10 October 2008
I spent a good bit of time today registering and making travel arrangements for the American Academy of Religion meeting in Chicago at the beginning of November. (Anyone up for a meetup? Shout out, okay?) I'm not presenting this year, so I'm busy sending out resumes and cover letters, but at least I'm not stressing about getting a paper written.
I'll see friends and teachers from grad school, try to resist temptation in the book hall, attend some presentations if time permits, and, God willing, have some preliminary interviews in the everlasting college-teaching-job-search process--prayers welcome, as always. And, thanks to my dear Mom who agreed to babysit and donated some frequent flyer miles, it will also be a busy-but-happy getaway with my sweetheart.
So for today's Friday Five, you're invited to share your experiences with the exciting, challenging world of business travel....
1. Does your job ever call for travel? Is this a joy or a burden?
My former life was on the road a lot. At least 75 nights a year. Although it can start out fun, it gets old very quickly. I think I'm more homebody than I like to admit.
2. How about that of your spouse or partner?
Nah, he hasn't traveled regularly since we've been married. And he said he didn't like me on the road all the time.
3. What was the best business trip you ever took?
One of the ones where I had to stay over a weekend and DH was able to use some of my Frequent Flyer points to come join me -- once to Disney Land and once to Disney World. He never came if Disney wasn't involved. Hmmmm.
Oh, and the hotel chain did bump me to a suite once. a BIG suite. With a baby grand, a fireplace and a living room the size of 4 or 5 rooms (dining room table to seat 10). Kinda weird to have to myself. The piano had cranberry juice on the keys but was reasonably in tune.
4. ...and the worst, of course?
4 extra days (on a 3 day trip) to Texas in September 2001. Finally got out, transferred in Houston, wouldn't let me take the early flight because my bags wouldn't make the plane so had to sit there for three hours, got into home airport after midnight, waited for bags that never came, went to the office: yep, they had come on the earlier flight. Drove the hour and a half home.
We used to have a contest for the worst trip of the quarter. I rejoice that I never won that one!
of course there were innumerable non-smoking rooms that reeked of old smoke, lost luggage, kids kicking the seat for an entire 5 hour flight. Mustn't forget the early Nov trip where the parents were bribing the 3 kids with sugar (Halloween candy) as we boarded the plane for a 5 hour trip -- "Could I upgrade, please?"
Oh, and one mustn't forget sharing the (very nice) hotel with the dairy goat convention (including goats and odoriferous byproducts of said goats).
Or the one with the traffic accident and bump on the noggin at 6:30 am before starting a 3 day speaking engagement.
5. What would make your next business trip perfect?
No plans anytime soon. Only travel now is back to governing body of care to be evaluated ... Don't know that you can make that one perfect, I believe it's intended to be a nightmare, errr "growing experience".
19 September 2008
Songbird at RevGalBlogPals writes: It's that time of year, at least north of the equator. The windows are still open, but the darned furnace comes on early in the morning. My husband went out for a walk after an early supper and came home in full darkness.
And yes, where we live, leaves are beginning to turn.
As this vivid season begins, tell us five favorite things about fall:
1) A fragrance: Pumpkin pie (least favorite was the place I lived that still allowed leaf burning!)
2) A color: I love the fall colors (my wardrobe attests to this), I like the dark orange that moves toward mustard yellow. And my favorite outside is the clear red of the maple.
3) An item of clothing: my suede skirt, midcalf and full. Only drawback: no pockets. But I really like the skirt anyway. And my turtle necks. I have many in different paisleys.
4) An activity: walks in the woods.
5) A special day: My B-Day! It's still a ways off, but it's in fall.
10 September 2008
Mugsy here!!!!! Wanna play?
Here's the rules:
1. Any animal can play, except human beings, cuz they do their own memes! Thank you very much! (Well, we've gotten in on a couple of those friday five things, but this one is JUST FOR US!)
2. If you play be sure and tag another pet pal to play and be sure they know they got tagged.
3. Answer the nine questions (duh, nine lives, nine questions).
4. Be honest
5. Let people know you played too!
Here we go....
1. Favorite place to nap? on the back of a living room chair. in the front window seat in the sun, or in the basket on mama's desk.
2. Favorite past time? napping and chasing each other
3. Favorite treat? Padme: food Delenn: Banana! (I even bite into them on the counter if Mama doesn't give me any)
4. Indoor or outdoor preference? Indoor. But we like to watch the birdies at the feeder, and sometimes we go on the patio.
5. How did you come to live with your peeps? Delenn: I came from the shelter in a southern town. Padme: I came from a kitty rescue at the pet store in a more northerly locale.
6. Litter box, tree or fire hydrant? litter box, but Delenn won't poop in it. I would, too, if you didn't sneak up on me.
7. Best toy you ever got? balls of paper or anything small and light to bat and chase around. I also like paper towel rolls, they're just the right size and texture to shred! (Padme)
8.Sleep in or early riser? the sun is up, why are you still in bed?
9. Wish for all the world? All the kitties have a warm dry place to sleep, a full food bowl, and hoomans to love.
05 September 2008
I have recently been reading a book entitled Jesus wept, it is all about vulnerability in leadership. The authors speak of how Jesus shared his earthly frustrations and vulnerabilities with a select group of people. To some he was the charismatic leader and teacher, to others words of wisdom were opened and explained and some frustrations shared, to his "inner circle of friends: Peter, James and John, he was most fully himself, and in all of these things he was open to God.
So I bring you this weeks Friday 5:
1. Is vulnerability something that comes easily to you, or are you a private person?
Let me see, can I answer that? hmmm, let's look at previous blog entries, OK, I think it's clear. AA: Not vulnerable. Hiding behind a pseudonym and STILL very private. Yep, that's me. I can reveal that much. I think. (BTW, I did NOT like CPE!)
2.How important is it to keep up a professional persona in work/ ministry?
Very, but it must be consistent with the true persona. A subset, if you will. Not a false front. Walking the line without revealing too much, but still maintaining integrity of the person you are. IOW: I am who I am -- I just don't let it all hang out all the time.
3. Masks, a form of self protection discuss...
Well, Yes. But also sometimes truly detrimental.
- They can help us get through when we have private pain that would be made worse by being public.
- They can help us try on new roles and ways of being that we might not "fit into", at least not just yet.
- masks donned to fit in or to create an illusion of something we're not to please/appease someone, especially when worn too often or too long, can cause us to begin to mistake the mask for ourselves.
- Masks worn with friends -- there should be someone with whom you're genuine.
4. Who knows you warts and all?
I left most of my good friends when I moved, and I stink at long distance relationships. After 2 years, I'm starting to make friends here, as I also prepare myself to move after seminary. So, not so many folk here, now.
5. Share a book, a prayer, a piece of music, a poem or a person that touches the deep place in your soul, and calls you to be who you are most authentically.
Walking Wounded by Don Francisco. Challenges me to not retreat "alone behind the window curtained with her pride, she'll once again embrace her pain and turn away inside".
I'm not overly fond of the graphics on this, but it is a Don Francisco singing.
29 August 2008
It is supposed to also be a celebration of the working man and woman, the backbone of the American economy, the "salt-of-the-earth nieces and nephews of Uncle Sam. With apologies to those in other countries, this is a Friday Five about LABOR. All can play. Put down that hammer, that spoon, that rolling pin, that rake, that pen, that commentary, that lexicon, and let's have some fun.
1. Tell us about the worst job you ever had.
I was hired as a manager in the consulting branch of a big accounting firm. The two branches (accounting and consulting) divorced over irreconcilable differences a year or so after I left. The culture was so arrogant, they didn't realize there were ways to do things other than the way they did. "We're Absolutely Consummate". And they tried to copyright a process that's been in textbooks for decades becasue they thought they had created it. AARRGGH. They promoted a backstabbing environment in the competition to get promoted to the next level. Everyone was out to get you and if you weren't paranoid, they got you good. I swam with those sharks for a little over a year, and that only because I had a mortgage approved and the house wasn't built yet (bad time to change jobs). I hated every minute.
2. Tell us about the best job you ever had.
working on a military base with the military personnel as a consultant. The guys were great, the work was challenging and rewarding (yeah, there were difficult people, but we had the support of the commander, so it was overcomeable).
3. Tell us what you would do if you could do absolutely anything (employment related) with no financial or other restrictions.
Well, I quit my job, sold my house, and moved to another state to go to seminary. I trust God's providence that being a pastor is the answer to this one.
4. Did you get a break from labor this summer? If so, what was it and if not, what are you gonna do about it?
What is this "break" of which you speak? I did get to go to my favorite spot on earth for a few days, got to see the parents and have a change of scenery to study for my ordination exams.
5. What will change regarding your work as summer morphs into fall? Are you anticipating or dreading?
From CPE to ordination exams to Back to School. This is my last year of classes (God willing), only two classes are required, so I get to pick lots of electives!
Bonus question: For the gals who are mothers, do you have an interesting story about labor and delivery (LOL)? If you are a guy pal, not a mom, or you choose not to answer the above, is there a song, a book, a play, that says "workplace" to you?
Well any Dilbert book pretty much summed up my first career!
20 August 2008
- in about 25 words each, answer the following five questions; It will become obvious I can't count (or that I averaged the answers across questions
- tag five presbyterian bloggers and send them a note to let them know they were tagged; nah...I don't do chain mail or chain memes
- be sure to link to the orginal post, leave a comment or send a trackback to this post so others can find you;
- What is your favorite faith-based hymn, song or chorus?
I have to pick 1? let's see, there's Once to Every Man and Nation (361 in the red hymnbook); CPE this summer had me singing Precious Lord, Take My Hand (404 in the blue); I always liked Be Still My Soul (red 374); and O Worship the King [but in the red (#26), I don't know where the "chariots of light" in the blue came from, but it sure wasn't Psalm 104]; Here, O My Lord I See Thee Face to Face [But in the red (#442). The blue had to monkey around with it (making all of it plural and changing the order of the verses and not including the one about the banquet being fellowship with God). You can go with the RCA and get all the verses. It's much more powerful to me in the original first person singular]; My Jesus, I Love Thee (red 405); I Love to Tell The Story (red 383); I am beginning to realize how few of my favorites made it to the blue book.
You call the question? OK, I probably have to go with How Great Thou Art (Blue 467)
Note: Although I listen to and enjoy contemporary songs, they generally don't touch the heart of me in the same way. (although I am partial to the Don Francisco song about Balaam's donkey)
- What was the context, content and/or topic of the last sermon that truly touched, convicted, inspired, challenged, comforted and/or otherwise moved you?
A fellow seminarian preached in chapel about the totally irrational, yet totally irresistible cross. He used 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.
- If you could have all Presbyterians read just one of your previous posts, what would it be and why?
I don't blog for them; can't say that I could suggest one.
- What are three PC(USA) flavored blogs you read on a regular basis?
Classical Presbyterian, a Church for Starving Artists, Quotidian Grace
- If the PC(USA) were a movie, what would it be and why?
Lion King -- In the beginning things are as they are supposed to be, a balance of divers environments and creatures, governed by Mufassa who understands noblesse oblige and that with power comes accountability and a responsibility to work within the system and created order for the greater welfare of the whole, not the individual desires of a few. Scar overthrows the right powers by deceit and sets up a power structure based on his own desires for satisfaction. He governs by fear and intimidation, and leaves the land scarred and barren. In the end, the rightful King comes to restore the kingdom to its intended state and order is restored amongst all the creatures.
03 August 2008
Scripture Lesson From the NT: Romans 8:31-39
As some of you know, I’ve been serving an internship as a chaplain at Borg Hospital this summer. I visit with patients on several neurological and other surgical units. I visit with patients who request to see me, and I visit with whatever patients and families cross my path as I “round”: walking through the units and sticking my head in rooms. During this time I’ve seen a lot of people who have come to a crisis point in their lives: folks in car crashes, folks with newly delivered terminal diagnoses, and their families. I frequently hear: “I never thought I/my son/my husband/my daughter would be here.” And then they ask the inevitable question, spoken or unspoken, “why?” Of course, that question isn’t limited to people in the hospital. Most of us have had some situation in our lives where we asked the same thing. Why, God? Why me?
Sometimes we can’t see God in our life. At some points, life just doesn’t make sense. We look at the mess that is our life and we do not see the hand of God. We think that if God were at work in our lives then our lives would look … well, better, somehow.
We want what society says is a good life. I’ll even go out on a limb and say that, at some level, most of us want to believe the prosperity gospel preached in so many churches today. Come on, be truthful, we yearn to believe that God wants us all to be rich, in perfect health, and have nice things and have an easy life.
We see Joel Osteen’s book on the best seller list and it promises Your Best Life Now. And we look at our lives as they stand, and we want what he promises. Joel tells us that we can have power and wealth and health if we just think positively. This is not a new message. But it’s not a Biblical one either. Wealth and health are not the primary indicators of God’s presence in our lives.
Look at the Lamentations passage. The picture the poet paints is not pretty. His city has fallen to the conquering army after a protracted siege. He was supposed to be safe because he was in the beloved city of the most high God. Instead he’s thin as a rail, weak, diseased. His home and his livelihood are gone. He has no material position or status. His paths twist around. Everywhere he turns, he runs into a wall. He is in darkness. Mocked and alone.
We look at our lives. We see jobs lost, bills that must be paid. We see families falling apart, children in trouble. We see disease and death. We feel the isolation, the shame of our lives. Where is God? Like the poet, we cry out to God in our prayers and we hear no response. Sometimes it’s just really hard to see God’s hand in our life.
But God has promised us He is always here even when we don’t see him. The most straightforward promise was the one Christ made to the disciples: “lo I am with you always even to the close of the age.” (Matt 28:20) He will be with us always, for all time.
Psalm 139 which we read in the prayer this morning promises, “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” So, wherever we go, God is with us. Our home, away at college, in the service in Iraq, in the hospital, the jail, the courtroom: God is there.
One of the seminary professors is fond of “catching” students in a trick question: “when you walk into a hospital room, do you bring Christ into that room?” Most students, aware that a) this is a seminary and b) they are pastors in training, will immediately answer, “yes!” to which the good professor will reply with an emphatic “no! … Christ is already there.”
We’ve seen that God is always with us. Romans ups it a notch. Not only is God there, but there is nothing can undo that. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Now, Paul’s not making a big deal out of these things, in fact he seems to just assume these horrible things will happen, but Paul knows God is with us through it all. Just as God is with us in the good things in life, he is with us in the bad. God is always wherever we are.
We remember God’s faithfulness… We remember all the times God has been there when we needed help and strength and encouragement.
The Israelites used to rehearse their history of salvation all the time. Just to say “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” was to recall the stories of each of these men and their interactions with God. Many prophets begin with, “The Lord who brought you out of Egypt” – the Jews are never to forget the history of God’s work with them. And the story of God’s work with the Jews is the story of God’s faithful love.
The Puritans made this more personal. Puritans were encouraged to keep a diary to examine the work of God in their lives. Each person examined their spiritual growth and insights, but they also used these diaries to record answers to prayer and the places where they saw God’s hand moving in their life – what they called “the providences of God”. Then, they would go back and read these diaries, some would even underline and dog-ear passages to find them more readily, and these Puritans would use the diaries to bolster their faith when life was rough. As one Puritan woman recorded (in her diary of course!): “My own experience has ever proved to me that thou art the God that has fed me my whole life long, the God that didst never leave me upon the mount of difficulty, but always appeared and wrought deliverance” The diaries served much like a family photo album or memory book and the woman was like a child going through the stories with her father, recalling all the times he’s been there for her. Not abstract stories of someone else’s life, but clear, first hand experiences from her own. She remembers all the times the Father has been there and she knows he will continue to be. She didn’t dwell on the bad things happening in her life, she didn’t look for someone else to blame, she moved forward in life, remembering the God that would see her through.
We’re not so good at that. We tend to be “what have you done for us lately?” last week is just, so, last week. But we must not forget all that has come before, we have to remember from our lives and through the ages. We must choose to remember God’s faithfulness.
Sometimes remembering can be difficult. We might not have been looking for God in our joys and good times so we may not remember the things the things He did for us. We don’t have those Puritan journals. That makes it hard. Trust is built over time, first in small things then in the big ones. If we haven’t been looking for God and trusting Him in the small things, we are not going to be ready for the big things.
Athletes rely on something they call muscle memory where you practice a move some many times your body almost learns to do it without your brain. For example, you keep swinging that golf club or that bat until your body knows the movement; or when you take a self defense class you go through the moves many times. You build the muscles, and train your body so that, you should ever need to respond, the response will be automatic. It will come from an ingrained pattern of behavior. We need to build up our spiritual muscle memory. How do we do that? Romans 10:17 tells us, “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” If you want to know God, know his word.
If a crisis hits, we can only draw on what we have. And I have seen too many people this summer that don’t have anything to draw on. They haven’t done any spiritual training. They don’t know scripture, they don’t have a prayer life – They do not personally know Jesus. Maybe they know they ought to turn to God because their parents were Christians. Or maybe they have friends who are. Maybe they even go to church. But without a working relationship, they have no history to remember. They don’t trust God.
But when you need to remember, Each of us must decide for our self: Will I remember ? Do I trust?
When we chose to remember, God gives us hope. Hope isn’t something we can find or muster up for ourselves. Hope is a gift from God. Hope is a lifeline God gives us to get through the hard times.
Now, I’m not talking about “I hope the local team makes it to the playoffs this year” or “I hope my husband got us reservations for our anniversary.” That’s wishing. That’s the problem with the English word. In the Hebrew, the word for hope is the word for wait, with expectation. We know it’s coming, we’re just _waiting_ for it.
The problem is, it doesn’t always come the way we expect or the way we would choose. God doesn’t follow our scripts. And sometimes we forget that our priorities are not necessarily God’s priorities – after, all, we don’t see the whole picture. We hold to our wishes and try to call them hope.
But part of Hope is the letting go of our wishes. And the willingness to trust God, the loving father, whose compassion never fails, to trust God to do what is right for us in the context of all humanity and all time. To believe as it says in V28 “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”
Trusting is not an easy thing to do. That’s why we remember all of God’s providences like the Puritans did. Their remembering didn’t mean they were without doubt, as a matter of fact, they might have been relying on their “habit of faith”. You know, that point where you’re beyond actually hoping or trusting; but you make a decision to continue to remember God’s faithfulness. To believe that if God is for us none can successfully be against us.
All our answers, all our theology is an just attempt to confess what we believe, not to explain how it works. So we wait on the Lord. And the Lord is good to those who wait, his compassions are new every day. Because we need help everyday. God gives us the faith to wait. God gives us hope.
Life isn’t always what we want or what we think it ought to be. We can’t truthfully say we understand why rotten things happen. Some times we don’t like the place we’re in. But we remember who is in control. Who is the Lord of the universe and of our lives. And we can remember what that God has done for us in the past. By remembering the past providences of God we are free to trust our lives to him even when we don’t understand. We’re free to say “I don’t know what’s going on, but I know I can trust God to come through this time, because I remember how God has come through for me before.” In all things we are conquerors – not because it turns out the way we want, but because we are in Christ Jesus.
01 August 2008
This turned out to be a very small barricade in our blogging community life, but it seemed appropriate to explore locks and blocks and other barriers this week. Also, I liked the picture of the security team above! Could they be Blogger's Spam Prevention Robots, working overtime?
In honor of their efforts, I bring you the "Lock Me Out, Lock Me In" Friday Five.
1) How do you amuse yourself when road construction blocks your travel?
Well, generally I just turn on the radio and sing along. Although, I do tend to check my routes and avoid where I know they're doing work, but they don't always tell you. If I'm in a hurry, I am somewhat less patient. But generally I figure I can't do anything about it, might as well just sing along.
2) Have you ever locked yourself out of your house? (And do you keep an extra key somewhere, just in case?)
on occasion, but not in recent years. I used to keep a key outside when I was worse. now I have a garage door with a code punch thingy.
3) Have you ever cleared a hurdle? (And if you haven't flown over a material hurdle, feel free to take this one metaphorically.)
no material hurtles bigger than mud puddles, but metaphorical? oh yea. I can do those ... eventually.
4) What's your approach to a mental block?
Well, scrabulous is gone. there's always pop and drop ! Something that uses a different sort of mental activity can frequently help me refocus and get back to the paper/sermon/whatever where I had the block. Walking will also frequently help, even if it's just around the room.
5) Suggest a caption for the picture above; there will be a prize for the funniest answer!
"No, we said I get to wear the hard hat. You were supposed to be the Indian and the policeman!" (OK, I'm old)
26 July 2008
11 July 2008
1. Did you go to sleep away camp, or day camp, as a child? Wish you could? Or sometimes wish you hadn't?
Starting at age 9, I went away to camp in the Blue Ridge Mtns, just down the road from Presby Mecca, at a place called Merri-Mac. It was for a whole month, and I didn't even write to my mom once the entire time I was there. One summer I did Girl Scout camp (Kateri) instead, but I liked Merri-Mac better. At that point Merri-Mac was all girl with the boys at a brother camp across town. According to the website, it's now a boys' and a girls' camp on the same site.
2. How about camping out? Dream vacation, nightmare, or somewhere in between?
nice for a few days, as long as either a) it doesn't rain or b) the tent is actually still waterproof.
3. Have you ever worked as a camp counselor, or been to a camp for your denomination for either work or pleasure?
I went to a Presby camp when I was 6 -- as a Jr counselor. OK. Mom was a counselor and I was a tag-along. I did do canoe camp as a camper and a counselor. It was based out of the local church.
4. Most dramatic memory of camp, or camping out?
Creation Fest 1989. I went as a counselor with a youth group. I'm not sure whether Ground level or the water table won the race. I gave up on shoes, because the knee-deep mud kept sucking them off. We put 9 bales of straw on our campsite and the water oozed up through, but at least it kept you out of the mud. Many of the girls slept on the bus, tent pegs wouldn't stick in the ground. When we got back to the church the sexton looked at the bus and then just hosed it out. (this was before they added the back area, the front loop was the only camping area). I believe it was Steven Curtis Chapman that made the crack about creation -- or primordial ooze?
Most dramatic, however, was, during yet another afternoon downpour, watching a small dome tent go floating down the road.
5. What is your favorite camp song or songs? Bonus points if you link to a recording or video.
In chapel at MerriMac I learned a version of Psalm 121 that I still sing. We did a lot of singing. as a matter of fact, I think I still have a song book from the camp (that I purchased, thank you very much).
28 June 2008
Today I weep most for the children we have betrayed, those who will not know the power of the grace of Christ to overcome in their lives because we have chosen to tell them they don't need it. How can they hear without someone preaching to them?
Today I weep for those who have abdicated their responsibilities as teachers and guides and have chosen to let the sheep find their own path, one not of the shepherd's making. Yet we have chosen not just to remain silent, but to affirm error as truth. I weep for them, for we know the teachers will be judged more strictly.
Today I weep for those who choose the wisdom of the world over the revelation of God, who are driven by their own desires instead of the Word of God, who place sexual satisfaction over obedience, and chose instead to listen to what tickles their ears.
Today I weep.
Tomorrow I will once again resume my post as watchman, commanded to proclaim what I see, regardless of the consequences.
but I continue to weep, and to pray.
06 June 2008
This week I took some time out to stop and walk and take in the view; my son Chris is studying in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, too often we simply drive up there, turn around and come home! This time Tim and I took time out to take in the view. It occurs to me that we need to do that more in life....
I read a lot of Science fiction -- you know: good guys, bad guys, and the good guys win even if it does take the whole trilogy or quadrilogy.
30 May 2008
Ten years ago:
1998. I was working as a Software Engineer at my worst. ever. job. I stayed at the job because we had a house being built, the mortgage was approved, and they don't like it if you move jobs in the middle of that. I was working for a big name "firm" that was ALL SHARK. I am not. I hated going to work everyday. As soon as the house closed, I changed jobs to a place I stayed for 6 years.
Five things on today's "to do" list:
1. Pre-reading for CPE
2. Pay Bills
3. Go explore local park with walking trails
4. Work on sermon for next week (not preaching this week, and I'm still pretty slow)
Three bad habits:
1. Stress eating
3. Piles. On my desk, on the floor. But they are organized piles (until the cat gets to them!)
Five places I've lived:
1. Alexandria, VA
2. Tampa, FL
3. Belleville, IL
4. York County, VA
5. Gaithersburg, MD
Things I'd do if I were a billionaire:
Pay to have my house cleaned.
I'd start a foundation to protect the money and make it last longer and work harder. I'd love to be the Klingenshoen foundation* to an area left behind by progress.
Five jobs I've had:
1. Busch Gardens games hostess
2. Bank front area (new accounts, switchboard, etc)
3. Framing shop
5. Software consultant
*fictional foundation in Lilian Jackson Braun's "Cat who ..." novels
23 May 2008
Well, it's a holiday weekend here too, except that final papers are due Tuesday. So, as beautiful as it is, I took an exam this morning and afternoon and will spend the gorgeous weekend writing about my theology of preaching!
1. Getting ready for summer, do you use the gradual tanning moisturisers ( yes gentlemen you too can answer this!!!), or are you happy to show your winter skin to the world?
I am ghastly white and, well, there just anything much to do about it. I'm at an age when I don't show that much skin anyway.
2.Beach, mountains or chilling by the pool, what/ where is your favourite getaway?
Mountains or river. See my blog picture! and this one my husband took of a visiting friend.
3.Are you a summer lover or does the long break become wearing?
What break? I got my ID badge for the CPE hospital this afternoon.
4.Active holidays; hiking swimming sailing, or lazy days?
what I can fit of both, but leaning toward reading on the back porch.
5.Now to the important subject of food, if you are abroad do you try the local cuisine, or do you prefer to play it safe?
Ahhh, this is where the spoiled middle class child comes out. Local cuisine only if I recognize it! nothing really funky. And with celiac, it's even more fun. Either Wheat, rye or barley is common in almost any diet that meets the first criteria.
No bonus this week unless you can think one up!!!
17 May 2008
However, I did find a lovely reason to say that I blog anonymously:
Now this was with my real name, not Althea N Agape which the more astute of you have figured out is "truth n love". (Hey, I was taking summer intensive Greek when I had to name the blog)
I just want to know if that 0 is supposed to include me?!?!
well, almost 1300 exist with my maiden name, so I guess it's my husband's fault that I don't exist in the US.
02 May 2008
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Then he was taken from their sight into the clouds, two angels appeared and instructed the probably bewildered disciples to go back to Jerusalem, where they began to wait and to pray for the gift Jesus had promised.
Prayer is a joy to some of us, and a chore to others, waiting likewise can be filled with anticipation or anxiety....
So how do you wait and pray?
1. How do you pray best, alone or with others?
Alone. Although I participate in a weekly prayer group, alone is better for this introvert.
2. Do you enjoy the discipline of waiting, is it a time of anticipation or anxiety?
I can deal with waiting. I wouldn't say it was a joy, but it isn't anxiety. "I have learned to be content..."
3. Is there a time when you have waited upon God for a specific promise?
yes. And sometimes He says "no". Sometimes He just says "later".
4. Do you prefer stillness or action?
Stillness, I may be lazy.
5. If ( and this is slightly tongue in cheek) you were promised one gift spiritual or otherwise what would you choose to receive?
Discernment so when someone does something stupid, or mean, or out of the blue, I could know what the daylights they were thinking when they did it and how to most appropriately deal with this oddity. Rebuke, ignore, hug? sometimes it just really isn't clear.
and, to Answer GannetGirl's additional question: My favorite book on prayer would have to be Brother Lawrence, Practicing the Presence of God.
25 April 2008
As for the questions!
1. What modern convenience/invention could you absolutely, positively not live without?
The interesting thing about this is what we consider "modern". So, I'll go with things mainstreamed in my lifetime. (So I won't answer "washing machine" here!) Computer. I couldn't do all these papers for seminary with a typewriter! and Logos is my salvation for exegesis.
2. What modern convenience/invention do you wish had never seen the light of day? Why?
Cell phone. Because it makes people think we should be available to them 24x7.
3. Do you own a music-playing device older than a CD player? More than one? If so, do you use it (them)?
I do own a boom box with CD and cassette, and there's a cassette player in my car. yes, I still use them, although the cassettes are dying. And of, course, I still listen to radio.
My husband on the other hand, still owns a turntable and reel to reel (he had two R2Rs when we married, He got rid of one, the other is in storage in the garage...at least until I find it and sell it on ebay!)
4. Do you find the rapid change in our world exciting, scary, a mix...or something else?
I don't find it either, it just is. I don't always keep up., but I'm not afraid or intimidated, just can't be bothered with the stuff I don't see as useful.
5. What did our forebears have that we have lost and you'd like to regain? Bonus points if you have a suggestion of how to begin that process.
conversation times without the TV or interruptions. Time sitting out on the back porch with friends in actual communion. Maybe I'll invite someone over. Next week of course, there's too much to do tonight!
11 April 2008
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?
as a child (that I remember) 1. at least 3 before my awareness (from Dad's undergraduate in GA, to graduate school in FL, and to home of ancestors in small town)
I moved to boarding school, then to college (with something like 7 moves to dorm/summer apt in college; but then, in those days I didn't own much).
As an adult, OK post college anyway, I have moved 9 times (not counting 3 or 4 temporary living quarters during said moves). I have owned 5 houses.
The most recent of course was to come to seminary.
2. What do you love and hate about moving?
Love -- very little. Maybe the persistent hope that THIS time I will be organized.
Hate -- fighting with DH about why more stuff can't just go away (really, we don't own a turntable, do we need 4 boxes of LPs?). Not being able to find ANYTHING, in the recent move, downsizing house by half, stuff by a smidgen, tripping over boxes and having boxes in the way 2 years later and NOT PARKING IN THE GARAGE because of all the junk that's in there AAAARGHHH!!!
3. Do you do it yourself or hire movers?
We hired movers, my company paid for movers for previous moves. Wouldn't want to do without, but we may because we need to divest and it's too easy just to let someone pack it all up without really going through it.
4. Advice for surviving and thriving during a move?
We have a small RV, so the kitties go in there. They don't like it, but it's less bad than being in the house for the actual move. other than that, no. It's a survive thing for me.
5. Are you in the middle of any inner moves, if not outer ones?
just seminary.... that's enough! Although CPE starts right after memorial day.
06 April 2008
In about 25 words each, answer the following five questions:
1. What is your earliest memory of being distinctly Presbyterian?
My earliest memory would be as a child trying to spell Presbyterian on something and thinking that Methodist or Baptist would be a lot easier!
2. On what issue/question should the PC(USA) spend LESS energy and time?
How to control one another, mislead one another, and get our individual ways.
3. On what issue/question should the PC(USA) spend MORE energy and time?
How can we be Christ in the world? and prerequisite: what does it MEAN to be Christ in the world?
4. If you could have the PC(USA) focus on one passage of scripture for a entire year,
Josh 22:5 "But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul."
or 2 tim 2: "22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will."
5. If the PC(USA) were an animal what would it be and why?
Extra Credit: Jesus shows up at General Assembly this year, what does he say to the Presbyterian Church (USA)?
OK. Let me explain this again, since you've botched it so thoroughly: It's not about you and it's not about the buildings. Go feed my sheep and keep my commandments.
Most presbys I know on-line have done this, so... If you are reading this and you wish to be tagged - consider yourself so tagged.
29 February 2008
We want to play too! because we leap much better than that silly two-legged who-man-bean.
It's Leap Day!! Whether you're one of the special few who have a birthday only once every four years, or simply confused by the extra day on the calendar, everyone is welcome to join in and play our Leap Year Friday Five.
Tell us about a time you:
1. Leapt before looked
Yesterday. I leapt up onto the chair and the who-man male had put newspapers on there. What are newspapers doing in MY chair? so I sent them all onto the floor and out of MY chair.
2. Leapt to a conclusion
This isn't a kitty weakness. We already know everything.
3. Took a Leap of Faith
Jumping on top of the big shelves that hold the moving picture box. I had to use the claws to get a bit of purchase, but I got up there, near the ceiling and I can watch everything! -- Delenn (Padme can't get me up there!)
4. Took a literal Leap
Daily. This is one of the joys of kittydom. what a silly question.
5. And finally, what might you be faced with leaping in the coming year?
On beds, on shelves, on counters when the 2leggers aren't watching, there are just so many options, I need to nap just thinking about them. Oh, and definitely on Mommy's desk, preferably in such a way as to send all the books and papers flying!
Delenn and Padme
It's Leap Day!! Whether you're one of the special few who have a birthday only once every four years, or simply confused by the extra day on the calendar, everyone is welcome to join in and play our Leap Year Friday Five.
Tell us about a time you:
1. Leapt before looked
This is not something I do often, or on anything major. I'm a bit more deliberate. But since there aren't any coming to mind, I'm guessing they either weren't too traumatic -- or they were so traumatic I've blocked them...
2. Leapt to a conclusion
ummm, on the advise of my attorney, I'd like to invoke my fifth amendment rights...
3. Took a Leap of Faith
Well, that would be quitting my job, selling my house and coming to seminary. We're still mid-leap; but so far, so good.
4. Took a literal Leap
I grew up near swimming rivers, and we had a church canoe camp that would canoe various rivers in the area. We'd stop at several places where there was a rope tied to a tree on a high riverbank, and you could grab the rope, swing out over the river and drop. It's not quite a leap, but darn close. and it is definitely a bit of faith. An actual leap would be the time I climbed onto the railroad trestle with a friend who was planning to jump in, I was planning to climb down -- but then the train came. I leapt from the trestle into the river.
5. And finally, what might you be faced with leaping in the coming year?
Candidacy, CPE, Ordination exams... Hopefully they will all be glorious leaps with no faceplants.
06 February 2008
|What is the Kingdom of God?|
created with QuizFarm.com
|You scored as The Kingdom is mystical communion|
The Kingdom is mostly mystical communion. You place a strong emphasis on continuity with those who have gone before you in the faith, and you might see the Kingdom of God as primarily a matter of spirituality.
28 January 2008
25 January 2008
in between system crashes, Singing Owl asks us:
Brrrr! Baby, it’s COLD outside! At least that is the case where I am this morning. We are in a January deep freeze. Have a cup of hot tea and tackle five easy seasonal questions.
I have my Jasmine Green tea and here it goes....
1. What is the thermometer reading at your house this morning?
17F at 2:00 pm
2. Snow—love it or hate it?
Love it if I don't have to be somewhere. I remember a friend's slumber party in Feb where we stayed up till 3 and one of the girls' mother called when she got up at 5 to tell us that there was snow outside, so we all got dressed and ran out -- there was enough an a couple of cars to make 1 or 2 snowballs. It was exciting. It's not that exciting anymore. We also used to do road trips in high school where we'd load up the kids on the church bus and drive north until we found snow. (it required an overnight stay, so I'm guessing the parents were doing more planning than we knew.)
3. What is winter like where you are?
Pot holes. It's cold, the snow comes and goes. the roads are old.
4. Do you like winter sports? Any good stories?
Is sitting by a the fire a sport? I used to ski a little, but I was never any good.
5. What is your favorite season, and why?
Spring -- the hope and renewal implicit in the new foliage and all, of course, the riot of colorful flowers. Fall -- the beautiful, flaming colors. both of these because they're neither too hot nor too cold. I'm becoming a wimp in my old age. I lived a bit in an area that went from frozen to sweltering in "spring" and from sweltering to icy in "fall" I hated it.
20 January 2008
Did you ever play a recreational team sport where the teams are selected by captains? Remember how exhilarating it felt to be called first? Or do you remember fantasizing about how great it would be to be called first?
We are called
This morning’s passage in Isaiah tells us:
- “Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name.”
And it goes on:
- “the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
Psalm 139 takes it even further:
- “you knit me together in my mother’s womb … All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
Now THAT is being called first. Before we were born, before we did anything to earn it, God called us for His team. The God of the universe, the Holy One of Israel, has made mention of your name, He knows you, He chose you. He knows everything about you, and he loves you anyway. If you really stop to think about that, instead of just taking it for granted as something we say in church, it really blows the mind. Listen again: The God of the universe, the Holy One of Israel, has made mention of your name, He knows you, He Chose you. He knows everything about you, and he loves you anyway.
Last week as we celebrated the baptism of Jesus, we remembered our own baptisms. Real Minister spoke of how the water marks us members of God’s family. This week I want to look at what that means in how we live our lives, or as Paul puts it in Ephesians, as we “lead a life worthy of the calling”.
To be a team
To fulfill our calling, we need to first understand what the Bible says about WHY we are called. I hate to burst any bubbles, but we weren’t called so that we would have wealth, or power, or even so that our lives would be easy. Instead, Isaiah tells us we were called to be God’s servants.
Earlier in his letter, before the passage we read, Paul has told the Ephesians the same good news we just heard when he said “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” But he goes on in that same paragraph to say “we are .. created … to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” So we are chosen totally by God’s grace, but he did chose us to DO something.
Now I can’t sit here and tell you exactly what God has called YOU to do, because I don’t know. There are certain types of behavior we are all told to exhibit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control), but as for the actual works God has planned for you, you’ll have to ask God. But I can tell you that the answer is NOT the same for everyone. It’s not even the same for everyone here. The Ephesians passage tells us that we were each given grace and gifts to “equip us for ministry” and goes on to list a few, even more are listed in Corinthians. However, there are whole sermon series or multi-week Sunday school lessons on discerning your spiritual gifts: Don’t worry, I won’t try to cover it all now. I’d rather look at a different aspect: Teamwork. Paul speaks in this passage of building up the body of Christ and growing into the head which is Christ. In other words: We are to be the body of Christ. Arms reaching out, mouths proclaiming his love, those are the attractive things. But every body also has the less appealing functions: the spinal cord that carries messages throughout the body; the ligaments that hold things together, the bones that give us structure: without these things the body could not function.
Lets go back to that team for a minute: When we put together a team, we chose different skills for different positions. What kind of a team would have all goalies, all quarterbacks, or all receivers; certainly not a very good one! Even if everyone on the team could throw better than
Paul tells us that “each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift … to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ”. Everything we need is here—if we can get the parts working together.
But God didn’t say it was easy
Now Paul was not unwise to the ways of the world. He knew that folks don’t always get along. That’s why he spends so much time telling us HOW. Let’s take a look at Paul’s Rules for spiritual unity:
1. First HUMILITY. Humility is the opposite of pride. Now I don ‘t mean “pride in a job done well” which is really gratification. Humility is the opposite of smugness or arrogance. In Philippians, Paul tells us to “in humility, consider others better than yourselves.” I saw a T-shirt the other day that says “Jesus loves you, but I’m His favorite.” That is NOT humility. We should NEVER think of ourselves as better than any of God’s other children.
2. We are also to handle one another with GENTLENESS. That is not a common trait in the public arena today. When someone cuts you off on the highway, would you characterize your response as “gentleness”?
3. With PATIENCE. Not of us reach the same conclusions at the same time. Some just move more slowly. Some of us need to try things to find out they won’t work. We tend to think of patience as waiting passively. The Greek is actually “long-fused”, contrast that with “short-fused”! the King James translated it better as: “long-suffering”.
4. in LOVE. The word here is not brotherly love or affectionate love. Its Agape love – The kind that comes from God; the kind we can’t manage on our own. An undeserved, sometimes even unreciprocated love. This kind of love is not a just a feeling, it is a decision to act for the true best interest of the other party.
5. making EVERY EFFORT to maintain the unity of the Spirit – This is an ongoing activity: It’s a present participle, not a past tense verb. This isn’t something you do once. It’s a decision you have to make everyday, every encounter, and every conflict.These rules are simple, but they are not easy. Paul says “we must no longer be tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming”. These principles are not intended to make us into doormats who put up with everything. We’re supposed to be mature in our faith, but humble, gentle, patient and loving with one another. We have a goal: to serve God, to grow into our roles. As Paul says “speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, [That’s us!] as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.” If we can pull this off, we could make a radical change in our relationships!
Paul tells us that “each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift … to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ”. I believe that within each community: each church, each presbytery, each synod – God provides the grace, the gifts, that are needed within that community to accomplish God’s purposes. But it’s up to us to make use of them and function as a body. God allows us to make the decision to sit quietly and let our gifts atrophy. He also allows us to argue and bicker instead of being one body. But it breaks his heart.
As we start a new year and as we ordain and install new elders at the congregational meeting next week, take some time to reflect on your role in this body. Ask yourself: Am I contributing as I have been gifted? But also ask: Am I making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace? Am I helping and building up my partners in the ministry we call country church Presbyterian? Beyond that, Am I leading a life worthy of my calling?
Let us pray:
Lord open our hearts and minds to the possibilities you have in store for us. Give us grace, compassion, humility and gentleness in our dealings with one another, building us in to a fit body worthy of your headship. Amen.
18 January 2008
|You Would Be a Pet Cat|
Independent and aloof, you don't like to be dependent on anyone.
And as for other people, you can take them or leave them. You often don't care.
You live your life by your own rules. And you have deep motivations that no one truly understands.
Why you would make a great pet: You're not needy or greedy... unlike other four legged friends.
Why you would make a bad pet: You're not exactly running down to greet people at the door
What you would love about being a cat: Agility and freedom
What you would hate about being a cat: Being treated like a dog by clueless humans
- What book have you read in the last six months that has really stayed with you? Why?
Well, all reading at this point is for school. Going back to seminary and having the presbyopia kick in at the same time is a challenge!
That said, "Pastoral Theology" by Thomas Oden has been remarkable, he deals with pastoral care from a theological point of view but is clearly written and easy to understand.
Going back a little further (more like 8 months), "Holiness" by John Webster. This one is one to chew on. It goes into the theology of theology, and the holiness of God, the church and the Christian. This was a MUCH better book than what we used in systematic theology.
- What is one of your favorite childhood books?
Brighty of the Grand Canyon, probably because I remember Mom reading it to us.
- Do you have a favorite book of the Bible? Do tell!
The one I've studied most recently.... So Ezekiel at the moment. I love the fact that when the time was come for Ezekiel to begin service to God in the temple, but he couldn't get there, God came to him. Extravagantly.
- What is one book you could read again and again?
I am not a big re-reader. never have been. But I think I'd like to go back and reread Anne McCaffery's Pern novels. I read those in college many years ago. Maybe this summer as I decompress evenings after CPE.
- Is there a book you would suggest for Lenten reading? What is it and why?
Perhaps the Holiness book mentioned above. It helps to recenter our thinking about all of life on God.
And because we all love bonus questions, if you were going to publish a book what would it be? Who would you want to write the jacket cover blurb expounding on your talent?
I have enough trouble writing all these papers. I'm not sure that I have enough compost to write a WHOLE book. last paper, had 3 pages of data had to stretch to 5. I'm way to terse to write a book.
12 January 2008
Now I have to set a schedule for next term. Will I have recovered energy? will I be able to do 10 hour days? And CPE this summer, is it worth finishing the essays? I won't submit them until after the Dr's appointment because I haven't gotten the pathology report back from surgery. I might have other things on my mind this summer. But I have to turn in my course registration BEFORE the Dr, because I need to get into the right practicum sections. I don't even know what course load I'll be able to handle, but I have to register.
stepping on faith. God brought me here for a reason. I've made it through half of the program. I have to believe he wants me to finish.
Deep breaths and focus on the paper due Tuesday. Ignore the laundry that I'm not allowed to touch and the dishwasher that needs unloading -- off limits. but the catbox I might have to break the rules for. I don't think that can wait till DH gets home. Delenn and Padme deserve better.
04 January 2008
1. Do you make New Year resolutions?
no. Although I make resolutions throughout the year as the spirit leads (read: Hits me up side the head) I don't go for the artificial imposition of the calendar year as a time frame.
2. Is this something you take seriously, or is it a bit of fun?
New year's: non sequiter
Spirit with 2x4: very seriously
3. Share one goal for 2008.
gain candidacy status -- lots of essays and long drives with examinations. (while continuing studies and doing CPE)
I also want to reestablish my health. This year has been rough, surgery last week hopefully resolved most of it, but I want to not have to spend half (or more) of my energy on what ought to be normal.
4. Money is no barrier, share one wild/ impossible dream for 2008
a time of solitude, rest, peace and recuperation at the river (requires airfare and time)
5. Someone wants to publish a story of your year in 2008, what will the title of that book be?
A middle aged woman [finally] answers God's call: The journey continues