I'm a spiritual director and a newly-ordained Interfaith Minister. Fascinated by all world religions, I have a soft place in my heart for earth-based spiritualities. As a hospice and vigil volunteer, I have an interest in end-of-life issues. And as a crone, I'm hoping to age gracefully into whatever life brings next. Talk to me!
Having read quite a few articles about declining populations of songbirds, frogs, and honeybees, my husband and I have asked our lawn care company (known at our house as the "Grass People") to cease using any and all chemical pesticides on our lawn. Naturally, they argued with me a bit, and employed their secret weapon. "You know you'll have weeds now," said the Grass Person to whom I was speaking. "We can still use organics on your lawn, but they won't prevent ... crabgrass." I guess she was waiting for the gasp of dismay that didn't come. The threat of the evil and greatly feared crabgrass failed to move me. World hunger moves me. Genocide in Darfur moves me. Dead songbirds and mutated frogs with two heads move me. Crabgrass -- no.
Lawns are highly overrated, in my view, and if I had my way, we would completely cease paying money to the Grass People. In fact, if I had my way, we would let the front lawn grow into a luxuriant meadow, full of wild flowers, and populated by field mice and chipmunks. I know my neighbors, most of whom have professional gardeners, would take a dim view of this, which is another reason I want to do it.
Here endeth the rant. Weeds, hit me with your best shot!
1.I have to post these rules before I give you the facts. 2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves. 3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. 4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. 5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged (which I have forgotten to do several times!), and to read your blog.
My eight random facts.
1. I love cookbooks and cooking magazines. I love to read recipes! I love to do all this while I'm eating my peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich and my Progresso tomato soup. With dill pickles and chips. Or while I'm eating my formerly-frozen chicken pot pie or fish fingers. Actual cooking is not for me, except now and then on the weekends. I would adore going out to dinner on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I haven't been able to sell this to the family so far. I would also love to be a food writer, but fear I might have to learn to cook along the way.
2. I'm a sucker for candles and oil lamps. My common sense tells me the house sometimes looks like a funeral home -- but I don't care. Especially in the winter, I love to have lots of candles burning at night, and a fire in the fireplace -- I guess this hearkens back to my Celtic roots. I'm a "home-and-hearth" type. I'm as domestic about this as I am undomestic in the kitchen.
3. My second favorite place in the house is the front porch. While I'm not a gardener per se, I do like to have things in hanging baskets and containers on the porch, and I fuss over them all summer. Probably the porch looks like a funeral home, too. Sometimes I sit there to read, and wake up at about 2:00 AM covered with mosquito bites. I love to sit on the porch and watch thunderstorms (see point 7 below).
4. I love the fact that where I live we have four seasons. I'm not one of those folk who could retire to the tropics. Even though I could live without the summer heat and humidity, I love anticipating fall, winter, and spring, those ancient rhythms of the year. I'm big on seasonal decorating.
5. I have more jewelry than I need. This is not something I'm proud of, but I do seem to accumulate it anyway. Right now I'm addicted to Pandora. Is there a 12-step program for this?
6. I have three 50+ pound dogs who think they're lap dogs, and act accordingly. I'm short, so depending on where I sit, sometimes it just looks like a pile of dogs with a ponytail sticking out at the back. I could say I want them to be more independent, but that would be a lie. The more dogs I have around, the happier I am.
7. I'm a weather weenie. Wherever I am in the house, I'll probably have the Weather Channel on. I know things about the weather that no sane person ever wonders about. I'm also dying to take one of those vacations where you ride around in a van for two weeks with a few other nerds and chase tornadoes -- but I haven't got my husband to agree yet. He's sure I'll get myself killed.
8. I hate flying, even though I do a bit of it for work. I used to need 2 gin & tonics before I could even get on the plane. Now I can wait till I've actually boarded before I have them. Is that a sign of improvement? I probably need one of those programs where you go to the airport and stroke the fuselage, repeating, "The plane is my friend ..." But I know it's not!
Well, there you have it. Here are the lucky bloggers who are getting tagged by me.
Yesterday was my first time as Worship Leader (what the Church on the Pike calls Lay Readers). Let me tell you, I covered myself in glory -- NOT.
At the 8 AM service, which is a Rite I spoken service and very traditional, I inadvertently started the wrong form of the Nicene Creed ("We believe ..."). About 3 lines in, everyone reverted to the "I believe" form (the Rector, standing next to me, was giggling in my ear over this). So I just followed the congregation.
At the 10:00 service, which was Morning Prayer because we were going directly afterwards to our annual picnic, I introduced the Apostles' Creed as the Nicene Creed! Now I say the Apostle's Creed AT LEAST once per day, so you would think I'd know the difference!
Uh oh! Looks like I'm slipping in an eastward direction. First the icons, now this quiz! What would Mom say to this?
You scored as Orthodox, You are Orthodox, worshiping the mystery of the Holy Trinity in the great liturgy whereby Jesus is present through the Spirit in a real yet mysterious way, a meal that is also a sacrifice.
I can hear my mother's voice now. She was never shy about expressing herself.
Icons? What's next, a plastic light-up Virgin Mary for the front lawn? A little grotto back by the birdbath?
Mom was fiercely protestant (maybe, in her case, Protestant -- and Episcopal "low church"). Communion should be once a month, whether you needed it or not. I never saw her cross herself. Confession? We do that all together on Sunday. Who needs to do that in a dark, little booth?
And icons? Forget it!
Maybe she would be relieved by my very sparing and judicious use of icons (I would be more lavish, but my study is a very small room). Mother Julian, Jesus, Mary, and assorted saints line one bookshelf. I have several wall crosses of varying styles, from stained glass to ceramic to wood. And then, above my desk, there's Big Jesus.
Big Jesus is not really that big -- he's about 8" x 10". I picked this particular icon because, to my mind, its depiction of Jesus is somewhat "normal." He actually looks like some of the long-haired guys I knew back in the seventies (except He's better-groomed). What I like best about Him is His expression, which is neither judgmental (a feature I have noticed on some icons) nor maudlin (as in the pictures of Jesus, illuminated by sunbeams and patiently gazing up to Heaven, or tenderly embracing little children). His gaze is level and calm, His expression is serene but focused. The icon depicts him with His right hand raised in blessing, and in His left an open book, the pages of which bear the words: "I am the light of the world ..." and the look on His face says, "Here's the message. It's for you. Get it?"
Next to my computer sits Little Jesus. This icon is similar to the one on the wall, except that only Jesus's head and shoulders are depicted. Jesus seems to be wearing a waffle-weave long-underwear shirt, yet more evidence of His fondness for the seventies. But His expression is that one I love -- the calm regard that I find so inspiring.
In her book about her conversion to Orthodoxy, Facing East, Frederica Mathewes-Green notes that icons are "windows into Heaven," and that the icons displayed in Orthodox churches are simply visible representations of holy people who are really present with us always, but cannot be seen (I'm sure I'm not saying this quite correctly). So it's not the icon itself that we worship, but the living reality it represents, just as I have a pictures of my family I take with me when I travel -- it's not the pictures I love, it's the people.
Maybe this explanation would satisfy Mom. And she would be happy that I have (at least for now) no plans to build a grotto.