Friday, November 7, 2008

Dog Blogger reminded me of listing random things about one's self.

Here's mine: Totally unremarkable.

1. I'm still wearing my PJ's and it's 1PM on east coast.

2. I really want a dog but still afraid i don't have enough time or money.

3. I laugh at loud at Family Guy even though i know i shouldn't.

4. I haven't changed the oil in my car in 8,000 miles-for the life of the car. (Dumb)

5. I'm having a friend for dinner and have yet to shop or clean the house. Now it's 1:10.

6. I'm counting the days until 12/21 when it starts to get light again.

7. I'm still keeping my football jersey from college with the ridiculous hopes that someday I'll fit into again. (graduated in the mid 80's).

Tag you're it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I wish...

I Wish...

...I had a camera to take and post photos of the bookmark/bracelets that Inner Dorothy sent me (thanks- they're lovely!)

...I had dealt better with not having a computer for the last 2 weeks. I have become so dependant. Yikes!

...I could exercise more than i can-still recovering from knee surgery.

...I could crank out a winning sermon every week (yeah, i know dream on)

...We could be on the aft deck drinking cool bevs in the hot sun and warm breezes.

...I wish I could have been in Chicago last night.

...I wish you are having better weeks this week than many of you have had in recent ones.

...I wish we were going to Scottsdale next week.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Groggy but Grateful

Back from lala land, well not really. The prescribed vicadin was muy effective at battling the pain but has left my brain muy foggy. Not helpful in trying to moderate a session meeting, exegete next week's passage or figure bills.

However, that will eventually fade and my joint (my knee that is) holds great promise for a recovery and hopefully surfing next Summer.

Now only to fit back in to my bikini. LOL!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Got the call Thursday morning that next Wednesday is me' surgery.

Yikes because I'm scrambling to get coverage and cancel/ reschedule all sorts of stuff and yipeee that on the other side, I might actually be able to walk and play, pain free.

That'll also mean I'll most definitely book a tee time for sometime during the BE 2.0 in Scottsdale. Or as Songbird might say... Yip-tastic!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Surfing out, Surgery In

Yep that's right. All my dreams and hopes of becoming a Wahini(Hawaiian for surfer girl) this Summer were dashed when I hurt my knee from too much golf, and beach walking. Such extreme sporting!!!...not)

Have been meeting w/ 2 surgeons for three months and the results are in. I need a knee replacement, but I'm too young. Waaay to young.

So as of yesterday expert-surgeon-in-world-famous-orthopedic-hospital has devised a short term solution to get me pain free and active again. Arthroscopic surgery to clean up jagged edges, floating fragments and floating knee cap. It should give me another 2 years of hopefully pain-free activity.I'm excited.

What then will be my excuse for not losing weight?

Happy and relieved...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Grace Abounds...

So after being mortified and as apologetic as i could (see story in last post) her pew buddies said " you couldn't know-it's not your fault-she was just embarrassed that she didn't have her phone on vibrate." Gracious, loving parishioners...

In my pastoral prayer that day I literally asked God's forgiveness for 'smart alec comments' and thanked God for protection, or something like that. The best news is that it was a small kitchen fire and there was no damage to the structure. This should be a good reminder for all of us NOT to be a smart alec and not to use our ovens for storage (especially of new pans wrapped in plastic...)

P.P.S. I called the family immediately after church to ask to come to their hotel and meet with them and pray with them. They said they'd be glad to see me and they'd call back.

P.P.P.S This couple is so classy they decided it was an opportunity to take ME out to dinner, wine and all.

P.P.P.P.S When I apologized emphatically again she said " That's hilarious! I didn't even hear you, but if I had I would have laughed. More wine?"


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Can you top this?

I hate to play the "can you top this?" game since I love you all and it's not really my style...but if you read Will Smamma's recent post about her episode at Wendy''ll love this.

Last Sunday, while i was preaching on Exodus (stressful enough for me), a parishioner's phone started ringing...loudly

I love this parishioner. She's a fairly new member with a great sense of humor and she doesn't take much seriously. She also LOVES to kid around. So I stopped in the middle of manna (while she was scrambling to find her phone in her enormous handbag) and said in a school marm voice "Oh [parishioner]... I think we'll have to fine you... Let's make {parishioner] put an extra five dollars in the plate." To which she sheepishly replied "Sorry" and left the sanctuary.

She returned 3 minutes later, grabbed her handbag and left.

Yes, I began to break out in a sweat, remembering she has an elderly mother.

After the sermon, during the deacon's reading of 'joys of and concerns' that I clumsily fold into the pastoral prayer, the deacon announces "Let's also pray for [parishoner and family] she had to leave to meet a town official at her home, because yesterday, she had had a house fire."

Hi, my name is dumb ass, have we met?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

R U comin'?

Been hopin and waitin' and wishin' or however that song goes.
Girlz!!! save your pennies, drink cheaper beer, do whatever you can to join us in 'Zona!.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm back...but my computer isn't

Hi Friends,
Long time,no blog.

I dropped off my laptop the first day of my vacation to be sent to laptop hospital to be repaired so that there would be AMPLE time for it to be repaired, refreshed and renewed as I was doing the same beach-side.

No small irony that as my laptop got bounced around from dealer to manufacturer to box store, I too was bounced around from beach house to bungalow to the parent-inhabited-manse, having some fun and enjoying friends, but very little peace or rest.

I returned scattered and tired but glad for some structure and peace and quiet and laying my head in me' own bed.

Alas, my computer was kinda fixed but needs to be resent to manufacturer for additional repairs. I returned from vacation kinda relaxed but need to return to the now parent-free manse to regain some peace after 1 burial, 3 hospital admittances and 2 session members resigning within a week, from alas...burnout.

enough about me...what do you think if me? (Northeast Humor)

How's by you (all)?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Good Grief (kinda)

I can't seem to shake the sounds of the tender but uncontrollable sobbing from a parishioner who's just lost his mother at the ripe age of 95. (It was expected in part, but she went downhill very fast).'s never really "expected" when it's final. She was also the matriarch of our church.

At the same time, I can't seem to shake the silence from a close friend who's also recently lost her father, who's inundated with the details of her life, her work, her family as well as some tension among her siblings. I understand, kinda.

Lastly, I can't seem to shake the grief roller coaster I'm on, slowly and silently grieving the 1st anniversary of a 10 year friendship irreparably severed one year ago today. It triggers other losses as well. You know how it goes...

Psalm 30 reminds us that "weeping may endure for night but joy comes in the morning." I'm not a biblical inerrant, but here's a time when I'd love this to be literally true for all of us.

What is grief's shelf life? What can we "DO" to 'get through it'? How do we find those who are willing to share the burden without offering anxious silence or giving advice or disappearing?

Only God knows.

For me, the diversion of pastoring to others in their grief gives me a 'vacation' from mine own. Other's grief also helps me realize I'm not the only one not having a Summer crafted by HGTV.

I think grief is a state you're sent to un willingly, like one outside your own region, where you think no one will like you, understand you or care for you until you return home again to happy land.

But then Grace appears and calls from afar. An email from an old friend resurfaces unwittingly, or a piece of good news arrives, or work demands your undivided attention and offers you another respite from grief's treadmill.

Grief is not good ,Charlie Brown, but it joins us in membership to a community which we'd all rather not be joined, but where others can speak our language...Or sit with us as a non-anxious, loving presence. It also gives us compassion for others and their places of darkness and loss.

And then of course...there's Paul. Say what you want about him. He deservedly gets a bad rap for being ignorant/obnoxious about women and dramatically adding to the disenfranchising of the Gay and Lesbian population. But still, he is able to let God's message, through Jesus Christ, speak in Romans beyond his own judgemental din.

" I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us."

Right. I'll try to remember that before I order my next pepperoni, extra cheese grief-numbing pizza.

But Paul goes on.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom 8:38-39

No small gift that Rom 8 is part of the lectionary for the last Sunday before I have 3 Sundays out of the pulpit (save of course the memorial service in the middle of my vacation, for the Matriarch).

Whether you are grieving with others or for yourself or by yourself, or if you've finally surfaced from grief's grip and can ride the waves without getting sucked down by the undertow of loss, may this scripture bring comfort to you....and to those whom you love... and to those whom no one loves.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A paaaarfect day

Tasteless Lunch with a tasteful, really smart friend? $34.50
Copies of sections of helpful Romans commentaries that I don't own? $1.30
Greens fees on an private golf course where I still seem to have visitor privileges $30.00
Refreshments with a beloved friend in her backyard garden apres golf? she wouldn't say.
Cost of gas to get to beach by midnight for last round? $20.00
Cost of re-balancing personal life with life as a minister?


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Helpful Reminder

Was just over at Terrapin Station and she was reminded by another blogger to list things we're grateful for. This is timely as I wrestle with an issue that cropped up and bit me unsuspectingly at lunch, while with a beloved friend from Seminary, so here goes:

1) Double the attendance that I expected at July 4th weekend worship this AM
2) Double the positive comments from preaching from Romans 7-one of the beastiest scriptures, I've ever wrestled with
3)Air conditioning, even though it's only moderately hot
4)the BE-ers who keep me going-- I feel like you live near by!
5) Many pots/pans in the sink-evidence of a dinner party in my usually empty, guest less manse
6) Leftover sangria from said gathering (sipping...)
7) Having dinner with parents this evening. They make me crazy but they're alive and well-and still happily married--I know I'm in a minority when I say that.
8) Basil that grows new leaves, every 15 minutes
9) Jersey tomatoes (sans Salmonella) that go with said basil
10) The nap I'm about to take after I finish this
11) Gratitude for any of you who read this and keep me in mind from time to time

Friday, July 4, 2008

Stupid, but blessed...

RevHRod blogged about 4th of July memories via Friday at Five.

Last night's memory takes the cake.

I was with friends, enjoying a super 4th of July celebration at a lovely lake-side home.

Hot grill, cold beer.

The neighbors were setting off their own contraband fireworks but the real show was slated for dark, at the other end of the lake, viewed from my friend's boat, as always.

We decided (against all weather predictions and dark skies) to get in the party boat (aluminum) and go out into the middle of the lake (with all the other idiots) to watch the fireworks.

All was going well; the usual ooohs and ahhhs and of course the "kinda big finish".

But the “Grand Finale” happened 2 minutes after we had turned to head for home.

That’s when God's lightning show started. Bolts and thunder came out of nowhere and 'dern' close!

Imagine then about 250 boats scrambling at 'lightning speed' (but um…safely) in the dark, with nothing but tiny running lights, to get home, “in -between the raindrops”. It was like watching modern day whalers scrambling in search of Moby Dick (with Jaws music playing in the background).

The bolder the lightning, the more the kids shrilled; the harder I prayed--not just for our boat, but all the boats and their cargo.

Then the real rain came with vines of light like you see on “Storm Chasers”. We hugged the land and I prayed harder and faster.

Then the winds started to whip up.

The lake became Gennasaret, but Jesus was NOT asleep in the back.

"Don't you even CARE that we did this foolish thing that we need saving from now?"

More lightning, louder thunder, higher kiddie shrills, faster prayers...

As we approached the dock, the lake was now a sea of waves. Getting there was one thing- docking in these waves, another.

When we were close enough for me to leap onto the dock and grab a line, our passengers jumped off the boat, titanic-like and scrambled for land and cover, while 3 of us stayed to secure and cover the vessel.

Oddly, standing on a wood dock in torrents of wind and rain, securing a canvas cover was a menial task after worrying and praying mightily for 20 minutes for the safety of 1000 or so boaters.

Snap-Snap-Snap. We're outta here!

For a bunch of well educated, usually-very-responsible people, it wasn’t the smartest thing we’ve ever done...but a story to tell the grandchildren or at least work into the Romans text this Sunday. I know what I should do (stay on land in safety), though I do the very thing I hate (go for the fun and worry about the consequences later).

There IS a wideness in God’s mercy…

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Sunday: Got through 3rd and final wedding of the month. Touching, swanky, delightful and....delighted to be done. Got home at 11:30 and yup, I left (well slipped out actually) before the entree was served!

Monday: was sleeping peacefully until parishioner called the manse(twice!) leaving messages about stuff that was neither an emergency nor my responsibility. It was the last straw. I called one of my beach buddies, packed a bag and ran way from home.

Tuesday: Slept in at the beach and was awoken more pleasantly by children yelling down the street, racing to get to the ocean with the snap-snap of flip flops. I walked the beach, swam in the ocean, took a nap, made dinner with friends.

Today: Played hookie (again). Played golf with a new friend who's fascinating and fun and could give 2 s****s that I'm a pastor.

Home now. Cool drink in hand, ice pack on knee and enjoying breezes from the A/C.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Workin' on workin' at it

I am at the edges (or the final mile) of what feels like the 18 month marathon. 2 more days of VBS (still going well, thanks be to God) and the last of three weddings is this weekend. I went to the Chateau (yes, literally) where the wedding will be. I agreed to marry them here solely because it was the only 'neutral' ground for both families. I had the bride as a student in Jr. high youth group 100 years ago so although weddings are challenging and painful for me, it'll be a treat to marry her.

The chateau is the one of the swankiest properties I have ever seen. The pool room is literally the pool room used for the scenes in the movie "Cocoon", which is frankly where I'd rather be, than putting out more energy to the world from a fuel tank on fumes.

The last of my energy will be used to manage this stuff, along with more church crazy demands and of course preaching the near sacrfice of you-know-who. This along with eating right and exercising so that I am in shape for surf camp AND attempting to look my best when I meet up with an old 'friend' for lunch in 3 weeks.

Lord have it all. None of it's terribly important in the big scheme-just sayin', dieting and exercising at least for me, is a full time job all by itself.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Gifts of Grace

Returned from 24 hours away with NBB? Check.

2 weddings down,1 to go? Check

First day of VBS a HUGE success? Check.

Parishioner buys dinner after VBS(with 2 cold ones)? Check.

Air conditioning working? Check.

Gonna sleep hard?
Well, As Tom Cruise says in TOP GUN : "I dont know, but it's lookin' good so far..."

Friday, June 20, 2008

My New Formula

Problem: Tireless stomach ache/acid reflux from on-going stress from work (along with sadness and grief from work in therapy) combined with residual guilt for lack of self care (read: eating like a horse and not exercising)

Negative Effects: More guilt and self loathing, couching and excessive channel flipping

Solution: See Photo.

Long term affects? None-When I wake up from the sugar coma, it's gonna be like a whole new week!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sloth, and not by the Sea...

...but I WAS there last Thursday into Friday. So NO complaints. Well sorta...
I am enormously grateful that a lovely-beloved "I-wanted-to-be-like-them" family from my church has shown where the hidden keys are to their beach house which sits on the bay. That is the glorious news.

The reason why I have been avoiding it (besides an impossible pastor's schedule)? The house is 5 blocks from where i spent vacations with my family as a child. This is particularly timely as i unearth the worst of my family-of-origin S**t!

On a lighter note, the first of the three weddings I have in June is over and Confirmation Sunday was 'Successful". This seems like an odd word to use, maybe...but I do come from 20 years in the asphalt jungle... But successful is exactly what I mean after 9 months of parents, mentors and the confirmands themselves, pushing back, complaining and wanting it their way. I stood my ground and popped anti-acids like tic tacs all year. It seems that experience and God's grace prevailed and all are now happy and grateful.

So why am I sitting in my manse staring out the window 'bored' and lifeless?

Probably because the exhaustion is kicking in, I haven't exercised seriously since dancing on the Lido deck for three minutes with Zorra, St Cass and Katherine,(while Cheese rolled her eyes), I've been eating like a sumo wrestler and am dreading 2 more meetings this evening.

C'mon July.

No meetings, light-hearted sermons and hopefully I'll get my sumo body to the gym before I make an ass out of myself at surfing camp in August.

Wahini baby,

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I'm back...

Phew! Hard to believe my last post was a month ago!! But honestly, it's been a blur. (I'm sure that's only true for me...)

Since we spoke last, I've received a most warm welcome from you, my RGBP's. I've also hugged, laughed with, 'eaten and dranken' with and shopped(!)with RGBP-ers's at Festival de Homies and met some new lovely ones! (Sue your book mark is still around my wrist. Prayers continue!!)

I have also been juggling funerals, weddings, youth events, sick friends, confirmation stuff, the capital campaign the renovation of our spire and our 175th anniversary. PHEW! All's well that ends well. God has richly blessed all these events well beyond my gifts or dreams.

Now what? I admit, I'm a little lost.

Before I run away and try to recoup sanity and some lost days off, a small voice is telling me to finally wash the kitchen floor for first time in days...ok weeks...all right! Months!

The non-essential laundry has set up its own blog " Wash me or I'll call the health department" and the oranges and grapefruits in the fridge that are now the size of grapes, I'm pretty sure, are not edible.

Instead though, I have made plans to take my two days, see some friends, go the beach to see more friends, eat, sleep, giggle and give thanks again, that while i was MIA, I know you were thinking of me and praying for me.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

First Word, Second Word, Final Word

So the first "word" I received through Mary Marcotte's divine exercise on the BE was SERVE. And so I did.

Upon my return from "Fantasy turn Reality" I began to madly prep for our officer's retreat four days from my return. I decided to bring along 'the words' to do with our officers. They loved it. It worked beautifully. The word I pulled?


And so I did. That weekend, and for the last 5 weeks, it seems there have been almost non-stop crises, interventions, ugly behavior in meetings, strained relationships, friends in hospital, unexpected deaths, children in trauma.

By the time I arrived at the Confirmation retreat last weekend after a funeral, I learned that the advisers had left their entire plans for the retreat at home. They could not remember what they planned. I went numb.

It's not that I can't plan retreats on the fly. I can. I am a retreat junkie. But to create a plan in a bubble without letting the kids know we're unprepared is worse than the nightmares we've all had about ending up in the pulpit on a Sunday AM, in our bras and panties, without a sermon in hand. Well at least it is for me.

I spiritually got on my hands and knees and begged God to show up, care for, intervene, and make God's presence known to a group of students who have been reticent all year long (as well as their parents) about the "new" process that the "new" pastor put in place. This retreat would either make or break them and me.

I brought the cards again. I handed them out. I pulled one too.

The retreat commenced. In no time at all it went from awkward conversation over hoagies to a hilarious, playful, tender, deep, and wildly successful retreat.

24 hrs later, when we shared "our words" around the table right before communion, almost every student (and advisor) could talk about their word meaningfully. It was beautiful and poignant and I was so deeply relieved and thankful.

I shared my word.

You guessed it.


Monday, April 7, 2008

Sowing the Seeds of Love...

"High time we made a stand and shook up the views of the common man..."

These are the opening lyrics of the song by 80's band Tears for Fears. Ok I know that pinpoints my age and (yes I was probably drinking Stroh's from of a beer ball in college)...but that's another story.

As I hold and shake Quotidian's Blue Bonnet seeds(her swaggage),wanting to sow them immediately, I know it's not yet warm enough or sunny enough to give them a hopeful long lasting bloom when I transplant them to a sunny spot in my garden in 6 weeks time.

Sunny spots are less abundant than the 80% shade that comes with my manse.

Still I am prepping, to be ready, to start getting ready to sow these seeds of love.

Come to think of it, they were already sown in Caribbean waters some 10 days ago, but the anticipation of sowing new seeds, in new gardens, so that more seeds of love can be made, eases my now tension headache, my worries about strained relationships in my church and tears OF Fears of how we're going to pull off all we've got slated in the next 2 months.

Trusting that Grace will continue to abound...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

One week ago today...

...I was meeting all you lovlies for the first time, trying desperately to learn your names, remember where you hail from, connect your names with your blogs and your 'swaggage' (nicknamed by Cheese) and choose the least of the wrinkled outfits for an 8:00 Seating.

Now i sit here procrastinating on finishing a retreat plan, editing the bulletin, prepping for my 7:30 pre-wedding counseling and wondering if it was all just a dream.

But NO it wasn't. Here's why.

We have been emailing each other with concerns and loving prayers and shout-outs since we got back.

My swaggage is spread among my dresser, my study, my office.

Quotidian's photo of the 'Lectric stumble' is now my screen saver.

And I just refuse to finish unpacking my suitcase just yet, in case you call and say, "Meet me at the port and we'll do it all over again..."

Missing you ...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Grace AT Sea

Ok I admit it. the ONLY reason I set up this blog was to be eligible to go on the BE with you'all. Well not really. I was just 'a-scared' to write and be read.

After hangin with you revgals-now pals, I realize what a sacred space I've been invited into. Sacred and HILL-larious!

Here's what I know now, that I didn't before the BE.

1. When grace is offered through 2 perfect and lovely strangers, you will end up being one of their cousins' baby sitters.

2. Some of you actually snore more than me

3. Mid Westeners CAN learn to love oysters. H Rod is considering a part time job as a Mother shucker...

4. When the food is less than perfect, it matters not because good company trumps gourmet food, any day.

5. St Casserole's Birthday is really in May. Please send cat-themed cards or gift certs for Cats-R-Us.

6. I need new shoes. (Cheese-thanks for being so discreet )

7. Anything discussed under sail was lovingly, intently heard by all and surely with joy, by God

8. Your willingness to share and be open gave me more courage to do the same.

9. The stories of your lives and your struggles inspire to me live beyond "SERVE" ing the church

10. You are the wind beneath my wings...I'll tumble for you

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Almost at the end

Today is Maundy Thursday. I have just finished the Good Friday bulletin and still working on completing sermons, hospital calls, the monthly newsletter, a pile of email responses, bills, filing, laundry, family plans for Easter and sorting out plans to run away from home.

Usually these beloved 'High Holy Days' have been just that.

This year, I am quite frankly 'Lented' out. NJ overcast skies help the sombre mood, but not my own.

As long as I can remember Good Friday has nearly always darkened over at around 3 O'clock. I have always found an equally sombre spot in which to be dark on Good Friday. Tomorrow's report is for clear but windy skies. I think we'll need the winds of the Mitsral to usher out all the suffering I have seen since Feb 6th, and usher in a New Heaven and a New Earth. Thank God, I am not responsible for any of that--only for praying with the sick, preaching the word and serving communion. No matter how much suffering our world endures, no amount of chocolate bunnies can convince me that God is not with us in it.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Why can't we GET this?

I went to the beach today. I didn't want to go to the beach but I had to go since I was already within blocks of it due to an overnight visit with friends. The beach in March in the Northeast is rarely windless or warm. Today was no exception.

The sky was sunny and blue but no amount of sun this time of year could eschew the bone chilling cold of winter winds. Still, I forced myself to walk, hoping that by mashing through thick sand at the water's edge would be enough to get my heart pumping and warm me up. It did. Kinda.

Thankfully about 10 minutes into the battle, the winds took a coffee break. With relief and gratitude, I pressed on, looking for my 'expected' gift of shell or sea glass. The water's edge was more full than usual of shellish goodies but none held any particular interest.

I went farther down the beach to my favorite finding spot which I privately call Boomerang Beach. It was unusually devoid of shells or even fragments. I had been duped by Mother Nature. I stood in disappointed disbelief and turned my back to the sun (and the wind) which was now back from break. Perfect...

I decided to walk out onto 'my' jetty. I began to stare at the sea with I'm sure, the face of a spoiled child. I had been both tricked and defeated. Damned leap year...

But just as I was about to give up hope and walk away empty-handed, Grace appeared.

The spray from the waves (who themselves were fighting to arrive at their destination), began catching the sunlight and making an assembly-line of rainbows!

Again, I looked in disbelief; joyful disbelief. Wave after wave rolled towards the beach with crowns of Easter-egg pastels. This was both a moment of speechless joy and stunning embarrassment. Joy because of the beauty and the surprise; embarrassment as I realized I had secretly proclaimed God's beach, sans beach glass, was 'not enough'.

Enter God's grace. It shows up unexpected, unannounced, "turns our mourning into dancing" and turns us on our ear. It reminds us again and again that as either Calvin or Barth said: "God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves."

These "grace-bows" were not the things I was seeking or even thought possible. They also weren't 'things' I could pick up, claim as my own and put in my pocket. They weren't 'items' I could take home to add to my collections of already-full bowls of sea glass and special shells. They weren't boasting objects I could show fellow beach collectors or friends.

They were however, a most poignant reminder that God's Grace is freely given, but cannot be commanded, captured or collected. The grace-bows were also a reminder again of the ancient symbol of protection and promise given to us by God. Finally the rainbows were a reminder that God's love is still amazingly more abundant than we could ever ask or imagine, if only we can let go of our agenda and take time to notice and to receive God's.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Here's the best metaphor I can think of for my church and me. Guess who's who? Yes that's right. I'm the cat and the parish is the moose. I'm ready to pounce when things look titillating or tasty and I'm ready to bolt when things are either boring or threatening. Now I don't mean bolt for good, I mean just escape back to the manse for a nap or to curl up (with a book under, of course, my feaux bear skin)
The moose on the other hand can handle (and usually lives) in adverse conditions for extended periods of time. It can seek food and shelter on its own, but needs a good leader to find the really rich air and comfortable dwellings.

Both of these marvelous God-made creatures usually exist in separate altitudes and attitudes. But... as you can see from the photo, sometimes there are rare moments when they, in the quiet and peace of a snowy retreat, find connection and at least for a moment, love.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Ahhhh... Grace from the Sea

I've just returned from a few restorative days at the beach. Some might say that going to the beach in the Northeast in January is silly or downright masochistic, but to them I say, not so!

Some of the best beach days are found in the quiet off-season , when the crowds are gone for the winter and you can walk and drift as you please.

I am a 'professional' (read: avid) sea glass collector and pride myself on my collection as well as my discernment as to when the best times for finding these treasures are.

But beach glass collecting is not just another exercise in amassing 'stuff'. It's actually the opposite. It's an exercise in letting go of tension, worry and obsessing about things beyond our control and returning back to self and listening to God's voice, most often found for me in what's laying in wait for me in the sand.

This trip I found the usual large chunks of green, white (clear turned white/opaque from the ocean's churning) and brown all of which are fairly common and abundant on the right days/moons/tides. But I also found the sweetest piece of light green. By expert account, this piece is found/collected every 1 in 400. (which is about right since that's about the size of my 10- year collection.)

In the midst of losing 2 friends this year, (one to death and another to life circumstance) to find a piece of pale green, is most helpful and hopeful. Helpful to find something rare, and hopeful that new, special things are on their way.

I firmly believe God speaks to us in ways that we understand if we actually take notice. I don't stop to take notice enough, which is why I always find Grace by the Sea.

May you find God's grace in your sacred spaces. If you don't have a sacred space yet, no time like the present to create one. I bet God is waiting for you there right now.