Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
- It's amazing what your body remembers. After 6.5 years of not accessing this information, I can still find fiction (or travel, of the baking section of the cookbook area) without having to stop and think about it.
- I can still run a cash register, and it's mostly the same. I can still make change in my head, and count it back to the penny.
- Certain movements are ingrained in my body: the set of motions it takes to apply a price tag to merchandise with the most efficiency; the patterns of the keystrokes to open the cash register drawer; how to write up credit slips.
- Time marches on. Several times, I discovered that I was answering questions based on information that was 6.5 years old. (Of course we have Dungeons and Dragons books [nope]. I can't tell if this book is in stock at our distributors [yes, I can, there's a live stock link].
- I knew faces quite readily, but many names were gone. It was fun to watch a few people double-take.
- I'm not reading enough books these days (lots of magazines, blogs, and a newspaper, but precious few books). I dreaded being asked for recommendations.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Ten Ways Being Insured Has Benefitted Me
1. My considerable "female problems" have all been covered - a number of surgeries - both major and minor. Not a penny out of pocket. Total cost must be over $100K. (The hysterectomy alone was over $50K.)
2. I have had regular preventative medical care for my whole life.
3. My mom is a happy, healthy 83 year old because of good preventative medical care.
4. I was accident prone as a child. All of my cuts were stitched up well - with a minimum of scarring.
5. Our prescriptions are covered - we don't have to worry about whether we can afford them; we have no hard choices to make between our health and other necessitates like food, shelter, or clothing.
6. I am getting regular mammograms and pap smears as preventative measures.
7. We can afford for Michelle to receive some physical therapy for her hip.
8. I could get my bad crown redone - without going into debt.
9. I never worry about whether we will be able to afford medical things: office visits, illnesses, or even crises.
10. I've had good relationships with doctors because I could see them regularly.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
And really, isn’t life a lot like this? We think we know what to expect – from an encounter, a meeting, or some project we take on. But, just like the garden, life is full of surprises. The Holy Spirit is full of surprises! The thing about the Holy Spirit and surprises is that we need to be open to them. If we’re not looking, not paying attention, we can miss them.
This month, I invite you to be on the lookout. The Holy Spirit is abroad in the world, shaking up life on a regular basis. You never know where you’ll find a peony or conversation that will knock your sox off.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
1. Behold! The amazing green of the landscape in West Virginia.
2. Behold! Flowering trees.
3. Behold! The tangle of roots beside the path on the hiking trail at Sandscrest.
4. Behold! The lovely way the cooks here at Sandscrest have taken care of me, providing wonderful dairy and egg-free foods.
5. Behold! The gift of friends, old and new.
And, my favorite....
6. Behold! The sound of spring peepers. Hooray!
Friday, April 17, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
In Luke’s Gospel, in the recounting of the events of the day that we now know as Good Friday, at the moment when Jesus dies on the cross, the curtain of the temple is torn in two.
That curtain, a feature of the Jewish temple, was designed to keep the people separate from God. Jewish people believed that God could be found, literally, in the place in the temple called The Holy of Holies. Only one High Priest could venture there, and even then only at certain times and under certain circumstances. The curtain was the dividing line. God lives here, and no one else is worthy to enter.
At the moment of Jesus’ death, that curtain, designed to keep humans and God separated, is torn. Torn by Jesus’ death.
And we are the beneficiaries of the tearing. God is no longer distant. No longer locked in a room. God is no longer separate and apart. God and we are set free and we are able to be directly in relationship with God. In Jesus’ death, God and humanity are reunited.
I tell you this because that torn curtain is the one referred to in the Epistle reading for tonight - from the letter to the Hebrews. Hear again what that author wrote concerning the curtain: Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh),
and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
This biblical letter to the Hebrews isn’t really a letter. It’s more like an essay. And none of the biblical scholars are certain to whom it was originally written. The best guess is that it was to a community of Jewish Christians, living in exile, far outside of Jerusalem, and suffering persecution. Those folks would have known about the High Priest and the Holy of Holies. They would have known, instantly, the significance of the writer’s words.
This author of this text goes on to suggest to that gathered group of exiles what living out life in this new reality might look like. The author writes: Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
We are the beneficiaries of the events of that Good Friday long ago. Like the Hebrews first addressed in this letter, we no longer need to live apart from God. When that curtain was torn, the great divide between God and humanity was breached.
We are no longer separated from God by a curtain.
And, like the Hebrews addressed in this letter, we have responsibility because of this. We are called to speak of the hope that is within us. To proclaim the Good News of God in Christ. Even in the midst of hardship. Of recession. Of fear. Of death.
We are also called to “provoke one another to love and good deeds.” I love that. My dictionary says that to provoke is to stimulate or give rise to a strong emotion, often a negative or unwelcome one. In our new reality, provoking is transformed into a blessing or benefit.
And finally, we are to “meet together.” Or, in the words of our baptismal promises, to continue in the Apostle’s teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of the bread, and in the prayers.
When that temple’s curtain was torn, we were brought into new and closer relationship with God. And with that relationship comes responsibility. Therefore, let us strive, like our “Hebrews” forebearers, to proclaim the source of our hope, to provoke one another to greater love, and to gather together regularly, in Christ’s name.
It can be a challenge to us, as 21st Century Christians, to hear and grasp all of the symbolism in a biblical text. The words were written nearly 2000 years ago, or more, in many cases. Cultural mores have changed. Religious practices have changed. Jesus and his followers were faithful Jews. So some of the mores and practices described are Jewish, rather than Christian, and predate the founding of Christianity. We can be forgiven for not catching the references!
There are two references in this text that we, as 21st Century Christians, might miss. The first is what Jesus says. The second is the event that immediately precedes it.
Jesus says: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” It is a quote from Psalm 31. A psalm which, in my New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, is called, “A Psalm of Prayer and Praise for Deliverance from Enemies.” How fitting that these would be Jesus’ final words.
One biblical scholar stated that Psalm 31 was a psalm that Jewish mothers taught their children at a young age. It was to be recited by faithful Jews each and every night before they fell asleep.
It says volumes that Jesus’ last words came from a Psalm that Mary taught him when he was very young. Jesus learned these words long before he fully understood what would be asked of him. What we teach our children matters.
Karl Barth, a well-known 20th century theologian, was asked at the end of his long career, about the most important thing he had learned in his life’s work of studying theology. His response: Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. What we teach our children matters.
When I was a child, it was usually my dad who tucked me in at night. Over a few years, we developed a ritual. We prayed certain prayers together. And then we said good night in the same way, each night. There was comfort in those prayers.
What did you learn about God when you were a child? A young adult? Do you still carry those lessons with you? Do you still pray the prayers that you were taught when you were young? Do you have words of comfort to draw on in the face of pain or loss or terror?
And then, there’s the event. At the moment of Jesus’ death, the curtain of the temple was torn in two.
That curtain, a feature of the Jewish temple, was designed to keep the people separate from God. Jews believed that God could be found, literally, in the place in the temple called The Holy of Holies.
Only a High Priest could venture back there, and even then only at certain times and under certain circumstances. The curtain was the dividing line. It was sort of a No Trespassing sign. God lives here, and no one else is worthy to enter.
At Jesus death, that curtain, designed to keep humans and God separated, is torn. Torn by Jesus’ death. We are the beneficiaries of the tearing. God is no longer distant. No longer locked in a room. No longer separate and apart. God is free and we are able to be directly in relationship with God. In Jesus’ death, God and humanity are reunited.
Today, we feel the pain of Jesus’ death, remembered and recollected. Today is a somber day. And this is as it should be. But, as today passes into tomorrow and then we come to the dawn of Easter Sunday, we can recall the grace of the Good News of this day.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Tonight we gather to mark Maundy Thursday. This is the night when Jesus gathered for his final meal with his friends. According to the Gospel writers Matthew, Mark, and Luke, this is the night where Jesus left his church with the sacrament of the Eucharist.
At the Last Supper, Jesus took the bread, he blessed it, broke it, gave it to his disciples, and then said something like: Take and eat, this is my body, which is given for you, do this in remembrance of me. Next, he took a cup of wine and said something like: Drink this, all of you, this is my blood of the new covenant. It is shed for you and for all, for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.
We’ll hear those words, in just a few minutes, when we gather to share our Eucharist. Our thanksgiving. You will see me take the bread, and bless it. Then I’ll break it and we will all share it, along with the wine.
Tonight, however, we hear words from John’s Gospel. There is no bread. There is no wine. Instead, there are feet and love.
A standard definition of a sacrament is that it is A) An outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace AND B) Something that Jesus both did and commanded us to do.
Therefore, I would posit that there are two sacraments instituted in this short passage from John’s Gospel.
First Commandment: footwashing. Jesus tells the disciples that, just as he washes their feet, they are to wash the feet of others. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that most of us HATE footwashing. And, if hate is too strong a word, we find it tremendously uncomfortable. I think my feet are ugly. I am afraid they smell badly. I’d rather not have anyone else touch them. What was Jesus thinking? \
Well, it’s not so much about the feet, really, as it is about the action. It doesn’t ring so true for us, because we walk through our days in shoes and socks. But, since most folks at that time and in that dry and dusty place either walked barefoot or in sandals, their feet were always dirty. A slave, or a servant, would wash the feet of master, family, and guests. And, they did it because feet needed washing.
And Jesus, our Lord and God-incarnate, got down on his knees, took on the job of the lowliest servant or slave, and washed his followers’ feet. Talk about turning the world upside down. No hierarchy here. No chain of command. Instead, a total reversal of what had always been. It’s no wonder they killed him, really.
Second Commandment: love. After he washes their feet, Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment. He says so directly: I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Commandment. It’s the same word used in the book of Exodus to describe those things written on the stone tablets. This new commandment is as serious and binding as the 10 old ones. It’s where Maundy Thursday gets its name from this New Commandment – Maundy comes from the Latin - mandatum, the first word of the phrase "Mandatum novum… " A new commandment…
Footwashing and love. If we’d only had John’s gospel, our service might look very different on Sunday morning, eh? But seriously, what would living out these two other sacraments look like in our lives?
I don’t think we’re meant to wash one another’s feet every day (though doing it once a year as a reminder isn’t a bad thing, despite how uncomfortable it might make us feel).
I do think we’re called to live lives of service, and of turning over the hierarchy.
My contemporary model for this kind of servant leadership was my friend and former Bishop, the late Jim Kelsey.
At the end of any parish visit, when you would look around to find Jim, in order to say goodbye, he would be in the kitchen, up to his elbows in dishwater, washing dishes from the luncheon. There he would be, chit-chatting with the folks who were working in the kitchen. I’d never seen a bishop do the dishes before. But, when I asked him about it, he talked about servant leadership. And friendship.
What might servant leadership look like for us?
I think we get it pretty well, here, frankly. We are a congregation that knows how to work hard. I’ve not seen folks slack off when it comes to hard work.
And what about loving one another? Love doesn’t mean that we always get along. That every person in our lives gives us warm feelings each and every time we think of them. Or that we never disagree. I think, at the heart of it, the kind of love that Jesus is commanding is rooted in respect and relationship. It means talking through our differences. It means naming our hurts. And it means a radical welcome to all whom we encounter.
So, as we move from Maundy Thursday to Good Friday, and then to Easter, I invite you to consider serving and loving as sacraments. They’re less concrete than bread and wine. But they ARE outward and visible signs of inward and invisible graces. And they are actions that each of us can do, as a reflection of the great and saving love we encounter in Jesus.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
J.K. Rowling, Robert Jordan, Marcus Borg
2) What book do you own the most copies of?
The Bible. I probably own 8-10 bibles, in a variety of translations.
3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
5) What book have you read the most times in your life (excluding picture books read to children; i.e., Goodnight Moon does not count)?
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson; The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley; Zami: A New Spelling of my Name by Audre Lourde.
6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
The Little House in the Prairie series.
7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
Actually, the last year has been a high-point of reading. Plus, ever since managing a bookstore, I've gotten very good at simply putting down a book I'm not enjoying.
8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson; A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini; The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
Three Cups of Tea. It's a wonderful and uplifting story about how one person can make a difference. It also gives amazing insights into what's happening in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
I really wish they would stop making books into movies.
12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
I am afraid that they will turn The Shack into a movie. I can't imagine how they could do this without trivializing, sentimentalizing, and ruining the book.
13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
I can barely remember my dreams, never mind one involving a writer, a book, or a literary character. I have had some lovely daydreams about Hermione Granger (as an adult!).....
14) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
I have to start by saying that I find this question a bit elitist. Lowbrow by whose standards? Isnt reading lowbrow better than not reading at all? But, having said that, I have a secret addiction to lowbrow novels (or at least I used to). I had a serious Danielle Steel thing going when I was a teenager. I recently read one of her latest. HRH. Must say, it was very disappointing. Poorly written. Predictable. But still. Reading Danielle Steel, better than mindless internet gaming. (Which I also love, but that's another post!)
15) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
The Confessions by Augustine
16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
Haven't seen any of the obscure Shakespeare plays.
17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
I've read more Russian authors than French ones, but not enough of either to call it a preference.
18) Roth or Updike?
I've read more Updike than Roth, but again, not enough of either to call it a preference.
19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
Hard one. If forced to make a decision, I probably prefer Chaucer, but it's realy a toss-up.
21) Austen or Eliot?
Fran's Note: None of these choose one questions really do it for me (except the Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer question, and then it was hard to choose). Not really a fan of Eggers OR Sedaris, of Updike OR Roth, of Austen OR Eliot. How about some other pairings:
21a) Sue Grafton or Sarah Paretsky?
Grafton in one quick minute.
21b) J. R. R. Tolkein or C.S. Lewis?
While I liked The Chronicles of Narnia, I loved The Lord of the Rings.
21c) Margaret Atwood or Louise Erdrich
21d) Alice Walker or Toni Morrison
22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
American classics. I've not read The Great Gatsby. Or The Grapes of Wrath. Or about a zillion other classics. Some days it might be shorter to list which American classics I have read.
23) What is your favorite novel?
Gone to Soldiers by Marge Piercy. I discovered I no longer own it - it's probably time to hunt down a used copy and re-read it.
I'm not sure I have a favorite poem. I really enjoy the Psalms.
Anything by Wendell Berry. If I had to choose one, I'd say, "The Pleasures of Eating" which contains one of my favorite sentences, "I begin with the proposition that eating is an agricultural act."
27) Short Story?
Anything written by Lee Lynch (she's a lesbian writer who writes GREAT short stories - her characterizations are spot on).
28) Work of nonfiction?
God has a Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu; The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan; Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson.
29) Who is your favorite writer?
Marcus Borg; Michael Pollan; J.K. Rowling; Tolkein; Alice Walker; I could probably go on for a while here.
30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
31) What is your desert island book?
The Bible. Not because it's my job, either. I would choose The Bible because there are so many different kinds of literature there that I would never get bored.
32) And... what are you reading right now?
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (again); Eldest (reading the first two again in preparation for the third); The Shack (for the St. B. Book Group)
+Gene Sutton encouraged us to get back into the habit of beholding. And, later that day, as I walked outside in the warm sunshine (still a novelty 2.5 hours north of where the Quiet Day was being held!), I beheld the start of spring flowers poking up out of the soil outside the church. It felt like a miracle.
In general, beholding doesn't come easily to me. I'm often rushed and in a hurry. I'm not the most visual person (unless I have a camera in my hand, then I notice everything).
My inability to behold easily was brought home this morning as I drove to church. It was snowing at the top of Milan Hill. There was a light dusting of lovely snow on every surface. The trees had that amazing frosted look they get when the snowfall is just right. It caught my breath when I came down the stairs this AM.
When I got the bottom of Milan Hill, there was no new snow. Not a flake, anywhere. And, I realized that somewhere in that 2 mile stretch of road, something had changed. And, I totally missed it.
Beholding is something I'd like to cultivate. I'd like to think that my Lenten discipline of writing here, more often, has helped a bit. You have to behold, in order to write. Maybe beholding is like running. You have to train the muscles in order to have success. Maybe we need to cultivate beholding in the same way.
Monday, March 30, 2009
What we see on The Food Network are many food commercials. I've come to categorize them in two broad categories. First, there are the "food is dangerous and it must be resisted" commercials. Think here of all of the diet food commercials. They are the ones that try to push non-food low-cal fat-free alternatives on us. Then, there are the crazy "just indulge yourself" commercials. My least favorite one in this genre shows an Oreo truck driving through a city. It is chased by zillions of Oreo-crazed women, who finally overpower the truck, pull boxes of Oreos off the truck, and start bingeing on the oreos in the street.
Very few food commercials (though I'll admit, I've not taken the scientific method here) seem to be simply about food. Food is either something to be treated with suspicion or something to be consumed in immoderation. It's no wonder we've got a national weight problem.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor. Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say-- `Father, save me from this hour'? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again." The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him." Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.
This sermon could take two directions, and despite the fact that it's 10:48 on Saturday night, I'm still undecided about which direction to take. And, I fear that the ideas are too disparate to blend them into one sermon.
Whichever direction, the sermon ultimately takes, this introduction will work. It's important to note that some who have studied John's Gospel talk about it's having two distinct books or sections. The first section is the Book of Signs. It begins with the opening and then moves into the miracles. Those start with Jesus' changing water into wine at the wedding at Cana and it ends with the raising of Lazarus (with a bunch of other signs in between). The second section is the Book of Glory, which begins immediately after the raising of Lazarus in John 12. Mary anoints Jesus with nard (and makes Judas angry). The authorities plot to kill Lazarus. Jesus rides into Jerusalem in triumph. And then this passage. The Greeks come to see Jesus. And Jesus responds (as he often does in John's Gospel) with metaphorical language.
The first direction has to do with the Greeks who come looking for Jesus. There's much scholarly debate about who the Greeks are. The could be converts to Judaism who chose not to be circumcised. Or they could be a group called "The God-Fearers." Whoever they are - they are not Jews, they are not the usual followers of Jesus. And, they seem to be completely uncertain about how to proceed.
I wonder who comes to us, wanting to see Jesus? We've been reading The Shack as part of our Lenten book study. One of the broader critiques of the book is that it doesn't treat the church, as institution, very kindly. In fact, if anything, it's pretty negative about "Church."
How do we show the people who come to us in this building, or the people we encounter in our lives, Jesus?
The other option could take the seed image and run with that. I learned today about a lesson in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (a Sunday School program) where you plant a series of seeds, with each planting being one week apart. At the end, you dig them all up. And what the kids see is that as the seeds germinate, and the plant develops, the seed literally vanishes. After all, one planted bean yields a plant on which many bean pod grows. It's the same with virtually every seed. One kernel of corn yiels many ears. One tomato seeds yields a plant with many tomatoes.
As followers of Jesus, we're called to die to our selves, so that we, like the seed, will yield much. That feels like one of those cliches that doesn't actually mean anything. It need some nice concrete examples to liven it up. And I am feeling fresh out of concrete examples.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
If you're not familiar with Story Corps, it's a huge oral history project. Pairs of people go into the booth and one interviews the other (or they interview each other) for 40 minutes. At the end of the interview, they get a CD of the interview. And, if they choose, they can sign a release that also gives a copy to the Library of Congress and gives NPR consent to broadcast a small segment in a Story Corps segment.
The mobile Story Corps booth is coming to Berlin. It's going to be in town from June 4-27. And, St. Barnabas gets to be a community partner. That means that the church will have a certain number of reserved appointments. And, I get to spend the next three months talking up Story Corps and encouraging people to tell their stories. I'm hoping I can talk my mom into going into the Story Corps booth with me. (I'd say it's a 50/50 chance, really!)
Today, I went to the community partners' planning meeting. I was such a fan. I totally chatted up the cute girl who works for New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) and the one who works for Story Corps. They were both great.
So, I've been a giddy fan-girl all day. But, I'm such a nerd that I am a Story Corps fan-girl.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
St. Barnabas has a 10AM midweek Eucharist on Wednesdays. It's a small group; they are faithful and very engaged. We often sit for 30-40 minutes after the service and discuss the saint of the day, the readings, and what message we each heard. Ken, who is 85, sometimes tells WWII stories. Some of the other folks, mostly life-long Berlin residents, tell stories from their earlier years.
Eventually, some of the ladies head off to deal with all of the altar guild stuff. They clear up the chapel from the Wednesday service and they set up in the main sanctuary for the Sunday service. I wander around, get in the way, and make them laugh.
Then, a group of us go out to lunch. At lunch, we continue to visit and tell stories. I hear how people are. They update me on health concerns and life events. I learn about children and grandchildren (and even in some cases, great grandchildren). G and L bicker back and forth, much to our amusement (because we all know they really love each other). I learn more St. Barnabas history. I learn about the old days of Berlin. We laugh, we tease, we eat from a communal vat of onion rings. Today, G stole baked beans off my plate, while I ate Little Betty's potato chips.
Wednesdays aren't the most productive of my days. But they are so much fun. I love the conversation, the companionship, the playfulness. And, I love the way Wednesdays have helped me to deepen my relationship with a wonderful group of folks.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
High school was better, and I got sick way less, but certainly some. Every year in college I got a horrific case of bronchitis that lasted for weeks each spring.
Somehow, as I got older, I got healthier. In recent years, I have rarely been sick. I hardly ever took a sick day at the bookstore. And, I don't remember really being sick at all during seminary. In fact, the only recent illnesses I remember are getting a killer cold in the summer of 2005 in New Zealand, and something that was probably food poisoning on a cruise in 2007.
Last week's cold was certainly not the worst cold of my life. In fact, as colds go, it was pretty mild. (It did prove to be seriously contagious - I know that I passed it on to at least three other folks - I am so sorry!) The worst part of this cold was the way that it sapped my energy. All I wanted to do for more than a week was sleep. I didn't run. I didn't write in my blog. I worked, I read, I slept. That's it.
I'm still feeling more tired than I am used to - and watching Michelle, who is about a week behind me in this cold, I can see that it's affecting her the same way. So, I'm being good about going to bed earlier than usual, and trying to take care of myself.
It feels good to be back.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
3. 'Cesca [This is the diminutive of Francesca (which is not, by the way, my legal name!), adopted by my college roommate Christine, aka Chrissie]
THREE JOBS I HAVE HAD IN MY LIFE
1. Bookseller (and Bookstore Manager)
3. Kindergarten Teacher [the worst two years of my life]
THREE PLACES I HAVE LIVED
1. Greenfield, MA
2. Alexandria, VA
3. Ontonagon, MI [I knew I'd actually made Onto home when I could spell it without having to stop and think about it.]
THREE TV SHOWS THAT I WATCH
1. Iron Chef America
THREE OF MY FAVORITE VACATION PLACES
1. The UP
2. New Zealand
3. The National Parks of the American Southwest
THREE PLACES I WANT TO GO
THREE OF MY FAVORITE FOODS
1. Anything Thai
3. Enchiladas made with soy cheese, black beans, quinoa, and spinach
THREE THINGS I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO
1. being part of the Cohorting group for Ministry Developers
2. planting our garden
3. running a 1oK sometime this summer
THREE THINGS I REALLY DON'T LIKE TO DO
1. clean the house
2. deal with paperwork
3. throw up
THREE THINGS I DO WHEN I'M PROCRASTINATING
2. play videogames
THREE MEMORABLE CONCERTS I'VE BEEN TO
1. Elton John at the Worcester Centrum (back in the mid-to-late 1980s)
2. The Newport Folk Festival in 1991 or 1992 - I believe that it was the first time that the Indigo Girls and Joan Baez appeared on stage together
3. Cris Williamson in Provincetown - we met her the next day in the parking lot of the Post Office immediately after my girlfriend locked our keys in the car.
THREE PETS THAT I HAVE OWNED
1. Chloe - my first adult pet, a tiger cat from the Greenfield Area Animal Shelter
2. Sam - my current cat
3. Birdie, our dog
THREE FRIENDS WHO WILL (probably) REPLY
Sunday, March 15, 2009
It was also fun to share Sunday morning with Monique. She's such a joy.
Friday, March 13, 2009
These two stories share a common kernel, which seems to me to be: What is the role of technology in the life of faith?
I'm less concerned about whether Twittering is "appropriate" in church than I am about whether Twittering in church promotes or blocks community. I watched the Inaugural Events through Facebook's CNN link - and was able to live chat about what I was seeing with my friends who were online. So, despite the fact that I was alone in my office in Berlin, I was connected, virtually, with friends from around the country and from various walks of my life. That was the ultimate technology promoting community. But, Twittering in church might not do the same thing. It seems like Twittering in church might do the opposite. Rather than interacting with one another, we might start interacting with the technology.
Online sites for prayer seem to be an entirely different animal. If I am praying the Daily Office, chances are I am doing it on my own. I'm either alone in my office, or alone in my car (using my iPod and a podcast of the daily office - which, I realize, is yet another technological adaptation!) or alone in my living room. What I appreciate about the online sites is that they gather all of the things I need for praying the Daily Office in one spot. Rather than needing a bible, and a book of the saints of the day, and a prayerbook, everything is right there. I can enter into a prayerful attitude just as easily using a computer screen as I can using a book. And, the computer keeps me from having to flip around from book to book to book.
What are your thoughts? Can you see technology enhancing community? Enhancing Prayer? Or does it seem as though that's not the case?
Thursday, March 12, 2009
1) What is your salad dressing of choice?
Oil and vinegar
2) What is your favorite sit-down restaurant?
The Blue Heron in Sunderland, MA and The Northland Dairy Bar in Berlin, NH
3) What food could you eat for 2 weeks straight and not get sick of it?
4) What are your pizza toppings of choice?
Bacon, fresh garlic, and spinach, with no cheese
5) What do you like to put on your toast?
I don't love toast, but peanut butter on English Muffins is a deep favorite. I add honey if I am feeling decadent.
6) How many televisions are in your house?
7) What color cell phone do you have?
8) Are you right-handed or left-handed?
I can only write with my right hand, but there are a number of tasks that I do lefty - perhaps the legacy of a lefty mom.
9) Have you ever had anything removed from your body?
Three of my four wisdom teeth and my uterus.
10) What is the last heavy item you lifted?
The extension ladder. It wasn't so much heavy as awkward - it was snowy and we were carrying it up a snowbank to get the snow off the roof.
11) Have you ever been knocked unconscious?
Sort of. When I was in Junior high (or maybe high school), I fell down some stairs at the mall, on our way to the movies (we were on our way to see the Jazz Singer). I thought everything was fine, and then I passed out in the lobby of the theater. Then, I got up and we went to watch the movie.
12) If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?
13) If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
I would legally change my name to Fran (as opposed to my legal it-must-not-be-used name) in a heartbeat, and will do so when my mom is no longer living (may that be a long time from now).
14) Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1000?
I doubt it.
15) How many pairs of flip flops do you own?
16) What's your goal for the year?
To run a 10K (10 min/mile pace)
17) Last person you talked to?
18) Last person you hugged?
My cold has stopped me hugging for the last number of days. Probably Michelle.
9) Favorite Season?
20) Favorite Holiday?
21) Favorite day of the week?
Sundays and Mondays
22) Favorite Month?
February (my birthday month and Valentine's Day!)
23) First place you went this morning?
The living room
24) What's the last movie you saw?
25) Do you smile often?
26) Do you always answer your phone?
27) It's four in the morning and you get a text message, who is it?
I never get texts at 4am.
28) If you could change your eye color what would it be?
I would NEVER change my eye color. I have my dad's eyes, and I really like them. They are green.
29) What flavor drink do you get at Sonic?
Have never been to Sonic (though we think it looks like fun when the commercials run on the telly)
30) Have you ever had a pet fish?
No, but my wife has a tank, and keeps promising.
31) Favorite Christmas song?
Odetta singing Go Tell it on the Mountain
32) What's on your wish list for your birthday?
I tend to like surprises, rather than making a wish list. This year, I got a box of fab gourmet popcorn and a great new pair of running shorts.
33) Can you do push-ups?
34) Can you do a chin up?
I haven't tried in a very long time. I used to be unable to do so. I have my doubts.
35) Does the future make you more nervous or excited?
36) Do you have any saved texts?
Not on this phone. But I had several saved texts from Michelle on my old phone.
37) Ever been in a car wreck?
More than my share. And several I had no right to walk away from. I'm a lucky woman.
38) Do you have an accent?
It comes and goes. When I was younger I had a very strong Woostah/Boston accent. It's really diminished as I have gotten older. Oddly, now that I am back in New England, it crops up occasionally. I have no control over what comes out of my mouth.
39) What is the last song to make you cry?
The same three things on my iPod ALWAYS make me cry: the spoken poem Seventh-Grade Viking Warrior by Taylor Mali, and Denmark 1943 and Scott and Jamie - both by Fred Small.
40) Plans tonight?
Diocesan Council from 4-6, 2.5 hour ride home with a stop at the evil Wal-Mart.
41) Have you ever felt like you hit rock bottom?
42) Name 3 things you bought yesterday.
I bought nothing yesterday, but today I bought hair elastics, soy milk, and breakfast sausages.
43) Have you ever been given roses?
44) Current hate right now?
Hate is a very strong word. But I am profoundly distressed by the way the religious right presumes to speak for all Christians. They do not represent Christianity to me and THEY DO NOT SPEAK FOR ME.
45) Met someone who changed your life?
46) How did you bring in the New Year?
In Rudyard with the in-laws. We all stayed up, but it wasn't very lively.
47) What song represents you?
I'm not sure it represents me, but my favorite song to run to these days is Come on Eileen by Dexy's Midnight Runners. It's been a fave ever since it first came out, and the beat is perfectly matched to my cadence.
48) What were you doing 12am last night (or is it this morning?)?
I think the Nyquil had finally kicked in and I was asleep.
49) What was the first thing you thought of this morning?
“Ugh. I still feel like shit.”