Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Three Cups of Tea and me

I have been meaning to read the book Three Cups of Tea for some time now, and just have not been able to get around to it. So I packed it in my bag for this trip and have been reading it in snatches whenever I can. I have even stayed up late reading it. I hope to finish reading it in time to give the copy to my mom and sister to read. It is a very powerful book to read.

In a time and culture when we pay more attention to movie stars, recording stars and athletes who make millions of dollars, here is a man who is so different and doing things so different. It is the story of Greg Mortenson who after a fall from K2 in the high mountains of Pakistan, began "climbing an other mountain." He has been self sacrificing, making very little income, putting his life on the line, to build schools, medical facilities and water filtration units for the people living in these mountains. And his work has made such an impact on these impoverished people, their homes, their communities and their families for a long time to come. I found myself drawn into his life work and into the villages and the people who lived there and their lives. I wanted to go work with him. I wish I had the single minded focus and passion he does.

If you have not read this book, read it, you will be glad you did. And then when you read it share it with someone else. And do something. There is a website for Three Cups of Tea and it tells you what you can do to help. And if this is not your passion and focus, then find out what it is and do something.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 Leadership Book Awards

Over at Christianity Today; Leadership, they have put together a list of the ten books of 2008 deemed most valuable for church leaders. They have named it the Golden Canon. It is interesting to me that even though it means list they like the image of a canon and have included in the journal. Is there something to that? I think so. They divided it up by one's inner world and outer world of leadership. Have a look and let me know what you think.
Here's the list for your Outer World:
The Reason for God Belief in an age of skepticism by Tim Keller (Dutton)
Culture Making Recovering our creative calling by Andy Crouch (IVP)
Axiom Powerful leadership proverbs by Bill Hybels (Zondervan)
Consuming Jesus Beyond race and class divisions in a consumer church by Paul Louis Metzger (Eerdmans)
Church Unique How missional leaders cast vision, capture culture, and create movement by Will Mancini (Jossey-Bass)

Now for the Inner World:
Surprised by Hope Rethinking heaven, the resurrection, and the mission of the church by N.T. Wright (HarperOne)
The Jesus Way A conversation on the ways that Jesus is the Way by Eugene Peterson (Eerdmans)
The Attentive Life Discerning God's presence in all things by Leighton Ford (IVP)
Life with God Reading the Bible for spiritual transformation by Richard Foster (HarperOne)
Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor The life and reflections of Tom Carson by D.A. Carson (Crossway)

Okay now tell me what you see. That's right, no books by women. I guess we aren't leaders or we just don't write good books for leaders in churches. But wait, maybe you know of a woman who leads or a good book about leadership that is written by a woman.

I am bothered by the title the Golden Canon and the image they chose to represent it also.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Baking sugar cookies and face painting

Saturday, the older adopted Chinese girls had a baking cookies and face painting party. We hosted it at the church, so one lone boy was along for the fun.

And it was a lot of fun had by all, including the parents. We had about five families with about nine kids in all. We get them together regularly so they can be with kids that look like themselves. They are often the only Asian in their classroom, grade or school. We also get them together so we parents can compare notes, celebrate and support each other.

The adults made the mix and baked the cookies. The kids did the cookie cutting and decorated them. I was surprised that there really wasn't that much of a mess to clean up even with all the icing, and sprinkles that got used. Some cookies ended up with more icing than anything else. One kid got creative and made cookie sandwiches. They were all very pretty and tasted good.

Then the oldest girl did face painting for the kids. She is quite the artist. She was also practicing for the Chinese New Year celebration. As you can see from Zach's she did a good job.

While the adults cleaned up and talked the kids were playing with the balloons we had brought to mark where we were meeting. They were having the best time. It was good to see everybody playing and having a good time.

My kids wanted to come home and bake some more, so we will have another baking time soon.

The Families with Children from China are having their Christmas party this Thursday, so that will be our next get together.

Say you want some yummy well decorated sugar cookies?

Monday, December 01, 2008

First Advent for us at Trinity

We had such a good time over Thanksgiving.
Our funds are a little low so we didn't do anything that cost money this weekend and that was okay. We just had a good time together.

Last night Trinity had an Old Fashioned Christmas for the families.
It involved bringing and sharing finger foods, bringing a gift for children of the Upper Sand Mountain Parish, and making a craft.
Afterward, the children presented their Christmas program "A Lesson and Carols" And they did a very good job. I got the privilege of doing the opening prayer and benediction. Our three sang with their group of kids and the larger group. It was a joy to hear their voices. Several people came up and said something about Zachary knowing all the words to the songs. Not surprised he is very quick to learn things.

I also enjoyed the worship in the contemporary service where we actually sang some advent hymns and had an advent candle lighting. We also baptized three children along with receiving a family into the church. It was a full worship service. Our new worship leader does such a good job.

Next week I preach in Traditional and we also have communion. It too will be a full service. And I love Traditional too.

This week is busy with the UMW big Christmas dinner, Blue Christmas Healing Service, the kids' Chinese party, and some other events. And while I write this it is snowing outside. Wow. Thank you God.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

!st Sunday of Advent Prayer

Dear God,
Thank you for the time spent with families and friends over this holiday.
We begin today this journey of Advent with anticipation and hope.
We anticipate your coming today in our lives.
We anticipate the celebration of your birth.
We anticipate your coming again.
We hope for your presence in our lives today.
We hope for new beginnings.
We hope for healing in our lives.

Lord, our world cries out for hope and yet does not know where to look for that hope.
So Lord we cry out to you for the hopeless of the world.
We cry out to you for those who are in despair.
We cry out to you for those who are desperate.

Our hearts ache with yours Lord, when violence occurs and lives are lost.
We pray for those who mourn the loss of lives in Mumbai India.
We pray for the WalMart worker killed in the stampede of people on Friday.
We pray for those who find themselves in difficult financial circumstances.
And Lord as we observe World’s Aid Day, we pray for those who are still affected by Aids.

Lord we pray for your coming again that it may be soon for you are the hope of this world.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Short circuited

Wah! Last night the laptop's ac adaptor cord short circuited. This is the one I use at the church and it has my notes, sermon notes, church notes all on it. Wah. I was hoping to avoid getting out in the shopping traffic especially with the wet weather. But gulp, swallow, it looks like we will be joining the others out shopping also.

At least I don't preach tomorrow, but I do preach Sunday, do a healing service on Wednesday, and work on invitational and congregational ministries during the week.

I have looked up in the yellow pages where I might find one that fits and I have three possibilities. After that it is order online from Dell.

Meanwhile, Bob and the kids are decorating for Christmas.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day/Cyber Monday

Today is celebrated as Black Friday, the day with all the sales and bargains that start early in the day. Already a worker at WalMart has died because of people rushing through the door. Sad. And others were injured, all for what a few bargains? And Monday is considered Cyber Monday, the day for all the bargains online and everybody buying on line.

But I am not out there today shopping and don't plan to be. My Aunt in who lived in Jacksonville always was before her death. Anytime we spent Thanksgiving in Jacksonville, it meant getting up early and going shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

But this year we are even limiting what we are buying anyway. In fact we already bought it, but it is hid away. We might buy a few more small things for the kids, but we just aren't going to spend a lot of money.

Instead today, we went outside in our back yard. We cleaned it up while the kids played and helped. It was very nice. We are getting ready to go over to a friend's house for some more play time. What are you doing?

If you want to find out more about Buy Nothing Day or Buy Nothing Christmas, just click on the link.

Thanking God for you Friday Five

Phillipians 1:3 Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.

Singing Owl leads us in the Friday five from the revgalblogpals with the following; I'm musing about giving thanks for people today, partly because Americans celebrated our annual Thanksgiving holiday yesterday (I try not to just make this holiday "turkey day" even though its main feature seems to be eating till one is nearly comatose) and partly because I read the above verse this morning. It started me thinking about individuals in my life for whom I give thanks. For this post-Thanksgiving Day Friday Five, share with us "Five People For Whom You Give Thanks to God" and maybe tell us why they are significant.

1. My mom; well that says it all, she is my mom and God knew it sure would take her to raise a child like me.

2. My husband; he married me that is the significance, and God knew it would take him to be married to a woman like me.

3. 4. & 5. My three children; all of them are significant to me, and God knew it would take all three to raise a mom like me.

The bonus person; All the above are alive, but I am grateful for those who have long since died but who played a significant part in my becoming the person I have become.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Prayer for Christ the King Sunday

Merciful God, thank you for your son, who came to be our savior and Lord. We celebrate His Kingship; even though for some of us who have no King it is hard to understand what that means. God they nailed on Jesus cross the words calling him the King of the Jews. It was a joke. Lord let it not be a joke to us now. Your son, seems to be a different kind of King, he is the one who came to serve and not be served like so many earthly rulers. He still comes to us in faces, places, situations, and people that we would not recognize. And forgive us Lord because we do miss your son, and we don’t have eyes to see. Forgive us when we discount your children who are the least, the lost, the imprisoned, the sick, the stranger, the unclothed, the hungry, and the thirsty. Forgive us when we don’t serve them just as you serve us.
Lord we take time to remember the firefighters who are fighting the fires in Southern California, and those who have lost homes to the fires. We pray For world leaders who have come together to deal with the global financial crisis. We pray for all who are losing their jobs during this down turn. We pray for wisdom for our country leaders having to find ways to deal with the downturn. We pray for the continued problems in the Congo. We pray for the people of Zimbabwe who are faced with an outbreak of deaths brought on by cholera. We pray for the disease and unrest in the Mideast. We pray for peace. We pray for our President Elect as he prepares himself for taking office, brings on his cabinet and other government workers.

God today as we enter our places of worship to lead your children in worship speak the words through us that your children need to hear, including ourselves. Lord, pour your holy spirit into us that we will be servant of you with love and grace. Lord we worship and adore you. Amen.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday Five on Saturday

Well, with all the hospital visits and surgeries yesterday, I didn't get to do the Friday Five on Friday. So here I am playing on Saturday, since I don't have to be prepared for Sunday preaching. I do have a wedding later in the day to officiate at, but that won't be hard.

So without further adieu, here is the revgalblogpals Friday Five brought to you by Songbird;

In a minor domestic crisis, my food processor, or more precisely the part you use for almost everything for which I use a food processor, picked the eve of the festive season of the year to give up the ghost. A crack in the lid expanded such that a batch of squash soup had to be liberated via that column shaped thing that sticks up on top.Can you tell this is not my area of strength?Next week, I'm hosting Thanksgiving. I need your help.

Please answer the following kitchen-related questions:

1) Do you have a food processor? Can you recommend it? Which is to say, do you actually use it? Had it, no longer have it. Don't know if I lost it in the move or not. Used it infrquently.

2) And if so, do you use the fancy things on it? (Mine came with a mini-blender (used a lot and long ago broken) and these scary disks you used to julienne things (used once).) You know, I think I used it for chopping nuts, and some other stuff; but it was so long ago, I don't remember

3) Do you use a standing mixer? Or one of the hand-held varieties?(And isn't that color delightfully retro?) Yes, I have one of the hand-held ones in that delightful I am not sure what retro color it is, sort of a mustard color. But it works.

4) How about a blender? Do you have one? Use it much? Oh yes, you have got to have one of them.

5) Finally, what old-fashioned, non-electric kitchen tool do you enjoy using the most? Enjoy, does that go with cooking?

Bonus: Is there a kitchen appliance or utensil you ONLY use at Thanksgiving or some other holiday? If so, what is it? You have to use an appliance or utensil at Thanksgiving or holiday? You can't go out to eat or order the meal for take out? What kind of craziness is this? I don't cook these days. Bake on occasion yes, but not cook. I did buy a cookbook recently to teach the kids how to cook and we have been cooking out of it some.

Missing preaching regularly

Today is Saturday, I would be wrapping up a sermon for Sunday. But I don't preach tomorrow. I don't preach next week and I did not preach last week. Sigh. I know it sounds silly, but I am missing it, the regularity, the rhythm and rhyme of sermon writing. I preach the second week of Advent on the First Sunday in Dec. and again on the third week of Advent or the second week of Dec. And then I preach Christmas eve and then the first Sunday of the new year. Sigh. It is hard to get in the rhythm of writing, thinking, feeling and listening.

But frankly with all I do I don't have time to write weekly sermons. I enjoy what I do, and all the people I am working with. I like developing the congregational care ministries and the invitational ministries. I am really enjoying the young adults.

I just miss preaching regular.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday prayer

Merciful God, in the stillness of this morning, we come on bended knee, bended heart, and bended mind, yielding ourselves to you. We ask for your breath to be breathed on us as we prepare to go into your sanctuary to worship you.
We admit there are ways we sinned this week with word and deed and sometimes inaction, or carelessness. Forgive us we pray so that we can be freed from those chains to lift our hands in praise to you and to receive your grace and mercy.
God, we come before you not just for ourselves but for those of our congregations who are sick, suffering, home bound and in nursing homes. We pray for those carrying grief heavily around their hearts. We pray for those worried about their jobs, their homes, and their diminishing retirement income. We pray for our family members, and our friends.
We pray for our world that is at war, in starvation and in chaos. We pray for people of the Democratic Republic of Congo and others who are displaced by war. We pray for those who children died in the collapse of the schools in Haiti. We pray for all people that are in the midst of pain and struggle that you would be their salvation, their refuge and dwelling place. And we pray for the end to modern day slave trade. We also pray your wisdom for the world leaders who have come together to address the worldwide economic crisis.
Lord, today’s scripture reminds us that we have been given so much by you only to hide it, or squander it. Lord, help us to know how to put to use the resources that you have given us so that it yields greater value not for us, but for you. Help us to know how to lead our churches to not hide the resources you have given them either.
Thank you for Lord for your many gifts and resources you do give us. Thank you for your many blessings and for your tender mercies.
We pray all this and more through your son Jesus.

cross posted at revgalprayerpals and preaching to the choir(sermon blog)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Five: Rememberance

Earlier this week the U.S. celebrated Veterans' Day, known in many other countries as Remembrance Day. At this time last year I was commuting to a postdoc in Canada, and I was moved by the many red poppies that showed up there on people's lapels in honor of the observance. Unlike a flag lapel pin, which to me has political connotations and implies approval of our current war, the poppies simply honor the sacrifice and dedication of those who have followed their consciences by serving--sometimes dying--in the military.

This week's Friday Five invites reflection on the theme of remembrance, which is also present in the feasts of All Saints, celebrated in many liturgical churches on November 1, and All Souls--known in Latin@ cultures as the Day of the Dead--celebrated in some the following day.

1. Did your church have any special celebrations for All Saints/All Soul's Day? Yes, the choir did The Requiem by Mozart and it was magnificent. We did the naming of those who died this year with lighting a candle for each one and ringing a bell. We had a full service. Lots of people were there.

2. How about Veterans' Day? Nope.

3. Did you and your family have a holiday for Veterans' Day/Remembrance Day? If so, how did you take advantage of the break? Yes, we took a break and rested, spent time together and played. We somehow or another forgot about the parade and missed it.

4. Is there a veteran in your life, living or dead, whose dedication you remember and celebrate? Or perhaps a loved one presently serving in the armed forces? Oh boy, if you read my blog post on this, you would find out the answer. My grand dad was a WWI vet and made me very aware of the cost the WWI vets made. But my dad is a vet, my husband is a vet, my son is a vet. My nephews are presently serving in Iraq. One is a marine. The other is in the army and this is his second time over there.

5. Do you have any personal rituals which help you remember and connect with loved ones who have passed on? I don't, but my mind does. It will pop the memory tape in before I know what's happening. But you know now days it is a lot of pleasant memories.

The bonus question: Did you ever want to serve? I wanted to serve in the Army when I finished high school, but my parents put a halt to that. When I was in college I was recommended for officer training in the army, but at that time I had become a dove and refused to have any part of the military. It was Viet Nam days. At one point I felt led to become a Chaplain in the military, and even went through the interviews, physicals etc. The Navy was ready for me, but I couldn't get the endorsing agency to cooperate with me, so I didn't get in. After that I was too old, but still got invites to be a Chaplain. Sometimes I wish I had and most of the time I am glad I didn't. I wouldn't have been very good at this war stuff. And we went to war the year right after I was trying to get into the Navy Chaplaincy corp. God watches out for fools like me.

(pictures: The pictures of poppies in Flanders field. Pictures of crosses in Flanders Field.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A salute to veterans

I am child of a veteran and a granddaughter of veteran.

I have son who is a veteran.

I have nephews presently serving in Iraq;
one in the army and one in the marines.

I live with a veteran.

I serve a church full of veterans.

I live in a town full of veterans.

And sadly I live in a town that has homeless,
and jobless veterans. Cartoon by
Jimmy Margulies

To all the veterans I know and don't know, I salute you today and I thank you for our freedom.

I pray for more recent veterans who now suffer so much from these recent wars.

In honor of the veterans a cartoon by Jeff Koterba, Omaha World Herald, NE;

If you have a chance check out the political cartoons on Veteran's day

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Sunday prayer

Dear God, source of wisdom and truth. Grant us your wisdom to always be prepared for you coming today and everyday. We don’t know how or who or when that may be. But Lord, let us be ready, let us not be found unprepared and miss the joy of your presence. Lord we pray for ou President Elect and vice President elect, give them wisdom as well as they prepare to lead us during this financial crisis we are presently in.
We pray also Lord, for the continued fighting and strife in our world. We pray for the countries that have been affected by this hurricane and those that are in the path. We pray for other parts of our world that are in times of crisis and need.
We pray for wisdom as we gather in our various places of worship to worship you. We pray your spirit guides us who preach this Sunday, those who lead in worship, those who teach and those who greet. We pray that our minds, our hearts, and our souls be focused on you.
And Lord we pray that you would come Lord Jesus, come and that we welcome you with open arms.

cross posted at revgalblogpals

Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday Five-The Funny Ppaers!

I am up for this Friday Five. And Thank God it is a funny one, thanks to Presbyterian Gal at revgalblogpals! So lets get reading the educational section of the paper as my hubby calls it or the Funny Papers.

After an exhausting election here in the states it's time for some spirit lifting! Join me with a nice cup of tea or coffee or cocoa and let's sit back and read the Funny Papers!
1. What was your favorite comic strip as a child? I honestly don't remember, it was that long ago. I just remember that I would read all of them. My mom and dad would be yelling at me to get ready for church and I would keep reading. But if I had to choose, it would be I can't make a choice, please don't make me. Okay, I'll do it, but quit twistin my arm. I liked Peanuts.
2. Which comic strip today most consistently tickles your funny bone? Hi and Lois
3. Which Peanuts character is closest to being you? Peppermint Patty
4. Some say that comic strips have replaced philosophy as a paying job, so to speak. Does this ring true with you? Uh? But as I said, my hubby calls them the Educational Section of the Paper.
5. What do you think the appeal is for the really long running comic strips like Blondie, Family Circus, Dennis the Menace as some examples? Family life that you can relate to and the cartoonist bring out in; so we end up laughing with it and laughing ourselves.
Bonus question: Which discontinued comic strip would you like to see back in print? Calvin and Hobbs. I really miss it. And then the other would be Far Side. Now those two were the ones that were philosophers.

My bonus bonus question: what was your favorite when you were in college and young adult? Without a doubt it would be Doonsebury.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

All Saints Sunday prayer

We are living in anxious times made more tense by economic pressures, foreclosures, and uneasiness about the upcoming election.
Today Lord we pray for those who are being affected by economic hardships in these difficult times.
We pray that as we go to vote this Tuesday; that we preserve our dignity and those around us as we may wait in long lines, and may be anxious about casting our votes.
We pray that voters may be able to cast their vote freely and willingly.
And Lord we pray for those peoples in countries that voting is not such a freedom.
We pray for the end to the fighting in the DR Congo and in Afghanistan, Iraq and Gaza.
We pray for those living in extreme poverty and hunger in the Asian, African and Latin American countries.
Lord we pray for all the saints, famous, and unknown, we lift them now in prayer to you.
We remember that they served you in faithfulness and love.
We remember that they were imperfect human beings, only made perfect by your grace.
We remember those of our own families……
We remember those of our own friends…….
We remember those of our revgalblogpals……

Lord, help us to remember that we too are saints in the making
being made perfect by your grace.Lord help us remember that we are not alone in this journey of faith we are on.
We pray that all we say and do today be in worship of you , Lord.

cross posted at RevGalBlogPals

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The economic Crisis

The economic crisis is hitting our lives in so many places and in so many ways. There is a lot out there in the media writing about it. It is enough to scare you to death. I was asked by one of our United Methodist Women circles to write something for them to use at their meeting to lead into a discussion. This is what I wrote.

When I was at the Catalyst Conference this last week, Dave Ramsey was one of the speakers. He reminded us that we have not been given a spirit of fear. He told us that the media has stirred up a lot of fear and reactivity. He said we should get ourselves out of personal debt if we are in debt. He thinks we should keep tithing and saving as we can and live within our means. He thinks the markets will rebound and that at the same time we are in for a rough ride for sometime. But that we should have a spirit of fear. He said that we as Christians who live within "God's principles" have a witness to those who have bought into Consumerism mentality and the fear mentality.

I think it is important to remember that no matter what the crisis is in our lives, God is on his throne. I won't lie or cover this up, it may get very bad before it gets better. We don't honestly know where this is going to go. But as Dr. Gattis and I were talking about this, no matter how bad it gets we will still be better off than most of the world. And that it is important to keep our focus on God and eternal things than temporal things.

The following was taken from an article by Al Mohler in Christianity Today: "Greed raises its ugly head when individuals and groups seek an unrealistic gain at the expense of others and then use illegitimate means to gain what they want. Given the nature of this fallen world and the reality of human sinfulness, we should expect that greed will be a constant temptation. Greed will entice the rich to oppress the poor, partners in transactions to lie to one another, and investors to take irrational risks. All of these are evident in this current crisis.

The current crisis sheds light on what happens when things get out of control, when various pressures distort the proper operation of the markets, and when irrational valuations entice investors to make poor investments. Dishonesty enters the picture at many levels, and the individual investor is too often left in the dark. When these things happen the economy is threatened by a lack of trust, and trust is the most essential commodity of all when it comes to economic transactions. Without trust, the entire system collapses.

Christians should think seriously about this economic crisis and ponder what it would mean to come to a Christian understanding of what it means to be participants in this economy. This current crisis should also remind Christians that we are not called to be mere economic actors, but stewards. Everything we are, everything we do, and everything we own truly belongs to God and is to be at the disposal of Kingdom purposes. This world is not our home and our treasure is not found here. We are to do all, invest all, own all, purchase all to the glory of God."

Our denomination, The United Methodist Church, declares in its Social Principles that all economic systems are “to be under the judgment of God … and recognizes the responsibility of governments to develop and implement sound fiscal and monetary policies that provide for the economic life of individuals and corporate entities, and that ensure full employment and adequate incomes” (¶163 IV. The Economic Community, "Social Principles," The United Methodist Book of Discipline).

I think Jesus was very clear when he said Matthew 6:19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." If we follow this passage, then we have nothing to fear. We have a God perspective about what is going on. We realize that if unhealthy selfish greed got into the CEO's and money managers, that they had not laid up their treasures in heaven and did not have a God perspective. We also see this things for a God perspective. We do live in a sinful world, and thus we as humans are tempted to sin and do sin. But we can always repent and ask God's forgiveness and turn around. I say that to say, there has got be a whole lot of repenting going on by those who sinned when it came to the abuse of money, and lending practices. But there is a whole lot of forgiveness on God's part as well.

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism said the following about money;
"We ought to gain all we can gain but this it is certain we ought not to do; we ought not to gain money at the expense of life, nor at the expense of our health. "
"Having, First, gained all you can, and, Secondly saved all you can, Then 'give all you can.'"
He said the purpose of earning and saving is giving and that you should then give to the following:

"First you should give to yourself--food, clothes, shelter--what moderate living requires. Second, you should give to your family and employees providing for their needs. Third, if there is still money left, you should give to the household of faith--other Christians. Fourth, you should give to all men in need."

This is what he thought it meant to "lay up" treasure and reasons to set aside money:
  • To pay your debts for this is right.
  • To provide yourself the necessities of life.
  • To provide for your family is your duty.
  • Necessary investment to carry on business.

“When I have money, I get rid of it quickly, lest it find a way into my heart.”

During his time in England there was a great divide between the wealthy and the poor. Wesley became very concerned for the poor in England, and became very involved in trying to improve their lives. He proceeded to venture into London during much of his free time and work with the poor, providing medical aid where he could. Wesley and his Methodists worked hard to raise the money to provide food and clothing for the poor. One of his more innovative ideas, in my eyes, is that Wesley introduced interest-free loans to the poor in London, “rescuing them from lenders demanding extortionate interest that would have compounded their distress.” (Marquardt, 29). In addition, Wesley’s Methodists devoted themselves to helping the poor to find jobs. In a time and place in which many viewed poverty and sickness as an indicator of the worth of the individual, Wesley preached God’s love for all mankind and demanded unrestricted love for one’s neighbor.

And Jesus said;
Your father knows what you need before you ask him. So do not worry, saying 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today's trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:8b, 31-34)

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God's sight. But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7)

Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest. (Luke 12:25-26)

Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

I also highly recommend Sojourner Magazine and the blog God's Politics by Jim Wallis.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Feeling hopeful about Young People

Last week I went to another church conference called Catalyst. I was the clergy person with six other lay people. Of the six four were in the age group categorized as young people. Just being with those four from our church was energizing. But to be with all the young people who were at Catalyst was just awesome. I found hope for the Kingdom of God listening and being with them.

The worship was high energy. Young worship leaders led us in worship and I do mean led in worship, not just had us singing. Young people who are some of the up and coming Pastors taught. There were presentations as well by some of the Pastors who are considered good leaders such as Andy Stanley. And there were presentations from leaders in the business world, like the author of Good to Great. There was even play time. And there was presentations by different missions and social justice leaders. It was a powerful time. I haven't written my notes from this conference yet into my computer; I didn't take my laptop and I am glad I didn't. And I am still processing the experience. Would I go again? Yes. Would I recommend it to others? Yes.

The only criticism I found is that they are trying to diverse and be multicultural, but they did not achieve it. The Festival of Homiletics does a better job of that. They had an African American Female speak, and that's that. No other women leaders. No other African Americans, no others from other races. And it seemed to be dominated by White Males from the Baptist or non denominational groups. That's okay, but does that mean they are the only ones who know how to lead?

Next year they are going to do things differently. Not only will Catalyst be in Atlanta but it will also be in California. They also will be offering some one day events around the country. You can go to Catalyst Space to find out more about these events.

On our way home the four of us in our car did some processing of the event. We also asked the Young adult in our car to tell us what he got from it and what we could bring from it to Trinity. It was very insightful and I'll write more about this later. We plan to get together the 7 of us and then bring in more persons to join us in the discussion. Please pray for us as we do this. I'll also write more about what I learned from Catalyst later.

Bob was proud of me, I didn't buy any more books. However, I bought the Catalyst package and access to their online community. Am I going next year? Yes, if I can.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Mayoral Election today

Today is local elections.
I find it interesting that the two candidates running for Mayor are both Methodist.
The present Mayor goes to First Methodist and the challenger goes to Trinity Methodist.
This is actually a run off.
Mayor Spencer has been mayor a long time here in Huntsville and has done some really good things, and brought in some major businesses. But in the last years there have been some lapses and problems in the local government. The city lost the VW bid to Chattanooga. They thought it was a done deal, but Chattanooga had the better deal for VW. I don't think you can blame it all on the Mayor but you can give some to her administration.The city prison that was being built is a major disastor and costing more than it should.

I like Tommy Battle, the challenger. He is an active member at Trinity.
He has some good ideas, and has some plans to continue the growth of Huntsville.
It is hard to beat an incumbent and one who is well liked and for the most part has done a good job. But even so, I am going to vote for Tommy.

It will be interesting to see the results at the end of the day.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Fall Break

The weather is lovely, just lovely.
It is just cool enough, not too cool.
I love this time of year.

The school has a fall break this week.
I think it must be for the teachers as much as the kids.
It sure isn't for the parents.

We didn't get a week away, because of work, money, and cost.
I am on the bottom of the totem pole as the new clergy person,
so I get to put my dibs in for vacation last.
Two people had already gotten this week.

So pray for us while we have the kids at home the main part of the week.
This morning they woke up so excited they could not contain themselves.
They are already wild, and Zach is being smart-alecky already.
Fortunately the church is running their Camp Trinity this week for school age kids.

I will say that Halloween coming has added to their excitement also.
We got their costumes this weekend and they are cute.
Kara is a pirate girl, Katy has a medieval costume, and Zach is Darth Vadar.
They were running around this weekend with their costumes on
pretending they were actually those people.

Kara has pirate sword and Zach has a light saber,
so Katy had to get her some thing to hold.
The store didn't have any thing that really fit her costume,
so she got a pitchfork.
They have been chasing each other with these things.
Had to tell them if you break it, it isn't going to be replaced.

Fun, Fun, Fun.
Memories, Memories, Memories

Saturday, October 04, 2008

isee and iphone

Well, I gave in and got an iphone yesterday. Our contract was up on our old cell phone and I was looking for a phone that I could do some things I could not do with my other cell phone. It is suppose to be easy to use. However, it has such a learning curve for people like me that it may take me awhile to learn how to do those things. But other than that, I really like the iphone. It is so cool. Now I won't be the only one in meetings not surfing the web or not texting. But man is that annoying. The next thing we are going to have to do is connect our worship services with text messaging or web stuff so people who are tempted to pull out their phones in worship will have something to log into that connects with the worship. MMM not a bad idea.


Friday, October 03, 2008

The St. Francis' Friday Five

Sally would like to dedicate this Friday Five for RevGalBlogPals to St Francis of Assisi. (She has written a nice history of St. Francis as well in the blog post.)

1. Saint Francis experienced a life changing call, has anything in your journey so far challenged you to alter your lifestyle? Yes, I have run into several events that has altered my life and lifestyle. The biggest turn in my life as of recent was the adoption of my children. I wouldn't trade the change for anything, I think it is a change for the better.

2. Francis experienced mocking and persecution, quite often in the comfortable west this is far from our experience. If you have experienced something like this how do you deal with it, if not how does it challenge you to pray for those whose experience is daily persecution? Sally, what a great question. I am so free from persecution especially living in the Bible Belt of the south. But how do I remember to pray for those who experience that daily Persecution? I think having children from China, going to China, and meeting people from China reminds me. I try to keep up with the news about persecutions in the countries, so I can pray for them. I am aware that Christianity was founded on the very blood, persecution and death of the early Christians. And my Savior was beaten, and killed.

3 .St Francis had female counterpart in St Clare, she was influenced by St Francis sermon and went on to found the Poor Clare's, like the Franciscans they depended on alms this was unheard of for women in that time, but she persisted and gained permission to found the order. How important are role models like St Clare to you? Do you have a particular female role model whose courage and dedication inspires you? If so share their story.... You know, I love the stories of people like Clare, and other women of the faith. We are just now beginning to appreciate their stories and writings. It is interesting that you would ask this question. I want to lift up my mom. I spoke about her yesterday in a book study group I have joined, and realized anew what a woman of faith, courage, and grace she was and still is. I truly admire her coming to know Jesus in her adult life, wanting to know more, growing in her faith, willingness to love and serve others. When all the civil rights movements were going on and churches had deacons standing at the doors ready to throw any black out attempted to come in like my church, my mom took a different tact. She went to their churches, had a friend that was black, helped them with their VBS, and other events. I really don't know what that cost her in the church, but in my eyes that raised her several notches high.

4. Francis loved nature and animals, how important is an expressed love of the created world to the Christian message today? I think we have neglected this message for a long time. I think it is more important now than ever, after all it is God's creation. In Genesis we are told to be stewards of the earth, and frankly we haven't been very good stewards.

5. On a lighter note; have you ever led a service of blessing for animals, or a pet service, was it a success, did you enjoy it, and would you do it again? No, I have offered at the churches I have served, but not been allowed to do so. Maybe one day. I have done funeral services for them, but that's not very light. But I do think the episode of the Vicar of Dibley on the service of the blessing for animals is one of her finest.

Bonus: My first intro to St. Francis was in the movie, Brother Sun, Sister Moon.

You can find a lot of clips and songs from the movie at YouTube; Here is one: Donovan singing Brother Sun, Sister Moon

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Missions, Missions and more missions

I am so glad to be part of a church that is involved in local missions as well as Global. On Sunday Sept 14 we had Mission & Service Day. This is the third one they have done. After the worship service, we have lunch and then span out across Huntsville at various sites to do missions. The types of projects: Painting wheelchair ramps for CASA, working at Terry Heights Elementary School, painting at Meadow Hills Baptist Church (soon to be the new home of Second Mile Pre-School), working at the Interfaith Mission Service offices, and repairing two homes with Huntsville Community Development. We also packed 77 Flood buckets to go to those who have been affected by storms. They also included something that the families with young children could do. This time the kids cleaned around the church. My kids went around cleaning windows. They had the best time and told me they could do this at home if I would buy them the squeegee and the spray bottles. Some of the older elementary kids went out to the work sites as well. It was very successful with a good number of the visitors joining in on the work.

On the Saturday before some of the church members were involved with the weekend of Service & Unity coordinated city-wide by the Interfaith Mission Service. This involved some of the similar and also different work sites. We didn't go instead we were at the United Methodist school of Missions. I attended the class on The Israel/Palestine Conflict taught by my friend Paulette West. It was an eye opener. The kids were with me at the school and someone took a picture of them, that I thought I would post here. The other picture is Bob working on Mission Sunday.We are also involved in a Capitol Campaign. We have committed 10% of the funds raised to seed not just a mission project but a justice project, something that will be long lasting, transformation, and address not just short term matters. Well, we are in the middle of discussing what that will be. In the last campaign they gave 10% to the Methodist Church in Kybarti. 10% of the regular offerings go to missions and that is beyond what is given to the United Methodist apportionments.

If you want to read the whole article on the Mission Sunday you can read it at the Huntsville Times. And this is me in class making some kind of point about something, who knows.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Friday Five on Sunday

Raise your hand if you know that today is Johnny Appleseed Day! Uh no, but I bet my kids did.
September 26, 1774 was his birthday. "Johnny Appleseed" (John Chapman) is one of America's great legends. He was a nurseryman who started out planting trees in western New York and Pennsylvania, but he was among those who were captivated by the movement west across the continent.
As Johnny traveled west (at that time, the "West" was places like Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois) he planted apple trees and sold trees to settlers. With every apple tree that was planted, the legend grew. A devout Christian, he was known to preach during his travels. According to legend, Johny Appleseed led a simple life and wanted little. He rarely accepted money and often donated any money he received to churches or charities. He planted hundreds of orchards, considering it his service to humankind. There is some link between Johny Appleseed and very early Arbor Day celebrations.
So, in honor of this interesting fellow, let's get on with the questions!
1. What is your favorite apple dish? (BIG BONUS points if you share the recipe.) Ooh, I know this one.

4 cups sliced peeled tart apples
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/3 cup cold butter or margarine
Vanilla ice cream (not optional)

Place apples in a greased 8-in. square baking dish. In a bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon and allspice; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over apples. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm with ice cream if desired.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time 15 min.
Cook Time 30 min.

m-m-m good


2. Have you ever planted a tree? If so was there a special reason or occasion you can tell us about? Wherever Bob and I have lived we have planted a tree. We haven't planted one yet, but probably will at this new location. I just think it is a good thing to do, it beautifies, helps with pollution, and God's creation.
3. Does the idea of roaming around the countryside (preaching or otherwise) appeal to you? Why or why not? No, not really, okay then, why am I a Methodist who use to be circuit riders roaming around the countryside preaching and planting new churches? Good question. I have an old homebody spirit inside of me is the best reason I can give.
4. Who is a favorite "historical legend" of yours? Why do people like to ask if you have favorites, then you have to make a choice and commit to that choice and there are so many choices, oh my, how does one make one? I would have to go with Annie Oakley; cause she was a woman, a heroine, a straight shooter and a cowgirl, and I wanted to be one!
5. Johnny Appleseed was said to sing to keep up his spirits as he traveled the roads of the west. Do you have a song that comes when you are trying to be cheerful, or is there something else that you often do? "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine....".

And the bonus question is....can you sing the Johnny Appleseed blessing? You bet I can, its my kids favorite presently;
The Lord is good to me
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me
The things I need
The sun, the rain and the apple seed.
The lord is good to me

Sunday Prayer (late Edition)

Gracious God,
Thank you for this day.
Thank you for your presence in our lives.
Thank you for this day of worship and focus on you.
Thank you for your goodness to us.
Lord, forgive us when we take you for granted.
Forgive us when we take others for granted.
Forgive us when we take ourselves for granted.
Thank you for your forgiveness, may we live our lives as your forgiven people.
Lord we are grateful that our leaders care about the economic situation in our country, but Lord, can they go a little further than just Wall Street to Main Street to down the street to across the street and to those who make the street their home? Lord, may we do our part to make it so.

Cross posted at revgalblogpals and my sermon blog

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sunday Prayer

Gracious God, today as we labor in your vineyard, your Kingdom, guide our work.
As we stand in the pulpit with all our labor for a sermon, may all that is said bring forth fruit.
May your vineyard flourish, may your Kingdom flourish.
May your spirit flow forth like water watering the land, may our souls be filled with your goodness, your mercy, your kindness.
Oh Lord we pray for our brothers and sisters
who were devastated by the power of hurricane Ike.
Oh Lord we pray for those who have lost their homes,
lost their jobs, lost their savings in this economic crisis.
Lord, presently, life just doesn't seem fair.
Life seems precarious, and unsure.
Lord we turn to you to right the wrong, bring peace to war torn lives,
comfort to those who are in pain and suffering, and love to those who feel unloved
Oh Lord the list goes on of the needs in this world.
How do we find the words, to say, except to turn to you our rock and our salvation.
And so Lord to you we turn and place our trust. Amen

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Prayer

Forgiving and ever merciful God, forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Help us to forgive when it is the hard thing to do. Help us to forgive one another for the slights, and big hurts as well just as you have forgiven us. Help us to remember that when we forgive we let go of wounds, pain, hurt and anger that would bind us and keep us from being free. Help us to remember that forgiveness does not mean we have to stay in abusive relationships or situations. Lord thank you again for the multitude of forgiveness that you have for all.

Lord as we remember this week the events of 9/11, help us to forgive those who caused these acts. Help us to continue to support and encourage those who were traumatized that day and those who still deeply miss their loved ones.

And Lord once again we lift up those in Texas and surrounding areas that have been impacted by hurricane Ike. We pray for the other countries that have also been impacted by the recent hurricanes. Help us to reach to out to our brothers and sisters in these areas with loving kindness and good will. Amen.

cross posted at revgalblogpals and my personal blog

Sunday Prayer

Forgiving and ever merciful God, forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Help us to forgive when it is the hard thing to do. Help us to forgive one another for the slights, and big hurts as well just as you have forgiven us. Help us to remember that when we forgive we let go of wounds, pain, hurt and anger that would bind us and keep us from being free. Help us to remember that forgiveness does not mean we have to stay in abusive relationships or situations. Lord thank you again for the multitude of forgiveness that you have for all.

Lord as we remember this week the events of 9/11, help us to forgive those who caused these acts. Help us to continue to support and encourage those who were traumatized that day and those who still deeply miss their loved ones.

And Lord once again we lift up those in Texas and surrounding areas that have been impacted by hurricane Ike. We pray for the other countries that have also been impacted by the recent hurricanes. Help us to reach to out to our brothers and sisters in these areas with loving kindness and good will. Amen.

cross posted at revgalblogpals and my sermon blog

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sunday's prayer

Merciful God,
we ask that your loving kindness be showered on the communities of faith we serve. We ask that where there is conflict that there is ability to speak the truth in love. We ask where there are divisions that restoration would be brought about by the power of your love. Help us to be ministers of reconciliation in a world full of hate, pain and alienation. And keep on forgiving us, so that we might learn to forgive ourselves and in turn forgive others.

We pray also for all those who have experienced the devastating power of hurricanes this season, and the ones still come. Amen.

posted at revgalblogpals and my sermon blog.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Today, I am thinking of those who were in the path of Hurricane Gustav.

I lived through hurricanes growing up in Florida. I know their impact.

And so today I say a prayer for all who evacuated and left behind their homes and don't know what they will come back to. Those who once again lived through another threat after living through the devastation from previous hurricanes not so long ago. I say a prayer for those who lost loved ones. I say a prayer for those in other countries who don't have the kind of resources we do to rebuild, help, and support. I say a prayer for my friends in Mississippi along the Gulf Coast. I say a prayer for those I do not know. I say a prayer for those now in the path of Hannah, Ike and any others in this Hurricane Season. Lord in your mercy hear our prayers.
And may our prayers become one of action and love as well, amen.

Monday, September 01, 2008

"This Old House"

It feels funny calling a 40 year old house, old, but it is. It just isn't as old as some. But it is is a house that has not had a lot updated to it over the years. The last owners, moved out and let their adult daughter and her husband move in to rent it and keep it up. That didn't work for a variety of reasons. The carpet was the original carpet and so has to be replaced. The first place Bob did that was in the room we made into an office. The daughter had cats, and they put the kitty litter box in this room on the carpet. Okay you get the idea. He ripped it out immediately on moving in. Laid down laminated flooring. Really looks better. So now we are slowly taking out the carpet and putting down new flooring.
The next room to get worked on was the family room. It had dark wood paneling, and yes the old carpet with multiple stains. Bob and I chose some colors to lighten it up. I didn't want to go with just cream or white or tan, so used a color called Shrimp toast from Lowes. It is very nice and has added color and lightness to the room.
Did I mention the old wallpaper from forty years ago? We are taking the wall paper down also and repainting the walls. The next room we are going after is the kitchen. The cabinets, flooring is dark. The walls had this colorful wall paper, and some tiles over by the sink. Bob and I are trying to decide on a color to use. They had bright orange and green and yellow, a bit overbearing. Bob wants to go with yellow, I am not sure what color I want.
Bob is very happy doing this, it has given him great sense of accomplishment.
Why didn't we just buy a newly built house? Cost, and size. I liked them, but they cost too much and didn't have the room we felt we needed for the three kids. This house had the rooms and the right price. Plus Bob can be Bob the Builder!

All this remodeling reminds me of my own life. If I let myself go physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally then I will be in the shape of this house, in much need of repair and updating. And I have to be honest, I haven't kept myself up as well physically as I need to. I am back walking regualarly and eating healthier, and I can tell the difference. I am hoping this will lead me to even more care for my body and health. And what about mentally, have I kept myself up mentally with reading, study, discussions, listening and learning? If not I need to assess this and shore up where I am weak. I am trying to learn how to minister to and with young adults. And what about emotionally, have I paid attention to my emotional health? I have had to work a long time and a hard time on this area, and continue to work on my emotional health. Although I tend to neglect myself when stressed, and right now I am going through a stressful transition. And what about spiritually, have I paid attention to and maintained my spiritual life? They say that Pastors are the worse at doing this. To be honest there have been times in my life when I have neglected this area of my life, and there have been other times I have spent lots of time. I know with this transition, that I cannot neglect my spiritual life, I need to be intentional about my quiet time with the Lord, prayer and meditation. This is a busy church and position and I could easily get caught up in it.
All these areas are interconnected to make for a healthy self a whole self. One affects the other. I don't want to end up like this old house, in much need of repair. So I need to attend to all the areas of my life. The good thing about this old house is that it has a good foundation, good structure, and a good roof. My life has these too, and it makes for easier repairs and daily attention to those areas of my life. How about you?

Saturday, August 30, 2008


It is hard to believe that we have been here for three months. As one person said it seems like you have been here a lot longer. It has been a busy three months. Alot of mental transitions to make and learn. They do worship differently here, and I have goofed several times, even though I try to be prepared. And of course there is all those little things no one has told you about that are done a certain way and you find out as you go along. But even with it being busy it has been a good time, and I feel I am transtioning into Trinity well.

The kids are now back at school, and I tell you that has been a hard transition for them, especially Zachary. I think he really worried about friends and being liked. He had so many of them in Florence and he grieved them alot. They also have a different way of teaching grammar and math here. I even had had a hard time with helping the kids with it. It reminds me of when they went to the new math and the parents complained so much. But we have really had to deal with the kids emotions and behavior with the change.

And we have been in the transition to the new home from the old home. The kids have begun to like this house. I have trouble with some things are upstairs and other things are downstairs. I used to do laundry at night, and clean the kitchen at night. The laundry is down stairs where the kid's rooms are and so no doing laundry at night, well I do fold them at night upstairs. The kitchen and dining room is right over two of the kid's rooms and they hear every little footstep and noise, so I try to do that before they go to bed. Bob is busy repairing, painting, getting old wallpaper down, tearing up carpet and putting down new flooring. I don't know if from one day to the next if I can go into a room or not. We have got to redo the kitchen and I think that is going to mean eating out quite a bit since it needs a new stove as well. Everything is dark and darker, so we are lightening up the house, and it looks a lot better. He has accomplished a lot in a short time, but that means the regular day to day cleaning doesn't always get done. Oh well.

I'll try to be better about blogging and making time for it some how some way. This morning I could do it cause the kids were out with Bob washing cars. Yea

I thought I would include a picture of the kids helping take off the wallpaper and one of them not working.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A prayer for Sunday

Gracious and loving God,

We come to you having spent ourselves in preparation for leading in worship, preaching and other duties of being a Pastor. We come some of us with heavy hearts, physical ailments, tired minds, weary souls and overworked bodies. We ask for your grace to face these hours, to deliver your message to your people, to stand strong when called to do so, to bring the healing touch to those who need it, to be the calm presence in the midst of the storms of life. We ask for your Holy Spirit to empower us with your love, your grace, and your mercy. We take this time Lord for the nurturing of our souls that we may serve you this day and all the days of our lives. Amen.

cross posted at revgalblogpals and my preaching blog

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday's Prayer

Sometimes it seems like the boat we are in is too small and is being tossed to and fro in the storms of life. Lord calm our storms, calm us. Sometimes our fear is so great that even though we might want to walk on water we sink, reach out your hand to us Lord. Reach out your hand to those who are trying to walk faithfully in the midst of the storms of their lives. Lord help us when we have little faith, Help those around us who have little or no faith. Amen

Sunday Prayer

Sometimes it seems like the boat we are in is too small and is being tossed to and fro in the storms of life. Lord calm our storms, calm us. Sometimes our fear is so great that even though we might want to walk on water we sink, reach out your hand to us Lord. Reach out your hand to those who are trying to walk faithfully in the midst of the storms of their lives. Lord help us when we have little faith, Help those around us who have little or no faith. Amen

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday Prayer

Loving God,
Be with us as we finish our preparations mentally, emotionally and spiritually; to begin our days, go through our days, and complete our days. Be in us as we walk into our places of worship and meet with so many different people to be able to be their spiritual leaders. Be in our heads to help us think clearly. Be in hearts to be able to know ourselves and to keep us calm in any anxious moments. Be in our souls to keep us centered and to guide our way with your Holy Spirit. May the words of our mouth, the meditation of our hearts, and the spirit of our souls be acceptable in your sight, O Lord. Amen

cross posted at revgalblogpals and my sermon blog

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Five Road Trip: What you Absolutely, Positively can't Leave Home Without

Singing Owl says; "We will be at a chaplain's convention when you all are answering the Friday Five Questions. I'll look forward to reading your answers next week when I get home. " At the moment we are trying to get the car loaded so we can hit the road, so this will be a simple F.F. This running around madly in order to leave has me wondering: what are the five things you simply must have when you are away from home? And why? Any history or goofy things, or stories?

#1 Hubby and kids

#2 DVDs

#3 Drinks and food

#4 clothes

#5 GPS

And there is usually a WalMart somewhere or Dollar General. I'll just say, I usually forget something.

Monday, July 21, 2008

And we'll have fun, fun, fun....

Whooh between work and all the socializing I am tired.
We went over the mountain last night to a friend's church for a pool party and had a blast. She served in Florence when I was there, and her daughter was in the same school and grade with my girls. They have been so excited to be back together. Her little boy is a little young for Zach but they are making friends.
We have been to a couple of functions involving Families with Children from China. We made new friends and got reaquainted with old friends. The couple who was in our first adoption group is back in town for the Summer. They were at one of the recent functions and it was neat to be wtih them again. Katy and Sarah, their daughter don't really remember each other, but it didn't take long for them to be playing together. We have been to Chuckee Cheese and up on the Mountain at Monte Santo for a picnic. They'll be having a pool party in August.
We went down to Bham to the Zoo for Family day sponsored by the Children's Hospital and Zach's and Kara's Doctor. Now that was fun! Saw some other families we know as well.
The choir had a party at the lake and we went to that. It was fun to be with the choir members. It gave us a chance to meet some of them. The lake house was beautiful.
This weekend we will go back to the lake for one of the Sunday School parties. A chance to meet that group of people. More kids will be there also.
I have breakfast in the morning with a friend. And Thursday I go to Bham for a training session.
The district will have a clergy picnic in August.
Its VBS time here and it is noisey, fun and exciting this week. We will have a back to school party also for the kids on Aug 3rd. There are several families in the church who have children that will be at the same school with ours. We have also met more of our neighbors recently who have children our kid's age.

And we'll have fun, fun, fun til her daddy takes the t-bird away.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Prayer

Sower of the seed,
You know each one of us inside out. You know our coming and going. You know our thoughts and our feelings. And you love us deeply. Your love cries out to all who will hear it. Lord may we hear your love today. May we sow the seeds of love in a hungry world starved for true love—your love.

cross posted at revgalblogpals

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Friday five on Saturday:What's in a name

REVHROD bring us this great Friday Five from RevGalBlogPals. I just didn't have time to do it on Friday, so I thought I would do it today. Its a good one, and I have missed doing them.

If you are a regular reader of Songbird's blog, you know that "The Princess" has requested a new name. Her older brother changed his "secret identity" a while back and now this lovely young lady is searching for a new name on her mother's blog. This got me to thinking. How do we come up with all of these names? There must be at least a few good stories out there.

In honor of the Princess I have posted a picture of one of my favorite members of fictional royalty, Robert Munch's "Paperback Princess." She is a brave young woman who doesn't need anyone else to fight her battles. And she knows that what is most important isn't tiaras and finery but what's on the inside. If you haven't read this little fairy tale, I highly recommend it. But I digress.

So how did you come up with your blogging name? And/or the name of your blog? The first name of this blog came from the Vicar of Dibley and my love for that show. Iwas serving in a little town of Wadley and so named it Vicar of Wadley. (I must be an Anglican wannabe.) When I moved to Florence to serve St. John, I just couldn't the theme of Vicar of Dibley to fit so in my own uncreative way it was St. John's Rev Abi. For this move I asked for some ideas and thoughts from my blogging friends. They were ever so helpful and so I came up with the present name. Think about it, Abi Road, the Beatle Album. The long and winding road, one of the verses in a Beatle song. It kept going through my mind like an ear worm and stuck. My blogging name is so uncreative. It just is.
Are there any code names or secret identities in your blog? Any stories there? My blog has no secrets, no codes, no hidden identities, so no stories there. I wish I was more creative in my writing like so many of you all.
What are some blog titles that you just love? For their cleverness, drama, or sheer, crazy fun? Oh my there are so many do I really have to choose. So many are so creative, so beautiful, so funny, so inviting.
What three blogs are you devoted to? Other than the RevGalBlogPals blog of course! Frankly as of late, I haven't been able to devote myself to any even my own. So sorry can't answer this one and so sorry to those I used to read faithfully.
Who introduced you to the world of blogging and why? Not a person, but a search engine, google brought me to reverend mommy when I was looking up something. And from there it grew. I have tried to introduce others to it as well.

Bonus question: Have you ever met any of your blogging friends? Where are some of the places you've met these fun folks? Oh indeed I have met a many of them at the Festival of Homiletics, Atlanta, Myrtle Beach, conferences. I wish I could meet you all. I hated missing Festival of Homiletics this year and The Big Event. Perhaps this next year it will be possible to be with you all again. Good bonus question.
Bonus question 2: I live with two princesses, and I will have to get this book for them. There is nothing like living with princesses unless you live with a Prince who thinks he is the King and that's another story.

prayer for Saturday

Oh, let me never speak
What bounds of truth exceedeth;
Grant that no idle word
From out my mouth proceedeth;
And then, when in my place
I must and ought to speak,
My words grant power and grace
Lest I offend the weak.

(Johann Heermann - 1630)

Bishoop Willimon is coming back for four more years

Bishop Willimon to return to North Alabama for another four years
On the final evening of the 2008 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, it was confirmed that Bishop William H. Willimon will continue as the Episcopal leader of the North Alabama Conference for another four years.
This announcement was made when the SEJ Committee on the Episcopacy reported the assignments of the Bishops within the Southeastern Jurisdiction.

The new SEJ Bishop assignments are:
Alabama-West Florida Episcopal Area – Bishop Paul L Leeland
Birmingham Episcopal Area (North Alabama Conference) - Bishop William H Willimon
Charlotte Episcopal Area (Western North Carolina Conference) - Bishop Larry M Goodpaster
Columbia Episcopal Area (South Carolina Conference) - Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor
Florida Episcopal Area - Bishop Timothy W Whitaker
Holston Episcopal Area - Bishop James E Swanson Sr
Louisville Episcopal Area (Kentucky And Red Bird Missionary Conferences) - Bishop G Lindsey Davis
Mississippi Episcopal Area - Bishop Hope Morgan Ward
Nashville Episcopal Area (Memphis And Tennessee Annual Conferences) - Bishop Richard J Wills Jr
North Georgia Episcopal Area - Bishop B Michael Watson
Raleigh Episcopal Area (North Carolina Conference) - Bishop Alfred W Gwinn Jr
Richmond Episcopal Area (Virginia Annual Conference) - Bishop Charlene P Kammerer
South Georgia Episcopal Area - Bishop James R King Jr
Prior to the Jurisdictional Conference the North Alabama Conference Committee on Episcopacy released a statement requesting the reassignment of Bishop Willimon to the Birmingham Episcopal Area. The Committee said, “The Conference Committee on Episcopacy celebrates the strong vision for growth and change to grow more disciples of Jesus Christ that Bishop Willimon has brought to the laity and clergy of the North Alabama Conference over the past four years.
“As we go forward into the new quadrennium, the members of the Episcopacy Committee are committed to a close partnership with Bishop Willimon to define steps and strengthen relationships to enable us to reach our vision.”

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Prayer

Creator God, you are still creating today in our midst. You are still sowing your seed of the Kingdom of God in our midst. You are still lighting our path with your word. Lord today as we worship you; come refresh us once more with your Spirit. Come seed our hearts with your good news. Come pour your mercy over us. Lord may we go through out this day praising and worshiping you. Thanks be to you Creator God. Amen

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saturday's Prayer

God of Pilgrimage

God of Pilgrimage

be with me on my journey

through this life;

guard and defend me,

shelter and feed me,

challenge and inspire me,

teach me and lead me,

and when my days are ended

welcome me home at last

to rest in your love forever.
Source Unknown Found in Ely Cathedral England

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Sunday prayer

Lord, on this holiday weekend, when people are out of town, we pray travel mercies for them. We pray for rest and renewal for all. We pray for ourselves as we come to worship you.

We remember today Lord, the sacrifices that have gone into the making of this nation.
We remember that we have freedom and at the same time pray for those who do not.
We remember that we have the right to a fair trial, and pray for those where there is no justice. We remember we can pursue happiness, while we pray for those who at best can only survive.

Lord today we bring the sacrifice of our love, our selves, and our souls,
may it be a sweet smelling fragrance to you.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Working with persons in their twenties

Part of my job presently is planning our ministry for young adults. I inherited this from my predecessor. I won't be the one doing it, just in on the planning stages. Or at least that is how I understand it.
My question; Anyone out there already in minstry to this age group? Anyone having some success? Any ideas? Any thoughts? We are in the research phase at this point.
I feel like a fish out of water.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The family picture

A friend was in town, and came by for a brief visit. He took a couple of pics of the family.

Here is one of them. Enjoy.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A prayer for Saturday

Martin Luther's Sacristy prayer

Lord God,
You have appointed me as a pastor in Your Church,
but you see how unsuited I am to meet so great and difficult a task.
If I had lacked Your help, I would have ruined everything long ago.
Therefore, I call upon You:
I wish to devote my mouth and my heart to you;
I shall teach the people.
I myself will learn and ponder diligently upon You Word.
Use me as Your instrument -- but
do not forsake me,
for if ever I should be on my own,
I would easily wreck it all.

Sacristy picture