Friday, April 25, 2014

A Celebration of Life: Mary Jo Searles

 

One sunny cold day in February, Mary Jo and I met at Panera Cares for lunch. We spent a couple of hours over salad and coffee talking about home repair, the harsh winter, and her anticipated move into Henry Ford Village. She felt good that day and our conversation was filled with joy. The next time I saw her was Ash Wednesday; she was in the hospital with shingles. I brought her ashes and communion. Little did we know, then, that her body was failing quickly, and she’d leave us seven weeks later.

 

Like the rest of you Mary Jo has played a significant role in my life. Mary Jo was one of the wardens of the Vestry when I arrived here in May 2011. Along with Pete Kenney, who was the other warden, she anchored me in the ways of this parish and guided me with wisdom, humor, and insight.

 

Mary Jo lived a remarkable life, and all of it right here in Dearborn. The Dearborn Patch has a photo of Mary Jo and some of her friends meeting at the Good Times Café in August of 2012. They were meeting to plan their 60th high school reunion. Mary Jo was voted best athlete in her Dearborn High graduating class of 1953.

 

She was an accomplished tennis player, and was fortunate enough to attend both Wimbledon and the US Open with friends. She loved sports, whether participating or viewing. She especially loved college sports and the local Detroit teams. Just a week ago she was able to watch some of the "March Madness" with her son Ron.

 

Mary Jo spent many summers with her family in various National Parks, where her ex-husband Chuck, was a National Park Service Ranger. These were great experiences for the family and instilled a love of travel that the whole family enjoys. Once Mary Jo retired she began more adventurous travel. She explored Machu Pichu, the Galapagos, Turkey, and took an African Safari. With children and a grandson living in either Hawaii, Colorado, Italy, or now Utah, Mary Jo made frequent trips to visit them.

 

Mary Jo earned her Bachelor’s degree in 1957 and her Master’s degree in 1980. Mary Jo worked as a teacher and then a librarian. She was an advocate for women's rights and education and was a member of American Association of University Women, serving as its Vice President and then President in the 1970’s. She spent thirty years serving on many other civic and educational Boards.

 

Mary Jo was invested in inter-faith relationships and was involved in the local Middle Eastern community. She requested readings from the Qur’an and our friend Eide Alawan helped me select today’s readings. Eide and Mary Jo have been good friends for over a decade.

 

Recently Mary Jo was a member of an Epicurean’s group and enjoyed monthly dinners with the group at local restaurants.

 

Mary Jo had an artistic side too. She loved to cross-stitch and a number of her beautiful pieces are on display downstairs where we will have lunch. For many years she had season tickets to the Detroit Symphony and enjoyed going to concerts with friends and dining afterwards. She loved classical music and it was played constantly in her home. Mary Jo specifically requested the Postlude, Tocatta No. V, which will be played at the end of this service.

 

Brene Brown, in her book, “The Gift of Imperfection,” writes: “Practicing courage, compassion, and connection in our daily lives is how we cultivate worthiness. The key word is practice. Mary Daly, a feminist theologian, writes, ‘Courage is like…a habit, a virtue: You get it by courageous acts.’ It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging.” Courage is speaking one’s truth from one’s heart. When I think of Mary Jo, these are the qualities that come to mind. She was a woman who spoke her truth from her heart, practiced compassion, and was invested in all of her relationships.

 

This is our job now. In the coming days and weeks and months, our job is to remember Mary Jo by sharing stories about her life and how she impacted the world around her. In fact, those were my final words to her – that she had made a difference in the world. Honor that Mary Jo played an important part in shaping who we are. This is evident because her death has left a huge hole in the center of our being. This hole, that once was Mary Jo’s presence in our lives, will stand as a reminder that we are to live courageously, with justice and kindness, loving God, loving our neighbor, and loving the stranger, too.

 

Remember Mary Jo’s love of life. Remember her passion for justice. Remember her openness of spirit and hospitality. Remember her love for this parish. She has been a member of this parish all of her life, born into it, married here, baptized her children here. She was an active leader in this church, serving as the Co-chair of the Search Committee that called Dan Appleyard , and as a member of the Vestry, the church’s governing board.

 

We come here today to celebrate the life of Mary Jo and to hold up the Christian understanding of life and death.

 

As Christians we believe that death is not the end of a life but a life changed. This is a spiritual reality of faith. Grounded in God we come to understand that in death a person is born into a new life with God. In this new life, all pain and suffering is gone, transformed into peace.

 

Brene Brown also wrote: “Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty. We need both faith and reason to make meaning in an uncertain world.”

 

There is no doubt that Mary Jo believed this. Her faith was deep and grounded in trust. She was smart and reasoned. All of these traits sustained her sense of peace and cultivated her courage and compassion.

 

The Christian hope for life is that we know God’s love in our lives. God’s love is conveyed in and through the people in our lives. We believe that life is a gift. With this gift of life we are to share love with others through acts of compassion, hospitality, gentleness of spirit, respecting the dignity of every human being. We are to share this love graciously and abundantly. This is the legacy that Mary Jo has left us, for this is how she lived and she expected nothing less of us.

 

And so, it is a jumbled up day with all these emotions of despair and grief, hope and love, assurance and peace all mixed together. Slowly, over time, jumbled up emotions will settle. God’s peace will take hold of today’s grief and soothe its brittle pieces. The grief will always be there, the gaping hole that was Mary Jo’s presence in your life will remain, but through the grace of God and the love of God, God’s peace will prevail and the ragged edges will soften.

 

May Mary Jo’s love for each of you be sustained in your memories and the stories you share, in your tears and in your laughter. Through you, part of Mary Jo will live on, for the difference she made in the world will be enlivened every time you act with courage, compassion, and justice.

Spring Fling: RevGals Friday Five

RevDeb over at the RevGals blog offers this Friday Five:
Woohoooo! I wore sandals this week and my toes didn’t go numb!! That’s how I know winter is really over. For this week’s Friday Five, tell us 5 things that let you know “Spring is here!!” In your part of the world.

 

1. Rain. (instead of snow)

mountain top with gray sky

 

2. Green grass, buds on the trees

white flowering trees at church cropped

 

3. Daffodils and tulips

DSC_0223

4. I begin to plan my garden.

flowers

5, No winter coat!

 

Alleluia yellow

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter: revealing our truest self

One of the primary reasons people my age enjoy Facebook is the opportunity to take quizzes. Many of these quizzes are about identity. Through answering a set of random questions the quiz will determine what state you should live in (New Hampshire); what religion you really are (Hinduism – because I know down-ward facing dog?); what color your aura is (violet, which means I am psychic and wise…). Playing these games always cracks me up; they are all in good fun.

 

But beyond the silliness of the quizzes is a deeper question concerning our desire to know our “true selves.” As Christians we are on a life-long journey of coming to know our true selves, and Jesus is our guide along the way. From the earliest of days, the Christian journey has been one of shedding the artificial sense of self formed in part in response to the pulls and pushes of the world around us. The artificial self is a natural defense to being told that we are not good enough, thin enough, experienced enough, young enough, smart enough, or rich enough. We begin to shed the defense of not being enough as we come to understand that God loves us just as we are.

 

Christian spirituality has many metaphors for shedding one’s artificial self. A Celtic metaphor was revealed to a friend of mine when she traveled to the holy island of Lindisfarne, a remote tidal island off the north east coast of England. When the tide is in this island is far from land, surrounded by water and seemingly isolated. But when the tide is out one can walk a narrow path from the main land to the island over slippery rocks.

 

As a child my friend was taught to always wear shoes for fear of hurting her feet. But for this journey across the rocks to Lindisfarne she took off her shoes and walked in her bare feet.

 

The rocks were slippery and cold. The walk took on a mystical quality as she imagined the many feet over the centuries that traveled this same journey of faith.

 

She walked carefully, one foot in front of the other, and yet with a sense of abandon. Her bare feet grounded her and simultaneously enabled her to be more free and open to the experience, more able to really feel.

 

Then she slipped and stubbed her toe.

 

Her first inclination was to scold herself for being foolish, then she realized that stumbling is part of life, part of the faith life, too. From a spiritual perspective, falling is how we find our true self.

 

Stumbling is part of life and the Christian journey.

 

At our diocesan clergy conference a couple of weeks ago Bishop Gibbs asked us to consider:

"What do we need to trust fully in God's grace?"

 

My initial response to this question was, love. Love is how I learn to trust in God grace. Over time I have come to understand that there are many forms of love. Love that teaches us to trust in God’s grace is a love that brings out our most authentic self because it embraces who we really are.

 

In my childhood, while I am sure my parents loved me; they did not love me for being me. They loved me because I was who they wanted me to be. My parents taught me that love was about molding myself into the desires and expectations of other people.

 

Over time I have come to have a healthier understanding of who I am and what love really is. This understanding is formed through my life experiences and through many challenges, including challenges to my faith. Ultimately I have found that trusting that God loves me for being exactly who I am – even in my bleakest moments – reveals to me my most authentic sense of self – and I am able to see and appreciate who I am, flawed and remarkably whole at the same time.

 

Jesus teaches us that love is the foundation for trust and trust is the foundation for love. Like walking barefoot across cold, wet, slippery rocks, the journey of learning to trust in God’s love feels similarly risky.

 

Through trials and tribulations, broken or whole, confused or clear headed, healthy or sick, happy or angry, grateful or bitter, in every aspect of my being, I have come to understand that God loves me exactly as I am. And, God loves you too, just exactly as you are right now. It can feel risky to drop our defenses and be our true selves. But this is only because it leaves us vulnerable. Being loved that deeply leaves us raw.

 

On Easter morning Mary encounters the resurrected Jesus, but in his new state of being she does not recognize him. In the resurrection Jesus appears to Mary in his most raw, pure, and authentic self. He is now able to show people all of who he is, human and divine, the revelation of God’s love made manifest in human flesh. Perhaps Jesus was still struggling himself with this awareness because he asks Mary not to hold onto him. But later he invites Thomas to touch the wounds that remain in his flesh. Perhaps even Jesus needed time to grow into his resurrected self?

 

On the other hand Jesus always sees the full authentic sense of self in other people. He affirms Mary Magdalene’s true self. He affirms this in the woman who anointed his feet with nard and the woman at the well. He affirmed Peter who denied him three times. He affirmed tax collectors and Pharisees, Samaritans and Gentiles – friends and strangers – and you and me.

 

Richard Rohr, a renowned author of Christian Spirituality writes this about the discovery of one’s true self:

 

… the discovery of your True Self will feel like a thousand pounds of weight have fallen from your back. You will no longer have to build, protect, or promote any idealized self images. Living in the True Self is quite simply a much happier existence, even though we never live there a full twenty-four hours a day. But you henceforth have it as a place to always go back to.

 

Jesus looks deep into a person and calls forth their true sense of self. Responding to Jesus, one is healed of all that has confined them. Healed of self-limitations, healed of the limits imposed by others, healed of the deep wounds to the soul.

 

God’s love made manifest in Jesus is not something that happened two thousand years ago.

This resurrection, this revelation of God’s love in the person of Jesus, happens all the time.

The resurrection happens every time someone looks deep into your being, sees you for who you really are and loves you deeply. Those fleeting moments of authentic love happen for each us.

And when it happens, even for just a moment, we are happier than we ever thought possible.

Pay attention. It will happen to you too, and then you will know that you have encountered the risen Christ.

 

 

 

 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Judas....you, and, me

A Maundy Thursday reflection on the Passion, from the perspective of Judas.

 

Scene: it’s very late on Thursday night and Jesus’ followers have gathered together in grief, anger, and confusion at his arrest just a few hours before. Into their midst stumbles a man dressed in a rumpled blue business suit. His eyes are read and he appears out of sorts. He makes his way to the front of the room and sits on a chair facing the audience. He waits for several moments before speaking, first staring out the window and then into the eyes of the people in front of him. Finally, he begins to speak…

 

I’m Judas.

 

Did you know Judas is a very popular name? In Hebrew, Judas means “the praised one.” Did you know that? Many people name their boys Judas…

 

That may change.

 

Why are you here? (sardonically) He’s not coming.

 

The Romans have him. (Judas gestures, as if to say, “finish the sentence for yourselves.”)

 

I gave them to him...It was me...the Centurians didn’t have a clue what he looked like...I heard some of them talking; some of them had heard of him. They’d heard he’d used mud to cure blindness. Shit…(looking away half-amused).

 

I had to point him out…Wanna know how I did it? I gave him a kiss...on the cheek (pointing to his own cheek).

 

Don’t look at me like that...you knew how this was gonna go. What did you think was gonna happen?

 

He rode an ass down the middle of street the same day as Pilate and his cavalry rode into town on the other side of the city. C’mon!

 

You play a man’s game you’re gonna pay a man’s price.

 

You knew how this was going to go. We all did...He did.

 

Tonight though…...I can’t imagine he predicted what he’s getting now. (there’s a glimpse of the beginning of a change in Judas’ demeanor)

 

I know. You want someone to blame. You want to blame me. You want to blame the Jews, the Romans, the 12, his mother...

 

Look in the mirror.

 

Oh, that reminds me. These…(Judas pulls out the bag of silver pieces and considers them thoughtfully)...we should share these. You and me. (gesturing with his finger to himself and the audience)

 

I think he wanted me to do this. I really do. Prophecy (sarcastically looking up at the ceiling as if addressing the prophets).

 

Do you know he dipped his bread in my cup? Yeah, at dinner tonight, he was going on and on about the end of the world, blah, blah, blah (or using his hands to express the thought). And then he took a piece of bread and he dipped it in my bowl. And he looked at me…

 

I don’t know.

 

But you wanna know why I did it. You wanna know how this could happen.

 

Why are you here? (as if he’d already asked before)

 

You should have seen his disciples in the park tonight. Pathetic. Half of ‘em were asleep when we got there. They were all drunk. We were all drunk.

 

But him...He looked like hell. I’d seem him like that before…after he’d disappeared in the desert. He came back mumbling about...who knows what...he had some peculiar thoughts about things...That’s for sure.

 

Anyway, he looked at me tonight...with eyes...like he….was relieved (considering the word). He called me “friend.” He said “do what you’ve come here to do.” (shakes his head in disbelief).

 

We had a moment. I don’t know who it was; it was dark. It could’ve been Peter. It could have been my brother. Anyway, someone pulled out a knife. Idiot. That got some of the Romans interested but not very. I could hear some of the soldiers laughing, daring them to do something. Nothing happened. He told him to put the blade away.

 

And then that was it. It was over just like that. The head Centurian put two guards on him but he wasn’t going anywhere and, we….I mean they...half of them slipped off through the trees before it was over.

 

Judgement day….the end of things….out like a candle….

 

Why are you here?

 

They’re gonna kill him...and then they’re gonna kill you.

 

For what?

 

There’s no trumpet. There’s no chariot. Just dogs….dogs and bones…

 

I am guilty. And you are too (pointing at a member of the audience). You wanna find someone guilty? Throw a rock in the air and watch where it comes down. We are all set to rot.

 

Not him….not him...

 

They wouldn’t take these back (looking at the bag of silver pieces). You wanna share ‘em? (He dumps them out on the ground in front of him, making a clatter as they hit the ground).

 

I gotta go. To my own place…(he pauses for a moment, looks at the audience, and then then back out the same window where he looked out before. He then leaves out the side door).

 

Be careful what you name your sons.

 

Written and performed by Thomas Trimble

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Passion According to Matthew from the perspective of St. Peter

(Peter enters panting deeply, gasping for breath as if he has been kicked in the stomach. He keeps looking behind him, as if he were being followed. He grimaces from pain in his head and his stomach. He gasps, blinks his eyes, and rubs his head with his hands, as if he were going to pass out.)

 

[caption id="attachment_354" align="aligncenter" width="300"]The Passion according to Matthew from the perspective of Peter The Passion according to Matthew from the perspective of Peter[/caption]

Oh my God, what just happened? … What’s happening? Am I safe here? … Where are the others? What did I do? … What have I done? I have to sort this out. I can’t really believe all that has happened, just the way HE said it would. It couldn’t have happened, not that way ….

It all seemed fine. We were just sharing our evening meal together, like always. Most of us were talking and laughing, about things like that ridiculous parade a few days ago, when we came back to the City. It was just another night together, only we were happy and no one was worrying about anything in particular. Well, no one except maybe Jes, … Jesu … (cries out) I can’t say HIS name, not after what I’ve done. HE wasn’t laughing; HE seemed preoccupied, but that wasn’t unusual.

And, now that I’m thinking about it. It wasn’t just another supper for HIM. Maybe I should have suspected something was up when he took some of the bread and blessed it. It was as if he were performing the Passover Seder, but that’s impossible; they only do that in the Temple. And, did HE really say this? He called the bread his body and then he took a cup of wine, blessed it too, and called the wine his blood. Well, HE’s done strange things before, stuff that I couldn’t understand.

But, then, HE looked at us, looking at each one of us deeply, before moving his gaze to the next one. And, HE said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”

I thought I couldn’t have hear that right. BETRAY HIM? Who of us would, even could do such a thing? Surely, not one of us, not one of the Twelve. Not one of those who sat at the table, just as we had done so often before. But, then, the way HE was looking at us, I couldn’t help thinking that He was talking about me. Ridiculous. It sure shut us up; we started looking at each other as if we didn’t know one another anymore.

Then Jesus said, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. We all gasped, shocked. All, except for Judas. He just said, very calmly “Surely not I, Rabbi?”

Of course! Of all us, it would have been Judas. He’d begun to be such a malcontent. Grumbling, supposedly under his breath, but loud enough so that most of us could hear it. HE was making our efforts just a bit too personal. This was supposed to be about helping the poor, not being another Messiah. But, that doesn’t make any sense. How could betraying our leader, change things for the better? It was so confusing. And, the room seemed to have become like an oven.

Suddenly dinner was over and we were walking to the Mount of Olives, singing as we went.

And, then, HE stopped, turned to us and said: “You will all become deserters because of me this night…” I felt a chill run through me, all the way to my bones. I shuddered.

But, I thought, there was no way I would ever do such a thing! I said, “Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you.”

Jesus looked straight at me. I think HE smiled. HE had always known me better than I knew myself, even though I could never admit that to HIM or me. HE said, “Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.”

And I cried out, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.”

And so said all the rest of the Disciples. None of us thought, imagined it possible, to deny him, our friend.

But before we could think about this we were on the move again, going to Gethsemane to pray. Jesus told the others to sit and pray and then he took me and the two brothers, the sons of Zebedee, off to the side to speak to us.

HIS voice was almost a whisper. “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.”

And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.”

I don’t know what happened then. It couldn’t have been that it was so late or the wine from dinner. I don’t really remember nodding off, but the next thing I knew, HE was shaking me awake. My heart almost broke when he said, with deep anguish, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? … Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

He went back to his place again. It was unbelievable. He had just asked me for the second time to stay awake and pray with him. But, I couldn’t stop the heaviness in my eyes. I was nodding and trying to keep my eyes open. I did hear him say, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”

And then I must have fallen asleep again. Because he was shaking me and the others awake again. He cried out, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”

We all turned; I still can’t believe what we saw. There he was, Judas, leading a group of people with clubs. They were storming up the path toward us; yelling and threatening Jesus, ignoring the rest of us, as if we weren’t there. Then Judas said to the chief priest, “The one I kiss is the man, arrest him!”

I was stunned; the others too. We were so shocked, we couldn’t say anything; we were paralyzed. But, not HIM. HE had that look again, knowing others better than they knew themselves. Jesus, just said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.”

And then it all blew apart. Some of the mob, grabbed Jesus, and one of the priests yelled that Jesus was arrested. Suddenly there was a frenzy of swords and shouting. One of us, in our fear and panic, pulled a knife and cut off the ear of a slave. It was awful! All I could hear was screaming and the clash of swords and rocks. There seemed to be blood everywhere and on everyone.

But once again Jesus took control and calmed things down. He said, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.”

And then the worst possible thing happened. We ran away. … Every single one of us. Including me.

We ran, filled with terror. Maybe we were afraid that we would be arrested next. Maybe we were just scared. I don’t know there was a reason for any one of us. We ran; we just ran. And, not together. We each ran our own way and hid, as if we just on our own and hadn’t been with HIM and the others at all.

But, I found I couldn’t leave what was going on entirely. I stopped and from a vantage point, I watched as they dragged him to Caiphas’ house, the high priest. They sat him down with guards all around and questioned him. I was too far away to hear them, but I kept watch for a while. I’m not sure what I thought I could do. To be honest, I wasn’t really thinking at all.

Finally I could take it no longer. I was in a daze, out of my mind with fear and grief and shock. I had no idea where to go. I ran from street to street. And then I slowed down and walked, not wanting to draw attention to myself. Finally I sat down in the courtyard, my head in my hands, my thoughts too heavy to bear. This could not be happening!

Suddenly a servant girl appears. She points at me and says “You also were with Jesus, the Galilean.” At first, all I can do is stare at her. Then, I shake my head vehemently and I shout at her, this little girl, denying it. Another girl appears, and says the same thing. I deny it, for the second time. And, then a group of people appear, and they all agree, they have seen me with HIM. But, again, for the third time, I deny, shouting they have made a mistake. Then a rooster crows. And, my blood runs cold; I hear HIM saying, “Before the cock crows you will deny me three times.”

Oh my God. What have I done?

 

DSC_0244


I couldn’t sit there and wait any longer. I ran off and hid in my mother’s house. Outside the noise in the streets told me that the worst possible thing was happening. They had accused Jesus of crimes worthy of crucifixion. Crucifixion! They stripped him of his clothes, mocked him and dressed him as a king and made him carry his own cross. People threw rocks and sticks at him, laughing as he struggled. They shoved him to the ground and tied his hands and feet to the cross. I had to clamp my hand over my mouth to keep from screaming out when the nails pounded through his flesh and broke his bones. Then they crucified him and left him to die on the side of the hill.

Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him.3He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, ‘I am God’s Son.’”

How he so horribly suffered, my friend, the man I loved like a brother, while I hid, pretending not to know him. He died that afternoon, like a common thief, hung between two others. I should have died with him; I am far more guilty than HE ever was or even could be. But, HE is dead and I still live. Would HE still be alive if we, no, even just I had not run away, denied HIM, as he said I would?

How can that be? Where is the justice in that? Maybe, my living is my punishment.

….

Maybe I am supposed to live. Jesus, who knew me and the others, better than we knew ourselves, also said that I was the Rock. I never really knew what he meant. And, after what I’ve just done, I am no Rock, that’s for sure. But, maybe. ….

Oh my God, what am I to do?

 

 

text adapted from the Gospel of Matthew, NRSV, by Terri C. Pilarski and Paul VanderVert

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Five: short and, well, short.

 RevKarla, over at the RevGals offers this Friday Five - heading toward Easter!

1.  What is your favorite Easter candy? Jelly beans, but real flavors not the cheap bad tasting red one's, if you know what I mean.

2.  Do you have an Easter memory from childhood to share, then please do.  Or any Easter memory. When I was about three or four I remember attending Easter morning services at the Tabernacle at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. My mother, brother, and grandmother were there. I was wearing a very frilly dress, hat, and gloves. The entire service, in my memory, was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing.

3.  Speaking of, what your most favorite day of the past two weeks been?  Why? Can't say that I have had a favorite day, too many parish deaths and other crud going on. However, with the spring weather, most days have included a dog walk - and that is always a favorite part of my day, especially when the weather is beautiful.

4.  I am kind of digging’ Chipotle’s sofritos these days (marinated and “shredded” tofu) and have been eating them like twice a week.  Is there something new in your life that keeps bringing you back for more?  (be ye creative here…) Not really. Unless one considers my almost year long practice of yoga, 4-5 times a week. I keep going back for THAT.

5.  Of course, a sentence. Using the following words (or some form thereof):  Tree frog, squares, kleenex, eyeglass, lost, daffodil, palms, lamb, Peeps, licorice jelly beans, and donkey. If I could find my lost eyeglasses through the chaos of daffodils and palms, lambs and tree frogs, I'd take a square of kleenex, clean the glasses, and then sit on a donkey and eat licorice jelly beans. (and all would be right with the world)

One Degree of Difference

I did this exercise with us a few years ago, but I want to do it again. How many of you have your cell phones on you? If your cell phone ...