Monthly Archives: May 2013

Grateful

The Trail led to Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church in Kensington, Maryland this weekend.

Today the congregation held an intergenerational all-church retreat. I had the privilege to help lead the retreat working with gracious and talented staff members Jan Moody, John Horman, and Kirby Lawrence Hill.

About thirty-five people participated in the retreat. And they participated fully.

We considered the topic of why and how followers of Jesus engage in witness and advocacy in the public arena, that part of life where the decisions that shape and guide our common life.

Red Hands WarnerI am grateful

  • for the welcome I received
  • that thirty-five people were willing to give up the better part of a Saturday
  • that the participants were willing to try what I suggested
  • for the participants’ creativity
  • for how working together spurred greater creativity and deeper insights
  • for acting and writing and directing skills tapped as the participants created presentations for each other
  • for relationships made and deepened
  • that participants made over fifty Red Hands to call for an end to the exploitation of children as solders

I am grateful.

See you along the Trail.

Leave a comment

Filed under Human Rights, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, Travel

Minuses and pluses

I am on the road. Travel invariably plays havoc with any effort at self-care. My presentations for tomorrow being complete, this seems a moment to take stock of the past two days.

Minus – I have not reached my goal of 10,000 steps on either day.

Minus – I have not been able to walk for 30 minutes either day.

Minus – I have eaten a bit too much this evening.

Plus – I did not over eat on the trip from New York to Washington, DC. That almost never happens. Airport and train stations transform me into some form of over-sized locust that eats everything in sight.

Plus – Yesterday I ate well. Today I came close.

Plus – I have reflected on how I did rather than just letting it happen.

Plus – I have recorded my numbers even when they were not what I wanted. Usually when I fail to walk or eat too much or my blood sugar is too high, I don’t make a note of it. Denial means it did not happen, perhaps?

I am on the road. Travel invariably plays havoc with any effort at self-care. My presentations for tomorrow being complete, this seems a moment to take stock of the past two days.

Minus – I have not reached my goal 0f 10,000 steps on either day.

Minus – I have not been able to walk for 30 minutes either day.

Minus – I have eaten a bit too much this evening.

Plus – I did not over eat on the trip from New York to Washington, DC. That almost never happens. Airport and train stations transform me into some form of over-sized locust that eats everything in sight.

Plus – Yesterday I ate well. Today I came close.

Plus – I have reflected on how I did rather than just letting it happen.

Plus – I have recorded my numbers even when they were not what I wanted them to be. Usually when I fail to walk or eat too much or my blood sugar is too high, I don’t make a note of it. Denial means it did not happen, perhaps?

See you along the Trail.

1 Comment

Filed under Exercise, Food, Travel

Purple, not flowers

We bid farewell to one of our interns today at the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations. All the interns gathered for the party; a number of our colleagues attended.

They celebrated greatly, giving thanks for one another, relieved that another academic term had ended.

Balloons played a role in the festivities. At some point, someone or someones decided to create balloon characters.

I believe this one represents me. The color fits. I accept it as a token of appreciation.

Purple Mark

See you along the Trail.

Leave a comment

Filed under Friends, Photo, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations

Stay healthy

To everything there is a season.

I have entered a season where my heart hangs heavy and my soul aches for friends who face serious health issues.

In an exchange with one friend, I received the advice, or the challenge, “You better stay healthy.”

I appreciate the sentiment but the reality, as my friend knows, is that I need to get healthy.

For almost two days now, I have tried. I ate well yesterday. I walked on the treadmill last night. I installed a number of health apps to measure food intake, exercise, weight, and other bodily functions, I ate well today.

As I type, I recognize the privileges that I carry: access to good food, access to a gym, access to a smart phone and a computer, financial resources to pay for them, freedom to make use of them, safety to practice them, time to devote to them, and more.

Humbled at having so much, I renew my commitment and head to the gym for a second night.

See you along the Trail.

Leave a comment

Filed under Exercise, Friends, New York

Bad habit meets guiding principle

I felt a tug on my arm as I left the number 7 train at Times  I turned to see the woman who had sat across from me. Her hand held a crumpled dollar bill. My crumpled dollar bill.

photo (4) (775x1024)I have a bad habit. Or I probably should say, “Among my bad habits is the fact that I carry bills in my pockets.”

I simply cram them into the pocket. They end up resembling the spit balls that my friends and I used to create in junior high school. Little wads of green.

Some interesting things result.

I receive bemused looks when I pay with cash. I dig into my pocket, pull out what bills are there and straighten them. I have reminded more than one cashier, “It all spends.”

I find little wet wads of green now and then when doing laundry. I delude myself with the line, “Made money again.”

And I drop bills from time to time. It happens. I confess I do not know how often it happens. Sometimes I find the fallen bills. Sometimes, as today, I rely on the kindness of friends and strangers.

When this happens, I come up against one of my guiding principles for money. If I find money, I first try to find the owner. Failing that, I give it away. Coins end up in the hands or cups of strangers on the street. Larger bills usually go to a program addressing hunger in some way. It may feed people or help people feed themselves or work to change the reasons people are hungry in the first place.

I will join today’s dollar to some others and pass them along before the evening ends.

Guiding principles trump bad habits. At least on this one.

See you along the Trail.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under New York

Purple flowers, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 2

IPurple Flowers Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 4 16 August 2012

Inside people enjoy art;
outside a butterfly enjoys the flowers.

Richmond, Virginia
16 August 2012

Leave a comment

Filed under Photo

Not purple flowers, Central Park ball fields 1

IMG_1424 (1024x683)

 

Photos of purple flowers routinely post on Mondays. But, this is not a photo of purple flowers. It is a photo of Tricia and Eric watching me take photos of purple flowers. By the ball fields of Central Park, Tricia spotted some purple flowers. As I wandered over to take some photos, she and Eric watched. At her suggestion, I took this one. And I post it today, Sunday. 

See you along the Trail.

Leave a comment

Filed under Family, New York, Photo

Train-snared

photo (19) (1024x764)

As we speed downtown
toward South Ferry
the window captures my image
where it hovers, perhaps forever,
leading me to wonder:
whose train-snared shades surround me?
Who went before?
Whose paths do I share?
Who are my companions?

11 May 2013
1 Train between 116th and 110th

Leave a comment

Filed under New York, Photo, Poem, Travel

Pre-Mother’s Day surprise

He quietly stepped into the First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York‘s hall where the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, his mother’s employer, held their final Regional Conference today.

photo (16)On this day before Mother’s Day, our older son Sean, who lives in New York, decided to surprise his mother. He made plans to attend the conference and told his mother. What he did not tell her, and he did not tell me until just a couple of weeks ago, he also arranged for his brother, Eric, to come from Texas to New York for the weekend. Eric also registered for the conference.

Tricia arrived on Thursday. Yesterday she worked with her colleagues finalizing the plans for today’s event. Brian and Kellie made a hasty adjustment so that Eric’s name did not appear in the list of participants, replacing it with mine.

When Tricia saw the list, a flurry of texts flew among Brian, Sean, Kellie, and me. We made up a story to tell Tricia. A thin story, but the best we could do quickly.

At dinner, Tricia said, “Apparently Sean registered you for the conference.”

“What?” said I. She repeated her words.

“I did talk to him at one point about maybe attending,” I said. “Then I checked and decided that because the theme is about changing church policy, I probably should not go. I guess he went ahead and registered me any how.”

Brian, Pam, and Jon, our dinner companions, backed my play. Brian said, “I will tell Sean that the Covenant Network will refund his money.”

“No worries,” I replied. “He makes enough. Call it a contribution.” Everyone laughed and the moment passed.

When Tricia and I returned to the Shire near the Hudson from seeing Kinky Boots, we talked about today’s schedule. I made up a story about having an early meeting with someone this morning near Columbus Circle for breakfast. Location and purpose of the morning were true. The other person not so much.

Tricia and I boarded the subway together this morning. I got off at Columbus Circle and met Sean and Eric for a bagel. Then we headed to the church.

Eric and Sean got their name tags. I explained the situation. And we moved to the room where participants could find coffee.

Tricia stood, her back to the door, talking to our friend Susan. Sean pushed Eric forward. He stepped to his mother and tapped her shoulder. She knows almost all the conference participants . When she turned, she expected to see one of her colleagues; she saw her son.

Smiles and laughter followed. Susan took some photos. We made some introductions to friends who marveled to see us in one place. I bid farewell and trust they are enjoying the conference. I will rejoin them when it ends and we will do something this evening. Brunch and a show tomorrow. A good weekend.

Happy Mother’s Day!

See you along the Trail.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Family, Friends, New York

Friday ride to work

I watch from the subway platform
as below, the workers
disembowel what remains of
my dry cleaning store. Piece by
piece they remove the innards
making way for who knows what.
The other would-be passengers
stir restlessly on the platform.
Then I see him.
Leaning against the railing,
eyes closed, he thrusts his face
expectantly toward the sky
trying to absorb every ray
of the early morning sun.
The moment breaks as the platform
begins to vibrate, signalling the
approach of the train. The doors open.
As I enter, Brother Willie comes on my iPod.

11 May 2013
125th Station

Leave a comment

Filed under New York