Tuesday, June 26, 2007

back from the mountain

I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted! Just shows how much has been going on. I had an incredible 24 hours at the monastery. Wow. Just all that delicious silence and gardens and libraries and bells. I must share this poem that was on the wall. It so speaks to me:

A Prayer to the God who Fell From Heaven

If you had stayed
tightfisted in the sky
and watched us thrash
with all the patience of a pipe smoker,
I would pray
like a golden bullet
aimed at your heart.
But the story says
you cried
and so heavy was the tear
you fell with it to the earth
where like a baritone in a bar
it is never time to go home.
So you move among us
twisting every straight line
into Picasso,
stealing kisses from pinched lips,
holding our hand in the dark.
So now when I pray
I sit and turn my mind
like a television knob
till you are there
with your large open hands
spreading my life before me
like a Sunday tablecloth
and pulling up a chair yourself;
for by now
the secret is out.
You are home."
- John Shea

All for now. There's just too much...must do it in pieces...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

This I Believe

Have any of you ever heard the NPR "This I believe" stories? I'm in a small group and our leader suggested that we write our own "This I believe" statements. It's quite an exercise. Might some of you try it on your blogs? If you do, let me know! Here's mine:

This I Believe

I believe in God. I have since I was a little girl. As far back as I can remember I have been aware of a loving presence inside me, in the eyes and words of other people, and in the hugeness and beauty of nature. When I was 10 years old, my grandfather died. It was that week that I was supposed to go to my first sleep-away camp in the mountains. I can’t remember if I wanted to go. I know that I had to miss the funeral. But I went. I’m not sure if my parents agonized over this decision, but there I was, up in the mountains for one week with lots of other 4th graders. I was sad and lonely and confused. But it was the first time I slept under the stars. I remember staring up at the pine-infused black night sky, covered with stars – such a contrast to the sky of my city childhood. I was awe-struck and full of wonder and questions. We sat around a campfire every night and sang cheesy Christian songs. But I loved it. “Spirit of the Living God, fall a-fresh on me. Mold me, fill me, use me”. I so remember this song, and the sign language that went along with it. I felt the Holy Spirit with me those nights...present in the night air, in the gathering around the campfire, in the sweet off-key lilt of the children’s voices. And at the end of one of these evenings, the head camp counselor invited anyone who wanted to ask Jesus into their hearts to stay after. Writing this now, I cringe. This theology freaks me out. But I felt a pull and a curiosity and something kept me seated on that log bench, even though it drew snickers from my friends. I remember my counselor leading me to a large flat rock in the shadows, under the stars and we prayed for Jesus to enter my heart. I think I hoped something big would happen, or that I’d at least feel some kind of flicker inside me. But nothing. Just the prayer and then off to bed. I remember being confused that I had to ask Jesus. Wasn’t he there already? What would keep him away? Well...I no longer believe in the need to say the right words for God to be with me. But I do believe something shifted in me that night...if for no other reason than that night has always stayed in my memory in a very potent way. I do believe in Jesus as a living present reality active in our world. I believe he was God incarnated in a human person, and not just a man fully infused with God. I believe something cosmic shifted with his birth, death and resurrection. I pretty much believe in the Nicene Creed, as it exists in the realm of poetry, of attempting to put words to great mysteries that can never be explained by words. I believe that all matter is inherently good. I believe that there is true power in the Bible, even though it is flawed and full of human stuff. I believe there is power in actually saying the words of the Gospel, beyond our understanding. I believe we’re all priests and that God calls each of us in different ways. I believe that God does act in our lives...that She gets down in the nitty gritty and does things. I believe the Eucharist is the heartbeat of what we do as a community of faith. I believe I’m sounding rather boring and religious and obnoxious. I believe in the church...in its ability to do great good and healing and exploring and reconciling and storytelling and feeding and encouraging. Besides this, I believe that the most important thing we can do as parents is to stay in love with our kids. I believe that guacamole is the best food on the planet. A close second is linguine with melted brie, basil, garlic and tomatoes. A close third is warm sour dough bread fresh out of the oven smeared with butter. I believe in the light and hope I see in my two daughters’ eyes. And at the end of the day, I believe that all will be well. That all is not well, but that all will be well. That it really is all right. And even though I’m trying to claim my own thoughts and express them without fear, I must end with a quote from my love Madeleine L’Engle: “I mean these words. I do not understand them, but I mean them. Perhaps one day I will find out what I mean. They are behind everything, the cooking of meals, walking the dogs, talking with the girls. I may never find out with my intellectual self what I mean, but if I am given enough glimpses perhaps these will add up to enough so that my heart will understand. It does not; not yet.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Body Shots

Okay, seriously, this cracked me UP. I returned home from a long meeting with one of the priests at my church. The door to the garage opened and my husband greeted me with a tequila shot. And not just that, he wanted me to do a body shot. Ha ha ha aha. There was salt on his neck, mkay? Hilarious that he greeted me with this. From the holy to the profane. This is very unusual behavior and I thought it was pretty great. Can he greet me with that every day? Okay, maybe not.

And on a COMPLETELY different topic....I'm doing it. And this is NOT the tequila speaking. I'm meeting with my rector next week to tell him I'm ready to start a parish discernment committee in the fall. This is a huge step for me. Feels good to have finally made this decision. We'll see what he says...

The irony of this post is not lost on me...

The Best Guacamole you're ever had.

Okay, so these amounts aren't exact....but it's the ingredients that count, not the quantity. Quantity should be to taste...

Take white onion, cilantro, kosher salt and diced jalapenos and squish them in the bottom of a bowl with a fork or the back of a spoon. Do this as long as you can...it releases all the flavors. Then, add the avocado and mix it together. Then add diced tomatoes and Voila...perfection. Make sure to not add too much salt at the beginning. Best to add some, then test later to see if you have enough.


Monday, June 11, 2007

I've been tagged: Eight Random Things

Okay, first the rules:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3.At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

8 Random things about me:

1. I haven't talked much about my two little ones on my blog. Which is strange because they are a WEALTH of good stories. I suppose I've focused on things theological and they don't fit into that category a whole lot...except lately since my 4 year old...let's call her Center of Attention...has been asking me lots of questions about God. I tried to explain that when we pray, God can hear us. So when she prays with me at bedtime she says, "Hi, God. Are you there? Is that Him, Mama? Can he hear me? Why doesn't he have a voice? If he lives in my heart, where is my heart? Does he live in our cat's heart? Does he live in my stomach? Why did Jesus die? What did Jesus look like? Is he alive? Why can't I see him?" You know...THOSE easy questions to answer. And as usual with children, in the face of their earnest questions and my stumbling attempts at answering, I come face to face with what I truly believe. Or what I have no idea about (which is most of it).

2. I was once, gulp, this is SO embarrassing, a debutante. That's right, folks, coming out party and all. And it was the biggest conflict I ever had with my mother. It was so important to her that I do this whole thing and I found it repulsive and dripping with money and generally icky. She even made me take cotillion dance lessons. She says to me in a teasing way, "You will always be a debutante." Harumph. My small act of rebellion was to ask one of my highschool teachers as my date. Well, he wasn't really a teacher, he was the piano accompanist for my highschool singing group. He was super cute, though he looked a little like Kenny G with his crazy long curly hair, and he was significantly older than me and helped me mock the whole evening, respectfully...meaning, no one knew we were inwardly mocking and snickering. We're still friends and that night is a great source of laughter.

3. I have a secret passion to be in musical theatre. Wait, that's not true. I USED to have this dream. Don't really have it anymore. But last night I watched the Tony Awards and it stirred up those old passions. I even stood in my kitchen alone and belted out a ballad just to prove I still had it. But...um, I didn't really still have it. :) It was fun, anyway.

4. I have a MFA in Theatre and now I'm following a call into the church and you know what? Church is the best theatre I've ever seen. Hmm...maybe that's why I'm an Episcopalian.

5. I wish Madeleine L'Engle was my aunt who lived next door. And that she was 20 years younger, so she'd be on this earth a bit more.

6. I just noticed something about myself. It's not actually new, but it hit me in a new way. I've always been someone who has found it very easy to be positive. To be full of good energy. People have often commented that I naturally radiate a love and a joy and a light. But you know what? When I come home, I get a bit shadowy. Not that I don't have moments at home of joy and laughter and ease...there is much of this. But lately, I notice that out in the world I'm full of light, and at home I'm under a cloud. What does this mean? I have the most wonderful family EVER. Granted, having two little ones is challenging. But still...I want to radiate that same love and joy to THEM. That's my job. That's more important than how I act at the grocery store to perfect strangers. Hmmm....going to have to reflect on that one. It's definitely a pattern in my life. I remember being that way in my teen years. There's a bit of letting down at home, but not sure this is the healthiest way to be.

7. I love guacamole. It is my favorite food ever. And I have the BEST recipe, if anyone is interested.

8. I think N.T. Wright is helping bridge my theology....from my conservative upbringing to my progressive (way out there progressive) church that I currently attend. Still feeling stuck but I have hope at least.

Okay, I will now tag EIGHT of you....
1. Mother Laura here
2. Feminary here
3. Kate here
4. Susie here
5. Reverend Mother here
6. More Cows Than People here
7. Gannet Girl here
8. Cathy here

Friday, June 8, 2007

Friday Five: Island Escape Edition

As posted by Cathy over at http://www.revgals.blogspot.com

We snitched a bit of time on an quiet island nearby this week. It was a last minute plan, escaping with a minimal amount of preparation. One must have essentials that make it a relaxing time. Perhaps you have had this opportunity to escape, or maybe it's only been a thought to get away. However, suppose you were told to pack some essentials for a trip to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.Describe your location, in general or specific terms and....
1) What book(s) will you bring?
Okay, so I'm a total dork. Normally, I CRAVE and LUST after island getaways, but right now, as I answer these Friday Five questions, I'm salivating at my ACTUAL escape that is coming up in just a few days. I'm going to a monastery in the mountains for a one night retreat all by myself. No husband. No kids. No schedule. So...I'm not bringing any books because they have this great bookstore and I'm going to have to exert major willpower to just buy a few. And I will leaf through those books while I'm there.
2) What music accompanies you?
None. This will be a time of gorgeous symphonic harmonious QUIET.
3) What essentials of everyday living must you take (as in the health and beauty aids aisle variety)?
Sunscreen, lipgloss, the basics.
4) What technological gadgets if any, will you take with you or do you leave it all behind?
None. Except for my cell phone in case there's an emergency. But I will NOT be making any outgoing calls, nor will I answer the phone. Just there in case my hubbie has to leave me a message regarding emergency.
5) What culinary delights will you partake in while there?
Ummm...the meals are made by the brothers. They're supposed to be quite good. I hope the mealtimes aren't too awkward. I think breakfast is in silence, so that might be nice. I'm hoping to meet some of them...we'll see.
As a bonus question, what makes for a perfect day on vacation for you?
Assuming we're talking out-of-monastery vacations, plenty of time to read, to meander through the day, lots of time outdoors. A good meal at night with a bottle of wine.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Moonlight Sonata

Just some scenes from my life I want to share:

The other day, at the end of my first spiritual direction meeting, my 80-something spiritual director led me to the door and said, "Go get 'em!" I loved this. How cute is this?

Last night, I woke up around 2am and had to squint my eyes because the full moon was shining through my window so brightly...so luminous, so BRIGHT. It took my sleepy breath away. It was stunning. Such an odd thing to wake to such moonlight. I found myself bathed in this glorious light and sank back into my pillow in gratitude. It was like a hug from the universe. I think it's something about his time of year. This time of year the moon shines directly through those windows in the middle of the night. I forgot this. Because most of the time I'm sleeping. But it reminded me of the last time I noticed this. My youngest daughter was a newborn. And I remember going into her nursery to check on her, or probably nurse her, and seeing her teeny new body bathed in this glorious moonlight. I remember opening her curtains so that this moonlight would surround and bless her...

And on a completely different note, I'm afraid. I'm so afraid. You know what my biggest fear is right now? It feels silly typing this out. It's that I'm severely delusional regarding wanting to be a priest. I'm afraid there is a group of people at my church conspiring to break it to me that I have no business dreaming what I'm dreaming and that I really am not cut out to be a priest. There, I said it. It is this fear that keeps me from beginning official discernment. It is this fear that keeps me from articulating my dream as clearly as I could. But I AM articulating it. And I am making baby steps. But I'm so afraid still. How silly. But I just don't want to be foolish. sigh.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Friday Five: Hopes, Dreams, Visions

...as posted by Sally at http://www.revgalblogpals.blogspot.com

1. Think back to the time you left High School, what were your hopes visions and dreams for your life/ for the world?

When I graduated from high school I was full of dreams and excitement. I was on my way to a foofy Ivy League school and it was a miracle I actually got in. I was on the wait list for EVER and my SATs were not at all impressive. I wanted to go there because they had great English and Theatre departments. I couldn't decide whether I wanted to go into the church or the theatre. Hmm...not much has changed. I ended up going the theatre route and it was wonderful but frought with insecurity and obstacles. By the time I got to college I was smacked in the face with humility. Many of my classes felt over my head. But I thrived on the social scene and the arts on campus. It was the first time I set foot in an Episcopal church...a tiny chapel and I thought to myself...I am home. I completely fell in love.

2. Have those hopes visions and dreams changed a lot, or are some of them still alive and kicking? (share one if you can)

They haven't changed that much except I have fulfilled my biggest dream which was to get married and start a family. Sometimes I forget how much this dream has been fulfilled because it's so much a part of my everyday reality. I never gave breath to the dream of being a priest...until now. So I'm very excited with this possibility. I still have a crush on this dream, you know what I mean? I'm just trying to gain perspective and make sure it's not just the crush that propels me, but an actual calling and purpose. Trying to figure that one out.

3. Hebrews 11:1 " Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. " Comforting, challenging or frustrating?

This is comforting to me. Faith has always come easily to me. But it's the articulation of that faith that I find challenging and frustrating. And necessary.

4. If resources were unlimited, and you had free reign to pursue a vision what would it be?

I would move to New York City or Berkeley and go to seminary. My husband would get an amazing job in one of those places. Then we could return home here and I could pursue ministry.

5. Finally with summer upon us- and not to make this too heavy- share your dream holiday....where, when and who with...

Just my hubbie and me on an odyssey a la Eat Pray Love. Have you read the book? It's great. The author travels to Italy ("Eat"), an ashram in India ("Pray") and Bali ("Love). Okay, maybe that would take more than a summer...