Saturday, December 30, 2006

Lunch with Songbird

Songbird's Lunch at the Mockingbird Cafe in Bay St. Louis. She chose the "Radley", a delicious roast beef /red onion/horseradish mayonaise/lettuce sandwich with thick potato chips.

Having a GREAT time,

St. C.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Our friend M.L. did well in surgery this morning. She'll stay at Old Hospital for a day or two for antibiotic drips. I am happy dancing with joy that she's ok.

Songbird is in my kitchen right this minute!

I have a new camera!

Songbird is preaching at Little Church Sunday! I guess I won't be visiting the Last Minute Preacher Site except to grin.

Blue skies here!

Computers working again!


St. C.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Dog Cookies! Ear Scratches! Aunt Songbird!

Aunt Songbird is here!
The humans say we have router troubles with the computer. Who cares?
Songbird is here!

Sister, the Dog
Nanny to Whistle and Fish
Just like Ophrah has Nannies for Her Pets
The Very Same Thing.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Oh! Just try to guess who is coming to see us tomorrow? We are excited! Yipppeeee!

St. Casserole
As 2006 ends, I give thanks for my Preacher Coffee Group. We have an official name, but I call it the PCG. We meet most weeks unless the majority are out-of-town. I am the only member whose home wasn't destroyed by the hurricane. Everyone had church damage. Several aren't back in their sanctuaries yet.

Here we are, the original group:

Rev. Huntin Dawg, the fisherman, bright and articulate. He's the group organizer. Tells stories, makes up stuff and writes well.

Rev. Books takes the ferry to get to our group. The Big Bridge is out, thanks to the Storm. Reads, studies and reflects.

Rev. Bagpipes is on sabbatical and is enjoying her time off. She is creative, lively and lots of fun.

Chaplain Deep survived Viet Nam and two tours in our current war. Heart felt words, many wounds.

Chaplain Dr. Brain meets with us often but is on-call at times. Kind, noble with a great sense of humor.

The Reverends Angry and More Angry don't come as often as they did. Their tempers distract the group. They were crabby before the Storm.

Rev. Huntin Dawg drives us nuts with his inclusivity. He invites all the preachers several times a year. Some come, then leave. Others stay because we hold one another accountable which leads to a wonderful safety. Our only rules are that attendance is expected and what is said in the group is private.

This morning, I read the Church website of a famous seminary colleague. On the site, the Big Preacher states that his staff are his best friends. Ouch! Not good! Better to find people outside your congregation and staff who will put your feet to the fire, listen with a pastor's ear to your whining and let you know when you are being creepy.

Thanks, Coffee Group! You make me a better pastor.

St. C.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

I would like to sit with my little sister and listen to "Jingle Cats" tonight.

St. C

Saturday, December 23, 2006

As Advent ends. I'd like to apologize to God one more time. I apologize for not trusting You to make a way when there was no way.

Every Advent, I recall the years when Mr. C. and I dreamed of having a child. I'd preach the text for tomorrow, Luke 1:45-55, the Magnificat. I'd study the words about Mary's joy over her holy pregnancy and weep over my lack of pregnancy. I wanted my soul to magnify the Lord not just because of the miracle of Jesus' birth but because my dream was to understand how Mary felt.

Infertility is just the pits. Those who want children can't have them while those who don't want a pregnancy get morning sickness and positive urine strips. Mr. C. and I went through all the fancy intrusive stuff but no baby.

I began to want to punch God out. Mad and sad and trying to be a good preacher whose words came from genuine faith not mad/sad.

While I understand that our ministry isn't about perfection or achievement, I felt huffy about this no baby thing.

I prayed for a child. God sent us a baby who is now the gigantic LS. When we met the attorney handling our adoption at the pick-up point, I could not believe how wonderful everything had become.

That Advent I understood part of what Mary felt because in my arms, I held a squirming warm child who was almost 1.

Eighteen months later, I became pregnant. I had two lovely weeks of knowing I was pregnant before I miscarried. During those two weeks, everything changed in our lives.

Then, it was over.

I understood Mary in a new way, again.

LD arrived through the amazing action of adoption. Could life be any better? How could we have two children when there was no way for us to have children?

So, I apologize for not trusting God to give us children. God found wonderful children for us who have enriched our lives more than we could imagine. Children so precious to us that we can't remember what life was life without them.

At 46, I had my second pregancy. A miscarriage followed not very long after I began to receive high risk medical care. I regretted losing this baby. Absolutely.

But, God answered our prayers with these two amazing children and I felt comforted.

My soul does magnify the Lord. My spirit does rejoice in God my savior. He has regarded me, in my lowly estate and provided good things for me.

God, I apologize for not trusting you to do more for us than we knew how to ask. Really.


St. Casserole

Friday, December 22, 2006

The property surrounding our home ("yard" in our Southern parlance; "garden" for the more sophisticated) is a hurricane damaged mess. Azaleas broken, trees gone, fence damaged---you name it, the yard is BAD.

'Tis the Season of Yard Decorations here in the 'hood.
Our neighbors decorations range from the discrete tiny white lights to GIANT AIRBLOWN Homer Simpsons, Santas and Reindeers playing Poker. Come here to ride the lights* so you can see the variety.

We have no lights. No airblowns. No nothing.

But wait! Let's reframe how we view the St.Casserole Yard!

The ROOT OF JESSE shouts with joy in the various natural tall plants not seen in a cultivated garden. Out of chaos comes natural beauty planted by God's own hand.

The desert where the CHILDREN OF ISRAEL wandered moves through the yard as fill dirt and sand cover any sign of plant life.

THE BROKEN REED is represented by the high branches of the few remaining trees which were bent by the power of the WIND.

The HIGH PLACES BROUGHT LOW may be seen in the huge pit where the City's drainage collapsed. It's so fun that the City left this pit for us to enjoy as a symbol of Advent! They were thoughtful last year, too!

The debris pile of roots and broken wood, displayed at the street curb, reminds us of the broken areas of our lives which call out for renewal (or at least pick-up).

The streetlights recall "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it".

In the courtyard, a lone pink sasanqua blooms. Protected from the winds and Storm, the plant recalls, "sheltered by the Everlasting Arms". A reminder we all need that God is here with us.

I see it differently now,

St. Casserole

*our former neighbor, the Biloxi Electrician taught us this phrase for driving around looking at lights

Thursday, December 21, 2006

One of the reasons I am "St.Casserole" is my life as a cook, organizer and Mom. While I may be a fabulous Reformed theologian (or, so I've been told*), I can do the home stuff, too.

As we near the end of Advent with all the accompanying cultural stuff**, I find myself running like a madwoman to get things finished, started and make life comfortable for my family.

As a Law Partner Wife, I'm expected to decorate for the Office Christmas Luncheon tomorrow. I'll do it and do it well***.

I'm just saying that along with all the labors of my calling as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament, my mothering, community outreach, presbytery responsibilities and etc. ****, I'm getting a bit frayed at the edges.

I'm not complaining, I'm just "sharing".

At the Edge,

St. Casserole

* someone, somewhere mentioned to me that I "really know that theology stuff". I'm taking their word for it.
**Every year, as a spiritual discipline as an resident alien in this culture, I attempt to do less and less with "holiday" trappings and more with Faith.
*** Over the years, I've learned how to do all this stuff by watching others and being my Mother's daughter.
****you know what I mean...

Traveling Mercies

Family Member travels home today. Would you pray for safety for FM and for all those traveling today and through the Holidays?

Many thanks.

Always the Mom,

St. Casserole

Monday, December 18, 2006

Why I Love Sister the Dog

" The heart has reasons that reason knows nothing of..."

Sister the Dog is my best dog friend. She watches out for me and loves me. She plays tag, nose swat and hide-and-seek with me everyday. I share Cat Cookies with her because she is my dog. She licks my head to make sure my fur is clean. She is the best dog in the whole wide world.

I nominate Sister for Dog of the Year.


Whistle the Cat

Friday, December 15, 2006

What's in YOUR handbag?

Here's a fun game!

Tell me what's in your handbag! If you don't carry a handbag, tell me what's in your pockets, messenger bag, backpack, auto glove compartment or that fanny pack you won't stop wearing.

I'll go first!

The Official St. Casserole Purse Contents

2005-2007 Book of Order

wallet with checkbook

Levenger hand desk with note cards

moleskine small book for notes

business cards

Clinque's Rasberry Glace lipstick

100% linen handkerchief, ironed, monogrammed

black ink pen

retractable lead pencil

car keys

various receipts from grocery store

two old peppermints wrapped in cellophane, age unknown

assortment of coins flailing free

sunglasses in case

picture of Mr. C. taken by Richard Avedon set in Tiffany sterling travel frame*

roll of vanilla mints

Now, what are you hauling around?

Interested in You but Not in that Creepy way,

St. Casserole

(*I made this one up)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

When Members Leave...

When small churches lose members, it shrieks. I suppose in very large churches, having a few members move away or leave for other reasons isn't very noticeable. In my congregation, we know when you are in worship and when you aren't.

I'm expecting a letter from a family who joined during my tenure at Little Church. I'm very fond of them and have enjoyed their involvement with the congregation.

The letter will tell me that they don't want to be Presbyterian anymore. Raised as Baptists, they are returning to the S.B.C.

I called as soon as I heard to tell them of my distress about their departure, to thank them for their lively participation in our church family and then the Big Whammy. I asked if I had offended them in any way to prompt this decision to leave.

We had a warm chat recalling happy memories of their time with us. They assured me that I had not offended them and that, "if I had, they forgave me." I put that comment in quotes because it struck me when I heard it.

I'm not sure we pastors ever get a direct answer as to why people leave. All sorts of excuses may be offered or the departing members may point to one incident which may or may not have prompted their leave-taking.

Because of the publicity we Presbyies receive, I am sensitive. Perhaps I'm too sensitive.

Whatever their reason, I will miss them. They weren't perfect church members. We aren't a perfect church.

We won't ever be perfect this side of heaven.

I expect their departure will make it around town faster than a bullet. Maybe I'm the last to know about their plans. I'll keep my head up and listen with my best ears and maybe, I'll find out the real reason.

But, does it matter? When people decide to leave a congregation, wish them well. Assure them that if they ever need you to please call. If you can, thank them for their participation. Continue to pray for them and let them go.

Having said this, let me make clear that I've had enough losses, of all kinds in the past 16 months, to feel rather stung tonight. Stung by one more loss.

St. Casserole

Fish's Christmas Wish List

Cat food for all cats.

Every animal shelter becomes no-kill except for extreme cases.

Several cat doors so I can go outdoors and sniff.

An "A" in my catechetics class.

Patience from people who don't want to read about cats in this blog.

World peace.

For mean people to stop.

A cure for feline leukemia, HIV and any other cat diseases.

Free medical care for cats.

A big pile of clean sand in the backyard, as tall as a mountain.

A Barbara Streisand download for Whistle's iPod.

For Andy to love me.

A good five cent cat toy.

Your Ginger Pal,

Fish the Cat
Keep traveling family members in your prayers today, please.

Always the Mom,

St. Casserole

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

How to Manage Time

Oh yeah, it's Advent and two weeks to Christmas.
Plenty to do. Many places to be.

What's a pastor to do?

Make a cat stuffie.

Let's say you are trawling at the Rescue Mission and find an Eileen Fisher Italian wool sweater for a buck. The sweater is in good condition except for the big red stain. I washed the sweater in hot water then dried the shrinking gray wool in the clothes dryer. The wool became dense and very soft with a great nubby texture, perfect for a cat stuffie.

Eyes, mouth, whiskers and arms are next.

Now, back to serious theological thingies.

Grateful to be here,

St. Casserole

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Whistle's Christmas List (so far) Additions expected. Please keep alert to changes.

1. My own litter box. Really. Don't make me explain.

2. 5lbs of Cat Cookies just for me!

3. A cat door so I may go outside whenever!

4. That CD with cats singing Christmas Carols!

5. No vet visits in 2007!

6. 50 furry shaky mice toys!

7. A pic of me on the cover of Cat Fancy magazine!

8. A sterling whistle for my cat collar!

9. That pile of sand at Lowe's Garden Center!

10. Cheese!

I've been a great cat EVERYDAY, ALL YEAR LONG.


Whistle the Cat

Saturday, December 09, 2006

St. Casserole? Where you at?

Here I am!

Computer troubles kept me away from my bloggy buddies! I hope the Computer Guy fixed the problems but one never knows...

Ready for Peace,

St. Casserole

Monday, December 04, 2006

Motherly advice for all of youse. Thanks to


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Instead of a picture, visualize this:

15 months after the Storm, our front yard has fill dirt but looks awful. I wait for the neighborhood "pretty patrol" to send us a note asking why our lawn is gone when our neighbors' yards are "back to normal".
The messed up edge of our roof isn't repaired.
We have old doors leaning up against our house.
Bricks salvaged from Mr.C's blown-away office rest in our driveway.
Back fence isn't repaired.
Shed-held-together by dirt dauber spit is standing, impervious to physics.

Why haven't we gotten more done?

The reliable work crew we use is busy repairing homes for people who CAN'T EVEN LIVE IN THEIR HOMES YET. That's why.

We don't qualify to use the work teams coming down from churches. According to my ethics, these great volunteers are here to help people without resources.

We think we can finance our repairs when we get the reliable work crew back.

I can't do the work we need. Mr.C is too busy to do the work. We look like a mess.

When the elderly, poor and disabled are fixed, then we will be fixed. Until then, we look like we don't care. We DO care.

When my best pal from Way Way up North comes to see me, I'm embarrassed that we look pretty much as we did last year. Our home survived the Storm so we are better off than many in our neighborhood but we sure look dreadful right now.

Got the picture? Good! I'm tired of seeing.

Your Pal,

St. Casserole

Friday, December 01, 2006

Grace and peace to you. Our Advent candles are ready for Sunday. Mr. C. and I travel to Another State for a Church Anniversary. I served Another State Church as a young Revgal. I'm invited to preach the Children's Sermon for Sunday. Saturday, I'll be sharing memories of my time at ASC.

Yesterday was in the mid-70's. Today we have the 40's. No wonder everyone is sniffly.

At a called meeting yesterday, my "group" voted to ignore the Constitution of our denomination unless it suited us. I registered my name against such a vote. We approved a document full of the word "trust" but we don't mean it. I believe "disingenuous" is the correct assessment of our actions.

Again, may you find the blessing of living between the Promise and Fulfillment.

Feeling rather lonely,

St. Casserole

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Jenny Gallo at Carrot Top Studio crafts beautiful stoles. Look at this one for Advent: textured fabrics, gorgeous shades of purple (and pink!) gold braid and sparkles!

Jenny's work is on eBay. Find her by searching "carrot top studios" in "sellers". She has a few listed right now.

She uses different fabrics and trims to make comfortable stoles. Her stoles aren't too heavy or stiff but sure aren't flimsy. Her details, like sparkle, are subtle.

Advent colors are great for redhead preachers. I learned this last year when a very popular RevGal knit a long purple/lavender stole for me.

Check out Jenny's work. She makes liturgical banners and deacon's stoles, too.

Revved up for Advent,

St. Casserole

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Cats Christmas

A Cats Christmas

Tell Me What You Think

ReverendMother ( brings up the gift giving problem this time of year. She writes beautifully about everything so you'll enjoy reading her gift discussion (and wandering back into her archives).

I'm thinking about gifts, too. I love giving gifts and give them throughout the year to my pals. But, at Christmas, when gift giving is expected, I get confused.

It's the source of my gifts which confuses me. I don't do much retail shopping (ie. mall, boutiques, shops). I find great gifts at charity shops, estate sales and thrift stores.

I don't give anything soiled or gross or yukky. I'm not talking moldy shoes or used socks here.

People give away amazing things: fine crystal, sterling silver holloware and jewelry, unread books, etc. I clean, polish and dust (if necessary) and like to pass these treasures along.

What would you think if I gave you a gift from a charity shop? I don't try to pass off these gifts as new and, in fact, spend time thinking about the fit of the gift with the recipient.

Tell me, please.

Wearing brand-new unworn Ralph Lauren suede slippers with the new tags on slippers for .50 right now,

St. Casserole

Sunday, November 26, 2006

7:07 am. Sunday morning.
The cats woke me up at 5 am. They were lonely, wanted to drink water out of small bathroom cups (what? we have water in our bowl? who cares? let's shriek for the tiny cups!).

The bulletin is ready. The advent candle services are complete. My sermon is "mostly there..."(theological category where one hopes either that the Holy Spirit has her back or that one will be able to walk that dog proudly). Mostly, I'm content with what I hope to be a helpful sermon on the mystery of Christ our King.
Many thanks to Sarah Dylan Breuer whose lectionary blog reminded me of how the apocalytic texts, cf. Rev.1:4b-8, are worth confronting in sermons. No one doubted the worthiness of those texts but she brings a perspective to the mystery of Christ's impact on the world.

Thanks, too, the RevGals Preacher Party. I forget to attend the party on time but enjoy reading the comments of my sister and brother late-sermon-writing-pals there.

The cats were for sale at 5 am. for a cheap price, travel cases included. Free bag of IAMS food, too.

I'm sleepy but happy about seeing my congregation again. I traveled and rested the past two Sundays.

Homiletically Yours,

St. C.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Last Christmas, I was storm damaged. I didn't want to decorate or celebrate.

This year is different.

We put up our potted Norfolk Pine tree with lights and unbreak-able decorations. Kittens love Christmas trees. Whistle knocked the tree over before we got out the decorations.

Others may put up a tree Thanksgiving weekend. We've never decorated this early. Ever.

Time can be a great healer. Chin up, all those who are damaged.A better day is coming.


St. Casserole

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Today is Thanksgiving day.
I'm trying to see the humor in my poor planning for the holiday. I was out of town. I don't know how to cook a turkey and wish to spend the rest of my life without learning how. Thanksgiving is a day to be with people and be grateful for one another. It's not about the food.

Not doing too good, am I?

Instead of having hordes over to eat today or finding a decent restaurant serving a feast, we are at home. I made my famous Grits/Sausage/Cheese/Egg casserole. That's it.

At 4pm. today, we'll wander across the street to share a meal prepared by volunteers from Up Nawth. They're here re-building houses, listening to stories and being with our community. The few of us, at that church, who don't have a place to roost for Turkey Day will gather to eat.

All around the Coast, volunteers gather to serve dinner to the homeless, working poor, lonely and looney who need a warm meal.

We'll be among them. Good lesson for over-fed, middle-class comfortable people. We'll be receiving the grace of a meal given by volunteers who want to help.

The difference between our family and, those for whom today's meal will be an unusual treat, is that we're eating because of my indolence and poor planning. We can return to a full refrigerator after the meal. Mr. C. packed the frig after shopping for all the fixin's for his World Famous Best on the Planet Seafood Gumbo which he'll serve on Saturday to a drooling group of pals.

Grace on a Plate to you Today whatever your circumstances,

St. Casserole

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Caught on Canvas

This Norman Rockwell-esque pic is making the rounds on the 'net.

Actually...I know these people. This is their Thanksgiving meal from 2004. They're in a FEMA trailer this year.

Do all of y'all think we look and behave like this?

Discuss among yourselves.

St. C

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Whistle: Up Close and Personal

Mr. Good Lookin' Kitty Himself

My fortune tonight said, "Smooth seas do not a skilled mariner make."

You heard it here first.

St. Casserole

Several things...

  • Yesterday I received my college's newsletter. Included in the news was the obituary of my Favorite College Professor. FCP gave me Southern Literature as a life-long passion. He was too good for us and we must have frustrated him terribly but his kindness as well as his quirkiness was a gift to me. One Spring day as we read "A Streetcar Named Desire" in class, he threw a big dictionary out the open window just as he got to the portion where Stanley heaves Blanche's radio out the window. God bless him on this portion of his journey.

  • We wear boat shoes/sperry's/topsiders year-round here. It's as though each of us thinks we will be sailing at any minute. Our sailboat was destroyed by the hurricane and I don't think we'll be replacing it anytime soon. We need to replace the leather laces of our shoes, though. Little cats are eating the strings on all of our shoes. I found my boat shoes gnawed down to little un-tie-able messes this morning. Mr. C.'s shoes look awful, LD's shoes are a mess and now, mine are trashed. If you hear a big cat burp, it's the indigestion from eating treated leather laces...

  • Happy Anniversary and Big Birthday celebration to LS and LSiL! Going to Germany tomorrow for a long Thanksgiving weekend trip. Traveling mercies to you!

  • In a moment of weakness, I said to College Boy, "Bring all your dirty laundry home and I'll wash it for you!" Yecch. He will arrive this afternoon pulling a U Haul of gross stuff.

  • I am now V.P. of a very prestigious international on-line intentional religious community with a long name. Thank you! As V.P., I think my task will be to follow a few paces behind the Prez to carry her handbag.

  • I'm looking forward to seeing my people again Sunday after a two Sunday break for travel. My sermon is pitiful but should strengthen by Thursday. At least, I pray it will.

  • The post below got more comments than ususal! I was amazed at the number of you who de-lurked. Many thanks! You cheered me up!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I'm joining the RevGalBlogPals in THANKSGIVING DELURKING
WEEK. I'm thankful for those who read this blog and comment. If you are a reader but don't comment, you are a lurker. How about leaving a comment this week?

The RevGal blog ring is so big that many of us can't keep up with all the great blogs contained in our on-line community. If you don't go to a blog, you can't comment.

You may be reading this blog and others but not leaving a comment. I don't comment on all the posts I read. Sometimes I have nothing to add to the blogger's post or can't think of anything to say. On those occasions, Cousin PPB suggests leaving a stone "(O)" for the blogger.

Let me know if you are out there. I can't see you through the monitor.

Your Pal,

St. Casserole

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Happy to be home, again!

P. and I flew into N.O. airport late yesterday afternoon. The airport shows signs of post-katrina misery: fewer flights, empty parking garages and a rather desolate feel to the terminal. Shops are open again and so are the cafes. When you fly in, remember to get beginets there.

We had a great time! Look for me on the Thanksgiving Day show of "Live with Regis and Kelly." I'm in the audience since, for some reason, being a RevGalBlogger wasn't enough to get me a guest spot. Daniel Craig, the new Bond, was scheduled as a guest. Rats-a-ria! His portion was taped before we got there! Kelly is prettier in person, charming and tiny. Reege is himself.

We saw "Jersey Boys" and loved the music. Great cast with great voices along with an interesting story-line about Frankie Valli. Set design looked great. I had a ticket for another show but left it at the hotel so I missed "The Drowsy Chaperone." P. said if I needed to miss a show, I picked well.

I ate a pastry for each of you so you'd feel included in my travels.....

Went to Bergdorf's to get our make-up done which I won't do at home because I don't want to sit in public having someone brush eye shadow on me. The make-up man says to brush on mascara at a slant away from your nose. This was news to me as was the blush tip he gave me.

I searched for big city cat collars for Whistle and Fish. Looked everywhere but found dog stuff everywhere. What a Dog town!

Glad to be back with you!

St. Casserole

Monday, November 13, 2006


St. Casserole is on her yearly civil pilgrimage. Here are some clues to where she is:
*Peter Minuit was this place's first garage sale-r, so-to-speak, getting a big bargain for nothing;
* Jan Peeck donated money to build a wall around the village, but the wall is gone, but
everyone knows where it used to be;
* This place was the first capital of the USA and people promptly got sensible and moved it to its later site, the appropriately swampy and dank area of Virginia;
* The river that is here was originally call Mahicanituk, which is Indian for "its got to be warmer somewhere else".
St. C called upon arrival and is fine and happy and with a like-pilgrimaging friend. Animals are fine and shall not blog on my watch. Daughter is fine and able to leap tall mounds of dirty clothes with a single jump. And, things are, as always, better than we deserve.
Mr. C
P.S. St. C will return within a settimana or a vokh or many other such varied words.

Friday, November 10, 2006


For most of my ministry, I've served small churches where everything I did was shoestring budget sized. If I couldn't order VBS materials with all the cute CDs and hand puppets, I wrote the materials and used songs from books I found in the dusty church libraries or thrift stores.

If I couldn't order church school materials from the denomination because our budget could barely sustain my salary, I taught church school teachers how to adapt books on theology, the Bible and contemporary issues so that one book served an entire class.

I've furnished church nurseries to be safe and bright places for infants and toddlers from thrift and charity stores. I created worship materials to integrate children into worship so they would enjoy the service and feel included.

I know how to do ministry on a dust bunny budget.

I've gotten so proficient at doing everything with next-to-nothing that when my current congregation was dumb founded at my desire to have a baptismal font, I bought an Italian marble font at an estate sale. I worked the sale as a helper and security person so the antique dealers gave me a big discount. We haven't moved it to the church so it sits in my side yard as a bird bath. (Top that one, neighbors!)

I expect to do ministry without spending much money.

As we try to finish the repairs to our building, I'm learning to ask for money. We've put in a grant with the Big Cheeses and I am applying for other money. We need more than $100k to make our building handicap accessible, safer with new wiring and plumbing, more comfortable with fresh paint, ceiling fans and lowering our really high ceiling so we can insulate the attic.

I love the old building. It suits us for worship and activities.

We struggle to find the money to fix the building. Then we will struggle to find materials and craftspeople to do the repairs. Everything is much more expensive than before the hurricane.

I'm different since the hurricane, too. I'm asking myself big questions about ministry. Have I accomplished what I hoped for in all these years of dust bunny ministry? Are my gifts being used appropriately where I am? Do I have the words to enthuse people much younger than I am who sit and listen to me each week? Have I been responsible to my family by never earning much and having mostly no pension at this stage in my life?

Ministry is more than money. Ministry is trying one's creative best to be where God can use us to do what God wants for the world. Ministry is the willingness to serve and love people, who, if you didn't love them, you'd run from screaming. Ministry is hearing the deep song of something so beautiful that all you can do is follow hoping to catch the complete lyric.

And, now it's time to go sit with Mr. C.

St. Casserole

see that cat drinking from the dixie cup near the lavatory? i liked drinking out of human cups, too. not anymore! never again!

now she dips my hurt foot into a paper cup filled with warm water. the vet said to do this so I will lick my foot dry. conspiracy! bad human acts!

note to self: do not walk on that flat black shiny hot thing AGAIN! it is a stove and it is hot and now I have bitter auntie buy otts ticks put in my mouth every day.

talk about bad breff!

Fish the Cat

Fish the Cat Discusses His Injured Back Paw or Foot

Dear Friends,
This is not MY paw. I have ginger fur. This photo is a SYMBOL a VISUAL CLUE about the topic of this blog post.

She makes me drink bitter medicine out of a dropper then dunks my hind foot into a paper cup of warm water so I'll clean my burned foot.

My foot is healing. Is it a paw or a foot? Can't remember.
I don't have to limp anymore. I don't have fever. I'm doing fine except for (see paragraph above).


Fish the Kitten

P.S. My brother Whistle has polka-dots on his stomach. Pass it on! HAHA!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

St. Casserole --


'How" will you be defined in the dictionary?' at

With LS going for a doctor's visit today; Fish the Cat burning his back foot on the stove; LD having her cell phone taken away by the Principal and I NEED A HAIRCUT, I can't do much for my 600th post.

Love, St. C.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I like this topic for St. C's 600th Post:
Please! Nothing about the Cats!!!!
What are you reading these days?
Give us your recipe for cooking a roast.
I don't care. Just post.
Write an essay about your latest shoe purchase.
How's your ministry going?
What's the funniest thing you've seen from the pulpit?
Tell us about your ideal continuing ed. event.
How are the cats doing?
Free polls from

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Blog Post #598

I'm almost to my 600th post.

What topic do I pick?

Do you have suggestions for me?

St. Casserole

Whistle and Fish are constant companions when I am home. They follow me from room to room, "help" me with any activity and if they cannot be in a room with me, will nap outside the door.

Fish is working on being independent. He wants to be with me but he doesn't want to sit on my lap or have me snuggle with him for more than 45 seconds.

He wants to know where I am at all times. At night, after Mr. C. and I have put on our long Winter kerchiefs and turned off the light, Fish bounds into our room wailing for me. If I whisper, "I'm here, Fish", he can't hear me through the meowing.

I think it's sweet that Fish needs to know where I am to feel secure. Mr. C, falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow, doesn't like awaking up with cat wailing.

It's not easy being a year-old ginger cat in a world of war, civil rudeness, odd Presidential powers, no stem cell research and global warming. Stress, worries and fear can make a furball anxious.

St. Casserole

Copying Mindy and Cheesehead: I do whatever they do...

'What" will your obituary say?' at

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Dear Readers,

Here I am with spaghetti sticks in my hair writing a letter to you.

It's typical for me to wake up and have someone "on my mind". I pray early after getting out of bed and grabbing a cup of coffee. When I realize I've got whoever-it-is on my mind, I begin to pray for them. I may know them well or only in passing or not at all (national figures, etc.) I commend them to God's good care and move on. Sometimes, the person stays with me throughout the day.

Here's my question, O Wise Readers: do I contact the person to let them know they are "on my mind"? If it's a local or email person, I could contact them to let them know I'm praying for them.

I attempt to be gentle about prayer. I give the people I visit in the hospital the deciding vote on whether or not I pray for them by their bed. Maybe they are wild for me to get out of the room. Perhaps they want to hold on to their dignity and not cry about their situation and believe a prayer would unleash the tears. I don't know so I ask in a way that allows them to save face and tell me "no".

If I am out in the community and think a person may want prayer for their distress (illness, grief, worry about someone they love) I'll offer to pray with a gentle, "whatever you like.." so they can turn me down.

But what about the names or faces of people who jump into my mind? I pray for them but should I contact them? Geez, I hate being intrusive so this is a real issue. I can be quite the bulldog in other areas of my life so I want to be careful not to upset someone's nerves.

If someone called me up to tell me they were praying for me, I think I'd be delighted. Delighted unless they were praying that I would "get a clue" "come co-sign a bank loan for them" or that I'd come to my senses and give up the ministry because only men can be preachers. Those kind of prayers don't seem like prayers to me and appear to be manipulative.

How do you handle when the Spirit brings a name to your mind for prayer?

St. Casserole

Monday, October 30, 2006

Go here. Right now. Read all.

St. C

One Year, Two Months and One day

That's how long since the Storm.

  • Our request for money to finish church repairs goes to the Commission this week.
  • I need a plumber, electrician and a carpenter to finish repairs at home.
  • The big apartment complex in the neighborhood remains empty and dark. Will it be repaired? Torn down? Where did all the residents go?
  • Several homes in the neighborhood are gone. Just gone. Rebuilding will be from the ground up.
  • Homeowner insurance skyrocketed. And, each policy contains a caveat explaining (we think) if your windows are blown out or your roof comes off we will replace these items but not the water damage inside. Go figure.
  • Daylight Saving Time ruins my late afternoons but at least construction workers can see in the mornings to start work.
  • The Red Cross is offering grants to pay for therapy for storm victims in the affected areas. This is great!
  • Rev. Hunting Dog's congregation cleaned out their gutted sanctuary a few weeks ago. Volunteers did the big work but the congregation wanted to use the ruined space for outdoor worship. After hanging the cross in the chancel, they came back the next day to find the cross and sanctuary vandalized. The copper plumbing tubing has been stripped out three times since repairs began. Vandals.
  • Volunteers from around the country are here again. I adore seeing church vans from all over the U.S. driving around.
  • Why did will smama have to go home? I liked having her here.
  • Still plenty of places where storm debris is piled up next to the road.

St. Casserole

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Actual Conversation...

This morning as I pulled up to the curb at the church and got out of my car, a visitor walked up. I welcomed her to the church and introduced myself.

"You're the pastor's wife?"

"No, M'am, I'm the pastor."

"You are the pastor?"

"Yes, M'am. I'm the pastor."


Later, just minutes before the service. I walk down the aisle to the chancel. Visitor sees me in my vestments. She says, "Cute!"

Just thought you should know the effect I have on visitors....

St. Casserole

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Really Quick Version

Tomorrow's Gospel text is Mark 10:46-52, the story of Bartimaeus and Jesus.

This comforting story suggests that loud crying for help along with being willing to trust God's help, heals.

Physically and economically challenged, Bartimaeus didn't have much going for him except a loud voice, a clear idea of what he wanted ("My teacher, let me see again.") and the trust to get up and go to Jesus for help. Jesus heals him. Able to see, Bartimaeus follows Jesus.

O God, help me ask for help. Help me be loud and clear. Help me trust you to help me. Help me be willing to leave behind what hinders me. Help me follow you. Amen.

St. Casserole

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Here I am with will smama. We wanted you to see us together.

We laughed. We talked. She told jokes. I got most of her jokes.

I joked. She "charity" laughed.

Thank you, God, for friends who understand, listen and laugh.

St. Casserole

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Blogger Meet-Up Today!

I'm meeting will smama, one of my favorite RevGals, in a few hours!

Yippee! She's here in the Zone working with a mission group and I begged for time with her.

"Tell them you've got to do pastoral care with a local," I said.


St. C.

Wednesday Cat Blogging

Whistle, on the white chair, takes a good nap while his brother, Fish, dreams of "getting outside", "my own food bowl" and being the coverboy for "Cat Fancy" magazine.

St. Casserole

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Sir Paul McCartney and Lady Heather Mills McCartney are in divorce proceedings.

Why didn't she know that the marriage was doomed from the beginning?

She married a much older man with oodles of money, whose first marriage lasted thirty years and whose grief over his first wife was unhealed.

If only the girlfriend read tabloids at the beauty parlor.

Tabloids contain tons of info about how NOT to make life decisions.

Big money combined with money hunger causes problems.

Long-term marriage with a devoted partner followed by marrying Miss Young and Pretty won't work.

I doubt Sir Paul listened to his adult children who could have told him that he was going to be in a Heartbreak Train Wreck of Tabloid proportions.

I guess they don't watch daytime tv, either. Or read any self-help books. Or pay attention to Gail Sheely's landmark book, Passages. See the chapter on the "save your life wife".

People don't understand that being the one exception to the rule doesn't happen.

I'm sorry for both of them. Sorry their private life is tabloid fodder. Sorry I am read this junk rather than something good for my brain.

But, reading the stupid mags at the beauty parlor keeps one educated culturally and I'm all for that.

St. Casserole

Mom Jeans Recovered

Mom jeans returned unharmed!

I'm sitting here wearing my favorite Mom jeans and looking, well, rather
goofy, I mean, unfashionable.

I'm comfortable.

I followed the Evil Dr. X's instructions by putting a chocolate bar and one dollar in a pillowcase on the mailbox. Jeans were returned.

Just wanted you to know.

St. Casserole

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Too tired for words.

Presbytery all day long.

Endless discussions.

Lots of talk.
Big issues deferred until next year's meeting.

No Diet Cokes allowed in the sanctuary where we met.

I spoke my mind.

I held my temper.

I had my say.

St. Casserole

Monday, October 16, 2006

No new word about the Mom Jeans crisis.

I forgot to put a dollar in a pillowcase outside of the kitchen door.

Got so anxious I ate the chocolate the jean-nappers demanded.

Can't wear shorts because the weather changed.

Waiting for further directives from Doctor X.

Missing My Stretch Waist Jeans,

St. C

Sunday, October 15, 2006

My week is filled with travel, our presbytery meeting and finishing up a grant to request money to complete repairs to the church.

At presbytery, we will consider an overture to censure our denominational publishing house.
The house published a book about the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

I haven't read the book.

I use the publisher for books on prayer, worship and some church school literature.
I haven't even kept up with their catalog.

I plan to speak against the overture.

While I may not agree with the books on the publisher's list, I give them the privilege to publish what they believe will be of help to us in the pew and pulpit.

If I don't like a book I don't buy it.

The overture lacks charity. It seeks to censure, humiliate and insult.

I am appalled at the heavy-handed thrust of the overture.

If you don't like the book. Don't buy it. Low sales speak just as well as wordy overtures.

St. Casserole

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I feel as if I know John Shelby Spong, retired Bishop of Newark. My grandmother taught him in Sunday School when he was a little boy.

He's speaking at Millsaps College today.

I'm positive his views will upset many. I doubt people understand that Spong is trying to get a conversation going about what being Christian in the 21st Century means. At 75, I'd say he's amazing for wanting dialogue about the future.

Whether you agree with his questions or not, he's a gift to us. People seem to give up asking questions when they move into old age. Maybe they become tired searching for answers or lose their imagination. I hope it doesn't happen to me.

Here's to Spong who asks questions!

Happy Saturday to you all. I'm off to rummage sales,

St. Casserole

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday Cat Report

The door blew open. One cat got out. The other cat meowed the alarm.

Fish roamed around the yard. Whistle howled with jealousy.

Fish meowed to come inside. Whistle popped him on the head in rebuke.

St. C

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Day 2: Mom Jeans Held Hostage

No word from jean-nappers.

St. Casserole, wondering why waist high jeans upset the young people....

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Dateline: Backwater, Former Pine Grove.

Missing from closet of St. C. are two pairs of thrift store Mom Jeans with elastic waists. Worn often, too often according to reports.

The jeans were last seen in the dirty clothes basket several days ago. St. C. asked around about the jeans only to receive a mysterious text message suggesting that for $1, some info might be given
No one claims responsibility for removing the jeans to a hiding place.

St. C. mopes around wearing shorts which, according to sources, look even worse than the Mom Jeans.

More details as events unfold...


St. Casserole

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Church Conflict

Our presbytery is caught up in the glamour and newness of departing our bounds.

This is made possible by the recent G.A.’s vote on the Peace, Unity and Purity Task Force report. Within our bounds, we’ve meowed and rustled papers about the National Church for years. When the PCA formed in 1973, many of our churches jumped ship. As late as 1981, when I was received as a pastor, a vote to depart the denomination occurred within three months of my reception. I was not the cause, although perhaps my faulty gender as a woman added to the upset. The decison was made before I appeared, happy and eager to serve.

What people on either side of the debate over the future of the denomination over look bothers me terribly. People get hurt when churches conflict. People get hurt when pastors spend time in the pulpit, in classrooms and over hospital beds discussing leaving the denomination. People get hurt when the focus of their church turns away from worship and mission. Before you suggest that one side or the other has turned away from worship/mission and that this is the very reason for conflict, recall that if you are part of the conflict, you are hurting someone.

Every congregation has fragile members. Some are coping with new diagnosis of catastrophic disease and want more than anything for a "normal" worship experience. Others are drowning in conflict in their homes or businesses or neighborhoods. Where can they go to find a place of peace and reassurance that faithful adults are working for understanding? Can’t find this in a conflicted church.

Our country is at war. Our church is at war. People die from more than enemy fire in war. People become wounded from church troubles.

That’s a fact, Jack.

Today, I laid down my hope for our committee who builds presbytery groups. The moderator told me weeks ago that it made sense to get people from the big churches because if we didn’t, we wouldn’t get donations for the work of presbytery. Didn’t I understand this, he wondered?
I responded that our purpose is to include all congregations, large or small, wealthy or struggling to the work of presbytery. Part of our mission is to represent all of our churches in our processes.

I was told that I need to be realistic.

Today, when the committee met, I didn’t go. I've been faithful for years and years, seldom missing a meeting.

I’m no better than any coward hiding in a bunker afraid of being wounded or who stops attending worship because the conflict hurts emotionally. I laid down my hope in a faithful presbytery this morning and I’ve been depressed all day long.

In the coming days, I’ll lose more because I see both sides of the issue. I listen and hear the fear behind the anger, the worry over losing power, the relief from boredom which building a new denomination will bring.

I feel sick.

Oddities in the Sept.2006 ATLANTIC

Hanna Rosin, a smart writer, in an article about Rudy Giuliani learning to speak "evangelese" on p.39 top left column, end of paragraph writes, " Or they might just tap into a candidate’s general sense of optimism and contentment— a belief, rooted in Genesis and coloring all of life, that things happen for a reason. ‘Creationism Lite’, you might call it—an affirmational creed that carries it’s own emotional and intellectual style of thinking and speaking."

We get our sense of "things happening for a reason" from, primarily, Creationism?


Following page 40, an advert for Capella University, shows a woman setting a table for a meal. She puts the dinner knife on a napkin on the WRONG SIDE OF THE PLATE! She may be learning a great deal from her online Ph.d program at C.U. but she hasn’t mastered table setting.

St. C.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Suz, the GREATEST GARAGE SALE SHOPPER IN THE WORLD and I ventured out Saturday morning to see what was shaking with garage sales.

She can find anything. I mean it. A genuine David Yurman bracelet in a pitiful house with
nothing but Tupperware lids for sale? She found it.

On our route is the Mean Ladies Church. These gals put on a sale twice a year or more.
We go with reluctance. MLC breaks all the rules for a successful church rummage sale.

First, they are crabby and disorganized. They put out the same stuff every sale. Instead of getting money while the sale is on, they keep the same prices. After the sale, they box up leftovers for the next sale. Don’t do this. Get your money while you can. Sell if off. Leftovers don’t make your money. They operate from a spirit of scarcity.

They’d do better if they sold everything for .50 a bag the last hour of the sale. Then, they could ask for congregational donations to replenish their merchandise. If your church has regular sales, people know to donate whenever they clean closets, etc. The MLC put raggedy moldy stuff back into roach infested boxes to store at the church for the next sale. Yuk. The church is in temporary quarters after the hurricane so it makes no sense to keep junk. Sell it! Create good will as a generous church sale.

It’s like selling old bras and drawers. What’s the point? If you see anyone looking at a table of old underwear, give it to them. If people are buying used underwear, they need underwear. Give it to them. The Kingdom still has a chance to come in whether you make .25 on a worn out bra or not.

Basic Concept (write this down): Every time a person enters your church, you are given an opportunity to welcome them to your community of faith. Having a rummage sale? Be SURE to have information about your faith community available. Times of service, children’s programs, mission opportunities, how to contact your pastor—put all this in visiting hands.

We Presbyies have mixed feelings about rummage sales. One groups says that regular tithes and gifts pay for all programs. Particular programs are financed by the entire congregation through holy stewardship. Another group says, "let the kids raise money for their programs with rummage sales and spaghetti suppers." I say, fully fund youth ministry so that kids can attend conferences and concerts. If the kids want to give money to Heifer International or Habitat, have them earn the money at home.

The MLC holds on to stinky clothing, moldy Reader’s Digest books and tupperware lids month after month. They don’t lower prices, they don’t welcome shoppers and they take forever to add your money so you can run to the next sale.

St. Casserole

Sunday, October 08, 2006

I'm moving slowly this morning. The cats played kitty races all night long. The dog ended up roaming the house instead of being put to bed. I think LD's radio kept me dreaming of country and western tunes most of the night.

So, it's time for things you need to know....

If you participate in the cultural construct of leg shaving and wish to shave your legs but have no shaving cream, use hair conditioner. It works and keeps your legs soft.

When preparing to polish your sterling flatware and hollowware, do not line your kitchen sink with tin foil and then soak your sterling there. This bad advice ruins good sterling. If you have "bad" sterling, who cares but sterling is inheritable. Why pass on your lazy mistake and damaged sterling? Use Maas or one of the polishing creams. Use that stinky petroleum based wading if you want a greasy patina. Yuk. Stay with a good polish.

Paula Dean of The Lady and Sons restaurant suggests that pouring a can of real Coke (not Diet) into a china toilet, waiting an hour then do a gentle scrub. Clean toilet! This news confirms what I've worried about with my Diet Coke Drinking Habit.

A good pedicure is a thing of beauty. OPI's "What the el" (or something like that) is the new preferred Fall/early Winter toe color of choice for clerical toes.

Try to learn the difference between tapestry, needlepoint and counted cross stitch. If nothing else, you'll save me time scouring eBay for vintage needlepoint.

A "bangle" bracelet is closed; a "cuff" bracelet is open. "Cuff" means like a shirt cuff which opens. A "bangle" makes a jangly sound when worn with other bracelets. Wear your bracelets in groups of odd numbers: one or three or five.

When preparing your sermon, try not to spend all your time doing exegesis and going off into wonderland with Greek or Hebrew word games. (Note to self: REALLY pay attention to this).

After all your sermon prep, remember that it is your love for your people which communicates. Study, study, study. Write, re-write then write again. Finally, love your people.

Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling Me to Get Going,

St. Casserole

Friday, October 06, 2006

Today is the Second Anniversary of St. Casserole Blog

Where I come from, we celebrate anniversaries by placing a shiny cookie on a rabbit's head. This recalls the spiritual walk of St. Stafu, the Tongan holy man who began the practice.

Happy Blogiversary to this blog!

Happy am I to know all of you!

Happy I'll be to give you all a shiny cookie for your rabbit's head for your anniversary.

I suppose this picture should be used for all RGBP anniversary posts. Ya think?


St. Casserole whose life is richer for knowing you

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I asked a fellow member of the Preacher's Coffee Group to discuss the problems she has with me. We were in the group surrounded with people who know us both and love us. She glared at me, stood up, left the room then returned to tell us that she had problems with all of us. Then she left.

I am sorry about this. I assumed that we would work out our differences and go forward.
Instead, she did the Alexis Carrington* stomp out of the room when conflict happens.

I'm just telling you about this because the PCG can't stop discussing this. I'm sorry she responded to me and us this way, realize it doesn't have much to do with me and hope she will return.

Conflict can increase intimacy. The church is full of conflict. Dealing with conflict is a frequent activity for pastors.

I'm thinking about all of this. Haven't told you many of the details but perhaps you have something to add?

St. Casserole

*dated reference to long-ago television show called "Dynasty". No one listened to anyone else. Everyone got angry before hearing all the information. People blasted in and out of rooms if they got anxious, angry or scared.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Every morning, I read our local newspaper, the state paper and the NY Times.
I did a search in the NY Times for "rev." and discovered that we reverends are either getting in trouble or doing weddings.

Going for more coffee. Right. Now.,

St. Casserole

Friday, September 29, 2006

RevGals Friday Five: Groups

Reverendmother asks these at the Mother House

1. Tell us about any groups you currently belong to:
I'm not so groupy these days. I belong to a preacher covenant group meeting weekly. Other than that, I'm only grouped in church.
2. Do you feel energized or drained by being in a group situation.
I'm an extrovert so I energize around people. As the only Presbyie in the Preacher group, I get weary of their denominational chat but I'm mostly perky. If you talk to one of the gals in the group, I'm terrifying. Sorry she sees me this way.
3. Is there a role you naturally find yourself playing in group situations?
I'm comfortable leading or following these days.
4. Handsakes vs. hugs: discuss
Is there anyway we can stop hugging everytime we see each other? I don't want to shake hands either in a social situation. May I remind you that a man shakes hands with a woman only if she offers her hand first and that women do not shake hands with one another in greeting. And for gosh sakes' do not shake my hand while I'm trying to eat a meal.
5. Ice breakers: a playful way to build community in a lighthearted manner, or a complete and utter hell of forced fun and awkwardness?
Can't think of a good ice breaker this morning. When I use an icebreaker I attempt to design one that doesn't upset the introverts.

Thanks, RM, I think I need to go find more interest groups. With all the disaster relief meetings, church meetings and kid's stuff, I am weary. A fun group might be just the thing.
Is there a group for Junk Pickers Who Like Oreos and Diet Cokes somewhere? Might join...

St. C.

We Protestants understand saints quite differently than do our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters. For us, saints are believers not special or distinctive and so we believers are saints. None of us is worthy of adoration (..."only God is good").

I live in a Roman Catholic area so I've become interested in Roman saints and the practices I see here. One of my fascinations is reading about Roman saints. The various names fascinate me: Anne, Expeditus, Perrigrine...

I purchased three saint gizmos at a charity shop on my trip. All three are the same and picture a tonsored robed man holding a cross and a skull. I don't know his identity but he must have significance to someone and I'll find out.

Some of you who know me have seen my collection of religious piety items. I collect broadly so I have Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Buddhist, Jewish and Muslim items. I refer to my collection as "Piety items" because each is a way for seekers to attempt contact with God as they understand this process. For the one who spins a prayer wheel, or touches a mezzuah or wears a scapula to the hospital for comfort, all these things are contact points for piety.

As a Presbyterian, I've determined that we have only two piety items and would NEVER refer to these as items of worship. They are our Bibles and casserole dishes. Bibliolatry is making the Bible more significant than it's contents, false God thinking that we apprehend or capture God for ourselves when we handle and read a Bible. The casserole dish as symbol pokes fun at our constant eating at church. Hence, my name, "St. Casserole".

Having said all this, (I do blather on), I'm thinking this morning of which saints I'd include if I built shrines to hold Protestant saints. Please don't mention this to M. John Calvin. I don't want to find out he's spinning in his grave.

I'd have Calvin, Knox, Bill Cashatt, my Mother, John Leith, Lillian, Margaret Townsend, Wendell Berry. Several are living, most are dead. I'll be adding to this mental list.

What about you? Who would be on your saint list of those whose influence on you is immeasurable?


St. Casserole

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


"Our hope is in the Lord who made heaven and earth... "

Tell me again, where is your hope? Hope is best when shared, so what fills you with hope?

What makes you hope-full? What and who reminds you of hope?


St. Casserole

Years ago, I purchased one Portulaca plant from the nursery. Portulaca is a suculent able to thrive in poor soil in wicked Deep South conditions. I bought a yellow variety and stuck the plant in a pot in a curve in our front driveway.

From one plant, many grew. In my biography, this season of my life, this particular summer, is known as the Summer of Portulaca.

Everywhere the wind blows seed even where there is little good soil, the yellow flowers bloom. In cracks with only enough dirt to make a mouse with allergies sneeze, flowers grew up to bloom. Between weeds, underneath where LS parks his car, backyard, side yard, in the grass Portulaca does just fine.

Mid-Summer, I began to panic. My attempts to take each plant and place them in pots became a daily job. Portulaca plants out-numbered my pots. I dug back in the mess of the falling down green house for pots.

To plant Portulaca in my micro-climate, take your finger and stick it in dirt to make a hole. Place the plant in the hole and begin looking for another place to plant more Portulaca.

At a nursery up the road, I asked for a piece of red Portulaca. The nursery woman* glared at me but because I was buying several plants, she agreed. From the one red piece, I have loads and loads of bright red blooms among the yellow.

I think I have the perfect environment for Portulaca. Right here. Right now. Without special soil or tools or technique, I grow large pots of the stuff. In quiet moments, I stare at the pots all over my courtyard and placed in Mr. C's Hot Pond (spa) area. I notice how the seed pods emerge after a bloom falls and when the time comes, the tiny black seeds fall to the ground.

In the midst of my renewal, plants grow.

Blessings to you and yours,

St. Casserole

*Not Faye, my best nursery woman. Faye's greenhouse is rebuilt, business is brisk and her dogs and cats are fine.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Have you heard of certified lay pastors wearing clerical collars and registering at Presbytery on the page for ministers?

Just wondering,

St. Casserole

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Cheesehead did this. I copy whatever she does. My new official seal. This is it.
Get one for yourself!

St. C

I feel like this.

Haven't felt jubilant in months.

Thank you, God, for time away.

BTW, are YOU taking enough time for yourself?

Ministry is tough work. You gotta take care of yourself.


St. Casserole

O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing!

First song of the morning, this Sabbath, this day of rest and praise!
I'm home after two days of driving South through beautiful green tree-d states.
Someone kind is preaching for me today.
I am having a Sunday as others do without the press of preaching.

Mr. C and LD are glad to have me home. Whistle, Fish, P.P. and Andy welcomed me with cat kisses and dog smiles.

It's great to go away for awhile and to return home.

Glad to see you, too.

St. Casserole

Friday, September 22, 2006

RevGal Friday Five Boo Boo Alert

The Friday Five for today concerns boo boos (little physical hurts). I can't cut and paste the questions here because I'm a guest computer user. And, I have the memory strength of a dead leaf. So, here are my answers as best I can recall:

I am a big baby about my own boo boo hurts. I, too, sprained my ankle falling off a sidewalk edge wearing Birkies. Yikes! I was in rotten pain, went to the ER, got crutches and swore off rigid flat-bottomed shoes until the next time I put them on.

Seeing my own blood makes me sick. Seeing your blood pushes me into action. I am a good boo boo nurse.

Papa handled my boo boos. He pained animal shapes with mecurachrome (what is that word???) over my scraped knees, cuts and miseries.

I love decorated bandages like Hello Kitty designs, action figures and flowers. So did our children who begged for more and more bandages when they got hurt. I recall LS having six or eight bright bandages even if his boo boo required only one bandaid.

I hate paper cuts on my hands. Remember that.

ER experiences for me? I got dropped off at the ER by LH years ago. He couldn't stay with me because we had no one to take care of the children. I wasn't getting the service I needed so, copying my fellow waiting patients, I began to wail loudly. Got service quickly.

I'm traveling home today, beginning this afternoon. If you have my number, call me. I get lonely on the road. Please pray for my safety.

Boo Boo Free,

St. Casserole

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Why St. Casserole Loves Mr. Casserole*

See comment in previous day's blog entry.


St. C

*After many years together, this is just one reason I love the man, but this is a good example.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Here I am with a tad of internet access!

I'm where the mornings are cool, the streets clean and the trees are undamaged.

Thank you, Lord, for a few days away.

I miss my people but Mr. C. assures me that he is "taking care of bidness" on the homefront.

Thinking of you,

St. Casserole

Saturday, September 16, 2006

My New Look

How do you like it?
I'm wearing a new blog facade and feeling mighty good about it.
Makes me feel good to change my look after years of polka-dots.
You are back on my blog roll aka. casseroll after months where my blog roll
If I left you off, I want to know.
Many thanks to my designer who searched until she found something
wonderful for me and even found bloggage with a cat on it!

I'll be off to meditate for the next week. Unless I can pry the laptop
from Mr.C's hands, I'll be off-line.

Blessings to you as you lead or attend worship tomorrow,

St. Casserole

Friday, September 15, 2006

Brushes with Greatness RGBP Friday Five *

Reverendmother asks:
David Letterman used to have a feature on his show called "Brushes with Greatness." Members of the audience would share stories of encounters with famous people.
And so...

1. Tell us about a time you met someone famous. I met Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) at a Mardi Gras Day Party at Biloxi City Hall. Sen. Cochran is charming, accessible and was just there without an entourage. We chatted and I was impressed with his people skills.

2. Tell us about a celebrity you'd like to meet. I'd like to meet Dolly Parton. She seems to be a person of depth and I admire her courage.

3. Tell us about someone great who's *not* famous that you think everyone oughta have a chance to meet. I wish everyone could meet the Headmistress at the Tiny School in our neighborhood. She's so very bright, creative and skilled with children. I'm proud to know her. I doubt you'll meet her though because she would never think of herself as "famous".

4. Do you have any autographs of famous people? Barbara Brown Taylor wrote a note to me and I've kept the note. I think I'll frame it for my study wall. She has careful, feminine hand-writing.

5. If you were to become famous, what would you want to become famous for? I do not want to be famous. I want a quiet life in a small place.

Bonus: Whose 15 minutes of fame was up long, long ago? I find the idea of "fame" so intriguing that I'd hate to take it away from anyone who pursues it. I wish people who didn't want attention could 'turn it off'. Craving big media attention must be a hard way to live. Our attention spans are short. Who wants to be a "Where Are They Now" years later?

St. Casserole

*Not Whistle and Fish, not our toilet. Just great ginger cats looking out at the interesting world.
(obligatory ginger cat reference #598)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

New pastors like to enter ministry on fire. Ministry demands energy to write sermons, visit members and visitors, manage staff and get to know the congregation. You have to gather your get-up-and-go to do the work. Ministry, as I know it, is for self-starters who know how to motivate themselves and others.

But...there is no need to create work for yourself. You aren't going to bring in the Kingdom of God with your energy. Don't be looking around for something to do. If you have something to prove, prove that you are faithful, not the New Jesus.

We've been through the age of programs, where using the latest teaching technique or study book or whatever to add programs is ministry. Now we are growing disciples which involves the more difficult work of intuition, listening and allowing people to change as the Lord leads. It's harder work to be with people instead of handing them a book or showing a video presentation.

Experienced pastors suggest starting slowly in a new ministry setting. Don't make big changes for 12 months or so. Learn the folkways of the congregation and community before you announce how they "should" be living.

Mercy Me! This is very difficult for new pastors. She graduates from seminary and has ideas of how and when and why and all the dreams of ministry ready to be offered to the Glory of God and her congregation RIGHT NOW!

Stop. Unless you are doing new church development (called "church planting" in some traditions) you are entering an established community where people are familiar with the worship styles of your predecessor and traditions of the church. Your energy is great, we are glad you are here but learn about the ethos first, then consider what changes are needed.

Pray, think, do.

Slow down. Pay attention to the the background music of the congregation. Spend time with the leaders and shadow leaders. Listen to them.

You don't have to agree with them or get co-opted into their plans. Take mental notes of what is said, done and not done. Listen to your intuition or if that's not your style, be very observant.

I wish I could offer you transparent churches where what is said is what is really meant and that the only people skills you need for loving ministry is your good intentions.

If it irks you to plan your strategies then think of the time you spend observing as the virtue of patience.

If you are busy with tasks, slow down. Be with people. Learn to work better not more.

None of this is easy but it can be wonderfully creative.

Thinking of you and grateful for your ministry,

St. Casserole

Friday, September 08, 2006

Dear Aunt Dorothy...

Dear Aunt Dorothy,
Thank you for sending us gifts, cards and cat breff mints. I knew it was you! I tried to tell St. C and Whistle but they didn't listen to me! I did everything except pull down a flow chart to make them understand but they were busy or something.
I don't get to blog much because Whistle is 'gressive with the computer. It's all about him or so he thinks. Just because he stands up and does tricks for cat cookies doesn't mean he's all that. I don't like to stand on my back legs and do tricks for cookies. I like to eat out of St. C's hands or have the cookies put on the floor so I can eat them.
If I grow up to be a homiletician, I'm going to preach a sermon on different gifts used ad majorem dei gloram. God created me to be myself, not like Whistle. I'm just as special to God as Whistle is.
I like to hide under covers. I like to meow and sing. I like to jump. Whistle likes other stuff.
What I'd really like is my own litter box.
Thank you for sending me birthday gifts. I send cat salutations to my cousins far, far away.

Your Friend,

Fish the Cat

If You are Happy and You Know it...

View of backyard with giant dead azaleas gone! The hurricane trees killed off my large plants.
Landscaper (in big hat) discussing pruning with worker.
Semi-obligatory Elivs image in Southern Backyard. Poor whirly-gig survived Katrina but has "issues". Still, Elvis has NOT left the building as you can see.
Big truck with cherry picker to prune trees!
Backhoe. Strong people to do work. I AM HAPPY. Stump grinder coming. Pitiful greenhouse to right about to be torn down and replaced!

I am happy. Look at these pics of our backyard. Big machines! Workers! A landscape architect!
Piles of dead branches! Is this GREAT or what???

I found matching shingles for the three little holes in our roof which went unnoticed until I heard a lead in our shower light fixture.

I see progress. Progress means change. Change means hope. Hope is good!


St. Casserole