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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.