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Showing posts from October, 2009

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…