Susan’s Musings

The Rev. Susan B. Bowman’s thoughts and stories on life in the church, life with her grandchildren and other family, holidays, and journey with God.

Once a child . . .

Anybody out there ever want to just go back and just be a child again? Anybody out there want to just play with the kid next door and watch TV and go to movies and not to have to do much more work than just setting the table for dinner?  Well, there are times when I would like to have none of the huge responsibilities I have now – to just be able to sleep late and go to bed early and spend the day coloring or reading or just goofing around with my friends – but, to tell the truth, I don’t want to go back and do it all again. I didn’t much like  the childhood years so I don’t want to do them again – but I sure would like to be able to do some child-like things.

Notice I didn’t say “childish things.” That would be things like grabbing my brother’s Blackberry from him because I’m older and I should have one if he does.  Actually, we all have Blackberrys (my sister, my brother, and I) so I would probably cut him some slack, as long as he’d take me for a ride on his Harley and make me a free car magnet to advertise my book.

I would like to do things like go off for the weekend with my grandmother to see Emmett Otter (the Muppet play) and spend the night in a motel where we would stay up late playing computer games and watching funny videos she gets every day in her email.  Actually, truth be told, I’d really like to have had a grandmother who would like to go to a play like Emmett Otter but that’s only something I can dream about because my grandmother is long gone and now I’m a grandmother with the opportunity to make memories with my grandchildren.

So, did I mention that this weekend I’m taking my granddaughter to see Emmett Otter at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam Connecticut?  Did I tell you that I’m taking my laptop so we can play Adventures in New York, our favorite hidden object game, and that I have a ton of little funny videos on my laptop for us to laugh at together?  Oh, and guess what else we’re doing?  We’re getting pedicures on Saturday mornings and then we’ll have lunch and see the play at 2 pm.  After that we’re off for home by way of the local outlet mall where I plan for us to do some serious Christmas shopping.

Am I a good grandmother or what?  Well, that’s part of the reason for these great plans – but if you want to know the truth, I am more excited about our trip than she is.  I can’t wait to spend quality time with her – just the two of us.  And I totally love the muppets, I love “sleeping over” in a motel, playing computer games, watching funny videos, and pedicures are just the best!  So, while I do love making memories with my granddaughter, I also love being able to do all the “child-like” things she is getting to do – and – I will have some very precious memories as well.

So, while I really am a good grandmother, I am also a complete hedonist when it comes to my grandchildren.  The more time I get to spend with them, the more time I want to spend with them and I’ll do most anything they want to do and that’s not just because I want to be with them – I love doing the same things!  Like movies – I loved Madagascar II and one of the few movies I have ever watched more than once is “Ice Age” and we’ve all seen it at least 20 times!  I love cartoons and I love to laugh, but more than that, I love to teach my grandchildren to laugh and give them as many opportunities as possible to laugh and to do as many fun things as I can find for them to do so they will have great stories to tell their own children someday – stories about what a crazy and fun great-grandmother they had.  Of course, the past tense assumes that I won’t be around to show them myself and that will probably be the case – but one can hope!

So here’s what I think about all this – “once a child, always a child.”  That doesn’t mean that we can or should live like a child and neglect our adult responsibilities – it just means that we should never, ever lose the ability to play like a child, laugh like a child, and love like a child.  If you have trouble holding on to that, write me – I’ll be glad to help you find ways to recapture your childlike memories or to make some new ones – maybe with someone you love who would love to share them too.  I’ll let you know how we liked Emmett Otter!

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    Susan Bowman, the “LadyFather” has written a book on her experiences in the ordained ministry.  Aptly named “Lady Father,” it is now available for purchase on  Register below to receive her newsletter and important emails and don’t forget to check out Susan’s Facebook page at

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    What Are You Thankful For?

    I know the title is poor grammar but it’s still better than “For What Are You Thankful” or “What Are the Things For Which You Are Thankful?”  I am a grammar perfectionist but sometimes it’s just going a little too far.  This is one of those times.  So – that’s the question on this Tuesday before Thanksgiving – “What are you thankful for?”

    For myself, I am thankful first of all today that I am once again sitting in an airport waiting to board a flight to Virginia.  This one is for fun – not a funeral like the last trip (see previous post about my hero who died) – but I am still thankful for the same thing, namely that I am able to make the trip, that I can afford to buy the ticket, and that I have people who are important enough to me that I will take time off from work and spend a good amount of money to fly off to see them.  There was a time in my life when I either had to drive or just stay home and, quite frankly, I keep expecting that time to catch up with me again.

    Being thankful is a state of mind as well as a spiritual experience.  What I mean by this is that when we are grateful for something, this is a feeling that comes from the spirit; when we say that we are grateful, it becomes an intellectual process.  We feel gratefulness, we say to ourselves “we are grateful,” and then we have to allow our brains to move those words into our mouths so that they can be spoken out loud.  This is how we let the world know that we are thankful for something and it’s also how we express these deep feelings.

    I am going to spend Thanksgiving with my sister and her husband in Virginia.  When we sit down for the wonderful

    "Thank you for this food."
    “Thank you for this food.”

    Thanksgiving dinner Ginny and all of us have prepared, Joe always gives us all the opportunity to say what we are thankful for this year.  It’s a great time around the table as we all get to let our loved ones know the things that have happened to us during the year and how we feel about them.  There is no better way to begin Thanksgiving dinner and it always occurs to me that we should start every meal, in fact, every day that way.  Putting ourselves in a thankful mode helps us to focus on the positive side of life and that is the way to live a healthy life.  Focusing on the negative is a sure-fire way to be unhealthy and unhappy; it’s really difficult to keep thinking of the negative side of life when we are saying “thank you” on a regular basis.

    So, tomorrow, when you gather around your Thanksgiving table, take a few moments to share with everyone the things that you are thankful for and add them to the list when those thanks are offered to God.

    Give a turkey something to be thankful for!

    Wishing you a Happy Turkey Day and many things for which to be thankful (how’s that grammar?) . . .

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      Susan is a professional writer and she has written her own book on her experience in the ordination process of the Episcopal Church.  Lady Father is now available on  Register below to receive her newsletter and important emails and don’t forget to read more of Susan’s writings on her Facebook page a

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      Loss of yet Another Hero

      Another hero is gone.   Today I received sad news – the Bishop who ordained me – the Rt. Rev. C. Charles Vaché – has died.  He was 83 years old and I had heard recently that he had Alzheimer’s.  When I heard that, I felt the loss already as that wicked disease takes a person twice.  My mother, who was my all-time greatest hero, died from pneumonia after suffering for more than 5 years with Alzheimer’s and when she finally went, I was relieved.  She had left us long ago – for the last 3-4 years of her life, she didn’t even know who she was, much less any of us.  I have to admit that I didn’t even go to see her the last few times I was in Virginia because I couldn’t bear looking at her.

      She hardly looked like herself because the sparkle was gone.  Even though I could still detect a little piece of her, she was almost mean.  Once when I was there, I had found a tooth beside her bed on the table and the nurse and I tried to get her to open her mouth so we could see if it was her tooth.  She wouldn’t sit up – wouldn’t even open her eyes or her mouth and kept cursing at us to leave her alone – this was all after she feigned sleep for about 20 minutes. I cried for hours after I left her that day.

      Her characteristic shuffling gait of the Alzheimer’s patient made me so sad when I saw her that I could hardly breathe. She was such a vital and active person – always working in her garden or “piddling” around the house as my Dad called it. Watching her move all stooped over with no apparent purpose was agony for me and, although people say that Alzheimer’s patients aren’t aware of a lot of this, I don’t buy it. She was miserable – I could see it in her eyes. There was not much there but what was there was misery – for her and for me and everyone who knew and loved her.

      So, I’m glad that I haven’t seen Charles Vaché since he was stricken with the big A. My last memory of him was of the most gracious human being and the consummate bishop. I am going to be adding a tribute to him to this blog and sending it to the Diocesan newspaper in Southern Virginia but I feel constrained today to write today about the loss of yet another hero in my life.

      Charles Vaché was a man of principle and a spiritual giant. Since the 1970’s when women began to make their voices heard in the Episcopal Church, he had been a staunch opponent of the move in the National Church to allow women to serve in leadership and sacramental roles in the Church. He “led the charge” at General Conventions and House of Bishops’ meetings against any attempt to allow women to serve as Eucharistic Ministers, members of Vestry, Wardens, and as ordained clergy (deacon or priest). When I approached the door to the ordination process, he had summarily closed it in the face of many other women and it didn’t look promising to me except that, at the time, I had fooled myself into thinking that I “just wanted to do youth work” and so wasn’t pursuing ordination. “I only wanted to go to seminary,” I said.

      When he agreed to allow me to attend seminary, he said that he was concerned about what I would do if I wasn’t ordained after seminary but he “would send me for a year and then we would see.” Now I know that he knew that I was headed for ordination. The rest of the story is in my book “Lady Father” and he was a large part of that painful journey.  But as I think about him now, I don’t believe that he ever discriminated against me. I think he knew from the beginning that I was called by God to be a priest and that even he could not get in the way of that. From the moment I spoke to him on that Saturday morning in 1980, he and I were partners in my journey towards ordination and, for that, he is and will always be, my hero.

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        Susan Bowman, the “LadyFather” has written a book on her experiences in the ordained ministry.  Aptly named “Lady Father,” it is now available for purchase on  Register below to receive her newsletter and important emails and don’t forget to check out Susan’s Facebook page at

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        I’m “Out Straight!”

        I had never heard the phrase “out straight” until I moved to Hoosick Falls, NY and a woman I knew there said it all the time.  If you don’t know what it means, let me give you an example:  “I have a full-time job, I’m writing 2 ebooks, trying to get my new apartment arranged, and keeping up this blog – I’m out straight!”  So, it means working so hard that your legs are out straight behind you or that your coattails are out straight in the wind or you are just lying out straight on the floor from the exertion of it all.

        I am definitely “out straight!”  By the way, the example is me and to add to it, my keyboard is sticking.  I cleaned it out as I was advised – got out lots of dust, etc. and now it sticks worse than ever.  What’s that about?  That’s another of my favorite sayings – I use it whenever something happens that just doesn’t make sense or when someone does something that is beyond stupid – what’s that about?

        You know, my Dad was the king of “sayings” and I think I’m well on the way to overtaking his position.  He is famous in our family and all over the east coast for things like “You get used to hanging if you hang long enough” and “That doesn’t mean pea-turkey to me.”  (Anybody know what a “pea-turkey” is?)  My brother and I call them “Howardisms” (his name was Howard – duh) and have often thought of writing a book – only problem is we can’t remember them all until we get together and start shooting them off at each other – then they come so fast we can’t get them out, much less write them down.  But I think I’m going to have a massive amount of my own sayings before I meet up with Dad again in the hereafter.

        My all-time favorite is “get a grip.”  It can mean, “get hold of yourself” – like stop whining/belly-aching – or “get in touch with reality” – as in “no way!”  A close second is “get over yourself” which means basically, “don’t take yourself so seriously” or “whatever is bugging you, let go of it and get over it.”

        My grandchildren think I’m a little strange although they have caught on to some of my crazy sayings now that they have reached the age of reason – well, almost.   The first time I got in the car, turned on the ignition and turned around to say, “We’re off to see the wizard,” they looked at me as if they had found me behind a curtain pulling levers and shouting,”I am the great Oz!”  That’s because they didn’t have a single clue what wizard I was referring to and when I said incredulously, “the Wizard of Oz, of course,” they really thought I had gone off the deep end with the flying monkeys.

        I have since educated them about the Wonderful Wizard of Oz and have sung the song so they now totally get it when I jump in the car yelling, “We’re off to see the wizard!”  Of course, neither of them has any idea what a pea-turkey is any more than I did at their age.  I’m not sure I know any better now but from the way my Dad always used it, I presume it was something very small and insignificant – kind of like when you say something isn’t worth “one red cent” or “the paper it’s written on.”  Like a pea-hen, a pea-turkey must be some small and relatively stupid bird that is only valuable once a year but you’d have to have a lot of them for a decent Thanksgiving dinner.

        Another one of my favorites is the “pity pot” or “pity party” as “get off it,” which is probably what you are all thinking when I complain about being “out straight” or when I start moaning about it being colder than a “well-digger’s donkey” (well, I was told to keep my blog clean) up here in New York.  I’m sure you’d all say something like “C’mon Susan – get off your pity pot – nobody gives pea-turkey about how cold it is in upstate New York this year – you’re not the only one who is out straight right now so get a grip because it’ll be all right – after all, you get used to hanging if you hang long enough.  So, get over yourself!”

        So, what do you think – “Susanisms?”  “Get a grip Susan!”

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          Susan Bowman, the “LadyFather” has written a book on her experiences in the ordained ministry.  Aptly named “Lady Father,” it is now available for purchase on  Scroll down and register to receive her newsletter and important emails and don’t forget to check out Susan’s Facebook page at

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          Kids Still Say the Darndest Things

          Remember Art Linkletter?  He used to do that program with the little kids who were sitting on chairs in a line on a platform so that he could sit on the edge of it and be face-to-face with the boys and girls.  It was called “Kids Say the Darndest Things” and I heard some of the funniest stuff on TV then and now on that program.

          Well, his premise is still true today.  Kids, with their innocence and literal thinking process absolutely say “the darnedest things,” and we adults continue to laugh at them.   At church a few weeks ago, I had asked a little girl to bring up an object (a surprise to me) during the church offering segment of the worship service for me to use for an “object lesson.”  This is a little “sermon” I use to teach the children (even the adult children!) which I call the Wonder Box – because the object is usually brought up in a box and I “wonder what’s in it.”  I actually learned this from a clergy colleague years ago and it still stands me well, partly because “kids still say the darnedest things.”

          Anyway, this 5-year-old brought her mother with her and together they handed me a crucifix which did not have a body on it.  It was just a cross with holes in the two ends on the cross-beam and in the bottom of the cross.  Her mother explained to me that when they had moved, the body had come off of the cross and they were hesitant to put it back on because they didn’t know how they felt about nailing Jesus on the cross.

          Wow!  What a sermon opening!  No preacher could get this one wrong.  I started like I always do by asking the child or children some questions to identify the object – like, “What is this?” and “What do we do with this?”  I asked the little girl what the object was and she looked at me like I was a dunderhead and said, “It’s a cross.”  Then I asked her, “Why are there holes in the cross?”  Again, she looked at me like she couldn’t believe I didn’t know the answers to these obvious questions and then she leaned forward and whispered to me, “They were for the nails – to keep him on the cross.”  Before I could say a word, she turned to the congregation and said, in a loud voice, “I guess she doesn’t know about Jesus and the nails.”

          Needless to say, she brought down the house!  She didn’t know why everyone was laughing but she looked very proud that she had obviously said something very clever.  She turned around and beamed at me and said, “I can tell you about him if you like.”  Well, I was undone.  It was at least 2 minutes before I could speak an intelligent word.  And then, all I could say was “Great – tell me.”  And she did.

          What a wonderful model for a Christian and for a preacher.  She showed us all that it’s not only OK to talk about our beliefs, it’s a necessary thing if everyone is going to have the same information.  She illustrated for us all how easy it can be to talk about what we believe and how natural it is.  My favorite thing about the whole encounter was her facial expressions which made it abundantly clear that she was appalled at how little I knew about someone as important as Jesus.

          I guess my point today is – as someone once said, wisdom comes “Out of the mouths of babes” more often than it does from adults because the children have not yet learned to be afraid of saying something stupid or wrong.  They just say what they know.  They have not yet become self-conscious about much of anything, which lets them speak their minds without all the qualifications we adults have to add in order to sound intelligent.  Most adults would have answered my questions like so (if indeed they spoke up at all):  “What is this?”  “It looks like a cross.”  (God forbid they should be wrong so they hedge a little.)  “Why are there holes in the cross?”   “I’m not sure – maybe to hold it up on the wall or to hold a jewel or some other decoration.  What do you think?”  Another hedge….

          Kids don’t hesitate or hedge or try to keep from sounding stupid.  They just tell it like it is and the result is – they sound smart.  Oh that we adults could say the darnedest things again!

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            Susan Bowman, the “LadyFather” has written a book on her experiences in the ordained ministry.  Aptly named “Lady Father,” it is now available for purchase on  Fill out the form below now to receive a publication announcement and check out Susan’s Facebook page at

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            Can We Talk?

            Can we talk?  The well-known catch phrase coined by Joan Rivers (not one of my favorites but I do like the phrase enough to ignore where it comes from) that means something on the order of “I have something on my mind.”

            Here’s what’s on my mind – every so often I “wax nostalgic” and my mind spins down memory lane to check out all the stops along the way. I’m not sure why – I don’t like to dwell on things and I try hard to let go of the bad stuff and concentrate on the good stuff – but I still do it occasionally. It’s usually triggered by a current event or by an object with memories attached, which is the culprit this time.

            I moved last Saturday – downsizing from a rather roomy 2 bedroom apartment with a sun room, a large living room, 2 bathrooms, a dining room, and a large kitchen to a 1-bedroom apartment with a large living room, but no dining room, a bath and a half, a tee-niney kitchen, and a bedroom about half the size of my former digs. So, as you can imagine, I spent the last month or so cleaning out, sorting, discarding, and – yes – pondering the past as it appeared from closets, boxes, and shelves.

            When you read my book, you will understand why pondering the past is not particularly pleasant for me. In 20 years of ministry, I have been rejected, patronized, ignored, yelled at, accused, and – worst of all – betrayed by people I thought were my friends. In the ordination process, I faced blatant discrimination by men and women alike, lay and clergy, even Bishops and then as I innocently launched into parish ministry, I discovered that most church folks, even those who say they think women make fine priests and they have no problem with women being ordained, harbor an insidious bias that is both hurtful and destructive to all parties.

            I survived. I didn’t always feel like surviving and I didn’t always think I was doing it very well, but when I look back, I can honestly say – “I survived the best I could.” What I mean is that I met discrimination and prejudice head-on and I responded every time with understanding and compassion – what I call “taking the high road.” I figured early on that if I met those negative attitudes with another negative attitude, I would just be proving the critics right. I would just be showing them and the rest of the world that women are indeed too emotional to be spiritual leaders, too flighty to be good managers, and too focused on the cause of women in the ministry to pay attention to the needs of a parish.

            I worked very hard at controlling my unattractive and unproductive emotions, at being responsible, organized, and effective at the administrative duties that I quite frankly despised and didn’t really do too well, and at making the “main thing” the “main thing.” When I first arrived in Albany, New York – the first woman to be the Rector of a parish in the Diocese of Albany, I told our then Bishop, David Ball, that he would never find me on the steps of the capitol with a placard and he would never hear of me preaching anything from my pulpit but Jesus and him crucified. I made it clear that I was not a “cause fighter” and that I was a priest – not a woman priest and nothing more than any other priest in the church and I did not intend to change anyone’s mind about women’s ordination.

            I believe that my practice of “just being the best priest I could be” made more of a difference in the lives of people I encountered with my “priest hat” on than any argument I could have presented to them. Time after time, in parishes all over Southeastern Virginia and then in Albany, New York, I was greeted after a service by a man or a woman grabbing my hand and saying something like, “I didn’t think women should be ordained until I met you” or “I started not to come today but I’m glad I did – you’re OK in my book.”

            Did I look like this?
            Did I look like this?

            Besides all those noble reasons, I found myself feeling compassion for these critics out of my own discomfort. It was easily 2, maybe 3, years before I could look at myself in the mirror before a service without thinking, “How strange!” I had to honestly admit my own reservations about women being priests, which I had to quash before entering the process and still I felt that “strange” little twist for a long time. It made me much more patient with those slower than I to take that leap.

            If you’re a woman in the ordained ministry, in the process of ordination, in seminary, or just living out your ministry in non-traditional ways, you have most likely faced some of the same situations and issues I have and I would love to hear from you. I can commiserate, offer consolation and even advice if you want it, and I will assure you that you too will survive. I did it and so can you.

            So, can we talk?

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              Susan Bowman, is an ordained Episcopal Priest, a Grandmother, and a Professional Writer. She was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1986 and has a story to tell that will speak to all women who are functioning in a traditionally male role.  She has written a book about her experiences of discrimination within the church’s ordination process and in the parishes she served. It is now available on Fill out the form below to enter your contact information.

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              Lady Father is on Vacation

              Thunder Hole
              Thunder Hole

              What a great word – Vacation! I guess it comes from the word “vacate,” which of course means to exit from, get away from, or empty. So, what’s so great about all that? Check out that picture! Being able to visit places like Thunder Hole in the Acadia National Park in Maine is made possible when you exit from or get away from the normal everyday things of life – work, unpacking, thinking about work, and thinking about unpacking (I just moved and left all the still-packed boxes to vacate!) – those are the things that I’ve been trying to empty from my mind since Tuesday, when I took off with my two grandchildren for the coast of Maine.

              We are having a ball! We spent the first night in Kennebunk, ME at a sweet little place called Kennebunk Gallery Cottages. We had a two-room cottage with a bed for each of us, a kitchen, and WI-FI so we could check the ole email and play a few games. We found a fabulous restaurant in the AAA Tour Book – Warren’s House of Lobster – and the kids had their first lobster in Maine and I slurped up the best bowl of Lobster Stew I’d ever had (that was soon to change). We gave the restaurant a hearty 3 1/2 to 4 stars as we finished with ice cream and strawberry shortcake. The next morning we headed for the Funtown/Splashtown amusement park in Saco, ME where the kids rode gross roller coasters while I watched, we all drove the bumper cars which slammed my knee against the car and left a huge bruise and a very stiff and sore joint, and we ate fried dough and dipping dots.

              We took off up the coast of Maine to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor and thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful drive along the coastal towns until we all began to whine  “are we there yet?” and “how much longer is it?” But we made it, found our motel, the Cromwell Harbor Motel, dumped our stuff in the very nice room, and took off for Poor Boy’s Gourmet restaurant where we had our free meal – our 2nd lobster in 2 days. We decided it rated a 4 as the service was great, the lobsters were wonderful, and the ambience made it a more relaxing experience than the night before. We moved up Main St, found a killer ice cream store and t-shirt shops, where we shopped and spent more $ but had a wonderful time picking out gifts for Scott and Stacey (my son & daughter-in-law back home), t-shirts for ourselves, and just being tourists.

              Unsuccessful Whale Watchers

              We slept in the next morning, had a late free breakfast (part of our package), toured the town a little and then got in line to board the Friendship V – a whale watch boat. We were all so excited at the prospect of seeing whales – but alas, it was not to be. We enjoyed the trip out as the kids ran in and out of the galley (where I had propped my very sore knee up on a bench with some hot chocolate), pumped with adrenalin as they scoured the horizon for the 4 signs of a whale:  the water spout, a tail in the air, a rounded back skimming the water, or splashing water.  They never even saw a hint of any of those things – and neither did anyone else. By the time we headed back for shore, we were bummed out, slightly sick feeling, and totally ready to be back on solid land. We made it back and took off for Acadia.

              Jared Emily-CadillacMountain
              Jared & Emily on Cadillac Mountain

              Thunder Hole was quiet as it was low tide, but the scenery was amazing and the kids ran all over the rocks on Cadillac Mountain until we were ready to eat again. We had a reservation at the Jordan Pond House – a beautiful place in the center of Acadia with killer food and – popovers! They are very light and airy rolls about the size of a cantaloupe and they are good with butter BUT the best was yet to come as they also are served with ice cream in the middle and covered with chocolate sauce. Great way to cap off another delicious meal. The kids had prime rib and I had another Lobster Stew, which far surpassed the 1st one a few nights before. We decided we had finally had enough lobster and headed back to the room.

              Friday we were off – left Bar Harbor after Jared spilled his butter (liquid because his bagel was hot) on his brand new Del Sol t-shirt (the Bar Harbor picture on the front changes from black and white to bright colors in the sunlight) and had to change. We survived that and headed for Augusta where the kids had a ball in a Children’s Discovery Museum. They played bank teller, cook, waiter/waitress, actor/actress, heavy construction engineer, and rhythm drummer. We got some lunch and then headed for our last stop.

              This is a laid-back Moose!
              This is a laid-back Moose!

              The Maine Wildlife Farm is a place for injured or sick wild animals and those raised in captivity that cannot live in the wild. Here’s the first one we saw – he’s hard to see because he was in the shade but – trust me – he is huge!  His antlers are obvious and his eyes are just below them – his mouth is dead center at the bottom of the picture. He never batted an eye when we took pictures – just laid there probably thinking something like “it’s another stupid human acting like an idiot over a moose!” Anyway, we enjoyed the animals although it was a very long walk, the old lady at the gate wouldn’t let us take a wheelchair because “they all have to be back by 4:30 (it was 4:19).” It was tough with my sore knee but we had such fun until we stopped to take pictures of the coyote. I stepped close to the fence right into a hole, twisted my ankle and, you guessed it, slammed my already damaged knee into the fence, rendering it almost useless. We struggled a little further to the bears and by that time it was obvious I wasn’t going to make the long walk back so Emily & Jared flagged down a Ranger in a cart, who took me to the car while the kids jogged along. I was never so happy to see anybody in my life but the kids didn’t seem to get it as I was heading for the gate and the parking lot when Jared said in horror, “Aren’t we going to see the mountain lions?” He was appropriately apologetic when he saw my knee in living color later that evening.

              We got to our motel shortly after that, found a great little restaurant where we feasted on Sirloin Steak and Roasted Turkey. Had a great room with 2 huge beds – most comfortable place yet – slept in until 10:00 then took off for Pine River Pond in New Hampshire to my sister’s lakeside home, where Scott and Stacey awaited their long-lost kids. It was a wonderful week and, thanks to Labor Day, we still have several days to relax and recuperate. You know your vacation was a success when you have to get over it! Now I can get back to my book and I’ll also continue my musings and previews of the upcoming publication of “Lady Father.”


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                God’s Still Working on Me

                I now believe with all my heart that God’s still working on me. The firmness of this belief is mostly the result of my journey with God to the ordained priesthood. But, some years ago I learned a song  that I’ve never been able to put out of my head.  I only remembered the first few lines but I found it on the internet, where you can find virtually anything!  Here it is:
                God's Making Me What I Want to Be
                God’s Still Working on Me!
                He’s still working on me to make me what I ought to be.
                It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,
                The Sun and the Earth and Jupiter and Mars.
                How loving and patient He must be, He’s still working on me.
                There really ought to be a sign upon my heart,
                Don’t judge me yet, there’s an unfinished part.
                But I’ll be perfect just according to His plan
                Fashioned by the Master’s loving hands.
                In the mirror of His Word reflections that I see
                Make me wonder why He never gave up on me.
                He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray
                Remember He’s the Potter, I’m the clay
                Of course, the name of this song is “God’s Still Working on Me.” I learned it while working with youth groups and I always liked it. I thought it had a good message for the kids. Little did I know at the time, but God was indeed still working on me. The point of bringing up this song is twofold:
                1. I am a work in progress, always have been, and always will be.
                2. At this writing, I’m still working on my memoir “Lady Father” and have been for years, but will not always be – in fact, I’m more than halfway finished so sign up to be on my Announcement List and I’ll let you know when it’s ready. (NOTE: Since writing this, I have finished Lady Father and it is available on many book distributors, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble..)

                  The School of Theology
                  The School of Theology
                This book I’m writing has been rolling around in my head and my heart for about 5 years now. I even started on it during a 2-week Fellow-in-Residence stay in Sewanee. I wrote every day for 2 weeks and came home with a lot of my journey stored on a floppy disk, which is now “God knows where.”  I have checked out all the old “floppies” I have and somehow all that work has disappeared.
                After ranting and raving for a little bit about the monumental waste of time it was to work that hard and then lose it, I now have a theory. It is simple:  It wasn’t time yet.  First of all, I hadn’t worked through all the pain and angst of those days. Secondly, there was still more of the journey to come that shouldn’t be left out of it.  It’s sort of Paul Harvey’s “rest of the story” if you will.
                So much has happened within my life in the church since then that I am actually glad to have started again. It has flowed much more smoothly as I have learned so much more about myself and how my journey affected my life. I am so much more comfortable writing about the uncomfortable things, that this feels like the right time.
                I think it’s because of three things:
                1. I have completed the active ministry part of my life as an ordained woman in the church so it feels like a natural place to stop and reflect.
                2. I have a new perspective on my experiences as I am now able to “look in on it” from the edge of it instead of in the middle of it. I’m not totally “outside of it” but I can see it all better than I ever been able to before.
                3. I have a new motive for writing this book than I did before. At that time, I wanted to expose it all – to warn other women to watch out for the pitfalls I had not seen looming ahead of me and. I suppose I needed to garner some sympathy for all the pain and grief I had endured.
                My motive now is rooted in my new-found, transfigured faith that God did indeed call me to be a priest in his Church. I now believe that he used me to make a difference in the lives of many people. Also, I am comfortable a new-found knowledge. I know that I now have the God-given talent, the opportunity, and the means to use my experience to help other women. I particularly want to help those who may be facing the same attitudes. I know there are many women who may not have a support system to turn to for encouragement and advice. Many do not have a safe place to ventilate, share, and reflect with someone who has “been there.”
                Maybe you’ve been there – maybe you’re there now – maybe you can see it coming – maybe you just want to be prepared for your journey.  Whatever – just add a comment – or email me.  Oh yeah, and don’t forget to get a copy of “Lady Father” now that it’s finished – or at least it’s at the place where it made sense to publish it.  I know that it will never be finished because

                God’s still working on me!

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                Susan Bowman, is an ordained Episcopal Priest, a Grandmother, and a Professional Writer.  She was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1986 and has a story to tell that will speak to all women who are functioning in a traditionally male role.  She has written a book about her experiences of discrimination within the church’s ordination process and in the parishes she served.  Lady Father is now available for purchase on Fill in the form below to enter contact information securely.

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