Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas in GA: The highlights

1. After a terrible night sleep, we all slept soundly all the way to GA.
2. Flash loved the car ride, plane ride, train ride, bus ride, rented car ride all the way there. It was an all-transportation day!
3. Fabulous party! Flash played "Chase" with Hubby's old high school football pal's daughter
4. She was in the church nursery the next morning - they played tag.
5. At the 7 o'clock service there was NO NURSERY. Pastor said "Only the mother and grandmother notice if they're fussy". Uh huh. He pulled and broke my necklace (beads everywhere), kept asking when we could go to the party, and at one point escaped and ran up and down the aisles (its a two aisle church). On the bright side, he handed out candy canes to everyone before the service, in a very friendly way.
5. His new friend was at the party too! They we're not allowed to play "Chase" at this party...too many knick knacks. But they did play "Parade" throughout the house, especially past the bowl of nuts.
6. Christmas Day - Bob the Builder toolbelt (The only thing he asked for was "a new hammer"), trains and new food for the play kitchen ruled! I realized later that we didn't leave the house all day and that Flash and I had really only been in two rooms!
7. Big news from Aunt K!
8. Boxing Day was Boy Day and Girl Day for us. MIL, Aunt and I went after-Christmas shopping at the Mall of GA, while Dad, Granpa, Uncle and Flash went to Lowes to ride the tractors and then to Mexican food, followed by a nap.
9. A taxing ride home...transportation was not as fun the second time around, apparently. Drove to my mom's to have Christmas dinner and presents there. Surprise! Aunt P. and my cousin were there! Lots of presents for my nephew and Flash (they are the kids afterall) especially a shopping cart for my boy! BLiss! Equipped with a wonky, squeaky wheel, it travelled at high speeds throughout the house. It was the first thing he asked about this morning.
10. We arrived home, safe and sound before 8:30!
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Friday Festive Food5!

We must acknowledge that quintessential holiday topic... fooooooooood. Thanks revgals!

1. Favorite cookie/candy/baked good without which, it's just not Christmas.
Candy Cane Coffee Cake...its a family tradition. Its just shaped like a candy cane. I go cheap and easy on it these days, using refridgerator dough, but that doesn't matter so much to my crowd.
Especially because it is served during present opening.

2. Do you do a fancy dinner on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, both, or neither? (Optional: with whom will you gather around the table this year?)
Big dinner, not formal on Christmas evening with Hubby's family. As a child, Christmas dinner was at my Dad's place and he usually grilled a turkey (like at Thanksgiving).
Yes, even in the snow.
Heck, especially in the snow!

3. Evaluate one or more of the holiday beverage trifecta: hot chocolate, wassail, egg nog.
I love cocoa any time of the year, hot spiced cider in Fall and Winter, tea also...but no wassail. I'm the only one who likes 'nog (un-doctored) and one cup is plenty for a whole year!

4. Candy canes: do you like all the new-fangled flavors or are you a peppermint purist?
Peppermint purist! Oh, and red and white please!

5. Have you ever actually had figgy pudding? And is it really so good that people will refuse to leave until they are served it?
I have had Fig and Plum pudding, the secret is hard sauce (butter and powder sugar and a dash of um, brandy I think...often I use vanilla). I have to eat this with my 'nog...alone.

BONUS: The crown prince of holiday foods--the fruitcake. Feel free to add your thoughts on this most polarizing holiday confection.
I am one of the growing population that believes there are only 2 fruitcakes in the world and that they are just passed around...just kidding! Actually, I've had good and bad. We used to live near Claxton, GA...the home of the fruitcake. And Nanny, who passed away this year made an excellent fruitcake.
But, some fruitcakes need to sit in alcohol a while
and then be set on fire
and used as a candle!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Title! but no date yet

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
as confirmed by the Lexicon

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

My purse...YIKES!

I first saw this one at St. Casserole's blog

a pair of knee-hi's
Teal-colored Sharpie pen
cell phone
2007 datebook (with torn-out December page taped-in)
small pouch with makeup (3 lipsticks?? A Different Grape, Spiced Cider and Rum Raisin)
3 blue pens
baggie of crayons
toy cement mixer
envelope of gift cards to use
pay stub
Lessons and Carols church bulletin
granola bar
Simba's dog tags???
clothespin (emergency bib-maker, just add napkin)
work keys
Mom's birthday present (Ummm, lipstick again. Are there really 4 lipsticks in my purse?)
one Clifford band-aid
I pod shuffle
Luckily, this purse has a little light inside :0)

Rudolph spotted!

Sister Eulalia's advent calendars

My great aunt was a nun named was Sister Eulalia.
There are many stories about her...this is one.

As girls, my sister and I looked forward to the Christmas season. We always had a tree, nativity and stockings. My mother, in her seamstress phase, had sewn a beautiful advent calendar with pockets and little beads to hang the trinkets on. Mom was somewhat opposed to Christmas-ing too early (since her birthday is perilously close to Santa's arrival) so the advent calendar came out several days before December 1st. We split the hanging of the advent ornaments between us, odds and evens.

Sister Eulalia's paper advent calendar arrived right on time too. We divided that also, the opposite odds and evens. Her paper ones were almost always a beautiful illustrated nativity scene, usually with snow. She rarely sent a note, she just signed the back. At that time it sort of reminded us of her existence. She lived far away in Louisiana or Texas and visited us unexpectedly in the summer and stayed for 2 or 3 weeks. We didn't write or call. Just a visit each summer and an advent calendar each December.

I was in middle school when she died. It was spring. We didn't go to her funeral in Texas, but some of the other relatives did. Great-Uncle Eddie sent pictures. That summer our Aunt Kay (Sister Marie Patrick) stayed with us instead.

But, that December an advent calendar arrived...right on time.
We guessed she'd mailed it straight from heaven.

123:5 meme

Through Mary Beth from Songbird , as seen at The Vicar of Hogsmeade.
The rules are:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next four sentences on your blog, along with these instructions.
5. Don’t you dare dig for that “cool” or “intellectual” book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest!

OK , but the closest book only has 115 pages... and page 12 is a picture so, I'll amend this somewhat..

Welcome to the Bed and Biscuit by Joan Carris
1 book, page 23, line 5

Milly sat up on Ernest's bed. "He left me behind!"
"Me too," Ernest replied. "He's tired, that's all. I'm going to the barn to help. Those milk pails are heavy. You coming?"
"Absolutely not," Milly said
"No pouting," Gabby said from under the kitchen table, where she was hunting for crumbs. "Only babies pout."
But I am a baby," Milly said.

I should perhaps note that Ernest is a pig, Milly is a cat and Gabby is a mynah bird. They are talking about Grampa who has brought home a new, sickly pet and is being secretive about it.
Excellent book, especially if you like Babe or Charlotte's Web.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Holiday Movies: Revgal Friday5

Let's explore some Yuletide favorites.
1) It's a Wonderful Life--Is it? Do you remember seeing it for the first time?
OK I'm a little tired of it but yes, its a wonderful movie. I guess I saw it first as a kid...don't remember.

2) Miracle on 34th Street--old version or new?
Never actually seen either version all-the-way-through.
But I choose old I think...isn't the girl Natalie Wood or someone?

3) Do you have a favorite incarnation of Mr. Scrooge?
Same guy who was Patton...boy-oh-boy, today isn't a good memory day.

4) Why should it be a problem for an elf to be a dentist?
I've been watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
for years now, and I still don't get it.
Its hard for naturally happy elves to look "down in the mouth"

5) Who's the scariest character in Christmas specials/movies?
The Bumble
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, Muppet Version
That Mean Magician Who Tries to Melt Frosty
Your Nomination...
My nomination is Mr. Potter, and I think he wins hands down
because he's more "real-life scary" than the rest of them.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bah Humbug!

Storytime theme for tomorrow: Fire Engines
Next week? Who knows.
No Christmas, no Hanukkah and no both.
No Santa.
Snow is OK. But there's no snow here.
Toys would be fine...
I'm thinking cookies, maybe.
Do you think they'll pick up on it if I only read books with red or green covers? (as a child once told me "They're Jesus' favorite colors.")
I'm feeling mildly rebellious.

But thats work, not life.
In my life, we are preparing for the birth of God,
with cooking, cleaning, shopping...
and singing!
We are caroling tomorrow! We've invited the whole neighborhood and we will sing all those great Christmas and Advent songs that welcome God at this season. Halleluyah!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sick Day

After a visit from Grandma and Grandpa, two Christmas plays (one as a townsperson and one as an angel), Flash has succumbed to the local cold/fever bug going around. Hubby and I were fighting over who got to stay home with him :0)
I got today and he gets tomorrow!
OK a sick kid isn't usually fun, but today it was an afternoon of blankets and kid's shows, tea and soup and a very funny bath. And a really long nap!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas meme

1. Eggnog or Hot Chocolate?

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Santa has elves to do the wrapping so...

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Both! White on the porch, colored on the outside tree.
4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Hmmm...I would. Maybe I should.
5. When do you put your decorations up?
After Thanksgiving, before Christmas, every year.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
I'm trying to think of one...
OK, Sweet and Spicy Meatballs at the Christmas Party
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
We weren't allowed downstairs until Mom went downstairs and turned on the lights. We always make this Candy Cane Coffee Cake for Christmas morning too.

8. When or how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Girl Scouts...sigh.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Not when I was a kid. Hubby's family opens one and its always new Christmas pajamas.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
Lights, ornaments, star at the top.
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Love it. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! What I dislike is all that cold weather, with no snow-payoff.
12. Can you ice skate?
Haven't in years...Probably the ankles couldn't handle it today.
13.Have you ever fallen on the ice?
Yup, nice hip bruise.
14. Do you remember your favorite gift?
Um...not at the moment...but I remember watching my sister open a Pound Puppy. Joy!

15. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?

16. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Does hard sauce for Plum Pudding count? No? OK then Christmas cookies.
17. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Caroling, my In-laws Christmas party, the pickle ornament, the coffee cake...I know something else should come to mind.
18. What tops your tree?
A Star
19. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
Neither really. Giving means crazy shopping and receiving is usually more things I don't really want. I know, I'm a scrooge.
20. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole?
Fun, decorative, good for stirring cocoa.
22.What is your favorite Christmas movie?
Ummm...Best Christmas Pageant Ever? Love, Actually was fun. I'm tired of Its a Wonderful Life and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Can't think of anything else.
23. Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman or Charlie Brown?
Charlie Brown...

Um..the birth of Jesus and church didn't really enter into this, did it? Hmmm.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


While I wasn't paying attention
my site-meter counted
more than ONE THOUSAND blog hits!
I am quite thrilled!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

My mom

When Hubby decided we were coming to seminary, I asked if there was one near my family. We'd lived in GA for almost 8 years, 5 of them within an hour of his family.
And we're here...within an hour of my mom, my sisters and in another direction an hour from my mother's family and my grandfather (who lives in the convent, long story)

The first year we visited her almost weekly, then tapered off some because of my crazy work schedule. This year she's realized that we're graduating, and that there's a VERY good chance we'll be moving on to another locale. Probably not one that is so convenient for her.
So she's been coming weekly, and helps out with Flash on our really-busy-impossible-day. Last week she helped me clean out the apartment some (ok, ok a lot!) And although she doesn't "get" the pastor thing, she's been a larger part of our lives for 3 years.

And its been really, really nice.
Thanks Mom!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Where am i?

So I haven't written in my blog. I guess its the parade of holidays ahead.

Been working, cleaning house, readying for Christmas (tree but nothin' else) , went to a seminar on running a book discussion, teaching sunday school on reducing Christmas stress (and guess what, mine is raised...huh?) Hubby's family visits end of the week because he's preaching in the campus chapel...and they've never heard him preach. He's also preaching tomorrow at the hospital and Tuesday in class. So tensions are running high. Lots of football. Flash has become completely hooked on a line of videos called "Kidsongs" they were on in the 80's and are now on DVD. We've seen the sports one at least 25 times.
Hangin' of the Greens tonight with Soup and Sandwich Supper afterwards tonight...Flash showed the baby-doll Jesus around and brought him to dinner also. Apparently Baby-doll Jesus especially loves the Choir area..."its his stable." Flash also performs in two Christmas shows this week, once as a Townsperson and once as an Angel.

I'm trying to arrange a caroling party around the neighborhood, but the timing is not working out. Really want a Night-out, but babysitters are scarce this time of year and too much needs doing. Oh and Christmas cards ..and I'm blogging.

This is what it comes down to...blogging or life right now. SIGH.
Grouse, Grouse Grouse.
Thank you God, that I don't have anything "real" to complain about right now! Amen!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Black Friday5

The Revgals' meme is about Black Friday. This is the day after Thanksgiving when shopping establishments go from the "red" (unprofitable) to "black" (profitable). Stores offer crazy deals and open very early (most 6, some 3!!!). So this is a "Black Friday" Five in honor of the busiest shopping day of the year:

1. Have you ever stood in line for something--tickets, electronics, Tickle Me Elmo?
Never have for a product, but...I camped out for UNC vs. Duke tickets with thousands of other students while I was there! Not sure I'd do it for a doll or electronic thing-a-ma-hooey.

2. Do you enjoy shopping as a recreational activity?
Well, browsing really but sometimes and in the right store. Hallmark, for instance. Or Avenue.

3. Your favorite place to browse without necessarily buying anything.
Oops, answered above!

4. Gift cards: handy gifts for the loved one who has everything, or cold impersonal symbol of all that is wrong in our culture?
Totally overused, but useful in some situations.
I tend to get bookstore cards which is great for me. Since I'm a librarian, everyone knows I love books, but also that I read too much and I won't buy books un-prompted. Movie Theater gift cards are fantastic, cuz its like a date! An i-tunes gift card last Christmas filled up my little shuffle with songs I wouldn't have gotten if it was "my money" and probably kept me from copyright infringement! I rarely give them myself.

5. Discuss the spiritual and theological issues inherent in people coming to blows over a Playstation 3.
Ummm Cain and Abel? Jealousy? People budging in line? Insane shopping advertisements?
I don't know! I hope its just people who are overwrought by the the stress of the holidays, not actual character traits. Speaking of which, I'm teaching Unplug The Christmas Machine for the next 4 Sundays during Church School. More on that on Monday.

When we have Thanksgiving with Hubby's folks, his Mom, sister and I do the whole Black Friday thing. Nowadays though, they are busy at their own store up in Northern GA. Its a whole different side of Black Friday!

We had Thanksgiving with my mom this year (most years actually) and the next day we went and chopped down our Christmas tree with my stepsisters and their families (their tradition). So, I only bought a Christmas tree and some cocoa out at the farm. Flash had a ball (TRACTORS!) but he doesn't quite get the Christmas tree thing. We asked him what we'll do with the tree..."Take it home and play with it!"
Half right!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thankful Thursday

The Thanksgiving edition...
Family, Friends, Food, Faith, Freedom
Safety, Warmth, Acceptedness and Love

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thanksgiving Traditions

Do you ever hear about other people's traditions and wish they were yours?
Parade-watching, Food-making, football-watching, turkey&pie-eating, nap etc.
Usually at my Mom's, more recently at my Aunts cuz she's closer to my Grandfather in the nursing place.

This year its at my Mom's, less family but a bunch of friends.
Friends were told to bring something they usually have thats different.
Because we don't make anything unusual and I kinda wish we did.
My mom always starts Thanksgiving dinner with Fruit Cup, and Hubby thinks its odd.
And thats it. (shrug)

Do you do something different?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Delurking week

The Revgals have declared this week Delurking Week.
If you read, comment!
Just so we know you are out there.

Not Marian, its for you!

My friend and colleague, notmarian has joined the Brethren Volunteer Service! She leaves in January! Stop by and wish her luck!

Sabbath Keeping: part 1

This past week I went to a Sabbath Keeping seminar up at the seminary. The facilitator/speaker was Wayne Muller, who has written several books on the subject, and others. There were about 40 of us in a giant circle and he ran it as a discussion. He's a very thoughtful man...and in keeping with the topic, kinda went with the flow.

Two main things I came away with are
1. Its a COMMANDMENT and
2. Give God and the holy spirit a full 24 hours to do their magic, without you. "Who do you think you are?"

There were several folks who had been attending a week-long retreat/seminar with him as well as a Lilly Project on Sabbath Keeping and they spoke as a panel about their experience with Sabbath Keeping in their own lives as pastors. Its a struggle. There are lots of things I could talk about here, but let me share Mr. Muller's thoughts on Meetings, because its unusual and kinda funny and it shouldn't be.

He likes everyone to introduce themselves. If you are late, he understands, but you must introduce yourself and be filled in on whats happened until you got there. In most meetings, you slip in and try to get your neighbor to catch you up, but here the leader of the group welcomes you as a part of the group and tells you where you are. A very welcoming but somewhat uncomfortable experience. Do you know why you feel uncomfortable? Because for years you've been frowned at for being late and interrupting the on-going meeting, but in this discussion you are welcomed into the group.

If you have to leave, do not try to sneak out! He wants you to be properly thanked for your presence and for being a part of the group. I'm paraphrasing (of course), but in too many situaions people think they can slip in and slip out and never really be a part of the group. His actions are to honor that you are a member of the group, of the discussion and that the group will now be different because you are gone.

So thought-provoking.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Excellent post was eaten last night...
Will try to recreate later....must fume now.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Belly Dancing

I took a belly dancing class yesterday. Oh my, what fun!
The instructor was very firm that we westerners got the wrong idea about belly dancing way back in the early 1900's and that it is primarily a middle-eastern folk dance performed by women, for the most part without men present. She showed us several different belly dancing costumes which were not risque!
And then we danced!
I am not an exerciser. I'll admit that it shows :0)
I have little coordination for aerobics, little time or patience for machines
and no motivation at all.
But every now and then I crank up the radio and BOOGIE!
And this class felt just like that! Even with everyone else there.
If you ever get a chance to take a Belly Dancing class, go! Even if its only once!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Build-it Day

On the 1st Saturday of the month a certain orange hued big Build-it store has a FREE Kids workshop. It goes 9-12, drop-in, and you and your child can build a something (yesterday it was a picture frame) and if you're new you get an orange apron, just like the employees wear. We have found that our apron is good for all sorts of pretend play, especially in our play kitchen, but also art projects and playdough. We always have wonderful time at "Build-it Day" and again its free (I imagine they make up the $ in good will and other purchases) and they do it at every store.

Here's my discovery though...their rival, a blue hued store, has a similar thing on the second Tuesday of the month!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Parable of the Bookcase

My Bible Study is studying the Parables this year and its been wonderful.
This week's lesson was conducted by a really wonderful pastor-to-be woman.
She adapted a youth lesson for us and had us list 5-7 things that had happened to us this week.
And then write a parable about it.
This is mine.

As they walked Jesus said
"A man had many books and kept them
in a bookcase made of plyboard. When the books became too numerous
he resisted finding other places for them.
The bookcase, overburdened, collapsed.
You are like the bookcase, overburdened.
Find a way to distribute the weight of your obligations and also
...give away some books."
The disciples listened and were confused.

Happy Halloween

We had a wonderful Tigger costume. He wore it to the campus party.

Then yesterday he said he was going to be Superman. And he said it later that day too. So I started to scrape together a costume, just in case. This morning we discussed it and I, the Mom, was hopelessly wrong.

Thank goodness I thought ahead, I thought this might happen.

Tiggers' alter ego is Superman, when he isn't being a fireman or a farmer or a chef.
So for the school parade...Superman.
Tonight? Who knows!

ps...a GIRAFFE!
Alright, I didn't guess that one. Thanks Hubby!

Friday, October 27, 2006

2 Count them! 2 Friday 5's..Whaa Ha Ha

1) Favorite Halloween Candy
Mike n'Ikes? Twix? Heck, I love candy!

2) Least Favorite Halloween Candy
Bit o'Honey, Pixie Stix, benne candy, ick!

3) Best Costume Ever
My best costume ever? I was the cheshire cat in a school play once and I wore that costume for Halloween. It was a fushia sweatsuit (with a hood)with blue electrical tape wrapped around it for stripes. Nice and toasty for a Chilly Northeast Halloween. I was so much more comfortable that all the fairys and princesses. I don't remember ever being a princess for Halloween, come to that.
Now that I am a grown-up librarian, I dress as the Cat in the Hat.

4) Worst Costume Ever
A easy but it impedes my inate nature!

5) A Saint you treasure (please feel free to use the definition of "Saint" that is meaningful to you and to your faith tradition and life experience)

Well, I grew up Catholic and we take our saints very seriously, in fact there are 4 new saints this week! Now I am presbyterian and we are more informal about saints. It is summed up, I think in this wonderful song:

I sing a song of the saints of God, patient and brave and true,
who toiled and fought and lived and died for the Lord they loved and knew.
And one was a doctor, and one was a queen, and one was a shepherdess on the green;
they were all of them saints of God, and I mean, God helping, to be one too.

They loved their Lord so dear, so dear, and his love made them strong;
and they followed the right for Jesus' sake the whole of their good lives long.
And one was a soldier, and one was a priest, and one was slain by a fierce wild beast;
and there's not any reason, no, not the least, why I shouldn't be one too.

They lived not only in ages past,
There are hundreds of thousands still,
The world is bright with the joyous saints
Who love to do Jesus’ will.
You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea,
In church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea,
For the saints of God are just folk like me,
And I mean to be one too. Lesbia Scott (1898-1986)

There are a lot of saints in my life. I am greatful for all of them.


1. Do you enjoy a good fright?

2. Scariest movie you've ever seen
Aliens...but I run as soon as someone says "horror film"

3. Bobbing for apples: choose one and discuss:
a) Nothing scary about that! Good wholesome fun.
b) Are you *kidding* me?!? The germs, the germs!
OK, this made me laugh, because I never thought about germs! Aren't germs afraid of the ice cold water? Nope, its good wholesome fun. Hubby is very good at it. He says the trick is to pick an apple and plunge your head in and chase it to the bottom for leverage. And boy, does he get wet!

4. Real-life phobia
Blood, but I'm getting better.

5. Favorite "ghost story"
I remember reading one as a teen about a woman and her baby who wandered into a village and quickly died of some disease. The villagers buried her in the local cemetary. The next night a ghostly woman was reported to have appeared in the market buying milk and then walked into the cemetary and disappeared. After appearing for three nights, the town's people dug up the strangers grave and found the baby, still alive, next to its mother and three bottles of milk.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Chess and

Tonight was chess club a la library. It became "fashionable" several years ago to have a library chess club and so we started it. The former children's librarian was a whiz at chess and built the program to full classes and long waiting lists. For the most part children play each other, and some of them are very good. Some of them have very involved chess-coach-type-parents (parents were banned two years ago). Some of the matches became heated (one bad word and you are out for the day). And then that librarian left and it became my program.

I don't know how to play chess.
It is times like these that you come to love your volunteers.

I had a teenage girl that I was terrified I would "burn-out" and never see again. And now I have another high school boy, a sophomore. The boys love him, the girls love her and everyone loves chess. It is a beautiful thing.

I don't have the turn-out the former librarian did, and I'm not sure why. OK, I don't know chess well, but I'm learning and I have competant help. Its on the same day and in the same place. But, on the other hand, I've had no discipline problems, no waiting lists and no headaches. I really enjoy it, where I know she dreaded it each week. And the kids are having a ball!

One of the regulars is a middle-schooler and I'm grooming him to be a future chess volunteer. He's serious about the game but also patient and good with the younger children. What potential! I mentioned it today and I could tell how pleased he was.

Over the years I've told some people that they would make great librarians. Someone who loves the library, loves people, books and making information connections, has creativity and a good head on their shoulders. I tell them that they should think about it- get a college degree and get your Masters in Library Science. Its not a glamorous job, I suppose, but its my vocation, my calling and I think that I can see some of the things that would make someone really right for this field.

I heard a radio* story this morning where in Connecticut there is a group that is trying to get kids interested in manufacturing, craftsmanship, a trade. So many kids are steered towards college these days that there's a dearth of skilled young people poised to take over in the sort of jobs we take for granted. And not everyone needs to go to college anyway (shout out to my favorite college drop-out massage therapist! Love ya!) Kids don't grow up with parents that taught them these sorts of things at home, and they certainly don't learn them at school. So, skilled craftsmen, machinists, plumbers, mechanics, automakers and such are telling kids how they enjoy their jobs, how they can make a life in this way. They are taking these kids under their wings.

Do you do this? Not necessarily "growing your own" but, do you know someone who would be great at _______________? Shouldn't you tell them? They might just be pleased that you think so much of them, but it might just plant a seed in their mind too.

*(radio story, Glenn Beck interviews John Ratsenberger)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Praising Hands Signing Choir

On Sunday night our church hosted a concert by the Praising Hands Signing Choir of Levittown, PA. They were wonderful! If you ever have a chance to see them, or see another signing choir it is an amazing experience!

Here is their web page URL:


3 out of 4.
I thought we'd be celebrating. Ice cream at least!
I thought we'd be thrilled.
Disappointed, no celebrations.
Cranky, headache, football, computer time, bed.

But I finished my scarf!
Anyone ever knit a stole?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Is it too late to talk about Pluto?

Yesterday the whole Pluto downgrade actually sunk in.

I work at a library that hasn't done any "shelf maintenance" in the Space books since the 80's. Please face some facts with me. Books go out of date. Some of them rapidly. You can't give these books to other locations, poor counties, jails or anything like that because they are WRONG. Especially kids books. Kids read a non-fiction book and think what is in there is TRUE. And it should be. They shouldn't have to wonder whether the country they are reading about still exists, whether Mother Teresa is still in Calcutta, or whether Pluto is still a planet. Whatever they read should be true and up to date, in non-fiction.

Several weeks ago, Pluto became a non-planet. Fine. Doesn't really affect my life at all. Never been there, not planning on going. But all of my planet books are WRONG. And the scientific community apparently surprised the children's publishing industry. So there aren't any new books to buy that say this, yet. And think of the money that will be spent to correct this in textbooks, library books and such. Think of the waste.

Its not that I'm not for progress and science...I'm not for stupid waste.

I lived in Georgia during the state flag debate. OK, the old one was offensive to some people. I get that. OK, it was a relic that made a becoming-more-progressive state look bad. I get that too. But, do you know how much money it cost to change that flag? Not just the flags though, the Georgia flag was printed on most government stationary and business cards. And then there was the design teams, the lobbying, the referendum. Money that could have been used to improve peoples lives was wasted on the flag battle.

Its not that I'm not for progress ...I'm not for stupid waste.

I'd love to draw a comparison here about our consumer culture. Where computers last 2 or 3 years, where cell phones go out-of-date faster than yogurt, where soon we will be inundated with advertisments for new gaming systems that are only slightly "better" than last years gaming systems. I'd love to draw a comparison that shows that money is being spent on true ephemera. But I can't. I'm a hypocrite. I bought a new purse.

ps...and now theres probably a new element! argh!

Friday, October 13, 2006

The red floral armchair

Heading out to work one drizzly morning I saw the neighbor acoss the street carry a pink armchair to the curb. It was trash day. I asked if I could look at it.
I crossed the street and sat in it. The color was awful and it was damp, but it was very comfortable and the right size. Another neighbor helped me get it into my carport.

When my mother-in-law asked what I wanted for my birthday. She'd offered to re-cover another older chair and I asked if she'd do this one too. So we packed them into their truck and they went to north GA. We picked out some red floral fabric at this great little place on 441 and she got them re-covered.

My brother-in-law was dispatched to pick them up when they were done. He put them in the back of his open pick-up and proceeded up the mountain. My chair wasn't tied down and was surprisingly light. It isn't a wing chair, but it took flight! And crashed. The man who recovered it, fixed it. And they brought the red floral armchair to me in our little house, before Flash was born. It was the first thing set up in his room.

And when he was tiny, I fed and cuddled him there. And now that he's a little boy, we read and cuddle there. And sometimes before bedtime, I tell him the story of our chair.

Cookies and a poem

Here are some comfort things that spilled over into today...

Grandma's Oatmeal Lace Cookies
Preheat oven to 350
1 cup sugar,1 cup quick oats,1 egg,1 stick butter, melted,1 tsp vanilla,1/2 tsp salt,1/4 tsp baking powder. (I think there's a bit of flour missing here...but its only like a tablespoons worth.)
Mix together. Drop dime sized balls onto foil-covered cookie sheet (Try the non-stick foil).
Bake for 6 minutes, til tan around the edges.
Cool on the cookie sheet for 3 minutes. (It pays to use two sheets and rotate them).
Pick up and eat! Should be nice and crispy. Makes 36 or so.

And a poem...
Briefly It Enters, and Briefly Speaks by Jane Kenyon
I am the blossom pressed in a book,found again after two hundred years. . . .
I am the maker, the lover, and the keeper. . . .
When the young girl who starves sits down to a table she will sit beside me. . . .
I am food on the prisoner's plate. . . .
I am water rushing to the wellhead, filling the pitcher until it spills. . . .
I am the patient gardener of the dry and weedy garden. . . .
I am the stone step,the latch, and the working hinge. . . .
I am the heart contracted by joy. . .the longest hair, whitebefore the rest. . . .
I am there in the basket of fruit presented to the widow. . . .
I am the musk rose opening unattended, the fern on the boggy summit. . . .
I am the one whose love overcomes you, already with youwhen you think to call my name. . . .

From The Boat of Quiet Hours by Jane Kenyon, published by Graywolf Press. © 1986
Found on An excellent website!

Friday 5: the Comfort version

From Reverend Mother:
Whatever the reason, my thoughts have been turning to cozy creature comforts--those activities and spaces that just make a person feel good. And so...

1. Comfort beverage - It should be something warm given the chill in the air. I think I'll choose hot cider, or BlackCurrant Tea. Iced coffee or an egg cream sounds good right now but I'm craving some sugar!

2. Comfort chair - The wonderful red floral armchair in Flash's bedroom that deserves its own post...maybe tomorrow.

3. Comfort read -I read certain books again and again. The James Herriot books and American Pie: Slices of Life (and Pie) from America's Back Roads by Pascale Ledraoulec spring to mind.

4. Comfort television/DVD/music - I have my go-to movies for difficult days - Groundhog's Day, Top Hat, Ocean's 11. Grumpy Days for Flash seem to require Thomas the Tank Engine, even though he doesn't often want to see those anymore.

5. Comfort companion(s) - Dogs, already fed and walked and snoozing on the couch. A nice polar-fleece blanket. Some autumn sun. Some of my grandmother's Oatmeal Lace cookies, still warm.

I need a day like the one described above. Now, when can I schedule it?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Adult Bible Study Causes Depression in NJ

We've been doing the Wired Word in our Adult Sunday School and folks, its been a rough few weeks (as if you didn't know). We've talked about school shootings, suicide, death, poverty. I know that its the way of the world. I know that this study is opening our eyes and hearts with life in the world and in the word, but

Its been really depressing. Each week a offer a prayer that next week we'll be able to talk about something upbeat. I'm not optimistic right now. See, it will arrive in my email tomorrow, and I'm thinking it will talk about North Korea, or maybe that congressman (who makes me so angry we'll just leave it at that).

So I went searching for happy news today. Hoping that I could find something we could use in class. Paris and Nicole are friends again. No. Madonna may have adopted a Malawian boy. No.
91 year-old Australian man finishes law degree? Yes! And I found it at!

Now my problem is relating it to the Sunday school, Jesus and the bible. Any suggestions?

My Diversions

Not the family! I know you were thinking that! No this is just a rundown of whats keeping me running at the moment. No wonder my house is always a pit.

Freaks of the storm : from flying cows to stealing thunder, the world's strangest true weather stories / Randy Cerveny.
This book tackles the bizarre more than the tragic.
Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments in America / Chris Hedges
Church Book club selection and very interesting.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane / Kate DiCamillo
Children's book, highly recommended to me by several librarians that think it'll be on the Newbery shortlist. Strongly reminiscent of Hitty: Her First Hundred Years. I'm half-way through (on disc) and I'm still not sure I like it.

The Wedding Singer Soundtrack
Hey, I never said I had great taste, and most of this is singable and upbeat. And My ipod needs recharging.

Finally watched Kinky Boots. Its a british import I got on netflix. New company head trying to drag a "brown shoe" company into the black, by making footwear for drag queens. Darker than you would think, and more "real". Completely enjoyable and apparently based on a true story!

LOST. I hate this show. They never tell you anything, it gets more and more confusing, the characters aren't all that likeable and I still want to know whats going on. Sigh.
But tonight at 10 is my recent favorite. Its another british import - Hustle on AMC. Its a little like Oceans' 11 in that there's a very tricky con game going on and everyone is very cool.

Also I am knitting my yearly scarf. Its lime green.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Day at the farm...

Sunday afternoon, after church, after to the orchard to show Flash where apples come from! Along with several hundred people. So frustrating when so many minds think alike!

We went to the pumpkin patch end of the farm by accident. So, we'll see how pumpkins grow, right? On the hay wagon ride out...we blew a tire. Really! So we saw the animals, got a small pumpkin and left. Flash had a good time, I think. He loves his pumpkin and wants to get apples next time. Oh and he rode on a tractor and the wheel went pop!

Such a beautiful fall day, a family outing. God gives us what we need, fresh air and things to laugh about.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday 5: Voting

Seems a little early to do a meme about voting but, I'll go with it!
November 7th is coming, get ready! Get out your Tidesticks - the mudslinging has already begun!

1) How old were you when you voted for the first time?
21. Although I voted for Mondale in a school election.

2) What was the contest at the top of the ballot?
I was in North Carolina at college and I did an absentee ballot so I could vote in my district in good old PA. We elected a president that year too.

3) Can you walk to your polling place?
Yeah! And its so much better than the last place I voted, less people. Wait a minute, that's not a good thing is it?

4) Have you ever run for public office?
No. I have toyed with it but, I am a naive softie and would like to stay that way. Hubby's dad is running for city council in small town GA. So, we're involved a bit. Hubby wrote a press release for him just the other day.

5) Have you run for office in a club or school or on a board?
I ran for student rep to the school board while in High School, but it was a half-hearted attempt. There's funny story about it though. Apparently everyone thought my dad was one of the men on the school board because we had the same, rather obscure name. If we're related, its really far back but I probably got as far as I did in the race, based on that alone. Name recognition, its important!

Friday 5: Voting

Seems a little early to do a meme about voting but, I'll go with it!
November 7th is coming, get ready! Get out your Tidesticks - the mudslinging has already begun!

1) How old were you when you voted for the first time?
21. Although I voted for Mondale in a school election.

2) What was the contest at the top of the ballot?
I was in North Carolina at college and I did an absentee ballot so I could vote in my district in good old PA. We elected a president that year too.

3) Can you walk to your polling place?
Yeah! And its so much better than the last place I voted, less people. Wait a minute, that's not a good thing is it?

4) Have you ever run for public office?
No. I have toyed with it but, I am a naive softie and would like to stay that way. Hubby's dad is running for city council in small town GA. So, we're involved a bit. Hubby wrote a press release for him just the other day.

5) Have you run for office in a club or school or on a board?
I ran for student rep to the school board while in High School, but it was a half-hearted attempt. There's funny story about it though. Apparently everyone thought my dad was one of the men on the school board because we had the same, rather obscure name. If we're related, its really far back but I probably got as far as I did in the race, based on that alone. Name recognition, its important!

Flag Football

Its that time of year! Seminary league football! Our real first game is tomorrow. We will lose, but we'll have a ball! I should start by saying that we live up to our team name, the Tailgators. We invited everyone we know to play, regardless of knowledge of football or athletic ability. We have 37 players. We have over 20 women, several teenagers and a team babysitter. And we tailgate after our games. We're really good at that.

We're getting t-shirts. Everyone got to choose whatever they want on the back of their shirt. Hubby is our manager and coach and his shirt will say Head Chef. Flash's will say Junior Chef but we toyed with several others : Gatertot and Coach were my favorites.

I've never really had a fun nickname. No one called me Squirt, Tiger or Princess. Everyone called me by my name, which is a nickname, but not a fun one. So what do you choose for the back of your shirt, if you can choose anything?

I'm not entirely "sold" on my nickname but it'll do. I'm the Katerer.

Tomorrow my contribution is
Spicy Meatballs.
1 jar pineapple jam (or apricot)
1/2 bottle spicy chili sauce (I like Thai Garlic Chili sauce)
Heat these in a sauce pan until the jelly breaks down.
meatballs (30 small could buy them frozen...)
Put it all in a crockpot for about 5 hours on low.
Easy, delicious and even vegetarian...if you get vegetarian meatballs.

Enjoy the game!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Groupies: Friday 5

Here's the Revgal meme...
1. Tell us about any group(s) you currently belong to. (e.g. book club, knitting circle, walking buddies, etc.)
I have a little bible study group that meets once a week. I love this little group. We meet in our homes with tea and cake and study a book of the bible one chapter at a time usually. This year we're studying Jesus'parables.

2. Do you feel energized or drained by being in a group situation? If the answer is "it depends," on what does it depend?
I'm energized by group interaction, but my job is very social so sometimes too much activity burns me out. That being said, I'm an extrovert.

3. Is there a role you naturally find yourself playing in group situations? That is, do you naturally fall into the leader role, or the one who always makes sure the new person feels welcome, or the quiet one who sits back and lets others shine, or the host?
I tend to talk and clarify and lead if no one else does...this is not necessarily because I want to lead though.

4. Handshakes vs. hugs: discuss.
Handshakes are a little formal for me, but acceptable. Hugs can be a little too much, so I like one of those one armed hug things. It should have a name, shouldn't it?

5. Ice breakers: a playful way to build community in a lighthearted manner, or a complete and utter hell of forced fun and awkwardness? I think they're fun but contrived...I "get" their usefullness. We had to do one once in this group of County Supervisors,: librarians, Water and Sewers folks, police, County execs, mechanics; a real cross-section with the commonality that we supervised more than 5 people. We had to write down one surprising thing about us. But we didn't know each other! It was kind of funny I guess, but it ended up with us guessing based on stereotypes. We were ALL surprised by "I enjoy skydiving". It was a colleague in the library, but we all guessed the it was the policeman . I was president of my college juggling team, they thought that was the lanky fun guy from IT.

Great Bibliography for Religion and Sexuality

The American Library Association's LGBT Roundtable has put out an extensive bibliography of books, organizations and websites pertaining to homosexuality and religion. Take a look at it.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Pastor Appreciation Month

Its Pastor Appreciation Month!
Thank your pastor, or clergy member for all the things they do, seen and unseen.
And say a little prayer for them.

ps...Don't tell our pastor (Pastornita, says Flash), but we're having a luncheon after church. And I'm making Orly's Apple Cake. You have to share it with friends.

the Saturday workaday world

I work Saturdays. Not as many as I used to but, a few. Usually they are busy and packed with interesting questions and fun people and it makes working on a Saturday more than bearable (especially because Fridays are dead).

Not today.
And I had high hopes for today. Its raining and school just started. Harbingers of a frenzied mass of library users! So, there should be some people at this library! OK, there are a few - breezing in for a novel or movie (flagrantly ignoring my secret two-item minimum), playing computer games and somehow hacking around the volume mute (grrr) , and spinning our out-of-date globe! The meatiest question all day has been "Can you find me a book on Matisse?" Which was great, but here I am blogging, see?

I'm prepared for church school...Been reading for book club...
Where are you all? We're not open much longer, you 'd better hurry...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday 5: Owies and Boo-boos

1) Are you a baby about small injuries?

2) What's the silliest way you have ever hurt yourself?
I cut myself with a knife while unloading the dishwasher once ...still have the scar.

3) Who took care of your boo-boos when you were a child?
My mom and then, me. I don't remember having a lot of boo-boos but I remember being stung by a bee and she made a paste of baking soda and water. Very cool.

4) Are you a good nurse when others have boo-boos?
True boo-boos? Sure! Ice, TLC, snuggles - I can do that! Actual serious injuries? No... got a touch of see-blood-pass-out-itis. But I'm great at calling the EMT's.

5) What's the worst accidental injury you've suffered? Did it require a trip to the Emergency Room?
None. Everything, so far, has been superficial. Been to the hospital for birthing babies and once because I passed out in a work-required First Aid training seminar, because the video was too graphic. And they sent me to the an ambulance. Best part, is they sent me to that same training seminar each year. And I got to take a walk during the video for the next 4 years.

Now I am at the point of tending our son's boo-boos and so far, so good. Sometimes the boo-boos need the cold to be taken internally, you know...with a popsicle. Sometimes its the only way!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Oh, Hymns!

Oh did we sing this morning! There is something about a hymn, isn't there? Choir is nice, but everyone singing a hymn they know together is glorious! Chapel at a seminary is an extraordinary thing. I attended today, the first day of class of our final year. It was packed! Amen! And the singing just gave me chills...and I sang all day in my heart.

May I recommend a book, twice? My church book club is reading Simple Gifts: Great Hymns: One Man's Search for Grace by Bill Henderson. The man understands hymns! Brought up in the church, he left and came back...because of the hymns. He discusses the history of the hymn, the meanings in it, and why he loves it so, why it spoke to him and when. You may not agree with his gruff opposition to certain songs, but you may understand how God speaks to many through the ones Bill Henderson chooses. Here is a partial list:
Simple Gifts
He Lives
Amazing Grace
In the Garden
Be Thou My Vision
How Great Thou Art
Just As I Am
Make Me a Channel of your Peace
There is a Balm in Gilead
Old Rugged Cross
Abide With Me
Be Still My Soul
His Eye is on the Sparrow

How many of you are humming? Which one?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Laundry Day

Mt. Washmore. I just don't know how I got so far behind. So I spent Monday at the Laundromat and TWO rolls of quarters. My building has a washer and dryer but I'd have to monopolize them for a week to ever finish. But at the Laundromat, I can finish everything in one afternoon. I do this about once a season and I've gotten to be friends with the owner, Rick, although he's sold the place and only works there now. The new owner changed the name and makes him wear a t-shirt with the logo on it more ownership headaches!

I can get all of my laundry done at once. I can take over 6 washers if I want. And its somewhat relaxing (don't tell hubby). They have a sitting area, theres a nice little pizza shop next door. I always have a book or paperwork or something with me to do. Theres a vast cross-section of people to watch or talk to, and in desperation there is horrible daytime TV on in the back...I almost never have to succumb to it.

And it smells so nice in there...maybe its almost like aromatherapy, and productive too!

Plenty of excuses

None of them good.

Tried to meet fellow blogger at the retreat and failed. Huge group of folks and my attempt to "luck into" finding her didn't work. And I didn't want to comandeer the loudspeaker. If you are reading this...I was the one chasing the toddler. Oh and for some reason I can't leave comments at your blog.

I'm going to chapel on Wednesday and I'm wearing a straw hat.
That should cure my invisibility problem!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Our Trip to the Zoo

My folks were divorced so on Saturdays, as a kid, we went to the zoo with my Dad. Sometimes we did other things, but we knew the animals by name, so we went quite a bit.

This past weekend, my family went to that same zoo. It was a completely beautiful day and Flash had never been to a zoo before, but he knows a lot of animals anyhow. We saw everything, just about. We splurged on a membership so we can go whenever we want (and also to other zoos and such, including ZooAtlanta and maybe the new Aquarium).

Things to see at the zoo this weekend. Elephant bottoms since they wouldn't turn around, giant turtles, flamingos, pigeons, giraffes sticking out their tongues, my boy Flash fall off of my shoulders onto the concrete path due to some miscommunication about which way he was going. I'm only 5' 2", almost. Boy, did he land hard. He grew a huge goose egg on his cute little head. And everyone around us stood and stared to make sure he was OK. You gotta love parents.

He's fine. Cuddles, ice, snack and the petting zoo did their magic. Thank you God.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Making some sense of the Croc Hunter

Seems odd to do this, bear with me...
but I really liked to watch the Croc Hunter for a while. You'd flip on the TV and here is this incredibly chipper but clearly crazy man tackling a crocodile and telling you that it was beautiful (debateable) and dangerous (of course!).

So I have several thoughts going on here;
I guess I'm surprised that he made it as far as he did.
And I just don't think he was in it for the fame.
And he was completely devoted to the cause of wild animals and their conservation.
And lets face it...not a lot of people love crocodiles and their ilk.
And I feel terribly for his family.

I've thought about how watching him made me think of NASCAR, where you just know they're "gonna wreck". But that's so commercial and casual.

And I thought about the Roman gladiators and how maybe watching his show is sort of our culture's version of that vicarious blood-lust. But, that was coerced, vicious and somehow more brutal.

And its not remotely like missionaries either, putting themselves in danger because of their belief that they are doing the right thing for the world by caring for those that no one else does.

I guess when I come down to it,
I think I can understand the devotion, although perhaps not the object of it.
Rest in peace.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Things to say but....

no time. I hope to come back to this today. I have posts in my head about Presbyterian Women, Steve Irwin, Our trip to the Zoo, The new Book Club Book and about feeling totally overwhelmed...
I'll catch up when I get a chance. Thanks for checking on me.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Thankful wednesday

Thank you God for
All the usual wonderful stuff like family, health and safety...
Lunch with a friend who teared up when talking about waiting for God's "call"
and felt somewhat comfortable doing that in my prescence.
The Summer of Study ends tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.
A new baby in the neighborhood and the parade of meals that follows.
My dog, hopefully on the upswing from a condition that has made him miserable, and consequently destructive. I thank God that we finally thought to take him to the vet.
Generous people, some quiet time and
...the realization that its only Wednesday when I originally titled this post Thankful Thursday. I'm living into the future apparently.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Aren't women great?

My mom and sister came tonight to celebrate my birthday (last week) along with Hubby Flash and my nephew. We just went out to dinner and then to the playground...but the chatting was the best part. It was wonderful. My female boss let me off a couple hours early saying " your mom is in town...go home". Isn't that great? Do you think she could sense home much I needed it?
I've scheduled coffee with a neighbor and lunch with a former co-worker this week. Just to talk! Isn't it funny how we crave the company of women sometimes? How we just need sisters and girlfriends to share with? Not about the boys or makeup like during middle-school sleepovers so much, but about the things that make up our lives as grown-up women.
Last night was Church Book Club and it was just us ladies talking about the book. One of them read from a book called The Sister... for which I cannot find a reference. But there was a great line in it where God has created a sister for Eve and Eve asks what she is.

"What is she? Eve asks.
"She's a sister, she's a little like something I was going to make later on, called a friend" says God
"What's a friend?" asks Eve
"Its a little like a sister, but not quite as good" says God

Sisters and girlfriends are GOOD! This is a shoutout to my sister, my steps and in-laws, my lady friends who have moved on, those whom I've lost contact with, those I see all the time and and those that I am only coming to know. Aren't women great?!

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Three down one to go...just the take-home exegesis. So some of the tension has evaporated. He'll take a test-taking sabbath tomorrow and get busy on Monday. We find out test results in late October.

In other news, I've been asked to do adult Sunday school this year, and I'm pretty excited!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Friday 5: School daze

This is a very sad sign that summer is almost over. Lucky for me, summer is my busy season!

1. What is your earliest memory of school?
What came to mind was walking with my friend Ted to first grade, by the trolley tracks and carefully through the bully's neighborhood (which, incidentally, is where my sister now lives). The bully has his own plumbing business now. The school was torn down two years later and we took the bus to another school.

2. Who was a favorite teacher in your early education?
I loved almost all of my teachers. I loved Miss Lee though. Young and pretty and her sister was my middle school volleyball coach later. Also Mrs. Zachow whose pretend-example-person was always named Heliotrope. "If Heliotrope has five apples..."
I can't remember her name but my math teacher in 3rd grade had a sign up that said
"Good better Best
Never Let them Rest
Until Their Good is Better
and their Better is the Best!" Sound ominous but she was great! And by that time, my best friend's math skills had outstripped me, so I needed some encouragement. He's a math professor now.

3. What do you remember about school “back then” that is different from what you know about schools now?
I was aware that I wasn't popular but I had friends and we had fun. Is school really as "mean" as books, TV or movies suggest? Was I clueless in school? Probably.
No peanut butter rules. The no backpack thing doesn't ring with me, we carried our books
Block scheduling sounds "wack". We had 10 class periods a day (5/6 was lunch) so you could take all sorts of classes.
No recess? Come on! (ditto art, music and libraries)
But also it sounds like they teach a lot more stuff than when I was a kid. I'm not talking 3 R's specifically but computers, character, languages, and more science and history earlier than we learned it. Flash is learning a little Spanish and Hindi (his teacher is Indian-American) and he's 2. Wow.

4. Did you have to memorize in school? If so, share a poem or song you learned.
Yes we did memorize some, especially multipliation tables, the preamble, and a poem a year (most of which I do not remember). My hubby can recite the beginning of The Scarlet Letter. I have an Aesop fable in French that rattles through my brain sometimes.

5. Did you ever get in trouble at school? Were there any embarrassing moments you can share?
My bus-stop got in trouble for playing football over the road. Well, actually, the ball was caught by a guy's convertible and he reported us. And took our ball. Interesting that just saying that flared up a little "stinker" though in my brain. Got caught kissing in the stairwell but never for passing notes (go figure). But, mostly I was a good kid and friendly with everyone.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Books (for grown-ups) on my desk

Father Joe: The Man that Saved My Soul - Hedra
This one is for Church Book Club this weekend. I've finished it and really enjoyed it until I poked around too much (librarian's habit) and discovered Hedra's daughter's biography wherein she says he molested her. Sigh. I don't even want to tell the Book Club.

The Good Good Pig: The extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood - Montgomery
Getting good buzz around Book Club circles, NPR and such. A naturalist writes about her pet pig, who came to her as a sick piglet and eventually reached 750 lbs. and some noteriety in her samll New Hampshire town.

Coraline - Gaiman
This is for the Parent/Child Book Club in October. Gaiman wrote American Gods (very, very good) and he also co-wrote Good Omens (very, very funny). Coraline moves to a new apartment and one of the doors opens into an apartment just like hers, with better parents, toys and food. And they want her to stay.

Simple Gifts: Great Hymns: One Man's Search for Grace - Henderson
This is my second time reading this book and I am considering recommending it for Church Book Club. Bill Henderson knows his hymns and relates them and their origins to facets of his life. He made me want to visit his church in Maine. Maybe someday.

Will the Circle be Unbroken? Reflections on Death Rebirth and Hunger for Faith - Terkel
I had to read a Studs Terkel collection of interviews while still in high school and it was transforming. Forget fiction, this is the real thing.

Folklore and Folklife - Dorson
I am interested in culture and folklore and someone suggested this older tome as a place to start. It looks weighty.

Mama Dip's Kitchen - Council
Excellent southern soul Cookbook from the restaurant in Chapel Hill, NC (The Southern part of Heaven- even says so on the town's sign)! I assume the restaurant is still there because of this cookbook. Its shameful how much I like to read cookbooks. And on the back there's this strange quote-
" Don't miss Mama Dip. She spreads joy around like pumpkin seeds." -Jessica B. Harris author of The Africa Cookbook Love that quote!

Great books! What will I actually read? Corduroy by Freeman to my Flash. Twice.

Bits pieces, just bits.
Trying not to blog much during work hours, which is difficult because I started this blog when I was at a very strange library job where I was chained to a public library reference desk that was rarely used. Several blogs I read have recently posted about blog-enforcement so I'm resolving to do better. Someday I'll have my own. We joked this a.m. that I have to go back to get another degree in order to get a computer of my own.

Had my birthday. Big party. Every year God gives you is a gift.
Co-worker quit. New neighbors, moving party. Messy house. ORDS.

Sunday, August 20, 2006 on my mind

Why can't weekends be longer? I know that the five day workweek was the an improvement on the older system...but think of what an improvement a 4 day work-week would be!

Theres a time to every purpose under heaven. I just can't get it all done. And its not gonna be this week.

So blogging will take a backseat. Sorry.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday 5 - Oh those Brits!

OK, this is an odd one and I have to admit I was of two minds about even doing this one. But, here goes. These are actual phrases that one of the revgals heard while she was in the UK.
We are to use our imaginations to define them.

Adverse Camber- Orangy brownish color used only in newspaper circulars.
Butts Wynd - I think I'll skip this one. Use your imagination.
Plague Church - A place where you you can feel God's Pox (Pax)??
Free House-The house next to the plague church.
Mind the Gap - The space between the your lips and the words they just said, that you can't believe they said.

Alright, thats my take on it.

My Aunt Gwen came over from England one chilly Fall and my mother told her that if she got cold during the night there were extra comforters in the closet. Apparently she waited until we all went to bed to see what we meant, because comforters are pacifiers. She also caused a small ruckus when she wanted to smoke in Provincetown, MA.

Today is the last day of Summer Reading Program and Ordination exams are one week away.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Summer Reading Update

So I said I was going to read 6 books this summer that I didn't want to...
And I haven't. Boy, I really haven't.
I've read some books I wanted to, some books I had to for work, some books to Flash, and the book for church book club. So I'm extending my Summer Reading Plan to include Fall.

The Church Book club book is Father Joe : The Man Who Saved My Soul by Tony Hedra.

So far it is excellent and I'm only on page 133.

Thankful Thursday

For health and safety,
For Family, Friends and strangers,
New neighbors and the ones we miss,
New vocations, opportunities and the freedom to explore them
For your faithfulness and peace when we need it,
For your forgiveness and counsel when we need it,
Thank you God

Real good news

Today I have real good news. My friend's husband has been looking for just the right teaching job for over a year. And it has finally found him. Middle School PE. And the assistant softball coach too. Starting Monday. He's over the moon about it. God bless him.

Flash's happy life

In a discussion about our dogs...
Q. So, what are they? Are they people?
A. No, they don't talk as much.

We've also backfired (already) on our fledgling toilet-training attempt. Apparently if you pee in your big boy underpants, you get to wear another pair! Hooray!

And the boy across the street gets a chocolate chip when he uses his potty successfully, rather than a sticker. My sticker mania is crushed.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sticker Mania!

Isn't great how kids go wild for stickers! I give them out at the library all the time and the children just beam. They put them on their shirts and hands and cheeks. They show them to their friends. Our Flash gets them for special things like toilet training and extreme goodness.

But it seems like they are "coming back" I even saw the puffy kind when I was out this weekend. Are sticker books next? Collecting? Scratch and sniff? Shinys?

And while we are regressing... The movie of the book How to Eat Fried Worms comes out next weekend! I can't wait.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Family, Anger and Peace

Our pastor's sermon was about anger today. About letting it go, letting the Holy spirit take it away, not letting it turn into sin or giving the Devil room to play. And although I joked with my hubby about our arguement last night about housework (naturally), I was really thinking about my sister and my Dad.

They don't talk, they don't understand each other and most of the time they don't care. Its an old, old hurt that has been reinforced several times. Its not abuse. Its just....I don't know. Right now he wants to reconnect, see his grandson, and she is beyond it. I can't blame her.

I love him. Can't help it, he's my Dad and I do. I love her too. I kind of wish she'd forgive and forget and magically remain stupid enough to think that he won't bring it up again. I wish he'd change his tactics...and leave her alone...out of love. Weird, huh?

I've prayed for this situation to iron itself out but I'm realizing that its been a selfish prayer. I want then to stop talking to me about it. Several years ago I was in a similar situation and I had to ask someone I love that when I talked to her I wanted to talk only about my life and her life only...because it was too hard to talk about the other party (and that maybe if they wanted to talk about the other person, they should talk to that person, or to a counselor). Looks like I'm going to have to have that conversation again. Come on Holy Spirit!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Friday 5: Fruits of the Spirit

Its been a long hard week for me. Todays' Friday 5 from the revgals seemed very well chosen.
Love fruit, need spirit.

Galatians 5 describes the Fruit of the Spirit.
With all the sadness and despair out there, we certainly need it!
So, the Friday Five is simple.
Pick any five of the following attributes and go wherever the Spirit leads you... your choice! If you're feeling light-hearted--just assign a fruit to each one.

Love - Strawberries? They look a little like a heart (except for the seeds), are sweet and are often eaten in romance movies. I like them, but my hubby doesn't really care for fruit except for cantelope.

Joy - Watermelon! Such a large, happy fruit. We were at Grandma/Grandpas' earlier this year and a watermelon was resting on a chair in the dining room, waiting to be eaten after dinner. Flash, somehow, got it down onto the ground and tried to bite into it. But watermelons are tough.

Peace - Olives. This has been the toughest for me. I've been through all of the others and I'm still stuck on this one. So, olives. They are a fruit. Think of "extending the olive branch". They are also peaceful because I won't touch them. Yuck.

Patience - Coconut. I'm not sure that God intended us to eat these. In their original state, they are very hard to get open.

Kindness and Generosity - Pineapples. They are a symbol of hospitality in the South, but not really a part of the cooking. Isn't that odd? Pictures of them often appear on hotel stationery and such becauue pineapples convey this message somehow. I love them!

Faithfulness - Apples. They are pervasive, around at all times of the year ( here anyway). They are delicious whole, in pies, as applesauce. They have many sayings about them "apple of my eye", " an apple a day keeps the doctor away". They are referred to in the bible and in folklore. Do you remember twisting the stem of an apple while saying the alphabet? Whatever letter the stem twisted apart at, was the initial of your future love. I know so many of you are going to say self-control because of "the Fall" and, lest we forget, Snow White, but my reasons for apples stands true...He is everywhere and apples are everywhere.

Gentleness- Bananas. They are a baby's first food. (Try not to think of Gwen Stefani's Hollaback Girl song though, sigh.)

Self-control - Blueberries. I have NO self-control around blueberries. Do they ever get made into muffins or pies? No. Do they even accompany ice cream? No. Does my family know I usually buy two pints? No.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Minor League Magic

Just got home from a minor league baseball game! The seminary got a block of seats together. We go every year. This is the first year Flash noticed the game going on. He danced to the music, yelled Goooooaaaall when there was a home run (oops...World Cup fever...gotta love it!) and had a wondeful time. I know because he told his babydoll, Baby, all about it before he went to sleep. Even sang a little bit of "Take me out to the Ballgame".

Tickets for the whole family was under $15. Seats were great. Entertainment was great. Snacks were overpriced but not crazy. Why can't major league sports be like this? Yeah we would have had a great time. But we wouldn't be home yet because of the traffic. And it would have been a lot pricier. And we wouldn't have seen the game from our nosebleed seats.

In my husband's home town on Friday nights in the Fall everyone goes to the football games. Everyone. The whole town. It costs very little. And everyone has a great time...especially if the home team wins (Go Raiders!).
It is sport and community.

I feel so good tonight! I had a great night out after a horrible day at work and I feel like this game was a community event! I have a good opinion of the team, although I knew none of the players.

A lot of sports don't feel that way the point where I've pretty much given up on most pro sports with their overpaid actors and scandals. Yes, I said actors. But minor league, most college and high school games are still refreshing entertainment. I recommend it!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Vacation Planning

I have been trying to sit down and talk to Hubby about vacation for a few months now (I know, I know). First it was after school ends, then after GA and now its Ords. This summer is all about studying for ordination exams (coming up August 24-31). And last night I finally figured it out.
He doesn't want to go anywhere!
I'm somewhat relieved!
But disappointed too.
But relieved!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Book Tag

This could be dangerous for me but here goes...
Rambling About Books...
1. One book that changed your life: Man's Search for Meaning - Victor Frankel and Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People are high on my list. As for fiction...ummm...
2. One book that you’ve read more than once: Watership Down - Adams, Cat Among the Pigeons- Agatha Christie. I read a lot of books repeatedly, but these two stood out.
3. One book you’d want on a desert island: That yellow survival Guide book, whats it called? Oh and that book my sister has that could basically tell you how to set up civilisation if you needed to start from scratch (kind of a hippie title...out of print). But to read?
4. One book that made you laugh: anything by Dave Barry, Carl Hiaissen or Christopher Buckley.
5. One book that made you cry: Karen, Diary of a Young Girl but I try to avoid sad books.
6. One book that you wish had been written: hmmm. I'm always coming across topics that a kid wants to know about, but that we either don't have the book or its impossible to get. Can't think of one of those right now, of course.
7. One book that you wish had never been written: Ha! You're not gonna trap me with that one!
8. One book you’re currently reading: Girl Sleuth about the women who wrote Nancy Drew and The Owl and Moon Cafe. Just finished a book called Lucy's Laundrette. My Summer Reading plan isn't going well, can you tell?
9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: All of them! The Maltese Falcon - Hammett has been on my list for a few years.
Ask me tomorrow and I bet I'll have totally different i'm not sure this will be helpful to anyone.
Oh well.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Thankful Thursday

The little stinker said "Thank you God for watching TV" in his prayers...

So I am thankful for all the usual big things, health, love, safety
but also some little things...
* a great trashy romance book (Gotta love Red Dress Ink)
* homemade iced coffee
* clean laundry (OK a clean towel..)
* "the regulars" at the library
* new crayons (a donation!)
* The Indian-American boy who comes in every Wednesday and calls me "Auntie"
* 15 minutes of quiet all to myself (more would be wonderful...but I might fall asleep)

Let's get happy! -some kid jokes

The performer hired for yesterday's library program came a half hour late. GRRR.
I volunteered to "entertain the troops" while my co-worker phoned and waited.
So I asked if anyone had a joke they would like to share.
These are a few of the good ones (they are 3-5 graders).

What's brown and sticky?-------------A stick!
What did the digital clock say to the Grandfather clock?---------------Look! No hands!
What do you call a boomerang that doesn't come back -------------A stick!
Why don't bicycles ride themselves?----------------------They're two tired!
and my personal favorite
What do you get when you mix onions and beans?----------Teargas!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Vocations or What I've learned...

(I apologize for being so late...internet probs)

Someone once said that "If you want to make God laugh, show him your plan."
I've always been one to plan. I love lists and datebooks. I'd have made a much better farmer than a hunter/gatherer. And things rarely go the way we plan. And still we make them. Its part of our world, our culture, our nature...especially mine.

The past week has been one of unplanned reflection for me. Looking back over where I've been and how I got here, particularly in relation to God and religion. Reflection is good for me...I usually go go go. I've had the opportunity here to see connections I had misssed coincidence and happenstance have lead me on a path that grows closer to God.
But its not really coincidence is it?

God has put obstacles and angels in my way. Obstacles to trip over and angels to pick me up. These angels are just ordinary people, who have meant the world to me and they may not know it. I didn't realize what some of them were until recently. Some were teachers, nurses, roommates, aunts, friends and but many were relative strangers.

God is making a path for me...its not ordained ministry. But its ministry. Its librarianship, its mother, wife, pastor's wife, citizen and friend. And maybe I can be an angel for someone else.

My Religious History (Part 5)

I would love to be able to say that I was really supportive of Hubby's call. But I wasn't. Go off to seminary for three years? Move? What about jobs? What about our dogs? And most want to talk about this when I'm pregnant!?

Pregnant. Full of hope and worry. Now I knew what could go wrong. I couldn't hold two things in my head. Job and new baby. That was it. I couldn't handle anything else. So seminary had to go on my back burner. Hubby applied, not without my knowledge but without me paying much attention. He got Inquirer status and took his Psych tests. And I knew about all of this but didn't dwell on it much. It must be hard to understand that I know. We'd talk about the future and seminary in snippets, for as long as I could handle. Hubby was so gentle with me. Now I realize how difficult it all was, trying to balance his call with my delicate feelings.

We had weekly appointments with a high-risk OB. Weekly ultrasounds. Praying for the baby to make it to 31 weeks when it would have a better chance in the NICU. We found out he was a boy rather early (weekly ultrasounds) and named him, feeling like we could know him better that way. I was silently convinced we'd lose him too.

Flash arrived 3 weeks early (Yay!) in February. We had a blood type problem between us so he needed a little extra care. But we went home on the same day! And he was huge in our eyes even though he was only 6.5 lbs. And he ate and slept and grew and when he was three weeks old I told Bill that it was OK, we could go to seminary now.

We told our jobs. Decided between two schools. Packed (with TONS of help from my wonderful Mother-in-law) and put the house up for sale. And we moved here in time for July Greek. Husband, wife, child and two dogs at seminary.

I realize now what good care we were in. God led us along gently. Seminary has been so good for both of us. Hubby is learning what he needs to know to be a good pastor and I have been learning about God's good grace through our story and through others'. Through the wonderful people we've met, I've seen a whole different side of religion, christianity and holiness that I never saw before we joined our church in Georgia, before I met Hubby. I have bible study group of wonderful christian women from different traditions and they are bringing me along too. God is showing me through the wonderful people I have met and looking back..he's been with me through many of the people that helped me along the way. I wish I'd known sooner.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Friday 5: Feelin' Hot Hot Hot

1. What's the high temperature today where you are?
92 tomorrow and sticky. But probably no rain to make it really steamy.

2. Favorite way(s) to beat the heat.
Iced coffee, lemonade, air conditioning!
We didn't have air conditioning when I was a kid. On hot, no-air-moving nights we'd put damp washclothes on our feet.

3. "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." Evaluate this statement.
Its BOTH. Ick!

4. Discuss one or more of the following: sauna, hot tub, sweat lodge, warm-stone massage.
I really don't know anything about these things. Hot tubs sound like a winter thing to me.

5. Hottest you've ever been in your life.
I lived in south Georgia, below the "gnat line" for two years. Families without air conditioning lived at that library in the summer. I remember poor little children taking their naps in the picture book area.

Non-temperature related bonus: In your opinion... who's hot?
Hubby, naturally!
In the celebrity world...John Cusack is my favorite...since Say Anything.

An aside

These past few posts are mine alone and many things have been left out. Hubby's call story is his own and he has been invited to share it here when and if he wants to.
Today is our sad day.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My Religious History (Part4)

Did you know that there was a mini-Baby Boom in 2002? Many people, shaken by the events of September 11 th, presumably, re-evaluated their lives and decided to start a family. I guess we were a part of that.

Everyone tells you how hard and awful pregnancy is -how terrible you feel, how tired, you get puffy and your feet swell and then, of course there's labor! So I felt terrible. I didn't know I wasn't supposed to feel that terrible. Or when the whole puffiness thing was supposed to happen.

Week 26 - We went away to the beach for the 4th of July week with some friends who were also expecting (and our jet-setter friend too.) On July 4th I felt completely awful and had a terrible tightening pain across my chest. At Hubby's insistence I called my OB/GYN from the beach, just as we put the hamburgers on the grill. Dr. Pope said she'd really like me to go to the local hospital and get checked out. Tiny resort town hospital checked me out and talked to my doctor in Atlanta and decided that we should drive straight through to our hospital in Atlanta - no stopping. Wonderful Hubby drove through the night, I laid on my left side in the back of our station wagon. We arrived very early in the morning and I was admitted.

I have to say that all of this was very fuzzy, I was very sick. Its called HELLP syndrome and its a relative of pre-eclampsia. Basically high blood pressure was squeezing my liver and untreated means seizures, coma, death. The treatment is to deliver the baby.

The doctors looked through the ultrasound and asked if we knew what the gender was. We had wanted to know but this baby, whom we'd nicknamed Momotaro (the Peach Boy) was bashful and always had its legs closed. "Well, you've had so many bad surprises today, I let you have this good surprise later". As they prepped me for an Emergency C-section, Hubby and I decided on a name, prayed, kissed and cried.

When I returned from the c-section Lillian was in the level 3 NICU. I was on heavy anti-seizure medication and was unable to see her for several days. She was 1 lb. 9 oz. but holding her own.
And Hubby was my rock.

I got better, went home and pumped milk for her. We were lucky in that we only lived 7 miles away so we could go visit her. She lived in her Isolet for three weeks before her tiny body was wracked by an infection. The nurse baptised her and then our pastors came and baptised her again and anointed her with oil. She died. We got to hold her for the first time. And we went home without our baby. That was four years ago, tomorrow.

Its interesting how different people react to such a thing. Hubby was glad to have me and to have had some time with our daughter. We had learned a lot about her in those three weeks. She had eyelashes and fingernails, dark hair like me, was feisy and kicked her tiny feet. She could wear his wedding ring as a bangle bracelet. He threw himself into work and into church.

I was numb and sad and angry. Where do you direct your anger? Where do you place blame? Maybe at the doctors who maybe should have seen how badly my pregnancy was going (wonderful doctors, I don't blame them)? Perhaps I was at fault since my health was not optimal to have a baby (but women of all shapes and sizes get HELLP)? No, I directed my anger at God.

But you have to believe in Him to be angry with Him, don't you? We went to church each week (Hubby insisted) and I cried through the service. I went to a support group and to grief counseling. Someone suggested the Lamentation Psalms. I went back to work and found a substitute for my Lapsit Baby program. Fall passed, my friend had her healthy baby girl, Advent arrived. I never realized how powerful Advent is until that year. Advent is about the anticipation of a child, but not just a child. It is the anticipation of a great hope.

Hubby started to attend night classes that spring at the local seminary. I joined the PW and a pottery class at the Rec department. We were table parents at Church Night and did the kid's Lenten classes. Hubby started to talk about seminary, I started to talk about a new baby. And we prayed.

My Religious History (Part 3)

We left small town Georgia for Big Town Georgia. Well, alright, we moved to the Metro-Atlanta area. Hubby worked for the Feds and I worked for the local Library system that doesn't win big awards but it doesn't lose huge lawsuits either. Had a great little library that I managed in a great area. Love that town!

We'd lived in our apartment about 6 months and were doing just fine until Oscar night. I love to watch the big award shows...its part of the my horrible celebrity gossip habit. I watched the whole thing and it goes really late each year. Got up to go to bed about 2 hours later than usual and noticed it was hazy in the apartment. Hubby opened some windows and noticed that it was hazy outside too. He went outside and discovered the roof was on fire. He starts yelling for everyone to get out and luckily everyone did. Luckily a man in the neighborhood behind the apartment complex was out walking his dog and heard Hubby yelling "Call 911" and called the fire department immediately.

There were 4 apartments. The college students and their "visiting" dog were the only ones who had no insurance. The African-American couple had only moved in two days before and above us was a young Indian couple. Most of their apartment burned, except for their bedroom closet, which was where their papers and passports were. Our apartment didn't burn but was flooded with hundreds of gallons of smoky water. We weren't allowed back in for three days, because of structural concerns, and the mildew had set in and our post-college plyboard furniture had sucked up as much water as it could. Electronics were waterlogged and dangerous. So we lost things but we were safe, our neighbors were safe, even the pets. Thats what's important.

My co-workers turned out to help us. Our community turned out to help us. And we went looking for a church. A wonderful woman at the library invited us to church - Gently, so gently but more than once, until I mentioned it to Hubby. It was a Presbyterian church and it was close, friendly and "in the community ". So we went as anonymously as we could, the new children's librarian and her husband. We stayed for coffee. WE brought something to the potluck. Soon we had an appointment with the pastor to I wasn't sure I could join a church as conflicted as I was about God, Jesus, the Pope and sin. I wasn't sure I wanted to "join" at all. I mean can't you just go to church? Do you have to be a member? Hubby insisted on this point and the Pastor, wonderful man, answered every question. Even the strange ones. (Like, can I still like the Pope? What about Mary? Predesti-what?) And I felt reassurred and I decided to join too. Although the session meeting I had to attend to be accepted gave me pause I'll tell you. Scripture reading, hymn singing (a capella from the hymnal? Come on folks, I just joined!) bible study, and then a long business meeting? But, that seems to be the way Presbyterians do it. Decently and in the order of the very long agenda.

I was asked if would teach children's Sunday school. I asked if I had to and was told to pray about it. Hmmm. That seemed like an awfully strange suggestion to me. I declined, knowing that I was the last person they should ask. Yes I was good with kids, but that didn't mean I was a good representative of faith, right? So we went to church all that summer, until wonderful Pastor felt another call. Darn him. And the interim wasn't as comfortable and we weren't bonded enough with the rest of the congregation to "hang in there with them." So we worshipped at Bedside Baptist or Our Lady of Peaceful Slumber or what ever you've heard it called.

Until our tragedy.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

My Religious History (Part 2)

I met him in college. He was Presbyterian and although he didn't attend the University church often...he did attend. His family was very involved in church, his mother was an elder. Going to church with his family was very different. Not formal and all-eyes-on-you unwelcoming. Not un comfortably unchurchy. Not frighteningly quiet (How do those Quakers do it?).
Everyone was friendly and enjoyed catching up with each other. They welcomed me yes, but they welcomed each other too. I'll admit I giggled when I saw the tray of little cups of grape juice (grape juice and real bread!). They had a woman pastor! They prayed what was in their hearts aloud. I wasn't ready to give up my non-religion though.

If asked at that time, I may have said that I was spiritual, not religious. (Ugh) What I meant by that was thatI believed in God and I prayed. I believed fervently that there was some great plan of God's that made things make sense somehow from afar. My parents divorce was horrible and has had ripple effects through my life, but I was able to look at it in my teens with new eyes. My parents were as different as night and day. I have no doubt that they loved each other at one time. But my father is quiet, neat, hermit-like but with a wicked sense of humor. My mother is bubbly, social, always working on three projects at once and doesn't get his humor (I should know, I inherited it). Once I figured that out, I realized that God had a plan for me, because he had brought these two wonderful different people together to have me and my sister.

So I believed and I prayed. Our Father and Hail Mary were the ones I knew, so those were the ones I said. And I had some religious role models, those three nun-aunts. The most influential of them was Sister Eulalia (nee' Kitty). There are many stories about her and I wish to do them justice in their own posts but I will say that she visited each summer for several weeks and took care of our little single parent family. She brought me foreign coins from her travels and said her rosary while walking around the tree in the backyard (or the dining room table when it rained) and always wore her full habit. And she sent us advent calendars every year. And she was kind and powerful and mysterious and exotic. And she had a very special relationship with God. I think she would have loved Hubby.

Hubby and I got married while we were in grad school. We married in the big University Presbyterian Church right after Christmas and went to live in South Georgia while he finished school. If college had been a shock religiously then South Georgia was twice that. I was a minor celebrity as the local children's librarian so we were courted by several churches. Library patrons asked me to church and revivals and suppers and not realizing the culture I found this incredibly intrusive. In a small southern town, church is often your social network, your friends, your "church family". I didn't know anything about this and it made me distinctly uncomfortable. So we went to church when we visited his family and "avoided playing favorites" the rest of the time.

Not knowing it, we prayed separately. But possibly for the same things.

Monday, July 24, 2006

My Religious History (Part 1)

My mother and her family were Irish Catholic. We had three nuns and almost a priest (this is a point of pride in an Irish catholic family - to have a priest. Michael died while in seminary...but enough about that).

My father's family were mixed-religions. Grandma was Presbyterian, and Phil (Grandfather) was a strict Methodist's PK who disowned him when he divorced his first wife. So when my father was a boy they sent him to church. He was told to walk to the Presbyterian church 5 blocks away on Sunday mornings. Since they didn't go and wouldn't know, he walked to the Episcopalian Church around the corner instead. Such a rebel! Meanwhile my mother was in Catholic school in the next town.

They were married at St. Aloysius. I don't know if they attended church before I came along but, I was christened in that same church. They divorced when I was four. But its hard to be catholic and divorced. The priest was unsympathetic to a young mother with 2 children. Church was not just unwelcoming but in some ways hostile, I imagine. Mom sent me to CCD on Tuesday nights until I was 8. But not church.

We went at Christmas, Easter and when a catholic relative visited (especially the nuns). Even then we didn't go to our "regular" Catholic Church. We went to the local catholic university's chapel which was very impressive and holy looking. We went to the Unitarian Universalist's for a few weeks when I was in middle school. But it didn't feel like church. My sister went to the local Quaker Meeting's Youth Group in Middle and high school with a friend. That's the group she mostly identifies with now, although she doesn't attend.

I went to college in the south. For a northerner it can be a shock to arrive in the Bible Belt. Religion had always been a private matter, rarely discussed and never displayed. Sidewalk preachers, hallway prayer meetings and such felt very inauthentic to me. I found the Newman Center (for Catholic students) and attended when I felt I needed forgiving.

And then I met my hubby.