Monday, January 26, 2015

week of grace 10

It has been all of fifteen (15) weeks since my last week of grace list. I'm seeking major life and situation changes, but still can rejoice in a long series of grace-filled happenings.

Random yet important short list:

1. Lessons and Carols at University of San Diego Sunday afternoon, Lent 2.

2. Getting to design poster and bulletin for Christmas Vespers Concert at Church Around the Corner (CAC).

3. Enjoying the Christmas Vespers Concert at CAC.

4. Surprise email asking me to design a Blue Christmas poster and bulletin cover.

5. Christmas Eve liturgy at Church on the Hill (COH).

6. Wonderfully delicious Christmas dinner with J, some of her family, and friends.

7. In the many weeks since my last week of grace blog, I've enjoyed four yummy third Saturday lunches with the former Friday night potluck group from the PCUSA where I used to be fairly active.

8. Getting a nicely designed book on environmentally-friendly design (from 1997) along with July 2014 and August 2014 copies of Better Homes & Gardens – my all-time fave mag – at the library book sale. Nice price of $1.50 total ;)

9. Continuing to get an interesting variety of design projects.

10. Facilitating Thursday evening bible study again at CAC last week! Such great response—including two texts from participants!

Friday, January 23, 2015

5 about winter (2015)

Today Deb hosts 5 about winter because, "It's official. If you're in the Northern Hemisphere, you are experiencing winter. SO...tell us:"

1. Winter: What do you think about it in general? Do you love it? Hate it? Or say, “meh – it’s just another season!”

It all depends! As long as I can get truly warm enough, I enjoy wearing heavier sweaters, hoodies, and lightweight jackets. I am loving the visible evidence of longer days, as well. I've lived in New England where I had major problems with winter wind chill, blizzards, snow, slush, and my inability to get warm enough too much of the time. Maybe cultural stuff, too? But I got a fantabulous education from schools in that geographical area, and also loved the summers. And I've lived in the Intermountain West, where in general it is possible to get warm in winter. Even if you're not a skier, and even if you need to shovel it, powder snow that falls lightly from heaven to earth and blankets the ground is so very different from the heavy stuff.

2. Footwear: Show us or tell us about your favorite winter shoes/boots.

winter shoes

...and tell: I got these at least 6+ years ago at the Kmart that became Sears Essentials for a brief time, and that now is a Korean grocery store named "Zion"—owned by a Korean presbyterian. Everyone who has been there raves about it, despite Ranch 99 being about one block away on the other side of the street. I'm correct on length of ownership because I remember wearing these chunky boots the Sunday Karen and Rebecca came into town from Vegas for a Chargers game, visited me after, and we went out to dinner at Outback. They commented how cute they were!

3. Discuss: Pedicures in winter – necessity or silly?

Necessary only until the week before Thanksgiving Day; after that they can sabbatical until Holy Week.

4. Toasty toes: Whether you knit your own or buy them, tell us what socks keep your feet toasty warm!

Hand-knit or high-end bought socks would be so cute and cool, but they tend to wear out and not enough people see them, so I usually buy regular normal socks in the normal regular store, and for cozy warmth I usually layer more than one pair under boots like the ones in my pic as well as under combat style and shorter type boots.

5. Driving me crazy: What do you wish the drivers around you would do to make travel during the winter months a little less nutty?

Not so much the drivers, but the city / county / fed / state Streets & Roads powers that be. How on earth can streets in an area with zero snow alongside the coast and in the valleys, with land that never freezes at this elevation have some of the worst potholes in existence?

BONUS: What’s the weather like out there? Share a picture so we can shiver or be jealous!

I am so due for a major change—I've been at least in burnout mode, close to breakdown for too long now, so I pushed myself to Friday 5 today and to take some shoe selfies and a few of the view out the front door. Here are two! I love the shadows!

winter morning 23 January winter morning front door

Friday, January 09, 2015

1st random 5 of 2015

First 2nd Friday random 5 for 2015.

MaryBeth hosts today's random 5, and tells us, "In honor of Karla, the usual sponsor of this page on the second Friday, I announce it as a random Friday Five. But with a theme: NEW."

1. If you have one, what is your new resolution?

I haven't even started to imagine resolving anything again.

2. Many folks choose a new word for a year’s beginning, as Marci’s congregation does with StarWords. Do you have a word for the year?

MB linked us to Marci's page, so I asked her for a StarWord. Marci's word for me is "Grace"!!! I immediately thought of words from the very first stanza of the hymn, "Come, come, ye Saints":

Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.

William Clayton, 1814-1879

No further commentary necessary.

3. What is your new favorite exclamation/phrase at times of joy or frustration?

It continues to be, "Oh, no! Not again!" Mostly more disappointment and frustration these days. Somehow I need to find local community. And local opportunities. Somewhere.

4. Do you have a new favorite food, or an old one you are newly enjoying?

Neither exactly new nor old, but I'm loving freshly made Summer Slaw from the grocery store. Forever I've enjoyed the creamy vinegary tang of cole slaw, and this version with tiny tomato bits and slightly different ingredients every time I buy it is my latest preoccupation. Typically it includes radishes and green bell peppers. Sometimes jicama, too. I've given up trying to figure it all out.

5. Finally, in general: what is your new favorite thing?

My new favorite things needs to be my conviction I have a future that includes service and community.

Friday, January 02, 2015

top 10 for 2014

Inspired by several folks around the blogosphere, I'll begin this year with desert spirit's fire's top ten blog posts of 2014—enjoy!

1. Christmas 1: Psalm 148

psalm 148

2. last couple of days 5 "I've been savoring a popular local specialty, Rubio's Fish Tacos..."

3. Baptism of Jesus 2014

Baptism of Jesus 2014

4. springing 5 "All spring flowers are faves, but I'll choose crocus, since they tend to be first to..."


5. mulberry bush 5 "I usually hanker after whatever I can find to feed my five senses..."

6. better late than never 5 "I'll claim gulls in general for now...the California Gull is the state bird of Utah..."

draw a bird day seagulls

7. Theology from Exile Matthew "I'll begin by stating a few years ago I'd sometimes make a theological observation and then add, 'the Jesus seminar notwithstanding.' Author Sea Raven has Jesus Seminar connections, but..."

8. touch of life: August synchroblog " and professional connections aren't the only kind. However, they're the type of connection I still obsess about a lot."

9. October synchroblog: mental illness / health awareness "Socially, professionally, and financially that story I'm trying to tell has been costly beyond anything I could have imagined..."

10. blog action day 2014: inequality "Besides churches where woman deacons and pastors have become routine and expected, several other large denominations, most publicly LDS (Latter-day Saints), LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod), and RC (Roman Catholic) recently..."

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Quilted by Christmas: review

Jodie Bailey sets most of Quilted by Christmas in North Carolina, where testimonies run true, quilting is commonplace, politeness prevails, friends often become kin. In case you've read the teasers or started reading the book, I won't include spoilers in this review, so I'll simply say Quilted by Christmas is such a good love story about Taryn and Justin (from when they were late teenaged lovers, to more than a decade later when they'd grown in chronology, maturity, and self-understanding), such an accurate account of the sometime messiness of being human, and a lovely portrayal of contemporary southern Appalachian life in ways that also honors tradition, because for the most part, daily living in the American South still is about rich heritage as it necessarily looks into an uncertain, changing future.

Although author Jodie Bailey is unabashedly Christian, and Quilted by Christmas is a book in United Methodist pub house Abingdon's Quilts of Love series, the narrative is not overtly spiritual, Christian, or generically religious, and likely would offend only those actively seeking to be offended.

Unlike many books I've recently read – or tried to read – in both print and digital formats, Quilted by Christmas is well-written and well-edited, which these days is an actual bonus on top of a story that effortlessly held my attention from beginning to end! I chose this book because of "Christmas" and "Quilted" in the title, but it would be a good gift and a good read for almost anyone, almost any time during the year.

my amazon review: seasonal and timeless

Friday, December 26, 2014

post Christmas-Eve-Day recovering 5

post-Christmas Eve-Day recovery mode 5 on RGBP central

1. What’s your "chill out" foot gear? Slippers or socks? Or Birkenstocks? (Poem not intentional)

Slipper socks with a pair of thick warm boot socks underneath.

2. A holiday treat or beverage that just makes you say “AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!”

I LOVE plain vanilla-flavored, totally unspiked egg nog. Please do not ruin it by adding any type of additional flavors, real or fake. Essentially I want a thick rich creamy milkshake with a hint of cinnamon, a sprinkle of nutmeg.

3. What sight or sound moved you during the season? (This can be good or bad.)

Although I captured her pic, I don't have permission to blog it, so I'll write about the striking image of the teenaged thurifer on Christmas Eve—esp watching her censing the assembly. How wonderful – and moving, too – that liturgical role has moved from an ancient guy to a young girl!

4. With whom did you enjoy sharing time with over the Christmas season?

I'm still in transitional housing, and my friend/colleague/landlady/housemate and her pomeranian have been out of town for two months now, so GreenEyedKittehs AlleyMalibu ("AM") and Roxy were pawsome company. I attended Christmas Eve liturgy at Church on the Hill and took a lot of pics for their website that I admin; had a yummy Christmas Day dinner with a friend and some of her family.

5. Was there someone missing from your festivities? How are you doing with that?

Yes, too much still missing. How am I doing with that and dealing with it? I actually had a pleasingly enjoyable Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and look forward to enjoying the rest of Christmas, excited as always about celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany. Continuing with the hope that Advent encourages us into, I anticipate newness and mostly positive changes all during the upcoming year 2015.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


The Nativity of Our Lord

nativity 2014

Unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And his name shall be called
Wonderful, Counselor,
Prince of Peace!
Isaiah 9:6

Saturday, December 20, 2014

advent 4: rorate coeli

Advent 4 – Rorate Coeli

advent 4 candles

Rain down, you heavens, from above,
And let the skies pour down righteousness!
Let the earth open,
let them bring forth salvation–
And let righteousness
spring up together.
Isaiah 45:8a

Saturday, December 13, 2014

advent 3: gaudete

Advent 3 – Gaudete

Advent 3

Rejoice in the Lord always–
again I will say, Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to everyone.
The Lord is at hand!
Philippians 4:4-5

Canticle of the Turning

by Rory Cooney

1. My soul cries out with a joyful shout that the God of my heart is great,
And my spirit sings of the wondrous things that you bring to the ones who wait.
You fixed your sight on your servant's plight, and my weakness you did not spurn,
So from east to west shall my name be blest.
Could the world be about to turn?

My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
Let the fires of your justice burn.
Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near,
and the world is about to turn!

2. Though I am small, my God, my all, you work great things in me,
And your mercy will last from the depths of the past to the end of the age to be.
Your very name puts the proud to shame, and to those who would for you yearn,
You will show your might, put the strong to flight, for the world is about to turn.

3. From the halls of power to the fortress tower, not a stone will be left on stone.
Let the king beware for your justice tears ev'ry tyrant from his throne.
The hungry poor shall weep no more, for the food they can never earn;
There are tables spread, ev'ry mouth be fed, for the world is about to turn.

4. Though the nations rage from age to age, we remember who holds us fast:
God's mercy must deliver us from the conqueror's crushing grasp.
This saving word that our forebears heard is the promise which holds us bound,
'Til the spear and rod can be crushed by God, who is turning the world around.

Magnificat – Luke 1:46-55 – Luke 1:46-55

And Mary said,
"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."

Hannah's Song – 1 Samuel 2:1-10

Hannah prayed and said,
"My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in my God. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in my victory.

"There is no Holy One like the Lord, no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry are fat with spoil. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn. The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low, he also exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world.

"He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness; for not by might does one prevail. The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered; the Most High will thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king, and exalt the power of his anointed."

Friday, December 12, 2014

december random 5

another random Friday 5 on RGBP central

This random 5 from Karla officially is Tinsel Toe Edition.

1. What song are you grooving to these days?

A lot of Advent and Christmas; for a sampler, my YT Nativity playlist includes: Canticle of the Turning; Comfort Ye/Every Valley from the Messiah; Amy Grant's O Little Town; Shake it Out; Celebrate Me Home; Do You Hear What I Hear...

2. If YOU were a room in your home, what would it be, and why?

Currently I'm in housing transition, but like many people, I fantasize about that almost ideal playroom-workspace. I'll have my iMac and some books there, and also add a super-comfy sofa for sitting, lounging, visiting, and cats. Walls painted 4 different light colours, lots of random posters and other fun stuff splashed across the walls. There's gotta be a big window for the sun to shine on on sunny days, for enjoying the clouds and rain on days like this one.

3. What ever happened to LipSmackers? Does anyone remember that lip balm from the 70’s? Do you have a recommendation for a really awesome lip balm?

color and flavorI still use Bonne Bell LipSmackers, in all their awesome hues and scents and flavors! A couple in my purse, and a couple at strategic spots around the house. Officially you still can get them at Tar-Jay, Wally World, etc. or online at the Color and Flavor Shop. A few years ago I started finding them at the 99.999¢ only store, sometimes even 2-packs or 3 packs, so I have a constant stash.

4. Tell us about a tiny (or HUGE) grace moment from this week.

After yet another strong signal I need to leave this geographical area since it clearly amounts to being in remote rural nowhere in terms of the opps I need, someone local actually emailed me and asked for a poster and bulletin cover design for an upcoming Blue Christmas!

5. If you could just have any treat/snack in the world right now, what it would be and with whom would you share it?

How about some succulent, multi-ingredient, savory, spicy, stacked to the ceiling nachos? Sharing with the world, of course!