Thursday, December 04, 2008

Think about it

Went out to pre-paid dinner which included wine and water.

Drank lots of water, although not enough.

Drank no more than a sip of wine, so that I could taste the "newness" of it.

Didn't really enjoy my food, was a little bored with my company, drove home, ready for bed.

Would dinner have been better with libations?

Would it have mattered more who I was sitting with?

Would I ever have thought these thoughts, as opposed to simply drinking a lot of wine, if we didn't have the stringent drinking and driving rules that we do?


Monday, November 24, 2008

meeting together, looking away to Christ

This quote from A.W. Tozer came from Milton's Blog, Don't Eat Alone.

Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become "unity" conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified.

Milton was writing about the Communion of Holy Eucharist, and I agree whole-heartedly. I'd like to think this is the theology behind contemporary worship. I'm not sure. I think the key phrase is "looking away," as my experience in contemporary worship is that it is a "looking in."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Will I ever be timely with the Friday 5?

Last week's was on habitation:
5 places I have lived: what did I like, what kind of place was it, did anything special happen there.

1. I spent most of my life in one house, 211 Lincoln Road, Lincoln, Mass. I loved my growing-up house. I remember when we first moved and I couldn't see over the bathroom counter to the mirror and one day seeing my head in the mirror. I remember hiding in the large cupboard next to the stove, and climbing (with apparently prehensile toes) up to the top of the refrigerator, for whatever it was that my mom stored there. I remember the hot stillness of the crawl space before my mom renovated it into a master suite and the cool creepy basement with the coal chute, wood pile, and dark room. I think I thought all houses looked like mine, even when I knew plenty of houses that didn't.

2. From 9 on, we spent our summers in Westport, Mass, the town of my ancestors and where my mom now lives. I am rooted in my sense of place there: farms, fens, estuary, ocean. Westport was the perfect combination of cool trees, tall grass, balancing stone fences and water: river water that pulls in one direction or the other, slurping water in the shallow boat pond, salty water with the potential for jellyfish. I loved the sound of the waves lapping under Kate's boathouse and the smell of hot flowers: roses, rosehips, day lilies.

3. The room I lived in my senior year in college was papered in flowers. Posters, postcards, wallpaper strips - every wall had flowers and photographs. I also had 3 enormous windows with shutters. My room jutted out over the security office in the basement and it was almost as if it were it's own building. The ceiling was high and the windows went all the way up. I had a modern oak desk and a bed with drawers under the mattress. I fell out of my bed several times and sometimes slept on my futon. My desk was for show rather than work, as I had a carrel in library, but Felicity, the American Girl from colonial times, perched on top. That room was a sanctuary and I think I try to recreate it a little bit in every house we live in.

4. For 3 months Joe and I lived in a hotel suite in California, while he was going through his basic school for the Civil Engineer Corps. I can remember learning to make creamed corn and hanging out with my new Navy-wife friends. It wasn't so much of a place to remember as a time to remember: newly married, newly on our own, forging our own identity/ies. I also kept meticulous files!

5. I loved our house in Rhode Island. It was a raised ranch with few closets and little that charmed. But the landlady had the wall-to-wall ripped up and the entire living area was hardwood. There were ceiling fans in all the rooms and windows on each wall. The sunlight streamed into that house, especially the living room with its blousy white curtains. Ironic, isn't it, that I so disliked actually living IN Rhode Island?

**I've also lived in Brookline (when I was small); Nicaragua, where the rain pelted the tin roof and I could literally hear the cows come home past my window; Guam, more rain and a baby; California, where I tried my hardest to imbed myself in the ecology of the place as much as I was a part of my childhood homes; Indiana, where to my surprise I found I liked the Midwest, and had another baby; New Jersey and the absolute stillness of 9/11; Mississippi, where my home wasn't the address on my mail but the church building that bolstered me, buffered me, and made me see the world differently; and Sicily. I consider some friends' houses home, as in places where I have learned more about myself and who I want to be/am. St Anne's undercroft and choir room was my home for much of my elementary and jr high years and I was well-loved and cared for there. I consider some museums and the rehearsal space beneath Jordan Hall a type of home, as well. Being able to call more than a house a home prepared me well for a life that requires me to move.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

6 Degrees of...

Perhaps it's not fair when the degrees include the Navy and the Episcopal Church, but when they also include cake?!

The post below is from Cake Wrecks. Now, I don't know this woman personally, but I think she's funny and I like her dedication to cynicism in the kitchen. Sometimes I disagree with her - the post with the head-stealing eyeball dolls is a great example.
Aren't they great? I.MUST.HAVE.THOSE.CAKES.

Ahem. The eyeball people have NOTHING to do with degrees of separation. Well, there is some separation going on there, but it doesn't have anything to do with my post.

Back to Cake Wrecks. I like Cake Wrecks. I also like my friend Nancy. I was going to put a photo of her right here ** but I can't find any. I'm rather distraught, because although I am not the world's best correspondent, I do pride myself on being able to keep track of friends. I do have several very blurry photos of her younger daughter, but that's not quite the same thing, is it?

Nancy and I were neighbors in Rhode Island. We moved around the corner, she moved to Japan. She came back for a short visit, we picked her and the girls up on one end of Rt 91 and drove them back to the other...and then we moved to Sicily and they moved, well, from Okinowa closer to Tokyo.

Nancy sends great emails. She has put her quirky sense of humor and master's in French literary criticism to great use in detailing for us Americans the Japanese way of life.

A few months ago I received an email from Nancy telling me, and the rest of the recipients of her emails, that she had set up a blog. Big Harmony. (I don't get the title and I always look at it in my blogroll and think, "Do I know any polygamous families?")

Go on. Check out Big Harmony.

And scroll down on the right a little bit.

What's that you see? Cake Wrecks?

What a small world it is!

Ciao bella, Nancy!

(And, please! send me a photo!)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Far Out Man

This photo comes to you via Grand Foret from Cake Wrecks and was created for the 2007 Kentucky State Fair by a woman named Heather.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Look at the photo I found

I really need to send in my digitals to get printed - but I found this just floating around the desktop:

The Tao of being me

Doesn't the tao teach that language is imperfect? That you can know something to be truth, but when you try to articulate it, it is no longer as true? My knowledge of Taoism is somewhat shaky, to be sure!

Well, that's what I always thought the Tao taught. And that's my problem right now. There's lots inside my head, but nothing in my fingertips!

I did make terrible bruscetta last night. How does one mess up bruschetta?! I don't know, but I managed it.

Off to dinner out in town, maybe something will zing through me at the table and what's inside my head will gel into words on the page.

Monday, September 15, 2008

For Di, as a lover of Paul

Here is the epistle appointed for this Sunday:

20It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death.

21For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. 23I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; 24but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. 25Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, 26so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.

27Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, 28and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. 29For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well— 30since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

Without the benefit of historical analysis, we'll have to put off a discussion of what Paul meant by his "desire to depart." Was he ill? old? I can tell you that the majority of folks in my church on Sunday would say that he wanted to be with Christ for the End Days because this world is Evil.

But Oh! That first line: "...I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body..." Let us all speak with Boldness, believing that Christ is exalted through us!

Paul might prefer to die and live in Christ, but being Here and Now isn't such a bad thing. He doesn't whine or moan or talk about his bunions. He is convinced that he will remain in the flesh and continue to work for Christ with the people - sharing in their boasting of Jesus Christ. I tend to think about boasting about Christ as a particularly fundamentalist philosophy that forces the eschatology of Christ over the creation of Heaven on Earth.

It's the last paragraph that I like the most: put aside what is to come and LIVE NOW: stand firm in "one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel" and "in no way intimidated by your opponents." Be bold!

And now we're at the last line of the reading, and I would have to graciously disagree with Paul. I don't see where God says that we have "the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well." Yes, Jesus says, "Pick up your cross." But he doesn't say what that cross is, only we, as individuals, can say that. Yes, Jesus says that we must give up everything and follow him, but he doesn't ask us to suffer, just to follow. And, if in one place Jesus says that we must give up our families, in others he acts on behalf of suffering families: Mary, Martha & Lazarus, Jairus' daughter, the Syro-Phoenician woman...which speak loauder? Actions or words? Paul has just told us to "live your life in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ." Not to read or to write our lives but to LIVE them.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Just as we are many people called to worship through one prayer book so might we be many people called to one ordination process. As I make the rituals and prayers of the Book of Common Prayer my own, might I not also make the ordination process my own?

Here’s where the analogy breaks down: We are called the People of the Book. Everything we do, as the people of God, on a Sunday morning is written in that book. I was once told that I could pray in any way I wanted on a Sunday morning, as long as the whole congregation had the same prayer in their hands. It is our communal actions in worship that define us as a community.

The ordination process is hidden. Its rubrics are only seen by the chosen few. We as followers can’t make ourselves in its image because we can’t see the image – we can’t even imagine the image. To hide the process away, like pre-Vatican II priests turned away from the congregation, creates a hocus pocus effect on the transformative nature of the Sacrament of Ordination.

After a year of worshiping in a non-denominational chapel, I know the value of knowing what comes next. The Book of Common Prayer is the skeleton that allows us freedom of movement. Wouldn’t it make sense that the ordination process be the same?

Wade in the water

God's gonna trouble the water...

I love that gospel hymn. We used to sing it on Wednesday evenings at St Patrick's. I love it because it is so simple and yet confounding. At first it seems an invitation to play (at least to these beach-raised ears), but why invite someone into troubled waters? When I sing it, not very often anymore, I find it tantalizing. Where are the waters that are still that will be troubled? All around me? My home life often seems still, or like a river, fast-moving but smooth. Lakes, at least the lakes of my New England childhood, are dark on the bottom, and unknown, even as the surface is mirror-still. My church life has always had the assumption of the stillness of a large lake - it's so large that nothing can stir it up too much.

For the past 13 years the reality of my life, home and church together, has resembled nothing so much as the ocean. We move often, change the pieces a bit: where we worship, where we learn, what we eat, like waves constantly on the shoreline. Sometimes a neap tide sweeps out and leaves what we thought to be hidden, airholes and slime trails and the imprints of waves. As a child I spent summer nights in a boathouse, where the river met the Atlantic. Spring tides, the opposite of a neap tide, would wash right up to the foundation, to the base boards! The house would rock, gently, secured in it's concrete moorings. On those sticky summer nights the spring tide felt gentle and soothing, certainly not troubling! But most frequently, the waves are just there, rolling in and rolling out.

Surely we know where this analogy is leading? Neap and Spring tides are a constant, occurring month in and month out. But hurricanes are out of the ordinary. The waves of a hurricane break foundations and change shorelines, both under the water and at the water's edge, forever. My beloved clapboard St Patrick's, where I first learned that God invites us into the water and invites us into the trouble, was washed away by a hurricane.

I don't want to speak for the people of St Patrick's, as by the time of their trouble, we had already moved on - the current of Navy life taking us away. But from afar, the troubled waters of Katrina, of homelessness, of government ineptitude were what showed that the foundations of the community of St Patrick's are solid, drilled deep in the sub-strata, and while shaken, unbroken.

In community, we all live in waters that can be troubled: by the policies of our government, the choices of our church leadership, the actions of our neighbors.

But what about as individuals? A few weeks ago the Gospel lesson from Matthew showed Peter stepping out on the smooth water, to be like the apparently calm Jesus. Peter steps out and the waters are troubled, he falters, and Jesus catches him. I'm not going to take the time to go into the normal exegesis of this passage. Rather, I was caught by the discussion at RevGalBlogPals about the troubling of the waters that occur when someone steps out of the boat. Peter steps out, towards Jesus yes, but away from his fellow fishermen. That rending of relationship causes waves. I'm not advocating NOT rocking the boat. I'm struck by the truth of the fact. We need the people who travel with us in our boats; in our boats we can weather the troubling waters.

Church people get this, on many levels. I've sat in many churches, particularly those on the eastern shore, whose ribbed naves (the very word means ship!) mirror the boats at rest in the harbor. Church people believe in communal worship and fellowship "to give us strength and courage to do the work You have given us to do." BCP p. 365 In the tradition of the social gospel, being together in worship allows us to walk into the waters of the troubled world and be the change that troubles complacency.

The Episcopal Church takes the water analogy even further. The Episcopal Church encompasses many people who are called into worship through the Book of Common Prayer. It is our communal actions in worship that define us. I was once told that I could pray anything I wanted, as long as all the congregants had the same prayer in front of them. We believe that we are made members of the family of God at baptism. We are the one member of the Anglican Communion that creates a covenant with each member at baptism. Baptism transforms us from ordinary individuals into the body of Christ, able and affirmed to do Christ's work in the world. The rubrics of our prayer book instruct that when a priest baptizes, it must be with the whole congregation as witnesses. Only in extreme need may we baptize in private. Everyone in the congregation repeats the baptismal vows together, and we repeat them again at Easter. Each time we repeat them, we firm up our boat a little more. And we compel that boat further out into the waters of the world.

My own little boat seems to be leaking a bit. I haven't had the gracious good fortune to share in a baptism or repeat my covenant at Easter in a long while. I am not buoyed enough to brave the troubled waters of our society, nor am I brave enough to delve into my own complacency.

Lord, help me to find the waters that I can wade in and be with me in troubling.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

young michael phelps

Apologies - I have no idea where this came from, but I love it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

And on a different note entirely

From the Way of the Fathers

You’re St. Jerome!

You’re a passionate Christian, fiercely devoted to Jesus Christ and his Church. You are willing to labor long hours in the Lord’s vineyard, and you have little patience with those who are less willing or able to work as you do. Your passions often carry you into temptation zones of wrath, lust, and pride.

Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!

don't let me forget

Here's my reading list, for whenever it is that I get around to reading critically:

Not My Mother's Sister: Generational Conflict and Third-Wave Feminism, Astrid Henry
ManifestA: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future, Jennifer Baumgarder, Amy Richards
Third Wave Feminism: Expanded, second edition, Stacy Gillis, Gillian Howie, Rebecca Munford, eds.

I feel as though I am struggling against my own 2nd-wave feminist upbringing as well as the very traditional culture of the Navy. Neither of these communities are unloving, they just don't get it.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Girls with Croziers

I've been searching for the photo of the women bishops from Lambeth. I've found it, but it belongs to others, so I am going to have to link you forward. Not a bad thing, as I've really enjoyed reading her blog immensely:

Please go to Allie's Lambeth Steward blog.

You'll have to scroll a bit and the photo's awfully tiny...but I can't help but smile when I look at it.

In the larger, all-bishops + some photos that are also available (Mark+ of Ohio, also Dave Walker's Cartoon Church) the bishops are smiling, frowning, waving (in Mark's case), looking bored...

I love to look at Bishop Wolfe, laughing and Bishop Cate with her hair in her face - both women have led dioceses of mine - they are all clearly have a great time just BEING THEMSELVES.

And for that, I praise God.

Thank you, Allie!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

twice in one day?

Couldn't help it - ran across this list and had to follow-through:

This is from something called ‘The Big Read’, from the NEA came up with a list of their top 100 books and they estimate that the average adult has only read 6 of these books. I've bolded the ones I've read.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (most of them, anyway)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

But what about Candide? What about Mary Shelley's Frankenstein? Ivanhoe? Moll Flanders?

Why Da Vinci Code?!

I guess I have a list to take to the library with me :)


I have never believed in, listened to, or read tarot cards. But I was intrigued after reading Snow on Roses' post.

This just sums up being me - unbelievably, but truly:

You are The Star

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Star is one of the great cards of faith, dreams realised

The Star is a card that looks to the future. It does not predict any immediate or powerful change, but it does predict hope and healing. This card suggests clarity of vision, spiritual insight. And, most importantly, that unexpected help will be coming, with water to quench your thirst, with a guiding light to the future. They might say you're a dreamer, but you're not the only one.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Lovin' Spoonful Friday 5

I confess I love the Lovin' Spoonful because they unabashedly remind me of my dad. I don't know anyone else in the world who listens/ed to them!

Here's the RevGalBlogPals Friday 5:

Think summer......are you there? Below you will find five words or phrases. Tell us the first thing you think of on reading each one. Your response might be simply another word, or it might be a sentence, a poem, a memory, a recipe, or a story. You get the idea:

1. rooftop
Matthew 10:27 (no, really, this was the first thing I thought of) "What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops." I think because I was researching for Wednesday night midweek children's ministry (that's a mouthful) and read that the flat roofs of the Levant were natural places from which to shout.
2. gritty
Food at the beach. Has there ever been a day at the beach when you didn't eat sand? When Wylie was a baby he used to shove whole fistfuls into his mouth. That makes for icky-sticky diapers, let me tell you!
My father and mother, both city dwellers, use/d the word "gritty" to describe certain neighborhoods in Boston, and it has a negative connotation for me - a sort of wasted, gang-land vibe.
3. hot town (yeah, I know, it's two words)
New York in August!
4. night
Ditto, only because I can hear them together. I love cities at night in the summer.
5. dance
Eh, nothing comes to mind. Except, "not me!"

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Friday Five - Beach Trip

More from the RevGalBlogPals:

So in honor of summer, please share your own beachy memories, plans, and dreams with a "Beach Trip" Friday Five.

1. Ocean rocks, lake limps? Vice versa? Or "it's all beautiful in its own way"?
I think it's all beautiful, but for swimming it has to be the ocean. There's something icky about fresh water that reminds me of swimming in blood. And those snapping turtles of my camp youth...

2. Year round beach living: Heaven...or the Other Place?
I love the beach all year. No place is more beautiful than the beach in November. I'm not sure I'd want it for eternity. However, Heaven surely includes insta-maid service, so beach tar and sand wouldn't be a source of irritation...

3. Any beach plans for this summer?
Most beaches here are shingle, no sand castles. So, the Lido perhaps (that's the Italian version where beach chairs are lined up with precision and you pay a few euro to rent your chair for the day). I haven't really thought about the beach much, here. Perhaps I should plan? Mmmm....Greece....

4. Best beach memory ever?
We spent the summers at the beach when I was growing up. When I was a tiny thing we lived in a double house (two ancient houses that had been smooshed together in the kitchen) with an older couple in Yarmouth, Mass, my mom's hometown. We took swim lessons every day, but the beach was special. The beach involved chairs and buckets and a stop at Village DoNut. It was a short drive and a long walk over the dunes. They had a clam shack that always smelled deliciously of forbidden french fries, although occasionally we bought a Chunky bar. While I have vivid memories of the hot sand and the smells and the sharp sounds of gulls, I don't remember being in the water at all.

5. Fantasy beach trip?
I think Greece qualifies. I'd like a house/apartment across the street from the beach, with a little restaurant. Like the town in His Dark Materials where all the adults' souls have been eaten (not that I want that, I just like the way the town is imagined). Best part of the fantasy: everyone speaks English.

Bonus: Share a piece of music/poetry/film/book that expresses something about what the beach means to you.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Another try at the Friday Five - very late

Friday Five: Grand Tour

In honor of these upcoming trips, herewith your Grand Tour Friday Five.

Name five places that fall into the following categories:

1) Favorite Destination -- someplace you've visited once or often and would gladly go again
I have been really digging NYC recently. I think because my sister has lived there for such a long time, I always felt intimidated by the City. There was just no way I could ever get around like she does. Lately, though, I've been much more comfortable with my own unknowing, a point of view I've always held while in other places. Aside from the cost of just BEING in NYC, there is so much to do - and in the warmer months, there is so much to do just outside.

2) Unfavorite Destination -- someplace you wish you had never been (and why)
Truly, there is not one place that I have visited that I would refuse to go to again. That said, why go back? There is SO MUCH OUT THERE!

3) Fantasy Destination -- someplace to visit if cost and/or time did not matter
In high school I thought the ideal trip would be Istanbul, Ravenna and Rome. I still think that's a fairly fabulous trip. And if that falls through, North Africa: Tunisia, Morocco...

4) Fictional Destination -- someplace from a book or movie or other art or media form you would love to visit, although it exists only in imagination
Tolkein's Middle Earth. I am sure there are other be amended!

5) Funny Destination -- the funniest place name you've ever visited or want to visit
I can't believe I never made it to Hot Coffee, Mississippi. It's a little town just off the main route North from the Coast - too far, apparently, as I was always in a hurry. It started out as a farm with a sign nailed to a tree at the crossroads.

I've sort of made it a mission to visit as many underground places as I possibly can. So, they're not really funny, but high on my list of places are the Roman catacombs, the catacombs beneath San Giovanni in Siracusa and the Etruscan tombs in Tuscany.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Friday 5 - a wee bit late

Friday I was consumed with a tween party, so I read but didn't play. Yesterday I completely forgot. Sunday morning it is!

This is certainly a strange way to start out a Friday Five but it made me think about what I might like to do if I knew it would only last for 24 hours. There are no reality boundaries to these imaginings. So here are the five things for you to consider...

1. If you could dramatically change your physical appearance for 24 hours, what would you do?

I'd be flat-chested. Like, an A-cup. And then I'd (also rather magically) be able to go for a really long run. And then I'd have the energy to go out dancing. I'd like to know what it feels like to do those physical things without big gazongas, and I'd like to know if folks really pay attention to them.

2. If you could live in another place for 24 hours, where would you go?

As it is only a day, I'd go to the Antarctic. Generally speaking it's too cold for me - but I can do anything for a day!

3. You get to do somebody else's job for a day...

Hmmmm....I'm not convinced I want anyone else's job. Maybe Archbishop Tutu. Obviously, he works, but he doesn't work as a priest, necessarily. So, he uses his priestly role to do other stuff. (No, not particularly articulate, but you get the idea!)

4. Spend the day with another person from anywhere in time and space...

Abraham Lincoln. He's the first person to come to mind. See #5.

5. A magical power is yours. Which one would you pick?

Time travel! I'd be a fly on the wall in all the places I've wanted to "see." And, as it is a magical power, I wouldn't have to do it all in 24 hours, I could stretch out those hours to fit it all in :)

Monday, April 14, 2008

I love me some fried chicken

Which is good, cuz that's what we had for dinner tonight.

Easy-peasey!! And makes a great lunch the next day...

*cut chicken breasts into chunks
*soak in buttermilk until you remember to take them out and start dinner
*heat oil in skillet
*toss together whole wheat flour, thyme, salt & pepper (oooh, some cayenne would have been great!)
*take dripping pieces of chicken out of buttermilk, toss with flour and place in hot oil
*let fry until golden on one side (about 3 minutes) and then turn over and cook another 2-3 minutes
*keep warm in the oven while you make up the rest

We ate ours with fresh green beans and fresh crusty bread. I had a nice fruili, the kids drank milk.

Tomorrow, they'll have chicken-wrap sandwiches: spread ranch dressing on a tortilla, add shredded lettuce, sliced chicken and a little Parmesan (if you are feeling fancy). Roll. Slice in 2. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap (I recommend stretch tite, always), then in foil. Make sure there's something else cold in the lunch box, add some goldfish crackers, maybe some beans or carrots and a piece of chocolate.

Almost makes me want to repeat 5th grade!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday 5

Mother Laura over at RevGalBlogPals writes:
We are right in the middle of a move--only twenty minutes away, but we're still a mix of busy, excited, nervous and surprisingly full of grief about what we're leaving, for me at least. So this week's Friday Five asks about your experience of the marvels and madness of moving...

1. How many times have you moved? When was the last time?
We moved twice when I was a child, but for most of my young life we lived in one lovely house in the Boston subarbs. Considering the tumultuous nature of my childhood, never having to physically move was a blessing.
Since I've been married, we've moved 8 times (in 13 years). Those are duty-station changes. We've also moved 3 times within those moves, creating a grand total of 11 moves, 2 overseas!

2. What do you love and hate about moving?

3. Do you do it yourself or hire movers?
The Navy moves us - thank God! There is such freedom in knowing that it's not up to you - either where to go or how to get it all there. It creates a different attitude towards "stuff." The one time I freaked out and had to have my scrapbooks in the car with me, I was paranoid the entire time that someone would steal the car or they'd get wet, or whatever. Other than the photographs, nothing is that important to me that I would worry about stuff more than peeps. (And I still don't have a solution for the photos. Although the new ones are all online, the old ones are the baby pics...)

4. Advice for surviving and thriving during a move?
Don't worry about it. Really. It's just stuff.

That said:

Do know what you have and don't leave things of value out-and-about.

Know what is allowed. (Years ago, movers would empty all rubbermaid-type containers, pack that stuff in cardboard, and then ship the empty containers. I would always have to ask that the movers NOT unpack the nicely-organized boxes.)

Keep an eye on your movers; when there are more than 2 movers in your home, particularly in one room, get a buddy to help you.

You can also always UN-do a box. I had to rescue Joe's Scotch from the last move.

I like to pre-position for a move: I put all knick-knacks in one room, all books in one room (except kids' books, those stay in their rooms), all wall-stuff in one room. As we move often, we don't keep the same things in the same room. It's nice to know that I won't open a box full of clothes and find my icons, ya know?

Finally, your movers may not be the brightest of guys (or girls). But they're taking care of your stuff. So, buy them lunch, give them your liquor if you are moving overseas, chat with them, introduce your friend who is helping you, and make sure they understand you. In the kitchen boxes of our most recent move were opened boxes of goldfish crackers and moldy cookies. The guys who did our kitchen DID NOT hear me when I showed them where to pack and where not to pack.

**things that you should pack in your car: chargers, corded phone, screwdriver & hammer with claw, toilet tissue.

5. Are you in the middle of any inner moves, if not outer ones?
We are always in the middle of a move! No, not really, but sometimes it seems that way. Which can be good - you can live with anything for a short time, even a teal bathroom - and I like moving my furniture around to fit the next-new-place. But, it takes time and energy - not just to pack and unpack, but also to get accustomed to a new place, new faces, new routines...and thus, I often don't get other, internal-move stuff done.

The physical move has also taken away from my vocationally settling down. Did you know that the Episcopal church does not look favorably upon people who move around a lot?

Bonus: Share a piece of music/poetry/film/book that expresses something about what moving means to you.
mmmm....I'll have to come back to this one!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

THIS is my new favorite meal

Quinoa Salad - Mediterranean style *props to the Silver Palate Basics cookbook, as that was where this started.

1 cup boiling water
2 cups quinoa

boil quinoa 10 minutes, covered

stir in 1/2 cup raisins, cook 5 more minutes, uncovered, until liquid is evaporated

spread quinoa mixture on baking sheet to cool

when cool-to-touch, mix in large bowl with:
1 -2 blood oranges, peeled and cut into small chunks
2 scallions, sliced white - 1" green
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pistachios, unsalted, unroasted
1/4 cup new (fruity) olive oil
2 tsps fresh globe (spicy) basil, shredded
salt & pepper to taste

Serve as a side dish or a luncheon salad. Will keep, covered, several days in fridge.

Grilled meat is very popular here, this side would go well with grilled pork. I think both times we've had this we've eaten it mushroom-stuffed flank steak.

Friday, April 04, 2008

RegGalBlogPals' Friday Five

OMG - I can't believe I am actually playing this week.

Maybe I need another glass of wine before I start to type...

Well, for some reason I can no longer access rgbp, but I'll try to muddle along to the best of my abilities!

The story of the road to Emmaus is one of my favorites in scripture.

How has God revealed him/herself to you in a:

1. Book
Sigh. When was the last time I read a book?! Okay, this might sound weird, but I really, really loved His Dark Materials (the Golden Compass trilogy), and I kept reading pieces of social gospel into the books, especially the second two.

2. Movie
The Last Temptation of Christ was really the first time I watched a movie and felt that it was telling me something. But that was 20 years ago! Surely there have been movies, tv even, that speak God to me now? I don't know. I don't think I am that much of a "watcher." I like to watch to escape!
Actually, I love House, M.D. I think there is amazing insight in the dramatization of a crochety old diagnostician. The last episode we watched was the one where the sick man mirrors the personalities of the doctors helping him. The woman who killed the dog was mirrored as being scared and not knowing what to do. When House asks her what she heard, she says "nothing." Of course she's scared. But that's not going to get in the way of her ministry. At the very end of the episode Hugh Laurie's character tells Omar Epps' that he was the only one who "heard" his persona and did something about it. He's changed. Isn't that the nature of scripture and gospel? We see in these characters people we do/not want to be, we see ourselves, and we see who we can be and turn toward the light. (Yes, influenced by children's church this week which is all about the conversion of Paul!)

3. Song
Lord of All Hopefulness, p. 482 1982 Hymnal Especially verse 3, which I shouldn't even bother to sing, as it makes me cry great big Alice-in-Wonderland tears every time!

4. Another Person
I see Christ in a lot people, particularly people who help me see Christ. Joe, Beatrice, Wylie, Deacon Debi, Father Peter, Bud...

5. Creation
I can't live here and not see the incredible JOY of GOD in creation. Just watching the clouds gives me Joy.

bonus(es): On Easter Sunday I witnessed the power of music to take us place we never thought we could go (again). We belong to a small chapel community with a Presbyterian preacher. He's trying his best, but he is not a liturgical chaplain. As a result, our Easter service had no "Alleluia, He is Risen! The Lord is Risen indeed." Nor did we have any alleluias (they weren't missed, no one had to hide them during Lent!) or any of the other aural indicators of Easter. However, we sang "The Day of Resurrection" as our recessional. I turned to look at Beatrice and she had tears just streaming down her face. She came and sat on my lap (my almost-11-year-old) and cried and cried. Oh, how she misses her old church and the power of the organ and her little muscles lifting her voice in prayer. It touched me deeply, to see how much closer to God she is through music.

I would add that there are place in scripture where, over years and years, I have continually found the presence of God:
Hebrews 13 "Be not afraid to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
Micah 6 "and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

And the '79 BCP, particularly Eucharistic Rite II, prayer C
"Open our eyes to see your hand at work in the world about us. Deliver
us from the presumption of coming to this Table for solace
only, and not for strength; for pardon only, and not for
renewal. Let the grace of this Holy Communion make us one
body, one spirit in Christ, that we may worthily serve the
world in his name.
Risen Lord, be known to us in the breaking of the Bread."

Monday, March 31, 2008

finally, feeling privileged

Actually, I always feel my privilege.
**Do you know when you type "privilege" more than two time in a row, it loses all sense of a word - there's too many i's or something. Which prompted me to look it up:

privilege (n): ME from the OF fr L privilegium - law for or against a private person: a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor.
privileged (adj): 1) having or enjoying one or more privileges (~ classes) 2) not subject to the usual rules or penalties because of some special circumstances

Right here we see the effects of privilege. The very use, putting aside understanding, of a dictionary connotes a level of education that is only attained with privilege.

I had no idea it was such a legalistic word, although "rights and privileges" is a legal phrase.

From the older form of the word, when we say we are privileged, it means we take on the immunity granted to our socio-economic class. This fits well with underlying assumption taken on in sociology of education, that regardless of where you start, your education will lift you to the privileged ranks. Education (in the United States) is more than book-learning, it has a lot to do with fitting in to the class system. In many ways, education white-washes all of us, even those who did not start out bland or those who try to chafe against their education.

Anyway, on to that meme:

From What Privileges Do You Have?, based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.

1. Father went to college *not only was going to college non-negotiable, 80% of my high school went on to 4-year college
2. Father finished college
3. Mother went to college
4. Mother finished college
5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor
6. Were in the same or higher class than your high school teachers
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home (I had more than 50 books in my childhood room!)
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
9. Were read children's books by a parent (all the way through high school, baby!)
10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively (it's taken me a while to parse this sentence, but yes, of course!)
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18* this is one of those questions that is generational more than indicative of class, I think. We just didn't USE credit cards. But my mom let me use hers if I needed to. That is privilege!
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs *another caveat, while I am sure that my parents would have been able to pay for a lot of my college costs, I cannot be sure of this. A trust did pay for my college, thank God, but it was the payout from my father's life insurance/social security benefits.
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs. *technically, no, as I had to work to pay for many of my books and all of my clothes and "fun" stuff - like getting home for breaks!
16. You went to a private high school *no, because the public high school was better than most private schools. I think if I had wanted to, I could have gone
17. Went to summer camp
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels *no, but doesn't "family vacation" connote privilege? Even more, we "summered" somewhere. Talk about a word loaded with privilege!
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them (car?! what car?!)
22. There was original art in your home as a child
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
25. You had your own room as a child
26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18 (see above #13)
27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school (see above #13)
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college (see above #14)
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
31. Went on a cruise with your family
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up *I am willing to agree that this connotes privilege, however, museums were free when I was little, so it was cheap entertainment
34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

I find it interesting that no one is able to do this without commenting or caveats. Clearly, we all feel guilt/pressure/unease when it comes to class/privilege/money

Friday, March 28, 2008

It's just a flesh wound...

Something needs to be written!

I'm playing with Sunday's lectionary readings, Thomas and the need to "see it to believe it."

The chapel service I attend is led by a Calvinist. We hear a lot about sin and, well, sin. (Even on Easter. Thank God for ministers who posted their Easter joy online!) More than wishing I could hear less about sin and more about grace, I miss the style of sermon that asks us to look at the text as our own. I miss hearing personal stories that link the text to real life, and then encourage us to search for our own connections.

I won't hear the Calvinist preach this Sunday, but I am fairly certain I'd be hearing about faith saving us. That we MUST believe, it's our only hope. Yup, I get that.

That's not what I'd preach on.

I think I'd mention that there's not a lot of admonition. Thomas' need to see and touch (sound like a psalm, anyone?) doesn't damn him. Jesus chides, but welcomes, too. He allows for Thomas' questions and then moves on. We need Thomas, he's like us. We're not Peter, jumping in feet first, not looking for the stump in the shallows. We're not Mary, so relieved that love lives again we see the man and not the divine. We want to weigh, we want to think, we need a little time. (Could that be part of Thomas' "problem"? He wasn't there to begin with; he had time to think.)

John ends the interaction with Jesus' words "blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." And then the Gospel writer tells us that he has written this down so that we, without seeing, may believe and have life in His name.

Thomas is our foil: Thomas, an ordinary, after-the-fact believer has "seen and believed" and now we can believe, too.

I find it interesting that Thomas' role in Christian mythology continues after his Johannine encounter with Christ. His Gospel offers another view on Christ; people read his account and know that he wasn't one of the codified, and yet it tells the same story. Thomas was the apostle who carried the Good News to India, where there are still Thomasine churches. The Church in South India is one of the most varied and cohesive multi-denominational groups today. Peter's church has rigid lines of belief and unbelief. Thomas' is fluid and encompassing.

So, if I were preaching, that's where I'd start.

But that's not all that I see in this story. I see a shift in culture and the culture of belief. I wish I knew more Millenial preachers, as I think my viewpoint is on the younger side. The traditional read on Doubting Thomas is that we need to move out of our comfort zone - we should not need to see to believe.

As the United States has always been a "See it to believe it" kind of place. Doubting Thomas "works" for us. We need to hold, touch, talk, be WITH. We're consumers, we like to hold on to something. Even charitable donations, require a gift, a letter, some tangible sign that we've reached out. Along with our need to hold on to stuff, Americans are reserved. Combining reserve with seeing and believing, we've created a working system that rewards knowing people. We believe in codified belief-systems and institutions. Knowing where someone comes from, which schools, which company, which church...Old Boy Networks work because their world views were similar. There's not that much of stretch between the 3 Presidents who went to Yale. Clinton and Bush were members of the same secret society there. The general beliefs are the same, because the institutions are the same. (This is Thomas - we see ourselves in him, so it's okay to believe in his belief.)

Here's the culture shift: and like my Easter Joy, it comes from the Web.

I don't believe we, these younger generations, need to see to believe. We live in a very connected world, but our connections are through faith, not physicality.

Only a few years ago, it was important to delineate between "real life" friends (IRL) and on line friends. I don't hear that as much anymore. Just last month I asked a favor of an on-line friend I'd never met before, asking her to help another friend, one from down the street, find a new home in her area. In that transaction, there was no difference between believing in someone I could shake hands with and one I texted.

Several months ago, 60 Minutes did an interview with Mark Zuckerberg. The Boomer-something interviewer is clearly of the "see and believe" mentality. I could hear in her voice the disbelief in social networking. "A waste of time." "This is made for alumnae, but you didn't even graduate from Harvard." Both lines, that social networking might be a waste of time and that where you graduated from is of importance to who you are, imply the need to be concrete. They are Thomasine. Now, I am not saying that anyone else in Jesus' posse was any less concrete. They were all physically present with Jesus in his ministry and, at one point or another, his resurrection.

(Interesting, isn't it, that the person who spread the Gospel the furthest wasn't there at all? He's that outer link on the Friend Wheel, the one with his own massive wheel.)

If this culture shift is true, that who we are and what we believe is sufficient, without "old school" connections, without the need to see to believe, what does that mean for Thomas? In a new paradigm, where does Thomas stand? If we don't need him to touch for us, what do we need Thomas for?

Like Mary Magdalene last week, this is a story of ASKING FOR and RECEIVING FROM Jesus. 2000 years ago, Jesus' answer explained our generation's status: We are blessed to not have to see to believe. We can do it, and Jesus knew we'd get here. But Thomas' searching allows to keep searching, too. Those small questions of Thomas' led him to India, to a church which encompases many different ways of acting on Truth.

For today, let us recognize ourselves in Thomas: brave enough to ask for what we need and strong enough to carry it on to others.