Friday Five Fireworks Edition
Jul 4th, 2008 by Sonja

Sally Coleman writes – “I have to admit that I am chuckling to myself a little; how strange it seems for me a Brit to be posting the Friday Five on 4th July! I realise that most of our revgals will be celebrating in some way today, but I hope that you can make a little room for Friday Five! From my short stay in Texas my memories of the celebrations are of fireworks and picnics, one year we went in to central Houston to watch the fireworks and hear the Symphony Orchestra play, we were welcomed and included, and that meant a lot!”

So lets have a bit of fun:

1. Barbeque’s or picnics ( or are they essentially the same thing?) – My definition? Picnics are never at someone’s home.  You take your (cold) food somewhere else.  It’s usually sandwiches and/or finger foods.  Fruit and cookies.  Wine or beer for grown ups.  Simple fun stuff to eat.  Barbeque’s mean grills and sloppy food and potato salad and coleslaw.    The latter two are must haves for barbeques.  Must.  Haves.  Oh.  and brownies.

2. The park/ the lake/ the beach or staying at home simply being?  It depends … I’ve done all.  This year we are staying at home simply being.  It helps that we can watch a great fireworks display from our front yard.  Friends are coming for dessert.  But that’s it.  My favorite years were back when we were allowed to camp out on the lawn in front of General’s Row at Fort Myer in Arlington to watch the DC fireworks.  This is no longer allowed because of all the security measures.  It’s sad to me.

3. Fireworks- love ’em or hate ’em?  I absolutely adore fireworks.  I could watch them for hours and hours.  We need to go back next year and see the DC fireworks now that our kids are older and can appreciate them.  DC has spectacular fireworks.  Absolutely spectacular.

4. Parades- have you ever taken part- share a memory… I have been in so many parades.  I spent almost every fourth of July from the time I was 15 until I was 33 marching in a parade.  Except two or three when I was in college.  They’ve kinda blurred together.  It was always, always, always HOT and sweaty.  I hated marching in parades on the fourth.  We have an ugly national anthem … it’s a beer drinking song.  I hate Yankee Doodle; because I’ve played it 9,438,527 too many times.  I’m not the most patriotic person, so all the flag-waving and histrionics made/make me sort of nauseous.  Besides … it wasn’t July 4 that was important at all.  It was more like July 2 or something.  I still love the fireworks.

5. Time for a musical interlude– if you could sum up holidays in a piece of music what would it be? Well … of course the 1812 Overture with real live cannons.

Friday 5 – What Are You Doing For Lent?
Feb 8th, 2008 by Sonja

The RevGals Mother Laura writes: Ready or not, Lent is upon us!

1. Did you celebrate Mardi Gras and/or Ash Wednesday this week? How?

The LightFamily celebrated a small and quiet Mardi Gras with a dinner of red beans and rice and kings cake for dessert. The kings cake came with beads which we all wore during a discussion of Mardi Gras and then Lent.

2. What was your most memorable Mardi Gras/Ash Wednesday/Lent?

1983 … the prior summer I had worked a “real” job and earned enough money to have a tax return. This was enough to pay for a trip to New Orleans during my February break … which happily coincided with Mardi Gras!! I also had a friend who was going to Tulane who I had met during my semester at American University, so I had a place to stay. That was one wild few days and I absolutely loved New Orleans.

I got off the plane, took a cab into the middle of the city where I was meeting my friend (Roger – who was/is gay) and the middle of a parade and began catching beads. Somehow in the middle of the crazy drunkeness we managed to meet up. This was in the days before cell phones and all.

Tuesday morning, the morning of, a group of us white folk somehow ended up in the middle of an African American neighborhood during the Zulu parade. Potentially, this was not a safe place for us. But we were naive and unaware of our surroundings until much later. So we just hoisted the kids onto our shoulders so they could catch the beads, and did our best to fit in … so we did.

I loved the city for the 4 days after Mardi Gras as well and had a ball there. Getting on the plane to go back to college was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I wanted to throw everything away and stay there. But I did the responsible thing ….

3. Did you/your church/your family celebrate Lent as a child? If not, when and how did you discover it?

My family is agnostic, so no we did not celebrate Lent as a child. My exposure as a child to Lent was in books and my friends who were Catholic would come to school with ashes on their foreheads … and couldn’t really explain it. Even in highschool. We would all joke about giving up lima beans for Lent, or something equally horrid … like liver. I don’t remember discovering it, because from there my knowledge of it grew until the present day. There was no discovery, more of an evolution of awareness.

4. Are you more in the give-up camp, or the take-on camp, or somewhere in between?

I’m somewhere in between and do a little of both.

5. How do you plan to keep Lent this year?

In terms of giving up … I’ve given up soda. I need to do this for health reasons. It’s just not good to drink soda. In terms of taking on … I’m taking on the Jesus Creed Challenge. I was inspired by the Virtual Abbess and some graphics I remembered from my CLB and developed a journal for the challenge. I’ve only made 5 days of it yet, but if anyone would like to use it, you can download it here. And I’ve committed to decluttering for 15 minutes a day.

It’s Almost Christmas, Friday Five
Dec 20th, 2007 by Sonja

I haven’t played along with the RevGals Friday Five in a long, long time … but this one really caught my eye. So I thought I’d throw in my two cents for the day. Here’s the challenge from RevRodH:

I have debated with myself for weeks about today’s Friday Five.

* Self 1: It should be deep and theological.
* Self 2: But it’s almost Christmas, it should be fun and warm and sweet.
* Self 1: But your last Friday Five was sort of silly. You should show your more serious side.
* Self 2: You worry WAY too much!

So after consulting with my fourteen year old daughter, we’re going playful, pals o’ mine! I love stories, so I hope you’ll tell some about your favorite Christmas memories.

1. What was one of your favorite childhood gifts that you gave:

This was the best all time Christmas moment ever. I don’t remember our respective ages … but I think I was in my early teens (say 13 or 14 … about the age that LightGirl is now). My next brother was about to turn 11 or 12 and my youngest brother was about 10. So this is about my youngest brother. He gave his Christmas list to our mother as we all did. There were several items on it … as all of ours had, but nothing stood out very much. My other brother and I decided to pool our resources and get him one of the items on the list, but we didn’t think too hard about it. It was just one of the items. We bought it and felt kinda good about it, but we were not attempting to get the “best” one or anything. We wrapped it up and felt a little bad, because it was very small and it came from both of us. But it was costly, so we just hoped he would know that.

Now, what you have to know about my youngest brother is that he is very tall. He’s always been tall for his age and when he was young he was very gangly. And at this time in my childhood we didn’t have any money for first hand furniture … we had cast-offs and lived in an old Vermont farmhouse with insulation for wallpaper. It was pretty stark, but we were generally speaking well-fed and happy. We heated with wood so the livingroom was always warm around the woodstove.

I can still remember the moment that my brother opened that gift. It was over 30 years ago. But it is still crystal clear in my mind. I can see him and where he was sitting on that old green sofa … between the woodstove and the window. He was all folded up because it was low to the floor and he carefully pulled the Buck Knife from it’s box, cradled it in his hands upon his knees and said over and over again, “Buck. Knife. WOW!” His eyes were huge and it was all he could do. Stare at that knife, cradle it in his hands and gasp. In my memory this went on for about 15 minutes. More likely it was two or three. But it made a huge impression on me. We still tell the tale between us siblings with huge foolish grins on all of our faces, about the gift with unexpected rewards for all of us.

2. What is one of your favorite Christmas recipes? Bonus points if you share the recipe with us.

Christmas morning Candy Cane Bread … yummy sweet bread made in the shape of a candy cane braided around maraschino cherries and apricots … served warm with confectioner sugar icing on top. I’d post the recipe … but it’s long and complicated. Hmmm … I’ll think about a link to a .pdf document. I have to give credit to my mother-in-law for this tradition. I don’t know where it came from before her, but I love it … so does everyone but LightGirl. She gets to start her own tradition when she has her own family. Ha!

Oh … I couldn’t stand it … I “need” those extra points 😀 LOL.  Here is a link to download the recipe.

3. What is a tradition that your family can’t do without? (And by family, I mean family of origin, family of adulthood, or that bunch of cool people that just feel like family.)

Having a big tree … as I discovered this year when I proposed having a small, living tree and was thoroughly ridiculed for it. It’s become a family joke. LightHusband has taken to calling me Moses because I want a “burning bush” as he calls my proposal for a small living tree to go with our reduced Christmas. So, apparently, my family cannot go without a big tree with all … every last one of the ornaments out, every last year.

4. Pastors and other church folk often have very strange traditions dictated by the “work” of the holidays. What happens at your place?

Well, this is the first year in a long time that I have not been directly involved in anything churchy around Christmas. I kind of don’t know what to do with myself. My parents are coming to visit, but we realized too late that it should have been the other way around, we ought to have made plans to go to them. Eh … such is life.

5. If you could just ditch all the traditions and do something unexpected… what would it be?

Take my children and all the money we spend on Christmas and go to the local women’s shelter in January. When we get there, we’d sit down and find some families to befriend and walk with. I’m tired of Christmas and all of it’s pressure, both sacred and secular. It’s just too much. We ask too much. We do too much. We want too much. We don’t love enough. I’d want to love more. That’s it …

Friday Five – Floods and Droughts
Jul 27th, 2007 by Sonja

Here in the UK we are struggling with floods, other parts of the world have similar problems without the infrastructure to cope with it, still others are badly affected by drought…. My son Jon is in Melbourne Australia where apparently it has been snowing ( yes it is winter but still!)…. With crazy weather in mind I bring you this weeks Friday 5…

1. Have you experienced living through an extreme weather event- what was it and how did you cope?

My parents moved to Kansas when I was six months old and we lived there until I was 6 years old. Many times during each summer the air raid siren would go off indicating that tornadoes had been spotted in the vicinity. So we had to go the basement. Ugh. Several times tornadoes did go through our community. It was soooo boring in the basement. When I was six I had a broken leg with a cast on and one time when we were confined to the basement, I took a blue crayon with me … so I colored the whole cast blue – hip to ankle. My mother was not pleased, but it did keep me quiet.

Tornado Watch

2. How important is it that we wake up to issues such as global warming?Uhhh … how important is it that we keep breathing?  or keeping drinking water?  I guess if we don’t mind breathing polluted air and drinking polluted water, then we can ignore global warming.  The earth is our home and just as we keep our individual home’s clean and livable, we need to keep the earth clean and livable … not too hot and not too cold.

3. The Christian message needs to include stewardship of the earths resources agree/ disagree?

I never understood how the Christian message could EXclude stewardship of the earth’s resources.  That just never made any sense to me whatsoever.  It makes more sense to me that Christians would be on the cutting edge of being green than anything else.  But maybe I shouldn’t use logic with faith so much.

And because it is summer- on a brighter note….

4. What is your favourite season and why?

Spring … because that’s when all the flowers come back and the world is all new and all.  Just say the word and it makes you happy.  Go on … say it, Spring!  See … you’re smiling now.

5. Describe your perfect vacation weather….

70 degrees, blue skies … for about 3 days, then a day of rain and 55 degrees, so I can stay inside and sleep in and read a good book next to a fire.

Friday Five: Dream A Little Dream
Dec 29th, 2006 by Sonja

“In the Last Days,” God says,
“I will pour out my Spirit
on every kind of people:
Your sons will prophesy,
also your daughters;
Your young men will see visions,
your old men dream dreams.
When the time comes,
I’ll pour out my Spirit
On those who serve me, men and women both,
and they’ll prophesy.”
(Acts 2:17-18, The Message)

On this final Friday of 2006, it seems appropriate to speak of dreams. A very important dream about a lighthouse played a role in Songbird’s journey towards ordained ministry, and her dreams last night were vivid and included a flying church.

She tells us to feel as untethered ourselves in responding to this Friday Five.

Tell us all about:

1) a dream you remember from childhood

I used to have a dream in my childhood where I was in a boat of some sort on a river and it went under a bridge.  It seems to me that the surroundings were similar (in a vague sort of way) to Vienna, but I’ve never been to Vienna … ever.  Nor had I heard about it till I was much older.  But the boat was similar to a gondola.  I don’t remember much more than that about it.  I used to have it often when I was little.

2) a recurring or significant dream

A recurring dream/nightmare I had in my late teens and early twenties was one in which I was in a concentration camp during World War II in eastern Europe.  I was speaking a language native to the area.  In the dream my character was fully cognizant and could operate and function in the milieu of the camp, but my mind didn’t know what was going on.  It was the strangest sensation.  At the time I believed I’d been reincarnated.  Now I’m not sure what it was.

3) a nightmare

See number 2.  Another nightmare I have is one where my children are sick or dying and I behave as if I couldn’t care less.  I just continue on with whatever I was doing as if nothing was happening.  There is a part of my mind that is screaming at me to get up and **do** something, but the dream me just smiles a very Stepford-wife smile and continues on.  It’s horrible.

4) a favorite daydream

I get to be a cowboy out on the wide range.  Riding my beautiful cow pony.  It’s either a palomino, glinting gold in the sunshine or a black Friesian.  We ride together on the wide open prairie.  And my butt doesn’t get sore … ever.  😉

5) a dream for the New Year

This is hard … my dreams are all either much too big and nebulous or too small.  And they sound much too much like goals.  Here’s a dream for my church, Common Table.  My dream is that we’ll all dream together.  I don’t much care what our dream is.  Okay, I care, but I trust us enough to know that we’ll dream good dreams together.  But that whatever it is, we’ll figure it out early in the year and go on to fulfill it.  I want us to dream something like having a homeless shelter or starting a food pantry or something that’s big and really sort of beyond us.  Something that will make us stretch and grow and maybe even hurt a little bit.  But it will be a good hurt like when you’re in training for an athletic event.  That’s one of my dreams for the New Year of 2007.  I’m looking forward to reading the dreams of other RevGals.

Summer Fruit …
Aug 12th, 2006 by aBhantiarna Solas

I guess I can still do Friday Five on Saturday morning! I looked and looked all day yesterday, but didn’t see the post til this morning. What was up with that??!! Internet weirdness …

Galatians 5 describes the fruit of the Spirit. With all the sadness and despair out there, we certainly need it! So, the Friday Five is simple. Pick any five of the following attributes and go wherever the Spirit leads you… your choice!

Love is a tomato (the love apple from colonial days); it has a sharp bite to begin but then goes down sweet.
Joy is warm raspberries with cold cream on a summer’s evening; it resonates down to your toes.
Peace is olives (yes, they are a fruit) borne on a branch.
Patience is a pomegranate (for the obvious reasons) and I always struggle with this one.
Kindness is an apple glossy and sweet.
Generosity is strawberries in a great big shortcake (with real whipped cream).
Faithfulness is a banana; always there when you need them.
Gentleness is a watermelon with the juices dribbling down your chin. It should overwhelm all who indulge in it.
Self-control is blueberries; who can eat just one?

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