Hilary and Me in D.C.

Hilary Clinton made a surprise visit to the Gear Up conference I attended last week. She is a big supporter of the Gear Up legislation, and has helped get in funded over the last ten years. She was a very enthusiastic speaker, and you could tell she was a big supporter the Gear Up program.
I wasn't a supporter of Hilary's presidential campaign, but she was a very charismatic speaker, and I'm glad she supports Gear Up.
We also heard Nick Cannon, center, and his father, on the right, share at the Gear Up conference. Nick Cannon, for those of you who don't know him, is an entertainer who is also married to Mariah Carey. They shared about being a positive role model for young people, especially African American men in the United States.


Worshiping at the National Cathedral

Sunday was explore day. I didn't have to do anything until about 6 p.m., so I hopped on the trolley that drives you around D.C., and my first stop was the Washington National Cathedral.

It was breathtaking. I had never been to a cathedral before, and it was unbelievable.

When I went inside, the formal Holy Eucharist was just finishing in the nave. The Cathedral is an Episcopal cathedral, but the bulletin says it is a church for national purposes called to embody God's love and to welcome people of all faiths and none.

At 10 a.m., in St. Joseph's Chapel in the lower level or Crypt level of the cathedral, I attended the Contemporary Folk Eucharist. When I arrived, there was a man playing a guitar, and going over the songs that would be sung during the service. From this moment on, I knew I would be blessed.

The service opened up with the Presider saying, Blessed be the one, holy, and living God.

We responded with, Glory to God for ever and ever.

The opening hymn was "We Gather Together", a song my mother likes to sing as we gather together for Thanksgiving dinner.

An Episcopalian service is liturgical, and everything that is said and responded to is written down in a bulletin. The lesson was from Romans 8:12-25. The Reverand Canon Preston Hannibal, who presided over the service that morning, based The Discussion on this passage of scripture, particularly the verses that say:

For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? but if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

He share some thoughts on hope, then posed some questions about hope to those of us sitting there in that small chapel, and we listened as people shared about hope to a group of total strangers, but strangers who were part of a family of Believers in Christ.

One lady talked about living in Egypt a few years ago, and found she grew up and her hope and faith in Christ became stronger as she learned to live her Christianity in the mid east.

The man leading songs on the guitar shared about his journey with cancer and one of the ladies he met during his chemo treatments who reached out to other patients with her positive and hopeful outlook.

Another lady shared about her hope was in how Christ tranforms her life each day.

After everyone finished sharing who wanted to share, the Reverend challenged us to go out and share hope with those who have no hope. The homeless person asking for money. The unlovable person. He said it is easy to be a Christian inside the walls of the church, but when we really give hope to others is when we share that hope with those in the world around us.

I think God is really trying to tell me something. Because my pastor shared almost the exact same thing last weekend at our church.

After the message, I joined in taking communion, and it seemed especially moving to recite the Nicene Creed with all those other Christians in that room.

It was a joy to pray for the community, the church and the world with these other Believers. It was a joy to pray for George our President, and the leaders of other nations with these people.

The Communion Hymn seemed very appropriate after the message we heard on hope.

It is called "Breath of Life", and the first verse goes like this:

Breathe on me, Breath of God,

fill me with life anew,

that I may love what thou dost love,

and do what thou wouldst do.

Then we prayed together...

God of abundance, you have fed us with the bread of life and cup of salvation; you have united us with Christ and one another; and you have made us one with all your people in heaven and on earth. Now send us forth in the power of your Spirit, that we may proclaim your redeeming love to the world and continue for ever in the risen life of Christ. Amen

Then we closed with they hymn "Just A Closer Walk With Thee."

I love worshiping with people from other churches, places and faiths. I always get such a bigger picture of God's Kingdom here on earth, and what He is doing throughout the world.

What a blessing.

A side note, Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan are buried near this chapel in the cathedral.


The Dupont Circle Blues

After flying across the country, with an hour delay on the runway in Chicago, I arrived for another summer trip to Washington D.C.

I arrived in a bit of a heatwave here in the Nation's Capital. But I'm surviving. I arrived at my first hotel, the Hilton Embassy Suites, and checked in, and decided to figure out where I was, and where my other hotel is located that I am moving to on Sunday.

Here's the outside of the first hotel I was in on Saturday night. I headed out to find out how far it would be to get to the Washington Hilton Towers, the place I would be the rest of the week, and where my GEAR UP conference is being held.

It was only a couple blocks from Dupont Circle.

Dupont Circle is a cool, (as in hip) area, like a small city park. There is a fountain in the middle, and grassy areas with benches, and tables set up where men are playing chess. It was a cool (as in lower temperatures) place to sit on a warm Saturday evening. The hub threw me off a bit as I tried to navigate my way around the circle, but I eventually figured it out, and walked up the correct Connecticut Ave., and found the other hotel.

Then I came back to Dupont Circle, and sat and did some people watching.

The trouble was, Saturday was my 22nd wedding anniversary, and all I saw walking by were couples. There were young couples, old couples, gay couples, lesbian couples....couples, couples everywhere, and I, unfortunately, was not a couple that evening because my honey was back home in Kellogg. It really made my miss PKR. I so wish he could have been there with me, watching the people there in Dupont Circle.

Instead, it was just me, writing some lyrics to a new song...."The Dupont Circle Blues."


Summer is Keeping Me Hoppin'

I haven't been at my computer much this summer, because I'm busy with many things, and when I finally sit down, I'm too tired to get on the computer.

Right now I am directing and acting in the August production "Phantoms of the Melodrama" at the Sixth Street Melodrama theater in Wallace. We practice every night, Sunday through Thursday. Plus I am in charge of the box office and ticket sales for the July show, "Lookout Mullan", and that involves a lot of time as well.

Last weekend PKR's sister Laurie Roberts put on a concert here in Kellogg singing songs from her new CD. I helped a little bit putting that on, plus our family sang in it as well.

And I am actually getting outside to work in the yard this summer, which I absolutely LOVE!!! I love having fresh greens for my salad, and fresh tomatoes and herbs.

Plus, I leave on Saturday for a trip to Washington D.C. I can't believe I get to go again this summer. I have a conference for work. Some of my plans include going to church Sunday at the National Cathedral, going to the Zoo, and going to see "The Imaginary Invalid" performed at the Shakespeare Theater. This is another play by Moliere, who wrote "The Miser", that our whole family performed in last spring. It looks really good.

I'll have my camera again this summer, and post pictures of my trip.Well, better go shower and get ready to meet with a couple ladies from church, then go grocery shopping so the family has food to eat while I am gone.Just wanted you to know I'm still here.


Welcome To My Garden

This sign welcomes visitors to my lovely garden in my backyard. We have been busy this summer transforming once grass-filled areas into beautiful spots where vegetables, flowers, berries and herbs now grow. Come, join me, and I'll give you a tour.

The hot weather this past week really gave a jump start to the zucchini plants. There is also some radishes growing, and other surprises.

As I told you earlier, PKR transformed the boards from our old deck into beautiful rasied beds to grow vegetables. The tomatoes are looking good. I can't wait until they are rip and red and ready to eat.

Peas and string beans are growing in this box.

This salad bowl box is full of spinach, arugula, mescalin, leaf lettuce and Swiss Chard. There are also some gourd vines growing in there as well.

This fifth box was built after the spring planting, and will be prepared to grow good things next year.
A peony is waiting to bloom.

There are quite a few buds ready to burst forth. These flowers are not only beautiful, but very fragrant.

This is one of the new areas we cleaned up, transplanted flowers to, and added rocks and bark.

The lilies were transplanted from another area, and have already started to bloom.Sadie used to like to come eat all the grass in this flower bed. It is a little harder finding grass now that we have transformed this area.
I can't wait for the raspberries to start producing.
We inherited this baby bed spring with the flower bed when we moved here. These sweet pea flowers come up every year. They were purchased in Ireland, and planted here by my friend CC, the former owner of this house.

We had a lot of fun with this area..................

This is our wagon wheel herb garden we just finished planting.

The bricks came from the chimney of our former house. Each pie shape has different types of herbs in it, such as chives.

Most herbs have a specific meaning, and I'm going to share those meanings with you.

Chives means usefulness.
This section has different kinds of basil.

Basil means best wishes and friendship.

This section has lemon balm and lemon thyme. I hope to add more lemony flavors soon.

Lemon balm means sympathy and regeneration.
Here is an overview of the whole garden.

Lavender, one of my most favorite flowers, is the centerpiece of this garden.

Lavender means silence, recognition and acceptance of love.
The old kitchen sink also found a prominent place in our garden, and is filled with lots of color.

We moved this toilet out of the garage, and filled it with lots of color as well, using cosmos, zinnias and other pretty flowers to make it a useful planter.

This is the remains of the catnip I planted. It was a big, full, beautiful plant when I put it in the ground. It didn't last long with five "trippin'" cats living with us.

Here is marjoram and oregano.

Marjoram means sweet joy and happiness.

Here are two different kinds of sage.

Sage means Wisdom and long life.

Here is a summer savory plant, and some French tarragon.

Savory means Interest, and French Tarragon means lasting involvement.

Thyme fills this area.

Thyme means daring.

This pot holds spearmint. Mint is very invasive, so I plan to use pots placed in this area to grow mint.

Mint means wisdom.

I want to purchase some other varieties of mint to add to this area.

I have a few other herbs I would like to add, such as parsley, cilantro and rosemary. Hopefully I'll find some to add soon.

Here is another view of the flowerbed.


Happy 45th Birthday To Me

It is almost the end of my 45th birthday.

What a wonderful day it has been.

I spent the morning at Kellogg Middle School with 12 6th graders who are attending summer school, and we celebrated my birthday with Key Lime Pie, Lemon Merangue pie, and Chocolate Cream Pie. Then PKR and my mom showed up, and PKR brought his guitar in and sang me a song.

Then I came home and got in a little nap.

I got a call from Raymond Pert.

Inland Empire Girl sent me a card last week with a Starbucks Gift Card, and also sent me a hilarious Hallmark E Card.

Mom came for a bbq, then my friends AM and MP came to wish me a happy birthday.

AM gave me a CD that she she made last year with the blue grass band she was in, called Red Wing. She plays the bass.

MG promised me a jar of rhubarb jam. Yum! Yum!

My mom gave me some old 45 records and 35 LP's and some old sheet music she thought would look great framed and put down in our family room in the basement.

My family gave me an MP3 player, and a $50 ITunes gift card.

My friend SD, who has a wonderful eye for pottery, gave me a beautiful blue pottery bowl.

What a wonderful way to celebrate my 45th birthday.

So, anyone out there have some suggestions of tunes I could purchase with my ITunes card to put on my new MP3 player.

I'd love some suggestions.