Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Some Christmas Pics

Thought I'd share some of Mom's handiwork, the lady who starts decorating in November!

My brother-in-law took the pictures with his new camera. Lucky him you say? No, lucky me!!!! Guess who got his old camera? Say it with me, Merry Christmas Zanne!! (prepare yourselves for posts about the technotard trying to learn how to use her first digital camera!)

It's snowing right now and all the trees look like they're frosted with icing sugar. So glad I don't have to do anything but stay put and enjoy it. Definitely a Kodak moment. I'm off to decipher the instruction manual! Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas

I arrived in Canada yesterday for my Christmas visit with my family. I love being home especially at this time of year. My mother lives in a beautiful log home that she starts decorating in November. It will be another gray day today and certainly no snow for Christmas but it's good to be home with the people I've known my whole life and love with my whole heart.

Funny, this Christmas has gone much more smoothly in terms of cards written, presents I remembered to buy (!), people I wanted to spend time with--the schedule in general. I am acutely aware of the myriad ways that I am blessed and don't really know how to say thank you adequately.

To my wonderful blogger buddies, I wish you peace and joy this season. Where there has been no or little meaning, I wish you lightness and depth of love. Where things have been tough and painful, I wish you unshakeable and unrestrained hope. If this year has been a season of blessing for you I pray that you may be transformed by grateful hearts and a desire to share that with others. And please know what a blessing you have been to me: befriending me, making me laugh, keeping me company, lending me your compassion and understanding and support, teaching me and challenging me to grow. Hugs!

Monday, December 18, 2006

And now, a little seasonal levity...

This seemed so appropriate for the time of year when many people feel like they're losing their minds. I particularly guffawed at #9!


1. Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are

3. Dementia --- I Think I'll be Home for Christmas

4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

5. Manic --- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and.....

6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me

7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

8. Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

9. Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent night, Holy oooh look at the Froggy - can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?

10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder --- Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, JingleBells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle,Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,

Friday, December 15, 2006

Beloved Beta Bloggers,

I cannot seem to leave comments on any of your blogs!

This is not helping my Christmas spirit in the least I tell you, but in keeping with the season, I will forgive Bloody Blogger and wait for them to resolve this outrage (and perhaps look into some anger management courses!)

Anyhoo, should anyone be feeling neglected, I heartily apologize and hope to be back in conversation as soon as BB gets its act together!

Love, peace, and groovy, out!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thoughts of Santa before sleeping...

I’ve just gotten out of bed, where I was safely tucked in with my book for the night, when I came upon this sentence in the book I’m reading: “…church can help people gain a feel for how God shows up (in the world)…” (It’s a wonderful book by the way, by a female priest named Barbara Brown Taylor and it’s called “Leaving Church.”)

What compelled me to leave the comfort of my cozy bed was this idea of something in life pointing to the essence of Real Life. This is the second time this week that I’ve been struck by the principle. The first time was on Wednesday, which happens to be the feast of St. Nicolas. (Yes, the St. Nick also known as Santa Claus.) There really isn’t much known about him but we do get the idea of anonymous gift giving from an example in his life.

What struck me then was this idea that perhaps the anticipation many of us experienced as children as we counted down the days and lay awake on Christmas Eve night was really meant to be a spiritual precursor to the way we should anticipate the Gift in the manger. So often Santa Claus is symbolic of all that has become commercial and crass about Christmas. There are voices in the church who would say that Santa is the secular replacement for Jesus, and therefore antithetical to the “reason for the season.” Just this last week I was amused at a friend’s clever comment about Santa being an anagram for Satan.

But as I continue to intentionally keep myself in the season of Advent (Christmas comes later people), I think perhaps that the St. Nick we experienced in our innocence might help to remind us of how it feels to be excited in anticipation of blessing and joy now as adults.

This has been in the forefront of my mind because of the number of people I know and love who are really struggling this time of year. One friend said to me night before last that she hates this season because it just reminds her of the family she doesn’t have and the things that have not happened in her life. Emptiness and loneliness seem to be the underlying theme for many, which is especially cruel when everything around you is shouting, “Be happy and perky, it’s such a wonderful time of the year!” I know people who might lunge for the throat of anyone that had the audacity (and foolishness) to actually utter such trite nonsense to their faces.

It is with chagrin that I admit that I’m actually one of the people that genuinely feels happy and perky during this season. It was not always so. Perhaps it is because I spent so many years in the dark that when this season of preparation to welcome and receive the Light comes, I cannot help but feel gentle hope and comforting joy. I’ve been praying for those who are hurting and lonely. I pray that just as being in church can be a “starting place for discerning God’s presence in this world,” that being able to remember the simple and innocent anticipation as a child on Christmas Eve may help us welcome and embrace the true Gift of this season.

Let me close with the prayer from this morning:

Let your radiant beauty shine forth in our hearts, almighty God. Then the darkness of our night shall pass, and your Son's coming will show us to be the children of Light.


Letter to a Friend

Got an email from a dear friend this morning, venting about his frustration with regard to the potential splits going on in The Episcopal Church right now over homosexuality. I hadn't meant to give him such a lengthy response (sorry dear friend!), but as I wrote him back, I realized that the things I was saying I wanted to say outloud in a larger context, so here's my slightly edited version...just because I needed to say it.

My friend, I am sooo with you! You are quite right about Jesus and the Bible not emphasizing the issue the way the church is doing right now. In fact, when you put the "clobber passages" together (that's what many of us call them) into context socially, historically, as well scripturally, one finds that they don't even address the subject as we know it today. (If you'd be interested in reading a bit more, I highly recommend Walter Wink's "Homosexuality and the Bible.")

I find the whole political climate frustrating because it is clear as day to me (and I do emphasize the "to me" part) that the backlash is one of cultural bias and fear with some very evil influences from those who see this as a power play. What we are seeing now is in many ways no different than the cultural and moral battles over racial and gender equality, and I think we'd both agree that neither of those issues is completely resolved either. But I think the thing we might need to focus on is that there has been progress, and I believe that there will continue to be.

I believe this not only because as a person of faith I feel called to invest myself in kingdom values (far superior to the "family values" being touted right now!) and because I know that this issue is not going away any more than the others did. I have to believe that the hate rhetoric will be revealed for what it is and that people will come to see that what they thought they knew is indeed erroneous. I am also acutely aware that there will be casualities. I'm willing to be one of them.

Hope I'm not sounding glib, because I assure you that I am not. I live with this heartbreak on a daily basis and have for a long time now. But as this is the kind of thing that can seriously bring me down I have to find a response that can bring hope and give life. This battle will not be won by who has the biggest megaphone but by who loves the most. Hate is not a family value and eventually I believe that the slurs, rhetoric, and misunderstandings will come into the Light.

Thank you for your outrage. It is profoundly encouraging to hear that others see how wrong the situation in the church is right now especially when they don't have to. But then on the other hand, even if homosexuality is not your issue, the lack of unity and love in our church is indeed every person's issue or, in my opinion, should be.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Happy Birthday to Gunfighter!

Today is my buddy's birthday so go on over and give him some love!

Hope you have a wonderful day today my friend! You are a blessing to me and I pray that you will have more blessings than you can count today and always!

Monday, December 04, 2006

GRE -- NOT!!!!!

I have just found out the most amazing





There is NO way you can even imagine the shrieks of joy emanating from my mouth at this news. I have done the happy dance, run up and down the hallway at work, and generally startled every co-worker I have, but I do not care! Not one whit, I tell you! Because I can now concentrate on just applying, which feels so doable compared to the stress I've been feeling about this dastardly exam. I am breathing again and the hugest weight has just been lifted.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Advent: A Beginning

This is the first Sunday of Advent and the beginning of the Church year. It's my favourite time of year because it is a time of waiting with hope and expectation. But unlike other kinds of expectations, whether realistic or not, this one comes with a promise and a surety. Christmas does and will come.

Now the expectations in and around "Christmas the season" can pump us up, make us frenzied, and ultimately leave us exhausted, disappointed and even disillusioned. I know many people that sink into a profound depression during this time as they are faced with the myth of what Christmas is purported to be.

But this is precisely why I so long for Advent. It is a time to be still; to listen to the usually silenced inner voice that will tell us what is of true value and who we are in our deepest selves. It is a time when our darkness is driven away by the Light, not because we strive to rid ourselves of it but because it comes in the form of a gift. A gift wrapped in flesh. A gift that says, "you are not alone; I am with you; I am one of you; and, I love you beyond all imagining." This is the gift that never fails to come. This is the gift I long to receive. This is the gift that never disappoints.

Let me share the prayer I read this morning for the first Sunday in Advent:

Merciful and faithful God, you sent your only-begotten Son,

the teacher of truth and the font of reconciliation,

to gather the warring nations of the earth into the peace of your

everlasting reign.

Stir up within us the spirit of joyful expectation,

that, leaving behind the night,

we may run to greet your day as it draws near,

and gladly welcome your Christ wherever he reveals himself.

This fresh beginning I long for Light, pray for peace, and hope in Goodness.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Remembering World AIDS Day

I hate this disease.
Here's a good link or two for more information.

Web Site Counter