Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Five: Pies R Us?

Fudgy Brownie Pie with Caramel Sauce Recipe
Brownie in a pie!  Yum!
I'm glad I finished up last week's Friday Five yesterday, so I could play today's RevGalBlogPals Friday Five about pie!

I am two years gluten free, and I've not delved into GF pie crusts yet.  But I did have a pie life before, and hope to have a pie life again someday.  I've discovered and multi-tested a great (very great!) GF brownie recipe, though!

Are pies an important part of a holiday meal?  I didn't grow up with much pie on an every day basis, so a pie does say "holiday" to me.  I did serve a delicious holiday meal yesterday without pie.  The sweet potatoes were like dessert, though.

Men prefer pie; women prefer cake.  Discuss.  My experience says "true" to this one.

Cherries -- do they belong in a pie?  I've never been a big fan of cherry pie.  I prefer them as a topping to cheesecake.  [Note to self:  Find GF graham cracker crumb recipe!]

Meringue -- if you had to choose, is it best on lemon or chocolate?  I'm not a big fan of meringue.  When the choice is lemon or chocolate -- anything -- the choice is always chocolate!  (Anyone remember the boxed pudding cake mixes, back in the day, that came in chocolate or lemon?)

In a chicken pie, what are the most compatible vegetables?  Anything you don't like in a chicken pie?  I used to pick out the peas from the pot pies we had as a kid.  I would probably stick with the basics -- carrots, potatoes, celery, onions, peas.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Friday Five (Thanksgiving Day edition): Unexpected Blessings

This is a leftover from last week's RevGalBlogPals Friday Five. We were challenged to name five unexpected things we are thankful for.  In chronological order:

Each of my children:  Of course, it is expected that I am grateful for each of my three now adult children.  Each one's actual entry into my life was unexpected in a special way that I cherish.

Becoming a pastor:  I was the kid in Sunday School that everyone dreaded having in their class.  And, yes, kids overhear teachers saying these things!  My crime was that I had questions that the teachers were not very good at answering to my satisfaction.  My little secret was that, while all the other kids were bored with Sunday School and especially the worship service, I was both fascinated and strangely captivated by the whole thing.  I went to seminary because I had always wanted a graduate degree, and I thought it would be like going to Sunday School full time!  If they could see me now. . . !

Amazing journeys:  I've gotten to travel to a lot of different places, mostly in the U.S., with some travel to Latin America.  The journey of my life has been more wonderful and life-giving than I could have ordered off of the best menu of choices.  The people in my life -- family, friends, parishioners -- have been unexpected blessings over and over again.  Even the rough, rough roads have been unexpectedly blessed.

Church life:  I never expected that I would want to be a pastor, much less be able to, much less derive joy from it.  I get so frustrated sometimes that I feel like I'm stuck in the temple, Jesus-style, whip in hand, either whacking the money changers over the head or wanting to so badly that I'm screaming, mostly on the inside.  Alternately, I'm crying over Jerusalem and feeling so totally impotent that it hurts.  Church life is hard for me because I really do believe Jesus Christ is good news for the world and for the church!  I have gotten to see glimpses of miracles, quickly vaporizing usually, but -- still -- I have been privvy to many unexpected blessings!  

Daniel:  I truly am a person who would have lived a full and complete life, and been totally happy with my own children, if grandchildren had never happened for me. Daniel's advent was totally out of my control, so his presence in this world is, for me, indeed an unexpected miracle.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Comfort of Quitting

My niece Laura took this picture
I quit.

I quit trying to "win" NaNoWriMo.  Winning would have meant writing 50,000 words of a so-called novel in the 30 days of November.   I started off strong, believing that this was my "winning" year.  As of a few days ago, I have put away NaNoWriMo writing for 2010.  Quitting means that, for the fifth year in a row, I have played and not won.

My inner Pollyanna has struggled a little bit this time in her efforts to turn quitting into winning.  She's a persistent one, though, and has declared that, indeed, I quit one thing so I could win:  
  • The opportunity to spend three whole days, and two partial days, with my daughter, son-in-law and grandson.
  • Some deliciously long conversations with cherished friends and family.
  • A few sacred, unencumbered days to walk with a family through the death of their 45 year old relative.
  • The joy of writing and writing and writing on the so-called novel, and now I have won back the joy of a more relaxed writing schedule for sermons, blog posts, and whatever else I want to write.
  • Some much-needed goof-off time.  Did I say much needed?
And ... I won the once-in-a-lifetime chance to make 2011 the year I win NaNoWriMo for the first time!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Friday Five: It is Well With My Soul

Not my photo, although it seems very familiar.
The Friday Five invitation at RevGalBlogPals talks about perks and privileges for which we are grateful.  To quote kathrynzj over there:  There are many perks in my life for which I give thanks and then there are some that make everything right in the world during the moment I am enjoying them. I'm wondering what a few of those things - five to be specific - are for you.
I think of perks as those things that are truly the icing on the cake and undeserved or unexpected, like God's grace and falling stars. These are things that I really didn't expect to be part of my life, so they are the perks that come to mind today:
  • Chili's:  For me, Chili's represents the privilege of going out to eat and also is a piece of family tradition that dates back to good memories of dining at the first Chili's restaurant in Dallas, TX, way back in the day.  In fact, I enjoyed a bit of the Chili's today for lunch with my first-born.
  • Technology:  Include smart phone, computer, iPod, cable TV, Netflix, Skype, internet research, online role-playing games, and even worship technology. I am not very patient with people who vilify technology outright.  I do not use all of those things in any given day, or every week even, but I am grateful for the things, and the people, they bring into my life.
  • Meaningful work:  I can't say that my work is always my play, but darn close.  The privilege is sharing faith and life and God together.  The perks are the travel and the many, many people I would never have met otherwise.  
  • Corrective Lenses:  In my case, bifocals.  My life would be beyond fuzzy without them.  No driving, movies, or being able to see my congregants' faces during the sermon.
  • Being a grandmother:  A grandchild turns out to be a serendipity that was/is totally out of my control to create or wish into being.  Daniel (now 5 months), along with three amazing adult children and a wonderful son-in-law, are all fantastic perks of this time of life.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Some See Fungi

Some "rare" Texas mushrooms
Words:  The dawn of Day Four of NaNoWriMo and I have completed a tenth of the 30-day journey of 50,000 words with a current word count at 5163.

As if the voices in my head are not sufficiently taunting and belittling, Laura Miller at opines that NaNoWriMo is a (quote) "waste of time and energy."  "Better Yet, Don't Write That Novel" Laura advises those of us who would give ourselves permission to write a whole lot of *compost* for a whole month.

Better yet, read Carolyn Kellogg's rebuttal (debunking?) of Miller's article.  At LA Times online, she offers Twelve Reasons to Ignore the Naysayers:  Do NaNoWriMo.  Why, she makes it seem almost harmless for a couple of hundred thousand writers -- or "writers" -- to have occupied themselves producing 305,703,617 words so far in 2010!

Picture:  Taken in Southlake, Texas (Dallas/Ft. Worth area) in September, this picture of mushrooms in my sister's front yard is evidence that it does, indeed, sometimes get soggy in Texas.

You say "fungus"; I say "mushroom"!  And then, I write about it, because it's what I do.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Words and Pictures: Day Three

Words:  Slightly ahead of pace with 3410 words.  Mood: satisfied!

Picture:  This sweet daisy bloomed for about a month until 2 nights ago when the freeze seriously wilted it.  The joys of warm weather are captured in this picture, especially the joy of gardening during the warmer season.

Farewell sunny daisies and fluttering butterflies!

Hello simmering soup and flannel robes!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Words and Pictures: Day Two

Coffee & General Synod 2009 "goodie bag"
Words:  I have to write 1666.666~ words a day in order to "win" NaNoWriMo by writing 50,000 words in a 30-day month.  Yesterday, my first day total was 1671.  It was my day off.  Writing my quota today will be more challenging.

Picture: Finding coffee at a United Church of Christ General Synod is easy.  Finding good coffee is divine!  It's not a great picture -- and it may actually be tea! -- but it brings back memories of General Synod in 2009 when I got to sponsor our conference youth delegation:  a two-day drive, fun youth, Habitat houses, amazing worship, old and new friends, and the always-appreciated reminder of why I keep on saying "yes" to this call to ministry.

Monday, November 01, 2010

A Month of Words and Pictures

Good-bye, October!  Hello, November! Pumpkins forever!
The Words:  50,000 of them, courtesy of NaNoWriMo, a.k.a. National Novel Writing Month.  Why?  For the joy of writing, of course!  So many words over there, so there will be pictures over here.

The Pictures:  Lisa Clarke at Polka Dot Cottage is celebrating a Month of Gratitude by taking pictures of things that bring her joy.  Thanks, Lisa, for a great idea and for your invitation to everyone to play.

Today, these small pumpkins make me smile!