Thursday, December 27, 2007


i have this application on this blog called sitemeter. it captures information about the people who look at the blog. i can't see anyone's name or address, but i can see where they are from and what they typed into a google search or whatever that got them to my blog. a lot of people get to my blog by typing in "th words" and "if mohammed can't come to the mountain." i also know that my ex-boyfriend from a village of 850 souls in county clare, ireland is looking at my blog occasionally, and since i can't find him (when you google jen goodnow you get this blog. when you google michael o'sullivan you get way way too much stuff) i reached out via the blog to ask him to email me so i can apologize for the past.
the other thing i've noticed is that people from all over the world read this blog. i find that fascinating beyond belief. people from saudi arabia, australia, europe, africa - not so many south americans or asians.
frequently people from lambeth, england read the blog. that causes me to believe it's the archbishop of canterbury's secret police. that the anglican version of the da vinci code people are checking up on all the blogging anglicans in the world. i'm sure it's some bored administrator in lambeth palace who thought, "what would happen if it typed into a search engine ...?" but it's a little creepy.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

fostering fears

i have to take 30 hours of parenting classes to get certified so i can foster a child. every time i go to class i think of a new worst case scenario. last week it was, "what if she's in a gang?" as a single woman, i'm not sure if i can handle some of the possible issues like - what if she abandons her baby in my home? what if she hurts my pets? what if she hurts me?
i am the only white person in the class. there's only one man, so i almost feel a kind of kindred with him because not an opportunity to rip men apart passes by unused. the antipathy towards white people does not go spoken (until last week) so i can only feel the vibe from some people. it makes me upset, hurt, angry. but, i also feel naive for experiencing racism and prejudice for the first time by the age of 38. what if i and my neighborhood are too white for this girl? it's pretty white here. i am pretty white. i'm so white, i'm an episcopalian for crying out loud!
it reminds me of my own racism. i'm not naive enough to pretend that i hold absolutely zero racism in my heart. as the song from avenue q goes, everyone's a little bit racist.
if i foster a black teenager and her baby, will racism be removed from me? if i live in africa in my vocation and work with aids orphans, will the racism be removed?
one of my favorite gospel stories is the canaanite woman who asks christ for healing for her daughter and he says it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs. she has a quick wit and replies "Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." and he tells her she has great faith and heals her daughter. to me that means that jesus learns and learns from a woman - a foreign or different woman no less. as a child i believed that jesus was perfect and always perfect. as an adult, i encounter a jesus who can learn, who can change his attitude, his prejudice. this is one of the reasons i am a christian (as opposed to say, a buddhist). jesus, son of man, has humanity, makes mistakes, but is open-hearted enough to learn and enlarge his heart. christ is a good model for me to follow.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

how many earths am i using?

i've been hearing about this game on npr called consumer consequences. the idea is that you play a "game" and answer questions about your consumer use to see how many planet earths it would take to sustain the population if everyone on earth lived like you. i am pretty green and even with my cutbacks - i don't buy anything new, i unplug everything in my home when i'm not using it and cut my gas and electric bill in half, i buy only local and organic food - if everyone lived like me it would take 1.7 planets to sustain us. uh-oh.
here's the link. i highly encourage you to play it. it shows your score but then offers suggestions for how to improve your score/consumer lifestyle.
consumer consequences

Thursday, September 27, 2007

mother-child fostering

i am applying to foster a teenager. i decided a teenager made sense because by the time i'm ready to go to a convent the child will have aged out of foster care. one of the options with a teenager is a teen in foster care who has had a baby. it's called mother-child fostering.
i went to my first class on parenting a foster child. i have to complete 30 hours of training. i was the only white person out of 21 participants. almost everyone else had fostered unofficially (family members and their kids' friends) or officially. is it a cultural thing that white people don't do foster so much? i felt like i was representing god's frozen people.
i have so many concerns, worries, and fears around this that i have decided to turn over each step along the path towards fostering to god. first i have to take these classes. i have to get certified and licensed and that requires multiple steps. i will just keep turning it over.
what if the child is so angry that she is violent with me, my dog, or my rabbit?
what if she abandons her baby with me and runs away?
what if she hates me and is mean?
what if my race, neighborhood, culture is all too white for her and she is miserable?

i am trying to think also what if we make a happy family? what if she's scared? what if she's gentle and shy? what if she's vulnerable and needs help? what if she's happy here? i'm trying to imagine that. happy families with teen, baby, puppy, bunny, backyard, park, school, church.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

last sunday at grace cathedral

last week i went to church at grace catherdral where i heard mary haddad preach this sermon on beauty, taize, and the movie, cabaret. this was appropriate for me b/c i saw the movie cabaret when i was 3 years old (i'd like to say i came from a progressive family, i really was raised by wolves however) and i decided to be sally bowles when i grew up. so, i went to prague and i did become sally for a while.
i enjoyed grace cathedral, but the next time i go to s.f. i'm going to st. gregory of nyssa which has really amazing icons all throughout the space and is totally hip and liberal and joyous. sometimes i get bogged down by the tradition and god's frozen people-ness of the episcopal church.

Friday, August 17, 2007

vaca. in calif.

here's me on the beach at sant cruz.
i had wanted to go to zimbabwe for my summer vacation to visit the convent of Chita che Zvipo Zve Moto in zimbabwe, but, zimbabwe seems to be on the verge of a coup or anarchy so instead i went to california! i have travelled through europe and asia but i have never been to california. i went to san francisco for four days, then took the green tortoise bus tour down the coast to l.a. for three days. i highly recommend green tortoise for bus tours all over the u.s. esp. if you are a neo-hippie/greenie who doesn't hate camping. turns out i hate camping. who knew? i'd never been camping before. i will however do another g.t. tour b/c you can sleep on the bus which is retrofitted with beds.
i met a lot of fun people and had a great time. i did not share my vocation b/c i notice that when that comes up, people treat me weird like, they apologize if they curse in front of me - forgetting that i have the mouth of a sailor. people from non-religious countries (unlike this one) also think that means i'm a biblical literalist/religious fascist which is a bummer. i hope that when i do find a convent and enter an order that i will be the nun who changes people's minds about nuns. there are so many stereotypes that really no longer fit any nun i've met.
i'm just now starting to get itchy for the convent. i've been spending the last couple of years looking for the right order (still doing that, next vaca. will be in swaziland to visit bulembu ). i'm starting to become dissatisfied a little. there's more out there for me and i'm becoming ready for it.
meanwhile, school starts, student loans need paying, life goes on.

Friday, August 03, 2007

bunny bun bun's near death experience

i thought a bunny was a really low-maintenance pet. then i took him to the vet to clip his teeth which he was not successfully gnawing down. the vet (so nice, from no. ireland near where i used to live) gave me a wake up call on that. i'll tell you, you read that website once and you'll be having bunny heart attacks daily thinking your bunny is dying. now i know why they have so many babies. their bunny morbidity rate is pretty high.
s'anyway, bunny stopped pooping. this is bad, bad, bad. if bunnies don't poop, they don't eat and if they don't eat for 12 hours THEY DIE INSTANTLY! i'm sayin'.
but, i got bunny to the vet just in the nick of time and i'm shoving medecine down his gullet twice a day and he's much better. hippity hopping around the apartment and backyard again. phew.
i guess, come the fall, i'll bring bun to my classroom, as long as none of the kids are allergic. i'll have to do it on a low-teaching day, like the first week or the day before thanksgiving vacation. because, i could be on fire and those kids wouldn't notice or care when there's a bunny in the class.
i'm going on vaca. to california next week. i've never been to cali. i'm looking forward to it. i'm doing four days in s.f. and then taking a hippie, vegetarian, pot-smoking bus tour down the coast to l.a. i'll see cannery row, the monterey bay aquarium, the hearst castle. there's communal cooking at night and we camp. i've never been camping. i'm a real city slicker so this should be an adventure. i might even smoke some pot. i heard that it's all genetically modified now. i won't eat gmo food, so i doubt i'll smoke gmo weed. i never really smoked anyway, in my sordid youth.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

vacation's all i've ever wanted. vacation, have to get away!

look at me! two postings in as many days. it's obviously getting to summer vacation. tomorrow is the last day (!!!!!). i'm planning many wonderful things for my summer - making extra money by working - not teaching, rather, observing new teaching fellows teach in summer school. i'm going to use the money to pay off the little bit of debt i have and go to san francisco on vacation in august.
this weekend i'm going to the community of the holy spirit at their house in brewster, ny. this is where the true hippies who became nuns live. i'm going to spend sat. night at their full moon fireside - explanation below.
i hope to spend more time with the sisters this year, esp. as i'll be fostering one or two children soon. i'll need all the spiritual resources i can get!

"Full Moon Firesides" at St. Cuthbert's are relaxed, focused evenings of conversation. Each evening is held on the night of the full moon for that month, which not only recognizes the moon's phase changes, but also allows the meeting to occur on a different day of the week. We hope this enables more people to join us.

We begin with a half hour of drumming, then a half-hour of meditation, followed by an evening where we can learn together what it means to be a powerful, responsible species on Earth. We'll explore some of Brian Swimme's work, throw in some cooking fun in the kitchen, and generally enjoy being "bio-spiritual creatures" together!

Join us for any part of any evening — or come to everything! If you're interested, e-mail us to have your name added to our e-mail notification list.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

gay pride

today was the gay pride march in nyc. this year, spiritual and religious groups went up at the front. i went with my church. it was great fun and very moving.
living in such a liberal place as nyc and in such a liberal diocese i rarely see first-hand the strife that is occuring in the episcopal church. i only hear about it on the news. today i only saw one very small group of people declaring homosexuality to be a sin. i mean, there were maybe 6 people huddled together praying in that group.
sour pusses.
one thing that does give me pause is how easy or difficult it might be for me to live in africa (which is where i'd like to live and work in my vocation as a religious and a teacher/child care-giver). i hear that regular every day people in africa are not too fussed about any issues dealing with sexual orientation. they are just trying to get by and don't have the "luxury" of such problems. but, will the american church pull away from the anglican communion? do i want to be part of the anglican communion if they aren't accepting? these are problems that will reveal their natures as i get closer to my time. i still have to find a convent!
a sister from order of the holy paraclete emailed me recently about their orphanage in swaziland. it has moved to a new site called bulembu village, out of which is run bulembu ministries. i'd like to go visit there next summer.
first, i have a lot to do here. paying my student loans is one of them. you can't go into a convent with debt.
i'm going to an orientation to foster a child or two children. this is something i've been wanting to do before i go. i wish i could have 5 lifetimes to do all i want to (live in spain, foster children, live in africa, be a nun).
i'll write more frequently as summer vacation is coming soon.

Monday, May 21, 2007

bunny bun bun

i got a pet bunny recently. my dog loves him. it's like the dog's pet bunny.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

just for today ...

i'm thinking of becoming an atheist!
i ran my church's street fair today - our biggest fundraiser.
i keep thinking of the expression, work smarter, not harder. we're not doing that at my church.
i'm on the vestry. i teach sunday school. i'm in charge of welcoming newcomers. i'm the streetfair co-chair.
what do atheists do with their free time?
i'll bet they sit in outdoor cafes on the weekends.
when i was young, and not going to church so regularly, i used to sit in cafes. now, i pass by cafes while rushing to yet another event or meeting and look longingly at people sitting outside, reading the times.
even if i was an atheist, i'd probably be a really busy one.
fortunately for me, this was my last year on the street fair, and my vestry term ends in jan. '08.

Friday, April 06, 2007

where did that nice man go?

whenever my boyfriend, john, leaves the house, my dog, music, is bereft. music loves john in a way that i never will. i often say that music is actually john's girlfriend, and that i am the nice lady john has to spend time with so that he can be with music. if i were going to describe this using a ratio, like i did in high school math, i would say that john is to music as jesus is to me. he is her god. when he goes out the door, even for a carton of milk around the corner for 5 minutes, she is deflated.
today, when i got to church, i saw the altar stripped, the eucharist that was consecrated last night was on our side chapel altar. i sat for an hour of "adoration" although i'm not a transubstantialist. as i sat there, thinking of jesus dying, i thought of music and how she seems to feel when her god has left. she always gets this really sad-dog/confused-dog look on her face which causes me to say out loud to her, "where did that nice man go? i love him." so i prayed to god today, "where did that nice man go? i love him."
when my mother was alive, she was in the habit of leaving the house and telling music, who always expected to come with us wherever we were going, "i'm sorry, we're going where doggies can't go." when she died, i thought, she went where doggies and daughters can't go. so, in answer to my own question of "where did that nice man go?" i answered myself, "he went where doggies can't go." (of course, all good dogs do indeed go to heaven.).
it sounds silly, and it is silly, but it's not irreverent. it's making extremely personal, a concept that i find difficult at best to understand. an event that took place 2K years ago, in a land far away, to a person i have heard about all my life but still struggle to get to know.
i hope you are having a blessed holy week.

my dog, music

Thursday, April 05, 2007

the older i get ...

the older i get, the more of a bleeding-heart liberal, tree hugger i become. one of my friends asked me, "how is that even possible?" when i informed her of this. one way it is possible is by checking out blogs and websites i have been reading religiously lately -
no impact man, green as a thistle, tree hugger, and the compact.
i have made a pledge to not buy anything new for one year (knickers and shoes being my own personal exceptions). i compost in my backyard. i have stopped using plastic bags. i am cleaning my house with vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and am phasing out the old shampoos and other lotions, notions, and potions that i currently own in favor of making me own.
i have compact flourescent bulbs in all my lamps. i have plugged nearly everything into power strips which i turn off when not in use. i even unplug the stove. my elec. bill went from about $100/mo. to about $50.
i shop at the health food store and greenmarket pretty much exclusively.
i am pals with nuns who are working on a sustainable farm - when hippies become nuns i call it.
i'm only saying this because it's all easy to do. i'm not as extreme as no impact man or vanessa of green as a thistle. i'm saving beaucoup bucks by going to the thrift store, which also means i'm helping support a worthy charity as well as helping the planet. unplugging everything is easy when it's all plugged into strips - and that elec. bill should be motivation for everyone.
so, i'm seeing more of my paycheck stay in the bank and i get to feel all warm and fuzzy and ... SMUG! truly, find me someone who doesn't love feeling smug deep down inside.

Saturday, March 31, 2007


i went to the ceremony of the life profession of sr. lilli ana of the community of the holy spirit today. the bishop suffragan of ny, catherine roskam, performed the profession. the presiding bishop of the episcopal church of the u.s.a., catherine jefferts schiori was also there! that was a surprise - a very pleasant one. the homily was done by winnie varghese, who is the chaplain at columbia u. when it came time for the eucharist, i had a moment of god's grace and joy when i watched bishop roskam give the eucharist to bishop schiori and then they both gave the bread to the community and guests, while winnie and sr. lilli ana gave the wine. it was episcogirlorama!
we women are taking over the world you know.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

the a word

i was just reading ask sister mary martha today about burying a statue of st. joseph upside down in your backyard and she says you have to mark the spot so you can dig him up once your house is sold b/c you have to take him with you and venerate him in your new house.
this reminded me of a story from my own church, holy trinity.
every year the sunday school children and teachers make a banner that says allelulia and bury it in the garden of our church to bring home the idea that during lent we don't say the a word and are more sober. on easter sunday the sunday school dig up the banner and bring it into church as part of the ceremony and we all say allelulia. one year, the kids were seriously late coming in and they were sans banner. turns out, they couldn't find the spot where they buried it. the teachers were digging all over the garden trying to find it and the kids were laughing and saying, oooooh! you're in trouble! so, the following year, the sunday school leaders decided to mark the spot with a small, homemade cross. when they went back to the spot at the end of lent to get the banner, they found two crosses! they reckoned that someone saw the first cross and took it for a pet cemetery and buried their own pet there and marked the spot with a cross!
hope everyone is having a blessed lent.

Monday, March 19, 2007

lent, so far

i love lent and i'm really enjoying this year. i don't give stuff up so much as take on spiritual practices that i really want to concentrate on.
this year i'm meditating more. i'm also doing the artist's way workbook, which is really opening me up a lot. i've added spiritual movies and documentaries to my netflix queue.
last night i watched monsieur ibrahim, with omar sharif. it was an outstanding film and i highly recommend it. i also recommend the magazine, spirituality and health. it comes out every two months and i have been subscribing for years. they have, among other great articles, a regular review of spiritual movies - from documentaries to "regular" hollywood or foreign movies that are in some way uplifting.
i'm really getting a lot out of this experience and am looking forward to holy week. i have a vacation from school during holy week (it doesn't always coincide), so i plan to go to the community of the holy spirit, where i am an associate, for holy week services.
blessed lent everyone!

Saturday, February 24, 2007


i'm thinking of entering a convent in zimbabwe. i want to work with aids orphans, and there aren't a ton of anglican convents that do that, as far as i can tell. there are two in zimbabwe that i've found. i recently met with a priest who used to live in zimbabwe and who knows these orders fairly well. she had some good, sound advice. i'm going to visit zimbabwe this summer and spend a couple of weeks at these convents to see what the holy spirit has to say about it all.
i heard someone recently say that you can't will something to happen, but you can be willing. i'm working hard on being willing. i wish i had five lifetimes because there's so much i want to do. i want to foster children here in nyc. i want to live someplace warm and sunny all year round. i want to be a religious. i guess i'm trying to do all that in one place. but, i have to keep reminding myself that i'm not in charge of all this. i keep turning it over to god.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

lenten practice

most years, rather than give something up for lent, i take on a spiritual practice. i went to the open center bookstore last week and stocked up on the artist's way workbook, and a thich nhat hahn meditation cd to listen to on the subway, when i am at my most aggressive.
i'm already opening up from just a few days of doing the artist's way, esp. writing three pages stream of consciousness in the morning. it helps that i'm also on vacation from school this week. that makes me more open to the universe in general. i've spent the last couple of days doing my lenten work, going to the gym to swim (where i get my best praying done) and just relax in the sauna.
i love lent. it's perfect that it takes place in winter, when it's so cold and dark outside. it's such a quiet, introverted time and winter is when i have the least energy and want to stay in with candles burning and just be, rather than do. i think lent is like the spiritual version of saying, 5 more minutes, to god, pulling the spiritual covers closer and snuggling in with the holy spirit.
i'm also renting spiritual documentaries this lent. i just watched an inconvenient truth. i wish it had more of a message of hope, more here's what you can do to help. maybe i'll start by getting some house plants.
i wish you a blessed, quiet, soft lent.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

belfast photos

iused to live in belfast, northern ireland. i lived on the falls road - in the middle of republican i.r.a. land, just down the road from gerry adams. no. ireland has been in the news lately so i dug out my photos to upload.
i truly believe the reason that things are calming down there are economic. everyone is comfortable, so there is no need for terrorism. actually, now the loyalists are the problem, because they have lost their status and position.
people in no. ireland compare their situation with israel/palestine all the time. i hope that no. ireland can help the situation in the middle east.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

what lawyers do - according to a 2nd grader

today i was reading a biography about abraham lincoln, to prepare my 2nd grade class of immigrant kids for the american holiday of president's day. i read that he became a lawyer. i asked the students if they knew what a lawyer was. one girl raised her hand and i said, ok, what does a lawyer do? she replied that they make a lot of money and they talk a lot! i laughed my head off and told her that was true. in that case, all the chatty girls in my class decided they could become lawyers and get paid for talking! i asked my student who told her that about lawyers and she said her mom. all the kids have experienced the pains of trying to get a green card or citizenship.

Friday, January 26, 2007


we had a u2charist at my church last week. it was to promote the episcopal church's dedication to the millenium development goals. it was a eucharist with both recorded and live playing of u2 songs in the place of hymns - the processional, offertory, etc. imagine karaoke, in church, and you're stone cold sober. it was a fund raiser for a charity in tanzania that sends girls to school. it costs $50 to send a girl to school for a year and provides her uniform, breakfast, and lunch.
the u2charist was a lot of fun! i did some karaoke in japan stone cold sober - although not in a church - so i'm ok with that idea.
it was one of the better episcopal services that i've been to in a while. we are known as god's frozen people and that's no joke. the traditional service is beautiful and austere but has very little joy to it. this was a joyful but serious-minded service.

on another note entirely - everyone must leave this blog at once and read ask sister mary martha. it's a blog by a "catholic nun" but i believe it's written by a fabulous gay man with incredible knowledge of the catholic church - perhaps a priest is writing it. every time i read it i laugh my head off.

Monday, January 01, 2007

happy new year

last night i went to a meditation at a yoga center here in nyc - jivamukti. every new year's eve they have a silent meditation from 9 pm till midnight, then chanting from midnight on. i have been going for 6 years now. i bring my diary from the year that is ending and read through it all the way, remembering happy moments, wincing at the "growth opportunities" that presented themselves to me throughout the year. then i write one last entry, then meditate until midnight. the main room becomes absolutely packed with people - there are maybe 200 to 250 (?) of us by the time it gets to midnight. i resolved to spend 2007 asking God for her will and trying to live that out. i had a slightly ecstatic experience while meditating - there's some really good energy going on in a room of 250 meditating new yorkers!
i'm hoping to go to zimbabwe this summer to visit the convent i'm interested in for a couple of weeks. things seem to be unsettled there now so i'm not sure how easy it will be to travel there this year but i'm working towards putting the money aside for the trip.
i found a fabulous fake nun blog (i think it's written by a gay man with a wicked sense of humour). it's called ask sister mary martha and it is about an 8th grade math teacher nun who lives with two other sisters in her dwindling order. every entry i read has me howling with laughter. it reminds me of sr. frances.
alas, school vacation ends for me tomorrow. i could use another week. i've so enjoyed my time off, going to spiritual meetings, meditations, the gym, seeing old friends - it's been so relaxing. but, i'm looking forward to seeing the kids and i'm much easier on them these days.
i brought the class pet (two hamsters, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln) home for the vacation. i have a golden retriever, Music. watching her watch that hamster cage reminds me of when my great-aunt Becky, the matriarch of the family, was alive. she would sit in front of the t.v. in her house coat with a beer and a ciggie-boo and watch her programs (soap operas). music is so transfixed on those hamsters it's like she's saying to me, "gotta go, my show is on." i've been putting the cage up high so she can't reach it (she's almost as tall as me when she stands on her hind legs!).
happy and healthy new year to you all.