Monday, December 31, 2007

A New Year's Rhyme, II


(In the spirit of the New Yorker's annual New Year poem,
QG once again offers her own version for 2008.)

As New Year's Eve turns into night,
Come and gather 'round the light.
Gentle Readers, it is time
For QG's Annual New Year's Rhyme!

Hear the New Year's tocsin sound,
Champagne toasts are making rounds.
See, confetti fills the air
Balloons add festivity and flair
To our party on the 'net.
Fellow bloggers, join our fete!

RevGals first year as "corp" is now past,
May it flourish and may it last.
Thanks to Mary Beth, Abi, the Cheese and Songbird,
To St. Casserole, Reverendmother, and Cathy a grateful word
For all of your effort, prayer, time and thought
The blessings to many this blogring has brought.

Huzzah for the Presbybloggers who are on my list
Of posters whose writing should never be missed.
There's Hans who runs Presbyweb there in the crowd
Let's give him a hand and a cheer that is loud!

Toasts to PresbyGal whose stories sublime
I hail today with this humble rhyme.
May Toby continue his "Classical" views,
And Mike Kruse inform us with his PresbyNews.

Give it up for Stushie the PresbyRingMaster--he's one faithful bro' !
Kudos to Mark Time, Jan, Viola, , Denis, Will ,Geek Rev
and Beau.
On break from seminary is our own Gannet Girl
Learning Greek, OT and New keeps her in a whirl.
See on the dance floor are newlywed Revs. Kim and Dave,
Whose Wyoming doin's are always a fave.

Yee-Hah! The Texas Towncar of Justice finally arrives
With Lone Star bloggers to bring the party alive!
Say a big "hi y'all" to zorra, Rach, Jan,and Mindy
Little david, the Psalmist, Dogblogger and Wendy.

Other blogging friends too numerous to mention
Are now in the hall and need some attention.
Singing Owl, Will Smama, Sue, Lutheran Chick, and Teri
Are gathering 'round the punch bowl and making merry.

What will the New Year bring to the PCUSA,
General Assembly is up coming and New Wineskins are seeking another way?
This world needs the church proclaiming Christ's light
Far more important than continuing our internal fight.

We'll bid adieu to Kirkpatrick, retiring Clerk.
Who will replace him and will the change work?
Reverend Joan Grey is in her last year
As faithful and pastoral Moderator without peer.

To other dear bloggers who have missed
special mention, I send a kiss
Of peace, and beg you not to pout.
Just join me in a great shout out!

And as the year 2007 slips away
Let's count our blessings and let us pray
That God's grace and hope in the world will abide
Until next year's holy Christmastide.

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM QG !

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Beatrice Blogs: Olivia Sleeps Over

Woof!

Beatrice here. While Mom is cleaning up after a little "incident", let me tell you about my Christmas Guest, Olivia.

Olivia belongs to Portia and DK, but they couldn't take her on the plane so she's spending Christmas with me.

Yeah! A five day sleepover!

Sometimes it's hard to be the big Sis. Mom keeps telling me to be a good example. If Olivia whines, everyone rushes to her just because she's little and cute. Phooey on petite little sisters.

She tries to get my toys, but I'm bigger and faster. Ha! When we go on a walk, she can't keep up with me, either. So there.

I do like having company when Mom is gone, though. Olivia sleeps in my bed with me and gives me little licks. Cute!

Portia said Santa would bring lots of toys for Olivia and for me if we're good. I'm being VERY good. Can't say the same for her. Maybe Santa will give me her toys?

Ooops. Mom's finishing her cleanup now. Gotta go.

Woof.

Beatrice, Her Mark

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Book Review: Same Kind of Different As Me

My niece gave me her copy of Same Kind of Different As Me, recommending it enthusiastically, saying she couldn't put it down until she finished it. That's quite a testimony from a young mom of three very active children! When I opened the book, I found the names of several of her friends inscribed on the flyleaf. This book has been passed to many people. Many folks at our church are reading it, so I was interested in seeing what all the fuss was about.

Same Kind of Different As Me is the true story of the transforming power of Christ's love in the lives of a homeless man, Denver Moore, and a wealthy Dallas area art dealer, Ron Hall. Debbie Hall, Ron's wife, was the catalyst that brought them together through her work with a Fort Worth homeless shelter. Each chapter in the book alternates between the voices of Ron and Denver. Each one describes very frankly their pasts and shortcomings and the ups and downs of their evolving relationship. When Debbie is diagnosed with cancer, the two men are united in their devotion to her during her illness and treatment. The authors do not gloss over the hard questions and grief that ensued, but acknowledge them and wrestle with them.

Out of curiosity, I checked the amazon.com reviews for this book and was stunned to find only one negative review out of nearly 100 reviews. That's amazing. I'm on the board for our local Literacy Council and just learned that Ron Hall will be the featured author at its annual Book and Author fund-raising event in February. I'm looking forward to meeting him then.

Same Kind of Different As Me
is being made into a movie. I hope that the movie reflects the integrity of the book and doesn't sentimentalize the gritty parts of it.

This is a compelling book, dare I say even a life-changing book. I highly recommend it and also recommend that you keep your tissues handy when you read it. Now I need to pass my copy on to my neighbor.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that all profits from this book are going to the homeless mission in Fort Worth, Texas where the Halls met Denver. The book is not getting national publicity, so it depends on word of mouth (or blog!) for its sales. Thanks also to Presbyweb for highlighting this review yesterday.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

QG Song Competition Awards


~trumpet fanfare~

And now, here are QG's Song Competition Awards for 2007. The envelope, please!

Best Song Starter-- Rev. Dave

Most Prolific Lyricist--Presbyterian Gal

Culture Vulture--Rev. Kim

Most stylish Whine--Singing Owl

Most Inventive--Reformed Catholic (who replaced Santa's reindeer with Mr. Ed. Among other things.)

Most Memorable Refrain--cpclergymama

"No Carols ‘til Christmas
What kind of church is this?
No carols ‘til Christmas
We never have any fun!"

Special End Times Honorable Mention -- purechristianithink

Writers' Guild Members--Shawn, Spooky Rach

Many thanks to all our players. And to all a Merry Christmas (AFTER Advent of course!) and a good night.

Sappy Christmas Song, The Final Version

Comments and contributions have trailed off and Presbyterian Gal submitted a good ending to our sappy Christmas song, so I'm declaring it finished. Here is our final version:

Snow was softly falling, the luminarias were lit
As she sat by the window waiting for a visit
From those she loved and missed the most
Flyin' in on Christmas Eve from the coast.

She and her puppy had donned matching Christmas sweaters.
But as the snow began falling more heavily, she wondered about the weather.

Would her loved ones safely arrive,
And then into the eggnog, treats, & presents they would dive?
Or would they get stuck in the airport, or worse, on the road.
Would melancholy silence ring throughout her abode?

Alas, she breathed a deep sigh & nibbled a piece of fudge.
While her be-sweatered best friend gave her a loving nudge.

Her cup of hot cocoa went flying straight up
when the St. Bernard Yuley knocked over her cup,
and her prosthetic leg fell down to the floor,
as she chuckled and adjusted the oxygen she wore.

She reached for her journal to jot down a thought
and stopped to admire all the gifts that she'd bought
for uncles and aunts, cousins, nephews and a niece adopted from abroad from an orphanage in Greece.

As she surveyed the hot liquid she now had to mop,
She was too good-hearted to lament that she'd to hop
while dragging the spongemop out to clean up the mess,
Her plastic leg on the ground, totally useless.

That journal could wait, though her therapist wouldn't be happy.
There were more spots to clean 'cause the house looked real crappy.
Her nieces, her uncles, and her dear sainted mama,
Wouldn't be happy with this dirty house drama.

Get out the Swiffer,
and get out the Pledge.
Clean out the dust
put a shine on that ledge.

She was hopping around,
like a dervish whirling.
While outside the snow,
was drifting and swirling.

A ring of the doorbell startled her and sent her cleaning supplies aflight,
It was too early for her loved ones to arrive on this snowy night.
Who would it be standing on her front porch;
UPS, or perhaps a long-lost love, for whom she still carried a torch?

None of the above why Ho Ho Ho of course!
It was Santa himself, belly jiggling, as he tied up his horse.
"I've come here in person," he said with a grin
"To make sure all is ready and you have plenty of gin"
"Why Santa" she said, blushing down to her toe
I'm the luckiest paraplegic that anyone could know!!

"But where are the reindeer", she asked quite perplexed,
"You know, Dancer & Prancer, Rudolph and the rest?"
"Early retirement", he said with a twinkle.
"So this year I came up with a great, brand new wrinkle".

"I got me a horse, to pull on my sled",
As she looked at the horse, it said "I am Mr. Ed !!".
This startled her so, she fell on her rear,
Which caused Santa to lean forward, "Let me help you up, my dear'.

As he made some hot toddys, and gave Ed an oat bag,
She sat dazed and confused, and not at all glad.
To see a horse, one that talks, quite tall at the shoulder
standing in her living room, bright as brass, but bolder !!

As she sipped her hot toddy, and Santa finished cleaning.
She put on some CDs, and Mr. Ed starting singing.
A nice baritone, a rich and full voice.
'O little town of Bethlehem', a very lovely choice:

"In the little town of Bethlehem, your loved ones did arrive.
In a hijacked plane they landed safe today at half-past five.
Your sainted mom and all the rest are in Christ's birth place now,
The hijackers are sorry 'cause your mom is having such a cow."

Amazed, she turned on the tv
And what to her wondering eyes did she see,
But all of her loved ones kneeling near a stall
By the light of an angel and a star the size of a medicine ball.

Reporters were hovering, the cameras were fixed
On the scene before them and reactions were mixed.
"Do you see what I see?" the anchorman said.

Then the sky opened up
and appearing right there
was an angel on crutches from on high.
She descended to earth
and spoke thusly to those gathered here:
"Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night,
Now would someone please get me a beer!"

Advent Venting Song, The Final Version

With thanks to Presbyterian Gal, for our concluding stanzas, I give you the final version of our Advent Venting Song:

Christmas trees up, in the chancel,
weeks before Christmas
Snarky Pastor, Advent Nazi
Says "No carols for you!"

While all around the stores are filled
With “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls”
Yet on sacred ground we dare not sound
That “Hark, the Herald Angels” song.

No Carols ‘til Christmas
What kind of church is this?
No carols ‘til Christmas
We never have any fun!

You want to sing "O Come O Come Emmanuel?"
We want Christmas, not Advent Carol Hell!
Little Timmy wants "Silent Night," please don't break his heart.
We're spoiling our son this Christmas, and you need to do your part.

And please sir,
my name is not Carol
and has never been
and if I don't get to sing at Advent
I'll commit a ghastly sin!!

Methinks the Advent Nazis do protest too much.
Why guard thou Christ's first coming with such ropes?
Have you ceded the field to
Lindsay, LaHaye et al
And therefore speak no
Second coming hope???

Let's not fight about the timing.
Santa's love is non-confining.
Skip out on the churchy fisticuffs and buy more gifts for the rest of us!

Other's don't care about music,
or greens.
Far be it for them to get into that scene
They don't need no Advent wreath.
Put those candles back in their sheath.

They just ring the cash box bell.
Have to make sure the merchandise sells,
Gotta meet that end-of-year target
or the Tar-mart store will soon be a flea market.

Well of course we can't sing!
Why, I've been such a jerk!!
All our time is required
helping with children's homework!

Jesus will just have to wait
for math, social studies, science, spelling, cursive, typing, reading and book reports to be done!
And maybe just maybe by midnight
Christmas Eve
we can sing to the Son.

And while we're talking about hymns, carols, greens, and holly;
Can we make our church service a little more jolly?

Instead of a confession, Scripture and a sermon,
how 'bout QG's 2006 Christmas song, some liturgical dance, and a nice poem?
That'll make all the visitors
feel like they're right at home.

For communion, why, all that body and blood stuff is such a downer
when we want to celebrate;
Perhaps instead some spiked eggnog in the cups,
and Santa sugar cookies on the plate;

And let's not forget on the Table the Nativity in gingerbread;
All of this, and the people will certainly feel fed.

Advent services? What on earth?
We must repent and ponder?
Sure, Jesus came to give us life,
But I'd like a little more mirth!
Please! I'd like a little more mirth!

Pondering is not my style.
Could we move this a little faster?
The guys are coming in a while,
Why'd we get a woman pastor?
Hey? Why'd we get a woman pastor?

We never did this stuff before,
Not when the men were leading,
I need to head out to the store,
We need some beer for drinking.
Yah, we need some beer for drinking!

The guys are here, with poker and ale,
Perhaps we're going
straight to H-ll,
But I think God will understand,
After all, he is a MAN!
Hey, after all he is a MAN!

Hold on, wait a minute.
The pastor said, brow furrowing.
There's no time for that stuff,
with Christmas Day approaching.

'God rest ye merry gentlemen',
we all should be singing.
Not complaining about the PNC,
or playing cards and drinking !!

The crowd would have grown ugly
if not for the fact
that the Lady Pastor had dropped her church key
as her grin widely spread
past her cheeks to her car trunk
where a keg o' suds waited happily.

Then a party began, after thanks duly given
to the Lord for clergy so wise
and the cheer spread throughout
all the sad grumpy town
and Christmas then came as a happy surprise.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gifts of Memory

It's been more than 40 years since the scrappy Borger High Bulldogs proudly represented their little West Texas oilfield town in the Texas high school football playoffs.

Since then, their trophies have been lost and their legacy forgotten by the town that has never had another team go that far. Their beloved coach was named to the Texas high school hall of fame in honor of his outstanding career a couple of years ago, but recent attempts to name the Bulldog stadium or playing field in his honor were rebuffed by the school board.

El Jefe grew up during that era and was inspired to write a book for himself and his classmates that would keep the memory of those days alive for the future. A couple of months ago, I posted about our trip to Borger where he spent a couple of days researching old newspapers to complete the project. My role was to publish this little opus, which thanks to my experience with the RevGals Advent and Ordinary Time devotional books, I did using the Lulu print-on-demand service. Thanks, RevGals!
Now it is finished! The new link on the sidebar takes you the website where it can be ordered. Mayfield's Borger Bulldogs may never make the New York Times Best-seller list, but the emails and phone calls El Jefe has been receiving confirm that the book has touched the hearts of many of his classmates and members of the teams of that day.

Fond memories are one of God' great gifts, and it is the first part of gift El Jefe has given to those who share his experiences growing up in his old hometown this Christmas season as they get a chance to relive their days of glory on the gridiron and share them with children and grandchildren.

The second part of the gift is that all profits from the sale of the books will be given to a scholarship for the Borger High School honoring the top scholar-athlete of each graduating class--a scholarship El Jefe established a number of years ago in memory of one of his good friend, a football star on the Bulldog team who graduated from Rice and became an attorney before his untimely death from cancer.

Sales so far: 53, but who's counting?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sappy Christmas Song Update, II

Okay, so far the song has the following genuine sappy touches:

1. A lonely one-legged girl
2. A puppy in a Christmas sweater
3. Some OCD housekeeping
4. Santa Claus
5. Mr. Ed singing a message to our heroine about her family's delayed arrival
6. Drama! A hijacked plane
7. An angel, a star and a manger stall in Bethlehem
8. An incredulous TV anchor

Snow was softly falling, the luminarias were lit

As she sat by the window waiting for a visit
From those she loved and missed the most
Flyin' in on Christmas Eve from the coast.

She and her puppy had donned matching Christmas sweaters.
But as the snow began falling more heavily, she wondered about the weather.

Would her loved ones safely arrive,
And then into the eggnog, treats, & presents they would dive?
Or would they get stuck in the airport, or worse, on the road.
Would melancholy silence ring throughout her abode?

Alas, she breathed a deep sigh & nibbled a piece of fudge.
While her be-sweatered best friend gave her a loving nudge.

Her cup of hot cocoa went flying straight up
when the St. Bernard Yuley knocked over her cup,
and her prosthetic leg fell down to the floor,
as she chuckled and adjusted the oxygen she wore.

She reached for her journal to jot down a thought
and stopped to admire all the gifts that she'd bought
for uncles and aunts, cousins, nephews and a niece adopted from abroad from an orphanage in Greece.

As she surveyed the hot liquid she now had to mop,
She was too good-hearted to lament that she'd to hop
while dragging the spongemop out to clean up the mess,
Her plastic leg on the ground, totally useless.

That journal could wait, though her therapist wouldn't be happy.
There were more spots to clean 'cause the house looked real crappy.
Her nieces, her uncles, and her dear sainted mama,
Wouldn't be happy with this dirty house drama.

Get out the Swiffer,
and get out the Pledge.
Clean out the dust
put a shine on that ledge.

She was hopping around,
like a dervish whirling.
While outside the snow,
was drifting and swirling.

A ring of the doorbell startled her and sent her cleaning supplies aflight,
It was too early for her loved ones to arrive on this snowy night.
Who would it be standing on her front porch;
UPS, or perhaps a long-lost love, for whom she still carried a torch?

None of the above why Ho Ho Ho of course!
It was Santa himself, belly jiggling, as he tied up his horse.
"I've come here in person," he said with a grin
"To make sure all is ready and you have plenty of gin"
"Why Santa" she said, blushing down to her toe
I'm the luckiest paraplegic that anyone could know!!

"But where are the reindeer", she asked quite perplexed,
"You know, Dancer & Prancer, Rudolph and the rest?"
"Early retirement", he said with a twinkle.
"So this year I came up with a great, brand new wrinkle".

"I got me a horse, to pull on my sled",
As she looked at the horse, it said "I am Mr. Ed !!".
This startled her so, she fell on her rear,
Which caused Santa to lean forward, "Let me help you up, my dear'.

As he made some hot toddys, and gave Ed an oat bag,
She sat dazed and confused, and not at all glad.
To see a horse, one that talks, quite tall at the shoulder
standing in her living room, bright as brass, but bolder !!

As she sipped her hot toddy, and Santa finished cleaning.
She put on some CDs, and Mr. Ed starting singing.
A nice baritone, a rich and full voice.
'O little town of Bethlehem', a very lovely choice:

"In the little town of Bethlehem, your loved ones did arrive.
In a hijacked plane they landed safe today at half-past five.
Your sainted mom and all the rest are in Christ's birth place now,
The hijackers are sorry 'cause your mom is having such a cow."

Amazed, she turned on the tv
And what to her wondering eyes did she see,
But all of her loved ones kneeling near a stall
By the light of an angel and a star the size of a medicine ball.

Reporters were hovering, the cameras were fixed
On the scene before them and reactions were mixed.
"Do you see what I see?" the anchorman said.
"Or have I finally gone soft in the head?"

What happens next? Will the hijackers repent and kneel at the manger? Will Mom whack one of them on the head with a shepherd's crook? Will Mr. Ed bring Santa and his sleigh to the rescue?

Advent Venting Song, II

No, it's not finished yet! Here's the second update of the Advent Venting Song:

Christmas trees up, in the chancel,
weeks before Christmas
Snarky Pastor, Advent Nazi
Says "No carols for you!"

While all around the stores are filled
With “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls”
Yet on sacred ground we dare not sound
That “Hark, the Herald Angels” song.

No Carols ‘til Christmas
What kind of church is this?
No carols ‘til Christmas
We never have any fun!

You want to sing "O Come O Come Emmanuel?"
We want Christmas, not Advent Carol Hell!
Little Timmy wants "Silent Night," please don't break his heart.
We're spoiling our son this Christmas, and you need to do your part.

And please sir,
my name is not Carol
and has never been
and if I don't get to sing at Advent
I'll commit a ghastly sin!!

Methinks the Advent Nazis do protest too much.
Why guard thou Christ's first coming with such ropes?
Have you ceded the field to
Lindsay, LaHaye et al
And therefore speak no
Second coming hope???

Let's not fight about the timing.
Santa's love is non-confining.
Skip out on the churchy fisticuffs and buy more gifts for the rest of us!

Other's don't care about music,
or greens.
Far be it for them to get into that scene
They don't need no Advent wreath.
Put those candles back in their sheath.

They just ring the cash box bell.
Have to make sure the merchandise sells,
Gotta meet that end-of-year target
or the Tar-mart store will soon be a flea market.

Well of course we can't sing!
Why, I've been such a jerk!!
All our time is required
helping with children's homework!

Jesus will just have to wait
for math, social studies, science, spelling, cursive, typing, reading and book reports to be done!
And maybe just maybe by midnight
Christmas Eve
we can sing to the Son.

And while we're talking about hymns, carols, greens, and holly;
Can we make our church service a little more jolly?

Instead of a confession, Scripture and a sermon,
how 'bout QG's 2006 Christmas song, some liturgical dance, and a nice poem?
That'll make all the visitors
feel like they're right at home.

For communion, why, all that body and blood stuff is such a downer
when we want to celebrate;
Perhaps instead some spiked eggnog in the cups,
and Santa sugar cookies on the plate;

And let's not forget on the Table the Nativity in gingerbread;
All of this, and the people will certainly feel fed.

Advent services? What on earth?
We must repent and ponder?
Sure, Jesus came to give us life,
But I'd like a little more mirth!
Please! I'd like a little more mirth!

Pondering is not my style.
Could we move this a little faster?
The guys are coming in a while,
Why'd we get a woman pastor?
Hey? Why'd we get a woman pastor?

We never did this stuff before,
Not when the men were leading,
I need to head out to the store,
We need some beer for drinking.
Yah, we need some beer for drinking!

The guys are here, with poker and ale,
Perhaps we're going
straight to H-ll,
But I think God will understand,
After all, he is a MAN!
Hey, after all he is a MAN!

Hold on, wait a minute.
The pastor said, brow furrowing.
There's no time for that stuff,
with Christmas Day approaching.

'God rest ye merry gentlemen',
we all should be singing.
Not complaining about the PNC,
or playing cards and drinking !!

If you're still in the mood, add more verses in the comments.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sappy Christmas Song Competition Update

Thanks to Rev. Dave, Reformed Catholic, Rev. Kim, Presbyterian Gal and Spooky Rach, we now have a truly Sappy Christmas song shaping up (see post below for the Advent Venting Song Update). Here's what we have so far:

Snow was softly falling, the luminarias were lit
As she sat by the window waiting for a visit
From those she loved and missed the most
Flyin' in on Christmas Eve from the coast.

She and her puppy had donned matching Christmas sweaters.
But as the snow began falling more heavily, she wondered about the weather.

Would her loved ones safely arrive,
And then into the eggnog, treats, & presents they would dive?
Or would they get stuck in the airport, or worse, on the road.
Would melancholy silence ring throughout her abode?

Alas, she breathed a deep sigh & nibbled a piece of fudge.
While her be-sweatered best friend gave her a loving nudge.

Her cup of hot cocoa went flying straight up
when the St. Bernard Yuley knocked over her cup,
and her prosthetic leg fell down to the floor,
as she chuckled and adjusted the oxygen she wore.

She reached for her journal to jot down a thought
and stopped to admire all the gifts that she'd bought
for uncles and aunts, cousins, nephews and a niece adopted from abroad from an orphanage in Greece.

As she surveyed the hot liquid she now had to mop,
She was too good-hearted to lament that she'd to hop
while dragging the spongemop out to clean up the mess,
Her plastic leg on the ground, totally useless.

That journal could wait, though her therapist wouldn't be happy.
There were more spots to clean 'cause the house looked real crappy.
Her nieces, her uncles, and her dear sainted mama,
Wouldn't be happy with this dirty house drama.

Get out the Swiffer,
and get out the Pledge.
Clean out the dust
put a shine on that ledge.

She was hopping around,
like a dervish whirling.
While outside the snow,
was drifting and swirling.

Are you going to leave our heroine mired in housework on Christmas Eve? I think not. Add your stanza in the comments.

Advent Venting Song Update

As I said in the last post, Rev. Dave really tapped a nerve with his opening stanza. Here's our Advent Venting Song so far, courtesy of Rev. Dave, cpclergymama, Shawn, PCIT, Presbyterian Gal, Singing Owl, Rev. Kim, Reformed Catholic, and Spooky Rach:

Christmas trees up, in the chancel,
weeks before Christmas
Snarky Pastor, Advent Nazi
Says "No carols for you!"

While all around the stores are filled
With “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls”
Yet on sacred ground we dare not sound
That “Hark, the Herald Angels” song.

No Carols ‘til Christmas
What kind of church is this?
No carols ‘til Christmas
We never have any fun!

You want to sing "O Come O Come Emmanuel?"
We want Christmas, not Advent Carol Hell!
Little Timmy wants "Silent Night," please don't break his heart.
We're spoiling our son this Christmas, and you need to do your part.

And please sir,
my name is not Carol
and has never been
and if I don't get to sing at Advent
I'll commit a ghastly sin!!

Methinks the Advent Nazis do protest too much.
Why guard thou Christ's first coming with such ropes?
Have you ceded the field to
Lindsay, LaHaye et al
And therefore speak no
Second coming hope???

Let's not fight about the timing.
Santa's love is non-confining.
Skip out on the churchy fisticuffs and buy more gifts for the rest of us!

Other's don't care about music,
or greens.
Far be it for them to get into that scene
They don't need no Advent wreath.
Put those candles back in their sheath.

They just ring the cash box bell.
Have to make sure the merchandise sells,
Gotta meet that end-of-year target
or the Tar-mart store will soon be a flea market.

Well of course we can't sing!
Why, I've been such a jerk!!
All our time is required
helping with children's homework!

Jesus will just have to wait
for math, social studies, science, spelling, cursive, typing, reading and book reports to be done!
And maybe just maybe by midnight
Christmas Eve
we can sing to the Son.

And while we're talking about hymns, carols, greens, and holly;
Can we make our church service a little more jolly?

Instead of a confession, Scripture and a sermon,
how 'bout QG's 2006 Christmas song, some liturgical dance, and a nice poem?
That'll make all the visitors
feel like they're right at home.

For communion, why, all that body and blood stuff is such a downer when we want to celebrate;
Perhaps instead some spiked eggnog in the cups, and Santa sugar cookies on the plate;

And let's not forget on the Table the Nativity in gingerbread;
All of this, and the people will certainly feel fed.

Advent services? What on earth?
We must repent and ponder?
Sure, Jesus came to give us life,
But I'd like a little more mirth!
Please! I'd like a little more mirth!

Pondering is not my style.
Could we move this a little faster?
The guys are coming in a while,
Why'd we get a woman pastor?
Hey? Why'd we get a woman pastor?

We never did this stuff before,
Not when the men were leading,
I need to head out to the store,
We need some beer for drinking.
Yah, we need some beer for drinking!

The guys are here, with poker and ale,
Perhaps we're going
straight to H-ll,
But I think God will understand,
After all, he is a MAN!
Hey, after all he is a MAN!

Hmmm. This little song threatens to be as long as MacArthur Park. But if you are inspired to add to it, please do so in the comments.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sappy Christmas Song Competition, Part Two

The Sappy Christmas Song Competition seems to be morphing into the Advent Venting Competition--which is great in its own way, but not sappy! Apparently Rev. Dave unwittingly tapped into your last nerve out there. QG is delighted to be of service to those of you who feel the need to vent your Advent frustrations in a safe place.

Rev. Dave sent me a new stanza so we can continue the Sappy Christmas Song tradition for those of you who are feeling the need to be snarky AND sappy.

So QG will host two Christmas song competitions: one devoted to Advent Venting and one devoted to sappiness. You can enter either competition by leaving your contribution in the comments--put your comments in the post below if you want to vent. Put them here if your Sappy Muse is whispering in your ear.

Each competition will be updated with separate posts. Open up those cans of corn, whip out your hankies and start writing! Here's the first stanza of the Sappy Christmas Song:

~drumroll please~

Snow was softly falling, the luminarias were lit
As she sat by the window waiting for a visit
From those she loved and missed the most
Flyin' in on Christmas Eve from the coast.

Sappy Christmas Song Update

We're off to a great start! Thanks to cpclergymama for her lyrics and our refrain, and to Shawn, Presbyterian Gal and PCIT for taking Rev. Dave's opening verse and running with it.

Christmas trees up, in the chancel,
weeks before Christmas
Snarky Pastor, Advent Nazi
Says "No carols for you!"

While all around the stores are filled
With “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls”
Yet on sacred ground we dare not sound
That “Hark, the Herald Angels” song.

No Carols ‘til Christmas
What kind of church is this?
No carols ‘til Christmas
We never have any fun!

You want to sing "O Come O Come Emmanuel?"
We want Christmas, not Advent Carol Hell!
Little Timmy wants "Silent Night," please don't break his heart.
We're spoiling our son this Christmas, and you need to do your part.

And please sir,
my name is not Carol
and has never been
and if I don't get to sing at Advent
I'll commit a ghastly sin!!

No Carols ‘til Christmas
What kind of church is this?
No carols ‘til Christmas
We never have any fun!

Methinks the Advent Nazis do protest too much.
Why guard thou Christ's first coming with such ropes?
Have you ceded the field to
Lindsay, LaHaye et al
And therefore speak no
Second coming hope???


Okay, some of you are wound pretty tight over the Advent/Christmas Carol controversy. I get it. But is this sappy enough yet? Will the Snarky Pastor/Advent Nazi melt down into a sugary pool of undifferentiated liturgical practices or remain steadfast in the face of a whining congregation?

It's up to you--add your verses in the comments.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Second Annual Sappy Christmas Song Competition Kicks Off Today!

Hark the herald the angels sing
Of glory to the newborn king.

T
heir words are timeless and never sappy
Their tunes are classic and never rappy.

Sometimes it's hard to find their song.

It seems pop singers get it all wrong.

Here's a contest for you who wince and think
"I couldn't do worse"
then look for a drink.


The Sappy Song Competition kicks off today,
I hope all of you are ready to play.

QG is back by popular demand with the Second Annual Sappy Song Competition. In the spirit of the Bulwar-Lytton Fiction Contest, you are invited to contribute your own deathless doggerell to create this year's masterpiece of sappiness. I've asked Rev. Dave of Moose Poop on the Lawn, who kicked the contest off last year, to give us a few lines to start the song off. Then you add your lyrics in the comments. I will periodically post an update of the song and you continue to add your lyrics until I declare it is finished. You can check out last year's Sappy Christmas Song here.

Think country-western twangy, or rappy, or pop ballady. Just be sure there's plenty of sentimentality and cloying sweetness. We'll need a good refrain, so if we get more than one contributed we'll take a vote to choose our favorite.

Here are the rules:

1. Add your lyrics in the comments.
2. Extra points for those who mix religious/secular methaphors.
3. Puns are allowed--but keep them clean, this is a family-friendly blog.
4. QG will award appropriate virtual prizes at the end of the competition.

~drumroll please~

And now, courtesy of Rev. Dave, are the first lines of The Sappy Christmas Song 2007:


Christmas trees up, in the chancel,
weeks before Christmas
Snarky Pastor, Advent Nazi
Says "No carols for you!"


The rest of the song is up to you! Add your lyrics in the comments. Good luck!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Which Way Is Up Department

Bloggage has been light lately due to the twin press of presbytery and family business at an already busy time of the year. After tomorrow, it should be better. Prayers appreciated.

Special meetings and Christmas preparations don't mix well.

Just sayin'.

On the bright side, a new Whole Foods opened up near me and I managed a quick trip through the fish market this afternoon, scoring a lovely flounder for dinner!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Sharing Christmas Traditions

Today at a lunch with friends, we began discussing Christmas traditions that were dear to us and our families. The ideas were so good that I thought I would share them with you all.

Basket of Christmas Books-- one of the gals collected Christmas-themed books (most of them religious). She keeps them in the attic during the year but at Advent wraps each one in wrapping paper and puts them out in a basket. Each evening her children choose one to unwrap and then she reads it to them.


Christmas Stockings--In the interest of a little more sleep for Mom and Dad on Christmas morning, put the filled stocking in the child's bedroom after they go to sleep. The child has permission to take stuff out of the stocking and play with it until the agreed upon time to get up and see what's under the tree. This clever mom, who must collect wrapping paper as a hobby, wraps the bottom of her stairs on Christmas Eve so that the children get to burst through the paper like a runner winning a race. It also is an incentive not to peek too early!

Purple Plate--This is a variation of the red "You Are Special" plate you may have seen in gift stores. The purple plate appears on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, other family celebrations or just when someone needs encouragement. Everyone at dinner says something complimentary about the person who has the purple plate at their place.

Ornament Fairy--One family has an "ornament fairy" who visits each child during Advent. The children are told the fairy is likely to visit one night and they place a shoe outside their bedroom door which the fairy fills with an ornament. The ornaments are special ones chosen to reflect the children's personality and interests and are labeled with their names. The parents plan to give them those ornaments for their own homes when they grow up and being their own families.


We all loved the story of the oldest member of the group who recalled her grandparents' practice of putting a shiny silver dollar under the plate of each grandchild at Christmas. Those were the days!
Maybe some of you will want to adopt one of these ideas. I would have loved the Basket of Books when Portia and Babs were little. But I can always do it with grandchildren someday!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

QG's Record Unbroken



I spent ALL day on jury duty. I was called to a jury panel and sat through voir dire. Then when the jury was selected, they skipped right over me and I was dismissed. Once again I was questioned about being a lawyer and El Jefe being a lawyer. Hey--they didn't ask me about Portia being a lawyer!

My record of being struck from the list remains unbroken. Texas now excuses jurors who are 70 years old or older. Can I keep it up until then? Going for the gold!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Results of Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

I was SO disappointed--Portia didn't win the Ugliest Sweater prize at the party.

She said the winner wore her mother's sweater from 1980. Not only did it have shoulder pads that only a linebacker would love, but it featured a string of Christmas tree bulbs that lit up AND it played music. Alas, she didn't bring me a photo or video of it, so just use your imagination. Who could compete with that?

Babs, however, won the Best Outfit award with her aunt's borrowed nutcracker sweater. As she and Portia thought, it was just too tasteful for the Ugly Christmas Sweater competition.

Portia did report that a couple of gals told her they would actually wear that flamingo sweater. Chacun a son gout!

Aside to Rach: DK's pajama bottoms can be found at Old Navy in the men's section. Tell your Secret Santa.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Eureka--We Found It!



Portia found this Ugly Christmas Sweater for the party tonight. Because nothing says Christmas like flamingoes in Santa hats. With candy canes.

To go with it, she found pajama bottoms for DK in the print in the photo: skull and crossbones with Santa hats.

Really, what could be better?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Trendwatch: Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties





















While some of my more seriously theologically minded blogging pals are pondering The Big Questions of Advent QG is turning her attention to an aspect of current popular culture: the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party.

I learned about this a couple of weeks ago because Portia and Babs are going to an Ugly Christmas Sweater party and were looking for appropriate garb. I didn't have any (because they threw my beloved -80's Christmas sweatshirt with light up twinkly lights out a few years ago), so they went over to their aunt's and ransacked her closet. They concluded that none of her sweaters were really ugly ENOUGH, so now a trip to TJ Maxx and Steinmart is planned for the weekend.

Apparently Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties are all the rage. You can get information about how to have one here. And here's a blog with a plethora of examples for you--but if you're like me you'll be thinking: "some of those aren't THAT ugly." But some of them are. If you live in Texas you've seen plenty of cowboy Santa themed sweaters like the one shown above.

Finally, here's a great timewaster for you. Click on this link and you can make your own virtual ugly Christmas sweater, stick your photo on it and email it to your friends! That's 30 minutes I won't be getting back.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Candy Cane Monday on Wednesday


Presbyterian Gal tagged me for this little meme, which asks what are your five favorite presents, either gotten or given? Sorry it took me a couple of days to get to it, but as you see below, I've had "issues."

1. As a child, I got a new book in the Laura Ingalls Wilder "Little House" series every Christmas for several years. How I loved opening those books and reading them on Christmas afternoon. And re-reading them the next day!

2. As a teenager I got a portable record/tape player that pleased me as much as an IPOD delights my daughters today.

3. It was a great thrill to give my father a mult-record set of the Brahams Requiem when I was a teen. It took me several months to save the money out of my allowance and he was very surprised!

4. El Jefe surprised me a few years ago with a beautiful set of black pearls. So elegant!

5. Last Christmas as we were preparing to buy a recreational home with my in-laws, my brother-in-law gave me a wooden name plaque our future bay house inscribed with the name of my family's original Gulf cottage by the sea. It's in my closet now waiting to adorn the finished product later this spring!

I'll tag Classical Presbyterian, Spooky Rach, Mindy and Denis Hancock (the Reformed Angler).

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Blue Screen of Death Tuesday

ARRRGGGH! and Razzlefrackzit.

This morning the laptop only displayed the grey Apple logo screen and would go no further. After following the Help directions, using Bab's computer, I managed to progress to the Blue Screen of Death. Swell.

In a panic, I trotted over to the nearby (thankfully) Apple Store to consult the resident Genius. Genius, bedecked in several earrings, became frustrated with the laptop. Not a good sign. Laptop is admitted to Apple Hospital. A couple of hours later, they call me to pick it up.

Good news: it's working again and didn't cost anything to fix thanks to the Apple plan. Bad news: All Data Lost. Silver lining: Gmail archives should have all documents I will need to reconstruct because they all got emailed to somebody. Groan. Yes, I had some backup. But not enough. There's never enough, is there?

And of course today is the day Beatrice got "fixed" and "microchipped" at the Vet clinic. At least she's asleep now. I'm going to put the laptop to sleep for a while because I've had enough for today.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Book Review: The Ghost Map


The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities and the Modern World by Stephen Johnson is the story of a pivotal incident in the history of science which made the safe habitation of large urban areas possible, thereby paving the way for modern urban civilization around the world.

I picked the book up because of my interest in British history. The epidemic referenced in the title of the book is a cholera epidemic in London in August of 1854. The "ghost map" of the title was developed by Dr. John Snow by tracing the deaths in the area most affected as he sought to discover the source of the epidemic. Although the prevailing scientific wisdom of the day held that cholera (and other diseases) were transmitted from foul air ( the "miasma" theory), Snow believed that cholera was waterborne.

One of the fascinating themes of the book is the clash between respected scientists of the day who believed the deeply held "miasma" theory, which had ancient origins, and Dr. Snow's empirical findings. The author does a good job of describing why it was so hard for believers in the "miasma" theory to admit it was wrong.

Interestingly, it was the collaboration of Dr. Snow with Rev. Henry Whitehead, the young minister of the parish where the epidemic raged that summer, which produced enough evidence to convince the authorities that the epidemic was being spread by tainted water from a particular well rather than from polluted air. Rev. Whitehead, devastated by the loss of life among his congregation, assisted Snow's investigations using the good relationships he had built with people in the area to contribute the missing data Snow needed to make his theory incontrovertible.

One of the most interesting parts of the book is at the end when Johnson traces the development of modern cities to the investigations and methods used by Snow and Whitehead back in 1854. Certainly the rise of today's highly urbanized culture in many parts of the world would not be possible without the sanitation and public health measures that we take for granted.

The book is written like a novel and so is easy for the non-scientific types like yours truly to follow. I was hooked on it within the first few pages as the working class mom tosses the contents of her sick infant's diaper into the well in her neighborhood. After finishing it, I find myself wondering if there is a generally accepted scientific theory today that may be shown to be as false as the miasma theory in the future. Since Stephen Johnson also wrote Everything Bad is Good for You, I think he probably intended the reader of this book to ask that question!

Babs is reading The Ghost Map now, so we'll be able to talk about that question, and others, when she's finished.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Post Thanksgiving Friday Five

Here's the post-Thanksgiving Friday Five meme from the RevGals. Think I'll play today.

1. Did you go elsewhere for the day, or did you have visitors at your place instead? How was it?

We had 13 for dinner chez QG, including one toddler and two puppies. It was great! DK and Babs made apple cake, apple streusel bars, pecan pie with chocolate chips and Heath bar chips, pumpkin pie and chocolate brownie pie. Can you say sugar overload?

2. Main course: If it was the turkey, the whole turkey, and nothing but the turkey, was it prepared in an unusual way? Or did you throw tradition to the winds and do something different?

We had TWO kinds of turkey: roast turkey slathered with butter and herbs d'provance and a heavenly-scented smoked turkey from Tyler, Texas. We also had TWO kinds of dressing: cornbread and traditional bread stuffing, and TWO kinds of potatoes: mashed with cheese and sweet potato casserole with coconut and pecans. Guess our Thanksgiving theme is TWO of everything!

3. Other than the meal, do you have any Thanksgiving customs that you observe every year?

Most importantly, we invite someone who might be alone to join us. This year our neighbors brought their nephew who is new in town. I also always use my great-grandmother's gold-rimmed plates that she brought over from Scotland on Thanksgiving.

4. The day after Thanksgiving is considered a major Christmas shopping day by most US retailers. Do you go out bargain hunting and shop ‘till you drop, or do you stay indoors with the blinds closed? Or something in between?

QG refuses to shop on Black Friday. In fact, QG is a dedicated online shopper who eagerly anticipates Cyber Monday. However, I've already done some online shopping in advance and am feeling very smug.

5. Let the HOLIDAY SEASON commence! When will your Christmas decorations go up?

Not until December. Give me a break!!! It's not even Advent yet. Stuffing my fingers in my ears now.