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Thursday, December 27, 2007

auld lang syne 2007 F5

auld lang syne Friday 5, introduced by singing owl...
It is hard to believe, but 2007 is about to be history, and this is our last Friday Five of the year. With that in mind, share five memorable moments of 2007. These can be happy or sad, profound or silly, good or bad but things that you will remember.

Bonus points for telling us of a "God sighting"— a moment when the light came through the darkness, a word was spoken, a song sung, laughter rang out, a sermon spoke to you in a new way--whatever you choose, but a moment in 2007 when you sensed Emmanuel, God with us. Or more particularly, you.
I willl remember:
1. Today—the assassination of Benazir Bhutto: a light in the world and for the world has been extinguished, but may her hopes, dreams and spirit freely find many dwelling-places all over the world;

2. One of my very own—2 blues, a best in class and a best in show at the county fair: county fair results;

3. during one and the same week, a pair of great VBS experiences: I was mission specialist during the day for one (the songs were so good I bought a copy of the CD that came with the curriculum); evenings at the other I facilitated the adult class. In my former lives these experiences would have seemed routine, but life has been sufficiently sparse during recent years they were proof and affirmation that my existence has some worth to someone;

4. 3 great concerts at summer pops: of local fame and international renown, guitaristos Los Romeros!; Classical Mystery Tour and Aaron Neville. Special thanks to videographers Pat and Lea Ann Walker;

5. continuing the musical roll #5 is hearing Berlioz' Requiem live and being close to overwhelmed by the blazing brass stationed around the top tier not too far away from where I sat;

bonus. In my attempts to sort through (again) make sense of (again) too much loss and too many disappointments, somehow – but definitely not by my own effort or understanding – I'm starting to realize I may have a place in the church, after all. Thanks everyone, including all you revgals, guys and friends!

Monday, December 24, 2007

advent 4

flight of ideas...

Sunday afternoon, Advent 4 (yep, I'd intended to blog this about 12 hours ago) Big 737 was not set to go by the 3:05 scheduled flight time, and while I waited along with a holiday-sized throng in a new to me location, Gate 1 downstairs at Lindbergh Field, in quick succession they announced boarding would start, had stopped, an engine needed inspecting and we could get on board, after all, but to do so we needed to match up the number and letter on our boarding pass and queue up numerically under the new, clearly-numbered overhead signs. Doubtless most of my blog readers know about Southwest, the Socialist Airline, and today was my first encounter with "You Are Still Free to Choose Your Seat: Southwest's new boarding enhances the preflight experience," (I spent too much time last week preflighting InDesign stuff...) as the December inflight magazine, Spirit expresses it. Invariably and inevitably, socialism's way of the people, by the people, for the people generates rules, restrictions and unyielding structures that eventually inhibit slow down and stop the people's freedom. But oh, by the way, SW still has unassigned seating--at least for now.

At Christmas Jesus came to us born for the people as one of the people, lived for us the people, died for the people - us! - and rose from the dead for the people--for all creation, actually. An original basic intent of carrying the Good News to more and more people and organizing churches properly and in decent order, has resulted in local congregations, denominated church bodies and judicatories overburdened (hmmm...in mining the overburden gets removed and hauled away, far away) with rules, restrictions, infrastructures and superstructures that inhibit the freedom of the people Jesus lived and died for and that in the end sometimes contradict The Way of The Crucified and Risen One. In my typical way I've made excuses for the development of institutional structures, but too often they develop because people seeking Their Own Place and a Sense of Importance will declare and decree in order(!) to get themselves more clout and greater visibility. Last week more than once IRL again I mentioned I have no regret (none whatsoever--really!) that I didn't finish seminary, adding (again) I didn't want to be a senior pastor or head of staff...friend and colleague pastor I was talking with again observed most of the people who get to be senior pastors in a multiple-staff church are impossible to work with and no one wants to stay on staff with them anyway. Reference what I wrote above...

This evening we'll celebrate Nativity Eve with fajita burritos accompanied by Mexican Feast; tomorrow morning I'll attend morning liturgy at Sacred Hear Roman Catholic. I do hope to post a more hopeful blog by Christmas evening!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

it's friday 5 but it's almost christmas, too!

it's an almost Christmas Friday 5 on TevGalBlogPals!

Merry Christmas from RevHRod, Self 2!

1. What was one of your favorite childhood gifts that you gave?

it wasn't quite childhood, but the garage door opener i gave my grandmother when i was in high school.

2. What is one of your favorite Christmas recipes? Bonus points if you share the recipe with us.

hey, it's so great to be able to play early and i know where the recipe is but will post it later: for both t-day and c-day, a bisquick impossible pumpkin dessert concoction. love it!

hibiscus 33. What is a tradition that your family can't do without? (And by family, I mean family of origin, family of adulthood, or that bunch of cool people that just feel like family.)

i need to pass on this one, since my family of origin hasn't existed in my world for too long and the big-c and little-c church i considered family isn't there, either. not sure what happened all around.

4. Pastors and other church folk often have very strange traditions dictated by the "work" of the holidays. What happens at your place?

not sure if it's safe to be this transparent and potentially vulnerable, but despite having made a carefully conscious decision to not continue serving professionally in the church, at christmas i feel lost, heartbroken, iris 1 shattered and unconnected to life; i still cannot quite believe i still am not leading worship or preaching and wonder if i'll ever have a real place in the church again. other sundays i pretty much can roll with it in the name of life happens and experience is ongoing. in response to my nativity devastation, for the past few years i've been spending christmas in southern arizona's sonoran desert, and it has become a place i can begin healing in general; the pics i'm posting are from my friend's house there.

5. If you could just ditch all the traditions and do something unexpected... what would it be?

can't think at the moment, but i do so enjoy christmas eve fajita burritos and christmas day turkey plus everything else—gravy, mashed potatoes, dressing/stuffing, cran, green bean casserole, mince, pumpkin, other pies...

Friday, December 14, 2007

rejoice! friday 5

Today we have a rejoice! 5 on the RevGals

Hosted by Mother Laura of Junia's Daughter:
Can you believe that in two days we'll be halfway through Advent? Gaudete Sunday: pink candle on the advent wreath, rose vestments for those who have them, concerts and pageants in many congregations. Time to rejoice!

RejoiceRejoice in the nearness of Christ's coming, yes, but also in the many gifts of the pregnant waiting time when the world (in the northern hemisphere, at least) spins ever deeper into sweet, fertile darkness.
What makes you rejoice about:

1. Waiting?


surprises! as much as we believe we know we live as people of easter, God's outcomes and solutions usually are far beyond human imaginings.

2. Darkness?

hints and glimpses of light; all year round, one of my favorite activities is getting out of bed before first light and watching a new day break. lately we've been having quiet, lovely subtle sunrises. an almost daily treat to savor!

3. Winter?

winter brings gifts parallel and related to those of darkness. here in paradise nights in the 40's are winter's norm, but living in snow country, esp in high desert city with its reputation for the greatest snow on earth, both falling and freshly fallen snow brought along with it quiet awe and that stereotypical hush. also the way my body and mind naturally slow down just a little...

4. Advent?

advent used to be my favorite liturgical season, now replaced by festivals of the spirit, pentecost and reformation. i love the way the texts, colors and themes focus on both repentance and hope along with the prophets and the church's call to line out (and again, image and imagine in words, colors, art, music and liturgy) a free, abundant future for all of us.

5. Jesus' coming?

the baby named save starts out exactly the same as the rest of us.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

christmas bulletin

Light of the World

Here's the 11"x8.5" version of the bulletin cover I designed; I also did a 14"x8.5"—two versions each, one with 10% blue background the other plain white for printing on colored paper (or maybe even on white). I've posted the basic image right-side-up here.

Christmas bulletin cover

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

poetry party 9: watching, waiting

invitation to poetry icon

invitation to poetry from Christine at Abbey of the Arts="Hearts":
...In Christian tradition this is the season of Advent, a season of waiting and watching. I invite you to write your own celebration or lament about the process of waiting and watching.

I'm accompanying my poem with a hopeful winter graphic I imagined the Sunday evening after I heard Wayne Barlow's The Winter's Passed for oboe and orchestral strings. The symphony concert program listed the title as In Winter's Past, and that's what I named my painting because I didn't discover the composer's title until later. But amazingly, when I looked for a link to the piece with search terms "winters past" Barlow, it came up niftily, and Amazon yielded a total of 8, including two with 5 stars. Here's the CD I added to my wish list.

in winters past

in winters past

aching for heaven's descent to the earth
yearning for justice to reign
a new-minted year at the end of an old
as advent blue darkens into winter solstice and
epiphany light!
world in snow bright!
then hibernate to heal.
into a cool calm blue chill.
waiting for easter dawn
new life at the end of the cold: the winter's passed!

christmas 3 * 3

Christmas three

Purpletologically Speaking tagged me for this cool meme; I'm also including her snowman pic! Here's the drill:

What are your three favorite Christmas songs and who sings them?

Only three! yes, but only because I have only a few minutes, so tonight I'll pick:
  1. Celebrate me Home - Kenny Rogers;
  2. album, Soulful Messiah;
  3. Do You Hear What I Hear? sung by almost anyone or played on the piano by me—my own arrangement, of course

    snowman and trees

What are your three favorite Christmas foods?
  1. green bean casserole
  2. dark meat turkey/gravy/corn bread-white bread stuffing-dressing (that's just one item cuz you can't have any of them without both of the others)
  3. pumpkin or squash pie
What are three Christmas Secrets?
  1. this Baby named Save truly will save the world!
  2. this is the darkest time of the year, but Epiphany soon will be here!
  3. it's still Christmas even when and where there's no snow.

Friday, December 07, 2007

preparation, preparation friday 5

snowy tree paint daubsRevGals bring the world a preparation, preparation Friday 5 for today

Sally hosts today: This has been a difficult week for me, the death of a little six year old has overshadowed our advent preparations, and made many of us here in Downham Market look differently at Christmas. With that in mind I ask whether you are the kind of person that likes everything prepared well in advance, are you a last minute crammer, or a bit of a mixture....

today i'm prepared with some christmas tree tweaks, and to respond to sally, i'm definitely both/and all the time; here's my play, as usual done in haste in the interest of getting it blogged soon enough to get a few hits.

1. You have a busy week, pushing out all time for preparing worship/ Sunday School lessons/ being ready for an important meeting (or whatever equivalent your profession demands)- how do you cope?

my main thing is learning and living with the fact everything i do and produce does not need to be an truly cannot be at the ultra-highest level possible; my other things is triaging my life into essentials, less-than and true adiaphora.

2. You have unexpected visitors, and need to provide them with a meal- what do you do?

when i lived in snowlands i always had adequate makings for at least several episodes of good eatin's on hand, but as much as i love being creative, nowadays i'll use the excuse to visit a favorite local restaurant (despite not currently being financially particularly articulate).

Three discussion topics:

snowy tree findedge3. Thinking along the lines of this weeks advent theme; repentance is an important but often neglected aspect of advent preparations.....

i'll reference last week's class discussion: i mentioned the liturgical color for advent used to be the same as for lent, repentance purple (also a royal color) but now the church features blue, a color of hope. so i asked the class their preference, and one of the participants replied, "starting with penitential purple, and evolving into hopeful blue."

4. Some of the best experiences in life occur when you simply go with the flow.....

yes. to introduce my play i said i'm what's probably a typical female mix of careful preparation plus last-minute crammer, but in real life i'm far better at going with the river of life as it flows around me that frantically trying to cram (sounds too much like too many school classmates).

5. Details are everything, attention to the small things enables a plan to roll forward smoothly...

but not to choke and suffocate on stuff no one else notices or cares about. i'd describe details as "important" but definitely not "everything." snowy tree palette knife


Bonus if you dare- how well prepared are you for Christmas this year?

Piggybacking on last week's friday 5, i've been putting out one or two Christmas decorations each day, and will continue doing so until i leave for the desert on the afternoon of advent 4. i've done my gift-shopping and have been preparing and facilitating an advent study at a pair of churches. our reflections and insights about the various and frequently paradoxical forms the divine in our midst often presents is proving an excellent part of my own preparation.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tabouli or...

Tabouleh

2x, 3x or 4x these amounts this is one of my favorite things to take to a potluck; most likely no one else will bring tabouli and it's quick to mix.
  • cucumber, diced
  • several roma or 2 dozen cherry or grape tomatoes, diced (remove seeds if you're not lazy)
  • parsley, finely chopped to taste (I use only a tiny amount)
  • 1/2 cup bulgur wheat
  • 1 or 2 (or 3 or 4) green onion(s)
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • allspice (optional)
  • nutmeg (optional)
  • cinnamon (optional)
  • salt
Pour hot water over the wheat and let it soak until soft and most of the water has been absorbed. Mix the diced veggies then add the wheat and mix some more; add lemon juice and olive oil to get the right flavor and consistency. Add the spice(s) and salt and mix a bit more. Refrigerate, pass around the table, eat and enjoy!
desert bg white

Saturday, December 01, 2007

new earrings!!

very gary earringsYesterday I serendipitously happened to meet up with Very Gary, a former classmate from a print media class (hey, Gary W!). An extremely skilled artisan, Gary creates jewelry and is a cabinetmaker. He was wearing an elegant earring that also happened to align precisely with my own style and my penchant for silver, so casually I asked if he had any for sale and yes, he did, and had a selection of his recent creations right in his vehicle! I love, love, love these earrings (also think I did a good job photoshopping them ;-) especially since they can be either dressy or casual and most especially because they're made by a friend and I was able to benefit his business endeavor and celebrate his creativity. Gary told me his site isn't live yet, but I'll link to it when it is, probably in early 2008.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

very most unfavorites F5

don't call it a comeback - ummm......friday 5 - least favorites, that is

genesis 49:10a long intro but a quick one to blog from will smama, who, in a logical progression from them out there to us in here insists,
Alright, so I'm dropping by for a brief return stint as contributer. Please, hold down the applause (also please don't forget NOT to cut and paste this part)....Parishioners pushing for carols before you digested your turkey?
Organist refusing to play Advent hymns because he/she already has them planned for Lessons & Carols?
Find yourself reading Luke and thinking of a variety of ways to tell Linus where to stick it? (Lights please.)
Then this quick and easy Friday Five is for you! And for those of you with a more positive attitude, have no fear. I am sure more sacred and reverent Friday Fives will follow.
Please tell us your least favorite/most annoying seasonal....
after translating an announcement from english into español to post on left right in the city's church website earlier today, i remain confused about double negatives, so just in case, i'm forgetting or not forgetting not to...here's mine:

1. dessert

not exactly or technically a dessert, but ribbon candy gets the cake for most obnoxious sweet

2. beverage

eggnog with rum or rum flavor or anything alcoholic added (plain vanilla-flavor nog with lots of nutmeg is one of my favorites)

3. tradition (church, family or other)

singing silent night with all the slips and slides during candlelight or other forms of worship

4. decoration

so many choices, so little time: i'll opt for heavily blue flocked fake or real trees

5. gift (received or given)

pass on this one (not being polite, simply currently cannot think of any on either side)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

poetry party 8: full moon rising

invitation to poetry icon

Abbey of the Arts full moon rising

Christine introduces this party by reflecting:
I love the rhythms of the moon’s waxing and waning and long to find ways to integrate an awareness of her cycles into my own spiritual practice. This past weekend was the full moon. We had some clear skies around Seattle and for a couple of nights while at my hermitage I was blessed with a clear vision of the moon rising in the sky gently illuminating the world with her radiance. I could even see the Olympic mountains across the horizon, the moon’s light reflecting on their snow-covered peaks. I took the photo below as it was rising behind my cottage on Friday night through the bare branches. I did not have my tripod and so tried holding the camera myself. The result was a blurry image, but I like the effect, almost like a watercolor. Then I added some colorizing in Photoshop to get the bluish hue.

What is your ode to the moon? What does she stir in you?
Immediately I remembered Janis Joplin's "Half moon, night time sky, Seven stars, Heaven's eyes. Seven songs on seven seas, Just to bring all your sweet love home to me. Your love brings life to me" ... but I sang it to myself as Full moon, night-time sky...to return to this party, I haven't included Christine's image, because when I looked through just a few of my own I've Photoshopped, it seemed as if close to half of my art includes a natural source of light—most often the sun, but sometimes a round full moon. It's interesting that my moons rarely are crescent, sliver, half or anything other than full. This topic also helped me reminisce about a plethora of songs along with the places I've been when those songs were current. However, in the interest of posting this blog, rather than attempting a poem or more prose, I'm participating in the party with three of my graphics:

full moon sand country left invert

Saturday, November 24, 2007

one from last april...

when (now Bishop) Mother Laura tagged me for this weird meme; she also gave me the thinking blogger option, but these days I'm not much, so here are my six weirdities in brief form--though come to think of it, most of them come somewhere within a so-called normal range:

1. It's not that I don't exactly not like chocolate, because I love the taste of some decadent chocolate concoctions as long as they're not combined with fruit or berries, which I consider a true abomination, but in general I don't do chocolate, since when I eat or drink any form of chocolate when I'm in a migraine phase (especially in the evening) I run a high risk of waking up with another headache.

2. Liturgically, I have both a very wide low church streak and an extremely expansive high church one.

3. I tend to be penny-wise (=cheap) and pound-foolish (=spendthrift); I realize that's not particularly strange, but I need to keep taking hard looks at that habit, which I'm successfully modifying.

4. Despite having a degree in piano and organ performance plus additional professional musical credentials, I never ever practice unless I have a gig scheduled, and by that I mean an actual date and time, not some vague future possibility. The longest I've gone without going near a piano was four years, and I never missed it at all, but I crave an audience the way an addict craves cocaine! I so resonate with Jackson Browne's instructions to his roadies in the Load-out/Stay: But when that last guitar's been packed away you know that I still want to play, so just make sure you got it all set to go before you come for my piano...

5. I don't and won't drink church coffee.

6. This is so late in every way I'm not tagging anyone because most of the blogosphere already has done it, but if you're reading this and want to play, please do so and give me a shoutout. Thanks, Laura, and blessed Reign of Christ!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

post-T-day F5

from minnes(n)o(w)ta and from singing owl, here's this week's post-t-day friday 5:

1. did I go anywhere? one of my congregations sponsored a wednesday afternoon 4:00 pm church and community dinner. how was it? great, thanks for asking! and thursday morning i attended the 10:00 am service of the word and was disappointed not to sing "we gather together" or "come, ye thankful people," though ken, the organist for this morning, played a prelude that included both songs. senior pastor said he didn't choose those hymns because this geography doesn't really strike him as harvest-timey. whatever.

2. main course: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauces and relishes, macaroni salad, caesar salad, sweet potatoes/yams, mixed veggies, rolls & butter, pumpkin pie, pecan pie. the bill of fare totally surprised me since the hispanic congregation did most of the cooking, and our potlucks always are at least bi-cultural, often multi. nothing but the turkey? we also enjoyed some tasty ham.

BB tommy3. annual t-day customs other than the meal - the only one is displaying my tommytm turkey ty® beanie-baby, whose d.o.b. was 21 november 2002.

4. do i plan to hit the retail circuit on friday - yes, if not actually circuiting through a mall or more, at least one big-box store. as long as they're not drunk, brawling and/or out of control, crowds energize me so!

5. christmas décor - like many if not most, this condo association has rules saying when holiday stuff can go up and stay up fore-and-aft a holiday, and decorations for the december holidays can go up either on thanksgiving or the day after and stay up until new year's day. however, i usually wait until advent 1 and gradually put out one or two things at a time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanks Giving 2007: spices energizers cools

Hot Cup Lutheran posted a wonderful, very short list of thanks, inspiring me to do just a tad more on this list I began a few days ago and intended to get to 100! Did I ever mention that I tend to carry everything to extremes? Instead of a thankfulness essay like I blogged for T-Day 2006 (cross-posted here), or Thanksgiving 2005, this year I'm simply listing some reasons for gratitude.

| Sunday worship finally has become not optional, not only in terms of head-and-leg obedience, but in terms of my heart | Thanksgiving Dinner late this afternoon with a church "family" that seems to think I belong | fajita burritos | homestyle vanilla ice cream | beach sand | desert sands | freshly fallen powder snow | Christmas in the Sonoran Desert | Cooper Black | hugs | 5 on the floor | Pentecost | Luke-Acts | The Ocean | sacraments | liturgy | grapefruit | productive meetings | canceled meetings | Jesus | theology | fresh strawberries | fresh blackberries | blueberry muffins | French toast | grade B Vermont maple syrup | Photoshop CS3 | a splash of Americana colors | the kitchen at dawn | earthlight | sunlight | starlight | Beethoven Piano Sonatas | Ocean Pacific | Ocean Atlantic | sunrise | Reformation | Epiphany | big cats | little cats | elephants | white [sometimes gold] classic Dial soap |

Friday, November 09, 2007

extravagant UNbusyness f5

from Sally of Eternal Echoes, today's RevGals Friday 6 is about extravagant unbusyness
name 5 things you would do to...

1. to care for your body

Oh, I need to lose a few ellbees, and what better time to do it than in this weather when you sort of need to be thoroughly covered up with clothes anyway? Even more to the point, I want to continue eating more fruits and veggies and gradually descending the food chain. More walks along the beach...

fall collage 072. to care for your spirit
More walks along the beach...I'll be in Tucson, in the Sonoran desert for Christmas, and as I've already blogged, the desert revives and renews me like nothing else ever has, ever does.

3. to care for your mind
More walks along the beach...and right now, I need to finish developing the Advent study I'll be facilitating at two of *my* churches. Even more than preaching, teaching—especially hearing and considering others' perspectives and interpretations—helps my own worldview, and especially during these shorter, darker later fall and early winter days.

4. to bring a sparkle to your eye
More, more more time designing almost everything, both for fun and for actual clients, and more walks along the beach...


5. to place a spring in your step
More walks along the beach...

Enjoy the time to indulge and dream.... and then for a bonus which one on the list are you determined to put into action?
More walks along the beach...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

poetry party 7 | hidden rooms

invitation to poetry icon

Abbey of the Arts poetry party 7: hidden rooms

door heart I have this ultra-major thing for painted wood, in fact I've had it all my life, appropriately twinned together with my love of 100% cotton, and over the past half-dozen years I've painted or repainted at least eleven pieces of furniture! I also painted over the kitchen cabinets that were the same color as the dark green trim of the exterior of this building when I moved in, plus I've painted the inside of my entry-way door very slightly greener and a tad more subdued than the same-style blue door in this picture; although I've finished furniture painting for now, I still have a couple pieces to refinish. Maybe fresh paint and cotton sound very country, but I can tell you for sure I'm citified right to my center, to my heart...great pic, Christine!

heart room(s)

almost contrary to a wide reputation for spacious capacity, my heart fears not so much someone else opening its door at my invitation or from their own intent, but more often I'm closer to concern I'll let it swing open by casual almost mistake and my heart will need to carry too sizable regrets forevermore

Monday, November 05, 2007

Saving Grace | Bob Dylan

If You find it in Your heart, can I be forgiven?
Guess I owe You some kind of apology.
I've escaped death so many times, I know I'm only living
By the saving grace that's over me.

By this time I'd-a thought I would be sleeping
In a pine box for all eternity.
My faith keeps me alive, but I still be weeping
For the saving grace that's over me.

Well, the death of life, then come the resurrection,
Wherever I am welcome is where I'll be.
I put all my confidence in Him, my sole protection
Is the saving grace that's over me.

Well, the devil's shining light, it can be most blinding,
But to search for love, that ain't no more than vanity.
As I look around this world all that I'm finding
Is the saving grace that's over me.

The wicked know no peace and you just can't fake it,
There's only one road and it leads to Calvary.
It gets discouraging at times, but I know I'll make it
By the saving grace that's over me.

© 1980 Special Rider Music

late again...

...I'm late again, that is, but the BoSox hardly were late this year! As the Red Sox Nation Insider email observed just today,
Sox excelled from start to finish

The Red Sox took over first place in the American League East on April 18 and never looked back. Although the script almost fell apart in the American League Championship Series, Boston rallied back from a 3-1 hole to beat the Indians and then sweep the Rockies in the World Series.
I'm too aware this year wasn't as exciting for me as it might have been, but here's my blog about it any none how the less.

Friday, November 02, 2007

interviews F5

Interviews Friday 5 for today, outlined by Mother Laura of .

this far by faith...

1. What was the most memorable interview you ever had?

Tough one, but possibly one from the last century (so many now qualify for that non-distinction) where I was interviewing for a church music position. It was virtually the only time I've ever been excessively and probably visibly nervous in a public setting and toward the end they said "If we get serious about hearing you play..." hey, isn't that always part of the process of finding someone whose job will include playing? Despite having no intentions or desires whatsoever to be a church musician forever, I wanted the job in order to fund my social work degree and to get the experience that would make me valuable as a guest (substitute?) organist. Not to sound too vain and arrogant, not long after I ended up in a job that also included some involvement with the youth and CE programs, and I know if that other church had heard me play, I'd probably have gotten the job hands down, and it would have been far more limiting and less valuable to me in the long run.

2. Have you ever been the interviewer rather than the interviewee? If so, are you a tiger, a creampuff, or somewhere in between?

About 234239847 times, both when I've been on local church staff and have been part of the interviewing team for potential staff (usually musicians), and when I managed the rental property, interviewing future resident managers for the owner's other properties was part of my job description...landlord always told me I could hire them, but I refused and would only recommend my top choice, since I always imagined he figured if I'd hired them he could blame me, the hirer, if the hiree didn't work out well. tiger or creampuff? In the church I've been very demanding, since I had experience as a church musician and had lived through the "temperamental" stereotype which never fit me in the least, but that I did not want to need to work alongside if at all possible. Regarding future property managers, I tried to get a sense of how their background might be appropriate and how honest they be dealing with timecards and collecting rent. In that case I got to check references on the phone, and yep, I was a bit of a tiger.

3. Do phone interviews make you more or less nervous than in-person ones?

Depends on the stakes involved, but in general I'm far more confident FTF, since then both parties have the face and the body language as well as the inflection.

4. What was the best advice you ever got to prepare for an interview? How about the worst?

can't think of any in either category, but I've reminded and also realized no one can close a door God wants open and no one can open a door God closes, so don't sweat the small, medium or large stuff, but at least be well prepared by knowing as much as possible about the company or organization and present yourself as enthusiastic though please, not to an ultra-manic degree. this far by faith...

5. Do you have any pre-interview rituals that give you confidence?
...recent haircut and eyebrow wax...?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

1 John 3:1a

Here's another that likely will go through a longish series of different versions; it's from a very well-known first part of 1 john 3...
1 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. 3 And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
1 john 3:1a

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Beauty of Broken Things

invitation to poetry icon

Christine introduced this Invitation to Poetry, Beauty of Broken Things, with:
I’ve been reflecting a lot on grief and brokenness lately – I think there is something beautiful in our capacity to mourn over loss, to have an instinctual longing for life, to grow from our woundedness.
By the way, Christine creatively enhanced this haunting image from Mount Rainier. mount rainier

firestorm 2007

devil winds made wildfires rage
"now it's time for the recovery," said the tv voice
is this the promised baptism of fire?
if so, surely we can trust your promise of renewal and resurrection
if so, surely we will trust your promise of life restored!

God and God Alone

This afternoon I attended the awards presentation and reception for God's Creation Is Good; I didn't win a prize, but I can add to my résumé that all three of my entries were chosen for a selective juried show! Now I need to bust my gut to get some stuff ready for Art Walk and for St. Mark's Spring Liturgical Art exhibit. (Actually, most everything in this show was digitized and enhanced photography; mine were the only ones I'd describe as liturgical art.) But I'm mainly blogging because Shelley sang this amazingly beautiful song, and very surprisingly it's an oldie from 1984, yet new to me, which gives me such hope when I imagine I already know the outcomes of so much. I got to hear it about 2.5 times, since I sat in the sanctuary after viewing the exhibit and listened to her rehearse. I sat with Shelley at Summer Pops for Aaron Neville's concert, and it was great to be able to hear her gorgeous singing and give her a hug. The other songs were All Things Bright and Beautiful and by the congregation, too, This Is My Father's World. At the end of this blog I've included clickable thumbnails of my entries.

God and God Alone

God and God Alone
God and God alone
Created all these things we call our own
From the might to the small
The glory in them all
Is God's and God's alone

God and God alone
Reveals the truth of all we call unknown
All the best and worst of man
Can't change the master plan
It's God's and God's alone

God and God alone
Is fit to take the universe's throne
Let everything that lives
Reserve its truest praise
For God and God alone

God and God alone
Will be the joy of our eternal home
He will be our one desire
Our hearts will never tire
Of God and God alone

Words and Music by Phill McHugh
© 1984 River Oaks Music Co. (BMI)


genesis 9:13 - this one
Mountains Bow Down; Seas Will Roar
Revelation 22:2

Friday, October 26, 2007

cranberry bread

1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups raisin bran cereal
1 cup milk
1 slightly beaten egg
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 salad oil
1 tbsp grated orange peel
1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or other nuts

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Mix cereal and milk in a medium bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in egg, juice, oil and orange peel. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moistened (batter will be lumpy). Stir in cranberries and nuts.
Pour into greased 9x5 inch loaf pan.
Bake at 350° F. for 1 hours 15 minutes or until it passes the toothpick in the center test. Cool for just 10 minutes, and then remove from pan and finish cooling completely on a wire rack. Slices more easily after chilling.

Taos, New Mexico Pumpkin Bread

...raised!~~not my original recipe~~
  • active dry yeast - 1 tablespoon
  • brown sugar - 1/2 cup
  • warm water (105° - 115 F°) - 1 1/2 cups
  • fresh eggs - 2
  • pumpkin purée - 1 cup
  • salt - 1 tablespoon or less
  • white or yellow cornmeal - 1/2 cup
  • unbleached all-purpose or bread flour - 5 1/2 - 6 cups
  • cornmeal and flour for dusting and sprinkling

  1. Sprinkle yeast and a pinch of brown sugar over water in a large bowl; stir to combine and let stand until foamy, about 1 minute.
  2. With a whisk, add eggs and pumpkin to yeast mixture.
  3. Add remaining brown sugar, salt, cornmeal and 2 cups of flour.
  4. Beat hard with a whisk until smooth - about 3 minutes.
  5. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time with a spoon until a soft dough forms.
  6. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead vigorously for about 5 minutes to create a soft, smooth, elastic dough.
  7. Add enough remaining flour for dough to hold its own shape. Place in a greased bowl, turn once to grease top, and cover with plastic wrap or a linen towel. Let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
  8. Gently deflate dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Form into one large loaf and place on a greased or parchment-lined backing sheet sprinkled with cornmeal and flour; cover loaf loosely with plastic wrap or towel and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in volume again.
  9. Sprinkle top of loaf with flour.
  10. Slash loaf decoratively with a serrated knife; place in a preheated 450° oven, reduce oven temperature to 375° and bake 45 to 55 minutes, or until loaf is lightly browned. Cool on a rack before serving.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

pumpkin F5

Singing Owl brings us this Friday's long-anticipated (for a whole week now) pumpkin/apple friday 5.

pumpkins apples1. How did you celebrate this time of year when you were a child?

Dressing up in not too extreme a disguise with makeup rather than a mask and going around the neighborhood trick-or-treating, probably soliciting about 3 or 4 dozen houses.

2a. Do you and/or your family “celebrate” Halloween? Why or why not? And if you do, has it changed from what you used to do?

Currently I'm living without immediate family, roomie or spouse, but one or another church almost always has a party for kids and adults, and I try to hit one of those. Why? Hey, it's the Eve of All Saints' and in my theological and ecclesiastical tradition it's also Reformation Day, and I know Martin and Katie would glory in the day! Trick or treaters have been trickling down to fewer every year; since I don't care for candy and no one I know needs the calories in leftover candy, I've been buying pens, pencils, erasers and pencil sharpeners to give out to the kids, which they love, since school started a couple months ago and they're running low by late October.

2b. Candy apples: Do you prefer red cinnamon or caramel covered? Or something else?

I'll take my apples fresh, crispy and cool.

3. Pumpkins: Do you make Jack O’ Lanterns? Any ideas of what else to do with them?
Sometimes.

4. Do you decorate your home for fall or Halloween? If so, what do you do? Bonus points for pictures.

Due to condo "community" CCR's, we're allowed obvious holiday décor on doors, windows, etc. only so many days before and after a holiday, and how many days that is escapes me, but I usually hang a holiday wreath or arrangement or related on the front door and when available, window clings on the front windows. Inside I have a few Halloween Beanie Babies and placemats; that's about all. BTW, the pictures I've included in order to qualify for bonus points are PumpkinMarigold under the Christmas tree in one of our residences of yore.

5. Do you like pretending to be something different? Does a costume bring our an alternate personality?

I enjoy putting together a creative inexpensive costume, but just as when I was little I'd rather do an extreme version of regular street dress or party clothes with creative face painting rather than makeup or a mask. I want people to be able to recognize me as my usual identity with a hint of whoever it is I'm thinking about becoming for the future.

Bonus: Share your favorite recipe for an autumn food, particularly apple or pumpkin ones.

I want to post this now, Thursday evening, but I have several pumpkin, apple and other recipes I'd love to share, so I'll try to do that some time on Friday.

My own bonus bonus: A few years ago I won 1st prize in a writing contest for a Halloween story with a story about my Orange Cat, PumpkinMarigold, dressed up as a black cat!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

wildfires!!!

fire

fueled by santa ana winds, four years almost to the minute after the cedar fires, "we're at the mercy of the wind" - "the fire's going to do what it's going to do" - "0% contained"...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Top Chef F5

With homage to the top chef F5, here's an early Friday 5 for this week! I love this topic—doubtless I've already mentioned my two all-time favorite jobs were about food, but here I go again: writing restaurant reviews for the local radical broadsheet and later on, my gig as a line chef. I always explain I didn't have the school one needs these days to be a sous chef, but The Executive Chef trusted me sufficiently and thought highly enough of me that I did a lot of sous chef stuff.

1. If you were a food, what would you be?
Something with textures and flavors (colors, too) that vary with every bite, something you sometimes can't get enough of and then realize you're tired of—make me (literally) a fajita burrito. That's what we have every Christmas Eve, and these days it spells freedom and a kind of bittersweet homecoming.
2. What is one of the most memorable meals you ever had? And where?
So very many, but I'll indulge in summer night nostalgia, when way way back when we'd sit on the back steps of the parsonage, drink beer, eat salad and wait for the steak to grill.
3. What is your favorite comfort food from childhood?
First I'll pick the memory of eating sandwiches made with fresh homemade white bread, freshly picked beefsteak tomatoes, freshly ground pepper and Hellmann's/Best Foods mayonnaise with my grandmother at her kitchen table. Then, for a comfort food I can duplicate, among many possibilities I'll go with French Toast.
4. When going to a church potluck, what one recipe from your kitchen is sure to be a hit?
Typically I take 7-layer guacamole, etc. dip that always is a huge hit, or else a multi-ingredient salad. Another favorite is date nut bread made with a cup of strong coffee, but that's been a while now.
5. What’s the strangest thing you ever willingly ate?
My first time was willingly accidental! On Saturday evening of my first interview weekend in High Desert City, my hosts took me, their sons and sons' friends to a small Italian restaurant. We started the meal with individual side salads, and after we finished, my host exclaimed, "This was even better than the last time we were here—the calamari made the salad." At which point I thought, "I did it! I ate calamari and didn't even know it!" And have continued doing so ever since.

Bonus question: What’s your favorite drink to order when looking forward to a great meal?
Mundanely plebeian, in a restaurant I'll have a glass of Heineken or a local brew on draught. In someone's home, any beer or ale, or if they don't do spirits, Diet Coke TM or Diet Pepsi TM or water.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

interim connections and serious stuff

the connections

So this afternoon I played organ and piano for Markus' installation and had a great talk with Scott, who under the Formula of Agreement's provision for interchangeability of ministers of word and sacrament currently is serving as interim at HolyLand ELCA--in another FoA denomination. That's happening all over the place all across this country, but the crazy thing is that church is on Flat Mesa Blvd., the same street as this church he recently left after a long called interim, so I'm wondering if his next interim won't be at the local Taco Bell, since he's been gravitating to or it could be that entities only located on Flat Mesa Blvd. have been grabbing him? Does Taco Bell have any kind of formal agreement with other (food) denominations? Oh, yes--KFC, and also Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, A&W and Long John Silvers, all sheltered by the YUM umbrella. But if they're all YUM-affiliated, that doesn't make them different denoms, and besides, they all serve very different and distinctive types of food. Speaking of Taco Bell, I *think* the PCUSA, UCC, DoC (etc.) TB boycott has been over for some time now...try this site with the interesting fourth meal concept.

the serious stuff

Oh, how many times have I exclaimed to anyone who'd listen "sometimes I think I loved the Church more than I loved Jesus." This afternoon part of Scott's charge to Markus was to not love the church more than Jesus...just yesterday I was considering how somehow I'd become marginalized in a ton of ways from society's main streams (though not from the mainline church, since for the most part I still attended one or another), and yesterday evening I finally realized the Spirit of the Church had chased me outside the city gates, outside the purported shelter of the walls of the city=civilization to where I'd find Jesus, to where Jesus died--outside the city. Am I therefore suggesting it's harder to find Jesus in the church structure, in Word and Sacrament than to encounter Jesus outside the church? That's been suggested before. Theologian Darrell Guder accurately insists God does not limit Godself to the means of grace, and I've blogged and spoken my logical rejoinder, nonetheless, God does bind Godself to the means of grace, and I'll add whether or not we recognize, acknowledge or act upon that fact. Like lots of folks I've been thinking, writing and blogging tons about liminality, betwixt, betweenness neither here nor thereness and some of the meanings, dangers, and freedoms of life as exodus people--exodus people? Better make that baptized people!

dialog time

Last week hot cup lutheran blogged a really good one about small churches but it got deleted, though she's now done a related blog and asked,
So... (1) what do you think the forseable future of small churches is? (2) how do you overcome the inertia in your own setting? (3) what do you do when you feel 'devalued' on both ends of the church?... oh wait chocolate? hmmm good idea HotCup better post & go get some...
go check out the comments--more later here, but for now I'll scream PLEASE NO CHOCOLATE for me--it's not mandatory, is it?

Take a look at today's gospel:

Luke 17:11-19

11On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13they called out, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" 14When he saw them, he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were made clean. 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" 19Then he said to him, "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well."

Friday, October 12, 2007

b-i-b-l-e friday 5

Here's Columbus Day's wonderfully impossible b-i-b-l-e friday 5, outlined by Mother Laura of Junia's Daughter
Does everyone remember the old Sunday School song?

The B-I-B-L-E,
Oh, that's the book for me.
I take my stand on the Word of God,
The B-I-B-L-E.

I have been working on an expansive language version of the Psalms and the Liturgy of the Hours/Divine Office/Breviary. (For you non-liturgical gals and pals, that's a set of prayers for morning, noon, evening, etc., mostly consisting of Psalms and other biblical texts).

So I have been thinking a lot about the Bible recently, and how we encounter it as God's Word—or don't—in our lives, prayer, and ministry. (Great minds think somewhat alike this week, as yesterday's Ask The Matriarch post dealt with ways to help as many people in a community as possible engage with a scriptural text in preparation for Sunday worship).

So, in that spirit, I offer my first Friday Five. I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's experience and reflection on these B-I-B-L-E questions:
No, I don't remember that songs and still haven't learned it, though I've heard it a few times. I love this F5 and again I'm later than I like to be, so my answers will be far shorter than complete or comprehensive.
isaiah 55:10-11

1. What is your earliest memory of encountering a biblical text?

As a young, unchurched undergrad, I was just starting out in my first (American Baptist) church home when the depth of the entire book of Romans mystified and intrigued me, while it seemed as if everyone else in the community knew it well (at least the text). Fast-forwarding, a lot more than a few years: in one of my current churches the Sunday adult class had elected to study Romans, and we'd divided facilitating the group between the two of us who had some formal training in bible and theology. One Sunday the guy who'd been scheduled to lead us wasn't in church, and the following Sunday he said to me, "I assumed you'd lead the class when you saw I wasn't there." At that point I realized I could have lead a discussion of Romans without immediately recent preparation, though I sure wouldn't want to.

2. What is your favorite biblical translation, and why? (You might have a few for different purposes).

NRSV, though needless to say I appreciate others, especially The Message.

3. What is your favorite book of the Bible? Your favorite verse/passage?

A few: from the Hebrew Bible, especially Deuteronomy and 2nd Isaiah; in the New Covenant scriptures, Galatians, Romans, Luke/Acts. I'll choose only a single verse out of too many possibles, Galatians 3:28, "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus."

4. Which book of the Bible do you consider, in Luther's famous words about James, to be "an epistle of straw?" Which verse(s) make you want to scream?

In liberty I'll disagree with Luther's opinion of James, and rather than specific verse or passages (interest of time, remember) I'll mention people's unfortunate habit of forming their own canon of only books and passages that they can interpret in a manner that reflects their own biases and preferences (hey, I probably do that, as well).

5. Inclusive language in biblical translation and liturgical proclamation: for, against, or neutral?

Totally for, and I embarrass myself when I fail in that regard or when I fail to take the time to make my own translations or tweak others' versions. I love Laura's phrase expansive language.

Bonus: Back to the Psalms—which one best speaks the prayer of your heart?

Lots and lots, but for now I'll mention Psalm 119; I also love JS Bach's pair of settings of "These are the Holy Ten Commandments" in his Small and Large Catechism Chorales (for you non-musicians out there, Bach, who was a totally passionate and very Lutheran follower of The Way of Jesus Christ, composed a version of Luther's Small and Large Catechisms for organ), the first is so Psalm 1:2a "My Delight is in the Law of the Lord" while the second is so Psalm 1:2b "I meditate on thy law all day long." I'll end by quoting the verse that's part of my current Blogger profile: "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee." Psalm 73:25