Monday, December 28, 2009

Crocheting again

I think I've mentioned that I had vacation days I hadn't realized I had, and so with time on my hands and a new crochet book for Christmas I looked at my hundred dollar bag of yarn in which lay a begun blanket. It was sitting in such a sad state for nearly 2 years. Why? Well, because the pattern called for working with 4 skeins at a time, and it was a huge pain every time I had to turn the pattern. So I just kinda stopped. Then on Friday I gave myself permission to chuck the pattern and do what I wanted. So, now I'll sc one whole skein then when it runs out switch to the next color. I've made really good progress, I've added about 7 inches to it. When it's finished it'll be 4 or 5 feet long and about 4 feet wide.If I ever finish it, I'll post a photo or two.

Friday, December 25, 2009

And a good day it is

Yesterday was spent being lazy anticipating the Christmas pageant and then dinner and presents. Princess went from a donkey (last year) to an angel this year, wonder what next year will bring.

When we finalllyyyy (kiddos emphasis) got to opening presents, as I passed out the gifts one at a time and we wrote down who got what from whom; it really hit home what wonderful friends we have and grandparents rock. Without them the kiddos Christmas would have been much lighter shall we say, and well the wife and I as well.

This morning was spent playing games, had another warm and yummy breakfast. My breakfasts during the week are pretty boring: yogurt, oatmeal, banana, coffee, water.  I went to the Christmas day service by myself, which was a treat for all involved. The sermon was really good, and since I didn't have to worry about anyone but me, was able to let the service wash over me.

After lunch we went to the nearby park and ice skated and did some sledding. The wife has never ice skated before but she did fabulously. It's been years since, I think I was 10 the last time I put on a pair of skates. The wife laughed and said a geriatric person would move faster then me, but hey I didn't fall, and eventually picked up a smidgen more speed :) The sledding was nothing to brag about, but still fun.

Eventually, the wife and I will start cooking dinner. We went for something a wee bit different, a teryaki turkey tenderloin...it'll either suck or be yummy; cranberry sauce, rolls, cream of mushroom rice, and corn (can we say carb heaven) with key lime pie to top it off. Neither the wife nor I like cooking big turkeys, and we haven't been able to find good hams. I have to admit, I do miss a good 'ole South Texas brisket and bbq for the holidays (oh dios mios my mouth is watering thinking about it:)). Which brings me to a totally off topic topic: The Food network. They have two shows back to back, one is a black couple from Tennessee and the other is an older white woman, and they focus on well yes southern cooking. But it's not the cooking that holds me entranced, it's their accents, their heavenly and heavy use of y'all. Y'all umm, ummm, this is good y'all. Y'all now don't be afraid to xyz...y'all. I'll admit to a prejudice, I don't like yous guys or you guys, I like y'all - gender neutral, inclusive, it is y'all.

And so to y'all a good night, peace be with y'all. Amen, ya'll.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hmmm...weight lost - if only

So, I'm going to give a fitness plan a try. Why, because I've gained more weight then is good for my frame (at 5'8" it just looks like momma's got back, and some hip). I haven't had a true exercise routine/regime since my military days. At the time I really disliked having to exercise on demand, but afterwards when I could exercise whenever I wanted for however long...I loved going to the gym. Most military gyms rock, not all, but most, and they have racquetball courts (I miss that too).

Pre-kiddos, I went to the gym 4-5 times a week, went on regular 10-15 mile hikes in the backwoods. Post-kiddos, I'm lucky if I workout 3 times a week for more then 2 weeks at a time. There's always something else that needs being done...or maybe that's just become my excuse.

Retrospect is beautiful and humbling...I didn't realize how fit I was. I was always trying to keep up with my ex-husband, and he had this way of indicating that I wasn't fit enough, not fast enough on the trails. I'll deviate a bit, and share a story about the power of shoes. Yes, the power of shoes. I had and still have this pair of shoes which originally caused me much pain. The break-in period for these hiking boots (at least for me) was about 100 miles (65 miles in Alaska didn't break them in, nor countless other 10+ hikes, nope - it was mowing the lawn in them). And after about 10 miles of hiking my feet were shot. So, when the Ex and our usual hiking companions wanted to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and then back out about a week later; I insisted on new hiking boots (I still have them too). And let me tell ya -- I kicked ass. The Ex couldn't keep up with me. My level of working out hadn't changed; all the crap I'd taken over 4 years of backcountry hikes was because of a pair of shoes. I was fit, and I didn't know it.

I can still remember what fit feels like, I have the pictures of what fit looks like, and I miss fit. I've done WW successfully, and I've incorporated most of the concepts into my eating -- I eat healthy, and have decent portion sizes, snacking kills me though; I had time to exercise (last place of employment had a nice free gym on-site). So the weight came off. But, now it's back.

The goal is to get back to the WW weight, then back to the weight I was when I was 28. If I only get to my WW goal, I could live with that. It wouldn't be go out and buy leather pants and get blue highlights reward time, more like khaki cargo pants happy. Ok, I'll admit how much I need to lose -- 55 lbs for my ultimate goal, 35 lbs for the first goal.

The routine requires 6 days of working out for about 45mins with a mixture of circuit training and cardio with a bit of ab work. There are three things that have become abundantly clear to me about what adds to my happiness of life: centering prayer, learning, and exercise. When I ignore these things, I'm grumpy and tired, more easily annoyed.

So, I'm going to try to take care of myself without feeling guilty about the time these things take away from my family with the hope that ultimately it adds to our collective happiness and good modeling.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Nearly done with the dentist...

...or perhaps it's more correct to say he's nearly finished fixing my teeth. Today we wrapped up my root canal; I was super calm and at random moments had "We wish you a Merry Christmas" running through my head then alternating to the Lord's Prayer.

I've inherited old world teeth, which was fine back in the days of awesome dental insurance. Now dental work makes the pocket book cry out in agony. Two more big ticket items, and hopefully that will be the end of my dental woes. Luckily, the school district we're in covers children who's parents have no dental insurance AND that the kiddos thus far appear to have inherited new world teeth.

It's gotten bitterly cold. Which means winter has truly begun, and warm weather won't be seen until mid-March, and unfrozen ground will begin to happen mid-May. Sigh, this winter I've told myself I will embrace outdoor activities. I've chosen two: snow shoeing and ice skating.

Also, I finally have official Step 2 start dates (drum roll please) - that's right January :) But, I'll be able to have two meetings in January which will help me throw the damn thing to the wind plan/schedule be kinda sorta maybe on track possibly.

Lastly, I realized that I was misreading a work spreadsheet and I have 5 vacations days to use or lose, so I'm using them. My hope is that I'll get a winter's hike in...but we'll see.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I should be doing something else...

Can we love who we are
It's not so easy for some
It wears lines of furrowed brow
A nagging ache expressed in time

For moments of ease
So startling then lost
Like the movements of hummingbirds
Everyone gathers and smiles

Then slight sighs and off
Into the barrens, the deserts, the
places within
Like a city overpopulated, polluted

Until a gentle tug
To return, a smile, a touch
A glimpse into possibilities
Of hope, of love, of selves

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Writing to the wind

There's about 4-6 inches of snow on the ground now, with rain coming later. But, when I get home I'll get to shovel, which honestly I like doing. Pretty soon I'll be able to go snowshoeing!

My ministry contract project that I thought was fading to gray has found new life. Why? I think because we started listening to our hearts again, and you know the power of God's grace and all that.

I also found out that if I can't have a PDC meeting in December then we'd push for two meetings in January, which would keep on a 2011 track.

There are other things afoot but those shall remain private. Overall, today has been a fabulous turning of events. Isn't it so easy to be excited and anticipatory when things start to fall into place for you. Now if only I could harness that same excitement when things begin to look bleak. I do believe there's a word out there to describe that, but heck why be harsh to thy self.

And totally random, I really like Pandora Radio.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Arrival of Snow

Winter has truly begun. The temperature has dipped, the first light snow-sleet combination has fallen and the first snow storm isn't far behind.

Joy...I hadn't nor have I spent much time thinking about this little three lettered word. I usually focus more on its longer letter relation Happiness. But, I think I like joy better. Joy seems more participatory, less a state of mind, more a state of arriving towards.

Joy is a good Advent word, and for the first time in a long, long time I really need this season. I need to be blanketed in winter, and held by Advent. I need the hope, the expectancy, the joy upon arriving at an event that has a joyous ending. At least for a wee bit, until the arrival of Lent, but really, now isn't the time for thinking upon Lent...it will come soon enough.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Tiring of the oscillation

The title really does say it all; Blog in a sentence. I got very wonderful and affirming feedback after the Advent Reflection I gave. I've noticed within myself, that I'm finding my elocution stride, my voice if you will, a steepening within. And this Sunday, I got an amazing compliment about the monthly reflections I write for a church group I lead; from a woman I don't think often gives out compliments.

Th compliments were along the lines of wonderfully reflective, open and fascinating, I make it a point to come to your forums. The other compliment came about kinda shyly, I'm not sure she had intended to share but decided she should; it went along the lines of your reflections are really deep, kind of scary really [I asked her how so]; you really give us alot to think about, way to motivate us, but to do that month after month, this must really mean something deeply to you, kinda scary.

I'm still processing, because I do try very hard to have these reflections mean something, as much for them as for myself. Sometimes, I worry because what I write doesn't always take a long time to write, maybe because I sit with those thoughts so often. Mostly thinking I don't come anywhere near what I believe I'm called to be doing and what I'm actually doing. And what do I make of being scary :)

So I have these wonderful validations and what feels like excruciatingly long periods of waiting to make forward progress: oscillation. I'm trying really hard to just be, to let go of my expectations, and trust that it'll all be ok, no matter how long it takes.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Advent Reflecting

This Sunday I led the first in a short series on Advent; my focus was Advent Traditions. I learned a thing or two about Advent and about imagery that was somewhere in my periphery but not a direct focus of thought, and prepping for this session did that for me.


I learned about Good Deeds Mangers, Advent Calendars, and The Jesse Tree. It isn't that I hadn't heard of them before, just I hadn't paid much mind to them, and to that matter to Advent.

I've been so focused on "arriving," getting to the next step, getting to the end, the finish, that I was missing opportunities. Kinda of like driving 75mph down a small state highway with lots of things to notice, but the destination becomes the focus, and the ability for awe and surprise are greatly diminished.

And so, in getting ready to lead a discussion, Advent has come alive for me. I'm excited for this time, I'm excited to know that each night I and my family will light a candle and say a short evening Advent prayer. I regained something I had lost, but hadn't even known I was yearning for this time and this space. On that note, here's my reflection of Advent that I shared with the group as they then shared their reflections.

Reflections:
I started thinking about child birth and the excitement and preparation and anticipation:
  -- There’s all these ways we count down to birth: months, trimesters, weeks, days, hours.
  -- How you have to begin to prepare your body, mind, and home.
  -- How your life is no longer your own anymore, everything changes.

Then I started to reflect on how much birth reflects becoming a member of the Body of Christ, that through Baptism everything changes and your life is no longer your own anymore.
  -- We renounce, we accept and we do this in community.
  -- We are to go out into the world as different people.

Then I started thinking about God’s love for us:
  -- How much God must love us.
  -- How much God had to trust in His creation.
  -- How much humility God must have (1) To be born and (2) To be born into poverty.

Then I started to think about hospitality:
  -- What does hospitality look like when it isn't offered (continually being turned away)?
  -- What does hospitality look like when it is offered?



Here's some Advent wreath tidbits as well:

Martin Luther had a number of ideas for things that people could do at home to teach the catechism to their children. He certainly didn’t invent the wreath itself, because that goes back to ancient Roman times, and probably even earlier. Luther may have used the wreath as a Christian-education device and thus popularized it. Luther most likely had a hand in it because the Advent wreath in its present form started in Germany as a Lutheran family custom. Wreaths didn’t become popular in churches until the middle of the twentieth century. Now they are nearly universal.


The pink candle is becoming more and more popular, but it has a strange origin. Long ago, the pope had the custom of giving someone a rose on the fourth Sunday in Lent. This led the Roman Catholic clergy to wear rose-colored vestments on that Sunday. The effect was to give some relief to the solemnity of Lent, so this was a very popular custom. Originally, Advent was a solemn fast in preparation for Christmas, so the custom was extended to the third Sunday in Advent to liven it up a little bit too. Somewhere in there the third candle of the Advent wreath turned pink. Meanwhile, Advent is no longer solemn and the pope no longer has the custom of giving out roses. It is kind of odd to think that a Methodist would put a pink candle in a Lutheran Advent wreath because the pope used to have the custom of giving out roses, but sometimes we’re a little more ecumenical than we realize!

Note: All tidbits come from the BBC

Sunday, November 22, 2009

So Maybe Whining to God Works...

...I just heard good news about Step 2. If it's at all possible my P.D. lead would like us to start in early December. I'll know more either early this coming week or after the Thanksgiving holiday break.

We're not cooking a turkey this year, instead we decided on 2 Cornish hens and a small ham with the usual suspect of sides. Cooking turkeys is quite stressful, and we always end up needing to cook it longer then expected; our hope that things will go easier with the hens. I'm hoping the weekend has nice weather so we can sneak in another wonderful hike. If not, then lots of football and playing of games. We're on a Set and Banangrams kick.

We finally finished a 7 book series with the kid's and are now reading a child's version of King Arthur. It's written by the fellow who told C.S. Lewis that J.R.R. was incorrect about "The Loin, the Witch, and the Wardrobe". Also, it (King Arthur) seems to have been quite a popular version through the '50s and '60s. I didn't know this when I bought it. When I first started reading the kids were both ah mama we know this part already...hopefully we'll get to pieces they haven't seen through the Disney lens :)

Hope y'all have a good and safe Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ups and Downs and Waiting, Oh sigh the Waiting

So, I believe I've posted about making it to Step 2, and in case I didn't, well I did. But, now I'm waiting to hear when we're going to have our first meeting. I had hoped to start in November, and the odds of starting in December are right up there with hell and freezing. Sigh, I sigh alot lately in regards to this topic. Sigh, my gut had this feeling about January being the actual start date...sigh, I just didn't want it to be right. I'm still, sigh, hoping to be proven wrong.

I've decided I'm not an Advent girl, I'm an Easter girl - something about death and resurrection and transformation. Maybe it's because Easter arrives, and Advent begins, and I'm plain old tired of begins, at least for a while...it would be so very nice to have arrived.

The last time I inquired was two weeks-ish after I'd been told an email would get sent, and I'm approaching, sigh, another two weeks-ish of not hearing anything again. I have moments of complete okay-ness  and moments of complete frustration. And we all know I like to plan and formulate and sit with, and even day dream about...sometimes it stinks that you can't be a Christian by yourself.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bads Things Are Happening In Uganda

I invite you to go to Rev. Susan Russell's blog: Inch at a Time and read what she has posted (and provided links to) about what is in the process of happening in Uganda in regards to GLBT human beings.

I did write to the Presiding Bishop, I hope that she does not remain silent much longer. Silence in this case is as good as supporting the proposed anti-gay law.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What year is it anyways

So, I'm going to attempt to chant Evening Prayer in January. I asked our church's music guru if he would let me record him chanting the service and then I would practise/learn through mimicking him, and he agreed. Then he reminded me that I should pick out what readings, collects and such I was going to use, and that's when I realised that the Liturgical Year will have changed.

There are two years you have to figure out in Lectionary and Daily Office land. Figuring out one does not assist with the other. The Lectionary has 3 years to choose from: Year A, Year B, or Year C. The Daily Office has 2 years to choose from: Year 1 or Year 2. I tried reading what the BCP says for figuring out Lectionary years and since 2010 divides evenly by 3 thought that it was Year A - wrong, it's Year C but I don't know why. Selecting the correct Daily Office year was counter-intuitive as well, but that I did get correct. So, if anyone is curious, come January we're in Episcopal Year 2, Year C. Next year I'm going to buy an Episcopal Church Year Guide Kalendar (and no Kalendar is not misspelled).

I'm excited about the doing this, I love LoVe love it when the priest chants the Words of Institution, I miss that alot. If I ever get to become a priest, I'm gonna chant, chant, chant my little heart away. For now though, I get to imagine what that might feel like one evening in January.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Going through my BCP

A prayer worth keeping in mind:

This day will not come again.
This day will never come again.
These beautiful flowers, this gentle breeze,
this sunset, this particular alchemy of nature will
never gather together again in this perfect unity.
This day on Earth shall never come again

Friday, November 06, 2009

I liked this

I think perhaps it was the song, but the imagery too...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

To Borrow a Phrase

The good times are killing me...

...ever felt guilty for feeling down? So you start listing all the things you should be happy about happy for, and so you perk up but it's only momentary, and then you feel guilty only more so. Perhaps it's just a melancholy disposition, perhaps. Perhaps, it's crazy family shit that you put states between to buffer you but they still manage to find their way in into their crap and attempt to make you feel guilty for not doing x and/or y and/or z and by the way that luggage is over twenty years old, and by the way I'm not responsible for your @#$%ed decisions. Perhaps it's just life, and shouldn't you know by now how to live. Get right with God and it's all good. Only I'm not sure what I got wrong...I've never really liked that phrase...I like instead the good times are killing me.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Love Conquers Hate

Take a moment to check out:
Love Conquers Hate

CNN's "Hate Crimes Bill Goes to Obama for Signing":
Hate Crimes Bill Goes to Obama for Signing

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Two Poems

Two Countries
by Naomi Shihab Nye

Skin remembers how long the years grow
when skin is not touched, a gray tunnel
of singleness, feather lost from the tail
of a bird, swirling onto a step,
swept away by someone who never saw
it was a feather. Skin ate, walked,
slept by itself, knew how to raise a
see-you-later hand. But skin felt
it was never seen, never known as
a land on the map, nose like a city,
hip like a city, gleaming dome of the mosque
and the hundred corridors of cinnamon and rope.

Skin had hope, that's what skin does.
Heals over the scarred place, makes a road.
Love means you breathe in two countries.
And skin remembers--silk, spiny grass,
deep in the pocket that is skin's secret own.
Even now, when skin is not alone,
it remembers being alone and thanks something larger
that there are travelers, that people go places
larger than themselves.


Unity
by Pablo Neruda
Translated by Clayton Eshleman

There is something dense, united, settled in the depths,
repeating its number, its identical sign.
How it is noted that stones have touched time,
in their refined matter there is an odor of age,
of water brought by the sea, from salt and sleep.

I'm encircled by a single thing, a single movement:
a mineral weight, a honeyed light
cling to the sound of the word "noche":
the tint of wheat, of ivory, of tears,
things of leather, of wood, of wool,
archaic, faded, uniform,
collect around me like walls.

I work quietly, wheeling over myself,
a crow over death, a crow in mourning.
I mediate, isolated in the spread of seasons,
centric, encircled by a silent geometry:
a partial temperature drifts down from the sky,
a distant empire of confused unities
reunites encircling me.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Absolutely Nothing of Importance To Say

Ever had a day when 'silly things' make you insanely happy? So far today, (1) dropping the car across the street to get it's inspection, (2) listening to the good half of The Psychedelic Furs 'All of This and Nothing', (3) listening to 2 U2 cds in a row, (4) yummy the first time and still yummy as left over, (5) buying freshly made dinner rolls and garlic bread sticks to go with the roasted red pepper humus tonight, (6) sharing life stories with a friend, (7) not at all concerned that no one showed up yesterday - maybe they're waiting for Tuesday's free pizza, (8) reading a translation of Dessert Father's sayings, (9) copy and paste isn't so bad really.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

What's on your mind?

I'd really like to know. I'm thinking about the world and how NPR makes me so sad and listening to BBC World News only makes it worse. Then I ask myself, what are you going to do about it? How do you plan to make a difference? That's what's on my mind.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Monday, October 05, 2009

Waiting

I was doing really well waiting for my upcoming meeting. But, as the date gets closer I get a little more ready to have it and move on to the next step. Some of the antsy-ness comes from the home computer blue screening - I really hope my friend can recover my data and put the PC back together again. And the wife recently lost her cell phone. So money is on my mind. And there's an up-coming dental visit in a few weeks. And the wife woke up not feeling good this morning.

Plus there's a project I've been working on and it's running into some road blocks and that has a big affect on some other things that matter alot to me.

So, I'm beginning to show signs of stress. Mostly on the inside, I can feel it working, and I don't like it. Definitely need to exercise tonight. Spend time in prayer, sit with God, and wait.

I am awful at waiting, well not always, but more often then not; though this process is teaching me much about waiting. I'm a doer, a get 'er done kinda girl. Waiting is not my natural state of being. I dislike not being able to fix things, and if I can't fix it myself, then I really like taking it to someone who can fix it, preferably now.

Waiting is teaching me to be OK when life throws me a lemon tree which hasn't born any lemons yet :)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Beautiful video and song

Kuroshio Sea - 2nd largest aquarium tank in the world - (song is Please don't go by Barcelona) from Jon Rawlinson on Vimeo.


The video is beautiful, but it left me so sad...knowing how much of our environment is being destroyed faster then we can heal.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Visiting Friends and a Bit More of Vermont

It's been wonderful having two friends from Tejas here with us for a long weekend. The wife got some much needed friends time, and the kiddos and I got to see more of VT then we had before.

We went to Underhill for their Harvest Festival and had a really good time. This is the second type of festival we've been to in the Fall. But this festival was affordable, from reasonably priced food and crafts and art work to free children's games and even a free hay ride. Sonshine and wife competed for fastest time to cut off a piece of log. The kiddos walked on stilts, played tug-o-war 4-way style, potato sack races, and hammering a nail in wood (who would have thought that would bring as much entertainment as it did).

We found Nannie's Christmas presents, bought local honey and jam, and enjoyed being together under blue skies and sunshine.

Then yesterday we went to the Shelburne museum. The wife and I were worried the kiddos would be bored terrors, but they surprised us with their patience and that they were actually enjoying themselves. There's so much to see, and it's wonderfully done. We all agreed that the motorcycle exhibit was way cool, and from there everyone had a different favorite place we saw. Sonshine and I aren't the best go to museum types, but we both had fun and thats saying something - at least for us. And when we just couldn't look at another something, turn the corner and of hey what's this appears, and when our that didn't work there was always someplace to sit or a tree to play on or around.

It was a good weekend.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Outlaw Preacher Podcast

This Podcast is with Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, a.k.a the tattooed sarcastic preacher:
http://www.khad.com/post/189104518/outlaw-preachers-precast-nadia-bolz-weber-this.

There's a brief intro, then a sermonesque piece, and then some Q&A. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Catching Up

In a few days friends from Tejas will arrive! I'm hoping one of them brings H.E.B. 'homemade' tortillas...oh, tortillas that do not taste like cardboard, mmmmm.

I am/others as well are making progress on my/our Ministry Project though I haven't started my parish discernment (P.D.) yet...the timing didn't quite line up. It's a bit daunting the amount of work to be done prior to getting the new ministry out the door.

My pastor had to reschedule our last meeting for mid-October, and I can't start P.D. until that meeting is completed. So, maybe I'll still start Step 2 in October, but maybe not. Though if not in October, then I imagine early November.

Knowing that I would keep putting off studying or taking the GRE. I went ahead and scheduled myself to take it in February. I found a book to aid me in my studies. I haven't read much of it; however, two things in the introduction struck me: (1) The GRE does not measure your intelligence but instead how well you can take the GRE (2) don't study for months ahead, you'll forget all the strategies. Both of these statements make me feel alot better. I need to finish reading the intro and then I think skim the entire book and then start studying in earnest. I've already gone through what's the worst that can happen scenarios...here's to hoping for a 450 and a 5 :) I took the ACT in high school, and oh my, the scores did not reflect the kind of student I am.

I'm supposed to do a seminary visit to a nearby seminary in November. I'm thinking I'm going to enjoy the drive there more then the actual seminary. It's not where I would want to go, but more of a 'Yes, I have visited x' kinda visit.

That's about it in a nutshell.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Recorders Are On the Way

Sonshine has become quite interested in musical instruments, and though he has no desire (at least not yet) to learn to play a guitar (the kiddos have one their size), he asked to learn the violin we think because lessons are available during after-school care; however, the rental fews out price us. So we talked to him about well why not the guitar, then he said well really I want to play an instrument with buttons. So, we said alright, but lets start with a recorder first. Most of what you'll learn with it will apply to other woodwinds, and if you really like it and stick with it we'll explore other instruments.

So I went searching on Amazon.com and found a Yamaha Soprano Recorder normally $32 for $6.50 which got nice reviews. I bought 3 of them encase Sweetpea wanted to learn too. Plus I too have always wanted to learn how to play an instrument so maybe this is the nudge I need. I pick up my guitar sporadically to learn, but can't seem to get past lack of finger calluses and end up putting it down. From the book I got us to learn how to play the recorder it does not look like finger calluses are a requirement - there may be hope yet.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Healthcare Reform Primer

This is really well done:

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Grrr...

The Bishop of West Texas is one of the seven...

http://www.episcopal-life.org/79901_114535_ENG_HTM.htm

...these bishops would make Jesus weep and/or turn tables upside.

Talks James Balog: Time-lapse proof of extreme ice loss

Please share with others: http://www.ted.com/talks/james_balog_time_lapse_proof_of_extreme_ice_loss.html

I've tried to embed the video itself, but Blogger was having no part of that.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Lazy Daze Lolling To An End

I have immensely enjoyed July and August. It felt like time stretched for me, like there was always enough time to get all that needed doing done without feeling overwhelmed. I'm not sure that feeling will stay as September begins. I'm looking at my calendar and my two week period of evening meetings 3 nights each week.

Highlights of the Summer in no particular order:
- Getting married (again :) to the same great woman)
- Riding the Cog Railway (if you're going to visit N.H. this was well worth the money)
- Hiking Camel's Hump
- Bike riding
- Reading things other than religiousesque books (having the time to indulge)
- Rowing (Concept2 makes great indoor rowing machines; 4k more and 4+ years later and I'll have rowed my first 1 million meters)
- Sun and warmth
- Visits from family and friends

Looking forward to hot apple cider and brilliantly colored trees.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Getting Married Later Today

So, this is my wife and I's third time to marry each other. No, we aren't addicted to weddings :) Our first wedding and the one that we planned for and put together as a reflection of ourselves and our love for each other and our desire for our friends and family to be a part of our committed lives, well, that one is the one that has it's place in my heart. The one that bound me to a beautiful woman, who has given so much to my life and it is always my hope that I am able to give the same in return.

But, yesterday while we where getting our marriage license, my wife looked at me and asked, you're excited about this aren't you? And I told her that I was, I wasn't exactly certain why but I am immensely happy today.

The civil union was mostly a piece of paper so we could get everyone health care, and the legal benefits we're entitled to in our state. But, this piece of paper is different. It isn't less than, or almost mostly like. It is not separate and different from. It is the same, and that sameness is it's beauty.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Emerging Church

I listened to this podcast by Diana Butler Bass yesterday, "Mainline Churches engage the Emerging Conversation", while trying to work, which means it'll need a relisten; however, what did filter through was very interesting. My only critique is that every once in awhile condescending language escapes from her.

Emerging church has been happening in the UK for over a decade, and if you live in SA area St. David's is beginning to experiment with the concept.

For myself, perhaps I'm a bit a of low church traditionalist (anglo-catholic) who believes in the precepts of emerging church as the way for mainline churches to engage the post-modern world. Emerging church is the radical hospitality way of meeting people where they are at. Even the emergent leaders themselves see emerging/emergent in slightly different lights, which I think is good. It's flexible.

One of my emergent thorns is this belief or statements that pastors over 40 don't get it. As a near 40 something I take offense. Youth doesn't automatically make you clever or somehow more "hip/cool/sick"...plus many of the "known" emergent leaders are no longer spring chickens themselves. So, yeah comments that smack of ageism irritate me.

I think as mainline churches continue to struggle with declining numbers it is my hope that new possibilities of being church emerge.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sermons

Well, I finally finished my sermon to myself on my ordination day. I've been told that priests only have one sermon in them and that it just gets re-written in variations. If that's the case, well then I'm pleased with what my broken record will sound like :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Yea! I mean this is wonderful.

Today was meeting #5 with my pastor, and it went really well. He liked my Spiritual Autobiography that I was afraid he was going to really not like; he has a few suggestions for clarity and perhaps include xyz things. But, overall he said it was very good and that I continue to do good work.

He gave me my last reflection assignment, which is exhilarating and humbling at the same time, which is to write my own ordination sermon to myself. And then I have to get my ministry contract tightened up.

His last words were that he will check with the parish discernment committee lead about checking into the possibility of a committee being put together for me in October!

I'm so excited and happy scared (if that makes any sense)! But, to feel joyous, to feel affirmed, to be making one more step -- is a gift. So today I will honor and cherish my joy.

Peace.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Reordering of Hyperlinks

Ah, ok - so I rearranged my hyperlinks...returned some sense of order to them, and added new links. Are you one of those people who keeps lists of things and places even possibly words you want to remember? They aren't to-do lists, but mini references -- really don't want to keep searching for this everytime I've a chance to get around to it sort of things -- I am.

I've read so much these past four months that I can't keep it all in my head. I'm hoping that instead I've absorbed it though, integrated most of it into my being. Especially the emergent church stuff. I read nearly all of it at a speed that isn't conducive to remembering and then I wasn't able to use what I was reading right away, or really discuss what I was reading. So...I need to go back and skim a couple of the books for the things I highlighted, to get back that vocabulary if you will. I need to super-search for things that can be helpful for me if I proceed to "Step 2" while there's time.

I've again derailed my meditation prayer time, though I've been better at getting some exercise in. I find I'm craving silence of the solitude sort. I don't need a quiet retreat per say more a need for time to go off quietly into a room where I can expect no interruptions for 20 minutes or so. How do you get this for yourself when your day of doing starts at 5:30am and ends around 8:30pm? Ok, ok intentional, taking care of yourself means you can better take care of others. Yes, I know these things -- but I am not good at honoring my knowing them.

Anyways, I keep trying, and eventually I'll figure it :)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Moving but not sure when

Well, the landlord emailed last night saying he's going to sell the house. I checked and I have no way out of the lease, and will have a whopping 30-days to find something once it's sold. So, we're going to start looking for boxes and begin packing ourselves up, that way we can at least begin to be prepared.

I feel like I'm dragging my family through crap that just sucks to have to go through. Then I think well it could be so much worse. Really, quit your whining. The landlords were jerks extraordinaire - this should be a blessing. But, moving the kids again to who knows where to who knows what school they'll be at or when...it just sucks. And my wife isn't willing to ask me to throw in the white flag of mercy on "my dreams," and quitting now after all this seems to make it have been for nothing, and I don't want to quit. But, I do want very much for all this shit to stop happening. I am just drained and barely slept, not even out of anger with the landlord...no I was just hurt with/at God. Then turning my thoughts to 'no God doesn't wish bad things for us/doesn't want bad things to happen to us/He's walkin' with me...sigh.

And I think if Step 1 doesn't end with a resounding "Yes, you may now proceed to Step 2" then I'm done. All my spiritual capital has been spent, and my reserves are pretty damn low, if not empty. But, again - I say that now but I'm not sure I mean it. All I do know is that I just don't know.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Months of Reading

Well, actually I read all the time...for the last 3 years mostly spirituality books. When I first started to feel the tugs I found myself reading things I hadn't even considered reading for nearly 15 years. I read the whole Bible in less then 3 months, and there's a wonderful book the title of which escapes me now that is fiction but takes you through the Bible from the 'characters' perspective - this book solidified the Books for me.

Between mid-June and now I've read 7 books; of these seven 1 was a SciFi book, which was a nice break. I tried to read "The Portrait of Dorian Grey," and "The Canterbury Tales," but both of these books left me feeling very sad. I got through the Knight's tale and started the Miller's but I found myself continually sighing at the sadness of the two tales that it just didn't have to be that way; so I put the book down. Oh and Dorian Grey oh my...I got mid-way through before I couldn't handle the spiritual depravity any more.

Then the library saved me with having a book I placed on hold finally come up with me as next in queue, which was "Altar in the World" a very beautifully written book that was like reading a summary of the last 3 years of reading culminate in a resounding YES. I finished up a radical welcome book, 7 Habits (been trying to read that book for almost 9 years), read a fantastic and thin book about prayer. Read my "required" reading, "Living on the Borders of the Holy" and a book I picked up at the same time as that one which is radical in some ways and scares me in a good examine way sort of way (and the title is escaping me) - but it's structured to be read in small pieces if you want. I started "The Vagina Monologues" which is now resting beside the bedside table. And lastly I'm reading "When God is Silent" and "The Shack."

I nearly ditched the "The Shack" - I was doing fine with it until God in Her 3 aspects arrived. I don't give much away here...I liked how the author has God portrayed as a black woman named Papa, the Holy Spirit is an Asian woman, and Jesus' physical appearance is that of how ancient Jewish man would look decked out in jeans and plaid shirt. What caused me to baulk was the theology, and I only got two chapters into what becomes the remainder of the book. I wasn't expecting to get theology as part of this book, and I wasn't so sure how I felt about what I was reading. So, this Sunday at church I was browsing the library shelves and one of our Deacons asked what I was looking for...I said I didn't know, but would when I saw it. She went back to what she was doing, and I decided on "When God is Silent." The Deacon came back out and asked what I'd picked and I showed her...she didn't comment, and I filled the silence with I like the author's books alot and I haven't read this one yet. I was embarrassed a wee bit...here I am an Aspirant reading "When God is Silent." Then I mentioned that I was reading or tried to read "The Shack" but was getting stuck with the theology, that something was causing me to buck at what I was reading. I didn't share this, but part of me wondered and worried a little at the bucking -- cause in a lot of ways the book had to that point presented a way of seeing God that was trying to break some things down. It felt like I was reading a book meant for recovering Baptists. Back to my Deacon...she suggested I do a google search and see what came up, and then decide whether to continue with it or not.

So, I did. Some of the Baptists that believe the Bible is literal and only certain people can tell you what it means people -- do not like this book one bit; they disagree with the Salvation and Trinity aspects within the book. But, really what I've decided is that I want to discover for myself what it is that makes me uncomfortable about what I'm reading and why.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sigh - Car Accidents Stink

First - I'm ok and I was the only one in the car. My head still hurts but not too bad, and the neck is a little stiff; otherwise, all is well.

The damage done to the car doesn't look too horrid - on the list of visible damage; bumper, head light, side panel, tire, windshield wiper container. I'm hoping there's no axle or frame damage or engine damage, and well you get the idea.

The guy made a left into, and he felt really bad about it...going to let the insurance handle it; that's what they get paid for. It all happened so fast but I don't think my seat belt engaged properly hence the top of my head hitting the front part of the car. I think my sun visor may have saved my noggin from the windshield.

At any rate -- lots to take care of tomorrow. Stay safe.

Friday, July 17, 2009

DoWTX Still Makin' Me Sad

I keep hoping that maybe the bishops in W.Tejas will change...but, instead am saddened by his statement he gave at Gen. Convention yesterday:
http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/general_convention/bishop_gary_lillibridge_reads.html#more

.....perhaps +Lillibridge should change the signs in W.TX to the "Episcopal Diocese of West Texas mostly welcomes you".

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

D025 amends B033

Excerpt from "Bishops Vote for No Outcasts" on the Walking withi Integrity blog:
http://walkingwithintegrity.blogspot.com/2009/07/bishops-vote-for-no-outcasts.html

ANAHEIM, CA (July 13, 2009)--By a nearly 2-1 margin, the bishops of the Episcopal Church passed an amended version of resolution D025, which effectively ends the "BO33 Era" and returns the church to relying on its canons and discernment processes for the election of bishops. "While concurrence on the amended resolution by the House of Deputies is necessary before it is officially adopted by the church as a whole," said Integrity President Susan Russell, "there is no question that today's vote in the House of Bishops was an historic move forward and a great day for all who support the full inclusion of all the baptized in the Body of Christ."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

An Altar in the World

I've heard words like these before, they echo a longing so deep, bring me near tears, and yet offer such great hope:

Whoever you are, you are human. Wherever you are, you live in this world, which is just waiting for you to notice the holiness in it. So welcome to your own priesthood, practised at the altar of your own life. The good news is that you have everything you need to begin.
-- Barbara Brown Taylor


Shalom, Namaste, Agape, Ubuntu

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

TEC Media HUB for General Convention 2009

TEC is doing something really pretty awesome. If you go to this website: http://gchub.episcopalchurch.org/ then you can watch videos of what's happened, such as, the PB's opening statement. You can also watch things live, view photos on Flickr, and a whole bunch more. So go check it out!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

A Very Nice Weekend

It's been a nice 3-day weekend. We had an Englishman stay with us Thursday night and then dropped him off the next morning so he could travel with his fellow Englishpeople - he's part of a choir and their touring the area for 2 weeks then going back to the pond. It was brilliant.

We tried walking to the fireworks but the rain and not realizing it was a 2-mile walk derailed that plan at the 1-mile mark. But it was still fun taking a late night stroll.

Saturday was grocery shopping and yard work and we watched Chicken Little. After the kiddos went to bed we tried to watch Babel but it was too stressful watching these people's lives and worrying that it was only going to get worse and have no happy ending. I'll have to do a search and find a review with a spoiler. Of yeah, and we went to one of those .25 cent library book sales and watched a 4th of July parade.

And today is church, then neighborhood softball game and then maybe pie with our neighbors.

Nothing terribly exciting - but wonderfully relaxing. I'm actually reading for pleasure this week. I've started "The portrait of Dorian Grey" but it makes me very sad so I don't know if I'll finish it. I picked up a modern English version of Canterbury Tales, which I'm enjoying more since in the 'General Prologue' pretty much everyone is of good, and kind nature - very upstanding people these :)

Hmm...seems to be a very merry "english" sort of weekend...maybe I'll go have a spot of tea.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

New Moby

I like Moby's music - Play was how I first heard of him, and then 18, and I may have Go, but his "old stuff" not as much. What I like about the new album wait for me is it is a return to the style that originally drew me in. It's mournful and sad, but sparks of light shred through.

Shot In The Back Of The Head from Moby on Vimeo.



Yesterday NPR streamed the entire album...I listened to the whole thing and then ordered it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Very Good Weekend

Had a very good weekend. On Saturday we got the errands done early and after lunch we went bike riding. About a mile in sonshine's chain popped off due to him trying out some bike trick. I did't even have my pocket knife with me, but luckily I was able to get the chain back on with a little help from the wife - next time out the tools are coming too :) Then on the way back we stopped at a place called Charlie's were Patsy Cline was crooning to the waves and we swung under the trees eating our newly purchased treats.

Today was a bitter-sweet day for my church...but we had a boat trip around the big lake to honor a person leaving us. Thanks to some very generous members the trip was free for kids and at a way reduced rate. So, we had a blast...sitting up on the top deck with perfect weather, good food, lemonade, friends, and family.

It was quite simply a beautiful weekend.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Liked the Humor

Saw most what you'll hear last night (the images were added by the person who posted it to youtube).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Maine and Discernment

The drive to Maine was beautiful, but for some reason the drive there was a full hour longer then the drive back to Vermont going the exact same route.

We saw 3 moose, 1 beaver, 1 snake, 1 crab-like thing, 1 suicidal vulture, heard howling coyotes, and there's way too many mosquitoes. The lakes where spectacular and the mountains shrouded in clouds. I didn't take a lot of pictures though, but when the roll gets developed I'll post one or two.

We had a very good time and for a couple of days I was able to let my worries mostly go. But there's a sadness that's crept into my heart, and I don't know whether to honor it or kick it out. I really should just get over it already.

My last discernment visit left me confused and worried. We started out the conversation par usual. And we talked about how there's times when I'm writing something and it just comes out, just flows, and when it's done you know, and you know it is good, very good. And how I have these moments in conversations with people too. It's like the Holy Spirit is working through you. And I'm not convinced he totally got what I was talking about, which caught me off guard because he writes sermons.

We also, I think, had a good discussion overall, and then within the last 10 minutes of our time he (and I had wondered when we where going to review my last set of material and was getting ready to bring it up but...) mentioned that he had looked at my last set of work, and that he really should have written some notes down, and then his words hit me like a ton of bricks and his comments came in a stream. And I'm sitting there in shock and I know that he sees my reaction. And I can't believe he'd saved these comments for the last 10 minutes, and he doesn't want to discuss it with me, but instead gives me my next assignment to sort of address what he had said.

With that said the comments were not horrid, they were more along the lines of what-how-is-that-all-you-heard, I don't think I'll get booted out of the process (though that is my deepest fear, so some of my sadness is self-pity). I told him I had to sit and reflect on what he said. He did end the conversation with, you're doing good work, this is good work.

I asked him if he had time (he'll be away for many weeks soon) to skim my now last set of work 'cause as I told a friend if he doesn't like this he's going to hate [my now last set of work]. So, I did the what's the worst that could happen exercise: (a) the process stops here, (b) the process gets extended for this part of it, (c) it all turns out fine and the process proceeds as normal.

I think what hurts the most is that I feel like I have somehow let my own self down.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Eat with Me

Won't you please
come join me
at this table?

Because when I break
this bread, I am
breaking open myself.

Will you hold me
in this moment
so that I may see you?

I would like to pass
this plate to you
and ask you too to break bread.

I promise to be there
as you lay open
and together we mend.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Going to Maine

We're going to go camping in Maine for our anniversary. The wife and I had been talking that if we don't go this year it probably wouldn't happen. We won't see the ocean since we're traveling to the closer point between us and Maine, but the area is supposed to be beautiful. It will be nice to get away for a weekend, leave our regular weekend routines behind. Do some hiking, take some photos, maybe sonshine will shoot some video. He's actually pretty good at making funny videos, we showed them off to a friend who found them amusing too - so it's not just biased parents ;)

Here's a couple of recent pictures. I took these when we went sugaring back in February.





Thursday, June 04, 2009

Calm but Brewing

Have you ever been in that space where you're really calm, but you feel something brewing, and you don't know what's brewing? That's how I've been feeling the last little while. Like something is coming. I hope whatever it is is good, or maybe the feeling will just fade and I'll have forgotten about feeling this (most likely).

Today is the first day where my coughing hasn't been non-stop, and my energy is a little higher. I really do need to schedule myself. I need to get exercise back into my schedule and now I need to add studying for the GRE. I HATE STANDARDIZED TESTS! I absolutely suck at them. I'm trying to visualize that I'll get an average score, but really, in all my years of taking those stupid things - I score on the low end. And I totally suck at math, hands down stink at it. So ok, the GRE makes me really anxious, remedy - attempt to prep for something I have no desire to take. Sigh, thanks for listening to the rant.

An aside, the landlords are coming twice next week, and the visit will probably only go sorta well; we've given up on anything more with them. But, I'm not as anxious as I was expecting...but I know that will be different the days of the actual visits. The wife is pretty anxious, which makes me feel awful - she's not one to get anxious; she's the calm one, the rock...so it really makes me angry that these people have gotten to her.

But, really life is good. Blessings to y'all.

Monday, June 01, 2009

June and the summer is freezing

Ok, couldn't resist...I mean it did snow the other day here in VTland. I've a cold, most likely from the sudden shift in weather or possibly fatigue and it being cold.

June is stacking up to be sporadically meeting filled. Some weeks nothing, next week oh my, oh my. I figure this is much the life of a priest, many many meetings. I imagine what my days as a priest will look like every now and again (you know positive affirmation/visualization). Mornings steeped in centering prayer, Sunday sermons that rock the house, people walking out the door excited and energized and deeply loved. A church excited about God, in love with God and each other and their world. Then I let some reality seep in, so ok there will be alot of meetings, but I truly enjoy people and doing good stuff out in the world - lucky for me these kind of meetings don't wear me out (well ok the ones that go on were no decision is made expect to make it next time - those are draining). And the one-on-ones technically that's a meeting, but really that's pastoral care. So, you know, prayer, sermons, Eucharist, and meetings - what more could an aspiring wanna be ask for --- a calendar and a good contract so her wife doesn't leave her and her children remember they have two mommas :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

February's Greeter Reflection

March's reflection is pretty good too, but anyways...

I would invite you to take an imaginary trip with me. Imagine you're on your way to your spouse's 20th family reunion, and you only know the immediate family members. Imagine upon arrival no one really talks to you, and you get the occasional smile or nod and then off this person goes. But everyone else around you appears to be having a good time talking and laughing with each other while you stand alone.

How do you feel in this moment?

Now imagine instead that your spouse's immediate family members take you by the hand and introduce you to people. Ensure that you're not left to yourself but are included within conversations and sharing.

How do you feel in this moment?

Greeting and religious communities fall into this scenario. How easy it is to change the scenario to:
I would invite you to take an imaginary trip with me. Imagine you're on your way to St. XYZ's for the first time, and you don't know any of the members. Imagine upon arrival no one really talks to you, and you get the occasional smile or nod and then off this person goes. But everyone else around you appears to be having a good time talking and laughing with each other while you stand alone.

How do they feel in this moment?

Now imagine instead that members of St. XYZ take this guest by the hand and introduce them to people. Ensure that they're not left to themselves but are included within conversations and sharing.

How do they feel in this moment? How do you feel?

That is the heart of our ministry.

I would invite others to share what their vision of our Greeting Ministry is with me, with each other, and with fellow members. Why is Greeting vital to you and our church? What do you hope for and envision for our team?

Greeting is vital to me because without hospitality we are not welcoming, without the gift of presence to each other and our guests we are only occupying a common space. Hospitality and mission go hand in hand, without one the other withers.

April's Greeter Reflection

I want to thank everyone for all you do, that to all our guests, and to those who become newcomers our hospitality matters.
We all want our church to feel warm and inviting; this is especially so for the guests and newcomers among us. We all want our church to be that place where we hear God calling to us, to feel the Holy Spirit amongst us, to see Jesus being lived out within our community.
Each Sunday I'm reminded of two things (1) that when in a room full of people who believe that will world should be a better place - that it can be (2) that God is in the ordinary moments of our lives.
Those moments when we say hello, when we stop to listen, when we do something that seems so very normal to us, can be extraordinary to someone else.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Greeter Reflection

I've been thinking of sharing some of my greeter reflections, so here's May's:

This month's reflection is slightly different. A friend of mine gave me a book for my birthday entitled, "The Blessing of the Beasts." When I saw the cover and the title it made me smile and think oh how very Episcopalian. Then I read the front cover insert summarizing the story:

"Francesca and Martin originally met in a trash can: He had startled her by rising from the garbage, wearing a cap of coleslaw and a mustache of yogurt. As a young roach, Francesca was warned against churches; she knew personally of one entire roach family mercilessly crushed by the cleaning woman. As the service approaches Francesca yearns to be there, but Martin warns against: "I don't think that we are meant to be included, Francesca. It's for the respectables, the cute and cuddlies. We are outcasts, my dear. They'll never let us in."

And then I felt my heart crush and my smile wane, because there's a truth to this short exchange. It's in the missed opportunities. It's in our own fears. It's there when we fail all those we consider other. It's within the words there but for the grace of God go I. It's when we see ourselves separate from one another, we miss opportunities to let someone who's different into our lives.

I invite you to pray this month, pray for what your deepest hopes and dreams are for [insert your church] and for yourselves.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Landlord News

So the wife came home last night with "guess what I found out" news. So once the kiddos were in bed she told me that she was talking to a co-worker who asked where we moved to, and then her co-worker asked how it was going. The wife replied not so well, at which the co-worker replied yeah, my sister and her boyfriend and their dog used to live there. They had to break the lease and get a lawyer because of harassment. One of the details the co-worker shared was that the landlord was calling and texting over 16 times a day, and that even the judge was like what is wrong with these people. The co-worker said that it didn't get better over time but got worse.

Yesterday I had a talk with a co-worker asking him for his advice and he said get a lawyer they're harassing you. I put a call into Vermont's free tenant legal-aid to see what we can do. I also set up a filter that puts their emails into a special folder and marks them as read - this way I don't know when the emails will be arriving, and we'll check the special folder twice a month.

So, we'll see. If we end up sending the landlords anything, it's going to need to come on official looking paper preferably signed by a lawyer, and then it will get really ugly.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bad News for Many of My Friends

A friend of mine called me yesterday afternoon to say that 40 of my used-to-be co-workers (and many of them friends) were fired. For many of the people gathered for the10am meeting it came as a huge shock. It was heartbreaking to listen to him tell me how it all unfolded. Where I used to work it was this place of intgrity, pride, and family - now it's cut-throat and about money.

I hope that for all of them unexpected doors of opportunity open, and open quickly.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Re-posting a story about a pastoral care visit

This is a beautiful post: http://telling-secrets.blogspot.com/2009/05/apologizing-for-your-life.html - it's longish, but worth reading through to the end.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Random poem

To see you through
that lense which never lies

To heal you with
hands that never tire

To walk with you
in the garden of now

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Moved In and Making Progress Mostly

Well, we're all moved in, mostly unpacked. We have to take the stuff we literally stuffed into the closets and then rearrange the contents to better places. Currently, mine and the wife's winter clothes have no home and my regular clothes are draped over a chair.

Just caught the cable guy, the apppointment person gave me the wrong time...very happy to be plugged back in at home.

But, gave the keys to the 'old' place back yesterday. The landlord was supposed to be there to do a walk-through but didn't show. So I called the husband who then called the wife who then called me back to say leave the keys and you'll get your deposit back. So, I left a phone message and an email with my new address - ugh. But, I'm very happy to not having to pay heat or electricity for two places. I'm hoping we'll also get some pro-rated rent, but we'll see.

Our next door neighbors who know the new landlords well - seem nice, they helped us move the washer and dryer since my friend and I just could lift them - mostly cause I couldn't lift them. I don't think I have too many more move myselfs left in me.

Had my 3rd meeting with my pastor this morning (grrr with self - forgot to turn off cell phone - luckily it only rang once). I think it went well, not as big a high as last months, but still good. I left him with 3 pages worth of me anwsering the questions he'd asked. Next month Spiritual Autobiography and Ministry Project thoughts.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Hoping for Sunshine

Tonight and tomorrow are the big moving days. I took off half day yesterday, because the weather was incredible (and today is rain, rain, rain), so I moved as much as I could by myself.

Looking forward to meeting number three with my pastor coming up very soon...but I'm also nervous, worried that I didn't perhaps answer everything he'd asked, but I think I did. And my answers are longer, and I'm worried we won't get through everything.

It was a neat week (aside from stinky landlords). An old friend who had played such a big part in my life during middle school found me on Facebook, which led to connecting to other classmates who I'd never stopped wondering about. And guess what, we're all gay; though we never told each other then. But, eight years in catholic school doesn't encourage those types of conversations. I still have these mental images of us as kids, and to see what we all look like now...you can still see some of that.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

And they're still stinky

So, we thought that perhaps after the lanlords met us they would relax a little bit, but no - they haven't. Our last exchange with them (who we now think is actually just with the wife) will "scream" in her emails to us, perhaps she doen't realize that large bold font (and most times all caps) is poor email etiquette...but, saddly we think she does.

You would think that if a cable box is already attached to the house, and the cable company just needs a letter on file saying it's alright for them to provide service to the tenant- that this would be a no brainer question. No, instead she screams at us about not being allowed to put holes in her house and to stay out of her garden among other things. But, you see there's no garden, and we have no intention of anyone putting holes in house; we just wanted to turn on internet cable. Half of what she writes is just nuts. It's going to be a long year and we will be moving again; Whether or not I find out about seminary in time.

So, I've asked God to help us with this, with them, to keep us safe from them. To help me not react to the insanity...to just let it be, and well, we (the wife and I) need to be less open and friendly I guess. Which is so not who we are, but maybe it's a lesson about establishing protective walls against insane people. And I'm not one to put myself on intercessory prayer lists; I'm the one who prays for others, but I added me and my family because I just don't know what else to do.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Re:Post from Inch at a Time

It seems that as General Convention approaches the swords have begun to be drawn. If you're in the DofWTX your Bishop has been outed.

http://inchatatime.blogspot.com/2009/04/integrity-on-communion-partners.html

In particular the link: http://www.allsaints-pas.org/site/DocServer/Errant_Emails.pdf?docID=6761

Oh, this gets the teeth to grinding.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Brings Me Such Sadness and Such Hope

In my reading to get my head and heart wrapped around a possible ministry project that can help me grow and further my discernment of call, I've been doing alot of reading. I just started "Unbinding the Gospel" and I'm on page 17, and I just need to share:
"But I'll tell you, there is one thing that was really hard for
me to adjust to. I couldn't believe-I STILL can't believe -how the liberal
church that knows so much about God's grace doesn't understand the power of what
it has to share. And they don't share it!"
There is so much I hope for, for my family, myself, my friends, my communities...so much I want to be able to share. Learning and getting over my fear of that sharing leaves me with hopeful knots, maybe the knots are the beginnings of Celtic love knots, God knots.

I asked my 'old' pastor for his thoughts on hospitality and I've been sitting with his thoughts. Thinking that his words are an affirmation towards where I'd like to go to and grow more into. So I'll leave you with his words ad libbed: The fruits of our stories, the ripe and the bruised are what change people.

Friday, April 17, 2009

What Im Up To

I haven't been up to keeping up with everybody's blog, barely keeping up with Facebook. Partly because I seem to be quite busy, the dealing with the landlord is amazingly draining and tension filled, but also I think because I've felt like I've been at a loss for words.

And with that...What has writing this (working on "assingment 2") been like?
Freeing and energy intensive...each piece of this requires that I go deep within myself, stay there long enough to hear what pieces are speaking to me and why, and only come back from that space just enough to be able to articulate what I had found within myself. Perhaps this is a muscle that is not used enough and tires easily, and once I get used to being in this in between space the breath I find I release once the writing stops is long and deep. I wonder if this is what sermon writing is like...but, then I think maybe it's a combination of this and an out flowing, out pouring that just comes easily and quickly.

I keep realizing how humbling this journey is, and I wonder at or if any transformation is happening. What part of this journey has strengthened me, what parts weakened - in what measure. But, that's an anwser that comes at the end.

At EFM this Wednesday, we were doing our Thelogical Reflection and it required a story from one of us, and since I really like the method we were going to use I got volunteered for providing the story which would ultimately lead us to a metaphor, which would lead us to at the very end, our Position statements of: I believe, I will, I have learned. In the end, at the end...what moved people the most was in the sharing of a story (albiet the story from myself as a 1st grader) that was about feeling exposed, humiliated, ashamed, embaressed. It started as a story about a child and a nun and chicken pox, which led to 10 other stories, which led to the end. That our stories have the power to transform ourselves and others (no matter how old these stories).

It is our stories which transform and bind, but which we are often too afraid to share, especially the ones in which we are vulnerable.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter

Thursday - water, feet, food
Friday - candles, passion, death
Saturday - remembering stories, baptisms and confirmations
Sunday - alleluias
Monday - transformation?

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A Game of Tag

The latest game of tag by way of Murat11 from the lands of a few other turtles. Answer all the questions, except one that you don’t like. Replace the unloved question with a new one of your own. Then, add a new question.

What is your obsession at the moment?
Radical Hospitality - how to embody it, live it, share it.

What are you not wearing at the moment?
A coat of many colors.

Do you nap regularly?
Not really intentionally. Sometimes while reading my head starts bobbing.

What do you want to change?
My new landlords...they suck.

What are you going to have for dinner?
Chicken Stir-fry

Your last purchase?
Raincoat for the daughter.

What are you listening to at the moment?
Nothing, well maybe the heater.

Favorite weather?
Hot and sunny, big blue skies.

Your goals?
Surviving Vermont, going to seminary.

Say something to the person who tagged you:
I haven't checked murat's blog yet, so I'll assume the tag. Of course I'll share my friend, but it's a few months coming.

Favorite vacation location?
California.

Films you can watch over and over again:
Imagine You & Me, Bound, The Matrix.

What movie(s) will you never see again?
Late Bloomers.

Favorite tea?
Iced green tea with fruit flavoring.

Book you are currently reading?
"Rising from the Ashes" and "Radical Welcome"

What do you want to do one day?
Be a Rector in a place my children can grow and call home.

Which quality would you like to have?
Patience

Name one of your qualities:
Compassionate

What are you waiting for?
And she just laughs and laughs and laughs.

Which old-fashioned trend do you hope will soon return?
Ethics.

One song you're embarrassed to admit to liking:
And you think I know it's name ;-)

Milkshake or crème brulee?
Milkshake

The Journey or The Destination?
The journey.

Friday, April 03, 2009

An Amazing Compliment

I saw my priest today. We talked about this and that, which was all very good. We're becoming comfortable with each other. Then I read my articulation of call, and after I finished he said it was amazing. A bit later he said that it was really wonderful, concise, clearly he could see the priestly aspects of call in it. WOW. Amazingly reaffirming on a number of levels. He talked about when we put the parish committee together, and perhaps after our next meeting start to focus on my Spiritual Autobiography - all very exciting.

My next steps are to provide examples of how I find, experience, and embody my articulation of call. Ah, now I have to get super serious about carving out time for quiet reflection. Not one of my strengths - carving out time for myself. I used the example today that the top of the well is the quick energy that's usually always there in certain intractions, but eventually it depletes if I don't have solitude. The solitude is that point in the well you never get too close to or below; otherwise, the well can go bad.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Give me some sugar and a phone call

We went sugaring this weekend. It was very neat seeing sap get boiled down into maple syrup...and eating the end result didn't hurt either. The Audobon Society has a sugar house so we went there to eat more syrup products and to take a short hike and we got to see a beaver dam and a weasal - too cool.

There is something magical about driving in/through Vermont no matter the time of year. It's just a really hard place to live.

My Adult Ed reflection on Lent and Forgiveness went well I think. I'm getting better at leading/facilitating these with each reflection I lead.

It's hard to believe that April is nearly upon us...March went so quickly for which I'm thankful because I just can't wait for consistently warmer weather.

The wife and I, and the kids, and one of our dogs, and one of our friends went with us as we canvased a neighborhood to ask people to contact their House Rep to support Civil Marriage. That was an interesting experience - I'd never done that before. We lasted about an hour and a half. The first half we got rained on the second half we were very damp. Plus the kiddos were starting to hit their limits as well.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Two Messages



Vermont's Govenor issued a press release yesterday stating he will veto S.115 (Civil Marriage legislation). Here's the link to the press release: http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=59501923996&h=k7Ny-&u=CZwtc&ref=mf.

Here's a link to email Vermont's Govenor: http://governor.vermont.gov/contact.html, do tell him what you think. Around 101 pro votes are needed in the House for S.115 to be veto proof...something that could have been joyous has become rather saddening.

Even with the blatant inequality and discrimination that most GLBT still face; we, as Americans, still have an enormous amount of freedom. I would ask that, as Americans, we remember the power of our voice, our vote, our stories, and where you see injustice - please exercise your freedom of speech.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Upcoming Events

In a couple of weeks we're going to go "sugaring" someplace in VT with one of my wife's friends. It'll be nice to see more of VT, eat sweet stuff, and maybe even learn a thing or two. I'm hoping the weather will be nice and hot - you know a raging 55 or something. But, if we can't have heat, hopefully no rain.

My day of adult ed sharing will be the day after "sugaring". Still looking forward to this, but I need to start looking back over my notes.

I've been slowly starting to explore anglimergent - there's energy in this for me, not sure where it'll lead...but, I'm following rather slowly but will hopefully begin to pick up speed.

April 3rd is my next get together with my Pastor. I need to go over some of my notes...need to start sending off for some things, and begin filling out a form. Need to get my one page articulation of call done to the point where I can sit with it, and see if there's anything missing...and if anything is missing then something has to get cut; I've run out of real estate. I could perhaps widen the margins, but I can't shrink the font as I'm at 10pt as it is.

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tomorrow is the a big day

So, tomorrow is the official start of Step 1: Discerning your call with your Pastor. I didn't notice feeling nervous until this morning. I'm worried I won't know what to say, what if, what if, what if...and yet, I remind myself it will be what it will be. Yes, yes, I do know myself...I'll be digesting that meeting the whole weekend.

He and I in some way are completely different. He's much more introverted then I, which tends to bring the shyness out in me, which always leaves me feeling awkward cause that's not my normal mode in the world. I'm not a flaming extrovert, but I'm not a complete introvert either - somewhere in the middle.

I worry a little that we/I won't know how to relate to him/each other...but, then I have to let that go and let God be present between us. When I go on Pastoral Care visits on my way there I ask the Holy Spirit to be present and for 'right words'. So, I need to remember to ask of these things for myself.

I have to have a certain number of visits with my Pastor, which can take up to but not over 6 months. So, one visit at a time, and it will be what it will be. Even if it's not what I'm hoping for, which is amazingly hard to write.

I would ask for a simple prayer tomorrow for quiet confidence.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lenten Reflection

Part of my spiritual practice is to daily read a portion of the Rule of Benedict; the version I read has commentary to go with each reading. One of the recent readings/commentary had something that I think I may try doing this lent: "Each of us should have two pockets," the rabbis teach. "In one should be the message, 'I am dust and ashes,' in the other we should have written, 'For me the universe is made.'"

With the addition of reading Psalm 67 (plea for continued blessing) and Psalm 51 (need for continual forgiveness) daily during Lent.

Psalm 67
1 God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us, Selah
2 That Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.

3 Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
4 Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!
For You shall judge the people righteously,
And govern the nations on earth. Selah

5 Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
6 Then the earth shall yield her increase;
God, our own God, shall bless us.
7 God shall bless us,
And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.

Psalm 51
1 Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,[a]
And blameless when You judge.

5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Unbelievable Sorta II

Tonight my family and I went to the Shrove Tuesday pancake dinner at "our church" (I could gag). We've been there 8 months. No one sat with us even though there was room. The woman who my son invited to sit with us pointedly ignored him - though I'm not surprised as she is the EVIL church lady. We got a few drive-by hellos, but only one person, the pastor from another church who I'm in a group with came over and was geniune in her hello and wanting to meet my family.

We left as soon as we finished eating. The only thing keeping me from tears is the amount of fucking anger I have right now. Not even my own pastor said hello and he was sitting at the table across from us.

If I ever become a priest and can survive these people and/or make it past them - God help me, I will never let another family experience what mine did tonight. Christians - what a fucking joke. When you look up Christian in the dictionary what do you see - hypocrite.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Unbelievable sorta

This is just so saddening:



And then I read on another blog that The House of Deputies is planning on cutting funding (though I'm not sure if it's all the funding or a portion of funding) to the MDGs.

Two pretty crappy messages either way.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dublin




You Belong in Dublin



Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.

You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.



If you blink
You will miss it

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

3 Words

Grace waiting patiently

Monday, February 16, 2009

Catching Up

The wife and I don't really celebrate Valentine's Day - though she did manage to sneak in card shopping. But, we spent the evening together as a family at a Senior's Center serving a meal that the parish had put together. There were about 12ish of us and about 50ish of them. It went really well and we had requests to do this again; hopefully we do.

I emailed my Pastor and got the thumbs up for starting step one of the discernment process sometime in March/April. I am quite excited but (yes there's a but) it doesn't quite feel real yet cause I don't have an actual let's meet on this date yet. I've sent days/times and now I wait for the here we go date back. There's parts of me that are doing twirls and spins on the inside - the it's going to happen dance. Then there's the wall flower watching and thinking - watch your step cause it could all come tumbling down. So for now I'm just trying to honor both aspects of this dance I call discernment.

There's more odds and ends, teaching a class in March, really need to start working on the auto-bio now, we may have found a new rental place - will know sometime this week.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009



Monday, February 09, 2009

If left is right and right is left which way do I go

We've started looking at rental houses but realized that most of what we're seeing is "AVAILABLE NOW!" There's only one house we're seriously considering that's available now, but if that falls through I need to just look but not really look until April.

Needing to move is creating alot of anxiety and impatience within me, and not having a clear date for starting discernment is creating lots of big sighs. I'm just plain old frustrated - tired of waiting. Tired of worrying about where we're going to live, and will we be able to find something we can afford that will take pets. Tired of wondering about what's considered early Spring in the land of frost and mud.

I know what I should be telling myself. Relax, be proactive, everything's going to work out...but what if it doesn't? I am proactive. I'm trying to relax. I want to like this place but every time we begin to settle into an 'this place is ok' mode - wham. What message is that? Don't get settled in cause you're not staying? Until you can be settled in no matter what - nothing will be settled? I'm tired of feeling like Job. How about some Paul, or Peter, or Mary Mag?

Everyday you tell me
Humility
Everyday you tell me
Pray
And there you will be
Everyday I tell you
Ok
But
Where are you? And where am I?
What path, what cross, what well?

Perhaps I should try to write a book about the 12 Steps to Surviving the Discernment Process assuming I survive. Maybe if I start writing it now, it will help me now :-)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Ready for something

The kids went ice skating for the first time Saturday. It was a gorgeous day for it. Sonshine had been roller blading this summer and that definitely helped him as he cruised along. While Bella was not her graceful ballerina self as she used her skates like trainers and ran near tip toe across the ice to do a beautiful spin and promptly plop on her behind.

I went snowshoeing that same day on the path that we go biking on in the Summer. I didn't go very far, well not as far as I wanted...just plain outta shape. But it had moments of beauty and moments of ya know you should have turned around like 15 minutes ago. The wife estimates that I'd gone about 3 miles. I wanted so very much to make it to the farm to get to the what is probably now a frozen river (or perhaps partially so).

I'd forgotten that you walk different when you got the snowshoes on. A wider stance, no lazy draggin feet - ya gotta pick em up or ya just make it harder on yourself. I was exhausted by the time I'd walked back to the house.

I do want to go again, but this time I may park closer to the destination I want to get to, so I can take the trail I was hoping to make it too.

Life at church is tension filled, one of the church positions is being cut and that's about all I feel like sayin for now.

It's hard to believe it's February already. Need to start writing my Spiritual Autobiography, been doing a lot of thinking about doing it but not doing it. I like to think there's alot of inner fermenting going on. I keep praying for the right words to express, I should perhaps pray for time when I feel refreshed to write it; and when I do, that the Spirit be with me...though maybe I mean I'm more attuned to the Spirit always being with me. I'm trying not to think too much that perhaps the official journey may begin soon.

Totally random...the Deacon approached me Sunday to tell me that a person I visit really enjoys our visits. And whenever the Deacon smiles, really smiles, it transforms her face and there's well a twinkle in her eyes. So she's smiling like that and telling me about the visits...and I smile back and tell her thank you - hoping that I'm not being too awkward and that my appreciation showed. I've never been good at receiving compliments though I do like getting them.

I took Bella with me on my last visit and she thought one of the lady's looked alot like our Deacon...so when Bella said this I told her I thought so too.

I have piece meal moments of feeling holy connected to my church. I still don't always feel like it's my church, or even my work place for that matter. I find myself hearing myself use language which suggests I'm not really a part of you. They have my works, but not my heart entirely.

It's weird - I want to "fall in love" if you will...but, I keep putting up shepard walls maybe in response to their initial new englander walls. I would like very much for those walls to fall and to feel grounded. And I have this sense inside that it needs to happen soon.

But I've rambled on long enough - good day to you.