Sunday, July 31, 2005

Last Post of July

"See you next month!" My mom told me this on the last day of the month as she said good-night to me when I was a child. I loved this because it was a dramatic statement ("next month" sounds like a long time) and funny because all I would have to do to see her again was wake up the next morning. I was easy to entertain as a child. Didn't take much to amuse me.

God helped me find my LH who comes from a heritage of easily entertained folks. We are a good match. With a few words or a simple drawing or whatever, we can entertain ourselves for a long time.

Our children are easy to entertain.

Now come the kittens who, it turns out, are easy to entertain, too. Take Dibley for instance. Turn on the dishwasher and the kitty is transfixed staring at a black plain fronted dishwasher. He doesn't want to move.
Assumpta can play with a bookmark, piece of crinkly paper or her own tail all afternoon. The only way to distract either Dibley from the dishwasher or Assumpta from her toys is sleep. Both kittens drop into deep sleep mid-sentence. One moment they are busy, the next minute they are supine puddles of fur.

I'm off to finish the Lily Connor, Anglican tentmaker Mystery solver priest, novel then drop into deep sleep.

See you next month........
St. Casserole

Saturday, July 30, 2005

I'm not sure what's going on here. I'm comfortable with this to a certain extent. Not fully, but mostly.

Great estate sales this morning. We hit the road early drenched in bug repellant (outdoor sales, Deep South, July, etc.), clutching coffee mugs and jingling with small bills and change. Many sales this weekend because it's end-of-the-month. EOM translates to people moving, sellers knowing that people just got paid and the sad one: people needing rent money. I'm afraid we don't help the rent money people much because they've hit bottom before and have little to sell. The misery index is high at those sales.

Purchases: 1940's Cowboy China Plate looks like a Roy Roger's piece of China but is unmarked
Odd electrical lamp for collection of lamps behind my dining room table
Funky wooden shelf to be re-painted
large brass Christmas decoration bells for the kittens to bat around
sterling silver peacock ring
large silverplate sugar bowl and creamer, may have been re-plated which
might explain it's odd patina. Will be used for cut flowers

Things going ok with you? I noticed that NO ONE took me up on the offer to preach at the church during the NO A/C Weeks. Eeek!
I hope my sermon on Genesis 32/Jacob Wrestling will go well in hot weather.

St. C

Good Day at Church

I should say COOL DAY at Church because all the Saints and Angels got the A/C fixed. I was even a tad chilly ! Yahoooooo!

Kathryn is preaching for me Sunday. My congregation will be thrilled. Her congregation will be sans preacher as I am not leaving to exchange pulpits with her. I'm staying here to cook Deep South and Seafood for her.

The above paragraph is a fantasy. Rats! I wish I could blip transatlantic to preach for her and vice versa.

My sermon on Jacob went well. How could it not with such a rich text of struggle, blessing and naming?

Time for my Semi-Obligatory Pastoral Nap.

St. C.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Blogsphere and et. al.

The Presbyterian Outlook has a story on Rev. Mark D. Roberts and the blogsphere. See it here:

I suppose we should keep quiet on our coterie of revgalblogpals.

It's Friday morning and there aren't any Cat Blogging pictures to show. Andy is sequestered inside to keep him from finishing off the bird he attacked and placed in the courtyard. Dibley and Assumpta are beating the tar out of one another "just because." I mentioned to the kittens that they should "save some beating each other up for later." This confused them and they stopped. Never underestimate the value of irony a la Friedman/Congregational Systems on cats.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Way I See It

When God, the Creator of the Earth, the Sun and All that is, even us, created the Deep South God meant for us to live this way during August:

1. All roofers and outdoor laborers would go shelve library books in the air conditioning. All library personnel go home to read all the books they can't get to during the year or take vacations. Pay remains the same for all. Construction Companies management go on vacation for August.

2. No Moms give birth during August as it is too hot to carry around the extra heft.

3. All mosquitos die in February and never return. Gnats, too.

4. No men wear long sleeved shirts, ties and undershirts to work. No women wear panty hose or anything uncomfortable like tight clothing or girdles/grippies/Hold'ems. Lightweight natural fabrics like linen (no ironing, either!), cotton and nekkidness are the fashion.

5. Everyone has access to outdoor bathtubs with privacy and swimming pools. Everyone learns to swim so no one drowns. No one dives headfirst into water of unknown depth.

6. August becomes the month to let grass and weeds "rest" from cutting and pruning. It would be louche to use power tools on greenery.

7. No child goes to school. All schools remain empty for the month. Teachers, administrators and staff go on vacation.

8. Diets turn from heavy foods to very light meals featuring home-grown tomatos, Silver Queen corn and local fruit. All grocery store peaches are prohibited until 2078.

9. Ice cream is viewed as a suitable dinner along with banana popscicles and other ice cream novelities of one's choice.

10. All famous "Winter" movies are featured on TV while any shot of the Sahara Desert or beach movies are shown in cold months.

11. Every family has easy access to ice machines with plenty of ice. Iced coffee is preferred over hot coffee.

12. Any woman having "power surges" during August may either blast out her family, take a turn as a bill collector for businesses or simply do what she durn well pleases without comment from anyone.

Think about it. Doesn't this sound like God's purposes for us in August?

St. Casserole

I think the PPB is back....

or at least got her paws on a laptop! I have a comment from her!
Come Home Ms.PPB!

Yoo Hoo!

Here's a bit of Bishop William Willimon from the April 24-May 1 2004 Christian Century:

" The people who are called to lead are almost always the wrong people. it is almost as if God goes out of God's way to pick those who, at last on the face of it, have no virtues or qualities that suggest they would be good leaders. I'm thinking of Jacob, Sarah, Mary, Peter and Paul here, as well as of Moses. Perhaps God likes a challenge. Maybe a Creator who makes something out of nothing considers vocation a continuing aspect of creation. Any God who could make a man like Moses into a wonderful leader must be some God."

Thanks for your kind comments about my non-A/C sermon troubles. I've been doing this preaching thing long enough to know when I'm a bomb and when I'm getting across. But, thanks anyway for being so very gracious. I'll be ready to pivot this Sunday. I plan on taking an ice chest of ice and cold water for the Saints. You may wear tank tops, cut-offs and flipflops if you wish.

St. Casserole

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sunday Report

We had a good crowd at worship on Sunday. Unfortunately, we had no air conditioning. The Session approved plans to replace the ancient duct work under the sanctuary earlier in the week but when the a/c units heard the news and wanted to help, the motors blew out. One blew out bearings, the other just began grinding. With temperatures in the 90's, a few box fans and some funeral home wavers were all the cool available.

I've been preaching for enough years to know how to pivot for changes in worship. I think it's difficult to throw me off when babies cry, people cry, fights break out, bulletins are wrong, organists get sick, bees infest the sanctuary, birds fly around the ceilings, trains blow by, truckers honk horns, electricity fails, etc. No problem. I can pivot and adjust.

Sisters and Brothers in the Lord, I can't deal with heat. It's too bad that my spoiled United States self gets distracted by swelter. I confess that I'm a whiney snort about dripping through worship. Sorry.

When the congregation realized jackets needed to be taken off and folded on the pews, fans were necessary for survival and that the preacher was not wearing vestments, they were kind. Seemed like a good time to preach a homily based on the sermon rather than the full 14 minutes.

Shorten the sermon? Oh yeah. Problem time. I did a lousy job of summarizing my sermon.

Like many preachers, I "let down" to process the morning sermon late Sunday evening. By bedtime, I've confessed to God that I am not a great preacher, am hardly worthy to approach a pulpit and should just go flip burgers for the rest of my life. I hear phrases of my sermon in my head and stomp around beating myself up.

I assume this criticism is part of the process. By Monday, I'm ready to being working on another sermon.

Not this week. Monday was a horror re-hash of Sunday. ALL DAY LONG.

I'm not proud of myself for this, I'm just sorry that in my ineptitude, I lost the ability to clearly convey the Good News because I was HOT.

Small town workers will finish the repair work in three weeks (3 weeks, urgh!) if everything goes well and Sammy doesn't go down to the Coast to shrimp for a week with his brother and if J.D. doesn't have to go over by his Mama's to help his sister-in-law move into the new trailer.

By the way, any of you out there want to guest preach at the church for the next three Sundays?
Just wondering....

St. "Too Hot" Casserole

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Top Ten Reasons Hurricanes are Like Christmas

10. Decorating the house (boarding up windows)
9. Dragging out boxes that haven't been used since last season (camping gear, flashlights)
8. Last minute shopping in crowded stores
7. Regular TV shows pre-empted for "specials"
6. Family coming to stay with you
5. Family and friends from out-of-state calling
4. Buying food you don't normally buy ... and in large quantities
3. Days off from work
2. Candles And the number one reason Hurricane Season is like Christmas ..
1. At some point you know you're going to have a tree in your house!

Hat tip: TLH

Friday, July 22, 2005

Mean and Lazy

What's worse, mean or lazy? I'm using "mean" in both the common usage of cruel as well as the older sense of "lacking charity in action or spirit."

Our local paper is mean and lazy. I don't know what to do about it. I depend on the paper for estate sale ads, the local editorials, hometown news. And, the paper shredded is great kitten litter. I consider canceling our subscription but my LH enjoys looking through the paper (sports section, comics) each morning while drinking his coffee. I've moved to the 'net for my news because I can read all the State papers, NYTimes, etc. with ease.

A local controversy took over the news staff 36 months ago. However I feel about the controversy, I'm pained by how the paper treats individuals involved. They print mean things about local people without regard to whether the information is news, editorial content or just something to put in the paper. Writers don't check background information so much information which explains behaviors is ignored. I've known the local paper staff for years now and realize that the majority of their work is organizing national news feeds from the wire services and making a few phone calls. They are lazy.

Today's paper brought such meanness to the front page that I dropped the paper and wouldn't touch it until hours later. I felt as if something dark, dank and repulsive plopped on my kitchen desk. LH took the paper to read in our bedroom. Only after hours of walking around the paper pile did I decide to check the content again and see if I was having a 'moment' or was I really seeing heartless carelessness with a human being.

I stand by my first impression.

When I am in charge of the universe, people who hurt others will feel double the pain that they inflict on someone else. They'll never get numbed to the pain. It will hurt big-time.

It will work like this: if I slap you with my language, I'll feel a double slap of pain until I realize that mean and lazy is no way to treat people.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Dibley looks at the camera not sure about having a flash go off in his face. The kittens are enjoying exploring our home. The children's dirty laundry baskets are favorite nap/hidding places.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Hey! I've Got Lots of Time! What Should I do with it???

Check out
Hat tip: the LLS
I'm speaking this morning to a church women's group. My pal is the pastor. She's not had an easy time during her five years of ministry there because of a) the church's generational history of being stinky to preachers; b) she's starting a family; and c) she's lively, bright and quick.

She plows ahead doing careful pastoral work, youth work, crafts lovely sermons and gives time to the denomination.

When she called to ask me to speak at the monthly luncheon, I asked what topic she wanted. We talked over several ideas then I told her that I'd read one chapter of the Purpose Driven (either life or church, can't remember) on "Protecting Your Pastor" after hearing about it from another colleague.

Seemed like a good topic for a congregation familar with NOT PROTECTING THE PASTOR. She agreed.

Weeks later, one of her colleagues committed suicide. His death has shot the nerves of his church people and those who knew him down here.

She speculated last night that the women might be helped by hearing my talk from the perspective of his death.

I don't think so. I'm not sure if suicide is anyone's fault or if suicide can be stopped although families and friends torture themselves over whether a chance comment or action could have helped.

If I talk about encouraging the pastor, will my listeners think I am chiding them for not being attentive to the pastor who died? I think so.

I'm not sure anyone prevents the suicide of a determined adult.

I'm not an expert on suicide.

I'm re-arranging my topic this morning. I wanted to be prepared with time spent crafting remarks rather than blowing into the luncheon with off-the-cuff preacher stories.
Not sure I can pull this off with a few hours to prepare.

Exegeting one's audience takes skill and attentiveness. I consider this every week with every word I write. The church women know about the suicide. They know I'm pals with their pastor. I was walking a fine line of blasting them for being stinky with my "protect" talk.

If you need me, I'll be scratching my head and staring out the window.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Should we have a t-shirt with this? I don't know much about Cafe Press so I'm just wondering.
How did July turn into The Month of Meetings? It's hot and we need iced drinks and less work.
I'm off to another big meeting this morning in another county. I have paperwork to do here in my study now delayed for this afternoon. I must finish the reading list for a small church worship course I'll teach in February. I recall that the deadline for this was July 1..... A sermon is simmering but not written. Presbytery committee work is piling up undone.
I thought this was a slow time of year. Where did I go wrong?
I began Harry Potter last night after I pried it from the paws of LS. After 15 pages, I was asleep. I like the way Rowling begins this one. Don't tell me what happens!
The new kitties are adjusting well. Andy, the new Alpha, seems to be enjoying having little kids to manage.
See you next time I can pause. Or is it paws?

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Things I don't understand

I don't understand the uproar among Christians about how the world began. I've read about creationism but don't understand why it is important. I understand that evolution is a theory. I don't understand why there is continued interest in making sure that everyone believes that God created the world. Nor do I understand why it is important to protect the Bible by making the Genesis account of creation is scientifically accurate.

I believe that God created the world and all that is in the world. The natural world of animals, insects, rocks, water, reptiles and human beings etc. are all God's handiwork. How God made our world or when God made the world doesn't interest me much. I'm curious but not rabid about how and when. I'm satisfied with the view that this amazing world is God's creation.

If this is an authority of scripture issue, I still don't understand why it is important. Many things in our Faith are not provable by secular standards and are taken, as we might say, "on faith". For example, I read the studies of how prayer helps hospital patients but I don't have to understand completely how God works in prayer. God's presence in hearing my prayers and yours and working in our lives is a mystery. A mystery, by it's definition cannot be "solved".

I'm ok with this.

Will it make us stronger believers to have the making of the world conform to scientific standards? Does it make theology a higher science if we trump science in understanding the cosmos?

What's the point here?

A few of the other things on my Don't Understand List are these:

I don't understand believers who grab someone and talk them into saying that "Jesus is Lord" then feel that they've gotten another pelt on their salvation belt for saving a soul. Jesus is the one who saves us, who offers by his death and resurrection the promise of living in relationship with him now and into our futures even after our death.

Our part in the process of helping others know Jesus Christ is to live our lives so that our daily living shows such trust in God that others who are searching want to know Jesus, too. I don't think pressing a booklet of the spiritual laws into the paw of a stranger is good enough.

I don't understand why Christians pretend to have such interest in the life of an unborn infant but do not do everything possible to create an environment where unwanted births are very rare, where women are safe from violent sex and where babies, when born, have all they need to grow up healthy and nurtured. Hollaring about unborn babies doesn't seem like much to help the situation for mothers and children.

Are there things in contemporary Christian discussions which you don't understand?

Maybe it's the way many Christians think you have to be a Republican to be a good Christian or why some Christians think issues are black or white and that their understanding of the faith is the only understanding.

I'm tired from a long day. I'm serious about not understanding these issues.

Correction for Archives

mibi52 who comments on my last entry is correct that Assumpta the black kitty with white whiskers is "Assumpta" not "Asumpta". Even taking Southern pronunciations and summer spelling blahs, Assumpta deserves to have her name spelled correctly.

She is the namesake of Assumpta Fitzgerald of Ballykissangel, the BBC series about the English priest in Ireland. Those of you who know the series should not tell the rest of the planet about what happens to Assumpta. My pal Patty fussed at me for not revealing the ending. I'm not sure you can win on this one. We loved the series and are waiting for the other seasons to become available.

I'm waiting for more Deadwood, too.

Hardly a comment to make on a Sunday morning as I prepare to hold forth on Psalm 139.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Al Swearingen would do better if he knew that God listens to all of our words.

Gotta go iron a dress, a linen dress sleeveless which holds no heat, so I won't melt in my vestments. Today's temps will be over 90 degrees.

The Lord be with you.
St. C.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Welcome Asumpta and Dibley

The new little cats found the LD's folded clothes on the floor and felt a nap was necessary.

Meet Dibley (L) and Asumpta (R) who came to our home last week. They are brother and sister and are about 7 weeks old.

I was driving by the humane society last week, still teary about Rusty's death when the traffic stopped so perfectly in front of the shelter that I felt I had to go inside. I asked to see a male orange kitten and met Dibley. The shelter was preparing for Hurricane Dennis and said that I'd be happy if I took both kittens as they were getting kitten-crowded and would need to evacuate all the animals because of the storm. I
delayed a day to pray about taking two kittens and wanted my family to meet the little kids. Everyone thought the kittens were delightful, especially Asumpta who was frisky and very purr-y.

I'm so glad to introduce these two to you. I love having them with us. The new Alpha Cat, Andy, is beginning to catch on that he is Top Cat. Last week was rough for him with Rusty's absence.
He hissed at Dibley in male territorial fashion several times but has now realized that Dibley is not much of a threat.

The LH sent me a picture of the Cat Lady action figure. I didn't think it was funny. Well, not really funny.

You doing ok?

Grateful for Words

While reading 's review of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, I discover two words I don't know. Love it! Thank goodness for newspapers who don't dumb down to readers even though I'm one of the readers who rush to the dictionary often.



Friday, July 15, 2005

Hope Basket

I gave the Hope Basket to my friend on Sunday. We were in post-hurricane misery and I knew I could find her at her Mama's. I didn't take a picture of the finished basket because the light wasn't good. I was in a hurry to place the basket in her hands.

You all were wonderful with your suggestions. Thank you for the many ways you help me.

I took a small basket of brown willow and decorated it with a sprig of fake greenery and berries. I don't care much for artificial greenery because the designers get it wrong but this sprig looked ok to me.

In the basket I placed:

a small glass heart with a note for her to carry the heart with her to remember that she is loved

hershey's kisses for sweetness

two sayings, one from Reinhold Neibuhr and the other from Frederick Buechner written on water color paper then trimmed with scallop scissors and painted with a light edge of champagne watercolor paint

a sterling sugar spoon with a note on ribbon reminding her that there will be sweet moments for her

a packet of seeds for future growth

a silly refrigerator magnet about hoping for the future

a cross to symbolize Where Our Hope Comes From

a bracelet kit for a creative moment

a sparkly bracelet for a down day

and a note from me telling her I have an idea of what she's going through and my affection for her as she struggles

She called me on Monday to thank me. She says she understands what the basket is about and liked it.

I send out Hope Baskets to each of you who are struggling with a future which appears to be more than you can handle. Life is like this. Being overwhelmed happens. However, I remind you that often it is in these moments of misery when we feel that we lack the resources to cope that our greatest insights come.

It's too bad that learning the Big Lessons is painful. No one enjoys this. It's just the way it is.


Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Sorting Hat Sorts!

Want to Get Sorted?
I'm a Gryffindor!

I will miss my revbloggie pals! Can we be friends, anyway?
Thanks, ReverendMother!

Thursday Dog Blogging

I'm home from the Retreat. Three days away from home are difficult for my family. It's easier for them when I am home but they are good-natured about my wandering off to be with preachers.

The speaker, from Antiqua, a Jamaican Methodist, was a graceful teacher, attentive to the students, skilled at keeping our attention and full of surprises. He broke into a reggae song to illustrate a point in his remarks. We studied the Biblical understanding of redemption in the OT and NT.

Food was great in that Deep South way-too-much butter and salt kind of way. Homemade crawfish jambalaya, squash casserole, yeast rolls, pecan pie. Get the picture? I was well-cushioned for the three hour drive home.

This is the Chef's dog, Mac. Mac wants things to chew and the plastic thing in his mouth just didn't seem safe enough for him. He chews and retrieves sticks, cups, anything big enough to carry in his jaws. I drove to the Dollar General to buy this dog boy a frisbee but didn't find one. I gave him a red heavy duty rubber chew toy and he ran away content. A fine dog whose ministry is greeting and playing with retreatants.

I'm overwhelmed with things to do today. I've got a list and am committed to focusing on finishing tasks. What's going on with you?

Monday, July 11, 2005

All Clear

So much to be thankful for around here! And, thanks to all of you for your comforting comments.

I went outside to look at the sky this morning. After a storm, it's as if the world is brand-new. The sky is clear without clouds and as blue as can be.

I'm scheduled to go to a pastor's retreat up North of here for three days beginning this afternoon. I'm assuming it will be held although the Northern part of the state got heavier winds than we did from the storm. If I go, you will get a break from me until Wednesday.

Our children must think that we are nuts to get worked-up about hurricanes. The last two threats were only that, nothing happened. We evacuated last year than ate Grace's Solidarity Cake through this one. Saturday late afternoon, LS played tennis for several hours. LD text-messaged her 180 closest friends and talked on her phone. No big deal.

The Lord be with you.
St. Casserole

Sunday, July 10, 2005


Fortified by a sandwich, a portion of Grace's Texas Chocolate Cake and a Diet Coke with ice, I took a nap. When I woke up a few minutes ago, Dennis had made landfall near or in Pensacola, Florida. This is east of us. Our winds have picked up but we are far enough away that if the storm stays on course, we won't get the horrific winds which were predicted.
Our sister in England said in a comment that extreme weather was rare where she lives. She's fortunate to miss the theatrics of nature on the Gulf of Mexico. Hard, heavy winds can do awful damage. A large pine tree can be twisted like a drinking straw wrapper paper. Old oak trees push over and bring up their roots along with the grass turf like a table cloth thrown over a chair. It is amazing. Roofs blown off as though they'd been held by only scotch tape.
We have power, we have ice, we have each other.
More later.

St. Casserole (in Church prayers known as Cassie and her family. So sweet, Songbird!)

Almost Noon on D Day Hurricane Dennis and Landfall

It's quiet here in the Pine Grove. We are having small mists of rain, the sky is gray and the tree tops are moving, not swaying.

I made a second Texas Chocolate Cake and wish Grace would come over and spend the afternoon with us here at the Boarded Up Home of St. Casserole and Her Family. I need some company.

There is a noon curfew to be off the streets so that the police can monitor looters, sight-seeing nutcases and bored teenagers.

I ate a sandwich to keep up my strength and feel awful. The LD and I took tylenol for the barometric pressure headaches the Storms cause.

Listening to our Public Radio station is boring but fascinating as the announcer tells us every detail of how our lives will be changed by tomorrow morning.

The hymn declaring, "Give to the wind your fears" has got it wrong. The WIND is my fear.

I hope the Pine Trees hold. They are tall, old and close-by. If you ask why they haven't been cut down you must speak to my LH who loves trees and removes only the sick trees.

I'll report in as long as the power holds.

We are fine. Brave and careful. Keep us in your prayers.

St. Casserole

Passing Time

That's what it feels like now. We are passing time. Letting minutes click by until we have to do this or that. Not the time to do all of it. Very much the time to do some of it. I bathed a cat. I cleaned the kitchen. I did another load of laundry. I made another pot of coffee. I read the latest Christian Century article on open theism. That Calvin College professor writes well. I bet he's a good teacher.

Everyone else is either grumping around or in the car "taking a ride." This means they are checking to see how many homes in our neighborhood are boarded up. If there are many boards, we will board. If there are few boarded up homes, we will board up only the side we think the wind will hit. It's not such an easy job to heft sheets of plywood up and then affix to the doors and windows.

Passing time. Wasting time as though time is our enemy instead of life pieces to choose or not choose. Or to choose to not choose. Is this as bad as "killing time"? I detest the concept of negating time by hurting it as though time makes no difference.

Neighborhood is NOT boarded up at 8:35 am. We are NOT in the mandatory evacuation zone.

So, I'm just sitting here calm, huh?

If you are praying for all of us in the Storm, we'd be glad of it.

This is one of the days where we'd enjoy hearing the Still Small Voice of God rather than witnessing the incredible power of God in nature.

Not that God is doing the hurricane-thingie. Your big storms are not God cleaning house and ridding the world of Republicans, Sin and Other Miseries. We live in a natural world so storms happen. We love the Coasts so we build near the water. We have lots of stuff as Americans and can lose quantities of material possessions.

God is with us and that right early. What psalm am I thinking of? God is in the midst of her.

I noticed several errors in the earlier posts. May I have dispensation from the Grammar and Punctuation Police today? Maybe for tomorrow, too?

Considering taking my credit card to the airport, getting a flight to Manhattan and returning when All This is Over,


Birds are Singing

Awake at 5:45 am. this morning, I wandered outside to listen for the birds and look at the sky. The birds are singing and sound as busy as they do on a non-hurricane threatening day. The sky looks grey. The giant pine trees are still and ready for winds to come.

If it were not for modern communication tech, we wouldn't know a big 4 hurricane was coming at us. We just wouldn't. The old people looked for ants to run up a certain side of trees to determine bad weather. Shrimpers and sailors looked for certain currents and signs. People register the change in barometric pressure by a swelling of energy to get things done. Anxiety, if you will motivated from deep in the human core.

Now we have the wonderful Hurricane Fighters who fly out of an Air Force base in Mississippi surveying the storm. TV keeps us informed although the drama of the Weather Channel is well known. A few days ago, a Weather Channel reporter stood on a local beach looking like Hell was coming at him shrieking about the horrible conditions. I know the area where he was standing. There are ALWAYS wooden planks strewn there because people have bonfires on the beach. He was showing the board on the beach as if half of the community had blown up and washed away. The Weather Channel's dramatics (Hold on to that Palm Tree and make your slicker hood tight!)
worry those who aren't close to the area. The WC picks the best shots for pictures, not for an accurate picture of events. My Up East family get upset seeing these shots thinking that we are hanging from trees and fighting 50 feet waves.

My internal forecast mechanism says that we are in for a rough day but, God willing and we act wisely, we can through this.

I do not look forward to this day but I ask God to help me live it to God's praise.
I'll write more. This seems to help me calm down.

Did I tell you that local church's canceled services?

Dry for now,
St. Casserole

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Texas Chocolate Cake, Banana Pudding and Jambalaya

Ok, so I am a drama queen. The birds are singing. We've had a beautiful day with brief thunderstorms. I just get a bit antsy.

I went to the grocery store twice. It takes a long time to fight the crowds for batteries, bleach, bottled water and enough junk food to fill up a Suburban. I don't know why we buy bleach. I know that clean up involves using bleach to kill mold and possible sewer overflow, but most of us have gallons upon gallons of bleach in the pantry from previous storms. The junk food makes sense. When the power goes, one wants a bit of comfort in candy bars, cookies, chips and crackers. Our home is junk-food-free. When I arrive home with tons of the junkiest stuff possible (powered tiny donuts, oreos, Little Debbie snack cakes, chips) eyes light up and the threat of annihilation seems less dreadful. Bottled water has come a long way. I buy several gallon containers then get cases of the carry around bottles. We use those throughout the year anyway.

Shopping takes a long time because everyone converges on the grocery stores at one time. Even if you've been to the store earlier, you have to go again. I went twice today. I spent most of the time trying to remember where items were located in a store I shop four times a week. My brain is turned down low today. And, I have to visit with six people per aisle, at least. Since we are a small place, we know each other. I have to get everyone's phone number (for phones which will be dead in a few hours) and find out where they will be. Are you going to your Mother's? Will you evacuate to Missy's? Do you have to stay at the hospital all night to work? Who is going to take care of Granny Ladner?

I came home and made Quotidian Grace's Texas Chocolate Cake much to the delight of my family. See her recipe at Then I made Patty's Banana pudding: 2 packages of instant banana pudding made according to directions, one can sweetened condensed milk, one container of the plain cool whip (I told you we were on odd rations), sliced bananas and a box of Nilla Vanilla wafers. After pudding sets, mix together pudding with sweetened condensed milk and cool whip. Line bowl with vanilla wafers, then alternate layers of sliced bananas and pudding mixture. Chill. Eat as if it is your last meal.

We have tons of frozen shrimp in our freezer so TLH is making a jambalaya. He'll put sausage and chicken in, too. We will eat well tonight. Wish you could join us.

Today I did ten loads of laundry. I even did a load of cold water wash linen outfits for me that make no durn sense as they have to air dry then be ironed. Brain turned down very low today.

We will make the decision to board up the house early in the evening after I throw a fit of anxiety and scream at everyone. I bet you didn't think I was a screamer, did you. I'm not often but when I begin to worry that people will be hurt I can blow a gasket. Brain on simmer.

I'll be checking the NOAA weather reports incessantly for as long as we have power. If you don't hear from me tomorrow or Monday assume we are powerless and I'm just off line.

Coveting your prayers. You are probably delighted to be far away from my drama and the impending weather.

The LH came into the study to tell me that he thinks the trough near Texas will push the storm further East and that we will not get much. I looked him straight in the face and took a deep breath. I trust him.

Saturday Morning

It's quiet here in the Pine Grove at 7:40am. The Squirrels are chatting but few birds are singing. Not a good sign. When the birds leave, it means something's coming.

We are under a Hurricane Warning for Dennis. Not good. According to Accuweather, we are in it, give or take 50 miles or so. Not good.

The LH has gone with a crew to board up his office. Our plywood boards are in the greenhouse waiting for the crew to come here. When the boards go up, I am in the driveway trying to make my getaway. Boards make the house dark and miserable.

I didn't grow up with hurricanes. Nope, no experience for the first several decades of my life. I heard about them, particularly Camille in 1969 a Category 5 storm. The LH lived through that and mourned the loss of his Beatles albums which for his teen aged self was a major catastrophe. His aunt lost her home, his home was surrounded by downed trees and his entire neighborhood damaged.

I am blogging because I am anxious. We are in a "hurry up and wait" mode here. I run around and secure stuff then sit staring at the Weather Channel or checking on the NOAA weather site on the 'net.

The LH stays calm throughout the hurricane stuff. I wish I had giant medications. The children seem to do fine as long as we are together. The cars are gassed if we need to evacuate.

I'm canceled for worship tomorrow. "Don't come up here", said my elder, "Stay and do what you need to do." My congregation is on higher ground. Sounds like a sermon title, doesn't it?

God of Mighty Wind and Soft Breeze, Creator of the Great Waters and Fragile Bird's Nests, give aid to those who are suffering from this storm. Give aid to those who watch and worry. Give clear judgement to our civil officials who make decisions for our safety. Watch over the very old, the very young and the very scared.
You who speak through the wind and the quiet, grant us your aid. Amen.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Winners! Annie and Aola Know Their Crawfish!

While doing all the laundry, getting gas for the cars and making sure the cat carrier is clean and ready, I thought you might want to ponder this. What is this? It's in my front yard.

We along the Gulf Coast appreciate prayers for our safety as Dennis comes this way. We may hope that it misses our part of the Pine Grove but if the hurricane misses us it means that some other families will have difficult times. Hurricane clean-up is miserable. No electricity. Chain Saw noise. Bad food. No ice. The insurance adjusters move as quickly as they can but with so many properties to evaluate it takes days and days for service. Hurricane damage upsets children who don't feel safe knowing that trees can crush their rooms, upsets old people who have enough to worry about without damaged houses and cars, upsets pets who must evacuate etc. I tell you that my nerves get shot even before a hurricane hits. I'm OVER re-doing roofs, houses, cars etc. I'm over worrying that the LH will hurt himself doing construction tasks that a legal eagle seldom takes on. No internet, TV, land or cell phones. NO AIR CONDITIONING. It's enough to make a gal cry. And, that's if no one is physically injured.

I'm praying for the people of Cuba who are being pounded as I type this. They have less than we do and fewer emergency reserves or government help. God bless them as they listen to the rain and wind whip off the roof, worry about holding on to children in the flooding and storm surge and anticipate tomorrow's work of rebuilding.

Tell me what this pile is.
Your answers will keep my mind off the "storm" as we like to call Category 4 hurricanes.

This fine cat has had a difficult week. He is the new Alpha cat in our household and is still working on owning his authority. He is holding down the driveway as his predecessor did. Good looking cat, huh?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Thank you for your kind comments to me about Rusty. The idea for the obituary came from my LLS who I called as soon as I could. She loves cats and lives with two fine felines.

Hearing from all of you is consoling to me. Thank you.

I'm working on the Hope Basket for my friend. You bloggie-pals have great ideas for the contents. I intend to photograph the basket so you can see how it turned out.

The Preachers Luncheon is today. I will load up my tiny car with china, sterling, cloth napkins and a giant casserole, salad makings and two gallons of sweet iced tea for the church where I'll be serving.

I'm short on words today. It's the heavy heart thing. Thanks for being there.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Rusty 1984-2005

Russell "Rusty" Cat died July 5, 2005. He was a native of a northern county and moved to the Pine Grove as a kitten. His first owner, Young Girl, cherished him as did her Mother. When they moved, Rusty remained and became the pet of St.Casserole and family.

Rusty was known for his quiet, dignified presence and his love of the outdoors, particularly his own yard. He was a consistent observer of birds and squirrels. Rusty participated in gravity studies on the driveway for many years checking for gravity by taking naps on all portions of the driveway.

A cat of regular habits, he was a clock for his family telling them when to feed him, when to let him indoors or outdoors. He enjoyed a morsel of steak from the next door neighbor each Saturday night for over ten years. His regular habits led him to watch for the newspaper delivery each day, take naps morning and afternoons and allowed his family to know where he was most of the time.

His gentleness with people was well known. He kept his claws and good teeth all his life but did not use them to scratch or bite unless provoked. He like to sleep with St.Casserole and rest his soft paw on top of her hand as he slept. He smelled like sunshine.

Rusty was a dignified cat who liked few humans. His own family was blessed with his attentions, particularly the children. He allowed himself to be held in odd positions and carried carelessly without a murmur. He did not attend any parties or dinners when guests were present.

He lived a long life. In his later years, he suffered from kidney disease and endured with good-humor frequent IV injections to keep him hydrated. He tolerated vists to his vet, Dr. Jen, and was greatly admired by the veterinary staff.

He will be missed for his constant presence, ability to comfort humans and for his determination to track birds and squirrels even into his senior years.

His body was prepared by his family. He was buried in a shroud embroidered with birds and rabbits. His grave is north of the bird feeder where he enjoyed watching birds.

Gracious God, who gives us the good gift of pets, we thank you for Rusty. We thank you for all in him that made us love him. We thank you for his life with us which made us grateful for the natural world. We thank you that he allowed himself to live with people even though we did not undestand him. For the mysteries of life together with our pets, we give you thanks. We commend to your care all pets we love and have loved. We ask that you give us tenderness of heart for all the world's pets so that we may live responsibly and lovingly with them. Heal our grief in your gracious time. Thank you for letting us love our pets as we do.
In Christ's name, Amen.

Rusty died after lunch today. He didn't appear to be sick this morning nor did I notice anything unusual about him. He died quickly, in less than an hour. He began to throw up his lunch and he may have aspirated. Dr. Jen said he may have been more ill with his kidney disease than we knew but that he had many more years than is usual for cats.

I am beside myself.


* There are two tropical things developing in the Gulf. It is cloudy and humid here today. I worry about flood waters.

*The Old Man Cat has kidney disease. He can't get enough water by drinking so I giving him a subcutaneous IV of water solution most days. He's patient through the stick of the IV needle and the wait for the drip because he gets a small amount of shredded cheddar cheese. Not enough water.

* Our friends called yesterday to ask if they could throw themselves into our pool to cool off. Of course they can. They fished out a turtle and several frogs. Turtle and frogs: too much water. People: the refreshment of water.

* I drink lots of water to avoid dehydration from the heat and I come from a family of constant water drinkers. I drink bottled water and our local water (passes clean test) with ice. Water out of the "cold" faucet is hot because of the summer heat.

* I read yesterday as I was moving papers around in my study (ie. cleaning up but getting distracted and stopping to read) from the PCUSA study on families. One line caught my eye about Baptism being the transformation of our identity. Water: Sacramental.

Cleaning, refreshing, comforting, drowning, flooding, healing water.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Hey everybody! I need help!
I've got a friend who is going through a terrible time. Not physical illness but sick at heart. She's facing two rotten options for her future in the next few weeks and I'm aching for her.
We talk often and I'm available for her.

I want to make a Hope Basket for her. I've thought of all the Bible quotes about hope that I find helpful, literary quotes about hope, a sterling sugar spoon to recall the sweetness of life, a packet of seeds to remind her of how things (and people) keep growing. But, I'm stumped for what else.
Help me think of things for the basket, please.


Saturday, July 02, 2005

Michelle Blake's Lily Connor in THE TENTMAKER

Thank you, revblog pal, who suggested we read Michelle Blake's novels about Lily Connor. I read The Tentmaker and LOVED IT. There are three mysteries featuring the Episcopal Priest Lily Connor, I ordered the other two this afternoon. Lily is a well-rounded interesting character who serves as an interim priest.

I don't remember who told me about this series. I read a Clare Fergusson mystery, too. Enjoyed reading about Clare and her ministry as well. Lily reflects more on her ministry and the ethics of her decisions than Clare and I like the author's treatment of Lily as priest. How do these novelists know so much about clergy women?

I listened to Joanna Trollope's Marrying the Mistress on audio last week. Anyone who thinks the grass of marriage may be greener with another person may, if brave, wish to listen/read the book. You will wither your nellies over the complications of adultery.

Our preacher coffee group read Trollope's The Rector's Wife months ago so I was interested to see if I liked other Trollope books. I bought A Passionate Man today and will let you know how it goes.

Note to self: No one is fooled by your mulitiple blog entries and book reviews. They know that the Romans 7 passage is driving you nuts. Delaying the final draft of tomorrow's sermon must be done and you can't put it off much longer. People can see through you, Mrs. Casserole!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Pete Townsend's Be Friendly Be Friend Me Now

I'm sending this out to the one I love. You know who you are.

When eyes meet in silence
A pact can be made
A life-long alliance
That won't be betrayed
Be friendly, befriend me now
A friend is a friend
Nothing can change that
Arguments, squabbles
Can't break the contract
That each of you makes
To the death, to the end
Deliver your future
Into the hands of your friend
Be friendly, befriend me now
A promise is a promise
A handshake will seal it
No amount of discussion
Can ever repeat it
Commitment forever
To borrow or lend
Deliver your future
Into the hands of your friend
When eyes meet in silence
You need a pact
A pact can be made
A life-long alliance
That won't be betrayed
Won't be betrayed
You need a mate
When facing the end
You need a mate
What is the fate
Now facing my friend?
Facing my friend
What is the fate?
What faces my friend?
A friend is a friend
Nothing can change that
Arguments, squabbles
Can't break the contract
That each of you makes
To the death, to the end
Deliver your future
Into the hands of your friend
Be friendly, befriend me now
Turn your head sideways for FRIDAY CAT BLOGGING.
This week featuring ANDY the FUNNIEST CAT in BACKWATER.
This pic taken through a window as Andy yawns in boredom watching me do stuff, boring stuff.
Maybe I'll go to this garage sale from our local Backwater Gazette:

ESTATE SALE. Beautiful furniture, bedroom, dining room, Ovarian china, mirrors, glassware, tools. All at ridiculously low prices! SAT. & SUN. 9am-2pm. XXX St. John. Call XXX-XXXX

One can only imagine what the tablesettings look like.

Have a good weekend. Please don't fire shotguns out your backdoor as fireworks, ok?