Friday, September 28, 2007

My Friday Sabbath

  • Going to small group worship. Friends, prayer, music, talk.

  • Cleaning my house in anticipation of BFF and her husband coming to dinner. Not actually the WHOLE house, you know, just the main floor. No need to get all crazy or anything.

  • Getting massive quantities of reading done and behind me for Homiletics class first thing Monday morning.

  • Finishing my Homiletics homework, and reviewing my paper proposal for Systematics.

  • Doing two loads of wash.

  • Loading twenty more CDs on the Ipod.

  • Going to the Delhi grocery store to get some stuff for our Indian dinner tonight. I love going to this store, which has clothing, food, Bollywood videos, Indian music, and Afghani soda pop. You don't need a visa to go there, just a Visa.

Believe it or not, this was pretty restful!

Friday Five: On Endings and Beginnings

On Endings and Goodbyes:

1. Best ending of a movie/book/TV - Ann Patchett's "Bel Canto." A grown-up ending to a beautiful book. Biblical bonus answer: The end of the Book of Revelation:
Revelation 22:18-21 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book; 19 if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away that person's share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. 20 The one who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen. Now there's an author with cojones!

2. Worst ending of a movie/book/TV show: The ending to the Bob Newhart Show, where, after several years' storyline about Bob running a hotel in Vermont, he wakes up as if it were a dream in bed with Suzanne Pleshette, his wife in his prior series about being a shrink. C'mon. One of the wittiest men in comedy and this is the best you can come up with?

3. Tell about a memorable goodbye you’ve experienced. Saying goodbye to my mother the night she died. She had had a lovely dinner (her favorite pasta), sent me home from the hospital with a kiss, and rolled over to go to sleep. She quietly died in the night, as gentle a leave-taking as I can imagine.

4. Is it true that “all good things must come to an end”? Nah. On the other hand, I often comfort myself with "all bad things must come to an end."

5. “Everything I ever let go of has claw marks on it.” –Anne Lamott Discuss.
Not everything. Just a fifteen-year marriage, fifteen years ago, my belief that I was going to be President of the united States, or at least a US Senator, my hopes of a career in music...on the other hand, some stuff was really easy to let go of: my old house, my first wedding dress, half of my cookbooks when we moved.

Bonus: “It isn’t over until the fat lady sings.” I’ve never loved this expression. So propose an alternative: “It isn’t over until ____________________”
...until I say so. Not that I'm a control freak or anything.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thursday Nights Random Dots

  • Friday is my sabbath - no classes, just small group worship, so Thursday night is bliss. Yes, I should do a bunch of reading for next week, but tonight will be a night of reading silly stuff, watching the season opener of Grey's Anatomy, and knitting socks.

  • I finished my green sweater that had been lying fallow for about a month. It is downstairs, being blocked. It turned out okay. Not fabulous, but it will be a pretty and serviceable sweater.

  • My BFF L is coming over with her husband M for dinner tomorrow night. Doing the happy dance. I'll make shrimp curry, saag paneer, paratha, and rice. L will bring a wonderful salad with fruit of some sort in it, and I think we'll have something simple for dessert, maybe shortbread and ice cream. Fun to do something other than reading and writing.

  • Still putting loads of stuff on my IPod. It's my new addiction. I've even downloaded Spanish language podcasts to augment my Spanish class at Big Old Seminary.

  • PH and I are celebrating our tenth anniversary next month. He is busy researching places we can go for a Fri-Sat weekend getaway... places, of course, that we can afford. Fun to be thinking of going for a little road trip somewhere. I'll have to get the schoolwork done ahead of that weekend. So be it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mini-Sermon on Luke 15:1-7

I've been thinking about border collies this week.

It was inevitable, given the recent gospel reading: the Good Shepherd. I've always loved the Parable of the Good Shepherd. I guess it's because I'm a sinner, and it is a source of both comfort and hope that when I stray, the Shepherd will always come after me.

So I heard the passage and I started thinking about border collies. I'd recently read Jon Katz's latest book, "Dog Days," about his sheep farm and the border collies he raises and trains to herd the sheep. He also has aa steer named Elvis and a little donkey named J├ęsus, among other creatures, but those are stories for another sermon on another day.

Border collies are magnificent, black and white balls of nonstop single-minded energy that round up the sheep and go find the lost ones. This is great for sheepherding, but these are not dogs for around children. They tend to herd the children. I my experience, kids don’t much like that.

After reading about the border collies, I wondered, "Why doesn't that Good Shepherd get Himself a good border collie to go after the lost ones? Then He wouldn't have to tromp all over the countryside in the cold and the rain in search of me when I go astray." I'm sure I'm not the only one who goes astray, so the Shepherd might get pretty tired. The hills are many. A dog would be a help.

Then it dawned on me, sitting in the chapel. I looked around. We're the border collies! All of us studying for ministry. We're Christ's border collies, helping Him to shepherd all the lost souls.

No, think about it: when we vest we wear black and white, and we need to be trained...

Just like the border collies, we need the firm hand of the Shepherd, because we could get too overexcited and nip at the sheep, or send them in the wrong direction. We might get a little lost, too, because border collies are, after all, only human. We need the Shepherd's guidance.

That got me thinking some more about the nature of border collies, and it reminded me of that movie that was so enchanting about a decade ago - "Babe." It was all about a runty little pig that aspired to herd sheep, just like the border collies who were his surrogate parents on his master's farm. The border collies thought the sheep were all pretty stupid, and they treated them pretty roughly to get the sheep to go where they belonged.

I'm not sure the Shepherd would want me to be that kind of helper. But Babe the pig approached the sheep differently, respectfully, politely. The sheep, once they got over the shock of this different treatment, responded by doing what the pig gently requested.

Perhaps we are called to assist the Good Shepherd in this way. Not by nipping, not by harshness, but by a loving, gentle, polite, respectful guiding voice, one that offers those we pastor the same hope of Good Shepherd’s insistent, loving care that we have been privileged to experience.

There are worse things to hope for as we answer the Shepherd's call.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Prayer Request Again

A new one, and a sad and scary one. N is the mother of three kids aged 9, 12, and 15. Her husband B died last year after a long and miserable fight with stomach cancer. She is going in to the hospital for a biopsy for breast cancer tomorrow.

Aw, c'mon, God. There are better folks to smite than this poor woman...

Yeah, I know it's bad theology, but I'm not thinking particularly theologically about this one.

Please keep N in your prayers, friends. and go get your mammograms, RGBPs.

Quiet Day

Tomorrow is Quiet Day at the seminary. We begin the day with Eucharist and a meditation, then pray, read and rest in silence until an afternoon meditation.

The temptation is strong to use the time for schoolwork. There are so many things to do: commence reading for my Systematics paper, read for other classes, memorize my mini-sermon for get the picture.

I was reading today, though, about the desert fathers and their contemplative practice. They used to weave baskets as they prayed, to keep their hands busy. I think I may knit in silence tomorrow. I've not had time to do much knitting since school started back up again, and I find it so very soothing. So maybe silence, knitting, a walk in God's good creation...the work will wait for another day.

And I think no Internet during Quiet Time, either. The "Committee in my Head," Jean Stairs' wonderful phrase, will be quieter without the intrusion of the Web.

Deo gratias.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Today's Sermon - The First at Saint Middle School

Luke 16:1-13 Then Jesus said to the disciples, "There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. 2 So he summoned him and said to him, 'What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.' 3 Then the manager said to himself, 'What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.' 5 So, summoning his master's debtors one by one, he asked the first, 'How much do you owe my master?' 6 He answered, 'A hundred jugs of olive oil.' He said to him, 'Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.' 7 Then he asked another, 'And how much do you owe?' He replied, 'A hundred containers of wheat.' He said to him, 'Take your bill and make it eighty.' 8 And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. 9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes. 10 "Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? 13 No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth."

“Clean Up Your Mess”

First things first: a parable is not a fable.

You remember what a fable is, right? If you read any of Aesop’s Fables as a child, you know that a fable is a little story that teaches you the right way to behave. Whether it’s the story of the tortoise and the hare, or sour grapes, the one thing that’s always true with a fable is that you know exactly what the moral of the story is…and if you don’t, the writer always states the moral of the story at the end.

Not so with parables. Jesus is telling us a story to make a point – just like a fable – but often the moral is not exactly obvious. Sometimes we have to think hard to get Jesus’ point. So it is with this parable. It raises a lot more questions than it answers.

Why do you think Jesus would do this? Is He deliberately being vague and confusing? Or perhaps He wants us to think very hard about what is being said, to struggle to understand, so that once we figure it out for ourselves, we really own that hard-won bit of knowledge. Some parables feel like the whack of a 2x4 on the side of the head.

And so it may be for this parable, that of the dishonest servant.

What’s happening in the story? Let’s put it in modern-day terms. The Chief Operating Officer of the company hasn’t been managing the company too well, spending the company’s resources on the wrong things, not paying attention to the Accounts Receivable. You know the sort of things I’m talking about. The Chairman of the Board gets wind of the mismanagement and calls the COO in. “I’ve been hearing disturbing things about the way you’ve been running things. I’m going to call the auditors in, and if things are as bad as I hear, you’re fired.”

You can picture Donald Trump in the role of the Chairman of the Board, can’t you?

So the COO, in a tizzy, says to himself, “I’m in a world of trouble here. If the Chairman fires me, I can’t get another job. How could I show my face at the club if I took a lesser paying job?”

He gets an idea: he calls up the company’s debtors and cuts them a deal: he’ll discount what they owe if they keep him in mind and take care of him if things go south.

By the way, the phrase “cutting a deal” has ancient Biblical roots: the Hebrew phrase “kerath berith” means to make a contract, specifically, to cut a covenant. So cutting a deal is not just something we know from “The Apprentice.” It was well-known in Jesus’ day.

So he cuts these deals with the debtors, hoping that they’ll think kindly of him, that they’ll give him a soft landing, if the boss fires him. He thinks he’s cleaned up his mess.

Jesus tells the story, and then seemingly praises the COO for his shrewdness.

This is the point in the story where I start scratching my head. Is Jesus saying that cheating the boss for our own benefit is a good thing? That doesn’t sound like the Jesus I think I know. What is this about? It’s a 2x4 moment.

I go back to my original statement. This is a parable. A parable is not a fable. The moral isn’t quite so obvious. Let’s look at the larger picture of this parable, and see if we can figure out what’s going on here.

If we remember last week’s gospel, we heard two stories of lost and found. They were pretty straightforward, and Pastor Jeunee’s message – “Don’t get lost” talked about the ways that it’s easy for us to get lost, and how important it is for us to keep together with Christ if we want to be alright. These were also stories that talked about what is really valuable. That’s a hint.

So, too, in our gospel passage, Jesus’ explanation of the parable gives us a hint that the stories are related. It’s about what’s really valuable, and how we are to treat it.

"Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?

Jesus is reminding us of what is important when he talks about the true riches, the riches of heaven, the riches of being a faithful follower of Christ. He is reminding us of the importance of caring for what we have been given. In that age, and in our own, people tend to get overly focused on “the stuff”, whether it’s the right kind of car, or the right brand of jeans, or the number of bedrooms in our houses. We become so focused on the stuff of this world that we are distracted from the truly valuable: loving and caring for one another, even the least among us, being honorable in our dealings, working hard.

It’s easy to get distracted, so we get this 2x4 to get our attention. We get a story that seems the antithesis of what Jesus has taught us. But it isn’t really. In the end, Jesus explains it to us, in simple words that we all can understand: "No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." But there are lessons to be learned from the world. How do we apply them to what is truly valuable?

We have a choice. We can cut a deal to cover ourselves for the bad times in this world. We can make sure we have a soft landing by cheating the boss. We can clean up our worldly messes in ways that are worldly ways. That’s certainly the smart thing to do when we measure ourselves in terms of success in the world isn’t it? How about another option: can we cut a deal that is a deal which recognizes the truly valuable? Can we clean up our messes in ways that Jesus would appreciate? Maybe it means that we can forgive those who have treated us badly. Maybe it means we can reach out a hand of fellowship to those with whom we have had a disagreement. Maybe it means we can offer help to those who need it, without expecting a sweetheart deal in return.

When I starting preaching this morning, I told you that first things first, a parable is not a fable. Now it’s time for last things last. Last things, last, parables are prisms, they aren’t a flat piece of glass. They may have more than one meaning, depending on your angle of view. I’ve laid out what this parable means to me, how I’ve tried to figure out what Jesus is saying to me through it. But parables are able to speak in many ways to us. We see what Jesus is saying to us as we need to hear it, mediated by that prism of grace. So I’m encouraging you to take this scripture passage home, put it under your pillow, think about it, pray about it. Let the light of God’s grace shine through that prism, illuminate those words for you. Hear what the Lord is saying to you, so you can learn all you really need to know from Jesus.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Prayers, Please

For the repose of the soul of Angel, the 15 year old AIDS patient with whom I developed a close friendship while doing CPE this summer. She died a few days ago. She was one of the bravest and brightest young women I've ever known, and was an extraordinary teacher to me. I was grateful to be able to be a safe person for her to talk to, and some comfort to her family.

Her favorite musician was Michael Jackson (!) and her favorite colors were pink and purple. She loved having "spa days" and getting manicures and pedicures. She wanted to be a journalist, and had a pile of personal journals that she had filled with her thoughts by her bed. Even when she was too sick for conversation, she always asked for a prayer, and the thing she always asked for was not healing, but to not be bored.

When I saw her last at the end of CPE, she was about 85 pounds and quite ill, but was hopeful she could go home and be home-schooled for her sophomore year of high school. Her chart made it clear to me what was ahead, but my prayer for her was that she might go home, at least for a little while. It didn't happen. She has gone to another home, a better one, and I am glad for her, even as I weep for her.

To the gates of Paradise
Lead your child home.

To your mercy seat
Lead your child home.

To the kingdom of heaven
Lead your child home.

To your true sanctuary
Lead your child home.

To the multitude of the blessed
Lead your child home.

To the fount of life
Lead your child home.

To the gates of pearl
Lead your child home.

To the ladder of angels
Lead your child home.

To the land of milk and honey
Lead your child home.

To the clouds of glory
Lead your child home.

To the refreshing stream
Lead your child home.

To the reward of the righteous
Lead your child home.

To the dwelling place of God
Lead your child home.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Too Much To Do

...and I've got a bad back. In the interest of getting some healthful exercise, I went to yoga class. I forgot that I hadn't done yoga in almost two years, and did too much. So I woke up this morning in utter misery, for a day that stretched from chapel at 8 am to a vestry meeting at 7 pm. I am on the couch with a hot pad on my back, about to take a muscle relaxer.

There's a hundred pages of Pastoral Theology to read for tomorrow afternoon's class, I've got a paper for Church History to complete by Monday noon, and a proposal for a Systematics paper due shortly thereafter. Heaven help us.

Time to take some meds. BBL.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Saturday Random Dots

  • Saturday is full of dots - the bullet points on my to-do list.

  • I did go to the Farmer's Market this morning with PH (he didn't ride a gazillion miles on his bicycle for change) and get the last sweet corn of the season, the last peaches of the season, the first apples of the season, the first winter squash of the season, and fresh-made mozzarella. Buying local feels good and tastes good.

  • Of course, we had the corn for dinner this evening with shrimp that probably came from Vietnam. So much for buying local.

  • Icon-writing today was fun. Saint Matthew is almost done, maybe one or two more sessions and he'll be done. An angel is next in the queue (an eventual present for my Field Ed church). we did some work on finishing an icon of Saint Gabriel that was started by a dear friend who died recently, much too soon, of pancreatic cancer. We are not finishing the face and hands, which were a few layers short of completion, so the personality of the angel is what came from my friend's hands. I did the lettering of the name of the angel, another friend did the gold overlay on the wings and the robe, and our teacher corrected our mistakes. Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose. We've got to do the halo and the border, then the teacher will varnish it and we can give it to the family of our friend. The teacher was very chatty, for some reason, which was delightful, except going from Russian to English doesn't always make for the most coherent sentences, and we have to work hard to understand each other.

  • I prepped for the senior high Sunday school at Saint Middle School for tomorrow. Nervous, because the kids are really a mixed bag, but I like the curriculum (Holy Hogwash - what people think the Bible says vs what it REALLY says) and we'll be talking about whether Christians are allowed to be angry.

  • One more week until I preach. PH is preaching tomorrow at another church, but I don't get to hear him, because of Field Ed. The following week I preach, and he will come. Yay! I need his support and wise critique.

  • Not enough time to do all the reading for Monday's classes. Again, plus ca change, plus ca meme chose. I'll get enough read so I don't embarrass myself unduly.

  • Antiwar demonstration and liturgy across from the White House tomorrow evening. A few of us from the seminary are going there tomorrow for it. Almost forty years ago, I did the same sort of thing when the Vietnam War was at its height. Sad that we have to do it again.

  • Assorted little paperwork chores. Gack. Middler evaluations, field ed work-learning agreement, stuff and more stuff. Bad enough to have papers coming at me quickly, without this kind of busywork. Of course, here I am blogging instead of doing it, so I suppose I should hush now.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday Five: Meetings Meetings

1. What’s your view of meetings? Choose one or more, or make up your own:a) When they’re good, they’re good. I love the feeling of people working well together on a common goal.b) I don’t seek them out, but I recognize them as a necessary part of life.c) The only good meeting is a canceled meeting.

Like my pal RM, I've been a part of all three, but agree that a and b are my most frequent feelings about meetings.

2. Do you like some amount of community building or conversation, or are you all business?

Depends upon the meeting. If it is a church-related meeting, I like some Bible study at the beginning. Some casual banter at the beginning is nice, but I don't like it to go on for too long. It's hard enough to meet time deadlines without extended socializing. Sometimes I'll have some goodies there "for conversation time when we've wrapped up." Not too Macchiavellian, are I?

3. How do you feel about leading meetings? Share any particular strengths or weaknesses you have in this area.

I'm fine with leading meetings. I'm big on agendas. In the past, I told employees if they couldn't express the idea in a couple of minutes, they hadn't thought about it long enough - I'd then ask them to wait until they could keep it to two minutes. I can't do that quite so harshly anymore...but I do like to move things along (in a pastoral way, of course!) I'm sure some folks find me too directive in meetings, and they're probably right.

4. Have you ever participated in a virtual meeting? (conference call, IM, chat, etc.) What do you think of this format?

In my past life, I sat in on a zillion conference calls. During those conference calls, I also got a lot of other ditzy paperwork chores done (and I must admit I occasionally played a game of solitaire.) Given the time and money of meet-ups, particularly when you're part of an across-the-country organization, it makes a lot of sense, and I do like the idea of meeting in my jammies, but I don't concentrate quite as hard as when I'm in the room.

5. Share a story of a memorable meeting you attended.

Presided over an extraordinarily difficult meeting when I was Senior Warden (senior lay person) and our pastor was being attacked by a small group of members. Nobody survived that meeting without wounds. Nevertheless, it was necessary to bring the accusations out into the open, where they could be addressed and put into proper perspective, and ultimately dismissed. Never fun to lance a boil, is it? But it's better than letting it fester.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I'm Running As Fast As I Can

...but I'm still not into the rhythm of this semester yet. The reading isn't any more intense than last year, the writing assignments are eminently manageable, but I'm still feeling like I'm mentally limping all the time.

The surprise of the semester thus far is how much I love Systematics. It may be the incredible lectures by our prof, who goes for 90 minutes without notes or a break. It may be stretching my brain in new ways. The readings are dense, but the lectures and the thought processes are pure bliss. I don't understand how the pieces fit together yet. I hope that will come with time. We shall see.

Church History also continues to delight me. The readings there aren't bad at all. I think I will write my first paper on the maternal warrior imagery in the Martyrdom of Perpetua, and how it harks back to Greco-Roman mythology. Or not. We shall see about that one, too.

I've got to spend an hour and a half in mutual interviews with another classmate in my Pastoral Care through Contemplative Listening class tomorrow. Then I've got to write a spiritual autobiography...I've done several of these as part of my discernment process. I do't know if anything radically new will come out after the interview but...we shall see.

Tomorrow I'm leading small group worship with my advisee group at my advisor's house. I've crafted something from the Iona Community's worship book, with music from Hymns of the Earth by Malcolm Dalglish. It will definitely be different. I expect the advisor and a couple of the students will like it, a couple will not, and a couple will just not get it. We shall see.

At some point, this semester will start to feel semi- in control. I wish that time would come sooner rather than later. The comforting thing is that several of my classmates report the same feeling of disjointedness. Interestingly, it is we mature students who report this. My ego would say that this is because we appreciate the experience more and want to do well, as opposed to the younger ones who take it for granted, but that would be pretty mean-spirited of me, and I am really trying to tone down the snarky factor this year. Will I be successful?

We shall see.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Another Day, Another Pile of . . . Confusion

It was a mixed-blessing kind of day. Started off with Homiletics, and gave my little three-minute sermon on Ps 139. It was very well-received, although as I was preaching, I could think of five other things I wished I had done with it. Afterwards I went to the library to work on my sermon for a week from Sunday (Luke 16:1-13) and got most of a first draft done. It's got some good stuff in it, but it turns to thin gruel at the end. Come, Holy Spirit, come!

We had our first Seminary Choir practice today. I was the only soprano. Sheesh! Gotta recruit some others.

Church History was a gas; this prof's lectures are so well-constructed, I want to weep. If someone had told me I'd adore Church History, I'd say never. So glad I got to be in his last semester of teaching before he goes to be a parish priest. Tomorrow is small-group section for the class, and I'm jazzed about it.

My Pastoral Care through Contemplative Listening Class was also wonderful today. I went into it late in the afternoon feeling tired and unenthusiastic, and we started with centering prayer and then went into some interesting practica and a great lecture. Got my juices going again.

I had grand plans to go to yoga this afternoon, but a friend needed a jump-start and I was running late, so after the car adventure I just came home and spent two hours being frustrated by the office computer. That, of course, cut into my Systematics reading time.

Systematics is still a dark alleyway for me. I'm generally getting the drift of the readings, because the prof groups them in a very logical way that illumines their common themes, but I can't say I feel any sense of mastery of the material. It may come. It may not. I just hope it doesn't come in an utterly wrong or heretical way...

I must confess me of my sins.

When the reading in Systematics gets me too bumfuzzled, I play a game of Solitaire on the computer.

It's either that or more chocolate. Solitaire seems the healthier choice.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

First Sunday

Today was my first day at my Field Ed site, Saint Middle School. It's a mission of a much larger old church and our services are held at a middle school (thus the name). I served as Lay Eucharistic Minister, and after the service I taught Senior High Sunday School (very stressful for me, as teaching kids is not a natural gift and I worried - it turned out okay, though). Then I went with the Middle School and Senior High kids to bowling.

Saint Middle School is 38 miles from home, so I had almost an hour's drive in each direction. I came home, PH cooked us omelets (he is a prince) and I promptly fell asleep for an hour and a half. One of the downsides of MS is periods of extreme fatigue, and it definitely hit me this afternoon.

So now I'm up again, finishing up my reading for tomorrow's classes, getting ready to fix dinner, trying to get everything done in time to watch the Inspector Lynley Mystery on PBS at 9.

Trying to schedule everything now that I'm working on Sundays is going to be a bear. I got up at 6 this morning to run a couple of loads of wash before I left for church. Thank goodness I only care a little bit about the condition of the house!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Back to School

We started today, with many administrative things plus one class. We also had a debriefing/spiritual reflection on CPE, which was more helpful than I expected.

Our prof for Systematics is in Europe giving a paper on Barth (her specialty), so our new dean gave us our first lecture. He's a very entertaining and challenging lecturer. I'm going to make sure I can take a course with him before I'm done with seminary.

It's good to be back amongst friends. We seem to have crossed some sort of boundary this summer. People are more caring and genuinely interested in each other.

It's also good to be back amongst my co-religionists. I can do the ecumenical thing, and I respect and appreciate the richness of other traditions, but this place and these traditions are the ones that I cherish. Having Morning Prayer this morning and Compline at the end of the day was such joy.

A week from now, when I'm bogged down with readings and the sermons I need to write, I may feel less blissful, but for now I'm enjoying it tremendously.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Home from New England

PH and I had a lovely visit to New England, where we visited with my stepson and his wife and the grandchildren, Princess (who just turned five) and Petit Prince (he who was just born a couple of weeks ago). A pleasant surprise on Saturday afternoon was the arrival of stepson#2 and his two boys, my grandsons Cowboy (4 years old) and Smiling Lad (16 months). It was a wonderful visit on many levels, not the least of which was some great adult conversation with the stepsons, whom I raised from the ages of 7 and 11. They are marvelous human beings and I'm so proud to have been a part of their lives, and that I continue to be a part of their lives even though I haven't been married to their father for many years.

Herewith, some pictures. Above, me with Petit Prince.

Smiling Lad with his dad, stepson #2

The Princess and her cousin Cowboy and their "band."

At right, Princess and her brother Petit Prince, who is modeling his Elizabeth Zimmerman Surprise Jacket and cap, which his GrandMary made for him. He has already almost outgrown it. At least the hat will fit for a bit longer.

And here's the whole clan avec moi.
Being GrandMary is the best!