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

Monday, September 04, 2006

Six Weird Things A Meme from Dr. Moose

Tagged by Dr. Moose, I respond:

Once you are tagged you MUST write a blog entry about your 6 weird habits/things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next six people to be tagged and list their names.

To my surprise, there ARE those who think I'm quirky. Therefore, I have no idea if the following are weird or not...

a) I really do care if you wear white shoes and accessories after Labor Day.
b) I know more about sterling silver than most preachers do.
c) I seldom miss an estate, jumble or garage sale.
d) I read mysteries and spy thrillers but hate violence in books, tv or movies.
e)I chat with cats.
f) I think you'll have to ask my friends to list my quirks because I can't think of a sixth.

I tag for this meme the next six people who want to play.

Happy Labor Day,

St. C

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I've had a good week.

Monday LH and I went to New Orleans. I worshipped with the community on Tuesday. By Wednesday evening I'd gotten several tasks finished. Thursday I puttered around the house waiting for workers who never came. My car was repaired (the car dealer FINALLY understood the prob!). Yesterday I wrapped up work I need to finish along with seeing friends for lunch. In the meantime, LS surprised us with a visit home from Big U.

This week felt normal. Thank you, God!

Ordinary week in Ordinary Time. Is that great or what?

My sermon thoughts blew into sentences yesterday but changed again when syllables hit paper.
I'll be ok by this afternoon.

Had some phone calls to cheer me up. Found out good news about good friends. Grieved with another friend but saw her get guidance later in the week. I pulled weeds until my elbow screamed.

All in all, lovely week here.

Easy to entertain and glad of it,

St. Casserole

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Best First Birthday EVER!

Dear Aunt Songbird:
Your Salmon Cat Treats are great! We ate some. (Fish? Pass the Breff Mints! I think I need one.) The Treats are so GOOD that we bit the hand that fed us! Look at me now! We chewed the leg off the green frog toy, too! Excited! Many thanks from your Southern Kitties, I mean "CATS"!

Whistle the Cat