Friday, November 30, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude #30

Gratitude for the Posts on Gratitude

Thirty days ago today I started NaBloPoMo. It was sort of a whim. I decided to do my daily posts on gratitude, also on a whim, since I thought my chances of actually writing something every day would be better if I had a theme. As it was November and Thanksgiving and all, gratitude seemed like a reasonable choice. And that turned out to be one of those things, as Ruby from the Blue Window blog said once, to be something that I said yes to that has changed my life without having ever thought much about it.

Because, as I come to the end of these thirty days, much to my surprise, I do find myself changed in some rather significant ways by this experience. Changed by this simple act of looking for the good things, the things in each day for which I could indeed be grateful, the things which blessed me, the things which gladdened my heart, lifted my spirit and warmed my soul.

Shortly before Thanksgiving I started thinking about writing something to sum up what the experience of the gratitude posts has been like for me. What came to my mind was the movie Pollyanna. I started thinking about the theme of that movie, that transformation can come of looking for the good in people and circumstances, from what Pollyanna called her “Glad Game.” And in the synchronous way of these things, which totally delights but no longer even really surprises me, there on Thanksgiving Eve, what should appear in Diane's beautiful sermon, but that very Pollyanna story! I sat stunned and in tears reading that sermon. Once again, something to be grateful for! I first encountered Pollyanna at about age ten. And even then, sitting in that dark Catholic school gym, I think I knew she was onto something. Something perhaps I could not articulate, but a concept that was formative and important for me. Something that now I would describe as some of the spiritual teachers do; that being, where you place your attention, your heart will be also. Something that my head has known for a long time perhaps, but that NaBloPoMo Gratitude #'s 1-29 have taught my heart and soul as well.

Early in the month of NaBloPoMo Gratitude posts, there were those nights when I sat paralyzed in front of the laptop thinking “Now what am I going to post tonight? What is it today I am grateful for?” But inevitably, sometimes slowly, something would come welling up, and I would know, “Yes, yes, this thing, this small piece of my life, today I am blessed by this, today I am grateful for this, I truly am.” And as the days passed, I started realizing something rather amazing. I noticed that I started looking at life in a new way…. That more and more my attention began dwelling in a new place. I became conscious that I was focusing on the good in the circumstances and people of my life. That was actually becoming more grateful, and more joyful, and more compassionate, and more open to those little moments of wonder. I felt myself blessed. I felt myself beloved of God. And I found myself being more loving, acting in more compassionate and generous ways.

Over these thirty days this has gone from merely blog posting to spiritual practice to a circle of gratitude. Giving and receiving, receiving and giving. And all because of a simple whim. Or grace. I’m going with grace. Thanks be to God.

Friday Five

Willsmama, in a venting opportunity, brings us the following Friday Five

Please tell us your least favorite/most annoying seasonal....
1) dessert/cookie/family food That would have to be the cookies or cake with frosting that turn your lips and mouth annoying colors. I am particularly fond of these when they appear at coffee hour!
2) beverage (seasonal beer, eggnog w/ way too much egg and not enough nog, etc...) That would be it....the over egg, under nog.....I want to be seriously NOGGED by my hot holiday beverage, I mean if I want to drink the cake batter, I'll just go off to the kitchen and have me some!
3) tradition (church, family, other) white elephant gift exchanges.....especially the round robin. Ok we are going to exchange stuff we don't want, but on the outside chance there is one good thing, you won't likely get to keep it. Can someone point out the Christmas spirit here?
4) decoration Pretty much giant plastic anything....but that's just me.
5) gift (received or given) An ex boss once gave me a little reindeer thingy that black jelly beans....cute! Spirit of the season, eh!
BONUS: SONG/CD that makes you want to tell the elves where to stick it. That would be anything with a chipmunk. And I see now they have a MOVIE. They were cute when I was six but you know that was a few years ago,....I'm just sayin....

You know this was very refreshing! I feel cleansed and ready to begin again. Thanks ws!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude #29

The first real snow is falling. It sparkles on the empty streets, muffling the sound of the sparse traffic. The Christmas lights are up in our little downtown, but there is no bustle tonight as I leave the yoga center after tai chi class. It is cold, but the wind that has roared across the prairie the last two days has died, leaving it chilly but bearable as we walk to the cars. It was a good class tonight. The four of us agree that we all felt the chi rise at some point. Even after we all collapsed in giggles and had to begin again after the first CD we used (a new one) gave us visions of little cartoon characters doing tai chi at hyper speed. We don't take ourselves too seriously. I like that about us. This class is one more piece of this life that I've found here in this place that came late and fits well. One more thing that feeds my soul and brings me joy and for which I am so grateful.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude #28

I have been doing counseling or therapy of some kind or another for over twenty years. In that time I think I have heard about almost every awful kind of misery a human being can experience as well as probably just about every kind of suffering one can inflict on another. But I have also had the great joy and privilege of seeing how amazingly resilient people can be, and how much healing the human soul and spirit are capable of. I have been entrusted with my client's most fragile selves, allowed to be part of some of the most incredible awakening moments in their lives. There have been moments when the very air has sparkled with the electricity of their self-discovery...and I got to be a witness! They have taught me things about the human mind, the human heart and the human soul that I would never have otherwise learned. They have taught me things about myself. Every year I get better at what I do, thanks in large part to my clients. They challenge me, deepen me, and open my heart. To all of them....I am grateful.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude #27

In my Bible study group we are reading Fritz Kunkel's Creation Continues. Kunkel says that part of our commission is to learn to "read God's name in everything." He says: "If we could decipher the hieroglyphs of history we would read His name everywhere, in victory and defeat, in war and peace, in suffering and joy. But we cannot see the whole; therefore we misinterpret the parts. We think we know His name and not finding it in reality we say: It is not there.....His name is spelled out in creation. We are the letters of it. "

That is, I think, enough to be grateful for be a letter in the spelling of God's name in creation. Thank you Dr. Kunkel.

Monday, November 26, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude #26

My father was a sheet metal worker and worked part-time at the gas station. His hands were never really clean, and in the winter they would crack and bleed from the chemicals in the metal. My mom worked in the school lunch room, cleaned for people, and did mending. Both of them were the children of immigrants and of the Depression. Neither finished high school. They worked really hard for very little. I grew up in that blue collar world with their dreams for me. Dreams that I would do better than they did in some way....maybe be a nurse, or a teacher, that I would at least be secure.

I have an advanced degree and earn my living doing something that brings me such joy that some days I can hardly believe that I get paid to do it. And as a priest I still regularly have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming....yep, even after a year plus......sometimes it's hard to imagine how I got here from there, how I even imagined there was a "here" from there. When I look back and see my small self....I am almost transfixed with the wonder of it all....and I can't help but believe that somehow there is a plan...a purpose....and say, "Oh thank you, thank you God, for all of it!"

Sunday, November 25, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude #25

I live in a world full of miracles. There are people all around me whose lives are being touched and changed in ways that I would never have thought possible. People that in my more cynical moments I would have said are pretty hopelessly set in their ways are learning new ways of being, taking risks I never would have imagined I'd see. A young man in jail is considering taking a different path for his life. Someone who considers herself defective and damaged and dirty because of things that have happened in her life is beginning to consider the possibility that "maybe, just maybe" she might be able to be redeemable after all. A young man who had a rough start in life is growing in confidence as he starts college. My congregation continues to manifest an ever-growing generosity of spirit that edifies and amazes me. In my own life, I am living more fearlessly, more authentically, more joyfully.... more gratefully.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude #24

I'm feeling kind of random today. I've putzed around. Went to choir practice for our Lessons and Carols. Went to the store. Put up the hooks for my greens on the porch rails, but didn't get to the greeens. Tweaked the sermon I wrote yesterday. Checked my e-mail and and in at the Preacher Party and posted my sermon. Went to the store again for stuff for dinner. Worked on my Advent candle-lighting service in a rather desultory fashion. Stopped back at the Preacher Party to see who had sermons done and went and read them. This is the second day in a row I have Not Been Productive. In the last three days I have produced one dinner and one sermon. This is practically Sloth! But I have rested more, walked more and laughed more than usual. I feel like I have my life back, at least for these few days....and I like it! So the gratitude for today is that the end of my manic life is in sight. School is out in a few weeks and this slower saner life will be mine!

Sermon for Christ the King Sunday

This is Christ the King Sunday. The last Sunday in the church year. The Sunday in which we celebrate the triumph of the reign of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, king of all creation. The Sunday in which we read about Jesus, dying on a cross, hung between thieves. When the first words we hear him speak, the first commands our king makes are, “Father, forgive them.”

This paradox between business as usual in the world of Kings strikes us now and it struck Jesus’ world then. It startles us and takes us aback. Jesus is addressed as a king by a thief while being executed as an enemy of the state. He was not who they expected him to be. He was not who they wanted him to be. That was of course part of what ended him up on that cross!

So if this Christ, this unconventional, paradoxical, uncontained king, hung on a cross, dying with thieves, forgiving his tormenters and pardoning the sinner, is indeed our King, then that would make us his subjects. And subjects are to do as their king wishes are they not? So what does this mean for us in our lives? How are we to act?

It would seem that a lot of what we have heard these previous weeks in Luke has provided a clear clue for us. Jesus lfe, though it did not resemble anything kingly as would conventionally be expected, certainly provides a model for his subjects. Jesus has lived among the outcasts. Fed the poor. Healed the sick. Forgiven the sinner. He has preached a clear and consistent message. Love God. Love one another. He has prayed and continued to be faithful to his mission. No mater what the cost. Even to this most ignominious of deaths on a cross.

Next Sunday is the first Sunday in Advent. The Christmas decorations are up in town and the holiday music is playing. It would be easy to miss the fact that there even is an advent. A waiting. A time between. Jesus the king is left on the cross, but not without a clear message to the subjects about just what kind of reign his to be. Jesus is dying on the cross and yet there is no despair. He calls us clearly to look with him to the future, to his future, the one he promises the thief…right on ahead into paradise today with Jesus with complete hope and faith and trust.

And yet for us in this temporal world, the light is not yet born again at Christmas. We have this time, this time is which we are left to ponder the life and death and mission of this unconventional king if we will, or to practice and demonstrate our loyalty to the king who loved us so much he was willing to die so we might live. This time we can use, if we wish, to live more fully into our role as subjects of Christ this paradoxical king.

Jesus ended his life as he lived it, joined in suffering among those who were least. In our culture to not be focused on having and getting ever more and more is to be countercultural, and this time of year that message is even more clear. With the economy in a slump, we are being urged to consume ever more stuff. Retailers are opening ever earlier for the so-called “Black Friday” (has it always been called that?) shopping blitz. And at the same time, as we know, those with less among us are suffering most. We already know that we at St. James are a generous bunch of folks, we have reached our MDG goal early, we are filling our pastoral care account. And I know that there are things everyone already does individually as well. But it always good to remember that in addition to this, there are alternatives to material gift giving. If someone asks you what you want for Christmas you could always tell them you’d like a goat, or some chickens, or, if they are really flush, a water buffalo…. to be donated in your name of course through an organization like Heifer, Int. Or you could have malaria nets for Christmas through ERD. Or make micro-loans through Kiva To make all that really easy, those URLs are on today’s bulletins so you can pass them along to your family and friends. Or give a gift to Heart to Heart, or Hospice or any one of so many other ways to remember those Jesus cared for especially.

Another strong theme practiced by our king is forgiveness. That might be a good Advent practice. Thinking about those people in lives that we need to forgive for old wounds and hurts. Maybe we need to let them know, and maybe it’s simply between us and God. Maybe we need to talk to someone else about it, need someone to help us let it go. If that’s the case, we need to do that. Maybe the person that needs forgiving is ourselves. Sometimes that is the hardest one. One of the things I love about our liturgy is that it provides us with consistent weekly opportunities to confess and be forgiven. But sometimes that is not enough, and we have some burden of guilt and pain that we have carried forever. Jesus our king commands that we forgive. It didn’t sound very unequivocal. I think we, ourselves are included. And again, sometimes it takes help. There is even a service of private confession for those who might find that helpful, or just talking to one of your clergy. Or maybe we need to simply practice living life as more forgive people day be day. Giving people the benefit of the doubt. Assuming the more often than not, things really aren’t personal, aren’t intended to be hurtful. And when then do bump and bruise us, forgiving them for being their clumsy, human bumbling selves. Because we are them, too. Forgiveness. Another practice for subjects of Christ our King

Prayer is another thing we can do as practicing subjects. Jesus certainly gave us examples in his life as well as in this last example. As did the thief. “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom” is perhaps one of the most beautiful examples of simple faith-filled trusting prayer that we have. And equally, the answer. "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

Martin Luther in the Heidelberg Disputation. In distinguishes between the Theology of Cross and the Theology of Glory. In the Theology of Glory, the tendency is to see God as the great gumball dispenser of goodness in the sky. This is the God who will answer our prayers, protect us from harm, be at our beck and call. In essence we have this desire, Luther said, to take God’s glory by force of will. Of course we are drawn to this God, and repelled by the Theology of the Cross, which proclaims that we have a relationship with God because we have “died with Christ.” While we as Episcopalians might have a slightly moderated understanding of that theology, it certainly bears thought on this Christ the King Sunday to think about how we do come to know God as Jesus and what this has to tell us about our own lives of prayer and faith.. Perhaps the practice of prayer in Advent might be less about attempting to plea-bargain God for our needs and more about asking how we might be part of God’s plan, how we might do God’s will trusting, faith-filled, knowing that Jesus does indeed remember us, but that also part of our lives as Christians is about a life of being engaged in doing the hard work that Jesus did on earth, and that it was about doing things that went against the grain, upsetting the status quo, questioning authority, and that ultimately, it led to the cross.

A celebration of Christ the King looks forward, beyond the cross. Jesus calls us from the other side of death to live a life of hope and freedom in the promise, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” But in return our king places a call on us. Jesus our king calls us to participate as co-creators in the in the creation of the kingdom that is to be on earth as in heaven. May it be so.

Friday, November 23, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude #23

There is no doubt in my mind what I am grateful for today...the 1149 word sermon that literally fell out of my head onto my laptop in less than two hours before I even got out of bed this morning. This is the third time I've preached this month, and while for some clergy that is par for the course, in my little trivocational life, it's rather a stretch. So I'm even more thrilled to have this done and still have Saturday before me, with only a choir rehearsal and some school stuff to do. Oh, and the rest of the Advent candle lighting service to put some finishing touches on. But that's for next week. I'm so far ahead of the curve I'm giddy with gratitude.

Friday Five:Post Thanksgiving Day Edition

Singing Owl offers us the the following Turkey Day themed questions in this week's Friday Five:
1. Did you go elsewhere for the day, or did you have visitors at your place instead? How was it? We had the party. And as I posted earlier, it was swell. I couldn't get the bowl off the food processor so I tried a little impact maintenance. First the handle broke. So I tried the hammer. Broke the whole bowl that way. Much as I'm against people working on holidays, I must say, it was good to have the big box store open and waiting to produce a new food processor. In the meantime the turkey was cooking away. Doing a good job too. Got done way early. Math was never my strong suit, even, apparently as applied to cooking times. Oh and somewhere in there, I burnt myself. But we had a great time. I started cooking everything else at break-neck speed, we moved dinner up, we laughed a lot and it all tasted pretty good when all was said and done.

2. Main course: If it was the turkey, the whole turkey, and nothing but the turkey, was it prepared in an unusual way? Or did you throw tradition to the winds and do something different? It was turkey, or actually turkey(s). I decided to get creative and do a Rachael Ray thing with a turkey breast and fresh herbs stuffed under the skin. Dear One, a traditionalist who is very fond of leftovers was not so so sure about the wisdom of that, and went with another turkey, plain butter basted in the big electric roaster. We had mine for dinner (early). We'll be having many happy returns on that other big ol' bird. Yum-O as Rachael would say!

3. Other than the meal, do you have any Thanksgiving customs that you observe every year? We often say what we are thankful for. This year that kind of got lost in the dinner chaos.

4. The day after Thanksgiving is considered a major Christmas shopping day by most US retailers. Do you go out bargain hunting and shop ‘till you drop, or do you stay indoors with the blinds closed? Or something in between? No stores today for me. Well there is the soy milk run I've been putting off, but that will be it!

5. Let the HOLIDAY SEASON commence! When will your Christmas decorations go up? If it is not too cold tomorrow the outdoor garland will hit the porch. The inside things will start anytime in December. It's usually an evolving process. The bins come up and get unpacked gradually through the month, starting with the advent wreath and the empty creche and forward from there.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude #22

Thanksgiving indeed. There's so much to be thankful for today. I broke the food processor. The turkey got done two hours early. I burnt myself. And it was just the best day. There was once a time that any one of those things on a day when I was having dinner guests would have pushed me right over the edge. Today I just laughed. The food processor is replaced, dinner got moved up a bit, and a good time was had by all. I am so grateful that I have learned to take life a little less least some of the time!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

NabloPoMo Gratitude #21

Tonight was the annual interfaith community Thanksgiving service. It's been an interesting evolution. The first year I lived here I remember sitting in the pew looking around and wondering how I would do in this new place. Would I find friends, make a home here? A few years later I sang with the community choir. Tonight, vested, I processed with the rest of the clergy, did one of the readings, looked around the crowd for "my" people, greeted the community folks afterward. It was another one of those little moments where I just had to do a wee reality check just to make sure I had not dreamed this whole thing. So tonight I am grateful again just to be in this place, living this life, for all the funny twists and turns that got me here, right where I am so clearly supposed to be.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude #20

When I was ordained a transitional deacon, my mentor priest assigned me the task of starting a book club. So a congregant and I got one going, and for over a year and a half now, once a month, a group of us have been meeting to talk, laugh and sometimes disagree about some really interesting books. We have run the gamut from Brian MacLaren to C.S Lewis, Pema Chodron to Oscar Wilde. We have talked about the content of the books, but also our faith, what we believe and how we got there and a whole host of other things. We are an ecumenical crowd, Episcopalian and Lutheran at this point. We laugh a lot. We feel safe to disagree with each other. We have become friends. Before moving to this little burg on the prairie, I really hadn't had a lot of experience with uncomplicated friendship. I appreciate it so much where I find it here. So tonight, I am grateful for the Good Book Club!

Monday, November 19, 2007

NaBloPoMo #19

I went over to the jail tonight to see L. He's the young man I met when I went over to do my ministerial association rotation and well, frankly, he's kind of won my heart. Nineteen, he's been in some kind of "lock-up" for a good chunk of his life, and yet....there is a sweetness about him that touches my soul. He has gifts, drawing and writing. his heart is not hard. He cries when he talks about wanting God's forgiveness and a new life. Could he be conning me? Maybe. But I don't think so. I've been doing this a long time. I know conning when I see it usually.

Tonight I am very grateful to be in L's life. For the reminder that despite hardship and bad breaks the beauty of a soul can shine. I thank God for the grace to see him through God's eyes tonight. I ask your prayers for him.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude #18

Well it has been quite a weekend. The Messiah on Friday, and the high school offerings of South Pacific last night and Godspell today after church, interspersed with a very long day of sermon writing, and a lovely walk and good conversation yesterday and supplying for the first time today. I had a feeling that sometime this month, it would finally come to this....tonight is the night....I am grateful for my warm soft bed.

Sermon for November 18, 2007

Luke 21:5-19

We live in an impermanent world. Things end and change and die. Every story has an ending. Our relationships change and sometimes end. Every living thing changes. Every beautiful creation and building and thing that is will finally pass away. Even, we are told, the world as we
know it will end some day. It all finally, ultimately perishes. We being the humans that we are, get kind of anxious when we are confronted with this. We really don’t like to face it, or think about it. So mostly, we just don’t. Or we make bad jokes about it, or pretty it up, or find some other interesting human ways to deal with the whole business.

It appears that things were not so very different in Jesus’ day. In this morning’s Gospel, we find Jesus standing in the temple. He is nearing the end of his public ministry. It is not long in time until his own death and perhaps He knew this. Perhaps he was trying to prepare his followers for his death. But what they heard were his words about the end to the temple…that their beautiful and symbolic temple, which signified that God was dwelling with his people would be thrown down, destroyed. And they asked the questions that we all ask when we fear something bad is going to happen…. the questions we ask so we can be ready…. prepare for the worst…the questions we ask so we think can be IN CONTROL of the situation….”when”, we want to know, ...”when is this thing going to happen and how will we know it is coming, what will be the signs?”

Jesus, however, does not give them an answer to their question. He does not offer cheap grace, easy reassurances or a way for them to assert human control of the situation. Instead he offers them and us an opportunity for reflection on the good news that is contained in this gospel, and that is the promise of the hope that is a product of our ultimate security in God, the truly liberating message that the God of all grace is in charge of creation.

What Jesus offers his listeners in Luke and what we are offered, if we are willing, is a way past the terror and anxiety that might come from the fall of our own personal temples.
Jesus offers this to his hearers in some specific ways. Jesus advises several things:
He encourages wisdom ("See that you are not misled by those that use the insability to their own advantage") and discourages fear and despair ("Do not be terrified by the chaos around you"). He urges radical and prophetic improvisation ("Do not prepare your defenses in advance"), and trust and faith in him ("I will give you words and a wisdom"), and stubborn hope that transcends fear ("By your endurance you will save your souls"). This is how people on the far side of endings might find the faithfulness to go on.

Because of course, Jesus isn't talking to just anyone here, but to those who have the courage to take up the cross and follow, to those with the courage to leave the ruins and bear new faith and the persecutions that go with it. How typical of Jesus that after telling the faithful that they will be brought before kings and governors, he says in the next breath: "This will give you an opportunity to bear testimony!" That at the same time he promises betrayal, he promises the gaining of your soul. Because in God, after all, every ending becomes a beginning, and every death becomes a chance for resurrection.

In the end we know that all human institutions, no matter how beautiful, no matter how wonderful, are transient and cannot be our foundation, because always that day will come when one stone will not stand upon another and they will be thrown down. If we look at this in one way it can make us anxious and fearful and despairing. But if we remember the hope that we are promised, that in Jesus we have the true and enduring foundation, we see that those things that shake the stones of the temple are simply that.

It is important for us to remember that for Luke the reign of God always triumphs. It is a testimony to the way God has chosen to do things. The good news for us in all this is that we can be sure that salvation is not merely a promise for the world to come. Through Jesus God declared God’s dominion in history, not above it or beside it. Salvation is for the now as well as for the hereafter. The God who loves us, who longs to be in relationship with us, is the God who “so loved the world” in Jesus Christ and who offers us the chance to be co-creators in bringing about the kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.

So what does all of this have to do with us here this morning? What are the temples that are being thrown down in your lives? The things that make you want to say, “When will this be and what are the signs that it is about to take place?”Perhaps there is comfort in Jesus’ counsel: "Don’t be led astray from me" "Do not be terrified." "Do not prepare your defenses in advance,I will give you words and a wisdom" "By your endurance you will gain your souls."

Saturday, November 17, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude #17

Tonight, on this day of the first snow, I am grateful that there are still places that are quiet enough to hear it falling.

Friday, November 16, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude #16

I went to hear The Messiah tonight. It was performed by the Prairie Arts Chorale, which is our regional chorus. Admission is by audition and they are quite good. They really did a lovely job with Parts the First, Second and Third of this beautiful oratorio . They had a small string group and a continuo to accompany them, and except for a few slides off key, they, too managed the complex Handel music admirably. All in all it was musically quite wonderful.

I have been hearing and performing the Messiah in various formats since high school. But this was, I think the first time I have ever heard some of it. It is for certain the first time the language alone has made me me cry.

9. Oh thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Arise, shine; for thy light has come; and the glory of the Lord has risen upon thee.

I am thanking God tonight for the genius of Handel, the talent of the musicians that brought his music to life tonight and the transformation that continues to happen in my life bringing me to ever deeper levels of joy.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude # 15

Halfway through this month of gratitude posts and still at it! This has turned out to be a wonderful spiritual discipline so I've decided this is what I am grateful for today, spiritual disciplines. Prayer, yoga, meditation, journaling and the other practices that have some regularity in my spiritual life, and that have served at various times as boot camp and book ends, backbone and backdrop. It's allways best for me when a practice assumes a regularity, a rhythm that brooks no discussion, it just is as regular as breathing. If it is morning, I do yoga and pray before anything else. If it is evening, I journal and pray before sleeping. These are the times when life goes smoothest. Then of course, I fall out of the pattern, let life interfere, and must begin again, finding my way back. And I am grateful that the practices are there waiting for me to come back to them.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude # 14

There was a really fabulous sunrise this morning. The sky was streaked pink, orange and violet. There was fire behind the clouds that made me think about why the ancients must have believed that heaven was there. The wind was also absolutely amazing out here on the prairie today. At one point it was over forty miles an hour, just howling across fields and parking lots with vengance. It was a portent of things to come here very, very soon. One of the things I have never stopped loving about living out here is being closer to nature. God is in the sunrise and in the wind.
Glorify the Lord, all you works of the Lord,
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
In the firmament of his power, glorify the Lord,
praise him and highly exalt him forever
BCP p. 88

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude #13

Today we had a meeting in which our bosses shared that they are grateful for us. It was quite nice to be told that we were all doing a really good job here, that the center is financially stable, that our clients are well-served, to hear that they get how all the hard work we do contributes to making that happen. After they told us all these nice things they treated us to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner....turkey and all the trimmings. Very nice. Before we ate they asked to share with the person next to us something we are grateful for. Gratitude. It seems to be going around these days.

Monday, November 12, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude #12

I've been thinking about paths not taken, choices not made, and sometimes, the things escaped or avoided by pure luck, or as I understand these days, pure grace. It seems that there has been a conspiracy of goodness that gently but firmly has nudged me, over and over again toward the places that I needed to go, the people I needed to meet. I refuse to believe it's random. I choose to believe it's God. I'm grateful to finally have lived long enough to see enough of life to understand that there really is a big picture here while still being young enough in spirit to be amazed by it.

Ten Random Things (By Maggie the Peke)

Maggie the Peke says: Rowan, Lindy's canine companion and wise theologian in his own right has tagged me to play the ten random things meme. BTW, I interviewed Rowan at his blog last week, just in case you want to know even MORE great stuff about him! So here are my things:

1. I like cat food better than dog food. Paws down! (But I am still trying not to go eat it cuz I'm not supposed to.)
2. Sometimes I have trouble staying awake while meditating. Not real often of course, I am very spiritual after all!
3. I like it when rdk and dearone leave the radio on for us when they are gone, I prefer MPR.
4. I HATE being combed. Especially by Dear One who Takes It All Very Seriously and even Has Talks with RDK about not being a good dogmom to me and letting me get mats. I don't mind mats so much. It's the combing. OUCH!
5. My favorite place outside is the fern bed in the summer. Cool and dark and mysterious. I play jungle hunter.
6. My favorite treat is greenies. I don't get them enough (hint hint)
7. My best friend's name is Maggie, too. She is also a dog. I can't remember what kind but she's curly and white and she bounces.
8. I really like baths. Especially the wrapping up part after.
9. I don't like hot weather. It makes me pant and I have to rest on walks.
10. I had ticks this year. They were icky, specially the one we missed. EEUUWW!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude #11

Gratitude. Where to begin? Would it be for a chance to spend forty-eight hours with ten really smart, funny, committed incredible people this weekend learning some things that just might have the possibility of being transformative? Or three hours in the car with a Sweet Honey in the Rock CD that made me cry half the way home on a beautiful late fall aftrenoon for the sheer beauty of it? Or the Martinmas Evensong that I literally pulled in at the last minute to co-officiate this evening? It was quite a weekend package. I think it's going to take some time to sort it all out, downshift back into life. I feel a little like I've been picked up and briskly shaken and set back in place. But it was a good shaking, it moved things around in some important ways. Life is abundant. There is no doubt on that front. That and I have to get some sleep!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude # 10

It has been a really really long day. I have been with amazing people and had my mind expanded and stretched. I am grateful for the diversity of people in this meeting, in our ability to engage, to risk, to laugh. We will go back at our work in the morning. Tonight, I am grateful for the hospitality of my friend and a glass of wine and good conversation to relax and debrief.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Sally from RevGals asks us to look for " the possibility of finding little gaps in the day or the week to spend in extravagant unbusyness ( a wonderful phrase coined by a fellow revgal)"...
I was not going to play today, (see previous post) but this was too delicious to resist, so I found a little gap and here we go:

Given those little gaps, 5 things you would do to; care for your body: massages, facials, pedicures, eat more healthily, walk daily with Maggie
2. to care for your spirit: more quiet, more yoga, more Tai Chi, more Yurt, more prayer
3. to care for your mind: travel, reading, a class as a student not teacher, good conversation, silence
4. to bring a sparkle to your eye: remember I'm loved endlessly by God and a few humans, too! Spend more time with Dear One, be in nature, spend time with Maggie and the kitties, hang out with kids
5. to place a spring in your step: eat well, sleep more, exercise, plan my trip to Ireland (with a possible RGMU), go shopping!
Enjoy the time to indulge and dream.... and then for a bonus which one on the list are you determined to put into action? Daily walk with has slipped and we both miss it!

NaBloPoMo Gratitude # 9

Coming hard on the heels of late night # 8 is early morning # 9 because it's going to be a busy day....which leads me to this great gratitude I am feeling this morning for the support and flexibility of those who care about me and surround my life. On Tuesday night there was a phone call and suddenly I am leaving for the weekend to go off to this exciting missional training. This was not in the schedule! There were plans and commitments. In order for me to do this: Dear One was willing to take the lead on the hot meal for the Habitat workers. That means being up early and at church on Saturday, no mean feat! M is letting me skip ALL the rehearsals for the Sunday sung Martinmas Evensong and screech in at the last possible minute to robe, sing and co-officiate. That's trust! My boss is letting me come in early and skip lunch (even though we don't really have "flex time") so I can leave early enough to make the drive and get to the training on time. My SD sends me off with blessings and wonderful reminders that this is exactly where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to be doing. Thanks be to God for all of them and all the other innumerable supports and expressions of love that so abound.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude # 8

Tai Chi. Definitely tonight, the gratitude is for Tai Chi. I only came to it recently, but from the first time I moved through it I was hooked. There were four of us tonght. I came right from vestry. It was so lovely to leave words and thinking behind and just fall into rhythm and energy letting the chi carry me, feeling it literally move through my hands. As we finsh the movements we formally bow to our own chi then each other's, then break out in huge grins. We have all felt it, this amazing tangible essence that moved among and between us. "Again?" we ask, "Oh yes, let's go again." And we do.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude #7

Today I am grateful for the quirky ways that we get to connect with others and the way God uses those opportunities. A friend is taking a world religions class and needs an interview subject. I agree to be "it." A fabulous, grace-filled conversation ensues. Amazing, simply amazing. Thanks be to God!


I spent the night discerning. That means I didn't get a lot of sleep. Back in the days when I used to think I did this all myself, this translates into the fact that I was facing a decision. Not life or death, but important, it has some ramifications beyond me and I wanted to try to make the choice that is best all around. I 've come to peace, I've made my choice and committed and now it all seems ok and simple. At 2 a.m. however, it was much more complex and fraught with potential complications, somehow. Why is that?

Here's the thing. I have been invited to participate, on behalf of my congregation, in a very interesting project at the Diocesan level. There are lots of people I really like and admire involved and I am very flattered to be asked. And therein lies the problem. I do think that overall there is great potential for good here. For my congregation and for the bigger world of this goes forward. But I'm questioning my motives a bit. Do I want to engage in this because of those higher motives or because I am flattered to be asked and it will be fun to engage in this really splendid learning opportunity with some really fine and high-powered minds that think about mission in ways that I have not had an opportunity to do before? And is it ok to do it if it is a bit about me?

At 2 am my conscience prickled. In the light of day something in me said, "Go!" All the doors fell open and the obstacles fell away, often a good test for me of what something is about. I am going and hoping that this voice is the Spirit and not simply my ego!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ten Random Things

I have been taggen by Diane to share ten random things about me. Wow. Ten is a lot, but here goes.

1. I legally changed my name. Just because I wanted to and the one I was given never felt like it was really me.
2. Though I think I have had more than my share of jobs,I have never been a waitress.
3. I taught myself to play the piano by ear when I was five.
4. I actually was in the convent twice.
5. I didn't get my driver's license till I was 22.
6. I almost drowned in Chesapeake Bay in a sailboat mishap.
7. I used to play the violin
8. I am the first person in my immediate family to attend college
9. I still pinch myself to see if I am dreaming about being ordained
10. I have had a cello in my closet for four years that I plan to learn to play...soon.

Whew! That was was fun but I'm too tired to tag, so play if you wish and leave me a comment to let me know so I can come read them!

For All the Saints

Saint Golf Balls - Set of 3 - St. Patrick, St. Anthony, & St. Jude
Your Price: $6.95
Give the golfer in your life a ray of hope with these unique golf balls. Keep Saint Anthony (Patron Saint of Lost Things) in the bag to help prevent lost golf balls. Ask Saint Patrick (Patron of Good Luck) to help find the green, and when all else fails, there's Saint Jude (Patron Saint of Lost Causes) for the loveable, die-hard hack. This golf ball set is perfect for any golfer in your life; no matter what the skill level, they're sure to put a smile on any golfer's face.

This is an actual ad that I got in a catalog from a place where I have purchased clergy attire.
So there we go, another purpose for those saints.

NaBloPoMo for November Gratitude # 6

There is such wealth here in the land of RevGal blog to be grateful for. While I am posting my daily gratefuls I am also reading other folks daily NaBloPoMo and other posts and am so glad that while I am attending to my small world, they bring to me and remind me of the need to pay attention to the issues and needs of the larger world. Of particular note:

Cecilia at Closeted Pastor linked to an article in the NY Times that helped me remember that gender issues live on. Gotta keep paying attention and doing our part for raising consciousness.

Mother Laura is writing to Popular Mechanics and firmly but gently calling them out on race and gender shortcomings. Reminder to myself to not just think about writing those letters, but actually doing it. Present tense verbs, Zacchaeus!

And Kate is using her NaBloPoMo to blog about environmental concerns. She has provided some wonderful food for thought and great links as well as an example from her landlords of how wasteful and thoughtless we can be about using resources. I'm stopping in daily and getting educated!

You have to page back a bit (but you could read your way back too, as there is always such good reading there.) to a very sobering post with links, on torture from Tandaina .

I could not miss on this list Jan, purveyor of poems, quizzes, cartoons, articles, links....and so much more from all over the world that tweaks my conscience and makes me think, or laugh, or cry or wonder.

And last but not least, Cheesehead provides one of those "things I wish I'd said" comebacks for those parish moments we have all had. Thanks, Cheese!

So today I am grateful for the wonderful, witty, wide ranging world of RevGals and their blogs and all the things they find and bring to my sometimes very little world, thus making it a bigger, better place.

Monday, November 05, 2007

NaBloPoMo for November Gratitude # 5

Tonight I am grateful that it's not strep. I had been feeling sort of crappy since yesterday, sore throat, a bit achy,and with that nebulous feeling I never can describe that says "fever" to me. When one of my clients, whom I'd just seen a few days ago called me today to cancel with strep throat, I thought, "uh-oh." So I went and had a quick culture. It's not. Just a "garden variety bug," the friendly doc says. "You'll feel worse before you feel better," he says. "Don't bother to take anything other than Tylenol, won't help anyway, have a great night." Yes I am grateful it's not strep.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

NaBloPoMo for November Gratitude # 4

My gratitudes are multiple tonight. It's seven o'clock and I just got out of my church clothes. It's been that kind of a day, full of busyness and blessings. I did fill in for C and did the service. The sermon preached, thanks in large part to the inspiration of PS of RevGals who got me moving in the right direction and was generous about letting me borrow material from her fabulous sermon. Grateful I am for that!

Then I went over and saw the young man at the jail that I met when I went for the ministerial rotation. He tugged my heartstrings and something (Someone?) just kept calling me to go see him again. He said to me today, "Of all the people I know in jail, I am the nicest one I know." And you know, he is right! There is a kind of sweet innocence about this child (he is nineteen) despite the fact that he is locked up...again....that makes me want to just be very very sure that he knows that God and at least one other human on the planet cares he is alive. So I am grateful that I allowed myself to be called back to see L today.

Then it was back to work for awhile to do a little school stuff. The gratitude on that front is that there are eleven classes left, nine of which I have to prep!

Then I went to a concert. One of our congregants directs the regional orchestra out here out on the prairie. They are quite splendid, as is our performance space. It was one of my fears when I moved to the hinters that I'd be culture-deprived. Quite to the contrary! Cultural venues are easily accessed, reasonably priced and frequent. I go to more great stuff now than I ever did in the Big City when I had to reserve ahead, pay lots for tickets and then pay even more to park a mile away. Today we heard Brahams, Liszt and Mahler sung beautifully in German by a wonderful mezzo who also happens to be a friend. One of the pieces was introduced by a nationally known author who likes it enough to live here too! Life is very, very abundant and I am tired but grateful!

Sermon for Sunday November 4, 2007

With heartfelt thanks to PS for inspiration and permission to borrow liberally!

Luke 19:1-10
This morning’s Gospel is one of those stories we have all grown up with. Many of us know the song about Zacchaeus as well. Because this story is so familiar and we have heard it so often we might think we get the message it contains and really not pay too much attention. That is kind of what I thought until yesterday morning at about 11:00 when C called me and told me that her mother-in-law was not doing well, and might not last the night, and asked me to be prepared just in case she would not be able to be here to celebrate and preach this morning. C called again late last night and said that death was close and they were going to be staying with the family, so that is why I am here in her place. And why I got to have a quick course in what else might be going on in this little story that we all think we know so well.

Typically when we think about Zacchaeus, we think of him as yet another person in the Gospels who was doing something wrong or bad, then who had an encounter with Jesus, that resulted in a conversion experience, was transformed and repented of his or her transgressions and then went on to live a different kind of life. And indeed that may be the story here, or perhaps there is a different story entirely.

We are told that Zacchaeus was a tax collector. Often they were not the most upstanding of fellows by anyone’s understanding. How this tax collecting business worked back in Jesus day was that the tax collectors were sort of free agents. The tax collectors paid the Roman government first, and then went off to collect from the people what they had already paid. So the government really had no oversight, and the tax collectors were very motivated to collect, and I imagine a good one could get very rich, as they could probably do some creative bookkeeping as they wished. No wonder they were a hated bunch! We are also told that Zacchaeus was rich. Another reason for people who were not rich simpy to dislike him because he was!

So here is Zacchaeus. A rich tax collector. A man whom it appears the people in Jericho made some assumptions about. They declared that Zacchaeus was a sinner. They grumbled about Jesus having dinner at his house. But it seems that Zacchaeus may have been guilty, in this case, perhaps of nothing more than his profession, and that those who were truly in need of repentance were the rest of the crowd. Because this is where the story gets really interesting and possibly departs from the Sunday school Bible story of Zacchaeus getting religion and becoming a generous person in order to be saved. There is some ambiguity as to whether or not Zacchaeus is actually converted by his encounter with Jesus. Bible scholars disagree as to whether the verbs used by Zacchaeus are in the present tense or the future. That is, Zacchaeus may be saying that he will give half of his possessions to the poor and pay back four times anybody he has defrauded, but he could be saying that he already does these things. If Zacchaeus is using the future tense, then he is announcing a change of heart. If Zacchaeus is speaking in the present tense, then he is claiming that he is already doing these things, and it appears that it is perhaps the community that has the problem, and is in need of repentance and conversion more than Zacchaeus. Either interpretation of the verb tenses indicates that there exists the possibility of transformation, it is simply a matter of who it is that is changed.
If we read the story in the traditional way, Zacchaeus is a rich, short, likely pompous tax collector who, for some reason unknown to us decides he MUST see this Jesus who is passing through his town. He climbs a tree, where he is spotted by Jesus, who sees him and has the effect that Jesus often has on people and Zacchaeus changes his life. He becomes not only a generous man, offering to give to the poor, but a just one as well offering to restore and compensate for wrongs done. This lost, formerly wicked tax collector is saved and brought into the house of Abraham.

But what if the conversion is not about Zacchaeus at all? What if we read his words in the present tense? What if he is saying to Jesus as has been suggested, “Look, I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I have paid them back four times as much.” What if Jesus choice to stay at the house of Zacchaeus was to bring healing and wholeness (as this is the meaning of salvation) to him who was outcast by his community. Perhaps the “lost” that Jesus was referring to was the community as much as it was Zacchaeus. This community that decided they knew a whole lot about Zacchaeus based on certain bits of information. The community that perhaps separated itself from him and declared him a sinner as a result.

And the fact of the matter is that there was probably need of conversion and repentance on both sides there that day. Because that is usually how it is for us humans who live in community. Because we are not perfect. We are all both light and shadow. We are not always our finest selves. We do not always live in that present tense where we do those good things we plan to do. Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking we ARE doing what we wish we did. And sometimes as a community we do not always allow for others to be that fuller finer self. We assume things based on what we think know about people and limit them as a result. We exclude based on partial information, or labels, or past behavior. Sometimes we have a hard time letting people change and be renewed. We keep them in the boxes of how they have always been.

But the good news in this Gospel as it is in every Gospel is that someone is always able to be converted because like in the story God sees it, all of it, and can call us out of it. As a Jew of his time Jesus understood something about the nature of repentance that we western Christians maybe don’t get so well. The Jewish understanding of the word itself is that it involves a stop, a turn, and a restart from that very point. In this understanding things CAN change on a dime. It’s radical and it’s joyful, it’s lifegiving and it’s transformational. It’s about discovering, or rediscovering who you really are at your truest, best and most authentic in relationship to yourself, your God and your community and being restored to that. Perhaps this is what happened in Jericho when Jesus passed through and called Zacchaeus out of the tree. Jesus saw Zacchaeus as he truly was and called him out, and allowed him to see himself and others to see him and themselves as well. And perhaps they were all able to be transformed as a result.

This is the first time I’ve ever thought about this story in this way. And I am not a Greek scholar and would not even begin to argue one side against the other. But it does not seem like a stretch to me that the point of the parable could be about the community’s conversion and need of repentance as well as Zacchaeus’. One of the things that struck me as I thought about it was the last line, “For the son of man came to seek out and to save the lost.” There are a lot of ways people can be lost. Zacchaeus was lost to his community because he was excluded. He was excluded because he was feared. Perhaps the fear was warranted and perhaps it was not. It all depended on the verb tense in this case.

Who do we fear? Who do we exclude? Is it that simple? Not always. But do we as Christians have a responsibility to call ourselves to repentance on excluding others and turn from it when we find ourselves doing it? It would seem so. For the Son of Man came to seek out and save the lost…whoever they might be, because they might even be US!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

NaBloPoMo for November Gratitude # 3

This morning I am grateful that the chair of the Psychology department thinks well enough of me to offer me a section for Spring and that I think well enough of myself to say "no thank you."

Friday, November 02, 2007

Friday Five: Interviews

This morning Bishop Laura asks us to share our thoughts on the wonderful world of interviews:

1. What was the most memorable interview you ever had? It had to have been when I met with the Comission on Ministry for my discernment meeting. They were so affirming and warm and I felt as if the church had opened its arms to me after some previous foot-dragging about my call. The chair at that time said some really wonderful things about how clearly he heard the Spirit at work in my was a life-changer!

2. Have you ever been the interviewer rather than the interviewee? If so, are you a tiger, a creampuff, or somewhere in between? As a therapist my job really is kind of one long interview. I am a tiger in a creampuff suit. Just ask my clients!

3. Do phone interviews make you more or less nervous than in-person ones? I HATE the phone ones. No body language, no cues. Can't even use CAPS, bold, italics or :-) to convey things, people tend to "talk over" each other and there are those nasy awkward pauses. I'd rather be interviewed on the internet. That was a very memorable experience too BTW! And Maggie agrees about hers.

4. What was the best advice you ever got to prepare for an interview? How about the worst?
"Just be yourself" was the best. I actually figured that out and gave it to myself when I was interviewing for about my second job. I thought I better let them know what they were really getting if they hired false advertising...and they must have liked what they saw. My interview to hire track record is pretty good, so I'm sticking with this one. I suppose the worst advice would be to cover something up or lie. Though I've never been told that directly, I know that some of my clients have. "Should I tell a prospective employer I have any mental health problems?" comes up frequently as something they wonder about or have been told they shouldn't do. Stigma exists, and people are passed over if employers know or think they do that someone has MI, no doubt. But on the other hand...this isn't, for many of my clients a common cold that will pass in two weeks. I'm for contained truth with a positive beat....My advice is IF it comes up and IF there is a need to know, the response is along the lines of: "I have this, I handle it, I'll let you know if anything comes up."

5. Do you have any pre-interview rituals that give you confidence? New clothes, always! But then that is pretty much a pre-anything ritual. Prayer is good, too. The twenty-third Psalm is my all-purpose pre-flight, pre-interview, pre-exam, pre- anything "calm down and remember it's all gonna be ok because God's got it" ritual.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

NaBloPoMo for November Gratitude # 2

Today I am grateful for the the fact, that at an age that could only be called middle if I plan to live to defy statistics, I still wake up most mornings really believing that just about anything could still happen in my life, and being pretty darn excited about that!

Maggie the Peke's Interview

Maggie has been interviewed by Tipper the Dog whose mom is Gannet Girl at Search the Sea. Maggie enjoyed this experience immensely and would be happy to interview all comers if you follow the instructions as printed at the end of her interview. Thanks for the great questions Tipper. I think there might be a future for you in journalism!

Tipper: Pekes are very small, aren't they? How do you get along with Big Dogs?
Maggie: Well, size is a relative thing. Compared to my chihuahua friend Wheezer I am not so small, but next to Herbie the lab, I guess I am. I wear a medium in most things, my weight is about 13#. I am pretty short, though kind of longish. I really like all sorts of dogs, and I take others as they are and hope they do the same with me. When I was younger my Kate took me to school and it was almost all big dogs. Some of them had Very Bad Manners and one tried to eat me after he sat on me! I thought this was very poor form, but I have not held this against all of his kind. We have frequent guests at our house, both dog and cat, and I find I can relate well with all of them if we establish some basic ground rules of respect like, “don’t bite me and don’t scratch me (in the case of cats) and I will do the same with you and all will be well with us.”
Tipper: How did you find yourself in Kate's household?
Maggie: One fine morning when I was still very small I was playing with my brother Schreck and my mom and dad. (My name was still Fiona then, we were named after the movie by the kids at our birth home). These two ladies came over to the pen and one of them picked me up and held me close to her. My birth mom’s person talked to her about me, including explaining that even though I am a Pekinese, I was born without the kind of tail we usually have. Mine is short and doesn’t have much hair. She told this lady that was holding me that another lady was going to adopt me until she saw my tail and then she changed her mind because I was “deformed.” This nice lady (who of course turned out to be Kate) got really mad about that and said, “Well, if I didn’t already want this puppy, now I REALLY want her!” And the next thing I knew, I was saying goodbye to mom and dad and Schreck and moving in to my new house, getting used to living with CATS, and that’s how I started my life with Kate.
Tipper: Kate is a psychologist AND a priest. What are your callings?
Maggie: I believe I am called to the contemplative life. I meditate a lot. Kate has been known to wonder if they “forgot my batteries” whatever that means. I also walk in two worlds. My main companions are feline and I have found ways to live comfortably with them by emulating their lifestyle of napping frequently, laying low, and nibbling often. I am also of course Kate’s confidant as I completely understand her need to say things to someone that can go nowhere!
Tipper: How do you like to start and end your days?
Maggie: Horizontally on something soft. Preferably on the pillow next to Kate when we say our morning and evening prayers together. I like morning prayer best as it is followed by breakfast!
Tipper: And always the most important question for canines: what is your favorite treat
Maggie: As a single dog in a house of cats I have learned that cat food has its joys! In fact I have had to endure some rather serious behavioral consequences as a result of sneaking off to eat a whole bowl of cat food now and again. I really try not to….but it just calls to me! I pray for strength to be a better dog in this area! It really is my only big fault.
RevGalDogPals or CatPals (or anyone at all two-legged or four) would you like to be interviewed by Maggie? If so, here are the rules:
1. If you are interested in being interviewed, leave a comment here on my mom's blog saying, 'interview me.'
2. I will respond by posting five questions for you. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with a post with your answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

NaBloPoMo for November Gratitude # 1

I ran into NaBloPoMo over at Tandaina's blog, which has been a source of many interesting things, blog and other. After reading about it, I thought it would be fun to try posting daily, so I joined up! And since it is November, month of Thanksgiving and all, I decided I'd do gratitude posts. So here is my intention: no matter what else does or does not get posted this month, every day I will post about at least one thing for which I am grateful.

This morning I am grateful for the technology of the internet which allows for new and creative ways for us to make connections with each other. Certainly this blog ring which so enhances my life is an example of that, but we are not alone in making use of this new way of being in each other's lives. I have clients that have formed and joined on-line support groups (great for the anxious and agorophobic!) Our college is using on-line learning to reach new audiences and old ones in new ways. Some of my senior citizen friends just glow when they tell me they can download pictures of the grandkids almost the minute they are taken. For those of us the hinterlands, it makes it possible to "attend" things we could otherwise not. Our doctors use telemedicine to bring specialists and consults that would not be otherwise accessible.

Creator God, we thank you for the intelligence that makes all this possible, grant us the wisdom to use it well.