Sunday, December 10, 2006

Blog Silence

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth or into deep depression. I've just been busy caring for my family and trying to catch up on my CPE assignments. The busy-ness of the season with social, church, and middle school commitments has kept me away from the computer. That and the fact that manBoy has been working on his Science Fair report (on the computer). He had a good birthday celebration this week and was thrilled to receive his first electric shaver. My baby is certainly growing up.

Job update: G&T is looking. We have gotten finances in order so we're okay for a while. We've had many, many blessings poured on us from friends, loved ones, and strangers. I'll blog about that later.

More blogging soon I hope. Science Fair project almost complete, CPE assignments are almost caught up.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Friday Five: Adventually

RevGalBlogPals offers this meme for the day:

Although it comes as late as it can this year, Advent is upon us. Some of us grew up observing it, while to others (including this childhood Baptist) it was even more foreign than Lent! Over the past twenty years, I have grown to love Advent as a season of preparation, although as a pastor I find it harder to practice it at home than at church, even when the church might prefer I make it the other way 'round.Here are five questions about Advent for this first of December:

1) Do you observe Advent in your church?
I'm leading worship at the hospital this Sunday, and I had to explain what Advent is to a couple of people, but yes we will be at least lighting the candles on a wreath for the Sunday services.

My home church celebrates with liturgy and a wreath. One year my family lit the candles. manBoy had just turned two. Having practiced blowing out his birthday candles, he was well prepared to try to blow out each candle as Gifted & Talented lit it. Fortunately his breath wasn't quite strong enough. manBoy still likes to be the one who extinguishes the candles after the service.

2) How about at home?
We usually wait to start Christmas preparation in our home until after the one or two birthdays that fall after the beginning of advent. That way each person gets their own day separate from Christmas.

3) Do you have a favorite Advent text or hymn? Star-Child #2095 in The Faith We Sing.

4) Why is one of the candles in the Advent wreath pink? Just heard this explanation yesterday, "Because the priests got tired of wearing purple vestments."

5) What's the funniest/kitschiest Advent calendar you've ever seen? When I was a little girl, my grandmother made each of us girls a banner calendar that had 12 pockets on the top and 12 on the bottom. In the middle was a felt Christmas tree decorated with covered sequins. Each pocket held a tiny little trinket with a thread for hanging it on the sequins on the tree. The objects didn't really go with Christmas or Advent. I often wondered where she found all of them. She worked at a "Five and Dime" so I'm sure that was the source. The objects changed order each year so it was still fun to see what would come next. The last pocket always held a tiny little nativity scene. Do you remember those? We used to get them in Sunday school. I still have the banner calendar, but the trinkets are long gone.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Not Like the Other Guys

From the first time we met when we were still in high school, it was obvious that Gifted & Talented was not like the other guys. Even in high school when many boys were into self promotion, he had a gentle and humble spirit. Us girls, and there were several of us, had to chase him because he didn't see himself as the great catch he was.

G&T has never tried to "get ahead." He just wants to create a comfortable life for himself and his family. Whether at work, doing a home project, or preparing with the worship band, his goal is always to do a job well. His introverted personality keeps him from ever seeking glory or even recognition. He is the very definition of the word "steadfast."

These past few days have been hard for him. He doesn't see just how wonderful and valuable he is. Now, in his job search, he must promote himself in a way that is contrary to his natural personality. For those of you up close friends and those of you who are blogfriends, please keep him in your prayers. Pray that he will be infused with confidence that comes only from the Holy Spirit, and that the right personnel officer will recognize and appreciate the gifts he has to offer.

God of Love, Thank you for the wonderful man you have created in Gifted & Talented. Thank you for the many blessings he brings to my life. Please Lord, fill him today with a spirit of peace, courage, and confidence. Amen.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Revisioning the Future

First I want to thank all of our friends, both blogfriends and up-close friends, for the care and support you have given us over the past week. We have been well and truely loved.

This week I read Genesis 32-33, the story of Jacob preparing to meet Esau when he returns from Laban's camp. In the story Jacob busily arranges his family and property in such a way as to preserve that which is most precious to him. He is preparing for a violent confrontation and expecting losses. The footnote in my New Interpreter's Study Bible, says "Jacob can only imagine a violent end to his conflict with Esau." This is exactly how I have felt and reacted to the news of G&T's layoff. I've been getting all our financial resources in a row, and seeing what can be sacrificed first with the least pain. I could only imagine a difficult outcome that includes a huge sense of loss.

In my CPE work, we are using an assessment tool that looks at the patient's spiritual and emotional needs. One of the check boxes says "Revisioning the Future." I see now that is exactly what our family needs. We need to take time to articulate our values and evaluate our lifestyle in light of those values. I can see we need a 4th party, someone neutral, to help us talk and think and work our way through this. There are several options out there, we just need to find the one that fits best.

So, I ask for your continued prayers specifically that we can find the person or persons we need to help us revision our future and that we will be faithful to our beliefs and values. Thanks again for stopping by and for your prayers.

Lord God, guide our thoughts, our words, and our decisions in these next few days and weeks. Keep us on the path you would have us take. Amen.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday Five: Giving Thanks

Songbird at RevGalBlogPals writes: It's that time of year. In the U.S., college students will be on their way home, traffic on the highways will be at its highest point, cooking and baking will ensue. But before the gorging and napping begins, let's take a moment to give thanks. Please tell us five things or people for which you are thankful this year.

This is an important meme for me. As mentioned in yesterday's post, we are facing a difficulty. Gifted & Talented was laid off from his job yesterday. We are still in shock and trying hard to have faith that God is with us in this and trying hard not to panic. Still, we have many things to be thankful for. I don't think it is an accident that three people who were so hungry they would eat tuna before 10 am asked me for food today. I haven't had these kind of requests in the last couple of weeks. I was reminded of my abundance as I gave them tuna kits and applesauce.

1. Gifted & Talented and manBoy - I'm blessed in soooooo many ways.

2. Dogblogger's Typist and The Alpha - For all the love they give us and especially for taking us to dinner when we were so blue

3. Our extended families; parents, sisters, seven nieces, and one nephew.

4. Neighbors and church friends - the village that supports us as we raise manBoy.

5. Health.

I should list a hundred, but these are the five that come to mind right now.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Walking the Walk

Our family is being asked to walk the faith we've been proclaiming. Our health is fine. More details later. Your prayers are coveted.

O Lord, I have prayed for you to make your presence known to so many patients in the past few weeks. Make it known to us now. Amen.

Friday, November 10, 2006

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five - The Colors of Life

Those of us who are in the United States have just been through quite a topsy-turvy election. During the campaign we heard a fair amount about red states and blue states, when in fact most of us live in some shade of purple. And so... a lighter look at those confounding colors:

1. Favorite red food: Shrimp Creole that my mamma taught me how to make. One of the very few dishes I can cook that isn't from a box or can.

2. Tell us about the bluest body of water you've ever seen in person. At the beach of Hotel Maroma between Cancun and Cozumel where we celebrated our 20th anniversary. This was of course before seminary when we could afford such luxuries.

3. It's movie rental time: Blue Planet, The Color Purple, or Crimson Tide? The Color Purple, haven't seen the other two.

4. What has you seeing red these days? Disregard for human dignity.
Oh, also stupidity. Actual t-shirt saying seen in elevator at hospital: "Stupidity is not a crime, so you are free to go."

5. What or who picks you up when you're feeling blue? I had a really blue day a couple of weeks ago. I let myself feel it without trying to get "up" too quickly. This is big progress for me! A day in my comfy chair with a novel, telling the story to a friend, and hugs from manBoy and Gifted & Talented helped me be renewed enough to face the world again.

The Myth of Making a Difference

In CPE, we are being asked to examine the myths or stories of our lives that influence our ministry. We are using Recalling Our Own Stories by Edward P. Wimberly.

Here are some of my thoughts so far: When I began working with children with disabilities (at age 11), I found a place where I could be happy. What I did was good enough. It not only pleased the adults, I felt I was truly helping the kids. I was capable. I was accepted. I was making a difference in someone’s life. I carried this same set of themes into my teaching career.
Now in ministry, I still want to be accepted for being capable and for making a difference in the church and in people’s lives.

Just I was writing these thoughts this week, I came across Job 29:1-5, 11-17.

Job 29:1 Job again took up his discourse and said: "Oh, that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me; when his lamp shone over my head, and by his light I walked through darkness; when I was in my prime, when the friendship of God was upon my tent; when the Almighty was still with me, when my children were around me;

11 When the ear heard, it commended me, and when the eye saw, it approved; because I delivered the poor who cried, and the orphan who had no helper. The blessing of the wretched came upon me, and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban. I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy, and I championed the cause of the stranger. I broke the fangs of the unrighteous, and made them drop their prey from their teeth.

Job is mourning the days when he believed God was with him and he was respected for his good deeds. Job however is wrong in two assumptions. First he believes that God is no longer with him, watching over him. Second he believes that the loss of his prosperity has taken his ability to do good for others. He sits on his ash heap lamenting rather than continuing to speak out for the rights of the down trodden. (Okay, admittedly the whole skin disease thing was a deterent to interacting with people.)

Lesson 1: Neither Job's nor my value before God has to do with the good things we do or things we give for other people.
Lesson 2: Showing kindness to other people isn't limited to those with material possessions.

God of love, show us how to love in all circumstances. Not because it will help us be glorified or loved but because you first loved us. Amen.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Saturday, November 04, 2006

manBoy Tryouts Update

All City Band - yes :-)
Basketball Team - no :-(
All Region Band - yes :-)
Grades up enough to stay in National Junior Honor Society -better than required!

Pain of missing out on basketball soothed by purchase of new shoes which he needed. New shoes are running shoes for cross country which starts in a few weeks instead of basketball shoes as originally planned. We talked about where he had spent his time and energy in the last few weeks (studying and practicing trombone). It is humanly impossible to invest enough preparation time to be great at everything. Hard lessons, but best learned young.

Best moment of the week: Drinking hot chocolate and eating cinnamon rolls with manBoy before bed one night. He wanted us to read the Upper Room devotionals we had missed in the Sept./Oct. issue.

God of love, thank you for the blessing of this wonderful young man. Keep watch over him as he grows and ventures into the world. Guide us as we seek to guide him. Amen.

On-Call Update

Last weekend: 13 hours overnight, 4 deaths, 6 Level I Truama calls. Very holy moments involving infant baptism in the delivery room. Physical and emotional exhaustion made worth it by knowing I made (or rather God used me to make) a difference in someone's life.

Last night: 8 hours, finished by 11 pm, no deaths, no Level I Traumas, no especially holy moments, no sense of having made a difference.

Hmmmmmmmmmm.

Edited after reflecting for evaluation:

I did make a difference Friday night. In one of my visits, I told jokes and funny stories to a woman who was down because she was missing her nephew's wedding. She didn't want to get into a deep emotional discussion, she just needed to be distracted for a bit from her situation.

Loving God, Thank you for the gift of humor, and for my ability to remember and tell jokes and stories. Please remind me that you can and will use all my gifts in ministry when I let you. Amen.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

All Saints Day

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
2 Timothy 4:6-8

Many persons joined the "cloud of witnesses" yesterday. One of them was far from her family in more ways than one. Still, she blessed those of us who cared for her in her last days. She fought many "good fights" in her life and even in this last one, she knew what was coming and lived victoriously until the end.

I can't explain here how her life touched mine 30 years ago without either of us knowing it, but it did. Her actions greatly influenced my first career as a special education teacher. She touched me again these last few weeks as I begin a new career. I believe she will again have a great influence on me.

God of love, thank you for the life of this brave woman and for the lives she changed. Amen.

Monday, October 30, 2006

manBoy's Poem

manBoy was given a poetry assignment for Language Arts class. He was to write a poem commemorating an event in his life. He chose the day his birthmother relinquished him to us. Although he was only two days old and doesn't remember, he's seen the video of the placement ceremony we held in the hospital chapel many times. manBoy has continued contact with each of his birthparents and this has been a blessing for all involved. His teacher and I think he shows amazing understanding for a young teenage boy. Not that I'm bragging or anything. So without further ado:

Farewell For Now

A child brought into the world that day
But you, too young to let me stay,
So you decided to let me go
Hoping I would never go to and fro.

A day full of emotion
Everyone there had the same notion,
You gave me up in love
So that I could live life giving others that same love.

You so very young
Your life, just barely begun.
Anger, I have not
For on that day you were so distraught.

I do not remember that day
But your love is with me to stay
I call them father and mother,
But you will always be that special other.

Your dreams for me are being fulfilled
I’m living the life that you willed.
Raised in a home with love and care,
I do not want to leave here to go elsewhere.

I see you now and again
You love me still as you did then,
Continue to love me I know you shall
I leave you with that, farewell for now.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Perspective

Today I returned to the college campus where my seminary is located. I spent the last 3 1/2 years in classes there. This particular university is known for the wealth of many of the undergraduate students. There are BMW's in the parking garage. Although the university is less than 10 miles from the hospital where I now work, the two institutions are worlds apart. The hospital is all concrete and functionality and is crowded with persons of poverty. The university is old, stately buildings and huge oak trees. Shady green areas are dotted with young people who have never wondered where they will sleep or if they will eat. As I walked across campus, I remembered my first couple of semesters there. I felt terribly out of place. I was middle-aged not young, and it had been 20 years since I had studied for a test or written a term paper. Now, campus feels like home. I miss it. The hospital on the other hand is another strange new land where I am slowly beginning to feel comfortable.

One of the patients made a comment that made me look at my own life. She said when she was first given a walker to use she hated it. It meant a loss of independence and functionality. Now that she can no longer walk even with the walker, she would give anything to be able to use a walker again. It's all a matter of perspective.

I ask myself, what do I have in the here and now that I'm going to miss when CPE is over? What do I need to be appreciating now?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Peace Removed

Weeping subsided. Headache improved. Now for a brief musing.

I was checking out the newbies at RevGalBlogPals and I found Reflections on the Bible talking about peace. I began thinking that God is working on me in a new way that is not at all peaceful, but is necessary. Here is the comment I posted over there.

A breath prayer is just a few syllables that can be uttered in just one breath. It begins with the way you are most comfortable addressing God and is followed with the thing you would ask Jesus for if he sat down facing you and asked, "What do you want?"

For years, off and on, my breath prayer has been, "Lord Jesus, fill me with your peace." This prayer has moved me through hard times and transitions. I have experienced that peace that passes understanding.

Now I sense that God is moving me away from peace for a reason. I need to see the reality of the pain in the world and not live peacefully in ignorance.

Lord Jesus, fill me with your strength, and compassion, and sense of justice, and oh so many more qualities. Amen.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Weepy Today

It's been a while since my last post. My creative energy went into a reflection paper this week. I've been on-call at the hospital today, and seeing other's pain was harder today for some reason. So here are my reasons to weep.

Young girl (just a little older than manBoy) from my small community died this weekend as a result of being struck by a car a couple of weeks ago. I had just about decided to let manBoy extend his roaming area by crossing at that intersection. I'm sad for the girl's life that was too short, and I weep for her family. I'm sad that I'm more fearful about manBoy than I was before I started CPE.

Other hardships involving mothers and babies at separate hospitals.

Families making hard decisions.

manBoy writing a poem to commemorate an event in his life. He wrote about his birthmother's sacrificial love on the day she placed him in my arms. Amazing for a young teenage boy. I'll publish it as soon as he and his teacher have done a small bit of editing. We are sooooo blessed. I think that makes it harder to see others struggle so.

It's been a long time since I've made use of the Teddy Bear Collection that adorns the guest bed. I think I could use a cuddle this evening. Hot Chocolate and a positive book. Still I think of the people I left in waiting rooms with no such comforts.

Lord comfort them! Wrap them with a blanket of your love. Amen.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for caring. I'll try to post more this week.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Another Learning Opportunity

Reading Isaiah. All about the bad things to come to the enemies of Judah. Muddling through until I happen on this;

Isaiah 16: 10-11 You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress. Therefore, though you set out the finest plants and plant imported vines,
though on the day you set them out, you make them grow, and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud, yet the harvest will be as nothing in the day of disease and incurable pain.


Ouch! How is it that my work life is so immersed in prayer and spirituality, yet I neglect to turn to God with simple issues at home? How can the seeds of love I want to grow in my home flourish without the greatest love of all?

Message recieved Lord. I give it all to you. Amen.

Friday Five: Creature Comforts

Reverendmother at RevGalBlogPals sends out this meme

...Maybe it's the arrival of crisp October, my favorite month. Or maybe it's the fact that the divine little miss m has been sick all week (and if the baby ain't happy, ain't nobody happy). Whatever the reason, my thoughts have been turning to cozy creature comforts--those activities and spaces that just make a person feel good. And so...

1. Comfort beverage - Choffee - My own concoction of Hot Chocolate with a spoon of instant coffee and a nice topping of Extra Creamy Ready Whip. I'm not a coffee drinker, so this is what I've used to stay awake to study these past 4 years. It's also nice for a morning quiet time and much cheaper than unnamed chain coffee shop specialty drinks. It is finally cool here and I have the day off, so I have already enjoyed this special treat in the comfort chair (see below).

2. Comfort chair- large chair covered in Southwest pattern in the corner of my terra cotta den next to the fireplace. It has big arms that hold all my books, bibles and journals. I'm short, so can put my feet up in the chair with me and read for hours (see below).

3. Comfort read - Ooh, there are so many. I enjoy rereading Jan Karon, but I'm also love a trashy novel or a good mystery when I need a mental break. Nora Roberts aka JD Robb works for me.

4. Comfort television/DVD/music: We like to watch Extreme Makeover Home Edition as a family. We tape it since at least some of us are usually at church at that time. We also like Christmas movies (It's a Wonderful Life, Holiday Inn, White Christmas, and of course The Christmas Story -"You'll shoot your eye out!"). G&T actually bought a leg lamp ornament for our Christmas tree. As for music, G&T and I have a "Relax Mexico" CD from Target that reminds us of beach get-aways in the past. Of course I can always pull out the 70's folk LP's and reminisce. Hey, maybe I'll do that while I clean house today. Where did those John Denver and James Taylor CD's go anyway?

5. Comfort companion(s): Gifted and Talented and manBoy. See above.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Celebration and Blessings

Today is our 26th wedding anniversary. Gifted and Talented came through well with a dozen red roses mixed with other red flowers the day before! I realize everyday how blessed I am to have him. He loves and supports me in so many ways. He has stayed beside me and encouraged me through seminary and now through CPE along this path toward ordination.

I found a picture of a beachhouse and beach scene that reminds us of our great get away this past summer. It's already hanging in our bedroom.

Thank you Lord for this wonderful man. Amen.

Friday, October 06, 2006

I Wonder

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?
And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin,
yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you-- you of little faith?
Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?'
For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
"So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6: 25-34


I have always read these words from a position of abundance. I wonder what they mean to someone who has nothing, who lives on the streets and who does not know where the next meal will come from. At the hospital, the chaplains often get requests for monetary assistance. The pastoral care office does not have these kinds of resources. As individuals we are allowed to give to those we choose. The need is so great. It seems never ending. I have given Tuna kits to a couple of people, but no monetary assistance as yet. I often feel like the person described in James 2:15-16 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?

So I ask myself, why don't I give financially? True the foundation of our home needs expensive repair, true my student loans will be coming due soon, but also true is the fact that the abundance I have far exceeds that of those who ask. I've thought of asking my Sunday School class for McDonald's gift cards (there is a McD's in the hospital), but the question is what am I willing to share of what I have? As usual this blog serves more as a forum for my own personal debate than for finding or giving answers.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

On Call

On call. All is well. No belly ache. More tomorrow.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

From a Proud Mom

Below is a poem written by manBoy for a class assignment. Deep thoughts from a young teenage boy. Written from a middle school perspective but true in the broadest sense.

Why Do We See the World the Way We Do

I do not understand
Why cats do not like water
Why people are always fighting
Why people must covet what others have

But most of all I do not understand
How there can me so much hate in the world we live in
I have seen people harassed for what they do
I have seen people teased for the way they look
And I have seen people harassed purely for who they are, not for any other reason

What I do understand most is science
It gives you knowledge about the world we live in
You can tweak chemicals and create completely new medicines
And if you really know your stuff, you can save lives.

Friday, September 29, 2006

A Little Cheese With My Whine

Okay, the whining is over for now. I just had too much time alone to worry. I am on my way to another hospital where my mother's cousin is currently in surgery. If all goes well, this surgery will prolong her life expectancy from 3 months to 18 months. I will go and sit with her daughter, and be reminded of the many blessings I have and the smallness of my problems. Prayers for my cousin and for her great grandchild who will also be born today will be gratefully accepted.

The Belly Ache

As I approach another on-call shift, I find my belly aching more and more. I am fearful of what I might face. Will I know how to handle the situations that arise? At a Level I Trauma Hospital, there is no end to the variety and difficulty of situations that come up. I worry that I will freeze when faced with something new. My stomach knots with each buzz of the pager. I know that this fear is not healthy, nor is it a sign of faith. I am reminded of my own posting a few short weeks ago.

Lord I believe; help my unbelief! Amen.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

God's people

Pink Shoes writes on a theme I've been contemplating this week. Her insights are helpful.

Like Pink Shoes, I am learning. One of the most difficult parts of CPE (and all hospital chaplaincy I think) is not seeing a family all the way through a crisis or the death of a family member. I often start caring for a family, but have to pass them on to the next chaplain when my shift ends. I know that I can't be there all the time, but I worry that they will feel abandoned when I leave.

Pink Shoes points out that these people aren't my families to care for. They belong to God. It is awfully presumptuous of me to believe that only I could provide the right pastoral care for them. If I live the faith I profess, I will be able to leave knowing they are in the care of the ultimate caregiver.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday Five: Boo boo alert

It's time to play again at RevGalBlogPals .

Songbird writes: After a tumble in a parking lot the other day, I'm sporting a lovely abrasion on my leg--so attractive. It's the same leg I hurt when I fell off the same pair of sandals on the same sort of uneven pavement in Edinburgh last month. Will I ever learn to wear less dangerous shoes and/or pay attention to where I am going? As I drove home to take care of it I called my husband and said, "Boo boo alert!"

Here is our Friday Five on that subject.
1) Are you a baby about small injuries? Only if my dignity is what hurts the most.

2) What's the silliest way you have ever hurt yourself? I was volunteering at the "Mile Run Fitness Test" at manBoy's school. The students had to run two 1/2 mile laps around the school. I was stationed on the back side of the loop for safety and encouragement. When the last student who thought it was a one mile "amble" came by, I started walking with her. As I encouraged her to pick up speed, I tripped over the edge of the sidewalk, stumbled 2 or 3 steps and fell all the way down. Now I had to walk the 1/4 mile around to the front with two bloody knees. Miss Ambler didn't think much of my inspiration.

3) Who took care of your boo-boos when you were a child? I honestly don't remember. My mother was forever sticking our fingers to see if we were anemic. She would make bunny rabbit bandaids with whisps of cotton ball sticking out for the ears and faces drawn with a pen. This was of course long before fancy printed bandaids.

4) Are you a good nurse when others have boo-boos? Generally, I'm good in an emergency. I had to be when I worked with special needs children.

manBoy will tell you that I'm not the most sympathetic nurse if said injury is the result of stupid behavior, especially if it is the result of repeated stupid behavior.

5) What's the worst accidental injury you've suffered? Did it require a trip to the Emergency Room? I was in a head on car wreck in college. Fortunately, my injuries were relatively minor (concussion...) I was taken to the hospital on an ambulance stretcher in the back of a pick up, but that's another story. I was in shock but not unconscious. When I "came to" in the hospital, I asked my mother what had happened. Before she could answer, I said, "Wait, don't tell me!" I love a mystery you see. I remembered the other car coming toward us and put the pieces together.

The saddest part of this story is that I had two black eyes for my first semester of college. It's a good thing I was already dating Gifted and Talented.

Forgiven

I have made mistakes and I have failed in several ways in the almost four weeks since CPE began. This is to be expected when one does something so drastically new and complicated. I have also spent much time and energy regurgitating those mistakes and failures, thinking "woulda, shoulda, coulda."

Yesterday I was asked, "How much grace are you allowing yourself?" In other words, am I allowing myself to experience forgiveness? Today, my scripture readings include the theme of forgiveness.

In Isaiah 6, the prophet is commissioned to go forth in service to God, but first the seraph touches his lips with a hot coal and says, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." Isaiah 6:7 Isaiah experience forgiveness before being sent as God's servant.

In Matthew 9:1-8, Mark 2: 1-12, and Luke 5: 17-26 Jesus heals the paralytic. He tells him, "Your sins are forgiven," before he says "Get up, take your mat, and go home."

When we don't accept or experience forgiveness, we become like the paralytic, unable to get up and go. We limit the ways we can serve God because we are mired in the past. Like both the paralytic and Isaiah, we can go forth when we have been freed from guilt and sin.

I am beginning to see that when I keep rehashing past sins or mistakes, I am using mental and emotional energy that I could be spending on those I serve now. I wonder if the callousness of the last post is also related to the constant rehashing. Perhaps I don't respond to other's pain because I have drained my emotional resources.

Teach me Lord, to trust your loving forgiveness and to forgive myself, that I may better serve you. Amen.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Calluses

On the way home today, I wondered if in one short week I had gone from sappy to hardened. I don't hurt as much for those left behind when someone dies as I did a week ago. I wondered if I had become callous by growing calluses on my heart. I don't want to be hardened against the pain. I don't want to not feel.

Then I came home and caught up on RevGalBlogPals. I followed a link to the story of a family caught in two crises; a car wreck and concerns about their unborn child. I don't know these people. I haven't even read that particular blog until today. But still, I cry. I also pray.

Thank you Lord for keeping my feelings in tact. As I learn what to do with the pain of others, may I never come to the point of no feeling at all. Amen.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Checking In

First solo on-call. Saturday night. One chaplain. Huge hospital. Big city. Survived, but exhausted. Recovering and working on verbatim. Will blog soon.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Life (and death) Lessons

I know some of you out there are like me and hate those sappy "send to 10 people" emails that remind you to hug your children and tell everyone you love them. This week I have a new awareness of the fragile state of life. I have seen very young people beset by life changing and life ending tragedies. In our lives we may know a few people who have suffered this kind of loss, but rarely do the majority of our aquaintances have tragedy in their life. At the hospital, almost everyone I meet is coping with major loss. Encountering so much pain in such a concentrated time and space has made me sappy. I make manBoy let me hug him. I cry at the sweet and the sad. I savor the mobility and ability I have. I am wary, wondering when our tragedy might come. Sappy or not, I say to you, "Hug those you love, savor each moment."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Spider Webs

Job 8:13-15 Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless. 14 What he trusts in is fragile; what he relies on is a spider's web. 15 He leans on his web, but it gives way; he clings to it, but it does not hold.

While Bildad the Shuhite wrongly suggested that Job had placed his trust in something other than God, these words still speak truth to us today. Leaning on our own abilities rather than on God is like leaning on a spider web. The question becomes how does one balance learning and self improvement with self dependence? How do we seek to grow our understanding with out leaning on it? I think we continue to grow and learn and improve while knowing our understanding will always be incomplete. The problem lies not in our spiritual and intellectual growth, but in believing that our growth has made us equal to God.

Prov. 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Where I Was

This post is not about where I was at 8:47 EDT on Sept. 11, 2001, but rather where I was on Sept. 11, 2006. I was in a conference room milling about for juice and donuts, preparing to sit through many excruciatingly dry presentations of everything one must know to work in a hospital. There was no mention of the anniversary at the opening of the seminar, no discussion at lunch. It was as if 9-11 never happened. In truth, for many of us nothing has changed in the last five years. We live our lives sheltered from the pain and ugliness of the world beyond. I want to believe that something so catastrophic would make a difference in our lives, in our living, in our spirituality. Perhaps it is not the catastrophes that make changes in our lives, but our living that can make changes in catastrophe. Rev Abi has a great post on 9-11 and Ghandi. I can't improve on that.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Reflections on Death

Five short hours on call. What I saw:

Death is Holy.
Death is hard
when unexpected,
Death brings such pain
to the left behind.
Death can heal
wounded relationships, or
Death can break
them open wide.
Some die alone,
with just the angels,
Some die surrounded
by those they love.
Death is the color of sadness
sometimes tinted with shades of joy.
Death is Holy.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

CPE report: Spanish on the MP3

I can't believe it has been over a week since I've written. Where did the week go? To early morning pre-surgery prayers, and to cleaning before my m-i-l came for an over night, and to Algebra tutoring with manBoy, and to learning a little Spanish in the middle of all that.

I learned at 4 pm on Wednesday that I would be doing pre-surgery prayer rounds at 6 am on Thursday. Mild panic. This would be my first solo run, and when I had gone with someone else before, they knew how to speak Spanish and prayed with the Spanish speaking patients. In this hospital there are many patients who speak only Spanish. So here I was with 14 hours to prepare, and my toilets in need of cleaning.

I gathered my resources, a cheat sheet prepared by the pastoral care office and some help from a fellow resident who's native tongue is Spanish. I brought it all home and decided that I could learn enough to introduce myself in Spanish and offer to pray the "Our Father" (Lord's Prayer) in English while the patient prayed in Spanish.

Next, I went to my neighbor who is from Mexico and had him help with my script and record it into my MP3 player. After showering him with gratitude, I returned home ready to learn. I tucked the MP3 player on my belt, put the earbuds in my ears, set the player on repeat and set off to clean. By the end of the evening with some practice with manBoy, I was able to speak those few simple sentences.

I'm glad to report that each of the Spanish speaking patients I prayed with seem to appreciate my efforts to communicate with and pray for them. I readily showed them my 3"x5" notecard with the sum total of my Spanish written on it. They didn't seem to mind if I had to take a peek when I forgot what came next. The blending of the two languages as we prayed was beautiful. Each of those prayers was truly a holy moment for all involved.

Tonight, I shadow the on-call chaplain and in one week I do a solo on-call. I'll appreciate all of your prayers.

Friday, September 01, 2006

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: life in the fast lane

Big gentle hugs, soft pillows and heating pads to Will Smama, our resident matriarch and preacher/blogger/procrastinator who was involved in a bit of a fender-bender this week. We're very grateful she's OK, just a little shaken up...In lieu of flowers, I send this Friday Five out to her. Let's all be careful on those roadways.

Okay, I'm busted here. This one reveals all my worst habits and attitudes.

1. Driving: an enjoyable way to clear the mind? a means to an end? a chance to be quiet with one's thoughts? a necessary evil? the downfall of our planet and its fossil fuels? Discuss.

Since manBoy was old enough to talk, I have enjoyed our time together in the car. When he was little, he talked quite a bit. That 3-4 year old stage when he had continuous questions got a little old at times. I have to admit that after the third "Why?" in a series I would resort to "Because that is how God made it." But that same inquisitive nature is what led to his excited announcement on the way home from pre-school, "Today we played lungs. I was the carbon dioxide and the teacher breathed me out."

Now he's not as talkative, but I still get more out of him in the car than anywhere else. He can't escape, so he might as well talk.

2. Do you drive the speed limit? A little faster? Slower? Have you ever gotten a ticket?

Okay, truth time. I drive faster than the speed limit when I can find someone to follow. I like to get where I'm going faster, but I'm not willing to take the ticket.

3. Do you take public transportation? When? What's your opinion of the experience?

In order to do this, I would have to leave an hour earlier, drive more than half the distance to the hospital, and then get on a bus. The next burb over is on the bus line, but mine isn't. So, I don't take public transportation.

4. Complete this sentence: _the other drivers where ever I happen to be driving_ are the worst drivers I've ever experienced.

5. According to the Census Bureau, reverendmother's fair city has the 6th longest average commute in the United States at 29 minutes each way. How does your personal commute rate?

40 minutes door to door including parking in the garage and hiking across the street.

Bonus for the brutally honest: It has been said, and the MythBusters have confirmed, that cell phones can impede driving ability almost as much as drinking. Do you talk on a cell phone while driving?

Yes, I do. I use an earbud, so I'm hands free and can easily turn my head. I realize that doesn't take away the distractions. It does make the 40 minutes go faster.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Lessons from the Jordan

Observations on new beginnings from Joshua 3-4, Crossing the Jordan:


Joshua 3:3-4 "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.

The ark of the covenant was considered to be the seat of God. Keep your eyes on God, so you will know the way to go.

Joshua 3:5 Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you."

Prepare yourself. Remove that which is unclean from your life. Set yourself apart for God. Expect great things.

Joshua 3:8 Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: 'When you reach the edge of the Jordan's waters, go and stand in the river.'"

Sometimes you have to wade in a little ways to be able to see God's work.

Joshua 4:20-24 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, "In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, 'What do these stones mean?' 22 tell them, 'Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.' 23 For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God."

Find a way to remember God's activity in your life and in the world. Be willing to share it with others.

Lord Jesus, As I come to this new beginning, create in me a clean heart and set me apart for God. As I wade in to the river, open my eyes to the amazing works you are doing among us.
Amen

Monday, August 28, 2006

First Day Ramblings

First a joy, my mother reports she is feeling better than she has in several months. Perhaps at last her medications are balanced.

Today I began Orientation for CPE. It was a long day of instructions about events and activities that we haven't seen yet, so it is a little hard to imagine as they are discussed. I just hope I can remember some of what was said when I get to the "real thing."

The first lesson for me is just sitting back and letting what happens next happen. We are given the agenda only for that day. I went this morning knowing only that I should be there by 8:00. Tomorrow is the same. I know when and where to go, but nothing about what the day holds. As a linear thinking, control freak, planner living this way is definitely a challenge. However, I managed to finish the day with out a tension headache from worrying about what is next. So, I'll just keep trusting that the powers that be will tell me what I need to know when I need to know it for the next few days.

On another note, manBoy is practicing his trombone but having to stop every few bars to cough. It sounds like Gifted and Talented will have to take off work and take him to the doctor in the next couple of days. Doesn't it figure that after I had a whole summer off, he gets sick on the first day I go back to work.

Loving God,
Open my eyes, ears, heart, and mind to the lessons that are coming to me in so many ways, shapes, and sizes. Let your love shine through me.
Amen

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Prayers Please

My mother who lives 200 miles away was admitted to the hospital just hours after I left her house on Friday. They are trying to get her blood pressure and heart rate regulated. So far, my sister who lives in the same town has been able to attend to her needs at the hospital.

My CPE residency begins tomorrow. I'm both excited and nervous, as well as feeling like I should be with my mother.

I covet your prayers for healing and peace.

Update: As of noon today my mom has been released from the hospital. Yeah!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Garanimals!

And now for a lighter view of wardrobe. Hooray, shopping is done, or almost. Great finds and bargains on new clothes that are comfortable, professional, and fit my personality. Everything mixes and matches so I don't have to look the same everyday. I had to explain to my neice about "garanimals" - mix and match clothes that were coded by animals so kids could figure it out. My mother who has actually studied about clothing personalities says I'm a "sporty natural." Perhaps I have found the balance I was seeking between khaki woman and somewhat knowledgeable pastor. Well off to buy a couple more basics and some comfortable shoes that don't make me look like I'm 80 (ask Cheesehead).

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Image?

Okay, this wardrobe thing is still walking around in my brain. I'm shopping this week for clothes for my CPE position, so it is near the surface.

A few months ago, someone from our church told my husband she had a hard time picturing us together (we've been married 25 years) because he seems so laid back, and I seem so prim and proper. His response was, "Then you don't really know Rookie." She had only seen me at church on Sunday morning in my staff position wearing my Sunday morning professional gear (usually pants/skirt suit). She had never heard my dry and often irreverent humor.

I wonder, would she feel comfortable coming to me for pastoral counseling or care? Would she be put off by the professional image I try so hard to project on Sunday morning, especially when I'm involved in worship leadership?

My sister, whose house is rarely straight, but whose relationship with her kids is awesome once told me, "A house that looks too perfectly clean and straight may not be the best hospitality. It may make visitors feel uncomfortable and afraid to move. They may feel you will judge them about the condition of their own home. It is important to let others see you are human."

I know there is a very fine line between appearance that inspires confidence and one that is off-putting. I also know that one's image comes from more than clothes or hairdo. It comes from behavior. Could I have been more friendly to the woman who saw me as too prim and proper? Could I have asked real questions about her kids, her life rather than a friendly, "Good morning, how are you today?" My husband had this conversation because he stopped to visit with her. He didn't worry about whether he got to Sunday School on time or at all. He just stopped and paid attention.

More points to ponder. More questions than answers. Learning, learning, learning.

God of Love,
Lead me. Teach me. Show me.
Amen.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Are We What We Wear?

This morning, as I prepared for an appointment with the employment office at the hospital I began searching for something to wear. Obviously, the standard summer outfit of khaki capris, green or melon tee shirt, and sandals wasn't going to cut it here. After all, I had received a three page dress code in the mail. So the search began for something to wear that would:
-allow easy access for drug testing (pee in cup = no panty hose),
-allow for immunizations or tb test,
-allow me to walk from the parking garage to the employment office, medical testing site, and back to the employment office without melting or wilting in 100* temp.
-look professional.

I found dress slacks and a short sleeved sweater that are nice enough. The result: middle age mom trying to dress up a little, not professional, just dumpy. Okay, I'll add the new jacket that looks great but is really hot. Ahhh. A much more professional look, I'll just have to carry the jacket and put it on just before I go in.

As I drove to the appointment, I began to think about all the different versions of me I saw in the mirror this morning. First the khaki look: mom, carefree (read unemployed), relaxed, and somehow not on the same level as those professionals I would be meeting later. Then slacks and sweater, nicer, but not a look of confidence. Next, professional dress- much sharper and at least looking like I have more confidence. I began to wonder, which person am I? Which person will I be as I work with staff, patients, and their families at the hospital? Can I maintain enough confidence to encourage trust and still have enough of the khaki woman in me to be real? Can more than one aspect of who I am show through at the same time?

At the hospital, which is a county hospital primarily serving those who do not have funds to pay for services, I saw all manner of dress. Certainly there were those in professional dress, there were employees in scrubs, and there were patients in everything from Sunday dress and hat to pajamas. If I imagine myself to be different according to how I am dressed, what judgments am I making, will I make about others?

No real answers today. Just points to ponder.

Lord, Open my eyes to the petty and judmental me that I can be. Show me where and how to be your servant in this world. Amen

Friday, August 18, 2006

My First Friday Five - How Fun!

RevGalBlogPals sponsors this fun meme:

Brilliantly British Friday Five
In the spirit of My Word! and Says You!, Songbird and Kathryn offer up a Brilliantly British Friday Five.Below you will find five phrases seen or heard by Songbird on her British holiday. Use your imagination to define them. Points will be granted for humor. If you are one of our British RevGals, don't play, but please e-mail either Songbird or Kathryn to let us know of any definitions you find particularly amusing or inventive. There will be lovely prizes provided by Kathryn (Diocesan magazine, St. M's notelets, history of St. M's, parish magazine--come on Barbara Pym fans, I know you want that last one!!!), so do your best!

Adverse Camber - chapped and swollen lips on teenager with braces who spent too much time kissing by the garden gate, failing to remember that love may be blind, but the neighbors ain't.

Butts Wynd - What G&T does in the wee hours of the morning after eating high-fiber cereal at bedtime

Plague Church - any church with an infectious disease such as malcontent measles, complacency cold, back-stabbing bacterial infection, or vicious virus

Free House - that wonderful sensation that Mom gets when her loveable young ones are all safely delivered on the first day of school . This often involves twirling oneself around the living room chanting, "Free, free, free!" Of course said mom then prepares for her own day at work, school...

Mind the Gap -what anyone wearing a hospital gown must do. (Thanks G&T)

Packing for the Journey

Today’s reading of the first two chapters of Matthew; the genealogy and birth of Jesus, the visit of the magi followed by the flight to Egypt, and a daily devotional about the things a woman packed when leaving her home before a hurricane made me wonder, “What did Mary and Joseph pack for their hurried expedition to Egypt with the child Jesus?”

What would I pack if I had to flee my home in a hurry? Important documents, Bibles with my notes - pictures – memories – our history. Other “stuff” seems unimportant. Not even our computers (okay, maybe the flash drive with all my commissioning paper work). Would we take one car or both? One, staying together would be more important than saving the car and more stuff. Clothes? Just a few, but definitely good sturdy shoes since we don’t know what lies ahead.

What about our life journeys? What do I need to take with me as I begin CPE? The answers are much the same:
My Bible
My faith history
-memories of the many times I have felt God’s presence in my life and the times I have known it even when I couldn’t feel it,
-people who have supported me in my faith journey and will continue to do so on this next leg
-the breath prayer that carried me through the decision to quit teaching and attend seminary.

The professional wardrobe I’ve been stressing over this week seems less important now. It is only a vehicle that will allow me to be accepted as a chaplain and do my job. It is not important on its own; only for the function it will serve. Of course, I will need a pair of sturdy shoes.

Lord God,
Somewhere in the world people are fleeing their homes, racing away from natural or human generated danger. Give them strength and courage. In other places, people are returning and struggling to rebuild from destruction. Bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. (Isa. 61: 3). Remind those of us who live in safety who and what is important. Keep our hearts and minds from the petty. Keep our focus on you. Amen

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Fear and Faith Part III

The following came in an email from a friend with whom I had shared my doubts and concerns. She felt compelled to send this message during her prayer time. I thank her for having the courage to share. I am listening Lord.

I have a message for you. It's from God.

He says he has put uncertainty and insecurity in your heart and mind for a reason. This is to allow you to let yourself grow (but not to grow too big for your britches) and learn the strategies of a chaplain. Realize you do not have all of the answers. He will give you the right words, when you need them. You are about to embark on a daily adventure of pain and suffering, beginnings and endings, healing and hurt...all of people you do not know and love (hopefully!). These are your patients.

The pain and suffering you are trying so hard to appease right now is in those you do know and love, your church family. Your clinical experience will not have the same psychological and emotional strings attached. Your patients will leave footprints on your heart, but will be with you physically for only a short time. You will have the opportunity to leave footprints behind for your patients and their families, as well.

Keep in mind that when you're seeing only 1 set of footprints, you are being carried.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Fear and Faith Part II

I am surrounded by pain and grief. So many hard diagnoses. So many hard questions. I feel completely and utterly inadequate for helping them. I don't have the words or answers. I pray, but I bring no comfort. And this is before I start CPE. I wonder what on earth I think I'm doing! Lord, help me in my unbelief. Help me trust that you are in me and in this.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Fear and Faith

A few weeks ago, my sister and nieces ages 3 and 9 joined us for a day at the beach. As I watched the girls reactions to the water, I learned much about our reactions to the waves of life. The 3 year old was fearless. She greeted every wave, every new experience with glee. The 9 year old was not fearless. In fact she was downright wary. She didn't like the seaweed that gathers near the shore, so she wouldn't venture more than two feet into the water. I finally convinced her that I could carry her the short distance past the seaweed and then she could enjoy the ocean. Once past the seaweed, I put her down in waist high water. Immediately she was afraid and wanting to go back to shore. This time her fear was that she couldn't see to the bottom. She didn't know what was waiting for her below the surface. My sister held her firmly and told her, "You are okay. I've got you." My niece's reply was, "I don't trust you."

I realized I often react in exactly the same way when God calls me to something new. First, I raise many objections based on what I can see or know about the situation. Then when I conjure a bit of faith to wade in, I get paralyzed by my fear of the unknown. While I've never blatantly said, "I don't trust you." to God, I've acted it out in oh so many ways. When I try to keep all of life in my control, I'm denying trust in God.

As I prepare to begin CPE residency, there are many known reasons to be fearful. The intense schedule, the deep pain and suffering I will see, the wear and tear on my family. And then there are all the unknowns. At the same time, I am well convinced that this is what God is calling me to do and be for the next year. It is important to my formation as a pastor. There will be pain, but there will also be healing. I will be needed, and I may make a difference in someone's life even for a short time.

I have been blessed with a summer off. I am entering CPE with more physical, mental, and spiritual renewal than I've had in several years. I am as prepared as I can be. Now, I pray that God will strengthen my faith that I can walk into this experience with joy and peace, knowing that God will sustain me through the difficulties.

By the way, we left the water for lunch on the beach house deck. My oldest neice was the first one to ask when we would be going back down to the beach. She was able to enjoy the ocean on her own terms for a while.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Legacies

I come from a long line of strong, independent women. My great-grandmother, born in the 19th century, owned and managed rental property in the 1940's and 50's. Both of my grandmothers worked outside the home; one of them was an office manager for an insurance company. My mother earned a college degree in 1958, and went on to a career in medical technology and veterinary research. I remember being so proud when we learned about electron microscopes in school, and my mom knew how to use one! One result of this legacy has been that I never felt as if my options were limited by my gender.

This past June, it was an honor to be commissioned during the annual conference that celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the ordination of women in The United Methodist Church. Throughout the conference, there were luncheons, video presentations, and short vignettes telling about the women who had come before me. I must admit, I didn't "get it." I didn't fully understand the power and value of the legacy into which I had stepped.

This past week I have been reading What I Didn't Know Then, by Linda Foster Momsen. Rev. Foster Momsen was the seventeenth woman to be ordained in her conference of The United Methodist Church. This book chronicles the struggles and resistance she faced both inside and outside the church. It also tells of the joy she found in finally fulfilling the call she received at age sixteen. I am thankful that my eyes have been opened to the difficulties faced by all those clergywomen who came before me, and for their perseverance.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sacred Movement

Wow, blogging is great! A place to voice my "aha moments" without tiring the ears of friends who have listened to so many of them over the last few years.

Today in church I spoke about sacred movement. No, not liturgical dance. But about the movement that is involved in the sacrament of Holy Communion. Our church practices intinction where the bread is received and dipped into the cup. It seems to me that sometimes in our worship planning we think of the movement of the congregation from their seats to the serving point and back to their seats as mere logistics. Looking at Psalm 51, which I know is OT and doesn't have anything to do with Holy Communion, I began to envision that movement as part of the sacrament. As we move toward the bread and cup, we like the Psalmist are declaring our need for God's love and mercy. When we move away after receiving, we do so in newness of life. The final sacred movement is out into the world to bear the message of God's love.

Lord, let more and more of my movements be sacred, set apart for you. Amen

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Meet and Greet

Today, I'd like to introduce you to my family.

My husband, Gifted and Talented, works in the field of electronics, but his passion is music. He is an awesome guitar player and has a nice voice. Really, its not just me who thinks he's awesome. Whenever someone new hears him play, they are amazed and ask why I didn't tell them how talented he is. I remind them I did tell them, they just didn't believe me. G&T plays in the worship band for our church every Sunday morning, and is learning to play banjo, mandolin, and classical guitar. I was in high school when we started dating, and we've been married more than half our lives. His love and support have helped me through my seminary classes, and he is a blessing to me everyday.

Our son, manBoy, is in his early teens. He is growing and changing so fast that none of us quite knows how to handle it. If he grows into his size 11 feet, he's going to be very tall! mB is into skateboarding, rollerblading, basketball, video games, band, church youth group, and much to my dismay, girls.

mB came to us through open adoption and we have ongoing contact with each of his birthparents. Although we were unsure about open adoption at first, this has proved to be a wonderful option for us and especially for mB.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Beginnings

When I first selected mid-life rookie as my blogger i.d. I was thinking that I might never again feel like I know what I’m doing. After 20 years as a special education teacher, I began the journey toward ordination in the United Methodist Church. It had been 20 years since I’d sat in a college classroom, so I definitely felt like a rookie when I began my seminary classes in 2003. Soon, I will be starting a new leg of the journey as I begin a Clinical Pastoral Education residency at a large county hospital where much pain, suffering, and healing takes place. Once again, I feel as if I have no idea what I am doing.

However, in the last few days, I have come to appreciate my rookie status. After all, mid-life rookie is preferable to mid-life rut. I am coming to understand that once again God is “creating all things new” in me. I walk forward in faith (okay, with some fear too).