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.