Free to Be You and Me by Marlo Thomas and Friends. If you’ve heard it, you get it; if not I cannot explain it.

5) And what was your favorite cut from that recording?
Songs: It’s Alright to Cry (Rosey Grier) and Parents are People (Harry Belafonte)
Narratives: Boy Meets Girl (Mel Brooks and Marlo Thomas) and Atlanta (Alan Alda and Marlo Thomas)

Happy Friday Everyone!!!

I am so FRUSTRATED!

I would like to thank the stereotypical conservative evangelicals who have made it impossible for any morality issues to be discussed without being tainted by their hate and inability to see the gray area. If I speak out against the current cultural climate I am immediately put in a category with Falwell, Robertson and the like.

I was watching a segment on the Today Show that spoke of the sexual activity of today’s teens and I wanted to say: of course our children are more violent and active in the seedy side of casual sex. Did you think that by cloaking immorality in words like ‘capitalism’ and ‘free speech’ that there would be no repercussions? Have you seen MTV lately? Have you noticed the amount of parents who ‘medicate’ their children with filler tv and video games as they continue their quest for the almighty dollar or their own right to feel good? Did you not think suburban warfare would have any casualties?

But I cannot say that because even my own mind flinches in horror and says to me “you sound like a faith-based initiative.”

And while I'm at it how come during the last inquisition of the proposed Supreme Court justice the media and democrats were chastised for bringing religion into it saying it should not be allowed in the equation and yet for the current proposed Supreme Court justice it has become the platform of choice and the stated reason why she should be approved?

Can anyone red and 'right' please just acknowledge the hypocrisy of it all so we can move on towards a better government blue, red or whatever color you choose?!

{sigh}

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

This is only a test...

Admittedly, I am just trying to find out if I am getting "updated!" or not. Still always good to be reminded how "talented and versatile" I am.


Your Birthdate: May 23

With a birthday on the 23rd of the month (5 energy) you are inclined to work well with people and enjoy them.
You are talented and versatile, very good at presenting ideas.
You may have a tendency to get itchy feet at times and need change and travel.

You tend to be very progressive, imaginative and adaptable.
Your mind is quick, clever and analytical.
A restlessness in your nature may make you a bit impatient and easily bored with routine.
You may have a tendency to shirk responsibility.
Very sociable, you make friends easily and you are an excellent traveling companion.

Monday, October 17, 2005

RevGalBlogPal Meme - Inside the Actor's Studio

1. What is your favorite word?
Yes

2. What is your least favorite word?
literally

3. What turns you on, creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Laughing with people or playing a sport so hard you are in the zone and finish totally exhausted.

4. What turns you off?
Body odor; militance; closed minds; stupidity

5. What is your favorite curse word?
The 'f' bomb... I rarely get to use it though.

6. What sound or noise do you love?
Stolen from my sister: glass communion cups being placed in the wooden pew holders; shells/rocks being pushed and pulled by the ocean waves; the baby breathing over the monitor

7. What sound or noise do you hate?
Lawn mowers/leafblowers/tractors early Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon - rude!

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Attempt or succeed at? The former actor, the latter rock star... more realistically sports announcer or radio personality (I didn't say viable, I just said more realistic than actor and rock star).

9. What profession would you not like to do?
bank teller, trash collector, politician

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"Don't worry, I set them straight."

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I'm soooo hungry

You Are Mexican Food

Spicy yet dependable.
You pull punches, but people still love you.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Life 'These Days'

I live on the church grounds. I will blog about manse life someday, but suffice it to say that the congregation is very good at respecting our ‘space’ but no matter how good they are, it can get a bit like living in a fishbowl.

The manse faces the church with a parking lot in between. Yesterday when I came home with The Boy there was a beat-up, 1970’s, camper parked right in front of my house. Admittedly, I groaned. My heart unfortunately has been hardened and with a church fairly close to the interstate with clear signs leading the way to our church (thank you pcusa for THAT initiative) I have seen campers like this before. You know the type: rusting from the outside in, faded fabric and/or plywood covering the windows, a lawn chair in between the two front seats (which are ripped and a lovely grimey brown) so that a third party can sit in the front too… it wasn’t pretty, and frankly it made me nervous.

The church is not totally out in the middle of nowhere, but it is separated from homes with a lot of farmland around. It is a bit isolated – enough where neighbors and such would not really notice a strange car/van/camper in the parking lot… or potentially my screams for help. Adding to all this is that TDH was still over at his Dad’s helping him function after his latest chemo treatment and I was home alone with The Boy.

I have had folks pull in here before when I wasn’t home and wait for the pastor to come home. One guy reportedly was here for hours before I came home and was none too happy with the standard $10 gas card and the list of directions to other resources that could help him with shower, meal, clothing, shelter, etc… Again, my heart has admittedly been hardened because it is overwhelmingly the case that if you do not give these folks cash, they nastily tell you that they are not looking for any of the other kinds of help you are offering them. With only an 8 month old, a cat and a Golden Retriever who would lick the hand of Satan if he thought it would get him some pets available to protect me I decided to avoid handling any potential conflict on my own.

What WOULD Jesus do in 2005 in my church parking lot? (Although I don’t think this is fair since he knew he was being resurrected and I have no such guarantee.)

---Please no theology lessons in reference to this. I know I do have a guarantee, this is just a bad joke that is funnier when said than typed. No really, trust me, it is. ---

So I park the van on the lawn in front of my house and unload what I can and The Boy keeping my eye on the camper. Once safely inside with doors locked I consider various strategies. I go with calling a couple that lives up the road so that she can keep her eye on The Boy and he can increase my burly factor as I knock on the camper door and attempt to get these people back on the road.

They come down and after knocking and banging on the camper it is apparent that no one is in there. We talk to some neighbors. They have seen this thing both yesterday and today going up and down the road and into the parking lot and then out. No one recognizes it or knows anything more about it.

All throughout this everyone is saying the same refrain over my apologies for making a bigger deal than this is probably worth: “You can’t be too careful these days…” “Unfortunately these days you’ve got to look into these things…” Things have changed these days…”

Alright, longer story slightly shorter… we end up calling the State Police (there is no police station out here and no I did not call 911.They were well aware that this was not an emergency.) The trooper comes out and does a check on the license plate and it turns out it is folks who live down the road. He goes down to talk to them and they call me. They are having a garage sale yesterday and today and needed a place to park this thing.

I told him that was fine, but when people do that they a) let us know and b) park over to the side or towards the back, not directly in front of my house.

The trooper came back and said the guy’s wife is mortified and livid. I can only imagine their own family story that will eventually become something like: “Remember when your father’s ugly, stupid, trashy camper had the local pastor calling the cops on him?”

So unfortunately that is life ‘these days’. You can’t just trust that these things are nothing. You have to be aware of your own safety even out here in the country.

One more funny note: the camper was totally locked. Some of the windows were nailed shut, but it was shut. The trooper was cracking up saying he see this all the time – a totally trashy vehicle (and this thing fit the description) and yet whoever left it locked the whole thing up just in case someone might want to steal that lawn chair with a hole in it where the front seat is supposed to be!

The RevGalBlogPal Friday Five

The weather where you are: Moving toward autumn crisp and sunny (finally!)

Where you are typing this: At our dining room table, which really has more of an office feel. The Boy is playing and spitting in the living room, talking to his sock (dang he’s cute).

Where you might be sitting if you could be anywhere: On the deck of our friends’ beach apartment overlooking the ocean – smelling the smells, hearing the sounds, drinking the coffee… and most likely wondering how long I can sit up there before the glare of the sun off the computer screen does permanent damage to my retinas.

A chore you have to do this weekend: Buying clothes for my mother-in-law so she can practice getting dressed by herself in rehab. How do you tell a woman who is not exactly your biggest fan anyway, that her size medium petite days are over (and have been for quite some time). I guess for starters you probably leave out the ‘and have been for quite some time’ part.

Something delightful you will do or would like to do this weekend: I would love to go on a hike with TDH - The Boy in his backpack and the dog running ahead of us… Not gonna happen though. TDH is caring for his father about an hour away and I have a shopping assignment to complete. There are decent college football games on later this afternoon however and for me that is an okay consolation prize.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

In Honor of My Father

Long story... we'll have to figure out the answer to the post below before I get into the weirdness that is my father.

In the meantime be sure to make our pal here quack and feed it some bread. Cute!



adopt your own virtual pet!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Poem: Second Edition

Ticklies on my nose
Warm breath with traces of apple juice
Soggy fingers tracing
the outline of my face
There is plenty to do...
For me the responsibilities of
parent, spouse and pastor
For him to be eight months old.

But for now I stare as he
tells me it is time to get up
from our nap.

Monday, October 10, 2005

An attempt at poetry...

I don't normally blog on Monday - or at least not early Monday - as this is my day off (read: my day to be with The Boy). But I am in my office waiting possibly for Godot and I thought I'd post something about my day on Saturday.

Without grossing anyone out I will tell you that The Boy had a diaper blowout so huge that I ended up hosing down: him, me, the exersaucer, various toys, the neighbor's shed, a passing milk truck and our kitty.

-------------

I'm not a very good poet. And I know...well, let's just say I am aware of the situation. However, the combination of waiting in my office on my day off for a phone man that may or may not ever come and not wanting to use that time wisely has encouraged me to be brave and post something I wrote while at the beach.
So just for fun (read: NOT for harsh criticism) I share this:

Slight brushing of the lips
Warm breath of pears and apples
Sticky, moist fingers across my face
A happy gurgle and a wet kiss
Nap time is over for both of us
Announces the best alarm clock ever.

Friday, October 7, 2005

Peanuts Quiz

Snoopy!Yeah me!

Gotta be honest, I thought for sure I would be Peppermint Patty so I may have altered my answers just a bit... not that there's anything wrong with that.

Snoopy
You are Snoopy!


Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

The Boy and The Office

TDH (tall, dark & husband) is off to be with his Dad today so I have taken The Boy (8 months) to the office. He is supposed to be napping… he is not and has not. I am now at the point where that is actually good news because he has been relatively happy (enough for me to get the bulletin done) and may soon actually nap giving me more time to write sermon (er,blog).

He has been here before with me and I am struck by the operetta that plays underneath everything I do and say while he is here even while I am on the phone. The words do not match exactly, but the tone and intensity is similar to the overture from the Barber of Seville.

It starts when I walk through the door:
CHORUS: Here is my munchkin. He’s a cute munchkin. Yes, hello I’m here, but I am with my munchkin. Yes, I know he’s cute and I am so glad that he has been properly adored by you but now we must go work.

Please play nicely. How about the pak n’ play? It has some toys in it already that I should probably switch out. Oh well, I’m here now and so hopefully you will be happy with this stuffed frog…that is for 3 month olds… and has God knows what growing on it…

CHORUS: Here is my munchkin. He’s a cute munchkin. Yes, hello I’m here, but I am with my munchkin. Yes, I know he’s cute and I am so glad that he has been properly adored by you but now we must go work.

I’m not sure if this parishioner would be ok with my munchkin being here even though he is so cute. Part of me wants him to babble cutely and part of me wants him to be very, very quiet.

He is quiet! What a good munchkin. I love him so much. He is being perfect. Time to work on the bulle… what’s that smell?

CHORUS: Here is my munchkin. He’s a cute munchkin. Yes, hello I’m here, but I am with my munchkin. Yes, I know he’s cute and I am so glad that he has been properly adored by you but now we must go work.

Could it be? Maybe not. Yet deep down I know that I do not randomly smell this, it must be true… Step away from the computer and go change a diaper!
GROSS!!! What do we have here? It is disgusting! And now I think a bit is on the carpet. Where are you going? I am not done wiping. Where am I going to throw away this disgusting treasure?

CHORUS: Here is my munchkin. He’s a cute munchkin. Yes, hello I’m here, but I am with my munchkin. Yes, I know he’s cute and I am so glad that he has been properly adored by you but now we must go work.

All is calm now. He is sleeping. I have time to work on all my important duties. How are my revgalblogpals doing? Is there something new there? I really should post before they think I have disappeared. Now is perfect since the munchkin is finally sleeping.

EVERYBODY NOW:
Here is my munchkin. He’s a cute munchkin. Yes, hello I’m here, but I am with my munchkin. Yes, I know he’s cute and I am so glad that he has been properly adored by you but now we must go work.

Monday, October 3, 2005

Pieces O' Banana

I had grand visions of giving my 8 month old chunks of banana and a graham cracker with some apple juice and him eating them, grateful for a snack while I made (read: warmed up) the rest of his lunch and awed him with my mothering talents. Instead I learned the following:

  1. Baby will put everything he finds on the floor into his mouth.
  2. The one thing you want him to put in his mouth, he will put on the floor.
  3. The dog does not like banana.
  4. Banana on the floor is very slippery.
  5. Bargain brand graham crackers are too hard to melt in baby’s mouth.
  6. The dog does like graham crackers - even bargain brand.
  7. There are only so many times you can keep a tall dog from licking a dangling baby hand covered in food.
  8. Even if that food is banana.
  9. Taking the stopper out of a sippy cup to make it easier for baby to use is okay… in and of itself.
  10. Leaving fully secured baby and going 3 feet to let dog outside (see #7) is okay… in and of itself.
  11. #9 + #10 = VERY WET BABY!
  12. It also makes for a very wet floor, tray, bib, table, etc…
  13. Yet miraculously the bargain brand graham crackers that were on the tray are still too hard to eat.
  14. AND FINALLY... Nothing sounds sweeter than the deep breathing of a well showered, post-lunch trauma, sleeping baby on the monitor… I am soon to follow.

    Now I know why I go to work and Daddy stays home.

Pieces O' Banana

I had grand visions of giving my 8 month old chunks of banana and a graham cracker with some apple juice and him eating them, grateful for a snack while I made (read: warmed up) the rest of his lunch and awed him with my mothering talents. Instead I learned the following:

  1. Baby will put everything he finds on the floor into his mouth.
  2. The one thing you want him to put in his mouth, he will put on the floor.
  3. The dog does not like banana.
  4. Banana on the floor is very slippery.
  5. Bargain brand graham crackers are too hard to melt in baby’s mouth.
  6. The dog does like graham crackers - even bargain brand.
  7. There are only so many times you can keep a tall dog from licking a dangling baby hand covered in food.
  8. Even if that food is banana.
  9. Taking the stopper out of a sippy cup to make it easier for baby to use is okay… in and of itself.
  10. Leaving fully secured baby and going 3 feet to let dog outside (see #7) is okay… in and of itself.
  11. #9 + #10 = VERY WET BABY!
  12. It also makes for a very wet floor, tray, bib, table, etc…
  13. Yet miraculously the bargain brand graham crackers that were on the tray are still too hard to eat.
  14. AND FINALLY... Nothing sounds sweeter than the deep breathing of a well showered, post-lunch trauma, sleeping baby on the monitor… I am soon to follow.

    Now I know why I go to work and Daddy stays home.
girl gone great tagged me for this meme:
1. Go into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence along with these instructions.
5. Tag five people to do the same.

I barely have 23 so it is a fairly recent blog where I was typing random things about trying to get away on vacation rather than actually doing those things I needed to do in order to get away on vacation. The 5th line was:

"Is it wrong that I left a number to reach me that I know I will not answer?"

In hindsight I can admit that I did answer the phone but they had caller id!

As for tagging 5 people...

How about:

reverend mother
reverend mommy
rev stacey
jo(e)
and as if he even knows I exist...
rlp

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Random beach Thoughts

Greetings all... okay, the 3 of you! I have returned and I am back in my office which means I have been working on this blog and none of the other small fires that are accumulated on my desk.

I have promised myself to not bore you and wax poetic endlessly about the beach, but will instead post some one-time-only thoughts. Enjoy or ignore:

  • The first night of beach and inlet sounds is loud.
  • The rest of the nights are soothing.
  • Baby boy + sunscreen lotion + salt = the best smell EVER
  • I can still boogie board as well as when I was a kid.
  • After riding the wave in, I do NOT get up off the boogie board as well as I did as a kid.
  • What wouldn’t make sense here makes total sense there:
    - Diving into sand and surf (not to mention over chairs, towels and people) in order to keep the ball going back and forth during Kadima (paddle ball).
    - Getting way too competitive over horseshoes.
    - Playing horseshoes in the first place.
    - Putting off dinner in order to coordinate it properly with sunset and high tide.
    - Spending a ridiculous $6 on a sandwich simply because it is at a stand on the beach.
  • I am glad TDH came along. On the last day he cleaned and packed so I could spend the last few hours on the beach.
  • I am glad he came along for other reasons too.
  • Food just tastes better there.
  • After copious quantities of fried foods, creamy soups, pork roll sandwiches, bagels and cream cheese, cheese dogs and French fries (not your normal hot dogs), Chinese food, saltwater taffy, pints of ice cream and basically anything bad for me I was able to get my mouth around, I am seriously ready for a week of salad and brown rice.
  • In a paraphrase of Brick Tamblyn from Anchorman: I love beach.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Thoughts the Day Before Vacation

Am I there yet?
Is my throat sore?
Why couldn’t they spread* tomorrow?
Do I have to go to Session meeting (governing board) tonight?
Is it wrong that I gave a number to reach me that I know I will not answer?
Fine, I’ll check the messages.
I think my brain is already at the beach… hello? Anything up there? I need you for just a few more hours.
How can an 8 month old have so much stuff?
How can a Golden Retriever have so much stuff?
When TDH gets frustrated with ‘all that needs to be done before we leave’ and casually mentions him not going – should I take him up on it?
Should I leave ‘The Boy’ with him?
TDH is right, I wouldn’t last 2 days without him… ‘The Boy’ I mean.
Fine, I’d miss TDH too… it would take 3 days though.
Is it wrong that I have no desire to contact my relatives in that direction and let them know we will be there?
I hope my Mom remembers the wine… and is willing to baby-sit.
Usually not bringing my computer is a good thing, but I will miss my revgalblogpals.
Should I bring it?
No, because then I will check church email.
Revgalblogpals will understand.
Oh how I wish this blog were the last thing on my 'to do' list…


*Spread: An evil necessity out here in the land of agriculture where farmers spread the ‘goo’ that has been sucked up from the floor of their barns and after it has fermented and given whole new meaning to the word ‘pungent’ they spread it on their fields. Right now at least three tractors pulling loads of this crap (literally) are going up and down our road spreading in a very near place… meaning tonight our lungs will be burning and breathing will be something we wish were optional. The stench actually seeps into the house and becomes embedded in your clothes and lungs.

My problem is that I take this activity personally. I think they choose their times to spread according to my schedule in order to best ‘stick it to me’.
EXHIBIT A) Our church holds an annual chicken bbq and in the last 4 years they have spread on that day. It is hard to sell appetizing food when the field next door is shimmering and boiling in the early September sun.
EXHIBIT B) Three years ago we had a gorgeous Christmas Eve with it beginning to snow just as the service let out. The next morning – Christmas Day – there was a foot of gorgeous snow on the ground. However, instead of Christmas cheer one #*$& farmer had spread Christmas Smear – it reeked!
EXHIBIT C) I am one day away from being surrounded by the smells of ocean salt and other seafaring smells (I don’t even mind the aroma of diesel when coming from a tugboat in the inlet). So today I simply ask: Could we not have waited to spread just one more day? Could it not have waited until my nose and lungs were safely tucked away in a beachfront apartment?

Please refrain from posting comments about the circle-of-life and the indirect correlation between said stench and the vegetables that are put on my plate. I have been called a city slicker (a laugher since everyone out here thinks everyone from NJ rode taxis to school and lived next to syringe-spewing factories and oil refineries. I lived in lovely suburbs, near horse stables and trees and gardens). I have been told it is the ‘smell of money’ – if so, please accept my commitment to poverty right now.

But when the natives are not looking, I have seen them gag themselves. I have seen them cover their noses and mouths and use words to each other like ‘ripe’ and ‘that damn {name left out}farm’. I KNOW it bothers them too…

Rocker Band-wagon

You Are an Emo Rocker!

Expressive and deep, lyrics are really your thing.
That doesn't mean you don't rock out...
You just rock out with meaning.
For you, rock is more about connecting than grandstanding.


Damn, typical firstborn. I cannot even ‘rock’ without being responsible about it.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Re-Blog

Okay, I am posting this again because it got buried down there in the column and I think it could be fun... and we need your help. I am posting this with the commitment that I will leave it and not become impatient with it.

Have a great weekend and have fun!

Create Your Own CD!
I have a fun thing for you to do besides all of the work you actually need to get done today. My friend 'A' is working on a cd for kids that has adult music on it. Basically, songs that are silly but not obnoxious for adults to listen to like: Yellow Submarine by the Beatles and Movin’ Right Along by the Muppets and The Jungle Song by ummm, I forget (you know the one… ‘in the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight'). Please excuse my singing voice...

What are your suggestions?

More bandwaggoning... not to mention procrastinating

Your Element is Wood

Your power colors: green and brown

Your energy: generative

Your season: spring

Like a tree, you are always growing and changing.
And while your life is dynamic, you are firmly grounded.
You have high morals and great confidence in yourself and others.
You have a wide set of interests, and you make for intersting company.



A tree?! Fine, but there was no button to click that said: Enjoys the beach, but only during the off season.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Which is Sadder...

The fact that the radio station I am listening to in my office right now is playing "Funky Cold Medina" by Tone Loc... or the fact that I know most of the words?

Ah college, where the mysteries of statistics have long ago left me, but the lyrics from a two hit wonder stick like glue!

M*A*S*H

Jumping on the bandwagon fairly early this time...

Click here to take the M*A*S*H quiz!


What stands out for me about this comparison is that on B.J.'s very first episode he puked on the side of the road... hmmmmm... I have done a lot of crazy (said 'orgasm' instead of 'organism') and embarrassing (sobbed uncontrollably) things in the midst of worship but not THAT one.

Create Your Own CD!

I have a fun thing for you to do besides all of the work you actually need to get done today. My friend 'A' is working on a cd for kids that has adult music on it. Basically, songs that are silly but not obnoxious for adults to listen to like: Yellow Submarine by the Beatles and Movin’ Right Along by the Muppets and The Jungle Song by ummm, I forget (you know the one… ‘in the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight). Please excuse my singing voice...

What are your suggestions?

Friday, September 9, 2005

Unoriginal 100

Oh yeah. Not only am I jumping on the bandwagon, but I am jumping on the bandwagon WELL AFTER the trend is over. A - thank you!

1) I am 5’10”
2) I have hazel eyes.
3) I have been married for 9 years.
4) I don’t often get mushy.
5) He is truly God’s gift to undeserving me.
6) I am often humbled by it.
7) But even more often take it for granted.
8) I have 10 toes.
9) And 9 fingers.
10) Kids always notice this.
11) Most adults do not.
12) My wedding rings got caught on an immovable object.
13) It lead to my first ride in a helicopter.
14) Life certainly goes on, but I still miss it.
15) My nieces and nephews think it’s cool.
16) I wish it hadn’t happened just about every day.
17) It is not the worst thing that has happened to me.
18) I can’t share yet but to say…
19) My first is actually my second.
20) Drastically changing tones – I love sports.
21) Playing ‘em and watching ‘em.
22) Because of where I live I am trying but I still say,
23) NASCAR is not a sport.
24) I love football.
25) The NY GIANTS are my favorite NFL team.
26) The Chicago Cubs are my favorite baseball team but
27) I really just love baseball in general.
28) Especially the playoffs.
29) Although I stay up way too late to watch.
30) And drag around all day basically during the entire month of October.
31) I played flag football in seminary.
32) And loved it more than any of my classes.
33) Me having a Masters degree in anything is proof that God exists.
34) And is further proof that this truly is my Call.
35) Despite the current condition of this week’s sermon.
36) I have a dog.
37) And one cat.
38) I used to have 2.
39) For awhile we had five.
40) But that was short-lived.
41) And crossed the line from pet owners to
42) Wacky couple with the five cats!
43) I have one sister.
44) She is younger.
45) And funnier.
46) And reading this :)
47) I was mean to her growing up.
48) Now I’m sorry.
49) But also happy to have the sermon illustrations.
50) But really sorry.
51) I played softball in college.
52) You know how good guys look in baseball uniforms?
53) Women do not.
54) It’s a hips in polyester thing.
55) I learned the bigger the boobs
56) and the butt,
57) the farther the ball goes.
58) I hit no home runs then.
59) But since having a child probably could now.
60) If the boobs and butt thing were the only requirements.
61) I am an extrovert.
62) In a lonely introverted solo pastor setting.
63) I look forward to the day when I once again work with a staff.
64) I grew up on the NJ shore.
65) But I was never a beach bum.
66) I took it for granted.
67) And now I miss the sounds and the smells.
68) I like it most off-season.
69) I have a secret desire to learn how to knit.
70) But I am embarrassed to ask my Mom to teach me.
71) I think I’m the only woman on the planet who doesn’t really like chocolate.
72) I’m sorry.
73) Just think that’s more for you!
74) I majored in Religious Studies.
75) But wished I didn’t.
76) Seminary was a repeat of a lot of it.
77) So I should have majored in Sociology
78) Or Psychology
79) Or Business
80) Or Theater instead.
81) I had AKMA in college.
82) And Seminary.
83) If you know him
84) You envy me.
85) If you know me.
86) You pity him.
87) In high school I rang hand bells for my church.
88) It was a big deal then.
89) Sometimes it bums me out that no one really cares now.
90) We were really good.
91) Toured this country and England.
92) Anyone?
93) Oh well.
94) I don’t read as much as I should.
95) My best friends are a favorite side dish.
96) I have a pak n’ play in my office.
97) And very often my dog.
98) I am hooked on other people’s blogs.
100) My sermon still is not written.

Seriously people, it is time for sermon! Have a great weekend.

Getting Personal

So I have removed the pictures of myself and family. I decided to continue with the anonimity thing, even though I will always have a filter on my writing just in case.

I am going to jump on the '100 things about me' bandwagon and there will be some things in there that I am sure will be almost as revealing as a picture. You'll know what I'm talking about when you read #9 on my list.

I am going to post the '100 things' because I am tired of being frustrated and saddened over Hurricane Katrina and I am tired of whining and I think that has been the majority of this week's blog entries from me.

First however, I must finish my sermon... so it might be awhile

Thursday, September 8, 2005

Dealing with Delia

Did anyone see a woman named Delia on CNN this morning? She is one of people who has chosen to stay. It is hard to describe her... confident, umpteenth generation New Orleans, lives in the art district. She road her bike to the interview. When Soledad O'Brien asked her why she would stay with the toxic water around her she said that her house was high and dry with very little damage. It was the media who chose to hang out in the toxic water.

She also clarified that folks were told to get out, but were not given the means to do so. They were then given the Superdome option which turned into a horror and a nightmare.

She has working phones, a gas stove and somehow water - including showers. She wants the mayor to meet with folks to tell them why they have to leave because the alternatives are not acceptable.

Not sure whose side I'm on here. A lot of gray area, just like life.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Boot to the Head Awards

Some interesting nominees from last week (doesn't Pat Robertson's foot-in-mouth seem so long ago after the week we've been through).

Briefly, the non-hurricane nominees were: those who schedule committee meetings during Sunday School hour, those families who skip the church retreat, and those folks who do not come to worship because it is outside, in a different place.

Then you had our hurricane nominees: Michael Brown, the people who did not evacuate out of arrogance, FEMA, the Red Cross (although I have been better informed now about why they were not initially present and would like to retract them as a nominee. Apparantly Homeland Security was not allowing them to go into New Orleans), generally all of the folks we took turns yelling at our tv screens at last week were nominated.

Looking at all the nominees, I believe our Boot to the Head Award must go to the hurricane itself. Too bad we cannot physically punch it back. The best we can do is stand up and brush ourselves off after such a brutal potential knock out blow.

Who is your nominee for this week?

Monday, September 5, 2005

Breathe Deep...

Good morning to all but especially to my new gal blog pals. Everyone in church leadership was on my heart yesterday. It is amazing how a community of folks that I only met about 2 weeks ago were embedded in my thoughts and my prayers. I know you only by nicknames: songbird, the reverends mother and mommy, quotodian grace, first year, etc... and yet you all were on my heart.

I pray that the Holy Spirit continues to work through the Words and Worship of yesterday.

I pray that today is a day of respite and deep breathes and renewal; whether that renewal comes from a nap, a good book, quiet time, or friends and family.

I pray for all of you, good and faithful servants. Well done.

Friday, September 2, 2005

Where ARE They?

Just a brief note to say thank you to Kathleen Koch a reporter for CNN this morning who said:
CNN deployed us in Mobile over the weekend so that we were in these towns by Tuesday. How come the Red Cross and FEMA did not do the same? The first Red Cross person I saw was on Thursday... (end paraphrase)

Did anyone see Harry Connick Jr. on NBC this morning (less importantly, Yum-Me). He was in Baton Rouge at the time and as emphatically as he could with a very hoarse voice was saying that he could bring a car load of water to the convention center right now. He could drive it right in, but they will not let him because of 'danger'. He said when he walked in there he expected to be mugged or shot the way everyone was talking, but instead people were just looking up at him asking for help.

WHERE IS THE GOVERMENT? WHY AREN'T THESE PEOPLE GETTING AID?!

And will someone please get the FEMA guy, Mike Brown, off the tv and doing somethign besides interviews.Don't you have a publicity guy for that?!

Alright... not so brief, but I needed to rant before I could finish the bulletin and head to sermon. DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW TO PREACH ON THIS WITHOUT SOUNDING LIKE A SCREAMING LIBERAL?!?! (Although Tim Russert did say that conservatives are incensed at the poor planning and mismanaged rescue efforts as well).