Friday Five

Mary Beth serves up one heck of a Friday Five. I was gobsmacked by the possiblities, but as you'll see, I tried to keep it under control:

On my blog sidebar is a list titled, "Blogs I Read Every Day." After my mother became a blogger, she asked me how I could possibly read that many blogs daily!? I had to confess it then: Okay, I don't read them all every day! I have over 100 on there! But I have favorites, and you do too.Some of you probably use feed readers to let you know when your favorite bloggers have posted...not me, not yet. I just have folks who are part of my day-to-day.So for today's Friday Five, give us five blogs you visit regularly, and tell us briefly WHY you like them. These can be RevGal and Pal bloggers and others ... or news sites, knitting sites, etc. Who are you showing the love to on a pretty constant basis?Hopefully we will all get to know some new bloggy friends this way!

I do use Google Reader to let me know when things are updated (though this can be trying, as the gmail account that I saved the feeds in is different from the one I used when I created this blog, so I have to log out to comment, then back in to read the rest... why can't I change the gmail address for this blog?!) Anyway, I had a heck of a time narrowing it down. I decided I could get the most bang for my blogpost by only doing non-RevGals (after all, y'all know where you are!), but even then... I cheated. I picked 6. AND YOU'RE DARN LUCKY IT'S ONLY SIX!

Here we go:

1. Beauty Tips for Ministers: I also love her sister blog, Peacebang (whoops! another one slipped in). This UU minister is often tongue-in-cheek, occasionally silly, and frequently very thoughtful about the sort of nonverbal messages ministers can send about themselves and the church. Also, she gives great cosmetic tips.

2. Mile Markers: This blog is part of Runner's World, and even though it's about running, it's often really about spirituality. I'm grateful for and encouraged by this ongoing exploration of the connection between body and spirit.

3. Homesick Texan: I'm not a Texan, but I spent enough formative years in SoCal to love TexMex food. While I never get around to actually making any of this gorgeous food, it's comforting just to read about!

4. Ember Days: I'm not sure I can explain to you why I love this blog so much. A cranky, snarky professor and priest expounds on liturgy, teaching, and American Idol. Go read it and tell me what the draw is.

5. Big Harmony: If you only read one of mine, pop over to this one. I met Nancy B through another beloved blog (Uh oh! Did it again!), and I'm just nuts about her. I'm holding out for a meeting IRL.

6. The Purl Bee: There are just so many craft/sewing blogs that I love, but this one was my first, and is probably still my favorite. (With really no arm-twisting at all, I'll tell you all about the other fabulous ones.)

Now I'm off to read other people's plays-- I can't wait to see who I'm going to meet!


What if it's a Gift?

There's been a lot of unbloggable stuff lately (hence the radio silence), and there's one thing in particular that I've just gone round and round on. Last night was another inning, just as frustrating as all the ones it replicated.

But when I went to bed (at 9:00-- I'm practically a fainting goat when I'm stressed), that little God-voice whispered, "What if you treat this area like a gift?" If I did decide to do that, how would it change things? I might be more tender and less controlling. I might notice more and get angry less.

Mind you, at this point I've been so frustrated for so long, it's going to be a mighty feat to make that leap.

I don't know about you, but sometimes I find being a grown-up exhausting.


Amputation of Anxiety

For the last few weeks, it's felt as though my mistakes have been made with a Sharpie, and my successes in invisible ink. I've been wandering around muttering to myself, "Where is the invitation in this?" (a favorite spiritual direction question). There are a lot of answers to that, but one of them is this: all day long, from friends, families, coworkers, clients, and strangers, we each get a barrage of "you're not doing things well enough." All of us. So I'm thinking about how absolutely necessary it is that when we share God with one another, we share God's grace, perspective, and patience. But even when we know that God is patient, kind, and keeps no record of wrongs (God being love, and all), the hailstorm of criticism, impatience and fear continues, and we continue to internalize it.

Which brings me to NPR. During my morning commute today, I heard this incredible story about phantom limb pain, and how it can be resolved. People with amputated limbs sometimes experience feeling, and even pain, in limbs they no longer have. You can imagine how frustrating this might be-- how do you treat an imaginary injury? Neurologists decided to try tricking the brain with a mirror, and this gave some relief. After continued treatments, though, the phantom limb disappeared! In one case, 11 years after an amputation, the phantom limb was finally gone.

As I listened to this story, I thought about the things we carry that don't need to be part of us-- anxiety, perfectionism, etc. I thought about the mirroring of God's love that a good spiritual director does, and how it teaches us first to interact with the phantoms, and then to let them go.

What a joy it is to give and receive the love that brings relief from pain.



I've been keeping journals, mostly as a form of prayer, at least since I was a sophomore in high school. I write in them, fill them up (or decide that I want to move on to the next one, and tear the last few pages out-- I'm ok with this, sometimes you're in a whole new book), and then never look at them again. This is partly because my perspective changes (e.g., at the time, I thought Thing A was a stupid thing to do, and in retrospect, it's a really fond memory. Or the same thing, reversed.), but also because I've bought into this crazy myth that the progress of our wisdom is linear. Surely, I'm further along than I was then. Surely Di at 16 and Di at 20 cannot have anything to say to Di at 29.

But God is SUCH a loving nag. "Hey, honey-- how about you start thumbing through some of those old journals?"


"Hey. I think it might be a good idea for you to go back and look at some of our old conversations."


"Look, kid. I'm telling you this because it's better than you think. It's going to help. You're going to like it. Go do it."

Oh. Well. In that case...

And yes, there were things that I giggled about, and things that made me cringe just a little. But I noticed something striking-- pages and pages of "thank yous"-- sometimes for easy good things, and other times for places where I struggled, but could see beginning shimmers of good.

When everything I see has a bit of God-gift in it, I also see that God is enormous and abundant and cherishes me. Di at 16 and Di at 20 did indeed have something to say.


Order of Corpus Christi?

Hey guys-- what do you guys know about this group? Are any of you a part of it? Know someone who is? Come on over and talk to me about this, if you are.