Monday, June 30, 2008


I'm in my study with one dog and two cats. One of the cats is snoring.

Cracking me up,

St. Casserole, unable to be profound all the time

Friday, June 27, 2008

2008 Books Read

Christianity for the Rest of Us Diana Butler Bass

Resurrection Rowan Williams

The Good Husband of Zebra Drive Alexander McCall Smith
The Morality for Beautiful Girls
The Miracle at Speedy Motors

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Yesterday, I headed to the Mockingbird Cafe (thought of you Songbird, will smama and Little S.!) for lunch with two preacher pals. The city looks SO much better although the streets are torn up with infrastructure drainage, etc. repair. Along the Beach road, the lots are bare mostly. It's difficult to rebuild family homes when the codes aren't in place and the insurance companies say, "Oh, we didn't mean you had coverage for that..."

My pals were willing to hear a few stories from my past. I told about the day I was presented to presbytery for approval as a pastor. In those days, we were ordained where we had our first call, so the vote was for my ordination as well as reception into the presbytery. As the Committee on Ministry chair moved for my reception, the Moderator was asked by one of the commissioners, "Do we have to vote on this?" Not "vote on her" or "vote on Miss C." but vote on "this". Without missing a beat, the Moderator said, "No you can vote against it or abstain."

The vote was called for, and the motion to accept me passed.

Not one soul realized that I was the first Presbyterian clergywoman to be ordained
in the state.

Not one soul thought to apologize to me for the previous discussion.

Even I was oblivious. My eye was on the prize of being received by the Presbytery as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament.

This month of blogging about my ordination strikes me as self-serving, which, of course isn't ladylike or gentle. However, in the name of recalling what it was like 30 years ago, I've shared a few tidbits. Frankly, in some ways, clergywomen don't have it any easier than we did back then. Just sayin'.

But a call to ministry isn't about ease anyway. If you have the Call, there isn't anything to do but run through the thorn bushes towards the pulpit.


St. Casserole

(Photo: Songbird's Sandwich)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dear Aunt Bostick,

Thirty years ago today, I entered the sanctuary of the church where I served as the associate pastor, dressed in my Geneva gown for my ordination to the Ministry of the Word and Sacrament. It was a Sunday afternoon. My parents were in the congregation along with parishioners and my Commission from Presbytery. I wrote the service with huge chunks from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer interspersed with the 1956 Book of Common Worship of the P.C.U.S. I don't recall all the hymns, but we did sing "Be Thou My Vision". I remember that hymn because I've used it at each of my installations to new congregations since.

I was awed and happy to finalize all the steps taken to ordination. I was sick to my stomach with anxiety and, probably, lack of food. In those days, I didn't eat. Please do not comment that I've been healed of eating disorders "like a miracle!" (as I've heard you say) because I'm aware that I present in human form much differently than I did 30 years ago.

My Seminary professor preached the sermon. He is a Carolinian and his wife graduated from my college so our affinity began at our first meeting. He is at the Seminary still, writing books and becoming more distinguished looking as the days pass. He was kind to come to the Deep South and be with me for the day. I gave him a piece of the pottery distinctive to this area, the one with the black stripe symbolizing the Mississippi River.

I recall that you were there. You looked at me with amazement that I was becoming a pastor. Every pastor you'd even heard of was male and here I was, in your words, "a little girl". You wondered how ministry would be for me since most people found the idea of a woman in ministry odd and somehow upsetting. You were not quite sure if I should be ordained because you couldn't find the place in the Bible where it said I could be. When you told me this, I reminded you of the Biblical cites and that my denomination approved the ordination of women. Still, you weren't sure.

The local newspaper covered my ordination as actual news, not as the natural progression of a child raised in the church who was baptised, educated and given the approbation of God's people for ordination. After the article appeared, I received all sorts of angry letters from people who believed I was going straight to Hell. I saved mail from detractors in a scrapbook. The book didn't survive the 1985 hurricane so it is just my memory of those angry notes I recall today.

I began my ministry as happy as a gal could be. I was so ready, like a puppy, to jump into whatever God placed in my path, or whatever path God led me to walk. I recall joy so piercing that I could hardly stand it.

I am grateful today for all the good influences I've encountered along my way. I'm grateful, too, for my failures and roadblocks which taught me humility, sacrifice and resourcefulness. I thank God for my calling every single day.

Your niece,

St. Casserole

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What We Want to See This Summer

"NO Activity" looks great to us!

St. Casserole, hoping for a quiet Season

When I was a little RevGal, my Mother encouraged me to "eat your beets" because eating beets made one pretty, like Annette.

Memories like this make me smile.

What did your Mama tell you?

St. Casserole

Monday, June 23, 2008

Driving to Church yesterday, I came to a painful realization.
I'm at the end of the last of Alexander McCall Smith's No.1 Ladies Detective Agency audio book, the latest book in the series. The Head of the Agency* is talking with her Associate Detective about a third character who has behaved badly. Wisely, the Head concludes that the third character's behavior comes not so much from anger but from jealousy. There is anger, but it rises out of jealousy towards the Associate Director.

It came to me that as I move toward the 30th anniversary of my ordination I have wallowed around in jealousy towards colleagues whose work is more mobile than mine and who've accomplished glories I haven't.

I felt ill.
My blessings and opportunities are enough to entertain me into eternity.
I have blessings more than I can count.

I, therefore, heave aside jealousy and commit myself to returning to sanity.
Because being jealous means ingratitude and evaluating others by their exteriors.

And, Lord knows, I'm grateful for my life, as is.

St. Casserole, chastened again

*I listen to the series on CDs so I do not know how to spell the Botswana names! Beautifully read by a British actress who lived in Botswana, I recommend listening to catch the African inflections.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I wish you could see the sky here tonight. It is 8:13 p.m. CDT with soft clouds bathed in pink along with very white clouds and patches of soft blue sky. Behind the white clouds in the East, lightening appears.

St. Casserole

Friday, June 20, 2008

Why I Live Here

*because a local burglar, who didn't show up for court, was found hiding in a kitchen cabinet in his home.

*because when a caller to the newspaper said she was lonely, 8 different church people called to invite her to their church.

*because in today's obits, a woman who died of dementia is pictured smiling oddly.

*because our communities are sending relief workers and supplies to those in the Mississippi River flood areas.

Most of all, I live here because Mr. C. is here,

St. Casserole

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Today's New York Times tells me White Lily Flour is moving production from Knoxville, TN to somewhere else not in the South.

Horrors! How will cooks make great biscuits?


St. Casserole

Friday, June 13, 2008

Busy week:

Pool emptied, painted, refilled

Yard pruned, chain-sawed, clipped

Funeral planned, liturgy ready, heart torn

Courtyard, Verbena the VAT happ

Cats, entertained by gekkos and moths

Kitchen, returned to normal, clean

Preaching, relentless return of the Sabbath, Abraham and Sarah

Life, busy, hot weather, children home, days fly by

Meetings, endless, saw progress!!!, more meetings

Is it Friday Already?,

St. Casserole

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Update about FEMA's insistence that ice is a "comfort" item after a hurricane:

"An official reaction to FEMA's no-ice policy came from U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor who referred to FEMA officials as a "bunch of buttheads.", from our local paper.

We love our Congressman Gene Taylor. He's looking out for us. He understands us.

And, he called FEMA a "bunch of buttheads".

St. Casserole, laughing

Monday, June 09, 2008

Next Monday, I will stand at a graveside to lead a service for the reinterment of a child's body. The child died in the 1970's and buried in a faraway State. His mother wishes to have him near her and will bring his body back here.

The theological issues of holding on to the body after death are clear to me. The pastoral issues here speak loudly of the mother's need to have her child near her. Until now, the father did not agree to having his son's body moved. The parents divorced thirty or so years ago, after the son died.

Anyone want to help me plan this graveside service? This is my first re-interment.

The legal and funeral home regulations are fulfilled. No need to worry about those.
Of course, the cemetary will charge for opening and closing the grave. Of course, the funeral home will charge for delivery and handling the remains.

The child received Christian burial years ago. Any ideas for this re-interment?

St. Casserole

Sunday, June 08, 2008

This is the world we live in. We are strangers here.
We can do better.

Just Thinking,

St. Casserole

Friday, June 06, 2008

I understand FEMA declared ice a "comfort" item and will not provide ice after a future hurricane.


We freeze water in clean plastic milk jugs and store 6-8 jugs in our freezer as storm preparation. If the power goes off, we may be able to keep some foods cool with the insulating properties of the frozen jugs. Then, we can drink the water.

However, let FEMA remember that not everyone has a freezer. Not everyone has access to bags of ice. Many people need to keep their meds cool.

Let FEMA remember that preparing for a hurricane costs money. People with limited resources have a difficult time stock-piling food and supplies, cash and money for gas to evacuate the area.

I realize that the government cannot do everything for everyone but geez! can't we help the poor and vulnerable among us?

Let me pose a bitter question: which is more cost effective: help the vulnerable evacuate to safety or clean up the bio-hazard if they die in a storm?

Glaring at FEMA (one more time),

St. Casserole

*FEMA, Federal Emergency Management Agency, as in "Good job, Brownie!"

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Interview: Verbena the Toad

St.C.: Verbena, you are a very attractive toad.
V: Thanks, my pals call me VAT, for short.
St.C.: Tell me about yourself.
V: I'm a toad. I live in a pot of purple Verbena in your courtyard. You named me "Verbena". That's fine with me. I like to sit in the Verbena, under the leaves or hop around to the Lemon Grass planter. I'm a young toad. I like my privacy which is why I wish you wouldn't introduce me to all your giant pals.
St.C.: Sorry about the intrusion but you are interesting to me. Are you a male or female toad?
V: Gender is a social construct. The only reason I'd say what gender I was assigned to is if a toad of the opposite gender asked. In other words, not to be rude, but mind your own beeswax.
St.C.: Fine. Sorry again for intruding. Can I do anything to make your more comfortable other than showing you off to my "giant" pals?
V: Yep, tell your cat to ignore me. You know that grey cat who stays outside? I don't want to be a cat toy.
St.C.: I'll try but not much I can do with Andy.
V: OK., now, I have a question for you. Would you ask your teh internets people to remember not to use chemicals outside and to protect wetlands and stop using fertilizers made of chemicals? We outdoor creatures do the best we can to celebrate God's beautiful World but the junk in water, air and dirt is disturbing.
St.C.: I think you told people very well.
V: Get away from me! You look like you are going to kiss me! That kissing stuff is a myth and was developed because people thought we toads were gross! As if!!
St.C.: Sorry, I just wanted to look at you again.
V: Ok, time for Matins, beat it if you don't mind.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Young Dr. A., my dentist, drilled, sawed, pulled and shot my left side jaw this morning. He's a great guy about explaining everything, discussing options and appreciating my humor.

But, my mouth hurts.

I will be eating soft foods for several days. Therefore, I spent today eating Kozy Shack Rice Pudding for every meal and snack. LSiL introduced me to these puddings 3 years ago but I seldom purchase any. Too much sugar. Teh Internets tell me a sugar-free version is available but none can be found down here in Backwater.

So, while Young Dr. A. was using his talents with a drill, I reviewed all the soft foods I do not eat and chose Kozy Shack Rice Pudding.

Tomorrow, I will make fruit smoothies so I can return to Healthy Land.
Tonight, I am stuffed with rice pudding.

Keeping it silly,

St. Casserole

Thirty years ago, this month,I was ordained to the ministry of the Word and Sacrament.

I'm thinking about the years leading up to this anniversary.

But, first, I have a dental appointment.