being a gracious loser

The results are in…and I was not elected to vestry this year.

As expected, I feel a mix of sadness & relief.

I am relieved because, as anyone who knows me can attest, I’m not a ” meetings” sort of person. I also do not ” politic” very well nor  am I gifted with the ability to blarney.  I am, however, very creative & a ” can-do” person . But, it was not God’s Will for me to serve on vestry this year & that is fine with me.

I am sad because I lost. Losing is not something I do well—as I come from a long line of athletic, competitive people.

Yet tonight I keep reminding myself that serving the Church is not at all about ME. I know that but at the same time it *REALLY* sucks for this ” can-do” personality to lose anything. I know it isn’t a competition & I shouldn’t feel at all like I just lost a bid for Student Government President.

I received a nice private note via Facebook from a parishioner who said she’d voted for me  because she felt honestly that i would be a good vestryperson. THAT meant a lot to me, especially coming from a parishioner whom I respect.

So yeah— I lost.  Maybe God is saying to me” You are not ready for vestry just yet.” Or maybe not.

We learned about the concept of ” karios” during my Cursillio weekend.  Karios=God’s Time.

Gloria en excelsis Deo!

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Annual Meeting

Tomorrow is 2 Advent.

Per tradition at Small Parish, it is also the Sunday that we’ll hold the Annual Parish Meeting. We’ll all gather for ONE Mass at 9 A.M. followed by the meeting & then the monthly potluck luncheon.

Anyhow, we elect two new vestry members  at this meeting. I’m on the ballot as a possible new vestryperson.  We have two other fabulous people who are also on the ballot for the vestry election, so there is a good chance that I might not be elected.   Although I am a bit nervous about the election tomorrow I’m a bit reserved about serving on vestry for three years. 

 For many reasons, I feel called to at least put my name on the ballot for vestry at this time in my ” walk with God” & I will do my best if elected.  But if I am not elected I will not feel too sad.  Honestly, I am not the ” board meeting” sort of person & I would much rather be active in ministries such as EYC & assisting at the altar as an acolyte. If it is God’s will that I serve my parish as a vestryperson, I can only promise to do my best if elected.  And with the spiritual  growth that I’ve experienced this year, I am ready to move a bit out of my ” comfort zone” if I am called to do so.

Tikkun Olam

 Shalom Shabbat, y’all.

Coming from an interfaith family– I am a huge fam of both Christmas & Hanukkah. Naturally Christmas means more to me, but my Jewish heritage is a gift–and one that I have never taken for granted.

Anyhow, I came across a Hebrew term this evening that I had not known until now. It is : ” Tikkun Olam” & it is { very loosely} translated as ” to fix what is broken”.

As Christ-followers, we have a responsibility to fix what is broken in our world.  The Advent/Hanukkah/Christmas season is the perfect time to reach out to our sister & fellow humans who are suffering in mind, body or spirit.  Instead of focusing on materialism, we should take time to help another person { or people} who are needy.

Although helping to provide basic needs is a great way to start, sometimes people who ” seem” to not need help are the neediest.  There are many lonely souls in the world : & I know from experience that the loneliness amplifies itself tenfold during the holidays. Reach out to someone who is struggling emotionally or spiritually this Advent. Give to your local food bank. Visit an elderly person who might not get may visitors. Donate toys to a shelter for homeless families.

 

Spread shalom this holiday season.

When God calls…

God has been loudly knocking on the window of my mind for about 6 months.  God is calling me to a ministry that I’ve vehemently denied answering  since I was confirmed into The Episcopal Church.

I am running for vestry. Unless  two other people runs with or against me I’ll sit on vestry for three years.  Since I already told my priest of my intentions , I cannot back out of this now. { even if I’d wanted to, which I do not}

I am apolitical & until now have *NEVER* seriously considered vestry.  But now is the time.  Although I do not wish to sound arrogant: I feel that someof my gifts will be useful on a parish { any parish} vestry.

I am— comparatively speaking– younger than the average vestryperson. Younger people tend to be more open to what the Spirit might be saying at any time. I have taught Sunday School & I work with youth currently & some of my biggest ” aha moments” have come from conversation with younger people.  Some of the children with whom I worked are much more spiritually-mature than some adults I know.

I care. I care  A LOT.

Although there is nothing wrong with ” pew sitters”{You know– people who attend church almost every Sunday but are otherwise not involved in parish life.} I’ve never been a pew sitter in my life.  The Church is my community, my OHANA. {Hawaiian for ” family”}I want to help her be the best example of Christ’s ” hands & feet” that she can be.

While I am not a ” numbers person” I feel strongly that doing God’s work & measuring how well we do ministry should NOT be calculated only by numbers on a spreadsheet.

My entire church-going life has been with small churches & it is here that I’ve felt God’s Hands at work within me the most.  Although I left the Presbyterian church, I’ve gleaned examples of what does & does not work in a small congregation.

The little church where I was baptized taught me much about doing much to BE Christ in the world regardless of limited human & monetary resources.  The Holy Spirit is working within my Small Parish now & I firmly believe that I am the sort of vestryperson needed to help her grow numerically & { much more importantly} spiritually.

Shalom.

Black Friday…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Best Dude & I had a nice day. We went over to the beach & had our Thanksgiving meal of…fried Gulf seafood! YUM.

I am saddened by all the media frenzy over ” Black Friday” Shopping. I know that many retail outlets are either opening late tonight or super-early tomorrow morning in order to accomodate shoppers.

I grew up in a retailing family–and I am totally aware of how important the holiday shopping season is to retailers’ fiscal year. Inasmuch as I do NOT & never have gone shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving  can understand{ sort of} why hardcore shoppers might enjoy doing so. But what I fail to comprehend is how much RETAIL has encroached on a day that is suppose to be all about family, friends & thankfulness.  To me, celebrating a day of ” thankfulness” by wrangling  more THINGS at stores is counter-productive. It is just another symptom of society’s consumerism.

Cannot people wait ONE more day until the official holiday madness begins?  I mean, if people want deals, isn’t it much less-stressful to shop all year for Christmas? I do this & I’ve gotten *great* gifts for my loved ones.  Actually, most of my holiday shopping was done online. I hate shopping: even doing weekly grocery runs is hard for me. 

I am NOT a Grinch. Christmas is one of my favorite times of year. I love the music, the food, the Advent Scriptures read at mass & the fellowship with loved ones.  While I like getting gifts , to me this is much more than a mere commercialized ” season” that it has become in recent years. It is sad to me that even a day of corporate thanksgiving has seeminly turned into another comsumers’ feeding frenzy.

This non-shopper is staying HOME on Black Friday.

Amen.

Morning Prayer- I love it!

This morning I led Morning Prayer at Small Parish . Our priest is on vacation & I was recently certified by our Bishop to lead Morning & Evening prayer in the absence of clergy.

It went well– I remembered all the parts of the liturgy & did not falter while reading today’s Gospel Lesson.  We had four souls attend this morning’s worship. All in all:  my first experience with leading Morning Prayer by myself was good.

Alleluia!

I do not understand why some people think that we Anglicans only have ONE form of corporate worship– Eucharist. While Holy Communion is very special—I do not deny at all the importance of weekly Eucharist– our Book Of Common Prayer is full of other liturgies that are just as meaningful to me.  Many Episcopalians I know won’t stay for a mid-week Morning Prayer & I do not understand their reasoning. Worship is about giving thanks & Glory to the Triune God{ as a matter of fact, the very word ” Eucharist” is derived from a Greek word meaning ” thanksgiving”.}

I’ve never gone to church to ” get” anything: when I worship the focus is on praising GOD.  I hate to sound as cynical as to think that some people see Eucharist as a commercial commodity. But as a former Presbyterian with a Roman Catholic background{ yes} I’ve always felt that: “For where two or three are gathered in My Name, there I am in the midst of them..”{Matt. 18:2o}  constitutes worship.   Attending a worship service is not, at least to me, a means for an end.

I realize that everyone has personal preferences when it comes to worship, but we Anglicans are so blessed with many ” tried & true” liturgies.  The Daily Office, from which Morning & Evening Prayer originate, comes from  the monastic schedule for daily corporate prayer. 

This evening I am VERY grateful for the Book of Common Prayer–in its entirety.

Amen.

” required” post-election thoughts…..

I am sad about the results of the Presidential election. But, no matter which of the candidates from the two major parties won, I’d still be sad. However, I am thankful that I was able to vote for someone whom I feel IS qualified to be President. Although he didn’t win{ as a matter of fact, he did not even make a dent in the general electorate}  I am grateful that I had the option to vote for someone who DID NOT have the {D} or {R} behind his or her name. :O)

No, I did not ” waste” my vote. In my opinion, the only wasted vote is the vote that is not cast.

I am sad that  US politics is so partisan.  During the course of this election season, I saw & heard such negativity from supporters of both Republicans & Democrats. never in my 36 years have I witnessed an election that brought out the worst in people. There was so much negativity that I felt weary of the whole election process by May of this year.

I did not watch either convention nor any of the debates.  I read the commentary from both CNN & Fox News & both major cable networks left out Gary Johnson. If Gov. Johnson had been invited to debate, I would have watched every debate. But Big Media gets their ratings  in part from partisanship– so it would defeat their purpose to encourage independent thinking & critical analysis of facts. This political season reminded me of a heated Super Bowl rivalry instead of a serious part of history.  It seemed that these hardcore Democrats & Republicans seemed to act like cheerleaders { either for Team Obama or Team Romney}

Although I live in an area of the country that is heavily Republican, I saw much of the same ugliness among the Democratic minority here in Northwest Florida. Most of my family are die-hard Democrats who were baffled that I could not support Obama. Many of my friends here are Republicans & of course they wanted me to vote for Mitt Romney. It was hard, but I maintained my Independence & rejected the candidates of the two-party political ” machine” in favor of someone who has strength & courage to step outside a mainstream political label.

I declared my Independence. I am free from partisanship. Alleluia.

 

Gone to the dogs….

he big news in my life is the addition of a new family member with four legs & a tail. Best Dude & I adopted a four-year-old male English Springer Spaniel about a month ago.

His American Kennel Club-registered name is ” Johnny Utah Roan” but we renamed him “SEAMUS”.

Most of you know that we tried to adopt a little female Springer back in the spring & how that ended with the dog biting Best Dude & her subsequent return to the foster organization. It was a sad time for us. Both Best Dude & I are dog-lover & I know that I felt liked a failure when we had to return the biter to the foster home fomwhere she came. Although I totally understand the rescue organization’s policy on never adopting out dogs who bite–it still made me feel like  I somehow failed the needy dog.

Seamus eats A LOT! We’re trying o get him to only at twice–but the first week we had him he  was so UNGRY. Acing on advice from  dog-loving friend, e bought Seamus some diet dog food–hoping that he won’t find the low-calorie food palatable. We were wrong.

Seamus is a wonderful addition to our lives. We are blessed that Go led him to us.

{ Iwould post a photo–but WordPress is not working properly, so I’ll need to wait to post some photos of Seamus here. Sorry. }

Tick Tock….get out & VOTE!

It is almost over….after 17 months of constant politics, the 2012 election is tomorrow.

Alleluia, Amen!

I already voted { Florida has early voting} & for once I am proud of the vote I cast both for President & for the US House of Representatives.  Early voting was a new experience for me & all in all it was a good experience. best Dude picked me up at the gym after my training session & we went to lunch at our favorite sandwich shop. We got to the polling place { there were only two early-voting polling places in our county} soon after the lunch rush ended. the staff was very helpful. I felt NO pressure to vote for any one candidate nor for or against any of the proposed amendments to the Florida constitution.

Since I voted, I wish that the political ads would somehow disappear from my TV set. :O( My mind is made up & legally I cannot  undo my vote –even if I’d wanted to do so.  This political season seemed to last longer than usual & I’d developed ” voter’s fatigue  this summer.  I do not really subscribe to any political party–although if pressed I’ll admit to being a left-leaning Libertarian.  Since I’m not affiliated with any official political party , I tired early of the partisan bickering. In my opinion both rabid Democrats & rabid Republicans are equally annoying.  many people I know will { or already have } vote along ” their” party line, regardless of what said candidate says .

I am NOT looking forward to tomorrow’s ” election coverage” on TV.  All that so-called ” data” makes my head hurt. I often wonder why no one bothers to explain to we, the taxpaying & voting public, exactly how & from whom this data is gathered .

Guilty Pleasures {PG-rated}

We all have our ” guilty pleasures”. You know, those things that we’d just fade away in embarrassment if anyone at school or work knew that we enjoyed.. and we secretly enjoy them anyhow? { and I mean PG-Rated guilty pleasures–get your mind out of the gutter!}

Here is my list of cultural ” guilty pleasures”.

~ Swamp People on History Chanel on TV. Best Dude & I can { and do when we are really bored} watch this for hours on a boring afternoon.

~ The too-cutsey pop song ” Call Me Maybe”. As inane as they lyrics are to tis song, it has a great beat that cheers me every time I hear it. Please don’t make me turn in my Rocker Chick card for this admission….please! :O)

~ TV’s Dancing With The Stars is another guilty pleasure  that I indulge in on most Monday nights. I like the competition part of this show but truly do not like the Tuesday night  results show.

~ I’ll admit that Avril Lavigne’s music used to possess much more ” street cred” than most of her later work.  But as far as popular music goes, I still think she is way more original than most of current stuff  on the radio now. There is nothing like ” vintage Avril to calm my frazzled nerves when I’m angry or in need of a workout playlist with more POW! :O)

~Jeff Foxworthy’s humor always makes me giggle. perhaps it is because his ” You Know You are a Redneck if_” schtick reminds me of A) People with whom I grew up in Pennsylvania & Ohio or/and B)  Some of the people I see shopping at my local Wal-Mart.

~ I do use Twitter. Yes, after much consternation, I finally created & kept a Twitter account. While I do not ” tweet” my entire day to my few followers–certain sporting events & a few other various & sundry events will see Sunshine_SB { that’s me} light up the Twitter-verse. :O)

What are YOUR {PG-rated} guilty pleasures? You know you have them….