Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall Festival Time!

Saturday morning at Kunstfest

The saints at St. Stephen's began the Kunstfest festival early on Saturday morning as all the other booths geared up for the day. We had about 30 volunteers for the 2 days of the festival. The days were divided into shifts and everyone worked hard. Saturday was a beautiful, warm fall day and the crowds in town were having fun visiting all the variety of booths and businesses. There were so many choices of food available from the local establishments and various organizations that it would have been hard to choose. St. Stephen's sold grilled pork tenderloin sandwiches. For those of you who have never had this Hoosier favorite it is a thinly sliced piece of pork tenderloin that has been hammered with a meat mallet. It is grilled and served on a bun with dill pickles, lettuce and onions (any or all of these) and your condiment of choice. Here in Indiana it is often breaded and deep fried, but grilled is better. Our locally prepared tenderloins are huge and they sell well. We sold 500 sandwiches on Saturday! We also had 100 Kuchens (German coffee cake) made by our members which we sold out on during Saturday. It was a busy day!

The view towards the middle of town from St. Stephen's

On Sunday the festival begins at 11am - we had our coffee hour outside in front of the church as we prepared for another day raising money. Sunday's weather was not cooperative - it was off and on rainy and the crowds of Saturday did not materialize. We still did a good bit of business and by 5pm we were all ready for Kunstfest to be over. We made about $4000 for our various mission and outreach projects. For me the greatest significance of the weekend was the teamwork. Parishioners who volunteered gave so much of themselves not just to the fundraising project but to each other.

It seems that a common goal brings out the best in us. We find ways to get around the things that divide us when we are working together. Of course it takes a willingness to put our personal feelings aside and become a team of people who are together for a greater good. I continue to wonder how some people are able to let go of hurt feelings to work together and others allow those hurts to become walls. Is it that old hurts get reactivated causing an autonomic action (reaction)? This kind of reaction seems to be so powerful that forgiveness can't break in and logic fails us. I know what that reaction feels like. It is so powerful that even when my heart reveals my own self-indulgent pride to me, I still am paralyzed by the hurt. It feels physiological - like adrenaline being released when we need to flee a dangerous situation. I think this is a crucial part of being open to reconciliation - to come together with those who have hurt us and allow the Holy Spirit to make space in us. Perhaps the space is for forgiveness, or space to listen to the other person, or just to "see" the other person. All of those things, it seems, are necessary for reconciliation - space, listening, seeing the other person.

Just in time for Halloween

It was cool and moist this morning and this spider web was just begging to have its picture taken. I think the Halloween decorations have been displayed since early September. There is even a store in Evansville called "The Halloween Store" - it opened in September. Of course the Christmas decorations are not far behind and in some stores they are intermingled with the Halloween stuff! I'm sure struggling with this...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Another Week

The tops of the trees are edged with gold and red. The sunlight hitting them hints at what the world around us will soon look like as fall moves in quickly. At St. Stephen's we are preparing for New Harmony's fall festival, Kunstfest. The German origins of the town give rise to this yearly celebration which brings visitors from all over southwestern Indiana. All of the organizations, businesses, and churches in this small town put our wares out for sale. In the process we have a lot of fun and earn some money for our various projects. St. Stephen's sells German Kuchens (coffeecake), pork tenderloin sandwiches (an Indiana favorite) and jars of soup and cookie mix. In past years we have earned $4 - 5,000 for our outreach ministries. It is a lot of work for a small parish like ours but everyone really pulls together. Parishioners cook around 100 Kuchens to sell - they go like hotcakes! These folks are troopers!

Felted Pin

This is a not so clear picture of a pin I made recently. It has some beading on it which doesn't really show up in this picture. The piece of copper is a wonderful old piece of junk which I picked up walking on the mesa when I lived in Albuquerque. The background is a piece of wool felt with silk thread felted into it. It was a fun piece to make and gave me a lot of ideas for other pieces to make.

Indiana Pink

This is early morning in my backyard. It's a great place to be in the morning because the light is always different. I think God is truly an artist, and one who paints with the whole palette!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Late Summer Musings

Religious Cat?

I know I have shown Pumpkin (my cat) under the rose bushes with Jesus before, but she really does "hang out" there often. She goes out when I take Katie out in the morning and we usually find her sitting by Jesus when we come back up the hill. Maybe she feels secure with this "person" who never moves. I guess there is some good theology in that. It is often said that when we feel far away from God, it is not because God has moved away - we are the ones who move. God is steady in his presence just as my statue of Jesus is firmly fixed in the rose garden. A couple of weeks ago you would not have been able to see Pumpkin or Jesus in this garden. The wild mint and Irises, and other flowering plants had grown up around the roses and Jesus. I cleaned it out and trimmed the Iris down for winter - I found Jesus! I first looked at this house 5 years ago, thinking I would like to buy it. At that time Jesus was sitting on the stump of a tree in the back yard. The person who bought the house then put in the Iris bed and flowers around Jesus. When I bought the house 3 years ago Jesus was still on the stump. But over the first two years I lived here the stump disintegrated and I filled the garden in with more mulch and fixed Jesus in the middle. So through the disintegrating vagaries of life Jesus has really never moved. I love that reminder each day when I stroll through the back yard with my "girls."
Katie Scarlett O'Hara Honaker 2009

Speaking of my "girls" here is an updated picture of Katie. I took her out to the Nursing Home here in New Harmony yesterday. We went into the Alzheimer's Unit and visited one of her dearest friends who used to be at the Ford Home (a home for women). Virginia was moved to the Nursing Home when she could no longer take care of herself at the Ford Home. Katie used to spend one morning a week with Virginia at the Ford Home. I don't know if she recognized me or Katie yesterday but the smile on her face was worth the visit. Watching her cradle Katie's face in her two hands and lean close to kiss her brought tears to my eyes. It reminded me how much animals minister to our hearts. Each person we visited yesterday was carefully loved by Katie's sweet presence. She seems to know when she is "working", and she can work a room like nobody else. She means to get all the pats and ear rubs she can get. It is such "mutual satisfaction"!

Prairie Sky

Doesn't this just look like a Georgia O'Keefe painting? The sky here is so big. Sometimes I feel like I am living in a big bowl. The fields lately have been so green with corn and soybeans - it looks like an ocean of green stretching out as far as you can see. I don't think I could ever get entirely comfortable with this huge openness. I am too conditioned to the mountains. I like the way I feel held by the mountains - snuggled down into their presence. I get a little antsy sometimes with all this open sky and field. But most of the time I just revel in the beauty of it all. I love the way the fields change with each season. Soon the corn will turn brown and the contrast with the soybean fields will be dramatic. The soybeans turn beautiful shades of orange and gold as they ripen and dry. So much beauty... Check out my wonderful niece's blog www.brettaogburn.blogspot.com for some beautiful photograpy. She is such a gifted artist and her project of journaling through the year with photos is fabulous.