Angels We Have Heard
Are High

angelic kitsch...from Hell

Cavalcade of Bad Nativities
it came upon a midnight weird

The Passion of the Tchotchke
holy week kitsch-o-rama

Stations of the Kitsch


I am not responsible for the content of the above ads, which are often hilariously mis-matched.


Friday, February 27, 2004


I'm joining one of those 30-minute Chick Gyms - you know, the ones where you do a circuit of machines and it takes half an hour. Curves are the most popular ones, but I'm going to a Curves knockoff which is right near St. Ned's. As soon as I get over the fact that the carpet is Barbie-aisle pink (women love it!), I will be able to get on with hating the music. Seriously, I heard Electric Slide today, and I wasn't even at a badly DJ'd wedding. There is an audible cue telling you to move to the next machine, so strapping on Larry the iPod isn't an option.

The vast negativity of the above paragraph should tell you how I really feel about exercise. As in, I hate it. I hate it with the heat of a thousand hatey suns. Bah.

My current body shape would probably tell you that, though. And the fact that I don't have a lot of energy most of the time. So, fuck it, I'm going to try working out, in the least threatening setting money can buy. I joined the Y last year and that just didn't work out, for a number of reasons, some of them financial (I couldn't afford the full-hours membership, and my plan of leaving work for lunchtime sessions never actually happened), and some of them related to being in a locker room and feeling like a total fraud. So I'm going to Cheap Chick Pink Carpet Gym. I'm not getting into a long-term contract, though, because I would like to graduate to grownup gym at some point.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2004

remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return

aka, "um, you've got some schmutz on your forehead."

As I am every year, I was once again blown away by the Ash Wednesday liturgy, especially the Litany of Penitence, which includes:

We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the
pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of our lives,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation
of other people,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our anger at our own frustration, and our envy of those
more fortunate than ourselves,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and
our dishonesty in daily life and work,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to
commend the faith that is in us,
We confess to you, Lord.

There are plenty of 'ouch' moments in there, plenty of things I'd rather not look at, thankyewverymuch. Which is the whole point of Lent - it is time set aside to look at things we'd rather not look at.

Today is all about, "hey, guess what, you're going to die! You will be a corpse, and return to the dust. I'm sorry, what was that incredibly important thing that you were talking about again? Why are you angry at that person? What are you working for? What do you think you need to get by? What have you broken that you still have time to fix?"
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Tuesday, February 24, 2004

get your Lent on

Wow, Lent really snuck up on me this year. I can't believe the Mardi Gras party is tonight. You can't get as much for your beads at our party as you can in the French Quarter (I don't expect to hear any cries of "show us your tits!" although I am wearing a cute bra just in case...ok, not really. Ewwwwwww.) but it's still a good time.

So, what is everyone else doing for Lent? I usually have a nice discipline all lined up, but not this year.
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Thursday, February 19, 2004

we love the suuuuubs....we are eviiiiiiiiiiiiil....

The Quizno's ads with the singing whatevers are creeping me right directly out. I'm going to go with the reviewer on Television Without Pity who said that they look like parasitic twins - tumors with eyes and teeth. I can't look. It's just too horrible. And yet I cannot look away. Nor do I want a sandwich afterwards.

Not that I have to worry about such things for much longer because Dennis and I are now part of the TiVo generation, and commercials are dead to me. Bah!

We have been given a hand-me-down TiVo (TeeeeeeeVoooh) by our wonderful fabulous friends, and soon I will plug it in and make the magic happen. But not while Dennis is home, because there is technology involved and I find that it's best for me and technology to do our thing in private. I get angry at the technology when it does not behave the way I want it to, and it's best not to have an audience for that. I get into this weird place where I'm talking to objects and not to you and none of it makes any kind of sense to anyone who might be standing by and wondering where the normally nice and sweet Sara went and when this psychotic monster with an electric screwdriver will be leaving.

See also: Ikea, assembly of items from
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Tuesday, February 17, 2004

that movie

I don't know if I'm going to see The Passion of The Christ. I don't think so, but it's not for any really intellectual or political reason. It's because of the Lord of the Rings.

I loved the movies, I think they were brilliantly done, but there is no doubt in my mind that they took something away from me. They took away my ability to read the books and visualize a middle earth that isn't in New Zealand. In this case, I can live with the loss; middle earth isn't all that important in the grand scheme of my life. But I'm really hesitant to do the same thing to a story that is at the center of my faith. I don't want to give Jesus a face. I don't want to define a visual for Holy Week and burn it into my brain. I don't want to take a story which is rich in metaphor and make something concrete from it.

I guess what I'm saying is...I want this story to be mine. I'm afraid that the movie version will be so much louder and bloodier and bigger than my tiny little understanding of the story that it will take over, become It, become The Official Record. Right now, it's this story that we tell in our little community, and we try to work it out together, coming at it with music and light and darkness and silence and liturgy (and the occasional mime performance). It is, from year to year, bigger or smaller or louder or quieter, depending on how I am when I hear it. Some parts move forward, and others recede. I suspect the working of the Holy Spirit in that, nudging me toward whatever truth is most needed in my life. I don't want to lose that sense of exploration, of having the story unfold for me as I'm ready for it.
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Friday, February 13, 2004

spiritual GPS

In response to your feedback, I present a brief interpretive dance entitled "Finding a Spiritual Director," for which I will not be wearing a leotard.

This really should be an easier thing, but right now it seems like more people are looking for spiritual directors (which I'm going to abbreviate as SD), and they don't exactly hang out a shingle most of the time. So you have to do some work.

First, of course, you should start praying about it. I had my entire small group praying about it for a couple of months before I found my current SD. Pray for the right person to find you or be found by you.

The best place to start is probably the rector of your parish, or another clergy member. They're probably the most likely to know who has a gift for spiritual direction, either within your parish or outside of it. Spiritual directors aren't always clergy; some laypeople have a real gift for it as well. Whether or not you want to stay in your own parish, if that is an option, is a decision for you to make. Even before I worked at a church, I chose an 'outside' SD, because it gave me a space to talk about my ministry with someone who wasn't invested in it.

My SD is the rector of another parish in my diocese. I found her by asking people who are in the ordination process about their spiritual directors. Spiritual direction is often a requirement of aspirants/postulants, so if you know anyone who is working toward ordained ministry, chances are they have a spiritual director. It can't hurt to ask. The person who is in charge of vocations for your diocese may also know some SDs. Other places to look include convents and monasteries, since members of religious orders often do spiritual direction.

I meet with my SD once a month. I sometimes refer to it as couples counseling for me and Jesus (hey, at least I know which one of us has the problem!), but mostly it's a time to stop and really pay attention to what's happening for me spiritually. She mostly just listens, which is good because I tend to go into Massive Download mode as I sit down. She makes observations and suggestions and gently guides me out of the mental quicksand I get myself into sometimes. It's not counseling or therapy (although there was one time when we switched over from spiritual direction to pastoral care a few minutes into the meeting, because I was a mess about something specific). The best description I've found is that it is a holy relationship, and that the Holy Spirit is the third person in the room, guiding the conversation. I've definitely felt that presence.

All of the above information was provided by pulledoutofmyass.com, and may bear little to no resemblance to anyone else's actual life or experience with spiritual direction.
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Tuesday, February 10, 2004


Do you ever just find yourself in a place where you look up for a moment and realize that you are ridiculously blessed? I mean when everything is just sort of falling into place and it seems, for a moment, that you must be God's Favorite Person, that God must be boring the saints silly, the way He talks about you all the time. It's embarrassing is what it is. All these blessings piling on top of each other, like a big box of squirming puppies.

I'm really there right now. I'm basking in a time of being Not Afraid. It's a fine thing and I'd like to hang on to it as long as I can.
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Saturday, February 07, 2004

pants! pants! sing the praises of pants!

As promised last year, photos of the hippie pants I made for Dennis are now up here at sewgeeky.com.

This afternoon, I demonstrated that I continue to be on the wrong side of the "Flailing Around With A Paddle --- Playing Ping-Pong" continuum. I am a danger to myself and others.
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Friday, February 06, 2004


My overall stress level is higher than it needs to be. Part of that is getting used to my commute, since I'm back to an hour each way. Having Larry the iPod helps a lot. This morning, I was running late and was stressing because the Fire Marshall was coming back to do a re-inspection on the tinderbox that is St. Ned's. I stopped in the driveway for the traditional morning roll-down-the-window kiss, and Dennis took my hands and prayed for a good trip for me and a bit of peace along the way. Yeah, he's a keeper, this guy.

(and it was my smoothest trip yet)
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Thursday, February 05, 2004

boring post

I generally don't like to blog observations that are really pedestrian and mundane or just self-evident, such as "people in California don't drive very well on 880" or "monkeys are funny" but I have to say, Moving? Really sucks.

I love love love living with the Dennis, and I love finally having a place I go to at the end of the day that I call Home and where someone has a big bag of kettle corn waiting for me. That part is wonderful. It's the Stuff that's a problem. Even after the Most Incredible Stuff Purge Ever, which took place on January 10, 2004, and for which Ryan gets a giant round applause in her role as drill sergeant/bagger, I still have a lot of stuff. All of which is in boxes in the dining, um, room, aka the part of the apartment that separates the living room from the kitchen. To the best of my knowledge, no dining activities have ever taken place there. We plan to put a small table in once the boxes are gone.

Meanwhile, Clyde the Wonderkitty is currently using the pile of boxes to re-enact great moments from the game Qbert.
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Sunday, February 01, 2004

my heart is bound and happy to be so

Hello, everyone! I have returned. And you, well, you all look fabulous. Have you changed your hair?

It was good, taking a break. During that time, I traveled 200 miles to diocesan convention, packed up all my stuff and moved, and survived the annual parish meeting.

I have, of course, learned several Very Important Lessons while I was on hiatus. Except, well, not. Maybe something about how important it is to know which box you packed your default-setting black shoes in, but that is about it.

Getting the Annual Meeting together was much better this year than it was last year, up until the Stupid Powerpoint Screwup during the meeting itself. I was running the slideshow, and due to some technical glitches, I was running blind, without knowing what was on the next slide. And someone, possibly TheRev, changed up the order of part of the meeting, and I couldn't find the right place in the slideshow. It all worked out, though, and we all managed to renew our baptismal vows in some form, without the help of the Big Giant Screen. I hope not too many people heard me say, "screw it, I give up" which is NOT in the responses and which was directed only to the computer in front of me.

I can't really say why exactly I decided to be gone from the blog during January. Part of it was feeling like maybe I was using my life more as blog fodder than anything else. There was a point when I realized that I was writing entries in my head as I processed things, and it scared me a bit. It's not just the blog; I also decided not to be as active in various fora, because I couldn't find my own voice anymore. It was like I couldn't work anything out for myself unless I wrote it for public consumption and feedback. I needed to take a break to get my head back in my head.

I've been noticing lately how much time I spend second-guessing other people's choices, and how sensitive I am to it when it's directed at me.

I've been working at St Ned's for almost two years now, and I still get crap for jumping off the tech train to do it. It bothers me that people think I'm throwing away my prime career-building years (yes, I've actually heard that phrase - who talks like that?) on this "lame job that doesn't pay anything." The thing is, I have one decision that I can point to and say that it was the right one, and that is the decision to get out of tech and work for the church, and specifically work at St. Ned's. I fucking love the place, I love the people, and they love me back. I know that what I do matters. Maybe not every little thing, but as a whole, my being there benefits the community, and they take care of me in return. This is enough for me. I have enough.

I guess that's what bothers me...that I feel like I have enough, and I keep getting hit with the message that it isn't enough. It doesn't make me feel like the path I've chosen is wrong, it makes me sad because I'm not being seen. Because if you really saw me, you would see that I have all I need. And then I wonder how many people I'm not really seeing, how many lives I'm just sort of slipping through without touching anything (even though I seem to be convinced that I could do a better job with points A, B, and C of that life).

And I remember how tired I am at the end of the day, how all my Social Calories get burned right up just being all surface-perky, and I wonder how I'm supposed to manage all this exhausting seeing and labor-intensive authenticity. I'm totally capable of pushing people to be real while simultaneously fleeing from the overwhelm of that realness. I'm feeling my limits lately. It's one of the little dances of ministry...give until you can't give any more, pull back and recharge, go forth and give some more. Rinse. Repeat.
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