Went to Milwaukee

26 09 2007

Last weekend, Jim and I officiated at a wedding in Milwaukee. The bride and groom put us up at the Hotel Metro Friday night, and Jim and I got to enjoy Milwaukee. nervosa.jpgI love it! At least the neighborhood we got to wander around in. The river walk, the architecture, the statues of ducks, the atmosphere. We wanted to eat breakfast at this Nervosa Coffee Shop, because we it reminded us of the show “Frasier”, one of our all-time favorite shows. But alas, Nervosa hadn’t opened for breakfast yet, and we had to get moving, so we had to settle for a photo. And breakfast back at the hotel, which was good.


I like Milwaukee a lot. This overnight trip inspired me to return to explore Milwaukee–the Art Museum, the parks, more of the architecture, etc. We were told about the incredible polar bear exhibit at the Milwaukee Zoo… you can pretty much guarantee we’ll be back to see that! And, we were told about the Ancora near the lake which serves a delicious baked oatmeal… mmm mmm good. I love baked oatmeal! If you’ve never heard of it, it sounds strange, I know.. But it’s sooooo good. So we’ll head back to Milwaukee one of these days.

And, of course, to take more photos.

This duck statue is “Gertie”.


At first I thought it was simply a cute duck statue. But as it turns out, Gertie was a real duck. She was a Mallard who lived under a Milwaukee bridge in World War II. Gertie’s 6 ducklings were born while the world watched. Gertie and her babies provided a necessary element of hope in a war-worn world. Go, Gertie and your 6 ducklings! Now this statue stands on a bridge in Milwaukee, for everyone to remember Gertie. I’d argue that we still need that kind of hope in this war-worn world. In fact, I’d argue that it might be a nice element of hope for Jim and me to get our baby from China, and for my single friends to find their soul mates. Soon. Please, God?

In the meantime, I’m prepping for this week’s sermon, next week’s clergy retreat, a couple of meetings in between, then our trip to Peru. Our “we’re-not-going-to-China-in-2007-so-we’re-going-to-Peru-with-Jo Ann” trip to Peru. Can’t wait.



“The Apostle”

14 09 2007

Last night our M&M small group watched the movie “The Apostle.” Great movie, in my opinion. Though it’s been on my list of movies to see since released 10 years ago, I had not seen it until last night. From what I had heard, I didn’t think I would like it this much: Robert Duvall’s character felt called by the Lord to be an apostle… yet was also obviously a sinner. Yes, the movie is full of contradictions. As I had heard, Robert Duvall’s character (Sonny/E.F.) felt called by God, and yet was obviously a sinner… As the movie progressed, I didn’t want to like Sonny. But I did. He was enormously complex, loved people, a little too human for comfort, sometimes a jerk… and yet real.

Sound familiar? Aren’t we all enormously complex? Human… sometimes jerks… (some of us more than others, maybe.).. and yet real. Maybe that’s why I liked the main character so much. I’m a little too real at times. I mess up, I can’t always keep quiet when I should , I try–I genuinely try–to behave, to do better… and I still fall into similar human sinful patterns. And yet, like Sonny, I also care about people, and my heart’s usually in the right place.

Usually. But even when my heart’s in the right place, my actions still trip me up. And so I am grateful for God’s grace. Grace…. so undeserved, in the “Apsotle”, in Cathy, in those around me… so undeserved, and yet freely given.

Thanks be to God.

I think I’m giving up…

10 09 2007

I love the Cubs. I love the Cubs so much it hurts. But I think I’m giving up, now.. Not on my love for the Cubs. But on any hopes that they’re going to improve. Sigh. It was good while it lasted. This blogger says it all…

Aside from my dashed hopes of improved games for the Cubs, I also plan to write a letter to Human Relations at Wrigley, the “Friendly Confines”, about how rude I think it is that the extremely-well-paid players don’t sign many autographs. Not for me.. Of course, I love it.. I now have Carlos Marmol and Ryan Dempster. But I’m a 37 year old woman. I don’t need these. It’s just fun. But my nieces and nephews? Why won’t the players stop and sign for these kids? It’s ridiculous.

As my niece Hannah said, when we were waiting in line for autographs last week, and several players had walked by us, ignoring the pleas… “Aunt Cathy, are any of them not grumpy?”

I guess not.

Madeleine L’Engle… thank you

7 09 2007

I just read that Madeleine L’Engle died yesterday. I read the A Wrinkle in Time series as a kid, and as an adult I have read many more of her books. My favorites? The Crosswicks series: A Circle of Quiet, The Summer of the Great-Grandmother, The Irrational Season and Two Part Invention. Love them.

I count it as an incredible honor to have taken a writing class with Madeleine L’Engle. There were about 12 of us, I think, sitting around a large oval table, sharing excerpts of our writing assignments, listening to Madeleine’s comments and suggestions and life experiences…. It was one of those wonderful seasons of my life: once a week for six weeks I took the train into New York City (we lived in New Jersey then). I loved riding the train into the city.. I loved seeing the Twin Towers as we left Jersey… I loved arriving in Penn Station I loved breathing in the city. I thoroughly needed and enjoyed the healthy soup and bread meal with the nuns (the class was held at a convent), and the evening vespers. And I loved being in Madeleine’s presence. She challenged us, made us laugh, shared some difficult experiences (for example, after “A Wrinkle in Time” was published, she received some not-so-nice mail from Christians…), inspired us. There have been some incredible seasons of my life, and I would daresay this was one of them.

Thank you, Madeleine, for your graceful presence. Thank you for your writings. Thank you for your willingness to share with writer-wanna-be’s… Thank you for taking the time to ask personal questions. Thank you. And Peace be to your memory.

The Enigmatic God

5 09 2007

My friend Dan posted this quote by Robert W. Jenson on his blog over a month ago, and I am just now responding. (Sorry, Dan!) It’s quite the quote. Deep, and challenging. It’s about—in my opinion—God’s presence, revelation, love, and majesty. It speaks to the reality that though God is always present to God’s people, God is also difficult for us to see, to touch, to feel, to know… and to understand. So much about this God we don’t understand. For example, we don’t understand how, if God foreknows all things and wills all things, how bad things can still happen…

A-ha.. my issue. Mine, and that of many others. God is, as Jenson says in the quote, an impenetrable enigma. God both loves us and allows horrible things to happen. “The only real God is the God within whose will all things occur.” Jenson writes. All things. Good and bad. And the things that we think are bad, but God, in his all-knowing majesty might think isn’t quite so bad. I don’t know. I’m not so sure. But Jenson continues, writing that given that this is “the only real God…”, God is a moral enigma. Not only an impenetrable, but a moral enigma. Absolutely. How can a just and loving God be so seemingly mean?

And yet I believe in this God. This moral enigma, this impenetrable enigma.. this constant enigma of a God who loves his people, including me. This strange God who is both hidden and revealed. Sometimes I feel as though God is so distant that there’s a better chance of me traveling at the speed of light than God revealing himself to me. And at other times I recognize him in moments throughout the day. I like those days.

I pray for more of those days, when though God remains an enigma, I am able to focus on God’s majesty, love, and desire to reveal himself to the world.