Saturday, February 28, 2009


"An inquisitor is born of the idea,
"I know all there is to know about God."
J. Rubenis

And once this occurs, we too
will start to resemble & act like Mrs. Umbridge,
the Hogwarts High Inquisitor!

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Prayer for the Unemployed

Dear Lord Jesus Christ,
You wanted all who are weary
To come to You for support.
Lord, I am worn out
By my inability to find work.

Guide my steps to a righteous path;
Give me the patience
To find opportunities with a future.
Calm my worries and fears
As my financial responsibilities mount.
Strengthen my resolve;
Embolden my heart to open doors;
Open my eyes to see life beyond rejections.
Help me believe in me.

Let me realize other ways
To bring about Your kingdom on earth.
Let me grow as a person
That I may be worthy
For Your greater glory.
In the name of the Father.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

got chocolate?

Lent is a time for taking stock of our spiritual lives. One of the most common questions you may hear is, "What are you giving up for Lent?" As a child we were encouraged to give up chocolate or ice cream or TV. Our parents gave up cigarettes, drinking, swearing and caffeine. This was supposed to bring us closer to God (though I recall some very cranky parents). I remember a man who would give up smoking every Lent and carry one cigarette in his shirt pocket as a reminder of the cross that he was bearing for Christ.

As I grew up the focus of our church turned from "giving up" something to "adding" something - such as devotional reading, volunteering or reconciling with someone. Whatever we decide to do (or not do) it must be done with humbleness of heart- as we become more reflective, and more aware of what holds us back from loving God and others.

I've asked several people what they are doing as a Lenten discipline this year and here are some of their answers: One is giving up computer games as they have become a way of disengaging with reality, another is giving up Facebook as it has taken the place of spending time with her family. I noticed a co-worker walking upstairs at a slow pace. I asked why she was doing this and she responded that this was her Lenten spiritual practice that reminds her to slow down. I love that one. I'm still pondering what mine will be.

And yet many people I've talked to are feeling that they are already living in a Lenten experience as they join the unemployed, the foreclosed, and the hungry. For them the thought of "giving up" something seems absurd - after all, they have already lost so much. As I see the fear (False Expectations Accepted as Reality) that is affecting us all in this economic crisis, I have to fight the desire to grasp too tightly to that which cannot give life. So wherever we stand at this moment, may God shower each of us during this Lenten season, with that Divine transforming love that never fails. For though we may stumble in our attempt at giving up or adding on, God will never stop loving us.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dust to Dust

Last night we had a terrific Mardi Gras celebration at church as evidenced by the photo below of grandchildren David and Lydia. Dixieland jazz, face painting, mask decorating & a delicious jambalaya were followed by the putting away of the Allelulia banner until the Easter Vigil and our gathering on the labyrinth to watch the burning of last Palm Sunday's ashes in silence.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. I've been looking forward to this 40 day season for with the recent death of my father, I'm feeling "at home" with the concept of being in the desert with Jesus and the images of sackcloth and ashes. Does that sound weird? It's as though this is an "ok" time to be grieving.

And as each person stepped forward this morning to receive the sign of the ashes on their foreheads, Elizabeth+ repeated the words "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return." I was sitting in the last pew and after hearing her repeat this phrase close to 40 times, I began to let it permeate my being and slowly started letting my defenses down. I am starting an another inward journey towards repentance. What will that look like? I have no idea. But because I am already so weary I think I might be less inclined to protect myself from whatever it is that God wants me to see.

And so the season of Lent begins. Here is a photo I took this morning of the back of Elizabeth's+ Lenten chasuble (an outer vestment resembling a poncho) as she greeted those leaving the service. It's batiky (sp?) and burlapy (sp?).....which make it very sackclothy (?) and Lenty (?)....

Monday, February 23, 2009

Eric, Oscar, & Roma

Eric won an Oscar!

We had a great time viewing the Oscars last night with the fam and Aunt Sue, though I must say that when you are waiting for a particular category to be announced the show is even longer than it appears to be! I tried to load the winning moment from the show but it has been removed from so here is the only photo of the bald headed golden boy that Eric has posted so far. CONGRATULATIONS ERIC!

I took the following from the Oscar website:
Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron


Oh my God. On behalf of myself, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron, I'd like to thank the Academy for this incredible honor. I'd also like to thank Edson Williams and his team at Lola Visual Effects and Nathan McGuinness and his team at Asylum as well as all the other visual effects teams that worked so hard on this film. I'd like to thank our amazing team at Digital Domain, my mentor Ed Ulbrich, my wonderful producer Lisa Beroud, the woman who is my biggest supporter, my wife Roma, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Ceán Chaffin, for trusting that we could actually pull this off. Brad Pitt for an amazing performance. And of course David Fincher for giving us all the opportunity to work on this film. To my kids, Cole and Nicolette, I'd just like to say, "Work hard, do good work and never give up." Thank you.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Irish Beatles

My dear friend Karen Noble sent this my way this morning - she finds it amusing to send me things that make those of us who have had the good fortune to have been born in the Emerald Isle or at least can boast of some Irish ancestry look a "tad off center". According my my husband, this is not a difficult task. Anyway, this is a funny video...Have a good Saturday.

Friday, February 20, 2009


"The time
to make up
your mind
about people
is never."

Katherine Hepburn, as Tracy Lord
in The Philadelphia Story, 1940

Thursday, February 19, 2009

who's to blame?

"We want to hold something or somebody else responsible for our misery, but unless we choose to be responsible, we'll never grow up. There's a story I heard about a construction worker. At lunchtime one day on the job, the worker opened his lunch box and said, "Oh, no, chicken salad again!" The next day he had chicken salad, and he reacted the same way. The same thing happened on the next day after that, and the next. Finally, a co-worker who heard these repeated complaints said, "If you can't stand the chicken salad, why don't you get your wife to make you something else for lunch?" The man replied, "Oh, I'm not married. I make these lunches myself." There's truth in that story. We play the victim. We live as if we're buffeted and bruised by this arbitrary world.... We look outside ourselves for the source of our unhappiness, but we're looking in the wrong place. The source is always within us." Terence Grant - taken from Inward/Outward

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

our task is to abide

Today we remember Martin Luther, reformer, 1546, and here is something I pulled from Brightest and Best - A Companion to the Lesser Feasts and Fasts:

"In truth, the institutional church (and a good many other human institutions) is dead. Such life as we see may not be evidence of reformation but of resurrection, for which only God may be thanked. If we are to survive these times, we must let go both of our fear of failure and of our zeal for success.

We must rest confident not in our institutions, but in our God...Our task, as John reminds us, it to abide - to abide in God's love, to place our confidence and make our dwelling not in institutions but in God. As Martin Luther boldly affirmed, we and the institutions we fashion are only wayfarers in time. Only in God are we truly at home." p. 40

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hello, Operator?

"When you see a truck bearing down on you,
by all means jump out of the way.
But spend some time in meditation too.
Learning to deal with discomfort is the only way you'll be ready
to handle the truck you didn't see."
B.H. Gunaratana

Anyone else feeling like they've been hit by a truck?

Extra Credit:
name the film

Monday, February 16, 2009

Finding God

"Our best chance
of finding God
is to look
in the place
where we left him."
Meister Eckhart

And with Lent quickly approaching,
it would be a good thing to start
getting rid of as many of our
encumbrances as possible.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

u r kind

I wonder how St. Valentine would have responded to our remembrances of him on this day of flowers and candy & the exchanging of over a billion valentine cards?

I am giving myself the best Valentine's gift I can think of by being kind to myself. I am very tired. The funeral went well & I am looking forward to returning home tomorrow. I do believe a nice piece of chocolate is in order.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


My husband and I are heading for California in the morning to attend my dad's funeral on Thursday. Thank you for all the kind words and prayers.

Also, my daughter is sitting here with me & she wanted me to tell you that she has banned me from ever entering "Control Panel" again. It seems in my attempt to "fix" my font sizes I inadvertently :) changed every font size in every window. Not cool. I'm hoping that when I return all will be back to normal - at least on my computer.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Kenneth Fleming 1924-2009

Some days life can be beyond bizarre, can't it? My father took his last breath on this earth early this morning. I was at church and my sister Becky was not able to reach me until 1:30p.m. today. Here's where the bizarreness sets in. At 2:11 my sister Roma called from London to tell me that Eric won his first BAFTA. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry so i did both - a lot of both! I guess you could say that Eric and my father received rewards today. One on earth and one in heaven.

I feel a sense of relief for my dad and yet I know my mother is in such pain. And though the ground beneath me feels a bit unsteady at the moment, I know that the work of grief must begin. My mind isn't working too well but my heart holds all the stories & the memories. It will continue to hold these securely until I am ready to retrieve them at some point.

Dad was alone when he died which doesn't surprise me - I don't think he could have let go with his wife in the room. My dad is now in the fullness of God's light and love where he will be forever. But I think he might have stopped first at the Royal Opera House in London to cheer along with my sister when Eric won.

I love you dad.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

London or Bust

My sister Roma and her husband Eric flew to London last night to attend the BAFTAS (British Academy of Film & Television Arts) which take place this Sunday at London's Royal Opera House. Eric is nominated in the Special Visual Effects category for his incredible work in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. This is his first BAFTA nomination. He is also nominated for an Oscar here in the states. How fantastic is that!

I am so thrilled that Eric's extraordinary talent & hard work should be honored by a nomination for such a prestigious award and I do hope he wins but this post is a shout out to my sister (sorry Eric) for she is the one who encouraged him to not stay in L.A. to watch the proceedings via satellite but to make this once-in-a- lifetime trip. As Roma reminded her husband, the point of the film is that you only have so many days to spend here on this planet and you should try to make the most of each and every one of them!

So here's a little story of what happened on Wednesday. After booking the last 2 seats available on Friday night's flight to London, Roma asked Eric to get their passports out of the safe as they started the packing process. He came downstairs with a sick look on his face as he relayed the news that her passport had expired 2 weeks ago! Roma freaked out (well of course she did! who wouldn't?) and reached for her laptop on which she Googled "24 hour passports." (I would never have even thought of such a thing. I would have just thrown myself across the bed and wailed in despair.)

After several calls she connected with a company in Washington D.C. that said that yes, they could make this happen. So she downloaded their forms, filled them out, headed for the CVS pharmacy to get new passport photos taken (which she says make her look like a late stage crack addict) and headed for the airport with her expired passport, packet of forms, and unflattering photos to place on an 11pm cargo delivery flight.

Early on Thursday morning, she heard from the company that her forms had arrived in D.C. and everything looked good. It would take a few hours to process & they would inform her what flight her passport would arrive on. Roma went about her busy day, making arrangements for where her children would be staying, making sure the pugs were cared for and all those other last minute details that mothers deal with.

It was after midnight (Friday) when she logged onto Facebook to say she had just returned from picking up her new passport from LAX and was indeed going to London!!! WOW! and YIPPEE! Talk about tenacity! (Eric took this picture after they boarded the plane)....

May this experience grace them both with delicious stories and marvelous memories to share with those they love so dearly.

Friday, February 6, 2009

soul shutters

Death is an exercise in 'enough is enough.' Death points to newness of life, for those who stay behind as well as for those who go. What death ends, in other words, it also begins. Painfully, perhaps. Fearfully, often. But never without new challenge, new gift, new opportunity. It's when we shutter up the windows of our souls and hide behind yesterday that tomorrow never comes, no matter how long we live." Joan Chittister
In Search of Belief, p. 126-12. photo from here

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sequim News

In this week's edition of Sequim This Week
I read the following listed in the Crime Report
under "Disturbances/ Suspicious."
"Someone in reporting party's bed,
possible mental situation".

I think we all know the particulars of this incident, don't we?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Barrel Organs

"Eternity is a barrel organ whose one and only tune does not bore you." -from Finding God in a Tangled World, p. 172

Really? If that's the case then the disgruntled parishioners who left their congregations over the 'hymns on the organ vs. praise music on the guitar' argument are going to be TRULY bummed out.

The caption of this picture is "Barrel Organ Festival"...does that crowd looked pumped up to you? And another thing, will we all be required to wear those bowler hats in eternity? Surely not! And where are the monkeys?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Feast of the Presentation

"Her hands steadied the first steps of him who steadied the earth to walk upon; her lips helped the Word of God to form his first human words. - opening sentence of John of Damascus - snitched from here.

This is the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus when parents were required to present their child at the Temple on the 40th day. Here, Jesus is recognized as the Messiah by Simeon and Anna.

Looking at this artwork I like to think that Jesus is comforting his mother after her hearing Simeon tell her that a sword would pierce her heart.

Artwork: Mother and Child Reading the Word - Michael D. O'Brien

Sunday, February 1, 2009


"Someone once asked God, "What does the Trinity mean?"
"It means I have my own inner life, God replied." - J. Rubenis

I'm fond of the idea of the Holy Trinity sharing an apartment together, perhaps in New York City. On sunny winter afternoons they take a leisurely stroll around Central Park, sometimes stopping to feed the ducks, all the while marveling at their glorious creation.