Monday, December 27, 2010

Meditation and Yoga

Sometimes we need to be hit with foam bricks :)  Yesterday the family and I went to the library to return books before they became overdue. Our typical library trip has the kiddos in the Children's section of the library which is absolutely fantastic; Wife lingers with the kiddos and I go and wander through the CD section or the non-fiction floor. Instead I decided to look at the DVD selections and found 2 yoga dvds that I was planning on buying but thought hey I can try them out first.

Sweat Pea wanted to do the dvds right away, but I wanted to do my walking video first then use the yoga video to unwind before they went to bed; after a bit of oh pleases she agreed to wait. Sonshine wanted to wait as well, and I was surprised that he wanted to do the yoga with us, but pleased.

Sweat Pea and I have lots of things we like to do in common, things where we interact directly with each other and things we do near one another, wanting each others company but not each other's direct interaction. Sonshine needs lots of direct interaction and doesn't do well with doing things on his own.

However, Sonshine really enjoys meditation and will meditate on his own at bedtime even if we can't meditate together, and he really seemed to enjoy the yoga. We both needed to stop at the same time; I worry that's he's gotten pudgy and out of shape, and the yoga will be a nice way to build flexibility and strength in his body. Sweat Pea was able to do all the poses pretty easily and could have kept going :) She's super strong and flexible and loves showing us all these poses she makes up.

I'm really happy that Sonshine and I have found something other then video games to connect around, something that's spiritual and good for us both. And there's an energy we can share in these activities together that's really beautiful.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I hope y'all have joyous and festive holidays, and a brilliant new year! I'm excited for the holidays and for the new year, as I will either earlier in the year have a final answer or later in the year have that final answer.

I received my draft report and it is a wonderful report and recommendation with only one detail needing correction. So I gave the counselor that detail and sent my release, so now I wait until the new year to see if the official version makes it to the Diocese in time. It should as long as the report is mailed before or on the 29th. And if perchance it doesn't, I have a back-up plan that may or may not be acceptable, which would be to ask if the draft could be used in place of the official. So I wait in my advent and hope for an epiphany :)

To know where I'll be, to be able to tell my children where they'll be by mid-January - there is no better gift then this, no better way to start off my new year.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Metal Fatigue

This text comes from Wikipedia for Fatigue (metal):
In materials science, fatigue is the progressive and localized structural damage that occurs when a material is subjected to cyclic loading. The nominal maximum stress values are less than the ultimate tensile stress limit, and may be below the yield stress limit of the material.

Fatigue occurs when a material is subjected to repeated loading and unloading. If the loads are above a certain threshold, microscopic cracks will begin to form at the surface. Eventually a crack will reach a critical size, and the structure will suddenly fracture. The shape of the structure will significantly affect the fatigue life; square holes or sharp corners will lead to elevated local stresses where fatigue cracks can initiate. Round holes and smooth transitions or fillets are therefore important to increase the fatigue strength of the structure.

Q: What stands out for you in this text?
A: The shape of the structure will significantly affect the fatigue life.

Q: Why are you reading about metal fatigue?
A: I thought it a lovely play on words of a sort, mental fatigue, and I became curious about how closely metal and mental fatigue would coincide.

Q: Are you worried about metal fatigue?
A: Ah, no. I watched "The Princess Bride" with my family Friday night (it's our family movie night), and there's this scene where Westley is being tortured on this machine that suctions the life out of you. And sometimes this is what this process feels like, at times the process takes more then it returns; it fatigues.

Q: The shape of the structure will significantly affect the fatigue life. Are you worried about your shape?
A: Sometimes. "Round holes and smooth transitions or fillets are therefore important to increase the fatigue strength of the structure." What are my round holes and smooth transitions? Prayer, meditation, exercise...and what have I been neglecting...yeah, the things that strengthen.

Q: One last question. You talk sometimes about "the train arriving at the station," what does the landscape of your train look like?
A: Prairies and mountains, and it's summertime, with wide open blue skies and the smell of warm earth filling the air. The wind blows through my hair and my body is strong. There's a stool to sit on, and I can lean my head back when I meditate or pray. It's beautiful and I feel good.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Beautifully Done

I first saw this on Uncloseted Pastor's blog, and want to share it here:

Monday, December 06, 2010

Weather and lots of talking

I drove in the night before, because "the office" is too far away to attempt the drive first thing in the wee morning hours and traffic would be too heavy. But, wow was the weather horrid. There were times when I was doing 40mph and had a death grip on the steering wheel. My 4 hour drive took, about 6 hours. Then the hotel errored, but thankfully was able to correct my reservations, else I'd of been looking for a new hotel that night. But the other two days the weather was wonderful.

My family came with me and they did touristy things each day and had a blast. We don't expect to be in that area again for quite a long time, so this was their opportunity to see more of the U.S.

Both of my days at "the office" were really good. The two people I needed to interact with were surprised and pleased at my ability to be forthright and open. Their comment surprised me cause I thought wouldn't everybody be that way. But, apparently they often have to pull-teeth or dig to see what people are hiding. And because I was very open, and because all of my tests indicate consistently normal and healthy I (hence we) got to leave early. And since everything went so well I should barring some oddity have my report before Christmas! I hope so because the Diocese is closed from Christmas until the New Year.

No surprises in that I do indeed know myself well, and the tests indicate that I'm well suited for ministry :) But, I'm hoping to not have to take that many tests to evaluate "me" for a very long time. So, now I wait. I'm getting so much better at waiting, even though that's not my nature ;)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Paperwork and reading

I've finished all my paperwork, it's been emailed and handed in as appropriate. I didn't discover anything new about myself, which was reassuring and disappointing too. I've known myself pretty well for a long time now. It's one of the things I really like about St. Benedictine's rule of life, about time to think, about reading, about prayer, about aging. I wonder if the folks who write the report will reflect things back to me that I didn't catch in my own reflective light of the mirror. In about 2 weeks I'll head out of town for the second half, more papers to fill out and I imagine one-on-one talking time.

I've been penciled into the Bishop's early 2011 schedule, assuming the report results get to him in time, then with one day to spare the COM meets. I might be there, won't know until well the day before. I hope so, as I know y'all can imagine, just how much I hope so.

I told a fellow discerner, my train is nearing the end of the tunnel, I can see the light and traces of the station. And as I shared with a different discerner, my coracle is getting ever closer to land, just waiting for the tide to bring me in now.

I'm ready for the next Chapter, but then I need to keep reminding myself this Chapter hasn't quite finished yet, stay present, stay focused.

The Bishop suggested an emergent church book for me to read. It's good but it's not the language that speaks to my heart, so I'm very ready to get to the end of it. I am however, reading some awesome books: Encouraging the Heart (a leadership book), and The Wisdom Jesus. I'm also skimming through my emergent church books, to keep that verbiage fresh in my vocabulary.

After my evaluation visit, I'll put a strong focus on out-loud articulating of why this and not that, what does xyz mean to me, who is x to me, what do I feel etc. to. My practice opus is getting longer; it's my placeholder of thoughts already articulated, now penciled all over with changes and additions.

And just in case: A early Happy Thanksgiving to you all and safe travels.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

And she's off to the next step

My meeting went very well, and I got permission to move onto the next step which is the career and pysch eval. I was talking with my cousin and she laughed at me, she said you realize it's kinda weird to be so excited about getting a psych eval.

If the report gets compiled and to the Bishop in time, and we can meet in time, then I might just make it to the January COM which would be awesome!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Meet with Bishop and a Nice Surprise

So I'll start with the surprise. I had a perio cleaning this morning and right from there a PT appointment. And somewhere within that time my wife came by and left me a wonderful card and two little gifts. I was sorry to have missed her but I still very touched.

I meet with the Bishop this Wednesday. I knew I'd be nervous, but I didn't anticipate the level of nerves that would kick in and they kicked in about a week ago. I'm closer to being more me, and more me before a big next step moment. I decided to take most of the afternoon off. I was worried that with the pace at work something would come up and I wouldn't have enough time to mentally compose myself between the drive from work to the Diocesan offices.

I plan to say some prayers and just talk out loud to myself and center. I only iron for big occasions, so I'll iron the night before, and stay as neat as one can after putting on a coat and driving in your car; however, I don't want to look too pressed because that's not me either.

I keep reminding myself of what I've told myself from the beginning: I have to be me, they have to love me for me cause that's all I've got and that's who God called. Not some version of me I think maybe I should contort myself into.

So my hope for myself at my meeting is that I'm my articulate self, that who I am shines through any nerves I may have and that I settle into the conversation with ease.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thankfulness and Frustration

Into the morning chill
dog and I went
both of us noses buried downward.
Crisp air slightly stinging
then I looked up
not many stars but those that were
were brilliant.

I'd been doing quite well actually with letting timelines go, then...well, life intervenes and questions get asked. Sonshine asked me if he'd be going to middle school here in the land of snow. It hurt to tell him that I didn't know, that I would give so to be able to tell him; especially knowing how much uncertainty makes him anxious. I'm trying to let go of my frustration around this part of the process, this part drives me to hair pulling at times. If I'm ever a priest and if I ever get any say in how the discernment process will work, timelines will be allowed.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Dreams and Nerves

Strange dreams as the weather begins to change.

As y'all know I was in the military a long long time ago. I've never once had dreams about being in the military until very recently. I dreamt I was on a ridge line with another officer and we're firing our rifles down at insurgents. Then the dream cuts to a group of insurgents who have a plan to take us out, then the dream returns to me (though I look nothing like me) and the other officer and we thwart the plan. Then my rifle cartridge is empty, only I can't seem to find my ammunition, and instead I begin to pour water from my canteen into the place the cartridge would go. And I'm wondering when the other guy is going to notice and what is he going to think, only I can't seem to stop pouring the water into my weapon. Then I awaken.

I rarely dream about my dad, maybe once every few years or more...the dream is where my dad is telling me not to tell the commission that I'm really good at all this stuff, because they'll think I'm arrogant and I'll blow my opportunity to be a priest. Then the alarm went off.

Neither of these dreams was pleasant, and I haven't spent much time thinking about them. They just make me nervous.

As I get closer to my meeting with the Bishop, I get more nervous. I'm biggest fear during this whole process has been that I'll get tongue tied or go blank. I need to start practicing answering questions he'll most likely ask, not to have the right answer, but so that I know an answer will come out, and that it'll be a decently formulated thought (at least that's my hope). And I've been periodically rereading my packet so that is fresh in my head. Anyways blessings.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Wounded Sides

Susan Russell over at her "Inch at a Time" blog summed up my own frustrations about ++Rowan William's latest statements about homosexuals. Apparently homosexuals are a wound in the side of the Church; however, if you pledge celibacy then he might consider you for the episcopate.

There's the link:
Headline was Archbishop of Canterbury

Thursday, September 23, 2010

She's Gone Away

I've been visiting and bringing communion to an elderly woman, who I'll call May, for nearly two years every Sunday unless one of us was sick or out of town.

Over time May would share or indicate that she felt she had lost the meaning of her life. She couldn't see how her life mattered anymore and was ready to die. She would ask why God kept her alive. She was terrified of living in a nursing home. She would have periods of sequestering herself away followed by periods of engaging with others.

When she would engage with others and share about these experiences she just glowed. I told her a number of times that she had a gift for listening and a knack for asking just the right questions. I had hoped that she would find meaning, her meaning within her interactions with others.

But something changed and it changed all of a sudden. I had gone to visit but she wasn't there, so when I returned the following week we visited. And in the course of our conversation I realized that she didn't know who I was. So I worked in my name within our conversation, but that didn't seem to help. And then I realized she was anxious because she didn't know why I was there with her. So I asked her if she would like to have communion now and she said no. I then asked her if she would like me to return next Sunday and she said yes.

Over the course of the next month May would become more confused, and she was returning to a time of her childhood. And that's when I began to prepare myself that one Sunday I would visit and she would no longer be there because to live where she was requires a certain amount of being able to take care of yourself and a certain amount of presentness.

Last Sunday was the Sunday where her small "apartment" was completely empty. Even though I knew it was coming, I miss May. I worry about May - she's now where she was most afraid of going.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Physical Therapy

So I met with my docter for my amazingly short post-op appointment; however, all looks well in the land of my internal part. She said I can stay off the expensive med, but stay on the other med until I can start physical therapy and see how that goes. If all goes really well I may be medicine free. So, I've never been more excited to start physical therapy in my life; however, the physical therapist is booked until the end of October (but I'm first to call on the cancellation list).

I also want to throw a cyber thank you to my wife for being with me while I waited to go into the surgical area, and for waiting with me in the recovery area. I wish hospitals could be a less scary space, and I suppose if you work there it isn't a scary space. But, when you're there cause you're body needs lookin at or fixin it's a scary space (at least it is for me). I wonder if as I go on more Pastoral Care team visits the hospital will change for me; I hope so, and I hope I can for that brief time help someone else feel less worried/afraid/alone too.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

And they send me on my way

I went before the vestry with my PDC rep and gave a brief statement, and then answered the questions the Vestry members had, and then they voted (all in favor) to support my application/recommnedation to the Bishop for postulancy.

When I left the meeting I had to "pinch myself" it hadn't quite settled into my sense of reality. Then I called the wife to tell her the wonderful news.

Now I'll be able to meet with the Bishop and if that goes well start what I call the diocesan side of the discernment process. Hopefully, I can meet with him by early October. But, what I'm really hoping for is to meet with him before the end of September; we'll see.


I had my procedure today. There is one very small area but not enough for me to be on really expensive medicine. So, by Tuesday that will be my last dose. I'll meet with the doctor on Friday and see where we go from here.

Tomorrow I get the last of my stitches out. Let me tell ya, gum grafts hurt.

Life is good.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Inkling 14: Meditation and Reflection

Inkling 14: Meditation and Reflection

That all meetings should start with a 5 minute meditation and then a Bible passage where everyone reflects on what word or phrase struck them, what is the passage saying to the individuals, what is the passage calling you to do in the week ahead. As a reminder of the importance of our relationships with God, self, and other.

Monday, August 23, 2010

What do nearly tweener boys talk about?

On our way home today I asked Sonshine, "What do boys talk about when there's only boys around?" Reply: "Video games and sports." Me: "Do you want to watch more sports to have something to umm, more to say about sports?" Him: "Nah, we just talk about who's our favorite teams for the different sports."

Apparently Sonshine sees just enough sports on TV to contribute, no ESPN analysis yet required. Soon girls won't be these eewy creatures to be run from...though the girls have started to notice him and he doesn't seem to mind in that surly posturing boy way that they do.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Did I just read that right?

So I was going through FaceBook to see what my friends are up to, and my cell rang so I answered it, and I happened to glance to the side and see a pregnant belly, which led to reading the caption...see picture below:

I almost clicked it, but I don't want FB thinking I'd like to see more Ads like this one. Does taking the drug to prevent masciline daughters then create feminine boys? And who would even think of taking a drug like that when it's scary enough hoping that the baby is born healthy.

Ugh, I could go on and on about all the reasons this Ad is wrong and offensive...but my kiddos are growing impatient that their masciline mama isn't ready to play yet.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The beginnings are piling up

I have this habit of reading 5 or so books at the same time. Usually this isn't a problem; however, I've flooded my queue with heavier reading. Heavier in that most of it isn't fluff reading, but reading to retain which causes me to read a little slower, pause for reflection more often, and a need to set it aside long enough for my unconscious brian to sit with it too.

Spanish study is going well while Greek continues to flounder.

I watched "The Buddha (2010)" last night. It's well done, and interesting; however, there's a near constant soft music going in the background that if you're tired will soothe you right to sleep. It's a 2hr documentatry, and my subconscious heard the last half of part 2 more then I did. It was also neat seeing someone I know in a "real live" documentary.

I've been itchy to get outside and take some photos, but the family schedule still has us with longer commutes then we're used to. Though the plan is to go to the Fair this weekend - just need to remember to bring the camera.

I'm ready for Summer to be over and for Fall to begin.

Friday, August 13, 2010


I wasn't one to have panic attacks as a child, teenager, or young adult. Panic attacks became part of my life when I started recognizing that something was wrong with my body in my late 20s, but I couldn't figure out what, nor were the doctors I was seeing at the time able to diagnose the problem either. The symptoms I have were beginning to present themselves when I lived in Panama with my ex-husband. Now my next statements are not a ding at military doctors, but more at the system; it's rare for you to see the same doc twice on purpose, you tend to get who ever is available that day. If you do see the same doctor more then once it's because I treatment plan is in place. Luckily we were close to returning to the U.S. and I was close to getting my degree with "real" health insurance and could see a "real" doctor. By this time, I'd been going in circles with the doctors for 1.5 years. So, when the symptoms would flare, and usually at night I'd start panicking, and I'd end up flooding my body with adrenaline. At least for me, I find that that surge of panic has a very metallic taste. Flooding my body with adrenaline did not help, and often made things worse. I can't tell you how elated I was when I saw my PPC doctor, explained my symptoms and within a month had a referral to a specialist.

Within 3 months of seeing the specialist, my body stopped being my enemy (well, I stopped seeing my body as the enemy). She said I think it's this and let's try this and go from there. The panic attacks stopped, because I now knew that these symptoms have a name, and medicines, and that the flares will pass, and best of all -- she didn't tell me it was all in my head like my ex-husband and the military doctors. I think her believing me was the most important medicine she could have given me. She gave me a gift that day.

So, a few days ago I had a full blown panic attack in the middle of the night like one at the very beginning when I didn't know what was wrong with my body. Because now I don't know what these symptoms really are, and is the medicine doing potential damage to my body for no reason. The wife held me, and tried to reassure me, to relax...try to breathe - use meditation...all good advice, but hard to put into being when fear gets in the way. I couldn't take deep breaths, I couldn't pray the prayers I could think of because they had too many words, in the end I used a military cadence: left, left, your left right left. I could match short breaths to the words, the familiar rhythm, and I fell back asleep.

Over the past few days I had to ask myself what's the worse that could happen? And I went to all of those places - cancer, removal of body part, a bag attached to my body, new meds, new exercises. Did I/do I think I have cancer, no, I don't because I don't think you can have cancer for over 8 years and not show signs of it (and if you can, keep that to yourself please). Do I think I'll need a body part removed or an apparatus added, no because my symptoms though bad for a healthy person are mild to moderate for someone with my diagnoses (though an apparatus still scares me). New meds, not such a bad thing especially if I can get off the drug that every person with xyz gets prescribed and there's no generic, and it's the one that isn't good to be on. New exercises, hey if that's all it takes to make my body part work lead the way. I looked up what the new specialist thinks I could have instead, and it's way less scary. Finally, I realized if I was diagnosed correctly then my life doesn't change. But, if I was misdiagnosed then there's the possibility for improved quality of life. This has helped, I'll get worrisome, but not overcome.

The other thing I realized is that I have to let go of the shame I feel at having my condition. You can't contract it, it might not be hereditary, they don't know why or what causes people to get the condition, and they're not even sure it's been "properly named." The shame shut me down (I allowed the shame to shut me down) during my visit with the new specialist. And that has caused me anxiety, but when we meet for my pre-op appointment, I'm going to tell her about my feelings of shame, I am going to describe my symptoms, I am going to ask questions about "bad" med, and then I'll ask her to now begin explaining the pre-op stuff. I claim my condition, it doesn't claim me. Reading "Kitchen Table Wisdom" helped alot, and I had no clue about the author's medical condition the morning I heard that wee bit on NPR. Her own story is woven into the book, and as I finished it last night, it occurred to me that her medical condition did not stop her from living, it changed how she lived, but it didn't keep her from living.

Naming my condition in my blog makes me feel weird, I'm not there yet, maybe I won't ever be there. But, I can now say and spell it without having to use it's acronym and then slaughter the only part I could remember hoping the medical professional could fill in the rest. I've finally gone to the 2 big websites and went through the content, there's two books I'll get if I was correctly diagnosed. And if I was misdiagnosed I'll research and ask better/more questions, and I won't feel ashamed.

I keep thinking that this has been a year of facing my worst fears, I hope I'm done, at least for a good while anyways.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Not liking the start of this 40s thing

So when I turned 30 I've dubbed it the year my body began to disfunction. Inner ear imbalance leading to temporary vertigo. The abdominal area as a whole picking up 2 new acroynms of life changing chronic conditions. I don't remember anymore what a normal fully healthy body feels like; I do know what normal for me feels like with every great once in awhile a slow awareness/realization of "oh, hey, is this what a normal body feels like" it's a wonderful moment that I try to savor for as long as possible. I try not to stress out when my conditions "flare." I thank God every day that my conditions are both mild to moderate and not disabling, I pray for healing in whatever form.

So when I turned 40 I was scared that something new would come or my conditions would suddenly change. So far "new" is my mouth. I have to get a gum graft and an information seeking biopsy done (no worries of cancer). I have some more major work coming in the Fall. And 1 of my conditions I've had for a very long time might have been misdiagnosed. But I won't know until the end of September - I have a inpatient procedure the 2nd week of September so I'll take prayers for all going well; and get results at the end of the month. If I have been misdiagnosed (which I'm not entirely convinced of) then I can get off a medication which isn't good to be on long-term and it's been long-term a few years ago. It's incredibly expensive, causes dizziness, and fatigue. Hence a good portion of my fatigue is medication based.

Part of me is afraid it will be something worse, part of me hopes it's something else that a differnet medicine would work better for me, part of me just wants well enough to be well enough.

I don't want my body to fall apart every decade. I keep reminding myself that my life is not my body, that whatever comes my way I can cope with with God's help and the love of my family and friends.

Monday, August 02, 2010


Eudaimonia, a type of happiness that rests on the realization of personal goals and potential. I just discovered this word while reading this really good article written for Psychology Today on meditation: Mastering your own mind.

On my way to church yesterday I caught a snippet of Speaking of Faith, and heard some of her interview with Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen. Dr. Remen spoke about the power of stories and about how doctors have a love for their patients and want to see them get well, stay well, be well, but also about how they don't feel they have the time to talk to their patients about feelings but instead focus on treatment/treatment strategies. Then I caught mention of Dr. Remen's book "Kitchen Table Wisdom" and I checked it out of the library later that day. I haven't read far into the book yet, but it too is good.

Are there coincidences, probably not, so I think of late I'm being reminded of a few things:
1. I need community, well really I'm learning to know when to ask for help, which involves community.
2. I need to meditate, and I've begun with the wife going along with me (humoring perhaps), to do a 10 minute meditation with the kiddos right before bedtime. Next step extend that time into my own meditation time.
3. I thrive on stories, the sharing of stories, the listening to stories, and not just those within the pages of a book, but real live in-person told stories. It's also I've realized what I like about blogs, blogs that people write about what's up in their life; blogs that people write about a vocation I hope one day to be a part of.
4. Facing my worst fear(s) isn't always as bad as I thought it would be.

I find I keep walking between a certainty that I'm on the correct path, and a well what if it's no then what...and if the what if is so then it will be what should come to be - however, it needs to be a vocation that involves story sharing and helping others. I believe this is how I cope with ambiguity: I visualize being a priest, a pray for guidance from God...and then in those times of doubt I allow myself to imagine a life where I'm not a priest. I think what I'm trying to say is that I'm trying to plan and as little as possible control my future, which I do and don't have control over ya know :)

As September gets closer, I find myself excited and anxious; I'm ready to resume the next steps of my process. There were things I needed to learn this Summer, and though Summer isn't over I am ready and expectant for the Fall.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


My friend murat got me thinking about water, and this got me thinking about my own experiences with water.

I've never really learned how to swim, I can float some, and tread water, but I'm not fluid within the waters be they river, lake, or ocean. I've gotten much better as my children truly enjoy the water and could and do spend enormous amounts of time in it.

When a was around 4 my mom signed me up for swimming lessons and that experience was so traumatic for me that it colored how I saw and experienced water for a very long time. I appreciated the water, I found it immensely beautiful but had zero desire to immerse myself within, I was happy just to dangle my feet in. Anything more and panic would set in.

The irony of all this is I grew up in Michigan surrounded by The Great Lakes.
The Great Lakes - Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario - are known for their beauty and the wealth of resources within and around them. The combined lakes contain one-fifth of the world's surface fresh water, and they are often referred to as the "sweetwater seas". The Great Lakes could cover the entire continental United States with over 9.5 feet of water. They are large enough to influence the regional climate, cooling summers and tempering winters, as well as increasing amounts of rain and snow in the region. A world-renowned fishery, thousands of acres of forests, major mineral and metal reserves and rich agricultural land provide a balance of economic opportunity within the basin. In addition, the lakes and their surroundings provide many recreational opportunities and an appealing place to live and work.,1607,7-135-3313_3677---,00.html

One of the beautiful aspects of parenting is when your child(ren) help you see something anew. Their love of the water helped me let go of my fears. I didn't want to keep them from enjoying something and I really didn't want my fear of water to be passed along to them; however, they couldn't go in by themselves, so we ventured into the waters together. It started with them only going in up to their necks, and then only going in up to my neck (this is still true for SweatPea), and now at least in pools Sonshsine has free reign.

So all this gets me thinking about family/community, at its best, walking together - growing together. It gets me thinking about all the leaps of faith I've made in my life. I'm not ever going to be this great swimmer, and I have no desire to be, but I am thankful for finally getting in past my knees.

Tao Te Ching:
The best are like water. Water benefits all things and does not compete with them. It flows to the lowest level that people disdain. In this it comes near to the Way.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I love this band

Bowling For Soup: The Great Burrito Extortion Case
"I'm Gay"

(This fucking song is all personality)
(Dude, that's the shit!)

Well we've all heard about
how the guys in the band
Weren't the popular kids in school
And now you hate your parents
'cause of the way you turned out
But in the end the blame's on you

And we all sympathize with your torn-apart heart
And your really artistic worldly views
It sells records when you're sad these days
It's super cool to be mad these days

I think rock and roll is really funny
when it's serious

Don't hate us 'cause we're happy
Don't hate us 'cause we're beautiful
Don't hate us if we make you smile
Or if we go the extra mile
To make someone feel better
on a really shitty day
And if you're hearing what I'm saying then
I want to hear you say, "I'm gay!" (I'm gay!)
Say, "I'm gay!" (I'm gay!)

Let's start a movement, let's start it right now
And if you don't know where to start
I can show you I'm your new team captain
Put your left hand over your heart
and repeat after me

It's perfectly fine to be a happy individual
It's perfectly fine to be a happy individual
Chris, Gary? You guys wanna join in?
(Yeah, buddy. Sure. Sorry Dude)
It's perfectly fine to be a happy individual
It's perfectly fine to be a happy individual
Very Nice. Very Nice.

Don't hate us 'cause we're happy
Don't hate us 'cause you're miserable
Don't hate us if we make you smile
Or if we go the extra mile
To make someone feel better on a really shitty day
And if you're hearing what I'm saying then
I want to hear you say, "I'm gay!" (I'm gay!)
Say, "I'm gay!" (I'm gay!)

That's right, ladies and gentleman!
Pick up the phone
'cause Bowling For Soup is on the line!
And you don't have to be sad anymore!
You don't have to be mad anymore!
We can all join hands and do ring around
the freaking rosie!
In fact, can we can get some "La la"s up in here?

It sells records when you're sad these days
It's super cool to be mad these days
I think rock and roll is really funny
When it's serious

Yo, where my "La la"s at!

La la-la la, la-la la-la
La la la la
La la-la la, la-la la-la
La la la la
La la-la la, la-la la-la
La la la la
La la-la la, la-la la-la
La la la la
La la-la la, la-la la-la

--And if you're looking for something new: The Pinker Tones

Sunday, July 25, 2010

In the land of declentions

I orginially misspelled declentions as declination and I think that mental slip was probably quite accurate. My Greek study buddy is feeling the same, our solution is to stick to our schedule, use the book but start incorporating reading and translating else we'll fall right into the ravine and/or never lever the author's "Fog". We also both struggle from the well, yeah I speak English but you want to to parse what?

--- Warning, you've heard this all before ---
I was reading another's blog about being overweight and the frustrations about weight and society and body image projected on women and weight loss should be about an integrated body-mind way of being and all other sorts of interesting things...then my mind wandered over and into wasn't there a time when plump meant healthy and wealthy? Wouldn't he make a great catch cause if he's plump you know he can feed you?

Now adays it seems we associate thin with successful and plump with in the world does this happen, when did this happen? Oh wait a minute...advertising...first there's the ads to come to restaurant x and try this new tasty meal deal...then there's the ads for beer...then there's the ads for erectile dysfunction junction...and then there's the ads for leaky bladders, depression, breathing...and then there's the clothing, make-up, diet head is reeling after an hour long TV show from the mixed messages.

With all that said, why do I want to exercise...because I don't like seeing my body slow down sooner then it should, I want to be walking when I'm 90 and happy to be alive at 90, I want to like my body better - I want the me within to match the me presenting, I want to feel sexy with the lights on if ya know what I mean, I want the opportunity to revel in my body like I should of when I had one in my 20s but was so lost inside had no clue that I was one sexy mamacita; I say all this as a reminder to myself for those times when all I want to do is plop. I'm not a plopper but I'm becoming one...I feel so like a broken record, but at here people can stop reading or skip to the end. The DJ keeps scracthing tired and exercise and oh pray...but the flip side is that I love my kiddos, my wife, my "church stuff", not my job-that's there so that other good things can happen in my life. I looking forward to DJ play that funky record integrated whole.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Can I pass out out yet?

Ugh, yes, yet again...I thinks it's one of those years, or maybe it's just NE. I am very tired, physically tired. I was emotionally tired too, but not so much now. Sonshine and Sweatpea were in Summer Camp together: Sweatpea loves it, Sonshine HATED it. So, now we're driving 35 minutes to one town to drop off Sonshine at his new camp (which he loves), and then driving back into our town and past our house to drop off Sweatpea at her camp, then driving back into downtown to work. Repeat above but for other parent and add 10mins to the commute to go get Sonshine. Total commute time: 1hr 30mins.

This means that I'm up at 5am so that I can walk the dogs and have 20 minutes for the Daily Office (well only the readings) and if there's any time "left over" that's my meditation time. Then it's time to get the kiddos up and moving and ready around 6am: Sonshine gets to stay in bed until 6:15-6:20am because he's all business; Sweatpea is slower then molasses and needs constant encouragement to get the lead out. Then it's get myself ready, pack my lunch sack, get dishes into or out of dish washer, get laundry out of dryer and possibly folded, get big dog into crate, and children into the car. One plus is that I'm getting quality NPR time whilst in the car.

I wish I knew how to squeeze more energized morning hours into my day; I'm a morning person...I want to read and exercise and think and pray in the morning. Evenings I want to relax and listen to my kiddos, not study, not exercise. But, ya know that work thing tends to get in the way.

Speaking of studying...I was right on track, until this last crazy week and a half. But in order to stay on track I've gotta quit with the excuses and do things in the evening I'd rather do in the morning. I actually thought about getting up at 4am, but the thought of being in bed at 8:30pm is really uncool.

And in the World of Periodontal Dentistry...I'm scheduled for a gum graft...apparently I've got recession in my mouth happening and I could wait or I can be proactive (so says P. Dentist). I'm actually pretty nervous about this cause my body can't even tolerate a splinter without instant redness and irritation - my wife is always amazed at how quickly my body reacts to anything not of itself, like earrings or nail polish or perfume. My body flat out says no way whatever were you thinking. So, I told P. Dentist no way to 'gums in a can' option, we'll use my own gums thank you very much. And none of this is cheap, every time we get ahead in the doctor visit budget bucket my mouth goes "oh really, I know exactly how you'll be spending that money te-he."

And total randomness - I really dig BostonMed, it's really well done. I love the stories, each episode(s) follows a doc or two and a nurse and some patients. Until last night all the patients had lived or had successful outcomes, last night was a brief  moment into a man dying. It left me thinking about dieing with grace. My wife looked at me and told me that she couldn't run into the room like his wife did, she culdn't be in there holding my hand and watching me die. I told her she had to be in there, and she joked that the dialog would go like this:
Me: Haaannnd...
Hospital Staff: What's she saying?
Me: Haaannnd...
Hosptal Staff: What?!
Wife: She saying hand, she wants me to hold her hand, and I'm not doing it.
Me: B***h...hold my haandd...

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Enjoying Summer

So far my Summer has been wonderfully active and restful. We've been swimming fools thanks in part to the children's summer camp, and then the whole family has been enjoying our friend's pool on the weekends. We've been taking hikes, had our second family bike ride, and we went to a nearby park to play handball, a wee bit of tennis, and soccer.

We had tons of fun playing handball. We were using a kickball, because I thought the softness and size would be helpful for the kiddos. However, trying to hit a kickball hard enough with your hand to hit a wall is actually kinda hard. So we're going to look for the smaller version of the kickball, and then decide if we should buy a real handball ball if we find we're still having lots of fun.

Our next July hikes will be up the gentle side of a nearby little mountain, then off to a tourist farm/museum hike along nice flat trails with beautiful scenery.

I know this is silly but I'm so excited about having a tan...I haven't been this tan since living in Tejas. Shoot I had more color when I lived in Upstate NY. When I had my physical with the doc he suggested I start taking vitamin D, apparently adults these days are pretty deficient (turns out I am too). He said some of it is from using sun screen but mostly it's because of not enough outdoor time; and I think living in the Seattle of the NE plays a part . Getting sun is hard to get when you work inside, eat 'n sleep inside, and at most during the week get 20-30 minutes in the early morning walking the dogs, and 10 minute stretch my leg walks at lunch time.

And I now have a friend who wants to learn Biblical Greek with me! I haven't touched my BG in nearly a year. I was surprised at how much I remembered; however, I'm going to need to get serious for the next set of chapters and vocabulary. And the wife is practicing Espanol with me. My hope is that by next Summer I'll be fluent in reading and writing BG and able to read/speak/comprehend spoken Espanol :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Inkling 13: Bearing

Inkling 13: Bearing
I sometimes "forget" to walk within the world with a pastoral bearing, I thought perhaps that was pretensious and putting the cart before the horse perhaps. So, instead I walked within the world as me. What I am realizing is that the two cannot be different, and it is okay to walk within the world as one is called so to do.

Inkling 12: Humility

Inkling 12: Humility
I am reminded that humility is not obtained by oneself, but through the giving and receiving in every shared action between people.

Thaat there's a difference between being humbled and having humility. And that I need to walk between the two.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Beautiful Weather for Camping

We had a great time in the Adirondacks. All the rain waited until after we left - sweetness! The campground was so nice and quiet since the season hasn't quite started yet. We had the whole tent portion of the campgrounds to ourseleves; So on our first day we had tons of room for dart tag and frisbee. Later on we played putt-putt and "tennis".

The next day we hiked what was supposed to be a anyone can hike this trail trail; however, that's only true if you know which trail that is. Apparently there are two ways up the small mountain we hiked. We went up the "Oh my God I'm not going back down that way" tempered with "Do you think the other trail will be this hard?" and "How could anyone think this is a anyone can hike it trail?" What we discovered on the way down is that indeed there's a gentle but steep trail up, instead we took it down. I told my wife that I don't want to hike anymore mountains no matter how little they are. Up kills me and Sonshine, and down takes out Wife and SweetPea. What I discovered is that I really like meandering trails along rivers or lakes, trails that lead me through forest or glen. But, mountains they just make me cry. Now to be fair to the mountains, I am way out of shape. The hike also made me and wife realize that I need to refocus and take better care of myself.

Later that day we drove to Lake Placid to eat a late lunch. Oh how I'd forgotten how good NY buffalo wings drool for! Then we went swimming to end a very long but enjoyable day.

Our last day we tore down the tent and headed back home, sunned and rested, a little achey but good; I'd say my prayer was answered.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Vacation and a New Computer

If all goes according to the Tracking Tool the family's new desktop computer arrives today. Our current computer is limping along, even with a new bigger and better hard drive, a newly reloaded OS, and TLC from my friend Computer Geek - it just isn't happy. So we figured it was better to get another one before the current one decides to depart us for good. I bought the same brand again (the price and hardware options got me); however, if this one has the same problems and needs replacing as soon as "limping" did, then that's it - I won't buy another one of that brand.

I also got a router...(1) I've wanted to figure out how it works and now seems like a perfect opportunity, (2) I'll eventually have a laptop and will need to do this anyways, and (3) I'm hoping to keep "limping" around for another year or so.

So prayers that I don't pull out all my hair and ruin my vacation over getting hardware all working and playing nicely before Sunday.

The time of our Adirondack trip has arrived. Prayers for no rain; I can handle cloudy, even chilly, but please no rain! The Wife is really happy that I've finally agreed to go canoing. I figure if I can handle being in one of those push-pedal boat thingies then I can make the leap to a canoe. Sonshine will finally be out of his boot and in tennies, he can't run yet, but yea for more comfort and normal walking. I also told Sonshone that he could bring his nerf guns and we can shoot at soda cans and play capture the flag, his grin was awesome. [We gave up a few years back on no toy guns, and I think The Wife gave up on "you can only point your gun at the ground or the sky"] My last plan is to take my camera and Sweetpea on a couple hikes. But, my real hope for our vacation is that my spiritual well recharges, my children relax into Summer and recover from a stressful year, and that my wife finds inner peacefulness too.

I took some pictures of flowers that were growing in flower beds planted by seniors in an assisted living center while I waited to begin my pastoral visits. So, here's some glory:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I got to read my letter of recommendation. It's a beautiful, lovingly written, and thoughtful letter. This process continues to humble, but I imagine that's part of the point :) Though I have to admit my first reaction was one of doubt. My own self mirror...well...let's just say it easily magnifies the flaws, and my own inner need of perfection (it's okay to laugh here). The letter includes a piece of where her strength is a weakness, and hence my own mirror magnified this piece of the letter. But as I've reread it, left it aside, and then reread, I can only smile because they've a point.

And, it scared me that my letter of recommendation had a "flaw" in it, because shouldn't all letters of this type only reflect how awesome you are? But the letter does reflect this, and it reflects my humanity, and that's something all good priests need.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I'm Game

99 Things About Me (Everything that I have done is in bold)

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to DisneyWorld

8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch-hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping.

27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language--does it count if you forgot it?

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke--and won hundred bucks, singing a spanish song while very drunk

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia- Czech republic

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching

63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone

78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club

93. Got a tattoo

94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Inkling 11: Love

Inkling 11: Love
I've been struggling with the thought that love can't fix everything, I was beginning to doubt the power of love, and then I had sit down and ask myself some questions. And the word that I've fixated on is fix. I think asking love to fix something isn't in its job description; not even under unconditional. Love and Unconditional Love are about presence, and I've been re-reminded of this of late. Re-reminded that love in all of its many forms requires one to wait, not always, but at times. Love leaves doors open, it's up to the other to walk through.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Inklings on Church

Seeing as one day I hope to be a pastor, these inklings are mostly a reminder to myself.

Inkling 1: I've been thinking that all churches should have a vegetable garden and the produce should be divided so that a small portion can be used at church gatherings and all the rest be given away to soup kitchens or food pantries.

Inkling 2: Pastors and deacons should walk through and around the community in which their physical church sits at least once a week. They should know their neighbors well.

Inkling 3: Have your church host every event under the sun. Thus giving parishioners opportunities to talk about said event and/or invite people to said event. Sends message to community that your doors are open. That the church is welcoming.

Inkling 4: Liturgy is meant to be alive; every congregation should have one experimental Sunday.

Inkling 5: Someone on the church staff has to be technologically savvy and hip.

Inkling 6: I love pieces of the emergent church philosophy, but it often feels like the sole purpose is to recruit 20 and 30 somethings, and the rest of us are chopped liver. In my opinion creative, compassionate, radical hospitality church just plain gets people excited no matter what your age is.

Inkling 7: Pastors should join or form interfaith peer groups.

Inkling 8: All churches should recycle and compost, and if they have a community garden then they should use their own compost.

Inkling 9: The details really do matter.

Inkling 10: If your pastor isn't praying, modeling prayer, and talking about prayer; something is probably wrong...go hug that pastor.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010

Getting Recommended

I had my last Parish Discernment Committee meeting this month. They are going to recommend me to my pastor and the vestry. This will happen once my pastor returns from sabbatical - not as soon as I would have liked but not horribly far away either - if timing works with me, then the recommendation to will be given in September. The PDC will share with me their recommendation prior to it going to the vestry, which will be really nice.

If the vestry affirms the PDC's decision, then the diocesan side of the discernment process will begin: meet the bishop, get permission to get pyche eval done, then get permission to meet with the COM (of course assuming all positives/thumbs up). This timeframe takes me into 2011, so lots of time to get my seminary applications prepared :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day

This image was on another blog...however, it is worth resharing:

As part of your Earth Day activities consider turning off the lights and TV and computer earlier today, and sit outside, breathe deeply and gaze up into the sky.

Then tomorrow if you have Netflix or some other way of watching movies instantly, watch "Food, Inc." This documentary is heart-wrenching. What we've done to farming (and to farmers) and livestock: chicken, cows, pigs, is horrific.

The Earth Day picture got the smirky laugh, but when it comes to our planet, and how we as a global humanity treat each other, Earth is stuck with Stupid. It can leave you feeling paralyzed, the destruction we've grown to see as the norm; I keep reminding myself that we can repent (turn around), we can change.

So thank you to the journalists who risk their lives, thank you to the documentarist who's passion is to tell us a truth we might otherwise turn blind eyes to, thank you to politicians who put what's right ahead of staying elected, and thank you to the everyday person who makes a decision to make the better choices with how and where they spend their money and place theirs votes.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I really like the movie Up! and I've shared that before, but it has so many layers to it. I've now seen it 3 times and could watch it 3 more; I saw it again this weekend because my wife hadn't seen it yet. There aren't many movies I could say that of (well, hmmm, actually that was before children).

But, I'm thinking of seeing if the Pastoral Care team I'm a part of would be interested in watching parts of it. There are alot of moments in the film that we could use as jumping off points. When the wife, Ellie, dies, and the husband, Carl, is now on his own. When he's being forced to move out of his own home and into a retirement/assisted living facility. The questions about what it means to have lived a fulfilled life? The guilt/regret Carl carries because he feels he didn't keep his promise to his wife.

Then there's the bonding that happens between the boy, Russell, and Carl; the two age groups I think that often feel unheard and under-valued; give meaning to each others life; they save each other literally and spiritually.

Then there's zen moments about attachment to things and realizing what really matters. Russell's capacity for love and innocence is beautiful.

I'd like to watch it again by myself and slowly.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lists: I'm going to topple over under the weight of sticky notes

So, I've got a like too many lists running through my head. There's the moving list, the change of address list, the order to move rooms in list, the application lists, the discernment lists, the not really a list but calendar where is my head supposed to be today guide.

I've got the family traveling next weekend. Then I've got checklist with the new landlord (oh missed that list in my list above) -- hoping to get keys that day. So, that I can start moving la familia into the home.

I've got traveling to NY City for a training that I must have for the process, cause who knows when my hometown will have this training, not even slotted to happen in 2010, but maybe sometime off to NY. No, there will be no fun had...6 hour drive and 2 days of 8hr training. Leave Saturday late afternoon to return to my own state oh around midnightish. So that Sunday I can continue moving.

The following weekend after NY, friends helping me and la familia move big heavy items into new home.

In the midst of this must keep key ministries moving along. End of May pass out from exhaustion.

I have one last discernment meeting (yes in May) and then I go into a holding pattern until my pastor returns. However, between now and then I plan to have as much of my applications to seminaries done as is possible while I'm in said holding pattern. I do know what the outcome of my PDC is, but until my May meeting, I am not counting my eggs.

I've also decided most brilliantly to try to relearn Spanish. I've got a couple of books I want read before September, I've essays to write, lists to maintain, and exercising to do, oh yeah and a family to hang out with, and pets to walk, and ministries I love. I think I've just encountered the rest of my life :)

Friday, April 09, 2010

Natalie Merchant on TED Talks

I've been a fan of Natalie Merchant's for years, and on TED she does a live performance well worth listening to and watching.


Friday, April 02, 2010

Finding My Way Home

Last night for me was Maundy Thursday. At our church we have the meal within the nave of the church, we sit in a U-shaped formation, we eat soup and bread, some cheese and nuts. A simple meal. After the meal, and the dishes are all cleared away the service begins. At a certain point in the service as the altar is stripped down, so are the tables we just ate at. Then as the service draws closer to the end we begin to wash each others feet. It is amazingly beautiful and hard to wash another person's feet.

During the meal I was asked how the process was going for me, had it started, and I said that it was and where I was in the process and what parts were left. She asked if I had decided on a seminary and I said I was considering two, and one I had seen already and felt very drawn too. She asked where it was located, and I told her...then she said so you guys really left your hearts in Texas. My reply was, well, you know there's enough love for both places.

But, I think my southern heart hurts here alittle bit, the square peg that has managed to slip into the rectangular slot.

My family and I are moving once again within the same town we've lived in for the last 2 years. Then we'll have another move at the end of next summer (hopefully to seminary), and another move after that (first placement), and possibly another move after that. There is no place to come home to anymore except to be home where I (and the family) are at. There are no more roots just seeds, at least that's what the next 7-10 years look like. And I wonder how that will shape my children, what joys and sorrows will go with them, how that will shape how they form and maintain relationships? Perhaps the question is really my own.

My next discernment meeting is approaching, and I'm worried that my theology is too simple, but we shall see.

A blessed crucifixion and resurection to you all.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Free Association

So I got this from another blog, who got it from another, and you get the idea...

What comes to mind when:
  1. Bow out :: not in my vocabulary
  2. Relationships :: are very important to me, and never feel like I have enough time to honor them all well
  3. Facebook :: is a great way to have an idea of what your friends are willing to shout out to the world, and I do love when people post pictures
  4. Items :: create clutter and attachement, and I'm getting really tired of moving them around
  5. Ours :: my children...giggles...I mean our children...well as much as any human being is able to be loved and separate at the same time
  6. Sting :: used to write great music, and his songs opened up the idea in my then teenaged head that I could write songs and call it poetry
  7. Hangover :: not worth it
  8. Contacts :: connections, relationships, differing levels - such a separate feeling word
  9. Lonely :: quietly worried about the loneliness I hear other pastors speak of
  10. Seven days :: and then God rested and called it good

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Life And Such

So, things continue to progress well in the land of discernment. I was asked to choose a book that was meaningful to me/had a be impact on me. It led to some very good discussion, in fact we didn't talk about the other book at all. So we'll talk about that one next time, another book, and a theological topic or two. I'm more relaxed now that I know what they're looking for discussion-wise from book sharing/reading. I definitely don't need to go in having a thesis ready :) Just (ah just) what struck me, what made me squirmy, what touched me. Which in many ways is easier, and more present.

I've managed to stick with working out. Although I did pull a muscle along my rib cage recently (I think from doing "the lawnmower"), not too badly, but enough for discomfort or pain if I over-extend my arm. So, I'm trying to convince myself that not doing a free weight routine until it heals is ok. I'm finally seeing/feeling for myself the changes in my upper body (and not just the wife saying she sees changes), that nice V-shape you get. I lost 2 inches off the hips, but well we'll leave it at but for the rest :) I guess, what's making it hard mentally for me is that my body shape is changing but I'm not losing any weight. Sigh, I know muscle weighs more then fat, but you can only say that so often.

I've been very good about getting my walking videos done. Yes, walking inside. I use two of Leslie Sansone's dvds (). Finding good exercise dvds that work for you I've found is hard. The trainer's personality has to fit, the way the exercise is presented matters, well at any rate, her dvds keep me moving. I was able to complete the 5-mile walk, but after one section of boosted walking (light jogging) that was too much for the pulled muscle so I did the alternate movements instead and that was fine.

I'm trying to figure out how to get some pilates in to target a specific problem area, but that's a time issue. Although the wife is interested in doing this workout with me so maybe it'll happen this week.

My ministry project is moving along, and "they've" been great letting "the team" know what would be useful for them. So, the core mission is intact but the rest has changed, well no, it's begun to become more defined. And "they're" defining it which is awesome, cause that means they'll get what they need from our time together. And since we've gotten more defined more people are expressing interest in joining us.

Now, if only I didn't have another move coming my way. The crazy landlord wants us to sign another year long lease but to have a 30 day no cause kick you out clause (they're trying to sell house - and that is a long story), which we aren't willing to agree to. However, they won't commit to saying they'll take it out, just that they're working on the lease. So, while they're "working" we're out looking for a new place. So, I ask for prayers and well wishes that we find a nice home with decent landlords in the same part of town so that we don't have to put our children into another school.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


I'm doing lots of reading this month and next, though that's nothing new. I don't know if Rowan Williams still writes this way, but my oh my can he make a sentence last an entire paragraph. Plus his sentences are almost always miniature concepts. All this to say that I'll read his book at a certain pace, and then move onto the two books I also need to read, as well as some BCP reading. Then I will (a) sit and contemplate (b) write something out (c) contemplate some more (d) write some more to then (e) vocalize.

For me, the discernment process has moments of expand/contract, you know stretching; and then there are these moments were something within settles and takes root. For all of this it becomes so easy to get lost in the worries that come with discernment, the fears. In everything there is a lesson of self, a discovery, a reawakening, and so I re-awoke to something in myself that has always been there, but only well discovered no more believed to be true, to be rooted. And I wonder if the oscillation ever stops, maybe that is what deep prayer is for, to sooth the soul that cannot rest because it is always seeking what it knows it has lost, and can only be found in the stillness of an open heart.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Muscles and Auschwitz

So yeah, I'm getting some more muscles, and it came as quite a surprise. I was talking to someone and we were sitting down so my arm was slightly bent and I said the "and I just had to pinch myself" sentence and motion. I'm not sure the lady I was talking to registered my surprise, because internally I was surprised - there wasn't any flab to pinch! Even my triceps are getting firm.

I haven't finished the reading I need to get done, and get done soon. Instead I read Maus I and Maus II this weekend. Reading it, the way Vladek speaks reminded me alot of my own Polish grandmother. Her mother only spoke Polish, so Grandma didn't learn to speak English until 1st grade and the nuns were not gentle with her knuckles. I thought about my Grandfather who served during WWII as an infantryman and came back a different man who suffered from PTSD. I never met him - he died when my mom was nine, but my Grandma always told me how he'd have loved me and would have enjoyed my company. I know him only from a few photos, and the pieces that my mom or Grandma shared about him.

I learned that Auschwitz was in Poland, and was embarrassed that I had thought all these years that Auschwitz had been in Germany. I thought about all those who suffered, and the generations that carried a burden they could not name. I wonder about the burdens these our generations will carry from the wars, the genocides, the natural disasters as our world shrinks. What horrors do we turn blind eyes to? What ear-buds do we keep in place to avoid our own political maneuvering over healthcare, employment or lack there of, and let's not mention deficits and the children living in poverty.

I started thinking about my own history I carry, and what pieces of my parents history, and their parents history, and what pieces of my history am I handing off to my children. So, I'm glad for my new muscles, my need to keep my body healthy to keep my mind healthy, to allow my heart to be open so I carry burdens not my own until they can be let go by another.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Finally, some nice deep slow breaths

The past week has been hectic; I mean me and the fam are pretty busy but nothing like this past week, which will finally roll into normalcy on Wednesday.

But, it was also a week with moments of wow do I feel lighter. The wife and I finally feel like our children's school is finally doing things that will be helpful and positive for sonshine. Completing the GRE was another such moment. I didn't get rock star scores...I got exactly the score I needed on the verbal piece. Hopefully, I'll have the same results on the essay part as well.

Discernment is moving along. The group's dynamic was a little off, with one person unable to attend, another with a cold, and the other in a funky mood. But I did walk away with new insights, and I hope they did as well. So we'll continue to see how things go. I've got a lot of reading and exploring coming up.

My prayer life and exercise life got second fiddle (okay they got mostly put in the closet) last week. But, I did manage to get a little bit of exercise in and prayer, just not centering prayer.

Time to take those deep breaths through the nose...the kind that has you close your eyes and puff out your chest...boy do those feel good.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Dear Keeper of the Electrons

Dear Keeper,

I'm holding too many lemons this week, and there are too many important events coming up. But this is life isn't. I keep thinking things, heck life, will get easier. But that doesn't seem to be so. Oh, and I'm out of sugar, so sure I'll make lemonade, but who's going to want to drink it I wonder. Oh, other sour pusses.

Could I perhaps put tears in beers this week? I think a change would do me good. I think perhaps hanging out with folks wearing beer goggles may be just the thing I need.

Or perhaps I could do some work in the rose colored glasses fabrication plant?

No, you want me to plant lemon trees...wha...buttt...ummm...ok. I need to cultivate my lemons?? I should spend more time with my lemons!? Could I sign up for a triathlon instead? Yes, that was a joke...I shouldn't become a comedian you say. Hmmm.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The XX

Just discovered this group via NPR Music. Oh, it brings back my late teens and early twenties.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Goings On

So, in some ways there's always a ton of things going on, and in other ways not so much. Just depends on how you're tilting your head that day I guess.

I managed to avoid getting what took out the rest of my family. I don't know how, cause I always get whatever everybody else is getting. So thank you antibodies :)

My ministry project continues to move along. We're meeting tonight, and normally I'd be excited but I'm tired and running on exhaustible fumes which I have to keep replenishing with caffeine.

I've managed to stick to a pretty regular workout routine of 3 days of weights and 3 days of cardio for about 5 weeks now. Improvements, ehhh, not so real weight loss (1-2 lbs), but my traps are getting defined. It's weird that's almost always the first of my muscle groups to show signs of working out: not the arms, abs, or legs...nope my back, wish my behind would follow suit ;) I'm trying not to get discouraged, but instead focus on health benefits. I'm finally ready to increase the intensity on my cardio workout, and I've increased the weight on my dumbbells for certain exercises, I can even do 8 push-ups from the knees now. But, really deep down I was hoping for instant results...I need to quit lamenting the body I once had, and just focus on getting the one I've got into better shape. I'm not one to cut out pictures to use for visualization/motivation, but I'm even giving that a did lead to an interesting conversation with the wife about why there were women's midriffs on our closet door :)

Yesterday, I priced stoles and chasubles...sooo many selections and textures! One day maybe...My step 2 continues to go well. They are an amazing bunch of folks. We meet soon. Last time was talking about my spiritual autobiography; this coming time we'll begin to discuss theology, well, what's my theology. I think I'm going to add a picture of priests to my closet remind myself that it's ok to hope and believe; it's ok to allow myself to be this that I feel I am, even without the process confirming I got God's call for me right. The scariest part of discernment for ordination are these words: We do not feel you are called to ordained ministry. Where do you go from there...but really please don't respond to that question: it's rhetorical...and not something I even need to think about or entertain anymore than I already do. No, instead I'm enjoying the process, enjoying this time. Because you see, so far, the validation continues to come. But, who knows really...So we'll see.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I watched Up! with the kiddos as an after school PTO activity. It's really good...go out and rent it, and enjoy.

We do family movie night on Fridays...this week it's the new Nancy Drew, and I'm kinda excited about watching it. I liked reading Nancy Drew as a kid, so we'll see.

What I like best about our movie nights is (a) time together, (b) the discussions that usually happen afterwards, and (c) sharing movies I and or the wife watched when we were kiddos.

The kid's like movie night because they get to eat dinner in the living room while watching tv.

Enjoy your weekend.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Through the forest and into the trees
Winding round the underpinnings
What rock upholds
What water flows through the fissures

Down the stairs we go
To the stellar, the universally we
No flickering no wavering
Steady steady steady we go

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Dr. Martin Luther King Poem

The poem is written by Sunshine:

"Dr. Martin Luther King"
On MLK day
I feel happy
But if it is cold
I feel
It is MLK Day
His death was a disaster
He was a
His death
But it took

Mad World

Sunday, January 03, 2010

There's snow in these here parts

Yes, lots of snow, record setting amounts of it. So, the family and I stayed home. We shoveled and shoveled and shoveled, but we played games, watched a movie and watched some football. We rested. The last day of our vacation time is winding down to a few remaining hours of wakefulness.

My first week back into real time goes full throttle starting Tuesday and won't slow down until next Monday. I'm trying to take healthy mental health and physical health steps. Steps I can use for the rest of my life and into ministry (if I make it that far). One step is in beginning the exercise program; it's a 6 day-a-week program, and it's what's needed for now. Eventually, I'll taper down to 4 days a week program. I'm enjoying it, even though it kicks my behind. Prayer and learning aren't as scheduled; they need to become just is ises; I'm getting there.

Part of me dares to hope and to yearn, to trust, to believe. But, the part of me which guards my heart, the part of me that is the protector says whoa there chica, it might not happen, so don't get too trustful, don't get too hopeful. But, I think I'd like to give this part of myself a bit of a sabbatical, a well deserved rest. Time to enjoy the everyday miracles, instead of carrying around the everyday tragedies. I find myself thinking, these things will always be here, but this moment won't so look for the joy. It's time too become.