Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Random Dots of Ministry

  • I went to visit the sick parishioner from Saint Diverse, and was gratified that she is doing much better today. Mixed feelings about the lack of clarity in my role, though. Not a priest but a pastoral presence. Not a seminarian at that site anymore, but still called upon by my supervisor to help out in his absence. I'm glad to be of service to folks whom I consider parish friends, but he really should have a clergyperson who's covering for him in his absence. Lord knows there are enough Episcopal priests around here.

  • I spent a good part of the morning planning my work at Saint Middle School for this year. I'll be doing several Adult Spiritual Formation classes, maybe a women's retreat, some KidZone, and the usual liturgist/deacon stuff. It will be fun to be teaching adults again.

  • Non-ministry moment: I took StrongOpinions to the DMV to replace her driver's license, which had expired two months ago (oops). It's a new experience, standing there while the DMV clerk hits on your daughter. He asked her out tonight. She said, "I'm going out tonight, but not with you." Bada-boom! That's my girl!

  • StrongOpinions is advocating hard for PH and me to move to the Big Apple...I imagine there are jobs in ministry there for me, and we love the place, but I'm not so sure about that. On the other hand, I'd be closer to the grandkids. No need to decide on that anytime soon, thank goodness. It's hard enough to imagine moving to another abode here in VA. The thought of moving a few hundred miles north gives me a headache.

And this is what happens after you go to seminary and get advanced degree(s) in ministry - you get to be a silly pirate in Vacation Bible School and make a blessed fool of yourself. PH (Princeton MDiv & PhD)is at the right, pastor of his church (Yale MDiv) in the middle, forlorn teenager at left (learning his lesson about this kind of thing in case he has any interest in pursuing a call to ministry). Brings new meaning to "fools for Christ."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Faithful Living, Faithful Dying

There is an excellent book on christian ethics and issues of death and medical treatment by the name of this post. We read portions of it in my ethics class this year, and had some fascinating and difficult discussions about the issues it raised.

This afternoon I got to live some of those issues. Although I'm done with my internship at Saint Diverse, their priest is away, and an elderly parishioner was hospitalized, so I was asked to go make the hospital visit.

This dear soul is 96, and had been housebound with severe arthritis for the past few years. she suffered what appeared to be a stroke, and is now in renal failure. The family is debating whether they should try dialysis. She is allergic to most pain medications, is in great pain and is not recognizing people. Her husband of 68 years is with her in the hospital, looking sad and lost. We prayed and read the psalms and talked stories. He quetly said, "I'm not optimistic. And I don't know what will happen if things get worse."

I sat and listened as he told me of their life together as husband and wife, as faithful Christians who did so much for Saint Diverse over the years, as just plain good people.

The books tell a story about decision making at the end of life, and about how we as Christians are to approach these sacred moments. But it is in the stories that we learn how they are truly lived. And in those moments, there are no words for me to say. I can only listen and silently pray.

Monday, July 28, 2008


and I'm moving slowly. I had intended to pop up at the crack of dawn, take a walk, have breakfast, then go to the library to work on sunday's sermon. It's 10 a.m and I'm still in my pajamas, sitting on the couch. I guess this qualifies as vacation, or something.

Time to go upstairs and make an attempt to get dressed.

Friday, July 25, 2008

"Me Me" Meme

I was tagged by LauraLew for this meme, and so here are the rules, etc:

1. List all the rules.

2. Tell us seven things about yourself.
a. I write icons. See one below. Sometime in the next few days, I'll post how and why I do them.
b. I have been an East Coast nomad for most of my adult life, living in various and sundry places between Boston and Virginia, but I've also traveled pretty extensively around the US and other countries, and there are lots more that I hope to get to at some point.
c. Cooking is a passion. I had a part-time wedding cake and catering business for a while, and i studied cooking in Italy.
d. I was adopted at the age of four months. I was told that I was supposed to go to another family, but my godmother pulled strings at the adoption agency so I could end up with my adoptive parents. I don't know how I feel about that.
e. If I had my way, I would never leave the couch and have an ever-replenished supply of good books to keep me company.
f. I was once yelled at by a Senator on C-SPAN.
g. I've given a speech before three thousand people and I've sung before the same number. I think I prefer singing.

3. Tag seven others...

I don't know...reverendmother? Songbird? St. Casserole? anyone else want to play?

Back in the Saddle...or something....

I spent Tuesday through Thursday down in the capital of the Confederacy, taking a course in Interim Ministry. It's the first step in a four step process of certification in Intentional Interim Ministry.

  • It feels good to be treated as a colleague by other folks in ministry, rather than as a lowly peon seminarian.
  • I know more than I sometimes give myself credit for.
  • Being good at reading people and analyzing situations must be balanced by a willingness to abandon your first impression when you get more information.
  • Much of the work of entering the "system" of a church is the same whether you're an interim or a pastor who will be there for a goodly chunk of your career in ministry.
  • Much of what was taught in this course should be taught more thoroughly in seminaries. In ours, we get some of it but not all of it. Skills of unpacking the history of the parish, dealing with difficult people, helping heal old wounds, getting people to imagine the future rather than being mired in the's the work of every pastor, every day. We all need to know this. For interims, because one deals with some specific tasks in a compressed time period, it's more evident. Still, we all should be learning the skills. We will all need them at one point or another.

I'm still processing much of what I learned but I'm pretty sure I'll continue with the training toward certification. That's the last "official" stuff I've got until classes start at the end of August, with the exception of some supply preaching gigs.

StrongOpinions is in town for a visit - it's good to have her around the house. She cleaned and organized our ridiculously tiny fridge last night. I never thought the day would come when she'd ask for permission to do that! Her brothers are coming into town next week. Should be fun.

The morning was spent at the funeral of the mother of a friend who died the day after her 91st birthday. A dear, outspoken, incredibly open and friendly person. She will be missed. May she rest in Jesus' loving arms, and may the knowledge of that blessed rest be a comfort to her family, who loved her so deeply.

The afternoon was spent on the couch, watching a DVD of "The Diary of a Mad Black Woman" from Netflix. Ah, stay-cation!

Actually, PH and I are going on an actual vacation, spending a few days at a French style B&B, a few days at a mountain cottage near Shenandoah National Park, and then a couple of days on the Eastern shore, eating crabs and lobsters and such. Bliss.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Gabriel Icon is Done...

Goodbyes and Hellos

Tomorrow is my last Sunday at Saint Diverse. They'll be having a little fete for me afterwards, which should be fun. Remarkable how one can get connected with people in just eight weeks. We have a Wednesday Eucharist at noon, and some of the folks who attend that don't come to Sunday church, so the goodbyes started then. Learning to say goodbye has been one of my learnings over the past few years. I am finally starting to get more comfortable with them, although it doesn't mean I don't get sad. I just face the sadness head-on, and face the gift of the time I did have with these people in my life.

This morning PH and I went down to the Farmers Market in Old Town and bought way too much gorgeous produce. To my surprise I ran into a friend from my former life whom I hadn't seen in two years. We chatted and arranged to get together in another week or so. It was a delight to see her and hear a bit about her life these days.

Not all goodbyes or hellos are planned. They're all a gift.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Meeting with the Standing Committee

In our seemingly endless process towards ordination, I met with the Standing Committee today. 'Twas a good interview. I knew only one of the committee members, but it was good to have one familiar face in the room. It was clear they had read all 34 pages of my material, because the questions were deeper than I had expected. It appears it went well, but I won't know for sure until the bishops come back from Lambeth and tell me if I've been approved for candidacy for ordination.

The only downside to it was driving 35 miles down the NASCAR track that is Rt 95 in the midst of road construction. This was not an environmentally friendly meeting, since a dozen people traveled from some distances (mostly in separate cars) to get there.

Their final comments were that they liked my shoes - Icon brand clogs, which replicate the Gustav Klimt painting "Adele H.". Not the lace-ups at left, but I couldn't find a photo of the clog version. I figure if a girl can't have a sense of humor in her shoes, she shouldn't be a priest. I guess they concurred. Glad all the truly important stuff was assessed.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Reflection Papers

May I say I'm thoroughly sick of writing reflection papers for the various and sundry powers that be? Repetitive squishy questions that hint at desired answers are not truly reflective of how I am forming my "priestly identity."

C'mon, folks.

We can devise better ways to assess the impact of an internship and how we evolve in ministry.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sunday Sermon - Pentecost IX, Matt 13:1-9, 18-23

Gardening is not magical. It requires hard work.

If you’ve tried to garden here in Northern Virginia, you know that the soil is not too friendly to planting. It’s that tough red clay, great for making mud, but thick and sticky and slimy and hard to dig. So if you want a garden, be it full of lovely flowers or tasty vegetables, you’ve got to do what the garden books call “amending the soil.” You’ve got to dig down maybe a foot or so, through that rocky, thick clay, and add things like sand and compost and vermiculite and lime to lighten it, to make it loose enough for those delicate plant roots to snake through, to make it the kind of dirt that gracefully accepts rainwater and holds it.

When PH and I owned a house over in Arlington, we decided we wanted a fish pond, with a little waterfall, in the front yard, under the trees. My son StoneMason was with us for the summer, and we thought this might be a good project for him to help with. The starting point was, of course, the digging of a hole. Most good gardening seems to start with a shovel. PH and Stonemason hit that hard clay soil, under the hot summer sun, and suddenly the little project looked a lot more daunting. Stonemason lasted little more than a day doing that dirty difficult drudgery, but PH kept on plugging, digging, digging, fighting with the clay. It took all summer, but eventually (after moving what seemed like eight bathtubs full of soil and putting in a couple of tons of stone), the pond and waterfall was done. The work was long and sometimes very tedious, but the result was great. Sometimes the soil isn’t receptive to the project, though, is it?

There was an article in the Washington Post home and garden section last week about a couple who, over the course of thirty years, built a garden not from the ground up – from well beneath the ground and up, making an environmentally sustainable garden, eventually even using the bathwater from their tub to water it. It’s a gorgeous place, full of plants that do well in this climate, and at this point, it looks as if it was there forever. But the starting point, though, some thirty years ago, was digging three feet down into the dirt, and amending it, adding sand and peat moss and topsoil, turning it over, folding it like chocolate into cake batter to make it hospitable soil in which things could grow.

It’s an interesting image, preparing the soil so that the plants can thrive, and it relates to an image that Jesus uses in the parable of the sower and the seed from the Gospel of Matthew today. The parable is really more about the place where the seeds are planted than it is about the seeds themselves, and it begs the question: what kind of soil are you? Are you tough and hard to dig? Are you hospitable to the seeds that are tossed on you?

Jesus talks about the words he preaches as seeds. As the sower, Jesus, spreads these seeds, not all of them will take root. He tosses them out generously, across all sorts of terrain, as a Palestinian farmer in the first century would do. Some of the seeds will fall on rocky ground, grab a little soil and sprout, but will be burnt by the heat of the sun because their roots have no depth to reach down to the water table. Some of them will fall on the path, and the birds will swoop down and eat them up. Some will land in among thick bushes, and even if they sprout, they’ll be choked by the larger plant. But some will land on good soil. Their roots will grow deep. They’ll flourish. They’ll produce lots of fruit.

So, too, when we hear Jesus’s words, some of us will not understand it. We won’t even try. The word will not grow in our hearts. Some of us will hear the message and embrace it, but not put any effort into it. We will be rocky soil, and we’ll get bored with it or unhappy when something difficult happens in our lives, and the word will wither and die. Some of us will hear it, but become distracted with the busy-ness of our lives and the things we want. But some of us will hear, and work at it, and keep trying to understand it, even the hard parts, and the word will blossom in us.

So we hear this parable, this little story that Jesus has told his followers to help them to understand what his expectations are for them. He has explained the parable even further to his disciples, whom he knows will have to continue his teaching after he is gone. Here’s the interesting thing: the subtext of this passage is that understanding the gospel is hard work. By inference, the work of discipleship is hard work. Being a Christian is not supposed to be easy. And here in our town, with our relative comfort and our houses and our cars and our vacations – those lures of wealth and the world – it’s easy to compartmentalize religion into one small comfortable niche. And in putting God and God’s word into that niche, we run the risk of trying to make religion easy. And easy religion is the kind that has shallow roots, that get burned and shriveled under the hot sun. Growing deep roots is hard work, particularly in the hard red clay soil of a life lived shallowly.

So how do we grow those deep roots? How do we live a life in which our religion is not shallow, not sentimental, not merely a little compartment that has no bearing on the rest of our life?

Here is where the image of planting really shines a light on the work of discipleship. Let’s take it as a given that we start off as clay soil. We are hard to work. We are resistant to the threads of roots of the word working through us. We don’t hold water to nourish the roots very well. How can we improve ourselves, amend ourselves in such a way that God’s word grows deeply into us and informs every aspect of our lives? Some of the logical starting points are the things we know enrich our souls, like prayer, like worship, and the reading of scripture, and doing things like helping out at the local homeless shelter.

But I’d suggest that there are also some other things that we can do to enrich the soil of our souls, some things that might not immediately come to mind. These things might fall under the general category of “the compost of life.”

Now you all know what compost is. It’s gathering up kitchen waste like the onion peels and the ribs and seeds from the bell peppers, the brown-edged lettuce leaves and the egg shells, and putting them in a pile with some grass clippings and some old mulchy leaves, and letting the whole mess just sort of simmer for quite a while, getting hot, breaking down all the organic matter, until what you have is not a smelly slimy mess, but beautiful rich brown compost that can be shoveled and folded into your garden, providing lightness and richness that helps plants grow.

It’s remarkable how something that starts out so nasty can turn into something so life-giving, so useful. By the time it’s done going through the composting process, after several months, it doesn’t even smell bad. In fact, to some folks, it even smells sort of sweet and nice.
And here’s what we can learn from this, in our effort to become good soil to receive the seeds of the Lord’s word: sometimes the most enriching thing we can add to the red clay is what we learn from the difficult, smelly, nasty stuff that makes us screw up our faces in disgust.

Sometimes, the things that will lighten the soil are the least likely of things, the detritus of our lives, the pain.

What does this look like? Is it the moment when bank forecloses on your house, and you fear that you will end up on the street, with nothing…until your friends help you find a place to live and give you a shoulder to cry on and hang in there with you as you start to rebuild your life? Is it the time that you get very sick and your church family goes into high gear, bringing meals, taking you to your doctors’ appointments, praying for you, keeping you company? Is it the day that you lose your job and two friends start making calls to help you find another position? Is it the day that you take your youngest child to college and come home to an empty house, and your sister calls up and says “Come on over and have a glass of wine” and you suddenly don’t feel so alone?

These hard times, and what we learn about ourselves and our friends and family in the midst of them, are the compost. When we are in the midst of them, they smell bad. They feel bad. They appear to be useless, garbage. But time – sometimes a long time- and prayer and help turn them into a recognition of Christ touching us, of the Word lived well, of God’s great love for us. When we recognize these moments, and fold the thought of them into the hard clay of our hearts, we loosen the soil. We make ourselves more open to what Christ is asking us to do. We take the pain and use it, transform it into something that is no longer about us, it is about our relationship with God and with all of God’s creation.

We know from our time in our backyards that gardening is hard work. My son Stonemason, who gave up after only a day when we built the fish pond, has learned that and – irony of ironies - now works in landscaping and stonemasonry up in Vermont. Sometimes preparing the soil is the work of a season. Sometimes it’s the work of thirty years. Sometimes it’s the work of a lifetime. But the digging deep, the enrichment of our hearts, the aching muscles of struggling to loosen the red clay of our hearts, all of it will lead over time to a soul that is prepared and ready to know God and to serve him.


Happy Saturday

It's been a good day - a trip to the Farmer's Market for luscious fruits and vegetables, a successful Fare Ministry family event at Saint Diverse, where a group of nine of us prepared six large casseroles and six smaller ones to be frozen and available for those who need a meal delivered, then icon-writing class, where I finished up my Saint Gabriel icon and will start Saint Paul next week, and now I'm resting a bit before getting ready to go to an evening wedding celebration for two dear friends.

Oh, and the sermon is done for tomorrow, so I really will be able to enjoy the party.

PS: I'll post a picture of the Saint Gabriel when it gets back from being varnished next week.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Music Stuff

Here's some new music to feed your soul:

Beth Neilsen Chapman's two-disc set entitled Prism. It's songs from a wide variety of religious traditions spanning the world.

Fleet Foxes. A Seattle alt-group that has some amazing vocals and very unusual lyrics. Harmonies like you wouldn't believe. Good - no, great - driving music. Now I only need the gas money to take a road trip...

I got arm-twisted into singing something for my last Sunday (July 20) at Saint Diverse, my summer internship parish. I briefly toyed with singing "Hear Ye, Israel" from Elijah, since that would sort of go with the readings, but the space is not singer-friendly, and the piece starts out on a high F sharp, for heaven's sake. If I'm not getting paid, I'm not going to risk a note that sits right on the break in a room that's dead as a doornail. I think it's going to be "Amazing Grace." Always a crowd fave, and everytime I've sung it, someone has come up and said "I want you to sing that at my funeral." That's either a compliment, or they'd rather be dead than hear it again out of my mouth.

This coming Sunday, when I'll be preaching on the Parable of the Sower and the Seed, there will be a teenaged tenor singing "I Believe."

Oh, dear.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Blue Saabie is finally repaired and home again after a week and a half in the shop waiting for her rebuilt ABS controller. I drove her back home on the highway. She ran beautifully and no ugly warning lights lit up. She looks pretty darned good for an eight year old car with 90K miles on it. I'm hoping this will be the last repair for a while, since it was a wee bit pricey. PH and I did very well sharing one car between us with two jobs far apart and not on public transport lines. Still, I'm glad that we're done with that for a while. Probably shouldn't say that out loud, since it will jinx me.

The eco-conscious part of me would love it if we could get by with one car, but it doesn't seem likely right now. Maybe someday.

New Name

Spooky, the somewhat neurotic but amusing black cat who shares our home, has been renamed.

PH now calls her Emme, short for Emesis, which seems to be what she does most. We find "gifts" from her mostly in the basement, on the rubber flooring underneath all the exercise gear. At least she's considerate that way. We gave up having live flowers in the house because she would eat them and then...well, you know what she would do, and usually on the carpet. We brush her a lot to keep down the hairballs, but she still has this habit of urking up.

Suffice to say it would be strange if we had a normal cat.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


I had a difficult and lengthy conversation with a parishioner. We started off with his anger and frustration about a difficult situation and ended up somewhere a bit more peaceful, I think.

Sometimes folks expect the church to wave a magic wand and solve their problems...even deeply faithful people struggle with this, I think.

Some wonder why the church doesn't do more, and why people of faith have to work through government structures and systems. Shouldn't the church be the place to address conflict?

Well, yes and no. Render unto Caesar, and all that.

So it was an interesting 45 minutes working with this parishioner, because some of the questions raised were good ones, and I had to fight my own defensiveness about the church not doing enough in the world. But it was a reminder to me that I am not expected to fix (particularly in an eight-week summer internship), I am simply expected to be present and loving.

I'm hoping that was what I offered this day, and I'm praying that I helped, or at least did no harm. I leave this one (as I should leave them all) in God's great big hands.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Sermon for Wednesday Noon Eucharist

Matt 10:1-7

Everybody deserves to have an Aunt Ethel.

Aunt Ethel is the one who tells you that that dress really does make your behind look big.

Aunt Ethel is the one who frowns when you say you’re going to tile your downstairs bathroom in all different color tiles, because it will be so festive, and says “You sure you want to look at all that craziness if you use that room when you’re sick to your stomach?”

Aunt Ethel is the one who tells you the guy you want to marry is up to no good, when everyone else keeps their mouth shut. When her warning turns out to be true, and you learn it the hard way, Aunt Ethel is the one who doesn’t say “I told you so.” She just lends you the money for a good lawyer.

Aunt Ethel tells you to buy the little car, not the big SUV, because gas prices will go up. She says “Waste not, want not.”

Aunt Ethel never married, because her bluntness seemed to get her in trouble with the men in her life, but she’s happy. She lives with her two cats, Toothless Bob and Miss Petunia, in her two-bedroom condo a few blocks from the beach in a state south of here. The second bedroom has been turned into a little art studio, where she paints watercolors that she doesn’t give as gifts. She simply saves them in a pile in the corner. If you visit her, you should know there is no bed in that second bedroom – you’ll be on the couch in the living room. Aunt Ethel knows it’s unlikely you’ll stay for very long in that condo if you have to hear her starting the first pot of coffee at 5:30 in the morning. Aunt Ethel is no fool.

And so you’d be wise to listen to Aunt Ethel’s advice. She’s got a lot of it, and it’s practical advice. She’s been a careful observer of the human condition for nigh onto seventy-eight years, and she’s figured out what works and what doesn’t.

So when she says to you, “clean up your own house first, before you criticize someone else’s housekeeping,” it’s a teaching she passes along because she has seen what happens when you don’t do that. Your criticism doesn’t carry much weight if you haven’t done your own work first.

She would be the first to nod, and say, “Um-hum!” when she hears Jesus’ message to the disciples in today’s Gospel reading.

It sounds a little odd to us. Not the commissioning part – we’re not surprised that Jesus gathers the disciples around and gives them their marching orders. It’s the last part of today’s message that comes as a surprise: "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.'”

We wonder why Jesus is saying that, why He wants the disciples to preach the good news to the Jews and not the Gentiles. Most of us would be classified as Gentiles, and we’d like to think Jesus wants us as part of the party, wouldn’t we?

But instead, Jesus sends the twelve to preach to the Jews. It’s only later on that the Gentiles are brought into the fold, in chapter 28 of Matthew’s gospel. Why would Jesus limit the preaching of the Gospel only to the Jews?

Part of it is that Matthew’s audience was the Jewish Christian community near or around Jerusalem. They would hear Christ’s words of new covenant as a refinement of what their relationship to God as God’s covenant people meant. Just as we heard in today’s psalm, they’d remember themselves as offspring of his servant Abraham, children of Jacob, his chosen ones. It would be natural to see Christ’s message in Matthew’s gospel as an extension of the many times that God tried to help the Jews of the Old Testament to “get it right” – to repair things when the Hebrew people breached the covenant. Thus this commission, Jesus’ words while he was still alive, living and working in the Jewish community, would make sense. Christ’s work was yet again God trying to get God’s people on the right track, this time, by sending His own Son to live and work among them.

But we can also see this as a message like Aunt Ethel’s: “Clean up your own house first, before you criticize someone else’s housekeeping.” Jesus is telling the disciples, and us, that the starting point for our work of learning how to put the good news into action is to put ourselves into good order, into right relationship with God. We can’t preach to those outside that circle until we’ve got our own act together first.

Now that’s not a comfortable place for us. It’s easier to look outside of our own house, our own community, our own nation, and go “tsk, tsk” about something we see as wrong. But until we’re able to say we’ve corrected our own bad behavior, as individuals, as part of a larger community, as a nation, we have no right to speak ill of others. The good news for us is that the disciples eventually got around to preaching to the Gentiles, and we’ve become part of the Body of Christ as a result. But I suspect we all could do some housekeeping of ourselves about how we live as part of the Body of Christ. Perhaps it’s time to clean our own house before we criticize anyone else’s housekeeping. Aunt Ethel would approve.


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sunday Afternoons

So what is it about naps on Sunday afternoon when you work in the God business?

I came home today after church. It had been a light day with no preaching responsibilities, just our two services lightly attended due to the holiday, no visits to the homebound afterwards...and after a bite of lunch, I utterly conked out on the couch for two hours. And I mean comatose. Afternoon of the living dead.

PH is taking me out for supper tonight - yay - and that's about the extent of my energy level.

Interestingly, just about every clergyperson I know also takes a Sunday nap.Who knew that this was part of the gig?

They should ask during the Commission on Ministry interviews: "Ms. Mibi, are you capable of afternoon siestas on the Lord's Day? It is a job requirement, you know."

Saturday, July 05, 2008

As the Rocket's Red Glare Fades From View...

Last night ended with a whimper rather than a bang, given the rainstorms that swept through. They still had the big fireworks downtown on the Mall, but we took a bye on that. Visited some friends of PH's for a cookout. Gotta love beer-soaked brats on the grill and two kinds of cheesecake! The scale isn't being kind to me today.

It was quite wet this morning, taking my walk with K and then going down to the farmer's market in Old Town. It didn't help when PH accidentally dumped an umbrella full of rainwater on me as I paid for some produce. At least he said it was an accident. Squish, indeed.

Icon-writing was, as always, wonderful. The Saint Gabriel icon is a week from being finished - I'll post a photo of it when it's done - and then I'll start on a Saint Paul, I think. I also saw a wonderful Theotokos (Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus) that will go into the queue. Baby Jesus has one of his little sandals dangling off his foot, and a round little baby nose, very different and more human than most icons. I love doing this work - it's such a prayerful discipline - I just wish they didn't take so darned long (six months per icon on average, sometimes longer).

PH is experimenting with a Ramos Fizz recipe that he saw in the NY Times Sunday magazine last week. The recipe looks....interesting. I am hoping we get dinner cooking before we start tasting. Somehow I think my scheduled arrival time at church tomorrow (7:30 am) will come very early. At least I don't have preaching duties tomorrow. I do have Lay Eucharistic Minister training to do, so I'm hoping I won't be too cranky.

Please say a prayer for A. His wife, my dear friend M, died of pancreatic cancer this time last year. He just had part of his lung removed - cancer - and the doctors seem to think that he will recover and survive this. We hope so - he's a dear man.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


For some reason, I'm not feeling very energetic today. I'll have Thursday through Saturday off for the 4th of July, so I should be feeling more lively, but today just isn't that day.

I stayed up late finishing the new Elizabeth George novel, "Careless in Red." It's the latest in her Inspector Lynley series. I recommend it highly. The Lynleys are not a book series - they're an addiction. Anyway, staying up late reading it has taken my edge off, I think.

PH is having The Medical Test That Shall Not Be Named today. He was up as late as me drinking the prep stuff and dealing with the results. I think he got some sleep, but I decided I would sleep in the spare bedroom in case he was up and about every hour. It turned out to be a wise choice.

I've been walking several mornings a week with a friend who is the wife of a classmate. We both have weight to lose and could use the exercise. Why is it so much easier to keep to a walking routine when you've got a walking buddy? One would think that I, as an introvert, would prefer doing it alone, but it does seem to make a difference. We've been doing 2.5-3 miles each time we go out. Not quite as energetic as PH's 3000+ mile ride across America, but it will do for me. The weight loss is stalled and I'm hoping this will start it up again.

Plans for the 4th: a BBQ at PH's colleague's house, an organ concert and dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence at a historic church nearby (we have many historic churches...some even use the word in their web addresses). Chilling out. Going to the Farmer's Market. Sleeping.

It's all good.