Friday, December 29, 2006


As in, back in.

My little one spent this week in the hospital.

We're home tonight, but it's been a really long week. We're thankful that it's over.

I'm on vacation until Tuesday, and feeling grateful that I don't have to think about this weekend, other than some meals, a doctor's visit, and administering drugs.

Slowly I'm beginning to feel like I'm part of the world again, as four walls had become far too familiar.

Someone really needs to tell this young pastors' kid that Christmas Day isn't the day to earn a hospital admit through the ER. I'm just sayin'. And I'm only saying it because he's on the way to being well. And I'm so very thankful for that.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ten Things on Tuesday

1. Moving with a sick child is hard. Especially when the sickness involves many messy changes. He's better now.

2. We love to have phone service in our house, and high-speed internet, and when it doesn't work the way it's supposed to, we get really, really grumpy. Especially when the company doesn't seem all that concerned about fixing the problem.

3. Christmas is coming.... and I've done more to prepare than ever before, and yet I still feel out of sorts -- perhaps because all of my preparations are still in boxes, or not found.

4. I'm wearing the sassiest, least pastor-like boots that I own this morning.

5. Old homes have very little closet space.

6. And small-ish kitchens.

7. With white metal cabinets (which I love) that provide for magnetic storage solutions.

8. I'm still enough of a northern girl that I expect to see snow on the ground at this time of year, though for the sake of the move and getting things done, I'm glad that the ground is bare and dry.

9. With the lights on the tree and a glass of wine last night, I felt incredibly content.

10. Work beckons.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Books, Books, Books

Just in time to write a list, here are some book recommendations from readers. Feel free to add more recommendations in the comments. And, if these aren't enough books, there are more recommendations from last spring here.

Enjoy! And thanks for sharing your love of reading!

Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen

The Time Traveler's Wife

The Solace of Leaving Early
by Haven Kimmel

Don't Get Too Comfortable by David Rakoff

The Soul Is Here for its Own Joy

The Prophetic Imagination by Brueggemann

Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama

Poisonwood Bible and Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver

Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor

Paris to the Moon by A Gopnik

Reading Lolita in Tehran

The People of Sparks Jeanne DuPrau

Moveable Feast by Hemingway

Eldest by Chistopher Paolini

Living History by Hilary Clinton

Girl Meets God Lauren Winner

Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah

Jesus and the Father by Kevin Giles

Myth of the Perfect Mother by Carla Barnhill

Dear Church by Sarah Cunningham

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson

A Good Yarn Debbie Macomber

Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLaren

Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality by Jack Rogers

Anything by David Sedaris (laugh out loud funny...)
Anything by Sarah Vowell

Almost anything by Jennifer Weiner (avoid the mystery novel)
Poetry: Rumi and Hafiz.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


It's one of those bitterly cold, startlingly beautiful mornings -- a morning in which if I still lived in the place from which I came, the trees would be cracking and the snow would be blue before the sun rose. Instead the sounds around me haven't changed much since the temperatures dropped and the snow fell -- sirens still howl and cars still zip past our house, ignoring the residential limit. But there is a moment of quiet for me this morning, a moment in which I've been able to read some blogs and get caught up on e-mail (if only the reading and not the responding with great care).

My blog has been quiet recently, and it's not for a lack of having things to write about or respond about or simply ponder. I've had bits of time for other things, so surely I could have found time to blog, but I haven't. Some of those "things" feel a bit too fragile, a bit too tender to post, and yet beautiful at the same time: an ornament made of glass, that after holding up to the light, I put back in the box instead of on the tree.

In the next week, because being a pastor in December isn't enough, we're closing on a house and moving. (I'd originally typed the next two weeks and then did the math, let out an expletive, and revised my statement.) Those are the things (both the worries and the joy) that keep me up in the quiet of the night, wanting to hear the snap of the trees, the crack of ice.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Way back in April I requested some reading recommendations and many of you jumped at the chance to share some of your favorite reads. I compiled them here and have remembered on occasion to bring the list to the library with me and work my way through the delights!

I was reminded of this today when I finished my most recent discovery from the library. It was a library stop during which I had a very limited amount of time, no books currently at home, nothing specific in mind, and full New Book shelves from which to pull. Among the ones that I grabbed was House of Many Gods by Kiana Davenport. I highly recommend it as a book about discovery, about Hawai'i, Russia, the environment, the role of the military on the islands, family, the power of women and relationships. I never wanted to put it down, but not in the guzzle-read that I discover with a lot of grocery-store reading. It took me a couple of days of intensive evening reading to finish and I found myself captivated and immersed with the story.

What are you reading these days?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Friday Five

Per the RevGalBlogPals... So this is a "Black Friday" Five (aka Buy Nothing Day) in honor of the busiest shopping day of the year:

1. Would you ever/have you ever stood in line for something--tickets, good deals on electronics, Tickle Me Elmo?
While in seminary, a major retailer opened a flagship store in the midst of one of the greatest shopping miles world. On the morning they were giving away a free pair of jeans to the first 50 or 100 people in line.... I didn't have class that morning (or anything else to do!), and I figured that if I waited two hours and got a pair of jeans out of the deal I had made over $25/hour. It was worth it to me!

2. Do you enjoy shopping as a recreational activity?
Sometimes. More than I like to admit, actually.

3. Your favorite place to browse without necessarily buying anything.
Any of the great discount retailers: Target, TJMaxx, Marshalls
I also love to browse at a nice high-end department store that has a cafe in it.

4. Gift cards: handy gifts for the loved one who has everything, or cold impersonal symbol of all that is wrong in our culture?
I don't really have an opinion -- though living hundreds of miles away from family, they make an easy gift to ship that allows young nieces to choose what they want instead of having to suffer the wrongly-chosen gift.

5. Discuss the spiritual and theological issues inherent in people coming to blows over a Playstation 3.
*sigh* It's sad, pathetic, and no different from the outrage that I felt at watching the news and seeing people fight over the first round of Lettuce-patch Kids. Yes, I wanted one, but even as a child I couldn't imagine going to that length to get it.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Happy De-Lurk(ey)ing week. Thanks to the RevGalBlogPals for this fabulous idea -- you don't have to say much, just "Hello!" Simply let me know that you're here and that you're reading, and I'll do the same in return. It'll be a grand week, and I might even post more, in honor of it!
Gobble, gobble!

It doesn't get much better

Really -- After about two weeks of having something in the evening, ranging from the fun (BNL in concert) to the ridiculous (a care meeting in which I felt attacked) to the beneficially necessary (a benefit dinner for a local school that really does amazing things, and the dinner allowed me to wear my really, really fabulous animal print heels the flair to a very otherwise understated brown and cream ensemble), I'm home tonight.

The baby is sleeping, the dog is enjoying a rawhide at my feet, the husband is at work, and in front of me is a glass of red wine and some lovely dark chocolate. The wine wasn't expensive at my favorite warehouse store (C*stc*), but it made me think of my friend K, and that was enough to warm my soul. The chocolate is dark and smooth and reminds me of a great weekend away when four good friends sampled chocolates and wine and beer what felt like the whole weekend long.

There was a joyful spirit in worship this morning and I had fun in my sermon and it feels good to know that I'm about to settle in to serving these folks for a good long while. There is promise in the certainty of longevity, and this morning it came in the hug of a delightfully curmudgeon who I sometimes think doesn't see the glass as being wet, let alone half-full. "I'm happy for you," he said. And when I responded that I was, too, he laughed, and his eyes crinkled at the corners in a way I hadn't seen before. It doesn't get much better.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Tired, time

I haven't been blogging much lately. Some folks have noted a decline in comments, if not visits, and I know my own reading/commenting trends have changed, too. It's not that I don't appreciate what I read. Usually I read it in such a hurry that either I don't have time to comment (or at least that's how it feels) or I'm days past in reading it.

So, the possibility of sitting down to write something that resembles a post, or even just a string of coherent thoughts, most days feels beyond me. I've missed a couple of deadlines recently -- a letter for a mailing, a small writing project -- both of which will be easily remedied this week, probably at the expense of something else. Little things keep telling me that I'm tired, and I'm trying to listen. Really, I am.

Monday, November 06, 2006


It was early, earlier than he usually gets up, and so I attempted to rock him. I knew he probably wouldn't fall back to sleep -- that's not really his style -- once he's up, he's up. But I hoped that perhaps he would nestle back into a quiet place and I could join him there, as I had many times when he would wake to nurse in the middle of the night. We're long past that point, and past much snuggling unless he's really tired. But this particular morning he appeased me if only for awhile.

We rocked and I leaned back, closed my eyes and rested. I could feel him lift his head off my chest occasionally and I imagined him peeking to see if I was sleeping, as I peek on him at night.

That morning he finally caught me with my eyes open, smiled and whispered, "Hi."


Thursday, November 02, 2006

10 Things

I was at a conference today that was supposed to make me feel rested and well. It made me feel crabby and tired. At one point the afternoon presenter asked us to share with our table when we'd seen something that reminded us of the breath of God, or a request equally inspiring. I couldn't think of anything. However, now that I can't sleep, I'm being thankful for some little things... at least ten of them.

New jammies from T-a-r-g-e-t. They were part of my costume this past weekend and they are super, super comfy.

Long-sleeved t-shirts

Having friends who are stylish and hip. I figure if nothing else they'll rub off on me or I'll be included by association.

A pedicure from a week ago that still looks amazing.

Taking my little lion out last night and hearing him whisper, "roar."

Thick hair that's growing, under the direction of my stylist who owns my hair far more than I do.

Being able to be in the office almost all day tomorrow. It's true that I'm looking forward to that.

Having a paycheck, something that I often take for granted.

Fall colors and warm jackets.

Phone calls from friends and hearing laughter across the miles.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


A former teacher commented to me the other day about the status of a friendship of mine: I worried about you because he was pretty needy, emotionally, of you.

I didn't want to put it in those terms, but she hit the nail on the head. The friendship in question has changed and morphed over the years (close to 17, yikes) and I'd been wondering about the sense of dread that I felt during recent communication. While I hadn't expressed anything to her other than "we've been in touch again," she responded with the sort of insight that I had forgotten I appreciated about her. Needy.

Her assessment came earlier this week and the week so far has been a bear. One of those weeks when I constantly feel that big things are slipping past me and little things are sharp rocks beneath bare feet. I sat upright last night, filled with panice over two pretty significant things that I'd forgotten or neglected. Both can/could be remedied pretty easily this morning, but even as I calmed myself with deep breaths I wondered why my life felt that it was spinning out of control and all I can do is watch.

We have a generous assistance fund that I'm currently administering. Not a day goes by without an inquiry; some valid and some not. Often people call, often the come by. I have very mixed feelings about all of it -- some days I'm humbled by someone's situation and other days I'm outraged -- either at the injustice or the manipulation that I feel. This morning has been a morning full of people with needs, people who are needy. After not even three hours in the office, I am weary.

The unwashed coffee cups on my desk had grown mold and I finally carried them into the kitchen to wash, the hot water and bubbles from the soap cleaning the grime and stains away. Outside the window bright and vibrant leaves are falling from the trees, scattering across parking lots and yards. I stood there with my hands in the water wondering what would help lift me out of this place I find myself. What do I need, I wondered. Making the connections about all those around me who need something from me -- from the basic needs of my toddler child to the complex needs of poverty and assistance -- and my own reluctance to be needy, let alone my apparent inability to even identify my needs, brought a moment of clarity.

How do I ask for help, express my needs, garner support and use it, without being needy, feeling needy?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


For awhile I was reading blogs that said, "I don't have much to say. What should I say?" And I thought, huh, other folks out there are having a block, too. It's not just me. I chalked it up to exhaustion, to busyness, to pre-occupation with other things -- call process, child, looking for a house, life. I credited it to preaching more often and sinking into the office.

But I realized that there were other things not getting done, too. I'd get to the office and think, "Oh -- I have to call... and I have to do..." and the next thing I knew it was time to go home and none of those things had gotten done. I couldn't say what had, only what had not.

Now I read books and blogs and newsletters full of fabulousness from others and I hope that it will inspire me to do instead of not. I'm writing this, which is a start, but the stress-pain is back in my shoulder, even after a massage, and the piles around me grow and the books that were helping are back on the shelf. So I'm about to shut the door and do, instead of not.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday Five

Per the Friday Five at the RevGals, it's a word association game/meme. Below you will find five words. Tell us the first thing you think of on reading each one. Your response might be simply another word, or it might be a sentence, a poem or a story.

I'll admit that I've cheated a bit because I read through this before my day really started, but I'm just now responding. Which is not to say that I've been thinking about it a lot, only that these aren't necessarily first-glance responses.

Lots of colors. A quilt. My life right now.

Something that can be cracked. Faith for some people. An important part of a house. Something that doesn't always show. Giggling as a child when I realized what the semi-annual foundation sale at the local department store really was.

Storms. Love. Electricity. Movement. Dancing across the sky and occasionally reaching down. Best viewed from afar; brilliant when up close.

Foxes. A nice addition in a three-bedroom house. Cozy. An alternative to a library. Cigars and deep leather. The piling of covers on a bed or in a crib.

Owls and mice.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Snow, Vacation

It always makes me notice and wonder when there are two seemingly different weather patterns at one time. It's currently snowing and at least through some of our windows the sun is shining brightly. Did you notice I said it was snowing? That's right.

I feel the same way about those summer days when the rain starts or stops and the sun breaks through to create lovely shadows and shimmers.

We're leaving for a few days of vacation today, and I'm giddy with excitement. We're going with friends and having little adventures. Last night, post Stressful Meeting, we were home, giggling, saying, "We're on vacation. Vacation." You'd think we'd never been on vacation. I guess it just feels that way.

Hopes for vacation? Sleep. Good food. Lots of laughter. More food. Lounging about. Playing games. Wine. Chocolate. Beer. Less snow. We'll see. Prospects look good.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Go in peace

They never figured out what was wrong, and I'm not sure what they finally recorded as cause of death -- there were many things that could have filled that space. At this point it doesn't really matter because tomorrow the faithful will gather to lay her to rest, to celebrate her life and to comfort one another in their grief and in their sorrow. We'll sing hymns and hear scripture and I will take many deep breaths to hold myself together.

I know it's not right to play favorites, and yet clearly this dear one was a favorite of many. She loved her children and grandchildren with fierceness. She did for others without ceasing. She held onto life, and was gracious to death. She laughed, throwing her head back and held onto your hand with a gentleness that made you feel special. She missed her husband and spoke of him fondly in a way that made me wish I had known him, and that I'd known them together. For two years I have loved her and tomorrow I will bury her. We will all take deep breaths, and when our prayers fail to be uttered, the Spirit will interceded with sighs too deep for words; when our memories fill our throats in a lump and the laughter can't chase the tears away and when it shouldn't, the tears will fall and the shoulders will shake and the family will cling to one another moving as one.

And we will commend her to the Lord, who has known her from the beginning and who rejoiced to welcome her at the end. Go in peace, dear one, go in peace.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


These are a few of my favorites:

Bop (the sound the "baffles" make coming out of the toaster)
No-no (in a pitch to match mine)

When I walked out of his room at daycare this morning and waved to him, he waved back and then blew me a kiss, complete wtih sound, "Mwwwwwah!!"

Puts the inefficient and confidence-blowing meeting that I attended last night into a bit of perspective.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Hair appointments, the least of it

Since writing about making hair appointments, I've thought about what makes me feel grown-up. I mean, by all practical purposes I am. I was mistaken for the mom of a confirmation student this summer, after all... (which would have required me to have been a mom at 17, biologically possible, but there's where the possiblity stops).

I know that age is a state of mind and that we settle into groups based less on calendar age and more on similar interests and location and perhaps the age of our off-spring. I know that there are 22 year olds who run companies and 65 year olds who work for an hourly wage at the big-box store.

But it's those little moments that jolt me out of my day-to-day thinking that I'm, oh, I don't know, 22? 23? Even though my education and my child should be the big things that remind me that when I really was that age, seminary and kid(s) were far, far, far from my mind.

Like making hair appointments in advance. Realizing that those just might be fine lines around my eyes -- the kind of fine lines that one could buy expensive creams for, if one were so inclined. Noticing that I really can't stay out like I used to. Being concerned about things like pensions and life insurance and saving for education (even though our student loans are, well, still loans). And this week, hearing my husband say in conversation, "Well, our mortgage broker thinks...."

So, what are the little jolts that remind you of your place in life, young or not?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Still learning

It never hurts to remind myself that I'm still learning as a pastor, that I don't know everything. Of course I fight that kicking and screaming, because if I did know everything, well, at least more than I can claim to know, wouldn't things be a lot easier? Granted it's not like I've been at this 40 years, but it seems part of our nature to want to know as much as possible as quickly as possible.

My DH, who is infinitely wiser than yours truly about *most* things, once said to me in one of my fits, "I don't want a chaplain or a pastor who has learned everything." It was a humbling moment for me, as we stood eye-locked before I walked out of our apartment, bound for CPE. I remember not slamming the door as hard as I'd thought I might.

So, this weekend I learned something about ministry. I'm working with a colleague again, except this time I'm the resident "senior." I'm thinking a lot about what it means to truly share ministry and what that actually looks like, how it really happens, and what collegiality can be, should be, could be. The process is exciting and scary and invigorating and has a lot of potential for creativity and growth, for all involved. What I learned didn't come from that exciting new development in my ministry with these dear people, but will certainly have great impact on it and how I see staff ministry.

I left the hospital Saturday afternoon in the driving rain, having sat with a woman whom I have come to care for deeply. She and her family are treasures for many folks and I feel blessed to count myself among them. No one -- none of the experts or doctors or caregivers or the cadre of nurses, herself included -- knows what's wrong, only that there are many things, all happening together. I don't know if she is dying, or not. And neither do they.

But as I drove away thinking about the inevitability of all of our deaths and the subsequent funerals and services, it came to me that she's not *mine* to bury. Whether I preside at her funeral or anyone else's, these aren't *my* people any more than they were the previous pastor's or the next. These are God's people, and God will be there regardless of my presence or claims.

I'm still learning. I'm still learning. I'm still learning. Thank God, I'm still learning.

Friday, September 22, 2006

RevGal Friday Five and a Bonus

(Flashback to me as a wee one)
1) Are you a baby about small injuries?
Um, somtimes? Other times I don't even notice the 6-inch bruise on my leg until it's purple.

2) What's the silliest way you have ever hurt yourself?
Actual injury: I sprained my ankle in college walking across a parking lot. I was on crutches for 10 days in January, in MN.
Simple silliness: Fainting when I got my ears pierced.

3) Who took care of your boo-boos when you were a child?
Probably my mom.

4) Are you a good nurse when others have boo-boos?
I think so... though I have this issue with hearing about injuries, which is worse in my mind than actually seeing them or being part of them.

5) What's the worst accidental injury you've suffered? Did it require a trip to the Emergency Room?
I tipped a table saw over onto myself when I was 3 or 4 (it wasn't running). One of the guide poles broke into my arm, requiring stitches (only 3!!).

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Fall Love

There are things I like about each of the seasons, so it's always difficult if I have to pick a favorite in one of those "get-to-know-each-other" games. However, when we're in the midst of one of the seasons, or it's just starting, then I'm completely entrhalled with that given time. Today was one of those brisk fall days that made the leaves crunch under our feet and I put on a sweatshirt and made the Kidlet wear a hat (which he kept on, amazingly) and I loved fall today.

The leaves haven't really started changing, and admittedly we don't live in one of the classic leaf-looking places, but that time isn't far away. Some of them have fallen and rustle on the sidewalks or against each other. I love that there are pumpkins for sale and that soon children will start to carve them and folks will roast the seeds (mmmmmm... roasted pumpkin seeds).

People are returning to a routine, and that includes church. Our attendance was nearly double the past two weekends from what it had been most of the summer, which makes me both sad and excited. I've been a little afraid that the folks who hadn't been around for the summer were going to stay away on a more permanent basis given the transition we're going through. Apart from any sort of political issue, worship has had an energy and excitement that it's lacked.

All of this to say that today I really love fall: the brisk weather and the kids walking past our house on their way to school and the pumpkins on steps and the apples in the orchards and the people in the pews.

Friday, September 15, 2006

RevGal Friday Five

I read the Friday Five this morning and didn't really feel qualified to play. I've thought it about it all day and decided to play anyway.

David Letterman used to have a feature on his show called "Brushes with Greatness." Members of the audience would share stories of encounters with famous people. And so...

1. Tell us about a time you met someone famous.
I've been in the presence of many famous people, but actually met very few. I had the honor and privilege to meet Paul Wellstone, may he rest in peace. Barbara Brown Taylor, Leif Enger (Peace Like a River). Oh, and I was very, very close to Joyce Carol Oates and was so in awe of her. I kept repeating in my head, "I took a whole class on her. I've written papers about her writing. There she is."

2. Tell us about a celebrity you'd like to meet.
Hmmmm.... Natalie Portman. Or Dr. McDreamy, whose name I've somehow forgotten.

3. Tell us about someone great who's *not* famous that you think everyone oughta have a chance to meet.
My dad. It's so cheesy, but he's one of the coolest guys I know. Down to earth, great sense of humor, very laid back, and he knows lots and lots of things -- both practical things like how to change the oil on your car, and also brilliant out-there scientific things that he's able to explain to the average folk.

4. Do you have any autographs of famous people?
Barbara Brown Taylor, Leif Enger (see above)

5. If you were to become famous, what would you want to become famous for?
Writing a really great book. More likely? Being married to my brilliant husband, who I'm convinced will somehow manage to rock the world in his own sweet dorky way. Of course other days I'm amazed that he's even able to walk himself to work.

Bonus: Whose 15 minutes of fame was up long, long ago?
Donald Trump

Monday, September 11, 2006

Writing/Not Writing

I feel like I haven't written much recently. In some ways I've slipped back into the old me from my pre-blogging days in which I'd think things like: "I should journal." And for a few days I'd walk around with these brilliant little vignettes rumbling about in my head to write down and never did. They died in my head or I forgot to ever sit down with my journal or I would sit down and nothing would come or I wouldn't have the right pen or the right cup of coffee or I'd see a friend ambling down the street and decide that talking with her would be far better than writing anything down.

When it comes to blogging I've managed to maintain a somewhat regular pattern of posting. Maybe because my handwriting never matters or I can do this at all hours of the day or because sometimes people leave comments and my ego likes that, my desire to belong needs that.

When writing block hits during sermon prep, I often sit down and simply start typing (rarely do I write sermons long-hand, though occasionally it happens), often with a string of words that start: "I don't know what to say to these people this weekend and I'm not even sure that I want to preach but if I did it certainly wouldn't be on this passage from Matthew/James/Isaiah/name the identified lectionary text/Stewardship/Evangelism and I don't want to preach this because I really want to say..... but I'm afraid that I'm not brave enough." It's my own little slice of pre-sermon therapy that at least gets me to acknowledge what I'm afraid of and often when I get done spewing all of this onto paper, there's a decent sermon mixed in once I take out all (most?) of the stuff about me.

I need to write, I've discovered. It's balm for my soul and without even realizing it I'd let it slip away, not only from me but from my identity. Calling myself a writer always seemed silly, and grandiose, and far too vulnerable to be safe. As a woman who stands in the pulpit or wanders around the chancel, weekly, I feel vulnerable weekly, sometimes daily. I think I dropped the mere idea of writing because it was simply too much. Melodramatic? Maybe.

When friends from my former life asked if I still wrote, I'd hem and haw and mention sermons or newsletter articles. I'd try to explain how they were my creative outlet, but in their eyes I could see that they saw through my words. I've had a few writing gigs over the past year or so, for denominational publications or for preaching resources, and I've written some pieces for the RevGal devotional books. These pieces clearly come from my identity as "pastor." But they have opened me a bit, and I find other things rumbling about in my head, that occasionally find their way to paper or to this blog.

I still don't know if I'm claiming writer. Usually I just list it as one of my hobbies, like gardening or walking, neither of which have gotten much use recently either. However, in a conversation with a dear friend the other day, she called me a writer: "Yeah, but you're a writer," she said. She threw the statement out there lovingly, like a gift, and has probably forgotten it, but clearly I haven't.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Occasionally I can't sleep.

Tonight's one of those nights.

Night before last was another.

I'm tired, but can't seem to shut my mind off long enough to drift off to sleep. I do various things on nights like this: write things down, take a warm bath, drink some milk, maybe some wine, I read, do logic puzzles, work a sudoku or two, pick up my sleeping child, pay bills, read blogs, dream about the future ... I try relaxation techniques and sometimes they work.

Sometimes I just lay in bed, not sleeping. That's less fun when DH starts snoring, but sometimes it's peaceful.

I think about worship and calls and family and taking trips and planning stewardship.

I pray for my parishioners as they come to mind and remember that I need to try to call one of them again tomorrow.

I think about my friends in their many and various places and locations, and how I miss them -- for the ones about to give birth and those who still have months to go, for those who have calls, are waiting for calls, are discerning calls, and for those who don't want their call anymore, for the newly married and soon-to-be married and those who struggle to be still married.

Lord, hear my prayer.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


If I were to do a series of posts on things that make me feel like a "grown-up" this would feature prominently. I really don't see doing a post-series, but the little startling moments that make me feel grown-up are interesting to think about.

I'm getting my hair cut tomorrow, which is always a delightful experience -- and an appointment I've been looking forward to for quite some time. That's right, I made an appointment to get my hair cut.
More than a day in advance.
More than a week in advance.
Ok, honestly? I made the appointment when I left the salon after my last cut, 8 weeks ago. I used to ridicule women who did that (in my mind), thinking, "How are you going to know when your hair needs to be cut? What if you get bored between now and then?" And then I became one of them. Because while I made silent fun of them, they seemed so adult, so put-together. And while I might venture into the land of feeling like a grown-up.... put-together? Not-so-much!!

Monday, September 04, 2006


It's raining, or projected to rain, all day here. We don't mind the rain, really, but it sort of eliminates a lot of the ideas that we had for today's entertainment. And, because we realize that everyone else is trying to get out of the rain, many of the other options for going somewhere become overwhelmed with people. And, because it's Labor Day, many of our favorite outings aren't an option, like the library.

I feel horribly uncreative on days like this -- surely we can do something with our family that doesn't involve going to some sort of attraction, right?

I'll let you know what we discover.

Good news: I've brought us up-to-date on clothing mangement for the kidlet. We're ready to transition to the next size and weather.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday Five

Life in the fast lane (red because don't red cars get stopped more often?)

In honor of Will Smama and her recent fender-bender, this Friday Five has been created for her "in lieu of flowers."

1. Driving: an enjoyable way to clear the mind? a means to an end? a chance to be quiet with one's thoughts? a necessary evil? the downfall of our planet and its fossil fuels? Discuss.

I love to drive. Always have. Long trips, short jaunts about town, you name it.

2. Do you drive the speed limit? A little faster? Slower? Have you ever gotten a ticket?
On the interstate or the open road I drive a little faster than the speed limit. But just a little. I had the same idea about local roads until last fall when I got a ticket. My first one ever. I didn't even know what to do when the officer approached me.

3. Do you take public transportation? When? What's your opinion of the experience?
It's not convenient at all to do so where I live now on a regular basis. The 'burbs are built on the idea that everyone has a car. However, in other places and times I have done so for daily commuting and it's been a good (relatively) experience. Vacationing in places like Boston and DC make the use of public transportation essential.

4. Complete this sentence: _____________ has the worst drivers I've ever experienced.
Hmmmm.... I grew up in a really small town (no stoplights, not even a stop sign on the main street) so I feel with some confidence that small towns often have bad drivers. But that's only based on recent visits back to said small town and my realization that I simply don't know how to drive in that setting anymore -- I don't know everyone's car so can't anticipate that Elmer is going to the hardware store and will be turning left. I live in a major metropolitan area now and there are certainly enough bad drivers populating this area, too. Sorry, I can't pin down one location.

5. The 6th longest average commute in the United States is at 29 minutes each way. How does your personal commute rate?
Currently my commute rocks. 10-15 minutes each way, all local roads so length of time depends on stoplights and trains.

Bonus for the brutally honest: It has been said, and the MythBusters have confirmed, that cell phones can impede driving ability almost as much as drinking. Do you talk on a cell phone while driving?
Um, yeah. Not every time I get in the car, but if I know I'll be in the car awhile, I use it to catch up with friends who are out of state or my mom.
I was not on my cell phone when I got a ticket, though.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

In case I forget...

I really like to facilitate visioning meetings.

I'm good at keeping people on task and on time.

We had fun at a meeting tonight. People laughed, reflected, dreamed.

We left at a reasonable time after covenanting to be done at said time.

I left feeling more energized and excited about ministry than I had in a really, really long time.

I feel like we set some good groundwork for moving into budgeting and stewardship. Really.

I keep wondeirng if maybe someday I could do this facilitation on a broader spectrum. How much of the response is because they know me and trust me and how much of it is because I communicated enthusiasm and freshness? Would I have been able to do so without having known them for the past two years? Those parameters have not been necessarily true when I've done similar things in other settings, though I think they help.

While tomorrow's another day, I don't want to forget the rush that tonight brought.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Decidedly fun and un-whine-y

That's what I want to be when I grow up. Decidedly fun and un-whine-y.

I took Oldest Niece to a science museum a few years ago. She was probably six. I'm trying to remember what summer it was. Maybe she was five. Regardless. At one point I told her in a sing-songy happy voice after she refused to pose cutely for a picture that there would be no whining on this outing. But I'm not whining, she protested. And then I realized that it really was just time to go and that we'd done all we could do for her attention span. If only I could recognize that moment for myself.

So, without further ado, here are some things that, for me, are decidedly fun and un-whine-y:

Shoes. Cute ones that complete my outfit and only occasionally scream, "Hey -- look at my shoes!" It helps if they're pink, clearly, but I will consider other colors. Today's were blue patent and conservative enough to be sold at Talbot's.

Gin martinis. Extra dry (just wave the vermouth around, if you would, please). Lots of olives.

A really great joke told by a masterful storyteller. My dad is good, and even better, he will laugh at a joke so hard that his shoulders shake and tears run out of his eyes.

Baseball. Really. I love to watch the game and know enough about it to watch it intently, with only the occasional question to my darling. We caught a minor league game while on vacation and that just does this girl good.

Turning up some trashy dance music in my car and pretending that I'm not a pastor, or at least am not on my way to conduct worship at the nursing home.

Hanging out with friends. Really good friends. You know, the kind you can just relax and be yourself around and there's good conversation about a random assortment of things and they're smart and funny and think the same of you.

Playing cards. It's especially great if that can be combined with the above, but if the friends aren't the best, you can concentrate on your cards. Or have another martini.

I know that there are many other things, some more nostalgic and sweet than fun: my DH (usually!), my gorgeous baby boy who giggled in his sleep last night as I held him in the middle of the night, coming across my grandmother's recipe for cookies and remembering her kitchen and the crisp white-and-red curtains.

What is decidedly fun for you? What un-whines you?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Rumbling about in my head

Warning: Not particularly coherent post ahead.

Being a pastor requires night meetings and other assorted things: wedding rehearsals, gatherings. I know this. I also know that when my life is a little bit out of whack, I resent them deeply because of the time they take away from my child, because of the costs sometimes involved with childcare, because of the costs to my own sense of well-being and/or balance in life.

For a long time now I've wanted to be a pastor when I grow up. Wanted in that sense of feeling called and truly enjoying what I do. Since we had a lot of time in the car over the past vacation, and it's what we do, DH and I talked about what we each want to be when we grow up. These days he has a much clearer sense of what he wants to do, beyond his current pastor gig, than I do. It's not a competition between us in the sense that because he knows I should know, too, but rather one that makes me think more about my own contentment/calling/discernment.

Just coming off of vacation (I'll stop mentioning that soon), I can see some of these things without a lot of drama. Of course a week, two weeks, tomorrow, I'll be ready to cry into my coffee cup again. The most frustrating part of all of this for me is not being able to really implement a plan to prevent the freak-out. In my head I know some of the coping things that would help (wider network of friends, regular exercise, enough sleep, eating well, all those healthy things) but I don't have the ability/gumption/something to implement them.

A bit of what I read

Upon the recommendation from several RevGals, I picked up Getting Things Done to take with me on vacation. I know, I know. Vacation reading? I know, I know. I am still reading it because I also read a Nora Roberts novel, another novel of like, and this book: The Girl's Guide to Being the Boss. I know, I know. Vacation, right? Well, it was good transition reading, given that we left Big City immediately after worship on a Sunday and drove to spend the night and then drive some more to get to Small Village. It was both time to let go of all the things that I felt like I'd forgotten to do, and read some in order to feel like I was doing something about them.

Of course, picking up Getting Things Done in the middle of vacation made me a little twitchy, if only in the sense that I couldn't actually do any of the things that Allen recommends without getting myself back into work mode, even though his approach is designed for the whole scope.

ETA: The Girl's Guide was well-written, fun-to-read, and vaguely applicable to pastor as "boss." However, so very often because nearly everyone who "works" for the congregation is a volunteer, the principles were too geared to office to be adapted. At the same time, the authors are accurate that there are few role models for women's leadership. How this is different in the parish vs. the office building, I'm still working on it. I'll admit that it was prominently displayed near the Allen book at my favorite big-box bookstore and that weighed heavily on my decision to purchase it. I loaned it to my mother-in-law who is a school district administrator; I'll be curious to get her read on it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


It takes me (everyone?) a bit of time to return to the routine after vacation. As much as I'm dreading going to the office tomorrow and diving head-first into a five-day marathon, I recognize that my routine is not staying home and therefore to the office I go.

There aren't any really great stories from vacation -- we had a good time, saw most of our families, spent some time with friends, splashed in a lake and pools, enjoyed phenomenal weather and yummy food. Baby Boy charmed everyone, did fairly well in the car, was really glad to be out of the car, and had his first lake-swim.

DH and I talked a fair amount in the car, discussed vocational options, fiddled with some hopes and dreams. It's always hard to visit the state we both called home and wonder if it's time to head back. I've always thought that if we were ever to move back, we'd never leave again. Perhaps I'm being melodramatic, but I also know that the pull of family is strong and will only become stronger as our parents age and we'd like our child to know his cousins. Who knows where our days will take us?

Tomorrow takes me back to the office. I've appreciated the extra day that I built in to run errands, do laundry, sort mail. These are the quotidian things that don't get done while away and that provide structure upon return.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I'm back.

The trip was good.

More later.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


We leave tomorrow afternoon.

I'm not even close to being ready for worship tonight, let alone to be gone for ten days.

Packed? My mom asked. She should know better. HA!

This will probably be my last post for awhile -- the connection where I'll be is s-l-o-w. And the house will be full with kids and their parents and our parents.

Oh! And, it's been a year since I've started blogging -- August 11, according to the archives. The date sort of came and went in the midst of this past week's chaos, but it's still good to be here. If my blog is a journal, this is by far the longest stretch of consistent writing.

Now I should really take advantage of this time while the kidlet is napping; at the very least I should bathe.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Preparing and another quip

Leaving for vacation on Sunday afternoon, the first time I've really been away on anything I can consider vacation since March. A lot has happened since March (including the retirement of my dear colleague and the subsequent solo interim that I'm doing) and I'm ready, so very ready to be away. Four days with my folks and other family in the Up North Land -- I hope to fish, to read, to look at the stars (because you can really see them as opposed to where I live, Suburban Sprawl), to eat mom's cooking and play with their great dog -- the Almighty Chesapeake. And then another four days or so in the urban center of that state -- baseball game? time alone? seeing friends and playing cards.

Apart from all of the stuff that I need to get done before I can leave, I'm super excited to be going. This week has already been really full, but my husband has transformed himself into a domestic god and announced when I returned home last night: "Nearly all the laundry in the house is done, dishes washed, garbage out, Boy's been sleeping for hours, I've started packing and am nearly done, and the car is ready to be loaded." It also appeared that he'd had a beer (empty bottle) and had time to sit. There are times that I really love this man!


I'm doing a wedding for some folks when I get back. Non-members. Second marriage for him, they're RC, so they turn to us. I know from our conversations that they (he) has a lot of money: he owns his own business (businesses?), the house is worth a lot of money (nearly seven figures, I'd guess), and a few other little things that have been said.
It comes out in conversation last night that they picked out her a wedding present recently. A car.

Me: Oh, wow, that's exciting. (Thinking to myself: Did I even exchange a wedding present with my domestic god of a husband?) What did you get?
Her: A Jaguar.
Me: I think my fee just went up.

If you got a Jag when you got married, please don't tell me. Or if you did, please tell me you compensated the minister appropriately after disclosing that information.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


The following exchange happened at last night's Council meeting.
After I was patronized.
Before I cried.
After we'd already been meeting for longer than I thought we would in entirety.
Before I waxed poetic on the calling of chaplains.

President: Why would someone want to be a hospital chaplain?
Me: Um, no night meetings?

Sunday, August 06, 2006


There's been a box in the corner of our guest room since we moved here, a year and a half ago. A standard paper box without a lid, it contained as far as I could tell, random stuff. Only what I could see on top could I clearly identify.
I went through it tonight. Adrenaline from a wedding, a baptism, a reception with fabulous dancing, and worship again this morning, not napping when I should have, all of that spilled over and made me want to get something in order. This box met its fate tonight.
So what was in it? Most of what had been on top of our desk when we moved -- stapler, three-hole punch, pens and pencils, all of the random change from other countries that I've held kept after coming home.
And a lot of pictures.
Pictures mostly from 1996 until now -- not a comprehensive collection, but random rolls that have never been put in albums, some that people had sent to me. Fun, crazy, sad. There were "fat" pictures and "fit" pictures. Young ones and silly ones. From travels and home and school and weddings and scenery. And time just passed, right before my eyes.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


It's Saturday morning in this house and we're reading:
I'm reading blogs online.
DH is reading the NY Times.
And when all was quiet from Baby Boy, I turned my head to see where he was:
Sitting on the floor in front of the bookshelf with his books around him, going through each one of them.
He just crawled into the Big Blue Chair. All by himself. With a book.
It won't last long - there he goes down to get a different book - but it's certainly precious.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday (evening) Five

This week we have a treat: a guest Friday Five composed by NotShyChiRev. Enjoy!

1. Describe the last play or musical you saw. (At least provide the what, when, where, and why).
I saw Wicked, in March, in Chicago, as a result of a thoughtful Christmas gift from DH.

What was your opinion of it? I thought it was great.

However, I was surprised to see candy being sold in the theater as if it were a baseball game. I think because my first experience with a seemingly big-time theater production of a musical was at Ford's Theatre and Lady Bird Johnson was rumored to be "in the house" that same night. They might have been selling candy that night, too, (I doubt it), but I've wiped it out of my memory.

2. All time favorite play? Musical?
Oh goodness. I'm terrible at things like this, namely remembering names and/or titles... Ummmm... Some things I've seen and liked: Five Guys Named Moe, The Seagull, The Dollhouse....

3. “The Producers,” “The Philadelphia Story,” “Hairspray,” “The Wedding Singer”…all were movies before they were musicals (okay “The Philadelphia Story” was a play and then a movie, and they changed its name when it became a musical, but whatever). What non-musical movie do you think should next get the musical treatment?

I have absolutely no idea. None. But I'd love to hear your thoughts.

4. Favorite song from a musical? Why?
If I can't come up with a favorite musical, then I'm even more pressed to come up with a favorite song.

5. The most recent trend in Broadway musical revues is to construct a show around the oeuvre of a particular super-group or composer, where existing songs are woven together with some kind of through story. ... What great pop/rock singer/composer or super-group should be the next to be featured, and what might the story-line be for such a show?

Once again, I really don't have a good response, particularly for the second part of the question and begin to feel myself being outclassed (well, clearly), but I'd say Carly Simon...

Having completed this, I nearly feel as if I should turn in my English degree. Sheesh. That or get out more!

Thursday, August 03, 2006


It doesn't feel so hot outside, even when it's 99 or 100, if your internal body temperature measures at 103.6 or 104.0.

Today it's cooler -- both internally and outside. Thank goodness!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


My kidlet is nearly 15 months old. I have no idea how that happened. Really, I don't. People would tell me when they saw us out after he was first born, "Oh, it goes so fast... pretty soon they're (insert activity of their child here)." And I got tired of people saying that because I just wanted to enjoy him at 6 days or 2 weeks or a month and not think about when he'd be walking/talking/going to school/driving a car/going to college... I hate it when others are right like that.

Tonight was a night of meetings for me at church; I was away for bedtime and got home well after he was sound asleep. I, of course, couldn't (can't) sleep. So, I picked him up out of his crib and held him -- rocking him in his sleep, more to soothe myself than him, clearly. By the light of the hall night-light I studied him, breathed in his scent, rubbed his knees, marveled at how he no longer fits neatly in my arms but instead spills over my arms and the sides of the chair. He has gotten "so big" and toddles and babbles all over the place. And while it's different than when he was 6 days or 2 weeks, it's perfect.

Special thanks to Will Smama for the reminder to pay attention to these little times of quiet.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Take two

Ok, so I tried to post an uplifting, get myself out of the grumps post earlier -- even a list of things I was thankful for or things that had made me laugh today. It didn't work. My post sounded, er was, whine-filled (you know I hate to whine) and trying to write it made me (even more) crabby. But I'm back again, for take two.
In the meantime I went to the big super-used-to-only-be-fabric-store that now sells among other things, cameras and scanners and printers, oh my! I did not go there for fabric, mind you, but I also was not expecting to have the option of buying a scanner. But I digress.

Things that remind me it's not all bad:
1. I have a really pretty planner. Even if it's full of too many things to do, the pages are still fun to look at.

2. I am surrounded by an amazing group of people who help me (and my husband) to parent, including but in no way limited to: the people at day care who might just love my kid as much as I do; our pediatricians who always act delighted to see him, for routine check-ups and for the "Um, what are these spots on his feet?" visits; and the multitude of doting folks at our respective congregations who have loved him since, well, probably since we announced that we were expecting.

3. Friends who tell me that, actually, it really is *that* bad and it's OK that I'm tired and crabby and then they go on to validate the many and various reasons that I might be feeling overwhelmed and tired ... and then they make me a drink.

All of this to say that I can almost guarantee that at some point tomorrow I'll feel like resigning my call once again, as I did earlier today. And, to be honest, part of me thinks that knowing that's always an option (though not always a good one) is what's really getting me through. Cheers!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Friday Five -- Hot Hot Hot

It's Friday evening and here's the RevGals Friday Five

1. What's the high temperature today where you are?
Not sure what the high was, but it's currently 90 and feels like 95 according to

2. Favorite way(s) to beat the heat.
Staying inside with air conditioning, a cool drink, and a book. Alternately, spending the entire day in water.

3. "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." Evaluate this statement.
Well, yes. But really, at a certain point, it's both.

4. Discuss one or more of the following: sauna, hot tub, sweat lodge, warm-stone massage.
Sauna and hot tub are fabulous when it's cool outside -- something about sitting in an outdoor hot tub when it's cold enough to make your hair freeze. Of course I am from MN, so that explains a lot. I've done a sweat as part of a religious/spiritual experience and it was amazing -- can't imagine doing that when it's already hot outside, though.
Warm-stone massage -- a lovely experience that I've had once.

5. Hottest you've ever been in your life
Hmmm... that's a really good question. While I can think of many cold experiences (see above), the super-hot don't leave a stunning impression. Extended periods of heat just drag on and are miserable.

Non-temperature related bonus: In your opinion... who's hot?
Oooo.... I, too, am skipping the obvious husband route. Uma Thurman, John Cusack, Timothy Hutton, Claire Danes, Richard Gere ...

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Tomorrow I'm being shadowed by a woman who thinks she might want to be a pastor. It's part of an assignment for a class of hers and I'm the "woman-relatively-new-to-ministry" component. It came up all of a sudden and I haven't really had a chance to get freaked out about it -- as in, "why would she want to shadow me?" Although I realize the answer to that question has less to do with my relative fabulousness and more to do with location and demographics. Regardless, I have been giving it some thought in the past 24 hours or so, particularly as she asked me on the phone if I'd be doing a "number of pastoral things that she could observe. Which caused me to think, "Isn't everything I do in my office pastor-like in some way or another?" Well, probably not -- particularly in the formal sense discussed by Lutheran Zephyr here.

I've wondered what I'll say to this woman at the end of our hours together as she "interviews" me to sum up my thoughts on ministry. All of this comes on the heels of a week of the severe crabbies, a sick child and a couple of anniversaries in my life. So, some thoughts...

Being a pastor this week for me means getting hugs in coffee shops from women who are grateful simply that I returned their phone call; it means seeing old men bury their head in their hands as I pray for their wife; it means being called sweetheart and honey and knowing that they love me for who I am.

Being a pastor this week for me means fielding phone calls from non-members asking if I'll do their wedding... in six weeks; from folks wanting to use our kitchen, our fellowship hall, our parking lot; from really, really persistent yellow page representatives; from folks wondering if I knew that so-and-so had been in the hospital for four days... they're OK now, though.

Being a pastor this week for me means trying to schedule the four weeks of vacation and two weeks of continuing education time that I'm allowed/supposed to take and still maintaining a congregation; it means wanting to take my Sabbath and not feel guilty; it means letting the tears roll down my cheeks out of exhaustion and frustration, in the privacy of my office.

Being a pastor this week for me means presiding at a service at the local nursing home and treating the people there with dignity and respect; it means taking time to visit the folks who are no longer able to worship with the rest of the community; it means holding my feverish child as he moans and whimpers in the middle of the night and folding laundry.

Being a pastor this week for me is all of this and more; it's reading the funny blogs and the sad ones; it's maintaining friendships across miles; it's thinking I should pray more and not; it's hoping that I, too, will hear a word of grace, a word of promise somewhere this week.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Here is where I sit and make decisions about things I never knew needed decisions -- yellow pages ads and our involvement in programs. I take calls from people who need things and I'm able to help them -- writing checks and making referrals in the midst of writing sermons and lifting prayers.

Here is where I am, if only for the time being. As a pastor, I have a hard time living in the here and not thinking about the "what-next" when it comes to things like where I hang my hat. We have abundant space and sparse furnishings, but I think, "well, our next house might not be so big..." or "that would be a pain to move." We've moved so many times in the past eight years that our post-college, basement eclectic style hasn't really had a chance to evolve into something that feels like home.

Here is where I'm not always sure that I want to be, always being lured by the thought of what else is out there -- something better, bigger, smaller, closer to family or farther away, something else.

Here is living and that's what I need to do, embracing the dancing moments and the crying moments, the throw-stuff-at-the-wall moments and the rock back-and-forth moments. This is what I need to remember.

Friday, July 21, 2006

One year and counting

If you read my blog and aren't a RevGalBlogPal, be sure to check it out today -- It's our anniversary!

And now on with the Friday Five:

1) What is your first memory of the RevGalBlogPals?
I had been a lurker on St. Casserole's blog for awhile and when the initial conversation about starting this webring came up, I lurked for all 100 or so comments.... It was the last push I needed to start my own blog, something I'd been thinking about doing for awhile before the RGBPs organized.

2) Have you met any of the other ring members in real life?
Not that I know of... if we have, we haven't identified ourselves as such!

3) Of those you haven't met, name a few you would love to know in person.
Oh dear. I have to choose? I really can't.

4) What has Ring Membership added to your life?
A large and far-flung community with many common interests. It's hard to sum up what this blog and the RevGals has meant to me this past year.

5) Describe a hope for the future of the WebRing.
I love the ideas that are being thrown around of retreats and seminars, educational opportunities with women and religion in mind. I think that this group could have a really, really good time together and it would be amazing to have all of us -- heck, even half of us, all together in one place.

Here's to the RevGals! I raise my glass to all of us!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Summer Evening

When she was older
she would look back
to that day
in her friend's front yard
when their houses were big
and their daddy's were rich
She would wonder whatever happened
to that friend who had called after
the boy on the bike
with his hands raised, crossed
above his head
showing off in an innocent way
for too-young girls

She had said, just loud enough,
You're not that cool.
And in the wavering of his tire
they knew he had heard.

Monday, July 17, 2006


For the past two weeks, the ELCA National Youth Gathering has been going on in San Antonio, TX. The first week over 15,000 students and chaperones (herd-riders? shepherds?) gathered and this past week over 25,000 did the same... I wasn't able to be there this time around, but from what I hear it went really, really well. And, from the snores rising from the couch right now, I'd say that most folks had a great time!

When I've attended in the past, both as a student and as an adult, it's been an amazing experience... I recognize that it's not a perfect system and that the costs involved are sometime prohibitive for churches to send students. However, the fact that 40,000 people come together to hang out with other Lutherans is pretty amazing.

So, here's my little bloggy shout-out to all who make such a happening happen:

To the kids for choosing to go and making the best of it once they are there -- for dancing in the aisles and on the floor, for smiling at strangers and striking up conversations, for moving outside of your comfort zone and for recognizing that they are part of the church, too.

To the adults who accompany them -- for taking time to make an impact on the kids and for allowing them to impact you, for spending nearly a week with too little sleep and too much sugar, for dancing in the aisles and on the floor, too, and for letting the experience mean something in your own faith life.

To the people who coordinate and organize this event -- whether you sold water or t-shirts, whether you made phone calls or mailed letter, whether you love your job right now or hate it, know that it means something to each person who goes, and that in some way, even if your name isn't on the billboard or even in the small print of the credits, what you did matters.

To Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson -- for preaching on Sunday morning and inspiring the next generation of pastors and church leaders, for dancing on stage and for simply being there.

To the congregations who sent the folks -- for supporting the fund-raisers and sending the kids with prayer and love, for welcoming them back and hearing their stories, and for ultimately allowing them all to be church as they grow in their faith and as their faith helps to shape yours. Together we are the church.

See ya in three years!

Saturday, July 15, 2006


I cut his hair today.
First hairct.
He looks so.

I've tried posting a picture, but they keep coming up blurry. Hmmm...

Friday, July 14, 2006

Friday Five -Slight Edit

1. Grammatical pet peeve
As an English major I probably have many -- however, as someone who grew up with some interesting, colloquial language uses herself... well, see below.
My biggest pet peeve here? Probably poor spelling or the improper use of the apostrophe.

2. Household pet peeve
Hmmmm.... Leaving food on the counter after dinner instead of putting it away? Ooo.... actually, when my husband trims his beard and doesn't clean up (entirely) the "droppings."

3. Arts & Entertainment pet peeve (movie theaters, restaurants, concerts)
Crabby, snooty or inattentive servers, or on the other end of the spectrum, over-attentive, insecure servers. My DH and I have both waited tables in the past and have come to expect good service.

4. Liturgical pet peeve
Breaking the bread when saying the words "and he took bread and broke it" ... I was taught (drilled) that the words of institution are a remembrance, not a re-enactment. Not that how I learned or how I do it is "right" or that it really matters... :)

5. Wild card--pet peeve that doesn't fit any of the above categories
Driving pet peeve: People who don't use their blinker. My snotty response? "I think blinkers come standard on that model..."

Bonus: Because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God: What do YOU do that others might consider a pet peeve?
As I indicated above, there are a couple of things that I say that probably make others shudder. I grew up saying things like, "Do you want to come with?" I've learned now to say, "Do you want to come with ME" or "Do you want to come ALONG?" Also, it's a regional thing, I've discovered, to say, "I'm going to go put gas ON the car" as opposed to IN the car, which seems safer, clearly, but ... well, some things are hard to break!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


The ever-expanding vocabulary of my 14-month old amazes me... some words are pretty clear, but others I'm probably thinking that he says them. Some of my favorites, with accompanying actions:

He's big enough now to crawl into his stroller on his own, which he'll do randomly and then say, "Go. Go." When I ask him where he wants to go he says, "Buh-bye."

We're just now getting a lot of "what's this?" Sometimes he'll repeat the word back to you, or at least that's what I think he's doing. My mom's in town and she of course thinks he's brilliant.

By far his favorite word is ball. It's often the first word that he utters in the morning when I pick him up from his crib.

He still loves to play peek-a-boo, which we just call "Peek!" So it shocked me completely when he walked past me in a room the other day and when he turned around to come back in and see me, he said, "Peek-a-boo."

This kid really has me wrapped around his pudgy little finger!

Sunday, July 09, 2006


I just wanted to say that I realize that the last two posts represent the ends at which I live my life... and most days I just hope to be in the middle.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Saturday morning

Because I stopped at the big-chain coffee shop this morning after getting some baked goods at the farmers market, I was reminded of the "The Way I See It" campaign on their coffee cups. I rather like it and it always makes me think about my own little "the way I see it" blurb, which I thought I'd share with you...
... I feel better about the world if I go to the market and buy something yummy. Today it was fresh blueberries, cranberry scones (without nuts!!!), and some beautiful sweet onions that I can hardly wait to grill.
... If I spent as much energy being productive as I do about worrying, I'd be amazing.
... Ok, I'm pretty amazing already. In a rare moment of clarity, I occasionally realize how much I actually do and how through the grace of God I'm even able to enjoy some of it.
... If a little bit of chocolate and red wine make me feel even better, who am I to complain or to fight it?
... The lifestyle that I idealize is actually just that -- no one sits at outdoor cafes in perfect weather sipping lattes or martinis all the time, so why should I pretend that it actually happens? If this is your lifestyle, please don't tell me.
... I have some pretty cool friends who do their best to keep me sane. Without them, well, I'd rather not think about that.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


I'm realizing, more and more, that being a pastor is about making decisions and sticking with them -- not second-guessing and doubting, but doing whatever it is that I'm doing with confidence. I know that could be applied to nearly everything in life... but it's where I'm at right now. I have a tendency to obsess about things -- you know, that late-in-the-night, can't-stop-thinking, bit...

I've made some decisions this past week and while I don't know how they will play out long-term, I know that they were what I had to do for my own sense of well-being and health. I don't like being so tired and on-edge that I snap at well-meaning parishioners when they ask me how I am. Two funerals and family in town on the heels of being away for church business for a week doesn't do a girl good, I've learned. And, yet, this is what pastors do -- when people die, we bury them. When people get sick, we visit them. When people have a problem and sit in our office, we listen and possibly refer. This is what I've been waiting to do, and now that I'm the only show around, it's what I'm doing.

A week ago I wrote about possibly feeling human sometime "next week." Perhaps that's a perpetual cry as a week has come and gone and I'm even farther away from recovering, but I don't believe that it has to be that way -- I don't believe that we're called as pastors, as mothers, as children of God, as people to run ourselves ragged so that others around us can be well. If I care for everyone around me but never for myself, how long will that model last? Not much longer is what I'm discovering. I knew this all along, knew it in my heart and wrote about it in my candidacy essays, but knowing something and living it out are two different things sometimes.

I live in an area where everyone is incredibly busy and over-programmed. I've said before that I want church to be a place where, kids particularly, can come and simply be, where they can rest in their faith and not have to do. I need to take my own words to heart and lead by example. I'm still learning. Still learning, for sure.

Friday, June 30, 2006

RGBP Friday Five

With the inevitable July 4th on the horizon, we respond to these questions...
1) Do you celebrate 4th of July (or some other holiday representing independence?)
Not with any great fervor or gusto .... we often travel or are with family over the holiday so that becomes a celebration.

2) When was the first time you felt independent, if ever?
This question is far too existential for me this morning...

3) If you're hosting a cookout, what's on the grill?
Not hosting... if we were -- chicken, burgers, corn on the cob, and my favorite grilling delicacy -- apples and cinnamon in a foil packet for dessert.

4) Strawberry Shortcake -- biscuit or sponge cake? Discuss.
Um, both ... either... whatever is available? More important to me is the presence of whipped cream...

5) Fireworks -- best and worst experience
Don't really have a bad experience -- two good ones stand out: National Youth Gathering, Dallas, TX, 1991. And, much later, being in a kayak in Lake Superior as the fireworks went off overhead. That was by far the coolest.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


One of the best things about living several states removed from family is that they sometimes come visit. This happens to be one of those weeks.

One of the hardest parts of being a pastor is that people die, and there's not a lot of warning when that happens. This happens to be one of those weeks.

I'm here, my posts might be few and far between this week, but I'm here.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Evening Ride

The circumstances could have been different, but the setting was perfect!

It made me miss the land of the lakes and the trees, especially this afternoon upon returning to the land of the cars and buildings.


I think I'll start feeling like a human being again next week sometime. At least I hope so. It's a strange feeling to be "away" for much of a week and then re-integrate into life... Everyone else has been moving at a different pace and I'm trying to merge back into it.

I stopped at the office on my way home today -- to check voicemail, door messages, email. Things that would be easier to do today without the child than tomorrow with kid-in-tow. I didn't notice while I was there and it was happening, but as I was driving away I could tell that nearly all of the tension and freaking-out that I had lost this week has returning. In about a half hour.

It made me really sad and a little bit angry, and it made me wonder what to do about it. I'm still thinking -- maybe when I've gotten a good night's sleep I'll see a bit more clearly!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

10 Things

I leave tomorrow for camp. It's a pretty good set-up in that I'll be working the whole week, but will also have large chunks of time to myself and won't actually be sharing a cabin with any kidlets. It's still a week away from my family, though, which I'm not thrilled about.

However ... here are 10 random (or not-so random) things that I've been thinking about -- comment while I'm away and keep leaving your music suggestions below!

1. I'd much rather eat ice cream for dinner (or breakfast or lunch for that matter) and leave the "real" food to someone else. Left to my own devices I did just that often and it worked out just fine.

2. My husband will watch just about any sporting event. He has his favorites, but in a pinch, he'll watch absolutely anything. Happy Father's Day!

3. This is the first June that I've worked as a pastor, even though I've been ordained for over two years. It's almost over and boy, am I glad.

4. I'm a really bad packer. Which reminds me that I still need to do that.

5. For a moment today I really loved this calling. That's more than it's been lately and for that moment I was glad to get a glimpse back at why I do this.

6. Sassy, not crabby. That's my hope for the coming week.

7. My family is burying my grandmother this week. The ground was too wet in April when she died. They're also cleaning out the farmhouse. I'm devastated that I'm not able to be there with them.

8. While I've established my husband's sports-watching tendencies, I'll admit that I was the only woman in the room at the bar watching the first US game of the World Cup on Monday, and I know who's playing for the Stanley Cup, which game of the series it is and where they'll play next, if necessary. It "helps" that the baseball teams that I cheer for aren't so good -- therefore necessitating interest in other sports...

9. I'll miss this little guy this week.

10. I have no idea where those curls came from, but I love them and everything else about him. (Well, except that screaming thing that he does occasionally and the stinky diapers aren't so fabulous either, but other than that...!)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Music recommendations, please...

On my way back to the office this afternoon I found myself dancing in my seat to Shakira's new song and thinking, "I should download this to my iPod so I can listen to it all-the-time." It also got me thinking, "Thank goodness there's no one around to see this dorky-lookin' white girl doing some bad car-dancing."

Which got me thinking that I should ask you, my dear readers, what music you can't get enough of these days... I've seen a few recommendations recently for the new Dixie Chick's... I've discovered Over The Rhine thanks to my blogger-friends... you've all been gems about books to read... So, here's the deal -- songs, songwriters, bands, solo artists, new, not-so-new, songs that make you want to hit repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat... bands that you have listened to for what feels like ever, or those you've just discovered... Let me know! I need to expand my musical repertoire... As I did with the books, I'll post a recommended listening list in a few days... ooooo... maybe I could even figure out how to make a list on iTunes... well, we'll see -- I am leaving for confirmation camp in a few days...!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Opportunity for Acronyms

Are you a YA with interest in the NCCC-USA or the CWS? Do you know what that means? Somtimes I feel like I'm about to come unglued with our use of acronyms -- a language that creates insiders and outsiders in the attempt to make communicating easier... Because let's be honest, it's a whole lot easier to say "the NCCC" than "the National Council of the Churches of Christ."

Regardless... Upon reading the latest issue of Ecu-Link, I discovered this really cool opportunity for 18-30 year olds (their definition, I guess of Young Adult)... the General Assembly (GA) of the NCCC and Church World Service (CWS) will be in Orlando in November ... They need "stewards" to do things like hospitality. All expenses, except personal, will be covered by the assembly, and you can download an application here.

It looks pretty cool... And, while you're at it, check out the general site, if you're into that whole ecumenical thing... :)

They also publish a yearbook of American and Canadian churches and this year's book focuses on the impact of the blog! Yearbook 2006: Postmodern Christianity: Emergent Church and Blogs, ed., Eileen Lindner.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Sleepless in ....

Ugh. That was my first thought when I woke up (again) and saw the time. 0430.

Now, I know that many people get up at this time regularly to go to work. I don't. I'm more of a 6:00 (via the Boy) or 7:00.... creeping toward 8:00 if for some fluke I'm home alone. Which, since the Boy, doesn't happen a whole lot. Regardless. This morning my body decided that 4:30 would be a good time to wake up... I had other ideas, but since my mind, and it's anxiety-ridden tendencies, took over at about 4:31, I figured I was up for good.

So, here are my questions (since the RGPB Friday Five hasn't been posted and I'm leaving for a two-day meeting shortly):

1. When you wake up in the middle of the night do you have trouble falling back to sleep?
Sometimes. Especially if I'm particularly worried about something.

2. Do you have any techniques that you use to fall asleep, either for the first time or again later?
Some meditation, occasionally warm milk, getting up and writing down whatever was bothering me.... these work if I do them.... that's a big if.

3. Do you fall asleep with some "white noise?" (radio, tv, fan...)
Nope... used to with the radio

4. Do you snore?
I don't think so, and I don't believe MDH when he says that I do, because I think he sleeps too soundly to know. He does snore, though!

5. What would be your ideal sleeping pattern, work/kids/etc not considered?
I'd go to bed between 11 and Midnight... waking between 7 and 8. That sounds very civilized to me.

See ya when I get back!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Sweet, sweet sweat

I'm not a runner. Not in the sense of... well, really, not in any sense. Though at one point in my life I was walking so much that my massage therapist *thought* I was a runner, which to me meant something. Secretly, I've always wanted to be a runner... I think mainly because I've always wanted to have really, really great legs... and runners often have them.

Two very good friends of mine and a host of acquaintances are runners... runners in the sense that they talk about how many miles in a week they run and how fast and how their toenails are doing and how often they buy new shoes and how many pair of shoes they rotate through. Maybe some of you are runners.

Well, tonight I ran. Jogged might be a better term, interspersed with walking. It was (embarassingly?) the second time that I'd attemped running since having a baby, with decidedly better results. The first time made me feel as if half of my body (the inner half) was moving in a different direction)... not a good feeling.

But tonight, after a meeting at work I came home, kissed my husband, peeked on my baby (how much longer do I get to call him a baby?) and headed out into the beautiful summer night. I make no promises about keeping this up (which I know and understand is key to being a runner), but it sure felt good tonight.

And now, I'm heading to shower. Because really, I stink.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Coolness Meme

With a hat tip to Will Smama, and Katherine, I really don't *feel* cool and have had some periods in my life when I was decidedly NOT cool... so given that, I've decided to play along... Without further ado, five reasons I think I'm cool (also known in my head as "things that make me smile on a crappy day"):

1) Even though I fainted each of the first three times that I tried to get my ears pierced, as well as countless times while having my blood taken, I gave birth without any pain medication. While on pitocin. Hear me roar. (Which isn't to say that anyone who chooses/has no choice in how they give birth isn't cool... to each their own, really.)

2) I grew up north of the Laurentian Divide, which means that for the entirety of my childhood the river that goes through the backyard was flowing north.

3) As a freshman in college a guy pointed out to me that I didn't really have much (any?) cartilege in the end of my nose. It's a great party trick.

4) I'm married to a brilliant man. Which makes my (few and far between) victories at chess, jeopardy, and trivial pursuit all the sweeter.

5) My first several airplane rides were in small planes. Really small planes. As in me-and-the-pilot small. Because of this, I've seen pens float off the 'dashboard' of an airplane and felt my legs go weightless. It's pretty thrilling when you're 9.

How about you -- what makes you cool?

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Without going into un-necessary details, a crappy thing happened in the office this morning -- the kind of thing that makes me doubt my entire calling and the worth of the church around me; the kind of thing that makes me wonder if my pseudo-retired colleauge will ever leave; the kind of thing that made me so angry that I shook and then wanted to cry and then got angry with myself for being so close to tears and through it all wanted to slam my door and quite possibly break something; the kind of thing that has consumed me the rest of the day and made me very, very unproductive. It was a little thing really to have sucked so much of my energy.

I give thanks to the two friends who heard the inital force of my anger and frustration and sadness about what seems currently like a hopeless situation, but probably isn't.

Now, near the end of the day I find myself wanting to disappear. I joked with someone that if I showed up on their doorstep (several states away) to give me a drink (or six) and then tuck me quietly into the guest room and let me sleep until everything was all better. Ahem, nothing like a little avoidance.

Now, I crave the soft comfort of someplace familiar and gentle, someplace where no one will ask me questions and I won't be responsible for anyone or anything. I would simply like to disappear, resurfacing someplace else where things are calmer.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Are you from the church?

So, I had to go to the police station the other day to file a report on behalf of the congregation's assistance fund indicating check forgery. The bank requires a police report to proceed with the fraud insurance bit.
When I arrived at the station, all gussied up in my clergy shirt, snazzy pants and cute jacket, I explained to the desk folks why I was there. The nice officer explained that someone would be with me in a minute and motioned to the benches across from the desk; I was the only one there.
When the officers came out to get me (different ones than before), the first brilliant question they asked me: Are you from the church?
No, I wear this get-up for kicks. Of course I'm from the church.
I'm usually a bit more understanding, but when someone alters a check that a church wrote for assistance to get more money I become cynical and tired.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Walking away

I'm usually not so melodramatic.
But as he walked away from me yesterday, before we went out to play in the little turtle pool, I couldn't help but think that this wasn't the last time that I'd see him walk away.
Good grief, I love this little guy -- checkered-swimsuit-covered bum and all.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Yep, that's me! Thoughts on Why I'm a Lutheran

I've been thinking about Lutheran Zephyr's question for awhile, and finally got around to responding.

I'm one of those born-and-raised-and-never-really-left-the-church kind of Lutherans. I'm not sure how I feel about that (it feels a little boring, to be honest) but since I'm now a pastor married to another pastor, I'm guessing that it will probably remain that way.

Sure, there was a brief time in college when I was dating a boy who thought the whole church idea was kind of hoo-ey, and so I defended him to my parents (mom, mostly, as she was the one who brought it up) and heard myself saying something like, "You know, you don't have to go to church to be a good person." I'm sure we were folding clothes or something equally hand-consuming at the time and she averted her eyes, probably thinking, "This is what I get for letting her go to a STATE SCHOOL instead of that nice, private Lutheran school with the exorbitant tuition." Yeah, I'm sure that's what she was thinking as she nearly said as much.

My dad's family: pillars of a small Lutheran congregation that is part of a small, small branch of Norwegian Lutheran churches that never joined ANY of the mergers during this past century. My mom: grew up Methodist, though we have always gone to the Lutheran church, if only because there wasn't a UMC church around where we lived after I was born. We always went to church; it was just something that we did. Folks think that because I grew up in Minnesota that everyone around me was a Lutheran. But my part of the state was far more Catholic than Lutheran.

My husband is the one who did a fair bit of wandering during college (even leaving the heart of the midwest for The East, surely tempting fate) and whose parents were s-h-o-c-k-e-d when he said he was heading to seminary. Even though his family has been Lutheran for a good long time, he had denounced the entire kit and kaboodle (probably to make his mom mad, but who am I to judge?). So, I guess surprise at the, "I'm going to seminary instead of graduate school to further pursue my major" was appropriate.

Being a Lutheran and articulating my understanding of The Confessions (isn't that a candidacy question at some point?) for me is all about grace, about what Jesus did for me, about the radical idea that through our baptism we are adopted into the God's Family, and the abundant and freely given gift of God's love that we share around the table. I simply love the power of the sacraments as means of God's grace: celebrate them honestly, gather frequently, share the Good News, and live with the knowledge that, sinner though you are, you are a dearly beloved child of God.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I have a hard time "doing" personal devotions. Either I'm in too much of a rush or I forget or because I'm a pastor I think I have to do them which feeds into my whole thing about expectations and what I'm supposed to do. But all that aside, I've never gotten into a regular habit of devoting. I write them, I like to look at them in bookstores and on my own shelves, thinking, "hmmmm.... that would be a good idea."

And then a couple years ago I led a women's retreat. As we talked about prayer and My Friend the Speaker pointed out that it can happen anywhere-anytime, even doing the most daily of things, I realized that I do devote.

I start almost every morning by checking my e-mail and reading a few precious blogs. They aren't all overtly Christian. Some of them make me laugh, others cause me to tear up on occasion. Regardless, in my own way I lift these people up in prayer as I read. I remember them through the day and carry them with me. If I'm preaching and have read the texts for the coming week, I often find bits of the Gospel in what they have written, tucking those pieces away as food for my soul.

This works for me. What works for you?

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Sundays, not surprisingly, are days of extreme tiredness for most pastors. The pastors who then go into the office Monday morning are few and far between in my circle of colleauges. Perhaps they nap and recharge Sundays. Perhaps they are able to finish their sermon before Friday (er, Saturday night) and therefore if they were to take the other logical day as a Sabbath, would actually be able to rest that day, instead. I, on the other hand, know that the week is rare (non-existent?) in which I would have something ready-enough to be able to rest on Friday.

All of that having been said, today is one of an intense tiredness for me. We bid my colleague Godspeed and Farewell this weekend; after a beautifully long ministry career, he's retiring. It has been a weekend of many tears, much laughter, celebration and held-breaths. For all of the times when I willed the tears away and smiled so nicely and answered people's (stupid) questions, my body has absorbed the energy and now it has disappeared. In no way was it about me (except that I'm staying and he's going) and yet I have felt unable to cope with even the smallest tasks this evening.

I'm tired and feel that it is an exhaustion that goes beyond the relief of a good night's rest. My fear is that with the transition in front of me, any sense of rest will be slippery at best in the coming days, weeks and months.

Complicated Friendship

I have no idea why P. came to mind tonight.

We haven't spoken directly in well over a year, the circles of our lives once again drifting away from each other's rotation -- he has moved out of local calling range and did so without me knowing. I got a voicemail on my cell phone last fall with an update of his life and I didn't return the call, but have kept the message all this time, renewing the save-time every 21 days as the message comes up "marked for deletion." I listen to it begin and don't want to lose it, so I push 9 and hear, "This message will be saved for 21 days" in that electronic voice.

When our friendship began, we were part of the same Small Town where we went to high school. Through college and then grad school we kept in spotty contact -- and then we were living in the same Big City, which was surprising (OK, shocking)as most people from Small Town don't leave that area, let alone the state.

Still calling him a friend when we haven't spoken in so long feels a little weird. Yet I can't imagine calling him anything else. Our lives have taken us in such different directions. We have made decisions that have at best irritated and in reality angered the other. We have spent hours that would add up to weeks, maybe months, talking on the phone in our relationship. We frustrate each other and we skip the quotidian, building on years and years of deep conversation.

There is a level of comfort that comes from the idea of this kind of relationship and perhaps tonight, in my exhaustion, I am clinging to the simplistic remembrance of it.

Friday, May 19, 2006


I spent some time, a few weeks ago, weeding a flower bed in our backyard. Last year I didn't do any of that and some thistles went to seed, leaving me with more thistles than I really knew what to do with this spring. But, I did know that if I didn't do something sooner rather than later the whole yard would be taken over. So, on that day I cut down and pulled out and did some basic clean up. It felt good, but I knew that I'd have to get back in the dirt.

That happened tonight. We went to the big-box home improvement store and I bought some flowers for the planters and some potting mix and some tools that would help me extract the thistle roots and some gloves that would protect me from them.

It felt good to get back into the dirt, to dig and claw around and pull and see the worms and smell the dirt. I know this won't be the last time that I have to pull at the roots, but for now the beds are clear... my clothes are dirty and my arms will hurt a bit in the morning, but for it sure felt good.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Quick read and reading in general

After my last post, I've struggled to write something else -- that post came to being as a journal page to be used in conjunction with some digital photos (OK, ok, I'll say it's going to be part of a digital scrapbook layout, but I'm such an amateur that I hesitate to even use that word in conjunction with me.... so I prefer to say that I'm "making pages." semantics. whatever.) -- and I felt the need to post it here.... Thanks to all who read it and left such heart-felt words.

So, here's the follow-up post.... A book I finished recently... "Madame Mirabou's School of Love" by Barbara Samuel. It still has me thinking. I'm not claiming that it's a fine piece of literature, but for a book that I finished pretty quickly and would be the perfect companion for a bubble bath and a glass of wine, it's pretty good. I get most of my books from the library, used book sales (usually at the library), and garage/rummage sales. I read really fast and a lot, so the investment -- even at discount stores would be astronomical -- and I like the idea of supporting the library. When I read a book that I really like and that I want to share with others, I buy copies of it at used sales and keep them on hand to give away. "A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving was that book for a long time. Now it's "Peace Like a River" by Leif Enger; I can't resist sharing it and promoting the author. Evangelism at its most basic.