Morgan: Alter-Ego

28 02 2008

I posted this photo yesterday on the “Lenten Views” webpage: and now I need to explain a little bit. Here’s the story.

100_9262_2.jpgMorgan is happily married to Jim, living in Madison, WI. They have 2 kids… (2-year old twins, the result of successful in-vitro over 2 years ago), and are in the process of adopting a girl from China. Their twins are a boy and a girl–Liam and Sydney. (remember, this is Cathy’s alter-ego, not Jim’s!) They can’t wait to travel to China to pick up their girl, and to visit the beautiful country of China.

Morgan is a minister with her husband… she finishes her sermons on Fridays, is never stressed about stuff at church, and is very good at handling stress. In fact, by some unexplained miracle, there seems to be enough time in each day to get everything done! Morgan teaches ESL to immigrants in Madison, and with people from church, she helps run a coffee-shop/after-school center on the corner of Todd Drive and the Beltline…

Photography is central to Morgan’s life, and occasionally she and her friend Jo Ann are hired (by ?) to travel around the world on assignment, photographing various cities and peoples of the world. They can take their families with the–all expenses paid, of course.

Morgan does not have fibromyalgia anymore, though she remembers it well enough that she is sympathetic to those who are in pain. Nor does Morgan have “non-narcolepsy”. She is only sleepy when she misses lots of sleep. Morgan’s ankle doesn’t hurt either, and actually, she’s quite the picture of health.

Morgan’s house is completely uncluttered… and everything has its home. Her friends live near-by… and if they don’t, Morgan is able to visit them frequently, or host them when they frequently visit. Morgan and Jim have 2 dogs–and they actually share one of them with friends who live next door… It’s a marvelous arrangement.

And as long as I’m dreaming, Morgan’s favorite sports team-the Chicago Cubs-won the World Series last year. And, Morgan plays ice hockey in a local league… and…

ok… so enough dreaming… (partly.)

This is actually a Land’s End Inlet towel. One of the advantages of living in Wisconsin is the Land’s End Inlets–kind of like an “outlet”, but called an “inlet”. And when you buy something there that is monogrammed, you get an extra 20% discount. Fun. And so we have towels and other items with fun monograms. So when I bought this towel, I joked that “Morgan” is my alter-ego. Ah… dream on…

Monday night

25 02 2008

It’s snowing again… ever-so-slightly. Kind of amusing. (And now I wish we’d break those 100 inches, Sue!)

The Lent Photos website is new and updated.. updated every night, actually. But the web gallery I was using couldn’t seem to figure out chronology. It was all quite strange and confusing. So, now, here’s where you can check out the new photos each day, and see each photographer’s individual page… Check them out.

We’ve had retired missionary David Wood staying here for the past several nights. He and Rachel, his wife, were in the Congo/Zaire for many years. Even though I never met either of them until a couple of weeks ago, it’s been quite fun to swap Congo stories, to remember some scenes and other things about my birth country.

Adoption update: not sure. We’re now hoping for an early April referral, but we’ll see. Hopefully…

Last week I took a short/overnight trip to Chicago. It was an incredibly needed gift, of being with good friends, catching up, going downtown Chicago, etc. Incredibly needed, and incredibly good mental health break. I love Chicago.

So, that’s the latest from Madison and beyond.


21 02 2008

As in… Madison’s snowfall in inches, this winter–so far. I’m not very popular with this statement, but…. I love it!!!! it’s about time we had a good winter like this. Ok, so, I’ll also be excited to see Spring, but I do love winter. 86.7..

Church Canceled

17 02 2008

100_8658_branch.jpgYep. Canceled. Last year, church was canceled, but we were up north for the Retreat, so didn’t feel the effects of that. So after consulting the other person who arrives early-at-church-each-week, and our church chair, we concurred that canceling was the best option. After that decision was made, it turned out that hundreds of churches have canceled. (scroll down to “Church”). In fact, just about anything in Madison, WI is canceled today–except for a grade school chess competition, apparently. (Sandie’s kids are in that, and last I heard, that had not been canceled!) It is so icy outside, and soon, apparently, it’s going to be turning to heavy snow. Woo hoo!! It’s a skating rink outside–and not an evenly-zambonied skating rink, either! I went outside and took some photos of our yard, driveway, etc. So… today will be a good day to hang out, watch TV, play with the dogs (inside!). Maybe even catch up on some housework. Ha. We’ll see.




I thought it was grace

11 02 2008

The other day one of my favorite mugs fell when I bumped a side table. A little coffee spilled, and I was so upset… This mug is from Saskatchewan. A friend up in Prince Albert bought for me when I was on internship there (1995-1996). I think, if I remember correctly, that a few friends were going to Saskatoon for the day, and asked if I wanted to go. Which, of course, I wanted to… but I was probably working on sermon or something like that, so couldn’t go. But when my friend returned, she had bought this mug for me. I love it. I have always loved it… sigh.

So back to the other day. The mug fell. I screamed, and was distraught. Then relieved, as I realized it wasn’t broken. So I took a picture for the “Lenten Views” gallery, and titled the picture “Grace” because the mug was still intact.

Oops. I spoke too soon. It’s cracked. I was drinking coffee out of it this morning, and coffee was slowly dripping down my hand. I immediately thought of the best case scenario:


I just spilled some coffee on the side, when pouring it from the thermos. Or I set it down in a wet spot on the counter, by the sink, when pouring coffee. But no, it’s broken..

Bummer. Maybe not “Grace” after all. Maybe just a reminder that life happens–mugs break, light-bulbs burn out (this happened a few minutes after I realized my mug was broken today), and “some days are like that, even in Australia”. If I wanted to be all theological and spiritual, I could come up with some way that God is still present in the breaking-of-my-mug. And maybe God is. Probaby. But the fact is, my favorite mug is cracked. And it’s a sad thing.

Oh well. Life goes on. Monday’s here, with lots to do. Time to think about other thing, like Sunday’s bulletin and sermon.

Year of the Rat? Really?

7 02 2008

Happy Chinese New Year… maybe this year has more than 11 months, I don’t know actually. I haven’t done that much research. What I do know is that the thought of getting our child in the year of the Rat doesn’t sound that appealing. the Rat.. really? Ok, so some have toned it down and said it’s the year of the “Mouse”. Cuter, in my opinion. But let’s call it what it is: a rat.

So here’s what I figure. First of all, rats aren’t so bad. I have friends who have pet rats.. and I have held these critters. Kind of cute in their own way. Then there’s Templeton, the rat in the book and movie “Charlotte’s Web”. I love this guy. So, rat’s aren’t so bad. Second, recent Chinese New Year animals included: pig, dog, rooster, monkey… I like all these animals. But let’s face it: none of these animals have served us well, in terms of adopting our child. So, the way I see it, though rats get a bad reputation, and though our daughter will hopefully have been born in the year of the pig (though it could have been dog or rooster..), the Year of the Rat just might pull through.

Check out the Lenten Views photo a day web gallery…. somewhere on there is my photo of Chinese New Year, at least here at our house. As well as great photos by other photographer friends.

Lenten Views: photo a day challenge

6 02 2008

Several people from Arbor Covenant Church are taking a different kind of Lenten challenge: a photo a day during Lent. We are not professional photographers. The photos will not necessarily be spiritual. It is merely a challenge to take a photo a day during this slow-down-season.

We’re posting them on this Mac Web Gallery, called “Lenten Views” … Enjoy. And if you’d like to participate, or post your photos on a different webpage, let me know.

In this slow-down season, it’s a bummer to have to miss Ash Wednesday. Our joint service with All Saints’ Lutheran was cancelled, due to weather. Most services and events in the Madison area have been cancelled… government offices were closed… even Madison schools were closed today! (a small miracle)

So, Happy Ash Wednesday… I miss the ashes, but am enjoying the forced slow-down due to weather.

Give it up for Lent

5 02 2008

I don’t often give something up for Lent. Sometimes. But usually I take something on–more prayer, Bible reading, exercise… last year I did the photo a day exercise. This year I’m doing the photo a day exercise again, along with other friends. But I’m also considering some other options, to help me focus more on God, and less on problems.

So, as a fun distraction from thinking about tomorrow’s impending exercise, I thought I’d look up what other people are giving up or taking on for Lent. And here are some of the things I found online:

What some people are taking on: go to church every Sunday, saying the rosary every night, detaching from “distractions”, pay the 25 cent bridge toll for the person in line behind me, stay calm & freak out less, spend an extra half hour each day in prayer, head back to church, smile at a stranger everyday, and work out.

What some people are giving up: DISH TV, ice-cream, sarcasm, buttered popcorn & lemonade, cursing, being lazy, Facebook or MySpace, hope, beer, spending money on anything “luxurious”, sweets, soft drinks, coffee, hopefully 10 pounds, TV watching, cigarettes, butter, Facebook & political news, pretzels potatoes & pasta, writing about politics, screens (TV screens, computer screens phone screens, etc…) and sugar in coffee.

How about you? Are you giving something up? Or taking something on? Or doing anything to help you focus on God this Lent?

Who needs dip? A new Super Bowl Menu…

4 02 2008

I wanted to go out yesterday afternoon and buy some cool chips and good ingredients to make fun Super Bowl dip… all that stuff. Jim was going to the Youth Group Super Bowl party, so they had some snacks… I wanted some too. (Jen was coming over to watch the game, here, as Roy was also part of the youth group party.)

But I was exhausted. And somewhere between coming home after a friend’s Birthday Lunch at the Nitty Gritty, and taking my nap, I forgot.

Neither Jen nor I are huge football fans. We liked some of the commercials. (Especially the dog & horse one, and the cashews one) We played with the dogs (our three dogs, not the dalmation on tv). We talked. Jen worked diligently on her knitting. I pretended to scrap. And we scrounged the house for food.

We found mini-quiches in the downstairs freezer, a bag of miniature-Reeses-peanut-butter-cups, and a frozen Pumpkin Custard Pie. A-Ha. Who needs dip?

We ate first-quarter quiches, eat-as-necessary peanut-butter-cups… and, when the Giants took the lead again in the beginning of the 4th quarter, we ate “Touchdown Pie”. Later we gave the dogs “Interception Chicken Jerky Treats”.

Who needs dip?

This menu worked–for me, at least. The Giants won! I’m so happy. Just to be clear–I’m not one of these Patriots-haters. After all, I call New England one of my many “homes”. But I wanted the underdog to win.. and they did.

Go Eli! Go Plaxico! Go David Tyree with that incredible grip.

Maybe next year I’ll go on Food Network, promoting the new Super Bowl Menu: mini quiches, mini peanut-butter-cups, pumpkin custard pie…and even some treats for the dogs.

The 11-Month 2008

2 02 2008

Happy New Year!

It’s not Chinese New Year yet… (Feb, 7th, I think). And it’s past January 1st. But my friend Jen and I have decided that since January had a lot of difficulties and challenges, we’re going to call Feb. 1st the New Year. So though there were also some good things about January 2008, we’ve decided to start over. (and don’t worry: there were some good things in January… just a lot of disappointments and frustrations as well.)

Jen told me last night that as far as she’s concerned, 2008 has 11 months. I like it. I agree. We went out for dinner to celebrate New Year’s Day. Call us crazy, but we’re trying to be hopeful. So give us credit for that. Hope, that ridiculous desire for something, sometimes for anything… that crazy emotion that keeps us riding this roller coaster of life… yep. There might be some hope for the 11-month 2008.

So Happy New Year. Happy 11-Month 2008.

Happy trying-to-hope-without-losing-hope-in-the-process…..

Well see how this goes.