Sunday, April 22, 2007

You did a Church Service?

Hi - yes, I did a church service - April 15, 2007, On Blogging, no less - this was my view from the pulpit - that is my DH in the red vest on the first pew. So, If you're interested - come on along for the journey ... ( my comments to you that are in blue were not part of the service)


Welcome and Opening Words

“I’ve never read any other blogs, but it seems to me they are a little like “mini-reality” shows. A stranger gets carried along in a little “bubble of life” with you; they feel a connection to another person and then, they can get up from their monitor and go on with their own life. They get to be with you in an intimate way…up close and personal and yet not really have any responsibility for the relationship. It’s much the same fascination that some people seem to have with “reality tv” except it goes one step farther and lets people respond to you with the comments that you get. Rather odd phenomenon really… seems to me a little like “throwing open the trench coat of your life” and exposing yourself to whomever…I don’t think I could be that trusting”

Hello – My name is Tina – or in the world of blogging – Tina T-P from A Blip on the Radar. And those were the words of my oldest sister, Wisten, and our opening music was fittingly from a CD that was sent to me by a friend I have made through blogging.

I have been a member of this church for about 10 years and a Unitarian for about 40 years or so. Today, we’re going to enter into the world of Blogging – New ways of Communication & new communities in our world. I hope you enjoy what I have to say – maybe learn something new, but as my blogging friend Nancy says – “I do, however, reserve the right to talk about what ever happens to be occupying my mind at any given time...after all, it's MY blog.”

So, sit back, open your mind and like I said, hopefully, enjoy yourself in this next hour. And, please feel free to join us downstairs after the service for coffee, goodies and conversation. If you’d like more information on our church or on Unitarian Universalism, please sign our guest book in the foyer so someone can contact you.

Lighting the Chalice (JOHN) - As we light our chalice as a symbol of our faith, our candle of diversity and our candle from the holocaust museum, that we may never forget, I read from the words of William Schultz (a UU minister and former president of the UUA) :

“Come into this place of peace and let its silence heal your spirit,
Come into this place of memory and let its history warm your soul
Come into this place of prophecy and power and let its vision change your heart.

Hymn – Morning has Broken - #38 (this is one of my favorite hymns - it is the same song made famous by Cat Stevens in the '70's and I accompanied the congregation on my guitar)

Children's Story – THE STORY OF CARY THE SHEEP BY FARMGIRL FARE - The kids really liked this story - I filled it in with more recent pictures and information on Cary the Sheep. If you haven't read Farmgirl Fare - check it out - a great blog & she has wonderful recipes too!)

Offertory by Children (our little kids take the offering - and have been known to announce that "such & such a person says they will pay later"

Sing children out to their classes -- All

Announcements -- Board President

Sharing of Joys and Concerns

Reading – I first read St Teresa’s prayer in one of those chain emails – don’t delete it or you’ll have bad luck – pass it along to 7 friends within 7 minutes and you’ll have your hearts desire. I think that St. Teresa gets kind of a bad rap from these emails, but her prayer is sincere and thought provoking.

May today there be peace within.
May you trust your highest power that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you....
May you be content knowing you are a child of God....
Let this presence settle into our bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of you.

Meditation Music – # 18 FROM: SPIN THE WEAVER’S SONG - "Cotton Pickers Rag" (I wish I knew how to put music on my blog - this is a great CD!)


When I told Theo I’d do a service about my blog, I just figured I’d be able to read some of my blog posts, and you’d be happy with that – little did I think that I’d end up with over 200 pages of printed matter – articles about blogging, excerpts from other people’s & other specie’s blogs – yes, we all hear about the political blogs & the blogs of the rich and famous, but there are cat bloggers, dog bloggers, food bloggers, garden bloggers, blogs about neighborhoods, sheep bloggers, knitter & crocheter, spinner & weaver bloggers – just about any thing that you could want to read or write about. I have seen reports from anywhere from 71 million to 78 million blogs out there - So what is a blog?

A blogger only identified as GTR – from Northern Minnesota wrote on her blog “Raising Frolic”
" Hmmmmm. So, yes, I have this little weblog thing. I admit it. Surely you’ve heard of them? Not really? Well, it’s just a website where I post pictures of my chickens, cats, solar panels and the like. I can do a little writing on whatever topics I want; it’s completely free self publishing, you know? What? Oh, does anyone ever look at it?I think so, probably. I have this little Statcounter thing on it, so I can see that some people do actually look at it. Sometimes people even comment; that’s kind of exciting. What?! Don’t look at me that way! It’s not that weird! I don’t even check the stats THAT often, ahem. But really, there are whole little worlds out there, other people posting pictures of THEIR chickens or cats, sharing stories and tips about life. It can lead to connections. Seriously. Oh, yes, I know it’s hard to find time to do such things...Yes, I agree that time is short. No, I’m not THAT bored at work. There are other people who do this, too, I swear! I’m not that odd. Would you like the address? No? Oh, okay. Never mind...
Sometimes I do wonder about this blogging thing. I get a reaction much like that in most of my “real world” interactions where I mention (admit to) the blog. Many people don't even know about it. I do feel like there’s a real “world” out there (inside the computer, though, hmmm) that is worthwhile, but I wonder sometimes if it is a productive enough use of time in this busy life. "

In 2006 the Pew Internet & American Life project found that 8 percent of internet users, or about 12 million American adults kept a blog. Thirty nine percent of internet users or about 57 million American adults read blogs. I counted up the number blogs that I read – some on a daily basis, some weekly, others once or twice a month – I have over 50 blogs on my “Favorites list” – a group of web pages that I have “bookmarked” so I can easily find them.

So how did I get into blogging? I started my blog in May of 2006. I had just received a medical diagnosis of uterine cancer. The thought of having to repeat all the information over and over to all of my friends and family was daunting – I had several friends who had blogs about their sheep – “it’s easy” they said – the “BLOGGER” site just walks you through it. - So, I did and borrowed the title from my sister, who said – well, “hopefully, this will be no more that “A blip on the radar” for you – and a blog was born.

Following are four excerpts from my blog in it's "early days" -

Sunday, May 07, 2006
The Diagnosis
Monday May 1st, I had a biopsy - Tuesday afternoon I learned that I have uterine cancer. I'm hoping to keep my friends and family updated as I learn more about this new "adventure" in my life

Thursday, May 11, 2006
Surprise! I have my surgery date.
I was surprised to get a call from Jessica at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance today. I wasn't expecting them to call until tomorrow.Here's the skinny - I have three pre-op appointments, all in Seattle - first one - a med appointment on Wed. 17th at 10:45 in the a.m. and the other two - the meeting with my surgeon, Dr. Gray, Thursday at 2:30 and an appointment with the anesthesiologist, Thursday at 4:00. My surgery is scheduled for Monday, May 22. They didn't seem to have set the time for the surgery yet - it apparently hinged on the anesthesiologist. So there you have it.It seems real now.I have "lived" with cancer most of my life. My mother had ovarian cancer when I was about 5 or 6. I remember going with mom and dad on the trips to Wenatchee for her radiation treatments. My dad would take the movie camera along to take pictures of the wildflowers along the Columbia River. They gave such heavy doses of radiation at that time, I know that the radiation was the cause of a lot of the health problems that she had later in life.She lived to be 60 and died of complications of liver cancer. We held her memorial service on Valentines Day.I don't remember how old I was when Daddy had the cancerous spot removed from his mouth. Pre-teen, I think. - I don't remember his treatment - maybe that was the summer they shipped me over to the coast to stay with my sister and her family...In May 1978, at the age of 62, my Dad died of complication from cancer around the lining of his heart and lungs. Only three months after my mom died. 1978 was one bitch of a year. I was 26 years old. My three sisters and I were orphans.

Monday, May 15, 2006
Hurry Up & Wait
I was supposed to have received the info packet from the Cancer Care Alliance - I thought it would have been here Friday or Saturday - it still didn't come today. My first appointment is on Wednesday and I don't even know where it is! Damn, I'm starting to hate the waiting. People are being incredible supportive - a friend who has recovered from lymphoma, a friend of a friend who had the same surgery three weeks ago. My next door neighbor who survived the chemo, but it has screwed up her platelets. Strong women-role models. But, damn, I'm starting to hate the waiting.

Saturday, May 20, 2006
Vitamin Water and J - E - L - L - O
We have a potluck at church tomorrow - This is one group of people who really know how to cook - and there are "signture dishes" that you always hope that one person or another will bring - But tomorrow, as everyone feasts on Reah's salad with mandarin oranges and sugared almonds - or those yummy scalloped potatoes that someone always brings - I'll be drinking green tea "Vitamin Water" and eating my Sugar Free Jello. (Clear liquids only) Yum!

And so my blog goes, through my surgery (Jordin was nice enough to update it for everyone while I was in the hospital in Seattle) and through my recovery.

Then, people – my cousins, my uncle – friends I hadn’t seen in months, began asking me – “well, what are you going to do with your blog” – I didn’t really know – I’d kind of thought about keeping it as a personal web page for our farm & family, but really, were people really reading it? Seems they were, and enjoying it – so, I kept on writing – and posting pictures of John’s beautiful gardens, and the sheep and our kitties. And started making friends – out there in the blogosphere – cat bloggers, sheep bloggers, all when asked “Why do you blog” responded that it is a way to keep in touch with friends & famil; that they love “wordcraft” and photography; and blogging gives them an outlet without the expense of publishing or paying for a website; reading others thoughts and formulating my own gives my brain exercise ...
A cat blogger added: I like to share my universe with the rest of the world. Some might think that I must have a boring life as an indoor cat, but I see lots out my windows, and I have lots of pet friends in the neighborhood and in the blogosphere.

A new friend Leigh who has a blog for her Fiber Craft interests as well as one for each of her cats says: “Blogging made me feel accountable to do what I said I was going to do – even if no one ever read what I wrote, it was still out there for the world to see and hold me to. Many times I have been motivated to finish a project simply because I blogged about it. She goes on to say “As a tool, blogging has been very helpful to me. I now have a written and pictorial ricord of what I’ve done, and how I’ve done it. It has given me not only a sense of accomplishment, but of accountablity as well. Best of all, I’ve made lots of new friends.”

It’s also a way go get across important social ideas that aren’t gettting attention from the mainstream media.

A recent Seattle Times article told about teachers who were reaching out to students with class project blogs. It has become a powerful motivator getting for students as young as 9 or 10 years old to write – when they read each other’s blogs and leave comments the work becomes a conversation instead of a “one way delivery of information” One students mom encouraged his relatives to visit his blog. Writing wasn’t one of his favorite subjects, but his excitement about the classroom blogs grew throughout the year – and receiving comments on his blog from around the world was energizing & exciteing.
Bloggers are a generous & caring bunch too - just today in the "Make a Difference" article in the paper , two women bloggers were chosen for their efforts to get people volunteering to help others. "Cat bloggers" are very well known for coming forward to help others pay their V-E -T bills and a group of Shetland sheep bloggers held an on-line auction to raise money to help another shepherd who had lost their new barn and all the hay that they had just put up for the winter.

But as with anything else in the current culture, blogging has its dark side. Recently there was an expose of a pedophile in the King county area who was taking pictures of young children in Western washington and posting them on his blog. A female blogger who was hounded by death threats because her blog was “too optomistic” has some web experts calling for a blogging code of conduct. Blogger (one of the main blogging sites) gives the reader an opportunity to flag a blog that they feel has objectionable content – if a blog is flagged too many times, it will be given an “unlisted” status or even removed from the web. But the fact that there are messed up people on the internet is not a statement about the internet, but a statement about those people and what they do and say. The internet can often bring out the worst character behavior in people because they feel that they are “hidden” or anonymous. It’s sort of a “if good people are silent, the bad people will win” type of deal.

So, back to my blog – it has largely become a “every day life” type of blog – with pictures of our sheep – and now lambs – our cats, with recipes for interesting foods, stories about church events. When John had his recent health issues, it, again, became a place that I could diseminate information and my new blogger friends were very quick to check in with me – by comments on my blog or by email if I was a little slow in posting updated information. Inquiring minds want to know, I guess. Obviously with 71 million blogs out there, each one has it’s own reason of existance – and I could go on with more statistics and stories – but all good things must come to an end – so I’ll end with the story of Fluffy from Author Chris Drolley’s blog:

Fluffy, Lagos Cat Pound, Nigeria
Dear Friend, I am Fluffy, the favourite kitten of the late president of Nigeria. As you know my late master was very very rich man and he left me all his tuna. But, as kitten, I not allowed to have fridge of my own. My good friend, there are many many fishes and without more fridges tuna go bad. I eat as many as I can but I small kitten and much sick. So I write you, my very good friend, as your name well known in Nigeria as godly person with many fridges. If you help store my tuna I give you 20% (TWENTY AMERICAN PER CENTS) of each fish - including heads. Please be writing back soon. Weather hot and there are many bad cats looking with the eyes at my fishes. Your good friend, Fluffy


Extinguishing the Chalice (JOHN)
My Closing Words are by Kate Nowak ( )

"May you be blessed with all things good. May your joys, like the stars at night, be too numerous to count. May your victories be more abundant than all the grains of sand on all the beaches on all the oceans in all the world."

Closing Circle ("Carry the Flame")
Everyone seemed to enjoy my service - my hope was to "demystify" the internet and blogging in general - I think I accomplished that. And now back to your regularly scheduled programming.


Suzanne said...

(while this post is identified as by 'suzanne', this is mama toni writing)

excellent! congrats, too!

is it the first church service you've done? what do you think?

i signed the book in a uu church in kennewick in 1999. that was after having earned an ma in lutheran theology in 1995.

through the years, i've done many church services...preaching and leading 'worship' services (before i was bugged by the idea of 'worship') in lutheran churches, and then at the uu church and at a uu conference center in maine.

i've spent a bit of my afternoon reading your blog. it sounds like you've been through a lot. i'm glad your started blogging as you processed your cancer diagnosis and treatment.

like your husband john, i've been a church choir director. it's almost as much fun as preaching (serious fun...not related to the iritation about worship).

in any case, it sounds like we have several things in common, and i'm glad to get a chance to know you!

(i also enjoy being able to access my work computer while at home!)


Kathy L. said...

I knew you could do it! And this service proves it. What a wonderful service - I wish I could have been there. Maybe I was, at least in spirit. :)

Karen Jo said...

I enjoyed reading your church service very much. I think you did a great job of presenting blogging to people who may not have even heard of it before.

Suzanne said...

hey tina, i'm having a contest for my 100th post!


gtr said...

Ohmigoodness! I am so honored to have been a part of your service! When I go to church (ahem) these days, it's Unitarian. My husband and I wrote our Unitarian wedding ceremony completely "from scratch", using quotes from others, etc.

So that's why it's so touching to have been chosen "as a quote" in a service. Wow. Thanks so much! Blessings to you!