Phoebe The Out-of-Place Polar Bear

Attention readers: I am starting on a new creative project. I am going to create an original story book for my nephew and niece.

At our last Convention of my Diocese I bought myself a cute little stuffed polar bear. The price was right and I think she is cute.

Her name is Phoebe; her namesake is named after the woman in Scripture who was called ” deacon”.

Note that I said ” DEACON”, not ” DEACONESS”.

This is Phoebe:

phoebe thecla

As I go to different points of interest around the City of Pensacola and surrounding three-county area, I will snap photos of Phoebe visiting these places. She’s already been to the docks in Destin , she rode with us when Best Dude and I did some errands.

Phoebe was going to go to Mass with me this morning, but the rainy weather factored in my choice to leave her at home for today.

I look forward to this new endeavor with joyful anticipation and my goal is to have this book finished by Christmas time. We shall see if I can make my deadline.




“Wonder Women”

March is Women’s History   {or should I say HERstory} month.

I am grateful for all the women who have gone before me.

Women who fought for voting rights. Every time I go to the polling place to vote, I am reminded that, for a long time, people of my gender were not afforded the right to participate in the democratic process. I do not take my right to vote for granted.

Women who were among the first in their classes of medical school.

Scholars who were the first in their fields to contribute to science.

Brave women who joined men as equals in all branches of our Armed Forces.

Women who take on the ” boys’ club “that is the US political scene.

And, a big one for my life, women clergy. The first women were ordained to the Epsicopal priesthood in July of 1976. Since I was born in May of that year, this holds special significance to me.

I am blessed with many ” wonder women ” in my life. These ladies encorage and challenge me daily to be the best Sarah Beth I can be.

I am, however, mindful of my white, straight, cis-gender privlege. It is easy to fall into the trap of being a ” white feminist” when one has benefited from a system of white, straight, cis-gender privlege.

I’ve never had anyone question my gender, since I express myself as a traditionally ” feminine” person.  In public, I can safely use the restrooms assigned to the gender to which I identify.

As a straight women, I enjoy privlege of being partnered with a man. No one ever told me, or will tell me, that Best Dude and I cannot be recognized as a couple.

Since I am  {very}  White, I do benefit from racism.

March is Women’s History  {HERstory?} month, and we should celebrate the accomplishments of all women. 

Namaste y’all.


Midlife : Part One

At church, I am part of a committee that is planning the annual Women’s Retreat. Out theme for the weekend is ” Transitions”. It has been fun exploring this universal human experiences with the four other women on this subcommittee.

At the age of almost 42 years old, I am in midlife.

I am learning that midlife is full of transitions. Two main midlife transitions come to mind: physical and mental.

The physical changes that come with growing older are hard for me. For instance, when the weather is bad  such as today} every sports injury acquired in high school comes back to haunt me. While my mind may have forgotten getting hurt during a JV basketball game in tenth grade, my knees remind me with every creak and ache.

Perimenopause is not easy either. Waking with sweaty pajamas every morning is annoying and gross. No matter what the temperature reads when I go to sleep — I’ll wake up drenched in sweat. As a result of the night sweats, I am washing more laundry than I ever have in my adult life. Thankfully Best Dude is understanding, but I hate waking every morning feeling stinky and sweaty. . 

My hair is also much more dry than it was when I was younger. As a result, the ends of my hair split and break sooner and more often and I have not been able to grow my hair much longer than my shoulders. As much as I want long hair that I can braid into a cool ” fishtail braid” my hair  has other ideas.

Staying up late at night is not an easy task for me. When I was in my 20’s , staying up past midnight was no big deal. Lately, I find myself wanting to be in bed much earlier. My body needs more rest— so even if my mind is active, my body tires much earlier.

Getting older can suck. But it is better than the alternative.


Turning Tables: John 2:13-22 {Lent 3 2018}

I know I am odd, but the story of Jesus turning the tables over  and driving away the moneychangers in the temple is one of my favorite stories.

It shows a very human side of Our Lord.

Unlike the other three ” synoptic” Gospels, the Gospel of John is known as a more ” spiritual” version of the life and times of Jesus. details that are not found in any other Gospel accounts are often found in John’s Gospel.

Back to Jesus and the moneychangers. Let’s look at the text from this week’s lesson:

Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers doing business. 15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. 16

And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” 17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.” 18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” 19 Jesus answered and said to them,

“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.

Jesus clearly explains to the crowd why He is angry  He says: Take these things away. Do not make My Father’s House a house of merchandise!” 

I often wonder what the crowds thought when they witnessed this incident. After all, here is a rabbi from another place coming into their Temple, making a mess, and yelling. I cannot imagine that the merchants and the priests were very happy with Jesus’ behavior : He was ” disturbing the peace” in the most inappropriate way.

Yet I understand how a very human , God-loving Jesus could feel angry enough to literally turn the tables over.

In Matthew’s Gospel, the story goes like this:

“Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 1″It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.'”  {Matthew 21:12-13}

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus’ words are a lot more inflammatory. He compares the merchants in the temple to a den of robbers. 

No doubt about it, Jesus is not happy with the situation in the temple , and He is not afraid to speak the truth.

We know that Jesus’ speaking the truth is one of many actions that lead Him to Calvary, yet His public ministry is full of actions taken that defy the norms of His society. He saw wrongdoing, and He called out the temple leaders on their behavior.

But what does this story mean for we 21st  century Christians? For me, this story reminds me that in order to truly be disciples of Jesus, we are supposed to emulate Him as close as possible by our own life.

There are ” moneychangers” everywhere we look in our own world. Jesus calls us to be that prophetic voice: to call out those who abuse power, or seek to profit from unscrupulous legislature.

Christ is depending on us to follow Him into the world and turn some tables. We are called to do our best to set right that which is wrong in 21st Century America. Last week , during our Convention in my Diocese, our Bishop challenged us to ” Be the Church” .  Part of ” being Church” is truth-telling.

Bishop Russell Kendrick, of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast said this during his address last Thursday evening:

” And then there is all the hatred, mistrust, and anger. Language that would have made my Mama wash my mouth out with soap has been legitimized by the most respected figures in our culture. And too, the 5 deadliest mass shootings in history have occurred in the last 10 months. ”

My bishop then goes on to tell us that Being Church is more than sitting in pews on Sundays. Being Church means getting out there to witness to the Gospel by our actions. 

Bishop Kendrick says :

“The work of being an advocate begins in the spirit of truth. Such a spirit is at the heart of the prophetic tradition of our story. The prophets were something like God’s check and balance against the institutional powers of their time. They told the truth that was not easy to tell. ”

Jesus, in His actions and words in this story, is telling a truth. He is advocating for what is right, and advocating against a system where people make money from the faithful Jews coming to worship at that holy place.

O God, of justice , please show me what you will have me do to live out Your Gospel by being an advocate. You sent us Jesus, One who live in a Way that brings humanity closer to you. Thank You for sending Your Son, our Lord and our Brother. In the Name of the Three-in-One, Amen. 


Lent 3 2018



I really hate politics.

In spite of my hatred for politics as they are in, I found myself  with a friend from my parish, on a bus to Tallahassee at 3 AM  Central Time . The purpose of this bus trip was to march to the State Capitol and sit in on a legislative hearing regarding upcoming bills regarding SENSIBLE gun laws in Florida.

Approximately 500 voters and future voters descended upon the Capitol from all corners of Florida on Monday morning. Many have come from even further than the Panhandle, we ate breakfast with two women who journeyed all the way from Key West to make their voices heard .


Dressed in our ugly orange shirts, we marched from the Civic Center at FSU to the steps of the State Capitol, where we heard speakers, including students from the Parkland high school.


{ At this point I was totally grateful that I’d brought my tough rain coat as my shoes, along with everyone else’s footwear, was soaked}

We went to our esteemed State Senator’s office to tell him our views on the need for an assault rifle ban and were met by his aide. Honestly, I do not know how these people sleep at night as this guy ; he did not answer ANY of our questions regarding our state senator’s views on assault rifles. To add insult to injury, just as we were leaving, State Senator shows up– some of our Northwest Florida contingency  tried to catch him and the dude literally runs away from us. 

After lunch we returned to the Capitol to sit in on a legislative hearing regarding bills that might come before the entire legislature. In spite of some heartbreaking testimony from members of the Rally To Tally contingency , the committee voted to not let the proposed bill banning assault rifles advance to the floor for a vote.

Today we learn of yet another shooting, this time on a college campus in Michigan. On this same day, the Florida House and Senate voted to have public school employees carry loaded firearms to school.

I think Jesus would weep if He was here now.

Yet I refuse to give up or to ” let it go” . While I am not Blessed with children of my own, I AM an Auntie to tow fabulous small humans. For their sake, and for the sake of the Gospel, I cannot and shall not back down regarding the matter of safe and responsible gun ownership in Florida.



To BE Church is to BE Active and Engaged

As many people know, Best Dude and I returned from Convention yesterday afternoon. To be honest, I am still processing everything that occurred  in Destin, FL this past Thursday through Saturday.

The theme of this Year’s Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of The Central Gulf Coast was Being Church. As part of living out this theme, we packed food to be given away to organizations that feed hungry people in our Diocese.

Even our Bishop got involved .

Check out the photo:


During her sermon today, my rector said ” Being the Church is more than words.”

Amen, Amen, a thousand times AMEN!

Words alone will not suffice. Worship alone, even the Sacraments, is not enough to live fully alive and like Jesus, our Rabbi and LORD. Jesus went out into His community and served others, oftentimes others whom ” polite society” viewed with scorn . As Jesus’ followers, we are called to do likewise. Scripture is full of stories of Jesus hanging out with those  in His society, were the ” outcasts”.

Jesus did not hang out with the ” in crowd” .

To BE is an ACTION verb. 

” Being Church” requires much more than going to Mass weekly. Our Sacraments equip us to go into our neighborhoods and serve others in Christ’s Name. Our faith compels us to see the face of our LORD and rabbi, Jesus Christ, in all persons. Being church requires that we, in the Name of Christ, engage with our communities.

I am blessed to be a part of a congregation that does engage with others. From our relationship with a neighboring elementary school across the street from the church property to an ongoing, long-term relationship with the people of a small village in Haiti, we are ” Being Church” As a matter of fact, one reason Best Dude and I chose our current parish when we moved to town is the engagement with others that is done daily by our members. My servant’s heart is full when I come home from engagement, in the Name of Christ, with our community .

Second Sunday of Lent, 2018


#DioCgc18 Recap: Four Questions

Best Dude and I just returned home from the Annual Convention of The Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast

During this morning’s business session, our Bishop asked those in attendance to ponder these four questions.

Here are my responses:

When/how have you been inspired to Be The Church this Convention? 

I have to brag a bit on my congregation. We do a ” pretty good job” of Being The Church in Pensacola, Escambia County, FL, our Diocese , and in the world.  Of course , there is always room to serve others in our literal neighborhood, and I look forward to seeing what else God has in store for my parish.

I am also encouraged to stand up for oppressed people after pondering what it means to ” be Church”  Inspired by high school students all over my state, I am more dedication to being a person of action regarding safety for all persons. As a matter of fact, I am attending a Rally to Tally Monday. We leave really early  on Monday { I need to meet the bus at 3:AM { yup!!!!}. But it will be worth the icky, early morning bus trek to witness my faith-in-action at 9 AM E.S.T. on the steps of the State Capitol.

The verb  TO BE is an action.

When/how have you been confronted or challenged? 

I realized that I need to be pro-active in writing a resolution for #Diocgc19 regarding gender-based harassment and violence. Along with the #ChurchToo stories I’ve heard from women { both lay leaders and clergy} I’ve had my own instances regarding gender-based harassment. This needs to be addressed, and policies put in place, so that all Church leaders feel safe and validated.

All people deserve to feel safe from harassment. Women, especially have been victims of gender-based violence and harassment throughout this history of humanity

What will you tell your church about Convention? 

Since I was not a voting delegate, I don’t think I’ll have a formal opportunity to tell parishioners what happened at Convention. But for me, the ” closest moment to Christ” was when we had the food-packing event in the afternoon. I hope this trend of doing large scale service projects every year at Convention will become a tradition.

What is one was that you might be an advocate for the Gospel? 

I’ll continue to preach the Gospel wordlessly by doing my part to ensure that all Americans, Floridians, and Pensacolians can be the best, most authentic selves. These past few mons have been showing me that I can live as my most authentic self, and that I am loved by God and others just as I am. I am grateful for those in my life whose actions proclaim the Gospel, the ” Good News” and I shall continue to learn from them how to best carry Christ into the world.

In the Name of the Triune God,



And still, the tulips bloom

I don’t see a lot of hope in society right now, and have not since Ash Wednesday. Human sinfulness exhibited itself in Parkland Florida, costing the lives of 17 teenagers.

As Parkland, Florida has a week of funerals for students, I struggle with what to pray– what to say. Words do not suffice, and right now there is little action that I can take to make the world safe for all people— especially children.

This gig of “being human” really sucks at times like these. I’d rather be a well-loved dog.

Life as a sensitive human is almost unbearable.

I feel so helpless. Although I did call my Congressperson regarding assault weapons, I know my complaints will fall on uncaring ears. November seems to be too far away– and the gun lobby owns all of our politicians, so a change of elected personnel is a moot point.

Yet today I was reminded that we Christians are ” Easter People” .

Best Dude’s tulips started to bloom. This morning, when I walked out into the front yard, I was greeted by a burst of color in Best Dude’s flower pots. Check it out:

After a long, long COLD Gulf Coast winter, spring is coming. While it is true that lent is 40 days of wilderness wandering, we postmodern Christians know ” the rest of the story”. Spring, new life, new growth, always follows winter. As followers of Christ. we have hope in His resurrection, and in our own.

We are ” Easter People”

Thanks be to God.

In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost




Discipleship: Week One

My Sunday School group is reading ++Rowan Williams’ book _Being Disciples_ for our Lenten study discipline. Today was our first meeting in this series, and there is much ” food for thought” from the former Archbishop of Canterbury.

Chapter One deals with defining the word disciple. as one who is an active , committed learner. 

++Williams says that a true disciple will remain alert, watching for both the literal and symbolic acts , as well as listening for instruction. He says that a disciple is someone who follows . 

As someone who tries her very best to be an active, committed learner and doer of the teachings of Jesus, I seek to discover what it is that Jesus is saying to me in the here and now. I do my best to be aware of what Christ may be giving me, showing me, or teaching me with every person I meet.

This is hard, especially in today’s polarized American political scene.

I am , as a disciple of Christ Jesus, to ask myself: What would Jesus have ME do? Furthermore,  I am called to  ACT on what Jesus asks of me.

Regarding the horrible school shooting that occurred on Ash Wednesday: many of our national leaders are calling for prayer. As a disciple of Jesus, prayer is part of what He teaches us to do. yet prayer should, for we Christians, lead to tangible action.

Prayer is important. yet prayer with no action to live as a disciple of Jesus is pointless. Disciples are supposed to do our best to emulate our Lord .

As disciples: we are to ask ourselves ” What would Jesus do?” And then, we are to Go And Do Likewise.

In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost….




Transitions=Pain, But Pain=Growth

I am serving on a Planning Committee for my parish’s annual Women’s Retreat at church. Additionally, I am on the subcommittee that is charged with planning the ” program” segment of the weekend. As ” homework” my rector has all of us on this subcommittee reading the book _Finding Yourself In Transition_ by Robert Brumet. , which is a book about the dynamics of change in life.

Brumet is a Unity Pastor  , and the back cover of the book says that he will explore psychology Eastern and Western mysticism, Scripture and a bit of personal history.

He quotes the poet Kahlil Gibran : ” Pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” 

Transitions are NOT easy. As I am finding out– even positive, healthy transitions are not without some pain.  My move to Pensacola is a positive move, and one that both Best Dude and I made willingly. Our move was voluntary, and even though we are happy and content in Pensacola, this transition is not without its own pain.

On a practical level, Best Dude and I are still finding space in our smaller home for all our ” stuff” . We’d downsized by design, and while we DO NOT regret that choice, the transition has been stressful. We still have boxes that are strategically placed in our house as to keep them out-of-the-way from foot traffic. Our bedroom has one tiny closet, so my clothes now stay in the closet in the middle bedroom { which also functions as my studio/office}

Awkward. I sleep in one room and dress in another one. We’ve lived in our house in town for several months, and I am still in the process of transitioning to having a dressing room/office/studio in one small bedroom .

In addition to being closet-space-challenged, we have recently transferred our membership to the church in town where we’ve been attending regularly since our move. This was not easy, and perhaps where I am experiencing the most transition-related pain. Beach Parish sustained and healed both my husband and myself for four good years. Those parishioners and two priests { we were there during a clergy transition} loved me through some really dark spiritual issues. I cannot repay their kindness and patience.  In some ways, I feel badly , but I know that this is part of the transition process. 

Best Dude and I almost never cross the bridge to the spit of land where Beach Church is located, and our current parish is a few minutes down the main road from our house.

Change is part of life, and Brumet reminds us that our natural world and life cycle is full of processes. We moved across the bridge, so it only makes sense that we attend church in our community.

None of these reasons make  saying ” see ya later” to our friends at Beach Parish any less painful. Yet I was reminded by Brumet, that ” Transitions may be an uncomfortable time, yet it is always a meaningful time.  He also says : Times of transition are wonderful opportunities to gain strength and wisdom– opportunities to experience spiritual breakthroughs…” 

I’ve discoved that the transition to life in Pensacola allows me room to grow– to try new projects, to build meaningful relationships and to figure out what God wants from me during my second half of life on Earth.

” I never promised you a rose garden.”  ~ My Husband, a US Marine.