Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Quote of the Week ~ Covenant Prayer

One can't go wrong with a good John Wesley quote! Here is Wesley's covenant prayer. The original was not actually written by Wesley himself, but adapted and used by him. This prayer has meant a lot to me in my devotion time over the eyars. While there are contemporary language versions, I prefer the traditional.
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
Amen.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Confessions

Okay. I have a confession to make. I bought clothes. Yesterday I ended up at Kohl's and found they were having a big t-shirt sale. It has been more than 10 months and I slipped. I needed those t-shirts.

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, last year on my Birthday (March 15th) I decided to try to go a year without buying any new clothes. It has been more difficult than I thought it would be. It's not that I've really missed shopping, but there are certain clothes one needs for certain things. For example, I started jogging last summer, but I didn't really have any jogging shorts. When we brought Bady home I found I needed some 'go out in the back yard and get muddy with the dog' clothes.

The t-shirts, though, were just a slip. I loved the colors. I really liked them. So I bought them. This exercise, though, has made me more intentional about what I buy and curbed (for the most part) impulse purchases.

Since I am a great believer in grace, I'm going to continue on until my Birthday and try not to buy any more new clothes. Then I may try it again for another year... or give myself a new challenge. Any ideas?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Quote of the Week ~ Gray

I think President Barack Obama will be the kind of leader who is not afraid to hear varying opinions ~ even opinions that contradict his own. This is evident already in some of his cabinet picks. The same, I believe, must be true of Christians. We need to listen to those who don't necessarily agree with us. Christians, however, are not always good at listening to others because we often think we own the 'truth.'

In his book Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White Adam Hamilton writes, "But the hope for the future of Christianity will be found, in part, in our willingness to accept that no one of us has all of the truth. We must be able to see the value in another's position, practice and doctrine."

Wise words, I believe. Being too confident in our rightness and another's wrongness is a very dangerous place.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

History

While I don't have any particularly profound words to share, I can't let this moment in history pass by without comment. I think I am most awed by the hope and energy evidenced in the people gathered in Washington D.C.... waiting for hours in the cold to be part of this amazing event. While Obama cannot fix all our problems, what he can do is inspire us to take responsibility and take part and I believe he is leading us in that direction.

I broke away from work a little before noon to come home in time to see the Oath of Office. Standing alone in my living room, with tears streaming down my face, I didn't feel alone. I felt like part of something much larger than myself... part of a community that looks on our country and the world with fresh eyes.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Very Scientific Graph


Vims - robust energy and enthusiasm (Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Quote of the Week ~ Postmodernism

For some reason it has taken me forever to get through Tim Keel's Intuitive Leadership. I think it is partly because I don't want to rush through it, but take the time to take it all it. It is probably also partly because life has been so hectic since Thanksgiving. In any case, I have one more quote from this book I would like to share.

Our church is embarking on a visioning process. Part of the process will be to discern who we were, who we are, an who we want to be. I'm sure issues of the "changing world" and all the anxiety that accompanies that discussion will arise. It's true that things have changed since the mainline protestant heyday of the 1950's. Yet it seems to me that too often we feel we have to have it all figured out before God can do God's thing ~ when the complete opposite is actually true. As Keel writes,

Meanwhile, many Christians sit wringing their hands and assume that the God of the cosmos revealed by Jesus Christ is confounded by a post modern world.

Let's not wring our hands, but be about God's work in God's world, trusting that God has great things in store for us. And, while we're at it, let's hold fast to our belief that God knows more about God's world, and our place in it, than our limited vision could ever process. Amen?

Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday Five ~ Breakfast Edition

Since I LOVE breakfast, I thank RevGal Sophia for this Friday Five! While enjoying some pancakes made by her family, she writes:

"So pull up a chair to the kitchen table and tell us all about your pancake preferences..."

1. Scratch or mix? Buttermilk or plain?

Gary is the pancake maker around here. He has made both from mix and from scratch. One of our favorites is a multi-grain mix we pick up at 'Whole Foods," but it all tastes good to me ~ especially since I don't have to cook it!

2. Pure and simple, or with additions cooked in?

Sometimes we add almonds, but we don't ever get too fancy. Plain and simple is best as far as I am concerned. One of my favorite pancake stories comes from a camping trip of my Dad's. On a guy's only camping trip, apparently one of them got up and started the pancakes but left the batter to go do something else. One of the other guys got up and found the batter so he mixed it and put the pancakes on the griddle. When the other guy got back he said, "Oh, you started the pancakes!" The second guy said, "Yeah, but that batter was no good. It took me forever to get the lumps out." Shocked, the first guy said, "Those weren't lumps! Those were apples!"

3. For breakfast or for dinner?

Both! Pancakes, or waffles, with bacon make a a great dinner for a special treat!

4. Preferred syrup or other topping? How about the best side dish?

Just syrup and butter for me! I'm usually in charge of the side dishes. Bacon or sausage are good on the side, along with some hash browns, if we have them.

5. Favorite pancake restaurant?

I usually find that restaurant pancakes are too thick. For breakfasts out I tend to get waffles or an omlet. However, we have too annual pancake meals at church ~ a brunch during Advent and a Shrove Tuesday dinner. There is just something about church pancakes. They aren't too thick... they are made with love... Next to Gary's, they are the best!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

On My Toes

This week has kept me on my toes. It's been one of those weeks when nothing seems to work out the way it "should". For example, Monday I was supposed to go to Maine for the Local Church Transformation Committee meeting. I made sure everything was ready the night before, so when I got up at 5 AM the next morning I would just have to shower and leave. During the night, however, rains had left a glare of ice all over Connecticut. The 'News" was reporting slick conditions throughout the state and treacherous driving. By 9 AM the ice had pretty much either melted or been treated, but by then it was way too late for me to make it to the meeting.

Tuesday was also a funny day. I struck out for my worship service at the convalescent home in plenty of time. Yet I found the power was out all over town and street lights were not working! It was chaos. I finally made it there late, which was not a huge deal. After leaving I had a whole list of errands to do... but found that, due to the power outage... the hospital was shut down, my prescription could not be filled and the bank was closed!

Another winter storm on Wednesday led to the cancellation of my second meeting of the week ~ the Camp Aldersgate Confirmation Retreat meeting!

And today, after a week without it, the dryer was supposed to be fixed. The half-hour repair turned into a two-hour job which resulted in the very nice repair man coming upstairs looking apologetic. "I put the new part in and it still doesn't work!"

I'm hoping for more predictability next week, but it is nice to know that God still has a sense of humor!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Back to 'Normal'

Now that I'm back to work, and things have settled down a bit, I can reflect on some Christmas / Holiday blessings.

1. Christmas was certainly busy this year, but it somehow seemed less stressful. I think part of the reason was that I let go of some of the expectation that everything had to be 'perfect' ~ both on the church front and at home. The Baby Jesus didn't come into a perfect world, so what makes me think my little corner of the globe must be?

2. Our Christmas visit to Maine was great fun. The car was filled to overflowing with our family (Me, Gary, Ben ~ 9 years old) and a giant German Shepherd! Bady did fantastic with the trip ~ both the traveling and the visiting. (Nicky stayed at the kennel and Zeke played watch-cat at home.) We spend three days with Gary's family and two days with my Dad and his family. It was great to catch-up with everyone.

3. The best part of visiting was that I didn't have any responsibilties. I needed that. I could just get up and dressed in the morning and the days happened without my having a plan anything. It was fabulous!

4. On a sad note, I was able to attend my Great Aunt Helen's funeral. She died the day after Christmas. She was my Gram's last sibling and was nearly 96 years old. I'm glad I was in the area and able to be there. It was an opportunity to say goodbye not just to Aunt Helen, but to a whole generation.

5. Ben was able to be with us for two whole weeks, including both Christmas and New Years. He is growing up so much ~ 9 years old and in the Fourth Grade. It is fun to see the changes in him during each visit, but it also reminds us how fast the time passes. He's not a little boy anymore, but moving into tween-hood. The memories we build during these visits will be cherished for a lifetime.

I guess that pretty much closes out 2008. We shall see what blessings (and challenges!) we encounter in 2009. Happy New Year!