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.