Friday Five

Friday Five: If it ain’t broke…

Notes appAs posted at RevGalBlogPals by yours truly:

It was a disappointing download. The new iOS 7 update took away the format I loved for the Notes app on my iPhone and iPad. I admit, these are tiny little First World problems. I will nevertheless miss the digital legal pad with the black brown font, in all its simplicity. 

In honor of the dear departed, please name five things in your life that need no improvement. 

Okay. Here goes.

1) Dixon Ticonderoga #2 soft lead pencils. They are the best pencils ever, with an eraser that lasts a long time. There is an “eco” version of them, and I know I should like it better, but nothing improves on the weight and feel of the original, lauded by Ray Bradbury in that summer reading classic, “Dandelion Wine.”

pencilsHe brought out a yellow nickel tablet. He brought out a yellow Ticonderoga pencil. He opened the tablet. He licked the pencil.

And later…

Douglas licked the yellow Ticonderoga pencil whose name he dearly loved.

Me, too.

(Not the licking.)

2) Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury.

Really. It’s a very special book. I am going to look for it at the library.

I must have made 15 pairs of socks in this pattern. Whose were these? Not sure. For a swap, I think.
I must have made 15 pairs of socks in this pattern. Whose were these? Not sure. For a swap, I think.

3) Sock knitting.

I love knitting socks. They are totally portable and satisfying. I make them for myself, and for other people. Kathrynzj has three pair in her dresser drawer. LP has uncountable pairs. I have two, at the moment, but that’s because I pad around the house in my sock feet and wear out the heels.

My favorite pattern is Monkey, which I have memorized. I will freely admit I improved upon it by adding an Eye of Partridge heel, but with that tweak, it is perfect.

4) The Princess Bride. It’s my favorite movie ever. No other movie even comes close. A better movie would be … inconceivable.

5) “Come, O Fount of Every Blessing” is one of my favorite hymns, and it was a delightful surprise to find it on Sufjan Stevens’ Christmas album. His version cannot be improved upon, in my humble opinion. Here’s a live performance, in which he encourages the audience to sing along.

Friday Five, RevGalBlogPals

Friday Five: Silly Sentences

From my dear friend revkjarla, a prompt at RevGalBlogPals:

Because I am feeling silly, or perhaps, just out there, our FF is dedicated to creating silly sentences.  We all need a little meaningless creativity and humour, right?

Use these five words (in any tense) in a sentence:

if you give a mouse a cookie1. pulpit, puppy, wrench, word, mouse.

If you give a mouse a cookie, your puppy will want one, and if you have to go to the store to get it, you can avoid working on your word for the pulpit on Sunday.

2. weep, love, prayer, bassoon, chair

He sat in the chair playing his bassoon with love, like a prayer, and I wept.

3. heart, shutter, wish, turtle, walk

I shuttered my heart even though I wished for more; sometimes healing comes slowly, as a turtle walks.

(Oh, dear. These are getting serious.)

4. howl, worry, window, story, trust

Don’t worry about the howling at the window; trust the story God is telling in your life.

5. garden, hat, shepherd, laugh, sigh.

Like a shepherd with his flock, my garden hat protects from UV rays, whether I rise up and sigh or lie down and laugh.

Maybe that one should be a bonus haiku?

Shepherd’s crook, mother’s
sigh, gardener’s hat, baby’s
laugh: tools of the trade.

Friday Five

Friday Five: Independence Day Edition

Party Like it's 1776

Hey, it’s the Friday Five! You can find it at RevGalBlogPals, posted by Pat Raube, who writes:

In honor of the 237th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Indpendence, I invite you to participate in today’s Independence Day edition of the Friday Five! We’ll be looking at all kinds of “independence,” so please join in!

1. How does one typically celebrate your native /adopted land’s Big National Holiday?

Cookouts and fireworks! And parades, if you’re lucky enough to live near one.

2. How do you personally celebrate the holiday described in #1? Any unusual twists on the typical celebration? Is it something you enjoy or endure?

It’s our family tradition to watch our favorite movie, “1776.” My kids grew up knowing it by heart, and now I’m getting started on the new little brother, who remarked, “There’s a lot of singing in this movie!” That’s what makes it a musical!

3. What does the word “independence” mean to you, whether in a political or personal mood? How has that understanding changed throughout your life?

Independence means the freedom to think your own thoughts and hold your own beliefs, not to have them dictated by others. I was better at grasping this in the macro (forms of government) than the micro (family systems, ack!), but I’m working on the latter. Still.

4. When did you first feel that you, personally, had gained independence? Was there a ‘rite of passage’ you would like to share?

When I refinanced my house in Maine and did all the paperwork myself.

5. Tell us about your favorite “indie” film, music label, book store…

Slightly different answer. I love local yarn stores. They are unique as their owners. I love the odd choices in what is stocked to fit in a small space. On vacation or at conferences, I seem them out. I always go straight to the sock yarn section in hopes of discovering something new, and I am rarely disappointed.

Hampden neighborhood yarn
“hampden” by neighborhood fiber co.

The last new yarn store I visited on a trip was Lovelyarns in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore. I bought some great sock yarn made by Neighborhood Fibre Co. (click the link for a great indie story!) and named after that particular neighborhood. It’s currently on the needles and 3/4s of the way to a pair of cuffed socks for kathrynzj who patiently parked the car, scouted out a beer store and waited for me to finish shopping.

Bonus Question: Is there a time you remember going “against the tide” of advice or precedent, or in some other way? Or perhaps a time you wish you had done so?

I wish I had taken feelings about myself and other people seriously fifteen years ago instead of waiting so much longer. The capacity to self-delude is not a characteristic of independence.

Friday Five

Friday Five: What’s on your shelf?

As posted by Deb at RevGalBlogPals:

You probably have, like me, a study full of books. Maybe they spill into another room. They go with you in the car to appointments when you might have some dead space in your schedule. In my study, the books are double-stacked and in somewhat precarious piles. I’ve always dreamed of a study that looked like this:

Recently I decided to re-organize my study and put books of like topic and purpose together. (Of course, they don’t stay that way — but that’s another matter!) I also culled out some books which I hesitated to even donate to the library book sale because they were either extremely outdated or had content that I didn’t want the unexamined mind to read. (Not quite as bad as “The Total Woman” but… you get my drift!)

SOooo… with that in mind, let’s talk about the books in your life!

1. STUDYING: What is your favorite book or series for sermon prep or study? Or have you moved from books to on-line tools for your personal study? I don’t use books much anymore unless I find a particular word or phrase captivating/challenging and can’t get to a conclusion. I’m trying hard to let the Spirit move and not to borrow themes from other writers. But let me promote a one-volume resource I keep at home on the coffee table, just in case. It’s the New Interpreters Study Bible, a one volume, NRSV, with great footnotes. I don’t live near my church, so having a resource at home that *stays* at home makes good sense for me.

2. IN THE QUEUE: Do you have a queue of books you are longing to read or do you read in bits and pieces over several books at a time? What’s in the queue? I usually have more than one book going at a time: something for work and something for pleasure, a book for bedtime, a book on my Kindle, you get the picture. This fall I’m teaching Introduction to Worship at Bangor Theological Seminary, which has meant reading texts for the class. My Currently Reading list on Goodreads is ridiculously long, but also truthful. Well, maybe one of them is just there to remind me to start reading it…

But in case you don’t want to click the link or aren’t on Goodreads, other than texts for the class I’m currently reading:

God Shows No Partiality, by Dave Barnhart — This is a great book setting up the case for being inclusive in the church, written by a Methodist pastor in Alabama who understands what a minefield it is to discuss including LGBT people in some faith communities. I highly recommend it.

Christianity After Religion, by Diana Butler Bass — This one is on my Kindle, thanks to a gift from my friend, Jayne! As ever, Bass is smart and readable and honest about the realities of our culture and the church.

A Thousand Mornings, by Mary Oliver — This is Oliver’s brand new collection of poems; I love it very much. And to be clear, it’s at home, but I consider it to be part of my spiritual and personal development to read poetry.

3. FAVORITE OF ALL TIME: What’s one book that you have to have in your study? Is it professional, personal, fun or artistic? (For instance, I have a copy of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It just helps sometimes.) I have some favorite children’s books in my study at church, including “The Sneetches,” “The Velveteen Rabbit,” “The Carrot Seed,” and a lot of Christmas books. But let me tell you about two books I often dip into when I’m looking for something quickly as an opening reading or devotional at a meeting or other event.

Why Jesus Makes Me Nervous, by Joy Jordan-Lake — I’ve used this as a Lenten study and frequently return to the thought-provoking stories she tells.

Finding Jesus, Discovering Self, by Caren Goldman and William Dols — This made a fantastic group study book, using stories from the life of Jesus as a guide for healing and wholeness. Each chapter begins with a personal reflection from one of the authors, includes discussion questions and ends with thematic poems and prose quotations. It’s a rich, rich resource.

And here’s a new one I’ve already used and know it will remain on my top list, by a RevGalBlogPals ring member.

Keeping the Feast: Metaphors for the Meal, by Milton Brasher-Cunningham — It’s got poetry, baseball, reflections on the sacrament of Communion *and* recipes! Really, you need a copy. Milton’s blog just moved to a new address, go and say hi: Don’t Eat Alone. I am excited that I will get to meet him in person in a couple of weeks!

4. KINDLE OR PRINT? or both? Is there a trend in your recent purchases? I tend to buy books for work in hard copy. I like Kindle for fiction and things that are too heavy to hold. I do have some professional books on the Kindle, but they are the exception. First, I like to mark them up, and then I like to be able to flip through and find the marks. You can make notes in Kindle, but it’s not the same as paging through for inspiration. Second, I like to be able to loan books to people who see them in my office, and on Kindle, they’re only visible to me.

5. DISCARDS: I regularly cruise the “FREE BOOKS” rack at our local library. (I know, I know. It’s a bad habit!) When’s the last time you went through your books and gave some away (or threw some away?) Do you remember what made the discard pile? Because I’ll be moving, I am in the midst of a serious purge of books both at church and at home. I invited RevGal member, MaineCelt, to have first dibs on my professional books, and she now has the beginning of a practical library. I gave her things that I used a lot in my first years of ministry, most of which are duplicated in the office of someone who will let me borrow after I move. 🙂

BONUS: Post a picture of the present state of your study! Just in the interests of full disclosure, here’s mine! 🙂

Here’s what the book shelf looks like after the aforementioned distribution. On the top right are books I won’t be taking with me, things I haven’t opened since seminary. I’ve moved them five times, and that’s enough. (And don’t worry, kzj, I’m still weeding.)

Friday Five

Friday Five: Grateful!

Quickly, before my computer runs out of juice..

1) The technology that keeps me close to the people I love far away.

2) The people I love, close by and far away.

3) A chance at my age to finally figure out important things about myself.

4) A calling to serve God, in all the forms it has taken, takes now and will take in the future.

5) The beach, which is not far off in the future at all.

Friday Five

Friday Five: Summer Fun Edition

As posted by kathrynzj at RevGalBlogPals:

In my neck of the woods folks who have children of a certain age are doing a dead sprint through end of school year activities: piano recitals, baseball tournaments, travel soccer games, gymnastics meets, dance recitals, graduations, band concerts, field trips and end-of-the year fill in the blank.

I’m ready for Summer. True, I still have to work, but I’m ready for a different rhythm, some more free space to do stuff and the trips we have planned.

Please tell us five things you are doing this Summer.

Bonus? One thing you’re not doing, but WANT to be doing.

And if you happen to live in a place where this does not apply, let us know what you do in the Summer.

First, let me say I *so* get that. I love the changeover from school year to summer vacation because even though it presented challenges when my kids were younger, it still meant a respite from the routine of the rest of the year. And in Maine, the season of walking out the front door without considering which outerwear is appropriate is pitifully short. I love it while I have it.

Here are five things I’m looking forward to doing this summer.

Yes, that’s a Holy Donut. And you can see how dark the ice cubes are, right?

1) Drinking iced coffee with ice cubes made from coffee.

This is a discovery at the new donut place in Portland, The Holy Donut. We now have ice cube trays of coffee ice cubes at home, too. This way ou avoid drinking watered-down iced coffee. LP points out that if I would drink my coffee at the normal speed, there would be no problem, nor any need to continually “zap” hot coffee, either. Ahem.

2) Vacation #1.

Sometime next Friday I will be drinking coffee, iced or otherwise, at a favorite place with my sweetheart. And that it happens to be right across the street from where they made one of my favorite TV shows is simply a bonus.

As if that weren’t enough, we then go on to hear #2 Son play at the National Music Festival. Since my plane ticket was purchased well before we got news of the very nearby festival, this feels like the best kind of Holy Spirit intervention.

And then I get to go to a picnic and meet what I hope will be new friends, and see some old friends, too. All this makes me happy.

Hoagie at the beach last weekend.

3) Take the dog to the beach.

East End Beach in Portland is a great place to take a dog in the evening, because the sun is over the other way. After 5, dog people flock there on the hot days. Hoagie doesn’t care about going in the water, but there are some very “insteresting” sniffs.

4. The Farmer’s Market.

I love it.

In Portland the Farmer’s Market is in a big park. People bring their dogs and their babies. After 25 years, I feel like I’m friends with some of the farmers. And it’s also a place to see people with eclectic interests giving out information about their favored causes, as well as musicians and jugglers hoping for donations.

Mostly, I’m grateful to be able to buy local produce that truly tastes like summer: lettuce, strawberries, tiny little yellow squash, and especially the late summer delight, corn.

5. Vacation #2, the Real Beach.

People I love + a place where the ocean is warm enough to really swim = heaven.

The real bonus would be having my sons there, too, but they have busy grown-up lives and performance conflicts this year. Someday!

Friday Five

Friday Five: Extreme Random

As posted by my good friend, revkjarla, at RevGalBlogPals:

Hi there~~
Happy Friday to all of you. Today’s Friday Five has no theme, other than randomness.
That’s o.k., right?
So, just to get to know each other a little bit (even more) here is the meme:

1. What is the first thing that comes to your mind (right now) that you want to share about yourself.

Love makes me happy, and telling people about it also makes me happy, and that’s just as true of the personal as it is of the theological.

2. What is your favorite piece of jewelry or accessory? Why?

My Beloved gave me this necklace and a pair of matching earrings. I would love them just because of the giver, but they are also wonderful for being purple and because the necklace length is adjustable and because the earrings attach securely yet feel like you’re wearing nothing at all.

Also, they came from Ten Thousand Villages, and that’s a bonus.

3. If you could have a starring role in a T.V. show/movie/series, which one would it be, and what would your character be like?

I love this question! I am imagining a priestess on Battlestar Galactica, wise and funny and revered and consulted (spoiler alert) — and not blown up by a mine the way poor Elosha was. So say we all?

4. What is one thing you will eat this weekend?

Wedding cake! Blessings to Sara and Jeremiah!!!

5. How do you waste time? (If you do, that is…)

Ahem.

Click… click… click…