Showing posts from July, 2007

Questions About Angels: a poem by Billy Collins

Of all the questions you might want to ask
about angels, the only one you hear
is how many can dance on the head of a pin.

No curiosity about they pass the eternal time
besides circling the Throne chanting in Latin
or delivering a crust of bread to a hermit on earth
or guiding and boy and girl across a rickety wooden bridge.

Do the fly though God's body and come out singing?
Do they swing like children from the hinges
of the spirit world saying their names backwards and
Do they sit alone in little gardens changing colors?

What about their sleeping habits, the fabric of their robes,
their diet of unfiltered divine light?
What goes on inside their luminous heads? Is there a wall
these tall presences can look over and see hell?

If an angel fell off a cloud would he leave a hole
in a river and would the hole float along endlessly
filled with the silent letters of every angelic word?

If an angel delivered the mail would he arrive
in a blinding rush of wings or would he just assume
the appearance …

Day One

Monday, my first day of vacation.

I read blogs for a long time.

I did some blog correspondance.

I thought a bit about a project I want to do in the fall.

I washed my kitchen floor.

Worked out. My work out DVD has three levels of work out for Abs, Upper Body, and legs. I only do the ab and upper body, because I walk my dogs 40 minutes a day, which takes care of the legs...yesterday I did the most vigorous level. Today I am sore. But not as sore as I thought, just my triceps - "so they won't jiggle when I wave 'goodbye'" which is what she reminds me over and over in the workout...

Saw my chiropractor who continues to help me heal from my big illness last fall. When I had a bad infection and caused me to have surgery to drain the infection (inn my jaw and up the side of my face) and to be hospitalized for 11 days. The right side of my lip and chin are still healing. The nerve remains damaged, I feel numb there. The chiropractor does this "energy" stuff with magn…

Officially on vacation

Yes. Finally. No church work for two weeks. Not going anywhere. My vacation will be a mix of some housework - painting and DEEP cleaning (which I actually look forward to doing, and having the luxury of time to do); various day trips into Chicago (Art Institute? Walk along Michigan Avenue? the beach?); and a lot of reading. Looking forward to this time.

Prayer, a way to balance a life of being and doing

A reflection on Luke 11:1-13

A mother sent her fifth grade boy up to bed. In a few minutes she went to make sure that he was getting in bed. When she stuck her head into his room, she saw that he was kneeling beside his bed in prayer. Pausing to listen to his prayers, she heard her son praying over and over again. "Let it be Tokyo! Please dear God, let it be Tokyo!"

When he finished his prayers, she asked him, "What did you mean, 'Let it be Tokyo'?"

"Oh," the boy said with embarrassment, "we had our geography exam today and I was praying that God would make Tokyo the capital of France."

The last few weeks our scripture readings, especially the Gospel, have pointed us to look at our relationship with God. They’ve all asked the questions, “What does it mean to love God?”. Two weeks ago we read about the lawyer debating with Jesus. Jesus responds to the lawyer with the parable of the Good Samaritan. The point: it isn’t enough to know what God w…

RevGals Friday Five: Floods and Droughts

1. Have you experienced living through an extreme weather event- what was it and how did you cope? Several. I lived through the huge snowstorm of 1968. I was in middle school and living in Wisconsin, big time snow. But, as I remember, no snow days. Off we trudged walking to school. We've had bitter cold long snowy winters in the Chicago area and terrible heat waves and droughts (1995) when people were dying from the heat.

2. How important is it that we wake up to issues such as global warming? Very important. I am appalled at how little people really think about it. Seems folks in my area are more interested in convenience and comfort, the environment is someone else's problem. Me, I try to be "green." I only use the A/C when I really have too (over 90 degrees, high humidity, night time so I can sleep). I prefer fans. I recycle everything I can.

3. The Christian message needs to include stewardship of the earths resources agree/ disagree? Agree. Which to me means tha…

The Question

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. My husband and I will celebrate our 22 wedding anniversary in a few weeks and we are already making plans for dinner and probably an art fair. (I love art fairs). Plus it's been the topic in various of forums, blogs, and books I've been reading this summer. So I've been thinking a lot about monogamy. What does it mean to commit oneself to one other person? Is it important?

Let me just say, before I begin my story, that I do believe in monogamy, I took vows to that end, and I have lived them faithfully. So, my simple answer is yes, it's important. But I arrive at that simple answer from a life lived in more complex circumstances.

I hesitate to write this, it will make me vulnerable. And remind me of myself in days I prefer to forget. I did not like Anne Lamott's book, "Hard Laughter" because her main character reminds me of myself and my friends when we were in our early twenties. Not exactly, but there is eno…

Symeon The New Theologian (949-1022)

A poem by Symeon from "The Enlightened Heart" An anthology of Sacred Poetry Edited by Stephen Mitchell

We awaken in Christ's body
as Christ awakens our bodies,
and my poor hand is Christ, He enters
my foot, and is infinitely me.

I move my hand, and wonderfully
my hand becomes Christ, becomes all of Him
(for God is indivisibly
whole, seamless in His Godhead).

I move my foot, and at once
He appears like a flash of lightning.
Do my words seem blasphemous - Then
open your heart to Him

and let yourself receive the one
who is opening to you so deeply.
For if we genuinely love Him,
we wake up inside Christ's body

where all our body, all over,
every most hidden part of it,
is realized in joy as Him,
and He makes us, utterly, real,

and everything that is hurt, everything
that seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
maimed, ugly, irreparably
damaged, is in Him transformed

and recognized as whole, as lovely,
and radiant in His light
we awaken as the Beloved
in every last part of our body.

Three Poems Worth Reading

If you haven't already, go check out these poems:

gannet girl Kindness

jan The Guest House

I do not know how to create a direct link to the post, so scroll down to the poem...or read all the posts until you get to the poem...all wonderful posts and poems...

Hannah, my Great, Great, Great, Grandmother

I admit it, I have a deep fascination with my heritage. I think it comes from the fact that I moved away from my family when I was 9 and have had little contact with any family since then. Well, I did have contact with my mother and father and brothers, but no one else. The reason for that fact will be the topic of another post....

Anyway, I come from a family of LDS, Mormons. Which means I have some family history accessible to me through the family genealogy. Following my mothers death in 2004 I acquired some records of family history and learned a bit about my ancestors. One great, great, great grandmother, in particular, resonated with me.

She was born on April 4, 1839, in Pendlebury, Lancashire, England. Her parents, Isaac and Charlotte, named their daughter Johanna. Shortly after her birth the family moved to Clayton in Manchester. Hannah was one of four children (two brothers named William and James, and a sister named Harriet), plus a child named Jonathon whom they acquired in …

The Art of Hospitality: Balancing Doing and Being

A reflection on: Genesis 18:1-10; Luke 10:38-42

Benedict of Nursia lived in Italy between the 5th and 6th centuries. Born into some wealth, he was sent to Rome for his formal education. This education would have established him in the life of a noble man, but after his education he chose to leave Rome and settle in the desert for a life of studying God and faith.

Over his life time Benedict started and directed twelve monasteries. So profound was his leadership that he is called the founder of Western monastic life for both men and women. For 1500 years monastic communities around the world have been established under the Benedictine order and follow the Rule of St. Benedict.

Essentially this rule is a set of guidelines for living in community; guidelines for developing one’s personal faith life, developing a corporate faith life, and the rules give guidelines for managing a monastic community.

The principle rule of life in Benedictine spirituality is hospitality.

As a result many mon…

RevGals Friday 5- looking back, looking forward

Sally over at RevGals writes:

When I began work here at Downham Market a wise friend told me that after one year I would see a few changes and sense God at work- years two and three would cause me to question and to wonder why I had chosen to accept the post here and in year four I might see the beginnings of something new.

And so with that in mind alongside yesterdays celebrations I bring you Friday 5 Looking back, looking forward... and, since this is posted on my blog I'll add, "watch out for the snakes>" they might bite and hurt...

1. Share a moment/ time of real encouragement in your journey of faith O gosh. thankfully I have had several. I have gone through so many occasions of self-doubt, fear, feelings of being some ways a typical woman in ministry. I am grateful for the people who stood by me through challenges to my ordination process, through various discernment processes, through illness, through parish struggles and hopes and dreams....I have b…

A Vision of Light

I am coming to the end of a very busy long week of hosting Vacation Bible School at small church. It's really a blast. I love have all the kids around and the hustle and bustle. But it takes five hours of my day just to do it, and that's with a lot of help. I'm not even in charge of VBS, just the pastor of the church, (ok, so I'm in charge that way - in the real big picture way of parish ministry). But I have a director and she has lots of help. So. I can only imagine how tired I'd be if I did more...still, on top of that has been my usual weekly work load, and laundry, and meals, and dog walking, and exercising, and a few meetings...etc.

And, of course, there's that sermon waiting to be written...sigh...

Tonight, however, I'm going to take it easy. I'm going to walk my dogs. Make a simple supper, 'cuz my husband is working late. I'm going to have a nice glass of wine, with supper, and read "A Vision of Light." This book will be the sub…

Happiness by Jane Kenyon

Diane has posted a new poem at her blog. Check it out here.


Diane has posted a new poem over at her blog. She says:I wanted to share my favorite picture from vacation, and a new poem, by Jane Kenyon. I just discovered it in a collection called Otherwise. Jane Kenyon died of leukemia in April of 1995. Check it out here.

What Kind of a Neighbor Am I?

A Reflection on Luke 10:25-37

Over the last couple of years I’ve come to enjoy the TV show, Boston Legal. Granted, it is a bit ridiculous and outrageous in its portrayal of certain aspects of our society and office romance; although it’s probably more accurate than I care to admit. What I like about the show is it’s undertone of social justice. Each episode takes on a social cause and works it in to the office politics, in to the crime and trial, and most importantly in the brilliant closing statement of the trail lawyers. The writing is smart and provocative, looking at the nuances of the issue and the subtext the rides below the surface of cultural platitudes.

Our gospel reading this morning has a smart lawyer provoking Jesus. He really wants to push the issue of “Who is my neighbor?” This portion of the Gospel is part of an ongoing dialogue in Luke about what it really means to love God and love neighbor. The lawyers’ tone is somewhat sarcastic; this lawyer doesn’t want to really th…

RevGals Friday Five: Cultural Choices....

As you may have seen in this Wednesday's Festival, Pottermania has hit the RevGals---though not all of them. Yes, I am all over Harry like a Seeker on the Snitch, but I know there are others who will be ecstatic to see the July madness end.

So today's F5 is a Choose Your Own Adventure: do the magical version or the Muggle one, or both:

Option 1: Accio Friday Five!

1. Which Harry Potter book is your favorite and why? My daughter was just the right age when the first book came out. Our house was Potter-Mania for a few years. But since then, and as my son is not an avid reader (sadly)...well. I haven't taken to reading them on my own. So. I've read the first two and a portion of the third. The rest, I've just seen the movies. Love them, though.

2. Which character do you most resemble? Which character would you most like to get to know? I don't resemble any of them...but I would like to know more about Minerva McGonagall.

3. How careful are you about spoilers? Don't…


I want to post a poem. Actually I want to post the lyrics from an Indigo Girl's song: "Closer To Fine." I have written an email asking permission to post these on my blog. We'll see if I get a response and permission. In the mean time. I'm waiting.

Waiting for my meeting tonight with the vestry (governing board) where we will set our goals for next year.

Waiting for a return phone call with the Canon of Pastoral Care to discuss a brilliant idea I have...hah.

Waiting for my kitchen floor to dry, since I just washed it.

Waiting for the mail to come. In case there is something exciting instead of just bills. (hah hah)

Waiting until I get vacation, three more weeks.

Waiting for our land to sell. (part of brilliant idea I want to discuss with the Canon).

Waiting for my son to get of school and my daughter to call.


Waiting for what life has in store.

Waiting until the dry season ends and I feel fruitful again.

Waiting until this desert time has passed and I am no longer …

"Primary Wonder" a poem by Denise Levertov

We're having a poetry party over at Jan's blog. You can find us here

An Heirloom of Love: a reflection for Proper 9C

Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

When I was little I remember a certain chair that belonged to my great-grandmother. It was a desk chair with a curved wood back, arms, and seat; a swivel chair on wheels. My brothers and I loved to twirl in that chair, round and round we’d spin. But, because it was old it wasn’t the hydraulic lift and swivel like desk chairs are today. No. This one was like a nut and bolt: the seat was a big nut that screwed onto the threaded bolt-like base. So, if we twirled enough in one direction the seat would screw right off the base and we’d end up on the floor.

My mother ended up with this chair and moved it with her everywhere, for decades. Over the years it was painted every color of every generation including, as I remember it, yellow – and then – olive green.

A few years ago, after my mother died, I found that old chair stuffed into my mother’s storage locker, broken in several pieces. She couldn’t bear to throw it out. But, now it was neither a cherished antique, not an h…

The Baptism

I rose early this morning. By 8:00 am I had exercised (20 minute upper body with weights and ab toner); written a draft of my sermon; checked email, given myself a manicure. By 9:30 I was showered and dressed in clerics and at the church doing the final set up for the baptism.

About five months ago the Deputy Fire Chief for our town called to inquire if I would baptize his niece. He and his family are Roman Catholic, but his sister married a man from England. This sister and brother live in Minnesota and had a baby in December. Being from England the father said he wanted to baptize his daughter in the Episcopal Church. The DFC wanted to know if I would baptize the baby while his sister and BIL were in town for a family gathering around the 4th of July. In fact, he wanted to know if I would I baptize the baby on Saturday, July 7?

Now. Typically in the Episcopal Church, since the prayerbook revision of 1979 we only baptize people on Sunday morning in the midst of the worship service. The…

RevGals Friday Five: Hasty Edition

Reverendmother over at RevGals write: Whoops! I have been in a family-induced haze these few days, with the July 4 holiday and taking time off while relatives are visiting. So I literally lost track of what day it was!

So rather than make you guys wait even one minute longer for the five, I'll dig up an oldie:

Today, what are you:

1. Wearing tan khaki shorts, dark blue sleeveless cotton T, tevas. that's enough for this hot day. (And I even went into the office dressed this causal, no make up even, and hair pushed back with a headband, 'cuz I'm still getting used to it growing out).

2. Reading "The Elegant Gathering of White Snows" bu Kris Radish. "How Does a Poem Mean?" bu John Ciardi. "The Progressive Christian" magazine.

3. Eating raspberry Keifer for breakfast, a hot dog for lunch, and homebaked BBQ baby back ribs with homemade potato salad for dinner, with left over pie for dessert.

4. Doing I have already set up the church for a private bap…

a Found Moment in Time

I got up early today because the air conditioning guys were coming for the annual maintenance of rectory and church A/C. I got up early so I could exercise (ab toner and weights for upper body and arms) and get my animals fed and out before the guys arrive at 8am. I got up early so I could shower and be ready for them.

I called to make sure they knew to come to the rectory first, since this is where I am. I feel so organized and prepared. But then they asked to reschedule. So many other people have no air conditioning. It's hot and expected to be hotter. Ok. It's in the upper 80's and low 90's, and humid. It's not 116...but then this is the Midwest not the Southwest.

So, I said "Sure." Now, they'll come one day next week. And I'll have to do this same thing all over again.

But for now, I have some free time I didn't anticipate. RevGals has not yet posted it's Friday Five. All my other blogger friends must still be asleep or working. All is q…

Poetry Conversation continues at diane's blog

You can find the conversation here To Be of Use

How I spent the 4th of July

I am not big fan of the 4th of July. It's not that I wish to be unpatriotic. I love this complex, conflicted country of ours. It is beautiful and founded on ideals I fully embrace: freedom and equality for all men.

I have a problem with our generic use of men when we mean people. It's an old phrase and should not be used that way any more. We should say what we mean. When we mean men and women, say so. Use "people" or "human beings" or "humanity" but don't use "men" unless that's what your mean. I am not, nor ever will be, a man. I don't want to be lumped into that category as if I have no gender identity of my own.

So, I love our ever expanding understanding of who is included in the word "men." With our various Ammendments to the Constitution we gradually including everyone regardless of gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. But, like I said, its complex and the process is fraught with conflict. And, it's …

The Journey: another poem by Mary Oliver

Diane and I are sharing poems. It's not really my turn to post one since I just posted Bleeding-heart. But this one came to me in a blog discussion, so here it is. Diane, you're next. Or, anyone else can post a poem and lead us to it. We're having a fun conversation about poetry.

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and dee…

And, then just like that they're gone

We've been watching a robin's nest outside our back door. About three weeks ago we noticed it in the plum tree. The branches of this tree overhang our deck and arch above the door from the attached garage. The nest is tucked up on a branch above the garage door. In an amazing act of nature the nest blends right in with the brown of branches and red leaves of the tree. One needs patience to find it, a slow and diligent eye. Of course my husband, the nature lover found it. My husband is one of these human beings that draws animals to him. All animals love him. He understands them. And he remembers details about animal nature and characteristics that I've never even heard. So. Of course he saw the nest. And he'd spend long minutes watching the momma bird sit on the nest.

One day, about 10 days ago (maybe less), the eggs hatched. We had the pleasure of watching these baby hatchlings, all three of them, grow. At first they were featherless silent creatures with huge yellow m…