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Showing posts from July, 2014

Thinking about Failure

I do not like to fail. 
Nobody really enjoys failing (I assume), but some people seem to take it a little more in stride than I do. 
In the past year, I've come to embrace falling short of the mark. Not failing because I didn't do what I was supposed to, but missing the goal I had set for myself. 
Case in point, I really wanted to blog every day this month. I knew I had a lot going on, but I thought it would give me plenty of fodder for the days when the well seemed dry. 
It didn't happen. 
Even in the first couple days, I had to fall back on posts that seemed ineffectual and a poor representation of what I can write and show here. Not everything is Pulitzer-quality. Not everything can be. 
I thought I was doing well and then I looked back and I realized that I had missed Day 5. Well, that's that. 
The thing is, I missed Day 5 because I went out and played with my kids. I missed a different day because I took my son to the Bear Paw Festival. A separate time, I was too tired t…

No Kneeling or Sitting

6th Sunday of Pentecost
1 John 1:5-2:2
Whenever I hear today’s verses from 1 John, this is what happens in my head, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sin, God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We kneel or sit.” My years in churches that knelt or sat for the time of confession are not any greater in number than the number of years I’ve been with you, so I’ve never said or heard this phrase in six years. And yet, there it is. A biblical command and my automatic response…
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sin, God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We kneel or sit.”
That automatic response leapt into my head all week as I thought about the reading for today. Then the Presiding Bishop sent her letter on Thursday with the instructions to read to you on Sunday. Furthermo…

Wheat and Weeds (Essential Passages #13)

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 24 [Jesus] put before them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27 And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, "Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?' 28 He answered, "An enemy has done this.' The slaves said to him, "Then do you want us to go and gather them?' 29 But he replied, "No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30 Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.' " 

36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disc…

Koinonia (Sermon)

1 John 1:1-4
How many of you have at least one sibling, whether living or dead (or estranged or close)? What does it mean to have a sibling or a close friend? That person becomes part of how you remember events, people, and places in your life. You compare notes, repeat the stories, and recall facts that the other person forgets. Having a close relationship with someone else, especially a brother or sister or close cousin, is the way that you make sense of history and your place in it.
When a community formed around the teaching and understanding of the apostle John, the writer of the Fourth Gospel lifted up the divinity of Jesus. In that gospel, Jesus’ feet are just a little bit above the ground. The theme of the gospel according to John is “Like Father, like Son.” When we read that book, we cannot fail to grasp that Jesus is divine, is of God, is specifically and necessarily revealing God the Father to us.
This was the prevailing understanding of the Johnannine community, the brother…

Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery (Book Review)

Last year, I read a book called I [Heart] Sex Workers. Written by Lia Scholl, the book opened what I had previously assumed were my open eyes to some realities of how and why sex is sold, who sells, and who buys. Parts of that book have remained solidly with me, though I reviewed it in February 2013 here. Scholl wrote:

You might ask, if everything was equal, everyone had shelter, food, clothing, and jobs they loved, would people still sell sex? In all honesty, I believe they would. Some people sell sex because of sexual desire. Some people would sell sex to get one step further up the food chain. Some people would sell sex because they like it.
If everything was equal, though, the desperation around sex work would diminish. Sex works would be less likely to trade sex in risky situations. They’d be less likely to ignore their inner voice that says, “Run!” when a client is violent. They’d be less likely to have sex without a condom and risks HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections. T…

Brighten the Corner

I was thinking about this song today. We (meaning me) often think we have to do something big or grand as a response to God's grace. That kind of thinking becomes, in itself, a law we cannot fulfill. We simply live. We do the work that is laid before us. We make sandwiches, plow fields, perform surgeries, teach lessons, and love the people around us.

Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar;
To the many duties ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.
Refrain:
Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!
Just above are clouded skies that you may help to clear,
Let not narrow self your way debar;
Though into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer,
Brighten the corner where you are.
Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,
Here reflect the bright and Morning Star;
Even from your humble hand the Bread of…

Currently

Weathering; The ups and downs of Alaska summer. It’s been very hot. Now it’s rainy and cool. Never complain, because it will change in a minute.
Listening: “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor. Not normally my style, it’s just very catchy and positive about a variety of body types.
Reading: Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery
Eating: Nothing because we had a barbecue after the softball game. Incidentally, I read a message recently that said you can say Bar-b-que or BBQ or barbecue, but NOT barbeque according to the AP Style Manual. I say, if it ain’t Lexington-style chopped pork from North Carolina, it’s just grilled meat- maybe with sauce.
Drinking: Water
Wearing: My softball jersey- “People of Hope” #29
Feeling: Like I did not get enough done today
Wanting: To have a good night’s sleep
Needing: See above
Thinking: about 1 John 1:1-4 (Sunday’s main text)
Enjoying: Cooler evening breezes and being inside, thus, away from the mosquitoes
Wondering: Enneagrams, Parents and children, if I…

The Fireweed Clock

There's a legend/ old Alaskans' tale that the first snow is 6 weeks away once the top of the fireweed blooms. 


Looks like we've got a little time. 

Ask Away

Today I knew about a barbecue within my circle of friends. A couple people mentioned it to me yesterday (Thursday).

My Fourth of July plans, as of this morning- July 4, consisted of playing with my kids and waiting for my husband to return from a two day hike. I wanted to celebrate and be with other people, but I didn't want to put anyone out or show up where I (or my kids) wasn't (weren't) wanted.

So... to call or not to call and ask about the party.

Even with all the ways we have to contact one another these days, I am surprised how often people seem unwilling to ask other people for help. I know several people in the congregation who don't want to ask others for assistance during difficult times because they don't want to "put anybody out".

I recently had a conversation with a woman regarding a basic situation of church grounds maintenance (weeding) that she believed needed to be done, but was a bit beyond her. "Why don't you call a few people…

In 10 Years...

The prompt asks: What do you think you'll be doing in 10 years?

I have no idea. 
God willing, my husband and I will be celebrating 18 years of marriage. And these two squirts will be 11 and 14 (yikes!) 

Everything else will be a surprise. I ask God to help me see the surprises as revelations and blessings. Even eventually will work. 

How Long is a Long Time?

NaBloPoMo Prompt:Do you think of a decade as a short or long period of time?

If I simply think "ten years"- that seems like a long time. 

However, if I consider what's happened to me in the past ten years and what I can remember from 10 years ago... it can't possibly have been that long ago. 

In the summer of 2004, I was finishing projects at KNOM and getting ready to move from Nome to New Haven to attend Yale Divinity School. (If I had been a better note taker or journal keeper, Nome to New Haven would have been a great book.)

Rob and I got engaged in the summer of 2004. 

I jumped in the Nome River, camped beyond West Beach, read news stories, and bawled my way onto an airplane, sobbing about leaving the Gold Rush City (which still holds a small piece of my heart). 

I remember my first (homesick/Nome-sick) weeks at YDS, sweating in my small apartment and trying to learn the Hebrew alphabet. 

All of that was ten years ago. 

The decade behind me was too short. The decade that…

Habit of a Decade

In trying to get back into regular writing, I'm revisiting NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). The July theme is "decade", so be prepared for some random posts on that theme when I can't think of anything else to write.

Today's prompt: Tell something you've been doing for ten straight years. 
The only habit I've sustained for that long in consistently the same way is tracking what I read. That's actually a 12-year-old habit. In 2002, I set the goal of trying to read 100 new books each year. This was to break my serous re-reading habit.

I didn't make it in 2002 (only 92), but I have each year since except for 2009 (70) and 2013 (96). Those two years just happen to be the two years in which I gave birth. 
The lists tell me more than they tell you. Without looking at the year page, I know this is from 2007. I remember the voracious appetite I had for anything that would distract me from Robs impending deployment. Home from Yale for spring break, …