Friday, June 26, 2009

Talkin' 'Bout...Pop Music

Friday Five: Talkin' 'Bout...Pop Music 
Here's a fantabulous FF for the week - thanks so much to Mary Beth over at RGBP!

(This is how I like to remember him...)
Happy Friday to you all! 

The sad news of Michael Jackson's untimely death has me thinking about music and its effects on us - individually, as cultures, as generations. Let's think about the soundtracks of our lives...

1) What sort of music did you listen to as a child - this would likely have been determined or influenced by your parents? Or perhaps your family wasn't musical...was the news the background? the radio? Singing around the piano?
My mom was the inspiration for my music-loving childhood...and it was all about the radio. Singing along in the car, in the kitchen, wherever we could to the "oldies" (hah!). I (thought I) knew every lyric to every song on the radio: whether it was 50s, 60s, 70s or 80s. Thanks, Mom, for singing with me!

2) Going ahead to teenage years, is there a song that says "high school" (or whatever it might've been called where you lived) to you? 
I can't distinguish what songs happened when - they all seem to blur together. I think I was still (from age 6?) enamored of all things Billy Joel in HS. He was my first concert, too (Madison Square Garden).

3) What is your favorite music for a lift on a down day? (hint: go to and type in a performer/composer...see what you come up with!)
Need I even say it? Indigo Girls. That's all it takes. But I have to be able to sing along. Loudly. Badly. (However, on a "mad" day I've found Pink to be particularly helpful in releasing anger. She rocks!).

4) Who is your favorite performer of all time?
Again, Indigo Girls. It's their combination of inspiring lyrics, amazing harmony, and passionate care for the earth and it's beings. 

5) What is your favorite style of music for worship? 
Great question! I actually love hymns, but there's a caveat: they have to have inclusive language and theology (I'm all about lyrics). I especially love hymns that can be accompanied by guitar. 

Bonus if you include a video of any of the above! 
You bet! 
INDIGO GIRLS - GALILEO(click on the title )

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Staying accountable: Peace

<--Very Serious Photo = Peace, right? (keep reading)

I don't have the stamina to read more than a chapter at a time (okay, a WHOLE chapter is pushing it), so I'm trying to pace myself. Slow as I am, I find Leaders Who Last to be - if not riveting - continually yanking me back. (Click here if haven't the foggiest what I'm talking about).

It never ceases to amaze me when synchronicity (<-- great word!) strikes. For example, the chapter I read this weekend speaks directly to the sermon I had just finished about life's storms and knowing peace within the storm.

Here's a bit of what Margaret J. Marcuson reminds me about PEACE:
  • "Pastoral Ministry is not the place to look for peace of mind....[T]he peace of mind we receive from ministry will be the peace of mind we bring to it" (p. 6).
  • "Perseverance is one of the chores of leadership....[I]n the big storms that are part of the territory of leadership, we do not know exactly how things will turn out. Often the only way out is to go through it, to move ahead through the storm" (p. 7). 
And, my personal favorite...
  • "Being a good leader and being extremely serious are not identical, and can even be mutually exclusive! (exclamation mine) ...This relaxed attitude comes from personal security, which can come from faith. if we live out of trust in God, we can relax--we do not have to worry about taking care of everyone, because the results do not depend on us" (p. 19).

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pink Glasses

Made curious by this week's RevGalBlogPals Friday Five, I took a peak at Patti Digh's 37 Days blog and discovered her essay entitled Wear pink glasses. Digh's main question (in each of her 37 short pieces) is, "what would you be doing today if you only had 37 days to live?" She then offers some insights for anyone to take or leave as they will. 

I really like the "give yourself permission to wear pink glasses" option.

Life is a Verb

Friday Five: Life is a VerbJan over at RevGalBlogPals offered...

Digh, Patti. Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful,
and Live Intentionally. 
Guilford, CT: Skirt!, 2008.

Jennifer recommended this book, which I got because I always value Jennifer's reading suggestions. The author of Life is a VerbPatti Digh worked her book around these topics concerning life as a verb:
  • Say yes.
  • Be generous.
  • Speak up.
  • Love more.
  • Trust yourself.
  • Slow down.
As I read and pondered about living more intentionally, I also have wondered what this Friday Five should be. This book has been the jumping off point for this Friday.

1. What awakens you to the present moment?
Being in my physical body: walking in the sunshine; hiking among the trees; sitting on a rock in the middle of a river.
2. What are 5 things you see out your window right now?
Our drooping patio porch - Sunshine! - Blue sky - Green grass - A red truck parked across the street.
3. Which verbs describe your experience of God?
(I state them in the infinitive:) to love; to bless; to breathe; to be; to embrace; to birth; to...
4. From the book on p. 197:
Who were you when you were 13? Where did that kid go?
An uncomfortable young'un in the wrong skin - she is long gone! :)
5. From the book on p. 88:
If your work were the answer to a question, what would the question be?
Are you joyfully centered yet? (I'm working on it - every moment) 

Bonus idea for you here or on your own--from the book on p. 149:
"Go outside. Walk slowly forward. Open your hand and let something fall into it from the sky. It might be an idea, it might be an object. Name it. Set it aside. Walk forward. Open your hand and let something fall into it from the sky. Name it. Set it aside. Repeat. . . ." Thanks so much for this offering, Jan!
of my own contemplation... I LOVE the title of this book! I love verbs and verbing! I'm going to go verb now (I giggle with joy at typing this).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Street Team

I feel more like the "dream team", myself. 

You may or may not be aware that I am a fan of the Indigo Girls' music  (if you are NOT aware, then reading this post is likely our first introduction - nice to meet you!). AnyWHO, I was a lucky chosen one to be a part of the Indigo Girls street team: putting flyers about their upcoming show (July 5) anywhere and everywhere around town.

I also get a nice little jpg to post HERE, on my blog. 

But most important - in addition to getting to share the word of amazing lyrics, poetic music, and justice-centered-beautiful-women - I get a free t-shirt and 2 tickets to the show! Yay!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Natural Enemy of Cockroaches

I have discovered that, to rid your life of cockroaches, you can either use insecticides or invest in a hedgehog. That's right: the HEDGEHOG finds cockroaches a tasty delight. (If you're wondering why I'm talking about such things, see my previous post about books I'm reading for the sake of sanity in ministry). 

The cockroaches of which I speak are the little, urgent things that keep popping up (and require crushing) just when we need to focus on the big, important things in life. 

So, in my own random way, I'm meditating on the hedgehog. Here is a little bit about her from one person's understanding:


This small solitary animal is covered with a thick coat of sharp spines. Although the hedgehog is basically gentle and non aggressive, if threatened, it will roll into a small ball with its spines sticking out for defense. These spines serve as a wall of protection around it. A tiny animal with big medicine it teaches us how to create boundaries within our personal space and how to use the body in an efficient way.  

Hedgehogs pack a powerful punch.  They help those with this totem protect and defend their truths.  They show us how to honor ourselves by not allowing anything into our environment that damages us in any way.  The protective barrier the hedgehog puts up reminds us to avoid all things that lead to chaos and to preserve our sense of self. (from

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Holding Self Accountable

That's a hard one, but I hope to blog my way through. How to begin...

What: Reading the 3 (very different) books on leadership that I just bought at a conference this weekend.

How: In bits and pieces, of course! With you, dear Dragon Blog, as my companion and conversation partner (thus the accountability).

Why: Exhaustion. Not taking time out between one caring commitment and the next. Putting out fires. Listening to the need to feed (me).

When:  Now. No time better than the present, right?
So, these 3 (very different) books on leading well. 

William Carter's Each One a Minister: Using God's Gifts for Ministry helps leaders talk to members of their faith communities about the ways they are/can be ministers for the service of God's Shalom (that is: the Kin-dom of God, God's Realm, the New Earth, etc). I'd like to keep on top of this one for my own biblical studies - its emphasis is Paul's letter to the Ephesians - and for how I might continue to encourage others to take leadership roles (so I don't have to "put out fires", but can call on others to care for others). What a concept.

What a GREAT title (that's actually why I bought it: I can't resist marketing - I'm a product of my culture). Killing Cockroaches: And Other Scattered Musings on Leadership  by Tony Morgan offers mini, blog-size tidbits on doing what is urgent (no-no) versus doing what is important (yes-yes) by encouraging others to take on a sense of their own gifted leadership. I hereby solemnly swear to stop running to stomp on all the cockroaches I see (at least, I'll try - I've already not answered email for a couple of weeks, and I feel that counts!).

And perhaps the one with which I will begin: Leaders Who Last: Sustaining Yourself and Your Ministry (Margaret J. Marcuson). I don't write any of this for pity - although prayers are more than welcome! But I believe it is important for people to understand that ministers are people ... people who need to refresh ourselves in order to continue serving God and others; people who must learn to balance family and church, play and study, self and God and faith community and town and world. Gone are the days when clergy are to be seen as something "other" (some of us drink, some of us swear, all of us pee and poop). And if this is what I preach to my congregation - "observe sabbath time" - then I need to practice/model it myself. 

End of self-sermon.