Saturday, August 30, 2008

Another Wordle

Obama's acceptance of the Democratic Party Nomination
(Click on it if you want to see it bigger)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Five: Thoughts on Labor Day

From Singing Owl over at RevGalBlogPals ...

Here in the USA we are celebrating the last fling of the good ol' summertime. It is Labor Day weekend, and families are camping, playing in the park, swimming, grilling hotdogs in the backyard, visiting amusement parks and zoos and historical sites and outdoor concerts and whatever else they can find to help them extend summer's sun and play just a little bit longer.

It is supposed to also be a celebration of the working man and woman, the backbone of the American economy, the "salt-of-the-earth neices and nephews of Uncle Sam. With apologies to those in other countries, this is a Friday Five about LABOR. All can play. Put down that hammer, that spoon, that rolling pin, that rake, that pen, that commentary, that lexicon, and let's have some fun.

1. Tell us about the worst job you ever had.
I've had many bad jobs ... Fast Food, Temping Nightmares, Wack-o bosses ... but hands down, the worst was the summer before I went away to college. I joined the summer corps of college students that filled in at the Chevrolet Engine factory in my home town of Flint, Michigan. We did all the work that no-one else wanted to do over the summer. Filling in on hot days, when the temp of the Assembly line was well over 100 degrees, getting felt up by greasy old guys ... resisting the urge to "speed out" the shifts with my drug-savvy cohorts.

2. Tell us about the best job you ever had.
Being a Mom and a Pastor, in that order. It's what I'm doing right now, and absolutely where God has called me to be.

3. Tell us what you would do if you could do absolutely anything (employment related) with no financial or other restrictions.
I would love to live and work at a retreat center, offering folks the opportunity to come away and rest.

4. Did you get a break from labor this summer? If so, what was it and if not, what are you gonna do about it?
The fam took a wonderful trip to the Black Hills in June. Later in July, I took a 'stay-cation,' spending a week at home, hosting my Mom for her 75th birthday, and enjoying some quality time with my boys and my brother.

5. What will change regarding your work as summer morphs into fall? Are you anticipating or dreading?
The juggling act will become more intense as we get used to the new school schedule, and figure out exactly what our childcare needs are, along with more evening commitments for myself at church. Yeah, I'm dreading it a bit.

Bonus question: For the gals who are mothers, do you have an interesting story about labor and delivery (LOL)? If you are a guy pal, not a mom, or you choose not to answer the above, is there a song, a book, a play, that says "workplace" to you?
My interesting story about labor is that even though I've had two children, I've never experienced labor. My first was a week late, and HUGE, and positioned in a dangerous way, so I had an emergency c-section. Our second was delivered the same way because I was 'too old' to have a V-back. Weird thing is, I went through my whole first pregnancy with midwives, not wanting to think of birth as an emergency medical event, but a natural process. Somebody up there has an odd sense of humor.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Stay Up Late

We let the boys stay up and watch Obama's speech tonight.
True to form, Micah was very attentive and thoughtful; Luke was attentive, too, but had many comments and questions to interject. It was so cool, as a family, to watch what feels like history being made. When we let the boys know that tonight's speech would take the place of their bedtime story, it was Luke who observed, "This is an important story!." They are still so wide eyed, and take it all in.

I do hope that there will be major change for the lives of our children as Barack has promised. I do hope that we are at a defining moment in America's history. A moment when we embrace the reality that, as Dr King said, "we are all tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured." *

Amen! May it be so.

* From "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution," delivered by Martin Luther King at the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., on 31 March 1968.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Clinging to Hope

Romans 8:37-39
created at

Say a Prayer

Today my job took me to a very dark and difficult place ... to the bedside of a woman who is dying of leukemia. She is a mom who is my age, and who, like me has two young sons. She can no longer speak, but her eyes and lips beseeched me to call her husband to come and be with her. I prayed for her, invoking the Romans passage "neither life nor death nor .... height nor depth can keep us from the love of God." claiming the strong promise of God's love and presence even in this present darkness. But tears covered my face. There was no bravado. There wasn't a glimmer, really of God's presence in that ICU room. After I blessed her and promised to call her husband she was ready to sleep again. On my way out, I stopped in the chapel and wept. There's no making sense of this painful, tragic death.

Please pray for LuAnn. Pray for her husband and two children. Oh Jesus, your kingdom come.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Five

So I joined the RevGalBlogPals ... there are so many awesome/insightful writers over there. I could read those blogs all day. One of the fun things they do there is the Friday Five. Today's random assignment is all about dates. So here goes, for my first Friday Five.

1) Datebooks--how do you keep track of your appointments? Electronically? On paper? Month at a glance? Week at a glance?
I try to keep track of everything in Outlook, but it hasn't been synchronizing with my Blackberry. So now I have a really fancy phone, and a cobbled-together three-ring binder holding scribbled-on, printed out Outlook week-at a glance pages.

2) When was the last time you forgot an important date?
A few months ago I forgot a meeting with one of my favorite, hardest working volunteers. It was a wake-up call to get more organized.

3) When was the last time you went OUT on a date?
E and I went out for dinner a few weeks ago. Time to schedule some spouse time!

4) Name one accessory or item of clothing you love even though it is dated.
My pointy-toed, kitten-heeled mules. They went out of style almost immediately after I finally decided I liked them and was brave enough to wear them. I still feel trendy when I have them on. So there, style-setters.

5) Dates--the fruit--can't live with 'em? Or can't live without 'em?
Dates always remind me of Christmas, and I do kind of feel like it's not quite Christmas if you don't have some dates to nosh with the appetizer plate, or date filled cookies. Yum.

Revisiting Romans

Over the Summer, we've been having a sermon series on the book of Romans at SOTV ... what an amazing challenge it has been to take this book of deep theological insight, complex argument, and moments of brilliance and come up with sermons that both: a) do it justice, and b) seem relevant to 21st century church comers. A couple of my sermons have been posted here (For reasons I don't understand, they are not available as mp3 files that I can post over to the right)

The reason I feel it's necessary to blog about this though, has much more to do with sharing the brilliance of N.T. Wright than it does with me getting you to listen to my half-baked sermons! I'm probably way behind the curve on reading N.T. Wright - he is such a prolific and wonderful scholar/author! But I am now officially on the bandwagon. Here's a quote that literally made tears spring to my eyes as I was reading his commentary on Romans in the New Interpreter's Bible:
"The God whom Paul has glimpsed in the gospel, whose justice and mercy he has been expounding in this his greatest letter, is vast and mysterious as the sea, near and intimate as breath, decisive and compassionate as a Galilean holy man on his way to a cruel death. The Wisdom tradition, the prophetic tradition, the Pentateuch, the psalms, all are now poured out in justice and mercy, through the gospel of Jesus the Messiah and the power of the Spirit."

Then... talking to my friend Deb Stehlen this past week, she recommended Wright's latest, Surprised by Hope, so that is now on the top of the to-read list. I'm so thankful for this cool drink of water for my theologically thirsty soul.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Blogger Name That Tune!

I love this! A friend of a friend came up with this and posted his on Facebook - but I thought I'd try it here, too ... try it out, write your guesses in a comment to me, then go post your own list!

This is my entire iTunes library on song random. My catalog's pretty weird, so who knows how this will shape up. Still, it's worth a shot. Winner (most correct) gets a pat on the back. No cheating!

Step 1: Put your music player on random.
Step 2: Post the first line (or 2) from the first 30 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing the song.
Step 3: Post and let everyone you know guess what song and artist the lines come from.
Step 4: Post the Song Title and Artist when someone guesses correctly.

1. Hey, Man! Don't look so scared, you know I'm only testing you out
2. Pretty soon you'll be able to remember her, lying in the garden singing
3. My friend the Communist holds meetings in his RV
4. From father to son the blood runs thin Red Hill Mining Town U2 (Justin Rimbo)
5. Shut it down and call this road a day
6. I lie awake so often at night, With something to read or something to write
7. I think I found the recipe for creativity
8. Where you are, is where I wanna be, and through your eyes, all the things I wanna see
9. Last night the moon was full, and last night it all stood still
10. I have a feeling, it's a feeling I'm concealing, I don't know why (hint: this is the singer's little introductory riff before launching into an old standard)
11. Man it's a hot one, like seven inches from the midday sun Smooth Santana featuring Rob Thomas (Justin Rimbo)
12. Hold me down to anything, anything that you see; I should walk away right now
13. Home is where I wanna be, pick me up and turn me around (bonus points if you can name the original artist, and guess which artist is covering this on my iPod!)
14. Not everyone in New York would pay to see Andrew Lloyd Webber
15. Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock Jingle bells swing and ... (Yup, pretty much every time I put my iPod on random, I get Christmas music! Yippee! Take a stab at what artist this might be ... )
16. Seven days was all she wrote, a kind of ultimatum note
17. Light it up, baby, light up that fire. I don't know what's gonna save me from the cold night.
18. Here we go again, another round of blues
19. In the middle of the night I'm growing secrets
20. I just can't leave it alone, I've got to sing a song of my redemption
21. What we are and what we were once are not far estranged
22. Heaven, I'm in heaven, and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak Cheek to Cheek Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong (Big Jon Wood)
23. We don't eat in no white restaurants, we eat in the car
24. Occurred to me the other day, you've been gone now a couple years Goodbye Patty Griffin (Big Jon Wood)
25. As I walk away, I look over my shoulder to see what I'm leaving behind
26. Here we are again, sublime synchronicity, finally got you back to me
27. You will lose your baby teeth; at times you'll lose your faith in me
28. Hosanna! Come and deliver, come and deliver your people from death
29. I've been feeling kind of restless, I've been feeling out of place
30. You've got the cool water when the fever runs high Something So Right Paul Simon (Justin Rimbo) aaand Jabonzie-Ass gets the bonus! Annie Lennox

p.s. even though I have 1000s of songs on my iPod, this random list of 30 generated duplicate artists 5 times! (One got three songs!)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Six Seven Eight

A dear friend created the most wonderful gift for me recently. I can't get into specifics ... it's way too complicated and personal to post in the blog-o-sphere ... but, it entailed me telling her about an incident in my childhood, and then, her tracking down pictures of me as a little girl to include in said gift ... got that? Seeing these pictures of myself as a child right around the ages of my own two boys made me all misty, and makes me love them all the more, and, also somehow encourages me to be a little kinder to myself.

Me at 6; A first grader in Phoenix, AZ.

At 7, enjoying something finger-lickin' good.

8 years old, sitting in front of Grandma & Grandpa Wood's 'Maiden's Blush' Rose. I have a slip from this plant growing in my yard now.

p.s. ... A few days later ... I realized that I the middle picture was also taken when I was eight ... but I don't want to change my snappy "six-seven-eight" title!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Growing Things

It's been so fun having a whole new yard this summer! The previous owners of our house did a wonderful job of landscaping with perennials, especially in the beds closest to the front of the house. My new favorite is the balloon flower ... delicate purple/blue blossoms and the buds actually do look like balloons:

There was a little chicken-wire fenced square in the back corner of the lot, with a lonely rhubarb plant and a few chives coming up this spring. So I mused about it a bit, and one day at Target (that reputable seller of seeds?!) I got swept away by the seed packet display and bought up a few veggies and plants to try in our little patch. I bought tomato, basil and pepper plants at an actual nursery. And here's where we stand as of early August ...

The rhubarb that just won't quit, and the lovely Black-eyed Susans that recently appeared

My prize crops: Corn, tomatoes, crowded cabbage and carrots

And we have the promise of pumpkins in the fall

In the nearby bed that was once a sandbox, there are some random flowers growing, none that appear to have been the seeds I planted. This one is most intriguing to me:

A few weeks ago, it looked like this.

And now, like this.

These intricate little pods are so beautiful. I don't have a clue what they are, but it seems enough to appreciate them and wonder.

Always, I dream about what I can grow next year. I was inspired by a recent visit to a lovely garden grown by a couple from church. The Hollyhocks (which have a special place in my heart for some reason) were spectacular this summer.

Maybe next year ...

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Micah went to a "Cool Camp" at church this week:'Kids On Stage.' He and I worked together to make a little movie from their final performance. First is the dance they did to the song 'Superstar' by Go Fish, then a few pictures from their short play based on the Max Lucado book, 'You Are Mine.' The teachers did an awesome job with getting the children made-up to look like they have puppet faces. It was a great break from the late-summer sibling rivalry that is now cropping up around the house ... and I sincerely hope that the message of God's unconditional love struck my boy in a new way.