Saturday, November 29, 2008

Advent 2008

Starting the 4th Sunday before Christmas and ending on Christmas Eve, the season of ADVENT is when we celebrate the coming of Christ into the world as a helpless infant while anticipating His second coming - when every tear will be wiped away. And as some of you may know, I so Adore the season of ADVENT & am looking forward to today's Advent Festival at St. Paul's!

Over the next 4 weeks my posts will focus primarily on our waiting for the hope that is Christ. With the anxiety that many are feeling in these difficult times - be it monetarily, emotionally, or spiritually, it is a good & joyful thing to light a candle in this darkness. May we hold steadfastly to the truth that God is With Us......

Today's selection is an Advent Litany that will be used this morning at church. Enjoy! And may Advent Blessings be upon each and every one of you!

Advent Litany - Among the Poor, "Cloth for the Cradle" Iona Community, p. 31

Among the poor,
among the proud,
among the persecuted,
among the privileged,
Christ is coming,
Christ is coming to make all things new.

In the private house,
in the marketplace,
in the wedding feast,
in the judgment hall,
Christ is coming,
Christ is coming to make all things new.

With a gentle touch,
with an angry word,
with a clear conscience,
with burning love,
Christ is coming,
Christ is coming to make all things new.

That the kingdom might come,
that the world might believe,
that the powerful might stumble,
that the humble might be raised,
Christ is coming,
Christ is coming to make all things new.

Within us,
without us,
among us,
before us,
in this place,
in every place, for this time, for all time,
Christ is coming,
Christ is coming to make all things new.

Mildred Pierce

Happy Saturday! And it's back to the Top Ten films. (I believe we are up to #5?)

Today's pick is "Mildred Pierce" - made in 1945 - it starred the magnificent Joan Crawford - She won Best Actress for her fabulous portrayal of how NOT to raise a daughter. You can check out one of the more delicious scenes between Mildred and her daughter Veda, played by Anne Blyth here.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

abundant living?

"If truly following God's call to abundant life
makes Christians into
well-adjusted middle-class citizens,
it makes you wonder how
Jesus ever got himself executed."

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is author of New Monasticism: What It Has to Say to Today's Church (Baker, 2008). He is also one of the workshop leaders at The Great Emergence National Event

p.s. what is he looking at with the magnifying glass?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


"Feeding the hungry
in Christ is a
greater work than
raising the dead
in Christ."

St. John Chrysostum

Turkey with all the trimmings!
Holy Food for Holy People

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Prayer in the Park

I "took" this photo from yesterday's Daily Office .
This is an art installation.
I found it intriguing. What say you?

Monday, November 24, 2008


Surviving the loss of a loved one is its own kind of test. To tell our story is a way of affirming the life of the loved one we have lost-- the experiences we had together, The favorite family stories.

To tell the story is a way of moving the grief along, and so contributes to our own healing.
- Martha Whitmore Hickman

The husband of a dear friend died unexpectedly today.
I had the honor of sitting in her home tonight with friends & family as she shared the story of their last few days together. May we remember the Balkan Family in our prayers.
photo: The Angel of Grief

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Sometimes when I suggest meditation to my clients as a way to become more fully present there is at least a smigden of resistance :) Many believe that if they can't do it perfectly then why bother? Listen to what Francis de Sales has to say about that and be encouraged. I know he mentions a "meditation hour" but just one minute is a worthy goal. You can always add another minute tomorrow.

"Even if you do nothing in your meditation hour but bring your heart back gently a thousand times, though it went away each time again, your meditation is a success." St. Francis de Sales

photo found at:

Saturday, November 22, 2008


It's Saturday once again and I'm not doing a Top Ten Movie today in order to bring you this breaking early review.....:)

My daughters went to see "Twilight" last night. Both were very disappointed - and isn't that usually the case when you compare a movie with the book? Bethany texted me halfway through the film to tell me it was "bad" and then again at the end to say the 2nd half was better. But over all - she said save your money mom! I have read the first 2 books of the series and enjoyed them & when I find some time I will read the remaining 2. I even assigned the books to my class last month and one of my students read all 4 in a week. Wow!

"Twilight" is not Shakespeare - but a good love story with a bit of Jane Eyre-like darkness. It's also great to see so many young girls reading. And for those of us who live on the Olympic Peninsula, where the story is set, it was a delight to see the names of locales that we frequent in a book. But they were not in the film (it was filmed in Oregon & the author had never been to Forks before writing the book.) For example, Bethany said, "Mom, who in Forks would wear a tie to school?" So out of 4 stars the girls are giving this one almost 2 because at least most of the actors were well cast (not to mention cute:)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Superior Scribbler Award

Jan has presented me with the Superior Scribbler Award. How fun is this! I'm a winner! And to have been chosen by a writer whose blog I never miss! Thank you Jan. So here is how this award business works:
*Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
*Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
*Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to this Post, which explains The Award.
*Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
*Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.
So now for the hard part - How do I choose only 5 where there are so many great blogs that I enjoy? Here goes:
1) Wisdom of the Desert - written by Amma, born in 380 A.D. she brings a daily drop of delicious wisdom from our desert Mothers & Fathers.
2) Does Not Wisdom Call? - Ellie feeds my soul with her meditative pieces on saints, feasts, & lectionary selections. Her holy blog is a great way to start the day!
3) Journey Through Grace - Jayne is definitely for the birds - incredible photos of her fine feathered friends who grace her feeders...she lightens my mood & gives me much to consider....
4) Fun Stuff with Caleb - Rebekah journals her joys and sorrows in her efforts to mother her little boy who lives across the country. This young woman's strength in the face of great personal pain humbles me. She has 3 blogs & this one focuses solely on her son.
5) Chalkballerina - Charis is the epitome of exuberance and life! Her wedding photos are more than stunning and her honesty in her writing is more than refreshing! She definitely rocks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


"To forgive
is not to
condone wrongs
to refuse
to let the past
dictate the future."

Huston Smith

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Saint Elizabeth

Today we honor the feast day of Elizabeth of Hungary, 1207-1231. A benefit of finishing one's school work early at St. Phillip's Catholic Grammar School in Pasadena, CA was the privilege of choosing & reading one of the many books on the lives of the saints that were located in the back of the classroom. (Where was Harry Potter when I needed him?)

I recall reading about Elizabeth of Hungary and thinking that here was yet another female saint I would never be able to live up to - she wasn't one of the virgin variety but was an actual princess who wed at 14, had 3 children, and devoted her very short life (she died at 24) to Piety with a capital P while caring for the sick and the poor. Most depictions of her (i.e. holy cards such as the one on the right which I believe was stashed inside my Missal) show her holding bread and/or roses.

So why am I talking about her? Because David and I were married at the exquisitely beautiful St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in Altadena, California in June, 1979. Here is a picture of the grotto - well actually this is a postcard circa 1935. This grotto was built by a Japanese artist in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes. This is where we waited for our wedding ceremony to commence on a very hot California summer day - almost 30 years ago. I was 7 months pregnant at the time and since the interior of the church was built on a downward slope I dared not enter through the back door for the traditional wedding march because I was so front-loaded that I imagined that I'd work up too much speed coming down the aisle & not be able to stop - really!

The two of us walked in together through the side door (well there were actually 3 of us at that point). No members of my family attended our wedding - that is a long story in itself - but my grandfather did "sneak" over to the grotto for a moment before the ceremony to give us his blessing. My best friend Anita and her family were there as were other friends - such as Jill, and Terre Lou - these are all women I still know and love dearly. And my dear sisters would have been there if they could have - but they were very young and had no control over their situation.
So here's to fond memories of a bittersweet day! And may we continue to love our neighbors as ourselves, especially the poor and the hungry, as dear Saint Elizabeth did...Amen


"One act
of retaliation
burns down
to the ground
a whole forest
of merit."

Zen commentary

Monday, November 17, 2008

Our Healing

"Whatever pain or problem we have,
what helps is to find a quality of presence -
where we can
open to it,
see it,
feel it,
and find the truth
concealed in it -
that is our healing."

John Welwood

this healing hand meditation is from:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Good News

"How can I announce the good news of reconciliation unless I am that?

Henri Nouwen
photo - Reconciliation Statue in the ruins at Coventry Gardens -
a copy of which can be found in the Peace Park at Hiroshima

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pure Country

It's Saturday - movie day! And this one, Pure Country, is a family favorite from over the years - whenever my teenage son was feeling down he'd put this into the VCR - that boy memorized the entire dialogue of this film - the annoying part was that he would say all the lines before the actors would, which was rather a strange form of stereo to have to put up with if one chose to watch it with him.

There's nothing profound about this movie - it's your basic boy loses self, boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl and self. The acting isn't great, nor is most of the dialogue but it is George Strait - and he's the best. The soundtrack is also fabuous and doesn't everyone have to have at least one movie that just makes them remember good family times?

As for quotes here is one my son still uses - said by Ernest Tucker - who is wary of Dusty's (played by G.S.) intentions with his daughter Harley - "You know the funny thing about that little white speck on the top of chicken shit? That little white speck is chicken shit too!"

And here is one of my favorites which occurs when Earl, Dusty's friend and bandmate, goes searching for him at his grandmother's home. She's one wise woman!

: Well, sometimes the tree grows too fast and the roots don't develop. And sometimes you have to chop off the top of that tree to let the roots catch up.
Earl: But do you know where he's at?
Grandma: No, but I expect if you follow the roots, you'll find him.
Earl: Grandma Ivy, in all the years I've known you I've never heard you answer a question directly.
Grandma: There are no answers. Only the search.
Earl: Yup, whatever that means.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pulled out from under!

"It's a good thing
to have all the props
pulled out from under us
It gives us some sense
of what is rock under our feet,
and what is sand."

Madeleine L'Engle

Thursday, November 13, 2008

3 Things...

"Three things
cannot be long
the sun, the moon,
and the truth."


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Take comfort in this...

"Grace means that we are not alone;
we are always accompanied."
David Richo

Monday, November 10, 2008

Undeserving Poor

"The woman was livid, pounding her fist on the table. "I wouldn't give a cent to those soup kitchen bums," she declared. 'They spend my tax money on whiskey and cigarettes. They have children just to get bigger welfare checks. They're probably too lazy to get jobs. They don't deserve a free meal.'

Ah, the undeserving poor. How often we've heard those tirades.

But let's pretend for a minute that the woman's accusations are true. Let's say that those who eat at soup kitchens spend their meager checks on booze and drugs instead of food and shelter. Let's agree that they are all offered jobs and refuse them because they are lazy. Let's agree that they only have children because they want more government money.

Would that make them less deserving of help? Any less deserving than we are? It depends on whether you look at it through Wall Street's eyes or Jesus' eyes, I guess.

'We love,' suggests 1 John 4:19, 'because God first loved us.' That love comes through in one of my favorite Hasidic tales. According to the tale, the rabbi of Sassov once gave the last money in his pocket to a man of ill repute. When his disciples objected, he asked, 'Shall I be more finicky than God, who gave it to me?'

None of us deserves what we have. All of us are recipients of an unconditional love, poured out and overflowing.

Creation itself is a gift given without human effort. Who among us deserves another minute of life? Who among us deserves forgiveness for the hurt and harm we have scattered like sand on a seashore? A child's love, the smell of coffee in the morning, a slice of freshly baked bread, a brilliant sunset - everything and everyone is a gift.

Each of us stands before God as a beggar, totally dependent on God's sustaining love. All we are asked to do is to imitate God: to give without judgment or label, to give because we are all 'undeserving poor.'

Daily we receive a torrent, a flood of underserved gifts from the unending waterfall of God's goodness. And daily we are given opportunities to imitate the torrent through acts of kindness and unconditional love."

Mary Lou Kownacki - "A Monk in the Inner City", pp. 133-134...(She is a fabulous Benedictine nun who has spent 40 years in Erie, PA, participating in the lives of the highest % of minority children living in poverty in the U.S.A.)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bread of Life

There is no such thing as "my" bread. All bread is ours and is given to me, to others through me, and to me through others. For not only bread, but all things necessary for sustenance in this life are given on loan to us with others, and because of others and for others and to others through us. Bread of Life, sustain your people.

Adapted from Meister Eckhart, 14th c. Christian theologian. (found here)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dorothy Day

Since it is the birthday of the very famous Dorothy Day, it seems appropriate to use one of her quotes:

"I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions."

P.S. Happy Birthday Faith!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Midwife of our Lives

God of power and presence,
you are the midwife of our lives,
always drawing us on to be born again,
encouraging, exhorting, calming,
containing even death.

You pull us, kicking, into life,
breathe spirit into us.
We thank you for the gift in our breath,
the love that we make,
the hope that we cherish,
the grace that encompasses our darkest day.

In smallness and splendor, in storm and serenity,
we celebrate your care and creativity.
We rest in you, as trustingly as any baby.

The Pattern of Our Days - Worship in the Celtic Tradition
from the Iona Community edited by Kathy Galloway

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Results

is daring to acknowledge
our mutual destiny
so that we might
move forward
all together
into the land which
God is showing us

Henri Nouwen -
"With Open Hands" p.112

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Reality of God

This seemed an appropriate way to start our Election Day!
"In Christ we are offered the possibility of partaking in the reality of God and in the reality of the world, but not in the one without the other. The reality of God discloses itself only by setting me entirely in the reality of the world, and when I encounter the reality of the world it is always already sustained, accepted and reconciled in the reality of God." -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
HT to Ellie
Question: Is that a Brownie in his hands?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Reading the Paper

The terrible fascinates.
This reading of the paper trains my fear.
I can feel it.
I want to know the disaster even as I recoil.
I am not separate from the deaths, the demands,
and the dealings, the disasters, the deceits,
the demagogues, and the diplomats.

This is our incompleteness, our separation,
our greed at work. Let me own my part.
The world's hunger is mine.
The world's helplessness is mine.
The world's failure to love is mine.
Sober me to this connection in my life.
Let the news be printed on my conscience.
Help me bear it.

Gunilla Norris, "Being Home" p. 40