We Are Standing on Holy Ground

This phrase has been recurring for the last 48 hours. We sang it as one of our opening hymns for worship Sunday.

I spent the last two afternoons in the garden, trying desperately to dig out roots that were older than I am, in order to plant my tomato plants, and the music kept playing in my head.

I remembered that one of the ministers at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas always took her shoes off before she stepped into the pulpit. She said it reminded her that she was standing on holy ground.

And then, Monday morning, in the post from Kate Foster Connors on the NEXT Church blog, the phrase recurred.

I am realizing that wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, even if we don’t remember it, we are standing on holy ground.

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Mother’s Day – 2017

(This seems to be becoming a tradition…)

Mother’s Day. Here’s a retrospective of pictures of Mama that’s I’ve published through the years.

Mama & Nannan

Here she is with HER grandmother, in 1921.

Mama - age 12

Here is her portrait from Junior High School (about 1932)


This is her college portrait (about 1940).

Mama and Me

Here she is with ME when I was about 3 months old (Fall of 1944)

The Greissers - Copy

Here she is with all the kids (Harriet, standing, Abbie on the arm of her chair, Betty on the little stool, and Billy on her lap). (Summer of 1956)Mama & Papa (7)Here she is with my father in 1974.

Mama and Papa

Here they are again in 1980.

Thanksgiving 1982

And here they are in 1982 after she lost a bunch of weight (I’m trying to do as well).

Mama & Papa

This is Mama and Papa in 1992 right after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Mama & Papa's 50th Wedding Anniversary (15)

This is the last picture I have of her at Mama and Papa’s 50th wedding anniversary party, in June of 1994.

I still miss her, particularly on days like today, Mother’s Day, February 19th, (her birthday), and June 24th (Papa’s and her wedding anniversary).

2017 Intentions – April

Sorry, it’s Star Wars day and I’m just now getting around to writing this post. Mea Culpa.

As I said here, I dumped my original Star Word in favor of COURAGE.

These are my intentions for the year. Let’s see how I’m doing showing COURAGE in each case.

I will resist hatred, prejudice, and evil, and speak out against all of them when I see/hear them.

  • I will resist evil, hatred, and reactionary government by signing up with Wall of Us. Each week you will receive a list of four actions you can take by writing to your elected representatives to ensure your values are being considered by the government. Some are local, some are state, and some are national. Often you will receive suggestions of products to boycott or hatred to call out.
    • I’ve consistently made phone calls – either in support of my representatives positions or to encourage them to speak out. I have both US Senators’ and my Representative’s number saved in my phone and I call, at least, weekly.
  • I’ve signed up with People Power – a grassroots organizing effort backed by the ACLU.
    • I’m on the local leadership team for People Power in Tacoma
    • I met with the City of Tacoma Police Chief, and we discussed the 9 initiatives from the ACLU to make Tacoma a Freedom City.
    • I also met individually with two City Council members, one from my district and one at-large, and we discussed keeping immigrants safe in Tacoma. We also discussed initiatives to curtail the abuses at the Northwest Detention Center, located in our city.
    • I’ve added my neighborhood council meeting to my calendar and will try to attend.
    • I attended a Town Hall meeting with US Representative Derek Kilmer and heard from him about how best to lobby members of congress.

U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer

I will exercise regularly and eat good, healthy food.

  • I will try to get 10,000 steps a day – so far, so good, for the most part.
  • I will log my food every day (and no cheating)  – I have lost the weight I put on since the middle of August. Next milestone will be when I get back to the first of June.
  • I will cook most of the food we eat from scratch, and will be careful of extra salt and additives in any packaged foods – check, check, and check.
    • We have enjoyed two (small) batches of asparagus that I was able to gather from the garden.
    • I have baby tomato and pepper plants on the counter in the kitchen waiting for the 15th of May to go outside.
    • I will continue to get Blue Apron meals whenever my schedule allows me time to prepare them. If you would like to try them, send me your email in a comment, and I’ll send you three free meals (I have at least 5 sets available).

I will make personal contact with at least half of the churches in the Presbytery.

  • I will meet the pastors for coffee and a “get-to-know-you” time. So far I’ve only connected at Presbytery meetings and events.
  • I continue to attend Administrative Council meetings, Trustee meetings, Taskforce for New Worshipping Communities meetings, and meetings of the Granting Team for distributing mission money to various churches.
  • I will try to meet with the sessions and invite more participation by Ruling Elders in Presbytery meetings and commissions and committees.

I will work for more racial diversity and harmony in my city and church.

  • I will encourage a dialogue between Bethany and at least one historically Black congregation – no opportunities yet, but I’m working on it.
  • Our continuing Interfaith Dialogue has resumed in March. I have attended all three sessions, one at Bethany Presbyterian Church, one at Temple Beth-El, and one at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. We have studied how each religion thinks about Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. In May we will meet with the Mosque and learn about Mohammed.

I will pray for Big Al as he faces decreased mobility and increasing pain from his back problems. I will try to remember that he is hurting, and not push him to do more than he is comfortable doing – I’m doing pretty well with this one, but it means I often go places and do things that leave him at home alone.