Tuesday, February 28, 2006


There's some good writing - both dark and light - out there (thanks True Self and Rachelle and Rachel and Songbird) about Lent. I havent really had Lent on my radar, except as Another Thing To Do, but these words have helped me today look forward to deepening my walk with God.

And I've joined this prayer blog, even though it makes me all anxious to think about praying in front of strangers. I'm hopeful its the kind of anxious that means I'm exploring a growing edge and not the kind that will make me just avoid it. My first prayer is that being a public-pray-er (in my life, and about my life, instead of in my job where it's more or less expected of me) will be a healing experience for me.

Kid Konundrum

For 3 and half years, I've said "one is enough. this is it. we're having one" while Jeff makes little sighs of relief.

And I've really meant it. But now I don't know. I find that I'm starting to make little pro and con lists in my head that look something like this:

On the 2 kids side:
1. The nice eveness of a 4 person family. I just reread this thing in an old Brain, Child magazine that cites a study finding that no matter how many kids people SAY they're going to have, they most often have 2, so I guess I'm not alone in this feeling
2. The incredibly steep learning curve of it all. What, I should just waste all that knowledge about the stages of labor?
3. My friends who are only children almost all resent it. And the loneliness we, from our giant families, imagine an only must feel.
4. How about when we get old and needy? What's our poor only son going to do then, huh?
5. The first year only lasts a year.
6. The loveliness of children in general, and of ours in particular.

On the keep-it-like-is side:
1. We really like our life like this.
2. Jeff doesnt want another one. ('Course, he couldnt imagine the first one, either, and look how well that turned out).
3. All that Zero Population Growth propoganda I absorbed in my youth.
4. It's not like WE are actually really all that close to our siblings, and who knows what that relationship would be like for Eli.
5. Can I keep working? Because I really, really like my job and if I had to stop working, I'd be pretty bummed out.
6. It's just so not easy to have a baby with a disabled person - the getting pregnant part was not hard for us before, but it is pretty intense hard work for me, logistically speaking once the baby comes.
7. I just finally got my body and my sanity sort of back.
8. The second one could turn out to be two. Or, gulp, three.

My friend tells me that I will know if another soul is waiting to come into this family, but the vagaries of my hormones dont make that kind of certain knowledge all that reliable - for two weeks out of every month, I'm certain of one thing and for the other two weeks, I'm certain of another. I've been praying on it and getting no-where. My faith tradition has no guidelines about this. So, I have this book on reserve at the library, but I haven't picked it up yet.

It's really confusing. I'd be so grateful if any of you who've sat with this decision can help shed some light.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Grown up food

Today at a planning meeting for a women's retreat, we had a lovely lunch at the home of one our team members.
Everyone used their words when they wanted more of something.
No food was spilled on the floor.
No one had to be excused for burping, farting or showing their chewed food to everyone else.
The mothers of the toddlers were more noticeably amazed than the others present by the menu which featured NO PEANUT BUTTER or FISH CRACKERS of any kind.

We ate:
squash and yam soup, topped with chutney and spiced, roasted pecans
spinach salad with pears and blue cheese
rosemary herb bread with butter
lovely rolled cinnamon cookies
green tea with brown rice

After a considerable amount of time spent ooo-ing and ahhh-ing, we also got some planning done.

Friday Poetry

Golden Gardens Park
February 22, 9:00 am

He can’t sleep again.
Instead, he stares for most of the night at that crack in the ceiling he needs to repair. Finally, when the the square green numbers say 4 and 3 and 9, he heaves out of bed and into clothes. Walks the five rooms, one by one, slowly, careful of the knee. Ends up in the kitchen and, before he knows how, coffee is made and poured into two cups. His: to be drunk. Slowly, like everything else. Hers: to sit until he empties the cup, stacks it in the drainer. Turns on the television, boob tube, she used to say, picking up her knitting, folding the clothes, hands always busy right until the end. Turns it off again.
The birds are mostly gone, now that her feeders are empty, but through the window he can make out a little one pecking hopefully in the dark, wet grass. He pushes himself up again, wonders how long has he been sitting here. Opens the side door, smells the first sweet spring smells over the coffee. Pulls the door closed behind him.
The blue tag, reminder of the broken hip that broke her, still hangs from the truck’s mirror. He’s not surprised when he ends up here, in the parking lot of the beach where they used to come together, her looking for water birds, calling them by name. He parks facing the dawn water, and, at last, sleeps. As he knew he would.

Or maybe I imagined all that,
as I huffed past his parked truck
on my morning walk.
Maybe he had just arrived
and was enjoying another day’s beginning,
mouth relaxed, eyes closed for a brief moment
against the glare of the water and the sky.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Long post, then question, about women in ministry

There's a big post on the ordination of women, among other things, over at rev mommy's Of her former denomination, she says:
I'm glad they've stuck to their guns and against the popular tide of affection in this country, have decided NOT to ordain women. I'm glad that tension exists. Not that I think that they are correct for me, personally, but their decision gives them an integrity. They believe what they believe and they are not afraid to stick by it. And this is admirable.
Later she goes on to say that it's not all sushine and roses for the women in her current denomination, who still experience discrimination, only it's more hidden and subtle. So, I've been chewing over whether it's better to have injustice but integrity, or good intentions but lack of integrity.

I think I've come to the side of the second, because of this that I believe: If a system is built on discrimination and injustice, it necessarily lacks integrity, one definition of which is "soundness or the state of being unimpaired." In a system which is based on the systematic suppression of some people's gifts (whether those people are people of color, women, gays and lesbians, young people, old people or whoever) it seems to me to that it's just not possible to be "unimpaired."

On the other hand, it's the human condition to strive toward integrity and to keep missing the mark. That's why Paul always is doing the thing he would not do, for instance. But I really believe that our call from God is to keep trying to be about creation of the Kingdom, as individuals and as instutions, even if we miss more often than we make it. For me, I know my call and path is to do that from inside the organization, as flawed as it is, as an ordained person.

I've been talking lately to friend who's not called to ordination, though, although she has the training for it. And there's a place for her, too, I know - as a person who loves the church but is not in leadership is in a unique position to be prophetic. Another friend in seminary said that the unordained are like your aunt - they are importnat to you, you love them, you have fun with them, AND your relationship is not all complicated like it is with your mom, so you can take criticism from them better. She wanted to be the aunt to the church for this reason.

And speaking of integrity leads to the question that's been rolling around recently after a conversation last week:
Is true team ministry possible, or is a patriarchal model of hierarchy among the pastorate in a multi-staff church inevitible?
If you have any experience pro or con, I would love to hear about it.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Friday Five - Olympics

Q and A from the RevGalBlogPals:

1) Which of the Winter Olympic sports is your favorite to watch?
As of today, men's skeleton! Dude, those guys are all the same age as me!
Least favorite, ice dancing. Now that's just silly.

2) Do you speak Snowboardese?
I guess I DO say "dude" more than I should. But other than that, probably not.

3) Define Nordic Combined. Don't look it up. Take a guess if you must.
Ski, shoot...um...catch a fish through a hole in the ice?

4) Curling. Please discuss.
I, for one, want to see a picture of Team Dorothy in those matching sweaters.

5) If you could be a Winter Olympics Champion just by wishing for it, which sport would you choose for winning your Gold Medal?
Hockey. I guess you can take the girl out of Duluth, but you can't take Duluth out of the girl.....

Friday Poetry - two for one

Since I didn't do this last week, here are two:

After the Transfiguration
Grinding up the steep incline,
our calves throbbing,
we talked of problems
and slapped at flies.
Then you touched my shoulder,
said, "turn around."

Behind us floated
surprise mountains
blue on lavender,
water-colored ranges:
a glimpse from God's eyes.

Descending, how could we chat
mundanely of the weather, like deejays?
We wondered if, returning,
James and John had squabbled:
whose turn to fetch the water,
after the waterfall of grace?

After he imagined the shining tents,
did Peter's walls seem narrow,
smell of rancid fish?
Did feet that poised on Tabor
cross the cluttered porch?
After the bleached light,
could eyes adjust to ebbing
grey and shifting shade?

Cradling the secret in their sleep
did they awaken cautiously,
wondering if the mountaintop
would gild again-bringing
that voice, that face?
by Kathy Coffey

After the ark plunges out of the water
and the survivors, in the chaos
of their happiness, burst
onto dry land, they dance
under the bluest sky they've ever seen,
shaking their hips and lifting their arms
and shouting for their prey.
And when the rainbow vaults across the sky
and the doves vanish into the light,
they know they've been saved.

But destruction comes to the impervious fish
who like sly speculators exploited the flood
for its great cargo of flesh.
Now on the hardened shore,
their exposed fins grow useless
and their open mouths gasp for air.
by Dan Pagis
translated Jeff Friedman and Nati Zohar

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Watching the Olympics

Jeff borrowed a TV from someone at work so we can watch the Olympics. So worth it. If there was Olympics on all the time, we'd TOTALLY have TV.
Tonight, we were all mesmerized by those crazy mogul skiiers (no - is that the right word? well, you know what I mean, right? the one on the bumpy course with the two flips). Anyway, whatever they're called, there's definately a sermon metaphor in there somewhere. Has anyone written one?

And, speaking of the Olympics, I can't stop laughing since I heard this conversation about Turin/Torino on Day To Day - it's so hilarious mostly because it's a little glimpse into the big high school that evidently is NPR.

Back seat theologians

Heard while driving my god-daughter and son around after a morning of really great playing.

C: (after a period of silence during which I thought she was asleep) Jen? Why CAN'T we see angels and fairies?
Me: (stalling) Um, I don't know, honey. What do YOU think?
C: (3 going on 14) I don't know.
Me: (lamely)Maybe it's because fairies and angels are closer to God than to us, and we can't see God either.
Eli: (I'm surprised to learn that not only is he also awake, but that he has an opinion about this subject.)God is in our tummies!
Me: Well, I guess you're right. Maybe we see fairies and angels all the time, we just don't know it.

I should just stay out of it. They've already got it figured out, evidently.

What I've been reading

The Peabody Sisters: 3 Women Who Ignited American Romanticism
Megan Marshall
Really 3 biographies for the price of one, since each of these women (Elizabeth, Mary, Sophia) was fascinatinng in her own right - they were artists, writers, pre-feminist-movement femininsts, educators, friends, lovers, travellers, and more. The book mostly left me hungry to know much much much more about the early-to-mid 1800's in New England, and about the men who were the sisters' friends and mentors. One married Horace Mann! One married Nathaniel Hawthorne! One was great friends with Bronson Alcott and Ralph Waldo Emerson! It leaves me wondering how I could have graduated from a liberal arts college with a double major in History and English knowing so little about those guys - or the women who inspired them.

You'll really love this book, though, RevGals, because the PASTORS are such ROCK STARS. These women walk 12 miles in scorching heat to see their favorite preacher. They swoon when he speaks. In this era in which religious figures are mostly dispensible, if not a little laughable, (as they are at least out here in the heathen Pacific Northwest) it was really inspiring to remember that at one time they (we?) had been respected and maybe even valuable community citizens.

What NOT to Expect: A Meditation on the Spirituality of Parenting
Keith W. Frome
I bought this on a whim at Cokesbury, since the first line on the back marketing copy was so succinctly true.
"The one experience all of us parents share is surprise."
I'm not sure about how the book hangs together, since I'm only 54 pages into it, but the chapter on PLAY has totally transformed how I interact with my son. Frome first debunks the common education system adage that "play is the work of childhood" - a concept that has always gotten under my skin, although I never knew why, until I read:
Our obsession with making work into play disprepects play and reduces it to the instrumental purposes of work. It also doesnt teach our children to be tolerant of drudgery, which is a fact of any life. To say that play is work is almost to apologize for play - "see, play really does accomplish something."

Instead, he says, play is prayer. Observe a child at play - the child kneels, the child is totally in the present and totally concentrating on what s/he is doing, the child's mind/body/spirit are all completely engaged.
Way back when I first started reading blogs, I remember Rachelle saying something about how she was bad at playing with her kids, which made me both shocked and relieved, since I always thought we should WANT to play with our kids, but I felt bad at that too. But if, when we're building legos, Eli and I are really connecting with God together - the God that lives abundantly in our creative impulses - then I'm TOTALLY into that. I've been enjoying Eli a lot more the last week or so, and I think this awareness is why. I'm looking forward to more insights and ideas!

Christ the Lord Out of Egypt
Anne Rice
Before I started, I read her "why I wrote this" essay in the back, which I found fascinating if a bit, well, cranky and defensive. I was moved by her obvious passion for the subject.
Given that, and given how moving the real deal is, it's kind of astonishing how both boring and confusing this book is.
There's a bunch of characters, but they are all alike (Anne! Take a lesson from George RR and give everyone a distinguishing limp or scar - or at the very least a banner with their logo on it - so we can tell them apart!) and the big shocker is not a surprise to anyone who knows the story already.
I'm a few chapters in, and I think I'm giving up on it, but I welcome encouragement to keep going if it gets better later.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Johari Window

I have this friend who was out of work, and she went to these state-sponsored placement trainings, and she had to take a lot of personality tests. She loved it so much that she asked if she could just get a job taking personality tests.

I'm with her. Check out my Johari Window page, and you can take a quick one, too.


Monday, February 13, 2006

This is my body

Thanks to Melanie Weidner for this image/prayer that I stumbled across today. I once had a vision so exactly like this during yoga class that it made me kind of jump when I came across it. Maybe it's one of those -- what are they called? -- archetypes.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sunday night ennui

Tonight I did not:
1. blog
2. write this week's newsletter article for church
3. assemble or address the compulsory cards for the daycare Valentine's Day Party
4. prepare for next week's
a. wedding
b. memorial service
c. sermon
(Yes, that IS quite a lot for a part time pastor to be tackling in one week. Thank you for asking.)
5. call my mom
6. clean the kitchen
7. make out with my husband
8. make any move to end world hunger, the war or the inexplicable power of Tim Eyman
9. buy my father a long overdue Christmas present for 2005 (have to get going on his birthday present, too....)
10. work out
11. pray

Tonight I:
organized my bookmarks (that's "favorites," windows users), throwing away the outdated ones and putting the rest into neatly labeled little folders.

Can I just ask "What the HELL IS MY PROBLEM?"
And can I also ask - does anyone know why I'd have this bookmarked?
Me neither.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Just call me Shallow Water these days

One day I will blog again about something profound, something theological, or something that will make you laugh until you cry. Today, sadly, is not that day.

You Are Kermit

Hi, ho! Lovable and friendly, you get along well with everyone you know.

You're a big thinker, and sometimes you over think life's problems.

Don't worry - everyone know's it's not easy being green.

Just remember, time's fun when you're having flies!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

so bad it's good

Hat tip rev mommy for this hilarious, horrible church commercial.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

So we had this little wind storm

This photo taken at Jeff's coworker's house earlier this week. Yikes. For the dauntless among you, more here.

Monday, February 06, 2006

5 more things

It's that Five Meme. Please feel free to use it as a procrastination tool.

Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Than add your blog to the bottom slot, like so.

1. BrightStar
2. Lucy
3. Phantom Scribbler
4. Songbird
5. Juniper68

Next, select five people to tag.

1. Inner Dorothy
2. Urban Abbess
3. Paris Project
4. Pink Shoes
5. Bad Alice

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Hmm, it's so hard to answer that specifically, but I'm pretty sure that in February 1996 I thought I was going to be a small town, natural-foods-store-worker, church-loving lesbian for the rest of the my life.
I was wrong about a lot of that.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Moping because I had to miss our local clergy retreat (at which John Thomas - !! - was keynoting) because somebody or other had the flu.

Five snacks you enjoy
1. Peanut butter, honey and a banana wrapped in a tortilla.
2. Yogurt.
3. Leftover cornbread, heated up with maple syrup on it.
4. Potato chips.
5. No chocolate, please. It gives me headaches. (Go ahead and say "FREAK!" I know you want to.)

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics
1. The entire soundtrack of Music Man.
2. Way too many hymns.
3. Christians and the Pagans - Dar Williams
4. The Eddystone Light (including "don't be ridiculous, a boy is a juvenile male." "No, a buoy. It guides the boats to sail.")
5. Hello, Goodbye - Beatles

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire
1. I cannot imagine this and don't even think I'd want it.
2. Knowing human nature, though, I'd probably try to squirrel it away.
3. But then I'd get to feeling guilty and try to give some away.
4. I'd probably make some bad choices and lose a lot of it.
5. Then I'd feel nervous and put-upon.
Repeat steps 2-5 ad infinitum.

Five bad habits
1. Losing my keys.
2. Losing my wallet.
3. Being grouchy in January and February.
4. Checking my blog for comments in the middle of the night, when it's just impossible that I've gotten any.
5. Assuming that everyone is talking about me behind my back.

Five things you like doing
1. Being outside.
2. Being outside at the beach.
3. Being outside at the beach when it's sunny.
4. Being outside at the beach when it's sunny with Eli.
5. Being outside at the beach when it's sunny with Eli and Jeff.

Five things you would never wear again
1. Anything size 8 or smaller.
2. Anything mustard yellow (I used to inexplicably LOVE that color! blech.)
3. Anything to hold back long hair (hopefully my hair will never be long enough to need those again)
4. Knee socks
5. High heeled shoes.

Five favorite toys
1. Marble maze
2. Play doh
3. Cars
4. Buzz Lightyear action figure
5. Anything like a stick that I can hit other things with
Oh wait, are those to be MY favorite? Hmm, well, I'll keep thinking...

Fill in the blank

Unattended adults will be given _________.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Friday Five - Dirty Deeds

five deeds you perform unwillingly, half-heartedly, resentfully

(With the caveat that this might not be a good day for me to start pouring out resentments, based on this week's previous posts.)

1. Move car seats from one car to the other
2. In fact, anything to do with cars: washing them, putting gas in them, buying them.
3. Changing the clothes on a moving target, er, toddler.
4. Folding laundry. Folding laundry is worse than scrubbing toilets in my opinion, that's how unwilling I am about it.
5. Can I put dusting? If I'm just so half-hearted about it that I actually never do it?

Turns out, I just needed some sleep

I slept for two hours this afternoon and woke up with my personality back! Yahooo for winter HIBERNATION!

So in honor of the deliciousness of a nap that really does the trick,
and for the loving gratitude I now magically feel for the husband who
just yesterday I was ready to send to some studio apartment in Belltown,
here's Friday's poetry blog:

Variation on the Word Sleep (Margaret Atwood)

I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head

and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and you enter
it as easily as breathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

sweet things

I'm so grumpy.

It's never going to stop raining.
Jeff, who's been really healthy all winter, has a bad cold and a deadline, so he's grumpy too.
By some cruel joke of the scheduling gods, both Jeff's PCA (who comes 2x a week, ostensibly to help him, but really to help us all by cleaning the kitchen and folding laundry) AND Eli's daycare provider are on vacation. This week, I am doing everything. in. the. world.
I promised something to a bereaved woman at work today that I'm going to have to tell her she can't have (not enough information until it was too late....)
I just typed this whole entry, then deleted it by accident, so I"m now typing it again.

Just 2 days in February, and it's already the longest, cruelest month, as far as I can tell.

But I'm fighting back by keeping track of sweet things.

1. We had BLT's for dinner. My favorite comfort food.

2. Eli's in the tub, playing a game with his cars where they talk to each other, as they zoom around and they're being so polite. "Can I go there?" "OK" "Sorry" "That's ok! See ya later!"

3. My friend came by this week and, seeing my almost-bloomed amaryllis, remembered that one story she knows of her grandfather, who she never knew, was that whenever he had an extra quarter, he would always use it to buy an amaryllis bulb.

4.Pandora. Tip of the 24-hours-all-folk-music-all-the-time hat to Sara for the link.

5. All done with ordinary time writing, she whispered. And then ducked to avoid the thrown stuff.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

grouchy, grouchy, grouchy

I'm testy about everything.

Eli yelled and slugged me when I told him that he was done with his computer time today, so I had to give him a time out of course, and no computer time tomorrow, which is actually a punishment for me since his hour or so of screen time per day is when I get a break.
Only 210 days until preschool starts.

Later, Jeff was sitting nicely by the fire, and I kept asking him to move out of the way, so I could poke the logs around (annoying) and he kept telling me how I was doing it wrong (double annoying) until I asked him, only half kidding, if we could stay married but live in separate houses.

I even seem to have depressed Songbird, which is the last thing in the world I would want to do.

I'm cheering myself up by remembering the dismayed look I saw recently on a very sweet woman's face when Eli, telling her about his new action figures, announced: "Hey! I have a buzz AND a woody!"