Monday, October 31, 2005

don't call the liturgical police

We celebrated All Saints' at the parish I'm supplying at on Sunday.

But the Holy Spirit was surely moving. Separate decisions were made, each without knowing about the other one. The youth decided to do a presentation on October 30th, reading some profiles of some of the church's founders. The powers-that-be decided to celebrate All Saints' on the 30th.

When I realized it was all going to come together like that, I got Spirit-ual goosebumps.

The teens read stories of the early members of the congregation, who lived through the excitement of building a church in a territorial capital and the disappointment of seeing the capital taken away to another town.

I spoke a bit about the unity of the church vertically in time and horizontally in space, and then we repeated the baptismal covenant. I pulled out the holy hardware and sprinkled everyone with water--and people were so excited, everyone wanted the water, so I had to backtrack if I accidentally missed someone.

We sang good hymns and ignored the little mishaps and celebrated Eucharist and it was very, very good.

Halloween Random Round-up

I didn't get to post a random round-up from the world of Blogging Episcopalians on Friday becasue I didn't have enough time at a computer in my travels, so belatedly, here we go. All blogs are recently-updated, found by wandering around the ring, hitting 'random.'

Anglican Scotist examines the documents that have come out of the Global South meeting in Egypt.

Mountain Muse Musings educates about obstetric fistulas.

Congratulate Episcopal Princess on her new job.

Letters from Edgewaterinvites us to listen to Vespers.

Baby Priestcopes with cannibal pumpkins.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

checking in

I'm at a friend's computer in St. Louis--I've been here since Wednesday, first staying with friends, and then attending session #2 of this year's Congregational Studies program offered by the Diocese of Missouri's School for Ministry. So I'm here, but I haven't really been able to do any thorough reading of blogs or checking of mail. I did get to see gorgeous leaves at Pere Marquette State Park, and finally see the new Lewis and Clark Museum in scenic Hartford, IL (just north of the oil refineries on Rte. 3).

Photos and a sermon to come when I get home.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

when two knitting Episcopalians are gathered together

My friend Barbara at >Effervescence invited me to come over and help her with a beginning knitting group she was hosting for other Moms in her fair town.

Despite the presence of many active children, knitting was taught and learned, good food was eaten, and well, we may have brought some new people over to the dark side. It all starts with a ball or two of Fun Fur and Simply Soft, and the next thing you know, you're Froogling to find skeins of Koigu and some special blend of wool, angora and bamboo. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

speaking of collars. . .

A few days ago, I posted a test poll buried a few inches down in the blog as to how often one might wear one's clergy collar. For responses--four "nevers," two "all day, including errands" and two "business only." (Last time I checked the poll results anyway.)

I am an all day out and about collar person, mostly, and so is my husband. I wasn't on today, however, so when we went out to dinner this evening, he was the only one in collar (evening meeting).

We order, food arrives, etc.

Server: (to husband) Are you a preacher or something?

Husband: Yes, and so is my wife (husband gets major brownie points always on that)

Server: Where are you a preacher?

Husband tells him where the church is.

Server: So you're Christian. (We nod). I'm Catholic. (He walks away).

When he returns, he asks my husband:

How long have you been doing this?

Husband: Five years.

Server: How did you decide to do that?

Oh, husband and I exchange glances. He doesn't know what he's asking. Doesn't he know about THE STORY? The pages on file in diocesan offices somewhere? The personal history, the spiritual autobiography, discernment committee reports, candidacy reviews. Surely he doesn't want THE STORY.

Husband: That's a long story. I thought about it in 1992, went to seminary in 1997.

Server: You just decided to do it.

Husband: Well, it's more than that. The community is involved, (here we both try to explain the ordination process in five words or less and are surprisingly unsuccessful).

Server: I just don't think I could do that. For one thing, I'm Catholic, you know, priests can't get married.

Husband: Well, you see, I'm an Episcopal priest. Like my wife (more brownie points). She's an Episcopal priest, too.

Server: Really? How long?

Me: Five years.

Server: Wow, I just don't think I could do that. (Walks away, shaking his head).

The thing is, though, if he's curious enough to ask, and his comment is "I couldn't do that," don't you think he's been thinking about it?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Rosa Parks

has died. May her soul rest in peace among all the others who fought the good fight with her in life.

Knitting Episcopalians

Cathy emailed me with a great idea today, to start a ring for knitting (blogging) Episcopalians. So without further ado, you can join us by clicking on the new link in my sidebar.

We have a blog set up as well at Knitting Episcopalians (cleverly subtitled "knitting the Via Media together," we'll put links on there as we get more organized, and especially point you to a knitting retreat at Kanuga this January.

If we get tremendously organized, we could have a photo gallery of completed objects, so that people without a blog could still send us stuff to post.

Maybe we can organize knit-ins at General Convention or other Episcopal gathering times/places.

busy weekend


The congregation I'm serving as supply during their interim has made cheese straws as an annual fundraiser for something like 40 years. I signed up for one of the straw-making sessions and turned up on Friday afternoon. Good thing I wore my good support shoes--it was hard work. The dough had already been made, but we had to press the dough through a star-shaped press. The more experienced people made beautiful straight lines, mine were a little more, ahem, creative. I had a great time, worked hard, and came home smelling like cheese straw dough. I used to work in a restaurant/bakery when I was a teenager, and that smell seemed eerily familiar.


Supplied at Guthrie, hung out for coffee and for lunch at the diner. Drove home. Went on date with husband to visit family in hospital (this is a running joke with us, about all the times we've had 'dates' in surgical waiting areas and other scenic locations). Then we headed over to the cathedral for the pre-convention Regional Meeting. Crucial business to be done here--electing our regional reps to the Search Committee and Election/Transition Committee for the new bishop we're electing in 2007. I was worried that, given the times we live in, there might be acrimony, but it was a fairly uneventful afternoon. I got a little socknitting in between the number of ballots it took to elect one individual from a list of 15 or so candidates. As our dean pointed out, just a preview of the episcopal election to come. The real problem was that the setup of the hall, while it ensured "clean" balloting, violated official Episcopalian personal space. It was a little tight in those chairs and awfully hot on what was otherwise a chilly day.

Thoughts: The Standing Committee is using a combination of electing and appointing to make up both committees. I'm glad there's a democratic component to the process, but in all cases the strongest candidates came from the larger congregations. The smaller congregations in the large metro area didn't have much of a chance. I'm sure this Standing Committee will round out the committees. I'm not displeased with the result, just an observation of what happened.

End of the day: dinner at local brewpub, stopped by husband's church, poked heads in on youth group, acquired pumpkins and chocolate caramel apples. Went home, draped a few plants with sheet to ward off frost, collapsed on couch.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

copy, paste, answer, add one of your own

via Dawg Days and Wide-Eyed and Laughing:

1. smoked a cigar - no
2. crashed a friend's car - no
3. stolen a car - no
4. been in love - yes
5. been dumped - yes
6. dumped someone - yes
7. taken shots of alcohol - no
8. been fired - yes
9. been in a fist fight - no
10. snuck out of a/your house - no
11. had feelings for someone who didn't have them back- yes
12. been arrested - no
13. made out with a stranger - yes
14. gone on a blind date - yes
15. lied to a friend - yes
16. had a crush on a teacher- yes
18. seen someone die - yes
19. been on a plane - yes
20. thrown up in a bar - no
22. miss someone right now - yes
23. laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by - yes
24. made a snow angel - yes
25. played dress up - yes
26. cheated while playing a game - no
27. been lonely - yes
28. fallen asleep at work/school - no
29. used a fake id - no
30. felt an earthquake - yes
31. touched a snake - yes
32. run a red light - yes
33. had detention - no
34. been in a car accident - yes
35. hated the way you look - yes
37. been lost - yes
38. been to the opposite side of the country - yes
39. felt like dying - no
40. cried yourself to sleep - yes
41. played cops and robbers - no
42. karaoke - no
43. done something you told yourself you wouldn't - yes
44. laughed till some kind of beverage came out of your nose- yes
45. caught a snowflake on your tongue - yes
46. kissed in the rain - yes
47. sang in the shower - yes
48. made love in a park - no
49. had a dream that you married someone - no
50. glued your hand to something - no
51. got your tongue stuck to a flag pole - no
52. worn the opposite sex's clothes - well, some clothes cross gender more easily
53. Been a cheerleader - yes (at seminary, no less!)
54. sat on a roof top - no
55. talked on the phone all night - no
56. ever too scared to watch scary movies alone - yes
57. played chicken fight - no
58. been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on - no
59. been told you're hot by a complete stranger - no
60. broken a bone - no
61. had a 3-some? - no !
62. dipped snuff? - no
63. lived overseas - no
64. Ever passed out/fainted? - no
65. blown bubbles in the wintertime - yes

another random round-up

A few more Blogging Episcopalians you may not have run into.

Matt Hill goes to the "Laramie Project."

Dancing on the Head of a Pin spends the day at the Bishop's house

Baby Priest thinks about death.

Poocherelli wonders about church music.

Felix Hominum ponders food.

And he's a blogging Episcopalian, if not a Blogging Episcopalian, but he (and others on the Gulf Coast) still need our support. Drop by this site.

but I've read a lot of other books by these same authors. . .

A list of Time's top 100 English language novels since Time was published in 1923. Bold the ones you've read.

The Adventures of Augie March - Saul Bellow
All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
American Pastoral - Philip Roth
An American Tragedy - Theodore Dreiser
Animal Farm - George Orwell
Appointment in Samarra - John O'Hara
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret - Judy Blume
The Assistant - Bernard Malamud
At Swim-Two-Birds - Flann O'Brien
Atonement - Ian McEwan
Beloved - Toni Morrison
The Berlin Stories - Christopher Isherwood
The Big Sleep - Raymond Chandler
The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood
Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy
Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
The Bridge of San Luis Rey - Thornton Wilder
Call It Sleep - Henry Roth
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
The Confessions of Nat Turner - William Styron
The Corrections - Jonathan Franzen
The Crying of Lot 49 - Thomas Pynchon
A Dance to the Music of Time - Anthony Powell
The Day of the Locust - Nathanael West
Death Comes for the Archbishop - Willa Cather
A Death in the Family - James Agee
The Death of the Heart - Elizabeth Bowen
Deliverance - James Dickey
Dog Soldiers - Robert Stone
Falconer - John Cheever
The French Lieutenant's Woman - John Fowles
The Golden Notebook - Doris Lessing
Go Tell it on the Mountain - James Baldwin
Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Gravity's Rainbow - Thomas Pynchon
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Handful of Dust - Evelyn Waugh
The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers
The Heart of the Matter - Graham Greene
Herzog - Saul Bellow
Housekeeping - Marilynne Robinson
A House for Mr. Biswas - V.S. Naipaul
I, Claudius - Robert Graves
Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace
Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison
Light in August - William Faulkner
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
Loving - Henry Green
Lucky Jim - Kingsley Amis
The Man Who Loved Children - Christina Stead
Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
Money - Martin Amis
The Moviegoer - Walker Percy
Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
Naked Lunch - William Burroughs
Native Son - Richard Wright
Neuromancer - William Gibson
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
1984 - George Orwell
On the Road - Jack Kerouac
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey
The Painted Bird - Jerzy Kosinski
Pale Fire - Vladimir Nabokov
A Passage to India - E.M. Forster
Play It As It Lays - Joan Didion
Portnoy's Complaint - Philip Roth
Possession - A.S. Byatt
The Power and the Glory - Graham Greene
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
Rabbit, Run - John Updike
Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow
The Recognitions - William Gaddis
Red Harvest - Dashiell Hammett
Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
The Sheltering Sky - Paul Bowles
Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
The Sot-Weed Factor - John Barth
The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner
The Sportswriter - Richard Ford
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold - John le Carre
The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway
Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf
Tropic of Cancer - Henry Miller
Ubik - Philip K. Dick
Under the Net - Iris Murdoch
Under the Volcano - Malcolm Lowry
Watchmen - Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
White Noise - Don DeLillo
White Teeth - Zadie Smith
Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys

So I've read 18.

This would make a nice reading list to take to the library when I'm standing there wondering what to read next.
via Dawg Days

now high school math would have been another story

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 9/10 correct!
Could You Pass 8th Grade Math?

Friday, October 21, 2005

Knitting Content

I finished my first felted purse! I took a class at Gourmet Yarn, and this was the result. The pattern is designed by the store's owner, and it's been to fun to see all the different variations people make on the theme.

I wear a lot of black, so a black purse was definitely useful. I'm not sure I'm going to be making anything else with black yarn for a long time. Margaret was very helpful in the difficult sections, picking up stitches and helping me get out of a dropped then added one more stitch situation.

Here's the purse before felting.

Here's the purse after. Yes, those are different scissors but they are basically the same size.

Statistics: MG's Felted Purse Pattern
Yarn: Cascade 220 (black) and Trendsetter Charming
Needles: Size 13s, including DPNs for the I-Cord
Modifications: I made shorter handles for a more elegant design that could go out in the evening.
Felting: One cycle through our washing machine!

Meanwhile, I'm working on my Branching Out Scarf from Knitty. I found belonging to a KnitAlong group was very helpful in working on Clapotis, so I've joined one at Branching Out and I finally have my first knitalong button for my sidebar.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

through the heart of the Chickasaw Nation

So last night a senior priest of the diocese and I decided to attend the Celebration of New Ministry at a parish 80 or so miles south of Oklahoma City.

We started off just fine, but hit a wall of traffic out of the city. We zigged and zagged and found ourselves with some clear space on the turnpike heading to Chickasha. (That would be Chick-a-shay.)

When we came to the second toll booth, we realized our mistake. We had missed the turnoff to the highway we needed. And turnpikes don't offer a lot of places to turn around. The next exit was 16 miles ahead. We didn't have that kind of time.

Sun was setting over the Arbuckle Mountains, so while we were stressed, we did Got out the map. Found ourselves a highway crossing from the turnpike back to the highway we needed. We were still going to be late, but it would save a few miles.

It was a gorgeous autumn evening, storms brewing, trees starting to change. I was resigned to the fact that we were going to be late, and that we would just creep in and sit in the back, unvested. My priest friend told me we were travelling through the heart of the Chickasaw Nation, and let me tell you, it is beautiful. There were grassy hills, and trees changing color, horses and cattle, farm ponds and little streams.

So we arrived in the middle of the sermon, and found a couple of seats in the back. But after the sermon, a hospitable usher came to retrieve us and invite us to "sit with the rest of the clergy." Which of course, you guessed it, was in the front row, sitting in front of all the vested clergy.

Thankfully there were some ecumenical clergy there who don't use vestments, so we didn't stick out as much as if we had been at an all-Episcopalian revue.

Everyone was very gracious, the reception was lovely, a new ministry was celebrated, God was worshipped, and we drove home accompanied by moon, lightning and rain, to be tucked safely in with husband and cats.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

oooo, a poll

Out of curiosity (and I wanted to see how this poll thing worked):

thanks for thoughts and prayers

Mom's out of the hospital. Medium medical problem remained medium and is currently solved.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

on learning to knit

Susie asked in a comment below how I learned to knit.

Someone taught me how to crochet as a child (my mom, maybe? I can't remember). I've crocheted on and off, going through phases. But I'd given everything away long before I went to seminary.

Spring of 2004, I found myself going through some tough times. I found that engaging in creative activity really helped. I started to feel the pull of the yarn, and found myself browsing in craft stores, buying hooks and patterns and crocheting.

I also realized, as a priest, I was going to be spending the rest of my life in church meetings. I knew some people who knit, and there was an interesting article in the St. Louis newspaper about the rebirth of knitting, conveniently listing the metro area yarn stores.

So it was that I found myself at Hearthstone Knits in South St. Louis County, with a lovely woman named Joan, some Susan Bates size 8 alumninum needles and some pale yellow acrylic yarn.

Being a crocheter, I already knew how to make a slip knot, so we could move right on to learning to make the knit stitch, casting on, and binding off. Joan loaned me some Brittany wooden needles, which I immediately bought, as they helped control the yarn.

Joan was a great teacher, and many of the others things I've learned have been self-taught. I used Melanie Falick's Kids Knitting , among other books, and have taken some more classes, first at Knitorious in St. Louis with the lovely Beth of Yarn Envy, and now here in Oklahoma City at Gourmet Yarn. There were a number of other clergy knitters in the St. Louis area, so I felt in good company.

Knitting has enriched my life through new relationships; learning from resources online got me into blogging; I've enjoyed understanding how I learn something new; I can't believe how tired I was after that first hour's lesson, with six whole rows of garter stitch on my needles, and how much I can accomplish now. And it was great to move to another city knowing that somewhere, out there, were more friendly knitters to learn from. I like planning gifts for people, and being able to make something usable and pretty.

Let's not think about how much money I might have spent on yarn and patterns.

It gives me something to do with my hands during church meetings, which both allows me to hear what is going on, and yet not always react when things are said that might otherwise raise my blood pressure. Oh, wait, THAT never happens in the church.

Knitting Content

A few recently finished objects:

Child's Rainbow Scarf from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts . Two skeins of Noro Kureyon, size 9 needles. These were not the original shades in the book; I was at a yarn shop that carried Kureyon and took a wild guess. I'm very pleased with this; it does need a relaxing bath and some light blocking. I learned something about color with this project: sometimes you need colors in a project that you don't actually like to heighten the power of the other colors. Sounds like a good metaphor for ministry as well. I would happily do this pattern again as I was always fascinated by the change in colors, and I wonder if other stitch patterns would work.

Mostly Knit-Round Hat from Sally Melville's The Knit Stitch . Cascade 220. The beginnings of a Christmas present. Not a good photo, but I'm not a good hat wearer and the cats object to the wearing of clothing, so I've posed it on top of a Triscuit box.

Monday, October 17, 2005

experiencing evil

Annie has a very thoughtful post on the presence of evil (and what is evil and what is not) over at her place.

Her essay reminded me of some experiences I have had over the years.

I read so many mystical novels as a child (LeGuin, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Susan Howatch), that the struggle between good and evil was very present to me, but in an intellectual sort of way. I understood that there was a struggle. I assumed that I was on the side of light and good, although I didn't understand what that meant.

After college, some friends and I took a trip around Europe, cheap hotel rooms and Eurailpasses. Near the end we stopped in Austria, my father's family's origin country. We took a day trip out of Vienna to visit the Nazi concentration camp of Mauthausen. It's not one of the big ones, like Auschwitz, but it was used as an extermination camp.

The outside part, now, is peaceful. Barracks houses, a quarry, which was the scene of forced labor--hard to imagine the atrocities taking place in this forest setting. But as one went deeper into the camp, one went deeper into the darkness. A museum, a film, in the basement of the main building. Separated from my friends, I started following the line painted on the floor that led from room to room. Eventually I was in a room with shower heads. No signage, but I knew. This was a gas chamber. And the next room--a crematorium.

I didn't stay very long in those rooms because I was overwhelmed by a feeling of oppression and darkness. Not a vision, but a heaviness, a pressing down. I was grateful to get outside and find my college roommate sitting on the steps, taking in the clean air.

Before we left, we stopped at a little chapel that had been set up in the camp, and recently blessed or consecrated by John Paul II. It had a totally different quality, almost sweet.

I do believe in objective evil. I just don't think it has horns and a tail. I think it looks smooth and banal. I think it becomes louder and darker as we work to get strong, healthy and honest in the light of Christ. But I wouldn't have noticed that chapel if I hadn't had the experience of the basement. It would have been just another historic building we wandered through on our trip.

I've got more thoughts but this post is long enough. Thanks, Annie, for the provocative reflection.

a meme-ing we will go

Thanks, RevGalBlogPals for coming up with a Monday meme. There's been much social butterflying but nothing that screams, "that'll blog!"

So here we go:

1. What is your favorite word?


2. What is your least favorite word?


3. What turns you on, creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

A good story (in any kind of medium--film, television, non-fiction, fiction)

4. What turns you off?

Work that is the same, day in and day out

5. What is your favorite curse word?
Well, the French version of it is "merde!"

6. What sound or noise do you love? water

7. What sound or noise do you hate? well, the sound the cat is making right now is pretty annoying, but at least funny. Snoring.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Writer/editor

9. What profession would you not like to do? Accountant.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? "Well done, good and faithful servant. And yes, there's chocolate in heaven."

Saturday, October 15, 2005

in which there is shopping

While shopping with some friends, I stopped at an estate sale this morning.

The house was sold, the estate sale agents marking things down to half-price. There were forty or so people wandering through the house. Just a normal, everyday ranch house in a middle class neighborhood in the middle of Oklahoma City.

Someone in the house must have been a seamstress, because there were piles of Vogue sewing patterns, bags of buttons and thread. A few clothes were hanging in the closets, dishes, one of those oldtime address books where you slide the lever down the side and it opens to the right letter.

And it was that address book that made me pause. It felt weird to be looking over this person's collection of household items; it was like looking, without invitation, into a person's private thoughts and ideas.

Separated from the context of the person's life, objects both lose meaning and gain it. Who could tell, among the dishes and the collectible items, what was important to this family, and what was that gift they were given that they never quite knew what do with? Did they use the little jello molds, or did someone buy them in hopes of trying out a new recipe?

I'm not sure how I feel about estate sales. It's better than putting it all in a landfill, but it does feel like pawing to walk through a house that so recently was a home, putting a value of worth on the leftover objects.

My friends found some items they like; I had spent enough at the Oklahoma City World Market earlier (fair trade, so less guilt). I thought about some buttons and a cute little rocking chair, but we barely have figured out where we're going to put the things we do own in our current compact living space.

Maybe I'm just more of a garage sale person.

Friday, October 14, 2005

random round-up of Blogging Episcopalians

Some places you might not have visited. I found them by hitting 'random' on the ring code:

Petal Stampede enjoys a beautiful day in Pixieville.

Things of Infinite Importance shares the work of Five Talents International

PseudoPolymath reviews the new Cameron Crowe movie, "Elizabethtown."

Ordinary Time considers CPE options.

Path to Priesthoodcontemplates the Theotokos.

cats making themselves useful

After a week of deep pondering of spirituality and the church out at St. Crispin's, this week has been immersed in the challenges of managing a household.

In addition to the earlier obstacles listed, I also managed to lose (and find) the mailbox key. So, Cathy, I'm with you on that lost music. (The key was under the car seat).

For the past couple of days, Hootie the cat has been hanging out in the kitchen, in front of the refrigerator. Usually he only does this when there is food preparation going on that he thinks is going to result in treats for him. Then, last night, Wilbur had joined him, and was in full stalk mode.

I figured it out, watching Wilbur. We had a mouse (hopefully just one). This was confirmed when the creature stuck his head out.

I've dissected the obligatory fetal pig, I've excavated skeletons, I have no problems going after bugs, but it turns out, live mousy creatures are a bit too much for me.

Well, we set about thoroughly cleaning the kitchen. Then we left the lights on in the kitchen and closed the door to our bedroom, to encourage the cats to continue their vigil.

Husband reported feline success when he got up for his 7 a.m. Eucharist this morning.

They're still hanging around the kitchen, but Wilbur doesn't seem to be in full prey mode. So I'm not sure if there's more, or if, as with wet food and supervised visits to the patio, kitty hope springs eternal.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

pass it on

Two of my favorite Blogging Episcopalians, Annie and *Christopher, have teamed up to create some nice buttons for sidebars and thoughtful posts about our responsibilities as Christians in the face of the natural disasters across the world. I've added one of the buttons to the sidebar and thank them for their creativity and thoughtfulness.

maybe I'll go clean out my refrigerator

Check this out.

in the garden

Donhas a post today about his garden as it makes the transition from summer to fall.

This was my first extended gardening summer. I've kept a few things alive in pots every now and then, most notably one fall at Seabury, trying to keep some poor green things alive between the frost on the window and the blaring steam of the radiator (clank, clank). This summer was the first time I ever had space and time to really try my hand at gardening.

Our "garden" is an enclosed concrete courtyard between the house and the garage. Everything had to go in pots. A few things I learned:

I overestimated my ability to care for plants through the summer. I started off very intent on watering daily and checking leaves. I have to admit, I had too many plants and not enough experience to care for all of them. The fact is, though, that most of what I planted did make it through the summer. Resolution for next summer: more drought tolerant, sun happy plants.

Don's post struck me because I did notice the change in the garden as the summer went along, from the heavy fertile greenery of the high summer, even in the dry climate, to the sense now of the garden enjoying its last burst, its turn inward as plants sense the change in the quality and angle of the sun.

What I most appreciated about gardening was how much I felt connected to the change in seasons, to the weather. I think our Christian life is about feeling more connected to the people and places around us, to not feel more or less than part of creation itself. A summer in the garden has helped me grow along that path, and for that I am thankful.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

my brain is mush

Cathy, you tagged me and I swear I have plenty of idiosyncracies, except apparently when I sit down at the computer to list them, I can't think of what they are.

I have put aside the pattern that was giving me fits, and completed a basic hat in a Cascade 220 blue. It's going in the Christmas pile.

I did the Wednesday Eucharist today at Trinity, Guthrie, and we discussed the feast day of Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky. I think I spelled that right. He's one of my favorites on our list of blesseds for various reasons, in no particular order. One, he apparently learned languages at the drop of a hat, and spent 20 years composing a translation of the Bible into one of the Chinese languages, using on the middle fingers of one of his hands to type with, following a stroke. Two, it's nice to know there are/were other Episcopalians out there with names even more unpronounceable and unspellable than mine. Three, I have fond memories of my seminary dean, now the Bishop of New York, preaching on him in chapel, and very deliberately pronouncing his name at the beginning of the homily.

The cats have spent the day watching birds and growling at neighbor cats who have dared to stroll by outside our apartment. Bedding is clean, rooms are slowly being decluttered.

So far so good with my mom. Thanks for all the good thoughts.

Not making this up

One of my favorite convenience store names here in OK has to be the chain of "Git 'n' Go" stores. But this morning, in a list of stores that are willing to sell the new scratch-off lottery tickets (which apparently Wal-mart and Target are not willing to do)--"Kum 'n' Go."

Oh, dear.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

kitty consensus

As Annie and Cathy have pointed out in the comments, cats do know how to find the most unhelpful spots to dispose of their unauthorized bodily functions.

Cats, thankfully, also know that when their primary staff people have had a bad day (and did I mention that I spilled coffee all over myself this afternoon?), it's their job to look peacefully oblivious.

Thanks for all the good thoughts and prayers.

And the cats are in a bad mood, too

One or both of the cats thought outside the box on our quilt (bedding soaking in washing machine).

House in disarray after being gone. How can apartment get dirty when no one home? (Start decluttering in small rooms, work to big ones).

Heat doesn't work, will have to deconstruct wire shelves with array of fiber patterns to reach the unit (grr. . .)

Having trouble posting photos to Blogger (try again later).

Keep messing up particular knitting pattern (grit teeth, tink).

And most seriously, mother in hospital with medium level problem several states away (asked on-call chaplain to visit her, notified family clergy).

(Must go deal with laundry).

Monday, October 10, 2005

overwhelming global tragedies

in South Asia and Central America. Episcopal Relief and Development is responding to both of them. As much aid as will pour in there, it will be too late for some. I cannot comprehend the numbers of dead and displaced. May God have mercy on those in harm's way, and on those souls who have already lost their lives.

Knitting Content

Yes, I have been knitting. This is in fact the one and only Clapotis pattern from a back issue of
Knitty, the (in)famous pattern that has even had poetry written about it. I enjoyed knitting it, even though the middle section went on forever. I used Cascade 220 in one of their Quatro colors, and I am very proud of this. It's a simple pattern, but I felt like I had produced something very sophisticated when I was done.

Hootie is not very sophisticated. He likes sleeping, eating, allowing himself to be petted, and rolling around on the warm concrete on our patio. And sprawling across the staff's knitting patterns and morning papers. He took advantage of my Clapotis photography moment to stage this pose.

recovering from last week

I'm beginning to think my car could just drive on autopilot to our diocesan camp and conference center, St. Crispin's, located between Seminole and Wewoka on St. Hwy. 9. I was out there for most of last week, first participating in our annual clergy conference, and then staying out for the annual women's fall retreat.

The clergy conference was a real pleasure. Oklahoma is twice as big as either of the past two dioceses I have served, so at first I was overwhelmed by all the new faces and names. Unlike some other experiences I have had in the past (and which shall go unnamed), the focus of the conference stayed squarely on the ministries of the diocese, and featured the remarkable Linda Grenz of Leader Resources as our keynote speaker, who offered actual CONCRETE and WORKABLE ideas for building up a congregation's formation and educational life. There was acknowledgment of the issues we face as an Episcopal Church, and as a postmodern Church, but very little hand-wringing or end-of-the-worlding. When we heard a presentation about the work our diocese does with children of prison inmates, I couldn't have been prouder to be a part of the Diocese of Oklahoma.

Of course the most important part of a clergy conference is the fellowship and collegiality. Who knew dominoes could be so competitive?

Thursday the clergy left and the Women of Vision presenters arrived. Women of Vision is a program produced by the national Episcopal Church Women. ECW gets a lot of flack, and some of it is deserved, because ECWs at the parish level have been known to wield a lot of power, and not always exercise it in a healthy manner. But my involvement with ECW diocesan boards, and my read on ECW at the national level, is that there are a number of very interesting things happening and that the national leadership of ECW gets the changes taking place in the church.

There were ten of us gathered for this particular retreat, and 3 presenters. For me, one of the gifts was to learn from the presenters, who are women who have been in the church even longer than me, who have seen Presiding Bishops and controversies come and go. There is much, much to learn from them about exercising leadership with grace, insight and dignity.

My fellow retreatants were also a revelation, and we were sad to take leave of each other on Saturday. Annie of Musing Mysteries (over there in the blog sidebar) took part as well. She is as lovely in person as she is in her blog.

I'm trying to take a Sabbath day today to recover; it's chilly and rainy and really best meant for curling up with knitting and reading.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

not a surprise

via reverend mommy:

You are St Brigid's Cross: St. Brigid is an Irish
saint who hand-wove a cross,out of rushes she
found by the river. She made the cross while
explaining the passion of our Lord to a pagan

What Kind of Cross are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, October 08, 2005

it's beginning to look a lot like stewardship

I've been away for a few days, first at a clergy conference, then at a women's retreat. I'll have more to say about that when I've had a good night's sleep. SSo here's a post in the meantime:

Husband and I were having a conversation about stewardship this evening over dinner. (Look, I promise we talked about other things, too. And went to a local Japanese steakhouse for flaming food and flying knives. . .)But as we head into the cold months, it is that time of year when we clergy find ourselves talking about stewardship.

So let me share a story. It happened a few years ago in a galaxy far, far away, so I can now share it.

After General Convention in 2003, like many Episcopal churches, we suffered the loss of some pledges. In our congregation, most of them were minor, but there was one man who had been a faithful giver who told me that he would no longer be giving his pledge to the congregation (to punish "them" at the "national church," of course).

A week or so later, a young member of our congregation who had been in jail on charges of murdering his mother committed suicide before accepting a reduced sentence. At this point, due to the absence of the senior priest, I was the sole priest in the congregation, ministered to the family, arranged for the service, prepared the liturgy, wrote the homily.

After the service the man came up to me and complimented me on the beauty of the service.

And I felt white-hot anger. He walked away before I could compose myself to say anything, but in that moment I felt robbed. Because I know it cost me money to go to seminary to learn how to do all those things, and it cost me time and effort to spend time with the family, and wrestle with the homily and put it into words. I felt angry as if someone had broken into my home and stolen from me.

There are people who don't yet get it about stewardship. I understand--I was one of them for a long time. There are people who can't afford to give much. I understand that. But to deliberately withhold money from your own congregation while reaping concrete benefits from that congregation--it's an ugly thing.

Monday, October 03, 2005

in which Oklahoma City has a regatta

Did you know Oklahoma City has a regatta?

Husband and I spent a pleasant afternoon on the bank of the Oklahoma River, just south of downtown, watching the races. Note to self: the title song from the musical "Oklahoma" apparently must be played at local sporting events. In any event, the wind was certainly sweeping down the plain.

We had trouble finding the way to the regatta itself, so we took a preliminary detour to the Land Run Memorial south of Bricktown. I really like how some of the statues interact with the canal (click to enlarge).

You know you've spent too much time in the institutional church when the announcer kept stating the crews coming under the Byers Bridge, and we kept thinking he was talking about the Myers Briggs (personality test required for all ordinands). We really, really need to get out more. (No affiliation with SMU, by the way).

We had a nice conversation with someone who had participated in the corporate sponsors' races earlier in the day, and was a newbie rower. The first thing you have to learn is how to get into the boat. And, each one of those rowing shells (is that the right word?) costs $25,000. However, I had trouble getting a good shot of the boats so you'll have to settle for this nice shot of the aforementioned Byers Bridge and the lanes approaching the finish.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

On Liturgical Biorhythms

Did you ever notice that there are some services that, for no reason, take on a life of their own with our mistakes? While others, for some reason, seem to fly and soar on energy and passion? And that we have absolutely no control over which one is which?

This morning I supplied at a church out of town. A nice drive, first in darkness, then in sunrise. Other than the brief scare I received from Weekend Edition reporting last night's bomb near the OU Stadium in Norman (killed one, apparent suicide--but I had heard nothing about it until then, relatively uneventful.)

Then the first reader read the second reading--Philippians instead of Isaiah. So the second reader read the first reading, relieved that there were no long Hebrew words in the Isaiah passage. Then I felt uncomfortable during my first rendition of my sermon (no text, extemporaneous). Then I forgot the birthday blessings at the announcements. Then I gave the wrong sentence at the offertory (I did "all things come of thee" instead of "walk in love" or some such). Then Rite I was going fine until I forgot that there are a few things between 'Alleluia, Christ our Passover" etc. and "The Gifts of God" in Rite I.

None of this was earth-shattering, of course, other than the fact that I do pride myself (a spiritually revealing word there) on being a professional around the altar, supply or no.

But then the second service went fine. And the sermon went very, very well. Some of it is the difference in energy between early morning and late morning. Some of it was I felt more comfortable in the space. Some of it is that I am more familiar with Rite II. There are all sorts of technical explanations for why some services go well and others don't (and I've certainly been at technically 'perfect' services that felt lifeless, and others with bobbles left and right that were full of the Spirit).

But a lovely day was had, topped off by a party at the home of effervescence. It's always fun explaining to other people how you know a fellow blogger--er, we met online?