Showing posts from 2008

2008, A Year of Settling In

I'm in the recliner in my living room. Still coughing, still feeling lousy. But I've had a litte time to read some of my favorite blogs this afternoon, and that has lightened my mood. Wish I had time to read more, but Jan, Mompriest and Kate alone have really helped me. I've been in a bit of a funk, I guess, mostly just because of this persistent illness that leaves me so tired. I haven't wanted to reflect on anything, and that's never a good thing for me, a sure sign that I'm not myself. Jan's on a wonderful trip with her husband, which makes me smile. Mompriest is able to feel truly happy in circumstances that would put anyone down. And Kate's reflections on her entire year are profound and deeply moving. I'm inspired! The year began for me in a new place, a new job in a new church, new faces, new church culture to learn. Having left a dysfunctional church that allowed a few mean-spirited people to behave badly toward its clergy, I needed a while t

A few photos

Just some photos from our Georgia trip. These are views from my inlaws house. Several mornings there was a beautiful fog on the river...

The Pain of Exclusion

We went to a Christmas Eve service at a Baptist church in Georgia. This church recently decided to abandon its downtown location and move to the suburbs where it has built a functional, and actually quite nice, new building. I was fine with the service for the most part until it came time for communion. The minister asked the deacons to come forward. More than 20 people rose and came forward. All of them male. Every blasted one of them. Male. Of course I knew going into it that this church did not have women deacons. But seeing those twenty men up there at the front of this huge church, I knew it in a new way--viscerally, in my heart. I was surprised by how painful it was for me. Tears stung my eyes. We receive communion, the body and blood of Jesus who was the Christ, to say Yes to being with Christ as the disciples were with Christ. Two thousand years forward in time and that same Christ is present among us, too, and that same Christ continues to invite all to the table, to know this

This Christmas Eve

On this Christmas Eve I wish all my blogging friends a most joyous Christmas. May you all be struck by the true wonder of our lives, our world,our amazing God.

Will the Abusers Pay for their Crimes?

This from Newsweek: The United States, like many countries, has a bad habit of committing wartime excesses and an even worse record of accounting for them afterward. But a remarkable string of recent events suggests that may finally be changing—and that top Bush administration officials could soon face legal jeopardy for prisoner abuse committed under their watch in the war on terror. In early December, in a highly unusual move, a federal court in New York agreed to rehear a lawsuit against former Attorney General John Ashcroft brought by a Canadian citizen, Maher Arar. (Arar was a victim of the administration's extraordinary rendition program: he was seized by U.S. officials in 2002 while in transit through Kennedy Airport and deported to Syria, where he was tortured.) Then, on Dec. 15, the Supreme Court revived a lawsuit against Donald Rumsfeld by four Guantánamo detainees alleging abuse there—a reminder that the court, unlike the White House, will extend Constitutional protectio

Here's a video by Elizabeth Warren, the chair of the Congressional Oversight Committee for all that money, $700 billion, authorized by Congress to help us out of the financial crisis. I first heard her on Fresh Air and thought how amazingly understandable she was.

Christmas a little early

I'm tired. Up till 2:00 a.m. last night wrapping presents and picking up the house. Gosh, I can't do that and feel like a human being the next day. We had our "Christmas" this morning. All the chidren were here. We opened presents (for a very long time!) and then had a nice Christmas dinner, thanks to my husband's skill in the kitchen. Our little two-year-old granddaughter was a live-wire. She needed a nap big-time , but no one could entice her to it. Well, we enticed her time and time again, but she simply refused. And she got it in her head that I was her special friend today: " My KK. My KK," she kept repeating...."play with me, KK!" "come here, KK," "where my ball, KK?" Of course I loved it, but with low energy to start with, and six full hours of playing, I'm one whupped pup. My husband and I leave for a visit with my inlaws soon. The kids will be here and in City to the South at various times, but coul

Homage to Little M (and all God's children everywhere)

Resurrecting Footpaths has this quote from Chesterton that I had forgotten: The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening,“Do it again” to the moon. It may be that he has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, our Father is younger than we. This quote is part of a great post. Took a look ! I often sit on a chair and put little M on my knees and play "Pony." Giddyup pony, go t

"Image," Images and Imagination

I recently subscribed to the journal Images: Art, Faith, Mystery, and my first copy arrived yesterday. I'm reading the article "Unapologetic Visibility," and it has this paragraph: We cannot afford to jettison the imagination because it is the sensitive spot into which God's image stamps itself. It is a place that needs to be filled, like the blank walls of a Florentine chapel, a space that opens to God by being filled with images--frescoes with likenesses of the body, the means by which one person opens up to another .... The imagination, like the skin, is sensitive, and like the mind it cannot endure a vacuum. Whether you like it or not, billboards and screens are ready to pounce upon the imagination. Its sensibility requires us to cover it actively, even if we do it weakly and diffidently. I wonder how the imagination has been effected by television and movies. Is the 21st century imagination the same as imaginaton in the 19th century? How do I actively "cove

Personal Training

Well, I've completed my second week of working out with a personal trainer. I go Monday and Wednesday mornings. It's been good. Bill is in the same Ph.D. program I finished in 2005 and works part-time as a trainer to help supplement his income, so we have something interesting to talk about as we go from machine to machine and back again. Surprisingly, I haven't been very sore. Some, but entirely manageable. Is that a good sign? I should ask him. Even more surprisingly, I'm psychologically getting a real kick out of this. Just something about how I'm actually doing it is VERY satisfying to me. Obviously it helps to have an appointment with someone--there's a sense of accountability, an obligation, that gets me out of bed. So, it doesn't seem like I'll be using the trainer just to teach me how to learn each machine and then do it on my own. I think I'll always need another person there to encourage me and hold me accountable to show up. It

A Conduit of Love

The sermon today was on imagination--imagine a new world where no one is hungry or filled with despair. That kind of thing. It's the first Sunday of the month, so we celebrated Communion. Sort of. Toward the end of the service, he asked us to imagine, in solidarity with the poor and those who are suffering this day--to imagine that the loaf and cup are really there, that we are really taking Communion. He asked everyone to come forward and, although the plate was actually bare and the cup empty, to nevertheless hold out their hands as he and I gave them, not tangible bread or juice, but a blessing. Everyone was asked to open themselves to imagine receiving. I thought the idea was innovative. But I never imagined (no pun intended) how powerful, how incredibly meaningful it would be for me to give each person who approached a real blessing... "This is the bread of life, Mary (or whoever). This is the cup of grace and blessing, given to remind you of how much you are love

Witnessing Awakenings

I love so much seeing God at work in someone's life. Really, it just thrills me. It's Friday night and I'm dead tired, yet there remains somewhere within me a sense of energy, excitement at what I have witnessed in my counseling and spiritual direction practice these last couple of weeks. Of course I can't write about the specifics of what happened. Generally, it's people recognizing the lies they've been telling themselves about who they are--recognizing how those lies have covered up what is good and true and beautiful within them....It's people growing up, no longer stuck emotionally at the level of a 15 year old, but facing the mistakes they've made, facing the reality of how they have conformed to the expectations of others, facing an unknown but full-of-fabulous-possibilities future....It's people coming alive, seeing the beauty on the faces of those around them, seeing the truth that no one else has the power to make them unhappy, seeing G

Dreading the Holidays No Longer

It's 6:15 a.m. I'm the only one up, ostensibly to prepare for church this morning, but there's actually not much I can do here at home. I'm already showered and ready to go; I'll just leave a little early and have plenty of time to do what I need to do before services. I love it when the house is quiet like this and I'm the only one awake. Especially when the house is full, like it is now. My inlaws are asleep in Lovely Passionate Feminist's room. LPF is upstairs in the loft, taking Beautiful Genuine Musician's bed (BGM had to work in City to the South most of this weekend), D is sound asleep in our room, and Hobbes, who awoke and meowed loudly when I went into the kitchen, has settled back down, thank goodness. Yesterday afternoon, D brought the Christmas tree down from the attic, and my MIL began the tedious task of opening up all the squished branches. She did a great job. We have about 10 boxes of Christmas decorations, so I tackled those. As I opene

The Holiday

It's been a great Thanksgiving Holiday. My inlaws are here so we spent the day at my husband's cousin's house with a big gathering of 18 people. The cousin's house is HUGE, so we also spent the day in luxurious surroundings. Oh my. Yesterday I stayed home to work a bit while everyone else drove Beautiful Genuine Musician back to City to the South and then visited with my FIL's sister in a nearby county. I did join them for a late lunch, though, and then did a little shopping. I've decided to workout twice a week with a personal trainer, so I needed some clothes appropriate for that. Today should be a nice, relaxing day. I hope to get the Christmas Tree up. Here are some recent pics. This is J and Young Man with Integrity from Thanksgiving Day. And little M, also from Thanksgiving Day. This is my friend LifeGiving One's little 3-year old, Julia, who had a "sleepover at KK's" so her mom and dad could have some alone time together. And here is Lo

Entering the Mind of Christ

I loved this paragraph from James Finley's Christian Meditation: When Jesus sat around the fire at night with the disciples, talking about this and that, he no doubt at times simply listened to them talking among themselves. As he stirred the fire with a stick, he perhaps saw a single spark fleetingly fly upward into the night. Later, lying there, listening to their breathing as they slept, he heard in their breathing the love he knew himself to be. It is like that sometimes with us. In meditation, in daily life, we realize that we and everyone else in the world, and everything in it, are manifesting the love our very life embodies. In this realization, we enter the mind of Christ without going anywhere. We simply awaken to who we have always been from before the origins of the universe.

Ouch. And Double Ouch.

I've not been comfortable with my posts recently--the ones about politics, the election, and the actions of our local Episcopal Diocese, I mean. I wrote and posted them out of true passion for justice--I feel so deeply about the importance of mutuality, the dignity of each human life, people on the margins of society, etc. Of course I still feel that way. My posts are authentically me. But as I posted each of them, I did have a whisp of discomfort, a whisp that I conveniently and easily repressed. That discomfort grew until Thursday when I had lunch with The Author. We were talking about the election, and because I feel so safe with her, I actually said, "I don't understand it. I don't understand how spiritually mature people can be so conservative in their politics." The Author is a very kind person. Each time I said something like that she remarked how she tries to see both sides of every position. I finally said, "I guess I'm being kind of arrogant abo


OK. Here they are. I told my friend The Artist that I'd post these. They are my very first attempt at watercolor painting! The Artist graciously gave me a lesson a couple of days ago--I'd always wondered how watercolorists did it, and now I have at least a tiny idea.... And I had a great time...

Award for Blogging

Jan at Yearning for God graciously honored me with the Superior Scribbler Award . Thank you, Jan! Your blog is at the top of my list of favorites! Here's how this thing works: *Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends. *Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award. *Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to this Post , which explains The Award. *Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor! *Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog. Like Jan, I choose ALL on my blog list on the left, but specifically honor these five: Against a Brick Wall . This is Linda who first introduced me to blogging. Her writing is ALWAYS compelling. Often her posts just lea

Why We Meditate

I'm reading James Finley's Christian Meditation. Do you know it? Wow. It's been a long time since I've underlined something on every page of a book. I even copied one paragraph and laminated it, and it's now nearby when I meditate in the morning: **We sit in meditation so that the last traces of our tendency to identify with egocentric consciousness might finally dissolve as our habitual base of operations. **We meditate that we might continue thinking, but no longer live by thought and all that thought can comprehend. **We meditate that we might continue remembering, but no longer be limited to memory or all that can be remembered. **We sit that we might continue willing, but no longer be limited to our own will or what our will is capable of attaining. **We sit that we might continue feeling, but no longer be limited to our feelings or all that can be felt. **We sit that we might continue being our bodily self as long as our life on this earth shall last, but no l

"Moving beyond our hatred of people not like ourselves"

The Diocese of the Episcopal Church in my area had a big meeting this weekend. 80% of those attending voted to leave The Episcopal Church. They apparently believe that because TEC has a woman Presiding Bishop (Katharine Jefferts Schori) and a gay Bishop (Gene Robinson), it no longer respects or honors scripture and tradition. In their minds, apparently, the Church has moved so far to the dark side that this Diocese can no longer be associated with it. This both saddens and angers me. Is it moving to the dark side to welcome others (other-than-heterosexual-males) to the full life of the church, including its leadership? Is it moving to the dark side to think that God IS STILL SPEAKING? I say, in fact, that this Diocese is not in a very light place when it remains blind to its own homophobia and sexism. Blind to the all-embracing love of God, a God who calls each person to flourish and become the person God intends---which just might include church leadership. ( Really, the arrogance gal

Close Guantanamo!

Amnesty International is challenging President-elect Obama (oh, it feels good to type that!) to CLOSE GUANTANAMO! And I agree. This is from the AI website: Talk of change is good. Concrete action is better. Amnesty International is calling on President-elect Barack Obama to take concrete steps in his first 100 days in office to put human rights at the center of the new government. The new president will have the opportunity to rectify some of the unlawful policies and practices carried out in the name of national security. We are calling on the new administ ration to: * announce a plan and date to close Guantanamo * issue an executive order to ban torture * ensure that an independent commission to investigate abuses committed by the U.S. government in its "war on terror" is set up. Taking these steps would send a clear message to the rest of the world that, once again, the U.S. will be a leader for human rights.

A New Addition to our Household

We have a new addition to our household -- a piano! We paid to have Beautiful Genuine Musician's piano moved up here to our house from City to the South, so that she (and others!) can play it when she's up here visiting. Yesterday Lovely Passionate Feminist was here. She and I went to Barnes and Noble, and she bought a songbook for the piano with some lovely songs in it: Danny Boy, Santa Lucia, Finlandia. It was so peaceful listening to her play yesterday. She has a very light touch. (And she's not even the music major!) Young Man with Integrity's girlfriend J is also a musician. They were here for dinner last night, after which she played a piece that she learned years ago--very different with some beautiful but also dissonant chords throughout. We all loved it. And then of course there was little 2 y.o. M, who ALSO played...she played the music of 2 year olds everywhere. And we loved that as well! (for the most part) :-) And strangely enough, even I was able to play o

A Little Update

Thanks, Purple . Yes, I'm feeling better. Took until Thursday mid-day, but that Z-pac of antibiotics has done the trick! I worked all day yesterday (a wonderful experience!), and then D and I drove way north to visit some friends who have moved. The drive included a very interesting conversation (see post below). Took about an hour and 15 minutes, so we got there, had a wonderful Korean dinner, great conversation, D had another losing game of chess with one of their boys, and then we left. Our host arrives at his work at 5:00 a.m. everyday, including Saturday, so we didn't want to linger. Plus, D and I were both tired. But oh my goodness, it was good to see these friends. They are exceptional people, I think. Both are kind (the kindness that arises from the heart), deeply interesting (deep thinkers and feelers), generous, and, I think, well integrated. D and I always come away from a visit with them feeling good. Anyway, that was my first day of feeling better, and it was long

The Meaning of Being an American

I grew up during Watergate and Nixon and Vietnam -- I became politcally aware during those years. Spent hours in front of the television watching the Watergate hearings, even ordering a copy of the proceedings. I was outraged at our President's behavior. I didn't know anyone personally who went to Vietnam. But I have a memory of my senior year in high school, listening to a broadcast of the final pullout of American troops, and feeling such relief. I was outraged about our behavior in the world. All that to say that I have never felt particularly patriotic. In fact, I've been wary of patriotism because it can slide into nationalism which I think is evil. I've prided myself on being a critical thinker when it comes to my country. But last night, as D and I were driving to visit some friends (see post above), I found myself asking my husband what he thought it meant to be an Amerian. He said that being American is choosing to live in compact with others who believe in the

Feeling Better Sooner!

I started this blog in the spring of 2007 when I was home sick with bronchitis, then pneumonia, then asthma, then bronchitis again. I had a terrible spring! But one good thing that came from that "sick" time was learning about blogging from my friend Linda . Through her example, I thought I'd give it a try and consequently something very good (new friends) emerged from a not-so-good time in my life. I've been free from serious problems since then, more than a year, but I think I have bronchitis again today. Fortunately my doctor has an opening later this morning, so we'll see. I don't know exactly why being sick upsets me the way it does. Maybe because my mother died of lung problems. Maybe because it interferes with my commitments. Maybe because I think sickness is a sign that I'm not where I should be spiritually--(I do think the mind/spirit-body link is powerful, but on the other hand, it's not the only thing that affects the body.) Maybe because i

Oh, what beauty, John O'Donohue

John O'Donohue speaks my truth once again-- "Once you start to awaken, no one can ever claim you again for the old patterns. Now you realise how precious your time here is. You are no longer willing to squander your essence on undertakings that do not nourish your true self; your patience grows thin with tired talk and dead language. You see through the rosters of expectation which promise you safety and the confirmation of your outer identity. Now you are impatient for growth, willing to put yourself in the way of change. You want your work to become an expression of your gift. You want your relationship to voyage beyond the pallid frontiers to where the danger of transformation dwells. You want your God to be wild and to call you to where your destiny awaits." You can find this quote here:


Barack Obama, the next President of the United States of America! Wow. I say again, WOW .

a prayer for election day

Gracious God, Thank you for this day, this important day. Thank you for your love and grace and freedom. I am grateful, O God, that I live in a place on Earth where I may freely vote and express my opinion in that way. I am grateful for journalists and bloggers and writers and great thinkers who may freely express their opinions. Freedom like this is precious, and I do not want to ever take it for granted. Whatever the outcome, give us--give me --the spiritual maturity to remember that all our hope ultimately lies in you. When the outcome becomes clear later on today (or tomorrow), help me, O God, to thank you and to acknowledge that you are present, in the here and now, and that all shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well. I pray that our nation-state may know its place in this world ~ that we are one among many, and that whatever leadership role we may have carries within it an attitude of servanthood, for otherwise it is a kind of tyranny and not tru


The HORROR of George W.

We saw Oliver Stone's film "W" this weekend, his portrayal of George W. Bush. At the end of the last scene my husband spontaneously uttered "Wow," and I covered my face with my hands and couldn't speak. Lovely Passionate Feminist didn't say anything, but she and I talked about it on the way home, and she agreed. It's a horror film, really. The horror of seeing a soul (rich and therefore privileged though he is) unable to find himself . Searching, searching, searching his whole life for what would please his father. Mistakenly believing that to please his father would give his life meaning and purpose. He'd be a real man, and not "a disappointment," if he could win his father's approval. The horror of a lost soul. The horror of what we do to our children. The horror of seeing religion used as an opiate. George W. traded one addiction, alcohol, for another--this time a much more dangerous one. Religion without the courage of self kn

Amazing Creation

As I mentioned in my last post, we're creating a Prayer Garden with a labyrinth in the courtyard at the entrance to my church. I don't have a good photograph of it yet. This one is old but it shows the nice floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto the entrance from the church office. (My little office is adjacent to the church office and has one of these windows as well.) You can see in the background part of the beautiful oak tree which will at the center of the labyrinth-- The Tree of Life ! On this tree we are hanging a multitude of wind chimes. ( Oh, the few already there are so arresting--I stop when I hear them, and I let their beautiful tones minister to me.) And all around this courtyard entrance will be flowers and plants , and a bench or two for meditation. The church is on almost 7 acres--it's a park, really, with about 40 oak and pecan trees. We'll be able to walk the labyrinth, sit on a bench at the Tree of Life, listen to the music of the chimes, look

A Small Break to Catch My Breath

I received a gentle nudge from a friend today. She emailed me, Why aren't you blogging? Everything OK? Everything is fine, Kathy. This afternoon is the first time in two weeks that I've come up for air. Came home from church about 1:30, ate lunch with D and Beautiful Genuine Musician, then took a 3 hour nap. Of course, it all starts again tomorrow morning, and it will continue on through Saturday, October 25 when I attend a denominational meeting and then officiate a wedding. After that, I'll be able to stop between my "action-items" and take notice of my life again. Actually, on second thought, that's not completely true. I have noticed some things: The stunning beauty of the Guadalupe River in the Hill Country of Texas. I led our 3-day church retreat there last week. Our worship on Sunday morning was outside where the view was just breathtaking. My words were paltry in the face of that which spoke of God's love and majesty better than I ever could. The

Prayer of Gratitude

Good day spent in God's presence. I got into my "let's get it done" mode in the afternoon, but this morning I spent a lovely 90 minutes with my friend The Author. I always feel God's presence when I'm with her. Our conversations are deep and important and oh so nurturing. This afternoon I decided to move our Evening Prayer service from the chapel to the main sanctuary, so that took the better part of two hours. But now that everything's moved, it'll be easier for me to set up and maintain. That was my "just get it done" mode, and I wasn't aware of God's presence, although when I started the service, it felt very centering to me. My prayer tonight is simply one of gratitude. Thank you, God, for everything. I'll be away from my computer for the next few days, leading a church retreat.

Foreign Policy Credentials

She reads "all of 'em" and Tina Fey


Favorite Poems

A Psalm of Life Tell me not, in mournful numbers, Life is but an empty dream ! ~ For the soul is dead that slumbers, And things are not what they seem. Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art, to dust returnest, Was not spoken of the soul. Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, Is our destined end or way; But to act, that each tomorrow Find us further than today. Art is long, and Time is fleeting, And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating Funeral marches to the grave. In the world's broad field of battle, In the bivouac of Life, Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife! Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead! Act,--act in the living Present! Heart within, and God o'erhead! Lives of great [ones] all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time; Footprints, that perhaps another, Sailing o'er life's sol

The Key is the Present Moment

Lately my understanding of the importance of the present moment has grown. I've seen my spiritual director and my therapist several times in the last couple of m onths, trying to understand why I've gained so much weight. Well, of course I know why--It was given a major boost by being on steroids for two months last year--I was ravenous! It's hormonal changes. I'm 52--it's time for my metabolism to slow down. It's the little fractured vertebrae in my back that kept me from any exercise. But I've been vaguely aware of a deeper reason. All those little physiological jumpstarts were easily overcome, had I just worked at it. I'm aware that thoughts of food have filled my mind. My therapist asked me, "So what are you trying to avoid?" "I really can't think of a thing," I replied. "My marriage is good. My family life is good. My work is good." "Doesn't have to be anything big," she responded. That's when I r

To protect its citizens, government should limit greed. Yes, I'm angry.

I was just about to write something on what's happening on Wall Street, but checked my email first and found this excellent article from Sojourners. It is an excellent read---I've copied it below. I don't know about you, but I'd hear a story about all these financial failures, and I'd think, either: Oh, this is too complex to understand or Oh, everything will be alright. But then I listened to Terry Gross interview Michael Greenberger on Fresh Air yesterday, and the way he explained what was happening was so helpful. And terrifying. When I began to really understand what was happening, I thought: Oh, we need to take out all our money--take the tax hit--and hide what's left under the mattress! But then Greenberger ended the interview by saying that would be exactly the wrong thing to do. He said Congress will not let the FDIC fail. And he said there are people in government who understand all this and will do the right thing. Robert Rubin, for example, who is Oba