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

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Comforting the Goat

The Methodist's put on a show for their children Sunday night. Sheep, a calf, goats and the Camel stood across the street from my house ready for the children. No person was near the tents as I cooked supper. I heard the bleating of the little goat. All alone in the big tent with UPS trucks and neighborhood traffic speeding by, the little goat cried loud enough for me to hear him above the din of cooking and NPR on the radio.

I gave up. A lonesome and fearful lil' goat sounds like a child in trouble. I left the house, crossed the street to comfort the goat. He jumped down from his perch on a hay bale and leaned against my knee. His heart was beating fast as he quieted down. I stayed with him until a Methodist appeared.

For a City gal, helping a goat is a rare pleasure.


Tuesday, December 01, 2009


My Presbyterian Outlook subscription expired sometime in 2009.

I can't recall exactly when. I have a pile of subscription notices asking me to renew. Each notice was placed in my "get to sometime" stack in my filing system without engendering any desire to write a check for another year. Sorry, but the Outlook's lifeless black and white covers of odd pictures, along with editorials I found tiresome, never-used International Bible Study lessons and a back page of pastoral ending and beginnings of people I don't know just wore me out.

My first subscription to the Outlook began as a freebie for seminarians. In the late 70's I was interested in the magazine. Over the years, and especially in the last five or so years, I read fewer articles. I began throwing away copies after glancing through the pages. I should have known what this meant.

Loving magazines is part of my DNA. Throwing away copies is not a good sign. As the child of a father who kept stacks of Life, Saturday Evening Post and National Geographic on bookcases in his workshop, I value the printed page. National Geographic's from the 1920's survived past his death in the 1980's and were thrown out, mostly intact in the mid-1990's when my parent's home was sold.

All magazines are troubled these days. I'm sorry about the hard times of magazine publishing. I doubt many will return when the economy improves because we've learned to get our content from the internet. I think I kept up my subscription to the Outlook because I want places for people to start conversations and discuss ideas about the Church. The Christian Century fits my needs in this arena.

But, I feel odd about putting an old friend out to pasture.

St. Casserole