Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Five: The Big To-Do

Kathrynzj says: "Greetings from the land of the Big To-Do!It seems like every year I enter into the summer with a growing list of HUGE projects/events/trips that seem to have a permanent place on the 'to do' list.This year I have a huge move pending so that takes up an entire list all on its own, but it doesn't take a big event like that for me to make plans bigger than my summer can hold!How about you?Is this the third summer in a row you have made a pledge involving your garage and actually getting a car into it?Did you once again miss the registration deadline for the continuing education event of your dreams ?Are you starting to think you couldn't even find the tents, let alone get it together to pull off a camping trip?Here is your chance to get it out into the open and OWN your Big To-Do! Who knows? Maybe making the list will help you move the Big To-Do to the Big Ta-Da!"

This comes to you this morning from the land of procrastination. It's 7:45 and I have just arrived at the day job office. I had planned to be here at 6 this morning. The "to-do" was the sermon for Sunday....It is, alas now a still-to-be-done. So WTH....might as well procrastinate a little longer and play this F5!
1) What home fix-it project is on your Big To-Do? R and I are building a deck on the back of the house this summer. I am optimistic that we will get it done. That's not so much about me, but what I am learning about him is that when I say, "gee let's..." we DO! We have already taken out a stairlift in the house and removed an access ramp out front, planted a garden and generally spruced up the yard, as well as done a number of small projects around the house that have been sitting literally for years. We find we work well together and have fun, too. I love that he is taking interest and ownership in a house that he won't even be living in for almost a year yet.

2) What event (fun or work) is on your Big To-Do? That would be that Big Event to which the countdown refers....One wedding that is now LESS than a year away. We really have a lot underway or planned already, but it's fun to talk and dream about details. We are talking about honeymoon spots...any suggestions?

3) What trip is on your Big To-Do? Mid-June we are planning a little road trip to my hometown in Iowa to see the places I haunted as a kid. Actually I think it's just an excuse to run away in the Mini Cooper! It's not a big trip, but it's another first, our first "real vacation" together.

4) What do you wish was on someone ELSE's (partner, family member, celebrity, etc...) Big To-Do? That would be having XDO have a list of getting the stuff out soonest. To be fair, it is on the list, we just haven't been able to mesh schedules to this point.

5) Getting inspired? What may end this summer having moved from the Big To-Do to the Big Ta-da? I think it's all coming along. Summer will find us cleaned, spruced, bedecked and minus the stuff XDO left, God willing!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

String Theory

I have no idea what real string theory is about. It’s been briefly explained to me. It went past. It’s on my list of things to “go read about and understand someday.” In the meantime I have my own that I’m wrestling with, and that’s quite enough, thanks. I’ve written here before about how I function on at least two levels when it comes to my theological-spiritual self. There is the educated, 21st century person who thinks and knows and apprehends in a fairly sane, mostly wise and reasonable manner. And then there is that younger, primitive part of me who was steeped in mysticism and myth mixed with strong, strong doses of pre-Vatican Catholicism. The God of those two selves is not the same God. The God of the first is the God of love expressed in the Gospels and manifested in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. This is the God of whom I am (on most good days) also beloved. This God has dreams for me within the context of my own (prodigious) free will. This is not the puppet God or the bubble gum machine God. When I pray to this God it is not for the dispensation of favors with the “pleaseohpleaseohplease” desperation of a two year old. All of these things are not true with the second God who lives in my head. The second version is all tied up in my own little string theory and is accompanied by the “String Song.”

A week or two ago, R was playing with my cat Spike. R was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and tantalizing Spike with the hood strings while singing him this goofy little song that went, “This is not your string, this is m-y-y-y string.” (It’s to the tune of the snake charmer’s dance if you’d like to sing along). Well of course we laughed and had a lovely time with the cat. But that silly little song has taken up residence in my head and it will not let me go for some reason that has, of course, nothing to do with cats.

I have been struggling with some strings….the knots and tangles of my ongoing and (forever?) unfinished relationship with XDO. There is still “stuff” in the house over which there has been some ummm….discussion. There have been issues about boundaries. There have been perceptions on both sides of “things said” in the community that have come back around. And what this has all triggered for me has been a painful spiritual backlash as I try to figure out how to “love” XDO when I am feeling hurt, frustrated, angry, and even on a bad day downright spiteful! It seems that wherever I go I am confronted by that Gospel passage, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.” It keeps turning up over and over and over again. In the lectionary, at a clergy conference GBD, on a Nooma at Y church. As an opportunity for reflection? Or…in my own personal little God-is-pulling-my strings-here theory….a shaming reprimand! God….not the God who has a free and loving adult relationship with me…about whom I can respond with love and some measure of reason….but the GREAT JEHOVAH who keeps the notebook of my sins. The one who always judges me and finds me wanting is yanking my darn strings again! This God is playing me the same way that R played the cat while singing that song. In that scenario XDO is here to provide me with the opportunity to be a better Christian. And I am failing. Again. These Gospels keep turning up over and over as object lessons to remind me that I have many chances to learn the lessons of how to truly love. Am I ready now? Now? Now? And just what will it take? What will it take?

I have been advised to exegete Luke. Yes. A good idea. I already know what I will find. There is no puppet God pulling my string. XDO is not my object lesson. R said it so well. It’s challenging to learn to love those whom we struggle to like. And right now, I’m finding it kind of hard to like my ex. Not such an abnormal thing, I think. And I’d say, probably the feeling is pretty mutual. I don't think I'm high on XDO's like list right now either.

This all of course is very exhausting. The back and forthing of heart and mind and soul. The soothing of the wounded spirit self. On the one hand I know to the depths of my being that this whole string thing is plain out silly. This is the God of my ten year old self who really is no longer part of me….really. Except….well, maybe a little. Obviously.

So perhaps I need to put the string song back in the realm of cat play and try to recapture that blessed moment when our presiding Bishop had us simply sitting and remembering that each and every one of us is God’s beloved child. And really it is that simple. If we start there, maybe we really can love one another, just kind of sitting in God’s love. It seems to work better than anything else I’ve come up with so far. And there is one part of the string song that is right on point….it’s really not my string.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another of Life's Lessons

Yesterday on Facebook I commented that I was " coming to terms with not always getting what I want, even when I wasn't sure I wanted it---till I didn't get it." For a very long time I have wanted to play the role of Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music. As a little girl I had a love affair with that movie. At first of course it was Maria's role I coveted, but let's face facts here....I have been a little past playing her for more than a few years. So for a long time now, it's been Mother that I just knew was mine. "Someday," I told myself....especially since moving here and getting back involved in community theatre. I even hassled the production folks over the past few years about when, oh when would they do SOM so I could play her. Never in my wildest did it occur that, yes they would do the production, I would audition, and....someone else would get the part! And even more strangely, by the time it all happened, so many things would have come between, that I was of two minds about wanting to do it at all. Until I wasn't chosen. Now of course I know how very much I did want to. Now how much complexity is that over something that's supposed to be fun!?!

When I moved here almost seven years ago and didn't know anybody, I made up my mind that I would "do things" to become part of the community. One of those things was to audition for a part in Fiddler on the Roof. I went in blind, willing to do anything, expecting a bit part. At that point in my life I had never sung a solo in public, hadn't acted since high school and had never had more than a small cameo role in anything. I auditioned with laryngitis and was cast as Golde! I was stunned! I had a great time and the whole experience was a wonderful confidence booster. I guess you could say I found my voice there and was finally able to shut down the voice of that nun in my head who told me I could not sing. (She and her sisters of the trinity "you cannot write" and "you can't do art"). Well SisterCritic is back this morning! She says it was fluke that that the more professional folks are running the show (and clearly they faculty are directing and doing the music for this year's production) I have been culled from the herd and put back where I belong....and not even in the chorus, or as a walk-on, but out in the audience with the rest of the folk! So there, Missy!

And the irony of it all is....I had gotten to the point of feeling lukewarm about even being in the production. Summer is shaping up to be full and busy with travel and projects, and I want to have time to just savor some lovely nights under the stars in that hot tub with my sweetie as well. So it's not so much the actual not doing it that's rattling around in my heart and my head today. It's plain old out and out rejection and all that it triggers. The woman who will play the Mother Abbess has a stunning voice. She is a vocal music teacher at one of the local high schools and sings semi-professionally. Most of the folks who were cast in the singing roles fit this description. It should be a great performance, better than most. My friend CCM who is going to sing at my wedding got one of the nun roles. If she's good enough for the wedding, after all! I'll be there cheering her on. So I will get over it. All is well. I'm just feeling a little bruised. And embarrassed. For putting myself up there with all the talented people--yeah, I know, that's SisterCritic's voice and I need to give her the boot. There were a whole lot of us folk with perfectly fine everyday voices who didn't get cast because we happen to live in an area that grows amazingly talented people whose voices are more than everyday quality. And they got the parts that are rightfully theirs, and we get to enjoy hearing them.

And while they are off sweating in a hot dark theatre, I'll be in the hot tub having a beer, laughing with R and looking at the lovely evening sky. That is, after all, I'd say a pretty good consolation prize.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Boyfriend's Back!

Yeah well...I really don't call R my "boyfriend," not in any seriousness, anyway....but he is back from Norway where he has been for the last seven days visiting his daughter. This is the longest separation we have had and also the most "complete" one in terms of no cell phone, no regular e-mail...and it was hard! I've been perversely proud of how very,very independent I am when we have been apart before...he's traveled, I've traveled...and I've bragged a bit on how we don't "need" to talk every day....I'm cool that way, you know, not a glommy sort of girl at all, at all. Well, Norway is a very far away place to send this person I love fiercely and rather newly still. And I found myself falling back my old routines of energizer bunnyhood. My schedule, I've discovered, will allow itself to be filled in nicely without much effort. I had something every night and several events on the weekend, including a trip to the Big City and back. I cleaned and gardened, putzed and fiddled. It was not a bad seven day stretch, but by Sunday I was wearing down and starting to feel like I might just glom a bit when I saw him again!

And last night he came home safe and sound. When I saw the little red car pull in to the driveway I turned into sort of a puddle. I don't care so much if I am cool, or independent or even if I am displaying some incipient glomminess for a moment or two. I know we will be apart for times again. It is the nature of our lives that we will be called to go separate places and do individual things. That is good and as it should be. We might even be on different continents again at some point, time zones apart. And when we return we will share our adventures. In Arizona I was attacked by a cactus (a misadventure about which R much enjoys teasing me) and loved the Grand Canyon. In Norway, R climbed a mountain and stuck his feet in the sea, about which I am duly impressed. But for now, across town is far enough, and if I get a vote, I think I'd like our adventures to be shared ones for the next little while.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Five: Friends

In her debut as Friday Five hostess, Jan says: "Ever since I found out I could be the hostess for the third Friday Five of each month, I have not been able to get the thought of friends out of my mind. Being an only child (all growed up) who moved around a lot in my lifetime, friends have always been very important to me. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote: "The way to have a friend is to be a friend."So today let's write about the different kinds of friends we have, like childhood friends, lost friends, tennis friends, work friends, and the list goes on. List 5 different types of friends you have had in your life and what they were/are like.As a bonus, put a link to a new (to you) blogging friend and introduce us!"
  • Very Real Though Virtual Friends In May of 2007 I started this blog. To say that it changed my life would not be hyperbole. I began "meeting" people in the RevGals ring, first in this virtual space, then in a memorable meetup with Diane , then with many more wonderful face-to-face meetings at BEs 1.0 and 2.0. and last year at the Festival of Homies. All of these relationships have helped me trust more in the reality of human caring and concern and widened and deepened my world in so many wonderful ways.

  • Soul Friends No friend list could be complete without my soul friends. My Soul Sisters of course head the list. We began as Bible Study companions, but have become so much more to each other. We do still study together, but we also learn to paint together, laugh together, take road trips to look for wedding dresses, go geocaching, cry, pray, share the ups and downs and life and are just "there" whenever. Also in this list for me is C. I cannot even begin to imagine where I would be as a priest and as a human without her. Her honesty, humor and wisdom have seen me through these last four or so years of major life change and transition and she keeps hanging in. She is one of those rare friends who really gets me and from whom I can and will "hear" the hard stuff. God has so blessed me with these women.

  • Work Friends This is a new one for me. I always sort of (perversely now I think) kind of "prided" myself on saying "Oh I keep my work life separate." Well now I wonder whatever for.....My workmates are a great bunch of folks. They are funny, committed, smart, professional, and um, yeah, interested in a lot of the same things I am. Maybe it's because it's a smaller town, or I have finally stayed put in one place for a longer time...but I'm finding socializing with these folks to be an additional benefit to my job.

  • Old Friends Sad to say, I don't have a whole lot of these. For whatever reason, I have not tended to stay in touch with people from college, or even grad school. I did have someone resurface recently on Facebook from my days in the Big City and we have been chatting both on-line and by phone and that has been great as there was a time when we were very close.

  • My Best Friend That would be the one I am going to be marrying one year from today. There is no doubt that friendship came first. Both R and I were ever so sure that neither of us ever wanted to be married, or even in a serious relationship when we began dating. I think that was a good thing, it freed us up to just get to know one another, have fun and not think about anything serious or future-oriented. When love sort of crept up on us, it rather surprised us both. We laugh that we kind of backed into the whole idea of marriage, but now that we are here, neither of us can imagine the idea of a future without the other in it. And there is no doubt that we are friends. We can talk about anything and we don't take ourselves too seriously. I told him I think I have laughed more since I met him than I have had in my whole life up to this point. And I know that I feel safer and more loved than I ever have before. I get to marry my best friend. How much better does it get? (Oh, and if you want to see the's on yesterday's post)
Bonus: Meet Altar Ego whose blog and comments I have recently been enjoying. Her blog title, Reverent Irreverence says it all!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 here it is.....

It was the one that made me cry.....

And then there was that HAT

I guess anything that makes you feel like this and doesn't break the bank must be IT, eh?
So there you go....One year from tomorrow it's the real thing. Oh. My. Grace does abound.

Tethers and Freedom and Bits and Pieces

Freedom by Hugh Prather

No one grants you freedom.
You are free if you are free.
No one enthralls you.
You enthrall yourself.
And when you have
You may hand your tether
To another
To many others
To all others
To yourself

Perhaps this last is the worst of all
For this slave master is the hardest to see
And hardest to rebel against
But he is the easiest to hate
And to damage

I do not know how to tell you to be free
I wish I did
But I do know some signs of freedom
One is in doing what you want to do
Though someone tells you not to
Another is in doing what you want to do
Though someone else tells you to.

A post or so ago I wrote about feeling "untethered." At the time I was feeling like it was kind of a not so good thing. It was interesting as the comments I got sounded much more positive than I felt. And then I started thinking back to this poem from the first BE. It hit me hard at the time, especially the part about tethering myself to myself. And I started thinking that maybe being untethered right now was not so bad after all....if freedom was the other side. So I thought I'd share Hugh Prather today.

I will be posting pictures of the dress tomorrow. I've not done so till now as R is a faithful blog reader and he has expressed a wish not to see the dress until the day. But he is safely off in Norway this week visiting his daughter and won't be in the proximity of technology and has agreed not to back-read on his return. Also, since Friday starts the one-year till the wedding count down, I thought it would be fun to do it this week. So for all of you who have been waiting for the froth....stay tuned.

May remains a busy church month. Articles due, extra preaching, weekend meetings....this weekend our Presiding Bishop is visiting our Diocese, so it's off across the state again on Friday. I would not miss the chance to meet and greet KJS++ for all the world, but driving on the summer detours....sigh! But staying busy is good. I am missing my guy more than a little. It was one thing to have him in Florida or me in Arizona....but Norway....that's a different horse cell phones, no e-mail...yep, a little R withdrawal here, owned and admitted. So busy it is....and back to work.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Home again, Home Again....again

I've been back now from clergy conference two days. I'm finally unpacked, the laundry is at least sorted, if undone, the suitcase is stashed, and I am starting to feel settled in at home again. Phyllis Tickle was truly amazing! She did brilliantly for emergence what I so longed to do for psychology in my ill-fated History and Systems class and contextualized this "church thing" as a part of something not only bigger in this time in our development but as a part of a larger arc that sweeps and repeats through all of human history. She told us these cycles repeat about every 500 years....the last one being the Reformation. And, according to PT, here we are in a new one! Or as she refers to it, the church's garage sale.

She herself is very impressive. I who cannot do a twelve minute sermon without a manuscript, sat in awe as this woman, whom I don't think would mind my noting is more than a couple years my senior, went for six hours with no notes rapidly firing names and dates and history, events and people and places, linking and connecting....this leading to that...that bringing us here. And it was more than head stuff. For me at least, it made me think about how emergence either is already occurring or could happen in the places my ministry touches. M and I found ourselves asking one of the big city deacons how he does his Theology and a Pint programs. We have tossed this around before half in jest. We are after all across the street from one of the locals. It's a landmark for finding us...."Oh, St. J's? Right there on Main. By the big Catholic church...No? Can't place that? How about right across from the Nickel Bar?" And they always know! We are thinking this might be just the place for outreach!

It also got me thinking about the "WhY Church" that R and I attend as our second worship on Sundays. It is clearly in the emergent category. And it is on a cusp right now as the founder and designated leader is moving away. He is a charismatic person who has much passion for this ministry. In fact his move comes as he goes away to plant a church in another place. What will become of WhY is on the table. Will the members take ownership and claim this young church as their own and will it continue to emerge...or will it wither and die? One of the things PT said that is key to emergent churches is covenant....that those who come together to form these emergent communities really have the sense that they are covenanting together to "be church" with one another, almost in the monastic sense, even to the point of some self-sacrifice. She also talked about authority in emergents....from where does it come, both in the sort of the "big A" sense as in theology and doctrine, but also in "who decides," or at least that was where my head took it (practical theologian that I am!) These are all things that are clearly front and center for WhY at this point. I see hopeful signs. Some good decisions have been made changing the meeting place to make better use of resources. From what I've heard about the discussion that took place last Sunday, leadership is happening.

In my own place, I'm not sure how this translates yet, either. Perhaps we will go to the pub. I also had thoughts about an "alt service" at the campus at some point, or taking church to the park some lovely summer evening. Phyllis told stories that made me tear up about some things that people did...but they seemed organic to time and place. I think this will have to germinate for a while. But the grace of this was that I feel a stirring in my soul of some new life and energy that has not been present for a while in the "church" part of my life.

The rest of CC went quickly. There is never enough time to talk with everyone I want to connect with, to walk the lovely grounds, to just be. I had lunch with my Bishop on the last day, as one of our canonical requirements is that priests must request his permission to marry. I was able to tell him how wonderful R is and how happy I am. The Bishop was truly delighted for me and for us and we had a lovely chat. Though he can be publicly somewhat formidable, one-on-one, he is a very pastoral man, and I always come away from talks with him feeling cared for and blessed.

So now it is on to the home front. I spent real time in the yard for the first time last night, pulling up dead things, pruning and clipping and tending. It looks better already. This weekend, R and I are putting in the garden, doing the first mowing of the season and some other assorted outdoor chores. I emptied and cleaned and refilled the hot tub last night, too, so hopefully it will be warmed and ready for our garden-weary selves to get a glass of something refreshing and have a soak or two. We are finding the doing of projects together to be a fun and wonderful thing. We seem to have a compatible work style (a good sign!) and have a good time working on things. We have a "big one" in the planning....the building of a deck this summer. That did not happen previously because I learned that XDO and I could not do projects together so well. SO the ability to this is yet another gift I am grateful for.

At this moment however, it is time to get to work. There is still a Friday to complete before the weekend begins. So off to it!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


There is something about coming back to the same place for the same event year after seems take me to a place of reminiscing about the whens and wheres of of other times. I was thinking this morning about last Spring's clergy conference. It was right after the BE 1.0 and I was in such transition. Like the BE, it came at a time when I was both wide open to the movement of the Spirit and also terribly vulnerable. And like the BE, it was an event that was balm to my soul, and both fed and nurtured me. I found connection and safety with my clergy peers, many things to think about from the speaker and a profound sense of peace and connection with God. Not bad for a scant three days.

As in so many other ways, I am in a different season this year. Things had been leading up to that for one thing! And Lent had gone deep. The BE was that whole trip to liminal space. Everything was about change and transformation. It was hard and scary in many ways, but it was also very wonderful and connected me to God in a very profound way. I think that is what I'm struggling with right now...I feel....untethered....I am profoundly happy and deeply in love...some people have accused me of things like "floating" and even being giddy at times. There is nothing I would I would change or trade for this....R is the best thing that has ever happened to me. He is complete gift and blessing and I have no doubt (despite the fact that it makes him squirmy when I say it) that he is totally a God-thing in my life! But there is no doubt that my energies have taken a shift, and I feel a little off-balance as yet. Much of what used to be my focus now feels like a distraction. My gaze used to be an inward one. Now it is not. And I am struggling a bit....oh, not with where to find God in all of this. Clearly God is all over it. It is not God who is missing in action. But I feel a bit like I I have not found a way to be here and present in this way and connected at the same time. Still a work in progress, I guess.

Today we will hear Phyllis Tickle...our day will begin with prayer from her book of hours and then she will speak with us about the emergent church. We have been assured this has been designed more as retreat than business, so I am hopeful that there will be some space to simply be....and so we begin.

Monday, May 04, 2009

A Little Fluff and Cover?

Monday morning....sitting in a coffee shop in the big city. I am killing a little time this morning. That's so far from the norm...that there is time that's not scheduled, not planned for. But here it is. Clergy conference starts later this afternoon, my friend has gone off to work, and I have nothing I have to do today. I have some want tos....checking back in on a wedding dress we looked at this weekend to see how I feel about it on a second glance, running a couple errands to stores we don't have in rural land....but mostly the day is mine to fritter away.

Dresses. Oh. My. The whole world of ivory satin lace and tulle and such. Who knew it was so complicated? I thought I was starting way early on this. Apparently not, as the nice "dress wrangler" told me some dresses take five months to come in once ordered! And then there are alterations and all manner of things. I have now tried on maybe ten dresses in varying styles...and mostly I am confused. There was of course that one dress. The one I put on that made me cry....the one that made me feel like Cinderella, the one that I knew was "my dress" until I saw the price tag. That was the first shopping day....a hard lesson learned...don't even try them on until you know what they cost! There is one other....the one I am giving the second look today that looks like the dress my mother was married in back in 1921. It defies the rules my Soul Sisters have suggested....emphasize their take on my best features....curves and collarbones....this dress is simple and straight and pretty much covers everything....but it's also very pretty and frugal of price....but what if I get this one and then find that one! Oh dear. I feel so shallow! People are getting sick with swine flu and I am fretting about a dress.

But it's today's obsession. I know I will move on. I will go back to the real world. It is partly escape. Our diocesan meeting on Saturday was frustrating. We were not our best selves. Why is it sometimes when the church gathers we have such a hard time moving past fear? As someone in my small group pointed out it is much easier to talk about bricks and mortar than harder bigger truths, even when those are not bad things but maybe just personal or uncomfortable ones. We are trying to reform and transform and change culture....this is squirmy it's back to the safeties....but it makes me tired and it makes me sad....and so I think I'll just go look for dresses instead...just for today. Sometimes we need a little fluff, don't we?

The 5 o'clock postscript....I bought a dress! Rest assured there will be more details to come. For now, the attention turns to clergy conference.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Friday Five: Celebrating the Seasons of Life

Sally says: "It is the first of May, or as I have been concentrating on dialogue with folk interested in the new spirituality movement this last week, it is Beltane, a time to celebrate the beginning of summer. The BBC web-site tells us that:
Beltane is a Celtic word which means 'fires of Bel' (Bel was a Celtic deity). It is a fire festival that celebrates of the coming of summer and the fertility of the coming year.Celtic festivals often tied in with the needs of the community. In spring time, at the beginning of the farming calendar, everybody would be hoping for a fruitful year for their families and fields.Beltane rituals would often include courting: for example, young men and women collecting blossoms in the woods and lighting fires in the evening. These rituals would often lead to matches and marriages, either immediately in the coming summer or autumn.
Another advert for a TV programme that has caught my eye on the UK's Channel 4 this weekend is called Love, Life and leaving; and is a look at the importance of celebrating the seasons of life through ritual and in the public eye, hence marriages, baptisms and funerals.
I believe that we live in a ritually impoverished culture, where we have few reasons for real celebration, and marking the passages of life;So...

1. Are ritual markings of birth, marriage, and death important to you? Absolutely! And I think that there are others as well that we could (or should) mark ritually and liturgically that we don't do such a good job of particularly in the realm of closures and endings.

2. Share a favourite liturgy/ practice. After I had done a lot of work in both therapy and spiritual direction about releasing some of the pain around the dark voices of my past, I wrote a small liturgy which my spiritual director and I shared. It was centered around the theme of forgiveness and release both for those who had hurt me and for myself. While it was not "the end of the story" it was very powerful and I think, opened me up for some even deeper work to come.

3. If you could invent ( or have invented) a ritual what is it for? I would like to create a liturgy or ritual for the decent, prayerful and holy severing of a relationship. I know this is very high-minded (believe me I know!) but in my wildest fantasy it might even include some pre-ritual counseling time and have a focus on releasing one another with some sense of peace and forgiveness and wanting what is best for each other, or at least putting them in God's hands.

4. What do you think of making connections with neo-pagan / ancient festivals? Have you done this and how? Since so many of our Christian feasts have links with these ancient festivals it seems fitting to know and understand this part of our past. And besides....they are fun! When I lived in the Big City I often had the chance to celebrate some of these festivals with friends including Beltane and Solstice celebrations.

5. Celebrating is important, what and where would your ideal celebration be? Well it just so happens that I am planning one of these for myself! R and I have set a wedding date (05/15/10) and we have started thinking about the who, what, and where. We will of course be married in my beautiful little church by my team members and my friend C (one can never have too many RevGals on the altar after all!) My friend CCM will sing, my Soul Sisters will be my attendants. There will be all of the beautiful liturgy and music one marriage ceremony can contain! It will be spring and there will be color from flowers and the glow of candles. Since the party is also important, afterwards, we plan to eat and dance well into the night. Our goal is to have our wedding reflect who we are and to have it be a wonderful and joyous celebration of our love for all who attend.