Friday, November 23, 2007

Post Thanksgiving Day Friday Five

Singing Owl writes: Ah, the day after Thanksgiving--groan! Fortunately, I love Thanksgiving leftovers.

Thanksgiving is the American holiday when the greatest number of people travel somewhere else to celebrate. I am posting this from my son’s home in Minnesota where we are recovering from the food shopping and the preparations and the meal and the clean up. It is difficult to think of anything requiring much energy today, and I am enjoying my sweet baby granddaughter, so I will keep it simple. For those of you not in the USA, I apologize for the nationalistic tone of this Friday Five!

1. Did you go elsewhere for the day, or did you have visitors at your place instead? How was it?
We went to our friends' house a couple of towns away. It was wonderful! We were neighbors at seminary, and getting together over a meal is great fun. With my daughters, their son, and another couple from seminary and their two sons, and three dogs, we had quite the table!

2. Main course: If it was the turkey, the whole turkey, and nothing but the turkey, was it prepared in an unusual way? Or did you throw tradition to the winds and do something different? We had turkey prepared the traditional way, giblets on the side and both stuffing and southern cornbread dressing. Sides were traditional green bean casserole, drunken sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and a broccoli/new potato/hot mustard casserole. Of course there was the gelatinous canned cranberry goop, sweet tea, and rolls to round it out. There was also a platter of lefse, two pumpkin pies, an apple pie, and a pecan pie.

3. Other than the meal, do you have any Thanksgiving customs that you observe every year? For the last two years I have led worship at the local nursing home--mainly because it falls on my regular Thursday and because I enjoy being there.

4. The day after Thanksgiving is considered a major Christmas shopping day by most US retailers. Do you go out bargain hunting and shop ‘till you drop, or do you stay indoors with the blinds closed? Or something in between? I avoid "Black Friday" like the plague! My daughter would prefer otherwise, but today we slept in, watched a movie, and then went to get her learner's permit.

5. Let the HOLIDAY SEASON commence! When will your Christmas decorations go up? If I had my way they'd go up as close to Christmas eve as possible. If my youngest daughter has her way, they'll be up by Sunday night. Hopefully we'll be able to compromise with the middle of December. Otherwise I fear the cat will have too many opportunities to climb the tree and exceed her previous ornament breaking record.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Beginnings and Endings...

It has been a busy fall in this part of North Dakota. The harvest is complete for most folks, and the main activities now include moving cattle, weaning the calves, and cleaning equipment--in short hunkering down for winter's inevitable blast--an ending of sorts. Yes, it's the end of another year's crop, the end of warm weather, the end of the church year, and approaching the end of the calendar year. This season marks not only nature's annual dying but also the conclusion of earthly life for several parishioners and community members. For this small parish it's meant four funerals in four weeks and a full cup of grief for friends and family alike.
Yet time cycles on--we must die to this life to experience the fullness of eternal life. Fall gives way to winter in order for winter to bow to spring. The many Sundays of ordinary time pass so that we may experience the reflection and expectation that comes with Advent. Life. Breath. Rhythm. Our days are numbered and marked by joy, pain, and busyness. As this present year in all its forms and functions now fades away, my wish for you is time to pause and truly live in at least some of the moments of your life.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Friday 5: Homage to the Top Chef!

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Friday Five: Homage to the Top Chef!
Revhrod says, "This Fall my family has been energetically watching Top Chef on the Bravo channel. My teenage daughter watches with the dream of some day being a chef. My husband watches because he loves reality shows and I mean, really loves them. Plus the whole competition thing really works for him. Me, I love cooking and good food. Every so often I get an idea from this group of talented young chefs who are competing for big money and honors galore.The winner for this season was Hung. Not the fan favorite, but he won fair and square. In his bio, he says if he were a food "I would be spicy chili - it takes a while to get used to, but once you eat it you always come back for more!" With that in mind, here is this week’s Friday Five."

If you were a food, what would you be?

Dark Chocolate--in any form or recipe. I just love it!

What is one of the most memorable meals you ever had? And where?

The Fireman's Fourth of July Barbeque in Sheyenne, North Dakota, takes that honor. To truly experience the meal, one has to go uptown to Ostby Hall and watch the men prepare the meat. They inject the beef roasts with special sauce, cut a whole lot of onions up, and wrap the roasts with onions and seasonings using foil and cheesecloth. They also prepare potatoes for the pit, too. After everything is ready, the men load this huge concrete pit with sand, food, and cover it with boards and hot coals. They generally sit up all night watching it and enjoying a few beers. The women fix the rest of the meal. The next day, after the parade, the hall fills with more people than the town has residents to enjoy some of the best meat and fixins' in all North Dakota. Well, for that matter, it rivals the best barbeque you'll find in Memphis, TN, too. What makes it even better is how so many town residents come together to make this meal happen, with the proceeds benefitting our volunteer fire department.

What is your favorite comfort food from childhood?

Homemade mac and cheese AND my granny's homemade fried apple pies and biscuits.

When going to a church potluck, what one recipe from your kitchen is sure to be a hit?

Cheezy Apples--another good comfort foot involving apple pie filling, cheese, and other goodies

What’s the strangest thing you ever willingly ate?

Chocolate covered ants (in third grade!) Anything is palatable with the right amount of chocolate.

Bonus question: What’s your favorite drink to order when looking forward to a great meal?

A single glass of really good wine--what that is depends on the meal.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday 5--decluttering edition

Sally writes: With Jo, Jon and Chris all moving to college and University accommodation there has been a big clear up going on in the Coleman household. We have been sorting and trying hard not just to junk stuff, but actually to get it to where it can be useful. On a brighter note we have used Freecycle ( check it out) to provide the twins with pots and pans etc that other folk were clearing out.Making the most of our resources is important, I have been challenged this week by the amount of stuff we accumulate, I'd love to live a simpler lifestyle, it would be good for me, and for the environment I think...With that in mind I bring you this Friday 5:

1. Are you a hoarder or a minimalist?
I am a minimalist trapped in a hoarder's world! I'm convinced that worldly possessions multiply like rabbits, and I'm not sure how stuff even ends up in my house. I've moved 10 times in the last 11 years (insane, I know), and even with multiple yard sales, trips to Good Will and Salvation Army, I still have too much stuff. I've thought about ebay, but who has the time?

2. Name one important object ( could be an heirloom) that you will never part with.
Hmmm....considering all things will be parted with at some point...well, maybe this special pottery jar created by a friend and mentor who has since died of cancer; it's beautiful, functional, and a real treasure.

3. What is the oldest item in your closet? Does it still fit???
A pair of 50+ year old Italian leather sandals that belonged to my mother. They're really elegant and comfortable, and the leather just keeps getting better with age. And yes, thankfully they still fit!

4.Yard sales- love 'em or hate 'em ?
Love going to them but don't have time to do so. Enjoy making money from hosting one, but hate the time and effort to get all the stuff ready. Like the principle of recycling other people's stuff instead of buying new.

5. Name a recycling habit you really want to get into.
Getting as close to zero rubbish as possible...and creating art from my junk. O.K. that's sort of two, but they're interrelated, right?

And for a bonus- well anything you want to add....
Check out Anne Basye's book Sustaining Simplicity: A Journal. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 2007. It's a great, quick read that's also thought provoking and convicting.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday 5-- looking back, looking forward

Sally writes:
When I began work here at Downham Market a wise friend told me that after one year I would see a few changes and sense God at work- years two and three would cause me to question and to wonder why I had chosen to accept the post here and in year four I might see the beginnings of something new.And so with that in mind alongside yesterdays celebrations I bring you Friday 5 Looking back, looking forward..

1. Share a moment/ time of real encouragement in your journey of faith.
It had to be the kitchen table Eucharist shared with a group of friends the night before my cancer surgery. I have this thing for kitchens--you can tell a lot about people from their kitchens. I love being in the kitchen. So in the face of uncertainty and illness, five of us gathered around a white tile table with Word, good bread and wine, and tears--intimate, earthy, and real. It was one of the most Spirit-filled times of my life, and I was at complete peace going into the hospital the next morning.

2. Do you have a current vision / dream for your work/ family/ministry?
I'm trying to work on two writing projects concurrently (a non-fiction book and a play) while being a single parent to two daughters and pastor of a four-point rural parish. My vision is to finish these projects and still manage to keep up as mom and pastor. I am deliciously happy in this rural setting, am enjoying ministry with these people, and hope God wills for me to stay here for a good long time.

3.Money is no object and so you will.....
Keep on trying to live simply and maybe take more time to write. I might travel more--see parts of the world and meet people I otherwise wouldn't be able to meet. Most of all, I'd be able to give when I want to, as much as I want to, and to as many ministries and non-profits whose work I'd like to support.

4. How do you see your way through the disappointments? What keeps you going? Disappointments are part of the journey. I try to recognize that reality and keep moving forward. My faith keeps me going and gives me endless hope in the face of whatever life dishes up.

5. How important are your roots?
Roots are important in forging a connection with the past and in placing myself in context within this grand narrative that's life, but I like to think I'm like rhubarb--I can flourish wherever I'm transplanted.

6. Bonus= what would you like to add ?
TGIF!!! Today I don't want to look back anymore. I'm good at that. Today I don't want to look toward tomorrow; it will arrive if it is supposed to be here. Today I want to focus on today--on each delectable moment of this beautiful summer day on the northern prairie. I want to feel the breeze on my face while I read on the porch. I want to pick flowers from the garden to arrange for the supper table. I want to savor the taste of homemade june berry pie and sweet tea. I want to finish my sermon for Sunday and funeral homily for Monday, but right now I want to practice being present in this moment.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday Five: Books, Books, Books...

1. Fiction what kind, detective novels, historical stuff, thrillers, romance????
I enjoy most kinds of fiction, although I really don't read romance novels. For light brain relief reading I enjoy thrillers and mysteries. I read a really fun series of liturgical mysteries a couple of years ago, but I can't remember the author. They were based on a major character who was a choir master for an Episcopal congregation, and had fun names like The Alto Wore Tweed or some such stuff. Anyone read those or remember the author's name? They were so funny I laughed out loud.

2. When you get a really good book do you read it all in one chunk or savour it slowly?
Word hog that I am, I prefer to guzzle it all in one sitting if possible; however, that said, reality usually dictates a few chapters a day.

3. Is there a book you keep returning to and why?
There's not one particular book I return to, but I do find myself drawn to daily doses of poetry. I will pick up volumes from my library and read a poem or two each day, and I also subscribe to "The Writer's Almanac" with Garrison Keillor.

4. Apart from the Bible which non-fiction book has influenced you the most?
Hard to say. I guess maybe it would be either Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship or any number of works by C.S. Lewis, William Sloane Coffin's Credo (which is wonderful for reading in small bits), or Henri Nouwen.

5. Describe a perfect place to read. ( could be anywhere!!!)
I have this wonderful old chair and ottoman with corduroy slipcovers in my sitting room. It's wonderful for curling up under a blanket with a cup of tea and a good book--especially early in the morning or late at night when the house is quiet and all the animals vie for a place on the chair with me (usually the cat around my neck on the back of the chair, the poodle at my side, and the Springer on the ottoman with his head on my feet). Where I previously lived there was also a fireplace to add olfactory and auditory stimulation--along with warmth!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Friday Five: Parties, Birthday and Otherwise

1) Would you rather be the host or the guest?
Hmmmm.....I enjoy entertaining, and throwing a party is one of the very few ways my house ever really gets a good cleaning, so I suppose I'd rather be the host. That said, I'll be the first to say that I'm not a particularly good host--I panic too much about preparations and amounts. So I work best as a member of a team. Plus, it's a lot more fun to do something as a team or group.

2) When you are hosting, do you clean everything up the minute the guests go home? Will you accept help with the dishes?
I used to be a fanatic about cleaning up the dinner party mess before going to bed. I'm way over that now. Sometimes, cleaning up at a leisurely pace the next day even allows one to revisit the party and savor the best moments in the joyous fog of memory. One thing's for sure--the mess won't go anywhere. And yes, I gladly accept help with dishes.

3) If you had the wherewithal, and I guess I mean more than money, to throw a great theme party, what would the theme be?
If money, time, and creativity were of no concern, I'd probably throw an awesome Epiphany Open House for the parish with oodles of candles, scads of luminaria outside, and food from many countries with attention at the same time to sustainability, simplicity, and fair trade food--light to the world.

4) What's the worst time you ever had at a party?
Usually I enjoy a good party, but I guess the worst was a dinner/dance for new faculty members at the boarding school where I used to teach. It was on a river boat, so we were a captive audience. My now former spouse was getting good and sloshed and saying absolutely ridiculous things and making ludicrous claims about himself. I wished I could have dissolved into one of the chafing dishes. It was totally embarrassing.

5) And to end on a brighter note, what was the best?
The best would have to be my birthday this year. I turned 46, and the parish helped me celebrate all week long. On April 1, one congregation had a lovely "trick cake" (a beautifully decorated cardboard box) followed by the real thing after worship. They all got a real kick out of watching me try to cut it and remain polite and pastorly.
The Sunday school children decorated a huge card, gave me a pectoral cross made of horseshoe nails, and sang happy b'day to me.
And finally, on the actual day about 22 women in the parish took me out to a fancy restaurant for a party with cake, laughter, and some really cool cards and presents--one of which was a quilted wall-hanging from which 30% of the profits of the sale of the fabric are donated to breast cancer research (I'm a cancer survivor, so that was really thoughtful). These folks wrapped me in arms of love and caring and made my first birthday away from all my friends and family back east and down south a wonderful experience.