Sunday, May 24, 2015

week of grace 24

The Day of Pentecost

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Short list this time, and I just noticed it's the biblical number "7"!

pentecost banner1. The glow of the waxing crescent moon.

2. Berries. Still more abundant, affordable, succulent black berries and blue ones.

3. More or less finishing updates on at least a half-dozen groups of older and some recent photos and other raster images and getting them uploaded to my online storage. Pulling together loose ends and feeling a little more secure.

4 . Thursday was the last Thursday family dinner until next fall at Church Around the Corner. What an wonderful, safe, essential ministry by, for, and to everyone involved.Pentecost liturgy

5. Exhibit and reception for housemate / landlady Pam's annual art show at Gallery 23 at Spanish Village in Balboa Park.

6. Informal celebratory liturgy for the Day of Pentecost this morning at Church Around the Corner.

7. Yummy lunch from the Panda Place. I'm convinced that's the best price and nutrition deal there is for healthy food at a realistic price.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Let's All Be Brave: Annie Downs

Let's All Be Brave: Living Life with Everything You Have by Annie F. Downs on Amazon.

let's all be brave coverBlog pal Marci chose grace as my star word for this year, but does it not take a fair amount of bravery to trust in the reign and the rain of grace? Let's All Be Brave is a book for me, and for almost everyone―it's another in a progression of autobiographical memoir-type reflections by highly committed Christians I've been reading, books by folks brave enough to open themselves up and be more than a bit vulnerable to a general public. Like a close friend who's not too clingy, Annie Downs brings the reader (that would be me) along as she walks, talks, and travels. From Georgia to Tennessee to Edinburgh. As she takes her portable office (laptop) into the snack emporium or coffee shop. Chapter titles are short and fun: just start; say yes; say no; hold on; let go. I've listed the five in a row I need right now.

Annie writes about the stuff of life in an easy, natural conversational voice. Transitions, relocations, disappointments, relationships, quandaries about what now, what's next―Annie reveals her experience, her responses in the Spirit of grace, her theological and other takes on the same type of life stuff each of us has been through and know we'll deal with again.

[page 184] Grace is this year's word for my life, and in this book about bravery, Annie reminds us grace has rhythms of start, stop, race, slow down, hesitate. I long to be able to talk about [page 200] my people, my God, my hope, my map. "...your people are waiting and your God is watching with expectancy for you to see where you map is going to take you." In Spanish hope and expect are one and the same word: espero. In essence that means hope already is almost realized whenever you claim "¡espero!" Annie tells us it's about radical hope [page 163] that I'd further describe as deeply planted, solidly-rooted, almost impossible to uproot, throw away, destroy. Back in former city I was digging up weeds on the front lawn of one of the rental properties I managed when a tenant passing by observed, "That's hard work! You need to get to the taproot!" Radical hope with roots so deep you can't I can't no one can uproot it. I'll take a bow to Annie's Wesleyan heritage and say that's prevenient grace. That's God's ongoing presence and action each of us bravely can dare to trust.

Maybe I will be talking about my people, my God, my hope, and my map, if only I'm brave enough to run with the idea of someone untying my ship from the dock [page 201] and pushing it out to sea just far enough that I can't quite reach back far enough to take the person's hand. I need to bravely trust the breeze of the Holy Spirit to guide my little ship through the waters on to the next port of call. I've blogged about hospicing this phase of my life into a good death in order to make space for resurrection into new life. Annie didn't talk about it, but I know it's just fine and also brave to moor my boat at the next dock. I sure wouldn't want anything to tempt me too seriously to leave new city too soon! Let's All Be Brave is one more in the short series of books I'm keeping forever and expect (hope) to pick up, pick a chapter, and again get motivated and inspired to be brave, to live in grace.

my amazon review: fearlessly and wonderfully written

blooming things friday 5

For the weekly RevGals feature, Deb hosts today's blooming things Friday five; here's my chronological show of 14 blooming local specials over the past few years.

•Nasturtiums from summer 2007
•VBS 2013 tree
•VBS 2013 blooming markers and crayons;
•Balboa Park botanical building, August 2013
•Balboa Park botanical building and lily pond, august 2013
•Balboa Park botanical building and lily pond II, August 2013
•Rocks on Fay Bike Path, La Jolla, January 2014
•Unidentified sprouting green on Fay Bike Path La Jolla, January 2014
•Unidentified (by me) plant along Fay Bike Path, La Jolla, January 2014
•Fay Bike Path, La Jolla, Agave Americana/ Century Plant, January 2014
•VBS 2014 Jesus Loves You Tree
edited to correct the next three dates to the year 2015
•San Diego, CA, Lemon Tree, February 2015
•Avocado Tree in San Diego, CA, February 2015
•Blooming Fence, Tierrasanta, San Diego, March 2015

nasturtiums tuesday tree

thursday markers balboa park

balboa park balboa park

bike path bike path

bike path bike path

friday tree lemons

avocado tierra santa fence

Sunday, May 17, 2015

weeks of grace 22 & 23

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1. The scent of jasmine wafting into the air, here, there, and everywhere!

2. You know I need to mention still more abundant, affordable, succulent berries from geographically not very far away: as usual, both black ones and blue ones.

3. This is another more than one week of grace post, and last Sunday was Mother's Day. I'm slowly writing through a first-ever Mother's Day post for my brand new blog that I haven't officially outed yet.

4. A few more updates on my non-fb design site, suntreeriver design. I truly want to migrate to Wordpress, but it looks very good; despite weebly not offering a whole lot of creative footer options, the footer's growing well, as well.

5. I registered to jog / walk / run the Survivors of Suicide Loss 5K on June 13. I'm participating for C, who ended her own life shortly after Easter Sunday 2014. This will be my first 5K since former city (edited to say) in eight years!

6. A festival of heavy rain most of the day on Thursday! Still not enough to compensate for the serious drought, but it was plenty to generate hope.

7. Third Saturday lunch for May with the Friday evening potluck peeps from the PCUSA I used to attend.

8. Thursday's rain cleared the air so wonderfully, yesterday, Saturday felt full of hope and clarity of thought and purpose, too.

9. I just designed a dog bed hang tag for a new client, and when they learned I had two kittehs, they offered to send beds for them—in addition to paying me for the hang tags, of course.

10. Because for various reasons I wasn't going to get to Church Around the Corner or Church on the Hill, this morning I serendipitously worshiped at Ascension Roman Catholic up the hill from here. Thursday was Ascension Day, their feast of title – patronal feast as Ascension's pastor expressed it – and today can be celebrated as Easter VII or as the Sunday after Ascension, Exaudi. I thought Ascension Day was a Holy Day of obligation in the RC church, and my research revealed it still is, but most churches in most North American dioceses have transferred the feast to Sunday (most Protestants who follow the legionary also celebrate Ascension on Easter VII).

11. Honeysuckle scents wafting through the air!

Sunday, May 03, 2015

week of grace 21

weeks of grace banner

So much to say, to feel, to grieve, and to hope towards. This is my first weeks of grace since a month ago, on April 06, when I blogged a short, 3-week long grace weeks list. I've noticed how T from Praying on the Prairie (who originally inspired me to begin my own weekly list) tracks small joys during the week. As I commented to T, "eventually I also want to keep track of the tiny moments of grace on my phone so I'll have better lists each week, but at this point I need to allow myself some graceful ease."

1. For April, Saturday lunch with my old Friday evening potluck group from the PCUSA was fourth rather than third Saturday because our old restaurant venue closed. We met at another location of the same eatery chain, and so happily discovered T, our usual server, now worked at the new to us location, so again she served us lunch!

2. After Saturday lunch, another *meaningful* meaning-filled conversation with PB.

3. More succulent blueberries and blackberries! Can't get enough of those!

4. After about a year, I finally totally updated my non-fb design site, suntreeriver design, a real necessity since I don't post client work on fb. I love the social media icons I designed; I also created a couple other icons I'm not currently using―instagram and google+.

5. Due to intentionally lengthening my delivery time and intentionally not bidding directly on gigs, the same psychological space that let me update my site also allowed me to finish updates of several of my older design pieces.

6. Yet more juicy, mouth-watering blueberries and blackberries. Did I already list those? why not twice, since I bought them more than once this past week, and lots more times than once during the month since my last weeks of grace post.

7. In this space of several weeks, several more Thursday evening family dinners. It feels as if they play "Home" by Phillip Phillips every single time I'm in Big Box. "Just know you're not alone 'cause I'm gonna make this place your home" always reminds me of Church Around the Corner.

8. Wonderful, celebratory liturgy for Easter 5 at CAC.

9. I especially loved watching preschooler J, my usual Thursday dinner companion A's grandson, serve as one of the offertory gift-bearers during the liturgy on Easter Day and on Easter 5.

10. Tangy, flavor-filled California bowl for Sunday lunch at Rubio's: white rice; chicken chunks; chipotle sauce; tomatillo (cilantro, lime) salsa; guacamole; pico de gallo; black beans (the kind my Dominican landlady always got); lettuce; Raspberry iced tea.

11. Would you believe a little more editing and updating on this blog? Including my new Weeks of Grace header pic.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

earth day 2015

earth day 20154Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

11For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, 14I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. Jeremiah 29



This is the original version of Bloom Where You Are Planted, and a perfect text for any celebration of Earth Day―maybe especially Earth Day 2015, since this is the second year of the #GreenCities initiative. Many people love to seize and claim verse 11, "I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord... to give you a future with hope." But holding onto that verse without the full context omits the condition of God's promise: obedience. As Walter Brueggemann points out in Out of Babylon, "this text urges coming to terms with the empire as the unavoidable matrix for Jewish well-being. [page 8] and "...it is Babylon that becomes (for now) a venue for shalom." [page 9] We know Jeremiah lived deeply informed by and responsive to the tradition of Deuteronomy with its demands of hospitality and care for all, of covenantal obedience—its emphasis on forgiveness, grace, and newness.

Our contemporary situation in the USA closely parallels the exiles in Babylon (faithful in Rome, Spain, Great Britain...) as accretions, outrages, attractions, and demands of empire surround and often seem to overwhelm us. Truly we cannot escape to some ideal oblivion, an unknown nowhere – remember erewhon? – and in the power of the Spirit we need to create local, covenantal life where we are—in spite of empire. And then...there's another condition: God's overwhelming response of grace when humans don't quite measure up to the standards of the commands.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

april synchroblog: stewardship trilogy

Bearing Fruit is this year's April Synchroblog topic! Is it not incredibly comforting, reassuring and freeing that we discover bearing fruit in the scriptural context of Jesus' vine and branches discourse?! I believe it is! Bearing fruit is an especially fitting theme for Earth Day; although April 22 (tomorrow, Wednesday this year) is the official, formal Earth Day date, many individuals, organizations, cities, counties, and towns celebrate with festivities on the nearest weekend. My synchroblog contribution is a trio of stewardship designs I created a while back, and re-imagined for this event.

Go and Bear Fruit—John 15:16

16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you might go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. 17These things I command you, that you love one another. John 15

go and bear fruit

Sow Bountifully; Reap Bountifully—2 Corinthians 9:6

6But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9As it is written:
“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.” Psalm 112:9
10Now may he who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 2 Corinthians 9

sow bountifully, reap bountifully

Servants and Stewards—1 Corinthians 4:1

1Consider us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 1 Corinthians 4

servants and stewards

Other April Synchroblog Participants: