Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Psalms for 2012

In 2012 we are going to try to do more reading of psalms like it was done in the house that the Help left before joining me here in DC. After dinner the head of the house would read a chapter from the book of Psalms, if enough household (family and boarders) members were around. So far in 2011 we've been haphazard. When we do read, it is two readings. One from the New King James, read by the Help, and me following with a 'dramatic reading' of the same chapter from the Message.
To any who read this may the Lord bless and keep you in 2012 and beyond.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas- Advent and humbug

The decor is all the Help's work.

But I did chose the color of the ribbon he used.
Help: Don't we have any red ribbon?
Me: Purple and pink are perfectly fine advent colors.
Help: Should I go out and buy some red ribbon?
Me: No. It's Advent dammit, use the purple and pink. When we hit Christmas season you can put up all the red you want. Besides the red ribbon I have isn't for the outdoors.

Commerically the Christmas season started sometime in October. That's when I started seeing x-mas crap in Home Depot and some stores. Prior to Thanksgiving, I'd scream at the TV when a commerical for "holiday" shopping came up, "Not even Halloween/Thanksgiving yet!" Now that we are in the commercial Christmas season, my nod has been to online stores. Spiritually, it's Advent. What do I do during Advent? I dunno. It didn't really stick that well when I was an Episcopalian, and as a Catholic, I sort of acknowledge the season, with the two colors that dominate my ribbon collection. And sing Christmas songs....

Monday, November 07, 2011

MST3K for the Christian Movies

This weekend the Help and I snuggled up with some Netflix movies that have been sitting on top of the DVD player, one being a film, No Greater Love. It's one of those Christian faith-based, faith inspired movies with seriously uneven acting and poor character development. This is one of three point five Christian films we've seen in the past year. Two I had seen before but wanted to share with my new husband. Being home, I and sometimes we, like to loudly add our own commentary to the films, regardless if they are big budget Hollywood, mid budget Bollywood, or I'm not sure what the heck your budget was movies. Christian movies, that strongly wish to spread the gospel about our lord and savior, get the same critical treatment.
What really bugged us for No Greater Love were the male Christians. When the main character, an agnostic man trying to get his long lost now-Christian wife back, was arguing with the pastor of her church, the pastor kept smiling. It just seemed weird. The old friend of the main character, who attended the same church as the long lost wife and the pastor, had this goofy look on his face most of the time. Except for one scene where the guy bothered acting. We know the look was to show how happy and wonderful it was having Christ in his life, but really, REALLY? Don't get me started on the character development of the women in these films. One word, doormat.
The exception to the woman as doormat was in Faith Like Potatoes. Slightly uneven acting there too, but let's say the non-actor types weren't pushed 10 miles before their abilities as the American Christian films were. Faith Like Potatoes, is based on a real life South African white farmer, who comes to Christ after failing on one farm and starting up another. His wife expresses her fears and doubts and just doesn't let things just happen to her.
Third film starred Kirk Cameron, in Fireproof. Acting talent ranged from good (Cameron), to regional theater not bad, to answered the announcement at church for parts in the production. I'm sorry poor acting bugs me and is distracting. The story is good and the development for Mr. Cameron's character was good and showed beliveable transformation, but everyone else, a little flat.
The .5 movie in the bunch we watched this year was a short film, produced by some church out west about the story of Hosea. I can't remember the name of the film but it stars a woman, who used to be in the adult film industry before she found Christ. Loosely based on the Bible about the prophet Hosea, it is about a preacher who marries a former stripper. Seriously uneven acting, but unlike the other films the main actor isn't the best actor.
Maybe it is a rule somewhere that religious movie productions must have uneven acting. I once came across a Hindi movie/ tv show (in hindi without English subtitles) and immediately could tell it was a religious themed production as it seemed they grabbed Sanj from the back of the temple to play the monkey god.
The best Christian movies that I can think of off the top of my head is the Lord of the Ring trilogy, followed by the eight film series of Harry Potter.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Infallability- Cooking

The Help and I had a disagreement last night. It was his night to cook and he made shepherd's pie. The mash potato crust was very watery. He couldn't understand it. He followed the recipie. Well not exactly he didn't weigh the potatoes. I said maybe next time eyeball the liquid ingredients like the butter and the chicken stock. Then he got a little upset that he should have to veer away from the written word.
In our house I am the Eyeball Queen. How much salt goes in there? Idunno, I eyeball and taste. The Help wants exact measurements. Please note I don't bake, baking is not eyeball friendly.
Back to the written word.... I mentioned how on people in the reviews make suggestions on tweaking the recipie presented. He did not like this at all! He wanted to know wasn't the recipie written by professionals, and if so why would it need changing? I got annoyed that he would take what was written as gospel and not bring ones own experience to the recipie as written.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Come thy fount

'Come Thy Fount of Every Blessing' was one of our wedding hymns since it means so much to me. Despite being misspelled in the wedding program.
There are the lines
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,

bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,

Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it;
Seal it for Thy courts above.
I do catch myself wandering in thought and I need the Lord to reel me back in. The world is like an endless sea or the boundless space above the Earth. I am not a fish nor a space creature that can live in the vaccum of space and the thought of floating adrift in the world saddens me. I am very aware that others may find the fetters constraining and limiting if not choking. I've been adrift, with my fetters unhinged, free to sin, and the reward was pitiful. There is another part of the hymn:
Jesus sought me when a stranger,

Wandering from the fold of G-d;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.
I have wandered and Jesus reeled me back in. I love my Lord, and like my relationship with my husband it has its highs and lows but regardless of its current state, I value my relationship with him.

Friday, July 15, 2011

How's married life treating ya?

"It's an adjustment"
That's my answer. Someone asked hubbyman the same thing and apparently he said 'exausting'.
It is an adjustment and I am very thankful that my husband is open to change and criticism. However I do stop myself when I think I'm being too much of a shrew. He is trying. Half of it though is relearning old good habits and skills and unlearning habits he picked up while living in a place we call "that house" or the den of inequity.
A husband is way different than a roommate. Roommates weren't this much trouble. Apparently my roommates feared me because I was the landlady. No fear with the husband and so the walls have gotten marred, several things broken, and rough treatment of the fixtures. Also the utilities have gone up! We are working towards being more energy effiecent and less destructive.
We are working on his husbandry, his spiritual leadership of our small family.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Early Reflection on Marriage

"At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. " Matt 22:30
We haven't been married for even 6 months yet so I don't know what wisdom can be gleaned, except I can look back on this and try to remember. Same reason I keep my teenage writings, so I can remember... and roll my eyes at my former self.

The Help is my best friend and my husband. When I find my husband to be grating, I search for my best friend. I also remember that back when I had absolutely no interest in him as a man (none, nunca, zip), grabbing his hand, touching his ring finger and telling him I'd be so happy to see a band on it. Then I didn't care who put that ring on. Well, if you want to have something done right, I guess you have to do it yourself, so I put the band on his finger after G-d opened my heart.
If by the Grace of G-d we arrive in his presence after this life is done, I hope that our faces will be turned to the almighty together as friends and siblings in Christ. As our Lord says there will be no marriage (that's how I'm interpreting it) in heaven. Fine. If I can hang out with the Help in the afterlife, as sibling or friend, cool. If the only focus is G-d, then I should get as much of all my hanging out with him as much as possible.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

"I'm not dead yet"

Yesterday we found out that the Help's dad, my FIL, has been given 2-6 months to live. My step-mother in law is a worrier and so we're trying to determine if this is her worrying or he's actually going to die this year.
So the Help called his dad and though he didn't say he was feeling well he did want everyone to take a wait and see and not get into a tizzy. When we saw him last he wasn't doing too well and that is helping with accepting what might happen.
Or not. I'm agreeing with my FIL, and waiting and seeing.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Charity, friends and family and aquaintences

19-21"There once was a rich man, expensively dressed in the latest fashions, wasting his days in conspicuous consumption. A poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, had been dumped on his doorstep. All he lived for was to get a meal from scraps off the rich man's table. His best friends were the dogs who came and licked his sores. 22-24"Then he died, this poor man, and was taken up by the angels to the lap of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell and in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance and Lazarus in his lap. He called out, 'Father Abraham, mercy! Have mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue. I'm in agony in this fire.' 25-26"But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that in your lifetime you got the good things and Lazarus the bad things. It's not like that here. Here he's consoled and you're tormented. Besides, in all these matters there is a huge chasm set between us so that no one can go from us to you even if he wanted to, nor can anyone cross over from you to us.' 27-28"The rich man said, 'Then let me ask you, Father: Send him to the house of my father where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won't end up here in this place of torment.' 29"Abraham answered, 'They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.' 30"'I know, Father Abraham,' he said, 'but they're not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.' 31"Abraham replied, 'If they won't listen to Moses and the Prophets, they're not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.'" "The Message Luke 16: 19-31
I think of this when I think of charitable giving or giving to others. I would like to note that there was some familarity between the rich man and Poor Lazarus, as the man requests that Lazarus, who he names, come down and provide him with some relief. Jesus also has something to say about the stranger and charity with the story of the Good Samaratin.
What does the above have to do with my thoughts now? Dunno, I figure it would take too long to link the following to the above.
Some friends, who have been carrying a burden have gotten to the point where they are asking for monetary help. They've been asking for prayers, but the battle, like all wars, has gotten expensive. They are middle class Americans, but certain things, which I won't write about to respect their privacy, can cripple you financially. Knowing how hard it can be for normally independent people to ask for help, I am thankful for the opportunity to do something more.
Though I don't know if or how it counts this also has me thinking of financially aiding poorer relations. I've been sending my parents just enough money to keep them in Starbucks for a couple of weeks. Not much. Gas money, really. Mom has access to an account of mine that I need to periodically take money out of so it doesn't become too much of a temptation. For I noticed my family get all sorts of plans in their heads about how to spend the money when it gets over $1000. She'll take money out to cover insurance or a light bill or taxes. Fine. It's there for those kinds of things.
Then there are my new relatives, my in-laws. I don't know what they need, or how to give it. With my own, I know where I can be bossy and where to lay off. Since the Help's MO for the longest while was to check in once a quarter and visit once a year with his people, I don't know what the score is. Also culturally it's different, west coast and somewhat whitish. They talk about it being hard with budget cuts and the state fooling with the pensions. Okay. I can see where any charity offered can step on toes (undermining sense of being a provider or adequate parent). So right now I'm just taking it as grousing and not a call for help. And there is another help that is asked for that we are too far away to do.
I'm also thinking of help offered to people we sort of know from a distance. I'm thinking of someone's legal battle that thankfully is over, but the bills were big and it kept dragging on and on. They asked for help and I wrote checks. Small checks and I wish they could have been bigger.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Buy a Bible & Frank Griswald

This is a hodge podge entry so flow with it
1st Ret. Bishop Frank Griswald was in town. Saw him today. I'm now Catholic so I have nothing else to say.

2nd, after hearing the Help's story I immediately called my mother and told her to buy my niece a Bible. The Help's family when he was growing up was what I will call nominally Christian, and that's being generous. They'd celebrate Christmas, put up a creche, and maybe would wander over somewhere and celebrate midnight mass. However, and I found this horribly shocking, there was not one single Bible in is family's house while he was growing up. I then grabbed off the shelf my first Bible that my mother gave me when I was 10. A cheap King James that is barely staying together and littered with teenage scribbling. My point was even at the age of 10 I had my own friggin bible and that I found it unbelievable that there wasn't a single bible in his house. His parents did have him baptized by Episcopalians, and I guess could be called seekers but not to have The Word in the house just seemed.... I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it.
There are about 10 Bibles in our house. Most of my collection comes via Nora Bombay and her ex-roommate the lesbian ex-Episcopal priest. Of the ones I had already was the one mom gave, a NRSV I bought because I didn't like the Elizabethan English of KJ, and the Word in Life Study Bible recommended to me by the tall blond giant down the street. And they do get use. I grabbed the Oxford Study Bible today when we were looking at some Wikipedia entry about St. Teresa de Alva on my iphone. I wanted to see what context the referenced verses were in, as they related to St. Teresa's ideas on prayer. Also I'll try to find a verse when trying to remember it, though I tend more often to go to
I remember listening to a podcast from a liberal Episcopal church and the speaker, who I guess was either delivering a homily or just making a very impassioned speech pleaded/demanded that they needed to take the Bible back (from the conservatives). Well first thing you need to do is have it in your house.

Also file under random deep thoughts, celibacy. I'm re-listening to the audiobook on 18th century England, and the author doubts the chastity of unmarried adults. Sadly, some people don't believe it is possible. Then later that day watched an episode of Bones where one of the characters grudgingly was trying out celibacy. Asking a lush to be chaste is like asking an epicurean glutton to fast.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Fat Tuesday

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, which I found out last year is not a day of obligation so for the 1st time in years I'm going to skip the ash on the forehead. Maybe. Well I'm not taking off work for it.
For Lent I will be going vegitarian (actually pescaterian) and making Fridays sugar/HFCS free. The Help is observing Lent for the 1st time this year and will be giving up his beloved chocolate of which he has made an idol. He's given up chocolate before, when he was engaged to a gal with severe dietary restrictions. Together we will be reading Pslams or something from the Bible for our date nights.
To feast before the lenten fast we are going to a ritzy joint that I want to check out. Last year I went to Courduroy for Fat Tuesday. I don't need dancing half naked in the street and loud Jazz. No, I want waiters in black, a wine list, and white table cloths.

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Universe Conspires Against Me So I Don't Attend A Furneral

I looked in the Friday and Saturday paper and saw nothing about Fr. Conner's funeral. It seems that his notice was in the few papers I did not read. One day I didn't get a paper because the Post and I had a disagreement about payment. The next day I had the paper, and it fell out of my bag as I raced to the metro station. And I swear I looked in the Friday paper and nothing. I looked. I remember looking.
Today I looked on-line. His funeral was this past Saturday. He had a lot of admirers and funerals are for the living.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Father Ronald Conner

I can't sleep.
I'm going to blame caffeine and my husband.
And there is sad news. Local Episcopal apologist Fr. Ron Conner is very, very ill. He's been battling some immunity respiratory thing for several months now, with stints up at NIH. I figured he's get better. He was getting better. Now he's not and from reports of those closer to him, he's accepting death. A selfish prayer would be to plead with the Almighty to heal him, so those of us who want more of him won't be denied. However, Conner's response is "Thy will be done."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Everyso often I ask myself what has made me very very happy. I don't think we ask ourselves that enough. And the question isn't what does one look forward to but what in the act of it was very fulfilling. I will share 5 such things in no order.

1. Working on a series of records relating to the District of Columbia. This is one of those things where I get surprised by the joy of discovery. It pulls together experience and knowledge and makes me forget time.

2. Recently, on our honeymoon the view of the valley and mountains of California. It was the landscape slowly showing its beauty and me being taken by it. That feeling of pleasure of seeing something so lovely. Also on the same honeymoon, Bodega Bay, seeing the waves crash on rocks. Also the feeling of being awed by nature. Unlike the valleys and mountains that had human input, with the farms, wineries, and little McMansions tucked in the mountains, the bay was purely the creation of our Lord.

3. Eating good food. On our honeymoon it was my first course of foie gras, butter, tasty butter. At home it is when my comfort dish of pasta salad finds that 'just right' combination of oil and cheese and heat.

4. Seeing ET aka Nora Bombay again. Gotta get to Chicago.

5. Singing a really, really good hymn. For our wedding I picked a few hymns that I really enjoy and that would fit the wedding better than some other hymns I enjoy that tend to be about death and the blood of Christ all over the place. The exit hymn, our Best Woman/ matron of honor, said, I gotta sing this, and russled around for a program for "Lord of All Hopefulness." Something quivers in me when a good hymn is sung and better yet, when I get to sing it too.

Yes, I do take some pleasure in my husband, but right now it is being balanced out with the frustration of finding space for all his.... 'stuff'. Also with trying to get him to do certain things that won't drive me nuts, which I won't go into here. Yet there was that moment when unpacking more of his stuff I pulled out a block of high end knives and exclaimed, "THIS, was worth marrying you for!" There was much pleasure in being the proud new owner of some really nice knives. But, then I said the same thing when we got a shiny French copper pan for a wedding gift.

Ummmmmmmmm, copper.