Sunday, February 25, 2007

Divine Restoration

We're watching an old DVR'd episode of Divine Restoration this morning. It's like home makeover, except that it's a couple of people who travel around to churches, mostly inner-city churches, who need help upgrading their worship space or prayer garden or church front, or what have you? This morning's episode was about a small storefront church in Ontario who wanted to make their staff offices into a space for youth, where they could offer free breakfast to kids so they won't have to go to school hungry.
The Church brings the volunteers and the dream, and these people make it happen without any big Home Depot sponsorship or name brand power tools- it looks like the church even does the fundraising. The volunteers are people from all generations- kids help strip wallpaper, adults do demo and build and the elders supply food and drink for the workers. At the end, they invite the whole church in to see what they've created together. They thank the volunteers and the tv show people but mostly, they praise God for the idea, the inspiration, the wherewithal, and the resources to make it happen.
I sit and watch these people and think, compared to them, we are playing church. We put together ministries and hope people will come- we are insulted when no one does. We think, what can we do to get people to come?
I wondered why these people get it, and we can't. Is it intellectualism? Scott nailed it for me though- he said it's money- he said we are Too Rich. When we see need, we throw money at it. We don't have to give up anything to help the poor, because we can support them from our excess. It doesn't hurt a bit. Do you know of a parish in New England where the parish staff would even have the idea to give up their office space for a youth center/breakfast program? (it's another thing to build a brand new, state-0f-the-art building... that we'd do!)
It gives me a lot to think of, this Lenten season. How is my richness getting in the way of my relationship with God, and with God's people?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

One more thing...

I was able to help distribute Ashes last week at my parish. It feels funny to be able to do that, seems like it ought to be a priest... actually I have been giving out ashes at my various parishes over the past several years, but it never stops being a surprising honor.
I guess what makes it feel odd is how intimate it is. First, to touch anyone on the head is a pretty personal action- and when it's a stranger, that's a little strange. But often, I had to reach up and sweep someone's hair off their foreheads to ashify them. How intimate is that?
But finally, the weirdest part is that I am charged with telling everyone in my section to "turn away from sin, and be faithful to the Gospel". As if I'm qualified to be telling anyone that! I suppose priests aren't necessarily more qualified in that area, either... who is, right? Maybe that's the thing- no matter who's telling you to turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel, it's good advice. Even if they don't necessarily follow that advice in the most stellar manner themselves.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Let the Lenting Begin

So today I started my usual Lenten behavior changes... I cut out "white things", which is really just a way to say that I'm low-carbing... and it wasn't easy! I went to Kelly's and thought I was doing okay with a chicken Caesar salad and cup of clam chowder, but then was sad to realize that I couldn't eat the CROUTONS or the little potato cubes in the chowder. Shoot! Dinner was better- I'm just a little rusty with this stuff I guess, it'll take me a coupla days to get my low-carb legs. We also took our first walk to daily Mass... it's a mile from here, a nice walk, and a nice little workout, considering the steep hill we live on. It's my 5th or 6th year taking on this walking, and it's a nice familiar feeling to be rolling out of bed in the morning, throwing on my green swishy pants, and heading down the hill again. I thought this morning, like I do every first Lenten morning, how the snow I was stepping on and the ice I was taking mincing steps over would be gone, gradually, and imagined how different my route would look by Easter.
I felt very confident, this year, in the days leading up to Lent. I didn't feel the need to clear all the candy out of my house or my office. I bought a few low-carby things to eat, but didn't get anything to snack on. And I forgot how tricky it is to avoid white things when you're abstaining from meat!
NOT that I'm "look(ing) gloomy like the hypocrites"... Today on our way down the hill I asked Scott "who should we pray for today?" and he said "let's pray for our Lenten promises and everyone's Lenten promises." So consider yourself prayed for today, reader!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I never dreamed what heat I'd get for my answers to the 100 book meme. I've been questioned mostly as to why I don't intend to read the books which I don't intend to read.
It's made me take a quick and un-thorough look at myself and my reading habits. What DO I like to read?
Turns out that for the most part, I'm drawn to non-fiction, and then after that I like my fiction to be fairly light- lots of dialogue, humor if at all possible. I'm an information junkie, it turns out- I love to learn and figure out and know new things, I love reading auto- and biographies. I like fiction when there's a great character study involved. Oh, and I have a seriously dark sense of humor. When I love books, I think to myself "ooh who can I pass this on to? Who would appreciate this like I do?" and the answer, very often, is nobody.
And meanwhile, I'll respond to my critics:
Bob, I'm so bad at reading sci-fi that I haven't even ever made it through hitch-hiker's guide, which should be right up my alley. (But I did watch most of the British tv series of it.)
Don, I should have added a category about "I've seen the movie of this one!" No shame there brother.
  • "Pride and Prejudice?" I tried Jane a coupla times and just couldn't get into her. I just wanted her to get to the damn punchline already. Same reaction as when I read Dickens. I know.
  • "Gothic delight of Jane Eyre?" I'm sorry, I just don't delight in the gothic! Don't judge me too harshly for that!
  • "Or the trashy excess of Gone With The Wind?" Saw the movie, and I didn't even really love that.
  • "Clan of the Cave Bear is also a delight for history nerds." I'm a lot of kinds of nerd, but not a cave bear history one.
Don't cry for me Sue! I get my giggles in other good books... and blogs!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

a book meme!

100 Book Meme
A List of Books: Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you want to read, cross out the ones you won’t touch with a 10 foot pole, underline the ones on your book shelf, and asterisk* the ones you’ve never heard of.

(PS I can't figure out to to cross out, so I'm going put XXes next to the ones I won't read... got it?)

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)XX
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)XX
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)*
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry) *
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire(Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald) *
18. The Stand (Stephen King)XX
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)XX
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)XX
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)XX
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)*
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)*
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)*
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)XX
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)XX
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)XX
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)XX
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)XX
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)XX
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)*
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence) *
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)XX
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)XX
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)XX
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)*
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)*
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)XX
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)*
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)*
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)*
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)*
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)XX
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)XX
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)*
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)*
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)*
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)*
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)XX
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)XX
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)XX
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)XX far as books on my shelves, (I can't underline, either...) I have #s 1,24,45,75, 94, and all the Harry Potter books.


Friday, February 09, 2007

cat actress

So, Zarley has this trick- her favorite toy is a length of wire with old pieces of Christmas ribbon attached at each end. We call it her "woobie". She scoots into the loop so that the wire hangs over her back and wraps itself around her, and she walks with it, jumps up onto things with it still hanging on her, and generally loves it. In her younger, more energetic years, she would grab one of the ribbon-ends, start to walk with it, and then pretend to spy the other end "following" her. She'd spin around to catch the other ribbon, pure joy.
I've always wanted to catch her on video doing this, because I've never known another cat with a wire best friend. I've tried a million times but she is a very unwilling performer. Here's my latest try:

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Retreat #2

Good morning! I'm off to another retreat weekend, and would appreciate your prayers. Nothing
"bad dress rehearsal" has happened so far, except for the fact that I didn't sleep very well last night... I guess we'll go with that and assume it means it'll be a great weekend. Nevertheless, get to prayin', if you would!

Friday, February 02, 2007


oh man, I feel bad breaking this news to you, my adoring public... but it's dead. My ipod is no more. After a day of triumphant feelings, I came back to find my ipod screen black. It flickered back to life a few times when we plugged it back into the computer, but now it's just as dead as... well, it's... it's just dead.
Sigh... sorry everyone.
Heyyy, I haven't tried that alcohol treatment yet...!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

it LIIIIIIIIVESSSSS!!!!!!! (two new posts)

My hero plugged it in last night, and saw the faintest of apples... then the screen said "please wait, very low battery..." so we left it plugged in and then saw "do not disconnect"- very hopeful!!! I opened Itunes and... okay maybe you're not interested in the myriad steps taken here but the point is, it WORKS again!!!! Hurrahhhhhh!!!!!

Wheeeeeeere's kitty?