Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sounds of the Seasons

For those of you who know me, you are probably thinking this post is going to be about Christmas music.  Well, YOU WOULD BE WRONG!

This post actually came to me one morning as I was trying to not wake up.  We had the window open and I was lying there listening.  As I was lying there, I would have sworn that it was October.  It sounded like wind blowing through leaves and leaves blowing on the ground.  It was then that I thought about how each season has its own sounds.

Like I said, October sounds like blowing leaves.  It has a hollow sound to it.  The winds can be strong, but they generally blustery.

Winter is usually howling, sustained wind.  But there is also the muffle of a heavy, falling, snow.

Spring has thunderstorms and frogs.  There is also the birds, which are usually loudest in the morning.

Summer is generally light breezes if any wind sounds.  Crickets in the late summer.  Often the sound of people walking and talking.  But I would guess the hallmark of summer is the sound of some kind of bug.  If you are good, you can probably identify the month by the bug.

Well, not much on the line of "what's happening," but I have been getting tired of the bummer posts.  Hope you enjoy the sounds of summer before they become the sounds of fall.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Grabbin' for the Honor

Pentecost 14 Proper 17C       Luke 14:1, 7-14     Aug. 29, 2010      Fr. Benton Quest

Try as I might, I cannot figure out those people who wait in line, sometimes for days, to buy things. I am thinking about that group of people who waited in line for a week in order to be one of the first people to own an iPhone.

This is five days these people waited and five days they will never get back. Five days of doing nothing but answering reporters’ questions and sitting. Five days -- and what do they have to show for it? A phone. A phone that eventually will break, malfunction, or become obsolete.

We might rationalize the whole situation by saying this is the price some people pay for a certain gadget. I, myself, am a gadget geek and would love to have one of these things, but I think there is something more going on. These people didn’t just want the gadget, they could have probably gotten one later that day or even the next week. No, these people wanted more. They wanted the “honor” to be one of the first people to have an iPhone. In gadget geek world, these people wanted to be the one that others looked to in awe and wonder. In the world of gadget geeks, these folks wanted to have the seat of honor.

So these people were willing to give up five days of their lives; five days they will never, ever, get back. And they were willing to give up five days of their lives not for some good cause like helping the homeless or healing the sick. They gave up five days of their lives just so others would think they were cool.

Jesus was invited to dinner at a Pharisee’s home. Now, in Biblical times, being invited to dinner was a kind of mutual admiration society. You would only invite people to dinner who were of high enough status so you could be sure they would invite you to dinner later. In this way the upper class of Biblical times would continue to reinforce just how special they were. And all the people of the village would see this group eating and drinking and would also be duly impressed. (In some ways, dinner parties were the TV of the time. People would sit around and look in the windows. It was a big show.)

But there is a problem with this system: How are all the Pharisees supposed to know who is the most important of all? Thanks to their mutual admiration society, they know they are special in society, but there is still the problem of how to figure out who is the most important of all.

That is where the position at the table comes into play. The closer you sat to the host, the higher status you had. So at a dinner, all the people would try to sit as close to the host as possible. Those who sat nearer the host tended to get the better food and the better wine. So by trying to get the best places at the table, the people were not only trying to establish themselves as the most special of the special people, they were also trying to get what was best for themselves.

These people jockeying for the best seat were looking for honor. But this is not something just for Biblical times; then as now, people want to be honored. But what we forget is that honor is not something that can be grabbed, honor is something that must be given. The Pharisees at the dinner were trying to grab honor by sitting at the honored place at the table. The gadget geeks were trying to grab honor by having one of the first iPhones. These people were not content to have an honor bestowed upon them; they were ready to do whatever it would take to grab that honor for themselves. But often, when we try so hard to grab honor, we just end up looking silly.

I can just imagine Jesus standing back watching these grown men playing their little games, each trying to get the best seat. I can see him just standing there shaking his head in disbelief. He may even have been chuckling a little.

But why would Jesus be chuckling?

My guess is that the whole show of jockeying for position demonstrates just how out of touch with reality the Pharisees really were. They were at a dinner party and we can assume that it is probably a pretty lavish dinner party. And right outside of the house we can probably also assume that there were people who were poor, hungry, and begging. So while there are people within sight of the dinner guests who would be pleased to just have the scraps from the table, the dinner guests themselves will not be pleased unless they get the best of the dinner. The people who should be happy just to be at the feast are not happy unless they get the best of the feast. And I would be willing to bet that the worst of the dinner would be better than what most of the people in the street would have eaten all day.

So it is, while looking at this somewhat absurd situation, that Jesus decides to tell a parable.

Now the parable Jesus tells doesn’t appear to be anything really earthshaking. Actually, it looks like a bit of social manipulation. Don’t sit at the head of the table. Sit down at the bottom of the table. Then that way, if there is someone of higher status at the dinner, you won’t be embarrassed by being asked to move. And if you are of higher status, you can have the pleasure of being asked to move up the table. And if Jesus left it there, yes, it is social manipulation. But Jesus gives us a hint that this parable is about more than social manipulation. Jesus tells us that the parable is taking place at a wedding feast. When we hear the words, “Wedding Feast,” we should recognize this to mean we are talking about more than food; the words “Wedding Feast” should tip us off to the fact that what we are talking about the reign of God. In the world God envisions, in the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, we don’t jockey for position. We recognize that we are special just because we have been invited to the feast. And if we are asked to move to the head of the table, then that makes an already special event that much more special.

But Jesus does not forget the other side of this mutual admiration society that was on display in front of him. The host of the dinner was getting big points by having this august group under his roof. If all of these important Pharisees would come to this house for a meal, then the host must be pretty special too, right? And although Jesus comment about sitting at the lower seat of the table may not have been earthshaking, what Jesus says next is: Don’t invite people to your party that can return the favor. Invite the people who are outside and looking in, the poor, the hungry, and the begging. In other words, if you have more than you need, don’t give it to others who also have more than they need, give it to those who truly are in need. If we think about this, it makes sense; but putting it into action is much more difficult.

So this brings us back to the honor thing. We all want honor, but just where do we want that honor to come from? If we want honor from the world, then we just need to follow the example of the Pharisees. If we want honor from the world, then we just need to emphasize the differences between “us,” the dinner party people, and “them,” the people on the streets. But if we want the honor that is of God, we need to look for that which ties us together as humanity and share with each other that which we have been given. Jesus tells us it is when we think of others and share the gifts of God with those who are in need, it is then that we will be blessed and repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

We may be afraid of sharing our abundance because we may not be sure that abundance of the feast is for us, but this abundant wedding feast is something that we are invited to. We have received our invitation through the sacrifice of Christ. So grasping for what we think is the best is a waste of time and energy. The best has already been presented to us. Just to be at the party is more than we could ever hope for and better than anything the world has to offer.

Being human, at some point we will probably try and get what we think is the best part for ourselves; we will wait days just to be the first to get an iPhone. We will do silly things to try to obtain honor from the world. We will do what we can to get that seat next to the host. But no matter where you sit, the worst seat at the heavenly banquet is beyond any earthly honor. Even when the guest was asked to move down from the seat of honor, that guest was not kicked out of the feast! That guest was still allowed to stay. Since we are part of the feast, our scheming to get the honor and recognition of the world is a waste of our time and energy.

We are the loved and honored creations of a Loving God. We are invited to the Wedding Feast that is hosted by Jesus the bridegroom. We are presented with a place at the table. That, in and of itself, is more than we could ever hope for but this is the gift we have been given in faith. A place at God’s table is more of an honor than any iPhone could ever be. So, we can spend our time vying for what the world would tell us is the seat of honor, or we can rejoice in our place at the table and go out and remind others that they have a place at the table too. We can live in the knowledge that we are invited, but we can also go out and remind the world that they don’t have to stand outside looking in, they are invited too! The gift of life, forgiveness, and salvation is for all of us! And we are called to share that message with all we encounter.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An "Ah-ha!" moment

I was at a confrence last weekend.  And at this confrence, I started to make some connections that has gotten me thinking. This conference was about church size and how that effects church culture.

I was raised in a church that at one service we broke the barrier between “Program Church” and “Corporate Church.” And that didn’t take into account the other 4 services that Sunday. So I grew up knowing that I was not going to have a lot to say about changes that occurred or not having a lot of really close ties within the congregation. I knew the other kids who went to school with me, but beyond that, not a whole lot.

I also previously worked in a field where I did a lot of empowering of both colleagues and clients. I would provide them with training and programming to attain their goals, and then allow them to work toward those goals with oversight as needed. The major goal of my job was to empower people, and to assist people. The one thing that I was NOT to do was to do the things for the people. Assist, yes; do for, no.

While in seminary, we were also indoctrinated into the empowerment of the people. We were to “equip the saints” for the work. So this fit in well with my mind-set. I was all ready to jump in and train, empower, and equip.


But then, I realized, I got put into a Family Sized Church. In the Family Sized Church, the pastor is the “hired chaplain.” The pastor is there to do the things that the matriarch or patriarch or the congregation wants you to do. It also is the place where empowering of the people is NOT appreciated and actively protested.

So I come strolling into these small churches expecting to energize and empower the people and they are expecting me to carry out their bidding. This is why I so often get frustrated! I am used to things happening in a church that I have no knowledge of and am ok with this. I get frustrated when I, as the leader, do things and have people go ballistic! This is starting to make sense to me!

It seems that for the majority of my clergy career, I have been in the wrong place. I am trying to do what I know and keep getting beaten-down. I keep getting beat down because what I am trying to do is not appropriate for the community I am serving. I wish someone had told me this earlier! I keep feeling like I must be flawed in some form, but in reality, it is just a wrong fit.

So, now how do I deal with this situation? How do I grow on my end to be able to serve, and lead(!), these people? How can I take what I know and do what needs to be done? This is the tough part. (And quite frankly, the part I really don’t want to do!)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pentecost 13 Proper 16C They are not necessarily bad.

One of the things that I find interesting in the New Testament is how many people want to tell Jesus that what he is doing is wrong. In today’s gospel reading we have another example of the Pharisees wanting to condemn Jesus and tell Jesus that what he is doing is NOT what is supposed to be happening.

Now, it would be easy to just get on the case of the Pharisees and say that they are all bad people. It would be easy to say that the Pharisees should have known that Jesus was the Son of God and could do whatever he wanted. It would be easy to say that the Pharisees are just too short-sighted to see that what Jesus was doing was a good thing. Yes, it would be easy to do that, but that would not help us to see how this story can truly apply to our lives.

So often I think we jump to the conclusion that the Pharisees are “bad” because it is just easier. If we can categorize them as “bad,” then we don’t have to think too much about it. But, as I said, it makes things too easy. I am reminded what a director once told me when I was in a play. I was playing a Mafioso named “Brock.” What the director told me was that I was playing the character as if “Brock believed he was a bad person. People,” he told me, “even ‘bad’ people, don’t believe they are bad people. Even ‘bad’ people believe they are doing things for good reasons.” I had to think about that for a few minutes. But I think he is right. In the mind of the person, there are perfectly “good” reasons to be doing what they are doing. In our gospel for today, it would be easy to just think of the Pharisees as “bad,” but maybe we can learn something if we try to understand what their “good” intent was.

The Pharisees were the keepers of the law. They worked to have the people follow the whole law perfectly. Now this was important because there was the belief that if the people could keep the whole law perfectly for just one day, then the Messiah would return. They believed that the Messiah would be the great warrior king who would come in and rescue the people from the tyranny of the government. But this rescue would not come until the people could prove they were worthy by keeping the law. I guess a somewhat simplistic way of thinking about it is to say that “Santa won’t come until all the children are good.” So it was very important for the Pharisees to look after the law. The sooner all people kept the law, the sooner the Messiah would return. And the sooner the Messiah returned, the sooner the people could live free of the yoke of oppression.

So we do a disservice to just think of the Pharisees as thick-headed people who were just trying to get in the way of Jesus. In their opinion, Jesus was some kind of radical who was trying to destroy their way of worship and their way of life. He was doing things that not only were against the law, but were also going to make it more difficult for the Messiah to return! They saw what they were doing in more than just local terms; they saw their job as having cosmic implications!

With the benefit of hindsight, we can see where the Pharisees were wrong. We can see that what the Pharisees were trying to do was NOT what was in the best interest of the reign of God, but there were doing what they truly believed was in the best interest of the people. They did not see themselves as “bad” people, they saw themselves as trying to save the people from doing anything that would be ultimately harmful to the salvation of the people.

Now, if we want to bring this example up to modern time, we are faced with some choices and decisions: Are we the ones who are helping Jesus or are we the ones who think we are doing good, but ultimately are getting in the way? That is a tough question. Remember what my director said, bad people don’t think they are doing bad things. How can we be sure what we are doing is a good thing or a bad thing? How can we be sure we are following Jesus or are getting in Jesus way? I think, on our own, we can’t.

One of the hallmarks of being an Episcopalian is the concept of Bible and Tradition tempered with reason. Like the Pharisees, we are to look to the scriptures for our answers. And also like the Pharisees, we are supposed to look at the traditions to find our way. But the thing that we add to this is the concept of “reason;” that is, “does this really make any sense?” It is here that the Pharisees got tripped up. And it is here where Jesus points out their mistakes.

As followers of Jesus, our first commandment is to love God, but then the next is to love those around us. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” And if we remember from the Good Samaritan story, our neighbors are those whom we encounter on a daily basis. These two commandments trump all other commandments. Even though one of the Ten Commandments is to “Keep the Sabbath holy,” it is still more important to love your neighbor. And allowing the woman to stay hunched over was not a very good way to love your neighbor. Some may say that since she had been hunched over for so long, another day won’t matter; but this is said by the person who is NOT hunched over! To remove the cause of the woman’s pain was, in fact, loving. And as a side note, I think easing another’s pain is a VERY holy thing, so easing the woman’s pain was, in fact, keeping the Sabbath holy.

This story sets up a very real tension for us all. How do we know when we are following God’s will by keeping the law, and when do we look for a new interpretation to the law? In our world today, with all the changes that happen, not every change is a good thing. Sometimes the church needs to say, “Hold on! This is not a good thing.” But at other times, we need to step back and really take a look at what is happening and see if the law needs to be reinterpreted due to situations that could not have been imagined when the original law was formed. These are tough things to do! A law that took into account every contingency would make zero sense for the people at the time the law was implemented. The laws of the Hebrew scripture could not anticipate the Messiah being right in the midst of the people. Biblical laws could not take into account the things we have today.

So we always need to approach situations with three things in mind: We need to approach a situation with the love of God in our hearts and the understanding that God is so much greater than we are. We need to approach a situation with an attitude of love and respect for our neighbors, and a desire to do what is best for our neighbor. And finally, we need to approach a situation with an attitude of openness tempered by a prayerful connection with the community of faith. So, we need to Love and Trust God. We need to Love and Respect each other. And finally, we need to keep connected to God and the world through prayer and fellowship with the Christian community.

This last step, keeping connected, is the most difficult. It is not a hard and fast rule. It is messy. We will make mistakes. We will step on some toes. But it is important! It is important that we remain in conversation about our community and about our world. We don’t want to become like the Pharisees who, in dogged adherence to the law, actually get in the way of Christ’s work in the world.

I can’t over emphasize the difficulty of this process. It would be so much easier to just ignore all of God’s laws and say anything goes. Or it would be so much easier to just fall back onto the old standby: The Bible says it, I believe it, THAT SETTLES IT! But Christ asks us to do more than just settle for these easy answers. Christ asks us to get into the muck of life and truly be present! Christ asks us to keep the Sabbath Holy while also healing on the Sabbath. Christ asks us to hold onto our faith while questioning our beliefs. Christ asks us to be truly present and engaged in life while realizing what we see that life is transitory.

This is the difficulty of our world; this is the difficulty of being human. This is the difficulty of being Christian. We are not given quick and easy answers, but we are given minds that think and communities what help. Our challenge is to remain connected to our community of faith and our community within the world.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What has been happening.

Well, this is the state of being here in the suburbs of the Motorcity:

We are home again.  A quick run to the homestead.  Mom was doing very badly, not having a bowel movement in eight days.  We also had a Dr. saying, "We have never had anyone die of constipation and if she were not on IV's I would send her home." (!!)  Finally, they did a colonoscopy, on the morning I got home, and that "broke the dam."  Why this didn't happen sooner, I don't know.  Hopefully, she will be able to come home soon.

Dad is in a rehab center.  He always says it is horrible, but he seems to be doing well.  He is eating better and is up doing therapy.  He is afraid that he is going to be there permanently, but we keep reassuring him that it is only for a short time. 

We have inherited another cat.  A few years ago I decided a cat would be a good thing for my dad, something for him to take care of.  Now it is too difficult for my parents to care for the cat so it was either I take her or she goes to "kitty Jesus."  So now we have two cats and the proces of them learning to live together begins.

Oh, and the photo is for Lemuel, I saw this and knew how much you LOVED those wire mesh animals and thought you would love these too!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday the 13th and Left-Handers Day

Happy Friday the 13th and Happy Left-Handers Day!

In Iowa right now.  An unexpected trip because Mom has GI problems and Dad fell and broke his ankle.  (The incidenst are not related.)

Dad is in a rehab center and is more talkative than I have seen him in years!

Mom had a colonoscopy and, to quote the Dr. "I would have been down sooner with the results but I had to take a shower."  THIS IS A GOOD THING!  *Did I mention the Dr. is a cutie!*

We are also inheriting a cat.  So that makes two now.  More later when we aren't stealing bandwidth from Panera.

Oh, and we are going to a drag show this evening!  Should be fun!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pity Party, Read at your own peril.

Truly hating life right now.  I have consistently been feeling crappy over the past week or so.  (I guess that would be since coming back from vacation.)

I know that what I am feeling is irrational, and logically, I can tell myself that what I am feeling is not founded in the reality of life.  But I still feel it.  I feel like I constantly have to be on guard for the next person waiting to ambush me.  I need to be prepared for the next attack.  Again, I know this is irrational, but it is what it is.  And truthfully, I hate it.

Nick has been great about the whole thing.  He has been patient.  But this has got to be as old for him as it is for me.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Have No Fear Little Flock Pentecost 11 Proper 14C

And God told Abram, “So shall your descendants be.” And [Abram] believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness. And as P.T. Barnum would say, “There is one born every minute!”

Can you imagine the scene? Abram, standing out in the desert, looking up at the sky. It would be similar to the sky of today except for one big thing, there would be more stars. Not that the number would change, but since there would be no city lights, the sky would be aglow with stars; more stars than we can even imagine. And Abram would be there, looking, trying to count them all.

Then God tells Abram that Abram’s own descendants will be as numerous as those very stars that Abram now sees. How absurd is that? Here is the Barnum moment. There is no way that Abram could have that many descendants! Abram and his wife are old! And have no children! And they are not just “mid-life crisis old” but they are Willard Scott old! Abram is 100 years old, and Sarai is 90. (Although friends tell her that she does not look a day over 83.) They are old, and they don’t have any children, and “no children” means “no descendants.” In fact, Abram reminds God of this very fact. But God promises Abram the he WILL have heirs and assures Abram that Abram’s very own son will be his heir. And what is most amazing about this whole thing is Abram believes God’s promise.

What kind of fool would believe something like this? It may seem sacrilegious for me to speak of one of the patriarchs of our faith as a fool, but really, the whole thing seems kind of foolish. Even today, with our advanced medical knowledge, we couldn’t succeed in making a 90 year-old woman pregnant! And this was thousands of years ago in the desert! But in the face of what Abram “knew” to be true by worldly standards, Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.

I am guessing we all know the end of the story. We know that God follows through on the promise of descendants. The descendants of Abram ARE as numerous as the stars seen on that night so long ago. And we know that one of those stars that Abram was looking at all those years ago was for you, and one of them was for me! God certainly does follow through on God’s promises! Abram had faith, Abram believed, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.

Our second reading today, the reading from Hebrews, tells us that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” We need to remember that in the Bible, hope is more than just a pious wish; it is a deeply held conviction. Bram had that assurance from God that this impossibility, this child in his old age, would be a reality. And this impossibility came to pass; what the Lord promised held true.

Do we have faith? Do we have the assurance of things hoped for? Do we have the conviction of things not seen? Do we really believe that God can do those things we consider impossible? I know I have encountered many people who entertain the possibility of God doing the impossible when they are faced with the death of a loved one; but when faced with our day-to-day lives, we really don’t expect miracles. We are not the ones that P.T. Barnum spoke of, we are not the ones born every minute.

In our day to day life, we find it hard to have faith in God’s promises, don’t we? In our daily life, we want to be in control of the situation. We want to be able to look at what was happening, size up what is going on, and then make things happen. Now, wanting to control things is an ok way to function in our world, but it is not what God is asking of us. God is asking us to look into the sky and dream of the possibilities. God is asking us to suspend our disbelief on the miraculous and have the assurance of those things we hope for and the conviction of those things we do not see! God is asking us to suspend our grasp on the things that we can see and open our hands to God’s reality!

I had read a book a while ago with the interesting title of “Entertainment Evangelism.” This book was written by Pastor Walt Kallestad. Now this is not a name that I would expect you to know. I would be very surprised if you had heard of him. But that aside, Walt is a highly controversial person in the Lutheran Church, he is the senior pastor of the largest ELCA Lutheran Church, Community Church of Joy in Phoenix. Now the one thing that is interesting is that Joy was not always the big congregation it is now. At one point, the congregation had almost folded. When Walt started there, the congregation was about to close. It was all primed to be a vital congregation, but it just seemed to keep shrinking.

The problem was that the congregation did not have a vision. They did not believe that God could or WOULD work a miracle in them. They were looking at their present situation and not looking up at the stars. They were looking at their feet and what little they had around them instead of looking up into the sky and seeing the vision that God had prepared for them. When the Community Church of Joy started to look at the stars and had the assurance that in God they hoped for dream of bringing the love of Christ to all people WOULD be a reality, things began to change. The people began to envision a new way of being the Church. They began to return the Joy to the Community Church of Joy. They became so much more than they ever dreamed. And now, they almost number more than the stars.

Now I am not suggesting that we here at St. Swithin's are supposed to grow to the size of a mega church, and I am not sure we even what to entertain that possibility, but I wonder what could happen if we looked up at the stars and dreamed? What are the things we hope for here at St. Swithin's? Are we ready to bring the Gospel to those who many not be able to see the world in the same way we do? Are we ready to look foolish in the service of the Lord?

Yep, look foolish, just as Abram looked foolish. Look foolish just as Noah looked foolish. Look foolish just as Simon looked when he gave up the fishing business and follow Jesus. Are we willing to believe that we, in the service of God, could become so much more than we ever dreamed?

So often what looks foolish to the world is the great wisdom of God. What the world sees as impossible, God sees as possible. Jesus rose from the dead! God doesn’t know the meaning of the word “impossible.”

So if we can see all these things that God has done, why do we still doubt? Why do we limit our vision to only that which can be seen? Where is our conviction of the things not seen? I think God is asking us to look to the stars! God is asking us to dream! God is asking, “What can become of ST. Swithin's?” Do we have faith enough to look to the future and dream of a future that may be impossible to us but possible through God? Do we have faith enough to dream the dream of Abram? Are we willing to look foolish for God?

Abram believed God, and this was reckoned to him as righteousness. I think God is asking us to believe. God is asking us to move beyond our doors and see what miracles we could find. God is asking us to not just believe in miracles but to rely on them! I have found that God is so much more willing to provide miracles than I am willing to accept them. We all just need to trust. To have faith! To look to the stars! God says to Abram, and Jesus says to us, “do not be afraid.”

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Back to the office

This was our "Home Away From Home" while we were in Knoxville.  It had air-conditioning, cable TV and internet if you sat outside!  Actually, it was not that bad.  After a couple of days sleeping on the air mattress in the mountains, being on beds in AC was not that bad.

But it is time to face the job again!  Aaarrrgggg!!!!

What I hate is I have this free flowing anxiety thing going on.  Things were great on vacation, but now I have to go back and there is always the fear that someone is going to come up and lynch me.  Irrational?  Yes.  But that is the feeling.

The congregation did a nice job of clearing the front yard last Saturday.  The church building was hidden by a bunch of brush and saplings.  Pretty much, it looked like someone just didn't take the time to mow.  (For years!)  I am also concerned because it just seems like a nice place for the local pervert to hang out and jump whoever passes by.  I mentioned that and was told that I was being too negative.  IDK, it just seems like a good neighbor sort of thing to do to keep your lawn looking neat.  But people keep saying that "we should keep it natural."  Again, it feels like a displacement for something else.

Oh well.    Why can't we just find a log house in mountains with a barn as a studio and a hot tub?  We could milk goats and make stained glass (NOT with the goat milk!) and get all Grizzly Adams.

Gotta do an interview tomorrow.  Hope the person is good.  I need a secretary.  And catch up on all the stuff that happened on vacation. 

Have a great day!

The Finished Product for Suzy

Click to embiggen

Vacation Photos

It used to be that you would go and visit people and get subjected to their photos.  Now, in the age of the internet, you get them delivered right to your computer!  The up-side is that you can just ignore them all, the down-side is you don't get dinner and beers!

Nick at Cornhenge

We learned our lesson about paying too much attention to GPS systems.  We were trying to find a state park to camp the night.  The GPS was taking us down back roads and roads that looked washed out.  (You think we would have gotten the hint, huh?)  The road ended at a lake.  Across the lake was the park.  But there was NO BRIDGE!  So back on the one-lane road, back to the main road, and then off to follow the signs on the roadway that said, "State Park."

Camp Ground (?) near Asheville, NC.  The place was called "Stoney Creek Campground."  IT WAS A FARMER'S FIELD!!  (We were told if we wanted some sweet corn we could take it from the field, just enter on the west side of the field, 'cause the east side had an electric fence.)  The owner of the field was a great old guy (in his 80's) who was going to go dancing in town that night.  We were the only ones there that night.  (Any surprise?) 

Nick and I with our Beartoast of a Host!  Thanks Joe!  We had a great time!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


Haven't posted in a while 'cause I am on Vacay and have had limited to no internet access during the time. 

Currently we are north of Knoxville and will be heading farther north as the day progresses.  We may actually be all the way home tonight, we don't know yet.

It has been a good trip.  It is good to get away from the stresses of daily life.  It is also nice to see new places and to put faces on blog posts.  We spent some time with Beartoast Joe, who is a wonderful man and a great host!  Joe is the first blogger I have met IRL.  It was an interesting experience.  Just because you like someone's writing doesn't mean that you appreciate that person's personality.  Luckily, Joe is as kind in person as his posts would lead you to believe.

Now come the time of preparing for "re-entry."  Putting tables in upright, locked, position.  And preparing for the various things that will be waiting for me when I get back.  I think there should be some way of living life where it seems more like vacation than like work.  I am sure some have written books to help me learn how to do this.  I will just have to figure out how to make it happen!

Well, all for now.  Will post some pictures later.  (I am sure you all are just waiting breathlessly for those!)