So long 2013, don’t let the door hit you on the way out

So long 2013, don’t let the door hit you on the way out

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Photo credit: Tony Hutchings/Getty Images

I cannot wait to close the book on 2013.

Then I am going to pour gasoline on that book.

Then I am going to set that book on fire.

2013 can go to hell which — seemingly — is exactly where it came from.  I’d be happy to expedite the journey, thank you very much.

Here’s to a better 2014.

Haters for Jesus

Haters for Jesus

I haven’t been writing much lately for a variety of reasons related to a very rough transition to my new life, such as it is.  I’m still reading though, and one of many blogs I really enjoy is A Life Overseas: The Missions Conversation.

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Seriously, it’s a cool blog and worth your time — a variety of thoughtful voices on life and work as a missionary overseas.

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This morning I found a post that gave me real pause — so much so that I considered breaking my “nothing but original content, no reblogs” rule over on St. Val the Urban Monastic. The post is Are you playing to win, or playing not to lose?, and is on a topic I speak about frequently in context of attempting to explain my position on various political views in conversations with various (generally annoying) individuals trying to recruit me for various causes. My comment when I posted this on Facebook (knowing it could set me up for a cat fight or two) was as follows:

The sad thing is, that there are so many people who have been indoctrinated to this who don’t even know they are — essentially — doing the devil’s bidding. I have a name for them: Haters for Jesus. I know what they are AGAINST, and they often use scripture as an excuse to justify their behavior. Trouble is, I never see or hear about what they are “for” in any way because they never seem to be “for” anything, just really, really, really, really angry…about basically everything.

My point being, don’t let this be you (though I seriously doubt this is applicable to my regular readers, you’re not prone to mindless indoctrination).

Sidebar note: Prayers appreciated for my [new] roommate (who is a long-time friend) — she is very sick, and Ideopathic Intracranial Hypertension, combined with a few other things, is making her life a living hell this week. There are too many doctor appointments and ER trips for this poor young woman.

Life, such as it is

Life, such as it is

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Photo source: Guinea Pig Zone

Life has not been kind lately, and most days I honestly feel like every aspect of my life is an accelerated program for professional development for pastoral care.  It’s like job training via sadists, it’s &%$#ing ridiculous at this point.

Seriously.  &%$#ing.  Ridiculous.

And every day it’s some new thing — something on Facebook, an e-mail, something happening outside my door.  I can’t discuss any of it here, but it’s quite a list of people coming to me for random horrible things that also happen to be on my life experience résumé.

Really, God?!?!?!  Really?!?!?!?!

News flash: the whole “pastoral care” thing?  I’m not getting paid for this.  And I’m not putting myself out there as the random emotional dumping ground for the universe — it just happens that (when my best friends aren’t dropping dead) very many close long-time friends are coming to me for counsel…all at once.

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I don’t get a break from this, ever, except when I am at church, in church, actively worshipping or praying.

I love that the Roman Catholic church is OPEN 7 DAYS for prayer and worship, because guess what? I can’t “schedule” or “save up” my need to find a sacred space for prayer and worship for a specific hour a week on Sundays. Thank God a million times over for morning mass.

Add sweltering muggy heat on top of it all.

Sunday night I was struck by my life and that I can’t believe I ever considered anything but ministry.

I am overwhelmed. Tomorrow I am taking a sanity day.

Very hard work indeed

Very hard work indeed

Found this in my Facebook feed from a site called Guinea Pig Zone.  Had to post this, it’s too funny not to.

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On a more serious note, my childhood best friend’s funeral was yesterday, and I was horrified to find out…after the service…and after we’d shoveled dirt on her coffin?  Her father had actually asked me to give a eulogy BUT I NEVER GOT THE MESSAGE!!!

If there was a way to make my day worse, that was it — realizing I’d missed the chance to greatly honor my friend because Facebook ate the private message.

So…I’m working on “what I would have said.”  It won’t be the same, but you don’t get a “do-over” on funerals.

Blessings — VKS

Reading on…

Reading on…

I keep starting new posts but am too busy to do more than pick at them in odd moments…someday they will get written (no laptop is awful).
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Life is crazy busy and I rarely stop moving long, but I do still read.  I’m reading an amazing book — Hiking Through: One man’s journey to peace and freedom on the Appalachian Trail by Paul Stutzman — about one man’s pilgrimage along the Appalachian Trail on a very spiritual journey (and from a Christian theological perspective) after the sudden death of his wife from Stage IV breast cancer.  It’s actually good enough that I hope to post a review of it when I finish.

I’ve also seen a lot of articles about the canned sermon curriculum around the latest Superman film Man of Steel, some of which have been better tha others, but none so well-written as theis one I read this morning from a link on the Facebook page of The Jesuit Post (and even if you are not Roman Catholic — Loyola Press, America magazine, and The Jesuit Post are well-written and feature content that speaks well ecumenically on perspectives and issues common to all Christians in almost all cases).

So yes, something to think about from The Jesuit Post: Superheroes, Saints and Sinners, Part III by Paul Lickteig, S.J.

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Blessings — VKS

Just so you know…

Just so you know…

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“Raffi is straight-up banned — when I hear tell of any ‘Baby Beluga’ in the vicinity?  Call me Ishmael, but I go all Ahab and break out the harpoons.” — St. Val the Eccentric, reflecting on earworms

So, I’ve been devoting odd hours to creating a new Pandora® station of kid-friendly stuff that is more sophisticated and erudite than the usual fare of drivelly gar-bage.

In short: something fun I can actually stand to listen to.

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Raffi is straight-up banned — when I hear tell of any “Baby Beluga” in the vicinity?  Call me Ishmael, but I go all Ahab and break out the harpoons.  Greenpeace is involved, it’s getting ugly.  But really, we’ve ALL been there…

Folk, Tin Pan Alley, Barenaked Ladies, They Might Be Giants, select Disney favorites, soundtracks to Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, Weird Al, The Muppets…that kind of thing.  To winnow out the rubbish you have to “Like” or “Dislike” pretty much every track for awhile.  Eventually this will be as perfectly lovely and to my taste as my other stations…

but funner!!!!

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It is no great service to the neighbors that my vocal range meshes very well with Julie Andrews’ when she was my age.  Because, really, I wouldn’t be St. Val the Eccentric if I wasn’t prone to random acts of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! at 12:30AM.

And I can sing…

Very well…

#thepoorneighbors

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Because life really is too short not to lighten up once in awhile. Life has been pretty dismal lately, it’s 80°F+ in here, it’s humid, and the roaches are swarming (per the norm).

A little “lighten up” is sorely needed.

Additionally, I totally blame the TRADER JOES® POMEGRANATE green tea for this.

Totally.

And I was happily thinking I was going to end this post with: “Cheers!”

Until Phil Collins started singing “You’ll Be In My Heart” from Tarzan, because now I am a weeping puddle in a dozen different directions.

Totally.

This one’s really well-edited:

Happy Father’s Day from my herd to yours

Happy Father’s Day from my herd to yours

I still need to write about and introduce my little captains (we already know daddy Wentworth, but three of his four kiddos with sweet Annie are fine little sons: Frederick, Harville, and Benwick).  It’s presently after 2:00 AM, so now is not the time for that, but as Wentworth is the most patient and adorable daddy pig ever (patience which reached a limit after 2:00 AM Saturday morning when Benwick was climbing all over Wentworth to try to wake him up to get him to play), he deserves a place to charm you (Note: All these photos were taken 12 May 2013, these guys were four days old at the time).

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Mom, there's a pig in my food, that's not allowed.

(Little pigs L to R: Benwick, Frederick, and Harville on the far right  munching in the food dish)

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Gotta sniff, it's the boy pig way.

(Little pigs: Bottom left, Benwick; Above Benwick, Frederick; Upper left, Harville)

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I love how this one looks like he is telling them stories...

(Same orientation — Benwick in the bottom corner, his bestie Frederick above him, Harville in the upper corner)

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Popcorning!

Always take time to bounce, play, and just be silly — a still frame between bounces (Little boys, L to R: Benwick, Harville, Frederick).

Blessings for your Sunday, and Happy Father’s Day! 🙂