Showing posts from April, 2010

A Journey Home

On Tuesday I fly to Tucson where I will pick up my car and drive it back to the Midwest.

Why am I doing this, you ask? Some four months ago my car, a 2004 Passat wagon with a turbo engine, had an engine failure. The day before Christmas. We learned, after the fact, that VW Passats, made between 2001 and 2004 have a problem, they are inclined toward a "sludge build up" in the engine. Of course VW claims that if you change your oil regularly this will not happen. Or, it will. But better save all your receipts for every oil change and if you do, maybe VW will help pay for a new engine. And Turbo. Or maybe they won't. And, if not, if you're lucky maybe they will reduce the cost of the new engine or help pay for the new engine and/or eliminate the $600.00 diagnostic fee it cost to figure out the problem in the first place.

Anyway, after 4 months of haggling the car will now be fixed, and almost like new. Imagine, it only cost me 75% of the new engine expense - with VW and…

RevGals Friday Five: Smiling Edition

Jan, over at RevGals posts this Friday Five Meme:

1. When were you smiling lately? I smiled when the redbuds burst into bloom. I smile every time we go to the dog park and my dogs run free, so much joy in their running. I smiled when I learned that my car will be ready soon - but I'm frowning at the thought of yet another (my fourth in 10 months) driving trip to and/or from Arizona. Yep, that's what I'm doing next week...I smiled when my acupuncturist called me from Arizona and confirmed that I can have an appointment with her while I'm there and I'm smiling because I get to see my Spiritual Director while I'm there. I'm smiling over a lot of little things these days, but at least I'm smiling.

2. What happened unexpectedly to you this past week? This week, no unexpected turn of events, which is good, actually.

3. How was a catastrophe averted (or not)? So far this week, no catastrophes no celebrations. Just life as it is.

4. What was the most delicious thin…

Hospitality: A Christian Practice

The RevGals theme today for the Monday Meet and Greet is Hospitality. It's in honor of their retreat which begins today on that same theme. Here is my contribution:

In her book, Christianity for the Rest of Us, Diana Butler Bass describes several small mainline Christian churches from different denominations that are experiencing growth because they have engaged, in deep and transformational ways, with ancient Christian practices.

Christian practices are those acts of discipline that a faith community engages in which shape, form, and transform the community into deeper faith. These practices include prayer, testimony, beauty, and hospitality, among others. These practices tend to rise up naturally, organically within a community. But the churches in her book took the time to discern the practices already at work in their community and develop them intentionally into stronger, deeper practices. At a recent conference with Diana Butler Bass she said that it takes 10,000 hours of pra…

The Night Traveler

For the last few years I have suffered from periodic bouts of insomnia. This poem speaks about that experience:

Passing by, he could be anybody:
A thief, a tradesman, a doctor
On his way to a worried house.
But when he stops at your gate,
Under the room where you lie half-asleep,
You know it is not just anyone -
It is the Night Traveler.

You lean your arms on the sill
And stare down. But all you can see
Are bits of wilderness attached to him -
Twigs, loam, and leaves,
Vines and blossoms. Among these
You feel his eyes, and his hands
Lifting something in the air.

He has a gift for you, but it has no name.
It is windy and wooly.
He holds it in the moonlight, and it sings
Like a newborn beast,
Like a child at Christmas,
Like your own heart as it tumbles
In love's green bed.
You take it, and he is gone.

All night - and all your life, if you are willing -
It will nuzzle your face, cold nosed,
Like a small white wolf;
It will curl in your palm
Like a hard blue stone;
It will liquify into a cold pool
Which when you…

RevGals Friday Five: Pack Your Bags

As some folks prepare for a big event Songbird, over at RevGals, offers this Friday Five:

1) Some fold, some roll and some simply fling into the bag. What's your technique for packing clothes? I use a combination of rolling and folding when I head off FOR my trip. When coming home I also have some pieces of clothing that I just bundle in a special spot to remind me that this is my "laundry."

2) The tight regulations about carrying liquids on planes makes packing complicated. What might we find in your quart-size bag? Ever lose a liquid that was too big? I am pretty good at fitting a lot of small 3oz products in that one zip lock bag. I have had to give up bottled water and once, a long time ago, a pair of tiny scissors, back when even those were a no-no.

3) What's something you can't imagine leaving at home? In the past I have forgotten to bring a toothbrush, extra underwear, pajamas, socks, a hairbrush. As long as I am near a place to purchase what I've forgot…

Here. and. Here.

When I moved to Chicago my daughter took me to her Fitness Club ("the gym") to check it out. I haven't joined a club, or a gym, in years, not since my kids were little. Not since I never went to the one I did join. Instead, as you may know from reading this blog, I work out on my own. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of staying in shape. Well, except for the weight I've gained.

Since joining this gym I've found it very easy to go and work out. I head out most mornings around 9:30 or 10. Several days a week I take a "class." I alternate these classes between yoga, pilates, strength, and fitness (one a day four days a week). The classes are all 60 minutes except the fitness class (alternating cardio with weights and core) which is a vigorous 45 minutes. I also often add 20 minutes on the elliptical machine, a 10 minute swim and 5 minutes in the hot tub. Then most afternoons I take my dogs for 30 minute walk.

That means that suddenly I am getting abou…

A Reflection for Easter 2

“When it was evening that day, the first day of the week the doors of the house where the disciples met were locked for fear...”a reflection on the Gospel for Easter 2: John 20:19-31

As this gospel reading begins we are in the evening of Easter Day. Jesus first appears to the disciples that very night. And he finds them hiding in fear. Their fear is justified, of course. Any of us would do the same thing if we had lived through the same three days as these disciples. If our friend had been killed, if we had abandoned that friend in her hour of need, if we had learned that somehow that friend was now alive – or something – because the body was missing. We’d be traumatized and afraid of what was coming next. Whenever we experience a series of bad events coming at us quickly, events that leave us suffering and confused we tend to shut down and hide in fear. It’s natural.

Several years ago Joan Chittister spoke on the subject of suffering at a conference at Chautauqua in New York State. …

A RevGals Friday Five: Travel Edition

Over at RevGals Sophia offers this Friday Five Meme:

1. When was your last, or will be your next, out of town travel? The end of February and the beginning of March included two trips for me. One was a cross-country drive, some 1800 miles over 3 days and 3 nights. The other involved airplanes, rainy windy weather, lost luggage but an otherwise delightful trip to Maine.

2. Long car trips: love or loathe? I have taken a lot of long car trips over the last five years or so. I've driven from Chicago to South Carolina, from Chicago to North Carolina, from Chicago to Salt Lake City, and then from Chicago to Arizona and back four times. The trips are more fun if I have a good book on CD to listen too alternating with good music.

3. Do you prefer to be driver or passenger? I like sharing the drive - it's nice to drive some of the time and then take a break.

4. If passenger, would you rather pass the time with handwork, conversing, reading, listening to music, or ??? all of the above, ex…

Easter Unexpected!

Yesterday morning, for a number of reasons, including my husband working on Easter (tough to be the low guy on the staff) and my daughter having commitments, I thought I was going to spend Easter at home. Then my daughter's schedule changed, last minute, and we headed off for church. We decided to go to the church where my two year old Goddaughters go, thinking it would be fun to spend Easter morning at, as they say, "Chuuch" with them.

This small church is very innovative and fun, I've gone a few times over the years, including the day the PB baptized the babies, two years back. (She was in town for the consecration of the new Diocesan Bishop). When my daughter and I walked in the priest's face lit up and his arms opened wide. We were almost late, the choir was already lined up to process....but the priest spontaneously asked me if I wanted to do something in the worship? I said, sure, whatever you want! He said, how about processing and proclaiming the Gospel. …

From Darkness to Light

I've been thinking lately about darkness and light, "inspired" in part by some sleepless nights. For most of my life I have been a very sound sleeper, out almost as soon as my head hits the pillow and gone until I wake in the morning. But over the last few years, as is typical it seems with age, I find myself with occasional bouts of late night insomnia. I still usually fall asleep, but then "something" will wake me, a vague noise of some sort, and then before I know it I am wide awake.

When this happens I make vain efforts to fall back asleep. I clamp my eyes shut and try to block out all thoughts, sounds, and light. Usually this fails completely and after an hour or so of useless effort I get up and wander into the living room. I turn on one low light, make a cup of tea, and start up my computer, and write. Usually after about two hours of writing or reading I can go back to bed and go to sleep.

Recently I had two sleepless nights in a row. Oddly these were bot…

Coming Around Easter

A Good Friday RevGals Friday Five Reflection

Sally over at RevGals offers this Friday Five:It seems almost irreverent to post a Friday Five on Good Friday, so I will try to treat it with some respect. I am still mulling over the darkness of last nights Tenebrae Service, the silence as we left was profound, and although I travelled home with others we did not speak, there was a holiness about it.....and yet we know that holiness was born of horror!

So as we enter into this darkest of days I offer you this Friday Five:

1. Of all the gospel accounts of the crucifixion, which one stands out for you, and why? For most of my life I had a high Christology - until one Good Friday I heard the Passion in Matthew, the one where Jesus is suffering and cries out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" And wondered why? Why had I never "heard tht before?" Why was I more in the vein of John where Jesus does not suffer? I remember asking my priest about this, incredulous as I was. I think he said simply, Jesus suffered be…

For the Love of Jesus, A Maundy Thursday Reflection

About ten days ago we gathered here in this space and reflected on the woman, Mary, who had the audacity to enter a room full of diners and anoint Jesus’ feet with a pound of very expensive ointment called “nard.” As she anointed his feet she wept, tears tumbling off her face and onto his feet. Tenderly she dried those tears and his feet with her hair. Mary’s love for Jesus was deep and generous.

Now tonight we gather here and reflect on another story about feet. This time it is Jesus who is washing feet, all the feet of his friends who have come for supper, and then drying them with a towel. Another tender act of deep and generous love.

A stranger to the Christian faith might wonder about all this talk about feet. Might think we are little odd, perhaps?

I know plenty of people who dislike feet, find them dirty or gross. People who don’t even like their own feet. I’ve never felt that way. I happen to like feet, even my own. They are odd, my feet, very narrow heels, wide balls and toes,…