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Sunday, September 30, 2007

sunday simmerings

...all of six years ago at exactly this time of fall I walked into Beachside Community Center and immediately knew why none of the other jobs and situations had worked out: God had saved the very best for last, something such a perfect fit no human ever could have imagined it. this far by faith wordcloudAfter all those years of jobs, living situations, etc. signed, sealed and delivered, etc. that then fell through, etc., that entire disappointing past suddenly was completely over. My passion for the city, its people and its infrastructure, my background in the social sciences, my activist heart, my theological perspective...the Community Economic Development program itself uniquely brought together those interests and experiences, and when I walked into Beachside, I realized the social work degree hadn't been beside the point, after all, although actually, it never really had been, since in my last two calls I had economic parity with what they'd have given someone ordained to ministry of word and sacrament, because I had equivalent education.

Late last evening as again I was asking God "why," I began wondering if there could be some way for me somehow to do something related to all that? The immediately post-CED year I attended all the networking events, all the meet 'n' greets and did several small business workshops plus the CCDC's Entrepreneur Academy. The year after that I did a few, but then it seemed as if nothing would evolve from my CED year, after all. "They" told us 85% of jobs are found through networking, house blues and I didn't know where to turn. Prior to High Desert City I'd never had a crummy job, and a few of those did me no harm, but then the scummy jobs began, and my several attempts to get vocational and plain old job services never bore fruit.

In terms of something CED-related, I'm not necessarily thinking of storefront transformation or brownfield reclamation, but something related has to be out there?! Neighborhood revitalization, maybe? Here's preservation project, not exactly one of my most active blogs, but it does say something about The City and the cities. In general I haven't been very public about details of my life and world (though that's my condo courtyard incorporated into my graphic collage), since I don't blog anonymously, but this Sunday evening I'm wondering out loud; may peace be with all of you.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Mountains bow down and the seas...

Mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of Your Name...
Today I'm blogging only thumbnails without linking to the larger images, mainly because the 2nd and 3rd still need some refining and don't look good enough yet at mega-view.

mountains seasmountains seasmountains seas

Swan Song F5

Swan Dreams coverReverendMother's Swan Song that's also today's Friday 5, introduced with:
Well friends, as I prepare for the birth of Bonus Baby, it's time to simplify life, step back from the Friday Five, and let one of the other capable and creative RevGals take the helm. It's been a great almost 17 months of co-hosting the F5, but it's time to say goodbye... so here's my swan song.
On Endings and Goodbyes

1. Best ending of a movie/book/TV show

Again I'm late in F5 time, so I'll default into the book of Revelation's New Creation at the end of the book of books, The Bible.

2. Worst ending of a movie/book/TV show

The last episode of Will & Grace, one of the only sitcoms I've ever watched on a reasonably regular basis.

3. Tell about a memorable goodbye you've experienced.

Not just one, but every time I left my grandmother after visiting her for however long, since I knew she was getting older (just as we're all doing) and despite everything, she'd been the only family member who wasn't too too crazy and consistently had supported me and my dreams.

4. Is it true that "all good things must come to an end"?

Sometimes trite phrases are true, but I'd interpret that not so much as they must end, but that change, modification, transformation and reformation are inevitable when the Spirit of Life prevails, which, of course, S/He always does.

5. "Everything I ever let go of has claw marks on it." —Anne Lamott Discuss.

I've learned it's impossible fully to let go of the past or acknowledge it's over until you have something reasonable to take its place, but I so tend to keep grasping tightly whatever it was, longing for the new but terrified it won't arrive or won't be as good as the old.

Swan Dreams playlistBonus: ...propose an alternative: "It isn't over until...dawn breaks on the next installment."

PS Please note I've included CD inserts for RM's Swan Song.

PPS Many thanks and many blessings, RM!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

genesis 9:13 - this one

as much as I love the other one with the golden yellow (wheat color) text, most likely I'll enter this one, since I'm printing it on 8.5 x 11 paper and the light text displays better, even on the screen.

genesis 9:13 - this one

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

SUnFlOwEr rEQuiEm

Invitation to PoetryChristine announced another invitation to poetry, and this time her offer includes getting our poems on her blog plus an irresistible
I'll add your contributions all week and then on Friday I'll do something a little bit different for everyone who writes their own poem. I'll make a laminated prayer card for each participant with the photo below on one side and your own poem on the other and then mail it off to you! Yes, everyone. Even if you are one of my wonderful readers who lives in England, or Australia, or New Zealand.
Christine asks, "What stirs in you this autumn day as the season invites us to contemplate letting go?" What stirs me? Instead of the "Requiem for a Sunflower" she suggests, I'm going for


SUnFlOwEr rEQuiEm

sunflowerin the popular sense to eternally rest
is nothing I'd ever desire to test
fall every year brings us hope very blessed
as nature becomes fast somberly dressed
reminding us life always waits upon dying
the outcome all reasonable logic defying

equinox plus with this evening's full moon
September day twenty-six late afternoon
warm days cool nights as they wait to maintain
grace in the shadows, mercy in rain

this beach town's still Paradise sand and high tide
blaze into the world, please don't stay outside
instead of just settling reaching for the sky
celebrate God's bounty and abundant sweet supply

bread sent from heaven and fruit of the vine
community's nurturing right down the line
embracing this planet to shelter us and bear
everything we offer as we lift it up in prayer

church's singing cadence sometimes preaching up a storm
bidding Holy Spirit to enter and transform
blogging more for desert fire, theology, recall it?
get on out there, scratch for life don't ever ever quit

after sleep-filled months of darkened winter's dearth
finally in springtime arriving full of mirth
God's glory full incarnate declaring our worth
descends to us from heaven, yet reborn from the earth

in the popular sense to eternally rest
is nothing I'd ever consider the best
sunflower's requiem, our requiescat, too
not slumbering peace but creation's latest hue
astonished with rejoicing easter day returns
from the heart of the earth as all creation yearns
eternally in Christ sent into the world
resurrection banners triumphantly unfurled

Sunday, September 23, 2007

church this morning...

the music, that is, turned out to be bloggable, but first, some history: several months ago Left Right in the City Senior Pastor and I were discussing hymns, church music and related. He said to me, "If you think [John] Ylvisaker is bad, I can tell you about something ten times worse." That worse happened during the time he served as minister of music at a Big Steeple; it was a musical setting of the liturgy one of the pastors on staff wrote on vacation or study leave or retreat with help from his portable keyboard and notated in multi-colored Big Notes. I assume the keyboard software automatically made the notation? I concluded that segment of the conversation by saying "If I never hear "Borning Cry" again it'll be way too soon."

Oh, church this morning. I missed the Call to Worship, "Antiphonal Psalm" by Pfohl, so can't say a thing about it. The hymns were standard favorites: Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart (stanzas 1,3,4); Son of God, Eternal Savior, stanzas 1,2 (In Babilone is one of my favorite hymn-tunes of all time); and the With One Voice version of Be Thou My Vision, which either differs a little from others I've sung or an unintended variant got printed in the bulletin. Clearly none of that's especially unique, but the anthem! That anthem! It was (happily long over several hours ago) an arrangement of my aforementioned mega-fave, Borning Cry that modulated into the next higher key with every stanza. In my usual winsome and appealing manner, after worship I said to SP, "The anthem was horrendous!!" (Though the actual singing itself had been okay, I assured him.) He replied, "The sad thing is, that was one of our best!"

Friday, September 21, 2007

freecycle freecycling

Jan from Yearning for God visited my Friday 5 today, where along with Sally and maybe a few others I'd mentioned my love of freecycling. Purpletologically Speaking also had said something about maybe getting interested in participating, so here's a little about it.

I'm not sure if the original name (though definitely not the concept) originated in the UK or in Tucson, AZ, but it sure has become widespread. The idea is to post about the item online with OFFERED, WANTED, TAKEN or RECEIVED in the subject line. It can be in almost any stage of newness, oldness, repair or lack thereof, but needs to have some useful life left. When an item or collection seems particularly choice, adding "No Resellers" to your text always is a good idea, and some of us routinely add "No Flakes," since there are a few--especially that guy over in Inland Citrus who automatically pops a half-sentence email asking when he can pick it up no matter what I have for the taking.

Here in Paradise freecycle is a Yahoo! group, so you need a Yahoo! account, but I get the emails in my Gmail and could have them sent to any account, though I'd've had to create a Yahoo! profile if I didn't have one already. I'd estimate the average number of posts on the site at a couple dozen a day; they range from moving boxes to rugs to fruit from your tree to unused tickets, coupons or food. That's about it!

To find out about a freecycle group near where you live, try a search with the name of your town or nearest big city ( in a less-populated area try the name of your county) plus "freecycle" and/or "freecycling." Easy and without cost, freecycle forms a model of grace!

recycling decluttering F5

de-cluttering Friday 5 via the RevGals today!

Suggested by Sally:
With Jo, Jon and Chris all moving to college and University accommodation there has been a big clear up going on in the Coleman household. We have been sorting and trying hard not just to junk stuff, but actually to get it to where it can be useful. On a brighter note we have used Freecycle (check it out) to provide the twins with pots and pans etc that other folk were clearing out. Making the most of our resources is important, I have been challenged this week by the amount of stuff we accumulate, I'd love to live a simpler lifestyle, it would be good for me, and for the environment I think...With that in mind I bring you this Friday 5.
1. Never, ever a hoarder, but I go back and forth between not letting go and purging way too much. However, for the past year I've been freecycling lots and lots of stuff, and I'll recommend it, too. In fact I've freecycled so much I decided to try listing everything and so far I have 51, which includes lots that count as only a single line item, like cassette tapes.

Harwich original2. After extensive and intensive pondering, I decided the (material I assume) object I never will part with...my academic transcripts and letters of call...oh, they are hard copies, but that's not what Sally means. My original bible, an India-paper RSV that has been many places, has near-endless notes and been consulted countless times...no, not that one either. Harwich seasonsI'll choose the analog scrapbook I made of snapshots from my grandparents house; I've been digitizing it just over the past couple weeks and plan to upload it to one of my unused domain names. The pic on the left is the very unimproved version of the house; pic on the right features the holiday cards they made of the house during each of the seasons.

3. The oldest item in my closet is one of three shirts, probably from 1995 or thereabouts, since I know I took one of them to the Convention I attended in Minneapolis-St. Paul during summer 1995. During that era floral prints superimposed on plaids were popular. I still have and still wear (yep, they fit!) all three. Two are brightly multi-colored Indian cotton; the third is a 50% outrageously garish cotton blend that goes wonderfully with my long, chrome orange denim skirt. When I've been off the alb, I've even preached in that outfit! Actually, I've won two Jessica's Gunnies skirts on eBay that chronologically are even older, probably from the late 1970s or early 1980s, but they haven't been part of my life all that long.

4. I LOVE yard sales, and have bought some of my most fave things at them.

5. At the moment I'm satisfied with having gotten so into freecycling, but maybe I could donate some of my books to a church or other library.

Bonus: whatever I want—thanks again, Sally!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

surrender...

Lord, in the quiet of this place,
I am surrounded by Your grace.
I come with heavy heart and soul;
I long for You to take control,
and I surrender, Lord!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

autumn prep

For this last week of summer, Abbey of the Arts' Christine posted about the forthcoming season of fall, and I'm springing for her challenge:
flowers sky sunMaybe this is the season you choose to make more space to listen to the longings of your soul or experiment with writing down your dreams and seeing what happens when you begin to take them seriously. Or maybe its just a time to commit to being really good to yourself, a time of self-care and nurture you perhaps haven’t had in a while. Or maybe you want to reflect more deeply on what autumn is inviting you to let go of — what things or relationships are draining for you? What belief systems no longer serve you? Which images of God have become too small? How are you preparing for the season of autumn? What resources would you recommend?
I love her questions, sufficient for at least a few chapters in a book, but I want at least to say something about those topics it's easy to avoid but essential to encounter and consider.

Dreams: In his song "Rollin' Home," Eric Andersen insists "It's not the time but just the dreams that die." I thought maybe my dreams had died, but probably not--the time's simply been very long and in some ways I've been exceedingly patient, but in other ways I've let life happen too often, mainly by making excessive excuses for people's behaviors. So despite yet another unfun summer, for the new seasons I'm seizing my dreams and expecting to fly.

Self-care and nurture: I almost never get physically tired, but need to be more aware of when my brain gets tired. Over the past years I've decided if I haven't been able to find another community or group of friends who know Where I Live and Who I Am, at least I need to produce something to show for my hours, days, weeks and...seasons. Despite really wanting and needing to lose some ellbees, I've tried to not skip meals except when I'm intentionally fasting. Sleep? Don't even think about that word. This was too short, but explains the general idea.

Letting go--relationships, beliief systems, things: Some of the RevGals have blogged about letting go of the toxic side of their relationship with themselves, and I'm continuing with that daily struggle. Of course behaviors and attitude that tell us we're unworthy and less-good belong in a horrifically flawed belief system, so in the process of letting go, again I'm picking up the Way of Jesus Christ that commands me love God, neighor and self.

Too-small images of God: some still persist, but experiencing Mercy and Grace helps obliterate and unimagine the most serious ones.

Physical preparation for the new season: winters here in Paradise usually are benign, but still I take out sweaters I haven't been wearing and put away the lighter weight ones along with my shirts, skirts, shorts and tops that distinctively shout summer. I have quite a few quilts and comforters, some of which look and feel better for the less sunny times of the year, so they get swapped out, too.

Recomended resources: frequent prayer; a constant attitude of prayer; good nutrition; supportive friends and community. Reading books and blogs...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

according to blogthings, I'm noon!

Thanks, PS

You Are Noon

You are upbeat, ambitious, and never at loss for energy.
You have a lot that drives you in life. The desire to be the best, and a secret hope of fame and power.
And while you definitely have a Type A personality, you are still fun to be around.
You have a ton of charisma and a genuine interest in others. You are adored by many.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Classical Mystery Tour

CMT home

Talk about a really really old one--several Friday evenings ago on 17 August I got to go to Summer Pops again at the Embarcadero South. Thanks again, Lea Ann and Pat (of WalkerVision Interarts videographers); this concert was phenomenally special, healing and spectacularly reviving!

I truly intended to write at least a few more bloggy thoughts, but given the late date I'm posting, again I'll say the front row center table was a position of incredible privilege and made it very easy to get up and dance my feet off for the last half-hour or so! I didn't list the songs they sang, but a few of their best included...
Imagine - Strawberry Fields Forever - Hey Jude - Penny Lane - A Day In The Life (the crescendo alone was worth the entire concert!) - All You Need Is Love - The Long And Winding Road - Got To Get You Into My Life - The End - Magical Mystery Tour - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - With A Little Help From My Friends - Hard Day's Night - Yellow Submarine - Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da - You've Got To Hide Your Love Away - Hello, Goodbye - Come Together
That's a pretty good sampling; Here Comes the Sun is the only important to me song they didn't sing.

Friday, September 14, 2007

rumpled sheets

invitation to poetry icon

rumpled sheetsChristine of Abbey of the Arts offers Rumpled Sheets—another Invitation to Poetry. Particularly given that I live in a coastal desert where the weather is relatively mild year-round, these sandy-colored sheets could be about any season—no blanket or quilt visible in the picture, but I'm imagining one at the foot of the bed, or maybe that's fallen onto the floor.

Here's my poem:


urban, summery—full of hope
these sheets look slept-in but
surface appearances sometimes deceive

slept-in, rolled up in, or crumpled
from restless, too lonely nights?
now the bed is empty
oh, you know the pain's not in sleeping alone
sometimes a bed to myself feels "just right"
empty bed and starless dark sky
like almost every other early dawn

I'm in the kitchen waiting for daybreak
expecting the surge of hope each new day reveals
as intricate colors unfold, often surprise

I won't return to the rumpled bed 'til
its welcoming invitation
at end o'day
to pull the quilt over the covers
around my shoulders and wait again for
dreams I'll dare make true this time

F5 - meetings

Long Meetings Easy play for today suggested by ReverendMother:
In honor of a couple of marathon meetings I attended this week:
1. What's your view of meetings? Choose one or more, or make up your own:
a) When they're good, they're good. I love the feeling of people working well together on a common goal.
b) I don't seek them out, but I recognize them as a necessary part of life.
c) The only good meeting is a canceled meeting.

1. I'll do my own take combining a) and my own—typically church meetings didn't thrill or even excite me when I was serving FT in The Church, but these days I feel validated when/if I need to attend one, and a week with more than one, preferably evening meetings, really floats my boat. I know, probably kind of weird. Oh, there are meetings other than church? Probably, but that's my answer for now.


2. Do you like some amount of community building or conversation, or are you all business?

Depends on the situation—I have a l-o-o-o-n-g history of being extremely accommodating, but that also can be described as giving everyone a hearing. However, in real life, I pay little attention to anything negative anyone says about me or about anyone or any situations, so short answer "yes."

3. How do you feel about leading meetings? Share any particular strengths or weaknesses you have in this area.

I'll refer to 2, where I admit to being too-accommodating in some ways, but in general I like to lead meetings because we can get through the agenda faster (BETTER!) than if someone else does it.

4. Have you ever participated in a virtual meeting? (conference call, IM, chat, etc.) What do you think of this format?

No, not yet, but I'm waiting for that day and wondering what my assessment will be.

5. Share a story of a memorable meeting you attended.

Ummm, none that I can remember right at the moment.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

09/11/2001 + 6

Is anyone still there? Does anyone even care? Just as in the year 2001, today is Tuesday, 9/11; on the evening of Thursday, o9/13/2001 the PC(USA), ELCA, UCC and RC churches on this mesa celebrated Eucharist together, celebrated a feast and festival of death and resurrection; the following year on 9/11 I attended a memorial service that included a phenomenal short film by a member of the congregation at one of the churches down the hill from here in Pacific Beach. This morning the early morning channel 10 news showed ceremonies live from Ground Zero, while the local and network evening news made a fair amount of this anniversary, with several clips from then and quite a number from now. On the PC(USA) Presbyterian Bloggers blog Stushie posted another of his beautiful stained glass pieces Never Forget 9-11; I'm sure there have been many blogs, laments and signs of hope throughout today, but Diane's blog, where she quotes Robert Frost's "Fire and Ice," was the first I noticed, because I'd gone there to find out how Scout was doing. All day today has marked another year spent post-911; next September 11 will be the 7th--in ecclesiastical circles we'd call it a Sabbath Year. Does that mean something or does it mean anything at all?

It is too true I've been grieving yet somehow living with and within my own grief that has spun hours and other aspects of most of my days into a kind of time warp, so much so that this noon I wondered "why" about the American flags lining Convoy Street (despite having watched the morning news). The Western world, this nation, cities, families and the world now lives well aware of pre-911 and post-911 ways of being. Sometimes people point out that when you have a toothache, headache, heartache or lifeache, when it's severe enough, logically and almost necessarily that's what you're mostly going to be thinking about and obsessing over, trying to fully feel alternating with trying to not feel so intensely. Those 9/11 affected very closely have lost so much more than I ever have, but part of God's provision in the wake of any loss, any pain or casualty is for a person and a people to have a community to trust, lean upon and just plain be with. Six years ago I was near the start of the Community Economic Development program, and Monday evening, 9/10/2001, we'd had an evening-long seminar on some important topic (I have my CED notes and schedule and could look it up but won't). I'm usually a very early riser but on Tuesday, 9/11/2001 I was tired and slept in for a half-hour, so I turned on the news at about 5:45 Paradise Time, when the 2nd plane had just flown into the 2nd tower. How many times have I picked myself up and kept going despite everything? Lots. But however I parse my own experiences of the past half-dozen years and begin some essential truth-telling I need to admit yes, I did believe the scholarship I got to the CED program literally had redeemed my life so again I'd be serving the world in a way somewhat commensurate with my gifts, skills, education and (yes!) aspirations, but six years later that's not happening, nor have I been able again to find and participate in anything remotely related to a professional or plain ole standard-issue social network.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

impression; presentation

impression

A quick one for this early evening...this morning while Joyce, my Joyful Harvest (the ELCA's welcoming evangelism program) companion and I were walking together, hanging door hangers on doors, I commented how nice the neighborhood was. Joyce (a teenager) replied, "Yes! Lots of shade." It was decades ago and technically had a different focus, but the cry still applies--from the Stones "Gimme Shelter"--
Oh, a storm is threatening
My very life today
If I don't get some shelter
Oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away
We were in the old, revitalizing community of North [of Balboa] Park, with its mostly old housing stock, and after Joyce's comment I started looking closely at the single- and multi-family dwellings that were in every stage of repair, disrepair and renovation imaginable! For almost two hours we walked a fairly limited span of mostly residential city streets, and the variety was amazing, but I began to notice the chunks of space that impressed me as feeling best and pleasantest were the ones with the most shade trees; those trees sometimes had newly painted, well-renovated houses nearby and sometimes kind of shabby ones. Sometimes our cry and our most immediate need is for shelter, sanctuary and shade, right?

presentation

When I worked as a line chef, our boss The Chef used to visit new restaurants. I recall his telling us about one in particular in a neighborhood that would qualify as a La Jolla equivalent here in Paradise. The Chef said when he really began tasting the food he realized it definitely was okay, though not noteworthy, but the presentation was gorgeous! Appearances do count, and they can add up quickly.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Tagged by Diane!

Tagged by Diane for 8 things about me (almost three months back). Diane's Faith in Community blog

8 Things about Diane

I've Been Tagged--by Diane; here are the rules:
1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. In the interest of getting this posted, I'm going to wait on this and notify people over the next few days. So many people have played, it's going to take some searching, though some folks might not be adverse to playing again.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
Like wine or cheese or accounts payable, this blog has been aging for a while; I sort of hoped my thoughts would mature (like wine, cheese, or...) but after all, it's only supposed to be a modest number of things, EIGHT!!!!! (no, not multiply factorial; the !!!'s are for rhetorical emphasis...)

1. Diane began her list by telling us she's left-handed; I started out left-handed, but that idiot kindergarten teacher tied a green string on the right wrist of each of the kids who weren't writing as righties. Happily, like many lefties, I was somewhat ambidextrous, and these days I'm quite right-handed.
2. In that long-ago but often still almost present today past, I wanted to be a social worker so I could help save my corner of the world.
3. I have a Real Name TM attribution on Amazon...
4. I wear silver jewelry almost exclusively
5. I have 5 piercings in my right ear and 3 in my left
6. My two all-time favorite jobs were about food: 1.) an unpaid volunteer job writing restaurant reviews for the local radical rag--I've blogged a bunch of those restaurant reviews for safekeeping, but won't link to them right now.; 2) working as a line chef for a high-end, just short of gourmet restaurant.
7. I never wear a cross any more--if anyone comments (and sometimes they do) I tell them "I'm too much a a Calvinist to wear a cross," but in real life my theology is at least as much Luther as it is Calvin; I say I'm Reformationish to the core! Though I have a bunch of beautiful crosses I used to wear with my alb, these days I usually preach in street clothes because it's a vernacular word, but then again I've been rethinking that practice because wearing a robe accentuates the preacher's role in speaking a Word of Life and in terms of leadership, to some extent obliterates the individuality and uniqueness of people in worship leadership (in a good way), whether pastor, liturgist, lector, preacher, choir or other musicians.
8. I LoVe, love, LOVE cities!

Okay, over the next couple days I'm going to try to find a few people who haven't played and tag them...

Overcoming Friday 5

Today's Friday 5: on overcoming

again from Sally, who blogs:
I am preparing this Friday 5 just before I take Chris into hospital for a cardioversion, right now we are all a little apprehensive. But this whole thing has got me thinking, so many of us are overcomers in one way or anoither, so many have amazing stories to tell of God's faithfulness in adversity. And so I bring you this Friday 5.
1. Have you experienced God's faithfulness at a difficult time? Tell as much or as little as you like...
Oh, yes—would that I'd someday learn I'm not in control! I'd really like to say lots, but it's already past 8:30 in Paradise and I want to get this posted.

2. Have you experienced a dark night of the soul, if so what brought you through?
Time, trust, intuition, insight, scriptures and sacraments.

3. Share a Bible verse, song, poem that has brought you comfort?
Out of a possible 2342,30498,2903,84.23487, I'll limit myself to just two today:

Shout to the Lord, by Darlene Zschech
My Jesus, my Savior, Lord there is none like You.
All of my days, I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love.
My comfort, my shelter, tower of refuge and strength,
Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You.
Shout to the Lord, all the earth let us sing:
Power and majesty, praise to the King.
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name.
I sing for joy at the work of Your hands
Forever I'll love You, forever I'll stand.
Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.
by Luise Henriette of Brandenburg, Jesus, meine Zuversicht, 1649, set to music by Johann Crüger in 1653; I'll cite three of the ten stanzas of Catherine Winkworth's translation I found on cyberhymnal:
Jesus Christ, my sure Defense
And my Savior, ever liveth;
Knowing this, my confidence
Rests upon the hope it giveth
Though the night of death be fraught
Still with many an anxious thought.

Jesus, my Redeemer, lives;
I, too, unto life shall waken.
Endless joy my Savior gives;
Shall my courage, then, be shaken?
Shall I fear, or could the Head
Rise and leave His members dead?

Nay, too closely I am bound
Unto Him by hope forever;
Faith’s strong hand the Rock hath found,
Grasped it, and will leave it never;
Even death now cannot part
From its Lord the trusting heart.
4. Is "why suffering" a valid question?
Not only is it a valid question—Martin Luther cites suffering and persecution (even!) as one of the marks of the true church. No time this morning to answer this exam question more fully, but thanks anyway, Sally.

5. And on a lighter note- you have reached the end of a dark and difficult time - how are you going to celebrate?flowers
Great food, no calories or decadence barred, new or new-to-me clothes—funky, fancy or formal, maybe a special furnishing or artifact to display in my home, its secret celebratory meaning known and understood only by me—but this current, surprisingly long long, dark and difficult time hasn't even threatened to end yet, so I do those things anyway.

Bonus- anything you wish to add....
a) Prayers arising for you and Chris

b) from Revelation 2, to the angel of the church in Pergamum
2:17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

when in my life...

In a timely way, since I watched a Dr. Keith episode just this afternoon (Dr. Keith Ablow talks a lot about truth), I also just discovered when in your life, another excellent blog idea from PS, out of a book by Mark Yaconelli called Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus. PS poses four questions from Yac; only the 4th one *truly* applies to me at this moment, but it applies to an ultra-huge degree. I'll answer all of them anyway, since I need to do lots more in my life regarding the first three...this is something like a Thursday Four in preparation for Friday's Five!

1. Where in your life did you stop singing?
Never--I just don't sing often enough! When we have my fave songs In church, whether more traditional hymns or more contemporary praise, I'm willing to expend the energy it takes to sing well, but otherwise I don't and won't. I also like singing with the radio and CDs, esp oldies.

2. Where in your life did you stop dancing?
I haven't stop dancing, either--just need to dance more and trust life more as it dances randomly, sometimes wildly around me.

3. Where in your life did you stop telling stories?
This one is off, on, often not enough and then approaching just enough.

4. Where in your life did you stop listening to silence?
engulfedHistorically in my life fear rises in the silence and overwhelms the space around me as far as I can imagine, engulfing and submerging me--last winter I even illustrated it. (I well may have blogged this picture last winter when I did it, but here it is again.) Did I ever mention how much I love to socialize but detest being alone? Simply cannot handle it. Anxiety is something else...one needs (you need, I need) some anxiety in order to be productive, but there is such a thing as excessive, excessive anxiety. snowdance That's another topic for 'nother time. What's wonderful about listening in The Silence is the sacramentally hidden life, movement and activity you end up hearing (in, with and under, of course) it all, after all. My diet isn't technically low-salt, I don't cook with salt and I never add salt to my food, but I've heard many people who've been forced to reduce their sodium intake say now they can taste the food--they'd forgotten or maybe never knew what they'd been missing, which seems a close parallel to the way being stripped of more usual noises and distractions makes us hear (and see, too?!) more acutely. Wherever you are, in every season of the year, listen to the city, to the countryside, to the ocean waves on the sand, to desert's life hidden below the surface of the sand.

contemplative: Most days I try for a 20-minutes centering prayer session, but often anxiety still overwhelms me. A friend who now serves a congregation in a different city north of here introduced me to Fr. Thomas Keating and Centering Prayer. I even got to hear Fr. Thomas when he was in town a few years back! Also have watched some of his videos; he tells us a commentary goes along with every emotion. These days the only negative emotion I'm able to feel is the passage of time, but without including dull details, there have been too many times I've been excluded from something by someone, and my response to myself always is saying that person saved other people from my incompetence. As he said, the commentary. But can there not ever be a positive, redemptive one?

and

presence: beyond teaching an occasional middle-school class, I haven't worked much with youth in recent years, but I remember what a treat it was to accompany them on winter weekend retreats and ski trips in Utah and in Massachusetts--with both states being subject to lots of snow. Right after last Christmas it snowed a lot on Mount Lemmon for the first time in ages--here's my blog about it. There's something about the way falling snow and newly-fallen snow, especially powder, compels us to listen and to hear--other people, too! In those out-of-our-everyday ordinary places and spaces, people often are more relaxed, willing and able to reveal more of themselves, even to trust more. It's as if the snow forms a safe enclosure, a sheltering sanctuary.

Romans 6:4 - NEW!!!

Romans 6:4Romans 6:4
Romans 6:4Romans 6:4

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

general blog for tuesday

It seem "as if" because it is that I'm not doing much real thinking or writing these days; after all, we've had an unusual week-long heat wave here in Paradise, where the weather is supposed to be far more moderate.

For the most part I don't chronicle my day or parts thereof on a blog, but due to whatever, that's what I'm doing now. Yesterday was Labor Day, occasionally considered summer's real end, so late this morning I went to Wally World in another attempt to find a pair of refined dress pants vallejo pantsto wear during the coming cooler seasons of fall and winter. Feeling almost overcome by thirst and just having heard reports of several deaths from heat in this county, I stopped at McDonald's because they still have 42 ounce drinks for 69¢. What fun surroundings! Close to the inside of the guest area, Harvard Square-tinged Baroque/Rococo instrumental ensemble music descended from ceiling speakers, while in the other corner, Fox News was in action. The wall above my head featured seven acrylic(? - think) paintings by artist Tanja Ronniger: origami animals whale, dove, seal, elephant, hen(I think) and I'm not sure, though I made a sketch and may try to research the critter. That's only six; the 7th painting was numbered, so technically it probably qualifed as giclée. Post-drinking my diet coke I really did go to Wal*Mart, where I successfully found an affordable pair of casual dress pants that fit me now and I hope still will fit 15 or 20 pounds later (less, that is).

Monday, September 03, 2007

Faces in the Wind

I love this song! From Karla Bonoff's first(?), self-titled album.

karla bonoffFaces in the Wind

I went down to the sea
To see if you were sleeping
If your dreams covered all your cares
Like a ship flying three sheets to the wind
You might have been crazy
With all the things you've been

I went down to the sea
To lay beside you sleeping
And you woke and told me of your life
Like a ship been caught inside a wind
You might have been broken
With all the things you've been

Chorus:
Good-bye
Too many faces have I
To see that only one has ever been
Too many faces in the wind

I went down to the sea
To hear your storytelling
And your eyes followed me around
Like a light been turning in the wind
You might have been crazy
With all the things you've been

Chorus