Grumpy Holiday Friday Five

Here we go, ladies! It's this week's Friday Five!

Parishioners pushing for carols before you digested your turkey?
Organist refusing to play Advent hymns because he/she already has them planned for Lessons & Carols?
Find yourself reading Luke and thinking of a variety of ways to tell Linus where to stick it? (Lights please.)
Then this quick and easy Friday Five is for you! And for those of you with a more positive attitude, have no fear. I am sure more sacred and reverent Friday Fives will follow.
Please tell us your least favorite/most annoying seasonal....
1) dessert/cookie/family food
I'm not wild about pumpkin pie. (Seriously. Mushy food, I can't handle it.)
2) beverage (seasonal beer, eggnog w/ way too much egg and not enough nog, etc...)
I LOVE eggnog lattes, but there's a coffee shop near me that makes them with eggnog-flavored syrup instead of actually eggnog. Very disappointing.
3) tradition (church, family, other)
My pet peeve here might by my family's LACK of tradition. My mom has never been particularly interested in the holidays, and we were in a new place almost every year. (Mr. M and I seem to be doing our part to create new ones, though.)
4) decoration
Inflatible lawn ornaments. Oh my goodness. They're the only reason I've ever wanted a crossbow.
5) gift (received or given)
An aunt (bless her heart) once gave me an ankle-length sweatshirt nightgown with a furry bear appliqued to the front of it. Not as a child-- this was about 4 years ago.
BONUS: SONG/CD that makes you want to tell the elves where to stick it.
Well, actually, I'm going to admit that I love an album that I suspect everyone else will name here: Elvis's Blue Christmas. AND I'M NOT ASHAMED OF IT!


Home Again

I'm pleased to tell you that we've returned from our Thanksgiving trip, and many parts of it were better than expected. (OK, I admit it, we got back Saturday. And it was a bit stressful, so I've been lying low and gathering my wits.)

One of the best parts of the holiday weekend was a God-gift when we returned home: my car was covered in lovely yellow leaves, and these two seemed to have fallen into a sweet bouquet for me:



Last month, when I went to see my Spiritual Director, I finally stopped beating around the bush and told her that someone is driving me nuts.

And she asked me, "Where do you see God in that relationship?"

Of course she asked me that. It's what she does. Bless her, it's the obvious questions that knock our socks off, and it's through learning to make those questions a fixture of our lives that we finally become wise.

I had no answer.

I went home, antsy and figgity, annoyed and worn out, and looked for some ideas.

And then I broke out my (Roman Catholic) grandmother's rosary. I've been a fan of the Anglican Rosary for a long time, and this RC rosary of my grandmother's is special to me, too. I found myself praying for groups of people in the weeks (e.g., family in the first set of ten, coworkers in the second, parishioners on the third, revgals in the last), praying the Lord's Prayer at the cruciforms. It felt so good to spend that time holding people between myself and God, but I was particularly struck by the Lord's Prayer in the middle-- following these groups of prayers by addressing God as OUR FATHER, masculine language aside, was striking and healing. I began praying for individuals in those week beads as "_________, your beloved child, my brother/sister." At the end, I felt more open to God's love, and more open to sharing the same.

The Spiritual and the Physical

Get thee to Runner's World, and check out Kristin Armstrong's blog, Mile Markers. It's not often explictly spiritual, but it is.



Happy thanksgiving, everyone! Glad to have you around. Be safe, and say something nice to someone who drives you crazy.



I am a complete spaz. Last year, Mr. M and I started a tradition of doing an early-December open house sort of thing, and I'm really looking forward to it... and I'm also scared. It's just a day of cookie-baking and takeout, but I'm inviting all different people, and they may not mesh well, and there's no telling who will come... oy!

Time to turn it over. (Also time to not worry about our shabby apartment...)


Friday Five: Think on these things.

Songbird gives us this timely Friday Five:

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8, NRSV)

Friends, it's nearly Thanksgiving in the U.S. and it's the time of year when we are pressed to name things for which we are thankful. I want to offer a twist on the usual lists and use Paul's letter to the church at Philippi as a model. Name five things that are true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent or worthy of praise. These could be people, organizations, acts, ideas, works of art, pieces of music--whatever comes to mind for you.

I'm having such a hard time with this list. Makes me think that I must really need it.

1. I had an awful dream last night, I woke Mr. M up and he hugged me until I fell back to sleep. There's faithfulness for ya.

2. There's a great older couple at church, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer this summer. They seem to be supporting each other really well through this, and watching them has restored some of my faith.

3. Our youngest cat (the spare) has taken to snuggling like crazy when I sit in my meditation corner. I can't bring myself to kick her out, and there she is, purring louder than an diesel engine, rubbing her little face all over me. It's a great visual for how God and I could be together.

4. Respectful coworkers. For the first time in years. I can't tell you how incredible this is.

5. My health. I've become really aware lately of how precarious that is, and how many other people aren't experiencing that particular blessing right now.


And a question for the peanut gallery:

I may have become a puritanical old fussbudget. I'm not ruling that option out.

But I opened our monthly church newsletter this weekend, and there was a full-page spread of 10 horror movie reviews "in honor of" Halloween. Now, the movie reviews are a regular feature, and I've thought that many of them were inappropriate before, but this seemed beyond inappropriate and into offensive. Should the parish really be endorsing "The Exorcist," "Halloween," and "Poltergeist?" Or is it just the married-to-a-Quaker part of me that thinks we shouldn't be promoting violence as entertainment?

I should clarify: If you think horror movies are fun, that's your entertainment choice. I don't care that much. My question is more about the purpose and function of a church newsletter, and the commentary we make just by putting the Episcopal Shield over a statement.

Honestly, how would you feel about this? Would you talk to the author? Or the rector? Both? (The author is, btw, a vestry member.)

Not another one...

I am thisclose to shutting myself in the bathroom and crying until I can leave at 5. This is one crappy workweek.


The Habit-Forming Tendancy of Sticking My Foot in My Mouth

I'm starting to notice that, once I've begun to open my mouth, it takes waaaaay more effort to close it up again than it would have taken to just keep quiet in the first place.

This has perhaps not been a shining day at the office.

10 Things Meme

A while ago, Ladyburg was nice enough to tag me for the 10 Things meme. I sat on my bony little rump and didn't do it for a while, though I was very happy to be tagged. Well, here it is, 10 quirky things about me.

1. I really hate mushy food. Tapioca, stewed tomatoes, wet crackers in soup. Ugh.
2. Because of No. 1, when my darling husband packs my lunches, he packs everything separately. For instance, if I'm having leftover enchiladas, he'll pack the enchilada in one container, and then the sauce in another, and the cheese in a little ziplock bag. And the sour cream in yet another container.
3. I don't really have a sweet tooth. A little ice cream, and little caramel maybe, but I could totally live without it. I would not care if I never had chocolate again. BUT if it were possible to live on good french fries and malt vinegar, I would.
4. I was a cheerleader in high school and college. I was not one of the typical ones. In college, I was one of two (in a squad of about 10) who actually just really liked the game and were happy to bop around on fall afternoons. She and I used to do silly things to make the pep band laughed. (Let me explain what sort of cheerleader I was this way: I dated a lot of the band, and none of the football team.)
5. I'm sort of (a lot) a research nerd. I'm always trundling to or from the library (or browsing the web), reading up on whatever's on my mind. These things have included, but are not limited to: Rosaries, Borderline Personality Disorder, Hagiography, Diverticulitis, Pregnancy, and Winston Churchill. I loved research in college.
6. I really love water: rain, lakes, oceans, puddles, fountains, I'm not picky. There's just something about being near water that makes my soul feel more whole.
7. I love funny trashy novels-- particularly ones by Julia Quinn and Jennifer Crusie.
8. I love bright sparkly makeup and nail polish. (Yes, I read Beauty Tips for Ministers, and yes, I am mindful of professional images. But in my off time... and on my toes...)
9. My two favorite holidays are New Year's Eve and Election Day. Maybe I like fresh starts.
10. Advent is absolutely, hands down, my favorite liturgical season. The idea of setting aside time for anticipation, for watching and waiting, for living in the faith that the miraculous is right around the corner-- just gorgeous.

And now, I tag Grace-Thing, Juniper68, ordinary girl, mitch ross, and gannet girl.


Something I'm learning from forcing myself to run, or otherwise train, when I really don't feel like it, is that the good stuff in exercising is mostly a surprise.

Consider the knowns:
  • It's cold outside, and being cold when you could still be in bed stinks.
  • It's raining outside, and being wet when you could still be in bed stinks.
  • You, quite literally, stink at the end of it.
  • Your legs will hurt.
  • It's hard to breathe.
  • You look funny.
  • You probably have other things that you need to do.

Yes, there are other knowns, too, like better health and (eventually) more energy, but those aren't immediate-gratification kinds of things.

But then consider the unknowns that have popped up:

  • Frolicking squirrels (you guys know how I love the squirrels).
  • You meet an amazing number of neighborhood dogs who are out for their daily exercise, too.
  • Birds.
  • Quiet.
  • Neighbors who are friendlier to you because you're so ridiculous looking.
  • An elderly woman who, when you say hello, just giggles at you.
  • Blue jays.

These aren't things you can expect, they're little surprise gifts along the way. I hope that running is teaching me to watch for these gifts in other areas of my life that seem onerous, too. There are situations where you simply can't anticipate the good stuff. But you can watch for surprises.


Friday Five: Unbusyness Edition

Sally gave us this week's great Friday Five:

I am writing in my official capacity of grump!!! No seriously, with the shops and stores around us filling with Christmas gifts and decorations, the holiday season moving up on us quickly for many the time from Thanksgiving onwards will be spent in a headlong rush towards Christmas with hardly a time to breathe.... I am looking at the possibility of finding little gaps in the day or the week to spend in extravagant unbusyness ( a wonderful phrase coined by a fellow revgal)...So given those little gaps, name 5 things you would do to;

1.to care for your body
Well, it's going to take more than just little gaps, but I'm going to train to run a Marathon in May.

2. to care for your spirit
I'm going to make a point to sneak more of the Transcendentalists into my reading. Definitely Whitman, but a healthy dose of Emerson and Bronson Alcott, too.

3. to care for your mind
Work is actually doing that right now. Hurrah for a job that lets me use my brain.

4. to bring a sparkle to your eye
This one I'm not as sure about. Oh- wait, I know-- we have our second annual Cookie Day scheduled for the second Sunday in December. Just thinking about it brings a sparkle!

5. to place a spring in your step
I think for this one, I'm going to pay more attention to Mr. M. I'm pretty sure that will put a spring in my step.

Enjoy the time to indulge and dream.... and then for a bonus which one on the list are you determined to put into action?
I feel awfully fortunate-- I think all of these are going to happen. (I must not have played correctly...)


Early Morning Run

I usually run after work, because

1) I'm not very coordinated first thing
2) I really hate to leave all of the soft

but this evening I'm meeting with my spiritual director, so my run was going to have to be before work or not at all.

It was gorgeous. I'd forgotten how wonderful it is to do something for yourself before you do all of the "have to's." I didn't go very far, about two miles, but it was beautiful and peaceful. I saw blue jays sitting in brilliant orange trees, and the early sun warming the houses. I've been listening to Alison Krauss's A Hundred Miles Or More, and there's a line in Country Boy that talks about how the boy doesn't have much money, but has silver in the stars, and gold in the morning sun.

Today, I shared the gold in the morning sun, too.

I took a little quiet time for meditation last night (I was feeling buzzy, a clear sign that I need to center). I acknowledged to God that I feel a little ridiculous about this marathon idea. Is it possible that I take things too far? I don't just want to run, I want to finish a marathon. I don't just want to be an Episcopalian, I want to be a priest. I don't just want to do well on the GREs, I want to know WHERE MY OTHER 40 POINTS ARE!


So God and I chatted about that. (A therapist and I will likely chat about it, too.) For the time being, if I can infuse these things with God and with love, I think they'll be OK. If I can't, it's time to reevaluate.



I am a serious space cadet this morning, thoughts wandering all over the place. My latest: wouldn't it be great to do a marathon? Now, I run a few times a week, but we're talking a couple miles a few times a week.

So, first I had A Plan. (I always have A Plan.) Plan was, do a 1/2 marathon in the spring, then do a full one after we have our first kid. (No, nobody's PG.)

But then I was using Runner's World's Race Finder. And usually, 1/2 marathons accompany full marathons.

Here's the problem-- who wants to do half of something when there are other people out there doing a whole something?

AND THEN I learned that there's a Flying Pig marathon. Well, tell me, is there anything that seems more appropriate?

Oy. It's in May. This is probably not a good idea.

But I love this idea.

OH MY GOODNESS: Now I've had a flash of genius-- are there any interested RevGals who might want to form a little team?!

Monday Morning Cubicle Dance Party

So far, we've got the Top Gun Soundtrack, some Tina Turner covers (I love just about every version ever done of "I Ain't Missing You"), some Sugerland, a little Love Shack. Loving it. And now, I'm opening up the phones for requests...


RevGal Friday Five: Interviewing

From Bishop Laura:
Songbird just had an interview for a "vague and interesting" possibility, and More Cows than People is doing campus visits for doctoral programs. There always seem to be a few RevGals applying for new positions, and I just got my first call for this year's preliminary interviews for college teaching jobs at the American Academy of Religion meeting in San Diego coming up in a few weeks. It's for my dream job among this year's offerings, and I am flipflopping between excitement and nervousness. So please keep your fingers crossed and say a little prayer for everyone facing such conversations, and share your thoughts on the wonderful world of interviews:

1. What was the most memorable interview you ever had?
I think probably my interview for Postulancy, and unfortunately, that was memorable for terrible reasons. I was granted postulancy, but I cried most of the way home. (A spiritual director I no longer work with was on my COM, as well as my rector's wife. Unbelievably uncomfortable, and I didn't feel at all free to be open.)

2. Have you ever been the interviewer rather than the interviewee? If so, are you a tiger, a creampuff, or somewhere in between?
I worked for a staffing company as an employment consultant for a couple of years, so I've done a LOT of interviewing. I'm neither a creampuff nor a tiger. I am very forthright, but I don't think interviewing should involve scare tactics.

3. Do phone interviews make you more or less nervous than in-person ones?
I hate phone interviews. I've done them, and they've been fine, but I much prefer face-to-face to phones. (Just ask the friends I'm doing a crappy job of keeping in touch with!)

4. What was the best advice you ever got to prepare for an interview? How about the worst?
The worst was "trust the process" (hard to do when you know you don't trust some of the people running the process). I'm not sure what the best was, but overall I interview very well.

5. Do you have any pre-interview rituals that give you confidence?
Umm... damn. Well, here it is: I started wearing lucky knickers in college. Red ones, on game days. Now, on "game days," (interviews, stressful stuff, whatever) I still wear red knickers. Oh-- and if I need to feel like I can kick some butt, I listen to "Brothers in Arms," because of that incredible episode of West Wing, "Two Cathedrals."


Proof of Soulmatehood?

Email from Mr. M, Subject: Today's meeting:

Matt makes crude remarks
Everybody laughs with him
But not me, I sigh

Now he's word-doodling, too.