Monday, November 30, 2009

A Sunday Afternoon Trip to the Batting Cages

Bruce and I had the following conversation on Saturday night:

Bruce:  Babe?
Sarah:  Yes?
Bruce:  Tomorrow after church, I'd like to go the batting cages.  Do you want to go with me?
Sarah:  Sure.
Bruce:  Cool.

Now - this conversation sounds normal enough.  Except for the fact that Bruce and I have been together for almost three years and we have never once been to the batting cages.

Nevertheless - after church we headed over to the batting cages.  It was actually a lot of fun.  I do not think that I have picked up a bat since high school gym class, so I stuck to the slow pitch softball cages.  Here are some pictures/videos from our day.  I'm posting a video of me because the pictures show just how terrible my form is.  But Bruce actually looks like he knows what he's doing!!

He kept telling me to "choke" - how are you supposed to respond when your husband tells you to "choke"?!

What is impressive is that he could switch hit ... so ... right hand ...

... left hand.  Impressive.

And now for something a little bit slower ...

I hope everyone had a great start to their week ... It is my last week of classes!!  I am READY for Christmas break. (If you couldn't already tell)

Can you believe tomorrow is DECEMBER?!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Adventus is here!!

These past two years I have really had a hard time during the Advent season.  I have been in the middle of finals and always felt like I couldn't fully get in the spirit of the holidays.  I couldn't fully prepare and get excited for the birth of Jesus.  I was too caught up in the stress of school and finishing up the semester.

This year shouldn't be any different - I have five papers due this week alone.  And yet - something got me thinking.  This semester I have been taking month-long worship practicums that have looked at different parts of the Christian year.  Most recently, we have been talking about Advent.

Advent is not just about getting ready for Christmas.  It is not just about lighting candles, decorating trees and hooking up lots of lights.

Advent is the season of coming, waiting, expecting and arriving.  The great thing about this season is that - in all reality - you do not have to DO ANYTHING during it.  You can enter into this season wherever you are on your journey through life:  You can wait for God to speak to you, come into the lives of the people who may need your love and support, expect the unexpected and wait for the arrival of Emmanuel - the God within us all.

I never thought about it until today - but on the first Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of Hope.


I don't need to be free of finals, homework and stress in order to have hope in my life.  Hope - despite all else - is always alive.

Hope is knowing that I have some of the most incredible friends and family who surround me every day, help me make good decisions and catch me when I fall.  Hope is reading the stories of bloggers all over the country and seeing some of the incredible ways that they are serving their communities and our world.  Hope is feeling a call to ministry - a call that I may not be able to understand but that gives me a larger purpose.  Hope is knowing that I turn in my final paper on Dec. 11 and will finally have time to clean out, decorate, catch up with my friends and spend time with my husband.

Wherever you are in your life - you have hope.

What do you hope for this Advent season?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Weekend Recipes - Thanksgiving Edition (Pop Pop's Corn Casserole)

Corn Casserole
(compliments of my grandfather)

1 box Jiffy Cornbread Mix
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 (16 oz.) can cream-style corn
1 (16 oz.) can whole kernel corn
8 oz. sour cream
½ c. butter, but into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together all ingredients, in the given order.
Pour into 2 quart glass baking dish.
Bake uncovered for 60 minutes or until knife/fork/toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

I've noticed that at around 60 minutes the toothpick is not completely clean, but I take it out anyway - it will bake a little bit more after it comes out of the oven.  Just make sure that it is just starting to brown before you take it out.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I trust everyone is slowly coming out of their Turkey-induced comas?

I am spending Black Friday in sweatpants and with a pile of homework and lots of Christmas music!! (Is it just me or does Christmas music make most obnoxious tasks better?) The past two nights I have had dreams (/nightmares) that I didn't make my deadlines, forgot about a paper or turned something in late - I woke up both times with school-induced heart palpitations so I am good and ready to make sure that those dreams do not become a reality.

Happy Black Friday!!  For those of you out shopping - did you get any good deals?

Bruce and me before we left for dinner yesterday.  Yes, Bruce does wait until I get dressed to pick his clothes so he somewhat matches.  Kind of silly, yes, but otherwise we would clash!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Drinking coffee in bed while watching Matt & Meredith welcome the parade down 34th street sounds just about PERFECT to me.

We're having dinner with some friends of ours from school later on - I am bringing my grandfather's "famous" (famous in our family, anyway) corn casserole so I better start cooking!!

Is anybody else out there cooking?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!  May you feel your blessings in abundance.


Check out the photo here and read about the new parade route for this year!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Not Yet, Anyway.

So - it's not really feeling like, fall, Thanksgiving or the holiday season for me right now.

I blame part of it on these pesky southern winters.  And I use the term "winter" loosely (only if you count a predicted 60-degree Thanksgiving Day as "winter," that is).  Bruce just got back from the grocery store and said it was finally starting to feel brisk outside - and even with the brisk air, it is still warm in our apartment at night and we have slept the past two nights with the slider door in our bedroom open!!

I blame part of it on the three papers, one worship service and one presentation that stand between me and the end of the semester.  Hard to get into the holiday spirit when you are burdened by finals.  At least I do not have to take any sit down exams!!

I blame part of it on the fact that I stayed inside today and watched the increasingly slow-moving traffic and treacherous airport travel conditions on the news, rather than experiencing them first hand.  No traveling for the Weavers this year.  I learned the hard way during my first year in seminary that it is next to impossible for me to travel north so close to finals.

I blame part of it on the fact that I really have no intention of getting decorated for the holidays until after I turn in my last paper (Dec. 11th) and can clean up, clean out and completely go all out.  And in the middle of finals I am driving to North Carolina for my psychological evaluation - so there really is no time before then.  Which is such a shame - because I love to go all out (and it definitely helps me study and write when I do so by Christmas lights).

So - I am not quite in the spirit.  Not yet, anyway.

I am sure that when I catch my first glimpse of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on TV in the morning, turn on Christmas music for the first time, try to keep track of the seven different football games Bruce will inevitably be flipping through and sit down to dinner with some of our friends from school, things will be different. (Maybe a cold front will come through and we will get some snow tomorrow?)

But until then, Bruce and Lilly and I are hanging out and having a Friends marathon - we have all ten seasons on DVD so we are going through them and watching all of the Thanksgiving episodes!!

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!!  Safe travels to those of you on the road / in the air!!


p.s. If anyone needs an absolutely heartwarming story, check this post out.  Sarah and I have been reading this blog over the past couple of months - this husband and wife have been blogging about their infertility and they got really good news this morning!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Just Ride

You wake up from your dreaming and you don't want to face the day
You can't find a reason to think your world will ever change
You can hide beneath the covers
Or you can run outside, head up high and carry on ...

Life is a roller coaster ride

Time turns the wheel and love collides

Faith is believing you can close your eyes and touch the sky

So shine while you have the chance to shine

Laugh even when you want to cry

Hold on tight to what you feel inside ...

... and ride.




Martina McBride's Ride made a bad day better for me today.  Listening to the lyrics reminded me that - even though my future is uncertain, even though there are a lot of transitions coming up, even though I do not know where I will be in a year - I am surrounded by wonderful people.  And I am going to be okay.

I have so much to be thankful for - and I can't wait to talk about it for the rest of the week!!


Listen here for the rest of the song:

Monday, November 23, 2009

HomeGoods StyleScope

So my good friend Sarah and I both regularly read Young Love House, a fabulous blog with tons of decorating, home improvement and DIY ideas.  This afternoon they posted the results of a quiz that they had taken over at HomeGoods that tested their decorating style.  I thought it would be fun to think about anything other than Systematic Theology so I headed over tonight to take the quiz myself.

Here are my results:

I read the description out loud to Bruce and he said that it sounded fairly spot on.  I have to say, though - while this was a really nice study break, it just made me want a house that much more!!  And at the moment, what stands between me and a house is graduating, finishing my ordination requirements, seeking a call and moving to a new place.

So, for the time being - it's back to Systematic Theology.

Let me know if you all take the quiz!!  What is your StyleScope?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Go Dawgs!!

Bruce and I experienced our first SEC football game yesterday!!  Some friends of ours have UGA season tickets and invited us to this weekend's night game versus Kentucky.

SEC football is SO different from any other college football that I have ever experienced.  Girls dress up with the team colors and guys go beyond just wearing t-shirts and hats with team paraphernalia on them. (I am not lying when I say that I saw men wearing red corduroy pants with black bulldogs all over them.) The final score was less than stellar (that's what happens when the quarterback keeps throwing the ball to the other team) but all in all it was tons of fun!!

It has been rainy and gloomy gray here all day.  We came home from church and have pretty much been laying around, watching football and napping.  I am SO happy that some of my classes have been cancelled this week and I don't have to spend the entire week of Thanksgiving in class!!

What about everybody else?  Working this week?  Taking the week off for Thanksgiving?  Working a short week?  In school?  I can't believe how quickly Thanksgiving is coming - I have a "no Christmas music until Thanksgiving" rule so come Thursday I am breaking out my favorite - Amy Grant!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fall In Atlanta

Fall in Atlanta ...

... it's really quite beautiful don't you think?

Have a great weekend, y'all!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Need a Vacation

Going back to Italy, France and Spain would be nice ...

... don't you think?

Am I the only one who hates it when their passport starts to collect dust?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

And I thought DRIVING across the country was impressive ...

I cannot believe I am just posting this now - but a friend of mine has been riding his bike across the country ...

(yes I said riding his BIKE across the country)

... and he in Florida!!!!!  He started in Southern California and will end on the Florida coast very soon!!  It's been fun to keep up with him on facebook throughout his trip (thank you Steve Jobs - Dan's trusty iPhone kept us all in the loop).

Watch this video and you will know why Dan and I are friends.  I love his passion and I love his commitment.  I love the fact that he is adventurous and the fact that he doesn't let a good idea just pass him by.  If he thinks it will be fun to ride his bike across the country - then he will do it.  And this isn't a one-time adventure.  There are still more to come!!

Check out his website to track him as he makes his final ride into the Atlantic Ocean.  Take a look at pictures from his hike on the Appalachian Trail (Georgia to Maine) and sneak a peak at some of his upcoming adventures.

Dan - Bruce and I are SO proud of you and excited and in awe and a whole lot of other adjectives that I can't think of right now.  We cannot wait to see you and to hear all of your crazy stories!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sorry Daddy, but I LOVE Country Music

I was writing my sermon on Saturday night and came across this video.

(p.s. country music had nothing to do with my sermon - but it does help me think)

Before you read on, know that I love Love LOVE Brad Paisley.  I think he's an incredible musician, I love that he tells a story and I have enjoyed listening to how his music has changed as he got married and had kids.  I love that he doesn't take himself too seriously and that he gets a passion in his eyes when he is performing.

Okay, so back to my sermon.  So to speak.

A couple of weeks ago Brad Paisley posted on twitter that he was singing in the White House.  I thought it was really cool, but was too wrapped up in school to track down the video of him actually performing.  I'm glad I did - because he performed a song that I think is so relevant to this administration.  The song juxtaposes the dichotomy between where we were 50/60 years ago - and how far we've come.  I love Brad Paisley's speech before he sings, because he just seems overcome with emotion - not just because he was invited to sing in front of the president but also because he was singing a song that was influenced directly by the first election of a black U.S. president.

(I also love the fact that he says that we NEED MUSIC IN THE SCHOOLS.  But I digress ...)

What I love also about this song is the fact that because it reminds me of how far we have come in a short amount of time it also forces me to think about the potential that we have for the future.  What would a world look like where the gap between the developed world and the third world was closed?  What would a world look like with affordable healthcare available to everyone?  What would a world look like if race, class, gender and sexual orientation didn't matter?  What would a world look like if we focused less on differences and more on opportunities?  What would it look like if children everywhere had good schools and enthusiastic teachers?

When I start listing off of all those things, it almost sounds daunting ... but listen to the lyrics of this song - and think about where we were!!

A better world is possible.  Welcome to the future!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Almost Done and Peter Golmes

The preliminary tests for my psychological exam are almost done!!!!!  I'm just working on finishing up the last questionnaire and then I will hit send and not have to think about it until after the semester is over when I go for the actual test!!

In the meantime - I preached this morning at Pilgrimage and really want to share with you all something that really touched me as I writing my sermon.  The two texts that I used were 1 Samuel 2:1-10 (Hannah's Prayer of Thanksgiving after God granted her petition for a child) and Hebrews 10:11-14. 19-25 (A Call to Persevere as we enter into this new sanctuary of the Lord).  This essay was written by Peter Golmes, a professor at Harvard Divinity School, in response to this passage from Hebrews.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!

Here is the link to the original text.


A Word of Encouragement (Heb. 10:11-25)

Christians, alas, are not famous for encouraging one another. Sometimes the phrase "Christian love" has an unintended sense of irony about it. And the verse that reads "see how these Christians love one another" is often used as a rebuke to the patent lack of love and encouragement among Christians. There is an old story about Baptists and Methodists singing their hearts out on opposite corners of a downtown district. The Methodists are asking the great gospel question, "Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown?" while the Baptists, as if in reply, are singing one of their favorites, "No, Not One." Censure and competition, rebuke and self-righteousness --these far too often tell the story of our relationship with one another within the church.

As we make our way through the Book of Hebrews with its glittering and sometimes confusing images of sacrifices and great high priests and its extended metaphor of Jesus as that priest who makes all other priests unnecessary, the following verses come to us with a remarkable clarity and freshness: "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."

How might this consideration of stirring one another to love and good works operate in practical terms? When I was a boy, the longest stretch of the Sunday service was the pastoral prayer. The sermon was easier to listen to because it was just the minister going on and on. But the pastoral prayer was talking to God; therefore one had to pay attention. George A. Gordon, minister of Boston’s Old South Church a century ago, was asked if he could remember a certain historical fact. He could not, he said, "but it will come to me during the Long Prayer." And he was doing the praying. Today, in many places, the Long Prayer has gone the way of formalism in public worship, and has been replaced by concerns and celebrations."

Perhaps in our public prayers we ought to make room for yet another category: "prayers of encouragement." We would think of ways in which we can encourage our fellow believers to love and good works. We would think of ways in which we can be of assistance to the people we know and with whom we share the faith and the pew. This means making an assessment of people’s strengths and opportunities rather than of their weaknesses and needs. We would also be praying that they may be encouraged to do something for themselves, something which God enables them to perform to the mutual benefit of the faith and the community.

The second benefit of a word of encouragement is that it strengthens both the believer and the fellowship by supplying that positive, affirming force that is so often missing in the routine of life. To live for rewards is always to live for success, and when success eludes us, as it often does, so too does the reward. We may live "for" reward, but we live "by" encouragement, which is what we need when things go well, and especially when things don’t go well. The trick is that we cannot encourage ourselves: even in this self-help culture of ours, we cannot yet do that. We must be encouraged by someone else, and it is our spiritual obligation to encourage one another.

This definition of an effective New Testament church is short on doctrine and rules and long on fellowship and encouragement. It may be just what we need to hear as we see "the Day drawing near."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Registrar Love

I got the following e-mail from my registrar this afternoon ...



I am in the process of reviewing Spring 2010 enrollment for students coded as a May 2010 graduate in our system.   With the Spring 2010 courses you've registered for to date, you are on track to graduate in May 2010 pending successful completion of your Fall 2009 and Spring 2010 courses.


Can I hear an AMEN?!?!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Moving right along.

What a busy day!!

I woke up at 6:30 and was at school by 7:30. Class from 8 to 9:30 and then I went to work. I worked until 2 and then headed back to Candler for class at 2:30. I was in class until 5:30 and then went to library to get some books that I need for one of my final papers - the thesis and annotated bibliography is due tomorrow.

(Side note - getting ready for finals means that the semester is almost over!! Ya-hoo!! See? Silver lining. Remind me of this when I am muddling my way through finals.)

I left the library around 6:30 - and it was dark, dreary and wet. It made me want to curl up in a ball and hibernate - not ride my scooter home in the rain and work on my questionaires all night.

But - alas - I hopped on the scooter, revved the engine and rode home. And guess what was waiting for me? Grilled chicken, steamed vegetables and stuffing on the stove!! Yes - my husband had dinner waiting for me. Yes - my husband rocks.

After dinner I spent four hours filling out questionaires - and that's about all I could take in one sitting!! I will pick it up again tomorrow.

While I work on my thesis and annotated bibliography.

And write my sermon.

And not to preach my pyschological questionaires or submit my thesis statement about Islam in the United States or turn in my sermon. That would be bad.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


So - throughout my courses in biblical history and theology, the number "40" has come up a lot.  For instance - the first account of the Great Flood (i.e. Noah's Ark) happened in 40 days.  Moses was up on the mountain receiving Torad (i.e. the Ten Commandments) from God for 40 days.  Jesus spent 40 days in the desert before he entered Jerusalem (which, subsequently, is why there are 40 days in Lent).

But today I got a new meaning to the number 40.

40 now means to me the number of pages worth of questionnaires to fill out for my upcoming psychological evaluation that is required for my ordination.



Oh, yeah - and they need to be filled out by Monday.


AND - I have three online "inventories" (I have no idea what that means) to fill out by Monday as well.

THREE inventories - you know, kind of like the trinity.

All by Monday.

And I have to preach on Sunday.

I can only hope that - after ALL of this - they declare me sane enough for ordained ministry.  Because, seriously ...

... you all think I'm sane, right?

Miss Ida

Dear Hurricane Ida,

I would like to take this opportunity to personally welcome you to Atlanta. I hope your stay is comfortable.

With Love,

Hurricane season is in full swing down in the southeast. So far it looks like we are just going to have to deal with Flash Flood Warnings here in Atlanta (which - unfortunately - we have kind of become used to around here) but we are nowhere near the coast. Please pray for all those who live in coastal communities, particularly those communities who are still recovering from past hurricanes.

It looks as though a lot of the hurricanes are reeking havoc on the third world right now - Ida left an approximately 14,000 homeless in El Salvador. 14,000. Man - most of them probably did not have much of a house to begin with. To lose the little that they had? How devastating.

The U.N. World & Food Program is on the ground in El Salvador trying to get food to people. You can read more about their efforts here.

photo courtesy of msnbc

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Long Week

Last week was long.  Very very very long.

I am so grateful that I do not have any sit down exams this semester - just lots of papers and projects that allow me to work at my own pace and creativity level.

That being said ... I have written a LOT of papers lately.  It is starting to take its toll on me - I have spent a lot of time sitting at my desk in front of a computer screen and not outside, with Bruce or enjoying the other things that are going on in my life.

The only saving grace is that I am really loving what I am learning.  For two years I took classes that were necessary for graduation, my concentration and ordination.  Now I am finally taking classes just because they sparked my interest and fit into my schedule.  It rocks.  (A note to first and second years - you will get there I promise!!)

I spent a lot of time this week trying to come up with a good schedule for the upcoming year concerning my ordination.  It IS NOT easy to be so far away from my ordination committee right now - so much has to happen and it is overwhelming at times.  It's strange - for two years I have felt like I was in a holding pattern.  Now all of a sudden things are taking off and I am frantically trying to keep up.  I am surprised at how emotional I get when I start thinking about planning my ordination service at my church in Kent, CT - surrounded by the people who heard my call long before I was able to hear it myself.  Man - ask Bruce - every time I start talking about it (okay, thinking about it), I start crying.

I also got some scary news this week - I am fine, my family is fine, but I was reminded at just how precious life is.  And it has had me in a little bit of a daze.

Then the horrific shooting at Fort Hood happened.  My heart just aches for the families who lost loved ones and who are still tending to the injured.  I wish that there was more I could do for military personnel who are struggling desperately to understand their role while -as a country - we are at war.

All this is to say that my mind has been everywhere else but here.  So I covet your prayers as I get through these next couple of weeks.  I know that sometimes the best I can do is to just put one foot in front of the other.  But I think for tonight I will just put my feet up and get myself ready for the week.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

A New Runner's High

I went for a run this morning.

Well – that’s an exaggeration. Let’s put it this way. I TRIED to go for a run this morning.

When I was in college I ran at least five times a week. My college was in a relatively safe small town so I felt comfortable running at night – just me, my iPod and the stars. The three of us would take off with the stress of my day but by the end of the run the stress would be gone. I like to think that I left it at mile three.

You cannot beat a runner’s high. Really. There is nothing like it.

The summer between my junior and senior year of college I started to have severe pain in my right knee. For a while I just pushed through but eventually it started to affect me throughout the day, not just when I was running. It eventually got so bad that my mom suggested I make an appointment with my doctor, just to make sure I didn’t tear anything.

Turns out I did a little bit more damage than just normal strain. All of the cartilage in my right knee was essentially gone (which meant I was running with bone on bone – OUCH!!) and the strain from trying to run through the pain had actually caused a fluid sack to form in my knee. I asked my doctor what steps could be taken so that I could run again and he said that I really needed to take a break from running. The damage was done and there isn’t a whole lot that can be done to rebuild cartilage.

Side note – my orthopedic surgeon actually used to be one of my father’s students. My dad said that he felt really old when he realized that not only was one of his students a doctor, but also had a surgical specialty as well. I told him that it was just as horrifying to walk into a “new” doctor’s office and realize that he actually remembered me from 18 years prior when I was running around my dad’s theaters in diapers. Sigh … Sometimes it is a small world after all.

You can imagine how happy I was when I was told that the one thing keeping me sane was the one thing that I needed to stop doing. I wasn’t happy and I told him that. He said that he would give me a shot of cortisone and send me home with a knee brace, but that I really needed to take a break.

So I did. And I hated it. A few weeks later I tried to run again and my knee screamed at me. My senior year of college I spent a lot of time taking long walks or on the elliptical at the gym. The elliptical was kind of “eh” but I did enjoy the walks. There was something very still about walking alone for a long time. I didn’t get the runner’s high but I did get something … I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was.

When I got to seminary I yearned for that runner’s high again. I wanted to get rid of the stress that comes with higher education. I wanted to relieve my headaches. But more than anything – and don’t mock me for saying this – I wanted to be able to say again, I am a runner.

I don’t know. Maybe that is stupid. But who says, I am a walker? It just doesn’t sound as intense (or impressive) as saying, I am a runner.

So fast-forward to a couple of weeks ago: Bruce and I were talking about signing up for the Turkey Trot, a 5K to support MUST Ministries, the organization that I worked with my first year in seminary. We both decided to get back into the swing of things. Bruce has been a lot better about it than I have – so this morning I decided I was going to take advantage of my morning off from classes (and the beautiful fall weather) and go for a run. I wish I were lying when I say that less than five minutes into my run I start to feel the familiar pang right below my knee cap. I knew that pushing through would be a bad idea; so I slowed to a walk.

At first I was really disappointed. What is more exhilarating than a long run on a beautiful fall day?

Well – how about a long walk at a brisk pace where your mind wanders and you feel the presence of God? I found out today that this is pretty awesome as well. Actually – I think deep down I have always known this is true. I have just never been able to admit it. I have just wanted to be a runner. But sometimes we do not always get what we want. I remember taking LONG walks around my parents’ neighborhood – some of my favorites were when the weather was FREEZING, the stars were bright and everything was still. I felt the presence of God in those moments. And I felt the presence of God today as I made my way through the fallen leaves.

When I got home from my walk, I got ready for school and sent Bruce a text message. I told him I was not going to push it anymore, my running days are probably behind me.

So for right now, I guess I am calling myself a walker. But I do not think I am going to limit it to that. I am going to say that I am a person who has discovered and awesome way to spend time with God. I have been given a chance to see creation at its center; I have the ability to free my mind without killing my knees and I have an opportunity to talk through some of the changes that are going on in my life right now. It is definitely not a runner’s high – but I am starting to think that it is something so much better than that.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


So according to the AJC ...


Forbes rates  Atlanta 'most toxic city' in U.S.

Forbes magazine rates Atlanta as the "most toxic" city in the United States.

"In Atlanta, Ga., you'll find southern gentility, a world-class music scene -- and 21,000 tons of environmental waste. In spite of its charms, the city's combination of air pollution, contaminated land and atmospheric chemicals makes it the most toxic city in the country," the magazine says in an article published this week.

If you are interested you can read the rest of the article here.


Can someone explain to me how the Public Health Capital of the World and the home of the Center for Disease Control can be the most toxic city in the U.S.?

No wonder I have so many headaches.

If you want to see where your closest cities rank, check out Forbes' list here.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Saints Sunday

Today is All Saints Sunday, a day when we have the opportunity to give thanks for those who have come before us, for those who have touched our lives.

Today I am going to talk about my grandfather, the Rev. Ernest Miko.  It makes me sad that - because he died when I was only 15 months old - what I can share with you are only the stories that I have heard from my family.  But stories are what keep our saints alive, right?

My grandfather was an UCC pastor.  He was actually ordained with the Evangelical & Reformed Synod (two of the four denominational roots of what is now known as the United Church of Christ) and was pivotal in the ecumenical conversations that led to the 1957 merger.

My grandfather was driven by the call to justice.  He and his family were not that far from Ellis Island.  His mother had sailed to the United States from Hungary.  She was turned away and forced to sail back and forth several times before she finally got through.  All she had in her possession was a small basket.

My grandfather spoke out for immigrant rights.  He publicly supported the Civil Rights Movement.  He believed in equal gender rights.  He met people wherever they were, spoke gently and was sincere in all that he said and all that he did.

My grandfather died in the spring of 1986.  He was survived by my grandmother, my mom and her two sisters and my sister and I.

The further I walk in my journey towards ordination, the stronger I feel my grandfather's presence with and within me.  I have thought often that I regret the fact that he will not be with me on my ordination, to stand next to my mom and - together - lay their hands on my head and ordain me into a new generation of ministry.  So instead I will hold with me the memory of my baptism, when he touched me with water and baptized me into a community of Christians that have supported and nurtured me.

Grandfather - In the grand scheme of things, you were only alive for a miniscule part of my life.  That is why I am grateful for the stories; for the stories that tell me about who you were, what you stood for and the legacy that still remains.  I pray every day that I am making you proud.
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