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Showing posts from 2009

More year in Photos

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In no particular order, the animals this year...

Our dogs, Roxie the lab-mix and Ruby the Viszla



Quailbabies....


A lizard on our back wall



King Ollie, our daughter's dog waiting for her in the office of the barn



The ground squirrel family outside the wall of our backyard



Baby doves in the tree on the side of our house



The bobcat family that resided on the roof of the empty house across the street



Cardinal and dove at the bird feeder



Ollie snoozing in the back of daughters car, nose in her boot...what a goof.

A Year In Photos

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Here is a snapshot of my year:

A meet up with Diane in Feb. (or was it March)


A winter storm in Feb. that left snow on the mountains behind my house


A summer storm and rainbow


BE 2.0


A trip to the knitting store during the BE 2.0


A trip to the Grand Canyon with RevGals following the BE 2.0, in April


General Convention in LA, where I was a page in the House of Bishops


My God-daughters on their first sledding trip


A serious dust storm, Dec. 22


The sunset on Dec. 30

Sun and Sand

The winter sun in Arizona crosses the sky, from horizon to horizon, at a sharp angle. No longer directly overhead, blistering hot, the winter sun is nonetheless intense. Blinding rays blast relentlessly into car and house windows for hours as it crosses the southern sky, east to west. Visors are not made for this angle of blaring light. Closing curtains and blinds is mandatory to tolerate being in the house and avoid fading furniture and artwork. The Sonoran Desert offers some 340 days of sun.

Sand is another constant in the desert. Sand comprises most of the soil content, the ground is harsh to any but the most tolerant and hardy of growth. Cacti, shrub trees, some amazing flowering bushes. Sand is the color of the earth and homes. Sand refuses to absorb water, which runs off in dangerous currents until it finds some places to stop, or evaporate in the dry air. And when the wind blows, which it does every time the weather is changing - storms blowing in, change in temp. whatever, the …

A Prayer for Sunday, Christmas I

Holy One
Growing in wisdom
Teach us your ways
That we may love as you

Eternal One
Bless leaders of every
city, nation, world
with your wisdom and grace

Gracious One
Heal those who suffer
Mend the broken
Fill the empty, tend the ill

Lover of Souls
forgive our weaknesses
Bring forth your strength
in us, through you, with us

Holy Teacher
help us to know your ways
may all we say -
all we do - be for you
Amen.

Crossposted on the RevGalBlogPal blog and RevGalPrayerPals blog

A Vision of Love: A Christmas Homily

The scene opens with Jack, a high powered wealthy business man, preparing to buy out another company, on Christmas Eve. He insists that all of his employees stay and work late, and then come in and work again on Christmas Day. Family time for the holiday does not matter. Jack is fully in control, and gives the impression of a man who thinks his life is perfect.

The next scene: a few hours later Jack is in a convenience store when he encounters what looks like a potential armed robbery. He intervenes by offering the thief $200 dollars to leave the store, and after some haggling the two of them walk out together. As they wander down the street Jack continues to offer help to the thief, ideas and suggestions for changing his life. The thief is amused that Jack is trying to help him. At one point the thief says, “Wow, ok, you want to save ME, that’s incredible. Alright then, just remember, you brought this on yourself.” That’s when we, the audience watching this movie, get our first clue t…

Christmas Morning Booooondt Cake Recipes

I got these recipes off the Internet and adapted them. I used a layered star bundt cake pan instead of the usual pan. I made two cranberry orange cakes with cranberry orange glaze, two cranberry spice cakes, one pumpkin apple cake, and one carrot raisin cake.

Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake

1-1/2 c whole wheat flour
1-1/2 c white flour
2/3 c butter, softened to room temp
1-3/4 c sugar
1-1/2 c plain low fat yogurt
1-1/2 c cranberries, blanched in 3/4 c water with 1/2 c of sugar
grated peel from one orange

Glaze: 1 c sifted powered sugar, remaining water from blanched cranberries, 1/4 of orange peel.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Blanche cranberries in 3/4 cup of boiling water and 1/2 c of the sugar, boil just long enough for cranberries to begin to "pop." Set aside to cool.

Spray bundt pan with Pam or other spray on oil then flour.

Sift together flour and soda, set aside.

In another bowl (or Kitchen Aide) beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs and 3/4 of grated orange peel. (reserve re…

Monday Morning Musings

For all intents and purposes Advent is over and now we head straight into Christmas. On mornings when my husband is home he turns on the TV and we watch the TodayShow. This morning they are offering Gift ideas, quick simple board games. My shopping is mostly finished, just one or two very small things for my son...So on this Monday after Advent and before Christmas I am musing about:

The scarves I knitted, the one I will finish today, and the two I never got too. Also that pair of small socks that I never finished because they were too small and I kept making mistakes. Back to those later.

The Christmas bundt cakes I want to make for the folks I work with at Back in the Saddle Church. (Whole wheat yogurt cranberry orange - really delicious). And the carrot bundt cake I want to make for our Christmas morning. My son loves carrot cake, this will be a rendition of that, in breakfast cake style.

The sermon I have to write for the 6pm Christmas Eve service...

and the massage I will have at no…
God of Love, Come forth for us
May our Lives magnify you

Surprise Us, shower favor
On all your people, me, you

Have mercy on the needy
Tonight, each day, always

Mighty One, heal the broken
heal us to be your hands, heart

Bless our lives that we can be
a sign of your heart, your hope

God of Love, startle us
with new life, heart rejoicing

Savior God, Come forth for us
May our lives magnify you.

Amen.

I offer prayers this morning for my friends, near and far, who are suffering, who have been abandoned by the Church or by human love, and for all who are in particular need this day. May God's love embrace us all in new ways, with new life and hope.

Crossposted on the RevGal Prayer Pal blog and the RevGalBlogPals blog.

Bearing Worthy Fruit

A reflection the propers for Advent 3C: Luke 3:7-18

A few days ago I decided to make chocolate chip cookies, a double batch. And while the butter softened in the afternoon sun that streamed in the kitchen window, I took my dogs for a walk. It was a clear, crisp, sunny day, following that winter storm that packed near hurricane strength winds. Debris still littered the streets, branches and shriveled cacti, and streams of mud. I plugged in my iPod, popped in the earphones, leashed up the dogs and walked out the front door. There I encountered the roar of an engine. Even through the music and the headphones, I could hear it, a border patrol helicopter. Looking to my left I saw it, almost close enough to see the pilot. The helicopter was making a small circle around an area about block from where I stood.

With a deep sigh I headed off on my walk, the hum of the helicopter vibrating through my headphones. By the time I returned home however the copter was gone. So, too, probably whoever the…

Napping Puppy

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Yes, this is Mr. Ollie, napping in the back of our daughter's car, nose in her boot.

Silence After the Storm

Yesterday, as the wind blew in southern Arizona, I drove from the southern end of the state to midsection and back, some six hours of driving. In the early part of the day the southern section had sustained winds around 25 miles an hour with gusts up to 50, the midsection had pouring rain. I have not seen rain like that since we moved here. Last night we tried to sleep, but as our bedroom is on the corner of the house, nearest the arroyo (canyon) and open to the southwest, the wind raged, no idea at what speeds, and everything shook. There is damage outside. Grapefruit trees blown over, hibiscus trees knocked down, the pool full of debris. But no broken windows. And, now, silence.

There have been lots of storms raging these days, in the lives of people I know, my own life too. Humans can inflict such violence, verbally, physically, and psychologically, against one another. Often the infliction is nothing more than a person lashing out of their own hurt, inflicting pain on others, as a …

RevGals Friday Five: Do Nothing Meme

Sally over at RevGals offers this Friday Five:

I am reading a wonderful little book for Advent it's title: "Do nothing Christmas is Coming!"

So this weeks Friday Five is simple.

List Five things you won't be doing to prepare for Christmas.

And while you are doing nothing play the bonus, put your feet up and listen to your favourite Advent Carol, and post it or a link to it...


1. ....putting up a real Christmas Tree. Not in Arizona. I hear they dry up nice and crispy and cost about twice as much as any where else...so, artificial it is. Now, how to get that wonderful pine fragrance?

2. ....going on a shopping frenzy to buy gifts. I will buy gifts, but slowly...and only a few.

3. ....traveling (well, maybe I will, but no plans to do this, yet)

4. ....making Christmas cookies? Well, I may do this too, but no plans yet...

5. ....decorating the house...probably will be skimpy on this too. We are beginning to pack for a move, seems silly to pull all that stuff out at this time.

Advent Virtual Retreat

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A meditation on the readings for Advent 2C for the RevGalBlogPals Virtual Advent Retreat:

Entering the Advent journey is an invitation to travel, intentionally, into the wilderness – the dark night of the soul. One hopes that the Church guides this journey offering opportunities to pray, ponder, stirred up, conflicted. John, the desert prophet, proclaims the burning chaff, the background to our Christmas shopping. Advent sings of incongruous images - new birth and end of life, the Alpha and the Omega, of oppression and freedom, of despair and ultimately of hope. The path is uneven and twisted, spiraling in to the depths of our being, certain we are lost. And then, quietly, the Spirit of God calls to us, “Awake, arise, my love, my dear one.” The early morning desert sun illuminates the way - through the valley to Jordan’s bank - our God is near. Awake and hearken, let each heart prepare a place for the Word to break in, a child to come anew, whispering peace into you and me. Come, our l…

Happy Thanksgiving

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Most gracious God, by whose knowledge the depths are broken up and the clouds drop down the dew: We yield thee hearty thanks and praise for the return of seedtime and harvest, for the increase of the ground and the gathering in of its fruits, and for all the other blessings of thy merciful providence...And, we beseech thee to give us a just sense of these great mercies, such as may appear in our lives by a humble, holy, obedient waling before thee all our days....Amen. (Book of Common Prayer, page840)

Wishing everyone a blessed day of Thanksgiving.

Still

The light slants from the south
casting shadows in its wake
startling the afternoon
- a breath of brilliance
before the final
sigh -
and the sun falls
into darkness

Daylight comes late and leaves early
dark more than light,
Advent,
and yet,
Christmas
busyness takes over
calling out You must!

while inside
my soul whispers
be still
for just a
moment
be still.

It's Coming Around Advent

Advent
Endless indigo
beckoning inward
dark night, soul

Expect
another dawn
anticipate warmth
new light life

Wait, pause
Slow down, take time
let the moment
resonate

Finding Beauty in a Broken World

I am trying to prepare the discussion for this book, which will appear on the RevGals blog on Monday. I have over three pages of quotes....

and a sermon I wrote about refugees from Rwanda and preached on Pentecost 2008.

Here are a few quotes from the book:

Page 264: It is so easy to spiral into fear toward paranoia. We become the terror that possess us.
Page 253 Compromise is fine on anything that is not essential, but you cannot compromise your principles. You cannot compromise the dream or the dream dies, and you suffer spiritually.

Page 249: The full range of emotion: A bag of skulls, a bag of potatoes, both tilled from the same fields.

Page 248: I I hear William Coffin’s voice: “The world is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but love.”

Page 228: If you do violence to me, you do violence to yourself because we are all human beings.

Page 167: I close my eyes. Two images emerge: one man spitting on the prairie dog on the side of the road and Sarah pressing her l…

The Mullygrubs: A RevGals Friday Five (LOL)

The Cure

Lying around all day
with some strange new deep blue
weekend funk, I'm not really asleep
when my sister calls
to say she's just hung up
from talking with Aunt Bertha
who is 89 and ill but managing
to take care of Uncle Frank
who is completely bed ridden.
Aunt Bert says
it's snowing there in Arkansas,
on Catfish Lane, and she hasn't been
able to walk out to their mailbox.
She's been suffering
from a bad case of the mulleygrubs.
The cure for the mulleygrubs,
she tells my sister,
is to get up and bake a cake.
If that doesn't do it, put on a red dress.

--Ginger Andrews (from Hurricane Sisters)

So this Friday before Thanksgiving, think about Aunt Bert and how she'll celebrate Thanksgiving! And how about YOU?

1. What is your cure for the "mulleygrubs"? If I wake up with a strong case of them, which I have prone to do, Strong coffee followed by my exercise routine (ab work and arm weights) followed by yoga followed by a vigorous bike ride followed by a shower. Then I…

A Prayer by Gertrude of Helfa

Lord, in the presence of your love, I ask that you unite my work with your great work, and bring it to fulfillment. Just as a drop of water, poured into a river, becomes one with the flowing waters, so may all I do become part of all that you do. So that those with whom I live and work may also be drawn to you love.

Gertrude of Helfa, Germany, 1256-c.1302

Is It Wrong?

This morning I am drinking my coffee from a large mug decorated with a couple of snowmen, Christmas tree lights, and snow flakes. The temperature outside is probably 50 degrees at 8:30am, but before long it will a sunny 79 degrees. November and December find me yearning for chilly weather, snow, even some cloudy sky days. Is it wrong?

When I was in Chicago a few weeks ago I delighted in the chilly overcast days. I sat in a Sweet Tomatoe's restaurant drinking coffee with a friend and my daughter and happened to mention this. They, those who have more overcast days than they like, just rolled their eyes. I found however that the cloudy day was easy on my eyes and I appreciated the comfort of wearing a sweater and jeans.

There is a part of me that misses those wintery days when a blizzard locks you indoors. There is a part of me that simply cannot imagine putting up a Christmas Tree when it's sunny and 70 degrees.

Gathering Of Leaders: Christian Formation for the Missionary Church

The highlight for me of the Gathering of Leaders was a presentation offered by The Rev. Dr. Christopher Beeley, professor at Yale Divinity School (in Patristics, I believe). Christopher spoke from The Works of John Newton, "Grace in the Ear" from the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Mark (the parable of the Sower), letter XI. John Newton is the author of the hymn known as "Amazing Grace." He was a ship owner and slave trader before becoming a priest in the Church of England. He went through a mighty conversion, worked to end the slave trade and spent his last years as Rector of united parishes of St. Mary Woolnoth and St. Mary Woolchurch in London.

Beeley focused his presentation on a three step process of faith formation offered by Newton and developed from a reflection of Newton's on the parable of the sower. The first step is "Desire." A person wanders into a church one Sunday morning because....and we were asked to offer up a variety of reasons a pe…

A Friday the 13th Friday Five

From Sophia over at Revgals comes this Friday Five:

1. How is this Friday the 13th looking for you? It's is a rare cloudy, blustery day here with hints of rain, although that won't happen...a few sprinkles, maybe. It's a day off for me and my husband, but no plans yet.

2. Have you ever had anything unlucky happen on Friday the 13th? I suppose one could say that I've had lots of "unlucky" things happen in my life - but I don't think any of them are related in any way what so ever with the 13th of the month falling on a Friday.


3. Did your family of origin embrace or scorn superstitions? Not really. I had a great grandmother who was a Christian Scientist, and she had a deep belief in the power of prayer. My mother had no belief in prayer. This despite her deep love and affection for the grandmother. So, I suppose I could say that prayer was embraced by some of my family and scorned by others. And, so for some, prayer was like a superstition.


4. Are there any …

Gathering Of Leaders Part 3

The Gathering of Leaders conference focused on what it means to be a Misional church. Much of the initial conversation is now old news for those of us who have been doing church for a number of years, but later on the conversation deepened. We began with the typical questions a church must ask of itself: "Who are you?" and "Where are you going?" and, "What do I/we need to put aside in order to be who it is that God intends for me/us to be and to go where God intends for me/us to go?"

I have found that churches may look at these questions but many do not take the time to consider them and answer them with depth and insight. To do this a parish needs to understand how to pray and discern corporately as well as individually. As clergy and lay leaders our role in this process is to build trust with the congregation and discerning group from which the discerning work can take place. The leadership needs to also take care of all pressing needs - whatever those m…

Gathering Of Leaders part 2

The impetus for this, Gathering of Leaders series, stems from the work of Bishop Payne, retired from the Diocese of Texas. The purpose of the Gathering of Leaders is to assist in the empowerment, support and development of such leaders. To this end, the Gathering provides a place for leaders to come together without contentiousness and partisanship to share their love of the Christ and of the Church, to empower each other through mutual encouragment, to deepen their skills as transformational leaders, to establish networks which will aid their ministries, and to clarify their understanding of God's emerging vision for the renewal of the Episcopal Church.

The Gathering of Leaders is committed to the following core values:
>The Missionary call of Christ
>A hope-filled vision for the Episcopal Church
>Respect for differences
>Creative and innovative leadership
>Spiritual and numerical growth
>Peer learning

The opening session unpacked what this means. The GOL brings togeth…

Gathering Of Leaders

A few weeks ago I attended a three day conference called, "Gathering of Leaders." It's premise calls lay and ordained church leaders to gather and reflect on that which brings us together, our common mission as disciples of Christ. To do this we set aside that which might divide us, choosing to acknowledge that all that divisiveness is, in the end, fleeting and futile. Or, as Mary Oliver says,

" ...and how could anyone believe
that anything in this world
is only what it appears to be."

In other words, there is a mystery of God's grace at work and we only see dimly what that mystery might be. Best then to focus on how we are being called to bring forth God's grace and love.

It was a wonderful three days of sharing and exploring. I'll share some of that here in a series of reflections over the next few days or so.

Driving Home

The wedding last Sat. night was delightful. I thoroughly enjoyed officiating at it and spending some time afterward mingling with the guests. My husband was with so that made it even more enjoyable for me. The next morning I rose, not nearly as early as I intended, and began my journey to return Ollie, the giant puppy, back to his rightful owner, my daughter. This meant driving to Chicago. And back.

Our drive to Chicago was uneventful although seemingly endless. I drove straight through stopping only for a four hour nap at a rest stop east of Amarillo Texas, and about seven other breaks (every two hours) to walk the dog, stretch, and eat. It simply seemed to be too much to try and find a hotel to accommodate me the dog. And the rest stop in Texas (I knew from [previous experience) was clean and secure. The stops are staffed with security folk who watch monitors all night. I felt comfortable enough to go inside and wash my face and brush my teeth. Returning to the car I put the seat ba…

670 and other thoughts

This is my 670th post on this blog, which I started on Sept. 11 2006. Just thought you'd like to know that statistic.

I have had an unusually busy week beginning with the Gathering of Leaders conference that I attended in Scottsdale. It was a great conference and I look forward to writing up my notes and a reflection on it. But first things first.

Today I have to Officiate at a wedding in Tucson for a delightful young couple. It will be a fairly fancy affair for this area. I look forward to that. Then tomorrow morning bright and early I hop in the car with Ollie, the giant puppy, to drive to Chicago where I will return him to his mom, my daughter.

So, travelling prayers please, that I can manage this drive to and from Chicago (3600 miles round trip) safely and without incident. Twitter me while I'm on the road or call if you know my number. I may need help staying awake...While in Chicago I'll see a few friends and family but I can't do much in just three days....

And I&…

Lifesving or Lifegiving Moments in Life: A Friday Five Meme

KathrynZJ offers this Friday Five Meme over at RevGals.

1) Your lifesaving food/beverage. Oh....most mornings it is a goooood cup of coffee. But sometimes it is that afternoon pick me up cup of tea. Other times it might be a glass of red wine. But as a general rule I drink a lot of lifegiving water, iced or not, depending on the weather.

2) Your lifesaving article of clothing. Some call it a dog-collar. I heard one person call it a bandit-collar. For me though, the clerical collar I wear has been a lifegiving symbol of my ministry. I don't need to wear "the collar" to feel like or priest or remember that I am one. But I wear it with a deep sense of gratitude for that which God has done in my life. The collar is a clear symbol of the ministry I do and love. I love what I have been called to do even though it can be really hard life draining work. When I wear the collar people know who I am and what I am there for, whether it is visiting someone in the hospital or officiatin…

Monday Morning Musings

This morning I head off for a three day conference on leadership. Here's a snippet of the email I received preparing us, "Our topic is Christian Formation in the Missionary Church. In preparation, Christopher Beeley, who will be speaking with us about insights from the Early Fathers and others, suggested that we might want to read the attached excerpt from St. Augustine’s De doctrina Christania and to reconnect with the following passages from Scripture..." It's being held at the Franciscan Renewal Center, the same place we gathered last spring for the BE 2.0.

Thursday night I will conduct a class at the "Back in the saddle" church on creating a facebook account and using facebook. We going to create a FB page for the church and help parishioners create a page so they can particapate. It's part of their marketing and growing the church strategy. We may also create a blog for posting Sunday sermons and other info, in addition to their website.

Friday I ha…

Go and Do Likewise

A reflection on the readings for Proper 25B: Job 42:1-6, 10-17 and Mark 10:46-52

My family and I live in Green Valley, having moved there from Chicago about 2 years ago. It’s a big change for us, living in a small town in the middle of the desert instead of the hustle and bustle of a major Midwest city. There are some things we really like about where we live. For example, we live on the foothills of the Santa Rita mountains, just a few miles from Madera Canyon. The view out our backyard is spectacular and the birds at our feeders are plentiful and beautiful.

But there are many things we miss about Chicago. The restaurants, or more specifically a good Italian beef, is one thing. We also miss the variety of options on cable television. Where we are we do have cable, but it’s limited. The same movie will play over and over, days on end. Old movies. For example, about every three months one of the movie channels will play Clear and Present Danger, the movie version of the Tom Clancey novel…

Why I Did Not Play the Friday Five

I had to have a mammogram this morning, early. And a bone density scan. At least it is breast cancer awareness month so I got gifts - a pink water bottle! Then, I ran to the dry cleaners to drop of a jacket, dropped off a table at the recycled furniture and clothes place, and got my hair cut, (trust me it needed it).... That was followed by an acupuncture treatment. Then I came home and colored, yes colored, my own hair...economic times being what they are....It turned out ok!....(all those years of working for my sister-in-laws hair salon gave me some idea of how to do this, even though I prefer to pay a professional). Then I had to drive an hour each way to get my son from school. Because I needed the car for all of my appointments and errands.

Anyway....

That's why I didn't play the Friday Five....sigh.

Utterance

Sitting over words
very late I have heard a kind of whispered sighing
not far
like a night wind in pines or like the sea in the dark
the echo of everything that has ever
been spoken
still spinning its one syllable
between the earth and silence


W.S. Merwin in "A Book of Luminous Things, An International Anthology of Poetry" Edited by Czeslaw Milosz 1996, Harvest Book

The Absence of God

While on my silent retreat I picked up the "Inaugural Issue" of the Weavings. I love this journal, have for years. I love the poetry, the reflections, especially the writings of Wendy Wright. And, given where my life is right now, I figured it was no small coincidence that the lead article was titled, "The Absence of God" written by E. Glenn Hinson.

The article draws on Mother Theresa's memoir, her startling assertion that "The place of God in my soul is blank.....There is no God in me...I just hear my own heart cry out - 'My God' and nothing comes."

He offers this assessment: most contemplatives have discovered "The deeper you plunge into the depths of God, the more likely you are to experience how utterly inadequate is our human capacity for meeting and knowing God."

He then goes on to speak about the apophatic and kataphatic streams of mysticism - that there is no way to really know God or the way to know God is affectively as love.

H…

Quiet Day

I feel asleep last night at 8pm and slept soundly for 10 hours. As I woke from that deep sleep the sky was turning from dark indigo blue to pale blue with streaks of pink and yellow, rays of sun spilling over the mountain before the sun itself appears. I turned off the air (its unseasonably hot here) and opened up windows and doors to let in the early morning cool. I threw on my yoga attire, spread out the mat, and started the DVD, AM Yoga. I lay on the mat, calm breath, calm breeze. I think, I haven't seen another spider or any other living critter since the fatal meeting yesterday, so I think I can close my eyes.

Breathe.

Calm Breeze.

Cool air.

Breathe.

Twenty minutes of gentle postures work the tightness out of my lower back and shoulders. Twenty minutes of slow movement stretching my body awake. Twenty minutes later I lay on the floor, breathing. An invitation to meditate. An invitation to quiet. It's perfect.

Except inside of me, I am restless, not calm. Tears well up, but like…

Was It Self Defense or...????

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This afternoon I arrived at my favorite retreat center, Desert House of Prayer, for a few days of silence. This lovely, simple center is tucked in the mountains of western Tucson, in an area called Picture Rocks. From the window in my little room the Tucson valley lays out before me - as does the mountain range on the other side of the valley, the Catalina's. This is my third trip to Desert House of Prayer in a year. I come prepared to do yoga, read, draw, knit, walk, pray.

Upon arrival I unpack my art supplies, knitting, clothes, computer, and yoga DVD's. I change into yoga attire, spread out my mat, and put in PM Yoga. But for some reason my computer did not want to let me view this DVD. I kept getting a warning message about some copy write issue between the DVD and my computer. This has never happened before and so perplexed I pull the computer onto my lap and begin trying to figure it out. Turns out I need to update some piece of software.



Sitting on my yoga mat, on the …

Shoes, shoes, shoes, or not....

Jan, over at RevGals, offers this Friday Five Meme:

1. What is your favorite footwear at this time in your life? I wear strappy open toed kitten heels almost everywhere, that is when I'm working. When not working I wear a pair of Merrell sandals.

2. What was the craziest shoe, boot, or sandal you ever wore? In the early 1980's I bought a pair of ankle boots, suede, pointy toed, high heel...to wear with those skin tight straight leggings and long tops...

3. What kind of shoes did you wear in your childhood? keds or flip-flops or sandals.

4. How do you feel most comfortable? Barefoot, flip-flops, boots, or what? barefoot, except not here where there are dangerous things that crawl on the ground - like scorpions....here I wear flip flops.

5. What kind of socks do you like, if any? ankle socks, but in fun yarns....which are difficult to find, so now I am making my own socks...

Bonus: Anything you want to share about feet or footwear. Reflexology works under the premise that every organ…

Celtic Daily Prayer: Evening Prayer

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Lord, You have always given
Bread for the coming day,
and though I am poor,
Today I believe.

Lord, You have always given
strength for the coming day
And though I am weak,
Today I believe.

Lord, You have always given
Peace for the coming day,
and though I am of anxious heart,
Today I believe.

Lord, You have always kept
Me safe in trials,
And now, tried as I am,
Today I believe.

Lord, You have always marked
The road for the coming day
And though it may be hidden,
Today I believe.

Lord, You have always lightened
This darkness of mine,
And though the night is here,m
Today I believe.

Lord, You have always spoken
When time was ripe,
And though You be silent now,
Today I believe.

Years ago I purchased the Celtic Daily Prayer Book and prayed with it every day for a year. Since then I have prayed the prayers in this book off and on. Perhaps it is time I returned to using it daily.

Quotes

"If everything is under control, you're going too slow." Mario Andretti

Isn't is all relative, the pace at which life moves? For some, too slow, for others, too fast. For some change is exciting for others the most simplest of change is overwhelming and disorienting.(OK, this is me pondering, not a quote)

"Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this too, was a gift."

Mary Oliver, "The Uses of Sorrow" in Thirst: Beacon Press 2006

Sunday Prayer

God.
Oh my God, where are you?
I am lost and so alone.
Hear my prayer.

God.
Oh my. God? Where am I?
Alone? Forgotten?
Abandoned....

God.
My hope. My only hope.
Hear my cry, my plea
Hear my prayer.

God.
In you I put my trust.
In you I lay my life.
You. My prayer.

God.
Help me to love
You, neighbor, self.
Help me...you.

God.
Naked, vulnerable
hoping, more than
hope in you.

God.
This day, yesterday
tomorrow, always
hear my prayer.

Amen.

RevGals Friday Five: Special Days

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Sophia over at RevGals has an exciting weekend ahead, which has her thinking of the special rites of passage in our lives which we participate for ourselves or in which we support and bless others: baptism, confirmation, marriage, ordination, graduation, funerals, etc. Such important days, so exciting and joyous, but also sometimes anxiety provoking or deeply painful....So, this week, please share five memories of such sacred moments with God and her holy people from your life and the lives of those you love.

1. Here is one that I just wrote about: On my 51st birthday my family and I went to a sushi restaurant in the suburbs of Chicago. We had so much fun, laughing and eating. My gifts that night were all Japanese - a tea pot, a set of handleless cups, and tea. They are beautiful.

I barely had a chance to use them, here, after we moved. It was late winter, spring actually in the desert. So, for the most part they remained in their respective boxes in the cupboard.

I did use them last …

Bikes, Hikes, Likes

So I've started bike riding again. Not the indoor stationary bike that I've ridden for years, the one I ride while drinking coffee and reading the NY Times :-)

(yeah, that was a real work out....LOL)

No, I've started riding an outdoor bike. I got the bike so I could do simple errands around town without using my car. But I also ride the bike around the neighborhood, just for exercise, and so I can actually ride it on those errands. In about 20 minutes I can ride up and down steep hills, from end of the area where I live to the other and back, and get a pretty good work out. By the time I'm finished I'm quite winded.

I ride the same route I walk when I take the dogs out. Clearly the walk takes longer than riding the bike...but also the route looks and feels different whether I'm hiking or biking. During the hike we are always on the look out for, well, natural wild life...bobcats, coyotes, snakes...that sort of thing. And occasionally we see them too, hunting u…

Midrash: Genesis

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Lately I've been reading: which you can find at churchpublishing.

It's a wonderful book filled with prayers and poems by woman around the world, focusing on the Millennium Development Goals. These eight goals, established by the United Nations in 1995, invite nations and people to work toward the eradication of extreme poverty, lack of education, health care, and gender inequality and work together for a sustainable environment. You can read more about them here.

Most every day I pick this book up and read a few of the prayers. Here is what I read this morning:

Midrash: Genesis

On the seventh day, He rested.

She swept up the scraps,
(saving those big enough to make ears or tails).
She polished the water
scrubbed the sky, and gave the birds song.
She saw that it was good.
Then she danced with the fields.
The wind, watching her, learned to comfort the grass.
Later pools of gold and lavender appeared in the sky
just where she had vanished.

Lynn Dean Hunter
Virginia Beach, Virginia, United Stat…

Monday Morning Musings

This is one of those days in Southern Arizona when the wind is howling. It blows up from the west/southwest. Wide open spaces, one of the aspects I love about this area, also enable the wind to roar across the space. The winds kick up dust and sand. The winds shake and rattle the rafters of the house, creating escalating howls over a constant low pitched hum.

What to do today? I thought I'd go for a bike ride, a long one. But the wind may make that impossible. Unless I want to be blown hinder and yon.

I have three big dogs, at the moment, and two of them are vying for the upper hand - the weimaraner one year old and 7 year old vizsla. They are cousins, genetically by breed, and have very similar personality characteristics. It's alternately funny and annoying. They spar. They do a lot of licking of each others mouths - some parental dominate thing, I think. They run through my small house attached to one another causing havoc along the way. They are noisy.

So, noise. A lot of no…

Sunday Prayer

Gracious God, through all the trials and turmoil of life
through storms
dangers
fears
endings
sadness
brokeness
loss
illness
at the time of death
hold us in your embrace, sustain us with your grace

Loving God, through times of great joy in life
through births
growth
new seasons
rebirth
beginnings
recovery
health
wholeness
healing of mind, body, or spirit
hold us in your embrace, sustain us with your grace

God of our mothers and fathers
God of bread and wine
God of morning and night
God of water, sun, earth, air
God of all
We give you thanks for all the gifts of life.

God of all
Bless our lives
bless those we love
our pets
animals of kinds
all creatures
great and small
Help us to care for the earth, your own creation.

We ask this through the great love
of your son, our brother,
the vine, the branches,
the cup, the hand
our savior.

Amen.

Cross-posted at RevGalsBlogPals and RevGalsPrayerPals

A Return to My Past...(sort of)

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Many years ago, when I was young an fresh out of college, I had a job working for a dance theater house. My job was to attend dance rehearsals, design the lights for the show, hang and focus the lights and add gel (colors), manage all the technical end of a shows production including rehearsals, stage manager, and running the technical aspects of the show (light board and sound system). It was a cool job as I met many fine dancers and performance artists. It was also a grueling job - dirty, long nights, every weekend. And it was non-profit in the 1980's when the arts suffered dearly. Many weeks we wondered if we could make payroll.

During that time, living in Chicago, I did not own a car. I took the "L" or I rode my bike. The "L" was easy, not far from anyplace I lived. But it was also dirty, crowded, and, well, late at night after a show, it was unsafe. Or rather, the walk from the "L" to my apartment was unsafe. Still, that's how I got around mos…

RevGals Friday Five: Touching Holiness

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Sally over at RevGals posts this Friday Five Meme: How about you, where do you find God's peace and presence, is there:

1. A place that holds a special memory?

This is a photo of the view from my backyard of a monsoon rain over the Santa Rita mountains. In the desert, rain is sign of God's grace. This place will always hold a special memory for me because of the panoramic view.

2. A song that seems to usher you into the Holy of Holies? Taize: sung prayer with candle light, plants, and an icon or two, especially:


3.A book/ poem/ prayer that says what you cannot?
The Summer Day
Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wing…