Friday, July 22, 2011

Overcomers: Friday Five

Mary Magdalene by He Qi (one of my favorite artists!)

RGBP’s Sally writes: Today is the Feast day of St Mary Magdalene, and as I've been pondering her life and the inspiration she is I find in her a wonderful mix of struggle and devotion. She is both the woman who needed a deep healing and the woman who was declared (by many) to be the first amongst the apostles. She inspires me by the way she overcame so much to become so much. When I stop to think about the folk who do inspire me they are almost always overcomers in some way or another.

With that in mind I bring you this Friday Five; List five people who inspire you to dare to step out into becoming more: Bonus question, a song or fictional character that inspires you to move beyond boundaries!

1.    This seems like a generic answer, but it is NOT—my mother. She grew up with 4 brothers in a family that regarded girls as… well, they didn’t regard girls! She married at 19 and never went to college (girls weren’t smart and didn’t go beyond high school—in fact, none of the family went beyond high school). She “followed expectations” until her 3 kids were out of the house, then she became herself! She started acting and continued preaching (as a lay minister around her denomination’s conference). I didn’t respect her enough for any of this while I was growing up, but she deserves every ounce of it. Yay Mom! Her life inspires me to think I can always grow a bit, no matter my age or where I come from.

2.    S--- is one of my church members who has lived with ovarian cancer for 8 years. Lived with it. As in alive. She has been through every treatment and every trial, and now she knows she’s dying because of it… but she continues to live! Inspiration. Breath. Every moment: in anger and sorrow and joy and playfulness: breath.

3.    S---, this time a colleague, a co-worker and friend who is younger than I but so very mature and grounded in her faith. She inspires me to be more compassionate, a better listener and stronger in my relationship with the Divine.

4.    Lillian Daniel is a writer, preacher, retreat leader, parent, pastor of a local congregation and all-around amazing person. I met her several times when we served together in the New Haven Association of the Connecticut Conference… but she always seems more to me (look at all her accomplishments!). She inspires me to want to be more.

5.    I adore Kilian McDonnell’s poetry. I want to write like he does (more accurately, I want to write in my style, but evoke from others what his poems evoke in my spirit). Yes, he is an inspiration, having begun writing poetry in his 70s… I have some time!

BONUS: “Let It Be Me” (Indigo Girls song): let it be me (this is not a fighting song) let it be me (not a wrong for a wrong) let it be me, if the world is night shine my life like a light

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Naming Names

My congregation has had many deaths in 2011. One more tonight. I have the need to name these beloved dead.
I have had one personal beloved who has gone.
If you happen to read this post, please offer prayers for their families. Thank you.

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Name Spells Gratitude

The gals & pals are at it again, with a GREAT F-5 this week... A wise person once told me to make an ABC list of things I am grateful for any time I feel sad or depressed. It is a good practice when one is feeling happier than that, too. So for this Friday Five, I suggest that you use your name or nickname of about five letters and express your gratitude about something that starts with each letter. Some people have longer names, so you decide how you will go about this! (Last names, middle names, and nicknames count!)

First of all, I’m exceptionally grateful to the poster of today’s Friday Five—I need this gratitude practice right now. My congregation has been hit by 6 deaths in the last few months—very active and beloved members all—and we have the prospect of several more in the very near future. Today I received a call that one more, very active, very beloved person is actively and unexpectedly dying. I am very, very sad. So I sit down to share gratitude in the midst of this sadness.

S      spirit—I am eternally grateful that the Spirit is present with me
H          health—I give thanks that I have bodily and mental strength right now
A      artistry—my inner poet finds consolation, joy and prayer in the writing process
R      relationship—always, always Jamie is on my gratitude list
O     ordinary—I'm grateful for all the ordinary things that bring me delight (like the obnoxious choke weed that I find so beautiful, and the smell of the road after a hard rain)
N         neighbors—the sermon I’m currently working on highlights one of my neighbors; they're such an unexpected blessing in my life

Friday, July 8, 2011


Summertime Friday Five

So, what's up, Rev Gals and Pals?  How are you spending your summer?  (I know, some of you are in a different hemisphere and it may be chilly...sorry!)  Are you experiencing fire or floods or tornados?  Vacationing?  Working harder than ever?  Experiencing change?  Longing for change?  

Share five things that are happening in your life, personally or professionally or some of each, in this season of life.

1. For a week of vacation, I had the wonderful adventure of taking a road trip with my spouse -- we left Colorado for Kansas (wonderful friends!), then Indiana (another wonderful friend!), then Iowa (family), and return to Colorado (no humidity!). One of my favorite things to share about the trip: "What do 2 ministers and a religion professor do on their time off? Visit the Creation Museum!" It was quite the enlightening experience.

2. At the end of August I'll take Sabbath time at Ring Lake Ranch (Dubois, WY) with Don Saliers studying and singing the Psalms. Then, in October, my colleague and I will do a sermon series on the Psalms. Very exciting!

3. I'm learning how to be the "pastor's spouse"... fair turn-around for my partner who practiced such for the past many years. At a Freedom Festival on July 4th, her church hosted a booth, and I (had the day off from my church, so) smiled and shared and was *mostly* a good partner (except for the "EZ-Up Incident"). Oh the agony!

4. I feel rather boring that I don't have more going on in my life. I'm hoping for some quiet for the rest of this summer--I don't really expect it, but I'm hopeful. The past several weeks have been a whirlwind, and I want to get my feet back on the ground. The duckies are here for smiles and encouragement.