Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back to School Book Week: Cookbooks

My first cookbook
Eren at This Vintage Chica cooked up Back to School Book Week and today is Cookbook Day.

I share with you my very first cookbook.  I still have this 1957 edition of Betty Crocker's Cook Book for Boys and Girls that I must've received on some birthday in the early 60's.  My favorite recipe was the Whiz Cinnamon Rolls ("sweet and spicy and so pretty") and I made them every chance I got.  Thus began my love of cinnamon rolls and the joy of cooking as a young child.

I have an odd memory about those cinnamon rolls.  One Saturday, we went over to my dad's parents' house for breakfast.  There must have been a special reason, because Saturday was not a day that we ever went over there, and never for breakfast.  Sensing it was a special day, I got up extra early to make my cinnamon rolls to take along.  I distinctly remember my dad apologizing for the cinnamon rolls, and I remember my grandmother being totally delighted with them!

This is a small picture of a great big generational change that happened during those years.  For my parents' generation, there were wonderful new choices of new, packaged, ready-made things -- like cinnamon rolls -- that were more uniform and predictable and certainly easier than my modest home-baked offering.  For my grandparents' generation, nothing was pre-packaged, not even the Bisquick that was the main ingredient of my "from scratch" cinnamon rolls.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to School Book Week: Craft Books

Stash Buster Quilts: 14 Time-saving Designs to Use Up Fabric ScrapsSchool has started up again here.  So, Lisa at Polka Dot Cottage got this idea from Eren at Vintage Chica:  Let's use this back-to-school week to talk about the books we are loving right now.  A different kind of book will be featured each day.  Today is CRAFT BOOK day, and I do have a few of those!

This book is Stash Buster Quilts: 14 Time-saving Designs to Use Up Fabric Scraps by Lynne Edwards.  To say that my fabric scrap collection is a "stash" is to call an arctic iceberg a chunk of ice.  I have boxes full of opportunities for using up scrap fabrics.

The problem is that all my fabric is still stashed away somewhere among the many many boxes in my basement that are yet unopened since my move here well over a year ago.  My sewing machine is out, ready to go, but I would be hard-pressed to find a replacement needle for it.  My lap quilting frames are readily available, but not quilting needles or thread.

I even know where this book is!  I love to look at the pictures and imagine a time a few months from now when the weather cools off and a quilt-in-progress would be multi-comforting.   Add a cup of tea by my side and a cat at my feet and that is a picture worth 1000 scraps, wherever they are!

Will I ever really bust my stash?  Doubtful.  But I will uncork some of those boxes before the first snowfall and start -- piece by piece -- creating a new treasure.

Friday, August 27, 2010

News Fast, Day 4: The Joy of Limitations

Tunnel Vision Of A Different Kind
Here I am on Day 4 of my self-imposed news fast.

What I miss the most:  Commenting on Facebook posts about news or news-related things.

What I don't miss at all:  Morning TV.  I have replaced that with music and podcasts from my iPod.  Nice!

What I love the most:  The limitation!

With "news" off the table, there are actually more things to explore.  I have downloaded podcasts to my iPod that I am now listening to when I would have been listening to, watching or reading the news.  I recommend Stuff You Missed in History Class.  (The link is to some top podcasts, including that one.)  OK, so I'm technically listening to old news!  How about A Crash Course in Miracles?  (Future news?)

Another limitation I have learned to truly enjoy is living gluten free.  There are so many things in the grocery store I just don't have to look at now.  I have enjoyed getting to know much better the international foods aisle and the health food aisles.  I didn't miss anything delicious in last night's dinner of Spicy eggs diablo on polenta.

Imagine other possibilities for creative limitations:
  • Calorie limitations:  Dr. Oz promotes "extreme life extension" through a limited calorie life-style.  He calls it a "diet"; I prefer to adopt a "life-style."  Think of it as life extension rather than deprivation!
To be continued ...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

No News is Good News


I had to quit watching the news.  Something about losing my marbles ...

The whole not-at-ground-zero not-a-mosque thing finally got to me.  It wasn't just that so few people seemed to remember the reason that Civics and American History were required courses.  As a pastor, I marveled (in horror) at how Bible stories about God's love and "who is my neighbor" were either long-forgotten or had become irrelevant to so many self-identified God-fearing Christian people.

I kept watching the news for evidence of a higher level of discussion, some bridge-building, rational thought, or "liberty and justice for all" responses worthy of "the greatest nation on earth."

I began to hear the "We just don't want them ... here ... now" reason sounding very much like the "ick factor" justifying homophobia and the "we're just not ready for that ... yet" of 1960's anti-segregationists. 

I felt helpless and bruised.  I ached watching people of faith (any faith) killing each other, even with words.  I had gotten too tense.  I had come to feel too responsible for helping people "see the light." I found little comfort in the news coverage, much less joy.

My soul clamors for more calm.  I need to breathe more deeply.  

Today I begin a 6-week news fast.  

From now until October 5, I have given up talk radio, news programs, and news sites.  I will not post on Facebook about news events.  Ditto for news tweets and re-tweets.  I suspect the world will go on just fine without me.  News of all kinds will continue to be made even if I am not there to hear it or see it or be involved in it.

I will watch a little Stewart and Colbert.  They are humor, people!  I could use the laugh.  I also will take some time Saturday to pop in on my favorite news blog, but only to catch the FireDogLake book salon with Frances Moore Lappe about Getting A Grip 2: Clarity, Creativity and Courage for the World We Really Want hosted by Christy Hardin Smith.

Today, as I drove around doing pastoral calls, I listened to lots of XM Radio Margaritaville.  Tonight, to really unwind, I tuned into AMC and watched the first Nanny McPhee movie.   And I blogged this! 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Five: De/Re/Clutter

dancing hula girlRevGalBlogPals throw out (so to speak) a Friday Five about clutter.

But first, a story:  I discovered the magic of being a "clutter-holic" when I was a child in my grandmother's attic-like garage.  After Sunday dinner, during "adult conversation time," we grandchildren amused ourselves by going out to the garage and going through her stuff -- trash to some, endless treasure to us. One year, we accidentally found the yet-unwrapped Christmas presents.  

Another time, we uncovered the not-so-well-hidden box of my uncle's treasures from his military days.  This picture reminds me of our best find -- a two-foot tall wooden naked (except for her grass skirt) Hawaiian girl who sported red Christmas lights where her nipples would have been.  Oh -- yes, indeed-y -- when she was plugged in, she danced (I believe) and her "girls" lit up (most definitely)!  The adults then would confiscate her, chastise us, and then put her somewhere else.  Then, the game every week became finding where they had hidden the floozy we named "Jezebel." 

1. What things do you like to hang on to?  Books and papers

2. What is hard to let go of?  Books and papers

3. What is easy to give away?  Clothes are easier than anything else

4. Is there any kind of stumbling block connected with cleaning out?  I don't want something to "go to waste" so it's easier if I know that I can give things to someone who will use them.

5. What do you like to collect, hoard, or admire?  Books, doilies, glass things, sentimental things, photos

Bonus: Tell us about recycling or whatever you can think of that goes along with this muttering about cluttering.

I would love to tell you about my worm composting, but I haven't actually started that ... yet!

    Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    (Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Pastor Humor

    [Toward the end, there are some very cute kids ... which made me think of ...]
    The cutest!  "Here is the church ... here is the steeple ..."

    Friday, August 13, 2010

    Friday Five: Dog Days of Summer

    RevGalBlogPals Friday Five invites us to reflect about summer. 

    dog prints

    1. What is the weather like where you live?  
    After many days of record heat and hazy days, and after a day of blessed rain, today is a clear, sunny day, with the high temp in the mid 70's.

    2. Share one thing you love about this time of year.  
    I love wearing light-weight clothes and not having to "suit up" (sweater, coat, hat, scarf, boots) before going out.

    3. Share one thing you do NOT love about this time of year.  
    I don't love that parishioners are "too busy" to come to church and "it's summer, dontcha know?" is considered an excused absence from our faith community.

    4. How will you spend the remaining days leading up to Autumn?  
    Weeding and watching butterflies and drinking iced tea.

    5. Share a good summer memory.  
    My dad, who was an assistant principal, was a lifeguard during the summer months and so I remember a lot of fun time spent in the neighborhood pool when I was a kid.

    Bonus: What food says SUMMER to you?  Anything from the grill!
    ["Dog Prints" photo by madselfy]

    Monday, August 09, 2010

    Monday Morning Movie: The Food and Climate Connection

    I was inspired this morning by Christy Hardin Smith at her blog Home Celebration.  She got me thinking about ways to connect some dots about food, health, and justice.

    The Food and Climate Connection from WhyHunger on Vimeo.

    The video is a beautiful introduction to justice relating to food production.  I am challenged to be more intentional about my part of the food cycle:  choosing what to eat and where to buy.

    I recommend Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life.  It's about a family's year-long commitment to eating only locally-produced seasonal food.

    My next book to read is Frances Moore Lappe's book Getting A Grip 2: Clarity, Creativity and Courage for the World We Really Want.  I plan to participate in the discussion when Christy hosts a FireDogLake Book Salon with Frances Moore Lappe on August 28 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

    These are steps I hope will lead me to live in a healthier way personally and to participate in a more just world.  I'm sure I will have more to say about healthy living after my great big yearly checkup appointment on Wednesday.

    P.S.  Found Back to Basics, a site that describes itself interested in some of my favorite food-related things:  "gluten free, vegetarian, and agricultural policy issues, reviews and news."

    Saturday, August 07, 2010

    A New Lullaby, For Children of Any Age

    I have been looking for a new lullaby or two.  Thanks to Witch Mom for introducing me to this beautiful song! I can't imagine ever outgrowing being nurtured and loved by hearing this song sung to me:

    This is Roy Bailey singing "Everything Possible"
    Words and music by Fred Small, who pastors a Unitarian Universalist church

     Everything Possible

    We've cleared off the table, leftovers saved
    Washed the dishes and put them away
    I've told you a story and tucked you in tight
    At the end of your knockabout day

    As the moon sets her sails to carry you to sleep
    Over the midnight sea
    I will sing you a song no one sang to me
    May it keep you good company 

    Well, you can be anybody you want to be
    You can love whomever you will
    You can travel any country where your heart leads
    And know that I will love you still 
    You can live by yourself
    You can gather friends around
    You can choose one special one
    And the only measure of your words and your deeds 
    Will be the love you leave behind when you're done

    There are girls who grow up strong and bold
    There are boys quiet and kind
    Some race on ahead, some follow behind
    Some go in their own way and time

    Some women love women
    Some men love men
    Some raise children, some never do
    You can dream all the days never reaching the end of everything  possible for you.

    Don't be rattled by names, by taunts, by games
    But seek out spirits true
    If you give your friends the best part of yourself
    They'll give the same back to you 
    (chorus, repeating last two lines for the finish)

    Friday, August 06, 2010

    Friday Five: Grandmother Memories

    RevGalBlogPals are taking a trip down memory lane today.  As a new grandmother, I would like to honor my own grandmothers with memories of treasured moments of grandmothers -- past, present, and future.

    Flowers from my mother's garden
    A treasured memory from childhood:
    We called my dad's mother "Lollie."  She made my sister and me matching Easter dresses every year.  I remember feeling unfairly tortured with pins sticking me all over during the dreaded fitting.  I also remember my dad taking movies of every Easter egg hunt around, and in, Lollie's beautiful gardens.

    A teenage memory:
    My mom's mom was "Deedie" to everyone since childhood, as she was the oldest of 10 children who had difficulty pronouncing "Lydia."  When I was 13, I endured the tragedy (to me, then) of a family move from El Paso to Baton Rouge.  It was like moving to a strange country, and we moved in March, at the end of the school year.  I was beyond bereft.  My parents wisely suggested that I might want to make a summer trip (my first pilgrimage?) back to visit Deedie, and they said I could stay as long as I wanted to stay.  I spent six blessed weeks with her, learning how to sew, visiting homebound people from her church, canning plum jam from the fruit of her trees, getting hooked on my first soap opera, and staying up past 8:00 every night to watch the Tonight Show with her.  My parents finally had to call and insist I come home!

    A young adult memory:
    When I was 24, my mother became a grandma for the first time when my son was born.  I loved sharing my newborn children and my new mommy feelings with her.  She wanted to be called "Gran Gran" as her maternal grandmother had been to her.  My mother is a wonderful grandmother.  All of her grandchildren have made regular pilgrimages to the fantasy world fondly known as "Camp Gran Gran."

    Thursday, August 05, 2010

    Living with the consequences ...

    song chart memes
    see more Funny Graphs

    ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
    And, in case you were wondering about DADT consequences:

    Lifting "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will not threaten religious freedom

    Wednesday, August 04, 2010

    Teach us to pray

    This was the pastoral prayer that I offered after the July 25 sermon on Luke's report of Jesus' teaching the "The Lord's Prayer" to the disciples:

    O GodOUR God -- we worship you.  You are holy.  There is no other who can claim first place in our hearts, in our lives, on our agenda.  When we recognize you as our God, we also recognize ourselves as children belonging to you.

    We pray for the world that you have created to keep on becoming the world that you intended at creation.  We pray for the unity of all people and all nations and all beings.  We pray for the healing of the environment.  We pray for the integrity of each community -- each common place -- to be a place of joy, bound together in covenant with one another and with you.  We pray for the wholeness of each person, fully participating in your creation, fully confident in your love.  We dedicate ourselves to being people of shalom -- peacemakers, embodying loving kindness, creating common ground.

    We come to you as the provider of the bread we need for this day.  You are the giver of life and the provider of all that life is made of.  This day, give us -- each and every person -- what we truly need to live.  Show us how we can share the bread you have provided.  Make us aware of needs we can meet.  And make us aware of our basic human need for you and for each other.

    Tuesday, August 03, 2010

    Advice from Me to Myself

    Dear Self:

    Great Salt Lake (July 2009)
    Have you read your own most recent pastor article?  Why, look, it arrived at the post office just yesterday.  How timely!  Take another look at what you wrote.  Remind yourself, again, how very tempting it is to think that *everyone else* could use a holy attitude adjustment and how "helpful" you are with always-just-right advice for other people.

    So, now you have stumbled -- yea, fallen flat! -- again.   And somehow it always seems so unexpected!  Do you really need yet another reminder that ordination did not inoculate the Rev from looking for love in all the wrong places, or from forgetting to look for love at all?  Your well can dry up, too, you know.  It's better to notice when the level reaches "low" before it's all the way to "empty."

    "Hindsight is 20/20," of course, and so are all the other cliches that involve "a new leaf" and "heal thyself" and, most definitely, "eating humble pie."  Here, have some.  Yours is gluten-free, of course!

    These things you know; these things you preach; these things you write.  So, here it is, your most recent newsletter article, appropriately entitled "Good News is for Sharing."  You wrote it.  Now live it.  Today.

    Love you still,

    August 2010

    Monday, August 02, 2010

    Monday Mourning (haiku edition)

    missing it, him, them

    gone from sight, no gratitude

    no record, erased

    gazing shifts up now

    summer's gentle loving call

    "come and play again"