October 30, 2008


I don't believe in astrology of any kind, but this was kind of fun. And I must admit that I am filled with hope for what might be.

You are The Star

Hope, expectation, bright promises.

The Star is one of the great cards of faith, dreams realized.

The Star is a card that looks to the future. It does not predict any immediate or powerful change, but it does predict hope and healing. This card suggests clarity of vision, spiritual insight, and—most importantly—that unexpected help will be coming, with water to quench your thirst, with a guiding light to the future. They might say you're a dreamer, but you're not the only one.

What Tarot Card are you?

October 29, 2008


Well, it's finally happened. I am now a customer at Starbucks. Until yesterday, that was not the case. I don't like coffee, and I've never had a cup. They don't offer fountain sodas, so they had nothing to offer me—until yesterday, when I saw snowflakes on my windshield and the car heater was taking way too long to warm up. And I thought, "Hot chocolate. I need hot chocolate." There was a Starbucks next to the office supply store I had to visit. And they apparently have a new drink they call Signature Hot Chocolate. Oh my. I'm hooked. So now I'm Starbucked. My dilemma is threefold:

1.  It costs $4 for this drink.
2.  There are 470 calories in a Grande (made with 2% milk and NO whipped cream)
3.  Now that I'm a customer, does that mean I can't make fun of them?

Postscript: Blogger has added all kinds of new options for me with my Mac. But it won't let me paste text in the box. Keep working on it, guys.

October 27, 2008

The Futility of Fear

In an interview this past weekend with Steve Lopez of the Los Angeles Times, Father Geoff Farrow closed with a simple expression of a great truth.

When he was in seminary, Farrow interned as deacon at St. Vincent's Medical Center and worked with terminally ill patients. As the end nears, Farrow told me, people say the things they never could utter. They are "more alive than ever . . . because they realize the futility of fear." He found them all contemplating the same questions.

"Were you true to your conscience? Did you do what you felt was right?"

And one more.

"What do you have in the end but the love you gave away?"

Life With Ben

It’s 9:00 p.m. I’m calling Ben from the car to tell him I’m here to pick him up.


“Hey, baby, I’m in the drive.”

“Huh? ...I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“What do you mean? Very funn–“

“I don’t even know who this is.”

“What? It’s your mom, you–“

“I’m going to hang up. Bye.”

What on earth? What’s the matter with that boy? I call again.


“It’s your mother, you nut. I’m in the drivew–“

“Huh? ...I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Very funny. I’m... ohhh.”

“I don’t even know who this is.”


“I’m going to hang up. Bye.”

It’s his outgoing message. I’m going to kill him. Then I’ll ground him. But he made me swear not to tell Abe yet.

October 23, 2008


Weakness? Defenselessness? Helplessness? Webster—and most of society —has got it all wrong. Intentional vulnerability isn’t weakness; it requires great inner strength to be willing to be open and present oneself at risk of possible harm. The price one pays in remaining vulnerable is the occasional harm from those who take advantage. Those with the ready blade of a sharp word will cut the exposed throat, not realizing that they themselves are the victims of a facade, populating a world that exists only superficially and is easily shattered. The victory doesn’t even last to the next encounter.

Those who choose to be open—to be vulnerable—chance being hurt in exchange for the possibility of intimate connection. This is not to encourage indiscriminate openness, for the scars can accumulate to create an almost impenetrable shell. But careful and selective revelation of self can elicit a like response, and the reward is another link in the ethereal chain of human intimacy. It is what all of us seek, at least those who haven’t given up in despair that it is unattainable. This genuine intimacy is the closest we can come to a spiritual experience in corporeal form.

The choice is ours, with every personal encounter. To what degree do we reveal ourselves? I think we are richer for choosing vulnerability.

October 21, 2008

Wallace & Gromit

Cruising the Web last night, I found this video. Why didn't y'all tell me there was new Wallace & Gromit stuff?

October 19, 2008

Thumbs Up

I went to lunch with a bunch of colleagues at work to celebrate a birthday. Mind you, most of these colleagues are ordained pastors. Since the rest of the time they “pray for pay,” no one pounces on the chance to offer grace before the meal when we all gather. So the game is when the first food is served, fists go on the table with thumbs pointed up. The last one to notice and act has to offer the blessing. That’s right: the loser has to talk to God. Honestly, I think God gives it a thumbs up.

October 17, 2008

Through The Door

As I watch events unfold surrounding Father Geoffrey Farrow, I can’t help but think how I might feel in a similar situation. So many speak in awed tones of courage and compassion, and I am the first to admit I am among them. A combination of integrity, anger, determination, fear and anticipation had to accompany that moment when there was no turning back.

We all have moments when we stand at the open door, having to decide whether we will walk through, for the door will close shortly, whether in our faces or at our backs. The decision is irrevocable and sends us on our way.

I walked blindly for so many years, swept along past doors of decision at the whim of the currents of life. I dealt with what life handed me reactively and not always well. Frequently badly. Regrets? Honestly, only for those times when I hurt others. All else is learning. Boy, have I learned a lot.

Stepping through that door can be uncomfortable to terrifying. But you already know that, don’t you, whether you’ve taken that step or not. It is equally comforting to exhilarating to have passed through. That is not to say it always turns out well. But to have taken the step, to have gone through the mental and emotional contortions required to be able to step, is a life-giving moment regardless of the consequences.

You stand at that open door for this moment in time for civil marriage for same-sex couples. You stand at another door when you see or hear someone being hurt by discriminatory behavior. You stand at a door when you face the choice to speak or write or say nothing.

You can be swept along in the tides, passing those doors of decision. If you do, you may not complain with my earshot—or anyone else’s, for that matter—about the state of things. You think you have no power? You’re right—as long as you choose not to act. Do one small thing. (Don’t look over your shoulder; I’m talking to you.) Step through the door and know what it is to act for your own good or the good of others.

October 16, 2008

October 14, 2008

My Husband Loves Me

Here's the latest proof.

Okay, one is missing. Can you blame me? Caramel and pecans wrapped in melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. He has earned some serious bonus points here.


Final update. It was just as good as you think it was.

October 13, 2008

Today's Front Page

The story of Father Geoff Farrow appeared on today's front page of the Los Angeles Times.

If you are moved as I am by this man's sacrifice, post a link to his blog or to the article on your own blog and in comments. Email it to your friends. By keeping this story alive we can effect change. Informed people make informed choices, in California and elsewhere. We must do this.

October 12, 2008

Good Numbers

With all the bad news about the economy, I thought I'd post the one good thing I've seen.

UPDATE: Today's price! Fill 'er up!

October 11, 2008

Where Is God?

It is no surprise that Father Geoffrey Farrow has been suspended and removed from his pulpit. The Church had to silence this man as quickly as possible lest others follow his example. Never mind that his is a Christlike example of sacrifice for the sake of those who cannot speak for themselves.

In the face of such injustice at the hands of the powerful, many wonder why God does not intervene and dispense some powerful justice of His own. There is incredible and cruel injustice carried out all over the world, and millions are suffering daily—even losing their lives—because of it. We ask, “Why does this continue? Where is God?”

Where is God? He is right here. He is in me. He is in anyone who allows Him in. And we are His hands, His voice, His power on earth. We have the power to effect change. And yet so often we stand and cry for “someone” to do “something.”

I think often it’s because we don’t understand the authority we’ve been given; and we don’t understand the compelling strength behind change from within. The army that is capable of defeating powerful evil is comprised of simple soldiers like you and I. Our weapons are words, fired calmly and accurately to any ear who will hear. You do not know who will be the one who needs to hear what you have to say in protecting the weak, welcoming the outcast, loving the hated, bringing justice to the oppressed.

It is as simple as bringing it up in conversation. “Have you heard about the priest in Fresno? Let me tell you about it…” Do not let the sacrifice of Father Geoff go unheralded. Tell your friends. Link the story in your blog. In keeping this story alive, our outrage can spread to those whose station allows more to hear. Righteous anger leads to righteous acts. We can do this.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.* Where is God? He is here, ready to act through you.

*Edmund Burke (quoted by Martin Luther King)

October 8, 2008

Overheard: Married Life 2

As lunch ended at a restaurant, I put on my sunglasses to leave.

Me: “International Woman of Mystery.”

Abe: “You sure ARE.”

That's as it should be.

October 7, 2008

The World Is Watching

Father Geoffrey Farrow, a priest in California, has gone against official Church policy and urged his congregation, on camera, to vote against Proposition 8 in California. At the end of his homily on acceptance he said, "I know these words of truth will cost me dearly. But to withhold them would be far more costly and I would become an accomplice to a moral evil that strips gay and lesbian people not only of their civil rights but of their human dignity as well. Jesus said, 'The truth will set you free.' He didn't promise that it would be easy or without personal cost to speak that truth." In the interview that followed, Father Geoff told the world he is gay.

Father Tony was able to have a conversation with him and has urged other gay priests to follow the example set by this courageous man. I am in awe of Father Geoff’s grace and courage, and I pray that other priests will see this as a catalyst for change. Now.

Update: Father Geoff has started a blog. Please visit to read the text of his homily and to offer him support. I don't doubt that he will need it.

October 6, 2008


Well, it’s official, dammit. I have inner ear damage resulting in hearing loss, probably permanent.

A couple of months ago in the dead of night, a storm came through the city. Lightning was cracking all around us, and being a deep sleeper I was only vaguely aware. But then a bolt struck in our back yard and the boom got us out of bed. The percussive wave of the strike turned on my bedlamp, which is activated by a pressure-sensitive rheostat. My head was ringing from the shockwave, and my ears hurt. It was like a large-bore cannon had gone off next to my head.

Two days later my ears still ached, so I saw my doctor. He saw no physical signs of damage, but my ears were ringing with a couple of loud tones that muffled some sounds. He sent me to a specialist, but I already knew the outcome. There is no cure for tinnitus.

I’ve had a very mild case of tinnitus since I was a kid, no doubt due to dropping out of trees a bunch of times. Those little tones—there were four distinct notes—were easy to ignore and really were discernible only in the quietest of times. No problem.

Not so anymore. This noise is so loud that it cannot be drowned by hubby’s white noise machine he uses at night. (He’s got radar dishes for ears and can’t sleep without it.) I’ve had to ask people to repeat themselves a number of times, especially on the phone. I have to avoid other loud sounds, as I’ve learned they make the noise louder. (Ben popped a balloon near me. Never again.) That means no more rock concerts or rocking out in the car on my commute.

Shit. This isn’t old age. This isn’t a cautionary tale. There is nothing to be learned here. This just sucks. I’m having a momentary pity party that I’ll get over. I’ve got so much going for me, and I can still hear most things. I wish I could hear what good will come of it.

October 5, 2008

The Final Form of Love

"Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime;
therefore, we must be saved by hope.

Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; 
therefore, we must be saved by faith.

Nothing we do, however virtuous, could be accomplished alone;
 therefore, we must be saved by love.

No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our own standpoint;
 therefore, we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness."

The Irony of American History - Reinhold Niebuhr, 1952

October 1, 2008

Finding a Purpose

On my last irreverent post, it was pointed out that some people’s purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others. (That could have been me in my twenties.) Those people who seem to be disaster magnets are those who are at the whim of the currents of life. They make no plans; they have no goals; they don’t think past the moment to possible consequences of their actions. When the inevitable happens and bad things occur, they moan over the “bad luck” they seem to attract.

Have you ever noticed how the goal-driven, purposeful people have seemingly such good luck? It’s no accident. Having a clear goal in front of them guides their decisions daily. Knowing what you want gives you direction, energy, and a sense of control. Even when uncontrollable events interfere, it’s only a momentary distraction. They swim where they wish, mindful of the currents but in control of their direction. These are the people with purpose.

Purpose does not have to be grand. You don’t have to save the world. But why are you here? Do you know? What is important in your heart? How do you express that daily in your dealings with work, people, and leisure? Can someone who knows you well name your purpose? Can you?

Your purpose can change with your circumstances, but there is an underlying principle in all you do. What is yours? Is it directed inward—to reward yourself—or is it directed outward?

I challenge you to find one thing, only one thing, to place in your daily life that is for the good of others. Such a simple act as always smiling when you make eye contact can be the one thing that makes another’s day better. Perhaps you can always allow a merging driver into your lane—even the jerk who speeds past everyone and puts others at risk. Say “You’re welcome” every time someone says “Thank you.” In a long line, be patient and calm with the cashier. Ripples in a pond, good acts are replicated and passed on.

There was a drive-through I visited several times a week to pick up a diet Coke. (It has since closed.) They greeted me enthusiastically every time I came. But it wasn’t like that at first. What was the difference? One morning I was in a really good mood and I started my order with a shout of “Good morning!” The person at the speaker responded, “Well, good morning to you too! How can I help you?” This was certainly perkier than the greetings I had been getting. So each morning I came, I started my order with "Good morning!” The server commented over time how nice it was to be greeted so warmly, so I’ve tried to do it whenever I stop at a drive-through. Does it always make a difference? I don’t know. But I know it made a difference to one person, so why not continue?

Such a small thing. I’m certainly no saint, but it fits my purpose of finding the good in people and letting them know. It builds bridges, and that’s what I want to do.

What’s your purpose?