Sunday, March 25, 2012

"It's Spring. By the end of the day you should smell like dirt." Margaret Atwood

 Ahhhhh...yes, Spring. I love when it's time to dig in the dirt. There is something deeply satisfying when I pull weeds, prepare beds, and plant. It wouldn't be a day in the garden if I didn't have to get the dirt from under my fingernails. How does that happen? I wear gloves.        

Half the fun is wandering around the Garden Center imagining what I need, what new plant would be fun to try this year and getting excited about upcoming season of tending the garden. This is my second Spring and Summer in Texas, I didn't get to garden last summer so I have no idea how my garden will grow. Somehow, it doesn't matter. What does matter is that I get to nurture the flowers, watch them grow and enjoy them. As the season goes along, I'll post some pictures.

I heard a sermon many years ago about the spiritual practice of weeding. I still remember the essence of the message, hmmm, maybe that's when it all started. Weeding is one of the few activites we are fully present to when we do it. When we weed a garden we are thinking about the weed, need to pull it, how to pull it, did we get all of the root? And, oooh, there's another one, I need to pull it too. And so it goes.

When we are fully present to God like we are when weeding a garden, we can see the next thing God is showing us, we can hear the next thing God is telling us.  When we stand back and see a bed  free of weeds, we can see the beauty and say "it is good" because it is. It is all part of God's beautiful and bountiful creation and for that I give thanks.

For Joy in God's Creation
O heavenly Father, who hast filled the world with beauty:
Open our eyes to behold thy gracious hand in all thy works;
that, rejoicing in thy whole creation, we may learn to serve
thee with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all
things were made, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
                                                                                                                  Book Of Common Prayer page 814

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring has sprung and the birds are tweeting...

...and so am I! So, this twitter business is kind of fun. I'm not sure what to tweet but, one veteran tweeter told me, if it means something to you, tell it, someone else will find it worth reading. I've come across some really interesting people so far, it's amazing how much 140 characters can say.

Since I've been away for six months let me give you a twittle-bit of what has been going on. I've now preached five times, learned about virtues, telos, and natural law. Thomas Aquinas, at least I can read you with some intelligence and get what you are talking about. I'm caught in the vortex of the hermeneutical circle and  I can't get out! I hear once you get in there is no getting out! Hmmm... that seems to be a trend.

Hard to believe six more weeks and I will be 2/3 finished with seminary. Between now and then I'll have my candidacy interview with Bishop Kee Sloan, the Diocese of Alabama's Commission on Ministry, Standing Committee. They get to say whether or not I become a Candidate for Holy Orders. Now, I would say that's going all in. 

It's going to be busy spring.  I've been invited as one of eight from SSW to the Preaching Excellence Program in Richmond VA. I'll be upper camp chaplain for Sawyerville Day Camp  (check it out!) and I'm going to Indianapolis for General Convention this summer as a seminarian. You can follow our Southwest team at #sswGC and The Episcopal Church General Convention at #GC77

Oh and I almost forgot. 10 papers and projects due before April 28, inventory in the bookstore and Last Gathering.

Tweet me at @holycowgirl1 and I'll tweet you back.

TTFN (Tweet, tweet for now...)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2011

     I turned on NPR this morning as I do most mornings. I am listening to the continuous coverage of remembrance of the events of ten years ago and I find asking myself some difficult questions. Some of which I have the answers to and some I don't. The first question is, "do I want to listen to the drama and reliving of these events again?" The truth is, "no, I don't.” so I turn it off.
     What really prompted this morning's musing are the numerous reports of how difficult it appears to be for reporters to access the memorial site this morning, which hints at how difficult it is for anyone to get near the site. Reports of roadblocks everywhere, police, guards, and fences forcing detours. Secret Service are all around to protect President Obama and former President Bush who will be there today to speak. I found it remarkable that the report had to explicitly state Obama and Bush are not there for political reasons but to address the crowds to mark this anniversary. My, how interesting that we, the people, must be reminded this is not a political occasion; but that is a topic for another day.
      Here are the hard questions I am asking of myself. Do roadblocks really protect us? Are we responding or reacting? In addition, is the from a place of strength or from a place of fear? Are we letting others determine our sense of freedom? Are we free? How do we define freedom? Questions worth pondering with one's self and others. The reporting this morning brought to mind the image of one taking a deep breath and puffing up his/her chest to exhibit a show of strength. It's a feeble image.   
       It is in moments like this that I turn to my beloved Book of Common Prayer to find guidance and words of confidence. For comfort in this time and always:
V.    Show us your mercy, O Lord;
R.    And grant us your salvation.
V.    Clothe your ministers with righteousness;
R.    Let your people sing with joy.
V.    Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;
R.    For only in you can we live in safety.
V.    Lord, keep this nation under your care;
R.    And guide us in the way of justice and truth.
V.    Let your way be known upon earth;
R.    Your saving health among all nations.
V.    Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;
R.    Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
V.    Create in us clean hearts, O God;
R.    And sustain us with your Holy Spirit.  
                                                                                                                        1979 Book of Common Prayer p 97

Thanks be to God. Amen


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How do you eat an elephant?

      One "bite" at a time. It seems it is the same for seminary, one class at a time. When I start to think in terms of work  load, time schedules and juggling all my commitments I start to get overwhelmed, then I freeze. All I need to do is take a step back, take a deep breath and take one bite at at time. I had my first day of classes yesterday and it is going to be a great semester. It's going to be demanding and require a lot of time, discipline and deep breathing but I am up for it.
     So, here we go...Middler year, here I come!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Holy Smokes!!

Bastrop fire behind the Austin skyline
     I had to share this photo. It was posted by a friend of mine on his Facebook page, taken by a friend of his. It's a view of the largest and fastest spreading fire around Austin taken from a high vantage point in (looks like) northwest Austin looking southeast.
     It 's being referred to as the Bastrop fires, 25,000 acres and over 200 homes burned. Bastrop is a bedroom community approximately 50 miles southeast of Austin. Many residents of Bastrop are ranchers and farmers and they are scrambling to save their lives, their livestock and their homes, in that order. It is a true disaster, high winds from the tropical storm, (literally) bone dry ground and no water resources to access. Some of these fires started by spontaneous combustion due to the heat and dryness. All the Austin area fire fighters are on alert and many state resources are being called in to fight the fires. There are other fires in the Northwest Steiner Ranch area of Austin, further north in Leander and out in Spicewood.
      We have not had any smoke blow in where I live but I know people who are in the line of the winds and smoke who are affected. Unfortunately, the news continues to be difficult and not very hopeful that the fires are close to being fully contained. I ask your prayers for those living in the path of these fires and for those who are fighting the fires so courageously.

Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth,you made us fellow workers in your creation: Give us wisdom and reverence so to use the resources of nature, that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 
BCP p 827

School days, school days...

    School starts tomorrow! It's hard to believe I am beginning my Middler year, but I am! I have an intense year of course work in front of me but the daily schedule is pretty  manageable. My courses are Theology II, Ethics I, Preaching I, Biblical Interpretation for Preaching, Liturgical Music and Poetry of the Hebrew Bible. All pretty meaty and, from what I understand, pretty demanding. The week is balanced, allowing enough time for Work Study and book study.
     My classmates have all returned from summer CPE programs and over this last month I have heard about their experiences as hospital chaplains and shared some of my own. I know that as time goes on, more will be revealed and I will have a deeper understanding of the time I spent as a chaplain.
     I am looking forward to being the Assistant Manager of the Seminary Bookstore this year.  It strikes me as funny, how I have often ended up doing things I thought I was finished with. I guess retail will always be with me. I still enjoy it and it is a part of who I am and what I do.
      Our community is changing once again, new students, families, professors. Lots of new faces and personalities. Let the balancing and adjusting begin!
     I hope to write more on my blog this semester. I enjoy writing it and would like to take more time to do it this year. I will stay in touch and invite you to do the same.