Wednesday, October 31, 2007

They once were lost, but now are found

About a week ago, my fortune cookie read, "Something once lost will return to you." I thought, "Ha! My keys?" I'd lost them last May 2 in the Seabury parking lot as I was packing up for a long trip to Iowa to attend our first clergy conference. We already were running late, I had a splitting headache, and losing the keys made me uncharacteristically frantic.

Today the keys turned up in a coat pocket, as I was headed out to walk the dog in my jester's hat (she declined to go in costume, Halloween or not). So, Heidi, take heart: your keys may reappear, too. Maybe you should go out for some Chinese food, though.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Red Socks

For those who know that I arranged my sock drawer in seminary according to the colors of the liturgical calendar, I'd like to point out that I'm wearing red socks today in order to shout, "Yay, Boston!" and not to note the feast of St. Simon and St. Jude a day early.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Roses, English Ivy and the Baby Bat

I knew it would be fun to show Laurel the places I love in Iowa City, but it was even better introducing her to some of my favorite people at church: Meg and Andrew, Ellyn and Carol. It was my day off, so I surprised Vickie by appearing in the sacristy. She said, "You're here! I'll make you a bouquet for your office." As Laurel and I toured the building, we saw Vickie out in the courtyard, cutting deep red roses, English ivy and some small blue flowers. My whole office smells like an English garden.

After stoppping for some sushi, we went to the historic building on campus where my Campus ministry program offers Taize Evensong each Sunday. Outside the door was a man with a big red vacuum, into which he'd just sucked a baby bat in order to remove it from the building. There on the lawn was the bat, visibly trembling after its journey inside the big scary vacuum. Laurel and I watched as the man encouraged the bat to hang onto a large stick. Then he transferred the little thing to the top of a bird house -- which of course is no longer a bird house, at least till the bat is brave enough to fly off into the Iowa night.

It's been great to discuss leadership issues while eating our way through the day. Our last stop tonight was the best ice cream shop in eastern Iowa, which serves pumpkin ice cream every October. But we're still thinking about the bat, and I still remember the smell of those freshly cut roses, wet from the garden.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


We are awaiting the arrival, any moment now, of our former neighbor in Evanston. Tomorrow I'll drive her down the interstate, bless some trucks, wave to the corn, and show her my office. The largest piece of framed art on my wall is one of her original works, so I hope she'll enjoy finding it there.

And then we'll eat, drink, and catch up. Friends matter so much to me, and often I wonder if that's especially true because I never had siblings. Hmm.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Land of Corn

Yes, there really is a corncob at the top of this page from the Iowa Independent! And yes, it's still strange to be quoted by the press.

Labels: ,

Monday, October 15, 2007


Never would I have imagined that while I'm home with the dog as she recovers from surgery, I'd visit YouTube and watch clips of myself preaching! It's a 10-minute video (a bit long!) with a jumpy camera, but does show the shape of the church, the crowd, and the altar frontal and vestments made for this service.

Y'all know how much I'm not a likely YouTube type! But here's the link.

Labels: ,

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Canine Communication

Early this morning, our 9 yr. old poodle Maggie sat in the doorway to our bedroom with a look that said, "Do something." She had been restless all night and not feeling well in the evening. We took her to the vet because her behavior seemed so odd.

Two hours later, Maggie had emergency surgery for an intestinal mass. She came through the surgery (her fourth since she was 2 yrs. old) well, and might come home tomorrow or Monday. The vet invited us in to watch as he performed an ultrasound -- fascinating stuff. We were able to see her liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and intestines (sorry if this makes anyone queasy), and there it was: the dark spot causing the vet to say, "I don't like the looks of that." Our vet, by the way, was married in our home parish, with his dog as ring bearer!

After surgery, we viewed the tumor itself via camera. Things might have been worse, so we're fortunate (but $2000 poorer). I still marvel at dogs' capacity to communicate distress. Many humans communicate less effectively and less directly.

At least for tonight, Maggie seems to have gotten through another health crisis. But the house is too quiet, and this day certainly challenged our emotions.

We had to transport her to the after-hours animal hospital across town. While we waited, a man in the next room said to the technician, "I gave the dog some amoxicillin that was leftover in the fridge...and she keeps falling over..." (Are you flippin' kidding me?!)

Send up a prayer for Maggie's recovery, if you will. Thanks.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007


The Campus Ministry team at St. Ambrose University (where John has professed botany for 25 years) invited him to officiate and preach at a special vespers service today, to formally recognize his priesthood and ministry. There's a lovely reception planned afterwards, too.

I was pleased by all of this, but imagine my surprise when the team invited me to co-officiate! They said, "We want to see a woman in a collar around here." So, we've prepared our suffrages and collects and it will be great to lead a service together -- even if some folks won't know what the heck to call me...

Labels: ,

Monday, October 08, 2007

Snobby Musician meets U2charist

Last night's U2charist filled the pews and brought in many new friends. Our children danced in the aisles when a bubble machine sent hundreds and hundreds of bubbles into the air during the final song. So here I am the next morning (serious snobby musician who doubted rock music in church!) to tell you that I don't know when I've had such a joyful, marvelous and holy experience leading worship. Even the cameras from two TV stations, pointed right at me, didn't seem too intrusive. People from the ONE Campaign in Des Moines joined us, handing out tee shirts and wristbands. As I looked out from the altar, faces looking back were visibly moved, and we surely praised God.

The exuberant youth of our parish helped to design the altar frontal, stoles, candlesticks, patens and chalices. I thank God for these young people!


Monday, October 01, 2007

Reading the Gospel

Before long we'll be sending Luke off for a rest, and welcoming Matthew. At clergy conference a few days ago, Dr. Katherine Grieb from Virginia Seminary led four sessions on the upcoming lessons for Advent, and talked about common themes in Matthew's gospels. She presented admirably, but...I did take a ten week course on Matthew not so long ago.

All of this leads into saying that I'm surprised by how much I miss reading the gospel during Eucharists in Iowa City. We have two deacons, and the privilege of reading/singing rightly belongs to them. (On the other hand, I've never enjoyed setting the table -- nor did I like doing it every night while growing up, really not caring much which fork rests next to the plate!)

Labels: ,

Wrapped in white

To awaken curiosity and in preparation for Sunday's U2charist, the youth of Trinity Church wrapped the entire building with 600 feet of white plastic tablecloth. White band wrapping of public objects has been popular for while now, but this is the first live wrap that I've seen. Large black letters on each side of the building read, "MAKE POVERTY HISTORY."

As I drove away from the building at dusk, passersby were stopping, staring, and pointing. The youth had a blast wrapping the building! So I'd best deliver a sermon that meets that kind of energy. We're expecting hundreds of people, last I heard. So, am I anxious? Don't even ask!

At least I'm not in charge of serving all these people chili afterwards!

Labels: ,