Friday, February 29, 2008

Anger and the Need to Lighten Up!

Oh, what a week. I'm sick again. Yep. I CAN'T BELIEVE IT. It just makes me so mad.

Of course, underneath anger is always some kind of threat, and I guess what threatens me about this are a couple of things.
  • I'm afraid of being a drag on my husband.
  • I'm afraid this signals old age approaching, with all its decrease in ability to control my own life. Lots of images of my mother come to me when I'm sick like this--she died of respiratory ailments.
  • I'm afraid of disappointing people who depend on me. Now that I have three jobs, I have more people to disappoint in that regard!
My therapist once pointed out to me that when we are sick or stressed out, all the old dysfunctional internal messages tend to come roaring back. Maybe that's what this is really all about. Probably so. Although my concerns are reasonable, aren't they? Well, maybe the one about growing old, but now that I think about it, the other two are probably coming from that deep wound of shame and the "I'm not worth much" crap that I bought-into for so many years. That kind of thinking makes me a victim, BUT I AM NOT A VICTIM!!!!! Forget this. I'm sick. It's no big deal. I need to lighten up, don't I? :-)

Just sayin'.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Wisdom of Solomon

A dear friend of mine is being ordained on Saturday. She asked me to preach, and I'm honored to do so. Her text is Wisdom of Solomon 7:26 - 8:1. Do you know it? I confess I didn't, but I have come to adore it:

"For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness. Although she is but one, she can do all things, and while remaining in herself, she renews all things; in every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets; for God loves nothing so much as the person who lives with wisdom. She is more beautiful than the sun, and excels every constellation of the stars. Compared with the light she is found to be superior, for it is succeeded by the night, but against wisdom evil does not prevail. She reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and she orders all things well. "

Isn't that beautiful? Wow.

My sermon is about the paradox involved in Wisdom and the emptiness we need to know true Wisdom. It was a joy writing it.

I'm praying for my friend. May her special day be a true blessing for her. I know without doubt that she will be a blessing for the church.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cute meme - middle name

Jan tagged me for this cute (and possibly very difficult) meme. Here are the rules:

1. You have to post the rules before you give your answers.

2. You must list one fact about yourself beginning with each letter of your middle name. (If you don't have a middle name, use your maiden name or your mother's maiden name).

3. At the end of your blog post, you need to tag one person for each letter of your middle name. (Be sure to leave them a comment telling them they've been tagged.)

E is for...eclectic (I'm stealing from Jan). I'm an eclectic counselor, using narrative, existential, some cognitive.

L is for...lively. I'm lively in the sense that I value Life (with a capital "L") and don't want to waste my life.

I is for...intuitive. Very. As in 'off the charts.'

Z is for...zealous is the only 'z' word I can think of. Am I zealous? Perhaps -- for justice.

A is for...actress. Well, I'm exaggerating big-time, but I did play my first part this morning in a skit in my church. I've joined our drama group.

B is for...backache. It seems to be getting worse. Ugh.

E is for..I'd say excruciating, for the headache that just eased up enough for me to blog, but coming just after backache that would make me sound like an old falling-apart lady, so instead I'll say....hmmm. I can't think of anything! ... Oh, I know. Editor. I love to edit.

T is for...travel. It's a big, beautiful world!

H is for...heaven. I felt it this morning when our little choir sang Psalm 42, As a Dear Longs for Streams of Water. Oh, I was transported.

OK! I have 9 letters, so I tag Kathy, RevDrKate, PS, Diane, GannetGirl, Songbird, Rev S S, HotCup, Steve, Laura Have fun!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Marianne Williamson quote "Our deepest fear..."

Thanks to Jan for this quote. (Glad you're home safe and sound.)

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?”Actually, who are you not to be?
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
~Marianne Williamson~

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Update

Lovely Passionate Feminist is home sick today. We drove up to Small City to the North and brought her home with us yesterday so that she could start to heal and feel better in her comfortable bed here at home. It's some kind of stomach flu, or food-poisoning (but the docs at the university's clinic said she was contagious--can food poisoning be contagious?) Anyway, she's feeling very puny and our hearts are surrounding her with love.

In other news ... I'm still living life in warp-speed. Oh, so much to get done! But I decided to listen to my friends who have been nudging me to attend this year's Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation in our area. This is the retreat that I led last year--well, not really. I was suppose to lead it, but went home sick on the 2nd day with pneumonia. Anyway, this year I'm just going to attend it, be there for five days with no responsibilities at all, enjoying some of my dearest friends, engaging lectures, and an absolutely beautiful setting on Lake Texoma. It's March 9-14, right before Palm Sunday, but what the heck! I haven't had a break since all the hullabaloo at my previous church (having ended there on a Sunday and started working at my new church the next day!).

...Jan, at Yearning for God, is coming home tomorrow from Maryland and her Shalem retreat. Welcome home, Jan--one day early!

...I just finished writing another essay for Feminist Theology Blog. It won't be posted for a while, I'm sure, since Mompriest is probably in a huge whirlwind of transitions, but take a look at the blog anyway. There are intriguing essays by Laura at Junia's Daughter, Kate at Prairie Light, Jackie and Margaret whose blogs I don't know, and Mompriest's own Seeking Authentic Voice. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wedding Day Meme and Book Meme

Diane and Jiff have tagged me for different memes, so here they are!

From Diane:
1. Where / how did you meet?
Through Match.com. Yep. He's embarrassed about that and always says we met through mutual friends. Which is true, in a way. It turned out that we did indeed have mutual friends (but they hadn't thought to introduce us), and we lived within 5 minutes from each other.

2. How long have you known each other?
We met on July 5, 2003.

3. How long after you met did you start dating?
Immediately.

4. How long did you date before you were engaged?
He proposed in October, so 3 months. Wow.

5. How long was your engagement?
We married in March, 2004, so 5 months. (Hey, we're old and had no time to waste!)

6. How long have you been married?
We'll be married 4 years next month.

7. When is your anniversary?
March 20.

8. How many people came to your wedding reception?
We figured there were about 300 people at the wedding and most probably came on down to the reception.

9. What kind of cake did you serve?
It was a white cake. I had a lady who specializes in wedding cakes do it.

10 Where was your wedding?
At my husband's home church. I thought it would be way too big, but the church is SO beautiful. 300 people by no means filled it, but it was OK.

11. What did you serve for the meal?
Oh, my dear friend Seeker Executive handled the whole reception for us. We served Swedish meatballs and other good things. She is so unbelievably generous...

12. How many people were in your bridal party?
Oh, this is a good one. We had 42 people in our bridal party. No bridesmaids, no groomsmen--we thought we were too old for all that. So we had our special friends all be part of the bridal
party. When the wedding music began, they ALL marched down the aisle ahead of us! Oh, it was SUCH FUN! Then David and I followed, together, holding hands.

13. Are you still friends with them all?
Of course!

14. Did your spouse cry during the ceremony?
No. And, somewhat surprisingly, neither did I.

15. Most special moment of your wedding day?
Oh several:
*My sister's toast during the reception....
(That's my sister in burgandy.)



*That feeling I had, walking down the aisle hand-in-hand with D, following all these wonderful friends, of just being happy happy happy, and not worrying about anything!....

*Having such special people in our lives be the Officiants (mine was a male minister--my dissertation supervisor, actually--he is someone who just means the world to me. D's was the female associate minister at his church, a friends whom he dearly loves; they officiated the wedding together)....

*Having my brother and sister and D's three children "stand up" with us during the ceremony itself...

*How my friends said prayers and blessings of us, served commnion for us, etc., all as part of the ceremony...


*How my niece and sister-in-law lit a candle in memory of my parents.
*Oh, and how, at the end of the ceremony, D and I went to the center of the sanctuary, and they did a laying on of hands with everyone there.... That was incredible.

16. Any funny moments?
Beautiful Genuine Drummer Girl was 13 at time. She wore a gorgeous coral-colored silky long dress---and Reeboks underneath!

17. Any big disasters?
Oh, D was dealing with terrible nosebleeds. He came through it all, no problem, but my oh my, I won't forget the day before the wedding, being with him at the Emergency Room!

18. Where did you go on your honeymoon?
We went to the Texas Hill Country.

19. How long were you gone?
Only 3 or 4 days.

20. If you were to do your wedding over, what would you change?
Oh, most definitely, I would have hired a full-time photographer. We had someone, but for some reason he took only 3 pictures during the reception. What a bummer that was. I was in the reception line, shaking hands for such a long time, I missed the party, really. And didn't even have any pictures to help me live vicariously and see my friends enjoying each other!

21. What side of the bed do you sleep on?
Right side.

22. What size is your bed?
Queen.

23. Greatest strength as a couple?
We are both committed to working through our conflicts and not letting resentments build up and deaden our relationship.

24. Greatest challenge as a couple?
Oh, just differences in personalities, I guess. Let me think...OK. Sometimes our individual fears get in the way of our being honest with each other. It's our greatest challenge, but like I said above, also our greatest strength because eventually we DO confront those fears and work through them together, painful as that can sometimes be....Really, we share so many values and outlooks. Plus, he was divorced for 12 years before we married, and I had never been married before, so we both had thought a lot about what we wanted in a relationship.

25. Who literally pays the bills?
He does. I was happy to give that drudgery up, and he likes knowing our money situation.

26. What is your song?
We don't have one.

27. What did you dance your first dance to?
Neither of us can dance. We took lessons for a while, but we left the class before it finished.

28. Describe your wedding dress.
Oh, it was a turquoise suit. Silk. My friend Runner CPA has a personal shopper who found it for me. She paid for the personal shopper and then bought the outfit for me as a wedding present. Again, do I have generous and wonderful friends, or what? I wore silver jewelry that my sister had given me years ago. Silver shoes.

29. What kind of flowers did you have at your wedding?
Beautiful flowers. Oh, and plentiful! All provided by my friend Life Giving One and her mother who came down from Kansas City to do them for us. Wow.

30. Are your wedding bands engraved?
No. D has a simple white-gold band, and I have a small diamond, but I love it because the setting kind of swirls.
_________________________________
OK, now the second meme:
From Jiff: This meme comes from Jan at Yearning for God.
This is one that--depending on circumstances--could be either edifying, bewildering, or just plain silly.
Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more.
OK. The Shipping News by Annie Prouxl.
Find Page 123. Find the first 5 sentences. Post the next three sentences.
OK. "Bunny scrambled out from under the table and threw the block and car at Sunshine. "Here, now!" said the aunt. "Calm down, Bunny" Quoyle lifted Sunshine into his lap, inspected the red mark on her forehead, kissed it, swayed back and forth."
Hmmm, was that illuminating? If I'd cheated, I could've come up with something better, no doubt!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Only Antidote to Death, and Ash Wednesday

It's Saturday morning, and absolutely beautiful in North Texas. The sun is shining. The air looks clean (for a change). And it's suppose to be about 70 by mid-afternoon. Life is so incredibly good.

D's play, Driving Miss Daisy, is doing well. Thursday night I attended the "preview" performance, where they invite people in from retirement homes for free. The house was about half full, I'd say. D was great! I admire his talent for acting and performing like that. The whole cast was wonderful. In fact, during the last act, when Hoak is visiting Daisy in the nursing home, feeding her with his old, shaking hand, I found tears streaming down my face.

There is such a sadness involved in getting old. I mean, just existentially ~ sadness at the approaching end. I remember, when I decided to jump off the cliff and leave my oil company job...my Zen teacher, Ruben, told me that I had one month to live and challenged me: what will you do in the time you have remaining on this earth? what will you do, see, think, feel, be?
As I went back to the meditation room, I sat back down on my pillow, faced the wall, and suddenly I was above the earth, looking down at it. The GREEN of the earth -- the GREEN was everywhere below me, and oh, it was breathtaking. I remember feeling such a pounding sadness. I don't want to leave this beauty!

But we all leave it. We all move on to something else, something even more beautiful, hopefully.

That experience of knowing I was about to die, that I had but one short month left to live, put everything into perspective for me. I wasn't about to waste my life working in a job that held no meaning for me. With one month to live I was determined to taste life in its fullness.

In many other ways, since then, I have experienced the only true antidote to death: living LIFE!

RevDrKate has a beautiful meditation on this in her reflections of the Ash Wednesday service at her church. Like her, Wednesday evening, as people came forward for communion, I was privileged to remind them of the transitory nature of their lives, the fragility each day carries within it: Remember, you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Remember, as far as we know we have one shot at this thing we call living. Don't waste it. Live. Live now. Live fully.

My dear friend Seeker Executive lost one of her dearest friends this week. Cathy died of cancer. She was a true soul friend for Seeker Executive. They had known each other since college and had always been able to speak of what was important, truly truly important, in life. This was no surface friendship...they went to the marrow with and for each other. Seeker Executive was with Cathy last week. They were able to speak of the meaning death held for each of them, and there was a pervading sense that this was coming too soon...too soon. Like us, Cathy was in her 50's. Cathy died on Monday, February 4th. And Seeker Executive is returning from Austin today, having attended what I'm sure was an exquisite memorial service yesterday ~ exquisite in its beauty and its pain.

Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Seeker Executive and her dear Cathy embodied a friendship in which life was lived to the fullest, I think. Depth of feeling ...depth of understanding...

The cost of love is beyond measure. Ah, I can hardly breathe as, even now, I take in this Reality.


...Still, the sun is shining. The air is clean. It's a beautiful day in North Texas.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The results

Looks like Clinton and Obama are pretty much tied, which makes the Texas primary more important. I had hoped that Obama would really pull away yesterday, but . . .

When I think of Clinton in the White House I do have some misgivings. It just seems that it will be politics-as-usual, deeper polarizations, the Republicans going after her with their nastiness in full gear. I worry that she will let the war continue. Of course, with Clinton in the White House more attention will be paid to the needs of children, and for whatever good she can do in that area (and many others), I will be grateful. Plus, there is the feeling I will have ~ I know it will be there ~ of having a woman as president. My heart will be full. Little girls all over the world so need to see this. We ALL need to see this.

When I think of Obama in the White House, I have more hope. He will reach out to Republicans, and those who really do put their country before their egos will respond positively. The country can start moving forward again. After reading some of the commentary this morning, I admit to some fear that ultra conservatives (read: racists) will really start to cause some horrible problems for Obama. I pray for his protection. And I pray that his message of hope and reconciliation will simply overcome them, drowning out their hateful voices, and that HE WILL WIN IN NOVEMBER. YES!!!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

True Christian hospitality

My church today began the 9-week process of becoming officially "open and affirming." We'll vote at the end of the study we're doing, but I'm told there should be no problem at all. Years ago there were members who were uncomfortable with it, but they are no longer with us. Good thing ~ I'm not eager for any more church conflict!

It makes me very happy to be part of such a church as this. People here take hospitality, true Christian hospitality, seriously. Wow.