Monday, October 30, 2006

hayride

It was great, yesterday, to finally have a chance to be out enjoying a beautiful fall day! One of my parishioners lives in a predominantly agricultural area and hosts a hayride every few years, complete with an open pit fire and roasting hot dogs and making s'mores. Yesterday was the perfect day for that, and we had a lovely time. Here are some shots of the action and scenery!

This morning after swimming I head to St. Louis so Katie can have a dress fitting! If I can get there early enough we might be able to go out and shop for her shoes, too, but I’m not worrying about that being my accomplishment. It will be good to see Carrie and Dave and the girls, and have a little time with them before the big weekend coming up. Hard to believe it’s less than two weeks away! For the next two days, though, I’m just planning to enjoy being with this part of my extended family. The camera battery is charged, so I’m all set!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

white smoke in Tennessee

Well, at long last we have finally managed to elect a bishop. I suppose I should be cheering, but I'm not happy with the choice. Of our three candidates he was my least favorite. The detracting points are that I find him to be boring to read, and boring to listen to. We need someone who can inspire and excite us with his vision. He used a lot of jargon in his speech, which says to me that he lacks original thought. He jokingly said he doesn't know the bible well, and by that he meant that his memorization of verses to quote is lacking (I can relate, I have the same problem), but in one who is the leader of a diocese, this is troubling to me. He doesn't have tons of experience, and by the stories he relates I fear that some of his successes have been more the result of luck than ability. He hasn't been tested by the kind of fires into which he will walk when he dons the mitre here. That worries me, I fear he will be overwhelmed. He is young, with the potential of being our bishop for the next 24 years. That's a long episcopate in a time of tumult and uncertainty in an institution's life. I have committed myself to working with him and with my colleagues and other leaders to restore this diocese to some modicum of health, and to help us achieve good, even great, things in the years to come. But I am not excited. I pray that the grace of divine surprise will transcend my disappointment and deliver hope to me and to others who share my disappointment. At least there is movement forward now, and I guess for that I can be grateful.

Friday, October 27, 2006

bumps

It’s been a busy week, with lots of details to track and attack, and the next few days will continue to be full, though in different ways. The good news is that a lot has gotten done, old lists are obsolete and new ones become so fairly quickly. Works for me!

The bad news is that Junior will not be able to be here for the wedding. He called last night to tell us that he leaves on Sunday for six week’s training at another base. I am heartbroken, and have not found a way to console myself. It’s been difficult enough that others who I had looked forward to sharing that day with won’t be there, but this has flattened me.

There have been other adjustments to make, as well. The perfect shoes I had found (I looked high and low for them!) are too low to wear with the dress. I found another pair (Jayne, we will be twins in different colors!), but they will kill my feet. I think I’ll take both pairs and trade them off depending on need—I don’t want to trip going down the aisle, after all! And yesterday I discovered that the centerpieces for the rehearsal dinner won’t work. Fortunately I found some potted gerbera daisies at Walmart yesterday that will be a great substitute, but I need to work on decorating them appropriately, and am not sure how I will accomplish that.

So the beat goes on, with blips and burps, but at least it goes.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

desperately seeking fashion

The last few days have been crammed with things to attend, errands to run, shopping (both necessary and therapeutic, LOL), records to update, cards to create, emails to answer, thank you notes to write, and on and on…

Among the items on my list has been to look for something to wear to my bridesmaid lunch. I thought I should look for something sort of “hip,” and as trendy as possible without requiring a personality transplant. I looked, and looked, and looked, and the truth of the matter is that I simply abhor the styles that are presently in vogue. The fabrics are either cheap looking or too heavy and shapeless, never mind in patterns that look like the remnant bin from twenty years ago. I finally found a Ralph Lauren Chaps skirt that had a sophisticated look and came in a classic paisley pattern in more traditional colors. I searched high and low for a top to match and finally found a sweater that would do the trick. Sigh. This morning I tried the skirt on in the light of my own bedroom and am asking myself, "what was I thinking?" The skirt may be just a bit too trendy after all! What to do, what to do? I can swallow my self-consciousness for the occasion of the luncheon, but then what? The skirt has panels in the lower portion that flare out and droop below the “normal” hemline. Not your typical priestly attire, let me tell you, and where else will I wear a skirt?

So the question remains: keep it and make my peace with dressing outside the box? Or return it and save the money and pull something from my wardrobe that I already own? Some days it’s tough to be a bride…

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

big biscuit day here!

After a couple of days of melancholy (we are receiving a lot more “regrets” for the wedding than we anticipated) today has been a turn-around. I got some cleaning done, the results of which are always satisfying and a good “pick-me-up,” I’m making progress on Katie’s flower girl dress, crossed a few more things off the “to do” list, kept on top of thank you notes, and managed to get a few errands done before lunch. This morning a wedding gift was delivered by Fed-Ex, and in today’s mail two additional gifts arrived, plus a little something from Jules that is perfect for altering. (Thank you, Jules! It’s perfect!!) It’s what Kip calls a Big Biscuit Day! Tomorrow I have the fitting for my dress, and tomorrow evening there’s a reception for our diocesan clergy to meet the nominees on the slate from which we will try to elect a new bishop. I actually have hope for this election. After reading their bios and materials I could vote for any of the three (down from an original slate of five after two withdrew), and I think there are many of us who feel the selection is a good one.

We’re looking forward to tonight’s Dancing with the Stars, and I will be interested to see how they will drop back and punt in response to Sara Evans’ withdrawal. The press hasn’t been quiet about Sara’s pending divorce (entire pages of articles in the Nashville paper), but there sure hasn’t been much word from ABC!

Today’s picture is a sunset from Melrose when we there last week. Oh, to be back there on the porch watching the day fade with a nice glass of wine, yummy nibbles, and good company…

Sunday, October 15, 2006

blessings

One of the ways I feel most blessed in my life is by the pets with whom I have had the pleasure of sharing my domicile. The two who now keep me company are Dooley (my Jekyl and Hyde, grumpy snuggle-bug), and Juliet (my sweetheart). When we had a pet blessing service at church a few weeks ago they came and received their blessing, and Juliet even earned the award of Miss Congeniality (this, in spite of a modest stand-off with Roscoe--further evidence that she is also a shrewd judge of character). Here they are in the act of blessing, looking rather peaceful and at ease (not an easy task for Dooley). What mama wouldn't be proud?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Melrose

Melrose is my family’s tree farm in South Carolina. We don’t know how long it’s been in the family—it’s said that my great-great-grandparents went to live there after the civil war, when they were evicted from their property in Georgia because they couldn’t afford the taxes (they eventually got the property back). My great-grandfather planted a peach orchard on the property in the early years of the twentieth century, an endeavor that eventually lost out to blight. Native pine reclaimed the land, and my grandmother cultivated a tree farm to harvest timber.

It has been a part of my life all of my life, and a regular fixture when I was growing up when we spent our spring school vacations there. It is a place I love deeply for its beauty, serenity, the grace of the landscape, and the connection to my own family’s history.

The family has a tradition of enjoying happy hour, either on the lawn in front of the cottage, or up on the cottage porch, and watching the sun set across the Savannah River valley that borders our property. Over the years as the hardwood trees have matured, the extensive vista has become increasingly obscured—until now. One of the items on my mother’s agenda for her fall visit to Melrose this year was to clear the view and restore the vista. Here is a before and after shot, and a view of the area that was cleared (that’s Juliet in the picture).

I can’t wait to go back in the spring when we have more than two days to enjoy soaking up this view.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

fall delight

Yesterday afternoon we took advantage of a lovely fall day and headed to Cheekwood, Nashville’s botanical garden. It’s on the old estate of the Cheek family, and the old family home is now a museum, but the grounds are wonderfully landscaped, with nooks and crannies, views and vistas, and little, tucked away spots that play host to some delightful plants and sculptures. There’s a woodland sculpture path that had an interesting collection, including this one with the animals. I couldn’t resist joining them for some conversation. We’re off to SC for a few days to enjoy the tree farm and a quick visit with Mom while she’s there for her fall visit. I’ll try to post from there, but pictures will be a challenge since dial-up and blogger aren’t very compatible.

Blessings on your day!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

ah, fall...

We had such a gorgeous day yesterday--cool and crisp, sunny and bright, it was an absolute treat. When I took the dogs for their walk last night the new harvest moon had just risen above the tree-tops and was brilliant. I had heard earlier on the radio that this moon is called the harvest moon because it is so bright that farmers could work under its brightness late into the night to bring in their harvest. I can believe it! Today looks like it will be another beauty, and with any luck I'll have a chance to get out with my camera and capture some of its glory. In the meantime I wish a glorious day to one and all, wherever you are!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

a model grief

In the remains of Tuesday's tragedy in Nickel Mines, PA, an Amish community is already beginning the process of healing as the depth of their faith holds together devastated hearts and families. They are an astounding example of what it means to live a Christ-like life-- acknowledging the torment of the soul that wrought an act of horror, having compassion for his family, and holding firmly to the belief that though their own lives are rent with loss and grief, their children rest in the peaceful arms of God where they now await a future reunion with those they love. Forgiveness is made manifest in such faith, and whatever else about their choices may make some of us uncomfortable, they are a model of the very best of what the human heart is capable of holding and expressing. There is no need to pray for God's peace to visit them, they have made it evident that God's peace is there already. Instead we might pray that our own hearts be made more like theirs.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

He's home!

Just yesterday Ken mentioned that he was looking forward to hearing the distinctive ring tone on his phone signaling that Junior was the caller. We knew he was likely to be home from Iraq sometime this week, but with military movements you just never know. Mere hours after Ken's comment, the revelry ring sounded, and one very happy papa reached for that phone. It's always a relief to know that he's on home turf, and my prayers for him can shift. In the meantime, those who remain or face deployment still need our prayers and our government's thoughtful strategic plan to get them home. Welcome home, Junior!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

another countdown

Yes, it's really true, the legendary, perpetually "in the works" web site is soon to be unveiled! The site is up, but I need to review some of the payment processing procedures to make sure I've got those ducks in a row before going public. And I have to say, I am terrified! Since I'm not a technically inclined person (squeamish is the word I used with a tech support person recently, and he thought that was hilarious!) I have fears of technical things blowing up in my face, errors upon errors interfering with order processing and a happy shopping experience for my customers. Eek!

I’m sure all will be well, but this is brand new territory for me. Although I have full confidence in the quality of my products and my desire to provide outstanding customer service, I confess that the technical side of things puts me at risk of making a hash of things. It would be wonderful if things go so well that I can afford to hire someone to take those worries off my shoulders, and I can revel in the creative work while someone else revels in the world of bits and bytes, and URL’s. For now, though, this baby is all mine, for better or worse.

What am I always telling people? Breathe. Just breathe.
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