Thursday, March 30, 2006

A little somethin' about spirituality

I remember the first time I called my mom after an appointment with my Spiritual Director. I was bursting with the excitement that comes for me when "things" are coming together and someone is guiding me and there's hope in the future and peace about the past and I'm resting solidly in the grace that I cling to as a Lutheran.

There was silence on the other end of the phone. "Your what?" Mom asked tentatively, not wanting to upset the somewhat fragile mother-daughter balancing act.

"Well, Mom, she's someone I'll see once a month and we'll talk about issues related to the church and my ministry, what it all means; she'll sort of be like a pastor for me."

"Oh. Uh-huh. Of course. Is she Lutheran?"

"No, she's Catholic; she's a nun."

"Oh. Well, that's interesting."

Which translates to: I have no idea what else to say about that Dear Daughter so I won't say anything else at all!

There's nothing specifically "Lutheran" about having a spiritual director. However, there appears to be something new (or re-newed) about paying attention to our spirituality. While we have always professed that we are saved by grace through faith apart from works, we haven't always been very good at living that out or paying attention to what it means without cheapening it and using it as the easy way out.

Having someone in my life to hold me accountable to living fully in God's amazing gift of grace is incredibly important, lest I forget and start measuring my worth as a pastor (person?) by how many people were at the Bible study or the comments people make after the sermon or whether I get to preach or not. First and foremost, I am a child of God -- washed in the waters and fed at the table and sent forth to bear the message of God's redeeming love to the world. Sometimes I have a hard time remembering that.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Planet Pink Shoes

Per the RevGalBlogPals Friday Five Meme... but really, who can stop at five favorite things with this? If you haven't played, join in the fun!

From Songbird:
"I began to envision a store selling all my favorite things, probably in the kind of house I lived in as a child, one of those late 19th-century houses with a long hallway on the side and double parlors on the other, with windows to the floor facing the front porch. ...

Name five things that would be on the shelves of Planet [Pink Shoes]."

Welcome to Planet Pink Shoes, where hospitality is key and people are welcomed with a smile and a greeting designed to inspire warmth and comfort. On hot days there's fresh lemon water on the porch with some cookies for nibbling while you relax and on cold days there's tea and cocoa and coffee to warm your hands as your spirit is swaddled by the people you encounter and the things that surround you.

You'll find on these shelves books that make you think and in which you can get lost for hours -- books that I've read and can recommend without hesitation; guides to the local area, fiction that makes you laugh out loud and wipe tears from your cheeks, memoirs that invite you into the person's life and theology that meets you where you are and challenges you to leave that place of sedentary comfort.

There's a fine assortment of accessories: baubles and doo-dads that can hang from your ears or around your neck, scarves that bring life to your wardrobe and when wrapped with beautiful paper present as gifts extraordinaire -- if only for yourself.

Boldly-colored, vintage-styled kitchen linens and cloths for your tables, bathroom, picnics and baskets to hold them all and in which to pack food. Things that look just as special and good at home as they do in the store.

Paper -- single sheets of pretty paper, matching envelopes, cards that have just the right expression, pieces to use for your own projects and pens that make writing letters and cards a joy and a delight again.

Bowls -- Deep, round ones that invite ice cream sundaes, shallow ones for apple crisp or berry tarts with sauce and cream, wide ones for soup and oversized ones for popcorn and snacks.

Please, enjoy your stay!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A few of my favorite things, part 2

It's hard to believe that two weeks ago I was getting off a jet plane and entering vacation-land. Though my destination was not what most would consider a tropical or a "destination," it ended up being warm and fabulous. I blogged when I got back about my favorite things from the extended weekend. Two weeks removed I'm feeling a bit hrumpfy as I gaze out at the gra/ey and snowflakes falling on this, the 23rd of March. So, without further blabbing, some random favorites from the past two weeks -- to cheer myself, if nothing else!

A baby who sleeps through the night (usually) ... friends visiting from out of state ... glimpses of sunshine ... wee-hour chats ... being told I have a great laugh ... 12 women at "my" Bible study ... being able to have dinner with my husband ... a (relatively) clean (for now) desk ... dreaming of moving ... a compiled CD of favorite music at my office ... shipments of books on their way .... finishing our taxes for the accountant ... knowing deep down that everything will be OK ... cleaning out files ... a dog who didn't get sick from eating my fancy chocolate (although I was might angry) ... smiling and sighing ... a festive gathering ... having a clean house (momentarily, and if you don't look too closely) ...

What are your recent favorites?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Happy birthday?

Strangest birthday greeting I've maybe ever received... from the dealership where we bought our most recent car (last fall):

"Please remember to call me if you have any questions regarding any of your vehicle needs. For that matter, call for any reason, after all, it is your birthday!"

How very, very strange and unexpected.

Oh, well, thanks CarGuy!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Public v. private

At my church the prayer petitions for the congregational prayers are printed in the bulletin and if anything new comes in after they're printed, they're announced before prayers are offered. The petitions go on for pages (and are lifted up silently during worship) and I'm of at least two minds aobut the whole thing -- it's an amazing witness to how people feel about prayer and the sense of collective community that shares one another's burdens; however, it's a fine line between "community information" and community "concerns."

That being said, I rarely list prayer petitions.

Late this past week my grandmother had a severe stroke. She's almost 97 and before this has been remarkably healthy. I don't know if she'll recover and if she does, what her life will be like.

Sunday morning came and I didn't list her or my family in the prayers (my dear colleague was doing the pray-ing).

I thought about it a lot, but for some reason I didn't want everyone asking and expressing their concern -- I guess I did it partially out of self-preservation and partially out of the need to be private somehow.

While I have a fairly realistic perspective on the end of her life, she's still my grandma, and when she dies it will be hard. At the core of my actions (or in-action) was the sense that I didn't need/want to be repeatedly reminded of that reality by well-meaning parishioners on a Sunday morning.

So much of our lives as pastor are public that I sometimes unnecessarily cling to or make things private that maybe don't need to be or shouldn't be.

Do I need to open myself up to their (my congregation's) care and concern? I could hardly list a prayer concern with the asterisk "she really doesn't want to talk about this; please pray quietly for her from far away," although that's what I would want to do.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Pretty things. Sighs. The unexpected. Prayers.

With a hat-tip to Will Smama, I present this blog in this format.

Pretty things.
I find myself gravitating toward them. I received several fun and pretty things for my most recent birthday and I love them all... beautiful chocolates and a hand-painted martini glass among them. It feels self-indulgent to intentionally surround myself with pretty things when the world can be so ugly to so many people, but in the face of such ugliness, beauty helps us survive.

Shared sweetness. Sometimes there's so much to say and so few words with which to say it. The sighs speak where words don't dare and when voices aren't able.

The unexpected.
For the first time in my life I was involved with calling the police because I thought someone would do harm to themselves. I anticipated that at some point in my life as a pastor I would do this; it almost goes with the territory. However, I never expected that it would happen between services on a Sunday morning.

The prayers.
For the woman who didn't want to go home, who couldn't imagine being part of this world anymore, and who is the victim of a sad cycle of abuse.
For my grandmother in ICU hundreds of miles away; recovery from a severe stroke at the age of 96 seems unlikely.
For those whose lives have ended and for those whose lives have just begun.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


This is how someone described me this morning, as in an even-keeled presence. I wasn't offended by the description, but it's stuck with me. I'm trying to figure out if it's another term for "boring."

I've worked with people before who I definitely would not describe as even-keeled -- and I know that I don't want to be the type of person (pastor) who is unpredictable and moody. I have seen the reaction of sweet parishioners as a colleage rushes past them (not in my current setting), nearly out of control. I don't want that to be me. Certainly I have my moments when everything is rushing about me and I do want to scream.

I hope there is room for being passionate when one is even-keeled!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A few of my favorite things

I've been away -- and while it's good to be back, I have to say that I really, really enjoyed being away.

A few of my favorite things from the past few days...

Trees nearly in bloom .... runners .... soft breezes .... hot sunshine .... looking up into blue, blue sky at beautiful buildings ... a single, decadent chocolate-covered strawberry ... reading without interruption ... walking and walking and walking .... feeling like I fit .... reading the newspaper with a cup of coffee ... watching people .... tears on my cheeks .... being anonymous .... flying .... street vendors with lovely flowers ... shopping .... massage .... exotic food .... spending time alone .... sitting down and just sitting ... exploring ... laughing .... dreaming .... discovering hidden places ... not having a reason to check my e-mail .... smiling at strangers .... reconnecting with people .... chocolate on a park bench .... having poetry re-enter my mind ... re-discovering passion for life .... not being scheduled ....

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I'll be away for a few days.... hope you are all well.

Blog with you next week,
Pink Shoes

Monday, March 06, 2006

Baseball memories

The one baseball t-shirt I owned, circa 1987, had Puckett on it. The only baseball card I've ever owned -- it's still on our fridge -- is a Puckett card.

Kirby Puckett died today.

May he rest in peace.

Do it well

If you haven't already seen it or read it, there's a pretty good article in the most recent (March 2006) issue of Sojourner's about church music. I've gone back to it a couple of times and it speaks to me.

When I interviewed for my current call they asked me a question about my musical style. I responded by saying that whatever you do, do it well -- and be authentic about who you are. Experiment, certainly. Try new things, certainly. But I gravitate toward music that's done well. They might have thought I was dodging the question, which I was to a certain extent, but ultimately I spoke my truth.

I'm not looking to debate church music or worship style. I'm just starting to rearticulate what I think about how worship should be -- taste, sound, smell, look, experience. With our whole bodies, we should praise the Lord.

More to come.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Serious and not so much

Things that in and of themselves could be whole posts for me:

At what point do I start looking "old enough" to be a pastor?

We are out of redi-whip. Completely. Out. Of. Redi-whip. Fortunately there was enough for my ice cream tonight.

I never expected that I would ever change a diaper on my office floor and subsequently end up with baby poop all over.

You know those nights when you hoped that whatever you hadn't learned all semester would magically enter your brain for the test tomorrow? I'm hoping that my sermon enters my mind tonight while I'm asleep... because it has successfully avoided it while awake.

Good night.

Friday, March 03, 2006


I've managed to complete a number of little tasks this morning -- ordering a Bible study resource, making some calls, completing some registrations, etc. Some days I feel like I get so mired down that I can't complete even the most mundane tasks -- it's good to have a day when I actually feel semi-productive. Although my sermon isn't done (started?), the prayers aren't written and I'm not prepared for the adult forum... HA!

The actual best part of the morning? Making my colleague laugh so hard that he was still laughing when he left my office and laughing still minutes later -- I think he actually had to dry his eyes he was laughing so hard.

There's something distinctly satisfying to hear the keys of the keyboard moving quickly beneath my fingers -- whether it's when chatting with a friend, or writing a sermon or a blog. The sound of progress... clickety-tackety, clickety-tackety.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


This is my 75th post.

Today I had my 1,000th visitor since installing a sitemeter.

#1000 was a lovely (I'm sure of it, even though the person left no comment...) person from Ohio, and that's all I'll say.

Thanks to all who visit and who comment.

Peace, tears, love and laughter,
Pink Shoes

Under my desk

I've kicked off my shoes under my desk. It's just easier to do things without 2 1/2 inch heels, even if they look great.

After worship at noon, I did a few random things in my office -- responding to e-mails, turning in bulletin drafts, etc., and then went to lunch. My favorite Thai restaurant down the street has a great lunch special and because I was there late today, the place was empty. I stopped at the resale shop next door and found some pjs for the Baby Boy and a sweater for myself.

And now I feel the need to really get down to business about my Lenten devotion or disicpline. I don't have one, except the need and desire for one. I've given things up before -- coffee, chocolate, candy, etc., but that holds little spiritual appeal this year. I think I'll try to create something -- something that I can hold between my hands and turn over, something that requires me to take materials and assemble images and words, something that I can point to when it's done, something that I can complete.

Of course there are other, more pressing things that I need to do -- phone calls and meetings and confirmation and finding the prayer requests that I have somehow misplaced. But those things exhaust me. And I'm feeling a little worn out today, a little depleted, a little drained.

Perhaps I'll join my shoes under my desk!