Hey, y'all. I'm heading out on vacation this week. Pray for safe travels, and that Mr. M and I figure out what to do with a responsibility-free week.

Friday Five: Garage Sale Edition

Our beloved will smama and Songbird bring us this fun Friday Five:

Welcome to your irregularly scheduled Fifth Friday Five, hosted by will smama and Songbird!Since will smama is preparing for a joint garage sale with her parents, and Songbird's church had a Yard and Plant Sale last Saturday, we have five enormously important questions we hope you will answer:
1) Are you a garage saler?

Not exactly. I think I was 12 the last time that my family had one. I secretly really do like going to them, but tend not to because I hate Having More Crap more than I love nifty stuff.

2) If so, are you an immediate buyer or a risk taker who comes back later when prices are lower?
I'm an immediate buyer. I'm not impulsive, but I think I usually have a mental list of things to keep an eye out for (I'm applying my antique and consignment store mentalities to yard sales, since I stop at them so infrequently). For instance, if I find the desk chair I'm looking for, I'm going home with it. Also, I collect (and use!) pretty hankies, so I'd be going home with those, too. Wait, also good books...

3) Seriously, if you're not a garage saler, you are probably not going to want to play this one.(That wasn't really #3.) 3) This is the real #3: What's the best treasure you've found at a yard or garage sale?
I LOVE steamer trunks and old luggage. I have a flat old trunk that I use as a coffee table (my mom got it for me at a yard sale), and an old cosmetic case that I use to keep letters in. I'm wild about being able to use something for another purpose. If it's functional and quirky, I love it. If it's quirky and just collects dust-- not so much.

4)If you've done one yourself, at church or at home, was it worth the effort?
I can't imagine my church doing one. We have an annual auction, but I wonder sometimes if that's partly to show off the things we can donate. In any event, I think yard sales are a huge pain, and would rather just donate to the Salvation Army.

5) Can you bring yourself to haggle?
In general, yes. Here's the easy line: "Is that the best price you can give me?"

BONUS: For the true aficionado: Please discuss the impact of Ebay, Craig's List, Freecycle, etc... on the church or home yard/garage sale.
I can't answer this as it affects yard sales, but... I love these things!!! They are wonderful for those of us who feel a little awkward rummaging through someone else's things. So, maybe it's a handy alternative to yard sales, and now I don't have to go anymore... hmm. Maybe I can answer about the impact...


Wuv. TWOO Wuv...

Further evidence that Mr. M knows and loves me to the very ends of my toes:

Today at lunch, I had a Root Beer Float craving. Unfortunately, I missed the exit for Friendly's on my way back from buying a new pair of black sandals
(the old ones were ancient and dilapidated well-loved), so no float for me.

BUT!!! after work Mr. M bought me a float. And it was his idea, no mention of said craving!

Brilliant man. Cute, too.


I haven't read it yet, but from interviews I've heard thus far, I'm not impressed with former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's new book, What Happened.

Not because he was disloyal-- I believe that loyalty doesn't demand a lobotomy, and I think things have gone on in the White House that one shouldn't be loyal to.

No, I'm irritated by the extend to which he absolves everyone of responsibility. Consider the following from his interview with NPR:

"I don't think it was intentional or deliberate," McClellan says. "What happened here was we got caught up in the very thing the president campaigned against when he was first running for president back in 2000 — the destructive, partisan tone in Washington."

and later in the same interview:

"It's not a deliberate effort on the president's part or many of his advisers to go out there and be misleading or engage in spin. It's just the way the game's become played in Washington, and we embraced it too often," he says.

If we don't hold our presidents accountable FOR THE WAY THEY CHOOSE TO GOVERN, who do we hold accountable? Or do we turn all public discourse into a playground free-for-all of "Joey did it first!"

I don't like that Scott McClellan ignored his better angels and lied to the press and the American people. But I'm disgusted at the cowardice with which he excuses himself.


Crappy Days, Good Days

This last week at work has been a roller coaster. I had a big project to get out last week, and it didn't go as smoothly as I'd hoped. Because I got a new boss just a month ago, this was doubly frustrating: my first attempt at this project wasn't perfect, and my first project with a new boss wasn't perfect. The up side was that my fellow support staff are incredible, supportive, and generous. That picked the week up a bit.

This morning got off to a terrible start. It used to be that when I came in early I had an hour to myself to get things done quietly, and settle in for the day. Now when I come in early, someone else is here too. This morning I felt really bullied by that person. They outrank me, and they requested something (which I don't have a problem doing), but I felt really belittled. Crappy, crappy start.

So, now I'm going to spend the rest of the day looking for its up sides. Not a bad way to search through one's day.

And PS- Praise God for the lectionary last week, which means that as I putter through RevGal blogs, I finding message after message of God's love, and reminders to put aside anxiety. (If only I had time to really read them... and faith to be like the lilies.)



I've shamelessly lifted this meme from the Postulant. I couldn't help myself.

These are the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing users. Bold the ones you've read, underline the ones you read for school, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish:

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
Angels & Demons
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (In all fairness, I started it in French...for pleasure, not school.)
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers


Friday Five: Recreation Edition

Sally gave us this great vacation Friday Five:
It is a holiday weekend here in the UK, and the weather forecast for much of the country is not good!!! But we can still dream and so with that in mind I bring you this Friday Five.

1. Getting ready for summer, do you use the gradual tanning moisturisers ( yes gentlemen you too can answer this!!!), or are you happy to show your winter skin to the world?
I hate wearing stockings, so I'm thrilled to have found a really good tanning lotion.

2.Beach, mountains or chilling by the pool, what/ where is your favourite getaway?
I'm absolutely a beach girl. When I think of the vastness of the oceans, I'm reminded of Hopkins line, "the world is charged with the grandeur of God." The hugeness is somehow deeply calming and comforting to me.

3.Are you a summer lover or does the long break become wearing?
Break?!!? What break? Actually, this summer will be the first in a long time to really be a time of respite. Though maybe not... I've just discovered there are no fewer than SEVEN Gilbert and Sullivan companies in the greater Philly area. And several have summer shows...

4.Active holidays; hiking swimming sailing, or lazy days?
I love to pack my running shoes when I go to a new place-- I'm looking forward to it on our upcoming honeymoon. It's a nice (slow) way to see detail that I might ordinarily miss. Otherwise, I'm up for everything... provided there's someone around who actually knows what they're doing.

5.Now to the important subject of food, if you are abroad do you try the local cuisine, or do you prefer to play it safe?
I ABSOLUTELY eat the local food. What a waste to miss that opportunity! Maybe this is the result of having to USMC parents: it's very, very hard to be picky when you're either eating local food, or in the chow hall.



I realized something was dreadfully wrong with me when I was thinking about upcoming events, and noticed the following scheduling conflict:

- On June 3rd, Democrats will vote in their final primaries, and it's likely that many undeclared superdelegates will declare themselves, BUT

-From June 2-8, Mr. M and I will be on our long-awaited honeymoon!

Do you think I can get the Washington Post in St. Martin?! I have an obvious problem with priorities:



Mental Block

CRAP!!!! I'm late writing my Ember Letter... AGAIN.

Is it a mental block? Is it busy-ness? Laziness? The fact that I feel like I don't really know the recipient (a one-sided correspondence to a stranger is hard to maintain)? Is it just my trademark procrastination rearing it's ugly head. (Incidently, Slate did what looked like a very interesting series on procrastination. I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. Seriously.)

Each time I write these suckers I have to go back and look at previous ones to make sure I'm not repeating myself, because not all that much is changing right now. It makes for very boring conversations with friends I see infrequently, and equally dull Ember Letters. Learn, Work, Repeat.


Arts Fest!

Mr. M and I discovered the Harrisburg ArtsFest a few years ago, and have been going ever since. This year, he's even taking Friday off to work as a volunteer there (I think he just wants the tee shirt!). The exhibits are always good, there's gourmet fair food, and it's right along the river-- very fun! This year's featured artist is Lyse Anthony, whose work you can see here.

Just thought I'd give any Central PA readers a heads up that it's coming!


Anglicans in Zimbabwe

From today's New York Times:
Zimbabwe’s Rulers Unleash Police on Anglicans
JOHANNESBURG — The parishioners were lined up for Holy Communion on Sunday when the riot police stormed the stately St. Francis Anglican Church in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital. Helmeted, black-booted officers banged on the pews with their batons as terrified members of the congregation stampeded for the doors, witnesses said.
A policeman swung his stick in vicious arcs, striking matrons, a girl and a grandmother who had bent over to pick up a Bible dropped in the melee. A lone housewife began singing from a hymn in Shona, “We will keep worshiping no matter the trials!” Hundreds of women, many dressed in the Anglican Mothers’ Union uniform of black skirt, white shirt and blue headdress, lifted their voices to join hers.
Beneath their defiance, though, lay raw fear as the country’s ruling party stepped up its campaign of intimidation ahead of a presidential runoff. In a conflict that has penetrated ever deeper into Zimbabwe’s social fabric, the party has focused on a growing roster of groups that elude its direct control — a list that includes the Anglican diocese of Harare, as well as charitable and civic organizations, trade unions, teachers, independent election monitors and the political opposition.
Anglican leaders and parishioners said in interviews that the church was not concerned with politics and that it counted people from both the ruling party and the opposition in its congregations. Yet the ruling party appears to have decided that only Anglicans who follow Nolbert Kunonga — a renegade bishop in Harare who is a staunch ally of President Robert Mugabe — are allowed to hold services.
Over the past three Sundays, the police have interrogated Anglican priests and lay leaders, arrested and beaten parishioners and locked thousands of worshipers out of dozens of churches.
“As a theologian who has read a lot about the persecution of the early Christians, I’m really feeling connected to that history,” said Bishop Sebastian Bakare, 66, who came out of retirement to replace Mr. Kunonga. “We are being persecuted.”
Church leaders say the struggle in the Anglican diocese of Harare is not only over its extensive, valuable properties, but also over who controls the church itself in a society riven by political divisions, especially since the disputed elections of March 29.
Mr. Kunonga, who broke with the church hierarchy late last year and recently called Mr. Mugabe “a prophet of God,” is known in Zimbabwe as an avid supporter of the ruling party and a proponent of its seizures of white-owned commercial farms, often accomplished violently. In fact, he appears to have benefited richly from the policy himself.
While such strong allegiances have clearly played a role in the attacks on parishioners, Anglicans beyond Zimbabwe have also taken steps likely to have enraged Mr. Mugabe and the ruling party, known as ZANU-PF.
The worldwide Anglican Communion issued a statement in January expressing “deep concern” about Mr. Kunonga’s close ties to Mr. Mugabe. Then on April 21, amid the postelection intimidation of opposition supporters, the communion called on all Christians to pray for Zimbabwe’s rescue “from violence, the concealing and juggling of election results, deceit, oppression and corruption.”
And three weeks ago, an Anglican bishop in South Africa persuaded a judge there to halt the delivery of Chinese-made ammunition to Zimbabwe’s military — bullets the bishop warned could be used to repress Zimbabweans.
This is not the first time that a church has felt the ruling party’s fury. Last year, state-controlled television showed photos of one of Mr. Mugabe’s most ferocious critics, Archbishop Pius Ncube, a Roman Catholic, in bed with a married woman, effectively neutralizing him as the leader of the clerical opposition to Mr. Mugabe’s rule. This month, the state-run newspaper, The Herald, reported that the woman had died “lonely and miserable after being abandoned by Ncube.”
Now Bishop Bakare’s followers, who include most of the city’s Anglicans, say that Mr. Kunonga has falsely told the government that they are politically aligned with the opposition — an accusation the ruling party seems to be taking seriously.
Despite a High Court order requiring that Anglican churches be shared among the worshipers, church officials say that only people who attend services led by priests allied with Mr. Kunonga have been allowed to pray in peace.
This week, the Supreme Court dismissed Mr. Kunonga’s appeal of the sharing order, but church leaders say they are far from sure that the law will be enforced.
A widowed mother of five who sings with the choir at St. Francis Church in Waterfalls — and who was too frightened to be quoted by name — asked despairingly this week where she could seek solace now that her church was no longer sacrosanct.
“I go to church to talk to the Lord and feel better,” the woman said. “Now, I don’t know where to go.”
Neither Mr. Kunonga nor his spokesman, the Rev. Morris Brown Gwedegwe, has returned repeated calls seeking comment.
When Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka, a police spokesman, was asked about police assaults on Anglican parishioners, he said he was unaware of such episodes and asked for the names of those complaining. “Give me names, because without those I will not comment,” he said. “Thank you and bye.” Then he hung up.
At the heart of the conflict with Mr. Kunonga is more than property and power, but also some of the church’s core values. Mr. Kunonga told Anglican officials last year that he was withdrawing from the mother church because of its sympathy toward homosexuals, they said. By October, the Anglican Province of Central Africa said Mr. Kunonga had “severed” his relationship with the church.
Bishop Bakare said Mr. Kunonga had preached hatred of gays and lesbians, contrary to the Harare diocese’s stand. “We believe in a church that is inclusive, a church that accepts all people,” Bishop Bakare said.
But even a spokesman for an alliance of conservative bishops who oppose “the ordination of practicing homosexuals as priests,” distanced them from Mr. Kunonga. Arne H. Fjeldstad, head of communications for the alliance, the Global Anglican Future Conference, said in an e-mail message that Mr. Kunonga was not part of the conference, but “rather that he’s one of Mugabe’s henchmen.”
Mr. Kunonga appears to have gained much from that loyalty. In 2003, the government gave Mr. Kunonga a 1,630-acre farm outside Harare and a seven-bedroom house that sits on it, according to Marcus Hale, who said the farm, bought by his family in 1990 for $2 million, was confiscated without payment.
Mr. Kunonga’s influence has been felt in church after church in recent weeks as well. Anglican parishioners said they found themselves shut out or driven out by police officers who claimed to be acting on orders from their superiors to allow only Mr. Kunonga’s priests to preside.
At St. Paul’s Church in the Highfield suburb of Harare, the congregation refused to budge and kept singing “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” when a dozen policemen entered the church on May 4. But the commander radioed for backup, and soon more than 50 riot police officers arrived, the church’s wardens said.
Hundreds of parishioners were then drummed out of the church to the deafening beat of baton sticks banging on pews. People began taking out their cellphones to photograph the policemen who had forced them out.
The officers then charged into the scattering crowd, batons swinging. “Even myself, they hit my hand,” said a stunned seamstress. “They said, ‘Go back to your homes. You are not supposed to be here.’ ”
Here's my question: how would we, as Anglicans (Episcopalians) in the US respond? Or are we, by and large, too tepid and timid to ever be a threat to abusive regimes?

Friday Five: Grand Tour Edition

Songbird gave us this adventureous Friday Five:

Name five places that fall into the following categories:
1) Favorite Destination -- someplace you've visited once or often and would gladly go again.
I love D.C. I think it's the place I feel most comfortable, most at home, most relaxed. I love having so much (free!) stuff to do, and I love the blend of people.

2) Unfavorite Destination -- someplace you wish you had never been (and why).
I really don't have any of these. There's been something good about every place I've been.

3) Fantasy Destination -- someplace to visit if cost and/or time did not matter.
I would really love to visit Turkey. I took a Christian and Byzantine art history class in college, and I've been longing to go and visit Byzantine churches ever since. Iconography is fascinating to me, and I love the way form follows liturgical function in these churches. The liturgy itself was very different in some ways (influencing both the shape of the structure, and the need for things like an altar screen), and I'd love to explore these spaces.

4) Fictional Destination -- someplace from a book or movie or other art or media form you would love to visit, although it exists only in imagination.
There's not a place without people for me, but I'd love to visit the Austin family at their home by the shore in Madeleine L'Engle's Ring of Endless Light.

5) Funny Destination -- the funniest place name you've ever visited or want to visit.
Well, I live 20 minutes away from Paradise, Intercourse, and Blue Ball. I'm not sure place names get much... more interesting... than that.


Round Robin Update!

I have not forgotten about the Round Robin! I'm just a little slow...

I've created an email list for (almost) everyone who was interested, and as soon as I get everyone's email, I'll send a quick note and ask for snail mail addresses. I'm thinking that after the first round is complete, I'll open it back up again, and anyone who wants in/out can speak up then.

Woohoo! Progress. Fun.

Prayers, Please

One darling (very anonymous) RevGal is in a terrible position, and I'd like to ask for your prayers. I'm not posting her name, the blog name, or her pseudonym, because discretion is important.

About a month ago, someone in her congregation found her blog. She has no idea how that happened, and honestly, I can't for the life of me figure out how they knew it was hers. The parishioner printed and distributed some of it at church on Easter, and as a result an already-toxic environment for her and her husband (co-pastors) has gone rapidly downhill. She's pregnant, expecting in June, but they are both being asked by their session to resign next week.

This is such a scary thing to post about, and not just because a lovely woman is in such an awful position. So many of us rely on this community, and really cherish our freedom here; I was hesitant to post initially because I didn't want to rattle anyone. But this sweet woman could use our prayers.

(Oh-- and someone asked a while ago why I went un-anonymous: this is a part of the reason. I cleaned up the tiny bit I might not want higher-ups to read, and came out, so that I wouldn't have reason to worry. A combination of a new commitment both to speak boldly, and to watch my mouth.)

I simply couldn't let this go by:

From the Associated Press:

Vatican: It's OK to believe in aliens
By ARIEL DAVID, Associated Press WriterTue May 13, 4:07 PM ET

Believing that the universe may contain alien life does not contradict a faith in God, the Vatican's chief astronomer said in an interview published Tuesday.
The Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, was quoted as saying the vastness of the universe means it is possible there could be other forms of life outside Earth, even intelligent ones.
"How can we rule out that life may have developed elsewhere?" Funes said. "Just as we consider earthly creatures as 'a brother,' and 'sister,' why should we not talk about an 'extraterrestrial brother'? It would still be part of creation."
In the interview by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Funes said that such a notion "doesn't contradict our faith" because aliens would still be God's creatures. Ruling out the existence of aliens would be like "putting limits" on God's creative freedom, he said.
The interview, headlined "The extraterrestrial is my brother," covered a variety of topics including the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and science, and the theological implications of the existence of alien life.
Funes said science, especially astronomy, does not contradict religion, touching on a theme of Pope Benedict XVI, who has made exploring the relationship between faith and reason a key aspect of his papacy.
The Bible "is not a science book," Funes said, adding that he believes the Big Bang theory is the most "reasonable" explanation for the creation of the universe. The theory says the universe began billions of years ago in the explosion of a single, super-dense point that contained all matter.
But he said he continues to believe that "God is the creator of the universe and that we are not the result of chance."
Funes urged the church and the scientific community to leave behind divisions caused by Galileo's persecution 400 years ago, saying the incident has "caused wounds."
In 1633 the astronomer was tried as a heretic and forced to recant his theory that the Earth revolved around the sun. Church teaching at the time placed Earth at the center of the universe.
"The church has somehow recognized its mistakes," he said. "Maybe it could have done it better, but now it's time to heal those wounds and this can be done through calm dialogue and collaboration."
Pope John Paul declared in 1992 that the ruling against Galileo was an error resulting from "tragic mutual incomprehension."
The Vatican Observatory has been at the forefront of efforts to bridge the gap between religion and science. Its scientist-clerics have generated top-notch research and its meteorite collection is considered one of the world's best.
The observatory, founded by Pope Leo XIII in 1891, is based in Castel Gandolfo, a lakeside town in the hills outside Rome where the pope has a summer residence. It also conducts research at an observatory at the University of Arizona, in Tucson.
So, aliens are fine, but contraceptions gonna land us in purgatory? I'm a little concerned about the priorities here.


Spiritual Direction for Spiritual Guides Closing Retreat

Since I'm on a blogging spree, I thought I'd share pictures of the gorgeous Kenbrook, where my Spiritual Direction training takes place. We had our closing retreat last weekend.

Good day!

We're having a GORGEOUS sunny, blue-skied day here. I left work at lunchtime, ran two miles, and then ducked into my gym for a quick shower. Awesome break.


Eckhart Tolle's Neice?

Can anyone tell me about Eckhard Tolle's neice? Or where I might learn about her?




I badly need to have a Prayer Partner again. I have one in my Spiritual Direction training, but we see each other once a month, which is not cutting it. Also, that seems to be more of a covenant-to-pray-for-you sort of thing that a pray-with-you sort of thing.

I've been thinking about this for a while, but it's really come to the fore since last week's Friday Five.

Having a regular prayer partner was part of the baby that got thrown out with the bathwater when I moved from being part of evangelical churches to being a Piskie. I became closest to people who are still beloved friends this way. I had a much stronger sense of that "peace that passeth understanding."

Mr. M is happy to pray with me, and that's good; we should almost certainly do more of that, but it's not quite what I need. I need another woman to sit down with, weekly or biweekly, share the stuff that's going on, and look together for God's direction and presence in our lives. Having done that, I want us to spend time together talking to God about what we've shared.

Does anyone understand why Piskies don't do this? Probably some do, but where I am, this sort of relationship (with God and with one another) seems to be discouraged. I think incorporating actual voodoo into our spiritual practice might be met with a warmer reception. I really believe that we, all people, need some sort of intimate spiritual support, accountability, and love. Where are we, as Mainline churches, teaching/showing/offering that? Is it just us Piskies struggling here?

(And, I'd like to point out, there is absolutely no reason in my mind that my Prayer Partner needs to be of the same denomination. But if I don't find her in church, where will I find her?)

Update: Shoes

For those of you who have anxiously been waiting for the resolution of my shoe quandry, I went with these:

I won't be wearing them with my suit, but they are darling. (Yes. As it happens, I like very, very femme shoes. I offset this with fairly tailored clothing.)
Thanks to Charlotte for reminding me how saucy heels can be.

Continuing Ed

I was talking to LadyBurg a couple of weeks ago, and one thing that came up was that, when we trim our schedules, we have to get rid of some really, really good stuff. When we say "no," it's often not "no, I don't want to." More frequently, it's "no, I'd love to, but I can't do everything."

That kind of "no" is hard to say.

I got an email from a professional association I belong to letting me know about a fabulous conference in DC this summer, sponsored by Sojourners. I REALLY, REALLY would like to go. I would have to get there a little late, but not TOO late, because Summer Halfday Fridays will be in effect at my office by then. And you know how I'm pulled by the words, "Under 30? Join our Emerging Leaders."

But, it's the week after Mr. M and I get back from our (yes, very belated) honeymoon. Will I want a rest? And what about the money (maybe the parish could help...)

AND, there's the local seminary's Summer Academy. I really, really enjoyed it last year. This year, I would just do an evening session. So, I could do it. But should I?

Use of resources, time and money. Money's a teeny bit tight. Heaven knows Mr. M ought to put his foot down about all the PD we pay for... especially for a profession that I'm not part of yet!

But guys? This stuff looks wonderful.

Stuff to pray about.


Bread III

It worked! I meant to take pics of the whole process, but I forgot to do the first dough-rising, bubbly-in-the-bowl part. Still, here's the dough dusted with cornmeal:And here's the cut loaf afterwards:
This was one seriously crusty loaf of bread! The inside was nice and soft, and the outside was great. I'm STUNNED by how easy this was. Alright, go ahead and try it for yourselves now!

Friday Five: Wait and Pray Edition

Today's Friday Five from Sally:
Part of the Ascension Day Scripture from Acts 11 contains this promise from Jesus;"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”Then he was taken from their sight into the clouds, two angels appeared and instructed the probably bewildered disciples to go back to Jerusalem, where they began to wait and to pray for the gift Jesus had promised.Prayer is a joy to some of us, and a chore to others, waiting likewise can be filled with anticipation or anxiety....So how do you wait and pray?
1. How do you pray best, alone or with others?
I pray best with a mix. That silent time alone with God is so precious, but my very closest friendships have been based on regular shared prayer. (Actually, I miss that like crazy right now.)
2. Do you enjoy the discipline of waiting, is it a time of anticipation or anxiety?
HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!! *wipes tears from eyes* Oh, that's a good one. As my husband and I joke, I like "now" best.
3. Is there a time when you have waited upon God for a specific promise?
I've waited for answers, but never for a specific answer. I don't think I've ever felt promised.
4. Do you prefer stillness or action?
I'd like to refer the court to response number 2...
5. If ( and this is slightly tongue in cheek) you were promised one gift spiritual or otherwise what would you choose to recieve?
Nope, this one's too dangerous for me. Be careful what you ask for!


Tanning Lotion PSA

I am a pasty woman. There's enough skin cancer in my family for me to understand that a "healthy glow" is a contradiction in terms, but I hate to be pasty in the summer.

I've tried a few different gradual tanning lotions (I'm not ready for the commitment of full self-tanner), and I've FINALLY found one that doesn't smell to high heaven. I'm excited to tell you that it has only a very light citrus scent, and that it moisturizes well, too.

Behold, the Mary Kay product:
PS-- I almost didn't post this, because I didn't want to distract from the Round Robin post below. Go check it out!

Round Robin

Inspired by (at least) two immensely loveable RevGals (Mindy with her swaps and love of paper, diane with her appreciation of snail mail), I'd like to propose a Round Robin.

My grandfather's family does these, here's how it goes:
One person writes a (short, VERY SHORT) letter, sends it to the next person on the list. Person #2 writes another SHORT letter, adds it to Person #1's letter, and sends it to Person #3. Everyone continues in this manner until the Last Person adds their letter, and the Last Person sends all of it to Person #1, who takes out only their own first letter, and puts a new one in.

As you might imagine, this can take a while to get around, but is quite a lot of fun.

Anyone interested in a little snail mail? I'm thinking we could make a theme for each round (a question, or a recipe), and that would keep it short.

If you're interested, let me know in the comments, and I'll send an email/get things started!

Bread II

Holy heck!! That recipe makes a lot of bread!

It's at home rising right now, but I thought I'd ask veteran bakers if it's possible to freeze half the dough, and bake separately. If so, how would that work exactly? Would you let the frozen dough come to room temp before baking? Would it be better to bake the dough in two batches, and then freeze a loaf (rather than freezing dough)? How would the baking time be affected?

I think I'm going to make it as directed in the recipe this time (though my dish is a bit small), and if it turns out even halfway decent, I'll invest in a bigger dish. Still, I kind of like the idea of freezing some, so let me know if anyone has ideas.

I think there's going to be some experimenting here, but I'm so excited about the idea of moving a little further from processed food. (Now I'm thinking about other flours, maybe some rosemary... one day, I'm going to learn to take things one step at a time.)