Sunday, August 31, 2008


So I typically stick with theology, and more often biblical interpretation, but if I am on the "christian" side of the bookstore, I never pick up novels and certainly not fiction ones.


This book came recommended to me by a friend, my pastor, and my parents. It's been on the National Bestseller list. It'll probably make it on Oprah if it hasn't already. Parts of it were spoiled for me which is what led me to want to actually read it. I will refrain from doing that to you. Hopefully my recommendation will be enough.

You MUST READ this book.

It is a biography (technically) about what happened one weekend to a man in Oregon. But some people will say its not true.

Many actually.

But either way, the profundity of the novel will affect you nonetheless.

While it is not a literary genius, it is insightful beyond measure and it a beautiful depiction of... well... there I go again almost spoiling it.

Check it out at your local library and then after you read it, if you're anything like me, you'll have to then go buy it so you can mark it up and reread it.

Conceptually it is that good.

It will draw you out of yourself and into something bigger, something you could never put a finger on but knew to be true, something you could never articulate but always felt it on the tip of your tongue. It will draw you into its sacred space and return you changed.

Even if you don't ascribe to a higher power, you will probably find this book interesting (if you can make it through the disturbing plot line), and will probably be stretched as well.

As I read a borrowed copy last week, tomorrow I plan to head to BookPeople to buy my own copy for a second perusal. Check it out yourself...

The Shack By William P. Young

Friday, August 29, 2008


Wow. After three nights of watching the Democratic National Convention, I actually feel a little inspired and not so panicky.

I'm an anxious person. This is nothing new. One of my best friends in High School used to call me Annxiety. So when I think about America and the world today, I freak out a little.

I'm terrified that Georgia is going to shoot us spiraling into WWIII, I'm worried about where I'll move up north when global warming finally makes Texas heat unbearable. I'm nervous about crime with more and more people out of jobs and needing income from whatever source available. I'm struck by the poverty of where I currently live, the teen pregnancies, the drop-outs, the hookers on the corner and the people in wheelchairs at the stoplights. I remember working at Johnston High and I wonder where we'll be in ten years with the education system we have in America right now. I'm fearful of the gap between the rich and poor. I'm even afraid of losing my job and not having health care and then losing my house even though I know I'm not going to lose my job, but, you know, while we're worrying and everything, "what if..."

And I feel so helpless.

I don't even know how to help my immediate neighbors, let alone my country.

And I generally avoid getting too invested in politics because i worry about rhetoric and how deceitful it can be (i know, i know, i'm a preacher...). But I feel I'm never getting the full story and never know who to trust on the news. And how can we even trust the politicians themselves when they speak because it seems like there are always lies and cover-ups and stuff the public just can't know about?

But, being with my boyfriend who loves politics, I spent many hours watching the DNC this week. Whereas I'd probably just have caught Hillary, Bill, Al and Obama, if I were on my own, I found myself listening to many more - several soldiers, "common people," politicians, wives... it was interesting hearing their stories. Admittedly, while I have had reservations about Obama in the past (for many of the normal reasons), when I heard him speak and actually detail a bit about where he intends to go with his presidency, I actually began to believe him.

I believe him. And I believe in him.

And while I am still startled and scared about the statistics of our nation and world, maybe, just maybe, this is a step in the right direction. Maybe with Obama at the helm and all of us paddling at the stern we can do something. Or are we at the helm and Obama at the stern. Hmm. I know less about boating than I do about politics. But you get the idea.

It will be nice to have a leader we can look up to, and look over at, as we work out together what it looks like to live in this world today...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Letter

Dear Hillary,

Hooray! I love you. Great job. You truly are a great leader worthy of all women's respect and awe. Thank you for paving the way.

I voted for Hillary the first time, but I'll be voting for Obama to be my president in November! I can't wait!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Diaries of Adam & Eve

So I'm in play that Trinity Street Players (FBC's Theatre Troop) has produced. It's based on short stories by Mark Twain and is of course delightful. Titled, the Diaries of Adam and Eve, I play Eve :) I remember when my dad directed this play probably ten years ago. It's a great show and we're really proud of it. Already Thursday (and I think Friday) are sold out. So if you're in Austin, call 476-2625 to reserve your tickets for this Saturday at 8pm or Sunday at 2:30!

Directed by Dick Westerburg. David McCullars playing Adam. Other guest performances by Grant Hudson, Linda Miller Raff, Anna Taylor, Josh Houston and Jonathan Slocum.

PS - I don't know WHY the arm and the apple are blue. Something's wrong with my computer...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Number 467

This is my 467th blog post (minus one or two that I deleted or never posted). And the revelation of the week is... my parents are mortal.

I have come to terms with the fact that young people, sometimes even my friends, die and will someday die. Just this week at church, our community buried a 31 year old man.

I recognize that I will lose my pets, those companions who are my day in and day out family as a single young woman living 14 hours away from my closest relative.

But now I am wrestling with the fact... the fact... that I will someday lose my parents.

My father had a heart attack. Tuesday night the ER doctors put in a stint to open up the 99% blockage they found, and are currently assessing the damage done to the heart. Dr. Pittman, my younger sister, helps me understand it all.

My mom and dad were supposed to fly to visit me next Thursday. I'm in a play at church and they were going to come see it and see me and Austin. With the exception of one day after a wedding I attended in Missouri, I haven't seen my dad since Christmas and he hasn't been to visit Austin since last year. My mom makes it down more often, but even her I haven't seen since March. Needless to say, I'm sad. I'm sad because my dad is sick. I'm sad because my mom is stressed. I'm sad because my sisters and I are scared.

It's not that he had a heart attack. It's not the fact that he'll be missing me in a performance for the first time in 30 years, it's the realization that it won't always be the same. My mom and dad won't always be around to call up or brag to or joke with or miss terribly or buy presents for or vent to or reminisce with or be encouraged by...

On a cognitive level, I understand and accept this. But, emotionally, I am not ready. I am not ready to let go of my two best friends who have been by my side for 30 years, two months and 27 days.

Fortunately, I don't have to be. My dad is still with us, he's feeling good(ish), so they tell me, and we probably have many more years of memory making to do. (Insert prayer).

So while I'm sad, I remain thankful. And I do everything I can to distract myself from thinking about this new revelation and how scared and sad my dad must feel too. I go over to Cinda and David's (whose jobs are flexible enough to entertain their friend for an afternoon), I spend the night at the Nethercuts so it's feels like I'm with family. I clean the house to allow my subconscious to exert some sort of control over something, I invite people over to play cards and games, I even go to rehearsal though the last thing I want to do is think about a play...

And now, for the first time since I heard about what happened Tuesday night, I'm alone and it sucks. While I would love to put it eloquently and less vulgarly (hell, i don't even know if that's a word), I don't have it in me to write bravely and with inspiration.

It sucks.

It sucks.

And I hate it. There, I said it. I hate it. Just in case I haven't said it before, I hate it. I hate death and disease and illness and sin. I hate it all. That's why I don't watch the news, that's why I don't take the paper, that's why I don't go see scary movies. I hate it. I hate murder and rape and war and hatred and poverty and disease and all the sad sad things in the world that I, we, can't control.

I like life so much. I love life so much that when it is sad or corrupt, it hurts so bad.

And I'm hurting right now. And my dad is hurting and my mom is hurting and my sisters are hurting. And unfortunately, we're not the only ones.

(Although I might be the only one awake at 1:32 in the morning).

My peace I bring to you.
My peace I give you.
Peace, peace, please bring peace.
This is my prayer.
This is my prayer.


Monday, August 11, 2008

What No One Ever Told Me... Cause No One Remembers

"I was baptized as an infant?!"

The first words out of my mouth when I called my mom on her cell at 10:30pm two nights ago.

After pulling up carpet in my back bedroom and putting down laminate floors, everything I had removed from the bedroom had to go back in. That's when I discovered the baptismal certificate pasted into the "religious events" page of my baby album which I had found and had been flipping through.

"I don't remember that..." my mom said, waking up and probably trying to discern why the hell I was calling to tell her this an hour and a half into her night's sleep.

"Well there's a certificate in my baby book that says otherwise," I informed her, indignant. "It has a minister's name and my name and the date. And it's glued in my baby book!"

Now, it should be noted that I have no problem with infant baptism. It is not a practice of my denomination, nor is it my preference for the baptism of a believer, but I understand what it symbolizes theologically and respect the tradition. But I'm also a baptist minister and I feel that knowing whether or not i was baptized as an infant and then re-baptized as a nine year old is fairly critical to my identity. I mean, this is my story, my life story, my story with God...

Everything I believed and knew to be true was now marked a lie! How could no one have told me this?!

Okay, i'm being melodramatic. But it was shocking and a little unnerving to say the least.

"Mike, do you remember that?" My mother inquired of my father who was now awake.
"You'd think a mother would remember her baby being baptized. I don't think it happened, Ann."
"Well, it's from Huffman United Methodist Church and I'm looking at the certificate with my name on it right now," I began to read the entire certificate over the phone.
"I'll ask Grandma tomorrow," Mother said. "Goodnight."

Huffman is my grandparents church. My parents began attending Wyatt Park Baptist when I was two (so they recalled). I'm not sure where they went before that...

Grandma doesn't think it happened either. Mom called me back the next day. And surely if your parents can't remember your grandparents would. Right?

So it's a mystery. Or a joke. Or just a really strange discovery.

But there's a baptismal certificate pasted into my baby book commemorating a day that apparently never happened, a covenant that never occurred.

And so the choice I made nine years later, confessing to my pastor that I loved God and wanted to be with God forever, stands. And the water that washed over me as I submerged, dying to myself and was then raised from, resurrected into a new life with Jesus Christ remains the most special and significant water I will ever enter. And though the Hydrogen and Oxygen compound is at it's most basic description just elements and numbers, it is a memory that is charged with symbolism, tradition and yes, something even magical. I left that pool of water changed - lighter, freer and even my nine-year-old heart and mind knew it.

The faith of a child... No wonder Jesus always said let the children come to me...

Thanks be to God.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Now let's see... why would i have been awakened at 7am this morning (having been awakened just two hours earlier for the same reason).

Oh that's right, my cat, Potter who wakes me up EVERY morning.

Except this morning when i went to push him away i discovered he was covered in tar.

Oh. My. God.

I remember that book Briar Rabbit from when I was a child. My grandma had it at her house and I used to like reading it every time i went over. I remember feelings of good and evil, right and wrong attached to that book. I'll have to reread it now as an adult to rediscover what was so compelling in it.

But not now. Now I have to get this oily tar-ry crap off my cat.

I tried baby wipes. I wiped and wiped and wiped and filled up the bathroom trash can.

I called the vet.

Um... yeah... hi. This is Ann Pittman calling about my cat, Potter, he seems to have gotten in some... um... tar. Can you help me?

They returned the call when their office opened and had two suggestions: shave the cat and vegetable oil. I chose the latter. Actually the nurse chose the latter. Since the tar was primary on Potter's head, neck and paws, shaving would prove difficult (head and paws). So she suggested soaking him in vegetable oil and then cleaning him with soap and water.


Potter's never had a bath.

It was awful.

Fortunately, he liked the baby wipes, he didn't even seem to mind the vegetable oil. He purred and swooned and must have thought he was at the spa until i turned on the faucet and tried to dunk him under it.

For not having front claws, I sure am bleeding a lot.

The dog started barking, Zorba took off in fear; the noises coming out of Potter about gave me a fright. So i called in the troops. Johnson was at my house by now (he's putting in a new floor in my back room) and together we attempted the impossible.

Operation Wash Potter.

It was a sad but necessary process and I left him in the bathroom to tend to his "wounds" (wet fur). I cleaned up my wounds (literal) and washed my beautiful, white, soft, 30-year-old-birthday-present sheets twice to get the tar off them from where Potter had initially pounced.

And I tried to go back to bed... on the couch... with a spare blanket. But nothing came of it.

It's going to be one of those days.