Tuesday, March 28, 2006

No, I Haven't Fallen Off the Face of the Earth

I am still waiting for communication from the Bishop's office on postulancy. I emailed the coordinator last night , who told me (contrary to what I had been told by others) that I would get a letter with a date and time for an interview with the Bishop, and if he concurred with the COM recommendation, he would grant me postulancy then, followed up by a letter.

So here's how my tortured mind now works:

Scenario A: The COM recommended in favor, but talked of my somewhat checkered past, and he wants to meet with me personally to see if I'm scary or not;

Scenario B: although the COM recommended in favor, he's decided that ordained ministry is not for me, so he wants to meet me in person and explain;

Scenario C: Since he's due to retire soon, he just wants the pleasure of meeting with the candidates (after all, that's what the handbook said he would do).

Of course, the reality is probably much simpler - reminding myself of Occam's Razor at this point - but conspiracy theories and paranoia are so much more fun.

In the meantime, we are busily preparing to put the house ont he market. I've completed all the fun projects, involving tools and paint and such, so I'm left with the hard work of decluttering and storing the remaining things neatly. This is not my natural state of being.

I did have a conversation with my boss and his boss about my life-change. They were very pleased and supportive, and want me to make a proposal for providing a little part-time consulting assistance to get the bank properly transitioned into life without Mibi fixing all their little problems. Sounds good to me.

Now if the Bishop says no, the apple cart is upset again, but like Scarlett, I'll worry about that tomorrow...

Saturday, March 18, 2006


I got the call this morning that I had been hoping for. The Commission on Ministry was satisfied with my interviews yesterday, and has recommended to the Bishop that I be named a postulant.

It will not be official until I get the Bishop's letter, but he generally accepts the Commission's recommendation, so it looks like I'll be going to Big Old Seminary in August.

I am so very grateful to the Lord, to my husband and children, to my parish family, to our extended family, and to all of you, who have been so encouraging and kind to me.

P.S. Sophia, I took your advice, and reminded myself to breathe periodically while in the interviews. Best advice I could have gotten!

Friday, March 17, 2006


The Commission on Ministry interviews this morning went well. I thought I did an adequate job, but after we were done one of the Commission members told PH that he thought it was the best interview he had ever participated in, and that he thought it felt rather like a coronation at the end of a long process.

Un peut trop.

I found the experience very intense, and although they didn't ask snarky questions, they asked some challenging ones. After it was over, and PH and I went to the car, I cried for a bit, relieving some of the stress of the experience, I think. PH took me out for a nice little French bistro lunch.

I hope his words are prescient. I expect to get a call tomorrow or Sunday letting me know what they will recommend to the Bishop. If I get the thumbs up from them, it's pretty certain the Bishop will OK me as well.

Thanks, Lord. The Lorica of Saint Patrick did well by me this morning, I think.

Now I really DO need to declutter the house!

St. Patrick's Breastplate (The Lorica)

I arise today
Through a mighty strength,
the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of
Christ's birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of
His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of
His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of
His descent for the judgement of Doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of
the love of the Cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of the resurrection
to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In prediction of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendour of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak to me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me,
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From every one who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in a multitude.

I summon today all these powers
between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless
power that may oppose my body
and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.

Christ to shield me today
Against poisoning, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So there come to me abundance of reward.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye of every one who sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength,
the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.
-Transl. Kuno Meyer

Happy Saint Patrick's Day. Ceid Mille Failte! My favorite part of the Lorica, one of my favorite prayers, is "spells of women and smiths and wizards." Who knew smiths could cast spells?

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Tomorrow morning, while I'm up at Big Old Seminary getting grilled by the Commission on Ministry, StrongOpinions will be on a plane to go visit Semi-useless Boyfriend out in WI. he's improving, though still a bit immature.

I'm transitioning back to graduate school. She's transitioning into adulthood, and college.

It's exciting and frightening and we each have fears about the other's transition.

She does seem excited about going off to college. I am also excited about going to seminary.

Thirty-six years difference in age isn't really so much after all.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

It May Not Be Cherry Blossom Time Yet

but it's springtime in our garden. In the top picture, you can see the fish swimming arounf a bit, the azaleas greening up, and some daffodils in the sunlight.

Here are the fish in all their glory, and to the right, banks of daffodils and the waterfall.

What a Week!

Sunday was doing the Adult Sunday School program on the Mission trip, plus serving as Lay Eucharistic Minister for the 11 am service, plus running back to sing the anthem with the choir. Sunday afternoon was finishing painting the downstairs bathroom and removing the wallpaper and painting the upstairs bathroom (they're both pretty small). Sunday evening was cooking dinner, then going to lead our Emmaus/First Acts spiritual formation group.

Monday was work, interspersed with restoring the assorted stuff that needed to be hung, put back, washed up, organized in the two bathrooms. Also some organizing and tossing of stuff in my office, plus a white paper to be written for my boss. Monday night was Koine Greek class.

Tuesday was not one, but two doctor appointments, one of which was the annual ob-gyn funfest ("Yes, you still have a belly full of fibroids, but there have been no changes, so we won't do anything about them. Yet."). A quick run to the hardware store for picture hangers and to return the bottle of wallpaper stripper that I didn't need after all. A stop at the library (one of my favorite places in the world). Another white paper for the boss. Sending $$$ off to StoneMason to help get his car properly registered in NorthCountry state. Writing a check for StrongOpinions' housing at Buddhist University. Cooking dinner for Tuesday night (Dijon pork tenderloin) plus a beef stew in the crock pot for later this week. In the evening, running the quarterly meeting of our church's endowment fund. I'm searching for my replacement as chair - once I get to seminary, I won't have time for this. Oh, and I also put out massive quantities of garbage - see, I really AM decluttering!

Today (once I get done with paperwork here in my home office) I'll go downtown to meet PH. The company is letting us take whatever furniture we want out of my old office, since it's already fully amortized and it just costs them money to move it elsewhere. PH's nonprofit agency will be the prime beneficiary, but I will also get a grown-up desk for my home office and a couple of bookshelves. Yowza! Then in the late afternoon I'll get my hair cut and the roots done (gotta look nice for the interviews on Friday). Tonight is choir practice.

Tomorrow is wide open, so I'm hoping to fit in a mental health pedicure at lunchtime.I have to run interference on some deals the bank is working on that have had hiccups, so that should fill much of the day. Thank goodness there's nothing in the evening. I may just fill the tub with hot water and stay in it for several hours, periodically refilling it with more hot water. Candles, scented bubble bath, and some Ian McEwen to read.

Friday morning is usually our women's Bible study at 7:30 am. I'm wondering if going to that before my interviews, which start at 9:50) might be soothing, or just more stressful from a scheduling standpoint. The good news is that one of my dear friends is having a little dinner get-together for us Friday night. What would I do without my friends?

Heaven only knows what Saturday will bring, but I know I'll be at icon-writing at noon.

Then all I'll have to do is sit around and wait for the phone call telling me whether the COM gave me the thumbs up or not.

Ah well, if the worst happens, at least I've got a freshly painted and decluttered house!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Thank you, Lord

We had our bimonthly Emmaus Bible Study/Spiritual formation group meeting last night. It's such a wonderful source of growth and support for me, and leading it has given me many lessons.

There was special good news last night. You may recall my asking for prayers for my friend N, who has been in a terrible depression, and had been hospitalized following a suicide attempt. N, with spouse, was with us last night, a first foray amongst people beyond the immediate family. I had taken N to lunch last week, hoping this would encourage further interactions once again.

Thank you, Lord, for the start of the long healing process for N. Thank you for reminding us that You are the Great Healer. Thank you for a loving community to welcome N back "into the world."

Saturday, March 11, 2006

For all that was, Thanks. For all that will be,Yes.

Spring is here. We're experiencing some extraordinarily warm weather - feels like about 75 degrees outside right now - and the garden is responding. My little "tete-a-tete" daffodils are blooming, the Virginia bluebells are swaying in the breeze, and the fish in the pond are swimming around merrily. StrongOpinions notes that they have spawned again. I think we're back up to at least 25 fish ranging in size from 1/2 inch to 7 inches. I took an hour-long walk early this morning up and down the undulating hills in our neighborhood. 'Twas delight.

I got word today that I actually am scheduled for my Commission on Ministry interviews this coming Friday - you'll recall there was something of a snafu when one of the parties in the process didn't get her paperwork in on time, but that seems to have been overcome - and, best of all, they're holding the interviews at Big Old Seminary (20 minutes drive from home) rather than Diocesan Retreat Center (2 hours drive). They scheduled me for first thing in the morning, so I can go in and get it done rather than fretting all morning and turning myself into a giant wet squished Kleenex. We can leave the Seminary when we're done and go drink Jameson's or green beer to either celebrate or console me. The last good thing is that they are supposed to let us know before the weekend is out what the results are, rather than waiting and waiting and waiting. These are good things.

Thanks, and yes.

Friday, March 10, 2006

RevGals Friday Five Meme: Hair

1) Do you like your hair?
Reasonably well.

2) Have you ever colored your hair? If not, would you consider it?
It is colored right now - a light reddish-brown. It's much lighter than my natural color (dark brown), but since my natural hair color is no longer dark brown, but a mishmash of grey, white, and brown, it seems to work well.

3) What's the longest you've ever worn your hair? The shortest?
Longest: all the way down my back when I was in college.
Shortest: the imfamous pixie cut, which made my face look like a full moon.

4) When and what was your worst. haircut. ever?
The aforementioned pixie cut, although the bowl cut came in a close second.

5) Tell us a favorite song or scene from a book or movie dealing with hair.
From Debussy's "Chansons de Bilitis" , text by Pierre Louys:

La Chevelure

Il m'a dit: "Cette nuit, j'ai reve. J'avais tas chevelure autour de mon cou. J'avais tes cheveux comme un collier noir autour de ma nuque et sur ma poitrine. Je les caressais et c'etaient les miens; et nous etions lies pour toujours ainsi, par la meme chevelure, la bouche sur la bouche, ainsi que deux lauriers n'ont souvent qu'une racine. Et peu a peu, il ma semble tant nos membres etaient confondus, que je devenais toi-meme, ou que tu entrais en moi, comme mon songe." Quand il eut acheve, il mit doucement ses mains sur mes epaules, et il me regarda d'un regard si tendre, que je baissai les yeux avec un frisson.

The Tresses

He said to me: "last night I dreamed. I had your tresses around my neck. I had your hair like a black necklance around the nape of my neck on an my chest. I caressed it and it was mine; and we were bound forever thus, by the same tresses, mouth on mouth, just as two laurel trees often have only a single root. And little by little, it seemed to me, so intermingled were our limbs that I became you or you entered into me like my dream." When he finished, he gently put his hands on my shoulders, and he looked at me with a look so tender that I lowered my eyes with a shiver.

I've sung this in concert a couple of times. very intense, very sensual. The best of what Debussy can be. Some of my best singing, even if I do say so myself...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Oy, vey!

So today, StrongOpinions is on the phone with her stepmom, who has two almost grown children from her prior marriage. She lets out a yelp. I say "What's the matter?"

Blondie, StrongOpinions' high school senior stepsister, just recently got busted for possession while driving. Trouble-with-a-capital-T, StrongOpinions' 21 y.o. high school dropout stepbrother, has gotten his girlfriend pregnant, so they are about to embark upon a traditional shotgun wedding. T has major anger management issues, is not gainfully employed, and has a bit of a substance abuse problem.

No wonder she yelped.

My ex and the stepmom frequently comment negatively about StrongOpinions, and PH's and my raising of her.

StrongOpinions is about to leave for college in August after graduating from high school a year early, is about to compete in the snowboarding Nationals for the seventh year in a row, is working, is taking a glassblowing class, and spent a week hammering, sheetrocking, and demolishing with our mission team rebuilding homes in the Gulf. She asked me today how hard it would be to also take a nursing course after college so she could do AIDS work in Africa (she's planning on majoring in peace studies with a minor in environmental studies).

I think we did a pretty darned good job with the kid.

St Cass's Meme: Do You Wear a Cross?

Do you wear a cross?
99.9% of the time.

Is there a particular time or place that you consider wearing a cross?
Since wearing one is the norm, what I consider is when NOT to wear it. Only rarely.

Where do you wear it?
I wear a cross on a necklace, usually outside of my clothing.

What does the cross look like?
I have two crosses, one an antique gold one, and one silver Celtic one.

Who gave the cross to you or did you choose it?
The antique one is my grandmother's, given to me a long time ago. The silver one is one I purchased from a favorite silversmith in Newport, Rhode Island.

Is this your favorite cross, if so, why?
I love them both equally.

What does wearing a cross mean to you?
It tells me I'm am here because of God and I am called to serve Him.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Back from Sin City USA

I've just returned from several days in Las Vegas, where I was attending a bankers' conference. Yes, you read that right - bankers in Las Vegas. Not just any bankers, but bankers who are so risk-averse that they won't make loans to small businesses without a government guarantee. God has a sense of humor.

Las Vegas has given up on its "family-friendly" advertising. You've heard the ads: "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."

It's a place where you see a lot of things that are best left to Vegas.

Not being a gambler or much of a drinker, particularly in Lent, I got up early every morning for Morning Prayer and a long walk up and down The Strip, since the fitness center at Faux-Italian Palazzo where I stayed charges $35 a day for the privilege of sweating there.

This is what I saw on my morning walks:

Baseball-style cards advertising escort services with soft-core porn shots of pretty young girls with little in the way of clothing on (somebody's daughter, somebody's sister, maybe somebody's mother)

Latino and Native American minimum wage workers picking up the cards and otherwise cleaning the entrance areas of the hotels and casinos

Prostitutes in tight clothing with tired faces heading for home (again, somebody's daughter, somebody's sister, maybe somebody's mother)

People gambling at the low-rent casinos that have doors open to the street - they look as if they really can't afford to gamble

A scattering of homeless people - the high numbers of security people seem to make the Strip area not particularly friendly to those poor souls

Other walkers and joggers

A freshly-washed beautifully pale blue sky.

Seems like a place where a little morning prayer could do some good. One can only hope.