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.