Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday Five: The Janus Post

I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions, but it does seem a good time for some reflection and planning. For the last few days I keep thinking of Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Among other things, that seems to say that reflection is in order if we want to learn and grow.

For some of us, this has been an incredibly difficult year; for others it has been a year of many joys. For all of us, there have been challenges and questions and there have been blessings and--maybe even an answer or two! As we say our goodbyes to 2010 and look towards 2011, share with us five blessings from 2010 along with five hopes or dreams for 2011.From Singing Owl at RevGalBlogPals

1. Blessing Five: To have retired. Not expected or planned, but the realization that I just didn't have the skills or patience to deal or cope in the way I wanted to with the situation. It has freed me.

2. Blessing Four: The wherewithal to travel to amazing places. Each place I've been this year has changed me in some way--some small, some large. Time alone in Yosemite and reading/thinking about meditation and meditation and the loping brown bear as frightened of me as I was startled by him/her. Bhutan and thinking about death in a Buddhist context. Ethiopia and so much I never learned about in school and the amazing rock churches and what does their vision of Trinity mean (three identical old men).

3. Blessing Three: Running again. I still don't really like running. But it's the only thing that I do with any sort of intensity. I can dog all other exercises, but there is no way for me to dog running. Even at a slow jog, it's still more intense than anything else I can do. I want to be strong and fit enough to climb those hills at Addis and Yosemite.

4. Blessing Two. Life. Two years and nine months ago today was my surgery for ovarian cancer. It is good to be alive and healthy. I am grateful I failed Southern Belle 101 and became an assertive (OK, aggressive obnoxious) person because otherwise I might not be alive. (Yes, I'm still angry at the doctors who dismissed my complaints with you can't possibly be whatever.)

5. Blessing One. My son, my family, my friends everywhere, in real life and on line. I have been blessed in knowing some wonderful people who have listened to me kvetch (so much nicer a word than bitch) about everything, who have encouraged me, who haven't said (but I'm sure thought) "quit complaining and DO something."

Hopes for 2011
1. To be healthy and strong.
2. To continue to travel to amazing places (plans include a dive trip to Yap and Palau in Jan/Feb, the RevGalBlogPal cruise where I can meet some of the folks I know on line, a road trip to the Canadian Maritimes, visits to family, particularly a road trip to see Bubba Jim (yes, I do have a Bubba Jim) in Florida, trip to India to tiger reserves. And to sell my house so that I can travel around the world.
3. That an idea that has been percolating for a while will develop further. That the hungry, cold and homeless may be fed, warmed and sheltered.
4. That my family and friends continue to flourish: that God will heal the losses in their lives and grant them joy.
5. Oh, and world peace and thin thighs.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ethiopia--things that amazed me

1. The thing that amazed me most was the interior of the churches in Lalibela. The churches in Lalibela are carved into the volcanic rock. Imagine, you are on a mountain made of volcanic rock. Then there is a rectangular trench dug out. Then in the center of the trench, there is a large rectangular building, carved completely out of the rock. Then, in the building, there is the interior of a Romanesque bascilica. With arches and columns, with lintels and posts around the doors, with a barrel vault over the center aisle. How does anyone design and build such a thing? In the 12th century? I am still amazed. It boggles the mind to consider. One guide book said that if these churches were anywhere else but Ethiopia, they would rank up there with the pyramids as one of the wonders of the world. Quite frankly, I can't imagine any thing I have ever seen as being more awesome.

2. There are several legends about Christianity coming to Ethiopia. The one I like is that a Christian Syrian merchant was traveling back from India and stopped for water in Ethiopia and converted the people in the time of the apostles. Now, let's think about that. In the first century, people were traveling from the eastern shores of the Med down to the Red Sea and into the Indian Ocean and to India (which was further east then than now, but still...).

3. There was a large Jewish population in Ethiopia and there are still Jews there now. Since there was a huge Jewish diaspora from I believe the Babylonian captivity, why should this surprise me, but it does.

4. Italian artists traveled to Ethiopia in the 1600s painting church icons.

5. The Axumite Empire until the 5th or 6th C AD covered vast territory including parts of the Arabian peninsula.

My education in world history focused on Greece, Rome and Europe. But the vast area from the eastern Med eastward to China and Japan was filled with traders. Christianity traveled to India and China and Ethiopia. During the European dark ages, this area was filled with scientific progress and learning. Algebra was invented (in central Asia.) The writings of the Greek philosophers survived in the Islamic world, not in Europe. I am amazed at how Eurocentric we remain today.

Musings about Ethiopia and travel.

Two blogs this morning resonated with me this morning. The first talked about finding a guide who would show the blogger around sample as much food in Mumbai as possible, The second by a PCUSA educator in Ethiopia talked of Christmas in Kenya as the slum children don't have food and the wealthy travel to the shore to stay in expensive resorts.

Travel to the developing world is fraught with hypocrisy. The difference between what I have and what most of the people who live there have is enormous. I give money to the beggars until my wad of bills and coins is exhausted. (I do not give to children, though. Most guidebooks caution it teaches them to beg and not go to school--but many don't go to school anyway.) I could choose to stay home and then be confronted only by the poor and homeless here. Mary's song resonates in my head. The hungry shall be filled and the rich turned away. I could give away all that I have, but like the rich young man, I don't want to. I like my nice home (much larger than I really need). I like to eat good food. (The irony of my joy at losing three pounds eating Ethiopian fasting food while so many don't have enough is not lost on me.) I love to travel to far away places many people only dream of going.

I always come back grateful to have been born in the US, having had the parents I had who valued education, being able to work and save and spend. I am always convinced that if I had been born in other circumstances I would not have been able to work myself out of poverty. Travel sharpens my understanding of my privilege, the gifts I have been given that I have not worked for, have done nothing to deserve.

And I am left with what is my response?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Five: Pies

Happy post Thanksgiving avoid the mall day. I'm waiting till it warms up a bit for my run. In other news, I have a leaking roof and I'm leaving for Cleveland today and Ethiopia on Sunday. Won't be back until Christmas. Ugh.

So on to Friday Five--from Songbird who has been making pies--Pies

Please answer these five questions about pie:
1) Are pies an important part of a holiday meal? Hmmm no. I suppose I always, usually, sometimes bake a pie. It's bought crust and canned fruit. Now, I'm doing lemon tarts as my fav dessert. It has a shortbread crust and a lemon-cream cheese (really lemony) filling. Much better than pie. I make it like lemon squares, but it is nothing like lemon squares.

2) Men prefer pie; women prefer cake. Discuss. I don't know. I'm trying not to eat sugar any more (or salt either) and so my dessert of choice is lemon tart. (See #1 above)

3) Cherries--do they belong in a pie? I think cherry pie is my favorite fruit pie. Unless it's apple. Or maybe blueberry. Actually as a teen, my favorite pie was a cherry cheesecake make with sweetened condensed milk. It was a popular recipe.

4) Meringue--if you have to choose, is it best on lemon or chocolate? Meringue? Are you kidding? The only white stuff that belongs on a pie is real whipped cream. Maybe ice cream in a pinch. Meringue--ugh.

5) In a chicken pie, what are the most compatible vegetables? Anything you don't like to find in a chicken pie? Chicken pie? Why would you put chicken in a pie?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

One Perfect Day

I have been thinking of volunteering with a hospice. One of the volunteer options is to help provide "one perfect day" for one of their clients. The client describes what their one perfect day would be and then the staff and volunteers try to make it happen.

Recently, I read on someone's blog that someone had seen St. Francis hoeing and asked what he would do if he knew he was to die at sunset. St. Francis said that he would finish his hoeing.

So often what people want to do as they are dying is reconcile with loved ones. So, why do we not do that while we have time? Why do we wait until there is no time for a relationship with those from whom we are estranged?

Shouldn't each day be one perfect day?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Five: Gratitude

We lead privileged lives.

True, some are more privileged than others but the fact that we are communicating right now via technological devices puts us in the privileged category.

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.

Five things I 'm thankful for (not thankful for the fact that I can't get rid of the itals).
I don't even know where to begin!

1. First is my son. I am grateful that we talk to each other. I know so many people who are estranged from their parents or children. I enjoy being with him. He is funny, has a wry take on the world and is a phenomenal tour guide.

2. Next Are my friends in Memphis, in Cleveland, in California, in Michigan and across the web and the world. I love being with them. I should mention my sisters too. I love that we are connecting on FB. I love seeing my nieces' daughters.

3. OK, away from the smaltzy stuff. I am grateful for my house which I love. There are big windows in the back and it is full of light. I had the back yard completely landscaped (it is tiny) with a pond and a waterfall. The birds love it and I love watching the birds play.

4. I love good food. I am finding that I love cooking. And so, I have a friend who comes to lunch once a week. Cooking for one is not fun, but cooking for two really is. I love going to Whole Foods and sampling the good stuff and the junk food. I love eating in good restaurants. I love eating (in most places) when I travel because the food is so fresh and tastes better than food in the US.

5. I am addicted to travel. I love to get on a plane knowing I am going somewhere I've never been before, knowing that an adventure is in store for me, knowing that I will see things I've never seen before, meet people I've never known before, encounter ideas I've never thought of before. I love getting on a plane knowing I am going somewhere I've been before and love, knowing that I will see old friends, eat at favorite restaurants, visit familiar haunts, hike well loved mountains, dive under the ocean and visit favorite reefs, see favorite fish, celphapods, turtles.

6. I love being alive. I love learning new stuff. I love sitting in the sun. I love going to sleep at night. I love smelling the flowers. (I was serving at More than a Meal last night and began to smell jasmine. I realized the rice I was spooning up must be jasmine rice. I never knew it smelled of jasmine.) I love the feeling of relief in my legs when I've reached the top of the mountain, the end of the trail. I love mountain air. I love the smell of the ocean. I love strong coffee with cream. I love a clean house (not enough to clean more often, though). I love drinking wine with friends and talking about the strangest things. I love photography. I love tools. I love the web.

7. For the last two weeks almost every morning, the first thought that enters my mind is "I am happy." I can't believe the difference retiring, giving up, saying I simply can't do this any more has made in my life.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pictures from Bhutan and Thailand

I've posted a few of my pictures (mercifully only a handful of the couple of thousand I took) at my new live journal photo blog.

The first post is here You should be able to navigate to the next two posts from the first one.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Five Stormy Weather Edition

From Martha

1) What's the most common kind of storm in your neck of the woods?
We get lots of thunderstorms and tornado warnings, watches and actual tornadoes. I love thunderstorms. When I was in seminary at SFTS, my first year. I woke up in the middle of the night to rattling dishes and a shaky bed. The next day everyone at lunch was talking about the thunderstorm. One guy had even driven up to Mt. Tam to watch the lightening. I said, didn't we have an earthquake last night? Why isn't anyone talking about that. Oh, was the reply, we have earthquakes all the time. I hadn't realized thunderstorms were unusual.

2) When was the last time you dealt with a significant power outage? A couple of years ago we lost electricity. More frustrating than anything else. My last big storm in Cleveland was in November when we got 40 inches of wet snow. Everything was down. We didn't have electricity for four or five days. No electricity means no heat. And then there was the day my son and I were driving down Mayfield road. And the lights went out. We had planned to go out to dinner downtown. We thought the outage was local but called the restaurant just to be sure. They were not going to open. We were part of that great midwest outage that went on for days.

3) Are you prepared for the next one? I figure I have more than enough food and water. I generally chuckle at all the people who fill up the grocery stores when the forecast is for a big storm. Most all of us have more than enough to survive several days. And if not, most of us could stand to go hungry for a few days.

4) What's the weather forecast where you are this weekend? I think actually a bit cooler. I am so tired of the hot weather.

5) How do you calm your personal storms? Right now retirement is doing well at calming my personal storms. I am doing the happy dance every two minutes. Meditation otherwise helps.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Lots going on in my head this morning.

What is church for? Well I can't find the post, but a seminary friend posted a rant about critiques of sermons by parishioners. When I posted on another forum that I was retiring, a friend replied that his sister was tired of arguing with parishioners. Yesterday, a group of parishioners talked about going to church for comfort. I suppose my lack of success as a pastor comes from the fact that I really don't think church should be a place of comfort. (Except for when the church should be a place of comfort it really isn't. In the face of tragedy we isolate the sufferer, smooth over our own feelings of discomfort, provide meaningless bromides.) For most whiney Americans (myself included) church, IMHO, should be a place of deep discomfort.

Yes, we are forgiven even before we ask. Yes, God loves us unconditionally. God's grace is infinite. And our reaction is to want even more comfort. We should come to church and be discomforted at the state of our country: the hungry, the homeless, the unparented children, the unschooled children, those in prison. We should be discomforted by unequal justice, by the widest gap between rich and poor since the 20s, by the shrinking of the middle class. We should be upset by lack of clean water all over the world, by hunger when the food we feed animals for our consumption could feed all the hungry in the world. We should be discomforted that our food is no longer safe. We should be discomforted that we'd rather trash each other than love the person sitting in the pew next to us. We should be discomforted by the state of some of our presbyteries and churches where manipulation is paramount and love is absent.

We should be discomforted by our self centeredness.

For some reason, the idea of a womb has been entering my consciousness. After my hysterectomy a friend asked if I felt a loss. I really didn't. I didn't expect to ever have children again. I still don't feel a loss, but the image keeps floating into my mind. There is new life growing in me, but I don't have a clue what it is. I'm just waiting, watching.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Retirement and figuring out what I am going to do when I grow up

So, I got a call (telephone, not God) this week from an interim stated supply who thought I should talk to her church about becoming their stated supply. I reluctantly agreed to come and talk to the session. I haven't heard back and I'm really relieved because I don't want to go there.

I need time to see what God has in store for me for the next few years. I am so burned out from the resistance in the congregation I serve.

Dinner last night with a group of women I don't know very well. It was so much fun. One woman mentioned that she and a friend were turning 40 and trying to figure out what they wanted to do next. Living in this time is such a gift: there are so many things for women to do and try. We can be one thing this moment and something else the next.

One thing I really want to think about is growing older. On the one hand, I fight like crazy to stay healthy (though eating my way through lemon tarts is definitely not the way to do this). I fantasize about getting my neck fixed. I want to face the reality that I'm not as strong as I used to be, that I can't do what I once could do. And it will not get better. I want to learn to accept the limitations age brings without turning into one of those women who are bitter, angry, and frozen into selfishness and rigidity. I want to continue to love life.

I think it was Joseph Campbell who talked about Hinduism as having four stages of adulthood (this was for men, but anyway, I think it applies to women). The first stage is student: learning, then making a living, then a householder and finally focusing on the spiritual nature of life.

I'm really feeling a pull to the spiritual, to being. I'm also feeling a pull to creativity.

Well, it's time to brave the heat and pull up weeds. It's a nice metaphor for what I want to do for the next little while: pull up the weeds that choke growth and life. (On the other hand, weeds are also living . . . not sure where my analogy is going now, but I definitely am going outside.)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Five--Decluttering

From Jan at RevGalBlogPals

Since posting about decluttering, I am still muttering about the need for it in my house. How about you?

I'm retiring and so I'm packing up books from my study. UGH. I'm trying to catalog them by ISBN number so I can sell some of them on line. (Anyone interested in the Anchor Bible Dictionary in perfect condition?)

1. What things do you like to hang on to?
Not sure "like" is the right word. More like what do I hang on to? Clothes I can't wear anymore. I keep hoping I'll lose those 20 pounds I really need to. Right now, I'm on the road to losing about 10 pounds this year. Maybe when I retire..
Books. Except I do sell them at Half Price Books which we don't have in Memphis. My problem is that I buy books I don't read. I'm trying to use the library more to cut down on the clutter of books. I'm also putting my house on the market so lots of stuff is going to go.

2. What is hard to let go of?
Not quite sure how this is different from 1. But, now that I think about it, bad habits: eating sweets and the internet.

3. What is easy to give away?
I cleaned out my closet (not that one could tell) and gave my clothes to a homeless place where women can come once a week, shower and pick up clean clothes. Actually this was not easy. I love to give away books. I have got to stop buying them
4. Is there any kind of stumbling block connected with cleaning out?
I am lazy. I'd much rather be surfing the net than working.
5. What do you like to collect, hoard, or admire?
Books. T shirts. I have more than 100 T shirts (at least that was about 10 years ago when a friend was complaining about the number of T shirts her daughter had. I decided I'd count mine. UGH)
I also collect countries. I'm up to 73. Four more this year, I think.
Bonus: Tell us about recycling or whatever you can think of that goes along with this muttering about cluttering.
Well, I am trying to recycle my books (any takers for the Anchor Bible Dictionary--I promise a good price). I recycle all that plastic that comes into my house. I keep forgetting my cloth grocery bags and so my collection of those awful plastic bags is growing.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Five

From Singing Owl at RevGalBlogPals

1. What is the weather like where you live? You do not want to know. For a while I was posting nothing but weather reports on my FB. Unbelievable heat and humidity. This is the third week, I think of heat index readings over 105. Forecast high today 100. It has be at 100 or above for two weeks with a couple of days at 99 or 98. The humidity makes it intolerable.

2. Share one thing you love about this time of year. When I lived where summer was a welcome respite from cold, snow and gray, I loved being outside, hiking, walking, biking, sitting outside with a cup of coffee. I can't think of a thing I love about summer in Memphis. This being the first entire summer I have spent here. I am making plans for a road trip through New England and the Canadian maritimes next year.

3. Share one thing you do NOT love about this time of year. See above

4. How will you spend the remaining days leading up to Autumn? Packing up my books and study at church, packing my bags for a trip to Bhutan, reveling in the idea of retirement.

5. Share a good summer memory. Going to Cherry Grove (near Myrtle Beach) for Mother's Day (which my mother hated), dancing at night, laying in the sun during the day, listening to my cousin explain that the rhythm method meant that you did it to music.

Bonus: What food says SUMMER to you? Fresh Michigan blueberries and cherries.

My bonus: song that says summer to me

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Five: Memories

From Sally at RevGalBlogPals

This year Tim and I have planted and nurtured a vegetable garden, and I have just spent the morning preparing vegetables and soups for the freezer, our veggie garden is producing like crazy and it is hard to keep up with, that said it'll be worth it for a little taste of summer in the middle of winter :-). That got me thinking of the things I treasure, memories are often more valuable than possessions. How about you, can you share:

  1. A treasured memory from childhood?
  2. A teenage memory?
  3. A young adult memory?
  4. A memory from this summer?
  5. A memory you hope to have?
Bonus- a song that sums up one of those memories

Memories. I'm not sure memories are always good. There are many in my denomination who cannot let go of the memories of the church in the 50s and refuse to consider a church that can be different. They remember the time when everyone went to church, when everyone dressed up in their Sunday best, women wore hats and gloves.

There is a video going around with syrupy music: Do You Remember? The games of childhood. But it doesn't remember when the pools were closed because of the threat of polio or my childhood friend who got polio. They don't recall the little girl with beautiful blonde hair who was a patient of my dad's who had leukemia. I remember asking my dad if she would die and he said yes. I remember crying over a little girl I had just seen. It was a time when African Americans couldn't even go to the pool. It was a time when women were expected to stay home and raise children. It was a time when women in almost all denominations weren't ordained.

One day, in forty years, there will be another video (or some other thing that you and I will marvel over) mourning the loss of these innocent days of the 2010s.

But, I digress. Memories can be good. They can help us through times of trouble. They can enrich our lives. Without memories, we could not be who we are.

So, to the Friday Five:
A treasured memory from childhood. Getting Duke from my Uncle Jim. My favorite uncle. He had taken care of me when I was a baby (I really don't remember that), but he had so much affection for me. He had a collie who had puppies and gave us one. A beautiful brown collie we name Duke I think because his mother was Duchess.

A teenage memory. Anguish, anguish, anguish is about all I remember from being a teenager. I had such a crush on a senior when I was a sophomore. One time he came over to talk with me and I couldn't say a word. Not a word. He was so good looking. (He later got old and fat, but don't we all?)

A young adult memory. My son. Watching him grow and play. He was such a cute kid and really smart (aren't all parents' children cute and smart?) I don't want to embarrass him.

A memory from this summer. Yesterday, in the Committee on Ministry meeting being prayed over by people who love me.

A memory I hope to have. Lying on my bed, surrounded by people I love, saying good bye for the last time, thinking, it has been good.

Perhaps my favorite song from my Habitat days. There was a Habitat video that used this song.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Five Love the One You're With

From Kathrynzj and RevGalBlogPals

And so I ask you to please name five things you like about where you are living now... and as your bonus - 1 thing you don't like.

Interesting. Yesterday I wrote a post which I was saving to post next week about how much I hate the "bloom where you are planted" bromide that gets tossed around so much. The grass is not always greener on the other side, but if where you are is causing you to brown, curl up and die, then it's time to think about moving on. God made us for life, not death. The kingdom is among you.

So, five things I like about where I am living now:
1. Friends (who curiously enough seem to dislike Memphis almost as much as I do).
2. The beautiful springs full of blooming things.
3. Tsunami, my favorite restaurant.
4. The cost of living.
5. My beautiful house.

The bonus is something I dislike. The list will be way longer
1. Southern conservative Christians.
2. The weather. five months at least of unbearably hot and humid weather.
3. No Trader Joe's
4. The absurb liquor laws which prohibit wine sales in anything but liquor stores.
5. The provincialness of the town
6. The difficulty of making change
7. Did I mention the heat?

Watch this space for news on Wednesday morning.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Fourth and The Church

I am unduly proud that Rev. Witherspoon, a Presbyterian (and a Scot), was the only pastor to sign the Declaration of Independence. I am unduly proud of the fact that an alleged collateral ancestor was a signer. I am proud to be an American. I know that I am blessed and graced to have been born in this country where freedom is so important. I know that I have been blessed to have been born in a place where gender does not limit (much) who I am and what I do. Almost always at some point in a trip abroad, I look around and know how fortunate I am to be a citizen of the US.

I do not believe that the Fourth of July is a Christian holy day. I do not believe American flags belong in churches. I do not believe patriotic music on the Fourth belongs in church. I believe as Christians our first allegiance is to God as revealed in Christ. I believe that to celebrate the Fourth of July in church is to confuse patriotism with Christianity.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's all about control

A woman whose blog I read is being treated for a recurrence of cancer. Of course it brought back all my fears. She mentions people telling her she should be strong or have a positive attitude.

I am so tired of hearing this. A positive attitude does not affect cancer outcomes.

But, we so want it too. If we are suffering from cancer (and aren't irredeemably mean and nasty like me), we want it to be so. We want to have some control.

If we are not suffering right now, we so want it to be true. We want to save our mother, sister, brother, father, son, daughter, friend. I think even more we want to tell ourselves that it can't happen to me. Or if it does, it won't kill me. I have a good attitude.

The other thing that drives me crazy is that we can save ourselves from cancer by making life style choices. Well, yes, we reduce our risks by not smoking. But not smoking does not mean that we won't get lung cancer. You might have never smoked or been around smokers and lung cancer may strike. On a broad scale, there are things people can do, but it won't save individuals. Exercise, eating right, herbal remedies.

Yes, I'm still angry. I'm angry about the stuff I read, particularly by people who have never had cancer. I'm sure people are well meaning, but it really doesn't help.

We want to be in control of our lives. But we are not. As my son reminds me, it is probably more likely that I will be killed by a crazy Memphis driver than die from cancer.

And so, I want to be present every moment. I want to live every moment. I want to enjoy what I have been given. I want to love those around me. (And there's a very long list of places I want to go.) I want to do what I can to be healthy, knowing that ultimately it is not in my control.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Five Things to Like (or not) about summer

Songbird asks about summer. Five things to like or not.

Summer in Memphis is different from summer in Cleveland. Summer in Cleveland is something to look forward to. Sun and warmth after months of clouds and cold, cold, cold. Summer in Memphis is something to dread. Heat and humidity and more heat and humidity. Four to five months of temperatures and humidity too high to do anything after 7:30 in the morning. And this is the first year since I've moved to Memphis that I've spent the entire summer here.

1. Summer vacation. I'm not taking one this year. Summer was the great release from school when I was a child. Time to do anything or nothing. We never traveled much, though my dad for a few years went to a medical meeting in Morehead City. We'd rent a house in Atlantic City near the ocean. Summer meant camp. I'd go to Camp Grier for a week. Camp Grier was our Presbytery's camp in the mountains. Even though I lived fairly near to Montreat, the great Presbyterian Center in the NC mountains, because of the camp, we almost never went there. I think I went there twice as a child. I'd get to spend time with relatives in the mountains. One aunt had a house in Blowing Rock and another lived in Sparta.

2. Lots of sunshine. Cleveland winters were mostly gray. I think we could go 100 or more days with NO sunshine. So summer sunshine was something to treasure. Lots of time to be outside.

3. Respite from garden chores. In Cleveland, Mother's Day was the beginning of the time to put in annuals. I'd spend weekend days from April through May trying to get the gardens around the house shaped up. By the time summer finally arrived, all I needed to do was occasional weeding and then, enjoy the gardens.

Can't think of anything else.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I want to be

I want to be Annie Dillard
or Mary Oliver
turning day into deep awe
looking at ordinary things
and finding God

I want deep thoughts
in place of linear, surface
I want density, volume, depth

I want to share awe, love, meaning, life
The magenta hydrangea
The green fern dappled in morning sun
The blue jay wary--a blue jay wary?
stepping into the pool of water

To craft wonder into words

Friday, June 18, 2010

Survivor's guilt

I have it. I got a good report from my CA-125 test (a marker for ovarian cancer). But a friend I know only through blogging has melanoma metastasized to her blood and bones. She young, just finished seminary. Another friend has cancer that spread to four of the nearest lymph glands. She'll be doing chemo then radiation.

Overall survival rates for 5 years is 44.2 percent (stats from 2002). But, it has a 93 percent rate for those cancers that are localized, which mine was. To be so unlucky, I was really lucky.

It's so hard for me to process this. I can't imagine that I have had cancer. It seems so unreal. So not me. But I know the anxiety. And I worry about friends who are much too young with much worse prognoses than mine.

Cancer is so random and so unfair.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I went canoeing yesterday on a small lake in Arkansas. While I was on the lake, I noticed a tree trunk. There was nothing very special about the tree trunk (the rest of the tree was attached, but the limbs and leaves were lost in the sprawl of other trees). It was stunning. Simply stunning. The gray bark, the slightly sinuous turn of the tree. Just a tree.

I am fortunate to be alive. To simply be alive. I am doubly blessed for being born in this place and time where I have the time and ability to spend a morning in a canoe on a lake. Many in our world struggle each day to find enough food, enough water to live. Girls trying to get an education are poisoned or have acid thrown in their faces. Mothers watch helplessly as their children die of malnutrition, of diarrhea. Girls going for water are raped. I don't face any of that, and I have the time and means to just sit in a canoe and enjoy God's world.

I was listening to Speaking of Faith. Ellen Davis was speaking of the centrality of land in the Hebrew Bible. We do not respect the land or farmers. We have let greed overwhelm all. Food is grown by corporations who do not care for the land. Coal is mined by corporations who do not care for the beauty of the mountaintop nor the sacredness of the lives of their workers. Oil is produced by corporations who care not for the fish or the coral reefs or their own workers.

It is not the corporations. They are run by people who satisfy the desires of each of us for cheaper goods: cheap food, cheap oil so that we can drive big, expensive cars and sit in air conditioned comfort in the heat and humidity of summer.

I wish the world were different. I'm not sure I wish it enough to change. (Shall I set my airconditioner up a couple of degrees? Shall I walk to the store, half a mile away instead of driving? Shall I send a contribution to a charity in Pakistan to educate women or in Dafur to save women? Shall I stay home next Saturday instead of using a tank of gas to drive to a lake in Arkansas? Shall I make more drastic changes? Not fly half way across the world?)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Five Work Out Edition

As I sit here, looking at the temperature outside (77 degrees, 90 % humidity), the work out edition of Friday Five beckons.

From Mompriest at RevGalBlogPals

1. Do you work out physically, spiritually, or psychologically? (I'll let you define what that might mean to you)
My goal is to work out 6 days a week. This week I'll hit four or five (going canoeing on Saturday, so don't know whether that will count, skipped yesterday). My goal is to run three days a week, bike three days a week and swim a couple of times, plus weights, stretching and Pilates. I try to journal every day and do centering prayer. No, I don't have enough time to work.

2. Are you more inclined to join a gym, or a book club?
Yes. Actually, I am a member of both.

3. Are you more inclined to read self-help books like Gail Sheehy's "Passages" or spiritual books like Richard Rohr or Theresa of Avila? And if so, what is your favorite?
I've pretty much stopped reading self help books. I read exercise books (Running until you're 100 is the last). I'm reading Into the Silent Land by Martin Laird (recommended by Robin at Metanoia) and will be teaching a class on centering prayer beginning in about 10 days. I have no favorite. My real favorites are mysteries, particularly those with female protagonists. I loved the first and third of Steig Larsson's Millennium Trilogy: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first.

4. Are you a loyal fan of a sports team? Or do you join the bandwagon when the local team is winning? And, if so, which one?
Yes. My college team and the Cleveland Cavs.

5. Or do you lean more toward having a favorite theologian/Spiritual writer or self help author and if so, who? And, why.
I really don't. I read wide and far. I suppose if one it would be Thich Nhat Hanh.
Bonus: What was the last play-off series you watched and did your team win?
The NCAA Basketball March Madness. Yes, my team won. Go Duke!

OK Now it's time to take the garbage and recycling out and then run.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Generation Gaps

Maybe I've just missed this or am incredibly dense. There is a generation gap in my congregation. In our understanding of who God is. Or there is a gap between the older (and a few younger) members and me (who only the 90 year olds would call young). The older members see God as a God who comforts, who makes life easier, who helps them through the difficult spots. I see God as a prod, a pusher, someone who challenges me and the church. My challenge now is to appreciate the God who comforts.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Five Politics

I love politics. So, here's the Friday Five from RevGalBlogPals

So what do you think about the mix of faith and politics:

1. Jesus a political figure: discuss...

What is a political figure? If one were to go back to the Greek root, polis, then the answer must be no because politics has to do with citizenship and democracy. And there was no democracy under Roman rule in Palestine. Unless one was a Roman citizen, I don't think there was a way to influence decision making. Of course, I might be wrong. OTOH, if politics has to do with the way we live our lives, with how we respond to those who rule us, then I'd have to say yes. I do believe Jesus did have something to say about the response to Roman rule and to the wrongness of Roman rule. Luke's gospel in particular is full of political responses from God: He has overthrown the mighty, the rich go away hungry, etc.

2. Politics in the pulpit, yes or no and why?
No and it's unavoidable. I don't believe in preaching my political beliefs as God's word. On the other hand, I do believe the scriptures speak to political situations and scripture has influenced my political beliefs. I believe that politics are a part of life and that we are called to preach to and about all of life. So, I believe that it is unavoidable to preach about politics. Everytime I remind people that we are called to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, visit those in prison, it's a political statement. I don't say vote Republican or Democratic, though.

3.What are your thoughts on the place of prayer in public life...
Hate it, pure and simple. I believe religion in the public sector gets co-opted to serve the purposes of the public sector. I believe that religion should critique the public sector. When religion becomes entwined with the public sector, then it cannot.

I believe that prayer in the public sector is diluted prayer or offensive prayer. I am concerned that public religion will become state religion and infringe on my right to profess beliefs that may be contrary to the state religion. I believe our First Amendment protects me from the imposition by the state of beliefs to which I do not adhere. One only has to look at the take over of the Texas State Board of Education to see the dangers. They are promoting a religious belief system that I do not adhere to as the acceptable religion and perspective through which one should view history and science.
4.Is there a political figure, Christian or otherwise that you admire for their integrity?
Jimmy Carter, of course. Nelson Mandela.
5.What are your thoughts on tactical voting, e.g. would you vote for one individual/party just to keep another individual/ party form gaining power?
Yep. It frustrates me to see Greens in the US vote in close elections so that a Republican is put in office instead of a Dem. In the small political realm which I used to inhabit, I was a tactician. Getting into office is the important thing, getting those who most closely favor your position is what is important, IMHO.

I will say based on my small experience, making public decisions is far more difficult than it seems. It looks very different from the inside than from the outside.

Bonus- is there a song which might sum this all up- if so post a video or a link...

Canticle of the Turning

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

So frustrated. There is a core of seven or eight or nine older adults who don't want to do anything different. Session was awful. One session member said that the older people would quit giving if we moved worship from the sanctuary to the fellowship hall for two months this summer. She was adamant that we shouldn't do this.

I want to have worship there so we can do more creative things. I want to have worship on communion Sunday around a meal as the early Christians did. I want to be able to use movie clips and art with my sermon. I want to design worship to be experiential beyond traditional (and frozen chosen) dead.

I want to be creative. I am frustrated that people I love oppose me.

I think it is time to retire.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Not mine, but mine. So, in the last few weeks, we have lost 29 men to a coal mine and untold natural resources to an oil well explosion. We seem to have these catastrophes and then forget about them and get on with our lives of using more and more energy. And of course, I don't do anything either. But, it bothers me.

It looks like the wind farm off Conn will go ahead which is good. People oppose wind energy because it destroys the vista. Vistas are important, but people and fish and shrimp are more important. We have to make a choice and yet we continue to live as if the pantry is full. One day, we will open the door and find only skeletons.

We need an energy policy that will foster green tech. We need an energy policy that will impute the real cost of energy into oil and coal: the real cost of making sure the environmental costs are included and that we drill and mine with safety first.

I need to make changes of my own. I'm already switching to CF bulbs as the incandescents burn out. I'm almost done with the switch. My new resolution is to bike or walk where I can for shopping. I can walk or bike to either Easy Way (the fantastic produce store) or to one grocery store for those piddly items I seem to run out of. I'm trying to figure out how to bike one day a week to church. When I get to where I can leave my laptop there, then I think I can.

My thoughts for the day.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spirits and Cancer and Me

It has now been two years since my diagnosis. Well, not really. The final page of the path report disappeared and it took a long time to get the original and then they wouldn't give me the results over the phone. So, I was blissfully in denial for a while.

So, someone asked me if I felt God's special presence during the cancer treatment. I made something up because I didn't. In fact, all the wonderful things that are supposed to happen when you have cancer--you know, more spiritual, more appreciative of live, and so on didn't happen.

In retrospect, I was in a pretty dark place. Mostly angry. About mortality. I realize the anger has seeped away.

Yesterday I ran and the in the afternoon, swam a mile. I am trying to get in shape for a trip to Bhutan which will entail hiking for two to four hours or more in the Himalayas. High up with thin air. I remember Jan 08 when I was in Uganda hiking up and down volcanos looking for mountain gorillas. I had to be pushed and pulled. I was so embarrassed. I had no idea that I was so out of shape. It was simply awful. Of course, I had cancer at the time and didn't know it.

I feel better than I have felt in a long time. I love life and I am trying to slow down to enjoy this world while I am here. But, I haven't had the blinding light experiences people seem to expect from pastors. I'm just me.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Five

1. When was your last, or will be your next, out of town travel? Monday, Monday, I can't wait. Austin for the College of Pastoral Leaders at the seminary, Yosemite, Carmel for a meeting with seminary friends, Monterey, then home.

2. Long car trips: love or loathe? Loateh

3. Do you prefer to be driver or passenger? Driver

4. If passenger, would you rather pass the time with handwork, conversing, reading, listening to music, or ??? Sleep. I tend to fall asleep the minute I get in the passenger seat.

5. Are you going, or have you ever gone, on a RevGals BE? Happiest memories of the former, and/or most anticipated pleasures of the latter? One day, I'd love to go. It has tended to conflict with other plans. Maybe next year.

6. Bonus: a favorite piece of road trip music. right now: Graceland. Not road trip music, but here and now music.

Am now trying to figure out how to get two more weeks of vacation. I found a wonderful trip I want to take, but I'm already scheduled for vacation (and paid for airfare etc.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Should church be comfortable

A church in Texas thinks so.

A 10 year old was asked to exhibit a photo in an art exhibit depicting stations of the cross. The child staged a picture of his 7 year old brother being beaten by a policeman. The photo was excluded from the exhibit. The curator of the exhibit said church should be a place where people feel safe.

Well, yes and no. We should feel safe: safe to be ourselves, our sinful selves. Unsafe in our tunnel vision, our self-centeredness, our sin. Safe in God's love; unsafe in God's love.

Monday, March 15, 2010

New countries

In the 80s I began to visit Central America and Nicaragua in particular. I went out to the Atlantic Region where the indigeneous people favored the contras for lots of good reasons. I visited people who had nothing, who were oppressed by the Spanish-speakers of the west and swindled by the Europeans and Americans who took the resources and left the land stripped and barren. We talked about culture shock. The culture shock was never that of experiencing Nicaragua, but of returning to our world and finding a culture immersed in materialism and friends and family who had no way of understanding the changes that had happened to us.

Cancer is another world. Like visiting Nicaragua, it causes changes to who you are, who you understand yourself to be. Friends and family have little ability to understand the changes.

I am learning that there are lots of other worlds out there. Loss of a child. The accidental killing of another. Loss of abilities. Old age. A child with horrific problems.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

As I was sitting in the fellowship hall where we are having worship in Lent, listening to a member who is a first year student at Vandy Divinity School preach, it occurred to me (having left the screen down from movie night) that I might be able to use the projector next Sunday. I'll have to check the light one morning. It may just be too light. I'm thinking of projecting the PCUSA symbol during the service. Part of my sermon will be a movie clip. I've always wanted to try this. I know exactly the clip I want to use. And I discovered that we can get wireless downstairs, so I can get the wifi remote iPhone app (its an app that uses wifi on the mac to control powerpoint). I'm hoping this will work.

It is amazing. The congregation looks huge in the fellowship hall. I counted 45 this morning. 45 in the sanctuary looks lost, but downstairs, where there are 44 chairs set up, it's wonderful.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A friend in another city was just diagnosed with breast cancer. On March 31, it will have been two years since my surgery. I keep hoping for the wonderful changes cancer will bring to my life. So far, the best I can say is that I'm meaner. I don't understand this disease. There is no rhyme or reason for it. Despite all I read about "life style" choices, there is really nothing one can do to protect one's self.

One change: two years ago, if I had heard a friend had cancer, I would say, "oh, that's awful" and go on with my life. Today, I think of surgery, of chemo, of fear, of death. I think of unfairness. I think of all the stupid things people say. I think of denial. I think I'm a broken record. One day, I may go back to being "normal."

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I love church members!

We have been discussing the sermon and just stuff after worship each Sunday in Lent. Last Sunday, people went on about how important the other people in the congregation are, how much we love and care for each other. I asked whether the building mattered and the response was not at all. So, this Sunday, a couple of people talked about how important the sanctuary is for them. We've been worshipping in the fellowship hall because I couldn't figure out how to have discussions in a sanctuary with pews.

Now to be honest, it was a somewhat different group of people.

It was wonderful, we had to add more chairs for the service. I said how great it was to see every seat filled and the response was that we had put out just enough chairs.

I have a really different set of needs and expectations for worship from the congregation.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A distaste for professionals

Along with the other stuff going on in our country, our historic distrust for people with training continues. The NYTimes has a piece on well-meaning (?) but untrained Christians in Haiti
The piece goes on to excoriate missionaries in general, but begins with the Idaho woman who went to "save" Haitian orphans.

What is it in our psyche that makes us distrust those with education? Scientists can't be trusted, doctors can't be trusted, mainline, educated pastors can't be trusted. Yes, I research my illnesses on line, but I also find doctors I can trust. I'm skeptical of everything. But, the folks who seem not to trust professionals trust nonprofessionals who post wild ideas on the web and write strange books.

There is an anti-intellectual bias in our country. I would love to know where it comes from. Our founders revered education. Colleges and universities were founded early in our history. Now, we don't even want to educate children.

Well, off to work on my sermon.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Usually at the end of the imposition of ashes, I ask the last person to mark my forehead with ashes. Last night, as I was in the pantry finding napkins, a boy (I think he's five) rushed in and began to talk about getting ashes. Are we going to get crosses on our foreheads? Yes. Can I help. Of course. So, I had he and his brother come up and marked them first and then I knelt down and let them put ashes on my forehead. Words fail me.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Five

From Sally and RebGalBlogPals

Candlemass is past, and Christmas is well and truly over, here in the UK February looks set to be its usual grey and cold self. Signs of spring are yet to emerge; if like me you long for them perhaps you need ways to get through these long dark days. So lets share a few tips for a cold and rainy/ snowy day....

1. Exercise, what do you do if you can't face getting out into the cold and damp?
I have a bowflex and so I go upstairs and use it as a stationary rowing machine. Yesterday, I just punted. It was raining, cold and I was feeling tired and listless. Today, I'm putting off my run out of sheer procrastination. After this, I'm off.

2. Food; time to comfort eat, or time to prepare your body for the coming spring/summer?
I liked MaryBeth's answer (sorry, it's really hard for me to link on this blog host). Preparing for the rest of my life. I'm dieting right now. Started on Monday. I do feel better. I'm tired of being overweight. Losing a bit will help my running, too. I'm trying to concentrate on eating what is good for me and avoiding the bad. I'm struggling with how to approach the upcoming SuperBowl party I'm invited to. I've got some strategies planned.

3. Brainpower; do you like me need to stave off depression, if so how do you do it?
Ugh, depression. I try to get outside everyday that it is sunny and walk a bit. It's certainly easier in Memphis than in Cleveland. Lots more sun here, lot shorter winter. I'm journaling and meditating regularly and that helps, too.

4. How about a story that lifts your spirits, is there a book or film that you return to to stave off the gloom? Nope.

5. Looking forward, do you have a favourite spring flower/ is there something that says spring is here more than anything else? In Memphis, spring comes about two months earlier than in Cleveland. Forsythia and quince are really pre spring flowers. My camillas are blooming and I love it, but it's winter. The spring flowers I love are tulips, but by the time they bloom, it's been spring for a while. My daffodils are springing up. So, I'd have to say daffodils are the real signs of spring for me.

Bonus; post a poem/ piece of music that points to the coming spring......

I'm not much of a poem, music person.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


What I like about being a Presbyterian is the connectionalism. I love that there is support out there for us. I like that there is guidance and discipline. I like that there are boundaries. Most of all I like the connections. I'm an introvert and so having a structure for me to make friends in is good for me. And that's what I find missing in my presbytery. It is dysfunction. There are no committees beyond the required ones. I actually am on one of the required committees but the moderator manages not to notify me of meetings. (There is a different excuse each time. Mostly he can't seem to get my email address right, doesn't notice that the email gets bounced back and doesn't care. The fact that it's Bills and Overtures and I'm the only lefty on the committee may be a part of it.) Meetings are dreadful. Boring. In other presbyteries, there was always the carrot of seeing friends, of making new connections, of being involved in creative endeavors. Perhaps that one of the things I miss most: being part of a creative team.

What I like about the web is the connectionalism. I've met people blogging, reconnected with old friends, made new friends. But the web misses the human touch of sitting across the table from someone sharing a meal. It misses having coffee with someone. It misses the long wandering two way conversation. It's cold. Human touch is warm.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thanks for all the suggestions about movies for Lent.

I made it safely home from Nashville and the ACPE. The roads were mostly good. There were patches where there was a lot of uncleared snow. Interestingly, the roads outside of Nashville were really good. From Jackson to Memphis, the roads worsened. Bridges east of Memphis were quite icy and a bit scary.

No church today. I had planned to recycle my neutral pulpit sermon from my first call. (Southern churches apparently call without hearing the person preach in person.) So, I'm thinking I'll save that one and go with the lectionary for next Sunday.

When the worship planning group met, the worship moderator said that she really liked the prayers we use. The custom had been for the liturgist to write the prayers. I use Lavon Baylor's books (which I note in the bulletin). I said that I do give the liturgist the option to write the prayers. I was really surprised. I don't have the gift of writing liturgy; I'm not very poetical and I think one needs to be poetical to write good liturgy. I see it as a waste of my time when there is so much better stuff out there written by people who have those gifts. (I don't always use Baylor; sometimes I use other stuff.) I love finding good liturgy on the web and I so appreciate people who post their services and their liturgical ideas. Thank you.

I'm really excited about our Lenten series. I love movies and I hope people will come and watch them. I'd love to have discussions about them, but this congregations doesn't seem interested in talking about movies (or sermons for that matter), at least among themselves or with me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I am thinking of doing a movie series for Lent. I'd show a movie and then use it in the sermon.

So, here are the themes I'm thinking of

First Sunday in Lent: Gratitude (Deut 26:1-11)

Second Sunday: Questioning (Genesis 15:1-12; 17-18)

Third Sunday: Feasting (Isaiah 55:1-9)

Fourth Sunday: Forgiveness/Reconciliation Luke 15:11-32 (prodigal sons/gracefilled father)

Fifth Sunday Transformation (Isaiah 43:16-21)

So, I need movies to go with these. It doesn't have to be the entire movie--just something in the movie that relates to the theme. I looked on but they don't have any recent movies. It looks like people stopped posting ideas for movies in the early aughts.

I would really appreciate any help you can give me.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Travel--The Friday Five made for me

Songbird gives us this Friday Five:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Five: Trains, Planes and Automobiles

By the time you're reading this, I'll be en route to a Great Big City to see my son in a play. I'll go by car and bus and train and no doubt cab and maybe even subway. Thus, our Friday Five.

1) What was the mode of transit for your last trip?
I'm in Cleveland for my oncology check up. (I expect it to go well). Came by plane.
2) Have you ever traveled by train?
Last summer I took an overnight train from Turpan to Dunhuang in western China. It was a hoot. Fortunately, we didn't have to share our compartment. The train folks would come by, asking for something and we would have no idea what they wanted. The train arrived about an hour earlier than we had been told and so we had to rush around getting dressed and getting our luggage together. Our destination was the last stop, so at least we didn't have to worry about missing the stop. The trip was through desolate (unbelieveably desolate) countryside. We saw military vehicles headed to Xinjiang province (where we had just come from) to suppress the "insurrection" and to make sure everyone knew that the Han Chinese were in charge.

3) Do you live in a place with public transit, and if so, do you use it? Memphis has no public transit to speak of. Just buses. When I was in the Bay area, I occasionally took the ferry or BART, but not often. When I lived in Cleveland, I often commuted to work on the Rapid Transit.

4) What's the most unusual vehicle in which you've ever traveled? Sooner or later on some trip I am pushed to get on some form of animal. I do not ride animals. I've been on an elephant and a camel and took a mule to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Not a vehicle, though. I've ridden in the back of a truck along a dirt track with pigs and chickens in Nicaragua for five hours. I've done several hot air balloon rides. I've flown a plane without throwing up (never soloed, though).

5) What's the next trip you're planning to take? Well, my next trip is to APCE next week. But then I have three trips planned for this year which I'm really excited about. Sometime in the summer, I'm planning to fly to Dubvornik Croatia, rent a car, travel to Montenegro, maybe Sarajevo, up the coast and then drop the car at Ljubjana. In the early fall, I'm planning a trip to Bhutan with a stop over in Bangkok. Then at Thanksgiving, I'm planning to go to Ethiopia. I'm planning to raft the Blue Nile (rafted the White in Jan 08 and survived), and see the rock churches in Lalibelia and the monasteries and other stuff in Axum. I'm hoping to get to one of the national parks to see the animals. I think my next goal is to white water raft on all the continents. I've done North America, Africa and Asia. I suppose white water in Antarctica might be a little difficult. I'm not sure there is white water in Australia either, though there is in New Zealand.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Five

In EFM this week, our question was, "If you were a color, what would you be?" So that's where this Friday Five comes from, at least its jumping off place.

1. If you were a color, what would you be? Red, firey, passionate red. Though blue is my favorite color: the color of the sky and water. I love green too: the color of grass and trees. And the inside of my house is bright cheery yellos.

2. If you were a flower (or plant), what would you be? I'm not sure. There are flowers I love: tulips, roses, camillas, jasmine, gardenias. Actually I love all flowers, now that I think about it. But what would I be? I think wisteria: climbing and stubborn and very difficult to get rid of (and it may also be poisonous).

3. If you were an animal, what kind would you be? Probably an elephant: stomping in everywhere and hard to miss.

4. If you were a shoe, what type would you be? I'm a barefoot girl. No shoes at all.

5. If you were a typeface, which font would you be? Old, common, servicable Palatino.

Bonus: Anything connected with metaphors that you'd like to contribu