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