Friday Five: Push or Pull?

The traffic crawled for over a mile this afternoon and this was most of what I could see:

DO NOT PUSH (if you know what's good for you.)
DO NOT PUSH (if you know what’s good for you.)

It was the inspiration for this week’s Friday Five (which I’m hosting this week over at RevGals). Play along if you’d like!

I am fortunate to have some great encouragers in my life. The ones who know me the best are great at knowing when to challenge me, and when to just chill and let me figure it out myself. SO… think about the encouragers and challenges in YOUR life and tell us…

  1. After achieving a goal, do you set the bar higher, or rest on your laurels? I am someone who pushes herself, always going for that next goal.
  2. Which is better: a kick in the pants or a hug and a cuppa? If I’m struggling, I need “a hug and a cuppa.” I am far too self-critical and have (probably) already kicked myself around the block.
  3. What’s your baseline motivation? Fear? Competition? Not getting caught? 😉 Being seen as lazy. I’ll push past my limits to try and do it better. One of the things I’ve had to learn along the way is to let “good enough” be OK sometimes.
  4. When you’re facing a big challenge, do you need to talk it out, or puzzle it out yourself? It’s kind of a combination. I want to talk about it, but not so that you give me the answers.
  5. Who is in your corner – always? Who helps you achieve more than you imagined you could? (You don’t have to give names) Family. Friends who have gone the distance. Some pretty amazing co-workers. And RevGals that I’ve never met IRL but always have a word of encouragement when I’m feeling defeated.

BONUS: A picture, piece of art or music that expresses your experience of the push/pull process.

I found this in my photo files. It speaks to me of this process of making headway and then falling back into old habits or struggles. I also like the image of being in the process with someone — human or Divine.

Abandoned swingset. Photo credit: Rev. Deb Vaughn
Abandoned swingset. Photo credit: Rev. Deb Vaughn

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.

Friday Five: Whining in a Winter Wonderland

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

It’s official. If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, you are experiencing winter. SO… tell us:

1. Winter: What do you think about it in general? Do you love it? Hate it? Or say, “meh – it’s just another season!”

I don’t mind it too much. You can always put on more clothes. You can only take off so much and be “legal”.

2. Footwear: Show us or tell us about your favorite winter shoes/boots.

I love my Merrell’s clogs. They are lined with a plush lining. They can handle anything until the snow gets over about 2 inches. Sexy? Nope. Comfy and warm? Yep!

3. Discuss: Pedicures in winter – necessity or silly?

They are part of my self-care and relaxation time. Current polish color: I am Not a Waitress.

4. Toasty toes: Whether you knit your own or buy them, tell us what socks keep your feet toasty warm!

I love my polypropylene socks that wick away the moisture and keep my toes warm. My favorite pair are a charming camo print.

5. Driving me crazy: What do you wish the drivers around you would do to make travel during the winter months a little less nutty?

Calm down. Slow down. And clean off your car. Especially the “hat” of snow on top!

BONUS: What’s the weather like out there? Share a picture so we can shiver or be jealous!

snowdayTaken Wednesday of this week as I was driving between appointments!

Friday Five: Recovery Edition

Over at RevGalBlogPals this week, I’m hosting the Friday Five! Play along if you’d like!

That was the air rushing out of our collective pool of energy. Whether you led one small service or 5 huge ones, let’s talk about recovery mode. In less than 48 hours, there’s another Sunday service, or a weekday ministry starting up again. So, tell us:

1. What’s your “chill out” foot gear? Slippers or socks? Or Birkenstocks? (Poem not intentional)
I’m a “Wicked Good” slippers kind of gal. Or I’m barefoot. Really not much in-between!

2. A holiday treat or beverage that just makes you say “AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!”
Peppermint hot chocolate. In a nice tall mug. With a lap blanket. And a purring cat.

3. What sight or sound moved you during the season? (This can be good or bad.)
Seeing the response to the labyrinth made of Christmas lights at our “Longest Night” service. First, that my family created it (in less than 2 hours!) Second, how it touched a spiritual chord with the participants. I blogged about it here…)

4. With whom did you enjoy sharing time with over the Christmas season?
My beloved, our daughters and two wonderful “Plus One” boyfriends. Not everyone was here at the same time, but it has made our break an enjoyable one. Full of activity in the kitchen and with much use of bandwidth and the comfy couches.

5. Was there someone missing from your festivities? How are you doing with that?
Work schedules and family prevented our traveling south this year. And finances prevented plane flights in our shorter window. I missed seeing my family (sibs and Mom).

BONUS: A photo of a bodaciously wonderful present, delicious food, or lovely place that was a part of your holiday.
How about these cookies? (And everyone needs more cowbell!)


Friday Five: Random End-of-Summer Edition

So yesterday I hosted the RevGals Friday Five. It was the kind of day that I never got back to my computer to play it myself – OR to respond to posters. But here we go…

There’s no real theme today, just some random topics. Have fun and don’t forget to post your link in the comments!

1. True or False: You can wear white shoes after Labor Day*.
I think it is more about what you are wearing. Here in my part of the world, it’s pretty hot until close to the end of September. So I will likely break this fashion “rule” and wear my white flats a little longer.

2. If “the dog days” are in August, when are “the cat days”?
Probably some time when you need a warm and cozy cat lap cover. A snowy day in January, perhaps?

3. Share a memory from your life of going back to school.
I remember having trouble getting my body onto “school time”. While we were up and at ’em, there was less pressure to get up and get out the door, dressed and ready to roll. Since I’m not much of a morning person, it wasn’t fun.

4. My dad had a rhyme he used to tell us: “I eat my peas with honey; I’ve done it all my life. It makes the peas taste funny, but it keeps them on my knife!” What’s the strangest use for honey you’ve ever heard of?
One summer I got a horrible sunburn on my back. The family I was staying with were “natural medicine” people. Among other things, they believe that you could stay healthy by hosing out your nose and sinuses (think of a neti pot with a jet pack.) Anyway… the lady of the house smeared honey on my sunburn, assuring me it would heal it over night. It was a disaster. The honey stuck to my shirt and I had to get in the shower to release the honey form the shirt off of my back. Yeah. Weird.

5. Post a picture from this summer that shows us one of your favorite memories.
2014-08-05 08.29.54
Walking on the beach at sunset with our lovely, brilliant daughters and frequent friend. 🙂

BONUS: Summer gardens! Got one? What are you growing?

Flowers, mostly. I didn’t get veggies in this year.

*For those of you not in the USA, Labor Day is a national holiday and is the first Monday in September. It marks the unofficial end of summer.

A Summer Friday Five

Revkarla at RevGals hosts this week’s Friday Five:

Hello friends~~
It’s Friday, and TBTG! Even when I work all weekend, I still love that “Friday feeling”, you know? PLUS~~it’s summer! So, for a summer Friday Five, here are a few thoughts to ponder upon:

1. What makes you happy in your happy hour? (kicking off shoes, reading a book, a cocktail, lemonade~~essentially, what do you do to relax at the end of your week…)
When the kids were younger it was pizza and a movie. Now it’s more likely to be knitting and a cat on my lap.

2. I have a pair of shorts that I jump into the minute I get home for the evening–every day in the summer. What’s your favorite summer “garment”?
I have a couple of cotton sundresses (maxi length) that are my faves. Comfort + coolness is essential!

3. I have discovered, after living here in New England for 7 years, Ipswich fried clams. Oh. my. OH MY! Do you have a summer food you might splurge on once or twice in the summer?
Hmmm… I think it would have to be shrimp. Fresh shrimp grilled with a garlic and butter sauce. Oh YES PLEASE.

Me with my three older sisters, quite a few years ago! (As the car in the background attests!)

4. Do you have a specific fond memory of summers of your childhood?
Summers at camp, swimming and canoeing. Also making the trek to see grandparents and other relatives. This meant long car rides (some of it pre-interstate). Popsicles, too!

5. Use these words in a sentence: snail, baby duck, camper, ice cream, surfboard, cherries.
I’m short on brain cells this morning. I’ve got nothing.

Friday Five: Time Hop

3dogmom from RevGals has this week’s Friday Five:

I’m fortunate to be on the emailing list of a friend and business coach. Her enthusiasm for helping people strive toward achieving dreams and living authentically inspires me regularly, and even if I don’t always take advantage of the opportunities she shares, the resources she tells us about are always close at hand.

This week she told us about an app called “timehop.” It looks back at where we’ve been as a touchstone to seeing where we are now. It’s also a helpful reminder of what other people were experiencing in their lives, and can serve to encourage us to reach out and touch.

For today’s Friday Five, share with us where you were and what you were up to 1, 3, 5, 10, and 20 years ago! What were your dreams—did you follow them? Who was journeying with you? Feel free to keep it light (I was on vacation at the beach with my bestie!) or reflect more deeply (a call was brewing…). Have any pictures from those moments to share? We’d love to see them!

Wow. Well, this is definitely a trip down Memory Lane! So here we go…

1. One year ago: 2013 – Both lovely daughters graduated (one from college, one from high school!) A mad party scene ensued!

Our lovely daughters
Our lovely daughters


In my chaplain gear
In my chaplain gear

2. Three years ago: 2011 – I was in my last unit of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) and working as a per diem chaplain at night. The bags under my eyes began to take up permanent residence.  We had one daughter in college and one in high school. Life was busy. Crazy. And pretty sweet.



With some of my cohort from Seminary.
With some of my cohort from Seminary.

3. Five years ago: 2010 – I graduated from seminary with a whole lot of support and love from my family. I  started my CPE training. I had a ceremonial shredding of my copy of that dratted Turabian book. And I learned how important it was to have friends and mentors who encouraged and challenged me and helped me grow. I was a RevGal and loved it.

4. Ten years ago: 2004 – I was an at-home mom, with an 8 year old and a 12 year old, and helping my mother-in-law move to live near us here in the DC area. I was doing a lot of writing and moved my stuff from a website to my blog. (I actually went and looked up my first blog post here… I’ve grown and changed a lot since then!) I wanted to go to seminary, but didn’t see “how” that could happen. I sang in choirs and on a “praise team,” played handbells and wrote devotionals. (Some of them make me shudder.) This was also when I went on a Walk to Emmaus weekend as a pilgrim and was challenged to accept God’s call on my life. It was a terrifying, exciting time because I said “YES!”  This was also the year we had to say good-bye to our beloved Clyde. 😦

Clyde, the lovable rascal of a reformed barn cat.
Clyde, the lovable rascal of a reformed barn cat.

5. Twenty years ago: 1994 – I had a lovely preschooler and was newly pregnant with my second daughter (born in 1995). We were living in our first house on the other side of the Beltway near DC. I spent the fall having morning sickness. I was writing, studying and volunteering. And didn’t know that I “could” be a pastor. We also got the news around this time that my dad had Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. (I went looking for photos from this time period, but I don’t have any digitized. They are all “analog.” It’s probably a good thing.)