Saturday, December 31, 2005


As I'm contemplating my resolutions, I'm thinking that one of them might be to be a more positive person. This might surprise my friends as I'm often the optimist of the bunch. I guess I'm thinking of being more positive as I think of my call and the transitioning world around me. Perhaps I mean less anxious -- and a way of going about that, I think, is to acknowledge the positives in the world.

And so, for the eve of the new year, a very short list of things (trivial and monumental) that I love at the moment:

My family -- in all of its craziness -- husband and son, in-laws and immediates, distant weird ones who talk too much and close ones who don't talk at all. I love you.

My new sparkly house shoes -- who would have thought that olive green could look so good with sparkles. I knew I really loved them when I retrieved the paper in them this morning and gasped as I saw they'd gotten wet.

My friends -- in all of your incarnations -- the ones with whom I've stayed up all night talking and laughing and those who only know me as 'pink shoes' and are OK with that, near and far, those who have known me since junior high or college and send me Christmas cards even though I've never, ever sent you a card. This is your year, by the way...

My bathrobe -- with its ultimate softness and polka dots -- which I bought on a whim and didn't hesitate for even a moment.

Happy New Year!
What do you love?

Friday, December 30, 2005

RevGal Friday Five: Resolutions

1) Do you make New Year's Resolutions?

2) If so, are they generally successful?
About as successful as the practices to which I attend during Lent. Which is to say -- occasionally. I'm better at keeping resolutions, or attending to spiritual practices if they aren't made in conjunction with a 'formal' event or time. ie, if no one expects me to be making a resolution... However, perhaps my best success was when I resolved to become a better tipper at restaurants. I used to not be a very good tipper, even though I waited tables in college -- now I'm a very conscientious tipper and often generous.

3) Do you write them down, or make a mental list?
Mental list.

4) Even if you don't make resolutions, is there something you want to focus on in the New Year?
I've been thinking about that this week -- and I'm still thinking.

5) And do you have plans for New Year's Eve?
Yep -- we have a SITTER!! because we have early dinner reservations with friends.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Reports and Review

Our annual reports to our bishops are available for filling out and sending in. It was a good moment in my usual-procrastination-filled life that I actually did this yesterday. I mean, I actually filled it out and sent it in.

Filling out this form in which I list what continuing education opportunities I've taken and what my special emphases will be for the next year and what support or encouragement I need for them is an interesting adventure. It's good to review and it's good (for me) to be accountable to someone else. I'm far more productive that way.

Of course there are lots of things that I didn't report to the Bishop -- not that there was space for them, or that I would have wanted to report them, anyway. But I can do that here. So, as I review the past year, here's a partial report. Note: none of these headings actually are on the report.

Re: Preaching and presiding
I've learned that people like my sermons and that my voice doesn't make dog barks when I chant the liturgy as I once thought it did. Some people have even remarked that I have a 'lovely' singing voice. Huh.

Re: Pastoral presence
It's important for me to wear my collar when I go to the hospital or the nursing home. However, I've learned that not only do the old women at the home recognize me as a pastor, they're OK with it. And, I'm OK with the fact that they call me sweetheart and honey. And, for as young as they say that I am, the youth group thinks I'm really not that young. No matter how cool my bowling shoes are. And they're pretty cool.

Re: My surroundings
The suburbs aren't THAT bad. Really. I think. OK, I'm still working on this one -- perhaps a good "growing edge" for next year.

Re: My tolerance for pain
While I still can't stand the thought of getting a shot or having blood drawn or seeing anyone else get a shot or blood drawn, I must have an inner core of something somewhere, as I gave birth to my child without anything for the pain. While on pitocin.

Re: What gives me strength
Being proactive and getting a blog and joining the RevGalBlogPals webring and writing with some regularity. I used to write a lot ... considered myself something of a 'writer,' whatever that meant in my world at the time, and hadn't for a long time.

Happy New Year to all. May your year be a good one.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

My own meme -- via revgalblogpals

1. What is the best gift you received this year? (Tangible gifts only, please!)
Tickets to see "Wicked" and dinner reservations.

2. What is the best gift you gave this year?
I felt like my gifts lacked some of the creative lustre that they sometimes have ... probably the remote controlled bug car for my three-almost-four year old nephew. But he hasn't opened it yet, so shhhhhh...

3. When did you do most of your shopping/creating?
Mid-November and then again in the days before Christmas.

4. Did you go shopping the day after Thanksgiving (U.S.)? Today?
Yes to both -- and neither a wholly bad experience!

5. What stands out already about Christmas 2005?
The first Christmas with the Baby Boy and the craziness that ensued because of it... also the lack of centrality that opening presents had, in contrast to other years. Baby Boy is teething (he got the lyrical "two front teeth" for Christmas) and his crankiness or charmingness dictated much of our celebration, in addition to the eight services between us that My Husband the Preacher and I had on Christmas Eve/Day.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Because it's good to remind myself

10 things that I like about "my church"

1. We have a fantastic music director who knocks my socks off

2. People genuinely seem to like each other (for the most part)

3. Change happens (slowly sometimes, but it happens)

4. My office is pretty

5. We have three people going to/applying to seminary right now

6. I can have a conversation with my colleague about church and about non-church things

7. It's not perfect

8. People smile when they come in the front door

9. I can be a little sassy with most folks

10. The people here know that they are children of God (if only because we tell them every week!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Controlled Chaos

In no way am I going to proclaim that I have it all together. You don't have to read very far in my archives to know that I'm hanging on by a thread most days.... However, there's the strangest feeling that comes over me every December that I've been a pastor-type: the sense of controlled chaos.

Little things don't seem to bother me -- like the fact that everyone was late for our meeting on Monday, or only one person showed up for a meeting I called Sunday after worship, or even the bigger things, like the once-again three hour council meeting last night seem to slide away.

I know that it will all come crashing down again in January -- which for me is always far worse than December, because it's all about expectations. In December, everyone expects that I'm so busy that many things don't happen. But in January, when we're getting down to the details for the annual meeting and everyone else is gearing to go because they were so busy in December, then the world spins a little faster.

It could just be, also, that I'm lulled into some strange state of being as a result of the over-decorated stores that I frequent, and that this time of year I give some thought about how to show my appreciation for the staff, making me realize that I do really like (and even respect usually) the people with whom I work.

Friday, December 09, 2005

RevGal Snow Day

1) Snow: love it or hate it?
Love it, particularly if I don't have to drive anywhere -- I'm a bigger fan of snow outside the city, where it can be pretty for longer.

2) First snow memory
Hmmmm... Not sure that I have a particular memory -- lots of snowforts and tunnels in our front yard (a native Minnesotan), snowball fights with my brother, etc.
At one point I fell off of the snowmobile with my brother driving, into a slushy spot on the river -- I was maybe 5 or 6, in school either way -- and my snowsuit was wet and cold...

3) Best Snow Day ever (actual or imagined)
They cancelled classes at my college alma mater a couple of times because of snow and weather -- I can't remember what I did, but there was something fantastically wonderful about a snow day in college.

4) Best use of snow in a movie, song, book or poem
The collection of poetry for kids, Winter Poems
I found a copy of this at a used book sale and I love to look at it this time of year.

5) What you are planning to do today, with or without snow
We have snow and it's beautiful!! The sun is out and the sidewalks are shoveled and the roads are safe -- and, get this, I'm taking the afternoon OFF to do home things -- decorating and shopping and maybe even cook a meal for dinner!!! I'm so excited I can hardly sit still.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Calling all parents ... Help!

OK, the darling Baby Boy is almost 7 months old and about 2 months ago we introduced cereal to his diet. We haven't been real consistent, but it was going well.
He tried peas and sweet potatoes and seemed to like both until he threw up; we promptly discontinued that adventure.
Now he's refusing everything but me or a bottle -- he'll have 6 bites of cereal at daycare or a couple with me or none at all. He's gaining weight and growing and seems happy ... I'll admit it's me (and my husband) with the "what's wrong" complex.
Anyone else out there have a child who didn't like baby food (jarred or freshly pureed or frozen... I've tried fruits and veggies)and turned out just fine?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

It's been awhile

Since I posted something of substance. I write a lot of posts in my head -- beautiful essay-type posts that clarify my position on the church, my job, my marriage and my child. These brain-posts are helpful in the moment, when I hear the words in my mind as I'm driving, but they don't do anything for my blog -- and when I go to retrieve them, they most often aren't there.

I had the thought yesterday that I should do some sort of free writing exercise on my blog -- a daily post of some sort without rhyme or reason. I'm not sure that I'm that disciplined or that I have that much to say... although, really, that's not the point. It is usally how my sermons start, though: A style of writing in which I sit down and start typing, "If no one were going to be offended by anything that I said, this is what I would say....." Or, "If I didn't care what anyone thought, here's what I would preach....." Perhaps the scariest for me to begin with is: "What I need to hear from this text...." Usually a sermon develops that allows me to say what needs to be said and no one gets up to leave.

I do a lot more reading of blogs than I have been posting -- and that's good and bad. I read lovely posts that inspire me to do something or to write and then I think, "Oh, but I could never write like (fill in the blank)." I'm not really that insecure, just have my moments of perfectionist freakishness.

So, I raise my glass (er, my super-size coffee mug) to all the faithful bloggers out there who write something for me to read. Some days I'm not sure what I would do without you!

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Christian Calendar

I'm a little behind on this post -- and actually on ordering my own -- but this is a great calendar. Instead of following the months, it follows the seasons of the church. It has fantastic art work, and this year it's supposed to be bigger and better.
I don't usually plug commercial ventures, but this one is a mission project of the University Hill Congregation - United Church of Canada, Vancouver, BC. I like to support the neighbors to the North. This will be my third year using the calendar and it's helpful to remind myself of the other ordering of my days...
Even if you don't order one, take a look at their website.
Peace, and Happy Adventing.

Monday, November 28, 2005

1 Thing

That I wasn't hoping for on my Thanksgiving trip/vacation?

A blizzard.

We (are supposed to) leave for home tomorrow (Tuesday). We'll see if the roads are open in the morning.

O Lord, please watch over all travelers when the winds blow and the snow falls to cover pure ice. Amen.

Monday, November 21, 2005

10 Things

That I'm looking forward to about my upcoming Thanksgiving Vacation. We leave Tuesday for a Northern Destination that was once Home. We'll be gone a whole w-e-ek.

In no particular order ...

1. My Aunt-in-Law's Beans.

2. Pumpkin pie

3. Chocolate Covered Potato Chips
... Not all 10 are about food...

4. Seeing my nieces and nephew

5. Taking a nap

6. Shopping on the crazy, Day After Thanksgiving

7. The long drive. Seriously.

8. Taking Baby Boy swimming

9. Having a cold drink on a cold night in my in-laws hot tub ... and recognizing that it's not the most responsible thing, I promise not to be alone.

10. Seeing my 96-year old grandmother

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Friday Five

The RevGalBlogPal Kiddie Lit Edition

1) Earliest book you remember (read to you or by you)
Hmmm... there are a few that come back to me, probably not earliest, but certainly favorites -- an alphabet book, "The Mouse Book," "Bread and Jam for Francis" and, um the 'A' volume of the World Book... yeah.

2) Picture Book you would like to climb into
This is a tough one -- I always wanted to actually be in the game CandyLand, as opposed to playing it. And, I was really intrigued by the treehouses in the Berenstein Bears series...

3) Favorite series of books (then or now)
Again, another tough one -- Big fan of Anne of Green Gables and the other series by LM Montgomery that I'm blanking on...

4) Character you would most like to meet
The parents from Bread and Jam for Francis...

5) Last childhood book you re-read (for yourself or to someone)
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


It's snowing here in this midwestern city that I'm beginning to call home (after some seven-going-on-eight years). And, while the bitter cold that has rattled doors and shattered glass the past few days is not my favorite, there's a sense that winter is coming. And with winter, Advent. Hope.

It's cold and I wear gloves now with cute scarves and a vintage coat from my grandmother. I rush from the car to the house with my child and rub his cheeks and laugh with him at the cold. And with the warmth of the house, Thanksgiving. Hope.

The days are shorter and the leaves are on the ground and my more responsible neighbors have cleaned their lawns and put out the hoods for their rose bushes. But my rose bush continues to bloom, right there in the front of the house. I know that I need to cover it soon, perhaps tonight, but for now there is the garish pink of a rose against the drab gray. And with that color, Remebrance. Hope.

My extended family will be together in a week or so to celebrate Thanksgiving in bits and pieces of turkey and beans and pie and I'll probably need more than a glass of good wine to get it all down. But four generations of love and dysfunction will break bread together. And with that communion, Grace. Hope.

I am reminded this season of the great blessings that I have -- home and health and family and love and friends and enough of it all to go around. And with it all, Hope.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Pie Meme

I love pie -- actually, I'd be more honest if I said that I love dessert and from there i'd have to say that I love breakfast as it can often be another excuse for dessert (see my post below re: nutella stuffed french toast).

I love meringue, but often don't like the pie that goes under it -- ie, lemon or the raisin cream that my mom seemed to make. Banana cream pie with meringue, that I can do.

Favorite pie? Probably would have to be a fresh strawberry-rhubarb pie ...

Pie that I liked that I wasn't expecting? Pecan pie that had been warmed -- served with coffee ice cream and hot fudge sauce.

Not a big fan of: pie crust -- I know that it can be well done, but it often stands in the way of enjoying a good pie filling.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

TIps o' the trade

It's been a crazy week and without all the boring details of evening meetings and review boards and and and I spent about an hour in the office this afternoon before I shut everything down and left.

I wasn't upset, I just realized that for my own sanity, I didn't need to be there -- that I had done enough for the day and that I would be back tonight. Walking away from the builidng was very freeing; I'm not always able to do that without feeling tremendous guilt, but today it worked. And it made me start to think about developing other coping techniques so that I don't get to the point of cracking.

How do you do it? What are your tips and tricks o' the trade of living a healthy and balanced life? I'm not looking for the well-thought out exercise routine or the devoutly followed devotional plan -- because i'll be honest, my life isn't there right now; I'm happy to make it out of the house in the morning without forgetting anything crucial (ie, my planner, milk for the baby, the baby himself).

I'd love to hear about the little things that make you think "Ahhhhhhh -- that's better" when you do them and when I hear about them they make me think, "Ah-ha! I can do that!"

I'll share some of mine in a future blog.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Update & Nutella

One of the very first posts that I had queried folks about working on Saturdays. I was in a fairly bitter place at that point -- having just returned from maternity leave and having an in-the-office expectation for Saturdays placed upon me.

Today is Saturday -- a rather dreary, weather-turning colder one at that -- and I'm in the office. And I'm the only one here. And I'm being productive -- finishing up little tasks that I'd put aside for this day, doing some file cleaning, some organizing, and I'm OK with it.

Partially, I'm realizing that not only was I feeling like cracking because I was never home, but also because I was never fully at work, either. Today I'm fully here -- the Baby Boy is at home and I'm able to be efficient and productive and not resentful toward anyone. It's a really, really good feeling.

Also helped by the fact that I have a specific ending time with a really great reward -- an afternoon brunch with friends at a favorite breakfast place that has Nutella-stuffed French Toast. Is is breakfast? Is it dessert? Do I care? It's FANTASTIC and it makes me smile.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


I spaced a breakfast catch-up with a parishioner this morning. Completely and totally didn't think about it until I heard the voicemail this afternoon -- and I feel really, really crappy about the whole thing. I mean, I was the one who set the appointment up. We had confirmed the other night. I was looking forward to it.
She'll be OK with it and we'll go forward and I won't feel so bad, but it's all compounded by the fact that Baby Boy was up 4 times last night (usually once, maybe twice), I'm sick, my dear husband is sicker, I didn't actually see my child awake for more than an hour yesterday (including morning getting-ready time) and I probably won't be home tonight before he goes to bed, either.
I hate to whine, and didn't even want to post this rant/rage/pity post because I don't want to appear weak -- I mean, I should be able to do it all, right? Be a mom and a wife and a pastor and a daughter and make travel plans for the holidays and do the laundry and clean the house, right? I know, as I type it, how ridiculous it sounds and untrue. My husband and I share a lot (when he's not sick) and the house won't fall down if it's not clean. But I become irritable and my expectations of what I'm supposed to be able to do go up when my plate becomes over-full.
I desperately want to say, "I'm not doing it." Whatever it might be. But I also know that's not in me -- really. I'm just trying to figure out how to cope, how to get organized enough so that my life is manageable again. I don't want to be sad when I look at my house. I want to be able to enjoy what I do and the people I love. I don't want to be the super-person, but I would like to be on top of things enough not to subsist on luna bars and funsize butterfingers and coffee.
And perhaps most of all, I don't want the people closest to me to know that I'm cracking around the edges.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Reformation Day

Happy Reformation Day!

May our church always be a place where the voices of reform are voiced and heard.
However, as I told the 3rd graders that I was teaching on Sunday: If I received 95 complaints on one day, I'd probably cry.

Here's to Reforming and Trick-or-treating!

Friday, October 28, 2005

I keep a lot that should be thrown away

Here's one that I've kept since my days as a college RA. I think I've kept it only for the title and the first and the concept of a "Maytag's mothering."

Frumpy as I feel

My jeans need a Maytag's mothering tonight as I walk the halls up stairs and down Shhhhhhh I look straight ahead – don't see the glimmer of Lite. The lights burn strong candles don't die or burn low, but at both ends. I misplace things miss them in front of me Loreena Mckennit sings in the background while other things – my computer, the fridge, the lights, hum along. I wait. I read. I watch. I ponder divine inspirations. The snow falls, covers my mind, spins stories all night. As I walked down the stairs I figured my jeans needed a Maytag's mothering tonight.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

May she rest in peace

At the front of the bus, or really, wherever she chooses to rest.

Rosa Parks died Monday (10/24) at the age of 92.

With praise and thanksgiving for her witness, Amen.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Friday Meme

The Friday RevGalBlogPals Meme...

1. What was the last CD you purchased?
I honestly can't remember -- isn't that sad. I've become a big fan of Paste magazine and each of their issues comes with a sampler CD, so that's a possibility. But I think it might have been The Barenaked Ladies Holiday album.

2. Did you like it?
I loved it -- especially the version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen that's on there.

3. Is it the kind of music you would call your favorite?
Apart from being the holiday cd, it is. It's fun and a little folky and random.

4. What was the first album (CD for you youngsters) you ever owned?
They Might Be Giants "Flood" was the first CD that I bought. I know I had tapes before that but can't remember specifics -- some U2 and some REM.

5. And what was your favorite cut from that recording?
"Particle Man" or "Constantinople" It's been awhile since I listened to it -- I probably have the whole thing memorized and don't realize it. Ah, precious brain space.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Sweet stewardship

Sometimes someone will say something to me that sticks with me.

Here is what's been tumbling in my head this week:

After worship Sunday morning, by this 70-something Army widow who is the epitome of charm and togetherness that I aspire to be: "Now Pastor, that was about the sweetest stewardship sermon I have ever heard. And let me tell you, I've been around for a lot of them."


Note: If I were typing this at work (on a PC) or had the energy to fire up Foxfire (since I'm at home using a Mac), I would create all sorts of fun links to go along with the following post. But, since I am at home using my Mac and blogger doesn't support the Safari browser, or however that works, there aren't easy little shortcut keys to create links. So, just pretend.

The most recent issue of Sojourners arrived in my mailbox at work today. It was their fall books and music issue. After sifting through the recommendations in the Christian Century, I wasn't sure that life could get much better. But it did. This issue of Sojourners is full of what appear to be interesting books and ear-pleasing music. Some of which (Over the Rhine) I'd never heard of until a few days when Katherine over at "any day a beautiful change" ( referenced the new cd. And now they appear in this delightful publication. Others, such as Dar Williams, have been staples in my listening rotation for years and I was practically giddy to realize she has something new.

They also have reviewed some children's/young adult books -- something that gets done far too infrequently and I often have no idea either what to recommend to folks with kids that age or to buy for my nieces.

I didn't have time to get through it completely, but I look forward to doing so.

If you don't get Sojourners, check out their website (

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Getting sucked in

This morning, when I should have been getting myself or The Baby Boy ready for the day, I got sucked into too many of those little quizzes that tell you something about yourself and then you can post them on your blog. There's a whole page of them. I'm sure that you knew that before I told you.
I could tell you what color my blog should be, what summer car I am, what kind of pizza I am.... and the list goes on for longer than I care to admit.
They reminded me of the sorta fun (did I just say that??) ice-breaker games that we played at camp and in the dorms and at the start of confirmation... Except instead of the answer being generated for me, I had to come up with something meaningful on my own in response to a pretty pointless question or inquiry about a favorite.
Some of my answers have varied, but others have always been the same to these questions. Come on, play along. You know you want to....

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
I've always said a koala -- because I think they're really-really cute. And, deep down, I guess I wanted people to think that I'm really-really cute.

If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
A tough one -- tonight, after being with people for a long time, I'm dreaming of someplace remote. My main requirement -- that it have some scenery, or at least be close to some!

What is your favorite color?
Green or blue or pink

How did you get your name?
Both my first and middle names are incredibly common, generationally-driven. I always wished my parents had been a bit original. My Blogger name came about because of my love for a certain pair of shoes and the time I dared wear them in the pulpit!

So, there you go -- a few ice breaker questions and my responses. What are your 'favorite' ice breakers? What are your responses?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Friday Meme, done Saturday

With kudos to the revgalblogpals....

1) The weather in your location
Sunny, crips, autumnal and lovely

2) Where you are typing this
In my living room

3) Where you might like to be sitting if you could be anywhere
In a luxurious hotel, perhaps on a beach

4) A chore you have to do this weekend
Some laundry

5) Something delightful you will do or would like to do this weekend
I'd love to pick some apples and take some outdoor pictures of The Baby Boy

Saturday, October 08, 2005


Just finished (ie, plowed through, was thoroughly unable to stop) reading Ruth Reichl's latest: "Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret LIfe of a Critic in Disguise." Reichl is currently the editor of Gourmet magazine but has been the food critic for both the LA Times and the NY Times and this memoir recounts the disguises she wore and the adventures she had while working for NY.

This is a fantastic read, especially if you enjoy reading about restaurants you'll never visit and food you'll never eat. She intersperses recipes, too -- a few of which look doable by even the most amateurish of cooks. Ah, if only I had a bit more time... anyway.

I'm always looking for my next good read. Any suggestions?

Friday, October 07, 2005

A "Good Pastor"

So a while back I had some days of contemplation -- days in which large parts were spent thinking about things. Sometimes it spiraled into the abyss. Other times I was left to ponder seemingly simple questions.

I know that there's no right or wrong answer to this question, and I'm trying to formulate my own thoughts around it. But, what makes a good pastor? People say, "You're a good pastor" but what are they responding to? Because I laugh at their jokes and they think I'm "fun" and remind them of their granddaughter or daughter?

Is a pastor good (and I'm not even sure that's the language that I want to use) when she listens well, preaches with integrity and honesty, and can be a prophet?

Is a pastor good when she can be an administrator and have good follow through?

Is a pastor good when she facilitates not only meetings but growth and challenge?

Like I said, I don't know the answers (and I'm having a hard time articulating the question), but I am thinking about this.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The way continuing ed should be: Brueggeman and Bombay

Last week Walter Brueggeman presented the annual Christian Century lectures. I didn't know what to expect -- some people can write, but can't speak in front of people without being boring. I hoped, since he's been a professor for so long, that he could do his share. I also hoped, that he could speak to us as pastors, not students, by which I mean this: I hoped that when I walked away on Friday afternoon that I would have something that I could use.
I was not disappointed.
He taught.
He listened.
He invited feedback.
He was thoughtful.
He made me think. (And that was OK.)
He reminded me that being a pastor is all about being a student -- that what I love about being a pastor is learning and learning and learning so that I can share that with others. Sometimes I get wrapped in the tedium of the day and forget to learn, sometimes simply for the sake of learning.
Of course, starting Thursday evening with a beautiful Bombay Sapphire martini didn't hurt, either.
Brueggeman and Bombay -- Cheers.

Monday, September 26, 2005

What's in Your Car?

I pulled into a parking spot this morning and looked around my car. It was quite the hovel.
To be honest, for the most part, it still is.
While on a certain level I was embarassed by what surrounded me, I was more curious about what the contents of my car said or say about me.
When you walk past a car in a parking lot, do you ever catch a glimpse of what's in the car and have a little clue of what that person's life might be like?
Maybe I'm the only one.
Regardless, I thought I'd share a few of the things that you could see if you looked in my car windows....

1. A to-go bag from McDonald's (this was the most embarassing part)
2. My home communion kit
3. The car seat base
4. Bulletins from the past couple of Sundays.
5. The Baby Bjorn baby-carrier
6. An empty Starbucks cup
7. A bib
8. A vintage red Pyrex mixing bowl that I bought at a garage sale that hasn't quite made it in the house.
9. A road map
10. A package of gum

What would I see if I looked in your car?

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Marked with the Cross

There are times in worship that have marked me. A child who answers perfectly during a children's sermon. The woman who always listens so intently when I preach. The first time someone called me "Pastor."
This morning Connor (not his real name) -- a three-year old who has Downs Syndrome -- marked me. He doesn't speak, but it's clear that he communicates relatively well with his parents. I don't know him that well -- in the just-over-a-year that I've been with these folks, this is a family that has flown under the radar for the most part. Only recently have I noticed them.
Worship was long this morning -- a number of "extra" things and what felt like a particularly long sermon by my Dear Colleague. I was tired by the time that Communion came around, and feeling a bit unsteady on my feet. When I bless the younguns who don't receive the bread and wine, I squat down so that I'm eye level with them instead of looking down on them. I usually say a relatively long blessing as I make the sign of the cross on their forehead -- "May the Lord bless you and keep you, watch over you and guide you all the days of your life." I know that I could just say "God loves you" and it would mean the same thing, but this has always sounded right to me.
When Connor's family came up to the rail, I gave his mom her portion and then squatted down to bless Connor.
This beautiful child, his hands folded so properly, looked into my eyes without hesitation or reservation. He looked solemnly at me until about part-way through my little spiel when his face broke into the biggest and most genuine smile I have seen in a really long time. I felt like he was saying, "And you, too, Pastor -- May the Lord bless you, too."
Thank you, dear child, for your blessing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Summers off

Well, all the folks who "took the summer off" were back in worship Sunday.
Perhaps not all, but many.
I wonder what they do with their Sunday mornings during the summer.
Tee times.
Swimming in their pools.
Sleeping in.
Perusing the really good farmers market that's only open Sunday mornings.
Leisurely paper reading with coffee and pastries.
Those sound like lovely things to do, when one just doesn't feel like going to church.
I try not to be bitter toward them when I don't feel like going and yet don't have a choice, really.
I mean, maybe they visit other congregations. Maybe.
But probably not.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Nothing: A rare (non-)event

I don't have a meeting tonight at church...
My husband doesn't have a meeting tonight at his church...
We don't have some sort of open house or obligation for the Baby Boy's day care...
There's no family in town...
The lawn has been mowed...
Neither one of us is preaching this weekend...
I've even paid the bills that had built up...

It's a little bit strange to think about an evening with nothing. Part of me wants to do something... to fill this seeming void with an outing or a task -- to be productive somehow. I don't want to waste this time.
What a lovely little quandry I have. What a gift.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

And I cried

I rarely "practice" sermons in the pulpit. Either I don't have time because I'm finishing the writing up until the last minute or I simply don't think about it. I was a competitive speaker in high school and preaching has never scared me from the perspective of actually talking in front of people.
But I practiced my sermon Saturday afternoon, in anticipation of the Saturday night service and the baptism and my bishop's presence and my parents and my in-laws. All things considered, it just seemed like a good idea.
And I cried -- alone in the sanctuary -- about half-way through my sermon I just lost it.
Overwhelmed with the emotion of the week's events ... exhausted from having family in town and a teething baby ... whatever the reason I thought, "Well, it's a good thing I practiced so I don't actually cry when there are people here."
I should have known better.
I got really, really choked up during worship.
And more than anything, after worship was over and we'd had cake and I was trying to sleep before doing it all over again this morning, I was mad, angry that I'd *almost* cried in the pulpit.
Somehow I thought that people would think less of me.
Maybe I thought less of myself that I couldn't "keep it together."
Clearly I'm still sorting out (without trying to dwell or obsess about it) how I feel about all of it.
I didn't get choked up this morning. I felt better. But I did wonder which sermon (service) was better.

Friday, September 02, 2005


Water, go away.
While I struggle to make sense, along with everyone else, of the tragedy that seems to be compounding along the Gulf, I am also preparing to preach at the baptism of my son.

Water, come down.
I give thanks for the power of baptism and the community of faith that will gather to welcome Baby Boy into the family of God.

Water, recede from your destruction.
The water of the hurricane and the flood remind me of the immense power that exists in the world that is completely out of our control.

Water, give us life.
So many people are surrounded with the very substance that could provide life for them, if only it were clean. If only they had access to something that wasn't contaminated.

Water, cleanse me.
Cleanse me from the anger that I feel toward perceived ineptness and idiocy. Cleanse from me the sense of hopelessness and frustration.

Water, power the world.
Provide again for us strength and life and freshness.

Water, wash over us.
With hope and love and care.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

For an hour

I wish I knew just which direction my spirit was headed, but with the gentle help from some Sisters along the way, I at least know that it has some direction.

Before seminary I was completely oblivious to the world and realm of spiritual direction. My seminary promotes the idea of having a "spiritual friend." It seemed like a strange idea, and still feels strange to think about someone being my spiritual friend. But oh well.

It came as a great moment in my life when I took the plunge this summer and called the motherhouse of a local group of sisters and tentatively asked, "Do you have anyone who, um, does Spiritual Direction." I don't know what I thought -- I mean, I was nervous to place the call. I should have remembered -- hello, these women are typically nice folks.

And so I got connected with my most recent spiritual director. We met for the second time this morning and I'm a little bit in love.

For an hour or so I'm able to sit and be present with God in a way that doesn't happen for me anymore in worship. Or, at least it happens rarely. For an hour I'm not in charge of anything, I don't need to worry about a baby crying or a sermon that needs writing. For an hour I can sift through my own junk, hoping for some clarity about leadership or relationship with God. For that precious hour there's silence -- moments in which I first think, "Oh, what should I say?" and then I blissfully realize that I don't need to say anything.

The saddest part about this is that yesterday I wondered if I had time to make the appointment this morning. If it had been a parishioner, I would have questioned ruthlessly -- and maybe even chided: Of course you have time. If you don't take a single hour for yourself, once a month, what kind of worth are you assigning to yourself. But when it was me, I hemmed and hawed, wondering if I should try to reschedule. I didn't.

So, for an hour this morning I stepped away from the hum-hum-hum of my life and viewed it from afar, with the help of a wise woman. And that helped.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


After being tired and overwhelmed, almost anything is better. The overwhelming bit was Thursday night and since then nothing has resolved itself completely, but the view is certainly looking better. A little sunshine, some amazing tumblers, and the laughter of a child go a long ways.
There is a tumbling group in Illinois started by Jesse White in 1959, I think. They're simply called "The Jesse White Tumblers." The kids have to stay off the streets, keep up their grades and stay away from drugs. Over the years thousands of kids have stayed "on track" because of this program. I had the opportunity to watch them perform yesterday and they are amazing.
Also, the weather here has been beautiful. My mood is always improved with some sunshine.
My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the path of the hurricane.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tired and Overwhelmed

I've had one of those nights. In the distance between the church and home (about 15 minutes) I've managed to convince myself that God was just kidding about "the call."
There are always days and nights, moments and minutes in which I question -- and I don't discount the value of questioning and revisiting. But on this particular night, I'm overwhelmed with what appear to be pointless tasks that threaten to take over not only my desk but my entire being.
Of course these are the types of things that even writing them down makes me realize that it's all going to be ok and that I can hush the anxiety hounds. And I knew as I spiraled into a tizzy that if I just made a list and a few phone calls that I'd feel like the world was under control again.
Sitting at the red light, though, with tears on the brink of overflowing, everything felt bigger than life, distorted in the contrast between light and dark.
The irony in all of this is that I handed my well-read copy of "Bird by Bird" to a woman this morning -- encouraging her to find a quiet space in the midst of her chaos to re-center.
Tweet - Tweet.


I'm usually reluctant to read books that "everyone" is talking about.
However, I started Gilead last night.
I'm on page 27 and becoming one of the people who can't stop talking about this book.
Reading it this afternoon seems far more appealing than working on confirmation budgets.
Or really anything.

Monday, August 22, 2005

I was so excited

And then I realized that I'd been spammed.
In just a few hours 6 new comments had appeared on one of my posts and I got really excited.
But, no. It was just spam.
Oh well. I at least have learned how to delete comments and set letter verification on the comment portion. That would be the bright side.
Thanks for all the legitimate comments.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


I'm curious how other clergy-types view Saturdays... Is it a day to catch up, a day for weddings and funerals, etc? Is it a "normal" office day? Is it a work-from-home day?
I'm still developing how I feel about it, though I know that I loathe being told to be in the office by anyone (and that's where I'm at this Saturday). It seems like a great day to work if there's work to be done, but to also play catch up in other parts (husband, child, house, animals) of my life to make up for the three nights that I was at the office this week...
When preaching, Saturday is often the last great push as I'm more likely to sprint when writing a sermon than lay it out like a marathon (thanks to Kennon Callahan for the image of sprinters v. marathoners).
But I'm not preaching this weekend. And I'm still in the office. For about another five minutes.
On the bright side, BB (baby boy) slept through the night for the first time last night. And, for the most part, so did I! I was amazed when I discovered the clock read 5:45. Even better, after feeding him we slept again until nearly 9. Heading home to see him smile.

Quest for friends

I just returned from a lovely evening with people whom I desperately wish I could call friends. We had dinner, played with their boys, my baby boy ate and slept, we played a game after the kids went to bed, had dessert. We're all about the same age, share similar values and views of life. We laugh at each other's jokes.
But when it comes down to it, I'm their pastor.
I feel really fortunate that they are aware enough that it *might* be weird for me, and that there are people in my congregation that I like well enough to even have this dilemma. They don't talk about church when we're together socially, and when we're at church, they don't bring up the fact that we were together socially. It's not as if we're "sneaking around" about our relationship, but they show some tact and understanding.
Finding and making friends is hard. Especially "couple friends" whom my husband and I like equally well. I like to think that it would be easier if we both weren't pastors, but I'm probably just fooling myself. If it were Lent, I'd add the discipline of being intentional about finding a new source for a friend. But it's not Lent. Maybe I should do that anyway.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Lack of a satisfying breakfast carb

This morning my little guy let me sleep in -- usually he wakes around 6:30 or 7, after being up anywhere between 2 and 4. But this morning, it was 8:15 before his coos (not cries!) roused me at 8:15. Amazing what a little extra sleep will do for everyone.
However, this extra sleep caused me to rush, rush, rush to get things ready and to get him to daycare and me to the office at a reasonable time. And, I've often lamented, there's not a convenient donut shop between the house and the office. I'll have to consider that when I take my next call. Well, anyway. So, there I was at the office this morning without a donut. Which caused me to raid the freezer for a leftover cookie.
I guess that I'll gladly take an extra hour of sleep over a donut. And, there's always tomorrow.

Friday, August 12, 2005

I love shoes

And so one of the saddest moments of my ordination was when I thought, "Now I'm destined to a life of professional, black pumps." Ah, what did I know then? I'm prepared to begin introducing colors to my "professional" shoe wardrobe, expanding from the pink flats that I wear a lot.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Ahhh. It's good to be here.

Here being somewhere slightly anonymous, slightly exciting, slightly off-kilter. This blog has been percolating for awhile and in the meantime a lot has happened.
It's good to have a place to write and leave thoughts and come back to them on occasion.
It's comforting to have a place to kick off my pink shoes and wiggle my toes back and forth.
It's nice to be here.