The Season for Joy

Several months ago, I took an on-line course from Tracy Brown called Reclaim Your Joy!®.   

I’ve known Tracy for several years in connection with Dallas Dinner Table and other opportunities to expand and explore diversity and I highly recommend any of her webinars, seminars, or training sessions.

This opportunity came along when I was feeling particularly down.  We had just taken the house off the market after trying unsuccessfully to sell it for six months, and we realized we were going to have to postpone our dream of moving to the Pacific Northwest.  There were lots of good tips and discussions in the webinar that encouraged me to rethink my attitude and to realize that while I couldn’t change my circumstances, I could change my reactions to them.

One of the best things that came from the webinar was a list of 30 things I can do to “Reclaim my Joy”.   As Tracy says, “We all experience valleys and have to find our way back to wholeness.  This webinar gives you ideas, inspiration and food for thought about how you can reclaim your joy, whether it’s been 24 hours, 24 days or 24 years since you last remember living joyfully.”

I’m going to try to spend this season of joy going through each of the tips, one day at a time.  And I’ll be posting my thoughts here.  I’ve already “picked and chosen” from the list, and I find myself much more content and happier.  Join me on this journey, and post your comments when something I say inspires you.

You can “friend” Tracy on Facebook as Tracy Brown.  Tell her I sent you.

Lunch at Pappadeaux

Because we were Italianed out after Thanksgiving, we went to Papadeaux for lunch after church today.

They are having their Lobster Fest and they have 6 special preparations of Lobster.  I chose the Lobster Pot!

A whole lobster (cut in half), 6 jumbo peel and eat shrimp, andouille sausage, little red potatoes, onions, and corn on the cob.  Also a slice of garlic French bread to sop up the juice!  WONDERFUL!

Big Al went for the dozen fried shrimp.

I don’t know whether the Gulf seafood has recovered from the Oil Spill or not, but, wherever they got the little fishes, they were A-OK!

Kaleigh Michelle Anthony

Yesterday, we went to the christening of Kaleigh Michelle Anthony.  She was just exactly one month old.

She was baptized at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, in Dallas, TX.  Here we all are, waiting for the Deacon to arrive to perform the ceremony.

The parent, god-parents, and center of attention.

The sprinking of the baby (or as a Baptist said, “Dry Cleaning.”)

Getting her dried off after having her head wet!  (It was pretty cold, yesterday.)

And we all went back to Jonathan and Lisa’s house and had barbecue!

The end.

Thanksgiving Dinner at Maggiano’s

We had the most amazing Thanksgiving Dinner yesterday at Maggiano’s at Northpark.

Here’s the menu…

And here is Al settling in to chow down!

For starters we had three kinds of bruschetta – tomato basil, bean, and artichoke hearts.

and two kinds of salad – Maggiano’s salad and chopped salad.

We had a choice of two of three – ham and mashed sweet potatoes, turkey and dressing with cranberry sauce, or some kind of fish.  We picked ham and mashed sweet potatoes,

and turkey and dressing.

We also had a choice of two pastas and two additional sides.  We picked angel hair pasta with meat sauce,

and 3-cheese ravioli for our pastas,

and creamed corn and garlic mashed potatoes (not shown – I couldn’t get a picture before Al had descimated the mashed potatoes).

As if that wasn’t enough, we also had a choice of two desserts.  We picked chocolate mousse cake

and apple crostini with vanilla bean ice cream.

Thank goodness one of Maggiano’s trade marks is the doggie bag they send home with you, so I didn’t have to feel bad that we didn’t eat more – as if we could have.

We brought home most of the pasta – enough for a lunch and a dinner next week, and almost all of the ham, and creamed corn, and about half of each of the salads. We also brought the chololate cake home, untouched.  We’ll eat well on Maggiano’s next week!

Stated Presbytery Meeting – Grace Presbytery

Report on Stated Presbytery Meeting – Grace Presbytery

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ridglea Presbyterian Church, Ft. Worth, TX

Presbytery convened at 9:00 a.m. with worship in the Sanctuary.  The Reverend Judy R. Fletcher, Executive, Synod of the Sun, preached a sermon focused on Stewardship, followed by Communion.

The business portion of the meeting began promptly at 10:00 a.m. with recognition of first-time commissioners, corresponding members, and guest.  Administrative personnel receiving certification and/or honors were recognized.  Ordination anniversaries of 50, 30, and 10 years were celebrated.

The consent agenda was approved without comment except the election of the new nominating committee was lifted from the consent agenda and placed on the docket at the end of other docketed business.

The Presbytery Council moved for the approval of a Position Description for Associate General Presbyter for Program and Leadership Development for an annual salary of $75,000.  There was discussion centered around the fact that the Presbytery had just last year terminated all Associate General Presbyters because of lack of funds.  The body was assured that funds had become available to support this position for the rest of this year and for next year.  Motion passed and a Nominating Committee for Associate General Presbyter was elected.

Several amendments/adjustments were made to the Standing Rules of the Presbytery.

The Treasurer presented his report and the budget for 2011 was presented for approval.  There was discussion about $102,000 Interest and Investment income being included in the budget and the gathering was assured that these funds would be available in the light of an improving economy.  The budget passed as presented.

A minor change was made to the By-Laws of Presbytery relating to the make-up of the Board of Trustees.

The Rev. Dr. Paul Hooker, Executive Presbyter and Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of St. Augustine, and member of the New Form of Government (nFOG) Task Force of the General Assembly, made a presentation on nFOG.  Charles Scurry will have a copy of his slides if anyone is interested in a more complete discussion.  In a nutshell the changes center around a return to a form of government based on relationships and trust in the leading of the Holy Spirit, rather than on rules and regulations.  Big changes include a return to the designations of Deacon, Ruling Elder and Teaching Elder.  There will no longer be Commissioned Lay Pastors because the term “laity” has been omitted.  The Councils of the church (General Assembly, Synod, and Presbytery) will have the fundamental tasks of proclamation of the word, maintenance of the sacraments, and support for the covenant community.  For those concerned with G-6.0106b, the exact words are repeated in G-2.0104b.  If the current Book of Order is amended by a vote of the Presbyteries, the new words for G-6.0106b will replace G-2.0104b in the nFOG.

Following Dr. Hooker’s presentation, the Presbytery went to lunch.

Immediately following lunch, the Presbytery heard the motion to amend the current Book of Order (Chapters I-XVIII – G-1.0000 – G-18.0401) by replacing those chapters with Foundations of Presbyterian Polity and a new Form of Government.  (We received those booklets when Jan DeVries visited our Session meeting in September.)  There was a motion to delay vote until the March meeting of Presbytery, followed by discussion.  That motion failed.  The Presbytery then voted to approve the nFOG by a vote of 150 to 57.

The General Presbyter, Jan DeVries, presented her report in which she emphasized the need of a more relational presbytery, as called for in the nFOG, just approved.  The role of discernment by Presbytery, rather than blind reliance on rules, will require personal interaction between the members and commissioners to Presbytery.  She proposed holding two-day Presbytery meetings occasionally that would allow commissioners and members to hear reports and proposals, followed by informal relationship building, time of over-night prayer, and coming together a second day for further deliberation and votes.

The Presbytery heard from six new Inquirers who were accepted as candidates for ministry, followed by a report on various multicultural ministries in the Presbytery.

Four ministers, previously received by the Committee on Ministry from other presbyteries, were heard from, one as a Member at Large, and a second as Interim Pastor.  Then the other two who had received calls from churches in the Presbytery were approved.  A new call to a pastor within Grace Presbytery was placed in her hands; a Certified Christian Educator who was retiring was recognized, and the Nurture and Education sub-committee of the Committee of Ministry presented a survey asking for input on continuing education throughout the presbytery.

The administrative commission tasked with closing Chicota Presbyterian Church in Chicota, presented its report, – all members had transferred to other churches, and the building was gifted to the Chicota Cemetary Association for use at funerals.

The delegation from Grace Presbytery who will be visiting the Church of South India in 2011 was recognized and commissioned.

The new officers and committee members, elected in the Consent Agenda, were invested.

The business which was lifted out of the consent agenda prior to lunch was voted on and approved.

Grace Presbytery was adjourned, sine dei, at 4:00 p.m.

See the official report (with pictures) on the Grace Presbytery web-site.


I’ve been reTweeting posts from the Midwest Highspeed Rail Association.  A Twitter and Facebook friend asked me what my connection to Amtrak and trains was and I sent her this list.

1. I HATE to fly.
2. Big Al and I are getting too old to enjoy driving long, long distances.
(That’s me on the cow catcher.)
3. I LOVE to ride trains (used to ride trains when I was a little girl – traveled all the way across country when I was 3 or 4 years old).
4. We rode trains when we lived in Europe and in England.
5. When Big Al retired from the Air Force, we got a Eurorail Pass and spent 2 months bumming around Europe, sleeping on trains and arriving in new towns to sightsee early in the morning.
6. You can see so much of the country from the train.

7. You can read and relax and nap and still get to your destination in a reasonable amount of time.
8. Once you’re on the train, you don’t have to worry about stopping to eat or go to the bathroom.
9. From Dallas we can only go to San Antonio or Chicago (and points in between) on the train, and my family lives in New Orleans.
10. Having a train from Dallas to Houston would make so much sense. Now it takes 5 hours to drive, of which an hour is spend on each end just getting out of and into town.
Oh, I could go on and on…