Monday, December 24, 2007

And the sun shone brightly around....

A list of lovelies...

A quiet house
Wonderful choir
Candles to light
Reports that are done
People who care
Forgiveness for those who don't
Gentleness for my soul
Thematic stockings
Anticipation for gifts
Goopy frosting on cookies
Friends, wine, laughter
A napping child
Suitcases packed
Loved ones no longer with us
Simple delights
Reading lights for the car
Paid bills
Gracious spirits
Purring kittens
Butter, real, organic
Red toenails
Tears close to the surface

Friday, December 21, 2007

Pep Talk, Part Two -- the After-Call

After not getting a call back for over a week, and cringing nearly every time the phone rang at the office, I called again this afternoon. And had teh talk. Or didn't. Because it's Christmas. Right. 

So, there are times when not only must I gear up for a phone call, I must also talk myself down after the phone call. And, since I've already wept big tears of exhaustion and release, whipped up a batch of my Gram's cookie dough to be rolled out later, and told my mom on the phone that I'd had a shi**y day (we hardly ever swear among my family of origin, so it was sweet that she responded, without a hint of disapproval in her voice "I can tell, and I'm sorry you've had a shi**y day."), I bring myself (oh, and you) the post-call, "It's really going to be OK" list: 

* I hate that part of my job is helping people twice my age grow up. It's a good thing that I'm particularly great at doing it. 

* My day consisted of several different situations that required very unique skill sets. I have them all, and excelled at most them. Oh, heck, who needs modesty. I rocked. All. Day. Long. 

* I might not be wearing Those Jeans, but I am in my mind. 

* I can't take responsibility for something you refuse to do. 

* Look at me modeling healthy behavior! Look! Look! This is healthy behavior and communication. Did you take notes? 

* Breathe in, breathe out. 

* I won't be crushed if I don't have to do your funeral. Really. 

* My sermon's not written yet; you still have a chance to be featured prominently (at least in my mind). 

* Look at that lovely bottle of wine. Oh, and that one! And that one! 

* Would you like to see the list that outlines why I'm so wonderful?

* You're right, it is Christmas. Merry Christmas. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I checked out some organize-your-life book the other day from the library. I do this occasionally -- thinking that there's a system out there that will help me manage what I do in a more productive, healthy way. Some of the work better than others, and all of them have something that I can take to heart and incorporate somehow into my life.

This one, though, encouraged me to track my interruptions. I realize this is a common thing, not unique to this book or author. And yet, as I've known before and believe strongly today -- nearly all I do is interruptions.

Today I've had no fewer than 10 -- ranging from assistance calls to singing parishioners in the hallway to a request for a headshot of my colleague and me for an unspecified purpose. Of course, we'd be happy to pose for a picture.

But when my sermon is less than stellar... can I just read the list of interruptions that I'm tracking? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pastor Needs a Peptalk (aka, a new inner monologue)

I'm trying these on today (or at least right now before I make a potentially icky phone call):

*I am really, really fantastic.

*My boots can kick some serious something, if needed.

*Have you noticed how cute I am?

*Yes, I am that smart.

*No, you can't take my brain, my wit, or my baptismal right as a child of GOD away from me with your nastiness. I checked.

*Did you listen to my sermon? Maybe you should have. It was really good. And I was thinking about you when I wrote it.

*These jeans make my a** look fabulous. And it's not just me who thinks so.

*I can laugh at any situation. Just give me time.

*Where's my tiara?

And perhaps my favorite:
*OK, it's not always about me. But it's most definitely not about you today. So, maybe it is about me.

With that, I'm dialing the phone.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Silly Me...

I thought we were sleeping through the night, since we had been for over a year.

This business of waking up at 2:00 of the morning and not falling back to sleep, and then not napping? For the birds, in case you were wondering.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Friday Five

Sally over at the RevGals writes:

This has been a difficult week for me, the death of a little six year old has overshadowed our advent preparations, and made many of us here in Downham Market look differently at Christmas. With that in mind I ask whether you are the kind of person that likes everything prepared well in advance, are you a last minute crammer, or a bit of a mixture.....

Here then is this week's Friday 5:

1. You have a busy week, pushing out all time for preparing worship/ Sunday School lessons/ being ready for an important meeting ( or whatever equivalent your profession demands)- how do you cope?
Honestly, I probably get all freaked out, don't do anything and then get really crabby at the end of the week because I don't have enough time to do anything. Because that's healthy.
Coping: a glass of wine, some deep breaths, and hopefully a good night's sleep.

2. You have unexpected visitors, and need to provide them with a meal- what do you do?
I scrounge the cupboards for something -- there's usually some pasta or eggs. Or we go out or order pizza.

Three discussion topics:

3. Thinking along the lines of this weeks advent theme; repentance is an important but often neglected aspect of advent preparations.....
I love the idea of Advent as a time for reflection, considering it in many ways the time of year when I make resolutions and start over.

4. Some of the best experiences in life occur when you simply go with the flow.....
Yes. That's true. And yet I alternate between doing this reasonably well and trying to control that flow. Yeah, that works about as well as you might expect.

5. Details are everything, attention to the small things enables a plan to roll forward smoothly...
Yes, and no. I try not to become consumed with the small details -- but I recognize that sometimes we can't just wing it.

Bonus if you dare- how well prepared are you for Christmas this year?
Relatively well at this point. I have an idea for our cards, and have completed the design project for another family member. We've purchased and actually wrapped many of the gifts that we're giving. The beer is brewed and bottled, complete with red caps. Our travel plans are falling into place and we've procured supply for our time away.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

It's December

I had one of those days during which about 100 blog posts went through my mind and none of them emerged on the screen. That's probably for the best -- I mean, who has time or desire to read 100 of my posts?! But at the same time I'm sitting here thinking that there were probably some good words lost! Another day, another time, right?

We (my co-everything and I) did a joint pastoral care visit today. I think that was a first for us. We saw some of my (our?) favorites in the congregation -- a sassy man in his 80s who had a knee replaced yesterday and his wife who is about the sweetest. Every time I see them they witness to me in a powerful and genuine way. I want to be like them when I grow up.

Our building addition has been complete for a couple of years now. Tonight there were "too many" things going on for the space, and we had to have a meeting in an office. I know this is a common dilemma for many congregations, and am truly not complaining, just observing. And wondering what it means for the future of this congregation.

I find myself amazed at my own love for my child. Which is not to say that I don't become frustrated at his dawdling, incessant questioning and resistance to going to bed. However, he's currently sleeping with the snowbrush from my car because he was so excited about it tonight. That's right.

I usually post at work and it's quick, or at home and it's on a browser that doesn't play well with the rest of the world so making links is difficult. But tonight I'm using the browser that does play well with others and want to share some of my other blog reading-perusing with you.

I read this one and wish I could make quilts like these. I started reading this one because of the clever, clever title, and I keep going back because she puts words together in delightful ways. I have laughed out loud reading this one, and have a wish list of things from her and her sister; the whole family is fabulously creative.

So, what have you been up to?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Two Shoes

I sent him to school (daycare) today with two shoes on his feet. 
Two different shoes. Not even remotely similar. One blue blinky-blinky, the other brown and usually a "Sunday morning shoe." 

It's been a tough couple of weeks around This House with a Toddler. Messed up sleeping schedules, new bed, eating, napping, family in town. He slept through the night last night, well at least until 5:30 or so when he crawled into our bed and said, "Make room for me, Mama." 
So, when we had a tantrum about the diaper and the shirt and the pants and the location of the favorite blankie and whether or not he could play with "the temperature" (yes, but only with the protective covering otherwise it beeps incessantly, which wasn't acceptable), and then he sat in my lap and undid the velcro straps on his brown shoes, handed them to me and let me put them on him, all without fuss, I was thrilled.  

When he took one off and handed me the blinky-blinky shoe, giggling, I put it on him. He let me put his coat on without drama, too, so I packed up the matching pair of mismatched shoes in a bag for him to carry with The Favorite Blankie, and watched him march triumphantly to the car.  I think we both feel like we got away with something this morning, which is what it's all about sometimes. 

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Information, please

I love the idea behind Etsy.
But unless I follow a specific link, I get overhwelmed.
If you've used it, would you be willing to share your favorite artist, or two or six?

Friday, November 16, 2007

In response to a question

Where is the Spirit
Where is God when I...
preacherpoet motherdaughter
when I am the woman - the woman -
who cries at a yellow house
but does not. behind
(and that is important)
when I am the woman
preacher poet who craves
recognition and a
sense of authority or a sense of feeling
of being known
but blogs anonymously, says
no, CRUMBLES when
challenged where is God
and what are my
yearning my challenges, my
gifts and how am I
true to them
I am pulled, pushed but
am I standing firmproudalive
with who I am, or am I shirking
the gifts that God has given
me? What do I yearn
for to do with a glass of
wine, a book and a pen.
what does this give me
the freedom
to do, from the trappings
of these walls we call
church together apart as
one in the world
what am I yearning and
dare I make plans
cast vision
claim mission
I am preacherpoet woman.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Looking Forward

Things I will love about the coming week:
Watching my folks play with the Kidlet.
Mashed Potatoes, because you know I make them with cream and butter and garlic
Turkey. Hot. Cold. Straight from the fridge.
Gravy. The only time of the year when I figure it's OK. Pants that fit be darned.
Remembering Days of Thanks gone-by when we've been alone, with friends, with relatives, or hosting.
Playing cards.

There have been too many moments recently that I've wasted getting angry and frustrated with things that don't really matter. They simply don't matter, and yet they have consumed me and filled me with something no less than rage. I'm not proud or happy with the energy that I have wasted. And yet in the moment, clearly I was not able to extract myself from my own muck and mire.

So I look forward to these things, and pray that in the meantime I'm able to take delight in the things that aren't potatoes and gravy, but instead are things like:

Bedtime snuggles.
Book sales.
A glass of wine.
Being alive and of healthy body.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Not what I wanted.
Not my hair.
Or my mind.
who knew it would be so hard to find a black cami?
Or that I would use that word with such casual flair.
Dry and crunchy.
Again not my hair.
And scuffing.
Pretty folders.
Meetings and water.
A sermon.
Fresh, smooth.
Back and forth.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I don't usually get all giddy about something like this, especially to the point of shamelessly promoting it on my blog.

But I came across these on a recent get-away, and I love them. Love them.

Of course I'm a sucker for all things pomegranate, but really.

OK, I wanted to find a link, but I can't. Pomegranate Lemon-Aid Mints, by Icebreakers. And they come in the cutest little tin. With a flip-top, so they take up less room in my sweet little purse.

And then I was over the top. I'm done. But when you see these at YOUR favorite T@arget, get some.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Just sealed the deal on my first cr@igslist purchase.

A bed for The Kidlet.

Which means we can reclaim our guest bed and have company again.

We've looked and looked and looked.

Because I'm cheap. And I don't like how a lot of things that are cheap look.

I'm also a little irrational about spending money which I get from my mother. It took her years to pick out a sofa, not to mention a new dining room table. I feel somewhat doomed as we now eat upon the dining room table that she replaced. There's a picture of me sleeping on top of the table next to a cake celebrating my baptism. Let it be known, though, that this table is not antique or heirloom worthy.

Maybe my next search will be for a table.

Regardless, there's a new bed being delivered tonight. It was cheap. And it looks good.

Monday, October 29, 2007


She walked into the group, holding a brown paper shopping bag -- not from a grocery store, but the kind you get from a boutique, with rolled brown handles and nice tissue paper. I've stopped into the store before, gently fingering the lotions and soaps, inhaling deeply the organic, milled scent. It's not really my style, but I wonder if it could be if I had the money.

She approached me and said, I have something for you. Because of what you wrote the other day. It touched us, as things are these days.

And I thought about the pink ribbons and the cardiac tests, so unexpected, and the quiet faithfulness that exudes from them. She who birthed and raised a family on the other side of the world. She who tells fabulous stories with a twinkle. She who laughs and sighs. She who says with assured determination, everything's going to be OK. And I believe her because I need to as much for myself as for her. And if it's not? I brush that thought away like the tears on my cheeks.

When we were in Hong Kong, she began. And she wove a story for me about Psalm 121 and the outreach and the image that I had painted, of God coming down the hill after us. So I thought you should have this, she said, pulling a mug with a lid from the bag, and telling me its story. I thought you should have this, and know how much it meant the other day to read your words.

I hugged her, breathing in deeply all that she is. And then she wrapped the fragile mug back in the same tissue that had come with the bag, the paper still holding the scent of fancy soaps in its folds, and handed it to me.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

posting, because it's tough to be a blogger without doing it

I'm tired of feeling like I can't catch up/keep up, and yet when I have time to do such things, I piddle it away.

Sometimes that piddling is in the form of self-care, so it's really not piddling, right? I hate it when I have to listen to my own sermons.

I burst into tears after seeing a piece of art in a most unexpected and unlikely place a couple of weeks ago. OK, burst is a strong verb, but "leaked into tears" doesn't have the same cliche-ness, even if it is more accurate and perhaps more poetic. I walked away from the print of a yellow house, but then went back, which is progress in and of itself. I've long tried to hold onto the idea that (when at all possible), it's best just to purchase that which moves me deep in my soul. The print is sitting in this room, and I find that I'm growing from it.

A dear woman gave me a gift this past week. I need to write the story behind the piece of pottery and why she gave it to me before I forget.

I woke up at about 4:00 this morning, and drifted between rest and restless for the next two hours, pondering the what-ifs, the what-nexts and the so-whats. Again, there's a reason that we write the sermons that we do -- we often need to hear them the most.

There is a break in the days to come, and for that I'm thankful. And giddy.

There are words and bits floating in my head. I thought about doing nanowrimo this fall, but not seriously. Of course I still have a couple of days to make some sort of commitment if only in my mind, right?

I raked leaves this afternoon, after confirming students and being relative-polite at parties. I love to rake leaves. And yet I wondered why my hands were tender as they cupped the cold wine glass -- really wondered, until I remembered. I'm sure there's a poem or a story in there somewhere about laying hands on crinkly-haired teen-age boys, glossy-haired teen-age girls, the leaves underfoot and my citified hands that gathered leaves and invoked that pesky holy spirit. but you'll note my awakening time this morning, and my lack of a nap (not that I'm a napper, but it's a good excuse) and realize that I simply don't have the creative bubbles within my syntax tonight.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Cooking with Pink Shoes

After a week of eating nearly every meal out, or at least very, very prepared, I was so excited to go grocery shopping last night! Joy! Divine! Pork tenderloin!!

Unlike my husband who would have come up with a plan for every meal and bought the ingredients for such meals, I perused the sales and purchased things that I figured I could make into a meal. Hence the following:

Discover that pork tenderloin is on sale for $1.99 a pound. Remember that we ate such a meal with friends a few weeks ago and it was really. really. really good. Buy two. Freeze one. Ignore the fact that you've never cooked one. Figure, it's meat -- how hard can it be?

Search for a recipe online. Don't write anything down. Vaguely remember words like: sear, apple vinegar, salt, apples, roast.

Consult pantry.

Realize it would be helpful to have a side dish. What goes with pork? Remember words like: apple. See things like potatoes. Start cooking.

Pour olive oil in skillet. Add kosher salt. And some pepper. And some vinegar. Wonder if you're making a salad dressing.

Heat. Hope that the tenderloin will fit on skillet that you usually use for pancakes. Figure you can cut it if it doesn't.

Wonder, when looking at the package, why this one is more than three pounds when almost every recipe calls for:
Tenderloin, 1-1.5 pounds. Figure you'll have to cook longer.

Open package. Realize that tenderloins are sold two-per package. Oh.

Sear meat.

Peel carrots that you discover in fridge of unknown freshness. Lay them in the roasting pan to form a rack. Pour in vinegar, a little oil. Chop garlic to add. Discover shallot. Add sliced shallot to roasting pan.

Place tenderloin on carrot rack, put in 400 degree oven. Think that you have too much vinegar. Go about business of peeling potatoes to cook in the salt and pepper searing mixture. Do the same with an apple. Fry. See the bacon in the fridge -- think, "I like bacon and potatoes and apples." Give it a whirl.

Serve tenderloin in slices with the potato-apple-bacon concoction with some warmed dates because even though you love-love-love dates, you're not sure how you're going to finish the 3-pound container of them that you bought at your favorite warehouse store. Even though you're nearly half way there. (I would have done this differently -- maybe put the apples over the meat in the oven as I think the recipe originally suggested.) Add some of the pepper bread from TJ's that you bought earlier to the plates.

Pour the wine.


It's funny, because I never thought that I was the hiding type -- but I claim things about myself that allow me to hide -- age, vocation, my girly-ness.
Oh, I don't have to take credit/blame for my role in whatever it is that happens -- I'm too young to be taken seriously. They would never consider a woman. I'll just fluff my hair.
Ok, I'm not that girly. Really.
But as I've continued to walk through the crunching leaves, I know that I need to claim certain things about myself, deal with them, and keep walking.
It feels a bit like I'm coming out of my shell, though I've always been an extrovert.

This post brought to you by the letter 'v' as in Vague. Cheers.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

On the spot

I usually think of really great things to say, after the event is over.
Tonight I was thinkin' on the spot.

We headed to the Big Warehouse Membership Store of Choice tonight because we needed a few things. Tempermental Toddler was in rare form, but at every threat of tantrum we were able to head him off at the pass:
"oooo.... look over there!"
"you don't want cookies. that'd be silly."
"should I shnoogle* your elbow?"
"should I shnoogle your elbow, again?"

And then as we're heading out the door (and after he's eaten nearly the whole industrial-size polish sausage), he anticipates that the woman checking our receipt will draw a smiley face (instead of just a straight line) for him.
But she doesn't.
And he turns to me with those big blue eyes and says, "But where's my smiley face?"

To which I respond:
"She drew it sideways, buddy."
And away we went.

*Shnoogle: to snuzzle, snuggle, and zrbrt a child's elbow (or knee or nose or arm) while making the snuffling sounds.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I was tagged by RevHRod. This one comes in sets of four. They're a collection of strange little tidbits.

Four jobs I've held:
Doughnut Fryer, Pastie Maker, Book Seller, Camp Counselor

Four films I could watch over and over:
With Honors, Mona Lisa Smile, Beautiful Girls, Oceans 11

Four TV shows I watch (Tivo):
Grey's Anatomy, Bones, Iron Chef, Ace of Cakes

Four places I've lived:
By a river, near a great lake, near a bigger river, near another great lake

Four favorite foods:
Pizza, a hotdish that my family makes, bacon-wrapped dates, cheese

Four websites I visit every day:
bloglines, hotmail, cnn, google

Four places I would love to be right now:
On a friend's blue couch, in bed, at a baseball game, around a campfire

Four names I love but would/could not use for my children:
Josephine, Kofi, Marjorie, Sebastian

Consider yourself tagged if you want to play!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Cooking in our kitchen = adventure

4:45 in the afternoon
I open our fridge and see: a whole lotta nothing. Well, that's not true.
A whole lot of somethings that should be tossed, and not much else.
I glance at our counter and see three acorn squash from the farmer's market.

Slice the squash, put butter and syrup (brown sugar would have been better) in them and into the oven they go.

5:30 pm.
I decide I really want some sausage in my squash.
We don't have any sausage in the fridge.
But we do have apples, which makes me think.... mmmm apples and squash.
Slice and peel apple.
Chop in processor.

A look into the freezer reveals meatballs of unknown flavor or seasoning (I know they were purchased at the C@stc@, and were given shelter during the flood at a neighbor's freezer, but the identifying packaging is long gone.).

Defrost meatballs.
Add to apple-chop and process.

Discover some parmesan cheese.
Add to apple-meat-chop and process.

Scoop into squash, and return to oven with more cheese on top.

I love being able to pull together a meal out of what appears to be not much -- this had better results than some, but there's such satisfaction to this kind of problem solving! Perhaps because no matter how it turns out, it's done and over and all cleaned up.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Fighting the Funk

Because these days coffee doesn't seem to be cutting it, I bring myself a list of things that should fight my funk.

Having lunch with a friend from long ago and far away, because it's right now and she's not so far away. Being able to rearrange my schedule to do that with relative ease.

Discovering a new outlet right next door to another outlet that I really, really like. If only ATL would move in next door to both of them.

Having the sense to leave a conference part way through it because it didn't fit my needs and the presenter was sucking the life out of me. No, I'm not being dramatic.

Trying to prioritize the reasons that I do what I do. Hearing our treasurer articulate that the congregation didn't call me to deal wtih advertising marketers, and that he'd be happy to call the ah-hem representative back.

Getting over some guilt.

Giving myself peptalks, and perhaps some actual therapy.

Recognizing the funk, even if I don't know what to do about it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Preaching Poetry

There isn't much
that makes me think that writing
in free form
deep indents
will actually make my sermons any better.
Because when it comes right
I'm not slamming
(not that I was ever good at that when I tried)
in the pulpit
any more than I was when
I fancied
myself a poet far
from any

Last week
I sketched
my sermon
in some sort
of weirdfreeform
that I hoped would
break it (you know, the Word)
if only for me.

And I smiled when I thought about standing
before these nice, church folks,
spitting out words
in a rhythm
of stops
and starts
starts and
stops, then walking away to sing
the hymn of the day.

Then I swiveled
my chair to face the computer
and I typed long sentences
that flowed together and broke only when the margin butted in and made them jump to the next line as if scared that God's grace really couldn't flow like the Gospel promised.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Meeting, Meetings, Meetings!

This week's Friday Five over at the RevGals is all about meetings:

reverendmother writes: In honor of a couple of marathon meetings I attended this week:

1. What's your view of meetings? Choose one or more, or make up your own:
a) When they're good, they're good. I love the feeling of people working well together on a common goal.
b) I don't seek them out, but I recognize them as a necessary part of life.
c) The only good meeting is a canceled meeting.

I choose (a), with the mirror statement of course being, "but when they're bad, they're horrid."

2. Do you like some amount of community building or conversation, or are you all business?
I was once part of a monthly meeting that routinely started 15-20 minutes past the scheduled time as the men swapped stories about sports, building things, etc. It drove me silly. I don't mind a little conversation in the midst of the meeting, as it can build community. However, the total off-topic chatting should be left until the end, so that those who aren't part of it can just leave!

3. How do you feel about leading meetings? Share any particular strengths or weaknesses you have in this area.
I like to lead meetings -- especially larger-group brainstorming, visioning-type meetings. I think I'm relatively good at it, and I try to be respectful of people's time. The weakness or flip-side of that is that I might not give adequate time to a topic or a person because of the overall covenant to be done at a certain time.

Leading standing committee meetings isn't how I see my role in the congregation, and fortunately I don't have to do that!

4. Have you ever participated in a virtual meeting? (conference call, IM, chat, etc.) What do you think of this format?
I have participated in a number of conference calls. It's OK, and often necessary when dealing with a national board. There's so much value, though, in the face-to-face meeting that when possible it's my preference.

5. Share a story of a memorable meeting you attended.
The many, many occasions in which I would call home on my way home from a council meeting and say, "It went well -- we laughed, I mean, really laughed together. I like these people."
The first large-group meeting that I facilitated at the congregation happened about 2-years into my tenure here. In some ways I think it shifted how people saw me as a leader.

I recognize these are both positive meeting memories -- there are also the meetings from which I've come home and put on my walking shoes, or poured a very, very stiff drink.

Let me know what you think about meetings!

Monday, September 10, 2007

And the winner is...

Lovely, humble, peanut butter.

Scoop peanut butter.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Scrub with brush. Be gentle on fibers.
Wash with dish soap.
Wash in washer.
Hold breath.

My pants are fine.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

So pretty. So, so pretty. So very pretty.

I'm rarely as excited to receive a package as I am when I've ordered from See Jane Work. Even though I chose the slowest shipping possible, and Monday was a holiday, and I checked the tracking number, I still asked my office every day this week, "Did I get a package?" My cynical co-everything, upon overhearing me ask this question, responded, "What do you think this is, Christmas?" Hmpf. See if I order him any lovely office supplies.


SJW makes receiving even the most mundane (ie, pencils and paperclips) lovely, not to mention the excitement when it's a new business card holder! *gasp* Or a *can you stand the excitement* financial organizer. If only their products could actually make me work. *sigh* Perhaps tomorrow will be more productive after I'm done gazing lovingly at the blue tissue paper in which everything was wrapped.

In the freezer

As I type, the aforementioned short/pants are in the freezer. Of course I realize (now) that many of you suggested using an actual ice cube, which might be why it felt so strange to be shoving my shorts around my ice cream, etc., this morning. It's a good thing that we haven't completely refilled our freezer from the afore-forementioned power outage. I'll of course keep you posted and thank you for all of your good advice.

With any luck at all, I'll forget that the clothing is there when I leave for the office and freak out tonight when I open the freezer for ice cream.

The ridiculousness (ridiculosity?) of this event to me wins at least top billing, which is why you get to read about it again -- and again when it comes out (or not) in the wash.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Great. Now what do I do?

Yesterday we discovered that a neighboring community had a parade -- a perfect activity for our little family.
So, we saw fire engines and bands and cheerleaders and politicians. We saw the biggest grocery basket I've ever seen and collected many tootsie rolls and those caramel things with the white stuff in the middle (which I love). We were touched by the number of children passing out things from the parade who walked over to our son and handed him something, realizing that he couldn't scramble for the candy like the big kids who surrounded him, or reach to catch something.
We spread our blanket out on the grass and watched all of it go by in glory. If only I'd stayed on the blanket. Instead, I perched for what felt like a moment on the curb. And when I stood, the wad of gum upon which I'd sat stretched and stretched and stretched.
It's been a long time since I've had gum on anything. How do I get it out? Help, please, dear readers! I was wearing a favorite pair of dark, long denim-ish shorts from AT Loft that I haven't had that long (thanks to the end-of-season sales), and I really don't want to lose them.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

So that's where I get it...

I've loved to make collages since I was in about 7th grade and it was the only project in art class where I truly felt that I deserved/earned the grade I got. There was something about the composition of words with images and the contrast of light and dark, the combining of fanciful with real and then putting it all together. We made copies on an old copy machine and then colored some of them in. I think the original collages were 11X17, or at least bigger than 8.5X11, so we were able to make a copy that only showed part of our image, and I saw that, too, as an opportunity to crop something out that I didn't particularly like, or make a decision about only showing half of the picture of my family. Not sure what to do with these copies, I wrote letters to friends on the other side, and I'd be surprised if any of them remain.

But through that assignment, the practice of making something new out of pieces of something else was kindled for me. Like quilting, but not as useful.

Grandma died (I've written about this before) and we made the trek to the farmhouse when the ground was still cold and the rhubarb was just beginning to emerge, bulbous and deep red, from the rich black dirt-turned-grey. We kicked through leaves and hid our tears and stood gazing off into the distance over acres and acres of soil, of dirt, of land that has been in our family since they staked the claim and said, "Here." And then we turned the key and budged open the door with our shoulder, with our hip, stumbling a bit into the entryway with its cracked linoleum and little sink -- where for generations people "washed up" before sitting down at the table.

We poked around and pulled books off the shelves and sometimes someone would sigh loudly and a hand would reach out to the shoulder, rub-rub-pat. And I opened the door to the basement, the damp smell of earth greeting me, sharp and a little offensive. I pulled the chain for the light bare light bulb and inhaled that earthy smell quickly. In the years that it had been since I'd ever opened that door, and for the first time probably ever, I noticed that all of the walls and the ceiling in the space heading downstairs were covered with pages from magazines.

I pulled my mom over and simply pointed, my eyes asking questions and my body finding comfort in this collaged room. "Oh yeah, I remember when she did that," Mom said. "Your Great Aunt came out one weekend and they spent the whole time tearing pages out and pasting them on the walls, and the ceiling." She paused and looked around, shaking her head. "Making do with what they had," she said. "Pretty amazing, isn't it?" And then she closed the door.

I went back to that land of history last week, to do the final sort through what hadn't been burned onsite last summer. There were a lot of memories wrapped up in newspaper -- fragile plates that had hung on the walls, a lamp, a dish and jar that used to water chickens and now resides with me in the suburbs. "For when we start raising chickens," I told my husband when he raised his eyebrows at me.

And there were five boxes full of old magazines, mostly from the 1930s -- Woman's World, Life, Hampshire Herdsman, Successful Farmer -- all addressed to my grandfather, who has been dead for almost 50 years. I took a few of them -- interesting ads, things I could frame, stories of communism.

My mother has saved stacks of magazines. I have saved stacks of magazines. Covering the walls with the magazines was my grandmother's and her sister's way of doing something with what they had already read, piecing together bits of history to bring color and protection to the walls.

Monday, August 27, 2007


It's become the cliche of my life -- oh, how we take for granted those things that we have until we don't have them anymore. Health, home, convenient access to anything, electricity. We lost our power Thursday afternoon. Sunday afternoon it reappeared. Three whole days without the ability to turn on lights, cook, check email at home, look anything up online, do laundry, dry my hair, watch TV. So quiet without that background hum. So dark at night without even the streetlight lit outside.

I've never wanted to cook or do laundry so badly in my life. Clearly part of my brain lost power, too.
However, no water entered our basement -- lest I have no tales to tell of an entire baseball card collection lost, having to rip up the second carpet in less than a year, or filling the curb with bags and bags of soggy things. It was not uncommon to hear stories swapped of this nature -- 3 inches, 10 inches, 3 feet of water.... evidently a litter box floats at that level.
And, we had water during the whole ordeal -- and due to an older water heater, our showers were warm -- hot, even.
I've truly never been so happy to see lights on in the living room as I was last night upon returning from dinner with friends. The trucks had been outside when we left and I said a sincere, "thank you" to the nice worker man before he climbed up the pole at the end of our driveway.

He looked me in the eye and said, "Don't thank me yet. Just because I'm here doesn't mean your lights are coming on." Talk about a deflating moment, but my thank you stood. There were nearly half a million people without power after Thursday. We were among the faithful remnant of 40-thousand or so folks still without it on Sunday morning. That's a lot of work that those workers did in not always pleasant conditions.

So, today we do laundry, empty our refrigerator and freezer of nearly all their contents, retrieve our salvaged frozen items from a friend's deep freeze, and start again taking for granted things like checking email from home, using our cordless phone, and being lulled through our day with that quiet hum that means things are running.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I love to get mail. As a child I ran to the mailbox to see if I had anything -- fortunately I had godparents and penpals who indulged me, or at least occasionally sent me something so that I could bounce back up the driveway. Returning from a week away from the office meant returning to a very full mailbox -- not to the point where my mail had been shifted to an actual box on the counter, but I did have to compress it in order to get it out of the slot.

Much of it went straight to the recycling bin, but even this brings me a little bit of joy, though I hate the concept of junk mail and how it offends the environment -- both the ecological and the aesthetic as it wastes away in piles upon my desk. But there were little delights -- thank you notes, handwritten correspondence, invitations to continuing education events, magazines to look forward to reading, etc. I have done my initial sort -- recycle, read later, read now, and file in my "someone loves me" folder.

This return to my office is also marked with a sense of satisfaction, as I remembered before I left, to wash those nasty, nasty coffee cups that had already started sprouting when I washed them. I'm afraid that my office would have needed some serious decontamination if I hadn't washed them, but there they sit -- gleaming and clean, just waiting for fresh hot coffee.

Perhaps I'll make coffee and read my mail. My work days this week are more contained this week as we're juggling daycare being closed, and my thought is that I'll be more productive. So far that's not the case.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

All God's Critters....

Got a place in our building, I guess.

There's a new friend in the building.

A cricket.

Perhaps this other friend will take care of it. Because by the time someone got around to calling someone else to take care of that friend (and this was after multiple viewings by multiple people), taking care of that friend was prohibited due to the season.

I'll take the cricket any day, but it's sure loud.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Thoughts of the day

I need to charge more for non-member weddings.

We're planning a vacation. A tropical vacation. It's a long ways from now (more than a year) but I'm very, very excited. Given that we honeymooned in Canada, this will be delightful.

It's really warm outside, and that exhausts me.

We bottled the first batch of beer last night. My thoughts are now consumed with designing and printing labels for the "Hey, Honey...."

There's a fair amount of stuff I need to do before being away from the office next week. And before September. And before tonight, to be honest.

But all I want to do is go buy shoes. Which I might do after finishing the bulletin for draft purposes. So I should write the bulletin instead of blogging.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


to post a whiny post about a stress-spot in my shoulder and it won't. post.

perhaps blogger has decided i'm too whiny.

i hate that.

Shoulder spot

I usually carry my stress in one spot. It's on the inside of my left shoulder. I discovered this tendency of mine while on internship as the spot would ache for about 24 hours as I held mine and what I perceived to be the collected stress of the congregation. Often I'd have lunch with two dear people after the last service and about mid-way through the meal the pain would subside and I'd breathe and be able to move a bit more freely.

Yeah. Healthy, I know.

The ache is back today. During that period in my life I could easily tell you exactly what things were sitting in that spot. Today it's a little fuzzier. A finished sermon (two hours before preaching) would help. The confidence that there's enough food for tonight's pot-luck would help. Some clarity about life in general (HA!) would help. And I guess by writing this, I'm hoping that whining about it on my blog will help!

Yeah. I'll see how that goes.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Five: Weather

Sally shares for the Friday Five:
Here in the UK we are struggling with floods, other parts of the world have similar problems without the infrastructure to cope with it, still others are badly affected by drought.... My son Jon is in Melbourne Australia where apparently it has been snowing ( yes it is winter but still!).... With crazy weather in mind I bring you this weeks Friday 5...

1. Have you experienced living through an extreme weather event- what was it and how did you cope?
I lived in a place where it was below zero (F) for over 100 hours straight, snowed well over 100 inches of snow that same winter, and then the river flooded devastatingly. Because it wasn't something that happened overnight, but over the course of a couple of months, the exhaustion was a bit more drawn out. I spent many, many hours sandbagging.

2. How important is it that we wake up to issues such as global warming?
Very. And yet it seems like such a huge issue that it's difficult for me to begin thinking about it and my role in it.

3. The Christian message needs to include stewardship of the earths resources agree/ disagree?

And because it is summer- on a brighter note....

4. What is your favourite season and why?
Oh, that's tough. I love them all, or at least parts of them.
Winter for the frost patterns and the sounds of ice cracking and the brilliant light of sun reflected from snow.
Spring for the fresh new life poking from the ground, and the squish of soggy ground.
Summer for the warmth and the array of colors.
Fall for the crisp crunch of leaves, and the brightness of air-cooled cheeks.

5. Describe your perfect vacation weather....
Warm during the days -- warm enough to swim and play outside. Cooler in the evenings, with a gentle breeze.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lists. Check.

For awhile now I've kept a list of things to do on a piece of standard paper, rather than the expensive planner system that I never wanted to get messy. When I'm using wedding bulletin covers from 1974 that no one before me thought to recycle, I write more, cross things out, have more space. And I can still recycle them.
All of this is not to say that I've actually gotten more done. I've simply written more down, which I know is a difference. Occasionally -- every couple of days or so -- I'll realize I've done some things on the list and need to add more, so I'll take a new piece of paper and transfer the un-done to the new.
One of the things I know about myself is that making phone calls is never really a priority for me. I'll know that I need to call someone to follow-up, and won't, and won't, and won't. Sometimes it's ok, other times it bites me in the proverbial patooty, and other times I actually make the call.
Yesterday I was about to make a new list of to-dos. And I resolved to not transfer any of the phone calls I'd been shifting from list to list. For the next chunk of time (hour? hour and a half?), I placed calls. Sometimes I left a message, other times I reached someone and it was good. Some of the calls lasted a few minutes, and others were longer and filled with more than ministry, which was good, causing laughter to ring from my office.
I know I'm not reformed -- that there will be more days than not when I'll be overwhelmed and paralyzed by the sight of names to call on my to-do list, but for now it's clear.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sweet Spots

Seeing the sunflowers that I so haphazardly planted actually growing.

Hearing my two-year old ask, as he crawls into our bed in the morning, "Is it breakfast time?"

The blossoms on my other scattered seeds.

Dinner with friends.

New babies in my life.

Feeling well enough to want coffee again.

Finishing a project.

Mailing a package.

Inscribing a book to a beloved child of God.

Showing the two-year old a watermelon at the store and having him ask, "Um, is it a plum?" And then he giggled.


A full house at worship yesterday.

Being done with VBS. Wah-hoo.

Lunch on the deck today.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I have returned from vacation. I am a little tanner in the way that I become, which is to say not much. I have returned, a little bit rested, which is to say that I am rested from not thinking much about this life that I lead in this place, and exhausted from intensely being someplace else.
I have returned from the land of water and cold and hot and family -- a place that is written within me in ways I'm still discovering, and in ways that amaze me. How can I remember such intricate details of my past simply by driving on a road, hearing a bottle-rocket, seeing a fawn, stepping over mud, peeing in the woods?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Things I Dig

I've been tagged for the Five Things I Dig About Jesus meme.... And, even though I'm on vacation, my folks have upgraded to high speed internet since the last time I was home (complete with a new computer!!).

1. He spoke in parables that no one could understand, that we still wrestle with today.
2. On the flip side, he used language that was common and spoke to people where they were.
3. He challenged the world.
4. He spoke peace, and inspires us to do the same.
5. He liked to eat and drink.

You know the drill.... Cheers.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Dear Research Company,

Shockingly, you left a message last night. I liked that.

Shockingly, you called back tonight at shortly before 10:00 PM. That, I didn't like so much.

While your website indicates otherwise, I can't imagine that anyone out there would like to take your survey after finishing an evening routine after 9 pm. Certainly few of us at neary 10:00. Short of emergencies and the occasional friend or family, no one calls us this late. I sound old, I know, but it's true.

Really, a research call at nearly 10. I still can't believe it.

No, I won't answer your questions. And, no, at this point I don't want to tell you a more convenient time to call. You're lucky I was as polite as I was.

I remain,
Forever indebted to caller ID.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


We moved into our house in December, and as the weather has warmed and we've spent more time outside, neighbors have stopped and introduced themselves. We're on a waving basis with most of them, and a conversational first-name with others. I struggle with living as an adult in a neighborhood -- my desire to be anonymous, mixed with the question of how folks will respond to what we do, paired with really wanting to be good neighbors and part of the community. Some of our parishioners live in the area, and are friends with folks on the block, so many already knew all about us.

The woman who lives next door is maybe in her 70s, a widow with familiy nearby who are involved, and spunky and quirky. She loves our dog, appreciates the clean-up we've done to the side of our property that she sees, and will occasionally come over if she see me out.

Tonight was one of those warm, summery nights. I was away the first part of the week at camp, and now my colleague-in-everything is taking the second half of the week. After dinner (eggs for me, crackers for the boy), we started out on a walk ("a stroller 'venture"), and headed past her house along one of our regular routes. She called hello to us from the window, and then asked if she could join us on our walk, and she did, pointing out homes where she knew stories and calling out to folks who were outside. "My daughter dated their son," she'd say. Or, "my grandson stood up in their daughter's wedding."

While part of me had wanted to walk alone, chattering about to my son, her joining us was perfect.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

8 Random Things About Me

I have been tagged by 1-4 Grace to do this -- so here goes
Okay, first the rules:
1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3.At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

My amendments to the rules:
I love, love, love to be tagged. It hearkens back to some weird junior high feeling of inclusion. But when it comes right down to the return of tagging -- I can't bring myself to either choose or, well, go through the work of tagging others. So.... as with all of these -- if you want to play, I'd love to read your randomness -- just let me know in the comments. And clearly I think that blogger should incorporate an em-dash into their auto-ness.

8 Random things about me:
1. I've recently rediscovered that I really like corn-nuts. And remembered that I've been to the place where they make corn-nuts. Or at least there was a very large outlet/factory store of corn-nuts that we used as a diversion during a rain delay at a golf tournament.
2. I really love a good pedicure, but the manicure is nearly completely wasted on me. I can't read while it's happening, I ruin it within days if not moments of getting it, and I can never decide on color for the fingers.
3. I collected stickers as a kid. I had one that was a numbered limited edition that I remember thinking was really going to mean something someday.
4. I am so much more likely to do something if you don't tell me to do it.
5. I am immensely proud of my pathetic gardening attempts this season. These include simply scattering seeds over a bed of dirt and thinking they might grow. It has actually worked with, ahem, scattered results.
6. I take pride in my father's dry sense of humor and the fact that he's passed it along to me. He was a science teacher until he retired and I found him witty even in high school when I was outwardly embarassed and yet bursting with pride at the same time.
7. I can have boundless energy.
8. I never thought that I'd end up where I am today.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Safe Passage

He sits in a lawn chair when the weather gets warm, bright vest on, stop sign twirling at his feet. He stands and greets the kids who come near him, nodding and questioning. And then he walks slowly into the intersection, his hand out behind him until the way is safe when he beckons to the children on scooters, foot, the occasional bicycle. Sometimes a parent waits for that crossing with the family dog, waving and calling, "Have a good day," before returning home or continuing the walk.

He nodded his thanks to me one day, as I stopped farther than most and waited what he must have perceived to be patiently. Some days I might wave, an anonymous passer-by thankful for his role in the life of the community.

On cold days, much of our winter, he waits for the rush in his small blue car that has seen better days, a cup of coffee steaming the windshield, and I imagine talk radio filling the air. His smile is the same, but there's less dawdling, more hurrying, and the parents wave quickly, bundled more tightly.

School's nearly out for the summer. Late the other day, a group of children stood on the sidewalk, calling to him with pen and yearbook, waiting for the beckoning hand to leave an impression in their book.

Friday, June 01, 2007


I noticed the curve of the sidewalk and thought it seemed like a cheerful curve, a happy curve, and at the same time rebuffed myself for anthropomorphing (is that the right word? used correctly?) the sidewalk. I noticed the curve of the sidewalk as I stepped off of it to let the man walk past me, step-step shuffle, shuffle, shuffle. His jacket -- thin, dark blue, indicated his allegiance to an organization -- hung from his shoulders and swayed a bit as he step-step shuffled his way toward the building.
The grass where I stepped to make more room was soft, cushiony, and my thoughts jumped to sod and grass seed and rain gauges and errands I was running and the pending rain that was starting to fall, lightly and without conviction. The rain, like the sidewalk, not especially in need of the human attributes I was assigning, but they were working for me.
I stepped back onto the sidewalk, the man having passed, and I paused in my mind to be thrilled at sharing the building behind me with old men, immigrant families, students. My canvas bag bounced against my hip, my self-pride at having remembered it tempered only by its necessity to leave the house.
My car was warm when I threw the bag on the side seat, knocking my lunch out of its wrapper, the remains of the energy bar (my second of the day, a sad substitute for a rain check lunch) crumbling as I picked it up. The heat had softened it, warmed the cherries, made it vaguely reminiscent of pie -- if I closed my eyes and breathed deeply.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Vacation, Celebration, Desperation

I started a post a few days ago that simply read: It's been so long.... I almost forgot my password.

It didn't post because an error message appeared indicating that the operating system had unexpectedly shut-down. This never happens. It started back up, but it spooked me. And, as I had been tired already, it didn't seem worth it to start all over again -- especially for such a pithy post.

We've taken a vacation and had some fun. Our son turned two. He now thinks that they'll sing happy birthday to him every time we go to a baseball game. My parents visited. People came over. I made an amazing train cake. I've now invested enough money in supplies that he'll have a train cake every year, ad nauseum. If he gets married, it might be the groom's cake.

I've been experiencing these pangs of something -- jealousy? sadness? loss? -- at not being at the Festival of Homiletics. This is definitely one of those to-do things on my list. Maybe next year, when it's in Minnesota (or so the rumors go....).

Much of Wednesday was spent on a ladder in the sanctuary, preparing for the weekend. A few desperate moments when we thought, is this really going to work. It did. It does. People who have already seen it are stunned. I get giddy every time I see walk past.

I've missed writing, these days (weeks?) that I've not. The weather has been warm and all I want to do is play in the dirt. I've done that, some, and it's at times like that when I dream of not doing what I do.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Friday Five

Once again Reverendmother has provided the following Friday Five:
There are two types of people in the world, morning people and night owls. Or Red Sox fans and Yankees fans. Or boxers and briefs. Or people who divide the world into two types of people and those who don't. Let your preferences be known here. And if you're feeling verbose, defend your choices!

1. Mac? (woo-hoo!) or PC? (boo!)
Why yes, the Friday Five author reserves the right to editorialize!
We had been a PC family for a long time, but our recent (ok, it's been almost 2 years) purchase was a Mac. We still use PCs at the office, but I love the Mac.

2. Pizza: Chicago style luscious hearty goodness, or New York floppy and flaccid?
Um.... neither. Thin crust, but crunchy.

3. Brownies/fudge containing nuts:
a) Good. I like the variation in texture.
b) An abomination unto the Lord. The nuts take up valuable chocolate space.

Thou shalt NOT put nuts in my brownies.

4. Do you hang your toilet paper so that the "tail" hangs flush with the wall, or over the top of the roll like normal people do?
Thank goodness I'm normal. At least on this one.

5. Toothpaste: Do you squeeze the tube wantonly in the middle, or squeeze from the bottom and flatten as you go just like the tube instructs?
I'll wantonly squeeze for awhile, but eventually I'll flatten and push.

Olives: green or black?
A friend once contended that each relationship has one person who liked olives and one who didn't. There are great exceptions to this, obviously, but I saw his wisdom. Of course he might have been telling me that we'd never be in a relationship as we sat together eating our olives. I will eat them both, but I've come to see the superiority of the green olive -- particularly stuffed with blue cheese or garlic and marinated in a martini.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Gadgets and Gizmos, Good Grief!

My new hair dryer arrived. I ordered it from friendly jungle online site because I could get free shipping and knew I wouldn't get to the store before it arrived. I did have a spare, of course, so not all was lost in the meantime.
This new one is pretty fabulous. And, it's a lot more hair dryer than I need. My child now points to it and says, "Mommy's newwwww hair dryer. Mommy dry-a hair." He then points to my hair, looks, and says, "Mommy all done dry-a hair."
If only this dryer could double as a printer for my office, as I'm about to throw that said gadget out the window. It's made me nothing but crabby-crabby-crabby all afternoon. Crabby-crabby-crabby, I tell you.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Things I'm doing

* Wishing I had more time in a day
* Wanting to do all of the improvements to the yard/house/garage today. OK, I'd settle for this summer/year, but that's not going to happen, either.
* Being amazed that the Kidlet is almost two. TWO.
* Looking forward to vacation. Even though the friend we'll see questioned our destination as being vacation-worthy. It has a zoo, we won't see our families, we'll have a hotel room, and it's not home. Sounds like vacation to me.
* Already not wanting to be at any of the evening obligations that I have this week.
* Recognizing (again) some of my neurotic tendencies about clothes, my body, shopping, money, food, relationships....
* Admiring how the animals in our own zoo are getting along these days.
* Trying to get caught up after a couple of weeks of the Kidlet being in and out of daycare. Nothing major, but a missed/shared day here and there puts us all more in maintenance mode than actually feeling caught up or proactive. Someday, right?
* Coming up with a vision for our lives beyond this place.
* Struggling with that overwhelmed feeling that can be oh-so-paralyzing.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Frantic, Frazzled, Frizzied

Part of my morning routine is drying my hair. It's getting longer, as my funtastic stylist is guiding me through a growing-out stage: we're nearly all one-length and below the chin -- longer than it's been in quite some time. But I have a lot of hair -- it's thick and while it's easy to style, it certainly has a flip on one side and not the other. Fantastic Stylist and I go back and forth about directional drying and time management, and I acknowledge that short of a lot of layers, it's not going to be a quick dry. Such are the dramas of my life.

This morning, after my dear, nearly-two-how-did-that-happen boy-child awoke early-early-early (for him at least, I'll admit it was only about 6:20), and the husband took him to daycare leaving me to get ready in peace, I set about that aforementioned part of my morning routine. And then the hair dryer cut out.

And then it quit completely -- shooting sparks from the handle that connects to the cord. Sparks. SPARKS. Causing me to cuss and jump and throw the dryer into the hallway and cuss some more. Here I go to the rest of the world -- less frantic, but still slightly frazzled and frizzied, with a bathroom smelling slightly of burnt plastic.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Or simply said to me over the past weeks.

While I was approaching a table holding nametags:
"Oooo -- PastorDH's wife must be coming. There's her nametag."
"That's me!"
Since we've started working together, I'm rarely referred to as PastorDH's wife. Can't say that I've missed it entirely, but that is how these women knew me, I guess.

From an adult on the morning of Good Friday during the craft portion of our children's worship:
"You look so thin without your robe on."

Absolutely nothing to say to that in response.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Just not

I'm here, and we're all healthy.

For some reason, I'm just not writing.

I'll be back.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Holy Week, What else?

Things that I'm doing this week:
* Being grateful for health and home
* Feeling oddly out-of-sorts and out of rhythm
* Experiencing my own leadership as if for the first time
* Blowing the last remnants of a cold out of my head
* Rejoicing over a shared meal and laughter with a high school friend
* Pondering the contents of my child's basket, and knowing it doesn't really matter
* Reading late at night
* Wanting to go on vacation
* Laughing with my son
* Teaching new words: alpaca, pygme goat, lamb
* Anticipating the return of snowbirds
* Holding people in prayer
* Aching to dig in the dirt

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Days

The last six days or so have been a blur of worship, wedding, funeral, nursing home, hopsital visit, doctor's appointment. They've been a blur of dancing, wine party, martini, pizza and champagne, digging in the dirt, raking the compost. The days have flowed together like the fog that enveloped the car and the dreams that took over my sleep -- sometimes comforting, yet somehow dangerous. I've sat on the floor on the edge of tears or something else and said with more restraint than I knew I had, we have to do something, get out of the house, do something. The days have been walks and library trips and book sales and passing in the night, the afternoon, the morning. They have been loud sounds like an elephant, a lion, a monkey, that sometimes get confused and produce giggles and stomping feet because we have no words for the giddiness we feel and the laughter doesn't seem enough.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mundane but oh-so-important

Yesterday I was in meetings all. day. long. Good ones, not-so good ones, somewhere in-between-ones, but all. day. long.

Today I came in early to read through the gargantuan mail pile that had accumulated in my absence, and that I didn't have time to read yesterday. I've done a lot today, including some more meetings and phone calls and lunch.

Mundane, right? Yes.
The oh-so-important part?
I've made two appointments that I've been putting off: doctor and dentist.

Monday, March 19, 2007

He's my kid

I often joke that I was merely a stainless steel vessel, an incubator if you will, that had no real genetic involvement in the making of my child. He's looked nearly identical to my husband since birth. When people say, "I think he looks like you," I look at them as if they have two heads. I like to claim his nose (because I think it's cute and upturned), and that's about it. I also lay claim to his charming personality and when it shows, his sense of humor. A girl's gotta cling to something.

Tonight at dinner -- a real, live, out-to-eat at a restaurant dinner -- to celebrate a milestone occasion in my life that I didn't spend with my family, his meal came with dessert. Apple slices with caramel. Totally violating all double-dipping rules, the kid really could have gotten one apple slice and two small cups of caramel for all the apple that he ate. "Dipping," he proudly stated, holding an apple slice firmly between his fingers. "Dip-ping"

The crowning moment? When he picked up the caramel container, having determined that dipping was getting him nowhere fast, and tried to drink it.
"Sticky," he proclaimed all the way to the bathroom, charming everyone we saw. "No more sticky," he declared all the way back to the table.

Friday, March 16, 2007

To Do: Friday Five

This week's Friday Five is brought to us by reverendmother who says:

Well friends, this is one of those weeks when I simply must work today, which is normally my day off. I know, I know. We may tut-tut all we want, but the fact is, some weeks are like that. So, this week's F5 is simple.

Name five things you plan to do today.

Bonus: If today is about "have-to" for you as well, share up to five things you'd like to be doing today.

To Do:
1. Mail packages. I'm heading to the PO this morning with packages in hand. Within a two week span in March there are seven birthdays between my family and my husband's. Seven. And somehow they always creep up on us, even though mine is one of them. It's crazy. It doesn't help that I'm also mailing a very belated birthday gift to another family member -- it would be crushing for his brothers to receive their gifts and not him.

2. Have lunch/brunch with a lovely group of women who keep me sane in all I do. And, while I have to do this, it certainly is a want-to-do whenever it happens.

3. Pack. I'm heading away for the weekend, and it would help if I brought some things (like clean clothes) along. Which also means that I'll be doing some driving, and I'm quite excited about that. Most of my car time is short jaunts from home to work to daycare to the store with the occasional foray into The City.

4. Shower. Need I say more?

5. Write a newsletter article. At least I have an idea, which is more than I've got some months.

Other things that I'd like to be doing/rather be doing?
1. Reading. I'm in the middle of Cross-X by Joe Miller, and while I skimmed nearly a whole chapter of well-written history last night just to get back to the debate story, it's a wonderful read that's making me think. I took it to lunch yesterday, and kept telling myself, "Just one more chapter, and then you can go do your pastoral care visit."

2. Drinking lots of coffee. This is really an everyday want, though. But today I'd love to cozy up with the above book, and a really good cup of coffee. And maybe some delicious breakfast delight -- though the Irish Soda Bread that a parishioner gifted me with yesterday made a mighty fine breakfast.

3. Playing with the kidlet. I could do neither of the two things mentioned above, but as I face a couple of days without him, I can't help but miss him already.

How about you? What's on your list?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Knowing and Doing

I think there comes a moment in most of our lives when we know something, but are loathe to do anything about it. Small things like, "I know I need to take out the garbage.... but it can wait until tomorrow." Or change the toilet paper roll, as the new roll sits next to the holder. Or return a phone call. Maybe you don't have these reluctances as I do. If not, please tell me how you do it! Perhaps we're just wired differently.
But there are bigger things, too -- taxes, resolving anger issues, communicating important dates. And, while these things have sometimes greater consequences than a toilet paper roll (or not), am I (trying not to gather all the world into my issues) more loathe to do them?
Knowing and doing are two different things. I know, "Thank you, Pastor Obvious." Sometimes, for the sake of my own head, it needs to be stated simply and concretely. I'll move on from there.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

And the winner is...

Thanks to all who left comments on #200 yesterday!

The randomly selected blogger (honestly, I wrote down all your names, and picked one out of a hat!) is....

1-4 Grace who blogs at FrogBlog!

Drop me an email (in my profile), so I can send you a little something in the mail!

Friday, March 09, 2007

RGBP Friday Five

It only seems fitting that this post, which is a milestone (200!!) for me, is a Friday Five. I haven't played them all, but they have been a consistent thread in my blog. Without further ado, here's the Friday Five -- courtesy of Songbird this week.

"My mother loved figs.

I only like them in a Newton.

It's all a matter of taste.

Name five things you like a lot that some close relative or significant other did/does not like. This could be food, movies, hobbies, music, sports or whatever springs to mind."

1. Roller Coasters. I love 'em -- the feeling of flip that my stomach does, the rush of the unknown, the clatter of the track. My beloved can't stand them and would rather watch from the ground below.

2. Reading. I can spend hours lost in a book. My mom can't sit still long enough to become engrossed in much more than a magazine.

3. I am much more touchy-feely, alternative medicine-y than most folks in my family. I could sense my husband crawling out of his skin when the midwife explained that they don't really know how the sterile water papules injected into my back would relieve back labor, but that they just do. However, he was very supportive of most of my decisions (I say most because he didn't especially want to consider a homebirth.)

4. Sweets. When it comes to an evening snack, I'll be eating my ice cream with chocolate sauce while he has his chips and salsa.

5. Fluffy movies -- romantic comedies, chick-flicks, previews that make me cry. While he will watch them for the good of the cause, he'd much rather watch something with a message or some action.

Pssst... In honor of my 200th post, a random commenter will receive a special celebratory gift in the mail! So, leave a comment on this post between now and midnight (CST), and I'll post the winner tomorrow! Shameless ploy for comments? Perhaps! Way to share the party? Absolutely!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


After a day of piddly tasks and general busyness which I started to write about and bored even myself, though I'm vaguely proud of all that I've done, including checking my email multiple times, including the three web-based accounts that I maintain and my blog, my sitemeter, my bloglines, and conquering the horrendous mail pile that was threatening to take over my desk.
But the most satisfying of all?
Cleaning the kitchen counter tonight, and bleaching the sink.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


She waited in the small lobby
between front door
and library, that space
that creates a vacuum
to keep weather at bay
during cold winters
and hot summers.
Hunched over a notebook
or a magazine,
I couldn't really tell,
her heels were tipped back,
and her legs scooted out,
on the bench but not.
Muscles flexed, flesh
not touching the surface beneath.
Had she stood she would have been tall,
thin, even awkward perhaps.
You don't need
to sit thin, I thought.

It wasn't until the snow
bussed my cheeks,
that I realized she might
simply have found a comfortable


"Is something wrong?" I've been asked this several times recently, and I can't very well figure it out -- I can see why the person is asking, as I've probably appeared a bit more withdrawn and quiet than normal. However, I can't figure out what's making me that way.

Perhaps a combination of exhaustion, Lent, stress about things happening at church and home, paying bills, wanting to do some things more (like write, exercise, eat well, the standard litany). But it's nothing that I can put into a concrete sense of being. Eh. I don't like it, but it is what it is.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday Five -- Artsy Craftsy

1. Would you call yourself "creative"? Why or why not?
Calling myself creative has always seemed very presumptious. However, I know that I have creative tendencies and love to make things, to create. So, yeah, I guess. And, these days, I sometimes forget that my concentration in college was writing, particularly creative writing.

2. Share a creative or artistic pursuit you currently do that you'd like to develop further.
I do some collage and some altered image things that I love. There are a couple of pieces in process in my nook that I am growing pleased with, though having the time to work on them has proven a bit difficult.

3. Share a creative or artistic pursuit you have never done but would like to try.
I'd love to try glass blowing. I have the sense that it's very powerful and beautiful while being delicate.

4. Complete this sentence: "I am in awe of people who can _____________."
Sew or knit or crochet really well, or draw to create beautiful pieces of art, or take stunning pictures. I'm also in awe of people who finish a project before starting something else.

5. Share about a person who has encouraged your creativity, who has "called you to your best self." (I'm pretty sure that's from the Gospel of Oprah.)
Hmmmm... that's a difficult one. There are a number of friends in my life over the years who have made comments that cut through all of the crap in my head to allow me a glimpse of how others see me. These have been gifts that have propelled me forward.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


We had three minutes to move from class to class, giggling and jostling into one another. We learned early, as this was our building for 7-12, which hallways were busy, and which ones we could move quickly through, threading our way from room to room. I knew which classes someone else had at a given hour so that I could make sure to see them in this designated shuffle, or not -- a quick brush of the hand, a glance from the corner of his eye, the crush as three or four tried to move should-to-shoulder together -- not wanting to be apart for a moment more than necessary, part young, intense friendship, another part wild insecurity that if not bodily present the conversational gossip would turn. And in those moments of movement, a note would pass, furtively written during the past hour, containing random information and acronyms that we thought no one else would know, heartbreak or hope, conversation snippets. Written and then folded, notebook fringe still attached, into a small square or triangle, and palmed to that best one, containing secrets and plans and phrases that fluttered our hearts or made us blush.
We were taking notes on all around us, learning as we went along, notes to be hidden in a shoebox, slid under a bed, uncovered years later to reveal poignant messages bewteen friends, more-than-friends, hoped for romances, trite arguments, bitter words that make mindful scars.

Monday, February 26, 2007

This Cup

Last spring my grandmother died, which I blogged about here, and here, and as always happens when a generation ends, the impact of her being gone continues in little ways. I find myself thinking of her and the farm during worship or when I'm driving.
After she died and my family took on the task of cleaning out her apartment and later the farmhouse, my mother kept asking me what I want. I live states away and wasn't, for a variety of reasons, able to be with them when they boxed everything up and put it in my uncle's storage barn. I have a couple of her coats -- a fabulous red vintage rain coat, and a darling round-collared long camel-colored dress coat. And it's fun to proclaim when I wear them, "It was my Gran's." In addition to some pictures, I also took her pin cushion, still full of pins and needles, and an old clothes hanger -- which has her name on it -- her maiden name, so I figure it has to be more than 70-some years old. She was 96 when she died.
I told my mom that I couldn't think of anything specific -- there wasn't a piece of furniture or a really special painting that I associate with her. Instead, I said, I'd like a coffee cup or one of those bowls, I said. You know, the kinda ugly yellowy gold ones?

So it is that some of her cups have made it into our rotation. I don't save them for a special morning, but it's on a morning like this when I grab one out of the cupboard, fill it with hot coffee like she did on so many mornings, that I'm filled with longing and nostalgia, and a sense of memory.

Friday, February 23, 2007

In a bundle

I had/took some time this afternoon to read the magazines that I'd been carting back and forth between home and the office for the past week or so. I sifted through some worship pieces, marking ideas that looked interesting for Pentecost and Ascension and then leaving them in my colleague's mailbox. After all, in the division of duties he got worship -- though I get input. I glanced at the cooking magazine that a parishioner had loaned me, which reminded me that I need (okay, need is a strong word) to buy capers the next time I'm at a store other than Costco. That's really not the place I should buy capers. I read a couple of newsletters and checked them off and passed those along, also.
All in all it was a good afternoon of reading and idea-generating and pile depletion.
But I also discovered that part of the passionate response reflex that I have within me isn't gone/tamed completely. I thought that perhaps I had worked it out or matured or grown up or mellowed or become more something..... calm? I read a story about recruiting folks for the ministry, young folks in particular. And the questions for reflection at the end of the piece sank in my mind, attached to tags like, "condescending," "out of touch," "not accurate," "distasteful." I grabbed my pen and started writing in the margins, deep grooves forming on the other side, visible for pages I later discovered.
The premise of one question, as I understood it, was that "we" (the church? the existing? the....?) recruit young adults/people (which evidently, "we" aren't). Another probed whether or not it was a good idea to focus efforts on young people.
This is one of my hot-button clergy issues. I'm young. I look even younger. I got carded buying wine last month, and the clerk remarked that I look *really* young for my age. No longer am I fresh out of college (I've been to seminary afterall), however, by most clergy standards, I'm young. Regardless, I am part of the church -- and am part of the church leadership. Yes, I still have a lot to learn. Yes, I see the fact that at meetings of other clergy I'm young enough to be their daughter, if not in some cases granddaughter. I see all of this and I understand it, but when I read things that are directed at clergy and the blatant assumption is that the readers (clergy/churchworkers) are of a certain age (I don't know.... 40? 50? 60? older?) I get angry.
And now, hours later, I get angry again and a little bit sad, a little bit incoherent. There's so much wrapped up in this whole concept -- who is young? who is part of the church? who do we expect our leaders to be? who do we want in our pews and in our pulpits? what do we value? how do we express that value? how do we support the whole church and its leaders, regardless of a person's age? where do we focus our care? what are my own biases that I'm missing and that someday I will recognize, if not fully understand?
Perhaps on Tuesday I'll read the article again and realize that it's far more gentle than I've made it in my mind. Perhaps I won't, and my undies will be all in a bundle again. Perhaps at that point I'll formalize my thoughts and actually write a letter to the editor.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Pastors who have been leading worship for awhile (and some who haven't) often have really great stories to tell about events that happen while leading a congregation. Children who perch inside of pulpits, women who interrupt a sermon for an announcement, various outbursts, quick-thinking ushers, seething parishioners. OK, maybe some of these stories aren't all that "great" but often they make for good conversation, even if we must be well-removed from a current situation.
Until yesterday I had few of these stories to share. There were a couple of cute-kid in the children's sermon stories that I could pull out if I needed, but for the most part my interesting worship experience was limited to second-hand knowledge, or things that had happened while I was sitting in the pew rather than presiding at the table.
I bowed my head to soak in the prayers at noon and we weren't halfway through (I knew, because I'd written them, even though I wasn't speaking them) when I heard a twitter arise from the other congregants. I was a little irritated. I mean, it's Ash Wednesday afterall, a little respect? But when I turned to greet people with the peace, I myself became a bit flustered. Flying around the sanctuary was what I first thought to be a bird. I was somehow ok with that. But when someone called out that it was not a bird, but a bat, I became all a-twitter.
I consider it a gift of grace from God that I was still able to preside with some level of decorum, considering that there was a bat swooping about the sanctuary.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Around these high holy days, I find myself being drawn to going to worship someplace else. I've long professed it to be a good idea, but rarely does it fit into my schedule to find another house of worship that offers a service at a time when I'm not actually presiding.
Now don't get me wrong, it's not like I've done a lot of looking, and I know that there's a huge Catholic parish not far from here that probably has worship every hour today. And, I'd be content to just sit in the back and pray for a moment or two, as if in a hospital chapel -- which might be what I find today.
But this afternoon, after we've had worship and in the midst of doing shut-in visits and hospital visits, and picking up the child and returning for more worship tonight, I feel the need to sit someplace holy, someplace that's not *this* holy "work" space.
I'm great at coming up with excuses not to do something -- go to the gym, or eat right, or pray more, or visit people I don't like, or talk about my faith, or call home -- and my excuses usually have to do with time, as in not having enough to do something else.
I drive right past one such house of worship in the morning, and while I put my blinker on, after I saw the number of cars, I turned the other way. I don't want to interrupt, I thought. I don't really have the time; there's a staff meeting for which to prepare, and, I need to get gas. These are little excuses, but indicative of other areas, too.
But this afternoon, in the midst of everything else, I do hope to find a quiet space in which to pray. No excuses.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It's going to be a good day...

In my world a variety of things can indicate a good day -- well-rested from the night before, a busy but not overwhelming schedule, some cute kid thing, nothing that's hanging dauntingly over my head, not having an evening meeting, etc. Today, being Fat Tuesday, also means that it's paczki day. I'm not of a background that this was celebrated growing up. We acknowledged that tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, but didn't do much to whoop it up the day before. Perhaps if my dad had known about the paczki, he would have tried his Scandinavian hand at making these Polish delicacies. Around here, though, where I live now, nearly all of the bakeries have been advertising to order these delights early -- and by the bakers' dozen.
So, on our way to text study this morning, we made a detour to our favorite local bakery and picked up a half dozen. There was a line in front of me and when I turned to leave, a not-insignificant line behind me. We acknowledged around the table as we read through the upcoming lectionary, that none of would probably give something up for Lent -- that fasting probably wouldn't be part of our discipline. And yet, we indulged anyway.
Today is Paczki Day, and in my world that means it's going to be a good day.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Friday Five

From the RevGals.

1. What is one place you make sure to take out-of-town guests when they visit? (you can be vague to preserve your anonymity if you like)
There are lots of tourist destinations in the area of where we live. At this point, though, most folks who visit us have been to see them all, or at least the ones they want to see. So, we find a local (non-national chain) restaurant, or a quirky children's museum, or (even I find this funny) we make sure they see the church where we do what we do. Hee hee. Suburban, mid-sized church as destination.

2. When visiting another city or town, do you try to cram as much in as possible, or take it slow and easy?
I like to strike a balance -- one planned thing per day, but time to relax and have a cup of coffee, too.

3. When traveling, where are we most likely to find you: strolling through a museum, checking out the local shopping, or _________________?
Oooo... that's tough. If I'm alone, I'll spend a short amount of time in a museum and then more time in the gift shop, and then I'll find a part of town with interesting stores and people to stroll through. It's not even that I like shopping all that much, but the variety of finding interesting things that help me remember my trip but don't scream souvenir is fun. For instance, last year on our vacation this was where I spent a whole morning by myself.

4. Do you like organized tours and/or carefully planned itineraries, or would you rather strike out and just see what happens?
I like to have a lot of information about where I'm visiting, but not necessarily a firm plan of when we'll do it.

5. After an extended trip, what do you find yourself craving most about home?
So many of our extended trips these days are to visit family, which means for us that they're packed with relatives gathering to see us (we're the only ones in the family who live out of state), and very little time for us to simply be by ourselves or to do anything besides sit and talk. I guess the simplicity of being home -- doing laundry, making my own meals, running errands.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


It's been cold, and snowing, and cold and snowing, and my blogging has gone the way of the cold and snowing.... becoming a bit blank and fuzzy. Eh, I think. I'll write tomorrow. Not unlike my attempts to go to the Y, though with my pretty new rockstar shuffle, that might be changing. In the midst of the cold and the snow, I've seen old friends, connected with a mentor, rejoiced over the birth of a new baby (not mine, not pregnant, not desirous of becoming so, just for the record), had a moment of clarity about change and transition -- I've had a lot of it, recently -- truly a moment of shock at the obvious, read something about hearing criticism about ones art that I was able to apply directly to my life in ministry -- after all, isn't what we do in the church all about art and nuance and creativity and perspective and as we move through life we can only control our actions, and not someone else's reaction to it -- positive or negative. Yeah, it was a good reminder for me, too.

Just as I looked out the window at the falling snow and felt a sense of quiet within (clearly I didn't need to leave the house at that moment, or my delight would have been short), as I tip-tapped across the well-shoveled crunchiness the next morning, there was a return of a grind. That's really far too dramatic for the situation, but I noticed the snow crunching and noticed the incongruity of my sleek high heels next to the startling white of the snow and discovered that some things in life seem silly and as if they don't go together and somehow it works. It just works. And other times we wear the most practical thing for the weather and still end up on crutches for 10 days in January (college experience, it wasn't the initial fall that hurt so much as the subsequent attempts at walking across an icy campus on crutches).

They might not make sense, these words on this page, even to me, but they are there. And that's a start again.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Late Night Randomness

I've always been a cyclical insomniac, which worked well when I procrastinated and needed to stay up late. Now, not always so much. Though it does provide an opportunity to get caught up on reading blogs, etc. Tonight I even was able to order energy-saving light bulbs for just the cost of shipping because I filled out some silly thing from our electric company that I never would have made a point to do otherwise. This is what my life has become.

The crazy-business that comes from being sick and out of the office, and then out for meetings, and then simply too busy to even return calls -- a little nutty. But who isn't busy, really? I'm feeling better, though am at that point of the cold where I sound worse than I feel.

I'm feeling the need/desire to get rid of some clothes -- things that don't fit and I haven't worn, that I know I won't wear, that aren't flattering, etc. Same with some shoes. However, I also would love to have a close girlfriend in my life who could help me with that process and then go shopping with me. Unfortunately that person doesn't exist in my immediate vacinity at this point.

As I become more fiscally aware/responsible/connected/budget-oriented/whatever-this-mortgage-is-causing-me-to-become, I'm recognizing that change is hard -- and I'm not always very good at it. But, I know that I type that from a place of privilege. I paid bills on Monday and was able to pay them all, in full.

And then the insurance-adjusted bill from our five-day hospital stay came. Of course I'm able to give thanks for health and life and insurance within the gasp of that expense (and experience) that was decidedly NOT in the plans.

I'm yawning, but not tired.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Product, Productive, Productivity

In college I discovered that I wrote papers much more efficiently if I wore shoes -- even hard-soled slippers often did the trick as I wrote, re-wrote, researched, wished I hadn't procrastinated, called my friend across town at 0300 to discuss our brilliance, made plans to meet him at the local breakfast place for re-writes and edits at 0500, made bad coffee in my room, and somehow managed to crank out a paper (or two).

I would have adopted a similar writing "strategy" in high school, if not for my mother and her penchant for bedtimes. I still wait until the last minute, though sleep has become more precious as the years have gone along, and the friends I can call in the middle of the night has dropped significantly.

This morning I'm paying bills, and soon will be filing them -- getting ready for tax time, though April has lost much of its focus since we pay things quarterly. Instead, there are four dates that I dread. However, I find myself walking about the house this morning -- slippered feet wearing a path about, and my jeans presenting a more put-together and washed presence than the rest of me. I'm paying these bills and being productive, but the methods remain, smooth like grooves.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Flavor shots

Chocolate: that which can bring and hold a group of women together like nothing I've experienced before. We laughed, we cried, we dipped marshmallows and strawberries, we ate too much and sat too much and I called it work.

Baklava: one of the first desserts that I shared with the one who was to become my husband, on a dreary spring break trip. He shared his dreams and I relished the sweetness of honey, flakiness of the dough. It was ten years ago this spring.

Cashew chicken: a meal alone this week, that I kept making spicier in the hopes that it would clear my head. It didn't.

Lemon: tonight, in my tea, with honey. In my plop-plop, fizz-fizz, that I hope will help me sleep.

Friday, January 26, 2007

revgal Friday Five

Per the revgalblogpals friday five, "In this week that looks unlikely to hold a complete day off, I am pondering renewal. List four ways you like to relax or give yourself a break. Then name a fifth, something you've never been able to do, a self-care dream."

I used to be the great upholder of Sabbath and self-care. That sort of ended at some point along the way and I'm mourning the loss. However, I'm excited to be working with this new colleague who actually said to me a couple weeks ago -- "So, you're going to take tomorrow off to compensate for the confirmation retreat this weekend, right?" And was pretty insistent, too. Anyway... onto self-care.

1. Massage.

2. Pedicure, even better if I'm able to spend some time reading (trashy novel) while having this done.

3. Library time. Alone. Untimed. No agenda.

4. Sleeping in. Little chance for this to happen since the birth of the kidlet nearly two years ago, but still a lovely idea.

5. The dream? I always have great ideas about a time away -- a retreat or vacation, waking up without having to tend to anyone else, perfect weather, etc. I know, it's a dream. This dream also involves chocolate, wine, candles, reading, etc.

How about you -- what's your self-care all about?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Because all the cool kids are doing it

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Duchess Pink Shoes the Sophisticated of Heffton St Mallet
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A bit like marbles

Someone pondered about me once, Do you hear the words that come to you, or do you see them, when they first enter your mind. That would be interesting to know about you, she said.

I remember feeling flattered, that somehow she -- this woman I admired and viewed as an artist, from the way she carried herself to the way that she spoke and the glasses she wore (because they make all the difference, I know) -- that she wanted to know about what happened inside my brain, that she somehow thought it to be a process. That the words that I was bringing forth had something of a creative origin.

Some of them do, I know, though I don't always admit it. While I'd never thought of it before she asked me I know now that I hear them, that they take on voice and character, spunk and sass, that if I'm to speak them, they might have a head-tilt or a lilt, or a coy little flutter about them, even while in my mind. Others, of course, have to be pulled out of me as a deadline approaches, with dull and voiceless often being the result.

For a few days now I've had some ideas rolling around in my head, nothing of great inspiration or worth. Ideas that could become essay-like blog posts, or that might develop into a conversation with a friend, if that were to happen. One of them has to do with modesty about the body -- our personal modesty and how it changes in different situations. I know that as I ponder and project statements about modesty as being "cultural" I have to force myself to distill my own statements from the wider public. I am not the culture, though I reflect and partake in it. I can't give my baggage or issues or passion to the culture without owning it as my own.

Another has to do with personal evaluation and leadership roles for me in the congregation. A new paradigm has begun and we are working hard to be intentional and healthy, but at the end of the day, after I've done it all or tried, I'm scared and tired. I know that's normal (whatever), but I'm also trying to get my own stuff together.

Doing what I do, day in and day out, has a lot to do with words. Maybe not all pastors see it that way, but my life has always had a lot to do with words, so that didn't change when I went to seminary or was ordained. Perhaps it's more true to say that I have a lot to do with words. These ideas in my head have words that go with them -- some loud and uncontained, others smooth and beautiful. I see the images, hear the words, that tonight are all a bit like marbles.