on work

Choose a job that you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

This is supposed to be inspiring, I guess, but it leaves me cold.  Because you know what? Every job has some part of it that is work, that is a slog we trudge through to get back to the fun parts.  And different people find different parts of the job to be work.  This musician may love to spend hours practicing but dread performing, and this teacher may love reading and grading essays but loathe math tests, and this software engineer may adore planning and designing and architecting but be almost completely unable to actually build the product.

So I call shenanigans.  Choose a job that you’re passionate about, with people who are supportive and fun, and help each other with the parts that are work.  Yeah, you’ll have to work.  Everybody has to work.  It’s part of the human condition. But you may be lucky enough to trade “works” with that strange coworker who loves math tests but hates grading essays.

probably not teh awsum skwad

We use Google Hangouts at work a lot.  With employees and partners working around the world – and with all of us being geeks – real-time chat is essential.  Even cooler, Hangouts keeps the history of all your chats, and you can even give a name to your Hangout and use it later.

The CTO of my company divided our technical department into three teams, hiring one manager and promoting two (including me – squee!).  The three of us, plus our Project Manager, started up a Hangout.  We used it a lot, sometimes for questions, sometimes for quick confirmations, sometimes for venting.

Eventually I said, “We really need to name this hangout.  Probably not Teh Awsum Skwad.”  Then I saw the message that said the Hangout had been renamed.  As you might expect, the Development Manager named the hangout “Probably Not Teh Awsum Skwad.”

Now, I use PNTAS all over the place.  It shows up in my calendar, on my timesheets, even in conversation (the way you’d say “pentas,” as in the plural of the prefix penta-).  Every time I write or type or say PNTAS, it makes me smile.  Because truly, we’re probably not Teh Awsum Skwad, but we sure are working our asses off to get there!

an open letter on the sixth anniversary of my marriage

My dearest beloved,

Happy anniversary! I know that neither the traditional nor the “modern” gifts are words, but I expect that love is appropriate for any wedding anniversary.

We first “met” online, more than 17 years ago, in a community of Anglicans and Episcopalians from around the world.  In that online community we both found a place of safety, support, and encouragement.  Because we were surrounded by Christ’s love, shining through so many, we were able to become vulnerable, to reveal our brokenness.  We prayed for each other and supported each other during the darkest times of our lives.  Your prayers, with those of many others, sustained me through depression after depression, through 27 months of getting the meds right, through an abusive marriage, through pain and joy and everything in between.

When I started my first blog, you were there, reading and leaving encouraging comments for me.  You took part in our silly blog of horrible haiku.  You called me super-cool when you learned I love Pearls Before Swine.  I followed your work, as you played organ in one church and then another.  When you posted the music you’d written on your website, I was proud for you and wished I could hear them sung.

Even from 700 miles away, I knew you as stalwart, loyal, funny, sweet, faithful, anxious, supportive, compassionate.  You remain all of these today, rich of character and deep in spirit.  Your faith inspires and challenges me. Your love makes me want to be more and better than I am.  I struggle to imagine life without you, who have been my friend, my husband, my wife.

And so I say to you again those perilous words: I love you.  As I said years ago, I love your creativity, your compositions, your sensitivity and compassion.  I love your willingness to be vulnerable.  I love it when you get odd little references I make.  I love your spirit, your determination, your patience.  I love that you listen to me.  I love that you understand me a lot better than anyone else in my life.

Thank you for everything you are and everything you do.  And happy anniversary, beloved.  May the God who entrusted us to each other’s care bless us with many, many more.

With all my heart,
Your Heather

a prayer for 2015 and beyond

The prayer below is an excerpt from A Prayer for 2014, which was composed for the 60th anniversary celebration of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd this past October.  It is not credited to any individuals, so I offer credit to the National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd United States.

God of Sacred History,
May we who hear and recognize your voice
Find nourishment at your table,
Rejoice at your return, and
Look forward to the time
When there will be one flock with one Shepherd.


on aphrodisiacal hazelnuts and God’s love

Fact or Crap calendarLast Christmas, I received as a gift the 2014 Fact or Crap daily calendar.  We enjoyed it in the office almost until summer, when it began to languish for a number of days between being checked.  In July I pulled off a whole bunch of pages at once, and came across this one:

People of the Middle Ages believed that the hazelnut was a powerful aphrodisiac.

I figured “Fact” and then turned the page over to read it.   Read the rest of this entry

on mystery

Children of God are stewards of mystery. We dwell gently with it, not so much to search for answers, but to be transformed by the questions that open onto eternity. We embrace a lifelong movement from immersion in the opaque mystifications of the world to immersion in the luminous path of God’s reign.

From “Editor’s Introduction,” Weavings: A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life, Vol. XXI, No. 1 (Jan/Feb 2006), (Nashville, TN: The Upper Room, 2006), 2.

on being reasonable

Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world.
Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves.
All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.

– George Bernard Shaw


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