Monday, March 31, 2008

Deja VUU World?

It is not nice to put one's pet peeves out there in the blogosphere without a little sugar attached.

So, let me begin by saying that I am more attached to our denomination's publication UU World than I have ever been. I like the minimal gloss. I like the various features. I am always interested in the cover story. I love the usual suspects who contribute. In fact, it is probably all these positves that have led me to my pet peeve. Which is...

The reprints. I am so over the reprints, the "adapted from"s, and the "excerpted with permission"s. Over them!

The magazine is important. It is worth it. As a membership and outreach minister, I frequently refer newcomers to UUWorld. Can we please fund it enough so they can get fresh writing that can be found ONLY in the magazine?

I know this seems petty, but there is a reason for my pricklyness. I am one of UU publishing's best customers. I do the buying for our extensive church bookstore and read half of it myself. Because of the abundance of reprints in this issue, I had already read three of the pieces in their original format. This caused the much-awaited magazine to be anticlimactic.

I know the why of the reprints: showcasing some of the best UU writing, giving exposure to the book publishing arm, high quality with less money. But I also know that there are hundreds of provocative UU writers out there and I would love to read their thoughts. (Note: I have 20 UU blogs I read regularly and that is only scratching the surface of UU writing. The writers are out there!)

So the solution is simple. You can fix this for me.

Buy more UU books so they don't have to be pushed in the magazine, and support more money for the magazine so they too can have more fresh and thought-provoking pieces that are original to UUWorld. So fair! So simple!

Oh, well. I can dream, can't I?

grumbling transmission ends here. please attacketh not in comments.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Big Music Week

The parishioners been grumpin' that I've been keeping them out of the music loop. Got two faves coming to town this week. Wednesday night it is Rusted Root at Toad's Place. I'll be there.

On Friday it is Drive By Truckers at the National. I'll be there. I've even been working on a little Truckers inspired art quilt. If it improves dramatically I'll post a pic.

Friday that just past - Billy Ray Hatley and the Showdogs were at Ashland Coffee and Tea for their CD release of their third CD "Cryin' Shame". Look forward to a CD review here soon. I've only listened to it three times. Needs a good ten before I put in my two cents. However...

Since today is all about catching up on the blogs I've been meaning to blog for weeks, head on over to Billy's website using the link to your right and read all about his Canadian fame. His insanely popular song "Elvis's motorcycle" (pronounced motor-sickle) made it onto a Canadian bike show.

I'll be picking up some Showdog CDs for the church bookstore at First for those of you who are in bed by 9 and avoid stinky loud bars. Please note that neither Toad's nor the National is stinky, so with a nap and some earplugs you could join me this week. I'm just sayin'...

The Wild Garlic

My newsletter column at the church in the glen this month tells of our yard full of wild garlic. There it is. Crooked. Sorry. Hmmm. Let's try a close-up.
Thar we go.

Four generations

Thanks to Dave at First who gave me the inspiration for this. 4 generations - my grandmama, me, my kids, my mama.


Easter Day, 2008

1 AM- No voice.

3 AM - insomnia from nerves due to no voice

7:30 AM - Easter shower (the bathtub variety) of 9,000 degrees and 25 minutes length and...

RESURRECTION!!!! Just my voice, but it made me durn pleased.

9 and 11 AM - Two Easter services and a passle of children who were cuter than a whole basket of bunnies. People don't realize that all the goofy ridiculous antics I do in the Children's Message are because I think giggling kids are the greatest possible element in worship. My childhood minister and current colleague, Rev. MacPherson was a master of the Donald Duck voice. It helped offset the black robe and booming presence for a wee shy one that I was.

And speaking of ridiculous and goofy, I don't know about the rest of you at the church in the glen, but I think I may have outdone myself this morning with my preening phoenix. What was I thinking?!?! Must have been the sugar high from the Easter candy.

Which brings me to this photo that says it all for me about Easter and kids. Pajamas and candy. So very wrong.
And, no. She was not offering me some.
And, yes. That is chocolate on her lip.

Rev. Froggy raises the white flag

People are so fantastic. Or maybe it's just bloggers. Or maybe it's Richmond's merry little band of UUs. Or maybe I'm just sick enough to have the edge taken off the world.

After 24 hours of very little talking, I was able to speak some at Zelda's memorial service today. I did not need speak at all because after 76 years of living, loving, and being (as one admirer called it) a "badass" there were enough Zelda stories to keep us laughing and crying for days. Fantastic.

But of course- I spoke. I had two thirds of a voice which was one third extra. Or so went my thinking. Post memorial service - nothing but Kermit. Ribbit.

I've tried to rearrange the service tomorrow so that others can do most of it. The sweet little church in the back neck of Richmond happens to have the most superb band of worship associates I've run into, so this should not be a problem. Fantastic.

But it's Easter. I want to talk on Easter. I'm just now finally getting old enough to understand what this hope for resurrection stuff is all about. I, the anti-minister (doesn't like the traditional holidays, leading ceremonies, robes, fire, or speaking into a microphone; does like loud rock music, loud clothes, huge open air festivals, and cowboy boots)... I had my heart set on Easter this year. I went simple with my service title: resurrection.

To me - resurrection is about the slow invisible pulse of life that flows in our seasons and quickens in Spring.

Resurrection is when you think you can never love again; when your heart is so broken that you let it die instead of trying to heal. When there are years of cold in your heart. And then... and then... you meet someone and you feel it again. The early pangs, the budding, and the full aromatic blossoming of a heart bursting with love. Resurrection.

Resurrection is people who live in the dark and endless tunnels of depression who see a glimmer of light and have the courage and the stamina to start running for it. And the darkness is so much more than that little flicker of light, but they run and run and run.

Resurrection is a hope that more people wll resist taking up arms and instead hold hands with strangers. Cities will be rebuilt. Wounds will heal. Peace will be learned and taught.

Resurrection is every person in recovery working the program, going to the meetings, being clean today. Resurrection is starting all over again tomorrow.

Resurrection is apologizing, forgiving, learning from your mistakes, not dwelling on the mistakes of others.

Resurrection is trust, hope, faith, and awe.

Resurrection is leaving a little bit of room in your life for the impossible to take root and become possible.


It is 1 AM. Ribbit. Who am I kidding? There will be talk of resurrection in a few hours, but it ain't coming out of my mouth. Thanks to the congregants who have already checked in that they are ready to help. I have your readings ready. My words, your voices. Fantastic.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Blog homework

I've been doing a little blog homework today. Hey, if I can't talk (laryngitis), at least I can listen to the rest of you battle it out. Here are my conclusions.

1. Photo blogs rock. I went to one with STUNNING photos accompanied by mundane diary stuff that sounded brilliant when paired with the photos. (Note to self - read instructions to new camera.)

2. Cussing is fun. I keep my expletives to a minimum, but some of these blogs have the most amazing combinations of bad words and percussive adjectives. I honestly don't know what some of it means, but it sounds pretty impressive. (Note to self - next life stick to the bartending. Makes for a more colorful blog.)

3. Election day cannot get here soon enough. Blah blah blah. I read the first 4,500 with interest. Really. Unless Obama gets pregnant, McCain joins a rugby team, or Clinton takes my beloved band the Showdogs on tour with her... I refuse to speak of any of it again. Let's hope I start a fad with that.

4. Short entries are often the most memorable.


Friday, March 21, 2008

A Voice for a Day

I've been reduced to clicking. And whistling. And occasionally clapping. Turns out my shadow side is not Warrior Princess, but mime.

Yes, friends, welcome back to the yearly laryngitis of Every 7th Day. This is my own personal frog plague that comes back every 6-12 months to remind me that a voice is a gift not to be taken for granted.

My husband calls it the most obvious evidence that there is a God and that God loves him. (Actually, he said that at last year's bout. This year he is being very kind and agnostic.)

As usual, my silence did not sneak up. It has been rolling in on me for five days. Did I stop going to meetings, answering the phone, grumbling when the kids bickered, or yelling so that my mostly deaf grandma could hear? Heck no. In fact, I did all of that and MORE. Which is why I have been doing nothing but whispering for the last 24 hours, and not much of that since doc says it isn't any better than talking.

I am in the verbal-time-out all day today in the deepest hopes that by tomorrow at 11 AM I can at least pull off a good Kathleen Turner impression.

Tomorrow at 11 is the memorial service for Ms. Zelda Nordlinger, 76. Zelda, a 40 year member of the church I grew up in and now minister to, was one of the most inspirational Unitarian Universalists I have had the pleasure of knowing. Feminist, activist, thoughtful lifelong learner, and ardent scribe of letters to the editor, Ms. Zelda was larger than life in her pursuits but quite unassuming in her every day persona.

In a religion with more than its share of verbose and adamant characters, Zelda was pretty laid back. Until you crossed her. Woe unto the conservative local newspaper, the trampers of women's equality, the lily-livered in the face of injustice, the apathetic. She was smart, savvy, committed, and full of hope for what the world could be. She was also superb with words. And funny. (Regular readers of Auspicious Jots saw that one coming. Of course she was funny!)
In honor of Zelda I will continue with my ridiculous clicking and whistling today in the hopes of a more eloquent and audible tomorrow. Although it occurs to me that Zelda would most appreciate my using this quiet time to write my fiery invective letter to the editor in the face of the newspaper's recent use of the outdated and men's club word "clergyman."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sorry for the lack of blogs the last two weeks. Been trying to do some "real" minister stuff that I never have time to do: contempative prayer, lectio divina, meditation, reading, sniffing the Spring air. It has been a welcome change from the hectic run run run of the past 7 months.

Also, for those who were around last year - just had the one year anniversary of my dad's heart trying to call it quits. He and I have been talking through some of that. Nice to be given more time with him.

Happy Spring! Now where did I put those pink Easter shoes...

Monday, March 17, 2008

The UU presidential pool just evaporated a bit

Were you thinking of running for president? Ever? Are you a member of any congregation I have ever served? Then a presidential run is just one more dream to toss out with the Neil Diamond eight track you've been saving for ebay riches.

Now, it is true - I am not the most media savvy person. I almost never watch TV. I don't go to the movies. My usual response to my sweet mate's gentle, "Honey, are you ever gonna' watch this Netflix?" is "No." But I've been visiting people in homes with TVs lately so I caught wind of the Barack Obama/Jeremiah Wright issues of the past few days. And I realized the future is bleak for any of my congregants becoming a presidential candidate if this is the way primaries are gonna' roll.

For the record, I did not like the candidate's response to questions on his minister's remarks from the pulpit. More importantly, I think holding someone under a microscope that has a lens so broad that it covers years old comments by one's minister is asinine.
And just in case I have not sufficiently expressed where I stand on this, let me add: wait 'til CNN gets hold of my SWIM 2006 sermon in which it has been reported that I said, "The most common advice that dying people have given me is: have more sex." (I don't recall saying it. But there are multiple reports. And it is true that many a dying person has told me that... I don't deny. I just don't recall.)

So I'm just saying... If we are now holding our politicians to what their ministers say, whether the politician heard it or not, whether it is exactly what the minister meant or not... political aspirants beware. You should know that I have a mouth and it's not afraid to use me.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Name

My blogging name is "Every 7th Day." This is not a holy swagger.

When I was a very young minister (27) I went to a clergy cluster meeting and bemoaned how exhausted I was. The group was generally supportive but one comment always stuck with me.

I am very fortunate to have Rev. Gordon McKeeman as a colleague. He is a brilliant man and also quite funny. On the day in question, Gordon was probably in his early seventies. His little finger had more brilliance than my whole self then, or probably now. But Gordon is also gentle, kind-hearted, and understated.

Instead of giving me a tongue lashing or ignoring me, Gordon addressed my exhaustion in his quiet way: It's because every seventh day is Sunday.

He was right, of course. Not just about the days of the week, but about the brand of fatigue to which our ilk are prone. I often describe it to non-ministers as: Every person has one perfect sermon somehwere inside of them. Most of us have 6 or 7 great ones, too. It's the next 250-1000 that are the tricky ones.

Today is Sunday. I am wiped out. Services this AM were more complex than they sometimes are. We had a delightful and lively crowd at church and I tried to at least say hello to them all. My back hurts. My throat is sore. I'm out of words.

But my regular readers know that since the children were born - I'm always tired and sore. Always rushed. Always trying to find this balance between chaos and serenity. Always hoping to make sense out of the maelstrom. But every seventh day...