Friday Five: The Family Foamhenge Game

This week I’m hosting the Friday Five over at RevGalBlogPals. Play along if you’d like!

Foamhenge

Foamhenge

During a recent family reunion in Lexington, Virginia, I went with some members of my family to see Foamhenge. the creation of Mark Cline that “mysteriously” appeared one April Fools’ Day. It’s a life-sized styrofoam replica of the real deal. (I kid you not.) If you are in to off-the beaten-path, unique family bonding moments, this will do it.

Every family has their own traditions, quirks and follies. So for this week’s Friday Five, tell us about your family/tribe/clan for these 5 distinctive traits:

1. Favorite Game: We play a multi-handed game of Solitaire (yes that’s an oxymoron). We call it “Th-Wappa-Wappa” for onomatopoeic reasons. It’s hilarious, fast, furious and cutthroat. If you want to be a true member of the family, you learn how to play. And survive. Here’s an overhead shot of the start of one round:

thwappa

TH-Wappa-Wappa

2. Favorite Sports Team: Is there any doubt? THE Ohio State University!

3. Birthday tradition: The birthday person gets to set the menu (within reason) and decide what kind of birthday cake they want. There are candles. We aren’t very strict about the number over a certain age.

4.The place that you collectively call “Home” (even if none of you live there any more.) I’ve been thinking about this one a lot recently. I think I’d have to say Ohio, specifically the southeastern part where our immigrant ancestors had a homestead. If they didn’t cost $30, I’d buy one of these…)

5. Family Vacation Spot: Harbor Island, South Carolina. A lovely corner of the world.

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BONUS: Family Dessert: Everyone has it. That yummy, calorie-laden delight that frequents your table at parties or holidays. Share the recipe, or (if it’s a family secret) share a photo.

Well… this is probably the hardest. We do like our chocolate! The Old Family Recipe that I have made most often is Moorish Eggs (found here on our family cooking blog.)

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PSSST!!! There’s a contest going on over at RevGalBlogPals this week! Check it out! There’s a winner every day! :)

Beauty at the Beach

Beauty at the Beach

It’s a place that speaks through its silence and its beauty,
in the riot of colors and variety of vegetation
in the changes of humidity and the intensity of the heat
in the opportunity for rest and silence…
For these and many other reasons,
I enjoy our trips to the ocean.
In a place that is “home” and yet not.

God is louder
the world fades
and relationships that matter are closely in focus.

I go home a little sunburnt
a little travel weary
and deeply blessed.

May these photos take you to a safe and lovely place
in your mind
and in the presence of One
Who knows and loves us all.

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These photos were taken at Harbor Island, SC and Hunting Island, SC in 2014 and 2015. 

Sound of Silence

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It’s been a bit quiet here on the blog. It’s not that I haven’t had things to say, it’s just that I haven’t figured out if I can say them.

A new policy came out at work, one that spells out all kinds of restrictions and requirements for any employee or contractor using social media. Since I’m on social media quite a bit, it became a bit of a dilemma for me. I blog from my perspective as a daughter, sister, friend, parent, pastor and chaplain. I blog with an awareness that my work intersects with someone’s hardest days and weeks that they will ever experience.

I have been mulling over some of the fine points…

What’s my personal reflection? 
When does it border on someone else’s?
When does it infringe on someone’s right to privacy? 
Can I express anything other than the very simplest “had a great day!” (Which is kind of drivel I really try hard not to write!)
What is my message, anyway? And does anyone want to read it? (This last reflection is the result of  reading a “vanity press” kind of memoir as a favor and shuddering… gag it was painful to read.)

I’m dithering on this and, at the moment, haven’t exactly resolved my questions. SOoooo… there’s several blog posts sitting there in DRAFT  mode, waiting…

Be patient. I’ll be back.

Some Things Take Time…

2015-06-25 11.15.29“Some things take time…”

That’s what came to mind as I walked down this lovely sidewalk, shaded by wisteria vines. I knew how many years it would have taken to get these lovely, mature plants to grow over this arbor.

Years. Years upon years!

Someone watered, pruned, trained, tied and retrained vines for many, many years. The result is a beautiful and cool walkway from one building to the next in an otherwise hot, asphalt-and-concrete neighborhood.

Someone had the vision and motivation to persevere with a labor of love. Someone moved past weather challenges, pests, and leaf blowing. Someone knew it would be worth the effort.

As I walked under it, enjoying the way the breeze played with the leaves, I thought of many who have gone before me in ministry. Men and women, who, even if we are poles apart theologically, contributed to the body of knowledge that I studied in seminary. Professors and writers who created the grammar texts and lexicons that I struggled through for language class. Philosophers and academicians who argued finer points of theology.

So many people… 

I meditated on the great “faith chapter” of Hebrews 11. An ode to the men and women who believed God would do as God said, whether or not it seemed possible. Their faith and trust in God’s truth and direction took over for their doubts and frustrations…

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Hebrews 11:1-3)

I walked beneath this shady arbor and gave thanks for my foremothers and forefathers of the faith. For as I watch society change before my eyes, I know theirs is a heavenly witness, whose praise to God joins mine.

Whether it is a societal growth in understanding racism, or accepting social change, God’s justice prevails.

Thanks be to God!

FRIDAY FIVE: Fast and Furious Cuisine

I’m hosting the Friday Five over at RevGals. Play along if you’d like!

kitchen tools

I know RevGals is not a cooking blog. But, I also know that we clergy balance multiple tasks, roles and responsibilities. And many of us want to keep eating healthy and serving with stronger, healthier bodies. At the same time, unless you are living with a personal sous chef, you’re throwing dinner together in between afternoon office hours and evening meetings, sometimes with a little homework and soccer practice thrown in the mix. So, for this week’s Friday Five, tell us:

1) What’s your tried-and-true recipe for picky eaters?

Well, to be really honest, back in the day it was either ramen noodles (I’d add chicken bits) or nuclear orange macaroni and cheese. Eventually I stopped making a “kid meal” and an “adult meal” and the default food was always peanut butter sandwiches. It took a while, but eventually they learned to try and like just about all the food groups (which are chocolate, pasta, butter and bread… hahaha) They grew up to now eat a wide variety of foods… so really, it’s small potatoes.

2) Breakfast for dinner: totally cheating or a lifesaver? Discuss.

Pancakes and bacon make an AMAZING dinner! No discussion.

3) Go-to casserole for potlucks, new parents or your family’s favorite?

Probably I would do my BBQ meatballs because they can sit in the crockpot for a few hours while I finish up the rest of the dinner (a salad, fresh bread and some kind of dessert, usually chocolate.)

4) Favorite take-out place, preferably with a drive-through? (Let’s be real!)

Right now I’d say is an Indian restaurant. I love their Chicken Korma Kashmiri. Little bits of fruit with a zingy sauce over the chicken and rice with saffron. MMMmmmmm…

5) ‘Fess up! What’s your “bad-for-me-but-super-easy” dinner?

Steaks on the grill, bag of salad and potatoes in the microwave. Seasonable vegetables when we have them.

BONUS: RANDOM!! REVGALS version of “CHOPPED” episode, starring you, the tired, harried, cook and pastor who has to feed everyone and get back to church for a meeting in 45 minutes… What would you make with: 
a can of garbanzo beans, chicken breasts, radicchio, sweet bell peppers and some “Testa-mints”?

Watching CHOPPED is a hobby. Mindless, fun, and I actually learn something. I learned most of all that I don’t want to compete on it. WAY above my skill level. I might quality for “Worst Cooks in America” though.

Honestly, I’d like to do a pasta dish, but if Scott Conant is judging, then I can’t make pasta. So I think I’d create a garlic and garbanzo puree, chicken breasts sautéed in an Italian seasoning mix of some kind, make a hot salad by grilling the radicchio with the peppers and make a vinaigrette with the Testa-mints.

HOPE

Friday Five: Rivers in the Desert

 

HOPE

stands in the middle of the rush

of anger

of fear

of weariness

of selfishness

of pain

and says,

“I will survive this by walking through it with You, Lord.”

And as I breathe

and pray

and speak peace

I will remember

that the hate I hold

(even in the silence of my heart)

and the words that I speak

(or mutter under my breath)

spill over

into the minds

and attitudes

around me.

From the depths I cry out…

“Forgive me. Change me. Bring your Peace to our world.”

Amen.
 
 
 

for Charleston
for grieving families
for healing

FRIDAY FIVE: Blooming things

This week I’m hosting the Friday Five over at RevGalBlogPals. You’re invited to play along in the comments if you’d like. :)

We often encourage each other to “bloom where you’re planted.” I like the symbolism, but realized that RevGals and Pals hail from all over the world! What blooms in Maryland may be far different than the flowers in your part of the world. So, to celebrate our diversity, show us five plants that bloom around your home or neighborhood. I’m looking forward to seeing the wide variety of beauty we have among us!

Right now in my back yard, there’s …

Peonies

This peony bush is from a start that was one of my grandmother’s. I love the way the blossoms open so wide and full. They attract all manner of bees, ants and hummingbirds.

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Grandma’s Peony

Roses

The Chicago Peace rose is a tea rose. It starts with a dark pink bud and the leaves turn from pink to peach and the blossom opens. This bloom is from last year… this year’s blossoms are just beginning to open!

Peace Rose

Peace Rose

Wisteria

We have a pergola that shades our back patio from the summer afternoon sun. The wisteria vines are slowly beginning to grow over the top and across the rafters now.

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Wisteria blooming on the pergola

Irises

More flowers from my grandmother! I’ve been dividing and moving the rhizomes as they are rapidly outgrowing (and overcrowding) their flower bed!

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Grandma’s Irises

and Clover!

I have the kind of yard that sprouts crabgrass, dandelions and clover. Obviously, our latest tenants in the warren out back are partial to clover! I love that they nibble off the stem from the plant, and then slowly chew down the stem until the flower is consumed last. (I guess it’s the rabbit’s version of slurping spaghetti?)

NomnomnomCLOVERnomnom

NomnomnomCLOVERnomnom

Fields of Grace (and dandelions)

dandelions2

A carpet of dandelions covered the fields. It was stunning. Field after field with the rich spring green grass and dots of yellow blossoms.

I have never really minded dandelions. They are bright, cheerful and persistent in growing and blooming. I will dig them out of my flower beds but I don’t kill them off in my yard. For many seasons, there were many little bouquets of dandelions, violets, and clover, carefully collected by small hands, and proudly displayed on the dining room table. Now, of course, it’s hip to let them bloom because they’re good for bees. 

Years ago, a former neighbor spend many an hour walking back and forth across his yard, trying to zap every single dandelion with weed killer. Then a windy day would re-seed his yard with the seeds germinated in mine.

He scowled at me one time and said, “Wouldn’t you like to grow some other kind of flower?”

I just laughed. Dandelions in small, chubby hands are a sweet gift. I’d never kill them off.

Now those hands are grown up and the dandelions are a weed of choice by the rabbits who have taken to using our yard as an extension of their warren. One evening I sat and watched a pair of rabbits hop from blossom to blossom, nibbling up the long stems to the sweet flowers. (Saving the best for last, I guess.)

I love my roses, wisteria and clematis. I savor the first peep of my snowdrops. I enjoy seeing the flowers from my grandmother’s garden, the peonies, irises and lily of the valley, when they reappear each year.

But yes. I’ll keep the dandelions, too.