Friday, July 31, 2009

RevGals Friday Five: Child's Play Time

KathrynZJ offers this Friday Five: Today’s Friday Five celebrates the spontaneous child in all of us… ar at least the one that we admire in someone else:

1) On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being I can’t do this now I am about to jump into a pit of plastic balls at the mini-mall and 1 being I can’t do this now until I can get all of the fonts on my blog to match – where are you? I am sitting in a blue reclining chair at my new portable desk - a very cool little "desk" on wheels that holds my computer and more at a comfortable height for the chair. It's all about my renewed efforts to use good body mechanics as I work at home.

2) What is the silliest/most childlike thing you have done as an adult? I've always wanted to be a fun, spontaneous person capable of being silly. But I'm not. I'm the oldest of four with three younger brothers, I grew up being responsible and decidedly not silly. On the other hand I am not uptight or rigid. That said, when my kids were young I loved doing things with them: ice skating, sledding, tree climbing, swinging, going down slides, bike riding. I was small enough and in good enough shape to most of it, and have fun too!

3) Any regrets? Many regrets about things I did in last year of high school and first two years of college. I was really struggling to figure myself out and it didn't really happen until much later in life.

4) What is the silliest thing you have ever seen another adult do on purpose? Aside from inappropriate behavior for an adult, behavior that is more like a two year old or a teenager...nothing I can think of. Can't think of any kind of healthy fun silliness....

5) What is something you wish you did when you had the chance? Usually what I end up wishing for is more wisdom, patience, compassion, and or self-differentiation in situations. I can't think of a time when I wish I had been more silly. Maybe while in seminary while we planned some of our social events...

BONUS: For our ‘I told you so’ sides – what thing did you skip doing and you’re really glad you did! Well as my kids reach the end of their teenage years and their early 20's I am just waiting for them to grow up enough, doing things "their" way - to realize, eventually that maybe Mom and Dad had some wisdom to share after all.....

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The "I's" have it-tude

Ice Cream: vanilla with chocolate sauce. Vanilla with caramel sauce. or ribbons of chocolate. or ribbons of caramel. Or Chocolate. Chocolate with chocolate. Ice cream. I eat a little almost every day. yum. Lately m favorite is the gelato place, which makes low fat ice cream in many flavors....my favorites: watermelon and mango. Ice cream is source of delight, a simple pleasure, gratitude at the end of a long day.

Ice: when I lived in the Midwest I never put ice in any beverage. But here in the heat of desert....I put ice in everything - coffee, tea, water...and I have developed a tendency to eat it too....I mean really, when it's 106 outside, I am sooo grateful for ice.

Internet: just goes without saying. I almost live on it. Almost. I am grateful for the speed at which I can do research, get information, connect with family and friends.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gratitude with an "H"

What can I say about the "H's" of Gratitude? Let me think....

Hands: strong, makes me think about my pioneer great grandmothers and the hard work they did with their hands. My own hands, especially when I was a massage therapist and my hands and arms were strong! Hands which break bread, hold bread, guide chalice. Hands which caress, love, care. Holding hands with my husband. Holding the hand of my child when she or he was little as we walked. Hands comfort and support.

Heart: a place to be grounded in God, a place to give and receive love. Heart that sustains life in more ways than one.

Happiness: tough one. Happiness. I hated the movie, Pursuit of Happiness. And since then it has caused me to ponder the feeling state of happiness. I think it is mostly just a fleeting emotion. I feel happy every now and then. For example, when I got off the Super Shuttle at General Convention in Anaheim and I saw the huge blue sign that reads: "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You" I was very happy. I was happy to be at GenCon. But of course the intensity of that initial feeling did not last. That is always the case. I think true happiness, the kind that resides in us as a state of being, is really more like the ability to be grateful for life even with the bumps and hurdles and challenges. Gratitude, or maybe, inner peace, or contenment.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"G"ratitude

Geraniums - specifically red. These flowers are hardy enough to make it through a hot Arizona summer and I love the red color. They look very festive in our ceramic planter boxes with brightly painted trim.



Grand Canyon - I mean, need I say more? It is just totally awesome. Totally.
Green - as in green grass. Not much of that in the desert. And sometimes I yearn for easy on the eye green grass. For the smell of freshly mown lawn. For the feel of young grass on my bare feet.
Gratitude in general. I am grateful for opportunities to reflect on the things I am grateful for. Gratitude....

Monday, July 27, 2009

Fabulous another word for Gratitude...

Monday is my day off, which is always Fabulous, always an occasion to be grateful. Grateful , also, that I have a job from which I can have a day off.

I am also grateful for Fortitude. I seem to have a lot of it, part of my natural constitution. Thank goodness, too, because I have had a number of occasions, (uhm - YEARS) in my life where the only thing that got me through was some mysterious inner strength. I of course believe that God is at the core of Fortitude - which points us to tomorrow when I'll reflect on "G" gratitude's. For today I am reflection on "F" gratitude's.

Flip-flops - living in a hot climate has created in me a deep gratitude for flip flops. About a year ago I bought a fabulous (there it is again) pair of leather flip flops from American Eagle. I wear them around the house as a precaution against stepping on bark scorpions (very venomous, but rarely fatal - an "F" word that is not in my gratitude list). We also have to watch out for the Arizona brown spider which sometimes manages to squeeze through the screens into the house. Also a very toxic spider....BUT in addition to these very practical flip flops I also wear more dressy flip flop type sandals with kitten heels. It's so hot here I wear open toed shoes like these six or seven months out of the year.....maybe eight.

Fish - love fish. If I were more organized I'd have a great fish tank - but right now I'd never do a good job of keeping the tank clean....I also love to eat fish: grilled salmon or tuna (with a wasabi cream sauce on the side), and sushi are my favorites.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Gratitude with an "E"

Day five of the gratitude reflections following the alphabet brings us to an "E" day:

Engines, as in search engines - such a great invention! I probably use a search engine every day....

Early, as in early bird - I love getting up early and enjoying the morning.

Exercise, one of the reasons I like to get up early. Exercise helps me feel great during the day, have more energy, stay healthy and in shape.

Energy, as in the natural energy that comes from sleeping well, exercising, and eating a healthy diet.

Eating, yes. I love to eat. But I am invested in eating well, a balanced diet. Ok, usually I am. I can junk food out with the best of them - but I hate how cruddy it makes me feel afterward.

I'm sure there must be more Exciting things I could put on this "E" list, but this is all I can think of at this time...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Da-gratitude

Gratitude according to the letter "D"....

Dark Chocolate. I really love chocolate, dark with almonds, truly a small pleasure in life.

Desert flowers. The vibrant VIBRANT colors are startling, and offer a great reprieve from the otherwise "drab" gray and brown landscape.

Dancing. I love to dance, any kind of dancing - oops NOT disco - but otherwise, so freeing.

Dogs. Need I say anymore? Actually yes, I mean well-behaved dogs. Dogs are such wonderful companions. And, for me, a real incentive to exercise because they need to be walked. One of my greatest joys in life is a walk with my dogs. Of course that was a little easier to do and more relaxed BEFORE the bobcat family moved in across the street...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Gratitude Catitude

Day three on my gratitude reflections, following the alphabet, leads me to the letter "C".... The big news in my neighborhood are the cats, specifically, bob-cats living on the roof of the house across the street. So very cool.



It is really awesome to see these beautiful animals up close (even as it also means we must be very, very careful walking dogs and wandering around outside). Cats. Nature. Grateful.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Beatitude Gratitude

Following the alphabet meme of gratitude today I am reflecting on the letter "B" which made me think of the beatitudes: "Blessed..."

I'm not so much pondering the blessed are's, but rather just blessings. Some of the things in my life that are blessings:

Birds. In the past I have owned birds in the past, finches, canaries, and lovebirds. But I really love the birds outside, of which we have an abundance here. Yes, birds are a blessing.

Banana's. I love bananas (especially with peanut butter).

Black Licorice, especially the Panda brand....

Brownies with chocolate chips.

Bowling. Haven't gone in a long while, and am not good, but it is fun to do with family or friends.

Burritos. Of all kinds. Even the fried fruit burrito dessert at one of my favorite restaurants.

Beasties - as in the household, pet variety...truly a blessing.

What are the blessings in your life today?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Gratitude Attitude

altar ego at Reverent Irreverence started this, the idea of daily posts, following the alphabet, of what one is grateful for. You can find her offering at the link above or in my sidebar.

Here is mine:

Attitude. Attitude has a lot to do with gratitude. With an open heart any number of things, ideas, experiences can stir up gratitude. Whereas with a closed heart these same things may glide by unrecognized, not experienced. Like most people I have had long stretches of time when life has been a tremendous challenge. When living felt like moving through thick shades of gray.Just getting out of bed felt beyond my ability, so dire was my life, so little did I want to face the bleakness of the day. During those times I had to find the little things to be grateful for - the kind word of a friend, a hug, lunch out with someone I enjoy being with, one of my cats curled up in my lap, a walk with my dogs.

When life has turned around and felt full and colorful again, I have much more obvious things to be grateful for. But even then, it is often the little things that catch me giving thanks. The song of a bird on a crisp morning. A glorious sunset. A rainstorm. A wonderful conversation with a newly forming friendship.

Doing an alphabet meme on gratitude seems to me to be an opportunity to look at the little things in daily life for which one can be grateful, and then offer them up with thanksgiving.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

I have just finished reading "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" by Muriel Barbery. My favorite lines in the book:

"They didn't recognize me," I say. I come to a halt in the middle of the sidewalk, completely flabbergasted.

"They didn't recognize me," I repeat.

He stops in turn, my hand still on his arm.

"It's because they have never seen you," he says. "I would recognize you anywhere."

Home, again.

What a fast week! But oh, I am sooo very grateful that I went to General Convention. Even if I went back to my room instead of crashing the cocktail and dinner event held in Ballroom B for the folks from Chicago, many of whom I know. No, I went back to my room, following a day of being a Page in the House of Bishops, and rested. Like I was supposed too. Even if I missed the L.A. night at the Arena with rocking music and Brian McLaren as the Keynote speaker. After a day of being a Page in the House of Bishops, I went back to my room and rested.

Regardless of what I missed I was able to be present for some awesome happenings: the HofB passing resolutions C056 (creating liturgies to bless same gendered unions). Discussions on the budget and youth representation in the House of Deputies. And worship services that reminded me of why I love this church. Fabulous music! Great preachers (Abagail Nelson, Brian McLaren, Bishop Katharine). Fine liturgy in English, French, and Spanish. (COOL). I got a really good sense of convention and of the role a deputy plays (can you tell I'm thinking of running for election to be a deputy at the 2012 Convention in Indianapolis?).

I also got to see a RevGal friend who took me to the Crystal Cathedral. It was a cool thing to do, even if I was less than impressed with it (well, I mean it didn't inspire me to want to pray).....

I also got to spend a little time with my brother. We went to Huntington Beach for lunch one day and then to a sushi place another day. It was great to see he and his wife.

The flight home this evening was ROCKY...flying through a Monsoon storm, rocky! But home safe enough!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

An Absolutely Amazing, Spirit-filled Day

(from flickrfoto, July 13)


I rose early this morning in order to attend the Province VIII breakfast and installation of officers for 2009. We gathered from 7:00am to 8:30am for prayer, some refreshing food, and delightful conversation. Laura Smith, wife of our Diocesan Bishop was there along with Marilyn Hedges, myself, and about 50 other ECW members from this province (Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, Nevada, California, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, and Taiwan).

Following the breakfast I wandered over to the Exhibition Hall and walked the exhibits. The room was filled with booths of all sorts: artwork from Haiti and Jerusalem, Chasubles and Albs from Whipple, Almy, and independant sources, Episcopal Relief and Development and Heifer International, Church Publishing and Leader Resources, and more. I walked the hall for about half an hour and then returned to my hotel room for some rest before my big afternoon as a Page in the House of Bishops.

I returned to the convention center at 1:15 in preparation for my shift as Page. Today the two houses, House of Bishops and House of Deputies, met for about an hour in joint session, to discuss the budget for 2009-2012. The budget presentation, filled with significant cuts of program and resources, was beautifully done, focusing on what makes us strong (our mission work) and not what wears us down – choosing to see this as an opportunity for resurrection instead of despair. Both Houses will consider the budget in legislation Thursday morning.

Following the budget presentation the House of Bishops convened for about 40 minutes in private session, which is the usual way they prepare for an open hearing. The Pages, media, and general public joined the House of Bishops at 4:40. The legislation under discussion today dealt with a resolution asking the Standing Committee on Liturgics, in relationship with the House of Bishops, to create liturgies and resources for the blessing of same-gendered relationships. (I’m not sure the resolution used the word Marriage, I think it was “relationship”). The House of Bishops discussed and amended, and voted down a few amendments, to the original resolution for over an hour. As Pages we were busy bringing bishops the official form for making amendments, transporting notes between House of Bishops and House of Deputies, as well as any other messages that needed to be delivered to an individual bishop. At one point there was a long discussion about “dispatching” the entire resolution, which I gathered to mean they would table the discussion, and perhaps address it in another form next convention. The intent all around was too begin the process of creating, for Bishops and clergy who reside in states that have legalized same gendered marriage, a liturgy to bless that marriage, with the hope of having some materials ready for presentation at the next General Convention in 2012.

As a Page I was awestruck by the degree of compassion, respect, and generosity exhibited in the House of Bishops as they undertook this very difficult task. I am deeply moved and hold in high regard all of the Bishops who have worked so hard these last two weeks. It was amazing to witness the proceedings around this topic and the overwhelming support given to it by more than 2/3 of the Bishops. And, although I was not a Page in the House of Deputies, I am sure they were working just as hard and with the same degree of graciousness, on whatever topic was before them.

The day ended with a prayer, offered by the Chaplain, and a chant led by a musician and sung by all, followed by 10 minutes of silent prayer. The Presiding Bishop, Katharine Schori closed the session with a simple, “Shalom, Go in peace.”

Regardless of what each of may think about the ultimate decisions made at convention I think we all should be honored to be lead by two fine houses, Bishops and Deputies, and the amazing, prayerful, Spirit-filled work they have done.

Today was one of those days when I really love the Episcopal Church.

Tomorrow: a more restful day? We’ll see….

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

An Excellent Second Day

Yesterday I walked more than I had walked in 8 days. A lot more. Which means that this morning I was tired. Not sleepy, just tired. So I stayed in my hotel room, in bed, in my pj's until 10am. I ordered room service and drank a pot of coffee (OK, a pot was only 4 cups). I read blogs. Finally I showered and got dressed. I wanted to attend the General Convention Eucharist built around the theme of the Millennium Development Goals. I am so glad I went. I got to hear a fabulous keynote (sermon) address, which you can read here. I got to sit next to my former, and now retired Bishop. I got to see some folks I have cared about and known for years. It was great.

After the Eucharist I grabbed a quick lunch (Turkey sandwich and iced Tea) and then went to wait for my assignment as a page for the House of Bishops. Thankfully I brought my knitting, because I waited awhile. My assignment (When they asked if anyone had any issues with walking or hearing, I raised my hand - note to self, walk slow, even if you feel well) was to sit in the back of the House of Bishops, a less busy page position than the front of the House. There were three of us back there and we rotated monitoring who could walk in to the Bishop's space and who needed messages delivered.

The meeting began with a presentation of the invited, inter-religious guests. A rabbi and a Cantor opened us with prayer - a beautiful chant in Hebrew - oh my! Then someone joined them chanting in English: "May the May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He cause His face to shine upon you. May He lift up His countenance and grant you peace."

A short amount of time was busy, then we sat for 2 hours and just listened to the proceedings. It was an easy job. We were supposed to work from 1:30-6:00pm, but we didn't actually start to work until three and we ended at 5:30. Not bad. The resolutions being addressed by the House of Bishops were basic things, nothing controversial, and most passed without a hitch. A few were actually recommended by the presenter as resolutions that should be rejected - and they were.

Following my work as a Page in the H of B I returned to my room, made a few phone calls, took a shower, ordered room service, and called it a night. Now, instead of being tired I am actually beginning to feel sleepy. As soon as the sun goes down I will too!

More tomorrow on the General Convention.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I'm Not Crazy, I Just Love What I Do

Huntington Beach, Californai


Yes. I had surgery 5 days ago. And yet, here I am, in Anaheim, California, at the General Convention for the Episcopal Church. Actually, I am doing quite well, from the surgery (the one, that as someone said to me "Every woman wants at some point in her life"...). Actually it may be that I am here because I feel better than I have felt in awhile - so it is all relative.

Anyway. Day one of my trip to the convention. The 2009 Triennial Convention for the Episcopal Church actually began last week, July 8 (coincidentally the day of surgery). But this is my first day here. I had an easy flight in, on a commuter plane out of Tucson, a 90 minute flight. Small plane, tiny seat space. But otherwise no problems. I took the Super Shuttle from LAX (piece of cake finding the pick up location) and was the first stop on the drop off points for 5 people in the van.

Some things I observed, but have forgotten about, because I live in a small town: people who work, even on a hot summer day, in a knit winter hat while "snapping" gum. I haven't heard someone so skillful at snapping gum, like this tiny young woman at the "Shared Ride" location at LAX, since I left Chicago 16 months ago. This woman was a real pro. Granted 40 minutes of waiting to the tune of snapping gum was wearing a bit on my patience....

Another thing: one man on the shared ride van who could not tolerate a single moment of silence. He was on his cell phone non-stop. From some of the overheard conversation (it couldn't be helped, sadly, sigh) even the people he called were tired of his pursuit of conversation. Thankfully it only took me 45 minutes to get to my hotel from LAX. Nonetheless I know a lot about this man and his business, and the recently hired person he has heard both "good" and " not so good" reports on...sigh...(oh and he was some big who-ha person, in charge of ALL the people)....

My hotel is nice and comfortable, in the convention center area of Anaheim, across the way from Disneyland. After my arrival I rested for about 90 minutes. Then my brother and sister-in-law picked me up and we went to lunch at Savannah's in Huntington Beach. I had to laugh. My daughter worked for three years at Hollister, a stylish jean and T-shirt chain store (part of the Abercromie family). The Hollister stores have a live feed webcam focused on Huntington Beach - so for years I could go to her store and see this beach - year in year out. It always posted not only the live feed, but the temperature and time as well. Chicago (minus 10 degrees), Huntington sunny and 70 degrees. (Or today, 90 - still a lot cooler than the 105 in Tucson, where I now live).

Lunch was delightful. The day was pleasant. Some think I am crazy for making this trip so soon after the surgery. I would not have come if I were not feeling well and up to it. And really, the sensation of excitment I felt walking off the shuttle and into the hotel, knowing I was here, in the midst of this convention, made my heart leap with joy! My only hope is that the kids running off steam in the courtyard below my window quiet down soon - I'm tired and want to go to sleep. They obviously want to swim, ("Marco" - "Polo"...in the pool) scream, play, and be kids. Sigh. I must be getting old.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bobcat Family

Here is a short video of the bobcat family that has decided to live on the roof of the house across the street. Good thing no one is living in that house....

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Words of Assurance?

"Not to bring up something upsetting, but when you leave here today, you may go through a period of unemployment. My suggestion is this: Enjoy the unemployment. Have a second cup of coffee. Go to the park. Read Walt Whitman. Walt Whitman loved being unemployed. I don't believe he ever did a day's work in his life. As you may know, he's a poet. If a lot of time goes by and you continue to be unemployed, you may want to consider announcing to all appropriate parties that you have become a poet." (John Patrick Stanley, playwright, in his commencement speech at the College of Mount St. Vincent, NY Time National section, June 14, 2009)

Granted, this made me chuckle...but then I am not a college student facing an uncertain future.

Resting on the Spiritual Porch

I have a good friend who is always late for everything. Whenever my friend and I schedule a date to get together I plan to arrive 15 minute...