Friday, December 30, 2005

Two Perspectives on the Domestic Arts

Actual conversation from my home:

Mr. C: (looking around) I thought you were going to clean up for Songbird's visit?

St. Casserole: (dumbfounded) I did!

(Note to self: is my understanding of cleaning up different from other sentient life forms? What did Mr. C expect by "cleaning up"? Will Songbird think our home is a big mess?)

In less than two hours, God willing, I'll be at the airport to fetch Songbird. Is this great or what?

Happy, really happy,

St. Casserole

RevGalBlogPal Friday Meme

RevGal Friday Five: Resolutions
1) Do you make New Year's Resolutions?
Rather than resolutions, I make mental lists of what I would like to accomplish in the new year. My lists are more about picking up than putting down.

2) If so, are they generally successful?
I think so. The year I prayed about increasing my contact with other pastors has enriched my ministry tremendously.

3) Do you write them down, or make a mental list?
Mental list.

4) Even if you don't make resolutions, is there something you want to focus on in the New Year?
I want some real life friends who are in their late twenties to late thirties. Age may be a state of mind but I think I am missing something not having the regular company of women in this age group. I want to know who they are and what they care about.

5) And do you have plans for New Year's Eve?
Mr. C and I will bring in the New Year with Songbird. Is that great or what? He's making plans which may include the movies. Hey! It's a Saturday night! Some of us have to get up to preach the next morning! We aren't talking wild parties here! Or, are we?

Let us know in the comments if you play! OK

We are Home

We are home after going to be fixed. We feel sleepy. We don't want to go there again although our Dr. was very nice and our vet tech, Jennifer, is great. She says, "Don't worry, you'll be ok" and "you are a beautiful kitten". You can tell she knows what's what.

Can't blog anymore. We feel like we've run through the dog track locker room. We would like to end with a Chris Rock quote from the "Dr. Doolittle" movies, "I've been violated!"

Fish here. Guess what? You know how we kittens break stuff all over the St. Casserole's home? Well, this morning, we are going to get fixed! That's what they told us. We get to ride in the car in Cat Carrier and get fixed!
We can't eat breakfast until later (bummer!) and we will have a new kind of cat litter for several days!
Whistle says that getting fixed sounds weird to him since we are perfect. What does he know? He jumps on kitchen counters.
Oh! Forgot to tell you! We are four months and two days old today! I bet we get prizes!
I'll tell you all about it when I get to blog again.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

Today, I'm Ms. Cheerful. Let's consider the gains of 2005:

1. Another year of marriage to Mr. C aka LH. He is kindness in chaos, understanding in distress and fun every day.

2. Many books read and most enjoyed. New characters, places and worlds to visit all within the pages of paper. Audio books kept me company to and from Little Church.

3. Kittens and more kittens. Assumpta and Dibley in July, Whistle and Fish when I returned from evacuating. The Cat Psychiatrists recent diagnosis of Assumpta as "dim" gives her a place within the Coterie of My Cats because I've loved dims over the years. I'll check out their findings when I go to NC again. Perhaps Assumpta is a Mississippi evacuee in a University context and doesn't understand the paradigm.

Dibley took a bath in a garden tub recently and must have learned to swim as he deep water. Further, he explored the Great Dark while confined to a deep kitchen drawer for 12 hours sitting in a pan. I guess he jumped into the drawer, kept quiet while the drawer closed then spent the night there. Curiosity is Dibley D'Wayne "Curiousity" other middle name.

Whistle and Fish are interchangeable in appearance but show distinct personalities. I tried to mark one of 'ems head with a magic marker dot but this didn't work.

4. An influx of workers to help churches after the storm enlivened our home this year. Missionaries from Brazil along with intrepid South Carolinians came for days and over nights. Preachers from North Carolina as well as preachers from North Mississippi slept on our sofas, in the LD's room and we liked them all. I did get a tad testy hearing the South Carolinians say, "Thank God for Mississippi" which means we are the only state between them and national dissing.

5. I gained a new perspective on church re-development from the hurricane losses to buildings and congregations. The fields are white for harvest here and if you have any sense, you'll try to come pastor one of these damaged churches. Or, come be a new church development pastor because our Presbytery plans to start two churches.

6. My heart expanded seeing destruction and loss. This is a good thing. Eventually. I trust God to heal the broken portions around me and, God willing, allow me to participate in God's work here.

7. I served another year as pastor of Little Church. I can't believe how fortunate I am to know them and to have one place to preach after years of roving around pulpits all over the Presbytery.

8. I watched old poots retire from Presbytery committees, churches and etc. Perhaps new energies will emerge to take our Presbytery in better directions. I'm praying for this.

9. I learned to sit through at least 5 movies this year. My family is pleased.

10. Our children flourished, proved to be adaptable, matured in good ways and gave us a great number of hilarious moments.

You all kept me company throughout 2005. Thanks!

St. Casserole

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Call me "Mrs. Maudlin" if you will, but I'm counting losses this morning. As the year ends, and the day after I returned our LD to NC, I'm aware of loss.
Here's the list of "Losses of 2005":

1. Destruction of LH's office by Hurricane Katrina. LH restored a historic building last year and filled it with employees who, like him, were happy to get away from downtown to better parking, natural light and a beautiful place to work. LH had less than a year in the new building before the storm took it all away. All except the steps which remain as "steps to nowhere" in our Coastal scene.

2. Having LD live in NC with LLS and LSiL for the school year. LD begged to be sent to boarding school for the 8th grade until the hurricane tore up her school, displaced her friends and put her in the competent hands of her aunts. She's in a fabulous school system this year. She has field trips, Spanish in the 8th grade, lots of resources available and bright, motivated teachers. But, we miss her here.

3. I lost the last shred of my trust in the federal government to protect the citizenry. If you think the U.S. Government will keep you safe in a disaster, forget it. Or, if you think the gov. will come to your aid quickly or appropriately, forget this, too. On a related note, anyone else noticing the upswing of medical drug recalls because the FDA makes decisions based on who pays what rather than what drugs work?

4. The "Christmas Day" mega-church worship discussion brought by some big churches scrapping Christmas Day worship to give their staff a break, adds another loss to this list. Before now, despite Jehovah's Witnesses and some others, we Christians shared the Lord's Day (Sunday) as a common time of regular worship. Now we don't. Lord's Day worship moves from being a discipline of the community to a performance time and if one serves 50,000 at Christmas Eve services, there is no obligation to gather for worship the next day. Sunday passed from a shared commitment to "just another day". Harumphh!

5. The loss of Rusty, the Greatest Ginger Cat Who Ever Lived, in July 2005. Thank you, God, for letting me know that wonderful creature You made and allowed me to love for years.

I can sing more tunes than just mauldlin songs, so stay tuned for the Gains of 2005.

St. Casserole

Monday, December 26, 2005

I'm reading a page turner! Phil Rickman's Midwinter of the Spirit about Rev. Merrily Watkins, the Anglican priest. You know how I like clergy women mysteries. I discovered this series on Amazon and I ordered three more in the series this afternoon.

Midwinter is hardly holiday fare but I can't put it down! Ms. Watkins serves as a parish priest as well as a "deliverance counselor" (goofy contempary name for an exorcist) a job she didn't want. Rickman knows about spiritual issues, writes great detail about the geography of the area and makes Watkins a likeable, reasonable character. She could be a RevGalBlogPal.

All this reminds me of another purchase I made with Christmas money. I felt flush with buckage so I decided to order new clerical blouses from Almy. First mistake. My old ones are holding up all right but the collars drive me nuts. I could have ordered new clericools. I DID order new ones but thinking of comfort I ordered 17" collars. Oh yeah, like a short gal needs a linebacker neck size. It made sense at the time but when they arrived I realized the collars are for a linebacker and not me. I ordered larger blouses thinking I could be a bit more comfortable with some extra room without remembering that my current blouses fit like tents. I'm returning giant shirts and collars to Almy A.S.A.P. (note to self: check size guides before ordering stuff.)

I have a very important visitor arriving this week. I thought I'd wear my clericals to meet her at the airport so she'd know me because we've never met.

I guess I'll put on that goofy polyester cheater collar.... I don't care for the polyester even if it is easy to launder, comfortable and fits under sweaters.

Back to reading. What clergy woman mysteries am I missing? I know the Michelle Black and Julia Spencer Fleming ones.

St. Casserole

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Entertainment for Preachers....

Dear RevGalBlogPals and others,

Here is the start of my list of the Worst Sermon Titles Ever (and then, the worst sermon ideas). Could you make up a few to add to this list? There may be a prize.

The Road to Hell and Who You'll See There
Cute Stories About My Family Which I Will Use to Moralize
One Sports Analogy After Another Related to the Gospel
Jesus: A Stand Up Kind of Guy
Drip Dry: Why We Baptize As We Do
Gethsemane and the Committee Meetings
Confession of My Personal Sins
People Who Should Leave This Church
I Wrote this One On the Way to Church
Sin and Our Congregation: Who Did What
The Funniest Confessions I've Ever Heard

The LH suggested the last two. Can you help me out here? What can you add?

Blogging while Baking,

St. Casserole

Friday Morning the Day Before the Day Before

*We have frost on the ground! Everything looks a bit grey and sparkly!
Here in the Gulf, we expect temps to be a high of 67 in a few hours, too.
Not easy to know what clothing to choose for a day with frost and flip-flops.

*Thanks to all who took the Quiz. Precious Moments wins.

*I'm doing a wedding this morning at Little Church. I refuse most Christmas Day (and 72 hours in either direction) weddings because of past horrors. The worst Christmas Day wedding was almost 20 years ago. The groom gave me a check intended for his ex-wife's support and gave her the envelope with my honorarium. Neither of us was pleased. The next worst wedding included intoxicated family members and a giant interruption of MY time. Let's leave Christmas Day to the Baby. Get married on another date...

*Elderly people usually die after the holidays. Our local paper carries too many obits of older people and has since the hurricane. Many died after being evacuated away to their children's homes or nursing homes in more stable areas. This makes me so sad. Consider making it to your elder years then having your home destroyed. After that, the last months or years of your independence is taken from you. Rats, double rats.

*Shhhhhhh....found a packet of furry toy mice for Whistle and Fish at a Walmart in Alabama. Our local PetSmart doesn't carry the furry ones, only fabric. W and F are fans of the furry toy mice. I hope the boys don't mind the bright colors of the Alabamian Wall Martian mice. Their Christmas stocking will be filled with not-found-in-nature mice.

*At a dinner party last night, the men (not LH who has better taste) began singing "I'll Have A Blue Christmas" Elvis style. Spare me.

*If I don't get to the grocery store today, my family will riot. I need the fixins for the Christmas Breakfast Casserole. For those of you who don't eat grits, shame on you! Sausage (bulk), cheese and grits all together in a beautiful casserole dish is great eat'in.

Pray for all of us,

St. Casserole
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
You are 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing'. You take
Christmas very seriously. For you, it is a
religious festival, celebrating the birth of
the Saviour, and its current secularisation
really irritates you. You enjoy the period of
Advent leading up to Christmas, and attend any
local carol services you can find, as well as
the more contemplative Advent church services
each Sunday. You may be involved in Christmas
food collections or similar charity work. The
midnight service at your church, with candles
and carols, is one you look forward to all
year, and you also look forward to the family
get together on Christmas Day.

What Christmas Carol are you?
brought to you by

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Which gift would you rather not receive on Christmas Day?
perfume scented like "Fresh Step" Cat Litter
new petticoats for your alb
the Precious Moments Bible
the Jazzercise video for How to Gesture While Preaching
Free polls from

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

John Spencer, The West Wing

I'm sorry to hear about actor John Spencer's death. Spencer played Leo McGarry on The West Wing. He played a full character of a man who as the President's best friend ran a staff of bright younger people and maintained relationships (with proper borders) with all of them.

I love to watch The West Wing because it feeds a craving for good leadership in high places.
The President, on the show, Josiah Bartlett is a former history professor who knows and understands history.

This week, I crave good leadership in high places even more.

A President who undersands history, our history, would never agree to wire-taps of citizens.
A President who knows history would realize that stepping over Constitutional boundaries is criminal, negligent and dangerous.

With all the talk of family and values, I thought we shared the value of privacy, integrity and obeying the rules. This week, I'm not sure.

I'm sorry to lose John Spencer and his complex and very human manner of dealing with leadership through Leo McGarry.

I'm sorry the entire world knows of what our President has chosen to do for over a year to us.
If the torture reports are true, we've endangered our soldiers forever when they are captured, but I'm talking here about treating our people as though we do not live in a democracy.

Not with my consent.

St. Casserole

Before and After --

Before and After --

If you are traveling to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, you may wish to prepare yourself by seeing these Before and After photos from our local newspaper, The Sun Herald.
I know most of these places. Java Jean's, for example, is where our preacher group gathered for coffee each week. I served on the Board of Tullis Manor. I know most of the homeowners mentioned.
On and on.

I try, I really try, not to wail about Katrina but HOT FLAMING RATS I have to see it everytime I look out my windows or go out of my driveway. Everywhere I go I see the hurricane's results. Everywhere I listen to others the hurricane is discussed,"How'd you make out?", "Where you living now?". New name for FEMA trailers: Metal Manisons.


St. Casserole

Monday, December 19, 2005

WOT Sermon Topics

Here is the initial list of Waste of Time Sermon Topics. Preach on these as you feel led, but congregants won't believe you:

1. If you make Advent and Christmas a celebration of God's promises throughout history and the birth of Jesus rather than a gift-buying, house-decorating, party-giving, exhausting travel time or whatever you do to distract yourself from God's Gracious Acts in History, you will get more out of the season.

2. Human sexuality isn't bad, it's how we use our sexuality that gets us into trouble.

3. You don't choose God, God chooses you.

4. Being a Christian doesn't make you better than other people.

5. God loves you beyond your imagination's ability to understand.

6. You might have an easier time of it if you don't try to follow Christ. It's difficult to be a disciple.

7. All you are and all you have is God's gift to you.

8. What you do with your money impacts your spiritual life.

9. The Bible discusses greed more than it does sexuality.

10. Gluttony, of any kind, isn't good for you.

11. Preachers have feelings, aren't perfect and most of us work long hours.

That's enough for now. No one really really believes these topics to be true. By the way, if you preach on over-eating, over-spending, over-consuming as a damage to your relationship with God, no one will want to hear it.

Just suggesting....

St. Casserole

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Songbird's Friday Holiday Meme

1) Have you ever gotten a really good kiss under the mistletoe? Tell the truth. Spare no details. Was the mistletoe real, because kisses under the fake stuff do. not. count.
Yes, at a Union Seminary Christmas party, as I was leaving, I grabbed the best looking guy at the Seminary and kissed him under the mistletoe. Then, I left. Breathless.

2) Do you know anyone who makes real eggnog, not the stuff from the carton? And if so, do you actually like it?
A church member in Metairie made REAL eggnog for Mardi Gras and called it "Milk Punch."
It was the best ever.

3) What's your favorite Christmas party album/CD ever?
I don't have a favorite although I enjoy hearing about 4 minutes of JINGLE CATS at my LLS's home.

4) Does your office/workplace have a party? Do the people there ever behave the way people in movies behave at office parties, which is to say, badly?
Nope, no party for us!

5) If you have to bring something to a party, what is it likely to be? Do people like it?
Whatever I can throw together at the last minute which appear to be the result of hard work and is presented in a holiday dish.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Things to Celebrate!

* We have street lights again!

* Church groups from all over the U.S. are doing their best to give Coast families and children Christmas. The Lutheran-Episcopalian group gave holiday boxes for my church families this week. So generous! So kind!

* I've entertained both of my clergy groups, denominational and personal, this week. The LH cooked meals Tuesday and Thursday nights. Interesting conversation with great food hits the Holiday spot!

*I had lunch with one of my favorite pals and got to catch up with her.

*A church in Texas sent ME a holiday gift! Yipee!

*Only a few more days until LD returns home for Christmas break!

*Congress approved aid for Gulf Coast rebuilding! Sen. Lott sues his insurance company!

*Sect. of Defense, Donald Rumfield, gets defensive with Melissa Block of NPR!

*I contemplate making a Grace Texas Cake for the holidays!

What's up with you?

St. Casserole

Friday, December 16, 2005

Whistle and Fish: The Kitten Report

Here we are and we are happy. We eat lots of kitty chow. We have furry mice to bat around the house AND we have a stuffed toy hamster we love the best. We make many noises like breaking Christmas decorations and knocking stuff off our Human's desk.

Here are the rules of our house:
Don't get on the kitchen counter. You get sprayed with water if you do.
Don't paw or climb the Christmas tree. You get sprayed with water if you do.
Don't go in Mom's closet.

Our Humans can't tell us apart. We look alike because we are brothers. If I get in trouble, I say it is my brother who did it. He says the same!

Whistle stays sopping wet most of the time.

We believe that curiousity is a virtue. Napping is another virture. Purring is a beautiful sound.

We are over 100 days old so we know these things.


Whistle and Fish

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I Copy QUOTIDIAN GRACE One More Time...

You Are Rudolph
Sweet and shy, you tend to be happiest when you're making someone else happy.
Why You're Naughty: You sometimes stick that nose where it doesn't belong
Why You're Nice: Christmas would be a sad affair without you!
Which of Santa's Reindeer Are You?
John B. Nixon, Sr. was murdered by lethal injection at Parchment Penitentiary in Mississippi yesterday on behalf of a justice system which is inconsistent.

Mr. Nixon is the seventh Mississippian to be murdered on behalf of the State since capital punishment resumed here in 1976.

Our prayers are with the families of Mr. Nixon's victims as well as his family.

We agree with the Vatican spokesman who said that capital punishment is wrong because it denies redemption and does not uphold the dignity of human life.

---St. Casserole Editorial Staff

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Mindy writes about gratitude this morning. I think I'll join her:

I'm grateful for:

*the preacher dinner party last night. It's over now and I can go back to the work pile on my desk. The LH cooked pork tenderloin, carrots and I made the salad. Preachers said of the meal, "I haven't had a good meal like this in weeks!"

*the wonderful Community Dark Roast Coffee in my Portmerion mug this morning. I'd correct the Port...spelling but I'd spill my java.

*a overcast Winter sky with dark clouds moving quickly.

*two ginger kittens on my lap purring away their rough night with the dog.

*having the money to expand our evangelism program at the church thanks to the donations of Presbyterians around the country to our Presbytery

*Clinique Lipstick in "Rasberry Glace" the suggested color for all clergy gals

*Christmas patterned china in the dishwasher

*Having LH in the house along with LS and missing LD

*Watching the faces of the preachers last night as they chose donated books to replace their storm damaged libraries

*being able to pay bills

What's your list?


St. Casserole

Bits and Odd Pieces of Mindy's Kingdom

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Stanley Tookie Williams, Crips Gang Co-Founder, Is Executed - New York Times
Stanley Tookie Williams, Crips Gang Co-Founder, Is Executed - New York Times

I know his victims suffered. I know his victim's families suffer still.

I don't know all of the details of his life, only God knows the entire story.

However, let me be clear here: I don't see who was served by having the State of California murder Mr. Williams by lethal injection.

I doubt the ability of any state with any prosecuting attorney to choose with justice who should be murdered by the state authority.

I detest being part of a nation which participates in capital punishment.

Because I am an American, Mr. Williams' blood is on my hands.

I weep with his victims and their families.
I weep for Mr. Williams being victimized by the State.
No one is served except those whose sense of justice is blood lust.
History shows that blood lust helps no one.

St. Casserole

Five Facts

Following Leslee's tagging of ALL of us through RevGalBlogPals, here are my five random facts about myself:

1. I loved reading Philip Pullman's HIS DARK MATERIALS.
2. An early mentor was an Episcopal priest in Virginia with CP who died soon after I was ordained.
3. I loved typing on my Grandfather's ancient Underwood typewriter when I was a little kid.
4. I thought it was my prayers that brought my little sister into being because I prayed with my Mom for a baby.
5. I have the gift of doggrel but seldom use it.

Your turn! You are IT!


St. Casserole

Fresh-Cut Flowers

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Hurricane Katrina blew over the Mississippi Gulf Coast over 100 days ago.
Often, I cannot believe the destruction the storm caused even if I am staring at the mess.
It's difficult to put my mind around how much misery wind, rain and rising Gulf waters causes in a hurricane.

The Mississippi National Guard will withdraw from the Coast soon. I'm grateful for the time they've spent helping secure this area.

Not everyone has decent housing yet. Hard to believe that people are living in tents this long after the hurricane. FEMA trailers are everywhere in our neighborhood and around the Coast although I see parking lots full of yet-to-be placed trailers and wish the distribution would speed up.

Most retail businesses have HIRING NOW signs. Not enough people to staff stores and businesses because people left, people have to wait until they have a home to work and the debris hauling business is good money.

Area restaurants and hotels are packed. It's easier to eat at home rather than navigate through the long lines at eateries. If you are coming to this area, have your housing plans firm before you come because the hotels are full. There is no room at the Inn this Christmas.

Christmas lights are decorating FEMA trailers, tree stumps and torn up houses. People want Christmas to look like Christmas even when the world looks like a Bomb Zone. The LH bought a Christmas Tree, decorated it and cooked a beautiful meal last night.

People are tired. The Katrina Cough is ubiquitous. People look storm shocked but are getting better. The air is bad. The water is questionable. I don't believe reports of the Beach being safe from chemical/sewage waste.

Our roof isn't repaired but we hope for help soon. Many people haven't gotten repairs yet so the Blue Roof is common. Tarps cover roofs, plywood covers broken windows and it doesn't look as if much is going on. There are too many repairs for the number of contractors/workers available so waiting is the norm.

Churches have been our best resource. Work teams from all over the States come to strip out sheetrock, replace roofs, clean debris, hold hands with survivors and make us feel like human beings. A church in Jackson is rebuilding the home of friend's who have nothing but disability and problems. God bless that church! Hope in the face of disaster is God's work.

I have moments of feeling normal and happy. I feel like myself for a portion of each day now. I don't cry everyday. I don't feel overwhelmed with the suffering around me all day long now. I'm grateful for this. It's a painful discipline to keep going day after day while filled with grief so that I may be available to others.

Advent is different this year. I'm preaching on Luke I:47-55 in about 4 hours.
"My soul magnifies the Lord" and I remember what it is to have a rejoicing spirit.

Grace and Peace,

St. Casserole

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Songbird's Snow Day Friday Five meme

What is snow?

Confused but wanting to play the meme,

Whistle and Fish, resident ginger kittens, review Disney's THE LION WITCH AND THE WARDROBE:

Whistle: First, the Mom doesn't die. This is good. Disney is big on dead moms and we don't like that.
Fish: Second, Disney did a pretty good job making a movie from one of our favorite books. Some stuff is invented, but we liked seeing what the Wardrobe looked like.
W: The main thing about this movie is that the hero is a cat.
F: Yeah, a big lion is the Christ figure. We like this image. The bad guys were wolves and dog things. Yuk. If you want to make a scary movie, a really scary movie, make the villains dogs.
W: I didn't like all the fur coats in that wardrobe. I hope they were fake fur. Fur belongs on animals, not people.
F: Thank you, Mr. PETA!
W: Well, it's gross to wear animal fur unless God gave it to you.
F: Moving on, the movie is long and if you get bored you can chase popcorn kernels under the seats. Just keep away from big human feet, if you do. The theater was packed.
W: I don't know what the evangelicals will do with LIKING a Disney movie. I thought evangelicals didn't approve of Disney.
F: Ever wonder why our Mom gets mad about the media using the word "evangelical" to mean conservative believers? She believes in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ but I don't think she's a fundie or creepy.
W: This is a movie review. Keep to the topic.
F: Just wondering.... Anyway, we love CS Lewis and think his "God in the Dock" is a great apologetic even if the references are dated.
W: Yeah, we like Lewis.
F: We have a cousin named "Lewis."
W: Keep to topic...
F: To sum up, we liked the movie. Cats are good; dogs are bad. Wolves give me nightmares.
We like the fawns and those beavers. The animation stuff is wonderful.
W: I think God is a big lion. Really big.
F: Probably.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Apparently, I am a Christmas Tree

Results...: "lkjk
What a marvelous person! You are the splendid
Christmas tree! You are a spirited person who
almost always in a great mood. Your smiles and
laughter are some things that people usually
look forward to in you. You are someone who is
full of energy and ready for a good time. Most
likely you are a social butterfly. All of these
characteristics make you a beautiful person
inside and out. People just really enjoy to be
around you. Merry Christmas =)

What Christmas Figure Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla"

Hat Tip to Quotidian Grace

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

More that I don't Understand

Help me understand this.

We have a pastor in our Presbytery who has made it known that if the vote doesn't go as he wishes at our next General Assembly, he will leave the denomination. I doubt this is just puffing on his part. He's a serious guy.

I can't imagine why he holds positions of authority in our Presbytery now. Why should he be participating as a leader if he doesn't have the loyalty to maintain a relationship with us? It's like dating someone rather than being married. I thought he made his commitment when he took his ordination vows. Are his decisions on our behalf made through the lens of a temporary relationship with us? Isn't this like when a pastor decides to leave a congregation and sloughs off what he doesn't care to do anymore because he's a lame duck?

I am dancing with the one who brought me. This old saying makes sense to me as I was educated by Presbyterians, nurtured through the Presbyterian Church and my ethnic background is Presbyterian.

I gave up on the Church as a perfect place years ago. I believe in what I understand to be God's vision of and for the church but since all human institutions are inherently sinful, I don't expect the church to be perfect. Rather, I understand my participation in the Body of Christ, the Church, as God's discipline for me. Not punishment, but discipline to seek, praise, worship, work and pray within the confines of the Church.

It gets on my nerves that we Presbyterians are so cantankerous. Wish I'd paid attention to the droll fights of the past in my Seminary textbooks. I'm not cantankerous so being a part of a denomination which fights over everything disturbs me. And, we are a wicked witness to the World with our ambushes, disagreements, territorial battles and general crabbiness with one another.

As a girl, I was part of Big City Church's Confirmation Class. The Rev. Mr. Soft Hands taught us.
This was long ago before confirmands were asked, "How do you feel about Jesus?" We were told about Jesus. I suppose Mr. Soft Hands should have looked us straight in the eye and announced,

"Young people, Presbyterians fight over most things. Our history from John Calvin who
had to flee Geneva more than once to save his life, began a chapter in acrimony which
Christians have seldom seen. We didn't invent church conflict but we've refined it. Be
prepared to watch your church schism, shake and scatter over all sorts of issues. Thank
goodness none of you young women wish to be pastors. It would be too rough for your
delicate feminine constitutions. Now, let's all turn to page 16 of our book...."

I love the Presbyterian Church because I first learned of Jesus from the Presbyies.
I like our form of government which should work to ease some of the conflict by being orderly but somehow every class of elders and often the preachers, don't know our Book of Order. I like our worship, which while not unique to us, is dignified and allows me to worship mind and spirit.
I like our ethos (despite the historical historonics) which values education, justice, and engagement with the larger world.

So, help me understand why this guy is still in charge of stuff when he plans to bolt if the vote doesn't turn out as he wishes?


St. Casserole

Three Things I Don't Understand

What does "huzzah" mean? Who says this? How is it pronounced? Is it an exclamation/expletive?

What does "OOAK" in eBay listings mean?

Why was my pie a goopy mess?

I baked a Country Cream Pie from "Diana Rattray, Your Guide to Southern U.S. Cooking" on the 'net, followed the directions and I have a tasty goopy mess. I know how to cook so I don't know if it was the pie dish I used (French pottery), the substitution of whipping cream for half and half, the addition of 1/2 c. lowfat milk and 1/2 eggnog (didn't buy enough whipping cream) or the fact that the durn pie sounded like a chess pie with fancier ingredients and really really needed eggs.

3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons of flour
3 cups half and half
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla

Mix sugar and flour well, get rid of lumps. Add liquids, pour into unbaked pieshell. Cook for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. Let the pie rest to room temperature.
Serve with spoon.
I added cinnamon and fresh ground nutmeg since the flavoring didn't sound snappy enough for my taste.
Some things are a mystery to me....
St. Casserole

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Advent 2005

As a child, I didn't know about Advent. The Big City Church didn't do liturgical season, we are Presbyies afterall.

Seminary introduced the Seasons to me and I became a captive to the idea of a holy calendar.

As a young woman, I felt I had Advent Edge because I knew how Elizabeth (Mrs. Zachariah) felt about childlessness and infertility. Waiting for a Hope delayed by one's body was in sync with the waiting for the coming of the Messiah. Not that I thought having a child was messianic but that the waiting for the healing of the world resonated with my own feelings of hope v. despair at being childless.

This year, however, I am seeing Advent with new eyes. I suppose that life down here post-hurricane is the closest I'll ever come (God willing) to living in a war zone. Basic services damaged, access roads demolished, debris, homelessness, immediate upheaval of a catastropic nature: all these things make me think I have some understanding of a war damaged area. The differences are large, though, in that we have military personnel everywhere but they aren't trying to hurt us. And, although the deaths here are too many, we weren't shot or bombed.

Granted, the analogy doesn't work completely but I am living where the future is impaired.
How does New Orleans get re-built? I understand that portions of the Great City are without power, water or any sign of re-building after three months. The earth in some areas is polluted beyond anything we've had to cope with before now. My New Orleans church members says she can't find even a drug store open without driving miles. The streets are quiet there, too.

How do we handle all emotional upset of life here on the Coast. Families crammed into trailers next to their housing slab. Ruby tells me that the FEMA installer told her to NOT turn on the heater in her trailer as it would blow up. She says she asked him why and he told her they couldn't fix the problem. It's cold here, now, and she will have to buy an electric heater or stay inside her damaged-but-standing home to keep warm.

Older people here are losing their friends who move away at the request of adult children or who decide that "they can't go through another hurricane" and are moving out-of-state.

There aren't enough workers to repair homes, rebuild homes or whatever one needs to have windows replace, roofs patched, etc. etc. The work teams coming often have skilled labor along with the happy hearts of non-skilled young people, but even these groups aren't enough.

*Physical discomfort.
*Emotional discomfort.
*Time to think creatively about the future of ministry on the Coast. It doesn't make sense to return to business as usual since there isn't any "uusal" left.
*Spiritual unease because there are many who see the hurricane, even if they are educated better than this, as God's big whack with the cosmic 2 x 4.


I've got an edge on Advent 2005 and I'm not stopping until I figure out what God means for me and my people. I will not let go until I see the blessing.

I see blessing in many places and am grateful for the love and generosity of people who come to help, send money and pray for us. I mean, I will not let go until I "get" this situation.

The valleys have been brought up and the mountains leveled. I hear Handel's "Messiah" in my heart and am filled with curiousity about what it means to be God's people here in this place, in this time with my community.

Grace and Peace to you,
St. Casserole

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Sun Herald | 12/05/2005 | CLOSE QUARTERS

The Sun Herald | 12/05/2005 | CLOSE QUARTERS

I worry about people coping with close quarters as this article discusses.

Monday Morning

Songbird asks about our Christmas decorating in her Friday meme. I didn't read the meme at her site but saw that all my pals read and responded in theirs.

I haven't decorated anything except my kitchen door. I found a bright wreath at a garage sale on Saturday and hung it as soon as I got home from the sales.

I intend to decorate but I've been busy. We said goodbye to our visiting work crew after worship yesterday. They were lovely folks and I'm sorry to see them go but when I have guests, it's difficult for me to do much house stuff.

I visited after worship with a family who are blue-roofed from the hurricane and who have gotten interior water damage since the storm because the FEMA roofers didn't quite protect the roof. You'd think that you could find a roofer to replace a roof twelve weeks after the storm but NO. Too many roofs, not enough roofers to repair damaged houses. Now, they'll have to move into a FEMA trailer when before, they had simple roof damage.

It's gray, cloudy and a bit chilly here this morning. Looks like December. Yesterday we were steaming with a 78 high. No wonder people are sick.

I'll drink more coffee, read my devotional, pray, then return here with something positive to say.

Happy Monday Morning, Y'all,

Friday, December 02, 2005

Annual Report

Yesterday, the blog turned 1.

Thank you to all who've read the drizzle/dribble/detritus through the year.

You've comforted me with comments, gotten me through two hurricanes, made me fluffier with recipes for good eats and become my pals.

I've watched you congeal into a community through the Revgalblogpals. Your creativity amazes me. The warmth of friendship with one another consoles me. I feel hope reading you.

Thank you to my inspirations for this blog: the emergent church blogs, Rev.Mike's House of Homiletics in Charlotte, NC, Maggi Dawn over the Ocean and more.

*Most searched post: the one on Betty Feezor. Thanks, Bob, for writing to me.

*The Book Drive for Coast Pastors Whose Theological Libraries were damaged by Katrina is such a loving act that I could weep and have. Because of a post here, a loving RevGalBlogPal responded with over 600 lbs. of books for my colleagues. I'd mention her name but I recall that she was doing this quietly. I'll tell her identity if she allows it. God bless her!

*I discovered that Mr. C is a great blogger. He should have his own blog not that he isn't welcome to post here.

*The discussion over which OPI color we like best is an enduring topic. Pedicures rule!

*Grace's Hurricane Cake made it's way around the Country and around my hips via the blog.

*I mourned Rusty and welcomed four kittens.

Now, as I submit my Annual Report, I request that those of you who read but do not comment begin commenting. Especially you, dear Ms. Bowed Twice Grew up in the Great Hometown Tennis Playing New Office LLS Pal, ok?

Respectfully Submitted,

St. Casserole

Monday, November 28, 2005

We arrived in NC yesterday afternoon. The endless drive was enjoyable as the hurricane scene faded behind me and I began to see the rolling hills of Northern Alabama. We drove until I could drive no more then spent the night. LD was spririted, napped several times and a pleasure.

Actual Conversation at Hotel:

Clerk: You are a preacher? I didn't know they had female ministers!
St.C: We've been around for years. Presbyterians began ordaining women in 1956 and 1964.
Clerk: I've never seen one.
St. C: ...dripping irony....they all look like me.
Clerk: Oh, my pastor says it's fine as long as the female is under a man.
St.C: .....silence....

I love being with the Aunts. LD wandered off to school happy. Assumpta and Dibley look healthy and have grown into big teen-aged kitties.

My LLS is taking today off from her work to play.

More later,


Saturday, November 26, 2005

"Be hospitable to one another without complaining"

My text for today is I Peter 1 Peter 4:9 "Be hospitable to one another without complaining."

I'm driving to NC today to return LD to the Lovely Aunts. LD will finish out the school year in NC in a great school, a loving environment and away from the misery of life behind the razor wire of the Gulf Coast.

LD's return to the Coast and home for Thanksgiving gave her a chance to see the destruction of Katrina and to be home with us for a few days. I've enjoyed having her home. Being able to call her name in the house and have her answer made me teary. Seeing her pretty self at our dinner table consoles all of us. She's had a pleasant time with her father and brother but, with me, she's been crabby, sour, hostile and impatient.

I believe my best response is understanding my parenting as a measure of the real meaning of hospitality.

When a child is being rebellious in speech and attitude, when a mom cannot please or ease a child in daily conversation, hospitality in the welcoming sense may be of help.

Not that I enjoy being the object of her crabbiness. I don't like being looked at as if I were the creepiest grossest mom in the world. I don't like having sarcastic comments thrown my way. I don't like it.

I like LD, though. She has great potential and underneath her 13 year old exterior is a loving heart. She has better skills with people than most adults. She's able to help people make connections with others, intuit where people are emotionally and be an effective listener.
She has the physicality of an athlete combined with really pretty American healthy good looks.
LD's sense of humor and playfulness is engaging as is her perspective on the world.

I see all these admirable traits, I just don't have any of them directed at me.

I know adolescence is a difficult time where children begin the separation from their parents and begin to make their own way. I did youth ministry for over 10 years. I worked in a psych hospital with adolescents. I've read the books. All this isn't helping my feelings about being treated as drek.

So, I return to hospitality. The concept of welcome, loving engagement with the other and a "nurse" of the Spirit to the ailing one. I can do this.

I can't do it easily without recalling how much I love who LD is and will be. Right now, I wouldn't take this crap from anyone but her.

As we move into Advent, the season of preparation, I aspire to hospitality for LD because she is preparing for adulthood and I am preparing for loving an adolescent who doesn't love me much.

I will be hospitable without complaining. Not a push-over or return crabbiness for crabbiness but hospitable.

God give me strength for the days ahead. Keep me aware of your greater purpose for LD. Thank you for the gift of this child in my care. Give me brains, courage and humor to be her Mom.
Your Son gave his Mama trouble, too, according to scripture, so help me out here. Amen.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Whatever Grace does, I do. I am of the "Monkey See Monkey Do" School of Life, and Quotidian Grace is a favorite of mine.
Quotidian Grace: Gospel Birthday Meme

Here's the meme: take your birthday and look up the passages which correspond with that date in each of the four Gospels.

Here's mine for May 19:

Matthew 5:19 Whoever refuses to obey any command and teaches other people not to obey that command will be least important in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys the commands and teaches other people to obey them will be great in the kingdom of heaven.

Mark 5:19 But Jesus would not let him. He said, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you."

Luke 5:19 But becaue there were so many people there, they could not find a way in. So they wentup on the roof and lowered the man on his mat through the ceiling into the middle of the crowd right before Jesus.

John 5:19 But Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing alone. The son does only what he sees the Father doing because the Son does whatever the Father does.

The first and last of the four passages have to do with authority; the second and third have to do with healing.
Can you identify the story of Mark 5:19? Points for identifying the translation I use here.

Thankful for each of you,
St. Casserole Who Has Time On Her Hands Since She Doesn't Cook The Turkey

Design Plans for Rebuilding Mississippi Homes

To Restore or Reinvent? - New York Times

Allison Rouse, of the above article, is correct that Coastians "pinch pennies" when building but, oh-my-goodness it would be great to see historic design built into our re-building.

When one doesn't cook the turkey, one has time to search the 'net...

Thanksgiving in New Orleans 2005

Turkey With a Dash of Bitters - New York Times

Add to my list in the post below, this:

We are thankful for all those who came to help us and will come to help us.

Thank you, thank you.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

LH (the Grand Mr. C.)and I are up early for this U.S. holiday where stores and banks are closed for the day.
Tradition says we are to give thanks for American life recalling the first meal of the Native Americans and Pilgrims.

We will eat with a family in the neighborhood who we've known for years. I will bring the ubiquitous green bean casserole a la canned fried onions and an appetizer which I pulled from the freezer section of Sam's Warehouse Club yesterday.

Before we meet for the afternoon meal, LH and I will talk about what we give thanks for this year. The list will include:

-each other, many years of companionable moments, affection, respect and smooches

-our children, who in their teen-age years, are lucky to not be set out street for the gypsies to

- our work, whether rebuilding a law practice or pastoring a small congregation both involve healing the rifts of relationships, contributing to Community and lots of words.

-our families, the Aunts, snug in their NC home filled with cats, some of them ours

-small pleasures of daily life: coffee together in the mornings, good newspapers, books, books, books, gardening, talking, talking, talking, laughing and laughing, surprises like good behavior of
authorities, memories, dreams and so on.

- for the gift of faith, for the knowledge we are not in control ultimately but that we've been given the tasks before us to do the best we can, the constancy of God's love and presence, the whimsey of the Christian calling and the humility to know we are not worthy supplicants.

-for pets, great ideas, bright people, kindness in every form, welcome and hospitality, loyalty, honor and microwave popcorn

And, for you, I give thanks today,

St. Casserole

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Recalling November 21st

When I was in sixth grade, in Mrs. Young's class, everything changed. After looking at the hole-in-her-head forehead scar for three months, everyone in the class morphed into adults. It wasn't her unfortunate deformity that caused the change in us nor was it our adolescent urgings. The door to our classroom blew open with the words, "The President has been shot!".

A small black and white television appeared in the room, perched on a wooden chair. We sat transfixed at the little screen partly because tv in the room was a first but also because the adults were scared. I don't recall seeing scared adults before then. Sure, we all screamed when LLS took a flying dive off the sliding board in our backyard but this was different.

We sat stunned as adults blew in and out of the room. We'd never seen expressions on teacher's faces like these. Is this what big folks fear looked like?

The school closed early on November 21st. My mom walked to school to get me and we walked home in silence. I was aping the solemnity of the school teachers. I suppose my mom was considering the new world of murdered authority figures. She was 41. I was eleven.

At dinner that night, we talked about the assassination. My father, whose politics I don't understand after all these years, spoke about how horrible the Kennedy's were. He didn't seem upset or scared or even perturbed that the Leader of the Free World was murdered in a Southern city.

I couldn't process what my response to President Kennedy's death was supposed to be. The teacher's behavior made sense. My mother's quiet response made sense. I couldn't understand why my Dad seemed non-plussed and rather pleased.

In I Corinthians 13, Paul says that we aren't to rejoice in the suffering of others. As a Sunday Schooled child, I knew this. My Dad was a Deacon, my mother on her way toward becoming a Presbyterian after years of belonging to the Episcopal Church. After dinner each night, we read from the Good News Bible (see American Bible Society for version). How did Dad's response match what we were taught?

Jaye Ramsey Sutter at her blog, A Winding Road in An Urban Area on Typepad, writes about dissonance. She won't think there is any similarity in her post which spawned this post of mine but I think like a stone in a pond. One plop in the water and my mind begins the circling motions outward. Thinking about the death of the President while watching my parents respond is an outgrowth of her blog post.

President Kennedy's death is a marker event for those of us in Mrs. Young's Sixth Grade Class. We've marker events since then but this one stands out today.

What are your marker events?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I'm Baccckkk!

You wouldn't believe the New Orleans Airport. We flew in from Newark to Houston to New Orleans late yesterday afternoon. The day was darkening. The airport's big spath lilies were slumped over from lack of water. The terminal was mostly empty as was the parking garage. I've never seen the airport like this. Many of the shops were closed and, I was told, hadn't been open since the hurricane. Eerie. Spooky. Not-quite-right.

I saw the City as we flew in from the west. Blue roofs. Trees down in paths through the forest. The wetlands looked brown but this may be a Fall thing.

Actual Conversation Had in NYC:

Taxi Driver: What country are you from?
St. Casserole: The country of Mississippi

We saw the 25 Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Charming
And, John Lithgow in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Delightful.

I bought a sterling silver bangle at the Green Flea Market at Columbus and 77th. The bracelet reads, " You are never too old to do goofy stuff.---Ward Cleaver". I felt it was MADE for me.

We ate pastries from Fluffy's Bakery every night to keep our strength up.

We did the Bloomies thing, too. Did you know that they have an Eileen Fisher Petite department? I had to buy a few things to encourage the Economy of our Great U.S.A.

We slept as though we were exhausted. Our room was like a cave of quiet dark. Other travelers with us are slab owners (nothing left but the slab) or displaced to other states. We had a great time together when we ran into our fellow Mississippi travelers around the city. I'm so glad we all got together this year. We needed it.

We did the Chinatown run but didn't find much of interest. I'd promised my people that I wouldn't go down dark alley's for fake purses this year and, true to my word, I stayed out on the street.

We walked by the Church of Scientology building and paused to look at a sign in the window. A very young man popped out of nowhere and chirped, " Come on in, Girls, here is a free ticket to a movie. Let's go in!!!" We didn't. Services on Sunday are at 11am. Just so you know. A more interesting church to me is "St. Benedict of the Moors" which I will research on the 'net because I don't know anything about the "Moor" part. Looked like a beautiful old church.

All that talk about cleaning up for me was just that. Talk. I have mountains of laundry to do. Floors are festooned with chewed up dog toys and the kittens are high fiving each other as they thunder through the hallways. Another toy mouse landed in the water bowl.

A good time was had by all.

St. Casserole

Monday, November 21, 2005


Dear Lord, the Master of my Masters,

Please forgive me for anything bad I have done.
I am a bad dog. Please help people forgive us poor sinners.
We are flawed; we are imperfect; we often
chew on things we shouldn't; we are all bad dogs.
Forgive us trespassers and debtors and chewers.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Dawg. Ain't he Great

Why Dawg is great.
  1. Want to yell. Go ahead. I'll bark with you.
  2. Sing loud. Great. Sing bad. Same thing.
  3. Got dirty in the yard. Great. I'll help.
  4. Smelly. Wonderful, give me some of that.
  5. Mess up, have troubles, people mad at you, dirty, smelly, bad voice, bad dancer, bad cook... no trouble, I still think you're great.
  6. Need cuddling. I am your man.
  7. Want to take a walk and think. Thank you, I'd love to.
  8. Drop food on the floor. No problem, call the Vacu-dawger.
  9. People lied to you and hurt your feelings. Well, I never lie. I lay alot, but never lie.
  10. I always have good intentions. Sure, I poop and bark and chew things, but its my nature, not anything personal.

Love ya,


P.S. If someone has the time, please remind the Woman of my good points. I started chewing a large stick and suddenly realized it was a Birkenstock. My bad.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Pork Loin, Yeehaw

Mr. C, the Man and may I say, my favorite human, is currently working on a pork loin grilling and is unable to blog. So, as his best friend, I will humbly submit this little missive.

My rules of life:

If it hurts, lick it.
If it hurts bad, lick it alot.
If it seems needful, tasty, curiously unusual, or just familiar, lick it.

If it itches, stratch.
If it doesn't itch, it will eventually.

Eat it before it eats you.

God loves the dog and not just because of that backward spelling thing.

Cats are God's way of testing you, like a plague of locusts, being swallowed by a big fish, or endless tramping in the desert.

Barking is prayer ( I pray you feed me; I pray you let me in...)

When something is broken or chewed on, look at the cat. If they still look at you, give them the big ole sad and wet eye thing.

When the Man or his litter come into the house, make a big deal about it like you have never seen anyone come through the door that good. " Wow. Amazing. Cool. "They like this.

No matter what they say, always sleep on the couch.

Every once in a while, chew a shoe up. Man will respect the fact that you are keeping your teeth sharp just in case a burglar comes around. Careful, Woman won't understand the higher purpose of this act of love.

The little'r the cat, the sharper the claw.

Chase the cat. Well, not really a rule, more a pastime.

Nap time on the couch,


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

St. Casserole has left the House

Well, as you know, Mrs. C has left for NYC. Left the house, left the blues signing cats, left the Dawg, left the church and Sunday service, left the LS, left me, left a bacon quiche in the frig, and left some Beck's dark in the wine cooler for her LH. She will be gone nearly a week.

Generally, I only post during natural disasters when all communication to the outside world is difficult. But, I am thinking of the possibilities here. We could have a week of non-St.C manly discussion:

Thursday: How to gut a Red Snapper.
Friday: Grilling Pork Loin: A Religious Experience?
Saturday: the Dawg, Ain't he Great
Sunday: Where would Jesus Play: New Orlean's Saints or New England Patriots?
Monday: Why Can't Women be More like Men?
Tuesday: Open day. ( I will be too busy trying to clean up the mess around the house with LS)
Wednesday: Rant day. ( Frankly, I will still be cleaning the house)
Thursday: Open discussion about the great topics while LW in NYC!

Well, just in case I don't get to it, that's the plan. LS and I are currently keeping ourselves quite occupied. We have a bet on how many pieces of popcorn the dawg can eat.

Can't wait,
Mr. C

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

This is my last post before I fly away to NYC.
I'm sorry everyone can't take a break from the Hurricane Travails as I plan to do.
Mr. Casserole may guest blog. If the puppy guest blogs, I cannot be responsible.
Bluesman Fish (see below) is building a web page for PPB but can't seem to understand that a web page does not involve trapping spiders and gathering bits of paper. We'll see...

Love to all of you and all you love.


Monday, November 14, 2005

Dawg Troubles, the Play

The Scene: Smoke-filled blues club, The Kit Kat Club, a wild and meowy place in the
Alley for blues, catnip and kittys

Enter, stage left: Bluesman "Cat-erwaul" Fish, a Kit Kat regular
beat-up fedora which has seen too many nights in lock-up at the
Animal shelter, pulled low over brown eyes. This Bluesman has seen
it all and knows his way around the litterbox.

"Cat-erwaul" brings his old Fender up to his chest before the
microphone and begins a Delta riff. He sings:

I'm troubled and I'm crying
that durn ole dawg done stole from me
I'm troubled and I'm crying
that durn ole dawg done stole from me.

I doan like that dang ole dawg
He stinks and he's loud
Wanna get rid of that dawg...
But I doan know how

He et up my toy mouse
The one I love so well
If I had the power
I'd send that dawg to hell

I doan like that dang ole dawg
He stinks and he's loud
Wanna get rid of that dawg...
But I doan know how

Dawg walked into Mama's study
He saw that mouse on the flo
Dawg took my mouse away
I doan have it no mo

I doan like that dang ole dawg
He stinks and he's loud
Wanna get rid of that dawg...
But I doan know how.

He takes a drink from the water bowl, turns off the mike and saunters off stage. Crowd erupts in cheers and applause.

Katrina Ditz

As a serious, no-nonsense woman, I value discipline. Mental discipline means focus, selection of what goes in the brain area and respect for study. However, I must note here that I am going through a time of Post Katrina Ditz. "Ditz" meaning "ditzy" meaning scattered, unfocused and forgetful.

While showering yesterday, I forgot if I'd washed my hair so I washed it again.
I walk into a room with purpose then can't remember what purpose drew me in.
I want to tell the LH something then don't recall what the something was.

It's worse than this. My brain is overloaded with details, feelings, extra work, visual misery and more. I have KATRINA DITZ.

I'm not alone. Among my friends, we can hardly focus enough to multi-task. Rotten situation for women, you see. We women can do ten things at once. With KD, we begin one thing then can't recall why.

I suppose men have KD. How would we know? Most evidence points to male insurance adjusters and contractors who can't remember to call clients back or remember to show up for appointments.

How my hair turned from natural red to nutmeg brown was a KD from the hairdresser.
When the lady in front of me at the grocery paid for her basket of bags then walked out to her car empty-handed, this was KD.

I imagine we all have a tad of post traumatic stress down here. KD is a more charming name for being addle-brained.

Solution? Make lists. Carry lists with you. Pin list on t-shirt with safety pin, if necessary. Follow list. Make notes of anything of importance. Don't change purses. Write down who you are calling on the phone so you can focus on their name. Laugh when you call your husband the wrong name! HA HA HA! It was just a joke, Sweetie. I know your name! Can't call it right now, but I know it!

Write your own name somewhere easy to find. Refer to own name from time to time to keep it fresh in your mind.



Friday, November 11, 2005

Guest Blogger Andy the Cat

It appears that your Pat Robertson has forgotten the Thumper Rule of Public Journalism: "if you can't say anything rational to the press, say nothing at all."
I believe Mr. Robertson's handlers were eating moon pies and RC colas while Pat was yakking about disasters if you don't agree with him about "intelligent design."
I suggest that Mr. Robertson's handlers get with Tom Cruise's people to enroll in Public Relations 101 at their local under-funded Community College.
Both Robertson and Cruise are religious nuts despite their passion for their beliefs. They do more harm than good when witnessing for their causes.

Andy "Don't bring Dawgs on My Property" Cat

Mama Ears

When our LS arrived, a bundle of sweet tiny boy with only the hint of the bright red hair to come, I received the gift of "Mama Ears."

This gift has rescued my children from nightmares, sleep walking and crying alone. I heard them then and I hear them now.

I can hear the tick of our oven four miles away. I go turn it off.
A door opens, anywhere in our home, I can hear it.
The magical mama ear phenom allows me to know who, what, where and speed over with comfort, correction or cahoots. I hear you.

Tonight, I heard a nightmare in the house. I touched the sleeper back into another chapter of his dream and he returned to sleep.

But, I am awake.
It's not yet 3 a.m. I meant to sleep through this night because tomorrow is another day. Lots to do on Friday.

I went outside to stare at the clear night sky. I've decided that being able to see the constellations of stars grants good compensation for no trees. I saw Orion's Belt.

I'm so awake. Fish and Whistle, the ginger kittens find me charming company at this hour. I'd rather be asleep. Holding their warm little bodies and looking into their sleepy kitten eyes is a comfort, though. My "mama ears" work with cats, as well.

You all sleep well tonight. The Big Mama Ears are listening out for you. From your city to Orion's Belt, even beyond, those Loving Ears hear and will come.

St. C

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Guest Blogger Fish the Kitten

Ten questions for Fish

1. What is your favorite toy?
a toy fur mouse

2. What is your favorite book?
the catechism

3. What do you like to do?
beat up Whistle

4. Favorite place to sleep at night
in the hollow space behind lawyers bookcases in the study

5. Favorite food
IAMS kitten chow

6. Biggest worry
that stupid puppy

7. What do you want to be when you grow up?
a big cat like Andy

8. Who is your hero?
Andy the Cat who is big

9. What is your favorite color?
orange or ginger

10. Where is your litter box?
in my human's study


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Early Sunday Morning

In eleven days I will go to New Orleans, board a plane and go to Manhattan. This will be my eighth trip to NYC for the weekend-before-Thanksgiving. In the past, I've gone to shop, see shows and eat. This year, I'm going to get the heck-fire* out of Life Behind the Razor Wire**.

It is hard work living on the Coast***. Life returns to normal, if at all, very slowly these days. We have debris piles in front of our home. The LH has a hideous temporary office since his beautiful office blew away down to the brick pilings. Everywhere I drive, I see evidence of the misery of post-Katrina life. I teeter between hope and despair every day. I don't mean my peace of heart, I mean I swing timidly between hope for the Coast and our lives here and despair that we will ever re-build this community in ways that allow a good future.

I hear heart wrenching stories everyday. I watch people throw their shoulders back insisting that they are "fine". I see the exhaustion on my friend's faces as they wait for insurance adjusters, wait for construction teams, wait to see if they have enough money to rebuild.

I suppose Advent will have a new edge this year. A season of waiting for the birth of Jesus the season means a great deal to me. For years, I related Advent to the waiting of Mary for the birth of Jesus and my own waiting for a child. Then I related Advent to the waiting for a "new creation" in the world to be born in the birth of Jesus. Preaching Advent is my favorite liturgical season. I know something about waiting. I know about living between promise and fulfillment; living between now and not yet.

But heck fire rats!****, I didn't anticipate this kind of waiting or this kind of fighting it out with the Hope within me. They say it isn't what happens to us but what we do with what happens to us. I'd like to say I'm doing this well.

I may have to put aside my desire for successful living and instead hold onto God's hand through these kind of days. I've done this before and found God a good companion when life stinks. Hold on to me as I hold on to you, God, until you bless me.

I feel like bursting into tears at least once each day. I'm weary of this feeling.

Patty and I are going to NYC. This is my annual girl trip, no boys allowed, although Mr. C would enjoy the City. Patty and I travel well together and have been on several trips over the years. We are on the same emotional roller coaster so I suppose we will comfort each other over chopped liver at a deli; while we stroll around Barney's and at the theater. I will tell her, as I do every year, that I'm not sure I can sit long enough to watch a Broadway play. She'll say that if I want to leave, it's ok with her. Then I'll settle down and watch the stage.

I won't shop as wildly as I have in the past. Not that I was blowing money around in the big stores. The flea markets and second-hand shops are my favorites anyway. This year I will consider how my finances have changed and be circumspect about spending. I have enough money to have a delightful time anyway. I'll just not be loading up as I have on past trips.

I'm ready to leave right now.

Have a Good Sunday, y'all,
St. Casserole

*Appropriate cussing from preacher, cf. Preacher's Guide to Bad Language, 1974. CrabApple Press.
**We live north of the tracks. South of the tracks is fenced off with coils of razor wire and check points are policed by National Guard personnel.
***Please pronounce the word "hard" as your President did during the second debate of 2004.
****Emphatic version of "heck fire". Use of "rats" as an expletive explained in the renowned Backyard OED of Kiln, Mississippi, Vol.4, 1991. Beezus Press. Kiln.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Winner Announced

Ernest and Earnest Accoutrements have handed the envelope to the 2005 Cone of Humor Awards to me. My fingers tremble as I open the Crane's Heavy weight 100% Rag Cotton stationery which will reveal the name of this year's winner.

I put the envelope down to answer my cell phone. Rachel is calling to ask me to do something for her. I rush off to help her. After several hours, I return and spot the unread Award Notification. I pick it up to see who E & E evaluated as the 2005 Cone of Humor Award winner.

I hear a noise at the kitchen door. I open it to see C and P who've come to get some of our furniture for their temporary apartment. We bustle through the house to collect chairs, small tables, lamps and Kliban cat bed sheets. P talks about how much she misses having her cats with her. The cats are living in a shed at a friend's house because C and P had no where for the cats to live after Katrina destroyed their home. We chat. We carry stuff to their car. P and I watch the men load the car with the stuff in the dumbest manner possible. We know how to load a car efficiently and safely. Better than the guys.

I return to the house and load/re-load the dishwasher, wash three loads of clothes, put away two loads of folded laundry from yesterday, ponder the lectionary passage for Joshua and it's possible relationship to the Matthew lectionary passage for tomorrow, clean out the litter box, talk to LH, read a few pages of the The Subtle Knife (second vol. of HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy), play with the kittens, chat with several pals, stare out the window thinking about Matthew for tomorrow and then, it hits me! I rush for the envelope.

Without further delay, the winner of the 2005 Cone of Humor Award goes to ReverendMother for her story of the Pastor's Mama and the Usher. Congrats to you, dear RM, and to all of you who participated in this year's 2005 Cone of Humor Award. Billy Crystal will host next year, according to my latest issue of the Christian Century.

Thank you, very much.

St. Casserole

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Announcing Friday Contest!

Here's your chance to tell a funny joke, make a happy comment or tell about an experience that made you laugh. Place your entry in the comments section.
The winner will receive a pinecone from the St. Casserole Family Pine Grove.
These rare pinecones survived the worst natural disaster in US History (according to dramatic exaggerators of TV and print).
The impartial judges, selected by Ernest and Ernest Famous Accoutrements will announce the winner (s) on Saturday.
Ready! Set! Go!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Ignoring Halloween Because The World Looks Like A Haunted House

I called P and C last night after seeing their son trick or treating. Their home was washed out (what we call it when the structure sorta remains but water has taken out the interior). They both sound depressed. She went to Bay St. Louis to clean out her Dad's home. His house was filled with 14 feet of water during Katrina. He's moved to another state and says he won't come back to the Coast to live.

P and C moved to an apartment after the hurricane with their two high school students. This weekend, they move to their own apartment. I offered to give them household things and etc. to help them feel at home. From the garage/estate sale hoard, I can fluff up either a FEMA trailer or temporary apartment with accessories and stuff.

Not that people want stuff anymore. The current mood is "I don't want anything that can be lost" which is a good indicator of depressed mood. Everything and anything can be lost. We know this. What we aren't certain of, at this point in the aftermath, is how we tolerate more loss.

A cell phone gets damaged. It is the link to outside because Bell South hasn't finished phone repairs. Losing use of the cell phone upsets into hysterics. The proportion of loss is impaired down here.

"I don't want anything that can be lost." Having an aged parent move to another state is a loss. Having nowhere familiar to lay one's head is a loss. Sharing office space because your office blew away feels like loss. It's loss.

The changes of everyday life overwhelm the grieving spirit. I see this every day. I see people grieve over small frustrations, huge disappointments (the Insurance Industry), unfamiliar physical landscape, unavailable goods (grocery stores aren't stocked as they were before the hurricane) and not knowing where friends/acquaintances are living.

This is such a weird time to be living. I suppose all times are this way but the abrupt Before Katrina and A K overwhelms my people. And, me, too.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Regular posting will resume when I finish reading Pullman's THE GOLDEN COMPASS unless I begin the second book of the trilogy which will delay bloggage further. Please direct all correspondence to Whistle or Fish, the kittens.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

2 Months Tomorrow

* When I stood outside in the early morning light this morning, I looked at the sky and thought "how beautiful". I did not see a tree-less backyard. I saw a beautiful sky.

*The grocery stores down here get their supplies from the big city of New Orleans. Many stores seem empty, with a few items on the shelves. I went to a clothing store late this afternoon. The racks were empty. I asked a sales person why there were so few things for sale. She said, "We load the racks at night. People buy everything in the mornings and we don't have enough employees to keep the racks filled all day long." I'll be glad when things look normal again.

*A gracious Presbytery, north of here, offered to pay the difference between our insurance check and the costs of re-building the church. They want to paint the interior of our building AND provide two Sundays of supply preachers for my Fall Pilgrimage to NYC and Thanksgiving Weekend with LD home. I am doing the happy dance!
We will be able to do things at the church that we dreamed of doing.

*The LH is off to see LD. I miss him but am delighted he's gone to the Aunts Spa Respite House for a break. He'll enjoy being with his LD and seeing Assumpta and Dibley.

*I expect a house full of relief workers from the Carolinas and three Missionaries from Brazil this weekend. I like this.

*I am eating dark chocolate Hershey's kisses to celebrate the help of the Presbytery for my congregation AND to comfort my loneliness with LH away. (Note to Self: everyone sees through your rationalizations. Everyone)

St. C

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

RevGalBlogPals Advent Devotions

I am so proud of all of you!

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Guest Blogger Whistle the Kitten


I'm a kitten and my brother, Fish, is a kitten and we are kittens.

We were born on August 28, 2005 which everyone knows was the day before Katrina the hurricane. We were born in Picayune, Mississippi which we thought was a big city until we came South to live here.

We are ginger cats and both of us are orange. I am better looking than my brother but he disagrees. I am bigger, which is true, and I make noises like growls, hisses and meows. Fish is quiet but he purrs. Go figure.

Our new human is nice to us. You'd think she'd name us something like, "John" or "Matthew" but she said she was getting a bit tired of dealing with Matthew each week. What does that mean? When Mr. C. suggested "Mark", she said she had recovered from dealing with him last year.

Mr. C named us after a John Prine song. We have no clue what that sentence means. Not. A. Clue. We are kittens whose world view is Mrs. C's study where we keep our litter box, food dishes and furry mice toys.

Mrs. C told someone on the phone (we hear lots because there is a phone on her study desk) that this was the year that Rusty the Greatest Ginger Cat in the World Died and then Assumpta and Dibley (cousins in NC with LD now) came, a dog named "Governor" then the two of us. She said she is running a boarding house for Hurricane Animals. Assumpta and Dibley were from the Humane Society right before Hurricane Dennis.

Anyway, we like it here and Mrs. C gets all sappy and kissy with us. She must like cats. As my brother and I say, "if you don't like cats, what's with you???"

We have to go sit on her lap. She says we are a "comfort" to her and that means we have to pay attention to her. Fine with us. The food is good here and we each have a fur mouse toy.

Gotta go. We have a new cardboard box to jump in and out of. Really.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Biloxi and Gulfport Before and After Katrina

This is the site for WLOX news in Biloxi. Look for the Biloxi Before and After along with Gulfport Before and After videos.

WLOX-TV - The News for South Mississippi: Katrina Video Coverage

Into your good care, O Lord, we commend our lives and futures. Amen.

Why pay insurance premiums if the insurance industry ducks it's policy holders on a quibble? I was told that I didn't need flood insurance by my agent. What's going on here? Why isn't there an outcry over the insurance industry's lack of fairness?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Send Out Some Love

This guy needs some comments to keep him going. Could you stop by his blog and say something encouraging? Thanks.

Hurricane Katrina - Mississippi Response

Setting the Mood

Fish And Whistle
©John Prine

I been thinking lately about the people I meet
The carwash on the corner and the hole in the street
The way my ankles hurt with shoes on my feet
And I'm wondering if I'm gonna see tomorrow.

Father forgive us for what we must do
You forgive us we'll forgive you
We'll forgive each other till we both turn blue
Then we'll whistle and go fishing in heaven.

I was in the army but I never dug a trench
I used to bust my knuckles on a monkey wrench
Then I'd go to town and drink and give the girls a pinch
But I don't think they ever even noticed me.

Fish and whistle, whistle and fish
Eat everything that they put on your dish
And when we get through we'll make a big wish
That we never have to do this again again? again????

On my very first job I said thank you and please
They made me scrub a parking lot down on my knees
Then I got fired for being scared of bees
And they only give me fifty cents an hour.

Friday, October 21, 2005

A Shirt for Mr. C

Wireless Catalog - I'm Sick Of Being My Wife's Arm Candy Shirts

At this moment

At this moment, the National Weather Service shows Wilma pounding elsewhere.
Our local NOAA hazardous weather bulletin concerns the drought. Fire ban. No burning.
No rain.

Here in the Backwater, October is a dry month. How weird that the Largest National Disaster in the U.S.A where wind driven rain damaged just about everything that the flooding didn't ruint (please pronounce "ruin" with a "t" at the end. Gutteral grunt in a half-hearted fashion as you pronounce, y'all).

Dry here. Very dry. Hair does better with humidity as we have learned to look great in 95 % humidity. However, the World's Greatest Hairdresser tried out "a new color line" (hairdresserese for "new chemicals") on somebody around here. That somebody has nutmeg brown hair. She has taken to wearing her "Life is Good" cap pulled down to her ears. Brown hair? I doubt she'll adjust. She's a durn red-head.

Life is just tough here. You think you are working on your attitude and learning, as St. Paul urged, to be happy whatever because of who God is for us. Does that include the worst coloring fiasco one has ever seen?

(note to self: I thought you weren't going to blog about your hair. Isn't this blog supposed to be about uplifting numinous spiritual issues? Please go back and review your blog Mission Statement and Visioning Goals.---Ed.)

Busy Looking for Mission Statement...,

St. Casserole

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A Light Blazes in the Darkness

A Light Blazes in the Darkness

Shout Outs!

*Love and sloppy kisses to the Angel up East who is sending boxes of books for our pastors!

*A big Quizzical Arched Eyebrow to the debris removal people WHO ARE BURNING THE DEBRIS SO THE AIR IS FILLED WITH SMOKE ALL DAY LONG as if we didn't have to cope with mold infested/rotting pork bellies, chicken parts and sewage odors while we clean-up. We are under a burn ban because Katrina was followed by a drought but the EPA is allowing debris burning.

*A big Shout Out to Aunts who understand the Power of Tinkerbell Costumes!

*Loud applause to the dreamers and visonaries who plan to start new congregations amidst the rubble on the Coast!

*Thanks be to God for the friendships Mr.C and I have with UMCOR workers!

*Growls and Hisses to the phone company who won't move their wires so our debris can be taken away AND to the debris removal people who won't pick up the debris because the phone wires aren't removed. Great tenacity of spirit thrives in this stand-off.

*The Get Out Your Cattle Prods and Find An Adjuster's Butt to all the insurance adjuters who are causing more damage by taking so durn long to get to homeowners and businesses. Take your vitamins! Get Moving!

*Shout Out to all those I love and all those who love me.

St. Casserole, More Herself Than She Was Last Week

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I wrote the post below after I got a phone call from a pastor who introduced himself, said his board asked him to make contact with a person down here then said, "I have one question for you. Is it good stewardship for us to give you money?"

Hurt my feelings. I know how it feels to be a poor Southern slob who has to justify why my people need help.

Thanks, I wasn't completely sure how it felt to be humbled by someone offering a stingy gift.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Ministry Down Here: Not for the Faint-Hearted

Churches around the US are pouring love, people, stuff and money into our area. I've gotten calls from several churches asking if they may adopt or partner with us as we rebuild. All of the distressed area churches have received calls offering help and money. Day after day, I get calls asking if we need help.

The answer is "yes".

Several of our churches won't get enough insurance money to repair their buildings. They'll be indebted for years unless they get help. Several of our pastors are traumatized to the point of being walking dead. Pastors are homeless. Furniture, books, electronics, household goods are gone along with their homes. Their families are split up so that children can go to school elsewhere. Their spouses may or may not have jobs.

Pastors are trying to figure out how to do ministry with congregations traumatized, exhausted and broke. Many churches have lost 20% or more of their people. Church records are destroyed. Buildings aren't useable.

Whatever we planned for Fall of 2005 is shelved because their aren't enough church school teachers, youth programs are messed up and no one has energy for much of anything.

I'm doing ok. Our church can re-roof and make the necessary repairs. None of our members are bolting from the area. All of my people survived the storm.

I'm doing ok but my colleagues are suffering. In pain. Exhausted. Stressed trying to meet the needs of their people.

If you want to do exciting ministry, come on down. Give one of our pastors a break by offering to preach for a Sunday or two. Come down and start congregational redevelopment in one of our congregations where members left for new lives elsewhere. Come hold our hands, listen and offer the Hope you have.

I'm trying to do this, I really am.

We need more help. We aren't giving up. We are thinking of new ways to do ministry. We are praying for guidance as we use the gifts we've received so that we strengthen congregations for future mission. We are doing what we can with what we have.
Thank you to whoever popped me into 15K visits. Perhaps my own visits to see if anyone is reading my Tale 'O Woe did the trick. Anyway, I'd send a pound of Community Dark Roast Coffee to "Visitor 15,000" if I knew you. Thanks for coming.

St. C

Monday, October 17, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Images from Duke University

Hurricane Katrina Images

Worth a look to see the devastation of Katrina. Thanks, Duke University, for helping me understand the extent of the storm.

St. Casserole


Every Fall, or what passes for Fall in the Deep South, we pick up beautiful pinecones from the yard.

When the children were little, we practiced serving pinecones with a tennis raquet into the giant azalea bushes. If golf was the sport of the moment, we drove the pinecones with a nine iron. The azalea bushes never seemed to mind being the dump for dozens of large pinecones.

Today I picked up the last crop of pinecones. I used the old lady grabbing tool sold by my neighborhood hardware store. The grabber is the tool of choice of all my antique neighbors for picking up anything they don't want to bend over to grasp. It's fun to use.

My trees are gone with a few scrawny exceptions whose pine cone producing days may never come.

Arrgghhhhhhhhhh All I ever blog about is loss! Oh, rats and double rats! Oh, my dear messy pinetrees gone to the street for the debris trucks!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Movie Review, Sunday Preview and Harborview

The LH and I drove to another city to the movies this afternoon. We saw "Wallace and Grommet" and loved it. Except....the cleric in the movie is useless, superstitious and silly. All characters are silly but I sting when I see clergy portrayed as useless. We are not useless! I ate popcorn and contemplated sending LH down for chocolate to calm my pastoral nerves but controlled my emotions instead.

Tomorrow's Gospel lection is Matthew 22:15-22, the "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's" passage. Besides telling people that the State is to be given it's due (taxes, etc.) as much as a Christian in conscience can, the text demands attention to be paid to God's authority in our lives as first, with all other loyaties a far second. I don't use this as a stewardship season text to raise money. Been there, done that and I don't think it is a fair reading of the text.

Harbor views are difficult as Highway 90 is closed except to licensed contractors with ID and residents with ID. We don't see the Gulf waters anymore. So disconcerting to lose the view of the beautiful Gulf. When the highway is repaired, the residents property secured and when the governments feel darn ready, we will be allowed to see the water.

Everything is a mess here. Debris piles, plastic bags hanging from tree branches, trash on the highways and roads, businesses looking torn up and blue tarps on too many roofs.

Oh, by the way, I spent Wednesday night on Highway 61 going toward the Delta. For you Blues enthusiasts, this makes my blues creds top notch. Just call me "Blind Lemon Casserole."

Blueswoman St. Casserole Herself

Friday, October 14, 2005

RevGal Friday Meme

Thank you, Quotidian Grace who followed Songbird's lead with this week's meme:

1. The weather in your location: High today of 86; cooler here tonight. Clear bright blue skies!

2. Where are you typing this?: In my study at home. The room is filled with family history, bunches of papers, three bookcases and detritus.

3. Where you might like to be sitting if you could be anywhere: I miss LD. I'd be sitting with here with my arm around her.

4. A chore you have to do this weekend: Wash my car (can't take the dirt anymore!), clean up more of the debris pile in the front yard.

5. Something delightful you will do or would like to do this weekend: Go to the movies Saturday afternoon with my LH. One theater is open on the Coast. One.

RevGalBlogPals-sy yours,
St. Casserole

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Positive Thoughts

I don't know how to title this post. Good grief! Please ignore the gallows humor, sarcasm and crabbiness.

*I am thrilled to leave for an upstate Presbytery meeting because I can get at least 200 miles from here. I want to take my LH so he can get a break but he's busy.

*Anderson Cooper, the CNN reporter, impressed me with his Katrina coverage. His anger matched mine although I didn't see his blow-up with Mary Landrieu, D-LA, who I respect.

*I can see the sky and all the stars at night because our backyard tree canopy is gone.

*It's getting cooler here. It was 88 yesterday as a high.

*I received my Sept.5 PRESBYTERIAN OUTLOOK and my early September CHRISTIAN CENTURY yesterday. Our mail is coming in bits and torrents. I read through the CC while getting a pedicure yesterday afternoon.

*The second Sally Lockhart mystery arrived from Amazon yesterday. Yippee! The Golden Compass trilogy, called His Dark Materials?, is now MINE!

*Our house is starting to look as if I live here. Laundry is up-to-date. Refrigerator has food and condiments. (when the power goes off, the refrigerator gets emptied to the bare walls. you loose your horseradish, garlic spreads, fancy pickles and raspberry preserves)

*Going to the grocery store is like a family reunion because I see everyone I know and I'm glad to see EVERYBODY.

*I saw a hummingbird in the courtyard yesterday. Saw a squirrel earlier and a cardinal...

*I have a new appreciation for the Central NC Baptist Men's group Medical Clinic in a church parking lot near our home. God bless them! They've treated all sorts of post-hurricane accidents and miseries for my friends. I'll be sorry when they take down the tent, roll away the RV and go home.

*The pine cones are beautiful this year.


St. Casserole