Thursday, December 24, 2009

Year in Review

Dear Friends,

In a few days, 2009 will end and I left these resolutions undone:
write a letter to the Christian Century
make diligent effort to change lifestyle*
be attentive to what is in front of my face

I did accomplish these things:
remove large grass area in front yard to decrease water use
change laundry habits by hanging out wash to dry outdoors
try several different ways of sermon prep
increase activity in Presbytery without moaning
cook more meals at home
complain ferociously about the Mississippi heat
heave out stuff I don't need
watch 220 episodes of "McCleod's Daughters", an Australian TV program

I fought with Year B lectionary texts weekly and learned to like Paul again while pining for the Lukan texts. I found great beauty in reading prayers whether in the Book of Common Prayer, Book of Common Worship, Karl Barth's prayers and the Oxford Book of Prayer. I read books about the emergent church and church history along with
pastoral care books on weddings and older congregations.

I did not blog much in 2009. I spent more time working on my crafts and projects, more time reading and staring out the windows. I feel I had less to say this year than any other.

I traveled to Arizona for the RevGalBlogPals BE.2, to the Festival of Homiletics in Atlanta, to see my lovely little sister and lovely sister-in-law and to Cursillo. I drove to the School of the Arts many times to fetch LD and to watch her perform scenes. I drove the 93 mile round trip to Little Church over and over again. That's a lovely drive!

I spent time considering the implications of post-denominationalism in a small Southern town where mainliners are the tiny minority. I wondered why hatred of clergywomen in leadership is increasing world-wide. I despaired over the continuing problem of homophobia everywhere. I noted the lack of civility in public. I measured my idealism against the reality of a cynical world and voted again to be idealistic regardless.

One of my cats learned to sit in my lap. Another cat fell in love with me again and is nicknamed "Shadow" because I appear to be his only comfort. My dog growled at me when I suggested she be bathed and I had to re-double my efforts to win her trust again.

Our LS entered his senior year of college. Our LD began her senior year of high school. Both showed lovely gains in maturity and both held on to childhood ways so that I was surprised by them everyday. Mr. C. and I learned to enjoy our empty nest for this second year.

My favorite read of 2009 is Stig Larssen's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and his second book, The Girl Who Played with Fire. I wish the publishers of the third book in the series would hurry up and make it available in the States.
You are surprised I enjoyed these two violent novels but the characters and setting charmed me. I winced and grimaced at the violence finding myself praying for anyone who experiences torture or lives with dramatically mental ill family members.

I'm ending the year reading "The Help" about maids in Jackson, Mississippi during the early Civil Rights years. I cannot stand this book. I lived through those years although I was a child and lived up on the East Coast. But, I knew the racial codes and I witnessed second-class (or worse) treatment of Blacks. I'm about 3/4 through the book and if there is not a GIANT redemptive ending, I will be huffy and crabby.
I suppose the book is better for those who are clueless about Jim Crow laws, White Citizen's Councils and the like but the stories of "The Help" leave me feeling drained. Like the stain of racism will never be removed from this state which may be how it goes. If you ask me the reasonable question, "why don't you put the book down and quit reading it?" I'd answer, "I'm such a Calvinist I can't let alone the things that trouble me until I work out why and I don't like 'wasting' books.

In the Garden, I had good luck with planting flowering vines from seed, learning about miniature roses and just how wonderfully Gerber Daisy's work in our courtyard clay pots. I pruned, weeded and planted to my heart's content this year.

I went through the most through medical physical of my adult life and survived. If I can figure out why the hospital pathologists are insisting my insurance company isn't responsible for paying for biopsy results, I will be finished with the months long extravaganza of doctor's visits. I'm doing great, thanks and am grateful.

My friends took on new jobs, moved away from stinky jobs, took on new projects and showed how brave and smart they are everyday. I'm proud of them. They made me laugh,
get teary and feel that I could not find greater companions than I have now.

I end this year waiting for the birth of Jesus tomorrow, planning my sermon for Sunday and looking forward to more time with both our children next week. I wait for my favorite bird to visit in a few days so we can go look at improvements on the Coast since Katrina, eat sandwiches, admire cats and the dog and sew/knit on the sofa while watching movies.

Blessings to you all,

St. Casserole

*of course this is the weight question but isn't interesting except to me


Sue said...

Many blessings to you and yours for a Joyous Christmas and all the best for the new year.

annie said...

Gosh, I've missed reading your blog! I love your insight. If I'm ever in your neck of the woods, I plan on coming to church and hearing you preach! Have a wonderful Christmas!

Mary Beth said...

Merry Christmas! The ending of The Help shall not disappoint. :)

judi said...

Such a wonderful I guess I had better start reviewing my own year, if I can remember it...:) Up here in St. Louis our church book club is planning to read The Help as soon as it is out in paper member is African American and her mother was a maid (in Indiana--it wasn't just the south) and another member grew up in Memphis where almost every middle class home including hers, had an African American maid. I grew up in segregated all of us are looking forward to a great dialogue, maybe some pain, but also some growth when we read it. (So please, don't tell us the ending, yet.) Merry Christmas, Blessed season, and Happy New Year.

Susan O said...

I know it's going to be a good day when there's a St. Cassie post!

I actually loved The Help. It was painful and ugly but the characters were so engaging. I didn't grow up in that era, though (or not the thick of it anyway), so it's not as personal.

Blessed new year to you.

Songbird said...

Can't wait to wing my way!

zorra said...

Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2010 to you. And have fun with your guest! :)

Rev SS said...

Good review! Think I'll have to read The Help, based on this post and MB's comment. Christmas Blessings!

Jules said...

I love you and fret that I might not see you at all in 2010.

--one who is obliquely mentioned in this post, who does not blog right now.

1-4 Grace said...

Many blessings for properous and happiness in the New Year.
Hugs to Sister and the cats!

Brittany said...

Love McCleod's Daughters! Love reading your blog and seriously considered driving the hour or so necessary to hear you in person on Christmas Eve. May God continue to speak through you to hearts that need to hear. Happy New Year.