Showing posts from June, 2007

The Bleeding-heart: a poem by Mary Oliver

I know a bleeding-heart plant that has thrived
for sixty years if not more, and has never
missed a spring without rising and spreading
itself into a grassy bush, with many small red
hearts dangling. Don't you think that deserves
a little thought? The woman who planted it
has been gone for a long time, and everyone
who saw it in that time has also died or moved
away and so, like so many stories, this one can't
get finished properly. Most things that are
important, have you noticed, lack a certain
neatness. More delicious, anyway is to
remember my grandmother's pleasure when
the dissolve of winter was over and the green
knobs appeared and began to rise, and to cre-
ate their many hearts. One would say she was
a simple woman, made happy by simple
things. I think this was true. And more than
once, in my long life, I have wished to be her.

Tagged: Name Four Things

My cyber-space blog friend RevEricaG tagged me to play this meme

Four Jobs I've Had
A waitress in a seafood restaurant called Jonathon Seafood.
A lighting designer for dance.
Selling shoes at Eddie Bauer.
An interior designer.
A Massage Therapist.(oh, that's five...and I could go on...)

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over
Italian Job
Something's Gotta Give

Four Places I've Lived
Salt Lake City (born there)
Nampa, Idaho (one year)
Waupun, Wisconsin (home of the state prison)
Ft. Worth, Texas (one year)

Four Places I've Vacationed
Seattle, Washington
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Four of my favorite dishes
Chocolate (any kind, anyway, anytime, especially dark)
Marinated and grilled (steak, chicken, pork, fish)
Pizza (deep dish, thin crust, who cares)
Coffee (fair trade, rich in flavor, with skim milk)

Four Sites I Visit Daily
On-line bank account
various blog friends
my blog site

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now
Today is an incredible d…

RevGals Friday Five: Gifts and Talent

Sally over at RevGals writes: Our Circuit (Methodist) is having a "Gifts and talents day" tomorrow- we have a minister visiting from another circuit who has modified the Myers Briggs personality test and added a few things of his own to run a day where we get to look at ourselves in the light of giftings and of the whole church. The idea is to encourage everyone with the news that there is room for you in the ministry of the church- and perhaps to discover where that ministry might be.....

It should be an interesting day, and one where I hope people will leave feeling encouraged and challenged...

So with gifts and talents in mind here is todays Friday 5;

1. Personality tests; love them or hate them? I often take them, they can be such fun. But, mostly, I think they end up being so benign that they don't mean anything. Just fun.

2. Would you describe yourself as practical, creative, intellectual or a mixture ? Something of a mix of practical and creative. Definitely not an in…
Four Jobs I've Had

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over

Four Places I've Lived

Four Places I've Vacationed

Four of my favorite dishes

Four Sites I Visit Daily

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now

Four people I'm tagging:

We've been tagged (shhh, don't tell mom) (we're using her blog 'cuz we don't have our own)...

Roxie here (the Gorgeous lab-mix): Five things about me
1. I am a Labrador mixed with Red Heeler. When I was a puppy I tried to herd my mom and would nip at her heels. I had real sharp puppy teeth, she said it really hurt!

2. I am real smart and learned all my tricks and rules right away. Of course the liver treats really helped.

3. When I was little I went everywhere with mom. Then I got a little sister, so I had to stay home with her.

4. I love walks. Long ones. But mostly I love to sniff a lot and walk real slow.

5. I was named Rocksie by my human siblings because they thought the "spots" on me looked like rocks. (They were little kids then). My mom said we would name me Roxanne and call me Roxie.

Ruby here (the Lovebug Viszla): Five things about me

1. I was 16 weeks old when my family adopted me, I had to wait a long time for the right family to find me. I lived with lots of other animals and I especially loved the cat, which I chased all the time.

2. Now I have a big dog sister…

Mending Walls: a conversation about poetry continues

diane at faithincommunity is leading us in our most recent dialogue about poetry....join us! Scroll down to Mending Wall...

some things we are discussing. From John Ciardi's book, "How Does a Poem Mean," (1975):

a poem functions like liturgy in that there are two basic levels similar to "primary theology" (the experience of God, the divine, worship at it's best) and "secondary theology" the analysis of that "experience." A poem is meant to be experienced as a "performance," and then how it is interpreted, or rather, how we come to understand the poem.

a poem uses symbol, or "something that stands for something else." In poetry a symbol is like a rock dropped in a pool, it ripples out in all directions and the ripples are in motion, who can say where the last ripple disappears. In the process of forming these ripples a simultaneous effect is put in place - the effect of being the same and the effect of its opposite. Ripp…

A New Order

A homily based on Luke 8:26-39 and Galatians 3:23-29

I have vivid childhood memories of driving through the country, on either dirt roads, or major highways, and being struck by the heavy scent of a pig farm. There is no odor quite like it, and no image can quite convey its potency. Now, I spend a fair amount of time around horses and horse barns. I have cats and dogs and birds. Animal scents are not unfamiliar to me. But, pigs. They are something else.

So, when I watched Mike Rowe, from the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” working a pig farm, I almost gagged. The series has the host, Mike Rowe, travel to various places and apprentice at the worst jobs you can imagine. But, these are all jobs that people do every day, jobs we probably don’t even think about. This particular episode, Pig Farmer, first aired on Tuesday, August 9, 2005. Here is a short recap of that episode from the Discovery Channel web page:
“(for) Mike's first task at the Iowa pig farm, he takes on the duty of feed…

The Skeptical Evangelist (as heard on Garrison Keiller)

From a skit: a Baptist preacher turned Unitarian...he's full of doubt, but very insistent about them....

RevGals Friday Five: Hot Town, Summer in the City...

Reverend Mother over at RevGals posts this Friday Five game about hot town, summer in the city...or town, or suburb, or hamlet, or burg, or unincorporated zone, or rural area of your choice---pretty much anywhere but the southern hemisphere, it's summer. (Australians and others, consider this an invitation to take a break from winter for a while.)

1. Favorite summer food(s) and beverage(s) Oh. favorite beverage in the summer is iced tea. Lately I'm enjoying Liptons Cold Brew with one tea bag of peach ginger spice added for some refreshing flavor, just a hint of peach, yum. And, if I'm hungry, but not time for food I'll grap a Starbucks Venti Iced Soy Latte, half decaff. Favorite summer foods - anything marinated (salmon, rib-eye, chicken marinated in lime and garlic) then grilled and served with a chilled homemade pasta salad (basil vinaigrette, goat cheese, any small shell pasta, roasted red peppers, etc) and steamed or grilled veggies. Sometimes a chilled glass of Cha…

I've Been Tagged: 5 Things I Dig About Jesus

A Year Acceptable and diane tagged me to play this meme. It's from John Smulo's blog and it goes like this:

1. Those tagged will share 5 Things They Dig About Jesus.
2. Those tagged will tag 5 people.
3. Those tagged will leave a link to their meme in the comments section of this post so everyone can keep track of what's being posted..

Ok. Here goes:

1. Jesus was (is) wise. He always knew what to say or when not to speak.
2. Jesus loves. Everyone. (It's really hard to do, but I dig that Jesus does and so, I try).
3. Jesus told great stories with layers and layers of meaning.
4. Jesus listened to women. and poor people. and sick people. and unclean people. He stopped what he was doing and listened.
5. Jesus saves us from ourselves.

World Refugee Day

Today, June 20, is World Refugee Day, established in 1951 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. This day commemorates the courage and strength of refugees world wide.

Some Refugee facts from Episcopallife:

1. There are 12 million refugees and asylum seekers worldwide
2. 8 million refugees have spent five years or more in refugee camps
3. 21 million people have been forcibly displaced within their own countries
4. 41,000 refugees were resettled in the US in Fiscal Year 2006
5. Episcopal Migration Ministries resettled 2,3000 in Fiscal Year 2006
6. The Middle East is the region with the largest number of refugees.

and: small church has assisted in resettling one family of 7 from Rwanda, two families from Burundi and four families from the Congo in the last three weeks.

A Collect for World Refugee Day:

The Lord be with you. Let us pray. Holy God, on this day we recall that your Son, our Savior, was himself a refugee, escaping his homeland for safety in Egypt. As you guided and pro…

Where is your heart?

A homily based on Luke 7:36-8:3

Once upon a time a father and his son took a walk on the beach. As they went along the father would stoop down, pick something up, and throw it into the ocean. Finally the son asked, “What are you doing?"The father replied, "Throwing starfish in the ocean."

"Well, why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?"

"The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die."

"Don’t you realize,” said the son, “that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!"

The father listened, then bent down, picked another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said, "It made a difference for that one." (story adapted from other versions I've heard, original source unknown).

As Christians God calls us to make a difference in the world. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus we are shown how to…

A True Hymn (by George Herbert)

Joy, my Life, my Crown !
My heart was meaning all the day,
Somewhat it fain would say,
And still it runneth muttering up and down
With only this, My Joy, my Life, my Crown !

Yet slight not those few words ;
If truly said, they may take part
Among the best in art :
The fineness which a hymn or psalm affords
Is, when the soul unto the lines accord.

He who craves all the mind,
And all the soul, and strength, and time,
If the words only rhyme,
Justly complains that somewhat is behind
To make His verse, or write a hymn in kind.

Whereas if the heart be moved,
Although the verse be somewhat scant,
God doth supply the want ;
As when the heart says, sighing to be approved,
“O, could I love !” and stops, God writeth, “Loved.”

This poem describes that it's like to try and write a sermon for Sunday...

So. Enough business. Enough procratination. Back to craving all the mind, and all the soul, and strength, and time....…

Friday Five: Books, books, books

Sally over at RevGals writes: I've just returned from a meeting in Cambridge so I'm posting this late here in the UK (it is 3:45pm).. because I took the opportunity of a free afternoon in Cambridge's wonderful book shops... I only bought a few- and they were on sale- very restrained for me!!!So with my head full of books I've seen and a long wish list in my mind, I bring you a Friday Five on books!!!

1. Fiction what kind, detective novels, historical stuff, thrillers, romance???? I like fiction. It can be any of the above. I like a good story about human struggle and redemption - I like to read about people growing and learning. I like humor and I like nature/adventure/reflection novels by authors such as Barbara Kingsolver, Terry Tempest Williams, etc.

2. When you get a really good book do you read it all in one chunk or savour it slowly? I read it in one chunk, although that is usually over the course of a day or two, I don't read that fast, but also I always have …

A Few Rambling Thoughts on a Hot Friday Morning in June

It's going to be hot and sunny all weekend. This makes me excited. For some reason I am really enjoying this summer thus far. We've had plenty of rain, so this last week of sun and warmth is welcomed by me.

Our Mutual Ministry Review with the vestry went well last night. It was a real joy to hear people reflect on ministry they've done over this last year and the general state of the parish. It seems we're finally understanding the value of reflecting. And there is a real sense of hopefulness in the parish, some modest growth and good energy. We all spoke about what appears to be an "upswing." So. Let's hope so.

I had an interesting dream a few nights ago about me, the church, and adopting babies. I'm working on it with the Jungian and will post my musings in awhile. Suffice it to say it's becoming a very insightful dream.

Tomorrow I take a large group down to the diocesan center for confirmation. This will be exciting. But it will also take most …

It's Cherry Season in the Midwest

...And I love fresh cherries.

Reflection on Mutual Ministry Reviews and Small Church Vitality

I am in the process of preparing for our annual Mutual Ministry Review. This process includes the vestry (governing board of the parish), the clergy (priest and deacon) and all other lay leaders of the parish (music director, parish admin, etc.). The idea is that each of us spends some time reflecting on the work we have done over the last year in our various ministries. We take into consideration the goals we set last year at our MMR and how well we lived into them, what our challenges were, and what were our successes.

Each of us individually, will offer a reflection on ourselves and the ministry we have led. We also take into consideration any challenges or joys we have experienced in our personal lives (birth of a child, loss of a family member, etc), and how that influenced the ministry. The rest of the group will have the opportunity to respond in order to both support the ministry this person has done and honor it, even in and with the various challenges the person may have fac…

I've Been Tagged: Eight Random Things

Hedwyg over at practicing intentional thoughts has tagged me...

I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

3.At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Ok. Here goes.

Random Things About Me:

1. In addition to my M.Div I also have an MSW. I earned this dual degree in a concurrent graduate studies program offered between a local universities School Of Social Work and a local Episcopal Seminary. I specialized in family systems for congregations in my MSW work having real desire to be a one on one therapist (although I think highly of them and have seen several in my lifetime - just not my direction at this time). I think, when I first went for the dual degree my hope was to …

Baptism, an Invitation to Dance with God

A sermon based on Psalm 30 and baptism

Last week I had the pleasure of assisting a group of High School kids prepare for the prom. Now, I have already been through the prom thing twice with our daughter, not to mention Turn About and Homecoming. We have several formal-ware dresses hanging in the closet - never to be worn again, as a case in point.

It was quite a process preparing a girl for these rites of passage in high school. For the girl, the dance is secondary; it’s really all about the dress. And the hair and make up and jewelry. And, well, maybe the date….

I imagined this time, as I helped our son prepare, that it would be different. What I found out, is, it’s not that much different. It was quite a sight to stand in the Men’s Warehouse with racks filled with hundreds of tux’s waiting to be picked up. And all these young men coming in, trying them on, and looking ever so uncertain and uncomfortable. Full of hope and expectation and trepidation.

On the night of the prom the parents…

RevGals Friday Five: Get Away Island Edition

Cathy over at RevGals writes: We snitched a bit of time on an quiet island nearby this week. It was a last minute plan, escaping with a minimal amount of preparation. One must have essentials that make it a relaxing time. Perhaps you have had this opportunity to escape, or maybe it's only been a thought to get away. However, suppose you were told to pack some essentials for a trip to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Describe your location, in general or specific terms and....

Generally speaking I would like to go someplace in the mountains. My Dad has a home in the canyon lands and one more north in the mountains, both in Utah. I could go visit either one. The one in the mountains is a beautiful cabin he built, probably one of these.

1) What book(s) will you bring? The new Barbara Kingsolver: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life; the new Ann Lamott: Grace; some poetry, and an armful of others. I load up each summer with a bunch of non-chur…

A Few Thoughts on a Hot Thursday

1. Does anyone know a good poem about dancing with God? I have a baptism on Sunday and am thinking about preaching about baptism as an invitation to dance with God (per Psalm 30 "You have turned my wailing into dancing....") baptism God invites us into community, into relationship, into a holy life, a holy dance...which doesn't mean that life is rosey and easy, but it is a dance.

2. We are under a strong wind advisory with severe storms predicted. This often happens on these hot days when a cool front bumps up against a heat wave...

3. I'm liking the heat. It's great to be warm and in shorts.

4. I'm tired of rain. We've had a lot of it...

What in the World is Happening to the Episcopal Church?

Today I am going to attempt to offer my reflections on what is happening to the Episcopal Church in America (ECUSA). I am hardly an expert on this as it pertains to the complexity of our global communion. On the other hand I have been in the thick of it at small church for the last seven years. So, I am capable of reflecting on how this "crisis," as some would call it, is impacting church. And I have some opinions of what is going on globally. These reflections are my own, not necessarily those of small church, nor the ECUSA, nor the Anglican Communion.

One aspect of the Episcopal Church that I love is our ability as clergy and lay folk to wrestle these issues and have our reflections. Since the Book of Common Prayer was revised in 1979 the abiding doctrine, if you will, that defines how we Episcopalians waddle through issues is the Baptismal Covenant. This covenant was prayed at our baptism, is renewed by the congregation at every baptism, and can be prayed on certain feast…

Trinity Sunday: God Expressing God's Self

Friday Five: Hopes and Dreams

Sally over at RevGals says: My house has been full of young people all week, young people who have just left school, young people with an eye on the future. Their laughter energy, and hope are infectious, so with that in mind- this Friday 5 is about hopes, visions and dreams;

1. Think back to the time you left High School, what were your hopes visions and dreams for your life/ for the world? My childhood was filled with a great deal of caretaking of my three younger brothers. Suffice it to say that my parents had issues. (That's ok, I've worked through it). All that is to say that my primary hope and dream when I left high school was to attend the state college as far away from home as possible, and still be "in-state" for tuition. Also, I had no idea what I wanted to major in in college, only that I wanted to go and begin a life of my own.

To that end, and remember this was 1974, I decided to major in agriculture. I had a dream of owning a self-sufficient farm and rai…