Advent Hiatus

Hey, friends. I'm going to take this beautiful Advent season to ponder things in my heart. See you after Christmas!


Friday Five: Crushes

Songbird shares a really fun Friday Five over at the RevGals page:

You see, in high school, I had a crush on my Chorus teacher. He was a young guy, and he had gone to college with some cousins of mine, and over the summer between 9th and 10th grade, we ran into each other at a series of pre-wedding parties, and I feel DEEPLY in like.You?

This is such a fun Friday Five for me! Crushes are absolutely a part of who I am.

1) Did you ever have a crush on a teacher?
Sort of. I had a crush on a very sweet, disheveled poet who was also a professor at UMD. He lived in my apartment building in high school , and we used to chat in the elevator. He did a reading once at Denison (while I was a student there), and when he saw me in the audience, he stopped reading his poem, smiled over his glasses, and said, "Hello, neighbor." Still makes me grin to think about.

2) Who was your first crush?
Jeffery Schuttler in first grade. Dorky, but very sweet. Clearly an early indicator.

3) Have you ever given a gift to a crush?
I don't think so. Or, possibly, I've blocked the memory out of embarrassment.

4) Do you have a celebrity crush? (Around my house we call them TV boyfriends and girlfriends...)
Absolutely. Umm... it's Rahm Emmanuel. Seriously. Smart, intense. Funny.

5) Have you ever been surprised to find yourself the crushee?
I don't think so.


Wednesday Prayer: Keeping Watch

This week, I'm praying for those who are grieving. Are there prayers I can offer for you as well?

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or
weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who
sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless
the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the
joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.
(From Compline, BCP)


David, Timothy, et al.

Two RevGal blog posts today have me thinking again about something I feel really passionate about: ageism in the church. Diane wonders why young people aren't attending congregational meetings, and Elizabeth Hagen shares some of the comments she receives as a young pastor. Elizabeth's post is the most recent I've seen, but I can't count how many identical observations I've read and heard from young women pastors.

My observation has often been that the church wants our young presence, but not necessarily our perspective. I believe that there are cultural differences between generations, and this can create a real struggle, and if we don't directly address this, it can fester. Other times, there's just a flat-out lack of respect for youth. I've seen horrible instances where bishops, priests, and others completely discounted the capacity for ministry in their young people. In direct and indirect ways, church cultures can teach young adults that they don't have anything worthwhile to contribute to the church. In other cases, gatekeepers in the parish who have been there for decades want to make sure that things continue as they always have been. These people are as likely to shut down older new members as they are younger voices.

There are so many biblical models of faithful, courageous young people:
  • Daniel was young when he stood up to the king.
  • Paul reminds Timothy not to let anyone look down on him because of his youth.
  • David was the youngest of his brothers, a ruddy youth, when anointed the next king of Israel.
  • Young Jonathan displayed loyalty and love for his friend David, in the face of his father's wrath.
  • Teenage Mary was chosen by God to bear His Son.
Age doesn't seem to be a relevant factor in being called by God, used by God, or cherished by God. It's horrible when people are made to feel irrelevant as they get older. It's unquestionably sinful to dismiss the value of people whose capacities diminish with age. It's not any better to reject the holiness of God's young people. There's no reason why only one or the other should be the life of the church. Our spiritual gifts come from the Holy Spirit, they are not our own accomplishments. If we listen to each other, if we look for the Holy Spirit in one another, I think we'd all be more likely to contribute.

There are elderly saints whom I adore, whose presence and experience are blessings to me. I am humbled by and grateful for the fact that they allow me to be a blessing to them as well.


Friday Five: Thanksgiving and Mulleygrubs

Thanks to Jan for this Friday Five:

The Cure
Lying around all day
with some strange new deep blueweekend funk,
I'm not really asleep
when my sister calls
to say she's just hung up
from talking with Aunt Bertha
who is 89 and ill but managing
to take care of Uncle Frank
who is completely bed ridden.Aunt Bert says
it's snowing there in Arkansas,on Catfish Lane,
and she hasn't been
able to walk out to their mailbox.She's been suffering
from a bad case of the mulleygrubs.
The cure for the mulleygrubs,
she tells my sister,is to get up and bake a cake.
If that doesn't do it, put on a red dress.
--Ginger Andrews (from Hurricane Sisters)

So this Friday before Thanksgiving, think about Aunt Bert and how she'll celebrate Thanksgiving! And how about YOU?

1. What is your cure for the "mulleygrubs"?
Going for a walk or a run usually helps. Snuggling with Mr. M definitely helps. Also a fresh pot of tea.

2. Where will you be for Thanksgiving?
We will be outside of Philly with Mr. M's parents.

3. What foods will be served? Which are traditional for your family?
It's really hard to predict. I've spent 5 Thanksgivings with them, and I can't tell what's important.

4. How do you feel about Thanksgiving as a holiday?
Pffbt. Generally, it's pretty stressful.

5. In this season of Thanksgiving, what are you grateful for?
We just found out last night that someone else got a job Mr. M really, really wanted. And while that was a big disappointment, I'm still feeling so grateful that he has a job and that we have enough. That feels like a very big thing right now.

BONUS: Describe Aunt Bert's Thanksgiving.
Poor Aunt Bert. I dunno. Maybe she and Uncle Frank played pinocle and laughed all day. That's what I'm hoping.


Wednesday Prayers: Gentleness and Growth

I've been reading David Schnarch's The Passionate Marriage *, and there are several things I like about it. He made a number of points that are just as relevant to life and relationship with God as they are to our relationships with a significant other. Schnarch's first point was that nothing prepares you for marriage. There's just no way on earth to start out doing everything "right." You learn by doing. The corollary is that relationships create ongoing (limitless!) opportunities to grow.

My yoke feels easier and my burden lighter when I see God encouraging me to grow, rather than being furious because I'm not "there" yet. I don't have to hide from God's presence because I'm not doing everything perfectly. God knows where I'm starting. God gives me opportunities to find more freedom, more kindness, more love.

So my prayer this week for myself and for you, too, is that we can see where we are as an acceptable starting point.

Are there prayers I can offer for you?

*The word "passion" still gives me the heebie-jeebies-- it's the same feeling I get watching a movie with my mom when a sex scene comes on. Cringe.


Go Outside and Get Some Fresh Air!

Right around the time Mr. M and I did the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler, I pulled a hamstring. I rehabbed it, ran a better-than-expected race, and then... pulled it again. This isn't a surprise; once a muscle has been pulled, re-injury is pretty darn likely (and I haven't been disciplined about doing the PT I need). Sometimes I'm sore, sometimes I'm not, but I'm not running nearly as much as I was in the spring. I'm trying to take things slowly, but now that Daylight Savings time has ended, I'm remembering why I'm always more active in the colder months. Grey days and long darkness do me in. I doubt it's full-fledged SAD, but my energy levels plummet in the winter (and in the months that flank it). For the last couple of years, exercise has made a HUGE difference for me. I didn't have to nap every weekend, and I was a lot more fun to be around.

Because I come from a family of runners (and, generally, people who were a little obsessive about physical fitness-- by which I mean Marines), it only occurred to me yesterday that I can just go outside for the sake of being outside. The days that I don't try to run, I'm going to take the same time and go for a leisurely stroll, just to get some sunshine.

Today was my first attempt. I got up early, did a few yoga sequences, and some general knee-stabalizing exercises, and then mid-afternoon, I went for a stroll. It was fantastic. The sun was bright, the sky was blue, and two elderly men on opposite corners were both edging their lawns. I suspect there's a longstanding competition involved there.

Today's lesson? Even when I'm working at limited capacity, things are very good.


Wednesday Prayers, A Day Late: Shifting

Late last night, I was talking to a friend about the incredible difference in our lives when we shift from a "have to" mindset to a "get to" one. My friend was struggling with this, but I struggle with it, too. Even good things-- seeing friends, doing work I love-- can become chores or sources of anxiety, when I focus on how I "have to" do them. The wonderful anticipation is gone, replaced by dread.

So this week, my prayer request is that a develop a habit of looking forward from a "get to" perspective-- with joy, gratitude, and excitement.

What's your request?


A Wrestling Wednesday Prayer

Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, ‘Let me go, for the day is breaking.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go, unless you bless me.’ -Genesis 32:24-26, NRSV

I'm jealous of Jacob, on account of the wrestling, the demanding, and the blessing-- all three. This story is so compelling to me right now. There's a prayer in there somewhere, but it's too much, and I don't have the words for it.

But you? Do you have words to pray?



I have a handful of posts in the works, but I'm short on time this morning, so you just get the following conversatioon between a little girl of about 4 and an older woman in the grocery store yesterday:

LG: lalalalalala
OW: Are you a singer?
LG: I am an opera singer.
OW: Oh! Have you ever been to an opera?
LG: No.
OW: But you've seen one on TV?
LG: No.
OW: Then how do you know you are one?
LG: I was just born this way!