Saturday, March 03, 2007

Small People, Long Sweaters

PeaceBang attended a day event at a seminary yesterday and is sorry to have to report an epidemic of Long Sweaters On Petite Women happening in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she spotted at least four women suffering from the ailment.

Lovely people of diminutive stature, please hear me: wearing sweaters that hit you six inches above the knee make you look like a child dressed in mommy's clothing. They diminish you. You don't want that!

Yesterday, I needed to speak to a lovely and earnest person in a position of leadership about an unpleasant tiff I had with a staff person during the conference (who knew that telling someone that taking dozens of flash photos during a lecture is distracting could earn you a vile epithet at a well-regarded school of divinity? Now that's what I call Christian hospitality!). When I approached her, the first thing that crossed my mind was "Oh my. This little girl is totally not going to be able to deal with this."

That's not the first impression you want to make when you're trying to inspire confidence and project mature presence.

Pleated plaid knee-length skirts and cowl-neck sweaters that swath three-quarters of the body is not an outfit that works for clergywomen of any size. There is no other garment on God's green earth that says "Catholic School Girl" or just "School Girl" so instantly as the plaid pleated skirt of any length, and PeaceBang firmly believes that it does not belong in any minister's wardrobe. Yes, I see by doing a Google Image Search that Nanette Lepore makes a gorgeous, fitted plaid skirt, but we're not exactly buying Nanette Lepore, are we, amigas?

As for sweaters, your waist is a fine place for them to conclude their warm envelop of your body.

Petites, it's a constant challenge for you, and I know you know this: if your clothes are too big, you're always going to risk looking like a little kid.

plaid skirt


Theological Reflection On Fat, Skinny, And Image

Yes, my ducks, PeaceBang is also disappointed not ot have been able to see her "Nightline" segment, which got bumped in favor of a story on dangerously thin fashion models and on the perils of SPAM.

She got a wonderful night's sleep and is looking forward to a stewardship campaign kick-off dinner tonight at church.

But she is thinking.

If we lived in a world where we could convene in-depth conversations by way of late-night news, we would have been able to have a very interesting confab last night around the issue of body size. Say they had run the skinny models piece along with the piece on the ministry of clergy beautification. What an interesting conversation, if we had had time to explore it! But given that the "Nightline" team filmed PeaceBang and her congregation over two days and about 7 hours in order to get footage for a 3-minute segment, that's just not how it works.

I mean, how cool would it have been if they had actually done the pieces together intentionally, and I could have talked about the western world's long spiritualization of slimmness and demonization of fatness, quoting from Carolyn Walker Bynum's wonderful book, Holy Feast and Holy Fast, about the "holy anorexia" of the most important female medieval mystics?
Welcome to PeaceBang's media fantasy!!

As George Bush, Sr. would have said, "NOT GONNA HAPPEN." But I am thinking.

PeaceBang has been watching in alarm as the American public gets more obese and more sloppily informal (this is not to imply that large-bodied folk are the only ones getting sloppier -- it's an American phenomenon, not a big-person phenomenon), our so-called icons of beauty are becoming increasingly Botoxed, sliced-up, plasticized and starved.

What is going on with this strange symbiotic relationship?

The exhausted, over-stimulated, perpetually distracted, information-and-entertainment crammed average American consumes the images of plastic skeletal goddesses inflicted on us by a fat-phobic fashion industry and Madison Avenue, and we devour them. Candy, candy, candy. Even if we do not devour, we can't look away, as the images are ubiquitous. We instinctually don't like what we're seeing, but we've been so well trained in the fashion and beauty industry's notions of beauty that we figure they must know what they're doing.

Because we've been assiduously programmed to think this way, we keep our distance: "Naw...this isn't a spiritual issue. I should just shut up. I'm not one of the beautiful people and never will be. People will just think I'm jealous if I decry all of this madness." Don't think that PeaceBang doesn't know that there's a little part of us that never graduated from the insecurites of 8th grade. That's the human condition, my dears. Unless we spend a tremendous amount of time and effort getting over it, there's always going to be that little voice inside our heads going, "Oh man, everyone else at this coffee hour is so much more cool and socially adept than I am. I think I'll go flush my head down the toilet."

But out there in the world outside your head, you're a theologically educated, spiritually advanced religious leader and so some of you have spoken out against the rampant objectification of humans in our society, and the fashion industry and Madison Avenue and Hollywood's role in that. When you did, was your public presence as vital, engaging, charismatic and passionate as Michael Kors' is? Or Isaac Mizrahi? Or Helen Gurley Brown? Do you see what I'm saying? We are in friendly or hostile competition with wonderful, engaging personalities on this issue and on every other issue of importance to the spiritual well-being of the world.

When we show up projecting an image that says, "Please don't notice me," we've lost the battle before we even open our mouths.

It just so happens that human beings are engaged by passion and leadership that projects a vision. And it just so happens that looking put-together and polished helps the vast majority of human beings on the planet feel more prepared to deliver their message, whatever it is. It just so happens that we in America live in a culture that is visually overwhelming and that everyone who lives in this country is being bombarded daily by millions of images being projected at us in the attempt to sell us something. Religious leaders who refuse to embrace that fact and meet its challenge with creative energy are, in PeaceBang's opinion, like sweet little ostriches burying their heads in the sand. Come on out, ostriches. We need you.

Meanwhile, PeaceBang can't help but notice that many clergymen and women are significantly overweight. Why? As an overweight woman herself, PeaceBang has a few guesses: we compulsively overeat to provide instant comfort in the midst of caring for others. We put ourselves last and our self-care practices suffer (exercise, carefully preparing healthful meals, stopping to eat something so we're not ravenous by dinner, going to bed early enough to avoid late-night snacking, etc.). We suffer from the ancient Augustinian mentality that elevates the spirit over the sinful body, and do not have a holistic experience of incarnation, living mostly from the neck up.

All the usual suspects. The same things that contribute to clergy addictions, repressions and eventually, those tragic scandals of acting out that make the front page of the paper...and the late-night news stories.

Then there's this: maybe by being significantly overweight, some of us are rebelling against conventional standards of beauty. Maybe some of us are making a statement with our bodies, saying "I refuse to take up a small space in this world. I am a person of abdundant spirit, and my physical presence reflects that. I am a person of extravagant appetite for all that life has to offer, and I will not be dictated to by any industry -- be it entertainment, fashion or medical -- that attempts to pathologize the way I am present in this world."

If that sounds like you, congratulations! You are an outlaw by today's societal standards, and there will be legions of doctors and health care experts lined up to say that you're unhealthy and in need of a conversion experience. They will be looking polished and slim and authoritative in white coats and tailored suits when they frowningly insist that we're in the midst of an obesity epidemic, and you're in denial. When you respond to this, you need to show up looking poised, confident, dignified, handsomely attired and full of God's love for your body and every body.

It's 2007 in the United States of America, is what I'm saying in my own long-winded fashion, dearly beloveds. People don't just hear our words. They see US.

Now get out there and be beautiful in that John Keats kind of way.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Spam Vs. PeaceBang on "Nightline"

Well, folks,
Looks like the segment is being held until next week. The "Sign of the Times" on NIGHTLINE tonight is about Spam. I kid you not. Spammety-Spam, wonderful Spam!

PeaceBang is heading off to bed, grateful to snuggle down after a long day without visions of her big television head to keep her awake and obsessing.

That will apparently happen at some point next week.

I'm so sorry. I'm going to have to say that I won't even try to give you accurate updates, since even Nancy who wrote and directed the piece doesn't have control over all of this.

I love you for your excitement and support,
Sorry that we're all disappointed this evening.
It will be on sometime within the week.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

"Nightline" Segment To Air TOMORROW, 3/2/07

Hello dear people,

It looks like our segment got bumped in favor of more urgent news. The producer phoned to tell me that it is expected to air tomorrow night, Friday, March 2. Of course, that could change too. Keep checking here for updates.

Sorry for being such a tick about this. I'm getting tired of it, too!

Good night! xoxo PB

PeaceBang Probably on "Nightline" Tonight, ABC

Vicki On Nightline 2007
Well, Powder Pigeons, a big kiss of peace to you for making this such a wild adventure.

It's very likely that I will be appearing on "Nightline" tonight on ABC, 11:35 EST. I will be hearing from the producer, Nancy Cordes, after the 11:00 meeting today, but I wanted to post this before I leave for the church and get too busy with all that the rest of the day has in store.

I won't be watching when it airs -- I'll save that for later, when I can be with supportive friends and perhaps a Manhattan -- but I hope you'll let me know how you think I did speaking to the integrity of ministry and the necessity of taking our image seriously.

Ministry is like this: You get your heart, soul, body and mind prepared, you show up and do the best you can to communicate the love of God and the relevancy of religious life, you go home and make some soup and start on another task, and you accept that much of what happens is the work of the Holy Spirit, and not you. You tank, you soar, you really have no way of knowing much of the time -- meanwhile, life goes on and you are called to keep showing up for all of it. Of course we care about style and image, all because that shines a light on our ultimate Christian vocation, to clothe ourselves in love. Thank you, Saul of Tarsus.

Tomorrow: a day-long workshop on Prophetic Spirituality at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge. So looking forward to it! Will I see any of you there?


Preppy Pastors, Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

Good morning, doves!

This inquiry just in from reader Mel, who writes in the comments section:

"I am grateful for a blog that blends the spirit with fashion. This is a gift from the divine.

... I have a question, a fashion question PeaceBang, and as an over 40 blogger, I am not sure if I contact you directly or post it here: BUT: here goes--blazers--I need a blue one (I think) and I am wondering, what about a double-breasted.

This blog has given me hope that fashion and enlightened religion can be integrated, just as well as Anselm integrated faith and learning.

But, alas, I am afraid. I wear lots of corduroy and Merrell shoes (or the like). Deep down, though, I still wanna wear blue blazers and loafers.

My fear is that this really isn't fashion, but a regression to my evangelical, preppy past. What say ye?"


Well bless you heart for that flamboyant praise. A gift from the divine!? My heavens, PeaceBang must fan herself for a moment.

But you ask a serious question, and I will answer as best I can.

Darling, if you feel comfortable, polished and vibrant in a preppy double-breasted blazer, and your blazer fits, is handsome, and it makes you feel prepared to meet the world when you wear it, who cares if it's the latest rage? There's not a thing wrong with being preppy and classic if that's who you are. You're the Preppy Classic Minister, and the point is that you've respected your office enough to make an effort to look put-together. If the look you put together is preppy, and you exude approachability, joy in your work, honor for God's creation, and confidence in the vision of the Kingdom, well, rock ON with your fabulous self. No one ever said you couldn't serve the Lord wearing tasseled loafers.

Fashion is fleeting. Yes, we should be aware of trends, but only to the extent that it prompts us to consider: what image am I projecting? Am I dressing in a way that visually connects me to NOW? Am I a walking advertisement for the beauty, vibrancy and relevancy of religious life lived in community? Or am I throwing on the first convenient thing and running out of the house under the mistaken impression that my spirituality is such a shining and evident thing to those around me that I can transcend the social conventions around proper grooming and attire.

That said, you may want to read this post to see if perhaps you're in a bit of a rut:

And Mel, you can always write to me with or without a photo at peacebang - at -
PeaceBang is there for you.


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

How Much To Pay For a Bag?

I received an inquiry last night from a fellow blogger and reader (not a minister)* who wanted to know, "How much is too much to pay for a bag?"

What a wonderful question to get on the day the stock market crashed! PeaceBang has spent the last 24 hours wtih a dimply smile on her face, the kind of smile that says, "I'm trying really hard not to look at my pension account balance on the Fidelity website right now! Because although I have deep and profound fears of becoming a bag lady upon retirement, I am staying in the moment! And thanking God for the miracle of compounding interest!"

So let's not think about the stock market... let's think about bags. Deep, cleansing breaths.

Now, PeaceBang loves bags. Bags are easy to love. They don't pinch your feet, they never get tight if you gain a few pounds, they're always ready to go when you are, and if you get them really roomy like I do, you can fit your day planner, cosmetics case, a few books, a cell phone, gloves, hat, a water bottle, and the Louisiana Purchase in there and go about your day feeling so prepared.

PeaceBang buys most of her bags at TJ Maxx, Filene's Basement or Macy's, all of which have an excellent selection. Lately, I am thinking that Target has a fine selection, although many of their offerings are rather wrinkly and cotton-based, which is not very polished and professional.

The most I think I have ever spent on a bag is $75, and most often I spend closer to $20 (I'm telling you, TJ Maxx is your man here). But that's just me. I rotate my bags so frequently none of them get much wear-and-tear, and for those who can't be bothered switching bags, your one classic favorite will get quite a work-out.

All of which is my way of saying that
this Kate Spade bag, the current lust-item of this reader, seems to me to be a pretty practical lust-item. After all, it's not a poodle-shaped, diamante-encrusted clutch. It is a classic handbag. It is extremely handsome. Kate Spade is adored by millions of women not only for her elegant designs but I assume because she makes a durable, well-made product.

You have to know your outer limits. PeaceBang's big ticket items are literally big tickets: I dearly love to travel and am willing to spend $400 on a plane ticket to a faraway land, but not on a bag. I lose sunglasses all the time, so I never spend more than $15 on them. A friend of mine loses sunglasses all the time but spends $100 on them. She loves the feel of a luxuriously heavy frame on her face. Some of us will splurge on a swanky perfume because we don't feel complete without it, and I heard a seminarian today say that she gets facials a few times a year; something PeaceBang is pretty sure isn't in many seminarians' budgets. Self-care is exactly that. Self. As in yourself, not somebody else. Brava, I say.

Your money is yours by virtue of your hard work, bubelahs. It represents your life-force and your energy. We all have a unique relationship to money. The important thing is that you know what yours is, how you developed it, and how healthy you think it is. Before you spend big bucks on a bag or anything else, you should know how such purchases affect your sense of yourself, your values and your priorities, and factor in your desire there too, 'cause it matters.

If you want to expend $400 of your life force on a Kate Spade bag, PeaceBang affirms your decision and and hopes you will cherish that bag for many years to come. She hopes that it will give you a sense of joy and confidence every time you sling it over your shoulder and go out to rock the world at Georgetown Law School, or wherever life takes you.

* Madgebaby's comment prompts me to say again that the woman who wrote in about the Kate Spade bag is not a minister, and that a Kate Spade bag does strike me as (a) beyond most pastor's budget but (b) too "designer-y" for ministers. Agree? Disagree?
However, it was a great question and I was eager to ruminate on it with you.


Spring Trenches

Aside from the fact that there's a camera from "Nightline" watching me type right now, I do want to recommend to you a lovely cropped trench coat I saw in "In Style" magazine -- definitely a nice outwear option for the hipper set (and I'm sorry, but double-breasted isn't a great choice for fuller-figured guys and gals):

Cotton American Eagle,

The fact that it's cropped makes it unsuitable for formal professional appearances, but it is a smart-looking option for daytime jaunts.

For more professional appearances, consider a Nautica trench (also double-breasted) in cotton-nylon in beige/neutral. It's a heftier price at $189, but unless you outgrow it, it should last you simply eons. That style ain't going nowhere but right into Classic and More Classic. For the more color-ific risk-takers among us, there's a canary yellow double-breasted cropped trench by J.Crew for about the same bucks, $168. But your investment there won't be as good, as bright yellow is very au courant. You granddaughters will love you for it, though.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"Closet Smarts" To the Rescue

So I wrote to my style-maven friend Emily to inquire as to what a gal wears on television, and she responded promptly, seriously and helpfully.

She can advise you, too:

Her book is avaiable at fine independent and chain book stores everywhere, and also on that web site that starts with an "A."

Thanks, Em.
It's not a good look to wear a blazer that one can't button, is it? Because you recommended mocha brown, which I have, but it's from a slimmer era in my life. Not *much* slimmer, but slimmer.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Her Name Was "Priestly"

miranda priestly
Originally uploaded by Peacebang.

Aloha, fabulous and darling ones.

I was just cruising through some Oscar commentaries and thinking about how much I admire Meryl Streep no matter what she wears to award shows, and remembering how much I adored her in "The Devil Wears Prada" as the steely fashion maven Miranda Priestly. And then it hit me: "priestly." An absolutely fitting name!!

If you'll permit PeaceBang to get a wee bit philosophical for a moment, it isn't too far-fetched to point out that fashion, like religion, is all about ritual and worship.

If we believe that serious fashionistas are worshiping false idols, we certainly won't get anywhere in a conversation with them -- or anyone else who is taken by the popular message that Appearance Is Everything--by living a planet away from the beauty they are trying to be part of.

The deep desire for beauty isn't shallow. Channeling that desire by spending your paycheck on Manolo Blahniks is. But darlings, why judge? Get out there and evangelize!
We are ministers in a culture where people earnestly prowl the cosmetics counters and the sports emporia seeking some kind of transcendence. Why not meet them there occasionally and start the conversation by bonding over the splendor of the latest Chanel lipgloss, or the rad coolness of the latest style of Nike shoes?
Throwing stones from a distance will certainly do no good.

Start a conversation with how much God loves us, or on the joys of tithing (and PeaceBang does tithe to charitable organizations, btw), and watch folks edge out the door. Compliment that shopper on her lovely necklace that belonged to her grandmother, and open the doors for something deeper to emerge. Do you begin every pastoral encounter by sonorously intoning "And how is it with your soul, my child?" No. You talk about the weather. You notice someone's haircut, you find a comfortable way to sit. You make eye contact, you hone in. You attend to each other by paying attention. Before you get to the deep stuff, it's just two descendants of monkeys sitting together on the same branch going hoo-ha, hoo-ha.

If we think that God made a beautiful creation, a natural religious response is to want to be as beautiful as possible within that creation. I haven't met a minister yet who was so spiritual that they weren't walking around in a body that needed to be groomed and clothed every day. When you get promoted to the job of Holy Spirit, you're all set. For now, you've got incarnation to deal with. Sorry. I know it's not easy.

I've been looking lately for a quote by the Jungian analyst James Hillman who made the startling comment in one of his books that American personal slovenliness was such an affront to the rest of the world's aesthetic sense that it was actually a casus belli.

When I originally read that statement my blood ran cold with a combination of alarm, offense and denial. I wish I could find the quote to see how I'd react to it now, but so far, no luck. I really want to find it. If we have any Hillmanites out there, can you help?

I'm just gettin' all philosophical because lots of people have been asking me deep questions about aesthetics and beauty and stuff lately. Cripes.

So to get back to business, let's have a Product Review: I tried a sample of Kiehl's Soothing Gel Masque last night which was lervly and yes, soothing!

Labels: ,

More on Vestments

I had to share this with you!

One of my parishioners told me the other day that there used to be a store in a neighboring town called "Heavenly Rounds - Religious Vestments & Square Dancing Clothing."

Isn't that delicious!!??

Speaking of vestments, this is the Rev. Dr. Kendra Vaughan Covey, Elder High Priestess and Metaphysician of the First Church of Wicca:
Rev. Dr. Kendra Vaughan Hovey

One of you saw Rev. Dr. Kendra on television and wrote to express curiosity her decision to wear a clerical collar. I thought it would be best to let Kendra speak for herself and sent her an e-mail inquiry, to which she responded,

"First, let me say that the collar - although it is most widely accepted in the Roman Catholic faith - is not a Christian item at all. It was brought to us in the 1700's as a form of clothing worn by all clergy at the time. Since then it is very common to see a collar worn by Methodist ministers, Unitarian Universalist ministers, as well as Non-Denominational ministers.

Incidentally, Raymond Buckland (The Father of American Witchcraft) and Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, the founder of the Gray School of Wizardry, both wore a collar for several years while active in Pagan ministry.

My reasons for wearing the collar are quite simple:

1) I am first, a Non-Denominational minister that believes I should be available to all people at all times. You would be amazed at the number of people who actually stop me wherever I am to tell me their problems and ask for advice. I am thrilled that I can help.

2) I have a pentacle embroidered on the left cuff of every sleeve - so when people stop and ask me what type of minister I am I show them the pentacle - say Pagan, and look at it as an opportunity to educate one more person - emphasizing of course, that we do not proselytize.

3) Currently, I am making huge strides in being accepted into several Interfaith Councils and working as a hospital and prison Chaplain. The collar gives me instant recognition as clergy and of course, brings a level of much needed respect to the Pagan community from the Community at Large.

I hope that helps clarify things for you!"

Rev. Dr. Kendra also recommended to me this vestments glossary:

So there you have it. One non-Christian clergyperson's explanation of why she wears clericals. (I think where she says early on that the collar is not Christian at all, she meant to say "Catholic," corresponding to Collins' explanation of the collar's Protestant origins).

Thanks for allowing me to post this, Rev. Dr. Kendra. Blessings and kiss of Peace!


Television-Induced Existential Crisis

Hello in a post-Oscar moment before heading off to bed, powder pigeons!

I watched the entire telecast at my friends' house, on one of those ginormous flat-screen TVs that make you feel as though you are THERE.

I thought that almost all the stars look smashing this year, but I didn't much enjoy the show. It dragggggged. The Al Gore moment was lovely, and I was so happy for Jennifer Hudson, Forrest Whittaker and Martin Scorcese. I adore Helen Mirren.

It occurred to me watching the Oscars that I just don't watch television very much at all, and the vast majority of my encounters with pop culture come through the internet or brief interludes with magazines -- usually in the line at the grocery store.

So I suffered an anxiety attack right there in M and P's living room realizing that I am going to be on television -- a medium I don't really have any meaningful connection to!

I believe that this little flurry of attention is related to the mistaken impression people have that we clergy are remote creatures, too busy being super-duper holy to be fully engaged in the world the way "ordinary" people are. You know, I know, and God knows that we're not superduper holy, we're not remote, and we're not disengaged from the real world as lay people know it. Like everyone else, we're trying to juggle all our responsibilities in life, with the added layer of attending people through the spiritual journey and speaking a word of hope and grace on Sunday mornings. We're trying to figure out how to communicate through our appearance some of the relevancy and vibrancy we believe is present in the contemporary Church.

How can we do things like connect to pervasive forces like television while still honoring the essential aspect of our calling? Television requires sound bites: ministers don't think, speak or live in sound bites. Television says, "entertain me!" and ministers don't entertain, we engage. (I mean, I certainly intend to entertain you as PeaceBang, but you're not the general public. This conversation is by us, for us, and about us, darlings!).

And yet we must be willing to reach people through popular media. If you had a few moments of time on national television, what message about the vitality of liberal religious life would you want to communicate? I've got my talking points ready (hint: it's not actually fashion we care about so much as better managing our complicated role and image in our churches and in society), but I'd love to hear some of yours.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

PeaceBang Suffers For Her Art

Dearly Beloved,

A wee little camera from "Nightline" will be in the worship service with us this morning, and PeaceBang is feeling almost grimly protective of the religious intent of the day, hoping upon hope that it just feels like No Big Deal to her congregation. The interview comes later in the week, and we are just going to have to Be Brave and bring the message of clergy vibrancy and relevancy to the world.

As much as she is calmly focused on the work of the parish, PeaceBang also understands that she should try to look fresh and alive and "camera-ready" this morning, and so went for a facial and eyebrow waxing earlier this week.

The facial, done with all Eminence Organic products, which smell absolutely edible and which she looooooves, was a delight, in that way that having fire ants march all over your face eating you alive is a delight.
Which is to say that no matter how organic a product may be, darlings, it can still be strong and it can still irritate your skin!! As PeaceBang lay there with her face boiling under some kind of "gentle" alpha hydroxy masque and paprika-based topcoat mildly protesting that her face was scalding, her facialist chortled in an understanding manner and said, "Don't panic!"

Panic! Why would I panic? There's nothing more relaxing in the world than having six layers of your skin peeled off your face in the days immediately preceding your first national television appearance! Why, it's like skipping through a copse of violets on a warm spring day! If that copse of violets is in Hell! Panic? Don't be sil'!

As for the eyebrow waxing, that was not in the original plan but was a spontaneous recommendation by the aesthetician. PeaceBang can report to you that eyebrow waxing is also the pleasantest of treatments, if you're the type of person who enjoys the sensation of your skin being ripped off your face. But... courage, mon amis! The pain, she is but fleeting, and the eyebrows are really much more cleanly shaped.

And now for coffee, deep breathing, prayer, preparation of the children's story, final review of the service, and then .... oh heavens, I'll have to remember to get dressed, too.

Bring the good news, lovely ones! Shine on! And a blessed Sabbath to you all.

[Update at 1:30: What a nice church day! Sunny, beautiful, happy, full. Elements all good (we could have used one more hymn, but I didn't realize it in time for the order of service, darnit), sermon as well-crafted as I could manage, and I got through the children's message coherently, even though I usually clutch at unscripted storytelling. I noticed the camera once or twice, but otherwise forgot about it. I know we're still in the deep of Lent, but today had that "comin-around-to-spring feeling. Lovely. Church a-buzz with much good programming, upcoming stewardship campaign, usual high spirits. Sorry, just had to say it as my real self! xoxo PB/VW]