Journal: September 26, 2021

Two weeks!!! How the time flies when you are so busy doing preasty things that you can’t write about the preasty things you do. Sermons. Bible Studies. Last Rites. Kids (what a riot they are!), services, confession (not really… I like to pretend that people still come), and generally walking around in all black spreading the cheer and love of the Lord. I’ll take it. And I love it.

I just want to take a minute here to say how ridiculous newspaper / news websites headlines are. About 50% of the time I’ve no idea what the article is going to be about. Is that the trick? Fool with the headline so they’ll take a peek and we can hit them with more advertising so that we can afford to hit them with more nonsense? I don’t know, but when Britney Spears’ wrestling with papa is a top new story, I’m one who is wondering what they buried back on page 27c! Know what I mean…. yes you do. They all work for the Ministry of Truth and they are out to deceive us so that we’ll look at pictures of kittens and forget about the annihilation of entire races. Rant. Rant. Rant. Thus endeth the rant.

Lisbeth Salander

Movies: we are definitely back to the golden oldies here. The Swedish version of Stieg Larson’s Millennium Series and the 1978 version of The Stand. Both make me immensely happy and at least I don’t have to worry about them being stupid. Speaking of which… books!

I’m on a hardback edition of my favorite books and some new ones. Recently completed A Man Called Ove (which is a new one for me, buy have also added The Stand and 11/22/63 (yes… yes… both by Stephen King) to the stack. These last two are behemoths of a book and that’s just the way I like them. For the Saints Book Club at the church, we will be reading The Hawk and the Dove by Penelope Wilcock (book one in the trilogy). It is a short read, but promises to be a powerful story… keep you posted.

One thing I don’t like about myself when it comes to my vocation (there are several, but this one is sticking out these last two weeks): Last Rites… Ok, I’m supposed to be the professional, which means (at least to me) that I can walk into an emotionally tense situation and be the calming presence. I keep my cool, in hopes that it will bring a sense of calm and peace to those who are grieving. These last two weeks… my goodness… They told us in seminary that after a number of years in the same parish you would have to start burying your friends. This has been happening, but last week… Dang. I don’t want to be that cold distant a-hole of a priest, but wow… living on that emotional edge is an interesting place to be that I’m not entirely use to.

God: now this is the good stuff! God… I’m going to need someone I can sort this out with, but recently I’ve been discovering the lack of boldness in by prayer life… I mean, my prayer life for as long as I’ve had a prayer life! I’m going to need to think on this some, but…. yeah. Maybe I’ll keep this one to myself for a bit until I work it out.

What I’ve learned: My friend Heidi always said that being a priest would be whole lot easier if we just didn’t give a shit. Unfortunately, the longer I am…. yeah. (And I wouldn’t trade it for anything!!) She does too… more than any priest I know.

Thought for the day: Room 217… If you ain’t a Stephen King fan, then that won’t mean a thing, but if you are…. sometimes you’ve got to stroll on up in there, open that door, look the hag in they eye, and give her what for. Ain’t none of it real anyhow (unless you live in SK’s world.)

The Lord bless you all.

P.S. To all my blogging friends: I hope to get caught up on your writings over the next week. I miss your thoughts!

Journal: September 1, 2021

Well… it wasn’t COVID (according to the two tests I took), but everything pointed in that direction. Cough, fever, congestion, no taste/smell, death warmed over, etc. It still bought me ten days of quarantine and although I’m not a huge people person… ten days is a bit much to be alone. Many thanks to all the messages, notes, breads, and cinnamon buns I received. Truly a blessing.

When it comes to no taste/smell, eating is just weird. What you discover is that temperature and texture become the primary attractions. A nice cold chicken salad with fruit, nuts, chunks of chicken… brilliant. Peanut butter on cheese is like having a wad of congealed, slightly solidified… you get the picture. It ain’t pleasant. Although, it was peanut butter that first keyed me in that I was missing those two senses. Yes… I always have a bit of peanut butter with my breakfast, but a week ago Tuesday, I opened the jar and… nothing. Really? And then it hit me. I thought, What is the most potent smelling item I have in the house? Answer: Benedictine! (Created my a monk in 1510 from 27 different plants and spices. Supposedly, only three people on the planet know the complete recipe… brilliant!) On a good day, you can take a solid sniff of Benedictine and you’ll likely burn your eyebrows off and most definitely all your nose hairs! It is delicious, but you must approach it with caution. It is meant for sipping and small sniffs. On that Tuesday, I picked up the bottle, removed the cap and gave a tentative… sniff. Nothing. I mean… nothing. I then grasped the neck of the bottled and breathed it in as though it were my dying breath… not even the vapors could penetrate the void of my sniffer! Granted, it was only 8-ish in the morning, but I gave myself a short taste….. my head bowed, my eyes teared, and my heart sank. Not even a tingle. I am happy to report that after ten days quarantine and two negative COVID tests, the sniffer and taster are back 90% with the exception of peanut butter. Odd.

Last week was spent mostly sleeping and waiting for test results. That is boring on many levels, but this week picked up and I was able to work some solid hours and read. I finished, In This House of Brede, and this evening completed, Billy Summers, by Stephen King. You should read Brede. An amazing and beautiful story. Billy Summers is a completely different kind of read. It is not your normal Stephen King supernatural. In fact, there is no supernatural in it (with the exception to a few excellent references to The Shining: The Overlook Hotel and that lively topiary out front.) Side-by-side, I would have to give Brede a solid ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and Billy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2. Sorry Mr. King, but side-by-side… yeah. Next up is one I read many years ago, Fahrenheit 451, but having recently reread 1984, I thought I should… remember. Definitely putting a dint in that stack… with several others waiting to join (I will resist you, Amazon!)

Movies… seriously? How is it so much money can go into making so many bad movies? I may have to make my own.

Tomorrow I get to re-enter the world. I understand that it has been hot out there and based on the news I’ve been reading… COVID or not, I am an exceptionally blessed individual. The world is a mess right now and is in need of your prayers. Say one or two, even if it only amounts to, “Dear God….” followed by the shaking of your head. He gets that. I’m certain He’s done a bit of that Himself here recently.

Oh… before I forget: Nikita is the name of the Pinot Noir that I’m currently making. It is not named after the American version of this movie or the TV series (ugh), but after the original, La Femme Nikita, starring Anne Parillaud (hubahuba), written and directed by Luc Besson. Why Nikita… I’m thinking she will live up to this name. Will not be bottled until early October, but… wowza. Lots of flavor (even for one who is only at 90% tasting!) Haven’t come up with a label for it yet, but that image right there may just do the trick.

What I’ve learned: It won’t spoil the plot, so… Billy Summers is partly about a guy who is writing a book. It speaks of the joys and the “zone” you get in while doing so. That said, it made me hungry to write again. I’ve had a few fitful starts here recently, but I think I’m ready now. I actually don’t do well with too much time on my hand (which I’ve had), I don’t feel any pressure, but now… oh, yeah… I just looked at my calendar. Bring on a bit of pressure and bring on the words. Love it all.

Thought for the day: you will never know true desperation until you hang onto a C-17 cargo plane during takeoff in hopes that you can escape your current situation. Live your life like Zaki Anwari would have lived his had he survived. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Journal: August 5, 2021

It is out of control! It is growing! It must be remedied! What pray tell is he going on about this evening? The stack of unread books upon my desk! I am well into In this House of Brede, but my glasses are fogging up from the other unread volumes, and this says nothing about the number of Audible credits that are itching to be plundered (although, I confess, I’m really saving them up for books along the Camino.) So, where to go next? Constant Reader, we all know the answer to that one. Who is this Billy Summers? I have forbidden my curiosity from even reading the cover until I have finished Brede. Read on… read on! How wonderful to have all these words strung together and opening the imagination to other lives. I do love a good book.

I’ve been on vacation this week, but it has turned into about as much work as a normal work week. Is OK, because I love what I do and I got to sleep in a bit most days. Did I accomplish everything I wanted to do? Absolutely not. Hardly even scratched the surface, but… I have a good life whether on vacation or not, so I can’t really complain (not to mention I have a 13 week sabbatical next year! Did anyone else just hear the angel choirs singing, “Hallelujah!”) Of the work, the week was filled with plentiful meetings and more than a few emails and then there was the Sunday sermon for the 8th. I wrestled with that one ALL day yesterday. Called it quits about 9 p.m., watched a few episodes of the Tudors (season 2), sat back down with it at about 1:30 a.m. and the entire thing unfolded in front of me. After hearing it on Sunday, there may be some who would have preferred I folded it back up and put it back on whatever shelf I found it, but… I actually kind of like it. Speaking of which….

My sermons and sermon writing seem to be evolving these days. There is something different about the way they are forming up and the way they are preaching. I feel more of an urgency when writing them. Being a people pleaser is difficult work, but it seems that in my sermonating that I’ve been able to set that aside more. Yes… I’ve always sought to please God, but there’s always been this twitch that says, “Maybe you shouldn’t say that.” Well, that twitch called me up short on my silly story last week, but I feel much more free in the preaching. This week was the same if not more so. What’s that all about? I suppose it is good that we all grow (as long as we are growing in the right direction.)

The next two days will be truly vacation days where I may go blind from watching too many movies… the FLY Film Festival is tomorrow and Saturday and I’ve got my two day pass. Bring on the popcorn. Hmmm…. should I write my own movie reviews? (Enquiring minds would prefer I didn’t, but that’s never stopped me before!) Primarily short films with a few feature films thrown in for good measure. Very much looking forward to it. Please lead me to the nearest pub (Callahans… across the street from the Gaslight Theater), should you see me afterwards stumbling around in the bright sunshine.

I was just staring at a recipe for Salmon Cakes, which I will be making for hors d’oeuvres Monday night… yeah… you’re going to want to try those.

The Queen says, “Why you wake me?”

Please forgive, Your Majesty!

What I learned today: It is important to drink a margarita while cooking Mexican food. No… I did not cook Mexican food today, nor did I have a margarita, but I heard this from a reliable source. We should all cook more Mexican food. Carnitas anyone?

Thought for the day: “Did-a-chick? Dum-a-chum? Dad-a-cham? Ded-a-chek?” (Stephen King, The Drawing of the Three) The Lobstrosities sometimes make sense, but mostly it is just nonsense.

Pax

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