Sunday, October 29, 2006


Good sermon this morning about Bartimaeus's receipt of physical and spiritual sight. Years ago I heard a country gospel singer expound on Bartimaeus: "We always call this guy a blind beggar. He's not a blind beggar any more--he's a satisfied seein' man!" Amen!

Friday, October 27, 2006


Mindy has posted one of her great lists of things she is thankful for, which got me started counting my blessings. Right now I'm thankful for everyone who has so warmly welcomed me to RevGalBlogPals--this is such fun--and especially for your kind comments about my sweet girls. That really helped.

Another thing that helped was my realization, late Tuesday night, that although October 24 acquired a sad significance for us last year, this year it also marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of my first date with the Scientist! I wonder if we are the only couple who ever met in a Southern Baptist Sunday school class and later spent their first date dancing at a rock and roll club. Probably not!

I wish everyone who reads this could meet my amazing husband. I've never met anyone else like him. I agree with him and with our friend QG that "the Scientist" is a blah pseudonym for a not-at-all-blah person, but so far I haven't come up with anything better. (He says he would prefer "Finger of the Illuminati".) He really is a scientist by profession. He's also loving, loyal, funny, kind, a lover of books and of history, an adventurous travel companion, and an excellent teacher. He despises cant and posturing, but quietly and faithfully lives out the Good News in ways that make a practical difference in people's lives.

He has supported and encouraged me in every enterprise I've undertaken. When we met, he was intrigued but thought, "This won't go anywhere; she'll be leaving for graduate school before long." A little over a year later, we were married. A year after that, we struck out for California together. And the rest is our history.

When I think of everything for which I am thankful, he is always at the top of the list.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Little blue and big red

This is my favorite picture of Amie (little blue) and Zorra (big red). They were on our back porch enjoying some quality time with the Scientist's mom. Notice Zorra's characteristic "heeler slouch."

This picture is especially precious to me now that my big girl is gone. Tomorrow will be the first anniversary of Zorra's death. If I can stand to write about it, I will, but I think you will understand if I do not.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The nights have passed

When the Scientist is away, the only really difficult part is the moment when I get into bed and turn out the light. I lie there listening to the house's creaks and pops, and pray Psalm 4:8 (RSV), "In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for thou alone, O Lord, makest me dwell in safety." And the Lord does, and I sleep. When I wake, I check off another night. Two down, zero to go. Thanks be to God.

Amie misses him as much as I do. Last night I found one of his shoes in her bed.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Almost unique
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Makes me feel kinda special.

Among the other seven are a San Francisco stage actress and a Florida accountant.
But when I googled my name (come on, don't tell me you've never done it), the majority of the hits referenced the protagonist of a rather bohemian-sounding novel! Not my life at all!

In other news, the Scientist is out of town this weekend, cheering on his sister as she spars for her third-degree black belt in karate. He reported tonight that she had done really well except for the one board that would not break. OW. I have entertained myself by shelling pecans as I watched Chocolat (a really lovely film, even if you are not fond of Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp, or the great Alfred Molina, which I am), and shifting into a baking frenzy to help supply a Fall Festival that was held by our church school today. We childfree types tend to steer clear of that sort of function, but I enjoyed baking for it. Banana bread, zucchini bread, apple bread, and orange bread. I told you it was a frenzy.

That's enough rambling for one evening. Enjoy your Sunday!

Sunday, October 15, 2006


On Friday night, we had the privilege and pleasure of going to hear Elaine Pagels speak on the Gospel of Judas. I have enjoyed her writing, and have learned from her insights in several Sunday school classes that I've either led or attended. If I understand her correctly, she theorizes that the author of the Gospel of Judas was writing in opposition/reaction to the intense emphasis on, or even push toward, martyrdom that was prevalent in the early church. I can imagine this author thinking, "Are these people insane? How will we spread the Gospel when we're all dead?"

We've spent some time at church this year looking at the Gnostic gospels (although Pagels no longer uses the term Gnostic to refer to them), in connection with the whole Da Vinci Code thing. That was a lot of fun, and reminded me of how much I enjoyed reading them when I was in school. When I led a session on the Gospel of Mary a few years ago, one of our friends asked, "Why are we wasting time studying about these heresies?" Uh, well, because they are fascinating (at least to me, and I'm the teacher), especially from a church history standpoint. How many different viewpoints there were in those first 200 years, among those who all called themselves followers of Jesus.

Pagels said that our word heresy is taken from the Greek word that means "choice". I'm still mulling over the implications of that, but I think that it has a lot to do with honest belief and people following what insight they have. Most people aren't deliberately contrarian in matters of faith, unless they are trying to provoke others to serious consideration of why they believe what they do--and to me that's a healthy sort of provocation. Of couse there are a few grandstanders who get a kick out of letting everyone see they are swimming against the mainstream, but that's not what I'm talking about.

As a firm believer in Providence, I believe that the way our "orthodox" beliefs about the person and work of Christ "jelled" over those early centuries was as the Holy Spirit intended. But I also believe that none of us has any right to claim that we know the whole truth about God, and once we get to heaven we will all see how wrong (heretical?) we were in many ways. Who God really is, is so much greater than any of our little concepts of God.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday Five: Creature Comforts

This INFP likes people, but needs lots of alone time to recharge after being with too many people for too long. These are some things that help:

1. Comfort beverage: A mug of strong coffee, Illy if possible, with a little milk and sugar. Or, a chocolate milk shake the way my dad used to make them: Pack a tall glass with your favorite vanilla ice cream. Add chocolate syrup liberally. Fill in the cracks with milk. Stir, stir, stir, and eat with a spoon. I don't comfort myself that way very often!

2. Comfort chair: I have a comfort sofa in the living room, where I can put my feet up. An afghan that my mother-in-law made is nearby in case I want to bundle up.

3. Comfort read: When I'm in on-the-sofa-with-comfort-beverage mode, I don't want to think. A magazine will be just fine. Atlantic Monthly, Books and Culture, National Geographic, Oxford American, Cook's Illustrated, and Bon Appetit are within easy reach. If any of these makes me think too much (a constant danger with the first two), I'll switch to a Coldwater Creek catalogue.

4. Comfort television/DVD/music: For TV, sitcom reruns (The Simpsons, Mad About You) are preferable, but I don't usually have the TV on. Preferred music, lately, has been Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopfler's All the Roadrunning.

5. Comfort companion(s): When I'm in this mode, I'm content to be by myself. But if my Amie girl chooses to come and lie next to the couch, that's icing on the cake.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Semi-slow food

I really love to cook, almost as much as I love to eat. Songbird's recent post about slow food got me remembering graduate school, when I was often home studying in the afternoons and could simmer beans, or some elaborate soup, or chicken curry, for as long as it needed to take. I still cook like that on weekends. However, what I cook during the week falls more into the semi-slow category.

We recently joined a food co-op, and one of its pleasures is coming up with new and creative ways to use up things I probably wouldn't have bought on my own, such as pears (thanks, Milton), beets, and cucumbers. Tonight I picked what was left from the bones of a chicken I braised with pears and rosemary over the weekend (that was slow, and awesome), lightly steamed some co-op squash and broccoli, then opened a jar of alfredo sauce (that's the semi-slow part) and mixed all of the above with spaghetti (yeah, fettucini would have been better, but spaghetti was what I had). The Scientist is not a broccoli fan, but I told him to think of this as Alfredo Primavera, and he was fine with that. :-)

Incidentally, here's a plug for one of my favorite websites. If you love food, check out Chowhound. When I'm not commenting on a RGBP blog, you'll probably find me commenting there. Browse your regional board, and if you like to cook, browse the Home Cooking board. You never know what you'll find.

Monday, October 09, 2006

"Part Blue Heeler, Part Gift from God"

Go by Quotidian Grace's site and check out the video clip of the fabulous Skidboot. Whether you are already familiar with him or not, you're in for a treat.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Friday Five (a day late): Civic Duties

(Is it gauche to do the Friday Five on Saturday? I'll try to be more timely.)
1) How old were you when you voted for the first time? Well, I distinctly remember registering when I was 18, but I don't remember voting before the 1976 presidential election, when I would have been 20.
2) What was the contest at the top of the ballot? See above. I proudly filled out my absentee ballot for Jimmy Carter, under the watchful eye of the college registrar. (I think it was his responsibility to gather and mail the students' absentee ballots. He wasn't so watchful that he was observing how I filled it out.)
3) Can you walk to your polling place? No, it's at an elementary school a couple of miles away. But when we lived in California, our polling place was across the street from my campus and only a block from our apartment. In those days I served as precinct judge several times, which was mostly interesting and fun.
4) Have you ever run for public office? No, and can't imagine doing so. I like my privacy too much. That's why it took me so long to start a blog. :-)
5) Have you run for office in a club or school or on a board? In sixth grade, I ran for president of the student council. My opponent was a boy on whom I had a big crush. Inexplicably (at least to my adult self), I voted for him instead of for myself. I lost by one vote.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

An autumn pleasure

I am fortunate to work close enough to home that I can usually come home at lunchtime to happily eat leftovers, read the paper (only today it was the November Bon Appetit, which had just arrived), and entertain Amie. One of our favorite lunchtime and early evening activities this time of year is going into the back yard to pick up pecans. The Scientist and I planted our pecan tree in the spring of 1992, a few months after we built this house. The tree was about seven feet tall, a spindly little thing with a funny little fork in the top. Now it towers over the house. It bears a good crop every other year, which I'm told is typical of some varieties of pecan. This promises to be a great year. We've already shelled and frozen a quart of pecan halves, and the season has just begun.

The real Zorra (more about her later) loved pecans, and would rear up on her hind legs to pluck them from a low branch. The Scientist still laughs when he remembers watching us through a back window, me intently searching the ground, then suddenly looking up in exasperation at the big red dog happily going crunch, crunch nearby. Amie has just discovered that she likes them too. There weren't many last year, and if there had been, she would have had to compete with Zorra for them.

I already have visions of pecan pies, toasted and spiced pecans, all kinds of wonderful treats. But I'll save a few plain ones for Amie, too.

Monday, October 02, 2006

A little about Dr. Z

I am a clinical psychologist who mostly does evaluations these days (developmental disabilities, ADHD, assorted stuff). I don't consider myself a "recovering psychotherapist", because I think I probably will go back to doing therapy at some point. However, I have had to put that part of my work aside for now; a couple of years ago I realized that whenever I lay awake at night, I was thinking about my therapy clients. At some point, I realized I had begun to lose the ability to leave my work at the office. So I'm taking a therapist's sabbatical--I don't know how long it will be. I still think I may do something completely different when I grow up.

I probably won't talk much about my work on this blog--not because it isn't important to me, but because, not being a genius, I'm not confident of my ability to adequately disguise my clients' identity. Anyway, I think writing about people I love, church matters, books, music, theology, dogs, and food will be a lot more fun than writing about being a shrink.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Maybe it's about time

Several people have asked me recently, "So, where's your blog?" I guess I can't get by with lurking and commenting forever--plus I sometimes feel like I am taking up too much space in other people's comments sections and should go blather on my own space instead. So here I am, with fear and trembling. Please bear with me as I learn my way around Blogger. I'll be doing cool stuff like setting up links as soon as I learn how.

I just got back from a women's retreat that was sponsored by another church in our presbytery; ours wasn't organizing one this year, so these ladies graciously invited us to join them. I have a lot to think and pray about after this weekend, but what I want to report now is that we had a Friday night icebreaker that DID NOT UPSET THE INTROVERTS. Everyone had been instructed to bring a picture of herself as a child.When we gathered on Friday night, a list of the members of each small group was posted, minus the name of each group's leader, whose childhood picture was posted with her group instead. The leaders stood at the front of the room and we had to guess, from her picture, which leader was ours. Then in the group we all shared our pictures, which led to some more in-depth sharing later in the weekend. This was the least threatening icebreaker I've ever seen, and I think everyone enjoyed talking about the pictures. It was an excellent way to get people moving around and meeting one another without having the spotlight on any individual.