Tuesday, August 30, 2005

If you're still reading ...

It's gone from bad to worse with me. Spare prayers would be much appreciated.

Although, being the determined fool I am, I keep seeing light at the end of the tunnel. (Actually, a number of people I know tell me that they think I am a very strong and determined person to cope to the extent that I have. That, I think, is going to help me get off the failure bus.)

I only occasionally (like, when I have a sleepless night) have the energy for MP, but I'm really liking "A Collect for Grace" in the morning:

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all that we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

bls found another good one from the rich treasure trove of the BCP and posted it on Topmost Apple, for the victims of the mighty wind and water ... it's comforted me, in my relatively-a-lot-less-afflicted state, as well.

Friday, August 19, 2005

A visit from a friend

It's been bad this week. Very, very bad. The only really good thing that came out of it was that I don't need surgery (yet, anyway) and the blood iron is getting back up there. I'm still getting a laptop, though. That's my Retail Therapy.

On Wednesday, after a long disgusting day and much to do in the evening, I finally oozed under the covers and read Compline. I curled on my side to fall asleep and there was ... a presence ... on the bed, right in front of me as she so often had been. Meatloafed and purring. Giving me the "admire" look straight in the eyes and "blinkies". I smiled (through tears in my eyes), petted and scritched her, and pretty much was lulled into sleep. When I woke up she was gone.

I had been thinking of Maya recently; because she died on the 14th of the month, and I note the 14th of the month in any case, I will probably be noting her month-minds for a bit. I have been missing her a lot in my current sad state. But I wasn't expecting the ghost cat to appear on my bed. She hasn't been there for a while (she was there a lot the first month ... I think we were both surprised at the speed of her demise). It was very comforting to "see" her. Thank you, dear friend, for stopping by.

The Queen

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Humpday Misc.

Dibs and dabs from what's been going on:

1. The anemia has not been helped by weirdness at work. The call phone has been waking me up regularly and we have had a large network virus outbreak at the office that has pretty much kept me hopping for the last few days. I now look as tired as I feel. Spare prayers would be appreciated.

2. But I had no hesitation about going up to the healing station last Sunday. I also had a great time at a foodbloggers' potluck (plenty of chairs). yummy.

3. I am losing track of time. I didn't send my dad his birthday card and I brought my car in one week before I had booked it. Someone please throw a cloth over my cage. At least I realized that the potluck and my two main church volunteer gigs were on different weekends before, say, I showed up to do altar guild.

4. As I was dozing off to dreamland last night, I heard a tiny bit on the news (perhaps the Beeb) that Brother Roger of Taize had been killed by a madwoman. Or something that sounded like that to my fuddled brain. When I got onto the Ship forums in the am, it was confirmed for me. This is a very sad and shocking thing (who would kill a 90 year old monk? At Vespers?). May God grant Brother Roger eternal rest, and heal the community and the assailant.

I have been thinking (not singing, I have a cold on top of everything else) in Taize chants when I have a spare neuron. As legacies to the planet go, those Certainly Do Not Suck.

5. I caught up on my lectionary reading last night and read the Monday one too, which I hadn't read Monday, its being the feast of St. Mary the Virgin. The gospel reading for Monday, Proper 15, Year A is the story of Jesus cursing the fig tree because he was hungry but it wasn't the season for figs. Is there anyone else out there who thinks this is a followon to the story about the Canaanite woman, in that Jesus is being a bit of an asshat? Why didn't He use His powers to put figs on the tree out of season instead? Sheesh!

6. Oh, yes, and for Emily:

How to Crochet a Thurible

If the deacon at St. Spike's finishes hers, I will post an Action Shot. (We will also make book on how many choristers will start coughing.)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Speaking Too Soon?

I've had a major case of the grumps much of the day, which weren't helped when I realized this has gone on an entire month. *sigh* I'm enough on the edge to wonder if I'm due for another round before it ends. Seriously, I want to set the flamethrower on Extra Crispy, quit my job, that sort of thing. It feels very PMS.

Today's Real Live Preacher had a link to a very moving post with a prayer by Thomas Merton that was in a lot of ways one I needed to hear today:


My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact
that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you. And I hope I have
that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart
from that desire. And I know that if I do
this you will lead me by the right road
though I may seem to be lost and in the
shadow of death. I will not fear, for you
will never leave me to face my perils alone.

From Thoughts in Solitude

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Quick update

Is it Wednesday already? I've spent a lot of time sleeping recently. I had trouble sleeping again on Sunday night - it was one of those "the cure is as bad as the disease" situations - but have made up for it since.

The improved mental outlook seems to be holding much of the time, thanks be to God. I also feel physically better much of the time, thanks be to God, although the underlying conditions haven't gone away, even with an interesting selection of meds.

So for right now it's "watch and pray", and try to take care of myself in various ways. Your thoughtful comments, kind words, and prayers have been much appreciated. I feel blessed to have not one but two excellent supportive Christian communities, one online (and occasionally real-life) in various ways and one here in town.

Now I think I'm going to take my iron tabs, read Compline, and fall asleep. (I had crab cakes and beer for dinner, so I don't think sleep will be a big problem tonight ;-).

Sunday, August 07, 2005

baby steps, land and water

I know the Lectionary is fixed major league, big time, and I know that the Music Director at St. Spike's has his music sorted out well in advance.

But sometimes it seems like someone has psychically intuited my needs-of-the-moment and picked things out just for me.

I hauled myself over to St. Spike's this morning. I felt worse than I did yesterday because I had big trouble getting to sleep last night - up past two because I didn't feel well. I woke up at eight-ten and managed to get myself showered, dressed, caffienated, and muffined before my eight-forty-five appointment, after which I got back in my car (having grabbed my prayer book beforehand) and barreled on down for 10 am service. Not bad for Anemia Girl. Go me.

S. was there as I walked slowly up the steps to the south narthex and gave me a big hug. We chatted some and I went on inside to find my seat. I sat next to L., who I had worked with on Altar Guild until the big schedule rearrangement (interestingly, my name was in the bulletin today as being on AG ... must remind C. to send the office the Updated Schedule).

The first thing I checked in the bulletin was "who's doing healing station today". One of the things I'd gotten out of my early morning therapy appointment was that it was ok to pray about whether I should go up or not. I had also previously determined that I didn't have to stand when I usually stood (as it happened, I sat down for the offertory hymn and decided to adopt the Episcopal Butt-Perch for the Eucharistic Prayer, but otherwise my energy pretty much held out).

We sang "Precious Lord" as our sequence hymn, which was a very moving musical experience; not only did it "foreshadow" the Gospel, it was Quite Right for my mood.

But at some point, I think during the communion (I was in the back, so had time to contemplate this), I started crying; I was running through the "do I or don't I?" and thinking "I'm sick, I'm hurt, and I'm scared" and "how do I articulate what is going on without TMI or whining?", all the while the echoes of the song and sermon and Peter's Big Panic were bouncing around my tiny brain. Are you swimming with me, Jesus? (With a hat tip and so much more to the fabulous LutheranChik.)

And shortly after I felt L's hand, ever so gently, on my shoulder.

Shortly after that, the hand went down, and when I was ready, I reached over and squeezed L's hand.

Then I excused myself to go up and have Fr. Owen lay his hands on me.

As I left the healing station and headed in the direction of the rail, the deacon was coming down the chancel steps to see about communing those of us left at the healing station. When she saw me I got the impression of gears engaging very briefly - almost, but not quite, a "what are *you* doing at the healing station, missy" sort of look.

I normally receive with eyes downcast, but I looked her full on (again, this wasn't a challenging-type thing) as I held up my hands.

I went back to my seat and tried singing the communion hymn, but found myself unable to. Still working through, I guess. I appreciated the music, though. I'm generally impressed with how well the congregation can carry a tune.

L. stopped me briefly at coffee hour, which I wasn't expecting (as it was her AG day). She said "if you don't want to talk" but I was able to talk. She had thought it was about my mother (I put Mom on the long-term prayer list). After she went back to the sacristry, I was able to move around (slowly) and apply my social talents (sparingly).

I'm not out of the woods physically by any means. But I am a lot calmer. Non-anonymity has its price, but it also comes with benefits.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

It's me, it's me, O Lord ...

Well, much has been going on that is worthy fodder for this blog. I'd love to comment more on ++Akinola's bid for power as reported by Fr. Jake and others.

And both the gang at the Ship of Fools forums and LJ Dark_Christian have been laughing at a proposed "Christian exodus" to Greenville, South Carolina.

But I've been barely creeping through the week. I've been losing a lot of blood and the anemia has officially returned. Well, I was officially borderline with hemoglobin at 11 on my doctor visit yesterday, and that was after I started the supplements. My ass has been dragging and I am very, very irritable. Meltdowns Have Happened. It hasn't helped that it really has been The Week From Hell at the office, a continuation of the job stress that helped knock my hormones for a loop in the first place. I was there from 7:45 am to 9:30 pm yesterday, with a planned file migration (after a similar schedule the day before). With some BART stair-climbing involved, it would have been an exhausting week even if I were in the pink of health.

This is bringing scary memories of two years ago. On the one hand I'm in better physical shape than I was then because I took some action earlier (I actually made it to the farmer's market today, something I didn't do in summer 2003) on the other, I remember that things progressively got worse for a while before they started to improve.

On Wednesday night, after struggling with the bus system, I got a call from a friend from church, who reads my LJ, where I was kvetching about it. She asked if I was planning to come, and I sort of went off on a ramble how I was planning it but I had found Pew Aerobics occasionally difficult and singing took a lot out of me. And as I was babbling about this, I said, "Well, I just don't have to stand up during the singing." And she said something like "Yes, you can just be pitiful in the pews" and started talking about her second chemo, the one where she didn't "look sick" so nobody much paid attention to her. We decided that if things got too bad, we could have a two-person "But you don't look sick" pity party at coffee hour. But after talking to her, my Attitude was Adjusted to the point where a pity party didn't seem my idea of a good time.

On either Wednesday night or Thursday morning, I posted a request for prayer on the Ship's prayer thread, which is something I should have done when the fountains of blood started gushing again last weekend, but at least felt like a step in a positive direction.

St. Spike's offers healing prayer at the 10 am service. I am debating whether to go up. Were I still at the Cathedral, I wouldn't hesitate to go up during communion for prayer and anointing, but I'm working through the "I know these people" aspect of it. Through not wanting to show my weakness in the community. And in a lot of ways (less so recently, but still ...), I have regarded my move to St. Spike's as being an escape of some sort from the Bad Times before, because it wasn't the place where I had spent a lot of time sighing or crying in the pews during My Big Fat Midlife Crisis. Yeah, I'm a silly boo, but the change of venue has done me good.

On the other hand, I'm thinking that one of the perks of being involved in a faith community is that you can get community support in time of need. Maybe I should be considering my answer to the standard coffee hour "How are you" question.

8 am isn't an option this Sunday. Nor is sneaking off to the Cathedral, because I don't want to climb that hill in my weakened condition. Major points to St. Spike's; being able to drive up to the door (or park a block or two away on flat land) is a big win for me. Whatever I do about the healing ministry, I will be able to have the Eucharist.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Feeding the Multitudes

It's a subject near and dear to my heart. I have been made an honorary member of several ethnic groups not my own for my proclivity to want to feed people. I started my food blog after a Maundy Thursday dinner and service at Grace where the stuff just kept appearing on the point of its running out. And I've certainly got more practical practice with that since I moved over to St. Spike's, which is a big-time foodie parish.

So I was somewhat disappointed when my visit to my parents ended at a time after the available Eucharists in the area; actually, I might have made the 11 am at St. Martin's in Davis if I'd driven fast, but there was that little issue with my car overheating and I didn't want to push it and be stuck out in the middle of a Central Valley summer with no car and in my nice summer dress. So I missed hearing a sermon live in person.

But at least I got some good insights on the Gospel from Emily and Susie and LutheranChik.

(Amazing how much I missed "going to church" ... I can count on my fingers the number of Sundays in the last year I haven't, although a couple of times I made Evensong rather than morning HE.)