Another project underway!

I've been going a little nutty trying to find slips lately (for under skirts and dresses). These suckers can be hard to find, and the fact is that there are times when they make a huge difference.

SO, I toddled down to my local fabric store, bought myself a pattern, some satin and elastic, and here we go! Let's see how it works.

(Note: this may wind up being the 3,078th project to sit half-finished in a bin under the spare-room bed. I'll keep you updated.)

(Note #2: The pattern picture is from a site called "Fabric Indulgence and Art Supplies." Fun stuff!)


Friday Five: Auld Lang Syne Edition

This week, Singing Owl gives us a nice Friday Five-- easy directions, but hard thinking to do:

It is hard to believe, but 2007 is about to be history, and this is our last Friday Five of the year.With that in mind, share five memorable moments of 2007. These can be happy or sad, profound or silly, good or bad but things that you will remember. Bonus points for telling us of a "God sighting"-- a moment when the light came through the darkness, a word was spoken, a song sung, laughter rang out, a sermon spoke to you in a new way--whatever you choose, but a moment in 2007 when you sensed Emmanuel, God with us. Or more particularly, you.

1. I didn't start seminary. We'd planned to, but after a rude awakening, we came to the conclusion that there was just no way we could afford it this year.

2. I started a training program for Spiritual Directors. It's fantastic, and I'm so grateful to finally have peers to discern and grow with.

3. I had really, really been struggling with my rector for a while, and then in November my Spiritual Director said, "Where is God in that relationship?" (Palm of hand smacks forehead.) Since then, I've really sensed God's presense there, even when we disagree.

4. I got a new job! And I love it. I'm only planning on being here until fall of '09 (cross your fingers for seminary), but I'm so glad to be here right now.

5. I've started running again (and discovered I'm in fantastic company). At one point I'd thought that a favorite girlfriend and I were going to run this marathon, but we're going to do the half, instead, because neither of us had time right now to train for a marathon. The presense of God in this is that I'm hoping I learn through the process that it's OK not to everything that can possibily be done. It's OK to do half sometimes.

Tie those shoes and let's get going!

I tried to contain myself. I tried to keep quiet. But no, I have to link to this article in Runner's World. Because guys, it's really cool to find your presiding bishop in unusual places.


The Best Present Ever

Now, I have to tell you that gifts in general make me very uncomfortable. I love planning and buying them, but I am an incredibly awkward recipient. It's not that I'm not grateful, it's that receiving is a little overwhelming. (Go ahead, ask me how that works out in marriage. Exactly.)

Part of my extreme discomfort with the gift-giving/receiving part of Christmas is that it's very important to me that no one feels like I didn't really enjoy or appreciate their gift-- there can be no "favorite" gifts. (Any other children of divorce feel this way? Have to keep Mom and Dad both happy?) So, there's a bit of anxiety in Christmas for me.
Knowing all of that, you'll in a better position to understand how hard it is for me to I tell you that my aunt sent me the greatest, most luxurious, indulgent gift ever:

Isn't it gorgeous?

PS-- I'd also like to tell you that Mr. M gave me a beautiful oil lamp (Spring) for my meditiation/quiet corner, and it's amazing. Also, my mom gave me flannel jammies that are just what I need to keep me warm, and my darling father-in-law gave me a tiny convertible that was just incredibily fun and thoughtful.

PPS-- See what I mean?

Schism and the Feast Day of St. Stephen

Yesterday was the Feast Day of St. Stephen. Ordinarily I'm not as up on my feast days as I could be, but my daily podcast meditations are helping with that. Last night I listened to the story of the martyrdom of St. Stephen from the book of Acts.

And what occurred to me was that the people who were angered by Stephen and who stoned him came out of the same faith community that he did. I'm not sure where to go with this yet, but it really does strike me as significant, and I'm thinking that there's an awful lot of early church history that could inform us as we, particularly as Episcopalians/Anglicans, try to move forward.


Advent Friday Five: Rejoice!

This week's Friday Five comes from Bishop Laura.

Can you believe that in two days we'll be halfway through Advent? Gaudete Sunday: pink candle on the advent wreath, rose vestments for those who have them, concerts and pageants in many congregations. Time to rejoice!
Rejoice in the nearness of Christ's coming, yes, but also in the many gifts of the pregnant waiting time when the world (in the northern hemisphere, at least) spins ever deeper into sweet, fertile darkness.
What makes you rejoice about:

1. Waiting?
The pregnant, Advent kind of waiting is so connected to expectation to me. It's not an "if" kind of waiting, it's a "when." The comfort and joy of waiting in Advent is that there are promises attached. This year, I'm very grateful for that.

2. Darkness?
I'm not sure how to rejoice in this one, I really struggle with winter. I love the beauty of midnight mass, and I'm even enjoying my candlelit quiet times, but I really long for the light. (Maybe that could be a useful focus during quiet times, now that I think about it.)

3. Winter?
Guys, I feel cooped up and cramped and not at all myself this time of year. I'm so glad Bp. Laura asked how we rejoice in this, though. Maybe it's something to think about this week.

4. Advent?
Despite all my sniveling about the season, Advent is my favorite part of the liturgical year. I love the waiting. I love the readings from Isaiah (my favorite book, at the moment). I love Lessons and Carols. It's just a gorgeous season to me.

5. Jesus' coming?
Well, thank heavens. I can't tell you how relieved I am by the incarnation lately. I can't do a darn thing on my own-- I'm ridiculously grateful that Jesus loves us, and shows us how to be. (If I could only figure out what the heck he means...)


My new running buddy: the iPod Shuffle

Tee hee! As a birthday present, Mr. M got me the teeny tiny green iPod shuffle. It's just exactly the same color as my first car (may she rest in pieces), so I'm calling the shuffle "Little Sally" in honor of all the fun places we went together. I'm looking forward to totally different journeys with this machine.

I've already found, via the brilliant RevGals, the pray-as-you-go podcasts, which are really fantastic. I'm madly downloading a bunch of public radio podcasts-- Speaking of Faith; Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me; Car Talk; Splendid Table.

BUT I'm eager to hear other suggestions. Friends, these podcasts are going to get me through a lot of runs. What do you love to listen to?


Friday Five: Preparation

This week we're holding Sally and her community in prayer as we play the Friday Five she's provided:

This has been a difficult week for me, the death of a little six year old has overshadowed our advent preparations, and made many of us here in Downham Market look differently at Christmas. With that in mind I ask whether you are the kind of person that likes everything prepared well in advance, are you a last minute crammer, or a bit of a mixture.....Here then is this weeks Friday 5:

1. You have a busy week, pushing out all time for preparing worship/ Sunday School lessons/ being ready for an important meeting ( or whatever equivalent your profession demands)- how do you cope?
Honestly, right now I don't. I desparately want a day to myself, just to play hooky, but it's not going to happen. I'm in head-down, shoulder-forward, pushing-through mode.

2. You have unexpected visitors, and need to provide them with a meal- what do you do?
Well, Mr. M cooks, so fortunately that's one thing off my plate (tee hee).

Three discussion topics:
3. Thinking along the lines of this weeks advent theme; repentance is an important but often neglected aspect of advent preparations...
Can't handle this one right now.

4. Some of the best experiences in life occur when you simply go with the flow.....
Not sure I can handle this one right now, either. (Why am I even playing?!)

5. Details are everything, attention to the small things enables a plan to roll forward smoothly...
Yep, that's pretty much my M.O.

Bonus if you dare- how well prepared are you for Christmas this year?
It's just Mr. M and I, and Christmas is really a church thing more than a social thing for me, so I'm OK on this one.


Treadmills, Lunchtime Workouts, and the Courage Needed for Good Self-Care

I went to the gym at lunch today. I've only just last week joined the gym-- I finally owned up to the fact that I cannot breathe well when I run outside in the winter, and I'm not wild about running in the dark. So I squished 30 minutes of hills on the treadmill into the middle of my workday, and in doing so realized how much I've missed my independance.

I don't, for the record, believe independance must be a natural casualty of marriage. Usually, Mr. M and I work out together. In a lot of ways that's very helpful (I'm not long on discipline). On the down side, I have a hard time not being frustrated because he's faster than I am, and not being distracted by his truly bizarre gait.

When I was single, I'd go for long quiet runs, and my footfalls would muffle the chaos and the noise in my life for an hour or so. I don't have the coordination to breathe hard and worry at the same time, and breathing seems like a priority to me, so running was pretty centering. I used to run on a beautiful trail near my apartment, miles of converted rail tracks. Trees, streams, waterfalls, cornfields, this was a gorgeous path. Until I started seeing police composite drawings posted at the entrance. (Reminder: I live in a small town with a very low crime rate. This can happen anywhere. Be safe.) And I stopped running alone.

In lots of little ways like that, I've lost the confidence I had when I was younger that I can take care of myself. Some of it was foolishness I'm sure, but some of it was just a peaceful trust that I was OK. I really miss that. Even though it was just 30 minutes on the treadmill, I felt like I got a little piece of it back today.


General Crankiness

I've noticed over the last couple of days that I'm feeling pretty cranky. I'm not watching my tongue as much as I should with people who usually irritate me, and I'm short-tempered even with the easy people.

The silver lining here is that when I realized that, I though, "Hmmm... when's the last time I took time away for myself?" I realized that I desperately want a day off alone, just my own private hooky-playing. Yesterday was a 12-hour day, between a very early meeting, work, the gym, and leading evening prayer. Work has been busybusybusy, and home is pretty busy right now, too. I sat and tried to pray before evening prayer last night, and felt very out-of-practice. Late last night, annoyed with what appears to be a loved one's complete lack of aspirations, instead of dwelling on him, I resolved to take a closer look at how I can grow more into my own motivations.

It does feel good to recognize that when everyone is pissing me off, it very well may be about me.


Ember Days are here again...

OK, not quite yet, but this is just a quick reminder that they're coming up soon! Dec. 19, 21, and 22 are our next set. Ready, set.....write to your bishop!

CLARIFICATION: More Cows is right, Ember Days are a Catholic/Anglican thing. From the ECUSA's glossary:

Three days which occur four times a year: the Wednesday,
Friday, and Saturday after St. Lucy's Day (Dec. 13), Ash Wednesday, the Day of
Pentecost, and Holy Cross Day (Sept. 14). The name comes from the Latin title
Quattuor tempora, meaning "four times." In ancient Italy the times (originally
three) were associated with sowing, harvest, and vintage, for which one prayed,
fasted, and gave alms. Later the four times became occasions for ordination, for
which the Christian community prayed and the candidates prepared themselves by
prayer and retreat. The BCP appoints proper collects and readings for this
observance under the title "For the Ministry (Ember Days), including propers
"For those to be ordained," "For the choice of fit persons for the ministry,"
and "For all Christians in their vocation" (BCP, pp. 256-257,

What the glossary doesn't mention is that postulants and candidates must write to their bishops during Ember Weeks-- sort of a "State of the Postulant" letter.