Thursday, October 23, 2014

Scanning for Goodness

I remember a conversation I had a few years ago with a colleague who is an oncology and neo-natal chaplain. "How do you navigate through such challenging cases?" I asked her. "I try to be a sieve rather than a sponge." What wisdom. Yesterday's sad news from Canada and the ongoing wound that is Ferguson and so many other places remind us that the world is filled with sorrow and pain. Many days I feel like a magnet for the hard news and the sadness that seems to engulf people. I'm trying to be a sieve. I'm heading to the gym today to meet with a trainer and figure out a routine that will kick up (kick in) some mighty fine endorphins. I'm watching those cute panda videos, and I'm making sure to watch Jimmy Fallon's opening monologue (at least). He makes me laugh. I'm taking chances, and listening and engaging with people who might want to tell me something good. It happened last night. My friend and mentor was discussing the cosmos with his godson on Facebook, and I read a line of their conversation that made me smile. The godson referred to a galaxy as a "wallop of stars" and I jumped in and commented. A lovely conversation ensued, and now I'm thinking good thoughts all morning about amazing minds and some of the wonderful uses of technology and social media that allow a deaf young man and two inquisitive pastors to discuss that which amazes. I'm taking to heart paragraphs like this one from the book I'm using as a devotional: "We live in a both/and world. We meditate on the teaching of YHWH, yet we also experience the way of the world upon us... We are at all times the righteous as well as the wicked. We are all sinners seeking righteousness-- that is, seeking to be in right relationship with God, self, and neighbor." (Jann Cather Weaver-p.509) In Mr. Rogers' words, I'm "looking for the helpers." I'm scanning the news for reports of goodness, rather than just the ways we fail one another and cause one another suffering, or the litany of lament that we know by heart. Image from Wikipedia- dwarf galaxy: "a flock of stars"

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Habit Forming

Those  who know me well know that I'm trying hard to get back in the habit of blogging. I would welcome any and all suggestions as I try to make this habit stick. Over the years I've written "Morning Pages" a la Julia Cameron, and I've gotten in  the groove with, but I'm not doing either of those right now. For me there's a bit of a hurdle to overcome with blogging, because it's so much more public than the Morning Pages or It's that "for public consumption" part that's tripping me up. It feels self-conscious. I wonder how to get over that?

I have some good habits. I have some poor ones. I've broken some poor habits and I've let some good habits slide, too. Several articles on the Web suggest that blogging can help reduce stress. Perhaps that is my hook. I'm walking to reduce stress. I'm paying really close attention to nutrition as another avenue toward alleviating it. I'm watching panda videos, since Good Morning America's health correspondent touts fun panda videos as stress-reducing.

You know this panda video, don't you?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Five: Random!

I'm grateful for this prompt today. Birthing the sermon, preparing for a wedding, meeting with a family whose two young children will be baptized on Sunday have all conspired to drain me of creativity for blogging. Thanks, RevGalBlogPals, for this prompt! Random Friday Five is back! 1. If you could sneak away anywhere this weekend, right now, all expenses paid, where would you go and what would you do? Anywhere? Really? No surprise, I'd go to the beach. Anyone can come with me, puppies included. We will walk on the beach. We will eat snacks. We will take naps. It will be wonderful. 2. What is for lunch today? Shoot. Missed it. 3. Along that first-FF-I-ever-played theme, what are you wearing today? Black jjill dress, cardigan, black & white infinity scarf, fitflops. #shoefail. 4. Along the Today Theme, what are you doing today? See above + a ridiculously fun church staff outing to a fundraiser for our Cuban partner congregation. Viva Cuba! 5. Along the random theme, what is your favorite scent, and why? How fun! I just discovered Demeter, the fragrance company that turns human beings into Yankee candles, thanks to their interesting, "lifelike" scents. My first order came today. My favorite: "Salt air". See you at the beach!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

This is the day

I'm clearly not yet back into the rhythm of blogging regularly, but I want to get there. I'm giving some serious thought to returning to Julia Cameron's wonderful practice of "morning pages" that she outlines in The Artist's Way. I had a wonderful time writing those pages, once upon a time. Then I moved to the website called, which was great, and I think I shrunk back into a non-blogging hole. I love reading other people's blogs, but when I consider why I don't blog, I think it's about self-consciousness. I'm not persuaded that I have anything worthwhile to offer. I'm very shy about anything that seems like self-promotion. I admire it in others, but can't seem to get there myself. So, what about today, this day that God has made? On this day, which is overcast and chilly here in Chicago, in contrast to the cloudless, warm, beautiful day it was thirteen years ago when the beauty of the morning changed so abruptly, I think it's wise to pause and be still; to remember and be so grateful for the helpers, as Mr. Rogers is famous for having said. To be mindful that we have such a long, long road to peace and understanding in our world, and to commit ourselves again to the gift and the challenge of being peacemakers.

Friday, August 8, 2014

It's just random.

I wish I could blog about all of the random things that happened today, and it's only 7:00 p.m. There's more time for more random things to happen. It's all pretty much unbloggable, but some of it is funny, including the wanderer who entered the building first thing this morning and proceeded to scope out the place (we found some electronic equipment "fingered")but not before he stopped to use the bathroom. Really? I went to a colleague's farewell reception today, only to discover that I was slated to speak at the formal program prior. Didn't have a clue, and arrived in more casual clothes (but not jeans). Seriously. Had a whole bunch of random encounters today, including someone who was looking for a house, not a workplace, asked if I was "Charlotte" and then showed me a piece of paper with a name and address that was not far away, but not near, however the person's name was not Charlotte. Okay..... Had two cell phone missed calls this afternoon; one was from Jamaica, and while I was trying to reverse lookup the other number, my landline rang and it was my son, calling from that number. He thinks he sprained his ankle because half (???) of the power is off in his apartment and he tripped and rolled his ankle. I'm not sure why he called, because he was already elevating and icing it. I could add no further wisdom, except anti-inflammatories. Sigh.... Two long distance requests for recipes needed soon, strange paraphernalia in the yard, a dog with a drippy eye, and all of the usual spinning and symptoms and complaints at the manse. Now I'm sitting at the church waiting for the terrific Properties elder to come and see about the text he received from another church employee that there's a leak in the hydraulic room for the elevator. It sounds like an intermittent version of the Rainforest Café. This day isn't over. Random count: easily a dozen random things. I have no pithy way to connect this to Jesus or the Church or anything. It's just random. Enough of that. flikr photo by MTSOfan
Here's a review I wrote from a July installment of the Englewood Review of Books.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Long time, no see

I have not blogged here in over a year. Today feels like a good day to begin again, as with so many things. I'm a big fan of Jennifer Boykin, whose work with women and resilience really speaks to my heart. I'm hard at work at getting unstuck: thinking about and being intentional about taking better care of myself so that I can be strong and creative and thoughtful in every area of my life. I think Facebook took up the time that I used to spend reading others' blogs and blogging occasionally myself. Facebook is great, but as one friend wrote, "it's like passing notes in the hallway at school." (Thanks for that image, Katherine Willis Pershey.) I think I'm at a time in my life where I need a little more conversation....a cup of coffee and some musing about books and art and joy. Maybe writing here will help with that. I hardly remember how to add links and photos. Time to try. Time to get back on this reflective horse. Flickr photo by Andy Allan.