Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Joyce and Anne

Thanks for your prayers for Joyce. They were suppose to do surgery first thing this morning, but when I got to the hospital at 1:00, she was still in her room, waiting. She was in no pain, just lying there, so we got to talk a bit. They took her to pre-op about 2:00 and I haven't heard anything yet from her son.

Oh, the world seems in such chaos right now to me, somehow. My husband's home church, which he dearly dearly loves~the church in which we were married~is in a horrendous uproar. D is there tonight for another meeting. Dear God, may everyone there open themselves to your Spirit's nudgings toward justice and reconciliation. That's my fervent prayer.

And that's what happened at my previous church, so I have good reason to hope.

Oh, and my dear friend Seeker Executive. I just found out that she is driving to another city tonight to be with a friend who is near death. And this friend of hers is so very close to her heart; they have been like sisters since their college days together. Breaks my heart that this dear friend is dying of cancer, and that Seeker Executive is going to experience such a profound loss. I stand on the sidelines here wishing I could help. Please pray for Anne and for Cathy and her family.

As I write this, I realize how very much Joyce being hospitalized has knocked me off-center. Joyce is 85, but still working every morning in her garden, doing all kinds of repairs around her house, very vital. She's a 'saint' of my previous church. A first-class poet. Oh, you should hear her prayers...they are stunning poetry, really. I love to hear her pray. My leaving that church really hurt her, I know. She made it clear to me that she thought of me as a daughter, and it was leaving a huge hole in her life for me to no longer be there on Sunday morning. She never asked me to stay ~ she understood the reasons for my departure, and she agreed with them. But I know it hurt.

I love her, too. I felt a special connection with her from the very beginning. There's a significant part of me that is always reaching out for mother-figures in my life, and Joyce fit that bill perfectly. She's not the only one I think of in that way nowadays, but, my gosh, the feeling of deep connection with her is so powerful.

Dear God, may her recovery be speedy and full. Amen.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Please pray for Joyce

Please pray for my friend Joyce. She's in her 80's and fell today and broke her hip.

She's a friend from my previous church, and I love her so much.

A wonderful visit

It's been a busy few days (aren't they all?)

I'm beginning to love my new church. Another couple invited me for lunch today, and I had a fabulous time. He was with the State Department for a while, and they have traveled the world many times over. Beautiful home. Not huge, but stunning. Everywhere I looked my eyes fell on something glorious. When I walked in, I was struck by the sunlight filtering in everywhere. We entered the small dining room through two potted plants that have grown, literally, to the ceiling!

She is a gourmet cook. Chicken crepes, salad, homemade bread and jellies--for lunch! And for desert she had made some kind of ... I don't know what to call this. A rolled cake thing. :-) It was filled with cream surrounded by cake and topped with yummy icing. Amazing.

They regaled me with stories of their travels. She's Dutch, and they met when he was in Europe with one of the World Council of Churches' work camps back in the 50's. Great story.


I don't know. I just sat in that house and felt God's spirit.


It's that way with beauty, isn't it? Wow.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Obama Wins

Obama runs away with South Carolina primary

Jan 26, 2008 19:07 EST, BBC

~Obama Routs Clinton in Racially Charged SC Primary, Regaining Momentum~

"Barack Obama routed Hillary Rodham Clinton in the racially-charged South Carolina primary Saturday night, regaining campaign momentum in the prelude to a Feb. 5 coast-to-coast competition for more than 1,600 Democratic National Convention delegates."

Friday, January 25, 2008

The importance of beauty

Why is beauty so important?

In my twenties I was hardly aware of it, my soul so full of fear, self-absorbed.

As I began to heal, the context in which I lived and worked came into view. The harshness of the flueorescent lights under which I worked at the oil company suddenly weighed on me. I began to buy furniture and home decor that spoke to me of the difference the divine can make. I yearned for an environment, a context for living and working, that mirrored the opening toward which I felt myself drawn.

Why is beauty so important?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Phhhft!

One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex standing in the foyer of the church staring up at a large plaque. It was covered with names with small American flags mounted on either side of it. The seven year old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the little boy, and said quietly, "Good morning, Alex."

"Good morning, Pastor," he replied, still focused on the plaque."Pastor, what is this?" he asked.

The pastor said, "Well, son, it's a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service."

Soberly, they just stood together, staring at the large plaque. Finally, little Alex's voice, barely audible and trembling with fear, asked,"Which service, the 8:30 or the 10:45?"

Tee Hee...

A man walks into the lingerie department of Macy's in New York City.

He tells the saleslady, 'I would like a Southern Baptist bra for my wife, size 34 A.'

With a quizzical look the saleslady asks, 'What kind of bra?'

He repeats, 'A Southern Baptist bra. My wife said to tell you that she wanted a Southern Baptist bra, and that you would know what she wanted.'

'Oh, yes, now I understand,' says the saleslady. 'We don't get as many requests for them as we used to. Most of our customers lately want the
Catholic bra, the Salvation Army bra, or the Presbyterian bra.'

Confused, and a little flustered, the man asks, 'So, what are the differences?'

The saleslady responds. 'It is all really quite simple. The Catholic bra supports the masses, the Salvation Army bra lifts up the fallen,
and the Presbyterian bra keeps them staunch and upright.'

He muses on that information for a minute and says, 'Hmm. I know I'll regret asking, but what does the Southern Baptist bra do?'

'Ah, the Southern Baptist bra,' she replies, 'makes mountains out of molehills.'

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Know Hope

This is long, but SO worth the read. It's Barack Obama's speech at the Ebenezer church in Atlanta on MLKing, Jr. Day this past Monday:

From: http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/01/the-ebenezer-se.html

___________________
The Scripture tells us that when Joshua and the Israelites arrived at the gates of Jericho, they could not enter. The walls of the city were too steep for any one person to climb; too strong to be taken down with brute force. And so they sat for days, unable to pass on through.

But God had a plan for his people. He told them to stand together and march together around the city, and on the seventh day he told them that when they heard the sound of the ram’s horn, they should speak with one voice. And at the chosen hour, when the horn sounded and a chorus of voices cried out together, the mighty walls of Jericho came tumbling down.

There are many lessons to take from this passage, just as there are many lessons to take from this day, just as there are many memories that fill the space of this church. As I was thinking about which ones we need to remember at this hour, my mind went back to the very beginning of the modern Civil Rights Era.

Because before Memphis and the mountaintop; before the bridge in Selma and the march on Washington; before Birmingham and the beatings; the fire hoses and the loss of those four little girls; before there was King the icon and his magnificent dream, there was King the young preacher and a people who found themselves suffering under the yolk of oppression.

And on the eve of the bus boycotts in Montgomery, at a time when many were still doubtful about the possibilities of change, a time when those in the black community mistrusted themselves, and at times mistrusted each other, King inspired with words not of anger, but of an urgency that still speaks to us today:

“Unity is the great need of the hour” is what King said. Unity is how we shall overcome.

What Dr. King understood is that if just one person chose to walk instead of ride the bus, those walls of oppression would not be moved. But maybe if a few more walked, the foundation might start to shake. If a few more women were willing to do what Rosa Parks had done, maybe the cracks would start to show. If teenagers took freedom rides from North to South, maybe a few bricks would come loose. Maybe if white folks marched because they had come to understand that their freedom too was at stake in the impending battle, the wall would begin to sway. And if enough Americans were awakened to the injustice; if they joined together, North and South, rich and poor, Christian and Jew, then perhaps that wall would come tumbling down, and justice would flow like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Unity is the great need of the hour – the great need of this hour. Not because it sounds pleasant or because it makes us feel good, but because it’s the only way we can overcome the essential deficit that exists in this country.

I’m not talking about a budget deficit. I’m not talking about a trade deficit. I’m not talking about a deficit of good ideas or new plans.

I’m talking about a moral deficit. I’m talking about an empathy deficit. I’m taking about an inability to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we are our brother’s keeper; we are our sister’s keeper; that, in the words of Dr. King, we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny.

We have an empathy deficit when we’re still sending our children down corridors of shame – schools in the forgotten corners of America where the color of your skin still affects the content of your education.

We have a deficit when CEOs are making more in ten minutes than some workers make in ten months; when families lose their homes so that lenders make a profit; when mothers can’t afford a doctor when their children get sick.

We have a deficit in this country when there is Scooter Libby justice for some and Jena justice for others; when our children see nooses hanging from a schoolyard tree today, in the present, in the twenty-first century.

We have a deficit when homeless veterans sleep on the streets of our cities; when innocents are slaughtered in the deserts of Darfur; when young Americans serve tour after tour of duty in a war that should’ve never been authorized and never been waged.

And we have a deficit when it takes a breach in our levees to reveal a breach in our compassion; when it takes a terrible storm to reveal the hungry that God calls on us to feed; the sick He calls on us to care for; the least of these He commands that we treat as our own.

So we have a deficit to close. We have walls – barriers to justice and equality – that must come down. And to do this, we know that unity is the great need of this hour.

Unfortunately, all too often when we talk about unity in this country, we’ve come to believe that it can be purchased on the cheap. We’ve come to believe that racial reconciliation can come easily – that it’s just a matter of a few ignorant people trapped in the prejudices of the past, and that if the demagogues and those who exploit our racial divisions will simply go away, then all our problems would be solved.

All too often, we seek to ignore the profound institutional barriers that stand in the way of ensuring opportunity for all children, or decent jobs for all people, or health care for those who are sick. We long for unity, but are unwilling to pay the price.

But of course, true unity cannot be so easily won. It starts with a change in attitudes – a broadening of our minds, and a broadening of our hearts.

It’s not easy to stand in somebody else’s shoes. It’s not easy to see past our differences. We’ve all encountered this in our own lives. But what makes it even more difficult is that we have a politics in this country that seeks to drive us apart – that puts up walls between us.

We are told that those who differ from us on a few things are different from us on all things; that our problems are the fault of those who don’t think like us or look like us or come from where we do. The welfare queen is taking our tax money. The immigrant is taking our jobs. The believer condemns the non-believer as immoral, and the non-believer chides the believer as intolerant.
For most of this country’s history, we in the African American community have been at the receiving end of man’s inhumanity to man. And all of us understand intimately the insidious role that race still sometimes plays – on the job, in the schools, in our health care system and in our criminal justice system.

And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community.

We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.

Every day, our politics fuels and exploits this kind of division across all races and regions; across gender and party. It is played out on television. It is sensationalized by the media. And last week, it even crept into the campaign for President, with charges and counter-charges that served to obscure the issues instead of illuminating the critical choices we face as a nation.

So let us say that on this day of all days, each of us carries with us the task of changing our hearts and minds. The division, the stereotypes, the scapegoating, the ease with which we blame our plight on others – all of this distracts us from the common challenges we face – war and poverty; injustice and inequality. We can no longer afford to build ourselves up by tearing someone else down. We can no longer afford to traffic in lies or fear or hate. It is the poison that we must purge from our politics; the wall that we must tear down before the hour grows too late.
Because if Dr. King could love his jailor; if he could call on the faithful who once sat where you do to forgive those who set dogs and fire hoses upon them, then surely we can look past what divides us in our time, and bind up our wounds, and erase the empathy deficit that exists in our hearts.

But if changing our hearts and minds is the first critical step, we cannot stop there. It is not enough to bemoan the plight of poor children in this country and remain unwilling to push our elected officials to provide the resources to fix our schools. It is not enough to decry the disparities of health care and yet allow the insurance companies and the drug companies to block much-needed reforms. It is not enough for us to abhor the costs of a misguided war, and yet allow ourselves to be driven by a politics of fear that sees the threat of attack as way to scare up votes instead of a call to come together around a common effort.

The Scripture tells us that we are judged not just by word, but by deed. And if we are to truly bring about the unity that is so crucial in this time, we must find it within ourselves to act on what we know; to understand that living up to this country’s ideals and its possibilities will require great effort and resources; sacrifice and stamina.

And that is what is at stake in the great political debate we are having today. The changes that are needed are not just a matter of tinkering at the edges, and they will not come if politicians simply tell us what we want to hear. All of us will be called upon to make some sacrifice. None of us will be exempt from responsibility. We will have to fight to fix our schools, but we will also have to challenge ourselves to be better parents. We will have to confront the biases in our criminal justice system, but we will also have to acknowledge the deep-seated violence that still resides in our own communities and marshal the will to break its grip.

That is how we will bring about the change we seek. That is how Dr. King led this country through the wilderness. He did it with words – words that he spoke not just to the children of slaves, but the children of slave owners. Words that inspired not just black but also white; not just the Christian but the Jew; not just the Southerner but also the Northerner.

He led with words, but he also led with deeds. He also led by example. He led by marching and going to jail and suffering threats and being away from his family. He led by taking a stand against a war, knowing full well that it would diminish his popularity. He led by challenging our economic structures, understanding that it would cause discomfort. Dr. King understood that unity cannot be won on the cheap; that we would have to earn it through great effort and determination.

That is the unity – the hard-earned unity – that we need right now. It is that effort, and that determination, that can transform blind optimism into hope – the hope to imagine, and work for, and fight for what seemed impossible before.

The stories that give me such hope don’t happen in the spotlight. They don’t happen on the presidential stage. They happen in the quiet corners of our lives. They happen in the moments we least expect. Let me give you an example of one of those stories.

There is a young, 23-year-old white woman named Ashley Baia who organizes for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She’s been working to organize a mostly African American community since the beginning of this campaign, and the other day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

So Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”

By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we begin. It is why the walls in that room began to crack and shake.

And if they can shake in that room, they can shake in Atlanta.

And if they can shake in Atlanta, they can shake in Georgia.

And if they can shake in Georgia, they can shake all across America. And if enough of our voices join together; we can bring those walls tumbling down. The walls of Jericho can finally come tumbling down. That is our hope – but only if we pray together, and work together, and march together.

Brothers and sisters, we cannot walk alone.

In the struggle for peace and justice, we cannot walk alone.

In the struggle for opportunity and equality, we cannot walk alone

In the struggle to heal this nation and repair this world, we cannot walk alone.

So I ask you to walk with me, and march with me, and join your voice with mine, and together we will sing the song that tears down the walls that divide us, and lift up an America that is truly indivisible, with liberty, and justice, for all. May God bless the memory of the great pastor of this church, and may God bless the United States of America.

A singing heart

What great news I've carried in my heart this morning.

First, a wonderful friend experienced a true blessing and huge affirmation from our Regional Committee on Ministry. When she got home last night, she was greeted by her beautiful, loving dog, C. In the greeting, the spontaneous and unconditional happiness dogs apparently feel when we walk in the door, she began to laugh. And then she found herself walking around the whole house, laughing ~ in pure delight, open to the joy at the very heart of God. Wow.

And then my husband calls to give me more good news. I didn't ask if I could post about it, so I won't, but suffice it to say that he received a HUGE compliment from the powers-that-be at his university, along with an assignment that speaks of their trust and high regard for him. Again, what joy to be so well respected. Wow.

My heart is singing today.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Episcopalians in Fort Worth: You can't have it both ways

It seems to me that if the Ft. Worth Diocese of the Episcopal Church wants to withdraw to the Southern Cone, it will just have to accept the fact that it can't take its property with it. Baptists, Disciples of Christ, etc. own their own buildings. Not TEC.

You can't have it both ways, Bishop Iker.

The Christian tradition is valuable, of course. But Bishop Iker and all ultra-conservatives make the mistake of valuing their tradition above any belief that God is still working in this world, still calling us toward transformation, still nudging us toward repentence of the obvious EVILS (and I don't use that word lightly) perpetrated by that very "tradition" ~ one of the most glaringly obvious in my view being that of denying ordination to women. That one horrible belief alone makes me want to throw up.

Katie Sherrod's recent post is exactly right. She writes: "Someone once said that if fish could think, water would be the last thing they would discover. They are so immersed in it that it is invisible to them. That's what it's like in this [Ft. Worth] diocese these days. Jack Iker has immersed this place in his delusions for so long they are invisible to most of us. Normally intelligent people are buying into his delusion that he can "take the diocese" AND the property "out of The Episcopal Church" and just plop us all into the Southern Cone."

Her words remind me of the truth that we exist in a system of evil patriarchy. The system is so pervasive that it is indeed difficult to see. Once we awaken to it, once we actually see it, then the life-destroying actions of Bishop Iker's theological views become crystal clear.

My heart aches for the Episcopal Church.
For all churches who refuse to open themselves to how God is still speaking.

How privileged am I?

I got this from Jan at Yearning for God, who found it at Episcopollyanna, who got it from A Catholic Mom in Hawaii.

From What Privileges Do You Have?, based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.

Bold the true statements.

1. Father went to college.
2. Father finished college.
3. Mother went to college.
4. Mother finished college.
5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.
6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home.
9. Were read children's books by a parent.
10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18.
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18.
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively.
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18.
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs.
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs.
16. Went to a private high school.
17. Went to summer camp.
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18.
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels.
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18.
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them.
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child [kid's work is original!]
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house.
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home.
25. You had your own room as a child
26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18.
27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course.
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school.
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college.
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16.
31. Went on a cruise with your family.
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family.
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.
34. You were unaware of how much the heating bills were.

Hmmm, 13 out of 34. Does that make me lower middle class? Still privileged, but not highly so, I guess.

Room in our hearts....

A word from The Art of Pastoring this cold Sunday morning:

Your role as a pastor
and your congregation's life as a church
will both come to an end.
Only the Word is without end.
Therefore be aware of the temporary
and never give it too much importance.
If people gave less attention to the multitude of things
temporary,
and more attention to the One thing
permament,
there would be room in their hearts
for the writing of the Word
and there would be no more need to teach
for all would know.

(Author's observations: Whatever you are worried about right now, whatever is distracting you from the Word ~ it is temporary. Relax. And be free to love.)

Friday, January 18, 2008

pathetic



.

Misogyny is America's True National Pastime

The title of Bob Herbert's recent article says it all:

Misogyny Is America's True National Pastime
The New York Times. Posted January 17, 2008

"If there was ever a story that deserved more coverage by the news media, it's the dark persistence of misogyny in America. Sexism in its myriad destructive forms permeates nearly every aspect of American life. For many men, it's the true national pastime, much bigger than baseball or football.

"Little attention is being paid to the toll that misogyny takes on society in general, and women and girls in particular.

"Its forms are limitless."

Here's the link to the whole editorial: http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/74004/

Canada puts US on 'torture list'

From the BBC, Friday, January 18 :

"The United States has been listed as a country where prisoners are at risk of torture in a training document produced by the Canadian foreign ministry.

"It also classifies some US interrogation techniques as torture.

"The manual - part of a training course on torture awareness for diplomats - also includes Israel, China, Iran and Afghanistan on its watch list. "

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Odds and Ends this January evening

Just some odds and ends this evening:
  • I've been feeling GREAT lately. Don't know why...there's nothing particularly different from those days last week when I could hardly move, I was so tired.
  • Struck me today how much I love being a minister. A retired couple from my new church invited me over for lunch, and we just sat and talked while feasting on homemade soup and cornbread. Comfort food! They invited me out back to tour his office, formerly a tool shed that he converted. Wow. I admire the ability to build like that. And then we sat in their living room and spoke about the church for a while. They are both at the center of things there. It was under her direction that every spring the church plants wildflowers. This church is set up on a hill, surrounded by about four acres of grass and trees--beautiful park-like setting. In October church members come together to make about 2,000 seed balls~the size of your fist~an amazing process that keeps the birds from eating the seeds. At the first rain the balls dissolve, leaving the seeds planted for a fabulous flowering in the spring. Oh, I can't wait to see it all blossom forth in a few months. Wow. I had such a nice time being in their house, partaking of their really gracious hospitality.
  • I worked late tonight. The music director came in, and we spoke about our mutual love for the 'emerging church' style of worship, where everyone participates in some way, and we provide stimulation for the five senses. Such a powerful way to worship God.
  • NEWSFLASH! My husband D landed a role in a local community theater! He'll play Boolie (sp?), the son of Daisy, in Driving Miss Daisy. It's a role he played before, several years ago before I knew him. And he was nominated for best supporting actor in the local press awards thing. What a thing, huh? I used to watch The Actor's Studio on the Bravo channel and became SO impressed with acting as an art. I love it, and in my secret life I wish I had the courage to give it a try. Well, maybe one day. In the meantime I'll live vicariously through D.
  • My sister Beautiful Blue Eyes Laughing is a staunch Republican. I called her this week to see if she still had a visceral dislike of Hillary Clinton. She does--that hasn't changed. But, as long as Hillary is not on the ticket, she said she might vote for Barack Obama this fall. Wow. My sister is like a bell-weather for me. Her opinion makes me think that Hillary Clinton really faces a huge uphill battle in getting elected.
  • Life is good. Except that D is going away again. He leaves tomorrow on a business trip. Bummer. I always miss him.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

a few photos

And here's another one I've always liked. (Scanners are TOO fun!) This is the Temple of Poseidon, Crete. This was taken back in the mid 70's during my very first trip out of the state of Texas.


Okay, okay...one more before I call it a night!

This is photo of the little town of Weisen in Switzerland. I went with some friends, but decided to spend a couple of days by myself in this little village while they stayed in Zurich.







Hong Kong

This is Hong Kong. I took the photo in the late 80's from the balcony of my friend Amy's high-rise apartment. I've always loved this ...

Oh, to laugh...

I spent Friday night at what we call our "Girls Overnight." My friends Joyful Laugh and Life Giving One and I try to schedule a couple of times each year when we rent a big room at a B&B and spend some time together. This time Joyful Laugh's husband and son were away on a camping trip together so we got to spend our time at her beautiful new house.

Joyful Laugh is one of the most creative friends I have, and her house shows it. Wow. It's so beautiful ~ the large family room has ceiling-to-floor windows looking out on a creek, so trees and wildlife are plentiful. And she had a landscaper design the patio.

She and Life Giving One stayed up Friday night until 2:30 watching a movie, so when I woke up at 8:30 the next morning I had the house to myself, basically. Made coffee (several cups, actually), went outside and sat on her new covered swing-set, prayed, listened to the birds and the sound of the fountain she installed on the patio. Amazing. My soul felt lifted up.

On these "Girls Overnights" we talk and laugh and then laugh some more. They are SO refreshing.

I'll never forget one time ~ this was several years ago when I was single ~ they came to my house for the overnight. Somehow we started listening to oldies-but-goodies, Diana Ross and the Supremes, as I recall. Talk about crazy. We started doing a modified karaoke thing, with one of us playing the role of Diana and the other two the back-up singers, dancing and carrying on in the back. Oh! It was one of those pee-in-your-pants-absolutely-can't-stop-laughing FUNNY times! When I was a little girl my mother used to say that we got our giggle boxes turned over...and, yes, it was like that.

Oh, laughter is incredible medicine...what a stress-reliever!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

My niece

Happy Birthday, Blonde Beauty. The beauty of this image reminds me of you....


Your beauty was evident from the moment you were born. I remember thinking how your complexion was so perfect, your eyes the bluest blue, and your fuzzy blonde hair so lovely.

And your beauty continues today, my dearest A. Not only in your physical self but in your friendly disposition, your openness to others and to Life, and the hospitality you offer so naturally.

May you know in your deepest heart how truly you are loved, simply for being who you are. You have enriched my life beyond measure through these 27 years. Rest assured that if you are ever in need, D and I are here.

May you always know the deep serenity I think the swan image conveys.

Katy
_____________________________
Here are a couple of photos of my niece when she was about 2 years old and 4 years old. See why the swan reminds me of her?




Thursday, January 10, 2008

Identity, Imago Dei, and Patriarchy

Feminist Theology in an Age of Fear and Hope has posted an essay of mine on Matthew 3:3-17. It's about identity and how we form our identities within a pervasive system of patriarchy and from the imago Dei. Many thanks to MomPriest at Seeking Authentic Voice for starting this blog on such an important topic.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hillary

After seeing this, I'm not upset that Hillary beat Barack. I'll still vote for Obama over Clinton, but I won't mind too much if she ends up being the nominee.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Too tired

I don't know why I'm feeling so tired. Utterly exhausted is a more descriptive word for it. It's as if I'm not getting enough oxygen, but the doctor said my breathing was okay. I could just barely drag myself out of bed this morning, and after church yesterday I slept for a solid three hours. Ugh.

Can't have this! Too much to do!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Obama's speech

Hat tip to Serena @ Rev S S... Here is Barak Obama's speech after his win in Iowa:

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Iowa Caucus Night, Des Moines, IA January 03, 2008

Thank you, Iowa. You know, they said this day would never come.They said our sights were set too high.They said this country was too divided; too disillusioned to ever come together around a common purpose.But on this January night - at this defining moment in history - you have done what the cynics said we couldn't do. You have done what the state of New Hampshire can do in five days. You have done what America can do in this New Year, 2008.

In lines that stretched around schools and churches; in small towns and big cities; you came together as Democrats, Republicans and Independents to stand up and say that we are one nation; we are one people; and our time for change has come.You said the time has come to move beyond the bitterness and pettiness and anger that's consumed Washington; to end the political strategy that's been all about division and instead make it about addition - to build a coalition for change that stretches through Red States and Blue States. Because that's how we'll win in November, and that's how we'll finally meet the challenges that we face as a nation.We are choosing hope over fear.

We're choosing unity over division, and sending a powerful message that change is coming to America.You said the time has come to tell the lobbyists who think their money and their influence speak louder than our voices that they don't own this government, we do; and we are here to take it back.

The time has come for a President who will be honest about the choices and the challenges we face; who will listen to you and learn from you even when we disagree; who won't just tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to know. And in New Hampshire, if you give me the same chance that Iowa did tonight, I will be that president for America.

I'll be a President who finally makes health care affordable and available to every single American the same way I expanded health care in Illinois - by--by bringing Democrats and Republicans together to get the job done.

I'll be a President who ends the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas and put a middle-class tax cut into the pockets of the working Americans who deserve it.

I'll be a President who harnesses the ingenuity of farmers and scientists and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil once and for all.

And I'll be a President who ends this war in Iraq and finally brings our troops home; who restores our moral standing; who understands that 9/11 is not a way to scare up votes, but a challenge that should unite America and the world against the common threats of the twenty-first century; common threats of terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease.

Tonight, we are one step closer to that vision of America because of what you did here in Iowa. And so I'd especially like to thank the organizers and the precinct captains; the volunteers and the staff who made this all possible.

And while I'm at it, on "thank yous," I think it makes sense for me to thank the love of my life, the rock of the Obama family, the closer on the campaign trail; give it up for Michelle Obama.

I know you didn't do this for me. You did this-you did this because you believed so deeply in the most American of ideas - that in the face of impossible odds, people who love this country can change it.

I know this-I know this because while I may be standing here tonight, I'll never forget that my journey began on the streets of Chicago doing what so many of you have done for this campaign and all the campaigns here in Iowa - organizing, and working, and fighting to make people's lives just a little bit better.I know how hard it is. It comes with little sleep, little pay, and a lot of sacrifice. There are days of disappointment, but sometimes, just sometimes, there are nights like this - a night-a night that, years from now, when we've made the changes we believe in; when more families can afford to see a doctor; when our children-when Malia and Sasha and your children-inherit a planet that's a little cleaner and safer; when the world sees America differently, and America sees itself as a nation less divided and more united; you'll be able to look back with pride and say that this was the moment when it all began.

This was the moment when the improbable beat what Washington always said was inevitable. This was the moment when we tore down barriers that have divided us for too long - when we rallied people of all parties and ages to a common cause; when we finally gave Americans who'd never participated in politics a reason to stand up and to do so.

This was the moment when we finally beat back the politics of fear, and doubt, and cynicism; the politics where we tear each other down instead of lifting this country up. This was the moment.Years from now, you'll look back and you'll say that this was the moment - this was the place - where America remembered what it means to hope.

For many months, we've been teased, even derided for talking about hope. But we always knew that hope is not blind optimism. It's not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It's not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it.

Hope is what I saw in the eyes of the young woman in Cedar Rapids who works the night shift after a full day of college and still can't afford health care for a sister who's ill; a young woman who still believes that this country will give her the chance to live out her dreams. Hope is what I heard in the voice of the New Hampshire woman who told me that she hasn't been able to breathe since her nephew left for Iraq; who still goes to bed each night praying for his safe return. Hope is what led a band of colonists to rise up against an empire; what led the greatest of generations to free a continent and heal a nation; what led young women and young men to sit at lunch counters and brave fire hoses and march through Selma and Montgomery for freedom's cause.

Hope-hope-is what led me here today - with a father from Kenya; a mother from Kansas; and a story that could only happen in the United States of America. Hope is the bedrock of this nation; the belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us; by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is; who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.

That is what we started here in Iowa, and that is the message we can now carry to New Hampshire and beyond; the same message we had when we were up and when we were down; the one that can change this country brick by brick, block by block, calloused hand by calloused hand - that together, ordinary people can do extraordinary things; because we are not a collection of Red States and Blue States, we are the United States of America; and at this moment, in this election, we are ready to believe again. Thank you, Iowa.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Welcome, Kathy!

A friend of mine has joined the blogging world! Kathy is the "artist friend" whose words influenced me so greatly here. Her blog is My Heart Leaps, and on her website you can enjoy many of her beautiful expressions of faith and feeling.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Kathy!