Thursday, June 07, 2012

For now? Or forever?

A few weeks ago a lot of people were linking to this article by Lydia Netzer about staying married for 15 years. We’re coming up on year 14, so I read it. It’s good. If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s not earth-shattering, and the trick in anything like this is not the reading of it but the doing – the remembering and the committing and the actually doing. 

I collect articles like that for the premarital sessions I do. Gretchen Rubin has a good list of phrases ( to help a couple “fight right.” Newspapers often run pieces about things couples wish they had done with their finances before getting married. And while I am able to preside at these blessed weddings, my authority on matters of finance or mediation could use a little bit of back-up. So I was happy to add Netzer’s piece to my file of things to hand to couples to read. 

One of the points that she makes is to stop thinking temporarily. It’s #10 on her list. And so it happened that I was in a meeting where I had to talk with the person next to me, and I found myself talking about this in terms of being a pastor. (Note: I don’t think everything on her list can be translated to the church!) I don’t remember what the initial question was, even, but I realized that I’ve been holding part of my vocational calling back, as in, “Maybe I won’t always be a pastor, and that’s OK.”

But what happens when I do that is that I’m not fully committed to what I’m doing, right now. I’m not entirely present and attentive to being the best possible pastor that I can be, right here, because I have one eye on the job listings, over there.

The conversation has left me thinking, well past the two minutes we had to respond to the long-forgotten question. How would my ministry change if I committed to thinking that I was going to be a pastor, not just for now but forever?  

Friday, April 27, 2012

Watered with Words

In the past week or so I’ve had the amazing experience of being bombarded with words. Not in a childhood game of dodgeball sort of way (though actually, that’s not an entirely bad suggestion, either) but more in the way that a soft spring rain falls and saturates once-parched ground. A description that feels accurate, poetic even, until I realize that makes me the once-parched ground. Ground that was dry. Cracked, even. Not lush or supple or productive.



In need.


Oof. I had forgotten what it was like to be surrounded with words – and not feel like I was drowning. I had forgotten what it was like to be immersed and soaked intentionally instead of sprinkled, watered haphazardly.  

I have a number of houseplants, and while I claim to have a green thumb, my plants must be hardy because my attention to them is well, not. There were two ceiling hooks in place when we bought our house and one of the first purchases I made was plants in hanging basket for those hooks.

I look at them occasionally and think, “Wow, you, dear plants, are two years… three years… five years now in my care…”

Usually I just pour a bit of water on them. But that isn’t always enough. So other times I take them down and plop them into the sink drenching their roots, letting them drain, and then doing it again.

Being immersed in that way all the time isn’t good, either – the roots get mushy, the nutrients from the soil get washed away into the water. The plant sends distress signals and eventually will die if not allowed to dry out some. 

But recently I felt the sensation of being drenched, immersed, watered thoroughly. Surrounded by well-spoken, thoughtful words. Writing that gets me lost in a different world. Conversations that remind me why I do what I do. And instead of coming in little after-though dribbles (Oh, I suppose I should water those plants, too.), the word-pool welcomed me with a quiet parting of words and my writing-roots, my word-roots drank thirstily.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

When I started ministry almost eight years ago I owned a pair of pink flats. They were a sort of pleather, I'm sure, with a sort of jaunty flower to the side of their rounded toe. I loved them. I wondered whether I could wear them to the office, or if they weren't professional enough. I remember feeling incredibly self-satisfied one day when I dared to wear them.

Earlier this year, I did hospital visits wearing shiny gold cowboy boots.

Those first shoes were clearly the naming source for this blog and while I've worn a whole variety of 'other-than-black' shoes in the meantime, few of them would have had quite the sound of "Pink Shoes int he Pulpit."

I was driving back to the office from a morning gathering yesterday when these words started pouring into my head -- I heard them. Do you hear words before you write them? Or do you write words in order to hear them? Someone told me once that there's a difference, but I can't remember the context or the woman's name who told me this bit of information.

But I started to remember those first pink shoes. And then the second pair -- bright, satin flats from Ann Taylor Loft that I wore so often a hole developed in the sole. People remarked whenever I wore them how adorable they were, with almost a giggle, "Oh, look! Pink SHOES!" As if nothing cuter had ever been seen.

I don't currently have a pair of pink flats, not that I need another pair of shoes. But it had me wondering as I zipped along yesterday, about that well of sass that we draw from, and what contributes to it: flattering jeans, fun shoes, a good haircut, an engrossing book to read, a perfect phrase, a finished assignment, an amazing collection of friends?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Seasons Shifting

Sunshine. It makes me feel better and we haven't had nearly enough of it this spring to keep my spirits buoyant. Today is gorgeous and while I feel like it's about a month late in arriving, weather like this gives me some hope. Hope for what, I'm not sure, but it's hope nonetheless.

The sunshine has allowed me to open the windows this afternoon, too. And, because the windows are open the cat is stalking things that move outdoors. She's currently perched on top of a couch and despite her advanced age seems to remember what it feels like to be a kitten. She also seems to think that she could actually go through the screen of the window, which could be problematic on many levels.

I've felt motivated to write some this week, and I've actually acted upon the impulse. The writing muse demands to be answered sometimes, and I'm thankful I've had/taken the time.

Friday, April 22, 2011


I just used my blog to see if I could figure out when a particular event happened. I couldn't determine from my vague postings just exactly what I was looking for, but I observed that I felt a pang or six of nostalgia for blogging and all that it meant to me.

I say this a few times a year and then make a half-hearted attempt to return to a regular pattern of blogging. Perhaps this time it will stick, and maybe it won't, but regardless -- I went to the effort to recover passwords and re-familiarize myself with the layout.

And besides, with an hour left before a Good Friday worship, this probably isn't the time to be making such decisions.


Friday, March 05, 2010


Last night I got to watch the kidlet fall asleep, like really, truly “one minute I’m awake, and the next I’m not anymore” fall asleep. As much as we want him to be able to fall asleep on his own, without one of us sitting in his room watching, these moments are precious and tender: his hands tucked under his chin, clutching the blanket, New-B, eyes fluttering and then not.

I watched his face loosen and calm as he settled into the folds of sleep. I watched as the hold on the blanket became not as fierce. I sat there, longer than I’d intended, watching.

It reminded me a bit of when he was first born, how we would watch him for hours, amazed and fascinated that he was ours, that he was real, that this bundle simply was at all, all of our tenderness summoned into a finger as we traced his ears, the swoop of his nose.

There are times, daily, when he pushes me to points of no return, points of frustration and irritation, when my exhaustion is highlighted and my patience as threadbare as an old quilt, though no less meaningful.

There was poetry in those moments last night when all was quiet save for the music that played. There was a delight of the moment when awake fluttered into asleep, and I dared not trace his ear, the swoop of his ear. So I whispered gently, “Love you, snugglebug. Sleep well,” and stole out of the room, my heart full.

Friday, February 26, 2010

RGBP Friday Five

Friday Five: Winter Olympics Edition

Songbird brings us this week's Friday Five, the first one that I've done in a looooong time. 
1) Which of the Winter Olympic sports is your favorite to watch?
I love the WO, and will watch whatever is on. This year we recorded them, en bloc, and have relished watching them in the evenings. I particularly enjoy Speed Skating and Ski Jumping, and every four years love to watch Curling. 

2) Some of the uniforms have attracted attention this year, such as the US Snowboarders' pseudo-flannel shirts
and the Norwegian Curling team's -- ahem -- pants. Who do you think had the best-looking uniforms?
I was smitten by the paisley-appearing orange Russian speed skater uniforms.

3) And Curling. Really? What's up with that?
Really. If your lakes were frozen most of the year, and you loved bocce ball, you'd find a way to play it on ice, too. And if your mom let you, you'd want to flatten the grass like they smooth the ice to make your ball go farther. Couldn't. Stop. Watching.

4) Define Nordic Combined. Don't look it up. Take a guess if you must. 

Ski jumping and cross-country skiing. This was the first time the US had ever won a medal. Spillane won a silver medal in all events; DeMong won gold in large hill. Jump first, ski second, starting in the order of longest jump first.   

(There will be a prize for the best answer, but be aware, this is a judged sport.)

 5) If you could be a Winter Olympics Champion just by wishing for it, which sport would you choose for winning your Gold Medal?

Downhill skiing.