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

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Quinn Caldwell: All I Really Want

Quinn Caldwell, All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas on Amazon

Caldwell, ChristmasFrom the intro: "I hope that the doing of them [activities, prayers, and scripture reading the book suggests to include in your to-do lists] will create room—maybe just enough room—for God to show up. I don't know about you, but this year, that's all I really want."

From my review before I finished reading the book:

Due to my desire to enjoy this book as an Advent into Epiphany discipline, I've read mornings and evenings only through today, 10 December, but that's enough to give me a sense of the style, content, and promise of Quinn Caldwell's "Readings for a Modern Christmas." Whether or not we're aware of it, each of us does long for, yearn around, and seek the presence of the Holy, the other-than. All the time. Everywhere. In preparation for Christmas, scripture readings during advent include John the Baptist's announcing the soon to be presence and reign of God on earth, and "All I Really Want" suggests ways each of us can help enable God's ongoing incarnation in the most common, routine, everyday people, things, and happenings. Would you believe the author even suggests going to church, attending worship! Radical, unusual—maybe even helpful to us and to the world!

Each morning and each evening includes a large-print scripture passage on the left hand side of the page, a reflection by the author, and a brief prayer. At the start of each week, Caldwell maps out a 7-day Christmas activity calendar of suggested ways to help yourself and others realize God does show up. Nothing about this book is comprehensive in terms of theology or practice, but it's a delightful addition to your Advent-Nativity and also a format you easily could use as a model for creating your own journal for Advent or any season of the liturgical year.

my amazon review: wonderful book for this season of the year!

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!

Monday, December 08, 2014

lessons & carols 2014

Lessons and Carols has become an annual early Advent event at University of San Diego

lessons and carols 2014
angel music

As always, it was an inspiring afternoon, but with far fewer musicians than most years, probably to save $$$ by not needing to pay union rate and possible overtime.

"When all things were wrapt in a profound silence, and night in her swift course was half spent, your almighty Word, O Lord, leapt down from your Throne in Heaven."

Wisdom of Solomon 18:14-15a

Friday, December 05, 2014

Advent 2: populus zion

Advent 2 – Populus Zion

Advent 2

Say to the daughter of Zion, "Behold, your salvation comes."
The Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard,
and you shall have gladness of heart.
Isaiah 62:11b; 30:30, 29