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Showing posts from 2014

Christmas Light

Although I grew up in a dysfunctional family system, my parents usually managed to make Christmas special. I remember falling asleep to Christmas music from vinyl records playing on our stereo Hi-Fi. Two particular records were played over and over. One had all the famous artists of the day, Rosemary Clooney, Burl Ives, Robert Goulet, Christy Minstrels, and others,  singing songs like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Suzy Snow Flake and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. The other album was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing traditional Christmas songs. 
The music filled the house, softly serenading my brothers and me. My bedroom glowed from the lights on the Christmas tree as the twinkling colors filtered through the small house. My mother would stay up late at night baking cookies and fruit breads. The house was filled with the aroma of Christmas spices. As I drifted off to sleep, all of my senses were soothed with the comfort of home, family, love, and the expectations of Christmas mo…

Mary, strong and sure

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Many years ago I received this book, “Meditations on Mary”,  by Kathleen Norris. Norris was a popular author at the time, influencing many of us with her books on life and faith. This book is filled with beautiful photographs of famous painting and sculptures of Mary. In the book, Norris offers meditations on the basic Christian teachings about Mary: as the Virgin, the Annunciation - when the angel Gabriel visited Mary and told her of God’s favor toward her, and the pending birth of Jesus to which Mary responded with beautiful poetic words that have become known as the Magnificat. Norris writes about the Incarnation, of Mary as the one who birthed God into the world in human flesh. The Greek Orthodox tradition calls Mary - Theotokos - God Bearer. Other meditations in the book include thoughts on the Assumption - when Mary ascended into heaven; the presentation of Jesus at the Temple; and thoughts on the Virgin. 
Other traditional descriptions of Mary include: the greatest of all Chri…

Awake, Aware, and Wild-eyed

A reflection on Mark 1:1-8 for Advent 2B
The Shoshone are a diverse tribe of indigenous people who inhabited parts of California, Wyoming, Nevada, Idaho and Utah. One particular Shoshone tribe lived in  the mountainous  region of what is now southeastern Idaho and northern Utah. A peaceful people, this traveling tribe of hunters and gatherers, found themselves struggling for food and land as European settlers moved into the region. In 1862 one settler discovered a horse missing and accused a Shoshone boy of stealing it. The boy was convicted of the crime and hung. The Shoshone retaliated by killing a couple of the settler’s relatives. Anxiety escalated among the settlers who requested that the US government intervene. Col. Patrick Connor with an army of 200 volunteers from California was hired to intervene. 
Before sunrise on Jan. 29, 1863 Col. Connor and his volunteer army waged an attack on the Shoshone tribe as they slept in the homes near Bear Creek, just a few miles north of Pres…

Glimpses of hope and love

A reflection on Isaiah 64:1-9 and Mark 13:24-37 for Advent 1B
Recently my husband, son, and I watched (again) the first two movies of the Hunger Game’s series, in preparation for the release of the third movie. When I read the books a few years ago, I couldn’t put them down and consumed each of the three books, one after the other. I loved and hated them simultaneously. The storyline was so disturbing that it infiltrated my dreams in which I tried to rewrite the story so it was less upsetting. The setting is a post-apocalyptic era sometime in the future, in a country named Panem, which is divided into twelve districts that are ruled by an iron-clad government and where oppression and violence and poverty prevail. Ultimately it is a story of hope, justice and love. 
Apocalyptic texts in the Bible do not forecast the future. Instead they address a present time, a time when life feels hopeless. The apocalyptic tone of our readings this morning are paradoxical, describing a hopeless state…

Friday Five: Lists, lists, lists...

Deb over at RevGals offers this Friday Five: The season of lists is upon us! At least, that’s the way I cope with the many events, worship services, visits and potlucks that squeeze in during this holiday season. So let’s talk about how you cope (or don’t) with celebrating minus the stress. 1. Keeping your ducks in a row:Tell us how you manage the craziness. Lists? That faithful old-fashioned pocket calendar? Smart phone reminders? Wall calendar? Sometimes I make lists. Sometimes I write reminders on my iPhone. Often I keep it all in my head and work to calm my adrenalin driven heart until I get through the in-my-head-list. 2. Must-Do Events:What is one event on your list that you look forward to every year and NEVER miss? Not church services — something else that makes the season bright. Bonus points for a picture from a previous year’s event. Every year is a different year, I don't really have an annual "must-do" events. I do have a number of traditions we do every year…

Friday Five: Thanksgiving

Jan, over at the RevGals blog offers this Friday Five meme:
Since I am going out of town for the weekend, I am seeing Thanksgiving suddenly approaching in the USA six days away–order food or buy it to cook?? That will be decided next week if I’m not in a funk: 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 “mulleygru…

A Practice of "Staying Awake"....

A reflection on the Propers for 27A, Matthew 25:1-13 for Stewardship Sunday

Twenty years ago, when I was a seminary student, my mentor in the ordination process use to say “Keep awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” Usually he would say this to diocesan staff or his clergy colleagues, and I always thought he was talking in some kind of code. I mean, I knew he was quoting scripture, but I had no real idea of the context in which he intended it when he said this to the Bishop’s secretary or the receptionist at the diocesan staff office. On the other hand, every time this piece of scripture comes up I think of that mentor and the time he journeyed with me. 
Keep awake, for you never know when Jesus is going to come, is a piece of Christian wisdom that takes on different meanings depending the context in which one considers it. 
We all grew up hearing proverbs and wise sayings from our parents or teachers. Some I remember are: “never eat yellow snow.” and, “No good deed goes …

Friday Five: Guilty Pleasures

3dogmom, over at the RevGals blog offers this Friday Five: It happened again this week. In a social setting, during a conversation with people that included some I had just met, I made a reference to the church I serve. “Oh!” one of the new acquaintances exclaimed, “I shouldn’t have said hell!” Sigh. This kind of projection can be so tiring, as can the general need to be mindful of how our words and actions are perceived as appropriate (or not). In light of that, I relish moments to myself when I can shed all such perceptions and projections and just be. Occasionally this involves what might be known as a guilty pleasure. For this week’s Friday Five, share with us five “perception be damned!” pleasures in which you indulge. We promise we won’t judge, or tell. What happens at RevGals stays at RevGals. My responses below are less about "guilty pleasures" and more about the reality of my life as an ordinary human being who is also an ordained person, an Episcopal priest. 1. In th…

Becoming One's Self

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A number of years ago I drove from Tucson, Arizona north to Escalante, Utah with my son and his dog. 



Actually, we were driving to Chicago, but we made a stop in Escalante to see my father. A few days later we drove the "loop" from Escalante along the top of the Rockies and then north to Salt Lake City. Our stay in Salt Lake included some time visiting a number of my family members. 


The most notable aspect of this trip was time spent with family - from my son to my father to my aunts and uncles. 
As a little girl I loved my family and have fond memories of spending time with them. That ended when I was nine and we moved away from Salt Lake. Then my time with family became rare, a mere handful of trips between the age of nine and this trip, as a grown woman of 53. I grew up learning how to be disconnected from family, on the one hand, and overly connected to my mother, on the other. It's a long story, this over-connection to my mother, but it defined me then and is at t…

Friends Through Life

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Many years ago I worked in an office. It was a creative company whose clientele were some of the wealthiest in the country. The owner of the business was temperamental to say the least. It was a tough job. While there I formed a friendship with Sallie. In time she became the Godmother of my children and was "in the know" of almost every aspect of my daily life, the way really good friends are. Before too many years had past we both left that office and moved on to other things. I became a full time mom and a very part-time massage therapist. She went off to college where she got a bachelor's, a master's and eventually a PhD. Eventually I got two master's degrees and a new vocation that I've worked in for almost 15 years.

As life would have it we lost contact a few years ago. My many moves and some chaos and cell phone changes and so on and so forth meant that some relationships fell by the wayside. Her career, a full time job, and working on a PhD left her in…

Friday Five: Sweet or Salty???

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RevDeb over at RevGals offers this Friday Five: Ain't gonna lie... Even though there are no Trick-or-Treaters in our home, I still eye the candy aisle with undisguised lust. (blushing) What shall it be? Can I resist? Maybe you have a craving for a little something from time to time... join me for this week's Friday Five! 1. First, Sweet or Salty? Or both? Describe that gotta-have-it treat. (It can be healthy or paleo-friendly, or decadent. We won't judge!)  My go to treat lately is KIND bars. I like the dark chocolate nutty bars with 7 grams of protein and I really love the sweet and salty caramel bars with 6 grams of protein. YUM! And they don't mess around with my digestion issues. I also the Equal Exchange dark chocolate bars with almond or the caramel and sea salt. I like sweet and salty. 2. Self-control: How do you help yourself stay strong with the temptation of All That Sugar? As a child I loved Halloween. I loved getting a big bag of candy and then sequester…

A Selfie of God....

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A reflection on the readings for Proper 24A: Exodus 33:12-23 and Matthew 22:15-21

How many of you have your cell phones on you? If your cell phone has a camera, take out your cell phone and take a picture of your self. 


Now look at the picture and notice what your see. Notice the color of your eyes and their shape. Notice the shape of your face and your skin tone. What are your thoughts as you do this? Are you judging yourself and being critical? Are you okay with how you look? Have you never really thought about how you look? 
In the last ten years there has been an increase in people taking photographs of themselves with the camera on the cell phones. These are called “selfies.” A television star name Kim Kardashian is supposedly writing a book called “Selfish” on how to take selfies. It will include some 200 selfies that she has taken. 
Also in the news are reports that there is an increase in plastic surgery since selfies have become so popular. People are so dismayed at the image…