Tuesday, December 27, 2005

a christmas memory

For our second service on Christmas Eve, Julie suggested we combine the Christmas Story with Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory. I was skeptical at first, because the latter story has a stronly bittersweet ending, but Julie knitted them together quite well, and we all left with a very hopeful feeling inside. It was marvelous, if I do say so myself.

The Christmas morning service was good, too. It was better-attended than I expected, partly because we dedicated two babies, and they had lots of family. I will post the invocation below.

Immediately after the service, we drove to my family's in northeast Ohio. We celebrated Christmas on Sunday night and Becky's birthday on Tuesday morning, then drove back to Chicagoland. It was a lot of driving, but it was worth it. Although we are none of us perfect, I do love and celebrate my family.

Here is my invocation, with appreciation to Henry Livingston, Jr. (not Clement Clarke Moore; scroll down to Dec 23rd on Garrison Keillor's A Writer's Almanac for a brief synopsis of that story.)

"'While visions of sugar-plums danced in [our] heads.
And [ma] in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled [down] for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash…'

And what I saw there
was the Spirit of Life,
clamoring for my attention.

For the next sixty minutes,
and for the rest of our lives,
let us be about opening the gifts
of attention and compassion
and joy for the absolute miracle of life."

So May We Be.
Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good 2006.

Monday, December 12, 2005


Yesterday, we had the youth decorate stockings (gift bags, actually), then fill them with gloves, hats, scarves, toys and treats. We made adult-specific and child-specific bags. We'll deliver them to a shelter, right before the holiday. It was fun to watch the children decorate the bags--especially watching the older ones helping the younger. Best of all was the outpouring of generosity--the table full of socks, the table full of hats, the two tables of toys...I was really touched to see the generous spirit of the Countryside folks. And I was touched to be a part of teaching that generosity to the next generation. I love my job!

Friday, December 02, 2005

ode to printers

I am grateful for our Epson printer/scanner/copier. In the words of my friend, I celebrate it. I did a *lot* of copying and printing yesterday, and it rose to the challenge. We burned through two black ink cartridges, and seriously depleted the five color ones. It occurred to me, how long it might take to create such a pile of manuscripts and pictures back in the middle ages, one monk at a time. Then I found another connection: according to this easter egg site, some HP printers and scanners play the Ode to Joy! They use it as a hardware diagnostic, to ensure that the motor is “up to speed.”

I celebrate modern office technology, with or without musical capabilities.