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Archive for January, 2009

Friday Five: Cabin Fever

Singing Owl at RevGals describes it well: “Here in snow country we are settled in to what is a very long stretch of potentially boring days. The holidays are over. It is a very long time till we will get outside on a regular basis. The snow that seemed so beautiful at first is now dirty and the snow banks are piling up. Our vehicles are all the same shade of brownish grey, but if we go to the car wash our doors will freeze shut. People get grumpy. Of course, not everyone lives in a cold climate, but even in warmer places the days till springtime can get long. Help! Please give us five suggestions for combating cabin fever and staying cheerful in our monochromatic world?”

1) A former acupuncturist told me of this delightful, warming tea:  Pour boiling water over an inch long peeled piece of ginger root, add honey to sweeten and steep to desired strength.  It seems to warm me right to the core.  Mmmmm…

2) Of course Hot Chocolate is another antidote for cold wintry days and nights.  With marshmallows.

3) Indulge a bit and buy some fresh flowers.  I’ve found that small lilies will last almost 10 days so it always feels like $4.00 well spent.

4) Feeding the birds and then enjoying their bright colors and fun antics in the snow.

5) Enjoying a  fire in the fireplace.  Now, if just had a fireplace to sit in front of…

 

                

Submitted under the warm comfort of a quilt while wearing a turtleneck sweater under a wool sweater along with long johns and 2 pairs of socks under my jeans.

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At RevGalBlogPals, Songbird writes: Although written by a young man, this song from “Rent” became an anthem for women of a certain age ready to be taken on their own terms. Maureen and Joanne love each other, but they are *very* different.  (There’s link to YouTube “Take Me, Baby, or Leave Me” but I don’t yet know how to include that here ~sorry.)

Whether it’s new friends or new loves or new employers, what are five things people should know about you?

  1. I am a woman of words, be they written, spoken, sung, enacted ~ it matters not. Words are important to me and occasionally I spend too much thyme trying to choose just the right one. Inclusive words are important ~ they are healing, and I intentionally use them. And I like metaphors and images, and that’s often where I dwell.

  2. There are thymes when words aren’t able to speak, that’s when ritual is needed. Gathering around the table to share bread and wine or pour water; sitting in a circle to sing, to share joy or to name pain; lighting candles; preparing the same meal for a special occasion; gathering with others to witness promises made or a life fully lived or faith shared.

  3. Food is also important, not just for sustaining life but with regards to where it is grown, who grows it and how they are paid, how it is grown, how far it travels, how it is prepared. This is a process I’m growing into and one I thoroughly enjoy. And chocolate and wine are a food group all their own.

  4. I can be impatient and so I have a Thyme Garden in my back yard ~ to remind me daily that we live in kairos thyme rather than our own thyme.  And there are many days that pain reminds me that thyme is not in my control.

  5. I am more of an introvert than extrovert. I enjoy people, and cherish good friends and am a loyal friend, but need thyme to myself and tend to be more private than public so this is a good s-t-r-e-t-c-h for me. As I approach that 50 year mark, (in 2 days) I’m learning to be more myself and share her with others.

 

Thanks for this opportunity!

 

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Transition in Labor

 

The challenges in life are huge right now, coming from all sides. It seems much like the transition stage of labor: wanting to just leave thank you very much and let someone else finish the job, pushing is hard work and it’s tiring, it feels like a point of no-return.  I know my water has broken by the tears that have flowed; I trust that I’m at the point where the tension will break soon.  So I made a list of what I need for this labor and delivery:

  • I need midwives. Lots of midwives.

  • I need something safe to help manage the pain.

  • I need a coach to remind me when to breath and when to push.

  • I need a mother to cook meals that nourish and sustain.

  • I need a father to hold me.

  • I need water to drink, water to bathe in and cleanse me, water to bring forth new life and remind me of my baptism.

  • I need music to soothe my soul.

  • I need prayers to prepare the way and accompany the labor.

  • I need a companion for the scared little girl, to reassure her that she’ll be cared for.

  • I need courage to claim the voice within that will name this new life and proclaim its goodness.

  • I need the warmth of the sun and the light of the moon to shine upon all present.

     

On this Baptism of our Lord Sunday, we prayed,

     “…Help us to see Jesus, and baptize our fears with your joy.”

and we sang,

     “In water we grow, secure in the womb,

     and speechlessly know love’s safety and room.

     Baptizing and blessing, we publish for good

     the freeing, caressing, safekeeping of God.”

           (“In Water We Grow, Brian Wren)

 

As we each give birth to new life,

             may we claim what we need as we are

                        sustained by the Waters of our Baptism.

                                      

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At RevGalBlogPals this Friday’s invitation is all about pancakes: “So pull up a chair to the kitchen table and tell us all about your pancake preferences.”

1. Scratch or mix? Buttermilk or plain?  From scratch is the best, and after that buttermilk or plain is inconsequential.

2. Pure and simple, or with additions cooked in?  Whole grains help the pancakes stick to the ribs a little longer.

3. For breakfast or for dinner? Either works for us.  So does lunch.

4. Preferred syrup or other topping? How about the best side dish?  Syrup ~ on top of peanut butter.  I thought you’d never ask.

5. Favorite pancake restaurant?  My kitchen.

 

Bonus: Any tasty recipes out there, for pancakes or other special breakfast dishes? Bring ’em on!

 Basic Multigrain Pancakes  (Jane Brody)

Dry Ingredients:

     2/3 C whole-wheat flour, preferably stone-ground

     1/3 C all-purpose flour

     ¼ C oat or other flour (e.g., corn meal, barley, buckwheat, millet)

     2 TB wheat germ

     2 tsp sugar

     1 tsp baking powder

     ½ tsp baking soda

     ¼ tsp salt, if desired

 

Wet Ingredients:

     1 C buttermilk or yogurt

     ¼ C or more skim milk

     1 egg white

     1 whole egg

     1 TB vegetable oil

     ¼ tsp vanilla extract, if desired

 

  • Mix together all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.

  • In a second bowl, combine all the wet ingredients, whipping them enough to beat the egg white and whole egg lightly.  Add these to the dry ingredients, stirring just to combine them.   The batter can stand for about 10 minutes out of the refrigerator, or for an hour or more refrigerated.

  • Heat a griddle over medium heat.  Grease it lightly if not nonstick, and immediately pour sufficient batter to make pancakes of the size you desire (don’t let them get too big, or they will be hard to flip.)  Turn when golden brown on the bottom.

  • Enjoy!

 

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Come join the Poetry Party!

 

This Epiphany more than 3 gifts

      were brought to the Child of Light.

Of course gold, frankincense, and myrrh

      made their way to the center in fine wraps and glittering bows.

In more humble attire diapers and blankets,

      and more diapers and bathing accessories

      were brought with the tender love and care of mothers

      who knew firsthand of the need.

There was food for every meal, for snacks between meals,

      for the “get-me-through-the-wee-hours” snacks,

      all brought by fathers who had been recipients themselves of these same gifts.

                               

But this Light, born into the center of the web of life,

     called forth others, some perceived as more desirable than others.

Music ~ with voice, drum, flute and lyres,

      filled the air with celebration and adoration.

Prayers ~ offered from children and elders,

      sages and skeptics, common folk and royalty.

Dreams and prophecies ~ from the sparks at the beginning of thyme

     and from the recent days as the star shone brightly,

     all filled with hope of what was yet to be.

Fears ~ sitting on the edges, unsure if they’re included,

      though clearly aware of how connected they are to everyone present.

Doubt ~ also hanging on the edges,

     casting shadows in unwanted places.

                                   

And this tiny Child, this Center of Light, called out,

     “Come, all are welcome:

           You who are filled with life and you who are weary.

      Come, all are included:

           Fears and prayers, food and music, gold and diapers, myrrh and doubt.

      My grace is sufficient for each of you.

     This web of love will sustain us.

      Let this life begin!”

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At RevGalBlogPals, I site I’ve visited often and have decided to participate at, we are invited to reflect on the past and look to the future during this thyme of transition.  Each year around this thyme I think about these things but rarely have I put them on paper, even rarer is putting them where others can read them.  So with a bit of courage in my pocket, here they are:

List 5 things I remember/treasure from 2008:

1) Improved pain management and a little more physical strength.

2) My daughters are finding their way and voice in the world, overall they seem happy and less anxious. 🙂

3) I started an online Spiritual Direction Training Program and I returned to work ~ be it very part-time and I really enjoy the work.

4) PIC continues to be a very healing and supportive congregation to be with, including voice lessons with the now former “Director of Congregational Singing” (she’s a music student who’s now off to Mexico to study.)

5)  I continue to be blessed wtih the love and care of family and many friends.

 

List 5 things I am looking forward to in 2009:

1) Regaining more of my health: less pain and increased stamina.

2) The continued blessing and strengthening of relationships.

3) My house finally selling!  (I hope, hope, hope…)

4) Inviting more fun and re-creation and music in my life.

5) Ceasing to lurk at RevGalBlogPals and participating!

 

Thanks for the invitation to put these thoughts on “paper”!

 

P.S.  This is the beautiful artwork found at the RevGalBlogPals site today, it’s a “Celtic Mandala (that) represents life, noting how days and years turn from one to another.”  I love how the images are woven together as one so often finds in Celtic artwork.

 

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A Fresh Start

Yesterday at our home, we started the day, and thus the new year, cleaning.  Vacuuming crevices and the couch that the dog usually sleeps on, putting pillows and throw blankets in the dryer on “air fluff.”  While the house is generally clean we had a guest who is allergic to cats.  And we have two cats.  Who roam the house freely.  But this morning, as I ponder our cleaning actions I’m thinking it might have been the Spirit’s way of prompting us to start the year with a clean state so to speak.  Now, if I had decided that’s what we would do, and tried to convince my college age daughters of its merit, I would have wasted my breath and might as well have been talking to the cats which I do often anyway.  Of course it helped that yesterday’s guest is boyfriend of daughter 2!

My grandma had this plaque hanging in her kitchen and I think it’s a fine philosophy by which to keep house:

Here’s to a fresh start in the New Year!

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