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Showing posts from August, 2009

Knitting

A few months ago I learned to knit socks. To my great delight I find that I love knitting socks. There are difficult and challenging aspects requiring a lot of attention followed by a repetitive pattern that takes very little concentration. I learned to knit with five needles. The two most challenging areas for me are the initial joining together of the stitches, which have been divided equally onto four needles, stitches on the fourth and first needles need to be joined together. I was taught how to do this but I seem to have forgotten some piece of that instruction (it was unique to the woman who taught me), so I struggle to create a smooth connection. Once that is accomplished, for better or worse, it is a challenge to knit/purl the initial rows while juggling five unwieldy needles. Once I have knitted about a 1/4 of an inch the needles are much easier to manage, staying more or less stationary due to the weight of stitches. This knit/purl pattern, or some variation of the sock cuf…

Complaining

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Today I am pondering the reality that if you want to find something to complain about you can. But why? Why spend so much energy complaining about this, that, or the other thing?

If Only

A most peculiar tale, "The Scenic Route" (by binniekirshenbaum) weaving back and forth in time, through the lives of the main character (the narrator) and her family. While the story weaves through several generations it take place primarily during a few months of travel through Europe.

Here is an excerpt of what I read this morning while traveling nowhere on the stationary exercise bike:

"As we lay on that feather bed, my head resting on Henry's shoulder, I asked him, "If you could do your life over, do you think you'd do everything the same?"

"I'd like to say no," he told me, "I'd like to say I'd do plenty of things different, but I can't say that because I need to believe otherwise."

"You need to believe otherwise?"

"Exactly, I need to believe in predetermination. If I acknowledge free will, I'd have only myself to blame. And who could live with that?" he asked.

I am not one to settle easily with…

Zippity

I have been thinking.

Yes, I do that once in awhile.....coming to the end of the alphabet meme, and so, what can I say about Y?

Y: Yellow. Not exactly my favorite color. For example, I NEVER wear yellow - I simple do not do the color justice - and it does not suit me, either. But nonetheless, I love yellow - the color of sun, of warmth, of flowers, of butter and cheese (ok, favorite foods), of paint - as in wall color. I like yellow walls, and if I stay in this house I will paint a few walls a deep yellow, desert, late summer, kind of yellow. Yellow with a little brown in it. That color, or this color, of yellow.

Yes, Yup, Yesterday, Yuck, - all words I use often - grateful for that. I like to think that today will in fact become, yesterday. Gone, past. (sometimes a good thing). I like that there are times, things, circumstances, hopes, joys, loves, that I say "YES" too - or at least, "YUP." Of course there is always something I end up saying, "YUCK" too. (s…

Why Z, YZ?

I have been thinking. Yes, I do that once in awhile, even though many days (lately) I prefer to NOT think. Or maybe I mean, not feel? Whatever. Regardless, what can I say about Y? And, what can I say about Z?

Y: Yellow. Not exactly my favorite color. For example, I NEVER wear yellow - I simple do not do the color justice - and it does not suit me, either. But nonetheless, I love yellow - the color of sun, of warmth, of flowers, of butter and cheese (ok, favorite foods), of paint - as in wall color. I like yellow walls, and if I stay in this house I will paint a few walls a deep yellow, desert, late summer, kind of yellow. Yellow with a little brown in it. That color, or this color, of yellow.

Yes, Yup, Yesterday, Yuck, - all words I use often - grateful for that. I like to think that today will in fact become, yesterday. Gone, past. (sometimes a good thing). I like that there are times, things, circumstances, hopes, joys, loves, that I say "YES" too - or at least, "YUP.&q…

X...really?

Ok, I have been writing this alphabet meme on gratefulness for, well, how ever many days it's taken to get to "X" - give or take a few distractions for the Friday Five and Sunday Sermons. And really, I had a very difficult time. I simply could not come up with words, things, that I was grateful for, which began with any letter, let alone "X." I mean, there is plenty I am grateful for, I just can't seem to think of them in alphabetical order on any given day. Blame it on the general state of things, these days. Yeah.



Ok, so with that disclaimer, here I go:



First, I meant to remember for "V" - vibraphone - as in Jazz. Love Jazz, love that instrument. So, cool....



All right, enough delaying:



Xylephone: kind of like a tiny vibraphone, but for kids.

really??

is that it??

I guess so.

sigh.

W

What oh what....can one say about..."W"....?

Well. Ok.

Windows: I love windows, I love seeing the world outside and having the sunlight come in.

World: As I said, I love seeing the world outside and bringing it in. I also love to see the world by being in it. Travelling: by car, by plane, by train, on foot, on a bike. And, I'd love to see it from space! We do live in a beautiful world!

Wisconsin: I lived there twice, once as a child and once as an adult. It is a beautiful state: rolling hills, lots of green grass and fields, lakes. I once rode my bike across the southern part of the state - from Kenosha to Madison. It was awesome!

Walking: I have two big dogs...walking goes without saying. I love to walk. I love to walk my dogs.

Work: Ok. I really should have put this in the "V" post - I am really grateful for vocation....but with this vocation comes work. And, usually I love what I do. Usually...

Worship: yeah, usually, when we leave room for the Spirit....

Wind: I …

Grace and Serendipity

This is one of those occasions when there is nothing one can really say about what is going in the life of the congregation, and yet every reason to convey a nonanxious presence. Here is a reflection on the Proper 16B, 1 Kings 8: 22-30, 41-43; Psalm 84, with the intention of being light....

After church, Robbie tells his parents he has to go and talk to the minister right away. They agree and the pastor greets the family.
"Pastor," Robbie says, "I heard you say today that our bodies came from the dust."

"That's right, Johnny, I did."

"And I heard you say that when we die, our bodies go back to dust."

"Yes, I'm glad you were listening. Why do you ask?"

"Well you better come over to our house right away and look under my bed 'cause there's someone either comin' or goin'!"

What makes a joke funny? The way in which it points to the truth about human nature? The playfulness of an unexpected outcome?

Our scripture r…

RevGals Friday Five: Family Norms

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Jan over at RevGals offers this family vacation Friday Five:

***Jan may not have anticipated opening up this can of worms***

1. Formal rules in family of origin Oh my. My mother was raised in a chaotic alcoholic family. She was broken at a young age. A woman who could have been brilliant, creative, and funny (and she was), who implanted deeply into her family strong liberal political views, was also Borderline - or with those tendency at the very least. That said - rules in my family of origin: mother is always right. affirm mothers world view, even if it is a distortion of reality, because then all will be calm in the house. How's that for a strong family rule. Of course, well, it was often impossible to actually do that.

2. Unwritten and unspoken rules in family of origin I think what I have already said sheds light on this one. Mother is always right.

3. Formal rules in current family or workplace We always let one another know where we are. If we go out to one place and then go to…

V, what???

I can't believe that I have been writing these alphabet focused gratitude reflections long enough to come to "V"...what the heck does one say about V?....

Vestments - oh, I do love some of the beautiful attire we clergy get to wear. Back at my former parish we had a gorgeous white silk chasuble...really beautiful. And in some churches really old vestments, well made, hand embroidered. Amazing how years ago these holy men would wear such flowery finery. And, now, I get to wear them. Although generally speaking I like to be simple....an alb and a stole. But then I am considering some new albs from womenspirit.

I'd like to say Vermont or Virginia - but I've never been to Vermont and the one time I drove through Virginia was in the dark of night....but I hear they are beautiful states - so I'm grateful they exist, even when I haven't seen them. Is it obvious that I am struggling here?

Voice: oh yes, I am grateful for voice - that I can, that we can, speak. For v…

U...

Some of the "U's" I'm grateful for:

Universe - I love looking up at the stars and pondering what's out there

Utah - the state of my birth, and so beautiful. Love the Rocky Mountains the surround Salt Lake City, love the desert, love it all.

Uncle - my mother's brother. He's been an important person in my life.

Urban - I used to live right in the heart of a major city - and I loved the urban life - walking along the lake, riding my bike, easy access to restaurants, parks, no car...it was wonderful when I was single, and newly married....but never lived there with kids.

USA - I do not display huge patriotism, but I am really grateful to have had the stroke of luck to be born in this country. It makes me wonder what I am meant to do with my life, what kind of pay it forward sort of thing for this luck? I'm working on it.

Under- as in that which we wear under...and in particular, lace.

Upside down - I used to be able to stand on my head - yoga style. Still can, …

T with a graTiTude....

Today, at least as it is the end of Monday as I write this: my wedding anniversary. It has been a bit of a tumultuous day, some major, significant, perhaps transitional, unbloggable stuff. That part, terrible. Tragic. Making certain commitments tenuous, or may just, temporary.

It has also been a terrific day:

Dog walk: terrific
Dog park: terrific
Swim: terrific
dinner out: can one spell delicious with a "T"?....telicious?!!? well, it was.

Tender, some parts of this day were, tender. It was after all our anniversary, twenty-four.

Sun

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So, here I am at the "S's"...what to be grateful for, s-wise...?

Sunrises: the sunrise here is late because the sun has to come up over the mountains. If I lived 45 minutes north the sun would rise much earlier. Still, I love that time just before sunrise, when the air is lavender. That said, one of my favorite places to watch the sunrise is here:


Sunsets: can be very awesome, very. Especially where I live...
but, also here:

I also love the Sun- love to sit out on the patio in the sun...for a short while. And sitting in the sun leads me directly to:
Swimming.in the aqua glory of the pool in my backyard, a refreshing break from the heat and sun...
which means I also need a swim suit. Nothing special, but I need one. And, well, grateful for the kind that comes with a low back and narrow straps. Not fond of bikini's....but otherwise, keep it slim and skinny...
Now, at 52 I am not as slim and skinny as I used to be...no. Body parts have settled. Muscle tone has diminished. Wei…

gRatitude....

I must admit I have really found it a challenge to ponder that which I am grateful for, ordered by the letters of the alphabet. Mostly a challenge because I simply can't think of anything for the letter of the day. And today is "R"...sigh

R - my brother. We kind of lost each other for a number of years, but now we talk regularly and, well, it's Really great. He's a red head like my mother, his daughter has the same beautiful dark red/auburn hair. He has done some amazing things with his life and, like me, has a tendency toward optimism. We are only 14 months apart and were really close for much of our childhood.

Red: I love the color red.

Red Wine: enjoy a glass with dinner. Frankly, although I LOVE them too....I get tired of water, coffee, and iced tea - the other beverages I tend to drink. No cola's for me - bad bad bad for me. So, a glass of wine with dinner is delightful. Although, I must admit, it also makes me drowsy...yeah, one glass is my limit...sigh...…

Friday Five: The Wild Animal Edition....

About a month ago my husband and I discovered a family of bobcats living on the roof of the house across the street.



video taken by mr. mompriest...(notice the stare momma gives...)

Let me explain.

We live on the foothills of a mountain range, in the desert southwest USA. It is not uncommon to see bobcats, coyotes, even mountain lion. Usually, though all we see are spiders, scorpions, lizards, and birds. Lots of birds.

That is until this bobcat family took to roosting on the roof of the empty house across the street. There is a family of three babies (kits?) and the momma. The papa cat, while around for awhile, seems to have moved on. We see them on the roof in the early morning and early evening hours. We see one parent walking along the side of our house, bringing lunch back to the family... They play, and roam around with ease. The biggest problem for us, with 100+ temperatures is trying to figure out a safe time to walk our dogs....

For this Friday Five, share with us a wild animal st…

Quiet....the Q-titude Effect

I have grown to really appreciate the quality of silence. On the evenings when my husband works (and, well, the kids are no longer at home) I envelope myself in quietness. True, there is the gentle hum of my computer and the crick crick of crickets outside and the methodical whirl of the ceiling fan. But no television. No radio. And often no music, either. Silence. And in this quiet I either read, write, or knit.

There was a time when the silence drove me batty. I had to do SOMETHING....I couldn't just be with myself and appreciate the solitude. But then I had years of kids, and husband, and TV and constant sound. Constant. And I found, while I loved having a family around and all the energy of that....I also yearned for balance, for quiet.

quiet

Quirky....I've never been one for the status quo, the norm, the usual. I've always felt a little outside of, well, everyone and everything. Quirky. Over time I've come to appreciate that about me.

Queen, as in Dairy. It's not …

P is for

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Pool - I give thanks every day for the pool in my backyard. In this dry hot dusty desert a pool restores life, soothes spirits, refreshes tired souls, and cools when hot.

People - as much as I love being solitary, I also love people.

Purple - as in the color of the Indian Hawthorn that blooms all summer.

Pasta - oh, almost any and every kind. Especially with a glass of wine and a salad.

Pancakes - these days, blueberry.

Oooooooh!

O: oranges (which, sadly, I can no longer eat - think mouth sores from the citric acid), olives (green or black), ontological (did I really write that?), optimist (yes, I really am), open minded (usually), oxygen (not the TV channel, the air we breathe), October (in the Midwest its the month when the leaves turn, in the desert it's the month when outdoor swimming ends)....obviously I am struggling to think of "O" things...sigh

OH, so any ideas of "O's" I might have added but couldn't think of?

Nature, Nurture, Napping....the "N's"

Today is my day off, so Naturally I am thinking about ways to Nurture myself. One of my favorite is, Napping. There is nothing quite like a good deep sleep in the middle of the afternoon to care for oneself and revive the spirit. There are a number of other ways I nurture myself: including massages, manicures, swimming, walking dogs, knitting and reading....but today is all about the "N's"...so in that regard: Nature is high on my list...I love to be outdoors and enjoy this beautiful world. I love mountains, and water, sand, and green grass, rolling hills and a vista that goes on forever. Here in my neck of the woods, I mean desert, we have birds galore and wildlife aplenty. I have already mentioned on more than one occasion, the bobcat family living on the roof of the empty house across the street. They are awesome, but have put a damper on our daily dog walks....(naturally, I am disinclined to tempt them at an easy meal - me or my dogs....normally they would be incline…

Be Kinder than Necessary.....

A reflection on the readings for Proper 14B: 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33; Psalm 130; and Ephesians 4:25-5:2.

The other night I watched the season finale of “So You Think You Can Dance.” As a dance major in college I tend to be captivated by the show and freely add my commentary along with that of the judges. What really caught my eye this year was the leg extensions exhibited by all the dancers – beautiful, graceful, strong, and high! That kind of leg extension only happens when one is both very strong and very flexible. To have both strength and flexibility one must work to build muscle and stretch muscle. Building muscle will build strength but it also makes muscles tight and prone to injury. Stretching muscle keeps one flexible. But gaining flexibility without building strength can also cause injury. Muscles and bones, along with ligaments and tendons, must all work together to enable a body to move in a healthy way.

I can always tell when I have over worked to build muscle and failed…

Friday Five

Sally over at RevGals posts this Friday Five Meme. Her family sails with a passion.


1. Is there a sport/ hobby that is more of a passion than a past-time for you? I have had a number of "sports" that were passions, although I have not had one consistent one through out my life. For example,I swam (not well) a lots as a child. I danced for many years, and it was my major in undergrad. I also developed a passion for bike riding. Now I walk my dogs, ride an exercise bike, and swim in my pool. I don't dance very often...but every now and then I get a yearning for a ballet class.

2. Outdoors or indoors? Both

3. Where do you find peace and quiet? Oh, in the pool at night floating and looking up at the stars. A long walk on a cool day with the dogs (very few occasions like that in Arizona lately, it's been triple digits since May). And knitting. Is knitting a sport? It' more than a hobby.... it's probably a passion...

4. A competitive spirit; good or bad, discuss... I c…

RevGals Friday Five:

Sally over at RevGals posts this Friday Five Meme. Her family sails

1. Is there a sport/ hobby that is more of a passion than a past-time for you?
2. Outdoors or indoors?
3. Where do you find peace and quiet?
4. A competitive spirit; good or bad, discuss...
5. Is there a song a picture or a poem that sums up your passion ?
Bonus for posting a video/ link.

Mmmm-atude

My oh my...I am so grateful today for mmmm....

M&M's - I love 'em. Especially peanut. But also plain. A handful of chocolate delight.

Mocha latte's - well, I actually only drink these on cold winter mornings - but then they are such a cozy pick me up.

Movies - I love to watch movies. I love to go to the theater and watch movies or stay home and watch them. I'll pretty much watch anything as long as it's not too violent and has some aspect of redemption.

Money. I know. But I have had money in my life and I've not had it. I am certainly grateful for the times when I have money.

Life and Love and a Grateful Heart

This morning I rise to ponder that which I am grateful for from the perspective of "L"

Life: My life is and always has been challenging. I have not had it easy. I'm sure that is true for many people, and I'm not complaining. Life could be a whole lot more challenging! But that said, I am grateful for life. Everyday I am grateful for some thing. Maybe it's a tiny thing like the baby rabbit who has found refuge from the midday heat by lying between a planter and the front wall of our house. We have a front row seat from the home office. We give it water and hope it stays safe from the bobcat family across the street. So, today I give thanks for life in all its vulnerability and challenges, and little joys.

Love: I know I am loved. Deeply. By God. and By my husband. That goes a long way in sustaining a person through what ever comes along. I am grateful for love.

Gratitude for "K's"

Continuing with my daily reflection, following the alphabet, on gratitude:

Knitting: I am so grateful for knitting. I love to do it. For many years all I knit were simple straight line scarves. Recently I took a class on knitting socks. Basic sock technique. Since then (beginning of June) I have knit one pair and am finishing the first of a second pair. So many cool yarns for socks. I have also knit a winter hat for one of my God daughter's and will start the hat for the other twin soon. Knitting is relaxing, contemplative, peaceful. It occupies hands during meetings and while waiting. It keeps me busy at night while my husband watches TV.

Kites: I love to fly a kite. Haven't in years - but love too.

Kittens: I haven't had one in awhile, my two cats will be 4 and 12 in September. But kittens are so very sweet and playful.

Gratitude Jazz

It seems that I end up taking the weekend off from my gratitude reflections so I can work on the Sunday sermon....so, now I return to reflection on "J". But first I also want to point out that there are three others I know of who are participating in the alphabet meme: Alter Ego; Deb; and HotCup.

Ok, now for the "J's"....

Jazz. I love Jazz. Curiously I had almost no jazz on my iPod (the one I HAD before I dropped it on an airplane)...but I do love Jazz. It's fun to listen to at a club, it's fun to dance too, it's perfect music to get sappy with...I especially love the vibes - maybe I'll remember that when I get to the "V'S"....

Jewelry: I don't have a lot, but I love the pearl necklace I found in a resale shop and wore on my wedding day. I have often wondered if they are real...And now in the SW I am accumulating some very nice turquoise. Oh, the choices, if I had big bucks to spend. Then, next year for our 25 wedding anniversary …

A Sign of Love - Or Love Itself.....

A reflection on Proper 13B: 2 Samuel 11:26 - 12:13a, Ephesians 4:1-16, John 6:24-35

At various times I find myself in conversations with people on the topic of “Comfort Food.” Sometimes it comes up because someone is sick, and comfort food is, well, comforting. Other times it comes up because we are a culture of people who love to eat and have the luxury of having many options to choose from. Sometimes it comes up because a particular comfort food is on the menu – chicken pot pie, for example.

If I had to name a particular food as “Comfort food” I would probably choose bread and butter – particularly freshly baked bread right out of the oven, slathered in real butter.
One of my childhood memories is going on a tour of the Wonderbread bakery in Salt Lake City. We got to see the entire process of making and baking bread, and then at the end we each got a small loaf of freshly baked bread, still warm from the oven.

For many years my mother baked bread and I have fond memories of her slicing …