Another of my beloved chosen-family members was Miss Margaret. She picked up where Miss Lynn left off, and though they were very different women, they both looked after me with kindness and faithfulness.

Both women were gardeners. I remember Miss Lynn's "stinky old marigolds," and Miss Margaret's baby tears and geraniums.

I've just come across The Geranium Farm, which feels as homey as Miss Margaret's kitchen. Rev. Barbara Cawthorne Crafton creates warm, down-to-earth meditations here. She reminds me a little of Philip Gulley, particularly in the way they're both able to find big truths in the small, everyday details around them.

In Due Time

I have a very dear family friends from Memphis (Miss Lynn and Mr. Dail) who are really more like family than anything else. She babysat me for about 4 years when I was little, and when my mom was deployed for the first Gulf war, I lived with them. Their theology is a bit different from mine (they've been conservative Church of Christers forever-- not United Church of Christ, mind), but they were the first people I knew who really loved God.

As long as I can remember, Mr. Dail has had one thing to say about my impatience: "In due time, Diana Mary, in due time." I've been saying it to other people for a while (sometimes as an inside joke that only I'm in on), but lately I've been resting in its wisdom. As people around me are sharing their stories (both friends online and IRL), I'm remembering that things do happen "in due time," which is often not my time.

For me there's a connection between waiting for God's time and understanding that I don't control the universe. In my own life, when incredible things have come together, it's not been because of my iron will (though there have been times that tenacity played a part). I have seen that when the time is right, things fall into place. I don't mean to oversimplify, or imply that there's not sometimes pain in waiting. I have no idea why some prayers aren't answered. I cannot even begin to understand how God works. But when I wait for God, solutions often come about that I could not possibly have orchestrated.

And so my friends, I'm embracing Mr. Dail's wisdom. "In due time, Diana Mary, in due time."


Friday Five: Summer Reading

Songbird brings us this wonderful bookish Friday Five:
Back in the day, before I went to seminary, I worked in the Children's Room at the Public Library, and every year we geared up for Summer Reading. Children would come in and record the books read over the summer, and the season included numerous special and celebratory events. As a lifelong book lover and enthusiastic summer reader, I find I still accumulate a pile of books for the summer.This week, then, a Summer Reading Friday Five.

1) Do you think of summer as a particularly good season for reading? Why or why not?
This is the first year in... well, I can't remember when... that my summer has actually been a relatively slow season. I think this summer will be delightful for reading.

2) Have you ever fallen asleep reading on the beach?
Not at the beach, no. But in my house, saying I'm going to go upstairs to read in the afternoon is code for napping.

3) Can you recall a favorite childhood book read in the summertime?
I loved Elizabeth Enright's stories about the Melendy family-- especially "Spiderweb for Two."

4) Do you have a favorite genre for light or relaxing reading?
I realized on vacation that summer is my best time for good literature. I read a lot all year long, but when I'm busy it's either work/class related, or really light and fluffy. When I have a little more time (and more attention to spare) I love the Good Books.

But I'm wild about Jennifer Crusie's novels the rest of the year!

5) What is the next book on your reading list?
I'm in the middle of Dostoevsky's The Idiot, and also Rolheiser's The Shattered Lantern. The latter is INCREDIBLE, and is going to go high on my list of recommended reading. Seriously, go check it out.


SO wrong, but so funny...

I went to punditkitchen this morning, and nearly snorted my Cool Ranch Doritos when I saw this picture:

Yes, I have quite a bit of respect for my Bishop. This is still hilarious, though.


One Purpose of Prayer

For years and years I journaled my prayers. Almost always at the end of the day before bed, and often outside, during quiet reflective times.

Then I stopped. A spiritual director I had told me that wasn't a very good way to pray. I didn't have the confidence or clarity to dispute that. Around the same time, a priest I know shared some of his theology on prayers of petition: that he believed in a loving God, and since he couldn't reconcile the pain in the world with an omnipotent, loving God, then his loving God must be powerless to intercede. I followed his logic, and didn't dispute that, either.

And then I noticed how dry I was becoming. I noticed that I didn't have much hope, and that I'd stopped expecting miracles. I felt more reasonable, but I didn't necessarily feel wiser. I felt defeated.

There is such joy in expecting to be surprised. As I return to prayers of petition, I'm learning that one of the best purposes of prayer is the noticing; when I am attentive to the petition, I notice the response. My gratitude increases. My joy increases. The comfort of my loving God becomes incredible. And when the impossible becomes possible in my life, it also becomes possible in my relationships, and I can pass on some of that generousity.

God has been doing beautiful things in my life. Thanks be to God for the times I see it!



I love musical harmonies. Bluegrass and folk and classical, all different times of voices blending and weaving themselves together. I don't know how to make harmonies. I can hold my tenor part if someone teaches me, but I don't know how to create these lovely dances.

Tonight at Evening Prayer, I was able to listen as I led. I heard a small group of women's voices blending and joining and feathering at the edges, so that none were distinct, but none were lost, either.

And then I drove home, joining my favorite harmonizers.

I will sing of the LORD's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. -Ps. 89:1


Wordy Friday Five

A mellow-sounding Singing Owl brought us this great Friday Five:

Think summer......are you there? Below you will find five words or phrases. Tell us the first thing you think of on reading each one. Your response might be simply another word, or it might be a sentence, a poem, a memory, a recipe, or a story. You get the idea:

1. rooftop:
Well, it's not a great video, but you know how I love this man...

2. gritty:
Sand in one's swimsuit. Nuff said.

3. hot town (yeah, I know, it's two words):
I am such a city girl, and I am so not in a city right now. *sigh* But I love hot city nights, esp. in my favorite town.

4. night:
Uh-oh. I think I just answered this one. So we'll go with a totally different song, instead. But I will add that summer nights make me much spunkier than the rest of the year.

5. dance :
I LOVE going dancing. My lovely spouse was willing for a while, but that seems to have passed. *sigh* On the other hand, my favorite (moving closer!) girlfriend and I might go line dancing this summer. (Now I just have to find me some red boots...)


For the Birds

The last few nights, I've woken up around 3:30 or 4, and haven't been able to get back to sleep. I start panicking about not getting enough rest around the time the birds start chattering. The room is still dark, but those darn birds know morning is just around the corner.

This morning, though, I decided I needed to make peace with the birds. So, rather than threatening to eat them, I imagined that their staccato gabfest was a little open-air bird Market:

"Worms! Get your juicy worms here!"
"Berries for Sale! Best Berry prices in town! Leave your mark on all the cars!"

And when they didn't stress me out, they stopped keeping me awake. Plus, it made me giggle.



I'm thinking a lot lately about building real community in church, and also about the parts of ourselves that churches engage. I am part of a tradition that is often both intellect-oriented and action-oriented, but not necessarily relationship-oriented. I'm noticing this brick-and-mortar church weakness at the same time that I'm marvelling (more than ever!) and the depth of caring in our RevGal circle.

I'm not just worried about relationships with one another, though. I'm worried that we're very, very embarrassed and uncomfortable with the idea of having a relationship with God, and I can't quite figure out why. Sometimes I get the impression that we believe in God the same way we believe in calculus: we're willing to accept the theory, but we don't engage with it, and there's nothing personal about it.

I heard recently that the tiny church where I interned has been doing a really radical thing during Christian Education hour: people are sharing their own stories of faith. Yeah, I understand that's normal for lots of Christians. But for Piskies? I desperately wished I could have been there. Or that we could do something similar in my parish.

I think there are a lot of reasons we don't do things like that, but I worry that one of the biggest is a need for control: if I let you tell about your experience of God, you might share a theology different from mine. People might preach to one another, and the message would not be cohesive, it wouldn't be regulated, it might not be approved theology.

We're really shortchanging ourselves. I'm so encouraged by hearing where people have been, and where they notice God. It's heartbreaking to discourage that. We need these stories of the meandering paths through the desert. We need to know what the pillar of fire has looked like for others. And we need the intimacy with God and with each other that we find when we share these precious parts of our experience. I've loved offering Spiritual Direction, for this very reason. (I've been terrified of it for this reason, too: can I be tender enough with these vulnerable places?)

How do your churches foster intimacy, both with each other, and with God?


Beachy Friday Five

Mother Laura couldn't have had better timing with this Friday Five:

So in honor of summer, please share your own beachy memories, plans, and dreams with a "Beach Trip" Friday Five.
1. Ocean rocks, lake limps? Vice versa? Or "it's all beautiful in its own way"?
I really enjoy both, but I think I prefer the ocean. There's an odd freedom and reassurance for me in something that huge. It gives me perspective.

2. Year round beach living: Heaven...or the Other Place?
I've done it a few times. In Oceanside, CA:
And in Okinawa, Japan: I wouldn't want to do it again in either of those places, but I think I could live happily near an East Coast beach. Despite spending more of my childhood there than in any other place, I'm just not at all a California girl.

3. Any beach plans for this summer?

Funny you should ask! We JUST GOT BACK from a very, very belated honeymoon in St. Martin.

4. Best beach memory ever?
When I went home to CA right after my last semester of college, I drove my mom's convertible to the beach, drank a root beer, and burned all of the notes for my senior research in one of the fire rings. It was fabulous. (I did, of course, keep the 70+ page final product.)

5. Fantasy beach trip?
Don't really have one. I love the beach, it's one of my favorite thinking places, we just got from my very first vacation ever. We didn't do vacations when I was growing up, so it doesn't really occur to me to dream about them.



I've been having lovely bloggable thoughts that I'd like to elaborate on, but no time to do it. So, in my Outlook "Tasks" feature, I have a short posts-to-create lists. In the future, you may find thoughts on:

-An overheard overacheiver
-One purpose of prayer
-Diversity of the process of call
-Different people, different vacations
-The preciousness of fallible helpers

So, more later, I hope. In the meantime, I'm reading you, praying for you, and cheering you on. And in the meantime, I'll tide you over with a funny old picture a friend sent me:


Blogger Backgrounds

OK, since I'm tooling around with my layout instead of actually writing posts, I figured I might as well let you know how I'm doing it:

If you go to "Layout," and then "Edit HTML" on your blogger dashboard, there's an easy-peasy way to make a picture your background. Right under

body {

plop in

background-image: url(http://yourpicture.jpg);
background-repeat: no-repeat;
background-position: top center;
background-attachment: fixed;

inserting your own picture link in the parenthesis. The picture was a little tricky. I have the best luck with pics (oh, and make sure you select the largest size option) from flickr.com (right click on the photograph, then select "Properties" to get the web address), but regular pics are usually too hard to read. SOOO, a handy alternative is to upload pics to picnik.com (sort of a web-based free photoshop... but not) and I make the exposure much lighter, then save to flickr. Then, you know, do the other stuff I said.

Hopefully it's not to hard to read. And it's fun, because once the code is in, it's super easy to change the background pic by just swapping out the web address with one for a new picture.

If I've omitted info, or that doesn't work, let me know!

Oh, one other thing-- my desktop shows only the pic, but my laptop shows white space on the sides. You can offset a little by making the background color (in "Layout" and then "Fonts and Colors" something close to the main color of your pic. AND since blogger doesn't offer a lot of color codes, I go to this site for more options.)

Oh-- and all of these applications are free.