On being an Episcopalian in South Carolina in the 21st Century

Y’know, this will be a topic not many will want to read and I’m fine with that. So, if you are more interested in my ramblings about food, rock ‘n roll, and my happy, sunny, silly crap…you’re out of luck.

This blog has nothing to do with being holy, or righteous, or wearing a collar…nothing like that. It actually has almost everything to do with the opposite of that.

First, a little history. In 2002, I returned to the church. I had strayed for personal reasons, not the least of which was the fact that I felt by being divorced I had done something wrong. It was a greyhound event that drew me to St. George’s Episcopal Church in Summerville. I met a few people who were involved in planning their first St. Francis’ Blessing of the Animals. And, I met Father Mike. I could do chapter and verse on him, and how wonderful and how much of a Christian light he shines through all the inane darkness in this world…that’s for another time.

What is important about meeting Father Mike is, he preached a sermon, the first time I attended services there that spoke straight to my heart. I knew that God was talking to me, welcoming me home and telling me that St. George’s was the right place to return…So, I became a member. I attended regularly. Met some of my first “Summerville Friends” through St. George’s….y’all know who you are! I went to Cursillo. I served on Vestry (for what seemed like fifty years or so…) And it was a happy place. We loved each other, we grew close and grew out into the community…we WERE evangelizing.

For reasons that are way beyond my understanding and my control, I had to move to Carolina Shores and I did move into a church with community…made some of my first “Grand Strand” friends too. It was wonderful…but there was the beginning of these “rumblings” in the church…Division. Derison.

All of a sudden (to the normal person, it was pretty dern quick), we were no longer one community of believers in Christ, the One True Savior. We were…all of a sudden, “TEC” and “DOSC”….we were in fights. We had brought in lawyers, and courts…hurled insults at each other, swearing this one started it by saying THAT, and that one started it saying THIS. Trials, rulings, appeals, rulings, appeals, rulings…more hurling insults back and forth.

So…I’m wondering…what does standing behind TEC or DOSC do to help us get our message out to those who are unchurched? How much of the money we’ve (and by WE I mean both sides) spent go to feed children in our communities that go hungry overnight, over the weekend, over the summer because their families are homeless or living below poverty level? How much of the time spent in courtrooms is actually EVANGELIZING?

Here’s my theory on all of it:

  1. The church is not about all the buildings, the grounds, the beautiful Camp St. Christopher, the fellowship halls. ALL THAT MEANS NOTHING. Nothing. It means nothing if there are still people who won’t darken the doors of a church because they see us (yes, all of us) as hypocrytes…saying “be kind to others,” “spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” and then we go argue over who owns the buildings we worship in. Did anyone for JUST ONE MINUTE think maybe that GOD owns them? They are HIS. Why? Because we are his.
  2. I am pretty sure that this “holy war” is costing millions and millions in legal fees, man hours, sweat “equity”…and yet no one seems to focus on the fact that not ONE PENNY of the money Episocpalians have spent on this fight has furthered the Kingdom of Christ. Not one. Who has been brought into the kingdom because of this fight? If (and that’s a HUGE If) one person did come to Christ because of it, I’d wager a bet that at least 10 have been driven away. One comes in, ten leaves. I’m no mathemetician but that’s a net of MINUS 9.
  3. And, to beat what seems to be a sad, dead subject even further…no one (really, no one) looks at the court battle and says, “YAY, GOD’S WINNING HERE.” He’s not. As a matter of fact, I’d also be willing to bet on this one too: When you short-sighted, sadly mistaken people battling this all out stand in front of God and are called to reckon…I don’t think he’s gonna pat you on the head and say, “good job son, you drove 10 people away for every 1 you brought into the church by arguing back and forth over materia things that I told you (in that book you haven’t been paying much attention to) were temporary….do not cling to things of this earth.

So, I’m probably one to be ex-communicated because of this but I’m sick and tired of bowing my head in shame when I say I’m Episcopalian.

I know we’re all broken sinners. That’s crystal clear to me. But let’s be clear on something else. We are supposed to REPENT. That means turn away from, for those of you who have forgotten. TURN AWAY FROM THOSE THINGS THAT ARE SINS. TURN AWAY AND RETURN TO GOD. Return to his loving arms. Ask for forgiveness.

Oh, and please don’t say that “My Side” *was* asking for forgiveness. When we’re talking about millions of dollars in properties, and millions of dollars WASTED in court…no one was asking for forgiveness.

I’m just totally surprised that NO ONE ELSE in South Carolina feels this way. Or has stood up and said it. What is wrong with all of you? Do you all actually think that wasting money (some of it is mine, that I donated, or TITHED, by the way) and hurling appeals and insults will open the gates of heaven wider?

Just once, I’d like someone to mention the fact that Christ came to this earth so that we could learn about God’s love. About God’s grace. And so we can learn to SHARE THAT with others. How is arguing about this crap sharing God’s love and God’s grace with those who don’t believe? How does that make them believe? How does that make us seem to the “outside world”?

Think about it for a little while before you vilify me.

Posted in Daily Fat Fight | 3 Comments

Beep beep boop

………..anyone that uses WordPress knows what that means…

I’m sitting here, working…at 9:13…while binge watching (no, just two episodes at a time) Sons of Anarchy and thinking to myself how is it that people come up with the idea that Kurt Sutter is glamorizing motorcycle clubs.

It’s all about charachter development, I know…but as the seasons go along, I am moved from liking to loathing each member of the cast (except Chibs…I like Chibs all the time). Right now I’m on a Jax-loathing tear. I’m impressed by Charlie Hunnam’s acting and of course, everyone else in the cast is pretty awesome too. But character-wise, these are not men and women to want to emulate. As time goes on, each of them seems to lose their conscience – and that line between life and death…right and wrong…murder and revenge (wait, is there a line there?) Well, it gets all kindsa blurred.

Not really what I totally wanted to talk about – but it might have sucked some of you in.

I just want to shout out to everyone on the day after my birthday for the great well wishes cuz well, it totally sucked being sick on my birthday. Not that I had any huge plans, but regardless – you can’t do anything if you’re sick.

And, on the positive side, I got a 12″ cast iron skillet (I have the 10″ and a grill pan), and what looks to be an 18″ round griddle. Oh YAY! So… you’ll probably see more stuff from me in the near future. Yup, cast iron cooking. lodge

I love my family. They know me so well.  Thanks Honey, and thanks Mommy.

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I might seem clingy ….

So, if you get an oddball Facebook post from me in th next few weeks, don’t be alarmed. You see, I learned a painful lesson this past week. I thought I would share the lesson with you so you can learn from my mistake. Thursday started off identically to Wednesday.  Got up, worked out, showered, went to work. Spent about 3 hours focusing on class…the one I was observing. Around noon, I received a barrage of messages from Jim insisting I call him immediately.

I don’t clearly recall the rest of the day. I recall my feelings. Despair. Sadness. Guilt. Disbelief. It brought no comfort that I wasn’t alone in these feelings.

I prayed. Please God, don’t let this be true.

Have you ever put off being a good friend? What I mean is, have you INTENDED to get together with a friend and continually put it off because you were “too busy”? Let me encourage you NOT to do that anymore. See, that saying “life is short” isn’t just a saying. It’s real. And in a moment, that person you INTENDED to hang out with could be gone. Every moment is precious. Every day is a gift. I’m not just spouting  clichés.  I’m telling you that our time here is just a grain of sand and when you put off those times you could be enjoying the company of friends who mean the world to you, you risk missing the chance to see them…maybe one last time. See, Thursday, those insistent messages from Jim were to tell me a dear friend that I had been INTENDING to get together with had died in a car accident. The sadness, guilt, and pain of losing someone I meant to get together with is palpable. And then my mind raced through all the friends I had INTENDED to see in the past 6 months.  I love them and I have not made the time for them. No more.

Believe it or not, I was just called on doing the same thing! Thank you June for setting me straight.


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Weary food post….

No, not weary food. I’m weary, and I’m going to post about food. But, the oddball title made ya look, didn’t it?burrito_bowl

So, I’ve been looking at this one-pot burrito bowl recipe in my Pintrest page (in my Clean Eating board). Looked okay but yesterday, I hadn’t been to the grocery store since Sunday (read that as…no “extras” around…just basics). And Jim was in Goose Creek getting his knee stuff done. That meant Mom & I could eat freaky food and not gross him out. So here’s what I did – I modified and adjusted…and added, just a tiny bit here and there.

Beef-less Burrito Bowl

1 tbsp olive oil

1 can refried black beas

1 can organic (or not) diced tomatoes with juice

frozen seasoning blend (or, celery, onion, red bell pepper, diced) about 1/2 cup

frozen corn

1 cup rice (I’m on a jasmine rice kick…but any rice will do – not minute rice tho!)

2 cups liquid (stock, water, wine or a combo of all 3)

Cumin (I probably used 3 tbsp, but to taste)

Ancho chili powder (again, probably about 2-3 tbsp

Dried cilantro about 2 tbsp

Salt and Pepper to taste

I sauteed the seasoning blend until it wasn’t frozen and was beginning to get translucent in the olive oil. Mix in the refried beans and get them pretty well softened/incorporated. Add the tomatoes, rice, liquid and seasoning. Add the corn whenever you are ready.

I kept stirring until the whole thing looked like soup. Pretty thin soup.  I brought it to a boil and then…here’s the easy part. Reduce heat, cover, simmer in one pot…for about 20-30 minutes. It’s beans & rice with seasoning all in one pot.

When time was up, it still seemed thin and some of it was sticking to the bottom of my pot, so I did a lot more stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot … and voila, it came out pretty good. I served it wil shredded cheese and chili powder.

The really interesting thing is, it could have actually been the filling to a burrito if I wanted. Because upon shutting the fire off from under it, I began to get a more refried bean-like texture.

Mom liked it, I liked it…and we have left overs. Probably serves 4 healthy appetites.

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Easy Superfood Soup


I felt like making stuff this past weekend so I made soup to start with. This could be one of those “throw whatever you have in the pot” with stock and broth if you wanted it to be. I decided I wanted lentils and assorted other stuff. Since soup is kinda personal, feel free to personalize – especially if you don’t like something like spinach or don’t have left over asparagus stalks. I’m all about working with what’s on hand.

So here we go:

1/2-1 box of unsalted vegetable stock (sub chicken if you prefer)

1 box of vegetable broth (again, whatever broth you prefer)

1 cup red wine

2 cups water

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 c diced peppers

1 sliced red onion

2 stalks of celery, diced

1/2 c. red lentils

1/2 bag of baby spinach

1 dried ancho (anaheim, new mexico, chipotle – whatever you prefer)

Any left over veggies you have. I used: crinkle cut carrots, asparagas stalks, and a little bit of white onion. You could use broccoli, cauliflower, beans, eggplant…whatever you’ve got.

Saute onions, peppers, and celery until translucent. Season with salt & pepper. Add stock and broth to the pan. Let simmer for a few minutes. Add wine and water.

Add left over veggies at this point when the broth mixture is simmering. Submerge the entire chili pepper in the hot broth/water/wine mixture.

Clean and prepare the lentils. Add to the broth mixture.  Simmer for about 20 minutes and then add the spinach. You can add more if you prefer more spinach. You can sub in kale or any other green you prefer.

Add any salt & pepper to taste.

Other good inclusions: a dash or six of hot sauce, pepperoncini, barley, white beans, lemon zest and lemon juice. You could also saute the onions, peppers and celery in coconut oil if you wanted.

I have been serving it with bread, but a nice whole grain cracker or wasa would work too.

Enjoy –

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Two Years…

Y’know, some of you know the story. I was praying one Labor Day afternoon…I asked God to open the part of my heart that I knew I was keeping blocked/closed. I asked him to change my heart. And well…what happened next became one of the most defining moments of my life.

Jim was leaving to go back to Summerville where he was living at the time. He was working at Joint Base Charleston on the Naval Weapons Station. He was living alone in my house in Summerville. I think he was packing his stuff to leave.

I went into the guest room where he always slept and said, “What would you think about getting married?” And depending on who you ask, the story goes on from there.

You MIGHT not know why I did the asking and not him.  I asked him because I knew he wouldn’t ask me. Not because he didn’t love me. Not because he was a confirmed bachelor. Not because he much preferred living 2 1/2 hours away in a house I would probably never go back to (and haven’t, really…)

No, I had given him the understanding through my words and actions that I would never marry again. As a matter of fact, one week before I asked him to marry me, I stood in my friend’s kitchen and swore up and down to my bible study girls that I didn’t need to get married again because I don’t need a man to complete me. I was insistent I could make do on my own. So I was 100% aware he would NEVER ask me. (Why?  I mean…would you ask someone to marry you knowing full well that they would NEVER GET MARRIED AGAIN? If so, what kind of masochist are you?)

Because I knew he wouldn’t ask – and because I knew God was telling me who I was to spend the rest of my life with – I had to be the one to ask. Yeah, I gave up the “fairy-tale” get down on one knee and hand me a diamond thing again…but how important is all of that in the scheme of life?

I realize now that I don’t need Jim to “complete” me – he can’t make me into something I’m not, or fix something that is not whole in me. He can love me though. And he can walk by my side as life gets more and more stressful – what with aging family members (mom & Coombsy), a distinctly hectic work schedule, and of course cooking, shopping…etc.

So, I asked. Because I knew at the moment God spoke to me in answer to my prayer, that Jim was the right man at the right time…and for all time. In the coming week, I began to feel that feeling Mom had always described when she realized that she couldn’t live without Dad (when they were just friends). I felt it. Maybe I could LIVE without him but I truly didn’t want to. I couldn’t see the fullness of my life without him in it.

I know it was the right thing to do. Not because of some oddball fairy tale of a “reunited high school (junior high) friends fall in love” kinda thing, but because this is the second time ’round for me. And I know what WRONG feels like. I know what it’s like to wake up and wonder why you are in the “situation” you’re in. I know that burying and hiding the things that are really important to me – animals, God, music (MY kinda music) – doesn’t occur in a forever match.

Not once in the past two years have I thought, “I should NEVER have done this…” I’ve never even thought twice whether or not I really love Jim. I just do. And it’s easy. It happens naturally.

So, I guess if you were to ask me for “falling in love” advice, I would say, “Don’t fall in love the way you think it happens on TV or in the movies.” Remember that while marriage takes work (and it does), love is no work at all…at least not for me. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not easy to live with, and Jim would probably say the same about himself. But, you prioritize your issues – pick your battles. Ask yourself: Does it upset me THAT much when the toilet paper hangs from the underside of the roll? Are there other things in our relationship that might just be more important to tackle?  Am I getting upset about this, or is there something else bugging me I’m not acknowledging? If you make it through those questions and STILL want to bring the issue up – then I guess go ahead.

In my mind and heart, I have to say that I can find many better ways to spend my time than bickering, sniping, complaining…I would rather love my husband.

Happy Anniversary Jim – 1/26/2013.



Posted in Crazy Random Thoughts, God, Journaling, My Thoughts and Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“Spanish Rice”

Just made this up today and it was well received.

1 c Jasmine rice
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
1 7 oz can green chiles
1 1/4 c veggie broth
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano (dried)

Drain juice from tomatoes and add to veggie broth. Add water up to 1 3/4c liquid. Bring to a boil and add rice and salt. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 min. Add chilis, tomatoes, cumin, ancho, and oregano. Mix into rice and let cook until rice is fluffy.

Serve hot, with tacos or fajitas.

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What an honor…

I have to admit I’m writing this on my phone so any and all typos are likely auto-correct…

Many of you know I work for Blackbaud, and I have been blessed to work there for almost eighteen years. This may be my first blog touting what a great company it is, though. I’ve been remiss in shouting from the rooftops just how great working there makes me feel.

Tonight we donated 5275 toys to Toys for Tots. We do it every year, I admit. And every year I am puffed up with pride at the generosity we employees show. We do a lot of giving back throughout the year. This annual donation is a “given” and somehow we seem to outdo ourselves time and time again.

I guess it helps me remember what this season is all about. Not really the tangible gifts but the intangible giving of ourselves to bring joy to others.

I may still be lacking in holiday spirit but tonight after seeing the good Blackbaud does, I am joyful.


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I find it hard

I find it hard to be one of those people who always has a positive attitude…even tho I *am* one of those people.

Lots of stuff is going on in the world that upsets me. And, I’m torn between my uber-liberal normal self and my “OH MY GOD what is this world coming to” person I’ve become.

In my life, I like to think of how good things can be. Yet when watching the news or reading FB, or…geez, anything…I’m bombarded by negativity.

And, by the way, I’m halfway through the 11th book of the Left Behind series. That particular series toes the line between fatalism and positivism (that’s not a word, I know). While I like to believe that our end-of-times will be the Glorious Appearing, that whole tribulation thing is scary!

So…for now, I’m going to rest comfortably in the knowledge that the word is CRAZY out there…and I just find it hard to reconcile with the insanity.

Carry on.

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No Puppy Pictures…..

One of the only things I “don’t like” about adopting a rescue dog…and this transcends all breeds…is no puppy pictures.  Don’t get me wrong. I have no desire to housebreak a dog. If you’ve met Coombsy, you know that I really don’t know how to do that. :)

Not knowing my princess as a puppy is probably a good thing. She is precocious and conniving. She’s intent and intense. When she wants something, she will insist…until you cave. And she is the sweetest thing when she wants to be.

She was never REALLY meant to be my foster dog. Honestly, she was supposed to be a friend’s foster dog. But, since Flyer had died (just a week before) and I was pretty distraught….everyone thought it would be a good idea for me to take Coombsy.

Oh, we had a rocky start. She didn’t much like the fact that I was gone all day. I’d come home every night to a dog that was covered AT LEAST in pee. Sometimes poop too.  I think after the first couple of weeks, she just got sick of standing up and “avoiding” what she’d done in the crate and just decided it was better to lie down. Did I mention she’s a white dog?

Anyway, from those days sprung a severe dislike for water….daily baths to get her clean…well…I would probably hate baths too if I was carried into a tub every day and covered with soap and water…

She has been thru “it all” with me. Greyhound events. Foster dogs. Freef dying. Jim moving to South Carolina. Moving to North Carolina. Dad dying. Chelsea dying…we’ve been together almost 11 years.

So why all the “nostalgia”? Because tomorrow, believe it or not, she turns 14. She was born November 19, 2000. Aside from her mom’s name (Viv’s Amazed), I don’t know anything else about her when she was born. And I don’t know what she looked like. I can only imagine. I mean…she’s 99% white, except for her ears which used to be fawn. So she was probably cute as a button when she was a puppy.

We have this conversation now – okay, I talk, she sits there and stares at me as if I were nuts. I tell her how she is a sweet girl, and she’ll be my only girl ever. I promise her that I’ll never get another girl greyhound. I never wanted a girl greyhound to begin with. I’m partial to the big silly boy greyhounds. But somehow this sweet “little” girl melted my heart. And because of that, I want her to hold that little part of my heart that only she can.

I also tell her that she’s not required to stay alive just for me. When it’s her time…she can just go. I will allow her that gift. I won’t try to hold onto her with extraneous methods. She is in good health now so we’re blessed. But, when it’s her time…I want her to be peaceful – no vets, no car rides…heck, no water! : )

For now, it’s important to remember how precious she is…and silly…and beautiful…and graceful…well, maybe not graceful. She is and always will be my princess. Princess Coombsy Jean Aquino-Cooper. Yup.


Posted in Animal Rescue, Crazy Random Thoughts, General Dog Stuff, Greyhounds, Journaling, My Thoughts and Musings, Service to Others | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments