Tuesday, July 29, 2008

fun news for a change!


finally a piece of uplifting news! as i was browsing CNN.com i found this article on Mr. Rogers, entitled: 15 reasons Mr. Rogers was best neighbor ever.


1. Even Koko the Gorilla loved him. Most people have heard of Koko, the Stanford-educated gorilla who could speak about 1000 words in American Sign Language, and understand about 2000 in English.


What most people don't know, however, is that Koko was an avid Mister Rogers' Neighborhood fan. As Esquire reported, when Fred Rogers took a trip out to meet Koko for his show, not only did she immediately wrap her arms around him and embrace him, she did what she'd always seen him do onscreen: she proceeded to take his shoes off!

2. He made thieves think twice. According to a TV Guide piece on him, Fred Rogers drove a plain old Impala for years. One day, however, the car was stolen from the street near the TV station. When Rogers filed a police report, the story was picked up by every newspaper, radio and media outlet around town.

Amazingly, within 48 hours the car was left in the exact spot where it was taken from, with an apology on the dashboard. It read, "If we'd known it was yours, we never would have taken it."


3. He watched his figure to the pound. In covering Rogers' daily routine (waking up at 5 a.m.; praying for a few hours for all of his friends and family; studying; writing, making calls and reaching out to every fan who took the time to write him; going for a morning swim; getting on a scale; then really starting his day), writer Tom Junod explained that Mr. Rogers weighed in at exactly 143 pounds every day for the last 30 years of his life.

He didn't smoke, didn't drink, didn't eat the flesh of any animals, and was extremely disciplined in his daily routine. And while I'm not sure if any of that was because he'd mostly grown up a chubby, single child, Junod points out that Rogers found beauty in the number 143.

According to the piece, Rogers came "to see that number as a gift... because, as he says, "the number 143 means 'I love you.' It takes one letter to say 'I' and four letters to say 'love' and three letters to say 'you.' One hundred and forty-three."

4. He saved both public television and the VCR. Strange but true. When the government wanted to cut public television funds in 1969, the relatively unknown Mister Rogers went to Washington.
Almost straight out of a Frank Capra film, his 5-6 minute testimony on how TV had the potential to give kids hope and create more productive citizens was so simple but passionate that even the most gruff politicians were charmed. While the budget should have been cut, the funding instead jumped from $9 to $22 million.

Rogers also spoke to Congress, and swayed senators into voting to allow VCR's to record television shows from the home. It was a cantankerous debate at the time, but his argument was that recording a program like his allowed working parents to sit down with their children and watch shows as a family.


5. He might have been the most tolerant American ever. Mister Rogers seems to have been almost exactly the same off-screen as he was onscreen. As an ordained Presbyterian minister, and a man of tremendous faith, Mister Rogers preached tolerance first.

Whenever he was asked to castigate non-Christians or gays for their differing beliefs, he would instead face them and say, with sincerity, "God loves you just the way you are." Often this provoked ire from fundamentalists. (i so love Mr. Rogers!)


6. He was genuinely curious about others. Mister Rogers was known as one of the toughest interviews because he'd often befriend reporters, asking them tons of questions, taking pictures of them, compiling an album for them at the end of their time together, and calling them after to check in on them and hear about their families. He wasn't concerned with himself, and genuinely loved hearing the life stories of others.

And it wasn't just with reporters. Once, on a fancy trip up to a PBS exec's house, he heard the limo driver was going to wait outside for 2 hours, so he insisted the driver come in and join them (which flustered the host).

On the way back, Rogers sat up front, and when he learned that they were passing the driver's home on the way, he asked if they could stop in to meet his family. According to the driver, it was one of the best nights of his life the house supposedly lit up when Rogers arrived, and he played jazz piano and bantered with them late into the night. Further, like with the reporters, Rogers sent him notes and kept in touch with the driver for the rest of his life.

7. He was color-blind. Literally. He couldn't see the color blue. Of course, he was also figuratively color-blind, as you probably guessed. As were his parents, who took in a black foster child when Rogers was growing up.


8. He could make a subway car full of strangers sing. Once while rushing to a New York meeting, there were no cabs available, so Rogers and one of his colleagues hopped on the subway. Esquire reported that the car was filled with people, and they assumed they wouldn't be noticed.
But when the crowd spotted Rogers, they all simultaneously burst into song, chanting "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood." The result made Rogers smile wide.

9. He got into TV because he hated TV. The first time he turned one on, he saw people angrily throwing pies in each other's faces. He immediately vowed to use the medium for better than that. Over the years he covered topics as varied as why kids shouldn't be scared of a haircut, or the bathroom drain (because you won't fit!), to divorce and war.

10. He was an Ivy League dropout. Rogers moved from Dartmouth to Rollins College to pursue his studies in music.

11. He composed all the songs on the show, and over 200 tunes.

12. He was a perfectionist, and disliked ad libbing. He felt he owed it to children to make sure every word on his show was thought out.

13. Michael Keaton got his start on the show as an assistant. He helped puppeteer and operate the trolley.

14. Several characters on the show are named for his family. Queen Sara is named after Rogers' wife, and the postman Mr. McFeely is named for his maternal grandfather who always talked to him like an adult, and reminded young Fred that he made every day special just by being himself. Sound familiar? It was the same way Mister Rogers closed every show.

15. The sweaters. Every one of the cardigans he wore on the show had been hand-knit by his moth

strange dreams

yesterday i dreamt of Henry Rollins (which isn't that unusual) but in my dream he had joined up with some LOUSY Christian band and they were going on tour with a group of mayors from around the country!

i dont' know but i'm guessing that Hank is more of an agnostic, than a Christian. i haven't a clue about his religiosity. i simply lust after him and enjoy his sarcastic sense of humor. did i mention that i lust after him? yes, i carry great lust in my heart for him (thanks jimmy c!). have you seen him? how could you not?--but i digress.

i took a few friends to go see him. the only folks who showed up were some old Hank fans and the thing that was cool about this was we got to talk with him DURING the show. because the show sucked. i turned to one of my dream friends and said "man, i so prefer to keep my rock pure. Christians just suck the fun out of everything." i was actually irritated that Hank had "found God" and became a Christian. even in my dream this thought, this irritation gave me much guilt and i began to mull over how selfish i was to not be glad that Hank had found the same hope and grace that i had experienced with God and Christ.

Hank and i made plans to meet up after the concert and talk. he had remembered me from years ago when i brought him daisies to one of his spoken word shows. (right! like that would happen! the part about remembering--i really did bring him daisies, they were pretty weak by they time i got to give them to him after the show, but i did just the same. that much was real)

it's been making me ponder about my preference to keep my music secular (i have said this in waking life) because it seems that most of the Christian "rock" music and rap has simply sucked. do i really think that Christians suck the fun out of most things? if i'm honest--i probably do. so what does that mean? anything? was it just a crazy dream or do i have some soul searching to do?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

life is funny.

it was a giant "high" the first few Sundays. the numbers at church nearly doubled their normal attendence. i knew that they would drop after people had checked out the new girl. no big deal.

right.

the past 2 weeks attendence was down by about 25. still higher than the past few years but it felt awful just the same. i know that it's not about "me" but i can't seem to keep from worrying that i simply am not a good preacher and i will "run the church into the ground" or something crazy. my insecurities have kicked in hard.

thankfully, i was invited over to help "put up corn" this afternoon. it was great fun learning about blanching, corn cutting techniques, and how to properly freeze the corn. it really was! i met more of the church family and had a great time talking and listening to their stories.

now i can "put up corn" on my own and the sweet corn we couldn't finish eating tonight will not go to waste! in the cold of winter we'll now be able to remember and taste the goodness of this summer.

the highlight of my day, the thing that totally made me smile was hearing that my host's granddaughter raised her hands when she prayed and told her grandma to do the same. if nothing else a beautiful and sweet little girl thought it was good to pray "like me." how cool is that?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

thanks to cheeky!

the cheeky chaplain sent me the best book, Kingdom, Grace, Judgement: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus. it's so good that i had to share it with you.

everytime i read this book i am reminded of how lucky/blessed i am to be in ministry. sometimes it's easy to get bogged down in all the "shoulds"/"have-to's"/etc but this book reconnects me with the JOY! it continually reminds me that my call to ministry comes from JOY and this wonderful chance to share the love and light of God.

when i was an elementary school kid, my aunt and uncle lost their minds. God bless them, i think it came out of a good place but was quickly warped. they were entirely concerned about the eternal souls of every person in the world. at my grandmother's funerals they placed "tracts" in people's purses and wallets. for my best friend's "graduation" (sorry, can't remember what it's really called) from catechism class they gave her a huge book detailing their beliefs about Catholicism and why it was wrong. for my 13th birthday, i recieved a Bible and a letter my mom refused to let me read in its entirity as it told me how i was bound for hell unless i changed my ways. they even converted an old school bus and went "on tour." hosting revivals in Kansas small towns.

i will say that i have a great respect for their passion. however, i have a great distrust and distaste for folks whose ministry is driven by fear. i know the speel--they are driven by love, love for other's eternal souls. i can't quite buy that. it is when we are so convinced that we are right and of utter importance that we become dangerous. the end then justifies any means--even if that requires one to use the Bible to cut people down and slice off their heads. so to speak.

Robert Farrar Capon writes gloriously and continually reminds me that the Gospel is good news--not a sword! he helps me to remember that the coolest thing i get to do is offer people a wonderous gift of hope, of God's grace and love. to be honest, i'm not in the ministry for the sake of other's eternal souls. i trust God to take care of that. however, i do want to share the joy, the peace that comes from the LOVE that God offers. its radical nature, its ability to turn our worlds upside down so that we can fully experience God.

thank you Cheeky! i will treasure this book always! i look forward to reading his other books as well.

here is a beautiful nugget from Capon:

"I am and I am not a universalist. I am one if you are talking about what God in Christ has done to save the world. The Lamb of God has not taken away the sins of some — of only the good, or the cooperative, or the select few who can manage to get their act together and die as perfect peaches. He has taken away the sins of the world — of every last being in it — and he has dropped them down the black hole of Jesus’ death. On the cross, he has shut up forever on the subject of guilt: “There is therefore now no condemnation. . . .” All human beings, at all times and places, are home free whether they know it or not, feel it or not, believe it or not.

"But I am not a universalist if you are talking about what people may do about accepting that happy-go-lucky gift of God’s grace. I take with utter seriousness everything that Jesus had to say about
hell, including the eternal torment that such a foolish non-acceptance of his already-given acceptance must entail. All theologians who hold Scripture to be the Word of God must inevitably include in their work a tractate on hell. But I will not — because Jesus did not — locate hell outside the realm of grace. Grace is forever sovereign, even in Jesus’ parables of judgment. No one is ever kicked out at the end of those parables who wasn’t included in at the beginning."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

my husband is sooo funny

yesterday we went to a "mandatory fun"/"clergy picnic" thing. as the DS was saying he understood that the next 30 minutes or so would be boring for the kids and they might want to run around and that would be okay with him. (he is a nice guy and a grandfather). then it dawned on him that it might be boring for the spouses as well.

that's all he needed to say and Joel popped up and ran out of the room. it was very funny, cute, and embarrassing. Joel and Ainsley ran out into the hallway leaving Val and Merk sitting at the table with me dumbfounded. after 5 minutes or so i urged them to go and play outside with their dad.

he had a good time with the other clergy spouses, and apparently they appreciated his setting the precedent to leave early. i'm not sure what the DS thought about it. but he is a good guy so i can't imagine he was upset by it. i was more embarrassed because this was our introduction to the district we're now in.

it finally happened

it had to happen. i think it's been coming.

today's preaching was TERRIBLE! seriously--i'd been working all week on a sermon but never actually got anything written down. it was a crazy week and nothing seemed to go the way i had planned nor intended. nothing major--just little stuff all of the time.

so i had completed sermon prep all week but no sermon. this morning at 5am i wrote my sermon. i delivered one at 8:45am and another 10am. i think the one at 8:45 was probably better than the one at 10. a cute little old man even complained--"if i wasn't going to preach on the scripture read why bother reading it?"

i was glad to know someone was at least listening and being honest with me. that's a good thing. i had been preaching explicitly about one of the texts--the wheat and the tares-- but had also been talking about Jacob. i'm pretty sure this is where i got lost.

i read the lectionary text but then told the story about how Jacob had tricked Issac into giving him Esau's blessing. i used more of this "absent" text than i did the text i read. joel asked me why hadn't i just used that particular text rather than the lectionary reading.

i don't know. i didn't think about it. i like using the lectionary--there are many lectionary helps available and i don't have to decide what scriptures to use. for whatever reason, i didn't think to alter the scriptures.

there will be a sermon planning retreat in Atchison near the end of August. i can hardly wait to go. this week have i felt completely clueless. it's good to be humble but this felt a little crazy.

i had hoped to attend the Preaching from the Center seminar/workshop in Albuquerque this fall. however, i think i noticed an important event at the small church so that will likely be a bust.

there is a leadership seminar with a preaching workshop at the end of it, this one is in KCMO and also in October. it is also at Church of the Ressurrection. which seems to be the UMC's favored mega-church. Rev. Hamilton is a very good preacher but i don't buy into the whole "bigger is better" thing. it's not "my thing" to go and listen to Rev. Hamilton. i've heard him quite often, he's good but i can't imagine he'll say anything new or different from what i've heard him say before.

joel says i should "humble myself" and just go. perhaps he is right--afterall Jim Wallis will be there and i'd love to hear him in person.

there is also a "Preaching from the Center" and Worship workshop in January 09--perhaps i could go to that as well.

last year there was a great seminar in Oklahoma (Septemberish?)--does anyone know if it will be happening again? i can't even remember where it was in Oklahoma.

Friday, July 18, 2008

RevGals Friday 5: What's in a name?


RevHRod writes: If you are a regular reader of Songbird's blog, you know that "The Princess" has requested a new name. Her older brother changed his "secret identity" a while back and now this lovely young lady is searching for a new name on her mother's blog. This got me to thinking. How do we come up with all of these names? There must be at least a few good stories out there.In honor of the Princess I have posted a picture of one of my favorite members of fictional royalty, Robert Munch's "Paperback Princess." She is a brave young woman who doesn't need anyone else to fight her battles. And she knows that what is most important isn't tiaras and finery but what's on the inside. If you haven't read this little fairy tale, I highly recommend it. But I digress.

1. So how did you come up with your blogging name? And/or the name of your blog? hipchickmamma was my very first blogger identity--i was inspired by my friend Wendy 's first book, Oh, Solo Mia! : The Hip Chick's Guide to Fun for One . since i wasn't solo but loved Wendy and her book--i "borrowed" the hipchick and added mamma as my personal touch. i couldn't come up with a clever title so i stuck to hipchickmamma, seminarymamma, and now revhipchick. my names are a sort of process of becoming, who knows who i'll be tomorrow?
2. Are there any code names or secret identities in your blog? Any stories there? just a few, i love reading everyone else's code names but i tend to forget them, and they typically aren't very cute or clever. my favorite code name is the cheeky chaplain who was my pastor but went off to Iraq after a few months of dealing with us! he's definately a cheeky/smart-ass pastor/chaplain whom i adore. he's in freaking iraq and continues to minister to me! he's amazing for sure! and just for fun and pure embarrassment--cheeky chaplain and his wife are both pastors and gorgeous beyond belief. if someone would put them on tv they'd make millions and turn the whole "tv ministry" on its head (for the better).

3. What are some blog titles that you just love? For their cleverness, drama, or sheer, crazy fun? there are so many! here are some of my favorite titles: another loose cannon, conjectoral navel gazing: jesus in lint form, quantum theology, and processing counselor . i could go on and on but i'd probably never finish!
4. What three blogs are you devoted to? Other than the RevGalBlogPals blog of course! growing where i'm planted, seeking authentic voice, mandy's musings (for more just check my sidebar!)

5. Who introduced you to the world of blogging and why?
2 wonderful people really got me hooked: dan at A Payne Hollow Visit and my bestest friend, Lene (my nickname for her is Beauty Personified) at Counting Petals. i haven't a clue how i came to know the RevGals, i just don't remember, but thank you whoever led me here!
Bonus question: Have you ever met any of your blogging friends? Where are some of the places you've met these fun folks? i've had the pleasure of meeting Dogblogger at the UMC General Conference this April. she's wonderful and it was great fun getting to meet her in person. i knew a few other revgals from seminary. i keep thinking that iris and i live close enough to have a mini-meet up one day. if anyone is ever in or visiting Kansas City or Omaha drop me an email--i'm smack dab in the middle and it's not a long drive!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

does it ever slow down?

yikes!

i cannot believe how crazy this week has been! the past two weeks have been very busy, but this week has felt insane.

it's a great kind of insane but still, i'm tired!

i hope that i will find a rhythm soon, otherwise i'm in big trouble. =)

i had been planning to make a kansas city visit this coming weekend but now i'm not sure that wil actually work out.

how in the world do you just slow down? i'm totally enjoying it but i also don't want to go crazy. it feels like it comes in spurts. one week will feel slow and then the next week (or two) will be nuts.

it seems as if i'm beginning to feel like i "have a handle on things" my world gets turned upside down and i'm scrambling to figure things out again.

absolutely loving it, just wish i had a routine. being a *tad* ADD means that routine helps me calm down and be productive. i've felt productive but scattered. strange. anyway, i better get back to work on my sermon. we have a FULL day and evening on Saturday so that means i'm in HUGE trouble if the sermon isn't completed by tomorrow night.

peace, blessings, and love to you!

Monday, July 14, 2008

warning: hot vent ahead, albeit a bit revised

i have removed my previous posting of this. it was angry and bitter and i was lashing out. i hate that sometimes i use this blog to vent. sometimes venting isn't really productive. at least, venting where you are "safe" but can injure others isn't very cool. i apologize for doing this. i am ashamed of myself.

rather, i think i can vent without hurting anyone else and possibly you can offer me some guidance.

i've been praying and attempting to heal a dark spot in my life. there are these people i love but have struggled to "like" recently. the rift occurred/occurs in regards to our religious understandings. those seem to be the bloodiest and most painful. if i'm honest with you and myself it's probably because most of us want to be right. i'm terrible, i want to be right and to be liked and loved.

i was informed that these people i love cannot really respect me and my beliefs because their beliefs assure them that they are correct and anything less than their standards are good intentions but tickets to hell nonetheless. ever since i heard this it has been like a rancid poison spreading through me. it eats away at our friendship, it eats away my relationship with my immediate and more distant family. it eats away my sanity and call to love and compassion.

i am desperate to let this anger go. i don't like what i see in myself as this anger continues inside of me.

i want to be a Christian. i want to be loving and kind. i want to be good.

please God, help me to get over this for once and for all. i know that while this hurt remains within me that i am the one who keeps it close. please forgive me God and help me to heal this ugly wound. amen.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

grateful

today i drove up to a little hospital where 2 people from the churches were/are. as i was driving i became overwhelmed with gratitude.

this morning i preached 2 services at 2 churches about God's amazing love and grace. i visited a few people in the nursing home who abosolutely make me light up just thinking about them. and as i drove i admired the beauty of God's wondrous creation.

tears began streaming from my eyes. tears of joy and gratitude. never could/would i have dreamt that God would call me into ministry. never would i have dreamt/imagined that i would love it this much.

i was filled with joy and a peace that i can find no words--only thoughts and memories of Jesus' words "peace i give to you, but not the world's kind of peace" (my own paraphrase). what grace it was to feel this peace. what a joy it is that i get to serve God by sharing God's love and i actually get paid for this!

i realize that there will be rough times ahead. i'm not totally naive but i never imagined that being a pastor would feel like "this." i didn't know that God was going to bless me so grandly. i miss my family terribly. last night i was ready to hop on a plane to denver or ride back with my mom so i could be with my family. it still sounds tempting, yet i am filled, overflowing with love and gratitude for God's grace, mercy, and love. how is it that i could be so blessed?

thank you, God, for allowing me to feel this way. i hope and pray that in times of pain and hardship i will remember today and let it give me your strength to push forward. thank you, thank you, thank you! amen.

weekend adventures, II

after exploring the refuge my mom tricked me into driving out to a casino. she has a bit of a gambling addiction--thankfully not full blown, i just like to tease her about it. some folks go to movies, shows, blog, etc but she loves to go play bingo and gamble.

we all have our vices so when i finally caught on to her reason for wanting to go to Rulo, NE, i kept driving. it's not very far from here at all and to the horror of both of us there is a rather frightening looking bridge going into Rulo. i doubt my mom will bother to go back.

Rulo is a sad looking town, we drove through it on our way to the casino. i walked in with her but came out to the car after she lost $20. i can't stand to watch her throw her money away. (but i'll let her take me out to dinner, buy a baby gate so our blind Wishbone doesn't fall down the basement stairs, etc) so i went out the car and made a few phone calls--amazingly there was reception! she didn't stay long. (thanks mom!)

afterwards we decided to just take a leisurely drive and we ended up in KS. KS, NE, MO, and IA all come together in these parts. in one of the nearby towns was a sign that said there was a lookout tower from which you could see all 4 states. we drove up the torn up gravel road and found this:

not quite a tower but we were likely looking out over the 4 states.

one of the towns we went through was called Red Cloud and i got a thought that perhaps Hiawatha was close by. in Hiawatha is the Davis Memorial and i decided that i needed to take my mom to see it.

there are 2 stories--one is that Mr. Davis was so hateful that he didn't want his wife's family to get any of her money when she died and so he built a crazy expensive memorial to her and their lives together.

the other story (and the one i subscribe to) is that he was so heartbroken by Mrs. Davis' death that he built a crazy expensive memorial to her and their lives together.

mom was in awe when she saw it. it's hard not to be--which is why i tend to think he must have been heartbroken, otherwise he could have found other ways to squander her inheritence.

i didn't have my camera, so this is what i got w/my cell phone,

it's a bird's nest on inbetween the angel's wings. i don't know why but i found it particularly moving that new life was likely born in this memorial.

in our quest to find Hiawatha, KS we got completely lost. it turns out that we turned away from the town when we were only 5-7 miles away from it! ugh! however, the drive was beautiful and we talked and laughed and i wouldn't want it to be any other way. it was terribly fun and funny!

last--here is a picture of my mom and i. i was getting ready to head out for church and she was preparing for a long drive back to CO. i love you mom! thanks!

weekend adventures, I

joel and the girls left thursday for Grand Junction, CO. cousin Katie got married on the 5th and tomorrow they will be going to some cabins in the mountains with joel's 2 sisters, their families and parents. part of me really wishes i would have gone or at least planned to go out for the cabins. yet, here i am enjoying my day.

i miss my girls and wonderful husband terribly. they won't be back until friday and the cabins will likely not have any cell phone reception. that is probably a good thing.

anyway, joel and the girls left and my mom arrived that afternoon. we realized that it has not been just the two of us since merkin was born. we had a great time, a terrific time. i'm so grateful that she came out. i thought she was being dramatic and worrisome, wanting to come out since it would only be my 2nd week at the new appointment. i am eternally thankful that she did because i haven 't laughed so much with my mom in far too long.


5 miles from mound city is Squaw Creek National Refuge. i had yet to go, so we ate a hearty breakfast at Josephine's (a small cafe in town ran by one of the most loving women i've ever met) and headed out to the refuge. the weather was perfect--it was actually cool! cool, my mom found it chilly! (i'm beginning to wonder if hell is starting to freeze over!)


you drive through the refuge (which suprised me) and there are stopping points where you can get out and sit, overlooks and the like. i cannot wait to go back with my camera and take some shots. it is amazing! at the first overlook you could see these enormous leaves in the middle of the field and we couldn't figure out what they were--they were water lilies' leaves! huge water lilies, a whole field of them!


i could hear a bullfrog or two but could never spot one. we saw a variety of birds, and some deer. i can't wait until this fall when the eagles roost.


it was serene and wonderful, it filled my heart with peace. Lewis and Clark explored here, it blows my mind trying to imagine what this land would have looked like before people exploded all over it.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

ramblings

this morning i woke up early for the first time in a month. it's been delightful! the weather is gorgeous and i love the silence (although since we haven't had a tv, it's quiet more often than not around here).

i've been reading a variety of blogs and it's been great fun. one of the things it has reminded me is how slacker i've been with the news and staying "up-to-date" upon the affairs of the world.

i've also remembered how when i began blogging one of my intentions was to share my feminist perspectives. other than occassionally referring to God as She, i haven't done so. all the blogging as of late has been purely personal--which is fine. i love reading others' personal blogs and now that we've moved away from some terrific friends it's especially good to have a personal blog. that said, i would like to start being "substantial" at least from time to time.

it's unbelievable how many great blogs are out "there"

i highly reccomend checking out Towanda's place (i got there from Iris's-another fab blog). then i spun over to the Feminist Peace Network, which led me to a great ring--Progressive Women Bloggers, and it was a multitude of places from there. it's only 7 am and i've had a great trip through the blogosphere already!

i'd love to hear where your blog adventures take you!

ps. i also realized that i haven't played with the blog format in a long time! can it be possible that i've not been spending enough time online? surely not!

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Big Read

I got this over at Iris' place. This is from something called 'The Big Read', from the NEA came up with a list of their top 100 books and they estimate that the average adult has only read 6 of these books. I will highlight the ones I've read. Cut and paste into your blog and let us know which you've read.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (not the complete works though!)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving currently checked out to read after i finish "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn"
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole what a great name, perhaps it will be next on my list!
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

ooh, only 29. not so hot! there's a few that i couldn't remember if i had actually read them or not but i'm guessing if i questioned it the answer would be no! eek! i have seen a lot of the movies though. ;)

RevGal Friday 5: the fireworks edition


Sally asks:


1. Barbeque's or picnics ( or are they essentially the same thing?) bbq's because they tend to mean a group of family and friends enjoying one another's company at one's home. you sit around, listen to some good music, talk, have a few ritas or brews. sounds delightful. and if the bugs are really bad you can easily take it all inside.

2. The park/ the lake/ the beach or staying at home simply being? all of the above? sounds fabulous, each and every one of them! since it's just me and me madre today we're taking a nap (she is, i cleaned up the kitchen and am now enjoying the quiet time and blogosphere!), later tonight we'll head up to the park for some amusements and fireworks in our new town. we had a yummy lunch there an hour or so ago. but how i'd love to be at the lake or beach as well!

3. Fireworks- love 'em or hate 'em? both! they are absolutely beautiful and lots of fun to shoot them off but i also cringe at the lound bangs and wonder how folks who have been in war can handle the sound and i wonder about the environmental effects as well. sometimes the sounds totally weird me out, but if i can just watch and not think or worry i love them.

4. Parades- have you ever taken part- share a memory...today i was in my first parade since jr. high marching band! the parade/town's theme was "something old, something new, something red, white, and blue. guess what (or rather who) the new was! i'll post pictures as soon as i can but i haven't a clue when that will be. it was a blast! for the float judging (we didn't win) i sat with the kids on the float as one of them turned a thing that looked sorta like a windmill but had a UMC cross and flame, and sign that said "since 1864", i can't describe it much better than that so i'll have to show you later. one of the guys made it and it was awesome! half the time i was walking beside the float handing out water bottles and then i hopped onto the float and hung out with the kiddos. they told me that at a certain corner everyone hops on but this year i was the only one who gave up! everyone else walked the whole parade. it was great fun and a totally brand new experience for me!

5. Time for a musical interlude- if you could sum up holidays in a piece of music what would it be? i'm not so helpful here. i haven't a clue, sorry folks!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

my kind of heaven








i think i have seriously recieved the best appointment ever!




i'm loving life and am so grateful to God that she's led me to this place and vocation. it's wonderful!




i'm sorry if i'm sounding like a broken record but it's been terrific! i wanted to share a few pics of this wonderful place.