Monday, May 31, 2010

20 questions

I thought my friend Jayne (the other Jayne) wasn't blogging much anymore and it had been a while since I visited hers. Fortunately she posted a link to her blog on facebook, where I found the following. list of questions from the other day (some good ones, too). Thanks, Jayne! I really didn't want to do a conventional holiday greeting today.

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
Dang, the hair color is fading.

2. Do you miss anyone right now?
Having just spent some time with our daughter, son-in-law and grandsons, I'm missing them. My Mom, too, she was here a week ago. I miss my roommates from graduate school, as well. One law student, one international studies, one med school. Great people, every one of them. I miss my friend Kathy, who died four years ago. I miss her family. And Candy and Steve, friends from St. Louis days.

3. If you could move anywhere else, would you?

4. If you could choose, what would your last meal be?
My Mom's chicken curry with rice, pork tenderloin with gorgonzola sauce, and pepperoni pizza, followed by a banana split. Calories be damned!

5. What famous person, dead or alive, would you want to have lunch with?

Henry VIII

6. what was the last book you read?.

Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. (started it ages ago, finished it recently).

7. what was the last movie you watched?
Taking Chance, starring Kevin Bacon. Excellent movie.

8. what was the last song you heard?
I Believe, from the movie Honey, sung by Yolanda Adams. It's the song in the video below.

9. what is your dream vacation?
I always want to go to Scotland, but a new interest is Cantabria, Spain, on the north coast of that country prompts me to want to make plans to go there. And of course, there's always Italy!

10. what is the next trip you will take?
Probably Columbus, GA, to see Kenneth and Trisha.

11. did you ever go to camp?
I did! I even remember a few of the songs we learned.

12. have you ever been in love?
 That would be affirmative!

13. what do you want to know about the future?
If I'll ever be able to retire.

14. where is your best friend?
Gone to the great beyond

15. how is your best friend?
Probably a lot better off than me!

16. who is the biggest gossiper you know?
Fortunately I don't really know any big gossipers

17. what does your last text message say?
Y'all have fun camping!

18. what are 3 things you've always wanted to do, that you still plan to accomplish?
Sew outfits and quilts for my grandchildren; Visit the Grand Canyon; paint a watercolor of the view at Melrose.

18. what are 3 things you've always wanted to do, that you still plan to accomplish?
Sew outfits and quilts for my grandchildren; Visit the Grand Canyon;

19. what is one thing you learned from your parents?
All people are worthy of dignity and respect.

20. what is one thing you hope to teach to your own children?
If I had my own children it would be to keep an open mind about people and ideas.

So if you've read this far, you need to post it on your blog and let me know so I can learn about you!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

for all the amazing women I know

This is a beautiful story. It is inspiring me to spend today reaching out to the women in my life that I know are amazing. God bless you all.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

the BS report*

We've been looking at the birth narratives in our *bible study. First Matthew, and then Luke. One of the questions posed by our study guide this week had to do with what scripture tells us about why Jesus was born. These end up being great conversations. They start in one, seemingly obvious place, and then the obvious raises a question. And that leads us to more conversation and more questions and more conversation. I love my bs girls.

We get around to the subject of reconciliation. When the conversation is of a spiritual or religious nature the context generally shapes how I hear a word. And though when we began our conversation the word reconciliation pointed me clearly to persons and relationships, there was a sudden shift in my head and I thought, "checkbook." In that context to be reconciled is to have a zero balance. I introduced the notion of zero balance as it might apply to spiritual reconciliation.

No credits or deficits. All things level and equal. Hmm. What would it mean in this sense for someone to have credit? Would that be a good thing? Would it cause trouble? We acknowledged that balance among persons and societies would yield a more peaceful and harmonious universe. But we acknowledged, as well, that human nature and the laws of nature pretty much preclude that. In the animal world alone creatures survive by preying on other creatures. Oddly enough we call that the balance of nature. In the human realm we have the ever-fragile and constantly striving ego that generates a desire for power. Sigh. The idea of zero balance is nice, perhaps, but unrealistic and perhaps, even, necessarily impossible. Next?

In looking for images to use with this post most of them involved an individual. The body was contorted, or on one foot, or holding something that caused the center of gravity to shift and therefore the body to compensate. (Hmm, center of gravity, there's a new dimension to throw into the mix!). The image above, as you can see, involves two people. It seems most relative to the subject of spiritual reconciliation and balance. It demonstrates the necessity of working together to achieve a common goal or purpose. It takes at least two (and in this particular image I'm totally impressed that the woman, supporting this effort, is extraordinarily strong) for the effort to succeed.

This particular physical dynamic is unusual, and, no doubt, difficult to sustain. But it reveals to us what can be achieved when the effort is supplied. For most of us the idea of balance, or reconciliation between individuals, involves engagement. It does not require the kind of dependence needed to achieve the physical reality expressed above. We do our part, we care about the outcome, and we provide the necessary maintenance to keep the entity functioning well. There is more, of course, but for the general purposes of this discussion, the highlights are here.

So why was Jesus born? Oh yes, that was the question!

Friday, May 28, 2010

friday five: passionate action

Juliet at four months. Rescue #2
I'm taking it as a sign from the universe that recent posts have challenged me "where I live," so to speak. Today's Friday Five is no exception. I'm got a lot of passions that take up space in my head and heart. Taking action is another matter. Let's go with those concerns where passion has translated into action.

1) Dogs. Specifically dogs, though that isn't to say that other animals don't fall under this category. Two of my present three dogs are rescues, and one no longer with us was also a rescue. But rescuing isn't what I'm taking about. On a trip to St. Louis several years ago I was driving through Kentucky and ahead of me some distance I could see something in the middle of the road. It appeared to be a dog, but it was also clear that the dog wasn't dead. I pulled off the road, made my way to the dog, assessed what I could of damage, and then got the dog to the other side of the road (traffic blessedly stayed in the right hand lane). Moments later a K-9 cop from Knoxville pulled over, and the short version of the story is that he took charge of the dog and his Mom ended up keeping him.

2) Children/families. When a member of my church was going through some incredible stress that paralyzed her capacity to think clearly and take responsible action, especially when it came to managing money. I stepped in to help. She and her young daughter were being evicted, and I went to court to speak on her behalf. I also talked to a bank that was shutting down her account because of bounced checks. I worked with her to get her back on her financial feet.

3) The environment, especially recycling. I'm fiendish about the latter, whether at home, church, or out and about.

4) Pluralism and diversity, and setting aside prejudice. Former co-workers of mine used a derogatory expression as a joke between themselves that I found it troubling. It was essential a racial slur. I finally found the courage to speak to one of them about it. They both stopped talking to me, but they also stopped using the slur and found a neutral word as a substitute.

5) Autism. The flame has been recently kindled regarding autism. I have learned a lot from friends and family who deal with autism on a daily basis, and I would like to be more of an advocate on behalf of those who live with this challenge in their lives. I'm working on what I can do

Thursday, May 27, 2010

a day at the zoo

We spent the morning at the zoo with our daughter and son-in-law and the grandkids.
Color us happy!
Here are a few shots from our adventure.

Thanks for joining us!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

meet kiki

This is my amazing Mom.

I don't say that about her just because she's my Mom and I love her. I mean, just look at what she's doing in this picture. Pruning! When she comes to visit she doesn't expect to be waited on or entertained. She pitches in and is part of the household. She helps cook, cleanup, and put dishes away.

The last time she visited she dusted bookshelves, cleaned photo frames (and we have lots of those), and together we cleaned windows. Windows! They haven't been cleaned since except to get rid of a dead fly that got smacked against one. Yes, yes, I'm a lousy housekeeper, I confess. Well, I did actually clean the kitchen windows once to honor her, just kindling that memory. But Mom isn't amazing because she does those things. Let me recount her itinerary since she left home on April 9.

She generally spends a month at Melrose in the spring, so heading off there wasn't unusual. But she left a week earlier than is typical so that she could welcome her sister-in-law, nephew Ross and his family to Melrose. Ross and his brother own the other half of the original parcel that makes up Melrose. They came from California during school vacation.

Then we arrived for the wedding and were there nearly two weeks. While we were there not only did Mom help us pull together the last bits and pieces for the rehearsal dinner, she also hosted visits from some other kin and kin-types. Like her second cousin, Prudy, who I only met for the first time a little over a year ago (and at Prudy's initiative--do I not have great family?). Prudy was down at Edisto, on the SC coast and took back roads to get to us for a leisurely lunch before heading home to Spartanburg. We had a great visit. And then there was Mary Jane and her son Matt. Mary Jane was married to our step-cousin. Her son was on an orienteering adventure in a state park "in the neighborhood," so they came by for a visit. They live in Atlanta. We tried to work in a visit with our cousin's other ex-wife, but the timing just didn't work out.

Is a picture emerging? She left Melrose last Friday and came here, and while here we visited cousins who live in Nashville. When she left here yesterday she was making a stop in Lexington, KY, to have lunch with a friend. I can't remember if Marie is a friend from college, graduate school, or another part of Mom's life. Her destination last night Was Cincinnati, where is she staying with my aunt, her former sister-in-law. While in Cincinnati she's meeting up with someone she knows there for lunch, another cousin's wife for dinner, my cousins, and I've lost track of who else. From Cincinnati she goes to Oberlin for a college reunion. I've lost track of how many people she's visiting with beyond reunion events. Then on to Meadville, PA, to visit her former step-son and his family. Then. Finally. Home to Connecticut. And she's driving. By herself. At the age of 82. By the time she gets home she will have traveled over 2500 miles.

She wears me out!

But she doesn't just visit and maintain relationships. When she was the CEO of agencies where she worked she would bake brownies to take to committee and board meetings. She pitches in to help in whatever way she can when someone moves. She planted flowers for my sister-in-law's sister-in-law when Amy moved into a new house. She arranges flowers for the mantle of her Friend's Meeting. She has a subscription to a Manhattan theater group. She's in a book club. She is always doing, and often for others.

And she listens. Not only does she listen but she offers compassionate counsel woven with insight and wisdom. And love. Lots of love.

I could go on. And on. But you have other things to do today. I just thought I'd share some of what's in my heart this morning as I look at this picture from the other day. Blessings on yours.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

in search of

Wartrace, TN. Human population 583 (according to the 2000 census). Birthplace of the Tennessee Walking Horse and my great-grandmother (and several generations of family before her). Situated among beautiful rolling hills. An hour from where we live.

Yesterday we took a day trip to Wartrace, one of those "we really need to make a trip" notions that finally came to fruition while Mom was visiting. I had visited there once about twenty years ago, armed with a family tree and not much else. There's not a lot to see in Wartrace. Once a thriving little town that was a stop on the railway, now it is home to a handful of shops facing a stretch of railway line and an old hotel on the other side of the tracks. No matter. Just getting there is worth the trip. The countryside is beautiful, and homes crown the knolls of hills through which you wind as you drive deeper into the county.

We went in search of evidence of family. There are no known homesteads, only the graves of those whose lives ended in this place that burned brightly for a while before burning out, snuffed into near oblivion by the shifting routes of the railroad. Were it not for the (mostly) Walking Horse industry there would be no tax base to speak of. Still. We wanted to check it all out, to round the curves of roads traveled by kin and enjoy the views that brought serenity to the souls of hard-working people.

Having done some homework in advance, we checked in at town hall to learn what we could about what we needed to know. The locations of cemeteries (family cemeteries abound, but none of them ours!), and the knowledge that a woman who owns the local strawberry farm could be very helpful.

Off to the strawberry farm we went. We intended to locate the owner and maybe buy some strawberries, but as we pulled into the driveway the last of the already picked baskets were walking out of the store. We made the spontaneous decision to go ahead and pick our own, filling two gallon-baskets with ripe sweetness. We learned after completing our task (relatively bearable in spite of near 90-degree heat, thanks to a steady breeze), that 1500 people had been through the farm over the weekend, which explained the picked-over plants and relatively small size of the berries. No matter. It didn't take long to fill our baskets and check in with the woman-in-the-know, who was incredibly helpful and eager to tell us what she knew and answer questions.

From the strawberry farm we headed to the site of the old family church, long since burned to the ground, but still home to the resting place of the parents of my mother's mother's mother's mother.Distaff all the way! Records indicate that his parents were buried in a cemetery several miles farther east, but efforts to locate it came to naught, and no one had any knowledge of a cemetery by its name. Probably grown over, one person suggested, and beware if we found it--it would be home to rattlesnakes.
At last we headed home, content from a day of exploration, discovery and a sense of people and place. As it became clear that Wartrace would not support livelihoods without the commerce of the railroad, families moved to other towns and other places. My great-grandmother's family moved to Sumner County, just north of where I am, and one day I'll venture there to learn what I can. For now I can leave the Wartrace quest behind, and perhaps one day head off in dogged pursuit of the missing cemetery. Somewhere, bodies are buried...

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Lest you think my life is all introspection and hard work, let me show you some play time from yesterday!

Charis (the h is silent) is a local not-for-profit organization that provides health care for residents in our county who are working but don't have health insurance. A friend's husband is the director of that agency, and had been promoting a fund-raiser that took place yesterday. "Cannonballs for Charis" invited individuals to make a big splash off the diving board of our local pool. With the support of sponsors (like a walk-a-thon) each entrant made a literal splash in the pool, and a splash of support for Charis. There were two parts of the competition (with two age categories). The first was judged for the biggest splash (including form). The second was for presentation (see photo, below, and click on it to enlarge to appreciate the details!). Emceed by a local DJ and good friend, there were lots of laughs, cheering on and whistles of encouragement for the daring jumpers. It was great fun.
Back home for a bit of lunch, Ken, Mom and I headed outside to do a variety of yardwork, then we were off to christen a boat and enjoy dinner with friends. We had a great evening of conversation, catching up and laughter, and the boat is now properly named and ready for the water. Can't wait for a ride and the wind in my hair! Well, actually the wind in my hair would make a real mess of it, so I guess it will be the wind rushing past a ball cap on my head.

Have a great and beautiful Pentecost Sunday!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

tgif, transferred

One of my more recent blog discoveries (thanks to Diane at Contemplative Photography) is Ordinary Courage. I find inspiration, insight and encouragement at Brene's blog. She believes in a lot of the same things I do when it comes to personal growth, courage and affirmation, and the question to find wholeness and peace.

Each Friday Brene has a "tgif" post that focuses on trusting, gratitude and inspiration. She shares her own "t-g-i"s and invites others to consider theirs. I have generally committed myself to doing the RevGals Friday Five post on that day each week, but I like the possibilities of what Brene's offers. Today I am "transferring" that Friday post to today, and am likely to do so on other weeks.

It's been a week of facing head-on one of my biggest stumbling blocks, and making the decision to confront it in an effort to diminish its power in my life. I have shared it with my PC director, so accountability is in place. So today I am trusting that God will accompany me on this challenging walk to help me stay on track.

The issue of trust itself emerged as a matter with which to contend, and there is work to do in that area. Disappointments notwithstanding, I am consistent in turning to God with hope, in prayer, and for help and guidance. Today I am grateful for the depth of my faith that persists through fog, hurt and cynicism. It is the bedrock on which everything else is sustained.

Part of the journey of this week has also been contending with what I perceived to be a conflict between my calling as a priest and my desire to be more confident and successful with my Pampered Chef business. It is something with which I have struggled for a while, and I finally gave voice to it yesterday during the call with my director. She rocks! My perception of the conflict has not dissolved, but it has shifted to a place where I can tease out the nuances of it in a more helpful and useful manner. With the gift of that shift and the tools learned at last weekend's training I am inspired to tackle my business afresh.

How about you? In what are you trusting this week? For what are you grateful? Where are you finding inspiration?

Friday, May 21, 2010


The Friday five at RevGals pretty much struck my Achilles heel this morning. The subject is discipline. Something I lack dreadfully. I'm not going to run from it, I'll just reflect/confess/atone...

A lack of personal discipline is why I don't achieve my goals. Pure and simple. That, and fear, although I've never been able to identify what the fear is. At my age I've had ample opportunity to tackle this and come out victorious, but for whatever reason, I continue to be plagued by it.

This isn't to say that I never accomplish anything. I do. And I've managed some great accomplishments along the way. Sadly, however, those seem to be exceptions rather than the norm.

I seem to possess within my nature two tendencies that are linked with this. One is laziness. It's not a physical laziness (though it can certainly manifest itself that way). Back in my dancing days there was a great deal of physical activity. Before Seminary (yet another "BS") I was much more active in all kinds of ways. The laziness to which I refer here has to do with a tendency not to act. The other side of the is coin is that I indulge that laziness. "I'll do it later," I tell myself. Eventually I do get to whatever it is I'm postponing, but the lack of timely action is a curse. I refer to it as a failure to follow through, though it's more of a timing issue that translates as failure.

I face this a lot with Pampered Chef, since a great deal of action is required to maintain that business (at least it feels like a lot to me because it is hard for me). I don't understand why I fail to act, I just recognize the problem. Conquering it is the $65,000 challenge.

A quote by Joseph Campbell delivered to my mailbox yesterday caught my attention, and I think it may offer the inspiration I need to dig into this issue. It reads, "Where you stumble, there your treasure lies."

There are a number of things I need to do to assist this effort. Intentional prayer is at the top. This may sound obvious, and therefore strange, but my prayer life is somewhat internalized. I trust that what concerns my heart and soul is known by God and borne by the Spirit, but some intentional prayer would keep this in my consciousness more effectively. Or so I hope. That other thing I need to do is journal this adventure. I do see this as an adventure. I have been slothful in that discipline as well, and to resume the practice would bless my life in many ways.

So. Prayer. Journaling. Engagement with others on the subject (and you are invited, if you so choose, to comment or inquire along the way). Accountability is key. Thirty minutes from now I have a scheduled call with my PC director. She is fabulous, and I will discuss this with her. She will assist me in the accountability department. Perhaps more than anything else I need to see this as a form of life-saving treatment. That is, in effect, what it is.

Healing and transformation won't happen by themselves. I need to be my own mid-wife to bring new life into my world.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

the b.s. report*

(Otherwise known as "revelations that emerged from *bible study.")

Here it is close to the end of May and the bible study we began four months ago is finally taking off! To be fair, there are so few of us that if two or three can't come we cancel for the week. And in April, well, I myself was out of pocket every Wednesday for one reason or another. Finally, however, we're digging in.

We're using a study from Cokesbury called Jesus in the Gospels. For better or worse, Episcopalians just don't do a good job of learning scripture (you can draw your own conclusions about the failure to teach it!). Is it any wonder that I have folks in their sixties and seventies who don't feel like they know the bible? This study offers an in-depth, and I mean go-back-and-read-the-passage-again, and again, and again to delve into the layers and sub-text kind of depth. Personally, I think it's rich and fabulous. It's slightly academic, but one of my roles is to break that down into meaningful everyday understanding. The fine tooth comb approach can be intimidating to many, but we're making it work (thank you, Tim Gunn, for the phrase that has become so naturally woven into my vocabulary). So far, so good.

For the last two weeks we've been looking at the first two chapters of Matthew. It opens with Jesus' genealogy and then slides into Matthew's birth narrative. I say Matthew's, because he and Luke are the only two gospel writers who have a birth narrative, and there is a distinct difference between the two: Matthew focuses on Joseph, Luke on Mary.

So anyway, the lingering question from this week's study is this: What makes trusting God's promises difficult when they are kept in ways we do not expect?

The question shoots holes through me. I have real issues with the idea of God keeping promises. In many respects I am quite comfortable with adjusting expectations and finding silver linings. Nearly twenty years ago I internalized the experience of finding gifts in adversity and redemption in disappointment. I know full well that expectations are the first thing to take a hit when it comes to seeing God at work. I am used to taking closer looks at the path traveled to see where it really went. At the same time I wait on God patiently for revelation: heart's desires, vocation, dreams, service, purpose... Waiting has become second nature. Imagine the jolt I felt when I realized not long ago that I've been waiting longer than I have time left in a typical span of ministry (assuming a retirement age of 65). That doesn't seem right, and it has set me a bit on edge thinking about waste and fulfillment. From the perspective of balance there appears to be a lot more of the former and little of the latter. Ouch.

Promises kept? I am suspect. Does that make me unfaithful? It hasn't felt so. I hang on, as tenacious as a dog with a bone. But there is so much missing. To acknowledge that sounds pessimistic and gloomy, and yet most of the time my attitude is positive and upbeat, and hope is the substance of my fuel. The stories of scripture, and even some of my own, are textured richly with grace. And still, the weight of emptiness drags at my endurance to trust and believe for my own life.

This isn't meant to be a rant or a confession. I spill this here because you offer your ears, your hearts and your affection so graciously that my soul turns to you.

Interestingly enough at last weekend's PC training we were encouraged not only to believe in ourselves but in those around us. Expect success of the people we mentor, expect commitment from those who mentor us, expect support from those we love and accept nothing less. So what do I expect of God, and how does that expectation impact that relationship?

So much food for thought that my brain groans at the excess. Life is ever thus, is it not?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday random dozen meme

Borrowed with gladness from The Bug, who gets her Random Dozen at 2nd Cup of Coffee

1. What is one really fast, know-by-heart "go-to" meal to fix in a pinch?
Place one cup of rice in a 9" x 9" backing pan. Arrange evenly. Season with salt and pepper and then brown four pork chops and place on top of rice. Season with thyme and marjoram (I ballpark this). Place slices of tomato, green pepper and red onion on top of the pork chops. Pour one can of Beef Consume over all. Bake, covered, at 350 for about an hour (I think), or until consume has been absorbed by rice. This is so easy, and so good.

2. What is one item you won't leave home without. (Purse and license do not count.)

Keys. Eyeglasses are usually a good idea as well.

3. Where is one place you never tire of visiting?

Melrose, my family's tree farm in South Carolina. The view from the porch/front of the cottage restores my soul.

4. Share one factoid of your family's history.

Y'all are probably tired of hearing about my family history after recent posts. Let's see. All four grandparents have ancestors that have been in this country since sometime in the 17th century.

5. Complete this sentence: "Once upon a time I ...." 

wanted to be a nurse. Nearly flunking chemistry disabused me of that desire.

6. If you could win a one year's supply of anything, what would it be?

Gas. We'd be taking a whole bunch of road trips.

7. "One quirky thing you may not know about me is ...."

I wrap (most) presents without using scotch tape or knotting my bows.

8. You have one dollar in your pocket. What will you buy?

Value deal Jamocha shake at Arby's.

9. "One thing that always makes me laugh is ...." 

The Cake Wrecks web site.

10. What is one thing you could do today to help yourself reach a personal goal?

Practice Pampered Chef's "3-2-1" Plan.

11. What is one thing you could do today to bless someone else?

Write a thank you note.

12. What is one thing you're looking forward to soon? 

My Mom's arrival for a visit on Friday!

drum roll, please!

And the winner is.....
I tell you, this is the blog to enter giveaways--the odds (one in six) are fantastic!

Karen, it'll be a couple of weeks before I send these to you since these photos are still so hot off the press that I haven't yet had prints made.

And Nancy, I'll send you a set, too, since the Man at the helm has a thing for orchids.

Thanks for playing faithful readers. I'll be back later!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

it's the great 909th post giveaway!

I utterly missed the fact that I had crept up on and surpassed my 900th post. I had intended to use the occasion as an opportunity to have a giveaway, but then.... So instead I decided it makes just as much sense to honor the 909th post, and here we are.

You may have noticed here and there that I enjoy photographing flowers and nature. I have a deeply embedded aesthetic gene in my DNA, so I am drawn to beauty like a moth to a flame. Nature in particular. The collage above contains some of the orchid photographs I took at the Atlanta Botanical Garden a couple of weeks ago. I have, as well, some other orchid photos from several years ago when I first encountered the ABG. The giveaway, therefore, will be a collection of note cards featuring several orchid shots.

To be eligible for the giveaway I am asking that you leave a comment sharing what it is that you find beautiful in the world. I'll leave this post for a couple of days and draw a winner Wednesday morning. Good luck and have fun!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

which hands?

Remember the hand? (see the badge on the left). I have decided that I need to take paper with me wherever I go to trace people's hands in order to amass a collection. I have received a mere 7 so far, six of them from two families (and thanks for those!). It's not too late if you want to send me yours! If you don't have my address please email me and I will send it to you.

In the meantime, I am developing the theme of the quilt on which I plan to place these hands. There are several passages of scripture that will be embroidered somewhere on the quilt, vying for contention, and I'd appreciate your input to help me determine which one to use. Please leave a note in the comments if you have a preference. They are:

1) The heavens declare the glory of the God, the skies proclaim the works of his hands. (Psalm 19:1)

2) Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy. (Psalm 98:8)

3) May my prayer be set before you like incense, may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. (Psalm 141:2)

4) You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12)

(all translations NIV).

I'm off to an all day Pampered Chef training program. May your day be filled with joy!

Friday, May 14, 2010

friday five: family tree edition

 Gravestone of my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother, mother-in-law of Anne McKinne I

At RevGals Sophia directs us to think about our family tree. For the record, I did NOT pay her to choose this topic. Regular readers have already heard some of this, but there are others who haven't read those posts! Here goes:

1. Do you have any interest in genealogy?
That would be an unqualified "yes!" I got interested in family history way back in the dawn of my life (or more accurately, mid-morning). I was ten or eleven. When you're told that you are the seventh Anne McKinne, you start asking questions.

2. Which countries did your ancestors come from?
On both sides of the family the lineage hails from England, with strains of Scotland, Ireland and Wales in the mix. I seem to identify most with the Scottish DNA. There is Dutch-German and German flavor as well.

3. Who is the farthest back ancestor whose name you know?
Edward I, King of England. I am very fortunate that both my grandmothers had a interest in genealogy and passed on to me the records they had acquired, so I have lots of information. I've done my own research to fill in gaps, verify data and raise some questions. I can never get enough, though, and have so many questions about the what's and how's hidden behind the data.

4. Any favorite saints or sinners in the group?
Hah! I can tell you that my paternal grandfather died in the arms of another woman while out of town at a newspaper convention in Columbus, Ohio. That skeleton did not stay in the closet! Other than that the stories are interesting more than they are juicy. For instance, a great-great-great-great-grandfather was pastor of the congregational church in Bristol, RI for some forty years. He kept a meticulous diary, and included in it portions of conversations he shared with people over meals, or which he found of particular value to him. On one occasion a trial in the community involved a dispute between two men with conflicting understandings about a transaction into which they had entered with each other. It turns out that Grandfather Wight had recorded some information about this in his diary, and the diary entry was admitted as evidence at the trial. Those were the days, eh?

5. What would you want your descendants to remember about you?
I have no descendants, but I hope that I will be remembered by those in my life as being compassionate and giving. My mother is a great model in life and I would like to be more like. She, like her mother before her, is a great maintainer of relationships. I seem to take more after my father in nature in that department, but I aspire to be more like my mom in that way. I guess I would like to be remembered as I will remember her: helpful, selfless, caring, generous of heart, and so much more.

Bonus: a song, prayer, or poem that speaks of family--blood or chosen--to you.
I need to think about this and post later.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

think pink!

Would you like to help whip breast cancer? In May The Pampered Chef joins forces with the American Cancer Society to raise funds for breast cancer awareness and early detection programs. The products below are available exclusively this month from The Pampered Chef. For each Help Whip Cancer product that you purchase, The Pampered Chef contributes $1 to the American Cancer Society. Isn't it great to know that your purchase of these products helps support breast cancer awareness?

But wait, there's more! (I love saying that...) Everyone who makes a purchase between now and May 24 will be entered into a drawing to receive the host benefits from this online Pampered Chef "blog" party (total sales must be $150 or more--I've already got $55 in orders!). What are those benefits?
  • Choose one of this month's host specials at 60% off (see end of post for host specials)!
  • Depending on the level of sales qualify for free and discounted products
  • Pay no shipping on your order!
  • Receive 10% off future Pampered Chef orders for one year.
Pink and White Dots Martini Glasses (set of four)
$44.50 (item #GU45)
Pink and white Twixit! Clip Combo Pack
$5.50 (item $GU48)
Sweet Honey Vanilla Sprinkle
$6.50 (item #GU47)
Pink Color-Coated Tomato Knife (these are FABULOUS!)
$15 (item #GU46)
Help Whip Cancer Reusable Shopping Bags (set of two)
$4.50 (item #GU49)
FREE when your purchase totals $60 or more!


Martini Glasses pictured above:
four for $18.80 
eight for $35.60 

Ice Bucket and Scoop

Family-Size Quick Stir Pitcher

Click Here to Order (you are welcome to order any Pampered Chef product!)
(note: if you are chosen to receive host benefits
the amount you are be charged will be adjusted)
Share these great specials and opportunities with your friends and family.
Together we can help whip cancer!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I have had a lot of trouble focusing the last few days. The world feels jumbled and chaotic. My mind races and is restless but my body is weary. I want to pitch in and help with flood recovery, but I have no energy to follow through on that desire. There are things that I need to do to help move the church forward in some concrete directions. The house needs attention, inside and out. I've begun to tackle the yard, and there is a lot to be done there. The dogs... we are in desperate need of a fence for the yard (the invisible fence we installed has gone kaput). Limiting their time outdoors to being on leashes is making two of them crazy, which in turn plays on our nerves. Locally I really don't have any friends that I can count on for a reprieve from the chaos.

Perhaps worst of all is that I've entered a period of vocational distress that is pressing down on me hard. I'm not sure I want to talk about it here because it picks at old and perpetual scabs, hard enough for be to tend without exposing them to wider scrutiny.

There ARE good things. Kenneth and Trisha are beginning to make their life together as a married couple. They are ridiculously cute! My goddaughter's sister was in town the other day and I had a chance to see her. The roses in bloom around town are extraordinarily beautiful this spring. My Mom will be here for a short visit in a couple of weeks. The relationship with my step-daughter is improving. It looks like the best dancers will make it to the finals on Dancing with the Stars (it's a small victory, but aren't we supposed to be grateful for the small things?).

I'm trying to wrap myself in the grace that comes my way each day, and hold on to the love that is expressed through those divine moments. They feel too fleeting at times--more like a glaze than a marinade (this is a favorite metaphor from the late Urban Holmes, a theologian from Sewanee, which I am adapting slightly here.) I'm not trying to whine, but to unload my heart and mind to those who come here because they care.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I will be spending the day at a local university as a judge for a middle school "geography bowl." I'm hoping it will be fun. I have no idea what we'll do tomorrow night, but I fear that the social isolation I feel will be manifest in whatever plans are made.

Sorry to dump. Thanks for listening. I'm praying for resolution and movement and a lessening of the degree of chaos. Know that you are cherished for coming here.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mothers Day all you Moms!
And prayers for all for whom this day is painful for reasons of loss, absence, sadness...

Saturday, May 08, 2010

ooh la la!

desert poppies

I forgot to mention that when I left Melrose last Friday I had a couple of stops to make on the way home. The essential trip was to the Atlanta Airport to pick up the newlyweds returning from their honeymoon. With a late afternoon arrival time I knew exactly how I wanted to spend a few extra hours in Atlanta: the botanical garden. My time was short, made shorter by heading the wrong way out of the parking lot and into Piedmont Park, adjacent to the botanical garden.

I zeroed in on my primary target: the orchid conservatory. We had been there several years ago when a cousin got married and there was time during the day to do some sightseeing. You may have picked up here and there that I love to photograph flowers, and the orchids, well, let's just say that they are exquisite and camera-cooperative. I might have gotten more interesting angles and close-ups if I had not been rushed, but the stop at the Garden was at the very least a photo-fix. For now. I'll post others here and there along the way. In the meantime, enjoy these beauties.

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