Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Thanks to Cheesehead for these questions. I'm late to the party in answering but here I am:

What do you wear on a typical (non-Sunday) day of work?
Casual clothing but not messy.

Open toed shoes: gifts from God or an abomination? (Pedicures assumed, of course. We are not animals, after all.)
I wear sandals from April till Chill (October?). It's too hot for hosiery here and I'm not going to wear hosiery and be miserable. Pedicures are a must. No one comments on my sandals and bare feet sticking out from my alb. At least not to me.

The right to bare arms: do we have it?
I don't bare my arms often. Depends on the outfit. Covering up my RGBP tattoo is difficult but I know that not everyone is into heavy tattoo-ing.

It's 90 degrees with 90% humidity in the Snow Belt in late May. Quick--robe or no robe?
If the a/c is broken, no robe. Otherwise, I preach in a Geneva gown or alb.

Would you ever wear jeans or casual pants to church on a non-Sunday?
Our Session meetings are during the week and I don't dress up for them. Pressed linen outfit, etc. is dressed-up enough.

Has your congregation ever expressed wardrobe
This part of the questions didn't make the "copy" but I'm to answer if my congregation comments on my appearance. If I've gotten a new haircut, new outfit or wear lots of color in my street clothing, someone will compliment me. I wear black most of the time so color is noticed.

I asked at the F of Homies if my gal pals wore trousers while preaching. I was a bit taken aback that most seemed to wear dresses or skirts. I wear dressy trousers and tops but not suits or church dresses. I'm sick of those kinds of clothing: hot, uncomfortable and etc. I asked one of the church matriarchs if I was dressed appropriately for worship and she looked at me like I was crazy. "Of course you look fine!". Good enough for me.

Glad to be here,

St. Casserole

Monday, May 29, 2006

Dear Uncle Parsnip,
Thanks for your call tonight. I'm sorry that you had to get off the phone before I got to tell you how I am doing. Like you, I don't know why the people of Bunion Parish like to do fireworks and shoot shotguns on Memorial Day. You'd think they save all that noise for Fourth of July. I hope the dogs calmed down when you brought them inside.
I decided to write you rather than return your call because LD is on the phone and I had these new notecards with cats wearing clerical collars. You could show it to LuGene because she may think its funny.
Last week, I was grumbling about needing an extra day in the week to get all my stuff done. Today was like an extra day to get the car washed, do some gardening and so on. I had lunch with Patty, took a nap in the afternoon and then had dinner with LH and LD. A great day!
I celebrate Memorial Day all year long so I don't want to sit outside in the heat with bugs and eat a burger to remind myself of war. I wish Memorial Day would emphasize the misery and terror or war all day long. I told LuGene about my friend who served two tours in Iraq and suffers horrors now. Breaks my heart. When I see young people in the military I despair. I understand the reasons too well for us to use our young men and women as fodder for economic issues that don't do anything for the soldiers but damage them.
I mourn all the losses of men and women through the years who served at the request of our country. I hate it, too.
Come see us. We'd love to have you stay with us for a night or two on your way to Puddin's.

St. Casserole

Monday Courtyard Gardening Report

Between the wings of our home we have a brick courtyard which is home to pots of flowers. The courtyard was designed around a low deck which has since gone the way of all outdoor wood on the Gulf Coast. It's just too humid here for wood, even treated wood, to last more than 15 years or so. One end of the courtyard has a rectangular open area for in-ground plantings.

This morning, as I watered the pots, I noticed that a pot has sprouted a unknown plant. I wish I remembered plant names because yesterday I received two more of these unknowns. My dear church member gave me nine daylillies and two unknowns. The pot unknown survived Katrina hidden deep in the potting soil. I know this is true because the lil plant is wearing a "Katrina Blows" t-shirt. Both of the Shasta daisies wear the t-shirts as do many others. These survivors are here in my yard as well as all across the Coast. Some hid deep in the dirt and for reasons known only to micro climates and God, survived the winds, surging waters and downed trees to bloom now. I feel a sermon illustration coming on but can't quite put it too words.

The plumbago and hydrangeas are exultant with blooms. The phlox, heathers, hybiscus and ferns thrill me. I'd name all the pretty plants if I could recall the names.

I'll be digging today and tucking daylilies into the ground. The LH plans to hit golf balls, LD will be rehearsing the Bible School play and LS will sleep late then wander off to cook at the movie theater. The head cook made him pull up his long red curls into a top knot which looks so goofy I can hardly stand it. LS doesn't mind it. Wouldn't a haircut be easier?

The kittens have a movie review of MI:III for the blog but when I asked if they were ready to write it, they began beating the stuffing out of each other over how many blowup scenes the movie has. When things calm down, if they ever do, you'll hear from them.

If you need me, I'll be the gal in the "Life is Good" t-shirt out front with the shovel.


St. Casserole

Friday, May 26, 2006

Lord, how majestic is your handiwork!

My early morning look at the sky as I stand outside in the morning light and looking upward (where the pine grove used to be) is a pleasure to me. I begin my morning prayers then roll my mind around my plans for the day.

I become distracted more often than not by what I have to do for the day.

You'd think I'd have a disciplined mind after all these years of praying but distractions come along.

Praying into the distractions makes sense because who knows if the Spirit is bringing people and plans into my mind for Her reason. However, is this an excuse for a wandering mind?

Today I am distracted by thoughts of relationships which could be better or healed or whatever. I finished my upward stare and went back inside without seeing the early morning sky. Light clouds against the gray sky of early morning, the sound of birds and the early croaking of lovey frogs didn't enter my consciousness until I closed the door. I forgot to pray!

Letting you know how it is,

St. Casserole

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Do not call me. Do not need me. Do not come to my home between 6:45pm. and the end of American Idol, Central Standard Daylight Time.

I am watching the final AI to cheer my Taylor Hicks. Do not get between me and the television during that time.

I've ordered supper from our family chef, M. Pizzuh Hutt, so that I will be free to holler and hoot at the Boy From Birmingham.

Thank you,


Yoo hoo! I'm over here under the pile of To-Do Lists and Must-Be-Completed-this-Minute Agendas. Can you see my RGBP crown emerging from the detritus?

Just when I thought it was safe to get out my supplies for making boxes, I got hit with urgent phone calls, demands and so on.

Rats, I say, RATS. (1)


(1) The use of the word "rats" implies no violence, disrespect or bluetone towards rodents or their agents.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Festival of Homies was fabulous. The picture above is from the Peachtree Rd. UMC Sanctuary which is a big, big place.

Great sermons, good worship, lovely music, new friends, meeting RevGals face-to-face, lots of food and time with Songbird; a refreshing time for me away from Hurricane Disaster Area.

I returned to a disheveled house, grateful children and a worn-out spouse. The kittens look like youth cats these days and they were glad to see me. In honor of my return, P.P. Puppy pooped three times yesterday...

St. Casserole

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Preaching camp is great! I'm glad I drove to Atlanta for a week of sermons, lectures and music. I've loved all the speakers and tomorrow (!!!) I hear James Forbes. So excited! So happy! So full of ideas, images and hope!

Meeting RGBPs amazes me. I hugged Cheesehead several times when I met her. Couldn't help myself! RevMommy is here and I've hugged her, too. We four (Songbird is sitting behind me knitting as I write this) will have breakfast tomorrow morning.

Wish you all could be here. Wish LH could share the good meals, hear these brilliant speakers and enjoy the cool Atlanta weather with me. He's home taking care of the children and pets, etc.

Take care of yourself,

St. C

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Mother's Day Pastoral Prayers, Prayers of the People and etc.

For many years, I detested Mother's Day in worship because I felt excluded. My husband and I were in infertility treatment for six years without success. Every year, I would boil to a rage thinking of the insensitivity of those who mentioned Mother's Day in worship.

As one who leads worship, I pray thanking God for mothers, those who would like to be mothers but cannot, for those who've lost children through death or circumstances, for women who are like mothers to us and for a better world for girls to grow up to be mothers if they so choose.

It's tacky to exclude people in worship. You heard it here first.

A Mother Who Does Not Wear Sensible Shoes,

St. Casserole

Friday, May 12, 2006

St. Teresa of Avila as a foundation for her ministry:

'Christ has no body now on earth but yours/
No hands but yours/No feet but yours/
Yours are the eyes through which God's compassion will look upon the world/
Yours are the feet with which God will go about doing good/
Yours are the hands with which God will bless others now.'

Pondering this,

St. C

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Good News About Hurricane Relief from PCUSANEWS listserv

You are currently subscribed to the PCUSANEWS listserv of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
06260May 10, 2006
PDA unveils $14 million response plan for ‘05 hurricanes
Volunteer villages are key to recovery
by Evan Silverstein
LOUISVILLE — Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has announced a seven-year $14.4 million budget for funding ongoing relief efforts in the aftermath of last year’s devastating Gulf Coast hurricanes.
The "long-term strategic allocation" will guide the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s response to the disasters in Mississippi and Louisiana through at least 2013, according to Susan Ryan, PDA’s coordinator.
"The area of need is larger than Great Britain," she said.
Funding for the long-term relief plan, which received General Assembly Council approval last month, comes from the remainder of a record-setting $23 million in contributions raised by PDA in response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.
Only $4.5 million of that money has been allocated so far, a timetable Ryan said was purposely "frontloaded" to keep PDA’s long-term response strong as financial contributions fade along with the public’s memory of the disaster.
"We don’t have a U.S. model for a response of this size and complexity," she said. "But based on our analysis of the need and our experiences over the last decade, the volume of work ahead will require at least seven more years of repair, rebuilding and interpersonal services."Central to the spending plan is the continued operation of six PDA-sponsored volunteer villages in Mississippi and Louisiana, the first of which opened last September in Gautier (pronounced go-shay), MS. Each site houses work teams from churches across the country helping with the recovery.
"We encourage churches to … send recovery teams to the hurricane zone," Ryan said of the storm-battered region where many homes, businesses and hotels were either damaged or destroyed. "The key piece to this one in the Gulf is that there has to be places for people to stay and work. And that’s costly."
Ryan said a single volunteer village cost about $8,500 a month to operate, but emphasized how the value of volunteer labor can quickly add up. She said in March alone the six villages hosted 1,890 volunteers who contributed 11,698 days of labor valued at $1.48 million.
Ryan said operation of the villages also leverages funds in terms of improved purchasing controls, quantity discounts, and could soon become a model for future PDA responses.
"We’ve created safe, organized, predictable environments where volunteers can come with reasonable expectations that their time, talent and material will be put to good use," she said.
The hurricane response budget includes relief and rebuilding money for five presbyteries located in the heart of the storm-damaged areas, including $4 million to support the recovery of Presbyterian congregations in impacted areas and to support their staffs.
"That’s not jut bricks and mortar," said the Rev. John Robinson, PDA’s associate for disaster response in the United States. "That’s about facilitating presbyteries looking at how to reconstitute congregations."
Funds to help rebuild communities as well as churches are included in the budget along with a reserve to cover future needs that could emerge as recovery efforts continue to unfold, PDA said.
"We have to keep some funds in reserve because this is an eight, maybe even a 10-year response and we need to monitor this as it goes along," Robinson said.
The seven-year budget, which eventually could be extended, represents the first time PDA has estimated needs for a domestic disaster beyond two to three years, Ryan said.
Any interest accrued by the contributions will be plowed back into the ongoing recovery effort. Funds received for 2005 hurricanes will not be used for other disasters, Ryan and Robinson insisted.
"It all folds back into the response for which it was designated," Robinson said.
For more information about registering a work team call PDA’s national call center at 866-732-6121.
Contributions for hurricane relief may be sent through normal mission-giving channels by designating gifts for the following account: U.S. hurricane response, DR000169. Gifts by credit card can be made by calling PresbyTel at (800)872-3283, or online at Checks payable to the PC(USA) can be mailed to: Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Central Receiving, 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, KY, 40202.
Don't forget to switch that lil switch thingie on the ceiling fan so it rotates in the other direction and cools you off.

Thinking of you,

St. Casserole

Monday, May 08, 2006

Even An Ill Wind Blows Some Good

This Shasta Daisy sprang up in a flower pot in our courtyard. The seeds, deep within the pot, survived Hurricane Katrina's ill winds. So beautiful and so good for my soul to see.

St. Casserole

How To Be Happy

Nap with your brother.

Think about it,
Whistle and Fish

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Letters, We Get Letters

"I note with dismay that your blog discusses your pedicures. There are more important issues in the world than that."

Like what?

"Your readers are happy that you are attending the Festival of Homiletics.
Your reference to this great event as "the festival of homies" is disturbing. Many of us think that you can't spell "homiletics" without an open dictionary.
I know you and you told me once that you couldn't spell "resurrection" without help until your third year of seminary...."

So Whot?

"I'm trying to discern a call to ministry. I like to read your blog and think about what your life must be like as a pastor. Do you date?

Say What?

----St. Casserole Mail Room
My people drove to New Orleans this morning for a day of Jazz Fest.
I'm at home because of a headache, a sermon, the bulletin and because the idea of a full day outside in the dusty heat with Porta-lets appeals to me like zip.

Thank you to everyone who goes to Jazz Fest, stays in New Orleans' hotels and spends money like water on good food, souvenirs and big-ticket items. The City needs your presence and your money.

Thank you, Bruce Springsteen, for coming last weekend and singing your heart about the City Who Care Forgot.

Thank you, LH, for taking my people to New Orleans today and giving me a quiet house to think and write and just be.

Blessed be,

St. Casserole

Life in the Katrina Zone No.879

From serious to silly:

The major department store is closed still but no word from them as to when they will re-open. No effort is made to reassure customers.

No bookstore, except used paperbacks. Paperbacks smell of mold. Charity shops have books but the mold smell is there, too.

If you are marginally housed, it gets worse. Couples stay together because housing is unavailable. Domestic violence increases.

Children who've been thrown from pillar to post get academic awards. I find this amazing.

If you need to put Ma or Pa in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you'll have to displace them further by driving hours to get them a place. We don't have the infrastructure for the elderly anymore.

You overhear a conversation between physicians discussing how the government should give a subsidy to doctors because the amenities of a doctor's life are impaired and doctors are leaving the area.

You wait in long lines for everything.

You think of New Orleans and want to cry. Not for the first time.

Nationally, people think that we've rebuilt and life is just great down here.

The post office is open and doing o.k.

P and C 1, along with P and C 2 are waiting for their homes to be finished. Great stress in being out of one's home.

Post Traumatic Stress kicked in around Month 6. Observing friends and acquaintances cope is painful. Some are doing so very well, others are not coping anymore.

We should get free depression meds. Use us for a group study.

Mr. W. stopped drinking, cleaned up his life, began working and re-established good relationships with is children. Praise God!

Every guest preacher from beyond the Zone preaches the same sermon about how God loves us and God's Purpose is Being Worked Out Even in the Destruction. Some of the sermons are quite good.

If you don't live here, you don't understand. This is said often. Not a good thing to think but true in many respects.

I need more coffee....


St. Casserole

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

In Praise of Seersucker

If you live where the temperature hits 89 on May 2, you'd praise seersucker, too.
Seersucker, that odd fabric with the weird name which invokes both prophetic and stupid simultaneously, is the perfect Deep South cloth. Linen comes in second.

I found a "vintage" seersucker summer cover for LD's bed at a garage sale. I wish I could find one for our bed. The feel of seersucker and it's ability to cool you off just by touching it appeals to me.

LH, dressing for the office, began rummaging for his blue and white seersucker pants. We remembered that the pants had been tossed to the Garbage Truck because after years of faithful wearing, they dis-integrated. A man needs seersucker down heah. LH is looking for a new seersucker suit. I'll powder his white bucks for him when he finds the new suit. Nothing quite as pretty as a cute man in a seersucker suit on a hot Southern day.

I bought a seersucker nightgown after a long search this week. Not easy to find since night clothes makers design the most butt-ugly stuff out of wretched fabrics then charge high prices. I'm not pleased with the night clothing industry.

At Presbytery yesterday, I saw two older women wearing seersucker dresses. One looked like the polyester seersucker of years past and probably was. We Presbyterians don't let go of much and if a dress looked good in '73, we keep wearing it (cf. seersucker pants of earlier paragraph). The other woman's dress was the GREAT seersucker made without polyester. It was a shirt waist dress which one doesn't see much of these days. I loved the shirt waist style dresses of years ago but when I tried on a madras shirtwaist with full skirt from the thrift store, I looked like the old women of the '70s. Do not let me refer to myself as an old woman in print ever again.

Air-conditioning, that gift from God Almighty, probably made seersucker unfashionable. I wish I could find non-obnoxious style clothing in that cool fabric to make it through the coming Summer.

Grateful for Ceiling Fans in Every Room,

St. Casserole

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Quiz for Faithful Readers of This Blog Although No Real Clues Appear in the Blog, Ok?

Here is the list of speakers:

Of these, who is my favorite preacher?
Who am I eager to hear?
Who I have I heard the most often?
Which speaker's books are on my study shelves?
Which speaker publishes his/her every thought AND blogs?
Which speaker (s) are unfamilar to me and could be stuffed bunny rabbits for all I know?

Speakers for the 2006 Festival of Homiletics
Barbara Brown Taylor
Thomas Long
Barbara Lundblad
Peter Gomes
Valerie Tutson
Ysaye Barnwell (Sweet Honey in the Rock)
Anna Carter Florence
James Forbes
William Willimon
Roberta Bondi
Adam Hamilton
Grace Imathiu (Festival Host)
Joanna Adams
Frank Thomas
Dwight Andrews Quintet
Gary Charles
David Lose
Don Saliers
Donald Davis
Barbara McBride Smith
Kenneth Samuel
Victory UCC Choir
Marilyn Hauser Hamm
Don Harp Troy Bronsink

Unlike my sister-blogger, Mindy, there are no prizes only the deep satisfaction of winning.

Giggling with uncharacteristic freedom,

St. C
We are nine months and two days old.
We are off secret double probation lock-down.
We did what you suggested. We purred and snuggled.

What did you get us for our birthday?

Whistle and Fish, Almost Big Cats