Saturday, January 21, 2012

Almost Time



In a few days I'll leave Bob Dylan and the kitties behind to travel with RevGals for BE.5. The Continuing Education events make me happy by opening my world to astounding clergy gals from all over the planet. For 5 days, I'll laugh, listen, sing, pray and dance surrounded by brilliant fun women.

For those attending, see you soon.

With Delight,
St.Casserole

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I called a friend this morning asking the question,"what does it cost you to believe as you do?" He gave a thoughtful answer commenting he felt homeless most of the time with groups of friends. He means homeless in the sense of having no group who shares his understanding of the world.
I know what he means.
I don't fit the categories of theological church life, either. I'm accused of being in one group or the other by people who do not listen to me. They don't know but they feel better if they can peg me in a group.
Later today, when I napped, I had a dream about the RGBP Big Event. Number 5 is coming up in January for the group and I'll be on the big ship laughing with great women.
The dream was filled with women. Many I recognized from RGBP, others I gave faces to because I don't know them IRL. Everybody was talking and being happy to be together.
Other dream life stuff filtered through like getting stuck in a room filled with a wedding party wearing the worst outfits a dreamer can imagine. All sorts of pink shiny crystals sewed to anything moving.
The dream spoke the truth. I see women who understand me at the Big Event. What a great feeling it is to feel "at home" even if it is only 5 days a year.

Are you wondering why I napped? I'm going to the first showing of Harry Potter tonight at midnight with LH and friends.

Glad to see you again,
St. Casserole

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Iced Tea

Drinking tea over ice is a Southern tradition. Adding teaspoon after teaspoon of sugar to the cold tea is another Southern habit.
I made a glass of fake tea yesterday, some form of peach-flavored tea with enough artificial additives to make me glow in the dark. I grabbed an iced tea spoon to stir the mixture around and around the glass amazed at how much noise I made.
Then I became homesick for my Grandmother, long dead,she could whip a sterling silver iced tea spoon around a glass so loudly all table conversation stopped. Papa told me, "Don't make noise when you stir your tea."
In her honor, when I am alone, I intend to rattle a sterling iced tea spoon with great vigor and noise this Summer.

Iced Tea
2-3 family sized tea bags of Community Tea
enough boiling water to keep the tea dark, if you like strong tea flavor
Simple syrup of boiling water and cane sugar, mixed until blended
ice
tall glass
iced tea spoon
*Mint sprig from your herb garden, if possible

Love, St.Casserole

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Christmas is over, really


LD's classes began today so we drove to the Big U., kitted out her room, put up a new shower curtain and Christmas vacation is over. She saw friends, worked and made us laugh.

Now, back to January the yukky month before yukky February.

Yours,

St.Casserole

I Have A New Look!


Thanks to Songbird, I have a new look! And the revgalblogpal button!
I love this!

St.Casserole

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wishes for 2010



I want a Mrs. Van Landingham to organize my days and provide a raised eyebrow if I get off track or make a lazy decision.


St.Casserole

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010

Things I loved about Christmas 2010:

Worship at Little Church during Advent and the Christmas Eve service

Seeing the bottle tree decorated with fresh wine bottles and sparkly white lights

Putting lights on the stump grinder on the front porch no one will move it to the backyard, so I put lights on it

Being dressed as "Christmas-y" as I'm willing to do (shiny red Dansko clogs with a green boiled wool jacket) and having Mr. T. comment, "Nothing says Christmas like a shrimp pin!" I pinned my shrimp brooch on the jacket.

Having the children home and meals around the table with them.

Having Mr. T at home for vacation day.

Cold weather followed by our ususal 60+ December weather.

What I miss this Christmas:

Having our favorite Songbird visit but lives change and I understand.

Hearing about LLS's Christmas Day meal and wishing I could be at her table. She's the best cook I know.


How did the holiday go for you?

Love,
St. Casserole

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happy to See You After All These Months

Glad and happy to see you after all the months I've been silent here. I haven't been silent elsewhere. I'm preaching, teaching the PW study for 2010/11, designing worship and keeping up a mighty pile of correspondence.

But, you, haven't heard from me here. I'm doing well and hope you are the same.

More later,

St.Casserole

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Actual Conversation

On phone with Sears to schedule a repair.

Nice human helps me with parts information.

Conversation is ending.

Nice human says, "Is there anything else I may help you with Mrs. Casserole?"

I answer, "I'd like an end to world hunger and peace for all."

Nice human replies, "Mrs. Casserole, I'll pray for that."


May you have a day like this, too.

Thankfully,
St.Casserole

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Pruning is A Mercy

When I can't control what I'd like to control, when my frustration index is high and the rain (from Alex) keeps coming down, yard work saves me.

We have a big yard with large established azaleas and shrubbery. I grow flowers and herbs along with a rich variety of weeds. Keeping everything going takes more time than I have but oh!, how wonderful to have the work when my spirit droops!

I have good garden tools. My yard man cleans up the piles of pruning limbs and weeding heaps.

Today, in the rain, I cleared out the box woods in the front of the house. Leveled the playing field. Mr.C., if you are reading this, you will be shocked when you see the piles of debris and no green bushes in front of the house. Take a deep breath and enjoy knowing that I did this instead of running off to a therapist or cleaning out your closet.

Love and Glad to See You,

St.Casserole

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What's Going On


Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico

High School Graduation for LD

Rebuilding of two flat roof areas on Casserole Casa

Living without Sister the Dog

The relentless return of the Sabbath

Good rainfall, crawfish piles, mosquitoes and gekkos

Contemplation of the Real Empty Nest

as well as

Delight in Early Summer

Good Friends

Watching God's hands at work

Gardening


Yours,
St.Casserole

Monday, March 22, 2010

Time to let it go

Late in August 2005, our Governor called a mandatory evacuation as Hurricane Katrina churned in the Gulf of Mexico. We Casseroles complied, packing up the cats, computers, prescription meds and a few changes of clothing for the four of us.

Mr. C. and our Lovely Son returned with Gray Cat to our home after the storm. LD and I drove up the East Coast to stay with my LLS and LSiL.

I had enough clothing with me to last for a few days. The Aunts have fancier laundry equipment than most of the U.S. and were generous to us to use what they had to make us comfortable. For LD, this meant raiding their pantry for Oreo cookies (not a common food in our home) and eating Doritos all over the house.

After a week or so, I realized that needed to borrow a few shirts because I'd grown tired of the shirts in my suitcase. LSiL offered me a few of her Talbot's golf shirts, perfect for the September heat.

I love wearing her clothes. My LLS wears beautiful clothes, but somehow the beautiful clothing of my LSiL wows me. Maybe I think I'll become tall and elegant if I wear her things.

She loaned me an aqua Talbot's golf shirt. Weeks later when I packed to return to the Coast, I asked her if I might take the shirt home with me. She agreed.

For the past, almost 5 years, I've worn her aqua Talbot's golf shirt about every ten days or so, year round.

Tonight, after I returned from a long day of church work and then checking on our College Boy (LS), I came home to eat Mr.C's spaghetti with italian sausange sauce for supper. I'd changed from my preacher clothes to the aqua shirt and yoga pants to signal I was HOME and OFF-DUTY. We talked over the day and after eating, I began to clean up the kitchen.

I looked down at my aqua shirt and thought I saw a spaghetti stain up near the collar. I peered closer realizing I have another hole in the fabric. At year three of wearing the shirt, a hole appeared in the shoulder seam. Later, a paint stain appeared on the front hem. The button placket is wearing away from the shirt. I've paid no attention to these signs of aging. The golf shirt is aqua still, very soft and fits loosely allowing me to do everything in it except wear it out in public.

Thinking about this new hole prompts me to wonder if it is time to put it in the Rescue Mission bag. Probably not, because I try to give them reputable clothing. Their shoppers need better items. Cut it up to use as one of my silver polishing cloths? Sounds good.

It is time to let it go, with a grateful heart for the hospitality offered to me and my LD by LLS and LSiL, just when we needed it most.

Yours,

St.Casserole

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hey There

Since I last wrote, I flew to Atlanta to grade ordination exams, slipped on the airport terminal floor, threw my laptop case as I fell and lost my Christmas gift laptop.

Christmas laptop couldn't be fixed (Hey Lady! did you see this crack in the screen? can you hear the broken fan?).

I picked up my new laptop yesterday. Here I am, this very minute, enjoying a new, non-cat haired laptop!

I'm a sorry blogger these days busy with Lent, Lovely Daughter and thinking deep thoughts. Mr.C. is in court everyday and returns home to read his new book, "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Killer". He says it's even better than the Jane Austen zombie books by the same author.

Little Church is chugging along with more things going on than six months ago. As our membership grows, activities increase, excitement builds and we are just happy.
Spring landscaping plans are in process. We are far enough South to be Spring-y early with bulbs flowering and trees sending out blooms and yellow pollen.

I'm thinking about the RevGal BE.3 in about a month. I'll see you there, I hope, and will be ready for a Diet Coke with an umbrella perched on the side of the glass.

Lent, it's what we are doing/being,

St.Casserole

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Reporting Religious News

The local newspaper prints press releases from churches and other submitted information but doesn't report religious news in the community. Long ago, even small newspapers had religion reporters who interviewed subjects in person and researched issues. Not now. Just press releases and info from the wire services.

What would religious reporting do for our community if we had a savvy reporter on the beat? Could the information in a genuine religion section make a difference?

What would happen if newspapers published which churches dismissed pastors and why?
We've had several blood-lettings where churches dumped pastors for the goofiest of reasons. Granted, no one tells the real truth about these dismissals and churches do not think they are accountable to the larger (and outside of their faith) community.

A religion reporter keeping a tally of clergy crushing churches would be interesting.
Add a tally of which pastors extorted money and abused congregations and perhaps accountability would increase.

Pastors note among themselves which churches stomp on pastors and recall the pastors who continue to get employment despite bad behavior of all sorts.

How would it be if religion reporting told the community all the news about churches and faith groups?


Yours,

St.Casserole

Friday, February 19, 2010

Percy Jackson and Valentine's Day

We enjoyed both movies this week even if we liked LOVE ACTUALLY more than Valentine's Day. Haven't read the Percy Jackson books? We saw the movie anyway and thought it was clever.

St.Casserole, it's a long month isn't it?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Saints

Down here, we rejoice about the Saint's Super Bowl win.


Several local obituaries include, " he/she was glad to live long enough to see the Saint's win the Super Bowl."



Not kidding. We are THAT happy.


Hope all is well with you,

St.Casserole

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Let them Talk


Pastors learn from listening to their people.
When we listen, we learn the issues, the interests and hurts of those we offer ministry. Make listening a goal this year.

Yours,

St. Casserole

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My Flubby Week


Google's motto is : Do No Evil.
Medical People say: Do No Harm.
I say: Try Not to Hurt Feelings

This week I listened to pastors one-upping each other on the purity of their Session members. As in: "no one on my Session is divorced or has committed adultery."

Further pastoral conversation debated the use of the New King James' Bible versus the NIV in worship.

I heard Mr. C's hilarious riff on clients who do not listen to their attorney's advice while being willing to be charged for counsel. I see parallels to talk between pastors and church members. Without the billing.

LLS is off to chaperone a ski trip with her church youth. Paint me happy I'm not on that trip. LLS will be great but I'm finished with youth trips. Dues paid. Lack of sleep not appreciated.

One plum for consideration is changing the church school materials in the adult class to C.S.Lewis materials so participants stop talking politics throughout the class. These discussions criticize "other people" without realizing where we feed into the same problems. Who knew that Christ against Culture was a hot bed in church school.

We've had amazingly cold weather for DAYS down heah in the Deep South. I've filled three big bird feeders everyday for almost two weeks.

I 'bout gave up preaching last week over the Gospel lectionary text. Just couldn't move to cohesion or rhythm in the sermon. I told Mr. C. I'd be picking a trade school to get new work skills late Saturday night. He called after worship Sunday to see how the sermon went and when I reported that I got a good response and very good questions afterwards about the sermon, he laughed. It doesn't matter how long you've written sermons, you can get "stuck" still.

Cartoon strip is by my favorite cartoonist.

St.Casserole

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Year in Review


Dear Friends,

In a few days, 2009 will end and I left these resolutions undone:
write a letter to the Christian Century
make diligent effort to change lifestyle*
be attentive to what is in front of my face

I did accomplish these things:
remove large grass area in front yard to decrease water use
change laundry habits by hanging out wash to dry outdoors
try several different ways of sermon prep
increase activity in Presbytery without moaning
cook more meals at home
complain ferociously about the Mississippi heat
heave out stuff I don't need
watch 220 episodes of "McCleod's Daughters", an Australian TV program

I fought with Year B lectionary texts weekly and learned to like Paul again while pining for the Lukan texts. I found great beauty in reading prayers whether in the Book of Common Prayer, Book of Common Worship, Karl Barth's prayers and the Oxford Book of Prayer. I read books about the emergent church and church history along with
pastoral care books on weddings and older congregations.

I did not blog much in 2009. I spent more time working on my crafts and projects, more time reading and staring out the windows. I feel I had less to say this year than any other.

I traveled to Arizona for the RevGalBlogPals BE.2, to the Festival of Homiletics in Atlanta, to see my lovely little sister and lovely sister-in-law and to Cursillo. I drove to the School of the Arts many times to fetch LD and to watch her perform scenes. I drove the 93 mile round trip to Little Church over and over again. That's a lovely drive!

I spent time considering the implications of post-denominationalism in a small Southern town where mainliners are the tiny minority. I wondered why hatred of clergywomen in leadership is increasing world-wide. I despaired over the continuing problem of homophobia everywhere. I noted the lack of civility in public. I measured my idealism against the reality of a cynical world and voted again to be idealistic regardless.

One of my cats learned to sit in my lap. Another cat fell in love with me again and is nicknamed "Shadow" because I appear to be his only comfort. My dog growled at me when I suggested she be bathed and I had to re-double my efforts to win her trust again.

Our LS entered his senior year of college. Our LD began her senior year of high school. Both showed lovely gains in maturity and both held on to childhood ways so that I was surprised by them everyday. Mr. C. and I learned to enjoy our empty nest for this second year.

My favorite read of 2009 is Stig Larssen's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and his second book, The Girl Who Played with Fire. I wish the publishers of the third book in the series would hurry up and make it available in the States.
You are surprised I enjoyed these two violent novels but the characters and setting charmed me. I winced and grimaced at the violence finding myself praying for anyone who experiences torture or lives with dramatically mental ill family members.

I'm ending the year reading "The Help" about maids in Jackson, Mississippi during the early Civil Rights years. I cannot stand this book. I lived through those years although I was a child and lived up on the East Coast. But, I knew the racial codes and I witnessed second-class (or worse) treatment of Blacks. I'm about 3/4 through the book and if there is not a GIANT redemptive ending, I will be huffy and crabby.
I suppose the book is better for those who are clueless about Jim Crow laws, White Citizen's Councils and the like but the stories of "The Help" leave me feeling drained. Like the stain of racism will never be removed from this state which may be how it goes. If you ask me the reasonable question, "why don't you put the book down and quit reading it?" I'd answer, "I'm such a Calvinist I can't let alone the things that trouble me until I work out why and I don't like 'wasting' books.

In the Garden, I had good luck with planting flowering vines from seed, learning about miniature roses and just how wonderfully Gerber Daisy's work in our courtyard clay pots. I pruned, weeded and planted to my heart's content this year.

I went through the most through medical physical of my adult life and survived. If I can figure out why the hospital pathologists are insisting my insurance company isn't responsible for paying for biopsy results, I will be finished with the months long extravaganza of doctor's visits. I'm doing great, thanks and am grateful.

My friends took on new jobs, moved away from stinky jobs, took on new projects and showed how brave and smart they are everyday. I'm proud of them. They made me laugh,
get teary and feel that I could not find greater companions than I have now.

I end this year waiting for the birth of Jesus tomorrow, planning my sermon for Sunday and looking forward to more time with both our children next week. I wait for my favorite bird to visit in a few days so we can go look at improvements on the Coast since Katrina, eat sandwiches, admire cats and the dog and sew/knit on the sofa while watching movies.

Blessings to you all,

St. Casserole

*of course this is the weight question but isn't interesting except to me

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Comforting the Goat

The Methodist's put on a show for their children Sunday night. Sheep, a calf, goats and the Camel stood across the street from my house ready for the children. No person was near the tents as I cooked supper. I heard the bleating of the little goat. All alone in the big tent with UPS trucks and neighborhood traffic speeding by, the little goat cried loud enough for me to hear him above the din of cooking and NPR on the radio.

I gave up. A lonesome and fearful lil' goat sounds like a child in trouble. I left the house, crossed the street to comfort the goat. He jumped down from his perch on a hay bale and leaned against my knee. His heart was beating fast as he quieted down. I stayed with him until a Methodist appeared.

For a City gal, helping a goat is a rare pleasure.

Love,
St.Casserole

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Reading

My Presbyterian Outlook subscription expired sometime in 2009.

I can't recall exactly when. I have a pile of subscription notices asking me to renew. Each notice was placed in my "get to sometime" stack in my filing system without engendering any desire to write a check for another year. Sorry, but the Outlook's lifeless black and white covers of odd pictures, along with editorials I found tiresome, never-used International Bible Study lessons and a back page of pastoral ending and beginnings of people I don't know just wore me out.

My first subscription to the Outlook began as a freebie for seminarians. In the late 70's I was interested in the magazine. Over the years, and especially in the last five or so years, I read fewer articles. I began throwing away copies after glancing through the pages. I should have known what this meant.

Loving magazines is part of my DNA. Throwing away copies is not a good sign. As the child of a father who kept stacks of Life, Saturday Evening Post and National Geographic on bookcases in his workshop, I value the printed page. National Geographic's from the 1920's survived past his death in the 1980's and were thrown out, mostly intact in the mid-1990's when my parent's home was sold.

All magazines are troubled these days. I'm sorry about the hard times of magazine publishing. I doubt many will return when the economy improves because we've learned to get our content from the internet. I think I kept up my subscription to the Outlook because I want places for people to start conversations and discuss ideas about the Church. The Christian Century fits my needs in this arena.

But, I feel odd about putting an old friend out to pasture.

Yours,
St. Casserole

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

How About This?

Saw this on Metafilter today. Quite the discussion for a PC(USA) pastor to read before cooking a Thanksgiving meal.

Your thoughts?

St.Casserole

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Home Again

I'm home! The 2009 NYC Eat&See ended Monday with safe travel home. No worries with travel from NO to Newark this year. The City surprised us with temperate weather in the '50's unlike last year when we felt like Artic explorers.

We saw "Shrek" (ok, but wind and burp noises made me sorry for the parents who took lil kids), "Next to Normal" (Sunday matinee and I'm sitting through a MUSICAL about suicide, depression and mental illness?)and "New Moon" (ok, I had to force my travel buddy to go to this movie). "Shrek" is a Disney production with bright sets, imaginative costumes and lots of LOUD music. "Next to Normal" was extraordinary because the sad themes really do work with good music, lyrics and acting. Going on a Sunday afternoon felt like a bus man's holiday for me. I understand why the play won awards. The set looked like other metal staging I've seen but functioned more gracefully.

The busy streets of the Theater District didn't sound as loud as we remembered. Then, we saw all the signs warning drivers to limit horn use and we realized this program worked. Not much blasting of horns until the weekend when visiting drivers came into the City.

We ate steaks at Uncle Jack's, Chinese Fusion at Shanghai Moon, split a corned beef sandwich at the Carnegie Deli, went to Sarabeth's and I searched for the red velvet cake cupcake at Macy's ( the store changed cupcake bakers so the cupcake I bought wasn't much). I had a lovely omelet at Le Bonne Soupe and five (count 'em) gingerbread men from Au Bon Pan (not at one time, calm down!) Travel Buddy loved the cheesecake at Juniors.

As for shopping: there was a bit of that. We went to the Greenflea at Columbus and 77th, the Garage and the nearby outdoor flea market. We went to Macy's, Bergdorf's, and Henri Bendel's, Lee's Art. Barney's windows weren't ready but we loved seeing Macy's Christmas windows.

What did I come home thinking? How glad I am to see the City and then return home to the silence and clear night skies of home. And seeing my people again.

Things OK with you?
St Casserole

Friday, November 06, 2009

Older People Sour-age



Pastoral issue here, Gals.
Personal experience tells us that older folks often think the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Everything is getting worse. Kids are horrible. Food doesn't taste as it did. Violence reigns...
Not all older people are sour about the future but many are. Like the ladies at the bridge table yesterday who asked,"do you know anything good?" I started naming good things like sweet parenting I observed, lovely cool weather, people being kind to each other. No matter what I offered the ladies retorted with negative words.
I took a deep breath then said, "I hear people over 40 often think the world is going to hell in a hand basket." No one smiled.
I suppose I'd be crabby about the future too if I depended on Fox news for my worldview, picked friends who were fearful and negative, read the mailers from the insurance industry about health care and looked at my stock portfolio everyday.
Yep, the world is in trouble. This is not new. Every generation sees the world as a troubled place.
Can we bring the theological idea of grace to the table?
In the midst of a confusing world, grace offers acceptance, welcome and a view of the kindness of God to each of us. Grace allows us to savor the blessings, cope with the difficulties and remember what is important.

Love from St.C.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I Forgot


to tell you: I shopped IKEA! In Charlotte! I saw the pieces teh internet IKEA hacker's use!

And, Target opened a store within 20 miles of my home!

Retail Joy!

I shopped Talbot's Petites*! Clothes fit and are beautiful!

While traveling to IKEA, I heard my seminary classmate, Lib McGregor Simmons, preach on Joshua 6 on the radio. Lib is pastor of the Davidson College Presbyterian Church in Davidson. She did a great job on a passage I was glad to leave to my betters.

St.Casserole, Herself

*LLS commented Petites in my size resemble a square shape but did so in a manner that implied she was just sayin'.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Here I Am


Took a week to drive to and from NC to see LLS and LSiL. Wonderful visit with lots of talk. Gorgeous cats to admire, too. We ate NC barbeque, heard Annonymous 4 at Duke Chapel, went to a Goat Farm for rescue cats and LLS suggested going to garage sales! She loves me.

Cursillo last weekend. Lovely. Fun. Laughing and talking.

Now, I have ear ache and sniffy nose. Rats!

Haven't blogged since 9/28. Still not sure I have anything to say this season.

St.Casserole

P.S. I think this Pearls Before Swine cartoon panel is hilarious!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Just Today

I learned that my ridge potato chips are "a healthy snack" and "good for me". I ate the rest of the bag because I am a good American consumer. The chips are regular grocery store brand of non-health food type.

Even better:

The lady at the quick stop told me she couldn't worry anymore about Obama's health plan. "It is in God's hands", she said with frustration. "I'm 62 now and when I turn 65 the Government will make me go see a hospice counselor to discuss my suicide."

What?

"It's in Obama's plan" said Quick Stop Lady.

I told her, "I've read most of the plan and that's not in it."

"Oh, Yes it is! These Christian lawyers came to my Church and told us all about it."

I'm curious. What did the Christian lawyers say?

St.Casserole, wondering why minimum wage/no benefits people are terrified of Health Care Reform

Monday, September 14, 2009

This Week in My Heart

I'm home today while the Air Conditioning Guys install a new unit for the kitchen/family room part of our home. The weather is hot, steamy and miserable from days of rain followed with this morning's scorching heat. We've struggled through two days of "too hot to use the kitchen" and "too hot for good humor". By this afternoon, we'll be cool again for family room life.

I ran errands this morning to be home for the AC Guys. I arrived home to find the mailbox overflowing with college ads (for LD, the High School Senior), two bills and THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY.

I sorted the mail, threw another load into the wash and wandered off to read the new mag.

I turned to Gordon Atkinson's When Members Leave. He's got that right.

The next article, Life Expectancy: On Not Praying for a Miracle by Dayna Olson-Getty blew me away. She writes about her pregnancy with a baby with acrania, a birth difference where the skull does not form. She writes, "We can expect that if he makes it through birth, our little one will live for just a few minutes or hours".

With real honest words, Olson-Getty describes the planning she and her husband are making for their baby.

This article is part of the picture of why I am a Christian. To live our lives, with honesty and realism, to be faithful to God while enduring what makes no sense to many while living into a future with God, this is what is beautiful and weepy about faith.

If you got your September 22 issue of the CENTURY, read this article. If you don't subscribe, consider ordering a subscription.

Thank you, God, for people of faith. God bless the Olson-Gettys,

St.Casserole

Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor Day It's Time!

Happy Labor Day!

May all of us have work to do, do it well, and find meaning in our work.


It's time to put up your Summer whites. Put away your white sandals, white purses,
white belts and all white accessories.

Put away your white linen slipcovers, sisal rugs used indoors for Summer and clean your ceiling fans.

Here in the Deep Hot South, Fall begins with Labor Day even if the expected high today is 88.

We do Fall fashion by switching from white linen clothing to dark colored linen clothing.

No more wearing of seersucker suits and white bucks, as of today.

Roll out the wool carpets, put up the Summer rugs and try to decide how you can wear a ladies suit, in a dark color, to a football game without melting in the stands.

No more Cajun Shrimp OPI nailpolish (or other Summer colors) at the Pedicure Parlor until Spring 2010.

Tough rules.

"Winter Whites" aren't believable until January and remain suspicious even then.


Must go fold up the linen slipcovers. Later, Tater,

St.Casserole

Friday, September 04, 2009

Update September


*The City finished the front yard drainage repairs this week. We are pleased the chunk of driveway damaged by the two pine trees falling matches our original driveway. The brick work and new drainage form are beautifully formed.

*Little Church is in an excitement spurt with Fall plans. I'm loving seeing the congregation working on projects, looking beyond our restoration repairs and thinking of mission.

*I could use a break. I love preaching but have been hitting it week after week for weeks. Ordinary Time does this to me each Summer. No surprise that I'm looking forward to my visit with LLS/LSiL, a Cursillo retreat and my NYC Pilgrimage this Fall.

*From what I read about H1N1, you either have it if you have the flu this time of year or you don't have it unless you are sick enough to go to the hospital/ER. What do you think? Mr.C.'s been home this week on Tamiflu and is much, much better today.
LD may have it but may just have a cold from exhaustion at Art School. I'm doing fine and BETTER stay well.

*Why do people think prayer doesn't work when they don't get immediate results of what they've asked for? Prayer is part of a relationship with God. God isn't Santy Claus handing out treats whenever you ask.

*Preaching on the Book of James is aging me. Really. Forget Song of Solomon. It's not happening.


Wandering off for Another Cup of Coffee,

St.Casserole

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Sickness

Poor Mr.C. woke up Monday morning feeling rotten. He went off to work but returned home feeling full of achy pains, feverish and giant coughs. Now he's on tamiflu and sports drinks. His fever is gone but the aches (relieved by Tylenol etc.) remain. He is being a good patient but is restless to return to the office. Dr. says, "No". He's got to stay away from the general population for at least another day.

I wouldn't mind prayers for him and for me. I feel fine but sure don't want to go through flu.

Thanks,
St.Casserole

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Camille, Forty Years Later

The local paper chronicles Hurricane Camille's 40th anniversary today. Go here and look for the gallery of pics.

Hurricane Camille touched me as a teen. I was miles away, up East, but my mom was away visiting my older sister in New Orleans. Early Sunday morning I answered the phone to hear Mama breathlessly telling me that she was o.k. and not to worry. I didn't know New Orleans was threatened by Camille nor did I have a clue about hurricanes. I thought hurricanes happened to other people, not us.

90 miles away from Mama, my future husband started out of his broken neighborhood to walk 2 miles toward the beach to see his Aunt Deedee and make sure she was OK. He climbed over downed trees and power lines to her home. Her house was gone. She made it to safety but her property was rubble. Mr.C. heard a voice calling him and looked up to a surviving tree where a man called out for cigarettes. The man tied himself to the tree to keep from being swept away by the storm surge. Hours later, thirsty and exhausted, he wanted smokes.

Later, Mr. C. realized his Beatles albums were destroyed. I love this story because it shows the proportion of loss perspective.

Years later, my Garden Club held the annual memorial for Faith, Hope and Charity, the three women found after the storm (172 people died) and never claimed. Look at the pictures to see these graves. 40 years later, no one has stepped forward to identify these women as kin. Look for the pictures of Wade and Julia Guice.

The Civil Defense Head Wade Guice was our neighbor in Biloxi. The real estate listing should have mentioned our proximity to the Guices because we got early warning of storms if we drove by the Guice home and saw their porch chairs turned to the house wall or (gasp!) taken indoors.

For thirty-five years, Camille was the worst storm for the Gulf Coast.

St.Casserole

Saturday, August 08, 2009

John Wesley's Feline Fan


"Mr.C., whatever you do, don't let Sister (the Dog)out! The Methodists are having a funeral and there is a wedding at the Presbyterians!"

Living across the street from a Methodist Church and catty-corner from a Presbyterian congregation, some discretion is advised. For example: don't sit in your lawnchair popping ice cubes at passing cars when the Methodists are having a function. Don't cut the grass or play lawn croquet while the UMC's get together for a funeral.

Mr.C. said, "Where is Andy?"

Ah, the rub. Our cat Andy panders after the Methodists. We are a Calvinist household a beacon of Reformed constraint amidst the Baptist majority of our neighborhood. Except for Andy the Cat. Andy loves the Methodist Church.

He crosses the street to sit in their church yard. He's gone into the sanctuary several times, most memorably during a wedding as the wedding director held the door open for the Bride to enter for the processional. Minutes later, a well dressed woman in very high heels shooed Andy out waving her program.

Who knows if Andy is over at the funeral right now? Maybe he knew the decedent or her people. Maybe he's just visiting with the funeral director, a poplular man who knows everyone in town.

I presented Calvin's view of scripture, the Church, and governance to Andy. He turned away and began a lengthy cat bath. I read several of Calvin's prayers to Andy. He closed his eyes. Great! He's moved by Calvin's piety. Nope, Andy took a nap.

No matter how passionately I plead Calvin's case, Andy pays no attention.

Andy loves John Wesley. Andy loves listening to the Methodist choir practice. He loves the Methodist church children.

I question my effectiveness as a leader and teacher when my own cat eschews John Calvin to warm his heart (and paws) at the Methodist Church.

St.Casserole

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Several Things...


A man describing his family, bemoaning how they turned out, said, "they coulda done anything and they went trailer park".

The Little Church kitchen is finished! We moved the kitchen from one room to another during our hurricane restoration. We have new cabinets, stove, sink and refrigerator to use! Looks great!

All is quiet on the Presbytery front as pastors disappear on vacations. We didn't renew our EP's contract in June. I'm watching how this staff hole works out.

My Summer reading is as varied as a garden. Junk, beach reads and heavy going literature all together in a stack of books. Love it!

Our home driveway is a big mess as the City repairs our Katrina damaged drainage.
So far, so good in their repairs. The worst of it is how often City crews repeat repairs like digging up a driveway portion only to repair it and dig it up again. Thanks to our Councilman, we are getting a more complete repair than the City planned.

I'm assisting a guest preacher this Sunday. I'll do the liturgy, he will preach. I cannot seem to remember this and keep going to the desk to write a sermon. I am a habitual preacher, I admit it.

The Great Heave of Clutter continues! Making progress! After the Dining Room lamp collection heave, I'm heading to the bookcases...

Glad to be here,

St.Casserole

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Whew!


I'm thinking about:

*being a lousy blogger.

*the thrill of seeing our drainage damage from Katrina repaired! Driveway is a mess!
Landscaping in peril of giant equipment, but City warned! Catch basin to keep us from flooding from the Church Across the Street who elevated their parking lot asphalt so our lower lying property gets their water!

*only a few more weeks with LD before she begins her last year of High School at art school.

*getting rid of anything in the house I don't like looking at anymore!

*the utter wonder of Ordinary Time or Sundays After Pentecost, whichever one follows

*swimming pool converted from chlorine to saltwater, yippee!

*having an Icee on a hot day

*everyday is hot this time of year

*the groups coming to help with Coast rebuilding, even now! almost 4 years later!

*Governor's convention on the Coast this week! looks like a Republican love fest, thanks to our Governor

*prayer and more prayer for ailing pals, worried pals and grieving pals around the planet

*finding three pairs of Ferragamo sandals, all new, at the Goodwill....in my size

Love to you,

St.Casserole

Saturday, June 27, 2009

For Historical Record

June 25 was the 31st anniversary of my ordination to the Word and Sacrament of the Presbyterian Church, U.S. (now the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and...

the formation of the Anglican Church in America in Bedford, Texas.

When I complain that battles fought 31 years ago continue today, believe me.

Jesus, won't you come by here,
Jesus, won't you come by here,
Now is such an easy time,
Jesus, won't you come by here.



St.Casserole

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Not Really A Sizzling Topic Here

Dear World,

What's with Episcopalian and Anglican white guy eyebrows?
Giant wild eyebrows distract.
Do the men think the untended eyebrows show status?
I see the eyebrows first, then hear the words through the eyebrows.
Rather than looking cool or more-concerned-about-holiness-than-grooming, wild eyebrows look affected.
I'm not posting pics of the offenders. You may search for the new head of a new group of Episcopalians (are they "real" episcopals if they ignore the Bishop?) and at our Anglican leader across the Sea.

St.Casserole

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hot Summer, Did I Mention it's Hot?



Hot and dry here on the Coast. If I'm not outside watering plants I'm inside cooling off from watering plants.

E. says hot dry weather heats up the Gulf for a GREAT hurricane season. Fabulous!

Yesterday, the temps "felt like", as they say in weather reports, 107 degrees.

I scramble to get my errands and scavenging done before 10am. in the morning.

Can I get another complaint in this post? It's hot.


Crabbily yours,

St.Casserole

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Opossums and O People!



Early this morning, I heard an opossum scream in a neighbor's yard. Opossums are good pals because they eat pests. Unfortunately, they make a miserable scream noise when frightened. The sound reminds me of a human scream for a microsecond until I recall I'm listening to a prehistoric marsupial who does not want to harm me. "Leave ME Alone!" is the subtext of the scream.

Good neighbors in the yard. Loud screaming when disturbed. Reminds me of O People in congregations who respond to fear by screaming.

If the squeaky wheel gets the grease, then Opossums are the wheels who get attention. Same with O People who raise their voices when feeling uneasy.

I leave opossums alone. I move closer to O People to determine what is upsetting them and to reassure them.

Screamers aren't attractive. Look at the opossum picture. I walked out to my driveway in Biloxi years ago and almost fell over an opossum. Yuk! I ran in one direction, Ms. Opossum sped off in the other.

O People screaming attracts attention but doesn't do the o person much good. Go find out what is going on and begin to deal with the problem. If O people feel heard, they scream less. If O people get appropriate (not fearful) attention from you, they may learn how to express their fears without screaming.

St.Casserole, still learning

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Why do I go to Estate Sales? See video. From Apron Thrift Girl and Retro Renovation.



St.Casserole, surrounded by treasures

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ze Laziness


I'm afraid I've caught a serious case of Ze Laziness. It's not my fault.
It's early Summer here with breezes catching the gardenia bushes' heavy scent.
The sky is soft blue with tiny puffy clouds.

I'd better sit on the back porch with a book. All. Day.

Yours,
St.Casserole

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Festival of Homies!

I'm driving towards Atlanta this morning. Going to see my Cheesehead and others at the Festival of Homies! Happy about this.

If you are a RevGal going to the Festival, give me a shout out! Shout "RevGals Yooo Hooo" when you can so I can find you.

I have red hair and carry a sewing bag. Look for me. I'll be confused and following Cheese around. She's taller than I am and wears good shoes.

Traveling mercies to all going to the Fest,

Love in God who loved us first,

St.Casserole

Monday, May 11, 2009

Why I Live Where I Live



Pelicans fly over my house.


St.Casserole
Wondering How God Does So Many Beautiful Things

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Verbena, the V.A.T., is Back!

That's the news here. Verbena is in the courtyard.

St.C.
Watching for Signs of Spring/Summer

Monday, April 27, 2009

State Holiday

Today is Confederate Memorial Day in Mississippi.

That's right, State offices, the Courts and Banks are closed as we recall those who died in the Confederate Army.

What year is this?

I have people who fought in the Confederacy which seemed to them, like a good idea even a noble idea.

That was then. This is now.

I do not believe in slavery, breaking up the Union or mint juleps (nasty! way too sweet!)

We cannot re-write history but it makes no sense to celebrate being on the losing end of a War for the right to own human beings.

We are the poorest State in the Union but we shut down the State for this holiday.

I'd like us to put this holiday aside.

St.Casserole

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Oh, Hey!

Anyone still there?

The BE 2.0 was fabulous. I loved seeing all of you and missed those who couldn't come to Arizona.

We've received five new members in the past six months at Little Church. I'm enjoying the new members enjoying the congregation.

We had ten people at Sunday School this morning. I recall when attendance was 2-3 including me.

LD and LS finish up the school year in a few weeks. Both have long papers to write before end of term.

Mr.C. and I married 28 years ago today. We married during the regular Sunday worship service. I've never heard of anyone doing this. Have you?

The hydrangeas are blooming. The cats are fat and happy. We describe Sister the Dog's breed as "A/C Lab" because she prefers being indoors with us during hot weather.

You doing OK?

Glad to be back,
St.Casserole


(Pic is Bidden or unbidden, God is present, looks like from Wild Goose Studio.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Few Thoughts


Wouldn't it be great if we could count on our Government to act better than the citizenry? I'm thinking of the Feds not allowing prisoner Paul Minor time out to go be with his dying wife. Mrs. Minor died Monday. What was the point of making sure he couldn't be with her?

For a happy Holy Week, listen to Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon on audio CDs.
Lovely to hear Father Tim and his childhood friends speak. Scripture, beautiful quotes and Grace on a 10 CD set.

In the book, Karon writes about Father Tim, "He liked being in a place where everything from forgetfulness to homicide could be blamed on the heat." Holly Springs is a real town in north Mississippi.

From Mr.C, often quotable, "The difference between art and crafts is art makes a statement, crafts do not."

And from Suz, the Garage Sale Genius, about a poorly told story, " the E.O.H. is missing." (E.O.H. = element of humor).

I'll be AZ tomorrow looking at an unfamiliar desert world and seeing many of you. To those who won't be there, I'll miss you. Next year? Please say yes.

St.Casserole, looking for my phone charger and Mom Jeans

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Fear: It's Everywhere


This NYTimes article makes me feel ill. Not because I don't believe the article, but because I know it is true.

If all we have to fear is fear itself, then I'm getting afraid of the level of fear and anxiety I see around me.

We need strength to be available to those who need us. To offer companionship through these times.

Lord, help us not smite those who put odd apocalyptic spin on current events. Amen.

Hope, trust and humor help us. So does a listening ear.

Holy Week, it lasts a month,

St.Casserole

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Garden Report

The Southern way of gardening says, "don't put your seedlings and young plants out until Good Friday." I put out a few plants mid-March because the weather turned warm.

It's chilly here at 42 degrees this morning.

The azaleas are finished blooming although I have a few still showing flower. The Bradford pear bloomed several weeks ago. The magnolia trees are full and ready to bloom, but not yet.

In my courtyard, the wisteria from the grounds of the College of Preachers at the National Cathedral survived the winter and is leafing out mightily. Mr.C. can't stand wisteria because of the invasive tendencies but enjoys I brought home as seed Summer before last and planted it in a large clay pot.

My hydrangea are coming out with leaves. Gerberra daisies bloomed through the Winter with 7 blooming right now. The purple mandivilla survived Winter with some freeze damage and is blooming again. The bridal wreath is going strong, too.

A pot of tiny purple flowers with yellow centers emerged from Winter sleep.

My soil is improving with added topsoil and fertilizer making a great day for all the weeds. My weeds changed with the new topsoil and the blow around of Katrina. I wish I knew all of their names! One weed looks like a giant heather with a pod crown and must be part of the Scottish heather family. My version isgrand but it's a weed.

I'll try to wait until Friday to put out the seedlings and small plants but Holy Week isn't a great time for gardeners who are preachers.

How's it growing at your home?

St.Casserole, delighted with dirt

Thursday, April 02, 2009

If your mind and heart are full of concerns about people, and you've prayed your early morning prayers, the best thing to do is pick up A Wrinkle In Time to read.

Really.

Here and There,

St.Casserole