Tuesday, June 29, 2010

conflict style and stuff

Back in January we had the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center out at RCLPC to do a weekend workshop for the leadership about Transforming Conflict. We took these conflict style inventories and were issued name tags with different colors on them so that we could easily identify the people with various communication and conflict styles.

We haven't done a stellar job implementing or practicing our knowledge gained from that workshop, though I think we've tried a little. I'm hopeful we can continue practicing those skills, and maybe even have LMPS out again for more training.

In the meantime, this morning at the Young Clergy Women Conference we are discussing our conflict styles, and I'm reminded of that earlier workshop. We've been talking about the difference between collaboration and negotiation, the pros and cons of avoiding/accommodating and of persuasion or support...and we've just ended with a discussion of the levels of conflict escalation and how we can work in each of those levels to help people manage conflicts in healthy and appropriate ways. Good discussion....

Now if only I could remember the animals that LMPC assigned to each style, I could seriously add something to this discussion. (So far we've had mention of She-Ra and of raccoons falling through ceilings...)

talking, laughing, singing, and glitter glue

We had a great first day of the conference--creative worship opportunities abound, as does laughter, learning, and glitter glue.

That's right, glitter glue.

Because what's a conference about leadership without a little glam???

We made collages to help us think about the characteristics of healthy Adaptive Leaders...everyone's collage included some form of yoga (flexibility!). Ours also included such gems as a bird cage (don't keep people in the box), several pairs of eyes (gotta have vision!), and the statement "they love what they do and it shows." And, of course, plenty of glitter--a reminder to stay focused not on the shiny things but on the big picture and vision. :-)

So far we've talked about adaptive challenges, we've learned both from coaches and each other, and we've had some good late night conversations over a glass of wine.

And we've discovered that the hotel breakfast is...not. So right now I'm off to Panera before another day!

Monday, June 28, 2010


...we got lost this morning.
Emory = BAD signage.

But then we found it....

and we were the first ones there.

Now we seem to all be found! :-) Let the Young Clergy Women conference begin!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Getting ready!

I'm getting ready to be gone for a week...a week spent mostly at the Young Clergy Women conference. This year it's in Atlanta, which will be H-O-T but also has some serious advantages...the restaurants, for one. And the friends with whom I can stay for a couple post-conference reading/writing days for another.

So, how does one get ready for a week spent with other women clergy under 35?

Well, first one buys enough of Jaci's cookies to last the week. (sorry, I only bought one for each day for myself--that's all I can pack--so the rest of you will have to drool over her menu in awe.)
One gets both a pedicure and a haircut, of course.
Then one prints out one's boarding pass, and uses the online time to check facebook and twitter.
Then one makes sure to eat as much of whatever's in the fridge as possible. (in this case, I'm leaving a bunch of polenta and some spinach, but hoping for the best. Maybe I'll take the spinach to share the bounty...)
Then one does laundry, and looks at the dishes that need to be put in the dishwasher (which may require unloading said dishwasher), but instead checks facebook and blogs, all while the Roomba does its thing.
Then one ensures there is enough cat food and litter for the week, and that the catsitter has keys (she does).
Then one buys a new fluff book for the plane and another new book that everyone's been talking about.
Then one talks to one's best friend and conference roommate to determine whether it's possible to share any of the packing (for instance, toothpaste, which for some reason never quite fits into the 3-1-1 thing.).
Then one chooses which clothes to wear, determines the availability of an iron at the conference location, and puts everything into the suitcase.
Then the cat sits in the suitcase as well, registering displeasure at the arrival of this black box on the bedroom floor. He/She may also be signaling approval or disapproval of clothing choices, but it's hard to tell when they're sitting on them.
then one takes a break from all this hard work (ha!) to check facebook and write a blog.
Then one pets kitties and contemplates the dishes again...but instead goes to stare at the suitcase and attempts to discern what is being forgotten.
Then one checks the weather to determine that it will in fact be very hot and humid and will likely thunderstorm every afternoon.
Then one facebook chats with a bunch of people, to pass the time even though it's beginning to get late.
Then, at last, one tackles the dishes, finishes the laundry, and closes the suitcase until the last-minute things (the 3-1-1 bag, for instance) need to be added in the morning.
And then there's sleeping.
And upon waking, there's going to the conference to be with fabulous other young women!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


There have been a lot of storms lately--physical ones, I mean. I feel almost like I live in the South again, what with the daily thunderstorms. There have been tornadoes, lightning and thunder, hail, power outages, and crazy wind.

This past Friday night we had two huge and powerful thunderstorms come through. The radar was RED, the trees outside were bent almost to 45 degrees, and the lightning and thunder continued for hours. There were reports of tornado sirens (but no tornadoes) and of hail the size of a quarter.

Also over the weekend I was contemplating 1 Kings 19, where Elijah experiences a storm (wind, earthquake, fire), followed by silence. He's also experiencing a political/religious storm, of course. Not to mention his internal storm!

Three years ago I preached on this text and opened with "it was a dark and stormy night, both inside and outside Elijah." Then this year, when it was actually a dark and stormy night outside, I decided I couldn't reuse the line...too bad. (The Glee illustration worked just as well!)

The internal storms are harder to talk about--this is the stuff of novels and TV dramas. We all have them, and each person's storm is different. I think I pretty well covered that in the sermon below this post (not that I was intentionally identifying with Elijah...it just sort of happened!) I think the interesting part is that the silence, the calm, comes after the storm, not before. Usually we talk about "the calm before the storm" and mean that eerie silence when birds stop singing and there's not even a hint of breeze...the calm that means something bad is coming. But this calm after the storm is...well, hopefully is not just the calm before the next storm! It's somehow qualitatively different. It feels different, more...calm, I suppose, less anxious/filled-with-foreboding.

Sometimes the summer is the calm (both before and after the storm!) season for pastors, especially those of us who work primarily with programs. Programs tend to break in the summer, at least a little bit. It's a time to both take a breath and to look ahead, to plan. At this moment in our congregation's life, and in my life as the Associate Pastor of a congregation that is without a head of staff, we're doing more breathing and less planning...hoping to be in that lull that means that the worst is over and something good is coming.

Elijah left the mountain after the storm and found himself in a partnership with someone new. I'm hoping the same will be true for us--it's so much easier to face the next storm with a colleague by your side.

(send some good vibes our way, would you? we've been waiting for the Spirit for a long time on this one, so if we could just remind her that we're still waiting....LOL!)


When I woke up this morning, I had a mashup of Ants Marching (DMB), Istanbul (they might be giants), and Run Runaway (Great Big Sea) going on in my head.

How on earth did you guess that this morning I am up ridiculously early to teach some of our youth to lead energizers?

That's right, it's VBS and our VBS is in need of some...energizing. :-) We're in Africa for VBS--there are large african animals everywhere, there are Baobab trees all around the church building, and there are some suspiciously african looking (and sounding!) drums going on down the hall.

So this morning we'll have...completely NOT African-themed energizers. Because I don't have time (or energy, ha!) to make up a new one, so we'll be doing some classics.

So, my Presby-geek friends and fellow youth leaders, fear not! Another generation of energizer-crazed youth is on their way!

(I wonder if I can get a nap after the kids go off to their rotations??? LOL!)

(PS--wondering which of those energizers I'll choose this morning? Answer: none of the above. I think we're going with "Revolution" because it's so repetitive....)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

retreat--a sermon for Ordinary 12C

Rev. Teri Peterson
1 Kings 19.1-15a
20 June 2010, Ordinary 12C

King Ahab told Queen Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ‘So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.’ Then he was afraid; he got up and fled for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongs to Judah; he left his servant there.
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.’ Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, ‘Get up and eat.’ He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, ‘Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.’ He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food for forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God. At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there.
Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He answered, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.’
He said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He answered, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.’ Then the Lord said to him, ‘Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus…’

I don’t know if any of you have been watching the TV show “Glee” over the past few months—I definitely have. It’s about a high school show choir called New Directions. A few weeks ago, there was an episode in which the opposing choir showed off how good they are—great choreography, great costumes, great music. And then, to top it off, one of the New Directions stars defected to that opposing choir, breaking up with his glee club star girlfriend in the process. It sent the whole choir into a spiral of depression—though they won the last contest, they believe they can’t win the upcoming regional competition, and so they begin to give up. They…well, metaphorically anyway…curl up under a tree in the desert and go to sleep, hoping never to wake up.

Elijah seems to also be in a funk, as the choir director put it. He won the big contest—proved that the Lord is God AND eliminated the false prophets all in one fell swoop. But now there’s an even bigger contest coming, and the opposition is fierce and powerful. So rather than let an evil queen kill him, he runs away—hundreds of miles away—and then lays down and asks to die.

I suspect many of us have been here—maybe not literally asking to die, but so tired, so worn out, so deep in the darkness that it’s all we can do to eat the bread the angels bring before we go back to sleep. We may not be battling the prophets of Baal or running for our lives from one of the most notorious evil queens of history, but a lot of the time we are battling something, or running from something. And sometimes, the cost of discipleship seems too high. To keep facing the competition, to keep following God’s call, to keep picking up the cross every day, to keep widening the circle of grace while others seem always to be closing it. Sometimes the world is just too overwhelming, the need to great, the problem too big, and our resources too small.

And so we run.

And we leave behind the people who help us, and we run some more.

Then, at last, we rest. Where no one can see, we just let it go. The fa├žade comes down, the cheery face gets put away, and we just … rest. No expectations, no one needing us, no one waiting for our opinion or direction or help.

Sometimes we get to this place because our bodies refuse to go any farther—we get sick, or our body breaks, and we’re forced to be still.
Sometimes we get to this place because our minds can no longer keep up—something snaps and we just have to stop.
Sometimes we get to this place because people around us are willing to pick up the slack so we can take a little time off before “burnout” becomes literal.

However we get here, though, it’s not the end of the journey. It’s tempting to stay here on vacation from life, but this is just the beginning, the first water station, the restaurant where we carbo load before the big race. Food and water weren’t what Elijah really needed—they were a means to an end.

When Elijah got to the mountain—the mountain where God spoke to Moses, where God made the Israelites a community, where Elijah could literally stand on the promises of God—he rested again. But physical rest wasn’t the point in this place. Soon there came The Word of God: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Here, far from home yet close to his foundation. Here, a place of refuge and hope. Here, our rock and our fortress. What are you doing here?

Elijah’s answer rivals even show choir for its melodrama. “I’ve been working so hard, and no one even cares, and I’m ALL ALONE.”

I suspect most of us have been here too.

Then something happens—this vacation turns into Sabbath, into a retreat. It’s not just a trip, not just a time to rest, not just a chance to sight-see in the Sinai. It’s time for Elijah’s spirit to be renewed by a meeting with the living God.

All the usual acts of God come first—raging wind, shaking earth, crackling flames. We’ve seen all of these before—burning bushes and pillars of fire, earthquakes that free apostles in prison, Pentecost wind. But this time is different.

This time, these signs come and go…to be followed by the only lasting sign: silence.

You know how sometimes silence can be deafening? This is a quiet we rarely hear in our electronic-filled world. This is the kind of quiet where all you can hear is your heartbeat—even your thoughts seem fuzzy in the din of silence. The kind of quiet only God can give us—maybe even the kind that we can only find inside ourselves, regardless of the noise outside.

It doesn’t say how long the silence lasted, but I like to think it was long enough for Elijah to meet himself—to hear his thoughts, his feelings, his heart. Long enough to look deep and see the image of God inside.

Into that silence comes the Word again—living, breathing, whispering. And this time, when Elijah tells God that he feels alone and overworked, it’s not the same melodramatic whining of the first conversation. This time, it feels like a confession. Into the silence, Elijah whispers, “I thought I had to do it all myself. I thought I had to have it all figured out. I thought you had left me alone.”

In that confession, God is moving in and through Elijah. Elijah’s own spirit has met the One who can feed him, who brings the peace that passes our understanding, who will never EVER leave him alone.

This is what Sabbath is for—to encounter the living God and find our spirits renewed. In the process we too can whisper into the silence our own belief that we have it all figured out, or that we should have it all figured out. We can admit that we don’t know, and there might even be more than one right answer, and we’re never going to be able to do more than follow where we are called. In other words, we can confess our own idolatry of ourselves. We can look deep and see the image of God—the image we want to reflect into the world—is so much better than the image we’ve been reflecting…and then we can clear away the stuff that gets in the way.

Only then can we hear the call again: Go, return on your way.

Just as the nap under the tree wasn’t the destination, the mountain isn’t the destination either. Yes, we need both the rest and the retreat. We need to have our bodies and spirits nourished and renewed. But that’s a means to an end—to get back on the way. And this time, we’ll walk the road of life and discipleship knowing that the Spirit of God goes within us, whispering encouragement and direction—and that’s all we need to know for now.

Thanks be to God.

Monday, June 14, 2010

no contest--a sermon for June 13 2010

Rev. Teri Peterson
no contest
1 Kings 18.20-40
13 June 2010, Ordinary 11C (ordinary 9C text)

King Ahab sent to all the Israelites, and assembled the prophets at Mount Carmel. Elijah then came near to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.’ The people did not answer him a word. Then Elijah said to the people, ‘I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets number four hundred and fifty. Let two bulls be given to us; let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it; I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god and I will call on the name of the Lord; the god who answers by fire is indeed God.’ All the people answered, ‘Well spoken!’ Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, ‘Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many; then call on the name of your god, but put no fire to it.’ So they took the bull that was given them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, crying, ‘O Baal, answer us!’ But there was no voice, and no answer. They limped about the altar that they had made. At noon Elijah mocked them, saying, ‘Cry aloud! Surely he is a god; either he is meditating, or he has wandered away, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.’ Then they cried aloud and, as was their custom, they cut themselves with swords and lances until the blood gushed out over them. As midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice, no answer, and no response.
Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come closer to me’; and all the people came closer to him. First he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down; Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, ‘Israel shall be your name’; with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. Then he made a trench around the altar, large enough to contain two measures of seed. Next he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood. He said, ‘Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt-offering and on the wood.’ Then he said, ‘Do it a second time’; and they did it a second time. Again he said, ‘Do it a third time’; and they did it a third time, so that the water ran all round the altar, and filled the trench also with water.
At the time of the offering of the oblation, the prophet Elijah came near and said, ‘O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your bidding. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.’ Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt-offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and even licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, ‘The Lord indeed is God; the Lord indeed is God.’ Elijah said to them, ‘Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape.’ Then they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Wadi Kishon, and killed them there.

We human beings seem to love a good competition—we saw one over the past couple of weeks as we’ve cheered and sighed at our TVs, shouting at the little black puck or the people skating around the rink, and finally looking almost with disbelief as we figured out that we’d won the game with a bizarre shot in overtime. We love to be on teams—whether it’s Team Jacob or Team Edward, or the Blackhawks or Team USA. We also love to root for our team, and we especially love to celebrate when the right…umm, I mean the best…team wins.

So of course, when Elijah sets up a showdown between Team God and Team Baal, the whole country turns out for the big game. There’s a drought going on, so there’s nothing else to do—no crops are growing, the economy’s limping, and excitement is rare.

Elijah gives Team Baal every advantage—they get to pick their bull, they get to go first, build their own altar, pray their own prayers, and wait for their sacrifice to go up in flames. They pray, they dance, they cut themselves, they wail and cry and shout, for hours and hours. When nothing happens, Elijah gives them a further advantage—he pours 12 jars of precious, valuable water onto his own Team God altar and sacrifice. You can practically see the people panting with thirst as jar after jar of water pours onto the dead bull and dry ground.

Then the big moment—the sudden death overtime, if you will. Elijah talks to God for a mere two sentences, and the whole thing, water and all, is on fire.

In the end, it was no contest, really. Because only God is God—Baal is nothing but an idol, a figment of imagination, a figurine carved by human hands.

The thing is, the Israelites knew that…or at least, they should have known that. They’ve experienced the power of God, the liberation, the promises fulfilled…and yet. There’s something seductive about these other gods, the ones we can make for ourselves, the ones we can control, the ones our neighbors or our leaders or even our enemies might suggest. These other gods…they can’t be all bad, right? Maybe we can just slip in a little prayer here and there, a little statue in the corner, a quick trip to the new altar…no one will notice, and we’ll just cover all our bases. There’s nothing wrong with hedging our bets just a little, right?

Except for that pesky first commandment—the one that says “I am the Lord your God, and you shall have no other gods before me.” Seems pretty straightforward. And Elijah’s contest illustrates the point—there’s no other god, just things we set up as gods for ourselves. It seems simple and harmless and even easy at first, more like resignation to the inevitable than an active choice…but these idols often turn out to be extremely demanding—did you notice that part of the ritual of the false prophets was to cut themselves and let their blood flow out as a form of prayer? In other places we hear that some of the idols the Israelites have turned to require child sacrifice. We may think this sounds extreme, but our idols often require us to sacrifice our bodies, our families, our time, our conscience, our ideals, or our planet. Is that different?

No one likes to hear the word Idolatry, but we all do it. We’re all guilty of putting our trust in something that is not God—whether it’s money, a job, a relationship (or even our families), a leader, security, a company, an activity, or even a beloved tradition. And I suspect most of us know what our individual idols are. But did you notice, in the beginning of the story, the problem is that the whole nation is waffling between two paths and following neither? Elijah doesn’t address individuals, he doesn’t call us one by one to the altar—he calls the whole community and says, “How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” The Israelites don’t answer this question—they stand silent, apparently unwilling to let go of either option.

So I wonder, in our community, what our idol is? What is the thing we set up in the place of God, the thing that we use to hedge our bets, to do our work for us, to make us feel like we’re doing church the right way, or that we can’t let go of?

I have some ideas, and I suspect you do too, and I also doubt we want to hear them. I think we probably have some traditions that have become idols—that get in the way of our hearing God calling us to do new things, that we hold on to because it’s always been done and so must somehow be sacred. I think we have some physical spaces that have become idols—it’s easy to find ourselves, even subconsciously, worshipping a piece of wood rather than the living God. I think we have a vision of leadership that is easy to idolize—if we just had the right leader, we could sit back and relax and the church would grow itself and we’d all be amazing Christians because we listen to his sermons. We forget that none of these are what it means to be church and none of these are perfect expressions of God.

God calls us to follow the living Word out into the world, to do the impossible, to love unconditionally, and yet to ascribe worth to One only. This is the One who loves, whose very nature is grace, and who wants us to live into a vision of peace. There’s no coercion, no force, no violence that can convince us to lay aside our idols. Those are the methods of impermanent things—things that ultimately add up to zero. Instead we have a simple contest—no contest at all, really—between a God who keeps promises and an idol who demands everything but delivers nothing. Where will our faith lead us?

One of my favorite pages in our confirmation curriculum offers several definitions of faith. The page says at the top “Faith is…” and then offers some ideas—faith is belief, faith is trust, faith is commitment, faith is seeing as God sees. Most of the time we seem to think faith is about believing the right things—thinking properly, being orthodox. But the Israelites didn’t have a problem believing in God—they had all the right information at hand. They lacked some other aspects of faith, though—trust and commitment, especially. God wants us to trust only in the power of God’s love, and to be committed to following Jesus in the world. God wants us to open our eyes and see through God’s lenses a world filled with God’s promise. And so we hear the voice of the prophet, echoing through the pages of Scripture and right into this community—lay aside the idols. Come, follow the One and only, whose grace is enough for all.


Wednesday, June 09, 2010


I must confess that my very first thoughts on hearing or seeing the word "scoop" all involve ice cream. I love ice cream in ways that can't really be described in words. If I thought I could work out every other available minute, I would eat ice cream for lunch and/or dinner probably every day.

My favorites, of course, depend on the season.

Early summer calls for root beer floats, filled with much more than just one scoop of ice cream.
late summer/early fall is when I turn to the mackinac island fudge ice cream with caramel and hot fudge topping, no whipped cream and no nuts, extra cherries.
the instant it's "holiday" enough time for the grocery stores, I scoop up peppermint candy ice cream, which I think may be my favorite but is only available in November and December. (OMG yum)
midwinter is when Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie Ice Cream becomes available (briefly)...also yum.
spring makes me want sorbet. Maybe because there hasn't been anything resembling fruit (or any kind of real fresh food) in my part of the country for so long by that point that the acidic fruity nature of sorbet is something my palate craves.

And, of course, the Turtle Blitz from the Freeze is lovely and wonderful anytime the Freeze is open (May-October). They use pecans that are both salty and slightly glazed...maybe they add salt to the caramel as they're glazing? I don't know, but OMG it's so good.

When it was available, I also loved the Breyers Overload "Fried Ice Cream"...with a little warm caramel sauce added, it tasted JUST.LIKE. fried ice cream from my favorite mexican restaurant back in Yak. (I don't think they're making this anymore--I looked for it the other day to no avail.)

If I'm looking for a grocery-store available ice cream that won't tempt me to eat the entire half gallon tonight, I like to pick up Ben and Jerry's "Everything But The..." It has heath bar pieces in it, which are so ridiculously good in ice cream it's a little embarrassing. (the lack of half-gallon temptation is due to the size Ben and Jerry's comes in...I have accidentally eaten the entire pint before....)

When I was little, during the time I lived at my grandparents' house, I remember eating ice cream with my grandpa many nights. His favorite is rocky road, I think--chocolate ice cream with marshmallows and I think chocolate covered peanuts? That's not my favorite, but it's certainly pretty to look at! We would get our bowls of ice cream and, if we had a special night, we might get out a bag of pretzels and use the pretzels as spoons. Salty-sweet, creamy-crunchy, cold-roomtemp...it was so so good, and such a wonderful memory to have. So wonderful, in fact, that tonight I might just eat some ice cream with pretzels....

What is it about ice cream that makes it the first thing to pop to mind on seeing "scoop"--right before thinking about singers who scoop their notes and before thinking about gossip/news?
I have no idea.

I do know that it's one of those things that makes my mouth happy, and it must release some kind of endorphins because ice cream just feels so...relaxing, luxurious, soothing. I eat ice cream even when it's cold outside and everyone else is saying "you seriously want to eat ice cream TODAY? really? it's too cold for ice cream."

It's never too cold for ice cream.