Thank You Pussy Hat

Dear Pussy Hat marching women of the world,


Pussy Hat

Thank you for taking time to go out and show the world that, peace is possible even when disagreement exists. Thank you for showing the world that diversity in humanity doesn’t have to mean disharmony. Thank you for showing up, being heard, and being counted!

Thank you for doing this, from someone who was; not able to march, sing, carry a sign or have her voice heard. Thank you for myself, for my daughters’ in law, my granddaughter, my nieces, my sisters, my cousins and my 90+ year old Aunts.

Thank you for my; Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, Agnostic, Humanist, Pagan, Unitarian, Questioning, Hindu, Buddhist, Orthodox, Liberal, Conservative, pro choice, right to life, working, non working, working mothers, work at home mothers, differently able, tall, short, round, and thin, young, old, somewhere in the middle of everything friends!

Without you, my Pussy hat wearing, marching, sign bearing friend,  my weekend would not have been punctuated with photos of joy, peace, love and friendship.

Thank you; for being where I could not go, for saying what I could not say,  therefore allowing me to be exactly who I am meant to be.

Thank you!

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Zack's Fine Day

ZackMy friend Zachary is taking the kind of trip I suspect many of us would like to take if we had the time, the bravery, and the spirit to do so. He is hitch hiking around and across the country. He has saved up for this trip for a long time and is well prepared to sleep in a variety of places and eat a variety of things. He began here in Upstate New York with a ride from a buddy to New Jersey and from that point on he has been on his own. He is chronicling his adventure on Facebook so that people can follow along as he crosses items off his bucket list of things to do and see. I will let you know he has already met and asked a pretty girl for a kiss and crossed that item off his list.

Today I want to tell you about an encounter he had at a 7 Eleven in Maryland. He had gone in to wash his hands and was standing in line behind two kids about thirteen years old. The one boy asked the cashier if he had enough money to buy one more of the item’s that he was buying and when the cashier said yes the kid ran over and grabbed the item and quickly paid for his things and went outside. Zack paid for his purchases and followed the kids outside. One of the kids came up to Zack and went to hand him two dollars and some change, Zack looked at him a little confused for a moment, and the kid said “oh, are you……homeless?” Zack smiled and said “Oh, haha no I am not but I am taking a trip across the country and if you still want to it would really help?” The boy just nodded and held out his hand giving Zack the money.

It made Zack’s day meeting those kids and realizing that they probably didn’t have that much money if they were checking with the clerk if they had enough to buy what they wanted inside and then to just walk up to a total stranger outside and offer to help. Zack is a young kid himself, to me he is anyway, but he has an old wise soul, and he appreciates beauty and kindness in this world. He once wanted to be a philosopher, I think he already is.

On a week when my Facebook feed has been filled with hatred, bigotry, racism, and accusations from every corner of the world it was wonderfully refreshing to read Zack’s story of two young kids helping out a stranger just for the sake of helping a stranger. Isn’t that what Jesus would do?

If you would like to follow Zack you can do so here.

If you would like to give Zack a few dollars to help him with his trip you may do so here. 

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How We Met

941837_10151586638314802_1029396117_nWe met in the summer of 2011. I remember the first day I noticed him in the back of the sanctuary. He looked so lost and alone, I smiled and said hi and that was all. I asked the Pastor who he was and the Pastor said “Oh that is Don, he has been around forever.” I knew that couldn’t be true because I would have noticed for sure but I didn’t say anything. Within a few weeks I was starting a class on World Religions with a group of adults on Sundays after church. I invited him hoping he would come. He came to that first class and sat directly to my right, he told me he wanted to sit next to the teacher because he had just had surgery on his eye and he wanted to see better. When I explained that there would be a video shown at the other end of the room he never moved. I think we both knew something then.

Before long I had to give up teaching that class because of my Mother’s declining health. Don came to her funeral but he never spoke to me that day or even signed the book to let me know he was there. The next summer he came to hear me preach at another church in town when I filled in for their pastor who was on vacation and the following week he came to our own church to hear me preach while our own pastor was away. Before I knew it I had left for school in New Jersey, three hours away,  and was caught up in learning a new way of life and surviving on campus with people half my age. I came home to visit for the first time in late September and I remember that after church when everyone was coming around me and hugging me there he was in his same spot in the rear of the sanctuary waiting with his arms outstretched to give me a big welcome home hug. I was so taken aback , I knew that he wasn’t one to be overly affectionate and I had never seen him hug anyone but there he was hugging me and the electricity in his touch still gives me chills today.

Soon after that I was making excuses to come home to do things with him. We went to a concert in an old children’s theatre and another at the community college where both times I laid my arm on the armrest and sat there hoping his hand would brush up against mine. Hello and goodbye hugs full of static tension punctuated our outings and it wasn’t long before I knew I had to mention my feelings for him. It wasn’t without risk, I had no idea if he felt the same sparks that I felt, and he was still wearing his wedding ring from when his wife had passed away eighteen months prior, I had no idea if the feelings were mutual. By November I was settling in at school and Don had gone on a retreat for a conference committee that we were both on that I was unable to attend. I asked him to dinner to hear about the retreat and the moment I hung up the phone I knew that I had to tell him of my feelings. We arrived at the restaurant and I asked the waiter to seat us in the back where it was quiet. We sat and talked for almost three hours before I could gather the courage to say anything. I finally opened my mouth and said “I think that I may have some feelings for you.”

The look on his face told me all I ever needed to know. His eyes lit up brighter than a thousand lights on the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center and the smile on his lips was as warm as a Christmas fireside. When we kissed goodnight that night the sparks flew again and before the weekend he told me he loved me and I told him I felt the same way. We never planned to fall in love, we never planned to date each other, we were just friends who realized that we has a passion for each other greater than anything we had either felt before in our lives. By January we were engaged to be married, to begin to live the rest of our lives together. We thought we would have forever, but we lived each day as if we only had that day. We never took a day for granted and we never once took our love for granted. Thanks be to God we lived intentionally for in the end we only had but a short time to dance, but with the time we had we danced every dance.

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"How Long"

shared with permission

Words and Music Mark A. Miller Film by Frank Logue

How long must we wait? A song for the times we are living in and for the Advent season written this week by Mark A. Miller and set among these powerful images by Frank Logue. It is a question that must be asked in light of the almost daily reports of racial injustice taking place in this country. No longer can any one of us sit idly by and ignore this issue. This is not an ISSUE it is LIFE and DEATH and #BLACKLIVESMATTER.

One of the events I am looking forward to this Christmas is a Christmas Concert by Sweet Honey in The Rock and at this moment in time I am reminded of the lyrics of Ella’s Song by Bernice Johnson Reagon

Until the killing of Black men, Black mothers’ sons
Is as important as the killing of White men, White mothers’ sons

We who believe in freedom cannot rest

We who believe in freedom cannot rest

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The Band Played On

A big part of the way Don and I lived life fully was live music. Don and I didn’t have television in our lives. It was a choice we made together. We never missed it. Not having a television encouraged us to go and see, listen, visit, participate, engage, learn, and do things that we wound not have been inspired to do if we had a television.

Live music usually meant folk music, sometimes classical, sometimes gospel, occasionally country or pop but more often than anything else we could be found listening to a folk singer or duo, or more if the spirit led, while drinking hot coffee or tea. It is the music that we listened to as we fell in love and it is now the music that brings back floods of memories.

I went to our favorite coffee house the other night, Caffe’ Lena, in Saratoga Springs, NY. The musicians were Scottish, just like Don was, as he told me one night not long ago when listening to another folk singer from Scotland.

Sometimes memories can make me smile and sometimes the tears are good tears. The other night was one of those nights. Thank you my friend for joining me for a night out on the town even when we are home by ten pm it was a good night.

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from this day forward

To our Beloved Families!
               How do I ever, ever convey what your love has meant to us, to Don, over the course of the last couple years. I can only share a glimpse into my heart, a portion of the promises and plans we made, and my undying gratitude for the love and community that you surrounded us with.
             We met when Don came to a class at church that I was facilitating. I truly believe that even on that day we knew.Your joy in sharing our joy was hard for Don to really understand at times. Don seemed to not realize that he was the person that everyone adored, he would watch me from a quiet place and tell me how everyone had reacted when I had said this or that, never really realizing that you were all, also watching him, coming to me to tell me how much he loved me.
This is the smile
This is the smile that made everything come true.
My Darling,
My Brave Knight,
My Heart of Heart’s,
You taught me this and more.
When you thought that I was leading, I followed. When you thought that I was speaking, I listened. When you thought that didn’t see, I remember every scene. You have left me to move on yet again. You know now that you have always been a Beloved Child of God. A Perfect Creation from the One who cannot make mistakes. You know now that the love that we shared, the love that surpassed all obstacles, the love that we had never known existed, never known the possibility of, was truly God’s gift to us. 
               The gift of a love so precious that every day was filled with passion, every day was to be lived fully, and fully loved. You can see the love that is now surrounding me, your wife, your Sunshine, your redhead, you can feel the love that almost overwhelms me with each new text, instant message, e-mail, phone call, note, visit or card. The hugs that envelop me when I walk into a space and greet the people that have loved you, have loved us and whom you adored. 
                  Each day as we spoke of our future, what was next, where to spend the summer, who to visit next January,  what classes to take, what lectures to go to, what musicians to see, which performances to go to, and which Churches to visit and which sermons to hear. We would walk across the campus to Seminary Hall to visit, to Worship, to learn, to be loved and to love, to LIVE LIFE ABUNDANT. The meals with the Students in Brother’s College, The Caspersen School, The Theological School, meals that would sometimes last for hours after the food had been eaten have sustained us and nourished us in ways I cannot express. 
              Today I awoke for the first time without you. Every day you were faithful to your vow and you kissed me goodnight and every morning, before this morning I also kept my vow to kiss you good morning. You told me that I was your sunshine, all along, every morning, it has been the light of YOUR love that awoke my heart, the light in YOUR eyes that helped me see the way. 
              We never said that our love was until we parted in death, our vow,  we choose instead was from that day forward. I have to continue walking somehow without you by my side from THIS day forward, but I will always, always, have you inside. 
         OUR VOWS: I make my vow, that with the love of Christ, I will support and care for you, I promise to love, cherish and be faithful to you. I will serve you with tenderness and respect; I will encourage you to develop the gifts that God has given you. I promise to be your partner in life, love and service. I promise to join with you in all that is to come, to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond, and I Christine promise you Donald, (and I Donald promise you Christine)that I will always be there to kiss you Good Morning (Goodnight) and that in all our life together I will be your steadfast friend and supporter, from this day forward.
              “Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficulties and fear assail your relationship, as they threaten all relationships at one time or another, remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong. In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives — remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there. And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.”

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Brother Sun

I know I usually talk about Faith or Religion but every once in a while, and those of you that know me will agree with this, I need to just listen to good music. Tonight is one of those nights and I am enjoying the wonderful music from the place I call home Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs NY thanks to the wonderful technology brought to me by Concert Window. 

Next time you have a hankering for some GOOD MUSIC AND GOOD FOLK
give Concert Window a try. To take a listen to the group I an enjoying at the moment see below.

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Lena Spencer; Folk Legend

Caffè Lena

Iconic Coffeehouse Nurtured America’s Folk Musicians Over Half a Century

Saratoga Springs, in upstate New York, is far from America’s musical hot spots of Nashville, Austin, Los Angeles and even New York City. But over the past five decades, a small coffeehouse there has hosted thousands of folk music and other acoustic concerts and helped many of America’s best-loved artists launch their careers. VOA’s June Soh takes us to Caffè Lena, which calls itself the oldest continuously running folk coffeehouse in the  U.S. Carol Pearson narrates.



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