Monday, September 29, 2008


Dear's just one of those nights. You're always there, but images and feelings from the past leaving me cut off from comfort, and reaching into the shadows for things that do not exist. What might have been, what was not, the wrong and the right, haunt me tonight. I know if I wait, comfort will come. As I drove quickly through yesterday, I remember a license plate that appeared in my line of vision, in a moment needing to be reminded, "Bstill". He is El Rai, the God who sees me.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Friday night through Saturday morning for me now is the "ministry gauntlet". Friday night I am humbled to be part of a worship band that plays for our Celebrate Recovery 12 step. Then early Saturday I'm off to the prison for another round of steppin' with my orange ladies. And now we have CR in my home stomping grounds where again, she flies in and whips out the ivories (and tries not to be too loud and clumsy). Ah yes. I was tired today, but honestly, what a privilege! Sincerely.

Last night I was tired. I have had the plague-I'm convinced. Well, not the Middle Ages smelly and horrible version, but one that knocked me out for over a week. No strength. Which led to a rather hilarious ending to our music set last night. We not only opened the meeting, we ended it, and by the end I was wiped out totally. So I drug my carcass back up to the keys, whipped through My Redeemer Lives (and moves very quickly!!), and blanked out at the end with everyone standing there reverently-I could not think of a thing to say to end the meeting. So I just said, "Now talk amongst yourselves". Everyone sort of stood there in silence and then roared-ah, blessed relaxed noise and conversation. This performance stuff is too much pressure!

This morning after a week's battle with musical CD-ROMS and lesson hand-outs for CR, which we now really, REALLY need, I realized we did not have one single trifold or hand-out that had new information for our morning meeting. It took me two hours to get the steps, the Serenity Prayer, a meeting list and Welcome (yay) pamphlet for our new meeting. Then I zoomed off to the prison, which was to be a celebration of completion and the handing out of certificates. Our dear female chaplain finagled donuts and coffee for the remaining ladies-so many are now back out into the there we all sat like Aunt Bee and her quilting circle laughing and eating Dunkin' Donuts-after we figured out how to open the childproof screw cap on the coffee box (I kept wondering if the coffee box was really necessary-and a bit reminiscent of a wine box). It was great.

Then on to the new meeting, which is in this more beautiful than my house church annex-lovely. And after over a year of working, waiting, planning, waiting, praying, waiting, waiting and more waiting, here's the new baby of recovery meetings. And it was GOOOD. I think junior has huge growth potential, and no lack of love and acceptance. Yay, Yaweh!! What a life.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


If I do not display the above ID when I go to the school computer lab, I do not get in to said lab. I look like a mole from an Italian mob family. I feel like telling the door monitor desk Nazi, Ifa youz do not allow me admittance to dis establishment of higher learning, I shall feel compelled to make an offer you cannot refuse. Or my esteemed family will pay you a little visit. Ah well, as I do not boast a single drop of Sicilian blood, I do not think any such threats will move the lab vigilantes.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wheatfield in the Rain

I have been sick for the last four days, a type of flu bug apparently that seemed to pass through my body in waves and cause intense head and muscle aches and fever that would soak out of me only to return over and over. I was sincerely afraid to go to church this morning which would put me in close proximity to lots of people and lots of body heat. I did manage the grocery store in a mild fog, and while I was in the store the song "Vincent" by Don McLean, was playing quietly in the background. I felt like I've been in an institution for the last few days, out of my right mind due to illness, with time to sit and read like I haven't had in weeks, and to dream about things that I haven't had time to do. School and ministry responsibilities ran me ragged the past week.
So today is the first day I've not been plagued by a monster wave of body aches, and Vincent stayed with me. I love the lyrics to the song:
Starry, starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls
With eye that watch the world and can't forget
Like the strangers that you've met
The ragged men in ragged clothes
The silver thorn and bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow
Now I think I know what you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
They would not listen, they're not listening still
Perhaps they never will
I have wondered why life has turned out this way, often times how my gifts and limitations will work together, what's the purpose and end of it all, why do we suffer and struggle? Vincent van Gogh's work is instantly recognizeable by even non-art lovers today. But he started out wanting to be a minister. His love was the common man, the peasants and poor, and he never quite found the blessings of religious powers that be to release him to serve. He turned to painting the common instead. "Starry Night", the first image, is probably one of his most well-known. I have included a few favorites of my own, not so well-known. The boots I just love. The following figure grouping and portrait are "Potato Eaters", the people he wanted to serve and came to know. Finally, a reproduction of which the original hangs in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, probably my all time favorite van Gogh, which few people know or have seen, "Wheatfield in the Rain". When I saw this piece hanging in the museum, it was as if for an instant, I felt the artist's mind and perception-I looked through his eyes. At this point in his life, Vincent was committed to an insane asylum. It is impossible to look at this work and not feel his soul. I suppose the suffering releases the essence of our being into the world. I'm so thankful someone had the courage to put it on canvas. It helps me to know these struggles are worth the cost.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

in His hands

We're into six weeks of having another person living in our home, trying to make a new start and get settle into a job, and find some independence. I'm a very private person and generally not good with sharing my personal space. I endure it, but I don't embrace it. I still get touchy when my husband's mother comes over into the house and shouts to me, or pounds on the door or calls repeatedly to get our attention. We live in a double block and our cellars adjoin, so you can walk from one house to another via the basement steps in to both kitchens. It still makes me feel like I'm a guest here. But I know it's good for her, so I try to be at least cordial. Sometimes I don't make it.

Eric is another matter, and it's hard to explain, except that first of all, he's a generous and kind person by nature, very open and happy. What he loves, he loves, which right now is football. Somehow though I know I'd like my studio space back, it's not crucial. It doesn't irritate. I understand and don't mind giving him room (in several ways) because it really doesn't feel like the room is mine to give. It's God's economy and His "stuff". Things do need to come to a close because he needs to move on and grow, and really begin to establish his own new life. But he tries so hard to help out, so Sunday's dinner was chili dogs, chips and packaged apple turnovers. That's way too much salt and junk for me, but I felt obligated by his desire to give back something and give me a break in the kitchen. He also did the dishes.

It reminded me that some people just really need other people, and not in the sense of taking advantage, being overly dependent or even lazy. Sometimes I look at myself and think my own private nature is too far from a normal need for company and "home" as much as I try to make mine cozy and warm. I just see how the Potter is molding this clay and making it more pliable, and I know it need to be.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


September is my birth month...and as the song goes, a time to try and remember. We just remembered the victims of 9/ll, and that oddly enough was my mother's birthday. I'm glad she wasn't around to see such a thing. The handsome guy in the picture is someone I remember through his music. I wish I had known him personally. Singer/songwriter/musician Rich Mullins died too young and tragically Sept. 19th, 1997. I've been trying to write this blog for days, and just haven't been able to upload a video. But maybe that's better, because hopefully folks will look up his name and his music and listen for themselves. Rich died nine days after going into an abandoned church and recording the raw music for what would have been his final CD. The songs are remarkable. All of his songs are. They are timeless in a day when bubblegum pop and manufactured music dominates even the Christian music world. His songs are honest, sometimes complex lyrically and musically, whimsical and deeply profound, yet they speak to all of us as individuals, seekers and mature believers. And they are American in the tradition of Copeland. I wanted to include the lyrics to a favorite off of this CD which was finished, thanks to his band, the Ragamuffins. It's called "The Jesus Record".


Jesus...they say You walked upon the water once
When You lived as all men do
Please teach me how to walk the way You did
Because I want to walk with You

Jesus...they say You taught a lame man how to dance
When he had never stood without a crutch
Here am I holding out my withered hands
And I'm just waiting to be touched

Jesus...write me into Your story...whisper it to me
And let me know I'm Yours

Jesus...they say You spoke and calmed an angry wave
That was tossed across a stormy sea
Please teach me how to listen, how to obey
Cause there's a storm inside of me

Jesus...they drove the cold nails through Your tired hands
And rolled stone to seal Your grave
Feels like the devil's rolled a stone onto my heart
Will You roll that stone away?

I feel like I know this man through his songs-and I wish there were more of them, but what Rich Mullins left behind was a musical generation finding new ways to worship. And live.

Monday, September 08, 2008

summer's end

Well, the month of September is winging it's way South I'll tell ya! Brandon started his prison laundry job and is feeling pretty good about life. He had to be moved to another cell in another block because of conflicts with yard times where he was. Beck and I started school and today I was able (yay for me!) to save tutorial files into a flash drive all by myself. Beck got her cool chef's hat, coat, checked pants and non-slip shoes for the kitchen. Dena starts back to school next month. Dave started taking an online Bible course. He's working his way towards a Bachelor's degree.

This month we have our LCCF prison volunteer dinner, a hippo birdies to me (I think I crossed into the African grey parrot territory-they live to be 80), a visitation and whatever else we can cram into this month. We have someone living with us who will be on his way at the end of the month-it's made for a bit of an interesting couple of weeks, but good. We're going to see "Forbidden Broadway" this weekend for my birthday. I love live productions and this one is supposed to be hilarious. I have to look over the Susquehanna Trailers newsletter to see what hikes look good this month. Something with cider and pretzels at the finish line might just be nice. Oh, the last weekend of the month Celebrate Recovery starts up in our little burg. I'm excited.

It's all good and a quick coast to Christmas!

Friday, September 05, 2008

sigh-ber studies

My Microsoft Windows Vista instructor:Got links??

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Cape May II

The scriptures say the heavens declare the glory of God. I think the pictures tell the story.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Yesterday was a very, very....very! special reunion. It was one of those things that we got a call to attend the night before the event, and the timing was perfect. We had a free day, the weather was great, the company awesome-what a blessing of God and a beautiful moment in time.

David, Brenda, Heidi, Jake and Helen-there aren't words to say how great it was to see you, talk to you and hug you again after four years (well, I always manage to find them, right??). My past church family, you are always missed. If we don't see each other on Sunday, we seem not to see each other. But when we do it is like no time has passed at all.

A little slice of heaven-that was yesterday. It's gonna be one very large reunion then.