Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye to 2008

I read an editorial earlier this morning about how it is so easy to look back on a year and wonder where it went. I am relating to that premise, as I wonder where 2008 went and try to remember some of the stuff I did during it.

I golfed twice a week all summer, and even golfed into the fall during marching season. And I finally broke 50 - twice in a row. Of course, ending the season with my worst score - 65 - was a bummer, but I choose to remember those two 47s, and the time I parred two holes in a row.

The Worship Team's annual Prayer Summit was probably the best it's ever been.

I became president of my teacher's association, and it has been a great experience so far.

I traveled to Florida with my music students, and marched down Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom. And discovered that other than doing that, I really don't care if I ever go to the Magic Kingdom again.

I not only played golf, I watched a bunch. I watched Annika eagle the 72nd of her last US Women's Open. And was there anyone who could not see how compelling golf could be when Tiger pulled a ... well, Tiger ... and won the 2008 US Open Championship?

I got a new convertible. Well, new to me, and my second one. And I found a bluetooth device that works in my car with the top down!

I got a BlackBerry, to which I have fast become addicted. Who knew? I will be forever grateful to my brother for selling me on the idea. My phone bill will not.

I discovered Viigo and Twitter, and am thinking about the best ways to use them, one as an information goldmine, and one as a method of connection with people.

I lost a dear friend, and gained a few.

And I got to 270 Facebook friends. Oy.

So, 2008 was pretty good. And more happened than I thought, as I sit and think about it.

May 2009 be as good, or better.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

bertie the alien dog

Ok, this is such a crazy shot, I had to post it to my blog. Bertie here is such a good dog - the green lasers just aren't really him.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Gone Quiet

Gone quiet.

A term used for when a submarine suddenly cannot be contacted and is not heard from. They say it's "gone quiet."

But as I drove to Mom and Dad's house for the Christmas festivities, I heard that phrase echo in my mind as I passed the malls.

Gone quiet.

This day, this one day, Christmas Day, is the one day in the year when everything pretty much stops. The majority of people have a day to spend with family. The commercial machine that sometimes seems like it IS our life, our country, comes to a nearly complete halt, and for one day it isn't about making money.

Oh, sure, I found an open Dunkin' Donuts at which to get my iced coffee. But they were running a short day. I was very grateful they were there, though I could have lived without it.

Oh wait, and there is LL Bean, open 24/7/365. And the Richdale downtown.

But mostly, we've gone quiet.

In the quiet, I hope we hear the voice of peace.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wiffiti - yet another new thing...

On my blog now, at the top, there is a screen. This screen will receive text messages and display them - live. This is via a new program, developed by some folks local to me, called Wiffiti. (Like wireless graffiti.)

All you have to do is send a text to 25622. The first thing in the message should be @spiralife, which is the name of my screen. (This applies when you discover other screens to use, as well.) Follow that with whatever message you want to display. If you want to have your name, or a user name, displayed, send "name xxxxx" to the same number. The Wiffiti system will remember your name for all future messages.

Just another fun thing to try out. Technology is so cool!

Monday, December 22, 2008

me and cece

This is rehearsal night at church with one of my best buds. Didn't start off well. Hit something at Dunks on the way, then proceeded to dump my coffee all over my "station" on the platform. How annoying.

Took a drive and got a new one, started over, and all is well.

Sometimes snow is beautiful!

This is the courtyard outside the main lobby of my school. I love when the snow sticks to things all day.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

New thing

Now I am learning to mobile blog. Let's see if this works.


My sermon from this morning...


Sue Densmore

Maybe you’ve noticed that we live in a pretty loud, fast-paced, and sometimes violent world. And it isn’t just in business, or in schools, or in any particular profession. Everyone seems to be running in high gear almost constantly.

I have heard moms remark that their favorite room in the house is the bathroom because it’s the only place they can find some … peace.

I almost came to violence with my computer a few weeks ago. I got so annoyed I was ready to throw it out a window and start again. I even took a ride to Best Buy to see what I could see.

A very nice young woman spent 20 or 30 minutes with me, talking through my issues and my needs, and we worked out what I would need for a new computer and how much it would cost. And when I said, OK, let’s do it, she dutifully went off to gather the component parts of my order.

She came back after a couple of minutes, indicating she was having difficulty finding one of the programs I needed. And I said, “That’s OK – it’s a sign that I am not supposed to do this today.”

How did I know? Well, as soon as I pulled the proverbial trigger on the deal, I started to feel sick to my stomach, and the niggling doubts it had taken so long to talk myself around came rushing back as soon as I had a moment to myself to think about it.

It was by no means her fault, and when I explained to her what had been happening to me internally, she completely understood and we parted ways amicably.

I could talk myself around to the fact that a new computer was not an unreasonable purchase – after all, how could I be a music teacher without any sound on my computer? But I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do, and that God’s still small voice was arguing against it.

I knew because I just didn’t have peace about it.

Today’s Advent Candle is often called the “Candle of Peace.” Luke tells the story of the angels’ announcement, and they say they are bringing “good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people” and “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to all people on whom God’s favor rests.”

Peace on earth good will to men, the song says.


Today’s reading was about the angel’s announcement to Mary that she would conceive and bear a son – a very special son, who would be given the throne to reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom would never end. She reacted to this news with what appears to be perfect peace!

I hear echoes of Isaiah in the announcement, and so might you. One echo in particular stands out.

Isaiah 9:6-7: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. And the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called wonderful counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”

What’s peace?

The word for peace is one of the Hebrew words most often known by non-Hebrew speakers – shalom. It is used 237 times in the Old Testament, and is still used as a greeting by those who speak Hebrew. The corresponding Greek word is used extensively throughout the New Testament.

Where shall we start when we are talking about what peace is? When most people think of the word peace, it seems to me they would define it as the absence of conflict. Let’s start there.

If we are talking about the absence of conflict, then, certainly, one meaning of peace is the absence of conflict between nations – an absence of war.

I find myself praying recently for an end to war. I don’t think it was God’s intent for us to be taking up arms against one another in his world. He made the world and called it good, and before the entry of sin onto the scene there was no bloodshed at all, and I can’t imagine that God intended us to be shedding one another’s blood. I think war is one of the by-products of our desire to determine right and wrong for ourselves - of that choice the first people made to disobey God’s command in order to play out that desire.

At any rate, however they start, wars are largely out of our direct control, and we can pray, but it isn’t like we’re going to be the ones that get to sit down with the parties and talk about it. That’s for governments and their representatives to work out.

Another meaning might be absence of conflict between people. Romans 12:18 says, “If it’s possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Now, here we get to something for which we all bear responsibility and can actually do something to help. As far as it depends on us, we are to live at peace with everyone.


You mean all those people trying to get the last hot toy off the shelf at Wal-Mart?


You mean the guy who cut into the line in front of you at the Starbucks order window?


You mean the woman who almost wiped me out at the toll booth the other morning doing her makeup while driving? I am NOT supposed to overtake her so I can pull up next to her and give her a look which is at once intimidating and disgusted?


You mean the boss who might not make decisions I would agree with? I am supposed to live at peace with him?


Live at peace with everyone as far as it depends on you.

This concept could also apply to groups of people. People will sometimes separate into camps, and conflict can happen among several people at once. This kind of fire is frequently fed by unwise speech, something James addresses in his letter.

There is also, however, the concept of conflict within ourselves, like my internal conflict at Best Buy.

The thing is, simply defining the word as “the absence of conflict” doesn’t fully capture the biblical concept of the word peace.

“Shalom” is certainly the absence of conflict, but it isn’t simply meant in the sense of countries, or groups, or people fighting, or internal conflict over a purchasing decision.

It means peace in all areas. Peace within one’s heart, wholeness, peace with God.

Peace with God.

It can’t just be defined by its “negative” – the absence of conflict. It’s also a positive – an addition – of wholeness, completeness, and well-being.

It’s a huge word, a central concept of what it means to be in a relationship with God.

It is one of the oldest blessings – in Numbers 6, we find the blessing, “May the Lord lift His countenance on you and give you peace.”

It refers to the kind of well-being and wholeness that brings calm in the midst of a storm. We are told that God keep in perfect peace those whose hearts are stayed on Him. Does this mean a life without any kind of drama or conflict? Of course not!

It means we are supposed to keep our eyes and hearts set on God.

I remember when I was learning how to drive. I remember trying so hard to keep the car between the yellow line in the middle of the road and the white line on the right. And, if you know me, you know I wanted the car to be exactly centered, and travel in an exactly straight line.

Nobody ever actually does that. It was harder than it looked. I was looking at that road, and trying to measure the distance between the lines right in front of the car.

Of course, things got way easier when I took my eyes off the few feet right in front of the car, and kept them further along the horizon. Suddenly, I could drive a straight line!

If we trust God’s sovereignty, if we keep our hearts on Him, we will find it easier to navigate. And the peace that passes understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, as Philippians tells us.

Perfect Picture of Peace

Long ago a man sought the perfect picture of peace. Not finding one that satisfied, he announced a contest to produce this masterpiece. The challenge stirred the imagination of artists everywhere, and paintings arrived from far and wide.

Finally the great day of revelation arrived. The judges uncovered one peaceful scene after another, while the viewers clapped and cheered. The tensions grew. Only two pictures remained veiled.

As a judge pulled the cover from one, a hush fell over the crowd. A mirror-smooth lake reflected lacy, green birches under the soft blush of the evening sky. Along the grassy shore, a flock of sheep grazed undisturbed. Surely this was the winner.

The man with the vision (for the contest) uncovered the second painting himself, and the crowd gasped in surprise. Could this be peace?

A tumultuous waterfall cascaded down a rocky precipice; the crowd could almost feel its cold, penetrating spray. Stormy-gray clouds threatened to explode with lightning, wind and rain. In the midst of the thundering noises and bitter chill, a spindly tree clung to the rocks at the edge of the falls. One of its branches reached out in front of the torrential waters as if foolishly seeking to experience its full power.

A little bird had built a nest in the elbow of that branch. Content and undisturbed in her stormy surroundings, she rested on her eggs. With her eyes closed and her wings ready to cover her little ones, she manifested peace that transcends all earthly turmoil.

A Wardrobe from the King, Berit Kjos, pp. 45-46

We are looking to the horizon, waiting with eager anticipation for the return of Jesus. This season of advent reminds us to refocus our attention each year. When Jesus was walking on the water, and bid Peter to come to him, and Peter got out of the boat, he was just fine as long as his eyes – and his trust – were on Jesus. It was when he lost that perspective that he started to sink.

Peace comes from releasing the worry and trusting Jesus with everything – our lives, each day, knowing the end from the beginning. When we stop fighting God for control, we have peace in the midst of anything. Because, really, we have no control anyhow.

We will never gain that kind of peace – the peace that transcends understanding - if we are running as fast as we can from one thing to the next, keeping ourselves busy so we don’t have to hear God’s voice. As I look around me, and notice people going at warp speed, guzzling coffee to stave off the inevitable crash, I wonder if it’s the fear of stopping that makes us keep running. We worry that if we actually stop to listen to what God has to say to our hearts, to deal with those things that are the most deeply entrenched in us, we won’t like it. We think God might not have anything nice to say.

Well, if that’s you – and even if it’s not – I want to remind you of what God says. I’ll even use the words to a song, written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow –

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th’ unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor does He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Our God does not slumber or sleep, and He so loved the world that He gave His Son, because God desires that nobody should perish, but that all should gain eternal life.

Jesus is Himself our peace, who has broken down every wall.

And for all that we are instructed to be holy as He is holy, even more often we are told we are loved, and that we are to love one another.

To be at peace is to know the love of God in Christ, to experience that completeness, that shalom, that God wants to give us. Because the walls between ourselves and God have been broken down by the love of Christ.

I hope this season finds you knowing in your own life the words of the unbroken song - Peace on earth, good will to men.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

So much time.

So much time has passed since my last update that it is really hard to call me an actual blogger. I think there are lots of folks who are better at this!

Since my last update, I broke 50 in my golf score - twice, did a marching season, started another school year, preached one more sermon, did a church Christmas Benefit Concert, and lost almost all track of the revgals, with whom I was so regular in the summer.

And, I have discovered Twitter. Which is what prompted me to get back over here for this short update. I added a Twitter section to my left sidebar.

OK. There it is.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Wheat and the Weeds

For the first time, I am posting here a sermon. I preached yesterday morning, and wanted to share. Comment or not, but be gentle!


Today we are looking at another of Jesus parables. You’ll remember from last week, Bernie taught us that parables are stories about everyday things used by Jesus to make the people ponder spiritual concepts. He rarely explained them – and when he did, it was only to his disciples.

Today, as you know from the reading we just heard, we are in Matthew, Chapter 13, and are using two sections – the parable of the wheat and weeds, and its explanation. You could turn there now to follow along as we unpack this parable a bit.

We are told that a man sowed good seed in his field. Then we find that while everyone was sleeping, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat. Both spring up and form heads, and the servants realize that weeds are growing among the wheat.

The servants come to the man about the issue. It’s interesting to me that they almost start off in an accusatory way. “Didn’t you use good seed?” Like it was somehow the man’s own fault that weeds had appeared!

The owner knows that and enemy planted the weeds. This was something with which one farmer would threaten another if they were enemies at that time. People would thus have understood this as a normal type of threatened action.

Then they ask if he wants them to take care of it. Like some bunch of tough guys, takin’ care of business. They thought they knew exactly what the owner wanted them to do, and were eager to get on with it.

They are told no, because while they are pulling weeds they may hurt the wheat.

Why? Were the servants incompetent? No. The weed referred to here is sometimes called “darnel,” and it when it starts out it looks just like wheat. By the time one can tell the difference – by the time the servants could have realized the problem - the roots would have become intertwined, and so pulling up one would also ruin the other.

The wheat was not going to be destroyed by the weeds. It might slightly diminish the amount of fruit the wheat would bear, but the owner would still reap a good harvest. What the servants proposed could easily have obliterated the entire harvest! Hence, the harvesters would wait until it was time, and take care of separating everything then.

This was one of the parables that Jesus decided to explain to His disciples. We find out that the “Son of Man” is the owner of the field, which is “the world.” Jesus owns the world, and sows good seed into it. The good seed stands for the children of the kingdom. That’s us – we are the good seed, if we are living as citizens of the kingdom of God.

But the evil one – the enemy – came and sowed weeds among the wheat. That seed stands for the children of the evil one. And all of us are to grow together until the end, at which time the harvesters will come and bring the good wheat into the barn and throw the weeds out where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

There are implications to this passage for us to consider this morning.

Apparently, there will, in fact, be a separation and sorting at some point when God deems the time is right. Harvest time will come, and those that are with God will be with Him forever, and those that are not won’t. It seems fairly clear. And it is right in line with other parables about things being sorted out – the sheep and the goats, the good fish and the bad fish.

Also, we see that the harvest and separation will not be done until it is time. Until then, wheat and weeds are to be allowed to grow together. And, yes, their roots will become intertwined. In a way, they will become dependent upon each other.

There are many people who go through life wishing they never had to interact or work with people that are “outside” the kingdom. One hears people lament about not being able to work in a “Christian environment.” They would rather insulate themselves, become part of some closed off community of only believers, people who “believe like me.”

But the field, you see, is the world. We are sown into the world – all over it, generously, God’s people placed in all the areas where God’s people should be. That’s all areas. That’s all over the world.

We are the seed in this parable. And we are sown where the master intends. There is nothing random about it, as we see form another of today’s lectionary readings, Psalm 139. You are knit together, fearfully and wonderfully, on purpose, by God Himself, who knows all of your days in their entirety before one if them even starts. You are placed where you are placed on purpose, and are simply supposed to be God’s person there.

Last week, we talked about looking to ourselves, and deciding what kind of soil we are for the seed of the word, generously sown by God, to grow in. This time we see we ARE the seed, and our responsibility is to become the best wheat we can be – bear the best fruit we can bear. Haven’t we read somewhere that we are to bear fruit, that we will be known by our fruit, even that God will help us to bear good fruit by the power of His Spirit?

So, good soil, good fruit. All connected.

However, as we live our lives, we should avoid the temptation to pull up the weeds.

And herein is the main point of the parable.

I imagine that this being Matthew, a Jewish-oriented book, written by a Jew, that the “servants” might have been taken by that crowd to be the religious leaders. They were very into making sure everyone knew what they had to do to be “in.” And, they were likely good at naming who was “in” and who was “out.”

I imagine that they had good intentions; they were trying to follow God’s law perfectly, and the traditions and interpretations they had developed over the years helped them decide how exactly to follow God’s law. Trouble is, they made their traditions of equal authority to the original words. And there were different schools of thought. So everybody’s going around trying to decide who is in and who is out, but nobody comes to the same conclusion.

Add to that the simple fact that people cannot see the heart, and God can, and we understand why it is far more preferable to let God handle the decision making.

Which is why the harvesters are NOT the servants. Did you ever notice that? The explanation of the parable does not say that the God will send the servants into the field to harvest and separate the wheat and the weeds. He says he will send harvesters – angels.

With good intentions, there are those of us who get very concerned with knowing where everyone is at spiritually. Which is a nice way of saying we would like to be the judges sometimes of who is in the kingdom and who is out.

The problem is, like the servants in the passage, we don’t really know weeds from wheat.

This past year I completed my 20th year teaching music. I have taught in two districts. I remember when I was back at my first job, and the music department was not as big and busy as the one where I am now, I served as the JV volleyball coach for a year. A freshman girl came in and tried out, and she wasn’t very good. I was going to cut her, but the head coach wouldn’t let me. She reminded me this girl was only a freshman, and we had no idea how she would do as she grew. So we kept her. By her senior year she was our best server, leading the team in aces.

Last year, I saw a trumpet player become a lead trumpet player in my band. Now, you have to know that band directors, with consideration of several factors, try to steer students to instruments where their odds of success are high. We look at facial and mouth structure, mainly. In fact, if you ever go to a college music department, you might notice that all the professors look like their instruments. The guy with the thin lips and the little round glasses? Always the clarinet guy. The guy who has longish hair and maybe a moustache or goatee? The guitar guy. At my college, in fact, the guitar instructor looked like Tom Selleck, so we called him “Magnum G.I.”

At any rate, I never would have thought this young man would be able to succeed on trumpet like he has. I had reasons for thinking that – facial and lip structure mostly. I really tried to convince him to change to a low brass instrument. But he wanted to play trumpet, and so he has worked hard, and become the lead. I must say I am impressed.

When you are in a field like mine, working on the development of people, you quickly see the proof of this parable.

Especially since, as anything under over-analysis would, the parable breaks down – even Jesus parables, if we read too much into them, aren’t perfect.

For this one, the one factor that isn’t mentioned, but that is very real, is that God can turn weeds into wheat.

How many of us, looking back, can see that we were headed for being weeds had God not changed our hearts and made us wheat – children of the kingdom? I look back at my life and say, “Total weed, man.”

Not that kind of weed – get your mind back on track… 

I had another student several years back who, as a sophomore, was arrested for possession of drugs and taken out of school by the police in the middle of the day. He had been scheduled to join us on the music trip that year, and his parents (to their credit as they lost money) and I quickly agreed that this was a serious enough offense that this would no longer be possible.

This could have gone either way. There were those who were ready to write him off – and I have seen it happen where the people who would write someone off were proven right in the end.

But this young man stayed in the fight. He came back to school, stayed in the band, celebrated with us when we had a successful trip, and felt the love and forgiveness of his fellow band students, and me. He worked hard, ended up the leader of his section, succeeded in his other classes, and went to college. He still visits when he can. And he has turned into a fine man. And there is a level of faith there.

Some might have said upon his arrest that here, clearly, was a weed. Not so! He’s wheat all the way.

I say a level of belief, but I don’t know where or if he goes to church faithfully, what his doctrine is, or anything like all that.

But that isn’t my job. I am just supposed to be wheat, cultivate the garden, and try to live like a child of the kingdom. I am supposed to do that wherever God has placed me. I am not supposed to disentangle my roots from the rest. I am supposed to interact, love, work, and live with people who are not people of the kingdom. Does this mean that sometimes people might mistake me for a weed?

Probably. There are those who would think I was a weed just because of the worship music I like. Or how I dress. Or that I am perfectly content being single. Or that I sometimes get “passionate” in debate, or drive a little fast, or listen to – gasp – non-Christian music. There are plenty of people trying to decide who is in and who is out – building walls of doctrine and defending them brick by brick.

The problem is that when we are busy trying to keep out “the riff-raff,” we are seldom modeling the lives of love, grace, and mercy that God would want us to live.

We are sown into the world to bear God’s image to the world. It is a part of God’s plan of redemption for the whole earth. I mean, who else but the Great Redeemer would worry about turning weeds into wheat? Why not just take the wheat and run?

God loves the world. All of it. And He has planted us all over the world to show His image. Will everyone decide to follow God? No, some will reject Him. But that is for Him to deal with, not us.

Finally, I want to note one other thing. This phrase, “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” seems to be used almost exclusively by Matthew. And it seems to be related to the harshest of punishments, and these punishments are reserved for the people that had been inside the kingdom the whole time.

In other words, it is possible that what this means is that people who are outside the kingdom will receive less severe punishment than the people that are inside the kingdom but not bearing fruit. Because, maybe, they are so busy trying to decide about everybody else, they forget to look to their own soil, their own fruit bearing.

In the end, we are not responsible for the harvest. We do not need to weed God’s garden. An editorial by Bill McNabb in a magazine called The Door put it this way:

“I had an old seminary professor who began and ended his apologetics lecture with one sentence: "You defend God like you defend a lion -- you get out of his way." God, it seems, has never had much trouble with his enemies -- it's his friends who give him fits. . . . The theologian Karl Rahner put it this way: "The number one cause of atheism is Christians. Those who proclaim God with their mouths and deny Him with their lifestyles is what an unbelieving world finds simply unbelievable." Perhaps the best defense of God would be to just keep our mouths shut and live like He told us to. The gospel would then have such power and attraction that we wouldn't have to worry about defending it.”

So in all our rush to do God a favor by weeding the garden, maybe we should pause and just be glad we aren’t the ones responsible for doing that, and just live like He tells us to live. Let’s remember that Jesus Himself didn’t weed out Judas who would betray Him, nor did He weed out Peter who would deny Him.

Nor did He weed out……me.

I, for one, am glad that decision isn’t mine to make. Or yours. Let’s rejoice in the fact that it’s God who decides in the end.

Let’s pray.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Five - What's In A Name?

So the Friday Five goes like this today:

If you are a regular reader of Songbird's blog, you know that "The Princess" has requested a new name. Her older brother changed his "secret identity" a while back and now this lovely young lady is searching for a new name on her mother's blog. This got me to thinking. How do we come up with all of these names? There must be at least a few good stories out there.

In honor of the Princess I have posted a picture of one of my favorite members of fictional royalty, Robert Munch's "Paperback Princess." She is a brave young woman who doesn't need anyone else to fight her battles. And she knows that what is most important isn't tiaras and finery but what's on the inside. If you haven't read this little fairy tale, I highly recommend it. But I digress.

And so, my play is as follows:

1. So how did you come up with your blogging name? And/or the name of your blog?

My title represents the idea that the human learning curve is not a straight line, but a spiral, where we learn similar things from different perspectives. We should cut ourselves some slack, therefore, when we are dealing with similar topics that we think we already should have learned or known.

2. Are there any code names or secret identities in your blog? Any stories there?

Not really. Maybe in a couple of posts I am referring to specific people or situations, but there are no "regulars" with code names.

3. What are some blog titles that you just love? For their cleverness, drama, or sheer, crazy fun?

Love the title of "Jesus Was Not A Republican." It grabbed my attention right away. And who doesn't love "Clever Title Goes Here." Genius!

4. What three blogs are you devoted to? Other than the RevGalBlogPals of course!

Jesus Was Not A Republican" is a story of the progress of an international adoption. Our own "Dancing With God" has been entertaining to read, following Emily's progress through school. I also check in on several of the revgals with some regularity.

5. Who introduced you to the world of blogging and why?

I no longer remember, actually. But I enjoy it!

Bonus question: Have you ever met any of your blogging friends? Where are some of the places you've met these fun folks?

Nope, but maybe someday.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Personality Test

So, it is so easy to spend time surfing...

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Summer Camp Friday Five

Mother Laura wrote, over at RevGals...

We're settling into our new new apartment, and after a lifetime at Montessori Katie is having a fantastic summer at YMCA day camp. Meanwhile, Nicholas is packing up for a week at Camp Julian, shared by the Episcopal dioceses of Los Angeles and San Diego. His lists of supplies and rules--except for the ropes course available to the teenagers and the ban on IPODs and cell phones--bring back memories of my own happy times weeks at Y camp Ta Ta Pochon, funded by selling countless cases of butter toffee peanuts. So, in celebration of summer, please share your own memories and preferences about camp.

1. Did you go to sleep away camp, or day camp, as a child? Wish you could? Or sometimes wish you hadn't?

Went to camp for a week for one or two summers. I remember the first time I was supposed to and I got the chicken pox and could not. But I remember winning the skit competition and getting a trip "off-campus," and winning an archery award. But I don't remember loving it all, and didn't make a habit of going.

2. How about camping out? Dream vacation, nightmare, or somewhere in between?

Not a dream, not a nightmare. But my idea of roughing it is going to a hotel where they don't leave a mint on the pillow...

3. Have you ever worked as a camp counselor, or been to a camp for your denomination for either work or pleasure?


4. Most dramatic memory of camp, or camping out?

On one of those fateful trips to camp, I lost the top part of my bathing suit at swim time. That was a bummer.

5. What is your favorite camp song or songs? Bonus points if you link to a recording or video.

Green Grow the Rushes Ho, and the camp's theme song. But I not longer remember all the words to either one.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Belated Friday Five

Fourth of July, and I missed the Friday Five. So, here I am, late.

1. Barbeque's or picnics ( or are they essentially the same thing?)

Barbecues conjure images of tables and chairs, rather than eating on the ground on a blanket. I'll take a table - not much of a ground sitter.

2. The park/ the lake/ the beach or staying at home simply being?

The lake - simply being.

3. Fireworks- love 'em or hate 'em?

Love 'em. Unless it's just noise in my neighborhood. That's really not much fun.

4. Parades- have you ever taken part- share a memory...

Oy, have I done parades. But on Memorial Day, not the Fourth. School's out, so my band isn't in season. Best parade memory? Marching with my high school kids down Main Street USA in Disney.

5. Time for a musical interlude- if you could sum up holidays in a piece of music what would it be?

Well, the 1812 Overture, of course! Right now...


Sometimes you find a true friend. Somebody who takes all your good and bad, and lets you be yourself even when you aren't perfect. Who realizes that your faults just mean you're human. And real.

And when you talk, they hear what you say. And what you don't say. And know the difference, and know how to draw out what needs to be drawn and leave alone what needs leaving alone.

And they know and respect your boundaries. So for them, the boundaries start to move closer and closer to the heart of the fortress, as it were. And when you realize that you have allowed them to breach the wall, you find yourself grateful, because you know what they see inside the wall won't make them run away. It'll make them love you - and you them - more.

I have a few of those. A very few. And I plan to keep them.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Five Word Association

It's been a while, but let's give it a shot...


Think summer......are you there? Below you will find five words or phrases. Tell us the first thing you think of on reading each one. Your response might be simply another word, or it might be a sentence, a poem, a memory, a recipe, or a story. You get the idea:

1. rooftop

Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke.

2. gritty

John Wayne

3. hot town (yeah, I know, it's two words)

New York in July

4. night

Night and are the one...

5. dance

A Chorus Line

Monday, January 28, 2008

Summit 2008

We took a journey on this year's summit that culminated in my asking myself - and God - when I had decided to become half a Christian. I stopped calling on, leaning on, the power of the Holy Spirit, and as a result was going through the motions of living, but with no real power.

Thank God that He freely gives us the Spirit when we ask. Not that anyone who is a Chritian doesn't have the Spirit dwelling in them once they choose to follow the path of Christ. That's mysterious, but theologically true.

But there is something cool about awakening our awareness of the work of the Spirit to counsel, comfort, strenghthen, and guide, and to call on His power to help us in every circumstance. That is where deep joy and peace come from, as well as the ability to respond with grace and let mercy lead.

Which reminds me of a Rich Mullins tune off of his Brother's Keeper album.

Let mercy lead, let love be the strength in your legs,
And in every footprint that you leave
There'll be a drop of grace;
If we can reach
Beyond the wisdom of this age
Into the foolishness of God
That foolishness will save those who believe,
In that foolish grace of God they will find peace
And He'll meet them
In that place where mercy leads.

I always loved that tune - particularly the idea of leaving footprints filled with drops of grace.

May it be so, not by might, not by strength, but by the power of the Spirit of God.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Welcoming the New Year

Like we have a choice, right?

For some people this really is a welcome. For whatever reason, 2007 wasn't so great, and they are excited about the prospect of the fresh start a new year can bring.

For some people, maybe it's the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" inevitability of the passing of time and the turn of the calendar page. Not like you can stop the thing from happening, so you jump on board and ring it in.

And for some people, I imagine it's like dragging them kicking and screaming past midnight. Either 2007 was SO good they don't want to leave, or they are so afraid of what 2008 will bring because they are used to being beat up all the time.

Either way, I am thinking about something Brian McLaren wrote in one of the books in the New Kind of Christian series. He said that God was in the past, pushing us forward, and He is in the future pulling us toward Home, and he is with us right now, walking through whatever comes our way in this life.

I take comfort in the fact that no matter where I am, God is with me, and wherever I will be, God already was. He is the God who delivered me from bondage and slavery and set me free, and He is the God who makes all living worthwhile.

And even though I will never be able to keep every resolution, nor will I ever be able to stop letting Him down in some way, and even though I will never be perfect, His love is still boundless, His forgiveness is endless, His grace is still amazing, and His mercy endures forever, new every morning.

Bring it on, 2008. I've got all the help I need.