Monday, May 31, 2010

Everything's better when viewed from underneath rhododendrons....

See....told you. This morning was spent running about daft in the Secret Forest around Kelburn Country Park with C, C, A, J, and E....although for the action packed run about the woods, E had tea in the courtyard garden. The Secret Garden is a maze with little houses and scary bits tucked round corners all up and down the side of a hill....and it is very low tech and awesome. The maze is all paths amongst the rhodies and's like middle-earth or something! There's high up climby bits, too! Perfect for adventurers!

We raced back from Kelburn to visit a housebound parishioner of E's who wished a home communion. It was really moving. It never really dawned on me how much folk lean on E, and how much she brings to them. She carries quite an authority without being authoritarian. I suppose this is about being a representative of God....I know that sounds corny....but that's what is expected....a person to help folk see where God is in the moment.

Moments fly past on giggles whilst playing hide and seek under rhododendrons....
They don't go by so swiftly when housebound and silent.....

Sunday, May 30, 2010

In one sentence Coll summed it up by saying.....

"The way to God is Faith not behaviour."
Excellent. That was really all I wanted to say!
The congregation looked a bit like deer in the head-lights when I was up there....but it could have been a lot worse....
It could have been ME looking like a deer in the head-lights!

So, after 3 hours of "online chat" with one "Oliver" from Sony Online Help, it seems I can access my pictures again. Hmmmm....the settings either changed themselves, or were changed by someone messing about. Someone between the ages of 6 and 13 perhaps?! In my father's house there are many Mansons! If it were not so I would not have told you!!!!!! I'll need to get CSI Greenock up here to dust for fingerprints!
Enjoy the lovely Gourock weather in the long lost photies:

That would be my laundry on the rinse cycle!

Which of these wild things do you think messed about with the Bloggie?!

Imagine an imaginitive leap!

This is a bit of a rushed blog....I think I'm meant to preach my first sermon in like an hour....I think....if that indeed is what it is.
I'm trying to think of it like this: we preach all the time. Yeah, right. I'm not really enjoying this feeling at all. Ugh.

It's all Romans 5:1-5, General Assembly, Trinity, Grace and Hope type.....Pray for me that I do a pleasing interpretation. Ugh.

Abrupt subject change.

Don't buy a's total *excrement*. I got such great shots of my clothes getting their fourth rinse on the line yesterday and the blinking camera is chanked!
Even R can't help me and he's a clever person! Ugh.

Abrupt subject change.

Spent yesterday reading James Loder The Transforming Moment....which involves me going off somewhere and taking notes....sure sign that I'm engrossed because I generally think taking notes is a bit over the top and only to be done when there's a possibility you might one day consult them...and I believe I will. There's a beauty in the accepting mystery that so speaks to my you've maybe gathered by now. Or not. Whatever.

After a bit of reading, I was forced to accompany small boys(just kidding) to the "Waterfront" in Greenock where they went down the flumes and Wee J and I just swam about and talked.

Then.....when I needed to seriously think about this sermon and study some more....THE EUROVISION SONG CONTEST came on. Ooops. Couldn't miss that! It's so horrible it's awesome....I feel the same way about Miss America. Wouldn't want to miss that either! My fave was Germany, but I really thought Denmark or France would take it. UK was hopeless. Oh well....anyhow! Germany won! The first time my first pick took it! And the lyrics are spot on! I know it's true love when I buy new underwear and paint my toenails, too! I do! Enjoy the daftness....sometimes it's all we've got.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I'm not sure it is possible to fake a transformational experience....

I'm still shattered. I attempted to run my usual Gourock run from the Gourock Pool (I believe the oldest salt-water pool still in Scotland....contested by Stonehaven) to the Cloch Light. I only made it to the Western Ferry and called to get picked up....and taken to the Garden Centre for my lunch! Just too wiped out still! I had a tuna panini.

I tagged along to Eileen's service today. A funeral. Funerals are different here from in the States. This one was huge! It sounds like the deceased was such an awesome guy...very funny....and kind of his fifties. Quite sad, but he seemed like a hilariously fun guy. The stories about him were excellent. He chose Bob Marley songs for the start, and the funeral ended with "This Little Light of Mine" but it was sung accompanied by the Bruce Springsteen CD....very gospel and rockin' with many repeated "Everyday!" and all these mourning, white, non-groovable folk were trying to keep up with the "Everydays!" and trying to was hopeless, but in a good way...including E up in the pulpit! It was so absolutely dopey that I did laugh, and then the organist did....and I had such a loving feeling towards the deceased when the sniffles were joined with giggles all 'round.
Prayers for his mum, his lovely sweet wife, and his 23 year old son. It's gonna *expletive* for them for a good long while. Bless.

E is especially gifted at funerals.....can't put my finger on why. It might be her voice...or how she moves....or the fact that the dimples and giggle that are her trademark are still very much there for folk, but are beneath the the lines under the ice of a hockey rink.
In Scotland I should say curling rink.

As I was waiting by the car outside the "crem", a magpie landed on the bank beside me....a bank covered in forget-me-nots! How's that for bizarre? In Scotland you count magpie birds...I think in the Southern US they count crows: 1 for sorrow, 2 for joy, goes up to 7 I think....7 for a secret never to be told. ANYHOW! Do you think it's a trained funeral magpie! Such great mourning imagery! A sorrowful, solitary magpie on a bank of forget-me-nots after a funeral.....Honestly! I'm not making this stuff up!

I have to help E preach on Sunday. Am trying not to think about it until like 9:45 pm tomorrow night. Just kidding. I'm thinking about it.....just haven't written anything down yet. It seems too soon. What if something earth shattering happens tomorrow? I'd spend all that time writing a sermon and then have to throw it out! why I shouldn't promise!

Once again, what seems like it would be straight-forward ends up being rather....well....not.

Yesterday, I had a great visit with Angus Mathieson, a minister who now serves the Church of Scotland as a Ministries Support Officer. When I first met him...on Iona a long time ago, he worked in Ayr as a Youth Worker....and no doubt occasionally had a rare tare at the fair! The following clip, which incidentally, works just fine on my camera and laptop and doesn't seem to upload properly somehow, is Angus explaining what he does.

I had a nice long blether with him and his sound byte, although very professional (almost exactly one minute!), doesn't really do justice to the guy, who is very much in ministry even though he's not in a parish job.

He's also a cool guy...I don't think he drives a Harley, but he does use a fountain pen....which is very cool!

Now...proof of my exhaustion, I'm not writing anything else tonight!
Ciao bambinoes!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A quick photo to mark Sonic's return to wee Christian....

This photo says it all. Christian's daddy is home!

Drum roll, please............

No more promises! The long awaited video clips are here!! Prepare the microwave popcorn!
First up: The Very Reverend Andrew McLellan (in two acts as his mobile rang)

And now for something completely different......
Why it's the Head of Media and Communications for The Church of Scotland! Stuart Wilson.
AND....he rides a Harley!
I managed to cut off the bit where I sound more daft than I normal do....which is pretty daft. I did ask him if he saw himself as part of "The God Squad", and was happy to hear that he did. I don't think the Church will be raised in the eyes of the media or of the Nation....or the World, for that matter, without our hard work
but the Holy Spirit doing a lot of it ....and Stuart agreed.
So.... without further ado....

Ah! I hope you feel better now! And realize that I am good for my word....if not always swift with coming through! Be patient, young Padawans.

So....I am home in Gourock! It feels good to be home,'s a bit like trying to fall asleep after Halloween.
As I left the Assembly Hall with E and R tonight, I just felt sort of *blah*
Neither sad nor happy...the other two were walking ahead and I was staring at the shadow of me walking. It was breezy and crisp and I had on my very large raincoat which was blowing out behind me. In my shadow, I looked like a cowboy, or a spy, or a super-hero. Now, normally, I would quite like the drama of watching that shadow, but I was just watching it without any real emotion and thinking, "Wow. I don't feel any emotion." I'm good with this because, well, sometimes you don't and that's just doesn't happen that frequently to me so it was a little worth noting. I looked up to find I'm a ways down the Royal Mile, and my family is...nowhere to be seen. It's like a three ring circus on the cobblestones at this part of the street with a juggler, and this lady in big, floofy skirts with beads on her face and the busker with the guitar, who is sitting on the pavement beside where I stood starts playing DelAmitri's "Nothing Ever Happens". Totally surreal. A great, depressing, existential-crisis-type song. So, of course, I had to laugh 'cause it was like something in a film! R and E found me standing there laughing. We went to World's End to debrief before the drive back to Gourock. As you do. This story is random, isn't it?

In the car, I read a bit of the William Barclay book I bought today. (Saint Andrew Press). Hmmm.

When the road curved and the sun was skimming over the top of Dumbarton Rock, I thought I might have heard the angels sing.

O maybe it was the DelAmitri in my head...either way it was lovely.

A long week that will take a fair amount of un-packing... :)
I need some sleep!
Respectfully submitted,
Jeanie Roy Collins Manson with a fabulous coat that flaps in the wind!

ps Thanks for the great visit Angus! Your video appears tomorrow! :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Even though I am completely exhausted, and the blog film of myself makes me look about 80, I am shocked that tomorrow is the last day of the General Assembly. I don't know why that is.....mysterious......
Perhaps the biggest jolt for me has been how much I loved the experience. I didn't expect to....nor did I expect to hate it....I think I must have expected to say to myself, "This is an interesting thing to get to do.", but that would be the end of it...and there would be a sort of carefree freedom in that. Experience it, go on about my business....Instead, I have this great fondness for the Church of Scotland; its history, its future, its ministers, its congregations. I'm really proud of the work E does.... and I cannot even begin to (as a certain Church History prof I know might say) "Un-pack that."
Unusual for me, I won't try to give it wings with words at this point. It might be fakey and forced if I did. I just know that I care more than I planned to... which is full of danger, and magic, and listening to silence....mysterious.....

Speaking of danger....this morning's first report was the Committee on Chaplains to Her Majesty's area that totally interests me because of my brother, and my interest in the 177th Fighter Wing, Galloway NJ, and, of course, my buddy SONIC! Er...DUCKY! (Welcome home!)...

The average age of a soldier being about 20, really makes a person, especially one that's a parent maybe, think of how important good spiritual leaders are for these men and women (kids) serving in such danger. Wherever a minister stands on the issues of war, we can't deny that this is a place where Christ needs to be represented. Now, I don't want to make light of the need for good Padres (or Madres?), nor do I wish to make light of war in any way, but how awesome was that Admiral Tibbotson guy that spoke?????!!!!!!!!

OK, so, they announce the special speaker, this Admiral, and he's like a champion karate expert, kayaker, footballer, navy a real live Action Man! DANG!BABY! He was sitting up in the Lord High Commisioner's Gallery and I honestly thought he was going to rappell over the side, and swing over to the lectern to give his speech! (See! I really am still American!) It would have been so cool! And made a brilliant entrance! And lent an air of.... mystery....which is a plus! Usually.

Back to seriousness...I didn't hear him say it, but I heard someone say that The Very Reverend Bill Hewitt described Army Chaplaincy as a "truly incarnational ministry"...and that really defines it. That is a place where the world is turned up-side down. Christ needs to be there in it. Bless those who hear that call.

The Social Care Council and the Safeguarding Committee turned out to be really interesting, too, although it was dealing with a delicate and scary topic: sexual abuse. I was glad that I'm not the only one who thinks that, although it might be good to know you have no one working with kids or adults-at-risk that has a criminal record of abuse, we need to always remember that the really talented abusers....the ones that are masterful at the abuse... won't have records....they won't get caught! They could secretly be wreaking havoc on lives for years without anyone being any the wiser. I'm not saying be scared, I'm saying be smart! Two deep leadership! Always have at least two adults present at any event with kids. Teach kids from the start what is appropriate language and actions and touch, and what isn't. Keep doors open and activities in view. This is "preach-worthy"! Jesus did! Don't let it be a topic that's in the closet...not for churches, schools, Brigade, Guides, Scouts, or homes! This is where there is no room for mystery! Ever! That's the bad kind of mystery.

After this I ate wonderful quiche, drank tea, and had this lovely raspberry and custard tart thing that was almost too pretty to eat. So, I admired it for a minute appreciating its ephemeral beauty, then just skarffed it down! It was as lovely to taste as it was to look at! I then went to the Brass Rubbing place down this close off the Royal Mile, and finally made the Robert the Bruce rubbing for Coll's amazing Quaker-Fairy-Godmother, Kathy!

Considering it was promised when he was years ago, it was excusable that I ditch the start of the next session....not the WHOLE afternoon of the Assembly, just a wee bit. My little art break was really very theological actually, because as I was on my second piece....(yeah....I just felt called to do another after "The Bruce") I thought on James Loder and the transformation of the Spirit, and how clearness sometimes comes out of situations when it seems anything but clear.... and how this magic rises from the paper at what seems like nothingness....colors blending over negative space, coming together to make an image, a message.....mysterious.....

When I got back to the Hall, a debate over The Saint Andrews Press was just heating up. Ditch it because it's losing money? Keep it because it's historic and scholarly? I was very glad I wasn't expected to cast a vote on that one. OUCH. What a tough decision....they....ah.....curtains.....

...but it didn't end there! Like with a fabulous mystery thriller....more to come....
discourse on the chucking or adhering to the Westminster Confession! Double Predestination! Eternal Torment! Are ya kidding me?! Then, thankfully, a decision was made that now is not the time! Another year! Hooray! Well done, Dave! (A new friend from Broughty Ferry) You get a special mention for speaking because you were kind enough to comment on my blog!

OK....this is now far too long and I'm blethering! Tomorrow night I'll be home in Gourock! And most likely far too sleepy to blog! This is like a double one! We shall see, though! Tomorrow might be so amazing that I'll have to tell you all about it! It's just another mystery, eh?!

All good things to youse!


Monday, May 24, 2010

The best laid schemes o' mice and men gang aft.....

11pm...the video is edited (still quite skills are....let's just keep positive and say there's room for improvement!), I pop it up to YouTube, there's no button for blogger!, I call my IT man....R....home in Gourock....SOUND ASLEEP!
So, I tried!

One of the funniest Church of Scotland ministers I know......

Another fabulous day of report and debate and some actual interviews! I'm really enjoying it...there is a bit of a lot of sitting, but it's balanced somewhat by much stair-climbing. You see, the Assembly Hall is near the top of a narrowish hill and it sort of wraps round the it is a kind of a split-level place. You can see by the photo! HA!

The big news is that The Reverend Eileen Manson spoke at General Assembly!!!! Yes she did! She was AWESOME! There is a video of it....from behind the scenes! Will try to snatch a copy from the press room of her as she looked on the big screens! SO fab! She encouraged the General Assembly to extend congratulations to the Guides.....which used to be the Girl Guides, but now is just "The Guides"....although you still have to be a girl to be a member.

Today started with a service, followed by some members of the Children's Assembly commenting, singing, and answering questions. They were cute and thought provoking....One little girl asked why the ministers never come into the Sunday School class. This is a big one in my mind because I actually like my kids in the service...the whole service! How else will they learn to worship with the community if they don' with the community. AND if the service is too uninspiring to keep the attention of an inquisitive child, could it be that your services are......uninspiring?!....*GASP* I'm not saying they are....I'm just saying..... that I've offended can hear what a clown I am!

I interviewed Stuart Wilson today! He talked about his job, and the role of the media in the Church. He does a great interview as you will see....I, on the other hand, am a stuttering idiot of an interviewer! What was with my word retrieval skills this morning?! Dang! Och well! It takes all kinds! I just sound like a crazy person! This'll get posted tonight after I a) get this blog done b) eat something c) figure how to post it.....cross your fingers!

The report on the HIV/AIDS Project was very hopeful and well presented as was the Guild presentation. The Guild is what was once what I always knew to be The Woman's Guild, but now it's just The Guild...I guess that means you don't have to be a woman to be on it's a bit different from the Guides....I think.

The day's marathon session was the report on the Church and Society Council. This somehow seemed to me like a council that was made up of so many various topics it could be it's own assembly! The Church sort of being society and all....
So, from bio-ethics, mental health, education, environmental issues, military issues, responses to poverty, The Girl Guides....I mean The Guides! It just covers such a broad, broad range of issues. Society. Big. It got a quiet kind of way. What spoke to me most was a young person's witness of her mental health issues and her fear of making it known....whilst in the hospital, it was a chaplain that helped her towards healing by listening and repeating to her the Gospel message, but she later has thought on how she might have been less traumatized had she felt comfortable bringing the situation to her own parish minister. This was presented well, and she called out to ministers to be aware of how much pastoral care can fill the gap in wait times for the National Health Service, or prevent a problem from escalating. She was really brave. Bless her. My own experience with Scottish culture has led me to understand there is a distinct embarrassment about admitting mental illness. This is not a judgement. Some Americans get therapy for everything! But, there certainly are times when the best thing to do is get counselling, or medication, or both! For this young person to get up and speak so eloquently on such a tender topic showed bravery and maturity.....and common sense. Ministers need not only some basic pastoral care tactics, but close contacts within their parish or community with professionals who actually know what they're doing. HA! That was a joke....but sort of true. Ministers can be a first line of defense and an advocate, but they need to be able to send suffering folk on to a professional if the illness demands.

Also interviewed was the effervescent Very Reverend Andrew McLellan, check out that video!

And The Reverend Syd Graham, Convener of the Social Care Council (his video will be done later though!) Both wish to be in the running for "The Funniest Person I Know"....we'll change it to "The Funniest Church of Scotland Minister I Know", and let them prove their hilarity by their comments on the blog! To the starting blocks boys! I'm holding my sides already!

PAX! I'm away to eat some becoming more typically Scottish by the minute!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ecclesia Reformata Semper Reformanda!

OK! I'm thinking that might be my new T-shirt slogan! I am a bit higher than a kite as I'm just out of the service to commemorate the Scottish Reformation 450th was wonderful!
It had it all: a wind band, a children's choir, a great actor, John Shedden, as John Knox "voicing the past", professor of history, Professor Jane Dawson, lecturing on the Scottish reformation, a lecture on how Knox's reformed view on church and society created the model for education that the world has followed, and how all this led to the Scottish Enlightenment....and the modern world. This is a legacy of which the Church of Scotland should be very proud. To dwell on any violence that wrought that change, is to view history from a post-modern understanding....which is silly. Our collective pasts as well as our individual pasts are chock full of events that we maybe would not play out the same way, but at the end of the day, they have formed who we are now....and what we are now is, for the most part, very good! For the most part!
BEST of the evening though....and I mean BEST.... was the spirit moving in the accapella singing of the metrical psalms, the well chosen scripture, and the absolutely timely and inspiring words of The Right Reverend John Christie's sermon. Asking how we make the Reformation relevant 450 years on, The Moderator referred back to both the favorite text of Knox's: John 17:13-26..."I have given them your word, and the world has hated them for it,they are not of the world any more than I am of the world" and the words of Haggai that John Knox quoted at the first Assembly...."Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your panelled houses, whilst this house remains a ruin?" Extrapolate meaning for yourself....for spoke volumes, both culturally to Scotland and the US, and personally.

The words of Christ....the words of a prophet.....the words of Knox...repeated by John Christie; inspiring folk to not look ahead and fear, but to look ahead and know they are understood, yet expected to instigate change. Fifty years from now, the young people that were present at the service will be faced with different challenges, but will remember how we brought it forward....and certainly remember the words of tonight.


Back to me! (me-me-me-me-it's all about me-me-me-me) I got to sing in the "Assembly Choir"!Thanks, again, to Eileen asking Ian McCrorie....a man of remarkable talents....both with music and knowledge of Clyde Steamers! So, cheers for that Ian!
I am so totally into the Metrical Psalms just now....both the original settings and the newer ones. Heads up, NBTS! When I get back, I'm going to be championing some traditional REFORMED worship! Frozen Chosen my.....eyebrow!
Peace out!
Must eat and hydrate as I actually got dehydrated in the tropical Edinburgh weather today! (No, wisen-heimer-cynics out there! It had nothing to do with Palace wine or Highland Park!)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hours and hours of discourse on finances followed by a trip to the can be surreal sometimes!

Look at us! Just after the reception at the Palace with the Lord High Commissioner, Baron Wilson....a lovely man....not that I spoke with him. Holyrood Palace was gorgeous, the flowers were stunning,the view of Arthur's Seat from the court-yard with the fountain, quite breath-taking, the guards very handsome and amazingly tall, there was wine and little nibbly foods; the most remarkable being a little tiny sausage....."Chipolatta in Quince Sauce" yet strangely reminiscent of hot-dog on a tooth-pick....much more glamorous when served in a Palace, though!

This followed a day of the Ministry Council report...most of which centered around money....or the lack thereof. I, honestly, do know that money talks .... all it says to me is "Buh-bye!" *ba-doomp-CHA*...and from today's talks I think that might be all it's saying to the Church of Scotland. Times are tough.
To go a little theological on you: What Would Jesus Do? Funny, I know, and I don't mean to be cheeky, but I'm thinking he would get out there and ask for it.
A long time ago, on an island not so very far away, I was hanging out with George McLeod during Community Week (shameless name-dropping, but it is pertinent, stay with me!)He turned to me and said, "Jeanie! Look around you! Do you you know.....what it takes to build a place like this?! (imagine large arm gestures from a very old man) I, being young, American, and wanting to seem clever, was at a bit of a loss, but managed to come up with a rather shy, "Er.....the Holy Spirit?" George bellowed back, "No! No! Money!!!! Money, I tell you! Without money behind you to support you, cannot accomplish something like this!" I was, and still am, rather stunned by the conversation. He was a cool guy. I liked him. He had a vision. He made it happen.

I still do think though, that the Holy Spirit had to have wanted it to happen, too.

If the Holy Spirit wants you to want to accomplish it....then you will do it!
Asking might be a start. Be confident Church of Scotland. Ask.

I'll personally interview Syd Graham for the Blog! He's the Convener of the Social Care Council,and one of the funniest people I've ever met! (more shameless name-dropping) I missed his report because of the Reception at Holyrood.... I needed to dress up...I got new shoes from Marks for my birthday....they have wee leather flowers on them! Hopefully, he will forgive my vanity. Check out the CofS website to see his report!

Did I look fancy or what?!
Tomorrow is the Service at St. Giles. Will post it all soon!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Climate-change, jet-lag, single-malt, the responsibility of being Reformed

All right! It is rather late, but here I am....listening to the rolicking fun of the French tourists as I swealter high above the Royal Mile....wide awake....finishing a glass of Talisker and thinking about today's debates. is least right this second.

As an American, "The church informing the government" can raise hackles. Our persistently reminding each other of the division of Church and State...or the craziness that results in denominations on either "wing" lobbying for issues, adds to the three-ring circus that is American politics. Love it, or hate it, it is what it is.
The separation of Church and State is sort of was really meant to mean that we didn't have one church or denomination that was favoured or required by the government....not that church (or churches) couldn't inform or make itself involved in civic affairs. Without the Presbyterians, the United States might not have ever happened. This isn't news, but I guess I just say this because the situation in America is quite different than in Scotland when it comes to defining our role as Christians in the political world.

Scotland does have a National Church....not "the" National Church...there is a difference. Folk have a choice of denominations and religions, but The Church of Scotland has shaped the culture not just by preaching the Gospel, which, of course, is an amazing thing to do, but by making education possible for everyone, by raising the standards, by encouraging creativity and ingenuity. John Knox intended for the Church on two levels to be served in Scotland. That's everyone! The country benefits when we see through the eyes of Christ and be involved! As The Very Reverend Andrew McLellan said today when he spoke on the floor, "We are called to be the people of God for the people of God, but we are also called to be the people of God for the people who choose not to be the people of God."

In this sense,(and many others) Scotland is a very blest place (cue GaelForce Orchestra) People expect the Church of Scotland to inform the civic affairs, care for the marginalized, defend the's historic! Go for it!
Keep up the good work!

Talisker....finished, jet-lag....wearing off, climate change.....I'll deal with that tomorrow! Thankfully, this hotel has AC!

The opening of General Assembly 2010

Thanks to Stuart for helping me out with the photies! :)

How cool is this......quite, as I'm in front of a fan!

OK...this is sort of a long story, but now I have some access to some awesome, professional pictures....and hopefully video before too long!
Am sitting in front of the fan, which is fabulous as Edinburgh is very hot just now, (Take that! Smug New Jerseyites who told me to pack exclusively for rain! HA!)
in the PRESS OFFICE for the GA. Thanks, of course, to Eileen.

Right! Today has been really amazing. This morning was mostly about a debate that very much spoke to the whole condition of BEING that it was about defining the role of the Church of Scotland in...well....Scotland. Is it the role of the kirk to inform the government? The society? The people who don't attend?

Some great speeches. I'll try to get some up for you....this is becoming my mantra, I know, but I will....eventually....

This is a question I'd like to pose to anyone who is in the reformed tradition reformed people surely we need to take seriously how we impact the civil government...more ponderings later.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I think I might have the best seat in the house!

What a great day!

Was a little frightened to take footage....the day opened with the whole Assembly singing Psalm was AMAZING! Never quite heard anything so good! I didn't tape it, for fear of "the boot", but now realize I'm allowed.....will attempt it at tomorrow's service so you can hear it!

The Lord High Commissioner is Lord Wilson....he came in escorted by Heralds. I'll try to catch them tomorrow, too!

Bill Hewitt was fabulous in his farewell was the new Moderator John Christie.

There's a lot to read.....I want to make sure I've read the reports before tomorrow....and hopefully get a bit better at the video and slideshow! :/


Floating with the haar above the Royal Mile....

After a very quiet night I have woken to East Coast term in Scotland for mist....I think. I do think it might be Norse

The Church bells are now going, which makes me think I might be late for something. Amn't sure wheather I'll be permitted to bring any electronics in to the Assembly Hall after all....and actually am scared about getting the boot. So, will be a good girl for the now and not be sneaky. Will play it by ear.
Will bring the Bloggie anyway. R has figured how to embed the video....he's in Gourock, or course, but will try to get some better stuff up during my lunch break!
This is my hotel....right on the Royal Blackfriars Street...awesome, eh?!
Will report on the opening in a few hours.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

So......did those feet, in ancient times, walk upon England's mountains green?

Whoo hoo! Have not only landed in London, spent pretty much the whole day sitting on luggage in Kings' Cross Station because it was 8 quid a bag to leave the luggage in the lockers.....8 quid....that's 16 dollars! Per bag! Flight was uneventful. Everyone slept like babies...babies on Benadryl.
So now on the EastCoast train headed up to Edinburgh....there's wireless service! Very civilised! :) Cuppa tea and my laptop! Who could ask for anything more?!

So..(cue boy's spirit of William Blake....) ..did those feet in ancient times walk upon England's mountains green?.....and was the Holy Lamb of God on England's pleasant pastures seen??? Oh wait! There HE is?!'s just a regular lamb. Wow...that was freaky.

Houses and pastures and yellow fields of rapeseed....which I think is what canola oil is made from. All very beautiful and English. This is a lovely smooth, fast train. It has clearly been a while since I took it. I think the last time Reagan was still president and Thatcher was still PM.

Am still, obviously, hopeless at the video upload! I think I had the setting at too whatever for the upload. So I've knocked the quality down a bit....hope it works now. It's already showing me that it loads incredibly slowly....I might have to upload to YouTube first. I wish I wasn't such a dolt with this stuff.....I want it all to be easy and professional looking! Is that asking too much??????

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Yea! I found the video option!

Enjoy my first video interview! :)

Rain...Dust...the Crook runs away....sing for joy anyway!

Here we are in the final push to get ready for Scotland. This won't be a long discussion as it's 6:30 am....and I'm already behind!
The crook in New Delhi got away with the cash.I don't actually know what that we ever get the money back? I'm seriously considering giving up using debit cards. In 1971, before 24 hour computer banking nobody in India had access to my money.....well....I was it was only like, 75 cents .(I just realized my keyboard doesn't have a symbol for cents!)
The volcanic dust cloud seems to be dispersing from over the Atlantic...and has settled inside my house.
We are mostly packed, but the house is a wreck! The dog sitter will be here in the afternoon, so time's a tickin'! I have finally accepted the fact that it can't actually clean itself.
The flight does seem to be leaving on time.
So enough of the moaning!
Let the raindrops dance! The rivers clap their hands! The mountains sing for joy!
And there's always time to play a little harp! Yes, there is.
Breathe in peace, breathe out peace!
I'll report about the flight when I'm settled in Edinburgh...I can guarantee there'll be few laughs in it! :)
Enjoy my practice interview with my little pal, Christian!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Well...I did find a way to retrieve the lost footage from last night's session....but the free download tells me it can be retrieved, for $25-$53 I can actually get the footage back.....sorry.....too'll just have to take my word for it. The guys looked and sounded so awesome. It was a clip that totally explained why I just always want to jam with them. I'll just have to paint the picture with words. If they were chocolate....they'd be a Galaxy Bar....not the small one at the check-out....the really large one that Santa puts in the stockings at Christmas. If they were trees....they'd be a catawba.....which I probably spelled incorrectly, but it is the ultimate tree house tree! Everyone should plant one for their grand-kids or great grand-kids! If they were vodka....they'd be that Vanilla 3 Olives stuff.
So....just for a wee laugh I'll put up some clips from this year's Burns' I'm at my pal Wendy's house...and she's making food for us, so my kitchen with not be mussed, I'm pulling some of her photos! It's a little taste of Scotland before I get there! Enjoy!
Last update on the flight attendants is they'll be back by the week-end...which doesn't really help me, but whatever! Here's another photo!

Are we having fun yet?

Well....Eyjafjallojokull is making it a bit difficult. Flights are cancelled for Monday and Tuesday, but are on for Wednesday....with a little luck, the Tuesday 9:30pm flight WILL happen as we won't be in the volcanic dust airspace until Wednesday. Whether we go as scheduled or on a later flight, there will be NO spare seats. I am trying to instruct the boys to dress sharp for the flight....with the luck we've been having, it's possible a bit of good luck will be thrown in, and we'll be bumped up to first class! I know you are all shaking your heads right now wondering WHY I'm thinking this. This is why I can't ever buy a lottery ticket...I always think I'm due for some really good luck! Setting myself up for disappointment for sure. Actually, with no real flight attendants we'll probably only have sandwiches...deli sandwiches...hopefully not from a new deli....or even New Delhi, as I have some issues with New Delhi! (see prior post to get the schtick)

Last night we played at McKee's. I got some great footage on the Bloggie to post.....and somehow LOST it whilst trying to upload.... Am really quite bummed because it was very funny and the piping was pretty hot.
I suppose this is a good thing that I messed it up here...before my official would be a shame to lose an important bit of the General Assembly....or a walk through a haunted castle, churchyard, or prehistoric site! Or a bunch of musicians playing in a pub in Beith, instead of EggHarborCity!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Strikes, the garment industry in New Delhi, and demon alcohol.....

Well! Do I have a story for you! It truly is one of these things that folk are going to think I made up!
It turns out that British Airways have cancelled the London to Glasgow least the one we need, which for me, was just fine. I'd much rather sleep on a train for several hours on the way to Edinburgh. It would mean missing visiting The Globe Theatre in London...which, embarrassingly, I admit I have never gotten to go see despite my love of all things Shakespeare.
Anyhow! R goes online to get the train tickets booked and his card doesn't work! He is DECLINED! In a panic, as is his normal response, he races to the bank to hear that for the second time in the season our identity has been stolen.(dun-dun-daaaaah; especially odd in that we find our identities so difficult to maintain why would anyone else want them we'll never know!) Somebody in New Delhi tried to spend $1246.23 of our imaginary money. Not New Deli! Silly! New Delhi, India! Someone was not trying to buy a thousand dollars worth of pastrami and pickles! It happened from buying wine at Gourmet Liquors in Galloway, New Jersey!!!!!!!!!! Someone associated with or working at Gourmet is taking credit card numbers and selling them. What's worse is that in February, our identity was stolen and some dude in Florida went to Vegas on our account.....crime traced back  to.... GOURMET BLOODY LIQUORS!
So, there you have it, were it not for demon alcohol, my train would be booked to Edinburgh.
I am, as of 8:45 am Saturday, not packed, my house is strewn with....well....all the stuff that should either be on a shelf or in a cupboard; shelves and cupboards still coated with that bizarre, chartreuse pollen silt that is best produced here in the Barrens.....BUT
I have, for the first time ever, both cars in the garage! And everyone is happy and healthy, and all excited to go back to Gramma's! (cue Dougie McLean singing "Caledonia")
To remind us all that this is meant to be a blog on my supervised ministry....
Ask yourself when pondering your own identity theft..."Where is God in this?"
PS: When shopping for liquor in Galloway.....use cash!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Let's try to get some visual going.....

OK, kids. Day two and I'm hoping to learn how to post up photos and videos....that I couldn't seem to figure out yesterday. I am sitting here between sending the Church History Final and finishing the New Testament one thinking what will be more fun, less stressful, and generally sillier.

At this time next week we will be at the airport in Philly. No doubt fighting over something we forgot, yelling at our incorrigible children, and counting the minutes until we can have some Benedryl and begin watching a lame film, possibly without audio if the headphones on BA are no longer included in the price!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Today is the third day of the rest of my life!

Hey friends! I'm just getting this blog all organized for my adventure in Scotland. Eight days til I fly....and before that I still have four papers to write....yet I manage to have time to kill messing about with blog options! I will, in my spare time, mess about with silly video footage, photos, and miscellany. Feed-back would rock!