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Another Loose Canon

A place where "Theology Happens"... ...the blog of an Independent Catholic priest who just happens to be female. “God is living in the circle of eternity, and we the [straight] line cut from the world must be hammered, bent and broken, to be re-forg

Updated: 2014-10-06T23:59:25.135-04:00


The Theological Implications of Rollercoasters


We all know the familiar feeling, gut-wrenching or exciting or maybe both: when we get into the little car (or heaven help me, sit on a bench and let our legs dangle!) and get strapped in, waiting for what seems an eternity until there's that lurch and off we go. Up, up, up the hill that looked so manageable when standing in line, but that looks so amazingly huge now... then that suspended moment of EEEK! as we crest the hill... then AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!! as we go flying down the other side, possibly into a dark tunnel, or around a steep curve. Some hang on for dear life with their eyes closed. Others wave their hands in the air and scream in release, looking around to catch every fast-flying moment. Few of them are longer than five minutes, and nowadays they are so well-engineered that there are few bumps unless they're intended.Sometimes... sometimes life is like that. :) Sometimes one's walk of faith feels the same way--only it seldom lasts for a puny five minutes. Today, as the last hours of summer wane toward the Autumnal equinox (tonight at 11:09 PM in the Eastern US time zone where I live), I find myself on the brink of changes and pondering the theological implications of living life on a rollercoaster in the fast lane.This year has been difficult, and not just on me. Much has gone on in many places. We have but to open a newspaper or log on to a news site to see how busy everything has been. Natural disasters, military actions, mine collapses, oil rig explosions... political upheaval at home and abroad, and OH so much fear. It seems everyone with whom I've spoken feels exhausted already, as we lean toward my favourite month of October. We still have three whole months to go--with the ever-busy season of Thanksgiving, Advent, Hanukkah, Islamic New Year, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and the whole end of the calendar year Silvester/Western New Year thing to get to, the time when traditionally few of us have time to breathe, much less sit in holy silence for the good of our spirits. Eeeeek, indeed!I won't go into the long, gory, sad story of my own summer; I'm just glad it's coming to an end soon. I've come down the big hill, we're well into the steep turn, there's a dark tunnel at the end there but I can see the light coming. Soon the car will come back to the starting point and I can get off this ride, wobbly-legged (literally, for part of my summer has involved an unpleasant leg injury!) and glad to be on solid ground. I know some of you out there probably have had astonishing summers as well, and may well have a busy holiday season coming up on you as I do. So here's a thought or two:1) Do you LIKE rollercoasters? Then fit some more of them in between now and the end of the calendar year. Adrenaline is good for you sometimes, and we can all use the occasional shaking up. Plus, this sort of thing can be fun when you're in the right frame of mind.2) Do you NOT like rollercoasters? This is my category... :) I prefer to know things, I'm not good at surprises or heights with long, fast drops, but real life doesn't always work that way. If you don't like them, try to think of it as a moment for faith. *grin* Sit down, strap in, hold on, and try to enjoy the ride... there just might be a message for you somewhere.3) If (like me) you don't do well with surprises, try not to let that make you crazy. I did, and am a bit annoyed with myself for wasting the effort this summer. I'm going to attempt in future to see the surprises, the rollercoasters, the big drops and the huge rushes, as places where I need to take notice of what's going on with myself spiritually, and see if maybe, just maybe, I can stop screaming long enough to hear the message Spirit has for me. :)Yes, life will continue to rocket around big curves, steep hills, dark tunnels and the like. But the Lord of Heaven is there in the car with us, holding on to us as we hold on to the supports, letting us know it will eventually be all right. Even the worst situation eventually ends, and healing doesn't have to wait until the car stops in order to begin.Know that if you've [...]

Memories, Memories Friday Five


Sally writes:This year Tim and I have planted and nurtured a vegetable garden, and I have just spent the morning preparing vegetables and soups for the freezer, our veggie garden is producing like crazy and it is hard to keep up with, that said it'll be worth it for a little taste of summer in the middle of winter :-). That got me thinking of the things I treasure, memories are often more valuable than possessions. How about you, can you share:A treasured memory from childhood?A teenage memory?A young adult memory?A memory from this summer?A memory you hope to have?Bonus- a song that sums up one of those memoriesAhh, summer and memories... how they seem to go together! My veggie garden isn't doing nearly as well as Sally and Tim's, but I do cherish each struggling little grape tomato and blueberry that managed to make it through the very odd heat we've had this year. :) So let me see...Childhood memory:Possibly because my son recently adopted an adorable, mischievous black-and-white kitten to fill the void left by the passing of his beloved Tilly-woo some years ago, I find the first thing that pops to memory is the similarly-marked kitten I had as a very little girl. I had just seen Pinocchio (Disney version, 'when you wish upon a star....') and decided to name the kitten Figaro. I have one photo of him; he is crawling up my father's plaid shirt, while Daddy looks bemused and I stare in fascination, keeping hands in lap so I can hopefully get my chance to hold the wiggling bundle. Figgy didn't stay with us for long, he went to be with another family whose mom did not need to sleep during the day... but he's always been there in my memory, just one thought away.Teenage Memory:This is a tough one. I want to focus on positive memories, and my teenage years were... seldom positive. However, recent events in my life do bring forth something all the more precious now because half of the couple is gone and the other half has memory impairment. I met my in-laws long before they became such, while I was still in high school. They did many things for me, taught me things, helped me with problems, gave me a place in their hearts. My father-in-law passed away on Ash Wednesday this past February, but I will always remember how he taught me to once again find my dignity, my sense of self-worth, made me a stronger, better person. His wife aided in that task in many ways; she is alone now, half the time not remembering he is gone, the other half of the time remembering all too well. She is teaching me new lessons now, all unawares: patience, the simple grace of living in the moment, and learning to let go. Important, special memories, those....Young Adult:This one is easy. :) I was twenty-six, still clearly a young adult, when my son (who will be 28 this October) was born. He arrived 12 days after my birthday and 8 days before his parents' wedding anniversary. I remember as clearly as if it were yesterday what it felt like to have him move inside of me; when he came out and I held him for the first time, he moved deeper inside of me than he already had been, to take root in my heart. The photographs do not do justice to the absolute moment of gob-smacked adoration that hit me when I looked into his little red face.This Summer:Hmmm... we have a couple of weeks to go yet, and what I suspect will be the most memorable time has not quite yet come. I've been asked to be the celebrant at the wedding of two wonderful people who I have come to love dearly, the brother of the one I love and his delightful fiancee. I am looking forward to it with great joy, and expect to remember the event for any number of memory-worthy moments. I love doing weddings, love being privileged to be a part of someone's great moment of hope and joy. So I'll say that the happy memory (so far) from this summer is anticipation, the best sauce, as the wedding draws ever nearer....Hope to Have:Someday I hope someone will look at me the way I see him look at her, and will want to be with me as they want to be with each other. Until that day, I w[...]

Sometimes... Things Break...



Those things that break are hearts.

Mine is broken at the moment. Hearts are sometimes reasonably resilient things; sometimes they heal. We live in hope. Insert little brave smile here, pick up, keep going, rinse and repeat.


Today my prayers will be for all those who are suffering because of heartbreak. Whatever the reason, whatever the root cause, it matters not. God knows who you are and what you need; the prayer is there, God is there, somehow it will be all right eventually.

Please pick up and keep going. I will if you will. We'll all get there together.

If you want specific prayers for specific heartbreaks, or just want to let me know you need a prayer, leave me a comment; it doesn't have to be anything more than the word Yes. But even if you don't leave a comment, the prayers are there. Have one. It'll do you a world of good.

Please say one for me too....

Finding God's Mercy


Those of you who may have been reading this intermittent blog for some time--or are willing to page back through to see what the heck this is all about--may have noticed that one recurring refrain in my spiritual walk is this: "Is this year OVER YET??" At my age especially, one hates to wish away one's days, weeks, months, and years. So I have decided that my focus for the rest of 2010 is to try and alter that refrain to something more positive, by attempting to find in each day something good, uplifting, or even just of shorter duration than it might have been otherwise.Of course, the Universe being what it is, the very moment I make such a decision there arises a challenge.... *wry smile*Well, I've been doing it again. Wondering if 2010 is over yet, foolishly believing 2011 will somehow not have its own challenges. This time I believe the universe is not letting me get away with it.Last Sunday I was awakened by pain. I'm not good with pain, but I'm pretty good at hiding it; not always for the best of reasons, but hey, if you're good at something and there's even the tiniest bit of positive spin to it, go with it. :) Nevertheless, the point of the comment is this: I don't usually let pain get the better of me. But this pain fit all the hallmarks of a heart attack, and for once I decided to listen.Here's the end of the story first: it wasn't a heart attack. Thank you, Lord, for that! What it was, however, brings its own interesting challenges: it was a return of the stress-related attacks I had a few years ago when my life decided to take WAY too many new directions all at the same time, like puppies pulling toward every quarter of the compass at once. Shortly thereafter--a matter of days--I was gardening and got nowhere NEAR poison ivy, but somehow got it all over myself again. Just like the last two Julys.Oh yay.... :)All right, yes, to be honest, fair and just, the crisis was way overdue. I've been living on air and about 4 hours of sleep a night for far too long, and losing important bits of myself in the bargain. Had I been my own counseling client, I'd have known precisely what to say and in exactly what tone of voice--but how often do we give our own selves that interesting grace?Oh my yes... Ἰατρέ, θεράπευσον σεαυτόν, physician, heal thyself.... a proverb known in Jesus's day, as he quotes it to the crowd in Nazareth in exactly those terms: "And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son? And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country." (Luke 4:22-23, KJV) We know, as did they, that Jesus meant we should look to our own problems prior to judging those of others--a proverb he would gently push home in another way when suggesting we remove the log from our own eyes before worrying over the speck of dust in the eye of our brother or sister. Oh counselor, look thyself in the face in thy morning mirror and take a dose of thine own medication... :)Hence the whole idea of trying to do just that, wrapped up in the concept of joy no matter what. So I have to crawl out of bed somewhere between 03:30 and 04:00, hit the road as soon as possible, and drive safely/mindfully to my tentmaker-job? So what! I get to see the lovely full moon riding the skies amid the cloud-ships, where others miss it because they are asleep. And I get to leave before rush-hour traffic becomes horribly bad, which is also a plus. I get to learn afresh that my body's immune system really DOES work, oh boy does it ever, and that all the signals point to upcoming challenges. Joy!But I also need to heal myself by getting to bed earlier... eating more healthfully and at less odd hours... reclaiming time here and there to do the things that feed my own soul.... And I need to believe and claim that I have as much right to health, rest and joy as anyone els[...]

Things That Make You Go Hmmm...


Good morning friends,

I have set my comments permissions to moderated status because of an interesting spammage influx of late. For those of you leaving kind, relevant commentary, thank you... for those leaving comments that are inappropriate, and that link me to porn sites, pleasse know I am a priest and don't "do" porn. ;)

Please leave comments IF they are relevant. Please stop with the porn spammage. You have been reported, and you know who you are. :)

In all things love... but love with Moderation. *snicker*

BTW, thanks for all the good thoughts. The Cardiac Incident this past weekend turned out to not be a heart attack, but we still don't know exactly what it was. Continued prayers are very much appreciated!

Ends of Eras


What stunning timing.

On the very morning of the annual All-Star Game for baseball's best and brightest, a life came to an end--a bare two days after that of another baseball giant--and both of them affiliated with the same team. The universe has an odd sense of existence, I swear...

Those of you who read this blog are probably reasonably aware that I am not a fan of the New York Yankees. Rather, it is in my blood to consider them The Ultimate Opponent: in my home they are referred to as Those People (much as Robert E. Lee used to call the Federal troops, and for much the same reason: he knew they were human beings, people he was once part of, deserving of the love of God as much as anyone else--but just "not us"... a non-nasty way to refer to persons with a different mission from oneself, if you will!) when they are not being referred to by other far less compassionate names. *wry smile* No doubt my team suffers the same name-calling in homes across the land as well, for few things polarize baseball fans like the Auncient and Especiall Rivalrie Betwixt the Red Sox and the Yankees....

But right now is not the time for partisanship. Death has hit the Bronx in a hard way, so now is the time for compassion and caring.

On July 11, Bob Sheppard--The Voice of Yankee Stadium--passed away at the age of 99. Had he made it to October 20, he would have attained the great old age of 100. His life is a remarkable one for many reasons: his service to his country, his love of his family, his work as a broadcaster and what he considered his most important work: that of Professor of Speech at his alma mater, St. John's University, NYC. But to those of us who love baseball, a team's "voice"--the person who announces the games in their home park, knows the players, the stats, the game--is a special and sacred vocation. When we lose one, especially a classic, courtly one like Bob Sheppard, we lose something much, much more than can be easily described.

Bad enough; a hit to the heart, of that there is no doubt. But then two days later on July 13, early in the morning of All-Star Game Day, death visited the Yankees once more. This time it took "The Boss," George Steinbrenner, who has been the owner of the team since 1973. It was a quick death: a massive heart attack, occurring at his summer home in Tampa, FL just as the day was dawning.

Many will eulogize him in the weeks to come. A man who was both loved and despised is being spoken of in hushed tones, granted (as we all are at such times) graces he may or may not have possessed in life. His positive traits are magnified into super-virtues; his faults kicked under the rug, and realistically speaking, there's nothing wrong with that. He lived a long, controversial, powerful life, and made an undeniable mark on his generation. Like the passing of Tom Yawkey of the Red Sox in July of 1976, Steinbrenner's passing marks one of those occasions where one can truly say we will never see his like again.

Time enough later to tell his story, turn the spade of history through the garden of his life. Right now and for some time to come, I would like to suggest that we simply do this: Say a prayer for the souls of Sheppard and Steinbrenner, pray for God's peace and presence for their families, friends, team and fans as they deal with a monumental double loss, and find it in our hearts to have charity in all things.

At the time of death, we are all equal. All else is details.

Requiescat in pace, Mr. Sheppard, Mr. Steinbrenner. For even at the grave we make our song:

"Good evening... ladies and gentlemen... and welcome... to Yankee Stadium!"

Oh Look, She Lives....


I am SO sorry to have been gone for so long. :( Life has been interesting; it still is, but I'm starting to come back from the long dark, into the light.

There will be something much more interesting here very soon, I promise. Thanks for all the prayers; they have been appreciated deeply!

Love & blessings,

Friday Five: Autumnal Equinox


Songbird scripsit:

It's that time of year, at least north of the equator. The windows are still open, but the darned furnace comes on early in the morning. My husband went out for a walk after an early supper and came home in full darkness. And yes, where we live, leaves are beginning to turn. As this vivid season begins, tell us five favorite things about fall:

Oh, I love fall. I start waking up when fall hits. :) I wonder if that's true for everyone born in the autumnal part of the year, and if it translates to other times of year too... Let me see now:

1) A fragrance: the smell of pumpkin pie fresh out of the oven. Or pumpkin muffins slathered with butter while still hot. I love pumpkin and always associate it with fall!

2) A color: deep, orange-y brown, the ultimate autumnal colour for me... :)

3) An item of clothing: sweaters. I know I'll need them eventually, but I have always liked cooler-to-cold weather better than warm or hot.

4) An activity: scuffing along through downed leaves. You are just plain NEVER too old to scuff through crackly, crunchy leaves! :)

5) A special day: My son's birth. I have been pregnant many times, but Brian was the only one to survive to birth; he was born on October 13 in a very good year, and he is the light of my life. October is a good month for me. My birthday falls within that month; Brian was born; I was married in that month. A number of people I love also have birthdays and anniversaries in October. October Rocks!! :)

Friday Five Goes Back to School...


Mother Laura writes:

It's time for a Back-To-School Friday Five!

1. Is anyone going back to school, as a student or teacher, at your house? How's it going so far? No, we're all as graduated as we can handle being for now, though I am considering a distance-learners Masters. Can't handle the money yet, but it's fun to dream! :) Of course the usual learning of life goes on, and there's been a LOT of that lately....

2. Were you glad or sad when back-to-school time came as a kid? Always happy, myself. :) It meant that for several hours a day I was safe and cared about because I was smart and funny. I loved school.

3. Did your family of origin have any rituals to mark this time of year? How about now? My grandparents, some of them, were German--so when we were littlies we got those cornucopia things full of candy and school supplies. And of course going back to school meant it was almost Oktoberfest, so we ate a lot of sausage and kraut as Oma practiced for the amazing feed everyone got each year. :)

4. Favorite memories of back-to-school outfits, lunchboxes, etc? This sounds so silly... but when Rev Sharon was still a size 6x, she had a little sleeveless blouse of white linen with yellow buttons shaped like chicks... and the ruffled peplum on the thing had a printed farmyard scene all the way around of barns, fences, scarecrows, and little chickies--and the chickies were flocked and fuzzy. I wore that thing to RAGS and wish sometimes that I could find a pic of me in it. I think my fave lunch box was a Monkees one, though I was never much of a Davy Jones kinda gal... I always liked Mickey Dolenz best. :)

5. What was your best year of school? I think 6th grade. I had a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Dickerson, who was the first to twig that I was being abused at home--and did what she could to mitigate it. She asked me to come to her apartment, where she did the adjustments on some clothing donated to me by other teachers because my wardrobe was... umm... awful... and while she was pinning. measuring, and taking in seams, she basically helped me understand that what was happening at home wasn't normal. Then she helped me find ways to fix it in a fashion that turned out to be healing for all of us, those at least who wanted to BE healed. I think in the end, she taught me the real meaning of pastoral counseling; I've kind of used that as a model ever since.

Friday Five: Vulnerability


This week's F5, with prayers and love to GG and her family...I have recently been reading a book entitled Jesus wept, it is all about vulnerability in leadership. The authors speak of how Jesus shared his earthly frustrations and vulnerabilities with a select group of people. To some he was the charismatic leader and teacher, to others words of wisdom were opened and explained and some frustrations shared, to his "inner circle of friends: Peter, James and John, he was most fully himself, and in all of these things he was open to God. So I bring you this weeks Friday 5:1. Is vulnerability something that comes easily to you, or are you a private person?It comes to me fairly easily, but it's harder to share it. I was raised to believe my only purpose in life was to be of service to others, and that others really didn't want to hear when I wasn't "there" and "strong" for them. Fortunately this has changed over the years, but I still find the confessing to be hard.2.How important is it to keep up a professional persona in work/ ministry?Well... I'm of two minds here. I think it is important to people in general that their leader be strong, collected, together--speed of the leader, speed of the team, and all that. However. I have also been most profoundly touched in my life during times when people broke a public face to show their deepest heart. The first example that comes to mind (because I have a great deal of respect and affection for him) is Ted Kennedy. I was in grade school when Bobby Kennedy was killed; I have never forgotten listening to the break in his voice, seeing the tears in his eyes, when he eulogized his brother and spoke the words "Love is not an easy feeling to put into words." All the stoicism in the world couldn't overcome the unique shared-grief-ness of that moment. When someone shows their congregation true grief, true pain, true joy, even true anger--I feel more connected. I am comforted by the familiarity of their "usual persona"--but I am touched when they share.3. Masks, a form of self protection? discuss...Oh yes, of course they are. But they are also a way of hiding. And from time to time we need them in both of those roles. We could go on for hours and days about when/whether masks are appropriate...4. Who knows you warts and all?My sister Jo; a close-knit circle of very beloved friends; my horse. Everyone else probably knows pieces of various sizes. And no, I don't want to list the friends. :) They know who they are.5. Share a book, a prayer, a piece of music, a poem or a person that touches the deep place in your soul, and calls you to be who you are most authentically.Oh... not easy. The Rosary in its current form, especially in Latin, speaks to the deep, still places in my soul; there's also a poem about the resurrection that has always touched me very deeply. It is by Jonathan Brooks of Mississippi (1905-1945) and it never, ever fails to make me weep--leaving a sense of joy and peace behind. I get shivers thinking of it now, and happily share it with you all now.The Resurrectionby Jonathan BrooksHis friends went off and left Him dead In Joseph's subterranean bed, Embalmed with myrrh and sweet aloes, And wrapped in snow-white burial clothes. Then shrewd men came and set a seal Upon His grave, lest thieves should steal His lifeless form away and claim For Him an undeserving fame. "There is no use," the soldiers said, "Of standing sentries by the dead." Wherefore, they drew their cloaks around Themselves, and fell upon the ground; And slept like dead men, all night through, In the pale moonlight and chilling dew. A muffled whiff of sudden breath Ruffled the passive air of Death. He woke, and raised Himself in bed; Recalled how He was crucified; Touched both hands' fingers to His head, And lightly felt His fresh-healed side. Then [...]

Friday Five: Summer Reading


Songbird sez:

Back in the day, before I went to seminary, I worked in the Children's Room at the Public Library, and every year we geared up for Summer Reading. Children would come in and record the books read over the summer, and the season included numerous special and celebratory events. As a lifelong book lover and enthusiastic summer reader, I find I still accumulate a pile of books for the summer.

This week, then, a Summer Reading Friday Five.

My responses below:

1) Do you think of summer as a particularly good season for reading? Why or why not?

Surprisingly... under normal circumstances, no. Mind you, I'm unemployed so far this year--but I have had no time for reading. Too much else is going on... but realistically speaking, I haven't thought of summer as "reading time" since I graduated from High School. Winter is when I usually catch up, unless one of my favourite authors puts out a book--or a new volume comes out of a manga I'm reading. :)

2) Have you ever fallen asleep reading on the beach?

Yes. Sunburn is not the friend of people with ancestors from Northern Europe. Oww...

3) Can you recall a favorite childhood book read in the summertime?

Probably something by Tolkien... though I had a habit, even back then, of reading and re-reading favourite books--among them Rumer Godden's China Court. What a luminous piece of work....

4) Do you have a favorite genre for light or relaxing reading?

What is this "relaxing" of which you speak?? :)

If it's light reading, it's Manga. Right now I'm breathlessly awaiting Volume 5 of
Le Chevalier D'Eon.

5) What is the next book on your reading list?

Besides the above? Hmmm... probably something in German or Icelandic, as I am trying to learn those languages.

Friday Five: Word Association


Playing Late, because Other Stuff (tm) happened this weekend...This post is loosely based on previous "wordy" Friday Fives from Reverend Mother and Songbird. I liked the results, and so we are doing another word association. Theirs were based on words from a lectionary text. Mine comes from the Lovin' Spoonful song, "Summer in the City."Think summer......are you there? Below you will find five words or phrases. Tell us the first thing you think of on reading each one. Your response might be simply another word, or it might be a sentence, a poem, a memory, a recipe, or a story. You get the idea:1. rooftop2. gritty3. hot town (yeah, I know, it's two words)4. night5. danceWelll.... I'm not quite "at" summer yet, though Lord knows Northern Virginia has been of late. Back toward the tail end of May we began getting summer weather long before normal, and it got... Virginia-ish. Hot humid afternoons; thunderstorms darn' near every day... that heavy, high-temp, icky sort of weather that just wears you right down to a frazzle. All the severe weather warnings had an extra codicil: "because residents of the region have not yet had time to become accustomed to this sort of weather, temperature-related illness is expected..." or words to that effect. Umm... yeah... *wry smile*So here's my words:1) Rooftop: First thing I thought of was a sight that made me smile recently: I was driving home and passed through the nearest large town, quite an old area, where the houses are now a little closer to the road than they were before the highway department stepped in, if you catch my drift. I saw a young woman sitting outside a dormer window on the roof of her home; she had on her bathing suit and sunglasses, and had a laptop in, well, her lap. :) I smiled at the novel concept of catching rays AND catching peace and quiet... then had a flashback to when I was much younger. I was at a church picnic, and took my plate of BBQ out onto the deck to soak up some sun while I ate. Stretched out on a chaise... put the plate in my lap... and ended up with a sunburn over most of my thighs... except for the half-circle on each thigh, from where the plate had been and protected my VERY pale Irish/German skin from the sun. :)2) Gritty: The way my mucking boots feel when I balance on one foot, putting the other on the ground, when donning said boots... and inevitably sand gets on my sock, then into the boots. Scrunch, scrunch, scrunch... Once a horse steps on you, though, you tend to forget the grit.3. hot town: Umm... pretty much everywhere lately. And people wonder why Summer is fourth on my list of favourite seasons... ;)4) Night: Night, in Virginia during the summer, tends at its best to be when the temperature drops, the dew point rises, and I can shut off the AC--until July, that is, at which point it becomes the time when I can turn DOWN the AC. But on average... night is when I can think, dream, and weep without anyone seeing me. It is that space where I meet my Lord face to face without pretense and (for the most part) interruption. I like Night, most of the time...5) Dance: I don't dance well, and when I do I tend to want to lead--oh, the unlooked-for ramifications of growing up as a Civil War Re-enactor, where I dressed as a boy. :) I was taught to dance from the "male position" and don't seem able to make the shift--but I can still waltz a girl in a hoopskirt with precision and éclat! I can even reverse her so the hoop does that scandalous, daring flip thing occasionally mentioned in well-researched historical romance novels... it's the sort of thing Rhett Butler would have done. *grin* I do like dancing, and wish most of all that I could swing dance--and that I had someone to share that with.So that's Sharon's brain toda[...]

A Soul Goes Home


I am Resurrection and I am Life, says the Lord.Whoever has faith in me shall have life,even though he die.And everyone who has life,and has committed himself to me in faith,shall not die for ever.Saturday afternoon, a little before 2 PM, my friend Rick S. stepped out of this life and into the next after a long battle with cancer. When we saw him last at church on the last Sunday in May, he was so tired, so weak… and then the e-mail notes from the Rector began.As for me, I know that my Redeemer livesand that at the last he will stand upon the earth.After my awaking, he will raise me up;and in my body I shall see God.I myself shall see, and my eyes behold himwho is my friend and not a stranger.Rick has been my friend for around eight years. He is a man of wisdom, charm, and a delightfully wry sense of humour. He is a superlative musician with a real sense of how to make a choir a family as much as a functional worship unit. He is from the deep South and it shows… his manners, his wry delivery, his innate kindness. He is a Christian, a deep-faith believer, and he knows by whom he is saved. Now, he has met that saviour in person and been welcomed home.For none of us has life in himself,and none becomes his own master when he dies.For if we have life, we are alive in the Lord,and if we die, we die in the Lord.So, then, whether we live or die,we are the Lord’s possession.When he told us about his cancer, he was very matter-of-fact. There was no real announcement to the group of us at large; when he ended rehearsal as he always did—with prayer, giving us a moment or two to mention things we felt needed attention—he simply said “I’m starting chemo this week and would appreciate some prayer.” We sat there nodding, yes, yes, that’s what we do when someone undergoes—wait, what, CHEMO?? Frissons of terror, determination, fear… but always a sense that it would get better, that if anyone could beat cancer, it would be Rick. He was a fighter, determined, strong. Right up to the end he was planning a trip to Hawaii.Happy from now onare those who die in the Lord!So it is, says the Spirit,for they rest from their labors.For a while it seemed to go away… but when it came back, it came back with a vengeance. Sometimes when you see someone who’s been blindsided by the midnight freight like that, you just know.I knew. I knew that would be the last time I saw him.Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,And let light perpetual shine upon him.If I have any regrets, it is that I didn’t spend more time with him as the days wore down. We weren’t in the same social circle; we only saw each other at church, where he was the organist and I the chorister. But at church… Oh, at church we had our own partnership. I occasionally was privileged to sing solos under his direction. He could play circles around many organists I have known, and if I flubbed a phrase he just played around it. If he wanted to slip in a change, he would look at me and raise his eyebrow and I knew to tell my fellow sopranos, “let’s do the descant!” If he felt he wanted a solo suddenly, he would look at me and just twinkle… and I would go to his side, get the hymnal number, and off we’d go… it was like we shared a brain sometimes.I will miss that.Christ is risen from the dead,trampling down death by death,and giving life to those in the tomb.Rick knew how to motivate people. He was kind, and his sense of humour was incisively wry; he didn’t exactly poke fun, he just kind of… prodded. Gently. He could tell a section they had screwed up very badly without making them FEEL badly. He could make them laugh, then play the part correctly, and cause more laughter with the “ahem, see??” expression he[...]

I Have Decided...


... that 2008 is way too full of challenges. And most of them have been... horrid.

I am fighting an uphill battle to keep before my eyes the long list of blessings I have been given: a loving son; a return to relative health; a roof over my head despite being still unemployed... that sort of thing. There are also the lists of hopes: good interview recently, stuff of that sort. But I've discovered, much to my chagrin, that I am only human... and that sorrow is beginning to weigh me down.

I feel unloved, unwanted... cast aside by a thirty-year marriage partner, not really much needed in the life of a 26-year-old son... and now a beloved friend seems to not need me any more, either. On top of everything else--someone very dear to me is in the process of checking out of this life.

In the face of a life ending, a holy and fraught time... all my little sorrows seem to be so petty. Needless to say, between the self-recrimination, the depression, the grief and the loneliness--I am decidedly NOT in my happy space.

So I am trying to come out of my Wallow just there on the left as you enter the Slough of Despond, long enough to ask if anyone reading this could please take a moment and do whatever your religion recommends at a time like this: say a prayer, light a candle, ask for good spirits to guide him home... as my dear friend R. prepares for the step out of one life into the next one. Musician, mentor, friend... not nearly old enough to go, and too much of a bright, beautiful light for us to be able to afford his loss, however temporary...

For R., for his partner S., and for all those who love them both... may the parting be swift and painless, the path to peace and Heaven short, and the Way lined with waiting loved ones to welcome him home.

I'll try to be better later. Right now I just need to curl up in a ball somewhere and howl for a while... fortunately I am still coherent enough to remember that the Lord "gets" that, and will never leave me.

Radio Show Tonight!


Good afternoon all! Just wanted to let you know that tonight on "Another Loose Canon" we have a very special guest calling in. Rev. Corbie of Fire Through Spirit will be joining us for the first of (at least!) two shows, during which she will share her experiences in the realm of healing and how to approach illness from a spiritual perspective. You can see her website (which contains contact info and a list of her upcoming in-person appearances at various conventions and fairs) here:

So please join us tonight at 6 PM Eastern US time; Corbie will speak with us about health, healing, and the interesting concept that "Being a Co-Conspirator is Better than Being a Patient!" She's a riveting, charming speaker--with much personal experience with the things of which she speaks. Following the interview, we'll open the phones so people can ask questions and share stories with Corbie.

See you then! The profile URL is: and you will see a link for tonight's show.

Whew, What a Week....


Wow, what a week.

I got a call the other week from the cardiologist and neurologist who have been monitoring my recent medical difficulties; they asked me to stop driving and come to their office for a discussion "best had face to face" (two mutually exclusive things, since I live in The Sticks (tm) and cannot get anywhere without driving unless it's close enough to walk to...) I tend to assume the worst, being Only Human, so I presumed they were going to tell me they'd found something quite dreadful and needed to operate or whatever. Turned out I had been having "pre-epileptic seizure-like events" something that everyone has about 2 or three times a day. If you suddenly cannot think of a word you wanted to say--you're having one. If you put your keys down in the same place as always and suddenly cannot remember where they are--you're having one. Problem was, I was having them about every half hour all day every day--and they turned up on my ambulatory EEG. The worst turned out to actually be pretty OK: by viewing the events and prescribing to unseat them, the docs were helping prevent me from becoming epileptic and having actual seizures. So that was good!

I had to take a few days off from work to take the meds and get used to them before being allowed to drive again. I was sleepy and had double-vision for a while, then it all evened out. Yay!

However... while I was home recuperating, a friend called from the office to warn me that there was a reduction in force (RIF) coming--and that I would be let go when I returned to the office. So it turned out to be... and after taking a perfectly human tendency to work myself into fits and swivets over it, I did a lot of praying and then went back as soon as the doctor said I could. I did get let go, but I got an excellent severance package and I do have some good interviews lined up already. So it all worked out as well as it could--and I'm sure God has more good changes coming for me. This all has the feel of a Thing Meant to Happen, and I'm more excited than scared. :)

The radio show did indeed debut; there were a number of technical glitches (including dead air for about ten minutes when the site had a server re-set right in the middle of my show!) and no one called in, but by and large it came off well. I want to thank everyone who stuck with it for the whole hour; I'm going to try editing the archived file, so that if you decide to go give it a listen you won't have to hear the dead air. :) I will be doing a show every Friday evening at 6 PM eastern time, hopefully with more music and with LOTS more people calling in. :)

Thank you God for getting me through all this....

Internet Radio Adventures....


Sorry I haven't posted in a while! Life has been interesting in the sense of the Chinese proverb.... ;) Anyway, just a quick note to let you know that if you're interested, my show on debuts tonight at 6 PM eastern US time.

I've activated the chat room early in case anyone wants to come by and schmooze. :) If you are a registered member of the site you can log in, then get to the chat room from my profile, which can be reached by adding a forward slash and Rev_Sharon to the URL once you're there. The site is free to register, listen, AND host, so if you think you might be interested, it's an idea! :)

The show is called Another Loose Canon, just like my blog; there will be a link on the profile page. Tonight's topic, after some general spiritual rambling by the host, will be the Efficacy of Prayer; I'll be inviting people to call in and talk about the times prayer has worked for them--and the times it hasn't.

Very Nervous Now (tm)

Borrowed from Singing Owl:


Your Score: Rabbit

You scored 14 Ego, 15 Anxiety, and 17 Agency!


IT was going to be one of Rabbit's busy days. As soon as he
woke up he felt important, as if everything depended upon him.
It was just the day for Organizing Something, or for Writing a
Notice Signed Rabbit, or for Seeing What Everybody Else Thought
About It. It was a perfect morning for hurrying round to Pooh,
and saying, "Very well, then, I'll tell Piglet," and then going
to Piglet, and saying, "Pooh thinks--but perhaps I'd better see
Owl first." It was a Captainish sort of day, when everybody
said, "Yes, Rabbit " and "No, Rabbit," and waited until he had
told them.

You scored as Rabbit!

ABOUT RABBIT: Rabbit is generally considered Clever by his many friends and relations. He is actually a much better reader and writer than Owl, but he doesn't consider it worth mentioning. Instead, Rabbit's real talent lies in Organizing Plans. He organizes rescue parties, makes schemes to reduce Tigger's bounciness, and goes on missions to find out what Christopher Robin does when he's not at the Hundred Acre Woods. Sometimes, however, his Plans do not always go as Planned.

WHAT THIS SAYS ABOUT YOU: You are smart, practical and you plan ahead. People sometimes think that you don't stress or worry, but this is not the case. You are the kind of person who worries in a practical way. You think a) What are my anxieties about and b)what can be done about them? No useless fretting for you. You don't see the point in sitting around and waiting for things to work out, when you could actually work them out today and save yourself a lot of time and worry. Your friends tend to rely on you, because they know that they can trust you help them work things out.

You sometimes tend to be impatient with people who are less practical in their ways. You don't have much patience for idiots who moan about things but never actually DO anything about them. You have high expectations of everyone, including yourself. When you don't succeed at something, or when something goes wrong despite your best efforts to prevent it, you can get quite hard on yourself. You need to cut yourself some slack and accept that everyone has their faults, even you, and THAT IS OKAY. Let yourself be faulty, every now and then, for the sake of your own sanity.

Link: The Deep and Meaningful Winnie-The-Pooh Character Test written by wolfcaroling on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test
View My Profile(wolfcaroling)

Sometimes You've Just Gotta Rant...


Every so often in the midst of the bureaucracy to which our liturgical lives can occasionally sink, there comes a moment of grace--perhaps slightly panicky, but laden with blessing. Something like this happened to me during Holy Week. Holy Week was different for me this year; what a surprise! Everything's been different for me in the last year. I did not have to preach this year, not even once; our little church has become very little indeed of late, and there haven't been meetings in a while. But I suspect Spirit will begin doing something about that soon.So, at a time when I would otherwise have been preparing sermons and attending services at the Episcopal Church where I sing, I was actually packing for a trip to Boston to spend the Holy Weekend with someone I love very much, in the city where I was raised. In the middle of the confusion that packing always brings for me, I received an e-mail from a friend: her infant nephew was in hospital very sick, with two frantic parents talking a need for emergency baptism lest the little fellow shuffle off the mortal coil at a painfully early age. I sent her a note back saying I was headed out of town, but that she could call me if she needed prayer at any point; then I sent news of little Chris's difficulty to every prayer list I know of, and hoped for the best.Late on Wednesday I got a note back: would I stop at the hospital on the way out of town to baptize Chris? And could I use the RC rites? Well... one answers a pastoral call however one must, it goes with the collar, so I sent a note back to say yes. Then I re-arranged my plans, printed out the appropriate liturgy, and off I went. I feared the worst because my friend told me Chris’s parents were pretty desperate to have the baptism accomplished. The father, a non-practicing Catholic, wanted me to use the RC rite as much as possible. The mother is a non-churched Protestant, and they were both VERY unhappy because the local RC diocesan response to their urgent request had been… *breathes deeply* …less than helpful or loving.Now, I do not about the world at large, but I know how I would react if a frantic parent called me and said their child was VERY sick and possibly in mortal danger. I spent about an hour counseling the family as we waited for a practicing Catholic in the family who was to serve as godmother. I played with Chris, who is a beautiful little man, and he seemed to take to me very well. He was pale and thin and looked like he’d been through a wringer—and every few moments he gave out with gut-wrenching, deep, hacking, whooping coughs that rattled his poor little form. We spent a nice hour, if somewhat sad and nervous. God-mom-to-be showed up; I told the family what would happen, we went over a few things, then we made a Christian out of Chris. Afterwards I anointed him for healing, then left them with the promise of prayer and a copy of my cell number in case they needed me during the weekend. They didn’t. In fact, by the time I hit ground back at home following my trip, healing blessings had flocked all around Chris like angels: he was much better, the dire diagnosis he had initially received proved to be incorrect, and while he's still sick, he's not dying--and they have found what they needed to know in order to treat him. He's out of the hospital now and recovering nicely, with happy parents. Happy ending, thank you God!Except that I was still very unhappy (OK, I was livid, when you're Irish, German, Welsh and English you do NOTHING by halves...) at the way they were brushed off by the In[...]

Living Lent in the Fast Lane...


OK, hands please: who else has noticed that Lent skated past like Counsel for the Opposition on greased roller skates down a frozen pathway??

Hnh. Thought as much. :)

As my son might say: Like, OMG, it's TUESDAY already and that means it's darn' near EASTER!!! So... how exactly did this happen???

I swear it was New Year's Eve only a few days ago. Then MUCH to my eternal surprise, suddenly I was back home and the choir director (the adorable and wonderful Rick!) at the Episcopal Church where I sing, handed out music one rehearsal evening and said "This is for Ash Wednesday; sorry it's so late, but this is a good one we've done before and can sing in our sleep." (And he was right... it was Mozart's "Ave Verum Corpus", which is known colloquially among our good-humoured choir as the Motorcycle Anthem [ahem... ave VROOOOOM!!... *grins*], which we have done many times and always to excellent reviews.)

Ash Wednesday. Huh?? Already??? But... but...

2007 was a rough year. I'm talking butt-ugly, hidden-blessings, ever-lovin' ROUGH. So as 2008 dawned I needed time, peace, stability... in short, by the time Ash Wednesday rolled inexorably downtown, I was SO not prepared to entomb my alleluias. I still needed them. Wanted them. Clung to the hope they offer. Off they went anyway... and now we hover on the brink of Easter. Wow.

God, my dears, is in the details. Whether you see Deity as male or female, neither, or even as everything, God is in the details. We'll get through it... I know that I hope, that as Virginia warms toward Spring this week and the days get longer with sweeter breezes before the heat hits, I will have a chance to sit down and reflect at the sleepless, painful, more-than-likely-necessary blur that was Lent. I hope, in short, that I will find the details I missed along the way, and be instructed concerning the blessings therein.

May it be so for you and yours--and may your Easter be especially blessed!

Friday Five: Time and Transitions


here's a Friday Five about time and transitions....

1. If you could travel to any historical time period, which would it be, and why?

Probably Tudor England, so I could learn once and for all everything I want to know about women's upper-class clothing.


No really, I mean it... :)

OK, I'd also want to go to learn about the stirrings of the Reformation first-hand. Then I would like to travel to the American Civil War, to meet Robert E. Lee in person. He is one of my favourite people ever....

A side-trip to some point in the Wars of the Roses, to meet Jasper Tudor, would kinda rock too. :)

2. What futuristic/science fiction development would you most like to see?

The ending of certain diseases: cancer, AIDS, cystic fibrosis, kidney disease...

3. Which do you enjoy more: remembering the past, or dreaming for the future?

Remembering the past, I guess. There are too many times when hope is painful. *attempts a smile; finds it... not as hard as I thought*

4. What do you find most memorable about this year's Lent?

Two things, actually: how short it seemed by comparison, and how much it hurt. The Good Lord decided this would be a truly sucky Lent for me. But as usually happens, that means it will probably turn out to have been a truly important one as well...

5. How will you spend your time during this upcoming Holy Week? What part do you look forward to most?

I'm singing a solo on Palm Sunday; during the week I have three proposals due out at my tentmaker job, so I will be praying even harder than usual. :) I generally look forward the most to Holy Saturday because I adore the ceremony of the Easter Vigil--but this year, I'm on sabbatical. I'm going to Boston to spend time with a dear friend and am leaving on the morning of Maundy Thursday; no preaching, no ceremony, but I will go to church in My Most Favoritist City EVAH, and it's maybe even possible my friend will come along. :) But I have to tell you... the Easter Vigil, beginning in darkness and that long, slow, exhilarating walk down the aisle with the Paschal Candle, intoning "The Light of Christ!", is one of the times of the liturgical year that give me strength to go on through all the others.... :)

Friday Five: Yay, It's Winter!!


Brrrr! Baby, it’s COLD outside! At least that is the case where I am this morning. We are in a January deep freeze. Have a cup of hot tea and tackle five easy seasonal questions.

1. What is the thermometer reading at your house this morning?

Was 7 degrees F when I awakened at 0730; now at 1615 it's 39 and falling, with a forecast of a balmy 18 degrees overnight. :)

2. Snow—love it or hate it?

Love it--so long as I don't have to drive in it. My pickup will take me many places; it's the other folks on the road, who didn't have the benefit of growing up in a heavy snow area as I did, that I fear.

3. What is winter like where you are?

Usually cold and rather harsh in terms of temps, wind, and all, because we're so open around here (on a glacial plain east of the Blue Ridge Mountains and west of the Atlantic Ocean). Things freeze hard fairly early on, then we have bleakness until a good snow covers everything in fluff. Another reason to love snow... :)

4. Do you like winter sports? Any good stories?

I like to watch football, does that count? Go Patriots!!! :) I have always wanted to ice skate but my ankles are too weak. Did you know it's now less than a month until the Red Sox pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in Ft. Myer, FL??? :)

5. What is your favorite season, and why?

That's a tough call. I like Winter and feel an affinity for it, but I love Spring. Winter allows me to "be fallow" for a while; I tend to nest and plan toward the coming of March and the sap beginning to run again. Mostly I love Spring because of Easter.

Bonus: Share a favorite winter pick-me-up. A recipe, an activity, or whatever.

Thick lamb stew with barley, carrots, celery, some onion, and potatoes. Spoon it up and serve forth with fresh-baked bread slathered with butter and honey; consume in front of the fireplace. Yum!

Friday Five: It's All About Books!


Well, pish posh! I think that some books ARE better than others! How about you?

1. What book have you read in the last six months that has really stayed with you? Why?

Susan Richards' Chosen By a Horse: How a Broken Horse Fixed a Broken Heart. It's about a rescue horse that ended up being the rescuer of the person who rescued the horse. A lot less complicated than it sounds--and yet a whole lot MORE complicated. It is a wonderful book. It caught my eye because of the horse on the cover; I bought the book because of this line in the cover blurb: "Then fate brought her into Susan's paddock, where she taught this brokenhearted woman how to embrace the joys of life despite the dangers of living." I've had my heart repeatedly broken over the last few months, so I truly needed this book. :)

2. What is one of your favorite childhood books?

Lady of Arlington, Harnett Kane's biographical novel of Mary Custis Lee, wife of Robert E. Lee. It is very well written, mostly accurate, and very sweet. An interesting look at history through the eyes of a woman who helped make it. General Lee is one of my heroes; after reading that book as a young'un, his wife became my hero too.

3. Do you have a favorite book of the Bible? Do tell!

Oh, Isaiah by a country mile... I adore the poetry and drama and hope, and OH the language....

4. What is one book you could read again and again?

Anything by Katherine Kurtz, and J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. (OK, I know that's a lot more than one--but I read a LOT.) I got the trilogy and The Hobbit for my tenth birthday (many years ago now... *grins*) and have read them about once a year every year since. Now ask me how I felt about the movies. G'wan, I double-dog-dare you. :)

5. Is there a book you would suggest for Lenten reading? What is it and why?

Phyllis Tickle's Eastertide: Prayers for Lent through Easter from The Divine Hours. It introduced me all over again to the concept of fixed-hour prayer, and it is so beautifully done that I highly recommend it. The introduction alone is worth the price of admission. She has a whole series of similar books for the whole Church Year.

And because we all love bonus questions, if you were going to publish a book what would it be? Who would you want to write the jacket cover blurb expounding on your talent?

Heh... loaded question, that--I've been writing since I was a kid. :) I have a number of historical fiction novels squirreled away, along with a lot of fantasy fiction. I'm currently working on a haunted romance (not my usual fare, admittedly, but this one won't let me go!) and a modern-day mythological thing that somewhat defies description. *grin* I would want my bishop to write the cover blurb--because she knows me better than I know myself. :)

Friday Five: Las Mañanitas


Éstas son las mañanitas (These are the morning verses)Que cantaba el Rey David, (That King David used to sing,)A las muchachas bonitas (To the beautiful young ladies,)Se las cantaba así. (He would sing them like this.)(The Mexican birthday song, sometimes sung as a dawn serenade).Mother Laura penned this birthday-inspired Friday Five (my answers below):1. When is your birthday? Does anyone else (famous and/or in your own life) share it?My birthday is October 1; I share it with Mrs. Robert E. Lee (Mary Custis), Julie Andrews, and President Carter. :) We be Libraz! (parenthetical note: my sister-in-law and best friend from HS, Amy, has General Lee's birthday. How cool is that??)2. Do you prefer a big party or an intimate celebration for the chosen few?Probably the latter; I have a hard time with the noise level at huge gatherings.3. Describe your most memorable birthday(s)--good, bad, or both.October 1, 1967: We partied quietly, like people around an open grave, because the Red Sox had won their game that afternoon--and our winning of the Pennant depended on the outcome of the Tigers game, which would not be concluded until that evening. I remember nothing birthday related, except that it was the day... until evening. I was sitting in the living room watching Walt Disney ("Fighting Prince of Donegal", not sure what episode...) and Daddy and Hutch were in the kitchen listening to the Tigers on the radio. I couldn't listen because, fanatic that I am, I hadn't been there for the first pitch--and superstition says one must NOT listen to or watch the game unless you're there from the start (unless your team is winning AND at bat when you tune in, then you MUST watch or listen because you'll jinx it if you walk away... LOL!). Suddenly two things happened exactly simultaneously: the scene on TV showed the Irish chieftains swearing to fight for Prince Hugh O'Donnell and all threw their cups into the fireplace while shouting for freedom--and Daddy and Hutch began screaming in the kitchen because the Tigers won. :) True story, I swear it. Now every Sox victory seems to bring that memory back. (Yeah, I know, religion and baseball YET again... *g*)4. What is your favorite cake and ice cream? (Bonus points if you share the cake recipe). Or would you rather have a different treat altogether?Green tea ice cream with raisins, and Simnel Cake (Yum marzipan...), a British tradition either for Easter or Mothering Sunday in Lent (depending on tradition),Here's the recipe: 1 c. butter (room temperature), 1 c. sugar, 3 eggs, 1 c. dark raisins, 1 c. golden raisins, 1 c. currants, 1/2 c. chopped red candied cherries, 1/2 c. chopped mixed candied fruit, 2 (7 oz.) loaves of baking marzipan, 1 beaten egg yolk, 1 tbsp. milk for glaze. 3 tbsp. dark rum or sherry, 3 tbsp. orange juice, 2 c. sifted all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1 tsp. ground allspicePreheat oven to 325 degrees; grease an 8-inch spring form pan. Line bottom and sides of pan with waxed paper and then grease the paper too. In a large bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy (at least 5 minutes). Beat in eggs one at a time; beat well after each addition. Stir in raisins, currents, cherries, mixed fruit, rum (or sherry) and orange juice until combined. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and all spice over fruit mixture. Fold into the batter. Place 1 package of marzipan between 2 sheets of waxed paper, roll o[...]

So, Where WERE You??


I came across this beautiful portion of Psalm 139 today while reading:"I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well."Had a bit of a surprising reaction to it: tears. OK, now, anyone who knows me even slightly knows that one of the powers I was given at birth was the ability to cry at the drop of a hat... but this usually happens for good reasons. :) I am easily moved, and wouldn't have it any other way. However.... In choir not long ago we did a piece that was Psalm 139 set to glorious music--the sort of music that sticks in your head. And thereby hangs a tale.Several folks have noticed, and sent me notes offline concerning, the fact that I didn't post pretty much from the end of October until now. There's a bizarre reason for that. On Hallowe'en morning I toddled off to work (60 miles away; I live in the rural sticks, don'tcha know), with a cheesecake sitting in the front passenger-side foot well of my beloved little sedan. Not just ANY cheesecake, mind you: it was Frankenstein-green, and featured pistachios. It was glorious and (as was later discovered) tasted Pretty Darn Good (tm). It was for the Hallowe'en party at my office in the Infamous Tentmaker Job (tm), since we've established a tradition of shedding our seriousness a couple days a year and having parties. I was going to dress up as a Red Sox player (I know, mixing fun and religion again... *snork*...) and had my costume in the back seat, along with the paper plates, plastic cutlery, and divers decorations, since I was one of the Party Instigators.Never made it. Came awfully close to never making it anywhere, ever again, had my guardian spirits not been really, really watchful.For reasons still unknown, I blacked out at the wheel on a back street near my former home. A number of things conspired to keep me alive and keep those I almost hit in the same shape: it was rush hour, yet there were no other cars nearby. It was near an elementary school, yet all the kids were safely in class by a few minute's timing. I had been going uphill about the time I blacked out, so I wasn't going fast when the car went off the road (only about 5 feet in, mind!), struck a tree and divested it of about a foot of bark, then car, me, and pieces of tree ended up on a retaining wall. I did not hit the woman who was about to leave her driveway, because something knocked a piece of paper off her front seat--and she braked to catch it. I did not hit her neighbor who was taking out his trash--because he paused at the astonishing sight of an unconscious woman in an auto that was slowly moving toward his neighbor lady's tree.Somehow I had gone about half a mile from where I last remembered being, and come to rest in their yard. The two neighbors were kind, helpful, and compassionate. The police and the EMTs were thorough and considerate. And I found myself in hospital, with nothing worse than a lump on the side of my head. Go figure...In the ER, the first thing they found turned out to be the dealie: I had everything else as normal as normal could be, except the electrolyte potassium was "oddly low" according to the nice man who took my blood and did the tests. They explained as to how this could cause muscles like the heart to temporarily take a rest, thus lowering blood to the brain and causing unconsciousness... but no one could tell me how t[...]