anna & anne

I was walking and listening to a podcast conversation about 1 John (the epistle) and Kathryn Schifferdecker (Luther Theological Seminary) said something along the lines of: if we reverse the verse to “Love is God” we get our society’s version where Hollywood makes “love at first sight” or “finding your soul mate” the ultimate goal in life.

My first thought was that Shakespeare may have contributed to this idea.

My second thought was that Frozen plays with that concept and turns it around so that, while love is still the ultimate goal, it is a self-sacrificing kind of love among various members of the community (yes, Anna saves Elsa and the sisterly bond is foremost, but Kristoff also acts in unselfish love as does Olaf).

Then I thought about the Hans vs. Kristoff romantic aspect of Frozen, and wondered what other stories were similar. That’s when it hit me. Anne of Green Gables. Princess Anna bears a striking resemblance to dear old Anne.

anna 2012-05-anne-of-green-gables-bookThere are the obvious bits:

  • Red hair
  • orphan
  • spunky/exuberant

Then there are the slightly more subtle bits: They both grew up in lonely, isolated worlds where they were their own only company. Anne talks to her own reflection as “window friends” or “mirror friends.” Anna talks to the pictures on the wall: “Hang in there, Joan.”

They both have a preconceived notion of what “true love” should look like. When Princess Anna sees that vision in Prince Hans and when Anne sees it in Roy (full name Royal) Gardner, they think it’s real because it looks like what they have created in their imaginations. It turns out that this ideal of “true love” is false, and they find themselves in love with the down-home kind of guy who has been there for them all along, who is actually their emotional and intellectual equal, but most decidedly not the dreamy ideal.

There may be other connections, but that’s my first pass at it.

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solstice picnic at the peak

gator skaterThe day started with a skating graduation. They invite families to join the skaters for a complimentary skate session (which we didn’t realize and none of us but the GirlChild had socks, so CG ran to the Dollar Store to set us up). The kids wear felt caps that match their level colors and skate across the floor to receive certificates and goody bags. Then there’s cake.

Later, our Mutual Friend (the one who introduced Computerguy and me 11 years ago Wednesday) had invited us up the hill for a solstice picnic on the peak.

wrong year, right label

wrong year, right label

We were joined by another couple and their teenage son. I brought a caprese salad, a salami, and a bottle of wine I had picked up at TJ’s months ago and had been saving for an occasion.

We met at OMF’s house, had a glass of wine, and drove as far up the mountain as we could (and we had the excitement in our car of getting pulled over for pulling out directly in front of a police officer. If it matters, CG who was driving had NOT had a glass of wine). Once we took care of that little side adventure, we parked on the side of the road and–arms and backs full of food and wine and blankets–hiked up rocks and dirt (what our mountains are made of) to a flat rock kind of plateau where we set up our picnic. (We felt sympathy for the solitary woman wearing headphones who was already there and seemed to be attempting to enjoy the evening alone. She left shortly after we arrived.)

We spread out blankets and food and I lazed contentedly, sipping wine and chatting with the women, while Computerguy hiked around with the kids and the teenager flew a kite. Eventually we settled down on the blankets and shared a feast of lentils with curry and chicken with potatoes and cabbage salad and salami and caprese and baguette and grapes and chocolate chunk cookies. As the sun began to set, I read a Mary Oliver poem for Summer and the other woman played her bagpipe chanter and we all watched.

It was pretty spectacular. Old friends and new acquaintances, a celebration of our cyclical world, an evening of something a little different than the usual. It was great and I appreciate the invitation, and the thought put into making an occasion.

I was being too lazy to pick up the camera, so I must content myself with the sunset photos CG took.

sunset 1 sunset 2

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june 4th


I wrote this last year. This year marks the 25th anniversary. (Also, I suppose, 25 years since I graduated high school.)

Originally posted on Bookgirl:

I was a senior in high school. I would be graduating soon. I had written my 2-minute salutation a week or so prior so it could be vetted by the graduation coordinator. In the speech, I interwove events from the year in the news, popular culture, and school culture (e.g. people lined up in Russia for food; they lined up around theaters in the US for the opening of the 3rd and final (hah!) installment of Indiana Jones; and they lined up around our school for the sold out performances of Grease, our spring musical). In the speech, I talked about the hopeful student protests in Tiananmen Square. And then June 4th happened. The tanks rolled in. I had to change my speech between writing it and delivering it because what looked hopeful and peaceful had become deadly. It cemented those events forever in my mind.

Jemma writes here

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the other side of the pulpit

There is a conversation going on at the RevGals FB page about when “Beloved Former Pastors” undermine their successors. It can get pretty ugly, and I guess a person should err on the side I describe below if one is going to err, but I hope there is a way to leave graciously and still have good boundaries because being “deleted” doesn’t feel very good.

When our associate pastor left, he did all the “right” boundary things and blogged about how boundary conscious he was being, and got praised by denominational muckety-mucks, and it felt pretty lousy to be told in a form letter we would be “deleted as his friend” and later see on his blog it was because “I know best” and “they wouldn’t understand.” I’m pretty savvy. I was on Session. If he had once said, “this is my plan, how can we help the people in the congregation understand what I am doing and why I am doing it” (or even–God forbid–“can you help me figure out the best way to do this in this new world of social media?”), it might not have felt quite so harsh. I think he did the right thing more or less (universal Facebook was pretty new, someone had to be figuring out how to handle it), but I also think he carried it out poorly and it hurt my feelings personally and my trust with leadership in the PC(USA). That this was being held up as a model seemed problematic and made me wonder about the muckety-mucks.

It also made me suddenly want to quit having anything more than a surface relationship with the pastor with whom I was much closer. I had only been Presbyterian a couple years, and was still learning what it meant. Was she going to “delete” me when she left? Was that how it worked when the pastor wasn’t even a member of the congregation? She and I had a long conversation about it, and about what would or would not be appropriate “some day.” (Much as Sharon says in her blog post). As I have begun to work on staff at the church, we continue to work to keep healthy boundaries even as we balance complicated friendship/collegiality/supervisory/pastoral relationships.

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youth sunday and more

For the second year I am working closely with the youth preparing for Youth Sunday. It is delightful for me to have the opportunity to work with seniors once more. I loved teaching seniors and miss it. We have three terrific seniors this year, each of them bringing a very different element to what we are doing. Last year the kids sang songs familiar to the congregation (Marty Haugen, David Haas).

This year they’re bringing guitars and singing praise choruses, good ones, but unfamiliar to the congregation. Youth Guy’s wife is providing a second guitar, but carefully letting the young guitar guy lead. We took then up to Family Camp, taught them to an interested few in the afternoon (so I was totally surprised that more people weren’t interested in sitting in the lodge with guitars learning the songs, but I think we had fun with the few who were), and sang them for Family Camp worship to introduce them to some of the congregation. We’re also doing one of them as an “Energizer.” Presbyterians will understand this word. I still don’t entirely. I think it means making people get up and move to a song.  Not my thing, but I’m just the “guide on the side.”This is their day to lead a congregation who loves them. It will be Good.

rehearsing for youth sunday

rehearsing for youth sunday

exploring at our arrival

exploring at our arrival

all camp games

all camp games

We just had Family Camp. The Sunday morning Family Camp service has become one of my favorite worship services of the year. I created handouts based on “sowing and growing” texts, handed them out, and it was off to the races. People are clever and creative and thoughtful as they put together a service on the fly to be held in the outdoor amphitheater. Also, the youth guy and I received special dispensation to lead communion. A cherished and sacred moment.

the beach last summer with youth guy's kids.

the beach last summer with youth guy’s kids.

The youth guy graduates from seminary in 2 and 1/2 weeks and ends his time with us. He has to complete a CPE this summer and is working on passing his last ordination exams for which language is a huge barrier. Even though he can take them in his native Spanish, much of his theology is English and he’s stuck between the two. Pray for him. I will miss him. I will miss his wife abysmally. The kids will miss their kids. (Wordgirl: but they’ll still come to church even after he graduates, right?) They live an hour away, so we’ve had some good Sunday after church lunch and hang-out times. It’s somehow easy with them.

So… On to Youth Sunday, Pentecost, Farewell to Youth Guy, and Summertime!

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wedding weekend

He’s 29-years-old, the father of three children, steadily employed, a good guy. This last weekend he married the mother of those three children.

He’s also my cousin. When he was a few months old, his mother brought him to meet us and our grandmother to see us. I watched him while the grown-ups went out. He cried and wouldn’t stop crying. I was grateful when his mom returned.

When we moved to California, I babysat him. We went on bear hunts in the backyard. We were pals. I got invited to his 4th birthday party at Medieval times. (As I remember it, the conversation related to me by his mom, my aunt, went like this: What about Bookgirl? Is she your friend? Do you like her? No. I love her.) Before he started kindergarten he spent a few days with me in my college apartment while everyone else was at work and school. We hung out and played with nerf swords and read Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and went to see Honey I Blew Up the Baby.

Then they moved to Arizona and we saw each other less. But every year there are those Silliman reunions. In one of life’s ironies, Dylan, who always wanted to come back to California, ended up with a life in Arizona.

dylcamrubyAs I watched him walk along the beach in his bare feet to meet his bride, I got all nostalgic, thinking about the little boy who had been so much a part of my life. On the way back down the aisle in the sand, he picked up his little girl, and I was touched and very much in the present. He is a dad and a spouse and a good guy. And he’s my cousin whom I used to babysit.

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sunday came

the traditional decorating of your own birthday cake with Dad.

the traditional decorating of your own birthday cake with Dad.

Thursday darkness, contemplation, hearing old stories in new forms, looking into eyes, tearing pieces of bread, offering the words, reading a scripture I know well enough to look at the listening congregation, “A new command…love…”

Friday an interlude, a birthday party, a celebration of and for a boy turning 5, a milestone, a video call with his friend in Korea, amazing…

Saturday a mix because life is a mix, people all around, an egg hunt, a 1st-grade-school-friend’s party, the girlchild’s friend a part of it all, final prep for the morning, a drive across town, an easter vigil with the confirmation students, sunrise, bagels, coffee…

waiting for the sun to rise over the mountains (didn't figure that into our timing)

waiting for the sun to rise over the mountains (didn’t figure that into our timing)

Easter baskets, brunch prep, getting family ready, tired, getting out the door, walking into a filling sanctuary, a crowd on the chancel: students, sponsors, parents, participants, a forgotten book, a frantic run, an awkward entrance, a missed cue, and then “Christ is risen…Alleluia…” He is risen, indeed. OK. It’s okay.

Cards signed and delivered, greetings said, heading home, brunch and an afternoon with friends in our home, dinner at another friend’s home, little girls singing, an older boy showing a younger boy how to play the game he got for his birthday, food, neighborliness, gratitude, and home.

Sunday came. Christ is risen; he is risen indeed. And this morning I am sitting at the computer playing catch-up and listening to a playlist of all my songs that have Hallelujah in them. I’ve missed them.

It was good, and it was full of people and events from Thursday night on, and that was good, but for this family of introverts (the jury is still out on the girl child, but still) this is now recovery.

… and it may be Monday, but Sunday’s coming. A newsletter to be done, Youth Sunday to begin prepping, and a Low Sunday service I’m responsible for planning and leading, though not alone.

He is Risen. Alleluia.

photo 4photo 2

Posted in About Me, Church, Family | 4 Comments