Live always at the edge of poetic possibilty, even in the face of severe prose. - Walter Bruggemann

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

ABC Wednesday - U

U is for UGLY! UNBELIEVABLE isn't it? An UNTIMELY and UNUSUAL demise for such a little guy. When I think of the Sea of Galilee or the Kinnerett I usually remember the parables of Jesus about boats and fisherman and feeding of lots and lots of people. This guy didn't make it into the basket I guess. This photo was taken in June on one of the rocks at the Sea.

For much better posts than this one....see Mrs. Nesbitt at ABC Wednesday.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

And God Said...

...let there be white. And there was white. And it was good.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Really Late ABC Wednesday

T is for...what else???


OK, so these turkey's are a little, let's say, unusual. They're from Gozzi's Turkey Farm in Guilford, Connecticut. Yummy, I'll take the magenta one. Check out more ABC entries at ABC Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

ABC Wednesday - S

S is for Subway
A few weeks ago I ventured into the Big Apple, New York City, to visit a friend of mine who lives in Brooklyn. I arrived in Grand Central Terminal and hopped on a subway to Brooklyn. As I was waiting for my train I heard music from the platform across the tracks. If you have to spend some extra minutes waiting for the train, this is the way to do it.

Finally my train came but not before I SNAPPED this picture of the musician SANDWICHED between the SUBWAY cars.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Make sure you check ABC Wednesday to see more interpretations of S.

Monday, November 17, 2008

ABC Wednesday - R

R is for RangoliRangoli is an art form in India that uses colored sand to make beautiful designs on the ground. They start out with dots making a geometric pattern and then the dots are filled in with white chalk to make these beautiful designs and flowers. The colored sand completes the design. They're created on the pavement of streets or the dirt right in front of peoples front doors.
Rangoli is created in southern India during the harvest festival of Pongal at the beginning of the new year.

In January of 2007 I visited Astrid Rowe Memorial High School, Hyderabad in the state of
Andrah Pradish, India. I was with Friends of Christ in India an outreach mission program of Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, UCC in Fairfield, CT. On our last day they had a rangoli competition, the girls were working very hard on their designs.
This particular rangoli was on the ground in the Khammam district, a very rural and poverty ridden area outside of Hyderabad. We took 30 teenagers on retreat to visit elderly, boys and girls hostels and a leper colony.
In the center of the flowers and the design is usually some sort of dung (don't ask) and marigold petals.
Back at the high school.
Sari old me down helping one girl out with her rangoli.
Happy pongal everyone. For more rockin' R entries see Ms. Nesbitt at ABC Wednesday.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

ABC Wednesday - Q

Q is for Quotidian!

Quotidian is one of my favorite words. I love the way it sounds, it rolls right off of your tongue into a peaceful exhale. It's not a quotidian word for me, in fact I almost never use it when I'm talking and I hardly ever see it in print. It's difficult to place in a sentence. But it's there, and it's a good one.

Quotidian = kwoh - tid - ee - uhn

1. daily: a quotidian report
2. usual or customary; everyday: quotidian needs
3. ordinary; commonplace: paintings of no more than quotidian artistry

4. something recurring daily: a quotidian fever

The quotidian endeavors in life give us structure and familiarity. The newspaper delivered at your door, a cup of freshly brewed coffee, a walk with the dog, a call to your mother are a part of what and who you are and, what you hold meaningful in life. Quotidian activities, while they may seem to be rote, ho hum or even boring by virtue of being quotidian can also exemplify the extraordinary. How would we know otherwise?

There are other Q's to behold at ABC Wednesday, click here.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

ABC Wednesday - P

P is for President!
America has a new President Barack Hussein Obama

44th President of the United States
For more ABC Wednesday here!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

ABC Wednesday - O

O is for the Oranges of October
Ohhh, the O's of autumn in a New England October. It doesn't get any better than that in my opinion! Today's letter is O for ABC Wednesday. Here in Connecticut the color orange is everywhere you look. On the trees, on the ground, on your kitchen table or floor there is no better place than this time of year in New England.
There are many other great and wonderful O entries at ABC Wednesday hosted by Mrs. Nesbitt. Click HERE to have a look. Happy O day!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I Think I'm Just Getting Old

I was on Metro-North Commuter Railroad yesterday, off to visit a friend and to hear a lecture. There was a poster ad in my car that caught my eye before I closed my eyes for a nap. Big Bird, as yellow as I remember him from all those years of watching him interact with my children ONLY ONE HOUR A DAY, was alerting the public to a new television channel. Sprout. Sprout promises that your child could see old friends like Big Bird and make new friends.

Great, my kids loved Big Bird, Burt and Ernie, Maria, David and of course Mr. Hooper. I can remember the episode that explained with Will Lee's death (Mr. Hooper) to these young viewers. We were all crying.

But the show was only one hour a day. Sprout on the other hand is a new 24 HOUR channel. That's right, your pre-schooler, that is any 3-5 year old child, can now watch their own channel 24 hours a day. Dog gone it, they're lucky and their mothers and fathers even luckier!

Then, I started to think. What pre-schooler needs to be able to watch TV 24 hours a day? What parent in his or her mind would let their pre-schooler watch TV 24 hours a day? I don't care if it IS Big Bird or if they resurrect Mr. Hooper from the dead. A pre-school channel accessible 24 hours a day is OVERKILL. Not necessary. Excessive and quite frankly so American.

Last night I was at the home of my good friends. As usual we hottubbed, drank a margarita, ordered a pizza and settled in for some TV. We flipped stations, you know what I mean. Back and forth, around and around. We just couldn't find anything that was appealing.

Marcia said, "I don't know exactly where and when that line is crossed that you know your old but somehow you know when you've crossed over." Indeed we have crossed. What happened to I Love Lucy reruns? To Northern Exposure? To The Bill Cosby Show? To Bonanza for crying out loud? Now all you can find is reality upon reality. Why would I want to watch reality when I live reality? I want fantasy and some good, belly aching laughs. I want tears of laughter to roll down my cheeks.

We ate our pizza and watched "What Not to Wear" - a show about an every day woman made over so that she looks up-to-date (heaven forbid she steps out on the street in jeans and a t-shirt) and "Say Yes to the Dress", a show about brides with $10,000 budgets choosing their gown at Karl Lagerfeld. When the commercials came on we switched to a channel where they gutted a bathroom and made a new one for only $2,000 (yeah right, 2,000 bucks my butt). Folks now that's a reality fantasy a whole new genre of television programming.

Big Bird good, 24 hour bad, me old.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

ABC Wednesday - N

N is for Navy...the US NavyThe US Navy was in New York City last week. The three men are looking out over New York City from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building.
All is well down below.
Lower Manhattan. Squint your eyes and see Chinatown, Little Italy, Greenwich Village, SOHO and Wall Street. At Battery Park, the very tip of Manhattan is where the East River and the Hudson River converge. The Hudson River is the one on the right hand side of Manhattan. If you squint once again the island in the Hudson you'll see the Statue of Liberty.
You'll find some other great N postings hosted by Mrs. Nesbitt at ABC Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

ABC Wednesday - M

M is for MannequinsNobody but NOBODY does mannequins like the Palestinians. Really. I couldn't stop taking pictures of them. The babe above is wearing the black and white Palestinian kaffiyah as a shawl rather than as a headdress that men typically wear. She was a lone mannequin just hangin' in Hebron in the West Bank.
This group of handsome men were free standing (sort of) in the souk, the marketplace also in Hebron. Nice display but these mannequins were armless and their faces had seen much happier and better days. Notice the noose-like ropes around their necks helping them to stand up.
Ooo, lah, lah! This extensive display of undergarments was in one of the largest squares in the West Bank city of Nablus. Why so suggestive?? Islamic women who practise hijab, or veiling herself as part of religious practise of the Islamic dress code will wear a long robe like garment called an abayah or jilbab and a head scarf. Modesty, modesty, modesty. But underneath baby, anything goes.
These lovely women were in the souk of the Muslim Quarter in East Jerusalem. I thought I heard them break into One from A Chorus Line as I walked past them. There were one singular sensation!

While I didn't see any mannequins that were displaying a complete black veil headdress that allows only a woman's eyes to be seen, I did see a few women dressed in that way. Most women wore long sleeve floor length coats with headscarves. Although, the many young 'cosmopolitan' women wore headscarves tucked into tight sweaters, jeans and spike heals.
These heads were smiling at me in the souk in the Muslim Quarter as well.
I hope you enjoyed M this week...for more great ABC Wednesday posts click right here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Life in the Big Burbs

I'm really trying to weigh it out. Life in the big city, or life in the big suburb. Right now the scale is leaning heavily on life in the big city. Granted the city was Jerusalem compared to Fairfield County Connecticut but still there is something vibrant and quirky always going on in any city that, quite frankly, I am personally not finding here in the burbs. I look out and watch the leaves fall off of the trees.

Wait, a school bus just went by. OK, I'm back.

It's a beautiful time of year in New England. The harvest moon will be appearing soon and the leaves on the trees are beginning to show their splendid color and there is a snap in the air that makes you brew a hot cup of spice tea and curl up on the sofa. But that's the problem, curling up on the sofa.

What's there to blog about when you are curled up on the sofa? The hours can turn to weeks and months on the sofa and then your entire life has passed before you. But the tea is sure good and soothing.

Wait, an SUV just drove by going the other way.

In August I was happy to get back from Jerusalem to the burbs of Fairfield County. In fact, I couldn't wait to see my family and friends. To stick my mouth directly under the Dunkin' Donuts coffee pot was my fondest dream. Walking without military surrounding me and people decked out in their religious uniforms of all persuasions thrilled me to me to no end. There was a song in my heart getting into the bucket seats of my Saturn and driving, just because I could and had to.

Wait a squirrel just stopped on top of the New England stone fence in front of the house.

He picked something up. I thought there was going to be some action but he turned around and went back the other way. I guess squirreling away those acorns is serious business. Did I ever tell you that I once saw a white squirrel? Really. Pure as can be. That's another blog entry, in fact, that turned into a sermon two years ago.

I admit that it is thrilling to see a deer walk by and the six point buck that meandered through the backyard was beautiful. Relearning to enjoy a different sort of beauty has been my task in this last month. Hence, the lack of blog entries. Slowly however I'm making sense of this new yet very familiar life here in the burbs.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

ABC Wednesday - L

I can't believe that a whole week has passed and that it's time for an L post for ABC Wednesday.
L is for Lavender.

There is a Lavender farm on Cape Cod in Dennis, Massachusetts. Although we've passed the blooming season there were still a few hanger-oner's. It was a grey and misty day, the lavender plants were a silvery green. The lavender blossoms were quite lovely.

For many more ABC Wednesday L posts, click here! You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

ABC Wednesday - K

Kippahs, and lots of them.

Actually I think the plural of Kippah is Kippote, but why get technical now? In Israel you can find any kind of kippah or yarmulke that you can possibly dream of. Like watermelons? Try a red kippah with black seeds and a green border. Like the NY Giants or any other sports team? They've got it. Does Spiderman suit your fancy? Plain or fancy there is one for every personality under the sun.
A kippah is worn by Jewish men and women on the head for prayer, meals, or worship, anytime really. Some wear them forward practically to their eyebrows and some hang them off of the back of their head with a hairclip. Even bald guys were them! I always wanted to lift one off and see how it stayed on but I didn't have the chutzpah! One windy days kippah's sometimes are airborne and tumbling in the street.

At the Kotel (Western Wall or the Wailing Wall) you will always see men with a kippah on. Looks like the day I took this picture everyone was wearing white. The Kotel is the remaining wall of the 2nd Temple built around 19 BCE and destroyed in 70 CE. It derived it's name from people coming to pray and cry mourning the destruction of the Temple.
Today is the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. To all of my Jewish friends I wish you a very good, plentiful and sweet new year.

L'Shanah Tovah

For more ABC Wednesday posts click here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

ABC Wednesday - J

J is for a Jeep ride in the Judean Desert. It doesn't take much for the terrain to drastically change in Israel. One day some friends invited me to join them on a jeep ride into the desert. We started at the King David Hotel where they were staying and within 30 minutes we were outside of Jerusalem on a wild adventure into the unknown. We stopped at one point and our crazy driver pulled out a mat for us to sit on as he told us stories of the desert.Pretty quiet and desolate although we could hear birds chirping. Odd eh? But Israel is a grand crossroad for migrating birds.
The driver was friends with a Bedouin family who lived in the desert. We stopped at their tin huts and they were very hospitable towards us. We received a cup of hot tea and a lot of cheer even though we couldn't understand one another.
Their home.
This shepherd was crossing the road with his donkey and furry little charges
The Judean desert is filled with all sorts of life Just waiting for discovery.
If you follow this link you'll find lots of other wonderful ABC Wednesday J entries.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like....

What?? It's beginning to look like Christmas on September 20. Wrong. Totally and undeniable WRONG.

Today at Kohl's I saw six fake Christmas trees adorned with shiny ornaments, at least 10 racks of all sorts of themed ornaments waiting for a happy Christian or at least Christmas celebrating home, Christmas stockings, wreaths and other stupid decorations. I was not a happy pastor!

This is the earliest that I've seen Christmas beginning to bud in the stores in the US. When I was a kid Thanksgiving heralded in the red and green glitz. When my kids were kids, you know what I mean, the merchandisers up'ped the kick off to Halloween. They had just about gotten rid of the leftover candy corn and Snickers on the Halloween sale table in the grocery stores before bringing out candy canes and ribbon candy.

But September 20 - BAH HUMBUG!!!

Last year, in Jerusalem I was starved for a little Christmas glitter. I mean STARVED. I would have been happy with some musak tunes like "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" or better yet Trans-Siberian Orchestra's pulsating and ever so nauseating rendition of "Carol of the Bells". A little flocking on the mannequins would have been nice or some red and green somethings or other in the windows.

But not in Israel where Chanukiah's trump. I have to admit, it was nice not to get caught up in the Ho Ho Ho frenzy. Finally I could concentrate on the meaning of Advent and Christmas and the quiet beauty of the land at that time of year. Still, none the less, I missed my family and our traditions, my friends, the getting ready, the church greening and the scriptures of Advent.

My Christmas famine was filled though when I went to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. OK, so they overdo it in the West Bank in Manger Square with the party hats, the flashing star necklaces, cotton candy, the chintzy Christmas lights and a poster of Arafat posthumously wishing me a Peaceful Christmas. But at least it was something to mark the day. That's right DAY. Not the three month period of Christmas. It was never supposed to be like this I'm sure.

But I suppose that as long as the retail world is intertwined, no, overshadows Christ's birth we will welcome the Christmas season on September 20.

Does it have to be feast or famine?

Saturday, September 20, 2008


The blueberry season is nearly finished in New Hampshire but we managed to pick over 5 pounds of absolutely delicious blueberries. The only thing better than fresh blueberries is a freshly baked blueberry pie. Stars are courtesy of my daughter Tina.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ABC Wednesday - I

The INNS of New Hampshire in the Lakes Region of Lake Winnepesaukee. New England is dotted with Inns of all shapes, sizes, and amenities. On a recent weekend in New Hampshire I shot these photos of just a few of some of the Inns. We were a little early for the splendid fail foiliage that New England is so well known for. Oh well, another trip! The Inn at Mill Falls in Meredith, New Hampshire.
The Inn at Smith Cove in Gilford, New Hampshire.
Ames Farm Inn in West Alton, New Hampshire. All three Inns are accessible by boat on Lake Winnepesaukee.
This is Little Mark ISLAND. It is one of over 200 islands in Lake Winnepesauke. Little Mark is only 50 yards or so as the crow flies (that's New Hampshire talk for not far) from the shore. There is one house, one boathouse, hopefully one outhouse, and only one family who inhabit Little Mark Island seasonally.
And for your ICE CREAM needs you must drive to Sawyer's Dairy Bar. Best ice cream in the Lake region since the 1940's.

For other entries to ABC Wednesday click here!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ho Hum

I keep scratching my head and trying very hard to find life interesting since I've been back in the States. How could such mundane things seem funny or interesting to me when I was in Jerusalem but now that I'm back the same, or closely related activities seem dull and lackluster.

Take for instance walking. Each day I would walk at least an hour in Jerusalem to somewhere and someplace. I'd walk to get groceries, walk to the Old City to see a friend, or hightail it to a museum or lecture. Walking was essential. Here a walk has to be intentional and at best I walk out of the house and walk around the block a few times.

I don't pass anyone, don't see anyone. I see the same houses with their lawn jockeys and impatiens blooming. If I had seen lawn jockeys in Jerusalem I would have taken photos from all angles and perhaps would have thought up some cutsey blog entry. But really, who thinks lawn jockey's are interesting?

My dog enjoys them. He barks at them a stares them down and when they don't move he figures he has done their job and moves on growling like he has saved the neighborhood from menacing miniature metal people holding large rings.
At least one of us enjoys the walk.
Here's a completely unrelated photograph - it's not an alien spaceship although you might think it is by the eery colors and shape. It's a photo of a hot tub that I frequent. The water toy is new and casts colored light inside of the tub. Quite nice, quite nice.