Double Clutch

I love google, or any other search engine that provides information quickly.

I am watching the Yankess play the Mets, the third game of this current subway series. Being a Yankee fan, I am happy. The Yankess have won the first two games.

It was during the first inning that the announcers used the phrase "double clutch." The infielder had double clutched and Jeter had made it to third.

Double Clutched? A clutch belongs on a car. What does this have to do with baseball?

Voila. From the site Baseball Jargon double clutch is defined as:

When a fielder – usually an infielder or a catcher – draws his arm back twice before throwing he's said to "double clutch." This hesitation often leads to a delayed or late throw, allowing runners to advance a base. A term borrowed from a method of shifting gears on an automotive vehicle.

Double clutching. Hesitation. Delay in action.

Amazing. I have been planing baseball without even knowing it.

Growing up in New York State, I was surrounded by baseball. My father, Joe Lane graduated from the same high school as I did, Ossining, played baseball in school and then played in the mens softball league while I ws growing up. I remember attending lots of games as the family followed to all the parks to watch. My favorite was when he played at the park down the street from our house and we could walk to and from.

Later on, I played girls softball in grade school. Later still, followed friends playing in the Babe Ruth league. And later still, married a former Ossining ball player.

I followed the Yankees growing up, thanks to my grandfather Ivar Tang. Sitting by his side as he drank Knickerbocker beer with a shot, eating dark pumpernickel bread with Canadian hard cheddar sliced cheese. He had no problem praising them when they played well and yelling "Dem Bums" when they didn't.

I cried the day Mantle retired.

I started following the Mets and remember being the only girl at Queens College in Charlotte, NC that screamed when they won the World Series in 69.

When the kids were growing up, none of them played, but our house had Pirate, Phillies and Yankees fans. (Almost as bad as football season with Steeler, Eagles, Redskins and Giants.)

I have come full circle. I am now paying for MLB.com so that I can watch all the Yankee games. I am re-discovering my love for this game.

I used to think the game played too slow. That has changed.

I have slowed down my life and appreciate the "speed" of this game.


Not so Odd

Isaac Watts had it right when he wrote those penetratingly honest words sung frequently at a church burial service:

Time, like an ever rolling stream, bears all our years away; they fly, forgotten, as a dream dies at the opening day.

The past several days there have been several people, known personally by me, or not, who have passed away. Or there have been anniversaries of the passing of others. We mourn those that have gone. Sometimes the memory of that loss leads to times of overwhelming saddness and despair. Sometimes this despair incapacitates us.

Recently, I finished reading a booked called "Odd Hours" by Dean Koontz.

The character in this series is named Odd Thomas, and he can see the dead. This guy is funny and Mr. Koontz' writing is wonderful. On page 252 the character states:

"Loss is the hardest thing, but it's also the teacher that's the most difficult to ignore."

He continues " Grief can destroy you or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you are alone. Or you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn't allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it.

But when it's over and you are alone, you begin to see it wasn't just a movie and dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing a floor or washing dishes together or worrying over a high electric bill.

It was everything, it was the why of life, every event and precious moment of it.

The answer to the mystery of existence is the love you shared sometimes so imperfectly, and when the loss wakes you to the deeper beauty of it, to the sanctity of it, you can't get off your knees for a long time, you're driven to your knees not by the weight of the loss but by gratitude for what preceded the loss.

And the ache is always there, but one day not the emptiness, because to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of life."



Driving home tonight, I found myself stopped on the overpass in traffic in a place that was new. When one finds themselves in a daily mass of traffic or seeming to move in tandem, very close tandem, one would forget about the bigger picture.

That is what the stop on the overpass provided.

Stopped, I was offered the opportunity to see the bigger picture. Just how enormous eight lanes of Interstate roads are, not to mention the countryside that surrounds it,

This had me pondering about the missed opportunities, chances that hung around, yet were ignored by me.

Alex, a friend, fellow worshiper, gardener,has been offering many of us the opportunity to travel with him during his journey with cancer.

Alex writes often in his CarePages. Today he wrote about the cycle of life as he gardened.

This is some of what he wrote today:

The garden has many lessons to teach about the natural rythms of life and death that, by the way, cannot be separated from each other. Plants push up through the soil, unfold, spread out in leaf, bloom, fade, then die, returning to the soil to perform other essential purposes in feeding and nurturing the rest of the garden. There is no isolated incident in the garden...it all has connection to the whole...nurtures and facilitates the next cycle until all rests through the winter. The gardener listens to this wisdom and works with it to create beauty within it. He or she only participates in it's movements performing the simple tasks of weeding and pruning. In this simple experience, I can sense around me the love and wisdom that is poured out on all creation.

My family and friends know that I find my strength from and connection to God through the earth, my gardens, forests. Just a few minutes of planting flowers, pulling up weeds, transplanting and dividing longtime friends is enough to nourish me for weeks.

Judy and I had discussed the need to let nature be natural. Let the woods be the woods. Trees fall down, break down and feed the soil. Lately I have taken to driving around at lunch seeking those deep forest smells.

Knowing that the universe constantly surprises me, I chuckled when I read another paragraph in his writing, as he quoted Mary Batison in her writing titled Into the Trees.

"Forests live out of the deaths of toppled giants across the decades, as well as the incessant dying of microscopic things. Without death, the forest would die. Both fallen giants and fallen leaves collaborate with the bacteria of decay to produce the fertile soil from which new growth comes. By itself, no single organism can long survive. The forest is its own memorial, the conclusion of its own conversation."


Thinking of Graziella- Friend with no Country

Panel discusses church's response to plight of world's refugees in live webcast

Click image for detail
[Episcopal News Service] Noorhan Khairalla wept as she shared the story of her 10-year journey from Baghdad, first to Jordan, and then to Wilton, Connecticut, during a panel discussion on refugee ministry held June 19 in the chapel at the Episcopal Church Center in New York.

"First I left a great part of myself in Iraq," said Khairalla through a translator. "The most precious thing in my life, that was my parents, I left them behind. I left Iraq because I was afraid for the lives of my children and my husband because of threats we had received … I left my precious country and went to Jordan to be a refugee."

Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) hosted a live webcast Eucharist and panel discussion focused on the plight of refugees to mark World Refugee Day, June 20.

"We are here today to remember those who have no home and learn what we can do to help that sojourner," said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

The United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) has designated June 20 World Refugee Day. On this day annually, events are held around the world to bring awareness and attention to the more 16 million refugees and many more millions of people seeking asylum worldwide.

Refugees are men, women and children who have fled their country to escape violence and persecution often related to their race, religion, politics and social involvement. Life in a refugee camp is also a challenge, where food is rationed and opportunities to work are limited.

Kharilla, dressed in jeans and a black blouse and wearing a yellow hijab, or head scarf, told the crowd of about 30 gathered at the church center that she and her family are adjusting to their new life, and are happy.

"We found a great hardship in Jordan … until 2008 we stayed in Jordan. My husband applied to UNHCR in Jordan because of the threats to his family; we were accepted as refugees and came to the United States," Kharilla said. "I am happy to be here with my family, we suffered a lot in Jordan."

Khairalla, her husband, Husam, and their children, Haneen and Saif, arrived in Wilton in October 2008. They were resettled through Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS), a New Haven, Connecticut-based refugee resettlement agency, and EMM affiliate, that provides refugees with help obtaining social services, jobs and medical care; learning English; and adjusting to life in their new homes and communities.

Khairalla said she hopes her parents can come to the United States.

The U.S. Department of State works with and funds nine volunteer agencies -- five of them faith-based, including EMM -- and the State of Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services to resettle refugees in the United States. Congress and the president determine the number of refugees permitted to resettle in the U.S. each year. The 2008 quota was set at 80,000, however, 60,192 were actually resettled.

EMM oversees the arrival of six percent of the refugees entering the United States.
Refugees from Burma represented the largest group resettled in the United States -- 18,139 people -- in 2008. Iraqis were the second largest group. EMM organizes the refugees' case before they arrive and assigns them to one of its 30 resettlement partner agencies in 27 dioceses.

The resettlement partners also rely on churches to give time and money.

Churches that don't have financial resources can help with babysitting (80 percent of refugees are single mothers and their children), teaching English and helping people learn their way around the community, said Deborah Stein, director of EMM.

The Wilton Interfaith Refugee Resettlement Committee (WIRRC), which includes nine faith-based institutions – Christian, Jewish and Muslim – in a town population of 18,000, helped IRIS resettle the Khairalla family.

All of the institutions contribute in a different way, depending on the availability of resources and what they can contribute, said Steve Hudspeth, a member of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Wilton, which is part of WIRRC.

Hudspeth describes working with people of other faiths to resettle refugees and working with the refugees themselves as a transformative experience.

"You will be transformed by it, your community will be transformed by it and it will change your life," Hudspeth said as he choked back tears.

-- Lynette Wilson is staff writer, Episcopal Life Media.

Archibishop calls for Committment to sustainable peace in Sudan

ENGLAND: Archbishop calls for commitment to sustainable peace in Sudan

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has issued a statement in support of Sudan Day of Action, June 18, which calls for a renewed commitment to sustainable peace in Sudan.

The Sudan Day of Action, organised by Baroness Caroline Cox and the Sudan Action Group, aims to raise awareness for the desperate plight of the people of Sudan.

Sudan Action Group consists of British parliamentarians, nongovernment organizations and Sudanese representatives. The group was established to raise awareness of the desperate humanitarian crisis that exists in Sudan and to encourage the British and Western governments to act to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe to ensure peace, security and prosperity for Sudan’s future.

The Archbishop’s statement follows:

This Sudan day of action is a crucial reminder of the need for renewed commitment to achieving sustainable peace in Sudan. With only 18 months left before the scheduled referendum on the future of southern Sudan, it is essential that all parties are reminded of the obligations contained in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in January 2005.

The CPA brought to an end 21 years of bitter civil war in southern Sudan in which over 2 million people died. I saw the first benefits of peace myself when I visited Sudan in February 2006, just one year after the signing of the agreement. The CPA brought new hope to southern Sudan after long and destructive conflict. Families could be reunited after long years of separation. New development opportunities opened up such as the church’s widespread programmes of teacher training and classroom building. For the first time, southern Sudan had the opportunity to establish its own government as an autonomous region within the country.

However, delays in implementing the CPA and unfulfilled commitments have threatened the sustainability of this peace. There is now an urgency for both parties to the agreement and the international community which helped to broker and support it to demonstrate their renewed commitment to implement the agreement fully. This includes proceeding with disarmament and addressing the widespread problems of insecurity; establishing a workable infrastructure of roads and energy supplies in the region; settling the overdue issues of border demarcation; making timely progress towards free and fair elections; and ensuring the process is on track towards the referendum in which the people of southern Sudan exercise their right of self-determination in February 2011.

It is understandable and right that the continuing horrors of Darfur attract international attention. But we need to recognize that unless the commitments around the CPA are honoured there is no chance of settling the conflict in Darfur.

I therefore urge a renewal of commitment and a readiness to work for measurable results as soon as possible. Meanwhile I hope there will continue to be the most widespread support and prayer for sustainable peace to be achieved throughout Sudan.


Congratulations Enoch

Imagine my delight. Best wishes Enoch and Godspeed

SUDAN: Provincial secretary named chairman of Eastern Equatoria High Elections Committee

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Canon Enock Tombe has been released from his role as provincial secretary for the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS) to become chairman of the Eastern Equatoria High Elections Committee, according to a June 16 announcement from the provincial headquarters in Juba.

Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul of Sudan described it as a "national honor" for the Episcopal Church of Sudan "that one of our leading clergymen has been chosen ... for this most prestigious appointment."

Following a request from the chairman of the Southern Sudan High Elections Committee on June 16, Deng officially released Tombe from the post to enable him to take up the new appointment at the earliest convenience.

Based in Torit, Tombe will chair the committee in charge of implementing the upcoming Sudan National Elections in Eastern Equatoria State.

Deng said that Tombe was chosen for the role because of his previous work in Torit with Norwegian Church Aid throughout the 1990s. Tombe has also served as secretary general of the ecumenical organization Sudan Council of Churches.

John Augustino Lumori, ECS personnel secretary, has been appointed acting provincial secretary until the province can elect a successor.

Carpenter 1 - Snake 0

One night a snake while it was looking for food, entered a carpenter’s workshop.

The carpenter, who was a rather untidy man, had left several of his tools lying on the floor. One of them was a saw. As the snake went round and round the shop, he climbed over the saw, which gave him a little cut.

At once, thinking that the saw was attacking him, he turned around and bit it so hard that his mouth started to bleed. This made him very angry. He attacked again and again until the saw was covered with blood and seemed to be dead.

Dying from his own wounds, the snake decided to give one last hard bite then turned away. The next morning the carpenter was surprised to find a dead snake on his doorstep.

Lesson to Learn:
Sometimes in trying to hurt others, we only hurt ourselves..

This story courtesy of Major Saif from Bangladesh.


The No Bandwidth Experiment

Today, I have added another link to a new blog. This is the writing of my nephew James Crooks who is working this summer in Buenos Aries, Argentina.

He is having a completely different experience than Tanisha in Ghana or I in Sudan. Keep reading.
He is so intelligent and funny.


Westward Ho

The last time that I was in California, I was visiting San Diego for a Diocesan Administrator's workshop. I stayed at a local college, rented a car and drove up and down the coast.

One trip I and friends made was out to Coronado. What a beautiful place. Sandals came off and feet went into the Pacific. Cold water.

I have also attended a conference in San Francisco and enjoyed traveling north into wine country and south along the coast.

This is one beautiful state.

So, I am really looking forward to seeing another city, Anaheim.

Anaheim is the host city for the 2009 General Convention of The Episcopal Church. As the Diocesan Business Manager, I have worked for our Deputation, assisting them in their plans. I have reserved their rooms, paid their registrations, and will advance them funds for the remainder of their stay.

However, I wanted to stow away in the luggage compartment but, I had reconciled myself that it would not be so.

The blog at this time turns to a thank you to The Rev. Canon Mark Harris. He provided me with the opening, a way to be at GC, without being a fly on the wall.

I am going to volunteer for two weeks as a Legislative Aide to the House of Deputies, specifically the Committee on the Consecration of Bishops.

(Picture if you will, me jumping up and down, yelling Wahoo.)

OK, that's enough picturing.

So, for the next few weeks, this space will be dedicated to writing about my experience, the experiences of the greater Episcopal Church, and pictures.

If I have the time, Goofy and I might take in dinner and a show.

Gone to Ghana

For those of you following my writings two things are or have changed.

First, I have added the blog Gone to Ghana. My friend Tanisha has just landed in Ghana, part of a month stay. She is working and studying this month. It might be interesting for you all to follow her journey and to leave her messages.

Second, I will be writing about my experiences as a Legislative Aide to the House of Deputies at the 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church. To say I am excited, is a huge understatement. I will be spending two weeks in California working for the Committee on the Consecration of Bishops.

It is hard for me to believe that this time last year, I was in Khartoum Sudan. I miss all of you.

Tito.... hugs to Joshua.