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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Parable as 2007 Approaches

Has been 'one of those years' for you? It has been for me.

Several ups: The blossoming relationship with C that began as a game of cyberspace tag; the introduction of Happening! to the Diocese of New York; being assigned by Bishop Sisk officially to the Geranium Farm and working as its deacon; going to General Convention; some improvements to the house; becoming a writer.

Several downs: the deteriorating work environment at the UN; lightening; a car accident; pneumonia; several painful lower back incidents; having a falling out with a friend; IRS scrutiny; inability to do the massage work I love due to lack of physical stamina; exhaustion of vacation time and full paid sick leave; training others to be thorough at work in spite of not having a raise or promotion in 13 years; leaving St. Bartholomew's in White Plains and some parishioners I love dearly; the death of a friend; beginning to physically experience the fallout in my lungs from working at Ground Zero.

My body, my spirit, my faith, my vocation.... my 'metal' has been tested. There have been dark days when I wondered what the point of it all was.

I offer this unvarnished look so that you see that simply because one is ordained, no one is immune to doubt or fear or grey days. If you have had "one of those years", think about the outlook of Anne Shirley (in Anne of Green Gables by L.B.Montgomery) "....tomorrow is a new day without a mistake in it".

God has a way of sending things our way when we need it - as long as we condition our eyes to notice ..... this piece comes from the prolific Ms. Debbie, originally via Ms. Amy Payne. Thank you, Ms. Amy for passing it toward this direction and Debbie for passing it to me in order to share it with you.

Remember..... 2007 is a new year with no mistakes in it! Read the tale below and ponder your choices. Happy reading and meditating!

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee ... (you may never look at a cup of coffee the same way again!)

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see.""Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed that the egg was hard boiled. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich flavor. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?"

Think of this (especially in terms of the new upcoming year): Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?..... OR I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity?

Are you (or in the past, have you been) a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

In 2007: May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgiven past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

So let it go.... and set your sights toward 2007..... the year when Jesus gives you that grace to transform into a coffee bean....... or some tea leaves, if you prefer!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Birth of Hope: Lyrics, Part II

These lyrics reflected the amazing thing that happened to my friends, but also something that stirred
within me at that time. I don't recall having close friends who had had babies and Gregory was the first I held in a long time.

It brought back for me - not ever having been a mother - a kind of quiet fulfilment of a longing deep within me that I had never been aware of.

Even reflecting back now... nearly 20 years after having written this, I can recall embracing the longing and hoping that God would somehow embrace me.

It happened. The birth of Hope came again.... not as fuzzy St. Nick or a merchandising blitz.... I began to hope and see hope. That lovely child in unassuming surroundings somehow recaptured my imagination and certainly recaptured my heart.

As mentioned in the music section, you may use this by just putting in the credit for me and the Farm.
Posted by PicasaCopyright © 2006 K.L.Joanna Depue and Deacon J on

The Birth of Hope: music: Part I

This is a Christmas song I wrote in 1987 upon the
birth of Gregory Soyk, first-born son of my friends
Arthur and Donna Soyk. We was born around
Christmas and this tune just came to me.

UNFORTUNATELY, until Santa comes up and
gives me a program to write and notate music
electronically, you folks get a scanned copy of
the original piece. This is the music file, the
lyrics are below.

As always, you know you can use this piece of music w/ lyrics, just give credit to me and the Farm.

Copyright © 2006 K.L.Joanna Depue and Deacon J on
Posted by Picasa

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