The color of grouch

Blue is the color of sadness and also of cold, so I think it’s accurate to say that I’m a little blue. I am not sure why I am feeling so gloomy, but I am. It might have something to do with me missing my friends, church, mom and Tucker. I am not getting any exercise here either so that can’t help.

Last Sunday I worked at two services at the altar. At the 7:45 a.m. service I was a chalicist, and at the 9:00 a.m. I was a chalicist and reader. While serving at the altar I ended up being on the side where President and Laura Bush were receiving the Eucharist so I actually made eye contact with both of them. They intinct, or dip the wafer in the wine.
Whatever my own political beliefs, in church we are all the same before God. We are there because it is so easy to sin or drift away from God, and we all seek a closer relationship with him. So for that moment they aren’t the President and First Lady, but two parishioners seeking what we all do in communion, union with the holy.

At the 9:00 a.m. service I read the Epistle and chaliced as well as giving the dismissal. Pretty cool. That was something I’d never done and it was a tingly experience. Sunday I also burned my fingers on a kettle on the stove at my hostess’s house. This would be the same kettle she cautioned me to check to make sure it had water before turning on the heat since another houseguest burned up the last one. Before I left in the morning for church I put water in it and not really thinking I just turned the kettle on when I came in since I was freezing. In the interim, Ellen had used all the water in the pot I’d left. So her very nice, very expensive enamel kettle burnt up and damaged not only the kettle but the burner on which it rested. In my haste to remove it from the stove I ended up getting a couple of surface burns that blistered up on top of two of the fingers of my left hand. Ouch. It hurt so bad and for so long I went up and got some Neosporin pain relief and “aqua pad” burn dressing to cover them. I also had to report to Ellen what I’d done, since she was visiting her mother in D.C. when it happened. It was hard to make that call, but she has been so understanding about it. I felt like such an idiot and was all jangled up for hours.

I’d also heard that my 16 year old nephew was car jacked in Mobile and had a couple of men put guns to his head before he was able to flee on foot. He got glass in his feet because he’d just been wearing flip flops and he lost them in his haste to get away. The only car he and my sister had was taken and the Police said they expect it to be ditched and set on fire. He also lost all his money and his cell phone. They used his VISA debit card to buy gas at 5 different places in a nearby town called Pritchard. Hopefully he will get that back since they were fraudulent charges.

I’ve decided to take a quick trip back to Roanoke this weekend to get some things I left behind. I think it will be restorative. I’ll leave Thursday night and come back Saturday night. I am at the altar this Sunday at the 9:00, the 11:00 and am supposed to shadow a Lay Eucharistic Minister here. The woman I will be going with is really cool though. I met her last night at a training session for community organizers that I attended with the Reverend Saunders. She and I talked for most of the dinner portion about how weird it is to us that everyone intincts in the state of Virginia and even here in the DC area. We both spent most of our lives in churches where most people shared the common cup and to do otherwise was perceived as Eucharistically incorrect. We had a good old Episcopalian gabfest. It was awesome.

I also had a nice noontime Eucharist today with a visiting minister who I talked about my “call” with. She said she also got a very strong call and that she used to feel weird about it in seminary where people were saying things like , it just seems like a good career. In the long run though she said it’s been a tremendous blessing because she has never felt lost in her sense of mission. I can identify with that. I also identified with being surrounded by a group of people who were more focused on the the material, social and external world reasons for church work than any sense of the holy and awesome presence of God. This never happened at St.John’s in Roanoke, but I am guessing it is a common thing in the church.

This goes back to my philosophy of church being a place to worship God, not to make ourselves feel better. What I experienced during my near death experience was enough to inspire lifelong awe, amazement and a sense of how we can be both so incredibly small before the greatness that is God, and so dearly loved at the same time. My worship comes from that place and when I work in a service it is to that moment that I turn to meditate before it begins.

Thursday I will also work with the Hispanic Youth Group and I really look forward to it. I had a great time with them last Thursday when we went bowling. They are full of energy and life. I’ll try and get some pics I took there printed to take to them.

I will write a Lent meditation for the churches in-house Lenten publication by Friday and am ruminating on a Homily I am to give at the weekday service on Monday the 26th.

Tonight I am on my own for dinner etc. so I am thinking of driving out to the Leesburg Outlet Mall, I think I might find a good deal on a kettle there to replace the one I burned up and with tomorrow’s temps and all my warmest stuff at the cleaners I am thinking a quick dash through the bargains might be in order.

Perhaps that will de-grouchify me.


High Highlights of Arriving in DC

I arrived in Fairfax, VA on Saturday at my alumnae sponsor Ellen’s townhouse in time for a late dinner. She was kind enough to hold it for me when I got caught in a little traffic jam and we enjoyed some chicken, rice and salad along with some nice white wine while we discussed the following morning’s commuting plans. Since St.John’s Lafayette Square is located across the street from the White House, it’s also located across the street from the Hay-Adams where the Obama’s are staying so the entire block is closed off. Luckily the church has valet parking for the 11:00 am service so we planned on getting there for that a little early with her mom.

My room is beautiful with a cozy daybed and pink walls, plenty of closet space, a dresser and my own private bathroom. There’s even a pull out trundle bed if I have a guest visit. I quickly unpacked, put out my pictures of my daughter and Tucker along with my new Tinkerbell snowglobe and my Tow Mater plush toy. There’s wireless internet access and a comfy basement living room with TV and couches. Ellen is great company and such an interesting person. It makes it easier to come to a new city when you have a welcoming face and such a wonderful hostess.

On Sunday I attended my first service at the church, and it REALLY IS right across from the White House. I mean, I think I was imagining it a little farther away. But it’s pretty darn close. It’s overcast today, but I will post pictures on Wednesday or Thursday when it’s sunny. I want to get some pics of the stained glass in the church then too. The entire block is locked down, the area crawling with cameras, secret service, police and dogs. I was in the bathroom and looked out the window to see men on the roof of nearby buildings. I was worried they could see me but I think they probably aren’t interested. The service Sunday was celebrating the Epiphany and the liturgy allowed a little procession of people dressed as the three kings to approach the altar with offerings at the presentation. They even broke out the incense which delighted me of course. One of my favorite smells. I heard the Reverend Lisa Saunders give a wonderful sermon. It was about the journey to Epiphany and it had many access points for people to find meaning for themselves. I found my own meaning in the journey of the kings leaving all they knew and loved behind to follow the will of God in my current life. I took communion from The Reverend Luis Leon and met him after the service. I will likely spend more time with him tomorrow.

I then visited the National Cathedral and took some pictures with my fabulous new camera. Check it out:

Following that I was invited to join Ellen and her mother at her home in the Georgetown area for dinner. We enjoyed a hearty veal stew, a delicious Beaujolais and some fresh strawberries for dessert. Her mother shared some of the history of the church with me and talked about being on the search committee to call the current rector and what it was like to attend some of the previous inaugural events with the Reagan and Bush families. She was the head of the altar guild the year the church dedicated the George H.W. Bush kneeler so she showed me the picture of that moment. Pretty neat.

Today I met with Lisa and we talked about me immediately helping with a print piece for the Young Adult fellowship group they have here for 20’s and 30’s called the Latrobe Fellowship, named for the architect of the church and the White House. I also assisted at the 12:10 Eucharist. This consisted of the Old Testament reading which today was Joshua 1:1-9 and collecting the offering, as well as chalicing. How awesome is it to be where I can take Eucharist/worship daily while at work? This is what kept going through my mind as I was preparing for the service. How wonderful my life is at this moment that as part of my job that I am getting to worship God. I can’t express how joyful that is. I try to live my life as if it is a prayer anyway, but to get to take specific time to worship in this way is very meaningful. The Eucharist is especially resonant for me. The Gospel reading today was from John 15:1-11 and was about the metaphor of the vine. Not too long ago, while praying over a troubling issue, God simply gave me a kind of word sense…it was “abide, abide in me”. That was all. So I just kept repeating that to myself as things got harder or upsetting and it helped. I found myself reciting the first verse of the song of Isaiah:

Surely it is God who saves me;

I will trust in him and not be afraid.

For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense,

And he will be my Savior.

So it was interesting to hear that verse today. Reminded me of that moment.

Just back from having a spot of tea down the street at a place called Teaism. I only had a ginger scone and some tea but it was very filling and the music was soothing and reflective. It’s eerie walking down H street past the police cars littering the park and all the barricades. There are so few people on the street that you feel like there is a target on your back. I feel like putting my hands up saying…just an intern at the church! Studying to be a priest…nothing to see here! It’s pretty cold too so it makes you hunch over when you walk and shrink down into your jacket, walking fast, letting your scarf ride up to cover your nose in a feeble effort to block the wind. It’s a surreal moment. I see people hanging about out in front of the church, cameras stationed there, presumably from news outlets. Reverend Saunders said that the Reverend Leon might want me to help at the early service on Sunday, which is too exciting. The more opportunities to be at the altar the better of course. But especially in a different setting, learning from someone new and feeling the energy of God here.

Plus I found out that the new Associate Rector for St.John’s in Roanoke is in DC so I can probably meet her in advance! Not only that but my friend Jennifer from Roanoke is gonna’ be here tomorrow and the next day so we can probably catch a meal together. What a strange and wonderful life.

Friday…My first day off

What a busy day yesterday!

I worked on the site at church, then met with the gentleman I’ve been working with on it. I hooked him up with a former colleague and current friend who is an expert designer.

Then I got to meet with Barkley (The Rector) I introduced him to the blog we’ve set up for him to use with the newly redesigned site. It will be called the Rector’s Page. I look forward to reading it. We segued into discussing my internship. At the end of our talk he said he wanted to show me something and led me into the workroom where the entire staff was waiting to yell SURPRISE! with a yummy chocolate cake. I was really surprised and delighted. Everything about this experience has been informative and educational. I’ve grown every week.

It gives me enough confidence to continue walking this road.

Today I took my advisor to the airport and on the way to pick her up I was flipping around on the radio. Can I just say that the selection of radio stations here in the valley is terrible? I usually keep it on RadioIQ, the NPR station, but it is difficult to pick up out near Hollins. Anyway, I came across a really neat song. It was on the Christian station. I am not sure how I feel about Christian “rock”. Sometimes I think it’s hokey and part of a fake and insincere evangelical movement, and sometimes I listen to it and enjoy it. I guess that means I am officially undecided. I liked this because it’s about trying to see through God’s eyes. It’s by Brandon Heath and it’s called “Give Me Your Eyes”

Here are the words:

Looked down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight
Touched down on the cold black tile
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breathe in the familiar shock
Of confusion and chaos
Are those people going somewhere?
Why have I never cared?

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Wasn’t it far beyond my reach?
Give me your heart for the once forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see

Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide whats underneath
There’s a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
Too ashamed to tell his wife
He’s out of work
He’s buying time
Are those people going somewhere?
Why have I never cared?

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Wasn’t it far beyond my reach?
Give me your heart for the once forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see

I’ve Been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just moving past me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way you see the people all alone

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Wasn’t it far beyond my reach?
Give me your heart for the once forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see

I am going to meet the local manager for the Obama campaign about being a precinct captain at 2pm. I am excited to see what that will be like.

I hope I can get a yard sign.

I ordered a few samples of my favorite perfume Tihota from LuckyScent, and I wanted to order some chocolate from Le Maison du Chocolat but they want over 20 bucks just to ship it and the chocolate itself is half that. I will just wait for my next trip to NYC.

I heard about research today that scientists believe may pave the way for a medication that can replace exercise. You can read about it here.

I’ve watched a bunch of movies over the last few evenings.

Flushed Away– *** Animated, very cute and witty. A story about the importance of people over possessions.

Neverwas– ** Aaron Eckhart, Sir Ian McKellan and still not very good.

Becoming Jane Austen– *** Excellent. It featured a talented Anne Hathaway and pre-Atonement, pre-Wanted James McAvoy. He does doomed loved better than anyone I’ve seen.

Heaven– *** Giovanni Ribisi and Cate Blanchett… sad and sweet and kind of wonderful.

Perfect Stranger– ** Gimmicky, and the actors deserved better but man did Giovanni Ribisi look AMAZING in it.

Bobby– * Ho hum, Laurence Fishburn was the only standout in my mind

Freedom Writers– *** Excellent, inspiring, gritty, and enjoyable…much better than I anticipated

The plan tonight is to go out for Mexican with Mom, go walk the chaplain’s dog (she is also my teacher, advisor and friend at Hollins) and then go see Mamma Mia. I told her I would walk him in the morning too. If he and Tucker got along I would just bring him over here. But Tucker is too aggressive. He thinks he is a big dog. Ray Ray (the chaplain’s dog) is actually a big dog.

WordPress, Rooibos and DirectTV

Welcome anyone who has been reading on MySpace or Blogger. I have consolidated a couple of blogs here because I prefer the features.

Here are a few of my new favorite things: Numi Rooibos Teasane, English Breakfast with Splenda and cream, Plain white rice, Carr’s crackers with goat cheese and Cinnamon Pecan Special K.

Lately I’ve only wanted those things. I’ve been skipping lunch and having afternoon tea instead. Yummy. Oh and one more thing, DirectTV. We switched to DirectTV and it is SO much better. The channels are fantastic. I especially like all my movie channels and FIT tv. I can watch a movie every night and do a different workout every day.

Today was Parish Communicators Day at the Diocese. I had a great time meeting new people and talking about the web. I even met a fellow internet pro, so I got to speak geek.

Tomorrow is my last day at the internship and I am feeling a little sad that it will end. I had a great time, but it was so brief. I will probably stay in close touch to help through August with the website. I am looking forward to a little break before school starts again. I leave for DC on Saturday. I am planning on going to Les Halles for Brunch on Sunday, then go see The Fall in the afternoon in Shirlington before grabbing Tea and heading to the mall for a little shopping prior to the concert. I will drive home Monday morning. Perfect little weekend get-a-way.

I hope to go see Mamma Mia on Friday evening. Maybe have some Mexican beforehand.
I will also be driving my advisor to the airport earlier in the day so we can chat about some changes I need to make to my schedule.

Project Runway was good tonight, But…I don’t like this one guy named Suede. He speaks in the 3rd person. Really irritating. One of the dresses tonight was amazing, though it didn’t win. I actually didn’t care for the winning dress.

The challenge was about NYC. The designers even took pictures of night time in New York and were to create a night time look relating to one of their photos. The dress I like was inspired by a rain grate…a beautiful architectural looking, rounded, black rain grate.

My Favorite Dress of the challenge on 7/30/2008

My Favorite Dress of the challenge on 7/30/2008

Weekend Review

It’s Monday and it’s my day off. I just ran some errands and am taking a break at Starbucks. The weekend was very relaxing. We saw my relatives off at the airport and I watched a lot of Tivo from all the shows I’d missed while they were visiting. Yesterday I chaliced and read Prayers of the People at the evening service at church.

Mom and I took Tucker for a long walk after the sun was setting and it had cooled off some. We trekked along Tinker Creek. The water was very clear and the mountains were hazy and blue. I have only about 10 days left of my internship. I will be focusing on completing the web redesign with their communications coordinator. I direct, he executes. I will be gathering, re-purposing and writing most of the content. So I’ll be on my own more than usual.
Also planning my training for fencing at the beginning of August. It will take up a lot of time to get stronger and build up my cardio after a month off. I’ll mainly be doing cardio, arm work and lunges. That will help with foil. I can’t wait for the first practice.

The first trip this month is to DC on the 3rd for Coldplay. I am planning on leaving really early to get up to the National Cathedral for a.m. service and then one of my friends is out of town that night so I will crash at their place before heading home Monday morning.

Then mom and I will be going to Orlando the 13th-16th to see my daughter Bonnie get married. I hope to hit DisneyWorld if possible, but might only get to go to Universal. I plan on seeing one of my best friends while there, she is the Director of Advertising at Universal. We used to work together in the New Media division when I worked for Universal.

One of the parishioners who was on mission in Ghana came back Saturday and the other will be back in another 2 weeks. I heard that the remaining parishioner was suffering from stomach issues because of the food/water. The missioner who came back said it comes with the territory. But I increased the length of my prayers for the remaining missioner. I hope he is OK. Ghana seems like a wonderful place to go, but I’d dang sure be taking a case of power bars and a filter bottle/tablets with me to ensure I didn’t get sick.

Must be the GirlScout in me. I hope to know by the end of the month if my mom is staying here or moving to Richmond. I think I better apply at a school closer to it, and maybe to the University of Alabama just in case. They both only require a year of classes in residence.

Currently listening :
American Doll Posse
By Tori Amos
Release date: 2007-05-01

Better late than never

Wow it’s been almost a month since I last posted. My internship at St.John’s Episcopal is really time consuming. The Mary of Nazareth class went well, we had 10 attendees and the rector gave me an atta’ girl. Tomorrow is the big day when I will actually preach at the 5pm service. The bonus is that my aunt Anne, uncle Brian and cousin Amber are visiting from Florida and they will be there.

Some of what I’ve been doing lately: participating in Eucharist services at nursing homes; acting as project manager for Adult Vacation Bible school for the upcoming week. It will be centered around the Millenium Development Goals.
Working to manage the relaunch of the church’s website. Oh and the Diocese asked me to come and demonstrate a few things at the Parish Communicators Conference at the end of the month.
I got my plane ticket to Orlando for Bonnie’s wedding. I also went ahead and got that Coldplay ticket for August 3. It’s a Sunday, so I will just drive up to DC in the daytime and drive back after the show. I hope I have time to visit the Nat. Cathedral while I am there.
I saw Wanted which was underwhelming. Worth going to see for the visual effects, but not much more to it. Hancock was a little better. Hellboy II is next up and I adored Pan’s Labyrinth (same director) so hopefully I will also enjoy it.
The biggest summer movie left has got to be The Dark Knight. I’ll probably go to Thursday’s midnight showing.
Still no sign of The Fall. *sigh*
If I leave early enough on Sunday I bet I could catch it in DC before the concert. Hmmm. I will investigate.
I’m feeling better about my path. Not missing the corporate world as much lately, or the money that went with it. Touring Roanoke’s rescue mission was inspirational and powerful. Two friends from church are on the Ghana mission. I expect that must be a life changing experience. I hope to go to Africa one day. Ever since I was young and saw Out of Africa a dozen times…it’s been a longing in me.
I made dinner for the whole assembled family tonight. Beef Stroganoff, steamed broccoli and Parker house rolls followed by apple pie and super premium vanilla ice cream.
I miss fencing and can’t wait to get back to it.
I think I will try to get to the driving range soon too. Take the edge off.
I have been riding my new bike a bit and that helps but I still feel like I am not pushing myself enough.
I also just switched to DirectTV to feed my habit and now have twice as many channels as with regular cable. Still have TIVO!
Next on my toy agenda? First the scooter and then in October, the iPhone.

Currently listening :
Viva La Vida
By Coldplay
Release date: 2008-06-17