Monday, February 27, 2006

Dry Need

When I baked bread
my hands kneaded the dough until,
oiled to gleaming beauty,
it rested snugly above warmth,
rising to give strength

At the end I would rub my hands together
shedding the bits of dough
water sliding off my skin in droplets

Tonight my hands are dry
chapped and cracking at the seams
no amount of oil
can make them supple

I need something elemental
to sink my hands into
creating other in the heat

Saturday, February 25, 2006


I posted the last part of this briefly yesterday and then took it down because I wasn't sure that it really made any sense (not that blog entries have to make sense or that it does now), but I'm reposting it because I've thought a little bit more about what was actually going through my head.

In the meantime, I've lost track of the number of times I've checked my email today (I know, I know -- I just keep hoping for something exciting!), the number of nosebleeds I've had in the past few days (yes, I have a humidifier), the number of times that I've told the dog to get off the couch (this is almost a lost cause, though he's on the floor next to me now).

My world is going to change a lot in the next couple of weeks and I suspect that I'll blog about the events that transpire a lot when they actually happen. And, even though I've known about this impending change and transition for awhile, it's not the same as going through it. I knew that I'd have to go through labor from the moment I got pregnant, but that was nothing like actually going through it. So, for now I spend a lot of time thinking about change and transitions. I had originally framed this with thoughts of the transfiguration and that's partially where I'm still at -- that when we go through changes and transitions there's always a part of us that wants to stay on the mountain-top instead of mucking through the valley or trudging across the plains.

Regardless of what it's all about, I've done a lot of thinking recently about transfigurations in my own life -- times that I've changed and things that have changed me and that I remember -- moments in time that stick with me though years have passed and many more moments have come and gone.

I stayed up talking with a boy (we were 20, maybe 21, and yes, that's all we were doing) one summer night long enough to see the sun set and rise again. We were in a land far to the north so the time between darkening dusk and lightening dawn was shorter than I'd ever experienced it before and the moment when the sky stopped getting darker and started getting lighter sticks with me over ten years later -- I probably thought at the time that this was significant on some sort of cosmic level. Now I simply see it for the beauty of friendships, the grace of God and the gift of understanding. Staying up talking with friends into the wee hours is still one of my favorite thing to do.

Travel and love and sadness have all changed me. Being told that I was beautiful by a stranger as I waited for a city bus changed me; the snow fell around me and I wore a fur bomber-style hat. Harsh words and tender glances and feet gently caressing one another have changed me. Filling sandbags and pruning hedges and being the last car through before the interstate closed has changed me. Dancing in a barn and cheering for competition (D-D-D Defense) and shouldering a gun has changed me. None of these things seemed particularly remarkable at the moment of doing them; some of them remain unremarkable still except that they have molded me in who I have become.

What has changed you?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Disjointed about Friends

I feel like I have a few friends -- not a ton, but usually I feel like I have enough. I feel blessed to have the friends that I have -- those far away, those nearby, those who are guys and those who are women. I like people who are honest, who are smart, attractive, funny -- and then I start sounding like a snob. It's actually all about the connection -- can we talk for hours about everything and nothing over coffee or wine or gin? Do I get excited when I see you or hear from you? And after we've moved away from each other can we still have breakfast when you stop to see me with little incident?

I don't know what I would do without two of my ecumenical colleagues -- with these folks I am able to vent, collaborate, discuss, share a meal, and be assured that the future of the church, if it rests with us, is going to be OK. When I am with them I am NEVER too young to be a pastor.

I am positively in love with the following women in my life: my short-haired friend who first called me "Sassy Pastor;" the dramatic woman who asked me *in the narthex* *on my third Sunday at my congregation* if *dramatic whisper* if she was going to go to hell if she didn't believe that Jonah wasn't really swallowed by a whale; and the fashion plate who recently told me that she was coveting my shoes during communion the other morning. Oh, yeah.

It's good to have friends, indeed it is.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Crumbs in the Butter

A few years ago I read a book about the "refrigerator rights relationships" that we as a culture (whatever that really means) no longer have. As in, how many people in your circle of friends have "refrigerator rights?" I have a lot of people whom I would offer anything from my fridge, but few (precious, precious few in the area) who know that they can open my fridge when I'm standing there and take something.

We use "tub margarine" or some-such spread. Neither one of us is particular about whether or not there are crumbs in the butter -- the tell-tale sign of double-dipping for your toast. Similar to refrigerator rights, I realized, is that tub of butter-stuff -- there are a few close friends who see the crumbs, probably fewer who feel comfortable leaving their own. Some of this is because we rarely have overnight or brunch company, and those who do stay over are among those with rights.

Why am I thinking about this tonight? *giggles* Well, because I'm indulging in a little snack of wafers with frosting and found myself double-dipping and leaving some crumbs in my tub o' frosting. I'm really the only one who does this in the family, so I'm not concerned. My remedy for the situation? To get another wafer and scoop the 'offending' crumbs.... mmmm. Yummy.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Blogging Manners

It's one of those Friday nights -- DH is gone on retreat with his confirmation kids, so at home it's me, the dog (chewing a rawhide) and the baby (snoring through the monitor). Even though I'm not really worried about being alone, I jump at little noises and wish the dog were bigger, somehow more menacing.

All of this aside, between watching the Olympics and creating a "child of God" box for friends whose baby girl is being baptized tomorrow night, I'm surfing the internet. I visit my standard sites, the ones I visit many times a day (just in case these brilliant folks have posted something new), Google myself (both my real name and my blog) just to see what's out there, check my web-based e-mail, and then follow links randomly on the aforementioned favorite sites.

Following links is a great procrastination tool, but also one that I don't indulge in all that often -- like the full-fat coffee/whipped cream/caramel/chocolate goodness drink from my local barista. Which brings me to this post.

When jumping from link to link to link, I'll happen upon a blog that touches me in that "Wow, that's really cool" or "Wow, I think this person and I have a lot in common and he/she uses words in a clever, creative, fabulous way." I move my mouse to click "comment" and then I stop.

Who am I to comment on this woman's beautiful child without feeling like a stalker and making her feel all freaky about posting pictures online? Even though her child and my child are merely days apart and she writes beautifully?

What could I say to this person who has captured my interest for longer than I'd like to admit, and yet it's clear that I'm not the intended reader?

Daily I have people who visit my site because they searched "pink shoes." Most of them (from what sitemeter reports) skim a page and then probably leave. A few look around for at least a couple of minutes and then move along.

What is the protocol for commenting? Whose sites do you comment upon? What moves you to comment on a "new site?"

I'm just curious -- it's one of those Friday nights -- dog chewing, baby snoring.

Coffee Cup Update

Of the 5 dirty cups from yesterday (see "clear signs" below):

5 were washed this morning

2 have been returned to their respective homes within the church building

2 sit clean on my table

1 is full of steaming coffee on my desk

Friday Five

Winter Olympics Friday Five
1) Which of the Winter Olympic sports is your favorite to watch?
I have many, actually .... but I enjoy many of the non-ice skating events, particularly luge and skeleton. The snowboard cross competition, a new event, had me mesmerized yesterday.

2) Do you speak Snowboardese?
Um, no. However, it's really fun to listen to my husband (who has maybe never been on even skis in his life) make it up.

3) Define Nordic Combined. Don't look it up. Take a guess if you must.
It's a ski race that is a combination of cross country and downhill (although not in the big hill sort of way). Part way through the race skiers change skis for the hillier part of the track.

4) Curling. Please discuss.
If you look at the listing of where the curlers come from, majority if not all, are from Minnesota. My home state. It's like bocce ball on ice if you could flatten the grass in front of the ball like you can smooth the ice in front of the rock. Don't knock it until you've tried it. It's harder than it looks and our local pbs station would broadcast curling tournaments for the minnesotans and the canadians, because it wasn't all that far to our friendly neighbors to the north.

5) If you could be a Winter Olympics Champion just by wishing for it, which sport would you choose for winning your Gold Medal?
If I also got the fitness to along with it? Probably one of the aforementioned -- luge or skeleton, or maybe bobsled.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Clear Signs

Just when I think that I have a few things under control.... I look around my office and think, "Huh..."

Some clear signs to me that I don't have "things" under control:

Number of coffee cups in my office that need to be washed: 5

Number of those coffee cups that have needed to be washed for more than a week: 3

Number of uncapped pens on my desk: 4

Number of CDs out of their cases on my desk: 3

Number of phones calls that I don't want to make: 5

Number of those phone calls that I really need to make today: 3

Number of things that I would rather be doing than working: 6 that I can think of immediately

Number of blogs that I'll read before actually doing anything at work: 5 or 6, possibly more

Number of pieces of chocolate cake I had for breakfast: 1 (which is not to say that I won't have more for lunch)

And, just so you don't think that I'm so completely down on myself ---

Signs that I do have things together:

The clothes that I'm wearing are clean

I got the Baby Boy dressed (also in clean clothes!) and ready before I left

I've already led a Bible study and read to pre-schoolers

I might actually cook tonight

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day

I'm not feeling particularly happy or valentine-y this morning; it's important to keep perspective and to chin-up but ...

Why is it that everyone seems to need something from me? And it has to be RIGHT NOW? Happy Freakin' Valentine's Day... Because I wanted to spend breakfast in the customer lounge at my local car repair shop, lunch with a disgruntled parishioner, the evening with church council and every waking moment in between trying to get other reports and articles and done while people with their various levels of passsive aggressive bs ask for things.

End rant.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


When I sit down to write a sermon, some weeks it flows out of me like liquid from a pouring chalice – smooth and beautiful and lovely. Other weeks it falls out in clumps – not pretty, not graceful, definitely not something that you want others to see, let alone to intentionally share with others.

But Sunday morning comes regardless and sometimes I'm forced to admit that I climb the steps and face the people with a clumpy sermon instead of one that has been refined to perfection.

This week I really don't want to be clumpy. I want to have a sermon that's good – a sermon that I'm comfortable, even excited to preach.

I want to share the good news with enthusiasm and excitement – with clarity and grace. Part of me realizes that it's not about me – that preaching and standing up to proclaim the gospel is far from being about me and all about God and the Good News of Jesus Christ.

And it's in that realization I have to start writing.

Peace to all who preach.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I've been tagged!!

5 more things
It's that Five Meme.
Please feel free to use it as a procrastination tool.

Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Than add your blog to the bottom slot, like so.

1. Lucy
2. Phantom Scribbler
3. Songbird
4. Juniper68
5. Pink Shoes

Next, select five people to tag.
WARNING: I'm cheating ...

1. If you read my blog but have never commented
2. If you found my blog by searching for actual footwear
3. If you are a boy (no age limit here)
4. If you live outside of the United States
5. If you want to play

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Going to college, trying to figure out what to do for the summer.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Preparing for Lent.

Five snacks you enjoy
1. Canned frosting and graham crackers
2. Fruit -- strawberries, grapes, watermelon
3. Cookies, chocolate chip, please
4. Animal crackers (also good with frosting...)
5. Scones (not really a 'snack,' I guess...)

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics
1. I know that there are at least five, but I'm absolutely terrible with titles and the like.

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire
1. Pay cash for a nice car -- like a Mercedes station wagon. I know, I'm a nerd.
2. Eliminate my debt
3. Buy a piece of land for vacations
4. (How many millions do I have here....?)
5. Buy a house?

Five bad habits
1. Losing my keys.
2. Being cranky or snippy for no real good reason
3. Thinking that no one believes I am actually a pastor, even my congregants
4. Procrastinating... really, really procrastinating
5. Browsing the web (see 4)

Five things you like doing
1. Reading
2. Crunching through the leaves in the fall
3. Traveling
4. Preaching
5. Making the Baby Boy laugh

Five things you would never wear again
1. Leg warmers
2. Braces
3. Short-shorts ... just not gonna happen
4. Bright lipstick
5. Anything with a peplum

Five favorite toys
1. Play doh
2. My digital camera
3. Full-size weber grill
4. iTunes
5. Paper and ribbons

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

What's really important?

In an attempt to overcome the overwhelming sense of dread that I get from my office, the laundry room, the kitchen, etc., I'm trying to figure out exactly what is important to me. This isn't a definitive list, nor is it entirely serious, but it's what's coming to mind. I figure it's worthwhile to think about these things occasionally so that I don't go completely crazy.

So, continuing the perpetual state of discernment, here are some things that are important to me:

... Having time to read at the end of the day.

... Having enough money to pay the bills.

... Not feeling guilty for taking 10 minutes to stop for coffee before going to the office.

... Being surrounded by people who value time and recognize the value of others' time.

... Seeing pretty things every day.

... Not being overwhelmed by life.

What's important to you?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Flurry of prayer requests

It's been one of those days, O Lord, when the petitions fly through the air like snowflakes.

... for my mother's cousin
... for the family of a college friend who died at 32
... for a friend whose congregation knows conflict far too well
... for friends who are new parents and worried about their baby girl
... for whatever else that you know that we need O, Lord...