Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fresh Err

Tonight on my way home from work I listened to Fresh Air on the radio. Tonight's guests were a father and son who both have recently written books. The son's book is called Tweak- Growing Up on Methamphetamines and the father's is called Beautiful Boy. It was a pretty interesting conversation, but the part of the interview that was the most intriguing to me was when they were asked about the role of "God talk" in treatment programs. The son was talking about how hard it is to be an atheist in programs where, for instance, one of the fundamental ideas is "let g0-let God."
The father, also an atheist, said that early on at an Al-Anon meeting, someone told him that by the end of the process (does he mean the al-anon process, or his son's addiction?) he would believe in God.
Terry Gross asked him if that was true, and he said no. He never did come to believe in God.
But, he said, he did begin to believe in prayer.
Terry said something like "what's the point in praying when you don't believe you're praying TO someone?" This made him think- he said he wasn't really sure, but maybe he was chanting to himself "heal my son. Help my son" to keep his sanity. Maybe he was praying just in case there was someone out there listening.
I wonder if there's something deep within all of us that just has no choice but to acknowledge God's existence when we are at our most helpless points. Somehow, in spite of our logic and need for proof of things, at our core maybe there's something that reminds us to whom we belong.
Someone asked me recently what my "core belief" about God is. If I had to name it, I guess it's that I believe God is bigger than we are- bigger than we can even fathom. More forgiving, more powerful, more loving, more... big. When we come to the limit of what we believe possible, God can do more. I think we tend to put limits on God because we can't imagine that he's too loving to be fair, too forgiving to be punishing. And when we believe God is absent, He is still there present, if not in our hearts and minds, definitely in our souls. Maybe that's what drives the unbeliever to pray to someone whom they "know" does not exist.

Friday, February 22, 2008

epiphany o' the day

Tonight we're watching 20/20, it's one of those freaks-of-nature-for-our-entertainment shows, with a girl who has flipper-like legs and a family who inherits permanent insomnia. They're also featuring a couple of girls who have some kind of syndrome wherein they can't feel physical pain.
On the surface, this sounds like a cool deal, doesn't it?
But of course, these people suffer terrible effects from their disability. They burn themselves with hot water when doing the dishes, break their bones by mistake, and they both wore scars where, for instance, they bit their own lip off during their sleep, not even knowing they'd done it.
I had an epiphany lately, while driving to work- I was thinking about how thankful I am for the things God has taught me. It hit me that all that time that I was wanting God to take care of me through my pain and remove my suffering, He was teaching me. I thought He was being absent from me, but really He was walking with me through experiences that would make me into a wiser me.
Okay, I know this is simple stuff. I did not invent this concept, the strengthening through experience thing. But what was stunning to me was how my expectations of God's responsibility to me had been so way off all that time. I kept asking for what I wanted, and God steadfastly gave me what I needed. As nice as a pain-free life sounds, I know that pain has purpose- and I'm thankful for the pain that God walked me through.

snow hair

We're snowed in yet again... I love snow days but I must admit that I am starting to really yearn for Spring. Tonight was supposed to be a Soup supper and Stations of the cross at the church, so to me the day was win-win: if it didn't snow I was looking forward to the night at work, and with snow came a nice snow day, which I always appreciate.
So, snow day it is, and if it's the last one before the crocuses bloom, I'll be happy.
I did get out long enough to get my hair done. I asked for a "loose wave" and got something like this:

(not so much the rage, but note the hairstyle)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Come! On! Now!!!

Check out this job description from the A-diocesan YM website. I have substituted only the names of the parish and contact person (in blue). The rest is completely AS-IS on the website:

St. Ridiculous Parish is looking for someone to assist with the administrative functions of the parish and religious education offices and a willingness and ability to help develop and lead a Youth Ministry Program. Applicants should be proficient in Microsoft, QuickBooks and ParishSoft systems. Experience with religious education and/or youth ministry a great plus. Contact Fr. Ugoddabekiddingme.

Seriously, there's so much wrong with that job ad that I can't even figure out where to start bashing it.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


A couple of months ago, whilst sitting with some of the Kansas girls, I hear another of the Kansas girls talking with my pastor across the room. It was a loud room, with the football game roaring, and the fans roaring, and general restaurant cacophony. But I heard it clearly... my pastor saying, incredulously, "Margo has a blog?"
Oh Lordy. Well that wasn't really such a big deal, as he was off on a long vacation the next day and I'm sure his head would be filled more with balmy weather and bright colored vacation shirts than the fact that I had a blog. He hasn't mentioned it and I reckon he's forgotten all about that moment.
But last night, out on the town with some of our dearest friends (all top-ten-ers) when all of a sudden it seemed that half the table was using the words "Margo's blog"! The friends on the other half of the table turned to me and said "wait... you have a BLOG?"
Which led to a quick review of my archives at home... and fortunately, I found that (as I had hoped) there was nothing to worry about. It was kind of a nice journey down memory lane for me, but it was also and opportunity to look at the whole blog through the lens of "what will these people learn about me be reading this?"
It made me wonder why I've never told people at work about my blog- I guess it's because it's not really a work blog. (Like D. Scott Miller's, or Austin Fleming's) I don't think I have anything to hide, especially now that I work in a place that I love, but still... it just feels like the crashing together of two worlds. A little.
So anyway, welcome two new readers, and world.
I am Margo. I are legion. I do forgive, I do not forget. Expect me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


FAME! I'm gonna live forever!!!

Last night I checked D. Scott Miller's blog sort of out-of-the-blue (I usually do blog reading in the AM) and was a bit stunned to see my very own blog quoted there! Now THAT'S a weird feeling. The entry he featured was "How to NOT be a Youth Minister", and he quoted it without comment, so I'm not exactly sure why he chose it. It coulda been because he thought I was idiotic- or brilliant, I guess, or maybe it was just my turn and he randomly picked that entry.
I think I have some much snappier youth ministry-themed entries, like "creeped out", "the part-time myth", and "blasphemy", for example. But hey, when fame comes knocking at one's IP Address, one doesn't get to choose how it goes, I guess. Anyway, thanks for the nod D. Scott... (unless you think I'm idiotic.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's.... (play Monty Python theme music here)

...the 123 page book Meme. I love memes and almost never get tagged to do them, so I take it upon myself instead, stealing them from other blogs. This one's been on several blogs that I read regularly, which I think entitles me to it.
Here are the rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book ( of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

Technically the closest book to me is a Bible, but that just seems too show-off-y. So instead, the second closest book: Prayer for Parish Groups.

Page 123, 6th-9th sentences:
What work will we give our hands this day? And how will that work share in partnership with the work of Christ? For the gift of our hands and the power of their touch we bless you God, our creator.

I know it's churchy, that's probably because I'm at work. I know for sure the closest book to my laptop at home is "Last Days of Dead Celebrities" and that would probably have been a far more interesting entry. Oh well, that's what I get for blogging at work.

I tag:
Her Majesty
Don B.
Sue Brash (on her livejournal! It counts!)
Paula (what the heck, maybe she'll actually blog!)
Kate D (get back on the blogging horse missy!)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Not responsible

We have a calendar in our bathroom (is that weird?) right next to the toilet, and on it, I write nice little notes to Scott every day. (Is that weird?) But that's not what I'm blogging about today. What I'm blogging about is the fine print on the February calendar page.
On the bottom of the calendar grid, in tiny print, it says something like "While every effort has been made to make this calendar accurate, we cannot be held liable for any errors, omissions or inconsistencies."
A calendar printing company can't be held responsible for printing an accurate calendar? How hard can it be to double check or... hey... even QUADRUPLE check... their calendar before publishing? Oh maybe that's not a fair question, since they clearly stated that EVERY effort has been made.
And what is it about that fine print that gets them off the hook? If I called angrily to complain that I'd missed my wedding day because of their incorrect calendar, what would they say? "Sorry Ma'am. Check February. See? It says we CAN'T be held liable."
What trouble could I get out of by just using that statement? Maybe I should write across the hood of my car (backwards printing, obviously) "while every effort has been made to make this car/ride to work safe, we can't be held liable for any accidents, crashes, or law-breaking." I probably would NEVER get pulled over!
This has opened up for me a whole new world of options for me. Maybe I'll start off Bible Study tomorrow night with a big fat juicy disclaimer. Then I won't have to worry about doing things well. Hmmmm....

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Oatmeal Chronicles

Today I switched to the Scott's Porrage Oats and had a much easier time of it. I poured a dash of cream over and put some yummy brown sugar on top. Better.
Does anyone care about this?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Oh GAWD oatmeal is just gross.
I mean, Happy Ash Wednesday!!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Anyone? Anyone? .........Bueller?

I think I can safely say, without checking around for affirmation first, that the scariest part of leading a group is the image that one gets of a room full of blank stares, and thick silence after a question is posed. What if no one participates? There is no longer hour than one spent leading a group that won't say anything.
I've been in ministry and leading discussion groups over 12 years now, and I've learned a lot of tricks-o-the-trade. I enjoy leading groups and usually have a pretty successful time of it. But for the past two nights, I've had nightmares about leading the adult Bible Study that I am starting up next Tuesday night. It's a 5-week study for adults on the Gospel of Mark, and I've led this very same one before... but in my dream last night, over a hundred kids showed up to it. I had forgotten to bring my Bible and had written the wrong passage in my notebook, and the building just wasn't made for all those people. They were spread over three rooms and there was no good spot to stand in. A big woman came with some kids and set up in the middle of the room and started to teach crazily and I had to confront her and make her be silent, and when she wouldn't, I had to make her leave, without making a scene. I had them play "sit down if", a game that is so easy any jamoke can play it, and nobody understood the directions. I just could NOT do anything right.
What the heck? I don't feel stressed about this BS (that's Bible Study) during the waking hours, so what the heck with the nightmares?

Monday, February 04, 2008

creep factor, revisited

You know what? Since I've started paying attention to how often I use the word "creepy", I've noticed that I use it a LOT. I throw it out offhandedly at least once or twice a day. How about that?

Saturday, February 02, 2008

oatmeal, shmoatmeal...

Right, so here comes Lent and I am this year flummoxed as to how to mark it in my life. My hope to make the 9:00 Mass at my parish won't work, due to pre-9 traffic... I'd have to leave over an hour beforehand, and that would mean I wouldn't be able to walk in the morning... and I DO need to do some walking. I've decided to start downloading the daily Liturgy of the Hours and the daily readings onto my ipod and walk to the strains of Bible-ness every morning... or so.But that's not what I asked you all hear to talk about.
I thought that a good new habit to take on for Lent would be to eat OATMEAL for breakfast every day... or so. We have two different types of oatment in our house to try- one is rolled Scottish Porage oats (from Scotland!) and the other is steel-cut Irish oatmeal.

The steel cut, which is supposed to be better for you because it's less processed, takes twice as long to cook- but it has a less mushy texture than the rolled Scott's, which I think is the same kind of thing as Quick Quaker oats.
The thing is, I have never liked oatmeal. Blech. That's why it's such a good penitential act for me for Lent. But it's supposed to be so good for me... So, I'm going to take a stab at it. Today I put brown sugar and chocolate chips in it, but I will prob. be fine with just some brown sugar or a touch of honey. We'll see.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Does this year make me look old?

It's our first day off in a long time (and probably FOR a long time) and it's hail-y out there, so we're still in our pajamas and watching 1968 on the History Channel. It's a bad sign when your birth year is featured on the History Channel, don't you think?
I'll be 40 this year, and it feels like limbo- not young and not old. I look young enough that the adults in my parish think I'm a kid, and old enough so that kids think I'm a grown up. I'm not wrinkly yet, and I have long hair that's not so grey that you see it at first glance. But I am starting to feel age- I think I have a touch of the arthritis in my neck (left side) and for some reason, my feet hurt when I wake up in the morning. Suddenly, I'm having to hold things juuuust a little farther away to focus my eyes on them, and increasing the size of the text in my incoming emails.
Watching this History Channel show, it's interesting to see how much we've changed, as a nation, and how much we're in the same boat- war, industry-vs-earth, sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll. It must have been scary to bring a child into the world back then, and I bet it's scary now.
Here's to history, ours and theirs and mine.