Thursday, November 27, 2014

oops...missed a day!

Yesterday I wasn't quite ready to write a sermon, so I spent the day reading novels.

Yes, novelS, plural. I read two whole books yesterday. Both historical fiction about women...one more a romance novel and the other a well researched imaginative retelling about Napoleon's American sister-in-law whom he refused to recognize.

I also took a nap.

Between these three things, I didn't go to bed until about 1am...and because I was busy reading, I forgot to blog!

So November will go down as ALMOST NaBloPoMo. Hopefully I can manage to get something up the next few days, and there will be just the one lost day.

I have to say--if I'm going to miss a day, I'm glad to have missed it for a day spent in my pajamas, petting cats and reading novels. I am grateful for the leisure to take a whole day without any productivity, for a home that holds heat well, for blankets and more clothes than I need, for cats who snuggle and purr, for plenty of food.

Today: a sermon. I swear. And also Tofurkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, garlic butter crescent rolls... (and who knows, maybe some kind of actual vegetable will happen too.)

There may also be deviled eggs. Because yum.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Getting Ready

it's almost Advent--the season of getting ready.

but before that, there's other stuff to get ready for.

Namely: MASHED POTATO DAY!

I am in possession of potatoes. and butter. and milk.

I also have french cut green beans, campbell's cream of mushroom, and french's french fried onions.

I have a library book.

I have blankets.

I have cookies.

I have cinnamon rolls.

I'm ready.

Good thing, because let me just tell you, everyone in Crystal Lake was at Jewel today at 5:30pm. The entire parking lot was full and every aisle of the store was packed. I can't even imagine what it'll be like tomorrow.

Sadly, Jewel was all out of sermons on Habakkuk.
(guess what I'll be doing while everyone else is last-minute shopping, making pies, and frantically cleaning their houses for family visits?)

Monday, November 24, 2014

How Long, O Lord?

I am not sure what to write on a night when our legal system has declared that a teenager's death doesn't warrant a trial.

I am not sure what to write on a night when my Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with friends who fear for their own safety, and their children's safety, every time they leave the house.

I am not sure what to write on a night when snow is falling and people are gathered to pray and to rage and to exercise their first amendment rights, only to be met by riot gear and water canons and tear gas.

I am not sure what to write on a night when good hardworking professional people see their work, identity, and calling being denigrated by those who use their power to hurt rather than protect, and by those who lump all people in uniform together without seeing the irony there.

I am not sure what to write on a night when I came home to this news, straight from a church book group where we talked about a character who says "we can't choose our hearts...we can't choose what we want and don't want...we can't escape who we are" and how that sounds and awful lot like Paul in Romans 7 saying "I can't do the good that I want to do; instead I do the evil that I don't want to do." But at least both Theo and Paul recognize that what they do is not good, and that they are captive to something greater than they are. (I especially don't want to write about this tonight because an argument about the theological concept of Free Will is beyond my emotional capabilities today.)

When I don't know what to say, I usually turn to quoting something else. In my mind today is the scripture for this Sunday, since I've had to get everything ready today (as opposed to some weeks when I don't finish until Thursday morning...or, you know, Saturday night). It sums up my wordlessness pretty well.

Not to mention that, honestly, occasionally there is a time to keep silence. In mourning, in vigil, in solidarity with those whose voices will never be heard, as an act of protest against a system that thinks it can mask its shortcomings with long speeches. I am silent as I let the voice of the prophets cry out across the centuries. Then tomorrow I will again take up the echo of their voices, whispering and shouting and praying for the kingdom of God to come on earth as it is in heaven.

Habakkuk 1.1-4
O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
   and you will not listen?
Or cry to you ‘Violence!’
   and you will not save?
Why do you make me see wrongdoing
   and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
   strife and contention arise.
So the law becomes slack
   and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous—
   therefore judgment comes forth perverted. 



How long, O Lord?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Singing Thanks

After a day practicing Sabbath (I napped, read 2.5 books, petted the kitties, listened to the rain, and enjoyed the silence), tonight was the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service.

I've been involved in this service since the beginning, which we think may have been 7 years ago. Or possibly 6. In any case...we have had a variety of ways to give thanks as a community over the past several years. Some years we have relied heavily on spoken and chanted prayers from different traditions--responsive readings, especially. A couple of years we had storytellers who brought out different themes of gratitude. Last year we asked each faith community to give us a synopsis of the foundations/keystones of their tradition, and celebrated the things that make us who we are--and then we asked each individual to think of what they personally have to offer, and we put together the puzzle of our community, literally.

This year, we called the program "Melodies of Gratitude" and we spent the evening hearing music from a variety of musicians who are part of different traditions. Some of the music was explicitly religious (a Muslim poem of thanks), others were written by members of the various communities. Some were instrumental and meditative, evoking thoughts of our blessings without ever uttering a word, others involved the whole congregation in singing along. While it went longer than we anticipated, it was wonderful to hear from so many beautiful voices and instruments, to let gratitude echo through the amazing space and settle into our souls through melody, harmony, rhythm, and wonder.

I'm so lucky to be a part of Faithbridge. I hope everyone has something like it, because this is the kind of thing that changes the world for the better: when we get together and hear each other's songs and stories, share snacks, visit each other's houses of worship, and know our neighbors' names and places. Amazing, and worth all the gratitude we can muster!

here are some snippets of communal singing with the performers--beautiful in the wonderful Blue Lotus space, as you can hear.


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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sabbath

If you unexpectedly had three free hours on a weekend morning, what would you do?

I suspect lots of us would fill them with things we haven't had time for--chores, errands, etc.

But what about filling them with the things we can't afford to not have time for--rest, renewal, and reminding ourselves that the world does not revolve around us nor depend on us.

That's what we're doing at church this weekend. We had a potluck dinner tonight (with more amazing food than we knew what to do with), which led right into a time of worship with communion. Tomorrow morning, the church building will be dark while the church (us) allows the Spirit to do her thing, recreating us, filling us up, and giving us the chance to let go of our illusion of control.

In the Jewish tradition, the Sabbath is a time for no work--which includes writing and drawing, because God the creator rested, so we too rest from creating.

It's a hard thing, to just BE rather than DOING all the time.
I don't know if I can completely let go for the morning, but I look forward to seeing what God will get up to when we leave space for that work, rather than filling it with what we "should" do.

I couldn't even get all the food in one photo. three  tables of mains, plus a table of desserts!

listening to jazz while waiting for mommy to bring dinner


Friday, November 21, 2014

cooking and baking

Tomorrow night we're having a potluck at church. It's going to be amazing.

Whenever there is a potluck, I almost always bring two things. Mostly because I'm a vegetarian, and I generally assume that there won't be much veggie-friendly at a potluck...and also because I like to show people that vegetarian food is delicious.

For this potluck, I'm bringing two soups. Because: winter. First will be my aunt's recipe, a vegan potato corn chowder. The other will be a crockpot version of the chili that Amy and I created in seminary (the original recipe includes the words "If Teri is coming over in 30 minutes, cook on high and stir constantly, as if over the flames of hell.").

I'm also bringing an apple crisp with a pomegranate sauce, because I have a TON of apples and 2 pomegranates just waiting for me to do something delicious with them.

I'm also in charge of bringing some delicious pie crust snacks like my grandma used to make at holidays--pie crust, butter, cinnamon, sugar. So good.

Plus I had to make myself dinner today (butternut squash and sage pasta, side of brussels sprouts. mmmm.)

All this cooking has me mentally connecting to my mom and grandma. I think about how I used to beg my mom to double the topping for fruit crisp. I roll out the pie crust dough using her marble rolling pin and marble pastry board. I follow my grandma's instructions to spread the butter with my fingers and be liberal with the cinnamon. I make things up when it comes to "pomegranate sauce" because frankly recipes are overrated.

I love to cook. I used to love to cook with my mom, and now I cook with her tools and appliances, hearing her voice in my mind as I neglect to measure anything. It's not the same, but it's better than not at all.

(and also, everything so far is DELICIOUS. yes, I always taste before I serve to others!)

last sheet, in progress!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

happy birthday, grandpa!

Today was my grandpa's 80th birthday. Or it would have been, except that he died three years ago.

I don't even understand how it's been three years already, but that's what grandma said, so it must be true.

My grandpa was pretty awesome. Not a saint, but still awesome. He worked with his hands all his life--building things, growing things. He was kind, though quiet. Not an intellectual by any means, but hard working and honest and friendly. I loved him, and still do.

Bonus: he helped make my mom and my aunt amazing too. Played ball with them, taught them to be self-sufficient, gave them skills that are still useful today. He taught us all that we girls could just as well drive a tractor, use tools, and throw a baseball as anyone else could. And even with only one eye, he could see more truth in people and the world than many can.

Happy birthday, grandpa.

in honor of Albert Martin Scott, a selection of photos from 3rd grade to age 70...






the beloved dog, and the beloved car

seminary graduation...obviously my grandparents are on the right, parents on the left. ;-)