Thursday, February 21, 2013

Last night's sermon.

February 20, 2013
Lenten Mid-Week Service
Hebrews 3:7-15

Please pray with me,

As you led the Israelites through the wilderness, as you were with Joseph and Mary as they journeyed to Bethlehem, and as you journeyed with Jesus to the cross….you are with us now. Guide our hearts, minds and bodies on this Lenten journey. Continue to turn us toward you, our light and our path, guiding us every step of the way. In Jesus’ name, amen.

At this point, I read the book Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina. If you don't have a copy click Here and you can have it read to you! (It's worth a listen.)

It is written in Hebrews, Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today’, so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partners of Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end.

It’s so easy to get angry and upset, to stomp our feet and shake our fists.

William Willamon writes, “Anger is a natural, necessary response in the face of injustice. It is an acknowledgement that this is not the world as it is meant to be, not the world as God intended. The anger should be expressed, preferable in church, in prayer, in conversation with God. We have a God who is good enough and great enough to receive our anger, to take even the most raw human emotions and weave them into his purposes. Anger can be expressed, but ought not be acted upon without the greatest of care……Gross injustice, great anger, ought to be given to god as our offering, our confession that we have come to a place in our lives where we are unable to fix that which afflicts us.” (Sinning Like a Christian p.72)

Hear that again, anger ought to be brought to God as our offering, our confession that we have come to a place in our lives where we are unable to fix that which afflicts us.

Anger may be that place where we most need to be reminded of the cross and God’s presence in our lives. That anger is not something we can respond to on our own…that this is a time in our lives and our hearts that we need peace.

Tonight was ask God to create in us….peace. In doing that, we offer up to God the knowledge and the confession that we cannot fix the problems that surround us.

When we ask God to create peace in ourselves…we are giving up the anger to God….saying we know we can’t deal with it….but know that we have it and know that we need your presence here and now as we express it.

As this time, I invite everyone, starting with the younger ones up front to come and offer your stone to the cross….may this be our confession and our offering of our anger to God. May we do it quietly as we think about things that cause us anger….of that keep us from feeling peace.

As we give this up, we create space for peace in our hearts, our homes, our lives and our community.

As you depart from worship this night, you are invited to take a stone from the basket in the narthex….take a stone home with you, keep it with you in your pocket, or place it on your tableaux with the ash cross, as a reminder that God is with us in all of our emotions and wishes us to have peaceful hearts, yet it is so easy to have our hearts harden. So may a stone and a cross be your daily reminder that you, that I, that we cannot handle life on our own. God is always present. May we take time this Lent to return to the cross, return to opportunities to see and bring to life God’s relationship with us.

Let us pray,

Gracious God, we come before you this day praying for the peace. Create in us clean and peaceful hearts O God, may we release to you our anger and our pain….and may we know that you can handle it…that you are ready for it….and that you will continue to hold us, listen to us and love us no matter what.

And may the peace which passes all understanding keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and let all God’s people say, amen.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Today's word: evil.

I had a hard time with this one.

Part of the reason is because I was thinking about my homily for worship this evening....and the theme was Create in us....Peace.  We handed out stones....and my homily focused more on our own anger...and how we need to let go of that so there is room in our hearts for peace.

I'll probably post the homily tomorrow.

But I was so focused on anger....evil seemed to slip my mind.

But here's the picture for the day:

Here are the stones that we left at the foot of the cross.....but there are still some in the basket....some were taken home, as a reminder that there will and are times when we will be angry....but we're not alone in it.  God is ready to hear about our anger....ready to receive it....and remain with us in the midst of it.

When I think about evil...I think about the times when we keep that anger penned up and turn to violence or turn in on ourselves instead of offering the anger and the frustration up to God....

My prayers this day are for those who struggle with anger...and for those who do not feel as if they can express it, or do not have safe places to let go of it.

Until next time . . .

Friday, February 15, 2013


The word for day 3 is see.

I did plenty of driving today, to hang out with 2 awesome women. An old friend and a new one. Good times were has all day.

As I looked in the rear view mirror. I saw the reflection of the road in my sunglasses. It was super cool. I could see what was in front of me and what was in the mirror.

At a stoplight I tried to capture what I saw.

Here's to being able to see where we have been and were we are going.

Until the next picture.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


As soon as I realized the word of the day was return, I couldn't seem to get 'return to the Lord your God, for he is patient and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love....'

So I looked and looked today for something to 'fit' this verse.

And I looked and looked....continually thinking about returning.

Sadly, I was driving when I saw a sky full of geese in multiple v formations.  I thought, oh man, they are totally returning to somewhere....but by the time I got to the parking lot they were out of range.

So, instead I went with this one...

Tonight I returned back to a meal I made for the first time last week - simple risotto...and it was just as good this time.  I'm happy to know that it's something I can make on a weeknight and still enjoy.

I have also returned to morning devotions....but that's a tech free time of the no pictures of that....

I will also be returning to a Valentine's Day tradition of a glass of red wine, some chocolate and Casablanca.  Isla couldn't return to Rick....but they'll always have Paris.

Until the next picture . . .

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Who am I?

So it's the first day of Lent.

I received a post on Facebook from a friend who was asked by a co-worker if I was eating meat today.
Let me just say that there was a time when I refrained from things in Lent.  When I was a kid I gave up Brussels Sprouts (I hated them when I was a kid, so it wasn't something that I was truly missing.)  As I got older I tried to give up things or refrain from things that I enjoyed.  Looking back, I'm not so sure I really got the point.  Thing about Lent now...I'm more focused on taking time this season to think about the things that separate me from God and looking for ways to allow more time for me to think, pray and and act in ways that remove the things that get in the way of seeing God at work in my life and sharing that with others.

The first thing I did was to get a book for my Lenten Devotions.  I ordered 40 Day Journey Julian Norwich from Amazon and it's kick starting each day with a writing from Julian, some meditation time and questions, some scripture, some journal prompts and a closing prayer.  It made for an early morning, but it's a routine I'm happy to get back into.

The other addition to my days this season is a Lenten Photo-a-day Challenge from
Each day there is a word or phrase to guide your daily photo.

Here's the list from their website:

So as I went about my day today....I kept asking myself....who am I?
I thought runner, child of God, pastor, daughter, sister, friend, colleague, someone who loves chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, listener, fiance, home brewer, sinner, saint, cat owner....and the list goes on and on...and I thought of all these pictures I could take of stuff that I have that represent who I am...or potential self portraits....and as I walked home from the Ash Wednesday service this evening (in the snow) I had to catch some flakes on my tongue...I couldn't help it! the midst of it, I decided a photo was in order.

Who am I?  This girl....

One who takes time to find joy in the day and the weather....and just stop to catch snowflakes.

Who knows where the rest of the photos will take me over the next 40 days....but there's potential for silly, thought provoking, God revealing, or all of the above and then some.

See you in the next photo . . .

Saturday, February 9, 2013

today's cooking adventures.

So, I tried two new recipes today.  Sadly, neither of them came from cookbooks in the house.  But on the plus side, they were both delicious!

The first was dinner.  It was my first attempt as risotto and it was a success. I went with the basic recipe from
The only personal touches I added were freshly grated Parmesan.  (I like good fresh cheese...I didn't want to use a handful of the powdery stuff.)  It called for a quart of chicken stock...I heated up some extra because it took a few additional ladles to get to the point where the rice didn't have at tough bite.  The stock I used was called 'tuscan' chicken stock. It had basil and oregano seasonings in it.  (It was the only one they had at the discount grocery...and at $1 per quart it was a good find.)

I topped it with some seared scallops....yum.

Dessert was a Mardi Gras King Cake...I was in the mood for one the other day and my friend Corey sent me a link to a simple recipe at

Here it is before the second rise:

And here's the tasty goodness after the glaze and colored sugar.  I did have to make my own purple, since I couldn't find any.  It came out more grey than purple....but I think you get the idea of the Mardi Gras colors.  

 Smile cake: it's your close up!

And after the first was still warm when I cut it...

I highly recommend it with a cold glass of milk...but I'm sure it will be just as tasty with a cup of coffee in the morning.  It works for breakfast, right?

It was a good eating day.  And now it's time for bed.

Until the next post . . .

belated birthday post

So thankful to welcome into the last year of my 30s with many fond memories!

It was totally worth going to began with a workout.  (which based on my food intake for the rest of the day was a really good thing.)

I enjoyed several of the mini cupcakes from my friend Chris...and shared the rest with co-workers and friends.  We went out for our usual cluster lunch...and I was highly encouraged to get the 'birthday special'....which was the colossal drink.  A larger than life mojito with four bendy straws and a glow in the dark plastic ice cube.  Woo...I had a little help with it...but not nearly enough.

I needed copious amounts of caffeine to get through the rest of the day.

Which continued in an excellent manner.  Calls from friends and family and the fun comments on Facebook.  Dinner was at The City Tap House.  If you are in the University City area of Philly you must check it out.  60 brews on tap and if you get a flight you can fill out a card with tasting notes :)

Tasty Jambalaya pizza for an appetizer and 1/2 chicken roasted on black beans for the main course.  Yum!

Dessert was a tasty Young's Double Chocolate Stout Ice Cream Float.

Then we waddled over to The Blockley for a great night of music.  A great small venue...a good crowd and we were a few feet from the stage.  We danced to the music of the New Sound Brass Band out of Philly....

Nothing compares to a stage with 6 trombones!  Good times...

We also danced until 1 to the sounds of Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers.  

What a wonderful night.

The next day was brought to you by a large coffee from Dunkin Donuts followed by a chai latte with a shot of espresso.

Several days later and I'm nearly caught up on my sleep...but again, totally worth it.

Thankful for the opportunity to celebrate.

Friday, February 1, 2013

D. Day.

I tell ya, I could get used to this sabbath thing.

After being pretty sick this past week, I was truly looking forward to shopping for my wedding dress today.  I got up early, had some breakfast a cup of coffee....and even completed a load of laundry before my good friend showed up for the best girl's day out, ever!

We started with frou frou coffee drinks at the local coffee shop and headed on our way to the first appointment.  With just one picture....and many, many ideas, we began to pluck dresses off the walls.  The first dress was a winner.  Then there were some others that just didn't look so good.
One would have been perfect if the wedding was in Greece.
Another would have been perfect if I was trying to look like a purse.
And then a beautiful one.  And it was a perfect fit.
But I wasn't totally sold.  That one came off and the first one went back on....and then a few more dresses.
The consultant working with me went 'upstairs' to look for a few more.
The first one, not so good.
And then....*the* dress.  A totally winner.  A perfect fit.  No alterations needed.
I wasn't totally sure about it and had another appointment after lunch, so we left it there and had some lunch.  5 minutes into lunch I knew it was the dress.
Luckily our lunch spot was less than 5 minutes away from the bridal shop.

Needless to say, I canceled the second appointment.  :) to look for a bouquet...I'm thinking paper flowers or fabric they are easy to travel with...and to talk to my good friend Corey about some jewelry to wear on that special day.

I'm getting more and more excited!

To complete my sabbath day...I spent some time starting a puzzle, dropping off a package and some mail at the post office.
I tried on a few skirts and sweaters at the local goodwill....although it was weird not having someone help me get in and out of the clothes....and then picked up some Chinese take out for dinner.  With a few messages sent to girlfriends to get together over the next few weeks and a blog post, I'm calling it a day.

I think I'm ready for bed.

Until the next post . . .