Friday, January 18, 2008

winter harvest

Thought I'd share dinner tonight.  I still marvel that one can grow things in January in this part of the world.  Like, things to eat.

Mostly, the garden's pretty bare, waiting for us to get around to heaping on more compost and things.  But, I couldn't resist starting a few broccoli plants.  And they were yummy.
My question for tonight is: would you wear a shirt silkscreened with an image of broccoli?  Just askin'...

Friday Five: books!

I've been pondering a way about sharing excitement over recent and upcoming reading.  Today's Friday Five from the RevGalPals seemed like the perfect excuse...

Yesterday, my friend Jen gave me a belated Christmas present.  She wanted to get me something cool, not just something.  

I'm pretty excited that she got me Banana. Now I can be smart about the bananas I'm growing in the back yard.  It's even autographed: "to Molly."

What book have you read in the last six months that has really stayed with you? Why?
I just finished Three Cups of Tea, which is our "One Book, One San Diego" book for 2008.  It was fun, thoughtful, inspirational and insightful.  It's not every book that both Matt and I find interesting enough for him to tolerate me reading aloud on a road trip, but this one got us all the way from Utah to home...

What is one of your favorite childhood books?
Hmm...  I've gotta say the Little House on the Prairie books.  They also created my most favorite "other time/place" in which to imagine life.

Do you have a favorite book of the Bible? Do tell!
Ecclesiastes, I suppose.  It's both cynical and hopeful--I say it's my favorite GenX book.

Of course, it's hard to compete with gospel stories, too.

What is one book you could read again and again?
I'm not a big re-reader, other than scripture and Dr. Seuss.  Or poetry.  
My Antonia, by Willa Cather, is probably the novel I've read most times.  But only, like, 3.  

Is there a book you would suggest for Lenten reading? What is it and why?
I've been hungry for poetry lately.  So I guess Wendell Berry's A Timbered Choir: the Sabbath poems would have to be it.  I like poetry as devotional reading--it seems like it leaves more space for mystery.  And I think you can't go wrong with Wendell Berry.

And because we all love bonus questions, if you were going to publish a book what would it be? Who would you want to write the jacket cover blurb expounding on your talent?
I always thought it'd be fun to write a preaching commentary for the "Sundays after," for newly ordained associate pastors.  We don't need (nor can we afford) the whole set.  We only preach the Sunday after Christmas, the Sunday after Easter, Forth of July, most of August...  Plus, it'd include thoughts about preaching when you're not the "regular" preacher, establishing your voice as an associate, and starting a "contemporary" worship service.  (That's what we always do, right?)  

I think it would be fun to get my dear Senior Pastor to write the blurb.  He could say something like, "Molly's swell to work with, but, to be honest, I've never really heard her preach.  After all, she just fills in when I'm on vacation.  But, I'm sure you'll love her book.  And, after seven years of being an associate, I'm sure she's figured some things out."  

(For the record, the tone of that is genuine.  I love working with my Senior Pastor.  And have always felt tremendous support from him.  Which is why this idea strikes me as so funny.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

not afraid to die

I've been musing on this for a while.  I meant this to be more elegant, but decided inelegant and existent is better than elegant but only imagined...  

Tonight in Vespers, as we read of Simeon and his gracious blessing and willingness to die (having seen salvation in the form of an infant Jesus), it came to me again:
How come we're good at preaching that people should be unafraid to die when we're afraid of the death of our denomination?

After the scripture, it came back in the communion liturgy.  How Jesus "freed us from slavery to fear and death."

My wondering is about how the denomination--in my case the United Methodist Church--is like a person.  I have this sense that we are.  And, that our preoccupation with our own decline (we don't actually say "death") is preventing us from living faithfully, fearlessly, freely.  Which, it seems to me, is what we ought to be about.

Not, of course, that we shouldn't always be concerned with how to change ourselves up to be relevant--I'm just supposing that, if we were primarily concerned with vital ministry in the lives of individuals and communities, we couldn't help but do that.  If we were always doing those things Jesus said to do--caring for the poor, the widows, the orphans.  Doing justice and building peace.  

Sometimes, we get caught up in argument about semantics.  Like how we describe the ways we need to change.  I think we fall short when we're talking about ways we need to change "so that the denomination doesn't die."  When we keep caught on how to change so we're building the kin-dom of God, we should be much better off.

I'm just saying that if death (or "decline," as we prefer) has us caught in fear, we've got no chance.  I believe in resurrection.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

sabbath and (formerly) sagging rooftops

Vacation is a splendid thing.  And, increasingly, I am grateful for time and space to be sabbath-like--no working, no creating, just being.  A long drive and a glorious week in a lovely cabin in snowy Colorado were wonderful for me.  I needed such rest.  The beauty of the Rocky Mountains isn't bad, either...

We came home last Wednesday, and took a look at the work our neighbor had wrought on our garage that day.
Formerly, our roof had been getting worse and worse with this little problem in which its pitch went the wrong way.  So, instead of allowing rain to roll off the roof, it collected rainwater in lovely pools, which then slowly (though increasingly rapidly) came through the roof into the garage.  I blame this on many things, including weak original construction, and the 8 layers of asphalt shingles placed on top of each other, without removing under layers.

Friday, Matt and I began to rebuild the roof structure.  Here's the beginnings, from Friday afternoon.  Since then, it's gotten even better.  It feels so strong now.
All of which is to say that we jumped back into working and creating.  

On the drive home, I began dreaming of crafty projects.  One of which I've actually made.  This vase told me it wanted a new, woolen cover, to help it show off springy blooms from our garden.  The angle is a bit skewed in the pic, but my choices were either a) skew the angle, or b) let you see the mess that is my living room.  Sorry.
Now, I'm dreaming of silk screening.  I have a clever plan.  We'll see if it makes its way into material reality or not.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying the intoxicatingly sweet smell of those daffodilly blooms, and giving thanks for how rest makes me feel energized for new adventures.

(I can't say that it makes me feel energized to tackle the nasty pile of accumulated paperwork on the desk in my office at the church, but the more creative bits of work have been fun...)

I'm also very thankful for the Army's lack of certainty these days, as it is delaying Matt's departure for Iraq.  This past weekend, they even uttered the words "or maybe not at all" in reference to his deployment timing.  While that's far from certain, it's also far better than his leaving next week.

So, as always, keep working for peace, and praying for an end to this war.

Friday, January 04, 2008

beautiful world, animal edition

A prize for the first person who can find the bighorn sheep in the picture below...

And, though not animals, these snowflakes are big!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Wednesday, January 02, 2008