Showing posts from December, 2010

Friday Five: Looking Back, Looking Forward...

SingingOwl over at RevGals offers this New Year's Friday Five:

I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions, but it does seem a good time for some reflection and planning. For the last few days I keep thinking of Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Among other things, that seems to say that reflection is in order if we want to learn and grow.

For some of us, this has been an incredibly difficult year; for others it has been a year of many joys. For all of us, there have been challenges and questions and there have been blessings and--maybe even an answer or two! As we say our goodbyes to 2010 and look towards 2011, share with us five blessings from 2010 along with five hopes or dreams for 2011.

So five blessings from 2010:
1. The road trip I took in May with my son from Phoenix, AZ north through Utah and east to Chicago. We spent several days with my father in Escalante and Bryce Canyon area. We drove the awesome loop of highway 12 t…

So Called, The Marks of Ministry

Eleven years ago today, on the Feast of St. John (transferred that year to Dec. 28), I was ordained to the "Transitional Diaconate" in the Episcopal Church. (Transitional deacons are those who are called to the priesthood but spend six months to a year serving as transitional deacons, learning about ordained minstry, prior to ordination to the priesthood. Vocational deacons are those whose ministry will be the diaconate.)

That night I stood on the chancel steps of the church where my family and I had worship for ten years. The same steps I stood on when the Bishop confirmed me into the Episcopal Church in the fall of 1990. The same church where my son was baptized. The same church where, after sixteen years away from formal Christian worship and faith, I found my way home. A church filled with memories, some of which I reflected upon when I preached there on Oct. 31, 2010.

Like this year it was cold and snowy. The church was decorated in all the grandeur of Christmas celebr…

Monday Morning Musings

It's a quiet morning in my household. Outside the sun is shining, the air crisp, and very cold. We have a good amount of snow on the ground, although not as much as the Northeast coast is getting. The animals have been fed, my husband is at work and I'm drinking coffee. The only thing I have to do today is return items to the library. If I wanted too I could just renew everything on-line and avoid that trip, too. (I must say, I do love the new library on-line system which reminds via email when materials are due and enables me to renew through a link in the email). We had a lovely Christmas.

Christmas Eve I picked up my brother from the nursing home so he could join us for dinner. I took him back on our way to midnight services. We went to the church we attended when our kids were little, the same church where I was ordained, eleven years ago tomorrow. It was really sweet to be "home" - back in our old neighborhood and celebrating Christmas with people we know and l…

Sunday Prayer: 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

Crossposted on RevGalBlogPals and A Place for Prayer

Christmas, Wild and Sweet

Christmas Bells (slightly adapted)
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to all!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to all!

Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to all!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The Carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to all!

And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to all!’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to all!’

Set to music, a childhood memory:

Wishing each and ev…

Monday Morning Musings

It's coming 'round Christmas and I'm thinking a bit about Christmases past....and my hope for Christmases future, but not so much about the Christmas present.

Last night I ordered gifts from Heifer. (This is my 11th year of supporting Heifer and purchasing gifts for colleagues, family, and friends. I think Heifer is amazing. And now they have fun animated e-cards. It was fun buying gifts and sending gift cards!

This week will be a relatively quiet week for me. Or at least it seems that way - one never knows....

And I woke up with this song in my head. One of my favorite from high school days.

River by Joni Mitchell

It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on ...

© 1970; Joni Mitchell

Maybe sometime this winter we'll go down to Millennium park and skate under the stars and twinkling lights...that would be fun!

Here's hoping you hav…

Self Disclosure and Self-Differentiation as Clergy and Leaders in the Church

Pastor Joelle and I are having a conversation about a comment I left on a blog we both read. The blogger asked a question about the "Appropriateness of Clergy/Parishioner Friendship." The concern centered around being an authentic transparent leader while understanding how much self-revelation was appropriate and when was it too much?

I responded on the blog with this:

1.Don't share anything that would make congregational members think they need to take care of you.

2. That said, there are occasions when the congregation should care about you and show it, such as - when you've been really sick/hospitalized or are on maternity leave, have a chronically ill child or are taking care of aging parents or have had a death in the family.

3. They should not be care-taking for you over every day things and stresses like parenting, other parishioners, issues related to running the church, your marriage - you need a clergy support group, a spiritual director and or a therapi…

RevGals Friday Five: Christmases Past

Jan over at RevGals offers a Friday Five opportunity to reflect on Christmases past by asking us to share five Christmas memories.

1. When I was a little girl I remember falling asleep to Christmas music. My mother would send me and my three brothers to bed, then she would load up the hifi (as we called it) with records of Christmas music. We had a classic record of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which remains one of my favorite Christmas records. She also had a record of the "classics" Burl Ives, Bobby Helms, someone singing "I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus" and someone else singing "Suzy Snowflake"...

2. While we kids were falling asleep, and with those records playing, my mother would bake cookies and fruit breads. So I also fell asleep to the fragrance of delicious food.

3. So Christmas memories for me are sensory - sounds, smells, visual - the twinkling lights from the Christmas tree reflecting into my room...I still love to sit in a room lighted only…

Three Years Ago

Last night I drove into the city to spend some time with my mother in law. The assisted living facility she lives in had a festive night of music for the residents. My MIL is having memory loss issues. Unfortunately she is at the stage where she is aware of the memory loss and it causes her extreme distress and depression. So, part of the night was affirming her reality and comforting her.

On the drive home I followed an old route that I use to take when my kids were babies, side streets from our house in Chicago to the pediatrician in the suburbs. It has been 16 years since I have been on portions of this route....but I remembered it all.

Curiously enough one section of this route is along a road that I traversed in a snow storm three years ago to assist my friend M2 as she labored to birth her twin girls. (Because my kids saw a pediatrician associated with the hospital the girls were born's also the same hospital where I started and maintained for 9 years a massage ther…

I'm Game....for A Pay It Forward...

My blog-friend altar ego was the recipient of a handmade gift in a "pay it forward" project. She then challenged us to take this on the "Pay It Forward" gift exchange.

Now here are the rules: Leave a comment on this post letting me know that you will play. I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on this post requesting to join this Pay It Forward exchange...I don't know what the gift will be, nor when it will be sent...sometime in the next 365 days!

I'm game, are you?

Some Days Everything Just Goes Well

My husband and I had a number of errands to take care of today. First on our list was a visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Yesterday, in preparation for this visit, necessitated by our soon to expire license plates from another state, my husband made a number of phone calls inquiring about the documentation we need to do this, and the cost. We were slightly unprepared for the cost, about twice as much as we thought it would be.

So this morning we head off to the nearby DMV. Upon arrival the nice man who at the customer information desk informed us nicely that we couldn't get plates at this location. We would have to drive another 40 minutes in one direction or another to a full service DMV. (and then he belched in our faces...and didn't even say "excuse me..."). Surely, I thought, this does not bode well for our day....

Slightly disgruntled we headed west and arrived sometime later at the next DMV. There we were informed that we, despite our phone calls, did …

Monday Morning Musings

This Monday I am slowly recovering from the flu. I think I had mild symptoms for a few days, but then it hit full force Sunday morning. I spent most of yesterday sleeping off the chills, body aches, headache, and nausea. This morning I have lingering fatigue and a headache, but I'm hoping most of it is behind me. I'll try to eat some rice and a banana later, which will be a big improvement over a small amount of saltines, chicken broth, and tea.

During the weekend of feeling lousy the weather here was, news making. Intense. Winter. Not as much as Minneapolis, but still...

Now this week, not much on my agenda. I have some writing to do, finishing up the work that follows from the WordsMatter Language Project Worskshop in Seattle last week.

What about you? How are you feeling? What's on your agenda this week?

Sunday Prayer: Advent 3, Sixteen Days of Prayer Advocating for the End of Domestic Violence

For the speechless tongues of those oppressed
For weak hands, feeble knees, widowed, spirits
Made lame, we pray

For those orphaned from war, violence, fear
Parentless children, silent, stifled cries. For the
hungry, we pray

For wives, beaten, abused, trampled, shot
Spirits abandoned, imprisoned by fear. For
Women, we pray

In the dry land of desert wilderness, parched
Stranded spirit, a deer that cannot leap. For the
Broken, we pray

Blessed are those whose help is God
Happy are those whose hope is God, for the
Good News, we pray

For the Good News of God, born human, who
Comes to live and love us, as us, be glad, rejoice,
Singing, we pray

For hope, like blooming flowers in a dusty desert
For hope, compassion bursting forth, be strong!
God is with us.

Crossposted on RevGalBlogPals and RevGalPrayerPals "A Place for Prayer"
More on Sixteen Days of Prayer to End Domestic Violence HERE This prayer was originally written for and is published here

Scrambled Eggs, just for fun, McCartney style

RevGals Friday Five: 'tis the season edition

Mary Beth over at RevGals is thinking about the disparity of the season - fun and joy on the one hand and loads of work and other "issues" on the other...

So, for today's Friday Five: What lifts you up when you are low or troubled? Who helps you remember that you are not alone, it's getting better all the time, etc.?

Your five responses can be people you know, people you DON'T know, music, places, foods, scripture, surprises, something you do for someone else. It could be a pair of slippers. It could be a glass of water.

Bonus: Do you like the song "Jingle Bell Rock?" If you do, who do you prefer to hear sing it? Bobby Helms, Brenda Lee, Mean Girls, Stephanie Smith, Chubby Checker, Billy Gilman, Brian Setzer, Hilary Duff, Thousand Foot Krutch (I am not making this up), oh, there are so many more! I am currently partial to my friend Marco...

1. A long walk, yoga, or exercise ALWAYS helps me. I hurt my back a few weeks ago and really haven't been exe…

What We Learned...

Working Vision Statement created at the August Consultation (Crossposted from the WordsMatter.Episcopal blog:

Our vision is for many conversations that take diverse contexts seriously in exploring the power of language (words, symbols or images) and how it can be used in life-giving ways that extend the hospitality of the church’s mission within the church and community.

This vision is grounded in the Gospel mandate to affirm life and carry forth the healing love of God found within the gospel of Jesus Christ in the face of the death-dealing effects of sin in our world.

Keeping this vision in mind, as the working vision for Train the trainer sessions, and the overall goal of the project, each group that uses the conversation guide may create their own vision for their context. It is hoped that groups will continue to use the original prompt question (see below for prompt question)for writing the narrative, but it is understood that the question may change for some contexts.



The Power of Story....on The WordsMatter blog

This is posted on the WordsMatter and crossposted here to help folks learn about the new blog and the Expansive Language project of which I am a co-developer, leader, and trainer.

From the consultation that was held in Chicago, IL in August 2010 a "module" or Conversation Guide was created. This guide, currently being used, reviewed, and adapted, follows closely the structure of the consultation. This structure was recreated in Seattle, WA on Dec. 3-5, with a group of Episcopal lay and ordained, youth workers, those who serve in multicultural ministries, a congregational leader from the Navajo Nation, Church Center Staff, Diocesan staff, and parish priests. The group of ten have become a test pilot of "Trained trainers" who agreed to train others within their context. Each shared a story from their context and from that sharing learned about the power of our stories to build communities of trust and hope. Story sharing for this project builds off of the Public Narra…

Seattle Weekend

Serena, me, Barb

Oh, what a delightful weekend I've had. Beginning with a fabulous meet-up with Serena and Barb on Thursday. Serena collected me from Sea-Tac and we drove to west Seattle for a meet-up with Barb at Dukes.
Dukes is on the western shore of the Puget Sound facing east toward the city of Seattle and the Space Needle. The sun was setting and the view was beautiful
I had the most delicious cup of lobster pernod bisque....we talked and talked and talked (well, I did anyway) for several was fun. 
Leaving we drove south and then east, with a spectacular view of the city skyline - it was breathtaking!
I spent the later part of Thursday night in meetings preparing for the weekend work. On Friday we started at 9am, gathering up the rest of our supplies and headed south to the Dumas Bay Retreat Center in Federal Way. Two of us on the planning team/staff settled into the center and set up our meeting space while the third one served as a shuttle making a couple of trips …

Sunday Prayer Advent 2A and Sixteen Days of Prayer Advocating for the End of Domestic Violence

Advent 2
Let us pray for the Spirit of Wisdom to rest upon us A spirit of understanding and knowledge Grant us to live in harmony God’s mercy prevail
Let us pray for God’s steadfastness to gird our spirit May peace prevail like lamb and wolf Grant us to live in harmony God’s mercy prevail
Let us pray, for voices crying out in the wilderness Women living in fear, children hiding Grant all a place of harmony God’s mercy prevail
Let us pray, repent of harm done to the innocent Clear the chaff of abuse and hurt Bear the Spirit of harmony God’s mercy prevail
Let us pray for the God of hope, joy and peace to fill All hearts, one voice glorify God, prepare the way God’s mercy prevail
Crossposted on RevGalBlogPals and RevGalPrayerPals "A Place for Prayer"

More on Sixteen Days of Prayer to End Domestic Violence HERE This prayer was originally written for and is published here

A Glimpse into My Weekend

Words Matter Teaser Trailer from Words Matter on Vimeo.
This videoclip is from the WordsMatter Expansive Language Project consultation that took place in Chicago in's just a little glimpse into what I will be doing this weekend when we hold the first WordsMatter Expansive Language Project of the Episcopal Church!

WordsMatter, a reflection on comfort

Here is the reflection I will offer on Friday night at theWordsMattertrain the trainer in Seattle. Or at least it is my reflection as it stands now, written in response to this question:

"Share with us an experience when you noticed the power and/or importance of language (words, symbols, or images) and the impact of that language on your life, your faith community, or your relationship with God. This experience may have helped you embrace the Divine more fully or it may have been destructive, harmful, or painful to you in your personal and/or faith journey."

I should have asked her, “What do you mean by comfortable?”

I think I know what she meant when she said, “With so much change in the world the Church should be the one place that never changes. It should be comfortable.”

I am conflicted when “church” and “comfortable” are used in the same sentence.

On the one hand I work hard to help visitors and newcomers feel comfortable when they worship. I believe in hospitality, …


Tomorrow I leave for Seattle where I will spend the weekend co-leading the first WordsMatter "Train the Trainer" event for the Episcopal Church. We have 9 people from different dioceses coming. In preparation for this event we all have to write a brief narrative on this question:

Share with us an experience when you noticed the power and/or
importance of language (words, symbols, or images) and the impact
of that language on your life, your faith community, or your relationship
with God. This experience may have helped you embrace the
Divine more fully or it may have been destructive, harmful, or painful
to you in your personal and/or faith journey.

When I co-led the NCC ecumenical version of this event last August I wrote a reflection about bread. I reflected on bread as a symbol for the body of Christ, many diverse ingredients, each different, blending into a whole. It was as much a reflection on the process of making bread as a symbol for the body of Christ as it was on …