Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Five: Friendship

Kathrynzj says: "I spent the better part of last week on a continuing education cruise with a group of revgals. Both the class on hospitality and the connections made with friends (old and new) were phenomenal. I always have a difficult time with re-entry into reality from times away but this, aided by getting nailed with strep throat, has been more difficult than usual. Not only does it a take a few days (weeks? months?) for it to stop feeling like I am on a boat, but my heart misses my friends.In parish life the boundaries are clear and they are there for a reason, but it can make the life of a minister a lonely one. It is such a tremendous gift to spend a few days with women who not only are wonderful and gifted, but who also get exactly what you do and why you do it. The hugs are genuine and free and the laughter is awesome.Many of us have friendships - past and present - with these same qualities. And so today we will celebrate Friday with friendship:"

1) Do you remember your first best friend? What did you do together? Are they still in your life?My first "BFF(s) were a group of girls I connected with in eighth grade. Before that I was pretty much a loner, and teaming up with Dodie, Mare and Shorty (yes, we had nicknames, I was Jinx...who knows!?!) was a wonderful thing. I remember the blue mohair sweaters we all bought at J.C. Penney and wore with our uniform skirts, getting together at one another's houses after school to play games and gab, and just hanging out. We banded together initially because the cool girls wouldn't have us as part of their gang....but then we discovered that we actually did like each other. The three of them went off to the same high school and I veered off to "the Viz" and we lost touch. Maybe I should Facebook them!

2) Did you ever have to move away or have your best friend move away from you? Not until this year. Close friend Soul Sister A moved to South Carolina. But she's coming for the wedding and we are having a slumber party! Woo-hoo!

3) Are there people in your life now that you can call 'friend'? Thanks be, there are. In ways I would not have begun to comprehend at an earlier age. Richer, deeper, surer. And my best friend? I'm going to marry him.

4) What are some of your favorite things to do with your friends? Talk. Talk. Oh, and then there's talk.

5) What is a gift friendship has given you? Oh so many.... But the best one? To begin to see myself reflected in a different way in the eyes of those who loved me.... kinder, softer...than I would ever have seen myself with all those old critical voices I used to carry, opening the possibility for the first time that I could let them go, find the authentic me that lived within. I owe that to friendship and love. That's a great great gift. Along with acceptance and laughter and unconditional love and great hugs and secret code words....and way, way too many things to even mention.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tell Me Your Story....

I actually have something to think about that has taken my mind off the wedding, and what's been even more consuming, the getting of the last details together for that trip to Texas for a little bit. Who knew that was even possible at this point! But it's true. My clergy friend D with whom I had all the great Millennium Development Goal adventures in "my year of living Di" as I like to think of it now, has been in touch recently. Seems our new Bishop has asked her to do some teaching on Public Narrative at our clergy conference next week. And she is turn is calling upon some of us who have involved with her in this process in our parish MDG projects to help "demo" by giving our own public narratives, being coached and then coaching others in small groups. "Oh, would you, Kate?" she asks...and of course, I said yes. Well what I said was (with some tongue in cheek) "it's not enough that I'm coming to clergy conference the week before the wedding, now I have to work too!"

So I have been working on my public narrative....which is basically a story in three parts, and goes something like this....
Part I Story of Self: I am calling you (my audience) to this challenge because of this about me....
Part II Story of Us: We have faced and overcome this similar challenge in this way.....
Part III Story of Now: NOW is the urgent moment we need to act on this challenge because....
And the best all happens in six minutes!

So as part of my prep for this, I've been going back through some of the things I wrote during that year...and remembering. That was quite the time. There is no doubt that we did good work. We raised significant money for our project, which was important all by itself. But beyond that, I think for a time there I believed that we were going to transform something in a BIG way....the church, our parish, our individual selves maybe..... And while perhaps that did not happen quite the way I envisioned it, I think we did do some transformative work. The process changed me. I claimed myself as a writer because I participated in this. And I knew myself to be part of something larger in a new way. And I know it changed others, too. One of my congregants who participated as part of our team foun his own voice as a result of telling his story. Another, sad to say, found a well of anger in herself and decided to walk away from us. But that too is a part of growth and transformation. The fire burns both ways sometimes as it transforms us. It was quite a time as times of change are. Heady and wild, deep and full of the Spirit running among us. I remember at the training we had with the folks from the Kennedy Center. As we were drawing our diagrams and doing our brainstorming we declared so confidently that we were setting out to "DO the Gospel." And for a little time there, it seemed that we did. Missional church, right here, right now, burning among us. The fires have banked a bit, and I'm feeling a bit of sad nostalgia for those hotter times right now. As ever, balance is so challenging. But who knows, maybe telling the storis again will bring something back to life again. Stories often do. Isn't that after all, why we tell them?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

There's a ONE in Front of THAT NUMBER!


I have condensed all the small lists into one major one. There is really not much left on it. And that is a good thing...because we are in the home stretch here. We have pretty much done all we can and have to do until we are at the big day itself, or at least much closer. It is really too soon to get the food for the groom's dinner or haul home the extra tables and chairs. We can't decorate anything, dress anyone, cook anything. In short, right now, there is really nothing I can be in control of. And it's making me a little crazy. Just ask R.

It's all out there. The caterer, the DJ, the flower and cake people, the piper and the vocalists, the organist and clergy, the folks who are shipping R's wedding wear....all completely independent actors in this little play called "Kate and Rick's Wedding," and all capable of making choices that could change the day. Note I am sane enough still to say "change" the day and not big and awfulizing words like "destroy" or "ruin." The only person with enough power to do that is me. And for sure and certain I would not....and NOT over any of the people or things listed!

The thing is....we have the important things covered. R, me a license and clergy. Clergy? Oh my yes....and then some! For starters, we are being married by three of two team members, CT and M, with able assist from my spiritual friend and guide C who will preach. Also available in case of some unimaginable clergy wipe-out, attendant CMR is an ordained lay pastor, my one of my vocalists is also a lay pastor ( though I'm not sure if she has the power to wed), and there will be at least one Episcopal priest in the pews. And I'm sure there will be a witness or two present, as despite my earlier rant, there have been a few RSVP's in the affirmative. So we will be married. Affirming before God and all assembled what WE already know to be true....he's mine, I'm his. It's forever. Amen. And the rest is party.

It's just the planning for that party that has me kind of wound up. Wanting all the pieces to come together just right. And I keep thinking of things to add little touches of fun and surprise. But I think we really are there. I have my two totes packed, one for the church and one for the reception site, both brimful of those "little touches." There are still some ribbons to add and bows to tie, gifts to wrap for my "maids" as the bridal shop keeps calling them. I find myself running through the whole thing in my head trying to think of what I may have missed.

But in the will all be what it will be. And it will be wonderful, I know. As my sweet and wise beloved keeps reminding me..."Breathe in, breathe, out...move on." Yes, dear.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Five: What is There to Smile About?

Jan says: "With the end of RevGalBlogPals' third annual Big Event, I am wondering who went and what it was like. There must be a lot of smiling from the Big Event! Hopefully, the rest of us are not frowning either.So let us know how your past week was for you. Write five different aspects of the weekOR answer the following questions:"

1. When were you smiling lately? When my sweet guy came to pick me up at the shower my workmates threw bearing the beautiful flowers pictured above! He is such a keeper!
2. What happened unexpectedly to you this past week? I got an e-mail from a friend asking about "details and directions" for the wedding. It reminded me that I forgot to invite her and her sweetie. OOPS!
3. How was a catastrophe averted (or not)? See # 2. Invitation sent pronto!
4. What was the most delicious thing you ate? Jambalaya. Made by R from recipe in a cookbook my friend CMR brought him back from the Bayou (slightly modified for midwestern ingredients). YUM!
5. Did you see any good movies or read any books or articles? No, but I went to two really fascinating workshops on neurobiology, and how meditation and mindfullness actually changes our brains.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sweet Events

As my sweetheart told me last night, "you have really nice friends." Yep, that I do. Coworkers, to be exact. Threw me a really lovely shower they did. We met at one of the local hotels, had drinks and dinner. There were little boxes of chocolates and nuts, decorations and cake, as you see. And presents....lots and lots of lovely presents. Gift certificates for pedicures and massages, a couple nice bottles of wine, some very nice little things for me to wear....of the black and slinky persuasion! There were cookie sheets and Tupperware, gift cards and wine glasses, a beautiful picture frame and an album for the wedding pics. All just very thoughtful and wonderful gifts.
And thanks to the very wonderful organizer, there were no silly games! She had talked to me beforehand about that and told me her thoughts on that....about which I was in total agreement. We had a drawing at the end for the violets that she used as centerpieces. I drew the names. That worked!

I picked up the service bulletins yesterday. They look really nice. One more thing off the list. And now the first social event has happened. We really are picking up steam here. OK....focus....back to work. Still have three weeks to go. Must. Be. Productive.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I Has Jitters

I seem to be sort of useless today. Having a hard time settling in to do the things I need to get done. I wonder if it has anything to do with the tick, tick, tick in my head....Twenty-four days. Or three weeks and two days....or 566 hours, 32 minutes and some seconds as the little counter on the blog tells me. I had an e-mail on Sunday night from a friend asking about "details and directions" for the wedding. All well and good, you say, except for one thing...I realized that I had forgotten to invite them! So now my brain has gone off on that little tangent. Who else, I wonder, have I forgotten? Or for that matter, what? Something...vital or not....that I was supposed to remember to do, get, take care of.....My lists are my friends. But in order for lists to be effective things have to be ON the lists.

Pet peeve of the day....people who don't RSVP. Is that something unique to this part of the world, or are people just universally not good about this? My invitations were, I thought very clever, with a little tear off post-card part for the rsvp....complete, or course with the stamp. All very simple. I have not heard a word from twenty people, yea or nay. So do I assume no news is a no and they are NOT coming? Obviously not, because I know for a fact that some of them really are! I told R that in my shrewier moments I feel like those who have not responded should have to stand and watch the others eat...but he, kind soul that he is, says, "no honey...we will just order extra, and assume more are coming than have responded." A couple people told me they "accidentally" threw out the response card but they are coming. Sigh. Oh well. At least I know.

My other meh for the day....the cleaner DID shrink my dress....not a lot, just a tich. It is silk and they washed not dry cleaned it. And now it hangs just a little different, pulls just a little er....snugger in a couple places. So I am trying to eat less and walk more and hope that by the 15th it will feel as lovely as it did before. The good news is that they did get the tiny coffee stain out. I am trying not to obsess about this. It is not the end of the world.

On the happy news front, our new cabinet has arrived and that and the new dishwasher are being installed this week. The cabinet is beautiful and it classes the heck out of the kitchen. The fact that we were getting it created motivation for new light fixtures which in turn caused ceiling patching and painting which triggered wall the kitchen will be its best self ever very soon.

My workmates are throwing me a shower tonight. The last one of these I went to involved lots of er....interesting lingerie type items. I'm not sure if that is what they have in mind for me or not. But I appreciate the thought and I'm sure we will have fun.

I guess getting back to work , and at least trying to focus on the task at hand would be a good thing. I have a feeling this could be a portent of the next few weeks and my productivity level.....

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pack Your Bags Friday Five

Songbird says: "I'm preparing to pack my bags for the Big Event Three, and as I gather what I need I'm thinking about just that: what do I *need* to take with me? As a person who likes to pack light, I worry that in the end I may underpack and wish I had other things with me. I own the gigantor version of the bag to the right, but my morbid fear of having it go astray and not get to the ship means I'm more likely to try to pack it all in a carry-on bag instead, especially since I have a very tight connection on the way to the cruise. But won't I be sorry if I don't bring _______________?"

1) Some fold, some roll and some simply fling into the bag. What's your technique for packing clothes? As in most things, I have an eclectic style....a little rolling, a little folding, and when it gets down to the wire, I have been known to fling a thing or two. I like to do the roll things into things so they don't wrinkle, and also tuck the little stuff into shoes and other spots. Actually I think I am usually a pretty good packer. I lay everything out that I plan to take and then subtract half of it...and often still end up with more than I need! For our own Big Event, the upcoming honeymoon road trip to Texas, R and I have decided to keep it light so I'm challenging myself to see if I can pack almost as small as he does. I say almost because this is a man who could, I think tour the world for a month with all his belongings in a small paper lunch sack! So there will be much rolling, folding and tucking and NO flinging, as I attempt to pack a wee bag to tuck into the boot of Gladys the Cooper. Really though, what does one need for riding in a car, sitting on a beach in Galveston and hanging with 1) RevGals and, 2)Jimmy Buffett? Comfy clothes, a swimsuit and cute sandals, I'm thinkin!

2) The tight regulations about carrying liquids on planes makes packing complicated. What might we find in your quart-size bag? Ever lose a liquid that was too big? Oh those regs rankle! My first BE found me getting sent back to the check in counter to check my luggage as an alternative to losing a whole bunch of bottles as I hadn't flown in a while and had no idea there even were rules about 3 oz. bottles in baggies. The lovely people unpacked my entire carry-on right there in front of God and everyone and gave me the "option" of losing all my contact solution, lotions, shampoo and such, or "go check the bag." So, after repacking (no nearly so neatly as the first time...much flinging...) off I went! Had the best time once there, too....and if it weren't for this other l'il thing going on, I'd be there with all y'all this time!

3) What's something you can't imagine leaving at home? Contacts and their solution. Glasses fulltime on vacay...not an option! Everything else I can pretty much get...but I'm fussy about my "soak."

4) Do you have a bag with wheels? Never leave home without one unless I'm going on a very short hop with minimal stuff. Wonder how we ever traveled before them!

5) What's your favorite reading material for a non-driving trip (plane, train, bus, ship)? I am still a nervous flyer and have some problems concentrating, so anything I read has to either be pretty "fluffy" or very absorbing. I usually go with magazines on airplanes, or else pick a popular novel that I have already started so that I can easily sink into it once we are in flight. On the BE, there were WAY too many other interesting things going on to do any reading (like talk to RevGals and get tats!), and I don't have the opportunity to travel by bus or train these days.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Friday Five: On the Road Again

Sophia says: "My family is heading out to my husband's parents for the weekend later today. They would have preferred that we come at Easter, but I preferred that my choir director not bring my life to an early end! (Five liturgies to sing between Thursday and Sunday, two with major solos). So Low Sunday it is. Some Gals and Pals may have been able to travel to join family or visit a vacation spot last week; some who had to stay put then may be traveling this weekend; and, if I recall correctly, some lucky ones are heading out to the Big Event next weekend. Hence: a road trip Friday Five"

1. When was your last, or will be your next, out of town travel?

Last: Last weekend when I did "skip Easter" and we went to R's sister's house for the Holiday and I got to have a different kind of Easter worship experience which I posted about on the blog a couple days ago.

Next: Our own "Big Event" honeymoon road trip to Texas! can't wait to see me some Rev Gals, as well as go to that Jimmy Buffett concert, of course! And have some beachy time and soak up some HOT which I have been craving during this long cold Northern Winter.

2. Long car trips: love or loathe? Since the arrival of the splendid R and his cute little mini Cooper "Gladys" I have to say I have fallen in love....oh yeah, with road trips, too. It is one our favorite things to do together, near or far. Just jump in Gladys, open up the sun roof and we go!!!!!

3. Do you prefer to be driver or passenger? I used to have to drive. It was all about that need to control, I think. Now, not so much. I can share...sit back and relax and see the sights, or take my turn at the wheel as needed.
4. If passenger, would you rather pass the time with handwork, conversing, reading, listening to music, or ??? I can't read in the car....headache of major proportions. When it's R and I, we can never seem to run out of things to talk about. But we also like to sing along to the radio. Loud! I can knit and crochet....and talk and/or sing at the same time, so do those together. When traveling alone, I LOVE LOVE LOVE books on CD to pass the trip, especially since I seem to go back and forth and back and forth to the same places all the time and need to break the monotony.

5. Are you going, or have you ever gone, on a RevGals BE? Happiest memories of the former, and/or most anticipated pleasures of the latter? Oh, sigh...yes. This will be the first one I am missing, and if it were not for my own BIG BE on May 15th, I'd be cruising with all y'all with bells on! The first one especially was liminal, transformational and soooo amazing. The combination of where I was in my my own life, the "away-ness" of it all, the fact that I simply decided at kind of the last minute to go, there was was all such a God thing. The second one was lovely as well. My best memories of that time were the night singing out under the stars and the moments spent in conversations.

6. Bonus: a favorite piece of road trip music....ANYTHING Jimmy Buffet sings is good for me...he will be singing us down through Tulsa, DFW, Houston and on to Galveston in May. He even gets to sing our first dance music at the wedding....

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


I signed on here this morning and looked at the little "how many days is it..." counter and realized there is a 3 as the first number. Oh. My. Goodness. Butterflies doing a little dance in my stomach. It must be excitement, because it can't be nervousness. Everything is done and ready. We went and registered for the license yesterday. In five days we can pick it up. The nice lady told us in our state they do not mail them because "if they get lost in the mail, well, it's not good." Yeah, I can well imagine! In filling out the form I was asked to fill in the "bride's name after marriage" and found myself writing my new hyphenated moniker for the first time. While we were waiting for the clerk to input our data into the computer R and I were making a list of all the changes that one hyphen will affect. New driver's license, new passport, new professional licensure....on and on. He asked me if I was sure it was worth it, to go through all this to add his name to mine. Because this is my thing, not his. He has no need of this. But for some reason it is important to me. Maybe because this came so late to me....this first and only marriage, the public aspects of it are important. And frankly, let's face it, because inside this strong feminist woman, beats a romantic traditional heart . There is a part of me that wants the world to know that I am publicly, legally and forever linked to RK. I am his and that is that. He likes to remind me that names and ceremonies are not the stuff that creates this bond, and I know this...truly I do. But I also know that ritual and symbol matter, too. Will we be more committed to one another on May 15 after the ceremony than we already are? Of course not! But having said that, I would not forego publicly celebrating that commitment, either.

So, right now, we are planning the largest party I have ever thrown. And yes, I am a little nervous, a lot excited, in those proportions. There was once a time when I literally could not entertain. Even small events would throw me into such a tizz that it was simply not worth the anguish. What if no-one came? What if it was a disaster? What if? What if? What if? That very anxious and insecure me still lurks, though I am able to soothe her most days. There is no doubt that people are coming and a good time will be had on this one! My lurking doubts on this one are things like catering and dj no-shows....but I am assured that even though the contractual arrangements are a bit more casual than my "big-city" past would find comfort in, all will be well and people will show and deliver at the appointed time. And if not....well, we can call out for pizza, and R has enough music in his iPod that we could dock it in a speaker set up and dance for days. We have two priests and a Presby minister on tap for the ceremony and enough guests have already said yes that I'm sure there will be a witness here somewhere. I am quite sure the two of us will appear....all the essentials are in place.It's all good. The dancing butterflies are excitement...not nerves.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter Comes Ready or Not!

It's not the first time in my life that I've thought that God might have a sense of humor...and that it might be just a tad on the dry side. It had been kind of a hard Holy Week....I struggled with the felt like there were so many words, so much ritual, and I had such a hard time feeling a connection with it. It felt a little, well, old things done too often that had perhaps lost their meaning, at least for me this year.

Easter morning found R and I on the road motoring across the state. We had decided that since this was the first holiday since his dad's death, we really wanted to be with his family. So I excused myself from my place this morning and did a little research to find the Episcopal church closest to his sister's that would work out time wise to allow us to have worship and arrive for dinner with the family. Early this morning we headed out and as we were driving along and chatting about this and that, I was sharing some of my Holy week discontent with R and saying...."Gee I wonder what it would be like if there was an Episcopal church that used some of the praise and worship style music and liturgy that you usually find in more Evangelical churches, rather than the very traditional worship that we are used to?"

Well now I know. It turns out that the church we ended up in for Easter service had exactly that! There was a drummer, a guy on an electric guitar and the music was definitely not done in the traditional style. Some of the other aspects of the worship service were also done differently than I am used to. I found myself taken a bit aback by it all. I guess I am a little more traditional than I'd like to think. Or perhaps I can't be pleased no matter what. But it definitely felt a little like "be careful what you ask for."

The sermon was a definite bright spot however. "Where is Jesus, anyway?" was the question of the day. I think it's the question I wrestled with mightily through Holy Week....what do all the words and ritual have to do with Jesus? I don't know that I have an answer. The priest's answer to the congregation today was clear. Here. Here in this place. Here where you have those that love and care about and do for and serve one another just as Mary and John and Peter did. They did it, she said, even when they really didn't get it. So maybe it's ok if I muddle along ,too, not really sure about why I'm a little fuzzy on some of the fine points right now.

Big picture....Jesus is here the love of my new family who seem to be taking me in....just as I am. In the gift of my sweet R, soon to be vowed forever mine in front of God and everyone! In the grace of simple things, in saying goodbye to our congregant P whom we laid to rest on Holy Saturday, in navigating well the changes that are coming in our team as we change and shift in our roles, remembering that just because we can does not mean we should and that working harder is not always what God really wants of us.

Three years ago today, I baptized a lovely little baby girl. One of her sponsors was a handsome man named R. There was something about that man that caught me....I never forgot him, and in forty two days.....I will be marrying him. Again I say, sometimes I really do think God has a sense of humor.

Happy Easter.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Friday Five: Good Friday

Sally says: "It seems almost irreverent to post a Friday Five on Good Friday, so I will try to treat it with some respect. I am still mulling over the darkness of last nights Tenebrae Service, the silence as we left was profound, and although I travelled home with others we did not speak, there was a holiness about it.....and yet we know that holiness was born of horror!So as we enter into this darkest of days I offer you this Friday Five:"

1. Of all the gospel accounts of the crucifixion, which one stands out for you, and why? Today, this year...John. It seems more focused on Jesus, less on the the atmospherics, the other details surrounding, if that makes any sense. That is where I am this Holy Week. Another year might get a wholly different response.

2.Do you identify with any people in this account, how does that challenge you? Peter...sigh...and I wish I didn't.

3. Hymns or silence? The hymns and many of the words, for that matter this year did not touch my soul. I think silence might have had a better chance.

4. Post a poem or a quote that sums up Good Friday for you? I don't know that it exactly sums up Good Friday...but it's a favorite and speaks to me about something that resonates with this day.....

No, no, there is no going back.
Less and less you are
that possibility you were.
More and more you have become
those lives and deaths
that have belonged to you.
You have become a sort of grave
containing much that was
and is no more in time, beloved
then, now, and always.
And so you have become a sort of tree
standing over a grave.
Now more than ever you can be
generous toward each day
that comes, young, to disappear
forever, and yet remain
unaging in the mind.
Every day you have less reason
not to give yourself away.
~ Wendell Berry ~

5.Is there a tradition you could not be without, a tradition that makes Good Friday, Good Friday? Once I would have said the Stations of the Cross. But this year there have already been too many words in Holy it's time for new traditions.